(urth) Gene Wolfe's Politics

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Mar 31 19:18:10 PDT 2009

>> I don't think that I would deny that police services are a proper
>> function of government: sometimes when people talk about protecting the
>> weak from the strong, they are really talking about taking money away
>> from people who have it and spending it on people who do not have it:
>> I will come flat out and ask you if that is what you mean, or part of it.

> If you are going to insist on a radically-stupidified-and-insulting
> caricature, yes, that is what I mean.

Well, I wasn't actually: I was referring to what is generally referred to
as redistribution of wealth. In my first sentence above, where I describe
police services as a proper function of government, I mean that it is
proper to support it with public money.

I seem to detect some hostility from you: I am not sure why this should
be. I don't feel any hostility towards you. I have found that discussions
of this type do not go off well if even one participant has bad feelings
about the other.

Certainly your - I think deliberate - misreading has allowed you to
indulge in some fine invective. I don't begrudge you this: I hope you
enjoyed it.

> Your inability to, for instance, pay for police protection or legal
> counsel should not mean that you can be abused with impunity.
> Universal access to police services or a code of law that applies to
> both rich and poor both "take money away from people who have it and
> spend it on people who do not have it."

> I would go farther: it is immoral and to everyone's ultimate detriment
> to allow anyone, however worthless, however much of a net cost rather
> than a net benefit to society, to starve or die of an easily-and-
> cheaply treatable disease.  I understand that you fundamentally
> disagree

I don't: I just want you to figure out a way to pay for it that does not
involve stealing. There are actually a couple of schemes for providing
these basic services that I would approve of, but you are having so much
fun arguing with your image of what you think I believe that I hesitate to
discuss them.

I was reading a book today called "Aku-Aku", by Thor Heyerdahl. It is
Heyerdahl's story of his expedition to Easter Island.

While they were on the island, they offered to take all of the islander's
children around the island on their ship. Tragically, at one point, while
they were taking the kids off the beach, a boat capsized. Everybody went
to save the children. A couple of kids drowned.

One of the Norwegian crewmen took his watch off and put it in his hat when
he went into the water to help rescue the kids. While he was doing this,
someone stole his watch.

That evening, Heyerdahl was talking with the local priest and said it was
a tragedy, the children dying.

"The watch being stolen was worse." said the priest.

"What do you mean?" said Heyerdahl.

"We all have to die. We don't have to steal." replied the priest.

>           and that we will not be able to find common ground.

We won't unless you work at it with me.

> I believe that, unless you can find some way to turn this back to Gene
> Wolfe, that I will stop trying to discuss this with you.  I am not a
> Libertarian,

Nor am I.

>                and I believe, in general, that Libertarians do not
> realize that a civil society has a positive value, or perhaps they
> radically overestimate their chances of medium-to-long-term survival
> in a world in which each person gets precisely the law he pays for.

I think that you are misrepresenting the Libertarian (note capital L)
position, but since it is not my position, I am not going to defend it.


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