We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

People often have a vested interest in not knowing the answer…

There is only one question that needs to be asked in the debate about Welfare Benefits…and that is ‘What can we afford?’.

When there is ‘no money left’ what can we afford?

That seems to have escaped the BBC who continue to question Coalition welfare reforms and the need for them on the basis that we have an endless supply of money.

The BBC et al ask only ‘What do they need?’ with no requirement as to answer how to pay for those ‘needs’.

That may seem easy for an organisation that doesn’t have to work for its funding but in the real world that’s a model that is the stuff of dreams… imagine being able to force your customers to pay for your goods even if they don’t use them…and in advance as well.

BiasedBBC.org

39 comments to People often have a vested interest in not knowing the answer…

  • Lee Moore

    The BiasedBBC mob are being typically naive. As ever the only question is “cui bono ?”

    When the topic is welfare, the question “what do they need ?” is merely tactical; while the question “what can we afford” is childishly irrelevant. “What do they need ?” keeps the discussion on the essential point – that the state must grow larger. And cui bono ? Why those who operate the state of course.

  • I wonder where the BBC’s priorities lie. Do they think it’s more important for the low-paid and disadvantaged to have plump benefits or that, say, some television channels should get several £billion of the same taxpayers’ cashpot to film and broadcast Masterchef and Question Time?

    Reithian aspirations notwithstanding, if they really think that funding Mick Philpott is more important than me keeping my money, then it’s definitely more important than TV.

  • Pat

    Bella pretty well beat me to it- why doesn’t the government propose that the license fee be diverted to benefits for the poor- the BBC response should be good for a laugh. Of course the government should carry through anyway.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Or, to quote Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

  • Laird

    Wrong question. Anyone who asks it is heartless and greedy by definition, and his opinion should be ignored by all right-thinking people. Anyway, the government can “afford” anything; the BoE can print all the money it wants.

  • [...] on Samizdata a discussion about turkeys failing comprehensively to vote for Christmas. The turkey here being the BBC, and Christmas meaning austerity with regards to welfare payments. [...]

  • Snorri Godhi

    There is some research from Willem Adema, 10 year old or so, showing that social spending in the UK is not significantly less than in Denmark, Germany, or the Netherlands. (where social spending = welfare + health + education.) If anything i expect that social spending has decreased in Denmark and increased in the UK since then.
    So why do the Danes get more welfare for the buck? ever since reading of Adema’s work i have suspected that it’s because the Danes ALSO spend money on the welfare police; while the Brits, like the Americans, dole out cash to anybody who asks for it.

    This does not imply that i disagree with BiasedBBC or any of the comments above. I especially like Lee’s comment, though Laird’s is funnier.

  • PaulH

    I suspect I’m being naive here, but “What can we afford?” seems like a pretty poor place to start, let alone to be the only question to ask. I’d certainly be a lot worse off if my spending was determined by what I could afford rather than what I need. For welfare in particular we could ‘afford’ to increase benefits by 20% by halving defense spending – I’m broadly in favour of the latter, but it has zero relevance to the former.

    My own preference, if we had to stick to a single question, would be “What do you mean by ‘need’?” I’d appreciate any insight into why I’m wrong and BiasedBBC is right.

  • I suspect I’m being naive here, but “What can we afford?” seems like a pretty poor place to start, let alone to be the only question to ask.

    Not ‘naive’ but if that is the question you want to ask then ask it. But that is also not the ‘only’ question either.

    So no, we do not have to ask a single question, but that *is* the one BiasedBBC asked, and I am not interested in debating if it is the ‘right’ question. Want to ask a different one? Well it is easy to set up your own blog and do exactly that.

  • I very much dislike the word ‘need’ in the political context – ‘want’ is far more accurate and honest.

  • PaulH

    Perry – One doesn’t even have to set up a blog to ask a question; one can just ask it of the air in the comfort of one’s living room. I’d assumed the point of posting the question on a blog was to engender discussion – my apologies if I misunderstood.

    Alisa – I share your concern, though I dearly wish it wasn’t so. If we could narrow it down to what Group X actually *needs* (I’d start with food, warmth, shelter, and a narrow definition of opportunity), rather than the more honest yet more destructive ‘want’, I’d like to believe we’d have a better chance of limiting dependence while making sure nobody goes without the essentials.

