Third Party & Independents Archives

The Seven Principles of Government

Harry Browne’s passing earlier this year was a sad day for many. He was a smart and engaging person who really understood how government works, or rather doesn’t work, and why. Before his passing he left on a list of the Seven Principles of Government that I feel should be required reading in our Civics classes. Of course, our education being controlled by Government helps those in power stay in power so I fear it will never happen. However, I wanted to go over those principles and examine them in the context of what we see happening around us now.

Before I start though I want to make something very very clear. No one, not even Harry Browne, ever suggested that we have 'no government'. I hear this accusation all the time and it is borne from ignorance of what most libertarians believe. I also hear that libertarians are 'selfish'. While there are undoubtedly some who call themselves libertarians for this reason, it is much like saying all democrats are 'communists' or all republicans are 'fascists'. There are several communist groups aligned with the democratic party and groups like the KKK and Nazi Party will often vote republican. These fringe elements should not be taken as the example of the people who are members of that party any more than the 'selfish bastard' should be associated with the libertarians.

And a little history lesson as well. Most of our founding fathers were libertarians, it is obvious from the works at the time and the writings of those that helped shape the nation that this is the case. At the time this thought was called 'Liberalism' but over the last hundred years with the rise of the Progressive Liberal movement the two thoughts have diverged from each other.

A quick example of the difference is that a Classic Liberal (libertarian) believes that we all have basic rights that, while not spelled out in the constitution, are still applicable to all. This was the reason for the 9th amendment to the Constitution. These rights are rights that do not interfere with anyone else's rights. Right to free speech, right to privacy, right to dance naked in your living room, etc. The government's job is to ensure that those rights are protected equally to its citizens.

A Progressive Liberal believes that along with these basic rights we also have expanded rights that are just as enforceable under the 9th amendment. These rights are rights that must interfere with other's rights. Right to an education, right to health care and right to a living wage are some examples. Each of these rights require that someone else be forced to do something in order to make this happen. For an education, someone must become a teacher and others must have their property taken to pay for it. For health care, someone must become a doctor and then treat those people and again, others must have their property taken to pay for it. In effect, the enforcing of these rights require that the government must violate some of the very rights that they are entrusted with protecting. But, as the Progressive believes, it's all for the 'common good' and its ok as long as all agree.

In addition to this the Progressive also believes that it is possible for the government to provide these things as well as or better than we could acquire them from the private sector. And it must done in a way that no one could abuse the system or the people in the system. This is is where the Principles come into play.

The original text can be found at http://www.harrybrowne.org/articles/PrinciplesOfGovernment.htm

1. Government is force. Every government program, law, or regulation is a demand that someone do what he doesn't want to do, refrain from doing what he does want to do, or pay for something he doesn't want to pay for. And those demands are backed up by police with guns.

This is I think something we can all agree upon. If a law were not there to be enforced it would be a guideline. The laws are not in place to get people who want to follow that law to follow it, rather it is place in order to force those that do not want to follow that law to do so forcibly. Government is the only group or organization that can legally use force to make someone do something against their will. Other groups may also use force, such as gangs and mobs, but they are not doing so legally and are themselves subject to being forced to stop by the government.

Now, many laws are necessary. For example, a law against murder I think we can agree makes good sense. I forces people to not violate the basic rights that we all share, in this case the right to live. There are other laws against theft, violence, etc that we all can agree should be in place to protect our basic rights.

However, when we have laws in place that are there for the sole purpose of making someone do what 'we' want them to do, even though it is not to protect anyone else's basic rights, I wonder about the good sense that makes. I also wonder when we start drifting into a tyrannical use of the force we have given the government. Let's use some real life examples of laws that fit this mold.

The Patriot Act, The RICO Statutes, The Drug War, Seat-Belt Laws, Helmet Laws, Prohibition, etc.

And as Harry pointed out in his article, the ones who usually run afoul of these laws are those who don't understand them and are thinking that they aren't breaking a law at all or innocent people who are having the laws used against them by a political government who may have alternate motives than just enforcement.

