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Opinion

Opinion

Americans comfortable with socialism

June 6, 2010

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Grave warnings about the threats of Socialism and Big Government are flying about these days, along with brave words about individual responsibility, liberty and the ideals that “made this country great.” And many of the folks who mouth these slogans imagine that voting in a bunch of new Republicans is all that’s needed to get the country back on the “right track.”

I don’t know what I’m missing, but I find it hard to believe in politicians of any stripe as miracle workers, particularly when some of them cite lack of experience as their principal qualification. Isn’t it likely that if elected they’d quickly jettison their promises and learn to play the back-scratching game that passes for public service in Washington?

I’m also skeptical of candidates who cite as their philosophical mentor Ayn Rand, with her comic book vision of a capitalist as messianic hero. No more heroes and messiahs, no more ideologies, please. Just give us plain vanilla honesty, modesty, competence and common sense.

I must also confess that I’m not impressed by pot-bellied, middle aged Americans wielding assault rifles who claim that they’re ready to take to the hills and fight for the freedoms that the government has taken away. Because Americans don’t really want to be free. We want to be taken care of. We want comfort and security rather than freedom and responsibility. We expect the government to rescue us from our bad choices, fund our retirements and pay for our health care, regardless of the life styles we lead.

Taking to the hills would require us to abandon our couches, our remotes and the 500 channels we need to keep us entertained. “Take surfing to a new level in a chair with WebTV, high speed links, a lap top tray and a drink holder,” reads an ad for Lazy Boy recliners, whose sales are soaring. One word describes our spiritual as well as our physical state: “Obese.” Why does the caged bird sing? Because it likes the cage. The cage is safe. The bird is well fed. If the bird got out of the cage, it wouldn’t survive. Sitting Bull said it 150 years ago: We have traded our freedom for “a piece of bacon fat.”

So no more “Give me liberty or give me death” bravado. That was all very well for the revolutionaries who threw off the yoke of tyranny. The country was young then. Now it is old and a little bit tired. “Give me a break” is more like it, “Cut me a little slack.” And spare us the alarms about “Socialism.” The United States has been a socialistic state at least since the New Deal. And we like it that way for all our huffing, puffing, chest beating and grousing. Rich and poor, from panhandlers to giant corporations, everyone wants the state to give them handouts, bailouts, subsidies and protection from competition.

“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else,” a great sage once wrote. But let’s remember that the state is ultimately “Us.” People get the government they deserve. Politicians lack “political will” because we don’t want to change. We’re on a track that leads to a train wreck. Either we go bankrupt or we rein in entitlement spending to levels that are sustainable. Sooner or later, we must face the reality that our resources are limited, that there are actual limits to what the government can tax and spend, limits to how much treasure we can divert to idealistic, non-productive uses.

The scorn for incumbents is just as irrational as the belief in miracle-working rookies. Throwing the rascals out will change nothing. Reform is impossible as long as special interests can purchase political power. We don’t need Democrats or Republicans in power. We need a new kind of politician, one who owes favors to no one, who is free to serve the common good.

If the day ever comes when all of us — individuals and interest groups — are willing to give up some of our entitlements and make some sacrifices, a new kind of politician will come forward to clean up our mess.

— George Gurley, who lives in rural Baldwin City, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.

Comments

madhatter 3 years, 8 months ago

oh you mean the socialism where about 33% of the tax dollar goes to the Dept. of Defense?

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independant1 3 years, 10 months ago

Good read, good debate.

Socialism, gov't dole, started in 60's with Johnson great society.

We are still a young country and still have far horizons and new resources to exploit. We set the standard (still) for the rest of civilization (despite the good/bad/ugly). Civilization is how old? Think India and China thus we're still in diapers.

All spending bills begin in the house, god bless the loyal opposition. The pendulum swings, always has for the last 200 yrs, hopefully it will continue. It's a check on the centers of power.

I take care of me and my extended family as best as I can and vote my conscience/intellect. No gov't dole in this line of struggling middle class working mutlicultural slobs. Don't depend on gov't or you do become a slave of sorts.

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KawHawk 3 years, 10 months ago

"If the day ever comes when all of us — individuals and interest groups — are willing to give up some of our entitlements and make some sacrifices, a new kind of politician will come forward to clean up our mess."

