Saturday, September 04, 2021

Should facts and successes matter in economics? Or politics?

The rigid stances taken by today’s entire- “right” and farthest*-“left” are both not-sane and un-American, violating a longstanding principle of yankee pragmatism that can be summarized: 

“I am at-most 90% right and my foes (except confederates) are at most 99% wrong.” (The Confederacy was - and remains - 100% evil.) 

That principle continues: 
“Always a default should first be to listen, negotiate and learn… before reluctantly and temporarily concluding that I must smack down your foaming-rabid, hysterically unreasonable ass.” 

And yes, my use of the “left/right” terminology is ironic, since adherents of that hoary-simplistic-stupid metaphor could not define “left” or “right” if their own lives depended on it!  

Nowhere is this more valid than in the ‘dismal science’ of economics. Some things are proved: Adam Smith was wise and a good person, who pointed out that true cooperation and productive, positive-sum competition cannot thrive without each other, or the involvement of every empowered participant in an open society. The crux of Smithian liberalism was "stop wasting talent!" Every poor child who isn't lifted to an even playing field is a crime against BOTH any decent conscience AND any chance of truly competitive enterprise. Hence, "social programs" to uplift poor kids to a decent playing field are not "socialism." They are what any true believer in market competition... or decency... would demand.


Also proved: Keynsianism mostly works, when it is applied right, uplifting the working class and boosting money velocity, while its opposite - Supply Side/Thatcherism - was absolutely wrong, top to bottom and in every detail, without a single positive effect or outcome or successful prediction to its jibbering crazy credit. Again "Supply Side" is nothing but an incantation cult to excuse a return to feudalism. (I invite wagers!)


Competition is good and creative of prosperity, but only when cooperatively regulated and refereed, like in sports, to thwart relentlessly inevitably human temptation for the rich and powerful to cheat! (Bet me on that, too. On my side is evidence from 99% of 6000 years of human history.)


If you’d like to Explore this non-left, non-right, non-dogmatic approach to using what actually works, getting the best from both competition and cooperation, you can do worse than start at the site that conveys the real Adam Smith. It shines light on how the rich and elites are often the very last people who should be trusted with capitalism! 


Read the Evonomics site! For example: “Eight Reasons Why Inequality Ruins the Economy.”  and “To Tackle Inequality, We Need to Start Talking About Where Wealth Comes From. The Thatcherite narrative on wealth creation has gone unchallenged for decades.”


== Doubling down on tax cuts ==


The ability of cultists to double down on the blatantly disproved is now our greatest danger. As in this dazzlingly evil-stupid call for more tax cuts for the rich.


Oh, if only we had my 'disputations arenas" or some other top venue for challenging spell-weavers to back up their magical incantations with cash! This doubling (sextupling!)-down on Supply Side 'voodoo' promotes what is by now a true and proved psychosis. Utter refusal by the tightly-disciplined Republican political caste to face truth about their 40 years of huge, deca-trillion dollar experiments in priming the industrial pump at the top.


You need to hammer this. Not one major prediction made for that "theory" ever came true. Not one, ever.


- No flood of investment in productive industry or R&D. (As Adam Smith described, the rich pour most of their tax largesse into passive rentier properties, stock buybacks, CEO packages, capital preservation, asset bubbles and now frippy "nonexistent" artworks, reducing available capital and driving down money velocity.)


- No surge of economic activity, leading to tax revenue.

- No erasure of debt. In fact, deficit curves reveal Democrats are always more fiscally prudent than Republicans, and that is always, always. (Escrow wager stakes on that, or admit you are dogmatist cowards.) Republican Congresses - the laziest in US history - have had one priority, to protect this vampire suck from America's carotid arteries. 

In contrast, Keynsian interventions - when balanced by pay-downs in good times (e.g. Jerry Brown, Clinton, Newsom) - nearly always raise money velocity, investment, tax revenue, production and middle class health, while turning debt ratios downward. Oh, and doing something for our kids, like infrastructure, Earth-saving and social justice.

I know several "economics pundits" who are very well aware of all this and admit it privately, but are terrified of their oligarchic masters. They do not dispute these facts, in private. They admit that the rich will have to go back to paying the legitimate shares that our parents in the Greatest Generation assigned to them, rates that correlated with the best growth and middle class health increases in the history of the human species. 

And yet, they are paid to drag their feet and distract from our desperate need to send today's GOP to the showers. They do their job for oligarchy by distracting with endless denunciations of the Federal Reserve. shouting "Fed! Fed-Fed-Fed!" Or... "squirrel!"

The longer we put off the Great Reset, back to the Greatest Generation's successful social contract -- that stymied Marx by co-opting the workers into a rising middle class -- the angrier will be the ensuing middle class and working class demands, and the more the right will succeed at what seems to be their main project... resuscitating Marx from the grave and setting his scenarios back in motion.

Put it off long enough? It will be too late for Rooseveltism. Tumbrels will roll.

I don't want that. These fools are acting like they do. 

Or else, as if they are being blackmailed. And that, alas, is the likeliest explanation of all.


85 comments:

Larry Hart said...

Treebeard:

That wasn't the real Treebeard, it was the Kremlin agent posing as Treebeard.


Yes, obvious in retrospect.

Sorry.

Larry Hart said...

Several from the previous comments...

Zepp Jamieson:

By further destabilizing from our side, we would just be feeding into it. The Trumps, McConnells and Kavanaughs feeding into this don't really care about abortion, and might just as cheerfully do it on behalf of "CRT" if it would inflame and outrage the population.


(CRT?). Anyway, that rubicon has already been crossed. The Texas law is inflaming much of the population--not simply because we disagree politically, but because the "reasoning" behind it seems to be illogical and ridiculous. The problem is that the population that the Texas law inflames don't count. That's why I not only suggest, but DEMAND that we inflame the other side. Because their anger will get a response. And once it does--once the supreme court or the justice department proclaim with a straight face that you can't do that--then the ACLU and such will have the ammunition they need to fight the same exact thing being done by Republicans.


That's devolution. The Sovereign Citizen crowd embrace that, recognizing only county sheriffs as the only government authority.
The ultimate problem with this argument (and I fully recognize it isn't YOUR argument) is that I could go out and shoot someone and argue that it was permissable because I was not acting in any government capacity.


Not quite. It is illegal for a private citizen to murder another. What the Texas law seems to be saying is that it is not illegal for a private citizen to do something contrary to the First or Fourteenth amendment. Only governments are enjoined by such things. If Facebook can interfere with Donald Trump's freedom of speech, then surely Wayne Ray Fucktard can interfere with Jane Doe's privacy. That sort of thing.

That's why I think allowing private lawsuits against violations of local gun ordinances is the particular way to go. It's exactly analogous--non-governmental enforcement of a state or local law without regard for Constitutional precedent. There's no way to argue against the one without providing an exact blueprint for arguing against the other.

Jon S:

I'm unclear on why I should fear death - in my view, it's a bit like fearing Wednesday, which I'm also not fond of. I would like to put off death as long as I can, just as I'd like it if I could avoid Wednesdays, not out of fear but because there are still things I want to do and see in this world...

But fear? Why fear what cannot be avoided?


Not being religious since I was 10, I'm not sure I speak for everyone, but I don't think people fear death so much as they fear the methods by which one dies. The body is designed not to go gently into that good night, and much of what we dread is having to go through that painful losing battle.

Note that when someone dies peacefully in his or her sleep at an advanced age, what we seem to feel is a kind of relief. Death was inevitable, but "at least they avoided suffering".

I also get the sense that deeply religious people who truly believe in an afterlife fear Hell rather than fearing non-existence.

Don Gisselbeck said...

