Democrats & Liberals Archives

Who Runs the Government?

The RIGHT-LEFT political dichotomy that guides all our political discussions today is obsolete. It’s not a question of more or less government. Both conservatives and liberals are in favor of big government, but for different purposes: the former to help religion, the latter to help the poor and helpless. The real division is about who runs the government: business or people.

Before I continue, let's look at the common confusion between government and economics. It is often said that conservatives favor more capitalism and free enterprise, and thus oppose too much government regulation. It is also said that liberals like socialism and thus want more government. Well, neither capitalism nor socialism are forms of government. They are economic systems.

Capitalism and democracy do not necessarily go together, as conservatives insist. Adolph Hitler used capitalists for executing his Holocaust and his war effort. China, a big autocracy, is now in the midst of a capitalist boom. Neither do socialism and dictatorship always go together. In the early days of Israel, they had kibutzim, socialist endeavors where decisions were made democratically by all the members. Here in the U.S., we have many farm cooperatives, essentially socialist organizations, making decisions by voting.

No, capitalism and socialism are approaches to economics, not to government. Government, or rather regulation by government, is advocated by conservatives as well as liberals. True, liberals seek economic regulation to help minorities, the poor and the helpless. But conservatives seek social regulation of sex, abortion and religion.

The only people who truly believe in a minimum of government regulation are the libertarians. Libertarians believe in freedom. When libertarians talk they use the word "freedom" in almost every sentence. Government regulation, they claim, reduces individual freedom.

Libertarians state that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases as long as he or she does not interfere with the freedom of other individuals. Sounds wonderful. What could be better? Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!

However, the key phrase is: "...does not interfere with the freedom of other individuals." In our modern society, it is difficult if not impossible for any of us to exercise our freedom without in some way impinging on the freedom of others. The effects may be big or small. A few examples:


  • You are free to have a loud party, but you may disturb sick neighbors
  • You are free to refuse vaccination, but you may advance an epidemic like Swine Flu
  • You are free to build an oil refinery, but nearby residents will become sick from its pollution
  • You are free to install automation in your factory, but many employees will be laid off
  • You are free to make highly risky investments, but you may cause millions of people to lose their jobs in a depression you cause

Unless you live as a hermit in a remote island, you cannot achieve the libertarian's freedom. To come close to this freedom we must assure that no person "interferes with the freedom of other individuals." This is another way of saying we need regulation. A well-designed regulation regime will assure that all of us, regardless of our income or station in life, would have the greatest possible freedom.

Since we must have regulation to assure freedom to all, we must have government. The real issue we must debate is not how much government we should have but who should run the government: business or people. At the present time, our government is run by business; both conservatives and liberals get most of their campaign donations from business; even libertarians believe in laissez faire, which favors business.

Who speaks for people? Very few. We need a People Party to represent the vast majority of Americans not represented by the Business Party.

It's time to drop the RIGHT-LEFT political compass we have been using. It is leading us astray in our political deliberations. Let's replace it with a BUSINESS-PEOPLE compass.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 9, 2009 2:27 PM
Comments
Comment #292311

Paul

You think of this government way because you believe in the primacy of politics. It is a form of reductionism. Everything is politics in the way that you can reduce everything to almost any one thing.

You may recall the story about the parts of the body debating who was in charge. The brain said it was most important, but the stomach pointed about that w/o a stomach the brain would starve. The mouth complained that it fed the stomach and the hands piped in that they fed the mouth. The legs said that they carried the body to food.

All this went on until the ass just stopped working and killed everything else.

I submit that this story works well as an allegory for government and government management ain’t the brain.

I would reduce it to a different set. Maybe we can have the people who want to have strong government management v those who want more choice.

Posted by: Christine at December 9, 2009 4:09 PM
Comment #292317

(As long as one’s ‘choice’ does not infringe on another’s ‘choice’…hmmm…that’s what I thought DRR said in his blog. Heck, I musta misunderstood…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 9, 2009 7:19 PM
Comment #292318

Posing a contradiction between “business” and “people” is also very misleading and a false choice. It’s like saying that we have to choose between “teams” or “players,” when obviously they’re not really opposing categories.

You can debate issues related to how business sometimes impinges on people’s rights and welfare, and that’s what government is for—to sort this stuff out. But even then, it doesn’t really boil down to business vs. people so much as one group of people and their interests vs. another group of people and their interests. Businesses themselves are always suing each other and in conflict with each other, and so are individual people, and collectively neither “business” nor “people” are monolothic entities having interests that are so closely alligned that you could just choose to favor one over the other. At least not categorically. Businesses are composed of people—just like a socialist collective is composed of people.

Also, in practice, what does it really mean to favor “the people” and their interests and rights over the interests and rights of whoever/whatever you’d place in other categories? If the government decides to take away our property and give it to others, does that help or harm people?

Perhaps more people than just your family would be helped if the house you’re living in now was confiscated and turned into a homeless shelter. The goverenment could always say that it was done for “the people,” but obviously there are and need to be other principles at stake—namely those having to do with individual rights and liberty.

