Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An honest question for conservatives and libertarians

What country today models the type of government you'd like to see in the United States? Who is doing government the right way right now?

I'm not asking for a vision of conservative utopia, just a place that loosely follows the doctrine.


Chuckh said...

I think they are looking for a bygone era when in America there was no income taxes, and no social programs...it is an age long past, they are trying to preserve what is left...If you read early American history, our founding fathers wanted as little government as possible. Slowly that has eroded or changed. I am not a conservative, but I do consider myself an anti-socialist. I think America has the best government model, but government is way tyoo big now, mostly because of modern changes in the world at large.

Julie said...

I'm a former Republican, current Independent who voted for O hoping for something different. Our government has proven time and time again they are wasteful with our tax money, and get too involved in our lives, and people become too dependent on government. Katrina was a good example of that - people had been trained for so long to be dependent on govt to do everything that they waited for govt to tell them what to do, and they were let down. We do have the best model, but our fed is too big and too corrupt with influence from lobbyists and big biz.

Erin O'Brien said...

I've been trying to think of concrete examples of how gov interferes with my life: How does gov limit the way I move and who I am?

I've got to admit that I'm having trouble coming up with specifics. I suppose the schools raise my ire. I detest the way they use the kids as human shields to get what they want (pass the levy or we'll eliminate the busses!). Some school policies drive me up the wall because they directly impact my kid. Despite all that, I'm all for public education and I'll man-up to the woes in order to support it.

I felt horribly violated, however, when an insurance company sent a nurse to my home in order to take blood and urine samples before enacting a new life insurance policy. THAT infuriated me to no end, but we had a brand new baby and needed the additional coverage.

I will continue to think on this ...

Thanks to all who comment.

Amy L. Hanna said...

The country in question is called Utopia.

Em said...

The Netherlands. I like the idea of Freedom of Speech, legalized drugs, and legal prostitution. The gov't and insurance companies here are totally out of control. I also think that our University system should be free and covered with tax money, just like our elementary education. Our Ivy schools accept more wealthy whites and minorites than poor whites with good grades.

We live in a very diturbing system that does not seem to reward hard work as much as the look people have and their pedigree.

Kirk Jusko said...

Government doesn't exist in a state of nature. Neither does private property. Both are human constructs. I'm not agianst either human construct. I am against aknowledging one as a human construct (government) but pretending the other (private property) is natural.

If all government does is protect private property, than the people with the most private property, some of the very same people who believe government should be as small as possible, get the most out of government. And those without property are, if you think about it, anarchists, anarchists hemmed in by "no trespassing" signs.

rls1950 said...

Itally - - 1922 to 1945

Anonymous said...

Middle Earth--jemison

Glass Houses said...

I don't have an answer for this. But then again I don't go on tangents about how ignorant everyone else is and how I'm an expert because of A, B, and C, so everyone should agree with me because I know what I'm talking about.

Those people are strangley silent as well.

Without knowing shit about shit, I'm going to say Canada seems to be run pretty effectively. Higher taxes, yes, but it seems to me that the benefits of the higher taxes are available to everyone, not just the very poor or the very wealthy. Most of the people I know who have lived or were born in Canada are just appalled at the lack of options we have here.

Mike Steelman said...

There is no other government of today that I would model our government after. Instead, I would like to see us model our government after our own constitution. We haven't been doing that lately.

I don't believe the government should be responsible for meeting my basic needs. I believe it is the government's job to protect my rights and my freedom to pursue my dreams.

If I felt like it was the governments job to be my mom and dad I guess I would go to Canada.

keithvassallo said...

Very true

It's Always Something said...

As a libertarian, I can say that I am not aware of any government that currently approximates the libertarian ideal. That should not surprise us. If you had asked that question prior to the American Revolution, you would probably have been told the Roman Republic, 1800 years gone. Yet our Founders brought into being a unique form of government that, for about 150 years, did a pretty good job at leaving Americans free.
It wasn't perfect, but what made by man is?

I assume you ask this question because you believe that if a libertarian government does not exist, then it must be impractical. If that is your assumption (and I appologize if I am reading too much into your question) then you do not believe societies and government can adopt new ideas to improve their lot. I reject this assumption.

I cannot comment on what a "conservative" government would be because there is no clear definition of "conservatism." The word itself means little.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Captain Nemo's, aboard The Nautilus. ;)

purplefeeds said...

This is such an important question yet I cannot come up with an answer. What is happening in the world? Wow!!

sausagefingers said...

