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Lallante
September 27 2012, 11:06:49 AM
Yes it can do that, but look at the post I was originally replying to - "I hate the democratic and republican parties equally". If someone genuinely believes both options to be equally unpalatable, then they've nothing to lose by voting third party.

Also, given the amount of time you spend sneering at "the left", I rather assumed you to be a Tory.

No. I am left of centre socially and in terms of welfare provision, and dead centre in terms of economics and centre right in terms of personal responsibility / paternalistic state control. I'm what one might call a liberal paternalist - I believe in state intervention where people behave irrationally and freedom from state interference when people behave rationally (this is a form of soft paternalism).

I have more hatred for the far left than the far right because in most cases they ought to know better. The far right are essentially a product of lack of education and a biggotted upbringing.

Evelgrivion
September 28 2012, 09:22:40 AM
Yes it can do that, but look at the post I was originally replying to - "I hate the democratic and republican parties equally". If someone genuinely believes both options to be equally unpalatable, then they've nothing to lose by voting third party.

Also, given the amount of time you spend sneering at "the left", I rather assumed you to be a Tory.

No. I am left of centre socially and in terms of welfare provision, and dead centre in terms of economics and centre right in terms of personal responsibility / paternalistic state control. I'm what one might call a liberal paternalist - I believe in state intervention where people behave irrationally and freedom from state interference when people behave rationally (this is a form of soft paternalism).

I have more hatred for the far left than the far right because in most cases they ought to know better. The far right are essentially a product of lack of education and a biggotted upbringing.

Could you clarify with what constitutes irrational behavior? Is it limited to people being dumb, ignorant or shortsighted? If irrationality involves abusing the legal system, is the right solution to simplify the legal system, or to crack down on the systems of abuse?

Lallante
September 28 2012, 10:23:25 AM
Yes it can do that, but look at the post I was originally replying to - "I hate the democratic and republican parties equally". If someone genuinely believes both options to be equally unpalatable, then they've nothing to lose by voting third party.

Also, given the amount of time you spend sneering at "the left", I rather assumed you to be a Tory.

No. I am left of centre socially and in terms of welfare provision, and dead centre in terms of economics and centre right in terms of personal responsibility / paternalistic state control. I'm what one might call a liberal paternalist - I believe in state intervention where people behave irrationally and freedom from state interference when people behave rationally (this is a form of soft paternalism).

I have more hatred for the far left than the far right because in most cases they ought to know better. The far right are essentially a product of lack of education and a biggotted upbringing.

Could you clarify with what constitutes irrational behavior? Is it limited to people being dumb, ignorant or shortsighted? If irrationality involves abusing the legal system, is the right solution to simplify the legal system, or to crack down on the systems of abuse?

A perfect example of a liberal paternalist policy to correct irrational behaviour is an "opt-out" organ donation scheme. The irrational behaviour is that many people who don't mind having their organs donated to save lives, never actually sign up as an organ doner to ensure this happens. The policy leaves people with the same freedom they had before but ensures that the irrational behaviour is corrected.

Another example might be making it law that all employers have to use as a default option that all employees make pension contributions as salary sacrifice (but allow them to opt out). Currently most employers offer pension options on an opt-in basis, and this has been shown to lead to lower uptake rates than should be the case, rationally. Pensions have wide social benefits and are very much a wise use of income, so encouraging people to establish and contribute to one is a public good.

Another example might be smoking. If we introduced a registration requirement for all smokers for a nominal fee (10 a year), requiring anyone wishing to buy cigarettes to register and get a photo-id cigarette card that would be necessary to purchase cigarettes, levels of cigarette uptake (especially among teenagers) would plumet without negatively effecting people's liberty.

A fourth example would be strict advertising laws against misleading advertising or advertising targetted at minors. A lot of advertising is intended to encourage consumers to make irrational economic decisions. Advertising should be limited to explaining a product and comparing it with provable statistics against its competitors. I would ban advertising, for example, of shampoos with phrases like "New SuperSilk techology" would be banned as this is essentially bollocks - shampoo technology has barely changed since the 80s, they just add random posh ingredients that have no proven benefits and call it a technological breakthrough to mislead consumers.

A fifth example might be to ban sale of herbal remedies, homeopathy etc advertised as being for medical purposes, unless it could be shown that the balance of scientific evidence had demonstrated efficiacy. I'd fund such research where it was lacking but early results looked promising.

A sixth example would be to accurately tax externalities. I'd support the current governments carbon price floor policy and push for it to be adopted europe wide (our measures are much stricter). I'd employ economists to study the full externality costs of alcohol, junk food, ciggarettes, polution etc and tax accordingly. This would correct market irrationality by pricing-in external costs.

Frug
September 28 2012, 02:30:24 PM
The irrational behaviour is that many people who don't mind having their organs donated to save lives, never actually sign up as an organ doner to ensure this happens. The policy leaves people with the same freedom they had before but ensures that the irrational behaviour is corrected.
I stopped reading when you said that someone who "doesn't mind" having their organs donated is being irrational by not signing up.

If you're going to pontificate about how to reduce irrationality, it would help if you understood what constitutes irrational behavior.

Lallante
September 28 2012, 03:22:06 PM
The irrational behaviour is that many people who don't mind having their organs donated to save lives, never actually sign up as an organ doner to ensure this happens. The policy leaves people with the same freedom they had before but ensures that the irrational behaviour is corrected.
I stopped reading when you said that someone who "doesn't mind" having their organs donated is being irrational by not signing up.

If you're going to pontificate about how to reduce irrationality, it would help if you understood what constitutes irrational behavior.

*Asks what lallante means by "irrational" behaviour
*dismisses answer out of hand as wrong
*is retarded
*is Frug

The above is an example of irrational behaviour because, in economic terms, those people should be donating their organs - they want to and the "price" is right (that is to say, the benefit, in terms of happiness from their own altruism, outweighs their perception of any costs to them).

