What Is True Equality?

What is true equality?  That’s a question that was posed to me recently, and it’s something that I think we are all struggling with to some degree.  Can we abolish senseless hatred based on economic status, social class, skin color, religion, age, political ideology, sexual orientation, or any other “difference.”  Nope.  I truly believe that this is not possible, not without senselessly hating the haters thus making of those seeking this “utopia” the very thing they seek to abolish.  Heck, just look at the kind, benevolent leftists who hate with such relish, such passion . . . in the name of tolerance and understanding and peace.  If ever there were evidence needed that people are incapable of viewing everyone the same (for this is the “usual” definition of “true equality,” the trouble, of course, is that everyone is not the same.  This poses problems for leftists.  Of course.), the unhinged and truly bizarre reactions of the far left to conservatives, and to the Tea Party in particular, are all we really need.  But we can also look at the broiling contempt of atheists (generally speaking) to anyone who believes in God (particularly, of course, the Christian God, but logically, they must also hate all believers in all religions the world over), at the eco-nuts who belittle, despise, and try to diminish anyone who doesn’t buy into their Global Warming (or whatever it’s called these days) theory, or at any of a number of leftist “pet” causes–they all spew bile . . . in the name of . . . love, warm fuzzies?  Bizarre.

The more they try to stamp out “racism” (and we all know that they care not one iota about actual racism, for they are the purveyors of the most pure racism known to mankind.  No, they care only about using race as a bludgeon to beat people into silent submission, and the more they do that), the more acceptable racism becomes (real racism, not RAAAAACISM, the latter is a punchline to a well-known, exceedingly unfunny joke).  The more the National Organization of Leftist Women (for they care not about women, as women.  Women who are hurdling sexist barrier after sexist barrier . . . unless they are liberal loons.  They even have the audacity to moan about Bristol and Sarah Palin . . . *gasp* not staying at home with their children.  Um, sorry, but isn’t that what feminism was supposed to be about?  Opening doors to women that didn’t lead to the nursery and the kitchen? And the more they) attack women who don’t fit their political ideology, the more they reveal the sexism inherent in their stagnate, static “movement.”  Ditto class.  Ditto religion.  Ditto, ditto, ditto straight down the line of things to hate about others, particularly those who refuse to be “otherered” like strong, conservative women and strong, conservative black men (and women) and now (finally!) Christians.

Only in continuing to achieve a society and a culture that says that we are all Americans, regardless, and that we all should have access to the same opportunities for success will we fulfill the American Dream.  This is where the far left is so so wrong.  They think that they can force people into particular boxes (black people, women, Latinos, Asians, Christians, Muslims, whatever), and that from there, separated from any sense of community outside the “GTLB community” or “Asian community” (for example), they can assert control over everyone.  Everyone is marginalized, hated, shunned, demeaned, and subjugated equally.  Some “equality,” huh?

So what is true equality?  It is, simply, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  What’s so hard about that?  It doesn’t mean thought policing people, stamping out real and perceived racism, “calling out” this offense or that.  It means letting people be who they are, think what they think, feel what they feel, and letting society, not the government, respond accordingly.  Do you want to be around racists?  I know I don’t.  So I’m not.  My choice.  Do I want their racist little pea brains lobotomized?  Censored?  Nope.  Let them hate all they want, who really cares?  Such people cannot be “eliminated,” they can only be ostracized by good-hearted people who know better.  Accepting that we cannot control people’s thoughts is what we now need to do to move forward, accepting that all people will not be rich or beautiful or healthy or whatever is something that is long overdue.

Keep the Harrison Bergeron weights and masks and implants that hold people back, diminish who they are, make them less than their own potential.  There is really nothing more evil than that, than smiting those who are successful (by whatever definition) so that others don’t feel left behind or so that the “achievement gap” is minimized.  You don’t help people by holding back others so that they are stunted, dispirited, penalized . . . in the name of a level playing field.  This is wrong-headed in every way.  We cannot continue to pretend that hatred and irrational fears can be stamped out.  They cannot be.  They certainly cannot be by people who are themselves driven by hatred and irrational fears. 

We cannot take one privileged group and replace it with another, anoint one group (called for by “social justice”) or body (the state).  Replacing one “superior” group with another doesn’t change the equation at all, it simply replaces “X” with “Y” (heh, or “Y” with “X”).  This is not a worthy goal, it is nothing more than a power grab, a seedy, cynical, sickening attempt to turn the tables, not level the playing field.  We cannot give anyone any more than they already have, for all men are created equal and are already endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, rights that are not subject to the tyrannical control of government or to the frothing-at-the-mouth control of deluded leftists who seem to think that bias, prejudice, and loathing are fine, even to be celebrated . . . as long as the right groups are targeted (and they can pretend it’s all in the name of “equality”).  True equality is not a handout, and certainly not oppressing one group to elevate another because it’s “their turn”.  That’s just pure evil.  True equality is opening doors, not slamming them shut (to those who’ve already had their turn).  No, true equality is equal opportunity for all, a chance not a guarantee. It’s raising standards again, lifting the bar not lowering it, it’s striving to achieve all we can, and it’s understanding and accepting that not everyone can, will, or even wants to achieve the same goal.  True equality is in accepting difference, accepting that we are not the same, not “equally” gifted, intelligent, beautiful, ambitious, or anything else really.  What’s so wrong with that? 

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56 thoughts on “What Is True Equality?

  1. there is as much “equality” as there is “fairness”. The world is neither equal nor fair. There should be equality and fairness of opportunity in this country, but after that? there is only what you earn.

  2. You seem to be talking about the difference between the “equality of opportunity” and the “equality of result.” The problem is that while “equality of opportunity” is more realistically attainable (depending on the definition), the earthly impossible idea of “equality of result” has a strong and inherent appeal (heaven on earth, right?) that is easy to politically exploit– which the American Left has been doing for the past forty-five years or so.

    To a large degree, the attacks against the “others” on the Right is to deflect the obvious failures and absolute collapses away from those who have implemented the Left's political theories.

    Look at the aftermath of Eastern Europe, specifically the people's attitiudes and beliefs there. Underlying everything else there are two factors that color everything– a sense of betrayal, and hopelessness. I mean they followed the program, did everything they were told to do, were praised for it, made great sacrifices, and still ended up broken and lost. This is what happened in China post-Cultural Revolution and pre-Tiananmen Square, and, to a lesser severity (but no less tragic), what has been happening and continues in Detroit. (Research Detroit's political and economic history since WWII [and a bit before]. You have to shovel an awful lot to get through the BS, but the reality of what happened is quite an insight into the American Left.)

    In order to keep the people that the Left have exploited and betrayed on your side, it's necessary to demonize the opposition. The Left has to say “sure things are bad now, but they would have been WORSE under the Right” (predictably, this is the exact tactic Obama has adopted now with $3 trillion worth of failure– it's the Republicans fault and, as bad as things are now, things would have been WORSE under the Republicans's “past failed policies”).

    This is why I get a little amused at the calls for civility in current political discussions– setting aside the fact that Marxism is based around calls for violent revolution, the hard Left cannot survive on civility and their failures. They need to demonize in order to survive and remain viable. This isn't simply scape-goating– it's absolutely dehumanizing the opposition (just today Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon declared that Republican Governor candidate Bill Bradley wanted to imprison homosexuals and then shoot them in the head, as well as repeal women's suffrage http://biggovernment.com/jbambenek/2010/10/24/desperation-sets-in-democrat-says-republican-gov-candidate-wants-to-shoot-gays-end-womens-suffrage/). There are other major factors of course, but this is a significant motivation for the Left's attacks.

  3. @Deekaman, my thoughts exactly 🙂

    @Tammy, thanks 😀

    @Yukio, yes, that is because “equality” implies that all people are the same, they are not. There is no way to make them “equal” in the sense of sameness. So I reject that. Completely. If only the American left (far left) were capable of self-assessment or of any assessment of stark reality, of the effects of their ridiculous premises and theories as they play out in real terms), but they are not. Thus, no insight for them at all. Just more denial, more frantic rantings, and more oppressive control. The demonization schtick is getting just as old as the PC crap, though, so I'm not sure it's working or will continue to work as well as they hope and expect it to. Your example reminds me of that lunatic Grayson in FL and his “submit” ad; it's just dirty dealing and lying, and the American people are not only on to them but sickened by them. They keep on, though, because it's all they know. Frankly, I hope they don't wise up; it's much easier to deal with them when they're lunacy is out in the open like this.

  4. As Ann Coulter said in her latest book that I didn't read, liberalism is built entirely on the concept of victims.

    No inequality, no victims. Therefore there will always be inequality and victims.

    Did you notive recently, congress redefined poverty level to be a percentage of income deemed to qualify one as middle class. Therefore, if middle class is 250k a year in 2010 dollars, there poverty level will be some income level otherwise considered to be a damn good wage. Always poverty. Always Racism. And it's even in the HC bill. It is mandated that percentages of minorities be represented in health care fields. Translation: Dumbasses forced into positions where they will fail the public or the patient. If they were qualified and wanted to be there, they'd already be there.

