Counterfeit freedoms

“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to religious belief and worship…” all were enshrined in the Soviet Constitution. There could be no better example of the difference between the the promises of positive rights and the practical application of them than the 1977 Soviet Constitution.

Far left progressives, like Hugo Chavez and his Hollywood fellow travelers, will give you assurances that you would have more rights under leftist regimes; but in reality such rights would not be worth the paper they're printed on.

In addition, the Constitution provided for freedom of artistic work, protection of the family, inviolability of the person and home, and the right to privacy. In line with the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the government, the Constitution also granted social and economic rights not provided by constitutions in capitalist bourgeois democracies. Among these were the rights to work, rest and leisure, health protection, care in old age and sickness, housing, education, and cultural benefits. ~en.wikipedia.org

Wow, these 'basic rights' which Soviet citizens apparently enjoyed reads like the Democratic Party platform.

  • the right to work

  • the right to rest and leisure.

  • the right to health protection.

  • the right to maintenance in old age, in sickness, and in the event of complete or partial disability or loss of the breadwinner.

  • the right to education.

  • the right to enjoy cultural benefits.

  • the rights to housing.


So nice and friendly. But does anyone believe that Soviet citizens actually exercised these rights? Would anyone enjoy these rights in a progressive America?

The left-wing would never ally themselves with oppressive dictatorships. Couldn't happen here, right? Yet the evidence is abundant that the left-wing is in favor of dictatorship. The latest social revolution is calling and they are making the pilgrimage:

The New Fellow-Travelers
The ‘useful idiot’ A-list flocks to Hugo Chavez

Supermodel Naomi Campbell Meets with Hugo Chavez

Sean Penn Applauds as Venezuela's Chavez Bashes Bush
Kevin Spacey Meets With Hugo Chavez in Venezuela

Socialism, great in theory or just plain wrong?

The key to understanding why the rhetoric of the left is 180 degrees with reality, why the theory is always the opposite of the practice, is understanding the concept of Positive rights.

Positive rights, like the right to an education, health care, welfare, housing, or what-have-you are rights that indebt others to you rather than making you free from the interference of others. In other words, they do not guarantee individual freedoms they create servitude and obligation.

This is the cornerstone of all liberal and leftist ideology; the left's counterfeit concept of freedom. Community, in the lexicon of leftism, is about the enforceable obligations of 'society' on the individual rather than freedom for the individual. Group rights over individual rights.

Thus individual morality is replaced with collective morality. Individuals lose their freedom and the collective gains power and control. This perversion of the concepts of democracy and community are what make progressive politics such an insidious ideology.

'Community rights' are a pale and perverted counterfeit of community built upon individual freedom and free participation. Shifting power and rights from the individual to the group always results in abuses of power.

The difference is this: Negative rights in their very conception require no initiation of force. Positive rights do. Rights are principles for averting conflict so that individuals may live productive lives. Positive rights by their nature create conflict. Negative rights do not. For that reason, positive rights are not rights at all. Rather, they are powers assumed by government.

Many people attracted to the positive-rights program may be motivated by concern for people living in truly appalling conditions. If they understood that those conditions are sustained by the absence of negative rights — specifically, property rights — they might see the error in their thinking. ~fff.org


Democrats, the party of Positive Rights

Candidate Hillary Clinton says that healthcare is a fundamental right. John Edwards is preaching an even more strident and open declaration of leftist ideology; promising to transform our society, a la Hugo Chavez. A post on his blog ("Join the Campaign to change America") goes so far as to say he would be the, "People's President," no doubt of the newly formed People's Republic of America.

The problem for liberals is that their true agenda is not popular. No one I know, --scratch that--, about two people I know actually want to live in a socialist America. This is why the theory is always 180 degrees from the reality. No one wants to diminish their freedoms for the sake of directives from numerous "People's Committees." However, the jostling to be commanding those committees is a fervent one.

Posted by Eric Simonson at November 15, 2007 9:36 PM
Comments
Comment #238500

Kind of reminds me of the rights of the Salem witches during Colonial times. The right to burn to ease the fears of their Christian persecutors. Or the rights of 4 black girls killed in the bombing of a church in Alabama just several decades ago in America. The right of MLK to speak of human dignity and freedom for all while being gunned down by a white supremacist with many brethren cheering him on. Or the rights the many, many black men now freed from prison by DNA evidence in these modern times.

America is a great country. America has never been a perfect country living fully up to the words and ideals set out in its founding documents.

Other nations like Russia and Venezuela and Cuba are indeed much worse regarding the protection of human rights and freedoms than the United States. All the more reason for the U.S. to aspire with even greater effort to achieve her noble ideals of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. So that we may better lead by shining example as was the hope and goal of Pres. Ronald Reagan and many other Americans past and present.

I am sorry to hear Eric, that you believe it is an American right to suffer illness or injury without medical care depending upon one’s means. Somehow, that just doesn’t sit well with these words of our founding fathers:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …”

Denying people medical care, allowing them to die or suffer horribly, for lack of means to pay, does not sound like a protection of unalienable rights to life and pursuit of happiness, Eric. What were those men thinking when they said it was governments who should secure these rights for the people deriving their just power to do so from the people. How very unRepublican of them.

America however does not deny the ill and injured medical care, very often, and though stupidly, we provide with them care at the very most expensive facility available, the Emergency Room, and the public picks up the tab anyway, one way or another. Seems to me the smarter and cheaper option is a universal single payer Basic Medical Care system in America contracted through as many non-profit medical centers and clinics as are want to participate and compete for those single payer dollars.

But, Republican representative aren’t that smart or humanitarian. They prefer Emergency Rooms for the poor and uninsured non-poor, and bankrupting the nation with extra layers of corporate profiteering off suffering and death as even private health care insurance premiums rise 2% more per year than real wages.

But, hey. They aren’t in control anymore. YIPPEE!!! Now of course we have to deal with Democrats yapping PayGo but practicing it with gratuitous exceptions that create deficits nonetheless. At least 10’s of millions of Americans won’t have live in fear of becoming sick or their child having a minor accident that becomes a life threatening situation for lack of funds to have the minor injury professionally treated.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 12:11 AM
Comment #238503

Eric,

Could you please give me one good reason why I should even care?

You guys on the right have spent the last 4 years marginalizing the “Hollywood Elites” as people that have no good reason to be listened to. Now you want to hold them up as icons of the left.

Which is it?

And why should I care?

Posted by: Rocky at November 16, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #238504
Wow, these ‘basic rights’ which Soviet citizens apparently enjoyed reads like the Democratic Party platform. * the right to work * the right to rest and leisure. * the right to health protection. * the right to maintenance in old age, in sickness, and in the event of complete or partial disability or loss of the breadwinner. * the right to education. * the right to enjoy cultural benefits. * the rights to housing.
Eric

If you are stating this is the Democratic Platform and Democrats are by implication no better than a Communist/Socialist Russia. The implication also would then seem to be that this is the opposite of the Republican platform.

So then by juxtaposition, you are stating that Republicans do not believe in the right to work, the right to rest (you should talk to the Christian right about this, does this also include the ultimate day of rest?), and the right to an education. These amongst the other rights you feel are not guaranteed or we deserve is quite a list. While many people claim that there is no difference between the two political parties, I’d like to thank you for elucidating the differences.

Of course it does state in our Constitution that our rights were not to be enumerated and or listed, so perhaps you would be willing to express some more rights you feel we should not have. I’m sure in no time at all you would be able to diminish us into anarchy. Anarchy, the political state in which mankind has absolute freedom without obligation.

Posted by: Cube at November 16, 2007 2:16 AM
Comment #238506

Eric,

* the right to work * the right to rest and leisure. * the right to health protection. * the right to maintenance in old age, in sickness, and in the event of complete or partial disability or loss of the breadwinner. * the right to education. * the right to enjoy cultural benefits. * the rights to housing.

So nice and friendly. But does anyone believe that Soviet citizens actually exercised these rights?

I wont be alone claiming that there is no doubt that Soviet regime actually exercised the rights to work, education and housing.

Beside, you do know that soviet regime was communist, an extreme version of socialism, right?
While half european nations offers a living example of moderm socialism (social democrat version), why do you keep using a dead radical socialism?

What do you fear? If you want to debunk leftist socialism, at least follow their fingers. Most of these point toward Europe, not Bolivia.

Don’t be shy. Critic a moderm socialist nation as much as you want, but shooting at a dead horse wont help your case…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 16, 2007 2:35 AM
Comment #238507

Oh, and it’s too bad you didn’t provide any example of actual “negative rights”.

I always find this rights division theory funny, as if rights never interfere between them, that they can’t be interconnected in a very systemic human society. Or that they can’t be the same but viewed from both sides of the same piece of right (refraining impossible without enforcement, enforcement impossible without self refrain…)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 16, 2007 2:51 AM
Comment #238512

Wow, I haven’t seen anything like this since the last time I subjected my eyeballs to an Anne Coulter book. Let’s compare the Left to Communists (like that horse hasn’t been beaten to death), bring up all the idiot celebs that put themselves on display, as though they are the poster children of the Democratic Party, then throw in a bunch of important looking Hyperlinks (Coulter uses footnotes) that actually are little more than window dressing. We have, of course, the obligitory links to conservative websites like Slate and Future of Freedom Foundation, then we have one with the the ominous wording of “abuse of power” that links to a story about a family fighting a community over their right to build an elaborate treehouse (which would be a property rights issue, correct?), another that is nothing more than a link to Air America’s main site (ooooh, scary), and most misleading of all, the “true agenda” link, which is to a story about how good a job the Right has done turning the word “liberal” into a bad word.

Good job Mr. Simonson, if emulating Coulter was your intent. If not, well, you just made your carpal tunnel worse for nothing.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at November 16, 2007 9:54 AM
Comment #238517

@phillippe
Beside, you do know that soviet regime was communist, an extreme version of socialism, right?

Eh? Have you ever talked to someone from Russia? It was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. And the party line was, we have socialism now, but communism is coming! And then we shall all be free, yadda yadda.

Dude ought to maybe talk to a Russian or two.

Posted by: Myurl at November 16, 2007 10:48 AM
Comment #238518

The article is close but misses the mark by trying to paint the progressives as communists.

The reality is there are such things as ‘positive’ rights, though the term doesn’t really match up with what is being discussed. Perhaps an understanding of what is being discussed should have been at the front of the article.

A natural right can only exist as one that requires no action to maintain. Right to speak freely means you can say what you want, but it involves no involvement of anyone else or denies anyone else their right to speak freely.

However, ‘positive’ rights require either an action by someone else or a violation of another’s natural rights in order to maintain. A right to an education, for example, requires that someone must provide that education. It just doesn’t exist naturally. And if no one is available or willing to provide that education, force must be used to do so. There are also costs involved in providing the right that have to violate other’s rights to private propery in order to maintain.

That’s the biggest problem with progressive thought, in order to have these newfound ‘rights’ they must require other rights to be denied.

But, I’ve talked about this for years and will once again be told that I’m wrong because it is idealistic or doesn’t work in theory, as if what we have now works. So we continue on our downward spiral back into the primordial soup in which we came, all because we refuse to see that using force on our own citizens to violate their natural rights in order to provide positive rights is a bad idea for the long run, both for those who work hard to provide for their own families and for those who were profess to help.

Almost like peeing into the wind…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #238521
“Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to religious belief and worship…” all were enshrined in the Soviet Constitution. There could be no better example of the difference between the the promises of positive rights and the practical application of them than the 1977 Soviet Constitution.


Really? Liberals are trying to take these rights away? Who’s been promoting giving government money to churches, teaching intelligent design in schools, torturing and incarcerating people without a trial, blocking information from the press, and the list goes on, all the while giving lip service to protecting our rights.

Posted by: Max at November 16, 2007 12:38 PM
Comment #238522
There could be no better example of the difference between the the promises of positive rights and the practical application of them than the 1977 Soviet Constitution.

Or the US Constitution…at least for since 9/11 under Republican executive “leadership” which has usurped these rights of the people and given them to corporations (mistakenly seen as “persons”)…this is the very definition of fascism!

Posted by: Rachel at November 16, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #238523

Eric

The Cold War is over. All sucessful modern countries contain a mix of capitalism and socialism. This mix varies but all fall somewhere on this scale includeing this country. We have important socialist institutions,that is institutions that are owned collectively by all of us. To name a few;the postal service, the transportation system, the military,public education,municiple power companies,many water districts, Sewer systems, fire and police departments,national and regional parks etc. Some of these institutions work very well. Others need improvement but all of them came about because it makes more sense to have them created and run collectively than rely on the “free market”. Unless you are on a septic system when you flush your toilet and the turds go away that is socialism in action for your benefit.Does that mean you are giving up any rights? Does that mean you are taking anyone’s rights away?
There are lots of countries that are much more socialist than the US whose people enjoy all the rights we have and those listed in the Russian constitution. You are argueing rhetoric,not reality.There is no loss of rights involved with the instituions we all must use and rely on being owned collectively,too the contrary.

Posted by: BillS at November 16, 2007 12:59 PM
Comment #238525

Rhinehold, defense of this nation via a military industrial complex is, by your definition, a positive right. And by your own words, requires intervention and enforced extraction of taxes from those who would choose not to contribute.

I don’t see how that is an argument against supporting our military? And if it is not an argument against a military through taxation, then your argument against any other positive right decided by the American people through their representatives as a right, falls flat on its face by its own terms.

