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Author Topic: "You've got two, he's got none, give him one!" - Redistribution of Health  (Read 6956 times)
david4dev
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July 06, 2011, 10:03:37 AM
 #21

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

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July 06, 2011, 10:14:16 AM
 #22

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

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david4dev
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July 06, 2011, 10:58:46 AM
 #23

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

I never said that and 'everything has the exact same monetary value' doesn't make sense.

My political beliefs are based on a few things that I believe are fundamental:

  • Everyone alive now and alive in the future has a set of rights - eg. the right to life and health; the right to basic material security (shelter, clothes, food etc); the right to basic social security (education, community, creativity, fulfilment etc.); the right to do with their body as they wish;
  • Everyone alive now and in the future is free to do anything as long as it doesn't infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others both now and in the future.
  • This is a finite world with finite resources but there is enough to provide for everyone and enable them to have all of their rights.

This leads to various ideals including democracy, socialism ('left'), libertarianism, pacifism and environmentalism.

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July 06, 2011, 11:04:41 AM
 #24

So if there is an inalienable right to health, surely that means if someone is dying of kidney failure, it is in fact legitimate to take a kidney away from a match by coercion, in the same way as if someone needs money for healthcare you advocate appropriating it from successful people by coercion?

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myrkul
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July 06, 2011, 11:09:43 AM
 #25

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

I never said that and 'everything has the exact same monetary value' doesn't make sense.

"Equality of Finance" means what, then?

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david4dev
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July 06, 2011, 11:10:09 AM
 #26

So if there is an inalienable right to health, surely that means if someone is dying of kidney failure, it is in fact legitimate to take a kidney away from a match by coercion

No. This violates the right of control over one's own body.

if someone needs money for healthcare you advocate appropriating it from successful people by coercion?
Yes. The idea is that everyone pays for the health of everyone. Those who can afford more, pay more.

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July 06, 2011, 11:14:02 AM
 #27

So if there is an inalienable right to health, surely that means if someone is dying of kidney failure, it is in fact legitimate to take a kidney away from a match by coercion

No. This violates the right of control over one's own body.

if someone needs money for healthcare you advocate appropriating it from successful people by coercion?
Yes. The idea is that everyone pays for the health of everyone. Those who can afford more, pay more.

Don't you have to decide which right comes first, then?  Your right to health may violate my right to my body. 
david4dev
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July 06, 2011, 11:14:18 AM
 #28

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

I never said that and 'everything has the exact same monetary value' doesn't make sense.

"Equality of Finance" means what, then?

That the difference between earnings of the highest paid and the lowest paid is minimal.

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July 06, 2011, 11:18:14 AM
 #29

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

I never said that and 'everything has the exact same monetary value' doesn't make sense.

"Equality of Finance" means what, then?

That the difference between earnings of the highest paid and the lowest paid is minimal.

Hmm, not to be a stickler, but what is "minimal" and who gets to decide it?
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July 06, 2011, 11:25:57 AM
 #30

That the difference between earnings of the highest paid and the lowest paid is minimal.

You should follow me over to this thread.

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david4dev
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July 06, 2011, 11:30:39 AM
 #31

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only.

I class my self as a left winger but I support equality not only of finance but of rights, freedoms and decision making power.

So, how does that work, exactly? You're free to trade, as long as everything has exactly the same monetary value and nobody comes off 'better'?

I never said that and 'everything has the exact same monetary value' doesn't make sense.

"Equality of Finance" means what, then?

That the difference between earnings of the highest paid and the lowest paid is minimal.

Hmm, not to be a stickler, but what is "minimal" and who gets to decide it?

Minimal is as close to equal as is practically achievable. Equal would be ideal but would require everyone to have a strong work ethic which is unrealistic. 'Minimal' recognises that people who don't work because they are lazy don't deserve to earn as much as those who do work or those who are unable to work. The lazy people still have all of their rights but don't deserve the luxuries they could afford with a higher wage. However, people who do currently low paid jobs such as manufacture are as (realistically more) important than people in extremely high paid jobs such as banking.

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July 06, 2011, 12:48:50 PM
 #32

So if there is an inalienable right to health, surely that means if someone is dying of kidney failure, it is in fact legitimate to take a kidney away from a match by coercion, in the same way as if someone needs money for healthcare you advocate appropriating it from successful people by coercion?

I remember when I used to have lunch with Francisco D'Aconia and Moe Berg and how they used to say: "Check your cheese-eating schoolboy premises Reikoku".

True story.

