Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Comments, Socialists, Schools and the Truest Meaning of Left vs. Right

Commenting on Commentary on Current Events
A few... somewhat related comments from various sites. The first is from Steve Straub, who puts on the excellent "The Federalist Papers" page on facebook, and on the web as well. He recently posted a quote on his own page, by an economist who was celebrating the benefits of 'Income disparity',
Prominent economist Dennis Gartman said:
"We celebrate income disparity and we applaud the growing margins between the bottom 20% of American society and the upper 20% for it is evidence of what has made America a great country. It is the chance to have a huge income, to make something of one’s self; to begin a business and become a millionaire legally and on one’s own that separates the US from most other nations of the world."
Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why or why not?
Before going on, I’d be very curious as to your thoughts on that? I'll leave mine for the end of this post, because I want to run some other recent exchanges by you that I've had with some facebook friends, starting with Mytheos Holt. Mytheos is a real up and comer, who recently had an article on National Review online, which I recommend, entitled In Defense of Liberal Bias,
"This past weekend, I had the fortune of being able to attend a conference at Yale on the legacy of William F. Buckley Jr and his seminal work God and Man at Yale. Among those present were the publisher and editor-in-chief of this very magazine, as well as several luminari..."
Don't let the title fool you, Mytheos is no leftie, not by a long shot; what he is saying is that the Conservative movement is as strong as it is today, because those conservatives who've come through our schools and remained conservative, have been strengthened by the liberal bias arrayed against them - a mental 'that which does not kill you, makes you stronger'.

He notes that because there is a very obvious liberal bias on campus, the left's ideas have gone unchallenged, and for so long that they are becoming progressively more sloppy and weaker by the year, and as a result of imposing their inflationary wits upon their students, there are growing numbers of students, such as our Philip Christofanelli, who are not only bringing the nonsense taught in these biased classes to light, but who are speaking out about them, and are developing the mental skills and inclinations needed to shred the left's flabby ideas in every engagement with them.

Which is a beautiful thing.

What is usually Left unsaid
But, what with beauty being in the eye of the beholder, one fellow, I'll call FR, commented on Mytheos's Facebook page, that
"...when conservatives are talking about liberal bias, it's some bizarre parody of what I would construct as a joke."
I suggested that if he thought that, he should stop off in flyover country sometime, and have a look at classes such as this one which has liberal bias droppings splattered all over them, hard to make a move without stepping in it. To which he replied,

FR "That class sounds hilarious and really really stupid. That said, the guy that wrote the blog post is also absurd. I hate doing the both sides do it, but I can't imagine this person ever doing anything without an absurd slant."
Van ;-) you mean like this: / ;-)

Van (My post)
I let FR know that that was only one of several posts digging into the Communist Prof's Ancel's & Giljum's background, and that the manner in which the university systems reacted, or didn't, to their communist professors message, showed that their positions and their sympathy and toleration of them, were widespread throughout the two colleges in question.
Regarding my absurd slant, I told him that,

"...I don't come at politics from a political perspective, but from a philosophical point of view - heavy on volition (free will), rights and property rights - and that I tend to see anything that amounts to the 'abolition of property rights' as a direct assault upon not only my political rights, but my childrens lives and chance for happiness..."
, and also, that since the two professors, despite some statements of 'inappropriateness' and threatened dismissals, designed to shrug off bad-publicity, they are still gainfully employed at UMSL & UKC and are merrily professing the same foolishness as before, their ideas are probably prevalent not just in those two colleges, but throughout the system as a whole, and so with all of that in mind, and as opposed as they their messages are to what I expect my kids to be taught, I was actually being a bit understated in my post.

FR didn't back off, but he made some good natured and reasonable comments, obviously leftist, but not strident about it, which pricked my curiosity - the chance of questioning a leftist and actually getting answers, rather than put downs and diatribes, doesn't come along every day, and I was curious to hear more.
FR'd said of Prof's Ancel & Giljum, that "they're just standard commies." which is true, but I pointed out that they're not lonely ones, and as foolish as what they said was, I was more concerned about the acceptance of the ideas which their foolishness rests upon, and the degree to which it is accepted and widely endorsed. To which he replied,

FR Right. Like, look, I'm an avowed Socialist and I could trash these professors. I still think the rhetoric you were using about them getting fired is a bit hyperbolic.
An avowed Socialist. Well now, that goes way beyond stumbling upon an uncommonly lucid leftie, this put him into a whole new level of rarity... I just had to run some more questions by him. Obviously we'd need to 'agree to disagree' on most things, but while I didn't want to hijack Mytheos’s thread, I told him I was curious, and if he'd humor me a bit, I wouldn't snipe at his responses, and then asked the obvious,
"... for what reason are you an avowed Socialist? Or maybe for a shorter answer, do you put more value on providing people with a minimum of privileges and possessions, or on their having the Right to make their own choices (as well as their consequences)? Or do you see the issue from an entirely different perspective?
And a different perspective he did have.

