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Friday, April 18, 2003 - 7:44amSanction this postReply
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Check this link for the reality of the "crowds" -

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2842.htm

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Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 5:27pmSanction this postReply
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Western society is not civilised or free Mr. Check your premises!

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Sunday, August 6 - 6:16amSanction this postReply
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So, how did that turn out for us?

Posts like this from that time just make me sad.

You have to take some responsibility for your own stupidity and it never occured to me until it was spelled out in a graduate class in sociology: democracy depends on bureaucracy. Each piece of paper moves forward from desk to desk, based on the merits of the forms, not the tribe or family or friends of the person submitting it. We dislike bureaucracy, but it is a hallmark of our society. Bureaucracy is an expression of equality under rule of law.  Iraq did not have that. Like Yugoslavia, and Syria, they almost had something like it under a strong man ("hetman" model of society). The vicious ruler kept them from killing each other.  Now, nothing stops them.

 

Read Ayn Rand's views on the necessity of a monopoly on force held by the state. Respect for human rights, and limited government, and all that are fine... once you have the monopoly on force... 



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Sunday, August 6 - 10:04amSanction this postReply
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We dislike bureaucracy, but it is a hallmark of our society. Bureaucracy is an expression of equality under rule of law.

 

That's so misleading.  Bureauracy was rife under Soviet communism.  It is a functional part of EVERY large government - I'm sure the Pharohs of ancient Eypgt had layers and layers of scribes and administrators.  Bureauracy might be paraded about as an expression of equality under rule of law, but what law?  And can just rulings be excepted for those with pull?  As for Ayn Rand's views, read Atlas Shrugged.



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Monday, August 7 - 10:02pmSanction this postReply
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democracy depends on bureaucracy

Our "democracy" depends on individual rights, and governments tend to be bureaucratical in nature.

 

Our "democracy" depends on the nature of man, who is a volitional being.  The right to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness exist to protect what is his:  his mind, his body, his action, and the products and productivity of his own thought and action.  I own my mind, I own my body, and I own my own action--if the government or "democracy" isn't there to protect that they can CMA.



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Thursday, August 10 - 4:33amSanction this postReply
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Steve and Korben both make the common mistake of misunderstanding "bureaucracy" just as most people misunderstand "capitalism" and "selfishness."  Ayn Rand was specific about the fact that the Renaissance and Enlightenment were necessary for capitalism. In Against the Gods, Peter L. Bernstein asserted that before the invention of statistics, capitalism was impossible, that all enterprise was a roll of the dice against Fate.  Ancient Greece had merchants, but not capitalists. Capitalism was impossible in ancient Greece because human rights were not understood.

 

Ancient societies had administrations, administrators, clerks, and scribes. However, bureaucracy is a specific kind of administration. You can find tendrils of it in ancient times, just as you can with capitalism.  As for the USSR, to the extent that it was impersonal, its bureaucracy was, indeed a function of their meaning of "centralized democracy." Administration was independent of tribe or family.  Iraq was different from that, and still is.



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Thursday, August 10 - 10:03amSanction this postReply
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Marotta appears to be taking the position of Max Weber, the German sociologist: "Bureaucratic administration means fundamentally domination through knowledge."  Weber was a kind of progressive who saw societies' only chance to modernize was in shifting control to ever larger bureaurcracies (he also saw large bureaurcracies as dangerous to invididual freedom - but that side of his study is usually ignored. 

 

Woodrow Wilson was another supporter of bureaucraccy, writing, "...through its greater principles it is directly connected with the lasting maxims of political wisdom, the permanent truthrs of political progress."

 

So, what is a bureaucracy? 
- It is a part of government,
- it acts in ways that control individuals by threat of force (even in violation of individual rights),
- it has a hierarchical structure,
- its actions conform to a written set of rules that are rarely, if ever, altered for the sake of anyone outside of the bureaucracy,
- its members are not elected and often out of the direct control of anyone who is.
- its actions are almost always inefficient in proportion to its size.

