HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » The Magistrate » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 Next »

The Magistrate

Profile Information

Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 82,618

Journal Archives

It Is Clear, Sir, You Have Never Given The Subject Much Thought

By denouncing a violent response to violent suppression of dissent by police, and maintaining that a violent response to violent suppression of dissent by police is wrong, you are endorsing and supporting police brutality against demonstrators, and setting it up as right and proper action. You may not like this being pointed out, but that is no one's problem but your own: it is what you have done.

You have not even attempted engaging the near universal consensus that people have a right to defend themselves against violence done to their person, and do so in such a manner as will ensure the attack ends. Nor have you engaged that it is only a moral position against all violence, by anyone, which is ever resorted to in claiming use of violence to defend oneself against violent attack is never justified or moral. It is evidently not a standard you could meet, from your commentary on the topic. It is clear yours is, really, a garden variety 'I approve of violence against my enemies and disapprove of violence against my friends' standard.

Part of the muddle which tends to arise when people think of violence and whether it is right or not is a confusion between decisions made on the basis of moral values and decisions made as considerations of strategy or tactics. As people must often be reminded, the fact that one has the right to do something does not mean it is the right thing to do in some particular circumstance, judged by considerations of what might succeed or fail, and what the gains or pains might turn out to be. Judgement of this sort might well conclude it is a bad idea to fight back in some situations, but that does not change that people have the right to fight back, or establish that in all situations it is a bad idea to fight back.

When engaged in conflict towards some political end, one reason often given some weight in deciding whether use of violence is a good course or not is whether use of violence will forfeit the proverbial 'moral high ground', and indeed, it can be of use in seeking some end against opposition to give the appearance of being better people than one's opponents. It is a pretty question whether behavior which aligns with a high moral standard, but is performed not from a desire to behave morally but rather from the calculation that it may pay to appear moral, should be considered moral behavior, or something else. It is something definitely worth bearing in mind, however, when considering this subject.

Non-violence, as a strategy, depends for its success not on minimizing violence but rather on seeing to it violence flows in only one direction in the confrontation. Violence remains at its heart, for violence is the ultimate test of sincerity in political matters, and a willingness to see violence done, whether by oneself or upon oneself, is essential to achieving anything. A non-violent protest met with slices of cake and soft drinks rather than tear-gas and clubs or worse, would achieve nothing. Again, it is a pretty question, particularly for people who adopt non-violence from a sincere belief violence is in and of itself wrong, just what are the moral culpabilities when one deliberately courts and provokes violence in others, and indeed depends up the violence of others for success.

Since maintaining a monopoly on use of violence for political ends within its boundaries is one of the distinguishing characteristics of whether a functioning state exists, the question of violence will always arise when people in any number challenge the government of a state. The state will certainly be tempted to demonstrate its monopoly, and of course it is likely to have more resources in that line. But a successful use of violence against agents of the state is, by token of that claimed monopoly, one particularly striking way the legitimacy of the state itself can be called into question. In any confrontation which aims, or comes to aim, at overthrow of a government, there will come a point when violence by the opponents of the state becomes an important means for them to stake their claim it is they, not the government they oppose, which is the legitimate power in that state.
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Apr 11, 2014, 01:32 AM (1 replies)

He Makes a Ludicrous Argument, Ma'am

What, after all, but a person, can speak?

The very concept of incorporation is to embody, to create out of some group of persons, whether a town or a guild originally, or later a group of investors pooling their money, a legal person which can have obligations and rights separate from the individuals who collectively constitute it. It is only as a 'person' a corporation has any existence at all.

But the idea that the legal embodiment of a group of persons, called into being to be a focus of rights of contract and to shield individual owners or members of it for its debts and liabilities, can have any opinion on any matter separate from the persons who own it, is nonesense. Worse then nonesense, it is an obvious impossibility, on simple physical grounds. Can anyone seriously imagine, say, the Caterpillar corporation disagreeing with its CEO, arguing with him on some point of social policy, and even going so far as to spend its money to rally public opinion against his view of the matter? To simply state the thing is answer it with 'Not just no but fuck no!'

Disallowing 'free speech rights' for corporations does not restrict the free speech of any citizen, or any actual person, in the slightest degree. All it does is require them to use their own resources to express their views, rather than the pooled resources of the corporation they own or direct, resources which are not theirs in the first place.

