Saturday, February 06, 2010

What do you say to people who say the Tea Party is anti-American?

In a mostly fair report on CNN of all places (HT The Gunslinger), the reporter, Randi Kaye, asks Bob Porto, a Tea Party leader in Arkansas,
"What do you say to people who say the Tea Party is anti freedom?"
He answers it well by saying that it's silly on the face of it, but I'm a bit stumped by it. I'm used to the CNN reports that, if made at all, are far more likely to be the sort of villainy slung by Campbell Brown by way of her smirks and the reporters finding those who will most easily appear to be an 'extreme' misrepresentation of Tea Partiers... but anti-American?

What idea can they have of America, if the desire for a return to a constitutionally limited government of enumerated powers and fiscal responsibility... could be considered to be anti-American? That IS American! Where did the question even come from? It's hard to see it originating from anywhere else than from a fear that a return to constitutionally limited government which the

Tea Parties seek, is somehow seen as a threat to what the questioner, and those the question represents, wants.

What does that mean? A constitutionally limited government of laws, not benefits, means people would once again be able, indeed be required, to make their own decisions, to make their own lives from their own choices... what kind of life is it that is idealized as having its choices made for it?

A life is made up of choices. What is left of a life lived without making or being able to make its own choices... can't be pretty.

You choose whether to eat, or not, whether to produce what you need in order to eat, or not, whether to put the effort necessary into those productive activities which will possibly produce the most... or only the effort required to return a more (seemingly) dependable result. You choose whether to smile at someone, or not, whether to be courteous, or not, whether to make your home clean and presentable, or not, whether to do the honest and right thing, or not... and how diligent you intend to be in doing the honest and right thing, or only cover those appearances which will let you comfortably get by with appearing to do the honest and right thing. You can choose to seek out, contemplate and reflect on what is beautiful, or not.

You can turn away from what is ugly and mean and rooted in pure sensory stimulation, or turn towards it and revel in it. You can seek out and look up to what is Good, Beautiful and True... or choose not to bother. But you can't do both... you do have to choose.

It is through just such an untallyable process, sequence and unutterably vast expanse of such choices, that a life is made, formed, directed and lived, and to the extent that you are conscious of those choices, and the making of them, and their results, you can be said to actually live your life.

To the extent that those choices are barred from your making them, or that someone else has made the choices for you and forces (for there is no other way such a thing can be done, but through force), that is the extent to which you are barred from, removed from, living your own life.

The hellish list of choices that have been determined by others through the arms of govt to be forced over and in place of your ability to make them... are legion... but a few off the top of the head,

  • How you can and cannot earn your living has been pre-selected to a list of acceptable (to those who have acquired the power to impose their choices upon others) options, and of those remaining that are available, how you will and will not go about your actions, has been narrowed to an acceptable list of selections which 'you may' choose from - within 'reason' of course.
  • What you can and cannot do with your land, and who takes precedence over your 'property': you (not!) or the wishes of the community.

Let me stop a moment with just that. Someone ought to take a look into an early property rights decision, one which famed lawyer Daniel Webster argued for, and on losing remorsefully stated meant "The death of property rights", that of the Charles River Bridge v. Proprietors of Warren Bridge, in it the majority opinion was stated that,

"While the rights of private property are sacredly guarded, we must not forget that the community also have rights, and that the happiness and wellbeing of every citizen depends on their faithful preservation."

Hint: what this means is that individuals have no natural and inalienable Rights, they have only those permissions and customs which the community allows. This was the opinion of Hobbes and centuries later, of the southern pro-slavery democrats. They will speak eloquently of the importance of 'property rights' but they don't mean that People, Individuals, have a Right to property, only that the community is generally better served by letting people keep hold of stuff. That has nothing to do with Natural Law and true Property Rights, it is only a theory for promoting a kinder, gentler form of tyranny - while it finds it convenient to.

That same Chief Justice who wrote the Charles River Bridge opinion, Roger Taney, followed the logical progression of that viewpoint in writing the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case (which was the spark that ignited the fuse to the Civil War) - that a Man or some particular group of men, if considered less than such by the community (or by those who claim to speak for the community), then they have no Rights whatsoever and slavery is right and proper for them. Those same justification's ('injusticeafication' would be a useful word to have) which were used for depriving people of their property rights in the Charles River Bridge case, were at root the very same ones which Justice Taney used to justify denying some people any Rights at all, with his, and the South's (meaning the Democrats) opinion asserting the legitimacy of slavery.

Look into it a bit, and you'll find that they are the very same ideas used by the EPA and other govt functionaries in advocating for regulating industry, decreeing minimum wages, or for promoting the interests of mice, beetles and wetlands, over and above those of mere 'individuals'.

The list of choices that have been chosen for you goes on,

  • Where you can and cannot live. What you can and cannot live in.
  • What you will, and will not drive, and what you will use to make it go.
  • What you must not eat... what must and must not be included in what you are allowed to eat, and we are rapidly approaching the boldness of govt determining what you must eat.
  • Whether or not you can have a child ...
Time for another pause. Here in America, proregressive jurist justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in Buck vs Bell less than a hundred years ago, felt no compunction against declaring that a women considered to be feeble minded, should not be allowed to burden society with her off spring... that means that in his opinion, and that of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, he thought is sensible to force her having her tubes tied because she was, in the unstated opinion of the court 'poor white trash', or stated in the politicaly correct way of the day, 'feeble minded'. Holmes stated,

"It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
(BTW, she was subsequently found to not be 'feeble minded'. Sorry. You can read a bit more about these well intentioned proregressives in American history here.)

Take another look at the reasoning of the leftishly revered proregressive Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, idolized in all the law schools even today, look closely folks... does it not make you shudder? If you think that there is nothing in the ideas of the modern left that will not resurface here again under the 'need' for environmental protections or in the healthcontrol bills, just as they already once did from the bench of the supreme court, if you think that there is nothing that would lead them to repeat similarly 'sensible' chains of reasoning for the 'benefit of the planet'... then I think that you have neither read our healthcontrol legislation nor much marked the nature of proregressives and their eagerness to 'do good'.

