Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Changes at Right Thinking
by JimK

I sent out some editorial guidelines early yesterday and was going to post them tomorrow night to let all the readers know what was going on. I never got the chance to let the authors sit with them before making them public...as you can see, WVR flooded the site with his usual barely-written quote-fest posts from the same blogs on the same dead-horse subjects...again. After the first two I emailed him a warning which he promptly ignored. After today’s performance...my patience is simply non-existent. I have heard the cries, and I agree with them, so WVR, I’m sorry but you clearly wanted this to happen for whatever reason. So now it has.

WVR is no longer a contributing author. He is not banned, but he no longer has posting privileges.

I’m looking for two more people to become authors, so if you have suggestions or would like to give it a shot, please let me know. That’s not a response to removing WVR from the front page, BTW...I was looking for two people anyway. See the end of the quoted text below for more detail.

Here’s the text of the email I sent out yesterday…

1. No more quoting the majority of your posts. Long pull quotes are sometimes unavoidable, but it will no longer be tolerated as the primary style of writing. Your original material should at least equal the material you are quoting.

2. No more cutting and pasting from the same three blogs every day. If we want to read every word someone else writes, we can go to their blogs.

3. No more flooding the zone. This has two parts:

A. No more posting three or four posts in a row on the same topic on the same day. If you have more to add on a topic about which you have already posted, update your original post. Unless something truly groundbreaking that could be called NEWS happens, an updated post is all that is required.
B. No more posting multiple posts in a short period of time. I’m not really interested in limiting how many posts per day anyone can make, but I AM tired of seeing good posts pushed far down the page by flooding the zone. A good guideline would be if you’ve made three or four posts already today...maybe you’re done until tomorrow. Remember, you can always schedule posts to go live at later times as well to help space things out and give all voices a chance to be heard.

Pretty simple. It all boils down to the idea RTFTLC should be a place for _some_ original thought in reaction to the news of the day. If you don’t have any original thoughts to add to a story, maybe you should reconsider whether it needs to be posted or not.  The exceptions to all of this, of course, is fun/diversion stuff, like if you find a great viral or something and you just want to post it for fun. That kind of thing is always welcome.

As for enforcement...well that’s basically just my judgment.  I will be watching closely, and if people can’t stick to these basic standards...well then they won’t be posting.

Also, I would love to get one or two more people involved. I’m looking for a Republican...that’s right I said Republican with a capital R. I think it would be interesting to see what happens when yo take a bunch of libertarian-minded people and have them co-authoring with one of the faithful. Also, I’m looking for a conservative (small C, like some of us are small L libertarians). If you have any suggestions of folks who fit the bill and would be willing to do it, please let me know.

Posted by JimK on 05/23/09 at 08:37 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 05/23/09 at 09:14 PM from United States

Well, it was fun while it lasted...seriously, I’ll keep sticking around.

Posted by on 05/23/09 at 09:25 PM from United States

Whew!

Iconoclast, where are you?

Dirk?

Posted by on 05/23/09 at 09:27 PM from United States

Thanks for getting rid of WVR, now it won’t be so much work sifting through all the crap posts on the front page.

Posted by Manwhore on 05/23/09 at 09:36 PM from Germany

You fucking ROCK JimK!! Oh, and FOAD WVR, your Certificate of Stupidity is now over, and this site is a place I will comment on now.

Posted by Manwhore on 05/23/09 at 09:47 PM from Germany

If I could suggest people I would like to read more from that coment here, I think heartlesslibertarian, joesparke, frankie, and DonnaK (her condition willing) would all be authors I would really enjoy hearing opinions from.

If Para ever decided to come back, or Brian at Tomfoolery, I would love to hear those opinions as well. Brian could be really fun!

Posted by on 05/23/09 at 10:19 PM from United States

You did the right thing, Jim.

Heartless has my vote. He’s a good writer and gets the message out well.

Posted by on 05/23/09 at 11:11 PM from Germany

I’ve always been a fan of zinger, whenever he posts something it’s very well considered.  I don’t think he visits often, it’s a shame - at least I’d like to see him around more.