It is afterall, a democratic republic, in which government was intended from the very beginning to secure the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, and through the legislature of the people and states, secure such other rights the people define as necessary or instrumental to fostering Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Higher and better education are correlated with longer life. Increased freedom of choice afforded by affluence increases both liberty and correlates with longer life. And there is no question that Education is instrumental to the pursuit of Happiness. Thus the people have by original design the right to petition their government accordingly, for better education, more affluence, better and more universal health care, and such other prerequisites to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…, —Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #238526

Rhinehold… yes, it feels like a rather breezy day to be peeing outside…

You hit it on the mark. It does amaze me that people can’t, or just refuse, to see the difference in the ‘rights’ of which you speak.

If we, as a society, wish to debate the merits of universal education and/or health care (and any other perceived ‘right’), then by all means… let’s do it! I am not necessarily against it… But what all-to-often muddies the waters in these debates is the word “rights”. I just simply do not have the ‘right’ to force you or anyone else reading this to supply me with something for free.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 1:18 PM
Comment #238527

Max… thank you for pointing out the inconsistencies in Eric’s post. It does amaze me when one side or the other (both conservatives and liberals) points out that the other side doesn’t want to recognize your rights while maintaining they are the only ones to do so…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #238529

Doug, when a citizen pays taxes, should they not expect something in return? Does that not dilute and even refute your allegation that voters expect something for free? They do work very hard for the money which they agree by citizenship to give to the government.

It would almost appear that your reference to expecting something for free is the politicians. Give me your taxes to spend and then go away and be happy on what you have left. The people have a right to expect maximum return on of service on their tax dollar. Which is what makes the 406 Billion dollars politicians paid out in interest on the national debt, so incredibly deplorable and irresponsible. The tax payers received no government service of any kind for those 406 billion dollars, nearly have of which was paid to foreign investors, and didn’t even recirculate in our own economy for tax payers benefit.

That said, tax paying voters still chose to reelect more than 90% of the incumbents in 2006. So, the voters appear to be content with how more than 90% of politicians are handling things. Democratic republics are far from perfect forms of government. They have however, been amongst the best available.

Whether that continues to be true is already being severely tested and the testing rigors are only going to intensify as entitlements challenge politicians and the people, as the great depression did in the 1930’s.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 1:50 PM
Comment #238532

David… I disagreed with nothing you said. Yes, citizens do, IMHO, have a right to expect our government be more responsible with our money… but, does the government have the ‘right’ to take our property in the first place? Or is it simply the cost of living in a society, and therefore necessary.

Again, I am not arguing (or ever have) that we shouldn’t have universal education (although I would argue that our current system is in shambles)… I am simply saying that when we introduce the term “right” into the conversation, we actually do a disservice to the idea of quality education as we tend think of this ‘right’ along the same lines as the right to free speech, which, as Rhinehold pointed out, is not a right we have to work to maintain (thereby, IMO, defining as a true ‘right’). We, as a society, get lazy when we start taking for granted the ‘right’ to education and we start to not work to maintain it, but therein lies the problem… because education is not a true ‘right’, we DO have to work to maintain it. Again, I am not saying we shouln’t work, as a society, to maintain quality education for our citizens, I am simply saying it is not a ‘right’ to do so. Once we accept this definition, only then can we truly roll up our sleeves and fix the problem.

One more thing… I believe it was Winston Churchill that said (and I paraphrase) “Democracy is the worst form of government there is… except for all the others.”

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #238534

… but, does the government have the ‘right’ to take our property in the first place? Or is it simply the cost of living in a society, and therefore necessary.

Where do I start? Governments are formed by people to protect themselves and allow greater commonwealth through cooperation. They can’t do that without funding, so taxation is a fundamental function of government. When a right-wing apologist makes statements like this, especially one who takes the time and trouble to come to a site like this, I despair because it reveals a fundamental ignorance about society and the beauty of making a government democratic at its core. We elect folks to make decisions about taxation. Governments have the rights we give them and we retain the balance to ourselves. If conservative folks were less concerned about violation of phony rights and more about real rights like privacy (I’m talking to you wiretappers) and personal autonomy (I’m looking at you, habeas corpus), they’d be doing some real good.

Posted by: mental wimp at November 16, 2007 3:11 PM
Comment #238535

Eric, lets forget the florid philsophy for a while, and concentrate on the cold hard facts of what a constitutional system means.

What it means is government by majority rule.

Government by majority rule means that the many impose laws upon the few by definition. One of the foundations of our government is the obligation of the individual to laws decided by the majority, under the constitution.

The constitution provides for limitations of that power, delineating who holds what kind of power. The Majority rules, but not without oblgations and prohibitions placed upon it. That’s what the freedoms are about: Not Americans skipping through the daisies singing tra-la-la, free of obligations from anybody else, but Americans living in a society where the rights and obligations of the individual are complemented by rights and obligation given to the government, to society as a whole.

It’s not easy, and it doesn’t work all the time, but it is part and parcel of how our system works. The Republicans have pushed an attitude on the country which encourages people to be selfish in terms of their obligation, which aids and abets the powerful in terms of fulfilling their own agendas We need to move back towards a sense of public obligation here, to balance America’s sense of its freedoms.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2007 3:53 PM
Comment #238539

Doug said: “David… I disagreed with nothing you said. “

I apparently misunderstood your comment: “I just simply do not have the ‘right’ to force you or anyone else reading this to supply me with something for free.”

Responding to your latest reply, you said: “but, does the government have the ‘right’ to take our property in the first place? “

Of course it does. We, the voters elect the government that takes taxes from us by authority of law justly derived from the consent of the voters. They lay taxes, we voters reelect them.

In addition, the Constitution authorizes the levying of taxes. So, yes, the government has the legal right, as defined by the Constitution and the consent of the governed.

You know where I stand on this. We should be voting out incumbents until the taxpayers agree in a majority that we are getting the best value for our tax dollars. Poll after poll demonstrates the people do not think that is occurring. Yet, they reelect these representatives responsible for the waste, fraud, and abuse of them as tax payers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 4:25 PM
Comment #238540

David… you are correct… I didn’t not disagree with everything you said… just most of it… (how was that for a triple negative?). With the following, I am in complete agreement:

“We should be voting out incumbents until the taxpayers agree in a majority that we are getting the best value for our tax dollars. Poll after poll demonstrates the people do not think that is occurring. Yet, they reelect these representatives responsible for the waste, fraud, and abuse of them as tax payers.”

Other than that, I am (admitedly) arguing semantics… but important semantics. I think we, all to often, confuse the term ‘rights’ with terms that could be used in its place… obligations… entitlements… priveleges…

Under our current legal system, do we have the right to education? I, persoanlly, do not believe we do… are entitled to be privded with a basic education? under our current system, yes, we are. And I am not disputing that… I am not even disputing the validity of it… I don’t really get why that distinction is so hard for y’all to understand? It’s really quite simple.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 4:42 PM
Comment #238541

Stephen,

You have it backwards. The federal government in the US is limited in its scope. It is not simply a case of the federal government has the ability to do whatever the majority demands except for a small subset as listed in the bill of rights. No, the founding fathers put much more limitation on it by enacting the 9th and 10th amendments. They strictly dictated where and when the federal government could act and then gave the citizens the power through majority rule to enact laws WITHIN THESE AREAS ONLY.

It is the progressive ideals, that we are talking about as being positive rights, that have been introduced into our society recently that require ignoring this view of the constitution and the 9th and 10th amendments. By definition, they must either ignore those amendments or convince enough people that rights exist that trump other rights in order to implement their views that the government has been given the power to have more control over our individual lives than was explicetly set for.

And that’s the argument at hand, really. Is the federal government limited in deciding how we choose to live our lives or do they have broader powers to use the power of compulsion to dictate nearly everything we do ‘for the good of the people’? Is it worth giving up that ability to live our lives as free from outside intrusion in order to use the force of the government to make individuals in the minority assent to acting as those in the majority desire?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 4:46 PM
Comment #238543
I don’t really get why that distinction is so hard for y’all to understand? It’s really quite simple.

The distinction that progressives want to make here is because they know that if something isn’t labelled a ‘right’, then it might be taken away at a future date. If it weren’t a right and the majority were to decide that the federal government has made a mockery of our educational system and is costing us more per child to educate than it should they may decide that local taxation, vouchers and private educational groups would make better sense.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 4:50 PM
Comment #238544

wow… just re-read my post… and I pretty much butchered it gramatically speaking… well… that’s the public education system for ya! ;-)

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 4:52 PM
Comment #238545

Rhinehold… yes, I get it now… thanks for explaining… It’s perfectly clear now.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 16, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #238547

Doug said: “Under our current legal system, do we have the right to education? “

Yes, but, that “right” is a legal right derived from the people. When the people elected politicians who proposed and received assent to tax property for schools, education was not a right, but a choice made by the public.

However, when it was learned through law suits that governments were discriminating against some tax payers by providing them inferior education to other tax payers, the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, kicked in.

If the public chooses to dispense with public education altogether, the Equal Protection no longer applies. But, as long as local governments choose to provide public education, the 14th Amendment requires that laws for collection and expense of tax dollars on education be equal amongst the people within the school district, and in other ways, in the whole of the state.

So, education is first and foremost a voluntary endeavor chosen by the people. However, as long as they choose public education, the Constitution says the application of the laws regarding public education being equally applied. Tax payers have then, the Constitutional right of equal protection under the law regarding all local and state laws governing education.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 5:11 PM
Comment #238548

David,

There is a difference between a right to an education and a right to equal access to a governmentally provided resource. You touch on this with the final paragraph but I think that it should be made clearer because so many confuse the two.

The same thing can viewed with healthcare as well…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #238554

Rhinehold-
Check my words: Within the Constitution. I also said that certain rights and obligations were put upon the government complementary to those rights and obligations given to the people.

Progressive ideals do not neglect the 9th and 10th Amendments. That’s merely the Republican/Right Wing interpretation of the liberal interpretation. We don’t share the Republican’s view of the limits of government authority to regulate under the constitution, so we’re not trying to breach that part of the constitutional law.

The Constitution was never meant to be interpreted without being interpreted, literal word for word. It was meant to be written in layman’s terms. The spirit of what was written is important. The intersection and interaction of the different parts of the constitution provide room for both rights and obligations, like privacy, presumption of innocence, fair trial, jury of peers, right to travel, among others, that are not explicitly set out. That’s part of the reason for the 9th Amendment, to ensure that people weren’t denied rights that were part of the system, just because they hadn’t been explicitly laid out.

Can a right be derived from the constitution, or from the traditions outside the constitution that are not explicitly stated or denied in it? The 9th Amendment says yes.

The government can be both limited and given more control over our lives. The challenge is where this is applied. The question cannot be asked once, but must be asked with every law, every case. Ours is a system of process, not one of final, definitive answers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2007 6:46 PM
Comment #238557
That’s merely the Republican/Right Wing interpretation of the liberal interpretation.

It’s not just the republican/right wing view, it’s also the classical liberal view, the one the democrats had before being infiltrated and taken over by the progressives.

We don’t share the Republican’s view of the limits of government authority to regulate under the constitution, so we’re not trying to breach that part of the constitutional law.

Then you also don’t share the views of Adamas, Hamilton and Jefferson who explictely wanted that language in the constitution for that very reason. Sure, the current and recent governments have tried to govern differently, for the advancement of their agenda (having control of the airwaves and educational institutions doesn’t hurt, very authoritarian of them) but that doesn’t change what the founder’s view of the constitution was or de-legitimize the view that others share with them today.

The problem, as I stated before, is that there are ‘rights’ attempting to be assigned that directly infringe upon other rights that exist as natural rights, those rights that exist and require nothing on the part of anyone else to exist. In order to do that, the government must go out and impose upon others to enforce those rights. Teachers must be hired, for example. If for some reason their weren’t enough teachers, in order to maintain that right, indviduals would have to be ‘drafted’ into performing that role. That does not happen with a right to privacy or free speech, these are natural, or negative, rights.

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” —Thomas Jefferson
“I consider the foundation of the [Federal] Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [10th Amendment] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” —Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on National Bank, 1791.
“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” —Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821.
“Laws provide against injury from others, but not from ourselves.” —Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776 Papers
“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.” —Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia, 1782
Public works undertaken by the national government are restricted by the concept of “limited government.” That term means, however, government LIMITED BY THE CONSTITUTION, not government that is restricted on principle from doing any sort of public works. If Congress were to have additional powers to initiate programs of public works which were not granted by the Constitution, then that document should be amended to grant those powers. The national government will leave to the states most domestic concerns affecting their own citizens.
Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 7:23 PM
Comment #238558
Rhinehold, defense of this nation via a military industrial complex is, by your definition, a positive right. And by your own words, requires intervention and enforced extraction of taxes from those who would choose not to contribute.

Yes, it does. And the way it is instituted now is IMO wrong. I’m not sure I’ve ever said differently…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 7:30 PM
Comment #238560

David,

Denying people medical care, allowing them to die or suffer horribly, for lack of means to pay, does not sound like a protection of unalienable rights to life and pursuit of happiness, Eric. What were those men thinking when they said it was governments who should secure these rights for the people deriving their just power to do so from the people. How very unRepublican of them.

Let’s start with the idea that denying healthcare is somehow a violation of civil rights. Healthcare is a service. Are you telling me that I am entitled to the service of others as a civil right?

You’re argument is that life could be endangered by lack of healthcare and therefore this makes healthcare a right? Lack of food and sleep can also endanger your life. Is food a civil right as well? And does that mean that I am entitled to food from anyone who has it if I need it?