The answer is nowhere, as long as there is government there will be citizens bitching about the government. The nature of the human is to seek utopia somewhere else, somewhere that has a more effective government, it is what brought my family to America from Scotland and what makes me want to take my own family back. Cheers, Sausage.

Kirk Jusko said...

Canada's a country with a huge middle-class. Why is that such a bad place to live?

Well, as it has such a big middle-class, there's always that "keeping up with the Joneses" nonsense. That can suck.

Virginia said...

Good question. I'm not sure I have an answer for it.

Dishonorable Schoolboy (Craig Hughes) said...

Mike Steelman has the crux of the matter. Our government does not exist for me to have anything other than what is promised in the constitution. Just because I do not have something others have does not give my government eminent domain over the paychecks of others and dictate choices so that I can have something I cannot afford.

I want a government that puts an honest to goodness value to making good decisions in life and not taking from those that have to support those who have not. Today our safety net has become a catch all, pure and simple. We have taken away the impetus to move ahead when the government will make sure your current existance will be upgraded without any effort on your part.

Erin O'Brien said...

It was not a facetious question. I know a lot of people who espouse their belief in a society with very little government, which I cannot imagine in a large complex country.

I feel like there should be some sort of model in order to support something, hence the question.

I think we have a very good governmental system here in the USA, despite our ills.

I mostly support public programs. I cannot imagine the elimination of public schools, for instance. I just believe that healthcare should be handled in a similar way. And yes, I'm happy to belly up and pay my fair share.

I love everyone's thoughtful answers and comments. I love getting little glimpses inside my readers, so thank you.

Dishonorable Schoolboy said...

and thank you Erin. It is fun to read what people believe.

jonas said...

"But he who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god: he is no part of a state. A social instinct is implanted in all men by nature, and yet he who first founded the state was the greatest of benefactors."

-Aristotle, Politics (Book I)

"But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If
men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the
government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."

-James Madison, Federalist 51

Start there, proceed accordingly.

alijotg2 said...

I'm not sure people are too clear on what a conservative is. I find your question interesting, and I hope to shed some light on the subject.

Conservatives do not look to other governments in longing. We look to our government and love what our founding fathers have creating and want our government to follow the root of America-the constitution. We do not want our government to change into something or someone else's. We want our government to go back to what it was created to be. Government is meant to fear the people, not people fearing the government. Too many people depend on government than their own abilities. People fail, but those that do well are the ones that pick themselves up and try again, not asking for a hand-out from the government at the first sign of trouble. Our government was made for the people, by the people, and should not be telling the people what they can or cannot do. Therefore, we don't want another government, we want our government the way it was meant to be.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

I know a couple of (outwardly) ardent 'Libertarians' who are basically just closet Republicans.

Also the very definition of 'Libertarian' just means "I'm OK, now fuck you very kindly and leave me alone whilst I concentrate on just me" - one of the poorest social attitudes I've come across. Is it any wonder they despise "social programmes" (a term they use in the pejorative, along with liberal) or any request for any input beyond that which suits themselves; and resent any penny spent on "non-essentials", like, say, ooh... universal healthcare?

However, to get back on to your question, Erin: can I name country which epitomises the 'Libertarian' ideal in deed and practise?

Sure. Pick any from sub-Saharan Africa. Everyman for themselves and no social programmes at all; no investment in roads, transport, health or industrial infrastructure and everyone is "free" to do as they want and beggar thy neighbour.

Good enough, or are my polemicist petticoats showing? ;-) :D

Save America said...

See the pronlem is that we had the model and we ruined it. I am a conservative not a republican anymore because the party is to corrupt. I believe that the founders were right and it can still work today. I am very against socialism because it never has worked. The problem is everyone thinks that the gov't should provide things for them but the goverment is not a business the way the govement gets money is by taking it from the people so when you say you want gov't healthcare who do you think is paying for it? You might say tax the rich more, wrong what do you think? They are rich for a reason they know how to hold on to thier money. You see it happening now the rich are making less money in business so they raise prices to balance it out. Unfortunatley we all can't be rich. I work in a job where I am in peoples homes alot and I see the "poor" who are living off the gov't and they usually, not all but most, have nicer TV's, electronics, houses than I do, but I am proud of everything I have because I earned it. It ticks me off how lazy people have gotten and that it is used as an execuse for socialism. We can do it ourselves while the gov't(both sides) has proven time and time again that it can not.

Anonymous said...

The United States created a unique form of government upon its inception. THAT is the system I would like to see us follow today.