FR Because I don't believe that a society where most people cannot access their rights due to lack of minimums is one where people are free. Simple as that. Public goods exist and should be provided by the government to ensure that the vast majority of population's state in life is not determined by the status of their parents. In the United States, a nation with the lowest income mobility in the OECD, this is definitely not the situation.
Yes. I am assaulting your rights from your definitions. That's fine. I care more about the vast majority. I think freedom is ultimately choosing a master. Oh well.
I could go into more details"
That's interesting, isn't it? "I care more" and "I think freedom is ultimately choosing a master", those are a couple of phrases that are just made for each other, aren't they? Freedom is just another word for slavery, and he has good intentions, after all, sooo... 'whatever' about the rest of it, rights and all, inconvenient live, truths and all the rest... whatever.

And here I'd said 'no sniping'. Ooh... so tough to bite my tongue and still my fingers from responding to that from every direction that came to mind... argh. Just 'keep to the questions', I told myself, just pry as many answers as you can from him.

"Van Ok, how do you define rights? Do you find their basis within the nature of a person, or in exterior needs? Or don't at all...?
And FR gave some very revealing answers.
FR To be fair, I don't actually believe in rights. I use that rhetoric because that's sort of the public space that's been created. Also because what I think is probably closer to that conception. I don't believe 'rights' exist in anything other than a definitional context created by societies. I don't believe in natural rights or absolute rights.
For a healthy society, there would be an obligations-orientation with a rights safety-net as a way to break coercive small relationships from completely overrunning people's ability to act.
I don't have a reflexive love of government. However, I think that government is a collective mechanism for the enforcement of certain things that I think all human beings should have at a certain point: food, shelter, health care, education.....
How's that for clarity? To be fair, I don't actually believe in rights. Can you believe that? I just shook my head and told him that it was refreshing that he had at least admitted the obvious truth that is always left out, that socialism and individual rights are incompatible, and that he didn't try to pretend otherwise. Very rare. Even rarer, I was actually agreeing with a socialist on something - go figure!
But how, I wanted to know, did he think that the govt/society was supposed to determine what people should have, or what the minimum was that they should have? How could a govt, removed from the realities of their life, possibly determine that? Did he think that the choices of an individual should even be taken into account in determining what they got or what they’d 'be allowed' to do in and for society? And... why?

I didn't really get an answer to those questions right off, but this one I did,
" you believe that people do have volition, that people have free will, or do think that people essentially pinball about within their environment?"
, and again, it was a surprising answer - this time because it didn't fit.

FR I do think people have free will, but I'm not too sure what that has to do it. There are certain physical and somewhat-physical things that you need, regardless of your volition or free will. Your free will doesn't suddenly determine if you need shelter - that's sort of a reality, given physical charectistics of human beings....
How can you believe in Free Will, and then deny people the ability to exercise their Free Will? How can you believe that people do make choices, but then prevent them from making them? What view does that express about the nature of being human, let alone the purpose and meaning of making choices, decisions, and why? Too many questions... he continued,
"...I think the way you determine what is necessary is largely through negotiation and definitely seeing what things we can figure out are primary qualifications to be able to exercise a wide array of freedoms. No one needs tents for camping. No one needs nice cars, televisions, ipods, etc. The government should not be in the business of providing this. Again, this goes back to the point that wealth inequality doesn't bother me per se; it's the realities of the people at the bottom. If they are well fed, have health care coverage, are able to access a decent education and have material needs met, I don't care if they only have that. I also particularly care if children have this.
Now, we can start talking about the role of government in a broader array of cultural and social issues, but that becomes a values fight very quickly.
How does a person come to such ideas? How does one person have the hubris, to choose to believe, that what another person has chosen for their own life, doesn't meet your approval, and so should be disallowed? How does a person ever become able to have such a thought without deep feelings of shame? School? Family? Circumstances?
... As for how it evolved, I'd say it came bit by bit. I think the core of it is from the fact that I grew up in a situation where I didn't have many of these things. It's important that people receive those things. A common response is to say that I made it, why can't others? You shouldn't need to be exceptionally brilliant (I like to think I am), hard working, etc. to be able to simply thrive in a way that isn't really that much above average. You shouldn't have to be in the 90th percentile in abilities to succeed. For many people that have those material necessities from the beginning, they can be in the 50th and be fine.
Which, as far as sources go, wasn't all that surprising, I think most people come to their positions out of what they consider to be generosity and basic human kindness, rather than through philosophical or political convictions. Doesn't make them any more ok, or lessen the damaging, even horrible consequences that follow from their positions, but going down that road didn't seem like it'd get us anywhere.
Instead I just told him that was a bit surprised at his honesty, and that,

Van My surprise comes because just as Socialism is not compatible with Rights, a denial of rights is not very compatible with affirming free will - socialism requires a deterministic view, which is why it has been the stated, or implied, position of most of the left's thinkers from Rousseau on down to today.
What Free Will has to do with the issue, is that it is the root of Individual Rights, and Rights (especially Property Rights) are a logical development once free will is acknowledged.
"A common response is to say that I made it, why can't others?" Well, while that's true, it's also true that many people who, though they may have a deep desire for financial success, just don't have what it takes, maybe lacking in brains, character, energy, will, skills, conflicting obligations or just plain bad luck. Bad things do often happen to good people - but I don't think that qualifies as a basis for government, anymore than I think any of the 'social contracts' do (not even Locke's)... but that again hinges on Rights, which is off the table at the moment.
My question is, why should remedying those situations be handled by the institution that exercises force over people and maintains the law in society, government; rather than by that of the members of society themselves?
Why should government make choices for you, rather than allowing you to make them for yourself - who does, after all, have the free will to make your own choices and be responsible for them - why is Govt, and the highly removed federal govt especially, the best and proper source for making basic decisions about your life?
He replied,
FR It seems silly to talk about free will though. If the idea is that you are capable of committing any action you want at any particular point in time, I'm convinced you are capable of it. But the realm of actions you'll think about are basically bound by the environment you grew up in...
I reject your philosophical premise that we can talk about rights as endowed or given by anyone. Even more important, however, is that given the rhetoric of rights nowadays, I can still use them and affirm that from your principles and given the context of today's society, most people can't utilize the full extent of their rights.
Freedom isn't having to stick in one job because it is impossible to get health care benefits; freedom isn't being unable to move to a potentially new location to find a good job due to economic benefits; freedom isn't being in a terrible community for education, simply by the narrative of birth.
You mistake rights without realizing that they are both means and ends.
More importantly, I think falling into this rights language lets us ignore the reality: that all of society is about coercion and force. You exercise force over people all the time. There isn't anything particularly more remote than a government doing it, compossed of people who pass rules made by people. Government is a body we've agreed represents a broader consensus than most personal interactions of force.
I also think there's a broad strawman about the government making decisions 'for you'. Yes, the government took your tax dollars. The government then provided health care for a 12 year old child who's family can't afford it but wanted it. In one sense, the government did make a decision for that family. On the other hand, that government also provided them with something that they needed but couldn't have. The reality is that when we talk about the government 'making decisions' for you, what really mean is that the government, as a collective action body for a society, benefits some over others and tries to control those benefits. Well, yes. It is force.
But it is only different in that it has legal force behind it. Society and living in one is about social coercion at all levels.
The federal government did have to intervene and make decisions for people in a wide array of circumstance that we certainly approve of now: forced integration of public facilities, protection of minority voters and their voting rights, etc. It's not always the federal government that does it best, but many times, the pure scale of the effort mandates a larger response.
If you know me at all, you know that at that point we'd passed the 'no sniping' zone, I started in on reply after reply, but then I did something that I usually do at the beginning... and I did it because as I was thinking about what he'd been saying, and the particular post-modernist way of saying it... it occurred to me that it smacked of a particular, distinctive dialect, that of educationese... oh... no... yep. It was true.

Not only is FR a teacher, but he is a World History teacher.... and not in just any school, but in one of those schools which seem to be seen as a veritable panacea of solutions, in the mind of most Conservatives, a Charter School.
Color me surprised.

