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u/jub-jub-bird · 0 pointsr/AskALiberal

> An approach that places high value on personal responsibility is a more hands off approach that leaves people to take responsibility for solving their problems themselves without pushing them towards any particular choice.

Agreed... what's toxic is a policy which interferes with incentives to encourage negative behaviors... a highly likely moral hazard of any welfare program and one Democrats have not been careful to avoid.

> The sugar tax is an example that's been shown to work.

I'm not an advocate of a sugar tax for a lot of the reasons you mentioned above. I was just pointing out that at least it attempts to align incentives with the policy goal. A lot of welfare programs do the opposite.

> I think government changing incentives takes away from the individual responsibility of the person whose incentives are changed.

I basically agree with that. And for that reason I am NOT in favor of a sin tax on sugar. After all this back and forth I think I've figured out our disconnect:

You think government should paternalistically create positive incentives to encourage positive behaviors. The kind of policies advocated by Cass Sunstein n Nudge

I disagree, I think that's a paternalistic view of government's role, even a soft form of authoritarianism which is ultimately harmful to a spirit of self-reliance which I think is both right and just for it's own sake, and which is necessary for social health over the longer haul. Outside of actual criminality people should be free to make their own decisions AND potentially to suffer the consequences of the decisions they make.

Where I'm talking about government policy ignoring incentives it's where government programs, usually those intended to alleviate suffering, create negative incentives which promote negative behaviors.

> A focus on individual responsibility sounds to me like letting people have full agency over their lives and not interfering at all.

For the most part... yes.

> If the incentives are such that they make bad choices then so be it.

I'm ALL for removing externalities which create bad incentives. I'm all for education of the young which seeks to promote and reinforce, and even enforce moral behavior within the schools.

I'm NOT for holding the hand of a grown-ass man and telling him he shouldn't drink so much soda. If you want to create positive incentives to produce positive social outcomes I'd submit that the best social outcomes can ONLY come from people who are self-reliant and do not NEED or WANT a nanny holding their hand to nudge them into making good decisions for them. This kind of paternalistic nannying can only produce a culture of reliance and dependency which in the long run cannot produce positive results.

As I said before... this does NOT preclude any and all policies that provide a helping hand for people in need. What id does say is that such a helping hand is always at risk of creating moral hazards promoting the underlying social pathologies which created the need in the first place by removing the painful consequences of them. There's a balance there and one we've gotten badly wrong in the past with dire consequences we see in the underclass both black and white today.

u/WakeUpMrBubbles · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

If you're interested in an eastern philosophy perspective but have a western cultural background there's no one better than Alan Watts to start with. He's an expert at translating difficult concepts into a frame of reference that's far more digestible.

I'd start here with The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. Alternatively you can listen to many of his talks on YouTube for free. I highly recommend this as his character is half the joy of his work. Here's a relevant talk that covers some of the same material as The Book, just in less depth obviously.

If you enjoy his work, then you can move on to more difficult material. I'm a huge fan of Nagarjuna and his Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, or "The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way". It's an incredible work but you can't just start there or you won't have the necessary conceptual vocabulary.

u/DukeofDixieland · 2 pointsr/AskALiberal

The FED website is probably the best place to learn about US policy. Otherwise, this is a pretty academic area, so I'm not sure if there's a single source I could recommend.


Bank of England:

European Central Bank:

Financial Times:

The IMF has a page on monetary policy:

If you want to really study it, then this is a pretty well known textbook, this one is a good intro, and of course Big Debt Crises by Ray Dalio is interesting & very light reading.

u/lesslucid · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

My answer to this is a bit complicated, but the short version is: it's important to try to keep an ear open for the the best arguments made by reasonable conservatives, but one shouldn't expect to hear any of those arguments being made by the mainstream of American conservatism, who have essentially expelled reasonableness from their ranks.
For a longer version, I'd say, watch CGP Grey's "This video will make you angry", read David Roberts on NYT conservatism, and read Jon Haidt's "Righteous Mind", maybe also Yglesias on "The Hack Gap".
I'd explain more but that's probably a whole essay of stuff. But yes, you shouldn't be at all surprised that your efforts to engage in good faith with the best arguments your "local republicans" have to offer end in frustration.

