October 01, 2004


Chris Sheil: "It may help to remember that it's not really your money, at least as an individual. It's our money collectively, most of which has in fact been provided by governments, past as well as present. Indeed, if morality was the only policy consideration, most people should give a good deal of what they already have back to its rightful owner - the government on behalf of society as a whole."

Mr. Sheil teaches stuff at a big university.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 1, 2004 06:46 PM

He's sure right about where his money comes from then. Give it back, Chris, give it back!

Posted by: ABC Al at October 1, 2004 at 06:59 PM



Posted by: Dylan at October 1, 2004 at 07:07 PM

In my blog post about Labor's Bob McMullan defending moves that'd increase taxation of some poor people, I had as part of my fisking: "Silence, plebs. The money is going to be used for the common good. It's not like the money belongs to you.".

Life imitates parody.

Posted by: Andjam at October 1, 2004 at 07:10 PM

What a numbnut.

Posted by: Harry in Atlanta at October 1, 2004 at 07:20 PM

This clown is a young version of my grandfather, teaches at university and has not got a fucking clue.

The average punter wouldn't mind giving money to the government if we thought it wasn't going to be pissed away on money to finance tenure without accountability for university lecturers.

Alas thats the case and thats why the average tax payer begrudges every dollar given to the government.

Posted by: Nuffy at October 1, 2004 at 07:49 PM

Is it just me, or did Chris's post make absolutely no sense at all?

When I receive a paycheck from my employer, part of the money I earn goes to the government in the form of taxes. This is an agreement made by citizens of a country, in exchange for the privilege and benefits of residency. This does not, however, give the government unlimited license to spend the money how it likes, so when it is found that the government has taken in too much money, it has a responsibility to return the excess to its owners (its citizens). So, yes, the money is mine, even the taxes I have paid in.

He's confusing the government with a business, when there is a difference: businesses exist to make profits, while governments exist to protect the rights of their citizens.

Posted by: david at October 1, 2004 at 07:50 PM

Brave Wew Norld.

Posted by: Tony.T at October 1, 2004 at 08:13 PM

Okay, here's what I think he's saying (poorly):

Value is more than just the sum of labor inputs. Additionally, it relies on the raw materials, capital, and enforcement of contracts, and the like. Since government protection allows the accumulation of capital and enforces contracts, and since nobody has an automatic right to any specific natural resources, all value over and above the raw labor input into the economy belongs to society as a whole, and thus government as the embodiment of society.

Okay, from that basis, we can look at what raw labor adds to value, and we come up with something less than the material culture of hunter-gatherer tribes; everything above that is the product of society/government, and quite a bit of that level alone is raw materials.

So, essentially everything is for society, with government as its agent, to dispose of as it wishes.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at October 1, 2004 at 08:26 PM

Er, W.L., are you translating or advocating?

Posted by: fidens at October 1, 2004 at 08:39 PM

We've come a long way from Adam Smith eh punters?
Looking at the UNSW website I noticed that the Proff is the author of "Water's Fall: Running the Risks with Economic Rationalism (Pluto Press, 2000)".

I guess he prefers to take his chances with irrationalism.

Posted by: fidens at October 1, 2004 at 08:42 PM


You couldda left out that last sentence and saved us the bandwidth usage. Like we couldn't figure it out on our own!

Posted by: ras at October 1, 2004 at 08:45 PM

To enforce what W.L explained you would have to be .....well a Warmongering Lunatic

Posted by: amortiser at October 1, 2004 at 08:50 PM

What an utter dick.

Governments produce nothing, including money. Money (wealth) is produced by individuals who choose to bear risk, and/or work hard. The government then confiscates part of that wealth and gives it to Sheil. Hooray!

The fact that people like that can be in places of influence is truly scary.

Posted by: Matt T. at October 1, 2004 at 08:52 PM

The dude suffers from what I call chicken and egg syndrome. However in this case it is pretty easy.

Could people exist without a government - yes.

Could a government exist without people - no.

How hard was that?

Posted by: Rob at October 1, 2004 at 08:55 PM

WL - "all value over and above the raw labor input into the economy belongs to society as a whole"

Mate, value is what someone is willing to pay on an open market. Anything else is socialist bullshit - who does the valuation; the Politburo?

I prefer to think Chris means that money has been provided by government because literally it has. They run the mint, you know!

Posted by: ABC Al at October 1, 2004 at 08:57 PM

"our money collectively, most of which has in fact been provided by governments"

Whoops, I just noticed the "most". Chris obviously knows about the high-def laser colour printer in my shed.

Posted by: ABC Al at October 1, 2004 at 08:58 PM

His resume suggests he lectures at Boston University as well. So beware my American friends. We export our lunatics as well...

Posted by: Stan at October 1, 2004 at 09:02 PM

I'm just translating, as best I can. I buy the basic Lockean argument, with some elaborations and caveats and [300-page essay snipped].

And yes, I agree that "value" doesn't have an intrinsic meaning, but that isn't the universal opinion of economists, and even the ones who do agree use it in a qualified sense in certain cricumstances. Sometimes it's a useful simplifying fiction.

But no, he didn't just mean that it's because the money is printed by the government -- otherwise he wouldn't have invoked Lockean property theory and and Simon's work. When he talks about money, he's using as a proxy for value (again, whatever value means).

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at October 1, 2004 at 09:38 PM

How long did it take for Chris Sheil to justify taking our hard earned by buying into that crap?Probably a lot quicker than Kerry did by justifying his Vietnam treason by trying to paint Bush as wrong in Iraq.

Posted by: gubbaboy at October 1, 2004 at 09:47 PM

The part of Singer's argument that made the most sense to me was that money only has value because we enforce contract and property law on one other through the mechanism of government. Without the rule of law, money and resources can't owned, without government there is no law, and without tax there is no government.

I'm not sure I followed the rest of it.

Posted by: Alan Green at October 1, 2004 at 09:47 PM

So 'money' is 'provided' by govt?
The statist Left can only function via fiat and all fiat eventually expires worthless. They can print paper but they can't create 'money'.
Chris and Albania must be the only two still with us.

Posted by: TT at October 1, 2004 at 09:58 PM

Wow. A real live communist. How'd that morality of giving it all to the government thing work out in Russia, Chris?

He is, of course, on the government payroll, I assume.

Posted by: R C Dean at October 1, 2004 at 10:14 PM

Perhaps Mr. Sheil should put his words back where they rightfully belong: His lower colon.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 1, 2004 at 10:33 PM

Jim, I think his head is taking up all the space.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 1, 2004 at 11:03 PM

If morality was the only consideration, Mr. Sheil would stop using the government's air and water.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 1, 2004 at 11:07 PM

Sorry, not even yours munchkins

Posted by: God at October 1, 2004 at 11:09 PM

Hey, God, while you are here, why haven't you answered my e-mails? I left like a hundred. Your junk filter might have got them on account of that they were all about lottery numbers, but I would really like a reply soon.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 1, 2004 at 11:11 PM

Sortelli, my son, the Heavenly father is busy, so I handle all correspondence...

...well, actually he and I are the same so...

...Arrgh, see the trouble with this trinity concept now?

I need a drink...

Posted by: Jesus at October 1, 2004 at 11:56 PM

His resume suggests he lectures at Boston University as well.

Oh, jeez! Bet he's right down the hall from 'The Original' Howard Zinn.

Posted by: Roger Bournival at October 2, 2004 at 12:37 AM

Maybe he is just suffering from vegemite deficiency...

And I thought the majority of actual Marxists in (teaching) captivity was in Berkley or somewhere in the Ivy League. Did Australia initiate a program similar to the one China has with pandas? I hope the lecturers cannot breed in captivity, however...

Posted by: Major John at October 2, 2004 at 01:20 AM

Something about these statists that they cannot see that there's any conceivable difference between "society" and "government".

Posted by: Andrew at October 2, 2004 at 01:58 AM

Well, judging by that, he's either a raging commie or a declasse fascist. Not that there's a lot of difference between the two choices, effectively.

"We do NOT refer to the Holy Trinity as 'Big Daddy, Junior and The Spook'!"

Posted by: mojo at October 2, 2004 at 02:15 AM

Wow I place one cohearent (if a might long) argument on his page and I get this:
I like the argument and I'm flattered, but honesty and integrity forces me to alert you to the fact that alas it's not mine. Why don't you get together with the others it upsets, write a book refuting it, and if it is well reviewed by experts in the field, as Singer's has been, I might be glad to have a look at it. Might even blog about, it it's a slow day at BP. First however, I suggest you try to figure out why you have to declare your earnings to the ato.
Posted by: cs at October 2, 2004 01:05 AM

And then I was banned. I wish I saved my comment, it was good stuff.