    It's coming. Unless we can somehow vote all the rinos and commies out over the next 6 to 10 years in sufficient numbers as to make the rest of them impotent.

  5. I believe in equality of opportunity – what people go on to do with the opportunities they've been given is down to them.

    We can't make people more intelligent but we can give them a good education so that they can make the most of the abilities they do have; we can't make everyone the same colour but we can educate our kids not to discriminate and legislate against the worst kinds of racial hatred; we can't all enjoy perfect health, even if we look after ourselves, but we can ensure everyone has access to modern healthcare; we can't all live in pleasant towns and villages free from crime but we can give the young people stuck in the inner city ways of avoiding getting caught up in gang culture and so making a future for themselves and their kids.

    We are not all equal, not all the same (thank goodness) but society does have a part to play in giving everyone a fair crack. Without that we might as well be living in the early Victorian era!

  6. @Kid, exactly, quotas are useless, pointless, and in many industries, like healthcare, downright dangerous. And I include gender quotas in there, too, it's ridiculous that someone who is less-qualified, less-adept, less able, less capable will be put in a position simply because they have a vagina. Or are black. Or Latino. Or anything. America needs the best and brightest, not the most diverse workforce. But that's the real goal, and frankly, that's why we are in decline. Well, one of the reasons.

    And heh, the spelling errors gives them something to go on, that's for sure. If they are even able to spot them. 😉

  7. @CambridgeLady, the Victorian era when sexual, gendered, religious repression were king (or queen, I guess)? Yeah, that was so different than now, when all that's changed is the people and ideas being repressed. Didn't work out then. Won't work out now. But some people never learn.

    I do believe that you are of the best intentions; heck, I was once like you. I believed that everyone, if only given access to a quality education would succeed. That money made a difference. But you know what reality tells me? That's just so much happy horseshit (pardon my language). I work in higher education, and I can tell you right now that there are people in our universities who would never have been admitted even 20 years ago. They are not bright, they are not industrious and hardworking (as we expect those who are less capable intellectually to be when presented a chance), and they will never be anything but subliterate. Is this their fault? Nope.

    I don't know what's happened in the UK, but here in America, giving everyone access to a quality education meant lowering the bar, it meant that standards should be set that everyone could attain. Guess how incredibly low those standards have to be. Twenty years ago, we complained because people were graduating high school unable to read and write (literally), and now, people graduate college (yep, you got it) unable to read and write. A college degree is all but useless today, and degrees from any but the top tier universities won't open a door for opportunity at Burger King, let alone in the corporate world.

    It's failed. It's failed miserably. And now we have a president, himself all but useless intellectually, who is bemoaning America's lowest ever competitive scores and standards. Math and science aren't our problems. We used to know those. Exceedingly well. But instead of maintaining high educational standards and opening doors to those who were capable of that work, driven to succeed in an academic arena, and then helping them gain the skills, pay the tuition, etc., we just said, if you can pay (with tax payer support, of course), you get a useless degree that doesn't mean a damn thing. Even people who are intelligent, who would have learned so very much, who could have so many doors opened to them are finding that they have paid for a crap education and a useless piece of paper. They have had their opportunity stolen from them. They have been lied to and held back and mistreated. Yay us? What a total wrong-headed and incredibly damaging mindset.

    Yet even in the face of this truth, leftist loons want to double down. Make everything worse for everyone so that a few at the bottom aren't . . . what? Left behind? Guess what? Our whole nation is being left behind in every regard. We are poorer, less intelligent, less educated, and less competitive on the world stage. I call that a dismal failure. I call that a damn shame. I call that pure evil.

  8. Fuzzy, True Equality means mediocrity at best.

    @Cambridge_Lady. You wrote “we can't all live in pleasant towns and villages free from crime but we can give the young people stuck in the inner city ways of avoiding getting caught up in gang culture and so making a future for themselves and their kids. “

    Really? How?
    There is No evidence of that in the USA. Absolutely None. Here we pay single mothers to pop kids out like pieces of toast into gang ridden, crime ridden, drug infested hellholes, and reduce the amount of money they get should they be stupid enough to get married.

    We pay for child abuse.

    I read today, that “ALL” of the public housing in the USA is pretty much condemnable. It is because we Give Free Housing to people who neither appreciate it and are either too lazy, or ignorant or both to take care if it.

    Section 8 is a cancer upon civilized society. The liberals want world wide Section 8 and I'm not just talking about housing.

    Reparations?? They've Already got them. But I'm not just talking about black people, trash exists in all races and forms.
    You can't raise the lower class by giving them everything. Rewarding bad behavior only gets you more of it. Forcing them to have some responsibility and work ethic would be the only chance, but that's not going to happen as long as liberals need 'victims' to vote for them.

    As Fuzzy says, and they know this as well as I do, therefore they are pure evil. Still maintaining their slaves.

    The United States was and still is for a little while anyway, the best country because its culture rewarded hard work, enterprise, and intelligence.

    Decades ago, we slid into rewarding the opposite and punishing hard work and enterprise. It all started with FDR, was interrupted by WWII, and the take no crap people that WWII spawned held it off for another 20 years, but was re-ignited in a big way by LBJ and his 'great society' which rewards laziness, ignorance, lack or family and virtue, and all around lead weight on society lifestyles.

    The only thing that will save the lower class is a kick in the behind and a wake-up call that they need to awaken from their stupor and find a way to contribute and thereby accomplishing something for themselves and country. hard work and accomplishment brings the only true happiness.

    Look around. At least in the USA, the people who are the most unhappy are the ones who have everything handed to them, but are now so ignorant, that they believe the answer is to have more things handed to them.

    The Democrats are more than happy to keep that illusion alive.

  9. I find the contrast (of lack of these days!) in education standards in the UK and USA fascinating. When I graduated from Uni in the late 80s it was understood that, as a graduate you were in the top 10% of the population – not so many went to Uni. It was also understood, and American exchange students observed this, that a British undergrad degree was equal to an American masters degree – at that time your standards already fell short. Since then, successive governments (conservative and labour) have fallen for the myth that we must compete with international league tables, that the proportion of people graduating is more important than the standards they achieve (we now have about half our kids with degrees, flipping burgers and working in call centres). Education is still better here than in the USA IMO – that's one of the reasons we returned to the UK – but the gap is closing and this move to mediocrity has no political complexion – the ConDems are no more committed to excellence than Labour.

    Vis a vis the inner cities. I get the impression the US has given up – a lot of people would be happy to fence them off, or fence themselves in, and try and pretend they don't exist. Here? Again we are not so far down that road but certainly the decay here – from my observations and those of many others – started under Thatcher who is hardly a leftie. I don't think we've given up on the poor – there are many local initiatives to improve inner city living and get people out of bad areas (admittedly central government hasn't done a great deal to improve social mobility) but many fear the ConDems are cutting in all the wrong places and many of the gains made under a left-leaning government will evaporate. I hope not.

    The UK and USA are very different but I do think, internationally at least, it is not the case that LEFT = mediocrity, RIGHT = prosperity. You only have to look at Scandinavia to realise that social democracy can work.

  10. @CL, the left does equal mediocrity; worse, it makes mediocrity a “goal” to achieve. It's an utter disgrace. You mention being committed to excellence, well, explain to me how you do that and still provide that excellent quality of education to simply everyone. Drooling morons, people who don't want to do anything but work on the land or who (and I hear this constantly) “hate reading”? That's the crux of the leftist's problem, they refuse to admit that some people either cannot achieve academic success because they simply don't have the brain power to do so or they do not have the interest to do so. Leftists refuse to admit that most people simply don't want a rigorous university curriculum, they want to get the piece of paper they paid for. Period. Some people are stupid, CL, some people are happy working in fields or with their hands, some people are truly gifted at working with machinery or in trades or making garments. That's where their passion lies. Yet we have a president and an entire leftist loon machine who is insisting that everyone, everyone, get a crap education, whether they want it or not, and that the public pay for it, whether they want to or not. A president who is insisting that a “green” economy will solve all our problems. Well, that's just utter nonsense. As is most of what he and his leftist loon ilk have to say.

    Actually, our government does a lot of demolition in inner cities. Spends billions to create utopia, and when it falls apart, they just demolish it and build another dung heap for another few billion. Herd people into them and then pat themselves on the back for a job well done. And then in ten years, they're in there demolishing that crap hole.

    America hasn't given up, if anything, we are now finally ready to stand up and stop all the utter rot and wrong-headed lunacy that is driving this country into third world status. You can wish all the leftist lunacy you want on your own country, that's awesome. Good, do whatever you people want to do (though I have to say, it does seem that the UK, like much of Europe, is finally getting a clue that there's no magic fairy pooping out pounds and euros to pay for all the wonderfulness that leftists think they deserve for doing absolutely nothing but standing around with their hand out).

