Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rare bird: An outside column worth reading

Tina Dupuy gets it spot-on in a widely carried column also available on HuffPo.

12 comments:

dovh49 said...

Yes, in the age of cynicism it's impossible to please everyone. But you have to admit people were hoping for more change than he is delivering and it appears he's more of a Bush III than the hope we all hoped for.

Why is he a Bush III? Here's just a few reason:

If you objectively compare the two parties they are pretty much the same. Lets see, Bush increased socialized health care more than any other previous president, he got us into two wars (one where all the reasons have been proven false), and he took away many of our civil liberties (patriot act, Guantanamo, etc.). Obama has increased socialized health care more than any previous president, he has continued two unpopular wars (after receiving the Nobel Peace prize) and has expanded or increased them to other countries (Yemen, Pakistan, Iran (economic sanctions is a form of war), etc.), he has taken away our civil liberties (made it possible to kill American citizens by presidential decree, etc.).

One should note that politics has never been civil (as far as I know). If you look at history there has always been disputes between peoples over politics. We shouldn't really expect it today either. Not that that excuses people to be uncivil in addressing one another and having real dialogue. I just think when you are trying to control someone else's life that is what you should expect, controversy. What is politics? The use of violence to control others lives.

Steven Ayres said...

No, d., I don't have to admit anything of the sort.

W got us into an illegal aggressive war and created far more enemies than he neutralized. Obama is getting us out of it. W sold more and more of our public functions to big corporations. Obama is working to limit their control over our lives, something I'd think would interest you. W undertook aggression in stupid ways. I believe Obama is seriously trying to reduce real threats in the world through smarter means. W continued Nixon's crusade to establish imperial powers for the presidency. Obama has no interest in dictatorial rule, your wild accusations notwithstanding.

Your naive cynicism about how societies work and the important role of respect in negotiating consensus will get you points at a sophomore kegger, but with some more life experience you're likely to find it doesn't serve you well in real life.

dovh49 said...

Leaving 50k troops in Iraq along with all the contractors, mercenaries and drones is not withdrawal. That's ridiculous. That's like saying I'm moving out of your house but I'm leaving all my stuff and you can't touch, oh, and I'm going to still sleep there. That's the biggest load of bull I've ever heard in my life. It's called double speak if I remember right.

Attacking other countries is what got us into this mess in the first place. Killing people's families and children and raping their women is not what one would do if they were for peace. It's called blow back. It's understandable why people would want to attack us. The military industrial complex would tell us to be afraid of the non-existent monsters under our beds if we would believe it. I thought the democratic party was supposed to be anti-war. The only anti-war party left is the libertarian party.

Obama is getting us into all sorts of trouble that we will paying for for decades to come. The only peace comes from not screwing other people. W and Obama both suck just as much. Obama is not neutralizing anything, they're all made up, and that which is real what only caused by us to begin with. The planes just didn't come out of the clear blue sky one day, there's a history behind it, it's naive to think otherwise. They didn't attack us because we are "free".

W sells public services to "private" corporations and Obama resocializes them. Both are just as bad. It's ridiculous to think that just because people are in the government that they have some halo put over their heads and become less greedy. Both suck. Corporations are government sponsored monopolies that have limited liability because of the government. Government has no liability except for that which that deem OK by our overlords.

I admit that I don't know everything but this I do know Obama=W. The differences are only superficial. Corporatism vs socialism, there isn't much difference to me. They both take away my freedoms.

Steven Ayres said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your second graf up to the idea that the Libertarian Party is antiwar. Libertarian ideals imply antiwar policy, but the party is owned by hardcore corporatists who make their money on war, whether it's waged by states or corporations. Sorry, that's realpolitik right now. Those people are using you to advance their agenda.

You're clearly a frustrated idealist. You seem to have expected Obama, having declared that Iraq was a bad idea, would order full withdrawal more or less immediately after taking office, or at least within a year. I'd have loved to see that too, but I've known for years that it's not feasible in the real world. As Powell famously said, we broke it, we own it, and we have to take responsibility for the consequences and try real hard to to taper it off sensibly and not make things worse. But to class Obama as just another greedy warmonger because he hasn't grabbed our ball and gone home is ridiculous. Idealism is inspiring, but it's not governance.

Obama is not a king, and America does not change direction at the wave of his hand. It's a big, complex, high-inertia system operated on a million levels by individuals with their own agendae and limitations.

What's ridiculous is to think that because people don't wear halos, aren't perfect and don't eschew all human motivations in favor of ideals, they all suck just as bad. If you can find equivalence between W and Obama, you have simply not been paying attention.

