After posting on my blog a long while ago on the question Does Free Will Matter? a bizarre anarchist going by the local moniker Benjamin replied in elaborate length denouncing the very concept of all government whatever, insisting that if we got rid of it (all of it), everyone would live happily ever after in perfect harmony. Absurd. But nevertheless. He was insistent. Delusionally, he claimed he had evidence on his side, but he never cites any reliable sources or confirmable facts, just conservative propaganda and hyperbolic armchair assertions and fantasies.
That went so far off the original topic my final reply to him follows here (in several ensuing parts). I'm not even responding to half the insane things he said or claimed, and yet it's still intolerably long for most readers. But anyone interested in political philosophy as a whole, or my political philosophy in particular, will find in the following a useful toolkit for constructing a sound political philosophy from the ground up (whether they follow mine or not), by seeing where crazies like Benjamin go wrong, and avoiding what they do by doing (methodologically) exactly the opposite.
But first I'll catch you up to speed on my basic political philosophy (which you'll find fully spelled out in Part VII of Sense and Goodness without God). It can be summed up as: (1) politics is about the regulation of power; (2) the purpose of government is to organize a collective enterprise for the maintenance of a civil society (in which all can effectively pursue their own happiness); (3) the moderate is the only rational political animal (conservatives and liberals each being right about some things and wrong about most things); (4) every political policy should come with objective outcome measures and be thoroughly subject to empirical test; and (5) evidence always trumps ideology. I have also created a basic reading list, the very essentials, to get up to speed on where any debate in politics must begin. In other words that's what I think you need to know even to make a start at being informed.
Now to my reply. Those who want to read everything Benjamin and I said (I shall only be quoting snippets) can start back where that thread began and read on from there. But be warned it goes on forever. (Even more than the following does!) It is in response to all that transpired there that I take up here. I've been slowly pecking at this for eight months (!), so that's why there is so much. It has accumulated over time. But I've now gotten it all into an intelligible order, and the whole cycle makes for a continuous and complete argument in the end. The recurring theme is this: none of us can form sound opinions about political matters unless we actually take the trouble to get the correct facts, understand their context, and then reason from both with valid logic.
So here we go...
Dear Benjamin, you're not coming across as wholly sane here. These rabidly long, irrational, fact-challenged posts ignore most of what I said, commit the same fallacies I called out before, and declare illogical ideas as solutions to existing problems. I see no value in discussing this with you. You are not interested in checking your facts or even reporting them correctly when you do. Most of what you keep repeating I've already answered or refuted in Part VII of Sense and Goodness without God. So I write the following mostly for the benefit of others. I'm skeptical you are sane enough to benefit from it yourself. But who knows. Lightning strikes occasionally.
I'll continue in adjoining posts with a selection of examples of why it is a waste of time for us to continue this discussion, which are at the same time examples of what others (who are sane) can learn from it...