Continuing with one last choice chosen for you,

  • Whether or not your child (or you) will go to school - you will - and what type of 'school' you will attend - and whichever you 'choose' it will be one that has been chosen by others as being acceptable for you - or else. Check with a California Homeschooler to see how respectful of a parents rights the State is today.
The list goes on, and on, and on... but we, as a people, as a nation, will not - not for long, not in this way.

Funny thing about reality, it isn't fooled. You of course can fool yourself, and others, by swiping from Peter to pay Paul, but that's a losing game... sooner or later it doesn't add up. It just isn't sustainable.

Funny thing about unsustainability - it isn't sustainable (HT Gagdad Bob).

Not in economics, not in education, not in philosophy, and not with a process which excludes a person from making their own choices in their own life. At some point, their life is no longer being lived by them, but by someone else by remote control, who is forcing 'choices' upon them, excluding each person from their own lives.

The end result?

Zombies. Everywhere you look. Even in the mirror.

I suggest you put some Tea on the stove. Now.

(BTW - Blogger has the eff'ing worst html format writer in the biz. Just sayin')

33 comments:

f/zero said...

Watched Sarah tonight speaking to the Tea Party convention in TN. Not bad Sarah, not bad.

I cringed at her folksiness though and I know why - I'm an Idahoan and she went to school here. And no, we don't talk like that, thank y'all very much, and have a really nice day!

Then she said, "So, how's that hopey, changey stuff working out for you?"

I spit all over the screen. Ha ha, good one Sarah, you got me now. I concede the down homeisms. They can work.

I still don't think she's prez material but damn if she isn't John Wayne in a skirt. If God calls unlikely heroes out of the crowd, she's answering just fine to her new pay grade.

No shit, re: Blogger html. Isn't this the 21st century? Give Windows Live Writer a try - it's saved me lots of frustration. Even though it's a Microsoft product. ;-)

lance said...

You make some very good points in here Van. I think for me the biggest problem I have with the Tea Party people is that I do not feel like things have actually changed all that much from Bush to Obama. It feels to me like it is business as usual in Washington DC.

I wonder where was the Tea Party as Bush was growing government just like all the Presidents have been doing lately. I worry that all of this energy and anger is being used by the Republicans to get back into power where they will continue to do things just the same as the Democrats.

It just feels like so much pissing into the wind.

Ricky Raccoon said...

So what's your answer to that question?
:-)

The problem is, a great number just want to go "clubin".
You call them zombies. They'd probably shrug their shoulders if you called them that. MIL is Friday night.

So this post is a damn good post, but it's not built for a zombie. If you go see Book of Eli, he gives a pretty damn good response to one of them while he got the guy's head smashed to the saloon bar. "don't you know you are going to be held accountable for what you've done?"
He says it with a curious but compassionate look on his face. Because he's met so many of these lost souls.

You remove God, or worse, make him a joke, you get zombies. What else is there for them to do?

Van said...

F/zero said "Not bad Sarah, not bad....I cringed at her folksiness though..."

;- )

I could have cleaned up also if I could have gotten a game of "Common Sense Conservative" phrase bingo going!

I watched that, and just watched her Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace, and overall I liked it. Couple key points for me, was that she seems to get that the Tea Party movement is, and must remain, leaderless - meaning not led by A Leader, but from the bottom up - that's critical, and really is something that has never been possible before in history on this kind of scale. The other point which very much goes with that, was her reply to Wallace about her support for Rand Paul (Ron Paul's son) for Senator from Kentucky, which annoyed her supporter Bill Kristol and the GOP. Her reply was that there are many individual issues she disagrees with him on, but his core principles on Federalism and the 10th (and hopefully the 9th) amendment and keeping gov't to its enumerated powers, outweighs the other issues - that is something which is going to be key. Also goes with the supposed Tea Party nationwide and Tea Party vs GOP issue as well - Prudent evaluation of key issues, within the context of local, state and nat'l races, knowing beforehand that you are NOT going to get a perfect candidate, that you must expect to choose between Ok and Less so, or Bad and Worse and making a reasoned decision on how to act from there.

This One Hundred Percentialism that has been foisted upon us, that because someone supports something you disagree with, that that outs them as unprincipled and unacceptable, is itself a product of leftist philosophy (Mill did a lot to inject it into the mainstream). We've got to look for agreement on core principles, even though there may be disagreement on implementing them, and work to get acceptable candidates in. And not surprisingly, it's also a zombie breeder... it says if there is any disagreement or apparent inconsistency, then you must exit the reasoning process and reject the candidate... but that is not reasoning, that's merely a mechanical process masquerading as reasoning which any computer could do - Turing Test level or not.

To be sure, there are positions which reject a candidate, if positions and actions show a consistent ignorance and violation of core principles, then they're out of the running - if Bush had been running again when he made his "I had to violate the free market in order to save it" comment, and the actions which he followed it with, I would not have voted for him again - unless your only other choice is someone even worse (McCain vs Obamao comes to mind)... though in some cases a vocal "None of the Above" response might be appropriate. Bottom line, is that there is no template, flow chart, deterministic substitute, that can exempt you from the responsibility of Reasoning - we must think, consider, and choose and always with a strong awareness of the overall context involved.

Van said...

"I still don't think she's prez material but damn if she isn't John Wayne in a skirt."

Yeah, there's still a lot more I need to know about her before making that decision, but I do like her general 'sense of life' and uninhibited willingness to make potentially unpopular decisions and comments and I don't doubt she's capable of executing the office of the President. We've got the notion (mostly promoted by the proregressive left and right) that only super human wizbang thinkers need apply for President. I strongly disagree.

