Scottish independence?

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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Rat Patrol » 10 Sep 2014, 9:47pm

101Walterton wrote:
Flex wrote:
101Walterton wrote:Welcome to MMP!!
Finally, entrance into the Manitoba Marijuana Party! :mrgreen:

I'm sure that would be far more sensible.

You ever tried to set frozen-solid bud alight? Harder than it looks, and the bad case of freezer burn makes it all skunky and shit.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 9:48pm

Flex wrote:I would say I'm influenced by a feminist reading of the concept of "consent," in that it's not simply a one-time transaction but something that needs to be continuously agreed upon for the lifespan of the mutual engagement. So I still don't think the wishes of one party (e.g. Greater British Citizens) overrides the need for continuous consent from another party (e.g. the Scottish). Any one party's withdrawal of consent makes the arrangement, basically by definition, non-consensual. And non-consent isn't a legitimate basis for governance.
So, let's say Scotland didn't call the referendum, but instead England and Wales did, and a majority there voted to kick Scotland out of the UK. Based on this reading of consent, Scotland would have no say over this even if it wanted to stay? It's a ridiculous scenario, I know, but it highlights a problem with that kind of unilateral decision-making premise—that is, the stronger partner(s) could chuck out the weaker ones or force concessions to maintain the relationship. The blue states decide they've had enough of the bullshit from Chicosippi, win a national vote on the issue, and get to kick it out of the union.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 10:03pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:So, let's say Scotland didn't call the referendum, but instead England and Wales did, and a majority there voted to kick Scotland out of the UK. Based on this reading of consent, Scotland would have no say over this even if it wanted to stay? It's a ridiculous scenario, I know, but it highlights a problem with that kind of unilateral decision-making premise—that is, the stronger partner(s) could chuck out the weaker ones or force concessions to maintain the relationship. The blue states decide they've had enough of the bullshit from Chicosippi, win a national vote on the issue, and get to kick it out of the union.
I don't think they do get a say. All parties have to have continual consent. Otherwise I think it is literally not consent. And that's why these large institutions of power are incredibly fucked up, because smaller associations can work through these sorts of things and mitigate damage while massive states are designed to be a no-win deal where everyone is forced into a non-consensual relationship.

The one on one example is two people who consent to have sexual relations with each other. Partway through whatever they're doing together, one party decided they don't want to consent to this action anymore. That's the end of the agreed upon relationship and the other party really, truly has no say in the matter.

When one group stops agreeing to being part of a relationship, it literally stops being consensual.

Anytime statism is perpetuated, you're creating a bad system with a lot of bad hypothetical consequences - so it is here. But allowing a majority of a self-defined group to self-govern if they see fit seems like the ideologically least-bad option in this case, and seems closest to the spirit of social contract theory (as a moral philosophy, not as a legal matter). Forcing a group of people to stay yoked to a system of power against their will seems a lot like tyranny to me.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Rat Patrol » 10 Sep 2014, 10:23pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
Flex wrote:I would say I'm influenced by a feminist reading of the concept of "consent," in that it's not simply a one-time transaction but something that needs to be continuously agreed upon for the lifespan of the mutual engagement. So I still don't think the wishes of one party (e.g. Greater British Citizens) overrides the need for continuous consent from another party (e.g. the Scottish). Any one party's withdrawal of consent makes the arrangement, basically by definition, non-consensual. And non-consent isn't a legitimate basis for governance.
So, let's say Scotland didn't call the referendum, but instead England and Wales did, and a majority there voted to kick Scotland out of the UK. Based on this reading of consent, Scotland would have no say over this even if it wanted to stay? It's a ridiculous scenario, I know, but it highlights a problem with that kind of unilateral decision-making premise—that is, the stronger partner(s) could chuck out the weaker ones or force concessions to maintain the relationship. The blue states decide they've had enough of the bullshit from Chicosippi, win a national vote on the issue, and get to kick it out of the union.
The latter can't Constitutionally happen, and if they did make a choice to do it it's a mutually-assured destruction of the Republic by de-legitimizing all remaining binding energy in the Constitution. Even all those batshit billionaire-funded initiatives to partition California into 6 perfectly cromulent fiefdom states are wholly consistent with centuries of states rights precedent. Even the somewhat shady dealings like the payola that got West Virginia to partition off of Virginia and stick with the Union during the Civil War, or the legislative sausage-making over slavery compromises that got several other states admitted. But they can't say: Kentucky, you really fucking suck and you're on your fucking own. The fissures that would erupt from breaking that compact would destroy the union and chaotically split it into pieces over issues of everything else in the Constitution that such an action would de-legitimize. Probably in the same timespan of 1-3 years it took for all hell to break lost the last time that happened. The result isn't any different if the feds are the aggressor. That's the poison pill the U.S. swallowed when it junked the Articles of Confederation the first time to adopt the Constitution, then reaffirmed in the War of the Wolterses. The whole point of it is that it's set up as a suicide pact with no uncertain outcome for who breaks the pact.


