Archive for Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letter: Individual rights

October 21, 2012

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To the editor:

After listening to the vice president during the debate, I thought I may have heard a couple themes of his that he has touched on in the past. In 2008 Mr. Biden said: “For too long in this society we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over the common community.”

I found some more quotes that reflect this reasoning from other politicians, such as this one from Hillary Clinton back in 2003: “We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.”

I found another quote that’s quite a bit older, but similar nonetheless: “There is the great, silent, continuous struggle: the struggle between the State and the Individual; between the State, which demands, and the individual, who attempts to evade such demands.”

People should look up the author of that last one for themselves.

Had I been the moderator of the VP debate, I would have asked Mr. Biden whether or not he thinks the concept of individualism, particularly that of individual liberty, can co-exist with the “spread the wealth around” doctrine he and Mr. Obama espouses. After all, during the Democratic Convention we saw the video which said “government is the only thing we all belong to.” I think this is the “common community” Mr. Biden spoke of.

Are we merely servants to the “common community,” to the government we “belong to,” or are we independent beings with our own lives and individual liberties who have an inalienable right to exist for our own sake?

Comments

Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

It is both. We as individuals must be able to pursue our own self interest and retain the fruits of that pursuit. Without the freedom to pursue our self interest there will be little motivation to achieve.

We also must give to the common good but the demand must not be so great that it kills our motivation to satisfy our self interest. Also, all who can must contribute.

Those who are ill, disabled or otherwise struck down by outside forces and thus cannot contribute should be cared for by a compassionate society. However, those who by their own choices decide not to contribute and demand society give to them are a blight on our society and are owed nothing.

Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

Ideally government should provide no social services but in reality it is necessary for them to play a limited role. Families should be the primary resource of people in need followed by private charities and then the government but only in a very limited capacity.

And then it should be state and local governments that do it, not the federal government.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 9 months ago

fred, there are not many families who can afford to take care of their immediate family members and also extended members who need help. I know of no one who can take in an older family member that needs help, and pay for their food and private needs as well as buy their meds. That is impossible. No one should be made to feel guilty because they are unable to do so. How many readers if they had a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, etc., who had lost a job would be able to pay their rent, buy their groceries, clothes, utilities, hygiene needs, until they get back on their feet? People are just barely getting by month to month taking care of their own needs. What you are suggesting is totally impossible.

Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

Frankie

People have taken care of family for years. And as I wrote while it should be a family's responsibility to take care of their own, but that shouldn't be the only assistance available. Some needs as you point out are too great for the family and that is where charities and government come in.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

The writer does not come across as a blatant liberal

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

"ask exactly where those "rights" should be a little more restrained."

Just off the tip of your nose. Metaphorically, of course.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

It's a common tenet of libertarianism. My rights end where your's begin. Sorry if you had trouble with the metaphor. Nobody wants to get close to your nose.

gogoplata 2 years, 9 months ago

You don't have to be in favor of gay marriage to say that government should stay out of all marriage. On the others, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

It is absolutely both, as fred says.

Human beings are both individuals, and members of communities/societies.

Any workable social structure has to include both of those aspects - the real question is how much weight each one gets, and how well that works.

In my view, socialism/communism give too much weight to the communal, whereas our society in some ways gives too much weight to the individual.

Perhaps an ideal balance could be found by a hybrid society, with some elements of socialism and some of capitalism - in fact, many countries that are held to be the best to live in do just that, like Canada.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

Do you think we are in balance now? If not, which aspect requires more weight?

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

That's a great question.

What do you think?

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

I believe the huge debt the country has accumulated, and our massive annual deficits are very dangerous. We are lucky the interest rate is very low and the cost of the debt (which has to be paid in real money) is fairly cheap right now. The slightest increase in inflation and lending rates will suddenly push our interest costs up to levels where we will not have enough money to operate the government causing a huge increase in borrowing (printing) driving inflation up even more and eventually downgrading US sovereign credit making the problem spiral out of control. I believe this could happen tomorrow, not in several years. All the ingredients are in place now. The warning signs are numerous.