It is scary to paint ourselves into a corner by requiring a prerequisite sample to base progress upon. Thank goodness that our founding fathers did not feel the need to base our system on any other- we'd be living in a monarchy. Instead, it was based upon a federal government that did not control or coddle its people, but rather provided basic protection.

The country grew, thrived, and became a great success based on citizens who did for themselves instead of expecting handouts.

Why to think outside of the box guys!

When the entire world fell into a depression in the 1930s, FDR began this country’s welfare system. Prior to that, private charities cared for the country’s poor. However, the poverty rate has grown more with the increase of social programs then when people had to care for themselves. As power has the tendency to corrupt, the more power the government garnered, the more problems arose.

Now we live in a corrupt system (both republican and democrat), and instead of rising up to make things better- and taking the power AWAY from those who have spent years abusing it- we are begging the same corrupt sector to mother us. Yet even mothers know that they need to allow their children to do for themselves, and that spoiling their children only creates incompetence and failure.

I do not know anyone who likes or trusts the government, or does not believe it is corrupt, but we are considering giving them MORE power to dictate our lives and health. (AND YES- There needs to be health-care reform- but NOT by giving it over to the people we don't trust- who have records of corruption and breaking promises- There MUST be checks and balances!)

I still believe we have the best system of government, but just as one can only nail so many layers of shingles to a roof or only paint over so many layers on a wall before it must be striped down to its original form and painted/ shingled fresh- so too must our government be striped of years of corruption and begun anew in the fashion it was originally designed.

AND Just For Fun: For those who believe Canada’s system is the best, I ask why do 5 times more people immigrate to the US than Canada a year, yet 25% more people emigrate Out of Canada than the US every year?

Chum said...

cosmic navel lint for the win!

best, most concise reply.

thanx...I'm glad I had the opportunity to read that.

gaelikaa said...

Dunno! Nice blog you have here!

Sean said...

Government is like money, it has no power or worth unless we acknowledge its value. The reason our government has gone down the potty is because of all of those people who blindly follow it without even thinking to second-guess what huge things are happening in Washington that affect our daily lives.

If we want our government to work for us instead of the other way around, we have to stand up to it! I'm not suggesting an overthrow in power, but people need to be well educated first and foremost. We need to realize that the only way government has ever changed is when the people stood up to it. Think about it, how many people have government jobs? Do you really think that o.7% of the population* could quell a large-scale revolt without changing the policies in question?

What I'm really trying to say is that politicians are going to CONTINUE to screw around with our money until we tell them to stop. Because lets be honest, the only way this is going to work is if the government is afraid of its people!

*my calculation could be inaccurate. if I'm wrong, let me know. [i took the number of government employees as of september 2009 (2,240,300) divided by total polulation (307,000,000)... like i said, feel free to fact-check those numbers.

Gillian said...

I don't think there will ever be one country that gets everything perfect. In South Africa we have our corruption and bribery even criminal activity within our government. But our standard of living here is still very high even with the crime rate. We learn to live with it.

I say bring back the death penalty.

Don't shoot me.

The Expatresse said...

Who says socialism doesn't work? Have any of you lived in Scandinavia?

Wouldn't it be nice if small businesses did not have to provide healthcare for their employees and could focus on being, well, small businesses? Where smart people could set out on their own and try a new business idea without worrying about health insurance? Where mothers didn't have to go back to work after six weeks? SIX WEEKS! And students didn't have to rack up tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt to make themselves better?

I don't mind paying taxes if I can have roads that work, schools that don't fall down, teachers who can make a decent living, proper public libraries, and medicine when I'm sick.

jonas said...

Anyone who thinks the Founders planning had a country of 300M+ people (of all races, religious, etc) in mind, you're giving them far too much credit. Their brilliance was devising a system that can change, that can adapt. We cannot go backward. More importantly, backward is truly not forward. To think otherwise is to take a, uh, fundamentalist approach.

It's nice to daydream about a less intrusive government. To dream about a time and place where everyone is decent. But, without considering the logistics, the variables that go into making (or rather, helping) people become decent (education, access to resources, etc), it's a pipe dream.

Moreover, I get the sense that much of the "boy, our country would be better if..." discourse silently ends with "...if people were more like me." Clearly, that's not a reality.

While its nice to have an ideal vision, a goal...we need to be a bit more realistic about where we are and whats possible.

Erin O'Brien said...

I'm pretty much with Expatresse and Jonas.