I'm not sure about what the letter of the law says in the British Empire, but the spirit of it is much the same: initiate federal action to de-legitimize the political status of your component voting territories and it sets off a runaway chain reaction that de-legitimizes your own political status as a federal government. They may be fucking stupid, but pure lizard-brain self-interest assures they will never unload both barrels into their own feet like that. There's only one way self- de-legitimizing ends with countries: with the military seizing power over the de-legitimized federal gov't in a coup. The only way that ever ends. Because if the federal government was powerful enough in the first place to even fancy the notion that it could punish one of its member states with expulsion, where does it get that power from other than from implicit force? De-legitimizing the compact that binds the country together means that implicit force can play favorites too. And force tends to be a malignant narcissist. Hence, all the snappy-dressing military dictators who wind up in power in exactly these kinds of situations where the previous government screwed that pooch and de-legitimized itself.


What Scotland is doing is wholly within Britain's equivalent of established states' rights precedent and established protocol for this thing. Whether somebody can get voted off the island against their will is a purely hypothetical exercise not rooted in political self-interest. Statists are motivated by preserving the state. You sort of have to explain amongst the hypotheticals what unprecedentedly special conditions exist for them to be motivated by something other than preservation. Otherwise...¡junta! FTW! :ugeek:
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 10:30pm

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:So, let's say Scotland didn't call the referendum, but instead England and Wales did, and a majority there voted to kick Scotland out of the UK. Based on this reading of consent, Scotland would have no say over this even if it wanted to stay? It's a ridiculous scenario, I know, but it highlights a problem with that kind of unilateral decision-making premise—that is, the stronger partner(s) could chuck out the weaker ones or force concessions to maintain the relationship. The blue states decide they've had enough of the bullshit from Chicosippi, win a national vote on the issue, and get to kick it out of the union.
I don't think they do get a say. All parties have to have continual consent. Otherwise I think it is literally not consent. And that's why these large institutions of power are incredibly fucked up, because smaller associations can work through these sorts of things and mitigate damage while massive states are designed to be a no-win deal where everyone is forced into a non-consensual relationship.

The one on one example is two people who consent to have sexual relations with each other. Partway through whatever they're doing together, one party decided they don't want to consent to this action anymore. That's the end of the agreed upon relationship and the other party really, truly has no say in the matter.

When one group stops agreeing to being part of a relationship, it literally stops being consensual.

Anytime statism is perpetuated, you're creating a bad system with a lot of bad hypothetical consequences - so it is here. But allowing a majority of a self-defined group to self-govern if they see fit seems like the ideologically least-bad option in this case, and seems closest to the spirit of social contract theory (as a moral philosophy, not as a legal matter). Forcing a group of people to stay yoked to a system of power against their will seems a lot like tyranny to me.
Keep in mind that I do fundamentally agree with you on this issue (hell, I think the South had every right to secede … tho the inability of slaves to have a say on the issue "complicates" whether there was a popular mandate to do so within each state), I'm just working the other side because it's useful to explore. That said …

