Hey limeys

Politics and other such topical creams.
eumaas
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by eumaas » 09 Aug 2009, 7:13pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:While not technologically as sophisticated and therefore not as obviously intrusive as contemporary Britain's actions, Canada's Indian policy, mainly past policy, demonstrates how rigid controls of a segment of the population only creates misery, dependence, and an institutionalized mentality. In the first half of the twentieth c., Canada's First Nations were restricted to reserves, all their ambitions filtered thru an Indian agent, their movements strictly controlled. The result was poverty and declining quality of life, not to mention erosion of traditions and cultural identity. Reserves have gradually been granted more autonomy, but still suffer the effects comparable to prisoners—limited ambition, looking at others as targets, and disconnect from the larger society. Nepotism is rampant on many Canadian reserves, where federal cash is controlled by the band council, which is made up of one family. The efforts to control Aboriginal peoples—much more stick than carrot—to make them abandon their traditional ways ended up creating a culture of dependency and neglect. It just doesn't work to penalize people more and more.
This is a good empirical account. More extreme, but no less relevant, would be accounts of life in Nazi Germany for example. Many who lived through it remark about the groundlessness they felt. Since surveillance was prevalent (though not as technologically sophisticated), people lost their sense of a basically secure background against which their lives could play out. In existentialist terms it heightens inauthenticity and bad faith, which has pretty terrible consequences for quality of life.

I think welfare is one of the least egregious acts of the state in the sense that at least they don't break your legs and leave you on the ground. But I don't think it's accidental that the therapeutic justifications for intervention are so easy to make once you assume that government must always catch the fallen to the exclusion of people holding up each other. Now, a social democrat could reasonably articulate and advocate a balanced welfare state. However, in order to achieve balance, one must be cognizant of the incentival structures involved and vigilant about the boundaries of intervention, since this has a natural logic towards more and more intervention and regimentation. Hayek made that argument about economic intervention in the Road to Serfdom, but I actually find it more relevant when it comes to welfare (and healthcare too) because of the therapeutic justification so eloquently articulated by Michel Foucault, whereas a mixed economy has SOME degree of stability since it's all we've ever known of market economies in the modern era (i.e. the 19th century was not, contrary to popular opinion, laissez-faire as it rested on both prior appropriations and special treatment). I think the therapeutic road to totalitarianism is more relevant to our current epoch than the economic road, though there's plenty to recommend that analysis as well (like the nationalization of industries in the US, where loss is socialized and profit privatized).
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

Heston
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Heston » 09 Aug 2009, 7:13pm

I know someone I went to school with who has never worked a day in his life, has a child which he doesn't support financially and has dedicated his life to smoking mindfuck weed from the moment he wakes up. His reward from the government? A two-bedroomed flat and enough pocket money to purchase his ganja.

Insane.
So what does Marconi playing the mamba mean? "Marconi" is referring to the radio itself. It plays a deadly snake. The snake - the mamba - is slithering from the speakers. Ready to kill greedy corporations. Ready to free the world of all that is evil, and to leave behind only the youthful idealism encompassed by the tenets of rock and roll.

eumaas
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by eumaas » 09 Aug 2009, 7:16pm

I still think the moral onus is on the system-makers, not the people who take advantage of the system since we all act to move from a less satisfactory to a more satisfactory state of affairs--this is basic economics.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

Heston
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Heston » 09 Aug 2009, 7:23pm

eumaas wrote:I still think the moral onus is on the system-makers, not the people who take advantage of the system since we all act to move from a less satisfactory to a more satisfactory state of affairs--this is basic economics.
Oh, most definitely.

Problem is, most of our government have just been caught fiddling their expenses (with not a prosecution in sight), where does that leave us?
So what does Marconi playing the mamba mean? "Marconi" is referring to the radio itself. It plays a deadly snake. The snake - the mamba - is slithering from the speakers. Ready to kill greedy corporations. Ready to free the world of all that is evil, and to leave behind only the youthful idealism encompassed by the tenets of rock and roll.

Flex
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Flex » 09 Aug 2009, 7:47pm

Heston wrote:Problem is, most of our government have just been caught fiddling their expenses (with not a prosecution in sight), where does that leave us?
Well, if you're looking for a state-centric solution, the answer is that you probably need to be supporting politicians/parties that favor conditional incentives instead of blank-check welfare.

If you're looking for non-state solutions, I'd read up on mutual aid.