OK, Grumpy Gurley - how about telling us that you'll be giving up your Social Security, your Medicare, and returning the tax benefits you gained from being able to write you mortgage payments off on your taxes ?

How 'bout it ? No ? Hypocrite...............

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whats_going_on 3 years, 10 months ago

is there any place I can move to now that isn't having some sort of national crisis/political drama/war/terrorism/etc?

I know everyone jokes about Australia being the butt of the world, but jeez, sounds like they've got their sh*t together, and it doesn't seem like anyone bothers them much. And it's beach weather all year. Paradise? :\

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SloMo 3 years, 10 months ago

Socialist Party USA 2010-2011 Platform
- The Socialist Party stands for the abolition of every form of domination and exploitation, whether based on social class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.

We are committed to the transformation of capitalism through the creation of a democratic socialist society based on compassion, empathy, and respect as well as the development of new social structures. Socialism will establish a new social and economic order in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local government, and the production and distribution of all goods and services.

For these reasons we call for social ownership and democratic control of productive resources, for a guarantee to all of the right to participate in societal production, and to a fair share of society's product, in accordance with individual needs.

As we pursue a socialist transformation of society, we join with others in making radical demands on the existing system: demands that challenge the basic assumptions of a capitalist market economy while pointing the way to a new society. Although reforms will not in themselves bring about socialism, the fight for them will advance the cause by demonstrating the inherent limitations and injustice of the capitalist system. As we build the socialist movement, we organize around a platform committed to our common and interdependent struggles and aspirations.

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aletheia 3 years, 10 months ago

I typically stay out of political commentary. Not because I don't have strong opinions or personal beliefs, but because the subject itself is so divisive. Comments get nitpicked and words become semiotic swords in the battle between Democrats and Republicans.

Personally, I prefer not to be defined by my Party designation, but by being an American. In my opinion, both parties have lost their way.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

"It is both foolish and wicked to teach the average man who is not well off that some wrong or injustice has been done him, and that he should hope for redress elsewhere than in his own industry, honesty, and intelligence." Teddy Roosevelt

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

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Liberty275 3 years, 10 months ago

socialism is enslavement of the workers by those too lazy to work. We all need to pay our way for roads, defense, government, regulatory agencies and similar items that benefit society, but when my tax dollars are used to bus, feed, house and provide free medical care to the lazy individuals and their offspring it is in effect enslaving me to them. That's an infringement on my 13th amendment rights.

No more. Your hands are deep enough in my pockets already.

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IndusRiver 3 years, 10 months ago

Pro-Socialist agendas/policies and rules are advanced through HUD, the Federal agency that typifies a Berlin Wall in the United States. I know now what I've seen and I know how I'm living still today. It is not what I had hoped for, trust me. The doors to housing are entrance only. The New Deal probably did inspire these public penitentiaries. But I am not a believer that anybody wants what's out there, in fact, I talk with my neighbors - everybody wants out of HUD housing, everybody has grievances. You don't get out. You never even file your grievances because you know the retaliation that you'll get. How much like working is that supposed to make anybody feel? How hard will you try when tyrannical "management" villifies you based on a past a long time ago, but it's been years since you've done anything wrong? And how many years of lies will you live before you just sit there in that housing unit of yours and watch that TV all day and night? How hopeful do you get about the future when the advocates pocket the outrageous sums of money that they've just stolen from the taxpayer and you watch it all go to lawn care, new SUVs, new office equipment, pay raises, employee appreciation bonuses, but oh they can never help you with anything like when Westar Energy is ripping you off $40 dollars or more. The Socialists have the system down to a science. An evil science.

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75x55 3 years, 10 months ago

Gurley must be having a flashback to Hoover and FDR - hey, George! Wake up, it's been this way for seventy years now, man. Start taking that gingko biloba again...

