Occupy Wall Street - a first hand assessment

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xraymike79
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Is Libertarianism realistic?

Do people magically do the right thing?

Would be interested in feedback from DK and the Libertarians on the above/below videos.

A final common point made by small-government types is that absent taxation, private charity would be more than sufficient to take care of everyone's needs. If it weren't for those darn taxes, we'd all be running soup kitchens.

This is demonstrably untrue. The fact is that historically (at least as far back as the history goes), charitable contributions tend most often to move with the rate of taxation as a percentage of gross domestic product. Taxes increase, charitable giving increases. Taxes go down, charity goes down with them. This is true both as comparison to GDP and as comparison to tax/charity rates of the preceding year.

This is precisely the opposite of what one would expect if the "lower taxes = more charity" argument held any water at all.

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Talk about a ideology that

Talk about a ideology that has expired, watching these two try and convince viewers that they are relevant is high order comedy.

Note to Molyneux and Woods: The train has left the station and you aren't on it!

Yes, voluntary exchange between individuals and freedom is an ideology that has expired, some of us dinosaurs want it back. The comedy for me will be when the useful idiots get the system they want, austa la vista statists.

G. Edward Griffin interviews a russian defector who says that the useful idiots that helped get the Communist Party into power were exterminated,, it's on the video series, did not have time to find out exactly which video it is on.

edit - check out around 7:20

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Clarification on terminology rhare

I suppose Im entering a conversation with no idea of the context, but many of these statements I was curious about, and was hoping for clarification.

Many people on this site talk about taking the red pill, but continue to advocate statism (Democrat, Republican, Marxist, Communist) as opposed to looking at the system of government control as the larger problem.  At about 39:30 I think he hit a key point while discussing the argument that government must exist to save the poor.

An extremely common fallacy (over-generalization) is that 'the system of government control as the larger problem'.  A few area's of interest to me are "why is the government there in the first place" and "what are its functions that its failing to do".  Obviously the main idea of government, is that we democratically elect representatives to maintain, or regulate the private-market economy, as without regulation, the motive's for profit would create monopolies, severe exploitation, and severe environmental degradation (all based on the developments during the late 19th to early 20th century)

So would a governing entity need to exist if we didn't have the exploitative motives associated with the market system?  I think Peter Joseph may have stated it best when he defined the word 'Corruption'.  If CORRUPTION is defined as "any act in which human labor is exploited, any act in which environmental degradation is performed for monetary acquisition", then we see that every single facet of our lives within this monetary society is corrupt.

You may have a well meaning business, but somewhere along the line you will have to move money in ways that support human exploitation, resource depletion, or environmental degradation. The monetary-market system cannot function without doing so. 

What it boils down to is do you really think that your fellow man is so evil; that you and your neignbors are so evil that you wouldn't help some guy out.  Even if you don't have a lot of money you can help people out in kind. You can help somebody build a shed,or what ever needs to be done.  Don't you trust yourself to do these things? And if you don't, how have you allowed yourself to be talked into this idea that you are that evil?  Maybe your not.

I dont like this term 'evil', as it really doesn't get us anywhere in determining root causes of behavior. Sure, some acts are twisted and detrimental, but they have an origin somewhere.  For me, the biggest determinant of behavior is beliefs, morals, and values. You can argue all you'd like about instinct and genetic tendencies, but the cultural belief systems of an individual override those genetic, biological predispositions.  Self Preservation? Kamakazee Pilots, Buddhist Monk who set himself on fire and burned alive while meditating.  Greed? Mother Teresa, Ghandi. Reproduction?  Devout religious figures such as nuns or monks. As for helping each other, thats what Im all about, an autonomous, intrinsically motivated labor system where monetary exchange is no longer regarded as relevant. 

We are told by the state and those who promote it over and over that we are all evil, that we have to fear one another.  That we can't take care of ourselves.  Why do so many believe these things?  The message of the statists is to "Trust in government" versus the message "Trust in yourself and your community".

What is this?  I dont ever remember the 'state' (whatever that means) telling me that I was evil and that I need to fear everyone else. My memories of public school included things like sharing and collaboration (if public schooling fits your definition of state).  And the message of 'trusting in yourself and your community' seems ok, but I also recognize that excluding one's locality from the world isn't an intelligent route either. If some community thousands of miles away wants to build nuclear power plants, sure seems fine, until radiation from a broken reactor turns my community into a wasteland. We are all one community on this planet, the sooner we all recognize this the better.

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Those are our choices?

So, the universe of our choices are "Democrat, Republican, Marxist, Communist" and libertarian?  Then we are truly intellectually bankrupt and completely screwed.

Doug

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So, the universe of our

So, the universe of our choices are "Democrat, Republican, Marxist, Communist" and libertarian?  Then we are truly intellectually bankrupt and completely screwed.

You forgot anarchist, what is your ideal system?

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 Occupy Wall Street May Be

Occupy Wall Street May Be Too Big to Fail

According to occupytogether.org, there are Occupy events currently running or planned for the month of October in over 1400 cities across the globe, and in approximately 400 cities in 48 states across America. This is proof that Occupy Wall Street is growing, not only in its numbers, but in its ability to spread its message to as many Americans as possible in an attempt to end the financial manipulation of our government by those who bastardize the freedoms and ideals of the United States of America.

Although the statistics are somewhat hyperbolic it is impressive that individuals in over 1400 cities are at least contemplating an #occupy event. If you follow the links to occupytogether.org you will find them reporting that 9,080 occupiers in 1,438 cities have signed up to meet. You may want to check if anything is planned in your area, I found several events planned in the Tampa bay Florida area.

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gregroberts wrote: So, the

gregroberts wrote:

So, the universe of our choices are "Democrat, Republican, Marxist, Communist" and libertarian?  Then we are truly intellectually bankrupt and completely screwed.

You forgot anarchist, what is your ideal system?

It appears that in the last several posts the focus has shifted off topic to ideology. This is the fantasy of the political parties that want to hijack or criminalize OWS and what OWS is avoiding.

