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This should be fun...please elaborate about the evidence for God. Pretend I am someone who has grown up in the jungle and has never heard about God or Christianity or any organized religion for that matter. I have no prior beliefs or superstitions. Why should I believe in God, and why should I believe in your specific version of him?
Wow, it really is fun running into a libertarian who doesn’t understand economics or finance.
So let’s start with economics since that appears to be where the most glaring ignorance is. You claim that government cannot change demand and it merely is what it is, as if it were some universal constant that was unaffected by other factors. This is simply not true. If I gave you $1,000,000 do you think your spending habits would be affected? What if I took away 70% of what you earn (assuming you have a job)? Do you think that this may change your weekly spending? Consumer demand is affected by a number of variables, and one of the most important is income. If there is a town where the government employs a number of people, or where there is a company that relies on government contracts and government funding is cut then the people who rely on it will have less money to spend. This shifts their demand curves downward meaning at every price they will purchase less of any normal good. Therefore, even the guy who owns a business in this town that has no affiliation with the government will be effected by cutting government funds because his customers will have less money to spend therefore decreasing their demand. Get it?
The fact that you think you are in any position to critique Keynsian counter-cyclical policies when you don’t understand the underlying fundamentals on which the theory is based…on which all of economics is based actually, is absurd. If I, for example, burst into the office of an astronomer and started arguing that the earth is flat because people in Australia don’t fall off, I would be laughed at. Trying to say something intelligent about economics without understanding demand is like trying to say something smart about astronomy without understanding gravity.
About your continuing insistence on discussing education: show me proof. Just because the U.S. department of education was founded in 1979 does not prove that it has anything to do with inequality. You have shown that it may be plausible that there is some connection, but plausible is not enough. Plenty of plausible explanations for phenomenon are simply wrong, and therefore we must actually look at the data and see what the cause is. Allow me to give you an example:
Plausible argument: Technology has led to an increase in inequality because it has made certain skills more profitable and others obsolete causing skilled workers who perform complex tasks to be more productive, semi-skilled workers who perform routine tasks to be replaceable and unskilled workers who perform manual tasks to be unaffected. This has led to an erosion of certain middle class jobs, such as bank tellers or typists who, because of technological shifts, are obsolete professionally. This has led to a polarization of earnings and therefore increased inequality.
If I were to stop here and provide no evidence then we would be stuck. You have your argument, I have mine, and neither one of us has evidence to support it, just arguments that may or may not be plausible. Admittedly my argument is neither partisan, nor based on ideological principles like yours is, but let’s assume that the arguments are equally valid. So what would either of us have to do to get out of this stalemate? One way would be if we found a study from a reputable source that supported one argument of the other. For example if I provided an article called Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market? from The Quarterly Journal of Economics I would have actually provided support for the plausible argument showing that it is more than plausible, but actually fits as a theory with the real world. Please provide evidentiary support for your claims or I will simply ignore/mock them.
Your actual claims about the department of education are mostly unfounded as well. In spite of the existence of a national organization, most decisions regarding schools are made at the national level. Once exception to this is the “No Child Left Behind Act” which does impose federally mandated testing and grants federal funding based on the results. I’m in favor of repealing the act, but once again that is not relevant. You claim that people are arrested for going to schools other than the ones in their district…do you think the federal government is responsible for this? No, it’s determined at a state level. Maine and Vermont both have Voucher based programs that allow parents to choose where to send their kids, and there are other similar programs in a number of other states. Some use tax credits, some use Charter school systems and there are a variety of other approaches. The important thing to note here is that it is not decided at the federal level, so you trying to blame the federal government for this problem is absurd and really just reveals your juvenile partisan attitude against the federal government. I bet you’d find a way to blame them if you wet the bed.
Another reason your department of education argument fails is that inequality began to increase in 1979 and the U.S. department of education was founded in 1979. This may not seem like a problem at first, until you consider the fact that children in schools don’t immediately enter the workforce. Most of the effects should have taken place later, when those people who would have actually been affected by the change made up a significant portion of the labor force. In the decade following the creation of the U.S. department of education, we should have seen only mild increases in inequality with the 1990’s and early 2000’s showing the greatest inequality increase. Is this what the data shows? Turns out no! Look back at the article I posted about wage inequality in the U.S. in my previous argument and you will see that the 80’s actually showed the greatest increase in inequality which would have been too soon for any changes to education made in 1979 to matter. Furthermore a large portion of the increase in inequality is among highly experienced workers who would have been to old to be affected by the changes as they would no longer be in schools. Once again, your argument fails. You can see this by looking at the Autor, Katz and Kearny article (a must read for anyone who is interested in U.S. wage inequality and doesn’t want to be mocked online by a stranger for not knowing what the hell they are talking about).
