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Some ideas related to politics...somehow:

1.    Infrastructure—Not just roads, bridges, ports, electricity, water, sewage plants,  but things like education, internet access, police, fire department, the military, a functioning judicial system—to the extent that the above is unevenly distributed (with regard to the military it is more an uneven distribution of those who serve) then opportunity is not evenly distributed.


2.    Theory of government—There is no wealth created prior to government. Without the full force and credit of the United States no one has wealth.  Government provides rule of law, protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, a monopoly on the use of violence, infrastructure., regulation of commerce, and a stable institutions and government without which trade would grind to a halt.  Without these things no civilization is possible.  So the idea of libertarians that taxes are theft is ridiculous. Without the power of government their wealth would exist; therefore their complaints about government taxes as being theft of their property is ridiculous because their property has no existence without government, government institutions require taxes to persist, and therefore it is not right and fair that they should pay taxes to support things which enable them to make and keep wealth.  To not  pay one’s fair share taxes is essentially freeloading when those taxes are used for your benefit


3.    Economy is becoming too financially centered.  While managing wealth is part of a modern economy and those who manage it well should get reasonably paid well for doing it, the amount of wealth going to the financial sector is way disproportionate.


4.    Modern life has evolved to people define who they are, what they want to, what career they want, whether they want to be single or married, have kids, whether are gay or straight, etc.  This represents an enormous change from not too long ago where due to religious and social pressure people had to conform to certain acceptable norms. Obviously, those that are strongly religious are not comfortable with that change.  The question is whether we can live together in society and accept people for what they are as long as what they do does not harm us or whether it becomes of forcing people to conform.  



5.    Habermas looks back tot he 18th century to the bourgeois salon society to envision a democratic society where the main thing is that people can have their political views heard in a non-coercive environment.  Almost certainly an idealized view but an attempt to argue for a system where people can cooperatively reason their way to solutions of societal problems in a public space


6.    People less and less about care  another’s welfare the further they are related or to  them.   For instance, food sharing among families is universal. In hunter-gatherer societies food sharing outside of the family does not appear to be based on need but on reciprocal altruism—that the person who gives people will get reciprocated.  This further survivability because  sometimes one person will have a resources and sometimes not and they have sharing arrangement they can get through leant times. But those tribe members who did not reciprocate or do not produce do not get typically shared it because they don’t further survival  So in modern society while we have constructed a morality of taking care of the poor and having a safety net human preferences going back hundreds of thousands, even million  of years would appear to have an impact. We care about our family first and foremost.  After that, we have reciprocal arrangements that can help us.  So the ppor in this context are the non-producers in hunter-gatherer tribles—they cannot help us.  And there is a tendency to blame them for their plight because we would not rather not admit that (to ourselves or others)Unknown people become objectified and not treated as a subject.  Described with skeletal stereotypes—objectified without having a particular individual consciousness.


7.    How to deal with religion’s tendency to try and remake society in its own image while  its adherents advocate politically  based on beliefs that are not subject to debate.  There is an imbalance in an argument between secular persons who can revise their arguments based on debate and religious adherents who whatever compromise is reached will never believe/agree in that compromise




8.    The problem with using tax policy to redistribute wealth is that once wealth is earned it is difficult to redistribute it.  It is far easier to redistribute wealth by policies that enables workers to achieve a greater percentage of wealth.  It is better to reward the  poor through higher wages than through welfare, because there is a strong inherent belief that people should carry their own wieght, especially if they are young, healthy and male.  If people receive enough wealth to get by and be comfortable than these lose the desire the work.  And it is difficult to make sure that wealth is properly used, that children are properly cared for.  


9.    Because of racism and segregation black educational attainment is not on a part with other cultures.  There is some reason to belief that part of this stems from a low amount of speech on average to black children at a young age.  Actually, this maybe a more broad-based problem than just poor black families—one study found that kids on welfare were exposed  to 30 million fewer words than high income famillies. 30 million words. In any case, that would seem to be one causal factor with regard to black kids not doing as well.  There is also considerable evidence that black students are discriminated against.  When you expect kids to misbehave, when you reprimand them more than other students, when you have low expectations—not a surprise when kids do not thrive In any case, it is a societal problem that we should solve.  Making sure that kids when they reach 5 years of age have been provided with the same building blocks required for education achievement—like similar exposure to words—should be a priority.  It is another form of societal infrastructure.


10.    Wealth of a society is not just a measure of natural resources, buildings, roads, ports, etc, Part of wealth is the knowledge and abilities of the people of a whole.  Infrastructure of a society is the building blocks of society. Allowing as many as people to access that infrastructure to create wealth should be a goal of society.  Utilizing everyone in society by making them feel equal and respected and not denigrated for their race, their sex, their sexual orientation makes for a stronger, better society.


