The World Needs a Philosophy of Liberty Communicator

Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months, 3 weeks ago to Philosophy
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Someone from the Venezuelan diaspora (can we call it that?) told me flatly he’s not into economic philosophy but he knows communism means “no jobs”. He said he’ll go back to Venezuela when Maduro’s gone.

This got me thinking about claims that US is closer to dysfunction of that nature than it seems. I thought there would be a backlash against President Trump’s antics, deficit spending, nastiness, lying, and many appearances of impropriety. But there really hasn’t been as much as I thought. Democrats are lining up with large gov’t programs like the so-called Green New Deal that attempts to sell socialism by tying it to one of the biggest problems of our time, global warming. Using the problem to sell socialism is worse than pretending it’s not there.

It sounds like a cliché, but I’m worried there’s no philosophy of people solving problems without government force. That idea won’t die, but I see the US as carrying it forward. I have a borderline-nationalistic feeling no one else will do it right. Americans have that expansive and sometimes annoying attitude: “Don’t look to others. What are your dreams? Anything is possible!”

I hope I’m wrong and we soon see that attitude that I see in my American colleagues in US politics. Or if we don’t see it, then maybe President Trump’s antics and this Green New Deal and Medicare for All crap are all just rhetoric. Maybe when crisis strikes, people suddenly get serious. I don’t like that because seriousness in a sudden crisis usually means more government intrusion.

It seems like the world needs a great Ayn Rand communicator, not a politician, but an intellectual that reaches that average non-philosopher person. It doesn’t even need to be a person. It could be a hit TV show. I have no idea what form it would take.

I have been concerned about all the people who want government to solve their problems uniting together since I read an article by Bernie Sanders in 2015 praising Trump. It’s easy for me to imagine selling protectionism to socialists; and its easy to imagine selling socialism to deplorables. The key is “someone else is to blame for your life’s problems.”

The good news is my predictions are wrong at least half the time. People respond telling me, no, no, they’ll stay fired up blaming different groups for their problems and that will keep them apart. I hope so. It doesn’t seem sustainable long-term. As ewv said, tricks won’t cut it. The world needs a solid foundation of a philosophy of liberty.


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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    CG: "The world needs a solid foundation of a philosophy of liberty."
    Such a foundation has already been laid ... and ignored ... because it is not in the best interest of those who seek power rather than liberty.
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    • Posted by ZenRoy 3 months, 3 weeks ago
      Those that seek power rather than liberty will eventually (based on the fact it repeats through history) turn on one and other or on themselves.

      If are to correct the course of society we will need to wait for that event, but we will need to be ready and everyone with sound philosophy of liberty must be ready to act.

      Initially only 10% of colonists supported a drive for liberty (At the point of the declaration of independence). That grew to 30% by the revolutionary war.

      Even then the Jack Flag, or Grand Union Flag, which was symbolic of a desire to return as part of England after the war was flown for the first 2 years of the Revolutionary war.

      After all that the majority of people were seeking a philosophy of liberty. I think events will happen that will lead down this road again, however if there are not good men and women who will stand up and fight it will never blossom beyond the 10% base that always seems to be around with a good internal philosophy of liberty.

      I think right now is a time for opportunity. Not at all sure if it will work out or not but I think it depends on us. Are we apathetic believing that nothing can be done? If so we will be right. Or are we trying?
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 months, 3 weeks ago
        Those with a sound philosophy of liberty (i.e. colonists and eventually Founding Fathers) made the act of isolating themselves in a colony with like-minded individuals first. This is a major reason why Atlas Shrugged remains credible.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          They didn't isolate themselves as a first act. They were already here, living in a thriving society; they understood what was being done to them and fought to defend what they understood that they had. Atlas Shrugged is credible because of the logic of how Ayn Rand conceived it and wrote the plot and theme. The theme of rational individuals using their own minds for their own goals, and what happens to a society when the mind is withdrawn, is the credible idea. Going on strike to cause a collapse that would create a renaissance without regard for the ideas people hold was not the theme or purpose of the novel and is not credible.
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      • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        A majority was not "seeking a philosophy of liberty". They already had that. The colonists already had freedom and wanted to keep it. Only about a third wanted to fight a war with Britain as the means to keep it.

