Thursday, December 08, 2011

Redistribution and parties

ADC wrote:


I'm more concerned with is how a particular candidate views the use government's monopoly on force. Will it be constrained to protection and defend individual rights - or unconstrained in attempts to shape and engineer a 'better' humanity?


VR: If this is your concern, then you cannot vote for members of either major party. Democrats believe in redistribution of wealth and income downwards, toward the poor and the middle class. Republicans believe in redistribution of wealth and income upwards, so that more money is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy.  Neither party practices laissez-faire economics. There is no advantage in voting Republican as opposed to Democratic, if you are a real conservative. Both parties do the same thing, just in opposite directions. The difference between them is that Republicans pay lip service to laissez-faire economics, while Democrats do not. There is no lesser of two evils here. 


May I suggest the Libertarians? 

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

His best bet, since the libertarians will not likely get elected much at the national level, is to vote gridlock: vote for one party as president, another for congressmen :)

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is pretty much a libertarian.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Republicans believe in redistribution of wealth and income upwards, so that more money is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy."

Do you have some medical condition which compels you to make assertions that are not true, and are easily seen to be untrue?

VR: "Democrats believe in redistribution of wealth and income downwards, toward the poor and the middle class."

Hell, even this isn't wholly true -- Democrats claim to be for "the little man", but they *are* "the rich" and the "redistributed" money keeps ending up in their pockets.

Crude said...

Victor,

Republicans believe in redistribution of wealth and income upwards, so that more money is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy.

C'mon. Since when? How? Maybe you believe that this will be the ultimate effect of Republican policies, but who out there embraces this in the way that Democrats embrace redistribution of wealth?

I could get on board with the claim that the GOP is not at all the party of small government - just look at the freaking neocons, look at the bank defense, etc. But the Republicans as the party that literally believes that the government needs to redistribute money to the rich is just odd.

B. Prokop said...

Odd, but true.

mattghg said...

Republicans believe in redistribution of wealth and income upwards, so that more money is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy.

Really???

B. Prokop said...

Yes, really.

Crude said...

Bob,

Odd, but true.

No, it's not. Read what I wrote again - slowly, and carefully. Take a few deep breaths if you must. Notice the comparison I was drawing. Notice I was granting that one could believe that the GOP's policies would result in this, and pointing out there was still a problem with the claim, as well as the comparison, as Victor gave it.

If you can't accept that much - if you really think that Republican as a group literally believe in redistribution (by the government!) of wealth from the poor to the rich - then we're back to a repeat of a problem: When it comes to party politics, you go completely freaking bonkers.

And hey, go bonkers. That's your prerogative. But in case you go that route and insist that Republicans really believe in that as a matter of principle, I'll go ahead and drop this conversation to the level you can grok: Democrats all believe in, support, and desire partial birth abortion. They are, to a man, baby-killers.

There we go. The broadest possible brush dipped in the most extreme color of paint, applied to the canvas. It's art and comedy. ;)

Ilíon said...

"... then we're back to a repeat of a problem: When it comes to party politics, you go completely freaking bonkers."

We never left that problem behind: B.Prokop is a rabid partisan. <-- though, that may be misleading to some: I suspect that B.Prokop's partisanship isn't so much toward the Democratic Party as toward outright socialism ... which he seems to imagine will spare him, while taking-out "selfish" persons, like you and me.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

Judging by your over-the-top, hysterical response to my three-word posting, I'd hazard a guess that you're the one who's going bonkers, while I'm calmly sipping at my morning coffee.

Just sayin'.

Crude said...

Judging by your over-the-top, hysterical response to my three-word posting, I'd hazard a guess that you're the one who's going bonkers, while I'm calmly sipping at my morning coffee.

Hysterical? Over the top? Sorry Bob, the only thing my post has is calm and a little jadedness.

Really, bonkers isn't measured in word count, but in meaning. "God hates fags", "Jews eat babies". Real short stuff. But bonkers if a person means it.

It doesn't even need to be incendiary - context can carry the day. "All totally true." sounds pretty tame, but if it's in response to a 9/11 truther documentary? You're flirting with bonkers.

And if your three word posting is agreeing with the claim the Republicans believe - as a group, truly believe - that the government should redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich? Yeah, you're bonkers.

Actually, you've got one point. An accusation like that is pretty unfair, because there's another possibility that doesn't leave you culpable: when it comes to party politics, you're a moron.

Enjoy your coffee. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Aww, it got cold while I was typing my response.

Crude said...

Aww, it got cold while I was typing my response.

'atta boy. Play the "I wuz trollin' U!" card. It's about your speed. ;)

steve said...

VR: "Democrats believe in redistribution of wealth and income downwards, toward the poor and the middle class."

No. That's just what they say. In reality, Democrats believe in redistributing wealth and income to Democrat voting blocks/special interests group.

"Republicans believe in redistribution of wealth and income upwards, so that more money is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy."

No, they don't believe in *redistributing* wealth/income, but in letting corporations, small businesses, and wage-earners keep more of what they make.

B. Prokop said...

Actually, Crude, you've posed quite an interesting question (my coffee's now frozen, so I might as well go on typing). Which is it preferable to be, a moron or just bonkers? I'll have to think that one over while I microwave my joe.

(For the record, if you throw in "pathetic", that and the other two choices would likely cover everyone on this site. But we should probably all be allowed to choose one's own category.)

mattghg said...

The tendency to portray their opponents as uniformly evil is one of the most off-putting aspects of the political left on both sides of the Atlantic. Ask yourselves: why would Republicans want to redistribute money from the poor to the rich?

they don't believe in *redistributing* wealth/income, but in letting corporations, small businesses, and wage-earners keep more of what they make

See, that's a reasonble assessment of the motives for whatever policies the Republican party has. It doesn't portray them as monsters. If, OTOH, you think that they really do want to *take* money from the poor and *give* it to the rich, I submit that you are ideologically blinkered.

Anonymous said...

Mattghg, George Orwell had people like you in mind when he invented the word Doublethink. Your comment gives "Orwellian" a bad name.

Ilíon said...

