This is for discussions about news, politics, sports, other games, culture, philosophy etc.
User avatar
United States of America n0el
ESOC Business Team
Posts: 2793
ESO: n0eL

14 Mar 2019, 16:49

Banning donations would do absolute nothing. I don't think you understand how the "free market" libertarian types have attacked our democracy in the last 30 years. It goes way beyond political donations.

Anyways, that is just one point of taxation and the power struggle. If you looked at the top 50 richest people in the US, i bet you could surely say that ~90% of them either inherited significant amounts of wealth and didn't work for it, or exploited other people to gain their wealth. I see free market types arguing that taxation is theft, well conversely I would make an argument that there is theft going on from labor by the capital class.
User avatar
No Flag fightinfrenchman
Gendarme
Donator 03
Posts: 5807

14 Mar 2019, 20:37

@Dolan If you consider the Washington Post a left-wing media outlet what do you consider to be more center?
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

14 Mar 2019, 21:02

iwillspankyou wrote:Let me get this straight. You say that there is no corruption, or influence in American politics by wealthy and powerful ppl and corporations, just because Bezos and Trump have a feud going on? You use ONE example of a rich person who doesn't like Trump, but still, benefit from the tax cuts?
I have a hard time understanding the logic behind your arguments if there is any logic or reasoning there :P

I think my reply is quite self-explanatory. No I am not saying there is no corruption and influence by the wealthy in politics, I am saying that it's not wealth that is at the root of this problem. Wealth is just a means by which such undue influence is exercised. Those people simply have more material means to influence the political process if they have a direct interest to do so. But then so do intellectuals, public figures, youtube influencers and so on. They have a different kind of "wealth", if you want. And they are using that disproportionate influence on public opinion to their own ends. So what I am saying is that this reflex of blaming wealth in itself is wrong and misguided and short-sided. People have different kinds of social and material capital which they use to punch way above their weight.

Sadly, left wing people always tend to blame wealth, they have this reflex of pathologising wealth, of imagining the worst about the rich, when everyday examples show that's not really the case. There is a huge number of rich people who do not get involved in politics, simply because they don't perceive that politics has any meaningful impact on the way they run their business. At best, they donate to both parties, sometimes equally, just to hedge their potential future risks (in case, let's say, congressmen decide to adopt some legislation that would have a significant negative effect on how they run their businesses). But other than that, there are thousands of rich people who aren't interested much in politics, because the way they succeeded in life didn't depend much directly on politics, on what state institutions decided.

For example Google, who has been given free reign in the USA; they can do whatever they want, nobody regulated anything about their business model there, until the EU started implementing privacy laws (like the right to be forgotten). How does Google influence the political process in the USA and why would it even be interested in doing so? Let's talk about the biggest companies right now. How does Amazon? I mean, for fuck's sake, there are municipal authorities in the USA competing over facilities proposed to Amazon, just to get them to invest in their state. And Amazon's bosses are giving out public signs of what kind of facilities they would be interested in. So, when it comes to the big business, it's actually the opposite that takes place. Local municipalities are tripping over themselves to attract investment by the big business sector. Amazon doesn't even need to use its wealth to have an undue influence in US politics. What about Google? Microsoft? Apple? How do these companies use their wealth to control US politics? Do they even need to do that, considering that their business model doesn't really depend that much on what's legislated over there? They've been way more significantly impacted by what's legislated in the EU, for example, rather than what's legislated in the US.

So when people point out that people like the Koch brothers have an unfair influence in politics, they think the problem is that they have too much wealth, or that wealth in general is at fault here. So, usually, their reflex is: let's just tax the shit out of them, because the more money we take from them, the less politically influential they are. Right? Or what is it that you would propose to fix this? Just make sure there are no wealthy people, right? Because wealth in itself is the problem according to leftwing ideology, right? "Unequal" wealth is the root of all social and political ills, right? It shouldn't even be allowed for someone to have so much wealth, right? So wealth is the problem according to your point of view? Or am I just projecting my own view of what you propose to fix this?
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Jaeger
iwillspankyou
Posts: 4511

14 Mar 2019, 21:43

@Dolan to your posts above. I would think most ppl would tolerate some difference in wealth and income, but that is not what we are talking about here. This inequality of wealth is just on another planet, and the special interests (the big corp and the super-rich) are rigging the system in their advantage, to make even more money on the behalf of working ppl. I mean, you have to realize that?
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

14 Mar 2019, 21:46

fightinfrenchman wrote:@Dolan If you consider the Washington Post a left-wing media outlet what do you consider to be more center?