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bandtchser 3 years, 10 months ago

It seems that many of you are wanting to blame the "other side" while standing up for "your side". You can't agree on the definition of socialism, whether it's good or bad, whose to blame for the economy, or what to do about it. You call one another names and make demeaning comments toward others and their beliefs. I would say that many of you are as disfunctional as our government. Each of you who are name calling and demeaning are a reflection of the arrogance that has brought this once great nation to the brink of collapse. If you believe that it has been one political party that is responsible for the journey here then I would ask that you stop and re-evaluate your views. GREED has gotten us here, and both parties are heavy with it. Moderation is not on the agenda and it is our fault. Our staunch support of "our side" has blinded us to the overall picture of our current condition. The only way that we can climb out of this sink hole is if we begin to hold our political leaders accountable, or vote them out if they are not. Many of you are no doubt well educated but it seems that you are only educated on your views. Your way is the only way. That is not a dialogue. Lets raise the bar and start using this forum for something other than condeming the "other side". Thank you to those of you who have maintained a respectful tone throughout.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

I think the reason we started hearing the term socialism so much this last year was because of the health care debate. Americans became angry because I think most people thought it needed fixing and we became frustrated with the way the politicians were acting. Then we became victims of propaganda and disinformation. We forgot how bad our health care system has been and the high rates of insurance. We lost our way and just got mad. I blame the Republicans for that.

Bail outs:

My understanding is that millions of Americans would have had their retirement accounts wiped out if we let companies like AIG go under. The same with banks. My understanding is that we could not allow this to happen. We were between a rock and a hard place. Propaganda and misinformation confused most Americans regarding this situation. Both Republicans and Democrats felt we had to prevent this from happening. The secrecy and lack of accountibility angered Americans, particularly the dealings of Henry Paulson (Bush Administration) in which we still don't know where all the money went. Americans on main street became very distrustful of insiders on wall street being coddled by politicians at the expense of average Americans. Both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be involved.

My friends in the finance industry tell me that this money is being paid back. Is this true? If so, what is the big deal. Again we are victims of propaganda and misinformation.

Car industry bailout: Was this a move to save the unions who support the Democratic party or was it a necessary move to save millions of American jobs. Was it worth saving Chevrolet from becoming a Chinese company? Maybe. I think nobody really knows. It is just another issue that is being used by politicians to make us all upset. Personally, I like seeing General Motors making cars again. I think a Republican administration would have done the same thing.

When I see close to 50% high school dropout rates in the state of South Carolina and millions of illegal aliens in this country not paying taxes and getting free government services, I wonder about our future. These things are a bigger worry to me than most of the crap our politicians are fighting over.

I also worry about all the criminals running around as repeat offenders and the lack of law enforcement and our over crowded prisons. I worry that someone in Washington is going to tell me I can't own a gun anymore while the criminals are using automatic weapons.

And then there is terrorism...

You wonder if the folks in Washington have a speck of common sense anymore.

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bliddel 3 years, 10 months ago

Nothing I say here will change anyone's mind. However, many of you would discover that you are neither democrat nor republican. Take this quiz, and see where you really lie on the political spectrum: http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz

Next, for anyone not entirely happy with our US Government and totalitarianism, visit http://www.downsizedc.org/ and see what you can do constructively that does NOT require being old nor taking up an assault rifle.

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bennyoates 3 years, 10 months ago

Good article, in fact a great one in several respects. Gurley's willing to call Americans on their whining and hypocrisy and tell it like it is--they/we are a big part of the problem and we project our shortcomings onto politicians. I don't agree with everything he says but so what? It's a provocative piece, I learned from it, and it challenged some of my viewpoints.

Predictably, the right wing/Tea Party spokespersons on this board don't take too kindly to Gurley's charges. They're used to posturing as people who have all the answers and all the virtues, and who portray their opponents in one-dimensional evil terms. Well, Gurley has their number, too. There's something in this column to offend everyone, left, right, center, and apathetic, and I find that valuable.

I still believe in the New Deal and I still support Obama-Biden 100%. But I like this article, too.

Plus, he appears to have shut barrypenders up. That pathetic creature is nowhere to be found here. I wonder why...Thanks George!!

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

Only drivel I see is coming from Jaywalker's mouth. He talks out of two sides, you know.

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jaywalker 3 years, 10 months ago

"How many of these people would be willing to get a refund on their Social Security payments? By "refund," I mean they can take back whatever they've paid into Social Security, and live off that the rest of their lives."

Ignoring your idiotic generalizations, agno, or at least your adoption of Gurley's, are your freakin' kiddin' me with the above question??? Hell YES, I'd take back what I'd paid thus far!!! I'm not going to see a dime if I follow thru all natural like, and neither will you. Dumb freakin' question.