"Hysterical? Over the top? Sorry Bob, the only thing my post has is calm and a little jadedness."

Haven't you noticed by now that leftists (and also 'atheists' and DarwinDefenders (*) ) tend to try to portray any forceful response to their false assertions as "hysterical" or "over the top" or similarly?


(*) While the three classes are not exactly co-extensive, there is a great overlap; so one ought to expect that there will be a great overlap ini the way members of the three groups "reason" and "argue".

mattghg said...

Care to elaborate, Anonymous? By 'elaborate', I mean 'make an actual argument'.

B. Prokop said...

Mattghg,

Allow me to butt in here, in case Anonymous doesn't show up. (I actually liked his comment, so I don't think he'll mind.)

You say that Republicans don't consciously desire to redistribute wealth upwards, but only wish (as according to Steve) to allow "corporations, small businesses, and wage-earners keep more of what they make".

OK, for the sake of argument, I'll grant you that for the present. But if the end result of such a benignly-labeled policy is to redistribute wealth upwards, then you must also be in favor of that result.

So you have three options to choose between:

1) Repudiate your support for the policy, in light of its consequences (assuming you don't support upward redistribution of wealth).

2) Admit that you really are in favor of upward redistribution of wealth, as a "facts on the ground" consequence of policies you support.

3) Engage in doublethink, by supporting the policy, and shutting your eyes to its consequences.

Argument enough for you?

Victor Reppert said...

I think the problem isn't so much that Republicans want to redistribute wealth upwards, as that the people who buy and pay for their campaigns would never permit them to be consistent conservatives. There is, I am sure, an analogous problem with the Democratic Party.

Victor Reppert said...

If it were simply a matter of people keeping what they make, and leaving the market alone, then you would not find our government starting a war to enhance corporate profits, nor would you bail out any financial institution that was failing. Nor would you subsidize the oil companies, and engage in other types of corporate welfare.

My whole problem with all of this is that I am not convinced that markets produce morally acceptable results on their own, and further, I don't think anyone really believes this. People believe it only when they think money is going to someone they don't think should get it.

Anonymous said...

Modifying what Steve said:

In reality, {both Democrats and Republicans} believe in redistributing wealth and income to {their very own particular} voting blocks/special interests group.

{lol} There, enough postmodern cynicism for you all?

Crude said...

Bob,

Actually, Crude, you've posed quite an interesting question (my coffee's now frozen, so I might as well go on typing). Which is it preferable to be, a moron or just bonkers? I'll have to think that one over while I microwave my joe.

You don't get it, Bob. I snap at you about crap like this, but I do my damndest to point out that it's only when it comes to party politics that you start to lose it. Something about the topic makes you too fast, too angry and too extreme. Victor, for the record, is not. In fact, he's a (I believe) self-described liberal who I respect, even if I disagree with him. Look at his response to my question and criticism.

You could learn from him on this subject, both in terms of tone and approach. Notice that he agrees with you in large part, but man, he gets from point A to point B with a lot more of his brain. I'm sorry - mind. AfR and all. ;)

Victor,

I think the problem isn't so much that Republicans want to redistribute wealth upwards, as that the people who buy and pay for their campaigns would never permit them to be consistent conservatives. There is, I am sure, an analogous problem with the Democratic Party.

Absolutely, though I think the problem spreads beyond one party to both. I don't think the Democrats tend to be against, say... the Mickey Mouse Act. I don't think oil companies only fund the Republicans, while Democrats are funded exclusively by solar power companies.

I think you really hit on the best objection you can provide when you tell me this:

My whole problem with all of this is that I am not convinced that markets produce morally acceptable results on their own, and further, I don't think anyone really believes this. People believe it only when they think money is going to someone they don't think should get it.

You know what? I'd agree with you. Here's the problem from my perspective: I don't think governments produce morally acceptable results on their own either. And I reject the idea that the best way to achieve 'morally acceptable results' is by government intervention. I'm not completely against it - some regulation is needed, just as some immoral activities need to be outlawed. But I think the terms you think of a solution within are mistaken, both with regards to the solution itself ('government') and the extent of it.

But hey, you've now put it in a way I understand and can see as reasonable: it's not that the GOP believes in some kind of 'government redistribution to the wealthy', but that the nature of politics makes it so they do what their donors say, and donors will frankly benefit themselves. Sure.

PhilosophyFan said...

"I don't think governments produce morally acceptable results on their own either."

Exactly.

The problem, apparently, is that power corrupts. It seems that those in power just want to keep it. Those not in power say they want it evenly distributed, but it never ends up that way, and they just want to hold on to it if they get it too.

There's got to come a point where Christians come and say: look guys, power and wealth in this world isn't going to get you anywhere you want to go.

B. Prokop said...

"Something about the topic makes you too fast, too angry and too extreme."

Actually, I've got the Serenity of the Buddha here - no anger, no extremity.

But perhaps it seems to you like that because it hits where it hurts, and is no longer some sterile philosophical game with nothing on the table.

Anonymous said...

B.Prokop: "Actually, I've got the Serenity of the Buddha here - no anger, no extremity."

An example of Ben's "Serenity of the Buddha," taken from the thread several months back about sexism:

"Papalinton and his fellow-travelers, who are forever going on about religion's so-called 'Bronze Age thinking' were aiming at the wrong target. They should have set their sights on the Stone Age thinking of the likes of Ilion, 'Gimli', et.al.

What nonsense! Worse, what slop, what filth! You people should crawl back under your rocks.

I'm sorry, but I can't muster up even a modicum of politeness here. These were the most insulting, degrading comments ever to grace this website - far worse than anything Loftus ever dreamed of spewing out. I felt sullied even reading them. I will not even try to engage with such idiots! What's the point when they have amply demonstrated that there's nothing to engage with?"

Anonymous said...

For more gems of Ben's "Serenity of the Buddha," consult that thread.

-LurkerAnon

Anonymous said...

Oops. His name is Bob, not Ben.

My bad.


-Lurker

B. Prokop said...

I stand by those comments. All of them. (And I'm pleased folks are still reading them.)

mattghg said...

But hey, you've now put it in a way I understand and can see as reasonable

I agree with Crude

Crude said...

Bob,

Actually, I've got the Serenity of the Buddha here - no anger, no extremity.

There's plenty of extremity from you, Bob. That you reveal your ignorance - or craziness - in a brief exchange is admittedly convenient. ;)

But perhaps it seems to you like that because it hits where it hurts, and is no longer some sterile philosophical game with nothing on the table.

"Hurts"? Because, what - you're showing your usual boring "I hate the GOP, I love the democrats, Yay Team" side? There you go again, thinking everyone is like you - that clearly I must be every bit as attached and loyal to the GOP as you are to the Democrats. As usual on politics, you're wrong.

But hey, I've heard this dance before. Be sure to vote for Obama again in 2012 - after all, the Democrats are friends to civil liberties. Why if a Republican president gains power, the federal government may start authorizing the assassination of American citizens without trial. Can't let those Republicans enact policies like that. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

We've been through this before. I honestly don't understand why you persist in calling me a partisan Democrat, when I'm not. Need evidence? I voted for Goldwater. Did you? I supported Nixon in his first campaign (but not in his second). I voted for Gerald Ford in '76. I supported the first George Bush during the 1980 primaries. I voted (once) for Reagan. How does that record mesh with the charge of partisanship for the other party? I think it does not.

Jake Elwood XVI said...

"How does that record mesh with the charge of partisanship for the other party? I think it does not."

Lol, Bob, maybe some one could say those people you voted for were not real conservatives or true Republicans but deep down they were Democrats.
I am pretty sure that Ronald Reagan was deep down a Democrat like Margaret Thatcher deep down was a Socialist. ;-)

Bob, I thought old age converted people to conservatism, but maybe that old adage is out of date.

B. Prokop said...

Jake,

It's hard to say just who "converted" when. For one thing, the Republican party today is certainly not the party of Nixon, Ford, or even of Reagan. I think it's obvious that it has slid far to the extreme right since then - so far that it scarcely deserves the same name. My own views have also, I believe, slowly drifted somewhat (but not dramatically) leftward over the decades. For instance, I used to be a huge fan of William F. Buckley, but I doubt that I would be today.

As for political figures I might admire, there are few on the national level in either party that I care for at all. I'm not a huge fan of Obama, but I don't think he's doing such a bad job. I still think Hillary Clinton would have been better. My favorite politicians are all local, on the state and even the county level. I do like my state's governor (O'Malley of Maryland), and would love to see him someday think about running for President.

Ilíon said...

Anonymous, maybe 'Ben' Prokop thinks that 'serenity' means 'fat'; maybe he meant that he looks like one of those "Fat Buddhas".

Ilíon said...

Prokop: "I honestly don't understand why you persist in calling me a partisan Democrat, when I'm not."

Because you're a rabid leftist, who will assert just about any false thing against conservatives and Republicans, and because increasingly since 1968, the Democrats are controlled by the rabid left.

Anonymous said...

no, Idion, Porkchop's rightist, ala yr hero Romney. He pretends to be left, or right depending on the state of his bipolar disorder, or his tee-shirt sales are going. An uneducated fraud and ex-druggie who bilks old ladies out of their pensions

steve said...

Victor Reppert said...

"If it were simply a matter of people keeping what they make, and leaving the market alone, then you would not find our government starting a war to enhance corporate profits..."

What war are you alluding go?

"...nor would you bail out any financial institution that was failing."

Well, the last administration to do that is the current administration, which–last time I checked–was run by Democrats. So how does that contrast with the Republicans?

"Nor would you subsidize the oil companies, and engage in other types of corporate welfare."

How do you define "subsidizing oil companies"? What are you alluding to?

Crude said...

Bob,

We've been through this before. I honestly don't understand why you persist in calling me a partisan Democrat, when I'm not. Need evidence? I voted for Goldwater. Did you?

No, what with my not being alive back then and all.

You don't understand why I call you a partisan Democrat? Because what - the bizarre and fervent anger at all things GOP, and your past track record of cheering "Blue state, woohoo!" doesn't give off any signs of partisanhood?

How does that record mesh with the charge of partisanship for the other party? I think it does not.

I have no idea whether the Bob Prokop of several decades ago was a dancing monkey for any political party. It's the Bob Prokop of today who gives so many indications that that's what he is. Maybe you're trolling, eh? ;)

When you start making the claim that the GOP literally believes that the government should take money from the poor to give to the rich - that this is actually a political philosophy they consciously adhere to - you're exposing some nuttiness on your part. Saying that you voted for Reagan decades ago doesn't throw much water on that fire.

B. Prokop said...

Crude,

But you never answered my comments to Mattghg (Dec 9, 10:54 AM), about your three options. Which one will you take? Or do you have a fourth (which I can't see a possibility of)?

Serious question here - no trolling.

Crude said...

Bob,

But you never answered my comments to Mattghg (Dec 9, 10:54 AM), about your three options. Which one will you take? Or do you have a fourth (which I can't see a possibility of)?

Why would I answer your comments to some other guy? Why would you even expect me to answer, as if I've been avoiding your question?

Let's take a look at what you asked, a little truncated.

But if the end result of such a benignly-labeled policy is to redistribute wealth upwards, then you must also be in favor of that result.

So you have three options to choose between:

1) Repudiate your support for the policy, in light of its consequences (assuming you don't support upward redistribution of wealth).

2) Admit that you really are in favor of upward redistribution of wealth, as a "facts on the ground" consequence of policies you support.

3) Engage in doublethink, by supporting the policy, and shutting your eyes to its consequences.


You really can't think of a fourth, fifth, sixth or other options?

How about this: at any point in your reasoning do you allow that individuals, including the poor, may be in any way culpable for the results of the policies?

Here's an example. Let's say a law is passed where those who urinate on private property have to pay a fine to the property owner. A year passes, and far and away most of the violations are performed by the poor, and most of the property urinated on is owned by wealthy individuals. Do we at that point say "Well! This is a law meant to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich!" and thus we must get rid of it?

Or is it possible that it's a mistake to frame the question in terms of the policy alone, as opposed to including actual individual actions in the evaluation?