Imo, USA politics is mostly polarised around centre-left (Dems) and centre-right (Repubs), or as you guys call it over there, it's either more liberal or conservative. There's no significant, pure "centre" in US politics, imo. For example, in Europe someone like Macron is called a centrist. Such a thing doesn't exist in the USA, someone who mixes policies from both left and right solutions in a sort of middle ground ideology and manages to win elections based on that. There might be like a few independents or some Democrats or Repubs who are atypical for their party, but overall they tend to be primarily either liberal or conservative.

Sure, I am aware that even such liberal-leaning media outlets like the WP have columnists of both liberal and conservative opinion. They don't publish only liberal columnists or take public positions which are always pro-Democratic. The WP has been accused of promoting news which support neo-con interests, especially during the Iraq wars. So it's not 100% this or that. That doesn't make it centrist either, I think. Every media outlet tries to project this image of impartiality, they try to make you think that their editorial line is fair and it doesn't unjustly favour one political orientation over the other. But if you look at which party their readership votes for, you find that Washington Post readers are more likely to vote Democrats rather than Republicans, compared to another media outlet like the Washington Times.

Here's a study which found exactly that: https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sites/ ... States.pdf

On Table 1B, page 41 (page 7 of the PDF document), you can see the scores which show that people who read WP are more likely to vote for a Democrat as a governor, compared to people who read the WT:

Image

It is true that such a study focused on a particular election in VA with particular candidates. And sometimes Democrats might have conservative-leaning candidates, so they might enjoy good coverage in both the WP and the WT. So then, when researchers look at which candidate WP and WT readers voted for, they might discover that readers of both WP and WT voted for a Democrat, just because he/she happened to be more conservative-leaning. That doesn't mean these two media outlets have the same editorial line or that they are centrist. The numbers clearly show a slightly higher preference among WP readers for a Democrat as a candidate.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
No Flag fightinfrenchman
Gendarme
Donator 03
Posts: 5807

14 Mar 2019, 22:02

lol
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

14 Mar 2019, 22:28

Image
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Jaeger
iwillspankyou
Posts: 4511

14 Mar 2019, 22:33

Dolan wrote:Image

you left the esoc staff, but you do very good keeping the discussions going, being a troll :P
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Jaeger
iwillspankyou
Posts: 4511

14 Mar 2019, 22:41

about taxes for the rich, take a look at the new bugdet proposed
Fair? Just? Intelligent? what is needed? you tell me
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

14 Mar 2019, 22:42

I post one message that is replete with arguments and which cites empirical data that proves the point I am making, the guy replies with "lol" and I'm the troll, right?

Image
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
Norway iwillspankyou
Jaeger
iwillspankyou
Posts: 4511

14 Mar 2019, 22:51

Dolan wrote:I post one message that is replete with arguments and which cites empirical data that proves the point I am making, the guy replies with "lol" and I'm the troll, right?

Image

he is also a Troll ;) I cannot understand the points YOU are making if it was not only for making a big spash :shock: :idea:
Hippocrits are the worst of animals. I love elifants.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

14 Mar 2019, 22:56

iwillspankyou wrote:about taxes for the rich, take a look at the new bugdet proposed
Fair? Just? Intelligent? what is needed? you tell me

Code: Select all

https://youtu.be/-PzfrtaS_P4

Do I have to keep commenting on the completely retarded state of US politics all the time?