2. Government is politics. Whenever you turn over to the government a financial, social, medical, military, or commercial matter, it's automatically transformed into a political issue — to be decided by those with the most political influence. And that will never be you or I.

Again, this is IMO without question. We see it so much, especially those of us who are involved in politics on a daily basis. Whether it is using political power to try to prevent those who don't agree with those in power from voting or if it is just using programs designed to help people as a means of actually keeping them in need of those programs, it is easy to see how anything that requires government regulation can ultimately be used politically by those who are in control.

3. You don't control government. It's easy to think of the perfect law that will stop the bad guys while leaving the good guys unhindered. But no law will be written the way you have in mind, it won't be administered the way you have in mind, and it won't be adjudicated the way you have in mind.

Your ideal law will be written by politicians for political purposes, administered by bureaucrats for political purposes, and adjudicated by judges appointed for political purposes. So don't be surprised if the new law turns out to do exactly the opposite of what you thought you were supporting.

I was going to rewrite this part of the article in my own words but I don't see how I can explain it much better than Harry has done here. As we can see from all of the 'anti-incumbent' movements and how most everyone complains about how the government is doing their job, it's obvious that we really don't control the government, we just try to send people who think somewhat like we do to represent us but once there they are interlocked into a mass bureaucracy that swallows most good intentions whole. And as with most bureaucracies, it turns out that it's the people behind the scenes, the career government officials, who really run the show. We do our best to manage it so it doesn't get too unwieldy or out of control, but I think most of us can say that it's far beyond that at the present time.

4. Every government program will be more expensive and more expansive than anything you had in mind when you proposed it. It will be applied in all sorts of ways you never dreamed of.

When Medicare was initially passed in 1965, the politicians projected its cost in 1992 to be $3 billion — which is equivalent to $12 billion when adjusted for inflation to 1992 dollars. The actual cost in 1992 was $110 billion — nine times as much. And when Medicare was enacted, Section 1801 of the original law specifically prohibited any bureaucratic interference with the practice of medicine. Today not one word of that protection still applies. The federal government owns the health-care industry lock, stock, and barrel.

This is just one example. When Social Security was started it was meant to be a way to ensure that people had something to help them along when they were too old to work anymore. It was never meant to sustain anyone completely, merely be a way to assist those who could no longer work or who became physically unable to work. Today, it is to many the only way to exist once they retire. And it has become a mess, unable to match an ROI that anyone could get with simple CDs at the local bank.

It no longer resembles what it was meant to accomplish and has become a huge headache for those who want to keep it around to find a way to continue paying for it while still increasing the benefits that it provides.

5. Power will always be misused. Give good people the power to do good and that power eventually will be in the hands of bad people to do bad.

This is evident today I think we can all see. For decades we have wanted to centralize power to the federal government so that local governments wouldn't be able to abuse that power over the citizens of the states and counties of the country. However, the people are just now abusing it at the federal level, for sometimes noble and in their minds proper motivations, and it is applied to all of us together. Do I really need to list out the myriad of ways that our government abuses the power we have entrusted to them on a daily basis...?

6. Government doesn't work. Because government is force, because government programs are designed to enrich the politically powerful, because you can't control government and make it do what's right, because every new government program soon wanders from its original purpose, and because politicians eventually misuse the power you give them, it is inevitable that no government program will deliver on the promises the politicians make for it.

If you take the previous five principles listed above you see that the end result is that government just cannot do what we want it to do when we use it to usurp our basic rights. Once you start down that path anyone can come along and give a well intentioned reason to do so and another governmental boondoggle is created. We end up with Bridges to Nowhere, Tunnels to Nowhere, pork barrell spending the likes that would make our founding fathers roll over in their graves to witness. Waste, corruption and abuses of power all being directed at the citizens of the country that they are suppose to be representing.

7. Government must be subject to absolute limits. Because politicians have every incentive to expand government, and with it their power, there must be absolute limits on government.