There is clear “Editorial Note” in the paper: The Occupied Wall Street Journal

   No list of demands
    We are speaking to each other, and listening.
    This occupation is first about participation.

Let's participate.

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Good video

xraymike79 wrote:

Do people magically do the right thing?

You know, I like the concept behind libertarianism, its actually quite appealing. No one likes being told what to do, especially by an authority that has the use of force as profound as the US Government. And much as I wish it weren’t so, the theme of the video is quite correct, as at the end of the day notions of anarchy and lawless societies are unfortunately nothing more than post adolescent pipe dreams, utopian visions that lack fundamental understanding on several pertinent topics.

The references to Ayn Rand always seem to come up in any discussion of libertarian thinking, and I have often wondered, with no small degree of suspicion how it is that Rand’s philosophy has come about to be precisely 180 degrees opposite to Marxist theory. Not 179 degrees, not 181 degrees, but exactly, precisely 180 degrees polar opposite. Now, we have to consider that humans seem to gravitate towards balance, seemingly uncomfortable unless there is a clearly labeled icon of demarcation, in effect, a plane of symmetry. Especially we Americans seem most at home when there are two choices, and only two, that are essentially polar opposites of each other. To this end, Rand’s world idolizes the capitalist, the aggressor, the alpha figure, the one who takes the world and the market by the scruff of the neck, and extracts every last bit of value and all that is good, secure in the existential knowledge that this is how the human was destined to live. Critical of those who would submit, a (fictional) culture was described that penalized and meted justice to those that did not take from others.

In contrast, Marx idolized the worker class, the proletariat, and lamented the plight of the worker who would toil his life with sustenance wages, forced to exist with an ever decreasing slice of someone else’s pie. This may be an exaggerated viewpoint, but it is not fictional- still the point must be made as to how precisely opposite these perspectives are.

This is particularly interesting when we observe that “Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957 at the height of McCarthyism, the time of the black lists and accusations of communism by government officials, the genesis of the Cold War days- seemingly a pseudo-intellectual rebuttal and alternate universe to the ravages of the Red Scare. The coincidence is remarkable.

While libertarianism is not defined by such concepts, it is informed by it, and carries the frequent rallying cry of “commie” and Marxist” to any who challenge the stock in trade alternate to rule by “force” (such as it is), that is to say those who challenge the notion of free market solutions as balance to a lawless (and/or) unregulated society.  I’ve observed it takes an incredible amount of effort, and would seem to be even challenging, to try and explain the events brought forth by the 2008 meltdown as entirely caused by government failure and government intervention- yet this is what we are to believe from the tri-corner hat crowd.

What is interesting about the OWS protests, is that these types of explanations do not seem to hold sway over the majority of the participants, in direct contrast to the Tea Party rallys where we saw (and still see) a wholesale embrace of a post adolescent belief system that we need no government, or if we do, it needs to get much smaller. The protestors have managed to break free of these limiting ideologies, and frankly, rendered them obsolete. Nowhere have I seen the OWS protesters clamor to “trust in government” as has been suggested. But of course, when you deal with extremists, you must expect a extreme response to an entirely rational observation, an observation that every 4th grader knows, which is simply this; “He who has the gold makes the rules”. The protestors have extrapolated this obvious truth to describe what we all observe today, that the big corporations have hijacked all the surplus value, shipped the jobs to China, looted a vast quantity of middle class Americas’ wealth, and now seeks to complain that we can no longer afford a management structure to keep the worlds’ most complex society functioning, and we must forfeit our SS benefits and embark on a series of punitive austerity measures- while the big corporations keep trillions of dollars in profits offshore and away from American taxation.

Now, no question government is dysfunctional, no question the Federal Reserve is dysfunctional, but to try and explain all this as an artifact of government gone wild, and worse, to actually suggest that we should revert to a free market solution is completely irresponsible.

It’s time to grow up - and act like a citizen.

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Cant' trust citizens so we have to trust the government?!

xraymike79 wrote:

Do people magically do the right thing?

Okay, since you hung this pinata out there, I'll take a whack at it.

First, if people aren't trustworthy to do the right thing then why give them more power, namely government power, the power of coercion that comes out of the barrel of a gun. "Every communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" Chaiman Mao, 1964

If you don't believe this then try resisting the government. Eventually they will have their way. By force. If you resist long and hard enough, you will find this to be true.

Next, you've got a gaping flaw in this quote, a logical non-sequiter:

A final common point made by small-government types is that absent taxation, private charity would be more than sufficient to take care of everyone's needs. If it weren't for those darn taxes, we'd all be running soup kitchens.

This is demonstrably untrue. The fact is that historically (at least as far back as the history goes), charitable contributions tend most often to move with the rate of taxation as a percentage of gross domestic product. Taxes increase, charitable giving increases. Taxes go down, charity goes down with them. This is true both as comparison to GDP and as comparison to tax/charity rates of the preceding year.

This is precisely the opposite of what one would expect if the "lower taxes = more charity" argument held any water at all.

The premise addressed is "absent taxation, private charity would be......"  In order to disprove this premise logically, it must be shown a period where there was no taxation i.e., an absence. That's the underlying condition that this author himself set forth. And yet he fails to meet his own criteria. He shows changes in taxation, which are obviously not absences, and which on a chart of larger scope would be minscule. Besides, the chart (which by-the-way shows no source for the data, which renders it suspect) really doesn't track very well the conclusion he hopes to induce. The chart supposedly tracks the change in behavior. Yet, the change he cites is demonstrated only in five of the twenty one years covered ('85, '90, '96, 2000, 2001, 2004) with three years ('86, '87, '99) actually showing what he says does not occur. The rest of the years are neutral: no change occuring. Moreover, in the text of the article he authoritatively asserts "historically... at least as far back as history goes" but yet he only shows a twenty year chart. Puzzling. This author is severly academically challenged. I must admit to not having watched the videos. But in light of the low quality of the authorship, it seemed prudent.