        They had something that we do not: the Enlightenment's general acceptance of reason, individualism and freedom. A collapse due to infighting by the entrenched powers or anything else will not create that basis. It would only create more chaos and more demands for collectivism. The only opportunities we have are those allowing for spreading the proper ideas required for civilization.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Picking just one of your concerns, climate change, the general attitude has been to let the government pick the winners and losers. A better solution is to keep the government's hands off of the issue, and let market forces drive solutions. Propping up electric vehicles with subsidies, or reusable energy sources with tax breaks, or instituting punitive carbon taxes cripple the economy for all but the wealthy, and are most likely ineffective solutions to start with.

    Propping up existing technology stagnates progress. It took breaking up the AT&T stranglehold on phone communications to enable the rapid rise of wireless communications. Making renewable energy sources compete instead of being coddled will drive innovation. Making electric vehicles compete head to head with conventional vehicles will drive innovation there as well. Reliable, affordable clean power and quiet, clean, efficient electric vehicles will be eagerly accepted, no carbon tax (which is a worthless scam) needed.

    Nuclear power has been vilified as a possible solution to reducing carbon emissions. There are modern nuclear technologies that prevent disasters like Chernobyl or Fukushima, and restrictive, expensive licensing processes need to be trimmed to allow their construction.

    As for liberty and the pros and cons of the American vision, I suggest we undertake a modern "translation" of both the Federalist and Antifederalist papers into modern context. The insights and arguments the Constitution was based on are emphatically laid out in these papers, with warnings of the potential for failure due to some content. The probability that the ill-defined phrase "promote the general welfare" would lead to out of control government expansion is clearly spelled out in these papers, and that the abbreviated language of the 2nd amendment would create confusion of purpose is also illustrated. More people should have access to these arguments to better understand how the United States was originally envisioned.
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    • Posted by  $  Stormi 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      We can only continue if our kids are properly allowed to experience and reason with the help of philosophers who have lived through hard times. People who examined what was going on, encouraged others to do so. Encouagae people to educate themselves, not rely on talking points of some chick who never supported herself ever.
      As to global warming, they need to research and find the sun is actually in control, not some hucksters in DC. They cannot change, what the sun dictates. We are not in global warming, we are in the third year of a mini ice age, which will continue, Cortez or not. Make them examine and admit their past tinker ing with HAARP, to change jet streams. That is government, not citizens causing it.
      People need to read somethingas simple as "Anthem, and see what is being done to them. If my daughter understood it at age 10, adults should be able to muddle through it. Freedom requires responsible behavior, and ignoring your own part in the chain, means you deserve the consequences of your own stupidity. Having stuidied philosophy since high school, I grow wary of the people who only seek a an oxymorong: benevolent dictator" to take care of them.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        I've told my children when they were growing up: "Freedom without responsibility is freedom corrupted and soon lost." There seems to be a lot of corruption of freedom going on now days and when it's lost I'm sure those corrupting it will be clueless as to where it went.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      Conservative appeals to the politics and history of the writing of the Constitution, with no discussion of the Enlightenment ideas that made a Constitutionally limited government possible or desirable, are hopeless. People who want more and more collectivism don't care about the details of the Constitution.
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      • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        Which is why civics and philosophy need to be taught in a forum examining the historical conflict between collectivism and individualism. Ameritopia, by Mark Levin, is a good, concise read that examines the history of failed Utopian concepts, beginning with Plato's The Republic.
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        • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          Mark Levin has a generally poor understanding of philosophy. He is a conservative faith-family-traditionalist who is one of the worst in substituting the tradition of the constitution for the principles that made it possible and necessary. The history can be interesting and sometimes important for explanation, but it is not a substitute for proper philosophical principles.
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          • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months, 2 weeks ago
            Most people get weighed down trying to follow the writings of Burke, Montesquieu, Hobbes and the like, primarily due to the cumbersome prose of their time. I've read most Utopian philosophical writings, and generally speaking, Levin has given a pretty accurate condensed description of their foundation that's more easily understood by contemporary readers. Marxism and most socialist concepts seem devoid of any understanding of economics.
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            • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
              Levin's history is not philosophy. He does not have a good understanding of philosophical principles and how they evolved over time. Like most conservative intellectuals he substitutes religion.
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        • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          "Ameritopia, by Mark Levin, is a good, concise read that examines the history of failed Utopian concepts, beginning with Plato's The Republic."
          This is an interesting discussion. I had a similar discussion where I say we need simplified explanations for non-philosophers as to why people should respect on another's rights. ewv says quick-and-dirty explanations won't work and are wrong by nature. I say most people are not philosophers, so I'll take whatever works. ewv says that amounts to tricking people, and without philosophical underpinnings they can be tricked in any direction.

