The Eeeeew

zaratustra
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby zaratustra » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:35 am

The will of the 21% of the people that actually went out and voted Leave, you mean.

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beatbandito
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby beatbandito » Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:02 am

Yup, that's how it works.
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Grath
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Grath » Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:34 am

zaratustra wrote:The will of the 21% of the people that actually went out and voted Leave, you mean.

Maybe the 60+% will realize voting is important after their country destroys itself?

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby zaratustra » Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:58 am

Well I mean aside from the old standbies like immigrants not being able to vote

There was the fact the Brexit referendum was set in the middle of the fucking week, and it just happened to be one of the stormiest days of the year in London

and so retirees from outside the capital had that much more of a push

factoid: someone calculated that, because of the age difference between the pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit factions, the Remainers in general would actually be a minority before Brexit is implemented

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Thad
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:22 pm

zaratustra wrote:The will of the 21% of the people that actually went out and voted Leave, you mean.


Well, yes. Votes are generally decided by people who vote.

zaratustra wrote:Well I mean aside from the old standbies like immigrants not being able to vote

There was the fact the Brexit referendum was set in the middle of the fucking week, and it just happened to be one of the stormiest days of the year in London

and so retirees from outside the capital had that much more of a push


Yeah, I get that. Voter suppression, voter turnout, gerrymandering, and just plain dumb-ass scheduling are problems here, too. (John Oliver had a good piece a few months back about how stupid voting on Tuesday is; it's a holdover from the nineteenth century when rural voters had to ride into town to vote and didn't want to leave until after Sunday service.) All those things should absolutely be addressed.

But I can't agree that a legislature intentionally telling the voting public that its vote didn't count leads anywhere good.

We've got city councils around the state currently trying to do that very thing with the minimum wage increase that the public just voted for. I'm not a fan.

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TA
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby TA » Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:43 pm

Thad wrote:I've been on the receiving end of a legislature voting to nullify an initiative passed by the public. I'm not in favor of it.

I think Brexit's a terrible idea. But I also think it's a government's job to govern according to the will of the people.


Agree to disagree. If it is the will of the people to murder all the Jews, it is the governments job to stop that, not to shrug and set up camps.
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:00 pm

Oh for fuck's sake.

I don't know why I thought better of you than to pull that shit, but I really did.

Not going to list the reasons your comparison is stupid. Because you already know them. And you made it anyway.

It's one thing to insult my intelligence. But for God's sake, have the self-respect not to insult your own like that.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby TA » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:42 pm

No, it's actually a source of a lot of legitimate political debate about the nature of representative government - whether an elected representative should be there to serve as a proxy for those they represent, or whether they're chosen to act according to their best judgment and ethics to govern in what they see as the best interests of their people, and are elected based on the trust that they will make good decisions. Because one of those is driven entirely by the "will of the people", and the other can and often should completely ignore it when the will of the people is self-destructive or wrong. There isn't an easy answer for the question, and usually ethical governance tries to balance the two requirements.

But a blanket statement that the government's job is to govern according to the will of the people, full stop? That's the definition of tyranny of the majority. If that's actually your belief, then you're goddamn right I'm insulting your intelligence, because you're a fucking moron, and my analogy is exactly what your belief generates in practice.
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Mongrel » Sat Jan 21, 2017 3:59 pm

Insults aside, I'd agree with TA that it's a balancing act, that sometimes there may really be times the government will have to ignore the will of the governed.

Whether they should or not with Brexit is a big question mark. Brexit may be self-destructive, but we're not talking Godwin's law.

More importantly, the point for a government-legislated stop would have been to not offer a referendum (or, in Thad's example, a ballot proposal). I do think that if you offer a referendum, the choices on offer need to be valid and the government needs to be prepared to enact either side. If you're running a plebiscite which has an invalid or destructive choice, a responsible government needs to... not offer that plebiscite.
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:42 pm

TA wrote:But a blanket statement that the government's job is to govern according to the will of the people, full stop? That's the definition of tyranny of the majority.


It's also a statement I never actually made, and you know it.

Christ, just once I'd like to say "You're not this stupid" and get a response other than "Fuck you, yes I am."

Yes, TA, genocide is bad; what a bold stance you've taken there. Yes, governments should overturn the will of the people when that will is genocide, a point which is so obvious it was never in dispute and was not the thing we were talking about.

Your argument is not an argument, it is a distraction. "There exist cases where X is appropriate" is not remotely equivalent to "This is a case where X is appropriate." (See also: every censor's lazy use of "You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater.") And, again, you are smart enough to know this, and you chose to use this very very stupid and transparent rhetorical tactic anyway.

What this suggests to me is that you do not have an actual argument for your position. Because if you did, you would have made it, instead of resorting to a strawman/Godwin all in one and acting like nobody was going to notice.