It would take me hours to dig through whatever reasons the US federal government had to make the budget in that particular way -- then I would come back with a list of arguments -- you would go through them then come back with some short replies about how I don't get it that "the rich are not taxed enough". Because whatever I say, whatever arguments I bring, however complex or considerate for the subtleties of both politics and economics, your replies are always likely to come back with the same old points. As if nothing has been argued. As if no evidence to the contrary has been posted. :smile:

So what's the point, really, I don't live in the USA to care that much about their politics that I would start studying their budget law to see how it evolved over the years and for what reason for each budgetary chapter. Or do you think that the way budgets are made looks like this: Trump puts his legs on the desk and says: let's cut 1 trillion bucks from Medicare, who cares about those poor fucks, haha? Is that how you think budgets are made? Do you think the Koch brothers went to the White House and told Trump: hey dude, how about the government cuts 1 trillion bucks from Medicare, wouldn't that be cool? And Trump replies: yeah, haha, dude, imagine the general butthurt.

You know what? Fuck the USA. This is a different topic and I don't have to comment about the USA in every topic, they're not that important. :mrgreen: ;)

I'd be more interested in discussing how we should tax wealth in Europe or whatever we should do in Europe, because this is where I live.

Sure, it might be interesting to talk about other parts of the world for the sake of theory (is X better than Y?), but I wouldn't do it to the point that I'd get drawn in to comment on their youtube pieces of political propaganda that are supposed to support "the Lib argument" or "the Repub argument" for policies which are completely specific to the USA (like foodstamps). If you reply to that, you get drawn into this:

Image
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
United States of America n0el
ESOC Business Team
Posts: 2793
ESO: n0eL

15 Mar 2019, 00:19

Except the topic was posed by @kami_ryu who lives in the US of A.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

15 Mar 2019, 00:47

And the guy who created this media stir at the Davos is a Dutch guy who was talking about "taxing the billionaires" in general. I didn't notice that OP mentioned anything about this topic being specifically about the USA.
I think it was posted to gather arguments on the "taxing the rich" topic in general, possibly because OP is too lazy to do it himself. Lots of people do that on Reddit, Quora and other places where people come to post a question, so that others do their homework.

Why do the research yourself and write an essay when you can just ask on Reddit/Quora and take your pick from the most informed replies? Well, the likelihood is that quality arguments are not going to be posted there, for free.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9371

15 Mar 2019, 02:58

Goodspeed wrote:In that context, equal opportunity. Or rather lack thereof


I must be missing something. I was under the impression that you're saying that equal opportunity doesnt exist, amd that people need to stop believing that it does before we can address the actual issue. So the what's the actual issue? It cant be equal opportunity or the lack thereof...
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

15 Mar 2019, 03:54

iwillspankyou wrote:@Dolan to your posts above. I would think most ppl would tolerate some difference in wealth and income, but that is not what we are talking about here. This inequality of wealth is just on another planet, and the special interests (the big corp and the super-rich) are rigging the system in their advantage, to make even more money on the behalf of working ppl. I mean, you have to realize that?

How much inequality is tolerable, from your point of view? Is there a specific maximum level of wealth that should be allowed for one single person? Is it a matter of relative wealth between individuals? How do you decide where to set the threshold for such a level?

Of course some rich people will try to rig the system, everyone is trying to gain an advantage in whatever way they can, in every field of human action. Do you think tennis players or athletes don't cheat or try to rig the system? They all take all sorts of stimulants and pills that are made for one purpose, but are useful for their side effects in helping the body repair itself faster after strenous effort. And some of those substances are banned, so they take it in such a way that it gets removed from their system before the player/athlete is likely to get tested. It's common practice in professional sports, that's why they hire doctors, to help them trick the system, to get away with as much chemical stimulation that enhances physical performance as they can, without getting caught. It's just an example, but you can find examples in any field.

So why should it be different with wealth? Everyone is trying to maximise their life chances, so it's natural that some rich will try to maximise their wealth, it's not something out of the ordinary.

