On Feb 26, 10:47 pm, Tomm Carr <tommc...@gmail.com
> On 02/20/2012 02:31 AM, spare...@yahoo.ca
> > On Feb 20, 12:16 am, Tomm Carr<tommc...@gmail.com
> >> I doubt even Houston has federal fire regulations. ;)
> > Fire safety isn't only about zoning and local building codes.
> Maybe. But that was not the point under discussion.
> >> I think most of what you refer to is the law rather than regulation.
> > What do you see as the distinction between law and regulation?
> Many. Among those are that the law defines unacceptable behavior and the
> punishment that applies to it. Said punishment being, presumably, in
> relation to the objective harm done by the action.
> Regulation defines proscribed behavior and the punishment that applies
> to failure to adhere to the behavior.
Good concise description.
> Said punishment cannot be in
> relation to any harm because no harm has been done (if harm had been
> done, the violator would be charged with a crime, wouldn't he?) so it
> is, pretty much by definition, arbitrary and capricious.
Waving a firearm around in a city street usually doesn't seem to
result in harm either but the risks involved is a sort of harm itself
(thus making it criminal behavior). Similarly breaking a regulation
can sometimes amount to criminal activity. (assuming of course the
regulation makes sense and the issue is severe enough)
In practice, many regulations are the result of politicians, police
and judges simply not being technically knowledgeable enough to either
evaluate certain kinds of situations. For instance how is someone
supposed to know what kind of chemicals are considered toxic
pollutants from a legal standpoint without some regulatory guidance?
Aside from the common sense sense aspects to some regulations, I
would even argue that some regulation cab actually help insulate
businesses from from spurious lawsuits.
>Regulations are sill laws T
> The law is reactive, regulation is proactive.
> Laws are passive. All the laws against bank robbery, for example, effect
> no one who engages in normal banking transactions. They take effect and
> apply the effect only to the parties involved when an attempt is made to
> rob a bank.
> Regulations are active. They apply to and effect anyone who attempts to
> engage in the regulated activity, whether or not they mean to do any
> harm and whether or not they actually do any harm.
> The law takes intent into account. Thus there are charges of murder and
> manslaughter. Murder is for those who meant to kill their victim and
> manslaughter is for those whose action resulted in death but that was
> not their intent. This allows the law to recognize that we are each
> responsible for our actions, no matter our intent.
> Regulation ignores intent. It simply plays no role whatsoever.
> Law protects the rights of free people. Regulation protects the powers
> of the regulators.
> > I've already agree that regulations can get out of hand. Don't blame
> > me for that!
> I blame you only for what you do: fail to follow your own words to the
> next logical step.
Logical to what ends? The far left claims lack of regulations as
oppressive. Far right claims regulation is oppressive. My own feel
(perhaps flawed) is that both positions are extreme and based on
moralizing rather than evaluation of the facts. One would not be wise
to eat soup with a fork... or a steak with a spoon. If some regulation
can be demonstrated to improve quality of life within a jurisdiction
why then would be rational to argue against it? And if some regulation
can be demonstrated to harm quality of life why wouldn't we remove it?
> >> Did regulations protect anyone from Madoff? The SEC (the regulatory
> >> agency responsible for "protecting" investors) not only didn't notice
> >> him on their own -- he was pointed out to them on /four separate
> >> occasions/ and ignored every one.
> > Others had argued underfunding the SEC was the to blame.
> God, I hate passive sentences. "Others had argued..."
> Really? No kidding? Has any other regulator proposed any other excuse?
> What they are really saying is. "Yeah, we blew it. But tell you what,
> give us more money and we /promise/ to do a better job.
To err is human though. Aren't government employes allowed to make
mistakes just like people in private companies do? Using the logic
that mistakes by government is a reason to get rid of most government
services strikes me like the arguments of the far left that use
examples of corruption in free enterprise to push Marxism. Why can't
we just deal with every issues on a case-by-case basis rather than
deal in absolutes?
> Would you accept that from a restaurant? "Yes, we realize our food was
> so bad it would choke a pig, but tell you what, we'll raise our prices
> and you keep coming here anyway and we /promise/ the food will get better.
> Yeah. Right.
I agree government employees should be held more accountable.
Politicians and unions are clearly abusing their position of power to
do things like make it next to impossible to fire government employees
and boast their own wages. They also sometimes support crony types of
capitalism (i.e. capitalism based not on free enterprise but on trying
to manipulate laws into crushing competitors)
> > When someone
> > scams billions of dollars I have to lean towards inadequate oversight.