    As to “social democracy” that's not the end, it's the means to an end. The end being a socialist state (that would be sans the “democracy” part). “Social democracy” is inherently flawed because you cannot have a democracy of any kind if the state has control of the economy, education, religion, and every other aspect of human existence. And that's the ultimate goal of “social democracy.” It's progressive creep, it's social revolution without the revolution, it's slowly sinking into totalitarian control, it's that frog that won't jump out of the pot of water as you slowly turn up the heat and boil it to death. Hardly anything I would look to as an ideal or goal . . . it's pure evil. If socialism and communism are such great ways to live, why not just come out and say that's what you want and let the people decide? Oh, right, I forgot, the people don't want it. That's why you (not you, personally, of course) have to lie and hoodwink them and sneak it in slowly, over decades, even centuries. Oppression is a hard sell, so call it something that sounds innocuous, like “social democracy” or “progressivism” or “compassionate conservativism.” Hmph. You can keep it.

  11. Now don't you sit on the fence Fuzzy, say what you think …. ;o)

    Okay, I appreciate we will always have a different perspective on things. I so wish you would come over to the UK sometime and see we are not a hotbed of socialism and deprivation ……

    One example of how leftie thinking can work, one that is very close to my heart right now – The Open University. Set up under Harold Wilson I believe. Intended to give everyone the chance to earn a degree or HE qualification. A lot of the people on my courses come from poorer backgrounds – working full time for low wages, or single Mums at home with toddlers. They get government help with paying for their courses and they work at the rate they want to, to fit in with life. These people live in crappy social housing and tight financial circumstances right now but they have ambitions and their qualifications will help them realise those ambitions …… it does level the playing field. I know people who weren't academic in their teens but who have a greater capacity for learning in adulthood. Yes, some people will always suit manual labour, both skilled and unskilled, and I think there is little point in forcing them through higher education – bring back the apprenticeship! Some do not “fit” into higher Ed at age 18 – the Open University works well for them. And the standards at the OU have, if anything, risen not fallen – leftwards thinking equals mediocrity? Not necessarily.

    I truly believe the reason we have “dumbed down” education in the UK is to compete on international league tables that dictate what proportion of our 21 year olds should be graduates. End of. No link to political ideology.

    I think we have the same ideals re. education Fuzzy. I also used to work in a Uni (as a research assistant/tutor in my case) and witnessed a lot of the changes that have led to where we are now. We are blaming different things for the fall in standards but at least are united in our rejection of mediocrity.

    I am intrigued as to what will happen in November. If the right win I look forward to all the changes that will occur. If these changes have positive results I will certainly take this on board and reconsider where I think the UK should be heading. I am always open to new ideas and to have my own ideology challenged.

  12. @CL, heh, yeah, no waffling here, I'm afraid. 😉 I believe that you truly believe what you believe, and I think that's true of a lot of citizen lefties, socialists, and communists. The trouble is that the facts, history, and reality simply don't support the premise. The only people that a totalitarian/socialist/communist state benefits are those in the political class. Look at every single country that it's ever been tried in; heck, look at the countries that are still trying it. Third world cesspools with millionaire tyrants at the helm. Lovely. Let's have some of that. Um, no, thank you. After tens of millions of people were starved to death, shot, tortured and left to rot in China in the name of the communist ideal, what are they doing? Looks a lot like a budding capitalism, and guess what, they have a growing middle class after decades of poverty. You don't have to wait for us to get our act together, just look around the globe, read about what happened in Germany, Russia, Iran, China, Venezuala, Cuba. . . it's an open secret that leftists with power end up slaughtering millions. Even here in the U. S., our illustrious Lunatic in Chief's bestest commie friend Bill Ayers belonged to a fun little commie group that sought to overthrow the capitalist pig government and instill communist peace on earth. Part of their “plan” for this wonderful gift? The murder of up to 10% of the population, those who couldn't be “rehabilitated” into the statist way of thinking, those who clung bitterly to their freedom, their belief in American ideals–including capitalism and the free market. Sorry, but any ideology that requires mass genocide to succeed is evil to its core. At its inception. Do I think you, personally, would go that far? No. But then, no German would have thought themselves capable of looking the other way as long as the gypsies, gays, and Jews were all that Hitler wanted purged from his perfect society. So who knows what people are capable of. I'm off on a tangent, but this isn't make believe, it's fact, and it's always the result of leftist's insane belief that they are somehow God, that they can determine who should get what and who has too much or who is too blessed. Geez, just think about it. What person is really in any place to judge another, to decide who lives and dies, to take and grant rights at whim? Why on earth would you put your faith in anyone like that? Particularly when the ruling class is driven by greed, is power-hungry, and seeking complete control of everything and everyone (all the while, of course, exempting themselves and their collaborators)? If all that crap is so wonderful, why are the pols sending their kids to private schools? Why are they all exempt from the same laws that we must abide by? And when they aren't exempted, they simply choose not to, oh, I don't know, pay their taxes? These are the people you want dictating every aspect of your life? Seriously?

    Anyway, I rant, it's what I do. :p It's not you, as I say, I do believe your heart is in the right place. I just wish your brain would catch on. But if it doesn't, that's okay, too, as you say, it's okay to have our ideas challenged and to hear (or read) what others have to say.

  13. Well you know I cannot disagree with what you say in the first paragraph of your last comment. I believe it is possible to have social democracy or social justice or whatever you want to call it without descending into a totalitarian hell. I don't fear government because I live in a democracy and can be part of it. I don't see the state as the answer to everything – the free market works wonderfully when it is truly free and actually competitive – but there are areas where there is power in numbers, where a united approach can yield results – like having good universal healthcare at half the cost.

    I give you an example of a leftie success story – the Open University – and you have no response?

    What about the BBC? – held up as an example of leftie thinking in the USA. The output, in terms of quality, beats anything the USA produces hands down IMO and in the opinions of people worldwide.

    And on mainland Europe …. I often travel in Europe and benefit from incredible (inexpensive) public transport and well-maintained infrastructure. In those areas where trains and buses are being sold off to private companies (in the UK this happened sadly) people complain of higher prices and poorer service.

    Now I'm off at a tangent!! I just don't see things in terms of black and white, good vs evil. I was a resolute leftie (a socialist – ahhhhhhh) in my youth, but my brain did “catch on” and I moved rightwards. Now I see what Thatcherism did to this country and my brain has finally caught on big time to the fact that a mix of the free market and the state is probably the best solution. Swinging from left to right has done this country no favours. I suspect it has not and will not do the USA any favours as well but I am interested to see how things turn out and I genuinely wish you well.

  14. @CL, you make me laugh. “Free markets work wonderfully when it is truly free and actually competitive” . . . you know when the government restricts every move and controls “competition” or better yet, steps up to BE the competition when they have, they think, an endless supply of money and no need to make a profit in that “free market”? Good grief.

    I have no knowledge of or understanding of your open university system, that's why I didn't comment. I'm certainly not taking your word that it's a raging success, but as I have no knowledge, I've nothing to say. My guess is that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is shuffled off to Open U and given some degree that the rest of the UK looks down on, probably as substandard. But that's just a guess, and it's based on what's happened here. Unfortunately, you aren't really the most reliable source of information and provided only a glowing report of this entitlement program, so given the source and my knowledge of your understanding of things (it's sweet, but to my mind, wrong-headed). Sorry, but you asked.

    LMAO, are you honestly suggesting that I'm advocating that taxpayer money doesn't go to public transit and highways, etc.? Really? Where have I ever said that? Let's not get crazy here, right? I'm not an anarchist, I'm not a libertarian, I do believe that government has its place, but that it should be limited, very very limited, and that most things can and should be done on a local or state level.

    We're swinging back to the right, CL, and it will do this country a world of good. WE are a center-right nation, always have been. What's changed is that the political class has forgotten that (yet again), and we'll have to remind them (yet again). We survived Carter's nightmare presidency, and we'll survive this one, too. Who knows, we may get another Reagan to step forward and put us back on the path to sanity and success. Sure, he won't have a wonderful, strong, and wise British PM to deal with, but Cameron's not Brown or that lunatic Clegg. So that's something.

    Btw, you're still a socialist. 😉 You just don't fully understand what that means. And I hope to God you never find out the hard way. I mean that.

  15. @CL, and as to the BBC, you're right, it's a leftist media organization that produces superior television . . . with a leftist slant. Geez, back in the '70's it was The Good Life (back when the earth was in danger of another Ice Age at any moment if we kept using AquaNet hairspray), and recently, it's the totally brilliant and amazingly fantastic Life on Mars. Much as I love that show, and I very much do, it's nothing but one long advert for liberalism. From the caricature depictions of the 1970's (omg, could Ray Carling be more of a stock stereotype?) to the off-hand remarks about Thatcher ruined Great Britain, it's riddled with a leftist worldview. That doesn't make it bad television, it's certainly not, but it's leftist propaganda all the same. I'm not sure what your point is, though, I'm not suggesting that leftists can't produce good art (indeed, an argument can be made that leftists, historically, have produced some of the world's best art, literature, etc. It takes an extraordinary talent for make believe, a gift for disconnecting from reality, and a fertile imagination to embrace leftist ideals, after all.). They just can't “run” the world or make society conform to their tidy little idea of what it should be. Big difference.

