Sure. But I made it pretty clear where that dividing line should be in my earlier post:
Is there need for regulation to prevent abuses in a free market? Absolutely. But there's a difference between saying "you can't dump raw sewage into a river" and "you must pay higher taxes so we can provide free health care to people who aren't even working for you".
You didn't make it clear though. You said those two situations were different, but you're somewhat lacking on a reason.
Huh? I stated the reason several times:
Regulation is needed to prevent undesirable results unrelated to merely generating profit.
I have no issues with regulation that aims in a non-discriminatory way to protect people from harmful side effects of industry.
I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology). Liberals look at the fact that we regulate businesses in order to prevent negative outcomes and argue that this is no different than regulating business to cause them to create positive ones (or just aren't aware of the difference I suppose). Conservatives argue that these are completely different things. One is reasonable. The other is not.
Again though, you're mixing up regulation to prevent harmful outcomes with regulation to mandate helpful ones
As I stated earlier, the fact that companies can take actions while earning money which causes harm to others, and that we need government regulation to prevent that does *not* mean that we need regulation to force companies to create positive effects.
There is no need to use government regulation to force companies to do things that are helpful. We only need it to prevent them from doing things that are harmful.
Say you disagree, but don't say that I haven't provided adequate reason for saying that there's a difference between the two. One is designed to prevent a negative effect, while the other is attempting to create a positive. Conservatives view those as very different, while liberals tend to not see the difference.
The thing is, I don't see a difference.
Yes. Welcome to the exact point I was making. Conservatives see a *huge* difference between those two things, while Liberals don't. That would seem to be relevant in a thread asking "what does it mean to be a liberal". My answer is that liberals don't see a difference between using government to prevent negative outcomes and using it to create positive ones.
Isn't that a fair (and clearly accurate) answer?
Raw sewage in the river creates health problems for residents around the river; lack of health care access creates health problems for citizens.
Not having someone else pay for your health insurance doesn't make you sick. They are completely different things. And let's be honest here. We're not talking about "access to health care". We're talking about requiring one person to pay for someone else's health care.
Failure to prevent sewage from entering the river creates greater clean up costs for the city than the cost of filtration for the company. Emergency room visits create greater treatment costs than the cost of providing degrees of preventative care.
Arguable, but also irrelevant. A company using its profits to provide food to soup kitchens rather than cutting the cost of the goods it sells or raising the salaries of its workers means that it's "costing" those people something. The fact that many companies (and wealthy individuals) do give money to charity, and yet their employees, customers, and stockholders don't revolt doesn't constitute a justification for the government to pass a law requiring them to give money to charity. One is a set of free choices made by individuals. The other is a government mandate. Surely, you can see the difference?
But much more than this specific situation, this ties into something far greater.
I suspect that the problem is that you don't make a distinction between regulation to achieve desired results and regulation to prevent undesired results. This is similar to the classic "positive versus negative rights" issue (which is itself a core difference between modern US liberal and conservative ideology).
And that's it. I'll admit to not having polled friends on the topic, but I suspect the idea of positive and negative rights is not so much a core of conservative ideology as it is your--and probably a smaller sect of conservatives'--own.
Huh? It's one of the core differences between modern liberal and conservative ideologies and has for like 80 years. Your lack of historical understanding of this is your own problem, not mine.
You have this entirely strange and arbitrary distinction between positives and negatives.
Um... it's not strange or arbitrary.
That somehow giving a freedom and not taking it away (and the converse) are two very, very different things and not at all the same.
They are different things. If for no other reason that you can't "give a freedom". You can only take freedom away. When the government requires someone to pay for your health care, they are not giving you any freedom at all. They are taking freedom away from the person they're making pay for it though.
That somehow preventing additional costs and increasing gains (and the converse) are two very, very different things. That somehow adding a positive and subtracting a negative (and the converse) are fundamentally different processes that don't achieve the same result.
Um... At the risk of repeating myself. They are different things. Me not stealing $100 from you is not the same as me giving you $100. But in both cases, you are $100 richer if I choose to not steal (versus stealing), or give you money (versus not giving you money). Only a complete idiot would argue, however, that if I fail to give you $100 that this is the same as me stealing $100 from you. Right?
It seems as if your whole concept of how polarity works is flawed.
It's not flawed at all. Flawed is not seeing the difference between draining a pool of water and never putting water in it in the first place. Only if one ignores how you get to a result can you conclude that they are the same. But it's the "how you get there" that defines concepts like rights and liberty and property. It's why it's legal for me to earn money, but not steal it. Our entire cultural rule set is based on making a distinction between the "how" of any given outcome. And frankly, as much as I acknowledge that this is something that liberals seem unable (or unwilling) to see, it's always surprised me that this is the case. Something that to me just seems amazingly apparent and necessary for society to work properly at all is just plain invisible to a whole set of people within that same society. To me, that's just shocking. It was shocking the first time I ran into someone arguing what you are arguing, and I suppose it's less shocking but still somewhat distressing when I run into people saying it now.
I honestly can't understand how someone can make the arguments you are making, and yet, many people make it anyway. Again though, I'd argue that this is a huge difference between liberal and conservative thought. At least, it's the one that jumps out at me the most. Edited, Aug 7th 2012 7:54pm by gbaji