  • Actually Paul, I happen to include food, warmth, shelter, and a narrow definition of opportunity (or anything else for that political matter) in the ‘want’ category as well.

  • PaulH

    Alisa – technically I guess you’re right, people don’t “need” food. But I find that idea rather depressing. I’m pretty sure we’re both OK with disagreeing on that.

  • Sure, Paul. There are lots of things that all of us find depressing – doesn’t make them any less true.

  • Lee Moore

    Alisa – your point is way too subtle for me. I understand that things that are merely wanted rather than needed are often dishonestly called needs in political discourse. But in denying that food, warmth, shelter are “needs” you’re making me wonder what you think falls within the meaning of “need.” Since any human will die fairly quickly if he doesn’t have food, warmth and shelter (the last two quicker in colder climates) I’m struggling to see what a need might be. Air ? Paul obviously understands you as he agrees that people don’t “need” food. But I don’t.

  • I’d assumed the point of posting the question on a blog was to engender discussion – my apologies if I misunderstood.

    My point is that “I’d appreciate any insight into why I’m wrong and BiasedBBC is right” is a strange question. You want to ask a different question. Fine, but that is not the question BiasedBBC asked and it is a perfectly reasonable approach that does not preclude also asking other questions.

  • PaulH

    Perry – I’m afraid we’re talking at cross-purposes. As I read it, BiasedBBC said “There is only one question that needs to be asked in the debate about Welfare Benefits…and that is ‘What can we afford?‘.” I assume you agree with that statement. I don’t. I’m very open to the fact that I may be wrong, and welcome comments that might improve my understanding. So should discussion here be based on the assumption that their suggested question is just correct?

  • Not sure how else to put it Paul other than to repeat myself:

    “So no, we do not have to ask a single question, but that *is* the one BiasedBBC asked, and I am not interested in debating if it is the ‘right’ question.”

    In short, I would have framed it differently too because like you, I am less concerned with the practicalities of paying for things I would rather see defunded completely, but so what? Most people do not see things as we do and that makes the BiasedBBC’s approach actually a rather good line of attack. And there is rarely only one way to attack things, so the more the merrier.

    As a result I have very little interest in talking about them asking a different question that someone else can ask… such as you if you like. You can indeed even ask it here, but I think it is a incorrect to see it as “either you or BiasedBBC is wrong”. Not really. You want to throw a brick and they want to stuff some sugar in a petrol tank ;)

  • PaulH

    Perry – got it, ignore the bit where they said “There is only one question that needs to be asked”, concentrate on the question itself. Right. Yes, that’s quite a question; words, punctuation, it’s got the lot!

    Lee – I wouldn’t go so far as to say I understand Alisa, but I understand that she has an opinion and it differs from mine. I hope she’ll expand more on that philosophy at some point, but perhaps this isn’t the right thread for that.

  • Lee, this may well qualify as reductio ad absurdum, but ultimately my point is that we don not need to live – we want to live. In the philosophical and in the political contexts it means that no one owes us anything, including air, food and all the rest of it.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly the MORAL case for limiting the increase (let alone cutting) government Welfare State spending was undermined by the bank bailouts.

    As Bastiat warned (almost two centuries ago) if you subsidise the rich, it becomes very hard (politically) to resist demands to subsidise the poor.

  • veryretired

    Need is a black hole that can never be satisfied. Using it as the basis for a government program that takes from one to give to another is legalizing a never ending transfusion that will end up killing the donor just as surely as it will never bring the recipient to a state of health.

    I applaud the recently elected Pope and his repeated emphasis on helping the poor and seeking peace. If the church would direct its energies to those objectives, and not to political action for the utterly misnamed “social justice” ideology that so permeates its religious and educational communities, I would recommend him for sainthood myself.

    The welfare state is misdirected in two fundamental ways: it presupposes that the nuts and bolts of a benevolent structure can best be put together by cadres of the state; and, even more fanciful, that political mechanisms are superior to the personal touch of those members of society who are genuinely moved to come to the aid of the distressed.

    These are the founding myths of the progressive assertion that charity is a political function, and that Dennis Moore is an adequate substitute for Mother Theresa.

    It is no accident that the welfare programs in the US have utterly destroyed the family and community structures of the very people they were intended to help, while making no progress whatsoever in ending poverty. Indeed, there are more people collecting more money for being “in need” today than ever before.

