Free Markets, Free People

When and how will America change this back to the way it is supposed to be?

A glimmer of realization?

Six in 10 Americans (60%) believe the federal government has too much power, one percentage point above the previous high recorded in September 2010. At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power. Thirty-two percent now say the government has the right amount of power. Few say it has too little power.

Is this a partisan view?  Yes and no.

As you’d expect, Republicans and Democrats pretty much switch positions depending on who is in the White House.  But the telling line is the Independent line.  It is higher now than it was in the Bush years.

Of course, the pregnant question is, “so what are you going to do about it?”

The answer, if the recent past is any indication, is “not much”.  Probably change the Senate over to the GOP, and possibly, in the next presidential election, change parties again.

And then what?  Again, look at the trend on the graph above.  We’ve changed parties before and yet we still see the power of government continuing to grow.  Will another party change really make any difference?

One other thing to note in passing, take a look at the Democrat line in the last year.   Democrats who think government has too much power are up 13 points.  If I had to guess that is a direct result of the IRS and NSA scandals, ObamaCare and the EPA and other regulatory agencies over-reach.  Anyone who thinks those scandals, new regulations and abuse of power haven’t been significant is living in a dream world or, alternately Maine, which is about the same thing.

~McQ

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144 Responses to When and how will America change this back to the way it is supposed to be?

  • You forgot a title.

  • So in 2014 they’ll give the Dems a few more House seats and a couple more Senate seats because it’s all the Republicans fault.

  • And, at the same time, 12 Democrat committee members walkout as two parents of Benghazi victims are about to testify.
    But the Dems will give you condoms, an ObamaPhone, give enough welfare to worthless drones that they can live a middle-class lifestyle, as the real middle-class takes it up the wazoo and the political and management elite in the DC beltway live like royalty…
    Yeahbut, it’s Bush’s fault…and the Jooooos…
    Dale’s right (last Sunday’s podcast, last 1/4th): let America get what it deserves, good and hard!!

  • Scratch a Collectivist, find a totalitarian.
    Just waiting for the self-parody from the Mavin Of Moose-sqeeze U.

  • If I described what it would take to motivate change I would probably end up on a watch list.  If I mentioned specific names too, I would probably go to jail.

  • I wasn’t going to comment, but yes, living in Maine is like living in a dream – it’s fantastic.   As for what America’s “supposed to be,” well, that’s a matter of opinion.  I’d also say the government has too much power, but my vision of what America “is supposed to be” is different than yours.  And ultimately, there is no correct answer – it depends upon the will of the citizens.  And that changes constantly, and probably always will.

    • Yes, your vision has a vast cobbled square fronted by buildings with large red walls and colorful onion domed former churches.  Where one can still queue up in a line for the one thing the old government never ran out of, Lenin’s body.  In May they parade their might across and above the massive plaza though putatively for different reasons now than 30 years ago.
       
      No correct answer – perhaps we should erect some interesting and exotic step pyramids in Farmington and start making sacrifices once again to Huitzilopochtli,  led off of course by the best and brightest from the UofM as fitting gifts reflecting the will of the people to repay the generosity of the gods.
      Then again, best and brightest, hmmmmmmm, you might not be counted in their number and escape a learning lesson about “no correct answer”.
       
      Course there is at least one correct answer, marvel to the world, often imitated, being ‘inalienable rights and freedoms’ and two of the many incorrect answers are any governments that condone slavery (yes, we were WRONG…. and we fixed it….) or human sacrifice, just to pick a couple of extremely INCORRECT answers from the many to choose from.
       

      • What looker said.

      • The US wasn’t the only place wrong about slavery.  England ditched slavery when it had lost its colonies and with it the labor intensive agricultural investments and slavery didn’t make enough economic sense to justify opposing domestic abolitionist movements.  Notice however it kept its fingers in the lucurative slave trade selling slaves to its former colonies.  Until the US put an import restriction against slaves.  Then suddenly England abolished slave trading.  However, it still kept buying the fruits of slavery in bulk from the South until the civil war and they had to pick a side politically at home.  And they replaced the cheap goods grown in the south with products of India which it had enslaved at at national level instead of at the individual level.  Other European countries have similiar histories of taking the noble route after the economic benefit was no longer there.  The US is different in it ended slavery when slavery produced goods were still a lucrative endeavor for the US.

    • Thinking further – you were perhaps better served with your first instinct, not to comment.
       
      Because once again you demonstrate your lack of principles and how you are in fact led like a sheep having no absolutes and believing that all things are more or less equal with none being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and are all acceptable so long as they are the ‘will of the people’.
       
      In case you have not noted, people can be asshats, take yourself for example.

      • Thinking further – you were perhaps better served with your first instinct, not to comment.

        Heh!  Right, on sooooo many levels.
        Our nation has a charter.  It uses words that mean things.  We should be guided only by that, on the Federal level.  We are not, and have not been since Wilson and his form of the Collective.

        • It must be…..interesting….to believe that Athenian Tyranny, Mongolian Khanate, American Republic, the Reign of Terror in France, and the Third Reich are ‘all the same” because they reflect ‘the will of the people’ (often the will of the people with weapons and the ruthless determination to apply them, rather like the Muslim Brotherhood…)
           
          Unique, a universe in which we learn nothing from past experience, where we can continue to embrace outmoded, bad, inferior ideas because ‘the people’ choose to do so.   Does explain his..acceptance…of a certain 7th century theocracy as an okay form of ‘peaceful and religious’ government though.

      • No, I just don’t share your principles.  In fact, I actively work to advance my own ideals and beliefs, which are rooted in the basic traditions of the enlightenment – human liberation, freedom, and equal opportunity.  You guys have wild fantasies about what I believe, but that suggests to me you’re a bit out of touch with reality.

        • Your basic stated belief is “whatever gets me through the night”. There is not much more to be learned from one so “enlightened”.

          • Uh, no, that’s not my basic stated belief.  I think you guys seriously have lost the distinction between what I really say and what you imagine I believe.

          • “I think you guys seriously have lost the distinction between what I really say and what you imagine I believe.”
             
            Uh, no. Elliot has used the memory of the interwebs to conclusively prove that it is you that has lost the distinction between what you say and believe from day to day.

        • I don’t fantasize what you believe – I read what you’ve written, what you SAY you believe.
           
          What you posited earlier, indirectly, is that the will of the citizens is CORRECT, that it’s correct if it is the will of the people, as you put it “ultimately, there is no correct answer – it depends upon the will of the citizens.”
           
          Would it be ‘correct’ if the majority wanted slavery or human sacrifice?  Would it be correct if they were ‘happy’ with either of those two outrages (just as simple examples) because it was their will?
           
           
           
           
           

          • Meh, why play that game with Scotty? His deep insights are no more than sophist tautologies and his arguments no more than bait-and-switch based thereon.

          • Well, you know, we want to be sure we understand what he believes.  “You guys have wild fantasies about what I believe,”
             
            We want to engage him and all, right?   You know, have a back and forth discussion?
            How can we learn anything from him if we don’t understand what he believes?

          • I have my beliefs on what is correct, and for many of them I’d give my life.  But I can’t prove it – I may be wrong and this is just a meaningless rock floating in a meaningless universal so what the hell.  If that’s the case, morality is whatever we choose to make it.  I don’t believe that, though, so I act on my beliefs.  But I’m smart enough to realize that it would folly for me to be so sure I’m right or that my culture is right that I pretended like my answers were clearly right.  That would be delusional.
            Moreover, the question of “objectively right” is irrelevant.  I want a world without slavery.  I’ll do what I can to fight against it – though there is a lot of slavery in the world now.   I am not so weak that I need to think somehow I have the “right” ideology – I will make my calls and fight for what I believe and stand for my values.  I just have little tolerance for people who are so certain they are right that they ridicule and demean those who have different views.  That’s usually a sign of insecurity, they feel a need to proclaim they know the “truth” because they are afraid to simply stand on their principles and beliefs.   They want to think there is some grounding there that makes them right.  That’s a sign of weakness and insecurity IMO.  If you can’t prove it, it’s just your opinion.  But that’s good enough to act politically on that opinion.

