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How would an Objectivist Based Government have Dealt with Covid-19

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22 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

As far as resporting goes, there could even be an internet site that you report it to, a private one although that would risk legal repercussions when false accusations happen. 

I can't imagine this would do good for anyone. A completely anonymous tracking system that DW gave an example of this more in line with a rights-focused solution to concerns about disease. People really are concerned about safety, and they realize that even risk of disease is present in every social interaction. So it is reasonable to have some consensual and voluntary means of keeping track of disease. The good thing is, with modern technology, there are great encryption solutions to potential privacy violations. No kind of reporting necessary actually, just a consensual network of people. It's reporting yourself to others, but in a positive sense - reporting that you care, and reporting that you take precautions. And importantly, the people in charge of the platform wouldn't have any meaningful authority to make people feel pressured to conform for the sake of conformity.

it's important to remember historical examples of people being encouraged to watch each other because of some alleged widespread and rampant moral or legal violations. Forgetting false accusations, the cultural atmosphere of reporting is harmful. People often don't like it, even if you mean well. As a response, people become more secretive about their behavior. Others will wonder who are the ones trigger-happy about reporting. Even if the threat is pretty reasonable, it gets out of hand, as with McCarthyism.

 

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Given the nature of the threat I think we have to start with a "new" set of what is normal when thinking of the relationship of activities we take for granted with rights. Why?  Because even thou

The severity, ease and method of transmission is different. So there is a higher threat assessment. It does not give authorities any expanded rights. Activities can change because of threat level, tha

Bluetooth proximity apps on smart phones could track data anonymously, that a positive Covid-19 test could be used to decrypt a single phone number in order to release a message to phone numbers that

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2 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Even if the threat is pretty reasonable, it gets out of hand, as with McCarthyism.

Yes, the risk exists. It can be mitigated with some of the examples you gave.

But ... there seems to be a conflation of "reporting" with authoritarianism. Will ease in reporting cause authoritarianism? After all, we do have neighborhood watch, we have store cameras, and we have whistleblower systems in place. They don't seem to lead to mccarthyism.

The problem with Mccarthyism was NOT the reporting, it was the categorization, the response to the report.

Also, you have forgotten how much you value the free press, that's reporting too. 

Granted, authoritarianism forces reporting on people for its maintenance. The reporting associated with the Soviet Union, or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq was reporting of private thoughts, with the risk that if you did not report, you would be found guilty or sometimes be killed. 

In the virus's case, the risk of not reporting can also get you killed, but you won't be found guilty for not reporting. The virus is NOT a man against man conflict (as in you against Saddam Hussein). You may end up indirectly killing yourself or your loved ones when you fail to report. It is a man against nature conflict .

In the case of the virus it is mostly reporting of public behavior, something people do that goes on in plain view, as in anyone can see a person not pass the temperature test, or sneezing, sniffling and coughing. 

Ironically, to prevent abuses of rights via any entity requires objective credible reporting. The ugly/evil type of reporting you refer to is the type that goes on in secret channels in societies that do not support equal rights.  A key element of mccarthyism was threat identification based on ideology within a biased/privileged system. Anti communists had more rights than communists and it was primarily an attack on free speech. Compared to now, for the most part, speech can be ignored without any physical damage. But a virus cannot be ignored like speech. Once it connects, it's like a bullet than went through you, lodged in.

Having said all that, let us say that an anonymous way is the best way to do it. All that was being said is that there will be more of this anonymous reporting, and there should be more of it. That in a Liberty based society, people have to be far more involved with their own security issues than they are right now.

Edited by Easy Truth
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10 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

In the virus's case, the risk of not reporting can also get you killed, but you won't be found guilty for not reporting. The virus is NOT a man against man conflict (as in you against Saddam Hussein). You may end up indirectly killing yourself or your loved ones when you fail to report. It is a man against nature conflict.

This comes across as a malevolent, rather than a benevolent universe premise. If nature were anti-life, this conversation would not be taking place.

Bear in mind this does not mesh smoothly with your closing remark.

19 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

i a Liberty based society, people have to be far more involved with their own security issues than they are right now.

With a government based on identifying, upholding, and ensuring individual rights, . . . why would its constituents have to be far more involved with their own security issues? Wouldn't a government performing its proper societal moral function free its constituents to pursue their individualistic moral ideals?

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2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

This comes across as a malevolent, rather than a benevolent universe premise.