You cite the example of the couple in a consensual sexual relationship. Okay, let's say partner A makes gobs of cash and is fundamentally putting a roof over the head of B. After the glow of romance fades, A says to B, "I want to spice up our sex life and bring in more people." B says no, I don't want that. A says, well, then, I think I want out. B fears being put out on the street and reluctantly accedes to A's demand. It is an active re-negotiation of their relationship, where B gives in to A's requests but only because of A's resources. Strictly speaking, both parties are consenting—B does have the option to leave, but chooses not to exercise it—but are they really operating as equals? I suppose that's what I wonder about. Doesn't this model require all the partners to come from a position of fairly equal strength so that their decision to consent is, well, sincere and not out of malice or fear? If A is in a position to push B to make more and more concessions, making their relationship more unequal in practice, until B gets to the point where leaving is no shittier than staying, that seems a mockery of an ongoing consensual relationship. The virtues of the the active consent model is that it allows maximum freedom to leave, but it's problematic when one partner can manipulate the other partner's desire to stay.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 10:33pm

Rat Patrol wrote:The latter can't Constitutionally happen, and if they did make a choice to do it it's a mutually-assured destruction of the Republic by de-legitimizing all remaining binding energy in the Constitution. Even all those batshit billionaire-funded initiatives to partition California into 6 perfectly cromulent fiefdom states are wholly consistent with centuries of states rights precedent. Even the somewhat shady dealings like the payola that got West Virginia to partition off of Virginia and stick with the Union during the Civil War, or the legislative sausage-making over slavery compromises that got several other states admitted. But they can't say: Kentucky, you really fucking suck and you're on your fucking own. The fissures that would erupt from breaking that compact would destroy the union and chaotically split it into pieces over issues of everything else in the Constitution that such an action would de-legitimize. Probably in the same timespan of 1-3 years it took for all hell to break lost the last time that happened. The result isn't any different if the feds are the aggressor. That's the poison pill the U.S. swallowed when it junked the Articles of Confederation the first time to adopt the Constitution, then reaffirmed in the War of the Wolterses. The whole point of it is that it's set up as a suicide pact with no uncertain outcome for who breaks the pact.


I'm not sure about what the letter of the law says in the British Empire, but the spirit of it is much the same: initiate federal action to de-legitimize the political status of your component voting territories and it sets off a runaway chain reaction that de-legitimizes your own political status as a federal government. They may be fucking stupid, but pure lizard-brain self-interest assures they will never unload both barrels into their own feet like that. There's only one way self- de-legitimizing ends with countries: with the military seizing power over the de-legitimized federal gov't in a coup. The only way that ever ends. Because if the federal government was powerful enough in the first place to even fancy the notion that it could punish one of its member states with expulsion, where does it get that power from other than from implicit force? De-legitimizing the compact that binds the country together means that implicit force can play favorites too. And force tends to be a malignant narcissist. Hence, all the snappy-dressing military dictators who wind up in power in exactly these kinds of situations where the previous government screwed that pooch and de-legitimized itself.


What Scotland is doing is wholly within Britain's equivalent of established states' rights precedent and established protocol for this thing. Whether somebody can get voted off the island against their will is a purely hypothetical exercise not rooted in political self-interest. Statists are motivated by preserving the state. You sort of have to explain amongst the hypotheticals what unprecedentedly special conditions exist for them to be motivated by something other than preservation. Otherwise...¡junta! FTW! :ugeek:
I know that in the present Constitutional framework, none of this can happen, nor is its plausible due to the political ramifications that that kind of craziness would unleash. This is just a bit of a thought experiment over the limits of active consent.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 10 Sep 2014, 10:34pm

Yes, consent is only legitimate when it is gained without coercion, which necessarily requires relative equality of position.

That's the entire philosophical point behind Dworkin's provocative (needlessly provocative, IMHO) "all heterosexual sex is rape" comment. She was making a point about uneven power relationships.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Sep 2014, 11:18pm

Flex wrote:Yes, consent is only legitimate when it is gained without coercion, which necessarily requires relative equality of position.

That's the entire philosophical point behind Dworkin's provocative (needlessly provocative, IMHO) "all heterosexual sex is rape" comment. She was making a point about uneven power relationships.
Right (tho how coercion is framed is also a possibly tricky question). It reminds me, in some respects, of the libertarian dream of total free markets. Yes, it sounds like the full and proper application of a meritocracy, but it doesn't work if everyone isn't starting out with the same resources. If A begins with 1000x more resources than B, then B is at such a competitive disadvantage right from the start that the free market is a prison rather than an arena. (And, of course, laissez faire eventually exacerbates these inequalities as advantages magnify over time.)
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by TeddyB Not Logged In » 11 Sep 2014, 1:37am

I think what it might come down to is that "yes" is the fun vote. Fuck things up! For better or worse, the presumed consequences of voting is not taken seriously by a lot of voters.