So many people take jobs they don't want and stay in jobs they hate because they are chained by health insurance. Imagine those shackles falling away. Wouldn't that truly free people?

As for small friendly government, it's just not a possibility anymore.

One more note for those who want to chew on a government vs rights issue, dig this feature I wrote on urban gas and oil well drilling.

What a tangle of arguments you'll find there. Conservatives say get gov out of the way and let us "drill baby drill" until that drilling ends up right next to their home. Then it takes them about 2 seconds to line up next to the leftie environmentalists.

Strange bedfellows.

Anonymous said...

Socialism can work. It does not by necessity entail tyranny. The fear mongers like to equivocate and link socialism to Stalinist Russia or Maoist China.

One of the biggest problems America has achieving the constitutional ideal is apathy. We can barely get 55% of the electorate to the polls. The Founding Fathers considered public service a civic duty. I'm not sure they anticipated the inequities inherent in a capitalist system that would become a barrier to participation i.e. control of the government by wealthy special interests that exclude the rank and file. Of course today any time someone talks of organizing they are immediately labeled "statists", "collectivist", "communist" or "labor unions" and are declared illegitemate by the very people that champion (sic) "Democracy."



Anonymous said...

OH yeah, and campaign reform - public financing of elections without private money- is called a violation of free speech as well.



Erin O'Brien said...

No one wants to know how long I puzzled over "brope" and "freos" before I realized RJ was sharing his word verifications with all of us.


Anonymous said...

Actually those are code words from Lord Xenu. I'm breaking away from the fellowship.



Clandestiny said...

I think Jonas hit the nail squarely on the head for me. How can we have a gov't that does things "the right way" when society in general has gone down the toilet? For me elections have become trying to figure out who is lying the least about what they will accomplish/where they stand then hoping I'm choosing the lesser evil. Surely that is not what our founding fathers were trying to build!

If we accept that as true then we must believe that at least some part of the solution is to somehow improve general society. We need people with higher ethics, morals, sense of personal responsibility, and confidence but then no one would agree on how to define those terms! We could all agree to define those terms on an individual basis believing that it will lead to an overall improvement in society of some sort but who's going to stand up and be the voice for that change? And what's the most effective way for that voice to get the message across?

I strive every single moment of each day to become that "better person" as I define it but a glance at my blog (it's a quick, rather depressing lol, read since I only started last night) will tell you right off that when I did try to do so I was very effectively smacked right back into silence! When you buck the status quo, even if you're reaching for something better, you're going to get smacked so where does that leave us?

hoosierboy said...

Lint said what I believe. I am curious just where socialism has worked, where the life styles and prosperity and most importantly freedonm has not been lowered/lost as a result? Where in the Constitution is taking from the haves and giving it to the have nots authorized?

I, to use a cliche, do not mind a hand up, I do mind a hand out.

The Constitution is very clear on the limits placed on the Federal Government. Health care is clearly not listed.

The 9th and 10th Amendments allow those powers to the States. If the people of Ohio want Government health care -- that is their right, as long as the State pays for it.

Jenna said...

"I am curious just where socialism has worked"

Over a large portion of the Scandinavian population.

You HAVE to give to get, regardless of your government. People in places like Sweden are not forcefully impoverished when a hand is held out to the less fortunate. In fact, they have worked very hard to make sure the resources are available to EVERYONE so that EVERYONE has the opportunity to NOT be one of the "less fortunate". (Schooling, healthcare, and general mental well being - check out some Scandinavian countries' maternal leave policies. Your jaw will drop - are some of the major aspects that help with this.)

jonas said...


Thanks for the support on this. I think you're making a point I should have: those Founders were COUNTING on decent people to make the system work.

On the other, more cynical hand, we could look at the system as one devised by better-off-than-average white guys to stay just that way. And such a cynical take would lead us to eventually understand a far less cynical reality: we've actually improved the system. What with all the women voting and abolition of slavery and such. Go progress!

Yeah, it could be better. But for whom? And how? Do any of us believe, as stated above, we can get without giving? No such thing as abundant resources. Like I've said a million times, and I know this over-simplifies things, but some examples: we have the best health care in the world (as in, if you can afford it, its there), but we also have inner-city Detroit. We have the space shuttle, but we also have the highest divorce rate in the world. We put an f'n man on the Moon (yes, I believe it), but we also torture "enemy combatants." We have cheap gas, but invaded Iraq...twice. And it goes on and on and on. The best and some of the worst. You wanna get rid of the worst? We'll lose some of the best. I just don't see how it could be otherwise. And I think that's what we see when we look at a more socialized Europe. Less extremes, more middle. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for excelling, and being the best at things. There needs to be a vanguard. But does our morality truly allow for such dispassion towards our shortcomings?