          I am swayed by what ewv says. If I read Mark Levin's book and had never read Rand or anything like that, I wonder if Levin would make individualism look worse in my eyes.
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          • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
            It's deeper than trying to trick people; that is Pragmatism, avoiding principle as a matter of principle for whatever "works" at the moment. Pragmatism itself "does not work". Did you get to Leonard Peikoff's lecture on Pragmatism yet?
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            • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
              "Did you get to Leonard Peikoff's lecture on Pragmatism yet?"
              It's competing with free material from the library and stuff my book group is reading. I need to bite the bullet and buy that lecture series you recommend.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
                It's very important for understanding. In particular the sources of Pragmatism, its meaning and its pervasive influence over the last century accounts for much of what we are seeing now and the policies leading to it.
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    • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      "I suggest we undertake a modern "translation" of both the Federalist and Antifederalist papers into modern context. "
      This is a very powerful idea. I hope someone surprises us it does in some unexpected way: a hit book, a TV show, a video game... anything that at least makes it an issue.

      My one fear is what if it becomes a topic for debate and people decide to amend or re-write the Constitution granting vast government powers. That would be horrible, but in some ways I'd rather admit aloud it than just pretend. I also have hope that if it were presented in a way completely divorced from modern politicos and from "wedge issues", most people still are for liberty.
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      • Posted by lrshultis 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        What do you mean by "a modern 'translation' ... ? I have the two volume Library of America ", The Debate on the Constitution" which collects the Federalist and Antifederalist arguments. If you mean giving opinions of what was meant by the speakers and writers, then beware of what you will get.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      Nicely expressed, Doc, but I always thought the phrase "promote the general welfare" somehow got wrongfully interpreted to mean "provide the general welfare", which are two different meanings, IMHO. Too late to fix at this point, I guess.
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        Too bad "promote the general welfare" was even in there in the first place. I don't believe the Founders intended that to mean a welfare state, but it's too easy to manipulate. True, "the general welfare" is best promoted by protecting the people from crime and tyranny, but it looks vague enough to be twisted into just about anything a statist wants.
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        • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          Agreed, LibertyBelle. I need to take Dr Z's advice and get more familiar with the Founder's original debates on the Constitution. With that said, I'm willing to bet good money the Founder's idea of "promote" as used in the Constitution isn't even close to the common definition of "provide" in the same era.
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    • Posted by ArtIficiarius 3 months, 3 weeks ago
      What suggestions would you make to a Convention of States Project presenter readying a table and a speech for the Constitution Center and/or Independence Hall (both in Philadelphia, PA)?
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  • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Gee whiz, CircuitGuy, this looks like a carefully worded smoke screen of "Philosophy of Liberty Communicator" to express your desires to take a slap at President Trump and promote the global warming religion to the rest of us Gulchers. Not buying it.

    I've heard it said that sometimes in the White House it's nice to have a Mother Theresa and other times we need Dirty Harry. Now, IMHO, we need a Dirty Harry and Trump is filling the bill very nicely even if some folks would rather have a Mother Theresa.

