Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Mythology of Diversity and Mismatch Effect

UCLA Law Professor Rick Sander guest-blogging at the Volokh Conspiracy and quoted at Mind the Campus:
 
"Colleges and universities are committed to the mythology that diversity happens merely because they want it and put resources into it, and that all admitted students arrive with all the prerequisites necessary to flourish in any way they choose. Administrators work hard to conceal the actual differences in academic preparation that almost invariably accompany the aggressive use of preferences [the "mismatch effect"]. 

Any research that documents the operation and effects of affirmative action therefore violates this "color-blind" mythology and accompanying norms; minority students are upset, correctly realizing that either the research is wrong or that administrators have misled them. In this scenario, administrators invariably resort to the same strategy: dismiss the research without actually lying about it; reassure the students that the researchers are misguided, but that the university can't actually punish the researchers because of "academic freedom"--with the invocation of "academic freedom" becoming "a device to protect the administration."

KC Johnson at "Minding the Campus" comments:

"Sander's scholarly contributions to the issue of racial preferences came through his work on the mismatch effect in law schools--that is, the situation of "students receiving large preferences (for whatever reason) were likely to find themselves in academic environments where they had to struggle just to keep up; professor instruction would typically be aimed at the 'median' student, so students with weaker academic preparation would tend to fall behind, and, even if they did not become discouraged and give up, would tend to learn less than they would have learned in an environment where their level of academic preparation was closer to the class median."

The failure of this [affirmative action] strategy may very well backfire when the Supreme Court considers the Fisher case. The justices will be presented with several years' worth of well-researched, richly-documented studies explicating the mismatch effect--with little or nothing from the other side of the matter beyond thinly-concealed allegations of racism. Will this approach be enough to persuade Justice Kennedy to uphold the continuing use of racial preferences?"

86 Comments:

At 4/10/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I think that this may be a place to mention that great essay by GK Chesterton, On Certain Modern Writers and the Institution of Family. In it he argues just how much bigger the world is for men who live in small communities than it is for large ones. After all, in a small community we may all wear the same tartan but we cannot escape from the great variation in human nature because our friends are chosen for us. On the other hand, in a larger community we are free to choose our own friends and stick to individuals who have a much narrower set of interests and opinions. Even if you do not agree with Chesterton's logic his writing is brilliant and he needs to be read far more frequently than he is.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:18 PM, Blogger Bret said...

I don't understand why this research would affect SCOTUS's view of the constitutionality of affirmative action. I would think that it's either constitutional or it's not and that isn't dependent on whether or not it's a good idea.

 
At 4/10/2012 4:57 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I would think that it's either constitutional or it's not and that isn't dependent on whether or not it's a good idea"...

Well bret going to school in the sixties we were taught in both history and civics that the Supreme Court was the final arbiter of what was in the Constitution...

Apparently that was wrong or is no longer the case and hasn't been for quite some time...

I sometimes think of the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of social whimsy...

 
At 4/10/2012 5:04 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I agree with Bret. If institutions want to discriminate on the basis of race, the effects of that discrimination are irrelevant. The only relevant point is whether or not institutions can discriminate or not.

That said, I think any public insitution that implements any sort of discrimination, particularly politically charged discrimination like race and gender based, should be forced to disclose all numbers related to this discrimination. The reasons for the discrimination should be tested and verified.

If the actual reasons are simply racial diversity, I'm fine with that. It should just be well documented how this policy is a policy that dooms many to failure due to the mismatch, who other wise would have succeeded in another school. In other words, it should be hammered home that this policy is actually designed to cause failures among those its supposed to help.

All who support these types of policy, or any policy really, should be forced to write 1000 times "Intentions do not equal outcomes."

 
At 4/10/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I always found it amusing that "diversity" has suddenly been synonymous with "racial diversity". As if skin colour and culture are the same thing.

I share Thomas Sowell's frustration with this self-serving drive to push completely unprepared black kids into universities for which they are unprepared for the level of academic work. Strangely, there seems to be much less help offered to black kids who are. It seems to be a help the unprepared black kids by victimizing them idea.

 
At 4/10/2012 5:20 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

That said, I think any public insitution that implements any sort of discrimination, particularly politically charged discrimination like race and gender based, should be forced to disclose all numbers related to this discrimination. The reasons for the discrimination should be tested and verified.

Oh, I strongly disagree.

Taxpayer funded institutions should not be allowed to discriminate for any reason. Using Walter Williams's example, if a library is funded by money taxed away from you, the library cannot discriminate against you.

Discrimination in favour of black kids at the expense of white kids (and, ironically, at the expense of said black kids) is still discrimination. The Universities can reasonably discriminate on the basis of academics, but state-funded institutions cannot reasonably discriminate on any other basis, in my opinion.

Private institutions can do whatever the heck they want.

 
At 4/10/2012 6:55 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Taxpayer funded institutions should not be allowed to discriminate for any reason.

So UT, Austin should be forced to admit people with a high school GPA of .7 and SAT score of 600 or even people who failed out of high schoo? What about forcing UT to accept anyone in the who applied? What about ability to pay?

Or do you think that UT should be allowed to discriminate on geography (after all Texan taxpayers bear much of UT's costs)? Or should they be allowed to discriminate on demonstrable academic achievment? Should UT be allowed to kick out students who refuse to pay the outstanding balance of tuition and fees?

Discrimination in favour of black kids at the expense of white kids (and, ironically, at the expense of said black kids) is still discrimination.

Where did I ever claim it wasn't? The reasons for (in higher education) that discrimination is that blacks with lower demonstrable academic ability can be just as academically and professionally successful as the whites that were discriminated against. Fine. I can accept that. If this claim is true, I have no problem with publicly funded (blacks after all pay taxes too) institutions trying to achieve a racially uniform distribution.

But what if that can be proved to be wrong? And not just a little wrong, but strikingly wrong? What if the blacks that are supposedly helped are set up for failure and can be shown to be worse off, in the short run (failing college) and long run (failing to get a job they could have gotten if they'd gone to a more appropriate school or even not getting hired because employers know that degrees for whites mean something whereas degrees for blacks are mere symbols)?

The do-gooders should be exposed for the frauds they are in undeniable, cold, hard facts.

Private institutions, however, should be allowed to discriminate on whatever basis they want and not have to prove anything to anyone (legally anyway; the market may not be very forgiving).

The Universities can reasonably discriminate on the basis of academics

Glad to see you came to your senses and agreed there are reasons for discrimination.