I dunno. HB, I was hoping you'd chime in. The "DIY" attitude of America is a blessing and a curse. There are literally thousands of studies published on the positive and massively negative effects of pervasive individualism. Newton and laws of physics, right? Every action has and equal and opposite reaction. The rise of the individual often comes at the cost of the community. I think we're living in a time where we're starting to see what happens when the welfare of the community has been overlooked for too long.

Or, maybe I'm just feeling all touchy-feely tonight. Two wks w/o booze has made me soft in the brain....

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Being honest, I'm not sure there is an accurate understanding in the US as to what 'socialism' actually means - as it's been both used as being synonymous with 'Communism', and has been reduced merely to another term of personal abuse (like 'liberal'); and is rather glibly thrown around by the Fox News Borg who're still convinced that McCarthy had the best ideas where 'Reds' are concerned.

Mind you, these are the same GW Gump and & Limbaugh-loving functional illiterates who still choose to believe (contrary to all the evidence to the contrary) that Obama is a Moslem and has no US birth certificate. So wha'd'ya gonna do?

And sorry, but isn't it rather fatuous to suggest that just because healthcare was not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Rights (both now some 230+ years out of date in parts, and sorely in need of an update) that it can't or shouldn't be considered or discussed in a modern-day American context?

I'm bound to say that the taking (and making pregnant) of umpteen black female slaves, by a number of early US presidents, also found no mention in either of these esteemed and revered documents; but again, that still doesn't make it right, or socially noble, in a modern-day American context, does it?

hoosierboy said...

How much have we spent on the "War on Poverty" since LBJ? Can anyone say the inner city is better off?

I for one do not believe the Constitution is outdated or in need of modernizing. The true genius of the Founders is tha tteh document can be changed. Some of the early inequities have been changed -- the abolition of slavery,suffrage for women etc.

the fact some of the founders were held imperfect morals has nothing to do with anything. isn't it funny how many Liberals are quick to point out the moral failings of jefferson and others, but were quick to excuse Clinton when he lied undeer oath? After all, it was just sex, right?

The Constitution is a limiting document. It is very specific in the powers it gives the Federal Government. It gives plenty of power to the individual and the State Governments.

I would chalenge those of you who feel that the Constitution does not measure up to mondern society to show where it falls short?

As for the advantages of socialism, I keep forgetting the Socialist Democratic Republic of East Germany had to build that wall to keep out those disgruntled capitalists from West Berlin.

Silly me.

Kirk Jusko said...

Liberals were quick to excuse Clinton because we have a two-party system and liberals--and possibly conservatives for all I know--have to choose the lesser of two evils, which back in the 1990s was Clinton and his unzipped fly. Had liberals had more liberals to choose from, I don't think Clinton would have been so easily forgiven, especially not by feminists.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

With respect Kirk, it's a matter of context and proportion: if the choice is between Clinton getting his knob polished in the Oval Office, and thousands killed in a meaningless war (based on a lie) in Iraq, I'll take Lewinski's cigar and tonsil-hockey every time.

Being proportionate, I simply can't get worked up into a lather over a simple human failing in the way the conservative Right does in the US; and it kills me that some people still whine about Clinton's head job, as it's but a mere handful of dust compared to GW Gump's crimes in office.

Indeed, there are some Americans who still, rather vocally, scratch their heads over Obama's winning of the Nobel Peace Prize - but it's no small irony that that same head-scratching simply does not take place outside the US; where the rest of the planet continues to breathe a collective sigh of relief to be rid of the congenital fuckwit, Bush.

Anonymous said...

i don't really see a goverment that i like more then the system that we have here, in the US. i am biased however because i was in the military and that really colours a persons way of thinking... at least so i have been told... (as in it is not normal to march every place you go and squar turns and to the rear marching is not common place in civi food stores...)

all in all i think that we need to cut back on people pocketing money. there would be more for everyone elce. i mean why do senetors get apid so much and teachers so little?

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

The issue of teachers not being valued (and being underpaid) is a millennia-old problem, and not one particular or peculiar to the US.

You also have to remember that the politicians are the ones who set the teachers' pay bands - so that's a rather easy equation to work out, isn't it? The maximum bang for the minimum buck.

Infelix ego homo.

Kirk Jusko said...