          • WTF?
            Do you just string words together sometimes?
            I don’t even know where to being with this.   It’s such a pile of progressive intellectual rubbish I’m not sure I should bother.
             
            Still, this is so fraught with stupid higher education meaninglessly vapid drivel it begs to be answered.
             
            “But I’m smart enough to realize that it would folly for me to be so sure I’m right or that my culture is right that I pretended like my answers were clearly right.  That would be delusional.”
             
            So what you’re saying is you can’t be SURE slavery isn’t right.
            That human sacrifice isn’t right.
            Because you can’t prove it?   Really?
            Oh, you’ll fight valiantly against them, with all your girly man strength! , but heck, they’re really not, like, rules or constants or truths, they’re uh, just your, uh opinion.   For which you will lay down your life!   ohhhhaaaaaaaah!!!!!!
             
            do one of your eyes rolling things here for me, would you?
             
            Onward into the pit….
            So when I say these things aren’t right, it’s my opinion…that slavery isn’t right, that human sacrifice isn’t right?   And I’m ‘insecure’ to state that for a FACT those things aren’t right?   That it is not a TRUTH to say those things aren’t right?
            And here’s the part I like best, I’m AFRAID to stand behind my beliefs and principles when I say slavery is WRONG and human sacrifice is WRONG?   and it’s UNIVERSAL….I’m afraid?  WTF?
            Oh, I forgot, and I’m WEAK because I hold those two truths to BE truths?
             
            I’m WEAK because those are part of my ideology?  And I’m weak and insecure because of all that, because I SAY all that.  Frankly I think it’s like having to PROVE the sun rises to prove those things are WRONG, objectively or any otherly, but that makes me weak and insecure.
             
            Hmmmmmmmmmm.   At this time I feel compelled to ask….
             
            Is english really your native language?
             
            You think it’s not a universal truth that slavery is wrong?  That human sacrifice is wrong?  Wow.   I wanna be on the barricades next to YOU dude!  I want YOU to be the one watching MY back.   Yessir!  No, not really.
             
            Your personal belief universe may not be hell, but I’ll bet you can see it from there buddy.
             
             

          • they’re really not, like, rules or constants or truths, they’re uh, just your, uh opinion.

            It’s wrong to be certain.
            I’m certain of that.
            </sarc>

            Nice takedown.

    • I’d also say the government has too much power….

      You have told that lie, when speaking in the abstract.
      But when the rubber meets the road, when there is an election, a legislative vote, a battle of words in the press, a scandal, etc., you always run home to your party, always take the side of legislation which grows government bigger, always attack those who want meager cuts as “deranged”, “extremists”, crazy, silly, or other ad hominems.
      You say one thing and do something quite the opposite.  You’re like a drunk who staggers around babbling about how he’s a teetotaler.

      And ultimately, there is no correct answer – it depends upon the will of the citizens.  And that changes constantly, and probably always will.

      There is no such thing as “the will of the citizens.”  There are people, each of whom have a will.  Those who pronounce what “the will of the people” is are liars, who brashly try to seize the initiative, pronouncing their goals as being the goals of “the people”, trying to turn votes from a plurality of the population into a “mandate” from all.  It’s self-serving hype, which seeks to squelch dissenting voices.  Thanks to the winner-take-all nature of democracy, those who get 48% of the vote get nothing, and those who get 49% get everything.  That’s not a reflection of “the will of the citizens”.  Rather, it’s plunder.

      • Wow, Elliot, that’s a little, well, creepy.  I vote for people of both parties, by the way (and last year an Independent for Senate).   I’ll all in favor of many budget cuts – as are most people.  People just disagree on what to cut (and of course special interests always find their spending to be ‘proper.’)   If it were up to me alone I’d have the budget balanced and cut total taxes, but it would look very different than the way you’d do it (or anyone else in this group).  So like it or not, public policy is a collective decision, done through a process we call Republican democracy or liberal democracy (as opposed to, say, social democracy).  You may not like the fact the majority can get their way by elections, but its better than giving that power to a dictator or an oligarchy.  You may not like democracy but unless you convince people of an alternative, you have no choice.  You don’t get to decide how the world is ordered, you get what you’re born into.  You can work to change it, however – through politics, teaching, writing, art, revolution, whatever.  Some methods work, others don’t.

        • Whoa there Scotty, take it easy on the straw-men. Save some for later in the thread!

        • …public policy is a collective decision….

          That’s the lie they use.
          Collectives don’t make decisions.  Agreements reached via reason, not force, generally result in benefits to all participants.  If you’re not benefiting, why would you agree?  Contrast that with elections,   which use a winner-take-all model, backed by the threat of force.  The elites who win a majority of votes, seats, etc. get to disregard the will of most, whether it’s the minority party, those who are kept out or who choose not to participate, and even many of their own voters.  It’s S.O.P. for those in power to serve cronies, rather than their constituents.  The (Un)affordable Care Act had a special deal for Nebraska, a special deal for the American Hospital Association, a special deal for unions.  Meanwhile, most Americans opposed it and those who ignorantly believed the promises will soon find out that the promises were lies.  Health “insurance” is not medical care.  It’s not free.  It doesn’t make doctor visits, labs, or medicine free (with a few exceptions, like contraceptives and other vote getters).  So the “collective decision” that you and other Democrats sycophants claim is but an illusion.
          Oh, but voters unhappy with politicians get to wait a few years and then, if enough others remember and care, they can vote for the other rotten choice.  The two major parties, as well as the media and edumakaters like you, convince the gullible that they have the power to choose, but the choices are so narrowly limited that the elites get to make out like bandits and most problems only get worse.  You can have Obama, who burdens us with exploding deficits, expanded government programs, military entanglements–or, you can have McCain, who burdens us with exploding deficits, expanded government programs, military entanglements.  Either you get the ideologue who was raised to despise what makes American culture good or the unhinged cranky old man whose “maverick” choices mean he sides with whichever side is stupider on a given issue.
          Yeah, it’s so wonderful that “the people” get to decide between those two.
          Also, there’s an arbitrariness to it all. A few idiots in Florida can’t read instructions, or dirty tricks get enough to cover the spread in another swing state, and an election swings the other way.  Or, stupid voters who don’t know what the candidates will do make decisions based upon absurd whims.  If there is a substantive difference between the two nominees, such arbitrary events can change the outcome.
          But before we even debate what a complete lie your portrayal of democracy is, the fact remains that moral questions are not decided by putting them on the auction block, subject to popular whims.  It is unethical for you to take away property from your neighbors, to threaten to lock them up or hurt them if they don’t change their behavior to suit your choices.  Going into a voting booth doesn’t magically change that.  Tens of millions of people giving permission to do something for which they, as individuals, don’t have moral authority, doesn’t conjure moral authority for the election winner.  10,000,000 x 0 = 0.

          • “Tens of millions of people giving permission to do something for which they, as individuals, don’t have moral authority, doesn’t conjure moral authority for the election winner.”
             
            Well, see, Elliot, it seems we can’t ‘prove’ that…so, as he put it…this could be..”just a meaningless rock floating in a meaningless universal so what the hell.  If that’s the case, morality is whatever we choose to make it.”
             
            I gather if you don’t have the universe manual or you don’t get a visit from ‘the deity’ you can’t really prove it’s not all meaningless.   And if you can’t prove it, well, it COULD be whatever we all agree it is.
            Isn’t THAT a swell mechanism for guiding principles in life.
             
            Hopefully casual readers will see what a hopeless desert that is, regardless of whether they believe we were created, or we ‘happened’ through some natural action.

  • Concentrated vs. Diffuse Interests means this problem has to get to a major breaking point before anything happens.
    Oh, and I was thinking that its funny that in Socialism you line up for toilet paper, but in Capitalism you line up for iPhones.