A President should have an informed grasp of the outlines of history and the results of previous 'good ideas' that succeeded and failed, but more importantly he needs to be capable of thinking in principles, listening to varied advice, identifying essentials, organizing actions in an effective manner and persuading others to support his course. There are many, many people who have that ability, and through the process of primaries, debates and elections, we should be trying to identify the person we think can best accomplish that - but the notion that brilliance, sky high IQ or Phd's indicate a person has that ability is I think dangerous.

See Woodrow Wilson and Obamao for further examples!

"No shit, re: Blogger html. Isn't this the 21st century? Give Windows Live Writer a try..."

I'll look into that, I was about to write my own html writer because I'm so sick of this thing. My first draft suddenly took sections from one part of the post and stuck them at the end, which I caught, and I just noticed that an early correction of 'anti-american' to 'anti-freedom', and a couple connecting sentences got dissappearo'd on my. GRRR!!!

Van said...

Lance said "I think for me the biggest problem I have with the Tea Party people is that I do not feel like things have actually changed all that much from Bush to Obama. It feels to me like it is business as usual in Washington DC."

Well... on one hand I'd answer that we really don't yet have any new Tea Party people IN Washington, to have made any changes yet... the year of 2010 is just beginning! There have been some electoral results of Tea Party positions, the two recent governor races and Scott Brown, but I don't think you could call them Tea Party representative or certified candidates. But on the other hand, I think the Tea Party movement has had some very visible results and caused massive changes in the actions of Washington - Healthcontrol & Cap & Tax being either dead or dying is huge and almost entirely do to Tea Partyish outrage and accompanying vocal support and activities. I don't think any D.C. politico would say that this last year has been a 'business as usual' period... they are very much stunned and amazed by what has been happening... and with some persistence, it will continue.

As far as changing from Bush to Obamao, well, no, they are after all both proregressives, Obamao being more wackademically influenced than Bush. W's "No child left behind", his Amnesty push, his Medicaid Prescription bill... those were all very proregressive ideas, and of course he went with a proregressive in Bernanke at the FED, and Paulson was the same corporate proregressive, Goldman Sachs type, that has been the guiding dark since Clinton - Bush continued it, and Obamao continues it as well. They all believe in the ability, power and purpose of top down fixes - they think it works, they think it is smart, proregressivism - left and right - believes in the divine rule of experts imposing their 'smart' ideas from above, because they think it will work.

They are wrong. They all view things like 'prices' as things that can be set, rather than vehicles which convey information from the furthest reaches of the system. They have the same idea about 'Law', 'Values', Foreign Policy, etc. As long as proregressives from the left and right are the ones who drive the governing of the country (and of course unless they are rooted out from the educational system - or rather the 'educational system' is allowed to reform and leave them behind), you won't see much actual change, certainly nothing lasting.

But, gotta start somewhere.

Van said...

Lance said "I wonder where was the Tea Party as Bush was growing government just like all the Presidents have been doing lately."

I think most of the people partly felt that they were alone in their 'anger', and that they couldn't really make any difference anyway, and also that most people beginning long ago, looked at what the politicians were saying and doing, wrote them off as liars and cheats and unworthy of their support or attention - but I think very few people saw them as actual threats to the nation and to their way of life. Most people seemed to think politico's would never really be able to change the country, they only spouted off nonsense and wasted our money on plans that didn't work and wouldn't make any real results.

TARP changed that for everyone. Remember, this thing didn't start with Obamao, but with Bush. People suddenly began taking notice, they couldn't ignore it any longer, they began to see that these disgusting people playing in their power sandbox in D.C. weren't isolated from them, that they were now really going to viscerally hurt them and their children's lives, and they began reacting. A lot of people seem to pin the start of the movement to Santelli's rant from the floor of the Stock Exchange, and while I think that spurred some action, it really began with Bob Basso's "Tom Paine" videos which I think came out in mid to late 2008 - that caught fire and stirred people up, and seeing the widespread reaction people were having to them, viewing them, talking to each other about them, that began to wake people up to the fact that not only could they do something about 'it', but that they MUST do so.

"I worry that all of this energy and anger is being used by the Republicans to get back into power where they will continue to do things just the same as the Democrats."

I'll tell you, that in the events I've been to and among the people I talk with, they are a big mix of people who previously identified themselves as Republican, Democrat, Independent and Libertarian, and Republicans are often even more despised than Democrats, because they know that they should have known better than to play politics with constitutional law and the heart of America. Republicans who come to the events, and enter into the discussion and attempt to 'play the people' are identified quickly, called on it and eviscerated on the spot. Believe me, the NY23 was a wake up call for the gop... not that they didn't try and hit the snooze button, but they noticed. If their party continues to try and play politics as if it has no more meaning that scoring points in a game, they will be eaten alive.

If they return to their roots of constitutional law, fiscal responsibility and nat'l defense that is focused on defending America, rather than reforming the world, they very well may get back into power, and rightly so. If the Democrats would return to that - and yes, there is plenty of room to be left and right from that foundation (see Madison vs Hamilton for early examples), then both may yet be redeemed.

But the real key, and I think the real focus of those who are waking up, investigating, paying attention and acting, is to root out the proregressives, that being done, it won't matter whether power shifts between Dem and Rep.

"It just feels like so much pissing into the wind. "

Get an umbrella then, because it's gonna get worse! Seriously, this isn't a Dem vs Rep issue, it is one of getting rid of the proregressives - sure they've infested the left more than the right, but they are in both, and if rooted out, there will still be plenty to disagree on, without risking destroying the Nation.

Van said...

Ricky said "So this post is a damn good post, but it's not built for a zombie."

Very true, few things short of a slap to the face will get the attention of a zombie... which if the zombie in question is your MIL, I don't recommend doing that. A rhetorical slap sometimes feeble sparks of thought though... asking "Why do you support slavery?" often gets a reaction, and "How would you convince a well kept house slave to leave their cushy position to escape to your ideal world?", or "Why do you insist on forcing people to be stupid?"... things like that, obviously backed up with the facts behind it, may eventually sink in... I wouldn't expect to ever de-zombify somebody on the spot though, or ever get them to admit it - but you'll start them to thinking, and more importantly, the other people who overhear the conversation may get to thinking, and that's where real change comes from.

