Q : Phil, what are your politics?

A : At the moment I guess I'd call them something like LeftNetocrat or even GreenPirate (Ex EmpiricalSocialism). Making sense of this is partly a response to discovering myself MovingToTheRight. Though let's be clear I've been moving back to the left in the 10 years since I wrote that previous sentence.)

Other political ideas, arguments and outrageous opinions can be found in the categories on OldPoliticalStuff to sort out


I support the following policies :

  • A UniversalBasicIncome paid out of a LandTax or, better, cancelling private ownership of land and other natural resources and replacing PropertyRights over nature with long-term leases for limited exploitation rights.
    • Capitalism might be an acceptable system if it's voluntary (CapitalismIsNotVoluntary). But to be so, there must be a meaningful opt-out. UBI would give people freedom to live frugally without having to sell their labour. Which is probably the nearest to a viable opt-out contemporary capitalism could achieve.
  • Rewriting company law to change the nature of corporations. Including setting an absolute maximum size on them and maximum total ownership. It shouldn't be possible for anyone to reach the current spectacular wealth people achieve today because there shouldn't be vehicles to store it in.
  • Abolish IntellectualProperty (Copyright and patents). Keep some kind of TradeMark law. But extend it. All of us should have a legal right not to be misrepresented or defamed.
  • BigTech SocialMedia platforms have become a significant danger to society through spreading targeted FakeNews through their advertising reach. And it is unacceptable for them to hold users hostage through the data it holds on them.
    I propose
    • a FakeNewsThrottle (Obligated by government if platforms won't adopt it voluntarily).
    • Users have inalienable control rights over all data that a company holds on them and must have the right to see it, export it and / or delete it on request.
    • Any social messaging platform must provide an open API to allow third party clients to access it. No company should have control of both networking AND application layers.
  • ClimateChange is real, bad for us, and is just one way humans are too destructive of the environment. I support drastic constraints on emissions of CO2 along with other constraints on emitting pollutants, and consuming natural resources / stressing the carrying capacity of the environment. All these activities need to be managed through the use of limited, tradable permits. Money raised through the auction of such permits should go towards UBI. Nature belongs to nobody and it's right that the proceeds of exploiting it are shared equally.

Quora Answer : What is your most liberal viewpoint?

Oct 6, 2017

OK. So I'm NOT a "liberal" in the strict sense. (I'm more of a left-libertarian green pirate socialist). But here are some radical beliefs I have that are from my liberal / libertarian side.

1) that all drugs should be legalized for adults. And that the illness and negative effects due to them should be treated as a purely health / mental health issue. This shouldn't be treated as a criminal (or even a moral) matter.

2) that the government should get out of the business of trying to classify people by sex / gender. No need for it on passports or any other official documents. Nor should there be legal implications for it. The only place where "male" / "female" need be represented on any institutional document is in your medical records, along with blood group and similar physical characteristics that have health implications.

3) That compulsory education should stop, and adulthood should start, at puberty, around 13 or 14. That's how humans have traditionally lived, and perhaps the way we are still biologically inclined. The idea of an extended "teenage" period between 14 and 18, where young adults are kept caged up in schools that they may not want to attend, and are prevented from going out to work and interact with other adults, is an artefact of the industrial age, and not particularly good for us.

I certainly think that the state should provide education for people over 14. But it should be voluntary attendance. And available to all adults.

Even for younger children we should investigate much more open and self-directed learning than current schooling methodologies.

4) "Intellectual property" (copyrights and patents) should be scrapped. The government shouldn't be in the business of creating artificial monopolies or constraints on what ideas we can access and use. The only IP constraint should be "trademarks" in that the government should still protect your right not to be misrepresented by someone passing themselves off as you.

5) While I personally believe that much pornography is harmful and that we should make a personal decision to reject it, I don't think that the government should be in the business of criminalizing or trying to control it. The cost of this government interference in what we see is too high. The government shouldn't be monitoring what we watch and share. Nor punishing us for watching it.

6) Prisons should be for a) rehabilitation, b) containing those who are a danger to others. Prison doesn't have a "punishment" role. Nor should it be trying to make the prisoners' life more unpleasant than the fact of their lack of liberty in an institutional setting already is.

7) It goes without saying that of course, there should be no death penalty. Governments have no right to kill citizens in cold blood.


A couple of issues that I'm two minds about :

a) Assisted suicide. I see the arguments on both sides. I might be in favour of legalizing it. Though I see why that is dangerous.

b) Point 2), of course, should also resolve any issues of "gay marriage". Without official gender there won't be such a thing. But perhaps there is a question of why the government is in the business of "marriage" at all. Perhaps it should just be scrapped altogether, with the government only providing some kind of minimal bureaucratic service of allowing people to nominate a primary dependent who acquires particular rights such as residency or inheritance via the relationship.

c) Following the logical thread from 2 and 6. If the government is not distinguishing gender, and we have greater focus on rehabilitation in prison, why segregate prisoners by sex? Perhaps prisons should be de facto "mixed". Of course, this might be a terrible idea. Leading to women being brutalized by dangerous men. (Or vice versa). Or it might actually make prisons a less toxic environment and lead to better rehabilitation results. I think you'd have to experiment very carefully if you wanted to try this. And pay a lot of attention to the well-being of the more vulnerable prisoners. And it may turn out a disaster that needs cancelling fairly quickly. But I think it would be worth doing a bit of experimentation.

d) I believe in a Basic Income. That isn't one of my "liberal" views. It's a progressive / socialist one. However, if there is a Basic Income, then I think that potentially strengthens the argument for legalizing prostitution. Without BI, then I think the danger of people being obliged into prostitution by poverty is too high. But with a BI, it becomes closer to a legitimate career choice.