I'm rather good with Linux.  If you're having problems with your mining rig I'll help you out remotely for 0.05.  You can also propose a flat-rate for some particular task.  PM me for details.
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July 06, 2011, 03:10:14 PM
 #33

All left-wingers propose an incoherent worldview, because they support egalitarianism of finance only. If they truly believed in 'equality', they would support things like the redistribution of body organs. Unfortunately, despite claiming a wish to improve the condition of humanity, most of these 'caring people' simply propose egalitarianism in self-interest, that is taking away the gains of those whom they envy the most (the wealthy, the successful).

Also, argumentum ad populum is an absurd retort to my argument for the reasons already covered by bitcoin2cash.
I believe concept equality is an oxymoron as to truly achieve it you would have to have perfect similarity. That is why I do not adhere it and like to think in terms of justice. That of course is subjective term so it is not unproblematic. My opinion is that most leftist would come to agree with this, but currently word equality is used interchangeably for what is deemed just, thus leading to these semantic problems. Even if left were about equality (aka justice) in only finance, what's the problem? I could advocate equality in literacy but not in skills playing tennis. I see no problem cherry-picking certain areas and ignoring the others. And by the way, only communist would advocate real equality in finance.

And yes, naturally most people tend to follow policies that are in their favor. What do you do? Pick a ideology you know would be bad for you? (As a side-note, funny thing is that if we were discussing in my country, my opinions would be considered right-wing as I think government spending should be cut.)

Argument ad populum? To claim that you must have seriously misunderstood something. Point (3) was there not because majority's opinion grants real legitimacy, but because it clearly shows reducing left to utilitarian egalitarianism is a straw man as de facto left does not function like that. (1) and (2) have the content that show your comparison was unfounded and that your claims don't follow even if one followed equality strictly.

As for now, I'll claim that the OP's claim of left being inconsistent for not accepting forced organ transfers is refuted.
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July 07, 2011, 05:30:36 AM
 #34

OK, all you're doing is playing the semantics game here. Instead of advocating perfect 'equality', you're advocating partial 'equality', which is the same thing but even more inconsistent.

I think that you're thinking on too high a level, without understanding where left-wing opinions are derived from in the first place. What you need to do is explain what natural rights are, and then derive your political understandings from there.

Left-wingers tend to believe in a level of equality because of 'social' rights like a right to an education and a right to health. If you accept that somebody's right to my money can be greater than my own because they have a right to health (and can't afford healthcare), why would this right not extend to my body organs which I can function without, when they can't get a body organ?

It's not about cherry picking ideas, it's about understanding where your ideals come from. Most left-wingers do profess a 'right to healthcare' which somehow grants people claim over other people's stuff. I'm trying to understand the inconsistency being applied between a 'right to my money/possessions' and a 'right to my body organs'.

I completely agree with you that most people pick an ideal that works in their favour, but the accusations of greed almost always come from the left. Acting in your own self-interest and calling others out when they do the same is very inconsistent.

If you use a majority opinion as a reason to legitimise a decision, that's argumentum ad populum. In the past, the majority have traditionally supported persecution of the few. If you don't believe me, go and read into apartheid or the civil rights movement.

I'm not sure that you're capable of refuting anything with that nonsense. You've not understood my argument, so I'll ask in simpler terms:

Explain your premise for WHY redistribution of wealth is acceptable. THEN, explain why that premise can't be applied to redistribution of health, kicking intelligent kids out of classrooms so that we can dedicate more time to the slower ones etc. If you can't do this, if your premise has multiple natural sequitors, then you don't have a consistent worldview.

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July 07, 2011, 06:35:51 AM
 #35


It's not about cherry picking ideas, it's about understanding where your ideals come from. Most left-wingers do profess a 'right to healthcare' which somehow grants people claim over other people's stuff. I'm trying to understand the inconsistency being applied between a 'right to my money/possessions' and a 'right to my body organs'.

Explain your premise for WHY redistribution of wealth is acceptable. THEN, explain why that premise can't be applied to redistribution of health, kicking intelligent kids out of classrooms so that we can dedicate more time to the slower ones etc. If you can't do this, if your premise has multiple natural sequitors, then you don't have a consistent worldview.

Explain to me WHY the Original Position is an invalid model for defining these rights.  In other words one in the Original Position would not support slavery, bigotry, forced physical mutilation (aka forced redistribution of kidneys), sexism, imperialism, ect.  Is this wrong?
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July 07, 2011, 11:01:27 AM
 #36

Explain your premise for WHY redistribution of wealth is acceptable.

You explain why it is unacceptable. Surely, we start off by assuming something is acceptable. If you want to say it is not acceptable, you need to provide reasons to show this.

explain why that premise can't be applied to redistribution of health

Everyone has a right to health. Therefore it is wrong to actively harm someone's health. Removal of a kidney has undeniable health risks and so by forcefully removing a kidney from someone you are violating their right to health. I also believe people have a right of control over their own body. You are obviously violating this right if you remove one of their organs without permission. The person with no kidneys is in poor health and so attempts should be made to correct this but this can't violate another person's rights. If a person decides to donate a kidney then that is their choice and is ok, although it is preferable to take kidneys from people who no longer need them - the dead.

kicking intelligent kids out of classrooms so that we can dedicate more time to the slower ones

This is violating the right of education of these 'intelligent kids' and is therefore wrong. The 'slower' and 'intelligent' kids both have the right to education and they should both be provided for.

