Keeping Grandma Atop The Cliff

It is something everyone knows that anyone who wants to shrink government is aiming to push grandmas off cliffs and let the poor starve in the dark.

Just because “everybody knows it” doesn’t mean it’s so.  Some time ago – oh, seventy years or so – international communism made it a goal to capture all the gatekeeper positions for mass media and entertainment.  (No, I’m not saying everyone in that position is a communist.  Most of them aren’t even conscious fellow-travelers.  They’ve just bought the “every good/smart/well educated person thinks this, and they’d rather die than think.)

That’s actually what makes it worse.  If these people had been conscious communists, they would have had to re-examine their beliefs when the horror-show that the Soviet Union had hidden came out when it collapsed.  But because they’re simply going on “what the good people believe” without examining it or figuring out where it leads, they have continued, pretty much on course, repeating the lies that were once in service of a now defunct evil empire.  It’s a zombie thing.

So the “big lies” that get repeated over and over by the media, until everyone knows them often are gross distortions of reality.  More often, they have absolutely nothing to do with reality and are made with reference only to the Marxian theory of the world.  (Sort of like the maps medieval cartographers made with reference only to other, previous maps – often someone’s guess at reality – had absolutely nothing to do with where land masses were or even what the shape of the Earth was.)

It is much easier to assume that anyone going against those in power (yes, dears, those who want to GROW government are in power: in government, in the economy, in industry and in media.  No, that doesn’t mean they’re right.  At one point everyone in power thought it was right to get rid of “inferior” races) is wrong and to think up evil motives for them then to examine the moral foundations of unbridled government and to wonder who really wants to throw grandma off the cliff (and grind your childrens’ bones to make their soup.)  Because once you start examining things, you might find yourself on the side where the “good” people aren’t.

First let’s establish what taxes are: taxes are a way to collect money by force – if you don’t pay you go to jail – for purposes so important that they justify the theft.

Theft?  Well, taking money from people by force is theft.  If it’s immoral for the local tough to do it on the street corner, what makes it moral for the government to do it?  Because a lot of people say it’s moral?  Please…

But I can see a position in which it is right for someone to relieve you of your belongings at gun point.  Say, you’re carrying a vial full of a new virus you intend to release in a NY restaurant and which will kill millions of people.  It’s still theft, mind – but it is a justified (sort of) theft.

And here we come to where taxes are justified – in my opinion (no one died and made me G-d, this is JUST my opinion.) – taxes are justified when the goal to be obtained is so clearly and obviously not just good but necessary that it justifies shaking down a grandma for the dividends on her investments.  As a further test, it is justified when even just one person not contributing can markedly affect your chances of obtaining your goal.

Say your neighborhood – in some Mad Max post apocalyptic future – is under attack by a gang of Reavers, and you need to buy barbed wire (or cement) to enclose it.  If grandma next door refusing to give up 25% of what she owns is going to mean none of you can protect yourselves, then it is moral and just to force grandma to contribute, because if she doesn’t, not only you but she ALSO will die.

Now for those of our visitors outside the United States, let me explain that there are three (used to be) largely independent levels of government in the United States: Federal, State and Local.  What might be appropriate and just at a community level is NOT appropriate and just for a government that lays down the law to 350 million people give or take a few dozen.  Why?  Because you lose granularity.  Also, because – trust me, you don’t know that you are ignorant fo this, but you are – we are an incredibly regionally diverse country at a level that no foreigner who hasn’t lived here can begin to GUESS.  H*ll, many Americans who haven’t travelled outside their region or haven’t LIVED outside their region have no clue.  When I moved from the North to the South and then the East to the West I found greater differences than I’ve found between countries in Europe.

So, let’s talk first of the Federal Government: what is it right and just for a government covering 350 million people in widely varying circumstances to take money at gunpoint to cover?  Common defense is the only one I find particularly convincing.  Why?  Because it’s d*mn hard to setup a subscription system to buy a nuclear bomber – though we might come to have to try that.

To cover the expenses and salaries of those negotiating on our behalf with foreign potentates, simply because it would be really expensive and counterproductive to have Texas, Maryland and Rhode Island appoint ambassadors who might disagree with each other.

I’m willing to concede that whether the Federal Government should have some say over highways that cross more than one state, and whether the Federal Government should concern itself with food safety when it crosses state laws can be debated, though I’m not sure either of those rises to the level of “let’s take money from grandma to pay for this.”

If you go to the state level, I’m willing to concede that the government has the right to take money from individuals at gun point to pay for other things.  For instance guaranteeing a minimum income, if the citizens of that state think it is a just and worthy goal.

(I don’t, particularly.  Why should you take money from grandma at gun point to make sure that grandson who is working by day as a barista and playing in a band that makes no money in the evening gets 10k more money he didn’t earn?  Tell me why this is morally justified.  Show your work.)  I think this is an iniquitous practice, but if most citizens in a state think this is morally justified, it’s their state and none of my business.  And if grandma isn’t so confused, fluffy and dumb that she gets lost in her own underwear (Pants-Bunny) she’ll move out of that larcenous state.

Then there is the city level, and at city level, everyone should be able to do whatever they very well please, provided that the citizens of that city agree with it, and provided, of course, they’re not depriving anyone of life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.  (And here we’re talking real rights, not penumbras.  If a city decides to kill every busker who comes in, it’s violating the constitution.  If a city decides that buskers aren’t allowed to perform on their streets, and fines them and drives them to the edge of town, that’s within their rights, and it’s within their rights to tax citizens to pay for this de-busking program.  The busker can’t really claim that he/she can’t pursue his/her own happiness elsewhere.  Not credibly.  Again, if grandma thinks raiding her savings to get rid of buskers is not a moral imperative, she’ll move elsewhere.)

And right now the kung-fu straw fighters are getting ready to say “you do want the poor to starve in the dark” and “if grandma is poor you want to throw her off a cliff.”

The kung-fu straw fighters are really good at fighting strawmen.

Every human society since – from what we can deduce from their skeletons – before we were fully human has looked after its sick, its ailing and its truly helpless.  This is not something that’s about to change.

Yes, most of the time that was left to private charity – though not always and though sometimes private charity was funneled through the state.

Being me, and being a student of history I think it’s less dangerous to leave the care of those truly indigent to private charity.  The reason I think this is that private charity can’t put to death those who have become too burdensome: a national government can.  (For examples of national governments that have done that, look to Nazi Germany, look up China’s “dying rooms” [if you have a strong stomach.  I looked once almost a year ago, and I’m still having nightmares,] and look at “non voluntary euthanasia” in Europe or what happens to babies who are going to cost a lot of money to keep alive to adulthood.)

However, I’m willing to concede two things:

First, contracts must be honored.  Those people who had money deducted from their paycheck their entire working life on the promise that their retirement would be secure and who are now past or very near retirement age, should be given at least enough to survive comfortably on.

Second, we live in an age when religious moral imperatives have been (deliberately?) chipped at for almost a century.  This means some people (most of whom think the State should do it for them) are not at all inclined to give even one cent to provide for an indigent neighbor no matter how deserving – not out of their own pocket.  Because of that, at state and city level, some arrangements might be needed to provide for those who can’t provide for themselves.  For the record, the Federal arrangements are so inefficient, so poorly targeted (they often require you to own nothing in order to give help – even though your entire worth might be tied up in a house you cannot sell, no matter how much it is nominally worth), that local and private charities have to step in to keep people from real trouble – and often fail.  (For instance, our kids do not qualify for subsidized education loans because a) I’m a contractor and get paid irregularly, so we have “savings” in the bank.  b) The government assumes that all the savings in the bank should be used to pay for the kids’ education first – even if that means we can’t meet next month’s mortgage, or the month’s after.  c) the government assumes I’m going to use that money for EACH of the kids which requires us to have either the ability to use the same money twice, or to (of course) pick the kid we’re going to help through college and let the other one go hang.  No, I am not complaining about this.  I don’t think grandma should be robbed so my kids can go to school—we can contrive and if we don’t, there’s always an appliance box under a bridge.  I’m simply showing it’s impossible for a government covering 350 million people to account for every individual circumstance in a just and fair manner.)  The bigger the government and the more intrusive its aims, NO MATTER HOW NOMINALLY GOOD, the more misery and injustice it will spread.

This does not mean we don’t think the things that the government taxes us to do are bad.  A commenter yesterday brought up a “road safety program.”  That is a nice goal.  By all means, tell people not to text and drive, not to drink and drive, and to keep a car length between themselves and the car ahead of them – I’m sure these are things we can all get behind.  Or at least things we don’t think are INHERENTLY evil.

However, now visualize someone holding grandma at gunpoint to get money for this road safety program.  Is it worth it?  Why?  Show your work?  Haven’t people heard this message before from other outlets?  Why do you think they’ll pay attention when it’s done by the government if they haven’t before?  If they don’t stop under the threat of fine, why will a series of billboards, program spots, or even a policeman stationed here and there along the road make a difference?

Now imagine that the money you’re taking from grandma is the difference between her living independently and not.  (No?  Right now my household spends more on taxes than it spends on food or mortgage and some years it’s food and mortgage combined.  And most of those are Federal taxes.)

Road safety is a nice goal, but is it worth it?  Is it worth taking all the savings grandma has worked for all her life and throwing her to the mercy of public charity?  Is it moral and just?  Show your work.

And then there’s the fact that a bureaucracy has a tendency to become the creature of long-established functionaries and the slave of idiotic law makers.  (And we won’t even go into the fact that our presidents can now legislate with their signature, via executive orders.  I’m sure I don’t know why we can’t power most of the country from the energy generated by the Founders spinning in their graves.)

It’s very easy to convince these “elected representatives” some of whom are dumber than my cat (look up “Guam tipping over.”) that say the lightbulbs we’ve been using for years are baaaaad and we should ban them.  It is particularly easy when lobbyists – GE – get involved.  And if it turns out afterwards that the “ecologically safe” lightbulbs they want you to use emit mercury and can cause brain cancer… well, it’s all to the good, right?  The fewer humans the better for Mother Gaia.  No?  You don’t think that’s worth it stealing grandma’s savings to give more power to these creatures who go to Washington and become self-enriching machines and creating regulations that actually make things worse?  You don’t want to give them power of life and death over yourself and yours?

Then perhaps you should stop doing it.  Perhaps you should keep each level of the government to its essential functions, with a little more leeway at the local level, where, you know, if they want to forbid Big Gulps and their idiot constituents let them, it’s their stupid business and not yours.

It’s very easy to say “I want to make sure no cat is homeless” but when it comes to creating Federal homes for homeless cats – is it worth it robbing grandma to do it?

Look, it is a fact – known through history and enshrined in human nature – that humans tend to do that which they perceive as a greater good for the individual self.  This doesn’t make humans evil.  Most humans are fairly decent people – if flawed – and none of us wants to watch our neighbor die on the street.  The fact we’re social animals means we care for the “group” as well as for ourselves.

Assume we haven’t changed radically in the last two hundred years – we haven’t, at least that we can tell – what is the good of putting all-too-fallible humans in positions where the best for them (more power, more security, more public acclaim) comes from robbing their neighbors to pursue increasingly more quixotic goals?  Why would you assume they wouldn’t go from essential goals to goals they think would be cool to have?  Particularly since this ensures they keep their jobs?

Government is a necessary evil unless and until it is possible to network to such an extent that a group of citizens can buy a stealth bomber.  But let’s keep it small, to carefully enumerated powers and DISTRIBUTED.  You can keep an eye on your local b*stards, but how many of us can go to DC and tell our representatives (or our all too imperial President) that they’re out of their rocking minds and that we don’t want grandma’s money taken at gun point in order to take over GM? (And steal grandma’s shares in it, too.)

I don’t want to throw grandma over the cliff.  I don’t want the poor to starve in the dark.  But if we give the power to make those decisions to a distant and impersonal entity, that entity will INVARIABLY – even with the best intentions in the world – through omission and commission do exactly that to some grandmas and some poor.  And right now we’re headed to a world where we write off the money we send to Washington and are lucky if it isn’t used AGAINST us – while all the real needs have to be taken care of at other levels.

We’ve tried massive governments that supposedly took care of everyone.  The Fascists and Communists were humans like us, made of the same genetic material.  They weren’t monsters.  They had a strong, centralized government and — by their lights — the best intentions in the world.  Both claimed to be “scientific.”  The results were appalling levels of death and misery.  There are no angels you can port in wield that much power with no consequence.  Sooner or later those in charge lose track of the boundary between essential and “would be nice.”  There is no right way to do this.  It’s a bad idea to turn humans into numbers on a bureaucrat’s slate.  And it is evil to expose mere humans to the temptation of playing G-d and (thinking they can) forming the ideal world.

Let’s give the other option a try.  Small Government: Too Small to Throw Grandma off The Cliff or to Make Us All Poor.

Who knows?  It’s such a crazy idea, it just might work.

351 thoughts on “Keeping Grandma Atop The Cliff

    1. THE RIGHT TO TAKE is the foundation of capitalism.

      “[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land … any white person who brought the element of civilization had THE RIGHT TO TAKE over this continent.” ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

      Actually, THE RIGHT TO TAKE is the foundation of every single political manifestation–from Sumerian to Communism–of agricultural city-Statism (Civilization.)

      “Agriculture creates government.” ~Richard Manning, Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, p. 73

      “Civilization originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.” ~Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization, p. 1, first sentence

      1. I’m not sure in which universe “show your work” translates to a splatter of quotes with no further reasoning, but it certainly isn’t this one.

        Furthermore, while pretty much every government and religion at some point claims the “right to take”, that doesn’t mean they actually possess such a right unless you look to the “might makes right” formulation – which is explicitly rejected here. Power may make it bloody difficult to argue against something, due to people not reasoning terribly well when they’re being forced, but that doesn’t mean it’s moral. Just ask the millions of people killed by communists.

        I could go into more detail on the problems with each of your quotes, but since you couldn’t be bothered to offer any reasoning, I fail to see why I should do more than I have.

        1. Your ilk will go either way:

          1. If I show no quotes, you complain my statement has no references.
          2. If I show references, you complain it is a “spattering of quotes.”

          Millions of people killed by communists, you say?

          Yep, I agree. But you’re not honest. What about the capitalist holocaust?

          “During the course of four centuries – from the 1490s to the 1890s – Europeans and white Americans engaged in an unbroken string of genocide campaigns against the native peoples of the Americas.”(p.147)

          “[It] was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.(prologue)

          AMERICAN HOLOCAUST: THE CONQUEST OF THE NEW WORLD, by David Stannard (Oxford University Press, 1992)

          1. THE CAPITALIST HOLOCAUST? You mean giving people the most prosperity ever. Your history is fucked up. Seriously fucked up. And you’re banned.
            As for our ilk, we prefer to THINK.

            1. Because the American native peoples lived in such harmony with nature and one another before Europeans arrived? A quick check of David Stannard’s Wiki entry reveals a Chomskylike approach to History typically only found in graduates of Patrice Lumumba U and tenured seats at American universities.

              The wonderful thing about a phrase such as Capitalist Holocaust is it attributes to an economic system empowering individual actors the sins of the sort which are only enabled by totalitarian economic systems, such as the various Marxist holocausts. Moreover, even Stannard acknowledges the primary cause of the “holocaust” was communicable diseasae transmitted well before we had any understanding of bacteria, viruses or other elements of epidemiology.

              1. Let alone that calling Spaniards of the time Capitalists is roll on the floor funny. They were in fact members of an aristocratic caste ruled by absolute monarchs. Oh, yeah, communism is close enough.

                Capitalist holocaust is sort of like Rainbow Ice Cream holocaust. I’m sure you could choke someone to death with it, but blaming the ice cream is just dumb.

                1. When you look past the ideological wallpaper, Communism is the same old philosophy that a favored few are indeed born booted and spurred , ready to ride [Mankind] legitimately, by the grace of G-d.

