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A Political Platform

Announcer: Hello, and welcome to the Presidential Debates. There's been a slight change this year. Elliot is going to speak because he's so cool. Bush and maybe Kerry can speak if there is extra time.

*bows*

Before I begin with my positions, I want to address two issues. The first is Statism. The other candidates here are Statists, and that's something you have to watch out for. What that means is they attribute mystical, magical powers to States. For example they think States can solve problems that ordinary people can't. But this doesn't make much sense, because who makes up a government? Just people like you and me.

The second is some people might say my ideas are too simplistic to work. But that's a misunderstanding. They only seem simple because our whole society is smart! We understand a lot of things. When candidates want to avoid ideas that seem simple and true in favour of complex ones, that just means they want to use their own pet theory that, when explained, is confusing not persuasive. But good ideas are something everyone can understand!

Now, I've been asked to go over a number of key issues: taxes, schools, welfare and social programs, the military, immigration, gun control, and abortion, so that's what I'll do.

Now, I'm just going to go over the general ideas for each one. We don't need to talk about the exact numbers involved. We have experts to figure those out. What's important in a leader is having a good plan, not figuring out every detail, which should be a team effort.

As for taxes, I'm going to lower them. Why? Because I think you are competent to spend your own money well. I don't want to redistribute it with central planning because I'm not a Statist -- I don't think that the State is better at planning than ordinary people. And not only that, each of you only has a little money (compared to the wealth of the whole country), and will pay a lot of attention to your own money. But if the government tries to distribute wealth, it will have a small number of employees trying to deal with the money from many, many people. So, we would have more bureaucrats (with salaries) doing a worse job than you would do. We don't need that.

As for schools, I support vouchers, and I will cut funding to public schools to pay for it. Why? Because the public school system doesn't work! They keep telling us if we just give them more money, then it will work. But we've tried that. And it failed. So I say, let the market take care of it. If parents have money to spend on a good school, then capitalists will create those good schools. Teaching the next generation is not the place of government.

As for welfare and social programs, I'm against those. I know charity is important, but I just don't think central planning is the way to do it. I know you are all good people, and you'll give any extra money you can to people who need it. I trust you to decide how much money you can spare, not the tax collector.

As for the military, I'm going to increase funding. Why? Because I want to be safe. There is evil in the world. There are bad people who want to kill us. And I won't hide my head in the sand and pretend they aren't out there. Rather, I'm going to face facts, stand tall, and fight them off. And I'm not scared of them either; we can beat them. We just have to put some effort into it.

As for immigration, I say if someone wants to live here, great! People are not locusts. They won't ravage our country and destroy our resources. Most immigrants will just get jobs and help create more wealth for everyone. Now, I understand that if there were a lot of welfare programs, then immigrants would be expensive. But under my leadership, those will be replaced with personal charity. So you don't have to worry about your tax dollars going to immigrants; they will earn their keep.

As for gun control, I like guns. They are a great tool. It used to be a strong man could intimidate a small man. But guns are the great equaliser. When everyone is armed, no one wants to start a fight. I want everyone to be able to defend themselves, so that's why I'm against gun control.

Abortion is a contentious issue. A lot of well-meaning people disagree. On the one hand, some of you think it's murder. On the other hand, some people say it's free choice. Now, I don't see how freedom could excuse murder. So I think the left is wrong about this. But what about an abortion before the fetus has a working brain? How could that be murder? I respect everyone's right to believe in souls, but I don't want to make laws about them.

So in conclusion, if you like personal freedom and a responsible government, not central planning or a nanny state, then vote for me. If you like ideas too confusing for a politician to explain to you, vote for a socialist.

Thank you, God bless you, and good night.

*bows*


Elliot Temple on March 29, 2004

Comments (23)

*Applauds*


Tom Robinson at 7:00 AM on March 29, 2004 | #875

^^


Elliot at 7:40 AM on March 29, 2004 | #876

I'd vote for you like a shot :)



What's your position on funding NASA, Mr Putative President? (someone always has to ask a tricky question after the political broadcast)


emma at 8:34 AM on March 29, 2004 | #877

I would prefer to not be blessed by whatever it is you think God is, thank you.


Unknown at 7:59 PM on March 29, 2004 | #878

I'm an atheist, silly.


Elliot at 9:33 PM on March 29, 2004 | #879

Then why did you say "God bless you"?


Confused at 11:17 PM on March 29, 2004 | #880

- to annoy/provoke people who hate religion



- it's traditional



- if you drop the mystical content from "God bless you" and from "good luck" you get about the same thing. in both cases it's a perfectly nice thing to say.