Posted by: Phillip at December 9, 2009 7:20 PM
Comment #292320

We are a Socialist country, but it’s trickle-down socialism. People can invest in politicians to get the government, at all levels, to keep money flowing where they want it to flow. Many corporations are run like old fashioned communist state enterprises. They keep their profit margin up by making less expensive products of lower quality, and increasing the price. They can do this because there is too little competition since new competitors can always be squashed, bought out and closed, or regulated out of existence by the recipients of their investment in the government.

Posted by: ohrealy at December 9, 2009 7:26 PM
Comment #292321

ohrealy,

You just describrd Wal-Mart to a ‘T’.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 9, 2009 8:40 PM
Comment #292322

Wow, what a fundamental misunderstanding and abuse of what Libertarianism is. It’s typical but sad to see so few people really willing to understand it without looking for a way to trash it instead…

But, let me try to correct some of your misconceptions.

Libertarians never once say that there should be no government. That part about ‘as long as…’ is important because when it comes to the interactions between people, that is the ONLY time that government should be interfering. If that were the discussions we were having in the US, whether or not an individual’s right infringes upon another’s, I would be a happy camper… That definately isn’t where we are.

Your ‘examples’ really show the issue…

•You are free to have a loud party, but you may disturb sick neighborsThis is why city governments have noise regulations. These are proper and necessary and reasonable. If you don’t want to be bound by these, then don’t live that close to someone else. I live outside of a city with about 40 acres, being loud is not an issue. Where you choose to live means that you may have to limit some of your activity to not infringe upon anothers. I don’t think any libertarian would disagree here…
•You are free to refuse vaccination, but you may advance an epidemic like Swine Flu

And you may not. And you are free to have an abortion even though you may be killing the next Einstein. It is about the choice of your body. No one should be forced to have anything done to their bodies against their will, even vaccinations. And yes, this will be playing out in the future as the new healthcare plan starts to churn through the inevitable course to saving money by trying to vaccinate people against their will. It wil be an ugly fight, I can assure you, since we know that adjevants in vaccinations, if done wrong, can maim and kill. Because of that, it must be an individual’s choice. There is little to be discussed about this, sorry.

•You are free to build an oil refinery, but nearby residents will become sick from its pollution

No, sorry but if you are violating another individual’s property rights, you are subject to the government intervention to protect those property rights. I can do what I want on my property as long as it does not affect my neighbor’s property, unless he purchased that property with full disclosure. Again, this regulation is where we need government to ensure that each individual’s rights are protected.

•You are free to install automation in your factory, but many employees will be laid off

Correct. No one has the right to be provided anything, including a job. So unless you own the business, you don’t have a say in how the business owner runs that business. If you are wanting to suggest that you do, then you certainly aren’t talking about freedom or liberty of any kind…

•You are free to make highly risky investments, but you may cause millions of people to lose their jobs in a depression you cause

No one is required to either join you in those investments or enter into any agreement of any kind without incurring some risk. You cannot be protected from it, or rather you SHOULDN’T be protected from it. Our government has now told people that they can be as reckless as they want to be, if they fail badly enough the government will take care of it for them. That’s the lesson learned from the past year, there are no repercussions of being tremendously bad…

Unless you live as a hermit in a remote island, you cannot achieve the libertarian’s freedom.

THIS is complete BS. I’ve shown you how simple the implementation is, just because you don’t think it is possible means that you either WANT it not to be possible so that you can trample on everyone’s individual rights when you want to but scream for yours to be protected, OR you just don’t have a real clue what Libertarians are saying. I have to say I can’t decide which is the case…

Finally, the REAL debate is are we willing to authorize the government to kill people for violating a law. Because that is what a law is, the authorization of force upon another person for an action that they take. If enough people are willing to kill someone for that violation, then that law is most likely a valid use of the government. If not, then perhaps we can find a way to resolve the issue without the use of government.

I think we, as Americans, are smart enough to come up with those ideals. If we want to. I’m not certain that we are, in fact I am pretty sure that most people who vote in elections are not looking to protect against abuses of government but to be part of the group who gets to wield the abuses of government how THEY want to.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2009 8:46 PM
Comment #292333

Rhinehold,

I was about to defend Libertarianism, but you posted a defense. Then you went a couple of steps too far.

No, sorry but if you are violating another individual’s property rights, you are subject to the government intervention to protect those property rights. I can do what I want on my property as long as it does not affect my neighbor’s property, unless he purchased that property with full disclosure. Again, this regulation is where we need government to ensure that each individual’s rights are protected.

In what instance does my my use of my property not impinge on my neighbor’s?

No one is required to either join you in those investments or enter into any agreement of any kind without incurring some risk. You cannot be protected from it, or rather you SHOULDN’T be protected from it. Our government has now told people that they can be as reckless as they want to be, if they fail badly enough the government will take care of it for them. That’s the lesson learned from the past year, there are no repercussions of being tremendously bad…

Regardless of bailouts, some “investments” impact people that have not invested in them. If no bailouts occurred millions would be affected by the economic crisis without having any contract whatsoever involved in the fiasco. This is being blind to reality.

Finally, the REAL debate is are we willing to authorize the government to kill people for violating a law. Because that is what a law is, the authorization of force upon another person for an action that they take. If enough people are willing to kill someone for that violation, then that law is most likely a valid use of the government. If not, then perhaps we can find a way to resolve the issue without the use of government.

What? Are you kidding here? Murder is the only motive for legislation? Wow.