u/Arguss · 3 pointsr/AskALiberal


  • American Progressivism: A Reader has a collection of political speeches and essays from the Progressive Era, when a lot of the modern state was put into place. It lays out how Progressives created the foundations of modern America, and their vision is one still largely shared by liberals today.

  • I always recommend The Righteous Mind by Psychologist Jonathan Haidt, where he talks about the different moral foundations for conservatives and liberals, how we have different foundational axioms that lead us down different paths to differing conclusions about the direction of society.

  • If you really want to know about economics, there's an entire playlist of videos representing the semester course for college-level Macroeconomics you can go through; you don't need a book to follow along. There's another playlist for Microeconomics.

  • Those two will give you a basic overview of economics, although I'd recommend reading more about behavioral economics and market failures as well. Dan Ariely, a psychologist/economist, has a book Predictably Irrational which goes through several examples of how people predictably act against the 'homo economicus' of Econ 101 teaching, although it's much more pop-econ, so it's not super informational.

  • I'd also check out How To Lie With Statistics, which goes through examples of how statistics, graphs, etc are commonly misused in media, and what to watch out for, which can help you spot evidence that doesn't prove what the person showing it says it proves.


  • Worldly is the Vox podcast for international politics, although it's not just exclusively Middle East, it does talk about it, including an episode on the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman, and an episode on the war in Yemen being a proxy-war for two regional Middle Eastern powers.

  • The Weeds is Vox's podcast for domestic politics, which is pretty good.

  • Pod Save America is run by two former Obama staffers and is openly liberally biased, but quite fun.

  • Revolutions podcast goes through the big revolutions of history; their causes, the systemic failures that allowed them to occur, the reforms that weren't done, the way each side was perceived politically at the time, the actual wars/battles that occurred, and the political results.

    The podcast so far has talked about: The English Civil War, The American Revolution, The French Revolution, The Haitian Revolution (the first successful slave-led revolution), The Venezuelan Revolution (and basically all of Northwest South America), The French Revolution of 1830, and they're now on The Revolutions of 1848.

    These revolutions as you listen to them end up having common themes and patterns, and their political ideas shaped modern political discourse, such that what we now consider the 'acceptable bounds' of political discourse was largely determined by these earlier revolutions.
u/[deleted] · -6 pointsr/AskALiberal

The GOP isn't fascist you're right. Mussolini and fascists won more than 65 percent of the vote. There is no popular reform ongoing for which the large populous to support. The Reichstag elections saw the NSDAP win through coalitions, something the GOP hasn't done either.

You don't see the GOP trying to pass old age insurance, rent supplements, unemployment and disability benefits, old-age homes and interest-free loans for married couples, along with healthcare insurance like the NSV did, do you?

Anyway, might I suggest reading Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch a German scholar of cultural studies, historian and The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy by
Jacob Leib Talmon, a Professor of Modern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. If you're unfamiliar with their work, I recommend it.

u/Blood_Bowl · 4 pointsr/AskALiberal

> Well first of all you’re part of the problem.

Ah, I'm part of the problem - with my single motherhood and putting down straight white males and my man-hating. Interesting.

>I don’t know what you gain by denying what I have said but okay

I gain the truth, and I gain the opportunity to show others what the truth is.

>Like I said you don’t have to put men down to raise everyone else up.

Did you read ANYTHING AT ALL that I typed, or did you just assume what I said because that was easier for you to respond to?

>I think it is your false assumption that just because someone is white and male means they are somehow impervious from human problems specifically.

I think it is your false assumption that I believe anything of the sort.