Elliot at 12:26 AM on March 30, 2004 | #881

"Grüss Gott" is a completely normal Alpine greeting, regardless of people's beliefs, BTW.


emma at 7:22 AM on March 30, 2004 | #882

Oh, I think I see.



Your just like all those other politicians who will say whatever it takes to get elected ("God bless you"), even when it directly conflicts your own beliefs ("I'm an atheist").


Less Confused at 9:42 AM on March 30, 2004 | #883

no, i don't see that on my list.



i *like* saying it, i wasn't just trying to be popular. (in fact, if u ever give a speech, i highly recommend not putting in bits meant to annoy/provoke some ppl)



love and peace,

~ curi


Elliot at 9:52 AM on March 30, 2004 | #884

"i *like* saying it".



Fascinating, you like saying something that is completely contradictory to your own core beliefs. Can you explain why it is you like saying "God bless you", even though you claim you are an atheist? I honestly have no idea.


Now Very Curious at 4:28 PM on March 30, 2004 | #885

i thought i already did answer.



i like to annoy and provoke people who hate religion.



it's traditional



it's fun



i don't see it as any more mystical than wishing someone good luck. is "luck" a coherent concept? not really. but all the saying really means is you hope things turn out well, or something similarly pleasant. similarly we can use "God bless you" for the primary content of the saying, while not worrying about how precisely coherent blessings are.



just b/c God doesn't exist does not mean we should throw out all ideas that reference God. most only need very slight changes.



----



if you asked me why i bowed, i would say it's traditional and fun. that's *less* reason. nothing else comes to mind.



war and hate,

~ curi


Elliot at 6:48 PM on March 30, 2004 | #886

Of course, if you bowed and noone was clapping, that'd be a real tumbleweed moment. Just say "thank you for listening" graciously if they aren't showering you with the applause+votes that speech deserves.


emma at 1:29 AM on March 31, 2004 | #887

Do most people bow these days? Just saying...



Good speech! :-)


Camille at 4:27 PM on March 31, 2004 | #888

"luck" and "blessing" are coherent ideas, referring to hoping for good to come out of the unknown future. Doesn't have to limited to use by a particular population (g*d-fearing, for instance, or eastern religion) Useful shorthand for concepts humans share by virtue of their shared human experience.


percival at 5:55 PM on April 5, 2004 | #889

I'd have some comments about the part of your speech referring to welfare, but after what I've read about "God bless you", I'm not sure if the welfare part means what I think it means, either. So could you please say if I should take it as it is, or if there's something else I should know?



Thanks in advance,

Kletta



P.S. I think it's fair to warn you that I'm a leftist. 88-) But I don't think that my comments have to do with that fact alone.


Kletta at 11:01 AM on April 12, 2004 | #890

I dislike welfare. If someone can't get a job (almost all people who don't, just don't want to), and has no friends to help, has no parents to help, and can't figure out who to ask you or some other leftist/altruist/whatever for money, I don't see why he shouldn't starve to death. Taking money by force (taxes) and then giving it away to useless people, seems like a bad idea to me. Hope that's clear.


Elliot at 2:16 PM on April 12, 2004 | #891

Almost all of this is clear. Just this part isn’t quite clear: “and can't figure out who to ask you or some other leftist/altruist/whatever for money”. I wonder if it means “and can't figure out how to ask you or some other leftist/altruist/whatever for money”, or ”and can't figure out who to ask (you or some other leftist/altruist/whatever) for money”, or something else.



Anyway, I pretty much understand this, I just don’t agree with it (based on what little I know about poverty in the USA). But this time, my comments do come from the fact that I’m left-wing. 88-) I’m just glad you explained this is what you think, which, IMHO, is quite different from what you said in your speech. (Not saying the difference is a bad thing, just glad to understand it.)



Actually, I’d like to ask if I got something right about your last comment, about the “useless people” part. See, I’d already read “Against Sharing Equally” by Sarah Fitz-Claridge ( http://www.fitz-claridge.com/Articles/AgainstSharingEqually.html ), and I thought that in _one certain way_, it put society before the individual, and now I think the same about your comment—and I’d like to know if I’m right. Of course, I know there’s a basic difference, since you wrote about the use of society’s money, while Sarah wrote mainly (but not only) about individual decisions on money. What I mean is that you seem to think that the mere survival of an individual isn’t worth society’s money (and maybe it wouldn’t even be _that_ much money) if it means just that, eir mere survival, and no contribution to society. OTOH (and this is mostly in Sarah’s article) things that may benefit society, no matter how indirectly, are well worth the money. Am I completely on the wrong track?