Posted by: gergle at December 9, 2009 11:00 PM
Comment #292337
In what instance does my my use of my property not impinge on my neighbor’s?

In just about every instance, I imagine. Building a garage, putting up a swing for your children, etc. If you dump waste into the stream that flows onto your neighbor’s property, you are violating their rights. Most people can understand the common sense of that and may look to government to resolve possible wiggle areas. But for the most part I think it is pretty cut and dry.

Regardless of bailouts, some “investments” impact people that have not invested in them. If no bailouts occurred millions would be affected by the economic crisis without having any contract whatsoever involved in the fiasco. This is being blind to reality.

Yes, life sucks… Perhaps people should get helmets? But to answer your point, as I have pointed out there were other ways, other than the bailouts, to resolve the economic ‘crisis’ that occurred last year. Thinking that the ONLY option that would have worked was a massive bailout is being blind to reality.

What? Are you kidding here? Murder is the only motive for legislation?

No, not kidding here and now who is being blind to reality. Tell me, gergle, what does a law do? Name a law that, if the violator of that law rejects the authority to be subject to that law, what is the ultimate outcome?

I think the real problem is that people want to insulate themselves from what government is and what laws are. We don’t need a law to have a suggestion. We don’t need a law to collect charity freely. Laws are in place to force people to follow them and only the use and threat of the use of force makes that happen.

THAT is the reality. Come on, gergle, it should be easy, name a law that doesn’t end up with violence if carred out… If it is so ridiculous, it should be easy.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2009 11:45 PM
Comment #292347

Rhinehold,

I read somewhere recently that the problem with Libertarians is they believe in the “good” nature of human beings. While I do think that most people are reasonably good natured, there is also an element of sociopaths.

Your conclusion that failure to submit to authority ultimately results in death is a bit of logical leaping and fatalism. If one is stupid enough to be completely reactive to the smallest infraction, then yes, that makes sense, but then one who acts thus, is likely to have other psychological issues and would eventually commit a more heinous crime, regardless of a perceived tort.

I do think Libertarian principles are important to be aware of and keep in mind when passing laws, but since we no longer live in the wilderness nor garden of eden, we’ll just have to make do with reality sans the childish drama.

Posted by: gergle at December 10, 2009 8:25 AM
Comment #292350

“No, not kidding here and now who is being blind to reality. Tell me, gergle, what does a law do? Name a law that, if the violator of that law rejects the authority to be subject to that law, what is the ultimate outcome?”

There are many laws where the maximum sentence is not the ultimate outcome, in fact only a few laws have as a sentence the ultimate outcome. Now if the violator of a law then breaks another law using the same force or attempting to use the same force that you decry instead of remaining within the system and using the courts for their intended purpose well that is a different story. Violence begats violence Rhinehold.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2009 10:17 AM
Comment #292354

Sorry, j2t2, your naivete is a good defense against the reality of what a law is. Just because people acquiesce to avoid the use of force against them (the threat of force is always present) doesn’t mean that the law does not carry with it the authorization of the use of force against the individual to enforce compliance.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #292356

Sorry, should read “your naivete is not a good defense against the reality of what a law is”.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 12:30 PM
Comment #292377

Rhinehold,

Your naivete is not a good defense against the reality of what a law is.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 10, 2009 6:29 PM
Comment #292379

Rhinehold I follow the rule of law most of the time not because I am fearful that a federal agent will come and shoot me but because I live in a nation of laws not men. Because I choose to “acquiesce” to.. say the tax laws, does not mean that I don’t get my day in court nor do I get shot and killed by any federal agents unless of course I choose to do so by using some sort of violence or the threat of violence first. So the threat of bodily harm and the use of force is present only because I choose to use violence, in most cases.
Even the Waco and Ruby Ridge people had the choice to have their day in court, as our founding fathers intended, but instead chose armed resistance and violence as a means to avoid their right to have a jury of their peers pass judgment on their activities. Were it not for the system of justice we have and the contract we as citizens have agreed to I would concur with your implied threat.

Most laws have a penalty that ranges from a fine to imprisonment for a period of time. Those that have been hired to enforce the law have the ability to use force when necessary to ensure that those that would prefer to think we are a country of men rather than laws or to think themselves above the law have the opportunity to plea their case in court and have justice done.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2009 7:12 PM
Comment #292388

Interesting, this is the first time I’ve posted?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:02 PM
Comment #292391

Apparently I can post a quick one line comment, but not an actual response. If someone who can approve comments would like to look in the queue…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:07 PM
Comment #292397

Ok, this is going to be interesting…

Rhinehold I follow the rule of law most of the time not because I am fearful that a federal agent will come and shoot me but because I live in a nation of laws not men.

That is irrelevant. The fact is, if you violate the laws, even unknowingly, you are subjected to the statutes and they authorize anyone who violates the law and doesn’t immediately give up their soveriegnty of their bodies to use compulsion against those individuals. Just because we are fearful enough as a society to rarely push this event, we know it exists whether we want to admit it or, like most liberals, not.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:20 PM
Comment #292398
Because I choose to “acquiesce” to.. say the tax laws, does not mean that I don’t get my day in court nor do I get shot and killed by any federal agents unless of course I choose to do so by using some sort of violence or the threat of violence first.

No, all you have to do is resist, you do not need to instigate violence in order to be subjected to the violence of the government.