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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 11 Sep 2014, 2:46am

Dr. Medulla wrote:Right (tho how coercion is framed is also a possibly tricky question). It reminds me, in some respects, of the libertarian dream of total free markets. Yes, it sounds like the full and proper application of a meritocracy, but it doesn't work if everyone isn't starting out with the same resources. If A begins with 1000x more resources than B, then B is at such a competitive disadvantage right from the start that the free market is a prison rather than an arena. (And, of course, laissez faire eventually exacerbates these inequalities as advantages magnify over time.)
That's why left-libertarians often argue that a truly free market wouldn't look that different from socialism in practice, since an actual freed market necessarily requires more-or-less equality among its participants. Hence the term "free market anti-capitalist" which I rather enjoy.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 11 Sep 2014, 7:28am

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:Right (tho how coercion is framed is also a possibly tricky question). It reminds me, in some respects, of the libertarian dream of total free markets. Yes, it sounds like the full and proper application of a meritocracy, but it doesn't work if everyone isn't starting out with the same resources. If A begins with 1000x more resources than B, then B is at such a competitive disadvantage right from the start that the free market is a prison rather than an arena. (And, of course, laissez faire eventually exacerbates these inequalities as advantages magnify over time.)
That's why left-libertarians often argue that a truly free market wouldn't look that different from socialism in practice, since an actual freed market necessarily requires more-or-less equality among its participants. Hence the term "free market anti-capitalist" which I rather enjoy.
Tho it wouldn't actually be a free market if there were restrictions on the trade of labour, no? That is, capitalism is a theory of production that is based on an imbalanced trade of free labour, so an anti-capitalist model necessarily must exclude that option from the labour market. Not that that wouldn't be desirable, but it would make the market for labour less free.

(Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice. :shifty: )
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 11 Sep 2014, 10:29am

Dr. Medulla wrote:Tho it wouldn't actually be a free market if there were restrictions on the trade of labour, no? That is, capitalism is a theory of production that is based on an imbalanced trade of free labour, so an anti-capitalist model necessarily must exclude that option from the labour market. Not that that wouldn't be desirable, but it would make the market for labour less free.

(Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice. :shifty: )
I hate to just get quote-y, but it seems the easiest way of highlighting some of the thoughts among that strain of anarchist:
Mutualists belong to a non-collectivist segment of anarchists. Although we favor democratic control when collective action is required by the nature of production and other cooperative endeavors, we do not favor collectivism as an ideal in itself. We are not opposed to money or exchange. We believe in private property, so long as it is based on personal occupancy and use. We favor a society in which all relationships and transactions are non-coercive, and based on voluntary cooperation, free exchange, or mutual aid. The "market," in the sense of exchanges of labor between producers, is a profoundly humanizing and liberating concept. What we oppose is the conventional understanding of markets, as the idea has been coopted and corrupted by state capitalism.

Our ultimate vision is of a society in which the economy is organized around free market exchange between producers, and production is carried out mainly by self-employed artisans and farmers, small producers' cooperatives, worker-controlled large enterprises, and consumers' cooperatives. To the extent that wage labor still exists (which is likely, if we do not coercively suppress it), the removal of statist privileges will result in the worker's natural wage, as Benjamin Tucker put it, being his full product.
For more: http://www.mutualist.org/

So, I think in that conception you have what could reliably be called a "free market" but if you were squinting from the outside would have a lot of facets that folks generally associate with socialist societies. Particularly with the emphasis on personal occupancy/use, producer collectives, worker-controlled enterprises, etc.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 11 Sep 2014, 10:44am

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:Tho it wouldn't actually be a free market if there were restrictions on the trade of labour, no? That is, capitalism is a theory of production that is based on an imbalanced trade of free labour, so an anti-capitalist model necessarily must exclude that option from the labour market. Not that that wouldn't be desirable, but it would make the market for labour less free.