There's other problems. What if the 'end result' depends on how the results are framed? What if thousands, even millions, of poor become more wealthy as a result of the policy (not the urination policy, that's horrible to imagine!), but a larger number of poor stay poor or become even more poor? And what if the opposite is true?

Out of those questions you can craft quite a number of additional, reasonable replies to your question that have apparently been invisible to you. You seem to think that individuals aren't culpable for their acts - policies are all that matter, and that there's always a clear an uncontroversial way to determine what the 'end result' was. It's a bit more complicated than that.

Ilíon said...

VR: "I think the problem isn't so much that Republicans want to redistribute wealth upwards, ..."

Yet, in the OP, you asserted otherwise. So, again, I ask, do you have some medical condition, Political Tourette's Syndrom perhaps, which compels you to constantly utter such false and blatantly partisan hackery against conservatives and/or Republicans?

“The problem” is that the Federal government – Congress – is constantly interfering in the lives of the US citizens in ways it has no Constitutional authority to do, and which, by the nature of the acts, diminishes liberty. “The problem” is that you “liberals” are constantly pulling the ratchet for more government and less liberty.

VR: "I think the problem isn't so much that Republicans want to redistribute wealth upwards, as that the people who buy and pay for their campaigns would never permit them to be consistent conservatives. There is, I am sure, an analogous problem with the Democratic Party."

The “people who buy and pay for [Republicans’] campaigns” tend to be average people, who donate average amounts of money.

The “people who buy and pay for [Democrats’] campaigns” tend to be very wealthy people (*) … and “labor” unions, who donate large amounts of money and/or “services in kind”.

(*) and the source of that wealth tends to be quite different from that of wealthy Republicans.

VR: "There is, I am sure, an analogous problem with the Democratic Party."

Republican voters are not “consistent conservatives” … they tend to be operating from “liberal” (i.e. soft-leftist) assumptions, they just don’t like most of the inevitable results of the working out of those assumptions. And, most of them actively resist understanding that the problem is in their “liberal” assumptions, and that they need to ruthlessly identify and uproot them.

This is analogous to the problem that *you* Victor Reppert, have (along with most of your “liberal” compatriots): you tend to be operating from hard-leftist assumptions, you just don’t like most of the inevitable results of the working out of those assumptions. And, you actively resist understanding that the problem is in your leftist assumptions, and that you need to ruthlessly identify and uproot them.

Crude said...

For what it's worth, I think Victor sometimes just slides in a provocative statement at times. I'm tempted to chalk it up to him just having some fun.

He's actually the fairest self-described liberal I've ever come across, and more fair than quite a number of self-described conservatives. Perfect? No, but I sure hope that's not the standard or I'm in trouble.

Ilíon said...

You think he's trolling his own blog? ;)

Sure, VR frequently writes posts asking questions or raising issues on which he explicitly expresses no opinion. But this isn't one of those.

"He's actually the fairest self-described liberal I've ever come across ..."

VR isn't constantly (*) *nasty* in his liberalism, as, say, B.Prokop is ... but he's still advocating for More! More! More! of the very things which got us in the mess we're in and which are going to destroy the Republic (and in short order) if not reversed.

"Good intensions" were never good enough ... and only a "liberal" would ever imagine they were.

(*) this particular OP is a nasty-gram.
==
the WV for this post was "abuse"

Crude said...

You think he's trolling his own blog? ;)

I think there's a difference between trolling and being provocative. Fine line, I admit!

I can't read Victor's mind, I'm just guessing.

VR isn't constantly (*) *nasty* in his liberalism, as, say, B.Prokop is ... but he's still advocating for More! More! More! of the very things which got us in the mess we're in and which are going to destroy the Republic (and in short order) if not reversed.

See, I don't see Victor doing much advocating at all. He tells you what he thinks and why he thinks it. Politely and sincerely, and never really aggressively. No lectures. Sometimes he has a bit of an edge to his comments, but man, it's muted. And I can't fault him for intentions that really come across to be not only as good, but also better grounded than most in that it's from a sensible Christian perspective.

That's the thing - there's not just one kind of liberal. I have no patience for the schmuck who wants to remake the world in his own perfect image or that of his idiot-idol, or the con artist following a script. I do have patience for a fellow Christian who sees some legitimate problems with the world or the government and maybe errs on a liberal side as a result. There's at least common ground there, a way to converse and understand, if not agree. I like exploring that and discussing it, whenever possible.

At the end of the day, the Christian conservative and Christian liberal (and Christian whatever, generally) can agree on a lot: that poverty is a problem, for example. Their approaches may differ, but they've got that common ground. They can talk, to a degree. The Christian diehard (Republican/Democrat) can't really do that. The conversation is forever a proxy fight for the party.

Damien S said...

What utter nonsense. Especially when the Dems' enterprise punishing taxes and minimum wage laws that unions love ends up hurting the poor the most. Much of Democrats wealth redistribution goes to the ambulance chasing lawyer types (Jonathan Edwards) or winds up squandered on bloated bureaucracies. And its telling when their major supporters are Wall Street firms and tax avoiding billionaires like George Soros.

I'm sorry but you are living in some sought of lefty fantasy land.

B. Prokop said...

You guys are almost too funny! Any objective reader of this thread would see that all my comments so far have been calmly rational, whilst yours have been mostly borderline (though not quite, just borderline) hysterical and poke-in-the-eye name calling. And yet I'm the one being labeled "nasty"? The only explanation to Crude's accusation of partisanship is projection (look it up). It's not being "partisan" to rationally evaluate alternatives and then side with the one you determine to be better.

Speaking with the wisdom of age (I consider "Crude" to be a spring chicken if he's too young to remember Goldwater), I find from long experience that both parties always promise a lot and usually deliver little (I don't consider myself a partisan of either one over the long run), and that yes, government can often do best by just getting out of the way. The problem with conservatives today is that they're deluding themselves by thinking they are in favor of "less government". The policies they are presently advocating are infinitely more intrusive than those of the left. Here's one case where I agreed totally with Newt Gingrich, when he decried "right wing social engineering". It was one of the smartest things he ever said, and retracting it was one of the biggest mistakes he's ever made.