It's also ridiculous to believe that you have any freedoms outside the context and protection of human society. You owe your security, sustenance, shelter, education, employment and freedom to jump up and down about your ideals on this blog entirely to the 'socialism' you so sadly misunderstand and fail to appreciate.

dovh49 said...

I guess I should separate myself from the Libertarian party, what I meant was, libertarian idealism, I agree they are probably pro war too. Granted I don't vote for people based on party, I vote based on what they believe in (or at least what they say they believe in, it's nice when they have a record and I can judge on that). The primaries I couldn't even vote for any candidate for certain elections since they were all really bad (I vote republican since my philosophy is vote for the predominant party and hope somehow I can make them less fundamentalist, it's not really working).

I wasn't expecting Obama to just leave, I was hoping he would and I hold him responsible for not. But if he is anti-war at all (and I know he's pro-war when it comes to Afghanistan) then wouldn't he be getting us out of all the countries that we are currently occupying, like Japan where the people there want us out too? I don't believe he is anti-war and for peace, I have no idea how he got the peace prize.

We've protecting a large portion of the worlds governments (through the CIA), I don't see us invading them to fix their countries. Yes, we should exit slowly, maybe over a year or less, but really, even if we are there for 10 years will it really change the people that much, I think it's idealistic to think that.

I agree that it's all inertia when it comes to government and representatives don't have nearly the sway people in general think they have. But regardless, it doesn't excuse that person from taking a stand. Great power comes great responsibility. The president isn't a king but he is much more now than he was in the past, he can do things that once were thought impossible, like make laws (presidential orders - I think that's what it's called), declare war, etc. Obama can do quite a bit even if he runs into trouble in the process, trying is better than doing nothing.

Your last point can be argued and has been by such political thought as voluntarism (ordered anarchy) and classical liberalism. People learned quite well without government schools before but then government does what it does best and created a virtual monopoly and has stifled innovation. I think we owe less to government than you think we do. It's difficult to have true competition when there is a violent monopoly that controls everything. Just like when doctors were first being licensed, it wasn't the people that were crying out for licensing of doctors, it was the government and those who wanted a monopoly over their industry. How wonderful it would be if there were no regulation of doctors, imagine how cheap it would become and how many of the poor it would help. Yes, I'm an idealist, what other hope is there?

Steven Ayres said...

=> "People learned quite well without government schools before..."

So you want to put the churches back in charge? Yikes. A little self-study on the history might clarify things for you here.

=> "It's difficult to have true competition when there is a violent monopoly that controls everything."

I'm trying to think of a model that might illustrate what you're talking about. Feudalism, maybe.

=> "Just like when doctors were first being licensed, it wasn't the people that were crying out for licensing of doctors, it was the government and those who wanted a monopoly over their industry. "

Where are you coming up with this stuff? It's completely divorced from reality.

=> "How wonderful it would be if there were no regulation of doctors, imagine how cheap it would become and how many of the poor it would help."

Yup, that's just what all us po' folks want: Harry's Discount Doctoring and Screen Doors. Gad, man, you really have to start doing a little reading.

dovh49 said...

I've been doing a ton of reading. Which is where I "come up with all this stuff". What books do you suggest I read? I'll put them on my list.

I've been hungry to learn about what freedom is. My wife likes to do home births and I've learned from experience how stupid it is to have licensed doctors, midwives, etc. I'm not saying it's bad to have certified (by a private organization) but to use government force (or violence) to make people get licensing is ridiculous. Our midwife in UT wasn't licensed but she did a great job (and had over 30 years experience). Yet, if you follow stories about doctors, you'll find that just because they are licensed doesn't mean jack. Besides you don't need years of schooling just to give someone stitches, just some on the job training could do that. Government regulations have divorced people from reality.

You ask what violent monopolies by the government are? Read "Conceived in Liberty" by Murray Rothbard. He gives a detailed account of how government's favorite thing to do is to create monopolies.

Why do I associate violence with government? Because, if you choose to opt out, they will either throw you in jail or, if you choose to protect your property, they will kill you. If that's not violence I don't know what is.

You don't need churches to educate the people. Especially today when schooling has become so cheap through advancements in technology. Of course, government won't embrace it. That's why we're opting out, we'll home school our children. It will take quite a bit of work but I think it's worth it to keep them out of the schools of indoctrination. If there is one thing that is against the freedom of the people its government sponsored schools.

So, yes, give me your list of books that will educate me. All I wish to do is to learn and understand and my conclusions so far from what I have read and learned points me to the ideas that I have written about here. I'll gladly read the other side of things. As Ludwig von Mises said, we have to read and learn about all angles before we can have any definitive conclusions. So I admit I could be wrong, but coming from the perspective of I just want people to leave me alone and stop telling me and my family what I can and cannot do, as long as I don't harm others in the process.

dovh49 said...