Nature just is. But based on perspective, certain natural phenomena are pro certain life and anti other life. We have predators that are anti life to what they feed on. The type of virus in this context is anti human life. It is not a statement about the universe as a whole. As a metaphor, a virus could be thought of (or reacted to) as being malevolent. It is certainly an inducer of death for me or you. With poetic licence, we can call it malevolent. But there is no reference to the universe as a whole being malevolent. Only the virus.

I was trying to contrast "the act of reporting" within an authoritarian regime about other people vs. reporting within a rights respecting government (about a disease). One is reporting to people who are threatening you (if you don't report), the other is reporting to people who can protect you against a disease.

2 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Wouldn't a government performing its proper societal moral function free its constituents to pursue their individualistic moral ideals?

Yes. The fact that you would be more involved does not necessarily mean you would be doing more work. You definitely would have more say and therefore more responsibility.

In an Objectivist system there will always be a push to keep government as small as possible. It ensures least amount of corruption.
A government has its pitfalls. Usually, a government, the bureaucracy within, has its own agenda. They want higher pay, they want more benefits, they want more job security and of course power. The respect for rights is more of a corrective action within the system. It is not the effortless inclination of the people that happen to be "our government". 

Currently it is not as if a government will undershoot its expenses, it will ask more and over spend because lack of "bad consequences" for bad behavior is a fundamental tendency of the system. Government officials don't get punished for over spending, but they may get punished for under funding. This will only be countered in an Objectivist Government because the population is in fact "watching these people" and what they are doing.

You would have to get your unemployment insurance, health insurance, social-security-old-age insurance. You would have to set up babysitting and education for you children. You would have more of a say about what happens on the piece of road in front of your house but you have to pay more attention ... Now, some agency, competing with others, will offer to take care of all of that for you.

A government based on identifying, upholding, and ensuring individual rights, like any government, will have its own agenda. That is part of its nature. Thomas Sowell was saying that he used to not believe it until he went to work for the government and saw that "these guys have their own agenda".

If a government by nature would ensure individual rights, no checks and balances would be necessary and a very different kind of "press" would exist.

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11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

After all, we do have neighborhood watch, we have store cameras, and we have whistleblower systems in place. They don't seem to lead to mccarthyism.

I do think the same thing about neighborhood watch, although the scale is much smaller and focuses on pretty much agreed upon threats. So it isn't likely to get out of hand. But I think it's a bad thing, and an even worse thing if everyone does it. The worse thing in this case though is that people don't believe that there are rampant and an unprecedented number of rights violations going on.

Whistleblower rules and encouragement are about reporting explicit violations of set of rules clearly established, to those worried about retaliation. In fact, the need for such a system for whistleblowers is because people are so bad about reporting stuff. Both concerns about reporting and being reported. Violent crimes and things like that, sure, those aren't usually problematic without any special system - just call the cops. Extremely easy to verify also.

 

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

just call the cops

That is reporting too. One way or the other. reporting, in some form will increase. Identification of who is infected is the only way to stem the tide. Kind of obvious.

The alternative is forced investigation, people entering your house by force to test you.

Or even, telling you to stay home and redistributing wealth to do that.

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The lack of testing is still an issue.

If competing testing capabilities had started at that same time, would that have been an earlier start in testing?

Clearly multiple states putting their capabilities forward without being controlled by a central system should have made a difference.

But there was an element of that. Other countries had developed tests including China, South Korea and Taiwan.

The question remains, why have we not grabbed the tests from other countries? Is there a problem with supply or regulatory hurdles preventing acquisition?

For instance, can a private citizen pay for a test from South Korea? Certainly in a free economy one could have done that.

Currently Amazon is trying to ramp up a testing capability of it is own for its own employees but is not able to do it yet. That may indicated that it is not that simple or it could also indicate that regulatory issue prevent easy acquisition.

https://qz.com/1836550/amazon-is-building-its-own-covid-19-testing-lab-for-employees/

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Walmart has made past news about providing low-cost health services to the public.

Amazon may have the resources to set something up. While they play the local tax game set up by the government, these would be cases of private concern s demonstrating how to do what the public concerns are visibly struggling with at this time.

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In figuring out how an Objectivist system would react, one of the issue repeatedly brought up is "Objective Law".

In an ideal system, irrational or group based privileged law is identified and prevented. Threats have to be objectively identified. An Objectivist based system requires a way to be governed by Objective Law. But the "how" is not identified.

