TED Conversations

Kris Rosvold

Commercial Services Specialist, Central Oregon Heating & Cooling

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Do we need to have a discussion with our Governments about the proper roles and, duties of government?

In the USA alone, I have watched the Federal Government take us off the gold standard resulting in my buying power being reduced by over 1/2 dollar for dollar. I have watched "our" congress remove the Glass-Stegall Act which had prevented financial melt-downs for over 45 years. I have watched our regulators ignore the fact that our food supply system is so broken that I must cook all food to well-done in order to prevent food-borne illnesses. I have watched our government mandate the food (corn) be turned into fuel with millions starving. I have watched our government start, support, and force us to pay for wars which are morally wrong, and based on lies. I believe that government, in the USA, as we now know it, is broken. So the questions are:
1) What are the PROPER roles of a government?
2) Has our (US) government over-stepped those boundaries?
3) What are the duties of a government to its' citizens?
4) How can we act to require our governments become moral (ie congruent)?

+2
Share:
progress indicator
  • Apr 19 2012: Extension to my earlier post.

    4) Basically we have to understand how we arrived here. The process of our government becoming corrupt took several decades. Therefore we must first understand to right what has gone wrong will probably take decades, and the people have to embrace the change. This is difficult because doing the right thing is usually hard, especially when there are a majority who have become reliant upon the government for almost everything.

    I suggest that we must first accept the long game and live by example in our daily lives. This will have an effect on those immediately around us. Some of those around us will embrace our example, and so on it will go. Most importantly we must raise our own children; teach them what you believe and how to be self-reliant, this way they are not another burden on society.

    Once a person becomes self-reliant they suddenly have a whole different perspective on what a government should be doing. They will then vote away from creating a more corrupt and intrusive government.

    As seen through my eyes,

    W.P. Baldwin
  • Apr 19 2012: The Reality of Now.

    1) The "proper" role of a democratic government is ultimately dependent upon its citizens. The United States has a Constitution that has been circumvented over the years by its people. Over the years the people demanded the government do more and more to guarantee their security giving up freedom each time.

    2) Refer to above.

    3) Refer to above.

    4) Do not accept anything from the government. The "gifts" will only lead to serfdom. Do not demand the government do anything for you, however you could demand they not do anything for you.

    In MY opinion.

    1) Proper roles: Maintain the Navy, Special Forces and Army to protect our Nation from invasion. Maintain a SOUND currency. Have a simple Immigration policy. Make sure there is open commerce between the states and with foreign nations. Make sure individual citizens natural rights or freedoms are not taken away by the states, other citizens or other nations.

    2) Over-stepped: Income tax is the number one. This gave our central government too much power over the people. The central government is supposed to request money from the states based on the state's population. (For example, if the Fed's need 300,000,000 dollars then a state would have to give the Feds a dollar for ever citizen of their state.)

    As far as I am concerned the federal government has no business doing much of anything that involves the people. No federal subsidies of any kind, whether to individuals or businesses.

    The states can do or provide whatever they want to its citizens as long as it does not impede an individual's freedoms and the states revenues can pay for it.

    3) Make sure the citizens don't have to worry about being invaded by another country. Make sure their natural rights or freedoms are not infringed.

    4) A government is only going to be as moral or consistent as its citizens. The more involved the government is within its citizens daily lives the more corrupt it will be. Not enough room
    • thumb
      Apr 20 2012: You would suffer under such a system William. You personally and your loved ones. What you wish for is simply an illusion under the terms you describe it. Imagine the PEOPLE are the GOVERNMENT imagine for a second, that each citizen has REAL democratic rights. What would such a society look like?
      • thumb
        Apr 20 2012: what about some arguments? no? okay.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: Krisztian. You and I have said about all we can say to each other. You probably could write a paper on my politics and I yours, after all the discussions we have had. It has not shifted your belief system one iota, nor mine. I like to keep my blood pressure stable, so don't tempt me please.
        • Apr 21 2012: I couldn't reply at your lower post.

          Yes, I agree that Socialism will never work.

          What amazes me is the "intellectuals" continue to promote its implementation. They continue to dangle the carrots, exploiting man's weaknesses, that ultimately give the state more power over the people. It also defies my understanding that supposedly smart individuals do not see that Socialism only gives more power to an ELITE FEW. It is obvious to me that our Socialistic/Capitalistic hybrid proves that point.

          An ever expanding sector of American Society has become well conditioned for serfdom. This saddens me because of the potential they could of had. I have seen the effects of what entitlement programs do to the human spirit. They are no longer self-reliant and do not nurture their potential or follow their passions when difficulties arise.

          So many people that are against Socialism only focus on Central Planning being bad for the economy. You touched on the real damage Socialism does by refering to the trial and error aspect that human nature needs to thrive. The argument against Socialism needs to become more focused on its detrimental effects on the engine that drives an economy, human capital.

          The other day I came up with an idea in reference to compassion, one of the Socialist talking points. When Compassion became industrialized, it does not matter whether it is private or governmental, they do not want to lose their customers. Does anyone ever consider this fact? or Do they consider the extreme damage that the Compassion Industry will do to our society? Like I have said before, "Compassion is burdened with as much irresponsibility as it motivates good deeds."

          I know with you I am preaching to the choir, but maybe someone else will read my posts and think.

          And yes, I am horrible about rambling on when I am writing in real time or talking.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Krisztian. Socialism is by definition mixed. Look it up. Your next point, 'socialism is a drag' is not an argument. I understand however, it was probably a major drag in Hungary while you were growing up and clearly its scarred you for life, but had you grown up in Berlin instead, you might beat a different drum. Please broaden your horizons just a little.

          RE your comment on the 19th century American social system; you lose credibility with that idea. How about these points WAY BACK THEN; 1, Prosperity was acquired through the violation of the property rights of the nations already occupying the land. 2. Prosperity was acquired through slavery. 3. Prosperity was acquired through the exploitation of child labour and women's labour. Still happy to point to this place and period in history as a perfect utopia for your ideology? Frankly I think you were doing better with Somalia.
      • Comment deleted

        • Apr 20 2012: Responding to your lower comment.

          I am assuming you were being sarcastic, but in case you weren't, yes people need to live life based on their own decisions. Some people think they should help the "poor" and "dumb" people within our society all the time, but they do not realize they are only making them much more poor and guaranteeing they stay dumb in the process.

          I really have to get to going, but I will check to see if this conversation continues later today.
      • Apr 20 2012: People are suffering under our existing system. It is an illusion that the federal government can protect all all the time.

        If you will reread what I wrote you will find that the STATE governments can do almost anything they want within the Constitution. The STATES are closer to the people and are much easier to make accountable by the people. Washington DC is to far away from the people. It is not so easy to walk into the Capital Building within a day's drive.

        What is REAL democratic rights? The reason Democracies have never worked well is because of human nature. It is normal for a person, even a strong self-reliant individual, to choose a path that is the easiest, especially when times get tough; they will not care if their survival infringes upon another's equal rights. Taking from one for the benefit of another. Where is the line on what is "fair" in a democracy?

        A society like this requires a higher level of citizenship. We can no longer differ our responsibilities to a far away government. We have to strengthen ourselves and help our fellow man. No longer will most people drive by someone broke down along the road because they are scared or think the police will help the unfortunate. By no longer denying someone the opportunity to assist empowers the individual.

        Lastly, to reinforce a point that the STATE government can have anykind of social or whatever kind of program the people of that STATE want. If I choose to not live in that STATE, under the high taxation that STATE must have to pay for these programs and not want to raise my children up to be WARDS of the STATE where they become invalids incapable of finding their own way through life, I can then move to another STATE where the local government is more to my liking. This checks and balances keeps the STATES from becoming too TYRANICAL, because they will lose productive citizens to neighboring STATES. When the FEDERAL gov. is the main power where do free people go to escape? Nowhere.
        • thumb
          Apr 20 2012: Are you suggesting that people should live a life based upon there own decisions?
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: William, check out the NORDIC MODEL. In fact, in the words of Richard Wilkinson: 'If Americans want to live the American dream, they should go to Denmark.”

          We are all quite safe from the dire world you outline; business and the finance sector will never allow it. They know they need a stable society to operate and strong government to wrangle their consumer base and legislative base into the form they need for maximum profit yield.
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: Hi Joanne

        You know I'm slow on the uptake or maybe you haven't been learning me good? That is why I have to learn from the cartoons. Its just that every time I try to wrap my wits around your flavor of government it just don't make sense to me, I guess you just have to be one them academics to get it?
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: You slow?.......I doubt it
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: Ken, he knows he is not slow, he is being facetious. Pat, if you mean by 'academics' people who read a bit and study some things in order to try to understand something, then 'yes'.
      • Apr 21 2012: For a Socialist system to operate efficiently the citizens must give up basic natural rights(the right to choose their direction), because the government will have to force these people to be productive or live by a certain standard; I do agree that many people do need to be more responsible, but I also understand that forcing individuals to participate will only cause them to resist.

        The United States has a problem. A large percentage of its people want to be taken care of, but they do not want to pay for it. The fact that so many are already conditioned to be taken care of is showing in the unwillingness and lack of diversity from the workforce. There are too many who will stand around and wait to be told what to do, because that is what they have been conditioned for.

        I do not agree with Socialism because of the damage Socialism does to the human spirit, but if this is what the people want they will get it.

        Do you believe that when someone becomes a WARD of the STATE that they shall submit to a certain standard of living conditions and behavior?
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: socialism would not work even with people's full consent. then problem with it is not that it contradicts human nature, but that it replaces trial and error with central planning. without the "swarm intelligence" of the market, economic growth is impossible.

          that is known for almost a hundred years now. known by those few that listened. not for the majority.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: William your reasoning is totally fallacious and luckily for me, its in a nutshell. You say 'because the government will have to force these people to be productive or live by a certain standard' this 'forcing' you refer to is called 'civilisation'. It is by definition a process of agreements, written and unwritten between groups and individuals. You cannot change the nature of that by denying one 'ism' over another. Of course I am for 'no govt and no controls' but only if you also concede, rent, profit, interest and wage labour are also acts of coercion and do away with those too.