"You remove God, or worse, make him a joke, you get zombies. What else is there for them to do?"

Well... by far I think the 'make him a joke' is more accurate, but still misses the mark a bit, I mean I know several religious and atheist zombies... it's amazing the number of contradictions that the mind is capable of embracing without discomfort or embarrassment. I'd restate it as "You cease caring about what is True, or make a joke of it, you get zombies", and of course, if you do that, more likely than not, God - by whatever name - will be back in their lives.

What people can't manage to do is live with blatant contradictions, while insisting on Truth, Truth that they make a conscious effort to integrate with the rest of what they know to be true and which can be traced back to reality - that poses a huge problem for those who like to allow their emotions to overrule and obfuscate their contradictions.

After all, The Truth will set you free.

Ricky Raccoon said...

I didn't recommend that.
You would have to see the movie for the context of where Eli lives.

Van said...

Oops... "and of course, if you do that, more likely than not" should have been "and of course, if you don't do that, more likely than not" and so forth.

Bottom line, focus on Truth, and insist that it have meaning, then you're more likely to end up on the right path.

Ricky, I haven't seen the "Eli" movie, have been hearing a lot of good comments about it, but not yet what it's about... what is it about?

Van said...

(Google of course being unavailable to me for some reason or another)

Ricky Raccoon said...

It's not like there are big surprises that hold the movie together.. there's one or two at the end but hardly the point of the movie (I don't think :-).. but I wouldn't want to ruin any of it for you.
I have to say it is the first post-apocalyptic movie that is also hopeful. I can't think of another if there was one. And I've always wanted one. It is not cookie-cutter hollywood recipe for a movie. It is a respectful, reverent, unapologetic treatment of the Christian message. It was refreshing. Soundtrack is great. There are extended scenes with no dialog yet much is expressed. It is violent. Haven't ruled out if it must be. Made by some of the same folks as The 300.
Let me know what you think if you do go see it.
It's better than cats.

merl the pearl said...

Tea partiers need to have a more intelligent focus. Seriously. Stick to the demand for more bang for the buck, period. No birther, deather, islamofascist, Hitler, God and country, Obama sucks, Pelosi is evil.. Stick to the facts. Leave emoting for the blogs.

And certain ideas need to be eliminated from their “common wisdom”. Like that all Keynesian methods are socialism, or that Reagan and Obama were on opposite communist-capitalistic poles, with one being angelic and the other satanic. When most Dems are hell bent on multi-billion dollar health care boondoggles, tea partiers should counter with: “Be cheaper if we nixed the government sponsored legal trust for insurance corporations. That’d make em compete.” Ideological slogans just aren’t working anymore.

Van said...

merl hurled "Tea partiers need to have a more intelligent focus. Seriously."

Oh. Ok.

"Stick to the demand for more bang for the buck, period."

My, that's certainly a more intelligent focus. One question, if you get some seriously big "Bang" for your buck, should you be concerned that that 'bang' you've bought is sending a bullet towards your own head?

"And certain ideas need to be eliminated from their “common wisdom”. Like that all Keynesian methods are socialism..."
Certain ideas need to be understood and examined before eliminating them, lest you show an absence of wisdom. The important question, the first question, the one which determines whether other questions are worth pursuing or not, is does this system in question recognize and rely upon, or violate, erode and destroy Property Rights and by extension all Individual Rights. Keynes is fundamentally opposed to property rights, and as such has a common 'principle' of socialism, communism, Marxism, fascism, etc.

"... hell bent on multi-billion dollar health care boondoggles, tea partiers should counter with: “Be cheaper if we nixed the government sponsored legal trust for insurance corporations."

Yeah... ok... so in other words, your advice is counter the proposal for killing yourself with a $100,000 guillotine, with a proposal for a $25 lifetime supply of Rat Poison'd Gatorade...? Wise, very wise.

Your idea is the very antithesis to what we should do, what we should do is refuse to be drawn into any negotiations on cost and scope (as the GOP is about to do), dismiss it outright, and angrily, and demand that the discussion be focused on the Principles of Individual Rights and Property Rights and refuse to violate either. Here's a decent proposal that meets my criteria.

"Ideological slogans just aren’t working anymore." "

Neither is stupidity.

merl the pearl said...

Certain ideas need to be understood and examined before eliminating them, lest you show an absence of wisdom.

Indeed. Reagan’s stimulus employed 2/3 tax incentive and 1/3 focused government spending, while Obama’s stimulus uses about 1/3 and 2/3. Same things, different quantities. Why would a democratic republican government do such a thing? Know anything about small engines? Think of government stimulus spending as a choke. Useful for starting a cold engine but a useless appendage otherwise. After start up, tax incentives provide the initial warm up gas. And after the engine can idle on it’s own, things are best left alone.

But a big difference between small engines and a capitalist economy is that time is far more critical. Screaming constituents are reality, perfect “individual rights” a dream.

Keynes is fundamentally opposed to...

In emergencies it’s often wise to set ideological purity aside for that moment. Probably why both Bush and Obama make civil libertarians crazy. And why Lt. Spock made a crappy captain. :)

what we should do is refuse to be drawn into any negotiations on cost and scope (as the GOP is about to do), dismiss it outright, and angrily, and demand that the discussion be focused on the Principles of Individual Rights and Property Rights and refuse to violate either.

And we wind up with a society that most people in all other nations want to emulate? Or one in which the clever narcissist controls everything under yet another clever guise?

Outta time. Read the "decent proposal" later.

Van said...

Merl said "Reagan’s stimulus employed 2/3 tax incentive and 1/3 focused government spending, while Obama’s stimulus uses about 1/3 and 2/3."

You seem to assume I'm pushing or pining for Reagan's policies... I am not, the last President I could say that I mostly liked, was Calvin Coolidge.

