Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fundamentalism and Container Deposits



Some beliefs outside the religious context are so tightly held that they mirror the devotion of religious beliefs.  I want to examine a secular belief on a small matter that attracts it own “religious” fanatics.
The idea that we all pay a deposit on drink containers is really popular amongst a slew of people from Greenpeace on the left to traditional Coalition voters on the right. But this belief, transcending as it does, Australia’s great political divide, is a bad idea.
How can I maintain such an untenable position?  We will get to the reasons later but the interesting thing about the belief in container deposit legislation (CDL) is that exemplifies the power of belief. Belief defeats logic every time.  As the great JFK observed,
“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
What do you say when a popular belief is wrong? I feel like I am killing Bambi. CDL has all the power of a resilient belief, nostalgia, superficial logic and a sense that believing in CDL puts one on the side of the angels.  Let me amputate the angelic wings.
When I was growing up we all loved to collect bottles and get the money. I have an acquaintance who would jump the fence of the Milk Bar, steal some bottles, walk around to the front and use the thruppenny bits to buy an Eskimo Pie for a shilling.  What a jolly jape!  It surely saved bottles from the tip and surely led to a litter free world.  But that was the world of the fifties and sixties. Now South Australia is the one state with CDL and the idea, accordingly has a state full of CDL advocates.
We live, however, in a world where packaging has gone way beyond just beverages. The idea of wrapping your fish and chips in yesterday’s newspaper is dead for marketing, health and other reasons.  Newspapers are almost dead themselves!  And there’s the rub. The worst litter is not beverages but your Maccas wrapping, your supermarket bags and your ciggie butts – not beverage containers.
We have developed industrial style responses to deal with the growth of packaging. The waste recovery and recycling systems are huge integrated and increasingly efficient.  Litter, the problem CDL aims to address, has been joined by another scourge, carbon. So policy responses on packaging must deal with both issues. For example, modern beverage containers have been light weighted to diminish carbon in both transport and manufacture.  They are unwashable if returned to the milk bar and cannot be reused. Incidentally, CDL requires you take your bottles to special depots not the local milk bar.  
All in all, it is a popular but fundamentalist idea that, like zombies, refuses to die. Partially that is because green groups fund raise on the idea and so have a financial conflict of interest.  They cannot be objective for that would undermine their fund raising campaigns. 

A green group  is now locked into the campaign against CDL and being objective could be financially damaging.  
But generally, politics is about belief and passion (with a small "p"). So using the nomenclature of religious belief we proffer these Ten Commandments about why, in a carbon constrained world, CDL is a rubbish idea. 
10 CONTAINER COMMANDMENTS
1. The evidence is that SA (5.36 litres per 1,000m) is dirtier than our state of Victoria (3.99 litres per 1,000m) and on that point, the whole argument about CDL should fall (Figures sourced from Keep Australia Beautiful Litter Index 2010/2011);
2. CDL was popular when glass containers could be washed and reused. This does not happen now and so CDL is an anachronism.  Rewashing is wasteful of water and would require heavy duty packaging which would lead to more intensive water usage and carbon emissions carting heavy packaging around.
3. CDL requires us to separate the waste stream into waste with a deposit and waste without and that leads to duplication of trucks going hither and yon that increases the carbon miles of waste treatment and would require a vast bureaucracy tracking down every deposit.
4. CDL was popular when there were scouts around whom in “Bob a Job Week” could take the Widow Smith's bottles away. Bob a Job is another anachronism that has disappeared with decimalization.  The volunteers to do this have disappeared too. Try getting a young person to dump their screen and go on a "bottle drive". This would lead to marginal poor doing demeaning rummaging through bins. There are no "Widow Smiths" anymore because immigration has changed the nature of Australian surnames and widows now are often happy, relieved and re partnered rather than powerless.  In fact I remember in my youth that every scout hall was littered with huge piles of bottles that were infrequently picked up (large labour cost for low value product). Selective memory of the past is misleading.
5. MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, packaging is not just about litter but about carbon. CDL will undermine our recycling system which was nonexistent in the old days. This makes CDL a potential form of environmental vandalism. 
6. SECOND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, because CDL only hits part of the waste stream and misses out on the biggest litters (cigarette butts, plastic and takeaway food litter), it misses out on the main problems;
The picture shows that NONE of the litter (or may be one piece) would be covered by the CDL idea.  Litter is awful but we need to look at the whole picture not just drink bottles.  Taken from Greenpeace site on 20 June 2013

7. CDL sends a message that some litter is ok because it has a message that throwing away bottles is justified because you lose your deposit and that is fine by that system. That is a terrible and confusing message to send.
8. CDL would blow up the Australian Packaging Covenant which works by collaboration.  The Covenant brings packaging people into the same room as government and community and leads to big improvements in design and money for waste infrastructure.  To undermine the Covenant would be a disaster.
9. Often the packaging is less deleterious in terms of water use and carbon emission than the food or drink contained therein.  About 30% of all food gets thrown out. Sometimes more packaging (in terms of small packages or packages that stop deterioration) is less environmentally damaging than less packaging. CDL does not take this into account.
10. THIRD MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, the expense of the CDL system would be shifted on to the food bill. I know one beverage manufacturer who adds 14.5 cents per unit on to their produce in SA. This regressive charge on families should be resisted. South Australians unwittingly pay this but in a more transparent national debate, it would be manifest. CDL would prove less efficient and fair than other systems.
If you want a more fully referenced article I have done a similar piece at https://theconversation.com/container-deposit-laws-past-their-use-by-date-15234 
DECLARATION: Dick Gross is affiliated with Bicycle Networks Victoria, the National Trust, the ALP, Media Alliance, Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria Inc. and the National Packaging Covenant Council. He does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. 
I have been a member of the KAB Victoria Inc. board for a few months but my views on CDL have been well known for years since the EPA report in 2003 first signaled the problems with CDL. I have years of involvement in this issue as a representative of local government predating by over a decade and a half my membership of KABV.  KABV Inc. is a tiny organisation that arose when the Victorian KAB operation almost went under and was saved by the Victorian government. My actual organisation gets no direct funding from anyone that I know of. However, other parts of the KAB national network do receive funding from the packaging industry but I have no knowledge of, control of or benefit from this funding. 

156 comments:

  1. MalcolmS8:09 PM

    Nice piece of propaganda Dick.

    The conflation of litter collection [a legitimate pursuit] with the alleged "carbon** problem" [an illegitimate pursuit] exposes the con.

    However, your conflation of the Left with religion is correct - both muddy the waters in order to appear deep!


    [** Obfuscation: the alleged causal agent in the man made global warming myth is carbon dioxide - not "carbon" which is one of the larger components of all living organisms - including human beings]

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    1. Anonymous2:17 AM

      Shit! I had no idea. Why haven't the educated of the world informed us of this obfuscation? Part of the con clearly. Thanks MalcolmS for letting us know.

      Delete
    2. Malcolm the ultracrepidarian.

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    3. Ultracrepidarian????

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    4. Paulie4:22 AM

      A shoemaker ought not judge beyond his own soles!!!

      Paulie

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    5. Look it up Dick :)

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    6. I found it in wikipedia, but if it isn't in grandad's dictionary it doesn't count.

      Delete
    7. Dick: ". . . people from Greenpeace on the left to traditional Coalition voters on the right . . . transcending as it does, Australia’s great political divide"

      Mal: ". . . your conflation of the Left with religion"

      Reading comprehension has never been your strong point, has it?

      Delete
    8. MalcolmS8:21 AM

      Anonymous: "Shit! I had no idea. Why haven't the educated of the world informed us of this obfuscation?"

      They have! Surprised?

      Why would the educated speak to you? :)

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS8:38 AM

      LJS: "Mal: ". . . your conflation of the Left with religion""

      Dick: ".. politics is about belief and passion (with a small "p"). So using the nomenclature of religious belief we proffer these Ten Commandments about why, in a carbon constrained world, CDL is a rubbish idea"

      Question for the idiot pirate: Reading comprehension has never been your strong point, has it?