Lots of rich people are self-made billionaires or millionaires, not all of them inherited their wealth. And sometimes they were born in blue-collar families, like Steve Jobs, who was adopted by such a family. And yet, he managed to rise to the top. How did the system prevent Steve Jobs from getting rich in his 20s, when he was born in a blue-collar family?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an apologist of the current state of "the system", but I may project this image because I have to first explain why people's perception of these things is inaccurate. I'm not doing this to defend the rich, the establishment or institutions like the EU, it's just that people today are such victims of trends and of zeitgeists, that they tend to criticise based on what they hear in the media. They don't seem able to do their own research and come up with their own arguments, they just repeat stuff they heard elsewhere, they take pre-fabricated arguments that were cooked by somebody else. So when you're arguing people like this, you have to spend a lot of time patiently disassembling a pile a flawed suppositions, before you're able to actually stage your own arguments.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9371

15 Mar 2019, 04:10

n0el wrote:The gated community thing is just stupid, whatever to that, if you to think you are cool and live in a community you have to pass a guard to get into then whatever, thats your choice.
She is right about the education aspect though. That's a MAJOR problem in the US. Everyone talks about freedom and equal opportunity but that's a complete fallacy. There isn't equal opportunity. The wealthy have gamed the education system to favor themselves at the expense of the rest. It keeps getting worse.


Rich parents pay bribes to get their kids into better schools, most likely nothing will happen.

Poor parent changes address to get kid into better school, goes to jail.

:maniac:


PS: and the prize for most naturalistic fallacies in one thread goes toooooooo... Dolan. Naturally!
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

15 Mar 2019, 04:25

My mistake, maybe what I argued is unclear. I'm not saying that this is how things should be. Naturally, we should punish system-rigging wherever it happens, whether it's in politics or in sports. I was just explaining that cheating is a general-human phenomenon, it's not something unique to "the wealthy".

There's too much uncritical demonisation of categories like: the rich, the government, the system, corporations, bureaucracy, lawyers, globalisation, politicians, politics, etc.

It's like everything about these things must be inherently evil, all-powerful and occult. You really need to get involved in these things to understand that they're all too human.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
User avatar
Netherlands Goodspeed
Retired Contributor
Posts: 6834

15 Mar 2019, 08:20

umeu wrote:
Goodspeed wrote:In that context, equal opportunity. Or rather lack thereof
I must be missing something. I was under the impression that you're saying that equal opportunity doesnt exist, amd that people need to stop believing that it does before we can address the actual issue. So the what's the actual issue? It cant be equal opportunity or the lack thereof...
Why not?
It's a pretty simple point. As long as we don't have equal opportunity, but people believe we do, not enough is going to be done about it.
Kinda like this belief in free market economics that people have. While this belief is there, it's hard to pass necessary laws to regulate it.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
XeeleeFlower wrote:I don't mind open endings as long as the story continues at some point
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9371

15 Mar 2019, 09:26

Goodspeed wrote:
umeu wrote:
Goodspeed wrote:In that context, equal opportunity. Or rather lack thereof
I must be missing something. I was under the impression that you're saying that equal opportunity doesnt exist, amd that people need to stop believing that it does before we can address the actual issue. So the what's the actual issue? It cant be equal opportunity or the lack thereof...
Why not?
It's a pretty simple point. As long as we don't have equal opportunity, but people believe we do, not enough is going to be done about it.
Kinda like this belief in free market economics that people have. While this belief is there, it's hard to pass necessary laws to regulate it.


Ok, I guess I misunderstood you to mean that equal opportunity isn't possible, rather than not actual.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

16 Mar 2019, 01:35

Equal opportunity is just as possible as any other utopia.
As long as there is any kind of inequality (genetic, financial, environmental), equal opportunity is nothing but a heuristic fiction (or what Kant called "regulative ideas", for readers of philosophy).

So I guess it's useful to take this therapeutic approach to inequality, to keep trying to compensate for people's unequal starting positions, but as we've seen with such policies (like affirmative action in the USA), you run into some fundamental problems:

a. You never know when it's time to stop; how do you even decide when you should stop pursuing equal opportunity policies? Is there an end-state that is considered to be optimal or acceptable for equal opportunity, beyond which you're distorting the balance and creating new kinds of inequality? How do you create equal opportunity of mating for a short guy and a tall guy? Equal opportunity to excel in sports for the women who naturally have lower testosterone levels and compete against transsexuals with 10 times higher T levels? We're already seeing the effects of these mindless "equalisation" policies, which lead to even bigger moral conundrums.

b. Let's assume that you magically establish equal starting positions for everyone. What do you do if they all perform unequally and their children inherit unequal starting positions? Do you nationalise their property? Do you tax them to death because they dared to perform better from an economic point of view? They might decide they'd rather split with this species than receive such an unequal treatment, in the name of equality. They might think they deserve more because they performed better.

