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Offlineoggleman
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 281
Loc: Chicago
Last seen: 11 years, 10 months
And for all you nay-sayers out there...
    #3303371 - 11/01/04 03:52 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Well I've gotten in a number of heated debates here concerning left vs right, liberty vs equity and capitalism vs socialism, whether governmentt should grow or shrink, and whether taxes should go up or down, and i'm tired of it. I'm tired of the fact that all debate I've particed in up till now has simply boiled down to people being on different points on these linear scales, which oversimplify our remarks, hinder the free flow of ideas and undermine our democracy.

I'm trying to propose that you can have a strong economy and still work towards equity. Attempts to preserve equity do not have to interfere with our individual liberty, and government must remain powerful enough to preserve our democracy, and with the rising power of corporations, the government must be able to compete.

My proposal is that the problem is not simply with the size of government, its the fact that control over our public servants has been taken away from the voters, and given to the corporate elite. The government can do one of two things: 1) Protect the ordinary citizen or 2) Serve the wealthy. The problem, I believe, is that over the last few decades the governmentt has been doing a lot less of #1 in favor of #2. Furthermore, "big government bad, free market capitalism good" type rhetoric simply weakens the government's ability to protect the average citizen, in turn strengthening corporate power over our officials.

One area I will agree with most of you on is that while the ideologies of our politicians vary widely, in practice they are pretty similar. However where I will disagree with some of you is the reason for this. I believe that it is because they are under so much pressure from their political parties and the highly partisan political climate, corporate and other lobbyists, that it leaves their ideologies rather inconsequential. I believe that the problem with the government is the influence of money in it.

"Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives? Not the rich, more than the poor; not the learned, more than the ignorant; not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscure and unpropitious fortune. The electors are to be the great body of people in the United States..." -James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 57

Certainly our own government has the ability to take back this power, however, to do so would reduce the amount of money available to them, so they are going to need us to convince them to do so. Laws like campaign contribution limitations, spending limits, fundraising time limits, and bans on out-of-district contributions would absolutely reduce the influence of money on politics, thereby leaving the people more power by comparison and strengthening our democracy.

Ok thats all fine and good, but what about us? What could government do that would more directly effect the ordinary person? Well most of the proposed solutions fall into one of 3 catergories: leveling up, leveling down, and playing fair.

Leveling up rules focus on bringing the bottom up, things such as raising minimum wage, providing universal health care, increasing access to home ownership, asset building, and job stability. They focus on the lower to middle classes, and things you can do to benefit them.

Leveling down rules focus on restricting how far up the ladder you can go. The idea of taxing the wealthy a higher percent than you tax the not so wealthy is a perfect example of this. The idea of a "maximum wage" is a more extreme example. They focus on the upper class and redistributing wealth and power down the ladder. These tend to be the most opposed because they seem to pose the greatest threat to our individual liberties and to the elite.

Finally playing fair rules guard against future inequality by working in conjunction with leveling up and down rules to preserve the greater equality. Kerry's desire to veto the tax breaks to corporations who outsource jobs is a good example, as is giving employees stocks in the companies they work for, in other words, employee ownership.

Tax breaks to companies who donate to charitable causes; legislation designed to strengthen labor unions; corporate disclosure laws; building powerful coalitions of religious groups, labor groups, and community groups; the list goes on and on.

IMHO these are all examples of what government could do to return power over themselves to us, and furthermore close the economic divide. I also feel that the amount of good society will recieve from lower inequality will far outweigh the threats to our civil liberties by imposing limits on how much wealth one can accumulate. The only problem is we don't have as much money as the elite. In 1998 the average CEO made 419X what the average worker makes. In 1999, the top 1% owned 40% of all US wealth and the top 10% owned 73% of all wealth, so as long as the influence of big money in politics is addressed and hindered, then this is all a pipe dream.

I don't see the problem as simply "big government", I see the problem as big money taking the priority over doing what is in the best interest of the constituency. Remove the corruption from the political process, and government has the potential to do the exact opposite of what it does now; act as a defender of the people, and ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all who live here.

For some of the stats here I used:

Economic Apartheid in America by Collins and Yeskel 2000 pp. 51, 55, 141-153

Sorry this ended up so stinkin long!


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Offlineoggleman
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Registered: 01/21/04
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: oggleman]
    #3306074 - 11/01/04 08:15 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Wow almost 24 hours and no responses? Shit hardly worth the 2 hours it took to write it.


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OfflineDivided_Sky
Ten ThousandThings

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 3,171
Loc: The Shining Void
Last seen: 9 years, 6 months
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: oggleman]
    #3306086 - 11/01/04 08:17 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

So you are a Neo-Marxist?