      Delete
    10. MalcolmS9:03 AM

      Paulie: "A shoemaker ought not judge beyond his own soles!!!"

      Then he won't be making my shoes :)

      Delete
    11. ultracrepidarian - giving opinions beyond one's sphere of knowledge or competence. I must say that the word fails my spell checker but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      I don't know if being an ultracrepidarian can be condemned by me as it is my tool of trade.
      Dick

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    12. MalcolmS8:05 PM

      "I don't know if being an ultracrepidarian can be condemned by me as it is my tool of trade"

      Well, Dick, at least you deserve credit for your honesty. It's quite a confession but one not shared by other anthropogenic warming alarmists on this thread.

      "Ultracrepidarianism is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one's knowledge" - Wiki

      Delete
    13. "Well, Dick, at least you deserve credit for your honesty. It's quite a confession but one not shared by other anthropogenic warming alarmists on this thread."

      More ultracrepidarian bullshit from Malcolm

      Delete
    14. "Question for the idiot pirate: Reading comprehension has never been your strong point, has it?"

      Obviously not. Maybe you could point me to the passage in Dick's blog where he made it clear that he was discussing the "left" and excluding the "right". I had believed that the passage I quoted imp-lied that this was an issue for both sides of politics - I await your explanation of the Aristotle/Rand inspired version of why "Coalition voters on the right . . . transcending . . . Australia’s great political divide" should be taken as applying only to one side of politics.

      Delete
  2. Dear Malcolm,

    I think that Carbon is an issue that will divide us until eternity.

    Dick

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    1. MalcolmS11:32 PM

      "Carbon is an issue that will divide us until eternity"

      Why is that? Given up on going by the evidence?

      So, your proof that cataclysmic global warming is/will be caused by man made CO2 is...?

      It is, despite the myth, not a "consensus" Dick. In fact it's counter intuitive should you care to stick your head out the window.

      Or, is this a secret reserved only for tutorial students in climate change at Melbourne Uni?

      Must be quite a challenge for a Law grad :)

      Delete
  3. Why does it not surprise me that when you write about secular beliefs being firmly held in the face of overwhelming evidemce, Mal was the first to comment?

    The firmness with which the "Five senses" notion was defended recently is a perfect illustration of the way in which non-religious beliefs can be maintained in the face of any facts.

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  4. MalcolmS12:45 AM

    So, your "overwhelming evidemce"[sic] is... ?

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    Replies
    1. A wide variety of links to scientific information and dictionary definitions.
      See previous blogs.
      Yawn.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS2:02 AM

      No, as previously, you have no evidence/proof whatsoever.

      Climate is always changing. However, FYI, the last century was one of the most stable climate centuries in history. Even given that the amount of man made CO2 increased dramatically.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous2:19 AM

      MalcolmS,

      Do you have any proof for this claim that climate is always changing? Of the stability of climate in the 20th century? Or that man-made CO2 increased?

      Delete
    4. Yeah LJS,

      If Malcolm doesn't look at the evidence you present then it hasn't been presented.

      Delete
    5. "No, as previously, you have no evidence/proof whatsoever."

      Except for all the evidence presented to you of course.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS8:56 AM

      As usual, no "overwhelming evidemce"[sic] there...

      ROFLMAO

      Delete
  5. Hi Dick,

    I feel that I need more background on this issue.

    Does CDL in Australia only apply to glass bottles or is it also used for PET and aluminum cans?

    Here in Sweden there is a surcharge on all cans and PET bottles (and some glass bottles too I think) that ranges from 0.5 to two kronor depending on the container. People can then feed the bottles into machines at supermarkets and get a receipt which they can then exchange for a discount in the supermarket (or press another button and the money goes to the Red Cross).

    Looking at the list of your ten commandments it seemed like a few of them were not really arguments against CDL.

    Commandment 1: What do you mean by dirtier? If it is all litter that isn’t really an argument against CDL as CDL isn’t meant to fix all littering, only that related to drink containers. Is there more drink container litter in SA than Vic?

    Commandment 4: Is that really an argument against CDL? Middle class discomfiture that poor people will look for containers in bins doesn’t mean that they should not have that alternative. Maybe it means we should bump up our welfare system but it is not an argument against CDL.

    Commandment 5: How does CDL undermine the recycling system?

    Commandment 6: That there are bigger litter problems than containers doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything about containers. Whether or not CDL is an effective way of dealing with containers is another issue but the idea that we should not do anything about it because there are other issues seems strange: kind of like Dawkins’ idea that western women shouldn’t complain about sexist behavior because women have it worse in the Muslim world.

    Commandment 7: I can understand the argument but is this a major issue? Do people throw away containers more because there is a deposit on them?

    Commandment 8: How does CDL blow up the Packaging Covenant?

    Commandment 9: See commandment 6.

    Commandment 10: Are there more efficient systems than sending a price signal to reduce deleterious consumption?

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    1. Thanks Boof. I am going to tap dancing now and will get back to you soon. Thanks for the comment. Dick

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    2. Dear Boof,

      This is an article of frustration for me. I am a bit of a waste tragic. Accordingly, I have observed with ennui and alarm the green groups on the left grasp for CDL like a Holy Grail. No doubt there would be some diminution of litter but the cost and the diversion of energy would be very bad. A bit of background. In Oz we have a collaborative model - the Packaging Covenant. This puts packaging producers like retailers, food and bev producers around the table with government and a few community reps (like me). Think Road Runner and the Coyote around a table. I have observed this collaborative model for sometime and am a fan. The Covenant gets the packaging industry to contribute to infrastructure and changes the design culture in corporations so that packaging is designed for ease of recycling, light weighted to use less resources and carbon. This whole Covenant arrangement would probably die with the introduction of CDL. The objective data favours introducing advance deposit fees to be paid by packing industry bods and a range of other measures. That is some background to your comments on C 7. On your other points let me argue that CDL has to be compared with other measures. If the other measures do a better job, which the figures show they manifestly do, one ought to abandon belief in CDL.
      CDL is an article of faith that obscures the thinking of green groups and has obstructed the debate for 15 years. Faith in this context has been blinding.
      Thanks for your reply Boof and try to get some sleep in the blazing light of Solstice.
      Dick

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    3. MalcolmS9:01 PM

      Dick and boof

      Pollution was far worse in the former USSR and the Eastern block than it has ever been in the West. Factories were toxic and waterways were rubbish dumps. China - with the notable exception of Hong Kong - is much the same.

      You have missed the main solution to the so-called *litter problem.*

      Abolish central planners and implement private property rights.

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS9:05 PM

      BTW Dick

      Have a good look at the photogragh in your propaganda piece.

      Observe it's of a "public place" and that most of the "litter" is *natural* :)

      Delete
    5. 8x
      Abolish central planners and implement private property rights.
      x8

      I'll get the distributed non-committee of nobjectivist individualists right onto it Mr Twerpling.

      Soon nothing will be happening - but it will be not happening right across the board. Absolutely everyone will be not involved - including you

      Those central planners wont know what never hit them! You can bet your mass produced bespoke booties on that!

      Yep Sir!!

      Delete
    6. "You have missed the main solution to the so-called *litter problem.*

      Abolish central planners and implement private property rights"

      Oh yeah that always works.

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS8:01 AM

      "Oh yeah that always works"

      Well done Andrew.

      That's the first one you got right in ages.

      Stick with me kid and I'll turn you into a genius :)

      Delete
    8. "Stick with me kid and I'll turn you into a genius :)"

      Genius must mean dumb fucker in Malcolm land.

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS10:21 PM

      That's an interesting analogy to apply to yourself Andrew.

      Delete
    10. I was applying it to you. Your stupidity is a choice you know.