          Kirsztian. Socialism IS working. Today. Around the world in several beautiful places. I have even lived in some of them. Where is your system working around the world today? (and please do not forget I know the answer to that question, and have lived there too. You wouldnt like it, trust me)
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2012: joanne, socialism never worked and not working today. socialism is a drag. it is a cart the horse of capitalism pulls. it slows us down. the more socialism we have, the slower we are. in pure socialism, progress is negligible and flexibility is zero. socialism is stagnation and slow death. luckily, we have no pure socialism today. we have it mixed with capitalism. so as of now, capitalism produces results, and socialism brags about them.

          "my" system works in many places partially. we can have a look how similar countries performing with more or less of it. east vs west germany. north vs south korea. singapore vs china. china before the free trading zones and after. india in socialism and after. eastern europe before 1990 and after. i don't believe in historical evidence, but if someone does, it is quite clear in this case.

          the purest form of "my" system probably worked in the US in the 19th century.

          however, i doubt you lived then and there.

          ps: to the first part. how could it happen that you use "coercion" and "agreement" interchangeably? that is very disturbing. i would not want to cooperate with you.
      • Apr 21 2012: I will agree with your statement that the corporate element wants to ensure the stability of the economy, however I do not agree with where that will lead, or has already lead.

        Prosperity in itself is a double edged sword. Here is a rough story my father told me years ago:

        Mr. Smith and his wife buy a small ranch. They have to live in a shack without many of the modern comforts others have at the time. They also had to work very hard and sacrifice many things to keep the ranch in operation as the years went by. As the years passed by they decided to have a child. When their son was born they both are very proud and have high expectations for their sons future. The boy grows up going to school and loving to help his father run the family ranch. The boy becomes a top hand by the time he graduates and goes to college, because he had worked alongside his father every chance he could growing up. Well, to make a long story short, Mr. Smith II gets married, takes over the family ranch and has a son of his own. Smith the second expands the ranch and takes it to the next level. They build a nice home, have all the comforts that many do not have and keep working hard to operate the ranch. Smith II's son does not help as much on the ranch nor embrace the work ethics his father had learned from his grandfather. As the years go by Mr. Smith III has trouble keeping a job after college, which he didn't finish, and ends up back on the ranch. After his father dies he takes the ranch over. He is ignorant to the operation of the ranch because his father had always done all the work. Therefore he has to hire someone to help him run the place, but because he is ignorant he is easily taken advantage of. Before long he is borrowing too much money from the bank and ultimately looses the ranch to the bank.

        When people are not immersed in real life and all of its hardships they can easily be conditioned for failure.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: you are not particularly good at making the long story short. rather, you made the short story long. the actual story is: if you do the right thing, you earn money. if you keep your eyes open, if you are hardworking, if you study, you will generate value. if you generate value, you can have high living standards. on the other hand if you party, if you drop out of school, if you spend like crazy and don't care about the future, you will lose money, and end up being a bum.

          which is exactly what we want. we want our personal actions and choices to matter. we want good decisions to be rewarded, and bad decisions punished.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: @Kriztian your world view is too narrow. Its a cultural world view, and its extraordinarily narrow. This is a problem for me when discussing politics with you. Your ideology is clearly defined by a Western paradigm. Even more narrow than that, a 19thc Austrian paradigm.

          Re your cheeky comment re 'forcing' and 'agreement'. Nice try but sorry, no cigar. Do I have an agreement to pay my rent? Or am I forced to pay my rent? I can choose not to pay my rent, but if I do not pay my rent, I will be forced to pay quite a severe penalty instead therefore it is not a free choice is it. Its coercion, or to use another word 'force'.

          Your use of the idea 'free choice' in these transactions, is just a way to sugar coat the use of force inherent in your ideology. If you want to embrace anarchy, go right ahead, I am all for it. No property ownership, no rent, no interest, no profit. Sounds like a compassionate experiment in human equality to me. I bet you hate the idea and why? I think you are in love with the idea of a five storey yacht and it is this worship of 'material success' that colours your judgement.

          Success/fulfillment/happiness comes in many forms, when it is felt on a real level, it usually has little to do with material gain.

          When we worship material gain, its in response to some kind of inner fear. Usually an inner insecurity at the root of it. This is something that can be cured with meditation and/or therapy.
      • Apr 22 2012: @ Joanne

        You don't get it. Labor, rent and so on is a free choice. When I do not like where I live or who I work for I will leave of my own free will. Whether it is the right decision to make is irrelevant, it is my dicision.

        Forcing someone to live somewhere or work somewhere is slavery. Is that what you want to do?

        By the way, there has to be a government. I have never said there should be no government. Without a government then some powerful private entity or country will fill the void. You should re-read some of my posts and apply your intellect instead of dismissing them.

        Something I tell smart kids with potential, "The day you quit thinking you are so smart will be the day you realize how little you know and finally start learning."

        I do realize you are a proponant of Socialistic government because of your own nature. That is okay. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, plus it helps those like me to have an adversary to prove our point.
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2012: "By the way, there has to be a government."

          at least that is the common opinion. however, it is just an assumption, and its foundation is not too strong.

          in my view, each and every role of the government should be reviewed and scrutinized. if it proves itself unnecessary, we should take that function away. whether anything remains that can not be provided better by freely cooperating people is an open question. i don't think that we can find strong arguments that something can not possibly be provided this way much better than the government way.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: @William, you are a slave, because you believe this: " Labor, rent and so on ...(are) a free choice".

          You live inside the 'freedom box' and you dont even realise it. Worse than the fact you live in slavery, you advocate for your slave masters. You can't even understand a word I am saying, can you.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2012: William and Krisztian, nicely said.
      Thank you.
  • May 16 2012: Great dialogue! Your passion for healthy human social existence is your commonality. It is clear to me the main protagonists on this page are operating on different levels of conscious awareness, or systems of core values. Look at the model of existence known as Spiral Dynamics to elucidate that comment... google it.
    As for the whole socialist/capitalist conversation I have to side with Joanne because there never has been and never will be a true free market, at least until we have matured enough as a species to practice anarchy (Nod to Orlando.). I am from Canada and I am grateful for our mild socialist practices like affordable, accessible healthcare. Looking around the world it seems clear that the highest qualities of lives averaged out across a nation favours at least the acknowledgement that there are services we as civilized societies can receive better through some structure of governance. I think William does a good job of describing some of the roles a government can reasonably provide. I like his idea about more power divested to states with the migration being the incentive against things getting too weird or unsavoury, BUT he doesn't take the idea far enough. In my opinion the entire globe should be politically divided into "states" that answer to a world governance council made up of representatives of those states. The same freedoms of diversity would apply but we could do away with all the horrendous consequences of that, as Einstein called it, "infantile disease of nationalism". Before someone gets worked up about a world government let me add that if we want to mature as a species on a beautiful and biodiverse world we will have to one day begin to develop political structures that reflect the reality of our planet, its weather, its renewable resources, its panoply of life; those things that care not a whit for our ethnocentric and divisive human contrivances.
    My last thought in this post is: "Take your canvas bags to the supermarket! Thanks.
    • thumb
      May 16 2012: people, help me out here, because i'm going crazy. please someone explain to me how could that statement that "free markets never existed" constitute as an argument? similar arguments could have been used to support slavery or oppose women's suffrage. we never had a world without slaves, so slavery is needed. women never had right to vote, so they can't ever have. this argument not only lacks any logical basis, but basically it denies the entire human history.

      please note that i didn't say it was your only argument. but it was one of your arguments, and i would like to cross that one out once and for all already.
  • thumb
    Apr 24 2012: @Orlando Hawkins

    "First things first, how in the world is: No property ownership, no rent, no interest, no profit, coercive?"

    easy to show. suppose i have 10 gold coins. joe asks me to lend him the 10 gold coins, so he can buy a tool, and make more revenue. i agree to that if he gives back 11 gold coins one year from now. he agrees to that arrangement. what now? can anyone step up, and stop us? on what grounds? who? if you stick to being non-coercive, you have to accept that some people sometime will have such agreements.

    "I would even go as far as to say anarcho-capitalism is really not anarchism"

    this is certainly true. but what is your point? it is only a name, you need to understand the meaning. anarcho-capitalism has no widely accepted name. libertarianism is claimed by left-wing liberals. anarcho- prefix is claimed by left-anarchists. voluntaryism is claimed by crackpots who believe they can "tune" (see dark city). so we are really robbed blind of all names we came up with. maybe classical liberalism is the right term? but not accurate, because a lot of things were simply unknown in the 18th century, we are certainly different today. so i'm going with anarcho-capitalism, and i'm sorry if any anarchists are offended. but word similarity is not enough to object.
    • thumb
      Apr 24 2012: Ok, I see where this is going:

      It all depends on environment they are in. If they are in a communist (in the sense of community) sort of society, then there are certain principles (and some places laws) that would prevent this from happening (and if it is incapable of preventing, there would be repercussions). Upon my research many anarchist communities have federations or councils that would also discuss such issues if it were to occur, but I would even go as far as to argue that the motive of Joe not paying you back would be decreased given that I think such a motive only exist depending on the circumstance. If the resources are there, there would be no reason Joe to do such a thing.

      In spite of this response, I do not think this is what your referring to: you have brought up a Zero-Sum game, which never have a clear answer to..if Joe and yourself were the only ones around, then, I see your point in regards to coercion but I do not think this is what myself, Joanne or anyone who values anarchism would ever refer to.

