Flipped education?

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Benefits tourism by Herring (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:26:54 PM EST
I think yesterday I almost saw (heard) the BBC News (on R4 anyway) almost grow a spine. At lunchtime, they had a go at the relevant minister over a report that shows many people affected by the bedroom tax end up moving into private accommodation (there being no suitable social housing) and costing the taxpayer more. Then, in the evening, they had someone on about the benefit tourism thing pointing out that the "600,000" unemployed quoted by the Telegraph was bollocks (it's 30% of 2 million EU citizens economically inactive vs 43% of UK citizens).

Oh - I just read the linked article and that was in there.

Previously on the BBC News there has been no mention of the real objection to the "bedroom tax" which is that people are penalised for not moving in to smaller accommodation that doesn't exist.

It would be nice if the BBC started reporting rather than repeating.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

TL;DR but... by gmd (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 08:58:14 PM EST
 Fuck the BBC

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
The peculiar rage by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 5) #3 Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 03:08:36 AM EST
The peculiar rage inspired by the BBC:
Here is a curious paradox about British conservatives. Challenge them to defend grand British institutions, from the Royal Family to the House of Lords or the lack of a written constitution, and they argue passionately about the dangers of tampering and meddling with things that evolved organically over time. They will talk about the British genius of leaving well alone. Perhaps you would not start from here, they may concede, and parts of our system may look a bit odd to outsiders, even extravagantly so. But these fragile accretions work rather well, they say, and would not survive piecemeal attempts to reform and tweak them. If it ain't broke, in other words, don't fix it.

And yet, get the same British conservatives onto the subject of the BBC, and they turn into wild-eyed Jacobins, yearning to punish and slash and burn and stick the heads of senior BBC staff on spikes...

Take a step back, and the BBC is not broken. I would argue it is the best broadcaster in the world: and thus on the rather short list of British things that are the best in the world...

The BBC is an odd institution. Its resources do make it an unfair competitor for commercial news organisations. But it does not cost very much, in the grand scheme of things. And if it vanished, nothing else like it would take its place. And the world and Britain would be a poorer place for it.


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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
I guess I disagree. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 04:29:02 PM EST
The BBC could go tomorrow, and I would be very happy. If the royals went too, even happier. It is quite clearly NOT the best broadcaster in the world, that is just something middle class BBC worshippers repeat in the hope that it will become true. It certainly is not worth £150/ year or whatever extortionate amount they are charging. The BBC licence fee is morally indefensible. 

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Edmund Burke by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 01:41:42 AM EST
The Father of Conservatism says:
The errors and defects of old establishments are visible and palpable. It calls for little ability to point them out; and where absolute power is given, it requires but a word wholly to abolish the vice and the establishment together. The same lazy, but restless disposition, which loves sloth and hates quiet, directs these politicians, when they come to work for supplying the place of what they have destroyed. To make everything the reverse of what they have seen is quite as easy as to destroy. No difficulties occur in what has never been tried. Criticism is almost baffled in discovering the defects of what has not existed; and eager enthusiasm and cheating hope have all the wide field of imagination, in which they may expatiate with little or no opposition... At once to preserve and to reform is quite another thing.

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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Making people pay for products they do not want by gmd (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:39:25 AM EST
under pain of imprisonment is totalitarianism. The merger of corporation and state is one of the key characteristics of fascism. Just because something has been going on for a long time does not make it worth preserving. There are various barbaric practices around the world that have the dubious characteristic of being "traditional", that doesn't make them acceptable in the modern world.

I don't think the BBC warrants preservation. It is past it's sell-by date and needs to go.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Ah, you radical liberals by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:55:26 PM EST
Always so keen to cry "fascism" and "totalitarianism" at any slight infringement of your desires.

Totalitarianism is a system of total control over the individual. Paying the TV licence fee hardly constitutes total control of the individual. You're not obliged to watch the BBC if you don't like it. You're not obliged to own a television if you don't want to pay the tax on it.

Moreover, as I recall, your position is that all taxation is intrinsically immoral, "theft" according to your redefinition of that word. Therefore, it's inconsistent for you to suddenly declare that a tax on television in particular is somehow more immoral than other taxation. Whether you're paying the licence fee on television ownership, fuel duty on petrol, alcohol duty on whisky, road tax on a car, VAT on a purchase, income tax on a salary; whether it's to fund the BBC or road maintenance or the NHS or the RAF; to you it's all immoral, remember? To you, funding the BBC can't be any more "fascist" or "totalitarian" than funding a hospital.