Posted by: jungus at October 2, 2004 at 02:25 AM

In other words, PROPERTY IS THEFT!! We consider this truth to be self-evident. Don't let that myth of ownership deceive you. You and your stuff exist at the pleasure of the state.

(And people wonder how such noble and well-meaning ideas can be responsible for the deaths of so many tens of millions.)

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at October 2, 2004 at 02:34 AM

> Without the rule of law, money and resources can't owned, without government there is no law, and without tax there is no government.

Sure they can. Govt can provide certain types of protection, but there are other mechanisms that work and govt doesn't necessarily work.

Moreover, we can have govt without taxes. (There are certain govt services that are hard to get without taxes, but most property protection and contract enforcement aren't in that set.)

I suspect that I could figure out how to have law without govt as well.

Posted by: Andy Freeman at October 2, 2004 at 02:38 AM

Sure Andy, all this can be done through contract law. I have heard the argument that security firms made to fill certain niches could contract out to people. Several security firms could exist in the same area with mutual contracts establishing how they relate to each other.
Muslems could contract a firm that uses a form of Sharia in it's contract while environmentalists would sign with a company (or some sort of daisy-armed co-op) that suits thier tastes.

Posted by: Jungus at October 2, 2004 at 02:57 AM

Some people just have too much time and too little to do.

Teaches at a university, eh? That explains a lot. If this man actually had to work for his money, then, he might have a different view of it.

Posted by: Rebecca at October 2, 2004 at 03:17 AM

I'd like to take the credit all you folks are giving me, but it's actually Peter Singer's argument. He teaches stuff at an even bigger university.

Posted by: cs at October 2, 2004 at 03:39 AM

You see it's all about ROOT CAUSES - in the beginning government created the heavens and the earth, and eventually man...

Posted by: Joe at October 2, 2004 at 03:43 AM

Would that be the guy who had a favorable word or two to say about infanticide and animal/human sex?

"He teaches stuff at an even bigger university."

You academics and your size issues.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at October 2, 2004 at 03:43 AM

Hey cs, could you post that screed that I wrote that you removed from your comments? I might need that for my book.
And I really am sorry that I got you mixed up with the other guy. That was my bad.

But the economics that you both promote sounds more like slavery than anything else. Picking berries in society's plantation.

Posted by: jungus at October 2, 2004 at 04:07 AM

It's your argument, Sheil, however much it is inspired by Singer's forests-and-berries elf-talk. Here's your post, from the beginning:

"They all do it of course. Drawing on the resurgence of folk libertarianism over recent decades, all parties now talk as if governments take money from individual taxpayers to spend, with conservatives more intent on emphasising that they wish to give taxpayers back their money so they can decide for themselves how they wish to spend it. With the parties flinging it about, albeit the Howardians in an appreciably more drunken style than Latho's camp, it may help to remember that it's not really your money, at least as an individual. It's our money collectively ... etc etc."

Is your property also not really yours?

Posted by: tim at October 2, 2004 at 04:32 AM

A better way to return money to the government is to burn it. In fact I suggest a Money Immolation Day.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at October 2, 2004 at 04:57 AM

If it wasn't for the U.S. winning the cold war, assholes of Sheil's type would still be running my birth country. 'Nuff said. I frankly don't care how nice and consistent the argument sounds when its actual applicability to real life has been disproven by, oh, about 80 years worth of spectacularly failed experiments in communism.

I rarely call people 'asshole' in pixels, but it's amply warranted in this case, primarily due to Sheil's sanctimonious "it may help to remember..." quip, as though it's entirely self-evident to everyone except those losers who don't agree with him. I guess it ties in with his equally delusional observation about him not being a leftist, as quoted a few threads down.

(Thank heavens none of my economics professors are that insane.)

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 05:05 AM

Actually, it isn't Marxist. The rejection of the labor theory of value, and the idea that society-as-a-whole/government rather than the proletariat owns the product of the proletariat's labor, would have appalled Marx.