>This is actually sexist and racist.

Sure thing, snowflake.

>In fact the things I have said would benefit society as a whole, specifically the African American community and even women.

Because a woman can't do anything "without her man"?

>Can I not advocate for white men?

Do white men really need someone to advocate for them? Is this another "War on Christmas" thing where someone in conservative media made up a bad situation so that they'd have something to rant about? Because white men are in an awfully good position in our society.

>Do you have a problem with this?

What I have a problem with is ignorance. Something you would appear to have in droves.

>If you do then fuck off. Label me alt-right if you want, makes no difference to me.

You absolutely sound like you get your information from the alt-right media, at the very least. What is most worrying is that you don't seem interested in correcting your poor information at all.

>The decline of men (

Your sourcing about the decline of men is a link to a book that some dude wrote. Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but that's not sourcing your statement at all. You're going to have to do a lot better than that to convince anyone of anything.

>Side effects (

So my question here is...did you even read that article? Or did you just Google something and that title met the match so you included it? Because that article doesn't say what you seem to believe it is saying.

>I was referring to interpersonal male role models. A father figure. Not some guy on TV

First of all, that's not at all what you said. You said there were no positive male role models or models for masculinity. All of those I cited are exactly that (plus many more).

As for the ridiculous suggestion that there aren't positive role models for young men to look up to in their everyday lives, well I'm not sure how you could possibly know such a thing. Where is your documentation of this evidence? Or is it just something that you were told?

I've got to be honest - you're clearly not here to find out what we think. You're clearly here to rant at us. We're not going to buy into the idiocy that someone sold you on.

I'm sorry that your life sucks so bad that you fall for crap like this...I really am. Maybe you can find a positive male role model in your life to fix this...of course, my emphasis would be on "positive", because it's clear to me that you have more than enough negative influences in your media.

u/novagenesis · 3 pointsr/AskALiberal

In all honesty, check out every other definition of populism. I'm the one who brought the word up, so if I'm using a commonly accepted definition of it (I am), it's better to discuss the actual topic than fight about semantics. I've also defended elsewhere which definition I mean. And I believe it IS a common behavior that Trump and Bernie share.

For reference of the traditional definition of the word populism I'm using, see:




or (kinda light description/summary)


It seems silly to argue the validity of an accepted definition... so check out the definition I'm defending, and let me know if you think Trump is not a populist by that definition (the experts I've quoted DO categorize him as one). Or let me know if you think Bernie is not a populist by that definition (the experts hadn't discussed that). Or let me know if you think that definition of populism is a "good thing" (as a Marxist, you might. Populism is a viable baseline "thin philosophy" for communism, though I believe you can have Marxism without populism)

Otherwise, there's not much else to discuss.

u/ExternalUserError · -1 pointsr/AskALiberal

I'd say you're conflating identity politics with interest group politics. Trump definitely played identity politics, and it's toxic as shit. That doesn't mean his opposition should do the same.

I think Once and Future Liberal should be mandatory reading for anyone on the left (or frankly, right) these days. Obama actually stayed mostly clear of identity politics, which is why he won. He was, in other words, running to be everyone's president and on a message of unification and hope. He never once shat on any specific group, ethnic or otherwise, nor did try to come off a victim.

u/lurking_for_sure · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

I’m on the opposite end of this because he’s in my daily podcast rotation for the last 2 years, so I’ve definitely seen a ton of bad content (typically his religious commentaries are just dumb), but I’ve also seen him go very deep into topics to the point where I really respect his effort.

While his books he wrote in his 20’s are terrible (Porn generation, etc), his most recent book is actually pretty interesting since it’s a primer on the history of western philosophy

He’s definitely got bad times, but it irks me when everyone pretends like he’s an idiot. I respect him a ton.

u/prizepig · 11 pointsr/AskALiberal

There was a Pulitzer prize winning book last year that was centrally concerned with this issue.