      As for your second point, as you rightly pointed out I really have no point to it. You sort of already addressed this and even though, you, Joanne and myself are well-aware of everything you mentioned in regards to anarcho-capitalism, people who do not know anything about anarchism, may get the wrong impression but nonetheless you were honest enough to address that issue so I have nothing to add.
      • thumb
        Apr 24 2012: principles don't prevent anything. only people does. your councils are coercive agencies that interfere with people's conscious choices. how is it different than today's states?

        you got lost somewhere about that zero sum idea. what i explained is a simple exchange between two individuals. how would that imply zero sum? it exactly works in a society. interest is decided on the market, just as price is. there are a number of people willing to lend money on different interest rates. and there are a number of people willing to take money at a certain interest rate. pairs will find each other. and if the market is liquid enough, soon, a "usual" interest rate will emerge naturally. this is the interest rate at which the money available for borrowing is the same as money demanded. at lower interest rate, demand will be higher than the offerings. at higher interest rate, supply will be bigger than demand.

        you are welcome not participating in this game. if you only take money at interest rate zero, you need to find partners for it. but this should not be binding for me. i have different views, and i want to live by those views.
        • thumb
          Apr 25 2012: Kristian, I would be happily go along with removing all 'coercive agencies that interfere with people's conscious choices'. Except along with govt agencies we would have to include banks, any company that uses marketing, and many landlords.
        • thumb
          Apr 27 2012: Principles/beliefs have everything to do in regards to how someone acts.

          The councils are not designed to interfere with the lives of everyone within that community. It allows for a place in which people can talk about issues that are going on and find ways to maximize the well-being of everyone. It is far from utopia being that we are all human but nonetheless, it is free and participatory and this is far better than what we have now.

          We are not talking about interest rates here(in regards to the scenario between you and Joe). Interest would be something that would not even exist in an anarchist society. Money might but it would not function in the way that we are accustomed to. In regards to Zero Sum your scenario in the way that you describe was exactly that. your gain and/or lost and therefore your well-being was contingent upon Joe paying back the money he owed you.

          Krisztian, Joanne and I have the exact same concerns as you do in regards to coercive institutions. The only difference is you want to still have banks and the market system around, which is odd being that these institutions are in themselves, as Joanne pointed out, Coercive.
      • thumb
        Apr 27 2012: so the councils can not order anything? then what those "repercussions" you have mentioned would be? stick to our example. i have 10 gold, i give it to joe on the condition that he gives back 11. what does your council do?

        how banks are coercive? how corporations are coercive? if you don't need their products or services, you just don't buy them. if you get a letter from walmart, you will be afraid, worried about what it might be? companies compete to serve you. not very scary.
  • thumb
    Apr 23 2012: @Joanne Donovan

    "your world view is too narrow. Its a cultural world view"

    for example: do not initiate aggression against a fellow man. do not take or damage his property. this is cultural? you think there are any circumstances in which such actions are moral?

    "Do I have an agreement to pay my rent? Or am I forced to pay my rent?"

    see? you proved again that you can't tell apart coercion from cooperation. you have a contract to pay your rent. no coercion here. if you don't pay, you committed aggression against the lender's property. you are the thief in that situation. we always have to look for agreements of mutual consent, or the lack of it. adult people can do anything with mutual consent. but nothing without it.

    "If you want to embrace anarchy, [...] No property ownership, no rent, no interest, no profit."

    yeah, that is the usual anarchist view. not my view. it is coercive, as it forbids actions of mutual consent. i am an anarcho-capitalist. anarchists used to hate us more than they hate kings.

    "I think you are in love with the idea of a five storey yacht and it is this worship of 'material success' that colours your judgement."

    nice imagery. five story yacht is pretty low on my list of wanted things though. but if someone has it on the first place, why would i care?

    "Success/fulfillment/happiness comes in many forms"

    this is my position, not yours. i'm not telling other people what to do. you do.

    "when it is felt on a real level, it usually has little to do with material gain."

    see? you try to tell other people that they should not go after material gain. fine, if you are educating them. not fine if you try to stop them.

    "This is something that can be cured with meditation and/or therapy."

    this is becoming scary, actually. you would make a fine dictator. a remembered one. infamous.
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2012: Krisztian. You should understand Orwellian-speak better than anyone. In political terms(i.e. in terms of social POWER DISTRIBUTION) terms 'contract', 'mutual consent' are oxymorons, just like 'freedom box'.

      You are smart enough to undestand this. I can only assume there is another reason you refuse to accept the distinction. I think I already mentioned my opinion in that regard. 'five storey yacht' is a metaphor.

      I have to take issue with this; 'you try to tell other people that they should not go after material gain. fine, if you are educating them.' May I remind you, it is you who thought to 'educate' a Kalahari bushmen about austrian economics, (shudder). Its you who evangelise.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: you finally nailed it perfectly right. if i make a contract with a bank or with a cellphone company, or i shop in a supermarket, this is a real contract. but a contract between a government and a citizen is not in fact a contract. there is no mutual consent in the "social contract". and this is my point. government by its nature is immoral, because it is not based on mutual consent between individuals.

        wow again. first you mix coercion with contract. now you can't tell apart telling others what to do, and educate them? the difference is exactly the same. education is not coercive (except if government provides, of course). if you don't want to hear what i have to say, you don't have to. that is education. if you listen, but you choose to not follow, it is up to you. if i force you live by some standards i see right, that is not education. that is ruling.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Ok I was going to sit on the sidelines until I saw your comments about anarchism:

          First things first, how in the world is: "
          "No property ownership, no rent, no interest, no profit" coercive?

          Secondly, how does it forbade mutual consent? how do you think bartering operates?

          I would even go as far as to say anarcho-capitalism is really not anarchism and should not be included in any anarchist system but that is just my opinion on the issue.

          nonetheless, I'd love to hear your response because they are flabbergasting on all accounts.
        • thumb
          Apr 24 2012: Hi Krisztian; ' 'if i make a contract with a bank or with a cellphone company, or i shop in a supermarket, this is a real contract... there is no mutual consent' . Why is one any more or less coercive than the other? You may have little choice which nation you live in, you may also have little choice whether or not you pay interest, or rent, or work for wages.

          You cant have it both ways and you know it. Either you are against coercive relationships, , and they are all 'immoral' in which case I welcome you (on behalf of others) to the anarchist community, or you do not.

          It is not logical, i.e, it does not fit with a process of reason, to say in principe you do not accept the zero or little choice one has when it comes to the rule of govt, but that you are willing to accept a similarily coercive relationship with say, a bank. Either such relationships are immoral or not. Well Krisztian, which is it?
      • thumb
        Apr 24 2012: yeah, joanne, i'm pretty sure by now that you have trouble identifying aggression.

        suppose X has a flat, and rents it out to Y at an agreed upon price of 200 per week. at the end of the first week, Y does not pay. what happened? the rental contract is at this point becomes broken, violated. since Y did not comply with it, he illegally used the flat for a week. that is a damage made to the property, since the legal user could not use it as he pleased. X rightfully drops him out of property even with force (since Y violates his property rights) and in addition he can seek ways to extract 200 from Y as a compensation for his losses. in this case, Y is the violator and X only defends his rights.

        we need to do similar analysis in each case. we should not condemn aggression per se. but the initiation of aggression. force as a response to force is acceptable.

        btw i start to see that the lack of that insight permeates the occupy movement and the greek protests too. a greek protester said "as a consequence to our government's actions, i will be forced to take a second job": careful analysis reveals that there is no coercion behind that "forced". it is just a weird use of the word. circumstances "force" her, not any persons.
        • thumb
          Apr 25 2012: Krisztain, so you are clearly saying that violence and coercion aka 'force' are ok under a special set of circumstances. So as I understand you, you do not abhor force and violence, in fact you welcome or accept, 'justifiable' force. But there is a specific kind of agression we do not like, and that is the INITIIATION of agression, i.e., someone else has to start the process of violence first before we can find violence acceptable. Yes I understand. Its, hypocritical and illogical but I understand.

          So what we need now is a thing called a 'contract' which gives us this fabulous 'get out of jail free card' when it comes to force and violence. I see why you advocate this idea, its perfect, provided you are one of the wolves.

          To speak allegorically; Anarcho capitalist are like wolves who use teamwork to corale the sheep into pen with a sign over the gate,'those who enter here agree to be eaten upon departure.'

          Circumstance makes 'force' but not people? Do you understand the concept of exploitation?
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2012: you are just muddying the waters. "special circumstances" are exactly described in this case, and it is to prevent or reverse the effects of aggression. i repeatedly told you, but you don't seem to listen, that i oppose the initiation of force. how would that be hypocritical is beyond me. it is the simplest and most humanistic thing ever.

        contract has nothing to do with force. violation of a contract is force. that is the part that is not obviously visible, and you need to think like 5 minutes to see it. alas, some people are not about to invest that much, even after someone explains it to them.

        but here is another attempt: if you use my property under a certain condition, and you then don't fulfill that condition, you robbed me of my property rights. if i say you can live in my flat if you pay a sum, and you don't pay a sum, you can't live there. if it is about the future, i can prevent it with force. if it happened already, i'm entitled to take the stolen good back, or if it is not possible, get some compensation. i'm not committing aggression here. i'm the one correcting it.
        • thumb
          Apr 25 2012: What Krisztian, you do not like the conclusion you must draw (using a process of logic) from YOUR OWN words? 'we should not condemn aggression ... but the initiation of aggression. force as a response to force is acceptable.' What is 'muddy' about that? Crystal clear. Your faith is pro-violence, just accept it and move on.

          Now you want to try and justify your violent ideology by plugging away at the concept of a 'contract' as an entity that if violated, can justify the use of violence. The 'He who violates a 'contract' has ASKED for it' argument.

          In your ideology, one group holds power and gets to weild it against another group using an entity called a 'contract'. Violence/force is not only allowed but also expected in examples of violation of 'contracts'. It sounds like a violent, grossly unfair, nay savage way of thinking to me.
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2012: actually what are we talking about here? you try to explain my own world view to me? unnecessary, i know it.

        yes, i believe that initiation of aggression is bad. aggression in order to prevent it or remedy it is fine.

        you can occupy the position that any sort of aggression is unacceptable. i don't know what is your plan for the case if someone violates that rule, but it is not the point. the point is, in this topic we discuss the role of government. either you accept force as means of defense against force, or not, you still should refuse governments do as a normal mode of operation. so we seem to be on the same platform here, governments initiate force, thus immoral.
        • thumb
          Apr 27 2012: Krisztian. At least you finally admit your political ideology advocates the use of force or agression. I have 'heard' you speak many times against govt because of the use of force against the will of private citizens. I do not see why your system would be any improvement in this regard. Do you think it is any more pleasant being thrown in prison by a landlord or your boss, instead of a judge? If you take the stance that violence, or force is immoral, then this position is in direct conflict with your own anarcho/capitalist ideology, is it not?