    What people need is the freedom to live their lives as they see fit, instead of existing as hopeless cattle on some political plantation.

  • Paul Marks

    As usual – veryretired has nailed it.

  • PaulH

    I disagree. Take the quote “What people need is the freedom to live their lives as they see fit”, and contrast with “Need is a black hole that can never be satisfied” – clearly if we give people that freedom they will take more and more of it, until we end up in a competition between the fear that your neighbour will do as he sees fit at your expense, and the despair of knowing you’ll never be satisfied with your situation.

    I’d rather take a more practical approach to the idea of need. I assume, without justification, that people are self-justifying, i.e. that they are important purely because they exist. Given that, they will have needs, as I mentioned above, that they need to satisfy. I also assume, this time with some justification, that hard work and freedom will almost always be the best way to satisfy those needs, that in some circumstances charity will be required, and that in an even smaller set of circumstances government will be the appropriate solution. That may be idealistic, but I’ll take it over the nihilistic approach that’s been mentioned here. I’d be very happy to hear other’s thoughts on that.

  • veryretired

    PaulH—

    I can see from the above thread that you enjoy, and invite, endless argument, so I will reply to your comment above, and simply tell you that I will not be drawn into a neverending parsing of this word or that phrase.

    You disagree with my statement, but, apparently, without comprehending it at all, go on to categorize it as “nihilism”. I find this characterization strange, to say the least, as I have never understood a belief in individual rights and liberties to be nihilistic, but rather the opposite of that, an affirmative and whole hearted statement of support for personal and civic responsibility.

    As for my playing with the word need, it is not unusual for certain types of arguers to take snippets of an essay and try to turn them into something they are not, but I don’t care for it as a tactic.

    There is a nice little bit in “News of the Wierd” in my local fishwrap today about the welfare family in Tewksbury, a busy mother and 11 children, who have a brand new, and rather expansive, house provided by the local welfare council.

    One of the reasons, per the mom, is that one of her daughters owns a horse and needed a stable.

    You are very complimentary toward yourself as being idealistic and practical, while disparaging anyone who disagrees with your approval of the current structure.

    Personally, I think you’re full of what that horse deposits in his nice, new stable.

    And that’s all I need to say about this thread.

  • PaulH

    I’m sad you feel that way, veryretired, and it’s certainly not my intention to do any of what you perceive. My intention was merely to discuss, and hopefully develop my understanding of, a fairly fundamental idea, which is how we derive the role of government. One view I think some people have here is that there should be no government. I don’t agree with that, but I can understand the argument to some extent. A more common view is based around freedom, liberty or personal integrity. Again, I can understand that argument, though I have a lot to learn about the philosophical underpinning of it.

    But this thread threw up the idea of ‘need’. I wondered if it’s possible to start with people really need (as opposed to the stable that they might want), and derive a place for government from that. That’s rather ambitious for a blog thread, of course, but it seemed the most interesting idea in the original post to me. I suppose I am parsing the word, but deliberately rather than argumentatively; is it possible to say that people need food warmth and shelter, (or any other set of absolute needs we might suggest), and that government *may* have a role in ensuring those, but that anything else is a want, and government automatically has no business there.

    One clarification – I wasn’t referring to a belief in individual rights and liberties as being nihilistic, but the idea mentioned by Alisa that humans don’t need food, warmth, or anything else. That wasn’t at all clear in what I wrote, though, so my apologies for that.

    And finally, on re-reading what I wrote I don’t believe I complimented myself on being practical and idealistic, merely that I aspired to the former in the discussion of need, and that I may be guilty of the latter in doing so. In fact I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t know how to be both at the same time.

    Thanks for your comments, though, and for the personal insult; it’s appreciated. I hope you will reply, and give me the chance to demonstrate that I’m not being argumentative, I’m trying to learn. I’d gained the impression that this blog works to be more than an echo chamber for libertarian views, and it seems like your understanding could help with that.

  • Laird

    PaulH, I won’t presume to reply on VR’s behalf; he can reply or not as he chooses. But for my part, I disagree with Alisa’s definition of “need” as being so expansive as to strip the word of any utility. I would start with the premise that an individual’s survival is a fundamental “good” (a la Rand), and then define anything which is essential to individual survival (oxygen, food, shelter, etc.) as a “need”. Everything else is a “want”.