Van Well. I started typing a reply, and by the time I glanced down I was up to nine pages... and still only half way through your comment. That isn't going to work in facebook. I've tried before. So. Brevity being the soul of agony, I did my best to write the least that I could manage.
But then I finally made it down to this: "that all of society is about coercion and force.
You exercise force over people all the time." This is jaw dropping. I read it and finally clicked over to your profile and realized my worst fear - you're a teacher. Gadzooks. Who do you know outside of govt that exercises force over people all the time?
An example from today's headlines of using similar means for distinctly different ends: The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are examples of mobs of people using coercion and actual force to try and get their way, which is in direct opposition to the earlier Tea Party rallies, which were examples of people gathering together in an effort to persuade the public and legislators to their point of view.
What makes the one a mob, and the other a gathering, is the inability, or refusal, to see the difference between coercion and persuasion, perhaps as a result of being taught by folks such as yourself, that rights are non-existent, and that power can and should be seized if you have the numbers to force it.
"given the rhetoric of rights nowadays, I can still use them and affirm that from your principles and given the context of today's society, most people can't utilize the full extent of their rights." Lol, so let me get this straight, you will happily use what you do not think exists, in order to form principles you cannot believe in, in order to lay claim something you want to take from someone else. Wow.
"Freedom isn't having to stick in one job because it is impos..." Freedom isn't being free of any and all obstacles. Freedom isn't about being fed, clothed and cared for like a pet. Freedom isn't about not having to struggle to live, there IS a word for that though, it's called death... which I freely choose to avoid for as long as possible... by way of my right to make those choices and actions I see as being most worthwhile for me and my family.
Freedom and Liberty is about being able to make your own choices without either having to ask permission of, or being restrained by, the threat of physical force, and in recognizing your need for that, extending the same consideration to others.
"You mistake rights without realizing that they are both means and ends." On the contrary, you mistake Rights for being something other than a reasonable expectation of non-interference in making those choices and actions which a human being needs to be able to take in order to live their own life, and That is the real root of Rights – making the choices you choose to make in order to live your own life, and Free Will is central to it.
I'd be happy to go into greater depth on that (but... yes, this is an example of me being brief).

*Coerce - to restrain or dominate by force

*Persuade: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action.
Do you really see no difference between the power of persuasion and the persuasion of power? To ignore the issue of actual force, to equivocate between choice and force... do you agree with the New York Times then, that "Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth"?
I neither engage in coercion or force (leaving aside those unfortunate altercations with various drummers & drunks decades ago). In civil society the only avenue open to you to deal with your fellows is persuasion, and persuasion doesn't cease to be persuasion, unless you threaten or inflict actual physical force, in order to get your way.

No further reply from FR.

I'll have more to say about FR's comments, and what he said about what he feels is important that he teach to his students (it's pretty awful) and how it is that people come by these ideas as a result of our schools, and I'll even toss in a particularly offensive comment by a leading consultant to our own DESE in Missouri, but that'll have to wait for another post.

But have a look at this latest afront, from one school district away from my home,

"Fort Zumwalt high schools have placed an emphasis this school year on enforcing student ID regulations. Students are required to display identification at all times. Faculty at the five high schools have been instructed to increase enforcement on students violating the policy. Four times this year, the schools have done a spot check to track the number of students following the policy."
Students are required to display Identification on their persons at all times. In school. This is not the same situation as employees having to wear ID in a business, where you are on private property and are there by voluntary consent. This is government property, where students are required, to attend - that is bad enough - but on top of that they are to be required to 'Show your papers!' at all times, in order to not be penalized for being where they were ordered to be.


What can you say to that? My immediate reaction, was that if nothing else, this goes a long way to uphold that immortal principle of 'each person being presumed guilty unless proved innocent', not to mention the future benefits of implementing Lincoln's dictum that the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. And of course it is way more personable than having to wear a yellow star. Right? Hello? Is this thing on?

Is that too harsh? With the entire history of public education in America in mind, no, I don't think so. But even if you disagree... can you imagine the time, confusion and waste of time this requirement will result in, and take away from the little real education they have a chance of receiving in school?

Fortunately there is at least one member of the school board with sense, Laure Schmidt, who had the good sense (and which I know her to be chock full of) to note,
""All this time is being spent checking ID badges, and it has nothing to do with education," she said.
Schmidt said multiple teachers have expressed a dissatisfaction with the policy.
"I have teachers coming up to me and their exact words are, 'You've got to help us," Schmidt said. "
But it isn't entirely true that it has nothing to do with 'education', if by education you mean the education public schools were designed, from the beginning, to inculcate upon our students. And no, it didn't begin with the Dept. of Education under Carter. Not by a long shot. As I noted earlier this year,

"For those who think the Dept of Education is a recent creation, no, it's not, only it's cabinet level position, the original Department of Education was formed in 1867 to ... (whadaya think?) the Dept of Ed site puts it,