Much as I liked Reagan's general spirit and pro-western, pro-American stances, I never lost sight of the fact that he viewed himself as an FDR Democrat, which I view as a proregressive (or at the very least he was willing to compromise with them in order to lessen their power... but that's being generous) - he was far, far less a one than Carter was, but one none the less. To extend your analogy, Reagan's policies resulted in a better economy than Carter's not because he found a better fuel mixture, but because his policies amounted to reducing the pressure being applied to the brakes (in regulations, direct taxes and other govt actins and spending policies).

"Think of government stimulus spending as a choke. Useful for starting a cold engine but a useless appendage otherwise."

Better if you think of it this way - it's robbing you through a swindle rather than through a mugging. It is only within a very short term perspective, that government policies can be viewed as 'improving' the economy, but such apparent benefits such as more 'money' in the economy, are countered later as the absence of actual wealth is discovered. Not much different from a gang that surreptitiously takes $ from a stores till to buy their products. The store owner is going to be pleased with the day's sales, may even order some more goods and advertising, thinking that his current promotions have worked... but eventually he's gonna notice that his cash to inventory doesn't balance out, and he's going to have to retrench. If he never catches on to the gang's activities, he's eventually going to go out of business.

Reality is what it is, and no matter how slick and intricate your economic epicycles are, no matter how far back you manage to push back the imbalances discovery, reality will win out in the end (or better stated as reality will be discovered in the end - it is never, ever, fooled, only we are), and the supposed 'prosperity' will be replaced by grim readjustments.

(annoying blogger max character break)

Van said...

(cont.)

"But a big difference between small engines and a capitalist economy is that time is far more critical. Screaming constituents are reality, perfect “individual rights” a dream."

I'll say again, no govt policy, no matter how pure and proper, will succeed... unless the people also understand and support it. If I were named Uber Czar today, and repealed 98.2 % of the 20th -21st century's laws (and more than a few from the 19th century) tomorrow, we'd be right back in the same situation, or more likely rebound into a worse one, soon after. Until the vast majority of the people again understand what prompted the American revolution, why the Articles of Confederation failed, and not only why the Constitution was written but the concepts underlying it such as in the Preamble, there will be no lasting improvement; at best we'll establish a few beach heads and stem the slide towards the abyss. I'm all for establishing those beach heads (repealing the 17th amendment, the 16th amendment and abolishing all govt alphabet agencies - FDA, IRS, EPA, etc, etc, etc) but I don't fool myself into thinking that they would actually solve something.

Education is where we lost the battle for America, and it is the only place that we have any chance of retaking and restoring America - at root we are a nation of ideas, and without them... just a convoluted set of epicycles doomed to failure and collapse.

"In emergencies it’s often wise to set ideological purity aside for that moment."

#1, I don't support or hold to an ideology at all, and if you understand what it actually means, to say that someone follows an ideology, is to insult them. #2 your statement betrays the truth of the matter - the ideology is false, untrue, doesn't correspond to reality, and when it's error's pile up such a backlog of waste, you have to back off it and try something that may better correspond to what is true in the area that yours is more blatantly false. But of course, if that course is also dictated by an ideology as well, then you're just shoveling up a new set of surplus waste and corrosives which you'll have to 'set aside for the moment' later on.

"And we wind up with a society that most people in all other nations want to emulate? Or one in which the clever narcissist controls everything under yet another clever guise?"

Sorry, if there's a point or meaning there, I'm missing it.

"... perfect “individual rights” a dream"

I dare to dream and aim for it, knowing full well it is unlikely to ever be 'perfectly' achieved, but that any closer approximation is always to be preferred over the alternative (and I probably need to restate that merely legislating the protection of 'Rights' would be pointless, if the people were not inclined towards morality, honesty, and understand those Rights to begin with).

merl the pearl said...

I had point by point arguments then got to your last few comments... Maybe you’ve been into stuff like Gracians Worldly Wisdom? Successful politicians (and I see all American presidents as successful politicians, if not at other things) have always been afraid of the mob, their rivals, their enemies, America’s enemies, even their friends. If you can figure out how to keep people from panicking, from being tribalistic, to prepare for the future and be noble and wise, you might get some truly libertarian policies. Not sure if this can be done through education – I’m still bummed that Gracian’s stuff is as applicable to today as it was centuries ago.

Anyways, your “decent proposals”... I’ve seen similar stuff before, but I had to look for it. It’s alot easier to find info like barking at townhalls, GOP battling death panels, and Obama’s latest faux paux. The conservative powers that be seem unable or unwilling to market decent proposals to where everybody knows what they are. It seems health insurance companies are buying anybody they can to prevent their industry from going ‘thin margin’, like the airline industry.

About Reagan... What? You’re not a self-designated representative of the conservative nation? Uncommon for a conservative on these blogs. Most conservatives debate Reagan, abortion, Iraq, religion, climate change... in virtually the same ways. Must get lonely sometimes.

Van said...

Merl said "About Reagan... What? You’re not a self-designated representative of the conservative nation? Uncommon for a conservative on these blogs. Most conservatives debate Reagan, abortion, Iraq, religion, climate change... in virtually the same ways. Must get lonely sometimes. "

Yes it does get lonely, but it's also been getting steadily less so as of late, so I'm not complaining (well... I am, but that's besides the point).


I wouldn't want to leave the impression that I was in any way 'dissing' Reagan, he rescued us from the dismal carter, and I gladly voted for him both times (the first time, my first vote). If you read what he wrote for his radio addressed, etc, I think he 'got' the essentials, but in governing, and it was perhaps a case of changing what you can, and making the best of what you can't, he at the very least went along with an awful lot of what is eating us alive today - amnesty (not as in immigrant issue, but as a flying in the face of Law issue), Social Security, Dept of Edu, etc, etc, etc.

I do not think identifying oneself as a "Reagan Conservative" is a wise or good thing... except as in comparison to being a "McCain conservative"... it's sort of like being offered cup after cup of mud to drink and saying "I don't drink mud, I'm someone who insists on drinking only dirty water!"... well, no, much of an improvement as it is, my goal is clear spring water, thank you very much, and I don't consider aiming for dirty water to be a very sensible goal. You may have to settle for it for a time, and it is certainly an improvement over mud or muddy water, but I'd never seek it.

