Showing posts from March, 2014

Wealth creation, and the rich vs. the poor

I frequently witness what seems to be typical conversations between a socialist and a libertarian. The socialist might say: "67 people own more than the world's poorest 3.5 billion!" The implication being that the wealthy people are stealing from the poor. The libertarian might say: "And that's okay, as long as wealth is created, not stolen!" The implication being that for the most part, the poor need to create their own wealth. The libertarian is partly right. Wealth is created. The problem is that the process of wealth creation will be increasingly out of reach for the average person, and is already out of reach for most people on the bottom of the ability curve. The way we're headed, we're going to end up with a population that's not able to contribute significantly to the wealth creation process, and without a social safety net, they end up being destitute. However, this same population will still have voting rights. And guns. Som

Teenage boys and "statutory rape"

The following issue miffs me incredibly: people's righteous insistence that an adult female having consensual sex with an underage boy is problematic to the same degree, and for the same reasons, as an adult male having sex with an underage girl. In most countries, the law doesn't distinguish between the two cases, probably to avoid criticism of gender bias. But the risks from sex for men and women are radically different. In the worst case for an underage boy, he might possibly get herpes - something most people will get in their lifetimes, and something that has no symptoms for 2/3 of carriers. Anything else that isn't curable is highly unlikely. He might father a child, but there is no risk to him whether the woman decides to carry it, or have an abortion. The boy should not be held responsible for the life he helped create, because he is underage; the woman should not be able to make him see the child if he doesn't want to, or extract alimony. But there's n

Passing judgment

Someone asked the following question: Should we judge the actions of people in other cultures (present and past) by their ethical standards or our own? If we judge by their standards, what must we think of people who follow our mores but break those of their own society? What does it mean to "judge"? We cannot impose punishment on, or give reward to, people who are already dead, or who live in a country over which we have no influence. When it comes to the latter, we can only possibly go to war with them. Judgment tends to be used to facilitate such war. Having private thoughts of approval or disapproval has no consequence unless it influences actions of the person having such thoughts. Publicly voicing approval or disapproval only has consequence if it influences currently living people's actions. When viewed this way, judgment of people in past times, and contemporary cultures beyond our reach, is necessarily masturbatory. When we "judge" them, we do it i

The US, Ukraine, and Russia

Prediction: If an armed conflict arises between Ukraine and Russia, the US isn't going to strike militarily against Russian forces. This is partly because it wouldn't benefit the US to risk World War III, but also because there's nothing in it for Israel.