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jaywalker 3 years, 10 months ago

".” And spare us the alarms about “Socialism.” The United States has been a socialistic state at least since the New Deal. And we like it that way for all our huffing, puffing, chest beating and grousing. Rich and poor, from panhandlers to giant corporations, everyone wants the state to give them handouts, bailouts, subsidies and protection from competition."

One of the most cynical rants I've ever read, overall. For a moment I thought ya might have had something, Mr. Gurley. It quickly washed away with the above. And we've never been a wholly "socialistic state", please refrain from such idiocy since there are impressionable minds reading your drivel.
Speak for yourself, George, and please don't speak for 350 million others; talk about the height of arrogance. And for the people that do actually "like it that way", I'd be willing to bet it's a learned behavior - as in once the government got into the business of 'entitlements' lazy or devious individuals discovered they could rape the system. Even if it wasn't borne of those two traits, when someone's giving stuff away for free, the crowds will gather. Candy thrown from parade floats, even if it manages to sail past the outstretched arms of EVERYone on the curb, is picked up moments after it touches the ground. Ever seen an authentic Mexican pinata festival? It's a free for all in a miniature bull ring! For candy again! Now trade the cheap taffy for money.......and you're surprised at the state of the nation?!

The Federal Government is waaaay too big and waaaay to influential/powerful than our founders envisioned. The problem isn't that people as a whole are inherently lazy, it's that our elected leaders started believing they knew best; that a "government for the people, by the people.." somehow became a government for the 'elected few' and what they're able to conspire. And now our 'government' has devolved into a boring version of TMZ's regular programming, and I couldn't sit through 2 minutes of the latter to start with!
No one can legislate "fairness", please stop trying. And everyone needs one mommy, quit trying to surrogate. There's a bathroom on the right, and our elected idiots keep ignoring the signs. I'm just hoping this feeling of dread is a by-product of deeper involvement in our system than I've ever had, more knowledge and information as to what's occuring. I'd hate to be right about what seems to be coming our way. Anyone well informed on the state of Greece lately?

Please pardon my rant; I may very well have topped the cynicism I originally panned. But that was a moronic column.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

These dummies will never get it. Suck, suck, suck off the Government teat.

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Pilgrim2 3 years, 10 months ago

"When Reagan was running up the deficit..."


Correction: Reagan didn't run up the deficit. Receipts to the federal treasury nearly doubled during Reagan's terms in office. It was the Demorat-controlled Congress of the time that ran up the deficit, spending about $1.38 for every addtional dollar collected.

Looney left revisionist history.

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Pilgrim2 3 years, 10 months ago

"We want to be taken care of. We want comfort and security rather than freedom and responsibility. We expect the government to rescue us from our bad choices, fund our retirements and pay for our health care, regardless of the life styles we lead."


As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger, "What do you mean 'We,' white man?"

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 10 months ago

This government is no more "Socialist' or headed toward Socialism than I can play a Beethoven symphony on spoons and a mouth harp. Mr. Gurley needs to read a few books or hey!, even read up on Socialism on Wikipedia, A true Socialist would take one look at this article and laugh his heinie off. Keep on using the "S" word to scare people, just like you use the "N" word amongst yourselves about our president. Most intelligent people know when they're having BS slung at them. Keep it up guys. It's as entertaining as watching Glenn Beck (what a helluva comedian).

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Centerville 3 years, 10 months ago

"Just give us plain vanilla honesty, modesty, competence and common sense." I agree. But for the next 30 months, we're stuck with the same old teleprompter tripe.

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none2 3 years, 10 months ago

That is weird, the comment section posted my part #2 before part #1 even though I posted part #1 first.!

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none2 3 years, 10 months ago

Where is the voice of moderation in all these discussions about the course our country is on? Why does it have to be absolute austerity or cradle-to-death governmental hand-holding?