In this case Classical Liberal is the clear spring water I'm after, as best exemplified by the Founding Father's generation... there were error's and shortcomings in their understanding, but they were non-essentials, mere errors that hadn't as yet been detected or worked out, but their ideas, the general understanding and approach which typified their time, contained all that was needed to discover and correct them.

"Maybe you’ve been into stuff like Gracians Worldly Wisdom?"

I don't think I ever finished "Worldly Wisdom", he seems someone who understood the importance of Prudence, context, being neither partial to Subject nor Object but both in unison. But while aphorisms are pleasant and useful for stirring up your own thoughts, they're not something I can sit through from beginning to end. Still, it's hard to argue with lines like,
"The secret of long life: lead a good life" (xc).
"Be able to boast that if gallantry, generosity, and fidelity were lost in the world men would be able to find them again in your own breast" (clxv).
"A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are" (cclxxx)
.
(break)

Van said...

(cont)
"Successful politicians (and I see all American presidents as successful politicians, if not at other things)..."

I disagree, in my view a politician is not successful because he mastered the mob, but because he directed them closer to Justice (in it's classical sense, not some form of 'fairness'). I can only name one who did that in the 20th century, Coolidge, and one who lessened the flight from that, Reagan... the rest merely mastered the mob, at best, and that only means they managed to stay in the saddle during the stampede.

"... If you can figure out how to keep people from panicking, from being tribalistic, to prepare for the future and be noble and wise... Not sure if this can be done through education... "

There is only one way to keep 'the people' from panicking, and it is not something you can do, only that you can help bring them towards doing themselves, and that is through education - not indoctrinate - Educate, leading them through an understanding of what it means to be worthy of liberty and self governance. Not only am I sure that that is possible, but if you understand that that Free Will and Reality are primaries, it is the only way it can be done...


"– I’m still bummed that Gracian’s stuff is as applicable to today as it was centuries ago."

Then 2+2 still equaling 4 must really harsh your mellow.

"you might get some truly libertarian policies..."

If you mean that in the sense of the libertarian party or anything to do with ideas like Murray Rothbards... I've no interest in getting any such thing... right back to the asking for muddy water issue. No, I'm not a libertarian. So... you've dashed some nifty snippets about, snarked position or two and managed to not really say a darn thing, so it's now time to take off the mask and reveal where you come down on the matters.

You are...? You believe...? Or to get to the heart of the matter, do you believe in Truth that is accessible and understandable to us, and what is your understanding of what Rights are?

lance said...

I can vouch for Van not liking libertarians. He is like oil and water with them. :) Or Progressives. Or Liberals. Or college students. :) It's a long list.

Van said...

Lance said "I can vouch for Van not liking libertarians. He is like oil and water with them. :) Or Progressives. Or Liberals. Or college students. :) It's a long list."

Splorf!!!

;- )

Oh my... LOL. Now... I wouldn't use the word 'like', I've got several friends (in both the real world and the virtual world) who I like plenty well, but I don't agree with them and I gleefully disagree with them... and I'm not above setting that oil slick aflame now and again!

merl the pearl said...

You are...? You believe...? Or to get to the heart of the matter, do you believe in Truth that is accessible and understandable to us, and what is your understanding of what Rights are?

I am a pragmatic. I believe that most modern “conservatives” I run into use pet memes as a sort of self-comforting mantra to deal with all the conflicting beliefs in their heads. And that most “liberals” don’t know when to quit having blind faith in “there’s always a better way”, which has led to some disastrous consequences as well as the good stuff.

I believe that “Man's life is a warfare against the malice of men”, but mostly against the folly within each of us, which is always a matter of degree. Gracian died in exile after pissing off his superiors, ya know.

Truth can be counterintuitive, contextual and complex. And people range across a wide spectrum of temperaments and experiences. The people you meet on the internet, the regulars, mostly come from a small slice of the general temperamental population (INxx’s, in MBTI terminology). And outside of a dislike for some or all politicians, they never completely agree with each other. Until difficult truth can be made objectively obvious like some geometric proof, it will only be perceived.

I once offered that an objective ratings system which baseball players have to deal with – an ‘averages’ based on play – like ERA, batting, etc. wouldn’t be impossible for politicians. Nobody cared. They were having too much fun with “Dumbya” and “Barry Hussein Obama”.

2+2=4 harshes my mellow? The people I have to deal with today have significantly more ‘self-reliance’ education than those Gracian was trying to reach, back when loyalty to king, priest and lord was common. But 2+2 still = 4. People are the same. Good luck with educating them. Special education?

As I see it, rights are difficult – hard to define. Enforcement is harder still. I’m curious about how honorable Coolidge quasi-objectivists would act under certain conditions. Here’s a disturbing case:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/24/the_untouchable_mean_girls/

The girl was never touched. Her tormentors were practicing free speech(?) She chose the decision to off herself, by herself. Were her individual rights violated? Was she on her own? Had I been her father, I might have violated every individual right of anyone involved. But that’s not important here. Quasi-objectivism seems to have a hard time with socialized sociopathy... as in, it gives it a pass. And how does it deal with legalized sociopathic behavior on a much larger scale? The corporate monopoly? All those things "alphabet agencies" were created to prevent?

merl the pearl said...

Crap. I forgot this thing has trouble with long http addresses. The Phoebe Prince bullying case.

Van said...

Merl said "I am a pragmatic."

Well. There are two ways that can be taken, the one that puts it in the best light is as with, I'm sure you'll appreciate, Reagan's "We're a pragmatic people", meaning 'practical'. The other way it can be taken, which is the proper philosophical way to take it - and which directly serves the ends of by the former - means to disregard Principles or any notions of what may be 'Right', and just take action, and keep on taking actions until something 'works'.

