No Such Thing As An Opinion!

August 3, 2011

Here are a couple of intense debates between readers and myself...

In yesterday's article, I mentioned that I would complete the migration of all article comments today (I transferred all 776 comments from my sister sites to the site you're on now!)

A lengthy thread of comments now appears below most of my articles :)

Yesterday's article mentioned that I've had several passionate, revealing and lengthy debates with several readers.

Below is a selection of a series of excerpts from two of those debates.   They should give you a feel for the intensity and intelligence level of the particular debate!

Note: I won't identify whether the excerpts are written by myself or a reader.  That way, if you choose to read more of the debate, it won't ruin it in advance!

1)  Why don't all intelligent people vote the same way?

  • "...regardless of what conservatives and liberals may tend to prefer, only one of two opposing views is more rational than the other."

  • "The logic throughout this article is too flawed to even know where to begin."

  • "Actually, there IS black and white. Either the majority of existing evidence tends to support or not support any particular view. The only exception are the rare cases in which there is an exact 50.00000000% split. "

  • "I think your crass lack of modesty may help to explain why you're missing the point here. There's none so blind as them that will not see.

    The entire principle behind your argument is fundamentally wrong."

  • "Perhaps your simple mind (relative to mine) feels that it's smart to imply that the opposing debater has made a claim that hasn't actually been made."

  • "You write:

    'As an example - suppose I set up a new single policy political creed, which advocates slavery for 49% of the population, with the other 51% to benefit. My new creed could be proven to be better at an overall level, since it benefits the majority. Again, according to your logic, because this new political philosophy is the better choice, everyone should favor it.'

    Actually, a creed WOULDN'T be proven to be better simply because it benefits the 51% majority of the population. It might benefit the 51% majority in a SMALL way, but cost the 49% minority in a LARGE way, and therefore the costs of slavery would greatly outweigh the costs. It's simply a matter of defining the costs and benefits. It's crude to determine whether a policy is beneficial overall simply by the % of people it benefits."

  • "And your long-term vs short-term arguments--Where is it written that long-term is the way to go?? After all, in the long term we are all dead."

  • "You don't think it's smarter to look at long term logic (your lifespan) rather than the short term? Why do you think it's more important to look at the short term (let's say, 5 years) instead of looking at benefits over the long term (say, 50 years). Do you not understand that 50>5?

    Also, did you know that studies have shown that people who think the same way as you are more likely to be criminals? (People who aren't able to delay gratification and hence think about short term benefits, not long term)."

  • "One more thing.

    Someone might vote in a manner that they THINK benefits them, (and that they think is rational), but they might not be smart enough to figure out that it will hurt them in the long run.

    This destroys your apparent argument (that I hadn't even commented on anyway) that it makes sense for two equally intelligent people to act differently since the actions necessarily benefit themselves. "

The above comments are less than 5% of the total comments in that section.

Click here for all of the comments!

2) USA's wealth: Shrinking 37 years straight?

  • "On this one, the piece about 'losing wealth', your readings in economics are very obviously far too inadequate for you to be holding forth with 'original' thoughts on economics. You should read up on the history of monetarism and centralization (any mainstream textbook on the history of economics will do), read 20 Centuries of Wage and Price Control. Read the chapter on John Maynard Keynes in the book Intellectuals by Paul Johnson. Read anything by any of the following three Henry Hazlet, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises. Then come back here and hold forth on economics."

  • " may remember theory from centuries ago, but it's worthless given that you aren't able to analyze it properly."

  • "... why don't you point out the errors in my post, if you can indeed find any, as you imply?"

  • "Wealth distribution isn't necessarily zero-sum in the realistic long run...Simply: Wealth is created when a banker gives a loan. In one column he/she writes the principal. In the other, the amount owed. Voilá. Instant money."

  • "Sorry your thesis is patently wrong as it can be disproved by counterexample.

    Take two completely separate economies which do not trade. Suppose that one invents electricity while the other does not. The first becomes richer. Suppose second that the first then uses some of its wealth to buy a consumption good from the second. It is true that by purchasing the consumption good the first economy has made itself a tiny bit poorer in the long term (any consumption reduces investment). BUT the first economy is still massively richer than the second!"

  • "Your example is incorrect. You claim that the first economy becomes richer after it invents electricity. This is false! It doesn’t become richer unless it sells that electricity to another economy!

    If someone within the first economy buys electricity from the person that invented it, that first economy is no richer; money has simply been transferred from one part of the economy to another.

    If my ideas are so obvious to others, then why don’t more others voice them or use them in their policies?"

  • "I disagree, here's why:

    I do think it's a zero-sum game, because in all instances, including loaning of money, it's simply a transfer of money. Even earning interest results in a transfer of money.

    All of those aspects you list, like labor, involve the transfer of money from one party to another.

    When a loan is created, money isn't actually created-it's transfer from the lender to the borrower. The borrower does receive money he/she previously didn't have, but the borrower also owes the debt to the lender. "

  • "You didn't define wealth which is a terrible omission for someone who is attempting to make a statement about it."

  • "You are incorrect when you imply that productivity gains result in greater wealth for the country. It results in greater wealth in some respects, such as the fact that it can allow people to have more free time. However, it doesn't result in more US monetary wealth unless it results in greater sales to foreigners."

  • "'So, in your logic based on your alleged great intelligence, a country which never trades (or trades minimally) and seeks to become self-sufficient is doomed to poverty??'

    Of course it's doomed to zero growth (related to trade alone). If it's not getting money from foreigners, it's getting money from within it's own country, and that's simply a shift of (not a growth of) money.-"

  • "Another questions--if trade the ONLY way to create wealth--If there are other ways, hasn't the USA used those methods over the last 37 years??

    So you are admitting that people on earth today are as wealthy as they were in pre-historic times???"

  • "And yes, I'm admitting that people today are no wealthier than in prehistoric times.

    If you disagree, then give me an example of wealth that was created out of the blue suddenly (without trading currency or assets and without producing something from a raw material asset)."

The above comments are less than 5% of the total comments in that section.

Click here for all of the comments!


The above are just two examples of very intelligent debates that provoked "a-ha" moments!

I like to think that you'd have difficulty finding these type of debates, especially the "a-ha" moments, elsewhere :)

Tomorrow's article will provide more excerpts from other great debates.

Which debates?

Well, to get an idea, simply browse the titles of some of my articles! There are plenty of controversial topics there...

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