Here's my current political thought and conclusions:

Governmental or Non-governmental Systems

God said, “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not covet.” He has also given us commandments to help our neighbors and treat them well, these commandments are individual mandates, not group mandates.

What does it mean to steal? Wiktionary says this: "To illegally, or without the owner's permission, take possession of something by surreptitiously taking or carrying it away." What does it mean to covet? Again, Wiktionary says this: "To yearn, have or indulge inordinate desire, notably for another's possession."

So how does that equate to political philosophy? The government steals and covets the wealth of others. Therefore, the only moral government would be one that only taxes those who voluntarily contribute to its cause. This would necessarily create a small, limited government.

What about the golden role? It’s said in the scriptures "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Government necessarily doesn't do this. I would not have someone come into my house, kill my dogs, terrorize my spouse and children all because I have an ounce of marijuana.

Government is a monopoly of violence and consequently will attract those who love violence. It is also a monopoly. Monopolies tend toward inefficiencies since they have no true competition. Hence the reason no matter how much we vote and care government will continue to grow and do things that no one can agree on. It's the nature of the beast, it can't be stopped.

Government also likes to take credit where credit isn't due. Take unions. They were once completely voluntary organizations (well, I don't know the entire history but they weren't forced to begin with) and they created great changes in how labor was done. The government first was against unions but then embraced them and said they were responsible for them and now create unions. This can be said for the civil rights movement too.

I know government isn't all bad, some things they do are good, but immoral actions will have immoral consequences. What's the best solution? I don't really know. If the necessary evil is true then give me limited governments that protects our individual rights. If the necessary evil is not true then give me voluntarism (ordered anarchy).

What do I worry about anarchy? Will it lead to tribalism? I think that depends on the righteousness of the people, just like any governmental system. Take the quakers of the 16th and 17th century. They had brief periods of anarchy (as mentioned in the book "Conceived in Liberty" by Murray Rothbard) and had a wonderful non-taxed people with little or no violence. The only thing that was bad about it is that they were unable to fend off the greedy men that wished to rule over them and take for themselves that which was not theirs. Apparently the Irish lived in anarchy for some time but I haven't read about it yet. Also, some Asians purposely lived a subsistence life in the mountains to avoid living under governmental control.

The Israelites at one point lived with less laws and compulsion as the scripture says "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." This scripture alludes to two things. That the people were free but that also the people were not united which caused great evils to occur. Anarchy needs a united and righteous people to function properly. But even with this great evil the Israelites were warned against kings.

Steven Ayres said...

Looks like it's time to consider your own blog, d. See how well these ideas fly in the big wide world.

dovh49 said...

I was hoping you would suggest some books. Much of my thinking comes from lewrockwell.com and mises.org, not the most popular but they are gaining in popularity. There the only ones that make logical, principled arguments that I've seen. No one else seems to be able to make principled arguments as to what the proper role of government is. Most just say the government should do everything (at least eventually as it takes over everything). Centralized control just doesn't ever seem to work, it may take a while but eventually it goes bust.

Steven Ayres said...

It feels like you're going after this with a lot of enthusiasm but not anything like enough grounding in basic real-world history, political science or economics.

I really don't mean to give yo a hard time, but the way you're framing your ideas tells me that you're building your philosophical house on weak foundations cobbled together from misunderstandings, prejudices and self-centered ideas. Here's something you can count on: if you hope to have any success with breaking rules (innovation), you have to know the rules (conventions) really well. Otherwise you'll only wind up beating your head against the wall as people discover that you really don't have a clue what you're talking about.

So rather than recommend books, I'd prefer to recommend that you take a good hard look into yourself, asking serious questions about why you believe people are generally stupid and untrustworthy, why you believe the word "government" describes something completely separate from "people," why you believe that people working in organizations designed to make money are smarter and more trustworthy than people working in organizations designed to serve the public good, and whether any of these preposterous prejudices describes the world in a meaningful way. Test yourself rigorously with facts and direct, objective observation.

If you can get past yourself and do this successfully, everything you see and read will carry different meanings and significance. It's a lot easier to see clearly once you clean your glasses.

dovh49 said...

Argumentum ad hominem.

It would have been nice if you tackled my logic, not my person. I am heading more and more in this direction because I believe it would help the most amount of people. From what I've read about history freedom is the best way to help people out of poverty and to stop the violence in our own lives and around the world.

I believe free market organizations work better than governmental organizations because they don't use violence as a means to accomplish a task. They also have competition which makes the organization have to serve the person (customers) the best. Monopolies don't have this incentive and so are more likely to fail compared to the free market.