So the threat of bodily harm and the use of force is present only because I choose to use violence, in most cases.

Nope, not even close. Tell these people that they were being violent:

www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:21 PM
Comment #292399
Even the Waco and Ruby Ridge people had the choice to have their day in court, as our founding fathers intended, but instead chose armed resistance and violence as a means to avoid their right to have a jury of their peers pass judgment on their activities. Were it not for the system of justice we have and the contract we as citizens have agreed to I would concur with your implied threat.

I’m sure all of those people who are now dead because the government killed them for simply breaking a law (which they may have known or not have known) will feel the comfort from your assurances.

Oh, and BTW, it is again IRRELEVANT. Violating or resisting any law can result in your death. I am glad it doesn’t happen more often, but the authority is there. Those representatives of the law are authorized to use force to enforce any law on the books, because otherwise it is not a LAW, it is a suggestion.

Let’s say you did violate the law, you go to jail because you are a good little boy or because you konw if you don’t you will be FORCED to do so and it could result in your death? Even for something as simple as violating tax law.

That’s the reality, j2t2.

Oh, and yes we are a nation of laws. But it is also a fact that each and every law has the backing of the government behind it and violating that law results in the authorities have been given the legal right to use force against you to enforce that law. ENFORCE the law, what do you think ‘enforce’ means?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:22 PM
Comment #292401
Most laws have a penalty that ranges from a fine to imprisonment for a period of time. Those that have been hired to enforce the law have the ability to use force when necessary to ensure that those that would prefer to think we are a country of men rather than laws or to think themselves above the law have the opportunity to plea their case in court and have justice done.

Thank you for finally agreeing with me. This is exactly what I am saying, each law is a legal authorization for a policing entity to use force against you to ‘enforce’ the law. I’m not sure why you keep wanting to fight this so much…

And the only POINT of this is that every time anyone calls for a law to be made, they should understand exactly what they are agreeing to. They are adding another authority for a policing agency to use force against another citizen if they violate that law. That’s it. If that is ok, then support that law.

But I wonder how many people who support laws about simple things like ‘who you an have s-e-x* with’ or ‘what you do with your own body’ if they understand that the result is authorization of the use of force against those who violate them.

*I found what was causing my comments to bounce!

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:25 PM
Comment #292406
When a Kentucky drug task force came to uproot his marijuana plants in August 1993, pot-grower and Vietnam vet Gary Shepherd told them, “You will have to kill me first,” took out his rifle and sat down on his front porch. That evening he was shot dead in front of his infant son. Despite the fact that Shepherd never fired a shot and his family was pleading with authorities for negotiations, state police sharpshooters appeared from the brush without warning and opened fire when he refused to drop his rifle.

This is called ‘resistance’. At no time did he point his gun at the police or initiate violence against them. His crime was growing a plant on his own property for his own use and for that he paid for it with his life.

Not the only one, of course, but you get the idea. Because it is illegal to grow marijuana, force is authorized. Like

Substitute Sunday School Teacher Cheryl Noel possessed a registered handgun, which she kept in her bedroom (9 years earlier, Cheryl has lost her 16-year-old stepdaughter in a shooting murder). On January 19, just before 5 am, police burst into her home using flash-bang grenade and battering ram looking for drugs. Both Cheryl and her husband were asleep in the master bedroom. Suddenly awake and fearing an armed intrusion, Cheryl grabbed her gun. Police kicked in the bedroom door and shot her 3 times.

But a gun is not always necessary and sometimes following the law can get you killed as well!

Peter Williams was a world-famous author and an advocate of medical marijuana, not only because he believed in it in principle, but because it was keeping him alive (he had AIDS and non-Hodgkins lymphoma). After California passed a law legalizing medical marijuana, Peter helped finance the efforts of Todd McCormick to cultivate marijuana for distribution to those who needed it for medical reasons. Federal agents got wind of his involvement, and Peter was a target for his advocacy. He was arrested, and in federal court was prevented from mentioning his medical condition or California’s law. While he was on bail awaiting sentencing, the prosecutors threatened to take away his mother’s house (used for bail) if he failed a drug test, so he stopped using the marijuana which controlled his nausea from the medications and allowed him to keep them down. He was found dead on the bathroom floor, choked to death on his own vomit.
Officer Jones was in the process of serving a drug warrant, based on an informant tip. While trying to enter the rear of a duplex, he broke into the wrong apartment and was shot by the resident, Corey Maye, who had no prior record and was protecting his daughter. No drugs were found. Maye was charged with capital murder, and sentenced to death.

Corey Maye was a Drug War Victim waiting to happen. Fortunately, his death sentence was eventually overturned and he is now serving life in prison.

Life in prison (down from being put to death) for the temerity of defending his family from an unknown intruder.

You have to love how force isn’t a part of laws…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:48 PM
Comment #292407

Heck, we can go to just this week and away from the drug laws if you want!

http://wvgazette.com/News/200912090794

Award-winning photojournalist gets arrested in West Virginia for photographing a mall Santa, then attempting to photograph a police officer who harassed him about it. An overly protective parent complained that his kid was included in one of the photos. Given that all of this transpired in a public space, photographing the Santa, the kids, and the cop are all perfectly legal, by the way.

