[QUOTE=TheyCallMeLazarus;1323413]-- Property rights and INDIVIDUAL liberty....what I mean is that they were anti-collectivists, all of them. They did not feel that large organizations, be that a monarchy, government, a corporation, or a bank, should be able to override an individual's liberty. Redress of grievances is the mechanism to affect this, through petition or protest. The government must be responsive, and AFRAID of the resolve of, the individuals of the society rising up against them. [/quote]
I agree that this is important, but the collective must sometimes repress individual liberties if they cause excess damage, such as air, water, and noise pollution. I'm sure you'd agree. Furthermore, this concept of complete and total liberty can slippery slope itself (with the help of a not-so-rational person) into Weitko, as the natives called it. Don't you agree?
What has happened is that we have lost the idea of individual liberty....that is what is usurped by this made-up ideal of a "free market"....and it is the fault of the moneyed elite, more so than the politicians, because of that. In short, the 1950's and Milton Friedman, with all of his contemporaries like Rand, saw the ideal of a "free market" touted like a new kind of religion. That is the part I believe you are missing; that these politicians did not, and DO NOT today, make these decisions that vastly benefit the obscenely wealthy, out of being crooked or to make money themselves....they do it because they honestly believe, as it is now doctrine to believe, that these policies actually aid the country. [/quote]
This is an important point that I agree with. The more I learn about the world, the more I learn that humans are not as complex as we think we are, in nature and in conspiracy.
[QUOTE=TheyCallMeLazarus;1323413]The reason this usurps liberty is for the reason I started with; it is a COLLECTIVE entity, a corporation....we were founded on the idea that the collective, in whatever form, may not be allowed to over-ride the individual.[/quote]Protect the individual from the group, but also prevent the individual from causing excessive damage to the group.
The reason it happens is not because all politicians are corrupt. It is because the elite have branded it, made tv channels and magazines, all from the idea that because an entity has money, it must be allowed to acquire power.....allowing this collective action of a legal entity, a corporation, to override our ability as citizens to influence government, now has a name, the "free market". In short, it is code for allowing the wealthy and to take over the government as a religious-like doctrine. It is genius that they have morphed it into this, and convinced so many of the non-wealthy citizens to give up their own power and turn it over to them, all in the name of so-called "liberty". [/quote]
Strong democratic streak here in this paragraph. I like it...
The wealthy created this idea, funded it, and gradually converted it into actual governmental policy....the chicken came before the egg, so to speak....or in this case, the free market cult came before the corruption. The simple problem with the so-called "big government" is that "we the people" are not in charge of it. We have lost out ability to redress grievances, and most of our problems have this in common. The free market religion has cultivated this robbery of our liberty into a virtue, much to the elite's benefit. Very brilliant.[/QUOTE]
I doubt they planned that back in the 1940s, but there is a grain of truth to it. Republicans love them tax breaks to the wealthy. That's exactly what you're describing.
My other main disagreement is that this whole concept is the biggest problem in America. How have our liberties gone to hell? I want to understand exactly what you're saying there. I think the change has been within every individual, on average. I don't think the change has only been within a few people in Washington. It's a shift in attitude because life has gotten too easy. I'm sure you remember the thread I started on it. It's not a perfect concept, but I prefer it to your explanation for its simplicity.
I believe the #1 problem with the country is very, very simple, and can be put in one sentence:
The people do not run their own government. Done.
I think that no other problem has much any merit so long as this is the case....I am always amused at how, in a lot of overtly political forums I write in, people act as if their political stripe (right or left, fake "conservative" or liberal) has any hands on the levers of power.
They do not. I am all for an argument on where the country should go, left vs right, ONCE the people are actually in control of the government again. Right now, all of this poo-pooing the other side is pointless. Neither side is represented, in truth of policy in significant numbers, by politicians. The entire system is predicated on redress of grievances, and the ability for the populace to alter their government. This, simple as 2 and 2 giving 4, does not happen. Period.
I will give a very inflammatory example: Obamacare
The left wanted: A single-payer system.
The right wanted: Actual competition, with government having no intervention.
Understand that neither of these concerns, of different sides of "we the people", was ever discussed.....why? Well, because we have no representatives. Neither side does, in numbers.
What WAS decided on, argued over, was this:
- Big Pharma allowing the government to negotiate on drug prices was taken off the table immediately.
- Healthcare "exchanges", as are currently being setup, will have a set number of established players in them. This is why, in many states, only 3-4 companies are really available. This was written into the law.
- Any public option was killed very early on, as it would give the big insurance companies downward pressure. They would have someone that could no collude with, so this was unacceptable.