    • Another of those first world problems.
      Like “wait wait wait….you have fights WITH water?”

      • Your children have fights with FOOD…?!?!?
        At SCHOOLS…!?!?!
        Where they are NOT forced to pray…????  And girls attend…???
        And your poor are FAT…???  And spend too much time watching their TELEVISIONS…???

    • Oh, and I was thinking that its funny that in Socialism you line up for toilet paper, but in Capitalism you line up for iPhones.

      Apples and oranges. (yeah)
      In a free market, you have 30 varieties of toilet paper, with prices to fit any working person’s budget.
      In a socialist country, there is no iPhone, except from external sources.

      • False choice.  Socialism is dead and buried almost everywhere.  China’s got flourishing markets, the East Bloc is gone.  Only North Korea and Cuba soldier on.   Scandinavia has social democracy – high taxes, lots of government – and a lot of freedom, prosperity and public support as well.  You certainly get Iphones there!

        • There you go with your Scandinavian nonsense again. Sweden and Denmark are jealous of Norway’s oil revenues which pay for nice roads and outrageous salaries for even a pizza pilferer, but not jealous of the fabulous tax rates that drive rich Norwegians to live anywhere but Norway. Truckloads of Swedes work in Norway and pay lower tax in Sweden… nice. Until the oil runs out of course and the whole place will collapse. Then again, compare Swedish corporate tax rates to many American states, and suddenly Sweden isn’t so highly taxed. And again, compare the population sizes of the Scandinavian countries (9 million max) and the ethnic homogeneity to the USA and you realize that you cannot compare their social systems. Also, why is the Swedish government introducing yet ANOTHER round of tax cuts? Why have Sweden and Denmark worked slowly to REDUCE their government load? Why do Swedes complaing about the way salaries are set industry wide and God help you if you want to get a raise over the industry average this year? Why do Swedes complain about their inherent jantelagen? Basically, why is good old-fashioned Social Democracy being cut away in Scandinavia except where oil revenues prop it up? Because it IS socialism and IS unsustainable over the long term.

          • Scandinavian countries like Sweden still have extremely high taxes (even though I agree that they got too high and needed to be cut).  No one says its perfect – no country is perfect, it’s always a work in progress.  But it does prove that prosperity, stability and wealth can be had with high taxes and social democracy.  Obviously, the differences between Sweden and the USSR are profound, they are two completely opposite systems of economic and political organization.  Yet people throw out the word “socialism” in a meaningless way.  That ideological world view is simply obsolete and disproven.  Ideologies don’t work.

          • There you go again, talking in circles like it means something. If Social Democracy is not socialism, the pray tell why the Swedish Social Democrats who used to have a strangle hold on the country are not socialists? What part of this http://www.socialdemokraterna.se/ is not socialist? Why are they members of the Socialist International? Why are the members of the Party of European Socialists? We all realize words mean nothing to you Scott, but you could at least *try* to dress your BS up as roses just a little bit sometimes.

          • Woah hold on there Doc, you’re not going to go claiming being IN those countries actually gives you a leg up knowledge wise on our International policy expert from Moosenburg Maine are you?
             
            Good Lord!  I think you’re going claiming actual authority instead of mere appeal to authority conferred by a title!  Are you trying to trump his book larnen and readin and written on all this here stuff with actual living and working experience in that part of the world!???
             
            Uh….oh…..carry on    :)

          • Yeah well Scotty spent a year in Germany and thinks he is an expert on Germany. I’ve been in Sweden so long now it is sometimes hard to bring the correct English expressions to the lips sometimes, when the Swedish comes easier. You don’t really understand a place until you take out a new citizenship (ok, dual)  and make the decision that you’ll probably never move “home” again and have lost that psychological safety net. Not of course that I understand the place as well as someone who was born and raised here for 40 years, but still, better than some faux German professor.

          • It is good to know that ‘socialism’ is dead.   Phew.
             
            Have you guys seen my free health insurance and obamaphone yet?   And, I’d appreciate it if you could speed up the EBT dispersals, I’m down to my last sushi roll.

          • Saying that you live there longer and thus know it better is a logical fallacy – especially when it’s clear that most Swedes have voted for the system you obviously are skeptical about.  You also mix some argumentum ad hominem in there.  I’ve also spent a lot more than a year in Germany, and Europe/the EU is my main focus of study.  So while I’m sure there is a lot to legitimately disagree about, logical fallacies don’t prove your position.  Nor do you even deny my basic point – that high taxes and regulation have in the real world correlated with wealth, prosperity, stability and happiness.  That the Scandinavian social democracies (as well as more liberal corporatist democracies like Germany) are fundamentally different than communist states.   To call things like national health care systems “socialism” of that sort is fundamentally and objectively wrong.

          • Oh dear Scotty! Nice try but try again. No one said they were communists. They said they were socialists. It seems to be you that is confused by the distinction and have started out on some tour-de-farce about logical fallacies as if that rescues you from your own ignorance. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and calls itself a duck then you can be pretty certain that it is, in fact, socialist.

          • Oh Jesus wept Erb, I have probably spent more time in Germany than *you* have. never mind Sweden of which you have apparently not even a quarter of a clue about.

          • “Europe/the EU is my main focus of study”
             
            Yes, we know, you don’t need to recite your mantra of authority yet *again*. It is understandable why you get worked up over this, having people know more about your “focus” than you do. But that probably explains why you don’t supervise grad students, teach at an obscure school, have a virtually non-existent publication record in relation to your “career” length and generally appear to not know what you are on about. Quantumly speaking of course.

          • So much all in one paragraph….
             
            So, first, you say his living in Sweden doesn’t give him an insight into Sweden you don’t, and can’t, ever get from mere reading and studying.   Yep, he lives there, but doesn’t interact with the government, the people or the businesses.  He lives under a rock outside Stockholm.
             
            THEN….you trot out that you spent MORE than year there (nyah nyah) so there!
            Which translates to, you understand his being there DOES give more insight than your study and time spent.  Proof provided by you trying to inflate the time you DID spend to give your argument more credibility.
             
            Yeah, how old are you again?
             
             
            Then there’s the ‘you didn’t deny my main point’ argument.   Did you know you use that a lot?  A lot.
            You realize when your main point is, well, to be direct, stupid, obvious, we’re not obliged to try and counter it?
            Like we can’t trot out examples where lower taxes and little regulation also provide prosperity, stability and wealth.
            And not doing so does not mean your point has any meaning, or was a valid point in the first place.
            Yet you use that method ALL the time…constantly…..it’s like a stock phrase for you “you didn’t deny my main point! (ipso facto I win!)”.
            Check it out some time, especially when you’re starting to get pressed.
            Here’s a clue, you don’t have to be the USSR to be a socialist system.  England is not the USSR, France is not the USSR.   Rather foolish to deny they are a bit on the socialist side.
            So why should he have to respond to YOUR view of what socialism is when we all understand what it is, even if it doesn’t match what YOU seem to think.  It’s a broad term, it covers a lot of ground.  He doesn’t have respond to the idea that Sweden and the Soviet Union AREN’T THE SAME KIND OF GOVERNMENT OR ECONOMY, yet are both socialist in nature.  It’s stupid.
             
            Then finally, you suggest that national health care systems aren’t socialist.    Riiiiiiight.    Universal health care plans are funded primarily through tax contributions and government levies, with legislation forcing compulsory ‘private’ contributions from employers to the system.  They are generally defined to be moderately redistributive.   See that last word….redistributive.   It means we’re going to take your stuff, and give it to someone else who doesn’t have the same amount of stuff you do.   We’re going to do this legally, through government, with guys who have guns to come and take your stuff if you get all greedy with it and won’t give it up without a struggle.   It’s a facet of socialism.
             
             
             
             
             

          • …is a logical fallacy – especially when it’s clear that most Swedes have voted for the system….