Which is probably why the photographer was charged with battering the arresting officer and resisting arrest, not for taking the photos that caused the confrontation in the first place.

Don’t even need to actually break any laws to have force used against you…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 8:53 PM
Comment #292411

Rhinehold, I would agree that state and local officials as well as some federal law enforcement officials have taken their responsibility to far. It is a result of many things but mostly the “get tough on crime” mentality forced upon us by the overzealous conservative ideology we have witnessed in this country the past 30 years. This is a real problem but not a flaw in the design problem (if you will)but more of an execution of the plan problem.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2009 9:21 PM
Comment #292412

j2t2,

Even when doing their job appropriately, force is still in the equation. If an individual resists his arrest, he will be forced to comply. That is part of every arrest, of every law, even civil.

There is no denying that fact. I am sorry if that is no longer a comfort for you…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2009 9:47 PM
Comment #292423

Rhinehold,

Really? Gimme a Break, to steal a John Stossel line.

See, it works this way. Most people don’t react with violence for an illegal arrest. They go to jail. They go to court. Case dismissed. They go to civil court and sue. They win.

Of course, a juvenile reaction would to be to resist at all costs. That makes perfect sense to a 12 year old.

Guess what? You will be tased, subdued and if you are really stupid, killed.

Posted by: gergle at December 10, 2009 11:36 PM
Comment #292426

I think that Rhinehold is basically right, but the “force of law” to compel compliance is not merely the threat of physical violence, and physical violence isn’t even always its most insidious form. Most people will always comply with the law without letting things come to physical confrontation, even if the law is completely unjust.

Posted by: Phillip at December 10, 2009 11:52 PM
Comment #292430
It’s a stupid argument.

It’s not an argument, gergle, it’s a fact.

A law is the legal authorization of the use of force by a policing agency. That is what it is, I’m not making some ‘weird argument’ or trying to convince you of something that isn’t the truth.

Yes, it doesn’t come to it every time, but it does happen. It is not about ‘assaulting a police officer’ as I have shown. Just resisting the arrest is enough to have the law violently enforced. ‘ENFORCED’. It is a word with meaning, gergle. Force is what is behind it.

All of the people in jail, they’re still behind bars because they realize that they were bad people and will stay there until they are told to go home? OR are they forced to stay there by the state? Few are stupid enough to push it, because it isn’t worth it, but they know if they did, violence would be legally used. Same with any arrest, just or unjust, force is used make that arrest, if not actual violence then the threat of such.

The ‘Don’t taze me bro’ guy is a perfect example. Did he really need to be tazed? Of course not, but the legal use of that tazer was given to the police to enforce whatever law they needed to enforce.

Am I saying we shouldn’t have laws? OF COURSE NOT. But I know that when I support a law, it is a law that I know will be enforced with FORCE. Because that is what a law is. If that is what is needed for that law, then I will support it. But more often then not, I wouldn’t want violence to be used and would therefore never support that law, even if I know that it would almost never be used. ALMOST never is sometimes and sometimes is too much as the result for many of the stupid laws we have on the books.

We currently have laws that you must wear your seatbelt. However, if you don’t wear one you are breaking the law and the reason people do is because if they don’t then they will get a ticket. If they don’t pay the ticket they will get a court date. If they don’t go to court, they will be picked up by the police, by force, and taken into custody. Does it happen every day? No, but what about the guy who got the ticket and forgot about it? Ended up physically taken to jail. Isn’t that force? To be removed from your home and taken somewhere you don’t want to go? Sounds a lot like force to me…

When you support ANY law, you are agreeing that if the police department sees fit, they can use force to ensure that the citizen complies with the law. That is what a law is, I don’t know how much more simpler it is than that…

Please, gergle, tell me of ONE single law that doesn’t result in it being ‘enforced’, ever. One?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 2:06 AM
Comment #292431
Most people don’t react with violence for an illegal arrest. They go to jail. They go to court. Case dismissed. They go to civil court and sue. They win.

Did Peter Williams or Corey Maye get their cases dismissed? Do you think they are happy they didn’t resist arrest? Did the ‘system’ work for them? What about the guy I wrote about who stopped and questioned the two people following him why they were following him? Should he have put his knife away when told they were police? Sure seems to have worked out for him, now he has a criminal record which will affect his getting a job in the future…

It’s nice to know are always going to do what the authorities tell you to do, let me know how that works out for you when you are pushed about a law you disagree with. Do you have ANY illegal music on your computer? Have you ever played Poker online? Smoke a joint anytime in your past? Let me know when you get arrested if the police used force to make you go to jail or if you went of your own volition…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 2:11 AM
Comment #292436

The naiveté is in believing that living without law is not more violent or deadly than having law which MIGHT lead to violence or death. This has to be the strangest thread ever on Watchblog. The very people who propose that we have convoluted our Constitution, are saying that living under the Constitution (law) is too dangerous. Is someone here channeling Joseph Heller?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2009 4:58 AM
Comment #292443
believing that living without law is not more violent or deadly than having law which MIGHT lead to violence or death.

I agree, which is why I have repeatedly stated that I am not suggesting that we ‘live without law’ or do away with all laws. All I have done is accurately explained what a law does.

Not sure what you have a problem with Marysdude, but if you want to have it out with anarchists, you have to make sure not to direct it towards me…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 5:38 AM
Comment #292444

BTW, it would probably help clear up the ‘strangeness’ of the thread by, oh, I don’t know, reading what it is people are writing?