Consequently, I think very large historic cuts in government spending have to be made. Numerous cabinet-level agencies closed, thousands of government programs cut or stopped all together. This I believe argues for a paradigm shift (back) to one of more self-reliance and less dependency on government. So to answer your question, I think the weight needs to shift more in favor of the individual and/or the states and away from a large federal government we cannot afford. Its not really a philosophical shift, as much as it is out of necessity. Simple arithmetic knows no ideology is. Math is math.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I completely agree with your first paragraph, except I'm not sure it could happen in days.

Not so much with your second, though.

The individual/communal issue for me doesn't resolve neatly into the self-reliance/government one.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

Your point is very interesting to me becuase I think a sizable portion of society feels this way. I would be curious to know where you think the individual stops and the government starts.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

That's not the issue for me.

The question of individual/communal balance isn't the same question as "self reliance vs. dependence on government".

I don't know how to answer your question. Individuals are individuals, and government is government. Government is made up of individuals.

Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

The balance is out of whack. The government has become an enabler instead of a stop gap measure. People should pull them up by their own bootstrap except so many today don't have a bootstrap or even know what one is.

Education is one of the key components in breaking the cycle of poverty but the government can't provide it alone. The family has to be involved but the family structure doesn't exist in many communities.

If we want to be compassionate we need to figure out how to wean people off government dependence. I would much rather be able to buy any phone I want instead of depending on the government to give me an Obama Phone. I think most people would if they knew what it was like to be independent.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like your version of balance is weighted very strongly towards the individual, with a rather small communal aspect.

And, again, for me this question doesn't fall neatly into the "self reliance/dependence on government" paradigm.

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 9 months ago

There is no such thing as an Obama Phone. I have strong doubts about that story. Knology used to give phone service at a discount to those who could prove they received certain benefits from the government, but you had to have other service from them in order to qualify.

Brock Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

frankie of course there is no such thing as an Obama phone but the govt does give out phones and service to poor people.

I saw the Obama phone video and it looked real to me.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

JAFS

Fred gave his version. What is yours? If our balance today is too much toward the individual as I think you indicated what should be changed?

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Well, I did sort of duck it.

Partly because I'm not sure this one has a "right" answer, and it's an interesting question for me because of that.

And partly because I think it's hard to determine, given the complexities of our society, and depends on where you look, and what you look at.

But, yes, I do find that many Americans and much of American culture seems very heavily weighted towards individualism, and that's not the balance that seems ideal to me.

I think that people need to realize that we are all interdependent these days, and that our actions affect one another in many ways (few of us grow our own food, make our own clothes, etc.), and act accordingly.

This is sort of what I think of as Adam Smith's "enlightened self interest" - in fact, one of the arguments for capitalism is that it's better for us to trade than to be "self reliant".

There was an interesting mathematician, the main character in "A Beautiful Mind", who found that outcomes are best when people act in their own interest, but also with an eye on the interests of others and the group as a whole.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Well you re not going to getan argument here. That said, we argue a lot so exactly what are we arguing about?? IMHO it is the balance. You want more government (more taxes to buy it) and I think we have more then enough in some areas and need more in others. I think w etax enough although we are very unequal in how we do that. Our system is not really progressive and asks nothing of too many people.

That is why it is hard becaue it is balance we dispute and not the all too frequent comment on here about hating government an not wanting police, fire and the lot

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Your characterization of what I want is often off from my statements - that's one of the main problems we have.

I've never argued for "more government and more taxes", in fact I've said numerous times that we need both more tax revenue and decreased government spending to get to where we need to get. Why don't you ever hear that?

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

JAFS said "I've said numerous times that we need both more tax revenue and decreased government spending to get to where we need to get. Why don't you ever hear that"

I have gheard you just fine!! In my world tax revenue equals more taxes. How much and paid by whom? Is Mr. Obama's appreach to tax those with incomns obver 350K all you want.??