The fact that they dont donate cannot be explained through economic rationality alone - they want to donate their organs, if you asked them whether they want to donate their organs they would say yes, if you handed them a clipboard and said "sign here and you will donate your organs" they would do so, AND YET they do not sign up for organ donation.

The explanation for the irrational behaviour is psychological. People procrastinate, they forget, they lack knowledge of how to sign up for organ donation or they simply dont care enough to look into it, or, for many, there is an irrational tendancy to avoid changing their status as donors despite wanting to be in the donor camp. Under rational market conditions they would be doners, but they are not.

There is a scientific term for this behaviour, its called "status quo bias", and Frug, its a common form of irrationality.

Consider yourself slightly less clueless than before you started reading this :)

Tafkat
September 28 2012, 03:46:17 PM
So your take on liberalism involves permits and state licensing for common vices? If that's not a troll, it's... certainly rather unique.

e: also, this doesn't have much of anything to do with the election.

Lallante
September 28 2012, 04:02:03 PM
So your take on liberalism involves permits and state licensing for common vices? If that's not a troll, it's... certainly rather unique.

e: also, this doesn't have much of anything to do with the election.

Yes. Its liberal (aka "soft") paternalism, not "my take" on classic liberalism.

Please can a mod hive off the last 7 posts (i.e.) this page into a new thread entitled "Paternalism"? Its an interesting topic.

spasm
September 28 2012, 04:24:33 PM
Keep it nice people.

Frug
September 28 2012, 05:07:39 PM
The above is an example of irrational behaviour because, in economic terms, those people should be donating their organs - they want to and the "price" is right (that is to say, the benefit, in terms of happiness from their own altruism, outweighs their perception of any costs to them).

Oh, Lall. We're going to get into the same thing as the last debate where you clung to a flawed opinion and watered it down until it wasn't obviously flawed.

Not having a problem with it and wanting to do it are two different things. Your exact words, and the ones I was responding to, was that people don't have a problem with it. Sneaking in a change of language here is transparent.

Unless you intend to pay them for signing up, they have no reason to want to. It is zero sum. If you are suggesting they get paid, you should say so, and then lets see where your argument leads. I think the hidden implication in everything you're saying is that people don't have any rational reason not to donate their organs... but the logical conclusion of that line of thinking is to force everyone to donate, which sounds extreme. So you're trying to worm that hard line opinion into something softer by saying they're irrational if they haven't made a decision on it. If you're going to preach your brand of rationality, bring it out into the open and say you think everyone should have to donate their organs because there's no reason not to. If you did that, you might sound like a bit of an extremist, but you'd trip over your own claims less.

Anyway.

They may not have thought about it enough to decide whether other people taking a scalpel to their genitals is repulsive. You cannot assume that simply because they have not made a decision, that they are being irrational. Nor can you assume they're irrational because they don't give a damn about your happiness after they die.


The fact that they dont donate cannot be explaind through economic rationality alone
Again, economically it's zero sum unless you pay them, but lets keep going.


they want to donate their organs, if you asked them whether they want to donate their organs they would say yes
Lets run with this. If you asked them, they would say yes. I'm being generous and letting you ignore the people who would say no.


The explanation for the irrational behaviour is psychological. People procrastinate, they forget, they lack knowledge of how to sign up for organ donation or they simply dont care enough to look into it, or, for many, there is an irrational tendancy to avoid changing their status as donors despite wanting to be in the donor camp. Again, not making a decision is not irrational. It is perfectly rational to delay a decision. Lacking knowledge is, additionally, not irrational. Only the last one - not wanting to switch in order to be in a certain camp - is irrational. But wait. You said they would say yes if asked.


There is a scientific term for this behaviour, its called "status quo bias", and Frug, its a common form of irrationality.

No Lall, not considering a topic or procrastinating/delaying a decision is not status quo bias. You do not understand what that bias means if you believe this is an example of it. A status quo bias may affect their decision if they do attempt to weigh options but you have just here stated that they are not thinking about it at all. Again, you said they would say yes if asked.

In other words, it is a status quo bias if you ask them, they consider it, and then they say no because they more heavily weigh the cost of switching away from their current status.

You can test whether this is a status quo bias: Take two groups of people, tell one group that they were automatically signed up for being donors a long time ago, and tell the other group that they have not. Then ask both groups to carefully consider whether they would like to switch their status. Tally the results and you may find evidence (but not proof) of status quo bias.

Finally, regarding technical use of the term. If they have not been lazy, but still lack the ability to decide:

A status quo bias can also be a rational route if there are cognitive or informational limitations.
It's not irrational.

Consider yourself slightly less clueless than before you started reading this :)

And I didn't even get into the alternative explanations for their behavior that you ignore. You should not preach rationality until you practice it yourself.

Evelgrivion
September 28 2012, 05:58:06 PM
I don't think I like the idea of "father State knows best," to be perfectly honest. While you say it doesn't infringe on liberties, but it's no different than Voter-ID laws or requiring a permit to protest in a "free speech zone" in respect to the fact that it requisites an act against a predetermined choice to exercise your civil liberties.

In my opinion, the State's role should be in making sure people don't screw each other over, rather than focus on preventing people from doing things that you think are stupid. By the supplied definition, paternalism does not appear to offer any recompense against informed decision makers with thorough knowledge of complex subjects from making superior decisions over, & against, the people who do not have the connections, funding, or time to make comparatively informed decisions.

The most pertinent dangers which the citizens of the state pose to each other are ones of abuse, not neglect.

Straight Hustlin
September 28 2012, 06:37:30 PM
A perfect example of a liberal paternalist policy to correct irrational behaviour is an "opt-out" organ donation scheme. The irrational behaviour is that many people who don't mind having their organs donated to save lives, never actually sign up as an organ doner to ensure this happens. The policy leaves people with the same freedom they had before but ensures that the irrational behaviour is corrected.