But it's all a moot point anyways. That whole arguement is a straw man because he refutes an arguement that is not made. He tries to cast the arguement as one of charitable giving relative to taxation. "Small-government types" (at least the ones that I've been exposed to) don't argue an inverse correlation between taxation and charitable giving. The underlying notion to that arguement would be that taxes crowd out charitable giving by sucking any discretionary income out of the economy. That's not the point; at least as an advocate of smaller government it's not the one I would make.

It's more accurate to say that the mere existance, not the level of taxation, of the government-run social safety net causes those who would be predisposed to charitable giving to conclude that they have already done so (unwillingly, I would add) by paying taxes. In other words, people conclude that they have charitibly given by proxy. Take, for instance, people of faith who are taught to among other things to "feed the hungry". It's not an unreasonable conclusion to think that because one's tax dollars fund the myriad of overlapping, inefficient, corrupt government-run food programs, that one has now fulfilled that tenet of faith, albeit through government. In other words, the existance of these programs undermines the social conscience. Which is, by the way, just one of many examples of unintended consequences of government actions that undermine the social fabric by displacing individual actions and ultimately proves counterproductive

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earthwise wrote:xraymike79

deleted duplicate post

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The government IS the people

If people in general are not trustworthy, than the government even less so, as earthwise pointed out.  Regardless of political system, the government is a product of the people.  You cannot have a corrupt people with a benevolent government, and vice versa.  Our government is corrupt because it perfectly mirrors the people of this country.  For example, your neighbor probably wouldn't break into your house to steal from you, but has no problem voting money out of your pocket and into his.  There is no difference in outcome, only in the means used.

For darbikrash, by what standard do you deem a citizen to be a higher form than than a free man, beholden to no one?  I think that's backward.  Striving toward citizenship is a revolt against true maturity.

The argument of a proportional relationship between charity and taxes has a second logical fallacy, correlation does not prove causation.  Off the top of my head, higher taxes and more charity could eaily be unrelated consequences of better economic situations, OR, higher taxes could neccesitate greater giving to those harmed by said taxes.

Just some thoughts...

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tictac1 wrote:If people in

tictac1 wrote:

If people in general are not trustworthy, than the government even less so, as earthwise pointed out.  Regardless of political system, the government is a product of the people.  

You hit the nail on the head. The whole point of OWS is to get the not so trustworthy financial industry out of government and politicians working for people instead of corporations. Thanks for steering the topic back on course.

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The Losers' Debt: What

the loosersThe Losers' Debt: What Occupy Wall Street Owes to the Tea Party
 

As the ranks of Occupy Wall Street swell, the inevitable comparisons to the Tea Party have led conservative agitators whose demonstrations catalyzed opposition to President Obama to deny any similarities between the two movements. They shouldn’t: Without the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street wouldn’t exist.

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darbikrash wrote: What is

darbikrash wrote:

What is interesting about the OWS protests, is that these types of explanations do not seem to hold sway over the majority of the participants, in direct contrast to the Tea Party rallys where we saw (and still see) a wholesale embrace of a post adolescent belief system that we need no government, or if we do, it needs to get much smaller.

I don't know of any Tea Party supporters who say we don't need any government.  But I agree they do argue for a smaller government.  Are you saying you don't support a smaller government?

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gregroberts wrote: So, the

gregroberts wrote:

So, the universe of our choices are "Democrat, Republican, Marxist, Communist" and libertarian?  Then we are truly intellectually bankrupt and completely screwed.

You forgot anarchist, what is your ideal system?

I believe it will be a totally new ism, yet to be "invented".  I see no future in delving in the past.....

Mike

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tictac1 wrote: For

tictac1 wrote:

For darbikrash, by what standard do you deem a citizen to be a higher form than than a free man, beholden to no one?  I think that's backward.  Striving toward citizenship is a revolt against true maturity.

I think it has to do with the social contract. The conventional wisdom is that the individual must sacrifice some element of freedom to the community, or government, in order to obtain greater protection and therefore more freedom.

So yes, in this context, I do view acting as a citizen as enabling a higher form of freedom than someone “beholden to none”.

The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm.[citation needed]

Social contract theory played an important historical role in the emergence of the idea that political authority must be derived from the consent of the governed. The starting point for most social contract theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any political order, usually termed the “state of nature”. In this condition, individuals' actions are bound only by their personal power and conscience. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual would voluntarily give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order.

Thomas Hobbes (1651), John Locke (1689), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762) are the most famous social contract thinkers. Each drew quite different conclusions about the nature of political authority. Hobbes advocated absolute monarchy, Locke advocated natural rights, and Rousseau advocated collective sovereignty in the name of "the general will.".[citation needed] The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence, and social contract notions have recently been invoked, in a quite different sense, by thinkers such as John Rawls.

Although developed for understanding human societies, sociobiologists have found the notion illuminating for understanding societies of other social species and even interspecies symbiotic relationships.[1]

ao wrote:

I don't know of any Tea Party supporters who say we don't need any government.  But I agree they do argue for a smaller government.  Are you saying you don't support a smaller government?

Given the current state of corporate malfeasance, or if you prefer, corruption, I don’t believe quantitative judgment can be passed as to the size of government. I would prefer the smallest government possible, of course, but on the grounds of striving for efficiency.

I believe the Tea Party commits a significant error in reflexively calling for smaller government, without appropriate predecessor activities, such as removing the influence of corporate money from the political process. This has the effect of removing whatever modicum of regulation still remains in our corrupt system, and turning the reins over to the free market- a cure that is surely worse than the disease.

Another remark is that I do not see any allowance for government scaling with population growth, nor with complexity of society. Distasteful as it may be, there is a necessary proportionality to the size of the government and the complexity of the society in question. I cannot honestly say I have ever heard any Tea Partiers (certainly not any Libertarians) acknowledge this requirement, a requirement seen by virtually all businesses in the private sector. To me, this indicates irresponsibility. Now, I do understand the frustration, and it is entirely justified, but this  response seems a sure indicator of rash, “shoot first ask questions later” philosophy.

