Issodhos is correct that we have been here before, as he referenced some of our previous efforts. We run down the same circular path and end up following the same circular patterns - chicken-and-egg style. As Greger points out, many of our frustrations stem from the same sources. Phil has noted in several threads that it is difficult to carry on discussions in the presence of certain communication styles (indeed, that is often the purpose), and that real substance is often difficult to find on the internet. Can progress be made? I have my doubts. I enjoy a good debate, but resent a lousy one.

I have my views, and over time they have become ingrained, not because I believe I am superior, but because over time, having thought them through thoroughly and allowed them to be challenged, they have stood up and remained logically and empirically consistent. I have rejected approaches that don't meet this criteria. I like a challenge, especially an intellectual one, and I love the give and take of a passionate debate. We live in interesting and difficult times, and there are real-world challenges that need solutions. Sometimes outside-the-box thinking will bring them, so I am always willing to entertain those types of solutions. Issodhos mentioned a commercial fishing rights solution, which, ironically, is a solution already implemented in the Northwest, and not a particularly libertarian one (since someone has to create/impose/police the zones, set catch limits, and perform the empirical data collection to determine efficacy). I don't much care where these solutions come from, so long as they are pragmatic and take into account human behavior. That is one of the reasons that I have been impressed by the Obama administration so far - they look for solutions in various places, try to determine what is possible, and try to implement them in ways that are concordant with human behavior. It really is a different approach to governance, and it will be fun to watch it develop.

So, I am not going to get drawn further into a meaningless debate over angels and pins - whether one describes something as an "interest," a "human right," a "civil right," an "inherent right," an "in(un)alienable right," a "fundamental interest," "basic liberty" or "privilege" is really unimportant in this context (except as a distraction from the substance) - what is important is whether such interests can be identified, evaluated, and determined to be important enough to protect with societal authority. I believe some are, and others must give way to the interest of the common good (the collective interest). The balance between them changes constantly as circumstances change. Life is a balancing act, and human society, made up of living creatures, is inherently about striking balances. It is that balance that is important.

A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich