1 of 2
1
Darren Swift
Posted: 07 December 2006 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2006-12-07

Morning all,

Darren Swift here from the beautiful valleys of South Wales in the UK. I’m a person who loves to write, basically whatever I can; sometimes I’m successful, sometimes it’s dire, but I’m learning all the time what works and what doesn’t, (I hope!).

I don’t submit my work very often because I’m still a relative newcomer to the “art”, but so far have been quite successful in what I have put out - my work can be found in Gold Dust Magazine, Wingspan Quarterly, A Flasher’s Dozen and on line at www.writersagainstwar.com and www.ravingdove.org.

I have joined this site with a view to learning more about the writing craft, I am not a leech however and will input my own thoughts on others work where I think I may have a valid point, or something to say, but please don’t be offended if I don’t do the “good job”, “nice work” kind of commenting; I don’t expect it and don’t do it myself.

Hope to see some of you on the boards.

ciao

D

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2006 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  286
Joined  2006-07-29

Welcome Darren!

Seems like you’ve been pretty well for yourself smile

Looking forward to reading your posts.

- Starlizard

 Signature 

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Editing your stuff: Because an apostrophe is often all that stands between writers who know their shit and writers who know they’re shit.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 December 2006 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-08-30

Good job on the intro, Darren!  Nice work!  wink

I’m glad you’re here.  My aim with the site is to demonstrate, as so many sites do, that we are valuable to each other.  The kind of commenting you tell us not to expect is not too useful to that end anyway, so cheers!  Related goals are: to demonstrate the value of the Condorcet Method, to encourage everyone to blame everything on taxes, and to enrich all members, whether with payment for accepted submissions or with learning and experience.

I read through the founding message at Raving Dove, and if you like that magazine, I think you’ll like it here too…

It says:

In looking at this comprehensive listing of world conflicts, there are quite a few nations - large and small - who have flexed their muscles over the centuries. But why?

You may be interested in checking out Austrian Economics, which is the source of my own conclusion:  It is because people are willing to pay taxes.  They capitulate to the demands of the government (whether it is a king or a majority of voters) to contribute to a pool of money managed by political rulers.  Nary a citizen bothers to compare the goods and services received from government to goods and services available from private industry for the same money.  Many people hold dear the propaganda of democracies, or of theocracies - essentially that it is our duty to tithe to those who can decide for us how to spend that money.  Politicians are not inherently evil, but when millions of people expect you to cause the price of gas to change (or not change), a single bad decision can lead to a world of hurt.  We know this, and we’ve seen it before, and that is why the collection of taxes requires the threat of violence and/or property seizure.

Spreading the concept that earning money places the responsibility of spending it square on your own shoulders is the work of my life.  Imagine if every taxpayer took responsibility for the miniscule percentage of war destruction that their own taxes covered.  We can’t do this now because the proper response for anyone interested in peace would be to evade taxes.  That’s the source of the problem as far as I can tell.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2006 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  61
Joined  2006-03-30

“Nary a citizen bothers to compare the goods and services received from government to goods and services available from private industry for the same money.”

No. I understand what you’re saying, but you’re confusing individual corruption for systemic corruption. We paid tax to Clinton, he used it to balance the books, for the first time since Johnson started spending our money out his ass. (Reagan perfected that same spend it - it aint mine, attitude.) Currently we have a system whereby crooks take our money and give it to their cronies - Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, Daddy Bush’s Carlyle Group, etc.

But it isn’t the “system.” It’s the crooks. That same money could/should go to solving all the world’s problems. If that sounds stupid or naive, let me restate it - that same money should/could go to solving all the world’s problems - Africa, AIDs, education, environment, revolutionaries seeking livable conditions for their kids.

I’ve most always worked for the government (when I wasn’t working against it - but that was the carefree hippie days of…God how I wish they were here again). Anyway, the private sector always fucks up a well-intentioned government program. Take any example. Roads - the Corps of Engineers could build all our roads at a fraction of what the private sector charges. Schools - same thing. Hospitals - I go to the VA, get better service than you do at your private hospital or clinic, for pennies on the dollar.

Social Security, Medicare - if it weren’t for crooks, these programs would work very well and be cost efficient. Why don’t they? Because Republicans demand that they be “handled” by the private sector. Why do they demand that? Because they get rich off of it. The Senate majority leader Frist family owned three hundred hospitals - kinda sounds like the Cheney’s and Bush’s, doesn’t it?

Energy - former Congressional leader, Dick Armey’s wife was on the board of Enron. Wasn’t that the same Enron that was making our national energy policies with…Dick Cheney again. Wasn’t that the same Enron that…caused the state of California to go bankrupt. Made them recall a governor. Funny how that works. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Davis)

Here’s one - war, soldiers in Iraq get a fraction of the pay that private companies charge for doing the same work. Go figure.