Cosmic, I voted for Clinton twice. Had Hillary gotten the Democratatic nomination, I would have voted for her. Because I would have preferred her over the alternative, as was the case with Bill. The only point I was trying to make is voting for somebody hardly means you approve, or are morally obligated to approve, of everything they do. It may just mean you disapprove of them a little less than you do everyone else.

I'm some idealist, huh?

Kirk Jusko said...

Man, look how I spelled Democratic--"Democratatic"

I think I may have just come up with a third party!

hoosierboy said...

Regsrding Clinton, everyone seems to forget that the issue at habd was not that he got a blowjob from a fat chick in the Oval Office. It was tha the lied, under oath, denying a woman a fair trial.

The willing media and Clinton's handlers did a great job obscuring the facts of the case, turning it into a witch-hunt over sex.

Clinton has been disbarred. And yes, I think the President of the US should be held to a higher standard. He lied in court, he lied to the American people.

Was politics involved in the impeachment, sure. But the underlying issue is one all Americans should have taken seriously. When our fundamental right to a fair trial is at stake, a perjuerer is to be scorned.

As an aftermath of the Clinton scandal, the Women's rights movement and NOW in particular destroyed themselves and all credibility in supporting Clinton. If I were a liberal (in the classic sense) womwan today, that alone would make me hate both Clintons forever.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Kirk wrote: "Cosmic, I voted for Clinton twice. Had Hillary gotten the Democratatic nomination, I would have voted for her. Because I would have preferred her over the alternative, as was the case with Bill. The only point I was trying to make is voting for somebody hardly means you approve, or are morally obligated to approve, of everything they do. It may just mean you disapprove of them a little less than you do everyone else.

I'm some idealist, huh?"

Actually Kirk, you've hit the nail on the head: we're all asked to vote for the lesser of two evils where politicians are concerned.

PS: thanks for the thoughtful comments on Stephen Fry over at my place!

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hoosierboy, whilst lying under oath is despicable, let's not forget Nixon, whose epoch-redefining inability to be honest was indicative of his entire presidency.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hoosierboy wrote: "If I were a liberal (in the classic sense)..."

Like beauty, being a 'liberal' is in the eye of the beholder - indeed, I've recently blogged (is that a bona fide verb now?) on that very topic:


Erin O'Brien said...

Or Bush, with his nonexistent WMD, which spilt the blood of thousands, including untold innocents.

Clinton's foibles are nothing compared to the patent evil of Bush/Cheney/Rowe. NOTHING.

Kirk Jusko said...

Cosmic, I wish more people over here knew about Stephen Fry. I also wish they knew about Hugh Laurie. Well, they do know about Laurie, but not as a comic actor.

As far as Clinton lying under oath, I do take that seriously, and think he should have somehow been held accountable. He was certainly embarrased about the whole Lewinsky affair, that's a form of punishment right there. But the only person Bill Clinton actually hurt was Hillary, and she survived the ordeal.

One last, irrelevent point. Clinton should have recognized a political trap when he saw one. C'mon, he knew they were gunning for him. So he what does he do? He uses his gun on Monica...

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Fair points Erin & Kirk, and seeing as we're talking about Bush and Clinton, by happy coincidence, I've just penned this:


Enjoy! ;)


hoosierboy said...

So Erin, Bush lied about the WMDs, but Clinton and Albright, and the UN did not when they also all claimed Hussein was building WMDs?

I guess we will not even discuss Clinton and his bombing of that asprin factory....Oh, wait the whole Lewinski thing was a vast right wing conspiracy, until the facts proved to be true.

Selective memory is a handy thing.

Erin O'Brien said...

So help my selective memory with links, please, Hoose.

Did Clinton declare a preemptive that I don't remember?

hoosierboy said...

Will this work, or do you want me to look up the individual quotes?

Perhaps you were not studying politics at that time?


Erin O'Brien said...

So what?

Dems talked about Iraq and WMD. Some believed SH still had some. Who cares?

A bunch of quotes doesn't mean a damn thing when you stack it against a thin case for an expensive, poorly planned, preemptive war strike that Bush engaged while lowering taxes and deregulating the banking industry straight to hell.

Remember when the Iraq war began? I kept waiting for them to go in and dismantle these weapons they had located. But that never happened. The strike against Iraq never looked like anything but an invasion and an occupation.

Eight years of Bushie nearly destroyed this country, Hoose. The righties need to own up to the Bush years, but they don't. Instead, you bring up Lewinsky.

hoosierboy said...