          No govt is not immoral. Its the only thing standing between you and the greedy and ruthless of this world. Make members of govt more accountable through proportional representation, remove the corrupting influence of business and their lobbyists, set a ceiling on the amount of money a candidate seeking election can spend so elections actually become democratic. Do all these things and it will start to work just fine.
      • thumb
        Apr 27 2012: advocates? where did i say that? question: if nobody initiates aggression, what the resulting level of aggression will be? that is what i advocate. but we should not live in a dreamworld. some people do initiate aggression. we need to stop them. it is not that difficult actually. that is the only logical standpoint. it minimizes aggression, while being realistic. statist solution is an initiation of force against people who didn't do anything wrong. non-violence principles only work if everyone follows them.

        without government, business has no "corrupting influence", because there is nobody to bribe. where are the lobbyists now? damn right, they are in washington. ruling is the real problem, lobby is just one of the many negative side effects of it.
        • thumb
          Apr 28 2012: Krisztian, I do not really disagree (in principle) with the 'anarcho' part of your ideology. Its the 'capitalist' part that is pure evil. You did not answer my question. Care to have another go? 'Do you think it is any more pleasant being thrown in prison by a landlord or your boss, instead of a judge?' So by what grounds is law under your anarcho/capitalism model more moral than rule by democratic govt? (don't pull out that 'free choice' card, I refuted that about four posts back).
      • thumb
        Apr 28 2012: i'm not sure there would be prisons in an anarchocapitalist society. but for the sake of it assume there would. being thrown into jail is exactly designed to be unpleasant. it is a punishment. it is a defense mechanism against people that are not willing to follow the only one rule: do not initiate aggression.

        anarcho capitalist model is moral because its principle is the non-aggression principle, which means that the only crime is initiating aggression. that is the best possible attitude. not having coercion at all is not a real world option. there always will be some people who fall for the temptation, and commit aggression. we will need aggression to stop these people.
        • thumb
          Apr 28 2012: O.k. Krisztian. Good. The card is on the table. Lets not 'muddy the waters' by stating the obvious: ' being thrown into jail is exactly designed to be unpleasant. it is a punishment.'It is perfectly clear to both what prison is used for, and that it is violent. Otherwise you would not be claiming it is immoral when the state performs this act. The flaw in your idea is, if it is an immoral act, then it is immoral whoever performs it and you cannot create 'justification' just by naming it so.

          My question regarding this was 'So...(why) is law under your anarcho/capitalism model more moral than rule by democratic govt?'. You have replied (sort of) 'it is a defense mechanism against people that are not willing to follow the only one rule' . So because you relable your (theoretical) acts of violence as 'defense mechanisms' they shift from being immoral acts to moral acts? With a simple lable we can create justification? Are you willing to stand for this notion?
      • thumb
        Apr 28 2012: when did i say that the state is evil because puts people in jail?

        i don't know how many times i have to repeat. in my view, *initiating* aggression is wrong. for example putting someone in jail for smoking marijuana. that is initiation of aggression. putting someone in jail is not per se initiation of aggression. it can be prevention of aggression as well, depending on the case.

        yeah, in my book self defense and crime prevention is not immoral. i really can't add anything to that. if you want to live in a world in which self defense using force is not moral, well, good luck with it, advocate that. i don't think it is a good idea, so count me out.
      • thumb
        Apr 29 2012: these are non-sequitur. last time we were talking about self defense, and suddenly, some quasi-philosophy with no relation to that at all. and you get detached from reality so much it is hard to believe. free market as tyranny, non-aggression theorem as religion, the less aggressive political system as brutal, my birthplace yet again, which you apparently know nothing about, i was a little kid during socialism, and for a good 22 years we have the same social-democracy as any european country. nothing of this makes sense, and especially not related to the topic we were discussing.

        but my biggest problem is that i have answered all of these points already. goto 10? whenever you don't have answers, you just restart the conversation at an earlier stage, like reloading a computer game to an earlier savepoint.
        • thumb
          Apr 30 2012: We are mud slinging again. This is where a moderator comes in and removes a few posts.....I await your reform to a more compassionate and intelligent political philosophy. Adieu.
  • thumb
    Apr 21 2012: I always feel that a government has only one primary purpose - to occupy the dominant power niche - by whatever territorial boundary defined for that niche.TO acquit that function the government might be any of a number of models - so long as it maintains itself as the dominant power.
    When we talk of democracies, we talk of a power model that is accountable to the people of the territory.
    This requires continuous audit and tests of representation.
    By that definition, there is no true democracy. It has, in the past, been adminstratively impossible for any structure larger than a tribe.
    With ubiquitous communication, we might have a chance to upgrade that a little, but it will be at odds with the prime directive of all government - to occupy power .. so it will resist any divestiture.
    You eventually get a dictatorship, or some form of totalitarianism as governments drift into their most efficient primary mandate.
    As government drifts from popular support, it creates underground niches that become occupied by rival power cells. This creates a structure of feudal warlord subcommunities that the dominant power integrates into the business of governance. At that point, the government conceals the activities of warlords to prevent loss of confidence from the populace. This polarises pollitical discourse into "window dressing" and "those things we don't talk about". You start seeing the rise and rise of secrecy.
    AS secrecy blossoms, the disparate warlords are granted much greater lattitude to operate under the official covers.
    At a certain point, the competing warlords will coalesce into the new dominant power.
    Being military based, it will not be remotely democratic.
    Following that, the concentration of power into a few individuals gives rise to palace coups and revolts.
    During that period the state is rendered incapable of national defence and is invaded by neighboring nations in order to contain the dammage to their own concerns.
    ANd around it all goes again.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2012: Mitch, I think you hit on the core of the problem that we're having in the USA. That we have lost our 4th estate (the press) to corporate ownership (how do you call-out the guy who signs your pay-check when he doesn't want to hear it?) and as a result have lost the ability to audit our government. As we all have this discussion i think of the points raised by the book "Animal Farm". I think the core problem is that those "in power" here are taking our rights by small steps. Each one not large enough in itself to cause revolution, but in aggregate the net result is that we no longer have any "rights".
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: My observations are based on life experience of teh bifurcation of political discourse in my own country.
        I learned some very revealing things about warlords. FOr instance, I learned that prostitution in my state was being administered by the police. I also learned that the paramilitary motorcycle gangs were being administered by the Hells Angels as a secret police being used by government to limit potential power rivals of teh government - specifically in teh power-incubation environments of ghettos.
        The corporate dimension is a third force - Corporations are dictatorships. They are Feudal by nature. Government uses anti-trust to control them through competition. COmpetition has nothing to do with prices or progress, it is all about "keeping them fighting amongst themselves".
        GLobalism frees the corporation from competition because there is no global governance.
        THus the gloabl corporation is now far more effective than any single government.
        The fourt force is now the internet. The citizens of teh net now far outnumber any single nation state. The nation states are desparately trying to fragment the fourth force - because it is the only true democratic organ on the planet right now. This is the reason we now see conflict over access (government cyber warfare) and IP/Copyright treaties (corporate cyber warfare).
        Humanity has a chance to re-insate full democratic occupation of teh global power niche - we just need to keep promoting cyber-unity. REsist the IP and access attacks.
        At this time, the meta-creatures - government, warlords and corporations are at war with humanity.
        We could strike them all down in a single stroke: Remove the recognition of the "legal person" (artificial person) from all statutes of law - leaving only the natural person as an instrument of responsibility (power).
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: YOu know, it would not take so much to establish teh global government of teh net.
        By establishing and promoting a global cyber government, we could attract citizens to pledge alleigence - and then administer all nation states by exerting global capital and labour strikes to enforce compliance to democratic global edict.
        Once the corporations and governments fall under popular control, that leaves only the task of a cyber-judiciary to globaly police cyber-crime (warlords). LAck of global overview is the only thing that allows the cyber criminal to operate (jurisdictional conflicts).

        It's pretty much a done deal - with the wikipedia, Anonymous, Google, Facebook .. just needs to be knitted together. To do that will need a constitution - issuing a global wiki-currency would allow for administrative funding. Then the wiki-union could be set up to garner votes on issues for global implementation.
        Beyond teh power to withdraw labour and capital .. would we need a wiki-police?
  • Apr 20 2012: To add to previous.

    Keep in mind that suffering is purely based upon perspective. For some to not make their own way in life is suffering too. To be a burden upon someone else is suffering for some. Not have the opportunity to fail is disasterous for many.

    Human nature is not designed to be coddled and then expected to thrive. There must be hardships and suffering for us to learn and flourish.

    All we have to do is look at the average young adult who is not working and living at home with their parents. Look at those young adults who's parents do not make them work around the house or pay their own way while living at home. A young adult that puts themselves in this situation is destroying their own spirit, and they are denying themselves a great opportunity to build character which will help them later in life. The parent is coddling them and not allowing them to learn to be accountable, which is hard but necessary.

    Compassion is burdened with as much irresponsibility as it motivates good deeds. Compassion can be very destructive to the human spirit leaving behind only a shell of a being to never enjoy their potential which life had to offer. Life is not supposed to be easy.

    Thank you for engaging in a conversation,

    W.P. Baldwin
    • thumb
      Apr 20 2012: William

      Yes I was being flippant, tongue in cheek.

      We are on the same page.
  • thumb
    Apr 18 2012: Speaking solely about the U.S. political system here:

    I agree with your initial question and the following comments that you made but I do not think this can be achieved by simply communicating with out governmental officials. The politicians rarely discuss matters with their people. Protest are mostly thought to be people complaining. Writing to our congress man or woman rarely does anything. I agree that things need to change but this is not going to happen incrementally.
    • thumb
      Apr 19 2012: So... Revolution? Or is there a way we can get to where We The People want to be using "swarm" groups like Occupy and Rebuild the Dream?
      • thumb
        Apr 21 2012: Well, it seems to be the only thing that will contribute to reform. I mean piling policy upon policy and continuously electing a new president that only seeks to serve the interest of their buddies at the top does not seem like a very good method if we are talking about how we can transform the government into looking out for the well-being of its people.