Posted by on 05/23/09 at 11:54 PM from United States

Para would be good for sure. Didn’t he used to post here before?

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 05:42 AM from United States

*golf clap*

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 06:52 AM from United States

I actually liked WVR, but I guess I’m in the minority here. I suppose dissent against reflexive disgust for the current administration is too much for folks like Manwhore. FOAD indeed.

Posted by Manwhore on 05/24/09 at 07:47 AM from Germany

jmh is trying to underwhelm me with his superior intellect, but he forgot to mention that WVR has his own blog that jmh has never visited before, or commented on before.

So, for the most part, dissent against the reflexive disgust that WVR has been “Terminated” is dually noted.

Posted by InsipiD on 05/24/09 at 07:49 AM from United States

At least there’ll be a huge reduction in the Obama adoration here.  If I wanted to read Kos or Sully, I would go there.  Thanks, JimK.

You ought to let things settle for about a week before appointing any newbies.  With the daily sewer splashes out of the way, it might be ok now with just the contributers we’ve got.  I tend to like Contrarian’s posts best, but there aren’t very many of them.  Aside from the Kos-and-pastes, I think most of the recent posts are pretty good.

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 08:35 AM from United States

i guess it was bound to happen.

Posted by Thrill on 05/24/09 at 12:07 PM from Germany

I’m glad to see WVR off of the front page; not because of his viewpoints, but because of his unworthy style of blogging.

Now, looking to the future, my suggestions:

1. I would again like to appeal to Heartless Libertarian to take the spot.

2. Section8 would be a good choice.

3. I’m a huge fan of InsipiD

4. Rann has really won me over

5. For “the faithful”, I recommend hist_ed

Posted by JimK on 05/24/09 at 12:34 PM from United States

Heartless, if popularity has any appeal, my friend...you can clearly see you are wanted.

{
BEGIN peer_pressure_2.01
     
IF answer='no' BEGIN super_pressure
          
IF answer still='no' BEGIN begging_3.14
     
IF answer='yes' THEN BEGIN celebration1.0
}

Yes, I realize how bad the programming is. The joke, however, is brilliant. ;)

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:13 PM from United Kingdom

What a joke, rather than write at his own blog in the company of some tumbleweed JimK comes here and kicks off contributors which the late creator of this blog appointed (and also defended his right to state his ignorant opinions at times)
First you take money off a man for healthcare that you criticised day in day out for years on end and now you do a grave injustice to Lee by booting off people who he asked to come and contribute here, you truly have no shame.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:21 PM from United States

It seems only the left, like Paul, seem upset by this whole thing. Don’t worry dipshit, you can hang out at the Kos now.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:25 PM from United Kingdom

It seems only the left, like Paul, seem upset by this whole thing. Don’t worry dipshit, you can hang out at the Kos now.

Since when does respecting pluralism mean that someone is left wing?
Just how is that extra chromosome working out for you?

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:38 PM from United States

Since when does respecting pluralism mean that someone is left wing?
Just how is that extra chromosome working out for you?

The blog is called right-thinking. How about respecting pluralism, and go to the Kos or any other well known “progressive” site and tell them how they need a conservative blogger. I won’t hold my breath. Everyone is all about defending pluralism when it promotes their view or diminishes the other, so cut the crap with me, I ain’t buying it. You want pluralism, there are plenty of left leaning blogs out there. This one need not be.

Fact is if you would have read, some ground rules were laid out and violated. Warnings have been repeatedly posted and violated.

I’ve read your posts here for years. From stupid conspiracy theories to bashing the US in general. Sad thing is, you are so damn behind the game you think you’re ahead of the pack. It would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.

Actually, it’s still laughable :)

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:40 PM from United States

It seems only the left, like Paul, seem upset by this whole thing. Don’t worry dipshit, you can hang out at the Kos now.

Since when does respecting pluralism mean that someone is left wing?
Just how is that extra chromosome working out for you?