Just to sum up for you: your argument for the department of education being responsible for the increased inequality in the U.S. not only lacks evidence but isn’t even plausible for myriad reasons. You are now just embarrassing yourself.
Let’s move on to finance, since that seems to be another area that you do not understand. You argue that our current deficit/debt situation is an issue because people are going to stop lending to the Federal government because they believe we will not pay them back. Currently the U.S. has a AAA rating (as determined by independent ratings agencies), which means that according to investors, we are as safe as it gets – there is no rating higher than AAA. If you were right and people really were worried about us not being able to repay them, this rating would be lowered and we would begin to have serious problems because borrowing would become more expensive (interest rates would increase). As it stands, however, lending money to the U.S. government is still the safest possible investment an investor can make. The only people who think otherwise are people like you who do not understand the situation but instead listen to partisan rhetoric and media fear mongering.
We should look for ways for the government to save money, but the extreme cuts proposed by GJ are both unnecessary and potentially detrimental to economic recovery. Once our nation has managed to pull itself out of the current economic situation and unemployment is back to natural rates then we can start making budget cuts. What’s nice, however, is that as the economy improves spending automatically decreases because less people are eligible for entitlement programs such as unemployment benefits, and revenue increases because more people are working. Hence, one should not only not worry about a budget deficit during economic recessions, one should expect it to occur.
While I agree with a lot of what you said, you ignored my main point and about half of the fundamentals of accounting. Let's go back to the guy who has a little extra money and wants to start a small business. Since you brought up a banana stand let's say that's what he wants to open up. He will only open up the banana stand if it will be profitable to do so. Now you bring up a good point that a part of this calculation will involve how much opening up this banana stand will cost. If the government has excessive restrictions on small businesses then clearly this may outweigh any profit that he will earn. The same goes for any other costs associated with starting a business. For this example we will say that government posed restrictions (in the form of a license) has a cost of L and non governmental costs are C.
The part that I was discussing in my argument that you completely ignore in your discussion is his revenue. The amount he will earn selling his bananas is some function of consumer demand, or in other words R(d) where d stands for consumer demand. As demand increases so does the function R(d). Therefore his total profits can be expressed as: P = R(d) - (C+L). From this expression we know that our entrepreneurial friend will only invest when P is positive, which is whenever R(d) is greater than (C+L).
Let's now imagine two situations and determine if there really is money in the banana stand. We shall assume that there is some government building that employs a decent amount of the citizens of the town where the banana stand will be opened up. In the first scenario there are no major budgetary cutbacks to the organization housed in the government building. Because of this demand is relatively high and will be represented as d1. In the other scenario a politician like GJ steps in and makes budgetary cuts that either fore the organization to decrease wages or fire some people. For the sake of this example it doesn't matter if it's just the former, just the latter or a combination of both; the important thing to note is that the average income of the citizens decreases meaning less money to spend on bananas. In this scenario demand is d2 and we should note that d2 < d1. In the first scenario our friend who is owns the banana stand will make a larger profit than the man in the second scenario even though costs have remained constant in both.
Do you see why I have accused you of ignoring the main point of my argument now? I was discussing how demand affects people's incentives and yet you bring up cost. Certainly cost is important but even if the cost of starting a new business is almost zero people will still consider it a bad investment if no one is willing to buy bananas (even if those bananas are dipped in chocolate and covered in nuts). High demand makes all businesses more profitable, and during economic boom times we can do what Clinton did during the dot com boom and balance the budget. During recessions where demand is low, however, cutting spending only helps to reduce demand which in turn leads to less investment, higher unemployment and, ironically enough, less government revenue. The loss in revenue may be outweighed by the costs to the government, but the societal cost will likely be greater thanks to what macro-economists call the "multiplier effect" (which to express briefly, is the idea that when you take $1 out of the economy, you are in effect taking out more than $1 because dollars are spent over and over again).
In your argument you discuss how expensive it is to start a business from excessive regulations and taxes, and yet you fail to provide any evidence to support this proposition. The U.S. is extremely pro-business when compared to other nations of similar wealth. Many European nations have absurd labor laws that hinder growth. In Italy for example it is next to impossible to fire a person, and therefore businesses choose not to hire people, which in turn leads to high unemployment, especially for young people in Italy. Libertarian hyperbole aside, those kind of laws do not actually exist in the U.S. In fact, with current technology, small business costs have never been lower...unfortunately so is demand which, like I said earlier, is the real problem that plagues the economy during times of recession.