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1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


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Offlinezappaisgod
horrid asshole

Registered: 02/11/04
Posts: 81,741
Loc: Fractallife's gym
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #3306128 - 11/01/04 08:25 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Democracy means you don't always get what you want. It is pointless to decry those who disagree with you as brainwashed. Dirty our brains then, if you would be so kind. Be well advised that I disagree with you almost everytime you erupt and am most assuredly not brainwashed. I mostly think of you as an ill-informed child and as such far more susceptible to a brainwashing by your immediate environment. So there.


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OfflineRoseM
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Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 22,303
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: zappaisgod]
    #3306313 - 11/01/04 09:12 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I think a lot of us could use a good brainwashing right about now.


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Fiddlesticks.



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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Rose]
    #3306402 - 11/01/04 09:35 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I washed my brain the weekend before last. What I really need is a blow job.


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To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineRoseM
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Evolving]
    #3306414 - 11/01/04 09:38 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Hell, you're in the Village, I'll be right over!


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Fiddlesticks.



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OfflineWorf
Lt. Commander

Registered: 07/04/04
Posts: 15,663
Loc: Final Frontier
Last seen: 4 years, 9 months
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: oggleman]
    #3306443 - 11/01/04 09:44 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I agree. I don't think smaller government necessarily means better government.


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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Worf]
    #3306455 - 11/01/04 09:46 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Self government is better government.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineRoseM
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Evolving]
    #3306478 - 11/01/04 09:52 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

I disagree. Because the average American is even dumber than our president.

I want self govt. but I don't want my neighbors to have it.


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Fiddlesticks.



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Invisiblesilversoul7
Chill the FuckOut!
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Registered: 10/10/02
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Rose]
    #3306487 - 11/01/04 09:53 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

If an idiot governs the country, he can fuck things up for a lot of people. If an idiot governs himself, then he just fucks himself over.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
Loc: Apt #6, The Village
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Rose]
    #3306498 - 11/01/04 09:55 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

If we cannot trust an individual to govern himself, how can we trust an individual to govern an entire nation?


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To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineWorf
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Registered: 07/04/04
Posts: 15,663
Loc: Final Frontier
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Evolving]
    #3306500 - 11/01/04 09:55 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Unfortunatly due to the industrial revolution, not every one can be an expert on everything. Many people just don't know enough about government to be ruling themselves. We have to rely on experts.

It seems as though we do a shitty job of electing these experts though.


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OfflineRoseM
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Registered: 09/24/03
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Worf]
    #3306514 - 11/01/04 09:58 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Yeah, I'm afraid, in this age of technology, there is no reason to go back to the Wild Wild West... no matter how romantic it sounds.

I'd love another country to try Liberatarianism, so I could see how well it works before signing on myself.


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Fiddlesticks.



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InvisibleEvolving
Resident Cynic

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 5,385
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Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Worf]
    #3306524 - 11/01/04 10:00 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

outputrotation said:
Unfortunatly due to the industrial revolution, not every one can be an expert on everything. Many people just don't know enough about government to be ruling themselves. We have to rely on experts.



Bullshit. There ARE NO experts on governing others as one would have to first be an expert on governing himself, and then the 300 million separate individuals with differing needs, desires, potentials and faults. NO ONE has the scope of knowledge necessary.


--------------------
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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OfflineBleaK
paradox
Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1,583
Last seen: 4 years, 10 days
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Evolving]
    #3306624 - 11/01/04 10:21 PM (13 years, 1 month ago)

i tend to think people are idiots intendedly.

in other circumstances they might not be.


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"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma


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OfflineDivided_Sky
Ten ThousandThings

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 3,171
Loc: The Shining Void
Last seen: 9 years, 6 months
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: BleaK]
    #3307492 - 11/02/04 01:49 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Hong Kong was pretty close to libertarian from what I understand.


--------------------
1. "After an hour I wasn't feeling anything so I decided to take another..."
2. "We were feeling pretty good so we decided to smoke a few bowls..."
3. "I had to be real quiet because my parents were asleep upstairs..."


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OfflineRoseM
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Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 22,303
Loc: Mod not God Flag
Last seen: 1 month, 14 days
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #3307516 - 11/02/04 02:03 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

How is that going for them now? :smile:


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Fiddlesticks.



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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
Male

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 2 years, 11 months
Re: And for all you nay-sayers out there... [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #3308215 - 11/02/04 10:08 AM (13 years, 1 month ago)

Yep. Hong Kong was unquestionably the closest nation-state in the Twentieth Century to a pure Laissez-faire Capitalist entity.

Too bad they got turned over to the Chinese in 1997, though.


pinky


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