Mr. Obama added 1 trillion to our annual spending in his first year (give or take a bit). It was strickly down party lines. In my world we reset to there and then dialogue about added revenue and taxes. We do not start at a level only supported by Democrats Where is the dialogue promised??

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

You said I wanted "more government", which is plainly not the case when I say we need to lower government spending.

Can you really not see the difference between those two things?

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Well why do we need more taxes if not to support more government??

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Because we currently have low tax revenues as well as high spending, historically speaking.

Last time I checked, our revenue is at about 14% of GDP, while spending is at about 24% of it. When we last had a balanced budget, both were about 18% of GDP. So, to get back to the last balanced budget, spending would need to go down, and tax revenues go up.

In fact, the mismatch is almost symmetrical, with revenues being 4% lower, and spending 6% higher. That would argue for a very slightly higher decrease in spending than increases in revenue.

There are certainly other ways one could balance the budget, but the 18% figure for both is the only time in the last 40 years or so that we've had a balanced budget, so it seems like a reasonable way to do it.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

So you are for a SIGNIFICANT TAX INCREASE TO pay for THE artificially high spending levels. Revenue is down because of the recession. It is slowly recovering. Spending is way up since Mr. Obama took office.

As I wrote - you favor tax increases - big ones!!!

And to make a point - what is the spending buying but more government!!!

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

This is why it becomes a waste of time to talk to you.

I say we need less government spending, and you accuse me of wanting more.

If'/when you want to talk without distorting what I say, I'm glad to do it. But this sort of thing is silly, and I don't have the time to waste.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow

Less givernment spending but more taxes?? I do not understand??

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

Canada - I've been there a couple of times. I've never met a group of friendlier people. I have nothing but good memories of my visits. But I'm going to tell another one of my stories that I heard on NPR a few years ago (NPR is clearly my first resource when it comes to news). Anyway, the story was about the development of new drugs. At the time of that news story (by memory, I'd say it was about 7-8 years ago), Canada had not developed a new drug in 20 years. None.

Perhaps it's specifically because their system does not allow for the huge profits that comes with the development of new drugs. So they must have tens of thousands of deaths from things like HIV/AIDS, as well as many other things that are treatable today, right? No, they don't. They don't have those deaths specifically because they have a neighbor to their south that does have a system in place that allows for huge profits as well as the development of drugs that save lives.

What would have happened had Canada had a system similar to our own? Might they have developed a cancer curing drug? Or a hybrid seed that could have prevented millions of deaths in Africa during times of drought? We'll never know the answer to that. But what I do think is that at least part of the reason Canada gets to enjoy it high standard is because there's this huge capitalistic country next door, one that does the dirty work for them, one that spends the money necessary to develop drugs that they can purchase so they can enjoy their lives.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

How dare those Snow Mexicans call us Upper Mexicans!

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

That's interesting.

It's certainly possible, but the relationship isn't that one-sided, I'm sure. We get many benefits from living next to them as well, right?

Some new developments in drugs are useful, but a lot of them aren't that necessary, in my view. Often manufacturers make minute, meaningless changes to their formulas when the patents on the old drugs are about to run out, for example.

Canada isn't a socialist country, by the way - they have elements of both capitalism and socialism.

By the way, if they're buying the drugs from us, that costs a fair amount of money, right? Drug companies don't give that stuff away. If we didn't do it, they could do it instead - perhaps they just figure it's not necessary since they can buy them from us instead.

They're pretty smart there, in my experience.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

No, I'm not suggesting the relationship is one way. But speaking of drugs, I also heard a few years ago that 95% of the HIV/AIDS drugs going to Africa came from the U.S. Not Sweden, not Norway, not any of those countries that we typically think of when we think of countries that have high levels general happiness of their people. None of those countries have absolute socialism, but when it comes to medical care, which includes things like drug development (or at least it should), it appears to me that the closer they come to socialism, the more dependent they are on having some outside source (us, with our hyper-capitalism) for their comfort.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I disagree that they're "dependent" on us.