For example, when I stated:

Am I saying we shouldn’t have laws? OF COURSE NOT. But I know that when I support a law, it is a law that I know will be enforced with FORCE. Because that is what a law is. If that is what is needed for that law, then I will support it.

BTW, the people who wrote the Constitution made these same observations of what government is, so again, your confusion has me confused…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 5:42 AM
Comment #292447

So…you only want to live under YOUR laws. NOW, I understand a little better. We’d be much safer, and would not have to worry so much about deadly force of law, if we merely enact YOUR laws. Wow! Why didn’t I think of that. I would change laws to suit ME, then not worry about them hurting YOU. j2t2 could have HIS own…and gergle…and Stephen…and…and…and…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2009 8:05 AM
Comment #292452

Marysdude,

Seriously, WTF are you talking about? I haven’t suggested any such thing…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 9:54 AM
Comment #292460

I’m merely trying to envision the police shooting me dead for jaywalking or bilking my landlord out of a month’s rent.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2009 10:47 AM
Comment #292462

Rhinehold,

I have been arrested for driving without a license. I went voluntarily, I did not resist. One has to understand that resisting an officer is tantamount to threatening him. My case was dismissed. It was a clerical error. Are you suggesting I should have refused to be arrested to the point of violence, because I was right? If I were an idiot, or nuts, then sure.

Now, if he began beating me out of the blue, yes, I would likely resist, even possibly with deadly force. How often does that happen in America? Does that justify turning the justice system upside down? This is lunatic fringe logic.

I’m not sure who the people are who you cited, but there are numerous cases out there. Most of them involve unreasonable behavior on more than one party’s part.

The Ibarra brothers were a classic example of a pissed off cop trying to exact revenge. They sued and won for a significant violation of their rights.

http://www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/txcn/houston/stories/khou080303_ac_ibarratrial.1aa774d7.html

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 10:56 AM
Comment #292465

BTW,

The DA resigned after this, and the Sherrif disbanded a surveillance unit that was used to track the Ibarra’s after their lawsuit was filed.

The Ibarras had filmed a drug raid going on next door to them.

Should there have been prosecution of some of these Officials? I think so. But the various departments were reorganized and embarrassed into reforms.

There is always a problem with large city police agencies in particular becoming inurred and overreaching.

In the 70’s the Houston police handcuffed and drowned Joe Campos Torres in Buffalo Bayou. They were prosecuted. Torres was not a particularly nice fellow, but certainly didn’t deserve for the police to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 11:07 AM
Comment #292467

Joe Walsh sang it for many gerg.. 30 years ago.. Somewhere out there on that horizon
Out beyond the neon lights
I know there must be somethin’ better
But there’s nowhere else in sight
It’s survival in the city
When you live from day to day
City streets don’t have much pity
When you’re down, that’s where you’ll stay
In the city, oh, oh.
In the city

I was born here in the city
With my back against the wall
Nothing grows, and life ain’t very pretty
No one’s there to catch you when you fall
Somewhere out on that horizon
Faraway from the neon sky
I know there must be somethin’ better
And I can’t stay another night
In the city, oh, oh.
In the city

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 11, 2009 11:18 AM
Comment #292471
Are you suggesting I should have refused to be arrested to the point of violence, because I was right?

No, I suggested no such thing. Are you guys even really paying attention? NOWHERE am I saying you SHOULD have resisted.

However, you are pretty much agreeing with my point, are you not? If the policeman didn’t have the authority to use force against you, would you have went to the police station and been booked when he said you didn’t have your papers on you? Or would you have said ‘sucks to be you’ and went on with your day?

Does that justify turning the justice system upside down?

Where have I suggested ‘turning the justice system upside down’?

Listen, you and Marysdude are obviously thinking that I am trying to get you to agree with me on something so I can spring something on you after the fact. That is not what is going on here. I am being very clear, saying the exact same thing over and over again, which is nothing but a factual statement:

A law is the legal authorization of the use of force by a policing agency against those suspected of violating it.

That’s it. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Is there another definition of what a law is or what the power of government is here that either of you can offer? Do people go off to jail of their own volition?

gergle, if your case had not been dismissed, would you have paid your fine? Why? Because you knew the consequence if you didn’t?

BTW, the suggestion that ‘resisting arrest is the same as assaulting a police officer’ is possibly one of the most disturbing suggestions I’ve ever heard. It may not be smart. It is a crime in itself. But it is NOT assault.

Oh, and another BTW, you two seem to suggest that abuses by police are ‘rare’. You should follow this twitter link to see how often those things happen. http://twitter.com/injusticenews.

And no, that abuses occur is bad but not the point. If we lived in a perfect society and no abuses ever took place, violating a law is backed up with force. Hence the word ‘enFORCEment’. And yes, Marysdude, even jaywalking. Using force in every situation and authorizing force are two different things, but the threat of that force is always present and part of that authorization.

