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ShortNewser of the month
  61 comments
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  How many broken families?  
  
What exactly is the body count of grandfathers, fathers, sons, brothers, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends or just plain old fellow humans who have fought and died for what we have?

I don´t know the number but I do know it is too high.

I also know why they fought and died...

http://www.youtube.com/...
 
 From: silencedmajority   03/26/2011 04:28 AM     
  Lol  
  
Lol
 
  by: kmazzawi     03/26/2011 07:24 PM     
  They fought and died  
  
... so we could whine about our taxes even though they´re the lowest in the first world, so we could whine about security measures at airports (as opposed to whining about how the lack of security measures at airports got hundreds or thousands of people killed), so we could whine about a VERY small percentage of the population getting a VERY small percentage of the public treasury in order to get a VERY small amount of help when they´re going through desperate times, etc.

Wow, way to tackle the huge inequities of our day. Way to shine a spotlight on what´s truly important in society, like the ability to drink Four F***ing Loko. Yeah, they fought and died to create democracy, or defend it from spreading totalitarianism. Our Reason folks won´t fight or die but they´ll sure get snarky about how many darned pages are in the tax code!

Once again we see this incredibly pessimistic viewpoint from our right libertarians, which ignores historical context and makes perfection the enemy of good.

Well done, pussies! Let´s hear more whining and bawling about how poor Four Loko was *forced* by jackbooted thugs from the Fedrul Gubmint to ... oh wait, they changed their formula voluntarily in the face of mounting public pressure.

The people who fought and died to preserve your freedom of expression would be *so* proud to hear about all these tremendously important issues you´re highlighting with it.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/26/2011 08:57 PM     
  ^^^  
  
They fought and died to make the rich richer and the poor poorer and to eliminate the middle class.
 
  by: Lurker     03/26/2011 09:36 PM     
  lmao at the emo-lib spin and lies.  
  
"how dare you complain that we´re forcibly taking your money to pay the interest on the debt we will continually accrue buying votes at home, while handing out wasteful contracts to our corporate friends, and spreading force - er...democracy throughout the oil producing world."

"How dare you complain when we force my party´s ideals on America, instead of that other party´s. How dare you whine about the disappearing rights and limitations, the guarantee of which were the only reasons a federal government was agreed to in the first place."

As for the rich getting richer, and the disappearing middle class? Look to government favoritism via regulation and the Federal Reserve.

Maybe the two parties should join forces to squash out the pesky Liberty lovers, so they can get back to double teaming the rest of the world with force, theft and deception.

Spin it any way you want, you´re still guilty of advocating, endorsing and upholding an ever growing state of tyranny and debt enslavement. Of course, America wasn´t founded on dissent or individuality. Nah, anyone who carries that tradition is a "pussy".

Way to borrow the neocon bravado, and the state´s schoolyard clique mentality. When all propaganda fails, there´s always disparagement and ridicule.

 
  by: Jenkie     03/27/2011 12:19 AM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"As for the rich getting richer, and the disappearing middle class?"

The middle class you so cherish was built up by the most socialist government this nation ever had. And it´s been ripped apart by a succession of the most fiscally conservative governments and officials this country´s had since the days of Calvin Coolidge.

And I am sorry to anyone I offended, but I can´t believe anybody would be so pussified as to actually posit that the sacrifices made in blood to secure democracy were somehow rendered moot by the fact that you don´t like your f***ing taxes or that Four Loko was pressured to take the caffeine out of their date-rape juice. There are a lot of things you can call that, and I chose "being a pussy."

Actually, I take that back -- I´m not sorry at all.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 12:31 AM     
  Not done, actually  
  
It´s all good and well and even admirable to stand up and say that the oil wars are wrong. But to say that the system we have now has failed because it allowed those wars to happen in the first place is something entirely different -- it´s actually anti-democratic. I think that´s what pisses me off the most.

Democracy isn´t supposed to be perfect, and it´s certainly not meant to reflect one supposedly ideal or pure economic or political system, whose adherents will always believe could smooth over all the flaws.

Democracy is messy and full of screw-ups -- that is the point. That´s that´s what real freedom is -- not this idea that the people should not be allowed to democratically band together and use the government as a tool to shape their nation and culture. That argument is really an argument for a totalitarian government of ideas. It doesn´t empower the people, it takes their power away.

This video is profanity to anyone who believes in democracy. I could be just as profane if I wanted to shit all over the system that U.S. soldiers fought and died to create and protect:

"Our country won´t even let two gay people get married. All those soldiers died for no reason."

"How shameful that our country, the wealthiest on earth, is rife with homelessness. Every drop of American blood spilled to build this nation was therefore spilled in vain."

Those are just a few of the utterly ridiculous and yes, pussified things I could say if I was so arrogant as to say the sacrifices made to build our system were pointless just because our system doesn´t completely embrace my personal values.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 12:48 AM     
  That´s real freedom?  
  
To have a bigger group democratically take your freedoms away?

& what is freedom, but temporary privileges in the face of democracy?

Shouldn´t we be concerned about how dogmatic both sides are & see the dangers in it? Let´s work together & put these silly feuds away.
 
  by: vhan     03/27/2011 01:07 AM     
  Hey, Ben...  
  
The system we have in place has failed because it allowed those wars to happen in the first place.

Those wars are shit and the founders of this country didn´t start a democracy, they started a representative republic. You folks who yell and scream for democracy haven´t yet figured out that democracy devolves into aristocracy first and then, into oligarchy. Guess what... we´ve already passed the aristocracy stage.

Further, the middle class has been around for a helluva lot longer than you´ve been studying twentieth century presidential politics. In fact, the middle class fought and died in one of the only justified wars this country has ever been engaged in for the sole purpose of creating this wonderful representative republic we have.

And just in case you can give one of your f*cks about it... I agree that it is despicable that gays can´t marry in this country and I agree that there are far too many homeless people here. Unlike you, though... I honestly believe that our soldiers have died in vain, because I understand that we don´t need to be on the other side of the world destroying families in order to allow gays to marry or to mitigate the problem we have with homelessness.

I´m sorry that this video didn´t address your hot button issues but to be sure, myself and the people who produced it agree with a lot more of your sentiment than you care to admit. Obviously, we don´t agree on how to resolve those issues but then, such is the fertilizer of innovation. After all, if everyone agreed about everything, one wrong decision would be catastrophic.

Four Loco removed the caffeine from their product because of pressure from the federal government and a small number of right wing nuts who were afraid someone was going to have some fun. Honestly Ben, I´m disappointed that you make light of such abuse of governmental power.

And lastly... our tax code has far too many pages and you yourself would happily advocate making it smaller if doing so included removing the myriad deductions (aka, loopholes) in it that you and others like you who don´t give a f*ck to learn about it, think are only available to the rich.

One last thing....

I´m sorry you had a bad day but there is no reason for you to attack me for expressing my opinion.
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/27/2011 04:04 AM     
  lol  
  
About what I´d come to expect - but hope springs eternal.

I know some very good men and women in several branches of the armed forces, and consider myself privileged. They trust that they are deployed to protect America, and cannot afford to question policy when their lives depend on disciplined execution of teamwork and duty.

I consider it my duty to raise awareness wherever I can, so that their lives and the live of the foreigners whose countries we invade aren´t needlessly wasted. Perhaps that is arrogant of me, but I couldn´t sleep the few hours that I do, were I not "brazenly" honest under the scrutiny of my own conscience.

What you condemn and belittle as cultish, I call principled. When you say hijack, I say holding to a set standard.

What you call democracy, I call the tyranny of the majority - and the framers of the constitution viewed it similarly. We had a bill of rights and limited government for this precise reason - so that whichever the popular wind was blowing, individuals still retained liberty.

Both parties have had numerous majorities in both houses and the presidency... why is it that we keep losing more freedom and have less money each time?

Once again, I ask you - what principles do you and your party espouse? If our country is meant to compromise all principles for the sake of idealistic "progression", mustn´t that inevitably lead to a country with no principles left?