 
At 4/10/2012 7:25 PM, Blogger jorod said...

Minorities are special interest groups designed to liberate the wallets of taxpayers.

 
At 4/10/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ken,

LOL. You could have saved yourself a lot of writing if you'd just read the entirety of what I wrote before you climbed up on your high horse.

Blacks can be as successful, but if they're not as academically adept to the workload at Cornell, they shouldn't be accepted simply because they're black. It's bad for the them and it's bad for the university. It's worse for them than the university and can turn a potentially perfectly good student into an emotionally destroyed, bitter disaster. Accepting students who can do the work and can benefit from the particular institution should be the only consideration, irrespective of the colour of their skin.

 
At 4/10/2012 10:47 PM, Blogger Ken said...

I did read the entirety of what you wrote. Did you? If so, why did you leave two sentences that contradicted each other?

Taxpayer funded institutions should not be allowed to discriminate for any reason.

and

The Universities can reasonably discriminate on the basis of academics

Ha! Before claiming that I'm on a high horse, read what you wrote and make it logically consistent at least.

Accepting students who can do the work and can benefit from the particular institution should be the only consideration

It always makes me laugh when people tell others how they "should" act, but think it's atrocious to be told themselves how to act. It's tasty, delicious irony.

 
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At 4/11/2012 6:45 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Sorry, Ken, I just assumed anyone reading my comment would have the intellectual prowess necessary to take it as a given that academic institutions would require candidates to meet academic requirements. I didn't realize you needed to be spoon fed that information in order to prevent a long, meandering and pointless "gotcha" post. Of course, I did sort of spoon feed you in that last sentence, but that didn't seem to dumb it down enough for you to understand it. I will concede that using the absolute term "any" was confusing, especially to some people.

And, yes, of course it is perfectly appropriate to demand that public institutions funded by taxpayers are not used to advance special interests' unique agendas.

 
At 4/11/2012 7:12 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

And, yes, of course it is perfectly appropriate to demand that public institutions funded by taxpayers are not used to advance special interests' unique agendas.

Actually, it isn't. Taxpayers should not fund any such institutions.

 
At 4/11/2012 8:35 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

methinks,

I understood completely that you meant no discrimination other than meeting academic and intellectual requirements required for mastering the curriculum.

 
At 4/11/2012 8:40 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Bret: "I don't understand why this research would affect SCOTUS's view of the constitutionality of affirmative action"

Well, it shouldn't. But juandos is correct that some courts have allowed the alleged "merits" of a discriminatory practice to trump the rights of somes. So research which refutes those "merits" should have meaning for justices who ignore their responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:12 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

it's funny how these "diversity" moments has become such agents of discrimination.

remember this? "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

how did that epic and beautiful sentiment get turned into "so preference them based on the color of their skin?"

discrimination is either illegal for all sides or neither. calling racist preferencing "diversity" does not change that.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ken-

if your reading comprehension is really that poor, you really ought to avoid trying to play "gotcha" with others.

 
At 4/11/2012 9:42 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

discrimination is either illegal for all sides or neither. calling racist preferencing "diversity" does not change that.

The issues are freedom and property rights. Anyone should be free to associate with whomever s/he wishes without interference from external 'authorities.'

Since David Henderson said it better than I ever could I will let him make the point.

Should restaurants allow smoking or not? Should schools teach evolution or intelligent design or both? Should insurance companies cover contraception? Should I be able to take off my shoes in your living room?


You might think that that last question doesn't belong with the first three. After all, the first three questions are momentous ones about "public policy." The last one is only about the rules you have for my behavior in your living room—a "private-policy" question. And your answer to that question will depend on how you want to use your property.

But think about what you just read: Your answer to whether I should be able to remove my shoes in your living room depends on how you want to use your property. What is implicit here, but obvious to all, is that the choice is yours. I have no say in the matter. That doesn't mean you won't take account of my thoughts and feelings. You will. Let's assume that you find it distasteful for me to take off my shoes, but that you like my company. Let's further assume that telling me that I can't get comfortable by taking off my shoes will mean that I won't want to visit you. Then you will trade off your distaste at having me shoeless with the pleasure you take from my company. If one outweighs the other, in your subjective estimation, then you'll choose accordingly.

Notice how property rights solve the problem. It's your living room and so you get to choose. How your living room gets used is not a public-policy problem......

 
At 4/11/2012 10:21 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

v-

i hear you, though henderson's points apply poorly to public goods.

should we allow smoking in line at the dmv or in court? that's a trickier issue. those are public spaces that we might all need to go to. does a smoker have the right to smoke, or do i have the right to clean air and not having my clothes stink and suffering any possible health effects? in a private space like a restaurant, you can argue "if you don't like what goes on there, don't go" but for a public office, it's another matter.

this flows over into universities. a public university ought not be able to discriminate except on the basis of ability to do the work. i do not have the choice not to pay for them, so they ought not be able to discriminate against me.

private universities that accept no government funding should be able to do as they like. you want to admit only transgender navajos? knock yourself out.

but as nearly all of them take federal and state funds and get big tax breaks, they are not really altogether private. to benefit from such largess and then discriminate seems counter to the constitution and to the appropriate goals of government and again puts taxpayers in a position where they are paying to support a group that discriminates against them.

now, one can certainly turn that issue into a discussion of whether such government involvement in "private" education is appropriate etc and as someone who has seen the damage done by title 9 etc, i'd love to see it all go away, but that is not the system that currently exists.

taking money from the government is a bit like living in your parent's house. if you are not paying the rent, you have to accept their rules.

 
At 4/11/2012 10:42 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

You make a very good point, Morganovich: how do property rights apply to public goods and spaces?

 
At 4/11/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"that's a trickier issue. those are public spaces that we might all need to go to. does a smoker have the right to smoke, or do i have the right to clean air and not having my clothes stink"...

Does a smoker have a right not to be plagued by the stench of another person's perfume, after shave lotion, laundry softner or body odor morganovich?

Do individuals have a right not to be plagued by the noise and deportment of someone's bratty kids?

Do individuals have a right not be plagued by someone who can't even carry a tune in a bucket but is trying sing along with something he/she is listening to on their MP3 player?

Where does the whole rights thing start and more importantly where does it stop?

 
At 4/11/2012 10:55 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Where does the whole rights thing start and more importantly where does it stop?

Well, I guess the starting point would be "who owns the property?" Does the "polluter" have the right or the "pollutee?"