Your arguments against the BBC seem to be copied from people who accept some taxation is morally acceptable, but regard state broadcasting as falling outside that acceptable zone. They're not consistent with the position that all taxation is immoral, in which case the BBC is simply an undistinguished fragment of general tyranny.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
But taxation IS theft. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 01:16:17 PM EST
It just seems that it's all the more obvious when it pays for something "frivolous" like a state broadcaster, than when it pays for something more "serious" like the UK nuclear deterrent. 

What else should be taxed in this way? How about an "oven tax" which all owners of ovens must pay annually, and which entitles them to free Chinese food (whether they like it or not) and which they must pay, even if they don't eat the food they have been forced to pay for.

As for infringement of my rights, what am I supposed to do? Bend over and take it from champagne socialists who know what's good for me?


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Very strange by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:16:28 PM EST
First, it seems rather emotionally incontinent to get so upset about one small fragment of an issue, simply because that fragment is "more obvious", rather than different.

Second, the talk of "frivolous" and "serious" seems strange too. If someone steals your wallet, you don't think to yourself, "Gosh, I hope he doesn't spend the money on something frivolous, as long as it's serious I'll feel better." The important thing to you is that he has taken something that belongs to you by law and custom, not what he does with it afterwards. It's almost like the thing you're talking about is in a different category to theft.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
If someone stole my wallet to pay for food by gmd (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:29:54 PM EST
 Or drugs, I'd be much happier than if they stole it to pay for their Sky+ subscription. Obviously happier is a relative term here.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Address my point about the oven tax please? N/t by gmd (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:54:42 PM EST
 

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Burkean conservatism by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 04:34:11 PM EST
The best institutions are not created by grand plans, despite the egotistical fantasies of liberals and radicals. They evolve, gradually, over time. Your oven tax is a typical liberal scheme: a grand plan, imposed in a single step, hopelessly reliant on the fragile individual reason of the planner, paying no attention to patient trial and error, not the accumulated wisdom of generations.

The BBC on the other hand is a classic example of a Burkean institution. It evolved gradually over time, tried and tested at each step. It began as a small voluntary levy by radio manufacturers so that buyers would have something to listen to, and by the subtle increments grew into the institution we know today. That institution is widely supported by the public, and is approved by their elected representatives.

An oven tax to provide free Chinese food would be a bad idea if imposed in a single step by a planner. But if oven manufacturers started to voluntarily contribute to a free Chinese food service, and over many decades that service proved to successfully provide tasty, popular, nutrition for most of the population, then eventually there might be a good case for making the levy compulsory.

Burke again:

I should tell you, that in my course I have known, and, according to my measure, have coöperated with great men; and I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business. By a slow, but well-sustained progress, the effect of each step is watched; the good or ill success of the first gives light to us in the second; and so, from light to light, we are conducted with safety through the whole series. We see that the parts of the system do not clash. The evils latent in the most promising contrivances are provided for as they arise. One advantage is as little as possible sacrificed to another. We compensate, we reconcile, we balance. We are enabled to unite into a consistent whole the various anomalies and contending principles that are found in the minds and affairs of men. From hence arises, not an excellence in simplicity, but one far superior, an excellence in composition...

Old establishments are tried by their effects. If the people are happy, united, wealthy, and powerful, we presume the rest. We conclude that to be good from whence good is derived. In old establishments various correctives have been found for their aberrations from theory. Indeed, they are the results of various necessities and expediences. They are not often constructed after any theory: theories are rather drawn from them. In them we often see the end best obtained, where the means seem not perfectly reconcilable to what we may fancy was the original scheme. The means taught by experience may be better suited to political ends than those contrived in the original project. They again react upon the primitive constitution, and sometimes improve the design itself, from which they seem to have departed.


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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Lol by gmd (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:25:34 PM EST
So you are not, in principle opposed to a compulsory oven tax to pay for Chinese food for people who don't actually want it?