All I suggest is, after knowing that all a law is is the legal authorization of the use of force against the violator of that law, think about that before voting for a law in the future. That’s it. Nothing else, I’m not trying to change the system we have, I am not trying to turn the justice system on its ear… I just want people to understand what they are saying when they say ‘there should be a law’ about any topic.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #292494

There should be a law against bloviation…

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #292496

Can I beat up someone or something for deleting all my posts? This is getting annoying.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 5:09 PM
Comment #292497

Rhinehold,

Your twitter link didn’t work.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 5:10 PM
Comment #292498

Rhinehold,

Force is what George Washington used to put down Shay’s rebellion. The reason for the Constitution was that the Articles of Confederation resulted in such a weak government, that they couldn’t get anything done.

Yes, of course, force is the ultimate outcome of getting anything done. I assume you enjoy your freedom. Would you use force if I attempted to take yours from you? Does that mean you are a murdering whacko? It depends on when you use that force. It’s a specious, and silly argument.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 5:17 PM
Comment #292508

gergle,

Take the period off of the end, I’m not sure why that was added to the hyperlink, it’s an automatic thing by the blog.

Second,

You are still being obtuse. You agree that the purpose of government is to enforce laws, with force, and that laws are just the legal authorization of the use of force against those that break those laws, right?

If that is what you agree with, then we are in 100% agreement. How you REACT to that is different perhaps.

You think that ‘for the most part’ people aren’t going to be caught up in actual violence, even though it is authorized, and anyone who does fall victim to it probably deserves it.

I think that it is better not to use force against our own citizens unless there is no other way to accomplish our goals and that other, private, NON VIOLENT methods of coming together as a society are better solutions for that reason.

I assume you enjoy your freedom. Would you use force if I attempted to take yours from you? Does that mean you are a murdering whacko?

Again, ask the guys at Waco and Ruby Ridge. They were defending their freedom from the government, look what it got them. OR better yet, ask Corey Maye, who was defending his family from an unknown intruder (who happened to be an unannounced cop) and is now in jail for the rest of his life.

You may think the deaths of thousands of citizens and the trampling of freedoms of hundreds of thousands, or more, are ‘specious and silly’, but I certainly do not.

Again, do you agree with the statement I have made or not, gergle?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 11, 2009 6:30 PM
Comment #292511

Have you stopped beating your wife gergle?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 11, 2009 6:58 PM
Comment #292513

Marysdude,

Apparently not enough, she keeps deleting my posts.


Rhinehold,

Yes, I agree in the most pejorative sense.

I think you are making a mountain of a molehill, but, yes, both things are elevated above sea level.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 7:08 PM
Comment #292515

Rhinehold,

You may think the deaths of thousands of citizens and the trampling of freedoms of hundreds of thousands, or more, are ‘specious and silly’, but I certainly do not.

Of course I don’t believe that and that is not at all what I am saying.

Posted by: gergle at December 11, 2009 7:42 PM
Comment #292528

He’s saying that the person who SAYS that is specious and silly…:)

Posted by: Marysdude at December 12, 2009 6:17 AM
Comment #292532

Marysdude,

No, I am not attacking Rhinehold. I am saying the argument that police are killing thousands of citizens and trampling the “freedoms” of hundreds of thousands is specious. Perhaps over 200 years that might be true. Many more have died in traffic accidents than that.

Policing is messy, but necessary. Can it be improved? Of Course. By far, the benefits of a professional police force out weigh the problems of not having one.

I recently read a history of Texas, which was pretty much a lawless and even corrupt land through much of US history. The infringement on rights there alone outweighed what Rhinehold whines about. Gone To Texas was a popular phrase when Americans fled, often from prosecution for crimes committed in the States. Slaughter of Native Americans, Hispanics and even German immigrants was accepted and even promoted by some politicians. Institutional racism ran rampant long after the civil war, and even through today, subtle racism is a mainstay of Republican politics.

Posted by: gergle at December 12, 2009 10:29 AM
Comment #292563

I think more in terms of those who died or were ruined because of working conditions before labor laws…those who died or who’s health was ruined before food inspections and regulations were in place…those who died in mines and cutting timber before OSHA…laws are the most necessary function of a civilized society, and someone who whimpers about how bad ‘government’ is and how bad ‘taxation’ is, and how ‘deadly’ laws are is…well…specious and silly, I don’t care WHAT his/her name is.

Is there a chance a government will grow too big? Of course. Can too many laws be passed? Absolutely. Can living together cost a lot of money? You know it. But, this is not a perfect world, and danger is all around us, and it is far more dangerous with too few laws than with too many.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 12, 2009 3:44 PM
Comment #292574
I think more in terms of…

Ah, another bad case of not reading what I write.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 12, 2009 10:27 PM
Comment #292585

I think I read what you think you write, I just don’t think you write what you think you write. Drop all else…for one moment, tell us what the business of ‘law kills’ says in the scheme of life in America.

Let me summarize what I think you said: If we are not careful, we will allow the creators of ‘law’ to enact bad law, and every law has the potential ti kill, because if law is to be enforced there can be no limit to how that enforcement can be provided, including death to the perpetrator.

Let me summarize what I am saying: Without law, life sucks, so if we are too careful about selecting the laws that are enacted, we have the potential of returning to the ‘good old days’ when there were not enough laws to protect us from the miscreants who would take advantage of us and harm us, for the purpose of accumulating mammon. Bad laws can be adjusted and amended, but ‘no law’ cannot be adjusted OR amended.

Posted by: Marysdude at December 13, 2009 5:33 AM
Comment #292597

No.