    I guess I'll just have to exercise what's left of my personal liberty to throw another log in the wood stove to keep the workshop warm in the snow while Nancy flies off to Hawaii. Oh wait! Some of the communist (Democrat) nuts in the state I live in are contemplating outlawing fireplaces and wood stoves to combat global warming. I wonder if Nancy has room on the plane for me and my family to get us out of the ice and snow we're covered in. Edit: Then again, maybe if I can help bring on a bit of global warming I won't have all that ice and snow to contend with and have a longer growing season to boot, LOL!
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  • Posted by chad 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    I am not certain a good communicator will accomplish turning the tide of socialism. When I first embarked on this journey of understanding 55 years ago by living as a libertarian it made so much sense to me and seemed so obvious that I thought all that was necessary was to explain it to someone eloquently and the news would be self actualizing. For some reason humans seem to prefer slavery and not just because they might be in charge, although that is the attraction for those who desire to lead. It isn't just half the population that follows the call of collectivism those who consider themselves 'conservative' want government control of a different sort.
    What is needed is a way to understand the human need to be slaves (taken care of) and how to communicate the fault of this desire. Failing to do this merely agitates the slaves when you tell them being free is better.
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    • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      "What is needed is a way to understand the human need to be slaves (taken care of) and how to communicate the fault of this desire."
      Yes, the fault of this desire and/or the benefits and virtues of taking care of things yourself.
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  • Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    That philosophy of liberty is in our Declaration of Independence and ratified in our Constitution...get back on That road...and we'll be fine...but unfortunately, half the country has lost it's mind.

    Deport them to Venezuelan along with alexandria ocasio cortez and her snot green no deal.
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    • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      There is no philosophy in the Declaration. There are a couple statements of a philosophic premise that presupposed a philosophy. Without that basis in ideas, the country is not going to "get back on that road" of the Declaration.
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  • Posted by ZenRoy 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    Watch Prager U videos. https://www.prageru.com/ they are the closest thing I have seen yet to what your suggesting we need. I agree. I also think it must be many different groups of people. One person will not have the reach that is needed to combat this cancer that has all ready spread far and wide. One person can slow it, only many will turn it.
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    • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      I have only watched one. It was good, but it seemed to get partially into partisan politics. I remember it (if I'm thinking of the right video) because a conservative was debating a liberal, and the conservative said they had to disagree on principles because the conservative saw people as inherently flawed by made more virtuous by police and other gov't institutions and the liberal saw people as more inherently good. It stuck with me because i'm more liberal and, as the video says, see people as more inherently good. I find that truly interesting and worth discussing, but my thought in this post is how to get everyone, regardless of their view of partisan issues, to come together for liberty.

      Thanks for the suggestion. I'll watch some more Prager U videos.
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  • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    Circuit Guy: "It seems like the world needs a great Ayn Rand communicator, not a politician, but an intellectual that reaches that average non-philosopher person"

    That is what Ayn Rand did. But it took more than "communicating"; it took her ideas and insights applying them. No one is doing that now.

    "It doesn’t even need to be a person. It could be a hit TV show. I have no idea what form it would take."

    That is what Atlas Shrugged did as a novel in its illustration of the ideal man and the proper philosophic principles. But it also takes non-fiction explanation, which she subsequently did once she saw that the novel wasn't enough. There is always a need for fiction and other forms of art to portray the proper sense of life, but that takes people producing it who have a proper sense of life and the knowledge to properly portray it. We don't have that either.
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  • Posted by Kittyhawk 3 months, 3 weeks ago
    "... I’m worried there’s no philosophy of people solving problems without government force." Me too. Both liberals and conservatives are statists, believing that government is and should be the solution to society's problems. The alternative viewpoint, which holds that individuals have both the moral right, and the moral obligation, to find non-coercive solutions to our problems, is called voluntaryism or anarchy. I'd encourage you to watch this video by Larken Rose comparing authoritarianism (statism) to anarchism.
    https://youtu.be/xMoPBDz5ycA
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    • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      Organized statism and anarchy are a false alternative. Ayn Rand described the nature of a proper government based on the rights of the individual.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 2 weeks ago
    The US grows closer to meltdown and dysfunction every day, and it is largely as a result of big government (which BTW has been mostly Democrat-controlled for nearly 100 years now). Backlash against Trump's "antics"? I don't know what you mean, but I can only conclude that you are thinking that way because you listen far too much to the lamestream media. The economy is booming back now that Obama-era oppression is being rolled back by both a rescission of the government bureaucratic control state and lower taxes. There is still much that could be done, but Trump is moving us back toward the right track - not away from it as you imply.