"Stop wasting talent" needs to be hammered home. If followed, it would solve many societal problems. (Did you coin that phrase?)

David Brin said...

DG unquestionably others used it before me, just because I cannot name them...

Larry Hart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

I'm not railing against the Texas law just because I disagree with it politically. We have to make a stand and say, "You can't do this in America!" By "this", I mean structure a law such that anyone can sue anyone else despite lack of standing and evidence and have their court costs reimbursed, but the defendant can't recoup costs even if she wins the case.

And the only ways I can think of to make that stand is to abuse the law our own selves, either by bringing our own baseless counter-suits under the law itself, or by implementing analogous laws in blue states which force the right to argue against them. The point would not be to win our own suits, but to stop this madness before...well, one might say to kill it in the womb.

https://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2021/09/have-you-read-that-destructive-texas.html

...
It's also a fucking weird law. What the fuck is this legitimizing vigilantism shit? So, just to get this right, anyone other than a government official (because that would be unconstitutional, I guess) can bring a lawsuit against anyone who performs an abortion after six weeks, as well as anyone who helps a woman get an abortion after six weeks, including, and this is a level of dickishness that conservatives aspire to but rarely reach, anyone who "knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced."

You got that? If you're an insurance company that reimburses the cost of an abortion, you can get sued. If you drive your friend to a doctor's appointment and she doesn't tell you it's for an abortion, you can get sued. How far can this go? Perhaps if you advise a woman on how to get an abortion out of state? I mean, obviously, stopping women's right to choose trumps the First Amendment now in Texas.

Not dickish enough? Then there's this: anyone who "intends to engage in the conduct" of providing or helping with an abortion can be sued. That's right. If you told your friend you're going to drive her to get an abortion, your neighbor can sue you before you even do it if he happens to find out about it. And any fuckin' Karen or Cletus can sue you for meth money. Doesn't matter who the fuck it is, from the cockscabs at anti-choice groups to random, greedy fucknuts and assholes.

Not dickish enough? Not only can the random, greedy fucknut win at least $10,000 from you for showing that you intended to drive your friend to get an abortion, but you have to pay fucknut's legal fees.

Not dickish enough? If greedy fucknut sues you and loses, you are still stuck with your legal fees. That's right. There is no disincentive for just bringing a whole bunch of lawsuits and seeing what the fuck sticks. How many skeevy lawyers are gonna make bank on this?
...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul Krugman would love this post. I know I did.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: CRT-Critical Race Theory. Like AntiFa, made-up nonsense to inflame and provoke paranoia amongst the sorts who believe Hillary is running a paedo ring in the basement of a pizza parlour.

I do understand the point you're making. As for murder not being legal, I'll note that Texas is a "stand your ground" state, which effectively does legalize murder so long as you have a plausible excuse such as "he was reaching for his waistband."

And yes, work hard to infuriate people over this Texas thing! To swipe a nifty paraphrase I saw yesterday, "Rage, rage against the lying of the right."

Paradoctor said...

The Marxian Paradox is that when the capitalist class takes his predictions seriously, then they take measures to prevent them from coming true; but when they do not take his predictions seriously, then they do not take those preventative measures, and the predictions tend to come true. So from the capitalist point of view, Marx is as false a prophet as he is a true prophet.

The Marxian paradox is a consequence of Seldon's Paradox: that accurate psychohistorical predictions, if revealed to the population studied, tend to set into motion psychohistorical forces that negate the predictions. Asimov's solution was for Seldon to keep psychohistory a secret. Donald Kingsbury's solution, in "Psychohistorical Crisis", was for rebel psychohistorian Eron Osa to re-invent psychohistory as a publicly-known science of negotiation.

TCB said...

@ Jon and Larry, Wednesday IS Hell, and all us workers fear it. NB one never knows what day of the week Wednesday will happen. Last week it was a Saturday. I realize this sounds absurd and illogical, but one learns to expect these things in job-land.

Re: today's topic of facts and successes in politics, I once read that the great tragedy of politics is that you don't get credit for preventing a catastrophe, because (as they say about a Taoist master of wu wei) if you did a good job it looks like you did nothing. For instance, if we had a robust and effective climate policy that had prevented global warming, we'd have oil industry propagandists saying all those regulations had harmed the economy for no reason.

On the other hand we have seen people get a great deal of unearned credit for handling (or appearing to handle) a crisis they themselves bore much of the blame for. Exhibit A is the War on Terrorism launched by George W. Bush against foes his father and Ronald Reagan had largely created during the Cold War and the aftermath of the first Gulf War, foes whose successful 9/11 attack succeeded at least partly due to Bush and Cheney's own negligence in the face of clear intel warnings.

One of the most powerful imperatives for any politician, from small-town mayor to President of the United States, is to get credit for any good that happens, whether deserved or not, and to avoid blame for any ill, whether deserved or not. It is possible to be so good at this that you are considered a great politician when you did hardly a good thing at all, and much harm. Reagan managed this in a number of ways; most importantly, he changed some of the laws and regulations about media fairness and ownership so that he was elevated to a false sainthood by grateful propagandists like Rush Limbaugh, who owed him their entire careers. Reagan gets a lot of credit for "winning the Cold War" that he barely earned.

It is also possible to be robbed of credit for good that you actually did; witness the effective GOP campaign to deny Al Gore credit for helping the internet get built. He recognized its huge potential early on, and got Congress to fund research for it. But Republicans twisted his statement that he "took the lead in creating it" and said he claimed to invent it (a lie which many still believe).

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

As for murder not being legal, I'll note that Texas is a "stand your ground" state, which effectively does legalize murder so long as you have a plausible excuse such as "he was reaching for his waistband."


Well, except that if a pregnancy is a threat to your life, you're not allowed to shoot the fetus before he kills you.

Hal Sparks was pointing this out on his radio show just today. By the logic of this Texas law, you no longer have the right to use lethal force against an intruder in your house, because shooting him would stop a beating heart. Self-defense is no longer an excuse.

David Brin said...

Paradoc very well said re the Marxian Paradox. Proof that many of our oligarchs are either enemies - "ex" commissars, murder princes, mafiosi, Casino moguls and Murdochs - or else flaming imbeciles surrounded by sycophants.

TCB Reagan did wage economic war on the Sovs by meeting Breszhnev's buildup and raising him. In most parallel universes it resulted in us all getting fried. In this one we got Andropov and Gorbachev.


Larry Hart said...

It seems a consensus is forming around the obvious Democratic response to the Texas abortion law, but a disturbing corollary appears to be "But of course, they won't do it, and if they try, they can't possibly succeed."

I disagree with the second paragraph below and its thesis that "This intensely politicized and extremely conservative Supreme Court is never going to allow such laws to take effect." How can they not allow Democratic versions of the same laws they allow for Republicans? By issuing insultingly-obviously contradictory rulings? They can try, but the effect will be like that of the Dredd Scott decision. Or that of 1789 France if they're really not careful.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/04/opinion/texas-abortion-law.html

...
Perhaps though, what’s good for the goose will be good for the gander, and blue states will use these same tools to suppress rights they dislike. Massachusetts could authorize citizens to seek damages from houses of worship that refuse to follow Covid safety protocols; California could give citizens the right to sue neighbors who recklessly keep guns in their homes; New York could even encourage private lawsuits against big corporate donors who exercise disproportionate sway over politicians.

But setting aside our own personal discomfort with using litigation to stoke culture wars and, possibly, invite violence, let’s be real: This intensely politicized and extremely conservative Supreme Court is never going to allow such laws to take effect. It’s not the best use of Democrats’ time and energy to try.
...


scidata said...