Because government doesn't work, because it can and will be abused, because it can never do what we want it to do exactly, we must limit the ways that the government uses their power of force against the citizenry as much as possible while still allowing it to perform it's necessary and proper functions of protecting our basic rights.

The US constitution was written in such a way to really limit what the government can do. Specifically the 9th and 10th amendments were written pretty clearly to state that 1) just because a right is not listed in the Bill of Rights does not mean that that right does not exist and 2) if the federal government is not given direct and specific ability to do something then it does NOT have the power to do it.

Unfortunately, over the past 100 years, specifically after the US Supreme Court buckled under the pressure of FDR when he threatened to pack the court when he was not getting the programs he wanted to pass Constitutional muster, we have seen these two amendments being eroded away to a point where they are almost listed in our Constitution as footnotes to what we once were. And it is because we are unwilling anymore to expect that things are taken care of without force. That we can't convince and use our own humanity to make sure that the things that need done get done. We sublet our responsibility to our government so that we can feel better at night that we don't want to do those things. We don't help our neighbors as much as we used to, we don't even know our neighbors much. We have increasingly isolated ourselves in our tract homes knowing that a percentage of what we make is going to helping those that need it so we don't have to do the hard work anymore.

Because of this, at a time when we should be becoming more enlightened, more charitable, more understanding and compassionate, we are becoming more divisive, more prone to hatred of our neighbors, more resentful of those that might have more than we, less compassionate of those that have less.

We need to take our lives back from our government. Stop letting it tell us what to do, how to live, what decisions we should be making on our own.

The present system of unlimited power is like giving a drunken stranger a set of signed, blank checks on your bank account. You are reduced to relying on the honesty and integrity of people you don't even know — and they abuse that trust again and again.

If you believe that the government should be more expansive that the US Constitution allows, there is a way to alter the constitution to allow it. But in doing so you must go through a long and arduous process that is not a 'simple majority' control of a congressional body. And it was SUPPOSE to be that way, to ensure that things that were not needed for the government to do would be left to us to do for ourselves. Unfortunately we have bypassed this check and balance in favor of expediency of our own agendas and we curse and bluster when our political foes are able to put their agendas in place the same way. The fault is our own, it is one we are responsible for and it is only WE who have any chance to reign in the government and then start using the proper methods of altering the Constitution in order to allow the government to do the things we feel it should be doing.

Harry finishes his article with a few questions that you should ask yourselves the next time you want a law in place to solve a particular issue or you want a new governmental program created to take care of something you are unwilling or unable to do yourself. I suggest you do so as well, even if you decide that it should still be done at least you have given yourself a chance to question that law or policy first.

Do I really want to use force to make this happen? Do I have any idea how many families may be destroyed by giving the government another tool to be enforced with fines and prison terms?

Do I really believe that George Bush, Teddy Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Trent Lott will have my best interests at heart when they fashion this new program or law?

Why should I believe supporting this program will lead to exactly the solution I believe is right — when I have no way to control the outcome?

Do I really think the politicians won't expand the scope and cost of this program far beyond what they're talking about today?

Do I really want to give politicians this kind of power — knowing that some day the politicians and party I don't like will have it at their disposal?

Why in the world should I think this government program will work any better than any government program of the past?

How can I hope to bring about small, limited government when I'm suggesting a new government program that will take us further away from the Constitution?

One thing I want to say before I end this article. I don't know how many issues we were suppose to solve with a governmental program or law that is still with us. Homelessness, poverty, racism, all things we wanted to solve but end up exacerbating with governmental involvement. If you really want to solve these issues you have to not rely upon the government to do them but on yourselves. Join neighborhood communities, run charities, find a way to solve that cause and go out and do it. Convince others, become active in your communities and at least work on that little bit surrounding you that you actually have some control over. If everyone were to work hard on their own communities this way we might find that we can solve these issues ourselves without the need for government to get involved and just screw it all up the way only the government can.