Yes, there are situations where it is the government's job to overturn the will of the majority. I agree with you there. Fucking obviously.

There are also situations where it is the government's job not to overturn the will of the majority. You, presumably, agree with me there (though if you like, I can make up a strawman version of you that doesn't, and tell you what a moron it is).

So, okay. Which one is this, the specific thing we are talking about, Brexit?

My instinct is that, while it is a terrible idea, it does not meet the threshold required for the government to overturn the referendum. I believe that such a threshold should be very high.

You disagree. Okay. Convince me. Make an argument to support your position. An actual argument, not "because Hitler".

This isn't Twitter. Nobody is going to upvote or retweet your 140-character zingers.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby TA » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:12 pm

Thad wrote:
TA wrote:But a blanket statement that the government's job is to govern according to the will of the people, full stop? That's the definition of tyranny of the majority.


It's also a statement I never actually made, and you know it.


Thad wrote:I think Brexit's a terrible idea. But I also think it's a government's job to govern according to the will of the people.


Clearly this is an argument in good faith that's worth engagement.
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Brentai » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:01 pm

I would disagree that Brexit is outside the bounds of where a government has the right to step in. This is a massive upset to the economy, to immigration, to people's jobs and rights (mostly travel rights), to trade, to social views and a whole slew of other things. This is the point where I would expect a theoretically competent elected official to step in and say, look:

"My job is to spend more time and effort thinking about best way to manage this land's economy, laws and agreements than you do, in your interest. You put me in this position because it's not reasonable to expect all of you to be doing the same at all times. If I can't do this task, then there is no reason for me to be here other than to waste a lot of money while standing between you and the rulebooks. I have heard your wishes, and I respect them, but this is the time for me to say: You are wrong, I am not going to do this, and this is why."

As an aside, I would also say that raising the minimum wage is within the bounds of the elected legislature to decide as well. Economy is a tricky thing that is usually badly served by raising one thing and not lowering anything else. To Thad: I understand your grievance very well, but in my view the root of it isn't that they're allowed to block what the people voted for, it's that they are choosing to block what the people voted for based on their own interests and not the people's.

We could solve a lot of this world's problems today if we could find a way to make our leaders' personal interests irrelevant.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby patito » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:04 pm

The Brexit vote was a nondbinding referendum that people didn't take seriously, because it was a nonbinding referendum, it's very very far away from being the will of the people.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Brentai » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:07 pm

I don't know about the "people didn't take seriously" part.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:11 pm

I think the charged atmosphere around the vote made it de-facto binding as well. In the sense that had the ruling party decided to ignore the outcome, it might well have been political suicide.

Of course, what is moral may well be political suicide, so that just brings us back to Brent's point again.
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:19 pm

TA wrote:
Thad wrote:
TA wrote:But a blanket statement that the government's job is to govern according to the will of the people, full stop? That's the definition of tyranny of the majority.


It's also a statement I never actually made, and you know it.


Thad wrote:I think Brexit's a terrible idea. But I also think it's a government's job to govern according to the will of the people.


I don't see the expression "full stop" anywhere in there. Nor do I see any implication, anywhere, that I am saying that I believe this in 100% of all cases, with no exceptions.

Are you seriously suggesting that I need to specifically clarify that I don't support genocide every time I make a general statement?

Because I think we all know that if this were ten years ago, I would totally start doing that. End every sentence with "but I don't support genocide", then start calling out every one of your posts where you don't explicitly condemn genocide as supportive of genocide. Just to prove a point.

But that's tedious and I don't have the energy for it anymore, and it would just piss everybody off anyway. Instead I'll just say this:

Clearly this is an argument in good faith that's worth engagement.


TA, if you're not willing to accept "I don't support genocide" as a given in an argument, then no, it's never going to be a good-faith argument.

Also,

Thad wrote:This isn't Twitter. Nobody is going to upvote or retweet your 140-character zingers.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Mongrel » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:25 pm

argh just stop
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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:32 pm

Brentai wrote:I would disagree that Brexit is outside the bounds of where a government has the right to step in. This is a massive upset to the economy, to immigration, to people's jobs and rights (mostly travel rights), to trade, to social views and a whole slew of other things. This is the point where I would expect a theoretically competent elected official to step in and say, look:

"My job is to spend more time and effort thinking about best way to manage this land's economy, laws and agreements than you do, in your interest. You put me in this position because it's not reasonable to expect all of you to be doing the same at all times. If I can't do this task, then there is no reason for me to be here other than to waste a lot of money while standing between you and the rulebooks. I have heard your wishes, and I respect them, but this is the time for me to say: You are wrong, I am not going to do this, and this is why."