And I can see why taking money away by force is a bad idea. Sigh. I just wish more people would give voluntarily (or click those wonderful free-donation sites. 88-) ). But now I can’t resist, I’ll ask some more questions: do you believe in taxes for purposes other than charity? What’s your opinion on the draft? (Hope I got the English expression right.) (And BTW, what do you think, what should be done about abandoned babies?)



Thanks in advance!


Kletta at 7:12 AM on April 13, 2004 | #892

silly me i totally forgot. the other force besides not wanting a job (or total, 1-in-a-million incompetence) that keeps people unemployed is the minimum wage laws. those gotta go. this way slightly useful people can be employed at the appropriate wage, which will be plenty to live.



that was supposed to be 'how' not 'who'.



i did explain welfare differently in my speech. there's lots of ways to explain the same thing.



sarah's analysis takes into account individuals and societies without choosing one to put first. as does mine. i think it's better for individuals to be taxed less and to care about bums less. and i think it's better for society to have a stronger economy and smaller government and stuff like that. win/win.



if someone was worth giving money to, A) someone very well might do that *by choice* *with his own money* and B) a capitalist company might very well find a way to help this person and make a profit while doing it.



I'm from the US. I personally don't care about abandoned babies. if other people do they could voluntarily fund orphanages.



i believe in taxes as a temporary measure to provide things that cannot currently be provided by the free market. for example if we stopped funding the military, a new one owned by microsoft or whoever would *not* spring up overnight to save Iraq. hmmm... it's not that using taxes for any particular kind of thing is innately wrong. it's just there are certain ones that I think are bad ideas. a waste of my money. this includes things i don't want done at all (giving away money to poor people), and things that would be done better by the free market (for example, the post office is inefficient, and could easily be replaced by private companies given some advanced warning)



ok and the draft sucks because i value freedom. also individual people have a better idea of whether they ought to join the military than a *random* person picker does.


Elliot at 7:44 AM on April 13, 2004 | #893

"the other force besides not wanting a job (or total, 1-in-a-million incompetence) that keeps people unemployed is the minimum wage laws. those gotta go. this way slightly useful people can be employed at the appropriate wage, which will be plenty to live."



Less than minimum wages is plenty to live? Wow, I wonder, have you looked up the dictionary for 'minimum'? It's okay, just a generalised meaning will do. Minimum means (surprise surprise) the minimum!



"that was supposed to be 'how' not 'who'."



Great. Excellent. I love the way your philosophy is so clear and "simple" and coherent.



"i think it's better for individuals to be taxed less and to care about bums less. and i think it's better for society to have a stronger economy and smaller government and stuff like that. win/win."



Less taxes and ignoring the poor = stronger economy. Wow I see how that works, such an insight! No really, enlighten me, politician.



"if someone was worth giving money to, A) someone very well might do that *by choice* *with his own money* and B) a capitalist company might very well find a way to help this person and make a profit while doing it."



It's not enough though. Look at the number of people donating to non-profit organisations. Besides, a certain amount of money (taxes) would help a poor person a lot more in providing for their essentials than a wealthier person who will buy goods that make them happy for 3 hours.



"I'm from the US. I personally don't care about abandoned babies. if other people do they could voluntarily fund orphanages."



What has you being in the US got anything to do with it? You don't have to care about abandoned babies, but tax reductions are what will kill them more frequently. How come it's right for your opinion to decide whether these babies live or not?



"i believe in taxes as a temporary measure to provide things that cannot currently be provided by the free market. for example if we stopped funding the military, a new one owned by microsoft or whoever would *not* spring up overnight to save Iraq."



Mmm... save Iraq's people, but don't save poor people and abandoned babies. How does that work? Speaking in your terms, I could easily say "I don't care about Iraq. People who do should personally fund it out of their own income and countries who do care can pay. But not me. If Iraq can't protect itself and can't get other people to protect them then too bad. Not my problem."


Shel at 10:14 AM on April 13, 2004 | #894

sum1 earning much less than minimum wage will not starve to death. hence, enough to live.



are you really going to say my philosophy is wrong b/c i make typos?



Being from the US has to do with answering something from the comment I was responding to. Specifically the part that said "Hope I got the English expression right". On reflection, this was probably the language, instead of the nationality. Oh well, no harm done. (Feel free to psychoanalyse me and determine that I talk to more ppl from England than non-native English speakers, if you want.)



My opinion should decide if my money goes to the babies. If you want to fund them, just use your own money, and I'm fine with that. Your question is a lot like: how come your opinion should decide if you buy me a new computer?



Iraq, unsaved, funded terrorism.



ok so imagine a town full of anarchists with no taxes. they are all equally threatened by terrorists. some want to defend, and some for whatever odd reasons would rather save their money. and it turns out they need contributions from everyone to mount an effective defense. if only the sensible people contribute, the terrorists will win. in this scenario, what's better. taking money to save everyone, or having the town be destroyed?


