Jon Stewart’s 19 Questions

From Reddit
About The Daily Show

Is government the antithesis of liberty?

I do not think in terms of liberty and freedom. Standard fare libertarianism talks about initiation of force and voluntary exchange. Though I believe these vaguely as fundamentals, I do not use the concepts on a regular basis. They are not my main guiding principles because they are not efficient enough for my purposes. This question does not mean much to me.

One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom.

I hate freedom. You heard that right. I am closest to libertarianism and anarchocapitalism on the political/economic scales, and I hate freedom.

I believe I have explained it quite clearly what I do like in most of the longer posts I’ve made so far. What I like is not freedom, but order, and whatever helps order. To be free literally means without constraints, and constraints are the only reason people want order. If there were no constraints on how much money you could lose, then there is basically no reason to ever attempt to not lose money. Statistically, people’s cashflow would eventually end up being random. Welfare is basically ensuring that there is no constraint on how much money you can lose. With all the selling and things people desire in the world, it adds up to peoples’ cashflows being constant negatives. Similarly, if there were no constraints on how much intelligence you needed to get to some given point in life, then there is basically no reason to ever try to use your brain. Statistically, people’s intelligence would be randomized. Public education in America these days is doing that. This is why college graduates today are worth less than highschool graduates in Switzerland.

I do like freedom, and to me it is a fundamental. But to discuss how I think with most political discussions would be inappropriate.It is akin to talking about weightlifting with a kid who’s never had to work at anything all his life. We can both talk about wanting to someday squat 300, but he has no understanding of how many hours every week is needed to train just to get to 200. To a person who already goes three days a week for hours every session, training is mostly a no brainer – the important thing is the goal. But it is the reverse for someone who does not train. I think of freedom, but it is not the same kind of freedom many envision. The words are the same but the scales are different.

Order is not maintained by the state. Order is disturbed and destroyed by the state. Welfare disturbs the order of the market. Education disturbs the order of progress of enlightenment. You can use the above models to figure out why every single government venture disrupts order; there are too many things government does these days and my blog is not themed around being anti-government. It is themed around my interests. Government activities do not necessarily interest me.

What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?

I don’t know what this means. What “should” “we” do? It sounds as if this were some kind of witch hunt and a priest handed out a verdict, and now all of us villagers are deciding what to do with the accused? Additionally, “should” and “we”. This assumes there exists a single answer that everyone agrees upon for all “losers”. But then again I don’t know what a “loser” is, so maybe it is possible. My model of the market is too dissimilar with this to answer directly.

Do we live in a society or don’t we? Are we a collective? Everybody’s success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that the people who lose are hung out to dry? For a group that doesn’t [necessarily] believe in evolution, it’s awfully Darwinian.

(self insert “necessarily”, as that was what was said on the show. brackets will indicate such fixes.)

“Hung out to dry” makes it sound like they’re dead meat. If they are dead meat but alive physically, then it is because they choose to act like dead meat. I won’t look them up because they’re everywhere, but if you are interested it is not too hard to find stories of immigrants from some poor place to some other place who started out with nothing and worked their way up to everything. If you are in poor financial condition, and you stay there, it is because you are not doing anything about it. And if you are doing something about it, then don’t worry about it – you’re doing your best. And if you’re doing something but not your best, well then… is there anything anyone can say to you?

When I speak of these things outside a political context, people agree with me. But when politics appears, in almost every instance, people switch their positions and disagree with me.

But that is expected. The pattern is that people are sharp on the personal level but dull and easily malleable on the larger scales.

There are things which are unfortunate. But that is why we work to make things better. Complaints should only serve as a foci for action – self-action, not action of others – or for increasing efficiency of action. Protests are not efficient and definitely are not about self-action.

In a representative democracy, we are the government. We have work to do, and we have a business to run, and we have children to raise.. We elect you as our representatives to look after our interests within a democratic system.

A lot of phrases I do not use.

Is government inherently evil?

It is against my interests, yes.

Sometimes to protect the greater liberty you have to do things like form an army, or gather a group together to build a wall or levy.

None of which have anything to do with stealing money from people. That’s what government is: An extortion racket. It can do other things, but the one thing that always happens is “tax collection”.

As soon as you’ve built an army, you’ve now said government isn’t always inherently evil because we need it to help us sometimes, so now.. it’s that old joke: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars? How about a dollar? -Who do you think I am?- We already decided who you are, now we’re just negotiating.

If I wanted an army, I would not go to the government for one.

You say: government which governs least governments best. But [those] were the Articles of Confederation. We tried that for 8 years, it didn’t work, and went to the Constitution.

Didn’t work in what sense…? Also, just because a change happened didn’t mean it was any better. There were rebellions after Shay’s Rebellions too, they just got put down. Does that mean a government “works”, then?

You give money to the IRS because you think they’re gonna hire a bunch of people, that if your house catches on fire, will come there with water.

I don’t give money to the IRS, they take it from me. I don’t need another group to hire yet another group of people to help me, I can hire them myself.