    With that said, I would then answer your question by saying that there is no legitimate role for government in providing either. I am a minarchist, not an anarchist; I accept the need for some government. But I view the only legitimate role of government as being in the maintenance of an environment in which humans can peacefully interact to conduct their personal affairs. How they conduct those affairs (provide that they do not harm others), or their success or failure in doing so, is entirely their concern, not government’s. To the extent there is a need for charity (and there certainly is) it must be private; government “charity” is a logical impossibility.

  • Laird, I am simply making a distinction between the subjective and the objective definitions of the word ‘need’. As far as I am subjectively concerned, I may need things or want things (including life itself). As far as you are objectively concerned, my needs are nothing more than my subjective desires (including life itself). Of course you are free to share in my subjective concerns (by caring, AKA “giving a damn”), which may lead you to viewing my desires as ‘needs’, but that would then put them in your subjective realm in addition to mine, nothing more. Other people may still not care, and they should be free to do so.

    I know that I am not making myself clear enough, but I’m working on it:-)

  • …forgot to add that otherwise ‘need’ does become a black hole, as VR aptly put it.

  • Paul Marks

    Government is a sword – organised force and fear. That may be needed at times (although this is contested), but it should be seen as what it is.

    I do not like a lot about the NBC series “Revolution” (the “science” in it is nonsense and so on), but it does show how a government set up with the best of intentions can prove to be a horror (so evil that its own founder turns against it – but finds he can do little against the monster he has helped create).

    For example, when a man tells me [UNASKED] he is going to hold a firearm and threaten to murder if I “do not save a baby” (it turned out the “baby” was really a welfare right for the entire population of the planet – this man was not an “Operation Rescue” type, I doubt he interested in real babies) that is fair enough. Collectivists (supporters of the principle of Social Justice)are hardly uncommon.

    But what if this limitless “need” (and it was limitless – as it turned out to mean education, and treatment, and even Mike Bloomberg style projects) is now what “libertarianism” is about – supported by the academics and the bright eyed young?

    “Fight them Paul”.

    Fight kids?

    When they say they want to murder they do not really know what murder means – they have never seen anyone die, it is all artificial to them. It is not real.

    I can not fight them – all I can do is go home (where I have more in common even with members of the local Labour Party, some of whom are friends, than I have with the new breed of “libertarians”) and go for a walk.

    Oh well Christopher L. will be here in a little while (one of the evil “local aristocracy” although gentry would be a better term. I have duties to perform, and as they invole going for a walk (which is what I want to do anyway) I am only too happy to try and get things done.

    But if I said “no” – I rather doubt that Christopher L. would murder me, or that any of his forefathers would have murdered me either.

  • Paul Marks

    On a more serious matter – I have just seen two cats in the garden shapeing up to each other (neither noticeing the dog from next door watching them through the fence). If only I had a camera.

  • Paul Marks

    PaulH – “in a smaller set of circumstance government may be needed to meet needs”.

    That shows a fundemental misunderstanding of government – government intervention GROWS.

    Take the example of Food Stamps – this started (in the early 1960s) as being proclaimed as being for a few desperate people (whether people who really were that desperate would have had the skills to fill in the Food Stamp paperwork is another matter).

    How many TENS OF MILLIONS of people are on Foodstamps now?

    Another example…

    The 1870 Forster Act was intended to “fill the gaps” the few places where there were not “enough” schools government schools would be set up.

    Soon the (subsidised) government schools were destroying the voluntary schools – what had been sold as “fillng the gaps” became a STATE EDUCATION SYSTEM.

    Government is not some useful tool that one can use and then put back on the shelf.

    Once you let government into a need – it will take over (or corrupt) things in this area.

    Too many persons think they can “use” government for the ends they desire – not understanding that it will end up using them.

    It is something that libertarians used to understand – but as with the fall of liberalism (more than a century ago now) things have changed.

    Government is force – it is the world of force, not the world of benevolence (threatening to murder people, if they will not obey orders, is not benevolent).

    The tragic thing is that once government takes over a “need” large numbers of people (good people) become dependent upon it.

    Unlike Rothbard I doubt that pressing a magic button (and getting rid of the state) can solve this.

    The voluntary cultural institutions have gone (or been corrupted).

    What can one do?