            Argumentum ad populum.

          • “…logical fallacies don’t prove your position.  Nor do you even deny my basic point – that high taxes and regulation have in the real world correlated with wealth, prosperity, stability and happiness.

            Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

          • Logic lesson for Elliot.  Argumentum ad populum is a claim that something is true because a lot of people believe it.  I did not make such a claim.  I noted that a lot of Scandinavians like their system.  That’s simply a fact, not a claim that their system is best.   It’s also interesting how much some of you are retreating.  You talk about socialism like it’s communism earlier in the thread (Iphone comments, etc.), then when I point out that THAT kind of socialism is dead, instead of saying “Yes, thankfully it is” you dance and weave.   But you are agreeing!   And only someone who has no understanding of political ideologies would ever claim that a national health care system is socialist.  That’s a laughable statement.  That’s like saying the police force is socialist because the government provides it.  Or that the court system is socialist.  That’s calling anything not “market” to be socialist.  That’s simply ridiculous.

          • That’s like saying the police force is socialist because the government provides it.  Or that the court system is socialist.  That’s calling anything not “market” to be socialist.  That’s simply ridiculous.

            Now, THERE is a powerful argument…ridiculous.
            Let us reason here: a police force is a MARKET-provided delegation of our natural right to self-protection.  It is a clear application of the SPECIALIZATION that is afforded by a working market system.
            A court system is a MARKET-provided delegation of our natural right to protect our property.  Our common law developed collaterally with MARKET economics, and provided means to settle disputes between market players when needed.  Equity, in particular, provided a means to restore justice even in the absence of a legal remedy, and tort law provided a means to compensate people who may not have been players in a particular market, but were damaged by people who were.
            A “national health care” system is certainly a Collectivist notion.  ObamaDoggle is more a fascist system than a socialist one.
            This is not remarkable, as fascist economics are Obama’s favorite model.

          • Logic lesson for Elliot.

            From you?  You’re an object lesson in logical fallacies.

            Argumentum ad populum is a claim that something is true because a lot of people believe it.  I did not make such a claim.

            You’re always making such a claim.  Above, in another comment you wrote:

            So like it or not, public policy is a collective decision….

            Now, you’re taking the position that you mentioned how most Swedes voted for socialism not to assert that it’s true, but, just because.
            While you’re denying what you arguments, you’re also building strawmen for the rest of us:

            But you are agreeing!

            No, we’re not.  You’re either lying, or just stupid, or both.
            Universal health care involves (1) wealth redistribution (the “haves” pay more so the “have nots” pay less), (2) central planning (bureaucrats decide how much things cost, how much people get paid for medical goods and services, what limited choices people are allowed), (3) prohibition, penalties, or severe limitations on choices outside the system.  That you think it is radically different because it varies, cosmetically, from the definitions Marx created 165 years ago, just shows you’re not a very deep thinker.  De facto, not ex præscripto.
            As with fascism, the government need not have explicit ownership of property.  It only needs to make rules and threats to compel the nominal owners and workers to make and do things in the manner that the government directs.  Four-year plan versus five-year plan.

        • “You certainly get Iphones there!”
           
          Again, the lack of reading comprehension is displayed in all its Erbian glory…

          • Indeed.  There is all sorts of technology available in third world countries, but it’s imported.  Most of the technology produced in Asia is designed elsewhere.
            But my original comment about the availability of goods in a free market economy versus a socialist economy stands.  Nothing he wrote contradicted it.  He just likes to hear himself bloviate.

        • Socialism is dead and buried almost everywhere.

          Even if that were true–which it most certainly is not–what does that have to do with what I wrote?
          China’s commercial flourishing is fraught with a number of problems: human rights abuses, a huge real estate bubble, currency shenanigans which will inevitably bite them, Potemkin-style commercial centers which are empty, etc..  The Communist Party still controls China, which means that human behavior is still subject to oppression, as is the case with widespread surveillance and censorship.
          Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, and others are shifting to be more like Cuba, stealing control over industries, particularly involving foreign investors, from oil to toilet paper, imposing insane price controls, etc..

      • “In a free market, you have 30 varieties of toilet paper, with prices to fit any working person’s budget.”
        I remember with some mirth explaining to an English friend the difference in all the ‘biscuits’ and the difference in all the various detergents on the shelves when I assisted in outfitting his first American apartment.

  • In fact, I actively work to advance my own ideals and beliefs, which are rooted in the basic traditions of the enlightenment.

    Horseshit, Erp.
    Yours are the basic ideas and beliefs of the REACTION to the Enlightenment and the American Revolution.
    Yours are the slobbering sycophantic “views” of the Frankfurt School, Zinn, and Obama.
    And you know it as well as we know it.
     

  • Ideologies don’t work.

    Markets do.  Freedom does.
    If not in the unitary sense, they work wonderfully in the general sense, and even when an individual person exercises their freedom and makes a mistake, there is no better system to avail them of lessons on how NOT to do that again, and make those lessons clear and exquisitely linked to the actions leading to the consequences.
    You are such a lying Collectivist tool.

  • Oh dear Scotty! Nice try but try again. No one said they were communists. They said they were socialists. It seems to be you that is confused by the distinction and have started out on some tour-de-farce about logical fallacies as if that rescues you from your own ignorance.

    • Imagine a delete button here…

    • You again are ignoring my point – people are using “socialism” as if it were the same as “communism” (see the posts above – it’s pretty obvious)!  I was pointing out that social democracy is fundamentally different than communism.  Guess what, you agree with me!  You’re supporting my point.  THANK YOU!  Now you’re a tad confused throwing out insults, but I’m satisfied that my point is supported.  Social Democracy is fundamentally different than communism and bureaucratic socialism.  You can have high taxes and social protections, and still have a prosperous, free society.   Perhaps if you read more slowly and look at the other posts you’ll see that you’re actually not arguing against what I’m saying.   I find myself a bit amused by the irony of your comment on reading comprehension though.

      • No, see, again, we learned about government when we were in school.
         
        We understand that Socialism is NOT Communism.
        Further we understand the Soviet Union was not really A COMMUNIST system.   It was a Socialist system.   But we called them Commies, and Communists (and reds, and ruskies and Ivan and…)
        They weren’t even ALL Russians!    Wow!
         
        Much like North Korea calls itself the Democratic People’s REPUBLIC of Korea.
        Reeeeeeallly.  Democratic Republic?   Is it now?
        So, see, we all understand things aren’t always what their NAMES say they are.  As a country we interchangeably used the word Communist and Socialist when, well, we were wrong to do so.
        But people who understood a true COMMUNE system knew that WASN’T what the Soviets had (or the Chinese, or the Koreans, or the Vietnamese, or the East Germans, or….).
         
        You were the first person to use the word Communism….you were one who said that ‘communist’ states aren’t the same as socialist states.  WE KNEW THAT.
        THAT was the point I made about not responding to your asshat main point.
        You don’t ‘win’ because we ignored an obvious statement.   You’re arguing with YOURSELF.
        Congratulations, I’m not sure you won.

      • Why do you think I use “COLLECTIVISM”, you lying tool?
        ALLLLLL the “isms” are just parts of piece, with some being more dangerous in relative terms.
        ALLLLLL will kill freedom.

      • people are using “socialism” as if it were the same as “communism” (see the posts above – it’s pretty obvious)!

        Cite, please.  We were having a brief discussion of iPhones and toilet paper in free market (“capitalist”) versus socialist countries.  You butted in and started talking about socialism being “dead” and only North Korea and Cuba “soldiering on”.  We saw what you did there.  You played bait and switch, then pretended that we, not you, were the one mixing up the terms.
        Marx was an utter failure at understanding human nature–what motivates people to engage in economic activities, what causes them to refrain–and his predictions on how the world would evolve was a massive custerfluck.  Tens of millions were murdered by huge, oppressive governments, all invoking his name, when he predicted that government would wither away.
        So, insisting on strictly adhering to his fantasy definitions, which never were put into effect in the way he predicted, is a pointless exercise in dictionary jousting.  Communists, Marxists, Maoists, socialists, national socialists, fascists are all just variations under the same collectivist ideological umbrella.  The differences between the so-called “right” and “left” forms are mostly cosmetic.  The only substantive variation is how totalitarian and murderous they carry out their doctrine, and whether they give the illusion of choice through elections.