11.    What is the liberal answer to the conservative  espousal of a doctrine of low-taxes, fewer regulations with letting the market determine everything, anti-union. pro-business, use of cheap overseas labor, maximization of profits at the expense labor? How do we counteract that ideology which has a simple powerful message that those who create wealth should be entitled to it—they earned it?  Several observations.  (1), is entitlement to money something where you can put as little input into it as you want with unlimited output (money) as long as you beat others at the “game” or must be related to some societal contribution;  it’s just a game and a person contributes little in terms of what they did to obtain the wealth then it’s a zero-sum game and the wealth they took has to come from somewhere—and that would be from people that certainly collectively have put a lot more inputs into creating societal wealth; (2) it is not fair that those in the upper-income levels should benefit from the fact that they can pay workers in poorer societies less money than our workers  and therefore investors and financial managers make more money while people at the lower income levels fight it hard just to maintain where they are; (3)  it is not economically efficient to have so much wealth go towards the top because this lowers consumer demand ( one billionaire  cannot consume enough to offset what 20,000 people making $50,000 a year consume), (4) wealth stratification distorts the political system as those with extreme amounts of wealth can use that to influence politics, (5) extreme wealth stratification reduces societal spending on infrastructure because the wealth will get taxed less than middle income workers and a wealthy class has less of a need for general public infrastructure so they are less willing to support it, (5) instead of the best and brightest going into  being engineers, doctors, scientists, etc. they are going to Wall Street to manage money or into corporate managment—hardly the best use of our most talented people, (6) To the extent that less money is spent on infrastructure then people at lower income levels will have more difficult time reaching their potential and this lessens our society’s capabilities, (7) trickle down economics has not been shown to actually work…unless you are talking about a very, very small trickle, (8) To the extent that wealth is earned by companies having unequal bargaining power vis-a-vis workers iii s not deserved (9) Wealth earned by monopolies or oligopolies created by a lack of financial regulation is not deserved, (10) wealth earned due to excessive political influence is not deserve,d and (11) a combination of no disincentives for making unlimited income (i.e, that is by imposing high tax rates at large levels of income), lax financial regulations, and a culture of easy money leads to speculative cycles like the one that resulted in the Financial Crisis

12.    We should have societal goals:  Important to have goals we can all rally around. of course a war can do this but peacetime goals are important too.   Win-Win instead of me-me.  Space can be one such binder. Ending childhood hunger.  Transportation connections like high-speed rail. What is it that we can accomplish as a nation.   No one is going to remember that we made a bunch of stuff.  What’s the Manhattan project of this generation? It should be big, life-changing. Put the people, resources and money and get it done.  You can’t be “great again” unless you aspire to something great


a.    High speed rail. Best high-speed rail transportation. A connected transportation system where you go from your door and get easily connected to taxi/uber, bus, railroad, subway, plane transportation

b.    Internal connectivity. Best and fastest internet connections in the world.  And more and better access to knowledge that is not still protected as intellectual property.  

c.    Best Educated people in the world

d.    No child goes hungry in America

e.    Manned mission to Mars

f.    Solve black people lagging behind in educational and financial terms as best we can.

g.    Raising Live Expectancy.  Curing Alzheimer’s.

h.    Changing the way people eat so that we will have live longer, healthier more productive lifes. More vegetables, less meat.  Less processed food. Make artificial sweeteners illegal. Do about something about either limiting fast food places or making them healthier. 


Let’s do something…


13.    Person’s withdrawal of wealth from society should not exceed what they contribute. But how to measure contribution? Market measure right to withdraw without any determination as to the input put in to gain wealth.  How do you adjust things so that inputs have some reasonable relationship to outputs? What about fixing labor costs to fixed percentage of GDP? If below that government adjusts for that by increasing taxes for wealthy americans and lowering them for workers.