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    11. MalcolmS11:09 PM

      Fallacy of infracrepidarianism.

      Delete
    12. Malcolm you have lost it as soon as you need to make up words.
      Is there anything you actually have a clue about?

      Delete
    13. Martin C5:46 AM

      Malcolm @ 9.01pm: "Pollution was far worse in the former USSR and the Eastern block than it has ever been in the West. Factories were toxic and waterways were rubbish dumps. China - with the notable exception of Hong Kong - is much the same.

      You have missed the main solution to the so-called *litter problem.*

      Abolish central planners and implement private property rights."

      Malcolm, you could not have made a more succinct example of dressing correlation up to look like causation if you had tried. No, scratch that: the only way you could have done it is if you had reversed it and concluded that pollution causes communism.

      Delete
    14. MalcolmS6:07 AM

      Martin, you are one very confused dude.

      Delete
  6. Oh and happy midsummer everyone...no, really, it is this Saturday, I swear.

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    1. Maybe in Sweden it is ya warm b'stard.

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    2. My winter solstice is getting me down. No wonder the event attracted big ceremonies and events. Dick

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    3. Paulie4:20 AM

      Hi Dickie,

      I'm going to a bonfire!

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    4. Go Paulie! although the particulate matter given off by the bonfire might be environmentally problematic. Dickie

      Delete
  7. Well Dick, since I am in favour of multiple competing currencies (as opposed to the current monopoly currency system), the loss of the "Hobo Dollar" is another step in the wrong direction.

    Still, monetary blindness is chronic these days. We have been"educated" with the belief that the understanding of the money system is best left to "experts"

    That belief is so pervasive that I doubt that anyone even notices the fact that S.A has an alternate currency still in circulation.

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    1. Zed I was not aware of this alternative currency. D

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    2. There's others in Oz too.

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  8. Anonymous6:13 AM

    Container deposit legislation is in place around the world, including SA, Europe, Canada, and USA. It is the most effective way to increase recycling and reduce litter. Kerbside recycling has its place too, but generally captures half or less of the amount of containers CDL will capture. We need both kerbside and CDL. Of items found in litter cleanups, beverage containers and caps are generally the highest category. Producers and consumers (those profiting and those buying) of beverages should be the ones paying for recycling/disposal/litter cleanup of the containers - that's what CDL does. Otherwise, local government and taxpayers foot the bill. Kerbside recycling is important, but will not capture high rates of containers consumed away from home. Studies show that places with deposits have less total litter. The amount of beverage containers used and wasted around the world has a huge carbon impact, and one of the most important ways to address this is CDL. But you do raise a good point - return for refill bottles. Some countries in Europe mandate return for refill quotas. These are usually heavy duty plastic bottles that make many return trips. Why should the truck go back empty? Backhaul bottles and refill them.

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    1. Anonymous 6:13 AM wrote "It is the most effective way to increase recycling and reduce litter."

      Can you point to any research that backs this up?

      Anonymous 6:13 wrote: "Studies show that places with deposits have less total litter."

      Can you cite some of these studies?

      Delete
    2. The essence of my attack on CDL is the cost of the infrastructure to handle this separate waste stream. In the Cost Benefit analysis produced by PwC and Wright Consulting, the CDL schemes had a net present value of negative $1.4 billion whereas the preferred option had a net present value of positive $46 million. http://www.scew.gov.au/sites/www.scew.gov.au/files/consultations/c299407e-3cdf-8fd4-d94d-6181f096abc8/files/att-c-cost-benefit-analysis-report.pdf

      Why is it that CDL causes more litter and less recycling than the best options? Here are some of the initiatives than could not be afforded because CDL infrastructure is so expensive that it grabs all of the dosh. The following are initiatives that you miss out on with CDL.

      Recycling Initiatives lost to CDL
      National recycling education/advertising initiative - 2014 - 2020
      National program to improve away from home recycling at mass consumption areas though improved bin
      Labeling - 2014 – 2020 *(This is an important opportunity!)
      Information sharing between state and local governments - 2014 – 2020
      Consistent labelling of recycling bins - 2014 – 2035
      Development of non-regulatory standards for end products and recycling labelling for packaging - 2014-2025
      Additional initiatives (yet to be defined) - 2021-2035
      Litter initiatives lost to CDL
      National education program for litter prevention - 2014-2020
      National litter count methodology - 2014
      Additional initiatives (yet to be defined - based on needs at the time of implementation) - 2021-2035
      Source: WCS (2011) based on PwC and Wright Corporate Strategy (2011)

      You would surely agree that the above initiatives are cool? That is why CDL is an enemy of the environment not its friend. That is why this is an example of green groups and their righteous and uninformed views. Much like a faith really.

      Dick


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    3. " Here are some of the initiatives than could not be afforded because CDL infrastructure is so expensive that it grabs all of the dosh."

      What you mean is that the other systems are not being funded that has nothing to do with the cost of CDL and everything to do with the will to fund other things.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous6:42 AM

      bottlebill.org is a good place to start. Places with CDL have beverage container recycling rates 2-3 times higher than other recycling programs, while also reducing litter. I don't have the litter studies handy, but CDL is the only recycling program that will also significantly reduce litter.

      Delete
  9. MalcolmS7:56 AM

    LJS: "Maybe you could point me to the passage in Dick's blog where he made it clear that he was discussing the "left" and excluding the "right". I await your explanation of... why "Coalition voters on the right . . . transcending . . . Australia’s great political divide" should be taken as applying only to one side of politics"

    You have misinterpreted what I meant. For starters, I do not consider that the "Coalition" is of the right. They are as statist/welfarist as are Labour so the distinction which you and Dick claim simply does not exist. For example, there was no difference between the taxing and "redistributing" of the Howard years and the Keating years which preceded him. Claiming one to be right and the other to be left makes no sense [er.. yet another context of 'sense' in grandfather's dictionary - please do not equivocate again :)].

    Your error arises from your view of the so-called *political spectrum* which places Nazism at the extreme right and Communism at the extreme left. This necessitates the placing of this country's Liberal and Labour parties somewhere in the middle. You can separate them if you engage in irrelevant minutia but essentially they are the same and occupy similar positions on the spectrum.

    My position is that the political spectrum which you appear to accept, and which is responsible for your error, is BS but, before I say why and elaborate, I want your comments :)

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  10. OK, so if the coalition is defined as "left", who do you consider is "right"? Are these right wing people free of the kind of thinking which Dick is commenting on here?

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    1. Still waiting . . .

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS3:11 AM

      No you're not :)

      Delete
  11. MalcolmS7:32 AM

    There is no fundamental political difference between the Labor and Liberal Party in this country. I am not necessarily defining them as either left or right but only observing that they are similar.

    The stated extremes of what is generally called the "political spectrum" are Nazism and Communism. However, there is actually no fundamental political difference between them!! They are both similar extremes of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, collectivism and statism and have the same devastating effect on those who live/die in them. They belong at the same end of any "spectrum." They are not polar opposites at all.

    So, I classify Nazism and Communism at the extreme left of my spectrum. Which, of course, implies an extreme right.

    Now, given that, what do you think the *extreme right* might be? Any ideas? :)

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    1. "The stated extremes of what is generally called the "political spectrum" are Nazism and Communism. However, there is actually no fundamental political difference between them!"

      Fallacy of ultracrepidarianism.

      Delete
    2. "Now, given that, what do you think the *extreme right* might be? Any ideas?"

      My ideas are irrelevant. I am asking you to clarify your ideas. If both the major parties in Australia are considered "left", and Nazism and Communism are also considered "left" then I continue to await a simple answer to the question - who, in your opinion, may be considered as being on the "right" of politics?

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS11:39 PM

      "My ideas are irrelevant"

      Your ideas are not irrelevant to the continuation of this discussion. Either you produce a few or this one way street ends. If your answer is "I don't know," then, just say so :)

      Delete
    4. Longers you know Malcolm can't do that. He just makes up his bullshit as he goes along.