        • Sophist Scotty gets caught out making patently false claims, makes a mistake in terminology and retreats to his usual blather of setting up tautological strawmen that he hopes to tangle the conversation with and thereby claim that he was correct all along and everyone actually agrees with him. Also begins employing Erbian thread tactic #67, when cornered and making an ass of yourself start claiming logical fallacies on the part of your opponent in order to sound clevererer and get the thread away from the subject as originally formulated.

          • What false claims?  You show the weakness of your argument when you make grandoise attacks, but don’t provide any substance.  There were no false claims or logical fallacies on my part.  The fact you can’t point to any is strong proof.

          • There were no false claims or logical fallacies on my part.

            Oh.
            My…
            Better meds, Erp.

          • You claimed someone here was talking about communism. No one said the word communism or even implied it until you yourself said it. Therefore, false. QED.

          • There were no false claims or logical fallacies on my part.  The fact you can’t point to any is strong proof.

            looker at September 25, 2013 at 13:57:

            You were the first person to use the word Communism….

            Elliot on September 25, 2013 at 19:31:

            We were having a brief discussion…free market (“capitalist”) versus socialist countries.  You butted in and started talking about socialism being “dead” and only North Korea and Cuba “soldiering on”.  We saw what you did there.  You played bait and switch, then pretended that we, not you, were the one mixing up the terms.

            But, of course, no one can point to anything, Scott.  Shut your eyes closed as hard as you can, plug your ears, and yammer loudly.  That’s how a professional who “teaches this stuff”, who brags incessantly about his objective analyses handles discussions: like a five year old.

        • Marx did get human nature wrong, I’m certainly not sticking to his claims on that.  Your whole post seems premised on a belief that I am.  I’m not, so your post really doesn’t apply to anything I’ve said.  I do reject your broad definition of collectivism.  It’s weak dichotomous thinking (collective vs. individual) in my opinion, that leads to false and overly simplistic ideological fantasies.  You really want to push things into your very concise narrative and definitions, but I refuse.  You hate that, you think it’s dishonest, you think your definitions and categories are clearly right.  I reject them absolutely and consider them ridiculously simplistic.  That’s not going to change for either of us, I suspect.  So you can insult – but you know those don’t bother me.  I’m really trying to help you claim out of your ideological fog.  I think you find it very comforting.   So I’ll turn my attention to helping others.

          • “I’m really trying to help you claim out of your ideological fog.  I think you find it very comforting.   So I’ll turn my attention to helping others.”

            Step away from the koolaid bottle …

          • See, Doc, Erp is a humanitarian…coming here to “defog” us and lead us to the high, bright uplands of his quantum love of compulsory BIG GOVERNMENT systems, and a true understanding of how dreamy Obama really, truly is.
            And we, fog-bound ideologues that we are, are just dense meanies who fail to appreciate his wonderfulness.
            And we laugh and laugh and laugh…

          • Your whole post seems premised on a belief that I am [backing Marx’s claims regarding human nature].

            That was background on the pointlessness of your strawman that other people were mixing up “socialism” and “communism”.  You were the first to mention the latter term and then falsely accused others of doing exactly what you did.

            I do reject your broad definition of collectivism.

            Please cite my “definition of collectivism”.

            It’s weak dichotomous thinking (collective vs. individual) in my opinion, that leads to false and overly simplistic ideological fantasies.

            And yet, you throw around terms like “left” and “right” as though that dichotomy is more meaningful.  Because vaguely and arbitrarily referring to a centuries old French parliamentary seating arrangement is more relevant to modern politics than comparing actual positions on individual rights.
            The overly simplistic ideological fantasies of your spectrum pretend that mass murdering totalitarians like Hitler and Stalin were as different as night and day, but that the likes of Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, and Murray Rothbard are more similar to Hitler than anyone on the “left”.  It’s guilt by arbitrarily decreed association.
            Oh, but I’m the one in a “fog” and I’m the one insulting you?

          • We find it comforting…..that…..you’re trying to help us out of our fog?
            We find it comforting….that…..we insult you and it doesn’t bother you?
            We ‘hate’ that you refuse to allow us to push things into a concise narrative?
            You reject our definitions absolutely and consider them ridiculously simplistic…..
             
             
             
             
            Excuse me your majestic quantum nebulosity, are you having a meltdown?
             

      • No I didn’t agree with you, you asshat. As everyone has pointed out, it was *you* who started talking about communism and mixing it up with socialism. Even trying to claim that Scandinavian governments are not socialist. You either accidentally or deliberately began conflating the original comment about socialism to be communism and then introduced your nonsensical argument about Scandinavia. It might work when trying to impress first-year co-eds at the faculty mixer, but it isn’t going to work on grumpy old men.
         
        As for reading comprehension, perhaps you should go back and read what Elliot said about iPhones and what you later commented. His comment was so short and concise I doubt you need to slow down, perhaps just learn to comprehend the English language. If you had half a brain you would perhaps have mentioned Ericsson mobile phones being made in Sweden, rather than iPhones. But then if you had a quarter of a brain more you’d not make that argument for obvious reasons now. So perhaps, to be generous, we can credit you with 3/4 of a brain.

        • Generous!?  THAT was downright charitable!

        • Well, DocD, you said absolutely nothing there, but you need to insult.  I’ve never understood why people go that route.  Insults, especially on the internet, are so impotent.  But yes, I am an expert on European politics, teach it, give public lectures and I believe I know more about it than you do.  You are certainly free to believe otherwise.  No harm either way.

          • We’ve seen this before Scotty. No one is impressed no matter how often you repeat your attack of the vapors.
             
            “Blather, rinse, repeat”
            A lecture in stupidity by S Erb.

          • Insults, especially on the internet, are so impotent.

            You’ve been going on and on about people being “deranged” (ODS) and other such insults.  Why do you pretend that you’re the victim?
            Do you really see things that way?  Or, is this just posturing?

          • I am an expert on European politics, teach it, give public lectures and I believe I know more about it than you do.

            And yet, you wander into discussion forums on the interwebs and make the most mundane arguments, engage in childish sophistry and name calling (while crying that others call you names), and show an inability to comprehend much more than the most pedestrian of discussions.

          • “But yes, I am an expert on European politics, teach it, give public lectures and I believe I know more about it than you do.”
             
            Actually, you don’t seem to be much of an “expert” beyond what most people with an interest become by casual reading and amateur research. Your professional record of publications, the standard of academia everywhere, is for all intents and purposes non-existent. You issue confused mish-mashes of disjoint thoughts and call it analysis. No doubt you teach and give lectures, but damn, so do many third-rate minds. Usually it is farmed out to grad students so the real scholars can get on with their researches. On top of that your so-called expertize is backed by little more than a few weekends in a few foreign countries. You don’t even understand the people on the other side of the world that you bloviate about, yet are convinced you understand their politics.
             
            I could just as easily claim to be an expert in electricity, since I can write down Maxwell’s equations, solve various theoretical problems and even design a circuit or two and have a PhD in a relevant area. I know the origins of the stuff in modern particle physics. I know the theory better than any electrician. But would anybody let me wire their house instead of an electrician? You bet your wizened ass they wouldn’t and for obvious reasons. That is the equivalent of your expertize, except you don’t even study a science which seeks to uncover reality… just playing with words until they lose all meaning under the assauly of your ego.