Posted by: Eric 'climate denier' Simonson at November 16, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #238561

Cube,

If you are stating this is the Democratic Platform and Democrats are by implication no better than a Communist/Socialist Russia.

Yes.

So then by juxtaposition, you are stating that Republicans do not believe in the right to work, the right to rest (you should talk to the Christian right about this, does this also include the ultimate day of rest?), and the right to an education.

No, these are not rights. These are all great things but they are not rights. You are free to pursue them but you are not free to sue others to provide them to you as a right. Does this make sense?

These amongst the other rights you feel are not guaranteed or we deserve is quite a list. While many people claim that there is no difference between the two political parties, I’d like to thank you for elucidating the differences.
Posted by: Eric 'climate denier' Simonson at November 16, 2007 8:15 PM
Comment #238562

Rocky,

Could you please give me one good reason why I should even care?

About liberal hollywood elites? I apologize. I can’t think of one.

Posted by: Eric 'climate denier' Simonson at November 16, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #238563

Cube,

Of course it does state in our Constitution that our rights were not to be enumerated and or listed, so perhaps you would be willing to express some more rights you feel we should not have. I’m sure in no time at all you would be able to diminish us into anarchy. Anarchy, the political state in which mankind has absolute freedom without obligation.

Actually, if you are talking about the tenth amendment… what it means is that ALL other rights NOT enumerated in the constitution were reserved to the people— not the government. This is something else entirely from what I think your understanding is of it.

By the way anarchy is not the natural law. But I can understand why liberals would assume that it is.

Posted by: Eric 'climate denier' Simonson at November 16, 2007 8:23 PM
Comment #238566

Eric

Evidently the confusion does not only reside with the left. I never said these were my rights to be given or provided. Nor does your paraphrase of the Soviet Constitution indicate such an obligation. You are projecting meaning in words I never said. Evidently you also misread David’s post, he more clearly indicates the right to pursue, versus the obligation to be given. He only indicates once the decision to provide certain services is made, that these services are to be given in an “equitable” manner. Excuse me David, as I’m sure you’ll respond more clearly to the post directed at you.

ALL other rights NOT enumerated in the constitution
Ninth amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And it is interpreted pretty much as I paraphrased it.

Secondly, the Federal government is not in control of education. Education is primarily funded (at least here in Ca.) by local government and subsidized somewhat by state funds. While federal money is available to any municipality, there is no obligation to accept it. By accepting it of course, the Federal government attaches criteria that a state must abide too. But any state or any municipality (if the state allows) can refuse these funds if they so choose.

Posted by: Cube at November 16, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #238571

Rhinehold-
I said we don’t share The Republican’s view of the limits of government authority. Not that we don’t share the view that government should have some limitations.

Philsophizing about natural law and things like that isn’t of much use. Many systems attempt the same thing we do out of the natural inclinations towards different freedoms. They fail because they fail to realize that these freedoms can only be maintained emergently.

This is where the free market fundamentalists fail to realize the utility of regulation to the market itself. Without proper regulation, the complexities of the market can work against itself. People feel they have a right not to get cheated. But what happens when everybody cheats, and you can’t get the government to sanction for them? What happens when competitive pressures tempt even the honest businessperson towards policies that are bad for consumers?

There are no perfect regulations; laws have limits in their effectiveness and power. There are no perfect freedoms; What people feel are their rights are always competing. There are no perfect interpretations; the ability to get people to agree with each other has its limits.

The constitution itself has its limits. It wasn’t meant to be a technical document. It wasn’t meant to build American institutions purely from scratch. It wasn’t meant, by itself, to perfectly answer the needs of our time.

People can insist with piety on the strict construction of the constitution, but suggest things that the framers hardly intended.

As for Thomas Jefferson? Don’t forget that this original Democrat was one of the anti-Federalists. The Bill of Rights was part of his price for support of the Constitution. The Constitution wasn’t about limiting government, but strengthening it, as many felt the need to.

The Constitution as it finally came together is full of counterbalancing rather than purely unitary principles. There’s supposed to be tension between big government and small, intrusion and privacy. State’s rights and Federal concerns. Individual and community, the wish to be free, and the need for society to have a dependable foundation.

Nobody’s supposed to win this game for good. Any system where one side could win permanently without an overall shift in the population would produce unacceptable tyranny.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2007 9:52 PM
Comment #238574

Sorry Stephen, but while I agree that the Constitution was not designed to be a static document, simply ignoring what it says for a single purpose invalidates the whole thing. It was meant to be modified through admendment ratification, which requires more than a simple majority, not by just ignoring it and implementing bad law or signing statements to that effect.

If the progressives want to increase the power of the federal government and make laws that are counter to what the constitution clearly states, then they should be willing to go through the amendment process (the same goes for the conservatives too, I must add).

However, your statement that “The Constitution wasn’t about limiting government, but strengthening it, as many felt the need to.” is going to need some backing up if you don’t mind. I am firmly one of those anti-federalists, of course, but even the fedralists understood very well that the government must be limited. That’s why there was a debate about the inclusion of the Bill of Rights. One side said that it was necessary to prevent inevitable encroaches our rights by the government, while the other side said that since the document itself was a document on limiting government that if it wasn’t in the document there would be no need for it.

Both sides, IMO, would be appauled at what is going on now. Their whole mindset was against a government telling them how to live, what to eat, who they could or couldn’t do business with, overtaxation, etc. Do you really think they would walk around in today’s society and not feel violently ill at how their sacrifices and the danger they put themselves in if they would have lost have been thrown away so cheaply?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #238575

BTW, don’t fall into the trap and assume that I’m against necessary regulations.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 16, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #238576

Rhinehold-
The Constitution was never meant to be the sum total description of how our government was supposed to be made and run. It gives our government shape the way a skeleton gives our body shape.

You say

If the progressives want to increase the power of the federal government and make laws that are counter to what the constitution clearly states, then they should be willing to go through the amendment process (the same goes for the conservatives too, I must add).

I think you’re assuming that we’re somehow awarer of some violation, yet doing it anyways. That’s not what’s going on here. We believe the constitution justifies the shape of the government. We honestly believe that.

As for your “anti-federalist” position?

How can you oppose the constitution and set it as the literalized law of the land at the same time?

As for what they would think of today’s society?

I think you assume an awful lot about what they’d think. Like I blogged some time ago, this world would be an alien world to them, in many ways, changed in ways they couldn’t begin to understand. I imagine some would think it the work of the devil, and others would think we were practically Gods, and marvel at all we have and all we can do.

I think you’re projecting your own attitudes on them. The truth is, there’s no telling what they would think of today’s society. The best we can do is speculate.

Eric-
Healthcare is a basic human need, and denial of it is seen in many cultures as an act of cruelty. Doctors and hospitals are obligated to help those in need of emergency care.

Healthcare is also important for the nation’s security and continued function. It’s more than some arbitrary function. It’s what allows us our long lives, what keeps many who would be in their graves at this point from being dead.

It is a necessity of everybody who lives and breathes. Is everything a luxury to you? Food, drink, basic sustenance? Do we need to be carting bodies out of the street before you convince yourself that the profit motive doesn’t need to rule everything?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 16, 2007 10:39 PM
Comment #238577

Cube, I could not have countered better or more succinctly. Well done. Behind all calls to leave people in the gutters, homeless, uneducated, and undefended, are people motivated by greed and lacking anything remotely akin to compassion or belonging to the family of the human species. It was thus with the KKK and John Birch society, who left the Democratic Party to join the Republican Party after Federal Democrats championed the Civil Rights movement.

And they have been working to create an underclass ever since, to elevate themselves as superior. You can see it in their Bills and debate and amendments in Congress. You can see it in their Machacha references and denials of bisexuality and homosexuality until caught, and policies designed to fill the needs of only those with the resources to profit others with resources and themselves. Their perceived superiority makes denial their favored defense mechanism. This is why they had to marry themselves to the religious right, to acquire a cloak of concealment and misdirection for their agenda.

There are some outstanding Republicans in Congress, but, so many of their constituents demand so much less than from them. But, the GOP’s day of rule is ending and Americans have witnessed the great con game between campaign slogans and actual exercise of power toward hidden agendas, which the majority of lesser Republicans in seats of government promulgated and partook in, at great cost to America and her children’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 16, 2007 11:39 PM
Comment #238582
The Constitution was never meant to be the sum total description of how our government was supposed to be made and run. It gives our government shape the way a skeleton gives our body shape.

No, but it was meant to list the limits that the government could move in. For example, in the early 1900s a constitutional amendment was necessary to outlaw the sale of alcohol. Yet, somehow, in the 1970s our federal government seems not to need that same constitutional amendment to not only outlaw the SALE of other substances, they can also outlaw the home making and possession of them. What in the constitution changed to allow this?

I think you’re assuming that we’re somehow awarer of some violation, yet doing it anyways. That’s not what’s going on here. We believe the constitution justifies the shape of the government. We honestly believe that.

Oh, I know that progressives honestly do believe that. That’s never been in doubt in my mind…

As for your “anti-federalist” position?

How can you oppose the constitution and set it as the literalized law of the land at the same time?

Anti-Federalists were not against the constitution. They were (and still are) against the centralizing of too much power in one person or group’s hands, as an earlier quote by TJ points out as to why.

As for what they would think of today’s society?

I think you assume an awful lot about what they’d think. I think you’re projecting your own attitudes on them. The truth is, there’s no telling what they would think of today’s society. The best we can do is speculate.

Which is why I said it was my opinion when I stated it. Of course there is no way to know. But, I think that reading the reasons they wanted certain things in place, certain safeguards, etc, it’s not really too hard to figure out. Those ideals are still good and valid ideals, if they were to apply those values to the way we operate our government I think they would be appauled.

Again, of course that is my opinion.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 12:10 AM
Comment #238583

David,

I’m not so sold on the death of the GOP just yet. In fact, here in Indianapolis (a Democratic city to be sure, we still keep sending Julia Carson to congress when she misses the most votes of any other congresscritter) just had a massive swing to vote in not only a Republican mayor but also a Republican city-council to work with.

Why? Mainly because the Democrats in charge ‘cocked’ the city up and in order to pay for all the new government they were trying to give us they raised property taxes (some people ended up paying nearly 200% more) at a time when the housing market is failing (and I live in the zip code with the highest foreclosure rates atm) and THEN had the audacity to try to pass an emergency income tax increase…

All while the crime rate is increasing.

Don’t overestimate the fickleness of the american voting public, or expect them to have long memories… It only took the US 4 years to forget watergate and elect Reagan if you recall.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 12:15 AM
Comment #238585
Behind all calls to leave people in the gutters, homeless, uneducated, and undefended, are people motivated by greed and lacking anything remotely akin to compassion or belonging to the family of the human species.

uummm… what? David, what, exactly, are you saying here with this silly little rant of yours? Are you saying this about people posting on this site that disagree with you? Or did this cute little thing just come out of nowhere and is directed at no one in particular? I sincerely hope this rant is the latter as opposed to the former and is simply you just blowing off steam about something which never really entered into the debate…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 17, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #238586

Don’t you get it, Doug? Unless we force everyone to give their income to others, no one will be helped? I mean, it’s not like private charities, if we didn’t pay high taxes, would get ANY more money at all from people…

We’re all greedy by nature! We don’t CARE if anyone needs our help, we need the police state to come make us help the needy.

It has to be done by the government or it won’t get done, simple fact, apparently.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 1:22 AM
Comment #238587

BTW, I’ve floated this idea before it was soundly ignored…

Can we agree on this new way of dealing with the issue?

We take the amount of income tax that is collected that goes to ‘income redistibution’ laws. Right now that is around 65%.

So, for every dollar of the 65% of the taxes you pay that you instead give to charity you don’t have to pay that dollar of tax. The charity would have to be a nationally approved charity, like the Red Cross, United Way, etc.

That way, we can slowly move from a government run charity system to more of a choice charity system, allowing us to decide which charitable group gets our income while still maintaining the levels of charity that is given out now…

Anyone?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #238588

Rhinehold-
You’ve got your history wrong. The harder drugs were made illegal principally in the early teens, as part of the safe food and drug acts.

There are any number of subjects that legislation must address, and if we had to have a Constitutional Amendment to justify everything, Congress would have been straitjacketed from dealing with much of anything new.

The Framers didn’t want blind obedience to the old. They wanted a goverment that could change with the times. America’s changed in fundamental ways since then

As for your sensibilities about Charities? Bull. Social Security is not about charity, It’s entirely about self-interest. To receive decent benefits, you have to work and earn money. Theoretically, you’re storing up the resources that will allow you your own part of the social safety net.

That’s what these socialized services are about: the people deciding it’s in their best interest to pool resources and create a system that satisifies a certain purpose.

Education isn’t about being charitable either. People are expected to be educated if they want the good jobs. Having education be a hit and miss thing in what is now a post industrial society doesn’t make good economic sense We might have gotten away with that when everything was gears and driveshafts, when you could work an engine without a degree in computer science, but nowadays that just simply won’t work.

What is wrong with America deciding as a society to allow people to pay into a system so that in their old age, disability, or unemployment, they can have some cushion rather than get slammed by destitution when they can no longer work?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2007 2:02 AM
Comment #238589
The harder drugs were made illegal principally in the early teens, as part of the safe food and drug acts.

So why was an admendment needed for alcohol? I’m just looking for someone to explain that one that makes sense.

There are any number of subjects that legislation must address, and if we had to have a Constitutional Amendment to justify everything, Congress would have been straitjacketed from dealing with much of anything new.