Pay your taxes, but vote out the crooks. Don’t give up on the system - make it work. So…welcome Darren, you sound like quite a capable and talented person.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2006 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-08-30

I suppose you’re right to call them crooks because of how they handle the tax revenue under their control, but that issue lost its meaning for me when I was faced with more important questions:

1) How much of what a person earns should be taken from them by their fellow citizens through force?  (Well, none, right?)
2) Once it has been taken, who should decide how to use it?  (The person from whom it was taken, if we are to be just, right?)
3) For citizens who are too stupid to spend some of their earnings for services traditionally provided by government, is it better to take it from them by force while providing those services to them, or to leave them alone and deny them those services?  (What if you were labelled as too stupid?)
4) For citizens who aren’t too stupid to spend some of their earnings for services traditionally provided by government, would their decisions about which services to buy be helpful in deciding which services are actually provided?  (Of course they would.)

The assumption behind taxation is that citizens won’t spend the money for as much good as politicians will.  Crookery in government certainly shows this is wrong in the case of politicians whose self interest is more important to them than their sense of duty.  But even for excellent politicians like… fill-in-the-blank, we are asking them to think for us.  As any psychologist dealing with the raising of children or problems with codependence will tell you, this only has bad outcomes.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 February 2007 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

A can of worms!  Oh boy! 

I am somewhat torn about this in all kinds of directions.  I’ve studied all the Theories.  A lot of it seems to me to come down to this:  (1) Critical Thinking Skills (2) Education (3) As unbiased a view as is possible [see (1) and (2)] of the Facts.  Isn’t the truth surely the best way to go, no matter what?  (Or am I just naive?)

If everybody had these three, (1) Critical Thinking Skills (2) Education (3) As unbiased a view as is possible of the Facts (mind you, that’s a whole controversial Ph.D. degree thesis right there, but anyways)... then we’d only have primary, basic, psychopathic Self-Interest to contend with, and surely even the most primary, basic psychopath, if educated and generally self-interested, would see that if not he, then his children’s grandchildren would benefit,  ultimately, in the longer term, from benefiting the masses, not destroying the planet, etc, etc….  IE., by seeing to it that everyone is educated, and has Critical Thinking Skills.  It would be a self-policing system, because the government would be policed by the educated voters; and the educated voters would make sure that the government did what critical thought and education indicated was the right thing to do.  So you could either submit your tax money and be certain the government would put it in the right place, or you could keep your tax money, and put it in the right place by yourself.  It wouldn’t really matter.  Either you could elect a government to do your will, or you could elect a government to let you alone, to do it yourself. 

Everyone would submit their money and efforts, in beautiful ways, and we’d all live in
John-Lennonesque-type Peace! 

But let’s face it:  not everybody is Properly Educated; and not everybody is agreed on what a Proper Education IS.  Personally, I like us here, in the west, corrupt as we are, because we at least have the CONCEPTS of the exposee, the Vietnam footage, the “objective perspective”, the “free press”, kindness, sharing, fairness.  We are ALLOWED to have it.  It’s a bit of a miracle that we have these things to any degree, because not everybody has EVER been Properly Educated, and it’s often been in the (short-term, one-time) interests of those with power (and short-term, short-sighted educations) to just keep people down, and not let them have any opinion or power whatsoever. 

In fact, probably all governments are paternalistic, and proud of it.  They rob (a tiny bit) from the rich and give (a wee bit of) beer to the poor; or they take (most of) the money from the poor and use it in ways the peasants would only squander in the pub.  They know better than the common people what best to do with the money.  That’s why we have taxes.  I’m in partial agreement, because there are places I’ve lived such that, if the People had been relied upon, I wouldn’t have had the chances I’ve had in life.  Maybe even no elementary school!  In our countries, at least SOME schooling is mandatory, and is paid for by tax dollars! 

In places on this godforsaken planet, thanks to their education, there are people who think the best thing to do is become a suicide bomber!  I’m glad “my” government would stop me if I tried to do that.  On the other hand, I’m furious at the moment that my tax dollars are being squandered on some of the things they are (like war), and not being spent on things *I* want them spent on.  (Like, say, on ME, and better salaries for teachers, and better education, and health care.) 