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How 'bout the Constitution as a social contract. It's the law.

The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm

As this states, the social contract is merely "an intellectual device", whereas the actual "process of mutual consent" and our "common rules" are the Constitution. While Hobbs, Locke and Rousseau may have influenced the socio-political thinking of their day, the Constitution is what our nation was founded upon no matter how distasteful you may find it.. This founding document is the tangible manifestation of an abstract "intellectual device" and as such it takes precedence. It's the law of the land.

darbikrash wrote:

......... I don’t believe quantitative judgment can be passed as to the size of government.

Maybe not, but a qualitative judgement surely can be. Those qualities should be those powers limited by the Constitution.

darbikrash wrote:

I would prefer the smallest government possible, of course, but on the grounds of striving for efficiency.

While we may agree on smaller government, but grounding that government on efficiency is sheer folly. Our Revolution wasn't fought nor our Constitution written in order to obtain a more efficient government, but a less oppressive one. Would you welcome a government that trampled your liberties but did so efficiently? I think not.

 

darbikrash wrote:

I believe the Tea Party commits a significant error in reflexively calling for smaller government, without appropriate predecessor activities, such as removing the influence of corporate money from the political process.

You haven't been listening.  The movement was/is based on opposition to both corporate and government corruption and was stoked into a raging inferno with the way Obamacare was rammed through against overwhelming public opposition via Sen. Landreau's Louisiana Purchase and similar disgusting deals. Remember those? Talk about corporate malfeasance...... Besides, if government didn't wield it's unconstitutional power to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, corporate money would have no influence. But this raises a question for you. If the Tea Party were to demonstrate that it has been, or is now, equally as serious about reining in corporate corruption as government corruption, would you then support it?

darbikrash wrote:

Another remark is that I do not see any allowance for government scaling with population growth, nor with complexity of society. Distasteful as it may be, there is a necessary proportionality to the size of the government and the complexity of the society in question. I cannot honestly say I have ever heard any Tea Partiers (certainly not any Libertarians) acknowledge this requirement,

If government's growth had increased proportionally with the population but yet stayed within the bounds of it's Constitutionally mandated limited powers then, I believe, there would be no Tea Party. Or Libertarian Party. Period. They would be superfluous. Proportional growth is not the problem; it's the growth of reach and scope into an omnipotent power that dominates all aspects of our lives, and does so corruptly. It's what our nation's founders warned us about:

The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people;
it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government–
lest it come to dominate our lives and our interests.
— Patrick Henry

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charitable giving on the decline

tictac1 wrote:

...  Our government is corrupt because it perfectly mirrors the people of this country. 

That's just wrong on its face.

Further data on charitable giving:

Giving USA reported that 60 percent of public charities saw decreases in 2010. The exceptions were religion, human services, environment and animal organizations and giving to individuals where giving remained stable.

http://www.nps.gov/partnerships/fundraising_individuals_statistics.htm

tictac1 wrote:

The argument of a proportional relationship between charity and taxes has a second logical fallacy, correlation does not prove causation.  Off the top of my head, higher taxes and more charity could eaily be unrelated consequences of better economic situations, OR, higher taxes could neccesitate greater giving to those harmed by said taxes.

Just some thoughts...

Found further info on charity/taxes which I find intriguing:

Big Lies: Charity Can Sustain Social Welfare If Taxes Are Lower

20Sep2011

Among the many lies, fantasies, and distortions promoted by the right wing and so-called "libertarians" in this country is the idea that social welfare programs can and should be replaced by private charity.

This is demonstrably false. Today we're going to not only prove it so with numbers, but we're going to look at the inherent flaws involved in this idea.

Reality Check

First and foremost we have to take a look at the numbers. If this assertion is accurate, then we should expect to see that in years when tax revenue constitutes a higher percentage of gross domestic product, charitable donations will fall; conversely, when taxes go down, charitable donations should go up.

Except that's not what happens.

The two tables on this page were generated from IRS information from 1984-2008 regarding income tax collected and charitable donations claimed as deductions. (There are some anomalies in the data; for some reason the year 1988 is not represented at all in the federal reports, you can look at the data yourself in an Excel spreadsheet here.)

y2y-pct-gdpEven with the missing year of data, the trend is still quite clear: in 22 years period, only six times did taxation and charitable giving move in opposite directions...and in only three years did that opposition show increased charitable giving in tandem with decreased taxation.

This is precisely the opposite trend that one should expect if the assertions made by small-government types regarding the effect of taxation on charitable giving were accurate.

Other Realities

The numbers themselves aren't the only flaw involved in this empty theorizing, however. There are also human realities.

The government is forbidden by law to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or physical handicap in determining eligibility for social welfare benefits.

Private charities are not restricted in that way. They can pick and choose who gets their money. You don't believe in our god? We can turn you away. You don't have the right skin color? We can turn you away. You don't have the same sexual values we do? We can turn you away.

Yes, there are some charities who don't engage in this sort of discrimination...but who's to stop them? Can't be the government; under this laissez-faire philosophy the government doesn't have the power to regulate private institutions.

I don't know about you, but I rather dislike the idea that a human being's survival could be based on whether they worship the "right" god or have sex the "right" way.

"Should" versus "Is"

Another fatal flaw in this "let private charity handle it" philosophy is that it's based on a bad premise - the idea that people will tend to do what's in the best interests of the broader society even when that runs counter to their own immediate interests.

There are some cultures in which this happens. There are some people who will give even when they have little or nothing to give. I try to be one of those people, and I've been the beneficiary of others who think the same way.

But the reality is that in many cultures, including the US, the far more common attitude is "why should I have to pay for their failure?" There are countries - the Nordic nations are good examples of this - where it is inherently understood that when one member of a society fails, the entire society has failed as well. Unfortunately, that's not a point of evolution that most of us have reached...and the ugly truth is that even if we did, it's unlikely that we would voluntarily provide for the needy at the level required to sustain them, let alone to offer them an opportunity to become self-sustaining.y2y-pct-prev

You might say "well that's just not true!" You might say that because you'd prefer to think of yourself and your friends as charitable and giving. Maybe you even actually are. But take a look at how our social welfare is structured in this country. Single mom with a child. It costs $550 a month to pay rent, plus utilities, plus hopefully the ability to acquire tools like technology, transportation, and education that allow her to move out of poverty.