> Really? The SEC was warned on four different occasions of Madoff's scam
> and ignored every single one. How is this an example of "inadequate
> oversight"? It is an example of massive incompetence and/or massive
> corruption. How would giving more money to a massively incompetent
> and/or corrupt agency decrease the incompetence and/or corruption?
I also agree with you the SEC screwed up but inadequate oversight
doesn't necessary equate to more money or more regulation. I'm just
arguing they just need to figure better methods to catch thieves like
Madoff in the future. Criminals often escape detection but I don't
image you would argue we should completely get rid of police and
courts right? The government patrols streets against common criminals
so is it so unreasonable that is should patrol for white collar
> could it not instead /increase/ the incompetence and/or corruption since
> it was precisely that incompetence and/or corruption that lead to them
> getting more money?
> Do you still not see how nothing you advocate makes any sense at all?
What have I advocated beyond enforcing practices that can be
demonstrated to work? I am not pro or against regulation. I am pro-
reason. If reason suggests the net result of some law or regulation is
beneficial, I'll argue for the regulation. If it shows its harmful
I'll argue against.
I'd appreciate it if you refrain from extreme statements like "
nothing you advocate makes any sense at all' . Hyperbole like that is
highly combative (see Charles). I don't mind debate over some point
but just ask yourself how you would feel if some else argued "nothing"
you advocate makes sense.
> That said, somebody needs to figure out a way to help us from
> > government scams! A watcher for the watchers.
> That was the reason we have three branches of government (with the
> Legislative branch further broken up to a bicameral institution). Each
> watches the other two.
They weren't perfect (e.g. still had slavery) but I'm a big fan of the
US founding fathers (way way ahead of their time). In developing the
US constitution they had the wisdom to extract good ideas from regions
around the world while at the same time injected their own good
> The "regulation" branch is a fourth branch of government, free of the
> oversight of all three of the others. Well, in theory they are under the
> oversight of Congress, who creates them, but this has rarely happened.
> One of the attractive features of regulation is that it allows for the
> enforcement of government policy without Congress having to take
> responsibility for it. If they started exercising effect oversight, they
> could no longer avoid that responsibility.
> We might advocate the creation of an oversight agency for every
> regulatory agency. For every SEC, for example, there would be an SEC
> Oversight Commission. But all you've done is added yet another layer of
> government which will also require oversight.
> > Canada just introduced a bill into parliament that would potentially
> > allow the federal government to monitor all our internet
> > communications and track us by telephone without a warrant. One
> > supporter of bill even argued that you are either with us or the child
> > pornographers. Not only is such a bill outrageous but the very fact
> > any MP would even seriously consider introducing such an absurd bill
> > should be grounds for expulsion from ever holding office again.
> Well, this again is an example of a bad law -- or potential law. I am
> not overly knowledgeable of the Canadian federal government, but I
> assume it has some check on improper laws. At the very least, court
> challenges could weaken or even kill the law should it get all that way.
We don't have a congress (a similar parliament is as close as we get)
but theoretically our supreme court is somewhat a check like the US
supreme court but I'm not sure how the two stack up in practice. I've
never been comfortable with the idea of supreme court judges being
appointed by politicians to lifetime jobs (which dilutes the
distinction between legal branches thus diminishing their autonomy).
Were it up to me Judges should earn their way into the supreme court
and be held accountable for their jobs like everyone else. (not to
mention in Canada we still have colonial rule leftover of appointed
"senators" that get paid to basically do nothing)
> Regulatory agencies are, in effect if not intent, immune from legal
> challenges. Recently, a Federal court held President Obama in contempt
> of court and ordered him to lift his moratorium on off-shore drilling
> permits. But the President does not directly control drilling permits.
> Regulators do. So while he may obey the letter of the court ruling and
> lift his moratorium, the effect has been negligible. New permits have
> not been forthcoming and there is nothing the courts can do about it.
I have no idea why some think it make sense to prevent drilling. It
sort of reminds me of the nuclear scaremongering of the early 80s that
put a halt to new nuclear plants. While I lean towards global warming
trends being real, I'm not actually convinced it's a serious man made
threat either. I look at the current situation more as risk
management (based on the views of thousands of scientists) than
absolute certainty. We should try to make sure fossil fuels are
burned cleaner (to help mitigate risk. until/if we can confirm that
CO2 isn't the serious threat most scientists today claim it is) but at
the same time it would be ridiculous to cripple our economies by
prematurely shunning a cheap energy source
> > How about I think I got sick and
> > think it might be because I ate something with Salmonella. What's the
> > police going to do? They simply aren't qualified to deal with the
> > situation. They're experts in force not biology.