      Delete
    5. Martin C6:08 AM

      Malcolm: "So, I classify Nazism and Communism at the extreme left of my spectrum."

      Which means that you are using a complete re-definition of the concept of the political spectrum. Not for the first time, Malcolm, you are making the argument: "you people are wrong because I have re-defined some of the terms you are using".

      The left-right spectrum has nothing to do with authoritarianism or its absence. 'Left' simply means power in the hands of the workers, and 'right' means power in the hands of the owners. It is perfectly theoretically possible for either of these to be autocratic, and for either to be non-autocratic. The fact that Russian Communism and German Nazism were both authoritarian does not place them at the same point on the left-right spectrum.

      Delete
    6. MalcolmS7:51 AM

      Martin "The left-right spectrum has nothing to do with authoritarianism or its absence. 'Left' simply means power in the hands of the workers, and 'right' means power in the hands of the owners"

      Then why do you define left/right in terms of "power" if they are not authoritarian? :)

      WTF do you think the "dictatorship of the proletariat" meant if the workers were in charge in the USSR? The Soviet worker was nothing more than a slave to the state and you know it.

      Similarly, the Jewish "owners" very rapidly went out of existence in Nazi Germany. Aryan "owners" were regulated and taxed to the hilt. What they could produce and earn was determined entirely by the state. Even businesses which went bankrupt were not permitted to shut their doors. By the end of WW2 virtually every business was bankrupt. "Ownership" was nothing more than a nominal term for the purposes of propaganda.

      To claim that "the worker" was in charge in the USSR and "the owner" was in charge under the Nazis is the fantasy of a simpleton - as is the claim that the extreme left of your political spectrum can be anything other than authoritarian.

      Delete
    7. "If your answer is "I don't know," then, just say so"

      My answer is: "Just this one time Malcolm, defend the stupid statements that you make!"

      I repeat the question (not expecting an answer, just hoping to emphasise the foolishness of your claims) - Who do YOU think is a representative of the "right" wing of Australian politics??

      Delete
    8. Martin C5:10 AM

      Malcolm, you have a serious problem understanding the difference between causality and correlation. Read this:

      The 'left' (and the 'right') are not defined by authoritarianism.

      That sentence is NOT a statement that Russian communism was not authoritarian, as you seem to be leaping to attack me for. I agree with you 100% that Russian communism WAS authoritarian. But that does not mean that authoritarianism is therefore inherent in the definition of 'left', even if EVERY leftist government turned out to be authoritarian. Certainly I think that one of the problems with Marxism is that it too easily tends to descend into authoritarianism, as per the examples seen, but that does not make it part of the definition.

      An example of NON-authoritarian leftism, in fact of communism, would be a monastery, where the monks own things as a community and what they individually receive is not dependent on what they produce: old Father Thomas who can barely do any work might need expensive medicine, but he gets it. Part of the problem with Marxist leftism is that it seems to require the altruism of a group of monks to work effectively, however.

      'Left' means worker-oriented, 'right' means capital-oriented. No amount of individual government failures to live up to those claimed terms can amend those definitions, so your point that leftist authoritarian governments and rightist authoritarian governments must be at the same place on the spectrum because both are authoritarian belies a fundamental misunderstanding of that political spectrum.

      Delete
  12. Malcolm S wrote: "Now, given that, what do you think the *extreme right* might be? Any ideas? :)"

    It would depend upon how you are constructing your spectrum.

    An opposite of extreme statism might be anarchy - ie no rules, not social contract, no mutual agreements.

    My theory is that this would resemble extreme statism almost exactly (ie rule by bullies) and so would not be a continuum but a circle.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "An opposite of extreme statism might be anarchy - ie no rules, not social contract, no mutual agreements."

      That is not what anarchy means.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS5:05 AM

      Robin: "An opposite of extreme statism might be anarchy - ie no rules, not social contract, no mutual agreements. My theory is that this would resemble extreme statism almost exactly (ie rule by bullies)"

      I wouldn't place anarchy in a political spectrum as, strictly speaking, it's apolitical - there is no government.

      In practice an anarchic situation is mob versus mob and would only last until the strongest mob seized control whereupon we would have some form of statism. So, I guess I am agreeing with you about anarchy. I'll await the pirate's comment before I give my answer as to what the extreme right of my spectrum is.

      What is absolutely amazing to me is that nobody has picked what the opposite of statism/collectivism is!!

      Our modern intellectuals and educators are the arbiters of one of history's greatest cover-ups!

      Delete
    3. Martin C6:12 AM

      OK, Malcolm, I'll bite. I would assume that the opposite of statism/collectivism is laissez-faire capitalism. Does that still hold true in Malcolmworld?

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS8:18 AM

      Well done Martin. I guess you had to get something correct. Actually, the "laissez-faire" is a redundancy necessitated by the state of political confusion which exists today - as demonstrated by the comments on this thread. Capitalism was once a synonym for "free society." It is the opposite of statism/collectivism and obviously belongs at the extreme right of a political spectrum.

      Definition: Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

      Delete

    5. 8x
      Capitalism was once a synonym for "free society."
      x8

      rofl

      8x
      Capitalism is a social system...
      x8

      rofl. lefty

      8x
      Definition: Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.
      x8


      When you wish upon a star,
      Doesnt matter who you are,
      When you wish upon a star,
      your definitions ... come ... true...


      Never let that magic die son

      Delete
    6. Malcolm S wrote: "Definition: Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned."

      Inasmuch as it requires a collective agreement upon property rights and individual rights capitalism is, by that definition, a form of collectivism, of statism.

      A property right without something to back it up is meaningless.

      Delete
    7. "I'll await the pirate's comment before I give my answer as to what the extreme right of my spectrum is."

      So you are incapable of presenting/defending any argument on your own? All of your comments are based on disagreeing with someone else, rather than exposing your own concepts to examination? Pathetic.

      Delete
    8. 8x
      All of your comments are based on disagreeing with someone else, rather than exposing your own concepts to examination?
      x8

      Lol. Indeed.

      I would go so far as to suggest that Mallypoo's entire personality is an "enantiodromian" parody of the left*

      (* or at least the left as he conceives it to be)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantiodromia

      Being an "uneducated common man" however I'm no fan of big fancy words.

      So I just call it opposite-itis-ey gooble-gobble

      rofl

      Delete
    9. Stranger wrote: "That is not what anarchy means"

      Can you complete the statement and tell me what anarchy means in your opinion?

      Delete
    10. "enantiodromian"? Nice follow-up to "ultracrepidarian". Remind me to NEVER play Scrabble with you!

      Delete
    11. Scrabble??

      Oh right... scrabble.
      Thats a bit like wordipelago, spelofun or palabras cruzadas innit?

      Personally I find funworder is more my style ;)

      Delete
    12. MalcolmS2:13 AM

      Robin: "Stranger wrote: "That is not what anarchy means" Can you complete the statement and tell me what anarchy means in your opinion?"

      LOL Good luck with that one!

      Delete
    13. Robin anarchy is lack of government, it does not automatically mean all social contracts are null and void.

      Delete
    14. Martin C5:23 AM

      Malcolm (@8.18am), the reason I included laissez-faire in the definition is because that is what I suspect separates what you want politically from what I want politically. I think capitalism and the competitive marketplace of ideas and the ownership of those ideas, represent a central component of a working political system, but I do NOT think that the best government is produced by allowing that market to run unchecked. A capitalist systerm works best when a government is there to act as a referee in the game, and to re-define the rules if the system has got out of whack. In the 19th century, Western nations were much closer to laissez-faire capitalism than today, and an oversupply of labour produced a market where capitalists were able to force labour to compete, driving the value of labour down below the point of human dignity. I do not think that is a good thing.

      I also think you are over-salting your definition. Capitalism is any system allowing individual ownership of resources (capital, intellectual capital et al), but it does not have to have ALL property privately owned.