Ben, you´re too intelligent to keep swallowing the propaganda of career politicians. The same politicians who let you down and force you to defend them continually. Every man should hold his ideals close to heart, but must act upon principles to realize them. So far, the only principle I see is aggression, and it´s universal amongst both parties.



 
  by: Jenkie     03/27/2011 11:51 AM     
  Like I said before Ben...  
  
Your having a bad day shouldn´t lead you to attacking me for expressing my opinion.

When´s the last time I told you to go get fucked in one of your global warming threads?
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/27/2011 02:51 PM     
  OK  
  
Let´s see, the Republicans claim to know the minds of Jesus and God, along with the Founding Fathers and the troops. Now we see the Libertarians are just as willing to profess to be the only ones to understand the constitution, as well as *also* being the only party that understands what the Founding Fathers intended. And now, apparently, they also hold a monopoly on understanding the principles that motivated all our dead soldiers.

(I hope everybody catches that. If you had a grandfather or great-grandfather who died in WWII, you had a member of the Libertarian Party in your family. Amazing how these things work out. Kind of like how being Republican will get you into Heaven.)

I´m just mad because I can´t bring myself to pretend that a mystical being endorses my political philosophy, or pretend that my political views are based on my "perfect" understanding of what the framers of the constitution believed. </sarcasm>

Sarcasm aside, I do wish to point out that saying "Because of X, the soldiers who died for this country GAVE THEIR LIVES IN VAIN" is just as douchebaggy as saying "If Y happens, then THE TERRORISTS HAVE ALREADY WON."
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 05:37 PM     
  I guess I´m just mad  
  
... because I think you should make your ideas work on their own, without having to invoke deities or larger-than-life, if-you-contradict-these-people-you´re-obviously-evil people such as The Founding Fathers or The (Dead) Troops.

I will go ahead, however, and claim a few for Progressives. We´ll take FDR obviously, along with his cousin Teddy. Mythological being-wise, I´m thinking the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a perfect fit -- His Noodly Appendage reached out and put the idea of universal health coverage into Obama´s head.

And lastly, we´re going to go ahead and claim Kermit the Frog. It may not be easy being green, but it might just save the planet.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 05:51 PM     
  Lastly  
  
So that Jenkie won´t accuse me of ducking the principles question:

http://www.democrats.org/...
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 06:29 PM     
  Post-Lastly  
  
I just realized that we also haven´t hijacked any powerful words or phrases and assigned them our own distinctly separate meanings.

So from now on, the notion that progressive taxation, a strong social safety net and robust environmental protections will ensure a high quality of life for the vast majority of citizens will be summarized by the phrase "Sex Party."
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 06:35 PM     
  There´s still one problem Ben.  
  
You´re projecting what you think it must be like to be libertarian onto me. By doing so, you incorrectly assume that I think only libertarians understand liberty, the intentions of the Founders, et al.

I know full well that there is a plurality of republicans and democrats who understand what liberty is and what our founders intended for this country. Which, btw, makes their actions all the more despicable. After all, (were I a legislator) if I know that a law I put in place violates some people´s liberty but I do it any way because it suits some other purpose... that´s immoral. Even if that other purpose is deemed good by the majority, it´s still wrong.

And regarding your comments about religious superstition... I agree with you 100%, but I´m confused as to why you brought that into this discussion.
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/27/2011 06:35 PM     
  @SM  
  
"You´re projecting what you think it must be like to be libertarian onto me."

My intent is to comment on the right-libertarian movement, not you.

"By doing so, you incorrectly assume that I think only libertarians understand liberty, the intentions of the Founders, et al."

No, but the message the rest of us is getting from your political movement is that you guys "think only libertarians understand liberty, the intentions of the Founders, et al.," much like the message the rest of us get from Republicans is that they´re the only party endorsed by Jesus. Both are equally fallacious and equally unfair propaganda devices that rely upon the supposed endorsement of people or entities that can´t chime in and speak for themselves.

Furthermore, those people or entities that can´t speak for themselves (because they´re either dead or don´t exist or, if they do, have thus far remained silent) are all sacred cows. You´re not allowed to disagree with them and still be a rational and good person. So the whole thing is hog shit and I for one am sick of having pretend arguments with Thomas Jefferson or Jesus of Nazareth.

To pretend God/George Washington/The Dead Troops supports your political ideology isn´t just douchebaggery, by the way. It´s an insult to the intelligence of everyone you pull it on. You think I´m too feeble-minded to grasp that you´re using dead soldiers as a ventroliquist´s dummy which now parrots your party line. I find that insulting not only for the desecration of the dead but for the insult to my intellect.

"I know full well that there is a plurality of republicans and democrats who understand what liberty is and what our founders intended for this country."

And by saying this, what you´re really saying is that your view of what liberty means and what the founders intended is still the only correct one -- you merely "admit" that some people outside the LP "get it" too.

I, for example, can still rail all day about how anybody who has been rendered dirt-poor by a supposed "free" market is in no way free, but I´m wrong and you´re right, right? I don´t understand what freedom means if I take that position. And that is what I meant earlier when I said that right-libertarians advocate totalitarianism of ideas. My view on freedom isn´t considered, it´s just wrong, if we run the country that way. Whereas if we run the country my way, there´s room for my view and your view and Carnold´s view and every other citizen´s view, because I believe in democracy.

"And regarding your comments about religious superstition... I agree with you 100%, but I´m confused as to why you brought that into this discussion."

I hope I cleared that up earlier, but if not, I´ll try to make it simple -- whether it´s God or Jesus or dead troops or Founding Fathers, you don´t know what they think or thought, so don´t make them your ventriloquist´s dummy. If you´ve got something to say, say it for yourself and don´t make it out like all the sacred cows nod their heads every time you assert your beliefs.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/27/2011 07:29 PM     
  @Ben  
  
We can get into this whole I believe you are arrogant & I am putting words in your mouth all day, but where does that get us? Further apart & far from any truth.

I don´t think any of us think we understand what the founding fathers think, but we should try & understand what they said. What they have said is what has lead a lot of what we are saying here today.

I could only imagine if we all lived back in the day how all of us would view these people saying these things. Would you have been supportive of them, or would you call them arrogant too & say everything you are saying to us to them?

Also who is hijacking the word liberty if no one is miss using it. Sure you see us miss use the word, but do you even understand it yourself? It´s political philosophy that hinges on the opinions in relativity to the person´s political standing. What a lot of libertarians say about the founding fathers comes from what they left behind. If you think any of us is incorrect & misrepresenting our founding fathers please show proof, & not get all pissy.

I mean a lot of my political standings have come about because of the founding fathers & what I have gathered from their quotes & so on. I have no clue as to how your philosophies originated from, but I doubt it was from the same people.

As well SM, & jenkie from what I have gathered over the years don´t believe the founding fathers had everything worked out & knew the answer to all our problems, but they understand that they wanted to maximize liberty from a republic standpoint.

As far as all of this being philosophical I would like to bring up your big point of the dangers of political dogma. Washington was quoted as saying
"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty."

Washington hated the idea of political association. We all (in this thread) understands the dangers of this. & I am sick to see you use this understanding against us, when we already understood it. How can you be so high & mighty when you say one thing yet act another way (as in you call against political dogma yet subscribe to that very thing.)

The only bright side I see is that if SM, jenkie, & I where like you we would be republicans, yet we are not. Don´t you see the hypocrisy? I understand your reasons for being a dem, but don´t go I am holier then thou attitude when you are in the same boat. Maybe if your hands where clean I wouldn´t be mentioning this. So get off your high seat & your insult to people´s personal beliefs because that is making you even more of a hypocrite.

[ edited by vhan ]
 
  by: vhan     03/28/2011 01:11 AM     
  LMAO.... Good one, Ben.  
  
But you´ve failed to realize that the term "sex party" is ambiguous.

To be sure, if there is a sex party, one can assume that there will be a party and at that party there will be some sex. Also, one can assume that if there is a sex party... I´ll be there. However, I wouldn´t attend just any sex party. After all, some sex parties are all male and some are all female. I wouldn´t fit at either of those. The former, because I don´t care for sausage and the latter, because my fellow party goers don´t care for sausage.