    "Democrats are lining up with large gov’t programs like the so-called Green New Deal that attempts to sell socialism"

    You are only now beginning to notice this? There hasn't been one Democratic program in the last 60 years which HASN'T been a socialist program! Rent controls? Yes. Social Security? Yes. Medicare/Medicaid? Yes. Minimum wage? Yes. And the list goes on and on...

    "Maybe when crisis strikes, people suddenly get serious."

    That's because they won't be able to kick the can down the road anymore. Like SS, which is already defunct and will start becoming a major burden on the deficit in only a decade - if not reformed ASAP. Medicare and Medicaid only exacerbate the problem. Please note that I hold a portion of the Republican party complicit in this.

    The key is “someone else is to blame for your life’s problems.”

    Bingo. It used to be in this nation that people were individuals and the ideal of the individual held sway. We've grown much more communistic over the past 100 years and lost that sense of "rugged individualism" which made this people - and as a result this nation - great. It also completely defeats the mindset of the progressives of forcing everyone into a "group" box from which they can play politics and pit one against another, which we see to greater extent now than at any prior time in history.
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    • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
      I agree with the problem definition completely (except for belittling the industry of journalism), but I completely disagree that there's any modern political force pushing for less gov't borrowing and intrusion. Except for a few kooks, modern politicians sell more borrowing and more disregarding the law. It's not that they're evil. It's hard to win. You need every advantage. Borrowing, creating facile scapegoats, and gov't solutions give them that advantage.

      I believe the stuff they say to get that edge, the stuff you're repeating about presidents being responsible for the small ups-and-downs of the economy is a huge part of the problem. The economy always has ups and downs. It's been on an expansion for 10 years, not because of politicians. It's at long-term risk because of the borrowing, intrusion, and taxation. They're not doing it out of malice, but they have people arguing over the tiniest minutia while the structural problems persist. I think the real "bad guy" is interpreting the Constitution broadly, which makes the sophistry about which president steers the economy better slightly more plausible. It allows people in Congress and running for president to promise to solve people problems.
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      • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 2 weeks ago
        "the stuff you're repeating about presidents being responsible for the small ups-and-downs of the economy"

        I never said that. In most cases, the ups and downs of the economy belong to the party controlling the House (wherein lies the Constitutional power to tax and spend). The President in certain circumstances has championed economic bills which became law and have also had major impacts. Reagan's tax cuts were passed as an executive priority despite the House being controlled by Democrats - a fact seen that along with the tax cuts were huge spending increases for social programs. The economy took off - and so did the deficits! Similarly, Bill Clinton took credit for an economy on the uptick even though it was Newt Gingrich's House which cut taxes AND spending to facilitate economic growth. The economy had started to slow down because the Democratic House (a holdover from GHW Bush's term) passed tax hikes. In the case of GW Bush, you had just the opposite - a weak President eager to go along with a Democratic Congress. Bush wanted war spending for Iraq and Afghanistan and Dems used that to also boost social spending again, resulting in huge (for the time) deficits. Again, it was the Dems who controlled Congress and denied that there were structural problems in Fannie and Freddie prior to the crash of 2008. The Dems pinned it on Bush in the media, but it was their blundering. And then they - along with President Obama - doubled down on those failed policies from 2008 - 2012, holding the economy in recession nearly the entire time. It only started to turn around once Republicans took control of the House and started pushing back against some of Obama's heavy-handedness in 2014. (It is incredibly unfortunate that while they tried to reign in tax hikes, they didn't bother to reign in spending.) President Trump took office in 2017 with a Republican Congress who passed huge tax decreases and got the economy going again. Again, however, they failed to do anything about the spending, leading to some of the largest deficits in history.

        Yes. Democrats are largely responsible for the negative trajectory of our nation's deficits. If Republicans had the cajones to oppose them when they held power, we wouldn't be in the fiscal mess we are in, but they are weak and spineless (with the exception of the body known as the House Freedom Caucus). I hold that the only reason they (Republicans) lost the House in the recent mid-terms was because they failed on their two major campaign promises: to repeal Obamacare and build the wall. (I exempt the California battles because those switches were largely a result of gerrymandering.)