Erin, you said Bush lied about WMDs. I pointed out he only parrotted a position of the previous administration. You asked for proof.

I supplied it.


If you do not care to admit your error, ok by me. If you choose to make it about something else, well, it is your blog. Just do not pretend you are all about the facts in future. Clearly actual quotes are not relevent in your world.

Erin O'Brien said...

hoose, just tell me this: when Bush came on television and declared war on Iraq, what was your reaction?

Was it: Oh thank god, we're finally going to do something about that looming threat.

or was it: Huh?

If you're like 99% of Americans, it was Huh?

And if Bushie thought Iraq was such an imminent threat based on actions from the previous administration (re: "parroting"), why did he wait until March 2003 to declare war?

Why wasn't he crowing about Iraq for the first two years of his presidency?

Dem quotes about Iraq from the decade before are meaningless. Trying to lay responsibility for Iraq anywhere but squarely on Bushie's shoulders is bullshit no matter how you wrap it.

hoosierboy said...

I guess you have selective memory about the endless UN sanctions and inspections etc. in the months and years leading to the war in Iraq? Maybe you were not paying attention in those days? I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

For the record, only in your world did 99% of Americans say "Huh?" when we invaded Iraq. At the time a significant percentage of Americans supported the war (that would be a majority), including the Democrats and (if memory serves right) an almost unanimous Congress who voted for it. Revisionism ain't in it, Baby. Don't believe me? You look it up this time, just do not forget to mention I was right.

Remember John Kerry who was famously for it before he was against it?

You can have the last word. Just make sure facts do not get in the way.

Erin O'Brien said...

I do remember the UN Iraq inspections.
They didn't find anything, hoose. Remember?

But you're right on one count hoose, plenty believed Bush's WMD lies, including most of our Congress, which is just one more reason it was so very profane.

Hell, I nearly believed it after they paraded Colin Powell out in front of the UN (I'm still waiting for his tell-all book about the Bush/Cheney fiasco).

But when the writing on the wall about WMD became clear, Americans sure changed their minds about the Iraq war because by then they new it was a filthy sham.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hey Hoose,

Speaking of selective amnesia, you forget that Bush was going to invade Iraq without the UN sanction to do so - it took Bush's Poodle-&-Lapdog-in-Chief, Tony Blair, to convince him to go through the UN and force 'a coalition of the willing'.

And then Bush went and concocted a set of bullshit 'evidence' (remember Colin Powell's voodoo dog-n-pony show to the UN Security Council?) and "intelligence" which was over 10 years old, and written by an Iraqi dissident with a grudge, and was largely fictitious any way (so compromised straight off the bat).

There was NEVER any threat of WMD (let alone one which might hit the US), and Bush and his Neo-Con cabal of performing chimps knew it.

Peter Lewerin said...

hoosierboy, why do you consistently try to twist everyone's words to mean something they don't and then say "I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt."?

Why do you ignore examples posted to this discussion that prove you wrong in favor of strawman-like examples of your own, and then complain about other people having "selective memory"?

As for the original question, libertarianism is unlikely to function in a society above tribal level.

The Roman Republic has been cited as an example: this is simply ridiculous as it was an aristocracy that depended on slave labor and which ultimately could only function by means of a bureaucracy that eventually took away almost every civil liberty of the citizens.

USA has also been cited. I don't personally have as much regard for the US constitution as many posters here have voiced: it was written before the concept of modern democracy had matured, and as a result it is fundamentally flawed. Recent events show (among other things) 1) how poorly its 'checks and balances' work when challenged, 2) how lack of reasonable regulation makes the economy seriously unstable, and 3) how easy it is for certain groups (for instance theocons) to deny others (for instance queers) basic human rights.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Very salient points there Peter, and well reasoned to boot. Skål sir!

Welcome to Erin's throng!

Pretty Peapod said...

Kudos to you Erin for honestly trying to understand another point of view. A respectable goal for anyone and a challenging, although worthwhile hobby for all.

I would recommend watching an episode or two of Milton Freidman's "Free to Choose" @ http://miltonfriedman.blogspot.com/

Also, Conservatives and Libertarians yearn for arguments based in honest facts. That sounds offensive, but let me explain.
The Constitution has been a document that has been stretched and pulled in so many different directions in recent, well..centuries. The first constitutional violation was committed by John Adams in 1798, and corrected by Thomas Jefferson. The constitutional interpretations are often stretched to how "it could possibly be interpreted", but there are papers written by our founding fathers that clarify what is exactly meant by its contents, which is largely ignored in favor of stretching and growing the constitution to modify its meaning.
There would be much less of a pushback to government growth if those who want to grow would argue for amendments to bring greater legitimacy and constitutionality the actions their desired goals.