  16. @ Fuzzy

    Sorry, jumping into your discussion with CL a little late here.

    Fuzzy, you wrote: “As to 'social democracy' that's not the end, it's the means to an end. The end being a socialist state (that would be sans the 'democracy' part). 'Social democracy' is inherently flawed because you cannot have a democracy of any kind if the state has control of the economy, education, religion, and every other aspect of human existence.”

    Actually democracies can and historically have had a great deal of control over economies, religion, education, and other aspects of human existence. Democracies are always limited in some way (who can vote, who is a citizen, etc.) and do not in anyway guarantee life, liberty, civil rights, or equality of opportunity. Remember it was Athens that put Socrates to death (along with a whole host of undeserving Athenians and others during the Peloponnesian War). Democracies and republics CAN provide liberty etc., but these systems do not HAVE to.

    As far as CL's claims that social democracies work– look at the immigration rates, the import/export rates, and the amount of military spending within these social-democratic countries. The countries are not self-sustaining, i.e. they do NOT work. Without a foreign, consumer driven market to export their goods to, and/or a foreign benefactor to shoulder military problems and/or give foreign aid, these countries will collapse from the basic failures of Marxist economic theory. They do not produce enough wealth. Very simple and easy to demonstrate.

    Fuzzy do remember that the Left and Right are not the same in the UK and the US. The Brit Left is similar to the hard Left in this country as they are both based around Marxist economic theory. The Conservatives of the UK are quite different than the Republicans (strongly influenced by classical liberalism and the fusionism that happened in the 1960s/70s) and Right in this country. They are quite different especially in the realm of individual rights, and resposibilities, class structure, etc.

    Remember too that the UK does not have a separation between the legislative and executive branches, nor do they have a constitution, nor exactly our idea of federalism.

  17. @Yukio, you are thinking of democracies, generally. A “social democracy” is *designed* to baby step into socialism, to take what the people want, what we see CL say she has, a voice and a vote, and to use that to slowly transform the given nation into a socialist one. That's the very premise of “social democracy” as it's built on the ashes of failed socialist parties who decided incremental, sneakiness was the path to success. It's got nothing at all to do with democracy or even with being a democracy. We, as you know, are not a democracy but a republic. Totally different. And yes, different from ancient Greek republics, too, also different from the republican guard in Iraq. Even though it uses the same word. Weird.

    And gee, the UK doesn't have three branches of government, separation of powers, and our constitution? Do they at least have founding fathers and a cracked bell to call their very own? Did you really type that? They do, by the way, have a constitution, and they speak of it quite often in these weird things called political debates. Not sure what those are, but from what I could tell, the British constitution is not a formal document such as our own but is a set of laws and edicts that frame their oddly-named constitutional monarchy and that actually places the majority of the power in the parliament, which in its turn runs on these weird things called parliamentary constitutional conventions. I'm pretty sure their constitutional conventions are not actual meetings to discuss the writing of the constitution as ours was, though. Do you think it might mean something like “set of standards” or perhaps “rules or norms” for governing? It's so mind-boggling. 😉

  18. @ Fuzzy

    You wrote: “A 'social democracy' is *designed* to baby step into socialism, to take what the people want, what we see CL say she has, a voice and a vote, and to use that to slowly transform the given nation into a socialist one. That's the very premise of 'social democracy' as it's built on the ashes of failed socialist parties who decided incremental, sneakiness was the path to success.”

    Perhaps, or a social democracy could be an attempt to combine Marx with European democratic ideals. People have been looking to combine Marx with most anything. Remember Rebecca Harding Davis' “Life in the Iron Mills” where she tried to combine Christianity with Marxism? LOL.

    Assigning a motive to a political system leads to judgement based on the motive. You claim that social democracies are *designed* to be a system that baby steps toward eventual an eventual Socialist dictatorship ruled by an oligarchy of Left elites (Is this not correct?). You then say that socialism is evil, therefore social democracies are evil. If you are speaking to someone who does not agree that socialism is evil, then your argument shifts to proving socialism is evil. The argument is no longer politcal, but moral with democracy equalling good and socialism bad. This is inaccurate. And you know how I'm such a socialist BTW… 🙂

    The problems for me with social democracies is that they do not work. They cannot be self-sustaining and, left on their own, inevitably collapse in short order.

    For me, the US system of govt. is not good simply because of of flowery language regarding liberty and freedom– a moral base of which you approve. Almost all brutal dictatorships and Marx-based systems make similar promises at their foundings. What is of first and foremost importance, and what allows these liberties, is that the system works and works quite well. It flourishes.

    Don't get me wrong. The fact that these individual liberties are protected by a system of checks and balances, the Constitution, etc. and thus are more then pretty window-dressing is very significant.

  19. @ Fuzzy

    You wrote: “They do, by the way, have a constitution, and they speak of it quite often in these weird things called political debates. Not sure what those are, but from what I could tell, the British constitution is not a formal document such as our own but is a set of laws and edicts that frame their oddly-named constitutional monarchy and that actually places the majority of the power in the parliament, which in its turn runs on these weird things called parliamentary constitutional conventions.”

    You say that the UK does have a constituion, but then say that they don't– that it's just not a formal document. Well okay, then the UK does not have a constitution. A constitution, in my American usage, is synonymous with written constitution, a specific legal document creating a formal legal/governmental system after which all further laws and government practices must conform to– not merely a set of principles around which a country is organized. A labyrinth of centuries worth of common law and generally agreed upon principle does not make a constitution according to my usage. If you can't point directly at it, in its entirety, then it's not a constitution.

    This also brings up the very interesting issue of sovreignty which I won't get into right now.

    It is not uncommon for British scholars and politicians to scoff at formal constitutions since it's just a piece of paper.

    British MEP Daniel Hannan writes: “The United Kingdom, we were taught at school, didn’t need a written constitution; it had a sovereign Parliament instead. People in hot countries might put their faith in ink and paper, ran the theory, but we were responsible for preserving our own birthright. It was up to all of us to vote for a legislature committed to the defence of our liberties. To contract out that responsibility to a supreme court – so agreed Bagehot, Dicey and Erskine-May – would be a dereliction of our responsibilities as a free people.”

    […]

    “All my life, I have opposed a written constitution for Britain. Paper rights, I have argued, are worth little without the mechanisms of representative government. Read the constitutions of East Germany or the Soviet Union, I scoffed, and you would find all sorts of promises about free speech, free assembly and the rest. But, as the peoples of those unhappy polities discovered, written guarantees were no substitute for a free parliament.”

    This is from a blog post titled “Perhaps Britain needs a written constitution after all”.

    Huge political, legal, and procedural differences result from the difference between the UK's general set of principles and a written document– many of which are not understood very well (for political reasons within academia, I believe) and are still debated. This also results in very different presumptions about basic “truths” in political theory. That was the point of my comment back there– which I did type BTW.

  20. @CL – Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:32:00 AM EDT

    Hear Hear!.

    A college education in the USA is now considered less than what a high school education was when I was growing up. I graduated in 1970.

    I have just a few comments in response:

    The US has not given up. The Conservatives in the USA want to see Everyone succeed. We simply understand that to succeed, a person has to get in the game. Paying them to keep the productive of us awake all night as they party and breed is not getting them in the game. it is making slaves of them and this is the part we hate. Not them. We know what made them and who is keeping them down. I won't belabor it..

    I wouldn't say the left = mediocrity and the right = prosperity. I would say the left (In the USA) = Failure and the Right doesn't exist currently. The Tea Party is trying to resurrect constitutional government. We'll see how they do. I would say Capitalism = prosperity – for those willing to take the risk and put the effort in. For the others, those who put in the effort and take the risks are the ones that Hire them and give them the opportunity to get ahead.

    Well, CL, I'll have to take a look at Scandanavia. But socialism does not work. Are people living form birth into their 80's in France? Sure. Are they really alive though? Do they have an opportunity to reach for the sky? No. They are simply alive and when the government puts its Jack Boot on their neck, they shut down the roadways or turn off the gasoline and Baaaa and Moooooo for a while, then eventually, life gets back to its mundane existence for them until the next shock comes along.

    Realize that countries like France are not capable of defending themselves and haven't been for almost 100 years now. The USA is, as Reagan said, Mankind's last best hope for freedom. Regardless what you think, there are wolves out there who will rush in when the defenses are removed. I would define that as the USA sinking into a France-like existence.
    And the USA is in the position to rush in and save freedom for any number of countries because of the rewards of capitalism. Companies like the Skunk-works who built the SR71 Blackbird spy plane in the 1970's and nuclear submarines that keep the wolves at bay by keeping the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction a viable reality.