Why the reference to Patrick Henry? Patrick Henry gave his famous speech on 23-March-1775. Patrick Henry was born 29-May-1736 to John Henry, who attended Kings College (Scotland); and Sarah Winston Syme, a wealthy widow. Thus, we are talking about a revolutionary period speech from a 38 year old, well-off individual with political ambitions. To give you an idea of his wealth, his wedding gift from his first wife's father was six slaves and 300 acres. By the time of the Revolutionary War, he lived on a 10,000 acre plantation (that's 15.65 square miles) with 75 slaves. So he had everything to loose if he didn't have the freedom to continue his pursuit of happiness without government intrusions -- regardless if that intrusion came from Great Britan or the federalists.

I'm not degrading an important historical figure, but rather pointing out that it is rather unfair to compare the ideas of a well-off individual from the past with a middle-aged, twenty-first century citizen's fear of the future. Is it really so hypocritical for a contemporary (regardless of their age, waistline, or type of chair they sit in) to be concerned with government spending yet want benefits such as social security? Even if such a concept existed back in Patrick Henry's day, why would he support it? With money inherited, land confiscated from natives, and with slaves to do anything from toil on his farm to flush his toilet (empty the chamber pot) for as long as he lives, didn't he have de facto "social" security?

We don't have more natives to kill, lands to conquer and give away to our citizenry. We don't have unknown continents with people that we can exploit to either take care of our every needs (slavery) or to grow cheap crops for us (colonial imperialism). Maybe that is the curse of being and "old country".

As to somehow pointing to the New Deal as a shift towards socialism. Why did the New Deal come into being? Wasn't it because of the growing divide between those that had and those did not and most likely never would? There comes a point in any society where if too many people are discontent with their situation, change will be forced upon that society either by changes in law or a revolution. That holds true whether it is a society in America, France, or some third world country.

(continued)

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none2 3 years, 10 months ago

(continued)

Plenty of Americans, don't want government handouts when they are able to work. I tend to think that there are honest Americans who simply worry about what life would be like if they get sick or when they grow old. What they don't like is people who are able but unwilling to work as well as handouts to those who are well off. The subsidizing of the automotive industry, the banking industry were all wrong moves. Whether it was Bush's fault or Obama's fault is beside the point. As painful as it would have been in the short term, is it worth throwing money (that we really don't even have) after bad investments? Would you do such a think with your own family's money (or should I say with money that you borrowed from your neighbor's funds)?

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Ray Parker 3 years, 10 months ago

Cut big government and grow freedom, patriots. Put your hand to the ax on Pink Slip Tuesday in November. We've had our fill already of a White House and federal agencies overflowing with Marxists, Communists, and socialists.

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funkdog1 3 years, 10 months ago

I count myself as a liberal, and I have NEVER expected government to take care of me or anyone else. I don't WANT government to take care of me or anyone else. What has happened in this country is that companies have stopped fairly compensating employees and government has been FORCED to step in and pick up their slack.

American companies used to provide pensions, decent insurance, decent sick leave and vacations. No longer. It's profits over people now. And small American companies that want to do the right thing and provide insurance often can't afford to because the insurance companies have become just as profit greedy as all the other big businesses and have made it impossible for the little guys to afford their product.

I want U.S. corporations to act as good American citizens with America's best interests at heart. They fought to have the same legal rights as citizens, but seem to think that they're morally exempt from behaving in a way that helps, not hurts this country.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

" that voting in a bunch of new Republicans is all that’s needed to get the country back on the “right track.” The party leadership is still the same as it has been since 1980. They only want republicans who think like they do.

" that voting in a bunch of new Republicans is all that’s needed to get the country back on the “right track.” hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Think about it. In the past 30 years the repub tea party has been in involved two financial institution scandals that effectively took the USA economy down the tubes. One is too damn many but twice represents repub economic policy. Wreckanomics is a failed economic policy. In fact wreckanomics is beginning to smell like well planned crimes.

The republican tea party have become masters at putting millions upon millions upon millions of people out of work. AND stealing taxpayers retirement plans along the way.

What Tea Party Repubs do with a remarkable degree of consistency is wreck the economy,initiate huge movements of shipping jobs abroad aka the Reagan-Bush Global Economy and wreck our social security and medicare systems.

Is there a definite pattern? Absolutely!