There is a reason that amendments had to be passed in the past, (ending slavery, prohibition, income tax withholding) the constitution was respected and needed to be reworded to allow such things, and people respected that.
Now the 'unconstitutional' arguments are ignored and mocked, largely in this day due to the fact that so many things are now 'unconstitutional' that have been allowed to stand, and 60% of government authority would largely disappear if we opened up that can of worms.

The point has been stated that government support and security and less freedoms do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. I am willing to entertain this notion, but it often is the ultimate result.
Look what happened to the bailout CEO's. That received 'government support' and now their freedom to their own paychecks is under heavy scrutiny.
Those that want to strip them of their pay and bonuses have a good argument. They took our money, now it is our business whether they should keep or get theirs. The argument is valid. Their freedom has been sold. The problem is, if we allow their freedom to be sold for the price of a bailout, whats to stop this precedent from coming back to us!

If I take the support of government health care, does this give the government the right to dictate what I can an cannot eat due to increased health care cost to the taxpayer? Do we value the freedom to eat a potato chip? The freedom to be fat? The freedom to ride a motorcycle? The freedom to skydive? These are all risky behaviors that would "cost the tax payers money", and valid arguments could be made.

When our states accept the support of government through federal funding, they sell their freedoms to set their own drinking ages, speed limits, etc...

When we accept the government's support through the newly proposed electronic health care record system, or the new 'smart grid' that can track and tell us where and how we are using/ wasting electricity, we are selling our privacy for increased technology. In this case, we are losing privacy for the sake of greater ability of the government to attain more specific information. Sure, it may result in innovation, scientific studies, etc...but the costs must be weighed. Does privacy still matter? On most days, I would argue not so much. Keep your nose clean, and keep posting bits of your own mind on someone else's blog and enjoy the free social interaction and glory of technology. There are days when I doubt my comfort in openness.

The days of doubt involve the fact that in American history there have been political prisoners, such as under the Wilson administration. And there has been an 'enemies list', such as under Nixon. There have been arrests linked to secret wire taps, such as under Bush.
Could what I said on the phone to my Mother last week about a poopy diaper be misconstrued as a terrorist threat? I have no idea!

Pretty Peapod said...

Peter Lewerin -
I acknowledge your concerns about the constitution not being modern enough for our days and age. I would desire for you and like-minded individuals to amend it properly to suit our needs so we can have a proper debate about a more modern solution. I would love to bring legitimacy back to our government, and constitutional interpretation... Rather than twist it so badly, mend it where it is in disrepair.

Peter Lewerin said...

Perhaps the US constitution can't be salvaged by "amendment" or even reform. To me, it seems that American culture makes it very hard to adress these issues. A few instances:

1) The language of the constitution is antiquated, and the content is often vague and incomplete; a re-writing of the document is long overdue. Yet the American tendencies toward literalism and tradionalism probably make that impossible.

2) The political outlook that the constitution expresses is at least partially outdated. One of the most central ideas is that the essential characteristics of government will necessarily depend on the personality of the ruler, and that preservation of rights therefore depends on limiting government. (In modern democracies, limitation of government isn't as crucial since the people has more influence over how government acts.) However, most Americans seem to take this outlook for granted.

Aside: Limiting the government's power is problematic because others will step in to claim the powers that government is denied. Take healthcare: in the abscence of government control, private companies are in effect able to place taxes and legislate in this area in an autocratic manner. The current protests against universal healthcare actually amount to protests against freedom.

3) The American public seems to think or at least feel that the US constitution represents the ultimate level of progress in the domain of civic power balancing/civic rights, and that therefore any attempt to improve it is really a masked attempt to defeat it.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Pretty Peabody, I've read and watched a good deal about Milton Friedman, and he failed spectacularly where John Maynard Keynes succeeded.

In truth, Friedman had no appreciation of, or desire to understand the needs of ordinary people - he was the well-spring for the Neo-Cons.

In short, an idiot.

henry said...

the government, our elected representatives, should provide a social safetynet, including health care, national defense, roads, a legal system. that's about it. just enough tax should be collected. If each of us followed the "charity begins at home" model, instead of demanding that everyone else pay for what we think is important, things would work better. more and more social programs work until you run out of other peoples money.