Well, the people that elected the government(s) I am so mad at, the electorate, the suicide bombers, must have done so because… they were uneducated as to their own interests and those of their children.  It’s completely clear to me that this is so.  Doesn’t anyone ever wonder why tuition costs keep going up?  Why women (or anyone who hasn’t already got some power) are treated so horribly in so many places?  It’s not in the interests of anyone in Power to put a WHOLE lot of tax dollars into Education.  Nor, though, unfortunately, does any common plebe (even yer plebe who owns a swimming pool) realize that it would be in his/her (kids’) interest to, say, tithe 10% of his/her salary to the local university or even elementary school. 
WHY? 

Because yer common plebe hasn’t been given any education!

So I dunno about this tax thing.  As it stands, some small miniscule part of our taxes goes to education.  So little goes to education, even here,  that most people are not educated enough to put education first, in favour of what else they DO choose, when they vote.  If left to their own devices, here and now, would people, in general, put more money out of their own pockets into education, or less?  I’m willing to bet, less. 

Even OUR countries only give us just enough of what we need (if we’re lucky) to keep us aiming low (ie., at our own next few beers in the pub, and maybe a house with a pool).  If they gave us any less, we’d be worse off, and have to form a government. 

It would be a really crummy one, like we have now.  SOME money would be put towards education and health care, but not enough, because (still) there’d be not enough education. 

I don’t like being taxed, either.  I’d rather live where I live, than where I might otherwise live, though, and I’m not entirely sure I’d trust my fellow individual Canadians to just GIVE their money to some of the good things I’m in favour of my tax dollars going to, at this juncture. 

I wonder what’s going to happen.  We do have the media, used and abused as it is—now a lot of us have the internet, where, for better or for worse, censorship is much harder than it was during WW II. (Although in North Korea, apparently, they only have an Intranet, and no Internet, still.)  I’m hoping that enough people looking at enough people suffering will eventually stir enough people to… what…?

Overthrow the government?  And start one?  AGHH.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 February 2007 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-08-30

Good thinking.  Two of my opinions seem important and relevant here, so I’ll state them simply and maybe later I’ll try to explain more:

1) The best education is from the school of hard knocks - it is the universe itself that teaches you how life works.  The freer people are, the more they will learn about how life works and how to make themselves happy.  You don’t need to *teach* a child that benefitting others will make him/her happy; it’s something you learn by simply being alive in society.

2) There are a lot of people who would suffer a lot if taxation wasn’t helping them out.  It would be painful to see all that suffering.  However, the help from taxes does NOT change them, while the suffering DOES change them.  Because suffering forces us to change, (and because I like to decide how my money is spent), I’d rather not use taxes to help them.  In fact I am to the point where I sometimes wish the government was not helping me because I’d rather be forced to find a better solution to whatever the government is helping with (one that doesn’t TAX my fellow citizens).

It is difficult to imagine there being no public education system.  However, if there wasn’t one, and someone suggested creating one, you and I would be all for it, and we’d want to make it fantastic.  Would we part ways when the debate over how to fund the system came up?  I’d argue that people who want their kids educated would obviously cover the cost.  And if they did it right (I might do it myself… am I not already, with this site?), then other people would want to help.  I’d argue that forcing our fellow citizens to help fund the education system will corrupt it, pervert it, and subject it to the coercive forces used to collect the funds.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 February 2007 02:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

Davocraces:  The best education is from the school of hard knocks - it is the universe itself that teaches you how life works.  The freer people are, the more they will learn about how life works and how to make themselves happy.  You don’t need to *teach* a child that benefitting others will make him/her happy; it’s something you learn by simply being alive in society.

Julianticles: Hmm.  (God, I hate Plato.) What we want is a compromise between the benefits of socialism and the benefits of capitalism.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying we’re arguing “socialism” vs. “capitalism”, but something about the benefits thereof. 

Picture this.  Fly-covered sick six-year-old in “Save the Children” commercial, vs. six-year old kid refusing to eat cereal on (whatever) ad.
How do we convince the kid to eat the damned cereal?  How do we motivate the kid with the flies?  They are both only SIX.  For godsakes. 

I do worry about what the kid with the flies will learn from “simply being alive in society,”  and about how, if he survives, he’ll put it into practice.  I guess I worry about the kid with the cereal, too.  They are both only SIX.

2)Davocraces:  I’d argue that forcing our fellow citizens to help fund the education system will corrupt it, pervert it, and subject it to the coercive forces used to collect the funds.

Julianticles: I am completely torn about this in numerous ways. 

If the education system is corrupt, then forcing our fellow citizens to help fund it is clearly a bad thing. 

If the education system is half-assed, but better than nothing at all, then forcing our fellow citizens to help fund it is not necessarily so bad. 

If the education system were A-one Guaranteed to be A-OK, would it still then be true that “forcing our fellow citizens to help fund the education system will corrupt it, pervert it, and subject it to the coercive forces used to collect the funds”?