I looked it up, and there are certainly procedures and regulations in place in Canada regarding the development of new drugs.

If we didn't develop the drugs, I'm virtually certain that Canada would develop them, if they needed them.

The other comment is interesting as well - we do give a lot of foreign aid, but Americans aren't doing so well. If there's a trade-off there, I'm not at all sure we've got the right idea.

Perhaps we should at least make sure we're doing well before helping other countries.

There's nothing inherent in socialized health care that prevents developing new drugs - the possibility of massive profits is only one sort of incentive.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 9 months ago

Well, since you looked it up, why don't they develop drugs of their own? Assuming we're not the only country that can develop new drugs, doesn't it stand to reason that if they were committed to developing new drugs, at some point in time they would actually develop one better than anything we've done? But they don't. Why?

I'll guess at the answer, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I think it's the huge profits that can be made gives companies the incentive to go out on that limb and develop new, better drugs. The closer you come to socialized medicine, or in other words, the further you get from huge profits, the less chances people are willing to take, which results in fewer drugs being developed. But because that socialized medicine does not exist in a vacuum, because there is a U.S. developing new drugs, it makes it that much easier for them to decide on the socialized medicine.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't know that they don't - my search didn't show that.

But, assuming they don't, it's probably because they don't need to, given our development of them.

That doesn't mean they wouldn't do so, if they needed to.

Corey Williams 2 years, 9 months ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmaceutical_industry Then why is Novartis (Switzerland), and Bayer (Germany) second and fourth in the revenue rank as of 2008 when they both have some sort of universal coverage where health insurance is compulsory?
And GlaxoSmithKline, number five on the list is from the UK. Don't they have socialized medicine?

chootspa 2 years, 9 months ago

European pharmaceutical companies have developed new drugs.

It's true that American drug companies develop a lot of new drugs (and also true that American drug companies will whine and sponsor studies showing that they couldn't possibly do any R&D without massive profits), but those same companies also have offices in multiple countries, so it's impossible to say that the innovation didn't occur somewhere else and was merely patented or marketed here first. I really doubt that scientists would say, "Screw curing cancer. I can't become a billionaire off of it!" and start a different career path instead.

Here's some interesting reading on the subject: http://www.pharmamyths.net/foreign_free_riders_and_the_high_price_of_us_medicinesclick96359.htm

We can find no evidence to support the widely believed claims from industry that lower prices in other industrialised countries do not allow companies to recover their R&D costs; so they have to charge Americans more to make up the difference and pay for these "foreign free riders." We also explain why the claims themselves contradict the economic nature of the pharmaceutical industry.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

If that's for me, I certainly have.

And, I found it to be an excellent place, with many virtues.

How about you?

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

No, although we seriously considered it.

Have you ever been there?

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

I spent a week in Toronto. It was hard to find a gas station, almost impossible to find a hotel that wasn't $200/night and when we did find a hotel, they wouldn't let our dog in their motel 6 knockoff hotel room. They even had the audacity to insist on checking the room for dog hair before we left after we told them the dog never was in the room.

On the bright side, they had free porn on the TV.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh well.

If we're traveling with a dog, we make sure to check beforehand as to whether or not hotels accept them - seems like a smart precaution. And why shouldn't they check to make sure you hadn't brought the dog (what on earth did you do with it if you didn't bring it into the room)?

We spent a week in Pembroke, Ontario, stayed in a lovely hotel for about $90/night, had great experiences all around, met some great people, etc. I was sad to leave. Seemed to me that there was a large middle class, with fewer extremes of wealth and poverty, less stress, excellent quality of life that didn't cost a fortune, beautiful natural surroundings, a society that worked well for most people, even if they didn't have a lot of money,...