No, with the glorification of the State, the economic theory that is presented is, in the exact and original Italian sense of the term, fascist. Mussolini would have agreed with every word.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at October 2, 2004 at 06:09 AM

I love it when folks like cs get caught in trying to say they didn't say something and then have to be shown that in fact they did say it. And blaming it on Singer? I presume you agree with it of course. Probably a Kerry lover, too much nuance to handle by the likes of us no doubt. If cs could only realize that his abiilty to say what he says is defended by a system that rejects what he thinks. To claim that that concept has significant repute in scholarly circles is a joke. Of course he would probably say beastiality is accepted, right?

Posted by: JEM at October 2, 2004 at 06:47 AM

Andrea. Heh.

Couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: Rebecca at October 2, 2004 at 07:38 AM

I found the below quote here http://pcwatch.blogspot.com/ that i thought would be an excellent help for what CS has planned when he rules the world!

"American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship."

Socialism has only killed 100 Million; Lets give it another chance!

Posted by: Rob Read at October 2, 2004 at 08:14 AM

Shame that's not an argument tim, only a summary of Singer's argument. Guess you must have learned stuff at a small university.

Posted by: cs at October 2, 2004 at 09:55 AM

Here in the US there is a group of new yorkers who issued their own money and they call it Ithaca dollars ...a non goverment group...It is only legal within a 30 mile raidus of Ithaca...
All reports are that it is well accepted (and legal by the way)
the prof is a little daft or misquoted cause economists claim the gov doesnt issue money ,they issue bearer bonds..
the bearer bonds used to represent gold and/or silver... the gov seized the gold( FDR ,1933(?)) and now prints money(paper) unrestrained ..

Posted by: e m butler at October 2, 2004 at 10:06 AM

Ahh, Chris "Period. Full Stop." Sheil is going to play semantics again...this should be fun.

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 10:14 AM

Is it the size of the university that matters?

Where did I put that diploma from the University of Calcutta...

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 10:32 AM

It's hard to say which is more amusing: that a professional academic thinks that Appeal To Authority is a legitimate defence of an argument that's been questioned; or that he considers Peter Singer to be an appropriate Authority.

Posted by: James Bennetts at October 2, 2004 at 10:56 AM

Ah yes, Peter Singer. What a moral authority HE is.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 2, 2004 at 11:12 AM

James said it way better than me, though. Hah hah! That's what I get for not reading to the bottom.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 2, 2004 at 11:12 AM

I don't think Sheil is necessarily making an appeal to authority though...it sounded more like "It was Singer who wrote it. I just summarized it without giving the slightest hint of disagreeing with him, but I didn't actually say I agree with his ideas." In other words, don't you dare question Sheil's support of Singer's argument, despite statements such as "Singer takes us through the logic [of this argument]" which, being unqualified by any additional remarks, sure does appear to imply approval of said logic and thus the argument.

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 11:26 AM

So I should give my money "back" to the government on behalf of society as a whole?

Here's a nifty idea for Scheil and Singer and whoever created or espouses this argument. Why don't I cut out the middle man and just give the money directly back to society? I'll buy some things, make some charitable donations, and BAM the money is "returned" to society. Wow! Distribution without centralized control! Think it might work?

Posted by: Crispytoast at October 2, 2004 at 11:26 AM

"Is your property also not really yours?"

If that's the case, I'll be over around six. I plan on staying for a few months. Do you have-- Erm, Do _we_ have a pool? I'll bring my swim trunks just in case.

Posted by: Mr Vee at October 2, 2004 at 12:20 PM


Writing a post quoting some "higher authority without pointedly disagreeing is de facto support of that "higher authority". Anything is spin and/or moving the goal posts.

And until I hear you are working for free, and not sucking off the government teat, I'm going to conclude that you are a world class hypocrite, on the same level of Hillary Clinton and her "We'll take your money for your own good" schtick.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 2, 2004 at 12:35 PM

When I began to read CS's blog entry, I naively thought, "Gee, I think Tim's missed the joke, CS is being ironic, he couldn't possibly believe this crap." Then, of course, his comments shattered my wide-eyed, innocent assumption.

Self-righteous, totalitarian wanker.

Posted by: Jim C. at October 2, 2004 at 01:20 PM

If we all remembered that Sheil hasn't got the balls to actually take action on anything he believes, is inconsequential in a world where action not knowing counts, spends every waking moment justifying to himself that "thinking" is useful to society, then I think we'd all be a lot calmer about his writing.