    Russia has nuclear subs as well, but they're not as good as ours, and my point there is these tools exist either from goodness (USA does try to bring freedom to the world when it has the chance) or pure evil (Russia would like nothing more than to enslave the world)

    Well, as usual, I wrote more than I intended…

  21. @Yukio, of course political systems are based on morality. What makes you think this is inaccurate or flawed thinking? Isn't the cry of the left the immorality of allowing people to fail, to be poor, to not have everything handed to them? The immorality of some being rich, while others are stuck in grinding poverty? Isn't Marx himself (before his late realization that his own system was inherently flawed, anyway) driven by morality?

    Justice, and any discussion of justice, is always dictated by morals. Trying to remove morality from politics or from society is futile and strikes me as rather naive. We cannot pretend that this is an intellectual exercise separate from morality or judgment based on that morality. Just as stating that political systems are without motive seems to me to be a bit off the mark. The systems themselves may not have motives, just as any system can be seen to be without inherent motive. But political systems are designed, carried out, and shored up by people. Right? They aren't some sort of separate entity that has nothing to do with people, removed from human existence.

    Governments, political movements, political ideology . . . all of it is created by and composed of people. And of course they, like the people who design and adhere to them, are inherently judgmental: what's “right,” what's “wrong,” what's “fair,” what's “just,” who succeeds, who fails, who gets this perc or that punishment . . . all decided by people based on their sense (or lack) of morality. They may not call it that, but that's what it all is, and you don't even have to dig very far to get there.

    Social democracies, such as they are, were “founded” by socialists who turned their back on violent revolution for whatever or a combination of reasons. It's the same thing that killed the earlier communist movements in the U. S., that age-old infighting about how to get “there.” Ours emerged as “progressivism,” a term borrowed from earlier in our history and “renewed” by pacifist commies and socialists (our newest Supreme wrote a lovely thesis all about this, btw, she opted for the baby step approach, too). That is why I say social democracies are a means to an end, not the end itself. This is one reason our own founding documents are so important, they lay out something that is not a series of steps to a goal, but the actual end itself. It's up to us to preserve and protect that, but it's not unusual, historically speaking, for various groups to try to change, incrementally or through violence, a government. The checks and balances of ours, all that flowery language you dismiss, is supposed to give us a fighting chance to preserve our country and its moral stance (yep, written right there for all to see), a direct reaction and response, of course, to tyranny–a moral judgment, if you will, on dear old tyrannical King George and his brutal (dare I say “immoral,” it was certainly deemed so by our own country's founders) treatment of the people.

    Besides, we all know that it never stops, once people get control, be they on the right or on the left, they are not in a hurry to give it up; instead, they expand that power, exercising their moral authority over all.

    And that's why it's best to limit government by any means necessary. Only with limited, diluted, decentralized power can any society flourish. This isn't a moral judgment, it's simply the way it's always been. Once any group takes control and exercises absolute power, the society, indeed entire civilizations, withers and dies. You may not like the language of our constitution (I find it beautiful), but it's the only thing keeping us free. For now.

  22. @CL, You said in response to Fuzzy -“I am intrigued as to what will happen in November. If the right win I look forward to all the changes that will occur.”

    Nothing will happen, at least until 2012. The best the republicans or tea partiers can do in the meantime is starve the socialist machine of fuel. It cannot reverse or change course until obama and his Veto pen are out of the way.

    Aside from that, I'm on record as saying we are on this course and will end up at its evil destination. This is based on the idea that even Ronald Reagan didn't reverse one thing that the communist democrats LBJ and Carter put in place prior to his Oval Office appearance.
    This makes me doubtful than the course even Can be changed.

    Just to define Nov 2 for you.

  23. @Yukio, for one so invested in reminding me that the UK is different than America (d'oh), don't you find it odd that you then turn around and apply your “American usage” to the discussion of their constitution?

    I've repeatedly said in my many many long discussions with CL, and she to me for that matter, that we have different sensibilities and different national identities. These, in their turn, dictate our views on things like socialism and communism. She and I butt heads often about these things, but we both understand and have shared with each other our understanding of these and other basic differences. That doesn't stop our liking each other and still trying to drum through the other's thick skull that our way is superior. It's what we do.

    I still maintain that socialism (particularly as Lenin understood it as a path to communism) fails, always, usually with much violence and many many deaths. This isn't unique to any one country, society, or culture. It's happened in such diverse countries, societies, and cultures as China and Russia, as Iran and Venezuela. It's crumbling now, happily without state-sponsored mass murder, in Europe. They may think they have something unique, something different, but when any Marx-based or like socialist theory is forced on a people, the same thing inevitably happens.

    Political theory is one thing. That's what you do, I think, tend to think about it as an intellectual exercise, and that's fine. It's even fun, but when I talk about it, I am usually, though not always, talking about application of that theory (always so very different, isn't it?) and the disastrous results. As you know, Marx himself realized late in life that the pretty pretty ideas didn't pan out so well in the real world, where those pesky people are intent on thinking for themselves and of being driven to shape their own lives and destinies. Don't you hate that?

  24. @Kid, well said. And that's a point that Yukio makes as well. One of the basic naive assumptions of socialist states in Europe is that they don't need defense. The leap to the idea that they don't need it because the USA has their back doesn't seem to sink in, and even out own president is idiotic enough to imagine that reducing us to a third world nation will somehow bring peace on earth. What utter garbage. If we fail, Europe will be the first thing nuked and overrun by the standing world power and/or random rogue states that are their allies. Cynical? Maybe. Reality? Absolutely. Without the big bad America standing watch over our allies, they are toast. Nuked, mushroom cloud, tortured, imprisoned, beheaded toast. But hey, yeah, let's all live in peace and poverty and sip some Coke and recycle our garbage. Um, no.

    And you're right about next week, nothing will change. And that, at the end of the day, is the goal of this election, to ensure that no further “fundamental transformation” takes place. We're doing something that wasn't done for Reagan or after him, and that is sending true conservatives to DC who will roll back not only BO's madness but the earlier lunacy as well. It has to be done, and we're ready now, as a nation, to make it happen. We weren't in the '80's, we were still cowed by PC nonsense, still trying to “get along,” still trying not to seem RAAAACIST or sexist or whatever. That complacency is gone now. I hope to God it's gone now.

    If it is, it will take 10 to 12 years to get things done that need doing, and that means a continued commitment to our nation, watching and guarding her, slowly rebuilding American values, cleaning up our schools, demanding our freedom of religion, ensuring that our courts are no longer misreading the constitution. This will take time, a generation maybe, but it has to start somewhere. It has to start now.

  25. Fuzzy, Thank you, and I couldn't agree more.

    I admit I do have a spark of guarded optimism about true conservatives entering government and leadership positions.

    Yea, move out to the sticks and put your kittens in the yard and as long as your Doberman is there, the coyotes won't be seen, but take the Dobbie away or put him on a chain, and watch what happens to the kittens.

    Fuzzy, as the resident 30-something liberal at work said about the Nobel Prize winner being in jail in China – “Can you believe this goes on in this day and age?”

    Wowsa. They are so naive and clueless.

  26. @ Fuzzy

    Political theory does not equal moral theory. Of course, morality is an aspect of politics, but hardly its sole aspect. Morality is an aspect of medicine as well, yet we can differentiate between a surgical procedure and a moral discussion about it, even though the two do overlap in reality. This is how you take off an arm, this whether you should or not…

    People invoke morality all the time in politics. So what? What I am saying is that when you are engaged in a discussion about the political and economic processes of govt., moral discussion is irrelevant and a distraction especially when talking to people who believe in the moral appeals of Marxism. I am not saying that morality plays no part in politics. Where did I even suggest that? W/o appeals to morality, Marx would have gone no where, BTW.

    You wrote: “The systems themselves may not have motives, just as any system can be seen to be without inherent motive. But political systems are designed, carried out, and shored up by people. Right? They aren't some sort of separate entity that has nothing to do with people, removed from human existence.”

    Political systems spin out of control of the people who created them and work within them. Economic, political, and social (and other) forces dictate govt. decisions. They either do what can work, or they collapse. It doesn't matter how much authority people running a govt. exert, they cannot dictate reality– economic or otherwise. In this way govt systems are not controlled by people within them.

  27. @ Fuzzy

    You wrote: “This is one reason our own founding documents are so important, they lay out something that is not a series of steps to a goal, but the actual end itself. It's up to us to preserve and protect that, but it's not unusual, historically speaking, for various groups to try to change, incrementally or through violence, a government. The checks and balances of ours, all that flowery language you dismiss, is supposed to give us a fighting chance to preserve our country and its moral stance […] a direct reaction and response, of course, to tyranny”

    What exactly are you saying here? What are we preserving and protecting? The status quo? Is that what the Constitution was supposed to do? Has the moral stance of our country not changed in 230+ years? Really?