If it weren't so d*** cold, and we didn't have the concerns of being able to see family easily, we might very well have moved there.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

"what on earth did you do with it"

"If it weren't so d*** cold"

It were so cold. It was late November. I went out every other hour and ran the jeep for a while to warm it up. That was pretty obsessive considering the dog was a chow and never seemed bothered by the cold. He was a road dog.

Canada wasn't bad, but just like Europe it lacked the immediacy you have at your disposal in The US. I like being able to buy gas and food and finding a room somewhere 24 hours a day. Europe and Canada both seemed to roll up their sidewalks at sundown.

Get just out of any largish American downtown and you'll find food, gas and hotels. You'll find 4 more of each at lots of interstate intersections It isn't like that everywhere in the world, but it is part of what freedom on a massive scale requires. If you can't travel, you aren't free.

There are real reasons people don't want to live like Europeans and Canadians, even as you note they are nice people.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

I had no problem at all finding gas, etc. in Pembroke.

Really, for me, the only big disincentive was the extreme cold and family, and even with those, I seriously considered it, because of the many positives we found there.

It may be the case that we have some more conveniences here, but we have a lot of negative aspects that counteract that as well.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 9 months ago

I think the letter writer is unclear about individual purpose and public purpose. We have responsibility for ourselves but we also have a public responsibility as a member of a family, group, society, etc.

In politics, there is a strong incentive to get stuff for the people who are able to get and keep you elected.

Our country was founded with many checks and balances to protect individual freedom but if the electorate is ill informed, it is reasonable to predict that political processes will become out of balance with the needs of average citizens who lack the financial means or power as individuals to protect or promote their own interests.

Blind faith in a particular political party or leader is a dangerous habit worth breaking but encouraging public mindedness toward civic responsibilities is not a sin.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

Because the government is responsible for ensuring that at least a minimal safety net exists for all citizens - regardless of where they live - so that states such as Kansas cannot simply throw away those for whom they do not wish to provide care (mentally ill, elderly, children, disabled, desperately poor). Not all states, not all communities, care for those who need care. Not all charities have both the funds and the will to care for all of those who need care. And, I don't know about everyone else's family, but my family does not have both the funds and training needed to care for someone who is disabled or mentally ill. Telling an 84 year old, or a physically or mentally disabled person of any age, or a small child, that local charities will provide for them is just nonsense. There may be people who can be helped off of public support and into a self-sustaining job, but that help costs money and effort and a healthy economy that has jobs those people may fill. The vast majority of those who need aid are incapable of holding self-sustaining jobs. They need competent and continuing care, and only government is capable of ensuring they receive it in an orderly and reliable day to day, year to year, manner.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Last time I looked government is us. We support/reject what is done by government. Seems to me the argument is not about basic services but about continued growth in services. Three trillion is a lot of money. What are we not doing?

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

Point well taken. I did not do the two step. We still decide through our votes what government does - or at least we are supposed to do that.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

Generations of people have come to conflate government with how we collectively demonstrate public responsibility. They simply are unaware of the many other, non-coersive ways to do it.

2 years, 9 months ago

"In politics, there is a strong incentive to get stuff for the people who are able to get and keep you elected. "

Absolutely. There are three major kinds of governments. The first is the government that is run in the interest of its owners. This would be something like the reign of Henry VII, where the financial interests of the king are the financial interests of the nation. A modern example might be the Sultanate of Brunei.

The second kind of government is one run for its customers, i.e. the actual taxpayers. Under this scheme, the government provides protection services and little else, and costs (taxes) are very low. The US pre-1875 and the Italian merchant states might be examples of this.

We are a government of the third type: that run for its employees. Like a company run by and for employees, there is very little emphasis on keeping costs low or on providing quality service. The organization grows and grows, adding employees and costs, but never providing any better service no matter how much money is allocated to it.

The way we got from the second to the third type was simple: the assumption of social obligations by government added an entire group of people - call them pseudoemployees - to the government's payroll. Unemployment, SocSec, Medicare, Welfare, and "targeted tax break" (aka corporate welfare), all of these receive a payheck, they just don't have to go to work to earn it. All of a sudden, lots and lots more people have a vested interest in rising costs, as those costs are primarily their benefits. Try to get someone who works for McDonnell Douglas to vote for Ron Paul and you'll get the idea - few cut off their financial nose to spite their face.