Re: Donald Kingsbury
1984 interview by Robert Sawyer: https://www.sfwriter.com/kingsbur.htm

There is a non-Asimovian branch of psychohistory thinking, which has a lot of Canadian twigs. McGill and UToronto keep coming up for example. But they're a stubbornly mathematical lot (Canada is Fields Medal territory) - not my wheelhouse*. Fortunately, there's also a deeply computational branch emerging here, as well as in the US & Europe.

* I like using that term for its cybernetic connotation. Ampère, Norbert Wiener, and William Gibson spring to mind.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I think Sparks perfectly captured the lunacy of this situation. I imagine heart transplants are now illegal, too.

Paradoctor said...

Brin:
<<
... many of our oligarchs are either enemies - "ex" commissars, murder princes, mafiosi, Casino moguls and Murdochs - or else flaming imbeciles surrounded by sycophants.
>>

I call that the Crook-Or-Fool Dilemma. Are they crooks or are they fools? The answer is that it doesn't matter. Everyone lies to a crook, so they become fools; and fools lie to themselves, so they become crooks. Crook and fool meet in the middle.

matthew said...

More on the vile Texas abortion law - ~20% of pregnancies over the age of 30 end in miscarriage. True of my wife when we were trying for our first child. She had a miscarriage and had to have the non-living fetus aborted. We cried a lot - we *really* wanted the child and miscarriage is a hard, hard outcome.

The Texas law does not differentiate between an abortion on a viable fetus and a non-viable one. So, now in Texas a doctor can be sued for performing a D&C on a non-viable fetus. I could have been sued under the Texas law for driving my wife to the hospital to remove a dead fetus.

There are lawyers and "bounty hunters" in Texas right now scheming how to make money off of miscarriages in addition to abortions. See Reddit \Bounty Hunter if you feel like viewing the ugliness first-hand (I do not recommend this, though, it is *ugly*).

I suspect that use of the Texas law against conservative women's miscarriages will add another 10% to the backlash to the Texas overreach. We'll see.

Larry Hart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I think Sparks perfectly captured the lunacy of this situation.


He captures some, but the lunacy is much more than that.

Which is why I think counter-suits are the best means of jumping on the bandwagon in order to demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off. If Joe Redneck sues me for driving my daughter to an abortion clinic, I turn around and sue him for the equivalent crime. Because even if I lose his lawsuit and he wins mine, he can't escape the nuisance of being subjected to the lawsuit. Remember, neither (my) standing to sue him nor (lack of) evidence of the crime itself comes into play as far as the defendant's ability to get the case dismissed or recover court costs.

Force the court system to admit the necessity of dealing with frivolous lawsuits instead of simply imagining that all of those will come from the side they support.

Larry Hart said...

Ok, how about this. A pregnant (black) woman commits some crime or traffic offense or whatever such that the cops are about to Sandra Bland her. She announces that she is pregnant, and that if anyone causes her fetus to abort or die in utero, her husband/brother/father/whoever will sue the cops under the new law. Then she pulls out her own gun and starts firing at the police.

What happens next?

David Brin said...

LH, PART of your scenario is good. Any minority woman during any encounter with police or authority could simply say she's pregnant and in danger of miscarriage and they 'better be nice to me!' There's a good chance the kid gloves will come out. The lurid part of your scenario is unnec.cartoon/anime stuff.

Matthew, your deeply moving story choked me up. May I quote it, without attribution? Hoping life served up better things, later on.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

LH, PART of your scenario is good.


Yes, my brother reminded me that there was already a case in which a pregnant woman was stabbed in a bar fight, causing her fetus to abort. The pregnant woman was charged with child endangerment for getting into the fight while pregnant. The other woman who stabbed her was not charged at all on the grounds of self-defense.

So doubtless, that would be the same in the case I imagined. The woman would be charged for abortion-by-cop, and the cops would be blameless.

They always win, don't they? *Sigh*

Der Oger said...


Not a serious suggestion:

How about ... expelling Texas from the Union?

Recalling all federal employees, troops, executives; moving or destroying all federal property; stop all cash transfers, deporting all of Texan birth, as well as Texan Lawmakers, judges, executives ... then building a wall...releasing it into independence ... or giving it back to Mexico if they want it.




David Brin said...

Glad it's not serious. A majority of Texans are varying degrees of reasonable, stymied by gerrymandering and other cheats. If we can keep the entire sweep from Dallas -Austin to Houston plus the hispanic areas (ironically) then kinda okay, emotionally. Not practically or morally though.

locumranch said...


The intention of the Texas Abortion law is three-fold, the first being a legal work around (lawfare), the second being nullification by reductio ad absurdum and the third being the elicitation of a specific emotional response.

Its first effect, the Texas law shifts abortion jurisdiction from the criminal courts to an alternate civil court with a lower legal standard of proof, an established maneuver which sidesteps double jeopardy while simultaneously allowing for punitive judgements against those who avoid criminal conviction, as in the case of OJ Simpson who avoided a criminal court murder conviction only to be bankrupted by wrongful death verdict in civil court and Al Capone who also avoided all criminal court convictions only to be destroyed in tax court.

Its second effect is legal nullification, illustrating both the inequality & absurdity of a horribly inconsistent US legal system which consists of 7 different federal venues & no less than 5 civil court subtypes , one that places alleged murderers in home detention, commits alleged trespassers to indefinite solitary confinement and subjects divorced males to indentured servitude. It is cumulative, this corruption of the rule-of-law, leading to schism & mass disobedience.

Its third effect is hysteria & overt emotionalism, leading to a thoughtlessly immediate demand for legal nullification due to perceived injustice, inequality and/or '-ism' and, by no uncertain coincidence, this is the exact course of action that the Texas abortion law framers wish to encourage.

Ever predictable, matthew rushes to accommodate, irrationally, and even declares (absurdly) that this new law applies to non-viable fetuses which lack detectable heart sounds.

The Biden Administration also accommodates, having already nullified SCOTUS judgements on the illegal eviction ban & his illegal southern border policy. He even promises further illegality, up to & including the complete destruction SCOTUS in its current form.

So, please proceed. Overturn the legal monopoly board. Embrace progress. Nullify so you may "build back better", but be forewarned:

Howsoever broken, our beleaguered legal system is your sole protection.


Best

David Brin said...

Wow. Locumranch at his best. Setting aside the bits that are whiney self-pity... and other bits that are insane (e.g. " this is the exact course of action that the Texas abortion law framers wish to encourage..." Hah!)... it's actually worth reading for an unusual persepctive.

His final utterance is reminiscent of the line from "A Man for all Seasons" about defending the Law for my own safety's sake, and has value in its isolated own right...

...though of course the hypocrisy of a member of his cult preaching anything at all about the Rule of Law is something we must put aside, in order to extract value.

Vitamins!

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH, et al: Lawrence Tribe just cited this as a way of knocking down that Texas statute:
18 U.S. Code § 242 - Deprivation of rights under color of law

U.S. Code
Notes

prev | next

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 696; Pub. L. 90–284, title I, § 103(b), Apr. 11, 1968, 82 Stat. 75; Pub. L. 100–690, title VII, § 7019, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4396; Pub. L. 103–322, title VI, § 60006(b), title XXXII, §§ 320103(b), 320201(b), title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(H), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1970, 2109, 2113, 2147; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, §§ 604(b)(14)(B), 607(a), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3507, 3511.)

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

His final utterance is reminiscent of the line from "A Man for all Seasons" about defending the Law for my own safety's sake, and has value in its isolated own right...


The line from "A Man for all Seasons" is an admonishment against "cutting down every law in England" in order to get at the Devil, noting that it makes it that much easier for the Devil to then turn on you.

It doesn't account for the case in which the Devil has already cut down every tree and is now licking his lips, which is more analogous to where we are now relative to the new aristocrats of the Republican Party, answerable in most states and the federal level to no custom, decorum, or law.

A more appropriate fictional tree reference would be Macbeth with the good side cast in the title role. Birnham Wood had come to Dunsinane, and thou opposed being of no woman born.

Daniel Duffy said...

Scidata - Speaking of psychohistory, the world is starting to look too much like Asimov's "Foundation".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCtQ70knyeo

So should we establish a real life "Foundation" preserving knowledge like the seed bank on the island of Svalbard? I'd suggest actual physical location(s) since collapse may make data storage on an internet cloud problematical.

What knowledge should we preserve?

It's 2100, global warming, pandemics, habitat destruction, over fishing the oceans, mass migration, forever chemical affecting fertility, etc. have rendered large areas of the planet uninhabitable and world population has crashed to about 1 billion.

The developed world's population has gone over the demographic cliff with rapidly shrinking and aging population's. The population of the undeveloped world has been decimated by global warming.

The demographic cliff, aging populations, social tribalism created by social media algorithms, neo-feudal economic inequality, criminal hacking, cyber currency scams, etc. have basically destroyed capitalism.

What does the Foundation do?

How do we rebuild?

matthew said...

Doc, you are free to use our story if you wish.

We were successful in our next attempt to have a child, though the pregnancy was such high risk that my wife was on bed rest for 4 months. Had we not made the decision (and had the resources / privileges)to go to a world-class teaching hospital with amazing imaging technology, both my wife and daughter would have died in childbirth. As it was, our head doctor held up my wife's placenta to a class of excited students taking careful notes. Weird and humbling. And so damn lucky. Y'all, when you have a choice and the ability, go to a teaching hospital. Certainly for a second opinion in a life or death matter. Quality is its own quantity just as sure as the reverse is true too.

Loco misses a key point - the lack of fetal heart sounds would attested by the abortion provider, who would be a plaintiff in the suit. Any doctor (not just the one that performs the D&C) that certify the lack of heartbeat would also be sued for $10k plus legal fees. We *will* see MDs refusing to certify a lack of fetal heartbeat in miscarriages under orders from their hospital administrators in order to save money for the hospital. I'd be surprised if this has not already happened.

scidata said...

Daniel Duffy: the world is starting to look too much like Asimov's "Foundation"

I've been intently watching trailers for the FOUNDATION series that starts in two weeks. I'm encouraged by the theme I see that reflects Hilton's LOST HORIZON. That is a more apt lineage than Gibbon's roman empire collapse, IMHO (and many others). I think I've mentioned collapseos.org before, which is a similar project, but written in Forth (not by me). I feel a WJCC oration coming on, so I'll just say that skills/ideas are more important to preserve than mere books are. It's more valuable to have introspective writers than zombified readers in the new world. Sort of Fahrenheit 451 but with more dancing.

Paul451 said...

LH and others: Before getting lost in the weeds with what-ifs, the Texas law specifies that the abortion is performed by a physician after confirming fetal heartbeat. It can't be twisted to apply to situations of police violence, nor anything to do with adults.

"A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child."

"fetal heartbeat" is defined as "cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac"

This might offer a viable defence, since the "fetal heartbeat" detected early in pregnancy is not an actual heartbeat. There's no heart, no valves, no contraction, just the firing of nerves which will, many weeks later, turn into a heart. (The ultrasound can show those nerves firing, which is what you see/hear. It's a show put on for the new parents.) Of course, whether the argument works depends on whether any judge will accept the medical evidence over their own ideology. Let's hope a well-funded conservative group hasn't been hand-picking court appointments virtually unopposed for a couple of decades...

Paul451 said...

I don't read Loco's comments, so I missed his sneer regarding miscarriage.

The law still applies if a physician ever detected a "heartbeat".

"A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child."

"Perform or induce" is future tense, "detected" is past tense. It doesn't provide for a change in viability of the embryo between the latter and the former. Quite the contrary, it also claims that detecting such a "heartbeat", at all, is the primary indicator of "the likelihood of her unborn child surviving to full-term birth."

Larry Hart said...

matthew:

the lack of fetal heart sounds would attested by the abortion provider, who would be a plaintiff in the suit. Any doctor (not just the one that performs the D&C) that certify the lack of heartbeat would also be sued for $10k plus legal fees. W


While I have no doubt Republicans would try that (because there is no financial or legal penalty for throwing crap against the wall to see what sticks), shouldn't the opposite be true? If there's no fetal heartbeat, then the "abortion" isn't killing anybody?

Der Oger said...

Muhaha.

The Satanic Church of Texas offers a way out.

Larry Hart said...

Paul451:

Before getting lost in the weeds with what-ifs, the Texas law specifies that the abortion is performed by a physician after confirming fetal heartbeat. It can't be twisted to apply to situations of police violence, nor anything to do with adults.

"A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child."


That may be, and I may be confusing it with other states, but I've heard that women are held responsible for failing to keep in good health while pregnant, that a failed suicide attempt was called murder because the woman's fetus died, and that case my brother mentioned in which a pregnant woman stabbed in a bar fight was held liable for the damage done to her fetus by her getting into the bar fight (the assailant was not charged at all, because she claimed self defense). None of these involved a physician.

If the above is the wording of the law, then what stops a midwife, nursing assistant, or even an intern from performing an abortion? It would seem that only physicians are enjoined, though I doubt that's how the law will be carried out.

Back to your point, though. If the fetus is actually dead already, then a physician removing the dead fetus would not have detected a fetal heartbeat first, so he should be free and clear. In a rational world, this argument would have merit even to the Christian right. What would they consider to be murder in the case of surgical removal of an already dead fetus?

Larry Hart said...

Paul451 again:

The law still applies if a physician ever detected a "heartbeat".

"A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child."

"Perform or induce" is future tense, "detected" is past tense


Not quite. "Perform or induce" is present tense. And the other clause does not say "if the physician had detected (or had ever detected) a fetal heartbeat. There's some grammatic wiggle room there for when the detecting takes place, although since Republicans will be the adjudicators of such things, maybe not so much.

But the solution is obvious. A physician doesn't try to detect a fetal heartbeat in the first place. Or if that's not feasible, then the abortion is performed by a different physician. Assuming you are quoting the text directly, it doesn't say "if any physician detected a fetal heartbeat." It says "if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat." The physician in that sentence referring to the one who "may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion," on account of having detected a heartbeat.

I know you and the Republicans themselves want to interpret the sentence as "No physician may perform or induce...if anyone ever detected a fetal heartbeat," but the wording above can't be read that way.

David Brin said...

Want the ultimate answer to the abortion prohibitionists? One that pokes them hard, yet almost ZERO folks on the other side have ever thought to use? It’s simple.
"Why aren’t you using persuasion and ministering to us? If your cause is just and sacred, shouldn’t you be swaying hearts and minds, instead of empowering vigilantes to drive poor women into even greater desperation and poverty?”

Of course almost as good is the “qualitative vs. quantitative” argument.
“Have you looked at what interventions actually REDUCE the rates and numbers of abortions? Because inarguably Sex Education and easy access to birth control and clinics for the poor have done more to reduce abortion rates that all prohibition measures combined. Which is related to the pure fact that those states without such measures have worse rates of teen sex, STDs, teen pregnancy, domestic violence AND abortion.

"If you sincerely and pragmatically want to reduce the number of abortions, you’d turn liberal at once!

“Which is why you must make it qualitative. ANY abortion, even one for rape/incest and even early term, is an affront and ALL should be crushed with the same ardor and screw nuance, right? Only, this Texas law does none of that. It does nibble away, seeking to reduce the number incrementally… which is exactly what Sex Ed, clinics and birth control all do, only vastly more effectively.
“And so the fundamental is this. You are hypocrites.”