Posted by Rhinehold at August 11, 2006 8:16 PM
Comments
Comment #174975

Rhinehold,
Very thought provoking piece of work. I find it ironic that our founding fathers were fighting an Aristocracy to win a governmant by and for the people. Now some 230 years later here we are fighting an Aristocracy to win a governement by and for the people.
Smaller federal government sounds good to me. I think that was the battle cry of the conservatives since the days of Reagan. As it has turned out they have only suceeded in increasing the size of government to an unmanageble level.

My question is how would the libertarians do any better and what would they do to acheive this goal?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 11, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #174977

Rhinehold,

Excellent post!

I’m glad you are writing about something that is truly important.

Bloated government has grown to nightmare proportions, and continues to grow. When and how will it end?
Americans have grown too lazy, apathetic, complacent, selfish.

That’s a hard, and difficult thing to say.
I wish it wasn’t true.

Government is irresponsible, and voters lazily keep re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians, because voters have forgotten the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, responsible thing voters were supposed to be doing all along, always.

Simply do not re-elect irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians.

Education is the key.

Voters don’t really understand what is going on.
They are too fond of wallowing in the petty partisan warfare.
There are two classes in this country. One class derives concentrated power from its concentrated wealth. The other class has power only in numbers, and that power is largely ineffective due to their inability to mobilize through organization (such as merely not re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians).

83% of all donations of $200 or more (at the federal level) come from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population.

How is the remaining 99.9% of the U.S. population supposed to have a voice in our FOR SALE government? They can’t out-spend the 1% of the U.S. population with 40% of all the nation’s wealth?

Incompetence and malfeasance, eventually causes someone pain. One thing we can be confident of is that, eventually, enough incompetence and corruption will produce enough pain and misery required to motivate voters (provided they still have the right to vote, that many sacrificed life and limb to secure).

It is just a matter of time. Progress is slow (2 steps forward and 1.999 steps backward). We have been taking steps backward for a while.

The longer voters take to remember what it is they are supposed to be doing, the more pain and misery they are creating for themselves and generations to come, and they truly will only have themselves to thank for it, since they have the very mechanism right under their very own noses to simply stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.

Nothing fancy.
No vast conspiracies or strategies.

And, if the next politician is irresponsible too, vote ‘em out , recall them.

I have been amazed that no one can list 10, 20, 50, or even 268 (half of 535) in Congress that are responsible, don’t vote on pork-barrel, don’t pander, don’t troll for campaign money, and don’t look the other way.

What is this telling us?

Carefully read what Rhinehold wrote above.
Incumbent politicians will not self reform.
It’s up to the voters.

78 million of 200 million eligible voters don’t even bother to vote.
They could have a huge impact if only they gave a damn.

But, I can hear them now. In the future, when we have run the nation into the ground, those same people that didn’t give a damn will be blaming and pointing fingers, but they only need to look in the mirror to see the real problem.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 11, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #174978

P.S. Rhinehold. When I said “I’m glad you are writing about something that is truly important.”, I did not mean that anything you wrote before was unimportant. My bad … bad choice of words. It’s an important topic. That’s really all that was meant.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 11, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #174980

P.S. Rhinehold. When I said “I’m glad you are writing about something that is truly important.”, I did not mean that anything you wrote before was unimportant. My bad … bad choice of words. It’s an important topic. That’s really all that was meant.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 11, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #174985

I don’t know why the left thinks the KKK and Nazis are Republican. They’re both socialist groups.
Both groups still exist here in the South, though their presence isn’t nearly what it once was and not nearly what it is in the Midwest.
I’ve met members of both groups at various times in my life and they have certain traits that are always present.
They are ignorant a**holes. They hate everyone not in their group.
They are Democrats. At least the ones who voice any inclination to vote are which, fortunately, isn’t many. In the KKK’s heyday in the South the Republican party was practically nonexistent. Jim Crow and segregation was enacted by Democrats. When David Dukes (a lifelong Democrat) tried to run for office as a Republican he was loudly condemned and pushed away by the Republicans.
There are many reasons to be disgusted with the Republicans but don’t try to paint them with the tar that belongs on the Democrats.