    I do not know.

    I used to hope for gradual roll back (giving time for old ways to be restored or new ways to be found) now it seems that the future will be one of collapse – de facto bankruptcy.

    Perhaps my hopes were always the hopes of a fool (the fool being ME).

    After all if government is such a powerful (and negative) force – why did I hope that anyone could roll it back?

    Perhaps de facto bankruptcy (caused by government seeking to meet needs) was inevitable.

    Somewhere Murray Rothbard may be laughing at minimal state people like me.

  • Lee Moore

    I agree with Laird and disagree with Alisa, though of course people can use words however they please. In ordinary usage needs and wants represent different types of lack. If I am to make a wooden table, I need wood. I merely want a hammer and nails. I simply can’t make a wooden table without wood. Whereas I could make one without hammer and nails. (I could use glue or screws or just well cut slots.) A need is, er, necessary. But necessary for what ? Food is necessary for survival for more than a few days. A DVD player is necessary to play DVDs. It is true that you and I could disagree on whether food is indeed necessary for me to survive for more than a few days, or whether a DVD player really is needed to play DVDs, but such disagreements are in principle resolvable by experiment. A need is therefore not really a subjective concept, it’s an objective concept. Likewise a want is an objective concept. Either I want something or I don’t. It’s a question of fact – though the facts may be more apparent to me than you as I have better information on what I want than you do.

    So what is Alisa on about ? I may be wrong but I’m guessing that what she’s really disputing is that the “for what ?” is a goal that everyone values. ie I don’t think that she’s liable to dispute that I need a DVD player to play DVDs, but she may doubt that “me having the ability to play DVDs” is a goal that is of interest to anyone but me. And I would concur.

    But the fact that people will disagree about the value of the goal doesn’t mean that we should deny any objective distinction between needs and wants. We should argue about the value of the goal (which will be subjective) rather than muddy the valid distinction between needs and wants. It’s perfectly possible to agree on whether a DVD player is necessary to play DVDs, while disagreeing about the value of the goal.

    As far as welfare is concerned, the goals of individual survival, happiness, full participation in society etc have been mentioned variously, but are usually left unstated. My subjective valuation of these goals (for the rest of humanity) is “quite a lot”; “not a great deal”; and “even less” respectively. And none of those answers reveals what I think the government’s role should be in delivering any of these goals. But if a keen welfarist wishes to argue with me about whether “welfare benefit X is needed” I would much prefer to discuss “needed for what ?” and “why do you think X is needed to achieve that ?” and “why do you think the government is a good provider of that?” and “why do you think it is right to take money from other people so that the government can do that?” – than simply saying “Need has no meaning in this discussion.”

  • Lee, I think that I specifically mentioned that my point only applies in the political context. I find it hard to imagine how the need for a DVD player to play DVDs (or similar points) would be relevant in such context.

    But if a keen welfarist wishes to argue with me about whether “welfare benefit X is needed” I would much prefer to discuss “needed for what ?” and “why do you think X is needed to achieve that ?” and “why do you think the government is a good provider of that?” and “why do you think it is right to take money from other people so that the government can do that?” – than simply saying “Need has no meaning in this discussion.”

    See Lee, the thing is that we have been having this discussion for many years now, and we do know the answers (and I dare presume that you do, too). So as far as I am concerned, I forgo the repeated discussion altogether and tell your hypothetical welfarist that he may think that he needs this and that all he wants (oops…), as may anyone else. But as far as I am concerned, he doesn’t need anything, he wants things, just as I want things – the key difference between him and myself being that he wants those things from me and others like me.

  • Paul Marks

    Lee – if food is a need and the job of government is to provide needs, then Foodstamps-R-Us.

    And the 1950s were evil (and “less free”) because the government did not provide Foodstamps in the 1950s (as well as because they were racist, sexist, homophobic…….).

    “Paul you are using presenting an extreme straw man example”.

    No I am not – I am presenting a paid empolyee of the Adam Smith Institute,(I still have the fingernail marks in the backs of my hands from listening to him for an hour) with lots of supporters (supporters who are very brave when they are making threats – not so much when someone takes them up on them).

    And why stop at food?

    Is not knowledge a “need”?

    So government should (Mike Bloomberg style) should provide you with training classes on how to live – including what to eat (otherwise you will end up as healthy as me and then die).