Now... what I would go for is a liberty party and it wouldn´t matter if it was an all male or all female party and it wouldn´t matter if that party were oriented around sex. Why? Because with the theme being liberty, I wouldn´t be obliged to partake in any sausage at the male party and none of my fellow party goers would be obliged to partake of any sausage at the female party... it would simply be a gathering of people who wanted to party and who respected one another´s preferences or, liberties, as it were.

As a matter of fact, the sex parties I do attend are most certainly respectful of liberties. No one is obliged to do anything with anyone they don´t choose to do something with.

That´s not ownership of the term liberty, by the way. Rather, it´s understanding and, most importantly, respect of it.

Libertarians at large (since you weren´t targeting me) don´t own any word or phrase. We just tend to respect some of them more than do others.

And if we honestly did think we owned the term liberty, why wouldn´t we be filing trademarks and copyrights on it?

Oh wait, my right libertarian handbook says that trademarks and copyrights stifle innovation and free markets... so disregard that last comment. ;)
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/28/2011 04:26 AM     
  Yeah...  
  
when I think ´liberty´ I think of the original founding fathers. And I get inspired by all of that "all men created equal" jargon.

Except for, you know, anyone who wasn´t a white male. We know what they were thinking because they wrote down a lot of their ideas. And as for today´s society? Pfft. Who cares what a bunch of racists would do anyway?

Bwhaha.



[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/28/2011 11:20 AM     
  Simply put though....  
  
Not to reduce what has seemingly turned into a much more complex series of arguments ... but I´m sure that it´s fair to say that some troops would be disappointed at what they fought for, and some would think it was great. So who cares? They´d probably be split on the issue. Our nation does that from time to time. And one very specific time in history, we started killing each other for our disagreements. It was a wild party.

So, blah to dissecting each buzz word to the core. The song probably represents what SOME troops would probably feel like. Others would take Ben´s point of view. And they´d argue until one tired of arguing, they agreed to disagree, or one shot the other.

[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/28/2011 11:28 AM     
  @SM  
  
The terms "liberty" and "freedom" are ambiguous, too. Like in my first example -- to me, you can´t be free if market forces have left you in abject poverty with no recourse but to beg. Others would disagree with that.

@Dayron: If there´s anything more annoying than dissecting buzz words, it´s people who haven´t put in any of the intellectual heavy lifting in a debate swooping in at the end and saying we´re all taking this too seriously :D
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/28/2011 05:01 PM     
  @Ben  
  
Oh. My bad. Didn´t know it was all about you guys here. Permission to reverse my "swoop".

Next time I´ll beat a dead horse for a number of paragraphs, then over-generalize a few times.

My point wasn´t that you´re taking it too serious. It´s that you´re making something simple into something incredibly complicated. But that was just my opinion, and I´m sorry I took the "liberty" to throw it in here.
 
  by: Dayron   03/28/2011 10:34 PM     
  @Ben  
  
Meanwhile:

...Is that Cartman all battered and bloody in your profile shot? =P Is there some symbolism here?! Bwha.
 
  by: Dayron   03/28/2011 10:48 PM     
  @Daywon  
  
It´s always all about us, didn´t you see that admin post from a while back?

Maybe I´m just physically assaulting this deceased equine because I´m a journalist and that causes much of my life to basically revolve around language and what it does, and words and what they mean. If you really want to control a people, you control their language, and I think that´s the exact tactic being used here -- and I don´t like it when people try to brainwash me. But you don´t see it as that big of a deal and that´s OK.

Re: the avatar -- yep, that´s a bloodied, bruised and battered Cartman. The thing I love about that image is that it´s realistic in the sense that anybody who acted the way he does in real life would have his ass kicked up one side of the street and down the other. You just don´t talk to people like he does in real life and not get busted in the mouth or kicked in the, ahem, noooots. He only gets away with it because he´s saying it in a -- you know -- *cartoon*. ;)
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/28/2011 10:59 PM     
  @Ben  
  
Nah, I get it. I´d be a hypocrite (probably still am) if I didn´t admit that from time to time the meaning of something gets to me. I´m not a journalist, but I did study journalism. Which should imply some kind of interest in communication.

I should have just ignored the buzzword comment. I don´t really care how you guys shell that out. All I should have added, which was my overall point, is that I´m sure both opinions represented here would be shared by the troops long dead.

About Cartman though, I never really thought about it. Maybe because he´s just a kid and all on the show, but you´re right. I mean... you know, if he were an adult and all. ahem.
 
  by: Dayron   03/28/2011 11:19 PM     
  @Ben  
  
I totally understand & agree about the idea of control through language. If I felt like you were trying to brainwash me with concepts I would ignor you as well. Though I find being aware of the concept is a healthier alternative to closing myself off completely . Though if you say you are completly against brainwashing, or being controlled via language are you aware that would be hypocritical because you allowed it in the first place?

I personally hold an open mind & have concepts dook it out all the time. & this must be the same for all of us. Though I find it hard to believe at all times because some of our actions show we are closed off. Is any of us trying to force each other(brainwashing), or is this really just a conceptual battle? I Have come to understand that if I can´t come up with a better solution to any problem that has been shared by another, it would be more harmful to me to deny that. Harmful like the way a lie is harmful, after time you start to believe your own lies.

[ edited by vhan ]
 
  by: vhan     03/29/2011 02:59 AM     
  Some observations, Dayron  
  
In regards to Liberty as a "buzzword"; without standardized definitions of vernacular, it becomes impossible to participate in any meaningful dialog.

If my understanding of the word "red" is dependent upon a certain spectrum of reflected light, I must make sure that you understand which spectrum I´m referring to in order to discuss the color with you. If your understanding involves a different spectrum, then we can "agree to disagree", but only at the expense of meaningful conversation. It is better for us to standardize our definitions between each other, so that we put each other´s words into proper context, so we can move forward in our exchange of ideas.

Despite the attacks on uses of Historical reference, I must defer to Jefferson´s seemingly off the cusp definition of liberty, and more importantly, the idea of rightful Liberty:

"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ´within the limits of the law´ because law is often but the tyrant´s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

Some might choose to re-word it, but I doubt I could approach Jefferson´s elegance. There is also the fact that he is widely regarded as our most intellectually prolific president, whose opinion might bear more weight than some anonymous guy spouting off in a forum.

Is he infallible? Should he be revered as a demigod? Certainly not. He was a slave owner, the Louisiana Purchase was not authorized by the constitution, he privately advocated shipping the slaves back to Africa upon freeing them, etc.

But Jefferson was that rare man whose self-scrutiny was relentless, whose values must stand the tests of philosophy and math, or be discarded.

Through this process of self-education and evaluation, one hopes to arrive at some abstract or empirical truths that one simply cannot deny, and is able to build upon these basic truths to form a more sophisticated philosophy.

Two of these basic truths are used to form the core principles of the philosophy of Liberty;

The first is the principle of Self-ownership, which is logically extended into property rights. Each individual naturally owns property in the form of himself, and is responsible for his action and inaction. If this were not so, than no government could be rightfully legitimate or lawful, because all government is the creation of individuals. The individual also owns his own labor, and can use it to trade for whatever he wants, including capital.

The second base principle is formed from the self-evident truth that initiation of coercion is immoral, also called the non-aggression axiom.

By applying these two base values, one can discern rightful action on any number of topics, as well as objectively defend these actions.

Now these arguments are certainly simplified qualifications, so for the nit-pickers out there who need to split hair, I assure you that the logical rebuttals exist. Don´t be lazy, think it through or research your own answers before attempting to get off topic with every tangent. As always, I am happy to expand or debate thoughtful questions or counterarguments.

This principled approach is a primary difference between advocates of Liberty and disciples of pop-political ideologies. Which is more "cultish", the reasoned application of principle, or the reactionary adherence to emotive ideals? Which should we consider the results of "brainwashing"?

When requested to detail any principles upheld by the Democratic party, Ben has traditionally ignored it, but has now supplied a link that´s supposed to excuse him from "ducking".

Healthcare, immigration reform, job creation - these are ideals, and fine ones at that. But when you attempt to realize them by subverting the principles that enable Liberty, the results are a net loss of freedom and prosperity. One cannot claim a right that is dependent upon another person´s labor without violating these basic moral truths.