As far as balancing the budget: we are not nearing critical deficit levels and "raising the debt ceiling" is not some emergency catastrophic event: it has occurred 17 times since 1993...in other words almost once a year! I would really appreciate it if in the future you would base your claims on fact and not assertion. I cannot blame you for having the impression that raising the debt ceiling is a big deal, this is in large part the fault of the media, but I can blame you for not checking your facts before putting them into the argument. Furthermore, my original point still stands that while our deficit may be a problem it is not pertinent to the issue we are discussing which is economic recovery.
The phenomenon you cite. Starting in 1979 the inequality in this country has been rising steadily, as you said. The reason for this is mostly the creation of the Federal Department of Education by Jimmy Carter. Just think about it.
As much as I would like to believe that we can explain wage inequality just by thinking about it, in economics we actually have to have evidence to back up claims. If we want to discuss wage inequality in the U.S. I think the best place to start is by looking at Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality by Autor, Katz and Kearny. If you are unfamiliar with it, then I will summarize some of the main points. The high-school college premium has contributed to a significant portion of the increasing inequality since 1979, but cannot account for all of it. This "residual inequality" as they call it, is signficant not only because it cannot be accounted for by either education nor the demographic composition of the labor force but also because, like the college-highschool premium, it has been increasing. You're explanation fails to account for any of these facts, and frankly is a simplistic partisan explanation for a very complex phenomenon. I do not mean to say that the public schooling our nation is not a serious issue and that it doesn't need to be addressed; it is a serious issue and does need to be dealt with. I'm not even disagreeing with the ways in which GJ wants to go about fixing education; vouchers seem like a promising solution. The issue though is that the problem of inequality cannot be fully explained by education, and by talking about it here you are changing the subject away from what we are actually talking about: economic recovery.
I don't know why you brought up the drug war. I mentioned it nowhere in my argument (although I would list it under the social policies that make me want to like him).
Some of the policy you're talking about it seems like you're not on the right web site. When Gary was the governor of New Mexico, he reduced the size of state government by over a thousand jobs without firing anyone.
Even if you are right and his spending cuts not costing a significant amount of government jobs (which seems doubtful), it is almost certainly the case that he will be cutting money from government contracts which will force private businesses to lay off employees. The main point of this, of course, is that it will continue to depress consumer demand which in turn will lead to less investment slowing economic recovery.
Feel free to rant about libertarian ideology, but I will not respond. I prefer to stick to the facts. When you decide that you want to stop changing the subject and actually stick to discussing economic recovery then we can have a real discussion.
You also appear to fundamentally misunderstand what is meant by Keynsian economics (and economics in general). People don't argue that it is impossible to pay less and get more, they say that if you want to stimulate economic recovery in a recession you need to increase demand. One way in which this can be accomplished is through government spending: the quality of service you get out of this spending is actually irrelevant to the Keynsian argument (although clearly relevant for other reasons not having to do with this debate).
While I generally agree that spending needs to be cut, and I support doing this by ending the wars in we are currently involved in in the Middle East, I have to disagree about a couple of his positions regarding what will and what will not help the economy.
First off, contrary to popular opinion, our deficit is not the main cause of our economic troubles, nor will balancing the budget be a cure all for fixing the economy. Certainly I agree that we should almost certainly reduce the current deficit, but doing so as quickly and drastically as Gary Johnson plans to do, while well intentioned, will almost certainly cause more harm than good. Allow me to explain:
Small business owners have not been suffering from burdensome taxes or government regulations. They've suffered because unemployment is high, which means that demand is down, and when demand is down people are less likely to spend money on shit (by definition). Now we could argue about what initially caused the economic recession that led to the decrease in demand, you'd say it had something to do with excessive government regulations, and I would say it had to do in part with the fact that the Glass-Steagal Act (that was intended to separate commercial and investment banks)became more and more impotent proceding its passage up until its eventual repeal in 1999; or to put it more simply, a lack of government regulation. This argument would likely get us nowhere and what's the point of arguing about who is to blame for sinking the Titanic when we're still on the boat. My point is, we need to look at what will improve the current low demand situation and the best chance of doing this is to decrease unemployment (people without jobs buy less shit).
So what will decrease unemployment? Ironically enough, it's increasing demand! If people are more willing to buy shit then people will be able to sell more shit so they will need to higher more workers to make and sell the shit (and also services: for the sake of this argument assume shit is an amalgamation of goods and services). So we need to decrease unemployment to increase demand, and increase demand to decrease unemployment. Well this sucks. What can we do?