People need to stop getting high on this communist LSD bullshit. Equalising nature is like trying to kill what makes it work, in the first place.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9371

16 Mar 2019, 03:35

Dolan wrote:Equal opportunity is just as possible as any other utopia.
As long as there is any kind of inequality (genetic, financial, environmental), equal opportunity is nothing but a heuristic fiction (or what Kant called "regulative ideas", for readers of philosophy).

So I guess it's useful to take this therapeutic approach to inequality, to keep trying to compensate for people's unequal starting positions, but as we've seen with such policies (like affirmative action in the USA), you run into some fundamental problems:

a. You never know when it's time to stop; how do you even decide when you should stop pursuing equal opportunity policies? Is there an end-state that is considered to be optimal or acceptable for equal opportunity, beyond which you're distorting the balance and creating new kinds of inequality? How do you create equal opportunity of mating for a short guy and a tall guy? Equal opportunity to excel in sports for the women who naturally have lower testosterone levels and compete against transsexuals with 10 times higher T levels? We're already seeing the effects of these mindless "equalisation" policies, which lead to even bigger moral conundrums.

b. Let's assume that you magically establish equal starting positions for everyone. What do you do if they all perform unequally and their children inherit unequal starting positions? Do you nationalise their property? Do you tax them to death because they dared to perform better from an economic point of view? They might decide they'd rather split with this species than receive such an unequal treatment, in the name of equality. They might think they deserve more because they performed better.

People need to stop getting high on this communist LSD bullshit. Equalising nature is like trying to kill what makes it work, in the first place.


As in previous posts, you also keep confusing equality with egality. They're not the same. But don't worry, you're not alone in doing this.

Then you're confusing equality of opportunity with outcome. And then you're insinuating that just because there is a difference, that any difference is justified. Stop using strawman arguments.

You need to stop getting high on your social darwinism, it's a deeply flawed theory that has been largely debunked ages ago. You have no idea where to draw a line between socalled nature and culture. The notion of equality and fairness is ingrained in primate species. Certain theories as the ones you dismiss as contrary to nature, are in fact a continuation of that.

Not to say that such a social "system" wouldn't have any flaws, it would, just like the one we have now. Just like any that can ever be conceived.
User avatar
Romania Dolan
Jaeger
Posts: 2941
Location: aka Neuron

16 Mar 2019, 06:44

You're not addressing any of my arguments, though. You are just stating that one abstract thing is not another. Why should I not "confuse" equality with egality, if that's what usually leftwingers actually want? They don't want equal opportunity, they want equal outcomes. This is what bothers them. The fact that some people simply own more. And that this leads to other different outcomes. So how can you actually ensure equality of opportunity if you don't equalise some outcomes?
Parents who managed to become self-made millionaires will afford more expensive education, so their children will be able to access higher quality education. How can you make sure that those who weren't born in a family of millionaires can get an education that gives them similar chances in life? Can you compel everyone to go through the same schools? No. Can you make sure that public schools have the same education quality as more expensive schools? You can try, but eventually public funding is not going to be able to ensure similar levels of quality. So what else can you do without infringing on people's right to choose their own schools based on what they can afford? Probably forcing companies to equally employ people that graduated from both public and private schools, sometimes regardless of whether they are competitive for the job or not. So the way in which equal opportunity is being practiced right now, legally, is by equalising outcomes. :smile:
You need to stop getting high on your social darwinism, it's a deeply flawed theory that has been largely debunked ages ago

Has it really been debunked? I haven't seen any proposed hypotheses made by such a theory that were empirically disproven.
But well, evolutionism is first of all a theory, it's a framework. It spawned multiple fields of study which later actually carried out empirical research and brought evidence to support it. Social darwinism is such a derivation of evolutionary theory, but it's not a scientific field of study, as far as I know. It's just a bunch of related theories that aim to apply evolutionary principles to human society.
I'd be surprised if anyone "debunked" that evolution applies to human society. Not in the least because it's notoriously difficult to make predictions in the field of social relations (no wonder economists have such a bad reputation because of that).
But if you have some actual examples of studies which "debunked" the application of evolutionary principles to social relations, sure, I'd be interested in considering them.
You have no idea where to draw a line between socalled nature and culture.