The sane approach would be to make sure she's got what she needs...but what happens? One side says "this is what she needs, let's give it to her." The other side says "you're not going to steal my money!" So they compromise...and she gets $300 a month, which isn't enough to cover her expenses, and then the "steal my money" crowd looks down their nose at her because she can't pay her rent.

That is the ugly reality of how people deal with each other in this country. When we evolve past that point, one could argue, then the problem will solve itself.

But the truth is, the problem would solve itself through taxation and centrally-administered distribution of necessary goods and services, because that's the only efficient, cost-effective way to do it.

But then of course, you have those right-wing social Darwinists who do their best to break social welfare systems and make them ineffective, bloated, inefficient, and costly...and then they point to the artificial effects they've created as an excuse to eliminate those systems altogether.

This kind of thinking is a bit like punching your girlfriend in the face and then refusing to go out with her because the black eye makes her look ugly. Perhaps when sanity overtakes this psychopathic way of thinking, we can revisit this issue...but as things stand today, private charity can not, and will not, compensate for the destruction of state-administered social welfare systems.

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earthwise wrote:The

earthwise wrote:
The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government–
lest it come to dominate our lives and our interests.
— Patrick Henry

Good point. Not let's start the participation and stop the participating.

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frobn
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tictac1 wrote:...  Our

tictac1 wrote:
...  Our government is corrupt because it perfectly mirrors the people of this country.

Who are the 'people of this country,' that you are referring to? Is it all the people? A majority? An elite group? Can you identify those who are at the root of government corruption, if you can perhaps we can do something instead of theorizing and pontificating. Who has the most influence over government? Could it be the unions, the banks, wall street, the financial industry who spend billions on bribing, I mean buying the government? Charles Hugg Smith posed an interesting question How Much Would It Cost To Buy Congress Back From Special Interests?  He came up with a miserly figure of 14.5 billion dollars.

"When you think about how tiny $14 billion is compared to the $3.8 trillion Federal budget and the $14.5 trillion U.S. economy, it makes you want to weep; how cheaply we have sold our government, and how much we suffer under the whip of those who bought it for a pittance."

In case you haven't been paying attention there is a unlikely rag-a-tag group of diverse people who don't have the 14.5 billion to buy the government but they have themselves and putting what they have on the line by participating in the OWS movement which has the political parties and their sponsors a tiny bit worried. The parties have tried to ignore then, then ridiculed them, called un-American, said they were jealous, agaisnt jobs, that they wanted to steel iphones. The Dems are trying to hijack the movement, the repubs are trying to criminalize them but the group continues to grow daily and their message is resonating with more and more people not just in the US but worldwide. The last figures from http://www.meetup.com/occupytogether/ are 9,573 Occupiers in 1,475 cities worldwide. Are we going to be spectators and continue to argue ideology or are you going to participate in OWS and help transform a corrupt government to a just government? Don't pass up this chance, it may be our last one we get.

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ao
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darbikrash wrote: ao

darbikrash wrote:

ao wrote:

I don't know of any Tea Party supporters who say we don't need any government.  But I agree they do argue for a smaller government.  Are you saying you don't support a smaller government?

Given the current state of corporate malfeasance, or if you prefer, corruption, I don’t believe quantitative judgment can be passed as to the size of government. I would prefer the smallest government possible, of course, but on the grounds of striving for efficiency.

I believe the Tea Party commits a significant error in reflexively calling for smaller government, without appropriate predecessor activities, such as removing the influence of corporate money from the political process. This has the effect of removing whatever modicum of regulation still remains in our corrupt system, and turning the reins over to the free market- a cure that is surely worse than the disease.

Another remark is that I do not see any allowance for government scaling with population growth, nor with complexity of society. Distasteful as it may be, there is a necessary proportionality to the size of the government and the complexity of the society in question. I cannot honestly say I have ever heard any Tea Partiers (certainly not any Libertarians) acknowledge this requirement, a requirement seen by virtually all businesses in the private sector. To me, this indicates irresponsibility. Now, I do understand the frustration, and it is entirely justified, but this  response seems a sure indicator of rash, “shoot first ask questions later” philosophy.

What does the state of corruption have to do with the size of government and "?quantitative judgement?"?

Also, you're introducing a straw man argument with regards to "predecessor activities".  We were discussing size of government, not corporate money influence upon the political process.  Also, what makes you think Tea Party members aren't opposed to or haven't spoken out against   undue corporate influence?  You and many others here consistently misstate and misrepresent the Tea Party.

There has been plenty of scaling for population growth and societal complexity.  Our population has increased 3 1/2 fold in the last century while our government has increased 300 fold.  Whatever happened to economies of scale?  Economies of scale don't work against increased size of an entity, they work for it.  You have the situation backwards.

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ao wrote:... what makes you

ao wrote:
... what makes you think Tea Party members aren't opposed to or haven't spoken out against   undue corporate influence?  You and many others here consistently misstate and misrepresent the Tea Party.

I am going to chime in here and see if I can bring us back to topic. Even though I consider myself apolitical I do read political blogs of all persuasions. For me, and this is my opinion based on what I have observed and read, the tea party has lost its credibility mainly because it has been hijacked by the Koch brothers who are now the primary financial backers of the tea party. Karl Denninger, one of the first voices in the tea party agrees that they have lost credibility. I am not saying that their original ideas are without have merit, I believe many of their ideas have merit, but that is for another discussion.

Several people have called for finding a common ground between the tea party and OWS. A few days ago I would have thought it impossible but recently several Republican presidential hopefuls are lowering their rhetoric over OWS - Occupy Wall Street Gains Measured Support From Some Republican Candidates

...Republican presidential candidates who were once hostile toward the movement have begun speaking more positively about it.

