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Author Topic: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled  (Read 9399 times)

srqrebel

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2008, 02:39 PM NHFT »

I give to charities out of purely selfish motives: If I should ever need them, I want them to be there for me. It is in my rational self-interest to fund a safety net that might someday catch me. I needn't pretend that I'm doing it "for the people" in order to feel good about it.

Perhaps so, but is it the best strategy in the long run?

Your donations to a given charity only help that charity in that dollar amount, and by the time you need the safety net, that money will be long gone.  You are, of course, hoping that they will have a steady inflow of donations so that is not an issue, but I fail to see how your specific donations would help ensure that.  Either they will continue to be funded, or they will not -- regardless of your relatively small contribution.

If you save that money instead, and invest it responsibly, you have a much higher certainty of it being there when you need a safety net.

Yet, even with your best planning and efforts at saving and investing, you could still end up needing more than you have personally accumulated.  This is where insurance services (not burdened by govt red tape) come in.  They are run with a profit motive, and are far more stable than charities.

Of course, such unburdened, low-overhead insurance services do not yet exist, because the AMOG stands squarely in the way.  In their absence, I consider the smartest strategy to be saving and investing.  Any charities that are destined to stay in operation will be there if that money runs out, whether you've contributed or not, and in the event that you need to fall back on them, you could (in most cases) contribute once you are back on your feet, in order to make good on the obligation you have incurred.

I completely understand that if everyone took this approach, charities would not even exist in the first place.  The thing is, I am focusing on arriving at a world where unburdened insurance services are the safety net, not charities.  As I see it, charities themselves are a symptom of the AMOG.  Relying on charities amounts to securing your well-being at the expense of others.  Even though it is a voluntary relationship, it is still pretty far removed from taking full self-responsibility for your own well-being.

Because of the incredibly burdensome AMOG red tape, most safety net services through insurance are rendered unaffordable.  Yet, insurance services are the clearly the self-responsible method of securing a safety net: You take full responsibility for yourself by paying directly for your own safety net(s).  You are not asking others to pay for your well-being at all: Each member is looking out for his own best interest, as they should -- for it is their responsibility and theirs alone.

That is certainly not to say that what you are currently doing, and advocating, is wrong -- not at all.  I just question whether it is the smartest approach in terms of longterm self-responsibility.
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J’raxis 270145

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2008, 03:37 PM NHFT »

Think about it: Age is just a number.  I have actually seen a 50-year old woman that I could have easily fallen for (she literally seemed like a twenty-something, and was actually pretty hot, both in physical features and personality).  Eventually though, I would like to have children, and I don't want to be stuck in a relationship with someone who is past the point of childbearing.

There seem to be some unspoken assumptions here that perhaps you ought to examine. :)

Such as?

I am aware that with modern technology, it is possible for women much older than fifty to bear children, but it is not yet widely available.  I am quite certain that I would like to raise a family, just not yet.  I have no interest whatsoever in adopting.

Those were two I was thinking of. Also, the assumption that you can only have a relationship with one romantic partner, or that you have to have children with the person who is your romantic partner.

Thus age is literally just a number -- and to dismiss someone as a potential mate based on an arbitrary number, rather than actual qualities, is not only irrational but amounts to stereotyping, which places an individual at an unfair disadvantage.

That is certainly not an assumption.  It is fact.

No argument there.

Since J'raxis did not leave me a clue as to what potential unspoken assumptions he was referring to …

Indeed—when trying to get people to challenge their assumptions, it’s often better to do so in the form of a vague and non-leading question in order to get them to think about it themselves. Just coming out and stating something in opposition to someone else’s beliefs usually puts them in a defensive mode.



P.S.: So you’re not wondering if I missed it now—I did see your reply to my “legislative strategy,” but I haven’t had time to construct a proper answer yet. I’ll probably be posting a follow-up sometime this weekend.
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dalebert

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2008, 03:50 PM NHFT »

Is there a way to bridge these two? To insert an element of the personal in even broad actions? 

Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, once suggested that we each focus on helping one other person. If enough people did that, he believed it would have a tremendous impact. Even if a lot of people don't, if you do it, you're more likely to have a real impact that you can observe. Help one person, or maybe one family, to really turn their life around and that will likely get paid forward in some way. They're no longer using up charity that now becomes available for others and they're also productive which helps the big picture. Some of them may even be inclined to do the same for someone else some day. It seemed like an interesting approach at least. I think in reality it might prove to be very discouraging because I think a lot of people in need are there by choice on some level, i.e. they're not really looking for a hand-up but rather a hand-out. As long as the hand-outs keep coming, maybe there's not much desire for change. I've often thought about testing that.
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Jacobus

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2008, 05:03 PM NHFT »

Quote
Ayn Rand (as imperfect as she was) addressed this perfectly in what she called the "myth of altruism". "Altruists" give because it makes them feel good, which negates their charity as being altruistic ("selfless giving") at all.


I agree with Rand but think she misses the larger picture.  

It is tautology that you do things because you want to do them, or that you do things because you expect to benefit from them.  So in that sense, altruism does not exist.  

But the larger picture, in my opinion, has to do with how you approach life and the world.  Tolstoy speaks of two general approaches; one is to live for the body, the other for the spirit.

When you live for the body, you will value that which enhances your worldly experiences.  You view yourself as a distinct entity from all others, and anything you do is never really for others but always for yourself.  If seeing others smile makes you feel good, you'll make a rational judgment in self-interest to do things which make others smile.

When you live for the spirit, on the other hand, you will value that which enhances your spirit and God.  The spirit within you is a piece of the spirit of God, and everyone else has a piece of God's spirit too.  Instead of seeing yourself as completely distinct from others, you may see yourself reflected in others.  Compassion is the exercise of seeing yourself, and seeing God's spirit, in others.  

Clearly Rand took and advocated for the first approach.  Altruism has no meaning in this approach because all actions are viewed as enhancing the self.  In the second approach, I might say altruism still has no meaning.  But here it is not because all actions are selfish, but because one understands that we are all of one God, and that therefore service to God, service to others, and service to self are all the same thing.  
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Jacobus

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2008, 05:09 PM NHFT »

Quote
Yet, even with your best planning and efforts at saving and investing, you could still end up needing more than you have personally accumulated.  This is where insurance services (not burdened by govt red tape) come in.  They are run with a profit motive, and are far more stable than charities.

While I agree insurance is a good idea for some things, I don't trust them and would think it a bad idea to rely on them as a safety net.  It seems to me too easy for them to reject your claim in a time of need, especially if some event causes many needy people at once.

I'd rather rely on family and community as a safety net.
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Caleb

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2008, 10:27 PM NHFT »

I agree with jacobus on this.

the question I don't think rand gets around to addressing (at least from what i've read) is *why* exactly a person should feel good about helping someone else, unless it is objectively a good thing to do?

i certainly wasn't criticizing that "happy" feeling from helping someone else, just noticing that sometimes it goes away if you focus on broader "more productive" but less personal things, and I was wondering if there are ways to integrate the two so that you are being both productive and personal.  I think that the happy feeling that the giver feels is a wholly necessary part of the entire experience, because in experiencing that, I fulfill what I see as man's purpose in life. sort of a paradox - a person can only become self-actualized to the extent that he is willing to focus outside himself.

I like Dale's suggestion, and will probably spend some time thinking about that before I comment further.
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Caleb

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2008, 11:50 PM NHFT »

I would personally never place my property at the mercy of another by offering my resources (time, energy, materials, tools, etc.) without ensuring that I have tied my own just compensation to the reputation of my customer.  The prospect of losing repeat sales and referrals, and damage to my own reputation, is enough for me to ensure that the customer leaves happy.  I need my compensation to be spelled out and agreed to in advance, to ensure that it is likewise tied to their reputation.

Sorry to rehash this, but it's been bugging me a little.

Pretend that someone stiffs you. You aren't going to run to the courts. It seems to me that offering a voluntary service is the most honest system. Everybody else is bluffing. (or else they are actually willing to use the courts).

It also seems ass backwards from what you really want. A voluntary service is a trustful service. It relies on the thought that most people are good and decent. If this isn't fundamentally true, then everything else you strive for is inconsequential.

It seems to me that laws are one way that people are reduced to a state lower than what they really are, because the law takes away the person's need to use his mind and heart to determine what he ought to do. I think that pricing can do the same thing: they distract a person from considering the true value of a thing, and place a focus strictly on a thing's *monetary* value. This is worth such and such a dollar amount. Whereas other considerations might be totally lost, not because the person didn't care, but because he was never challenged to actually think about what the actual value is. A good example might be fair trade coffee.  A person might compare the price and if he's only thinking about price, he might say, "oh, that fair trade coffee is completely noncompetitive with this other brand."  True, if price is the only consideration, but that person probably values knowing that the people who have produced his coffee have not been exploited, but he doesn't think about it until it is brought to his attention and until he considers it. I think we are too price oriented in our culture. There's nothing like removing a price tag to make someone actually think about how he values something.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2008, 08:11 AM NHFT »

Sorry to rehash this, but it's been bugging me a little.