      Delete
  13. Martin C6:15 AM

    Thought I'd better post something on-topic. Dick, I think you've missed the point on CDL. It was never meant to be a carbon reduction system, nor indeed a rubbish-reduction system. It is purely a litter-reduction system. It would "work" even if the bottles were utterly unbiodegradable and went straight to landfill, because the idea's purpose is not to reduce landfill but to reduce public littering. It's a beautification exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  14. MalcolmS2:04 AM

    Robin: "Malcolm S wrote: "Definition: Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned." Inasmuch as it requires a collective agreement upon property rights and individual rights capitalism is, by that definition, a form of collectivism, of statism"

    Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the recognition of individual rights which places the *individual* as the unit of society. It is the recognition that individual rights are *inalienable* and cannot be violated by the state. The state is only a servant in a capitalist[free] society as distinct from a ruler in a collectivist society.

    "A property right without something to back it up is meaningless"

    Actually, a property right without something to back it up is a contradiction in terms. In a capitalist society rights are "backed up" by objective law which recognises that nobody, including the state, can *initiate* the use of force against a citizen. It is the existence of property rights, backed by objective law, that gives the state its only proper "meaning" and purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  15. RalphH 25/067:48 AM

    “Actually, a property right without something to back it up is a contradiction in terms. In a capitalist society rights are "backed up" by objective law which recognises that nobody, including the state, can *initiate* the use of force against a citizen. It is the existence of property rights, backed by objective law, that gives the state its only proper "meaning" and purpose.” (MalcolmS2:04 AM)

    What is “objective law” Malcolm? To me that's simply a variation on saying 'Might is right'. The only 'objective law' is God's law – the law of reality - physical and spiritual principles (like the Law of gravity and the law of love) of existence/life that are built into creation.

    Property 'rights' or laws are man-made/civil laws – necessary for the functioning of society but definitely not 'objective'. Private acquisition of land has been and continues to be one of the greatest bug-bears and causes of conflict in human relations. When an individual or group claim 'rights' to property/land they exclude others. So called property/land right (should) also include responsibility for those who are excluded.

    In the bigger picture everything including all people are created by God and therefore owned by God. Human beings are merely custodians responsible for looking after the earth, preserving it for following generations and sharing whatever gifts come to hand with their fellow beings.

    This (should) involve tenure protected by civil law but not ownership. Land/property held under tenure can be developed and used for the benefit of self and others but not as a tool of blackmail or exclusion. Under such a scheme, if not used wisely tenure could be taken away and given to another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " (like the Law of gravity and the law of love) "

      There is no law of love Ralph. Why do you keep making shit up?

      God is a subjective idea and can't be an objective law, unless you actually manage show he exists of course.

      Delete
    2. RalphH 26/068:01 AM

      “There is no law of love Ralph. Why do you keep making shit up?” (Stranger3:31 AM)

      Haven't you ever heard that it's 'love that makes the world go round' Stranger. (suggestion; don't confine 'love' to romantic love or sexual attraction). Do you need to be told that love (the altruistic attitude of caring for others) begets love and hate (it's opposite) begets hate.

      “God is a subjective idea and can't be an objective law, unless you actually manage show he exists of course.”

      understanding how God exists, IMO, involves the recognition that though we feel love, good, mercy and other such qualities and can think and reason about concepts of truth and justice (all of which feelings and thoughts are subjective) none of these would be possible unless there existed (above our finite qualities of emotion and comprehension) these entities themselves as absolute, objective realities.

      How else can you logically explain their existence?

      How else could they exist objectively other than in the ultimate human form unconstrained by time, space or creation?

      Delete
    3. "Haven't you ever heard that it's 'love that makes the world go round' Stranger."

      That's a saying Ralph not a law.

      "(suggestion; don't confine 'love' to romantic love or sexual attraction)."

      Suggestion; don't make shit up. Love is not a force.

      "Do you need to be told that love (the altruistic attitude of caring for others) begets love and hate (it's opposite) begets hate."

      Many husbands and wives end up hating each other. Love begets hate too.

      "none of these would be possible unless there existed (above our finite qualities of emotion and comprehension) these entities themselves as absolute, objective realities."

      Stop making shit up Ralph.

      "How else can you logically explain their existence?"

      All emotions are just chemical reactions in our bodies/brains. Just because you are too stupid, or unwilling, to understand that doesn't mean we all are.

      Delete
    4. RalphH 27/069:29 PM

      “That's a saying Ralph not a law.” (Stranger6:12 PM)

      And why do you think it's a saying Stranger? Because it reflects the reality that love is the motivator.

      “Love is not a force.”

      So how and why does it have a power of attraction?

      Many husbands and wives end up hating each other. Love begets hate too.

      Completely false, before one can hate they have to (for whatever selfish reason) cease to love.

      “*"none of these would be possible unless there existed (above our finite qualities of emotion and comprehension) these entities themselves as absolute, objective realities."* (RalphH)

      Stop making shit up Ralph.”

      That's not an original idea so I obviously didn't “make it up”. The fact that you don't agree with something does not mean it's made up.

      “All emotions are just chemical reactions in our bodies/brains. Just because you are too stupid, or unwilling, to understand that doesn't mean we all are.”

      That's not a fact Stranger. It's your belief/opinion. I, and millions of others beg to differ. Chemical reaction are present but are they the cause or the effect?

      Delete
  16. MalcolmS11:53 AM

    Martin C: "Malcolm (@8.18am), the reason I included laissez-faire in the definition is because that is what I suspect separates what you want politically from what I want politically"

    Yes, that's correct.

    "I think capitalism and the competitive marketplace of ideas and the ownership of those ideas, represent a central component of a working political system, but I do NOT think that the best government is produced by allowing that market to run unchecked"

    I advocate the separation of state and economics in exactly the same way as I advocate separation of state and church.

    "A capitalist systerm[sic] works best when a government is there to act as a referee in the game, and to re-define the rules if the system has got out of whack"

    Really? That has not happened in practice! What constitutes "out of whack" for you may not constitute "out of whack" for someone else. Who decides? Which particular authoritarian thug decides whose property to violate or loot? What gives the state the right to loot the productive and redistribute to the indolent? What gives the state the right to give a mate a special favour over a competitor?

    "In the 19th century, Western nations were much closer to laissez-faire capitalism than today"

    .. and resulted in the greatest surge of raised living standards in history.

    ".. an oversupply of labour produced a market where capitalists were able to force labour to compete, driving the value of labour down below the point of human dignity"

    A Marxist myth. Wages in Western nations in the 19th century were the highest in history made possible by history's highest ever production. The world's destitute migrated in droves to partake in the prosperity.

    "I also think you are over-salting your definition. Capitalism is any system allowing individual ownership of resources (capital, intellectual capital et al), but it does not have to have ALL property privately owned"

    Then what you describe is not capitalism. It's what is euphemistically referred to as a "mixed economy" - a mixture of force and freedom - but it is not capitalism. "Force" and "freedom" is a mix of opposites which cannot coexist for long. Have a look at the mixed economies of the EU and the US. They are heading for bankruptcy and are doomed *because* of government interference in what should be the affairs of free men.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 8x
      Which particular authoritarian thug decides whose property to violate or loot?
      x8

      lol.

      "Authoritarian thugs" dont need "the state" in order to "loot and violate" the weak and simpleminded there twiddlehead.

      As you would rapidly discover if your childlike fantasy world were to ever come to be.

      I think its likely that your weird little wackyworld sprang into being after your own attempts at lootin'n'violation were frustrated.


      By reifying "the state" into the amorphous "entity" that magically creates all your frustration you can happily hide from yourself the reality that you are being outdone by other individuals (there is no "we" remember?)

      "Beaten by a mob of thugs" makes a much better story than "old lady hit me with her stick. ( Better for the ol' "self esteem" - right?)