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 01:28 PM

Interesting argument. Does this mean that whenever someone photographs or video tapes me in public that I own the video/photograph because it couldn't of been made without me. :) Or maybe all products created using calculus belong to the estate of Newton.

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at October 2, 2004 at 01:33 PM

i never had the guts to tell my leftist uni lecturers what i really thought of them and their opinions but i'll do it now to chris . sheil? i hate you. i hate everything you stand for. fuck off and die.

Posted by: rosceo at October 2, 2004 at 01:35 PM

I think crispytoast just about finished the argument - dead center on, oh toasty one!

Posted by: Major John at October 2, 2004 at 01:51 PM

A few years ag JAMES CLAVELL wrote a brilliant book-
only a small book but its impact was chilling -everyone should read it- if it is stil available,
but not just for children
first published in 1982 by Hodder and Stoughton in Great Britain-
It should be reprinted now because it affects everyone with a child in a state school in particular especially in MARKS LATHAMS BRAVE NEW WORLD

Posted by: Rose at October 2, 2004 at 03:16 PM

You guys are obviously enjoying yourselves, and good luck. But I'm obliged to point out that you miss the point. If I said it was my idea, you would be within rights to charge me with plagiarism. I think it a good piece of intellectual work, to be sure, but to say that it is my idea is preposterous ... or at least it would be preposterous if you believe in intellectual property rights, that is!

Posted by: cs at October 2, 2004 at 03:30 PM

nice one weasel...

Posted by: rosceo at October 2, 2004 at 03:36 PM

If I said it was my idea, you would be within rights to charge me with plagiarism

Ctrl+F..."plag"...nope, no hits on plagiarism or any related words in this thread before your use of it. Burn, strawman, burn.

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 03:48 PM

Fabulous riposte, Christopher. Professor by name, professor by nature. I'm personally willing to pay more taxes to keep you at UNSW on a 15-hour-week so we can enjoy even more contributions like this. Truly staggering performance, old China. That plagiarism comment was a master stroke. You are really on top of your game, aren't you?

But seriously, any student who submits to being graded by you has a case for appealing your mark simply on the grounds that you are incapable of anything more than producing intellectual spittle.

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 03:52 PM

And just because I'm feeling nasty right now - Chris Sheil, I hereby present you with the coveted title of "Nick Coleman of the Blogosphere". Congrats!

Posted by: PW at October 2, 2004 at 03:52 PM

But here's what really makes Tim Blair's readers mad: I know stuff...

CS, October 2004

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 04:03 PM

Christopher may have a point if he’d prefaced the Singer extract with: “It may help to consider the view that it’s not really your money ...”

But he didn’t. He wrote this, and it stands independent of any Singer nonsense:

“It may help to remember that it's not really your money, at least as an individual. It's our money collectively, most of which has in fact been provided by governments, past as well as present. Indeed, if morality was the only policy consideration, most people should give a good deal of what they already have back to its rightful owner - the government on behalf of society as a whole.”

He then points to Singer taking us “through the logic” of Sheil’s assertion. At no stage did Sheil indicate, as he later claims, that he’s only presenting “an attempt to summarise the guts of Singer's argument”, which Sheil merely happens to believe is a “good argument”.

Sheil remembers that it’s our money collectively, etc, the same way I remember that 2 + 2 = 4 or that Chris Sheil is incapable of clarity or reason.

Posted by: tim at October 2, 2004 at 04:35 PM

So, let me get this straight, Mr Sheil has basically said,

"Here's Singer's argument on this. Great isn't it? Flawless! Wait..of course I really don't believe it..."

Posted by: Quentin George at October 2, 2004 at 07:00 PM

Professor Christopher Sheil's is the intellectual equivalent of a Frisbee; he's kind of fun to throw around when there’s nothing else to do, but he doesn't actually do anything.

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 07:21 PM

Apart from taking a leaf out of Margo's book of apostrophe use, I stand by the comment above. Oh well, at least Professor Christopher Sheil won't notice anything amiss, and that’s all that counts.

Posted by: Patsy at October 2, 2004 at 07:24 PM


I went to Harvard and studied International Trade and Finance. Got an advanced degree and everything. Is that a 'small' school to you? Good, well then let me comment, will ya?

Presenting somebody's argument as authoritative (but leaving yourself an out) when the argument is crap amounts to the "fake but accurate" defense. It's fatuous.