                  All they are arguing over is who will wear the saddles and how we will determine who shall ride. And that debate is ongoing and vigorous, as witness:

                  A book review by Cass Sunstein in the New York Review of Books illustrates what our betters in the ruling class have planned for us. Sunstein, many may recall, was until recently President Obama’s “regulations czar.” It is also worth noting also, I think, that he supports granting animals the right to sue and giving different categories of people differing value based on “quality of life” (specifically, including age) in government cost/benefit regulatory measurements. In any event, he reviews a book called, Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, which apparently pushes the statism meme.
                  [MORE: ]

          2. Ivy – You are what you read. You read crap. You can quote BS til the cows come home and make some more, but it’s still BS. Covering yourself with it does not make it prettier or smell better. You know as much about capitalism as a jelly fish knows knows about lower back pain. Which you are giving everyone here. Begone.

          3. What a sterling example of how not to conduct a discussion. Starting with “your ilk” then a broad generalization about either wanting cites or calling it a spattering of quotes, neither of which is supported by what I actually said, which was that quotes without any kind of supporting reasoning don’t make an argument.

            Next, accuse me of dishonesty and bring up a so-called “capitalist holocaust” complete with another set of quotes which are so far from correct that they don’t even have the distinction of being wrong. Wrong implies the same universe.

            Now for the falseness of the quotes in question:
            1. By far the biggest killer of the native American peoples was not any deliberate action. It was disease. None of the American peoples of the time had any resistance to any of the common diseases carried by the Europeans. This massive death toll (estimated at around 90% of the native populations at the time) would have occurred whether the Europeans were settling or trading. The escape of pigs carried on ships for fresh meat hastened the spread of disease: many porcine ailments transmit to humans, and pigs can carry a host of human diseases like smallpox (this was the biggest killer – I recommend reading a real history of the era).
            2. Whether judged proportionally or numerically, the claim that the era from 1490 to 1890 in the Americas saw the “most massive act of genocide in the history of the world” is utterly false. That “honor” belongs to the Nazis (eliminating almost all the Jews in their part of the world, as well as as many gypsies, homosexuals and other “undesirables” as they could get hold of) or the Communists. In pure numbers the Communists “win”. If you have any doubt, speak to a Cambodian refugee. The Killing Fields is not a metaphor.
            3. There were unquestionably atrocities committed against the native peoples of the Americas. They committed a fair few atrocities themselves (it’s reasonable to speculate that the slaughter of the Aztecs was at least in part inspired by the horror of their religious practices – whatever their failings, no Spaniards ever went into cutting hearts out of living victims. Even the worst sins of the Inquisition paled beside that – at least (in the minds of the Spaniards) the Inquisition went after people who were suspect. Not what looked to them like random innocents). Slaughter and betrayal is not “genocide” and cheapens the term. There were at least as many attempts to deal fairly with native American people as there were atrocities against them. Read up on William Penn if you doubt this.
            4. “Capitalist” does not mean what you seem to think it means. Actual capitalists are too busy creating things and selling them to go out killing people – and they’d rather not have an entire market eliminated (which genocide rather by definition does).

            1. “I recommend reading a real history of the era”

              For those of us who want a better understanding of what went on, can you recommend one? I’m afraid if I just go grab one, or go by what’s popular, I’ll end up with a wallbanger.

              1. …pigs can carry a host of human diseases like smallpox …

                And, incidentally, in case any other clue-deficient loons show up: BLANKETS DON’T. Not for more than 12-24 hours, anyway, unless it’s something that goes to spore, like anthrax.

                  1. Can you read the Black Book of Communism without retching? I stopped reading Andrew Roberts book, A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900, at about 1923 because of his descriptions of the early years of the Soviet Union. All the tortures, general unsurpassed misery and the creation of Hell on Earth made ill.
                    Martin Gilbert’s History of the 20th Century–in 3 volumes– is excellent. Paul Johnson is also excellent.

                  2. The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America’s Traitors sits on the shelf alongside the Black Book. Read it with a scorecard to keep track of the villainy.

                    A reminder of what a great Senator Moynihan was, for all his faults. Now NY is represented by Shmuck Chumer and his Sock Puppet.

          4. The conflict with native american tribes was almost entirely not a “holocaust”, and not a “genocide”. First of all, most of the colonial powers were hardly “capitalist” in economic structure especially those of the Spanish empire.

            And secondly, the conflict was two sided, with tribes freely initiating and conducting warfare. Warfare that did see atrocities committed but organized genocidal government acts were small scale and often denounced contemporaneously.

            And “most massive act of genocide” is simply objectively false horse manure. R.J. Rummel’s “Death by Government” puts it in perspective – where it does not even make the top dozen.

      2. The Right To Take, to the extent any such right exists, is the foundation of Socialism, which asserts group ownership of personal property. It is the foundation of Monarchism, which asserts that all property belongs to the Crown. It is the antithesis of Capitalism, which asserts the right to property is personal and insists on voluntary exchanges for transfers of goods and services.

        Please see a physician, you appear to suffer from Political Tourette’s Syndrome, an affliction affecting many in contemporary society. It is characterized by shouting random quotes and phrases, often in all caps, without connecting them in any form of an argument. Many prominent person’s in our country have been observed suffering from PTS (aka: Bidenmouth) who manage to have full, productive and satisfying lives so long as they use ordinary precautions against spreading the condition or engaging in activities, such as thinking, prone to inducing inflammation of the brain resulting in frothing at the mouth and getting hammered as trolls. With medication they are often able to restrict manifestations of their illness, limiting its expression to the bumpers and fenders of their cars.

            1. While I might ordinarily enjoy kicking about a twit who can’t formulate an argument and cannot distinguish between a physician and a psychiatrist, I am still recovering from the sniffles that apparently do eventually end and thus suggest Ivy Mike has amply demonstrated a total lack of ability to reason or construct an argument and justifies blocking.

              OTOH, if anybody wants to engage them for purposes of public vivisection I have no objection.

          1. Please see a dictionary. “Physician” does not mean “Psychiatrist”. If you can’t make that distinction anything else you say is suspect.

            Oh, if it won’t break anything, a course or two of formal logic might also be helpful.

            I should also make sure that future comments contain only small words so you’ll be sure to understand.

      3. No, dear Ivy. Ayn Rand is not the Speaker For Capitalism (she was a nasty woman, actually, and even when I was on the Libertarian National Committee I didn’t agree with her – much less now!) The “right to take” has nothing to do with government, and everything to do with people who are anarchist, and allow the strongest guy and his followers to take over. To say this is government is to say that Al Capone was President of Chicago.

        I am, and have always been, a mincarchist. Because I know that unless people join together to protect their God-given liberties, some strong-armed thug and his gang will move in and take over — and unless that thug and gang are stopped cold, a lot of people will willingly go over to his side because of some nebulous “he’ll make the trains run on time” or, as my mother-in-law insists was the case when Capone controlled Chicago, “A woman could walk down the street, any time of the day or night, and be perfectly safe.” The question is, how much of your liberty and personal property are you willing to hand over for that?

        Anarchists (government is EEEVIIILLLL) are the ones who pave the way for the war lords to take over. Because anarchists keep people from coordinated efforts to fight off the war lord. And as the anarchist bleeds out, with the screams of the children being raped ringing in his ears, the anarchist has a self-satisfied smile; content in the knowledge that at least he has kept people safe from evil “government”. It is to weep. (And, yes, ‘he’ is an indeterminate gender singular. In every language. Including English up until about 1980 when the feminists decided to redo English because it gave them the vapors to hear ‘he’ applied to a being who might *possibly* have a vagina.)

      4. Yes. It’s *horrid* what we did to the peace-loving, spiritually centered Aztecs who never lifted a finger against any of their enemies. Only European capitalists killed AmerIndians. >gag< You know less about the history of the "noble savage" than you do about the rest of history. Which is really a minuscule amount.

        1. I would say this must be a middle school class, but these days college students are also indoctrinated beyond the ability to think. Poor nubbins. They don’t stand a chance in what they’ll have to cope with. They were made into good and faithful servants of would-be Aristos.

  1. Saint Hillary repeated a saying that went “it takes a village to raise a child”. While there are elements of truth in that saying, she was really talking about “Big Brother” telling the villagers how to raise their children. [Sad Smile]

    What’s even more interesting is that saying describes (or did describe) small town America which our Aristocrats routinely sneer at.

  2. Also, because – trust me, you don’t know that you are ignorant fo this, but you are – we are an incredibly regionally diverse country at a level that no foreigner who hasn’t lived here can begin to GUESS. H*ll, many Americans who haven’t travelled outside their region or haven’t LIVED outside their region have no clue. When I moved from the North to the South and then the East to the West I found greater differences than I’ve found between countries in Europe.

    Once again, you’re describing the Leftist Bubble.

    How many hard-core leftists have never traveled beyond their safe leftist enclaves in NYC/LA/SF/Seattle/Boston/Chicago? I dare say quite a few of them, and those that have traveled have probably been more consumed with, “Gaia, how these unenlightened bozos live,” which, in their minds, would justify even more government intervention to correct the “incorrect” way the “unenlightened bozos” live.

    1. Heck, the differences between South Texas and Mississippi are absolutely astonishing, and they’re practically next door to each other … well, Louisiana in the middle, of course. But to the new Aristos, it’s all one flyover-country, Bible Belt blurr.

        1. Heck, the differences between the Mountain areas of NC and the Piedmont (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/Research Triangle and Cary, aka Corral Area for Relocated Yankees) are profound. For one thing, in the Piedmont they think they know everything worth knowing while in the mountains they think they know everything they need to know.

            1. It is necessary to simplify for non-Tarheels. It is necessary to realize that NC was simultaneously represented in the US Senate by John Edwards and Jesse Helms.

              As a state it personifies Dr. Doolittle’s Pushmepullyou.

            2. And those of us west of Raleigh keep complaining about how the people “Down East” keep sending Democrats to the State house. The term “Yellow Dog Democrat” was coined in NC I think.

      1. I know I still feel weird living on the Left Coast, having grown up on the West Coast and mostly in Alaska, which in rural areas is a whole ‘nother world. Even now, I’m so rural that I don’t have much contact with Boston, so I have culture shock when I go there, talk to people from there. I may have even more when I move to Ohio later this year, but I am looking forward to the exploration…

          1. Rob, about midway between Cinci and Dayton. I’ve visited there a couple of times for a few days each. Other than the one person who really matters, I have a lot to learn about the people there.

            1. Midway between Cincy and Dayton… it’s a suburban area, conservative in a go-along but not fire-breathing manner. Where else can you find — at a single highway exit — a mega-church, two giant “flea markets”, and a Hustler Hollywood store?

              1. And of course, there’s Millennicon, coming up in March, which is in Cincy but once was in Dayton, and the anime convention that also used to be in Dayton in some guy’s garage. And the castle down in Loveland.

                We also have Cincinnati chili (the secret ingredient is cinnamon) and bratwurst that is white and goes great with horseradish and mustard, which is about as different from Wisconsin bratwurst as you can get without going to Germany. (Germany has about 200 different kinds of bratwurst, one understands.) Cincinnati also has a lizard species imported from Italy.

                Cincinnati and Dayton are totally different, even though their settlement patterns are similar and they have overlapping likes (such as white bratwurst). Cincinnati has its own chartable dialect patterns by neighborhood, for example, while Dayton tends to delight in having all the major American dialects smash together in the same sentence by the same person. (And yes, I have seen Labov sigh in delighted exasperation over the difficulty of defining the speech of native Daytonians.)

                1. “Cincinnati also has a lizard species imported from Italy”

                  I didn’t know that Dennis Kucinich was from Italy. I would have guessed different from his name.

                2. “Cincinnati has its own chartable dialect patterns by neighborhood, for example…”

                  This is absolutely true. Too many years ago, while waiting for my SAT to start, I was listening to the other test-takers talk, and was able to figure out their high schools by their “accents”. It was weird, because there were noticeable differences between districts that were adjacent.

                  And don’t forget the chocolate in the chili, too. Or the ghoetta.

                  1. I have been introduced to Cincinnati chili, and didn’t care much for it, too sweet. My version does involve chocolate, it’s a much-tweaked version a Texan introduced me to over 20 years ago. But what on earth is Ghoetta? And that’s another thing about this country being so large… food. I grew up a military brat, we traveled a lot, and then settled in Alaska for a few years. I have always been an adventurous eater, so I’ve tried everything, but it amazes me how many people refuse to venture outside their comfort zones. I know it’s not *really* related to the topic, but it does make me wonder how many of those who refuse to think for themselves are also picky eaters.

                    1. Goetta is alternatively known as oatmeal sausage. Basically, just sausage cooked together with pinhead (or Steel Cut) oats, then formed back into a loaf. The spices are a bit different, and a little milder than ordinary breakfast sausage.

                      I prefer mine sliced thin and fried to a crispy brown on the outside, but I have also just mixed it in with scrambled eggs.

                3. Don’t forget the cocoa also in the Cincinnati Chili.

                  And there’s Goetta. Some people don’t like it. But they’re weird. 😉

            2. Yay, another person in my general neck of the woods (well, I’m a hillbilly from over the river in Ky, but still pretty close).

            1. You should see the difference between western Washington state (i.e. the Puget Sound area) and the part of Washington east of the Cascades.

              Quite a bit of the land east of the Cascades is dedicated to farming, and is fairly conservative politically. If it wasn’t for the Seattle-Tacoma-Portland (believe it or not, Portland is right on the northern border of Oregon) stretch, I daresay Washington would be at the very least purple, and possibly light red.

    2. I’m not so sure that’s true. The rising Leftism in Brooklyn for instance is due to people from out of state and also Europe flocking in for the so-called hipster scene (which looks exactly like the college scene just about anywhere). There is a big difference between out of town Democrats and lifetime New York City welfare and subsidy Democrats. Union Democrats are a whole different breed and have their own particular politics. Sadly the Republicans in New York State are simply rent seekers and have less to be proud about than anyone. When the Repubs were in power in Long Island they were so corrupt that their own loyal voters were the first to get rid of them.

      Leftism, rightism almost seems genetic.

      1. Maybe that’s true of New Yorkers, but I grew up about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco.

        Trust me… most of the hard-core leftists there (read: Berzerkley faculty and/or perpetual students) have rarely gone further afield than, say, the usual summer trip to Palm Springs and ski trips to Lake Tahoe.

        1. Disney World. When they do travel they travel to Disney World constructions which offer all the amenities to which they’re accustomed — plus charming native villages, sanitized for their protection. It is a simulacrum of experience.

          1. Ahh, yes, I forgot the sanitized “It’s a Small World” experience of Disneyland (which is the one in Southern California, Disney World is the one in Florida).

            And yes, I know that 83.42% of people reading this will have that song in their heads for the rest of the day. Sorry about that. 🙂

            1. I used to have that problem, but since seeing the Family Guy episode set in Disney World, I think “It’s a tiny tiny world” with its non-catchy music and all is well.

        2. Once they do get here they don’t go outside of their area but in that since they are the same as people with money never going out of their area. They are often one and the same and they are used to having businesses which caters to them and make them feel special. Organic whole earth toy stores for instance.

          I couldn’t be a leftist even if I tried. I’m too poor and too unconnected. A lot of this people are too but they like to pretend they aren’t.

            1. No, Sarah, you couldn’t have ever been a leftist, any more than I could have.

              You like thinking for yourself too much, and leftists just don’t do that. They let the leaders do the thinking and then they just go along.

          1. We have a five-star hotel in our city that caters to the “rich and famous” (mostly the rich). I know several people who work there. Their insecurity is absolutely astounding. I wouldn’t last through the orientation, much less the actual work. NO ONE is “better” than I am just because they have money. They may be RICHER than I am, but most of them are snobs that need a good dose of reality.