As I look through my political junk mail this weekend, there is surely evidence of "a strong incentive to get stuff for the people who are able to get and keep you elected." Half the people want to say that the others will cut off my benefits, the others promise all the benefits at half the cost. I really doubt their primary interest in my vote is my social good.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

“For too long in this society we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over the common community.”

I have to applaud Biden. In one sentence he demonstrates why I have little but contempt for the left even though I agree with them on many issues.

Mr Biden, if you want me to be part of your community, you should make sure it has bars around it. Better yet, save us the trouble and just take my money on tax day then stay away from my life for another year.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

If you agree with them on many issues and have contempt for them, you must have a pretty high level of "self contempt", which is unfortunate.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

That makes sense I suppose, but I agree with them for a completely different reason. They have greedy agendas like gay marriage and I have to agree with them because that agenda falls under the umbrella libertarian belief that consenting adults should be allowed to do as they please. They are like the broken clock that's right twice a day.

I feel some self-contempt when it comes to foreign policy. I have problems with it. Who are we to stick our noses in other people's business? Then again, who are we to watch dictators kill thousands and thousands of their own citizens. I have to choose intervention and that conflicts with the core of my philosophy.

At least give me those sad puppy dog eyes for the right reason.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok.

Are you happier now?

The fact that you have conflicting ideas about intervention shouldn't lead to self contempt, in my view - it should lead to a more well thought out philosophy, one in which intervention is sometimes good, and other times bad.

It's not as black and white, of course, but it's more applicable to reality.

And, what on earth is greedy about gay and lesbian folks wanting equality?

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

"And, what on earth is greedy about gay and lesbian folks wanting equality?"

They aren't fighting for equality, they are fighting for homosexual equality. That doesn't go far enough as it ignores other non-traditional marriages like polygamy. They are "greedily" pressing their own agenda while ignoring others that are victims of the same inequality.

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

It may not be broad minded enough for you (or me), but I'm not sure that translates to greedy.

Let the polygamy advocates press their cause, just as gay/lesbian folks have to press theirs, black people and women had to, etc.

Greed is defined as excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

If I can press equality without being part of a cause why can't they?

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

They can, and perhaps some do.

I just don't think it's greedy not to do so.

Since I'm a straight white male in America, I don't have any experience with being denied rights, and what that's like. I imagine that one gets rather focused on one's own situation, and fights for oneself first.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 9 months ago

I think a lot of the most callous vitriol we see regarding our President comes from extreme Libertarians or people who share such anti-government views.

It will be difficult to solve problems that require a community effort if their philosophy continues to distract the American people from finding real solutions.

You can see the problem with our deficit began with the "supply side economics or trick down" during the Reagan administration. That is when Arthur Laffer and his bogus theories began to influence our national economic policies rather than responsible leadership.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

"I think a lot of the most callous vitriol we see regarding our President comes from extreme Libertarians or people who share such anti-government views."

When the help starts thinking he is in charge, a little vitriol is good for him.

"It will be difficult to solve problems"

You could have stopped their. That's the best we can hope for. Quick solutions are usually worse than the problem.

"You can see the problem with our deficit began with the "supply side economics or trick down" during the Reagan administration."

Then how was Clinton able to balance the budget?

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

By definition, a libertarian cannot be extreme, unless you mean something esle by your use of the word.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 9 months ago

The USA is becoming a third world country.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Barry is doing his best to make that happen

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

America is engaged in a battle over diminishing resources. I stand with those who know our country is greatest when we protect individual rights and freedom, economic opportunity, AND collective responsibilities to our health and welfare.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

RyanRomney would give you all the individual rights you can afford to buy.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

ObamaBiden will give you all the free stuff they can make other people buy for you.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure George Clooney, Matt Damon, Warren Buffett and the rest of the ultra rich left would agree with you. Unfortunately for you and your buds, those views are the minority

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

The replicator renders money irrelevant. When you get one, call me. I want a bass boat.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Mr Jobs would have made a great used car salesman.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

You are welcome to your opinion of Steve Jobs, but he himself wasn't really an innovator.