- Getting government out entirely, by no longer allowing for inclusive healthcare networks to be setup, as per a Ron Paul idea, was also taken off the table. This would end "patient funneling", something most private hospitals rely on to make money.
- Medicare rates, which steer private insurer rates, must be approved by a committee (HHS) that is knowingly staffed with members bought off by the big insurers.
I could keep on going.....in short, WHERE is the concern of the people, right or left, being considered at all?
All of those things are simply a tug-of-war over which direction, which industries, will be getting more or less money. It is big industries protecting their investments through their own political coercion....this is the common thread of every law written since about 1980, whether it was NAFTA, Bush's Medicare Part D, or Obamacare.....look at whatever outcome was going to funnel the most money into private hands, and THAT is what got passed, all regardless of party of the President. It is not about ideology, like the powerful would like us to believe.
Power doesn't care whether you are conservative or liberal or a communist or an anarchist....you have NO seat at the table. Thank you for keeping everyone distracted though :)
As far as the underlying roots of all of this, and how it got this way, it is assuredly a combination of factors that would take many volumes to describe. Part of it is the insidious nature of economic thought from the past 50 years infiltrating the government, part is what Wilton wrote about....but none of that really matters. We don't have a seat at the table. There are no levers for change, regardless of how you would change it, to the actual citizenry. I cannot imagine a problem greater than that.
It's like a joke I heard once:
"If you are heading 90mph towards a cliff in a car, it doesn't matter if you want to steer right or left or hit the brakes....because you are in the trunk. You get no say in the matter." - PJ O'Rourke
That is where we are, all of us.
Lazarus, I was also saying that we are losing our spot at the table. I said that citizens gave up their seats at the table, and you said that powerful people took those seats away. Both factors are relevant, and I haven't decided yet which is more important. Regardless, a response:
Colluding is human nature. This collusion that we've seen has been more blatant, but can you really say it's far worse now than before? I'm not well read enough to know that answer. What about the first half of the 1900's or the whole 1800's? In a stable system with checks and balances and humans, I would naturally predict periods with greater collusion followed by corrections to the system. The ultimate question is if our system has lost that stability, and speaking on those terms, I understand how difficult that will be to answer. Complex systems are deceptive. But what are you predicting again? I thought you predicted a collapse of society, meaning you think the system has lost stability. Why won't there be a political uprising that spurns positive change, that saves our society?
[QUOTE=TheyCallMeLazarus;1323898]I gotta be honest....that question would take me a book to answer. I am writing one, if that is any help. Fiction, but based on this kind of stuff.[/QUOTE]
Awh Shucks! I agree that fiction has the only capacity for a solution. Any solution in practical reality is impossible.
Would you please define, in your own words, 'liberty', 'money', 'currency', and 'private property'. Is money 'private property?
Vermont has an open town hall meeting structure of Gov't, I've heard. How does that work?
I've asked for your opinion, is it then moral for me to argue against that opinion? Isn't that rather like entrapment?
I enjoy the thoughtful discussion. Most of the internets are full of garbage, idiocy, and boner pills anyway.
I will attempt to explain what I believe these terms mean:
Liberty: Most acutely answered and defined by Jefferson as "the soul's right to breathe".....I enjoy this definition, because it is at one hand very broad, but on another very specific. First, it defines it as something that is not purely material. In other words, liberty is not being able to go to the store and select from 400 kinds of cereal....it is a mercurial thing that each person must cultivate in themselves. For everyone, the soul desires different things....but he is saying that liberty is the ability to turn that fullest expression of what we want into reality, with government helping to facilitate that as much, and to stop others from intruding on, that ability.....also, it cannot be collective. It is not "our soul's right", but only your own. It is individual.
Money, currency: The same thing, to me.....both though represent, at their root, resources being taken in either physical raw material or human labor time.
Private property: Everything which you own, or are in the service of paying for by contractual agreement.....the key point to private property, a term essentially invented by John Locke (one of the most influential writers to the Founders), is that it is again an INDIVIDUAL liberty.
To really understand it, one has to understand where Locke and the Founders were setting an example from....in England and most of Europe at the time, the common man owned pretty much nothing. It was common for employers to rent out tenements for their workers, so even one's home was not explicitly theirs. One could be made homeless only by losing their job. Land was all owned by the VERY wealthy, hunting completely off limits to common men, as well as owning weapons.
Books were often property of the church. Tables were property of your employer or lord of the land you had built on. Your horse was often his also....
In the event that you were reasonably wealthy, as many of the founders were, the government (a monarchy, which you had no say in the matters of) could come INTO YOUR HOME anytime they wanted. The church could as well, by force if necessary. All of your possessions could be taken in a moments notice by the King, a land-owner (there were very few), or by a company.