Jesus paul, couldn’t you see that JimK consistently warned WVR to stop spamming the blog with barely written out posts. Every other commentator here would have well supported posts that weren’t simple copy and pastes from other websites. Certainly WVR had some excellent posts over his stint as a contributor, but his incessent 4-6 posts (consisting mostly of other websites opinions) stifled any debate on this site. The front page was always covered by WVR’s new posts.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 01:54 PM from United States

4. Rann has really won me over

Aw, c’mon, don’t kid around. :D

Seriously, though, I know I’m too vitriolic and get a little too excitable about a lot of subjects. Despite knowing it’s not the smartest way to do things, I often tend to react with emotion rather than thinking things out, and clamp on to what I feel is right without thoroughly thinking through all the various ramifications. I don’t do enough of my own research and I don’t spend a ton of time browsing news sites or other blogs. While I sometimes see things I’d like to see discussed here that don’t get brought up, I really dunno that I’d be able to give them the proper framing.

I’m not front page material and I know it.

Posted by JimK on 05/24/09 at 02:22 PM from United States

Paul...you don’t even rate a response. And that is all the response you will get.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 02:49 PM from United States

Section8 would be a good choice.

I appreciate the idea, but Rann pretty much sums up my view of contributing on the main threads. This place deserves a lot of attention which I would not be able to offer. Plus I swear too much and butcher the English language when posting about something that pisses me off, which is pretty much every post. I think my contributions would be best served in the comments section. Thanks for the support though.

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 02:54 PM from United States

I appreciate the idea, but Rann pretty much sums up my view of contributing on the main threads. This place deserves a lot of attention which I would not be able to offer. Plus I swear too much and butcher the English language when posting about something that pisses me off, which is pretty much every post. I think my contributions would be best served in the comments section. Thanks for the support though.

S8, that don’t stop me!

Posted by JimK on 05/24/09 at 02:57 PM from United States

Just a bug in Rann and Section8’s ears:

You could post as little as you wanted. Once a month? That would make me a happy camper. I think you both have something to offer beyond commenting.

No pressure though (BEGIN pressure_2.7 etc.) :)

Posted by JimK on 05/24/09 at 03:09 PM from United States

S8, that don’t stop me!

Harley I fucking love you, I swear to God. :)

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 03:22 PM from United States

Noooo not the pressure!

... I’ll only do it if you phrase it as a Darth Vader reference, Jim.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 03:27 PM from United States

By the way, if you’re looking for someone to do longer, more well-thought-out posts and probably more consistently, you might ask Gerbera Tetra over on Made of Awesome. I’ve often considered telling him he should apply some of the length, thought, and thoroughness he puts into his political posts on his livejournal to his entertainment posts. He tends to get pretty in-depth on researching almost any political topic, if you want someone who really really knows what he’s talking about and will consistently defend and discuss those views once stated, he’s almost definitely your guy.

Posted by Thrill on 05/24/09 at 03:44 PM from Germany

Rann, it is your dessssssstiny.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/24/09 at 03:55 PM from United States

I’m sorry to see WVR go, even though I disagreed with a lot what he posted.  But I agree with the new rule Jim is putting up, which will keep me from being lazy. ;)

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 03:57 PM from United States

Harley I fucking love you, I swear to God. :)

Do you love me enough to send me donna for a month?

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 04:14 PM from United States

Just a bug in Rann and Section8’s ears:

Thanks Jim. I’ll think it over, but I would certainly consider those who would be willing to post more first, so that the blog does not risk becoming stale. I’m going to send you an email in a bit too.

Posted by JimK on 05/24/09 at 04:14 PM from United States

Do you love me enough to send me donna for a month?

No, sire I DO NOT. ;)

Rann: I can go two ways here.

1. I have alterd the terms of the offer. Pray I do not alter it further.

OR…

2.  I find your lack of ‘yes’ disturbing.

Oh wait...I’m supposed to be convincing you, not threatening you.  Okay…

It’s not impossible. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 04:44 PM from United States

dammit.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 07:43 PM from United States

Rann… if you love me… you’ll do it.