        "They're not doing it out of malice"

        I beg to differ. Current Democrats HATE this country's founding principles. They hate the limitations to their power proscribed in the Constitution. Woodrow Wilson was a major champion of expanding the powers of the executive a full century ago and nearly every President since - even including some Republicans - have agreed with him. Wilson made no illusory pandering to the Founding Fathers like many of his predecessors. He openly advocated in his professorial writings about fundamentally altering the Constitution to enable an imperial executive with broad law-making authority. If he were President today I think he would bring about the fall of the Republic because he would have complicit socialist Democrats to help him and spineless Republicans who would look the other way.

        You remind me of my wife's late Grandmother. I know you have the tendency to side with the Democrats, but history demonstrates that many of the very policies you oppose are the very policies the Democratic Party has been championing for at least the past 60 years - if not longer. What is even more sad is that a large number of Republicans have also abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility as well - especially in the last 20 years. And as a result of the Democrats pushing and zero substantial resistance from the Republicans (as a body), we've gotten lots and lots of tax and spend - with tremendous emphasis on spend - policy. One needs look no further than the current socialist wave of Democrats such as Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and many others to see that the Democratic Party has nothing resembling the Blue Dog Democrat I believe you represent and hasn't since Bill Clinton's presidency.

        "I think the real "bad guy" is interpreting the Constitution broadly, which makes the sophistry about which president steers the economy better slightly more plausible. It allows people in Congress and running for president to promise to solve people problems."

        I agree with you here. What you are pointing out isn't really at odds with Congress' job, however: they are supposed to be the ones making laws and fixing problems. But all that we've seen is more taxation, more spending, and almost zero real legislative action. The tough policy decisions they've kicked to the Supreme Court so as to absolve themselves of responsibility - which is why Cavanaugh's confirmation threw a huge wrench in the Progressive's plans. They've been using the Courts since WW II (when FDR packed them with his appointees) to forward their agenda. That all has the chance to be undone now that the Court has four very strong Conservative voices (Roberts is wishy-washy). If Ruth Vader-Ginsburg [typo intentional] dies (she won't voluntarily resign) and Trump puts another strong Conservative like Amy something-or-other on the bench, you will begin to see the unravelling of sixty+ years of progressive rulings such as Chevron deference which gave power to the administrative state and allow the Legislature to punt on such critical areas as immigration policy. If the Supreme Court begins to put the target for all this bad policy bad in the laps of Congress, we may actually see the Constitution as it was intended.
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        • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
          RE Paragraph #1 about ups-and-downs of economy belonging to Congress
          We could start another thread about this, but I just don't see it. The "economy" is just people helping one another in mutually beneficial trades.
          "Democrats are largely responsible for the negative trajectory of our nation's deficits."

          Republicans seems lightly worse about borrowing, but I'll agree it's too close to call and unimportant. They seem to do the best job when they're balancing each other as Clinton vs New Gingrich.

          "Current Democrats HATE this country's founding principles. "
          No only is this incorrect, it's part of the problem. People are taking about which political party is slightly closer to the Constitution's founding principles and not doing anything to bring back the founding principles.

          "history demonstrates that many of the very policies you oppose are the very policies the Democratic Party has been championing for at least the past 60 years - if not longer. What is even more sad is that a large number of Republicans have also abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility as well - especially in the last 20 years. "
          This party history just doesn't matter me. I am very confused why anyone not involved in a political party would care about them. I want to see less gov't spending and intrusion. It makes no difference whatsoever if it comes through politician X making politician Y look bad so that X supporters can feel less pathetic by indulging in vicarious schadenfreude or if it's the reverse scenario with Y making X look bad and different set of deplorables getting their mean-spirited jollies. It blows my mind that anyone should care. I want results. If nasty political scheming resulted in less gov't, I'd be okay with it.

          "[Congress is] supposed to be the ones making laws and fixing problems. "
          In my dream scenario is they have very little money to solve the problems. They mostly help states organize militia of minutemen who would mobilize in an emergency. They would make sure a state doesn't impede ingress or egress. They would do almost nothing about Syria, poverty, cancer research, investing in new technologies, and so on. I don't know how practical that is. Maybe if that did that, they'd end mobilizing the milita for whatever the modern-day Barbary pirates are, and then we're on the road back to a massive gov't. I just want to try to move in the direction of limited gov't.