    You seem to be saying that all change is bad and moves toward tyranny. Change is a fact of govt.– there's no “unusual” or “historically speaking” about it. You adapt to changing conditions or you collapse, that's it.

    And yes I dismiss flowery language because it is meaningless if it is insincere. I do not dismiss the “flowery language” of checks and balances– not really sure what you're talking about there– because it works and was a sincere and largely successful attempt to hold back tyrannical govt. power.

    You wrote: “Only with limited, diluted, decentralized power can any society flourish. This isn't a moral judgment, it's simply the way it's always been. Once any group takes control and exercises absolute power, the society, indeed entire civilizations, withers and dies. You may not like the language of our constitution (I find it beautiful), but it's the only thing keeping us free. For now.”

    Civilization itself developed because of the centralization of power. This is why the Aztecs, Incans, and such created complicated civilizations and the Plains Indians did not.

    Are you seriously saying that Imperial Rome didn't flourish? Ancient Egypt? Imperial China? Ancient Persia? The Aztecs? The Mayans?

    All of those civilizations, and many more, did NOT have “limited, diluted, decentralized power.” Most also lasted a VERY long time, and none of them collapsed because a group suddenly took control and exercised absolute power. Not by a long shot.

    The world and flourishing civilizations did not begin with the US.

    And why do you KEEP saying I don't like the language of the Constitution?? Where did I say this?? Please quote me from where I did.

  28. @ Fuzzy

    You wrote: “for one so invested in reminding me that the UK is different than America (d'oh), don't you find it odd that you then turn around and apply your 'American usage' to the discussion of their constitution?”

    I did not apply my American usage to their contitution. I said that the UK doesn't have a written constitution (constitution in my American usage), and they don't. I also don't say shhhedual (schedule).

  29. “She and I butt heads often about these things, but we both understand and have shared with each other our understanding of these and other basic differences. That doesn't stop our liking each other and still trying to drum through the other's thick skull that our way is superior. It's what we do. ” Well put Fuzzy! I do enjoy our discussions and have no illusions I am going to change your mind but I do respect what you say and appreciate why we see things differently. I have a busy day ahead so don't intend to continue this discussion …… although it's very interesting.

    Only one thing that I feel compelled to reply to – this belief that the UK is unable to defend itself without the USA. Well we do have an independent nuclear deterrent. Now if anyone is saying this wouldn't deter an invasion of my country then we'd better stop wasting money on the things. I don't subscribe to the argument that a power that can destroy the world one million times over is superior to one that can just do it the once – once is enough :S

    We have defended British interests without the slightest “help” from the USA – the Falklands – and we are still regularly sacrificing our servicemen on the altar of Bush's wars.

    I believe France also has an independent nuclear deterrent. If Europe truly united (not just on paper) we could be a very strong force for good.

    And as to social democracies running out of money ……. last time I looked, the USA had already run out of even more money and I do wonder what you've got to show for it. Yes we've spent money that needs to be repaid but we do at least have decent healthcare, schooling, transport infrastructure etc. We “mended the roof while the sun was shining”. What exactly did the US do? (That's a rhetorical question …. I know the answer I suspect …..)

    Sorry that was two things. Bye for now!

  30. @ CambridgeLady

    You wrote: “I believe France also has an independent nuclear deterrent. If Europe truly united (not just on paper) we could be a very strong force for good.”

    So a United Europe could be a force for good because it has nuclear weapons? Okaaaay. So you would simply blow up the “bad” nations? Is that what you're saying? Anyone messes with Europe (like a state-sponsored terrorist attack) and then they'd get nuked. Sure. That'll work.

    You wrote: “And as to social democracies running out of money ……. last time I looked, the USA had already run out of even more money and I do wonder what you've got to show for it. Yes we've spent money that needs to be repaid but we do at least have decent healthcare, schooling, transport infrastructure etc.”

    So social democracies work because the US, aping Europe, is currently spending a lot of money too? Hmm. I would like to see if any social democracy is economically robust enough to spend $3 trillion+ in two years, even ignoring a trade deficit, and not immediately collapse.

    Look at the economic statistics and see who is buying European products, i.e. how much consumer money is coming in from outside of Europe. Foreign purchase of European products is a major factor that allows large European businesses to be sustainable where the local people have less money to spend because of high taxation. Without the gobs of foreign money, social democracies collapse. Not so in the US where there's been a trade deficit for several decades (where the US has been purchasing European and Asian and African and South American products.)

    The US remains the top GDP producing country in the world even in the midst of the largest national recession since the Great Depression and China's frenzied growth. But hey, it's all the same… the US overspends too. Sure.

    BTW:

    Britain's population living below poverty level was 14% in 2006.

    In the US it was 12.65% in 2008 during a recession. In 2009 it was 14.3% under Obama and Congressional Dems.

    So Obama et al had to spend $1 trillion+ and increase unemployment by more than 3.5% (unemployment 6.2% in Sept. 2008 to 9.8% Sept. 2009) to get numbers comparable (indeed exceeding) to the numbers in Britain– in 2006. Hmmm.

  31. Yukio – right wingers equate strength with military capacity so I merely spoke to them in language they would understand. I don't condone the use of nuclear weapons – I even doubt their use as a deterrent (didn't deter Argentina in the Falklands) but on US right-wingers terms we CAN defend ourselves and we would be stronger in combination with our European allies.

    FYI – “Poverty” has a very different appearance in the US and in the UK. We lived in the USA in 2004-06 (better times economically) and witnessed food banks, tent cities and people (families!!) standing at the roadside begging. We have a system of welfare that many in the USA criticise but I believe is way more humane and civilised.

  32. @Yukio, as I'm still not sure why you felt compelled to inform me that the British don't have our constitution or our checks and balances or our separation of powers, I simply feel confused in general. You seemed to be suggesting that I think the world works based on our government formation, so when you define “constitution” as only ours, that struck me as . . . interesting.

    And I didn't say, nor would I, that morality was the sole aspect of political theory; I was responding to your (apparent?) contention that morality had no role to play at all. I think we are talking at cross-purposes here, everything you say, I respond to and you say you didn't say it, and everything I say, you respond to but I didn't say it. . . . argh!

    @CL, I don't think I'll change your mind, either, but I enjoy our exchanges for the reasons you state here. 🙂 And because I believe that you have a good heart and best intentions, not something I believe about the powers that be who share your worldview.

    I appreciate what you are saying about British military might, but I do want to point out that Afghanistan is BO's war: the “just” war, according to him. He's always said that, well, for the teeny amount of time he's been in the public eye, anyway. And I might also point out that the UK, as you sort of agree here, was right there with President Bush when we went into Iraq (something I don't think we should have done, btw).

    And do yourself a favor, stick to your leftist arguments. I understand them very well. The fact that I reject them does not mean that I fail to understand them; indeed, I would argue that I understand them better than you do and that is why I reject them. Your we're more broke than you are, but look at all our stuff! argument is just . . . oh dear . . . um, not very convincing and pretty much what is wrong with leftist ideology.

    Are you suggesting that there are no homeless people in the UK? No one begging in the streets? Come on, that's utter rubbish, and you know it. Please take off those rose-colored glasses (spectacles, I guess); you really sound silly when you make statements that are patently and provably untrue.

  33. @CL – Wednesday, October 27, 2010 5:16:00 AM EDT

    A nuclear deterrent will do you no good if no one believes you would use it. And yes, with obama at the helm, it does us no good at present either.

    You are currently Not defending UK's interests as all the intelligent people in the UK believe that you will be under Muslim rule within 20-25 years now. Including your Muslim PM's who openly state as much on youtube. Shakin my head on this one.

    You do not have decent healthcare. You've canceled Quality of Life Care such as new knees. You are young enough, that's not on your radar yet, but go ask someone in their 60's or 70's how they feel about that if you want an honest assessment of your healthcare system. Imagine if you don't care for Them how folks will feel about you when you are at the age of actually needing “Health Care”. You haven't seen anything yet.

    Yes, the USA has spent 5 trillion by latest accounts under obama and company. If left unfettered, obama would spend more than all 43 presidents before him, and on this 5 trillion, he has Negative ROI to show for it. That's liberal democrats in the USA. And yes, Bush spent some money and increased the size of government needlessly which is why I've been saying the Republicans are useless, though useless is better than disasterous while we work on getting conservatives into government.

  34. @ CambridgeLady

    You wrote: “right wingers equate strength with military capacity so I merely spoke to them in language they would understand. I don't condone the use of nuclear weapons – I even doubt their use as a deterrent (didn't deter Argentina in the Falklands) but on US right-wingers terms we CAN defend ourselves and we would be stronger in combination with our European allies.”

    Well, it's reassuring for me to know that you know exactly how I think and can address me on my level– as a right-winger.