  • DocD, I find it hilarious how you feel compelled to try to insult me.  You can’t – you just prove that you’re annoyed and want to lash out.  When you do that, you hurt yourself and make yourself look childish.   Yes, I know – a Ph.D. doesn’t prove someone knows everything, there are a lot of college professors, it’s no big deal.  I could say the same about what anyone does.  European politics is my area of expertise.  I know it pretty well.  I’m sure you know your stuff well.  That doesn’t mean I’m right on everything, but your insults are over the top silly.  That plays OK with the locals on a partisan blog, but in the real world you’d be given odd looks for talking like you’re on a junior high playground.

  • LOL!  Elliot, Elliot, ODS is like how people on this blog kept saying liberals had BDS.  I’m not calling people literally deranged.  I certainly don’t feel at all the victim.  But I’m also not attacking.  You seem very good at dishing it out, but you have a thin skin.  And don’t pretend the comments about socialism and people lining up weren’t about the communist system.  You know that was the point – it’s dishonest of you to pretend that since I wrote the word “communist” first, no one else was talking about it.  Read the posts I was responding to!  In any event, I’m a pretty fun guy and get along well with people.  I think you might want to mellow out and stop carrying that big grudge of yours.  It warps your sense of reality.

    • Oh, and, no, Nancy, you were the only one talking about communism.  You should ask yourself why we’d go down that path with regard to government exceeding it’s due allotment of power.  Overbearing governments don’t have to be communist.
       
      You found you painted yourself into a corner at the end and started waving around the paint brush trying to mess the place up as thoroughly as possible in the hopes that your imaginary fans wouldn’t be able to figure out it was you with the brush and the paint can, and not the dumbass military psycho right wing ODS Islamophobic doofuses.

  • And so our valiant hero moves on, weary but yet again victorious over the troglodytes who refused to acknowledge his expertize. Some day the war will end and all shall see that being an expert is not about experience, it is not about publications, it is not about coherently demonstrating a body of knowledge, it is not even about using the correct words since words are mere playthings. No, expertize is a state of mind, a self-declared ability to hold any position convenient at the time, to never admit error and, most importantly, to always get the last word before the comments get disabled after the time limit expires. Thus the sun sets over the legion of defeated windmills and Scott Quixote retires from the field, safe in the knowledge that next semester will bring another crop of formless minds ready for his loving attention.

    • Silly DocD, I’ve admitted error in the past, I’m not trying for victory.  You’re lost in a world of fantasy – not paying attention to what I write, but going off on some strange set of insults based on only your imagination.  Or, more likely, you realize that you haven’t countered what I said and you can’t admit it.  Either way, you should think about the fact that you choose the path of insults rather than an adult, intelligent conversation.  You’re the one who took that route, not me.  So you can blame me if you want, but it’s you.

      • …blame me if you want, but it’s you.

        The Energizer Bunny of internet narcissists.  He just keeps going, and going…
        And we just laugh, and laugh…

        • Well these threads usually do get to about 100 comments before he throws his little tantrum and starts calling everybody childish. His behavior is so regular he is either somewhere on the autistic spectrum with a bloody-minded streak, or just going way too hard on the morning bran.

          • After a point in these things, following several revelations of AMAZING ignorance on a number of topics and inconsistency in his arguments, I’ve noticed he just degrades to the kind of “argument” we see here about 15 comments deep.
            I usually just tune him out, IF I have not already done that.  A lot of his use here is as a foil, but sometimes his pathetic trolling is simply worthless.  When he has descended into the chest-thumping mode, you know he’s just done as far as even providing talking-points from the moonbattery.

          • There was a skit on an Australian comedy show many, many moons ago that caricatured the histrionics of soap opera characters. The defining line was one “star” screeching “come back here and leave me alone!”. I am put in mind of this every time Scotty gets down to this part of his schtick.

  • Ha ha ha, nice try Scotty Quixote. Maybe you’d better send Señor Panza in, he can perhaps do European politics more expertly.

    • Nice try, DocD.  You know I know European politics, and that your frustration is leading you to childish insults.  Be an adult, converse.  The style you’re choosing is beneath you.

      • Beneath me? Hmmm, how can you judge that? “Be an adult, converse”? Que? Your grasp of the English language failing again? Your grasp of other people is clearly at total variance with reality so I am not sure what this all means. Perhaps it is better for you to get that morning cup of coffee down and shoo away the magenta caterpillars before you get on the interwebs to tout at windmills.

        • Converse….you silly ODS crazy weak insecure creepy ideological illogical laughably government ignorant ridiculous uncomprehending weak thinking insulting hilariously fog bound deranged jr high level intellectuals.
           
          I AM HERE TO HELP!   Talk to me, civilly!  You ignorant low intellect inferiors!
           
          I just want to have a nice conversation!  I never insult people and I don’t know why you hopeless non-professorial silly ignorant ideologues argue with me when I’m always right!
           
           

          • I usually hear the same arguments put forth at about 8pm every night when a certain 5 year old has to put down his iPad and get his teeth brushed. However, I at least usually get a hug by 8.30 pm.

      • Ya know, for a guy who’s not sure slavery and human sacrifice are really WRONG….
        For a guy who rejects the idea of inalienable rights, self evident….
         
        Another flouncing but victorious departure….
         
        let me see if I can sum up, and…this is the usual summation for you Scott.
         
        “Nanny nanny boo boo!  I’m rubber and your glue!”
         
        What you lack in reality is a coterie of younger friends to flock around you.  As you walk away hurriedly clutching your text books to your chest you’d assure them that you really fixed us all this time, and that was nothing compared to what you’re going to do to us when next we meet.   Then again, I’m kinda certain that, in your mind, that’s what’s happening here.
         
        You declared the argument to be about well, it doesn’t matter.  Since the rest of us were reading or talking about government having too much power, you bested us, yet again, in the conversation about whatever.  You’re a whatever expert, we all know it, we just won’t admit it, but you still struggle valiantly to help us understand.  But sometimes we insult you, why we do that, well, you don’t know, even we don’t know, more than likely it’s because we’re inferior to you intellectually, emotionally and socially and we just want to lash out because we’re jealous of your beautiful hair and your matching skirt and blazer and how successful you are, and how many friends you have.
         
        You’ll be back though, and the play will continue, scene 30,000, act 9998 of “Scott Erb, The Hardly boy and the case of the stupidhead doofuses”

  • Looker, you guys, many not putting your own name on your posts, are showing with your behavior what you are.  On a partisan blog you can do that, but if you were acting like that in the real world, well… I understand why you don’t have the courage to take credit by name for your comments.  And, by the way, note the breakthrough Obama is reaching with Iran?  It looks like I was right about the Syrian agreement being a major victory for the President (discussed today on my blog).  And as for ODS – I think deep down you know that the anti-Obama fanaticism some have is very much like what the authors of this blog ridiculed as BDS from the left back in the Bush years.   Partisans tend to be mirror images of each other.
    But seriously, looking through this thread the only disagreement we seem to have that is substantive is that you think I don’t “know” some things like slavery are wrong.  I’m absolutely convinced many things are wrong, I spend my professional and personal life trying to promote the values I believe in.  You cannot prove them wrong to someone who doesn’t have that belief.   You know that.  You are relying wholly on argumentum ad populum here.  If you can prove your beliefs right, please do.  Otherwise, your name calling is an angry reaction to knowing I’m right and not liking it.

    • Looking through this thread the only disagreement that is substantive is that you have little clue about the world. Apart from the substantative inability to comprehend the English language when written by others. Also the substantive lack of expertize on much of Europe. Plus the substantive hypocrisy and waily-waily when someone gets the better of you. Oh and don’t forget the substantive lunacy of trying to pretend that bringing up Latin terms for your failed arguments in some way validates your inability to make a valid argument. It all goes nicely with your substantive attacks of the vapors like an aged madame who catches sight of a young man’s calf muscles on a hot summer’s day.