In other words, it was a HUGE monarchy-driven oligarchy. There were essentially 3 groups of people: Nobility, land-owners and benefactors of monopolistic businesses (such as the East India Company), and the other 99.99% that had nothing. That is what they were wanting to build against.
Private property says that no, again with this word, COLLECTIVE entity can take what is privately mine. It was against the entire European system. As an individual, I am entitled to be able to claim things myself....to add to this, I can own land, own a gun (2nd Amendment), must actually be given a trial (6th), cannot be forced to testify against myself (5th. It was common for English courts to ransom your family or possessions to force you to testify), and I am as an individual entitled to redress of grievances (the whole thing).
What has been lost is this basic concept....that a company, bank, government official, should be or could ever know liberty. Businesses cannot have their liberty taken away. They are collective entities, not individuals...and our WHOLE COUNTRY was founder on the idea that the collective (monarch, church, business, president) cannot usurp the individual. We do it time and again to forget this.
For example, Citizens United, the recent Supreme Court case, said that to restrict corporations of their right to give unlimited money into political campaigns took away their 1st Amendment rights....never realizing that we were founded on the very idea that collective entities like a corporation are not OWED LIBERTY, only "the souls of the living". The people that founded the US were fleeing a place where the individual, their property rights, ability to actually affect their government, had been totally taken away from them.
This is only one example amongst a multitude, because the central idea has been all but forgotten in the US. Even among so called "conservatives", the idea has been completely washed out. It is rare to find someone ever remotely familiar with it, and that is most decidedly NOT an accident....power relies on having collective power. It did not like the idea of individual liberty then, and it does not like it now. For this reason, they have co-opted the word "conservative" to mean someone that believes that only collectives not of the government can steal your liberty. This is juxtaposed to the founders, who all believed, of the very few things they all shared, that any form of collective, be that a church, government, bank, business, or monarch could run rough-shot over one's liberty and property rights. It is truly masterful how it has been done....you don't always have to lie. It is better to just re-define the terms to suit your own needs, which they have done to great affect.
As for disagreement, it is all welcome. I write on a lot of political forums and did for years before I ever came here, so I am a veteran at this :) I may not fight back much though. I usually let my ideas speak for themselves. Fighting is for the insecure.
Would like to hear your responses to me too.
I forgot to add 'wealth'. Would you also give your definition of wealth? Earlier you said that you preferred the word currency to money. Is there a different meaning to you? I use the term, when I'm being specific, fiduciary media', meaning something of trust used for exchange. To me, the word 'currency' is typically in use in currency exchange (market) operation. The word 'money' implies something of real value which can be used for exchange, storage, or investment.
I appreciate your responses but right now this is not a discussion. I'm asking questions and you're are thoughtfully answering them. I'll be happy to discuss after I understand where you're coming from. It's interesting to me that when you talk or explain freely you sound to me quite different from your direct answers to questions. However, real differences that exist between us in the interpretation of history become irrelevant in the agreement of the existing problem and conditions. Those differences may become important in descriptions of the solution, or may not.
I also usually do not fight. I will argue or debate when the other person refrains from emotional or ideological statements. For instance, you edited out the sentences in an earlier post saying that the politicians 'mean well', in a way I though probably means some politicians and not others who by inference probably did not 'mean well'. Of course that may be wrong, but I took it as an emotional or ideological statement and I appreciate the removal.
Yesterday I was unable to access this site 3 times. Either that is an unusually heavy load or the site is under attack.
"This collusion that we've seen has been more blatant, but can you really say it's far worse now than before? I'm not well read enough to know that answer. What about the first half of the 1900's or the whole 1800's? In a stable system with checks and balances and humans, I would naturally predict periods with greater collusion followed by corrections to the system. The ultimate question is if our system has lost that stability, and speaking on those terms, I understand how difficult that will be to answer. Complex systems are deceptive. But what are you predicting again?"
The amount of averse collusion has had cycles of up and down throughout our history....by this I mean the amount to which political levers were kept far away from actual common people.
After the civil war and into the guilded age of Rockefellar, Vanderbilt, Carnagie, things were MUCH worse than they are right now....it is an often forgotten part of history that these so called "Titans of Industry" ran things with no regard whatsoever for their workers. Lookup any statistics on what the injury and fatality rate was in an average Carnagie factory, like the main one he bought up in Pittsburgh as his flagship, and it will blow your mind. It was more dangerous to be on his factory floor that to be enlisted in WWI, I have heard....child labor, total neglect of worker safety, and low wages to the point of destitution were common.