Registered specifically to address this point as it was something I had a discussion about with my sister when she had started med school. I will try to find out what the name of the article was that served as the basis for this, but it was basically outlining the pro's & con's of opt out & opt-in organ donation scheme. The conclusion of the doctors that wrote the article was that an opt-in is the preferable method, and heres why. Your argument is that in an opt out scheme would prevent people from irrationally wasting their organs. However this ignores that people are going to treat an opt-out scheme with the same apathy & lack of rationallity that they would an Opt-in Scheme. Your concern of people not opt-ing In when they should is now going to be replaced with people who are not opting out when they should. With an opt in scheme, while there are fewer organs to go around, there is a far less chance of the organ being tainted by the donors life style, as this is something that one considers when they opt in; which is why I am a donor for eyes, liver, & kidneys, but not for lungs & heart as I am a smoker.

With an opt out scheme & people being a donor by default, you will have many more organs available but the likely hood of them being tainted by the donors lifestyle is much higher as well. This means that you now have to have more stringent testing of the organs before transplant & with the time sensitive nature of certain transplants like a heart, this can rob you of the window of opportunity for a successful surgery.

So yes there are pro's & con's to each side of it, but as far the medical practioner's side they would rather ensure the organs are as healthy as possible, rather then as plentiful as possible.

Lallante
September 28 2012, 07:07:14 PM
The above is an example of irrational behaviour because, in economic terms, those people should be donating their organs - they want to and the "price" is right (that is to say, the benefit, in terms of happiness from their own altruism, outweighs their perception of any costs to them).

Oh, Lall. We're going to get into the same thing as the last debate where you clung to a flawed opinion and watered it down until it wasn't obviously flawed.

Not having a problem with it and wanting to do it are two different things. Your exact words, and the ones I was responding to, was that people don't have a problem with it. Sneaking in a change of language here is transparent.
It makes zero difference to my argument or whether the behaviour I described is rational.


Unless you intend to pay them for signing up, they have no reason to want to. It is zero sum. If you are suggesting they get paid, you should say so, and then lets see where your argument leads. I think the hidden implication in everything you're saying is that people don't have any rational reason not to donate their organs... but the logical conclusion of that line of thinking is to force everyone to donate, which sounds extreme. So you're trying to worm that hard line opinion into something softer by saying they're irrational if they haven't made a decision on it. If you're going to preach your brand of rationality, bring it out into the open and say you think everyone should have to donate their organs because there's no reason not to. If you did that, you might sound like a bit of an extremist, but you'd trip over your own claims less.


The organ donation problem is considered a classical example of status-quo bias irrationality. Google "Status quo bias organ donation" if you want evidence of this - all the top results back up my position. You claimed this issue wasnt about irrationality, you are wrong.



Anyway.

They may not have thought about it enough to decide whether other people taking a scalpel to their genitals is repulsive. You cannot assume that simply because they have not made a decision, that they are being irrational. Nor can you assume they're irrational because they don't give a damn about your happiness after they die.
Correct. its possible that some, many or even almost all are rationally choosing not to bother. The fact remains that there are still SOME who would donate but don't due to status quo bias (which is a form of irrational behaviour) and this is what the policy seeks to correct. Rather than argue with me over something which is factually true, please can you just spend 3 minutes googling "status quo bias organ donation" and accept that I have a point.



The fact that they dont donate cannot be explaind through economic rationality alone
Again, economically it's zero sum unless you pay them, but lets keep going.
You seem to think "economically" means "in cash". This is patently bollocks. Rational economic decisions are made by summing all benefits of a course of action, whether they be cash, physical benefits or psychological benefits. The reason people donate organs is that it makes them feel good about themselves. This is a good with an economic value.



they want to donate their organs, if you asked them whether they want to donate their organs they would say yes
Lets run with this. If you asked them, they would say yes. I'm being generous and letting you ignore the people who would say no.
I dont need to ignore them, the fact that SOME would say yes is all it takes for there to be an irrationality gap.



The explanation for the irrational behaviour is psychological. People procrastinate, they forget, they lack knowledge of how to sign up for organ donation or they simply dont care enough to look into it, or, for many, there is an irrational tendancy to avoid changing their status as donors despite wanting to be in the donor camp. Again, not making a decision is not irrational. It is perfectly rational to delay a decision. Lacking knowledge is, additionally, not irrational. Only the last one - not wanting to switch in order to be in a certain camp - is irrational. But wait. You said they would say yes if asked.
Look, this is a well understood and examined topic, its not a controversial one. Just google around a bit and realise that your views are wrong. Lacking knowledge isnt irrational, not bothering to acquire knowledge that is extremely low effort to acquire and helps you achieve an economic goal is.



There is a scientific term for this behaviour, its called "status quo bias", and Frug, its a common form of irrationality.

No Lall, not considering a topic or procrastinating/delaying a decision is not status quo bias. You do not understand what that bias means if you believe this is an example of it. A status quo bias may affect their decision if they do attempt to weigh options but you have just here stated that they are not thinking about it at all. Again, you said they would say yes if asked.

Procrastinating is a classic example of status quo bias.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=procrastinating+status+quo+bias&l=1



In other words, it is a status quo bias if you ask them, they consider it, and then they say no because they more heavily weigh the cost of switching away from their current status.

Sorry but that is just not correct.
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=status+quo+bias

What you are describing is a rational preference for the status quo ante



You can test whether this is a status quo bias: Take two groups of people, tell one group that they were automatically signed up for being donors a long time ago, and tell the other group that they have not. Then ask both groups to carefully consider whether they would like to switch their status. Tally the results and you may find evidence (but not proof) of status quo bias.
This has been done dozens of times in wide ranging studies and fundamentally proves what I am claiming.



Finally, regarding technical use of the term. If they have not been lazy, but still lack the ability to decide:

A status quo bias can also be a rational route if there are cognitive or informational limitations.
It's not irrational.

also from wikipedia:
"Status quo bias is a cognitive bias; an irrational preference for the current state of affairs. Status quo bias should be distinguished from a rational preference for the status quo ante, as when the current state of affairs is objectively superior to the available alternatives, or when imperfect information is a significant problem."