        To modify the government into looking out for the interest of the people would require some huge changes within the system and change is what most people are afraid of. These politicians and businessmen (and women) want nothing more than to maintain the power that they have. If you have the entire country in the palm of your hand are you really willing to throw it away or share with others? This is exactly the type of thinking most of those in power have. Why would they give up what they have if they are benefiting off it so much.

        So yes, a revolution seems to be the only alternative but this then begs the question? How effective would such a revolution be and how will this come about? and with these two questions I am now stuck in ignorance because I do not know whats the next step beyond this and this is sort of my biggest fear with the occupy protest because the end game does not seem clear. Is the goal to improve our democratic and capitalistic system or is it to transform the system all together?

        personally I think the "Dream" is dead and we have all killed it, so rebuilding it is out the question.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: I have much more faith in the people of this country. Remember that ALL of the major media outlets are rigged mouthpieces for the multi-national corporations. They do NOT report even-handedly on the successes of Occupy, 99%, Rebuild the Dream, etc. The President is just a figure-head. (but we did finally get rid of that twit bush jr.) The work starts NOW with all of us educating ourselves on the games and rhetoric (and lies) used by the republican (and democratic) zealots, and how to respond to that rhetoric. Then we EACH need to teach that to as many folks as we can reach. Then we need to elect those who support our ideals in action on a local and state level. We do have a chance if we do this the way it was done in the 1960s... With kindness, love, and joy. I do not think revolt will work as the government has the big weapons (look to the middle-east for the results of that).
          Did you know that this past year (2011/12) over 1,660,000 moved their accounts out of big banks and into credit unions? We (all of us) have killed our democracy with our complacency and, passive complicity, but that does not need to be the end of the story. Be educated and educate. I don't know you from Adam but, I like what I see of your heart. Keep the faith.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: I agree with some of the statements that you mentioned as I am well aware of the disinformation that the media presents to the public as well.

        I like your idea about learning about the political rhetoric and then education those who do not. That is brilliant!

        I think we only have one disagreement: now don't get me wrong, I really do hope the people in this country will wake up, as they have but I think the problem this:

        1) the system has been designed in a way as to pit people to against their interest: for example, I understand that many people who want to join the occupy protest can't because they have other priorities such as family, work, school, etc. Its not that their priorities are not important but this is the problem because many people do not have the leisure time to engage ins other activities as if they do want to catch up on what's going on in their local communities, they will turn to Fox News, which of course is a problem in itself. And your right the work starts NOW.

        Just out of curiosity, do you really think our country is a democracy? On the surface it seems so but do you actually think it is?

        and no I did not know about the people, who have taken their money out of banks and put them in credit unions. That is great news! Thanks for your input
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2012: Orlando, the "system" isn't rigged, or at least not in the way you describe. The problem is that we are supposed to have a constitutional democracy (government by the people, for the people) formed as a Republic. This has been twisted by mega-corporations into a cleptocracy and an oligarchy (rule by a select few for the select few). The worst of it is that our 4th estate (our alarm bell or canary) is now owned by these corporations and there has been NO ONE to raise the cry (until Occupy and the 99%). We had lost our canary in the mine some 30 years ago, and didn't even know it. Americans as a group are some of the kindest, most giving folks on the planet, but we get complacent and don't respond well to conditions that are not "an emergency". Faux News is a LARGE part of the problem. Over the years I have watched them lie, consistently, loudly, and repeatedly to defeat any viewpoint which threatens their corporate master. In legal structure we ARE a democracy (this is our only saving grace right now), in practical application we are being dragged into a cleptocracy (by the thieves, for the thieves). For the first time in our history, with the Bush tax cuts, corporations pay the LOWEST tax rates... Historically they have always paid the highest rates.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: Even if my assertion about the U.S. political system is incorrect,

        I do not think anyone can deny the fact that people, when it comes to reform, have a choice to make: fulfill ones individual interest or fulfill the interest in the whole.

        Weather or not things were designed in this way may not be the important point here but the fact that this conflict of interest by the public only serves and help those in power, I do not think can be ignored, let alone refuted.

        I would honestly have to disagree with a statement you made:

        "The worst of it is that our 4th estate (our alarm bell or canary) is now owned by these corporations and there has been NO ONE to raise the cry (until Occupy and the 99%)"

        While I do agree with your statements about corporate influence, I would have to argue that these issues have been opposed by many people throughout U.S. history. I honestly do not think there is anything new or special about the occupy movement. The things that the occupy movement talk about have been stated many times by many people. The only difference is that the public has finally accepted what these people have stated all along. At first notions of the U.S. being a cleptocracy would have been a conspiracy a few years ago. Now they are established as fact.

        everything else I agree with.
  • Apr 18 2012: 1) The Role of the Government is to represent the will of the people in an organized and effective manner.

    2) Our government often times over steps it's boundaries for various reasons (i.e. CIA, NSA, Prohibition).

    3) The duty of a Government to its people, other than representation of the will of the people, is to ensure the continued safety and well being of its citizens.

    4) Exercise your freedom to vote, and don't keep electing the same useless talking heads over and over. Do some real homework in regards to the selection of our leadership, and stop letting the media do your thinking for you. Hold our leadership accountable for their actions, and require at least some measure of excellence out of the people whom are chosen. Stop electing Lawyers and career politicians, and instead turn to the scientists, engineers, philosophers and artists within our society. Stay out of the personal lives of the people who run, and we might actually see some candidates step forward whom are worthy and capable of the job. No one worth electing is going to be stupid enough to put themselves through the pointless crucible of public opinion, and that just leaves the people who are willing to lie through their teeth and pretend to be something they are not just to get the job. Basically, if it does not concern the welfare of the country, or the discussion of policy, or abuse of power and position; keep your nose out of it. It's none of your business. Otherwise, don't be surprised when the people whom were willing to lie to get the job, are willing to lie to you about other things.
  • Apr 16 2012: In the case of the United States, their government has been completely poisoned by their own political culture. I think that this can't be forgotten when you access the state of the US government. To answer the questions:

    1. To represent and protect the interests of their citizens is a good short hand definition I'd say.
    2. If you go by my definition than 100% yes and this should be obvious to anybody.
    3. To ensure/protect basic individual rights under law; represent the greater interest for all their citizens (not just some)
    4. I think the internet and new communications technologies clearly are enabling citizens to hold governments more accountable and I think things are moving to this. "Coding a better Government"
  • thumb
    Apr 16 2012: 1 The one that works the best which has been proven to work is the rule of law and a national defense or the U.S. style of a Republic.

    2 For the last 100 years and for the last 50-60 blown them away

    3 A rule of law and a national defense

    4 Get ourselves educated and educate in these matters which in the case of the U.S. is deplorable.

    I highly encourage you to first realize that there is something to know about this subject and secondly know that you don't know it (which will put you in the upper quin tile on this subject) and to spend a little time doing this FREE course:

    http://www.hillsdale.edu/constitution/

    Remember group thinking is your enemy.
    • thumb
      Apr 16 2012: Pat, Thanks for that. There is a huge amount to know and most citizens don't know any of it... I suspect that mine was the last generation to be taught the Constitution in any useful form. I love your link and am going for a refresher course. The key question remains, "How can we act to require our governments to become more moral (ie: congruent)?
      • thumb
        Apr 16 2012: And the key answer is:

        Get ourselves educated and educate in these matters which in the case of the U.S. is deplorable.

        In other words I have met the enemy and he is us.
  • thumb
    Apr 16 2012: we have five questions, one in the title, another four in the text.

    to the top question: no. we appoint the government. we don't any discussion with it. we should be able to simply tell them what to do. they don't have a say.

    1. in the most general terms, anything that people let them to do. if most people are convinced that bombing iraq is an acceptable idea, they can do that. there is nothing any more moral or fundamental than this.

    2. not sure, and you will observe within months how the current president gets reelected.

    3. same as 1.

    4. vote according to your principles. never vote to someone who severely violated them. teach others about the issues. don't let them get away with it.
    • thumb
      Apr 16 2012: Krisztian, In your answer you say that we should be able to simply tell the government what to do...In theory, I think you are correct in that assessment. In practice, the problem is that in the USA all of our "mainstream" media is owned or controlled by the very corporations who have bought our government "representatives" through campaign contributions, and most if not all so-called "news" is actually spin-control by those corporations. The other problem in practice is that the US has a little thing called the "Patriot Act" under which the president or his designee may lock up someone without trial (or an attorney) on the basis of an allegation that s/he is a threat to national security.