Woz was the innovator, and when Jobs went to NeXT, he did little more than tell people to build a failed GUI and a runtime for some flavor of BSD.

Like I said, he had good taste and would make a good used car salesman.

Linus Torvalds was an innovator.

You think of Jobs as you want. If he inspires you, go do something amazing.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

I'd say morality doesn't evolve so much as decompose, leaving a void to be filled with either violence or ethics. YMMV.

tbaker 2 years, 9 months ago

Why do we need government in order to create a common community?

jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

How would you do it without a government of some sort?

I've posed the question before, of libertarian communes - as far as I know, there aren't any, which sort of makes sense. A philosophy which focuses strongly on individual freedom may face some difficulty being applied to groups.

Armstrong 2 years, 9 months ago

Barry does not need crucifixion, just unemployed will be fine

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

George McGovern died today. I worked for his 1972 campaign in Lincoln, Nebraska handing out campaign literature at University of Nebraska football games when half the state came to watch Bob Devaney's team play. McGovern was among the best this country has produced. He certainly understood the balance of individual rights and public good. McGovern was a gentle man of humility, intelligence, courage, and conviction who tried to stop the horrors of the Vietnam war, who worked with Bob Dole to pass bipartisan legislation that helped all Americans, and who saved lives through the distribution of America's surplus foods to starving peoples around the world. A great man, and a great public servant. A giant lived among us and has passed away. RIP, sir.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Sorry he passed. He seems to have left an imprint. Good for you.

verity 2 years, 9 months ago

Well said, sunflower. A true statesman of honor who practiced what he preached.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 9 months ago

McGovern was the first President I voted for and I proudly proclaimed it in my High School. Got a lot of grief. People, including teachers, thought I was an idiot for not voting for Nixon. That was in South Central Kansas.

2 years, 9 months ago

"Get it through your head that National Socialist was a name, not a political philosophy."

It was actually both. Under the Weimar Republic, the popular parties, with the exception of the centrists Catholics, were all socialist. You had the National Socialists on the right, the Communists on the left, and the Social Democrats (MSPD) in the center. The problem with Americans trying to understand the right-to-left axis in Weimar is that it was not an economic axis as here in America (we have capitalists on the right and socialists on the left, so to speak).

In late 19th/early 20th century Germany, the axis was nationalists, authoritarians, and monarchists on the right and internationalists, soviets, and communists on the left. Republicans (small r) and parliamentarians made up the center. In short, the National Socialists were on the right because they were nationalists, and the communists were on the left because they were internationalists. The MSPD was centrist because it was parliamentarian. But they were all socialists.

Besides being on the right side of the (German) axis, the Nazis went after the communists because it was a politically popular thing to do. German in 1931 had suffered the loss of a war, a hyperinflation, a decade and a half of anarchy in politics and society and the economy. The communists did not cause it all, but they certainly contributed to it. Therefore when the Nazis went after the commies, they provided (at least the appearance of) what Germany needed most - strong leadership that could restore order. The Nazis then systematically went after everyone else, politically speaking, but by then it was too late to stop the juggernaut.

Nazis opposed the communists in the Spanish Civil War because the communists were aligned with the Soviets. There is little more to it than that. A strong Soviet Union was a problem for Germany, and a Soviet ally in Spain meant a stronger Soviet Union. It's the same reason that Catholic France supported the Protestants in Germany during the 30 Years War, even if it meant opposing not only Catholics in Central Europe, but Catholic Spain. It doesn't mean France wasn't Catholic, all it means is that sometimes political philosophy has to give way to political necessity.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

The communists in Spain also wanted a democratic elected government, but Franco wanted to be a dictator and keep Spain backwards.

