Two Cents

    Two Cents –

  • On Socialism II

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    David Friedman had another debate on capitalism and socialism last month, this one with Ben Burgis. They didn’t really cover any new ground, and the discussion period was a total disaster; viewer beware. However, Friedman leveled the poignant question to Burgis on what would happen to he and his friends if they practiced capitalism (one of them hiring the others for a wage) under his socialist system. Predictably, Burgis kept dodging the question. If Burgis would have conceded that they’d be left alone, then his entire system falls apart. Capitalism, no doubt, would spread like a virus as more people than not would prefer present consumption to future consumption. There just wouldn’t be enough scrimpers and savers to make for business builders. Too many would prefer to be paid an immediate flat wage now and forego company equity. And guess what… that’s totally fine! We’re all different, and we have different time preferences, and at different periods of our lives. Capitalism allows for such dynamism, socialism does not. And that’s today’s two cents.

  • On Racism

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I just read a fantastic essay from 2017 on racism at Slate Star Codex titled, “Against Murderism“. I highly recommend it and was intellectually tickled by how it ended. The too long; didn’t read conclusion was: even when real racism is present, it’s still likely just a branch, and understanding the root issue is far more important if we are to ever solve any real problems and avoid civil war. In other words, crying “Racism!” is low-IQ and lazy, and says nothing about the real problems that plague society, and humanity. I’m probably guilty in a similar fashion by decrying “Authoritarianism!” all the time, as even that is a branch relative to the, ostensibly, root problem of hitting and traumatizing children. And that’s today’s two cents.

  • On Individualism

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I’m reading a terrific anthology of individualist thought edited by George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore. One essay was excerpted from Oscar Wilde and focuses on individualism being the least selfish among alternatives. Let me put it this way: I am an individualist first, voluntaryist second. I would prefer that everyone else be a voluntaryist as far as their politics are concerned, but I wouldn’t coerce them to it. If they want to be socialist, that’s fine, be socialist and enjoy your socialist utopia. I will respect your individuality by respecting your individual values and preferences. All I ask in return is that you respect my individuality as well. Can you do that? Can you also be an individualist first, and socialist, or communist, or fascist, or Republican, or Democrat second? Or must you disrespect my individuality by coercing me to accept your values and preferences? Are you truly so selfish (and greedy!) that you insist on coercing others to adopt your ideology? For shame! And that’s today’s two cents.

  • On Exploitation

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    There’s a very simple test you can apply to determine whether or not a market transaction is exploitative: If the transaction is made voluntarily and offers a better alternative to the parties involved, the transaction is not exploitative; If the transaction is made coercively and offers a worse alternative to one of the parties involved, the transaction is exploitative. In every instance, if neither party is coercing the other, then there’s no exploitation. Of course, coercion may not always be direct, eg. a company might be paying or otherwise influencing the local, legal mafia (the “government”) to diminish or completely remove alternatives for the other party. (Parents may even coerce their children into market transactions, thereby exploiting them.) Nothing else matters to this very important question. Just because you have better alternatives, that doesn’t make an unimpressive market transaction exploitative. By all means create better alternatives if you think someone could get a better deal, but the moment you engage in coercion is the moment you yourself become the bad guy. Never forget that, and that’s today’s two cents.

  • On Conversion Therapy

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Radicals on the left and the right want to push youth through their own versions of conversion therapy. The right want to force gay conversion on youths so as to fix their minds to match their bodies. The left want to force body conversion on youths so as to fix their bodies to match their minds. Neither seem interested in helping youth feel comfortable with the minds and bodies they were born with. Decades ago, gay conversion was a brain lobotomy. Today, body conversion ranges from hormone pills to cutting off body parts. What in the fuck is wrong with humanity? Both seem incredibly harmful to developing youth who just want to feel safe and normal. Guess what… there is no “correct” sexuality any more than there are “correct” characteristics for either gender. Sexuality and gender expression are beautifully broad and fluid, and that’s 100% okay! What we should be doing is teaching youth that there is nothing wrong with them. Let’s get them through puberty and into adulthood unscathed, and then they can make the important and complicated choices as a full grown person. And that’s today’s two cents.

    (Credit to Donovan Cleckley for some of this insight.)

  • On Social Media

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I can’t for the life of me figure out why or how social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have any obligation to ensure that government elections remain “pure” or unadulterated. Where do governments get off complaining that social media platforms are being used to interfere in their elections? Do Ford Motor Company or Walmart or Bank of America or Ebay have any such obligation? It sounds to me like government has a problem with election integrity, and they’re trying to find someone else to blame. Surprise, surprise. Government failure is rarely the fault of government actors, or so we’re supposed to believe. Totally ridiculous, and that’s today’s two cents.

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