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

"Why aren’t you using persuasion and ministering to us? If your cause is just and sacred, shouldn’t you be swaying hearts and minds, instead of empowering vigilantes to drive poor women into even greater desperation and poverty?”


Because "empowering vigilantes to drive poor women into even greater desperation and poverty" is exactly what they want to do. They hypocrisy is just their way of getting the voters and the courts to agree with them. And if demonstration of hypocrisy was enough to get them to change their ways, it would have happened a long time ago.

locumranch said...


The technical name for 'miscarriage' is spontaneous abortion (SAb). Other names for SAb include fetal demise, fetal death or non-viable pregnancy, and it is defined in terms of the subsequent loss of a previously detected fetal heart beat. It is an extremely common occurrence, as matthew has mentioned, occurring in about 1/4 of all pregnancies, and it is in no way illegal.

All abortion law, including the new Texas law, only apply to the elective abortion (EAb) which is defined solely in terms of a demonstrable fetal heart beat or viable pregnancy. An EAb can be performed by either chemical or mechanical means.

A chemical abortion is also called a medical EAb, easily performed in the home setting up to about 12 weeks EGA, using therapeutic options that include (but are not limited to) off-label use of most hormonal OCPs, RU-486 which is still available in the US by prescription, a common anti-ulcer medication called Cytotec valued at about 25 cents per dose and certain IV cancer drugs.

A mechanical Ab requires the forcible removal of the viable fetus from the uterus by a combination of curettage, mastication & suction. It is routinely performed in the US up to 21 weeks EGA (Roe v. Wade) but, in the case of rare late term abortion, it can be performed up to the very moment of a full term live birth.

In the late 1980s, it was universally agreed that the premature delivery of fetus of less than 26 weeks EGA was incompatible with extrauterine survival but, as of today, extrauterine survival of extreme premies (20 to 24 weeks EGA) now approaches 50% with aggressive medical management, so it follows that there's a 50% chance that your Roe v Wade legal 20 week EGA abortion could become a viable adult human, assuming proper post-abortion medical care.

Are you happy arguing that certain viable humans don't deserve either a chance at life or proper medical care?

If so, one can only imagine how happy you'll be when others choose to apply the very same argument to certain democrats and progressives.


Best

David Brin said...

While still a nut job re his hostility to us and almost ent-like dystpeptic misanthropy, still, Locum is clearly taking vitamins and I suggest you others might make an exception to your skim-past vows and read his latest.

Though I was notified by the filter that some desperate doofus was apparently hijacking locum's monicker and several of yours, too, in desperate efforts to barge in here and jack-off. Got stopped trivially. Terribly impressed with this filter!

Native American said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alfred Differ said...

locumranch,

Are you happy arguing that certain viable humans don't deserve either a chance at life or proper medical care?

Happy? No. That's a rather dumb question to ask. Sure path to a hostile reaction, though.

I'm even unhappier telling a women what she may and may not do in these situations. It's none of my f^*&ing business until she makes it so by asking me to be involved.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

But the solution is obvious.

I was wondering when someone would bring up the 'clean room' solution used by software developers to get around copyright infringements. 8)


--------
One doctor does the fetal heartbeat detect and documents fetal health.

Documents taken out of state and adjusted a bit to mask exactly who is who while removing details that might result in legal action if known to the next doctor.

Next doctor performs action meticulously avoiding details that might trigger legal definitions because they aren't present in the documentation.
--------

I suppose there might be reasons why this can't be done. Maybe licensing rules? If not now, I'm sure they'd be added. However, that just turns this into a whack-a-mole game.



For the record, I'm very much opposed to tit-for-tat laws imitating the one adopted in Texas but for some other purpose. Such laws make a mockery of the system. It's bad enough they are doing it in Texas. We should not ALL be doing it because we will break any small amount of trust our kids of the next generation offer for our institutions. Rule Of Law requires trust.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

I don't see the 'opposite' of Keynesianism as the Supply-side nonsense. Economics theory is a rich space, so no opposite exists.

"Rival" perhaps? Even that is weak. Hayek's work was seen as Keynes' rival. Supply-side isn't that... so maybe lots of rivals with a power law distribution regarding how much mind-share each gets? 8)

I get what you are trying to do, though. Contrast.

---

I'm still of the opinion that Keynesianism is rather like Ptolemaic cosmology. Of course it works. Just add more epicycles. Don't ask questions that calculate results for viewing the system from different angles. Etc.

With enough epicycles predictions worked for Ptolemy, but his numbers were obviously beginning to fail by the time Arabs were running Academia.

We see what we expect is there until forced to confront dissonance.

Der Oger said...

Are you happy arguing that certain viable humans don't deserve either a chance at life or proper medical care?

I have gained the impression that is the standard for most Americans if they cannot afford the treatment of medical procedures and care. Besides, there are medical conditions that threaten the life of the mother if the child is carried out.

And then there is the question how much respect politicians/cultists who support both legal and extralegal killings, glorify war, reject masks and vaxxines, deny climate change and foster depopulation further with opioids really have...

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Are you happy arguing that certain viable humans don't deserve either a chance at life or proper medical care?


A fetus at six weeks is hardly viable outside the womb.


If so, one can only imagine how happy you'll be when others choose to apply the very same argument to certain democrats and progressives.


When the continued survival of adult humans requires another adult human to function as a life support system for them, threatening the life and health of the host, then you can make this argument. Until then, you're being willfully disingenuous.

If you are referring specifically to viable-outside-the-womb fetuses, then sure, we can have a discussion about who is responsible for saving and nurturing and paying for that baby, but let's not pretend that six weeks is that point.


The technical name for 'miscarriage' is spontaneous abortion (SAb). Other names for SAb include fetal demise, fetal death or non-viable pregnancy, and it is defined in terms of the subsequent loss of a previously detected fetal heart beat. It is an extremely common occurrence, as matthew has mentioned, occurring in about 1/4 of all pregnancies, and it is in no way illegal.


Maybe not by the Texas law, but other states have prosecuted women for miscarriages.


All abortion law, including the new Texas law, only apply to the elective abortion (EAb) which is defined solely in terms of a demonstrable fetal heart beat or viable pregnancy. An EAb can be performed by either chemical or mechanical means.


I don't see you addressing Paul451's contention that the law forbids removal of a dead fetus if a heartbeat had ever been previously detected. I'd like to think we're sane enough to distinguish a procedure to remove a corpse vs a procedure that some perceive as murder.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Why aren’t you using persuasion and ministering to us? If your cause is just and sacred, shouldn’t you be swaying hearts and minds, instead of empowering vigilantes to drive poor women into even greater desperation and poverty?”

That may work with a tiny group of people who sincerely believe they are promoting good, but the politicians and religious leaders will just smirk at you. They've heard it before, and they don't care. They aren't doing it for god or "the unborn"; they're doing it for power.

Pappenheimer said...

My limited experience of discussing abortion with True Believers (my Aspie son was being home schooled in TX and the visitation lady invited me to the next anti-abortion rally/protest, assuming I was also a TB) leads me to think that "reducing the number of abortions" is not even on their radar except by the method making all abortion illegal. They don't CARE about examples from other countries and certainly did not want to make birth control easily available. Her lips just got tighter and tighter. (In fairness, her job was not arguing with parents.)
(And the "textbooks" that were available in the Abilene home school system! it seemed that at least half of them were Christian "histories of the Bible", with nothing from any other religion.)

David Brin said...