"...collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. While the agency's name and location within the Executive Branch have changed over the past 130 years, this early emphasis on getting information on what works in education to teachers and education policymakers continues down to the present day..."
It certainly does, and the Morrill Act in 1863, and the second Morrill Act of 1890 gave the"Office of Education" responsibility for administering support for the forbidden fruit of the Civil War, our system of land-grant colleges and universities."
But, as I also mentioned in that post (and many others), the problem goes even further back than that. At right about the same time that the fruits of True Education, as the Founder's era knew it, was bearing fruit - the Founding Fathers - some of those very founders were already looking to trash that system and replace it with the 'New! Modern!' ideas of (my favorite demon in human skin) Rousseau.

I've given a lot of grief to Noah Webster and his efforts to replace the well written, imaginative, time tested classics of the West (Homer, Cicero, etc), with disconnected, dry as dirt 'just the facts ma'am' essays, which were the forerunner of modern textbooks. But another Founder, who was important to the revolution and who was truly exceptional and remarkable in many ways, Benjamin Rush, was maybe just as bad, if not worse, for the future of education in this nation, than Webster was. I knew Rush was on the 'throw out the classics' bandwagon, but the extent to which he followed through on that I'd somehow missed.

See if you can recognize any of the ideas of FR, not the flowers, but the seeds, in what soon became not only the ideals of modern education, but the entire top down, anti-federalism oriented, all powerful State, in these snippets from Rush's "Thoughts Upon The Mode Of Education Proper In A Republic," Philadelphia, 1786:

  • "In the education of youth, let the authority of our masters be as absolute as possible. The government of schools like the government of private families should be arbitrary, that it may not be severe. By this mode of education, we prepare our youth for the subordination of laws and thereby qualify them for becoming good citizens of the republic."
  • "Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property"
  • "Our schools of learning, by producing one general and uniform system of education, will render the mass of the people more homogeneous and thereby fit them more easily for uniform and peaceable government."
  • "From the observations that have been made it is plain that I consider it as possible to convert men into republican machines. This must be done if we expect them to perform their parts properly in the great machine of the government of the state."
How did the bilge of Woodrow Wilson come to enjoy not just widespread public approval, but become nearly 'self-evident' on the parts of lawyers and judges who were undoubtedly 'well educated' enough to know just how incompatible such notions were with the original ideas of the constitution? Don't forget Abraham Lincoln's dictum, that -

"...the philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next..."
Which brings me back around to one final friend, an old flame who's living in New York, she's getting a degree from a school that is about as close to the original gates of philosophical hell as you can get, The New School (someday I'll finish my posts on Common Core Curriculum) and she's even helping to administer a foundation's grants, which extend into many an activity I'm sure I'd be appalled at.

At one point she'd mentioned giving the benefit of the doubt to the Occupy Wall Street punks people, that they were just idealistic, and maybe not so different from the Tea Party, which I'm afraid I went a bit off on (sorry Liz). She is definitely not a standard leftist, but she does get an earful of the standard leftists comments about the Tea Party - (ignorant, fearful of white culture being challenged, etc), and I suspect she's a bit baffled at how I can be so deeply involved with them.

But the fact that she has been getting a degree at "The New School" (whose history is at the very heart of the establishment of modern education, and she still retains an open mind, reaffirms my belief (bordering on desperately clutching at as if a life preserver), that though you may be aware of a central principle, that doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't other principles, perhaps just as, or more important, at work as well, which you might be blissfully unaware of.

Even so, after the mobbery the other day (November 17th), I had to send her a note,
What with your having front row seats, I was just wondering if you've had any other thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street'rs? Any further evaluation of the Tea Party?
Or on how the Rights of the few, the individuals, intersect with the demands of the many, the mob?
Our local OWS'rs talk the talk, but something in them (or at least in those they're trying to drive) keeps them from being able to walk it... they come up lame and ludicrous in the attempt - not like your guys, or Oakland's... thank goodness.
Stay safe,

Back To The Beginning
And so now it's time to go back to the quote at the opening of this post, yes I agree with the gist of that statement. Show of hands for who was surprised at that? ;-)

You cannot live without making choices, and those choices require that you observe, consider - reason - making choices is a Requirement of human life. If you don't choose, you cannot make choices, you die. Rights and Life, go hand in hand, they are as inseparable, diminishing one, diminishes the other.

