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Q : Phil, what are your politics?

A : At the moment they are some version of LibertarianLeft. I might call them something like LeftNetocrat or even GreenPirate. I'm not averse to the word "socialist", so you can call me that, too. But I don't use the word the way most people use it, so it is probably more misleading than helpful.

More specifically 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.
  • I believe the challenges of managing our MemeticEcosystem go way beyond a simplistic argument about freedom of speech vs tyranny and censorship. I now regard anyone who just argues in terms of that dichotomy as having a "pre-Copernican" view : a model of the situation so bad and outdated that it's hardly worth discussing. I have several pages linked from my FreedomOfSpeech page, trying to explore and disentangle the problems as I see them. I haven't come to many political solutions and don't have simple policy prescriptions right now. But I'm really only interested in political disquisitions on freedom of speech, by those who do recognise some of these subtleties and challenges.
  • 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.
    • Nuclear power is hazardous and / or expensive. But, if used with care, has a place in the fight against climate change. While I believe most energy policy should focus on investment in building up wind, solar and energy storage capacity. We should also increase research into small-scale, safer nuclear and be open to building nuclear capacity where it makes sense.
  • Blockchain technology is interesting in that it creates the potential for eliminating banks and a whole class of financial institutions and replacement them with smart wallets and giving people direct control over how their money is used. (See ALeftViewOfBlockChains). This side of it should be encouraged and supported. I personally don't support the encouragement of Proof-of-Work blockchain technology, and think that, at the very least, BitCoin mining etc. should have to pay an increased price for the energy it uses.

Other political ideas, arguments and outrageous opinions can be found scattered throughout this wiki. (Though note that due to ThoughtStorms's original wiki nature, some ideas here come from others. Unless explicitly stated, all political QuoraAnswers are from me.)

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@ramoumaaa Cancel private land ownership & replace it with auctioned leases. All money raised to be distributed as UBI.

Avoid climate change by restricting CO2 emissions with tradable carbon and other pollution permits. Money raised by auctioning these permits also directed to UBI

1/6

@ramoumaaa Rewrite company law to set a maximum size on private corporations. They can exist, but must automatically split if they get too big. Both parts to have different owners.

Because corporations are main vehicle for individuals to hold wealth, this also caps individual wealth.

2/6

@ramoumaaa Blockchain technology is an opportunity to take whatever useful calculation financial markets allegedly perform, and commoditize it to a boring utility that costs as little as possible.

Sideline BTC and PoW but embrace blockchains to help shrink Wall Street into Cybersyn.

3/6

@ramoumaaa Social media platforms must be obliged to use open protocols, splitting the carrier from the clients & allowing users end-to-end encryption.

Which will avoid the worst excesses of surveillance capitalism and manipulation through targeted ads.

4/6

@ramoumaaa Capitalism is not 'markets' or 'private initiative'.

It's a particular period in history when society was allowed to be run by and for the benefit of the rich.

This must end.

And will end when the size / power of capital is shrunk so that that tail no longer wags the dog

5/6

@ramoumaaa I have a tonne more specific policies.

But these big economic changes I hope will be sufficient to curb capital. If so, leave it there to bed down.

If not, proceed to next step that targets whatever new centre of accumulation of wealth and power builds up.

6/6

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.

Borderline.

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.

Quora Answer : What are the best ideas of your political opponents? Why?

Feb 3, 2018

I'm a left-libertarian. My opponents include Conservatives, Liberals and Right-Libertarians.

Best ideas from Conservatives :

  • don't have a revolution! They're messy, violent and don't turn out well.
  • don't commit yourself on the basis of wild theories that sound good, pay attention to how people really behave. Just because you like the sound of something doesn't mean other people will and you can't just ignore them or hope they'll go away.

Best ideas from Liberals :

  • people have rights as individuals, and we should strive to protect those rights, despite the expediency of violating them
  • that includes the right to say what you like, for whatever reason, however inconvenient or embarrassing that is

Best ideas from Right-Libertarians

  • markets are an amazing way of getting large scale co-ordination between people. They're necessary to a great deal of the wealth production we currently have in society. If you break them, bad things will happen
  • government is deeply flawed and easily corrupted. Not because people are bad but because corruption is necessary to make the system work.

Quora Answer : Should nations discourage accumulation of wealth through monetary policies and taxes?

Oct 1, 2019

Yes.

They shouldn't just "discourage" accumulation of wealth.

They should make it impossible to accumulate too much wealth.

I, personally, think we should simply have a cap on maximum size of corporations.

Written into company law.

Such that if a company gets beyond a particular size, it must automatically split into two rival companies, with no common shareholders, executives or board members.

Forget faffing around trying to prove a monopoly. If corporation X is worth over a 100 million dollars, it must split.

Write this into the software that runs the stock-exchange. Have it happen automatically.

Bank accounts should be capped. So that they literally can't receive more than a maximum amount of money. Think of it like a cheque bouncing. Except money you are trying to pay into the account, bounces off when the account is "full". And nobody can have two accounts.

Quora Answer : Why are you a political radical?

Aug 23, 2018

Let's break it down :

I'm "political" because I feel I have "agency" ie. the ability to reflect upon and criticise society. I believe I (like everyone else), have the right to an opinion on how society is shaped. And the right to try to change how we organize our collective life. I believe I'm not a passive victim or disinterested observer.

"Radical" means wanting to get to the root of things. To treat underlying causes rather than just the surface symptoms. I'm radical because I think that the problems in society are caused by underlying structure and are not just arbitrary contingent accidents

I'm a "left-wing" radical because the place I want to get to is one which has more egalitarianism and ideals of justice and freedom (for a left-wing notion of freedom) than the place we are at the moment. And because I believe that the place we are at the moment is the result of a system with a particular set of dynamics which can be addressed as a whole. (Again, that it's not all accidents which must be addressed individually)

See also :

CategoryPolitics