            1. In re that healthy dose of reality, I recommend two healthy doses of non-reality. Check out the films The Admirable Crichton and Ruggles of Red Gap for contrasting British and American interpretations of the class struggle. A good time is guaranteed for all.

      2. 3 of my grandmother’s 4 brothers were all raised near my home town. They were artists and rode the rails out to California and became cartoonists. One was rather a commie and got black listed for his views during that pleasantness. He moved back home for a time and I have a neat letter he wrote and drew for his kids back in Cali.
        The other two were rather left wing/socialist as well but not near as bad as the one.

        The 4th brother was essentially stolen from the family when Great Gran died of TB and while Grandpa was trying to get him back, the orphanage adopted him out and then burned down, losing the records, so even if they agreed to return him they had not a clue where to look.
        Grandma K looked for him most of her life. Finally his adopted parents passed away and he took less than a week to find the family.
        He is about as to the left as his brothers (as well as being quite artisitic though his was musical) and my youngest cousin currently is helping take care of him as he really doesn’t want to be put in a home or otherwise let the freedoms he thought we didn’t need get taken away.
        But we still love the man.

        1. and after a reboot because my keyboard stopped working it seems I lost the quote saying leftism is genetic. This is my example that makes me wonder if maybe you are not correct about that.

    3. Like I say in the header to my weblog, I’ve been (just about) everywhere — born in California, raised in Louisiana, lived in some dozen states plus England, Germany, Panama, and Vietnam, and visited much more extensively. The United States stretches 3200 miles from LA to Boston. That’s greater than the distance from Lisbon to Moscow. Texas alone stretches 834 miles from El Paso to Texline, on the Louisiana border (I’ve driven it – MONSTROUS stretch) — greater than the distance one can drive anywhere in one country in Europe outside of Italy — and that takes some maneuvering. Most Europeans cannot understand that. Most AMERICANS can’t really understand that. You have to cross this country a few times by car (or by rail, when rail travel was worth doing) before you can understand this. Most leftists don’t want to “soil their hands”, and the rest can’t afford to do that much traveling, for a variety of reasons.

      My dad visited us twice since Jean and I were married. Both times, he couldn’t wait to get back home to Louisiana. That was HIS bubble, where he was comfortable. He knew other places, he just preferred to be where he grew up.

      1. Sounds like me. I was born in the Silicon Valley area of California, have lived in (let me think, here), both northern and southern California, Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, Washington, and Idaho, and I’ve probably forgotten one or two.

        That’s part of why I stuck “Wanderer” onto my chosen nom du cyber… that and the fact that I tend to wander from topic to topic…

      2. I have only ever lived a short way from where I grew up (just south of Cincinnati), but when I was growing up, my parents drove us to California to visit an uncle on my dad’s side, to Florida to visit my uncles on my mom’s side, and to Niagara Falls, just for fun.

        This country is BIG.

        1. I have driven across the country three times, and up and back from Alaska, which is easily as long a drive, especially if you take the Cassiar… Anyway, I was trying to explain to a guy I was dating that should we move to Oregon driving to Eugene and Portland for Farmer’s Markets if we lived in the Rogue River Valley was not doable. He’s a multi-generation New Englander. He just wasn’t grasping the concept of the size of that one state.

          1. I-5 is over 300 miles from border to border. Ashland and Portand are on opposite ends.
            What learns ’em is when you get into Portland International (airport), rent a car and drive to the Dalles up the Columbia Gorge. Then ask em if they want to drive the other half of the way to the border of Idaho. It is a beautiful drive when it isn’t sleeting or frozen, but it goes on and on and on with nothing outside of towns.
            A friend used to do this with relatives coming in from Europe.

            1. I may have bit of an idea. Finland is now rather sparsely populated once you get away from the towns, especially in the north, and while this is not a large country if you compare it to US as a whole its still large in European scale, about half the size of Texas I think. I have driven from south to Rovaniemi, in miles about 400, in one day (at that time of the year when it doesn’t get dark), and a couple of times during those summers in Lapland I drove, on a free day and when I got tired of looking at my coworkers and trees, over a 100 miles in one direction just in order to get to a restaurant and have a meal I hadn’t cooked myself. 🙂

              The biggest difference is probably that we have a pretty homogenous culture in all parts of the country, perhaps discounting the Same up north a bit, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice that, they look and they talk pretty much the same now even if there may be differences in the way they see things.

            2. Our son and his girlfriend just returned from what was his first vacation in several years, driving up the coast from about an hour south of SF to Washington’s Olympic peninsula and back down through the central valley(s) to home. Just most of three states and 1800+ miles. (Until he left home, except for visiting cousins or on camping trips, he pretty much never slept outside the bedroom he came to straight from the hospital. His sisters never lived anywhere more than 120 miles from where they were born, until they went off to school, and then on their own when they married. That’s changed since.)

              We drove out to visit his oldest sister in Minnesota two summers back, round trip about 4500 miles (up north and across going out, more southerly coming back). The middle girl lives on Maui. Guess who we visit during the winter?

              My closest family lives in southern California, about 400 miles one way, which we manage every other year or so. One day down, one day there, one day back.

              We didn’t intend to spread out, it just happened.

              We don’t get out much, or often, but we’ve been to about 35 states so far, mostly by driving. And all without a visa/passport. I guess Canada’s next on the list.

            3. If you really want to amaze them, drive south out of The Dalles to Bend, then east to Idaho. That is some very beautiful, very empty land.
              Of course, you don’t want to be driving an electric car.

      3. I have driven across every state west of the Mississippi, and all but 2 of those east of the Mississippi. Most of those trips were on two lane roads back when the Interstates did not exist. On many of those trips, I was with my uncle or my Dad driving a truck.

        I remember one trip, in particular, across North Carolina. The road was so crooked, the front of the trailer hit the back of the truck. The first town (well it was really a combination store and gas station with a few houses) after that was the first time I ever saw an outhouse for the “Negros” while the white folks had a regular rest room. The proprietor was a very nice man though, bought us a cup of coffee (I think it was because we could talk about places he’d never been).

        On two lane roads, in a truck, with ridiculous speed limits, it takes a loooong time to get from the Midwest to the west coast. Four days of 12-14 hour days (’cause the ICC said a truck couldn’t be driven more than 10 hours a day (so we fudged the time a little – hey we had to make money)). Day 1 – Minneapolis to western North Dakota, day 2 to the middle on Montana, day 3 to Spokane, and the last day to Seattle.

  3. I used to think the death of the Soviet Union would say more about the uselessness of Communism but that was until I learned more about it. It is essentially a German philosophy and the Germans were perceived as the proletariat and are very close in conception to Hitler’s master race which is why the Germans so readily adopted it.

    Basically the fall of the Soviet Union is interpreted by small c communists as what can you expect from those ignorant Slavs. It is why Communism is so much more violent in the third world. Those instituting it have adopted that they are inferior to European thinking and much more forcefully transform their own. There is a lot of self-hate in communists. They only see the good when they are surrounded by a mob. It drowns the self-hate in anger.

  4. The problem with government, or at least the instance which currently controls the United States, is that it does in fact want to toss grandma over the edge and leave us destitute. It just has an effective projection apparatus with which to paint its detractors.

    Take for example the public dole. The government points to its takers and says “These people are fat and happy. They too have modern convienences such as cellular phones capable of communicating on all the popular social networks, and enough free calories to make them diabetic. If these people can be content, what more do you need your income for, you bitter clinger? Give the fruit of your toils to us, so that we might see that you live in comfort as well.” Thus we can all live in poverty together, for at least as long as there’s someone who can be fleeced.

    1. Actually, the last thing our current government wants is to recognize that our American poor live better than 95% of the rest of the world. Instead they find those inevitable cases where some poor soul suffered the lack of health care or decent housing or some other factor that resulted in calamity and attempt to use the situation to guilt the makers into voluntarily acquiescing to ever greater chunks of their hard earned wealth.
      What is never examined is the lifestyle of those who administrate the redistribution. Those Aristos live quite comfortably, and justify the largess as their due reward for all the good works they accomplish. The dirty secret being that it’s all a scam to skim the cream and divert it to their own coffers.

      1. Ever notice how NASTY the left gets when you poke around in the truths behind their poster children? They *really* don’t want anyone to know how well-off our poor generally are.

  5. I have in the past had numerous opportunities to entertain foreign visitors, both European and Asian. They are invariably incapable of wrapping their heads around the physical vastness of our country let alone the diversity of our peoples. It always saddens me when that natural diversity, which ought to be celebrated as in “here’s what my people bring to the melting pot”, is instead corrupted into artificial divisiveness. Got no problem with hyphenated Americans just so long as the “American” comes first and the rest is spice added to the stew pot.
    The other thing of note, I’ve never had a foreign visitor turn down the offer of a trip to the shooting range. They always want to get their hands on the things their countries deny them.

    1. I’ve never really run into the problem with people not understanding the size of the country, but for Europeans I would imagine that telling them to think of each European country as being similar to a State in this country would be a good start.

      1. Some friends of ours had cousins from Italy visiting Orlando, for Disney World of course. The cousins wanted to see the Grand Canyon, too – and they thought it would make a nice weekend drive. From Orlando. To the Grand Canyon. And back. In a weekend.

        Comparing the individual states to the individual countries is a good start … but then Texas is roughly the size of France by itself.

  6. This post reminds me of Nozick’s “Anarchy, State, Utopia” with more passion and less detail. My favorite excerpt from that book is “The Tale of the Slave”:

    Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

    There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.
    The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
    The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.
    The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own.
    The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking.
    The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

    Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000 masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster can do this also.

    Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers.
    In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
    They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome.

    The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of a slave?

  7. When I moved to the US from Australia I – naively, based on the routine complaints from Those Who Know that Oz is becoming “Americanized – believed I’d find something just like Australia only better. Nope.

    Moving from Houston to not-quite-rural PA was just as much a culture shock as moving from Oz to PA, unlike Oz where you can move from one end of the country to the other and not see that much of a cultural change. In Australia I’ve lived in several cities and some country towns, and the basics are pretty much the same. It is – or was – a pretty homogenous culture despite a population about the size of Texas scattered over a land mass about the size of the lower 48.

    Not so in the USA.

    Some things are done better in some places (there are services in Oz that I’m astounded never caught on here, and things in TX that I miss horribly – but other things that PA does much better in my opinion), some are just different. None are something some twerp in an office can use to generalize across the whole population.

    And, weirdly? One of my bigger issues has been estimating travel time. Oz was easy. First I had to get used to miles instead of kilometers, then I had to internalize the whole concept of roads that don’t run straight, get traffic no matter what time you drive them, and travel times that can more than double depending on time of day. Maybe Sydney and Melbourne have that problem, but when I was living in Brisbane, peak traffic hadn’t got that bad. It took a bad accident to do that to travel times. Here… From where we live, it’s an hour to central Philadelphia off peak. During peak, it’s more than two – if there are no accidents.

    1. None are something some twerp in an office can use to generalize across the whole population.

      But said twerp can generalize across the people he knows, and thus he thinks that he can generalize across the whole population.

      That’s why leftists are often so absolutely gobsmacked when people in “flyover country” don’t sign on to their policies.

      Remember, for example, the oft-repeated canard that once people learn about what’s in Obamacare, once the Democrats voting for it got to their districts and explained it carefully, once Obama gave one more speech about it, the little people would understand that it was really a wonderful thing? I am sure that leftists actually believed that, because all their friends thought it was a wonderful thing. But their friends aren’t indicative of the entire country.

      1. “That’s why leftists are often so absolutely gobsmacked when people in “flyover country” don’t sign on to their policies.”

        That’s because they want to be judged by their intentions rather than their results.

        1. That’s the way their leftist friends judge them.

          If they mouth the right platitudes and pay homage to the right people, you can even get away with murder (i.e. Ted Kennedy) and the leftists will still declare you A Good Person.

        2. Because we all know that if your kilt catches fire and I throw a bucket of kerosene on you, what really really matters is that I thought it was funny-smelling water.

              1. He’s already announced no one wants to see him in a kilt (wrong) and he’s not entitled to one (possibly wrong. I think there was a barfly tartan designed) and so he’s not wearing one. So it’s a moo point (as a cow might make.)

                1. Clarification.

                  No sane person wants to see me in kilt. At one time, back when I was fencing (foil & epee) regularly, probably. One knee surgery and thirty years at a desk … I ain’t paying for your eye surgery.

                  While it might be possible to build an argument that there may be a tartan I can legitimately wear, I haz standards. I would not wear a kilt without shaving my legs, and I ain’t shaving my legs. Period. Exclamation Point.

                  In my insufficiently ill-spent youth I have adequate reason to believe my … legs and rear were what independent observers deemed “shapely.” I can only attribute that to a sojourn at military school in 9th & 10th grade, during which time I spent (due to a nature even less repressible than at present) most Saturdays walking what were known as “penalty tours.” There is an irony there which bemuses me to this day.

                  1. A kilt, ye daft Sassenach, is naver worn wi’ shaved legs. A true Scotsman has not only got hairy legs, but hairy knees, to prove he’s a real man for a’ that and goes a’ through the winter in his kilt, instead of wrapping his puir weakling cods in trousers.

                    (I do not have hairy knees. I live in the interior of Canada, where even among Scotsmen, the term for men with hairy knees is ‘suicide’.)

                    1. Perhaps the more important questions are:

                      What would be the Baen Barfly Coat of Arms? Can we gets it emblazoned on con badges?

                      What would be the Baen Barfly reg-striped tie?

                      I suspect the Baen Barfly motto might be Illegitimi Non Carborundum although it might be worth while asking David Drake to translate “Don’t Be An A-hole” into Latin.

                    2. The opportunities are … splendid.

                      A Unicorn rampant on a field Or, farting a rainbow while trampling a troll on field Gules.

                    3. I dunno – a fly in a martini glass, doing the backstroke?

                      A fly floating in a jug of likker?

                      A dragonfly wrapped around a still?

                    4. I did a barfly graphic. Fly, holding mug of ale/beer, sitting at a bar with a stack of books by his elbow. If there’s interest I can post the graphic in the FB Diner or holographic Bar.

                    5. I hope the fly is wearing aviator shades. Cool guys always wear aviator shades … at least, they do if they have compound eyes.

                    6. I have to share this about Latin mottos: When I was a receptionist I used to have Morituri Nolumus Mori posted behind my desk (Pratchett: those of us who are about to die don’t want to) until it was suggested that I take it down because someone had come in asking for “Mr. Morituri” Have to give the kid points for observation.

                    7. I like the fly doing the backstroke in a martini glass, holding a beer with one leg, smoking a pipe, and brandishing some cool and futuristic weapon with another leg.

                    8. RES: it might be worth while asking David Drake to translate “Don’t Be An A-hole” into Latin.

                      But probably not, alas. The trouble is that there are two ways to do it, both defective. The Latin for a-hole is culus, which is straightforward enough. The trouble is with the verb. You could use the verb esse, ‘to be’, or fieri, ‘to become’, more or less indifferently in this context, but each has a serious shortcoming.

                      The Latin for ‘Don’t BE an a-hole’ would be Culus non es. But the form es is not only the imperative, but the second-person singular indicative. Therefore, it also means ‘You ARE NOT an a-hole’ — which is just the kind of reassurance we don’t want the culi to hear. This ambiguity makes the motto something worse than useless.

                      You could, then, take refuge in ‘Don’t BECOME an a-hole’, or Culus non fi. Unfortunately the Marines have muddied those waters, because they have taught the American public that fi is short for fidelis, as in ‘semper fi’. People with a bit of cultural literacy but no Latin might think Culus non fi means something like ‘The Marines are a-holes’, or worse yet, ‘Don’t be one of those a-hole Marines’ — which is not only the wrong idea to communicate, but a dangerous one for the health of a civilian.