I think this is where I have to admit defeat.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Principles by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:09:27 AM EST
So I have never been at a hospital for anything, why must I pay taxes to fund hospitals, medical education and medical research?

I don't want it and I don't need it.
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
Good question. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:01:26 AM EST
 Why must you? 

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
"In principle" by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:23:28 AM EST
But what is this mysterious "principle"?

So far you seem to have attempted two different "principles" in explaining your peculiar emotional response to the BBC.

The first is that it's funded by tax, which you regard as intrinsically immoral. But this explains nothing about why you're so emotional about the BBC in particular, more than other tax-funded services.

The second was that it is "frivolous" not "serious". That's problematic for your tax-is-theft position, because it introduces a fundamental distinction between two kinds of tax-funded spending, one of which is more acceptable.

But also in the wallet analogy, you specifically said that acquiring food was in the "serious" not "frivolous" category. So if providing food is the principle, the oven tax / Chinese food system should be acceptable to you.

The principle seems to divide theft-and-taxation into two different categories. The more-acceptable category includes the tax-funded UK nuclear deterrent, stealing your wallet to buy food and stealing your wallet to buy drugs. The less-acceptable category includes the BBC, an oven tax to provide free food, and stealing your wallet to buy a Sky+ subscription. But this principle is not one of legality, democracy, tradition or bodily necessity. I'm a bit lost as to what this mysterious principle is.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I would rather be forced to pay by gmd (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:59:57 AM EST
For Chinese food that I don't want, than TV that I don't want., but what I really want is not to be coerced at all, or to be coerced at as minimal a level as possible.

My issue with the BBC are many and varied, its smug middle class sense of entitlement, it's covering up of various sexual crimes, and it it's utter ineffectiveness at providing a balanced view on key political issues. 

I'm also concerned at your use of the word 'emotional' in what I sense to be a pejorative way - it is ok to feel strongly about injustices, and I make no bones about it.

so to clarify my position
1) all taxation is theft
2) I'm against all taxation
3) I'm in favour of reducing the tax burden as far as practically possible
4) the BBC could easily work as a private corporation without forcing the public to fund it, and thus is an example of 3)





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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
stop biting, it only feeds the trolls -nt- by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #29 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:01:46 AM EST


[ Parent ]
Interesting, we might be getting somewhere by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #30 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:57:22 AM EST
So, your particular hatred of the BBC does not come from any one essential principle. Rather, it is made up of several different factors.

1. It is funded from taxation, which is intrinsically evil.
2. Its smug middle-class sense of entitlement
3. Its covering up of various sexual crimes
4. Its utter ineffectiveness at providing a balanced view on key political issues.
5. It could easily work as a private corporation

What this tells us is that your hatred of this particular arm of government is not purely a matter of item 1. Your opinion can also be swayed significantly by other aspects, such as items 2,3,4 and 5. Item 1 is the primary reason, items 2,3,4 and 4 are secondary.

So hypothetically, consider a part of government where the secondary items were positive instead of negative. If the secondary items were, together, sufficiently positive, that would outweigh the primary items and make the part of government good, rather than bad: is that correct?
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
It's shades of grey. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #33 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:08:06 PM EST
Would I be less annoyed about being forced (on pain of imprisonment) to pay for a service I do not want if it were less biased? If it didn't protect sex offenders? If it wasn't pro-EU? If it didn't have a smug self-satisfied attitude? If it wasn't so sycophantic to the so called 'royal' family? Only slightly. I'd still think all taxation is theft.

The BBC is is like a perfect storm of leftism for me, it manages to combine everything that is bad about the left in one huge parasitical organization. I feel the English people will never wake up from their political slumber so long as the BBC is allowed to continue with its propaganda.



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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #40 Sun Oct 20, 2013 at 04:39:26 PM EST
The issue that you generally complain about with the BBC is that it's funded by taxes. That's also the issue you say is overwhelmingly the important one.

Basically what you seem to be saying is that you choose to use the BBC as your example of the evil of taxation, because it happens to be associated with several other, comparatively very minor issues.