Ben´s example of not being free "if market forces have left you in abject poverty with no recourse but to beg"
is fallacious logic - by extending this logic, one cannot be free on a planet subject to drought, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or solar flares. Rightful Liberty is freedom from the coercive action of other men, who do not control weather or markets. There are plenty who think that men can control markets through government, which inevitably results in the "market forces" Ben has referred to. This too, can be discerned bu applying extensions of these principles.

In conclusion, I´d like to add that in your example of soldiers discussing the reason for their deployments, the one who shot the other would be violating the non-aggression axiom, hence the immoral use of force continues....

That is why these terms and definitions are important, and why they get met with derision by those who have no principled
 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 03:06 AM     
  Observations continued -  
  
That is why these terms and definitions are important, and why they get met with derision by those who have no principled argument with which to contend.

 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 04:16 AM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"by extending this logic, one cannot be free on a planet subject to drought, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or solar flares"

You write that and have the gall to accuse me of using fallacious logic?

Let´s imagine a Venn diagram with just two circles on it. We´re going to fill each one with things that you named off and the one thing I named off -- market forces.

So in one circle we´ll put:

*Drought
*Earthquakes
*Floods
*Tornadoes
*Solar flares

... since they´re all natural phenomena and are (for the most part) impossible for man to influence.

Can you guess what we´re going to put in the other circle? That´s right -- the market, which is man-made, and which people can´t help but influence every time they make any decision whatsoever about what to do with their belongings and capital.

Come on - seriously?

And you still don´t get it. You don´t own the word "liberty" -- your political movement does not get to decide for everyone what that word means and does not mean. It belongs to all of us. (I know, I know, you can´t stand things like that. But it´s true.)

When people are allowed to collectively bargain through the apparatus known as representative government, your notion of freedom and my notion of freedom are allowed to compete with everyone else´s notions to come up with something that, for better or for worse, expresses the will of the people. It doesn´t do so perfectly by any stretch -- but it´s far better, at least in my opinion, than letting your idea -- that government should serve only as a referee and a cop -- strip the American people of their right to bargain as a collective with the other powerful forces in the world.

Think about it -- companies are organized around an agenda. Companies then in turn form organizations of companies that serve agendas. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an organization of 3 MILLION businesses. It has enormous influence and power.

Religions organize. There are over 2 BILLION people in Christian congregations and another billion and a half who practice Islam. They have enormous influence and power across the globe.

But your political philosophy would deny the American people the right to organize and act collectively to carry out an agenda, or address the issues that arise when our lives intersect with these powerful entities. Business can collectivize -- religion can collectivize -- but for some reason, you say, the citizenry cannot.

Don´t get me wrong -- I don´t want the government to become another powerful entity that exists outside the control of the people, and in far too many ways that is what is happening. I have never advocated for that here and you will never see me do that.

But you also won´t see me saying that the way to get rid of the problems that arise when we organize and act collectively is to take away the right of our representative government to do anything besides passing a few laws, enforcing said laws, and settling disputes, handcuffing ourselves from doing anything further. It´s anti-democratic.

Just the notion of doing that, I think, is as big a threat to rule of the people, by the people, for the people as democracy was to monarchy.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/29/2011 07:19 AM     
  ..  
  
@_@
 
  by: vhan     03/29/2011 08:08 AM     
  @Jenkie  
  
Whoa. That´s a lot of words. Phew. You have to establish some type of worth before you sucker me into that one!

=P I´m kidding. And one day, I´ll read it.

A lot of people here would do well to just go ahead and write a book. You may as well get paid for your personal tangents if possible! And there´s a huge market at the moment for this stuff. Consider the time you use to come here, and the energy wasted to write responses to people who probably don´t deserve them. Dudes. You could be rich.

[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/29/2011 10:20 AM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"In conclusion I´d like to add that in your example of soldiers discussing the reason for their deployments, the one who shot the other would be violating the non-aggression axiom, hence the immoral use of force continues.... "

It´s like talking to a robot. "I *bzzt* have no emotion, and cannot detect *bzt* humor. There is only logic and reason."



And listen, you probably mean well. Or maybe you´re just a narcissist who thinks writing a term paper to express your views shows how much more intelligent you are. But I share a different point of view. Let me attempt to save you time in the future.

You could have plainly said, "Words are important because, if standardized, we can exchange ideas in a proper context."

Which, by the way, since I´m not an early ape, I know. I mean, thanks for the history lesson and everything but if I want to learn something, I´ll at least get college credit for it.

[ edited by dayron ]
 
  by: dayron   03/29/2011 10:40 AM     
  Re to Ben  
  
It seems we´re both not getting things.

I spent a few sentences to explain why it is important that words be uniform for the purpose of furthering conversation and debate. I certainly do not own words, and ideas are free for anyone to embrace. If you disagree with "my" definition, you are free to offer your own, and we´ll find a way to incorporate terms to use for our different ideas, no passive aggression needed!

My goal is not to dominate definitions, but to ensure that when I use the word Liberty (big L), it is clear what I mean and what I do not.

I´m rather surprised that a journalist needs such concepts explained to him. How would you do your job if readers stopped every minute to wonder what you meant by the word "the" or "win" or to tell you that "dominate" is not your word, you can´t decide how to employ it?

The natural phenomena I´ve detailed have more influence over markets than all but the largest cohesive group of players. These phenomena create shortages which are then multiplied by the inequities of those who would be economic planners.

Indeed we shape the market with our demands, and those who are aware of this make the market even more efficient. For a self-proclaimed lover of democracy like yourself, the purest form can be found in a free market.

I do not love democracy in all but the most base of settings, under a voluntary pretext. That is the difference between the examples of collectivization you cite. Religions, businesses and individuals all have the right to organize. But when they organize with the intent to impose coercion they have overstepped that right.

You claim that the philosophy of Liberty (it is not mine) denies people the "ability to collectively bargain with other powerful entities", yet also claim that we influence the market with every action we take....

Let´s look at how a society would function under the premise and structure of laws that embrace Liberty; in a voluntary society, each state would establish its own values, leaving these decision to be made by the elected officials who are closest to the people they affect. Want "free" healthcare and all the welfare you can handle? Move to Illinois. It won´t be very free, and it cannot last long but go give it a shot. Want to live in a society that values guns and God? Try out Utah, no passport needed. The possibilities are endless, and people are free to live in a society that reflects their values without imposing them on another. In this manner, differing policies are held up to comparison, allowing other states and societies to utilize, modify and discard
laws as the citizen sees fit. Under this "free-market" of policy, peace and prosperity would grow in leaps and bounds, as it always does when people are free to pursue their own unique concepts of happiness. And the backbone, of course, is the Federal government, with its dual mandate to protect the states from foreign coercion, and to protect the citizen´s natural rights from the state.

So here you have your democracy(s), and groups of citizens can even impose communism upon themselves, should they wish, so long as individuals are free to leave for another state. Voluntaryism is the key to success for any society.

In light of the elegance and inherent goodness of such a concept, can you still endorse the use of force to collect taxes form millions of people who are horrified that their money goes to kill brown-skinned people all over the world? When we strip the pretenses away, that´s exactly what we have. You must give a percentage of your money to pay the interest on the loan we take against the capital of your labor so that we can build, maintain and use the most efficient violent arsenal ever created at the president´s whim. Is that your free society? Is democracy both your crowning principle and ideal? Should the majority vote to eliminate a minority, is this made right by the "principle" of democracy?

You claim that Liberty is as big a threat to democracy as the latter is to monarchy; I submit that both democracy and monarchy are their own worst enemies. Both will eventually result in tyranny, and history bears this claim without exception.

You claim that you would never advocate government outside of the control of the people, but I submit that is the nature of government, and especially democracy.
Government does not produce anything, with the possible exception of prisoners and dead "enemies", neither of which are hot commodities unless you´re in the prison and graveyard industries. Once we understand this, it is plain to see that government cannot give us anything without taking it from others. What results is reactionary politics; people understand that they can get elected by promising what the greatest number of constituents might desire, while promising to repay backers once in office. This is how democracy feeds on itself.