*gives Rann the pleading eyes* ;)

Harley - you picked a bad month to ask for me. I got into a cycling accident and I’m banged up to ALL kinds of holy hell. I don’t think I’m much fun right now… but you did give me a good smile, so you get big points for that. ;)

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 08:09 PM from United States

WOOHOO!

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 08:14 PM from United States

Well, I was leaning towards yes, but now I think I’ll have to say extra yes.

Do not worry, Right Thinking. I shall be a good Commissar to you, leading you forth against the xenos, and I shall try to keep the executions for heresy down to a minimum.

Posted by Para on 05/24/09 at 08:14 PM from Germany

Hello all

I haven’t been here in quite a while. To be honest, WVR simply deflated my desire to come to this site with his 55 gazillion posts-per-day about nothing. I begged Lee to can him nearly two years ago, and Lee gave me the classic “If you don’t like it you don’t have to come her” line, which I not only respected, but also heeded.

Now that the issue has been resolved, I will return as a commenter. I have so much to share since we last spoke. I took a job working for the Government that allows me to travel around the USA 30 weeks a year ( I cannot say more than that). I made E-7 and I am now the First Sergeant of my Guard unit. I have been very sick, but finished my radiation about two months ago and I feel really great.

Oh, and I spent the day at the Pentagon, working the security detail for Rolling Thunder, ya know, half a million motorbikes makes for a very very loud day, but all my troops had a great time.

So, how about that Barack Obama, he’s really somehthing, huh?

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 08:24 PM from United States

welcome back Para..

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 08:48 PM from Germany

I say yay to Donna when she’s up to it.

I’d also like to get Padders back here. He’s not exactly right of center, but he was intelligent and added something to the debates here. It’d be worth signing him up.

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 09:12 PM from United States

5. For “the faithful”, I recommend hist_ed

Uhhhh thanks, though faithful to what?

Posted by on 05/24/09 at 10:52 PM from United States

Paras back!  Yaaay!

Posted by HARLEY on 05/24/09 at 11:23 PM from United States

Stogy, ilove to see you post more, even if you are a lefiist twit,/////

Posted by CaptCBleu on 05/25/09 at 01:05 AM from United States

PARA!!!!!

Great to See ya again.

uhh, yay obama....who am I kidding. how many signitures do I need to recall mr. teleprompter?

Posted by on 05/25/09 at 04:00 PM from United States

I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that nominated me for an author slot. However, there’s no way I could post with any amount of frequency - hell, right now I can barely type! Besides, straight-up politics isn’t my game. Psychology, philosophy, and sociology are my fields. You want to know how Obama is using the classic RASMICE techniques of social influence and persuasion to essentially brainwash people in his speeches? I’m your girl. (And, not to brag or anything, but those specific techniques were devised by William MacQuire, who was one of my mentors at Yale.) Want to talk about the psyche of the American people and how Obama is using those weaknesses to his advantage? I’m your girl. But foreign policy, the budget, TWOT… I don’t have the facts or the background for posts about things like that.

I’m sure that I’ll write something from time to time and nudge Jim to put it up, but I can’t do much more than that nor is this really the site for my kind of musings. Besides… Moore’s new movie is coming out in October. I’ll be a busy girl this fall holding down the MooreWatch fort. ;)

Again though… MANY thanks for the votes of confidence. :)

P.S… PARA!!!!!! *HUGS* WRITE ME!!!! :)

Posted by Hal_10000 on 05/25/09 at 04:04 PM from United States

Donna, I for one would love to see a post about the RASMICE tecniques.

Welcome back, para!  I missed you busting me whenever I said something dumb.

Posted by salinger on 05/25/09 at 06:23 PM from United States

but those specific techniques were devised by William MacQuire

Is this a typo? I know of William McGuire’s work on social cognititon (we share a publisher) I’m guessing that is who you mean - I’ve been wrong before though.

I’m very interested in metacognition and recommend Ellin Oliver Keene’s book To Understand. While not about social manipulation I think this would be if interest to anyone interested in what it means “to understand” something. I think it would be right up your alley. Also published by Greenwood/Heinemann.