Consider yourself slightly less clueless than before you started reading this :)

And I didn't even get into the alternative explanations for their behavior that you ignore. You should not preach rationality until you practice it yourself.
[/quote]
It doesnt matter if there are alternative explanations. If even 10% of the people I've identified fail to donate as a result of status quo bias my arguement holds. If even 1 does, it holds conceptually (but isnt worth implementing).

Frug
September 28 2012, 07:22:17 PM
The organ donation problem is considered a classical example of status-quo bias irrationality. Google "Status quo bias organ donation" if you want evidence of this - all the top results back up my position. You claimed this issue wasnt about irrationality, you are wrong.
You are still confused about what the status-quo bias means. It can be both rational or irrational. I already cited that quote for you as well. Having a status quo bias can be perfectly rational.

As far as your explanation of it goes here, i see no evidence of irrationality in your attempts to explain it other than the one that I acknowledged. If you want to refute what I'm saying, refute it specifically, don't say "well google says it's an example..." because there's more to it than that and I have already explained why.



You seem to think "economically" means "in cash". This is patently bollocks. Rational economic decisions are made by summing all benefits of a course of action, whether they be cash, physical benefits or psychological benefits. The reason people donate organs is that it makes them feel good about themselves. This is a good with an economic value.

You have not carefully read what I said. Read up and notice the part wherein I explain that you make a (completely irrational) assumption that people should care about your welfare at all, let alone after they die. Tell me again how my not giving a damn about your happiness after I die is irrational. Otherwise stop evading the point.



Look, this is a well understood and examined topic, its not a controversial one. Just google around a bit and realise that your views are wrong. Lacking knowledge isnt irrational, not bothering to acquire knowledge that is extremely low effort to acquire and helps you achieve an economic goal is.

:roll:



It doesnt matter if there are alternative explanations.
Of course it fucking does. It means they may have rational explanations for not having signed up.


If even 10% of the people I've identified fail to donate as a result of status quo bias my arguement holds. If even 1 does, it holds conceptually (but isnt worth implementing).

You don't have responses for the majority of my points but at least you jumped straight to watering it down until it barely resembles what you were originally saying.

Yes, I will certainly agree that there is definitely a small number of people whose choice on this matter can be explained in terms of an irrational status quo bias. As can be said for pretty much every decision made by large numbers of people. You could indeed reverse this and switch their status quo bias to work in favor of your goal and get more people in the organ donor bin.

It remains a bad example of generally irrational behavior weighted heavily by your bias that we should all go sign our donor cards.

pratell
September 28 2012, 08:45:34 PM
in this thread, lallante is really dan ariely.

CastleBravo
September 28 2012, 08:53:18 PM
I am also of the opinion that you should have to "opt-out" of being an organ donor, but I would take it a step further and make it so that people who have at any point been on the opt-out list in the last year or so are only eligible to receive a dontated organ if there are no registered donors that need it, regardless of if they have been waiting longer or not.

Frug
September 28 2012, 09:05:16 PM
I am also of the opinion that you should have to "opt-out" of being an organ donor, but I would take it a step further and make it so that people who have at any point been on the opt-out list in the last year or so are only eligible to receive a dontated organ if there are no registered donors that need it, regardless of if they have been waiting longer or not.

I like this idea. It sounds quite fair.

CastleBravo
September 28 2012, 09:40:03 PM
A fourth example would be strict advertising laws against misleading advertising or advertising targetted at minors. A lot of advertising is intended to encourage consumers to make irrational economic decisions. Advertising should be limited to explaining a product and comparing it with provable statistics against its competitors. I would ban advertising, for example, of shampoos with phrases like "New SuperSilk techology" would be banned as this is essentially bollocks - shampoo technology has barely changed since the 80s, they just add random posh ingredients that have no proven benefits and call it a technological breakthrough to mislead consumers.

I mostly agree with the other stuff (except the carbon tax, but I don't want to derail this) but not this one. I'm of the opinion that entities that cause harm should be held liable, but the government shouldn't be making tons of laws and regulations in some futile attempt to make it impossible to cause harm. There are so many laws in the US now that its basically impossible NOT to break the law since no one person could ever know what is and isn't legal.

In the case of advertising, I think that the consumers that buy said product and find out it was falsely advertised should be able to bring a class action lawsuit in civil court against the offending company and win assuming they can prove fraud, but the government itself shouldn't be in the business of policing the ads.

Evelgrivion
September 28 2012, 10:36:04 PM
A fourth example would be strict advertising laws against misleading advertising or advertising targetted at minors. A lot of advertising is intended to encourage consumers to make irrational economic decisions. Advertising should be limited to explaining a product and comparing it with provable statistics against its competitors. I would ban advertising, for example, of shampoos with phrases like "New SuperSilk techology" would be banned as this is essentially bollocks - shampoo technology has barely changed since the 80s, they just add random posh ingredients that have no proven benefits and call it a technological breakthrough to mislead consumers.

I mostly agree with the other stuff (except the carbon tax, but I don't want to derail this) but not this one. I'm of the opinion that entities that cause harm should be held liable, but the government shouldn't be making tons of laws and regulations in some futile attempt to make it impossible to cause harm. There are so many laws in the US now that its basically impossible NOT to break the law since no one person could ever know what is and isn't legal.

The purpose of legislating against various forms of harm and abuse is to make criminal justice possible. This is not to say that our criminal justice system is where it needs to be, but I disagree with your outlook; the government should absolutely be seeking to regulate powerful groups in order to prevent harm against individuals.

Keorythe
September 29 2012, 01:22:23 AM
Who determines what is rational and irrational? How is this system kept from being abused? The amount of influence and control given to this group would be IMMENSE and easily corruptible.

Why should the State pick up the slack of someone who is constantly irrational knowing that there will always be a safety net?