                      There remains a distant possibility that you could get by with the plural form, Culi non fite. I would deplore this myself, because it takes away the point of individual applicability — it doesn’t say ‘THIS MEANS YOU’. There’s a reason why the Ten Commandments are phrased as ‘Thou shalt not’ instead of ‘all y’all shouldn’t’. It’s too easy to dream up reasons why one is a Special Snowflake and an exception to ‘all y’all’.

                      However, I daresay Mr. Drake, who is more expert than I, could come up with a motto that would steer past all these shoals and come into harbour without running aground.

                    9. A pointless reply to my silly self:

                      One might squeeze by the aforementioned shoals with an infinitive — Culus non esse debet, ‘one ought not to be an a-hole’. But that sounds like such weaksauce compared to a straightforward command.

                    10. I didn’t interact with JB much when I was Barflying, so I may have misremembered his attitude. “All are welcome so long as they don’t act like a-holes” or “Everybody’s welcome so long as they don’t show their @ss” might better approximate the tone and translate more readily. I expect idiomatic accuracy counts for more than technical correctness.

                    11. It also occurred to me “An alien with burner rampant, on a field of stars, crossed by the bar sinister.” (We’re all b*stards of Baen, right?)

                      I don’t know. You’ve all been crossed by the Bar, right enough, but I wouldn’t say there was anything sinister about that.

                    12. Most Progressives seem to find the type of thinking taking place on the Bar very sinister indeed, an admittedly left-handed compliment but you take what isn’t nailed down.

                    13. Tom– William the Conqueror had a bar sinister on his flag (and other identifications of the period). It just means that daddy and mommy were having fun w/o marriage. Plus many of those guys with bar sinister were “right b*stards.”

                    14. Cyn: Tom– William the Conqueror had a bar sinister on his flag (and other identifications of the period). It just means that daddy and mommy were having fun w/o marriage. Plus many of those guys with bar sinister were “right b*stards.”

                      I was merely playing with the multiple meanings of the word ‘bar’, but since you see fit to disregard my joke and wax pedantic, I am afraid I shall have to out-pedant you. I do so on three counts:

                      To begin with, the term ‘bar sinister’ is an error introduced by Sir Walter Scott. The correct heraldic term is bend sinister, for a diagonal stripe running from edge to edge of the escutcheon, or baton sinister for a stripe across the central part of the escutcheon only. (The French heraldic term for a bend was a barre — note the difference of spelling — which may be what misled Scott.) It is the baton sinister that was used as a heraldic symbol of bastardy, and it ought to be referred to as such.

                      Secondly, the baton sinister did not come into use as a symbol of bastardy until about the fourteenth century. Prior to that, legitimate and illegitimate children were not distinguished by their arms.

                      Thirdly, the best sources I have available to me give William the Conqueror’s arms as ‘Gules two lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure’. Richard I added a third lion; the royal arms of England (properly so called) have remained unchanged since that day, though often quartered or otherwise combined with the arms of France, Scotland, and/or Ireland. There is no bend, baton, or bar of any description. (There is a further doubt whether the arms in question even belonged to William. There appears to be a school of thought which holds that they originated with Henry I, and that William may not have employed any distinctive arms of his own — the formal rules of heraldry not having taken sufficient form in his time.)

                      So William the Conqueror did not, in fact, have on his arms (if any) a bar sinister, which is not the same as a bend or baton sinister, which was not a symbol of bastardy in his time anyway.

                      And all that, dear lady, is what you get for being a spoilsport.

                    15. To begin with, the term ‘bar sinister’ is an error introduced by Sir Walter Scott. The correct heraldic term is bend sinister, for a diagonal stripe running from edge to edge of the escutcheon, or baton sinister for a stripe across the central part of the escutcheon only. (The French heraldic term for a bend was a barre …

                      I thought a barre sinister was where ballerinas of questionable morality hung out.

                  1. Tom: I did NOT call you pedantic or a spoilsport so I expect the same consideration. I was joking around (?right b*stards?) but I see that you do not know or understand my education or understanding of heraldry. (One of my German professors was really into heraldry– plus I did some study through a few of the heraldry books– I am by no means an expert– my field is words and writings). So if I am wrong, I am okay with being corrected.

                    However, I don’t like name calling. So I will not call you a “right b*stard” in the future and I hope you keep “names” out of the discussion. I am NOT j/k.

                    1. I said you were being a spoilsport and a pedant because you used my attempt at a joke as an excuse to show off your technical knowledge: in other words, you were acting in the role of a spoilsport and a pedant. I don’t consider those to be deadly insults, but I do regard them as grounds for some degree of reproof, and I see no reason to label them as anything other than what they are.

                      As for calling me a ‘right bastard’, I don’t see what I or anyone in this discussion has done to deserve that; and saying you won’t call me one is a pretty fair way of intimating that you want to call me one. I have very often seen that trick used as a way of smuggling in an insult under a thin pretence of politeness, and I must therefore say (and it accords with the general tone of your remark) that I regard you with some suspicion of having used it for just that purpose. I sincerely hope I am mistaken on that point.

                      By the way, if accusing you of pedantry was an insult, then what was it when I announced my intention to be more pedantic than you? And if I called you a spoilsport for spoiling the sport of my attempted joke, then what does it make me for abandoning the joke and pursuing the manner in the same vein — and do you suppose for a moment that I am unaware of it? I include myself fully in any opprobrium I have offered you on those two scores. You gave me an unsolicited and uncalled-for lecture on the subject of my supposed ignorance of heraldry; I confuted you in kind, point by point. If this was bad manners on my part, it was equally bad manners on yours; I waive the point. But now you change tack and take umbrage at the tone of my remarks, as if you had not first addressed me in the same way. It is true that you did not use the words ‘pedant’ or ‘spoilsport’; by the action of offering the kind of criticism you gave, you accused me of something much more serious — base and blatant ignorance that required immediate correction, and justified asperity in delivering it. In short, you treated me as an intolerable fool. I may be intolerable on other grounds, but I am not fond of being treated as a fool. And I am ‘not j/k’ any more than you are.

                      It appears we have both of us given and received offence. I should like to suggest that we stop it right here, before we discommode Mrs. Hoyt and her other guests any further.

                    2. Tom– the second one was an insult– However, a lot of the umbrage you are taking is imagined. I have been on chemo for ten years so much of my brain is fuzzy with the fine points of the insults that you see (In my heyday I would have been more circumspect, but I thought it was safe here).

                      So I meant I will not continue this discussion further with you because I respect our hostess. Just know that you have pricked my temper and it took me hours to get it under control. Excess of emotion is very bad for my disease– so I am backing away and I will keep my opinions to myself when you are speaking.

            1. In the United States the primary cause of kilt fires is politicians blowing smoke up them.

              As for frequency of such fires, much research yet needs to be done. Grants are being applied for and a cracked research team assumbled*.

              *Is so a word … now. Its meaning (like all words) depends on what you want it to mean.

              1. In order to make sure you get the grants, be sure to describe kilt fires as “a crisis that could — and will — end all life as we know it on this planet if not properly controlled.”

                1. The research on kilt fires is for the children. Really. I pinky swear. Have you ever seen all the kids at a Highland Games? Which proves my point. And the Scots are a downtrodden minority, so all the more reason to do everything possible to protect them.

                  Aw dang, I think I just triggered the sarcasm overload relief function on my computer. Anybody got a manure shovel I can borrow?

                  1. I know a research grant writer (who makes certain to include at least one joke in every grant application – she swears it helps). Should I ask her help?

                2. Too vague. Tie it global warming, though, and the cash will just flood in. It also helps if you replace the word “kilt” with “pants.” The ruling class will then trip over themselves to hand you a half billion just so they have research to point to when their trousers spontaneously combust on the House/Senate floor.

            2. Mine never have, despite being made of relatively flammable (less than kerosene, but certainly more than dihydrous monoxide) materials. On the upside, kilts are easier – and far quicker – to remove than trousers.

              1. Speaking of DHMO, if you really want non-flammable materials, I recommend that you treat your dihydrous monoxide with at least 1 mol/L hydroxylic acid as an additional fire retardant, and possibly also some oxidane as a preservative. Studies show that dihydrous monoxide never remains stable in the absence of oxidane.

              2. Wool is actually a lot safer than synthetics; and if it burns, it tends to burn slowly. But yeah, you might have to doff your kilt quickly to use it as a fire-smothering blanket. 🙂

                1. Notice that the very first things that all advocates of the kilt talk about is how fast they can take them off?

                  This is a very significant data point.

                    1. But there is no need to take it off, if you are not wearing anything underneath, now is there? Well, some of the full length great kilt versions I saw SCA ladies wear occasionally, maybe, since with that amount of wool cloth it might be a bit difficult to navigate without removing the garment in question, but the men’s versions, even the old fashioned wrapped around great kilt… okay, maybe the great kilt if you mean to do lot of rolling around, or you might find yourself somewhat restricted in movement once it has come loose.

  8. Preach on, Sarah.

    On my side of the pond I would be happy enough – well, not perhaps jumping with joy exactly, I do think lots of this stuff really might work better if it was not done by the government, but at least it would be something I’d be willing to tolerate – if my money was used for something like taking care of the poor (well, poorer, right now I’m pretty much in that category myself, so lets say unemployed, and preferably against their own will unemployed), of the old, make sure that essential infrastructure stays usable, and our armed forces stay in good enough shape to not make marching into our country seem attractively easy.

    Unfortunately right now I’m also paying for stuff like art exhibits, training for athletes, making unemployment figures look better by giving the unemployed (or forcing them, actually, you have to go on those courses or your benefits will get cut) courses in things which will mostly be of no use helping them to find jobs – but officially they will not be unemployed but students while they are on those courses. And help for Greece, lots of things like those, and most importantly, lots and lots of bureaucracy so that all the nitpicking rules which we have in order for everything to work exactly the right way (except they mostly still don’t) will be observed, and all the commas will be in right places, and the cucumbers will have just the right amount of curve (okay, that’s history now, but it did truly exist for a while: EU “Directive 1677/88 stipulates that class one cucumbers may bend by 10mm for every 10cm of length. Class two cucumbers may bend twice as much.” Lots of jokes, but yep, not the only such rule EU bureaucracy has dreamed up) and so on, and right now more money seems to be used for keeping tabs of the cucumbers and commas that for anything obviously worthwhile.

    And if I refuse to pay for those art exhibits and athlete training camps that money will be taken from me by force. Lots of people perhaps would be willing to pay in order to make sure Finns win world championship in ice hockey or something, but I don’t really give a damn about something like that, so why the hell am I supposed to pay for it?

    1. I had the same reaction when I received a bill from a certain State that I had to add fifteen percent more on my taxes to pay for schools when I didn’t have ANY children of my own. I was outraged (since I was already seeing the output of some of those schools). I joined the Navy not long after. I couldn’t believe it– I was barely making enough money for food and clothing for myself and I didn’t have any to spare. Plus they had been taking out my taxes at a rate they had devised… so oops? I still get mad when I am asked to add more to the pot because I don’t see it doing any good. I have a better education than some of these smucks and I was out of school at 12. (I did get Navy electronics training because of my ASVAB score– and I did get four years of college after I left the Navy and was older at 38).

      Okay rant over–

      1. Yep. Right now I’m not paying much taxes, about 5 % of my income, but there are hell of a lot ‘hidden’ taxes here – cars and gas are the most often used examples, our gas costs about twice what you are paying, and about half of that is different taxes. Standard V.A.T., for example, is 24 % and it usually does get paid more than once before the product gets to the consumer.

        With my current income I can just barely pay my rent and my bills, of what is left about half goes for gas, and if the damn car breaks down, well, big problem because I really do need it for commuting… right now I am one of those ‘poor’ all the compassionate lefties are always talking about, but most of their pet ideas might as well be aimed, on purpose, to make it harder for me to live on my own, and more likely to force me into dependance on government aid.

        Who knows, very mild version of socialism might actually work in a country as small as ours, at least for a while, only once the country got a bit richer the socialists decided to start spending the money on all kinds of REALLY non-essential ‘lets make the world nicer’ -projects, and we are fast running out of money. But instead of trying to sparse those projects they are just thinking up more. Add to that all the things the EU bureaucrats think up… Talk about being out of touch with reality.

    2. Oh lord, you don’t want to know what else they can find to piss away our money on; asking that is the economic equivalent of “Things can’t get any worse” in an action movie.

      From today’s London’s Telegraph:

      Arts Council money spent on decorating lorries destined for Europe
      Arts council spending £2.5m promoting Lincolnshire fenlands in Europe despite local claim that area at ‘breaking point’ from immigration.

      Mother-of-11 gets custom built ‘super-council house’
      Family of unemployed mother-of-11 so large that council is building ‘mansion’ for her.

      And finally:

      Muslim preacher urges followers to claim ‘Jihad Seeker’s Allowance’
      A Muslim preacher is secretly filmed urging followers to take benefits from the state to fund a holy war.
      By Melanie Hall
      Anjem Choudary was secretly filmed mocking non-Muslims for working in 9-5 jobs their whole lives, and told followers that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year.

      “The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that,” he said. “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’.

      “But the normal situation is for you to take money from the kuffar [non-believers].

      “So we take Jihad Seeker’s Allowance. You need to get support.”

      He went on to tell a 30-strong crowd: “We are going to take England — the Muslims are coming.”

      Ridiculing the daily lives of UK workers, Choudary said: “You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock.

      “They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.”

      Choudary, a father-of-four, claims more than £25,000 a year in benefits, £8,000 more than the take-home pay of some soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to the Sun, which covertly filmed the preacher at three meetings.
      [MORE: ]

      1. Wow. Lots of suspicion that the “militants” considered welfare to be jizya, but didn’t realize there was documentation of it…

        1. I can’t readily access the article today, but it has come out (IIRC, via FOI demands by Judicial Watch) that the Obama Administration is recruiting immigrants by touting America’s generous Welfare benefits.

          Head, desk.

          1. No, the administration’s head>desk. Preferably at speed. The word of the day is defenestration.
            Used in a sentence “This administration makes me fond of defenestration.”

          2. The Obama administration has been illegally ignoring immigrants’ use of welfare when adjudicating permanent residency petitions – that came out last week.

            1. Heck, we knew that without having to be shown — they love prostitutorial discretion whereby laws are selectively enforced.

              Here is a link to the Piled Higher and Deeper aspect of this:

              For more than a century, the law has been that any application for a visa to enter the United States must be denied if the applicant is likely to become a “public charge” on the American people. (“An alien who…is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”) Yet the Obama administration has not only ignored this aspect of our immigration laws, it has actively recruited immigrants who have no means of support, deliberately enticing them with offers of generous welfare benefits. Of all of the many scandals of the scandal-ridden Obama administration, this particular lawlessness is, in my opinion, one of the worst.

              For some reason, Jeff Sessions finds himself in the forefront of just about every major issue in Washington these days. Here, too, he has led the effort to expose the administration’s misdeeds. Sessions discussed the issue on Fox News this morning:
              [MORE: ]

              1. RES, I think the word you’re looking for is prosecutorial though prostitutorial has a certain ring to it.

                  1. Indeed, it’s a shame that those who prostitute themselves through politics are not also required to prostitute themselves in the plain old honest way. Many a political hack would be out of a job if his constitutents had to sleep with him as well as vote for him.

                    1. I’d hate to imagine some of the things one could catch from sleeping unprotected with a politician.

  9. 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Emphasis added. Hoo-boy, is that one nutty religion.

    1. Yup. It’s also about time to exercise that last sentence — again. Our Founders were also very leery of political parties. The longer we have the current two, the more I have to agree with them.

  10. The argument that taxes have to be ok because we as a society vote for them reminds me of the joke that straight democracy is like two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner.