 
At 4/11/2012 12:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Where does the whole rights thing start and more importantly where does it stop?"

there is always going to be some subjective interpretation there.

in a private space, the answer is "wherever the proprietor chooses".

in a public space, it's going to be a function of some opinion as to rights primacy, social custom, etc.

in some cases, you can demonstrate actual economic or personal harm.

as an extreme example, let's say i have a personal security animal, a lovely little skunk named pepe who has a tendency to spray when frightened, but whose musk soothes me.

if pepe sprays you because you were unfortunate enough to sit next to me at the dmv, i think pretty much us would call that my fault and feel i owed you for cleaning, possibly personal harm, and that overall, my bringing pepe, regardless of how much comfort he provides me, into the dmv is simply not appropriate.

at another extreme, perhaps i have a wrist watch that beeps every hour. it might annoy you, but few would call for my ejection from the dmv for such a small issue.

other issue lie in the middle. bringing a child is widely thought to be OK, but within certain limits. kids screaming and playing tag all over the office is not going to be OK, but occasionally speaking too loudly is probably alright.

smoking adds the complication of monetary harm (cleaning) and possible health issues etc.

as much as i hate to rely upon such subjective notions as "social norms" you really cannot avoid doing so even in prioritizing rights.

some perfume is fine, but using concentrated civet cat urine as scent is not going to be OK in public space. where the precise line between acceptable and noxious lies is never going to be precise.

"any harm at all" is not a viable standard. one could argue that just being in the room inflicts harm. i have less space, less air, less privacy, might have to smell you, whatever.

there really is no objective standard you can use to assign and prioritize rights in some cases.

"harm" is always going to be subjective. i might like your cologne and jon might hate it. jon might find your kids amusing and charming at the dmv and i might find them bottomlessly annoying. how we determine whose experience is going to provide a standard is never going to be objective.

 
At 4/11/2012 12:32 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Morganovich,

It's true that "harm" is often subjective.

The more I read your post, the more it implicitly argues against public property of any kind. There is little justification (and what there is of it seems quite weak) for government and "public property".

I've slowly come to this conclusion over the years. Not entirely without the aid of David Friedman.

 
At 4/11/2012 12:56 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

i'm not sure how you could abolish public property entirely. i agree that we could do with a fair bit less, but how do you have no public courts or legislatures, or police stations, prisons etc.

even a "privately run" prison is run with public money. no one is going to house prisoners for free. the same would be true of privately run schools paid for by vouchers. as soon as someone is funded by "we the people" perhaps against our personal (though presumably not majority) views, you come into all these issues and it becomes, to my mind, deeply unfair to tax me to pay for an organization that discriminates against me.

there also arise tricky issues like parks. few can afford their own park. do we really want to do do away with all public space? how would you replace central park? privatize it and charge admission?

 
At 4/11/2012 1:29 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Well, I guess the starting point would be "who owns the property?" Does the "polluter" have the right or the "pollutee?""...

That's really a bit of a 'political' question isn't it jon murphy?

"there really is no objective standard you can use to assign and prioritize rights in some cases"...

Exactly morganovich since there is little if any objective evidence to push one point of view or the other...

 
At 4/11/2012 2:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

i hear you, though henderson's points apply poorly to public goods.

should we allow smoking in line at the dmv or in court? that's a trickier issue. those are public spaces that we might all need to go to. does a smoker have the right to smoke, or do i have the right to clean air and not having my clothes stink and suffering any possible health effects? in a private space like a restaurant, you can argue "if you don't like what goes on there, don't go" but for a public office, it's another matter.


You missed my point. There should be no public goods in the way that you see them today. We do not need a DMV or a public court when private interests can do the job, if required, much faster and more efficiently. Property rights would do away with the problem because the owners would be making the rules. Of course, the market would allow choice so anyone who did not like the rules could choose another competitor to settle the issue.

this flows over into universities. a public university ought not be able to discriminate except on the basis of ability to do the work. i do not have the choice not to pay for them, so they ought not be able to discriminate against me.

I argue that in a free society you would not have to pay for anything that you did not support. The universities would be for profit private institutions that would have the right to make up their own rules and set their own terms. Of course, the market would give different valuations to graduates of these universities so any institution that failed to meet the needs of potential employers and students would soon find itself out of business.

but as nearly all of them take federal and state funds and get big tax breaks, they are not really altogether private. to benefit from such largess and then discriminate seems counter to the constitution and to the appropriate goals of government and again puts taxpayers in a position where they are paying to support a group that discriminates against them.

That is the problem. All federal aid needs to stop immediately because it is prohibited by the constitution. State funded schools can make up their own rules based on whatever petty political goals are dominant. But in the absence of a uniform standard the market would ensure that most of the nonsense would disappear even from the state schools.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Does a smoker have a right not to be plagued by the stench of another person's perfume, after shave lotion, laundry softner or body odor morganovich?

Do individuals have a right not to be plagued by the noise and deportment of someone's bratty kids?

Do individuals have a right not be plagued by someone who can't even carry a tune in a bucket but is trying sing along with something he/she is listening to on their MP3 player?

Where does the whole rights thing start and more importantly where does it stop?


It begins and ends with property rights. On your own property you set the rules and have the right to ask those that do not follow them to leave. On the property of others the answer is that you have to follow the rules set by the owners. You are always free not to eat in a restaurant that allows smoking, noisy kids, or smelly people.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well, I guess the starting point would be "who owns the property?"

Correct.

Does the "polluter" have the right or the "pollutee?"

Smoking on your property is not an issue until the smoke crosses over the boundary line and creates a measurable problem for neighbours. It is as simple as that. This is why you can't have an establishment that allows smoking on a mall that does not unless you can make sure that all of the smoke is vented outside where it cannot harm others.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:24 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Juandos, wouldn't that be a legal rather than a political question?


Morganovich,


I see no reason why courts, police, fire, education etc. must be provided by a government. There isn't any reason that my child's education should be funded by you - unless you voluntarily offer to dig into your own pocket.

I don't think that parks are a tricky issue at all. Of course they can be private and privately funded. That may look like a homeowners association to which all people who belong contribute to the upkeep of the park and exclude those people who are not part of the organization and don't pay. In fact, Gramercy Park in Manhattan is one example of such a private park. If a neighbourhood values a park, then it will invest in one. If not, then we can assume that it isn't that important. And, like public pools, if there is demand, there is no reason that public parks couldn't be open to non-residents of the neighbourhood for a fee. In fact, this is what Greenwich, Connecticut has done with its parks and beaches. In the past only residents could buy beach passes and now anyone can buy beach passes (although, Greenwich was forced to allow purchase of passes by non-residents, since selling passes to outsiders could be sold to members of the community as a way to reduce the cost of running the park, there's no reason to think that parks wouldn't be opened to outsiders for a fee.)