Bull. No one is suggesting we make amendments that say ‘you can no issue bonds for war related issues for Iraq’ or some other narrow issue.

We needed an amendment to allow for income taxes to be collected. It was done and we moved on. We didn’t say it was only good for income taxes for X, we made the change broad enough to meet the future needs, it was just the change the fundamental limit that was in place.

You are advocating for exactly what Jefferson warned against when he said: “The construction applied… to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof,” goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to [the General Government’s] power by the Constitution… Words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.”

The Framers didn’t want blind obedience to the old. They wanted a goverment that could change with the times. America’s changed in fundamental ways since then

Yes, which is why they implemented a way to change the constitution, not IGNORE it. If a single clause or limit of the constitution is ignored, then the whole document becomes VOID.

As for your sensibilities about Charities? Bull.

Bull?

Social Security is not about charity, It’s entirely about self-interest. To receive decent benefits, you have to work and earn money.

Erm, no you don’t.

Theoretically, you’re storing up the resources that will allow you your own part of the social safety net.

Never. This has never been the case at all. And if you believe that this will be the case when we retire you’re delusional.

It has ALWAYS been a way to take care of current older individuals based on what they made at the expense of those who are working now. We will see soon how that works out when more people are collecting than are paying into the system, I bet we find people no longer getting their benefits…

That’s what these socialized services are about: the people deciding it’s in their best interest to pool resources and create a system that satisifies a certain purpose.

WRONG. IF that were the case, then those people could pool their money together with the Red Cross and United Way and do the exact same thing. No, what it is is a way to FORCE others to pool as well.

It’s like my analogy I’ve used before. 5 people are sitting around eating lunch in a park. Someone comes along and say ‘can you spare some money so I can get something to eat’. 4 of the people say sure and start getting money together and realize that the 5th person is not contributing. So they beat him up and take his wallet out, take out the money they think he should pay and then give it to the person asking for help.

THAT is what our welfare programs are. If it weren’t for the use of force there would be no need for government involvement at all.

What is wrong with America deciding as a society to allow people to pay into a system so that in their old age, disability, or unemployment, they can have some cushion rather than get slammed by destitution when they can no longer work?

Nothing if it were voluntary. And those plans do exist in voluntary fashion now! I am planning for my retirement by utilizing a 401k and retirement plans, which I pay into now, and will draw from later. The government protects those accounts, a great function of government.

However, I also have to pay into another retirement plan that, at best, will give me a 1% return on my investment, and more likely it will be 0%. And I have no way to say no.

I would rather take that money I am paying into SS and put it into another 401k that would be designated for others who have refused to be responsible and plan for their own retirement. At least then it would not cost nearly as much and it would be done voluntarily, not by force.

All I am suggesting is we move towards a more voluntary method with some choice when we give money to others who need it, one that will ensure we do not contribute less than we are now with our taxation. Do you have a problem with that plan and if so what is it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 2:34 AM
Comment #238590

Rhinehold, we tried the Eleemosynary System in this country. It was a dismal failure. Too many people beyond the reach of the charitable organizations.

Remember that there is a fiduciary duty of boards of directors of charitable organizations to provide the greatest amount of service per dollar donation. For nearly all charities, that means reaching out to those who congregate with common need. Which means spending $10 to feed one person 100 miles away is not as worthy as $10 to feed 10 people next door.

In addition, the government which makes policies, treaties, and the like which result in unemployment or loss of jobs, like NAFTA, has a responsibility to those who lost jobs as a result.

Lastly, private charities have the right to refuse charity to anyone. Thus there is no assurance people in need will receive help. Especially when strings like listening to a religious sermon to receive dinner are attached, as was the Salvation Army’s penchant. Taking charity meant an atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, or Jew was not even left the dignity of their own religious observance, if they wanted to eat.

America, likely has the greatest charity giving of any nation in the world. But, charities are not going to buy health insurance, heating oil, air conditioning or many other requirements for life in various areas of the country to folks in need. The reach problem combined with the inefficiency of determining who is truly needy and who is scamming the charity, is a bureaucratic function with a high dollar cost attached to it. One which many charities cannot afford or would not accommodate.

Their is a dignity that comes with working and paying taxes when bad times befall, as in accepting unemployment insurance, or COBRA options through the government, as opposed to a charity. One paid for assistance through taxes with the government. It’s not a handout. Hence, it isn’t charity in these cases.

I will again recommend to you Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. An excellent treatise on the sociology and psychology of moral obligation and resentment, and particularly well done in the area of charitable giving and receiving benefits and limitations.

Extrapolate from the 18th century to the present, and it becomes obvious why we would never want to rely on the Eleemosynary System alone again in modern times with 300 million people dependent and affected by the actions of those in control of fiscal and monetary policy as well as social policy. One cannot separate social policy from government in a society even 1/10th as large as ours.

There will always be voices like yours that rally behind individualism and suffering or enjoying thrown to the dice as regards to time, place, and family which one is born into, in addition to whatever talents and skills one can acquire, good and bad, along the way. That philosophy, led to a natural acceptance of slavery defended on the basis that many people are worthless and it is charity to even keep them as slaves.

Preceded by Feudal Manors, and Royalty in which good people, people of worth, were known by their high rank or station in the Feudal System. And everyone else were servants to the manor for the barest of living accomodations provided by the charity of the Manor Lord.

When people have no choice but to reach out for charity, they very quickly become exploited in horrible ways. We have witnessed a version of this in the Catholic Church between priests and children. We witness this in the sexual and drug exploitation of runaway kids in American cities, not by charitable organizations but those with something to offer to kids in need. The psychology behind the power of charity as a means to exploit the needy is as old as human civilization.

Government social policy at least provides avenues of redress by those in need who are exploited in exchange for assistance. Charities like the Catholic Church can hide their exploitation and shame those they exploit to silence. The simple act of threatening to expose one’s receipt of charity to the public is sufficient to keep many folks with dignity from seeking charitable giving, even when the need is great.

America has enjoyed a largely good system of joint charitable organizations overseen by the government to prevent such abuses and afford redress to those exploited, and social policy which assumes responsibility toward the unfortunate, especially when their misfortune was not of their own making, like those laid off by employers experiencing downturns in their business. NAFTA cost about a million American workers their jobs. The government, the voters of America, choose to assist those thrown out of work by it, and that is the responsible and correct moral sentiment for the American experience.

There but for my good fortune go I, Americans generally agree when looking upon a fellow American returning from Iraq with no legs, or a Ford Worker thrown out of work by the exportation of his job to a foreign trade partner of America. And they demonstrate that moral sentiment through paying their taxes and supporting the purchase of artificial limbs for that soldier, or job retraining and unemployment insurance for the laid off worker. That is a noble aspect of American’s character, as Adam Smith might put it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 2:38 AM
Comment #238591

Doug said: “uummm… what? David, what, exactly, are you saying here with this silly little rant of yours?”

If you don’t what I am saying, how can you characterize it as silly. That makes your comment sound silly.

Sorry you couldn’t follow the thread, it was about whether education is a Right in America, or unemployment insurance, or medical care, or any number of other social services Americans choose to open their hearts and wallets to through taxes to provide those less fortunate than themselves. One only need look to America’s response to Katrina to see how they expect their government to step in and provide emergency management and aid and support for those unfortunate people in rebuilding their lives.

Then there are those who argue that choice of American voters is ignorant, foolish, unconstitutional, and perhaps even leads to depravity and lifelong dependency on charitable giving.

Hope that helps you get back into the thread of the discussion.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 2:47 AM
Comment #238592

Rhinehold said: “We needed an amendment to allow for income taxes to be collected. It was done and we moved on. We didn’t say it was only good for income taxes for X, we made the change broad enough to meet the future needs, it was just the change the fundamental limit that was in place.”

I am not sure I understand this comment. Is it your reasoning that 21st century Americans should be living according to the prescriptions and needs of the 18th century drafters of the Constitution? The signers recognized that future generations would have different needs and prescriptions to solve the dilemmas of their day, and included the Amendment process for just that purpose, as well as, considerable latitude to the Congress and President to address the needs of the people at large (House of Representatives), the needs of the individual states, (The Senate). And to insure against arbitrary and wanton abridgment of certain individual rights, they created the Judiciary, with the power to interpret the Constitution for their time and historical context.

It is gross oversight to neglect the powers of amendment and legislation afforded to posterity by the founders, by insisting the original Constitution should be immutable when it suits one’s cause. (Not sure if that is your argument, but it is for some in the Constitution and Libertarian Parties). Abolition of slavery was a good amendment because I agree with it. But, income tax was a bad amendment because I disagree with it. It is an absurd line of reasoning lacking understanding of the very Constitution and intent of the drafters, when one attempts to justify an argument that the people were wrong, I am right.

The 19th Amendment cannot be a bad amendment, by virtue of its long history. It worked for America and Americans to build the mightiest and wealthiest nation on earth. It was the will of the states and the people, and has survived for nearly a century without even remotely plausible attempts to rescind it, or revise it.

The 19th Amendment may one day, perhaps sooner than later, outlive its usefulness and be replaced by something the states and the people find better for their time in history. That is an enormous strength in the Constitution. And too has it been an enormous strength of the Constitution to empower the judiciary with the authority to interpret the Constitution in accordance with the needs and times of the people of the nation, while insuring a very high regard for precedent, and spirit of those parts of the Constitution which preserve the integrity of both the nation, the individual, and the ideals necessary for both to live side by side without war, secession, or revolution.

The Constitution was never meant to be immutable. Nor was it ever meant to so hamstring the government in meeting the needs of the people in their time in history, as to cause violent revolutions with regularity, as has been the history of many S. American countries.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 3:19 AM
Comment #238595

Argh, had a long response get eaten by a microsoft update… Let’s try this again.

Rhinehold, we tried the Eleemosynary System in this country. It was a dismal failure. Too many people beyond the reach of the charitable organizations.

And the current way we treat the needy in the US is a smashing success? Please. Ask the people living in the poison FEMA trailers if they are better off now?

2007 is not 1880. I know that may come as a shock, but we have a much better means of providing for those who need assistance than we ever have in the past. Try staying in the present in future debates, ok?

Remember that there is a fiduciary duty of boards of directors of charitable organizations to provide the greatest amount of service per dollar donation. For nearly all charities, that means reaching out to those who congregate with common need. Which means spending $10 to feed one person 100 miles away is not as worthy as $10 to feed 10 people next door.

10 to 1 cost? I don’t think so, that’s just not realistic. We get charities to places that need it all over the country. There is no reason why national charitable organizations like the Red Cross and United Way can’t work with businesses who want to help and make sure that the cost of getting assistance to where it is needed happens at a reasonable cost, if not free. It requires thinking…

As opposed to our current mechanism of getting the most help to the state who has the most powerful congresscritter. Ever wonder why these guys get re-elected? THAT is the reason, if they keep sending their guy back, the one that gets them the larger percentage of federal money, they’ll keep making sure he retains the power he has by being in office that long.

But worse, because we try to help at the federal level, instead of the local, no one knows what the people really need. So many people need something other than just a check every so often. Sure, if you want to keep them needy that’s the way to go, and in fact that is what this government of our does. But if you really really wanted to help them then we would offer them mentoring, job training, therapy, etc.

Instead, we just send them a check each month and move on, knowing we’ve ‘done our job’.

The reality is that unless we change how we do things in this country we will not only have more needy people as the system gets more and more bankrupt and our productivity continues on the decline, we well both be long gone from this Earth knowing that nothing has changed for our children or their children. And THAT is what keeps me up at night (literally, it’s freaking 3:15am and I’m obsessing again).

I want to make a change, I want to get the charity out of the hands of the politician who uses the needy as a political football/wedge knowing that if they actually were to fix any problems then they would no longer have a reliable voting block for the next election cycle.

Are things better ‘needy wise’ than 25 years ago? 40? I don’t think so and I don’t think you do either. It’s not because we aren’t helping enough, it’s because we aren’t actually HELPING. We are just prolonging the situation hoping it will take care of itself. All the while voting in those who pay lipservice to the real issues.

Lastly, private charities have the right to refuse charity to anyone.

Yes, especially the people who NEED to be told no.

Thus there is no assurance people in need will receive help. Especially when strings like listening to a religious sermon to receive dinner are attached, as was the Salvation Army’s penchant.

If the majority of people agree with you, David, then they will give generously to those who do not do this, wouldn’t they?

Taking charity meant an atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, or Jew was not even left the dignity of their own religious observance, if they wanted to eat.

Right, because there are NO charities that do that…

BTW, when I go to a hospital for medical care, I go to one that has daily prayer broadcast over a loudspeaker and chaplians on staff to talk to you if you need it. And I’m an athiest. But it never EVER offends me that someone who does believe in god offers me prayer or wishes from their diety. That, to them, is an expression of their care for me and what kind of moron would I be to not accept it as exactly that! Of course, I could get uppity and say ‘hey, I’m an athiest, don’t bring your phoney baloney god to me’, but that’s not what it is about. It’s about someone offering another care and compassion. Something I think this country could use MORE of, not less.
So yeah, as an athiest, I would rather take money from the Salvation Army, because I knew it was given with love and compassion, even if I have to hear a short sermon, than to accept it from the government who I know got some of what they were giving me by force.

Color me nieve, I suppose.

America, likely has the greatest charity giving of any nation in the world.

Yup, and unfortunately because of the need being inflated by our governmental practices and refusal to actually help people yet still take taxes, that help isn’t nearly as effective as it could be.