    • Where are there lines WRT medical services in the U.S., Erp?
      Why are there lines, Erp?
      Where is your model of a free-market economy that devolved to gangster rule?
      Where is your response to my modelsssssss of markets that are NOT regulated by any government?
      Where are your historical examples of failed free-market economies?
      Where is your support for the idea that the poor are kept from quality medical treatment in the U.S.?
      Why shouldn’t the people who provide…and will provide…health and mental care for those savaged by Islamist in Boston be paid for their work and the materiel they provide?
      You are a lying, cowardly, Collectivist tool.  Under your own name or any other.

    • So…my beliefs…like, that slavery and human sacrifice are wrong, would be changed by….using my real name……I…..see…….
      As for dealing with you?   If my arguments are shit Scott, they’re shit whether I post under my name (kinda like….uh….YOU….) or I post as the Magnificent Genghis Khan.
      If they hold water they do so on their own merits, not because I can pull a degree out of my ass and wave it around like you constantly do.
       
      “It looks like I was right about the Syrian agreement being a major victory for the President”
      Right, and Rowhani didn’t snatch the football out from under Obama the other day like Lucy and Charlie Brown.
      ANDDDDDDD the Russians offering to ‘guard’ the Syrian WMD sites is NOT what we predicted when this all went down, which I would like to point out will put Russian boots on the ground in Syria, around their military sites, which will, absolutely, preclude ANY UN action, or US unilateral action by way of ‘punishing’ the Syrians for crossing any red-lines again in the future or lying or…..anything.
       
      NO attacks Scott, with or without Congressional approval because it will risk killing RUSSIANS.
      Yeah, Obama won, you keep telling yourself that you delusional ass.
       
      ” You cannot prove them wrong to someone who doesn’t have that belief.”
      I don’t personally care what you believe Scott.  I believe they are wrong, I believe I don’t have to prove them wrong, I believe, as the Declaration states “we hold these truths to be SELF EVIDENT” meaning they do not need your sorryass approval, or your sorryass proof.   I’m not going to get into an age old discussion with an obvious intellectual light weight like you who parrots shit without worrying about whether or not he understands what he’s saying.   Your philosophies are tripe, backed up by a piece of paper, or several pieces of paper, that you think somehow conferred intelligence and power on you.
       
      The name calling, I told you a couple months ago, I reserve for you and low information idiots like you.  I don’t always agree with Rags, or McQ or Elliot, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start using the charming terms of endearment I reserve for you.  I can disagree with them, I can have them prove me wrong…I learn here, I actually do.   I recognize those who are probably smarter, certainly more knowledgeable then me as demonstrated to me by their writings and topics of conversation.
       
      I can’t help it if you’re currently butt hurt because you can’t stand up and say yes or no ABSOLUTELY that slaver and human sacrifice are WRONG because you feel like you have to have….proof.   You think it’s clever, and wise, and all it shows is you have no convictions, no moral core.  To compound it, you’re an arrogant condescending twerp.
       
      the name…is Prendergast, Alan.  There aren’t that many of us….have a good time looking it up.

      • Being a contrarian…and doing it honestly…is a good thing.
        Erp does not do that.  As demonstrated here constantly.
        ;-)

        • I expect next he’ll reject that’s my name.
           
          Not that I really care, but…eh… now maybe he’ll shut up, he can put a name to an alias.   It won’t make any difference, I’m class clown, he’s class idiot.

  • DocD – you’re falling all over yourself.  Can you provide any substance to your charges?  Your post reads like you’re sputtering mad, but I’m not sure why.  Let me know if you can point to one specific real thing.  Seriously, I challenge you to find anything.
    Looker, I have in my own blog explained why I think Syria was a victory for the President, and set up the progress in Iran.  I certainly understand and respect those who disagree, that’s normal.  I won’t call those who disagree names, I’ll simply argue for my perspective.  There are many who share it – and many who disagree.   I totally respect that you “hold..truths…to be self-evident.”  To hold something is to have a strong opinion.  I do too!  In fact, my core values are probably similar to yours and most people here, except I think the world works differently than you do, and thus I see a different way to promote those values.
    But if someone said “we’re just accidents of nature in a cold soulless universe, bound to live a short time in a meaningless existence on a planet that someday will be gone, in a species with a limited meaningless life,” I don’t think you could prove that person wrong.  They would have no reason to hold any truths to be self-evident.  If one doesn’t share your values, there is no objective reason for another person to accept them.   That’s my point – you may be right or wrong, but if values are not actualized politically in the world, they have no power.

    • “I won’t call those who disagree names,”
      well, I mean, aside from telling us we’re deranged, regularly, for starters, any time we disagree with your messiah OR his party.
       
      “But if someone said “we’re just accidents of nature in a cold soulless universe, bound to live a short time in a meaningless existence on a planet that someday will be gone, in a species with a limited meaningless life,” I don’t think you could prove that person wrong.
      Prove….I don’t give two shits.   It’s wrong, even if we ARE just accidents living out a meaningless existence.  It’s what makes us better than pigs, that we can MAKE meaning even if we don’t get some text book that shows how the universe came into being and our place in it all.   I don’t care if we’re the center of the universe, if we’re God’s single unique blessed creation or if we’re going to die tomorrow and the universe won’t notice.   Slavery is wrong, human sacrifice is wrong, I am born with inalienable rights, I WILL protect them to the best of my ability.  I will even protect yours, though God only knows why I’d bother.
       
      What you’re spouting is meaningless, metaphysical claptrap designed to make you feel enlightened, and important and wise.  It was that way when you first hit on it, it doesn’t change no matter how many times you repeat it.
       
      The first man who stood between his friends/loved ones/tribe, and a hungry tiger and died trying to stop it and gave them time to escape didn’t DIE FOR NOTHING, whether in the end we’re here as an accident or not.  All the more reason to have a moral code if you ask me, not based on whether or not you can prove it’s right, certainly not because ‘hey man, whatever dude, just do what you like, there’s no God, it’s meaningless.”
       
      It’s NEVER meaningless, even if we ARE here by accident.  Human sacrifice isn’t practiced for giggles, slavery isn’t practiced for giggles.  Being the sacrifice or being a slave is GOING TO MEAN SOMETHING to YOU, you moron.  It means something to those enacting it on you or they wouldn’t freaking bother.
       
      Who the hell cares if you can PROVE it as if it’s some kind of formula?   If they drag one of your kids out of your house tonight and kill him on the front lawn will it have meaning to you, even if you’re here as a trick of the universe?   What a pompous ass you are.
       
      You think you’re the second coming of Aquinas or something?  Your own unique philosophy as if it’s new?   Please…someone probably thought of it already, and then thought, “No, that ain’t it…kinda stupid really”.
       
      And no, you’ve already said you don’t totally respect anything I’ve said, you had to have a name, or something, like that mattered.  Now you’re just pretending you’re being reasonable for the audience.   And we’re meanies because we pick on you.   You’re so put upon, but, sigh, you try, and try, and try to help us.  The other day you said we were weak because we believed in something we couldn’t prove, weak, afraid, insecure.  yeah, you ‘respect’ us.
       
      But respect is what this is about…this is about is you trying to preserve a shred of respectability, you spouted your bullshit philosophy, again, in such a way that demonstrated in your own words you have no moral core, no principles except those you think those around you want you to have, and it’s finally hit you, so now you’re scrambling, trying to make it seem reasonable and logical.
       
      And the only reason I’m responding is I want to slam the point home good and hard that you’re an intellectual moral bankrupt, so keep coming.

  • Ahhh I think we all know an attempted thread-jack when we see it. As if reviving the zombie you created with your dead words will somehow induce someone to interact with you all over again. To quote a wise man, not so long ago…
     
    “You’ll be back though, and the play will continue, scene 30,000, act 9998 of “Scott Erb, The Hardly boy and the case of the stupidhead doofuses””

    • This makes about the twentieth time he has dodged my pointed, direct questions which challenge his obviously vacant bullshit.