Currently the US system allows for partisan law. This is probably true in all governments all over the world. It is the hallmark of democracy. It also seems that when the population is calm and unpanicked, the most rational governing laws are created. Can calmness be a requirement for voting??

Is partisan law objective? No, by definition, it is supporting one group over another. Can it be objective? Not certain, asking for your opinion.

So how will objective law be ensured or be likely in a partisan system? How does one prevent a partisan system?

Interestingly the separation of church and state is not supported, primarily by non religious people. It is supported by the religions themselves as they don't want a single religion to be in control. The support exists because there are diverse religions present.

So the only way partisanship is prevented is when a diversity of vote is guaranteed and all vote for the smallest majority, which ends up being no majority but the individual. But a diversity of vote cannot be enforced. Or can it?

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I think this touches base on the gist of your nicely couched post, Easy Truth.

To implement objective law, enough familiar with the difference between objectivity and non-objectivity has to disseminated more broadly into the culture.

This is done by encouraging objectivity when you encounter it and likewise discouraging it whenever it is appropriate..

This places the onus upon those who desire it to understand it comprehensively enough to make those judicious determinations.

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8 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

So how will objective law be ensured or be likely in a partisan system? How does one prevent a partisan system?

Delving a bit deeper into this, it may not be a partisan system that need be prevented. If partisan is — a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person — and objective law is the desired cause, why would partisanship need be prevented?

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38 minutes ago, dream_weaver said:

it may not be a partisan system that need be prevented. If partisan is — a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person — and objective law is the desired cause, why would partisanship need be prevented?

What authority, what entity determines what is objective law and if the particular party supports it? Ultimately, the question is: How does one prevent the hijacking of the system. This happens primarily by cronyism.

In some cases, one can create independent, non partisan entities to over see. The "checks and balances" are to encourage objective laws, but is this enough? Can we do better?

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3 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

What authority, what entity determines what is objective law and if the particular party supports it? Ultimately, the question is: How does one prevent the hijacking of the system. This happens primarily by cronyism.

In some cases, one can create independent, non partisan entities to over see. The "checks and balances" are to encourage objective laws, but is this enough? Can we do better?

The stronger the Constitution (better focused on individual rights including property rights) and the stronger it is upheld in a Republic in which there is Rule by Law in accordance therewith the better the government can fulfill its role to protect individual rights rather than violate them.

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16 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

The stronger the Constitution

No one will disagree with you there. But you will have to describe what "stronger" looks like in this case.

In the case of Slavery, the US constitution needed it to be spelled out even though it was in the Declaration of Independence. Objectively people with brown and darker skin were human too, but somehow it was not objective enough.

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Some issue that need more discussion or are confusing:
Salmieri does not think that the existence of taxes is the biggest problems with the current system but rather the regulatory system.
But how can one have an problematic regulatory system if taxation was voluntary, as in pay for what you use.

He implies that an Objectivist based government would not tend to want to keep a government small.
When people don't want to pay for what they won't use, it will put a cap on government. A cap that does not and cannot exist with present values and the present structure of government.

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On 4/15/2020 at 1:33 PM, Easy Truth said:

But how can one have an problematic regulatory system if taxation was voluntary, as in pay for what you use.

Because it would still be permissible to control your life on a larger scale, which is probably worse than being forced to pay for something that for the most part you desire. 

On 4/15/2020 at 1:33 PM, Easy Truth said:

When people don't want to pay for what they won't use, it will put a cap on government.

And he implied that would be a problem. Racists in the post-Civil War South would not want to pay for protecting the rights of blacks, which is basically what happened anyway. They didn't want to pay for what they wouldn't use. Black people were victimized and kept poor by force, so they weren't able to put money into protecting their rights. This is a cap on government in exactly the way you are talking about. These are cases where you want more government.

 

Edited by Eiuol
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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Black people were victimized and kept poor by force, so they weren't able to put money into protecting their rights. This is a cap on government in exactly the way you are talking about. These are cases where you want more government.

But wasn't that due to governmental force, i.e. bussing rules imposed by the state etc. If there is a free market in what people can do, people would naturally buy that which is produced at less cost with same or better quality. Only governmental interference can cause that natural tendency to NOT happen.

If there was deregulation on how african americans were kept poor, they would naturally have come out of their forced segregation.

You seem to be implying that the racists were willing to pay for the "forced" segregation. But one can't pay the government for privileges for themselves, as in group against group, it is against equal rights. A free market is not support for illegalities.