Alfred, it can be asserted that adding to the money supply by paying workers to do useful things and building things of tangible value - workers who thereupon get out of poverty, immediately spend their wages, raising money velocity and causeing more jobs and more demand... then withdrawing the aid when the economy is perking along well and using surplus revenue to pay down deficits...

...can be considered "opposite" to extracting money from circulation by giving it to rich hoarders who (mostly) do not invest it in productive "supply" capital but instead pour the largesse into asset bubbles of no tangible value, plummeting money velocity and demand and never, ever fulfilling promises about budgets or debt.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

For the record, I'm very much opposed to tit-for-tat laws imitating the one adopted in Texas but for some other purpose. Such laws make a mockery of the system. It's bad enough they are doing it in Texas. We should not ALL be doing it because we will break any small amount of trust our kids of the next generation offer for our institutions. Rule Of Law requires trust.


Your heart is in the right place, but you're assuming that trust in the law survives Republican overreaches in the first place. And note, I'm not pushing for "allow lawsuits against gun owners or anti-vaxxers" laws because I expect to win such lawsuits. I'm pushing for them to force a reckoning that stops all sides from abusing the courts, forcing the courts to invalidate all such laws, which they won't do as long as only Republicans benefit.

"Sometimes, jumping on the bandwagon is the best way of demonstrating that the wheels have already fallen off."

To give a non-emotional example, think about how quickly it became accepted wisdom that "You need sixty votes in the Senate" as a matter of course, even though that's only been the case since 2009 or so. That happened as soon as it became clear that Mitch McConnell would filibuster anything sent by a Democratic House. By your logic, Democrats shouldn't filibuster because that will destroy trust in the Senate, but in fact, the expectation that every bill will be filibustered settle in long before Democrats were in a position to do any tit-for-tatting.

scidata said...

Any thoughts on the American SF author Rudy Rucker? I keep discovering crazy connections like Wolfram, Hegel (direct descendant), Rutgers (my psychohistory history), love of ants and cellular automata, stroke survivor, genetic algorithms from first principles, and ... FORTH. Sort of an older and much wiser me.

David Brin said...

Rudy R always struck me as a nice fellow. Oh, and secondarily... brilliant.

scidata said...

Just bought Kindle version of "Live Without a Net" - anthology of sort of anti-cyberpunk from 2003, not the Van Halen concert from 1986. Turns out that OGH and Rudy Rucker have adjacent stories. "Reality Check" by David Brin - wow, depressing. No wonder OGH and I see The Great Silence so differently.

Paradoctor said...

Rudy's a friend of mine. He is a scholar and a gentleman. He also writes seriously gnarly skiffy.

Bob Neinast said...

On the previous post, I mentioned 42 U.S.C. 1983 as a remedy for being sued. Now Zepp Jamieson cites (citing Lawrence Tribe) 18 U.S.C. 242. Both address "Deprivation of rights under color of law". So, you may be wondering, what's the difference?

18 U.S.C. 242 is a criminal law. As such, it requires a federal prosecutor to prosecute a case, so it depends on there being a sympathetic prosecutor. (Note: Biden, and now Garland, sound sympathetic.) It can result in prison time. 42 U.S.C. 1983, however, allows a civil lawsuit. That is, if you are the person subject to the civil rights deprivation, you can sue the perpetrator and they lose money, but not their freedom.

Another difference is that for the prosecution, you don't need your own money--the prosecutor is doing that for you. If you file a civil case, you need to find (and pay) an attorney (and risk losing).

Litch said...

The problem with "clever" workarounds like having a second doctor perform the abortion or the like is that it utterly overlooks the unjust legal system this law takes place in. These civil cases are going to be filed in the most right-wing hate-filled bigoted counties in Texas, something they have an unofficial competition for. These are places where black, hispanic or queer defendants won't have a chance. Accusations against 'abortionists' will be believed without evidence.

David Brin said...

Litch misses the point. WE should file in blue areas where juries would utterly nullify this crap.

Paradoctor said...

Texas men had better watch out. Now that Church and State have gotten their clammy little hands on women's most private property, you can be sure that next they'll grab for men's most private property. For instance the Governor said, of abortion for rape, that instead he'll just prevent all rape. That's not possible, but he can make a good try by, let's say, siccing bounty hunters against rape, and since being accused equals being convicted, all suspicion of sex.

locumranch said...


I could argue that the collective interests of western society override individual autonomy in terms of abortion -- especially in the case of a parent toward dependent children -- but I will not, mostly because others have done it better.

For those who are so inclined, however, you can read about your legal duty & obligation to render aid to the helpless at the link below:

https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3864&context=lcp

Instead, I will support and endorse Larry's hypothesis that the human fetus is a mere clump of cells, devoid of any basic humanity and a parasite on the body maternal, until it becomes human by achieving the ability to survive without maternal support.

It is likewise well known that the newly minted human infant (aka 'a mere clump of cells') remains parasitic in nature and entirely dependent on its parental hosts for survival until, more often than not, it approaches the age of human majority.

Even so, many many humans of any & every age are either unable to survive independently or remain parasites on the body politic well past the age of majority, often requiring the ongoing material, emotional & financial support from other mature host organisms.

And, of course, all humans remain 'a mere clump of cells' whether or not they're capable of independent survival.

All are potential candidates for abortion, then, at least from the perspective of an unwilling host.



Best
_____

PS:
(1) Paul451 & matthew's contention that the removal of an intrauterine fetal demise is somehow 'illegal' is incorrect, as removal of retained 'products of conception' is a primary rational behind the therapeutic D & C.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/dilation-and-curettage/about/pac-20384910

(2) Zepp & Bob's contention that statute 18 U.S.C. 242 could be used to void the Texas abortion law is likewise specious, as this statute forbids discriminatory abridgment of rights & privileges "on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race" (which the new abortion law explicitly does not do), the obvious Democrat work-around would be to insert 'gender' into the mentioned anti-discrimination statue, thus voiding the new abortion law.

The subsequent conservative work-around to this tactic is equally obvious, simply to replace all female-specific terms in the Texas abortion law with the more ambiguous term 'birthing person', forcing the Dems to repudiate their insane argument that genetic men can get pregnant & give birth, too.

David Brin said...

Vitamins or no, I had to get past initial guffaws, in order to read any of locum's beyond his hilariously ironic call for loyalty to nation and posterity, since his loyalty is devoted instead (in order) to the addictive rush of resentment-rage and then to oligarchic masters pledging to crush those believing in facts and progress.

Alfred Differ said...

David,

You are going for high contrast to give Keynesianism a more attractive position relative to Supply Side. It works at that level. How can one argue for reducing money supply and velocity in tough times? They can't and don't. They dodge to Santa 'Rich Guy' who will give to the poor and needy what they need.

My beef is with you casting this as black and white. It's a false dichotomy. There are other options. There are other opposites to Keynesian thought. Casting it as simple forces people to see Hayek's thought as being in the same camp as the supply-side fools. It isn't.

"Opposite" is the issue.

What is the opposite of prudence? Greed? What about fearing to act upon the hard lessons of experience? What about choosing not to use hard experience at all?

What is the opposite of courage? Cowardice? What about foolhardiness?



High contrast is still possible in an argument with a richer number of options than two. Writing such an argument for a quick-punch blog article might take more time than it's worth, though. I get that.



'Money velocity' is very Ptolemaic, though. What money? Which kind? Which kind of transactions count? 'Money supply' comes in many varieties. Gotta wonder why…

I'm not nit picking here. I worked at Piketty's big book on the suggestion of readers here. I put it aside over half way through when I realized that his early decision not to count human capital as 'wealth' UTTERLY changes the conclusion. Astounding! What exactly are mothers building when they train their infants, hmm?