      But the really ironic part is that despite all your "collectivist nightmares" the source of all your problems is just one individual.


      Can you guess who that might be?

      Delete
  17. Malcolm S wrote: "Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the recognition of individual rights which places the *individual* as the unit of society. It is the recognition that individual rights are *inalienable* and cannot be violated by the state. The state is only a servant in a capitalist[free] society as distinct from a ruler in a collectivist society."

    Actually you don't have to look far in this world to see that individual rights are very much alienable - people are being alienated from their rights all the time - they are being violated by states right left and centre.

    The fact is that there can be no individual rights in practice unless there is a collective agreement to respect thse rights. Individuals vs collectives is a false dichotomy.

    Malcom S wrote: "It is the existence of property rights, backed by objective law, that gives the state its only proper "meaning" and purpose."

    What exactly is objective law?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 8x
      What exactly is objective law?
      x8

      Indeed: The problem one has with malcolm is that there is just SO MUCH weirdness to address.

      In this instance I simply assumed he meant "nobjective law"

      So:
      What exactly is nobjective law?

      Delete
    2. "What exactly is objective law?"

      "What exactly is nobjective law?"

      Without access to grandad's special dictionary, it will remain a mystery. I assume that the response will be the same as the response to attempts to clarify the hidden meaning of "right wing politics" - everyone else will be invited to define Mal's terms, he will insist that we arte idiots for not guessing the special secret meaning, and then he will refuse to tell us what his statements are actually supposed to mean (dragging it out until the next blog starts so that the process can begin again).

      Delete
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_decoder_ring

      Delete
  18. Malcom S wrote: " "Force" and "freedom" is a mix of opposites which cannot coexist for long."

    If I decide that it is OK for me to make free use of my neighbour's house, car and credit card without his permission and cannot be persuaded otherwise, would it be wrong for the government to use force to make me desist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS9:27 PM

      Yes, of course!

      It is the *initiation* of physical force which is banned in a proper society. The *retaliatory* use of force, in accordance with objective law, is a legitimate function of a proper government. In fact it's the only function.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS9:33 PM

      Oops.. "Yes, of course!" should be "No, of course not!

      Delete
    3. MalcolmS9:35 PM

      BTW Robin: Here is a far more interesting question.

      *Should* the initiation of force be banned in a proper social system? If so, why?

      Get that right and you may, perhaps, get it.

      Delete
    4. Here's another question -
      Does anyone (other than Malcolm) understand what the hell he is rambling on about?

      And a repeat of a previous question -

      Is Malcolm capable of giving an example of a government which is not (according to HIS "special" definition - whatever that may be) a "left wing" government? Or is the assumption that Dick's article was specifically about "left" politics simply another way of saying that Dick was discussing things which happen in reality (as opposed to imaginary political structures which only exist in Randian fantasies)?

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS12:43 AM

      LJS: "Is Malcolm capable of giving an example of a government which is not (according to HIS "special" definition - whatever that may be) a "left wing" government?"

      I have already said that laissez-faire capitalism [political freedom] constitutes the extreme right wing in politics. In fact I gave you the opportunity to figure it out for yourself and you failed completely - a measure of your highly compromised cognitive capacity. Do please try to remain in focus.

      On a related issue, I do enjoy the babble between you and Ralph on the existence of other-planetary cattle. It is commensurate with two very intellectually challenged people going at it.

      Er.. but try to keep it for when the grown-ups are off-site.

      Delete
    6. Can you give an example of a laissez-faire capitalist government which exists in the real world?

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS1:42 AM

      LJS: "Can you give an example of a laissez-faire capitalist government which exists in the real world?"

      Can you give an example of a Communist or Nazi government which exists in the real world?

      Delete
    8. So you need to answer a question with another question (as usual)? So that would be a "no" then?

      Delete
    9. MalcolmS3:06 AM

      Note to the idiot pirate:

      A rhetorical question is a perfectly legitimate literary device.

      Furthermore:

      Please remember that I do not need your questions!

      But you need my answers :)

      Delete
    10. Why would I need your answers? They sell laxatives at the chemist if I ever do need that sort of thing.

      Delete
    11. Could there be a situation where a rhetorical question was just used as a way to avoid defending your own unfounded assertions?

      Delete
    12. http://th06.deviantart.net/fs70/200H/i/2011/131/2/c/rhetorical_question_by_amana07-d3g35z8.jpg

      Delete
    13. MalcolmS4:06 AM

      LJS: "Why would I need your answers? They sell laxatives at the chemist..."

      ROFLMAO

      Thank Zeus for capitalism and the pharmaceutical companies!

      You're sounding as if someone has stolen your buccaneers.

      Further handy hint to the idiot pirate:

      You'll find them on the side of your buccan head!

      ROFLMAO

      Delete
    14. "But you need my answers"

      Only to get a good laugh for the day.

      Delete
    15. Malcolm S wrote: "It is the *initiation* of physical force which is banned in a proper society. The *retaliatory* use of force, in accordance with objective law, is a legitimate function of a proper government."

      That is a change to what you said before. You said that force and freedom are a mix of opposites and cannot coexist long.

      Now you say that it is initiated force that is incompatible with freedom.

      But even under those rules the government still cannot use force to stop me using my neighbor's house, car and credit card.

      Because in doing so I have not initiated any force.

      I have simply driven a car. Entered a house. Used a credit card.

      So there is no initiated force for the government to retaliate against.

      Delete
  19. MalcolmS1:48 AM

    Robin: "Actually you don't have to look far in this world to see that individual rights are very much alienable - people are being alienated from their rights all the time - they are being violated by states right left and centre"

    The claim that rights are *inalienable* is simply the assertion that rights are required by the *nature of man*. To put it briefly: Man's means of survival is his *reason* and reason is an attribute of the individual - hence *individual* rights. The only way to violate rights is to initiate the use of force since force is anti-mind[anti-reason]. It is no accident that the discoverer of individual rights was John Locke, that he was of the Enlightenment and that the era was an *age of reason.* That rights are "violated by states right left and centre" alters nothing. It simply means that modern states do not *recogise* such rights - not that they don't exist.

    "Individuals vs collectives is a false dichotomy"

    Actually, individualism vs collectivism is the *fundamental* issue in politics.

    "What exactly is objective law?"

    A "law" is a rule of social conduct.

    An "objective law" is one commensurate with the nature of man as a rational being. All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it. For details I suggest you read:

    “The Nature of Government” - Ayn Rand - in the Virtue of Selfishness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " It simply means that modern states do not *recogise* such rights - not that they don't exist."

      Rights only exist if they are given by society. And it's only a sedentary society that even thinks about things like property rights.

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS3:00 AM

      "Rights only exist if they are given by society"

      That's a pity Andrew - there is no such entity as "society."

      Only individuals exist and er... they have rights :)

      Delete
    3. " there is no such entity as "society.""

      You really do have a hard time dealing with reality. I didn't say that society is an entity. It's just a term to describe interactions between humans.

      You don't have rights unless enough of us agree you do.

      Delete
    4. Malcolm S wrote: "All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it".

      And again - says who?

      Delete
    5. 8x
      there is no such entity as "society."
      x8

      So "state" is an entity, but "society" isn't.
      "rational man" is an entity but "god" isn't.
      "individuals" are entities but "groups" aren't

      You must be a very busy boy keeping all these inconvenient "entities" at bay
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banishing

      Maybe you should just get a job... with a "corporation"?

      rofl

      Delete
    6. How, for example, do you objectively justify the law that says that I can't use my neighbour's car without his permission?

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS8:19 AM

      Robin: "Says who?" and "And again - says who?" and "How, for example, do you objectively justify the law that says that I can't use my neighbour's car without his permission?"

      You asked what "objective law" is and I told you. I also gave you a reference where you could find its intellectual derivation. Now go and do your homework and you may even learn something. I have no intention of answering your interminable "why"s of every specific until you make an effort to discover the principles. Got it?