Why should State intervention stop there if it knows what's best?

untilted
September 29 2012, 07:29:26 AM
I have more hatred for the far left than the far right because in most cases they ought to know better. The far right are essentially a product of lack of education and a biggotted upbringing.

so you're far right then, eh?

i hope you do realize what you're advocating when talking about "rationality" as a basis for running a society.
any form of empathy & compassion - is irrational.
any form of passion - is irrational.
any form of sympathy & antipathy - is irrational.
any form of solidarity that goes beyond tit-for-tat - is irrational.

and no matter what you say - these *ARE* powerful in social and political contexts.

the mistake that many make is to assume that running a society in an "apolitical" way (e.g. technocracy, your "soft paternalism") is the best way to run a society, making all those shortcomings of politics a thing of the past - while it's actually nothing less than a specific political stance that disguises itself as "apolitical". at the core there's still the question "how do we (whoever constitutes this we) want to live?". by declaring a huge range of utterances, positions and ideas as "irrational" and advocating bureaucratic/technocratic "managment" in the case of their emergence, your completly failing the irony that you're pretty much advocating a more or less subtle dictatorship of "reason and rationality" - excluding large parts of the population (and the sovereign!) from participation and deligitimize their views and opinions on the grounds that they don't live up to your warped standards of rationality.
what you're looking for it seems is a set of rules that allows you to break off every political discussions on the ground that it doesn't follow the "scientific" rules laid out by whatever technocratic ideology you tend to follow.

---------------------

re: the left & the state ... depending on who you ask you will get different answers. ask an anarcho communist and you'll get likely a pretty hefty critique of the state in any form. ask a marxist/leninist and you'll get a critique of the capitalist state, while still considering the notion of a socialist state as an important step to communism. ask some left-liberalist (incl. greens and many grass root movements) and you'll get a critique of specific policies and practices of the state, while it's fundamental role is rarely questioned. and the same goes for the right.
each of this positions is founded on different forms of analysis, on different expectations what "a good life", "equality", etc. mean, on different forms of knowledge and experience. while the accuracy of the description of the "real" (real not in the sense of an objective reality that just is, that is open to a positivist notion of science, but in the sense that there *is* a quality to the social that goes beyond the symbolic order of language and the material properties of individual bodies - which ) varies wildly - this doesn't mean that these different positions are illegitimate. there's no objective, ahistorical "truth" in a social context - "truth" is always contigent.
if a position is legitimate or illegitimate always depends on the relations of power (be it oppression, be it hegemony)

cheeba
September 29 2012, 07:45:22 PM
i hope you do realize what you're advocating when talking about "rationality" as a basis for running a society.
any form of empathy & compassion - is irrational.
any form of passion - is irrational.
any form of sympathy & antipathy - is irrational.
any form of solidarity that goes beyond tit-for-tat - is irrational.

and no matter what you say - these *ARE* powerful in social and political contexts.


Humans are animals and we are often very irrational creatures. We are excellent at acquiring information but not always 'rational' or sensible in our decisions based on that information.

You only have to look at the complete and utter rape of the planet in the name of personal wealth and success to understand that we humans are way too clever for our own good. I used to be a big supporter of 'cowboy capitalism' - allow maximum freedom for people to innovate and do business and it will be best for society as a whole. I have since learnt that goverment HAS to be involved in controlling and managing industry, finance and healthcare.

You only have to look at the financial meltdown of the last 5 years as an anecdote. The finest Harvard MBA graduates (ie the most educated and knowledgable people on the subject, such as the then-CEO of AIG) were pontificating that there was 'absolutely no foreseeable risk of loss' concerning the $414 billion of shitty subprime mortgages that they had been sold by IBs. Lolz. Humans are good at creating amazing and monstrous machines, but also good at ignoring costs they can 'externalize' (ie pollution, health risks). Without regulation, you end up with an insurance company buying $414 billion worth of repackaged morgages from overpriced homes being sold to low-income (hell, even unemployed) workers who obviously would struggle with repayments.

anyway, lallente's post covers a hell a lot of topics, but concerning organ donation, its ridiculous that opt-in systems persist. People NEVER assume they are going to be the guy in the fatal car crash, gas leak, etc etc. but of course they WILL be. opt-out is so obviously better.

(For a serious discussion forum, these threads do descend into bickering alot.)

Steph
September 29 2012, 09:29:21 PM
They may not have thought about it enough to decide whether other people taking a scalpel to their genitals is repulsive.

While I admit I'm not well versed on the subject, I've never heard of a case where someone's life could have been saved by transplanting genitalia.

Frug
September 30 2012, 02:30:32 PM
They may not have thought about it enough to decide whether other people taking a scalpel to their genitals is repulsive.

While I admit I'm not well versed on the subject, I've never heard of a case where someone's life could have been saved by transplanting genitalia.
Pffft.

Al Simmons
September 30 2012, 04:14:46 PM
Another example might be smoking. If we introduced a registration requirement for all smokers for a nominal fee (10 a year), requiring anyone wishing to buy cigarettes to register and get a photo-id cigarette card that would be necessary to purchase cigarettes, levels of cigarette uptake (especially among teenagers) would plumet without negatively effecting people's liberty.

They have those in Japan, where they have a massive smoking problem. I honestly wonder sometimes why the government here doesn't just go ahead and ban cigarettes entirely. What is the point of them? Everyone knows they're incredibly harmful and addictive and have no benefits whatsoever, but because people start when they are idiot teenagers behind the bike shed, they don't think ahead to being 55 years old and coughing up pieces of their blackened lungs.

Obviously it would be a big struggle, but I find this pussy-footing around the issue kind of ridiculous. First they ban tobacco adverts on tv, then on billboards, put giant warning labels on the packaging, ban smoking in bars and public places, hide the cigarette counter behind plastic curtains... People are never going to get the fucking hint to stop smoking these things unless you make them stop. Sure it's draconian and whatnot, but it's a huge drain on the NHS and the population's health.