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

…but you're assuming that trust in the law survives Republican overreaches in the first place…

I promise you that I won't and I'm not. It's just that we shouldn't be adding to the damage they are doing. This is the kind of crap Putin wants us to do. Break trust in Rule of Law and he gets millions of us helping HIM achieve Russian geopolitical objectives. I refuse.

Take a deep breath and then fight back using legitimate tools. Don't make your cause illegitimate right out the gate.

By your logic, Democrats shouldn't filibuster because that will destroy trust in the Senate…

Well… they shouldn't destroy the Senate doesn't mean they should never filibuster. What they should do (and should have done) is reverted to the old rule that required doddering old men to stand and speak.

As for the Senate, though, I'm not opposed to breaking it. That's just a portion of the federal legislative branch. That's no where near as important as THE RULE OF LAW. (Heh. Yah. All caps because.)

Alfred Differ said...

…the collective interests of western society override individual autonomy in terms of abortion…

I knew a doctor in a different online community many years ago who argued against CA prop 4 (2008 election) that would have imposed legal requirements on him to involve a child's parents in certain medical decisions regarding abortion. He didn't argue against the burden on him. He argued that it would lead to teenage girls NOT getting the care and advice they needed when faced with an unwanted pregnancy. He argued that reality was MUCH more complex than the initiative could possibly address and then proceeded to give us examples with names stripped out to protect his patients.

After all this material from him, it was quite clear to me that his Hippocratic Oath clearly focused him upon the needs of individual patients AT THE EXPENSE of collective interests of parents and society. I pondered that for a while and then decided I rather liked that outcome. He as inclined to be a grouchy cuss*, but he was very sharp and obviously bought into the vision of protecting life when he could and not harming it when he couldn't.



* He explained to us one day that 75% of his work load had to do with obesity and its consequences. He would tell his patients they had to lose weight. They'd demand he produce a magic pill. That got REAL old REAL quick for him. So… many years later when I did manage to drop 70 lbs, I told him I had heard his advice and finally acted upon it. Gained a lot of it back later, but not all of it… and I still fight… because the cuss got through to me.

Cari Burstein said...

I normally don't engage much with locum, but his argument missed a very obvious distinction. Children are dependent on adults for survival, this is true, but they are not dependent on any particular adult for their survival. The responsibility for them is often transferred to other adults as necessary.

A fetus depends explicitly on the mother's body for survival. Until such time as we figure out a way to transfer a fetus to some kind of artificial womb or we figure out a mechanism to transplant one to another woman's womb (aside from at the egg stage), any argument over the rights of the fetus has to consider very heavily the rights of the woman carrying the fetus, because nobody else can take over for them. When a fetus reaches a point that they can potentially survive outside the womb is where the abortion rights discussions get especially murky.

Larry Hart said...

locumranch:

Instead, I will support and endorse Larry's hypothesis that the human fetus is a mere clump of cells, devoid of any basic humanity and a parasite on the body maternal, until it becomes human by achieving the ability to survive without maternal support.


I didn't argue that the fetus is without humanity. I argued that the mother is also human, and that ones right to an incubator has to be weighed legally against the other's right not to be pressed into service as an incubator. You would have more merit if you limited your admonitions to women who willfully engage in sex--that they implicitly consent to the possibility of forming a human being, but since the Texas law makes no exception for rape, you really are sarcastically suggesting that a woman is required to serve as a life support mechanism for another being which was forcibly implanted into her.


It is likewise well known that the newly minted human infant (aka 'a mere clump of cells') remains parasitic in nature and entirely dependent on its parental hosts for survival until, more often than not, it approaches the age of human majority.


See above. But society does have other mechanisms for caring for a child when its biological parents are unable or unwilling to do so themselves. Not so much with a non-viable fetus.


And, of course, all humans remain 'a mere clump of cells' whether or not they're capable of independent survival.


Whatever spiritual evaluation one brings to things, there are legal definitions. Citizenship, for example, depends in part upon where one was born. Even in the Bible, life is said to begin with the first breath.



Paul451 & matthew's contention that the removal of an intrauterine fetal demise is somehow 'illegal' is incorrect, as removal of retained 'products of conception' is a primary rational behind the therapeutic D & C.


But doesn't the Texas law make D & C illegal? You seem to be arguing that no law should forbid such a thing, which is what we're saying as well, but I'm not convinced you're describing the legal Texas landscape as it really is.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Take a deep breath and then fight back using legitimate tools. Don't make your cause illegitimate right out the gate.


You've heard the expression that Democrats "bring a knife to a gun fight." In that context, you're saying "Just because they have guns doesn't mean you should fight back with guns too. Fight back using legitimate knives."

I perceive you failing to distinguish between breaking the rules and making the rules. The Texas Republicans are not doing something illegal--they're making laws which have bad consequences. My goal with the "So, we can do that now, can we?" strategy is to bring those bad consequences home to them so that they have to stop doing what they're doing.

I get the argument, "If you think delegating enforcement to private individuals is wrong, then you shouldn't do that yourself." But my goal is not to have all sorts of liberal objectives imposed by the same means that Republicans are doing. It's to force Republicans to insist "You can't do that!", which at least by implication means "That mustn't be done!", and to nullify all such legislation--liberal or Republican.

A.F. Rey said...

Locumranch, how does loss of amniotic fluid fit into your matrix for allowable abortion?

A fetus without amniotic fluid can survive in the womb. Or not, depending whether the loss was caused by a tear, which would allow bacteria in. It's iffy, and could cause the death of the fetus and/or the mother.

However, once born, the baby will die. 100% guaranteed. Because amniotic fluid is required for a baby's lungs to develop. And no baby survives without lungs for long. :(

So, with no chance of the viability of the fetus outside the womb, and with the dangers to the life and/or fertility of the mother, would an abortion be allowed in your system, or by the Texas law? And if not, why not?

David Brin said...

AFR that is related to the fact that libs stupidly never point out... that most "late term abotions invlove anencephaly when it is discovered there's no brain. So what is it that has a heartbeat?

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

that most "late term abotions invlove anencephaly when it is discovered there's no brain. So what is it that has a heartbeat?


Remember the Terry Schiavo case? Her brain was liquid mush, but that didn't stop Bill Frist from diagnosing her at a distance and asserting that she was responsive. The Christian fanatics don't trust doctors' "no hope of revival" diagnoses. They literally believe in miracles, and so they expect that despite all evidence, the fetus or the brain-dead relative will awaken to a tear-jerking happy reunion. Or at least that the possibility should be accounted for.

Tim H. said...

For contemporary Republicans, anencephaly might be a positive. ;)

GMT -5 said...

I have been terribly busy the past two weeks. It is a shame because taxation is my field of expertise. My views are a bit hybrid because I don't fit easily into any camp.

I want the ultra-wealthy to pay more in taxes. Creating a system that does this is challenging because 1. the ultra-wealthy have great influence in how the laws are written, 2. the ultra-wealthy can afford to pay for top rate legal and financial planning to avoid the taxes, and 3. The ultra-wealthy can afford the best legal representation to fight the government when they get assessed a large amount of taxes.

It is frustrating as hell to take a case to federal or state court and try to explain to judges why the taxpayer’s interpretation of the law is incorrect. I had one judge that allowed a taxpayer to take deductions in the absence of any receipts…the judge wrote that a spreadsheet created by the taxpayer who-knows-when was contemporaneous proof that the expenses were incurred. There was no winning with that judge. That same judge later accepted a motion made by taxpayer’s lawyer after the trial had concluded and all arguments heard, that an excise tax was unconstitutional. The judge had earlier denied this motion. The judge accepted the motion and ruled on it without giving the government (ME) a chance to argue in response. This was the area of my greatest expertise and the judge let the taxpayer’s lawyer have his way without letting me argue in response. If you want to read the actual decision I will be glad to email it to Professor Brin.