BTW, I encourage you to make a donation of everything you don't really own to the government. My best regards as you start your panhandling career.

Posted by: Birkel at October 2, 2004 at 10:42 PM

I love coming to this site because it was always fun mingling with the congenital idiots of the upper class.I

Posted by: Steve McLean at October 2, 2004 at 10:50 PM

Cute tim. The question boils down to, as you know, who is the author (read owner) of the argument. By all means, I think it is a v. good argument. But is it mine? Give me a break. If only I was good enough to be poached by Princeton. Or is that what you are trying to do? In which case, keep going ... you never know, someone might believe it!

Posted by: cs at October 2, 2004 at 11:07 PM


You presented an argument, then used the inspiration of that argument to support it. This isn't about ownership; it's about what you wrote.

Posted by: tim at October 2, 2004 at 11:56 PM

Poor Chris. He thinks he's digging his way out from under. So he desparately keeps digging.

Chris, when the argument is going so badly against you for obvious reasons you should realise it's time to just shut up or don't you know the story about holes, shovels and digging.

Posted by: amortiser at October 2, 2004 at 11:56 PM

Someday I hope to see Chris Sheil engage in an intellectually honest conversation without constantly trying to weasel out of every criticism.

I also want a pony.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 3, 2004 at 12:27 AM

At a dinner party tonight the discussion turned to blogs. As the wine flowed we started listing our votes for the most pretentious wankers online. There was a bit of good natured heckling as people tried to defend favourites from attack and vice versa. I agreed with some, disagreed with others. And then someone - and no, it wasn't me - mentioned Professor Christopher Sheil as contender for Big Blog Wanker. The response was, quite frankly, amazing. Each and every person yelled as one: "Yes!!" It was a like a game of Trivial Pursuit when everyone is trying to think of the answer to an obvious question. And then someone says it and everyone wonders why they didn't see what was staring at them in the face all that time.

We adjourned to the computer and took at quick look at Professor Christopher Sheil's blog entry on Professor Peter Singer. Much hilarity was had by all. And then I navigated over to this blog. It was the end of civilised discourse. I swear to God I saw tears of laughter on the cheeks of a guy who will vote Labour in the upcoming election. It was a bonding experience.

I guess you had to be there, but trust me, Professor Christopher Sheil has got what it takes. We all think he's worth taxpayer dollars for the pure comedy gold.

Posted by: Patsy at October 3, 2004 at 02:29 AM

Chris Sheil opens his mouth merely to change his feet. It's an amusing spectacle.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 3, 2004 at 06:09 AM

With respet to money, it's a trust issue. Governments print most money because people trust them to stand behind it. Other sources are possible, indeed were quite common before the american civil war. And you might find interesting the storied career of Josua Norton, "Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico"...

Posted by: mojo at October 3, 2004 at 07:33 AM

Statists hate sound money....it stands for property rights.
The move from tribalism was resisted by those primitives with similar views.
Poor things are still sulking.

Posted by: TT at October 3, 2004 at 08:34 AM

Sounds like a fun night Patsy. You're welcome.

tim, exactly what does "the inspiration of that argument" mean? You been drinking buddy?

Posted by: cs at October 3, 2004 at 12:12 PM

And anyway, since when did Peter Singer become an expert on economics? Ever since he flunked ethical philosophy, I guess. Anything of his I've read indicates that he's a zero-sum simpleton: you know, that there's only a fixed amount of that stuff called money sloshing around the surface of the planet, and if the guy on Wall Street has got more than the Sudanese subsistence farmer, well... it can only be...because...the Wall Street guy stole it from him!

Posted by: cuckoo at October 3, 2004 at 12:13 PM

Social Systems are evolutionary systems. It is not much help to treat them as timeless morality plays.

Ideological policies should be judged by their real world consequences, not conformity to universal moral principles. That kind of talk is best left to the seminarians.

And social systems, being subject to evolutionary pressure, will change. Even if one could derive right principles of public policy from Human Nature in the here and now, one could not stop the evolution of Human Nature in the future.

As a matter of fact, the part-statist, part-socialist Social Democratic mixed economy has won the ideological debate against Randian individualists and Singerite collectivists. This ideological turnaround has been conceded in principle by both "Compassionate Conservative" Bush, "Third Way" Blair and pork-barelling Howard.