Herman Cain, changed his tune, arguing that the protesters should instead blame the Obama administration for the high unemployment rate.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, =  “I worry about the 99 percent in America," he said, before adding later in the day: "I understand how those people feel."

 Jon Huntsman - "There is angst, and there is anger, and there is frustration, in large measure because of the trillions that was spent to little effect," he said. "There is a lot out there that people on all ends of politics are very angry and concerned about."

The change of rhetoric reflects "one of the most basic truths of a political campaign -- that it is better to align oneself with an increasingly popular movement than to malign it."

Perhaps the movement of the Republican hopefuls will provide cover to the Tea Party to look for common ground and regardless of our differences all vocies against corruption can be heard.

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  Someone should ask HERMEN

Someone should ask HERMEN CAIN when was the last time MY VOTE got rid of the LOBBYIST from GoldmanSachs out of WASHINGTON?!!!?!?

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  Someone should ask HERMEN

Someone should ask HERMEN CAIN when was the last time MY VOTE got rid of the LOBBYIST from GoldmanSachs out of WASHINGTON?!!!?!?

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"You know, I like the

"You know, I like the concept behind libertarianism, its actually quite appealing. No one likes being told what to do, especially by an authority that has the use of force as profound as the US Government. And much as I wish it weren’t so, the theme of the video is quite correct, as at the end of the day notions of anarchy and lawless societies are unfortunately nothing more than post adolescent pipe dreams, utopian visions that lack fundamental understanding on several pertinent topics."

Yes, it's much more mature to accept that pointing guns at people is the proper way to organize society.

"The references to Ayn Rand always seem to come up in any discussion of libertarian thinking, and I have often wondered, with no small degree of suspicion how it is that Rand’s philosophy has come about to be precisely 180 degrees opposite to Marxist theory. Not 179 degrees, not 181 degrees, but exactly, precisely 180 degrees polar opposite. Now, we have to consider that humans seem to gravitate towards balance, seemingly uncomfortable unless there is a clearly labeled icon of demarcation, in effect, a plane of symmetry. Especially we Americans seem most at home when there are two choices, and only two, that are essentially polar opposites of each other. To this end, Rand’s world idolizes the capitalist, the aggressor, the alpha figure, the one who takes the world and the market by the scruff of the neck, and extracts every last bit of value and all that is good, secure in the existential knowledge that this is how the human was destined to live. Critical of those who would submit, a (fictional) culture was described that penalized and meted justice to those that did not take from others."

The reason you statists hate Ayn Rand is because she exposed how you operate, how you cloak your criminality in pretty words like "social justice" . You can sum her up by John Galt's oath, " I swear by my life and my love love it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand idolized those who produce, who create, who leave others alone to do as they choose, who do not advocate using guns to get what they want but rely on voluntary exchange. Very immature.

"In contrast, Marx idolized the worker class, the proletariat, and lamented the plight of the worker who would toil his life with sustenance wages, forced to exist with an ever decreasing slice of someone else’s pie. This may be an exaggerated viewpoint, but it is not fictional- still the point must be made as to how precisely opposite these perspectives are."

Let's see, how many of these beloved worker class died because of these mature sophisticated ideas? Hitler was a piker with his National Socialism (NAZI) he only killed around 12 million, Stalin in his mature wisdom was responsible for around 30 million killed, and Mao the most mature of all took out around 60 million. So the statist motto is the more you rob and kill the more mature you are.

"This is particularly interesting when we observe that “Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957 at the height of McCarthyism, the time of the black lists and accusations of communism by government officials, the genesis of the Cold War days- seemingly a pseudo-intellectual rebuttal and alternate universe to the ravages of the Red Scare. The coincidence is remarkable."

Of course the mature know that there were no communists in our govt.

"While libertarianism is not defined by such concepts, it is informed by it, and carries the frequent rallying cry of “commie” and Marxist” to any who challenge the stock in trade alternate to rule by “force” (such as it is), that is to say those who challenge the notion of free market solutions as balance to a lawless (and/or) unregulated society.  I’ve observed it takes an incredible amount of effort, and would seem to be even challenging, to try and explain the events brought forth by the 2008 meltdown as entirely caused by government failure and government intervention- yet this is what we are to believe from the tri-corner hat crowd."

If you go to the root causes you will find the govt's guns are the reason for what happened. Can you say "legal tender laws and federal reserve?)

"What is interesting about the OWS protests, is that these types of explanations do not seem to hold sway over the majority of the participants, in direct contrast to the Tea Party rallys where we saw (and still see) a wholesale embrace of a post adolescent belief system that we need no government, or if we do, it needs to get much smaller. The protestors have managed to break free of these limiting ideologies, and frankly, rendered them obsolete. Nowhere have I seen the OWS protesters clamor to “trust in government” as has been suggested. But of course, when you deal with extremists, you must expect a extreme response to an entirely rational observation, an observation that every 4th grader knows, which is simply this; “He who has the gold makes the rules”. The protestors have extrapolated this obvious truth to describe what we all observe today, that the big corporations have hijacked all the surplus value, shipped the jobs to China, looted a vast quantity of middle class Americas’ wealth, and now seeks to complain that we can no longer afford a management structure to keep the worlds’ most complex society functioning, and we must forfeit our SS benefits and embark on a series of punitive austerity measures- while the big corporations keep trillions of dollars in profits offshore and away from American taxation."

I would venture a guess that the mature author of the above would consider Bernie Madoff a hero, a lover of ponzi schemes. Aren't corporations govt created ?

"Now, no question government is dysfunctional, no question the Federal Reserve is dysfunctional, but to try and explain all this as an artifact of government gone wild, and worse, to actually suggest that we should revert to a free market solution is completely irresponsible.

It’s time to grow up - and act like a citizen."