But you have made your subconscious biases painfully clear in your comments to date. You're like Fox News, which declares its right wing spin to be "Fair and Balanced", whilst labeling everyone else "liberal bias". And if you don't find that amusing, then you're the one who's ideologically blinkered.

And yes indeed, if we were by some magic to suddenly enact into law each and every policy advocated by today's self-styled conservatives, the end result would be a massive upward redistribution of wealth in this country, a collapse of the middle class, an end to most public services, and a catastrophically decaying public infrastructure. Is that something I want to see for my children? Am I somehow "nasty" to desire a better country, a fairer society, a cleaner environment, a more level playing field, justice for both the rich and the poor (and everyone in between), and a Bright Future for the next generation?

Boy, if that's being nasty, I'll wear that badge with pride. If that's being partisan, then guilty as charged! If that's advocating "more!, more! more!", then yes indeed, I do openly advocate more justice, more equal opportunity, more education, more work on our roads, bridges, public transportation, more energy efficiency, more research... (and less consumerism, less pollution, less favoritism toward the wealthy, less corporate welfare, less big-money influence peddling in congress, less wasteful spending on "defense" (now there's an Orwellian term for you!), less blaming the poor for being poor, and less "kicking the can down the road" when faced with huge national or global problems.

And now I'm off to Sunday Mass.

Crude said...

The only explanation to Crude's accusation of partisanship is projection (look it up).

By all means, look it up. Also look up "bullshitting" and tell me if Bob's comments match that.

I defy anyone, in my entire history of posts on this site and on my crappy little blog, to find praise and partisanship of any political party that matches Bob's. Find me cheering about how 'deeply red' a red state is. Find me talking up the Republicans. I think both parties suck, and my 'conservatism' doesn't have much party representation. Whatever favor I do have for Republicans is expressly limited, a matter of "Well, they suck, but they suck the least right now, and I don't really have other options."

The problem with conservatives today is that they're deluding themselves by thinking they are in favor of "less government". The policies they are presently advocating are infinitely more intrusive than those of the left.

Well gosh Bob. If you keep thinking like that, you'll start to understand why I have little love for the GOP despite my 'conservative' leanings. The problem is you think there's a 1:1 correspondence between 'Person who favors some conservative ideas', 'Person who prefers the GOP over the Democrats most of the time' and 'Person who endorses all the GOP policies'. It ain't the case.

And yes indeed, if we were by some magic to suddenly enact into law each and every policy advocated by today's self-styled conservatives, the end result would be

...Impossible to predict, because 'conservatives' are not a monolithic group. Pat Buchanan, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich could all be called 'conservatives' under your terms. They are sharply divided on many questions of policy.

Pop quiz: What was the conservative position on the second Iraq war? If you think this question has a single answer, you're mistaken.

Am I somehow "nasty" to desire a better country, a fairer society, a cleaner environment, a more level playing field, justice for both the rich and the poor (and everyone in between), and a Bright Future for the next generation?

Man, this schtick. Yes, Bob, that's exactly where the criticism is coming from, clearly. It's your stated commitment to abstract, vague improvement. Not your 'rah rah, Democrats, boo GOP, the GOP believes as a matter of principle that the government should intervene to make the poor give money to the rich' nuttiness.

Curse you and your commitment to a cleaner environment. Anyway, I'm off to fight the ****ing Planeteers I guess. I'm somewhat conservative, so clearly that's how I spend my weekends. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Amazing, Crude. You never disappoint me!

You write: "your 'rah rah, Democrats, boo GOP" in response to my "I find from long experience that both parties always promise a lot and usually deliver little". Yeah, that's really a diehard case of rah, rah one party over the other! a texbook case of blind onesidedness.

You write: "I defy anyone ... to find praise and partisanship of any political party that matches Bob's" in response to my "I don't consider myself a partisan of either [party] over the long run". Wow! Now that's a clear cut case of rabid partisanship! (At least you didn't bet me 10,000 dollars.)

You write: " [Bob] believes as a matter of principle that the government should intervene" in response to my saying "yes, government can often do best by just getting out of the way." People! Is it possible to find a more rabid statement in support of government intervention as a Matter of Principle?

I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

Crude, did you even read my posting before deciding to knee-jerk attack it? It certainly doesn't seem so.

But never mind; I'm done here. It's pointless to even attempt communication with someone as closed minded and void of reason as you. I'm putting you in the same black hole currently occupied by another sometime contributor to this website, who shall remain nameless, but whose moniker begins with an "I". I hope you enjoy each others' company. Don't expect any more responses from me. As C.S. Lewis said concerning efforts to reach such as you, "If there's nothing but ashes [I'll] not go blowing them in [my] own eyes forever". (Look that one up!)

Crude said...

Bob,

Crude, did you even read my posting before deciding to knee-jerk attack it? It certainly doesn't seem so.

Of course I did. Unfortunately for you, I've also read pretty much everything you've contributed here for a while now - including in this very thread. You're quite reasonable on subjects of history and religion and more, even if I disagree with you. Talk politics and you lose it immediately.

You're the one who started in on this with asserting that yeah, Republicans really do believe - as a matter of principle - that the government should redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. That's the insanity I called out. I said right off, I can understand if a person thinks that the GOP policies will result in that - but it's not a damn party belief, let's admit that much. You stuck to your guns.

And now you're acting shocked that when you say "I'm Bob Prokop, not beholden to any party!" I reject it and point at your past statements and behavior? Let me guess: if Newt Gingrich tomorrow said "I'm a moderate, not a conservative", then man - clearly Gingrich is a moderate, right? I mean he just said so! Pay no attention to his track record.

By the way: You write: " [Bob] believes as a matter of principle that the government should intervene" in response to my saying "yes, government can often do best by just getting out of the way."

Go back. Read again. No, it wasn't '[Bob]' believes, and that's an insane edit. I said you believe that's a GOP belief and principle, and you've said as much in this thread. I hope that was an honest mistake.