      My intent in the questions is to draw some of our best thinkers (TED) into a discussion of "where do we go from here?" and " how do we get there?"
      • thumb
        Apr 16 2012: if the government is not willing to accept instructions from us, it will also not engage in honest conversation.

        my solution is as i stated: teach others. and of course, think.
        • Apr 18 2012: I agree with your solution Krisztian. The people must be awakened from their slumber of apathy and ignorance. That means teaching others and questioning everything.
        • thumb
          Apr 20 2012: Krisztian. 'teach others' do you mean indoctrinate them with your world view and sense of ethics? I thought you were against that? Think? Chance would be a fine thing, where some people are concerned however, that is a very patronising comment. You are assuming those who do not agree with you, do not think. I do not agree with you, and yet I also think. Can you accept that fact that other people/tribes/cultures do not share you world view, and that you do not own the only solution to the human dilemma?
      • thumb
        Apr 20 2012: joanne, no i don't mean. why do you ask if you had the impression that i'm against indoctrination? why is that a natural thought for you that i advocate something i condemn? it sounds weird.

        i claim the right to argue. i claim the possibility that i'm right. i will continue to argue as long as i'm not proven wrong. you are advised to do the same, and not hide behind "culture" or "tribe". these are just excuses for the intellectually lazy or those in the denial phase. you are either right or not. culture does not change it one bit.
        • thumb
          Apr 21 2012: So you deny you are the product of culture? Your inner drivers, your reasons for doing things your ideas, are completely devised through your powers of reason? Before you answer, I use the word 'culture' in a broad sense, nothing to do with national identity or skin colour, but instead a set of belief paradigms acquired through proximity. A set of subjective ideologies, not absolute truths.
  • May 15 2012: Tough questions you've posed! I am not very familiar with the structure and routine of the US Gov., however, I've worked for more than 20 yeare in the government of an "emergent" country. The first rule to have a good government is to have the right institutions, the second, that these insitututions are strong. Any country that have "heroes" instead public servants is doomed. Governments exists to protect the weakers from the abuse of the strongers. it shall provide Justice and equality ot oportunities. Treat unequally the unequals. In practical terms, goverments shall not be involved in anything that the civil society can do in a free-competition environment - it excludes all kind of monopolies, even the natural ones -. Finally, as far as I can comment, the way to force the government to act moraly is through the free press and genuine leadership (non-populist, no-demagogic). Democratic participation, through real involvement in policts - voting and participating - is so essential as long term expectations. Short term results are not about public governance.
    • thumb
      May 15 2012: Luciano

      Once again your over thinking it.

      The basic failure of government or any organization is in the quality control department as it disappears. Think of the free market as the quality control department of an organization the customer says I can get a better value over there so I going to buy over there. This is not a platitude but something that requires both parties to be accountable. This absolutely does not occur in government.

      What does occur is the tyranny of democracy crushing those who would like to participate in the free market and bloating government with unchecked growth and waste and burden.
      • May 16 2012: Well, if you see Democracy as tyranny, you probably didn't live under a real tyranny of a dictatorship. Believe in me, governments and corporations are much more complex and intertwined than it appears. I'm saying so because I have the experience of live and grown pu under a dictartorship, fight for democracy and, also, for having workon both sides of the bench : 22 years as a public servant and almost 10 as director of international companies. The democratic dialogue,based on free press and periodic elections, with all its imperfections, is still the best way to walk towards social justice and sustainability. Govenment people are no so powerfull as they wish and the market is not so free as all entrepreneurs wish. But believe in me, under a tyranny, a real one, the reality is the oposite. Finnaly, quality control is not a precise cartesian science, it is a procedure with targets hard to meet. In the end, people is what matters, so education and freedom are the main tools to improve any society. And society improvement is a long term goal, not an achievemnt for one's lifetime. Overthinking? Well... you tell me. Even so, I am just expressing a view based on real-world experience, commitmentand facts I've experienced. In government I've had the opportunity to work in the highest level of public policies formulation and implementation (in my own country and abroad, trhough bilateral cooperation programs and/or multilateral agencies programs). In the private sector, I've been involved with international corporations for almost 10 years, as senior officer. Believe in me there is no "basic failures", but basic difficulties, which is much more complex. Reality is not a cartesian plan with fix and known coordinates.
        • thumb
          May 16 2012: Tyranny is tyranny the result is equally bad. I suspect you do not understand the implications of a democratic tyranny as it is more subtle yet pervasive and absolutely not "the best way to walk towards social justice and sustainability."

          Quality control is difficult and requires constant monitoring, this is the down fall of all organizations. The problem is that in government quality control is completely ignored. The free market is the best quality control there is. No matter how much your ilk would like to tell people what is best for them no one is qualified to do that.
  • May 15 2012: Yes,there is need for a communual agreement on the roles and duties of government.
    Some governments still act as if they have been instituted to pursue the personal agenda of its top officials.
    There are countries where bad leaders are almost venerated or adored, as if it is their right to disregard the will of a mass of poor citizens.
    It could be dangerous to assume that everybody knows what it takes to build a successful society by good governance.
    I'm a Nigerian, and I think there is a higher proportion of thugs and riff-raffs in leadership position;a few people of intergrity are in government.
    A society needs to examine the role of government and citizen responsibilities in nation building.
  • Apr 30 2012: 1) What are the PROPER roles of a government?
    Whatever the body of those governed wish it to be.
    2) Has our (US) government over-stepped those boundaries?
    Yes, slavery, racism, and many others, but not ones you probably will to demote above.
    3) What are the duties of a government to its' citizens?
    Whatever it's citizenry wishes the government to be.
    4) How can we act to require our governments become moral (ie congruent)?
    By clearly giving them moral directions?

    Your questions are a bit misdirected because they aren't ethically involved questions.
    For example:
    Question one should be, What should be the proper role of government?
  • Apr 23 2012: @ Joanne

    Well, I must first clarify my understanding of what slavery is. Slavery is when an individual finds themselves in a position where they would be risking life and limb to escape that bondage.

    Therefore in modern day times those that find themselves in deep debt to banks, the government or another individual are enslaved. This does force them to work a job that they may hate. But who's fault is that?

    Did that individual have to own the fancy car, home and big screen tv or live in their particular area where the cost of living is high?

    Why didn't that individual not pay their taxes?

    Why did that individual put themselves in a position to owe another individual so much?

    You are going to have to answer my question, because I cannot get past the personal responsibility aspect that any individual is required to have in any society.

    If a person is living purely off of the land then they are a slave to the resources available to them. In certain parts of the country people will have to work harder to shelter, feed and water themselves; how is fairness adapted to that situation?

    If a person lives in a society where everyone has access to transportation and their basic needs without having to work for them, then nobody will have anything; because there will be nobody to maintain their tranportation or means for water nor grow and produce their food or build their shelter.

    Like I said earlier, "You are going to have to answer my question," because my simple mind just cannot get past personal responsibility.
  • Apr 23 2012: @ Joanne

    Slavery is but a perception. When I have my own business and can come and go as I please, that is as long as I fulfill my promises. Promises, responsibilities I freely chose to obligate myself to do because I like what I do.
    Yes, when I was young I felt like a slave quite often; we all put ourselves in this position now and then when we promise to do something for someone without thinking it through.

    Money does not mean that much to me, however money is merely a tool and by-product of what I love to do, but I stay away from debt; the biggest slave holder of all.

    In every system someone will be slaves, in your definition. People require, at a minimum, food, water and shelter to survive. Though, I would love it if everyone knew how to take care of themselves (growing and raising their own food, acquiring their own water and building their own shelter); I realize it would be a different society, but it is a society I could embrace and survive in. However, a society like this is unrealistic, because people are not born with the same talents, would be stealing food, water and shelter from others who could produce them, would kidnap weaker people to gather their food, water and build their shelters and the list goes on. If you state that there will be laws to prevent this then EVERYONE will be SLAVES to the laws.

    What kind of system do you believe in where there is no possibility of slavery?
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2012: @ William. At least you ask the question 'What kind of system do you believe in where there is no possibility of slavery'. If you begin to try to think of an answer, a whole new world will open up to you as it has for me.
  • thumb
    Apr 23 2012: @Joanne Donovan

    "Socialism is by definition mixed. Look it up."

    yes, ma'm. "wikipedia: Socialism /ˈsoʊʃəlɪzəm/ is an economic system characterised by social ownership and control of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy". see nothing mixed here.

    "it was probably a major drag in Hungary"

    this is some shameless degradation of my arguments. partial socialism is a drag in sweden, france, usa, etc. as i explained, and you didn't reply at all. northern european countries perform well, and that is why they can afford this high level of socialism. not vice versa. they would perform much better without it.

    "your comment on the 19th century American social system; you lose credibility with that idea"

    beware not losing it yourself.

    "1, Prosperity was acquired through the violation of the property rights of the nations already occupying the land."

    eer, uhm, in the 19th century??

    "2. Prosperity was acquired through slavery."

    eer, uhm, in the 19th century??

    "3. Prosperity was acquired through the exploitation of child labour and women's labour."

    eer, uhm, these things were natural since the dawn of man, and was eliminated gradually in the 19th century.

    "Frankly I think you were doing better with Somalia."

    that somalia argument is so old and so used. and so wrong. in somalia, we have warring candidates for power, not an area without power. interregnum between dictatorships is not freedom. this argument is so bad, i don't know maybe assuming bad intentions is warranted.
    • thumb
      Apr 23 2012: Cherry picking AGAIN Krisztian? Here is the very next two sentences in the article you cut and pasted '"Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises, common ownership, direct public ownership or autonomous state enterprises.[2] There are many variations of socialism and as such there is no single definition encapsulating all of socialism.[3] They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets versus planning, how management is to be organised within economic enterprises, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.[4'. But you knew this didn't you. Really, shame on you.

      Re this; 'partial socialism is a drag in sweden, france'. What's PARTIAL socialism? (see definition above) Its all socialism, including what you have in the U.S.A. Its mixed, as I said before. Try saying it more directly. Looking after our community, is a drag for those people (your slave masters) who do not like looking after their community. I feel its the opposite way around. Those who do not like to participate in their community are a BIG drag on the rest of us.

      From widi again; ' In the early 1800s, the new nation faced many controversial issues, such as slavery. During the 1800s, the United States gained much more land in the West and began to become industrialized', I think the indigenous peoples might not agree with your easy dismissal of the appropriation of their country.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: not remembering again your own position, joanne? you said that socialism is mixed "by definition". it seems that there is such an interpretation, among others. so not only socialism does not mixed "by definition", but also its primary meaning, unless you clarify, means pure socialism. fail.

        partial socialism is exactly one such clarification. because my intention is to be clear. unlike some other participants in the debate.

        if i say socialism does not work, i mean pure socialism. and i explain that partial socialisms, like social democracies with a free-ish market, can survive, and capitalism is the fuel they burn. it is clear. you didn't even try to talk about that. rather, you go sideways, and try to dissolve the meaning of words.

        you should attack the central point of my argument, which is, socialism does not add to progress, rather, it hinders it. the more socialism we have, the harder for the economy to function. that is always a tradeoff, even for those advocate it. only some less educated idealists call for socialism without limits. a serious person understands that without the free market, there is no cake to eat.

        so you have managed to assign the economic growth in the 19th century to the early years, though it happened mostly in the latest years. nice job. however, your quote is the refutation of your statement. it mentions industrialization as the engine. industrialization is not based on land. slavery and land is not the source of growth. industry is. technology is. and what other fact we need to confirm that other than in the 19th century slavery was ended, yet the economic growth didn't slow down, but accelerated.

        never confuse what happened in parallel with the cause. to establish causal relationship, one needs reasoning and logic. so i ask for those, instead of marxist propaganda.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Hi Krisztian, I have attacked and do attack the central point of your argument, but more of that later.