Addendum: And, as mentioned earlier, for a more conceptual understanding of the some of the the problems being discussed, Michel Foucault is vital. I'd particularly recommend Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality.
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eumaas
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by eumaas » 09 Aug 2009, 8:17pm

Colin Ward's Anarchy in Action has great stuff on the history of mutual aid in it. It actually used to be quite widespread until the state shut it down. See also Roderick Long's brief (but with a good bibliography) account of the end of mutual aid society healthcare (again, these same groups provided welfare as well as healthcare, so it's analogous) here:
http://libertariannation.org/a/f12l3.html

My own problem with conditional welfare is that while it improves the incentival structure and gets rid of certain problems, it also kinda (to return to my metaphor) breaks your legs, then asks you to behave a certain way before it gives you the crutches. Again, pragmatically it solves some problems, but it's ethnically just as icky if not more so. On the other hand, if it's paired with better opportunity for starting low capital small business and the like, it gets less ugly.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Hey limeys

Post by nsc » 09 Aug 2009, 10:13pm

eumaas wrote:
nsc wrote:
eumaas wrote:The hell? Is this true?
http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.2647

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... -bins.html
Under the Government scheme, members of "Shameless" families are given intensive 24-hour supervision to make sure children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals....

Around 2,000 families have gone through Family Intervention Projects, but ministers intend to increase its scope to 20,000 more in the next two years – each costing between £5,000 and £20,000.
you may never have attended a regular school (for whatever reason) but your parents/guardians at least made sure you were getting some kind of education (and judging from your photos - food in your belly). these kids have real fuckwits for parents and grandparents. a third generation of uneducated, unemployed and uninterested what would you suggest for saving the offspring?
I think it's a case of the state breaking people's legs and then offering them crutches. Imposing totalitarian discipline destroys a society; it does not save it. We have perfectly good case studies of the consequences of such excessive intervention. I would say roll back the intervention and let society reassert itself. People do not respond well at all to stringent controls. It devalues the individual, so why should the individual bother with life? Rolling back the state's extreme interventionism and seeking instead to strengthen community-level help and social mores seems like a better plan to me. I would invite Flex to offer more concrete proposals here as policy is more his thing than mine. I do not think that to monitor, discipline, and punish creates a healthy adult. Michel Foucault might be a bit dry for you, but he traced the history and logic of therapeutic intervention by the state.
when i was growing up a neighbour of ours won a glamorous granny competition she was a tidy wee woman in her fifties. the M.I.L.F.'s are now G.I.L.F.'s in their early thirties and dysfunctionality is a badge of honour that comes with extra state benefits.
I think that's the big failure of state welfare (the crutches in the analogy above) as opposed to non-statist welfare (called mutual aid). It incentivizes that sort of behavior and disincentivizes the alternative. I don't think that's entirely unintentional. Consider also that the state promotes barriers to entry for businesses (such as regulation of the taxi industry, where an individual could start a taxi business with just a vehicle and a cellphone). If someone wants to become an entrepreneur, he or she has to go through so many fucking hoops that you can't start with no money and get anywhere. There are exceptions, but by and large it's a matter of basic economics--the utility of the effort is outweighed by its disutility. That is, you lose more pursuing that than you gain. Why not stay on welfare if it makes life easier in the necessities? People will often look to their own welfare over the demands of ideology. That's just plain economic sense.

Now, I should make it clear here that I have nothing morally against people seeking state aid. But the fact is, the state cartelizes industry and disincentivizes the alternative. Again, that's breaking your legs and offering you crutches. I don't blame the man who takes the crutches, I blame the man who breaks the legs.
meanwhile back in the real world this year, this month, this day - what do you suggest?

eumaas
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by eumaas » 09 Aug 2009, 10:17pm

nsc wrote:meanwhile back in the real world this year, this month, this day - what do you suggest?
See Flex's post(s) above on conditional welfare for a state solution, or mutual aid for a nonstate solution.

EDIT: More specifically, providing special incentives for breaking out of the sort of behavior that keeps getting repeated. So if you do voluntarily some non-invasive things (jobbing, keeping kids in extracurricular stuff, etc) you get benefits. This rewards good behavior rather than concentrating on punishing bad behavior and putting people under surveillance.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Flex » 09 Aug 2009, 10:28pm

I'd like to add two things.