It is one thing to put a tax proposal into law. It is another thing to actually enforce the law and collect that tax. I’ve spent most of my career as a government tax lawyer litigating cases where people owe taxes. Sometimes the case involves innocent non-compliance. Other times you have someone trying to game the system and take advantage of a benefit that they are not entitled to.

My expertise is with the Internal Revenue Code, Title 26 of the US Code. It was a long MF when I studied tax law in the 1980s. It is longer now. Probably 1/3rd of that length has to do with capital gains status. That is too much. We need to simplify the tax law. But I mean that in a conceptual sense; it might actually make the law seem more complex to outsiders. The 1986 tax reform act was like that. It wiped away a lot of advanced tax avoidance plans. It made other plans very difficult to achieve (special allocations of items of income or loss between members of a partnership). Avoid imposing taxes where enforcement is difficult and avoidance is easy: the estate & gift tax and the corporate income tax are two of the worst areas. They are devilishly hard to collect. Taxpayers can easily plan around them.

Sadly, tax law has become a hot political topic. I try to say my piece and I get bullied by one side or the other because they disagree with me. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I would appreciate it if people would recognize that I am making my points in good faith and I realize that they are not all encompassing.

Perhaps we should move away from an income tax to a VAT tax. We could do that in a way that lessens the disproportionate impact on low-income people. My preferred approach would be to try and repeat what the 1986 tax act did…tax revenues went up as the top rate went down. Drastically simplify the code. Focus imposing taxes in a way that it is hard to avoid.

Larry Hart said...

Paul Krugman as Cassandra...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/opinion/foreign-terrorists-domestic-extremists.html

...
In short, by the time the terrorists struck, the G.O.P. was no longer a normal political party, one that considered itself only a temporary custodian of broader national interests. It was already willing to do things that would previously have been considered inconceivable.

In 2003 I declared that the Republican Party was dominated by “a movement whose leaders do not accept the legitimacy of our current political system.” But many people didn’t want to hear it. Those of us who tried to point out the abuses in real time were dismissed as “shrill” and “alarmist.”

The alarmists have, however, been right every step of the way.
...

Larry Hart said...

Have we heard of even one example of a vaccinated person having to issue a tearful mea culpa about how terrible the repercussions of the vaccine were, and how much he regrets listening to those who promoted vaccination.

Any deathbed pleas that people please don't get vaccinated the way they did?

Just asking the question.

David Brin said...

LH good one. I reposted it to FB.

GMT, interesting and depressing stories ! I rank taxes in order of justifiability and the Inheritance tax is utterly the most necessary and proper. Above a certain level it should be huge. 6000 yeas testify to the justice and necessity.

And heck yeah a wealth tax is more fair than income tax... but only if we get the most vital thing of all, my worldwide declaration of ownership/property. Without that, it's all a sham.

Robert said...

The Marxian Paradox

Also applies to epidemics. When public health measures prevent an outbreak everyone bitches about how they were expensive, inconvenient, etc and totally unnecessary because there was no outbreak. If there is an outbreak then everyone bitches about how public health didn't see it coming and prevent it.

At least, that's what happened pre-Trump.

Robert said...

I'd like to think we're sane enough to distinguish a procedure to remove a corpse vs a procedure that some perceive as murder.

Your eternal optimism and quaint faith in reason are so endearing :-)

Sarcasm aside, have the events of the last half-decade really led you to think that sanity about any issue that negatively affects women, or indeed anyone except pink straight males, is a common trait?

David Brin said...


Don't lean too far the other way, Robert. The palpably pragmatic increase in female participation in leadership - at least in democratic nations - has been substantial. And many other litmuses. "It's not enough and needs to accelerate!" is a perfectly fine and justified response. But not: "There's been no progress."

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

When public health measures prevent an outbreak everyone bitches about how they were expensive, inconvenient, etc and totally unnecessary because there was no outbreak. If there is an outbreak then everyone bitches about how public health didn't see it coming and prevent it.


Someone on Stephanie Miller's show today put it, "This is the first voluntary epidemic in history."

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

Sarcasm aside, have the events of the last half-decade really led you to think that sanity about any issue that negatively affects women, or indeed anyone except pink straight males, is a common trait?


Despite the clear manipulation by leaders with other agendas, I do expect that many individual citizens oppose abortion because they really do think of it as murder. And that they would have no reason to consider "removal of an already-dead fetus" as being the same thing.

Paradoctor said...

Robert: "The Marxian Paradox... also applies to epidemics."
Very good! In general there's a Paradox of Prediction - i.e. Seldon's. Prediction alters the outcome; so what does it converge on?

Larry Hart: Where are the ICUs jammed full of vaccine sufferers?
I tried the Krugman link. Paywall. Please quote more.

Re abortion. If the embryo has rights and the woman has rights, then we'll have to compromise. Perhaps a compromise where the rights of the embryo increases through the pregnancy, one trimester at a time. Lucky us: that compromise already exists! It's call Roe vs Wade.

GMT -5 said...

David, I agree with you 100% on your worldwide declaration of ownership.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

I tried the Krugman link. Paywall. Please quote more.


Well, I gave you the "money shot" already, but continuing on...


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/opinion/how-sept-11-gave-us-jan-6.html

...
True, in the past there were a few mitigating factors. To his credit, President George W. Bush tried to tamp down the anti-Muslim backlash, visiting an Islamic center just six days after the attack and calling on Americans to respect all religions. Try to imagine Donald Trump doing something similar.

It’s also notable that some of the most prominent neocons — intellectuals who promoted the invasion of Iraq and called for an even wider set of wars — eventually became eloquent, even courageous Never Trumpers. This suggests that their belief in spreading democratic values was genuine even if the methods they advocated — and the political alliances they chose to make — had catastrophic results.

But it’s not an accident that Republicans today have left both tolerance and respect for democracy behind. Where we are now, with democracy hanging by a thread, is where we’d been heading for a long time.

America was viciously attacked 20 years ago. But even then, the call that mattered was coming from inside the house. The real threat to all this nation stands for is coming not from foreign suicide bombers but from our own right wing.

GMT -5 said...

There are members of my family that are excellent models for the proposal that inheritances should be heavily taxed. They are not rich enough to make a difference. I’ve studied cases involving trust fund babies who never contribute anything to society and are constantly arguing with the trustees about getting more money. But that actually makes my point. One strategy for avoiding the estate & gift tax (“EGT”) is to put property into irrevocable trusts as early as you can. If you do it the right way, your exposure to the EGT is reduced. Problem is, the gift is irrevocable so you can’t take it back, even if the beneficiary is a complete disgrace.

Larry Hart said...

Paradoctor:

Re abortion. If the embryo has rights and the woman has rights, then we'll have to compromise. Perhaps a compromise where the rights of the embryo increases through the pregnancy, one trimester at a time. Lucky us: that compromise already exists! It's call Roe vs Wade.


If law and custom were not so blatantly anti-woman, this would make perfect sense: Start with the assumption that a woman must give consent for her body to be used as an incubator. One might even stipulate that certain acts, such as marriage or consenting to sex constitute implied consent for the likely consequences. But being raped is clearly not consent. And girls of a certain (lack of) age cannot be said to legally consent in any case. So if you put a fetus into the body of a non-consenting woman who has a right to terminate her indenture as incubator, then you are guilty of murder, just as you would be if you put a baby inside a burlap bag and threw it into the river.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Alan Brooks said...

Agreed, the Confederacy was 100 percent evil. Which is why it was right to pull down Confederate statues—as it was for central and eastern Europeans to take down statues of Stalin.