There are plenty of other books, and news, and media that reflect this issue too.

I don't think it's correct to say that this doesn't receive publicity, or that it's a provocative position. I think (or hope) that it's a well understood and accepted thing. It's definitely an important part of how I understand the complicated history of race, crime and punishment in our country.

u/theREALspanky · -2 pointsr/AskALiberal

> Helping women to not have unwanted pregnancies helps all of us.

First of all, can we stop acting as though women are randomly and indiscriminately burdened with these random pregnancies through no fault of their own?

> We live in a society, and as a group we pay for things that help all of us.

How does paying for an abortion as a result of someone's irresponsibility help us, as a society? In other situations that very scenario would be called "enabling".

I mean, let's get to the brass tacks here. Condoms cost ~$.20 each. Can we stop acting as though it's unreasonable for a sexually active person to spend a dollar or two a week to avoid pregnancy (not to mention STDs)? At what point do we say enough is enough and adults need to start taking responsibility for their own actions?

I'm sure that the majority of abortions are paid for by one of the parents and not otherwise subsidized, what would you say to those who claim they're pregnant and having an abortion because they can't afford condoms but have little difficulty coming up with the hundreds of dollars that an abortion costs? How can you not see that it's not an affordability or an access issue its a responsibility issue? I'm pretty sure that even those who claim to be "pro-choice" have an issue with abortion being used as a method of BC, no?

u/Mordiam · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

I've was reading The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (free link) and Three New Deals Amazon. Both kind of trace the genealogy of fascism. The latter providers the direct link to the US, Germany and Italy in the 1930s while the former is a kind of framework which describes the battle between two schools of Democracy, liberal and totalitarian.

Both schools affirms the supreme value of liberty. But whereas one finds the essence of freedom in spontaneity and the absence of coercion, the other believes it to be realized only in the pursuit and attainment of an absolute collective purpose.

Some might argue that totalitarian democracy is the only path to a "mega welfare state".

u/matthewkermit · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

> In contrast, however, the war on drugs can be squarely lain at the feet of the republican party.

I'd agree with you there 80%. There's been new scholarship on the support black communities had for the war on crime. I haven't read the book, but read interviews with the author to try to understand his thesis.

u/itsamillion · 6 pointsr/AskALiberal

In no particular order:

  • The Moral Animal. Robert Wright.
  • The Open Society and Its Enemies. Karl Popper.
  • Albion’s Seed. D. H. Fischer.
  • *Zero to One.* P. Thiel.
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
  • Critique of Pure Reason. I. Kant.
  • A Treatise on Human Nature. Hume.
  • The Death of the Liberal Class. C. Hedges.
  • A Theory of Justice. Rawls.
  • The Origin of the Work of Art. M. Heidegger.
  • The Denial of Death. E. Becker.
  • American Colonies. A. Taylor.
  • The Selfish Gene. R. Dawkins.
  • Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud.
  • The Hero with a Thousand Faces. J. Campbell.
  • The Birth of the Artist. Otto Rank.
  • Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Jung.
  • The Feminine Mystique. Betty Friedan.
  • Sexual Personae. Camille Paglia.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People. D. Carnegie.

    Sorry I got tired of making links. I’m on my phone.
u/yourelying999 · 2 pointsr/AskALiberal

The vast majority of capital and assets are in the hands of white people. That is an obstacle.

Further explanation gets into history, as today's world is necessarily a product of the history leading to it, and the answer a liberal is giving you is: ask a professor. Their literal job is to study and explain these things. You can keep posting your question, but I gave you the tools to get your answer. Are you actually looking to broaden your knowledge of a subject or is this an exercise in argument for you?

E: here are some books that will answer at least some aspects of your very broad and complex question:

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

A People's History of The United States by Howard Zinn

Systematic Racism by Joe Feagin

For a more humanistic account of the black experience, try anything by James Baldwin.

u/fdeckert · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

>1 - 9 years old

They're from the relevant time period, when these accusations of a "Possible Military Dimension" (previously called "Alleged Studies") were being addressed by the IAEA.

