[FoRK] A Thrive/Survive Theory Of The Political Spectrum

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Feb 21 11:29:26 PST 2015

On 2/21/15 8:20 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> On 2/20/2015 9:00 PM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> to the left, like in the growth of free trade and the gradual lowering
>> of tax rates, but upon realizing this we don’t feel the slightest urge
>> to redefine “low tax rates” as leftist.
> Low tax rates is classic liberalism.  Leftists the past 40 years have all but abandoned it and replaced it with collectionism.

Most actual Democrats seem to subscribe to general low taxiness now, either because they have bought into the concept of keeping 
taxes low or because they don't want to be accused of being accused of a blindly tax and spend liberal.  They may seem to be tax and 
spend next to typical Republicans, even though that is questionable overall.  Arguments have been made that Republicans have spent 
much more, just with different priorities.

All modern societies are collectivist to some extent.  Where do you draw the line?  Besides the insane few who seem to want zero 
government or zero government other than police and military (and maybe those should be mercenaries), how are the Republicans not 
collectivist too?

There are a good range of meanings to choose from here:

More narrow definitions:

Seems like a good survey:

I would interpret a lot of Republican goals and directions as being much more collectivist than Democrats.  Republicans want to 
control people socially (sexually, marriage, drug wars, conformance to religion, avoiding racial mixing and equality, etc.) for the 
benefit of society, not caring about individualism in those areas.  How is that not subjugation to the majority and " stresses the 
priority of group goals over individual goals and the importance of cohesion within social groups ...such as an "in-group""?  
Progressives and a significant subset of Democrats feel that they are much more supporting individualism in these areas.  To the 
extent that the masses, especially the low-income masses, push for collectivist taxation, control, and advantage, it is more out of 
ignorance and response to apparent greed and misdeeds.  I agree that unfettered, this could lead to a Rand-like path to communism.  
But, realistically, everyone is far better educated, points have been proven, so that this isn't ever going to happen.  There needs 
to be pressure in both directions so that there is freedom to build and innovate while society stays healthy, effective, productive, 
and efficient.  That requires controls, taxation, an effective and dynamic legal system, etc.  We're not that far off in many ways, 
either compared to other countries or the US in the 50s.

I subscribe to extreme individual freedom, socially and economically, which is somewhat compatible with conceptual libertarianism.  
I think we should have strong enough military and police, although privatization needs to be tightly controlled, constrained, 
monitored, and reversible if it turns out to be a bad idea.  (Privatizing jails and military is causing big problems.) There should 
be real transparency, accountability, and fast reaction to broken aspects for not convicting or abusing an innocent is our highest 
ideal.  I also see how society is connected, what's supporting those that succeed, and the costs and lost potential of those that 
are struggling low on Maslow's hierarchy in ways we could fix at a profit.  Additionally, it is clear that we can generate a surplus 
easily if we actually focused on it, so every knee-jerk reaction that the pie is shrinking and your piece is unfairly small is 
ignorant bullshit.  Government is a blunt, often inefficient hammer, but is uniquely positioned to accomplish certain things and it 
is possible to engineer solutions that accelerate evolution of society in ways that usually don't happen commercially.

However, we've now seen the rise of the person-state: Companies, often driven by unique individuals, who have begun accomplishing 
things that legacy corporations, institutions, general consensus, and government couldn't justify, believe in, or invest 
significantly in.  For a long time, there were few cases where individuals could direct government-sized resources at problems.  
Because of what it took to get there, few that could were generally not the kinds of visionaries who would make the right choices.  
A small number of those created endowments that somewhat had that effect, but only in a moderate way.  (Hughes, Smithsonian, 
Carnegie, etc.)

Let's refine the definition: A person-state is someone who has been economically very successful and makes moves that are aimed at 
progressive ideals and goals.  Elon Musk is the prime example.  Top people at Google would likely qualify.  The best MOOC founders 
are close if you consider them in a team with investors, especially Kahn and Sebastian Thrun.  A particularly social purpose 
oriented individual plus their funders are similar to a person-state, perhaps a CoP-state (cult of personality)?  It seems 
reasonable to include this under "person-state" generally.

You could also point to specific innovations as having transformative effects separate from how much revenue or value they 
produced.  That these are part of what is generating effective person-state actors is convenient.  It seems that both the most 
successful individuals and companies are progressives in the best sense.  This almost seems inevitable, although I'm sure many would 
assume the opposite.  An interesting question is whether any effective person-state actors that are Republican or Libertarian are 
being as effective.  People like Warren Buffet seem almost completely neutral in both politics and progressive moves.  The Koch 
brothers seem completely anti-progressive both socially and economically, totally invested in maintaining the oil industry status 
quo for instance.  Are there any good examples?

Why is that so?
Start here:
Who of those have done or put in motion more to help the world become better in their work or in their post-career legacy?  There's 
nothing wrong with running a company or empire well, as long as you aren't deliberately sabotaging progress (Koch...).  That is 
usually all-consuming.  But to be at person-state levels, you need that extra intelligence, bandwidth, orientation, and 
effectiveness.  I'm sure that these people convince themselves that providing value to shareholders is helping the world.  But this 
is exactly like wanting to blindly pay more taxes.

Bill Gates for instance, was ineffective by that measure as a CEO while he is well on his way to a good post-career legacy.

Elon Musk is off the charts in the career legacy zone.  He is doing some of the things that our most progressive selves would do.

What has Larry Ellison done besides bring us a yacht race?

This ought to be on FoRK, Medium, or PandaWhale... But I will see if you disprove my thinking first.  ;-)

> Greg 


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