I’d really appreciate if you could direct me to some of the papers on RASMICE as well.

Posted by on 05/25/09 at 07:49 PM from United States

Is this a typo?

Ack! Yes. Stupid hand and brain. You have the spelling right - it’s William J. McGuire. Here’s an obituary I found for him - he died just last year. What a loss. :(

I’ve not read Keene although I’ve heard about him. I’ll have to check that book out.

To get McGuire’s original RASMICE work you’ll have to go back to the 60’s I believe - we read journal after journal after journal from that time period to thoroughly understand his theory. RASMICE is an acronym that details a seven-step program to essentially get anyone to do or believe anything. Of course I’m terribly over-simplifying it but the whole idea is very intriguing. I wish I had some articles for you now but between my injuries and a flu I’ve caught I can’t ruffle through my things and get data for you. I apologize as it’s something everyone should learn about. I’m sure a run through Google will get you results. Look for work on social influence and persuasion - that was actually the name of the class I took. :)

Posted by on 05/25/09 at 10:18 PM from United States

As a tag to my last comment on McGuire, I found on Google a short article that details McGuire’s work in developing “The Yale Approach to Persuasion”. The article is juvenile at best and just barely scratches the surface, and it completely leaves out the second half of the theory that explains *why* this all works. However, just a quick glance through it will give you an idea as to why I have always insisted that Obama must have studied McGuire’s work with tremendous zeal before he became a politician. It’s kind of frightening really how closely he walks the line between political psychology and propaganda, isn’t it?

Judge for yourself.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 01:25 AM from Germany

Donna,

I was going to say, I admire your skill in falling off a bike going at such a pace. It really is hard to hurt yourself at 6-miles an hour, but you seem to have pulled out all the stops.

I can hardly talk, though. I have actually fallen over while standing still.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 02:34 AM from United States

Donna,

I was going to say, I admire your skill in falling off a bike going at such a pace. It really is hard to hurt yourself at 6-miles an hour, but you seem to have pulled out all the stops.

LOL!!! I know, right? You’d think I’d have bee going full speed into a car for all this. In fairness, I didn’t just fall - I drove straight into a curb and went flying, but still. LOL. :)

I can hardly talk, though. I have actually fallen over while standing still.

And the saddest part? So have I, stogy. So have I. LOL! :D

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 04:07 AM from United Kingdom

I think thats a good decision JimK.

It wasn’t so much WVR’s residence on the political spectrum that bothered me, it was that his posts were, well, just.....how shall I put this? Um..... fucking awful.

FWIW - I think the place would be improved with a commenter who was slightly left of centre. But only one who could make well thought out, interesting posts and could hold his own in the thunderdome. Although I’m not sure who that person is.... Thrill, I don’t suppose you have a hippie evil twin?

ps - DonnaK - youtube some of Blair’s (and some of the recent David Cameron) speeches - you’ll have a field day!

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 05:22 AM from United States

FWIW - I think the place would be improved with a commenter who was slightly left of centre. But only one who could make well thought out, interesting posts and could hold his own in the thunderdome.

The problem is, for the most part, people who are “left of center” are generally wrong. It’s hard to make a good point or defend yourself if what you are saying is completely illogical and based off emotion.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 08:14 AM from Germany

The problem is, for the most part, people who are “left of center” are generally wrong.

I was thinking how I should answer this, but I decided just to have a hissy fit instead.

But on second thoughts, I’ll see if I can rise to the challenge. It’s easy to paint the left as being emotional and idiotic if you only see one left (just as it’s easy to see only one right, if you only look at the lunatic fringe). There are certain kooks among us (not looking at anyone in particular here).

But how about this? our democracy actually needs the left-right swings in order to ensure that some kind of balance is achieved.
People on the right often say that welfare robs people of incentive. True. Very true. But…

Huge gaps in wealth do much the same thing. Why should I work if it won’t get me ahead? Three bucks an hour in a supermarket? Fuck that! Crime works better, or nothing. But wage slavery? No thanks. Societies actually have to show that hard work ...er.... works.

