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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:05 pm 
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Bloomfield wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Critical thinking, to the best of our abilities, is important, of course. That said, it doesn't pay the bills for most of us. This isn't to denigrate the ideas you posit, here, but I do believe it provides a clue as to why "fuzziness" operates, whatever our ideals. As a card-carrying member of the Hoi Polloi, I have to shave every day, I'm so fuzzy.


What pays the bills is to disengage critical thought at critical times, right? ;)

And by the way, since you are card-carrying: It's a member of "Hoi Polloi" not "the" Hoi Polloi, which would be "member of the the people". Just a fuzzy point from your friend, Bloomfuzz. ;)


Me no speak Greak. :P


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:47 pm 
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Yours Truly wrote:
...ideas are...at their best when applied to temporal concerns...


...and at their worst, too. :roll:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:16 pm 
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I naturally appreciate the precision re Hoi Polloi--although in fairness, it's become an English expression. I think Wodehouse used to use refer to the masses as "the great manyheaded."

Nano, I certainly agree with most of what you say about why people tend to fuzziness--although I, too, carry a card, yet am fuzzy in the sense that I don't shave. Nevertheless, those fuzzies vote and--shock! horror!--politicians have got Fuzzy Lib totally figured out. Their speeches sound a little like athlete speak: get past it, time to move on, etc. Anyway fuzzies who vote reflect their fuzziness. True, fuzziness is a fact of life, but as I say, it matters what we're fuzzy about.

In America we have adopted fuzzy ideas from the Enlightenment age about the nature of and relations between the individual and society and God. I believe those ideas to be debilitating to the public weal as they work their way into policy prescriptions.

One example might be ideas about the universal benefit of education--as if it were an automatic process. So many credit hours, so much benefit. Not that I'm against more education for all, but our fuzziness about human nature and education has led to the debasement of the educational process so that it doesn't provide the intended benefit.

And what's the result? Bloomie-my-name-is-Bloomfield has to waste his time correcting everyone else's Greek! And the rest of us are left wondering which is the cure and which the disease--and which is better or worse. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:31 pm 
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elendil wrote:
I naturally appreciate the precision re Hoi Polloi--although in fairness, it's become an English expression. I think Wodehouse used to use refer to the masses as "the great manyheaded."

...

And what's the result? Bloomie-my-name-is-Bloomfield has to waste his time correcting everyone else's Greek! And the rest of us are left wondering which is the cure and which the disease--and which is better or worse. :)


Just to waste some more time: I wasn't correcting Nano's Greek (dare I presume?), I was correcting his English. ;)

As for your preceived disease and the quest for a cure: It's not a disease and there is no cure. You will either be accusing those who don't do as you will of fuzziness (your education example), or you will be cross at people for calling themselves what they aren't ("you're no conservative! You're a Fuzzy Libertarian" --- "Um, ok. I still don't think Bush should be able to see what books I take out of a public library").

Either way, wondering about fuzziness doesn't help any of the issues, and your time would be better spent learning a bit of Greek.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:37 pm 
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elendil wrote:
I naturally appreciate the precision re Hoi Polloi--although in fairness, it's become an English expression. I think Wodehouse used to use refer to the masses as "the great manyheaded."


That would be Martin Milner. I recall that he'd claimed possession of three.

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Nano, I certainly agree with most of what you say about why people tend to fuzziness--although I, too, carry a card, yet am fuzzy in the sense that I don't shave. Nevertheless, those fuzzies vote and--shock! horror!--politicians have got Fuzzy Lib totally figured out. Their speeches sound a little like athlete speak: get past it, time to move on, etc. Anyway fuzzies who vote reflect their fuzziness. True, fuzziness is a fact of life, but as I say, it matters what we're fuzzy about.


True. Much of what is presented to us is frankly hirsute. It makes scrutiny a very exhausting task for me, I can tell you. This is in part due to my lopsided education (see below). The alternative to the vote might result in a less pleasant outcome, though. It appears that sweeping up after ourselves is part of the process, in the meantime.

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In America we have adopted fuzzy ideas from the Enlightenment age about the nature of and relations between the individual and society and God. I believe those ideas to be debilitating to the public weal as they work their way into policy prescriptions.

One example might be ideas about the universal benefit of education--as if it were an automatic process. So many credit hours, so much benefit. Not that I'm against more education for all, but our fuzziness about human nature and education has led to the debasement of the educational process so that it doesn't provide the intended benefit.

And what's the result? Bloomie-my-name-is-Bloomfield has to waste his time correcting everyone else's Greek! And the rest of us are left wondering which is the cure and which the disease--and which is better or worse. :)


I would hesitate to trust anyone who'd claim to know the answer to that. :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 1:52 pm 
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NanoHoiPolloi wrote:
That would be Martin Milner. I recall that he'd claimed possession of three.


Umm, that might have been arms and not heads, come to think of it. Haven't met the fellow, myself.

Martin? :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:23 pm 
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Bloomfield wrote:
I wasn't correcting Nano's Greek (dare I presume?)


Please. Don't let's bandy about wild speculations as to my orientation. It's just not germane. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:24 pm 
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Hey Nano, would you like Elendil and the rest of us to just clear out of here, while you carry on this thread by yourself? We don't mean to intrude. ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:31 pm 
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:lol:

Sorry. It's the fuzziness. I'd better go shave, now.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 4:11 pm 
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Quote:
Either way, wondering about fuzziness doesn't help any of the issues, and your time would be better spent learning a bit of Greek.


While I'll readily admit to a misspent youth, one thing I did see to then that I don't regret now was the acquisition of a bit of Greek. Whether I truly took Dr. Johnson's dictum to heart is for others to decide.