      • It must be terrible in the Erb household. Someone starts the day with “Tea or coffee, Scott?” and 12 hours later is seriously contemplating throwing themselves on the breadknife just to end the free public defogging about Obama’s unique military genius and the implications on a soulless universe.

        • Lord knows I base my principles on the premise you are all just part of a really cool dream I’m having…..
           
          Now if I just had the guts to jump off the roof to see if it works the same as when I think I’m sleeping…..

          • You on drugs, Looker?

          • “I base my principles on the premise you are all just part of a really cool dream”
             
            It’s as good a stupid philosophy as “there really are no inalienable rights because you can’t prove them”.
             
            You’re not really clever enough to see that though.

        • Wow, DocD, you’re getting really personal with your insults, I must really have gotten under your skin.  Here’s some advice: don’t let internet debates get personal, and don’t carry grudges.  You never really know the person you’re debating, and you tend to fantasize an image of the person that is much different than reality.  In any event, my household is happy and fun – and we don’t take politics seriously, but have some really fun philosophical and spiritual conversations.

          • Hrrrf hmmmm? No dear I’m awake…. Hmmmm…. Mmmm…. yes Scott…. Mmmm….. Mmmmmm… Caterpillar poison? Oh in the garage i suppose…. Mmmmm….. Mmmmm…. Yes dear… Mmmmm…. Quantumly spiritual or spiritually quantum? I don’t really know….. Mmmmm…. Yes dear…. Mmmmm…. Scott, be a lamb and pass the breadknife….

    • In other words, you can’t say what it is I got wrong.  Face it, if you didn’t respond to me, this thread would be a heck of a lot shorter.  I usually post one comment and quit, unless someone responds to me – then I reply.  So if you don’t want me to post, well, ignore me.

      • “So if you don’t want me to post, well, ignore me.”

        Oh if only that were true. Let’s see, closing in on 150 comments so it is time for the “feigned frustration and saddened condescension while trying to reignite an off topic thread before huffing off to lecture old ladies” part of the Erb-cycle. Blather, rinse, repeat.

  • Oh, on Syria:  It is very good that Russia and the US can work together on mutual interests.  Neither state wants other states to have WMD.  Russia does not want Syria to have chemical weapons.  There is no reason to have a cold war mentality on US – Russian relations, Obama’s patience and willingness to work with others rather than try to dictate what happens is yielding significant foreign policy victories.

    • The Syria thread is over *there* you asshat.
       
      Oh wait, did the comments close on that and you can’t get the last off-topic word anymore? Shame.

      • sniff – comments section no like “A Prendergast”.    Seems I need moderation   :)
         
        Anyway….prediction as looker….
        Iran will ‘talk’ with Obama and he’ll tell us how great it’s going and the Iranians will eventually tell the world they told him to get stuffed to make it good and embarrassing.
         
        which will be covered here in the US on page 30 below the fold.

      • I was replying to Looker, we had a side conversation about Syria.  You’re wearing your emotions on your sleeve.

    • Neville Chamberlain cherished the delusion that Hitler was a man with whom he could deal on a rational basis.
      When he deplaned back home in England, the could say from within the cloud of his carefully husbanded delusion, “We have peace in our time”. And he could…somewhere in his soul…believe what he said.
      I do not believe for an instant that Pres. Red Line even has the excuse of self-delusion.
      NOBODY who is not demented can believe the Iranians, Syrians, or Russians are remotely to be trusted. And, while I believe many bad things about Obama, I do not believe him to be demented.
      He does not have that excuse.

      • Actually Chamberlain doubted Hitler would keep the agreements, but hoped either he would, or it would buy time.  At that point he had the British military preparing for war, saying they would need until 1943 to be ready.  Chamberlain’s Conservative party generally were more afraid of the USSR than Nazi Germany, and saw the Nazis as potentially an anti-Bolshevik bulwark.  Appeasement was a policy to appease legitimate German interests after they were mistreated at Versailles, hoping Hitler was honest when he said he was like Bismarck and just wanted Germany to be treated fairly.  Churchhill wasn’t fooled, but he did not have his party’s support.   In March 1939 everyone in Britain knew war would come after Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia.

        • Like I said…

          (page 350) from Manchester’s “Alone,” the second of his three-volume biography of Churchill.
          “At Munich the prime minister was clearly delighted to see Hitler again, eager to stand at his side. Here he made a cardinal error. Afterward he happily wrote his sister that the Astor’s son William, recently returned from a trip to Berlin, had the impression that “Hitler definitely liked me & thought he could do business with me.” This was true in the sense that an armed robber thinks he can do business with a bank teller. In fact, Hitler had taken a strong personal dislike to Chamberlain, who impressed him as an “insignificant” man. The fuhrer dealt with him because he believed him to be infinitely malleable.”

          You just have to dip your spoon in the soup, huh, herr doktor…???

          • And that quote does not deny anything I said.  Chamberlain like most conservatives wanted to avoid war and hoped Hitler would be a conservative bulwark against Communism.  But he also was preparing Britain for war, just in case.

          • You just cannot help it, can you?
            Hitler was in no way, shape or form a “conservative”.
            He was aided by Stalin in his early expansionist moves, you dope.

        • ” Appeasement was a policy to appease legitimate German interests after they were mistreated at Versailles”
           
          Which is why children the Germans finished paying up their First World War debt in 2010, because the English were willing to admit in 1939 they’d been mistreated at Versailles in 1918.

          • And what did Chamberlain do in trying to fix these “legitimate” German interests?
             
            0. Dispossessed legitimate Czech interests.
             
            1. Gave away territory of a sovereign state he had no right to.
             
            2. Let Hitler set the timetable for the war Hitler wanted.
             
            3. Failed to use the might of the British armed forces, or to co-opt the French armed forces, in pre-emptively forcing Hitler’s hand. At that time the Western European powers could easily have crushed the Nazi regime, even if it might have been unpalatable politically for Chamberlain.
             
            4. Allowed the Germans to occupy the Czech fortress positions without bloodshed.
             
            5. Gained access to the superior Czech tank technology and production facilities. The Pz35t and Pz38t would later be crucial in winning the campaigns in Poland and France.
             
            6. The prestige of (4) and (5) being gained without a fight allowed Hitler to dominate the OKW, which previously was not inclined to war and wary of Hitler. Thus enabling Hitler’s war plans to accelerate.
             
            7. Revealed to Hitler and the OKW that they would enjoy the strategic upper-hand for as long as they could exploit Western self-serving political interests.
             
            Basically the attempt to remedy some supposed grievance enabled the horrors that Hitler would unleash, in the naive hope of one man that he could delay war by handing over territory and armaments to a dictator who was clearly bent on war. Rather than calling Hitler’s bluff, Chamberlain cowardly enabled everything that would come after.

  • I agree, Chamberlain and Daladier should not have allowed the Sudetenland people to vote on what country they would be part of (note: that’s what they agreed on – to allow a vote by the people to decide).  But they had all the cards to push the Czechs to that agreement.  The real problem was that the French had built a huge defense fortress that was simply handed to the Germans.  That made it easy in March 1939 to take the rest of the country.   The reason Chamberlain (and a lot of others) thought that was legit was because Wilson’s 14 points had the “Self-determination of peoples” as a core principle.  The Sudetenland was full of Germans who wanted to be in Germany, and many argued that it was in violation of their rights to force them to be in Czechoslovakia.  In class I use this as a stark example of the dilemma between Wilsonian idealism and realism.  Letting people vote as to what country they should be part of seems the right thing, but the real world implications of doing that were to empower Hitler.  That always generates a good discussion!

  • FYI – this conversation has gone so far afield by this point I’m not going to look up this thread anymore.  Your attention was flattering ;-)

    • Exits, flouncing flamboyantly, stage left.

      • Like a flatulent, fatuous, flamingo.
        And…like Obama and Chamberlain…an insignificant man…
         

        • Amusing how Professor “everything and the kitchen sink” is complaining about being far afield after doing his level best to keep it “all about Erb”.