As for being 'done with me', please. First, I'm being reasonable and civil - unfortunately, I'm just hitting too close to home for you, too often. Second, be honest with yourself. You're going to snipe and argue the next time you see an opening. And then, as now, you're going to regret it, because at the end of the day your party politics are off-kilter, and it doesn't take much work to show as much.

Maybe reconsider how you at least approach these conversations, if not how you think about political topics altogether. Or don't.

Ilíon said...

"As for being 'done with me', please. First, I'm being reasonable and civil - unfortunately, I'm just hitting too close to home for you, too often. Second, be honest with yourself. You're going to snipe and argue the next time you see an opening. And then, as now, you're going to regret it, because at the end of the day your party politics are off-kilter, and it doesn't take much work to show as much."

Meanwhile, Prokop and his fellow leftist partisans *do* believe in, and *do* agitate for, using the violent power of The State to forcibly confiscate the honestly-earned wealth of [someone] so as to give it to [someone else] … and this is open theft. It is grossly unjust and immoral; that “the government” is doing it does not make it just or moral. Any society which tries to operate on this principle of mutual looting must utterly destroy itself.

And the point of this theft is to:
1) buy the vote of [someone else], if he is “poor”;
2) buy the vote of [someone else], and provide a comfy life sinecure, if he is a unionized “public employee”;
3) buy the vote of [someone else], and provide a comfy life sinecure, and make him rich, if he is a “public servant”;
4) protect from confiscation, and add to, his already incredible wealth if [someone else] is one of the persons pulling the strings of the men and women who are the public faces and mouthpieces of the Democratic Party; for instance, a George Soros.

PhilosophyFan said...

"Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

I always wonder...what conservatives or liberals, democrats or republicans, think will happen if it all goes their way.

Bob, what will happen if all the policies aim true? Crude?

B. Prokop said...

PhilosophyFan,

Not sure I understand your question. Could you rephrase it?

Crude said...

PhilosophyFan,

I always wonder...what conservatives or liberals, democrats or republicans, think will happen if it all goes their way.

Bob, what will happen if all the policies aim true? Crude?


I take what you're asking me to be, 'What do I (and Bob) think will happen if all of the policies I am in favor of come to pass?'

There are some policies I favor, but here's where I detach from most liberals and conservatives: I am highly skeptical of, and strive to avoid, solutions or goals based on government policies. I'm not saying that in the libertarian sense of 'There should be no government!', which I think is a pipe dream. It's that I think the gravest problems are problems which are best approached through personal contact, culture, etc.

Very hard to pull off. Extremely idealistic. But I have severe problems with the modern way of approaching problems, which seems to boil down to 'What law should we pass?' Sometimes a law or a policy is the best solution, but many times it's not. And I don't mean 'many times a conservative policy is better than a liberal policy'. I mean that often the problem isn't one of policy at all.

Sorry if that doesn't help out much, just giving a reply to the question I think you're asking.

Victor Reppert said...

Crude, I believe, is pretty party-independent and politically skeptical, which I appreciate.

Victor Reppert said...

Ilion, let's try to unpack your claim here.

I: Meanwhile, Prokop and his fellow leftist partisans *do* believe in, and *do* agitate for, using the violent power of The State to forcibly confiscate the honestly-earned wealth of [someone] so as to give it to [someone else] … and this is open theft. It is grossly unjust and immoral; that “the government” is doing it does not make it just or moral. Any society which tries to operate on this principle of mutual looting must utterly destroy itself.

VR: I think this is a fair statement of a standard conservative perspective. The presupposition seems to be that, before the government gets its greedy mitts on our money, it is distributed by markets, both the commodity markets and the labor markets. When this original distribution occurs, that distribution is relatively meritocratic; those who have more merit more. However this meritocracy is compromised by government's "well-intentioned" (and here I reference the signature statement on your blog), attempt to help the have-nots at the expense of the haves.

Now, I take it you do think the government has the right to ask that we all ante up to provide for our common defense, and probably some of this also needs to go to make sure the country's infrastructure is maintained. So there should be a military budget, there should be a budget for building roads and bridges and maintaining those, etc. As I understand it those should be paid for not at the point of income but at the point of consumption; those who use it should pay to use it.

But here, it seems to me that conservatives draw a distinction between the protective role of government and the non-protective role. The protective roles of government have a constitutional mandate (provide for the common defense, etc.), the non-protective roles are, pretty largely, a matter of government overstepping its authority. So, for example, if health insurance companies have a policy of excluding people with pre-existing conditions, it is unjust government intrusion to come in and prevent them from doing this, so that more people can be insured. So, conservatives at least can be hawks when it comes to what we need to do to defend ourselves, although there was a time in our history when conservatives tended to be isolationists.

At this point I am trying to spell out what I think is the conservative vision as you understand it, and I want to invite others who describe themselves as conservative to look at this and see if their own view is accurately represented. Amend as you see fit, guys. I want to put the descriptive process first before I start talking about why I have trouble believing this whole story.

adc said...

Heh - well, though you are generalizing (there are a few exceptions to either side), you are certainly right that both parties are quite worthless.

Hence, I do not have a very bright outlook on the future of America, given the direction it is heading.

However, when it comes to choosing who to vote for there is one central fact of life that everyone must consider: There are no solutions, only trade-offs.. Especially in our system of representative government, where the best representative of me - can really only be me. So I am not an absolutist who would idealistically throw away my vote picking someone who will obviously not win. (ahem, Libertarians).

I fundamentally disagree with you though that: "There is no advantage in voting Republican as opposed to Democratic, if you are a real conservative." While many republicans play pathetic lip-service to laissez-faire economics and the like, they are not blatantly statists collectivists as many democrats certainly are (again generalizing, but true, yes?).

If a candidates answer to every problem, including (astonishingly) fate is that we must marshal force to "fix society," then they do not understand of believe in human liberty.

If a candidate supports the idea of plunder as a right - as the democratic party in general supports, then they are making a mockery of justice and don't believe in equality before the law.

So with regard to voting, the trade-off is usually between someone who is slowly taking things in the wrong direction, or someone who is blazing ahead, fully confident that they are righteous enough to wield force other people to accept their view of "the common good". Many of the worst injustices in human history have been done "for the common good."