2- Whatever nice distinctions you want to make, there was never any evidence that Iran had an active nuclear weapons program or a nuclear program with a military purposes or whatever other way you want to put it. Zero. None. And FYI Iran's enrichment program started before the 1979 Islamic Revolution with the encouragement and support of the US and not to mention that many countries have or will be devleoping the same technology of enrichment which is why most of the countries of hte world backed Iran in the dispute wit hthe US over the right to enrichment (not because they want to make nukes but because like Iran they too want to have an independent source of reactor fuel not dependendent on outsiders)

3 again you're making nonsense distinctions. If Iran had a nuclear weapons program or anything about nuclear weapons, then it was the job of the IAEA to say so instead it had consistently stated otherwise. The worst it has said is that Iran had a program to develop technology that was "relevant to" nuclear weapons. Which is what the NPT is supposed to do -- requires sharing nuclear technology, Article V of the NonProliferation Treaty even requires the sharing of data from nuclear test explosions with countries such as Iran.

if You claim my statement has been "directly contradicted" then please cite the language instead of two entire reports. Also, please make sure you also have the legal qualification to understand and interpret what you're reading and versus the actual requirements of the NPT. May I suggest:

5 Removing the possibility

Ten years ago, 40 nations were estimated to have the capability to make nukes quickly if they wanted to -- that's 1 out of 4 nations on Earth.

They don't because nukes are actually useless and cause more problems

The assumption built into your argument is that nukes are a universally-desired thing that any country would get to deter any other country that has nukes. Well if that's just not true and is very simplistic.

This is aside from the fact that Iran already has proven that it opposed to WMD when it refused to resort to chemical warfare legally and in selfdefense against Iraq's US-backed CW attacks on Iran. Iran instead accepted the casualties of 100,000 people. So when Iran says it opposes WMDs on principle, it has already proven it with blood.

At the time, the US was trying to shift the blame for gassing the Kurds from Saddam onto the Iranians !

The NPT requires the sharing of nuclear technology, all of which "could be" used for nukes. There is no way to "remove the possibility" from any country without violating that country's rights. Note that every country has the right to make nukes if they want. In fact the NPT Art X even allows signatories to legally withdraw. So who gave the US the right to "allow" who to do what? The US itself is in violation of its own NPT obligations, FYI.

>storage of high-grade uranium

Iran never produced any "high grade" uranium and FYI in the past the US gave Iran weapons-grade uranium along with plutonium. So no that's not the issue and never was.

The deal had nothing to do with any actual nuclear threat. There was none.

Iran conssitently made BETTER nuclear offers that were ignored by the US to maintain the regime-chage pretext

u/noconverse · 3 pointsr/AskALiberal

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but the summation of your argument is that the current structure of human society produces more harm than it prevents. If you really want a detailed and largely data-driven answer to this, read the book "Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker. It will give you a better answer to this question than anything else you'll find.

But to surmise the arguments in the book, the answer is a resounding NO. History has shown, time and again, that as society has become less structured by norms, rules, and laws, it becomes significantly more brutal. A big part of this is that, as you have more and more people competing with each other for limited resources, you get this never ending cycle of what are called Hobbesian traps ("I must strike at my enemy first and annihilate him or else he'll do the same to me") that creates these perpetual cycles of violence between groups. This violence then hinders or even reverts technological developments that could then lead to increasing these resources via increased production or more efficient use (who has time to produce pesticide when you've gotta constantly be keeping an eye on the village 2 miles away?).

Railing against globalism is kind of a fad nowadays, but few people realize just how much it has helped reduce overall violence in the world. As much as I hate what trade agreements have done to the American middle class, I can't deny that it's made major power war much less likely by creating huge economic incentives against, while at the same time significantly improving the living standards in many countries (China especially).