Posted by: traveller at August 11, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #174993
don’t try to paint them with the tar that belongs on the Democrats
Perhaps most (if not all) need to be tarred and feathered? Look up your own senators and representative and see if they are responsible, or not. Look at their fiscal policies and pork-barrel , graft, and corporate welfareat Cititzens Agasint Government Waste.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at August 11, 2006 10:46 PM
    Comment #175008
    5. Power will always be misused. Give good people the power to do good and that power eventually will be in the hands of bad people to do bad.

    There is a way to reduce corruption, but it requires an understanding of human nature.

    Corruption is always trying to grow. To understand why, you have to understand human nature, and properly design systems to account for it. No healthy society can exist for long without the proper balance of Power, Education, Transparency, and Accountability.

    Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability
    Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

    Education leads to awareness, and an understanding of the importance of Transparency, which leads to the outrage, which leads to Accountability, which leads to punishment and consequences for abusers, which leads to Responsibility, which leads to less Corruption.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 11, 2006 11:34 PM
    Comment #175075

    Excellent post, Rhinehold. Thanks for making us all better educated.

    Posted by: gergle at August 12, 2006 9:59 AM
    Comment #175144

    Rhinehold:

    Great job explaining Libertarianism. I compliment you on a thoughtful piece.

    You say government is force. Of course it is. That in itself is not a flaw. It depends on how the force is used.

    Government is politics. Sure. But what’s wrong with politics? Any time people get together - at home, in business, in church, anywhere - there’s politics.

    Yes, indeed, laws are written by politicians. Supposedly they represent us. If we don’t like what they do we vote them out. Of course the system is not perfect. What system is?

    You say government programs develop a life of their own. This does not happen in other organizations? You also say that power is abused. Again, the same is true everywhere.

    When you say government does not work, this is obviously wrong. Many programs, especially Social Security, work well indeed. And don’t forget, you said we need government to defend us.

    Your solution is that all of us work in our communities to ameliorate problems. Great idea! But it does have its limits. Many of the civil rights movements started this way. But it wasn’t until we got the government involved, that women and the blacks got to vote.

    One more thing. You say Progressives favor government over the private sector. Not exactly. We favor helping the Little Guy as opposed to Big Business. If a private sector way can be found to accomplish the task, we’re all for it. Too often, however, we must rely on the government to accomplish it.


    Posted by: Paul Siegel at August 12, 2006 2:50 PM
    Comment #175145
    You say government is force. Of course it is. That in itself is not a flaw. It depends on how the force is used.
    Force is power. Power is not only required, but usually exists when other things don’t, such as Education, Transparency, and Accountabilitiy.

    Hence, the equation:
    Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability
    Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

    But, those equations are missing something: Conscience

    Because, without it, there is no source of moral or ethical judgement, or sense of right and wrong. A good conscience is not merely knowing what is right and wrong, but doing what is right.

    Hence:
    Responsibility = Power + Conscience + Education + Transparency + Accountability
    Corruption = Power - Conscience - Education - Transparency - Accountability

    Now, there is something to lead to Education, and the things it leads to.

    And, that may be the root of most of our problems. We know what is right or wrong, but are we doing what is right? Laziness and selfishness get in the way too often.

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 12, 2006 3:06 PM
    Comment #175173

    Paul,

    Civil rights, such as equal protection under the law and the right of supressed minorities to vote is the exact reason that a government has to exist.

    Unfortunately, you skim over the problem with Progressives and the rights they invent to protect the little man and what it means.

    When you enact a law to ‘help the little guy against the evil big business’ you neglect a few things. First of all, most ‘big business’ is a bunch of ‘little guys’ trying to earn a living. Second, when you force a company to spend more to make a product or provide a service, that increase gets passed on to, you guessed it, the little guy.

    The middle class in most countries pay for everything and are the ones hurt by trying to force business to take care of the little man. The ‘rich’ will find a way to pass the extra cost on to the consumer. Ignoring this fact causes everyone to think that they are ‘sticking it to the man’ when they are really hurting the very people they want to help.