 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 04:30 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"In this manner, differing policies are held up to comparison, allowing other states and societies to utilize, modify and discard laws as the citizen sees fit."
Wrong. You may enjoy a decade or so under the Sun, and as your market becomes smaller, your influence will also become smaller, and then your ability to govern yourself becomes smaller and another group bigger then you (public and/or private and/or foreign) will impose its influence on you. And the group you belong to, will become the other group´s b1tch.

If you are going to use evolution as a guiding factor behind your thoughts, then please implement the full spectrum of evolution with all its stupidity and brutality, in the games of evolution, even the winner loses a lot, yet you make it seem like the market will just improve through corrections.
 
  by: kmazzawi     03/29/2011 04:53 PM     
  Re to Dayron  
  
It appears that subtlety is best employed face-to-face. My remark on the soldiers was also a lame attempt at levity.

Just a reminder, if the body of text looks daunting, you´re under no obligation to read it - much less reply - even should your handle appear in the subject line.

That said, I´m delighted that you´re still in it. I´m certain that I do have narcissistic proclivities, among other peculiarities, and I try to be mindful of keeping these in check. It´s an ongoing struggle, but without room for improvement breath becomes tedious.

As for books, I can´t imagine the editor who´d want the task of corralling my grammar, punctuation and extrapolation. Besides, these books have been written. I would be hard pressed to re-write them any better.

I take the time to go into depth and offer somewhat complete stances on certain issues, not just for you, or for Ben, or even my own narcissism, but because the ideas merit the effort. This is not the only forum I participate in, and even if it were, we are not the only minds weighing the merits of these ideas. Many reject them outright, because the ideas do not fit the left/right standards we have imposed on ourselves, but the principles, and resulting premises are sound; by illustrating them, I am often rewarded with graciousness and enthusiasm, and have witnessed others who take up the call to educate themselves, and in turn go on to echo these ideas.

So yes, my actions can certainly be considered self-serving, as all voluntary actions are.

It does sadden me, however, to hear that you consider an increasingly obsolete college credit as a more worthy incentive to learn than is a natural state of curiosity. Ideas are among the highest pursuit of men, and demand no piece of paper to give them value.
 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 05:00 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
Really busy right now but BOY do I have a response to that. See you later.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/29/2011 05:27 PM     
  Re to Ben  
  
Sounds good! I look forward to reasoned rebuttals that don´t preface themselves with "Wrong.", followed by abject and unqualified assertions, with a sprinkling of obtuse generalization.

As if a global market that continually redefines itself will magically shrink in ten years...as if imposing brutality to suppress brutality somehow doesn´t inspire retaliatory brutality... as if random genetic mutations succeeding over millenia were equatable to reasoned and rational refinement of conscious action.

 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 05:57 PM     
  @Ben  
  
"I can´t bring myself to pretend that a mystical being endorses my political philosophy..."

Mythical being? You once professed to be Christian. Have you, since, renounced your faith?
 
  by: carnold     03/29/2011 06:00 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"
Just a reminder, if the body of text looks daunting, you´re under no obligation to read it - much less reply - even should your handle appear in the subject line. "

True, but I would be nice enough to figure you out first =P After all, maybe my initial opinion about someone is "all wrong" as they say. Or, "we got off on the wrong foot" or the several other phrases.

"I´m saddened to hear that you consider an increasingly obsolete college credit as a more worthy incentive to learn than is a natural state of curiosity. Ideas are among the highest pursuit of men, and demand no piece of paper to give them value."

I knew you would say something like that. So, maybe I´m still a decent judge of online character. That´s score for me, I think. First, you´re not saddened. What happened is you saw a chance to be condescending. "Oh, you poor soul, you don´t know the value of knowledge. Now let me explain the value of learning."

Listen, I´m not new to the world. But I do have a homeless uncle who spends all of his time in libraries. I´d venture to say he´s read more books than me and has a wealth of information that he could go on and on about.

Now, let´s say he wasted his time reading and getting credit. He´d probably have a little something, wouldn´t he? So tell me. What´s wrong about wanting credit for learning? And why does that mean I won´t accept learning under any other terms? It doesn´t. Again, you just saw a chance and took the leap.

[ edited by Dayron ]
 
  by: Dayron   03/29/2011 06:08 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
Oh, but sorry about not getting your joke. I think you´re right about subtlety and the whole "face-to-face" thing.
 
  by: Dayron   03/29/2011 06:26 PM     
  Dayron, focus your gaze inward.  
  
Was my reply not an gentle response to your own condescension? Can it be said that we´re both subject to prideful sentiment?

Did I suggest that you butt out, as did certain other posts? In fact, I attempted to accept your input with what small graces I posses.

I was saddened; you plainly stated that if you wanted to learn, you would do so in pursuit of credit. You may alter your stated approach after the fact, but I responded to the statement as evidenced.

I am further saddened, for here you could decide to contribute to the topics at hand, but instead have chosen to cajole the participants, and summarily assert your own prides and shortcomings in lieu of others.

As for your uncle, there is one key difference between he and the average college student; he learned for free. Naturally, that does not guarantee he can apply his knowledge any more efficiently than the college graduate.

There will always be knowledge for sale, provided there are people willing to pay; I have no problem with that, they´re welcome to come work for me, the indifferent bearer of a GED, or for my wife, who never attended college, yet employs many who have both undergrad diplomas and JD´s.

Knowledge is only as valuable as its application, and that requires wisdom, which cannot be purchased but through honest reflection and insight.

If your gaze penetrates character so efficiently, then be content. To read voluminous posts and then complain about having read them is absurd. To suggest narcissism while boasting of one´s own insight and intuition is ironic to a fault.

 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 07:01 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
"To read voluminous posts and then complain about having read them is absurd"

You presume I read everything =P Well, I did in that last one. But I don´t think I´ve read your others in their entirety. I mean, unless you insist that I´ll discover something profound about myself and the world I live in there, I probably just won´t. And I wouldn´t complain if I did. I complained that you say in 4 paragraphs what can be said in a sentence.

You´re ´wordy´ as most would call it. If you speak that much in real life while you have the floor at any given time, you´re probably very annoying to be around. I also don´t care to call someone something, while being the same thing. I´m making an observation. I might be all sorts of things. That doesn´t bother me. I didn´t call you a "narcissist" to offend you. That´s just what my intuition insists about what I can gather from you here. It doesn´t mean it´s right or wrong. It´s just me.

Also, I don´t care to be a hypocrite, an idiot, totally juvenile, blah blah blah. I don´t care to come to the forum and add absolutely nothing to the discussion, and you or any other stranger pointing that out won´t make or break my day. Stop taking everything so seriously. This is a news forum.

I´m kind, I´m mean, I´m selfish, I´m generous, I´m deep, I´m shallow. What can I say: I´m moody. And I´m sure sometimes what you provide to the conversation is just brilliant, profound and inspiring ... but sometimes it just comes off as too try-hard. I´ll emphasize there´s nothing wrong with that. Who am I to tell you how to act, let alone how you come off? But hey, I´m sure I´m not the only one.
 
  by: Dayron   03/29/2011 07:36 PM     
  Anyway,  
  
You´re right any way. And the topic has been derailed... I would say it was entirely my fault, but it takes two ;)

So anyway... back to the grind, everyone. We mustn´t deviate from the script! Places, everyone!
 
  by: Dayron   03/29/2011 07:40 PM     
  lol  
  
I´m wordy, presumptuous, over-serious and you´re not perfect either.

That´s kinda brusque, don´t you agree? I much prefer your penchant to flesh it out.

I´ll keep it simple, as per your request; thank you for affirming all my previous assertions.
 
  by: Jenkie     03/29/2011 07:56 PM     
  @Carnold  
  
More like I am very skeptical. While I know I don´t know everything and thus will not fully embrace an atheistic viewpoint, I am agnostic and doubtful.