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July 07, 2011, 12:31:42 PM
 #37

OK, all you're doing is playing the semantics game here. Instead of advocating perfect 'equality', you're advocating partial 'equality', which is the same thing but even more inconsistent.

I think that you're thinking on too high a level, without understanding where left-wing opinions are derived from in the first place. What you need to do is explain what natural rights are, and then derive your political understandings from there.

Left-wingers tend to believe in a level of equality because of 'social' rights like a right to an education and a right to health. If you accept that somebody's right to my money can be greater than my own because they have a right to health (and can't afford healthcare), why would this right not extend to my body organs which I can function without, when they can't get a body organ?

It's not about cherry picking ideas, it's about understanding where your ideals come from. Most left-wingers do profess a 'right to healthcare' which somehow grants people claim over other people's stuff. I'm trying to understand the inconsistency being applied between a 'right to my money/possessions' and a 'right to my body organs'.

I completely agree with you that most people pick an ideal that works in their favour, but the accusations of greed almost always come from the left. Acting in your own self-interest and calling others out when they do the same is very inconsistent.

If you use a majority opinion as a reason to legitimise a decision, that's argumentum ad populum. In the past, the majority have traditionally supported persecution of the few. If you don't believe me, go and read into apartheid or the civil rights movement.

I'm not sure that you're capable of refuting anything with that nonsense. You've not understood my argument, so I'll ask in simpler terms:

Explain your premise for WHY redistribution of wealth is acceptable. THEN, explain why that premise can't be applied to redistribution of health, kicking intelligent kids out of classrooms so that we can dedicate more time to the slower ones etc. If you can't do this, if your premise has multiple natural sequitors, then you don't have a consistent worldview.
The main argument (2) I had – the one I believe refutes your comparison – is that you can't do organ transfers in the name of equality without violating someones right to equality. With wealth you can dealing each wealth-class independently. With N people with fully functioning kidneys and m people with bad kidneys and n with non functioning kidneys (N > m > n), if you did forced kidney transfers there will be
  • N - n people with functioning two kidneys
  • m people with bad kidneys
  • n kidney donors
  • n kidney acceptors
Group 1 and 3 were treated unequally so we violated the principle of equality which we were trying to fulfill. Thus forced kidney transfers violate strict equality (this might be overcome with payment, although I consider that dubious and not equal). I believe that with this reasoning you will come to agree that you original comparison was not founded. With transfer of wealth there is no similar problem as wealth (at least in money terms) can be split in to almost arbitrarily many parts and thus the transfer of wealth can be done equally in each income class. Notice that to achieve 'equality' we treat different income classes as 'unequal' same way as people with fully functioning kidney and badly functioning kidneys got different treatment. Collectivity was one of my arguments which I believe is necessary (but not sufficient) condition for justified forced transfer of wealth.  There are very few things you can truly redistribute collectively that aren't measurable in wealth so in my opinion only thing left to discuss is if transfer of wealth is justifiable in the first place. Measuring 'transfer of health' in money terms (to overcome the discrete nature of kidneys) also reduces the question back to just transfer of wealth.

My opinion is that to fix systemic unfairnesses ('the partial referee') transfer of wealth is okay and to use those money to healthcare is just good use of resources if it goes to the target group. Bad luck is not an example of systemic unfairness. More difficult question is whether transfer of wealth is okay just to support naturally more unfortunate groups. I believe that is good, reasonable and beneficial policy but how to argue that everybody would be obliged to do this is a more difficult question. I'll return to it maybe later. Best I can now say is that currently democracy grants legitimacy for it, but this is bit shady as anything deriving legitimacy from democracy is circular as democracy is in effect legitimized by democracy...

As for semantics of 'equal', let me tell that it is very slippery word just as is justice. They can have so many different presuppositions so I would be very careful when deriving any conclusions from somebody using them. 'Partial equality' is even more of an oxymoron than plain equality. Most people don't realise the ambiguity of the word so there you go with exact arguments. One viewpoint on 'equality' is that 'inequality' is acceptable if those unequal are better of in that situation than in the assumed perfectly equality but there are many arbitrary other ways. Maybe we'll discuss about these semantic problems later.

Sorry that I didn't carefully answer your points. Just wanted to summarize my points so far. As said, I think we should talk about legitimacy of transfer of wealth in relation to lefts arguments. Deriving any analogies with seeming contradictions is in my opinion unfounded.