There is no line between nature and culture. Culture is nature too. Simples.
The notion of equality and fairness is ingrained in primate species. Certain theories as the ones you dismiss as contrary to nature, are in fact a continuation of that.

And I thought I was the one guilty of using naturalistic fallacy arguments. :biggrin:
Never heard of this idea that equality is ingrained in primate species. Actually, all primate species are quite territorial and have strict social hierarchies, based on power relations (alpha, beta, gamma males/females etc).
From the studies I've seen yet, primates seem to have a sensitivity to unequal outcomes, but that seems to be a different kind of sense of injustice than the one we see in humans. I think it's more of a question of being frustrated about missing out on an opportunity that another conspecific managed to get. And primates do understand that they need to cooperate if they want to get a reward, which indicates they can anticipate their conspecifics' frustration and share the rewards in order to appease them. It's more like a strategy employed to avoid aggression.
I doubt that primates have a similar sense of equality and fairness as humans. I think that requires having theory-of-mind abilities and currently the evidence that primates would have something similar is pretty unconvincing.
Not to say that such a social "system" wouldn't have any flaws, it would, just like the one we have now. Just like any that can ever be conceived.

I'm not sure which system you are referring to here.
What is chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 9371

16 Mar 2019, 08:01

Dolan wrote:You're not addressing any of my arguments, though. You are just stating that one abstract thing is not another. Why should I not "confuse" equality with egality, if that's what usually leftwingers actually want? They don't want equal opportunity, they want equal outcomes. This is what bothers them. The fact that some people simply own more. And that this leads to other different outcomes. So how can you actually ensure equality of opportunity if you don't equalise some outcomes?


What is there to address? You merely raised a few questions. Then you proceeded to project your fantasy of other people's opinions upon everyone you suspect to have a different opinion than yours. Just as you do in the above. Who are these leftists whom all have the same opinion? Does everyone on the left believe equality is egality? Or does everyone who confuses egality and equality a leftist? It's just a bunch of hogwash which does nothing but perpetuate polemics.

Parents who managed to become self-made millionaires will afford more expensive education, so their children will be able to access higher quality education. How can you make sure that those who weren't born in a family of millionaires can get an education that gives them similar chances in life? Can you compel everyone to go through the same schools? No. Can you make sure that public schools have the same education quality as more expensive schools? You can try, but eventually public funding is not going to be able to ensure similar levels of quality. So what else can you do without infringing on people's right to choose their own schools based on what they can afford? Probably forcing companies to equally employ people that graduated from both public and private schools, sometimes regardless of whether they are competitive for the job or not. So the way in which equal opportunity is being practiced right now, legally, is by equalising outcomes. :smile:


There's no such thing as a self-made anything, but besides that, this isn't even true for a great many countries, in mainland Europe more so than the USA and UK, where everyone basically has access to the same level of education as long as they show aptitude for it. I went to high school with children whose parents were millionaires, for example, and I went to the same university as some of those as well. In any case, equal opportunity is a spectrum, not an absolute. You can have more or less equality. Just because you can't achieve a perfect state, doesn't mean you shouldn't try to create a better one. Which is basically what you're saying.

Has it really been debunked? I haven't seen any proposed hypotheses made by such a theory that were empirically disproven.

You can't empirically disprove god either. That's the issue with fairy tales, isn't it?

But well, evolutionism is first of all a theory, it's a framework. It spawned multiple fields of study which later actually carried out empirical research and brought evidence to support it. Social darwinism is such a derivation of evolutionary theory, but it's not a scientific field of study, as far as I know. It's just a bunch of related theories that aim to apply evolutionary principles to human society.
I'd be surprised if anyone "debunked" that evolution applies to human society. Not in the least because it's notoriously difficult to make predictions in the field of social relations (no wonder economists have such a bad reputation because of that).
But if you have some actual examples of studies which "debunked" the application of evolutionary principles to social relations, sure, I'd be interested in
considering them.