But, charities are not going to buy health insurance, heating oil, air conditioning or many other requirements for life in various areas of the country to folks in need. The reach problem combined with the inefficiency of determining who is truly needy and who is scamming the charity, is a bureaucratic function with a high dollar cost attached to it. One which many charities cannot afford or would not accommodate.

And the federal government can? Oh wait, we’ve already established that they don’t bother with actually helping people or determining who is truly needy and who is scamming… Just meet the requirements and here’s your check.

Your assertions that charities can’t handle distribution issues is laughable, at best. We have a lot of smart people, most of them NOT in government obviously, who find ways around these issues all of the time. If I were running a charity I would ensure that I work WITH private business to set up deals to get mostly free shipping on charitable purposes in order to cut down on the costs of ‘doing business’. And I’m sure that others do now already.

Have you talked to many people who run charities now? I can’t help but think they aren’t mindless drones who don’t have a clue what an inspirational thought is. It’s not like they are in the government for pete’s sake.

Their is a dignity that comes with working and paying taxes when bad times befall, as in accepting unemployment insurance, or COBRA options through the government, as opposed to a charity. One paid for assistance through taxes with the government. It’s not a handout. Hence, it isn’t charity in these cases.

You’ll never see me taking a penny from ‘the government’ which is nothing but money taken by force from other people. (in fact, I’ll be giving my SS checks to charity when/if I start receiving them) Sorry David, that’s just the way I, and a lot of other people, see it. I am eligible, as a disabled veteran, for monthly pay but I refuse it. I don’t NEED it and won’t accept it. My parents, my friends, my community has helped me when I did need it and I pay them back tenfold because of it. Not because they had to but because they wanted to. And that means more to me than the money or the assistance itself ever could have. Receiving VOLUNTARY help is so much more uplifting because it gives you faith in your fellow man, in what a community means, that the stigma of accepting money that was taken by my neighbor by force could ever mean.

But perhaps I’m a romantic and am not just a greedy bastard, eh? Oh wait, I’m the greedy one for not wanting the government involved…

I’m so confused.

I will again recommend to you Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. An excellent treatise on the sociology and psychology of moral obligation and resentment, and particularly well done in the area of charitable giving and receiving benefits and limitations.

*yawn*

There will always be voices like yours that rally behind individualism and suffering or enjoying thrown to the dice as regards to time, place, and family which one is born into, in addition to whatever talents and skills one can acquire, good and bad, along the way. That philosophy, led to a natural acceptance of slavery defended on the basis that many people are worthless and it is charity to even keep them as slaves.

Possibly the biggest load of garbage I’ve read on here and that’s saying a lot.

Sorry, if you want to see ‘slavery’ take a look at the south side of Chicago. Look at the bilboards that advertise for companies that will get your government check for you early. (for a fee of course). People who aren’t being told that it’s a scam because there’s no one local who cares about them TELLING them it is. Whole communities of people who just feed off of the system, aren’t interested in improving their own lot, and have nothing but time to sit around and cause more trouble, because that’s all they know. Why do better? Why try to make more of yourself, especially when you are told, every month, that you are not worth it. People who need psychological help to overcome the horrible or non-existent upbringing, who see everyone as out to get them so get them first, etc. These people need REAL help.

The sytstem we have now SUCKS, David. It is tearing this country apart and will bankrupt us as well, as more and more people can no longer afford to support those who don’t want to support themselves and our productivity continues to decline, in an ugly downward spiral.

It has gotten WORSE in the last 25 years, not better. It will continue to get worse because no one wants to see and fix the problem. No one wants to return to the notion of helping people by actually helping them, not turning them into political fodder and keeping them dependant upon the system, turning them into slaves.

It will continue to get worse because we instill resentment in those who we force to ‘help’ them. The ones who can afford to and often times might actually be able to come up with better ways to help, but instead are turned against the needy in the manufactured class war that our politicians play upon us AT OUR OWN INSISTENCE.

Government social policy at least provides avenues of redress by those in need who are exploited in exchange for assistance.

No, it is the CAUSE.

And they demonstrate that moral sentiment through paying their taxes and supporting the purchase of artificial limbs for that soldier, or job retraining and unemployment insurance for the laid off worker. That is a noble aspect of American’s character, as Adam Smith might put it.

And forcing others to do the same.

It’s the same story David. Do you want me to go into the abuses of the veteran assistance system? How the federal government fails us horribly?

Hundreds, if not more, veterans are receiving disability and medical care because of catching venerial diseases, meanwhile a local soldier died in a military hospital in Kentucky from complications from a headwound because no one looked in on him for two days.

What a country we live in. Just institute it and turn it into a system, then scam the system. Meanwhile the system can’t keep up and fails us when we need it the most.

Why, it’s the American way. Perhaps if we were focusing on what the federal government should be focusing on and letting the state and local governments focus on ensuring that their communities are being taken care of by others in the community we might not have such horror stories of the failures of a mindless bureaucracy.

You’re winning me over!

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 4:18 AM
Comment #238596
I am not sure I understand this comment.

Yes, that is obvious by the four paragraph rant arguing against what you thought I was saying, not what I actually said.

My point was that the amendment process is in place and it works. The argument that Stephen made that we can’t rely on the amendment process to give power to the government that they don’t have because it takes too long is absurd because we don’t make our amendments that narrow, but instead ensure that we are making a change that needs made and make the language appropriate to the need. I was using the 19th amendment as an example of that. We didn’t make the amendment say ‘you can only tax income by 2% and only for building roads’, we made, as a country, a philosophical change in what we believed the powers of the government should be and ratified it into the constitution.

All I ask (demand) is that we do the same for other advances (or restrictions) of the govenment. Instead of just saying ‘well, I think we can shoehorn this into the commerce clause, even though it has no actual place there, and see if we can get it to fly past our stacked judicial branch’…

Explain to me again how preventing someone from growing a single marijuana plant in their house falls under the commerce clause again? I always enjoy a good story…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 4:26 AM
Comment #238597

If the US is to succeed and remain a viable country, it needs healthy & educated citizens…a basic reason for all to have health care & schooling provided…it is in our own self interest as a nation.

Posted by: Rachel at November 17, 2007 9:30 AM
Comment #238599

Rhinehold-
There are a few reasons, I think. The first reason is that alcohol was not seen as a drug per se. Many Drugs were seen as medicinal in nature, including opiates, Cannabis, and cocaine. They were controlled under the pure food and drug acts, which are justified under the interstate commerce clause.

On the subject of Amendments, the one concerning income taxes was necessary because the constitution explicitly forbade it:

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

The courts and the legislatures were having a hell of a time justifying an income tax, so folks wrote up and ratified an amendment to make it explicitly legal.

But is that necessary when the courts have essentially ruled and held it as constitutional? At the end of the day, what the courts establish as being constitutional can be considered unconstitutional by its critics, but that’s irrelevant. Everybody’s got an opinion on what the constitution says, but the interpretation of the courts is law, and many federal powers, as extensive as they’ve become, remain constitutional.

Yes, which is why they implemented a way to change the constitution, not IGNORE it. If a single clause or limit of the constitution is ignored, then the whole document becomes VOID.

In a Practical sense, no. It makes it more likely that other parts will be ignored, but the US and the constitution have survived times when people rationalized around the limits of the constitution. It’s not to be desired, though.

That said, not everybody agrees with your foundational argument that the constitution has been stretched beyond it’s appropriate meaning.

You should not ignore the book David Remer talked about. Modern Capitalism is based in no small part on Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations, but The Theory of Moral Sentiments provides the wraparound view on what he thought. Appreciating one without the other limits the quality of the interpretation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 17, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #238604

Here ya go Eric, chew on this.

Posted by: Max at November 17, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #238606

David… actually, what I was asking, is just who were you calling less-than-human… posters on this site? Or some unnamed monsters that have nothing to do with this discussion?

You’re quick to hurl insults, but when someone calls you on it you act as if you never said anything insulting.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 17, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #238609

Doug, I was describing a mindset I have come across in other people from time to time. You know me, I abide the rules of WatchBlog. I am not going to attack any one person individually, wouldn’t change them anyway. The point is to highlight the perspective and value system that can lead to less than humane consequences. Bad things in history have been sold as good things for adoption.

I hurled no insults. But, if folks take general references of potential mind and value sets as insults, well, I am hardly in control or responsible for that, am I. People will read into writings what they will. Al Gore’s book is a bible to some, a heresy to others. Al Gore is not responsible for their reactions to his book.

I am sure you would agree, less than humane consequences in a society are to be avoided. Thus, the value systems and perspectives like base greed and inferior people, which are sold as individualism and superiority, should always be exposed for what they are. If they aren’t, Nazi Germany and Afghanistan like states become a reality.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 1:34 PM
Comment #238610

David, thank you for the clarification. I am sure there are those out there with the motivations of which you speak… and then there are those, like me, who simply disagree with you on ‘how we should get there’.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at November 17, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #238611

Rachel, your pearl of wisdom shared by most Americans, is not shared by all. What is important is to insure those that don’t share the common wisdom you offered NEVER achieve power in our country. They are out there and a few are even running for office.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #238612

Rhinehold said: “All I ask (demand) is that we do the same for other advances (or restrictions) of the govenment. Instead of just saying ‘well, I think we can shoehorn this into the commerce clause, even though it has no actual place there, and see if we can get it to fly past our stacked judicial branch’…”

Thanks, I more clearly understand what you are saying. And I agree that some politicians will and have attempted to contradict the Constitution and its amendments through legislation, finding it an easier path than a Constitutional Amendment. But, I can’t forget that the drafters KNEW there would people such as these, and hence, created a check and balance to thwart them, the judiciary.

One either has faith that human beings are capable of self-governance through a Constitutional rule of law system, or one doesn’t. The advantage of having faith, is that one is motivated to challenge those who would bend and distort our system for person motives regardless of the impact upon others. The absence of faith in our system, does not motivate one to act in defense and protection of it. Obviously, you and I and most, if not all, here at WatchBlog have faith in our system or we wouldn’t be debating on how to best protect and defend it.

“Explain how preventing someone from growing a single marijuana plant in their house falls under the commerce clause again? I always enjoy a good story…”

It’s a stretch, Rhinehold. No two ways around it. It is one of those issues in which the society at large acts to protect itself from hedonism, while promoting hedonism in virtually everything it sells through its industry. The Constitution cannot protect ignorant people from their ignorance. America’s position on recreational drugs is irrational in so many ways.

But, the Bill of Rights offers no protection for the individual to bring harmful substances into the society that could harm the society, or protection to those who support such bringing those substances in as a consumer of them. The Constitution clearly acknowledges the right of the society and nation to protect and defend itself and grants the government the power to act on such matters.

I am on your side on this issue. But, it is not a simple case of Constitutional protection for individual choice as to what one ingests. Vastly more Americans are now aware of the failure of our drug policies than ever before. Ignorance on this issue is being fought back and diminished. And one day, the people will likely elect to end this failed war on drugs, which had the opposite effect from its intentions, uncontrollable access and distribution, and irresponsible usage of drugs.

I say again: The Constitution cannot protect ignorant people nor itself from ignorance. Ignorance can only be addressed with education. Which makes education a primary and fundamental cornerstone of our U.S. Constitution’s ability to survive intact. The drafters were acutely aware of this, when they gave suffrage only to white, male, landowners.

In their day, white, male, landowners were the segment of society most likely to have sufficient education to understand and keep vigilance upon those elected to powerful office. And such understanding and vigilance, the drafters anticipated, would not hesitate to remove from office, (anti-incumbent voting and impeachment) those who would subvert our government or welfare of the people, or torture the rule of law to yield personal gain and benefit to the detriment of others.

In the end, either America will make the decision to provide universal high quality education to all, or, suffer the consequences of their decision to make suffrage universal for the ignorant and uneducated. That is a decision our government makes everyday, and so far, we are paying ever higher prices for granting universal suffrage to the ignorant and uneducated. Then there is the whole issue of education vs. indoctrination which very powerful forces engage in struggle over.

Democracy is without a doubt, the most complex and difficult form of government on ever invented by the human mind. It is still an experimental form of government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #238613

Doug, our disagreement speaks to our both having motivation and faith that we can improve the system and circumstances we have. That makes our disagreements very important and productive, for both of us, regardless of outcome. Debate and consensus are afterall, cornerstones of our Constitutional democratic republic, and in my opinion, an obligation of all voters prior to voting.

First comes the problem, then comes the debate, then comes the consensus, then comes the evaluation of that consensus’ effectiveness, and lastly an acceptance or rejection of that consensus. If rejected, then the problem still exists, and the process continues. Democracy is the hardest and most laborious form of government ever invented by the human imagination. The jury is still out as to whether human beings are capable of it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #238615

Rhinehold said: “I want to get the charity out of the hands of the politician who uses the needy as a political football/wedge knowing that if they actually were to fix any problems then they would no longer have a reliable voting block for the next election cycle.”

That is an indictment of our political system, not social policy. You are attacking the wrong source of what you perceive to be the problem. Corporations can elect to be socially responsible. Few do. Government can act responsibly, it more often doesn’t. That is not the failing of the concepts of corporations or government. That is a failing of the political system.

The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution contemplate informed, educated, and enlightened self interest governing. Adam Smith defines enlightened self interest as the capacity to act not only in one’s own interest, but the intelligent motivation to act in the interest of the whole of the society within which one resides, and upon which one depends for one’s very quality and security of life.