Yeah the exchequer makes a lot of money on the taxing of them, but I don't think it's worth it.

Lallante
October 1 2012, 11:00:21 AM
Another example might be smoking. If we introduced a registration requirement for all smokers for a nominal fee (10 a year), requiring anyone wishing to buy cigarettes to register and get a photo-id cigarette card that would be necessary to purchase cigarettes, levels of cigarette uptake (especially among teenagers) would plumet without negatively effecting people's liberty.

They have those in Japan, where they have a massive smoking problem. I honestly wonder sometimes why the government here doesn't just go ahead and ban cigarettes entirely. What is the point of them? Everyone knows they're incredibly harmful and addictive and have no benefits whatsoever, but because people start when they are idiot teenagers behind the bike shed, they don't think ahead to being 55 years old and coughing up pieces of their blackened lungs.

Obviously it would be a big struggle, but I find this pussy-footing around the issue kind of ridiculous. First they ban tobacco adverts on tv, then on billboards, put giant warning labels on the packaging, ban smoking in bars and public places, hide the cigarette counter behind plastic curtains... People are never going to get the fucking hint to stop smoking these things unless you make them stop. Sure it's draconian and whatnot, but it's a huge drain on the NHS and the population's health.

Yeah the exchequer makes a lot of money on the taxing of them, but I don't think it's worth it.

Japan doesn't ban smoking indoors in public places like most other countries though, so its hard to judge the effect of the policy.

cheeba
October 1 2012, 12:15:12 PM
Another example might be smoking. If we introduced a registration requirement for all smokers for a nominal fee (10 a year), requiring anyone wishing to buy cigarettes to register and get a photo-id cigarette card that would be necessary to purchase cigarettes, levels of cigarette uptake (especially among teenagers) would plumet without negatively effecting people's liberty.

Yeah the exchequer makes a lot of money on the taxing of them, but I don't think it's worth it.

haha oh yes it is. People STOPPING smoking costs the goverment so so so much more.

1) While their medical care costs more, they die much younger.

2) If they die younger, thats years and years of pension money you dont have to pay out!!

Dozens of sources but here is a credible one: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05iht-obese.1.9748884.html?_r=3


On average, healthy people lived 84 years. Smokers lived about 77 years and obese people lived about 80 years. Smokers and obese people tended to have more heart disease than the healthy people.

Cancer incidence, except for lung cancer, was the same in all three groups. Obese people had the most diabetes, and healthy people had the most strokes. Ultimately, the thin and healthy group cost the most, about $417,000, from age 20 on.

The cost of care for obese people was $371,000, and for smokers, about $326,000.

The results counter the common perception that preventing obesity will save health systems worldwide millions of dollars.

Al Simmons
October 1 2012, 01:41:53 PM
What about reduced productivity though? If you get a stroke and die at age 50 from smoking two packs a day, that's ten or more years you could have been paying tax.

Liare
October 1 2012, 06:07:23 PM
i hope you do realize what you're advocating when talking about "rationality" as a basis for running a society.
any form of empathy & compassion - is irrational.
any form of passion - is irrational.
any form of sympathy & antipathy - is irrational.
any form of solidarity that goes beyond tit-for-tat - is irrational.

and no matter what you say - these *ARE* powerful in social and political contexts.


Humans are animals and we are often very irrational creatures. We are excellent at acquiring information but not always 'rational' or sensible in our decisions based on that information.

You only have to look at the complete and utter rape of the planet in the name of personal wealth and success to understand that we humans are way too clever for our own good. I used to be a big supporter of 'cowboy capitalism' - allow maximum freedom for people to innovate and do business and it will be best for society as a whole. I have since learnt that goverment HAS to be involved in controlling and managing industry, finance and healthcare.

You only have to look at the financial meltdown of the last 5 years as an anecdote. The finest Harvard MBA graduates (ie the most educated and knowledgable people on the subject, such as the then-CEO of AIG) were pontificating that there was 'absolutely no foreseeable risk of loss' concerning the $414 billion of shitty subprime mortgages that they had been sold by IBs. Lolz. Humans are good at creating amazing and monstrous machines, but also good at ignoring costs they can 'externalize' (ie pollution, health risks). Without regulation, you end up with an insurance company buying $414 billion worth of repackaged morgages from overpriced homes being sold to low-income (hell, even unemployed) workers who obviously would struggle with repayments.

anyway, lallente's post covers a hell a lot of topics, but concerning organ donation, its ridiculous that opt-in systems persist. People NEVER assume they are going to be the guy in the fatal car crash, gas leak, etc etc. but of course they WILL be. opt-out is so obviously better.

(For a serious discussion forum, these threads do descend into bickering alot.)apologies, but i think you're wrong on this account.

it boils to simple "Prisoner's dilemma" kinds of problems, your AIG CEO might not have realised that somebody was screwing him over up until the point it was too late, and then the only logical option is to go "all in" and keep the scam running for as long as possible (and it was a fucking scam)

the reality is that people will screw each other over if there's a way to isolate themselves from the consequences, it's a very basic survival strategy to do so especially in our increasingly "market driven" or rather predatory social system people who have a talent of that kind of behaviour naturally rises to the top.


What about reduced productivity though? If you get a stroke and die at age 50 from smoking two packs a day, that's ten or more years you could have been paying tax.assuming you have been sensible, that's about 30 years worth of pensions going either to the people left behind (and getting taxed as it's paid out) or simply getting gobbled up by the state.

pensions are a wonderful thing in some respects, even if you die society still profits a fair bit off you.

of course, i am 28, have been paying into a pension fund since i was 22 and have a noticeable life insurance policy that gets paid out if anything happens, right about the last thing i want is to saddle whoever gets to clean up after me with a large bill on top, but am i a organ donor ? nope, nor do i have a principal issue with that becoming mandatory, but the whole "smoking is banned everywhere" can piss right off, it's such a large invasion into people's personal freedom and very much what i detest about the nanny state.

of course i am a liberal socialist so i believe that people should have the right to poison themselves for their own enjoyment yet i also consider the "free market" nothing more than a effective way to enforce and in recent times massively expand the minority's power over the majority. (that's not to say market economics does not have their place, just that their place is well away from essential things like food, water, housing and so forth)

Al Simmons
October 1 2012, 09:38:34 PM
What about my personal freedom not to breathe in someone's cigarette smoke? It was such a relief when they banned it in pubs and bars, I absolutely detested coming back from a night out smelling like an ashtray. I can still barely walk 20 paces down the street without someone in front of me lighting up and making me breathe their smoke though.