This was the American reaction to the unintelligible Kantian/Hegelian metaphysical slop coming out of Europe, basically "Well... if what is real and true is so difficult to know or even if we really kant (ahem) know reality... WTF! Stop trying! Just do stuff!", which was the system of Pragmatism that came out of Peirce, Dewey and William James... and it has done more to destroy the world than anything else.

IOW - Ah'm agin' it. Vociferously so.

"I believe that most modern “conservatives” I run into use pet memes as a sort of self-comforting mantra to deal with all the conflicting beliefs in their heads."

I wouldn't disagree with you on that, though I do think there is a almost palpable hunger among people right now for getting past that - I see it especially among the Tea Party people, that one will quote a Founder, another will ask what that means, and they'll both draw blanks... and then, wonder of wonders, "I don't know, anybody know just what that means? Where can we find out more?" and actively seek to do so. Can't tell you how heartening that is. Btw, this site is a fantastic place to start, such as with the links here below the Preamble.

'Conservative' is such a catch-all... shortly after being introduced in conversation, I try to drill in and see what that person's conception of it amounts to. At the surface level there's just pure traditionalism, the "we've just always done it this way" grasp of things, there's also the literalist variation, either biblical or constitutional, that follows a "Well, [insert preferred religious or constitutional deity here] said it, I believe it, and that settles it" mindset. And then there's the pseudo-Burkeian (which does great disservice to Edmund Burke) that says "Society evolves what it needs, and because it has, it is right, and what the state is discovered to need is also right because it needs it, and such things shouldn't be tampered with" which folks like John C. Calhoun, Justice Taney and Robert Bork fall into... highly useful for overriding property rights, individual rights and for making it right to make individuals into property. Finally, you get down to the Classical Liberalism of the Founders generation (and Moi), which finds that at the core of what it means to be human, there is Reason (not the frenchified enlightenment version of rationalism...), and from the operations and requirements of Reason (I did a series of posts on what Reason is, Reasons of Reason in my sidebar, and some of which Objectivists would dislike, btw), of Human Nature, Natural Rights can be discovered.

I'm in the midst of a series of Posts on Justice (also in the sidebar... but missing a couple recent posts), so I don't want to get too deep into it here, but btw for all their protestations, Libertarians (at least of the Rothbard variety) are fundamentally opposed to Natural Rights, and to Property Rights - but that's the culmination of my Justice series, so enough of that for now.
(annoying blogger break)

Van said...

(cont)

"And that most “liberals” don’t know when to quit having blind faith in “there’s always a better way”, which has led to some disastrous consequences as well as the good stuff. "

And it's that “there’s always a better way” sans principled reasoning for them, i.e. Pragmatism, that made the 20th century a blood bath. If you want a quick synopsis (heavy ironic humor emphasis on the word 'quick') of my positions on Reason, Natural Rights and Education, this post of min gives a good overview of what I have in mind.

"I believe that “Man's life is a warfare against the malice of men”, but mostly against the folly within each of us, which is always a matter of degree. Gracian died in exile after pissing off his superiors, ya know."

Nah. I won't deny that a recounting of history, or even our own lives, easily appear this way... but I think it's worse than that, it's more like "Man's life is a struggle against others trying to do what's best for them, as well as our own ill-informed desire to do 'what is best'". And a proper Education is the only thing that has a possibility of freeing us from each other and ourselves. Note: I DO NOT mean the Socratic notion that 'People won't do what is wrong once they see what is right', or the modern Deweyesque indoctrination sessions.

"Truth can be counterintuitive, contextual and complex."

Yes... with emphasis on Contextual, and both simple and complex. One thing I discovered fairly early on, and which prevented full blown Randianism to take root in me, is that the Principle you see, and are certain is applicable to the situation at hand, is not necessarily the Only principle involved, or even the Primary principle involved, and while you do have to act as you see is best, you must remain on the lookout for those other principles in play - otherwise you risk what is typically meant by Hubris, and Nemesis is likely got you in her sights.

Gotta go, back later.

Van said...

ack. "and which directly serves the ends of by the former " should be "and which the former directly serves the ends of "

Van said...

Merl said "Until difficult truth can be made objectively obvious like some geometric proof, it will only be perceived."

I am always extremely suspicious of any philosophical proof that is trotted out to be 'perceived', especially from political philosophy, and presented as some self-contained geometric proof - such things nearly always 'flatten' necessary concepts and principles which the proof takes for granted (and often equivocates on), and discards the context... but then so does my reply to it... I guess I'd need to see an example of what you mean.

"2+2=4 harshes my mellow?"
(Sorry, couldn't resist)
"... The people I have to deal with today have significantly more ‘self-reliance’ education than those Gracian was trying to reach, back when loyalty to king, priest and lord was common. But 2+2 still = 4. People are the same. Good luck with educating them. Special education?"

Oh... where to begin... I don't really have the time to dig into this, even though it is one of my hottest of hot button interests... just a couple points then. If by 'self-reliance' you mean any sort or variation on 'self-esteem' education, or really any, and I mean any educationistic 'strategy' developed after (and from... guaranteed) Rousseau, then I can easily say, sight unseen and out of hand, it is crap. To put it as politely as I possibly can.

With some Reasonable (in the widest and deepest sense) modifications on the style of Education which produced our Founding Father's generation... and I emphasize that I do not mean this in any nostalgic sense, the system of education, humanities based (Homer, Aristotle, Virgil, Cicero, Plutarch, etc) - though not leaving out mathematics and science - and with the much maligned (mostly unfairly) Scholastic approach, of learning broad principles and developing valuable habits of mind through honing in on particular applications of them through debate with other students and with their teacher, all for the purpose of preparing minds to be capable of living in liberty, capable of self governance, having habits of mind inclined towards virtuous behavior and reverence for Virtue - while knowing full well that they will likely fall well short of the mark, yet still having that mark as the goal being striven for.

As some examples of what I mean, one is available online in full, "George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches [1742]" and also Education of the Founding Fathers is partially available online, very interesting, and it includes many of the original broadsides - the points to be debated by students - from the early colleges of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, William & Mary, etc... suffice to say there is Zero resemblance between Education then, and what passes for an education today.