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. What did Bush and Henry Paulson do with the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  4. Why did GW Bush Lie About Social Security?( This would cost taxpayers $4 trillion,place taxpayers insurance money at risk and wreck the economy) http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  5. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

  6. The "tea parties" BTW are part of the wreckanomics program funded by the Koch Brothers... well known oil billionaires. These thinkers back a tax payers bill of rights which is another scheme to reward the upper 1% which is designed to wreck local and state governments.

  7. The Other ENTITLEMENT Program for the Wealthy http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 10 months ago

"Liberty_One (anonymous) says… "Used to be that our elected officials were statesmen who tempered these base wants instead of catering to them...." === I share your disappointments. The media helps us learn but appears to artifically widen gaps in the culture. Seems like this started in the late 1950's and certainly by 1960 and the famous, "Nixon had a 5 o'clock shadow" incident. We need statesmen and women in office again, but the system encourages the demagogue, regardless of philosophy or affiliation. Certainly not new arguments. Returning to the founders original arguments might be useful if we can truly discuss the ideals and not the mythologies.

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tbaker 3 years, 10 months ago

George: Very well written article. My compliments for your graceful and cogent argument. I might add that only crisis moves Americans to substantive action. Put plainly, things are not bad enough yet. The rumblings of dissent we see today are merely the lucid minority who can see the bridge is out on this road our country is on. We can’t afford the assisted living facility we’ve turned our country into, so soon we will test how badly we really want it. No matter how noisy, minorities don’t change things in our republic, but majorities have to start somewhere.

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beatrice 3 years, 10 months ago

"The scorn for incumbents is just as irrational as the belief in miracle-working rookies."

Very true. For those who think the Tea Party folks are the answer to fight the "S" word, I just want to know, how many Tea Party candidates who are actually in serious positions for election are crying to demolish socialist concepts like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or even just the GI Bill?

Are there any?

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

curious...what's your candidate, jayhawklawrence?

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Anyone considering a chance to serve your country though a political office should be able to figure out from these comments what the American people need in a politician.

It is now up to us to be able to get our heads out of the sand and elect the right people.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

regulate, regulate, regulate. More government bureaucracy. Some dislocatic crap so another government body can surviive. I cannot believe you idiots trust a bunch of hooch hounding, scum bag regulating, philandering, whore hounds to do our country's business! FAIL!!

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camper 3 years, 10 months ago

This is an excellent article; but there are some pretty broad assumptions presented. Like someone pointed out above, you gotta be careful when you throw around the "S" word. We need good governance to regulate and provide rule of law to help foster long-term competition rather than boom and bust economics that unregulated free-enterprise is prone too. We need good governance to protect our environment and the safety of our products. And we need good governance to provide societal needs.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

Suck off the government teat. That's what he said, ywn. Just do what's natural. You are it!

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 10 months ago

This was a great comment until the last two paragraphs:

"We need a new kind of politician, one who owes favors to no one, who is free to serve the common good. If the day ever comes when all of us — individuals and interest groups — are willing to give up some of our entitlements and make some sacrifices, a new kind of politician will come forward to clean up our mess."

After rightly criticizing ideology in politics, Mr. Gurley ends with a hope for a new ideology.

Democracy is a process held in check by balanced forces. The role of ideologies in democracy is to check and balance one another. In democracy, we muddle through given all of the voices and constituencies.

It is often not pretty and does not satisfy the ideologue, but it is and has been a remarkably effective means of government.

Please, no more ideologies. How about just moderate, competent leadership.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Whenever you look in the mirror check to see if you have a hook, line and sinker stuck in your mouth.

Maybe it's time to call yourself an American instead of a Democrat or Republican.

Keep those guys in Washington clueless.

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Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

gee geekin topekan, you must've described shewmon. maybe we'll see him on the fixed network holding some ragingly rediculous sign with a bunch of other mad middle aged people who are mad and yet voted for eight years blindly for the root of this problem. Go figure.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

ivalueamerica: Where, oh where in our constitution does it say that free health care is a right to the citizens? Where does it say that those who have means, because they earned it, are now imprisioned to give those who don't contribute one dime to our society? Do you not understand what socialism is, you idiot? You are our shame. An idiot dolt who wants to take from those productive and give who those who aren't? Why don't you look up socialism in a dictionary, dolt!

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kubacker 3 years, 10 months ago

"But at the end of the day, I totally control her day's events and how and when she does what."

