Not saying we would ever have a clean slate to work with. Just that we should work slowly toward people being responsible for themselves, and away from the govt taking over everything.
I agree on the former, but on the latter, government is never going to take over everything. It'll always have a role to play, but there's a constant balance of having it take on new jobs, and abandon old ones. That's been a consistent theme in our history.
Just like your wild notion that Ron Paul wants to wipe out the AF. Let's say it is illegal. Then the solution is obviously to amend the Constitution to make it legal. No need for a massive change etc. In the same way I am not advocating stopping Welfare in fell swoop.
Except that our nation doesn't work that way. I'm sorry, but strict constructionism has never, and will never be implemented, not past 1786.
Really, Ron Paul is showing astounding arrogance here. It is NOT for a Texas representative to decide what is and isn't constitutional. That is the job of the Supreme Court. Ron Paul doesn't get to decide what is and isn't constitutionally legal. Decreeing that something decided by the legitimate legal body in the Constitution is, in fact, unconstitutional, not only shows downright hubris on his part, but contempt for our nation, or legal system, and democracy in general (all of which is he is, in essence, decreeing incapable of making these decisions properly, by indirectly declaring said decisions illegitimate).
More importantly though, you really miss my point here, and that's why it's a bad approach to begin with. This has NOTHING to do with the Air Force, absolutely, positively nothing. It has to do with a government that's not flexible enough to deal with new problems. The idea that you can just have a government that isn't allowed to do anything, and then you expressively have the ENTIRE NATION vote on Constitutional amendments to grant each and every power, everytime it has to do something, is an idea that doesn't even work on paper.
On paper, it makes society slow to respond to new issues, which can end up being disastrous, and it also means that any new action that needs to be taken by government can be blocked by a small hand of ideological extremists (as I said, this system concentrates power MORE, not less, because it allows minority obstructionism to overrule even a vast majority of the people).
In practice, it's even worse, and downright disastrous, as has already been discussed. The Articles of Confederation didn't work, plain and simple. They nearly tore the nation limb from limb.
The system was tried; it doesn't work. It's as simple as that.
Greece. The whole Euro Zone for that matter. That will be us if things don't change.
and? Most of the Eurozone is doing better than us in almost every economic respect. They have a better standard of living for a greater portion of their people than us, most of those nations aren't really in any more debt than we are (they range from 60-80% of GDP), and should drop below us thanks to recent austerity measures, they have a vastly superior infrastructure to us in almost every respect (better communications, better transportation), so frankly, I can't think of anything better for us.
The only other option is to keep increasing taxes, which has to stop at some point.
Of course it does, since the people couldn't pay more than 100% of income in taxes
Technically it does HAVE to stop somewhere; the more appropriate question is where should it stop?
Since tax burden is lower than it's been an any point for 50 years, so clearly there's more than enough room to raise taxes.
I believe, as obviously seems to be the case, that there's an optimal balance of taxation, public activities, and on the other side, private activities, carried out with an optimal balance of regulation by society.
That isn't to suggest there's some simple, perfect formula for such a state, since society's ever-changing nature would put any such “perfect” spot in a constant state of flux, but what's obvious is that, based on our present performance compared to some periods in our past, and how we compare with most of our peer nations, we are trending very far on the low side, and could use a much more robust public infrastructure. Put another way, we should be a lot more like those nations that our beating the pants off of us societally, at least insofar as they are.
I think we've seen the stimulus didn't exactly work, so taxing more will not stimulate the economy. Even if it did, then we would either have to tax the golden goose to death or borrow the money. Since we never pay it back, that just increases the interest load which means we need more revenue.
Exactly what didn't work about the stimulus? People were kept in work, money kept circulating, the stimulus did exactly what it was designed to do. Had it been bigger, it likely would have left us in considerable better shape. Take the end of the Depression, for instance. We got out of that mostly because of World War II, and as a debt-funded burst of spending, it was far larger than ARRA, and at the end of WWII, we had almost 120% of GDP in public debt (vs 60% to 70% now). We also had the strongest economy we had in decades. Oh, and we DID pay it back, using three decades of unprecedented economic success, and high levels of taxation (which didn't remotely stop the economy from booming).
It's also worth nothing that a lot of ARRA was infrastructure spending, because unlike previous deficit spending, ARRA was designed so that we'd be able to pay it back, by laying the groundwork for a long-term economic success, with things like overhauling our information infrastructure (prior to ARRA, large swaths of the US still didn't have broadband access, something that's been changed a lot because of it), and investing in energy research.