    And the final issues that gets overlooked… If a business is acting horribly or overcharging, you don’t have to buy from them or use their services. Unless they are a monopoly in which case I do support government invervention for protections.

    But the problem with government is that you CAN’T go anywhere else. You have to do what they say. You can’t just choose not to partake in their program no matter how much it hurts or no matter how evil the government is at that time.

    Essentially, every time you enact a law or program, you are setting up more power that can be abused, that will be abused, and that will be the subject of ‘politics’.

    You say there’s nothing wrong with politics? Do you REALLY want politics involved in our medical programs? Do you really think it’s a good idea to have republicans in charge of the doctors of this country enough to say whether or not they can provide abortions, work on certain minorities, require documentation of citizenship, etc? Or would you rather leave that decision up to the patient and their doctor?

    I know that most Progressives THINK that they are helping, that they are fighting the good fight, but more often than not they are causing more harm to the people they are trying to fight for than if they would just work to get the government out of people’s lives and let them take care of themselves for a while.

    I hear many Progressives saying that many middle class can’t support their families on what a single breadwinner can make. I wonder if they could if they were NOT paying outragous taxes in order to continue the many failed programs that they continue to have to support? Perhaps they COULD take care of their families, we just don’t let them because of all of the government intervention into their lives? There is almost nothing you can buy, nothing you can do or nothing you can earn that the government doesn’t have a say in these days. That’s way too much control, and unlike big business it’s not control that you can boycott or refuse to use. You’re stuck…

    And if that’s not close to what Tyranny is, I’m not sure what is…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2006 7:22 PM
    Comment #175220

    traveller

    I don’t know why the left thinks the KKK and Nazis are Republican. They’re both socialist groups.

    And they’re proud of it.

    Both groups still exist here in the South, though their presence isn’t nearly what it once was and not nearly what it is in the Midwest.

    And thank God for that.

    I’ve met members of both groups at various times in my life and they have certain traits that are always present.
    They are ignorant a**holes. They hate everyone not in their group.

    I’ve gone to school with them and a**holes is being polite. And your right, they do hate everyone that’s not in their group. And they don’t care about skin color. Either your one of them or your the enemy. They even hate each other.

    In the KKK’s heyday in the South the Republican party was practically nonexistent. Jim Crow and segregation was enacted by Democrats.

    No “self respecting”? KKK member would’ve dared called himself a Republican.

    When David Dukes (a lifelong Democrat) tried to run for office as a Republican he was loudly condemned and pushed away by the Republicans.

    As I recall it got him ousted as Grand Dragon too.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at August 13, 2006 12:20 AM
    Comment #175232

    If you google David Duke the white supremist not David Dukes the actor you will find he is a far right conservative that ran for office as a republican.

    Posted by: j2t2 at August 13, 2006 1:10 AM
    Comment #175234

    Traveller and Ron, I hate to bother you two with facts but if you google Nazi political ties you will see they were against communism and were a facist organization. I would think that would tie them to the conservatives and the republicans more than those democrats you call commies wouldn’t you?

    Posted by: j2t2 at August 13, 2006 1:21 AM
    Comment #175237

    Traveller, Ron, I’m saddened that all you can take out of the piece is that you think the KKK and Nazi Parties are ‘socialists’.

    Apparently you forget that the KKK and Nazi party had open warfare in the streets of Charlotte with the national socialist party, leaving several socialsts dead. They opposed unions, they opposed civil rights and they were voting republican.

    In the past, the democrats stood for the Jim Crow laws and the blacks in the south were decidedly republican. But when the republican party turned their backs on the blacks in order to make a deal for the presidency, bringing in the reign of Jim Crow and is what set the black people back decades in this country. I don’t think they really ever forgot that and don’t trust Republicans now. Somehow the democrats have convinced them they can be trusted and have changed their spots though…

    So, in order to get those black votes the democrats have been pushing hard since Johnson for black rights so much that the KKK and Nazi parties have turned to the republicans in order to push their hatred.