And for that, you need balance.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 08:29 AM from United States

our democracy actually needs the left-right swings in order to ensure that some kind of balance is achieved.

First of this country is a republic not a democracy. Second, bullshit. The country needs strong leadership and wise decision making. Bad choices by the government never help anyone and only slow down the real good that can be done.

Why should I work if it won’t get me ahead? Three bucks an hour in a supermarket? Fuck that! Crime works better, or nothing. But wage slavery? No thanks

This is sentiment perfectly reflects the liberal mindset. If you aren’t happy with the wages you are making you have thousands of options other than crime or welfare. You could go to school and get a better education, become an apprentice and learn a trade, start a business, anything you want. But no, because there isn’t a job that pays 100k a year for you to do nothing you bitch about “wage gaps”.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 09:19 AM from Germany

First of this country is a republic not a democracy.

Who said I was talking only about the US? The ‘democracy’ that I live in is almost completely disfunctional because there are no left-right swings. We have a somewhat conservative government, endemic corruption and eternal infernal waste.

And even if I was, the two are exclusive of each other how exactly? Now I understand that there are differences, but unless the government of the United States is like China (which is a Republic, but not a Democracy), then I fail to see your point.

The country needs strong leadership and wise decision making. Bad choices by the government never help anyone and only slow down the real good that can be done.

True. But strong leadership does not always produce wise leadership. And vice-versa. And even if you have both, I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say it is a good idea that a party, or a leader govern forever. Circumstances change, as does the public mood. If the public perception is that things are too ‘pro-business’, then why shouldn’t they support a party which backs an increase in the minimum wage?

This is sentiment perfectly reflects the liberal mindset. If you aren’t happy with the wages you are making you have thousands of options other than crime or welfare. You could go to school and get a better education, become an apprentice and learn a trade, start a business, anything you want. But no, because there isn’t a job that pays 100k a year for you to do nothing you bitch about “wage gaps”.

Right. Thanks. Proved my point. You just spoke of a society which has ways for people to get ahead. Compare this to a society which doesn’t: If you are poor, the only way to get ahead is to do something illegal. Plot this on a GINI coefficient, and you’ll see what I mean. As you get towards either end, when you have either 1 or 0, there is less and less incentive to work. When one person owns everything, there is none.  Just as when everyone has equal resources, there is no incentive either. Nothing. Zip. Not a sausage.

It’s not about moaning, or going on welfare. It’s based on the same economic principles the right always accuse the left of. Unless people see that there will be a positive outcome from all their work (and this includes going to school, learning a trade, or starting a business), then no-one will do anything.

Posted by InsipiD on 05/26/09 at 10:10 AM from United States

It’s not about moaning, or going on welfare. It’s based on the same economic principles the right always accuse the left of. Unless people see that there will be a positive outcome from all their work (and this includes going to school, learning a trade, or starting a business), then no-one will do anything.

Is it not enough to see that nothing good comes without it?  Are they not smart enough to see that doing nothing is going nowhere, or is welfare just good enough to sap their motivation?  How does this prove conservatives wrong?  Are you talking about China?  In many ways, I think that China is a great place for a smart entrepreneur today.  I think that there are plenty of ways for someone to get ahead in China so long as they’re smart, work hard, and are willing to move to one of the main cities.  Someone who insists on expecting prosperity to come to them doesn’t understand that isn’t how it works.  You’ve got to work hard, and move to where the good jobs are.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 10:29 AM from Germany

Are they not smart enough to see that doing nothing is going nowhere,

No. You don’t quite get it. A society with increasingly higher levels of inequality will destroy incentive precisely because doing something also leads nowhere. So why bother? Societies have to provide enough incentive to show people that their hard-earned efforts will result in a reward, while at the same time providing a minimum level of guarantees that if they do work hard, their efforts will result in a reward.

I think that there are plenty of ways for someone to get

ahead in China so long as they’re smart, work hard, and are willing to move to one of the main cities.