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at October 3, 2004 at 12:35 PM

To be fair to Mr Sheil, he did at least have the bottle to answer his critics, so we should thank him for taking time out to step into the bear pit, where he surely knew he'd be mauled. The better leftists are those who do at least face some criticism.

Right, now with the niceties over, let me say - Mr Sheil is talking complete bunkum. Or is it Mr Singer? Well, one wrote it, and the other agrees with it, so it's all the same really. Mr Warmongering Lunatic was right - this is the economics of fascism, not communism. Fascism is a ideology about the complete and total glorification and purification of the state - fascists believe they should have money, instead of private people, because the state knows better than you do what to do with that money. This is the idea the Singer/Sheil coalition are promoting.

Communism, on the other hand, is an ideology based entirely on class warfare. The ownership of property by the bourgeoisie is the concern of a communist, and the transferral of that property into the hands of the proletariat. Socialism is clearly an extent of this, as socialism consists of 'taxing the rich to give to the poor.' But the Singer/Sheil partnership do not propose this - no hint is given as to how the money would be spent, that the government has acquired through its coercion. I personally suspect it would go on larger wages for university professors, or bigger and more exciting campuses.

The failure of Marx as a visionary was that he imagined mankind would live forever in class warfare, with one side constantly gaining the upper hand over the other. The truth, however, is that economic liberalism has closed class boundaries in every country it has been practised - consider America, where we learned this week that of those officially classsified as poor, many have a house that they own with TV (colour and satellite), microwave, stove, and a family-owned car or two. The situation is the same in Britain, and Australia too, and indeed across most of the developed world. Of course there are poor, an some in poverty, but economic liberalism has helped, rather than harmed the economic prospects of those people.

Liberals always say that we can learn a lot from cultures other than our own, and maybe they're right - consider this ancient Chinese saying: give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Posted by: Steve W at October 3, 2004 at 12:50 PM

By all means keep talking about me. But, hey, while tim's trying to figure out what he wrote, does anyone here think Ratty Howard will win?

Posted by: cs at October 3, 2004 at 12:51 PM

Hey Cris, I wrote over at your site that if I caught you in my house stealing my property I'd be quite happy to shoot you, but since you were a parasite too spineless to even do your own theiving, I'd have to content myself with the increasing irrelevence and fury of the socialist Left.

You deleted the post, doubtlessly chilled at the 'insate fury of the baffled right wing hate mongers trying to surpress the free exchange of ideas in this county' or some such shit, but the offer still stands: I just bought a new sterio you might like to requisition on behalf of the state, and I'd still like to shoot you. Would tonight at nine be convenient?

You're a thief and a parasite, Sheil, at least admit it and drop the repuslive veneer of pseudo-intellectialism, it may impress your callow students, but out here in the real world were people laboriously earn their money instead of recieving it from the government, we hate a sponging scumbag.

Posted by: Amos at October 3, 2004 at 01:06 PM

I trust you feel better after that Amos (although I note that tim doesn't approve of hate - remember, you're talking to 'human beings', or so tim thinks). Your comment was deleted because it was abusive. Civilised commentry is always welcome at Back Pages, whatever a person's politics. Purely abusive or vexatious comments, however, may be deleted. Be good now.

Posted by: cs at October 3, 2004 at 01:51 PM

Get a dictionary, Chris (one with soft, round edges, so you don't hurt yourself. Ask for an adult's help). Look up "inspiration".

Then, running your finger along the definition and mouthing each syllable, slowly process how Singer was the "inspiration" for your argument.

See? Words are fun!

Posted by: tim at October 3, 2004 at 01:54 PM

Shoot, I should have included my favorite George Orwell quote. In fact, he was writing of detritus just like Sheil - "One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool."

Posted by: Jim C. at October 3, 2004 at 02:43 PM

Here's some civilised commentary, Cris: I advise you to develop some humility and respect for the working people who generate the wealth that subsidises the thin, scum-like crust of Australia's "intellectual elite". We have to give you our money, we don't have to give you our respect, so don't push your luck. I've never taken a cent of dole money, never taken a grant, never had any support from 'society' at all. I've worked all my life, and, because I know some are worthless, lazy and parasitic, others will have to work extra to support them. I am that guy, I've tolerated and will continue to tolerate the injury, don't think you can add insult, Cris. Don't think you're important, you're not. Don't think your ideas are original, they aren't. A parasite cannot live without the host Cris, and an air of entitlement ill behoves a bloodsucker.