However, having seen to that, I now find myself with sufficient time to pursue fuzziness. And a rewarding pastime it is.

And since we're all trying to be precise with our wording, I'll add that I don't so much wonder about Fuzzy Lib as worry about it. I do keep my Greek up--and not shaving helps give me time for that--but I do still believe that we should all not only worry about Fuzzy Lib but do something about it as well. An excellent start is determining where commonly accepted ideas come from. It's no waste of time. If you want to help with the issues, it's best to start with a thorough understanding of the issues. And as a student of Greek I naturally favor the Aristotelean procedure of first reviewing popularly held opinions on a given issue before offering a solution.[/quote]

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:25 pm 
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I hate to post to these political threads, but I'm biting on this one.

I'm one of those fuzzy libertarians -- I tend to think of it as moderate or pragmatic libertarianism. As an idealist, I think letting the free market take care of everything is a great idea, but in practice, markets are not free, and people are not perfect. For example, I'm all for free trade, but it has to go both ways -- one country can't have zero tarriffs and zero export incentives while another has both. Most importantly, I don't think the market will protect the environment for a number of reasons. I believe it was Socrates or Plato who said something to the effect, A society composed of great men has no need for laws. Libertarianism, just as Communism, would function well if all the people were good, but face it, in any collection of a few hundred million people, there are going to be those who are lazy, evil, slow, or any combination of those not-so-desirable charactistics and many others.

I saw Harry Browne (LP candidate for president the last two elections) once, and I loved his approach to moderate libertarianism, as opposed to Andre Marrou's (previous nominee) approach of pretty strict libertarianism. Browne's basic philosophy is to rein back the Federal Government so that it's operating within the limits of the Constitution. (This is one of the traditional American definitions of conservatism -- a conservative interpretation of the Constitution.) The Constitution doesn't ALLOW the Feds to do anything. There are a very few tasks the Feds are REQUIRED to take on, a few things that the Feds and States are BARRED from doing, and all of the in-between is what the States are ALLOWED to do.

Congress has abused the Interstate Commerce Clause so badly that even the Supreme Court has sat up and taken notice. A few years ago, as part of the Brady Law, I think, Congress said that no person may posess a gun within 1000 yards of a school. This was challenged, and was struck down, not on the basis that it violated the Second Amendment, but that Congress had abused the ICC. The Gov't's argument was that if a student were shot, this might hinder interstate commerce because this person would probably purchase something that had been transported across state lines. I think that's pretty lame. But what's even worse is that within hours of this decision Bill Clinton told Janet Reno to, "Find a way around it," and continue enforcing this law. And even worse than that, I read a quote in the newspaper at least two years later from a sponsor of the original bill lauding the effectiveness of the law. Evidently the Government just completely ignored the Supremes.

Of course, the States are to blame to a great extent, too, for playing the game. I heard an interview with a school superintendent awhile back who said she was withdrawing from the "No child left behind" act. (Entire states are discussing this, too.) Her school system was getting $150K in Federal aid, and it was costing them $750K to comply. The schools where I live are among the best and wealthiest in the nation. Why are they getting Federal aid? And why are so many school systems continuing to have several employees who are paid just to write grants, and several more to ensure compliance with all the Federal requirements, just to get an average of 7% of their budgets in Federal aid? I think the net return in the vast majority of cases is negative, but I guess it helps employment.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:43 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Bloomfield wrote:
I wasn't correcting Nano's Greek (dare I presume?)


Please. Don't let's bandy about wild speculations as to my orientation. It's just not germane. :lol:


Nano, do you have a Greek?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:44 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Bloomfield wrote:
I wasn't correcting Nano's Greek (dare I presume?)


Please. Don't let's bandy about wild speculations as to my orientation. It's just not germane. :lol:


Nano, do you have a Greek?


They're all Greek to him.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:49 pm 
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Charlie, let me bite--well, nibble--at a couple of the points you raised.

Quote:
As an idealist, I think letting the free market take care of everything is a great idea, but in practice, markets are not free, and people are not perfect.

Hayek certainly recognized that a precondition for any market economy is the rule of law. I don't think that type of libertarianism really even needs to, or should, set up the "free market" as some unattainable yet ideal goal. The ideal, to me, is a just society based on law that reflects reality as it is, and thus allows for all types of human activity. Economic activity will, of course, always be one type of activity and a basically important one.

Quote:
Most importantly, I don't think the market will protect the environment for a number of reasons.

I tend to be in favor of letting markets work as freely as possible, but I certainly agree with you on this. The problem as I see it is the unwarranted assumption of what we could perhaps agree to call "ideologically oriented" or "doctrinaire" libertarians that the market will take into account all different types of human goods. The fact is that at least some people will job the system, beggar their neighbors, go for the quick buck, and leave a mess for others to deal with. I'm quite sure Hayek understood that.

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Libertarianism, just as Communism, would function well if all the people were good, but face it, in any collection of a few hundred million people, there are going to be those who are lazy, evil, slow, or any combination of those not-so-desirable charactistics and many others.

Here I would quibble and side with Aquinas' contention that even in a world not afflicted by original sin, government would still be a necessity. I think, however, that a bad system--like Communism--can affect even good people. I'm taking you to mean L & C in the ideologically perfect form--no government, only market operation or pure dictatorship of the proletariate.

May I ask a personal question: were you wearing Hazmat when you posted? :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:34 pm 
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AAAARGH!!!!!

Invalid session notice AGAIN!!!!

I had this nice, bloated screed to contribute, and it was, mirabile dictu, on topic! *sigh*

I was quite pleased with it, too. It wasn't too self-serving, either. :cry:


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