If there is to be any shred of hope for America, it will revolve around the states having a much bigger role, and the federal government a far reduced role. At the very least, then people would be free to move if they don't like or support the actions their state is taking.

If I can slow the dimming lights of liberty, than that's what I shall do. This is what any rational conservative or libertarian would do.

That's just my ten cents - or "the short answer." ;)

And It's important for me to clarify one thing - I do not believe that Democrats, or you Victor, or any other poster are evil for pursuing the ideas they do. I maintain that most people actually do have good intentions. I just don't believe that collectivism and "force for good" are compatible with human nature. I believe that human nature is tragic, and thus our worst attributes must be constrained, our best encouraged. I do not hold to the idea that people can or should be MADE better.

Of course I would reconsider if you can point out historically where collectivism and force has been employed, and has bettered humankind.

Very glad to have this discussion though.

Respectfully,
-Adc

B. Prokop said...

Many of the worst injustices in human history have been done "for the common good."

No argument there. But so have many (in fact, most) of Mankind's greatest achievements. I'd wager that on the balance, far more good than evil has been done "for the Common Good" throughout history.

B. Prokop said...

"I would reconsider if you can point out historically where collectivism and force has been employed, and has bettered humankind."

Well... "collectivism and force" are sort of loaded terms here, and I'm sure you have a very negative spin attached to them. If you would allow me to use the alternative, perhaps more neutral, terminology of "cooperative action", might I submit the following instances of its/their employment resulting in the betterment of mankind (for the sake of brevity, I'll confine myself to the most recent 100 years:

- The elimination of smallpox, polio, and assorted other plagues
- the electrification of the country
- the construction of the Interstate Highway System
- the exploration of space
- the establishment of food safety standards
- the rule of law (with its attendant assurance of safety and peace) across an entire continent (I was constantly marveling at this on the 7000 mile coast-to-coast-to-coast car trip I took last year.)
- various disaster relief efforts following hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc.
- the establishment of National Parks (and all other parks, for that matter)
- Well, actually I could go on for hundreds of items, but you get the drift. None of the above could ever been accomplished, or even contemplated, in an environment of "rugged, libertarian individualism".

And finally, to unabashedly use the terms "collectivism and force", the global and necessary employment of both to defeat and wipe off the face of the Earth Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Crude said...

None of the above could ever been accomplished, or even contemplated, in an environment of "rugged, libertarian individualism".

"Libertarian"? Questionable. But many of the things on your list were hardly the result of nice, pure cooperative action. Electrification of the country? Relief efforts? C'mon. Not to mention 'exploration of space' in many ways is becoming and has been heavily pushed by non-government agents.

And finally, to unabashedly use the terms "collectivism and force", the global and necessary employment of both to defeat and wipe off the face of the Earth Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

To the glee of Soviet Russia and Commnunist China.

B. Prokop said...

"If I can slow the dimming lights of liberty, than that's what I shall do. This is what any rational conservative or libertarian would do."

And also what every liberal, or every leftist, or even every collectivist should do as well. No argument there.

But the most immediate and potentially most devastating threats to our liberties do not come from the left or from the right. They do not come from the government at all. They come from the ever-increasing loss of privacy due to things like the very device we are using right now, typing these posts. From smart phones with GPS, from Facebook, from the internet in general, from "security cameras", from the cumulative effect of each and every by itself benign or even desirable (by itself) surrender of personal information to (mostly, in fact almost entirely) non-governmental entities.

That is what you should fear. Not somebody's political or economic ideology that may differ from yours.

Crude said...

To the glee of Soviet Russia and Commnunist China.

I want to add in... there's something educational about one of the greatest achievements of "collectivism and force" being the eradication of two other tremendous uses of "collectivism and force", with the result of tens of millions dead. Which made the world safer for yet more "collectivism and force" that in turn yielded tens of millions more dead.

B. Prokop said...

Perhaps a few words from the great Catholic philosopher Peter Maurin (1877-1949) might be appropriate at this point:

"Man is more than an individual with individual rights; he is a person with personal duties toward God, himself, and his fellow man. as a person, man cannot serve God without serving the Common Good."

Or this:

"Rugged individualism leads to rugged nationalism, which leads to rugged collectivism". (Maurin wrote this in 1934, warning of the threat of Soviet Communist influence in the depression-era labor movement.)

He has far, far more to say. Might I recommend his book Easy Essays, which is available online at www.easyessays.org .

Ilíon said...

"I always wonder...what conservatives or liberals, democrats or republicans, think will happen if it all goes their way."

What I always wonder is why "moderates" even bother to draw breath. What can someone who cannot come to a choice between increasing the state and decreasing the individual, on the one hand, and the diameteric opposite, on the other, possibly have to say that anyone else might be interested in hearing? Such persons might as well come down openly on the side of tyrany, for their non-choice inevitable facilitates the increase of it.

Crude said...

What I always wonder is why "moderates" even bother to draw breath.

It depends on the moderate. Sometimes a moderate is a jumble of extreme positions ('I'm a conservative in that I'm in favor of total laissez-faire capitalism, and a liberal in that I favor even partial birth abortion. I guess I'm a moderate!') I'm skeptical of someone who defines themselves or their whole political philosophy as 'moderate' for those reasons. On the other hand, if they define themselves as "moderate" on a specific issue, I can practically guarantee you that almost everyone else who feels strongly about the issue will tend to label them as liberal or conservative, immediately.

I remember hearing a story about how one city in Italy in World War II changed hands so many times that some of the shopkeepers had double-sided signs painted up. Axis taking the town? Flip up the 'Yay Axis!' side. Allies moving in? Flip up the 'Yay Allies!' side. I wonder if that captures something essential about some moderates.

adc said...

B. Prokop - well, we are talking about very different definitions. When I mention Collectivism, I do mean it negatively, because I am speaking of it as a doctrine and governmental system, such as seen in the former USSR, Venezuela, Mussolini's Italy, Nazi Germany etc. It is not voluntary.