According to Gary Johnson it's cut spending by cutting wages of government employees and benefits to citizens, stop inflation and to cut corporate taxes (which he claims are the real job killer on his website). Now giving people lower wages is not easy. If you don't believe me, imagine you've been working a job for a while and someone tells you that even though you will be doing the same amount of work as you always have, you will have to accept less pay for that work. People usually don't respond well. In economics this concept is known as "sticky wages" and can create a bunch of issues when markets try and correct themselves. Now there are two ways employers can get around this problem: a) change human nature b) rather than lower wages by x% just fire x% of your workers and have the remaining workers just pick up the slack. Which do you think most choose? This also means that since they are firing workers they are obviously not hiring new ones which is not a good thing for unemployment. Here's an interesting fact though: let's say you need to reduce the cost of labor by 3%, and so you have the choice of either firing 3% of your workforce or cutting salaries by 3%. For the reasons given above you will choose the former option because the latter will be unacceptable to your workers, and impractical because of their contracts.
Now up until this point we have sort of implicitly assumed no inflation, and if humans are completely rational then really inflation shouldn't play a part. Cutting someone's salary by 3% with 0% inflation should be the same as giving them a 2% raise when inflation is 5%. However, study after study has shown that people don't think rationally like this. It is much more acceptable for employers to offer wage increases at 3 percentage points less than inflation, rather than cutting their pay by 3% with no inflation. Therefore if there exists a relatively low, steady (a.k.a. predictable level of inflation) then the employer actually has a choice now and can in fact decrease there real wages because their nominal wages haven't gone down. Given GJ's position on inflation, we would be stuck with sticky wages meaning that employers would have to result to firing employees and not hiring new ones keeping unemployment at levels that depress economic development and keep demand too low for businesses (small or otherwise) from thriving.
Hopefully you now see why major cuts on government spending would exacerbate the current problem as opposed to solve it. Furthermore, pushing inflation down to zero would also lead to increased unemployment further harming our current recovery.
The real way to solve the current economic situation is to deal with the inequality in the country that has been increasing since 1979. There are a number of factors that have contributed to it (many of which are still unknown by economists), but cutting corporate taxes as well as benefits for the less well off is almost certainly not the right approach since that will lead to the opposite effect, further eroding the purchasing power of America's middle class which is the main driver of our economy.
I actually really want to like GJ a lot, partly because of his stance on social issues, but more so because he is willing to stand up for unpopular positions when popular candidates like Romney and Obama seem too afraid to act contrary to popular opinion. As much as I would like to agree with him, however, I can't fail to see the huge blemish that is his economic approach which would cause more harm to the American economy than any good it would do.
It seems like you are falling into the naturalistic fallacy. Just because something is true about nature does not imply that there is some special meaning. Furthermore reproduction is neither unique to living things, nor is it the case that reproduction is the only common feature of all living things.
If you say that the meaning of life is reproduction, at least provide an argument supporting your claim.
There is a difference between a cause and a necessary condition. The art school that rejected Hitler didn't cause the holocaust, but it was a necessary condition for the holocaust to have happened (probably). It seems like in your theory you argue that all necessary conditions should be considered causes. The line between these two concepts is not always clear, however and this is a much debated subject of philosophy (specifically action theory).
Now in the law this idea is important because it deals with responsibility and duty. According to Emmanuel Kant we have perfect duties and imperfect duties. A perfect duty is one that you must perform all the time, and can be blamed for not performing that duty. For example, let us say (as most people would) that we have a perfect duty to not kill innocent people. This would imply that it is wrong for us to ever kill innocent people. Even if 99% of the time you are not killing innocent people, you can still be held responsible for the remaining 1% of the time you are not performing your duty. Imperfect duties on the other hand, according to Kant, are duties in which we are praised if we do them, but cannot be blamed if we do not. The easiest to think of here is if you think that people have some duty to give to charity then you would almost certainly consider this duty an imperfect one. We praise those people who do give to charity but we do not expect people to give to charity 100% of the time. In fact if someone gives just half of what they have to charity we would say that this person is exceptionally charitable.
Your view also deals with positive and negative responsibility. To a strict consequentialist (such as an act utilitarian) there is morally no difference between acting and not acting. Allowing someone to drown if you can save them is just as bad as causing someone to drown (this example over simplifies the issue, but I'm sure you understand the general point). However, if someone has a libertarian view of ethics, they would argue that the only duties that we have involve positive actions and we can never be blamed for something we didn't do. The exceptions to this previous statement of course are if we have already made a promise to do something for someone as in the case of a contract.
Hopefully this gives you some idea of the general philosophical issues you may be interested in researching.
Thanks, that was an interesting read. I did notice that a lot of the quotes they used were from the early 20th century, so it makes me wonder if maybe his views changed later in life.
Certainly surprising though that someone who seemed so committed to peace could hold views like that.
Do you have anything about the child molestation you mentioned?
Well, yes. That is the point. The pain is enough to bring a perpetrator to a stop, yet not enough to kill or to cause permanent damage (rare exceptions).