"The trouble with our modern corporations is they have neither bodies to be kicked nor souls to be damned."
Posted by The Magistrate | Wed Apr 2, 2014, 11:54 AM (1 replies)

Two Points, Sir

One, adherence to 'conspiracy theories' tracks well with a a sense of powerlessness, both personal and political. The first element of the thing is not too dangerous, as persons who perceive themselves as powerless personally generally are, while the second, if widespread enough in a polity, can prove dangerous indeed, as feeling unable to effect the actions of one's government or functions of one's society can lead to apathetic withdrawl, or angry and violent engagement, often without much clear sense of what actually is wrong, or how it can be fixed.

Second, adherence to 'conspiracy theories' provides two particular spiritual balms. Such theories provide a sense of certainty and understanding, both hard to come by in this modern world, and such theories provide a sense of being on the 'inside', of knowing more and understanding more, in short, a sense of being superior, to the mass of other people who just cannot see, and do not 'get it'. These feelings are very comforting, and especially so for people who actually do feel powerless and isolated and left behind.
Posted by The Magistrate | Wed Mar 12, 2014, 10:22 AM (2 replies)

The Whole 'Substitution' Line Is Utterly Bogus, Ma'am

If the price of some articles rise, and a person therefore purchases different items in substitution, at lower cost and of lower quality, while that person may be paying about the same amount, they are getting less value for it, and therefore their standard of living has not kept pace with rising costs. The purpose of a cost of living index is to maintain the standard of living of persons receiving income, or, in other words, to see that they can buy the same items they did formerly, when the cost of those items rises. Put even more coldly, the purpose of a cost of living index is to see to it people get the same value from their income as they did formerly when prices rise. The 'substitution' line is an open statement that the value people will receive for their income will drop as the price of goods rises. The people pressing this do not even try to hide it, save by leaving it in plain sight and trusting people will not look and see....
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Feb 21, 2014, 03:40 PM (1 replies)

I Agree, Sir: This Is 'Corporate Sovereignity', And It Is An Abomination

No investor has any right, repeat any right, to profit from an investment, and any claim he has is absolutely without foundation in law, custom, history, or even economic theory. Laws, regulations, possible changes in them, acts of governments and rulings of courts are simply some of the factors people must calculate and try and anticipate when investing, and if you gauge these wrongly you are supposed to lose your money! That is how the thing works, how it is supposed to work, how it always has worked.

"The trouble with our modern corporations is they have neither souls to be damned nor bodies to be kicked."
Posted by The Magistrate | Sat Oct 26, 2013, 11:26 AM (2 replies)

He Does Not Even Get The Standard Doctrine Of Inflation Right, Ma'am

The classic defined cause of inflation is 'too much money chasing too few goods'. In other words, if the amount of money in circulation increases more rapidly than the quantity of goods and services available to purchase, each unit of money must necessarily be able to purchase a lesser amount of goods and services. This can work in reverse, of course: if the supply of money increases more slowly than the quantity of goods and services, each unit of money must necessarily be able to purchase a greater quantity of goods. The former is as destructive as the latter, though in different ways. Inflation harms creditors, since the units of money in which a debt will be repaid will have less purchasing power; creditors protect themselves by lending only at higher rates of interest, which, by making money itself more expensive to acquire, insures that less of it will be used for productive investment, and so reduces the production of goods and availability of services. Deflation harms debtors, since they must repay debts with units of money worth more than those they borrowed, and the very units of money needed to repay are more scarce and hard to come by; debtors frequently cannot manage to repay under these conditions and must forfeit assets to creditors, which when widespread drives down the value of assets generally and places many of them idle, again reducing the production of goods and services.