Geeze, I hope not!

Just trying to organize me thorts! In preparation for helping Fix the World!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 February 2007 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

Geeze, I think I’ve just talked myself into a Better Brand of Canadian Socialism!  (Not the one we have now.)

Talk me out of it!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 February 2007 02:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

Mph.  What if everybody on the planet were coerced at gunpoint to (somehow) see to it that no six-year-old had to lie around in commercials with flies crawling all over their eyes?  That’s what I am aiming for.  I don’t care what political theory we use to get there. 

If you check out savetheadults.com, you’ll find that I’ve got it, uh, parked.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 February 2007 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-08-30

Hmm.  If everybody on the planet were forced at gunpoint to do anything, then we’d all be busy making guns and learning how to use them.  We would starve too.  Coercion has a cost to the coercer and a cost to the coerced.  We do not have enough manpower to force each other to do what we think is right.  If we spend any time on coercion, then we cannot spend that time exploring each other’s free choices.  That is the basic mechanism by which coercive support for good things perverts those good things.  In my opinion, anyway.

About these six-year-olds:  It appears that the starving fly-covered child would be worse-off if foreign countries (or their own country) weren’t sending aid to the thugs running his country (or his country’s welfare bureacracy).  However, I believe that those thugs recognize that the poverty of their constituents is the primary source of the motivation behind that aid, and they will do what they need to in order to keep the aid flowing.  I believe the appearance is exactly the opposite of the reality.  Furthermore, I believe that if no country forced its citizens to pay into a fund to alleviate the suffering of poorer countries, then every citizen of every country would have a much greater desire to help.  Churches, for example, would fourish, both in membership and in reputation.  In addition, when people did help, their generosity would be recognized because it is actually there, whereas our current “generosity” toward the poor is not generosity at all, but fear of the tax man.

You can pervert and ultimately destroy any good thing by forcing people to support it.  It’s the same basic mechanism of violence creating resentment and an appetite for revenge.  It is natural for us to resent whatever takes choice away from us, even something as great as education.  Likewise, it is natural for us to consider those things we choose to support as precious.  Many people pay gym dues because the free exercise they can get in any number of ways isn’t considered valuable.  But suppose we force everyone to pay gym dues - what would happen to their desire to exercise then?  Choice is magic.  Socialist thought has no clue about what it destroys.

It is certainly easy to imagine that it’s good to force others to pay for what *I* think is good.  But when they choose not to pay, I have to wonder if perhaps it isn’t as good as I think it is.  When my government forces them to pay, they have no choice, and that built-in “devil’s advocate” provided by free choice is destroyed.  Like I said, choice is magic and we have to learn to respect its value.

Have you heard of “Austrian Economics”?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2007 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

Gah, I’m livid.  Just typed out definitive reply to Dave, and Best Way to Fix Universe, with poodle dangling over arm, and I mean, at LENGTH, only to have Internet Explorer Encounter a Problem and Need to Close, just when I was trying to post it.  The poodle and I am too tired to do the whole thing all over again right now. 

From now on, I am putting everything in notepad first.  (I always say that.)

I’m going to look at the VistaPrint stuff on the weekend. 

He’s a miniature Apricot Poodle, and his name is Joseph Wesley Waggles Colterjohn the First. 

Argh.  You should have seen what I rote.  Aghh….

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 February 2007 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  635
Joined  2005-08-30

Ooooh I feel your pain.  You might want to get Firefox.  You might want to start using notepad, like you said.  I am already in that habit (actually I use WordPad) - and I save every time I stop to think about what to type next.  Thanks Gates!  hmmm

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2007 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

It happened again!  I’m incorrigible.  I use notepad constantly at work…. I don’t know why I’m so stupid at home.

Nothing crashed this time… must have just hit wrong button. 

Gawd I hate my life (not really, but still).  Aghh.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2007 09:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Administrator
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  61
Joined  2006-03-30

Dave, didn’t one used to be able to set a timer as to how often Word would do an automatic save? Like, you could save every five minutes or so, and it’d kinda interrupt what you were working on. I usually hit “save” after the first sentence, and then every other sentence after that. Guess that’s because I’ve had the shutdown problem before, and it was probably the only good thing I ever wrote.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 March 2007 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Administrator
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  343
Joined  2006-12-13

I, Joseph, the poodle, am typing this.

I just thought I’d put my paw down on the keyboard, because she seems so preoccupied with whatever she’s doing with it. 

What about ME?
Sometimes you just have to put your paw down on the keyboard!

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ About Sounds and Words      Hiya! ^_^ ››