Now of course the 20 cars sitting at a red light I have to walk past are probably more harmful to my lungs than the guy with the fag in his hand ahead of me, but I can't avoid those, and cars do serve a useful purpose unlike cigarettes which serve none. I think in 50 years the fact that people willingly burned little bits of plant material and breathed the resulting smoke into their lungs will seem utterly ridiculous and insane. Combustion engines too will probably seem ridiculous contraptions.

Liare
October 1 2012, 10:19:22 PM
What about my personal freedom not to breathe in someone's cigarette smoke? It was such a relief when they banned it in pubs and bars, I absolutely detested coming back from a night out smelling like an ashtray. I can still barely walk 20 paces down the street without someone in front of me lighting up and making me breathe their smoke though.

Now of course the 20 cars sitting at a red light I have to walk past are probably more harmful to my lungs than the guy with the fag in his hand ahead of me, but I can't avoid those, and cars do serve a useful purpose unlike cigarettes which serve none. I think in 50 years the fact that people willingly burned little bits of plant material and breathed the resulting smoke into their lungs will seem utterly ridiculous and insane. Combustion engines too will probably seem ridiculous contraptions.given that the whole thing was stuffed into rather small designated areas i really really dont see the problem.

i enjoy smoke-free bars as well, but that does not mean you cant show a bit of tolerance towards your fellow man and their addiction while chugging down beers, it's like the people who want to legislate people's ability to smoke in apartment buildings "because it seeps trough the walls", that one just makes me rage.

Lallante
October 3 2012, 11:08:23 AM
What about my personal freedom not to breathe in someone's cigarette smoke? It was such a relief when they banned it in pubs and bars, I absolutely detested coming back from a night out smelling like an ashtray. I can still barely walk 20 paces down the street without someone in front of me lighting up and making me breathe their smoke though.

Now of course the 20 cars sitting at a red light I have to walk past are probably more harmful to my lungs than the guy with the fag in his hand ahead of me, but I can't avoid those, and cars do serve a useful purpose unlike cigarettes which serve none. I think in 50 years the fact that people willingly burned little bits of plant material and breathed the resulting smoke into their lungs will seem utterly ridiculous and insane. Combustion engines too will probably seem ridiculous contraptions.given that the whole thing was stuffed into rather small designated areas i really really dont see the problem.

i enjoy smoke-free bars as well, but that does not mean you cant show a bit of tolerance towards your fellow man and their addiction while chugging down beers, it's like the people who want to legislate people's ability to smoke in apartment buildings "because it seeps trough the walls", that one just makes me rage.

The reason to legislate against smoking indoors in a private residence is the effect it will have on third parties (including children, visitors, etc.), not that it might "seep through the walls". This is the same argument against smoking inside a vehicle.

Lallante
October 3 2012, 12:36:56 PM
Its somehow been said and not been challenged that empathy is irrational. I don't believe this to be the case. Acting in accordance with empathy can be irrational but saying that it "is" irrational in and of itself is, imo, wrong.

Liare
October 3 2012, 04:31:54 PM
What about my personal freedom not to breathe in someone's cigarette smoke? It was such a relief when they banned it in pubs and bars, I absolutely detested coming back from a night out smelling like an ashtray. I can still barely walk 20 paces down the street without someone in front of me lighting up and making me breathe their smoke though.

Now of course the 20 cars sitting at a red light I have to walk past are probably more harmful to my lungs than the guy with the fag in his hand ahead of me, but I can't avoid those, and cars do serve a useful purpose unlike cigarettes which serve none. I think in 50 years the fact that people willingly burned little bits of plant material and breathed the resulting smoke into their lungs will seem utterly ridiculous and insane. Combustion engines too will probably seem ridiculous contraptions.given that the whole thing was stuffed into rather small designated areas i really really dont see the problem.

i enjoy smoke-free bars as well, but that does not mean you cant show a bit of tolerance towards your fellow man and their addiction while chugging down beers, it's like the people who want to legislate people's ability to smoke in apartment buildings "because it seeps trough the walls", that one just makes me rage.

The reason to legislate against smoking indoors in a private residence is the effect it will have on third parties (including children, visitors, etc.), not that it might "seep through the walls". This is the same argument against smoking inside a vehicle.if the purpose is to prevent harm then ban smoking and be done with it, the rest is a needless assault on the individuals right to privacy, especially as it is effectively unenforceable without going into absurdities.


Its somehow been said and not been challenged that empathy is irrational. I don't believe this to be the case. Acting in accordance with empathy can be irrational but saying that it "is" irrational in and of itself is, imo, wrong.define a situation where empathy and/or compassion, rather than the "tit for tat" represents a rational reaction.

Lallante
October 3 2012, 04:48:14 PM
Its somehow been said and not been challenged that empathy is irrational. I don't believe this to be the case. Acting in accordance with empathy can be irrational but saying that it "is" irrational in and of itself is, imo, wrong.define a situation where empathy and/or compassion, rather than the "tit for tat" represents a rational reaction.

Someone at work has had fairly erratic performance for the last few weeks, and its almost certainly because of their mother dying unexpectedly. Rather than call them on the poor work, I've picked up the slack. This is both empathetic and rational as I know they are likely to return to their previous good performance in the long run.