This is a reasonable argument (you can tell because it doesn't have nazis in it). But I don't like what it implies, which is that elected officials can and indeed should ignore the economic priorities of their constituents.

In fact, I'd argue, strongly, that the very reason we got Brexit is that Parliament has been doing exactly that for the last 30 years.

There's more than a whiff of paternalism to the notion that the government knows what's in the people's best interests better than the people do. Plus, I can cite a whole lot of evidence to the contrary; again, I give you the last several decades of global economic policy.

I'm a lot more amenable to government intervention to protect civil rights. And there's very probably a civil rights case to make here, but nobody's really made it to my satisfaction, and nobody but Zara has even tried.

At any rate, it's rather a moot point. It's not like Labour has the votes to block it anyway.

Brentai wrote:As an aside, I would also say that raising the minimum wage is within the bounds of the elected legislature to decide as well. Economy is a tricky thing that is usually badly served by raising one thing and not lowering anything else. To Thad: I understand your grievance very well, but in my view the root of it isn't that they're allowed to block what the people voted for, it's that they are choosing to block what the people voted for based on their own interests and not the people's.

We could solve a lot of this world's problems today if we could find a way to make our leaders' personal interests irrelevant.


Well, if you don't like that example, there's also the first time we passed a referendum to allow medical marijuana, and the legislature overturned it, and then we passed a referendum saying the legislature can't do that anymore without (I believe) a 2/3 majority. I think that's a perfectly reasonable compromise: give the legislature the option of overturning a referendum, but only with an overwhelming majority.

I know California's got problems with voters passing referenda and then opposing taxes to pay for them; I'm sympathetic to the problem. But I'm inclined to err on the side of democracy in most cases.

patito wrote:The Brexit vote was a nondbinding referendum that people didn't take seriously, because it was a nonbinding referendum, it's very very far away from being the will of the people.

Brentai wrote:I don't know about the "people didn't take seriously" part.


Yeah, I'm with Brent; the media coverage was massive, global, and months-long. It's pretty clear people were taking it seriously; even if it was a nonbinding resolution, political leaders were saying they would honor the result.

It's true that some of the "yes" voters admitted afterwards that they'd have voted "no" if they thought it had any chance of passing, but it's not at all clear that that margin is enough that it would have flipped the vote.

Mongrel wrote:argh just stop


Yeah, you're right. I got needlessly nasty at the end there; I've edited it but TA, if you read it before the edit, I apologize, it was uncalled for. I stand by the part that's left, though; I shouldn't have to say "I'm not advocating government-sanctioned genocide" and neither should anybody else. That's a pretty bare-minimum level of benefit of the doubt right there.

I've spoken my piece and am more than happy to continue the discussion with anyone who is interested in doing so in good faith.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Brentai » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:05 am

This is a reasonable argument (you can tell because it doesn't have nazis in it).


I don't find arguments involving Nazis inherently unreasonable, especially now that they're starting to become immediately relevant again. But I'll agree that they need to be given quite a bit more reverence than they usually are (and I'll cop to having used the term "gestapo" in passion when I should have used something like "warden" in the past if that helps).

(But today, I'd rather have people making arguments in passion than none at all.)

Thad wrote:But I don't like what it implies, which is that elected officials can and indeed should ignore the economic priorities of their constituents.


I tried to be clear that the priorities of the constituents should be an elected official's only concern. Brexit - at least a "hard Brexit" - is clearly not in the interests of the constituents, no matter what they might have been duped into believing. Minimum wage laws are quite a bit murkier and I'm leaving it at "Officials should have the option of overriding a mandate if done in good faith," which of course is not in this case.

There's more than a whiff of paternalism to the notion that the government knows what's in the people's best interests better than the people do.


Oh, granted, and I don't like it any more than you do, but have you talked to the people lately?

Plus, I can cite a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.


That evidence is the problem, yes. It turns out we're just as bad at choosing our legislators as we are at legislating ourselves.

(If it sounds like I'm angling at something like a return to Monarchy or a Shadow Government here, well, no. The People are probably still more trustworthy than a system based loosely on genetics and under-the-table agreements. Democracy remains, at this time, the worst form of government except for all the others that exist, and I'm very interested in hearing about theoretical alternatives.)

I'm a lot more amenable to government intervention to protect civil rights. And there's very probably a civil rights case to make here, but nobody's really made it to my satisfaction, and nobody but Zara has even tried.


Well, most Brexit arguments made in the U.S. are focused on the economic impact because that's the only one we think we're familiar with, but if you talk to people with in the EU - either inside or outside of the UK - you'll hear a lot about how this ruins their ability to travel freely, work in various areas of Europe, apply for citizenship to other countries, have families across national borders...