Elliot at 10:32 AM on April 13, 2004 | #895

"sum1 earning much less than minimum wage will not starve to death. hence, enough to live."



But no basic rights such as shelter, childcare and education? If they live in such conditions their children will have a narrow future, thus increasing the population of 'useless people'.



"are you really going to say my philosophy is wrong b/c i make typos?"



Nope, I've never said that. Just that it is annoying to piece together and vague in meaning.



"Being from the US has to do with answering something from the comment I was responding to. Specifically the part that said "Hope I got the English expression right". On reflection, this was probably the language, instead of the nationality."



Ah okay, thanks for clearing it up.



"My opinion should decide if my money goes to the babies. If you want to fund them, just use your own money, and I'm fine with that. Your question is a lot like: how come your opinion should decide if you buy me a new computer?"



As I said in the other thread: The freedom of choosing not to fund the babies are costing the babies' lives and their freedom to live. People who choose to pay would not be enough to compensate for those who choose to not pay. Whether or not I get a computer donation from you does not restrict my freedom to eat, to breathe, to buy things of my own etc. By not donating to the babies you are deciding that more of them would die.



"Iraq, unsaved, funded terrorism."



I don't agree... I sort of explained why in the other thread. But supposing that's the case, you are saying that you will not pay for anything unless it benefits you - fund defense because you fear terrorism, refuse people in need of money because you choose to spend it for yourself...



"what's better. taking money to save everyone, or having the town be destroyed?"



Taking money to save everyone.



In the babies example: what's better - taking money from everyone to save them, or have a portion of the babies destroyed?



And can you answer how ignoring the poor and less taxes would result in a stronger economy?


Shel at 7:25 AM on April 16, 2004 | #896

“sum1 earning much less than minimum wage will not starve to death. hence, enough to live."



Well, there’s still the question of shelter in cold places. (Also, my usual linguistic nitpicking: in my mind, ”plenty to live” and ”enough to live” mean quite different things, so thanks for clearing that up.)



And what Shel said reminds me of one of your previous comments, Elliot.

” If someone can't get a job (almost all people who don't, just don't want to), and has no friends to help, has no parents to help, and can't figure out how to ask you or some other leftist/altruist/whatever for money, I don't see why he shouldn't starve to death.”



Should his young children (who can’t yet ask others on their own) starve to death, too? Also, if the leftists/altruists/charities have limited resources, then it’s not always a matter of what the poor person can figure out...



”i think it's better for individuals to be taxed less and to care about bums less.”



So ”bums” aren’t individuals, too? Just kidding. I guess you mean bums are lazy people who could always choose to stop being lazy and become one of the individuals who benefit. But again, I don’t want to misinterpret what you say. Anyway, I don’t quite understand how this interpretation fits your article, and especially Sarah’s—with the approaches you want, would ”bums” truly be the only people less cared for?



”if someone was worth giving money to, A) someone very well might do that *by choice* *with his own money* and B) a capitalist company might very well find a way to help this person and make a profit while doing it.”



Yes, they might very well do. But how likely is it? I think the likelihood makes a big difference.



“i believe in taxes as a temporary measure to provide things that cannot currently be provided by the free market. for example if we stopped funding the military, a new one owned by microsoft or whoever would *not* spring up overnight to save Iraq.”



And I think that in the same way, a new group of people willing to spend money on charity would not spring up, either. (Like I've said in the other thread, I think the present situation could help us make guesses about the future.)



“'what's better. taking money to save everyone, or having the town be destroyed?'



Taking money to save everyone.



In the babies example: what's better - taking money from everyone to save them, or have a portion of the babies destroyed?”



I agree with Shel. I also tried to connect the two examples, but the other way around...



So, if I got this right, some of the anarchists are told that not giving money for defense will mean the whole town’s certain destruction, but they still don’t want to give money (maybe they don’t believe the threat is real, or maybe they wouldn’t mind being destroyed, or something else, who knows). Then, if their only two choices are to 1. pay for the defense, or 2. have no defense, they’d choose 2. So these people—Group A—wouldn’t see 2. as a problem, and if they were forced into 1., they wouldn’t see it as help. It’s just the others, Group B, who see 2. as a problem, and want to force Group A to help them solve it. So, by your logic, why should it be Group B’s choice whether Group A pays for a defense _they_ want?





BTW, I think states do have special powers, whether or not they _should_. Isn’t it part of the definition of a state that it has more power than ordinary people?



And I’m also curious about what emma has asked: what's your position on funding NASA?



Thanks in advance,

Kletta


Kletta at 9:58 AM on April 20, 2004 | #897

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)