    This is “true freedom” “positive freedom” – the government in control so that you will live a long time and be healthy. More time to play games – which is what is really important.

    Disagree?

    Well then you are not a true libertarian – the academics all say so.

    Just as they redefined “liberalism” a century ago.

    And you are are a racist – just like Star Parker and Walter Williams.

    And a sexist like Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane, and I. Patterson.

    Or like Jane Stanford (of Stanford University).

    The supporters of “true freedom” (what Woodrow Wilson called the “New Freedom”) dealt with Jane Stanford a century ago.

    No one could be allowed to stand in the way of “academic freedom”.

    At least they did not shoot her – to make her jump in a lake to “save a baby”.

    They used poison instead.

    For the greater-good.

    After all “almost everyone in the world” agrees with the above.

  • PaulH

    Laird: It’s interesting that you say that you describe the role of government as you do, while excluding both want and need. I really don’t want to make it a semantic discussion, so I’ll share this purely as something I’ll spend some time pondering – if the government is to be consistent with your position (which I understand to be at least reasonably libertarian), then it’s doing something that nobody wants or needs. I find that an interesting concept – could it be a logical impossibility, or a practical means of constraining its actions? Hmm…

    Paul: “That shows a fundemental misunderstanding of government – government intervention GROWS.”

    I was speaking of an ideal system, rather than the current one or even a possible one. If you accept that there’s a place for government, which of course you don’t have to, then there’s always a question of how to constrain it. I’ve been speculating (as in I don’t know, just wondering) whether the need versus want idea would suffice to do that, but its clear from what’s been discussed here that this is contentious to say the least.

    “if food is a need and the job of government is to provide needs, then Foodstamps-R-Us.”

    I’m assuming you think the same is true if the job of government is to ensure that needs are met?!

  • Lee Moore

    PM : “if food is a need and the job of government is to provide needs, then Foodstamps-R-Us”

    Sure. But do humans need food to live ? Sadly, if you answer “No” to this, virtually everyone will not bother to listen to another thing you have to say. Which would be a shame, because you will then miss the chance to tell them that even though humans do indeed need food to survive, the government should not be providing it – still less should it be providing things that humans don’t need to survive, such as an education. And you will have missed your chance not because you are bravely speaking the truth and defending an unpopular point of principle, but because for weird reasons that appear to you to be tactically advantageous, you have decided to pretend that humans don’t need food to survive. This is no crime, of course. But it is a blunder.

  • Paul Marks

    PaulH.

    Either we are dealing with an ideal world or we are dealing with the actual one.

    In an ideal world there would be no need for government to do X,Y,Z, as people would help others themselves.

    And in the real world – if you let the government into a new area it pushes out independent action and twists everything. It makes the “social problem” WORSE not better.

    So whether you are talking about an ideal world or the real one – the result is the same, keep the government out of new areas. Getting government out of an area once people have become dependent upon it, is a very difficult business.

    As for being called an anarchist – actually I am not an anarchist, I believe that there is a role (a terrible role) for the Sword of State.

    But you seem to regard government as a tool that one can just use and put back on the shelf – the state is not like that.

    You are just mistaken and, M. Thatcher having just died, I am in no mood to humour you.

    If that is “intolerant” of me – then I plead guilty.

    But this is not 1913 or even 1963 – we now know (from looking at cities like Detroit and Chicago) what statism actually does in practice.

    And that is limited statism.

    Unlimited statism has murdered between one hundred and two hundred million people in the last century.

    “But Paul moderate welfareists do not issue death threats” – yes they do, to my face. And then they seem astonished when anyone takes them up on their offer of combat (what is the trick here? do they expect me to happy to be turned into a bar of soap? or is it the “Socrates”-Plato trick of the nonaggression principle for them, but NO ONE ELSE?).

    The Abbe de Mably was (no doubt) a nice man. But this is not the mid 1700s – the French Revolution has already happened.

    This “let us have the new society – then we will think about how to restrain the new government afterwards” position is not acceptable.

  • Paul Marks

    Lee Moore.

    I agree with you that people need food to live. Although, of course, some people may have a different objective than living.

    Hunger strikers (and others) have such a different objective.

    However, you are correct, and I apologise if I implied that you were not, if someone wants to live, they need food.

    Again I apologise for this and any other errors I have made.