I find it interesting that at age 56 I'm being told to grow up because I don't like guns being pointed at me. I left home at 17 and have taken responsibility for my life from that point, isn't that what it means to be a grown up? Stef makes a point that collectivists are the ones that don't want to grow up, they want a mommy and daddy to take care of them from cradle to grave even if they have to use guns to achieve these ends.

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earthwise wrote:   The

earthwise wrote:

The social contract is an intellectual device intended to explain the appropriate relationship between individuals and their governments. Social contract arguments assert that individuals unite into political societies by a process of mutual consent, agreeing to abide by common rules and accept corresponding duties to protect themselves and one another from violence and other kinds of harm

As this states, the social contract is merely "an intellectual device", whereas the actual "process of mutual consent" and our "common rules" are the Constitution. While Hobbs, Locke and Rousseau may have influenced the socio-political thinking of their day, the Constitution is what our nation was founded upon no matter how distasteful you may find it.. This founding document is the tangible manifestation of an abstract "intellectual device" and as such it takes precedence. It's the law of the land.

Yes, a mere “intellectual device”. My how we squirm when confronted with accepted socio-political theory that links sacrifice of minor freedoms for a greater good. Such as the Declaration of Independence does. I trust you read this part:

………….The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence, and social contract notions have recently been invoked……….

The principle of social contract goes back thousands of years to the first nomadic tribes, this is no mere “intellectual device”. While there is nothing that says a citizen has to accept and participate in this, to me it is appalling and disheartening to see reflexive rejection of these time honored principles, ostensibly because of perceived constitutional issues. Take a good look at corporate behavior, take a good look at who is paying for these constitutional aberrations, and you will see the causality is not the social contract, but rather those that seek to purchase it for their own profit.

While we may agree on smaller government, but grounding that government on efficiency is sheer folly. Our Revolution wasn't fought nor our Constitution written in order to obtain a more efficient government, but a less oppressive one. Would you welcome a government that trampled your liberties but did so efficiently? I think not.

Sorry. Did I say this? Little quick on the trigger with all the constitutional references, no? And I’m not at all sure we agree on the size of government.

You haven't been listening.  The movement was/is based on opposition to both corporate and government corruption and was stoked into a raging inferno with the way Obamacare was rammed through against overwhelming public opposition via Sen. Landreau's Louisiana Purchase and similar disgusting deals. Remember those? Talk about corporate malfeasance...... Besides, if government didn't wield it's unconstitutional power to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, corporate money would have no influence. But this raises a question for you. If the Tea Party were to demonstrate that it has been, or is now, equally as serious about reining in corporate corruption as government corruption, would you then support it?

Oh I’ve been listening just fine. I have not brought up any commentary on Obamacare, and don’t care to. I did however, highlight a sentence in your above statement. This is a classical Libertarian comment, one we see here on CM.com all the time. I can’t begin to tell you how wrong this is, this violates every known and accepted principle of capitalism that we know, yet still we read this stuff time and time again. Unbelievable! The Tea Party is now, and always was captured by the corporations, paid for by the corporations, and is corrupted by the corporations. With all the manifold evidence on the Koch Brothers, Dick Armey, et. al. does anybody really believe this group is about reining in corporate power? I certainly don’t.

I wonder what Patrick Henry would have said if told that the corporations had become the government, which is precisely what the OWS protestors are saying. Would he not have advocated reeling them in too?

It’s plain that the Tea Party “establishment” and associated libertarians and conservatives are still singing from the same tired, old song sheet. Times, they are a’changin’.

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couple of responses

good info on the charity vs tax rate thing, but it still provides no causal relationship.  Also, the author seems to believe that all people deserve help equally.  Why?  Would you help a murderer or child pornographer? 

My statement that "people" are corrupt met was dismissed, but later in the post appears-

"That is the ugly reality of how people deal with each other in this country. When we evolve past that point, one could argue, then the problem will solve itself."

That was my point, perhaps I worded it poorly.  Corrupt, amoral, or perhaps just "shitty" would describe it.  Which people?  The people that support a corrupt system willingly, even gleefully.  Apparently that's a majority, or at least a powerful minority, or perhaps the moral majority is too apathetic to change it.  I work with many people who are quite pleased with the status quo, simply because they are currently immune to its negative effects.  They do not care enough about others to even ask for change, let alone be inconvenienced for it.

The OWS may indeed bring some sort of change, but until we "evolve past that point", it will be short-lived, as was this country's original bid for true freedom.  Look at what our founding fathers wrote.  For all their faults, they called this all hundreds of years ago.

Time will be the judge of whether any true change comes of the OWS movement.  I will happily support any real, beneficial change, and I will work toward it as I have been, on a personal, one-on-one level in my community.  I think THAT is the one and only way to make a lasting difference.

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October 2011 Dear

October 2011

Dear Friends,

One of the beautiful aspects of the occupation is that it has brought people out into the open to talk about the issues. Everywhere we look right now as we gaze out at Freedom Plaza in Washington DC, people are engaged in conversations. Some are standing in groups, and some are sitting in circles in the assembly area or between the tents.

Throughout the day, people wander through Freedom Plaza to read the signs scattered about "Human Needs not Corporate Greed," "We are the 99% and so are you," and " Money for people, not for wars." 

This is the first step in this evolution to a more peaceful, just and sustainable planet. For too long we have been focused on divisions. Now we are finding what unites us.

Increasing numbers of people are becoming unemployed, uninsured, losing their homes or pensions or dignity. Students are dropping out of college due to cost or graduating with lifelong debt in a deteriorating job market. The days of sitting in silence and blaming ourselves for not working hard enough are over.

The first step in the process of change is awareness of the problem. We are encouraging all people to come out of their homes. Join us in the streets either through your local occupation or on the local playground. Talk to those around you. Talk about the way things are with increasing wealth disparity and poverty. Talk about the way you want things to be - a society based on openness, acceptance, honesty, transparency and kindness.

We invite you to join us in Freedom Plaza each evening during the General Assembly. It begins at 6:00 pm eastern time. You can join us in person or via livestream on the website. We are going to devote a portion of each meeting to a discussion of one of the fifteen issues and the solutions we would like to see.