I should also emphasize that Education cannot be given, it must be received, the teacher can only do so much, the student has to take what is presented and engage in the act and process of learning it, seeking to understand it, mining it for it's available wealth, and of course a large percentage of a student population is not going to engage, or fully engage in that, but if that is the target expected of all... much will already been accomplished.

(annoying blogger break)

Van said...

(cont)
"As I see it, rights are difficult – hard to define. Enforcement is harder still. I’m curious about how honorable Coolidge quasi-objectivists would act under certain conditions."

Part of the problem comes from not defining what laws (not to mention Justice) are and are for in the first place. I'd quickly summarize that Law is, or should be, to ensure that during the interactions of, and transactions between, individuals in society, the proper Rights of individuals are not infringed upon, and if they are, to provide a reasonable basis for recognition of and restitution for, those infringements. It is the governments responsibility to see to it that the Rights and Property of its citizens are safeguarded, that there is a reasonable system for arbitrating disputes and misunderstandings, and of course to uphold and defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Laws themselves, are objective steps of Reasoning that are codified, but without the particulars included.

But before you get into what those laws are to be and what they can and cannot cover, you've got to define what rights are to be upheld and defended, and to do that, they've got to have an objective, identifiable source, and that, at root, is, and has to be, what the political root of all Individual Rights are, Property Rights.

Much as I'm itching to let my full longwindedness loose (nope, barely a breeze here so far)... I can't at the moment... but to at least touch on what you cited,
"The girl was never touched. Her tormentors were practicing free speech(?)"
I'll say that that touches on one of the issues that libertarians typically fall fully short of, and that there is no Right to Wrong another,

"Had I been her father, I might have violated every individual right of anyone involved. But that’s not important here."

(ever read the Orestia? I certainly would have too... but that's not important here)

"Quasi-objectivism seems to have a hard time with socialized sociopathy... as in, it gives it a pass."

Libertarians in particular, and yes quasi-objectivists as well, tend to focus on the Individual to the exclusion of society... which I think is just the flipside of the classical viewpoint that the state is all and the citizens serve to serve it. Subject vs Object, Quality vs Quantity, Form vs Function... it's a very old dispute, but to choose either side is to lose the argument as well as the ultimate reason for the argument. The fact is that if you favor one over the other, both are damaged... but the key is to remember where both flow from, and are sustained by, and that comes from Natural Law

"And how does it deal with legalized sociopathic behavior on a much larger scale?"

As Adams said, our system of governance would be wholly unsuited to a people who are not themselves honest and moral, and the dictum that the less self governing the people are, the more governing the government must become - and if not corrected, will eventually lead to the destruction of both.

"The corporate monopoly? All those things "alphabet agencies" were created to prevent?"

Oh... so hard not to fully let it fly... but those 'alphabet agencies' were not created to prevent corporate monopolies, they were created to introduce govt as partners with, and over, all corporations... but... gotta go wash the dog.

Yabu (EOTIS) said...

Most excellent post, sir !!!

xlbrl said...

Can we examine the phrase "common sense conservatism"? I heard Palin as she first uttered it, and it was clearly a political motto, which it's repetition confirmed.
The founders did not primarily employ common sense on their way to greatness, but rather were brilliantly counter-intuitive.
Common sense will get you another turn at bat in your enemies game. Counter-intuition will remove a game which never should have been played.

merl the pearl said...

Had to be gone for a few days, but merl is back.

Pragmatism: I try to deal with things based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones, but within the framework of my personality. But don’t worry, ethical principles seem to be hard-wired in me. True pragmatism is self-serving. It is those types who’ve forced me to discipline myself to becoming more pragmatic. So I’ll revise that to “I am a principled pragmatic”.

This may relate to that bullied girl and education in general, but educating kids to not bully may be much less effective than teaching kids how to fight back and making it easier to use other legal options.

Man's life is a struggle against others trying to do what's best for them, as well as our own ill-informed desire to do 'what is best'.

I think you mean, “Man's life is a struggle against the mob who may believe that charismatic others are doing what's best for them, when it should be clear they are not”. Wasn’t Stalin just a bank robber who saw the opportunity to steal an entire country, and then got to drive it around as the ultimate play toy? Being more intellectually sophisticated than a toddler (but emotionally, a toddler), he was expert at conning the people who mattered (to him) into believing he was doing it all for them. Others were disappeared. He was not a do-gooder idealist by any means. But most of those he manipulated and handled, were.

I don’t envy your quest for a better educational style. The best the Gates Foundation seems to have come up with is trying for better ways to evaluate the teachers. And the self esteem thing isn’t easy - what betters the few can poison the many. The shy ‘misunderstood by his family’ genius kid may blossom, but the other kids full of a sense of entitlement become the lazy brownnosing assholes we all have to deal with on the job and in our community. OT but home schooling... I know a home schooled kid who entered Stanford at 17 and is popular and doing well there – despite having parents who are brainy yet socially inept. Meanwhile his second cousin with the “cool” parents was home schooled to where he lives in the basement with his earlobe plugs and drum kit and kinda sorta works on getting his GED. It could be that an improved educational style does best when it adapts to each kid.

As Adams said, our system of governance would be wholly unsuited to a people who are not themselves honest and moral, and the dictum that the less self governing the people are, the more governing the government must become - and if not corrected, will eventually lead to the destruction of both.

That’ll always be a good one. Worth repeating. And that idea works fairly well for groups of most any size. Back to the original question - the tea parties are obviously American. But is there a power vacuum waiting to be filled? To what degree does it become un-american if say, GOP, corporate, or other organizational operatives take over leadership positions?

And you really get into this stuff, don’t you? I’m judging by the title of the blog that you’re not in the educational field. What inspired you to learn all this stuff?

Van said...

Merl and Xlbrl, I answered you last comments in the following post just put up.

I am SOOO late!