Pretend that someone stiffs you. You aren't going to run to the courts. It seems to me that offering a voluntary service is the most honest system. Everybody else is bluffing. (or else they are actually willing to use the courts).
this is why i said that menno would not like "voluntary services" .... he doesn't get this yet. I don't think he will get it from reading words. He will have to see how other people live.
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Caleb

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2008, 11:58 AM NHFT »

I think Menno will only respond to words. That is the way he thinks, he is analytical, and what he analyzes, for the most part, is words. Other people respond to different things.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2008, 09:00 PM NHFT »

you keep trying then
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dalebert

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2008, 10:27 PM NHFT »

Menno, I know you don't use the word much, if at all, but just out of curiosity, do you consider yourself an anarchist? If not, what do you think of anarchists? I think I know the answer but I have a reason for asking.
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2008, 09:40 AM NHFT »

Menno, I know you don't use the word much, if at all, but just out of curiosity, do you consider yourself an anarchist? If not, what do you think of anarchists? I think I know the answer but I have a reason for asking.
bracing for wall-of-text
 :_meteor_guy__by_ChaosEmeraldH
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srqrebel

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2008, 09:07 PM NHFT »

Indeed—when trying to get people to challenge their assumptions, it’s often better to do so in the form of a vague and non-leading question in order to get them to think about it themselves. Just coming out and stating something in opposition to someone else’s beliefs usually puts them in a defensive mode.

So true!  +1 for pointing this out.

Acting in harmony with human nature places one at such a major advantage, it is a very important component of the overall strategy.
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srqrebel

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2008, 10:37 PM NHFT »

...Pretend that someone stiffs you. You aren't going to run to the courts. It seems to me that offering a voluntary service is the most honest system. Everybody else is bluffing. (or else they are actually willing to use the courts).

I will not use the AMOG's courts.

I will certainly use the court of public opinion, leading to ostracism of the offending party.  This is not possible, when the terms of the contract are such that no one but the customer is able to determine whether or not those terms have actually been met.

It also seems ass backwards from what you really want. A voluntary service is a trustful service. It relies on the thought that most people are good and decent. If this isn't fundamentally true, then everything else you strive for is inconsequential.

I most certainly hold that most people are good and decent.  I also recognize the fact that there is a tiny minority of individuals who seem to have no conscience, who will absolutely take you to the cleaners if you let them.  Presenting yourself and your property as easy prey for them is not my idea of self-responsibility.

It seems to me that laws are one way that people are reduced to a state lower than what they really are, because the law takes away the person's need to use his mind and heart to determine what he ought to do. I think that pricing can do the same thing: they distract a person from considering the true value of a thing, and place a focus strictly on a thing's *monetary* value. This is worth such and such a dollar amount. Whereas other considerations might be totally lost, not because the person didn't care, but because he was never challenged to actually think about what the actual value is. A good example might be fair trade coffee.  A person might compare the price and if he's only thinking about price, he might say, "oh, that fair trade coffee is completely noncompetitive with this other brand."  True, if price is the only consideration, but that person probably values knowing that the people who have produced his coffee have not been exploited, but he doesn't think about it until it is brought to his attention and until he considers it. I think we are too price oriented in our culture. There's nothing like removing a price tag to make someone actually think about how he values something.

Having terms of contract whose fulfillment can be independently verified, is not about applying arbitrary laws; it is about taking peaceable steps to protect yourself and your hard-earned property.

A major reason why the "V" approach does not appeal to me, is that the customer often has no idea of the amount of effort and material that goes into producing the values you deliver to them.  You may do quality computer work at a general market value of $1000, only to find out at the "moment of truth" that your customer thinks it is worth only $80.

Since my customers know from the outset exactly what measure of value they can expect from me, it is perfectly fair that I know from the outset exactly what measure of value I can expect from them in return.  This enables me to make good on my responsibility to myself to honestly maximize the fruits of my labor by only exchanging values with those who offer me exactly what I want.  It is likewise the customer's responsibility to himself to maximize the value of his hard-earned money by only exchanging it with those who offer him exactly what he wants.

While it is certainly important to act responsibly toward others, each individual's primary responsibility is toward himself.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 10:42 PM NHFT by srqrebel »
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Caleb

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Re: Menno's Grand Plan Finally Unveiled
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2008, 10:40 PM NHFT »

so when are you going to answer Dale's simple yes or no question?  >:D

also, for everything that you said, I still don't see how the voluntary service is any different. If you agree to do work for someone else for $50 and he doesn't pay you, you won't work for him again. If I agree to do work for someone voluntarily, and they don't give me anything, I might or might not work for him again. I still have the same choice you do.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 10:44 PM NHFT by Caleb »
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