Lallante
October 3 2012, 04:53:06 PM
if the purpose is to prevent harm then ban smoking and be done with it, the rest is a needless assault on the individuals right to privacy, especially as it is effectively unenforceable without going into absurdities.

What? What does smoking have to do with privacy? I think you mean right to liberty in their private life? Its not a needless assault - its not as if the children of a smoker can opt out of living in a smokey atmosphere - there is a very real need, the only question is whether you think the need to protect children, visitors etc outweighs the need to protect the liberty of the smoker. This is an open debate and hardly within the scope of this thread. PS: Banning smoking wholesale is a COMPLETELY different kettle of fish as it would include banning smoking solo outdoors in a smoking area where it literally only affects the smoker themselves. The whole point of the restrictions is to reduce the situations in which the smoking can harm others. Cant you see this obvious distinction?

The enforceability or not a law is practically irrelevant as most people are law abiding. Merely having and publicising the law does 90% of the enforcement for you.

Frug
October 3 2012, 05:21:13 PM
define a situation where empathy and/or compassion, rather than the "tit for tat" represents a rational reaction.

Easy. In fact, ignoring the emotional and social consequences of empathy is what's irrational.

It's rational if:

You are aware that showing empathy/compassion will result in a net benefit that will affect you. Perhaps you believe that encouraging a tit-for-tat reaction will escalate a problem, or perhaps you believe that you can lead by example.

You believe showing empathy/compassion will be rewarded, perhaps by the consideration of those around you.

You believe that a tit-for-tat response will cause you more stress while a compassionate response will, in the long run, offer you psychological comfort that improves your well-being.

You derive any form of emotional well being from displaying compassion, such as improved self regard.

I'm sure I can provide more cases in which it's very rational to make a compassionate choice. I think the times when it's actually irrational are far fewer. Even doing it because the spaghetti monster in the sky told you to isn't irrational if you believe in the spaghetti monster.

Lallante
October 4 2012, 06:41:37 PM
Compassion wouldnt have evolved if it wasn't (usually) rational.

Zeekar
October 4 2012, 07:16:14 PM
Compassion wouldnt have evolved if it wasn't (usually) rational.

So you're claiming that emotions are rational. Hint none of them are. Good example is mothers instinct to protect her child at all cost for example in fire accidents. When there is access to breathing masks mothers will almost in every case first try to put the mask over the child and in doing so usually they pass out since the child is in panic and because of that they both die. If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive. If you want sources ill ask my brother for them since he is a trained fire fighter and its where i sourced my info on this.

definatelynotKKassandra
October 4 2012, 07:23:32 PM
Compassion wouldnt have evolved if it wasn't (usually) rational.

So you're claiming that emotions are rational. Hint none of them are. Good example is mothers instinct to protect her child at all cost for example in fire accidents. When there is access to breathing masks mothers will almost in every case first try to put the mask over the child and in doing so usually they pass out since the child is in panic and because of that they both die. If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive. If you want sources ill ask my brother for them since he is a trained fire fighter and its where i sourced my info on this.

You're responding to someone saying something is usually true by citing an extreme situation where it isn't?

Zeekar
October 4 2012, 07:33:33 PM
There are several not just that one. I just cited it as one of many examples.

Frug
October 5 2012, 02:00:59 PM
So you're claiming that emotions are rational. Hint none of them are.

Your english is terrible and needs commas.

Emotions themselves are neither rational nor irrational because they are not decisions. They're facts of our existence. Our bodies are wired to assist us with things like hormonal releases, instincts and reflexes. These help to form the substrate upon which we can base our decisions. You can't say that someone feeling pain when you stab them is irrational any more than you can say a person experiencing stress at witnessing suffering is irrational, because it's simply something that happens. What's rational or irrational is the decision that follows.

A rational decision is one that appropriately weighs emotional benefits with future repercussions.

In fact, emotions are probably the only things that should matter to us. There's no point in living if you're constantly unhappy, but if a decision makes you happy and increases your happiness in the future, it's sure as hell rational for you to make it.

You provided an example of a woman making an arguably irrational decision based on overwhelming emotion [edit: and I completely read it wrong so I'll take the rest of my babbling out ]

Zeekar
October 5 2012, 02:47:34 PM
What part of:


If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive.

You did not understand Frug?

Frug
October 5 2012, 03:04:48 PM
What part of:


If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive.

You did not understand Frug?

I must have been tired derp this morning and read something completely wrong, apologies. I read something about self sacrifice that came out of my imagination. You're right on that, that's pretty irrational. Did you not have a response for everything else?

Zeekar
October 5 2012, 03:15:34 PM
What part of:


If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive.

You did not understand Frug?

I must have been tired this morning and read something completely wrong, apologies. You're right on that, that's pretty irrational. Did you not have a response for everything else?

No because I was actually playing EVE. As you were saying decisions should take in accord emotions but I would say only when they are decisions that are regarding yourself. Emotional based decisions regarding several people can be more than likely disastrous and unproductive. But ofc that is just my opinion.

Lallante
October 8 2012, 12:06:27 PM
What part of:


If she were to put the mask over her head first she would have enough time to put the mask over the child head and they would both survive.

You did not understand Frug?

I must have been tired this morning and read something completely wrong, apologies. You're right on that, that's pretty irrational. Did you not have a response for everything else?

No because I was actually playing EVE. As you were saying decisions should take in accord emotions but I would say only when they are decisions that are regarding yourself. Emotional based decisions regarding several people can be more than likely disastrous and unproductive. But ofc that is just my opinion.

...and its provably wrong.

As Frug notes, at their fundamental base, emotions are pretty much the only basis for decision making. I don't think you've really thought this through.

Hint: when you decide to do something because, although (for example) it will cause short-term anguish but long-term benefit, this is still fundamentally an emotional choice - your emotional weighting to long-term benefits merely excedes the emotional cost of the short-term anguish.

There's literally no point doing anything if it doesn't result in some positive emotion at some point.