To act in a manner that enriches oneself while impoverishing others, will create security issues that will threaten oneself and one’s riches, causing one to live in fear and defensively, not freely and nobly. No aristocracy or plutocracy has ever survived long the retaliation and revolution of a growing multitude deprived and abused by the aristocracy or plutocracy. Hence, a charitable government is one which has the greatest potential to survive, insuring and fostering charity by the people, for the people. A charitable people do not revolt nor plot the dismembering of the wealthy from their wealth.

America survives to this day on that very fundamental wisdom expounded by Adam Smith. America is one of the most charitable nations on the planet, and it is so because its government of, by, and for the people are charitable unto themselves.

I understand that wisdom runs contrary to Libertarian philosophy, and that is why I cannot support Ron Paul. He does not understand nor grasp this fundamental cornerstone of America’s historical success and prosperity to date.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 2:57 PM
Comment #238619

“BTW, when I go to a hospital for medical care, I go to one that has daily prayer broadcast over a loudspeaker and chaplians on staff to talk to you if you need it. And I’m an athiest. But it never EVER offends me that someone who does believe in god offers me prayer or wishes from their diety. That, to them, is an expression of their care for me and what kind of moron would I be to not accept it as exactly that! Of course, I could get uppity and say ‘hey, I’m an athiest, don’t bring your phoney baloney god to me’, but that’s not what it is about. It’s about someone offering another care and compassion. Something I think this country could use MORE of, not less.
So yeah, as an athiest, I would rather take money from the Salvation Army, because I knew it was given with love and compassion, even if I have to hear a short sermon, than to accept it from the government who I know got some of what they were giving me by force.” Posted by: Rhinehold at November 17, 2007 04:18 AM

Rhinehold, you are one classy guy. WOW, I am impressed with your thought process and loving, caring nature. As a Christian let me appluad you and wish you every good thing in life. May your Thanksgiving be blessed as you truly understand the spirit of “Thanks” and of “giving” without recompence. The God of the Universe loves you because you love people. Jim


Posted by: Jim at November 17, 2007 4:55 PM
Comment #238620

Jim, what arrogance is it when one uses oneself as the standard by which to assess what all others should be like and prefer? Such arrogance, lack of empathy, and understanding of others is why the GOP was removed from control of the Congress. And why a majority of Americans believe government will be better run by Democrats, regardless of whether that is true or not. The GOP and too many of their supporters just left no room for anyone else not mirror images of themselves, including wings of their own party. Which is why the GOP is now a splintered party lacking internal unity or common ground.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 5:06 PM
Comment #238621

David, I used the pronouns “I” and “Me” to express what I believe. What a hateful thing to critize one human being for loving another and saying so. There was no mention of politics in my expression of appreciation to Rhinehold. What a terrible thing it must be to be so possessed by political beliefs that a simple expression of love and thanks can be construed to be arrogance. May you also have a wonderful Thanksgiving David. Jim

Posted by: Jim at November 17, 2007 5:31 PM
Comment #238622

DR,Rhinehold
A point not mentioned in your discourse about aid to the poor. If enough people are driven far enough down for a long enough time “domestic tranquility” is threatened.Remember this is Americans we are dealing with and we are a buch of cocky bastards. We are desended from people that were kicked out of every self respecting in the world as troublemakers. Our cities have burned before and may well again.The wealthy ,as has happened in other countries,may find themselves hanging from lamp post while their palaces are looted. The underlying cause is not only poverty but a lack of hope.There is a societal benefits to addressing hopelessness. beyond morality.
Rhinehold
Under Clinton and the Rep congress the wellfare system changed dramatically. Most recipients must get work or prepare for work with training.Its not just handouts anymore. There is still a cost to taxpayers though. Training cost money. Childcare cost money. It makes no sense for a single mother to get a job that forces her to give up healthcare for herself and family when that heathcare cost more than she can earn,etc.My point here is that the system is better than it was.

Just curious. When you donate your SS checks to charity are you planning to claim the writeoff?

Posted by: BillS at November 17, 2007 5:32 PM
Comment #238624

Jim, my apology, I just noticed on rereading your reply to Rhinehold, that I was responding to your quote of Rhinehold’s, not your comment to him. My error. Consider my comment directed to Rhinehold, not you. I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, as well.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #238625

BillS, when you said I missed in my discourse “If enough people are driven far enough down for a long enough time “domestic tranquility” is threatened.” I didn’t miss it at all. Please observe my comment from discourse with Rhinehold:

No aristocracy or plutocracy has ever survived long the retaliation and revolution of a growing multitude deprived and abused by the aristocracy or plutocracy.

Which is why I wrote an article on why the Estate Tax must be retained. Not only retained, but, made progressive as wealth accumulates to levels that threaten governance by wealth. Governance by wealth is antithetical to democracy and our U.S. Constitution’s design and ideals.

Carefully note here, it is not wealth that is antithetical, it is governance by wealth that is antithetical. And accounts for why our political system is broken because it is governed by wealth. 1.5 Billion dollars or more will be spent on 2008’s elections, and a huge amount contributed will come from only a few hundred people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 17, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #238626

Dr
Apologize. I somehow missed you well written observation about stability and poverty.

Posted by: BillS at November 17, 2007 6:13 PM
Comment #238667

Democracy is complicated; it has been tried through out history. Read the Federalist Papers. Our founders did not want a complicated overreaching government. They disliked democracy. Every law or benefit to one person takes away from the freedom of another person. The constitution limited our government.
Benevolence and Education are religious matters; That is why they weren’t included in the original constitution.
If those you believe in on for moral direction and truth think we should socialize, then why not force it on everyone? Even if we believe that if a man will not work, he shouldn’t receive benefits. You have to rely on your religious beliefs to make determinations on human comfort and teaching truths.
I believe our social programs and education system were a big mistake. They need revised and not expanded. The Christians of that day thought the country would simply allow their morals to be taught and people would be honest with benefits. This is obvious in the older text books. The Founders knew better and didn’t include it as a function of government. The secularists and Christians are both right. Religion should not be included but on the other hand has to be.(Humanism, christianity etc.)
Conservatives believe the best in people even collectively but don’t believe in allowing factions or majorities to abuse their rights.
Education should be by voutchers for parents to send kids to the school that teach their values. It is called diversity (Isn’t it good?) The govenment, even local, should not be allowed to dictate the philosophy that guides kids education. It should be up to the parents. There is no such thing as neutral public education.
Parents should be able to leave what is left of their retirement to their kids. That is another waste of social security. you not only get a very small return but the remainder that would be there for your family to start their own is confiscated.
You cannot base a society on vagabonds. You imply that a vast majority are and are hell bent on producing more. I can say this because my family was on welfare and we all worked our way out. Not one of my mother’s eight kids stayed there because she taught us that it was a shame to depend on another. I wouldn’t have mattered if it was the county poor house or a bloated federal system, we refused to be victims.
You talk as if there are a static amount of poverty victims out there. We are in America, the land of opportunity so get off your * and get to work. When it is over taxed and bleeding hearts say comfort is a right why work?



Posted by: Kruser at November 18, 2007 10:10 PM
Comment #238669

NAFTA a problem? Start over! College loans, a new occupation. Move to another state! Meet new people! There are limitless possibilities. I forgot, It is more comfortable to suck a thumb and draw a check..

Posted by: Kruser at November 18, 2007 10:22 PM
Comment #238672

Rhinehold,

What is wrong with America deciding as a society to allow people to pay into a system so that in their old age, disability, or unemployment, they can have some cushion rather than get slammed by destitution when they can no longer work?

Nothing if it were voluntary. And those plans do exist in voluntary fashion now! I am planning for my retirement by utilizing a 401k and retirement plans, which I pay into now, and will draw from later. The government protects those accounts, a great function of government.

However, I also have to pay into another retirement plan that, at best, will give me a 1% return on my investment, and more likely it will be 0%. And I have no way to say no.

Of course you have!
Vote for the one who will cancel this “enforced” system. Or move to another country, like these cute tax paradise islands. Or refuse to pay it. Or sue the government for… violating your Constitutional right.

There is ways. Just none that sounds worth it considering the gain/lost rate.

Rhinehold, if you feel today you’re in jail in your country, while it’s still the most land of the freedoms than anywhere else, I fear you hove no option than trading more freedom with more insecurity…

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 19, 2007 5:57 AM
Comment #238673
So yeah, as an athiest, I would rather take money from the Salvation Army, because I knew it was given with love and compassion, even if I have to hear a short sermon, than to accept it from the government who I know got some of what they were giving me by force.

Yeah, better be an hypocrite (accepting to hear a sermon while you don’t believe one bit of it) than breaking you idealogical stance (taking help *back* from an useless government fund you were forced to contribute to).

It’s useless to you because you refuse to take it for this ideological stance. Which is logical, as you’re forced to pay and never see this money back, as you refuse it.

It’s useful for all others who contribute *and* don’t refuse to benefit from it. Which is logical, as they see the money they’re forced to give being given back, as they accept it.

Beside, there is plenty of countries where you could indeed benefit more from Salvation Army than governmental help. May I suggest you move to these land of unassisted heaven ?

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 19, 2007 6:19 AM
Comment #238676

Philippe,
It is a free country because we are conservative and hold back socialism the best we can.
The point isn’t how bad it is. It is how inefficient the social programs are and why we shouldn’t expand them.
I would like to make the point that there is no healthcare crisis in America and we don’t have socialized medicine. My Dad died of cancer while in poverty a few years back. The cancer society and others paid all his bills. Our funeral director refused payment. I didn’t have insurance for twenty years. There now are HSA’s for guys like me.
Stephen and David, The utopian government you recommend has been tested and was a dismal failure. The writings in the 19th century started a movement that ended up killing hundreds of thousands. Communism.
The problem is the play on words. Needs vs. rights. It is a recipe for disaster when you give someone the ability to confiscate private property for their definition of need. This is the basis for tyranny. Every tyrant started by using the needs or “rights” of the people to rally them against the property owners of that country. It is stealing, causes abuses and makes slaves of the beneficiaries.
Using the word rights falsely manipulates issues into a demand. It waters down true rights that need to be fought for and maintained. “Needs” is the proper word and it is a subjective one.

Posted by: Kruser at November 19, 2007 9:20 AM
Comment #238679


Kruser: It is quite simple. All that the conservatives and capitalism has to do is eliminate the need for the social programs. A brief study of history shows us the failure of unfetered capitalism. Those capitalists believed that the only incentive the masses needed to work was to stave off starvation.

The burden of proof is on the capitalists. Capitalism must prove that the social programs are not necessary. So far, capitalism hasn’t done a very good job. It proclaims that the skills of the lower class are not worthy of the American dream. As a matter of fact, the majority can only achieve the American dream by enslaving themselves to the credit market. That enslavement is probably the only reason that capitalism is still viable. Prove that the government social programs are unnecessary and they will disappear.

Posted by: jlw at November 19, 2007 10:38 AM
Comment #238682

Kruser-
The Framers drew up the constitution in order to centralize the government and give it more power. It is hardly a document concerned with a smaller, shrinking violet of a government.

The Framers had tried to make things decentralized, tried a system where the state and local governments retained most of the power and it simply did not work.

What we have is a Federal system, not a confederation. We have a system where matters between the states fall under federal jurisdiction.

The Republicans have preached limited government, but when they talk about limited government nowadays, they’re not talking about some robust well-thought program of change, where each change is gauged for its real world performance. No, what we have at best is academic conservatism applied where it hardly works, and at worst, and excuse to govern at every level with mediocrity.

Nobody has absolute freedom. Nobody can, in practice. Economics by itself prevents it. What also prevents it is that certain people will always gain more power than others under such a system.

Americans have felt that limitation imposed on them. When they think of those who are limiting their freedoms, more often than not, they’re think of the folks in Washington doing warrantless searches, or big business shutting down one means of getting grievances redressed after another.

Government regulations and laws can be a means by which people can secure that they believe are their rights against powerful non-government interests. But that, by definition, means limiting the powers and freedoms of some individiuals.

That can be a problem, but right now, its not the problem most Americans are thinking of. They believe that we don’t have enough government, ensuring the health, safety, and prosperity of the average citizen, guiding our policies with good sense. They’re sick of mediocrity in leadership, and the Republican party that has become most identified with it.

America became a economic powerhouse under decades worth of liberal policy, what Republicans to day would call leftist, even as their predecessors supported it. The Republicans have done much to derail things, by increasing the role of non-productive speculative activity in the economy, by deregulating companies so that oversight no longer had such strength.

Now what do we have? Widespread, chronic indebtedness, stagnant wages, abusive employer and consumer practices among companies, lead in our toys, and an economy killing itself by its dependence on fossil fuels. There is so much obviously wrong with our nation at this point that people have little patience for arguments that if we just wait out the current problems, conservative principles will save us.

The Conservatives have had their try at utopia. Now it’s time for the Liberals to undo the damage and give people the kind of government they actually want.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 19, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #238694

Stephen and David, The utopian government you recommend has been tested and was a dismal failure. The writings in the 19th century started a movement that ended up killing hundreds of thousands. Communism.

Oh God. You and Eric seems to know only Soviet communism as an example of any socialist programs attempt!

Could you actually, instead, follow the fingers of the “lefties” who are pushing for more socialized programs. AFAIK, none of thim target former soviet union nor the today russia, but many point toward western european nations or canada.

Care to debate on “alive” socialized programs pro vs con instead of a long dead one?

Mixed socialist & capitalist government are today tested since decades in Europe for example, and so far several of their socialized programs were far from being total failure. Take healthcare systems for instance, several of them cost far lest than your and, still, these countries life expectancy is higher and children mortality way lower.