2 years, 9 months ago

"The communists in Spain also wanted a democratic elected government"

Sure, so long as they were the ones elected. Communists share another property with Nazis - any election they win will be the last one for a long, long time.

tomatogrower 2 years, 9 months ago

Good luck with that. The man who hates government, yet has earned his living on the taxes he supposedly hates? Ask him to do the job out of serving his cause or his country without pay. I'm real sure you will get a whine.

George Lippencott 2 years, 9 months ago

False dilemma. Most people support government contribution. Over three trillion dollars’ in direct value a year. The call is for another trillion. Why is resisting that growth anti-government

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

But Ron Paul advocates enslaving women. In his 1983 publication, he advocated a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He wrote that the fetus had all the rights, and the woman had only obligations; the woman had surrendered her rights when she engaged in sex. He also wrote that women did not get pregnant as a result of rape, and there never was any reason to terminate a pregnancy to protect a woman's health.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Can you tell me this? How is it you can forget that Senator Byrd was a grand dragon master of the klan, but you can remember something Ron Paul wrote?

I think 30 years is more than long enough for a republican to become a libertarian. How long did it take Byrd to stop burning crosses?

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

I read this in Ron Paul's very own words, published in his pamphlet:

Abortion and Liberty Congressman Ron Paul The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (PO Box 1776, Lake Jackson, TX 77566) 1983 There is a copy in the KU Library, so you can read it for yourself. Ron Paul has not repudiated any of these views. Even in 1983 he identified as a "libertarian." What Byrd did and did not think is irrelevant here. The topic is Ron Paul's views.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

You read a 30 year old book, I read about an ex-Klansman I think Byrd realized his actions were wrong and stopped, so I don't have a problem with Ron Paul (a doctor) changing his opinion on abortion. I don't see why you wouldn't other than as a cheap political shot. You should be happy he converted to pro-abortion. Every time a man realizes he can't control another person's body, its a win.

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

Ron Paul has not changed his opinion about abortion at all, Liberty275, to judge from his statements during his interview on CNN a couple of months ago. The only thing that he has changed is from advocating an amendment to the US Constitution to advocating that every state pass its own constitutional amendment. If you believe that Ron Paul supports women's rights to control their own bodies, you are deluding yourself. In his thinking, only men get to control their bodies.
If you'd like to put Ron Paul into the same category of the despicable as Senator Byrd, that's find by me. But I thought that you admired Ron Paul.

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

To clear things up, I don't care enough about Ron Paul to admire him. I'm not in with anybody's lot.

Given what you assert happened two months ago, then Paul isn't against abortion as much as pro-state's rights. While I am in favor of state's rights, I am more in favor of individual rights and would recommend an amendment making abortion state law and also granting the right of every consenting American Citizen the right to do with their bodies as they wish as long as they do not violate the rights of others..

Now I just need 66% of the herd to wake up and vote a few times. I'll need some good luck for that.

"If you'd like to put Ron Paul into the same category of the despicable as Senator Byrd"

I don't believe either is or was despicable. Both men have proven to themselves as dedicated Americans that believe they are doing the right thing.

voevoda 2 years, 9 months ago

"There is no question of relieving others at the cost of hardship to yourselves; it is a question of equality. At the moment, your surplus meets their need, but one day your need may be met from their surplus. The aim is equality."

"Discharge your obligations to everyone; pay tax and levy, reverence and respect, to those to whom they are due. Leave no debt outstanding, but remember the debt of love you owe one another... 'Love your neighbour as yourself'.' Love cannot wrong a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law."

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority; for they are tireless in their care for you, as those who must render an account."

JohnBrown 2 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, Romney is a chameleon. But, believe Tea Partiers when they say they want smaller government. They want it so small it fits right inside a woman's vagina.

bd 2 years, 9 months ago

sounds like the Borg has invaded!!!!!!! "you will be assimilated into the collective"

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