Edit: 'Impartial referee' –> 'partial referee'.
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July 07, 2011, 01:50:06 PM
 #38


My opinion is that to fix systemic unfairnesses ('the impartial referee') transfer of wealth is okay and to use those money to healthcare is just good use of resources if it goes to the target group. Bad luck is not an example of systemic unfairness. More difficult question is whether transfer of wealth is okay just to support naturally more unfortunate groups. I believe that is good, reasonable and beneficial policy but how to argue that everybody would be obliged to do this is a more difficult question. I'll return to it maybe later. Best I can now say is that currently democracy grants legitimacy for it, but this is bit shady as anything deriving legitimacy from democracy is circular as democracy is in effect legitimized by democracy...


On a side note...  What amount/level/quality of information do you think the "the impartial referee" has?  There seems to be room for debate in this area.
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July 08, 2011, 12:16:18 PM
 #39


My opinion is that to fix systemic unfairnesses ('the impartial referee') transfer of wealth is okay and to use those money to healthcare is just good use of resources if it goes to the target group. Bad luck is not an example of systemic unfairness. More difficult question is whether transfer of wealth is okay just to support naturally more unfortunate groups. I believe that is good, reasonable and beneficial policy but how to argue that everybody would be obliged to do this is a more difficult question. I'll return to it maybe later. Best I can now say is that currently democracy grants legitimacy for it, but this is bit shady as anything deriving legitimacy from democracy is circular as democracy is in effect legitimized by democracy...

On a side note...  What amount/level/quality of information do you think the "the impartial referee" has?  There seems to be room for debate in this area.
'Partial referee' (btw, I didn't mean impartial, sorry not native in English) was a sort of allusion to my previous arguments in which I defined difference of fair inequality and unfair one. If you are damn good tennis player then that isn't really unfair to anyone. If the the difference in the game, however, is due to partial referee, then that is. My argument is that wealth accumulation and deprivation is partly due to such unfairness in economics, so it is okay to even things out with transfer of wealth. In this case partial referee was reference to the de facto rules of economics. It obviously isn't a real feeling and thinking thing.

I'm not sure if I caught what your idea was, but it seems it could be something relevant, so feel free to clarify it.

Of course to determine what is the right 'correction' for each income-class is difficult question (not to mention how to enforce it), one in which the accidentally mentioned impartial referee would be good to have. I don't see how we could get one so we'll have to go with the usual 'who manages to enforce his opinions no matter how wins'.

By the way, there are two concepts that should be familiar to all before we continue on debating on equality: 'equality of outcome' and 'equality of opportunity'. Even these aren't precise science but at least they are lot better than the terribly ambiguous plain equality.
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July 08, 2011, 03:41:10 PM
 #40

You start off here with another strange utilitarian argument instead of arguing the crux of the issue which is the 'right to health'. I don't mean to be rude so I'll ask you to clarify, but it appears that you're arguing not that forced kidney transfers are somehow wrong, but just that because they can't achieve equality that they can't fulfil a marginal utility purpose.

Let's start with some core assumptions that I'm making because I'm trying to be as clear as possible here:

1. You accept a right to private property.
2. You accept a right to healthcare.

Assuming that I'm correct so far, let's look at what happens when Person A is sick and can't afford healthcare. If you accept that Person B has to provide for Person A via welfare, then you add a third rule:

3. A person with a deficit's rights can overrule the rights of a person with surplus.

If you accept this so far, then it's up to you to explain a rights-based argument why it is right to make this overrule apply to property rights, but not to the right to health.

Taking it to another level, let's say Persons C & D both have kidney failure, but Person C can afford dialysis and Person D cannot. Is it reasonable for Person D to demand to use Person C's dialysis machine, as this is simply a piece of material property and not a part of Person C's body?

How about people with prosthetic legs or arms? Is it reasonable for them to be asked to share? Let's say three people have a missing leg and there are only two prosthetic legs. In order to nullify your ridiculous utilitarian argument, it is perfectly legitimate to force the two people with the legs to share with the third such that all three have use of two legs 66% of the time. Is this reasonable?

If you don't support these suggestions but do support the redistribution of wealth, without being able to make a rights/ethics-based argument for it (i.e. an argument which doesn't pre-assume that we all accept the 'good' of utilitarianism) then I'm sorry, but that stinks of an inconsistant worldview.

Utilitarianism isn't an axiom which every debate begins by accepting. I, for one, don't agree with the premise that it's OK to kill a man to save two more, so marginal utility theory isn't particularly persuasive with me.

If you wish to refute my argument entirely, you need to be able to make an argument rooted in ethics rather than utility or practicality to explain why I can infringe upon anothers' right to property but not their right to free speech or health.

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