One: while a state solution is always viewed as the "realistic" option, unless you're (quite frankly) someone like me, your chances of directly affecting state policy are fairly negligible (and my infuence is quite limited). On the other hand, we can all immediately engage in some form of mutual aid, so that's the option that actually gives folks immediate agency.

Two: I keep reading this thread title like the Beastie Boys song.
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Dr. Medulla » 09 Aug 2009, 10:42pm

eumaas wrote:EDIT: More specifically, providing special incentives for breaking out of the sort of behavior that keeps getting repeated. So if you do voluntarily some non-invasive things (jobbing, keeping kids in extracurricular stuff, etc) you get benefits. This rewards good behavior rather than concentrating on punishing bad behavior and putting people under surveillance.
To which some will say, "Why are they getting rewarded for stuff they're supposed to do?" I've had arguments with people about safe injection sites for drug addicts. Even when you produce evidence that it reduces both crime and gives addicts a chance to get clean (by bringing them in contact with addictions therapists)—all of which reduces health and policing costs—they respond that it's rewarding bad behaviour. So it's a "Fuck you, you're a bad person," plus "Fuck you, you're not going to get any help to break your dependence." What it comes down to is "Fuck you, you deserve all the shit in the world."
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Flex » 09 Aug 2009, 10:48pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:To which some will say, "Why are they getting rewarded for stuff they're supposed to do?" I've had arguments with people about safe injection sites for drug addicts. Even when you produce evidence that it reduces both crime and gives addicts a chance to get clean (by bringing them in contact with addictions therapists)—all of which reduces health and policing costs—they respond that it's rewarding bad behaviour. So it's a "Fuck you, you're a bad person," plus "Fuck you, you're not going to get any help to break your dependence." What it comes down to is "Fuck you, you deserve all the shit in the world."
Well, I'd imagine people bringing up that objection would be more amenable to the proposition that the state shouldn't be involved in this one way or the other. Which I think is a preferable solution to the authoritarianism being advocated for here.
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by eumaas » 09 Aug 2009, 10:51pm

Flex wrote:I'd like to add two things.

One: while a state solution is always viewed as the "realistic" option, unless you're (quite frankly) someone like me, your chances of directly affecting state policy are fairly negligible (and my infuence is quite limited). On the other hand, we can all immediately engage in some form of mutual aid, so that's the option that actually gives folks immediate agency.
That's a damn fine point.
Two: I keep reading this thread title like the Beastie Boys song.
That's how it's supposed to be.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Dr. Medulla » 09 Aug 2009, 10:56pm

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:To which some will say, "Why are they getting rewarded for stuff they're supposed to do?" I've had arguments with people about safe injection sites for drug addicts. Even when you produce evidence that it reduces both crime and gives addicts a chance to get clean (by bringing them in contact with addictions therapists)—all of which reduces health and policing costs—they respond that it's rewarding bad behaviour. So it's a "Fuck you, you're a bad person," plus "Fuck you, you're not going to get any help to break your dependence." What it comes down to is "Fuck you, you deserve all the shit in the world."
Well, I'd imagine people bringing up that objection would be more amenable to the proposition that the state shouldn't be involved in this one way or the other. Which I think is a preferable solution to the authoritarianism being advocated for here.
Both times I've had the argument, it was with a Christian fundamentalist, so, yeah, in a way. But they also thought the addicts should be thrown in jail, so they weren't rejecting the state completely—only its potential therapeutic function.
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Flex » 09 Aug 2009, 11:28pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Both times I've had the argument, it was with a Christian fundamentalist, so, yeah, in a way. But they also thought the addicts should be thrown in jail, so they weren't rejecting the state completely—only its potential therapeutic function.
Oh yeah, I didn't necessarily mean "reject all state function in favor of an anarchist solution" or anything. Presumably, the state would still enforce, say, drug laws on the books. But, even as extreme as those can be, it wouldn't be as bad as the kind of program being discussed here.

I find that model abhorrent for any number of reasons, but still better than the program under discussion.
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Re: Hey limeys

Post by Silent Majority » 10 Aug 2009, 6:07am

eumaas wrote:
Heston wrote:Nanny state running wild again.

Mind you, something needs to be done about the "Shameless" generation, but I don't think this is the answer. Nor is, as Flex suggested, financial incentives. They get enough of those for churning out babies with no intention of working.
But Flex's incentives would run in the counter direction. Obviously the current incentival system is thoroughly fucked up or the uh "shameless" generation wouldn't have happened.
It's a reference to an absolutely brilliant TV show, by the way.

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