          For now, we do at seem to be finally establishing parameters. You cannot simply 'decide' socialism means one thing when in fact it means another. It means, if we take 'a simple dictionary' as a way of defining meaning; a mix or balance of social policy balanced against capitalist forces. 'capitalism is the fuel (we) burn.' to use your words. There is no PURE socialism, just as there is no PURE free market capitalism.

          IF PURITY is the cornerstone of your position, (I have criticised you before for dealing in absolutes) then I suggest you rethink.Now allow me once again, to attack the central point of your argument. (feel free to read no further, you have heard it all before)

          1. Socialism does not 'hold back progress' . It IS progress. It is the cornerstone of modern, compassionate, egalitarian civilisation. It is BY definition a restraint on the forces of capitalism, and this is the hallmark of a civilised developed society. WHEN it has been badly done (Hungary,if you will, East Germany, Stalin's Russia) its just a bad design. When its been well done, (New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, France, etc) we see statistically successful (perhaps no five story yachts though) communities.

          2.Re the 19th century. The reason you and I differ here, is because I do not assign 'success' in terms of economic growth alone. I look at a broad range of social factors. Slavery still existed until 1865 and I am sure most black people would say, well after that too, only it was not in law. The land robbery from indigenous was almost complete by then. Slave labour of women and children, commonplace. You cannot claim economic success of one group when it at the expense of another (several) groups. The fact that you try to will always place us at opposite ends of the debate.

          Don't call me a Marxist. I am not any kind of 'ist'. I think for myself.
      • thumb
        Apr 23 2012: sure there is pure capitalism. my previous metaphor was better. capitalism is the horse pulling the cart. the horse is very much okay without the cart. it is faster without it.

        socialism is "progress" in what sense? stealing is older than dirt. power is older than dirt. coercion is as old as history. giving it new names does not make it new. socialism done badly is simply a dictatorship disguised. it is not a cart. it is not a break pedal. it is a horrendous mass murdering madness. i'm not talking about that, and i tell you that like 5th time. i'm talking about the idea of socialism. and the kind of socialism mixes all around the world. how many more times you are going to ignore me? you are searching for excuses? how you can dismiss my statements without consideration? "the guy has bad memories, we should forgive him". i don't need that kind of talk, thank you. i didn't suffer in the dictatorship, i was a small child.

        so you say that in 1800, a peasant or a serf had a better life than a factory worker in 1880? do you think that life on the farms were any better? they worked less? the children didn't work?

        and again. it does not matter how many times you cite the indians or the slaves. it has nothing to do with growth. many other atrocities happened these days. but now we are looking for the cause of that success. and without taking the indians' land, without having slavery, the USA would still develop in an unprecedented rate that time. or should i tell you that northern social democracies are bad, because they result in mass murderers like breivik? this argument would be just as bad as yours.

        please note that i didn't call you marxist. i said you spread marxist propaganda. i don't care if you recite from a book, or came up with them yourself. what you say is marxism in its purest form. we call this marxism, sorry, he was first.
  • Apr 23 2012: @ Krisztian

    "By the way, there has to be a government."

    I have tried to figure out how a large nation like the United States would function without any government at all. The problem I see is an individual with the resources would fill the void as the people's protector, and you know
    how easily great power alters even the best intentioned person. If there is no means for the people to remove such an individual short of bloodletting then we are not advancing civilization much beyond what it has been for thousands of years.

    It would not be near as difficult to scrutinize a central government that was limited to only protecting its nation's borders, rather than a central government that is involved with nearly every aspect of our daily lives.

    I am willing to listen to any alternative theories.
  • thumb
    Apr 22 2012: How interesting

    Are you sure he's Muslim? considering he belonged to a christian church before he became president,just because a mans father might have been muslim doesn't mean that the man of today follows his fathers religion,if you really look at it it all comes down to who's actually a practicing muslim and who's actually a practicing christian or whatever religion or belief system a person has.How many still go to church? and profess that they are christian,there's a big difference between those who pay lipservice than to those that practice it.

    When your president came to power and your country was jumping up and down with joy,the rest of the world was wondering can the man pull his country back to where his people want to be? will he stay president for one term or two?Will he be able to pull the country back out in his short term or terms or just be able to plug the gaps? setting up the recovery system for the next president.
  • thumb
    Apr 22 2012: I think it is always good to remind government and political parties that they are there to do what is best for the people.

    Part of the problem is when powerful interest gets too much say.

    Another part is when much of the general populace actually sees the government as an unwanted impediment. Free markets need a degree of regulation to be most effective. Unregulated greed and self interest has been shown time and again as failing - bubble - pop.

    You regulators often toothless and in bed with those they are supposed to regulate.

    Your legislators end up working for those they legislate for.

    So you get the tea party on one side and the 99% protests on the other all saying government is broken, the economic model is flawed etc.

    Suggest you need to tear up companies being seen as people. Limit donations from people or companies to 10,000 per year. Mobilise in a way that selects representatives or requires them to make a change for good or they won't get elected.

    Maybe some positive think tanks to come up with ideas and solutions.
  • thumb
    Apr 22 2012: Kris, In your reply you stated that we have lost the 4th estate (the press). I agree and that is the tip of the ice berg. For a very interesting talk I suggest YOUTUBE: Yuri Bezmenov. I took notes and tried to connect the dots. I tried hard to prove that any of this could be true. Some are still doubtful ... Maybe because I do not want to believe them. We are only a few steps away from socialism. We must return to a Constitutional government to avoid complete collaspe. You cannot legislate morals. Even when the people knew that President Clinton was a lier and marital cheat his party still voted to keep him in office and he remains popular today within the democratic party. The US leader of the Communist Party stated, "I no longer have to run for office. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform." Obama never lied to the people. He stated from the begining that he would persue Socialism. He never distanced himself from George Serios who wants one world government or unions that are communist based. Through the power of Executive Orders, Obama is implementing Cap and Trade that the Congress (with his party in the majority and controlled both houses) rejected stating it would cause collaspe. We have become sheeple who do not understand our founding document the Constitution. The US is in free fall. Nothing is free. What happens when you run out of other peoples money. Read Obamacare and be very afraid. Look up dhimmitude on page 107 of Obama care. Not Muslim. Yeah right. Wake up. Stop the move to socialism or even we will not be free. Watch the Video and read Obama care then please respond. It may not all be true but will make you think. Thanks. Bob.
    • thumb
      Apr 22 2012: Robert,

      You stated "you cannot legislate morals"

      My question to you is what's the alternative? Should morals come second to politics and law?

      From my understanding, morals can often time serve as a critic to law or politics. I would go as far as to say morality is the basis of both.

      What is wrong with a socialist government? you seem to have a bad taste towards it. Even if Obama did come out saying he was socialist, if his main intention was to maximize the well-being of Americans to the best of his ability, how is this a bad thing?

      You mention Obama being Muslim. This I agree with and although I understand the tenets of Islam and perhaps your concern, I would have to say that Unless it talks about "putting infidels to the sword" as a basis for medical care, then what is there to be concerned about? With that being said, it seems that your judging everything Obama is doing on the basis of him being Muslim as opposed to his politics. The basis of your response was nothing but ad hominems.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: Perhaps a lecture in morals and conducts was necessary. Do you really believe that the main intent is to maximize the well being of Americans to the best of his ability? Then why would the government want access to my bank account, why does my doctor have to ask if I own a gun, why is dhimmitude added, why is the government willing to pay for all illegal aliens medical, why would he want to deviate from existing law to provide citizenship to those ineligable, why the Dream Act, etc .. this can go on to include the death panels and other invasions of rights. You inject the thought that I judge Obama on the bases of race and religion. I judge Obama on the basis that he is using his office to pander for votes through legislation that violates the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Your bio states where you stand and I support your right to do so, but we are far apart on the political spectrum. You have text book knowledge where I have traveled the world and seen the results of socialism. The one thing I cannot give you is the advantage of age and experience. Morals to you is a word on page 742 of the dictionary. While I wish you well I believe that we will not resolve our differences as we have no common grounds to meet on. Thanks for your reply and good-by. Bob.
        • thumb
          Apr 22 2012: I have no interest in changing your mind about anything. I just ask that you research the facts. Faux news has been talking about the economic mess that we're in as if it was Obamas' fault and the Democrats' fault.. In point of fact I WATCHED as Bush Jr., and Cheney CREATED the mess we're in, made it worse with their TARP bail-out (less than 6 months before he bailed and, as a favor to his corporate buddies), and then handed the whole mess over the "other guys" to try to fix.

          I take exception to your comment about my morals. Morals are: doing what is RIGHT. Our government quit doing that when Trickey Dick took us off the Gold Standard, and when Regan and Bush SR supported and paid for and encouraged the Genocide of 70,000 by Saddam Hussein, and when Regan, with the help of a republican congress, deleted the Glass-Stegall act in a midnite, un-reported session right before Christmas.

          As to experience I am over 50, very well educated, have traveled the world and lived in 19 states, served in the US Navy, support my church, and I pay attention to history; which you do not seem to do. Good day sir.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Robert, there are two things we should lay on the table:

          1) I am not a supporter of Obama but I can still be objective and honest.
          2) I am not a socialist

          also you should go back a read what I stated. My statement was not a statement of fact. It was a hypothetical statement and this is evident when I mentioned:

          Even [IF] Obama did come out saying he was socialist, [IF] his main intention [WAS] to maximize the well-being of Americans to the best of his ability, how is this a bad thing?