I am saying that a law is the legal authorization of the use of force against other citizens. There are times when there is no other alternative to authorize that force, but many times there are and we should look for those when we can. Because I would rather we have one less law than to wrongfully apply force to my fellow citizens. Apparently you would rather err on the side of authorizing that force.

So if the majority of people in the US decided that the separation of church and state were not defined specifically enough in the constitution and wanted to make a law that everyone had to attend church on sunday, you would be ok with that because that is erring on the side of more laws. I would rather we think about what that law really means and perhaps say no to it so that we aren’t authorizing the government to force people to comply.

You keep saying ‘lawlessness’ and ‘back to the days of…’ which are hyperbolic and rhetoric filled nonsense that have nothing to do with my observations. Nor is it remotely attributable to the topic. You use a general, I expouse a specific, each law should be examined and if an alternative that doesn’t authorize force can be employed, we should go that way. Perhaps it is just a way I see the use of force and am not a fan of using force on each other, you seem to think we don’t have enough implementation of force against the citizens to make them act the way YOU want them to. That mindset makes me ill…

And yes, ‘no law’ can be adjusted and amended by putting in a law… That is nonsensical rhetoric.

BTW, I’m sure you are aware of the Benjamin Franklin adage about what you are saying, so I won’t repeat it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2009 12:33 PM
Comment #292604

At one time, in America, it was legal to own and sell human beings. If we had waited until the most citizens felt strongly enough about it to pass a favorable law, emancipation et al would not have happened for several decades, if ever.

How long before labor laws would have been passed were we to have delayed until it became apparent that laws would have to be passed?

Status Quo is not new to life in America, but it has held us back from becoming a good country for far too long. Stay the course…don’t rock the boat, blah, blah, blah…when nay-sayers are in power, nothing good gets done and bad things happen. When Yea-sayers are in power, somethings get done, some bad things happen, but those things can be and are modified. THINK PROGRESS!

An alternative, that does not allow force, is not a law, but wishful thinking. Wish in one hand, and…;)

You seem to be strongly against hyperbole, but keep stoking the fires against ‘government’ as though it is the enemy. Government is not the enemy. Those who use it unwisely or abuse it may be the enemy, but not the government. Laws are not the enemy, only those laws that hurt the innocent are the enemy.

You seem to live in a world of fear. You fear people who don’t own guns; those who believe the Constitution is a living, flexible document; the government; laws. A very dark world indeed.

There is potential for evil in the world…that is why I keep referring to the past. Would it be better to hesitate to make and enforce a law, if that law might limit the power of that evil? If you over assess the law, how much more suffering will occur?

Posted by: Marysdude at December 13, 2009 1:32 PM
Comment #292608
At one time, in America, it was legal to own and sell human beings. If we had waited until the most citizens felt strongly enough about it to pass a favorable law, emancipation et al would not have happened for several decades, if ever.

? Marysdude, that’s exactly what happened… 2/3 of the US got together after the Civil War and finally put an end to that despicable practice.

And, btw, it wouldn’t have been a possible practice without government protection of the practice. Had there not been laws on the books PROTECTING slavery, it would not have continued as long as it did.

Status Quo is not new to life in America

This isn’t about the Status Quo and is definitely PROGRESS to bring a more enlightened view to our society than the one before that required laws to enforce laws that violate the rights of individuals.

YOU are the one arguing for the Status Quo…

An alternative, that does not allow force, is not a law, but wishful thinking.

BS. Taking the ‘easy way out’ because you don’t care about the rights of individuals to be free in their bodies and homes against an oppressive government is worse than ‘wishful thinking’, it is monstrous.

You seem to live in a world of fear.

No, that would be you, Marysdude, thinking that we have to have laws governing our every waking moment for fear that some unknown lawlessness would cause death and destruction in its wake. I am the one arguing for a more free existence, more liberty against government intrusion into our lives. Where does your intervention into our decisions of how citizens choose to live their lives end? Until it interferes with what YOU want to do? Until then it is ok?

Would it be better to hesitate to make and enforce a law, if that law might limit the power of that evil?

Much.

If you over assess the law, how much more suffering will occur?

And how much more suffering will occur by enacting a non-thinking law.

Like those protecting slavery. That that rounded up Japanese-Americans in WWII. That resulted in the McCarthy Era. That have put an overwhelming percentage of people into jail or killed them just to try to prevent people from getting high.

That kind of suffering? I daresay millions of people would have been better off in this country without the unthinking passing of oppressive legislation like those…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 13, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #292634

Rhinehold,

And, btw, it wouldn’t have been a possible practice without government protection of the practice. Had there not been laws on the books PROTECTING slavery, it would not have continued as long as it did.

So slavery didn’t exist or doesn’t exist where it isn’t sanctioned by laws passed by a legislature? Are you really that naive?

Posted by: gergle at December 14, 2009 4:12 PM
Comment #292653

gergle,

Naive? No, realistic. Slavery existed, but was protected to make it much worse. A single man would have had trouble keeping slaves on his farm without the government tracking down and returning all slave who ran away.

We had a worst case, the government wasn’t protecting people from being treated as property AND it went out of its way to help that practice continue. Without the government during that time, keeping slaves would not have been as easy to achieve.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 15, 2009 4:49 AM
Comment #380600

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