Not that I wouldn´t like for Christianity to be real, and not that I don´t think that Jesus got it right when it comes to morality. But this is a whole separate topic.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/29/2011 08:18 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
I aim to please. We have to be real with each other, or else what´s the point? Lying on the internet to someone I don´t even know? What would my ancestors think!? I´m sure we´ve both got enough people in our real lives to make us feel better than we really should. Bwha =)

 
  by: Dayron   03/29/2011 09:18 PM     
  @Jenkie  
  
Real rough day today. I´m not sure I´m up to writing my response this evening. But I´ll get to it eventually ...
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/29/2011 11:40 PM     
  Re: Jenkie (here we go ...)  
  
"I spent a few sentences to explain why it is important that words be uniform for the purpose of furthering conversation and debate."

And my position has been that -- and I´m sorry if I haven´t made this clear thus far -- the concepts of "liberty" and "freedom" are kind of a big deal to most people, right up there with stuff like "love." And it just sickens me to see your political movement, or any political movement, acting like it owns those words. It´s sort of like when Republicans claim God, or family values. Whenever a political movement claims something rather "sacred" like those things, it´s unwittingly defiling it in the eyes of all who disagree with them. You might as well take a piss on the Statue of Liberty if you´re going to tell me that Rand Paul knows what "liberty" is and that whoever I support does not.

And it is a brainwashing attempt. Libertarians imply, "if you oppose us, you oppose freedom, and what the soldiers fought and died for." Republicans imply, "If you oppose us, you oppose God." It´s manipulative to do things like that. It´s really ironic that people who espouse "freedom" would seek to control others like that.

"I´m rather surprised that a journalist needs such concepts explained to him. How would you do your job if readers stopped every minute to wonder what you meant by the word "the" or "win" or to tell you that "dominate" is not your word, you can´t decide how to employ it?"

They don´t -- because *I* abide by what the dictionaries say those words mean. But when right-libertarians say they believe in "liberty," what they´re saying is that they believe things like the EPA and the public school system and income taxes are unconstitutional. You´re not going to find that definition in any dictionary.

"The natural phenomena I´ve detailed have more influence over markets than all but the largest cohesive group of players. These phenomena create shortages which are then multiplied by the inequities of those who would be economic planners."

Markets recover rather quickly from the random tornado or solar flare. The actions of human beings -- short-selling stocks, manipulating bond ratings, etc. -- have had a far more lasting effect than any drought.

"Indeed we shape the market with our demands, and those who are aware of this make the market even more efficient. For a self-proclaimed lover of democracy like yourself, the purest form can be found in a free market."

And I have never said we shouldn´t have a free market. I have merely said we should also have a strong social safety net for those whose needs can´t be met by the market, and that we should have reasonable restrictions against the market´s excesses.

"I do not love democracy in all but the most base of settings, under a voluntary pretext. That is the difference between the examples of collectivization you cite. Religions, businesses and individuals all have the right to organize. But when they organize with the intent to impose coercion they have overstepped that right."

And that´s where the rubber meets the road -- you believe taxation is coercion while I do not. Even though your life is made better every day by things provided to you by your country, you still think you owe your country nothing in return.

"You claim that the philosophy of Liberty (it is not mine) denies people the "ability to collectively bargain with other powerful entities", yet also claim that we influence the market with every action we take...."

And those two concepts are not mutually exclusive or contradictory. The market is affected when I buy groceries or decide to cut back. I have in no way participated in any kind of collective bargaining when I shop, however. I´m only thinking of myself and my own needs, not about what´s good for the nation.

There´s no way for me to pull out my wallet and make any kind of purchase that says "I want the government to create a new body to regulate deep-ocean oil drilling -- that crap´s not safe." I could boycott BP and rely on others to do so, but that´s really not going to do anything -- boycotts have proven generally ineffective. Under "Liberty," we´d just have to wait until oil company executives got scared enough of seeing other oil execs sent to jail that they voluntarily adopted safety measures. I wonder how many Deepwater Horizon disasters would happen in the meantime?

"So here you have your democracy(s), and groups of citizens can even impose communism upon themselves, should they wish, so long as individuals are free to leave for another state. Voluntaryism is the key to success for any society."

First, is that really anything to do with right-libertarianism? If so, that´s a whole dimention of Austrian economics I´d never heard of until now. It sounds more like you have a problem with central government than anything else. But if we dissolved the U.S. federal government right now, I´d still be living under a central government -- it would just be in Austin inste
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/30/2011 02:43 AM     
  But wait, there´s more ...  
  
We could further dissolve it down to the city level, but I´d still have a central city government. Now, my city has well over 700,000 people. Do you expect us to agree on everything?

Let´s say we almost completely dismantled every level of government in this country above the city level, and gave the population 50 years to move around to wherever it felt most comfortable. Would nobody, after that, feel coerced by government? There are historical examples of this model in the ancient Greek city-states. Were there no dissidents or agitators in Athens; did they all just say "Why bother complaining -- screw Athens, I´m moving to Sparta"? Of course not. Democracy isn´t just representative government -- it´s a method of managing the competing desires and goals of a heterogeneous group of people. And you couldn´t achieve one single homogeneous group of people if you limited the size of each group to 50 and gave everyone absolute freedom of movement. Every society has its agitators who refuse to move -- like me. And you. And there will always be people who cannot voluntarily pack up and move somewhere else. Hell, look at all the people in New Orleans who could not voluntarily get out of the path of a hurricane.

"In light of the elegance and inherent goodness of such a concept, can you still endorse the use of force to collect taxes form millions of people who are horrified that their money goes to kill brown-skinned people all over the world?"

Funnily enough, you´re talking just like the person who hears about a murder and blames the gun. The tax system is an instrument, and wars are the unacceptable use of said instrument. The answer to this is more democracy, not less. When the government fails the people, I call for the people in charge of the government to change or to be taken out of power; you call for the government itself to be taken away. I contend that just because some people can´t use democratic government properly doesn´t mean it should be taken from all of us.

"When we strip the pretenses away, that´s exactly what we have. You must give a percentage of your money to pay the interest on the loan we take against the capital of your labor so that we can build, maintain and use the most efficient violent arsenal ever created at the president´s whim. Is that your free society?"

Of course not, but my recourse is not to abandon the experiment of a nation run by its people just because unacceptable things have happened. That´s the most reactionary thing I´ve ever heard -- we must under the same logic ban all vehicles that have ever crashed, fallen or sank and killed someone.

"Is democracy both your crowning principle and ideal? Should the majority vote to eliminate a minority, is this made right by the "principle" of democracy?"

What´s your alternative to rule by the people, I might ask? Ron Paul for Dictator 2012? :)

I think most people believe that we all have certain civil rights; "most people" constituting a democratic majority, rights are thus pretty safe. What you´re trying to say without coming right out and saying it is that you think unless you *volunteer* to pay your taxes, your taxes are stolen from you. And in a weird way, you have a point, but what you´re really doing is again letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Ideally we´d all be able to say, "these are the public goods I´m willing to pay for, and this is what I´m willing to pay," and you´d only use what you paid for. Unfortunately, the most efficient way we´ve found to achieve anything close to that ideal thus far is representative democracy. That doesn´t mean you don´t have to pay your taxes and it certainly doesn´t mean we give up on representative democracy; it just means the system should be continuously refined and reformed.

"You claim that Liberty is as big a threat to democracy as the latter is to monarchy; I submit that both democracy and monarchy are their own worst enemies. Both will eventually result in tyranny, and history bears this claim without exception."

Well, that´s where we´re never going to see eye-to-eye, because I could tolerate no alternative to democracy. That´s something I would be willing to fight and die for besides the people I love.

"You claim that you would never advocate government outside of the control of the people, but I submit that is the nature of government, and especially democracy."

Totally disagree. Democracy by definition *is* control of the government by the people; to assert that the nature of democratic government is to be anti-democratic is obviously oxymoronic. Forgive me, but emphasis on the "moron."

"Government does not produce anything, with the possible exception of prisoners and dead "enemies", neither of which are hot commodities unless you´re in the prison and graveyard industries. Once we understand this, it is plain to see that government cannot give us anything without taking it from others.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/30/2011 02:44 AM     
  And more still  
  
What results is reactionary politics; people understand that they can get elected by promising what the greatest number of constituents might desire, while promising to repay backers once in office. This is how democracy feeds on itself."