I think that causes a lot of pointless confusion. If you want to complain about the BBC, why not mention the other issues that are causing you to talk about it: otherwise it just appears to be bizarre non-sequitur. Alternatively, talk about other taxable services. You mentioned the nuclear deterrent: the Trident replacement is estimated to cost about £20bn: why not use that as your example of wasteful spending? Most nations exist without any nuclear deterrent at all, let alone a state of the art upgraded one. It's also politically easier to cancel an upcoming project than abolish an existing institution.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Point of information by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 01:51:10 PM EST
You can not be imprisoned for failing to pay your TV licence.



[ Parent ]
Correction. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:32:14 PM EST
 Yes you can.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
No. by Vulch (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 05:35:43 AM EST
Read the article. She was not imprisoned for not paying her TV licence.



[ Parent ]
Splitting hairs. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:03:18 AM EST
 If I don't pay my licence I get fined. Why would I pay that fine if I believe I'm being politically persecuted? The end result of a principled stand against TV licence extortion could well be a prison sentence.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by gmd (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:39:42 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by gmd



[ Parent ]
Okay I'll bite by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 04:09:24 AM EST
I'll grant you it may not be the best (on the basis that I don't have an exhaustive experience with every broadcaster in the world), but please do furnish me with a shortlist of broadcasters that objectively (and subjectively) fare better than the BBC?

Given that it is "clearly NOT the best", I would suspect that it would be easy to come up with several options. I've narrowed my scope to English-speaking channels, but I'm willing to hear arguments for any :-).
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
C'mon gmdmg! by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 2) #7 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 04:27:14 AM EST
This is your chance!

Say "The Guardian" and make our wooly library brains explode!



[ Parent ]
The guardian by gmd (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 03:28:26 PM EST
 Does not force you to buy it on pain of imprisonment. This may explain its ongoing financial difficulties.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
A lot of people like Sky. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:44:56 AM EST
And are willing to pay for it voulantarily. I'd argue that a TV station that cannot survive without massive subsidy must be making commercially unviable programmes.
If the BBC is so good, why can't it simply get it's funding from those who wish to watch it? If it's as good as everyone seems to think it is, there should be no problem getting people to pay up without threatening them with jail time.

In what way is a tv station in any way different to any other goods or services in the market? Why must I be forced to pay for the BBC? It makes no sense at all.


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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
So by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:03:58 AM EST
your whole criticism that the "BBC is clearly NOT the best" is based on the fact that you dislike the funding mechanism?

So my argument that Sky is clearly NOT the best because they cannot even manage to get massive subsidies - is equally valid?
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
You would need to define what you mean by best. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:05:46 AM EST
 That's kind of the point. Anyone can make assertions, but with the BBC not subject to the realities of commercial TV, how can we judge the quality of its output? There's no BBC share price to look at.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
so by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #31 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:36:24 PM EST
you are equating quality with share price?

-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
I'm saying that would be one metric. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:57:59 PM EST
 Currently we have no metric. Just middle class people chanting their "best broadcaster in the world" mantra.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
So it is fair to say by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #34 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:08:36 PM EST
That Sky has become a 12% better channel over the last month, but is just half the quality it used to be 13 years ago?
-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
If you are extrapolating from stock price by gmd (2.00 / 0) #35 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:13:05 PM EST
 Quite possibly. Now, what can you tell me about the quality of the BBC output? (Apart from merely asserting that it's the best in the world)...

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
It's quite popular on this side of the pond by lm (2.00 / 0) #36 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:27:05 PM EST
People cheerfully pay for it without being coerced.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
There you are then. by gmd (2.00 / 0) #37 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:36:57 PM EST
 Proof that coercion is unnecessary.

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gmd - HuSi's second most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
I am where? by lm (2.00 / 0) #38 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:43:42 PM EST
I'm not certain that necessity is part of this discussion.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I never asserted best by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #39 Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 07:17:09 AM EST
I merely asserted that I didn't follow the logic that it was clearly NOT the best. Those are not the same.

Your posit was then that since Sky was listed on a stock exchange it must be better. That is neither evidence nor an argument for why the BBC was clearly NOT the best. If it was so clear, I would have assumed that it was easy to point how this was clear.
Your only argument so far is that BSkyB is listed on an exchange and therefore must be better. Regardless, that does not make BBC better or worse. Even if we accept your argument, the BBC could still be second best and by a close margin if we use your economy-driven evaluation (look at profits and revenue for the non-licensed arm of the bbc) - which is a long way from clearly NOT the best.
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]