As to Asimov's quote. He's right. Yet both sides like to claim the intellectual high ground as a basis for being right.
I'm sorry, but here there's no equivocating. Asimov's quote applies basically to the right, and only to the right, at this point. Even Friederick Hayek agreed, in his essay “Why I Am Not a Conservative”; He said:
Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it – or, to put it bluntly, its obscurantism. I will not deny that scientists as much as others are given to fads and fashions and that we have much reason to be cautious in accepting the conclusions that they draw from their latest theories. But the reasons for our reluctance must themselves be rational and must be kept separate from our regret that the new theories upset our cherished beliefs. I can have little patience with those who oppose, for instance, the theory of evolution or what are called “mechanistic” explanations of the phenomena of life because of certain moral consequences which at first seem to follow from these theories, and still less with those who regard it as irrelevant or impious to ask certain questions at all. By refusing to face the facts, the conservative only weakens his own position. Frequently the conclusions which rationalist presumption draws from new scientific insights do not at all follow from them. But only by actively taking part in the elaboration of the consequences of new discoveries do we learn whether or not they fit into our world picture and, if so, how. Should our moral beliefs really prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect, it would hardly be moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge facts.
Again, this isn't some liberal documentary maker, this is Hayek, one of history's most renown libertarians.
And he's right. How many liberals run around denying well-established science, on evolution, or climate change, or basic ecology, or ozone depletion?
They certainly aren't engaged in the aforementioned war on science that the right is presently engaged in (a greater part of the vitriolic attack on America known as “Culture War”, but I've commented there already).
The difference between the Right and the Left is the Right says it proves that people should take care of themselves and if they can't then they have to rely on the charity of others. The Left says it proves that they are responsible to make sure people are taken care of, and thus it is their moral imperative to force others to help the needy.
That's an oversimplification, and one that misses the real difference.
The real difference is that the left uses ridding our society of the economically dragging influence of the poor, and subsequently giving society a bigger meaningful talent pool, as an investment, and this approach has been making society better since the Dark Ages ended. In other words, they use the approach that's not just altruistic, but that works; it's a positive sum game that's been going on, and benefitting everyone, for centuries. Anyone who said you can't multiple wealth by dividing it clearly never studied history, because having economy power in the hands of more people, instead of fewer, has been a great driving force for competition and innovation.
The right, on the other hand, adheres to philosophies that not only have been the cause of great suffering throughout history (namely rugged individualism, and more recently, Randism), but have failed abjectly at creating a functional society.
Liberals aren't entirely unselfish, nor should anyone be. They use their approach because it's historically been demonstrated to work, for everyone, at least to a point; no singular philosophy is perfect. However, I'm unaware of any evidence that grants any virtue to the present philosophy of most of the modern right, some libertarian philosophies excepted, but then, even Adam Smith himself once said “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable”. As a pragmatist, and one who railed against the dangers of aristocracies far more than government, I think he'd agree, that situation should be avoided by whatever means functionally achieve that goal.
I don't believe this country was founded so that people who declare themselves smart would have the right to tell other people what to do.
This may shock you, but that's EXACTLY what the Founding Fathers believed. Actually, the “Founding Fathers” didn't believe anything. Despite the propensity of people to treat them as such, they weren't some monolithic group with undeniable philosophies that they all agreed on. There were stark divisions on almost every issue with the Founding Fathers.
However, one very common thread is that they did not believe in having democracy, a republic, yes, but not democracy. They viewed the word according to the Greek meaning, of rule by the “demos” (roughly translated in this context: mob rule), as Aristotle had originally defined it. They didn't view democracy as a good thing, anymore than Aristotle did.
Why do you think voting was restricted to rich, white, male land owners?
This also plays into strict constructionism (ie, only following the Constitution strictly). Surely you realize that that's a way for people to tell other people what to do, more than any other, because it means that no matter how badly the people want to change something, the process is designed to stop democracy.
Fortunately, for us, we don't adhere to the particular Founding Fathers' in question on either point. Broad federal powers were basically granted by McCulloch v. Maryland and subsequent cases, which, in essence, set the precedent that government can do nearly anything we vote it to do, in the course of regulating interstate commerce, and we abandoned the Founding Fathers' hatred of Democracy as well.
So everybody gets to vote, age provided, and the people are free to vote the government into doing almost anything, you know, just like every other industrialized nation
Edited by Catamount, 14 March 2012 - 09:04 PM.