I have zero problem, none, with voluntary cooperation. Oddly enough, this is exactly what corporations are, which so many people hate and condem. Voluntary groups of people cooperating to achieve something they couldn't alone. Of course, people banding together to achieve things can lead to many great goods as you have mentioned. In fact, most things would be impossible without voluntary cooperation. So we aren't disagreeing here really. The central issue is choice.

But collectivism as a basis of government (force) is not voluntary cooperation. When I am speaking of collectivism, a person is compelled by law to act against their own interests based on the will of another person. When a government system compels one person to serve the needs/wants of another, we have a conflict and destruction of individual of rights, which law and government exist to protect.

Take for instance, how are people equal before the law - concerning the collectivist concept of the progressive income tax (one of the 10 planks of Marxism?
If we are going tax society (This is not an argument against taxation, but one of equality and just law), how are people equal before the law if certain people are compelled to labor a greater percentage of the year than others? Who decides which people, on what criteria, and how much they should labor relative to other groups of people?

That's why I mention collectivism and force together. Byt the above definition, they are destructive of human rights.

B. Prokop said...

Fair enough, adc. We do have a decidedly different take on the role of government. I see a representative democracy like that of the US or similar countries to be an imperfect yet overwhelmingly positive force in society. As long as the people can voice their opinions, criticize openly those "in power", and influence decision making, I very pleased with it.

I have zero problem with the issue of what you call "force", per se, viewing it also as an imperfect yet absolutely necessary adjunct to efficient and fair governance.

I believe that there are literally uncountable needs in society which cannot be met without significant government participation, and yes in some cases, without government direction and leadership.

Despite the amazingly wide-of-the-mark characterizations of my views by others (see above postings), I am the furthest thing you'll ever find from an ideologue when it comes to politics. I am only labeled as such by those who are so utterly blinded by their own unacknowledged prejudices that they see all differing opinions as "partisanship" or "intellectual dishonesty". So far, although you and I are poles apart on many issues (I checked out your blog - yikes!), you don't appear to share the same affliction.

But part of my eschewing of political or economic ideology is it allows me to still see merit in ideas put forward by people I largely disagree with. In an above posting, I quoted from the Catholic philosopher Peter Maurin. Now I strenuously disagree with many, if not most, things he espoused, but nevertheless am always impressed by the spirit behind his thought, and never fail to be enriched by studying him.

As to government itself, in my long experience working for the US Defense Department (1975-2009), mostly overseas, I have seen far too often what happens when you don't have a strong, stable central government, and it ain't pretty. To the anti-government extremists on both sides (anarchists and libertarians) I say, "Go, look at where your vaunted small-or-no government ideals have triumphed (Bosnia, Lebanon, Somalia, Sierra Leone, etc.) and tell me you still want to see that happen here in the USA. No thanks!"

Crude said...

Despite the amazingly wide-of-the-mark characterizations of my views by others (see above postings), I am the furthest thing you'll ever find from an ideologue when it comes to politics. I am only labeled as such by those who are so utterly blinded by their own unacknowledged prejudices that they see all differing opinions as "partisanship" or "intellectual dishonesty".

Mmm, aggression. Now in passive flavor!

Funny how I disagree with Victor, Ilion, and... frankly everyone else on various political issues (even with Ilion he and I are on different pages on points of capitalism), but I reserve the claim of being a complete lunatic with regards to politics for you. You know, the guy who cheers when a state is "deeply blue". The guy who got into it with me in this thread on the grounds that I thought it was ridiculous and over the top to suggest that, as an actual party principle, the GOP belief is that the government should redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich - even while I granted that one could believe that this was what GOP policies could lead to.

Here's a sample, with a bit of emphasis:

I heard that speech and cheered! Until we as a society realize that we are all in this together, and act upon that realization, we will continue to be in the unholy (deliberately chosen word) mess we are currently in. Makes me wish I lived in Massachusetts so I could vote for her. (But wait, I already live in the bluest of Blue States, Maryland. Hooray!!!)

Sure, that kind of attitude isn't the nattering of a party-beholden guy, now is it?

How could anyone think Bob a party cheerleader? It is a mystery. ;)

B. Prokop said...

Oh, and one other thing, adc.

The coming environmental catastrophe due to global climate change will unfortunately (and I do mean that word in this context) necessitate a concentration of power into the hands of a federal (or even global) authority to an unprecedented (at least for this country) extent. I freely grant that this is not a Good Thing. But mark my words, it will be unavoidable if we ever decide to get serious about averting a worldwide tragedy of truly unimaginable scale, one that will make the worst events of the 20th Century look like a picnic.

Without effective measures being taken, I can foresee 2-3 billion (that's with a "b") people dying/being killed within a single decade during my children's lifetime - maybe even during mine. (Except at my age, I'd probably be one of the early casualties.)

Crude said...

But mark my words, it will be unavoidable if we ever decide to get serious about averting a worldwide tragedy of truly unimaginable scale, one that will make the worst events of the 20th Century look like a picnic.

I agree with you 100% that when the governing powers that be decide to 'get serious' about reshaping the world to avoid what they regard as disasters, the result will be calamity and tragedy that dwarfs the 20th century efforts to reshape the world to avoid disasters.

B. Prokop said...

Quoting from yesterday's Washington Post Online, in an interesting article about possible contradictions between Newt Gingrich's professed Catholicism and his politics:

"Puritans thought that government was at best a necessary evil required primarily to combat a greater evil in the world. In this negative conception, the role of government is not that of expansively building civilization in hopes to fulfill the common good but instead the much more limited role of securing order for the private exercise of virtue.

On the other hand, Catholic political thinking aims for more. It advocates a positive view of government in light of what can be accomplished together amidst the richness of divine gifts. With this comes a wide array of responsibilities charged to government, these include: a responsibility to promote life, a responsibility to put the needs of the poor foremost in our measures of policy, a responsibility to steward God’s creation, a responsibility to enrich not merely purses but rather the whole of citizens’ lives, a responsibility to welcome the immigrant, to seek and promote peace, and so on. These responsibilities are not merely moral imperatives for individuals but also our collective responsibilities as a nation."