Of course, private property has not nor will it ever eliminate squabbling amongst people, but at least participation will be voluntary and you can withhold payment in protest if you feel the administrators are violating the contract. If you disapprove of how the association to which you belong is run, then you can move and moving out of your neighbourhood is much easier than immigrating from your country. And good luck suing the government.

I don't think we'll get to Nirvana where all problems are forever solved and we all live in peace and harmony, but it would, in my opinion, be a far superior to government using the flimsy excuse of providing public goods and delivering cosmic justice by robbing you at gunpoint to undeservedly enrich and elevate themselves.

BTW, if you've never read David Friedman's "The Machinery of Freedom", I think you'd really enjoy it. Unfortunately, it's not available on Kindle.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:32 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Vange,

You could also pay off your "victim".

When I tried to install my generator in my Florida house, I discovered that I needed a permit, a noise study and all kinds of garbage. Ostensibly, this was to protect my neighbours from the hassle of my generator.

of course, this is a city regulation (ordinance or whatever it's called), so we all have to goosestep. What if my neighbours (like my neighbours in Connecticut) don't care if I have a generator and aren't bothered by it? What if I work out a private arrangement with them where I offer them some compensation for having to look at and hear that horrible thing from their property? In other words, why not let the polluter and the person who may or may not feel harmed work it out between themselves or through the court system?

 
At 4/11/2012 2:34 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

vang-

"You missed my point. There should be no public goods in the way that you see them today. We do not need a DMV or a public court when private interests can do the job"

no, i did not miss you point, i just do not accept it.

this is simply not true. we have had this discussion before and your notions of private courts have some severe problems, including enforcement. further, you need a legislature. i presume you will want police as well and border defense if nothing else. there will always be public goods. your notions of anarcho-capitalism are deeply unrealistic and impractical.

you sue me and take me to "vangle court" where i lose. i then do not accept their authority and say i prefer morgancourt. if the 2 conflict, then whose authorities get precedence?

sure, if we sign a contract, that may be one thing, but if we have no relationship and wind up in an accident or liability situation of some kind, then what? a country cannot have multiple competing legal systems and allow for its inhabitants to have any sort of consistent expectation on outcomes, liability, or enforcement EVEN if the laws are uniform as case law will diverge and that is where things like liability and standards of care are set.

 
At 4/11/2012 2:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

i'm not sure how you could abolish public property entirely.

Stop stealing from people and funding it. Without funding the property will quickly find itself into private hands.

i agree that we could do with a fair bit less, but how do you have no public courts or legislatures, or police stations, prisons etc.

Why do courts have to be public?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqo7XMkbtEk

 
At 4/11/2012 2:43 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"It begins and ends with property rights"...

Exactly vangeIV and as you state in your later comments you question the need for 'public' property...

I'm sure a valid argument can be made for some public property but the fact that say a county board of councilers can lay down a 'no whatever' ban that applies equally to public and 'private' property county wide begs the question, 'is that constitutional?'...

 
At 4/11/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

"I see no reason why courts, police, fire, education etc. must be provided by a government. There isn't any reason that my child's education should be funded by you - unless you voluntarily offer to dig into your own pocket."

read my response to vangel.

courts and police absolutely need to be public.

if i knock you down a flight of stairs and you and i subscribe to different private courts, we could get conflicting rulings. if we have different police, then what happens?

your court says i am guilty, mine says innocent. your police try to arrest me when i refuse to honor the judgment, mine call that a rights violation and unlawful detainment and try to arrest you police. we might as well have private armies.

such a system cannot work.

schools, maybe. you can take them all private and go user pays. but this does create a social risk of large swathes of uneducated kids that become ineffective, unproductive adults. that's a complex discussion, but you could certainly argue for user pays.

fire, perhaps, but perhaps not. if i have no fire subscription and live next to you, that's a real bummer for you.

military? not really. so my house is protected from invasion, but yours is not? the free riding would be epic and the moral hazard impossible to navigate.

grammercy is private property. i cannot use it nor even pay to use it.

central park is not. many in manhattan have paid to keep it open and kept up for decades. how do you just take it from those that have already paid in?

who gets to take the ownership away from them and on what basis?

it's just the flip side of the problem you seek to address. for every guy saying "i don't want to pay for it, i never use it" you have another saying "i have paid for it for decades, you cannot exclude me".

further, you notion of homeowners associations choosing to have a park is really no different from a city choosing to have a park. an HOA can sure as hell take money from you when you do not want it to just like a city.

i have read that friedman book. it's thought provoking, but i found it to be very naive and unrealistic. the systems he suggests would wind up being impossible to manage and reconcile (as in the courts and police arguments above).

could we do with a great deal less government, yes. but with none, no. government is an evil, but so long as it is confined to protecting the rights of citizens, adjudicating disputes when they conflict, enforcing such decisions, and defending borders, then it is the least of the evils.

many choices in life are hobsian. government (as outlined above) is the best of imperfect options. you want known and knowable law, consistent in its application and universal in its enforcement to protect and uphold the rights of individuals.

that makes for the best functioning society. clearly, we have diverged from that goal by a wide margin, but i think that is what needs to be aimed for.

anarcho-capitalism with it's conflicting jurisdictions and enforcement is not a good environment for individuals and business to thrive.

imagine having to check and see what legal system i belonged to before entering my house, or having to do so before getting on a train, going to the beach, buying a product, etc and having all that be subject to change with or without notice. your legal structure may require disclosure, mine may not etc.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:02 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

v-

read my responses. that is why courts need to be public.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:16 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks,

Jet said: "I understood completely that you meant no discrimination other than meeting academic and intellectual requirements required for mastering the curriculum."

Yes, I did too. I hope you've learned your lesson, and in the future use that word "any" more carefully. :)

 
At 4/11/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

of course, this is a city regulation (ordinance or whatever it's called), so we all have to goosestep. What if my neighbours (like my neighbours in Connecticut) don't care if I have a generator and aren't bothered by it? What if I work out a private arrangement with them where I offer them some compensation for having to look at and hear that horrible thing from their property? In other words, why not let the polluter and the person who may or may not feel harmed work it out between themselves or through the court system?