Actually what's nice about tasers is that usually it isn't the pain that's causing the compliance, it's the fact that it causes neuromuscular interference. This means that even if the person could resist the pain (which it is very possible for a determined suspect to do) their muscles won't respond while they are under. The wider the spread of the two probes, the larger the area of muscles are effected.
So you don't care how a taser works, what its effects are or what useful purpose it may serve? These are all relevant points to the discussion about whether the taser should be allowed or not. I also didn't think I wrote too much, but I guess if you don't have the patience to read less than a page of writing you've got bigger problems than tasers.
The argument that I made stated that of all the non lethal tools that can be employed by police, the taser is the least cruel because it is the most effective while also causing the least permanent damage.
As far as the video: if you are being arrested don't resist. That is the surest way to get in trouble. If you think you are being wrongfully arrested plead your case later, and then file a complaint against the officers. Did he deserve to be arrested, certainly not at first, but they officers were just trying to escort him out of the building. It was when he started fighting that he got himself into trouble. What you have to keep in mind though, is that this guy went in their intending to make a scene. He asked questions without waiting for answers because he was looking for attention and not answers. The fact that he got national attention as the "don't tase me bro" guy was more than he could have ever dreamed for.
Now the more important point that you are trying to make, and I think it's a relevant one, is that police can abuse their power. This is a fact that is not limited to tasers and is, in my opinion, a serious issue that needs addressing. That is what the media is there for to call our attention to. Cops are humans, and some humans are dicks. I would not make the mistake, however, of associating a few bad apples with all police in general. In my experience I've found that law enforcement officials generally are just concerned about doing their job and keeping people safe. If they don't absolutely have to, a police officer is not going to use a taser. The amount of paperwork alone is a pretty good deterrent, not to mention that the tasers keep track of every time they are fired so there's no way to hide the fact that you used it.
Now let us move onto the insane paranoia.
Think about it — how many laws have you broken today? This week? This month?
None very serious. I also haven't been harassed by cops so I guess it isn't an issue.
Have you changed lanes without a turn signal? Exceeded the posted speed limit?
Almost certainly, but the good thing about traffic crimes is that a) they are severely underenforced and b) usually just amount to a small fine.
Hired a neighborhood kid to cut your grass and then paid him under the table?
You clearly don't understand how taxes work. The government doesn't care about small amounts, and paying a kid to mow your lawn is not illegal. If you can show me even one instance where someone has been prosecuted for paying someone to mow their grass then I will concede the point.
Engaged in commerce with someone who is in the country illegally?
Unless you knowingly hired someone who was an undocumented worker then you are completely safe, and even when people are caught hiring undocumented workers its almost always the workers that get in trouble, not the one who hired them. Once again, know the law before you make outrageous claims.
Bought lemonade from an unlicensed "dealer" in the form of an innocent child?
You don't need a license to sell lemonade. Stop being dumb because this is getting old. Lets pretend though for a second that you aren't being delusional and that instead of lemonade you said alcohol (a beverage you do need a license to sell) and that instead of innocent child you said bootlegger. This is a little bit more of a reasonable scenario.
Even in this scenario, however, it would only be the bootlegger that would get into trouble, not you for buying the alcohol.
It sounds like you are really wound up and angry at the world. Maybe there is a good reason for it, maybe their isn't. I don't know you personally so I can't say. What I do know is that it might help to take some deep breaths and relax. We don't live in a ridiculous police state, and people are not constantly being harassed by the police. The police have better things to do, like go after actual murderers and rapists.
In case you haven't noticed, we have gotten way off track, so one last word about tasers. You really loved to give hypotheticals, so how about I try one or two? Lets say a man who is high on some drug comes charging at a police officer with a bat. Now in this situation, an officer could legally use his firearm. The man poses an immediate threat. However, with the taser the police officer can attempt to subdue him in a non lethal way that will have virtually no side effects. Bullets, by the way, have some pretty serious health side effects.
One more hypothetical, two men are fighting with each other. An officer, who doesn't have backup wants to break it up but neither man is stopping. With a taser the officer can fire it so that one prong hits each man and because they are touching both will be electrocuted until they separate. Once again, no side effects and you get the desired result, which is compliance.
You appear to be oversimplifying (or to put it away, you dumbed down a little too much). While it is true that the majority of humans (and any other sexually reproducing species) are heterosexual it is also true that homosexuality is also prevalent in a minority of the population. Furthermore it is prevalent to the point where it cannot be dismissed simply as a mental disorder.
Furthermore if homosexuality is unnatural (as you claim it to be) then we would not expect to see it in nature. Cases of homosexuality in animals for example should be few and far between. Is this the case? I'll let you decide. Here is a list of mammals in which homosexuality has been observed.
