• Shushi
    34
    I thought it would be appropriate to post here since the political philosophy sub-forum keeps on deleting my post so I will post here instead.

    I just thought about what the most significant areas of discussion is when it comes to government and politics, and after a few years of thinking about, I've come to realize that it essentially boils down between the debate on liberty vs government power, in that without government liberty cannot be guaranteed (and life), and government without liberty leads to tyranny and corruption. Both have their advantages, such as government is effective on protecting the nation from outside invaders, but terrible when it comes to economics and regulation, which it often creates monopolies (whether it knowingly or unknowingly from what lobbyists do), Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman have explained these points further in their discussions. A government should be interested in regulating behavior as far as it impacts the liberty and right to life of individuals which is why government should be interested in eudaimonic liberty rather than hidonistic based liberty, which if a population is educated and moral, that would bypass this problem almost completely and government can be effectively be kept small (as the free market only reacts and operates based on how the people affect it, so if global warming is an issue, it's the market's fault which is the fault of the people giving money to those businesses that contribute to that). Well I can go on and on, but I feel like this graph encapsulates this effectively.

    v1f7GVZ.png

    So in your opinion, is this the central debate when it comes to politics?
  • hachit
    212
    I have no problem with the size of government. Just the motivations behind the government.
  • Baden
    8.5k


    You weren't censored, you were caught in the spam filter. Either that or big government did it.
  • Shushi
    34

    I never stated that either more government or no government were bad or good, just asked if centerists or proponents of small governments both agreed with the scale, that in terms of political debate if the most important factor really boils down to government size or not. Btw, there are other factors to such as the morality of the population, as well as external circumstances, such as are they living in a harsh low resource environment, are they surrounded by hostile groups, or are we talking about the middle ages or present day? Important factors, but all in context of today for this discussion.



    Hahaha, alright I'll change my title and question then to reflect that .
  • hachit
    212
    I never stated that either more government or no government were bad or good,
    I wasn't attacking you, I was just stating my personal opinion.

    As a centrist myself I will say yes but I would like to point out that this is a misleading diagram because it shows government influence rather than an actual big government. Though I understand they can be congruent however not always.
  • Shushi
    34

    I somewhat agree and disagree. I agree that this chart presents influences of big government, or characteristics or ways in which big government may act, but that's just the top labels on the graph, on the bottom however, those are the actual structures and theories on the structures of government that determines the size, so the top is sort of influence/characteristics, and the bottom is the actual formulation of certain groups that move them more left or more right based on how much, structurally they formatted the government, which allows the government to have more or less power. This quote from John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton sort of accurately portrays this tendency of big governments eventually using their power to gain more power and reduce the liberty of their citizens,
    Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely

    which historical trends have proven this very close congruency to virtually always be the case (although I wished human nature wasn't corrupted, and that there could be righteous leaders who can over power and outsmart corrupt ones, that can create a longstanding peaceful civilization, which is why the founding fathers went for a smaller government route rather than a big structured one, which made the United States the most prosperous nation by objective standards). Which this challenge that's often made and thrown around by a lot of conservatives seems to be to make sense, which is to find at least one successful pure socialist country in history that's prosperous, or one that is mixed socialism and would not be better without it (which many of the nordic countries seem to have been better when they were more capitalistic or free market than when they started to adopt more socialist elements in the mid 20th century)
  • halo
    45
    @hachit[
    quote][/I have no problem with the size of government. Just the motivations behind the government]

    The principal behind the American philosophy of small government is man’s motivation is always self seeking.

    ‘Men are not angles, if they were, we would not need government in the first place’, Madison.

    Therefore, government is a necessary evil and for many reason should be kept small and used only in certain areas of life.
  • thewonder
    412
    What is it with Libertarians and these graphs? Why create more thought-terminating clichés in politics? You have totally denied that the libertarian Left at all exists. We exist, man. Don't negate my existence with a graph.
  • thewonder
    412
    Even Bob Black has no place on this graph. The entire history of Anarchism could not be placed on this graph.
  • hachit
    212
    yes, it is a nessary evil. The amount of government intervention depends on the people. The U.S. should remain as small as possible because that sutes there needs, and has been proven though there history. However, as an example; I live in canada we require more government intervention because we're socialist thinkers in a capitalist economy.
  • Shushi
    34
    Libertarian Left is an oxymoron by what this graph means left (more government) or right (less government) which is not the same as how many like to define left or right, some like to define left as progressiveness or liberalism rather than "Big Government", so I'd like to know how you define "Left", so that we don't talk past each other.
  • Shushi
    34
    I haven't read much of the work from Bob Black, but I'd imagine him using semantic tricks and defining anarchy as leftism, which I would imagine that he defines left as "do whatever you want", which is different from the more traditional and historical definitions. But if you could provide me statements from him on how he defines it, I will examine them, but to add all possible groups (which I also didn't mention neocons) would be too much for a simple graph, which my initial goal was just to communicate the main idea about this dichotomy or dualism of the debate being centered on small or big government, but then again everyone is free to define things however they want, just that in debates they are required to nuance those definitions so that there isn't this talking past each other thing. But I did add some groups that didn't fit this scale, like the Independents, who are outside, out there in the ether.
  • thewonder
    412
    Oh, God! The Left...
    I consider for the Left to consist of everything from Marxism-Leninism to libertarian Communism. It's the whole school of thought proceeding from what can more or less be described as Socialism. I consider for myself to be a libertarian Socialist. I also happen to be an Anarcho-Pacifist, but that isn't terribly relevent to this discussion. We do not advocate for what is meant by "Big Government".

    Where, for instance, would you put George Orwell? He fought with the Anarchists in Spain during the civil war.
  • Shushi
    34
    He was a disillusioned socialist by my understanding (I haven't done an exhaustive study on his life and biography, so take what I say with a grain of salt). He didn't believe that any political view was realistically possible, except socialism (which if he were to read the works of Alexis de Tocqueville about american exceptionalism, he would have probably changed his mind), he was ardently against totalitarianism, which is why he wrote 1984 and animal farm. Aldous Huxley was more afraid of a totalitarian state coming to power through inducing the entire population with soma (which are vices and other stuff that creates an addicted population, but that's a different discussion) if you read his book "Brave New World", but many authors at this time were afraid of this thing, which is why the first world wars occurred, which ties back to the Frankfurt School that produced much of these ideologies of "Big Government" and communism through socialism. I just believe that George Orwell was just ignorant of what socialism is, but he did not believe that it was a perfect system, but the most realistic reliable one that would combat communism because communism was a totalitarian ideology that was expansionist (because Marxism is a expansionist ideology, which is why you see it trying to take over europe with the bolshevik revolution in russia, france, spain, even in asia and south america, etc.

    George Orwell worked with Anarchists because the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or at least a friend until that common enemy is gone.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k


    I think we should discuss what we mean by “big government” and “small government” as well. Both Republicans and Democrats in the US are for big government, even though the Republicans claim not to be.
  • Shushi
    34
    lol just thought of posting this image which sort of describes what you're sentiment is :lol:
    aInE3of.jpg

    But by no means am I a Democrat or Republican, more like a Libertarian that's center leaning. Big Government essentially means a government structure that allows the government to have more power or control over a nation rather than a limited or small government structure, where a government has little to no restraint on what it can do, which could be nuanced further of course, but this would be a bare minimum definition. There are different types of governments in a limited government structure, such as one that is composed of checks and balances, or a federalist structure which has local, state governments and federal governments and each of those have their independent checks and balances, as long as not one group has dominant control, which was a genius idea that the founding fathers structured US politics to revolve around this dichotomy of one group that believes that government should have a little more power and the other that the government should have the least power, and the citizens vote between that range and they both sort of correct themselves. But that's just my understanding on the subject.
  • thewonder
    412
    What do you mean about the Frankfurt School? The Frankfurt School was just the institutionalization of what we know as Critical Theory. There are plenty of critiques to made of that, but likening them to Stalinists is not necessarily one of them. Orwell was, at the very least, an Anarchist sympathizer. Anarchism is historically a left-wing philosophy. There was no Post-Left Anarchy at the time, and, so, Orwell would have to be classified as a libertarian Socialist of some sort. The point is just that there are anti-authoritarian schools of thought on the Left.

    The graph assumes that Socialism necessarily results in totalitarianism. I don't agree. Perhaps you would like to justify such a claim with an argument.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    For example, the issue of free speech and radicalization on the Internet. Should there be more government or less government when it comes to Neo-Nazis being radicalized on the Internet, buying guns, and killing immigrants, for example.
  • Shushi
    34

    The Frankfurt School is a school of social theory and critical philosophy associated with the Institute for Social Research, at Goethe University Frankfurt

    Btw, how do you define socialism? It seems that you define things in a certain ways (maybe you're from europe and I'm from america?). Socialism by definition is a government structure that allows the government to have a lot of power over the means of production or other aspects of the economy (artificial control). Besides the historical fact that many hard socialist countries eventually became communists (not all, although some like Venezuela sure were sympathizers of it), logically when you take seriously and consider mankind's tendency to be proned to corruption, you eventually get government taking away rights and more power away from the people until they eventually become a totalitarian state. I could nuance this further if you want, just point out some specific parts where you disagree and explain why.
  • Shushi
    34
    That's a pretty charged question with a lot of factors and assumptions. Yes, questions about how free speech affects the stability of a nation which affects the right to life for many of its citizens should be an important topic for debate, and something the government and its citizens should consider, whether the government would be effective to be involved in any way, or is there a deeper issue that government cannot change, but only gain more power and erode the rights of its citizens more. I'm not debating any specific position, other than to point out that these are important to this thread as far as they prove the necessity to consider this in the greater dichotomy of political debate about bigger or smaller government.

    About the internet though, and the private companies that are involved, it really depends if they become a publisher or a platform, and depending on what those internet companies and government agree on, then I think a fruitful discussion could go on about what government should do that would be most effective on resolving anything that it can through it's powers (rather than creating a cure that's worse than the disease or issue that it is trying to solve, like if it will create a slippery slope where because a certain action was taken, it would create more serious issues as a result). People who vote need to prioritize their values, what they consider most important between liberty and safety and protection for their lives and find the best trade-offs that'll suit their needs.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    My point is that I don’t think you can say that you’re for or against big government without looking at specific issues.
  • Shushi
    34
    True, experience and data helps one better formulate their theories about structures of government more, and what works best in the real world. In terms of this dichotomy of more government or less government, one needs to know about the limits and effectivness of governments and the limits and effectiveness of no government and the limits and effectiveness of a different combination of those two factors and find what works best. Implement those ideas and see how sociologically they are effective, collect data from results of these structures and improve where one possibly can.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    For example, a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body implies small government, while anti-abortion advocates want government in uteruses. Pro-gun advocates want small government, while people who want restrictions on guns implies bigger government.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    True, experience and data helps one better formulate their theories about structures of government more, and what works best in the real world. In terms of this dichotomy of more government or less government, one needs to know about the limits and effectivness of governments and the limits and effectiveness of no government and the limits and effectiveness of a different combination of those two factors and find what works best. Implement those ideas and see how sociologically they are effective, collect data from results of these structures and improve where one possibly can.Shushi

    I agree.
  • thewonder
    412


    I define Socialism as being a political philosophy that prefers egalitarianism. I'm also from the States, but I don't think that the American attitude towards politics adequately assesses political situations.

    The historical examples of the atrocities incurred under Stalin and Mao are a fair enough argument. Dogmatic Marxism did lent itself too well to totalitarian ideology. I think that those regimes were bastardizations of Marx, and not just simply what Marx advanced, however.

    I don't necessarily agree with Marx, but I do think that he deserves more credit than to be thought of as the testator of totalitarianism.

    Do you think that egalitarianism is inherently flawed or do you just take issue with Socialism?
  • Shushi
    34
    Well in the abortion debate, one needs to consider the right to life of the baby/fetus (which the real debate centers on whether the baby is human life and at what point is that human baby/fetus not a living human being, which is ambiguous and hard to tell if not in inception which, no matter what form a human life is, as long as it is a human life deserves their lives to be protected and guaranteed, and should be considered when examining in a case by case basis on the mother's situation and her choice, like if she's dying and wants to keep the baby alive then the baby (if it is what many call viability) then the government should choose the life of the baby over the mother, but if both their lives are in danger and the mother doesn't to choose the baby and it is not viable, then the government should prefer the life of the mother, this whole thing about government intervention which would favor a big government depends on why the government is being involved such as the if it has to deal with the bare minimum areas where government is responsible for like protecting the right of life of individuals or whatever else "natural rights" people are entitled to that the government doesn't create but only recognizes and respects by protecting (many would argue that free speech is a natural right, or the right to bare arms, or the right to have free health care, which are all up for debate)

    About the gun thing, I would agree, and I guess some interpret guns to be the means that the people have means to fight off the government and force change it or prevent a totalitarian government from completely taking them over, which sounds like a conspiracy theory, especially in the West, but with the recent social unrest that has been dominating much of europe, and that the normal trends of world government is that governments usually become corrupt and take over the lives of people, in the grand scheme of things this seems like a reasonable position to take, sort of like a token that symbolizes a mutual (or in this case a mutual destruction) respect a government should have with its population in order to show that both intend to keep their end of the deal and not try to abuse one over the other, so that both can co-exist, well that's how I interpret the whole gun rights debate, but I could be wrong.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k


    I didn’t give my views on the free speech vs. surveillance and intervention debate. I think we need to have that debate as a society, though. I also have a nuanced view on abortion like yourself.
  • Shushi
    34
    depends, do you define egalitarianism as equal rights to opportunity or equal rights to outcome? Btw, pure socialism in my opinion is disasterous, one may have some big government without it, because socialism likes to control economics such as using keynesian economics or expansionary monetary policies or contractionary monetary policies, because as far as I can see in studies, government just isn't effective when it comes to dealing with economics, it is usually not as fast as the free market and usually implements the wrong policy (no human body group or agent is omniscient).
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.1k
    But Supply Side economics has led to $20 trillion in debt.
  • thewonder
    412

    Both. Functional egalitarianism necessitates an equitable distribution of resources. How that is to be done, I honestly don't know. I don't think that it should be done through the implementation of an allegedly temporary totalitarian regime. I think that it somehow possible to equitably redistribute resources without relying on a governing body at all, but I'm also of the opinion that a genuine participatory democracy would not constitute what we understand as a "government".
  • Shushi
    34
    it sort of depends on the administration too, which the trump administration isn't effective in some aspects like in international trade for example which contributes to that debt, more hardline consistent administrations that follow a supply side would be Ronald Reagan who's administration was more effective in economics overall, and debt is not necessarily a bad thing, when one considers what type of current debt was incurred and what sort of returns will result from these debts, such as spending on infrastructure, or deals and contracts that will generate more jobs and capital that will eventually go back to the government (which time is also a factor). [which I should add that more revenue for the government may or may not be a good thing, depends on the who you ask and how that revenue was generated]. Some have argued that low taxes increases debt, but having done some research and reading comprehensive work on that, I have come to realize that reducing taxes for everyone helps boost the economy, as well as increase revenues collected from federal income taxes. During the George W. Bush administration, when tax revenues had increased from tax rate cuts, Sowell, T. (2012) points out that the New York Times had reported: “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year”. He further adds from this report “However surprising the increases in tax revenues may have been to the New York Times, they are exactly what proponents of reducing high tax rates have been expecting, not only from these particular tax rate cuts, but from similar reductions in high tax rates at various times going back more than three-quarters of a century”. He mentions that these previous administrations where these tax cuts led to more federal income included the Reagan administration, as well as Coolidge, and Kennedy as shown in the Economic Report of the President during those administrations. As far as objections like the trickle down fallacy are concerned, they are really flawed objections, and I can explain why if you wanted to go down that route.

    Sowell, T. (2012). Trickle-down theory and tax cuts for the rich. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution\
    Press, Stanford University, (pp. 13).
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