 

Large bureaucracies make rules never authorized by an elected official.  They investigate violations of those rules with their own investigators, interpret the application of rules where citizens are brought before non-judicial courts - courts that are part of the same agency that made the rule and investigated its violation.  The agency 'courts' ajudicate violations, and usually any appeals of their own rulings.  They enforce judgments with fines and property seizures.  And all of this over an ever-expanding set of rules as if it were a nation state of its own.
-----------------------------------

 

Steve and Korben both make the common mistake of misunderstanding "bureaucracy"  ...   "As for the USSR, to the extent that it was impersonal, its bureaucracy was, indeed a function of their meaning of "centralized democracy." Administration was independent of tribe or family.  Iraq was different from that, and still is.

Who misuderstands bureaucracy?  Marotta said, "We dislike bureaucracy, but it is a hallmark of our society. Bureaucracy is an expression of equality under rule of law."  Marotta used the phrase "centralized democracy" as if that holds any meaning when talking about the Soviet Union.  And he appears to have forgotten the progroms that were carried out by bureaucrats and their agencies.  He needs to reexamine his idea of 'tribes or family'.  What about the bureaurcratic efforts of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews?  Marotta's idea of equality under the law is strange.

 

Contrary to what Marotta has said, statistics is NOT essential to capitalism.  Take a small island populated by people who have never learned statistics.  Are they incapable of setting up an institution governed to a substantial degree by individual rights so that they can have property rights and exercise freedom of choice in making, buying and selling? No.  Capitalism is an economic system that cannot be separated from a kind of political system and that political system will only exist with a minimal understanding of moral rights.

 

Hundreds of years BCE, lanteen-sailed dhows were loaded with cargo to carry from port to port.  In many instances the sailing vessel was privately owned and each crew member was given no pay, but rather could choose to carry some large chests to hold trading goods they picked, bought, carried to the next port and sold.  Each crew member was, in effect, a small merchant on a floating mall.  The Indian and Arab captains were given great power over their crew, and used the power to enforce their right to buy and sell.  There was a moral understanding that it would be wrong to violate the property of another.  To the best of my knowledge, the observance of property rights and choice tells me this was a localized form of capitalism... and there wasn't a statistician among them.

 

Beware floating abstractions.



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Monday, August 14 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
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You could do worse than to read Max Weber.  The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, City, and Politics as a Profession, all provide deep and cogent insights into our institutions. It is too common to project ourselves on the past and speak about "Roman bureaucracy" and "ancient capitalism." It is as if labelling Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as an early statement of the Virtue of Selfishness. Rome had an administration. Ancient cultures had traders. If we all lived by nothing more than Aristotlean eudaimonia, the world would be a better place. But they are not bureaucracy, capitalism, or egoism.

 

Just to consider Weber's City, you can learn a lot by perceiving America as a medieval city, a place where strangers came together for commerce, enjoyed new rights, and defended their freedoms with firearms. It is the basis of the ethical tradition that Deirdre McCloskey identified in Bourgeois Virtue.  Before the rise of the commercial class in the medieval city, the bourgeoisie did not exist, though, as Aristotle noted, a "middle class" between rich and poor did. 

 

The culture of Objectivism includes a "city on a hill" mentality of dismissing as erroneous in total everything that is not approved in total.  That has its roots in the introductory essay in For the New Intellectual.  It is true that Ayn Rand had to make a strong case for why "new intellectuals" were necessary - and remain so. Unfortunately, it led to the wholesale devaluation of the entire intellectual tradition - with the exception of some Aristotle and a nod to Thomas Aquinas.  

 

Last weekend, at the Armadillocon science fiction convention, one of the authors made a point of the "logical fallacy of the logical fallacy."  Just because an argument has an error does not mean that it is factually wrong. Max Weber, John Locke, Herbert Spencer, and a thousand other savants committed mistakes. They also provided us with immeasurable values. Max Weber was brilliant. I do not endorse everything he wrote, but I do have City and Capitalism on my bookshelf, just as I have Richard Feynman, George Boole, and many others. 

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/14, 7:22pm)



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Tuesday, August 15 - 10:50amSanction this postReply
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Unfortunately, it [Ayn Rand's For the New Intellectual] led to the wholesale devaluation of the entire intellectual tradition - with the exception of some Aristotle and a nod to Thomas Aquinas. 

 

Actually, this is another case where you tell us about Ayn Rand and Objectivism's flaws.... but, as usual you spew forth vague, unsupported assertions from which you draw unwarranted conclusions.  You never really have understood Objectivism and I believe it is because you can't get free of floating abstractions as a way of 'thinking.'



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