Your local government provides a police force. If there were no police, you´d have to protect all your belongings yourself. You could do that, but you´d run through your belongings pretty quickly because your job would now be "home defender" rather than whatever your job is now. You can easily see that you couldn´t do your job or make money without that crucial component -- the police, again provided to you by the government. So how can you say the government produces nothing? It produces a fairly safe, low-crime environment in which you can venture out of the house and make money rather than stay inside with your guns and bars on your windows.

If you want to reply by advocating for a privately-run police force and the abolition of public police, I guess we´re on to Part Whatever of this epic debate.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/30/2011 02:45 AM     
  I´m out of town working but just wanted to  
  
check in...

There´s a lot here to respond to and then again there´s a lot here that deserves no response. Maybe I´ll write a book about some of it.

In any event... there was a time when people protected their own homes, Ben. There are a lot of differences between those times and the ones we live in today but the fundamental differences are that in the times when people did protect their own homes, those seeking to steal from others knew that almost 100% of the time, those inside the home were armed and that if they got caught (and didn´t get shot) the laws against robbery would be swiftly and completely carried out. i.e. No probation, no time off for good behavior, etc.

That isn´t the most important thing to rebut in this debate but it is the last thing I read and it´s late and I´m tired.
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/30/2011 05:26 AM     
  OK  
  
Dismiss the police example. Any idea where your local TV stations, radio stations and newspapers get the information they use to produce weather reports every day?

http://www.noaa.gov. The public dime makes this information free. The media puts NOAA´s raw data into a user-friendly format -- often with pretty blonde ladies pointing at big maps -- and makes a buttload of money. As in multi-billions. That´s a yes, multi-billion dollar industry that depends on something the government does.

How about BrightScope? This company employs 30 people and made $2 million last year. How? Nobody charted and analyzed the performance of 401(k) plans before these guys did. How do they do it? They crunch and analyze data provided by the Department of Labor.

Ever heard of MyCityWay? It´s a smartphone app that has sold over a million copies. One of its data streams relies on public traffic cams.

"Government does not produce anything"

Can anyone imagine the U.S. economy of today getting by without the Interstate Highway System? Now, remind me, was it Koch Industries that designed and built the system that enables goods, customers, labor and entrepreneurs to move about so freely? But nobody actually relies on freeways to get to work and back, of course.

"Government does not produce anything"

Now -- this weird network data packet thingy we´re using to communicate; was that based on technology developed for the U.S. military, or was it made by Sam Walton?

Let me think, let me think ... where would everything from Book of the Month Club to Amazon.com be without the U.S. Postal Service to provide a reliable, established shipping infrastructure?

"Government does not produce anything"

Yeah, right. Easily disproved propaganda that further serves to reinforce my growing suspicion that this so-called "Liberty" movement isn´t a coherent economic and political system nearly as much as it is a capitalist´s wet dream wrapped up in enough pseudoscience and pseudo-philosophy to make a lot of people buy into it and treat it like scripture.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/30/2011 07:22 AM     
  You´ve disproved nothing, Ben.  
  
You´ve only cited a few examples of technology and services provided by government.

That does nothing to prove that if the state hadn´t provided these things, none of them would exist... which is essentially what you´re saying.

All one needs to do to prove your claim wrong is to point out a few the myriad inventions by private enterprise that we depend on today.

The automobile was invented by private enterprise long before the military industrial complex came to be. So was the outboard motor. And when I order something from Amazon and I absolutely have to have it on time, I don´t use the USPS.

Again... you assume that since the examples you cited are credited to the state, the state is the only entity that could have created them. That is incorrect.
 
  by: silencedmajority   03/30/2011 02:38 PM     
  That´s a lot of homework Mr. Reilly!  
  
I guess it´s a good thing for me you had a rough day - remind me to never act up in your class.

I had a lot more time yesterday
(obviously) than I do today, so I´m tempted to simply return your lolcat link... but that would be an shitty way to duck out, wouldn´t it?

I should be able to shoot from the hip for most of this.

I´m surprised you´ve considered the option of private-sector solutions for policing and security, but not for any of your other examples. Personally - and this may surprise you - I´m quite happy with local government providing these services, as it seems proper to have force answerable to the population they live amongst. This approach becomes unwieldy when federal bribes in the form of grants for equipment and training come attached with demands for certain policy and procedure, and fosters a "police vs civilian" mentality - but that´s irrelevant to the purposes of our discussion.

Your presumption that "propaganda" is easily disproved by evidencing examples of government throwing our money around is far from air-tight.

Firstly, if I place an order for 3000 Humvees, I have not produced them. Secondly, no civilian would enter into a contract to purchase 3000 Humvees with a dynamic "cost plus" clause - unless he were spending someone else´s money, which is SOP for government purchasing, and leads to unending windfalls for exclusive contractors, and extremely poor value for government - but they have a "printing press", and/or digital money creation. Government just orders what it "needs", and quite literally "puts it on the card". The same credit card that we´re all paying the interest on.

There are endless examples of inefficiency within the public sector, many of which I´m sure you´re already familiar with.

At this point, Dayron might be tempted to "swoop" in and tell me to wrap it up, so I might summarize by saying that not only would private industry fulfill all the demands you´ve detailed, they would do it at a fraction of the cost, freeing capital not only from cost-savings, but from resulting profits, which are then re-invested in many sectors, creating even more jobs and demand, signalling the market to supply more goods and services, which creates more jobs, with the pleasant side effect of falling prices that happens whenever there is a surplus of supply. On a side note, the Fed regards falling prices in any sector a bad thing...hmmmm...

Unfortunately, and with apologies to my detractors, I guess I´m just wordy.

...(clears throat)...The term liberty can certainly be construed as ambiguous. I am sorry that you feel frustration with the frivolous use and abuse of the term. I have addressed it numerous times in the past, and because of this I tend to dismiss the repeated complaints as an annoying diversionary tactic. Maybe we can put that to rest.

I purposely capitalize the title Liberty when appropriate, as befits the concept of a well-defined and historically documented political philosophy. This term holds no sacred-cow status for me, but certainly falls within unequivocal parameters, which can be qualified with higher math, and/or the philosophical equivalent.

I had suspected that a seasoned editor´s eye would have surmised the capitalization, and deduced the contextual difference between the title and the broader use of the term, for example, "Am I at liberty to use your bathroom?".

Additionally, I find humorous the veiled suggestions that I use words to deceive or brainwash. I have repeatedly gone into (over?)lengthy detail explaining what I advocate, and more importantly, why. I´ve never ignored a sincere request for explanation or clarification, and often even waste too much time on replying to insincere attempts to subvert the conversation into tangential territory.

I say waste, but that´s not entirely true; the person who works ten hours a day, or has children that need minding, etc, doesn´t always have the time to research issues or schools of thought. They have bills to pay, mouths to feed. When they hear a like like free healthcare, pro-worker, war on drugs, tough on crime, coalition of the willing - it often becomes a matter of essential convenience that they take these terms at face value.

And therein lies the true brain washing, as any advertising firm can tell you. Political slogans crafted to appeal to the base desires of the broadest slice of targeted demographic, hinting at promises that rely on the most - ahem - liberal of translations to approach anything resembling fact.

Most political terms have been intentionally redefined over time, for example, liberal was once used to describe my views, but now I would be termed a classical liberal. Indeed, your fast and loose usage of the term democracy has been far more egregious than my use of the term Liberty. I have not called it into question because it is a petty complaint, and I would rather discuss issues of substance - which leads us back to Liberty a
 
  by: Jenkie     03/30/2011 07:07 PM     
  @Silenced  
  
"And when I order something from Amazon and I absolutely have to have it on time, I don´t use the USPS."
But for 99.99% of the other things that can wait for more than 1 day, I use Canada Post which is a fraction of the cost of the private delivery companies. Even for a quicker than average delivery, Canada Post still rocks.

As for the invention and manufacture of cars, if it was not for the government pushing higher and higher standard on car manufacturers, your car would have caught fire if you happened to pushed the brakes while swerving 48.5 degrees to the left.
 
  by: kmazzawi     03/30/2011 08:53 PM     
  cont. - Liberty as a concept...  
  
