29 November 2006
17 November 2006
My sincere condolences to David and Patri for their great personal loss.
24 October 2006
However, an interesting question is what exactly natural rights sympathisers mean when they use the term rights. I think they are correct in saying it is more than mere approval or disapproval, maybe it is just a 'right-for' as someone mentioned in that thread. In this case it comes down to your ends and as I have argued before, ancap is about means not ends. So although 'natural righters' generally have similar ends to me (i.e. individual freedom) which generates similar 'natural rights' to the preferences I hold, ultimately their 'rights' are still ends based and categorically not universal.
It was also admitted in that thread that virtually all, if not all, argument about positive principles rests on shakey ontological grounds. Now this is fine for a non-rights inter-subjectivist ethical system, but is highly problematic for a foundationalist system of natural rights as we have the same old problem of no universally agreed foundation or even definition of the problem.
19 October 2006
17 October 2006
This article, A Positive Account of Property Rights, by David Friedman, led me to thinking that maybe rights (or more specifically 'natural rights') are actually problematic for a systematic description of the basis for anarcho-capitalism. Rights are still talked about here, but they are specifically contractual, not philosophical. This then explains their origin and integrates them into a more evolutionary system, which has the potential to deal with the ambiguity apparent in philosophical systems of rights and ethics.
16 October 2006
Unfortunately when we got there the queue was round the block and unless you were one of the first in you got to see nothing. Fortunately, a quiet word in a few ears got us into the VIP lounge (with other such notables as Amy Winehouse & Gary Kemp, who we think was standing next to us, but to be honest wasn't as interesting as the spectacle on stage) where the view was far superior and a stroll to a virtually empty bar, much more civilised.
I'm not sure how you review a show involving a scantily clad woman splashing about in an oversized champagne glass, but if you get the chance to see her (and it may mean a street brawl for a ticket) I'd recommend it. The main impression I took away from the performance is of someone who is able to look glamourous, amusing and alluring without looking trashy - a character that many of todays 'celebrities' clearly find painfully difficult to achieve.
11 September 2006
06 July 2006
03 July 2006
23 June 2006
13 June 2006
18 May 2006
11 May 2006
Chomsky should start his own political party some day. He could call it "Anarchists for World Government".
Posted by: Steve Edwards
09 May 2006
11 April 2006
"I like the lazy more than the incompetent, at least lazy people achieve their objectives."
I like this guy!
07 April 2006
*Pull that off. My, that's an offensive weapon, that is.
30 March 2006
27 March 2006
13 March 2006
"receives enormous subsidies by escaping tax and VAT on fuel."
Thank goodness the government gives me such a massive subsidy, what with letting me keep half my wages and all. I feel rather nauseous.
03 March 2006
"It costs $20,000 to fill an iPod from iTunes Music Store."
24 February 2006
The fact that all this is not particularly objectionable in and of itself is paradoxically the most worrying aspect of such developments. How long before states see the potential in this technology? How long before babies are tagged in hospital, ostensibly to prevent kidnapping and the like, but where function creep rapidly expands the system's scope - preventing truancy at school perhaps? Eventually with so many young adults having grown up with such implants making them mandatory will no longer be politically difficult and we will have sleepwalked into the ultimate Orwellian state.
Paranoid? Perhaps. Yet we see how hard the government twists and turns to introduce ID cards and to be honest most of the opposition is due to cost rather than principle. What if your "citizen tag" was cheap, easy to use and you were virtually unaware of it, I'm not sure those of us concerned with liberty will be pleased with the number of people who are fundamentally opposed to the state tracking and controlling our lives.
06 January 2006
1. “They are making huge savings...” Where? Where? Who benefits from these so-called ‘savings’? Have taxes been reduced?
2. “Taxpayers’ funds should be spent on cost-effective health care..” How cost-effective—when that same taxpayer simply stumps up whatever suppliers charge? Taxpayers don’t go bankrupt from unwise buying.
3. Why not provide supermarkets on the same principle? The state pays all grocery bills, but the market provides the groceries. Surely this would result in cost-effective supply of groceries—wouldn’t it?
A stronger point the statists might make would be to note that healthcare is essentially a service based on insurance (i.e. often costly treatment is required for short, unpredictable periods, whilst there may be long periods where no healthcare is required), thus they could try and make a case for compulsory insurance, arguing that without compulsion people would underestimate the costs and risk and fail to protect themselves adequately. However, even given this thesis (one which I would also contest, for reasons I will not go into right now) , the argument only goes that far and no further, giving no reason why any services should be directly run by the state. Indeed that state would only be requiring and monitoring insurance contributions.
However my digression is moot, the Adam Smith Institute is not arguing that the state should merely ensure individuals provide for their own health or even that it should subsidise the poor's healthcare insurance. The user of healthcare services will not benefit from "choice and the competition between new, diverse providers" if these services are still funded and administered through central government. The Adam Smith Institute is essentially arguing that the state should continue to control and administer healthcare from the centre, a dangerous line of thinking that has exactly the same repercussions as Miss Shenoy implies it would have (and has had) in relation to food production; at the minimum creating artificial shortages, as already occur, and potentially far worse. One need only look to the biggest famines in history - oddly enough a result of centrally planning and controlling food production.
Maybe this is a position that the Adam Smith Institute believes is pragmatic in the current politcal climate and, if it was their decision, would ultimately welcome wholesale privatisation of healthcare provision in the UK. One can only hope.