    The reality is that the Democrats of today have fooled the black community, they are little better than their Jim Crow counterparts, they just couch their hate in a desire to help, using the division that they preach against as a wedge issue and means to power, knowing that they can never solve the issue or their issue will no longer serve them. To be honest, the black community really has few alternatives in today’s day and age. Either they vote republican and know that they are rubbing elbows with people who are in the party and are decidedly racist (it’s not a majority but it’s still there) or they have to sell their soul into the thoughts of the democrats that they can’t make it on their own and have to have protection and help from the governmental troughs.

    The facts of the piece are no different for them, only by getting government out of their bedrooms and pocketbooks and back to focusing on what they should be doing, ensuring equal civil rights, will they truly be free to be what they want to be with the pride that goes along with accomplishment.

    I wish more black people would see the wisdom of voting libertarian instead of falling for the poetic but putrid bile that springs from the mouths of those like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, telling them on one hand they should be proud of their heritage and on the other trying to convince them that they can’t make it without help from the great and powerful DNC.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at August 13, 2006 1:24 AM
    Comment #175309

    Rhinehold,
    You are correct.
    Government must exist.
    Without it, there is no standard.
    Only chaos, societal disorder, or worse.

    The Libertarians are the largest 3rd party, and hold the most offices of any 3rd party (at the local and federal level). My leanings are a little bit Libertarian, and will most certainly be considering Libertarian challengers anywhere there is an irresponsible incumbent. The main thing is for people to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbents to merely hold on to a seat for their party, because that is creating two parties that simply consist of too many irresponsible incumbents. It essentially programs bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians to be irresponsible, because they keep getting re-elected, no matter how irresponsible they are (short of murder; but lying, peddling influence, $90K of bribes hidden in the fridge, etc. is OK). Good article … hope to see more like it.

    And, consider the word politicians.

    • poli- (many; more than one; much: abnormally excessive).

    • tic (a blood sucking parasite; hanger-on; leech; sponge; freeloader; see: control, dependence )

    • -ian (of; related to; resembling)

    Hence, politicians (poli-tic-ians; an abnormally excessive number of blood sucking parasites).

    Posted by: d.a.n at August 13, 2006 1:47 PM
    Comment #175472

    Someone wrote:
    “Simply do not re-elect irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians”

    ahhh if only it were so simple
    But who do you elect in their place?
    What does it take to get elected these days??
    $$$$$$$$
    And the willingness to subject yourself and your family to the hell that is politics and political office today.
    Long ago I wondered why more “good” people weren’t running for office, — but it didn’t take me long to figure out why — and that it would take an EXTREMELY exceptional person to suffer thru all that in order to “do the right thing” for cause and country.
    It became painfully obvious that (for the most part) the ONLY people running were people that you really don’t want representing you in the first place.
    SOOOO
    We vote out the incumbants, and just get a new load of bought and paid for politicians to replace them —

    soooo How’s about a better idea??
    I know I don’t have it, — but I know this one can only work if we can get replacements that are better than the incumbants (and even then, how do we KNOW that these new people are any better so we can vote for them??)

    Also — to whomever got WAYYYYYYY off the track and took this general treastise on the ills of Government in General to attack Democrats in specific!! — What the heck drug are you on????
    That came from so far out in left field as to be from a differnt county!!

    Regarding regulations against businesses and how they would do better for us small guys if only……
    yea, right and I got a bridge to sell you
    We would still have river’s catching fire from pollution, we would still have unsafe, inefficient automobiles, (we still do anyway, but only because our good-old friends the friendly business people buy off the politicians) we would have logged over wasted desert-like tracts of land with silt clogged streams and no Salmon anymore (we are getting close)
    The Grand Canyon would be a lake right now (it came THIS close — but then Glenn Canyon got sacrificed) — Right now, due to “business friendly government” that refuses to impose necessary restrictions, in Wyoming and Montana — land owners are having their property ruined and their livelyhoods destroyed as gov’t handed over mineral leases to the “good guys in business suits who will look after the little guy” — who promptly went in and destroyed the surface to gain access to oil sands underneath — (in addition to polluting the ground water at the same time) — nothing in place to require these companies to act responsibly, and guess what, they don’t — and there is no free market solution as the consumer HAS NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER!!!!
    So bugger off all you “all gov’t is evil and is keeping business from doing the right thing” crowd
    Wait until the Gas company knocks on your door to tell you that they’re here to destroy your ranch and there’s nothing you can do about it!!
    See how you feel then, “Who ya gonna call?”