          I do not know Obama's true intention because I am not him but based off his actions and to answer your question I would have to say no, those are not his true intentions, although I do not think the arguments against his health care plan are good ones in themselves.

          OK, so if your judging Obama on the basis of: "I judge Obama on the basis that he is using his office to pander for votes through legislation that violates the Constitution and the Bill of Rights"

          then what is your perspective on Bush (both), Regan, Nixon? Just to focus on Bush, how many international crimes did he commit? Why is he not in jail for being partly responsible for causing millions of American's to be homeless? What about his apathetic attitude to Hurricane Katrina?

          What about Regan and his corporate interest and the Prison system?

          These guys are just as bad, if not worse, than Obama, so if your going to judge Obama on things that he has done, which are much more systematic and less direct than what these guys did, then you need to put these guys in the same category.

          Also there is nothing you can really learn about me from my bio and I am not going to waste my time having to explain or prove anything to you but I will say this:

          You may have the experience of living in a socialist country but everything that you have said shows that you have no idea what your talking about, so before you start to judge someone and feel great about yourself, I would ask that you get your facts right.
      • thumb
        Apr 24 2012: Your last post did not have a reply button so I'll reply here. As you say your not a socialist but in your bio you say your are passionate about Liberterian-socialism which is aslo known as anarchist communism, anarchist collectism, liberterian marxist, left anarchism, and anit capitalist. Both were posted by you. You might want to decide which is correct or as you say get the facts right.

        I was impressed with your legal liar liar pants on fire argument. Your defense of Obama is akin to Jack the ripper was not bad if you look at Atilla the Hun. Divert the argument far enough away from the original point that a whole new argument is in place and one that you MIGHT win if the other guy falls for the shift.

        Your right I have age, experience, and first hand knowledge. I do not have the baggage of being a socialist / communist / anarchist as you have a passion for. I am not qualified to judge anyone and yes I do feel good about myself but never at the expense of anyone else.

        I would be glad to continue within the area of the original conversation -- .... proper roles and duties of the government. I will not reply to any other misdirection. As you said, that lays it on the table. Good luck. Bob
        • thumb
          Apr 24 2012: ?? I'm sorry but I have to ask: what are you talking about???

          My responses were based solely off what you stated to me and Kris and issues about health care, Obama, Regan, Bush, etc have everything to do with the role of government being that their policies contributed to the system. Surely you must see this.

          I will briefly state that me being an anarchist does not qualify me as a socialist. Libertarian-Socialism may have the word socialism but not in the connotation that you think...nonetheless if I continue talking about this, this would be diverting from the main topic at hand so out of respect for Kris and his thread, I'll stop here with two assumptions:

          (1) you still know nothing about me and (2) you know nothing about anarchism. (If you wish to prove my ignorance start another thread on this topic).

          Since you last post is filled with nothing that has to do with the topic I'll bring it back:

          In your very first response you talked about morality and politics. I responded to this and you never quite expanded on this so I'll ask again:

          Do you think morals should come second to politics?
          Secondly, since you seem to be very skeptical of the government (or just Obama) and at the same time against socialism, what alternative would you suggest?

          Feel free to address and answer these two questions because if you do respond and they do not have any relevance, then I would have to kindly say I have said all I had to say to you.
    • thumb
      Apr 22 2012: Robert, I'll check out the thing by Yuri. It's not socialism that we're a few steps away from, it's oligarchy (or cleptocracy).

      Sorry, wrong, Obama NEVER said that he would pursue Socialism...The rest about the leader of the communist party, and Sorros..and Clinton.. That is all Faux (fox) "news" talking... Their motto should be "All the news that isn't true." We as a country USED to have guys like Andy Rooney, Ted Koppel and other REAL journalists reporting with much higher standards of truth and honesty.. If you see the same problems I see (or similar) PLEASE quit watching ANY main-stream media. They all lie, and distract us from the real issues, to serve the corporations that own them. As to the objection to "Obama Care" I HAVE read the whole thing and have one problem with it... because we are one of the few industrialized nations who have insurance in our health care system (and because corporations pay only 2-4% vs my 30% in taxes) it costs me $580.00 per month to have health care...THAT's A HOUSE PAYMENT! As recently as 1980 insurance was actually insurance (the spreading of risk throughout a "pool" of subscribers) at that time I paid $90 per month for better care and better access than I get now at $580/month

      I would suggest education... Check out the books "Animal Farm" and "1984" by George Orwell and then tell me what you think about our broadcast "news". You might also take a look at "Rebuild the Dream" by Van Jones, and look up Project Censored on the web....Please don't dismiss what I'm saying....CHECK IT.
      • thumb
        Apr 22 2012: Kris, I have read Orwell and Huxley and the others. I am not an ostrich and will not hide from the news. I watch Fox and other stations as well as 60 minutes, meet the press, BBC and a chinese station. The only one that really angers me and I have stopped watching is MSNBC. That is pure political hate and I am to old to waste my time on trash like that. I am sorry to hear that you do not believe that Clinton had an affair while in office or that Sorios is a major contributor to Obama and wants one world government. Yes insurance is out of control. I would like to go back to the simple contracts of yesteryear. I do not see government intervention as the answer. Your response is straight from the 1% or OWS mantas. If Obama can direct hate towards the 1% or other groups then his free programs sound good. Misdirection worked for him last time. That everyone else is the cause for their problems helps to garner votes. I am surprised that you have read the whole Obamacare package and only have one problem with it. Even the demacratic appointed Supreme Court Justices have problems with that document. We are some distance apart but have established a dialog and a grudging respect that will continue to grow. All the best. Bob.
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Robert, I absolutely DO believe and know that Clinton had an affair... But like the rest of the world, I do not care. I firmly believe that, as an issue, Clinton's affair is between him, the gal involved, and his wife. Where Clinton blew it is that he did not tell Ken Starr to go piss up a rope! The problem with the 1% is not that they are making a lot of $$$, the problem is that most of the mega-corporations are using OUR infrastructure (power, water, roads, etc) and then refusing to help pay for that infrastructure. I remember an era when the state parks and federal parks were all paid for by tax dollars as a line item. As a DIRECT result of the mega-corporations (like big oil, big Pharma, big banks etc.) manipulating the system they only pay 2% to 10% (vs 28% to 35% in the 1960s) in taxes and We The People are left holding the bag, and the bill. Yes Sorros is a major contributor for Obama, and I don't know that I like his politics but it was Bush Jr. who talked about a "new world order" and I believe that he was referring to his buddies in the defense contracting industries.... Haliburton, GE, Sperry, etc. We have been forced to spend trillions to prosecute a series of wars based on lies and falshoods (see "Wag the Dog" its REAL! it happened). There WERE NO (0) weapons of mass destruction as Bush Jr and his CIA buddies claimed. I could go on for days with facts about this but suffice to say that I was in the Navy when this BS started and watched the messages re: Saddam committing genocide, and the CIA saying "leave him alone, he's our ally".
        • thumb
          Apr 23 2012: Soros is a psychotic who makes his gold by creating misfortune, specifically he sells currency short which hastens its decline. He uses newspapers to create the hysteria/black pr which drives down the value of the currency. This is the oldest world band scam in world. Soros is the epitome of evil and one of the most frequent visitors to the white house who funded acorn.

          Bush H was the one who talked about a 1000 points of light. Yes definitely questionable. What proof is there?

          But as to the rest of it, nope standard issue crony capitalism that is what it is, no conspiracy at least in the sense you are talking about.

          The vastly bigger problem is government growth which dwarfs anything you are talking about. And it is plenty fing real to ignore it is just plain insane.
  • Apr 21 2012: I read about the Zeitgeist Movement a couple of years ago. It is extremely unrealistic. I remember something along the lines that five percent of the population would basically take care of the thinking while the rest did whatever they wanted, traveled when and where they wanted and did not have to be concerned about not having food, clothes or transportation.

    The main thing is the five percent that do the thinking will get tired of doing all the thinking and work and take it out on the rest of the people in one form or another; obviously not ending well. Now, if that five percent are forced to do all the work right away then I don't know who would like that. Finally, if people don't have to work for their sustenance they will lose their purpose.

    Anyway, if technology keeps making life any easier for people they will all be so brain dead and fat that none of them will be able to think of a purpose for themselves nor get off of the couch to do it if they do.

    Maybe Socialism is the way to go. They won't have enough ambition to create new technologies.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2012: William, Zeitgeist won't work. I suspect it attempts to work against human nature. Socialism won't work either without a truly benevolent dictator (an EXTREMELY rare critter). After much review and thought; I'm reacting to the fact that what we have in the US is and Oligarchy and, a Cleptocracy.
      • Apr 22 2012: Yes, even if a country was lucky enough to have a good dictator his underlings would be the major problem. They would be making sure everyone knew they had the power.

        The close ties of the federal government, corporations and other large factions and their raiding of the treasury and private property will destroy us, I believe.
  • Apr 21 2012: @Krisztian Pinter

    I attribute my rambling ways, I suppose, to my father telling vague stories with an applicable moral lesson towards me and, or, my brother about what we did or some other situation we were aware of. It was not always clear with him and required some thought at times to comprehend his intentions of the story; though I did remember many of them over the years.
    • thumb
      Apr 21 2012: well, it is OK, after all. i didn't intend to offend you. it is not mandatory to share my obsession with being brief.

      so basically we agree that socialism does not work. but i want to underline again that it would not work even with cooperating citizens. and for example that is where the venus "project" crap reveals itself as socialism, and fails miserably.
  • Apr 17 2012: We need a better way to justify and write wrong in a democracy to improve all quality of life but because most people are intreverted they fight people like us who are trying got make a real change and difference in are governments they fear the changes because they don't know the outcomes. Also this would be the best place to make a change but because you want to make thing happen in popularity contest thats the trick. Willpower is the driving force of democracy we must remove these barriers to accomplish are shared ideals and ambitions. laws of governments make just ask permission to make changes so we must make the changes in new way because the paper pushers understand this they complicated the process and made it to be almost impossible to do so fact. start with the big decision makers and hold them to their word.