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I'm not talking about bussing. But even if I were, many people desired the racism as recently as the 60s. Competitively speaking, the company that best kept black people out of buses would be the most desired company, and people would pay the most money for that efficiency. Of course those black people would have the freedom to leave, but you are talking as if racism in a private company or among private citizens only happens because of the government. To the white racists, better quality would be a company that was racist to black people. As I said, much of the poverty by people experienced was caused by initiation of force, which only further created problems because money was not distributed across the population in a free manner.

I'm talking about lynching. Private citizens did that, and cops looked the other way on purpose. A lot of cops were in the KKK actually. I was thinking more between 1866-1930, roughly speaking, but you can include the 60s. White racists really were paying for forced segregation, and were able to do so because the government couldn't be bothered to protect the rights of black people one bit. 

32 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:

You seem to be implying that the racists were willing to pay for the "forced" segregation. But one can't pay the government for privileges for themselves, as in group against group, it is against equal rights.

Of course it is against equal rights. That's part of what makes them racist. 

The point is, sometimes expansion of government in terms of protecting rights is necessary, in terms of more judges available, and more explicit recognition of specific rights violations (like lynching), and whatever ideas you have. 

SL made that point, but he went off the deep end in terms of the measures proposed (surveillance) and the social effects of those measures, leaving aside that general disease transmission, whatever the severity, has nothing to do with protecting rights. That's an area where government expansion is only bad.

Edited by Eiuol
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Sometimes the rational objective way to deal with a virus that uses groups to spread, is to respond to it as a group, or manage the group at least. Otherwise we can all have fun being independent, contagious, and infected.

When a person decides to take part in a time bound and specific group endeavour, and when there is a majority in favour (witness a democratic election for an example of this path of least evil) then it should take place - subject to its own inbuilt expiration date. Otherwise we get a tyrannical government, the rules stay even though the virus is gone, the dictator remains because the election isn't ever held again.

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2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

Sometimes the rational objective way to deal with a virus that uses groups to spread, is to respond to it as a group, or manage the group at least. Otherwise we can all have fun being independent, contagious, and infected.

When a person decides to take part in a time bound and specific group endeavour, and when there is a majority in favour (witness a democratic election for an example of this path of least evil) then it should take place - subject to its own inbuilt expiration date. Otherwise we get a tyrannical government, the rules stay even though the virus is gone, the dictator remains because the election isn't ever held again.

The guiding principle: "A private individual may do anything except that which is legally *forbidden*; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally *permitted*". [The Nature of Government]

That for me simply answers "how would an objectivist based gvt ...   etc."

What is "permitted" is when a government should and must act unilaterally under specially pre-defined and delineated conditions, i.e. in a state of emergency.

The 'what, why, when, how and for whom?' will specify objectively what ARE emergency conditions. Basically, what is the threat (and its magnitude) to the lives and freedom of citizens? At a pre-specified stage (when the standard of normality is regained) that government must relinquish its permitted powers. The objectively legal details of what constitutes "normality" in a given context  - when does a war or natural disaster - end? - would have to be thrashed out.

(hello Lawrence).

Edited by whYNOT
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Hello whYNOT

I agree with your post. 

Not reacting as a group using a democratic system of address and a level of compliance that respects the reality of the virus is a recipe for disaster.

Wishing for something does not make it so, and the virus is the virus.

One hopes businesses will survive this pandemic, which doesn't care about politics or freedom so long as it can spread.

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On 4/24/2020 at 4:24 PM, Eiuol said:

SL made that point, but he went off the deep end in terms of the measures proposed (surveillance) and the social effects of those measures, leaving aside that general disease transmission, whatever the severity, has nothing to do with protecting rights. That's an area where government expansion is only bad.

I hesitate to say this because you usually go into this mode of claiming that I am ignoring everything that has been said.

But here goes again:

Contact tracing is surveillance.

The argument put forward was not that government would do more of the work, it was that the average citizen would do more. Clearly much more "governance" is done with contact tracing than without it. There is no way to get around it. The reporting would be done by the average person. Government would in aggregate achieve more (do more) but it would in fact be done through private agencies. Similar to the German governments struggling with the idea that Apple and Google will be contact tracing. First they said no, now they are agreeing to it. Either way the "nation" is promoting surveillance.

"Nations are rushing to develop apps to assess at scale the risk of catching COVID-19, where the chain of infection is proving hard to break because the flu-like disease can be spread by those showing no symptoms."

https://news.trust.org/item/20200426070622-y65rz

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