Zara might be the only person in this particular conversation who can make these sorts of arguments with any sort of authority.

At any rate, it's rather a moot point. It's not like Labour has the votes to block it anyway.


Well, maybe. But protest votes always seem to have a much greater impact in the future than people assume they do.

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Re: The Eeeeew

Postby Thad » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:33 am

Brentai wrote:
This is a reasonable argument (you can tell because it doesn't have nazis in it).


I don't find arguments involving Nazis inherently unreasonable, especially now that they're starting to become immediately relevant again.


Yes, I was being glib. TA's nazi comparison was unreasonable in this instance; his nazi comparisons in other instances have been more reasonable and more called-for. We're entering a pretty scary time right now, and it needs to be understood that nazi comparisons aren't always gratuitous or excessive; sometimes they're extremely relevant historical comparisons.

That's all the more reason to discourage people from just whipping them out gratuitously. The frequency of nazi analogies has weakened them and led people, with good cause, to reflexively roll their eyes at them.

If people are to take nazi comparisons seriously -- as in, say, the thread we've got right now with a guy leading an actual nazi salute in it -- then I think it's pretty important to quit using them as a reductio ad absurdum/slippery slope/etc. and save them for times they're actually appropriate.

But I'll agree that they need to be given quite a bit more reverence than they usually are (and I'll cop to having used the term "gestapo" in passion when I should have used something like "warden" in the past if that helps).


I appreciate that.

Though I'm not sure prison is an analogy you want to go for either.

Brentai wrote:
Thad wrote:But I don't like what it implies, which is that elected officials can and indeed should ignore the economic priorities of their constituents.


I tried to be clear that the priorities of the constituents should be an elected official's only concern. Brexit - at least a "hard Brexit" - is clearly not in the interests of the constituents, no matter what they might have been duped into believing. Minimum wage laws are quite a bit murkier and I'm leaving it at "Officials should have the option of overriding a mandate if done in good faith," which of course is not in this case.


The problem, as I see it, is that you're presupposing wise, knowledgeable, and well-meaning elected officials. That's a worthy goal, but I'm not sure it's an attainable one. I think some level of trust of government is necessary, but some level of suspicion is, too.

If we could force government officials to be wise, knowledgeable, and well-meaning, that'd be great. But right now the only metrics we have to gauge those things on are how many people voted for them. If the same people who voted to elect Doug Ducey also voted to increase the minimum wage, and Doug Ducey opposes a minimum wage increase, does that mean that the voters picked Ducey because they defer to his judgement on the subject, or does it mean that they voted on a referendum specifically because, while they like Ducey better than DuVal as a whole, they disagree with him on the minimum wage?

There are a hell of a lot of political contests that boil down to the lesser of two evils. And even in the ones that aren't, even for wildly popular politicians, voters aren't always going to agree 100% with a single platform. Ballot referenda are a way to bypass a two-party system that often doesn't deliver the results that voters want.

There's more than a whiff of paternalism to the notion that the government knows what's in the people's best interests better than the people do.


Oh, granted, and I don't like it any more than you do, but have you talked to the people lately?


Let me put it this way: the people voted for Hillary Clinton, and our electoral system, through its checks and balances designed to protect us from the tyrrany of the majority, chose Donald Trump.

Yes, democracy can be ugly, and yes, we need safeguards against the tyrrany of the majority. But given the choice, I trust the people more than I trust politicians.

I mean, in general. I don't support genocide.

(If it sounds like I'm angling at something like a return to Monarchy or a Shadow Government here, well, no. The People are probably still more trustworthy than a system based loosely on genetics and under-the-table agreements. Democracy remains, at this time, the worst form of government except for all the others that exist, and I'm very interested in hearing about theoretical alternatives.)


Right, exactly.

At any rate, it's rather a moot point. It's not like Labour has the votes to block it anyway.


Well, maybe. But protest votes always seem to have a much greater impact in the future than people assume they do.


Maybe, but we already know how the popular vote broke down, and I think that's likely to make a considerable amount of difference in the coming years. (I think it's reasonable, for example, to assume that Scotland is going to hold another vote to leave the UK, and that this time it'll pass.)

I can certainly see a case for MP's voting for whichever side their own constituents picked. A strong one, even. Indeed, I think that would make a lot more sense than Corbyn telling his party to just vote yes. But I also don't see it as much of a betrayal -- I think Brexit really is a foregone conclusion at this point, that a last-minute attempt by the minority parties to scuttle it won't accomplish anything except possibly generating even more economic uncertainty, and that there will be other, better hills to die on if they save their political capital.

Maybe.

I mean, I'd probably vote No if I were an elected official. But that's one of many reasons I'll never hold political office.

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