I think that I was not clear. I have no trouble with individuals deciding what is and is not permissable among themselves. For example, you may not permit smoking in your home. But I would have no problem if you demanded $25 from me for waving that rule and allowing me to smoke. I do not see most city laws as being any more legitimate than federal or state laws.

 
At 4/11/2012 3:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

this is simply not true. we have had this discussion before and your notions of private courts have some severe problems, including enforcement.

Actually, they would have far fewer problems than the current system, which allows police to harass or even kill innocent people without worry of punishment. The market would be a far better regulator of the court system than the current system of corruption.

further, you need a legislature.

Not really. Natural law principles are very simple and do not need legislatures to make law. If you are protected from agression, theft, or fraud what else is needed? Do you really think that you need some idiots to regulate the aspect ratio or cucumbers, roundness of toatoes, or the size of your toilet tanks?

i presume you will want police as well and border defense if nothing else.

Perphaps. But there is no reason why the market cannot provide them.

there will always be public goods. your notions of anarcho-capitalism are deeply unrealistic and impractical.

They are neither unrealistic nor impractical in a free society. But in a society where political elites rule over the sheeple they are not exactly welcome by the court intellectuals and the court reporters who benefit from the arrangement.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Exactly vangeIV and as you state in your later comments you question the need for 'public' property...

I do not buy this. The 'public' does not own or control any property because there is no such thing as 'the public.' Why should a taxpayer in Boston pay for a park in Alaska that s/he could never visit?

 
At 4/11/2012 4:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "there also arise tricky issues like parks. few can afford their own park. do we really want to do do away with all public space? how would you replace central park? privatize it and charge admission?"

Yes. Central Park in NYC is now manages by a private charity supported by private donations.

John Stossel writes about that, and Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan.

Although most such parks are public property, they need not be.

We all now pay admission, so to speak, whether we use the parks or not.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:39 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Morganovich,

You and I may have difference of opinion on what constitutes "naive and unrealistic". I think that such a system would work fine and David provides many examples of private institutions that perform the job government performs (arbitration, for just one instance) but better and more efficiently. And "better" is our standard, I think. Certainly not "perfect".

While you point out the deficiencies in a private system, can you honestly say that the state carries out its provision of the services you say must be provided by the state even marginally well? The police are abusive, at best. The military is an inefficient disaster. The prison system is an outrage and the courts are slow, inefficient and lousy. Why would they be anything else? Where is the threat of competition to keep them functioning well?

not directed toward you, Morganovich, but this might be a good time to remind ourselves that a public good is not a good that is provided with public funds by the government, but a good from which you cannot reasonably exclude others.

Parks, police protection, and many other items declared to be public goods in this ongoing conversation do not fall into that category.

Central Park can be privatized the same way roads are privatized every day. Taxpayers are currently taxed annually for the care and maintenance of the park - whether or not they make use of the park, incidentally. Once privatized, the owners can charge a fee for the use of the park only to those who wish to us it. The only people who will not be able to use the park are those who don't pay for it. But, those who are forced to pay but don't use the park are freed from the burden of paying for it.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:40 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

cont'd

As for who takes the ownership away from the taxpayers, well....they don't own the park in any meaningful way now. Some are, however, forced to pay for it whether they want it or not.

further, you notion of homeowners associations choosing to have a park is really no different from a city choosing to have a park.

My notion differs in some important ways. Residents of a city too far away from a proposed park would not be forced to pay for it. Nor would they be able to elect officials to steal from other residents to provide a benefit for themselves. The more local the government (and I'm okay with calling a homeowners association that), the better it functions for its constituents.

I would, of course, prefer the government you describe to the one you have now, but ideally, I'd prefer even less. Especially since government has a tendency to grow like a cancer.


imagine having to check and see what legal system i belonged to before entering my house, or having to do so before getting on a train, going to the beach, buying a product, etc and having all that be subject to change with or without notice. your legal structure may require disclosure, mine may not etc.

Funny you should mention that because I've built offices in two separate cities and two separate states and this is EXACTLY the problem I've run into! In other words, we negotiate that problem every day.

Also, I'm obviously no legal expert (nor am I even very knowledgeable on the subject), but I believe law (including contract law) evolved out of what people considered best practices and what became accepted by people as correct and acceptable behaviour. I don't believe (again, not an expert) that contract law as we know it is rooted in arbitrary legislation by government. Certainly murder wasn't considered acceptable before some legislative body criminalized it. I also think that our legal system's dependence on precedent supports my view as does the ultimate effect of jury nullification.

I think we humans are pretty good at negotiating our way through tough issues and I think that you'd agree that much of what is legislated is not considered to be "illegal" in the minds of most people and is either regularly violated. How many people really consider speeding or smoking pot to be criminal behaviour? How about the ridiculous sodomy laws?

 
At 4/11/2012 4:50 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

One more thing....

Morganovich, I notice that Vange's response to you is that a private system would be superior to the one we have now. Certainly, you bring up valid concerns, but I think the key is to ask yourself if the current system is merely better than the alternative rather than ideal.

It seems that you think the current system is better (albeit you prefer much less of it), but is that true? Or are the questions you're really considering are "is the alternative to this system ideal" and "is it probable that it'll come to pass"?

 
At 4/11/2012 5:16 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks,

I second that recommendation, and I''m delighted to inform you you're wrong about availability It is available as a .PDF file free at the link provided. It works on my nook, so I should work on your Kindle.

 
At 4/11/2012 5:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "...central park is not. many in manhattan have paid to keep it open and kept up for decades. how do you just take it from those that have already paid in?

who gets to take the ownership away from them and on what basis?
"

Who said anything about taking it away? The city could as easily give it to the private group that has been maintaining it for years.

Unless I don't understand your question.

 
At 4/11/2012 5:57 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I do not buy this. The 'public' does not own or control any property because there is no such thing as 'the public.' Why should a taxpayer in Boston pay for a park in Alaska that s/he could never visit"...

Well that's both the point and the problem vangeIV where it seems you're looking at it nationally but I'm looking at it locally...

I also wonder about the idea of extracting wealth from a person in one state in order to support some questionable government project in another state...

My favorite example, how many of your tax dollars over the years went into the Big Dig project in Boston?

How often are you going to use that tunnel?

 
At 4/11/2012 6:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"What if I work out a private arrangement with them where I offer them some compensation for having to look at and hear that horrible thing from their property? In other words, why not let the polluter and the person who may or may not feel harmed work it out between themselves or through the court system?"

That sounds like a great idea, Mz Coase

 
At 4/11/2012 6:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "schools, maybe. you can take them all private and go user pays. but this does create a social risk of large swathes of uneducated kids that become ineffective, unproductive adults. that's a complex discussion, but you could certainly argue for user pays."