    So, Britain could have defended itself on its own against the USSR? Sure. And I'm sure you could have done without Lend Lease and the European Recovery Plan as well…

    “FYI – 'Poverty' has a very different appearance in the US and in the UK. We lived in the USA in 2004-06 (better times economically) and witnessed food banks, tent cities and people (families!!) standing at the roadside begging. We have a system of welfare that many in the USA criticise but I believe is way more humane and civilised.”

    Uh huh. So despite the numbers and higher percentages, Britain's poverty is better because… because you personally don't see it as much. OK. I understand. Social democracies, I suppose, hide their poor, thus the system is more “humane and civilized” (“civilized” I do enjoy your choice of words). I get it.

    Oh, yeah and about the American infrastructure… Well let's see, I know personally I ride a horse to work out on the range, where I herd cattle and cat fur-bearing creatures in between battling bears, coyotes, and marauding bandits. What is this “infrastructure” of which you speak? I have never seen a road, a national park, nor a bus, nor a train, nor indoor plumbing, nor electrical grids, etc. And I hear told that thar are buildings which have more than three stories (!) and machines that can fly like birds, but I don't believe any of it…

  35. @ Fuzzy

    You wrote: “I'm still not sure why you felt compelled to inform me that the British don't have our constitution or our checks and balances or our separation of powers, I simply feel confused in general. You seemed to be suggesting that I think the world works based on our government formation, so when you define 'constitution' as only ours, that struck me as . . . interesting.”

    Fuzzy, please go back and read through these comments. I mentioned checks and balances once (and then responded to one of your comments regarding it) and when I did, checks and balances was not mentioned in any way regarding the UK, but that checks and balances was an aspect of American govt. effectively protecting against tyranny.

    I commented earlier that “Huge political, legal, and procedural differences result from the difference between the UK's general set of principles and a written document– many of which are not understood very well (for political reasons within academia, I believe) and are still debated. This also results in very different presumptions about basic 'truths' in political theory. That was the point of my comment back there.”

    I don't know how to be clearer than that. I really don't. I felt “compelled” to mention, once, that the British system is quite different from the US because, in your ongoing debates with CL it has struck me that both of your were arguing from the perspective of their own govt. systems. This was a casual observation and my remark was meant to be, likewise, casual.

    Perhaps I should not have written anything, and if I have offended you, I apologize. However, my casual observation stands. I leave open the possibility that I'm misinterpreting you and CL in this regard.

    The difficulty on “constitution” stems from that I neglected to say “written constitution” in my original comment. Speaking (writing) American to American, I simply said “constitution” with the idea being implicit that I was speaking about a written constitution (my “American usage”). Again, this was a casual oversight. Once you jumped on me over this (your comment on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:14:00 AM EDT), then I became not-so-casual in my use of language and I was arguing to prove my point that written constitutions create different attitudes, procedures, etc. in govt. then those without. I was merely arguing my point.

    You wrote: “You seemed to be suggesting that I think the world works based on our government formation”

    I'm not suggesting that. Rather it seems that you're incorrectly applying your values as universal truths in your debate with me.

    Your arguments have seem to presuppose that key aspects of current conservative American political theory are historical universal rules. You did write: “Only with limited, diluted, decentralized power can ANY SOCIETY flourish. This isn't a moral judgment, it's simply THE WAY IT'S ALWAYS BEEN. Once any group takes control and exercises absolute power, the SOCIETY, INDEED ENTIRE CIVILIZATIONS, withers and DIES. [emphasis mine].”

    Certainly early Americans did not invent the idea of limited, decentralized power (and I know that you know this) but we can agree it was very unusual to apply it at the country's founding. The act of systemically limiting govt. power is historically the exception rather than the rule. From your own statement, it does appear that you are applying a current American value (this does not mean exclusively American) as a rule to the world and world history at large.

    Yes, I would much rather live as a middle class citizen in the current US then I would in a comparable class in any other geographic place and at any other time. But, it is unfair to say that other societies (incl. all of those throughout history) with centralized power have not flourished, and collapsed because of centralizing power.

  36. @Yukio, ah, that clarifies. Yes, CL and I do speak in a sort of shorthand with one another, I guess. We do as you say and speak of and from the perspective of our own government systems, but we are both aware of this even though we don't point it out to each other anymore. We sort of hammered through that months ago (gosh, has it been over a year now?), but I can see how it would be confusing if this is the only conversation of ours you've seen.

    As to societies collapsing throughout history because of totalitarian control, well, what would attribute the collapse of say, the Roman Empire to? Ancient Greece? The former Soviet Union? And on and on? Are there complexities at work? Other social, religious, and cultural factors? And later, industrialization and modernization? Sure, but most of them, speaking broadly (of course), can be traced back to oppression, repression, subjugation by too-powerful, too-tyrannical governments. Governments that got too big, too expensive, too controlling, and in some cases, too greedy for global domination. The only civilizations that have survived are those currently in existence, right? Ours is, as you note, unique in beginning with limited government, we're trying something new. It may not work, but it's got a better shot at it than the same failed models that have always been used, with whatever variations.

    You make a good point when you note that limiting government from the outset is historically relatively unique, but that was in direct response to the tyranny experienced in England and to the world's long history of failed centralized governments, no? Our founders studied them all, wrote extensively about them, and settled on one that they felt would break the cycle of rising and falling empires. Whether we succeed or not remains to be seen, and we are certainly at an important stage right now, when it is all threatened by those who wish to destroy our great nation. If they succeed and we fail, then we get chalked up as yet another civilization that withers and dies as a result of too much centralized power. Depressing as hell. And so we fight.

  37. @Yukio, btw, please don't feel that you need to apologize–you know I love your mind. I was just confused by your first post and that threw me off for the rest of the conversation. I get it now, though. 🙂 But I've still begun more over-generalizing than usual (and that's saying something), so I think I'm fading on this thread.

  38. @Yukio, oh, and it's no use pointing out to CL that the Britain was no match for the USSR; I've tried pointing out that they weren't doing so well against Germany, either time, until we got involved, but they have a whole different way of seeing things. She has said that she wishes that the UK and US weren't so close, that it's time to cut us loose as allies (or something along those lines, it's on one of my posts somewhere, or maybe over at Kid's). All you can do is sigh in the face of that sort of thing. I also add in an eye roll for good measure.

  39. Can I have a little eye roll too please? ;o)

    Look – what I observe about the USA, be it infrastructure, poverty, whatever, is based on the 2 years I lived there and the 4 states I visited. I didn't see the whole country but at least I have been there (unlike many who comment about the UK and have never come here) and my stay is reasonably recent.

    I love my American friends, I am rather fond of the USA and any negative comments about America are directed at America the superpower, the government, not America the people …….

    Vis a vis defence – I simply reject the existing relationship between the US and UK – you shout “jump!”, we say “how high?”. It's wrong and needs sorting out. You can't blame me and others for wanting to redefine the relationship and seek other allies and partners surely? We do have an amazing bunch of servicemen, a nuclear deterrent (which we're as likely to use as any other nuclear power) and experience over many decades of dealing with terrorism. (yes, we had it long before 911)

    Vis a vis poverty – it is ridiculous to compare the US and UK poverty figures when the numbers enduring USA-style poverty in the UK exist but are way way lower. Yes we have homeless people – of course! – and that is disgraceful – but our welfare system ensures that everyone can access a reasonable standard of living, free school meals, free healthcare etc etc. The first activity my kids took part in at their American school was to collect tins and bottles for the “food bank”. I asked if the food was being sent to the Third World – no, to the local food bank!!! I wondered, not for the first time, what was happening here ……..

    I've totally faded on this thread too – what were we talking about originally?? I leave you all in peace. Have a great weekend and a fair and decisive election next week. If the result goes your way make the USA the place you long for it to be xxxx

  40. @ Fuzzy

    I know you're fading on this thread, but I can't let this centralizing causing a collapse idea go without response.

    You wrote: “As to societies collapsing throughout history because of totalitarian control, well, what would attribute the collapse of say, the Roman Empire to? Ancient Greece? The former Soviet Union? And on and on? Are there complexities at work? Other social, religious, and cultural factors? And later, industrialization and modernization? Sure, but most of them, speaking broadly (of course), can be traced back to oppression, repression, subjugation by too-powerful, too-tyrannical governments.”

    I don't see that at all. I just cannot see the centralization of power as being the root cause of collapse in any society outside of those embracing Marxism– a flawed theory that cannot work.

    The Romans collapsed for many, many reasons, but one of the major factors (in theory) was that their economy had become largely dependant upon the spoils of conquest– once their military could no longer expand and dug in to defend the empire rather than expand it, their military cost them money rather than made them money. The West couldn't surmount the basic problem– too much spending, not enough wealth coming in.

    In fact, if you'll recall, the Romans split the empire (decentralizing power, I suppose) about 200 years or so before the Western Empire collapsed.