    Posted by: Russ at August 14, 2006 3:57 PM
    Comment #175487
    See how you feel then, “Who ya gonna call?”

    Well, in all of your examples, you couldn’t call the government since they are the ones who had the control and authorized it…

    Specifically the gas company example, the only way that they could do that is if they had the government backing, which they often do, otherwise there is nothing they can do to ‘destroy your ranch’. Sorry, but you’re treatise seems a bit incoherent and completely missing not only the point of the article but second paragraph that states we do need government for protection of our rights, which is what you suggest they wouldn’t be doing…

    To be honest, I’m not sure what you’re argument against the principles I’ve stated are…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at August 14, 2006 6:48 PM
    Comment #175614
    Russ wrote: We vote out the incumbants, and just get a new load of bought and paid for politicians to replace them; soooo How’s about a better idea?? I know I don’t have it, but I know this one can only work if we can get replacements that are better than the incumbants

    Russ,
    You actually answered your own question.

    Why elect “replacements” (that aren’t incumbents)? For one thing, re-electing irresponsible incumbents most certain makes no sense, does it? If the next incumbent is irresponsible too, don’t re-elect that person either. That’s all.

    If you hire someone to fix your car, but they do it wrong, you don’t keep going back there do you?

    If you go to a restaraunt and the food is bad, you don’t keep going back there do you?

    If you eat a certain food that makes you ill (for some reason), you don’t keep on eating it, do you?

    If you buy a service that doesn’t work, you don’t keep paying for it, do you?

    If your leg is broken and hurts to walk on it, you don’t keep walking on it, do you?

    If your lost and going in the wrong direction, you don’t keep driving in the wrond direction, do you?

    Russ wrote: (and even then, how do we KNOW that these new people are any better so we can vote for them??)
    You don’t, but it is not merely a matter of character. It’s a matter of accountability. Politicians won’t behave if they know they are not held accountable. Keep voting them out (or recalling them), keep holding them accountable, and they will clean up their act. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense. Simply don’t re-elect irresponsible incumbents. Stop empower irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians. Stop programming them to be irresponsible by re-electing them over and over. That’s all.

    True, it’s easier said than done, but voting not re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians is the simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, smart, easy, honest, inexpensive, logical, responsible thing we were supposed to be doing all along. Nothing fancy. No vast conspiracies or schemes or strategies. Just a little common-sense.

    About 90% of congress are long term incumbents. Many have been there for decades. Perhaps voters will see the connection between that high re-election rate and our pressing problems that continue to grow in number and severity?

    83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or larger) come from a mere 0.1% of the U.S. population. How can the remaining 99.9% of the U.S. population compete with that? Government is FOR SALE, and the average American does not realize they are being out-spent. When 99.9% of Americans send in their $20, $50, $100 campaign contribution, do they realize how little influence they have?

    A better, less expensive, way to influence government and make it more responsible is to simply stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians. That’s what we were supposed to do all along, always. The 99.9% of Americans may get out-spent, but not out numbered. Stop trying to out-spend the vastly wealthy, because that’s not working. 1% of the U.S. population has 40% of all weatlh (never worse since the Great Depression of 1929).

    People would be wise to look closely at what Rhinehold wrote. Those things are telling you something very fundamental about human nature. Understanding is needed.

    Unfortunately, voters currently lack the motivation anc conscience to give a damn.

    But, the much-needed motivation is on its way. Pain and misery. It is a good teacher. Too bad we have to learn (and re-learn) the hard, painful way (2 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward).

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