    My greatest fear is that the feds will be stealing from Social Security, and the states will be having fits trying to keep their public employee pensions funded, and the risk that Union pension funds can’t pay out at the level they promised, until we reach a crisis level of. “letting gramma starve in the dark”. Under that perceived emergency they will decide to nationalize (seize like GM) all pension funds to roll into SS, and then all IRAs, 401Ks, and such retirement accounts, and of course, use up all the accrued monies to pay off the pensions, and hike up taxes to cover the liabilities.
    In short, steal from the money going it, then steal from the money while holding it, and then demand more money, with the elderly and the vulnerables held hostage, to cover the need.

    I may be a paranoid fool, but I’ve stopped adding to my IRA.

      1. Yep. About 15 years ago, I told my husbands parents that I did not expect to get ‘my’ Social Security money, as it was going right then to pay for their benefits. They were convinced that they were getting the money that they had paid in, and would not believe that the politicians had already raided the Social Security funds. They have both died now, and will not see what happens relatively soon.

    1. The noises about IRAs and 401ks have been coming out of Congress for a few years. Invariably when you bring it up, even otherwise sensible people claim you’re paranoid — despite people who openly advocate for it being called to Congress “to consult” over and over.

    2. Bob,
      Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but Congress gutted the Social Security lockbox years ago when they decided to use the surplus the system generated each year to buy US treasury bonds and divert the actual money into the general fund. Now that the cash flow has gone negative, more money must be paid out to recipients than comes in every year, some of those bonds have to be cashed in to balance the pay out. Money to do that has to come out of the general fund. Which is why what was once a cash cow for the feds has suddenly become a liability.
      Were a private company to do what the Social Security Agency has done they would soon find themselves in prison for perpetrating a classic Ponzi scheme.

      1. I was aware of that Uncle Lars, I am concerned that they are on the way to create another emergency to justify taking all the pensions and seizing all the money out of IRAs and other private retirement accounts to cover for the SS liabilities they’ve incurred — because they might lose power if they default. I just said it poorly.

        I don’t expect to see a penny of my Social Security and I doubt I will see any from my pension no matter what the courts have promised. I’m beginning to think that the IRA will be seized for the greater good too, and it will be disbursed to me at the Social Security rate, in place of the SS, because I have private means–which makes me scream and froth at the mouth, because I saved the money so I wouldn’t be trying to figure out how to retire on SS stipend.

        If the IRA’s are nationalized we will be told that we are greedy to want to keep so much when there is so much need.

  11. What is the difference between the Mafia and the Federal Government? The Mafia gives you VALUE and protection for your protection money.

  12. I just wish I could put restrictions on the money they take from me. OK, fine, government student loans–but only for careers we need as a country. There could be a list of approved majors and apprenticeships. Take [grievance group] Studies classes all you want but not on my dime. Same thing with welfare. Rejigger it so people don’t *lose* money if they do get a real job, but also make them do something to EARN the welfare. (I’m seeing a lot of graffiti that needs painting over, for example…)

    Also, I’m thinking we could raise a TON of money if they just instituted a Congressional Dunk Tank. $5 each for your own reps, $10 each for all the rest, we could get rid of the deficit overnight!

    1. One proposal has been to set a minimum wage stipend, such that the employer pays the worker according to what they must to attract the quality of employees they want with the government making up the difference between that and the established minimum wage.

      Those who decry this as allowing employers to ruthlessly exploit labor should revisit the part about “attract[ing] the quality of employees”, contemplate the idea that providing subsidized jobs has been the primary effect of Obama’s stimulus programs, that a subsidized job is more in accord with American values than having a comfortable unemployment, and something else which slipped my mind while I was typing out the first items.

      One problem with Welfare benefits has been the degree to which they comprise a barrier to working. Because of “last hired, first fired” policies endorsed by labor unions and their political puppets, many a person moves from Welfare to Work but is laid off and loses not only the benefits attendant on the employment but must requalify for benefits provided through Welfare. For a person with ongoing medical needs (or, say, a dependent with such) the yo-yoing effect can be disastrous.

      1. And if you could couple the minimum wage subsidy with requiring everyone on welfare to report to “work” of some kind, or else for training, whether they had employment or not, a lot more people would be motivated to get off welfare.

        1. Once upon a time people on unemployment might be required to dig ditches or clear brushes. Perhaps not such a bad idea. But if the requirement was training, at least make sure it’s training for something worthwhile. As said, long term unemployed here are required to take all kinds of courses, but from what I have talked with those people I know who have been in that position, lots of them are pretty damn useless for any real life applications. And at the same time if the unemployed finds something which could really help with finding a job they can get punished for it – sitting on an approved unemployment course can be necessary so one doesn’t lose one’s benefits, but paying for an unapproved one yourself usually means losing them. The main use for those courses right now seems to be, as said, that they make the unemployment figures look better since people on them are temporarily off those figures. Part of the problem seems to be that since the whole system is very bureaucracy heavy it’s not flexible enough to be useful. Things get decided at the top, months or years ahead of now, and rarely answer to what the situation would demand on some specific area right now.

    2. -I just wish I could put restrictions on the money they take from me.

      Only practical way to do that would be to repeal the 16th Amendment, force the Federal Government to tax the states, not citizens directly, and then allow states to lower their taxes to the Feds by opting out of Federal Programs. If California wants the US government to pay for sex change operations and Texas doesn’t, then California can pay the tax and get the benefits, while Texas shakes its head, keeps its money, and somehow soldiers on without. Then, if you don’t want to pay for sex change operations, you can move to Texas.

      Note that this is a nice self-correcting mechanism for Federal overreach, as Federal domestic programs become the product of individual states contracting out their peculiar functions and rule-making to an external entity, likely paying a stupid tax on top of it.

      And if there is one thing that should be taxed, it’s stupidity.

      1. I like that plan. It would help slow the flood of Californian-types into Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and other places. “Wait, no benefits?!? Ugh, you barbarians!” And the states could line-item the tax rates, so people know where their money is going. The trick would be to keep politicians from trying to import/lure benefits-seekers into non-benefit states in order to force the state to change its policies.

  13. I think there is another class of situations where taking money by force is morally justified. If I sneak into a movie theater, or eat off my date’s plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I would say it is morally acceptable, if not necessary, to force me to pay for the goods and services I enjoyed.

    Thus, I think it is perfectly moral to require grandma to pay her “fair share” (yes, deciding what, exactly, is “fair” is non-trivial) for the barbed wire, even if the rest of us put up enough to cover the whole cost. Because if she doesn’t pay and still enjoys the benefits then when it comes time to build the wall around the neighborhood (damn zombies figured out tin snips) half the neighborhood might not feel like chipping in, and now we can’t afford proper defenses.

    1. Note our taxes are almost exactly the opposite of that, since they keep reducing the number of people who DO pay (at least if you don’t count sales taxes and they never do.)

  14. One more item that’s the responsibility of the Federal Government is to settle disputes between the States.

    This is where the ‘regulate interstate commerce’ comes from. Back at that point in history, most of the disagreements between states were commerce related.

  15. In order to keep Granny from tipping over the cliff we must make the programs supporting her up there sustainable, therefore I propose we immediately reduce costs in the executive and legislative branches through the following methods:

    Cut staff by 5%. I have recently received an email advisory offering to tell me how to make money watching porn on the web; I propose we allow the Washington bureaucrats and flunkies go into business for themselves and stop watching porn on the taxpayers’ dime. Surely in these times of financial constraints the Federal government can step up its productivity to cover that missing 5% of staff.

    I further propose a salary freeze for all remaining Federal employees, exempting only the military. All Federally paid persons receiving in excess of $250,000 annually in net wages and benefits should have their wages subject to a 5% surtax in order to ensure they pay their fair share.

    Because unions are established to protect worker’s rights against abusiove employers, and because the government would — we all know — abuse American workers, I propose all government employee unions hereby be disbanded, salaries cut by 3/4 the amount paid to the union in dues and that union pensions be converted into IRAs, taxed as income as funds are disbursed.

    These policies should reduce the cost of providing for Grandma and enable us to preserve her in her dotage.

    1. I also heartily endorse the Reynolds Tax on post government employment, with the minor proviso it be made progressive, with a top rate of 99% for all income over $10 million during the period of post-government activity covered by the tax.

      That period ought also be progressive, up to a lifetime for president, vice-president, Senate Majority Leader* and House Speaker. For the latter two positions the term of the tax should be proportionate to the term of their time in that position.

      1. As newly elected Imperator Americana, I endorse the Reynolds Tax, plus closing the Hollywood Tax Loophole. Other tax adjustments I leave to the Congress.

        My spending proposal is simple – that all Federal expenditures be frozen at current levels until the Federal budget balances, and that in any future fiscal year in which the CBO finds that the budget is not balanced or in surplus, all Federal expenditures are automatically frozen at current levels until balanced or surplus conditions again apply.

        So let it be written, so let it be done. Imperial Guard, Fix… Bayonets.

  16. ” … And if grandma isn’t so confused, fluffy and dumb that she gets lost in her own underwear (Pants-Bunny) … “

    I’m betting “pants-bunny” is actually a new euphemism among the kids for gay ( you know like “light in the loafers” and someone’s having us on.

  17. “First, contracts must be honored. Those people who had money deducted from their paycheck their entire working life on the promise that their retirement would be secure and who are now past or very near retirement age, should be given at least enough to survive comfortably on.”

    Comfortably? I remember, since I was a small girl, regular discussion of how Social Security was unstable and could not last. Enough to live on is one thing, but comfortably? These people wittingly paid into a Ponzi scheme believing it would go bust on future generations, and made no serious effort to prevent that bust. The generations they intended to let starve should not be on the hook to keep them in comfort because they didn’t make the connection between its going bust and the possibility of its going bust on them.

    1. Look if they would give me back what I paid in, then I wouldn’t be so angry, but it has already been spent on other things besides retirement. Yes, our representatives told us that social security was in a lockbox. Yes, our representatives lied. The money was in the general fund– more slush money for them to spend.

      Unfortunately, my hubby who has reached retirement age knows that he must continue working until his 70s or later for various reasons including that I can not work again as an employee in an office, retail, or food industry. (Because of my disease, it could kill me– germs and other things in the workplace.) We were forced to pay into this Ponzi scheme– If we don’t, then our money is taken anyway and we are put in jail.

        1. But “they” aren’t the ones who will pay. Unless you’re suggesting that we take everyone who managed SS and sell them into indentured servitude. Which I would support, btw. Plus putting a few heads on pikes.

      1. Let’s just give everyone who has paid into SS a TSP account funded to the amount they would have if they had put all their contributions into the G fund (which is really what they did). The people currently receiving benefits can keep getting what they’ve been getting, a significant number of them probably already have a negative “balance” with the SSA, and I don’t think it would be insurmountable to keep up the payments until they died off. Once that has happened we can shutter the SSA, sell off the buildings, and there will be no uncertainty in how much money people have for retirement.

        Defined benefit plans cannot support people being productive for only 1/2 of their life. Especially when, during that half, they are being asked to support half a dozen people above and beyond their own families.

        1. Chile has already demonstrated the means and benefits of instituting a privatized pension system. The key here would be limiting the ability of the political class to game the process in light of their already demonstrated willingness (eagerness) to game the economy.

    2. Argentina is currently doing a job on their retirees. The government borrowed money from the retirement funds at a very low interest rate, and is lying to the nation about the actual inflation rate so that they don’t have to give COLA increases.
      But the inflation rates are actually so much higher than the “official” rate, that grandma is really on a cliff.

        1. Well, the overt lying about inflation rate is pretty different. Its a crime in Argentina to publish an inflation rate that differs from the “official” rate.

          Here’s an Economist piece.

          I’ll put some other links in another comment since it will send it to moderation.

          1. SPQR Thank you.
            A quick wander off: were you all aware that there are websites devoted to the black market price of the dollar and Euro against the Argentine peso: both buy and sell just like the spot prices on metals sites? I must be naive not to expect that.
            Migawd. It would almost take the fun out of the black market.

      1. SPQR, Do you have resources on Argentina during their hyperinflation and attempt to deal with it by creating a new currency?

    3. Slight correction, We wittingly paid into a Ponzi scheme because we had no option not to. I have always known SS would not pay for my retirement. Therefore I took mine in chunks as I could whie I was young. I fully expect to drop in harness

      1. Such a shame we can’t sue the government for extortion; Social Security was a fiscal absurdity from the beginning.

        Of course, if we could bring action against politicians for extortion we could go after them on RICO charges, too. Since they control who the prosecutors are I don’t think it will happen.

  18. Are you or are you not for state control?

    This “I’m not for state control, but” is really annoying. You either believe something or you don’t.

    This is how Madison talked the states into ratifying the Constitution.

    We all ready tried “As small as possible,” and it didn’t work for very long. How about we try not having a State/government?

    1. Since when has “state control” been a monolithic entity? Define your terms, sir.

      “State control” depends entirely on what is being controlled. Sarah stated quite clearly that some things are better handled at the US State level, others at the US Federal level, others the US local government level, and still others at the individual level, with a leaning towards the smallest possible level to maximize responsiveness.

      By trying to claim “state control” as an either/or proposition instead of a multi-valued entity dependent on the item being controlled, you demonstrate either a lack of understanding of the question or a dishonest attempt to derail discussion.

      As for your claim that “As small as possible” didn’t work for long, you fail to acknowledge that any system – including anarchy – can and will be corrupted by those with the greatest power within it. By failing to remain vigilant, the people of the US allowed corruption to flourish. Many have no objections to this – either it benefits them, or they see nothing wrong with a system of quid pro quo or pay to play.

      You also fail to acknowledge that the people here would like very much to see meaningful reform without the blood in the streets and bodies from lampposts phase. You may presume this is cowardice. I will hope you are never disabused of that comforting notion.

      1. 1. Who get’s to decide what is in the public good.

        2. A state are monopoly of force, and it greedily suck more and more power uninto itself.

        3. I go up to you and demand 10% of your earnings, to protect you from bad guys, and if you don’t my freind will take you away and lock you up. If you resist he’s going to hurt you, possible kill you. If I do this it’s call extortion & theft. I can have the best of motives, just need money to buy equipment. If a state does it it’s called taxation.

        4. I’m responsible for me & only me. That goes for you to, say it with me “I’m not my brothers keeper.”

        5. There was double meaning in the statement “We tried, ‘As small as posible’ it didn’t work.” We had an even smaller central govenment under the Articles of Cofederation.

        6. Ever read the Anti-Federalist Papers. A lot of what they said would happen has.

        I reject the notion that we can’t Self-Govern.

        There is 6 reasons & a stament on why I don’t like a State government.

        1. On points 1 – 3, as long as you are not restricted in your movements the answers don’t matter: you can go somewhere more congenial to your preferences just as many California businesses are moving to Texas.

          Point 4 relies on a misconstruction of a Biblical parable which demonstrates you have not applied thoughtful intelligence to the lesson presented. You are responsible for yourself (and your chattel) but you are responsible to others and ought not exploit them. Please read up on the Free Rider Problem before you attempt to engage in this topic any further.

          Point 5 assumes there is no balance to be found between the extremes. If you want to make an argument that government inevitably attracts those who want to crank it up to 11, try actually making that argument. The argument you have actually made boils down to: My family of four couldn’t fit into a VW Bug, and the stretch limo was too expensive to operate, so we’re doing without a car.

          Point 6 is an invalid use of argument from authority, too imprecise and unspecific to be capable of engaging beyond “So what?” The anti-federalists were not arguing for anarchy, they were arguing for a different form of government. Even if their diagnoses of the problems with the Federalist proposal were in some cases valid, it does not follow that a) their prescriptions were better nor b) government as a concept should be abandoned.