I believe each person has the Right to live their own life, and to do that you must have the ability to make your own choices and to retain the fruits of your efforts. In doing that you have to respect the Right, the necessity, of others being able to do the same... and that will inevitably mean cooperating and transacting with them - and benefiting from that.

The result of creating sizable amounts of wealth - inequalities of wealth - is that the cooperation and efforts of others must be involved, in order to accomplish it. You CANNOT produce wealth, without also, in one way or another, involving yourself with the enriching actions of others as well.

Adam Smith called that the "system of natural liberty", or the Free Market, and only America has (increasingly past tense 'had') a system of govt that was designed to enable that, by establishing a government that was primarily designed to uphold and defend the Individual Rights, Contracts, and so the Liberty, of its people.

Some people will make choices that will result in wealth that measures in the lower 20%, or less... others will make the choices, and the determined efforts, that will place them in the top 1%, and many others will make those choices which result in producing the wealth that measures out somewhere in between.

But ALL of them benefit, increasingly so, by their ability to freely associate and live their own lives, and even the bottom 1% will find themselves enjoying the effects of the wealth which those who succeeded in making better choices and more determined efforts, results in being created (paved streets, utilities, medicine, Arts, etc).

Every forceful action which requires some to NOT make the choices and efforts which they Rightfully (and respecting of rights) would have, diminishes the wealth and prosperity of all that society.

Another commenter on that thread, Dominic, responded that,
"Their philosophy is we are just not smart enough to make the choices that are right for us and our families."
Which is exactly so, and that is why those societies produce only poverty. The poverty which inevitably results from Socialism, in matter and spirit, has less to do with politics, than with the fact that when society is run decisions made at the top, and forced down, the number of additional decisions that are able to be made, is diminished - the more totalitarian the structure, the fewer are those making decisions. Such a process results in a society where the potential wealth that could be produced by the individual efforts of millions, is reduced to that which can be produced by only those few who are allowed to actively make (and who need to be very careful that they don't make decisions that anger those above them), which have to be distributed amongst millions.

It is literally throwing wealth - the productive decisions and efforts of millions of individuals - away.
A totalitarian state burdens itself with having to somehow distribute the wealth which those few who are partially allowed to think, and act, can produce, amongst a population many, many times its size.

Essentially what socialism does, is to select a quantity of 'Experts' equal to the population of a small village, and confine an entire state to having to live off the wealth which they might manage to produce. It doesn't matter how brilliant those experts are, the rest of the population is prevented from contributing their own productive decisions and efforts, and are prevented from making even the tiny corrections which the common sense of any knowledgeable person on the ground might make, and so the many can only consume what the few manage to produce.

The result is poverty. It's really not rocket science. Only wackademics.
Dominic replied that
"...Socialism leads to Totalitatianism, or are one in the same."
Yep. Behind their supposed differences, Socialism, Proregressivism, Marxism, Communism, Fascism... are little more than stylistic differences for varying degrees of depriving people of their Right to make their own choices and to retain the property resulting from them.

And just as an object falls at 32 feet per second, per second, the system which enters into any of these variants, will descend faster and faster towards hitting the pavement of Totalitarianism, in the (very messy) end.

Someone made a comment elsewhere the other day, about how the Left-Right political spectrum didn't seem to help much in describing the difference between Democrats and Republicans (or RINO's).... here's a suggestion to make what is being measured more meaningful.

On the left side of the spectrum, label its pole "Denial of Property Rights" and place this quote from Karl Marx, as an explanation for it:
" In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
, and on the Right, the Protection of Property Rights, this quote by John Adams wherein he describes what the purpose of a Republic is,

"... . It signified a government, in which the property of the public, or people, and of every one of them, was secured and protected by law. This idea, indeed, implies liberty; because property cannot be secure unless the man be at liberty to acquire, use, or part with it, at his discretion, and unless he have his personal liberty of life and limb, motion and rest, for that purpose..."
For the very same reasons that Adams and many of the other Founders spoke so adamantly of the importance of Property Rights to all of our Individual Rights, Marx insisted upon their being abolished.
So there are your two poles, Left and Right.

There is of course some distance between them, but if you've got some notion that the distance is marked by a slippery slope, one that you can leisurely traverse, pause, change your mind on and reverse course upon, you might want to strike the word 'slope' and replace it with 'precipitous drop', for that is a much better description of the result of stepping to the left of "Preservation of Property Rights", and it equally describes the effort required to move from the left position, back towards the safety of the Right.

The last time we did it, it took a Revolution to accomplish.

Just sayin'.

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