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RE: [LandCafe] HG in North American Review July, 1887

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  • Edward Dodson
    Harry Pollard wrote: I call them countervailing privileges. When the condition of people is getting low, the way to keep them quiet is to give them a privilege
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 1, 2009
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      Harry Pollard wrote:

      I call them countervailing privileges.

      When the condition of people is getting low, the way to keep them quiet is
      to give them a privilege - such as food stamps, or some other welfare
      privilege.

      Pretty quickly, the people, along with the 'reformers', have concentrated
      their attention on the countervailing privileges and the serious privileges
      that are harming them are forgotten.

      Ed Dodson here:
      I know, Harry, you do not accept the argument that we, as members of the
      same species possess certain rights, the respect of which is a moral
      obligation on our part. Is that not your position? At the same time, IF we
      come together voluntarily in association (i.e., if the state is the creation
      of individuals), then the responsibility of government is to act consistent
      with the moral obligations of the individual. That, by definition, I argue
      is just law.

      Well, we know by the fact that monopolies are permitted to take hold in
      societies that the law embraces privilege at the expense of true liberty
      (defined by Mortimer Adler as "freedom constrained by justice"). Either just
      law is not enforced, or unjust law is enforced, the result of which is a
      redistribution of wealth and income from those who produce goods and provide
      services to those who are allowed to claim rent (or confiscate even more
      income than actual rent, in the form of monopoly-rents arising from hoarding
      and other means of controlling supply).

      Thus, to the extent government enacts countervailing measures to return
      privately confiscated income to the victims, the result is in the direction
      of justice. The beneficiaries are not enjoying privilege but a modest degree
      of justice and a modest improvement in the extent to which their liberty is
      protected.

      One problem is that the sources of revenue with which government
      accomplishes its countervailing measures takes not only rent-derived income
      from some members of society but earned income from many others. In short,
      the remedy imposes harm on those who are innocent parties. There is
      collateral damage, a condition that permeates all such remedies except those
      we (as admirers of Henry George's remedies) embrace.
    • Harry Pollard
      As always, Ed, a thoughtful post! I’ll reply between asterisks below. Harry ****************************** Henry George School of Los Angeles Box 655
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 1, 2009
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        As always, Ed, a thoughtful post!

        I’ll reply between asterisks below.

        Harry

        ******************************
        Henry George School of Los Angeles
        Box 655 Tujunga CA 91043
        Tel: 818 352-4141
        ******************************

        From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Edward Dodson
        Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 6:20 AM
        To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [LandCafe] HG in North American Review July, 1887

        Harry Pollard wrote:

        I call them countervailing privileges.

        When the condition of people is getting low, the way to keep them
        quiet is to give them a privilege - such as food stamps, or some other
        welfare privilege.

        Pretty quickly, the people, along with the 'reformers', have
        concentrated their attention on the countervailing privileges and the
        serious privileges that are harming them are forgotten.

        Ed Dodson here:

        I know, Harry, you do not accept the argument that we, as members of
        the same species possess certain rights, the respect of which is a
        moral obligation on our part. Is that not your position?

        ************
        You are quite right, Ed. I don't think there are any Natural Rights.

        I do believe in "natural selection". The primary goal of any species
        is survival. I think that over the time of Man's existence, he has
        found that survival is more likely if he bands together with others in
        a community.

        The community is more likely to survive if the inhabitants have agreed
        to some conditions. In Dodsontown, the price of admission is agreement
        not to kill, injure, or rob each other.

        It may be that over time townsfolk feel they have a Natural Right to
        be treated properly by other members of the community, but it all
        began as sensible contractual right and still is.

        In the beginning, these are rules of behavior. Unfortunately, as some
        people get drunk, or are sociopathic, they may not follow the rules.
        It therefore becomes necessary to agree to 'laws' of behavior. Laws
        differ from rules insomuch as they carry a penalty.
        ************

        At the same time, IF we
        come together voluntarily in association (i.e., if the state is the
        creation
        of individuals), then the responsibility of government is to act
        consistent
        with the moral obligations of the individual. That, by definition, I
        argue
        is just law.

        *****************
        Three qualities that make a good law are that it be needed, that it be
        sensible, and that it applies equally to everyone.

        This last quality makes the law just.
        *****************

        Well, we know by the fact that monopolies are permitted to take hold
        in
        societies that the law embraces privilege at the expense of true
        liberty
        (defined by Mortimer Adler as "freedom constrained by justice").
        Either just
        law is not enforced, or unjust law is enforced, the result of which is
        a
        redistribution of wealth and income from those who produce goods and
        provide services to those who are allowed to claim rent (or confiscate
        even more income than actual rent, in the form of monopoly-rents
        arising from hoarding and other means of controlling supply).

        ********************
        Mortimer must have stolen it from me. I say that liberty is a freedom
        under the law.

        Unjust laws are called privileges.
        ********************

        Thus, to the extent government enacts countervailing measures to
        return
        privately confiscated income to the victims, the result is in the
        direction
        of justice. The beneficiaries are not enjoying privilege but a modest
        degree
        of justice and a modest improvement in the extent to which their
        liberty is
        protected.

        *******************
        I would say that an action is either just or unjust. The move toward
        justice seems to me very much like being a little bit pregnant. It
        doesn't mean much in practice. Let's say I clean out your house while
        you're away. Then I realize as you don't read much you have nothing to
        do in the evening.

        So I give you back your television set and applaud myself for moving a
        little toward justice. I don't think you would join the applause.
        *******************

        One problem is the sources of revenue with which government
        accomplishes its countervailing measures takes not only rent-derived
        income
        from some members of society but earned income from many others. In
        short, the remedy imposes harm on those who are innocent parties.
        There is
        collateral damage, a condition that permeates all such remedies except
        those
        we (as admirers of Henry George's remedies) embrace.
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