That lucid and civilised enough, you shit-encrusted socialist cat-fucker? Thank you for your attention.

Posted by: Amos at October 3, 2004 at 03:01 PM

Thanks tim. That really clears that up. Let's see if I follow the logic:

You presented an argument [Singer's], then used the inspiration of that argument [Singer] to support it [Singer's argument]. This isn't about ownership [of Singer's argument]; it's about what you wrote [about Singer's argument].

Very good! I'll go along with that. Peace brother.

PS I think Patsy has plagiarised the brilliant idea for her comment (you know where from).

PPS Between you and me, I think Amos needs a little help.

Posted by: cs at October 3, 2004 at 03:23 PM

No Cris, I don't need help, that's the point. You're the one who needs a handout, from me. People who pay for themselves are generally considered self-sufficient.

You might want to look that term up in the round-cornered kiddy's safty dictionary tim advised your dumb, tax-sucking ass to buy.

Posted by: Amos at October 3, 2004 at 04:10 PM

Professor just a little professional advice. Don't ever and I mean ever, try this sort intellectual hair splitting in a courtroom. Even the most drunken, broken down, third rate hack of a counsel would own your backside inside of a minute. Christ mate with the above as an example you couldn't even get a job as an apologist for Dan Rather & CBS.

You presented it as your proposition and then cited Singer as support for the logic of it. Which a simple paraphrase of your actual post. Then you twist and turn when you get called on it, and what sort of a defence is "it was all Singer's idea" anyway? Reliance on the fact that he is a bigger certified moonbat than you?

However there is probably an interesting argument to be had as to whether you/Singer are right in respect of fiat money. One that I will leave to those with a grounding in economics.

Posted by: Just Another Bloody Lawyer at October 3, 2004 at 04:59 PM

Re Sheila - the guy is a pseud.

I was once IP banned from BackPassage for having the temerity to point out that he was 100% incorrect regarding a policy area in which he claimed particular expertise.

[I could still be banned for all I know - I haven't bothered going back to see.]

Getting shown up by a competent legal professional in an area in which he claimed particular knowledge really pissed him off.

Heh heh.

Unlike the gorgeous Ms Harris, Sheila doesn't have the courage to announce when he is banning posters - he prefers to delete posts, ban the poster and let his pathetic accolytes pretend that he won the argument, rather than admit his insecurities lead to him crushing dissent.

Inspired by Mark Latham (aka The Lout on the Hill), Sheila now personifies such a combination of statism and onanism that a Labor victory next weekend would undoubtedly result in CS bulk billing Medicare for the pleasure of tugging himself to death.

Posted by: yarraside at October 3, 2004 at 06:48 PM

Notice Chris cannot argue in support of his drivel.
His contribution is about what "his" means.

Posted by: TT at October 3, 2004 at 06:50 PM

TT - LOL!!!! Best pithy summation so far.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 3, 2004 at 07:27 PM

Nonsense. I think Singer's argument a very good one, but it remains Singer's argument, unless you people don't adhere to property right.

Still, we're all having fun, and that's what matters. Right?

(Hey yarra - I'm sorry you're still traumatised, but you forgot to tell your beloved Leader that he was "100 per cent wrong" in thinking the competition payments were a tied grant before he followed my advice in removing it!)

Posted by: cs at October 3, 2004 at 08:03 PM

Case closed?

Posted by: TT at October 3, 2004 at 08:32 PM

I love nothing more than listening to those who suckle at the teat of state funds pontificating as to the morals of taxation.

So long as there is a chair in onanism, CS will be set for life.

Posted by: nic at October 3, 2004 at 10:55 PM

"Notice Chris cannot argue in support of his drivel.
His contribution is about what "his" means."

"That depends of what the definition of the word 'is' is"

Posted by: Sheriff at October 3, 2004 at 11:47 PM

I think Singer's argument a very good one

You know, Chris, this actually may not have occured to you yet, but that's exactly why we're making fun of you.

Posted by: Sortelli at October 4, 2004 at 12:32 PM

Actually Chris, I said you were "100% wrong" when you posted that national competition policy had nothing to do with promoting private sector competition.

It was and remains a ridiculous claim to make.

Do you stand by it?

Posted by: yarraside at October 5, 2004 at 12:03 AM