I didn't say that it debunked that evolution applies to human society. Merely that society is organized or works according to the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest, as social stratification often has very little to do with the individual person, but rather is the result of the class, group or family one is born into. Wealthy parents bribing their children into elite schools without those children having the qualification to enter is such an example.


And I thought I was the one guilty of using naturalistic fallacy arguments. :biggrin:
Never heard of this idea that equality is ingrained in primate species. Actually, all primate species are quite territorial and have strict social hierarchies, based on power relations (alpha, beta, gamma males/females etc).
From the studies I've seen yet, primates seem to have a sensitivity to unequal outcomes, but that seems to be a different kind of sense of injustice than the one we see in humans. I think it's more of a question of being frustrated about missing out on an opportunity that another conspecific managed to get. And primates do understand that they need to cooperate if they want to get a reward, which indicates they can anticipate their conspecifics' frustration and share the rewards in order to appease them. It's more like a strategy employed to avoid aggression.
I doubt that primates have a similar sense of equality and fairness as humans. I think that requires having theory-of-mind abilities and currently the evidence that primates would have something similar is pretty unconvincing.


I never said that it was the same, or that primates had "equal" as opposed hierarchical societies, merely that you can observe fundamental "ideas" about fairness even in primates, and those ideas can be explained to be at the root of the more elaborate social constructions that humans have built over time. The same is true of many other expressions of culture which can be found in humans in a more elaborate form, but can also be found in primates in a more simplified form. You can read De Waal, among others, if you want to read more about the theory-of-mind among primates.

I'm not sure which system you are referring to here.

I'm saying that a social system which tries to incorporate equality of opportunity would definitely have flaws and wouldn't be perfect, just like any other social system humanity has ever come up with, and most likely any system we'll ever come up with in the future.
User avatar
Netherlands Goodspeed
Retired Contributor
Posts: 6834

16 Mar 2019, 08:54

Dolan wrote:Equal opportunity is just as possible as any other utopia.
As long as there is any kind of inequality (genetic, financial, environmental), equal opportunity is nothing but a heuristic fiction (or what Kant called "regulative ideas", for readers of philosophy).
Yes it's an ideal more than a realistic goal but so what? As long as we can realistically improve it, we should. And in a lot of places we're not even trying. For example the state of public education in the USA, literally the wealthiest country in the world, is shameful.

One example of a relatively easy way to improve it is to have education (largely) state-funded. In the Netherlands, and I would imagine other places as well, all bachelor programs are the same price regardless of which university you go to. And anyone can borrow money from the government to enroll and cover living expenses. But you can't get in if your (high school) grades aren't up to par.
a. You never know when it's time to stop; how do you even decide when you should stop pursuing equal opportunity policies? Is there an end-state that is considered to be optimal or acceptable for equal opportunity, beyond which you're distorting the balance and creating new kinds of inequality?
I don't think you stop as long as there are realistic ways to improve the situation. Obviously there's always downsides to every policy you introduce as well, so it's a matter of weighing them up to the upsides like most things in policy making. First goal should be to get to a place where children born into wealth are attending the same schools as the rest. This is actually the case here, so it's not an unrealistic ideal.
b. Let's assume that you magically establish equal starting positions for everyone. What do you do if they all perform unequally and their children inherit unequal starting positions? Do you nationalise their property? Do you tax them to death because they dared to perform better from an economic point of view? They might decide they'd rather split with this species than receive such an unequal treatment, in the name of equality. They might think they deserve more because they performed better.
Equal opportunity is not about equal starting positions. You may have misunderstood the term. Equal opportunity means you have the same opportunities for education and jobs regardless of your starting position.
People need to stop getting high on this communist LSD bullshit. Equalising nature is like trying to kill what makes it work, in the first place.
No one's trying to equalize humans. That's not possible. Equal opportunity is about making sure that all people with good ability get a chance to apply it, and people with bad ability don't get more opportunities just because they are rich. It's not in any way about desegregating people, it just wants to segregate them not based on financial means but based on merit.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
XeeleeFlower wrote:I don't mind open endings as long as the story continues at some point

Forum Info

Return to “Real-life Discussion”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests