Forum Replies Created
May 13, 2015 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm in reply to: question for democrats (and i guess anyone else that wants to chime in) #1145016
The price of a product isn’t the price of its inputs. For example, Starbucks sells coffee, which costs them almost nothing to make, at a couple of dollars, but gives away milk and (in most locations) usage of their real estate, which are relatively expensive, for free. Price is a function of where the meeting point is at which a product will be supplied and consumed.
In your example, if the owner was rational and could sell the salad for 5.72, that would be the price regardless of what wage the employees were getting and the surplus over the 10% he’d have been happy with would go to the owner. If you’re arguing for an increase in the minimum wage, you’re most likely saying that for some reason the market isn’t adequately allowing the worker’s to negotiate to get a share of that surplus. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s a short version of it.
The bottle is $4. The cap is free. You bought them both in Michigan so there’s a ten cent deposit.
Taking your chain one step at a time here: The prosecution of Torah violators (whatever that means) will almost certainly not leas to the depletion of those violators (whatever that means). At best, laws that attempt to prohibit things people frequently do (like drug laws, as opposed to laws prohibiting murder which punish acts everyone basically agrees are wrong) at best shift equilibria for the amount of crime committed, they don’t eliminate them entirely, and even then it’s kind of iffy. The best you can hope for is that some Torah violators, by and large the most productive ones, will leave Israel as quickly as they can.
Couple that with your next step, isolation from western culture, and you’re looking at an economic collapse. It’s hard to believe that fifty years from now the world at large will be less interconnected than the current one is, so leaving the grid would make everyone in Israel a lot poorer.
Let’s say though that the State of Torah doesn’t really mind that and decides to reinvent itself as an insular agrarian state, since producing food is something that’s necessary and basically possible to do without relying too much on the outside world, assuming you solve for Israel’s water problems (and ignore that the only real models for a modern country trying to do that are North Korea and China under Mao). As a bonus, an agrarian state is something the Torah gives a pretty clear blueprint for.
The next step doesn’t follow at all. It’s hard to see the Torah State not falling into sectarian divisions pretty quickly, between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, Chassidim and Litvishers, etc. etc. etc. The Gadol HaTorah running the government could attempt to unify things, but what authority would he actually have to enforce his ruling? Are we reinstituting the Sanhedrin here? Semicha? Regardless of demographic shifts none of those things are going to get done with creating even more crippling sectarian divisions.
So what you’ve got is effectively a smallish, poor, agrarian state where the communities tolerate each other to various degrees, never really fighting but probably frequently engaged in serious disagreements over objectively minor matters. Lots of people are going to work hard to produce food for the population, and, at least as a percentage of the population, yeshivos will be decimated.
The world I described looks a lot like Europe at the turn of the last century. The OTD problem there was a lot worse than it is now.
Banks often (usually, in my experience) have notaries, and when they do, they notarize for free for people with accounts.
Well, for one thing, it seems like having a fancy car stops strangers from carelessly bumping into you while parking.January 22, 2013 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm in reply to: Why aren't Israeli elections important to… Israelis!! #922109
The short answer is that it’s a voluntary activity, there are millions of Israelis, and in this election the topline result (a Bibi led government) was a virtual certainty the day the election was announced. Getting 70 percent is borderline miraculous.January 22, 2013 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm in reply to: Why aren't Israeli elections important to… Israelis!! #922107
Arabs are part of that number, but Charedim vote in a higher proportion to the rest of the country.December 6, 2012 2:29 pm at 2:29 pm in reply to: Poorer People Bigger Tzadikm; Richer People Not Such Tzadikim #910858
Preferential option is a Catholic doctrine that has nothing to do with this discussion or with whether or not the poor will inherit the Earth.
If your question is whether or not your observation of the skin color and hair covering habits of an ostensibly Jewish stranger you see in a restaurant entitles you to question whether or not she is in fact Jewish, the answer is no.
The anti-Silver theory you have doesn’t match up with the facts.
Silver never said anything about his expectations for turnout levels and they were irrelevant for his model. The model did predict what he thought the percentages of the total vote would be for both candidates and he was basically correct about that.
Leaving that out of it, if nothing else comes out of the work Silver does, the basic argument that should come out is that if one candidate leads in virtually all reliable polls (and Silver has a clear, non–partisan methodology for determining what he views as reliable), as Obama was in Ohio, that candidate is most likely leading even if all of those polls are within the margin of error. Statistically this statement should not be controversial, but for some reason it is.
It’s also worth noting this is the third election he’s worked on (he also made predictions in 2010 on the Senate and governor races) and so far he’s only been wrong 7 times on the state level (2008: Indiana Presidential, 2010 Alaska, Colorado and Nevada Senate and Illinois Governor, and 2012 North Dakota and Montana Senate). Every one of those times he’s picked a Republican who lost.
As I suspect many of us on the east coast are learning indirectly this week, to an extent money does equate with happiness. Having electricity, running water, and stable access to food (and the knowledge that that is likely to continue) does make people happier. There’s an economist (Richard Layard) who estimated that the cut off point is basically where a society is making a per capita income of $15,000 a year. After that, increases in wealth don’t really increase happiness.
Twelvers are, by definition, Shiites and are almost entirely Persian or other non-Yishmeaelite ethnicities.
I don’t think I’ve ever said democracy was a utopia (it would be weird for me to have said that since I don’t think it) or said you’ve said anything you haven’t actually said, but what you’re saying now doesn’t remotely resemble the quote in your initial post, which is really all I’ve been commenting on. I find it annoying when people use that quote, but don’t seem to realize its implications or how wrong it is in the light of history. I have no idea why you feel like you or a strawman has been viscously attacked here.
Needless to say, yes, we can all agree that in any form of government with coercive taxation, and that means all forms of government, the governors need to be vigilant about their power to take other people’s money. For the last time here, I’ll say that democracy’s historic tendency to put checks on that system in ways that monarchies and oligarchies do not, make it a lot better at this than you seem to be willing to admit.
There’s nothing arbitrary about measuring the survival of states only in comparison to states that are remotely comparable. The US has been far more stable than say medieval Venice (or again really almost anything else that could have qualified as a state), but the nature of the states and their purposes are so fundamentally different that there’s no point in comparing the two. Yes, Imperial China was stable for millennia, but nobody thinks that form of governance is superior to that of modern democracy.
That I don’t think you should be calling my claims about Tytler ignorant considering that your earlier posts suggest you knew nothing about him when you made you’re first post does not mean that’s why I think he was a monarchist. I think that because he was one.
Let’s try this again:
1. Democracies are stable (at least one has lasted for centuries), much in the same way you could conclude that the fact that people have been eating chulent for a long time is a good way to prepare meat within the restrictions of shabbos. If someone had said two hundred years ago that chulent was was not a possible way to do that, it would be entirely reasonable to conclude that the fact that it’s been done for 200 years now would make that persons assessment suspect.
2. Any recent evidence would suggest that they’re a lot more stable than many other forms of government that have been experimented with in the last 250 years.
The Goldman Sachs example fails so long as the analyst in question is not making the same argument consistently over a 250 year period to prove that investment banking isn’t a sustainable business model. It’s possible that conditions and/or Goldman’s practiced might make it less sustainable, but it’s really beyond question that investment banking is a theoretically sound business.
Are you under the impression that any country in Europe, again with Hungary as the exception and the factors there are different, has any chance of ceasing to be a democracy any time soon? Democracies weather financial collapses well. It’s one of the reasons they’re so much more stable than other types of government.
Yes, I choose to ignore systems of government that came into being before the rise of the nation-state when determining what is and is not a long lasting form of government. I think that makes sense. Needless to say Rome was not a democracy and Greece did not exist as anything resembling a nation-state, so neither is even slightly relevant. And neither collapsed because they became welfare states.
My point is that:
1. Tytler’s statement (which after quoting you’re now saying he didn’t make while calling me ignorant, so let’s just stick with his general belief that democracies fail because people are too self-interested) has been around for a really long time.
2. In the actual experience of people living over the last two centuries, democracies have been far more stable than any other form of government. More to the point, it’s become pretty clear that the other forms government that an eighteenth century philosopher/historian might have found acceptable (i.e. monarchy and oligarchy) in fact are far less stable precisely because those forms of governance almost invariably cannot disentangle governance from the self-interest of the governor.
3. So to summarize, we can learn from Tytler that without any evidence to back up the argument, it’s possible to conceptualize democracy as a doomed experiment. The evidence from recent history suggest that it’s not. Ergo, people should stop quoting, or misquoting if you’d like, Tytler as if his statement represents an argument anyone should still be having.
And what European democracy are you referring to that almost collapsed due to this concern? My only guesses are Weimar Germany and present day Hungary, but neither fits the bill.
You mentioned someone who claimed that democracies were necessarily permanent in nature. It’s not an ad hominem to point out that he’s been wrong for 250 years which is a about as close to permanent as you get in government terms (and certainly he wasn’t arguing that democracies like all governments are not infinitely self-perpetuating, since no one claims they are). That someone said something couldn’t happen and was wrong about it is an argument against the thing he was arguing. If you’d like to argue that he was wrong then, but somehow now his argument holds water that’s fine, but why would that be?
I also can’t really imagine how you can square the statement you quoted (that democracy cannot be anything but temporary) with him only opposing utopian democracy.
250 years is an incredibly long period of time in the context of governments. Specifically in that context, it’s been enough time to witness the end of the British monarchy as political force, as well as a change in every government of every other nation on Earth (generally towards increased democracy). If your point was that in light of that, Tyrtle’s statement was an example of the shortsightedness that’s plagued opponents of popular sovereignty since its creation, then I stand corrected. If you were suggesting that his views are in anyway relevant to the current state of American politics, I think it’s worth noting that he’s been wrong for two and half centuries, and really nothing has changed that would make him seem any more prescient.
Medium Thinker, you do realize that the guy who said that first thing was a British monarchist, and that the democracy he was suggesting couldn’t survive (America) has since outlasted every form of government that then existed, including his own? Perhaps he was less than visionary.
You’re right about 14-e3. I missed the distinction in your post.
In the homeless guy example though, rifling through garbage is, on its own, unethical behavior. Societally, we forgive it of homeless people for much the same reason we don’t blame them for not shaving regularly, but if you knew a guy who spent his days hanging out around Wall Street searching for trash with corporate information on it (or for that matter wandering the streets eavesdropping on conversations), you wouldn’t want him to marry your daughter.
It’s been a while since I took corporations in law school, but I’m pretty sure both the waitress and the lawyer in your case have broken the law. Insider trading based on information about mergers has different rules and doesn’t require a fiduciary relationship. (Quick googling suggests the case that matters here is US v O’Hagan)
That being said, yes, in a more vanilla insider trading case, there certainly is a moral distinction between taking advantage of information that someone entrusts you with with the expectation that you’ll keep it to yourself and taking advantage of information you find out by being a waitress in the right place at the right time.September 21, 2012 2:14 pm at 2:14 pm in reply to: Why is everyone making a big deal about what Romney said? #897221
As far as what you said to me, yes, they’d already given him money, but most of them probably had a couple of extra bucks to spare, which Romney could also use.
To answer the rest of your questions:
“How many politicians think that saying things in a private dinner will stay private and not get leaked, in an age of smartphones with cameras and mics everywhere?”
All of them. No one pays to attend a dinner with a candidate where he gives the same canned speech you could hear for free anywhere. They were there because he was offering them private access. Besides, the odds that anyone was paying to get into the dinner so they could secretly record and embarrass Romney were roughly zero. It’s a risk, but it’s one every politician takes, almost daily.
“Why is the audio sound so clear and crisp, when the clip was video’d on a phone from a considerably far distance? “
A fair question but not one that really suggests a more likely answer. It was definitely shot from a strange location that suggests whoever put it there wanted it to look like it was being done by a hidden camera. Isn’t the most likely explanation that the camera was actually hidden?
“If the person who videoed the clip was against Romney, why wait until now to release something that came out in May?”
Because the sort of people who would be offended by this and whose votes are up for grabs (roughly poorer working whites and hispanics) are traditionally assumed to not be paying much attention to the election until after Labor Day. Releasing this video roughly a week after the conventions end (with a couple of news cycles also taken up by 9/11 and the attacks in Libya) is basically exactly when you’d expect it to be released.
“What part of the clip shows Romney in a bad light?”
I really don’t get what’s so hard about this. It’s a video of Romney coming out and saying that lots of people who he needs to vote for him are in fact too entitled to do so. That’s just not something that’s going to get them to run out and vote for him.September 21, 2012 2:26 am at 2:26 am in reply to: Why is everyone making a big deal about what Romney said? #897218
Actually, because his stats are off he is wrong. In general, areas that vote Republican tend to pay less in income taxes than areas that vote Democratic. People vote against their economic self-interest all the time. Really you’re left with two choices here:
1. Romney made an honest mistake, and either was completely unaware that say Oklahoma (where a family of 4 making the state median income would qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit) hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since LBJ, or thinks Oklahomans are on average a lot richer than they are.
2. When speaking to an audience full of rich people, Romney accused the poorer 47% of the country of having victimization and entitlement complexes, by citing a stat he knew was meaningless because he needed his audience to give him cash.
I don’t think either of these options should disqualify Romney, but it’s just silly to pretend the issue here has anything to do with Romney’s statement reflecting a truth.September 20, 2012 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm in reply to: Why is everyone making a big deal about what Romney said? #897214
In order, the first thing you wrote is self-refuting (Yes lots of frum people are on public benefits, but somehow, lots of them still manage to vote Republican judging from this website). Your second argument is actually a Republican caricature of the Democratic position. No Democrat has ever said anything remotely like that, because there’s literally no one who believes having more people on welfare rather than less is a good thing. And your reply to that imaginary argument seems to amount to “Hayek’s book title matched the argument of his book.” Why wouldn’t that be the case?September 20, 2012 7:08 pm at 7:08 pm in reply to: Why is everyone making a big deal about what Romney said? #897213
He’s not right. For starters, he’ll do quite well with senior citizens who make a huge amount of the 47%, and get trounced among urban college graduates, who don’t. Whether or not you choose to read into why he’d be so wrong about something like this is up to you, but he certainly was very wrong.
Let’s say that it’s true that you get anti-Semitic catcalls all the time. (I live in Manhattan, and can’t remember the last time anything like that happened to me. Last time it was an issue was a few months ago when a Hispanic man asked me if Jews would find it offensive if he started to wear a Yarmulke, because he liked the symbolism) In what way does that contradict the initial point here? Most of our non-Jewish neighbors are fine people. The things you linked to are actually evidence of that.
In the context of what’s passed for anti-semitism of the last 2000 years, yeah, that’s fairly harmless. If it wasn’t for the fact that the attacks were anti-Semitic, and in this day and age such things are extremely unusual and shocking to non-Jewish audiences, there’s no chance it would it have been reported by CNN.
Your examples of bad behavior by non-jews consist of an elected, Frum member of government criticizing the statements of the Jewish mayor of New York, and article saying that it was national news when an anti-Semitic incident (and a fairly harmless one at that) occurred. In what way does that not prove the initial point?
Let’s say there was someone who was pretty obnoxious to you, not just unfriendly, but for reasons you never quite understood, was mean every single time you dealt with him, although not in ways that caused you any real lasting pain because the guy was just kind of harmless. One day, on his way to work, he tramples through your garden, as he does every day even though you’ve frequently asked him not to, and someone, who actively hates you and/or anyone associated with you, sees him and assuming only a friend of yours would be walking through your lawn, shoots him, killing him instantly.
I suspect, that 1. You’d be willing to forgive much of the obnoxious guys previous behavior, on account of the horrible way he dies, and 2. You’d feel a sense of closeness to the guy who died just because of his connection to you.
L’Havdil, but also really all the more so in the cases he unfortunately hear about.
You’re comparing two events (Mass fatality air accidents and high fatality car accidents) that are both far too rare to draw any possible conclusion that would be statistically significant. That one of those events happens rarely while one hasn’t happened since 2009 doesn’t mean anything, especially considering that the underlying conditions necessary for a car accident (a car being driven on a road) is significantly more common than the conditions necessary for a plane crash.
True, but so what? The risk of air travel isn’t zero, and the risk of any form of travel approaches zero. I’d say it’s certainly not obvious that if people flew in the US with anything approaching the regularity that they drive the odds of a mass casualty event would be higher.
For an individual, traveling on the highway may be more dangerous than flying, but since the goal here seems to be avoiding an event in which an entire family is killed, I’d bet the odds of such an event happening are more likely on a plane than in a car.
So what type of government would that be? What set me off here was that in you original post you said that in a monarchy redistribution of wealth isn’t done by its recipients. That just isn’t true. But either way, there really isn’t such thing as a government where the ruling class does not act in its own interests. At least in the US (outside of California and its referendum culture) the thing you’re describing does not literally occur, even if you’re right that it’s happening figuratively.
You’ve said you’re opposed to governments which transfer wealth to the people in power. You seem to recognize that this is something all governments do. What am I missing?
So you’re opposed to all forms of government?
I do understand that, but that’s not a function of democracy; it’s a function of every government. In every monarchy the king also votes himself benefits.
You’re making an artificial distinction. You wouldn’t call Buckingham Palace a social program, because it doesn’t benefit society. It is however an example of the proceeds of wealth redistribution in exactly the same way Medicaid is (except that it’s an example of redistribution from everyone but the richest to the richest. It’s precisely as likely that you’ll discover a monarchy that is run without regard for self-interest as it is that you’ll find a democracy that is run that way.
As for the historical tax rates, the largest difference between now and early times isn’t democracy, it’s that better enforcement mechanisms exist (mainly the possibility of mass imprisonment and the fact that respected borders between nation-states limit options for fleeing from authority). Some quick Googling told me that the only two countries I can think of which could test this question (Jordan and Swaziland, which are strong monarchies that don’t have resources to fund their governments) both have tax rates roughly similar to the US. (Jordan has 16% income tax and a 14% VAT, Swaziland has a 33% income tax and a 14% VAT)
This is up there with the trolliest troll questions which have ever been trolled.
As a practical matter you’re comparing people who are omer mutar on a d’oreisah, to people who are likely over b’meizid to a d’rabannan (at least in our cultures, where most people would as a matter of course assume chicken is a meat product).
That’s not actually a difficult question.
Again, as opposed to a monarchy, where the 0.00001% can and did tax the the 99.99999% for, among other things, his own personal living expenses. How is that not a much worse example of the thing you are complaining about?
You seriously think that in a monarchy the people making the decision about taxes are not the recipients of tax dollars?
1. The ratzon Hashem would be that Bnai Yisrael should wipe out his nation. There’s just no reason to think that creates an individual obligation on him.
2. If there was such an obligation on him, the Ameleiki could solve the problem through via leaving his Amaleiki community and intermarrying, without resorting to suicide, which would be problematic.
Generally we don’t assume conversion is the ratzon Hashem for non-Jews.
The Alexander Tyler quote is fake, and also from a guy who, in real life, was pretty much wrong about everything.
Popa you can’t be serious about that.
1. I suspect American Express does this specifically because their merchant fees are higher than other cards, and this is the sort of thing that convinces small businesses to accept their cards. This logic really doesn’t apply to Yeshivas.
2. Even if that’s wrong, and we’re talking about a company, so there’s no reason to think that logic is any more wrong or right than any other, it’s really not for the Yeshiva to decide what American Express’ intention is. This program was clearly meant to support small businesses. Yeshivas are not small businesses. A yeshiva telling American Express that it is a small business is dishonest.October 27, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm in reply to: Do Online Halachic Discussions Cause Some to be Nichshal in Aveiros? #868045
It most certainly does preclude suggesting that he’s no different hashkafically than he was before his geirus. That 6KB didn’t know that’s what he was saying (I hope) doesn’t make it any more mutar to say. Also, this conversation, is exactly the one I think shouldn’t be happening, and the irony of it happening on this thread is not escaping me.October 27, 2011 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm in reply to: Do Online Halachic Discussions Cause Some to be Nichshal in Aveiros? #868040
I’m sorry you feel that way. The Issur I was referring to though wasn’t Lashon Hara (or anything that to my knowledge the Chofetz Chaim talks much about) and was something I’d imagine from your comments you were unaware of. On the other hand you should be more careful in what you write, because in this example certainly, and possibly in many others, there just might be things happening you’re not aware of.October 27, 2011 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm in reply to: Do Online Halachic Discussions Cause Some to be Nichshal in Aveiros? #868020
If the left wing academic you are referring to is the left wing academic known for commenting on this site, there is literally no way the rest of that comment is not a rather severe issue d’oraysah and should be modded. V’hamvin yavin.
About five years ago I stumbled on an on online discussion board for Continental Airlines flight attendants where a junior crew member had asked for opinions about whether she should start to work their Newark-Tel Aviv route. The opinions were mostly positive, (the gist was that most flight attendants on the route did it for years and loved it but some couldn’t handle it, which made it no different than any other route the airline flew to a destination with a non-American culture) but one of the flight attendants pointed out that a difficulty on the route was that so many passengers requested special meals, which meant effectively that during meal times you were doing your job more than twice since on top of the regular service you had to give individual meals to about half of the plane.
These flight attendants are well aware of who orders those meals and why they’re being ordered and by choosing to fly this route, it seems pretty clear that they’re at least theoretically ok with Jews. A passenger on that plane who orders a kosher meal is certainly doing the ratzon Hashem. I have no doubt however that the way these people view Hashem and his Torah is significantly affected by whether or not their passengers behave while doing the ratzon Hashem.
Guessing Chicago seems much too easy.
I’m most certainly not a kanoi and I honestly don’t care one way or the other. I just think the issue here is being misrepresented. As far as I know, you can’t fully privatize a bus route in the city.
I believe the signs are also managed by the NYCDOT, but either way, they (DOT or the MTA) are the ones who decide what goes up and what doesn’t. I’m fairly certain that’s not what the franchise is for. The same thing goes with the numbers. What the franchise does is allows the bus company to pick up and drop off passengers on city streets. Doing that makes them different from Monsey Trails and at this point every other bus company in the city.
The franchise isn’t with the MTA, it’s with the NYCDOT. It’s also not within the MTA system in any real sense I can number my bus whatever I want, and bus signs do list non-DOT licensed busses, around the Port Authority in Manhattan there are lots of signs for private busses to New Jersey.