The Case for Eternal Vigilance: Thomas Jefferson's Statement Applied to Modern Economics and Society

Posted by  $  brightwriter 2 months, 1 week ago to Politics
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I wrote this presentation in 2015 intending it to be presented at a lecture then or in 2016, but that arrangement did not work out. (Actually, the intended audience was mostly children; and the content may be a little too advanced for young children. YouTube is probably a better way to distribute it.)

It illustrates the principle of needing eternal vigilance, using as examples:

1 a weakness in ordinary capitalist theory that can suggest that a conspiracy exists where in fact none does,

2 the intrinsic problem with lobbying,

3 proof that no agent (except in close families) can be perfect, and

4 a benefit of having many older siblings that relates to personal autonomy.

The particular weakness in capitalist theory (example 1 above) is apparently original, and I claim credit for it.

The video is 22 minutes long.
SOURCE URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4VIWPB6v0g


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  • Posted by  $  25n56il4 2 months, 1 week ago
    It's rather a broad statement to say 'lobbying is always a danger signs,' I learned, as a lobbyist that many times the person I was lobbying appreciated my input because they had only considered an issue from one side.
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    • Posted by  $  2 months, 1 week ago
      Thanks for your feedback. Unpaid and concerned citizens who advise government representatives are an important part of how a republic works, as you say. I have done so myself. My chief concern is the use of paid agents to do lobbying; if a straightforward explanation of the input is of value then it can be supplied directly by knowledgeable citizens and will not require the expense of paying someone to supply it.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 1 week ago
        Lobbying has become important to try to head off more violation of rights, a function not foreseen by the founders. The threat is now so intense that lobbying requires full time specialists. Productive people don't want to divert their own energy into defending themselves full time without pay. Prohibiting that would be a violation of freedom of speech.

        The problem isn't paid lobbying but the lobbyists, paid or not, who push for more statism, which was supposed to have been prohibited from the beginning. The source of the problem is not the lobbying, but the wide-spread collectivist-statist political premises driving it and the necessity for it in self defense.

        Behind the the lobbying wars is the more culturally fundamental and broader pressure group warfare inherent in welfare statism. The political system has been reduced to different factions all competing to use government for their own interests, including the necessity of protecting one's own va lid interests. That is all through the political system, not just in lobbying, and restricting lobbying would not stop it. And neither is lobbying for legitimate principles enough to stop the whole mess. Politics itself is not enough to reverse bad philosophical premises.
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        • Posted by  $  2 months, 1 week ago
          Defensive lobbying, which is what we can call lobbying to fight the lobbying that has anti-liberty or hostile special-interest intent, is clearly a good thing. One would hope that a representative could figure out that if a paid lobbyist is necessary, then the concepts being presented by that lobbyist are complex enough that a voter of average intelligence could not understand them, further inferring that the concepts themselves are contrary to ordinary principles of liberty because those principles and those of the free market are simple.

          Politicians get elected by being liked by many voters and therefore tend to be susceptible to peer pressure. (President Trump is a dramatic exception.) With susceptibility to peer pressure comes a tendency to jump to a socially accepted conclusion when presented with an avalanche of complex commentary, allowing an unscrupulous lobbyist to overpower rational thought in a representative. Banning paid lobbyists would be a free-speech violation, and I don't approve that reaction; but if only the unpaid sincere directly motivated citizens could try to persuade representatives of anything, then the likelihood of having a representative swayed by a professional brainwasher would be greatly reduced.

          Voters nowadays tend to vote based on charm and personal compatibility and not on economically defensible platforms and soundness of intellect. The problem will exist as long as voters are lazy.
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  • Posted by  $  AJAshinoff 2 months, 1 week ago
    Lobbying-lobbyist are referred to as Factions in the Federalist papers. Paper 10 can be found here
    https://www.congress.gov/resources/di...

    Madison makes a strong case FOR factions and for having many more factions.
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    • Posted by  $  2 months, 1 week ago
      Good point, and a very informative link. If people with similar political beliefs get together and (peaceably) plan how to advise representatives of their beliefs and intents, that's part of how a republic works. I favor such activity. But when a lobbyist must be a paid agent instead of a sincerely minded political activist, the question arises: why pay anyone? Why isn't a simple direct explanation to a representative, which any activist can do for free, sufficient?
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  • Posted by Owlsrayne 2 months, 1 week ago
    I remember reading a summary of the Federalist Papers back in high school. It seems that Madison is on par with Jefferson maybe more of an intellectual than Jefferson. As far as I'm concerned lobbying should be abolished. The constituents of the congresspeople and senators should be the lobbyist. As I mentioned previously here in the Gulch that I had a discussion with a rep from Senator Kirsten Sinema's office, I asked if any of the emails sent to their office ever get read and a reply sent? The answer was no only a handful would be read and answered. A written or typed letter mailed to their office would receive more attention.
    Education in this country needs to drastically revamped so what was presented in the video should be taught in elementary & high school. Unfortunately, school districts here in Arizona are geared more towards testing instead of teaching what both Jefferson and Madison wrote.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 2 months, 1 week ago
      The Anti-federalist Papers are more important to individual liberty, imo. The Federalist Papers are promotional toward the constitution which at the time of their writing did NOT include the Bill of Rights. The Anti-federalists were the men who doubted that a central federal government could be trusted to be satisfied with the limits that the constitution supposedly provided. The Federalists said that a bill of rights was not needed. The Anti-federalists brought out the reasons why no government could be trusted and they (with others who assisted) were the reason the Bill of Rights exists. No surprise that no public school ever mentions or studies the antifederalist papers.

      The antifederalists were as prescient about the future of the federal government as Ayn Rand was and warned of it 170 years earlier.
      Download The Anti-federalist Papers:
      https://www.firearmsandliberty.com/An...
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 1 week ago
        The pro-Constitution faction did not oppose the rights in the Bill of Rights. They said it was not necessary because no power had been granted allowing the national government to violate them and by listing some rights it implied they were the only ones. They were right in terms of how they understood their own Constitution, but not in how it was to be reinterpreted later, which made the Bill of Rights essential but still not enough.
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    • Posted by  $  2 months, 1 week ago
      I'm not sure about Arizona, but my understanding is that if students can be declared special-needs because of a genuine or fake mental-health diagnosis, then the schools get more money in consequence. Also, teacher-union pension funds can be invested in pharmaceutical companies, so that teachers have a personal monetary motive to force their students to take costly drugs. Either way, the education of the students is a relatively low priority and the refusal to teach good material on liberty and history is arguably a deliberate attempt to cripple the students for personal gain.
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