    It's worth noting that Western Imperial Rome lasted from Caesar Augustus 27 BC (I know the date because I'm reading “I, Claudius” right now)to well into the 5th Century. The Eastern Empire (Byzantines) lasted until the middle of the 15th Century until the Ottomans captured Constantinople. 27 BC to ~1450 AD is a very long time. Their system worked for nearly 1500 years. Yes, it underwent adaption over the centuries as govts. must. Yet, never (to my knowledge) was there any real attempt to create limited government close to our definition.

    Ancient Greece (if you're referring to Classical Greece and not the Bronze Age) was taken over by the Romans after the Battle of Corinth in the 2nd Century BC. They were conquered. It had really nothing to do with centralizing power.

    Ancient Epypt lasted from something like 3200 BC until 31 BC if you want to count the Ptolemaic (sp?) dynasty. Yes there were the Intermediate periods, the Kushites, the Assyrians, etc. But the Egyptian Kingdoms lasted a very long time without the idea of limited, decentralized government. European feudalism lasted 1000+ years, governmental power invested in a chain of aristocrats. The Chinese Empire (thru different dynasties and periods) lasted 2100+ years. There are many more workable govts. that did not practice the idea of “limited, diluted, decentralized power” that didn't involve something like feudal oligarchies, and I know that's not what you mean.

    I just can't see centralizing power as a primary factor in collapses when not dealing with Marxism. And Marxism is a specific govt. type based on a specifically flawed outlook regarding economics.

  41. @CL, lol, I rather assumed you rolled your eyes regularly over our exchanges. 😉 And I have been to the UK, I lived there as a child, but have been back numerous times since (I'm rather in love with England, actually, despite it's crazy leftist notions), so I know you can't have been parenthetically referring to me. But you do point out another thing about socialist utopia that I find horrifying. No food banks? No community or church or charity support for the poor and homeless? Well, OF COURSE NOT, the state is taking of all that stuff, it's not my problem that people are starving in the streets (and yes, they do that there, CL). Pass all the problems to the state and suddenly you have zero responsibility for your fellow man (or woman or child). It's stomach-turning.

    The chances of a fair election are pretty slim, and we've known this for a while, but it looks like the dem fraud machine is high gear once more. We'll see what happens. And pray for peace.

  42. @ CambridgeLady

    You wrote: “Vis a vis poverty – it is ridiculous to compare the US and UK poverty figures when the numbers enduring USA-style poverty in the UK exist but are way way lower.”

    Yes, the US a nation of 310,578,000 citizens+ (this does not count the 20,000,000+ illegal immigrants that are often counted within the US's poverty numbers) does have more poor in raw numbers then the UK which has a population of 62,041,000+. Gee, I wonder if it has something to do with the fact the US has 5X+ more people in it? Do you think?

    What is ridiculous is to compare raw numbers as you suggest. That is absolute nonsense.

    The fact is, the percentages I used in my previous comment are adjusted according to US definitions. In other words 14% of UK citizens are below the poverty line in 2006 according to US standards– as compared to the 12.65% in the US in 2008 during a major recession. In your words the 14% are “enduring USA-style poverty.” By the UK's own standards (60% of full-time median earnings in a 35 hour work week) the poverty rate in the UK was 23% in 2006.

    And by the way, where did you see the tent cities? Seriously.

    I've lived most of my life in Los Angeles, but have lived in San Diego for several years, and now reside in Oregon. I have visited often and even lived for short times in Eugene, Portland, Dallas, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit (which sucked but not in the way you described), Chicago, Phoenix, Tuscon, Las Vegas, and Houston. During my time in So. Cal. I volunteered to work at homeless shelters, often times in skid row. Yet, I have never seen these “tent cities” that you've described except in the immediate aftermath of major earthquakes.

    Are you talking about the homeless camps? Then I suggest you note the difference is populations between the UK and US– and again the percentages.

    You know, “reasonable standard of living, free school meals, free healthcare etc etc.” are all provided in the US by Federal, and often State, County, and local govts. to the poor. You lived in this country for 4 years and you never EVER heard of the various welfare programs /school lunch / food stamps / etc etc. here? Unlikely. The various levels of US govt. spent a total of $569.5 billion on welfare in 2008. This does not include money spent on health care.

    Do you also ever wonder why OBESITY is a major health problem for those living below the poverty level in the US?

  43. @ Fuzzy

    Thanks. I'll go and check out Hillbuzz.

    They have some interesting stuff there, although I do hear similar stuff here in blue Oregon (at least in the cities) and from my mother (an ardent Democrat and liberal since she first voted)– though she hates to talk to me about politics. The Dems are having to confront basic ideological schisms in their party that have been widening since the post-JFK 60s.

  44. @Yukio, it's a common leftist leap (here AND in the UK, btw) from limited government to no government at all. Leftists tend to think that we are all heartless, greedy, monsters with no heart and no sould who'd kick a starving puppy while counting our ill-gotten gains. I'm not sure if it's intentional (deliberate obtuseness) or if it's just a rhetorical ploy. Either way, it's silly. Particularly when one compares the charitable donations made by conservatives and those made by liberals. Even though we all pay the same taxes (depending on our bracket, of course), conservatives give far more to charity. We'd give even more if we were allowed to keep our own money, but that's the liberal shuffle. They think that they pay their taxes, and that's all they need to do to help the needy. Closing their eyes to the real problems that are still there, if anything made worse by governmental bureaucracy. We keep tossing money at our problems, our money, and nothing gets better. Indeed, didn't we just get the highest poverty rates, the most people on food stamps since its inception? And this after BO spent record trillions on entitlements? Exploding welfare roles, record poverty, burgeoning homelessness, and more and more people sinking closer to poverty level from the ever-shrinking middle class. She's right about our poverty levels, but she's wrong about why they are what they are. As you say, we spend billions (probably a trillion by now, but I'm too depressed to check) on all these entitlements, all this social welfare, and we get more poor, more people living off the state, more poverty. We're spending the money, we have massive and numerous entitlements from unemployment (for two years now!) to food stamps to public housing to job training and placement for the homeless and on and on and on. None of it is solving the problem. The left's response, do MORE of the ineffective, wasteful stuff. That'll fix it. No evidence of that, in fact, the evidence points to the opposite conclusion, but hey, who needs facts?

    Again, it's sick-making in its shallowness and callousness, but it's typical. And then, of course, lefties turn around and say we on the right want the old and poor to starve in the streets (without health care) because we don't want more taxes, more entitlements, and more government. Maybe they don't trust themselves to do the right thing on their own? Who knows.

  45. @Yukio, when I said “she's right about our poverty levels,” I did NOT mean that her numbers are right. Yours are. But her point was that we have a lot of it because we don't have (she thinks) any entitlements to help the poor and homeless. So she's right that poverty and homelessness are a problem, but she's wrong to say that it's better in the UK (where they are banned from most public places and forced to live out of sight . . . I guess for the sake of appearances or to keep things “civilized”?) or that we don't have any government agencies or programs to help. We do, of course, too freaking many of them that are not doing a damn thing but wasting money and destroying our economy and our American-ness.

  46. Yukio, for pity's sake, of course I would not compare absolute figures between the US and UK – duh – I am well aware that the US's population is several times larger – please do not insult my intelligence. I used the term “numbers” assuming that no-one would be daft enough to think I was using anything but per capita comparisons ……. ho hum ……..

    Tent cities? – Oh boy! Just google it if you don't believe me and travel around the country with your eyes wide open. We don't “hide” our poor – but we do provide temporary accommodation in the form of B&Bs, hostels, lodgings, etc and welfare payments are more generous than in the US. We get criticised for them being TOO generous.

    I suspect that the percentages you quote for poverty are comparing apples and oranges – I'll have to take your word for it that “poverty” is defined as per the US understanding of the word. I find that difficult to believe when our minimum wage is about double that in the US …. but then the cost of basic living is cheaper in the US too.

  47. @ CambridgeLady

    No. I asked you “WHERE DID YOU SEE TENT CITIES?” I did not ask “Can I google it for pictures?”

    Huh. So, I'm uncivilized and daft. Interesting you'd say that, though not surprising considering.

    And do not dare say to me that I travel around the US with my eyes closed. DO NOT DARE. Both my business and my personal life have led me to poor areas that I guarantee you did not see in your time here.

    It seems interesting that you're the one who has never even heard of poverty like the “US-style poverty” (a term that would be amusing for you to define) in the UK. Who has their eyes closed?

    But please, inform me further about my country. I mean sure, I grew up here and all, and I've lived in the US for most of my life, but you were here for four whole years, so you're an expert on America… Please, educate daft and uncivilized me about my own country.

  48. @ Fuzzy

    “it's a common leftist leap…” et al.

    Yeah, I know. I've dealt with British Leftists before (always in person), and business has taken me to Britain before.

    Thanks for the tip on HillBuzz. Very interesting. I put up a post linking to it– crediting you, of course.

  49. @CL, agreed, we've wandered all over the place. This would be fun if we were all sitting around a table with some yummy drinks, beer, or wine, but I've faded on it, too. 🙂

    @Yukio, yay! Off to check it out now….

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