Excellent way of describing Obama's ultimate objective and what socialism does to anyone who would let it be his/her master!

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 10 months ago

None of what is going on right now is defined as socialism by any socialist.

It is just a soundbite repeated and repeated by the right so those who do not think for themselves will eventually believe it.

It shames our country when people are that stupid.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

jayhawklawrence: I agree politicians are for sale. I agree with that. But where I don't agree is that all politicians are necessarily cut from the same cloth. What I envision is that we start demanding better, and it starts with "the definition of is, is". Until all of us start demanding better from our elected leaders, we will not get better. They understand the game. Unfortunately for us, not all of us do!

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citizen0123 3 years, 10 months ago

i dont know what part of the country gurley lives in but its obviously not around here.

i work for a living.im not TAKEN CARE OF and i resent this whole article. i think ,mr. gurley,that perhaps you should step out of your cage and take a look around. or maybe its just easier for you to sit there and make these ridiculos statments and lump this whole country into one big ball. i suggest you re-read your article and then take a long look in the mirror.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Politicians and some talking heads love to use the terms "conservative" and "socialism" because the meanings seem to change based on the situation and they are useful tools of propaganda.

Here is a very good link to a primer on the techniques of propaganda and you may recognize how they are being used by today's high paid political strategists and speech writers to win your votes.

http://www.hutchnews.com/images/NIEpdfs/PROPAGANDA_TECHNIQUES.pdf

When you see an encumbent that has been there forever and has a boatload of cash to spend on his next election, you might want to reconsider and take a closer look at someone else.

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Tom Shewmon 3 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, my Cairn Terrier loves her cage in the family room. A blankie on the floor of it, roomy, has a blankie on top which is like a roof. It gives her many, many hours of blissful napping. We love her to death. We keep her food bowl and water bowl full. We get her her annual shots. We treat her with Frontline and Interceptor monthly. We keep her safe and healthy and fed and provide a great home. But at the end of the day, I totally control her day's events and how and when she does what. Afterall, she's still a dog and we own her. Sounds like a great plan for humans too! I guess we need our blankie and our "owner", so to speak. sarcasm, heavy sarcasm

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 10 months ago

"pot-bellied, middle aged Americans wielding assault rifles who claim that they’re ready to [...] fight for the freedoms that the government has taken away." ++++ Excellent illustration of the hysterical right wingers who run entirely on emotion. Fear and anger work in their dysfunctional homes but in the real world, they make us all look bad. Thanks to faux news, they get world wide attention with their emotion filled rants and meth induced talk of death.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 10 months ago

This article is not worth wiping my dogs behind with! George Gurley, and all the socialists like him, presume to speak what is good for all of us! "Rich and poor, from panhandlers to giant corporations, everyone wants the state to give them handouts, bailouts, subsidies and protection from competition." Wrong! Fail! You and your ilk are the reason where we are now! I don't want Uncle Sugar's big hand out! I don't want to burden fellow taxpayers with more hand outs. I do not want the whore of bigger government deciding my future All of you who do, are the problem that needs to be wiped out of our country, by any means! .

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Wonderful comment. Thanks.

Right here in Lawrence, KS we have intelligent people like "Did_I_Say_That" who understand what socialism is and what it isn't.

Amazing.

Now why doesn't Washington DC understand the difference?

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Benjamin Roberts 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Gurley has provided an interesting view of today's political environment; much of it accurate. There are three areas, in particular, that may have erroneous assumptions.

First, to say that "Americans" are comfortable with socialism is misleading. More accurately, some Americans are comfortable with socialism. He is correct in stating that those who receive the benefit of socialism support it. However, that is not all people.

Second, and similar to the first, everyone does not want a handout. This myth is based upon two false assumptions. There is a misunderstanding of the conservative view that smaller government does not allow for the intended function of government. For example, the protection (military) of the country. Further, it is false to claim that tax breaks, tax incentives, and even some government subsidies are an acceptance of socialism. That is not the case unless the amount received is greater than the amount an individual or corporation pays in taxes. There may be an argument as to fairness of percentage of taxes. However, only those who receive government benefits that exceed their own payments to the government are truly recipients of socialistic practices. This has nothing to do with services which are provided equally to all people (roads, emergency services, etc.).