Very true, and I’ve spent a lot of time in China this year, so I have seen it for myself. But if it goes too far (and indeed it might), the 800 million or so people who see that they are being left behind and perceive no way to catch up are likely to challenge the system, leading to another revolution.  There is only so much ‘gap’ that societies will tolerate. Remove the incentive to work hard (by showing people that no matter how hard they work, they’ll never get ahead) and you have a big problem on your hands.

A better example of my position would be feudalism - no peasant or foot-soldier was going to work hard while the local baron was filching 85% of their crop, or paying them a pittance for menial labor. And no-one was going to invest in communities where no-one had any money to spend.

Posted by salinger on 05/26/09 at 10:33 AM from United States

I think that China is a great place for a smart entrepreneur today.

Definitiely! Nothing better for capitalism than being able to shoot your workers if they get too uppity.

And all those pesky enviromental and human rights laws - they’re such a drag.

Two hours in Shanghai and I felt like I was smoking again.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 05/26/09 at 10:45 AM from United States

Are they not smart enough to see that doing nothing is going nowhere, or is welfare just good enough to sap their motivation?

It’s the latter. If you ask them, they’ll tell you: they’re just comfortable enough to not feel like they need to change a thing.

They may bitch, but it’s only in the hope that they’ll get even more for nothing.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 11:30 AM from United States

Now I understand that there are differences, but unless the government of the United States is like China (which is a Republic, but not a Democracy), then I fail to see your point.

To call China a republic is disingenuous at best. The fact is true democracy is nothing but mob rule. If the greater good (aka society) decides your land is better used elsewhere, it ain’t your land anymore. Our fore fathers could have made this country a democracy but they chose not too, for good reason. The idea that this country is and should be a democracy came from the Progressives of the early 20th century. They are the ones that pushed to have senators elected by popular vote.

True. But strong leadership does not always produce wise leadership.

Which is why I said it needs both.

And even if you have both, I would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say it is a good idea that a party, or a leader govern forever.

You are too mired in the idea that “parties” represent the only real option. Both parties can be horribly wrong on a topic and merely swinging between two incorrect views does not make anyone or anything better. The fact is that if a particular party consistently brings bad and poorly thought out ideas to the table, there is no reason to give their suggestions any merit.

. If the public perception is that things are too ‘pro-business’, then why shouldn’t they support a party which backs an increase in the minimum wage?

You are not inherently wrong but you are if you are talking about the United States. It’s like the Unions, at one time they were a good idea, but now they are even more bloated and corrupt than the business they work for.

Maybe in some country at some point in time raising the minimum wage is/was a good idea. Here and now, it’s not. All it does is raise the cost of the service the business is providing causing inflation which devalues the raise you just got.

You just spoke of a society which has ways for people to get ahead. Compare this to a society which doesn’t:

So are you suggesting that countries that don’t have many options for it’s citizens is because their isn’t more political debate in the country? It couldn’t be because of horribly inept government, corrupt government, nonexistent government, a lack of natural resources, and cultural differences right?

Unless people see that there will be a positive outcome from all their work (and this includes going to school, learning a trade, or starting a business), then no-one will do anything.

Does that mean you see communism as inherently flawed and incapable of working? And does that work the other way as well? Do increases in government taxes as your income level grows dissuade people from doing more work or trying harder?

Societies have to provide enough incentive to show people that their hard-earned efforts will result in a reward, while at the same time providing a minimum level of guarantees that if they do work hard, their efforts will result in a reward.

So now it’s “society“‘s job to motivate people? Hard work shouldn’t be expected from someone unless there is an appropriate government benefit?

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 12:20 PM from United States

Hard work is typically expected when there is a direct payoff for the person performing the work.  It can be physical (cash, food, shelter, sex, material goods) or psychological (desire to see a particular goal fulfilled).

You do not expect someone to bust their ass in order to make a faceless government happy.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 06:59 PM from Germany

The fact is true democracy is nothing but mob rule.

Only in the traditional Greek sense of the word. The modern system of representative government that most nations have would be better described as a representative autocracy - we elect a ruling class (my evidence? The Clintons, the Bushs, the Tanakas etc etc). But this is all beside the point.