14.    Large number of small companies competing each other in a free open is optimum.  The NFL with each competition having roughly each resources to compete each other is the model of pure competition.  None of the competitors can use bargaining power to improve their chances of winning. Every little advantage is taken advantage of by NFL teams.  


a.    We have to be very concerned about large corporations that can use their bargaining power to game the system.  Large corporations should be highly regulated to prevent their abuse of bargaining power whether against suppliers (Wal-mart), using unequal power to lower wages and benefits that would be otherwise be obtained, or bargaining with local states and municipalities for tax benefits.  


b,    Also need to aggressively enforce anti-trust laws to prevent oligopolies and monopolies that hurt consumers and workers.


c.    Need to highly regulate banks, investment banks and Wall Street in general because they clearly they are taking in far more money for what they do than would happen in a competitive environment.  

d.    Strict tax enforcement against companies that make their profits in U.S. but claim they are based elsewhere.  

e.    Get rid of ridiculous tax benefits for real estate investors such as depreciation for real estate properties that actually go up and carried interest unless the person or business actually loses the money.  If we cant figure out how to write the statute to prevent the claiming of losses when there actually aren’t then forget it.  Also get rid  of exemption that allows taxes not to be paid if put in property of equal or greater value.  


f.    Get rid of hedge fund exemption that allows them to pay only 15% of their income on taxes


g.    All interest payments should be deductible.  Think about it—when interest is paid to a bank that should be income to the bank.  The IRS should then be able to tax that money then.  So if $1,000 of a person’s income goes to the bank for interest then the IRS should not double dip by taxing the bank on that $1,000 plus tax the person as if the $1,000 went to them.


15.    What kind of reasonable agreement should we have if we are in a Rawlsian ignorance about our status in society? Proposal:  (1) the right to make withdrawals of wealths (e.g. more) should have some reasonable relationship to the contributions made to society.  Work is contribution.  Putting money in an investment that appreciates is not a contribution. Creating the I-phone was enormous contribution.  Input in, withdrawal out but not 100, 1000 times more than contribution.  We have separated contribution to society from money.  


16.    The internet allows for alternative voices to be heard against the Establishment Media. However, are those voices validated? How are they shown to be reliable?


17,    1948-1973—Labor productivity went up 96.7& from 1948-1973 and average hourly wages of production/non managerial workers went up 91.3%. from 1973-2014 productivity went up 72.2% and average wages went up 9.2%.This is inflation adjusted. Workers are not getting adequately paid given rises in productivity.   Labor’s share of gross national income went from 67 percent in the early 19802 to 63.8 percent now.  Why shouldn’t we have taxes that kick in to deter corporations from trying to reduce labor cost as a percentage of GDP?


18.    Semiology.  Sign theory.  The significance for politics is the way ideas get communicated about how society is constructed that makes it seem that these ideas are naturally and not constructs.  TV, radio, newspapers advertisement might have meaning on a denotative level but there are also connotative meanings that are conveyed.  This meanings might have to do with male-female roles, stereotypes about races or other groups, consumerism, the good of capitalism-, pro-trade, anti-union, etc.  


19.    Basic rights=food, shelter, health care.  It is the priority of the society to make sure everyone has these basic minimum needs. People are supposed to compete for what exceeds those minimums not take those away from poor people. Every able-bodied person has the obligation to do the work required to meet those minimums.  Minimum wage laws should be set so that those minimums are met.  If someone cannot get a job then they should do some type of work to get benefits.  A minimum wage of $15 is fair for most places to make sure someone who works 2,000 can support themselves, though perhaps it would have to adjusted for poorer states.


20.    Marxism sees the inherent wrong in capitalist is that the owner seizes the surplus labor value of a worker.  What would be al alternative means of allocating wealth?  One way is to decide what the labor percentage of GDP should be and have mechanisms that kick in when it falls below that figure.  Maybe tax rates should rise when wealth gets too stratified.  


21.    Protection of workers


a.    Facilitating worker combinations. How do you we encourage white collar combinations? Establish  unions for each wage labor sector (so that they would have a national presence and be able to effectively bargain against powerful corporations)

b.    Minimum wage

c.    Putting in tariffs reflecting labor differentials between other country and US or at least allowing these to kick when US trade deficit reaches certain point.

d.    Reducing education/labor costs

e.    Promoting pensions



22.    a. Slavery—Owner extracts profits by forcing slave to work for nothing except bare sustenance

    b. Feudalism—Serfs forced to provide services, food, work on Lord’s estates’s without pay.

    c. Capitalism—wage labor.   Profits made on the difference between the wages and the profits of the owner. Globalization with the free flow of labor and capital allows for this difference to be increased.  What about establishing a median cost of labor world-wide? So goods made with labor at or above the cost would be without tariffs world-wides.  Goods below that cost would be on a graduated tariff giving poorer countries some advantage in selling goods but not an unlimited one.  