Third, the author sees no hope in replacing incumbents with new, even inexperienced, politicians. Not all incumbents need to be replaced in order to reverse the damage being inflicted upon our country; only those that refuse to be guided by constitutional principles. Moreover, there are people willing to hold to convictions and act honorably; these are the ones that need to be elected as representatives - even if they are politically inexperienced. Maybe, because they are politically inexperienced.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 10 months ago

Socialism isn't about "handouts" or "bailouts." It's about meeting societal needs that private enterprise has proven itself inadequate or unable to provide.

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jayhawklawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

Be careful when you throw around the "S" word.

George Gurley always writes very good articles and reflects a lot of things I also believe, however, I think he got it wrong when he says Americans are comfortable with Socialism.

Wikipedia defines "Socialism" as a specific stage in socioeconomic development according to Marxist theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism.

To imply that we are comfortable with socialism because we like good programs like social security or medicare. Or that we prefer careful government oversight in the way our utility companies operate is a misuse of the term. These are just a few of the examples that the right wing uses to say that we love socialism.

In fact, I believe one of the reasons for America's greatness is the dynamic entrepreneurial character of the American people. We love good business. We love owning, buying, selling and rooting for underdogs who make it big. We know that to be successful, you have to be able to borrow, bargain, trade and deal. That implies individual ownership and the freedom to act without being burdened by unfair government interference. We believe in respect of private property and the individual citizen. We want life to be fair and we want to give everyone a fighting chance on a level playing field. We believe that in America, you have a better chance than anywhere in the world to be successful.

When companies on Wall Street, Big Oil and Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance conglomerates get so big they take advantage of the average American, we expect the government to protect us because the average American does not have a bunch of lawyers or infinite financial resources to fight these titans. We expect our rights to be respected.

That is not socialism.

This is one of the most misused and abused terms that has come up time and time again by the right wingers. Americans do not like government owning our lives. But we expect government to protect us from those who would trample on our rights and our freedoms. In today's political environment, politicians now believe they can do just that. That is what is making Americans angry and to say we like socialism or to imply that we have become a nation of lazy people that just want to be taken care of by government is just another slap in the face to the average American.

When Reagan was running up the deficit, the Democrats at the time were complaining about the dangerous debt we were saddling on our grandchildren, but the Republicans said the Democrats didn't understand economics. The Republicans said economic growth would erase the deificit.

It didn't because the Republicans did not raise taxes after the economy started taking off again. In their twisted logic, they said that the key to everything is lowering taxes and they still believe that.

Bush is the perfect example of a guy that did everything the Republican right wing wanted and they got it all wrong.

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LuciusVorenus 3 years, 10 months ago

Socialism is great untill the bill comes due and you wakeup a det slave, ask the Greeks about this.

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BigPrune 3 years, 10 months ago

We live in a narcissistic society.

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Liberty_One 3 years, 10 months ago

"everyone wants the state to give them handouts, bailouts, subsidies and protection from competition."

Used to be that our elected officials were statesmen who tempered these base wants instead of catering to them....

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barrypenders 3 years, 10 months ago

Entitlements!?! George do you think that 'Self Responsibility' or 'Self Discipline' may play a role in 'Success'? Surrvival? How much do I have to give to those Progressive Articulate Dada's in order to 'Ensure' their 'Success'? Or how much do I have to give to the PAD in order for them to 'Leave' me alone? What is the 'Transformation', 'Yes We Can cost' here?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

"Buffett: Municipal Debt Meltdown Will Hit US ... Add investment legend Warren Buffett to the list of those who warn of a municipal debt meltdown. Many municipalities have promised overly generous retirement and health benefits to public workers without any viable plans to bring in the money necessary to pay for those benefits. They have assumed unrealistic returns in their pension fund investments and unrealistic revenue from taxes. The Pew Center on the States recently estimated that as of the end of 2008 budget years, states had $1 trillion less than needed to pay for future pensions and medical benefits. And that number doesn't even reflect much of the losses suffered by pension fund investments in the second half of 2008. "There will be a terrible problem, and then the question becomes will the federal government help," Buffett said at a hearing of the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in New York, Bloomberg reports. – MoneyNews"

Stimulus, George Demands, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

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