So are you suggesting that countries that don’t have many options for it’s citizens is because their isn’t more political debate in the country?

I think you’ll find, going back to the Chinese example, that there is more than one way for societies to find a balance somewhere on the GINI coefficient. A democracy is a good way to do it, but not the only way.

You are not inherently wrong but you are if you are talking about the United States. It’s like the Unions, at one time they were a good idea, but now they are even more bloated and corrupt than the business they work for.

Right. So you are arguing that things have shifted too far away from big business. So next time you vote, and if enough people vote with you, and you get the good leadership you crave, you’ll get your swing up the Lorenz curve.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 07:55 PM from United States

Right. So you are arguing that things have shifted too far away from big business. So next time you vote, and if enough people vote with you, and you get the good leadership you crave, you’ll get your swing up the Lorenz curve.

Thank you for completely ignoring all my questions and rambling on about stuff that is unimportant to the conversation. You have made my point far better than I ever could.

Posted by on 05/26/09 at 08:02 PM from Germany

Thank you for completely ignoring all my questions and rambling on about stuff that is unimportant to the conversation. You have made my point far better than I ever could.

Funny. I felt the same way about what you said. And given that it was me who raised the topic…

The issue that you didn’t touch on was whether a society which has a very high level of inequality can provide incentive. And how? I’d still actually like to know what you think.

What I was trying to argue is that left-right swings provide one way, that’s ONE way of ensuring that there is a balance between inequality and incentive.

Posted by on 05/27/09 at 07:44 AM from United States

The issue that you didn’t touch on was whether a society which has a very high level of inequality can provide incentive. And how? I’d still actually like to know what you think.

Over the past 10 years a whole new industry has cropped up that provides mortgage loans to illegal aliens.

I would think this alone should be incentive to get people who are born here and are far better educated than people who are essentially illiterate (even in spanish) and who have little or no math education. If they can succeed to home ownership, why can’t people who were born here?

The opportunity has always been there for those who are willing to work and sacrifice for it.

Some people are just waiting around for it all to be handed to them. These are the same people who win the lottery and ahortly after file bankruptcy.

Posted by Sean Galbraith on 05/27/09 at 08:25 AM from Canada

Are they succeeding at home ownership? Owning a home does not necessarily mean you’re succeeding at home ownership, as the current housing collapse has shown. What percentage of these illegal immigrant mortgages were by unscrupulous mortgage brokers who flip them asap for the commission? How many have been foreclosed upon?

This isn’t to take anything away from the hard work and sacrifice that immigrants, legal or otherwise, make.

If the greater good (aka society) decides your land is better used elsewhere, it ain’t your land anymore. - Dirk

That is exactly what eminent domain is, and happens hundreds of times every day in the American Republic. A “mob rule democracy” doesn’t preclude compensation for that expropriation, and a republic doesn’t guarantee it… hell, with enough votes, it could be stripped from the Bill of Rights within a few years. Maybe that was just a bad example on your part.

Posted by InsipiD on 05/27/09 at 08:26 AM from United States

Societies have to provide enough incentive to show people that their hard-earned efforts will result in a reward, while at the same time providing a minimum level of guarantees that if they do work hard, their efforts will result in a reward.

Show me any place other than DPRK and Cuba, and you can find a wealthy entrepreneur who has made their money locally by being clever.  Even women in countries that don’t like them.  To suggest that the US is bad at this or getting worse is ludicrous.  This country is fortunate enough that even the low on the scale is pretty good.  As has been addressed here before, some folks on welfare even feel comfortable enough not to try too hard for anything else.

Besides, trying alone doesn’t guarantee success.

Posted by on 05/27/09 at 08:46 AM from United States

What percentage of these illegal immigrant mortgages were by unscrupulous mortgage brokers who flip them asap for the commission? How many have been foreclosed upon?

From what I understand, foreclosures have been pretty equal among people of a variety of income levels who bought more house than they could afford. It has been spread faily evenly amongst both High end and Low end housing.

I have seen no data to suggest a higher level of foreclosure among immigants or minorities than anyone else.

Have you?

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