(Remember Alice? This is a song about Alice. :shifty: )
I hate to just get quote-y, but it seems the easiest way of highlighting some of the thoughts among that strain of anarchist:
Mutualists belong to a non-collectivist segment of anarchists. Although we favor democratic control when collective action is required by the nature of production and other cooperative endeavors, we do not favor collectivism as an ideal in itself. We are not opposed to money or exchange. We believe in private property, so long as it is based on personal occupancy and use. We favor a society in which all relationships and transactions are non-coercive, and based on voluntary cooperation, free exchange, or mutual aid. The "market," in the sense of exchanges of labor between producers, is a profoundly humanizing and liberating concept. What we oppose is the conventional understanding of markets, as the idea has been coopted and corrupted by state capitalism.

Our ultimate vision is of a society in which the economy is organized around free market exchange between producers, and production is carried out mainly by self-employed artisans and farmers, small producers' cooperatives, worker-controlled large enterprises, and consumers' cooperatives. To the extent that wage labor still exists (which is likely, if we do not coercively suppress it), the removal of statist privileges will result in the worker's natural wage, as Benjamin Tucker put it, being his full product.
For more: http://www.mutualist.org/

So, I think in that conception you have what could reliably be called a "free market" but if you were squinting from the outside would have a lot of facets that folks generally associate with socialist societies. Particularly with the emphasis on personal occupancy/use, producer collectives, worker-controlled enterprises, etc.
No, I wouldn't call that a free market for the reason I stated above about the restrictions placed on trade of labour. Mutualism is very appealing—to the degree that I can call myself an anarchist, it would be along the lines of mutualism—but in stating that labour relations cannot be exploitive in the way of free labour under capitalism, I think that puts a massive block on that part of the market. That's not a bad thing by any means, but it's sufficiently restrictive that I wouldn't call it a free labour market.

Perhaps it's in how the word free is being used. If free is to mean un-coerced in the labour relationship, okay, it's mostly there, but if free means without limitation, then, no, it is not a free (labour) market.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Flex » 11 Sep 2014, 11:17am

Dr. Medulla wrote:No, I wouldn't call that a free market for the reason I stated above about the restrictions placed on trade of labour. Mutualism is very appealing—to the degree that I can call myself an anarchist, it would be along the lines of mutualism—but in stating that labour relations cannot be exploitive in the way of free labour under capitalism, I think that puts a massive block on that part of the market. That's not a bad thing by any means, but it's sufficiently restrictive that I wouldn't call it a free labour market.

Perhaps it's in how the word free is being used. If free is to mean un-coerced in the labour relationship, okay, it's mostly there, but if free means without limitation, then, no, it is not a free (labour) market.
From Carson, here's the way the term is being used in this case:
FREE MARKET: That condition of society in which all economic transactions result from voluntary choice without coercion.
Source: http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/d ... tions.html

The link as actually a good, quick one minute read on a variety of definitions of terms mutualists use ad how they're often radicalized from the traditional usage.
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Re: Scottish independence?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 11 Sep 2014, 11:40am

Flex wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:No, I wouldn't call that a free market for the reason I stated above about the restrictions placed on trade of labour. Mutualism is very appealing—to the degree that I can call myself an anarchist, it would be along the lines of mutualism—but in stating that labour relations cannot be exploitive in the way of free labour under capitalism, I think that puts a massive block on that part of the market. That's not a bad thing by any means, but it's sufficiently restrictive that I wouldn't call it a free labour market.

Perhaps it's in how the word free is being used. If free is to mean un-coerced in the labour relationship, okay, it's mostly there, but if free means without limitation, then, no, it is not a free (labour) market.
From Carson, here's the way the term is being used in this case:
FREE MARKET: That condition of society in which all economic transactions result from voluntary choice without coercion.
Source: http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/01/d ... tions.html

The link as actually a good, quick one minute read on a variety of definitions of terms mutualists use ad how they're often radicalized from the traditional usage.
Okay, that helps me understand how you're describing a free market. That's much, much different than how free market is normally conceived of—i.e., the laissez faire capitalist sense. It's fine to redefine it that way, but it strikes me as a potential challenge to conversing with those not already familiar with the terms. Not only does it ask a person to question human relationships, but also to completely overhaul the meaning of free. But that's more a question of proselytization, I suppose.

edit: Proselytize may be the wrong word here, as it normally carries a negative connotation. Which wasn't my intent. I meant more in a teaching/persuading by argument kind of way and the challenges inherent in redefining words so significantly.
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