Yes, user pays, and those who are worried about large swathes of uneducated kids could contribute to private organizations of like minded folks to provide those kids with education, rather than everyone being forced to pay whether they want to or not.

"fire, perhaps, but perhaps not. if i have no fire subscription and live next to you, that's a real bummer for you."

Fire protection doesn't prevent fires, but mitigates losses, as insurance does. My private homeowner's insurance would include a premium for fire fighting service, and a form of "uninsured motorist" type coverage for just that possibility. My service will come out to protect my property against damage from your burning house. I will also pay them to make sure you and your family are safe, because it seems like the right thing to do.

"military? not really. so my house is protected from invasion, but yours is not? the free riding would be epic and the moral hazard impossible to navigate."

Invasion from whom? Without large state governments, there would be no large threats of invasion, and at a local level, conflict couldn't include serious WMD.

The reason courts exist is to settle conflict, and hopefully to dispense justice in a fair and impartial manner. A private court that didn't live up to high standards, and maintain a good reputation couldn't attract and keep customers for long, like any other business. I'm not sure why you think government courts, without the incentives of the market, can maintain a higher level of integrity.

 
At 4/11/2012 6:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "it's just the flip side of the problem you seek to address. for every guy saying "i don't want to pay for it, i never use it" you have another saying "i have paid for it for decades, you cannot exclude me"."

And no one is suggesting exclusion. If someone has paid for decades and not used the park, they have gotten nothing for the money taken from them. If they have used the park, they may continue to do so, except their payment will go to a different hand.

As a private park, no one will be required to pay unless they use it. Everyone now has choice.

 
At 4/11/2012 7:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"i presume you will want police as well and border defense if nothing else."

What's a "border"? :)

 
At 4/11/2012 8:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

even a "privately run" prison is run with public money.

Why would you have victims pay to keep people in prison? In a free society the purpose of the legal system would be restitution to the victim, not taxing the victim to pay for imprisonment of criminals.

no one is going to house prisoners for free.

Which is why you wouldn't have many prisons in a free society.

the same would be true of privately run schools paid for by vouchers.

Which is why the voucher idea is a bad one. The only solution is private business

as soon as someone is funded by "we the people" perhaps against our personal (though presumably not majority) views, you come into all these issues and it becomes, to my mind, deeply unfair to tax me to pay for an organization that discriminates against me.

Correct. Taxation for the support of institutions that you do not want is unfair. The solution is not to tax you at all and to let you pick and choose what you want to support with your own money.

 
At 4/12/2012 8:06 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Also, I'm obviously no legal expert (nor am I even very knowledgeable on the subject), but I believe law (including contract law) evolved out of what people considered best practices and what became accepted by people as correct and acceptable behaviour. I don't believe (again, not an expert) that contract law as we know it is rooted in arbitrary legislation by government. Certainly murder wasn't considered acceptable before some legislative body criminalized it. I also think that our legal system's dependence on precedent supports my view as does the ultimate effect of jury nullification.

You are correct. Before the unchecked rise of the state customs and common law courts 'discovered' law based on natural law principles and precedent. They did not need a legislature to arbitrarily muddy the waters as it passed law that made it possible to rob some people so that others could benefit. If you have the time I suggest that you look at Michael van Notten's, The Law of the Somalis and The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society. An even more interesting choice for the typical American, who tends to be confused and ignorant of their own history, would be the Anderson and Hill book, The Not So Wild, Wild West: Property Rights on the Frontier. Clearly things are not exactly as the statists would have us believe and given where the concentration and competition for power has taken us it is clear that many individuals, especially the young, are willing to open their eyes and brains to more palatable alternatives.

I think we humans are pretty good at negotiating our way through tough issues and I think that you'd agree that much of what is legislated is not considered to be "illegal" in the minds of most people and is either regularly violated. How many people really consider speeding or smoking pot to be criminal behaviour? How about the ridiculous sodomy laws?

This is why what is needed is a strong dose of nullification both at the jury level and the state level.

 
At 4/12/2012 8:10 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I second that recommendation, and I''m delighted to inform you you're wrong about availability It is available as a .PDF file free at the link provided. It works on my nook, so I should work on your Kindle.

While I have purchased both editions of the book I also converted the PDF to a kindle format by using Calibre. It works a bit better than Amazon's conversion.

 
At 4/12/2012 8:48 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Well that's both the point and the problem vangeIV where it seems you're looking at it nationally but I'm looking at it locally...

But the argument fails locally also. Imagine being a big opera fan and getting a brand new taxpayer funded facility to make your viewing experience better. Why should people who have no interest in opera have their taxes pay for what you will use and they won't? Or suppose that you have moral or aesthetic objections to homosexuals; why should your taxes help sponsor a parade celebrating the gay lifestyle? How about taxes that go to pay for a statue of some murderer President who came from your local town? If you are a pacifist or a libertarian why do you want to pay for the glorification of a monster?

 
At 4/12/2012 8:52 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

morganovich: "schools, maybe. you can take them all private and go user pays. but this does create a social risk of large swathes of uneducated kids that become ineffective, unproductive adults. that's a complex discussion, but you could certainly argue for user pays."

You need to do a lot more research.

The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves

Private companies and individuals respond to what parents want and will provide a better education than the public school monopolies. They always have.

 
At 4/12/2012 8:52 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

morganovich: "schools, maybe. you can take them all private and go user pays. but this does create a social risk of large swathes of uneducated kids that become ineffective, unproductive adults. that's a complex discussion, but you could certainly argue for user pays."

You need to do a lot more research.

The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World's Poorest People Are Educating Themselves

Private companies and individuals respond to what parents want and will provide a better education than the public school monopolies. They always have.

 
At 4/12/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Can you read and understand vangeIV?!?!

"Why should people who have no interest in opera have their taxes pay for what you will use and they won't?"...

This is exactly the same question I asked YOU but I used the Big Dig in Boston as my example...

 
At 4/12/2012 10:49 AM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

Every fall my yard is covered with dead leaves, many of which are oak leaves. There are no oak trees on my property. I resent the fact that I must spend unreplaceable time and effort raking up leaves that came off of the trees that others spent the summer sitting under, sipping lemonade. I could go around to all the neighbors and demand that they come over and rake my yard. Or I could erect a dome over it, so the leaves would stay in the street. Or I could lobby some government agency to set up a public leaf raking administration, financed with taxpayer dollars. Or I could move to a treeless neighborhood, if there is such a thing anywhere in the middle latitudes. What should I do?