Many of the presidents of the era were hand-picked by the house of Morgan and these "Titans", all up to the election of Teddy Roosevelt....this led to a small progressive change from the "Bull Moose" party, which saw a lot of changes take place for average people and the democratic process....over time though, the ultra-wealthy got more power again. Harding, Hoover, Coolidge, all were picked by the east coast elites of the Republican machine back then.
The collusion with business is not new, and it has been worse in our history.
The difference now is the introduction of international, faceless corporations that can operate anywhere, paying taxes nowhere, and can infiltrate most any weak government (like ours) to get laws that protect them....when collusion happens at THIS level, it has a unique impact that we are only slowly learning the implications of. High unemployment, economic deadzones, all of it is likely the new normal. We have allowed for it to be so.
As for predictions.....
I am not a "collapse" person. I write on a forum of preppers, and I am very used to defending my position in minute detail....the bad part is, I think that MY prediction is in fact worse than a quick collapse, giving way to necessary change.
The main part of contention is that others act as if, once a certain thing happens, the wealthy and powerful will just take their ball and go home, so to speak. They will retreat, and let everyone else duke it out....this is the "collapse" model.
I don't think that history tells us that this is the case....in places where things went south, such as Rome, the Netherlands much later, Mexico, Easter Island, the most shocking part about studying them is that the powerful kept up the charade, kept on making money or acquiring power, far past societal collapse. They had to be physically stopped....they did what Mark Twain said of corrupted power, that it "keeps on spinning its wheels like a machine that has slipped its gears, accomplishing nothing".
In our case, I believe this means that we will, like a frog that is slowly cooked in water rather than tossed into a boil only to hop out, accept greater and greater erosion of our standard of living and freedom....it will all happen slow enough to be unmistakable, but not so fast as to alarm people. This is because all of the powerful have a great incentive to maintain it this way. They fear, for their own self-interest, anything that would be a shock to the system.
If gas doubles in a week, you'd get riots. Double it over a few years though, you get crickets like now....multiply that across the board, for food, college, media, and especially democratic processes, you get my version of the future.
At some point this will all be very clear. One day, one person at a time, people will wake up one morning and realize that their kids don't have it near as well as they did. That they are in fact quite poor compared to what they must spend. That they have no power at all to actually change it....this is happening already. Wait 20 years.
My prediction is that we will end up with a small percentage of the people, perhaps 15%, that maintain a BETTER standard of living than we have now. They will all have nice homes, go on awesome vacations, have a great life....the other 85% will be in various stratifications of destitute to mildly poor. They will be giving up just about all of their money just to have gas to get to work, food on the table, and a roof over their heads. Again, this is all already happening. We are only talking about an increase in the trend, ad infinum.....it does not take a wordsmith to call this its true, and wished for, name: economic slavery. A very large part of the population are either already there, or have dropped out of it to their own benefit.
[list][*]Interesting anecdote on past power structures surviving political collapse.[*]I agree, the boiling frog model appears to be our society's path. [/list]
[list=1][*]What about growth of new technologies? Nuclear, solar? Maybe something else subatomic if we figure out what's going on in there.
[*]Do you agree that total personal liberty, especially to people unused to such freedom (like the US Frontier in 1800s), lead to the Weitko mindset?
[*]I was also saying that we are losing our spot at the table. I said that citizens gave up their seats at the table, and you said that powerful people took those seats away. How important are each of those factors?[/list]
I found this information of interest:
1. The status of the State of California changed from an unorganized, bounded territory to an corporation in 1850.
The Status of the State of Vermont changed from a (I'm not sure here - Republic) to an corporation in 1791.
Ref: [url=http://www.50states.com/statehood.htm#.Ukmo4L7n-JA]Statehood Dates[/url]
2. The 'United States of America', located in D.C. is a corporation. The 'United States' is a Republic and not a Corporation. Ref: [url=http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/master_file/federalgovernment.htm]United States of America, Incorporated[/url]. This is a legal argument that has been going on for some time, I've read of it before but don't keep up with it. It seems an issue no one pays any attention to. I was looking for an incorporation date of the USA.
3. The State of California has 2.4 million employees. That's a huge Corporation anyway you count it and includes buildings of employees located in foreign countries. I couldn't find the total number of employees of the State of Vermont, but the executive branch alone has over 8000.
4. Resident tax load of California averages 11.4%. Resident tax load of Vermont averages 14,1%. This data is from 2007. [url=http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/pf/0704/gallery.tax_friendliest/8.html]Tax-Friendly Places 2007 | 8 | CNNMoney.com[/url]