      Delete
    8. Malcolm S wrote: "You asked what "objective law" is and I told you."

      Here is your definition of objective law: "commensurate with the nature of man as a rational being"

      Which could really mean just about anything.

      You tell me to go and read Rand but you inability to demonstrate how to apply this principle even in simple situations suggests that you (who have presumably read the chapter in question) do not understand it.

      Delete
    9. 8x
      "All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it".
      x8


      8x
      How, for example, do you objectively justify the law that says that I can't use my neighbour's car without his permission?
      x8

      What about if I take his car without his permission, but then wash it, service it and fill the tank with gas, then bring it back?

      Does he get to feel all violated then?

      Or:

      I take his car without his permission, because I have to rush an old lady to the hospital.

      Is that still a crime?
      Whats the nobjective law say about that scenario? Is it written down anywhere?

      Delete
    10. 8x
      I take his car without his permission, because I have to rush an old lady to the hospital.
      x8

      Ooh ooh! What about if:

      I take his car without his permission, because I have to rush an old lady to the hospital,but it turns out she was lying and she steals all the drugs and burns the hospital down.

      Do I gotta go to jail then?

      Delete
    11. Ooh ooh ooh ooh! What about if:

      I take his car without his permission, because I have to rush an old lady to the hospital,but it turns out she was lying and she steals all the drugs and burns the hospital down but then the cops shoot her and the autopsy shows that her strange behaviour was caused by a weird highly communicable mental illness (lets call it "nobjective psychosis) so me bringing her to the hospital in the stolen car was all that stopped the disease from spreading uncontrollably through the entire population and turning everyone into randroid zombies like in resident evil....


      Do I get a medal?

      Delete
    12. 8x
      Do I get a medal?
      x8

      Who from?

      8x
      there is no such entity as "society."
      x8

      8x
      What gives the state the right to give a mate a special favour over a competitor?
      x8

      Meh: Screw it then.
      I'll just change my name to mallypops and GIVE MYSELF a medal


      Sorted

      Delete
    13. 8x
      I'll just change my name to mallypops and GIVE MYSELF a medal
      x8

      Well sheyit! I can do that without even leaving my basement. Screw you old lady - AND the "novel" writing russian horse you rode in on

      ===============
      err sorry...

      What was the question again?

      Delete
  20. MalcolmS2:47 AM

    Martin: "The 'left' (and the 'right') are not defined by authoritarianism"

    They most certainly are in the contemporary political spectrum. Why else would you have Nazism and Communism as polar opposites?

    "I think that one of the problems with Marxism is that it too easily tends to descend into authoritarianism, as per the examples seen, but that does not make it part of the definition"

    You appear to be arguing that the "dictatorship of the proletariat" is not really the dictatorship of the proletariat - that it's not really what it says it is. Are you really that obtuse? Marxism is Marxism and it's certainly authoritarian!

    "An example of NON-authoritarian leftism, in fact of communism, would be a monastery"

    You are in big trouble if you have to give an apolitical example for inclusion in a political spectrum! A monastery is a free association of individuals who can leave whenever they choose. That is not an example of communism in the political sense. A monastery is no more an example of a political entity than is a kibbutz or a collective farm. A political entity for our purposes is a state[government].

    "Part of the problem with Marxist leftism is that it seems to require the altruism of a group of monks to work effectively"

    LOL So now you are claiming that both altruism AND communism are *good.* So that makes you doubly wrong!

    "'Left' means worker-oriented, 'right' means capital-oriented... so your point that leftist authoritarian governments and rightist authoritarian governments must be at the same place on the spectrum because both are authoritarian belies a fundamental misunderstanding of that political spectrum"

    You give your position away by claiming that both left and right must be "oriented". In a political system their "orientation" must be enforced by the state. In your examples that's authoritarianism. You are hoisted by your own petard :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin C12:28 PM

      Wow, Malcolm your 2.47 post is breathtaking in its ability to simply ignore my arguments in order to whack away at the straw-men in your mind. A few points:

      How does Nazism and Communism being placed at opposite ends of the spectrum (rightly OR wrongly) have anything to do with my contention that 'left' and 'right' are not inherently authoritarian, and that any philosophy can be placed on a left-right spectrum withor without authoritarianism? That's a complete non sequitur. I even gave you an example of non-authoritarian leftism - a monastery - and you simply dismissed it out of hand as 'not political'. I don't get why you can't grasp the purpose of that example ... an example of the Marxist principle of "FROM each according to their ability to produce; TO each according to their needs" which is obviously in contradistinction to the capitalist methodology where the TO is generated from the value of the FROM.

      As for "now you are claiming that both altruism AND communism are *good.* So that makes you doubly wrong!":

      1) I didn't claim altruism was *good*.
      2) I didn't claim communism was *good*.

      Apart from those two minor details, you were absolutely spot on with that comment (/sarcasm). I am at a loss as to how you could inject an entire new concept - the 'goodness' or otherwise of communism and altruism - into my comment, which was never there, and then criticize me for that position. Way to stab at that straw man!

      "You give your position away by claiming that both left and right must be 'oriented'. In a political system their "orientation" must be enforced by the state."

      WTF? Left and right are LABELS, for Pete's sake! They're not "enforced by the State". What an absurd concept!

      Oh, and finally - and perhaps pedantically, but given that you bothered to petulantly add '[sic]' to an obvious typo in another post of mine, I'm happy to go there - the phrase is "hoist on one's own petard", not "hoisted".

      You've responded to other posts I wrote too, but again your responses seem to be addressed to what you thought or hoped I might write rather than what I did write, so there seems little point in my addressing them.

      Malcolm, I can only suggest that your ability to live entirely within your own fantasy world and staunchly defend its borders against the attacks of reason and commonsense makes you a truly sad loss for the world of theism.

      Delete
  21. MalcolmS9:16 AM

    Robin: "You said that force and freedom are a mix of opposites and cannot coexist long. Now you say that it is initiated force that is incompatible with freedom"

    There is no contradiction between those two statements.

    "But even under those rules the government still cannot use force to stop me using my neighbor's house, car and credit card"

    The government can not "stop [you]" and I did not claim it could. All I have claimed is that it can punish you [after the event] by objective law for violating your neighbor's [property] rights.

    "Because in doing so I have not initiated any force"

    Yes you have, albeit de facto.

    "I have simply driven a car. Entered a house. Used a credit card. So there is no initiated force for the government to retaliate against"

    There is no effective difference between entering his house, using his car and credit card without his permission, or knowledge, than is forcing the same action on him at gun point. Either way you have violated his property rights.

    If I agree to exchange a sack of spuds for your basket of tomatoes and you deliver the tomatoes and I reneg on the spuds that's fraud, the violation of your property rights and the de facto use of force. It is no different to me just stealing your tomatoes.

    You appear not to realise what a magnificent *achievement* the discovery of individual rights and property rights is. FYI it's the essence of civilisation. Your premises are no different to that of a savage or a primitive hunter-gatherer. You simply wander around picking up what lies in your path and crushing your neighbour's skull when necessary. Regression to modern socialism is the same principle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mmmm mmmmm..

      Yep sir.
      Thems some fiiiiiine nose termaties...

      Delete
    2. Malcolm S wrote: "There is no contradiction between those two statements."

      There would be no contradiction if you were to agree that retaliatory force was incompatible with freedom.

      But if you are saying that retaliatory force is compatible with freedom then it clearly contradicts your earlier statement that force and freedom are incompatible.

      Delete
    3. Just do the math robbsybobs


      8x
      It is the recognition of individual rights which places the *individual* as the unit of society.
      x8

      - plus -

      8x
      there is no such entity as "society."
      x8

      - equals -

      Looney-from-the-mooney

      Its really quite simple you see? ;)

      Delete
    4. Malcolm S wrote: "There is no effective difference between entering his house, using his car and credit card without his permission, or knowledge, than is forcing the same action on him at gun point. Either way you have violated his property rights."