> The police are not specifically qualified, but in such cases they call
> on companies or government advisory agencies like CDC to advise them.
> But if, say, a local lettuce farm was found to be the source and it
> refused to take appropriate action, then it is the police who will step
> in and shut down the farm and charge the farmer. He is, after all,
> harming others by his actions and would be committing a crime.
The CDC is not even close to being equipped to handle food poisoning
cases for a country of 300 million. This is why locals do the job
(working hand in hand with regulatory guidelines that are in part
established by research from organizations like the CDC, FDA, etc.) .
Out of curiosity though... does this mean you are actually OK with
government funding of the CDC?
> Generally, however, this is not required. Whether local farmers or large
> agribusinesses, they have almost without exception been cooperative and
> taken whatever steps were necessary to contain the problem. Whether they
> do so out of a sense of civic responsibility or fear of prosecution is
> immaterial. Action is important, not motivation.
> > If you really don't like
> >> regulations, why don't you, like me, demand more substantive reasons for
> >> the existence of regulations and some real-world examples of how they
> >> have been beneficial?
> > You should hear what posters on far left forums say about me.
> I can well imagine. The Left tends to punish any deviation from
> orthodoxy and are not at all interested in discussing any question or
> concerns you may have.
Indeed. Unfortunately I sometimes get the same impression from some of
the right too (not everyone).
> I would think you come here because you can express disagreements and engage in discussions and coolly logical examinations of your positions from which you may either reconfirm the validity of your sound arguments or reexamine and strengthen your weak arguments without being personally attacked.
I wouldn't call all the arguments on this forum logical (or any forum
for that matter) but that's the gest of why I debate. Not to preach
but to further my horizons by examining other views.
> Yes, I am aware of some well-known exemptions to that final clause.
> Still, the general rule stands.
> > Back to fire safety codes...
> > Fire safety related codes are a real world application. If you want a
> > precise example, the monitor in front of me must be CSA approved (or
> > recognized equivalent) to be sold in Canada like any other electronic
> > equipment. This is to help prevent my house from being burned down.
> > I'm fairly certain the same sort of thing happens in the US as well.
> > (including Houston :)
> Yes, of course. But let's take a closer look.
> Suppose I am shopping for a monitor and narrow my choice down to two
> candidates. Different manufacturers but otherwise close enough to
> identical to make little difference.
For most consumers there is little way to know the differences (unless
its a product that's simply been rebranded) Electronics today are
very complex today. They aren't like buying a lumpy pillow or spoiled
Further examination shows a sticker
> from a government safety agency on one but only a sticker from a
> private, for-profit agency, such as Underwriter's Lab, on the other.
As far as I know even today it can be for-profit companies that does
the checks (assuming the are officially recognized) but a check must
be made my someone (at least for some kinds of devices). While such
3rd party checks could certainly be ignored by any particular
justification, completely eliminating such regulations would almost
certainly resort in far more fires.
> On which do I place more trust. Well, consider this. Suppose the
> government agency makes a mistake and incorrectly certifies a monitor as
> safe when it is not and a terrible tragedy ensues. The customer (or
> their surviving family) can sue the manufacturer for damages. They
> cannot sue the government agency because it bears no responsibility.
Much like a private company, the government can not ensure some
product is absolutely safe. It is not responsible for someone else's
flawed product. In the instance of electronics, I'm not suggesting
every regulation is sensible but I do think it's reasonable that a
third party should review products for safety. (based on physics
premises which aren't subjective).
> manufacturer cannot offer the agency's approval in defense. The agency
> will suffer absolutely no consequences for the error. In fact, citing
> "underfunding," there is a good chance the agency can use this tragic
> incident to increase its funding.
The argument over funding can be applied both ways. Mistakes can be
argued as a sign of underfunding or as a sign some institution
shouldn't exist. My own tact is simply analyze costs and situations
to see what should done on a case-by-case basis rather than making a
blanket statement that applies to every situation irregardless of the
> On the other hand, the private agency may well share responsibility. In
> fact, it may offer to assume all responsibility for an erroneous rating.
> In addition to the monetary losses, the private agency suffer loss of
> trust and acceptance by the public. It will be more difficult to
> convince manufacturers to allow it to perform the rating service.
> The private company will investigate to see if human error or
> malfeasance led to the faulty rating and punish the guilty parties with
> up to termination.
> The private ratings company stands to lose money if it issues a faulty
> rating. The government agency stands to lose nothing if it issues a
> faulty rating and may, in fact, gain increased funding.
> So, all else being equal, which one should I place greater confidence in?
> > I agree many regulations are useless. Are you an absolutist about it
> > thought?