          I love the notion that if we just got the right people in the Supreme Court, they could get us back to the Constitution w/o amending it. I'm not knowledgeable about that, but that name-calling and use of the word conservative does not inspire confidence. I want it not to matter if the gov't is conservative (wants old ways just b/c they're old) or liberal (wants new ways just b/c they're new) because the gov't doesn't have power to act on these impulses.
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 2 weeks ago
            "They seem to do the best job when they're balancing each other..."

            I agree. And if that were what had been going on for the past 30 years, we'd be in a lot better spot. The whole idea of Congress is to be a deliberative body (especially the Senate) where it takes them time to iron out the kinks in legislation and make it for the entire country - not the hodge-podge of pork we see to garner one Legislator's vote.

            While Constitutionally, I don't think the line-item veto holds water, in principle it did force the Legislature to concentrate and itemize - which is a good thing. I believe that one of the huge problems is the sheer size of many of the legislative packages being trotted out only to be voted on two days later (cough, cough Obamacare). I would be all in favor of a House rule (pun intended) that states clearly that NO bill may pass Congress until it has been orally read before a quorum in its entirety. I think that would severely cut down on these huge bills of any kind where "we have to pass it to know what's in it".

            "No [sic] only is this incorrect, it's part of the problem. People are taking about which political party is slightly closer to the Constitution's founding principles and not doing anything to bring back the founding principles."

            I hate to break it to you, but the Democrats abandoned Constitutional Democracy during FDR and have steadily crept left ever since. They've taken a hard turn to the extreme left in the past 15 years. The Republicans on the other hand have tried (poorly) to play the middle in many states. That's where you get the ones like John McCain, Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, etc. That's why we call them RINO's - because they are actually what would constitute Blue Dog Democrats/centrists - if those still existed. As a result, what you really have are two major factions within the Republican party. For all the bandying about (D) vs (R), the lines aren't nearly that clear-cut, which is why we see what we see come time to vote.

            And I agree with you that we need to get back to the Founders' principles of limited, representative government. That's why I'd love to see a House where each member represented no more than 200,000 people to broaden the voting base. I'd especially love to see some alternative parties in there - from the Constitution Party to the Green Party - so that those voting bases can be accurately represented. The other one is definitely the repeal of the seventeenth Amendment and to put election of Senators back in the State Legislators' hands. We need to give back the power of Nullification to the States. (I would also suggest one further adjustment, and that is that the Senate and House members and their staffs are paid for not with Federal dollars, but by their respective States - making them beholden to their constituencies for audits and accountability.)

            "In my dream scenario is they have very little money to solve the problems."

            Amen to that! But in my mind nothing like this is going to happen outside an Article 5 Convention of States. There's no way the Democrats are going to give up the power they've spent the last hundred years giving to themselves and those centrist Republicans are going to go along with them like they usually do.

            "I love the notion that if we just got the right people in the Supreme Court, they could get us back to the Constitution w/o amending it."

            I think its an example of the entire process going horribly wrong that so much is so dependent on the personal opinions of nine robed Jurists. There is a reason why the Judicial Branch has the shortest Article in the Constitution and why it comes last: it was supposed to have the least amount of power. I sometimes seriously question Marbury vs Madison.
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            • Posted by 3 months, 2 weeks ago
              “That's why we call them RINO's - because they are actually what would constitute Blue Dog Democrats/centrists - if those still existed.”
              I don’t believe in this stuff at all. Ideas that are “left” or “right” today could easily be the opposite 20 years ago or 20 years from now. I certainly believe in reducing the cost and intrusiveness of government. All the political machinations, including those that mention gov’t cost/intrusiveness, are show business for ugly people. I just don’t think those centrists, RINOs, blue dogs, parties creeping left or right, and socialists amount to anything.

              “I'd especially love to see some alternative parties in there - from the Constitution Party to the Green Party - so that those voting bases can be accurately represented.”
              I agree with this, but I want them all limited in what they can actually do. I have no idea how to accomplish that.

              “put election of Senators back in the State Legislators' hands.”
              This seems to me just to create a smaller group of people to pander to. It’s hard for me to see how this makes the Senate act differently.