Because the word liberty has been connotatively associated with disingenuous ideals, philosophers have been obliged (needlessly, I believe) to adopt the terms "negative liberty" and "positive liberty".

The simple difference is that positive liberties must rely on an outside agency, while negative liberties are inherently present in an individual.

I say these differentiations are needless, because positive liberties result in a net loss of liberty. As an example, one might say "I´m not at liberty to pursue happiness, because I am unemployed." Now certainly, we have a natural right - or inherent liberty, as we´ve termed it - to work. We can rightfully trade our labor, which we know is our natural property, for whatever we deem a suitable compensation. But this idea becomes tainted when we equate it with a theoretical right to be employed, which can only be fulfilled by forcing another to employ you, resulting in a loss of liberty for the employer.

Healthcare is another example, in that it´s a service supplied by a provider. I have no natural right to force another to service my dis-ease, only the right to offer circumstances that might result in their voluntary consent.

Now we can return to discussing the merits of positive liberties later; for the moment, our concern is establishing differential usages of the terms liberty and Liberty.

Examples of negative liberties would include the right to work, the right to expression, the right to defend yourself from coercion, etc. These are liberties that do not require infringing on another´s natural rights to realize, and are present by virtue of consciousness and will. Some would say they are endowed by our creator, and if that sentiment reflects the most general of terms, I would agree. I prefer to assert that they are self-evident, meaning that even in absence of knowing the agency responsible for our creation, we can plainly see that we can rightfully defend or express ourselves. We all know that we don´t wish to be coerced, and with minimal deduction we can conclude that no one else wishes to be coerced. These assertions also form the pillars of the concept known as Liberty.

One can make these deductions as complicated as one desires, to test the logic against a tidal wave of suppositions and yeah-buts; and I have, as each person should, who would not advocate foolishness. The math - for such is logic - always points towards Liberty as serving the greater good.

For the inevitable troll who wants to challenge every minute premise, yes, "good" is subjective, and math is not.

Cont..

 
  by: Jenkie     03/30/2011 09:04 PM     
  Part III - Why advocate and agitate for Liberty?  
  
Note - For the contextual purposes of the preceding assertion, I define "good" as voluntary peace and prosperity.

Now these same tests of logic and reason, employed to establish sound philosophical convictions, also demanded the discarding of not only organized religion, but also the alleged Democratic ideals (I´m still a registered Democrat to this day, even voted for Clinton´s re-election) as well as the Republican platform.

You´ve expressed a similar journey with Christianity in this very thread, which I can completely relate to. Wishing something to be true does not make it so. It is also clear to you that the typical Republican trumpets and summarily discards honest principles as it suits the party´s or politician´s strategic agenda. The same things hold true with the Democratic party, although I´d surmise that the typical Democrat is truly compassionate, and actually believes they´re helping, despite the attacks of the right which are plainly dismissed because of the rampant hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, hypocrites occupy a portion of the left as well, for the rules of ascension in our system demand it.

And despite the double standards of the right, redistributing wealth does not create prosperity or more wealth. Wealth, or a surplus of material goods, is only created by enterprise, that is by risking capital and allocating labor towards *production*. Because neocons and the like employ these principles selectively, does nothing to negate the principles themselves.

Make no mistake, if I could decide to end either warfare or welfare with the snap of my fingers, I would choose to end warfare every time. But that leaves us yet with the matter of prosperity, whose gifts of sustenance allow a society to truly pursue happiness and innovation.

In a prosperous society, even the poor live like the aristocracy of yesteryear, enjoying luxuries that were unimaginable 100 years ago. You´ve claimed that "The middle class you so cherish was built up by the most socialist government this nation ever had", yet I can, and have on several occasions, demonstrated that the government established monopoly of currency and banking is what made legislation like the New Deal necessary in the first place, and continues to necessitate the expansion of similar legislation today. In fact there would be no wealth to distribute, had not a relatively free market promoted competitive means of production to create the surpluses.

Such is the nature of social spending, for its byproduct is social engineering. Witness the incentive for complacency these "social safety nets" have fostered in the UK. When portions of the middle class see that they can live just as well as those on welfare, why in the world would they contribute, rather than withdraw? So we have kids who see no reason to be studious, because their parents live fine without jobs, crime runs rampant, taxes must be raised more to support the extra burdens, and soon the next tier of the middle class faces the same logical decision, and on it goes.

Does that mean don´t help the destitute? Of course not; charity is a noble concept. But when you force someone to give, it loses all virtue and becomes theft. When authority endorses theft and force, it can´t help but be justified in the eyes of those subjugated by it, who then propagate it.

And so we get to the crux of the matter.
You´ve claimed that "my" philosophy would deny people would be denied the ability to organize and collectively bargain. This is patently (and obviously) false. There is nothing in the philosophy of Liberty that prohibits such action. In fact a "social safety net" is a fine idea, for those who *want* to participate. What is immoral is forcing others to contribute to your safety net who have no such desire.

You want to help the poor? That´s commendable, and there are millions like you. Join forces and make an impact! You want to follow Joseph Smith? Doesn´t hurt me at all, I wish you well. Do you want to kill Palestinians because they won´t give up their land to invaders? Go kill them, but you should not expect your neighbors to be forced to go with, to die while creating legions of foreign enemies in the process.

You´ve claimed democracy is not meant to be perfect, and I heartily agree. Liberty embraces the absolute fact that men are imperfect, as are our designs. We know absolutely that there will always be people willing to profit from coercion, and the answer is not to provide the more intelligent among them with centralized political power. Democracy has always given incentive to the one who can deceive the broadest swath of people; Hitler was elected democratically, as were many other tyrants. And many more *will* rise to power in the future. Knowing this, how can one advocate more centralized power, providing the means for ever more efficient tyranny?

Cont.
 
  by: Jenkie     03/31/2011 12:56 AM     
  Part IV, In summary...  
  
When asked if you were ok with a majority voting to eliminate a minority under democracy, rather than condemn it, your implied the absurd alternative of Ron Paul for Dictator, 2012. This is indicative of a Democrats strong emotive qualities. Again, there´s nothing wrong with compassion, but letting our emotions blind us to reasoning simply compounds any problem. It is the same emotive energy that results in name calling and "f*ck you´s". And yes, it´s present on both sides of the aisle.

It´s contributed to "helping" a million Iraqi citizens to their deaths, as just a recent example. It contributes to partisan blinders, which then reject both social and economic integrities as a result.

Under "my" philosophy, you would not have to contribute to such a thing. Under yours, I have no choice, and it hurts my heart in a very real way knowing that I and others must unwillingly fund murder and depravity as well.

Which is the more compassionate lifestyle?
 
  by: Jenkie     03/31/2011 01:09 AM     
  @Jenkie  
  
Still going through:
"Healthcare is another example, in that it´s a service supplied by a provider. I have no natural right to force another to service my dis-ease, only the right to offer circumstances that might result in their voluntary consent."

And many (most serious) diseases require a lot more resources than a single person looking for healthcare can be expected to offer in his single lifetime worth of contribution. Which is why most of the solutions you offer, fail.
 
  by: kmazzawi     03/31/2011 05:12 PM     
  @SM  
  
I disproved Jenkie´s statement of faith that "Government does not produce anything," which is all I set out to do.

Only an idiot would purport that the private sector hasn´t also come up with many innovations that we rely upon, and only an idiot would act like the private sector couldn´t do a lot of the things government does.

The question we should be asking is, which is the most effective and most appropriate sector to do certain things? I would offer that a privately-created Interstate Highway system would be far more of an unholy mess than the publicly-created one is. As I´ve said before, I don´t want a private military or a government iPhone.
 
  by: Ben_Reilly     03/31/2011 06:27 PM     
  I may have missed it -  
  
How did you disprove anything? If I steal my neighbor´s money and buy a meal, I did not produce it. I simply spent it as I wished, instead of allowing my neighbor to do so.

Incidentally, I conceded that government does produce prisoners and death, and if you like, I will add debt, lies and propaganda, and industry monopolies.

 
  by: Jenkie     04/04/2011 04:10 AM     
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