The schedule is below. Join us, talk about it and share what you learn with your family, friends and colleagues. This is the first step in the nonviolent transformation of our country.

Wednesday, Oct. 12: Corporatism

Thursday, Oct. 13: Militarism and War

Friday, Oct. 14: Human Rights

Saturday, Oct. 15:Worker Rights and Jobs

Sunday, Oct. 16: Government

Monday, Oct. 17: Elections

Tuesday, Oct. 18: Criminal Justice and Prisons

Wednesday, Oct. 19: Healthcare

Thursday, Oct. 20: Education

Friday, Oct. 21:Housing

Saturday, Oct. 22: Environment

Sunday, Oct. 23: Finance and the Economy

Monday, Oct. 24: Media

Tuesday, Oct. 25: Food and Water

Wednesday, Oct. 26: Transportation

Now that we have a four month permit, we need donations to help sustain the community. Please see our wishlist online or make a donation if you are able.

In peace and solidarity,
The October2011 Movement

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Outcast 19
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Posts: 46
Yes and no

Yes, Washington is corrupt.  Yes, the Wall Street banksters corrupted Washington (it started a long, long time ago, folks...much longer than most would even imagine). 

No, we are not victims.  We created this mess.  We put people in office (at all levels of government) who allowed both corporate and private special interests to take precedence over the interests of the nation as a whole.

Ben Franklin supposedly responded to a Philidelphian asking what the Constitutional Convention had given the people by saying, "A Republic, mam, if you can keep it."   Ben was a very wise man.  Unfortunately, he was also prescient.

The question now is whether or not we the people can eliminate the oligarchy we created and restore the Republic.  The answer is yes, IF we are willing to take individual responsibility to actively seek and encourage candidates who share those goals, work hard to get them elected, then hold them accountable.  The answer is no, if we are willing to see ourselves as victims and succomb to the pandering of those who promote fear and hatred.

If we choose to take individual responsibility, our task will be long and arduous.  Anti-Republic forces have held sway for more than a century, and their influence will not be easily removed.  It will be a generational struggle at minimum.

If we choose victimhood (passively or actively), then we will be in alignment with much of the history of humanity.  Our Republic will continue down the path to extinction.

Of all the people who ever lived on this planet, less than 5% have lived with any type of freedom.  History clearly demonstrates that the natural state of humanity is servitude....victimhood.  If that's what you want, then all you have to do is someone else for your circumstances and view yourself and others as victims.  If it isn't, then get off your ass and start restoring the Republic while you still have a choice.

Outcast 19

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gregroberts wrote: Yes, it's

gregroberts wrote:

Yes, it's much more mature to accept that pointing guns at people is the proper way to organize society.

No offense Greg, but you seem a little preoccupied with themes of people pointing guns at you. Strangely, in my travels I don’t seem to have that problem.

The reason you statists hate Ayn Rand is because she exposed how you operate, how you cloak your criminality in pretty words like "social justice" . You can sum her up by John Galt's oath, " I swear by my life and my love love it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand idolized those who produce, who create, who leave others alone to do as they choose, who do not advocate using guns to get what they want but rely on voluntary exchange. Very immature.

Why, yes- I must be a Statist! Even Molyneux says I am, and so does Tom Woods, but actually as I have learned, anybody who disagrees with any aspect of a Libertarian argument is by definition a Statist. And indeed, Ayn Rand has exposed my “criminality”, my abhorrent behavior(!) Fortunately, I do not get my political economy from fiction novels, and I suggest you don’t ether. But of course to each his own, and should you choose to get such adolescent ideas from fiction, may I suggest the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew both have an excellent series of novels and short stories that do a fine job of illustrating character and behavior.

Let's see, how many of these beloved worker class died because of these mature sophisticated ideas? Hitler was a piker with his National Socialism (NAZI) he only killed around 12 million, Stalin in his mature wisdom was responsible for around 30 million killed, and Mao the most mature of all took out around 60 million. So the statist motto is the more you rob and kill the more mature you are.

You see I learn so much here, I have now learned that Hitler was a Socialist, no doubt a feverent believer in Karl Marx. After all, the word ’Socialist” is in his parties’ title, so isn’t that the same thing? But again, debate with extremists and you get extreme responses, so what else is new. But some food for thought, if one takes a class for example in Anthropology, and learns something from it, it does not necessary mean that one puts a bone through ones’ nose and flies to Papa New Guinea to forage the jungles. Odd as it may seem, I’m told it’s possible to study many subjects and not transform one’s entire belief system into that one learning.  But what do I know?

Of course the mature know that there were no communists in our govt.

So McCarthyism was justified?

If you go to the root causes you will find the govt's guns are the reason for what happened. Can you say "legal tender laws and federal reserve?

Why there are those gun references again. Must be a pretty rough neighborhood. And let’s not forget the grandfather of conspiracy theory, Edward “There is a Commie in my Closet” Griffin, who (in between rants about communism) seeks to assure that everything wrong with America is traceable to 1913 and the Federal Reserve Act.  And the guns.

I would venture a guess that the mature author of the above would consider Bernie Madoff a hero, a lover of ponzi schemes. Aren't corporations govt created?

Well I am the author of the above, (although I would take umbrage to your assumption of maturity ) and strangely, no, I don’t consider Bernie Madoff a hero- but I can see how the passage I wrote would lead you to believe so. (huh?) Uhmmm…….. concerning the bit about corporations being government created  I’ll have to mull that over and get back to you…….

I find it interesting that at age 56 I'm being told to grow up because I don't like guns being pointed at me. I left home at 17 and have taken responsibility for my life from that point, isn't that what it means to be a grown up? Stef makes a point that collectivists are the ones that don't want to grow up, they want a mommy and daddy to take care of them from cradle to grave even if they have to use guns to achieve these ends.

Guns again? Perhaps we should move this to the Definitive Firearms Thread. I will have to concede the maturity card to you however, my 52nd is next month so you’ve got me beat.

 

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