Friday, July 4, 2008

The challenge of this birthday

You might say that July Fourth is the day that America was conceived and that its birth awaited the ratification of the Constitution after a long gestation. But that's not how we celebrate it, so:

Happy Birthday, America!
As every generation has, we face Ben Franklin's famous challenge:
A Republic, if you can keep it.
Lately, we haven't been doing so well on that score. Though the Judiciary remains occasionally independent, the Congress even in Democratic hands has failed utterly to perform its duties as first framed among equal branches.

On this Independence Day, we should remember the words of Thomas Jefferson about who holds the true just power:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Duhbya has altered the old Constitutional order beyond recognition. Congress has disgracefully failed to stand in his way. We the people have for the most part acquiesced.

If it is to be done at all, the people must alter our form of government back or institute a new form.


Mike W. said...

I fail to see how socialism is in any way consistent with the principles espoused by our founding fathers.

Liberty, individualism, gun ownership, personal responsibility, individual rights held above the "rights" of society.

All of the above were important to our founders, and socialism is the antithesis of those values. You can't have freedom and personal liberty when the government holds your hand, takes responsibility for your actions, and tells you how to live your life.

Contemporary liberal values (I.E. Obama) are inconsistent with those under which this great country was founded.

lovable liberal said...

Why do you guys always scream 'socialism' like it's the bogeyman when what you're really afraid of is taxation and a mixed economy with public intervention to make the economy work better? The Founders didn't put laissez-faire capitalism into the Constitution. But, like many Republicans, you want to roll back the New Deal. The problem for you is that that's not a popular platform among Americans.

Why don't you tell me what you're going to get rid of. The FDA? The CDC? Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? Environmental regulation? The CPSC? ATF? FBI? Homeland Security? TVA? Turn Interstates into toll roads?

What's your plan for taking on the big corporations that Duhbya has used to surveill Americans? Did you have one? The Founders didn't face that disproportionate power and its ability to buy what it wants. Would you let us all be beggared by private interests? (The worst governments we've had have been those run by corporatists such as Duhbya.)

No one who actually has power in American politics is a socialist except in Rush Limbaugh's typically wrongheaded definition of it. But Rush has a $400 million deal. You think he's protecting you? Don't make me spew coffee out my nose!

Mike W. said...

Homeland Security would be nice. That's a huge bureacracy that didn't need to be created in the
1st place. It only came about because of the "war on terrorism"

Of course a surefire way to ensure that a particular "problem" perpetually exists is to have the government declare "war" on it. War on drugs, war on poverty, war on crime, etc. etc.

And yes get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Dept of Education, and Social Security etc. Such things should be left up to individual states to implement if they want, per the now totally gutted 10th Amendment.

I have no problem with taxation. I have a problem with progressive taxation and the idea that the government should "punish" the rich and make them "sacrifice" for others. That is not a legitimate function of government and it's a violation of natural property rights.

I'm actually not a Conservative, but I most certainly want to roll back the New Deal. FDR's concept of "rights." Something provided by the government via a forced obligation on the part of certain citizens is not a right.

Go read "why some say I'm heartless" over on my blog. Do you really think New Deal type policies are not socialism?

The worst governments this country has had have been under FDR and Carter. Bush has been bad but far from the worst. Throw Clinton in there too for his naive attitude towards terrorism and committing a blatantly criminal act while in office.

lovable liberal said...

Mike, it's hard to know where to start with this, it's so wrong. In socialism, the government owns the means of production. Not so here. I aspire to social democracy, a mix of capitalism's dynamism with government interventions that make the marketplace fairer and more efficient. (What, you ask, more efficient? Much of the worst of laissez-faire capitalism is the exploitation of externalities for private profit, which imposes costs on everyone. Pollution is a classic example. Without government intervention in the 1970s, our air and water would be badly fouled now. The efficiency I seek is overall welfare, not simply a bigger pie of dollars in few hands.)

Progressive taxation is not a punishment. It's the only fair taxation. Ask yourself this: Is $10,000 worth more to you or to Bill Gates? Progressive taxation maximizes utility by sending the bigger bill to people who can more easily pay it.

The war on poverty has paid dramatic dividends, at least among the elderly. Recently, we've allowed the rates of poverty in the young to creep back up. You might have noticed, too, that crime dropped steadily during the 1990s (yes, some of that was due to demographics, not effort).

The Clinton stuff? You've got to be kidding. He had a blow job or a few and lied about it! Even the perjury rap was trumped up against a non-standard definition of 'sex' - though I understand many people your age don't think oral is sex.

Duhbya's crimes are much more thoroughgoing, just not personal. They bear much more strongly on his sworn duties as President to uphold the Constitution. Instead, he has trashed it.

Mike W. said...

I consider "social democracies" like those seen in the UK and most of Europe to be Socialist, especially when compared to the principles which founded this country.

The "socialism lite" we see in Europe is the antithesis of that which we left Europe to establish. The UK is a "social democracy" and those people are not "free" in any sense of the word.

lovable liberal said...

So you consider yourself free to redefine any word you wish? How Orwellian!

Have you ever been to Europe? Even without gun rights, the Europeans live pretty freely. Sure, there are bad things about their polities, too (e.g. state secrets law in the UK), but there's no doubt whatsoever that they are freer than most of the rest of the world, and they give us a run for our money.