23.    How can we can get to a better society where people can work less, have more leisure, etc. where the incentives for business are to deny these things to most people. How many people work in agriculture? It takes 3% of people to grow our food. How many work hours would it take to build a house? So we also need electricity, sewage disposal, roads, clothes, furniture, transportation. Does it really take 80,000 work hours in a lifetime to provide these things? What exactly are we working for and why does it take so many work hours for people to provide these basic things, most of which do not require that many hours to provide in an advanced technological society.  There has to be something in the middle where most people don’t have to work so hard given that most essentials could be  provided for them for a fraction of the hours they work. As long as the incentives are for business to extract as much possible work for the least possible cost so that profits are as high as possible (primarily redounding to the few people who are mid to high-level corporation management, or  are investors, or who handle investments for other people) than there is no real path to workers not working as many hours because that lowers profits. 


24.    Basic Organization of Society


a.    Maximize each person’s ability to contribute to Society


i.    Let people define who they are without being subject to social or economic pressure to conform to stereotypical roles.  Let women do any job they can do.  Show the diversity of every group in an attempt to root out sterostypes/prejudice. Let LBGTs define themselves without prejudice.  


i.i.    Lower barriers for individuals to acquire education and expertise.

iii.    Build up societal infrastructure (internet speed and access, public transportation such as high speed rail and subways, roads and bridges, make as much information as possible publicly available for people to use for free consistent with protecting intellectual property rights)


25.    Win-Win vs Ayn Rand—I think human history showsthat people can do amazing things working together.   But this Rand/Hayek ethos has exemplified giving the individual freedom to make wealth free of government interference to maximize societal wealth and supposedly is the best because the motivated individuals will create the more wealth because they are motivated by gain..  But there are several problems with this:  (1) private companies monopolizing industry to maximize profits—this does not maximize societal wealth because monopolies/oligopolies can be sluggish and still make profits because they do not have competition, (2) private individuals/businesses can donate to government so that policies will favor their interests, (3) recently, globalization has allowed the financial community to take an increasing percentage of societal wealth because low labor costs have allowed higher profits, this leads to higher returns on investments, higher payout for people in Walll Street that handle investments, and higher pay for business executives—none of this enormous wealth being made is the result of a higher level of contribution made towards societal wealth by these actors.


Win-Win means recognizing that we are better off if people from all aspects of society have fair access to education and job opportunities. This does not happen if someone  believes in Ayn Rand and says that does not concern them.  The social safety net is better for all because people can take higher risks knowing that at least they will have a minimum standard of living no matter what and helps to maintain the social order since people will not be desperate.  Almost certainly lowers crime as well.


26.    Difference between men and women and politics.  Men tend to see weigh a justice/fairness paradigm, whereas focus on a care perspective, not wanting to turn away someone who is need and/or emphasizing the effect of the decision reached on the relationships involved.  So there is a tendency for women to favor the Democratic Party which typically favors more social programs, whereas men to favor Republicans because they don’t want anyone (the poor or minorities for example) getting any special treatment because that’s not being treated equally.




1.            Scientific Method—OPHERC.   (1) Observation, (2) Problem, (3) Hypothesis, (4) Experiment, (5) Results, (6) Conclusion


2.            Classification of things. Kings Play Chess on Fine Grain Sand.  (1) Kingdom, (2) Phylum, (3) Class, (4) Order, (5) Family, (6) Grain Sand.


3.            Reasoning          

a.            Deduction.  Top-down reasoning.  If inferences are valid then conclusion follows. E.g. syllogism.  All men have a brain, Tom is a man, therefore Tom has a brain.

                b.            Induction.  Conclusion goes beyond what is contained in the premises. Observed frequency.  Sun always rise in the east.  Therefore, tomorrow it will rise in the east.  

                c.             Abduction. Subs-set of induction where there is an implicit or explicit appeal to explanatory consideration.  Detective has prints and blood linking a certain suspect to a crime.  The inference being the suspect did it because it is the “best explanation” between competing hypotheses 



4.            Penumbras. 

In law no matter what law or rule there is there will always be factual situations that do not come clearly within the rule or law.  So how do we determine whether the law should apply in these gray areas? This applies to many other endeavors.  Doctors sees patient with symptoms not quite what the textbook says.  Policeman has to make a decision regarding whether to use in a force in a situation that is not covered by training.  Plumber, electricians, etc see a problem similar but not exactly similar to problems they have seen before and they had to hypothesize how to deal with these. What kind of reasoning is used to solve these problems? Inference to the best explanation seems the best explanation.  Based on the following (1) What does the rule semantically mean, (2) analogizing to similar situations, (3) Training, education of the person making the hypothesis.