          It is just such ill-thought through arguments as you are making that empowers the totalitarians, through the same process as Orwell demonstrated British pacifists aided the Nazis.

          1. RES,
            Thank you for the cogent argument. I’m finishing the living room floor, so my thoughts were too scattered to answer what seemed to boil down to “I reject your reality and substitute my own.”

            1. Shucks, Ma’am, tweren’t nothing; the varmint needed shootin’ and ah had the right ammo, as did Miss Kate and, ah’m sure, more’n a few others.

        2. And yet you still fail to define your terms. Despite this I will answer your points.

          1. “gets”, not “get’s”. Given the grammar and spelling of the rest of your comment, I see no reason not to snark flailing apostrophes. The question of who decides is why government of all forms should be limited and monitored closely. Merely asking “who gets to decide” does not constitute meaningful discussion of the problem.

          2. “A state is a monopoly” or “states are a monopoly”. This in fact stems from the nature of humanity. We are social creatures who form groups. We have done so since before our many-times-distant ancestors were what we’d consider human. Those groups compete for limited resources. In that environment, which continues to this day (or perhaps you’d like to argue that China for example is not a very large group competing with the USA for finite resources?). In such an environment, the individual is at a severe disadvantage when not associated with a group. Few individuals are capable of mustering the defenses necessary to fight off a band of marauders, much less say, China. The monopoly is not in fact on force, but on specific applications of force and coordination at the large group level, rather like two tribes negotiating – the chiefs do the actual negotiation or the whole thing becomes impossible.

          3. “friend”, not “freind”. Did you not see the similar argument advanced in the original post? If the threat for which you need money applies to everyone in town and everyone will suffer/die without that money being used to purchase defense material (or hire mercenaries – which count as defense material in this scenario) then I have a moral obligation to contribute – and the rest of the townsfolk have a valid reason to extort the 10% from me to pay for that material. They do not have a valid reason to extort the 10% from me to pay for your swimming pool.

          4. I believe you meant “too”, not “to”. Also, if you’re going to use Biblical allusions to justify your position, might I suggest that Cain is not the best choice? In addition, while you are responsible for only your own decisions, you do not have the right to make decisions that you know will harm others and escape consequences. No human society has ever existed without formalizing consequences in order to minimize retributive and vengeance cycles.

          5. “There was a double meaning”, “possible”. The Articles of Confederation and the subsequent iterations of Federal Government included explicit reference to the expected frequent need to clean the Augean stables and start fresh with modifications based on the lessons from the previous round of failures (watering the Tree of Liberty). The assumption then was that Federation was a necessary evil, one which would need constant monitoring (what? You thought “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance” meant watching for external enemies? Silly person).

          6. That would appear to be a question. It doesn’t take much intelligence to realize that human nature and some bad actors will cause bad consequences, particularly when the majority have failed to maintain their vigilance.

          Self-governing as you seem to think of it is all well and good, until the marauders come tearing over the hill and your cozy little self-governed home is in their path. War is the normal state of human groups (well, at the tribal band level, it’s more like semi-permanent feuding with raids), and an individual is helpless against that. One does not counter ICBMs with a rifle. One counters ICBMs with an organization capable of convincing the group with the ICBMs that using them would be the last thing their group did.

          You are free to like or not like what you choose, but you’re going to need more than a set of deeply flawed axioms to convince anyone else that your view is correct.

          1. Some people apparently need to spend time in a shield wall (or infantry square) where the survival of all depends on each participant doing their part. This can be achieved vicariously through the writings of Bernard Cornwell, along with much other enjoyment.

            NB, for the comprehension challenged: conditions particular to a shield wall do not adhere when not under attack.

            1. Hmmm, consider that democracy began in a poor, rough scrabble country populated by tribes of a very obnoxious group of people who barely spoke the same language ….

              … but fought in a phalanx.

            2. Forgot to put this out there earlier.

              I’m an ex-Navy DC/HT (CVN-71) and was on the at see fire party, one of guys that ran toward the fires. Last ones of the boot & most likely to go down with the ship.

              Spent 4 years being lied to. I can’t stand being lied to. You got work for me just tell me, and I do it. Do this, and you’re done for the day. Bust your ass get do. OK, now I need you to do this. After a few times of that jobs took as long as they took never rushed. “Do all this work while we’re in port, and we won’t have anything do while we’re out to see. Turns into, “Do all this work at see, and we won’t have anything to do while we are I’m port.” I took Never Again Volunteer Yourself to heart. Got out after my 4.

              Probable the single begist reason I can’t stand government bureaucracies.

              Serving freely is not the same as being force to contribute your money, resources, time or energy.

              Now done.

              1. Josh, I meant to say this earlier but, well, life and distractions …

                Thanks for your service. People here ALWAYS honor those willing to serve as you have — while acknowledging that such service does (in itself) not make you smarter or better informed than anyone else. 😉

                Many here have served the nation and have the scars to show for it. Because of the nature of this cocktail party we often fail to recognize it as often as we might ought, but do not ever think we do not appreciate it.

                As for bureaucracies – government or other – don’t nobody here not hate them, starting with our hostess, Sarah Hoyt, who has had to fight the bureaucratic process to get her books into print (the publishing bureaucracy has contorted itself to ensure that ONLY deserving books make it into print.)

                OTOH, bureaucracies are like the weather: it doesn’t matter how <Iyou feel about it, it is gonna happen as it wants. Get angry about it does it no harm and spikes your blood pressure, so figure ways to work around it.

        3. A successful state has a monopoly on force at a certain scale.

          Don’t like it? Me neither.

          But we’re stuck with it. The reason we’re stuck with it, nobody can change.

          None of us can change this:

          Military force works by controlling territory.

          The only way you can keep a marauding force from killing, raping, stealing, and burning is to exclude them from the territory you’re trying to protect.

          You must be better armed, fiercer, braver, sterner of purpose, better situated, better supplied, better organized, more vigilant, more loyal, better informed, more skilled, or smarter than the marauders are, in some proportion.

          Possess enough of those virtues and advantages, and you can exclude the enemy from a certain stretch of land. In so excluding him, you protect the people and the goods therein, and make them available for your use — or, at the very least, you deny them to him.

          If you cannot exclude him —

          a) He then excludes your force, and now rules the territory;
          b) He kills, rapes, steals, and burns, then runs away;* or
          c) If neither of you can exclude the other, you have a debatable land with perpetual violent conflict raging across it; and anyone attempting to exist in it suffers.

          *(Omit ‘rapes’ and ‘steals’ if his attacks are wholly from the air.)

          If you will not exclude him —

          a) He takes the territory without effective opposition; or
          b) The people in your territory, who are suffering from his depredations, revolt against your pacifism, your cowardice, your astonishingly unrealistic idealism, or your military incompetence, and follow a leader who convinces them he will organize and defend the territory. The leader’s ideology must include the exercise of such force as will permit him to raise, protect, and supply his army, as well as to engage the foe. Afterward — win or lose — even if he gives up power — good luck convincing the people to follow your ideology again.

          Every anarchy will therefore be replaced by:
          a) Incessant conflict; or
          b) A form of society capable of such organization as permits usually-effective control of its territory.

          The reason most people associate anarchy not with freedom but with chaos and bloodshed is that, historically, it is chaos and bloodshed. It’s the failure of any state to maintain peace in a territory, because it wants for the force, virtue, or organization to do so.

          It is wise, therefore, to strive for the most just and free society that can exist in this world. Insisting on a form of society that could survive only in Eden-sans-the-Fall serves us not.

          *Omit ‘rapes’ and ‘steals’ if his attacks are wholly from the air.

    2. What aspect of “limited state control” is annoying you? I am all for state control of public goods, such as highways, but object to it when it intrudes on the drive to my house, as that is private property. But state control is essential to the ownership of private property, as was recognized in the Declaration of Independence … “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”.

        1. WP is acting oddly again, not sending me all comments posted. Most surprisingly, it seems to particularly filter Leftwing nonsense from my “Hoyt Feed.” How WP determines and protects from arguments likely to spike my BP (except I can’t take such twaddle seriously) remains a mystery.

    3. *sigh* Because with NO government, you will GET government that will likely be even worse than what is there now. Even if it doesn’t call itself government. It’s the nature of mankind.

    4. I am a crappy writer.
      I am a crappy iditor. 😉 
      I am dyslexic, lets & let’s have the same weight of meaning in my head. It’s the context behind the words that give them meaning, not the order of the letters or punctuation.

      All true, but that’s not an excuse. So beat me up over it. It keeps me on my toes.

      I do not know how to say it any better, so I’m going to use another’s words, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” –Bastiat

      To use the Grandma analogy: the barbarians at the gate feel the are justified in coming and taking what they want, as does the defenders in coming and taking what he wants from grandma. Grandma through self-interest should feel a need to contribute something; time (maybe she’s a nurse & can tend wonded?) or resources. Maybe Grandma has alread contributed more than enough, and the Defenders misspent it and now feels no need not contribute anymore. Should Grandma now be required/forced to contribute more subsidizing the incompetents of the Defenders (sometimes life’s lessons are harsh & you don’t live through them.)?  If Grandma contributed nothing, the defender is under no obligation to defend her.

      A moocher can only mooch off of those who allow it. A looter will use force. 

      A producer need not take from anyone as he produces what he needs.

      “To each according to their need from each according to their ability.”

      Once you start sacraficing the needs of the one for the needs of the many, you are on the road to serfdom.

      Not all Anarchy is or leads to chaos:


      State, a nation or territory or region organized with one government. Control, the power to influence or direct. A states power of control is derived from the threat of and use of force. Do or do not do this, if you do not comply I will imprison you or kill you. 

      Sorry, I thought it was obvious through the context of the discution, and I’m used to arguing with friends with an understanding of our common usage.

      This is why I hate the english language.

      This is why I provided the link and brought up the Anti-Federalists. Jim and they are much better writers than I am.

      1. Not all Anarchy is or leads to chaos:

        No, anarchy leads to having thugs impose a REAL oppressive government on you. One that you have no say in whatsoever.

        1. I can’t think of a single historical instance of a society configured on anarchism surviving or prospering except as a parasite on a stronger state. Perhaps when anybody makes statements of the “not all” type they could provide at least one example supporting their claim?

          1. Read my responce to Wayne.

            And the reason why you can’t think of one example is anarchy based on a free-market system has never been tried.

            Josh A. Kruschke
            Austin, Texas

            1. Read it, rebutted it, bored by it.

              Please learn the principles of argument and reason if you wish to engage people here. If you want to be recipient of snide dismissals please continue as you have.

              While we welcome all intelligent participation and enjoy mind-stretching debate a minimal level of substance is required; hot air we get in sufficient quantity from professionals.

              1. Saying, I haven’t convensed you is not an agrgument against my position. It is a stament that you are not convenced. Hoyt is making arguments & others aganst my position. Just declaring my argument invalid is intellectually lazy as a defense.

                Sorry, I’m boring the elite intellectual, let me get some mood-music going and take my cloths of while telling you I’m going to blow your mind.


                1. Josh, being exposed to your nekkid physical body sounds even more dreary than being exposed to your naked intellect.

                  You made no argument, therefore no counter argument was required, merely the observation that your argument was without content. You stated your position, I (and others) advised you it was awkward and seemed likely to result in your head being caught up your rebuttal.

                  1. My position I think we should try something new.

                    This is why I think we should do it.

                    This is why I think it will work.

                    A rebutal should have. I think you are wrong, and this is why.

                    Not just you are wrong.

                    1. Josh, had you bothered to present elements 2 and/or 3 I would have addressed them. Because you never provided a “why” there was no need to provide a “why not”, only to point out your failure.

                      I and several others have already amply responded to your initial statements, pointing out that they do not constitute an argument and the argument they appear to constitute (argument inferred) is rebuttable, as we have done. Since that you have made no additional argument nor rebutted the rebuttal; instead you have merely complained and misrepresented our responses.

                      Go back upthread to your original statement of position and reread what has been said. This current post is the most coherent argument you’ve almost made … shame you failed to put any substance in it.

                    2. Josh– I have one argument for you–
                      Human nature. The Article of Confederations was already tried and failed because there was some problems– money (it is a problem when no one will accept your minted money–and each colony and sometimes cities had their own money, trade (look at money), and defense.

                      After reading your ideas of anarchist confederation (I think?– ), it seems to have the “might makes right” at the basis of it. If you sit down and think about what happens when something goes to pure democracy, then you’ll see what anarchy can lead to– i.e. two wolves and a lamb vote on dinner. Or the weaker members (women and children) lose rights. Eventually these governments or even non-governments go to strong men such as tyrants or kings.

                      The reason RES is arguing with you is that he is trying to get you to think or at the very least read a really good history book (not the newer leftist books of today) and come to your own conclusions. Many of us have mentally played with a fully free society; however, unless everyone is “perfect” it will end badly. Also, the free ports and free cities of Europe were governed so they were not anarchists. Anarchy is like nature. You don’t want to be the one that is too weak to protect yourself.

                      Back to the reason we have governments. The more stable your life, then the more children you have (and food, etc.) The better our species will propagate and live.

                      So take it our leave it– I won’t jump into it again. Have fun playing with RES.

        2. Dave,

          One, you are lumping all anarchy togather as being equal.

          Two, name one instance in history where Anarcho-Capatilism has been tried an failed. Just as when the Founding Fathers instituded their great experiment, there had never been a Constitutionaly Limited Republic.
          It took took 60 years for the FFs to convince people that it was posible to have a government with out a King, because that was just crazy talk and could never work.

          Three, the Anarcho-Capitalism I advocate is one where there would be a founding document, listing all inalienable/natural rights & frame work of despute resolution; based in common law, not civil or criminal law. Something like Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold.

          Finaly, this is an ideal. Will it work? Who knows; as, it’s never been tried before. I do feel this would give the desired result Hoyt is looking for of pushing government/how we organize ourselves to the comunnity level without the need for a state.

          My 2 cents,
          Josh A. Kruschke
          Austin, Texas

          1. Josh,

            You STILL need common defense. Sorry. Part of my issue with the right wing illusion of “we have a civil war and then the second American Republic emerges” is that while we’re bashing shields, some quite bad actors will nuke us.

            Even powerful city states aren’t powerful enough to protect you from China. Sorry. It is what it is.

            1. My responce to that is the millita system works.

              Why hasn’t any one nuked Switzerland.

              And nothing in *my* out lined system prevents organizing between citystates for the common defense.

              Nukes are a poor choice of conquest. They are all or nothing.

              If Chine wants to kill us all right now there is nothing *your* Federal Government can do to stop them.

              If that is your concern, city states get nukes.

              That puts us in no worse position than we are already in. Unless your position is only trusted states should have them.

              “The USA would never, ever use nukes offensively…… Wait never mind.”

              Josh A. Kruschke
              Austin, TX

              1. No one has nuked Switzerland because there has never been anything to gain from so doing. Also, given the effective blast radius and the geographical configuration of Switzerland it would take one Hell of a lot of nukes. NOT because the militia system works. (Study the truth about the Resistance in occupied France before arguing armed militias are effective.)

                Had Al Qaeda been capable of and understood the effects of such an act, Switzerland would have been targeted before the WTC.

                All of this is premised on the idea that you did not realize Sarah was using “nuked” metaphorically, of course.

                1. Yes, she was using it metaphoricaly for superior force, as was I. OK, let me ask it this way, why didn’t the Japanese in vaid the US mainland during WWII?

                  Why? They didn’t fear our military or government they had already kick the shit out of our military. The stated reason, They would have to fight the whole population of armed citizens. We would of been a tuff nut to crack.

                  The Muslims Brotherhoods plan is to do to the US what they have done to Europe. With outlyers using violence to terrorize, distract & punish.

                  Violence & Conflict are a spectrum. But follow all the same patterns. It’s a matter of scale.