Amazon River Dolphin(Boto)
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
Australian Sea Lion
Black-footed Rock Wallaby
Brazilian Guinea Pig
Brown Long-eared Bat
Common Brushtail Possum
Common Tree Shrew
Crested Black Macaque
Doria's Tree Kangaroo
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Euro (a subspecies of wallaroo)
False Killer Whale
Grey-headed Flying Fox
Guinea Pig (Domestic)
Indian Fruit Bat
Little Brown Bat
Livingstone's Fruit Bat
Long-footed Tree Shrew
Matschie's Tree Kangaroo
Mountain Tree Shrew
New Zealand Sea Lion
North American Porcupine
Northern Elephant Seal
Northern Fur Seal
Pacific Striped Dolphin
Pere David's Deer
Rodrigues Fruit Bat
Rufous Rat Kangaroo
Slender Tree Shrew
Spinifex Hopping Mouse
Stuart's Marsupial Mouse
Tasmanian Rat Kangaroo
Western Grey Kangaroo
West Indian Manatee
Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby
Now once again, this is just mammals. There are equally long lists for birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. In fact you can find homosexuality in virtually every sexually reproducing organism. Why is this the case? There are a lot of theories as to why homosexuality is so prevalent but I won't go into them here (unless you're actually curious). The point is that having some portion of the population as homosexual clearly is advantageous to the survival of that population.
Maybe it would be useful to think of homosexuality like left handedness. The majority of the population is right handed, however there is a minority that are not. They didn't choose to be, that's how they are.
I find it hard to imagine how one would choose to be a certain sexual orientation. There was never a moment in my life when I thought: I think I'd prefer to be attracted to women, and if you are a straight male (which I am assuming you are) then I would assume you never had to choose who you were attracted to. It happens on a biological level. If, however there was a moment when you felt yourself attracted to men and then chose not to pursue that attraction and instead "decided" to be attracted to females then...well that sounds like a personal issue, but I would understand why you're confused.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium doesn't really contradict the general theory of evolution, it just explains some of the details in various circumstances. You are correct though that under certain environmental pressures evolution can proceed more rapidly, and when there is very little environmental pressure to evolve organisms may undergo almost no evolution.
I'm not sure, however, what point you are trying to make with this.
Before we begin: I actually have some personal experience with tasers so maybe I can provide a unique perspective on the matter. I went through a taser training course with a number of police officers and actually was tased as part of it.
You say in your argument that "guns are much more effective." I believe this statement misses the point of what tasers are designed for. In situations where a suspect poses an immediate threat to someone else a police officer is authorized to use deadly force and in these situations the officers are always going to use a gun. In this sense a taser is not a substitute for a gun, but instead a tool to be used in other situations.
What other situations? Well what if someone is being combative, but no to the point where deadly force would be authorized? In this case a taser is a way to force compliance. Even the threat of being tased can often get a suspect under control. Is the taser unique in the respect? No. In fact most agencies that use tasers now have only begun doing so in the last 10 years, and before that there were other, more crude methods for ensuring compliance. Pepper spray is one example, and as is a nightstick. These are non lethal tools that officers use if a suspect is not cooperating. I would like to argue that a taser is a much safer, less cruel alternative.
First lets talk about how a taser works. It shoots out 2 metal prongs approximately 25 feet (depending on the model) into the suspect. Their spread is usually about 8 degrees (once again, it depends on the model). They then deliver 50,000 volts of electricity for 5 seconds. The electricity is generated by the gun itself, and runs from one prong, through the suspects body, into the other prong. The larger the spread of the prongs the larger the effected area is. The way the taser actually works is through interrupting neuromuscular activity causing the muscles in the effected area to tense up and immobilizing the suspect.
Like I said this lasts for 5 seconds, and let me say from personal experience it was the most painful 5 seconds of my life (imagine the worst charlie horse of your life in every muscle of your body). Now how can the most painful 5 seconds of my life be less cruel than pepper spray and a nightstick? Because literally the instant the current stops there are no side effects. For me, my legs were a little sore as if I'd worked out the previous day, but otherwise nothing. I felt perfectly fine and the other people I saw get tased reported the exact same phenomenon. This is not the case if you are pepper sprayed in the face or hit with a police baton. The pepper spray can burn for over an hour after it is applied and a nightstick can cause permanent injury depending on where your hit (broken bones are worse than 5 seconds of pain). With a taser the only thing you have to worry about is the suspect injuring himself or herself when they fall. Additionally, pepper spray is not nearly as controlled as a taser and therefore the likelihood of another officer or an innocent bystander being effected is greatly increased.
Therefore the taser is an extremely effective and useful tool for police to protect both themselves and the public from dangerous or fleeing suspects.
I have to dispute you on a number of points.
First, that increasing the income tax on the top income bracket (or possibly making a new higher income bracket and raising the tax rate on that) would be unfair to the rich, and that a flat tax would be preferable.