 
At 4/12/2012 10:58 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

This is exactly the same question I asked YOU but I used the Big Dig in Boston as my example...

I understood the argument you made. But many others here use local examples as an argument to support theft by local governments as being more legitimate. Even if I lived in Boston and was a user of the infrastructure I would still question the wisdom of spending so much money and disrupting my daily routine for so long when private companies could have done the job much cheaper and when users could have paid for it.

 
At 4/12/2012 11:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Every fall my yard is covered with dead leaves, many of which are oak leaves. There are no oak trees on my property. I resent the fact that I must spend unreplaceable time and effort raking up leaves that came off of the trees that others spent the summer sitting under, sipping lemonade. I could go around to all the neighbors and demand that they come over and rake my yard. Or I could erect a dome over it, so the leaves would stay in the street. Or I could lobby some government agency to set up a public leaf raking administration, financed with taxpayer dollars. Or I could move to a treeless neighborhood, if there is such a thing anywhere in the middle latitudes. What should I do?

If you move to an area that has trees you accept the fact that you have to deal with leaves. Other people should not have to change the rules because you do not like the way things were before you moved in. This is why people who move next to airports should not be able to complain about the noise.

 
At 4/12/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

The most striking aspect of Pulverized's post is not the unnecessarily convoluted nonsolutions, but the that all the leaves are blamed on his neighbours' trees.

It appears he has moved into the only plot in the neigbhbourhood without a single tree standing on it.

Of course, he does get the beautiful scenery the oaks provide. He could offer to black out his windows and enclose his yard in opaque material to block his view in exchange for the neighbours sweeping the leaves off his enclosure. After all, if he doesn't want to bear any of the cost associated with the trees, why should he benefit from any of their beauty?

 
At 4/12/2012 2:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: "While I have purchased both editions of the book I also converted the PDF to a kindle format by using Calibre. It works a bit better than Amazon's conversion."

Thanks. I've heard that Calibre is good. I guess it's something I should have. :)

 
At 4/12/2012 2:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Pulverized Concepts:

"Every fall my yard is covered with dead leaves, many of which are oak leaves. There are no oak trees on my property. I resent the fact that I must spend unreplaceable time and effort... ...What should I do?"

You should plant oak trees in your yard.

Incidentally, if this is the most troubling problem you have, you are a very fortunate person.

 
At 4/12/2012 2:40 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


Thanks. I've heard that Calibre is good. I guess it's something I should have. :)


The price is certainly right. And it is extremely useful if you have to rely on a Kindle. It is useful when you convert free ePub format books that do not come in the Kindle format.

 
At 4/12/2012 3:30 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

If you move to an area that has trees you accept the fact that you have to deal with leaves. Other people should not have to change the rules because you do not like the way things were before you moved in. This is why people who move next to airports should not be able to complain about the noise.
Nobody gave me a copy of the rules. Where would I find them? I don't remember there being anything in the purchase agreement about my being responsible for the neighbor's oak leaves. If for some reason these leaves become valuable will they still be mine, or will the neighbors be able to come over and claim them? I guess it's OK if my Labrador retriever craps on the neighbors yard then, too. He may be mobile but he's not much smarter than a tree.

 
At 4/12/2012 4:05 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

He may be mobile but he's not much smarter than a tree.

Owner and dog have much in common.

You are able to control where your dog shits. They aren't able to control where their trees shit. When you were choosing your place of residence, were you blindfolded and unable to see all the oak trees around you or were you just ignorant of the fact that oak trees shed their leaves in the autumn?

 
At 4/12/2012 6:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Nobody gave me a copy of the rules. Where would I find them?"

LOL.

When you buy a house in a neighborhood that has trees, you might expect some leaves to fall in your yard.

Probably no one thought you needed that explained to you. "The rules" probably don't cover that either. Some things are just understood by normal adults.

And no it's not all right to let your dog crap in the neighbor's yard. You can control that, and you should. I doubt the neighbor "lets" his leaves fall in your yard.

 
At 4/12/2012 6:50 PM, Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

" They aren't able to control where their trees shit."

Really? Maybe we can call dead leaves "tree poop" but that's probably not biologically accurate. The airport noise thing is different, it's sound waves that pass by and are gone, they don't hang around and mess up the lawn. I suppose the sound of a 747 could be irritating or even a nuisance but it really doesn't require that I make any physical effort. Besides, I'm hard of hearing. Anyway, let's say one of my neighbors plants a number of those pesky oaks in his yard to make his place look like some kind of an English manor. And the leaves blow over to my yard. His property is worth more, he has the actual value of the trees and the value that they add to the property in total. But my property is devalued to the extent of the cost of cleaning up his dead leaves. Now if I'm a retired middle linebacker from the Chicago Bears I might be able to talk him into helping me rake my lawn. If, on the other hand, he's the retired linebacker, that strategy won't work. Kind of the way the government operates.

 
At 4/12/2012 8:21 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

The market value of your house is not diminished because most people love trees and are more than willing to get a leaf blower and deal with a few leaves for a couple of weeks.

You are a real joy to live with. I think I understand your problem and I think I have an excellent solution: Prozac.

 
At 4/12/2012 9:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Nobody gave me a copy of the rules. Where would I find them? I don't remember there being anything in the purchase agreement about my being responsible for the neighbor's oak leaves.

Actually, the rules were in place when you moved into a treed area. You are supposed to know that trees have leaves that are blown in the wind and that you may have to do a lot of raking even if you do not have any trees on your own property. For the record, when you move in next to the garbage dump you should be smart enough to know that there are days when it will be very smelly near your home.

If for some reason these leaves become valuable will they still be mine, or will the neighbors be able to come over and claim them?

Same thing applies. Your neighbours know that tree leaves fly away. If they want to keep them on their property they are free to erect nets just as you are free to erect them if you don't want many trees to blow over on your own property.

I guess it's OK if my Labrador retriever craps on the neighbors yard then, too.

It isn't. It is reasonable to have people keep control of their pets so that they do not damage the property of others.

He may be mobile but he's not much smarter than a tree.

But he can easily be restrained by a leash. That is not only wise for the protection of the property of others but for the safety of the dog.

 
At 4/12/2012 9:45 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Probably no one thought you needed that explained to you. "The rules" probably don't cover that either. Some things are just understood by normal adults.

Are mentally retarded people able to purchase property in your country? If someone can't figure out that trees have leaves that fall down how is s/he capable of purchasing a home legally?