      That is just absurd. By threatening him with a gun I have threatened harm against his person. By hotwiring his car and taking it for a spin I have threatened no harm against him.

      So anybody who uses force to prevent me doing this is initating force.

      I could say that there is no effective difference between me going to his carport and hotwiring his car and me going to my own carport and hotwiring my own car.

      I just have to travel a few more steps.

      So what is the difference between the cases? Could they take the car to a lab somewhere and do some tests on it and establish that it does not belong to me? No.

      Does some piece of paper which states that he owns the car make the difference? I could make my own piece of paper.

      All I have done is offended against an idea. An incredibly useful idea, certainly, but an idea nevertheless.

      Markets wont work unless all participants act in accordance to this idea and you cannot have a practical market unless there is some mechanism by which adoption of this idea can be enforced.

      So a market without some collective who can initiate force if needs be is simply an incoherent idea.

      Delete
    5. Malcolm S wrote: "You appear not to realise what a magnificent *achievement* the discovery of individual rights and property rights is. FYI it's the essence of civilisation."

      A "right", even if such a thing did exist, would not be capable of delivering any kind of civilisation.

      Not in this world with beings like us.

      In order to get civilisation you need a collective agreement and a mandate for some body to enforce that agreement.

      That would deliver civilisation even if there were no such thing as a right.

      So even if there are individual rights they would be of less practical importance than the agreement we reach with each other to behave as though there were individual rights.

      Delete
    6. According to Carroll Quigley a civilisation is:

      From http://www.carrollquigley.net/Lectures/General_Crises_in_Civilizations.htm

      snip-

      A civilization (5) is a producing society whose patterns include an organization of expansion.

      This last definition means that a producing society becomes a civilization when it is organized in such a way that its patterns of relationships and behavior provide three things: (a) an incentive to innovate new ways of doing things; (b) an inequitable distribution of the social product so that there accumulates within the society a surplus of wealth (that is, wealth which its possessors do not wish to consume immediately); and (c) that the society be organized in such a way that the surplus being accumulated is used to mobilize resources to exploit the innovations being made. Such a triplex of organizational patterns is what I call “an organization of expansion”. Any producing society which develops such an organization of expansion is a civilization; accordingly, it will expand as all civilizations do, but as non-civilized societies do not.

      -snip

      I'm more inclined to go with this definition than anything given by a drugged out Russian novelist or one of her weirdo disciples...

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS9:46 PM

      Robin: ".. if you are saying that retaliatory force is compatible with freedom then it clearly contradicts your earlier statement that force and freedom are incompatible"

      I am saying that retaliatory force is a *necessity* of freedom and that it contradicts nothing I have said.

      Delete
    8. "I am saying that retaliatory force is a *necessity* of freedom"

      Ghandi didn't think so.

      Delete
    9. "If I agree to exchange a sack of spuds for your basket of tomatoes and you deliver the tomatoes and I reneg on the spuds that's fraud, the violation of your property rights and the de facto use of force"

      No it means that he's silly enough to give a guy some tomatoes for nothing. If you take the tomatoes after he says not to because you didn't bring the spuds it's theft.

      Delete
    10. Just out of curiosity - is there an alternative definition of "force" that is only to be found in your grandfather's dictionary?

      Delete
  22. Mal: For details I suggest you read: “The Nature of Government” - Ayn Rand - in the Virtue of Selfishness.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha.

    ReplyDelete
  23. MalcolmS9:33 PM

    Handy hints for hunter-gatherers - aka collectivists/socialists.

    Civilization

    "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men"

    "For the New Intellectual" - Ayn Rand

    and..

    "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships - thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement.

    The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use".

    “The Nature of Government” - Ayn Rand

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Handy hints for randian collectivists - especially those living in denial

      Basements are unhealthy son

      Delete
    2. " The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe."

      Most hunter gatherer societies still around use shelters of one kind or other, and the same also happened in the past. Their life was no more public than that of a village in 11th century England.

      "The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships"

      That entirely depends on what is meant by 'civilised society'. The Roman Empire is counted as a civilisation yet allowed violence between slave owner and slave. It also had laws and ways to enforce them. The ideal Rand is speaking of is not the true definition.

      Delete

    3. 8x
      The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe.
      x8


      8x
      An "objective law" is one commensurate with the nature of man as a rational being. All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it.
      x8

      Oh them whacked out randian savages.
      Is there no one who can stop them constantly triballing their laws in public?

      rofl

      Delete
    4. "The ideal Rand is speaking of is not the true definition."

      Did anyone really expect that Mal would use the same definition of the word that everyone else uses? How can you possibly expect him to continue arguing if he doesn't spend a few days on each blog waiting for someone to guess his secret definition of an ordinary word?

      Delete
    5. MalcolmS5:04 AM

      Actually, pirate, an "ideal" is much more than the definition of a word. What is required is to understand the concept, the principle or the entire philosophy from which it is derived. However, to understand that will take more knowledge of epistemology than you, I suspect, will ever have.

      Delete
    6. tsk

      Walked right into that one LJS

      In twerpland "definition of a word" translates into "bespoke foolosophical system" and "civilisation" translates into "obscure ahistorical literary construct"

      (By the way, just for future reference, "epistemology" usually translates into "big word that makes twerpy feel smug")

      See how he's smug as a bug in a rug now?
      Thats "epistemology" at work. lol ;)

      Delete
    7. MalcolmS9:34 AM

      Smug as a bug in a rug with one eye open idiotcatimpersonator :>))

      Delete
    8. 8x
      ...with one eye open...
      x8

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagophthalmos

      Seek help.

      Delete
  24. Getting back on top[ic (sort of), I'd like to return to Mal's original comment on the "conflation of the Left with religion". Is this intended to imply that beliefs on the right are not subject to the same criticism?

    Specifically, are laissez-faire capitalist government and suppoprters of Rand's philosophies able to avoid "beliefs outside the religious context are so tightly held that they mirror the devotion of religious beliefs"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incidentally, I am aware that an occasional typo creeps in to my posts - I'm using a computer that is past its use-by date. In your brave new world of freedom, would it be OK for me to steal one (as long as I don't use actual force to take it)? If not, who should prevent me from stealing a new computer and how should they do it?

      Delete
    2. MalcolmS11:31 PM

      So, you now accept that laissez-faire capitalism is the proper political antonym to Nazism/Communism?

      And that the contemporary political spectrum with Nazism and Communism as polar opposites is false?

      Delete
    3. No, I just got bored with the discussion and tried to steer you back to the original point from a few days ago. Your dopey questions had no particular relationship to the question I was asking you - I was simply trying to clarify your first post here which implied that your side of politics was somehow immune to the kind of thinking outlined in Dick's blog. As usual, you have simply substituted your own questions and invented new definitions of words.

      Why do you conflate the "left" with religion and not the "right" (regardless of whether we use your special definitions of left/right or whether we use the definitions which everyone else uses)? Do you seriously expect anyone to take seriously the suggestion that your own thinking is not faith based?

      Surprise, surprise, another blog topic has opened up to distract us all from the question, so you have managed to spend enough time debating irrelevancies so that you could avoid defending the obvious problem with your original post. I really do wonder why I bother attempting to debate anything with you . . .

      Delete
    4. MalcolmS7:37 AM

      Do you sit around the dinner table asking the kids questions all the time?

      Well you can't fool me - it's because you really don't know the answers :)

      Found your buccaneers yet?

      Delete
  25. How would I be expected to know the answer to why you make such ridiculous statements & then refuse to back them up? Only your psychiatrist could answer that.

    Generally I don't need to ask my kids so many questions because they are cpable of giving a traightforward answer and using "normal" meanings for words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MalcolmS11:10 PM

      "they are cpable[sic] of giving a traightforward[sic] answer"

      No kiddin'

      ROFLMAO

      Delete

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