First, the reason why generally people don't want to be taxed is because taxing someone hurts their standard of living. Therefore the more a tax hurts a persons standard of living the more "harmful" that tax is. Furthermore, there is a basic a minimum income on which a person can live. This can be calculated by adding up the minimum cost of necessities (food, rent, basic utilities etc.). This is known as the poverty line and it varies from country to country (and even region to region) as the cost of living varies. The poverty line in the New York City for example is much higher than in a rural village in India. If someone's income is at or below the poverty line, any tax can be seen as extremely harmful. Therefore a 25% tax on a person who makes $20,000 a year (an income right about at the U.S. poverty line) would make it extremely difficult for that person to maintain an adequate standard of living, while a 25% tax on someone who make $100,000 a year would be noticeable, but not significantly effect their standard of living. Therefore as income increases, a higher percentage of income can be taxed without causing a significant increase on standard of living. To put it another way. Increasing the taxes on the top 5% of Americans may mean they might need to take a slightly less luxurious vacation or buy a cheaper 2nd car. To someone near the poverty line however, it could mean choosing between rent, healthcare and food.
While we're on the topic of the poor paying the bills, lets talk about crime. Statistically people growing up in poor households are much more likely to commit crimes than their better off counter parts. The reason for this is simple: if you don't have much already, you don't have much to lose and if you can make more money through illegal activities than from legal ones then it is in your rational self interest to act illegally. This is not to say that all poor people are criminals, it is just saying that environmental factors make crime a more desirable decision than for them if they had more money. Therefore any increase in tax for low incomes would tip the scales towards crime for many people since illegally gained income isn't taxed. More crime means more stolen property and more money spent of security both private (home alarm systems) and public (police) in addition to all of the other ills that are associated with crime.
Thirdly, when talking about security we can easily see that it is the rich who benefit more from money spent on defense and police spending (a significant portion of our budget). Because the rich have more, they have more of a stake in maintaining order in society. If everything were to go to shit (pardon the expression) then those who have a lot to lose would lose the most. Therefore it only makes sense for them to pay a little extra for their added security.
Fourth, progressive income taxes in the U.S. can be seen as offsetting the various regressive taxes that exist. In the U.S. every state except for Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana and Oregon have general sales taxes and there are many other federal and state taxes on more specific items (cigarettes, soda etc.). All of these taxes can be said to be regressive because they put a heavier burden on the poor than the wealthy because low income households spend a higher percentage of their income on consumption goods while high income households can save and invest a higher percentage of your income. If you can barely afford necessities then obviously you're not going to save. Because of the existence of these regressive taxes we need some type of progressive tax even just to accomplish your goal to tax everyone evenly.
Okay, I have gone on for long eough on this part of my argument. I'll wrap up with a quote from Adam Smith, the father of economics from his famous work The Wealth of Nations:
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion
Moving onto this paragraph of your argument: Why would I be inclined to expand my business... I believe your logic is flawed don't understand how marginal tax rates work. You say that someone may be penalized for expanding their business by progressive income taxes. I assume by penalized, you mean that someone making less money would actually have more money because they are in a lower tax bracket. If I have misinterpreted what you meant than the next paragraph will not apply to what you said, and we can continue the discussion after you correct me.
If I am right (as I suspect I am) then you are misinterpreting how tax brackets work. An income tax rate of 35% on incomes greater than $373,651 (as is the case in the U.S.) only is applied to the income made after your $373,651st dollar. Before that dollar, the income is calculated at the lower rate. Therefore someone who makes $373,651 actually is paying less than 35% of their income to taxes. Income taxes are designed exactly in a way to ensure that what you described doesn't happen. So for someone making $373,651 a year, this is how the actual income tax works out:
The first $8,375 is taxed at 10% which equals = $837.50 in taxes
The income from $8,376 - $34,000 is taxed at 15% which equals = $3843.75 in taxes.
The income from $34,001 - $82,400 is taxed at 25% which equals = $12,100 in taxes.
The income from $82,401 - $171,850 is taxed at 28% which equals = $25,046 in taxes.
The income from $171,851 - $373,651 is taxed at 33% which equals = $66,594 in taxes.
The final dollar is taxed at 35% which equals = $.35
This means that the total tax paid is $108421.60. This means that the effective tax rate on our hypothetical individual making $373,651 is about 29.02%.
I hope this explanation has cleared up any confusion you might have had.
The final point that I will make is that you appear to have confused corporate income tax with personal income tax. Many people make this mistake, but the two are separate. There are different tax brackets and corresponding tax rates for corporations than there are for individuals. The top tax bracket for both, however, is taxed at 35% so in that sense they are similar.