Government is far from the only agency of increase for the supply of money; private extension of credit has exactly the same effect on the amount of money available as does government creation of debt. Government debt becomes a capital asset for those who hold it, just as does private debt ( in the form of various sorts of commercial paper ); the only difference is that generally private debt is more likely to be wiped out by default and bankruptcy than government debt. Without the capital assets provided by government bonds, and the liquid market for them, a very large proportion of economic activity would seize up; in effect, deflation would be imposed, by a reduction in the supply of money. In our present economy, a similar result would occur if credit cards were removed, and people required to pay cash for all purchases, and allowed to borrow only upon security of real property or specie; in effect, deflation would be imposed, by reduction in the supply of money. Like it or not, our entire economic system depends on lavish extension of credit and creation of money, and whether this is done by private or public agency makes no essential difference, though it remains still the case the government debt is a more secure asset than private debt, as a general case.
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 01:05 PM (0 replies)

He Does Not Even Get The Standard Doctrine Of Inflation Right, Ma'am

The classic defined cause of inflation is 'too much money chasing too few goods'. In other words, if the amount of money in circulation increases more rapidly than the quantity of goods and services available to purchase, each unit of money must necessarily be able to purchase a lesser amount of goods and services. This can work in reverse, of course: if the supply of money increases more slowly than the quantity of goods and services, each unit of money must necessarily be able to purchase a greater quantity of goods. The former is as destructive as the latter, though in different ways. Inflation harms creditors, since the units of money in which a debt will be repaid will have less purchasing power; creditors protect themselves by lending only at higher rates of interest, which, by making money itself more expensive to acquire, insures that less of it will be used for productive investment, and so reduces the production of goods and availability of services. Deflation harms debtors, since they must repay debts with units of money worth more than those they borrowed, and the very units of money needed to repay are more scarce and hard to come by; debtors frequently cannot manage to repay under these conditions and must forfeit assets to creditors, which when widespread drives down the value of assets generally and places many of them idle, again reducing the production of goods and services.

Government is far from the only agency of increase for the supply of money; private extension of credit has exactly the same effect on the amount of money available as does government creation of debt. Government debt becomes a capital asset for those who hold it, just as does private debt ( in the form of various sorts of commercial paper ); the only difference is that generally private debt is more likely to be wiped out by default and bankruptcy than government debt. Without the capital assets provided by government bonds, and the liquid market for them, a very large proportion of economic activity would seize up; in effect, deflation would be imposed, by a reduction in the supply of money. In our present economy, a similar result would occur if credit cards were removed, and people required to pay cash for all purchases, and allowed to borrow only upon security of real property or specie; in effect, deflation would be imposed, by reduction in the supply of money. Like it or not, our entire economic system depends on lavish extension of credit and creation of money, and whether this is done by private or public agency makes no essential difference, though it remains still the case the government debt is a more secure asset than private debt, as a general case.
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Oct 18, 2013, 01:05 PM (0 replies)

Hostage Takers And Extortionists Cannot Be Rewarded

No offer short of unconditional surrender by Congressional Republicans is acceptable.

They have to drop the gun and kick it over to the officer; they cannot just tuck it back into the waist-band and drape a shirt-tail over it.

The debt ceiling must be raised by an amount sufficient to ensure it is the next Congress which must vote to raise it, and the continuing resolution must be for the full fiscal year --- neither can have any condition attached.
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Oct 11, 2013, 01:08 PM (35 replies)

The Right, Sir, Does Not Accept Elections They Lose Are Legitimate

They do not subscribe to the tenets of Democracy.

In their view, an election is simply a device by which their natural right to rule is given the trappings of an expression of the popular will of the citizenry. It is not by any means a thing which could possibly put into power by the popular will of the citizenry anyone other than themselves. Any election result which does not ratify their holding power must therefore, by definition, be illegitimate, and they will not and by their lights should not recognize it as binding. When such a thing does occur, they must do their best to continue functioning as the true rulers of the country they know themselves to be, until such time as an election with the proper result can be contrived....
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Oct 4, 2013, 10:04 AM (2 replies)

The Right, Sir, Does Not Accept Elections They Lose Are Legitimate

They do not subscribe to the tenets of Democracy.

In their view, an election is simply a device by which their natural right to rule is given the trappings of an expression of the popular will of the citizenry. It is not by any means a thing which could possibly put into power by the popular will of the citizenry anyone other than themselves. Any election result which does not ratify their holding power must therefore, by definition, be illegitimate, and they will not and by their lights should not recognize it as binding. When such a thing does occur, they must do their best to continue functioning as the true rulers of the country they know themselves to be, until such time as an election with the proper result can be contrived....
Posted by The Magistrate | Fri Oct 4, 2013, 10:04 AM (2 replies)
Go to Page: 1 2 3 Next »