> An absolutist? Li'l ol' me? Actually, no. I am prepared to admit that
> there are places where government regulation cannot be performed better
> and/or cheaper than any other solution. Just because I personally have
> not thought of any doesn't mean one doesn't exist. That is why I have
> asked for your help. Show me.
I have but you choose to reject the evidence. Fire and food safety
regulations are two areas that seem to have had a tremendous affect on
lifespans and protection of both public and private property in the
20th century. You can assert such regulations are harmful but in
practice the 19th century (which didn't have nearly as many fire and
sanitation related regulations) had far more premature deaths due to
One could certainly argue this is a non-casual correlation but in my
experience those that argue it usually seem to be basing their
argument on blanket moralizing rather than statistical analysis of
facts. Laws aren't only about control. They can also be about simply
applying common sense to our behaviors.
> > Do
> > you support Rand's view of capitalism of no regulations, no taxes, and
> > just police, court and military? And if so, how would that minimalist
> > government be funded without taxation?
> So far, I support the no regulations part. As I said, I have yet to see
> where private solutions or simple law cannot do what regulations purport
> to do and do it easier, cheaper and with less corrosion of freedoms.
> I differ with a "no taxation at all" stance. If government has proper
> roles, then it must be funded. However, I recognize that there are more
> opportunities to raise those funds with user fees, like charging
> admission to national parks to cover the cost of the park.
Then you are not an Objectivist per se. Under Rand's conceptualization
of government there would be national parks. I don't think she would
even support the CDC either. Essentially everything would be sold off
as private property (other than facilities and employes related to
Rand's minimalist government related to protection of private
I've asked this many times over the years but no Oist has yet been
able to answer the fundamental question as to how exactly would
military, police courts, etc.. be paid without the use of taxation?
Some have argued " lotteries" and voluntary contributions but the
revenue figures are nowhere near enough (not to mention it would still
have to compete with free enterprise lotteries and there is a logical
inconsistency why would someone would give up their wealth to someone
else voluntarily if Rand was against altruism)
> I do object to the level and method of current taxation,
I'm really not much different, I just have different threshold of
value I think I derive from government intervention in some
situations. For example, I wouldn't want the current US healthcare
system over the current Canadian one. While I wish we had a private
healthcare option too, our universal system does have its perks. Why
would i want to fork over more than twice the money for healthcare?
(for non-universal healthcare to boot). It doesn't make economic sense
Say what you want about government inefficiency but since our
government precisely regulates what doctors can bill it for
procedures, can buy drugs in bulk, and can forgo the mess of
bureaucracy created by have a zillion different insurance companies...
the bottom line is we pay a fraction the money on healthcare and
generally have better heath stats than the US.
Normally I don't support government intervention but there are special
cases where it does seem to help. Healthcare isn't like buying a TV
or sofa (where I would be appalled if our government set prices like
it does our healthcare). Once one becomes aware of a serious health
problem shopping around for better pricing become very difficult
(especially in an emergency). Many healthcare workers know that and
end up exploiting other people's misery. (effectively price gouging)
> however. And a
> graduated income tax? Please! If offered extremely large amounts of
> money, I don't think I could come up with a method of taxation more
> abusive, degrading, unfair and expensive to collect than that one.
> > As a programmer surrounded by computer related equipment all day I
> > feel safer knowing that its been regulatory approved.
> Yes, but /why/ do you feel safer?
Because review naturally adds an extra layer of protection. As a QA
guy you should appreciate that.
> > It's not perfect
> Perfect? It's not even /good/.
> > but having another set of eyes review equipment reduces chances of a
> > problem. There is a very real fire risks in my working environment.
> I work in QA, so I know the value of "another set of eyes." But those
> eyes have to be effective. It has to mean something else why bother?
You automatically always assume government is ineffective but is that
actually always true? You yourself previously argued a 3rd party
private company can do fire safety checks on equipment. So why is it
those checks are suddenly ineffective just because it was mandated by
the government? Its still the same person doing the checks.
> > Going back to my views, I am perfectly fine with a free enterprise
> > alternative to achieving the same ends in a non-regulatory manner
> > (provided it works and around the same cost).
> Well, I can guarantee that it works.
However, competition being what it
> is, I don't think any company would be able to charge so much as to make
> the cost the same. So you have us there.
Private industry is usually cheaper but that has to be also put into
the context that there is no large state in the world that is both
completely deregulated and untaxed.. Essentially Rand theorized a
system that has never been demonstrated to work. I would note
communists theorized a system too. The result was much different than
their predicted results. IMO this is why it pays to be cautious before
asserting something with confidence.A single test is a worth a