                  Two good resources:

                  “Violence a Writers Guided” by Rory Miller.


                  For any of this to work how we deal with conflict and violence must be adressed first.

              2. “And nothing in *my* out lined system prevents organizing between citystates for the common defense.”

                Either your goalposts have moved, or you’re worse at presenting your arguments than you seemed. The very existence of city-states means you are not talking about anarchy. I suspected that when you mentioned the Freehold – it is not an anarchy either. In both cases you’re talking about a minarchy*. Heck, the Freehold even allows for eminent domain!

                Frankly, Josh, you’ve managed to alienate a whole roomful of people that would normally sympathize with your position, even if they don’t agree. As several others have pointed out, disagreement is not a mortal sin among Hoyt’s Huns. Arrogance in a newcomer generally is, and poor argumentation is an abomination here. Stop, back up, take a deep breath, leave the high horse outside, join the conversation with tact and diplomacy, and you’ll be as welcome as anyone else.

                *NB: A city-state may be more than a minarchy, but it seems a safe extrapolation from Josh’s context.

                  1. Apparently you needed to spend more time in the South, Hun, else you would have spotted the problem with that phrase.

                  2. My Kruschke Muraders will stop you.


                    But seriously, litttle small scale wars will brake out between regions/comunities. I find that more apealing than the really nasty ones that happen at the state level.

                    Hoyt I to want to keep things at the as small possible too. Just don’t think it’s possible organizing up to the state level.


                1. Hoyt called them city states, I just continued using it.

                  Government & a State are to different things.

                  I really hate english.

                  I’m for Governance not a state.

                    1. Depends on how you define government & governance. Is a parent that sets up rules & chores a government. Is a board of directors the CEO a government, they governing dodies of a company. See

                    2. Ah. I think I begin to see what you mean. So far as I’m concerned, a government is a body that governs. Whether that body is made up of elected officials, unelected officials, businessmen, lottery winners, those who bid lowest for the contract or what have you is immaterial. The *means* of government the document you linked described may differ from what we have currently in size and voluntariness of participation, but it’s still government, and imho, it would be better to stick with what’s worked for centuries than try to create something that *might* work, but might cast us into chaos if it doesn’t. In the abstract the ideas in the document you linked are… interesting, but I’m not convinced they’d work well in the real world. *Maybe* you might get *some* success out of a local trial with controlled conditions, but out in the wild, in an area the size of the US? color me skeptical. You can split hairs about the definitions of words til the cows come home, but at the end of the day, human nature is human nature, and power corrupts. It seems to me far more likely that at least some of the private law enforcement companies that doc suggests would, sooner or later, set themselves up as warlords and just take the money from the locals, rather than actually try to earn it.

            2. Second, if we just collapse, Some bad actors are going to smack us, anyways.

              The institutional moment is to great(opinion), a lot of us are just planning/hopping we will be able to salvage some form of liberty from this mess.

              I would be happy if we returned to rest to a constitutionaly limited Republic, but my ideal is AC. I do think it’s the next step. We were close to it under the Articles of Confederation.

              Josh A. Kruschke
              Austin, Texas

              1. If your “ideal” was the Articles of Confederation, you are not an anarcho-capitalist. Not that I’m at all surprised.

                1. What I said was we were closer to my ideal under the Articles of Confederation.

                  When I typed AC that was my short Hand for Anarcho-Capitalism.

                  Sorry for the confusion.

                  1. I think the confusion is yours. Under the Articles of Confederation, the states themselves were no more restrained in their capacity for excessive state interference than the Federal or state govts today. In some ways, during the Articles, states were more intrusive in private citizens lives within the limits of their capacity of the day.

          2. … name one instance in history where Anarcho-Capatilism has been tried an failed …

            Name one where it has been tried, period. Then name one where it has been tried and succeeded.

            It is a basic principle of reason that the person arguing for change has the burden of making their case, and just saying “it’s never failed” is not a compelling argument for something that has also never succeeded.

            You are asking us to abandon ship and walk on water. It might be possible, but before many commenters here attempt it we will require a far stronger argument than you’ve made thus far that a) the ship must be abandoned and b) walking on water is possible.

            As for Williamson’s Freehold … try Hoyt’s Eden. (IOW, read Darkship Thieves and Darkship Renegades.

            1. Fair enough, but the only way to find out is to try it.

              Should we count the current great experiment a failure or try it again? We know it works for a time?

              Josh A. Kruschke
              Austin, Texas

              1. Back in the Sixties, when LSD was popular (and legal) there were folks who, under its influence, thought they could walk on air. It generally ended messily.

                1. Ah, a false equivalence, leading to the implication that I’m being irrational.

                  By your rational here and in a previous comment, I feel you think that you should only try something if your positive of it working or it being successful.

                  Tell me how did the Founding Fathers know that a Constitualy Limited Republic would work out, before they tried it?

                  Oh, they didn’t. One thought it would have to be rest every 20 years or so, and another when asked what kind of Government they now had replied, “A Republic if you can keep.” and a buch of others writing anti-fedralist papers/essays.

                  “Oh, poppy cock, it will never work” good thing the for you that the Founders didn’t listen to people making your argument.


                  1. No, Josh, it was a metaphor.

                    If you review my comments you will perhaps grasp that I essentially said radical solutions are only appropriate if the situation is dire (see “abandoning ships” and “walking on water.”) You have failed a) to make an argument that the civilization is in imminent danger of collapse or b) an argument that your proposed alternative is practical.

                    The Founding Fathers fought for their independence from the British Crown in order to preserve what they already had. The Articles of Confederation were disastrous failure, the Federal Republic was based on their study of the Roman Republic. Asking “how did the Founding Fathers know that a Constitualy Limited Republic would work out, before they tried it?” is a false equivalence.

                    1. Oh, it’s a metaphor…. You say that like you where’t trying to imply an equivalence between me and a crazy person out of their mind trying to do the impossible.

                      For metaphors to be valid it has to have equalivalence. What I would like to happen might be hard, difficult and not likely to happen, but it isn’t imposible. If you want say what I want to have happen is like walking on thin ice, ill give you that.

                      You”” [me] – “The Founding Fathers fought for their independence from the British Crown in order to preserve what they already had [They had a Constitionaly limited Republic, that’s a new one on me.]. The Articles of Confederation were disastrous failure[States were bickering amongst themselves and still put down two rebelions. Yep disatrious failurez], the Federal Republic was based on their study of the Roman Republic[similar is not equal, man they FFs jept us, why did we get three presidents]. Asking “how did the Founding Fathers know that a Constitualy Limited Republic would work out, before they tried it?” is a false equivalence[My point was the opposite of that, because the Roman and Greeks Republic are simular, but not the same, they could be sure if it would work out].”
                      “You have failed a) to make an argument that the civilization is in imminent danger of collapse[One, problem solved for granny the 100trillion in unfunded liabilities isn’t going to collapse the economy and our society, WTF it’s the whole bases for the argument for why seniors might have to chip in more. I did think I need to restate the obvious.] or b) an argument that your proposed alternative is practical[At no point have I said trying for an Anarcho-Capitalist society would be easy, I will give that returning/resetting to a Limited Constitual Republic is more practical as we already have a frame work, but I will put forth that sometime, if we hust reset the Constitution, are grandkids maybe will be having this same discustion.].”


                    2. Sorry, Josh – you’re engaging in trollish behaviour now and losing my indulgence.

                      For somebody who abuses the language as much as you’ve demonstrated you are in an odd position to make assertions about what a metaphor requires for validity. People on LSD weren’t necessarily crazy, nor did all who did LSD try air-walking, so your interpretation of “equivalence” is invalid.

                      As for your detailed deconstruction of my argument, whatever. You have still yet to make an argument, you have merely butted in on somebody’s blog and made unsupported statements of dubious relationship, claimed that was an argument but failed to support it with anything better than “it has never been tried before so you don’t know it will not work.”

                      Your arguments indicate an ignorance of History bordering on the profound … or the conspiracy theorist. The Founding Fathers fought to preserve the rights they believed they held as English citizens. It says so right at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. To preserve those rights they attempted the Articles of Confederation.

                      The Articles of Confederation were a failure, period. No reputable historian argues otherwise (Yes, that is a form of the “No Good Scotsman” argument; it is valid nonetheless.) Their putting down two “rebellions” does not mean the AofC were successful. Those best positioned to know apparently did not think them so.

                      Thus they modeled a a Federal Republic based on their understanding of the Roman Republic (Gibbons’ little book about that State was a best seller among the Founders.) There was (were) no Greek Republic(s). They had as their model a Republic which lasted Rome for several centuries and a compelling analysis of the cause of its failure; they hoped to have established safeguards to prevent that failure. Thus the Founding Fathers knew a Constitutionally Limited Republic would work, they were merely unsure for how long.

                      No, it is not a false equivalence, and your thinking it so demonstrates the lack of discipline of your thinking. No, the civilization is NOT in imminent danger of collapse by any commonly understood meaning of imminence. There remains time to make modest structural adjustments to our governmental obligations to prevent that, although the outrageous arguments expressed by the Democrats and others certainly delay or prevent those adjustments, endangering civilization.

                      Finally, your admission

                      I will give that returning/resetting to a Limited Constitual Republic is more practical

                      wholly undermines any argument for change to a radical experiment. See if you can sell Texas on it as a demonstration project before you call for wholesale change.

                      If I omitted any of your points it is only because I no longer give enough of a crap to spend more of my time instructing you. Learn to type, learn to employ decent spacing to make reading your posts less tedious, and for G-d’s sake learn to focus your arguments.

                    3. You”” [Me] – “For somebody who abuses the language as much as you’ve demonstrated you are in an odd position to make assertions about what a metaphor requires for validity[Sorry, I’m not an english professor]. People on LSD weren’t necessarily crazy[ as in out of their right mind, as I stated in my reply to you.], nor did all who did LSD try air-walking[ in your metaphor you stated, “In the 60’s & 70’s some people took LSD & jumped off buildings….. It didn’t work our for them.” or something like that. I didn’t say all people on LSD, I was referncing your metaphor.], so your interpretation of “equivalence” is invalid [If the purpose of your metaphor wasn’t what I stated, what point were you try to get a cross then?].

                      “Your arguments indicate an ignorance of History bordering on the profound … or the conspiracy theorist. The Founding Fathers fought to preserve the rights they believed they held as English citizens [“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” No mention of ‘the rights they believed they held as English citizens’ so far. It does mention, ‘ the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.’ These laws would apply to all not just the English. Hmmm… Let’s continue. “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-” Here we go. They start talking about right endowed their Creator, a creator would of created the English people along with all other. Wait, he said English citizen as if the rights were only held by them. Now I’m confused, because I always thought the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness were unalienable and held by all. You want to nit pick. I can do that too. ]. It says so right at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. To preserve those rights they attempted the Articles of Confederation.”

                      “The Articles of Confederation were a failure, period. No reputable historian argues otherwise [Good thing I don’t listen to historians and only read source material then] (Yes, that is a form of the “No Good Scotsman” argument; it is valid nonetheless.) Their putting down two “rebellions” does not mean the AofC were successful. Those best positioned to know apparently did not think them so[Like Madison and the Virginians who ambushed the rest of the deligates on the first day with the Virginia Plan. The reast of the deligates thought they were to work on the trade problem & the like. The same Madison that along with Jay & Hamilton had to write the Federalist Papers to a distraught people. Most of the Arguments at the convention revolved around how to get the states to do what they wanted, others were about; was or was not a standing army need and how big(A few thousand enought to be a small reaction force; while the states gatherd the state militias.), how to fix the money & was a central bank needed. They deadlock on the slave issue for a while. There was fear(but not pressing), because of some tension between the state cased by trade, that the Union would dissolve, that the English would return & reassert dominance. It wasn’t until late in the process that our great Bill of Rights was brought up to appease those who thought the new constitue concentrated to much power at the top & would lead to a king. Abridged from Madisons notes.].”

                      “Thus they modeled a a Federal Republic based on their understanding of the Roman Republic (Gibbons’ little book about that State was a best seller among the Founders.) There was (were) no Greek Republic(s) [I know. Two thoughts smashed into one sentence was was thinking Roman Republic & Greece the birth place of Demacracy :-(] . They had as their model a Republic which lasted Rome for several centuries and a compelling analysis of the cause of its failure; they hoped to have established safeguards to prevent that failure. Thus the Founding Fathers knew a Constitutionally Limited Republic would work, they were merely unsure for how long.[You are correct I was conflating work & Self-Sustaining.]”

                      “No, the civilization is NOT in imminent danger of collapse by any commonly understood meaning of imminence [ I don’t know about that, seems pretty close to happenning to me, I’ll provided linked pdf documentation. There is one out for Nov, 2012 also, but you have to be a member.


                    4. Josh, I decline to further engage on this for reasons that will be explained.

                      Once a discussion hits the “nesting limit” and further comment requires using the reply button in the email — the topic has pretty much been chewed to death and becomes boring to those having to listen. You’ve expressed your opinion, I’ve expressed mine. We disagree and it is unlikely that any new argument or evidence will move things.

                      Please learn the customs of the venue you’re engaging in. In this instance, that means employing HTML commands, such as BLOCKQUOTE (set within angle brackets) to set off the statement to which you are replying. That eases readability and reduces the irritability of those inclined to reply.

                      Similarly, having dyslexia is no sin, but failing to take steps to limit its effects is rude. If necessary type your comments first in Word or other WP program providing a spell check function, pasting them into the WP comment box after making all necessary corrections. Use the grammar function, too; we all make errors as we type and think and we all occasionally fail to correct after finding a better phrasing, but that is reason to learn to edit, not eschew editing. Do not allow word processors to dictate your choices (for example, I prefer British spellings of many words and deem Word’s grammar demands ridiculous) but be sure your choices are deliberate to the greatest possible extent.

                      Now, for the one point on which you seem to be taking personal affront, a clarification. By referencing the ill-advised behaviours of those taking LSD I was trying to create a humourous metaphor for the dangers posed by assuming a thing can be done in spite of the absence of evidence of it having been done before. It was cautionary, not derisive (as others who’ve tolerated my commenting here for far too long will confirm, when I turn derisive you will know it from the caustic burns it leaves.)

                      As you express preference for original documents be cautious in their use; much depends upon a clear understanding of the context and circumstances of their source. For explanation of my assertion they were merely demanding to retain their rights as Englishmen I recommend looking into the debates of the Continental Congress leading up to creation and passing of the Declaration of Independence. Pay particular attention to the arguments of those who resisted Independence, especially John Dickinson’s “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania.” As the Ben Franklin line from the Broadway musical (good drama, weak history) phrases it:

                      Dickinson: What’s so terrible about being called an Englishman? The English don’t seem to mind.

                      Franklin: Nor would I, were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull—he’s thankful for the honor but he’d much rather have restored what’s rightfully his.

            2. P.S. your assuming I already haven’t, but I haven’t.
              Was already looking into reading something of hers since I ran a cross the blog. Thanks for the sugestion.

              1. Ah, no, I had deduced you had not read those books else your approach here would have been different. Eden, when first presented in Darkship Thieves is a true libertarian (or, if you prefer, anarcho-capitalist) city state.

          3. David Friedman has written a bunch about his pure libertarian / anarcho-capitalist political-economic theories. And they are very interesting.

            But there remains no practical way to get from here to there.

                1. How so? Wonder what your thoughts are on it.

                  There was that oil platfom that declared independence, not to long….

                  Off to google what happend to them.

  19. First: Considering how many of those grandmas are the same HippieYuppieBoomer bastards who got the country into this mess in the first place — you bet your ass I’m in favor of chucking them off a cliff. And if I have to send a few non-grandmas screaming into the abyss alongside, SO BE IT.

    Second: “[P]rivate charity can’t put to death those who have become too burdensome[.]”