Why is it that libertarians trust a corporation, in certain matters, more than they trust representatives that are accountable to voters? The idea that I would give up my liberty to an insurance company, as opposed to my representative, seems insane.

Politicians are accountable?

Why is it that with competition, we have such difficulty with our health care system? ..and there are choices within the educational system.

Competition always exists. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Hong Kong or in the USSR, there’s always competition between people, even if they’re in the same organization. The problem is what that competition is for. In a sports team, the competition is to be the most friendly and the most helpful to whatever skill is being trained. In a free market, the competition is for highest profit, meaning lowest cost highest selling point, meaning marginal value to customers more than the next guy over. Naturally, systems will optimize themselves. Sports teams which only train well will eventually fall to those who both train well and have good camaraderie. Companies which can only offer cheap products will eventually fall to those who both sell products cheaply and offer good customer service. However, if you could somehow insert, like a hand of god, artificial barriers that competition itself has not found, then it will simply work around those “facts”. Coaches allow rudeness if performance is above average – this is why there is locker room violence. Governments allow corporations to get away with things if they pay enough money – this is why, well, too many things to list.

In short, health care and education have problems because something is interfering with all the sub-steps from “profit” down to “providing value to customers”. There is only one entity that can interfere like a hand of god.

It is precisely why people think of it as different from everything else, and have turned to praising it instead of father figures in the sky.

Would you go back to 1890?

What was happening in 1890?

If we didn’t have government, we’d all be in hovercrafts, and nobody would have cancer, and broccoli would be ice-cream?

What would you do if I said yes?

Unregulated markets have been tried. The 80’s and the 90’s were the robber baron age. These regulations didn’t come out of an interest in restricting liberty. What they did is came out of an interest in helping those that had been victimized by a system that they couldn’t fight back against.

You can fight back against corporations. You cannot fight back against governments. One asks for your money. The other throws you in a cage if you don’t and shoots you if you resist.

As for the specifics, there’s plenty of literature on how the robber barons didn’t steal anything and actually made the standard of living higher for pretty much everyone by several levels of magnitude. The lawsuits were made by competing companies which had less efficient methods than the “robber barons” – that is, they either did not provide products with more quality, or equal quality but lower price. If the people were really uncomfortable and victimized, they wouldn’t be buying from the “robber barons” and they’d go out of business. Standard fare stuff everyone’s heard before, but then again this is a standard fare complaint by a liberal and my opinion has not changed.

No, I actually do think that those which failed to compete with the “robber barons” directly should have gone bankrupt. Why? Same reason why I don’t want state intervention in education or “social safety nets”.

As usual, I’ll leave it to you to find the sources if you are interested. I am not a big believer that beliefs change upon evidence – nothing I have ever observed confirms this claim by most debating/political types.

Why do you think workers that worked in the mines unionized?

Because they weren’t content with their employers or the general market of employment?

It’s almost as if the expectation is that, somehow, people will just all get along, and it’s because of the free market, a system entirely based on voluntary contracts and win-win situations, that everything’s gone to hell.

Without the government there are no labor unions, because they would be smashed by Pinkerton agencies or people hired, or even sometimes the government.

Without the government, they would not be smashed by the government, and thus only need to worry about these “Pinkerton agencies”. I don’t see an argument for government here… much the opposite, in fact.

Would the free market have desegregated restaurants in the South, or would the free market have done away with miscegenation, if it had been allowed to? Would Marten Luther King have been less effective than the free market? Those laws sprung up out of a majority sense of, in that time, that blacks should not.. The free market there would not have supported integrated lunch counters.

Stockholm Syndrome. Man rapes woman, woman later is grateful to man for feeding her and taking care of the child. Government indoctrinates kids, kids grow up and are later thankful to the government for changing people’s beliefs.

Segregation in a free market only happens if it is profitable or if it prevents loss. I see no inherent value in seeing all people as equal. Different races do have their differing general characteristics, and if people want to choose based on those, they should be free to. I choose my women on the first basis that they must have a pretty face. Just there I am discriminating against over 90% of all women. If I end up not getting a girlfriend or a wife, then that is my loss. There is no such thing as a mass general trend on a free market that sustains itself if it is unprofitable. Slavery, racial discrimination – these things happen because the government is there, and either enforces the belief, or allows strongly opinionated groups to force their belief on everyone else. On a market, this cannot happen unless the vast majority believe and actually work out that it makes more profit. If it doesn’t, then a new belief system takes over, because those who cannot provide value die out.

I do not know what level of segregation/integration is optimal. If the market finds a different equilibrium than one that works out in my head, then I cannot do anything about it. To feel that it is unfair only helps to make any and all of my actions more unproductive.

Government is necessary but must be held accountable for its decisions.

Two contradictory statements by nature. If an institution can steal from everyone, then there is no way to make it accountable.


2 thoughts on “Jon Stewart’s 19 Questions

  1. Pingback: No Entry « rezzealaux

  2. Pingback: The New One Political Party: Hipsters (Logistics) « All Else Is Halation

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