 
At 4/12/2012 9:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Anyway, let's say one of my neighbors plants a number of those pesky oaks in his yard to make his place look like some kind of an English manor. And the leaves blow over to my yard. His property is worth more, he has the actual value of the trees and the value that they add to the property in total. But my property is devalued to the extent of the cost of cleaning up his dead leaves. Now if I'm a retired middle linebacker from the Chicago Bears I might be able to talk him into helping me rake my lawn. If, on the other hand, he's the retired linebacker, that strategy won't work. Kind of the way the government operates.

In my neighbourhood similar houses on similar lots may differ in price by several hundred thousand depending on the number and type of trees. If a tree is cut down the value of the property falls significantly. I would say that any reasonable person would conclude that a property is improved by the planting of trees. As such you benefit from their presence.

Of course, given your postings it is very clear that you are not very reasonable.

 
At 4/13/2012 11:06 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"But many others here use local examples as an argument to support theft by local governments as being more legitimate"...

So it seems vangeIV but then again if said project was put to a vote on the local level and the 'other' citizens voted to support it with their tax dollars and your tax dollars too the legitimacy of the project might still be questionable but apparently not illegal until its gets challenged in court and maybe still legal afterwards...

"Even if I lived in Boston and was a user of the infrastructure I would still question the wisdom of spending so much money and disrupting my daily routine for so long when private companies could have done the job much cheaper and when users could have paid for it"...

Amen vangeIV!

In case folks forgot, from USAToday dated 12-25-07: After a history marked by engineering triumphs, tunnels leaks, epic traffic jams, last year's death of a motorist crushed by falling concrete panels and a price tag that soared from $2.6 billion to a staggering $14.8 billion, there's little appetite for celebration...

 
At 4/13/2012 11:06 AM, Blogger juandos said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/13/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Are mentally retarded people able to purchase property in your country? If someone can't figure out that trees have leaves that fall down how is s/he capable of purchasing a home legally?"

Yes, through their guardians. The thing is, few have the means to do so.

Irrational people, on the other hand...

 
At 4/13/2012 12:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "So it seems vangeIV but then again if said project was put to a vote on the local level and the 'other' citizens voted to support it with their tax dollars and your tax dollars too the legitimacy of the project might still be questionable but apparently not illegal until its gets challenged in court and maybe still legal afterwards..."

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the government having the power to tax.

 
At 4/13/2012 3:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the government having the power to tax"...

Yeah ron h and in the case of the federal government it has the 'unlimited' power to tax until an informed electorate votes in an intelligent Congress...

 
At 4/13/2012 7:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Yeah ron h and in the case of the federal government it has the 'unlimited' power to tax until an informed electorate votes in an intelligent Congress."

Or, make good use of our unalienable 2nd Amendment right, and throw the crooks out as those guys did in 1776.

Admit it: Marching on Washington with that Barrett would be more fun than voting, wouldn't it?

 
At 4/14/2012 8:27 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

So it seems vangeIV but then again if said project was put to a vote on the local level and the 'other' citizens voted to support it with their tax dollars and your tax dollars too the legitimacy of the project might still be questionable but apparently not illegal until its gets challenged in court and maybe still legal afterwards...

First, few projects are approved by direct votes. Second, it is easy for those who would benefit greatly to flood the airwaves with promises of some future benefits which fail to materialize. Third, it is easy to vote to get something if do not believe that you are going to pay for it directly.

In the end this is a simple question of morality, ethics, and natural rights. If one man should not be able to tax us to pay for a project that we do not want why should 51% of the population be able to do the same thing?

 
At 4/14/2012 8:33 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

In case folks forgot, from USAToday dated 12-25-07: After a history marked by engineering triumphs, tunnels leaks, epic traffic jams, last year's death of a motorist crushed by falling concrete panels and a price tag that soared from $2.6 billion to a staggering $14.8 billion, there's little appetite for celebration...

I hate to tell you this but the project is far from being complete. My kids wanted to drive one of those WWII amphibious units on the Charles River so I took them on a tour of Boston. Our guide pointed out a number of parks that won't be complete until two or three years into the future and many changes to the design that have yet to be implemented.

 
At 4/14/2012 8:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Or, make good use of our unalienable 2nd Amendment right, and throw the crooks out as those guys did in 1776.

Admit it: Marching on Washington with that Barrett would be more fun than voting, wouldn't it?


Actually, it is not necessary to do anything violent. (In fact it is undesirable.) The best approach is to withdraw the consent of the governed by a refusal to pay various taxes and fees and to have the jurors nullify the bad laws.

 
At 4/15/2012 3:43 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Admit it: Marching on Washington with that Barrett would be more fun than voting, wouldn't it?"...

Well ron h now that you've mentioned the idea does sort of give me a bit of a woody thinking about it...:-)

 
At 4/15/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I hate to tell you this but the project is far from being complete"...

No vangeIV I personally don't think it'll ever be complete...

It'll end up being a taxpayer financed blackhole from now until the sun goes dark...

 
At 4/16/2012 12:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Actually, it is not necessary to do anything violent. (In fact it is undesirable.) The best approach is to withdraw the consent of the governed by a refusal to pay various taxes and fees and to have the jurors nullify the bad laws."

You're right, of course, that violence is undesirable, but withdrawing consent would result in violence in the form of imprisonment of many tax protestors, up to the limit of holding facilities, and would require a level of cooperation never before seen.

It's a pleasant thought, though, as long as a few bureaucrats got shot in the process. :)

As for jury nullification, I won't hold my breathe. The number of people I speak to in person who even know the concept exists, is...zero. The same goes for state nullification.

Public education is working well.

 
At 4/16/2012 3:10 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

You're right, of course, that violence is undesirable, but withdrawing consent would result in violence in the form of imprisonment of many tax protestors, up to the limit of holding facilities, and would require a level of cooperation never before seen.

I agree to a point. But I doubt that once consent is removed by a reasonable portion of the electorate it will be possible for the authorities to do very much at all. The major problem would come from the parasites that depend on the government, not the government itself.

It's a pleasant thought, though, as long as a few bureaucrats got shot in the process. :)

Unless you are defending yourself, violence is a bad idea. It plays into the hands of the actual criminals who tend to try to use the idea of law and order against those seeking liberty.

As for jury nullification, I won't hold my breathe. The number of people I speak to in person who even know the concept exists, is...zero. The same goes for state nullification.

The internet is helping. And the young are paying attention.

 

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