Botnst - 11/14/2004 9:02 PM
Wow, Jim. I now understand that you and I share practically nothing in our respective world views. The chance that we will ever agree on anything that is not scientifically verifiably fact-based are very slight.
It's interesting though, that the commonality which we share is strictly scientific. Do you think that science alone can be a basis for a society?
Bot, is it the fact that I think wealthy people will spend the money to hire someone to avoid paying sales taxes as freely as they already do to avoid income taxes? Or is it that I believe the present system is designed to preserve the status quo? Meaning the wealthy stay wealthy and in the vast minority and the middle class and poor make up the vast majority? Our system cannot function if everyone is wealthy. The wealthier the wealthy are the poorer the rest have to be to make the wealthy possible.
Someone has to be putting more than their fare share into the system if others are going to take more out. Wealth, for example, that comes from business transactions that take a company, purchased for $X, and break it up and sell its parts for $3X, have taken more "out" than they put "in" and they did not take it from another wealthy person. The same is true for MOST people in corporate America. They did not bring about the success of the companies they were hired to run. Look at Disney for example, or some of the other companies that have made really wealthy people out of what have turned out to be little more than common crooks. The executives may have earned their whopping wealth by some people's standards, but not mine. There is a lot more "who you know" instead of "what you know" involved in the selection of these guys. The "what they do" part is not that impressive, and in some cases only equivalent to a better than average thief.
Anyway, the middle class buys all this stuff, and they make it too, for salaries or wages designed to hoard the profits for the wealthy. I am not bitching about it. It works, and it is the system. We have an acceptable standard of living. But don't romanticize the system. It is designed and built by the wealthy to maintain their advantage.
If you disagree with those (wealthy won't pay sales taxes any better than they pay their income taxes, and the system is designed to perpetuate the status quo) you are correct. We probably cannot agree on our outlook on how the world is.
If it is my belief that the Great Society has turned into about the opposite of what it was advertised to be that causes the conflict, well that is an observation. But it is based on what our present social assistance plan is doing instead of what its published goals were. Today we provide the bare necessities and the minimum police protection to keep stores open so they can collect their food and clothing without coming out of their neighborhoods, which are now violent, nasty ghettos. Stop paying and these guys are not going to hang out there and starve or freeze. They have nothing to lose. They will be out in the suburbs upsetting the status quo.
Anyway, the wealthy have the most to lose so they should pay the most to keep the status quo. Seems logical to me.
Science is the study of nature. It cannot be the basis for much more than that. But what is revealed through the study of nature can be used to influence society. Like making lawmakers employ the proven techniques of the Scientific Method. Or using nuclear power safely, or not. Or having an economic system based on producing goods that are designed based on principles of nature revealed by scientific study or discovery.
It is politics that screws things up. Politics is a word with only a modicum of negative connotation when it should evoke the same disgust as words like fuck. Politics is a practice of deception and deciet. Yet it is accepted as essential. Politics is especially obviously decietful when people try to substitute political reasoning (if there is such a thing) in place of scientific reasoning when a technical challenge crops up.
Studying nature may some day reveal some answers to questions that all humans wonder about. Questions that today some search for through faith in various religions. But science is not going to be the basis for why people actually live in a social structure that is enabled and enforced by an economic and political system. It will just be something some of us pay attention to while we exist within such systems. Jim