              “Nullification to the States”
              I am not knowledgeable about even what this means, but I like the idea of the states having more power. They could pass laws consistent with local values and if I it would be a laboratory to test policies. I actually think the should break the states up into urban and rural regions, since there’s so much division along those lines.

              What if there were a rule that tax money collected in one state had to be spent in that state? There would be no reason for my state to spend my state tax dollars helping residents get federal dollars, as happens right now.

              “But in my mind nothing like this is going to happen outside an Article 5 Convention of States. There's no way the Democrats are going to give up the power”
              The Democrats? OMG. People elected Republicans to House, Senate, and presidency. Spending increased and borrowing doubled. It sounds like Republicans are the problem. Of course, if we elect and all Democrat gov’t, spending would probably keep increasing.

              Getting into the partisan bickering avoids addressing the actual problem. Republicans have this fantasy that if they just got enough power they’d stop increasing gov’t spending, borrowing, and intrusiveness. It almost seems comical in a British-comedy sort of way.

              “I think its an example of the entire process going horribly wrong that so much is so dependent on the personal opinions of nine robed Jurists.”
              I always wrongly thought their stated role was to limit what gov’t did. I thought judicial review was part of the constitution until around the time I married a lawyer at age 31.
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              • Posted by ewv 3 months, 2 weeks ago
                States getting even more power and passing laws "consistent with local values" means more balkanization and statism. Laws are supposed to protect the rights of the individual not enforce "local values".
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 3 months, 2 weeks ago
                "I don’t believe in this stuff at all. Ideas that are “left” or “right” today could easily be the opposite 20 years ago or 20 years from now."

                Only if you hold to the notion of relative morality. I don't. Either something is right (meaning that it can be morally justified) or it is wrong. There is no moral principle which switches sides on the spectrum and becomes "right" or "left" based on time frame. Only a progressive believes that they have power over reality.

                --

                Try reading up on Article 5 Convention of States. It is a provision in the Constitution which allows the States to directly Amend the Constitution without going through the House and Senate. It still requires 2/3 ratification by the States themselves.

                "What if there were a rule that tax money collected in one state had to be spent in that state?"

                I have another idea along a similar line: why don't we apportion spending to the states based on their representation in Congress? A State which has two senators and 4 Congressmen pays six shares of the spending while a State with 30 Congressmen and two Senators pays 32 shares? How the States came up with their allotments would be up to them...

                The other provision I would like to see is that all States are responsible for paying for the costs of their own delegations, i.e. that the Federal Government doesn't pay salaries or wages to Elected officials or their staffs. Those costs are instead born by their respective States.

                "The Democrats? OMG. People elected Republicans to House, Senate, and presidency. Spending increased and borrowing doubled."

                And why? Because the Democrats blocked all the other bills from coming to the floor by filibustering! And so the RINO's caved in and gave them massive spending to go with tax cuts. Again, people like to just look at the (D) and (R) next to the name, but the actual philosophical leanings are not so clear-cut on the Republican side. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans don't vote as a bloc because they are comprised of at least two significantly different groups. In the House you have the Freedom Caucus, which are your conservative Republicans - but that's only about 40% of the party. They tend to take a hard line on spending, etc., but the other 60% voted with the Democrats! I know you don't want to believe that your beloved Democrats are the party of tax-and-spend, but please - go look at the historical voting for the past 30 years. It's right there.
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                • Posted by 3 months ago
                  "Again, people like to just look at the (D) and (R) next to the name, but the actual philosophical leanings are not so clear-cut on the Republican side."
                  "beloved Democrats"
                  I obviously could be wrong, but it all seems like a show to me. It seems to me the way gov't works now is a direct result of gov't having the ability to tax and spend. The parties that you say people like to look at and even love (really??) don't matter. So if you're right I completely misunderstand the entire political process. I don't see the philosophies or even superficial ideas associated with political parties.

                  Oftentimes when I have started a new job, I've learned that how things actually are are different from how they seem on the outside. I'm not a political insider, so I could completely misunderstand. I see it as a stupid show that arises organically (i.e. without central direction) from many people doing whatever it takes to get to the levers of power.
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