Well when speaking about evolution you have both the fact and the theory.
The theory (which as you said cannot be proven in the same way mathematical proofs can't be proven) is about how life changes over long periods of time.
Individual instances of observed evolution though, are facts. In this sense evolution is both fact and theory.
The pharmaceutical system is not an example of a market failure, but an example of the high cost of developing medicine. If the government took over the research and development of medicines the results would be the same, except we'd be paying for the cures in taxes and the medicine would be artificially priced low.
The way the system is set up is that the creators of these drugs have 7 years of exclusivity in which they can recoup their expenses before other pharmaceutical companies can begin selling generics.
Unless the cost of producing medicine is reduced then medicine will be expensive...your solution just shifts how we pay for it from at the counter to in our taxes.
Care to elaborate?
Sure. Often when rap music is portrayed in the media rappers are shown to be thugs and gangbangers whose music encourages violence and degrades women. These stereotypical rappers often blow there money on useless items like tricking out their cars and buy ridiculously lavish homes.
Sadly, in many cases, this stereotype isn't too far off the mark. This is what Lupe Fiasco's song is arguing against. It is criticizing both the rappers who make songs with negative, and misogynistic messages as well as those fans who listen to, and even demand that type of rap.
I'm astounded. Please do!
I usually hate it when people copy and paste but I hope you'll excuse me this time since I already went through an interpretation of "Dumb it Down" by Lupe Fiasco in my argument with EnigmaticMan:
"Now the first verse (the one you analyzed) is him talking to the fans of hip-hop/rap that he considers ignorant. In the first line he claims he is fearless because the whole song is essentially taking on the established paradigm of rap's subject matter which often is unintelligent and degrading to women (a common theme in Lupe's songs is criticizing those rappers which degrade women).
By saying that he is earless, peerless and eyeless he is saying that he can't hear or see the critics (which are represented in the chorus) and that because of this he is tearless...in other words these critics don't bother him. Obviously the peerless part is a double entendre which could mean that he either has no equal when it comes to rap, or that no other rappers are doing what he is doing by criticizing the ignorance of many hip-hop artists.
Another interpretation of this verse is that he is talking about blinded fans looking instead of listening ("which means my iris resides where my ears is"). The bullshit that exists in many rap songs is blinding, but Lupe says I'mma veer so I don't come near. The 'chicken or a deer" part is simply a metaphor about how he avoids the BS prevelant in mainstream rap like people avoid animals in the road (although if you can think of an alternative meaning I'd love to hear it...knowing Lupe there might be one).
The line about him not being "a listener or a seer" means that he can't see clearly (my windshield smear) because he is the artist and not the audience. He doesn't have the proper perspective to judge his own lyrics and therefore hands over the wheel to the audience though, but they don't avoid what he had to veer away from so "the whole grill is roadkill. Another interpretation of this verse is that he is thinking about giving up the wheel entirely by separating himself from the rap game entirely because it is a "minstrel" show. (If your not familiar with what this is, it was when white people dressed in blackface and acted like caricature of black people. What Lupe is saying is that those people raping the the songs are portraying blacks no better.)
In his next line he makes a reference to the matrix by saying he took both pills. What this likely means is that he is living in two worlds at the same time: the BS one created by ignorant hip-hop artists, and the "real" one which is where he believes the truth to lie. He is both a part of the hip-hop/rap world and removed from it at the same time.
"The writer of the quotes for the ghosts who supplier of the notes to the living" appears to be him saying that he is a ghostwriter for ghost writers.
In the final line of this verse he talks about how he is "Riveting as Rosie" which is a reference to the WWII Rosie the Riveter poster. This is a reference both to how good his raps are, and how he is looking to empower women with his rhymes...something not often seen in hip-hop/rap songs. This reference also relates to the rest of the line which goes Awaken at war, 'til I'm restin' in peace which likely means that he will be fighting until he dies to change the hip-hop/rap game for the better.
The first Chorus is relatively self explanatory. It represents the pressure put on rappers (and specifically on Lupe) to conform to the standard themes of hip-hop and "dumb down" his lyrics. The first Chorus is mostly concerned with the fact that many of his lyrics are heady, and that most of the uneducated people in the hood don't want to hear that kind of music."
So that is an interpretation of just the first verse and first chorus. Hopefully you can see that not all rap is as simplistic as you originally assumed.
You are nearly as bad as Qymosabi.
Some things aren't even funny to joke about.
Are you attempting to claim that black people have better auditory skills than I?
I'm not black but I understand it fine. What I'm saying is that people who regularly listen to rap have an easier time understanding rap. Would you disagree.
I am extremely uncomfortable telling you this. In fact, I feel a rash coming on already!
Don't be a fool, wrap your tool! STD's aren't fun ;)