5.            People don’t like to read long arguments, so always break things up into bite size chunks for easy digestion 


Research paper organization:


Synopsis of paper. Put this at the start.   Break this down into say 3-5 statements. These correspond to headnotes in your paper.  Let’s say you (1) Intro, (2) Argument#1, (3) Argument #2, (4) Argument #3, (5) Conclusion.  Put Arguments 1-3 in your synopsis. Each argument should only be one short declarative sentence.  So the reader knows your argument instantly.  They don’t have to read through the entire paper wondering what you are going to argue.  Then all the reader needs to do from there is examine the evidence for your arguments.  And  coming up with  three main points is a good main--somehow the human brain has difficulty with more than three things so if you go past that the reader tends to lose focus. on what you're trying to say.

7            Hegel—Antithesis, thesis, synthesis.  The absolute is revealed through finite minds through this progression of antithesis, thesis, synthesis.  First there is thesis, then contradictions arise that conflict with the thesis, then synthesis is where a new theory is derived to explain both the the thesis and antithesis. And the process begins again. So basically in an area of knowledge we come up with an explanation, as time on we note problems with the explanation (contradictions) and we come up with a new theory that now explain both the original theory and its contradictions (syntheizes the two to come up with a new theory that explains both).  This goes on and on until maybe you get to a final resolution where are no longer any contradictions.


8.            Hero myths—Hero goes out into the world, survives many tribulations, and brings back new knowledge.


8,            How is religious belief to be treated in a democracy? What I mean is what happens when members of a religious group dispute with other persons regarding an issue.  So a compromise is reached somewhere closer to the religious person’s beliefs but still not agreeing with it.  But why would the group or groups reaching the compromise with those that subscribe to the religious have any reason to think that the compromise will hold since the religious group will always strive to have the issue resolved in accordance with their religion.


9.          Moral relativism. Without religion how do we know any moral belief has validity? We could analogize to geometry and come up basic foundations of morality that we assume to be true because no reasonable argument could be made against him.  (Perhaps we could argue that such a moral is the end of the line for Hegelian antithesis, thesis, synthesis, where there are no more contradictions.  I would propose the following:  (1) Equality of people, (2) Gender Equality, (3) Freedom of Speech, (4) Freedom of the Press, (5) Due Process of Law, (6) Right of Privacy, right to control over your body, procreation rights, (7) Private property rights, (8) Freedom of Religion, (9) Freedom to Travel, (10) Right to participate in government in some indirect sense (some form of democracy), (11) Free flow of information (with reasonable restrictions), (12) freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.  I think these issues have been decided once and for all—with reasonable exceptions and restrictions—and societies that do not measure up can be judged. I don’t think reasonable arguments can be made against these rights.  This is not an exclusive list.  Do we really need to act as if we are in a moral vacuum because there is no religion and you cannot establish these rights  as having any absolute foundation and when in fact they basically are absolute because no one can formulate reasonable arguments against them. That is how you know an issue is decided.

10.          Truth. Evidence. How do you decide if something is true or not? In the law evidence is relevant if it has some tendency to prove a fact at issue in the case.  What are the facts in support of a proposition and what are the facts against it? The strength of the evidence is important as well as the how reputable the source is. Obviously, peer reviewed scientific studies or papers are pretty strong reputable sources.  So when you evaluate evidence in support of a proposition some assessment has to be made of strongly does the evidence if true support the proposition and then how reliable is the evidence. 

11.          Peirce.  Triadic view of the sign—signifier, signified and interpretant.  Pierce says the interpretant is also a sign.  And Peirce believes we think in signs.  So the signifier-signified itself becomes a sign vehicle.  It’s a second order sign.  Let’s say the queen dies.  And there is a photographs of a large number attending the Queen’s funeral.  The initial sign might be a large number of people attending the Queen’s funeral. But this can be further taken to mean that people still believe in the crown in aristocracy.  Or a black soldier saluting the flag has a denotative image of that but it also means a statement that there is equal opportunity in the French Empire, or that there is no racism based on the fact that the solider would not salute the flag unless he believed it were true.  Those are temporary signs. Words on the other hand are permanent signs. Words, on the other hand, get changed every time there is communication. Terrorism might mean one thing to a Palestinian and another to an Israeli.  Sender uses a word with their understanding of the word, that word gets transmitted to other users who may slightly different understandings of the word.  But these different interpretations might yield to what an authorized source like the media, or a dictionary or the government says they mean.  


12.    The meaning of no text remains constant because every word gets interpreted by the linguistic community every time it is used and communicated. The simpler the word anon d the more often the gets used the more often the meaning of the word will converge upon agreed upon interpretation;  if it’s more abstract then there likely would be a greater range of possible meanings Of course many words have several different possible meanings depending on context.  So if you want to communicate effectively  it’s probably best to explain explicitly the approximately meaning of abstract word or  come up with an analogy so people what the heck you mean.  Do people even really understand what they are  saying when they use a bunch of abstract concepts that are remote from actual experience? 


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