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RE: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

From: Eric N.
Sent on: Monday, February 4, 2013 7:41 AM

Yea, that Poe thing will kill you. That’s why I laden all my e-mails with extreme sarcasm. But then Zach just gets mad at me : (.

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Robert Morris
Sent: Monday, February 04,[masked]:34 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

 

This thread was invaded by Poes way more quickly than I thought it would.

On Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM, Eric Newbury <[address removed]> wrote:

A little point I thought I’d make to anyone/everyone that keeps repeating the mantra ‘this is a group about secular humanism not *blank*’. While this is, in technicality, completely correct, I’d like to make an elaboration. Why did anyone join this group? Was it to repeatedly debate the subjects of teleology and ontology? Ok, seems a bit narrow, though. Bound to get boring. Maybe to feel a sense of comfort? Fair enough, but why do they need/want comfort? To have more drinking buddies – well, you can always use more of those. These are all fine reasons, but I’m more inclined to think that it’s so they can talk about the world with people that have a relatively similar starting point. A lighthouse, if you will, for us to meet at to compose ourselves in this bullshit storm we call ‘life’. Now, before I wonder off the beaten path any more, I’ll get to the point. We’re all here now, that’s the only point. What we talk about now that we’re together is all fair game. Just because atheism was the subject that brought us together doesn’t mean it’s the bug zapper we need to encircle a thousand times till we fry our asses like Icarus.

 

In conclusion, libertarianism is fine. It’s paulbots that kill me.

 

Thank you,

Eric

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of William J Sweeney
Sent: Sunday, February 03,[masked]:48 PM
To: [address removed]


Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

 

 

I suppose I am more than a little curious as to why my views on the matter, matter.  But I'll bite.  Bethany, knowledge is a public good.  It is an essential public good, as essential as fresh air and national defense.   As passionately as I feel about the replenishment of fresh air and the mounting of a formidable national defense I am more passionate about the need to invest in public education as a key and fundamental way to influence the Weltanschauung, grow the economy and promote social equity.  Knowledge is power.

 

Nevertheless, my answer to your specific policy question, is no.

 

Given my passion for education, and an informed citizenry, why not support your proposal?  In the end it is the pitting of the presumed "haves" against the "have nots" it implies, but probably not for the reasons you may immediately think.  Let's put aside the Liberal vs. neo-Conservative paradigm of MSNBC vs FOX.  The most positive outcome (I'd like to define it as the maximization of knowledge) will be for all those that seek education to be able to consume of much of it as they are able such that the well of knowledge be replenished at a minimum, and preferably vastly expanded.  I will add that "able"in this context is not the classical economic sense of "they have the money" but rather in the sense of capacity to learn and have the transformative capacity to turn learning into knowledge.

 

Therefore, no I would not support the intuitively well intentioned Robin Hood approach because the social consequences are negative.  My measurement is admittedly derivative of value hedonism - "Value Knowledgism" let's call it - because there would be less cumulative knowledge produced for all to consume that is non-excludable and non-rivalrous.  Why not construct education policy such that all those that seek education to be able to consume of much of it as they are able?  Why rob from Helen to pay Harriet?  

 

Let's instead try a fun thought experiment that is potentially counter intuitive, but when examined may have more positive social consequences if were to be enacted as policy.  Would you support a redesigned funding system for public schools, allowing the state to mandate what each district spends per pupil, even if this means taking federal Department of Education funding away and spending that money in needier districts unable to meet the minimum due to their lower property values? 

 

Do you know how much of the proposed $68.9 Billion of DOE funding for FY 2013 is not directly tied to the maximization of knowledge?

 

Thank you for the thought provoking question.

 

William

 

 

 

 


From: Bethany <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Sunday, February 3,[masked]:14 PM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] who is interested in social justice? And why libertarians are not

 

William, you said: "My empathy for the hungry leads me to teach them how to fish, and that includes providing all the means necessary to do so.  Ironically enough, it is what I would have them do unto me."

 

Would you then support a redesigned funding system for public schools, allowing the state to mandate what each district spends per pupil, even if this means taking 'local' property taxes and spending that money in needier districts with lower property values?




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