These kind of modern socialized programs should be your critics target, not the dead horse that was soviet communism.

Or at least if you plan to actually debate, not just throw pre-digest used anti-pinky rants from the 60’s….

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 4:10 PM
Comment #238695

Ooops, the first paragraph in my previous post above should have been a quote from Kruser. Sorry.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 4:12 PM
Comment #238697

I’ll debate on the pro’s and con’s of current socialized programs Philippe.

Cons- There is no choice. I either lessen my quality of life in order to better someone else’s quality of life, OR, I go to jail.

It will create even further dependency on govt.

Also, contrary to Stephens fictional view of Americans above, many, many of us prefer to be responsible, independent, Constitution respecting citizens.

The kind of govt people want does not tell them how to live their own life, how to believe, what to believe or even where we can believe.
We want govt to run govt and leave running our lives up to us.

Posted by: kctim at November 19, 2007 4:52 PM
Comment #238698

Kruser,

The point isn’t how bad it is. It is how inefficient the social programs are and why we shouldn’t expand them.

Do you ever imagine that the inefficiency could come from the programs structure, not because they’re “social” ones?

We Europeans have a lot of “social” healthcare programs. Not all are as inefficient, mind you. Some are even quite successful, both on cost and results factors.

Maybe instead of focus on “social”, you should indeed focus on efficiency. What should matter more, idealogy or efficiency?
No, wait. I quite already know your answer.

Using the word rights falsely manipulates issues into a demand. It waters down true rights that need to be fought for and maintained. “Needs” is the proper word and it is a subjective one.

Okay. Health for example is one of the few “safety” needs classified by Maslow as the ones which are only an issue when they’re not met, but provides nothing when they’re. Below these are only physiological needs (I guess you get the picture here).

In the same “safety” needs set is personnal security. That one “need” you conservative guys so often call a Right, going even to proclaim that your government should be ready to do EVERYTHING in order to fullfil what is, after all, just a need, not a right. But for this one, you’re totally ready to be “forced” to fund an ever expanding defense budget…

You can’t have it both way, sorry.

Whatever the name, or you agree that your society model *should* secure a set of needs/rights - above the obvious physiological ones - for every of its citizen, or you don’t, and it’s just everyone-for-itself, period.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 4:54 PM
Comment #238702

kctim,

Cons- There is no choice. I either lessen my quality of life in order to better someone else’s quality of life, OR, I go to jail.

Except that “someone else” will be yourself most probably one day. It’s lessen your life quality in order to better your in the future. An insurance.

Also, not all socialized program are single players one, several allow to choose which player you contribute to (private or public player(s)).
You seems also to infer that the socialized programs cost to people the same as private insurance. Most often, they cost FAR less. Just by removing profit from the equation…

I’ve check my healthcare insurance/tax on my latest pay: 23 euros for the (mandatory) state one (0.75% of my income) + 27 euros for the private extra insurance. 50 euros per month (around $70), and no initial health condition for the state one.
When I compare with fully private healthcare insurance cost, it’s revelant to me that it’s not lessen my quality life but improve it!

Your mileage may vary because your healthcare system put private profit too much at its core, when we keep health…

On the cons side, people start behave like it’s free so they can abuse. Regarding french healthcare ssytem for example, my mother and grandma grew with that wrong feeling and abuse it occasionaly. The more recent generation is more aware of the cost, as less drugs are reimbursed than before or not totally when they still are.
But hidin the actual cost is one of the cons of socialized program: you never know how much you cost/benefit from it. It doesn’t help people to refrain abuse programs, I must concede.

That why in most european socialized programs anti-abusive policies were recenlty added to keep balanced budget.

Talking about cons, where are your pro’s about socialized programs, kctim?
Don’t tell there is none, your bias will show.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #238704

Philippe
I am insuring my own quality of life in the future by saving. I do not want others or govt to do it for me.

IF govt wants to create socialist healthcare program and will give people the option to contribute or not, then fine.
What will happen though, is govt will still force all to contribute and also give us the choice to go private if we wish. That is not a choice, so it is wrong.

Socialized programs dictate how people live, how they must help, who they must care for, take away choice, create dependency and is govt intrusion on individual lives.

There is nothing “pro” about losing those things. So yes, my bias shows bigtime.

Posted by: kctim at November 19, 2007 5:45 PM
Comment #238710

kctim,

I am insuring my own quality of life in the future by saving. I do not want others or govt to do it for me.

So do I. I just:
1) give that task to my govt which is less for-profit than private sector, something that does matter when in comes to long term objectives
2) don’t want my saving serve nobody except a private profit if I happen to never need it

IF govt wants to create socialist healthcare program and will give people the option to contribute or not, then fine.

Isn’t one of the options debated in the US already?

What will happen though, is govt will still force all to contribute and also give us the choice to go private if we wish. That is not a choice, so it is wrong.

What if it’s for the exact same tax amount than today or, even, less?
Still no, even if actually take less your earning?
Idealogy stance, so?

Socialized programs dictate how people live, how they must help, who they must care for, take away choice, create dependency and is govt intrusion on individual lives.

Dictate? Nobody force anyone to have an healthy lifestyle, but only to be ready for consequences.
Nobody force you to accept help or even how it comes. And nobody make you dependent until you let yourself be dependent.
And it’s not socialized programs who “dictate” people who they must care for but the constitution who “ditacte” that the government should provides safety (which health, along personnal and social security is one need falling in this category), and that government could raise taxes to fund this action.

And, again, could you tell us how a government can do ANYTHING for its citizens without having any impact on citizens lives??? It doesn’t make any sense to me!

Really, kctim, the world is full of places where living “only” as you want to without any “government” intrusion are possible. I failed to see why you don’t live in such place. Insecurity level, maybe?

Like in the O’ days in the land of freedoms. How easy it is to only remember how free the firt pioners were, and always forget how insecure their lives were then…
You can’t have both, nobody can.

Here is the choice, a choice you still have, a choice that is always there.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 6:36 PM
Comment #238716

Philippe,
You failed to mention that a vast majority of your heath care is paid for by your employer. There is also an additional tax on earned income, investment income, automobiles, tobacco and alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and the state budget participates with additional subsidies..
The small amount you pay is only a supplement. Another hidden cost is that your taxes pay for educating doctors. (I don’t think the studies add this in.) The coverage varies according to occupation.

The cost cutting parts I admire are a limit on lawsuits thus low liability, and little paperwork thus few administrators. There are patient and doctor rights to participate as they please. It appears to be both public and private because it is administered by private companies yet is funded and supervised by the government.

France has excellent examples for what can bring costs down in America, but our government already has oversight. Direct pay such as our H.S.A. programs are much more cost effective by eliminating the an extra set of hands profiting from the transaction (government). They shouldn’t be needed to collect and distribute the money. Government oversight and legislation to protect patients and doctors is good . For our health care to be universal we might have to force individuals to be responsible (as in wearing a seat belt) and mandate they buy insurance (after we implement the reforms mentioned). I don’t like mandates but this would be the best way to accomplish your social ideals . Have them spend their doughnut money on health care. I just don’t want to go back to paying huge premiums and never using it. This is what a socialized system does. Responsible people are taxed heavily to pay for the irresponsible. Paying your own way is a sure incentive to live healthy and not abuse a system. It would be ideal if the french cost cutting reforms drove expenses down so people could afford their own insurance here. Tyranny (a nanny) or responsibility are the two choices for free citizens in most areas of need.

Posted by: Kruser at November 19, 2007 9:07 PM
Comment #238723

Kruser, all insurance leads to more risk taking behavior. If you are covered for the consequences by an insurance policy, risk does not make you worry.

Example, we have two dogs. For a time, we had no liability insurance. We planned to take a camping trip with our dogs. Two days before we were going to leave, it occurred to us the liability of taking our dogs to State Park on a crowded holiday. We decided to not go camping that holiday. The risk was too high. Now, we have liability insurance. Now we take the dogs with us. Fortunately, without incident.

But, all insurance has this effect of increasing risk taking, which cancels out any benefits by the few who shape their actions with an eye on insurance premiums watching.

The technology has existed for decades to build wind-proof and fire-proof housing, and with some of these technologies with an overall lower capital and maintenance cost than conventional housing. So, why aren’t they being built by anyone other than individual owner builders? Because the insurance companies lobby the building codes to prohibit them. Wind and fire proof housing would seriously compromise homeowner insurance pricing and profitability. And a contractor who wishes to build such homes, will have some difficulty finding builder’s insurance, not to mention approval from the building code enforcers.

Much of the way we live and consumer choices we make are shaped by the powerful profit oriented lobbyists who protect their profits through regulation and legislation.

In 1971, I worked as a security guard at the U. of Mich., Dearborn campus where I saw electric cars being designed and tested. The history of the electric car is an endless reiteration of the same story, profit interests buying and burying the patents, or, testing the market and finding customer response so endearing to the product as to warrant recalling every, single last one of them off our streets and markets.

90% of American vehicles could be electric today, if it were not for oil and auto industries spending 100’s of millions in revenues to prevent that day from arriving. The very thought of eliminating all those heat and friction laden moving parts from an automobile, created nightmares and many a sleepless night for the auto and oil industry boards of directors, CEO’s, and their legal and accounting staff.

This is how we arrived to 2007 as an oil and high maintenance cost based transportation society utterly dependent on what happens in the Middle East, which is the primary supplier for our addictive fix. And our politicians have been bought and paid for by the industries that addicted us to this ‘heroin’ of the Middle East, Democrat and Republican alike.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 19, 2007 11:04 PM
Comment #238727

Kruser,

You failed to mention that a vast majority of your heath care is paid for by your employer. There is also an additional tax on earned income, investment income, automobiles, tobacco and alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and the state budget participates with additional subsidies..

Yep. Why the burden of social cost should be all on earning? Everyone, both physical and moral people incomes (all forms) contribute to it, as all eventually benefit from it. Having a healthy, educated and safe employe is not a bad thing for an employer, but it’s not free either. Why should it get it for free?!

And AFAIK, foreign employers still find worthy to land in France and hire some french, as our attractiveness rank don’t sink as forecasted since decades by neo-economists.

Bt, yeah, that also why I earn far less than an american with the same set of skills and experience. But my cost of living is also far lower, healthcare, welfare and retirment saving being already deduced.

Another hidden cost is that your taxes pay for educating doctors. (I don’t think the studies add this in.)

It does. It’s include in public universities budget.

The coverage varies according to occupation.

The *complementary* coverage, yes. The state one is the same for all, and since few years we also have an universal coverage for the most poor.

Direct pay such as our H.S.A. programs are much more cost effective by eliminating the an extra set of hands profiting from the transaction (government).

Hum, as you said, government doesn’t “profit” from it as it, in fact, subsidies it, some years quite heavily. If you’re talking of people managing the transaction, it’s computerized since a decade already, they’re only paperworks for the non casual cases.

For our health care to be universal we might have to force individuals to be responsible (as in wearing a seat belt) and mandate they buy insurance (after we implement the reforms mentioned).

Hum, I guess the “universal” concept escape you, then.

I just don’t want to go back to paying huge premiums and never using it. This is what a socialized system does. Responsible people are taxed heavily to pay for the irresponsible.

I disagree. First, irresponsible people are taxed the same way and, second, you’re not pay *for* them, you’re pay *your* contribution, your share of the burden, like the others do too. When or if you came to be part of the burden more than the contributors, it’s the time you “use it”.

Contrary to private/for profit insurance, you’re not paying for nothing until things goes wrong and you discover that it’s not under coverage terms. Your contribution is always used for the ones needing it. When (and it will, regarding health except for instant death, it always does) it will your turn, you’ll see it back plus whatever money is needing. It’s a mutual fund, not an “insurance”.

Paying your own way is a sure incentive to live healthy and not abuse a system.

Oh yeah. As proven by the very healthy lifestyle most americans who, surely, can pay their own way, display.
Sorry, but if it’s so obvious, so far it fail miserably to show.

It would be ideal if the french cost cutting reforms drove expenses down so people could afford their own insurance here.

Why would they want to, they already have a well collective working one who cost less?

Tyranny (a nanny) or responsibility are the two choices for free citizens in most areas of need.

Yeah, France is a dictatorship. Oh. Make sense now! Not.

Collective responsability, sum of all is more than all sums, union make force, mutual assistance, brotherhood, all these doesn’t ring a bell to you?

If you have a family or friends, I hope it does.
Solidarity doesn’t have to stop there, though. A Society isn’t just a bunch of individuals. It’s more than that. Funny how you guys worship patriotism, the flag, and every symbol of your people being united, going even to call the ones who exercice their freedom when they refuse to do it, but reject solidarity like a crappy communism idea.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 19, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #238750

Philippe
“So do I. I just:…”

I do not want or need govt to do either of those for me. I do not fear private sector nor do I hold them in contempt.

“Isn’t one of the options debated in the US already?”

The only option I have heard promoted is everybody pays into the govt program, but they can also get private insurance to supplement or use instead.
If I don’t want it, money shouldn’t be stolen from me to fund it.

“What if it’s for the exact same tax amount than today or, even, less?”

So create another HUGE govt program and not raise taxes to support it? I don’t think so.

“Still no, even if actually take less your earning?
Idealogy stance, so?”

Of course its an idealogy stance. Some believe govt should run their lives, others do not.

“Dictate? Nobody force anyone to have an healthy lifestyle, but only to be ready for consequences.”

Transfats? Smoking? Seatbelts?
If govt pays for something, they can dictate how you must behave in order to receive that help.

“Nobody force you to accept help or even how it comes.”

Ah, but they do. They take my money from me, which makes it harder for me to pay for what I believe I need or want.

“And nobody make you dependent until you let yourself be dependent.”

I see your point here, but thats not entirely true my friend.
Of course, if one does not wish to be dependent on something, they can always move out or isolate themselves, but that isn’t a realistic option in todays world. But, if you look at our inner city’s, you will see people who have been conditioned to depend on govt. I know they could move out and work and struggle to do better, but I do not place all of the blame entirely on them. Politicians knew what they were doing when they started buying their votes with handouts.

“And it’s not socialized programs who “dictate” people who they must care for but the constitution who “ditacte” that the government should provides safety (which health, along personnal and social security is one need falling in this category), and that government could raise taxes to fund this action.”

Wrong. It says “promote the general welfare of the United States,” not “forcibly take from one in order to “provide” for another” or that it is govt responsibility to “provide” for anyone like that.
Govt is too promote the opportunity and the people themselves are to take the responsibility and provide for themselves.

“And, again, could you tell us how a government can do ANYTHING for its citizens without having any impact on citizens lives??? It doesn’t make any sense to me!”

Sure. You limit the federal govt on what it can and cannot do and give the states and the people the majority of control over their state and livlihood.

“Really, kctim, the world is full of places where living “only” as you want to without any “government” intrusion are possible. I failed to see why you don’t live in such place. Insecurity level, maybe?”

Uh, because I am an American and this is my country. We may be throwing away our Contitutional Republic for a socialist democracy, but that does not mean I have to accept it or that I cannot fight against it.

“Like in the O’ days in the land of freedoms. How easy it is to only remember how free the firt pioners were, and always forget how insecure their lives were then…
You can’t have both, nobody can.”

The only choice is whether one believes they need govt to run their life for them in order to be secure or if they believe they can accept the responsibility to run their own life.

I believe in the latter, as did our founders.

Posted by: kctim at November 20, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #238757


The sooner we get the government out of the social services business and force the people to take responsibility for running their own lives, the sooner the revolution will begin. That is going to happen sooner than later because wealth is bankrupting the government and preparing to leave the country. Then America will be as poor as Pakistan but, with a whole lot more nuclear weapons.

The alternative for wealth is to combine the voluntary army with the police forces and create a police state. Then they can round up the rif raf and use them for cannon fodder in their War for control of the world.

We are starting to choose sides now.

Posted by: jlw at November 20, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #238777

kctim said: “If govt pays for something, they can dictate how you must behave in order to receive that help.”

Same is true of private charities, kctim. Like sitting through the charity’s religious observance in order to receive a meal. One can choose to observe another’s religious practice or not eat from the charity’s bounty.

If one needs assistance from the government, one needs to wade through the government bureaucracy to receive it.

The advantage of government BASIC health insurance, is America can rid itself of its appalling international image of being the wealthiest nation with the largest number of poverty stricken, unfed, and unhealthy of any developed nation. Seems a fair trade off to me.

Kind of like all tax payers supporting government coroner’s who remove dead and diseased bodies from our streets, highways, and alleys, usually in less than an hour. We living persons all benefit ENORMOUSLY from this government sponsored activity.

But, you would have homeowner’s and businesses voluntarily cleaning up and disposing dead bodies IF they wish, and when time permits when one or more lie outside their home or business.

I don’t think so.! The sooner the ill receive treatment, the sooner the Center for Disease Control (CDC) can be notified and issue public warnings should an epidemic factor be detected. There are basic public health issues with having everyone given access to Basic medical health professionals.

You do realize the potential for a biological terrorist attack, don’t you? Is our national interest served if carriers go days or weeks spreading a disease before dropping dead all because they lacked Basic Medical Insurance to see a doctor when they first become ill?

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 20, 2007 1:08 PM
Comment #238783

“Same is true of private charities, kctim”

Very true, of some charities David. BUT, I have a choice on whether to support or use those charities don’t I. They do not force me to support what they feel is right.

Besides, even as an atheist, its not going to kill me to listen to a prayer if I’m hungry enough to accept their generousity.

Posted by: kctim at November 20, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #238792

But, kctim, you don’t get it. Receiving help is not a generousity, it’s a right.


And now we’ve come full circle…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 20, 2007 2:50 PM
Comment #238809

Just like when one “pee’s into the wind,” Rhinehold. :)

Posted by: kctim at November 20, 2007 5:18 PM
Comment #238821

kctim said: “BUT, I have a choice on whether to support or use those charities don’t I. They do not force me to support what they feel is right.”

You have a choice about accepting government assistance too! And indirectly, you are forced to support charities, all the government agencies that register and oversee and audit charities use your tax dollars to support those efforts. (IRS, Justice Dept., Congressional oversight committees, etc.)

Your arguments are all premised on the postulation that if only you lived on an island alone, you would not have to suffer the influence, government, democracy and inter-dependencies of living with others. There is an easier solution than trying to un-invent America: swim to a deserted island and take up residence.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 20, 2007 6:15 PM
Comment #238826

kctim,

“Of course its an idealogy stance. Some believe govt should run their lives, others do not.”

I’ve never understood why people with a libertarian viewpoint tend to view the world in terms of a black-and-white dichotomy. On the one hand there’s big, bad, evil government. No matter what it does, it’s equivalent to tyranny. Then there’s the wonderful, benevolent, freedom-supporting private sector. Of course corporations are only concerned with your welfare and would never do anything immoral to make a buck.

But seriously, what do you think insurance companies do? They do in fact decide how to run your healthcare decisions, determining what doctors and treatments you can use and often doing everything possible to avoid paying for your treatment. The same is true for other corporations. When you sign up for an internet provider, you sign a contract that says what you can and can’t do with it (such as use more than a prescribed amount of bandwidth). The standard libertarian comeback would be that since the market provides it, you can always switch to another. However that often isn’t true, as in the case of employer-supplied insurance plans or areas where there are only 1 or 2 broadband providers.

With a democratically controlled health service (for example), it can be designed to be accountable to the public. Insurance companies and other private medical services are only concerned with making a buck.

Posted by: mark at November 20, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #238838

. The point about solidarity is a good one. Large groups of people should get together and form non profit insurance companies. That would be good legislation to pass.
we need to define “Government” control. What we see in congress today is self interest, corruption and pork projects. God forbid that we give these people control over our health. How far would they drive our economy bankrupt trying to impress constituents and lobbyists with benefits from my paycheck.

I am a corporation owner, a corporation is simply a group with solidarity toward success in a certain market. It isn’t evil to honestly earn money verses confiscating it involuntarily. This is the capitalist ideal. Every association or cohesive group of people need to be honest, have integrity and help their fellow man, this is the problem that needs resolved. Elected by votes or elected by the choice to purchase, either can be corrupt. You are just stuck with the vote choices for years. That is why I admire the reforms in the French health care and think they should be applied to private insurance in the US. Politician controlled health insurance is unappealing. They tend to prove themselves incompetent. Leave it to the professionals

Posted by: Kruser at November 20, 2007 9:00 PM
Comment #238888

kctim,

Transfats? Smoking? Seatbelts? If govt pays for something, they can dictate how you must behave in order to receive that help.

Like with any trade. And?

Of course, if one does not wish to be dependent on something, they can always move out or isolate themselves, but that isn’t a realistic option in todays world.

Who care. You can, and it’s realistic if it’s what you really want. Some people still do this kind of major lifestyle shift, you know.

It doesn’t look realistic to you because while you don’t want to be dependent on the things you find too intrusive, you’re well and deeply dependent already on many things you get as a giving but which not long ago were not. Like safety, for instance.

Wrong. It says “promote the general welfare of the United States,” not “forcibly take from one in order to “provide” for another” or that it is govt responsibility to “provide” for anyone like that.

Okay, I’m not such an US Constitution expert.

So, how fine the current policy to promote the general welfare of the United States works so far?
Does it results in a better general health than previous policy?

The only choice is whether one believes they need govt to run their life for them in order to be secure or if they believe they can accept the responsibility to run their own life.

I believe in the latter, as did our founders.

I believe nobody except me live my own life, whoever accepting the responsibility for, so such statement is a pointless rhetoric to me.

I also believe in solidarity, which is a powerful tool to face events in your life that alone you would never get over it. History is full of samples.

Kruser,

I am a corporation owner, a corporation is simply a group with solidarity toward success in a certain market.

Hum, these days I see people sharing economical interest and that’s all.

The “success” doesn’t matter that much anymore, as proven with the huge amount of money made from speculation on success or failure than the lesser money actually made from success, if any.

I’m not saying it’s evil here. I’m just saying corporate world is not the best solidarity example.

You are just stuck with the vote choices for years. That is why I admire the reforms in the French health care and think they should be applied to private insurance in the US.

Which reforms in the French health care are you taking about? The current planned ones, or the ones who setup our current system?

The current planned ones by the Sarkozy government aims to transform our health care system into one similar to the current US one, by shrinking the basic public health care help near zero, which will leads to a fully private and opaque system under no public control.

Posted by: Philippe houdoin at November 21, 2007 8:18 AM
Comment #238898

Philippe
“Like with any trade. And?”

And some of us do not view people as being property.
If one is forced to use govt healthcare, then one is forced to live their life according to how govt tells them too.

“It doesn’t look realistic to you because while you don’t want to be dependent on the things you find too intrusive, you’re well and deeply dependent already on many things you get as a giving but which not long ago were not. Like safety, for instance”

To be honest Philippe, I am only dependent on the things the Constitution states is the govt duty to fullfill. I was lucky enough to have had a father who believed in being proud to be an American and did not believe in being a burden on govt.
I know how to live off the land, I know how to save and I am very well prepared to be able to survive in case of such emergency.
So, it is very realistic for me to change if I was willing to give up and keep allowing our Constitution to be shredded. I just don’t believe that time is now.

“So, how fine the current policy to promote the general welfare of the United States works so far?
Does it results in a better general health than previous policy?”

Nope. But that is because we have allowed our Constitution to be perverted to push personal agendas.
A return to a Constitutional Republic would give our freedoms back and guess what, that is what I support.

“I believe nobody except me live my own life, whoever accepting the responsibility for, so such statement is a pointless rhetoric to me.”

Good for you. I am glad you like how your govt runs your country.
I however, believe when govt forcibly takes money from one, in order to support personal beliefs and agendas, is wrong.

“I also believe in solidarity, which is a powerful tool to face events in your life that alone you would never get over it. History is full of samples”

I too believe that is a great tool. Only I believe it should not be govt enforced solidarity, or it loses its effectivness.

Posted by: kctim at November 21, 2007 10:48 AM
Comment #238962

kctim,

If one is forced to use govt healthcare, then one is forced to live their life according to how govt tells them too.

Nope. Unless one actually want to benefit from it.

It’s contractual. Like in your car insurance. If you don’t want your car repair bill to be on the insurance company, they wont complains (you bet!). But if you want, better be under the contractual conditions.

Wait. Why did I get “car” insurance, when the private “health” insurance does even make more sense!?
;-)

At least, govt healthcare don’t have initial conditions requirements…

So, it is very realistic for me to change if I was willing to give up and keep allowing our Constitution to be shredded. I just don’t believe that time is now.

I’m glad you finally agree it’s realistic and still only a question of willing to, not the freedom to.

I too believe that [solidarity] is a great tool. Only I believe it should not be govt enforced solidarity, or it loses its effectivness.

Living since ever under french govt health care solidarity system, it’s only since private health insurances were introduced to it in the last decade that I’ve see an effectivness lost (costs sky-rocket, as initial conditions length).

What I’m supposed to deduce from my personal experience? After all, pragmatism is often better than ideology…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 21, 2007 7:02 PM
Comment #238967

I thought France’s system was the best in the world? Was this before or after the semi privatization?
The reforms I like are the efficient billing and the tort reforms.
A common currency is the most basic form of solidarity. I guess earning and exchange in an honest manner would be next.
Sarkozy will make sure your healthcare can continue without bankrupting France.

Posted by: Kruser at November 21, 2007 7:35 PM
Comment #239013

The point has been proven. If I don’t like my health care I purchase another. It is my freedom.
France is stuck with political whims determining what they get.
Rights are simply determining the level of intrusion we will allow our government. They don’t apply to needs or benevolence.

Posted by: Kruser at November 22, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #239264

“Nope. Unless one actually want to benefit from it.”

I don’t want to “benefit” from it Philippe! I want the choice to be able to pay for what I want.

“It’s contractual. Like in your car insurance. If you don’t want your car repair bill to be on the insurance company, they wont complains (you bet!). But if you want, better be under the contractual conditions.”

But, I am not forced to pay for govt car insurance in addition to my private insurance. I have a contract with whom I have chosen.

“At least, govt healthcare don’t have initial conditions requirements…”

Yes it does. Being forced to participate against my will is the initial requirement.

“Living since ever under french govt health care solidarity system, it’s only since private health insurances were introduced to it in the last decade that I’ve see an effectivness lost (costs sky-rocket, as initial conditions length).”

And “living since ever” under the US Constitution, I know I much perfer freedom over a nanny state of forced compliance. I’m glad you like it, I don’t.

“What I’m supposed to deduce from my personal experience? After all, pragmatism is often better than ideology…”

Yes it is and our Constitution protected us at one time. But now, ideology such as believing personal responsibilities such as this, are somehow the govts job, has thrown our Constitution out the window.

My personal experience? Its better to be free than to be enslaved.

Posted by: kctim at November 26, 2007 1:06 PM
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