    Want to bet? >:)

  20. Because I’m too braindead to comment on the actual point of your post and the people commenting on the bit I am are tying it to the post somehow, I’ll just be as off-topic as I want to. Yay!

    Military brat. So I’ve grown up all over and I like making trips whenever I can. So I know much more of the US and outside world than the average person (American or not). And it’s true – they are so different that I honestly feel more comfortable writing about historical English upperclass life from years X to Y than I would modern life in, say, Kansas or Colorado. Those are places I’ve never been myself and my only real exposure to has been through books and tv/movies. And you know that half of the people writing those things were guessing themselves.

    1. In light of the variety of the United States, it’s always fun to listen to people rant about its “sameness”. Yes, you can find McDonalds and Starbucks and Pizza Huts and the like all over the country. Or you could poke around a bit and find something local/regional. I guarantee it’s there — might take a bit of work, but it’s there.

    2. C.R., which part of Kansas? Depending on where you are from, “western Kansas” begins at Salina, Wichita, or Hays. If you are from Johnson County (KC-K, not to be confused with KC-MO), western Kansas is Salina. If you are from Goodland or Garden City, western Kansas is Hays. With very different cultures, according to people from both sides looking back at the other side.

      And then there’s the different chunks of Texas. And Front Range CO, vs. southern Front Range (Pueblo. Trinidad is an artifact from a different planet) vs. western CO (Grand Junction) vs. the ski areas, vs. the San Luis Valley. To watch CO fizz, just add water rights. >:)

      1. Proving my point. xD But I expect that you knew that. Us Northern Alabamians are different from the Southern ones. Not sure the plains region has any serious differences, but I only lived on the college campus and visited one family for a day and a night, so it doesn’t really hold one way or another.

  21. SH,

    “If grandma next door refusing to give up 25% of what she owns is going to mean none of you can protect yourselves, then it is moral and just to force grandma to contribute…”

    Sorry. No it isn’t. This is where you lost me. If freedom doesn’t apply to one, it doesn’t apply to any.


    1. So, Dave, you obviously consider it more moral that everyone dies. Ethically speaking, freedom does not include the freedom to – whether by action or inaction – engage in behavior that any reasonable person knows will cause harm and then escape the consequences thereof.

      In short, when the whole town is under threat, and everyone in the town needs to contribute 25% in order to buy sufficient defensive material to successfully hold off the raiders (obviously it’s a small town, where one person’s 25% makes such a difference), then grandma failing to contribute is functionally murder. She knows the threat. She knows that the raiders will kill everyone in town including her. In these circumstances grandma is in effect playing judge and jury for everyone else in the town.

      This particular hypothetical assumes time-sensitivity. The raiders will attack soon. There is no time to hold a trial to determine whether grandma is deliberately endangering everyone in town or whether she’s confused. The likelihood that no-one will survive the attack means that there isn’t the leisure to wait until afterwards to hold the trial. Therefore, to maximize the life and freedom of everyone else, it becomes ethical to penalize the one by taking her 25% by force in order to protect all including her.

      Since you’ve demonstrated a lack of reading comprehension, and the all-or-nothing fallacy, here’s the short version. Freedom can be constrained in certain circumstances. My freedom to live my life as I choose trumps Joe Blow’s freedom to kill me and any other female he encounters.

      Next time try to muster something resembling a real argument. Oh, and show your work.

      1. Dear Kate,

        “She knows that the raiders will kill everyone in town including her. In these circumstances grandma is in effect playing judge and jury for everyone else in the town.”

        When robbers run out of victims, how will they eat? Sounds to me like Granny is the only rational occupant of your psycho town. She’s also the only one with any spine.

        If your plans don’t have the voluntary cooperation of everyone in your lifeboat scenario, then I’d say your plans should damn well remain unachieved, lest you turn into a raider yourself.


        1. Well Dave, Kate pegged you correctly. Of course, in the real world there’s no possible plan that could get 100% acceptance. So you’d get the entire town killed rather than “force” even one person to comply. That’s completely irrational.

          1. Paul,

            I’m so happy to disappoint you. Despite your excellent arguments, I remain “completely irrational,” and just, you know, head-over-heels in love with freedom.


        2. Dave,

          Since you clearly have issues with hypotheticals, let’s talk a real-world scenario – vaccination. The effectiveness of vaccination in eliminating infectious disease lies in the herd immunity effect – there are so few unvaccinated people that the disease is unable to spread, and thus dies out.

          In order to make sure enough people are immune, it’s necessary to force everyone to be vaccinated whether they like it or not. The alternative is illness – often serious and in more than a few cases deadly.

          You clearly think that it’s better to allow babies too young to be vaccinated to die from whooping cough or other such diseases rather than impinge on your freedom. I’m sure that would last until it was your child dying from a preventable disease because someone else didn’t want to be vaccinated.

          It’s all very well to say that freedom trumps everything else, but guess what? Your freedom to wreak havoc by inaction gets you consequences – the people you’re harming can and will choose to limit your freedom to protect themselves. Claiming they have no right to do that limits their freedom.

          In short, you’re supporting short-sighted selfishness and claiming it’s about freedom.

    2. It is too tedious for me to tutor you in fundamental elements of economics and political science, so I suggest you try reading up on the “Free rider problem” and return when you have better understanding of what the grown-ups are discussing.

      1. I love the Free Rider problem, it is sort of a touchstone to where someone is on the spectrum of libertarian v progressive thought: In my (limited) experience, the more libertarian you are the less you care about free riders, at least until they start clogging up the system and affecting profits. After all, if you are building a road to haul cargo you don’t worry too much about the private cars until they tear up the roads or block your access — and if it is so popular a drive, then you might be able to charge a toll. True Progs seem to hate the idea that someone might be (gasp) cheating the system and getting something for free. I think it is because the true Prog hates to see anything go into someone else’s pocket.

        1. Oddly, they usually don’t see a problem with Free Riders when they are the ones riding somebody else’s WiFi, scamming free minutes from phone companies, demanding a portion of other people’s paychecks so they can enjoy bourgeois conveniences without adopting bourgeois values.

          1. The free rider issue is one where someone is using excess capacity without paying for it. Taking Granma’s pittance for mutual defense is another side of the question: if you need something, do you have the right to take it ?
            The best discussion that stays away from big words is from L. Neil Smith’s series The Forge of the Elders. In one chapter, a character is shaken from his balcony by an explosion. He would have plunged to his death, but he was fortunate enough to catch the rail of another balcony on the way past. The owner of that apartment came out started screaming at him to get off his property and took a couple whacks at his hand to make him let go. The intruder apologized and left via the front door, and the homeowner sued him for trespass.
            The poor sentient (it wasn’t a human) went in front of an adjudicator, plead guilty to trespass, and was fined a nominal amount based on the rental amount of the home and the time he occupied it without permission.
            The point was that the sentient (some sort of giant sea-scorpion if I remember) stated that he did not intend to trespass, that is occupy another’s property without permission, but he did not have the guts to let go and simply plunge to his death. So to preserve himself he was forced to violate the property rights of another. And since any right to property was ABSOLUTE, and that any infringement on the right of property to ANY EXTENT and for ANY REASON invalidates the whole concept, he had to plead guilty and requested 3rd party adjudication of the damages incurred by his trespass.
            This would be analogous to needing Granma’s pension (Can I call it the “mite”? So biblical that) that is essential for building the McGuffin device to wipe out the marauding horde. Since you do not have the wherewithal to let go and get, figuratively, turned into Donor Kebabs, you may wind up taking her pension, but you do it praying that you will be able to return it, and pay any damages incurred by your taking. Though you could hope that you can plead saving her life may be accepted as a mitigating factor. Though I can tell you from experience in dealing with compensation and damages, some people will not accept any mitigating factor for any reasons just because.

            And this brings us to the second related issue of curmudgeons: the old guys (of both sexes and all ages) that come out and yell at you to get off their lawns. Smith claims that sick societies mock and punish them; healthy societies honor them since they are the ones that make sure that property rights are absolute.

            1. Bob, that’s one of the reasons that I dislike L Neil Smith’s “worlds”. A world where a person can be fined for intruding into somebody’s property in order to save his own life is not a world that I want to live in.

              1. Well, the argument is that property rights are either absolute or arbitrary, and no-one can call anything their own if they do not have full title and control over it.
                Is there any difference between kids cutting across the corner of your lot to shave of 15 steps in their trip and the city and county using eminent domain to seize 9 blocks of suburbs to build a private/public industrial park? (answer is if you try to stop the county they will evict you and fine you and you will lose a lot of money fighting it). Smith holds up the curmudgeon as an indicator of the health of a society in this aspect since they insist on absolute adherence to the ideal of property rights; fudging on the little things disavows the whole ideal.
                I hate that the things I have, the home I own, are not mine, I just get to call them mine as long as I pay taxes (that I disagree with that are used for things I don’t like), and someone who declares him- or herself my better decides that it is OK for me to have them. That is the other side, the logical conclusion of the little incursions being OK.
                Look, most situations if you explain why you trespassed people are understanding – some people say not to worry about it, some just want you to fix any damages. Some people will be p****s, which is not fun, but it is their right if the property is theirs. And you must allow that they have the right to be a p****, if you wish to claim ownership of your own property.

                1. Bob, there’s a very big difference between “trespassing” and “use of eminent domain”. If you don’t know the difference, there’s no point talking with you. As for a “right to be a piss ant”, there’s a difference between “being a piss ant” and “the state forcing somebody to pay the piss ant”.

                  1. Some of Nevada counties were misusing eminent domain i.e. took a piece of property from a widow to give to a casino as a parking lot. This caused a lot of outrage here, so a bill came up to limit eminent domain to utilities, roads, etc (those things for the benefit of the people of the State instead of a certain individual or as campaign reimbursement). Plus the State has to pay market value of the property instead of what the State thinks they can pay. Seizures in Nevada stopped almost immediately.

                    1. I suspect it too Paul. However a serious health risk like sewage is a good reason for eminent domain– 😉 I lived in a country for a few years that put their sewage into the ocean. Now that was a health risk. Cholera was rampant.

                    2. While I deplored the result I did think the SCOTUS got the Kelo decision right. The solution is in the polls, not the courts. Thanks for pointing that out, Cyn. I noticed lots of legislatures and city councils rushed restrictive language into law to assure their voters they wouldn’t get Kelo‘d.

                    3. Mrs. Pappas, who escaped from Nazi Germany, was the widow in my case in Nevada. Several other properties were seized as well, which started the movement against that type of seizing of property. The city council was giving the property for a developer around the Fremont street area. I can understand not wanting to get Kelo’d because in the Pappas case, they didn’t pay the widow a dime.

                    4. To be very clear, I do not think the State should abuse eminent domain powers, merely that the proper anodyne is political, not judicial. Having spent two years debating property assessments with the State (the local branch of the University thought it would rather have a baseball stadium than me as a neighbor; hard to believe, but there you go) I am all too familiar with the games they can play. (Stupid rhymes-with-witch of a University president complained in the paper about greedy property-owners holding up development … the fact they had just spent $1 million of redecorating a house for her and we were merely asking another $25-50K was … rankling.)

                      Frankly, I think the state should have to pay a premium over market value to discourage abuse of their power, except I know that only means they would find better ways to lowball their assessments.

                  2. I meant prick. Sorry, I meet a lot of them – and I’m not talking about you – I mean no disrespect. Not everyone is nice, not everyone is understanding. But that is their right.

                    a libertarian would argue that trespassing and eminent domain are both a form of taking , only differing in duration and degree of harm.
                    Eminent domain, as a government determining that it can take certain properties for certain reasons for a price determined by the government itself, can be characterized as a legal fiction to justify taking property. The fact that the owner has no real say in the manner shows that it is not actually a transaction entered into by the free volition of both parties. A true sale is an voluntary exchange of goods or service. If the sale can be forced it is a taking.
                    That the government pays the compensation it assigns without your consent does not change the fact that it is in essence occupying or depriving you of the use of property that is yours, the same as if the neighbor moves into your garage and won’t leave. The argument that it is done by a government or group authorized to exercise functions of public character brings in the question of whether a government should have rights to do things that an individual or even a group of individuals that are not the governnment are not allowed to do. This is a central tenent of arguments about libertarian thought.
                    I’m not eloquent, Paul. I can barely spell. I think we have arrived at a point where we are discussing varying definitions of terminology.

                    To try to put it as clearly as possible, I believe taking Granma’s pension for the greater good is stealing no matter what the reason or intention, and if we have to do it for pure survival (including hers) we have to be prepared to compensate her to her satisfaction. We have to do this because we understand that the right to property (like life and liberty) are inalienable, and me must make it right for our own sakes, even if we don’t like her. We mus affirm that all men are equal before the law, or none are.

                    1. Let’s try it a different way – when it comes to the choice between taking someone’s property and survival of the group, if your concept is that it’s wrong, no matter what, then your whole group loses, and you don’t have the option to continue the experiment.

                      Rights, to paraphrase, are not suicide pacts.

                    2. Sorry Bob but you brought up the stupid L Neil Smith story-line which had nothing to do with “eminent domain”. That prick’s “property rights” should not over-ride another person’s “right to defend his life”.

                      When a person is part of a society, then his/her rights always are limited by the rights of the other members of that society.

                      If Granny doesn’t want to “support the community’s self-defense”, then she has the “right” to move out of the community and defend herself without the aid of anybody else.

                      That’s the major flaw in extreme Libertarian thought. It’s all about “individual rights” and nothing about living in a society with other people.

                    3. Paul, I don’t express myself well.
                      If you are compelled to use someone else’s property without their consent you need be prepared to compensate them to their satisfaction.

                      As for eminent domain, its the law. The question is whether it is a just law, or just the law. If it not a just law, why? if it violates basic tennets but it still is just, why?
                      I don’t have answers to this, just opinions.

                    4. Bob, as Cyn said “there are no black and white answers”. In the Real World, there has always been a tension between “individual rights” and “community/society rights/responsibilities”. Humans are safer living in a community and being part of a community means responsibilities toward that community.

                      A society where “individual rights” don’t exist isn’t good.

                      On the other hand, a community where “individual rights” over-ride community rights isn’t a real community and won’t last if the community is threatened by outside forces (both human and otherwise).

                      Humans have been struggling for years trying to find a “middle ground” between those two extremes.

                      Being imperfect beings, there is no perfect solution.

                      As for Granny, if she’s being a prick and the need for her property is great (for example survival of the community), then if “legal ways” of getting her property/cooperation aren’t there, then the community (or individuals within the community) may be forced (because the survival of the community is at stake) to take illegal actions to protect the community

                      There are *no* good answers to your questions.

                    5. A functioning society where individual rights are protected invariably entails some curtailing of individual rights. It is paradoxical and requires the kind of dynamical balancing of interests that makes maintaining a vintage British sports car seem trivial in comparison.

                      If I am being pursued by a zombie horde the need to respect the property rights of those whose yards I cross is not going to be paramount in my thinking. Nor is it likely that it would be deemed reasonable for me to stop at each such home, knock on the door and negotiate damages/permission with each property owner.

                      Books and short stories are nice for the thought experiments they let us play with, but because they always reflect a particular view of reality they are inherently propaganda. Those who rely on them are in danger of ending up like the young man who learned his seduction techniques from reading porn.

                    6. Varying shades of gray Bob– as a teenager and young adult up until my 30s I saw everything in black and white. Good or bad. Etc. etc. However, when you start to grow up, you find that black & white isn’t satisfactory anymore. It loses a lot of meaning in the subtle shades. Some of the reasons that you may not see the gray yet could be age (you sound really young) or it could be public schooling. (They really don’t teach critical thinking. Just because a course says critical thinking doesn’t mean it really teaches you how to think for yourself.)

                      A lot of people in this list has a lot of experience behind them (a nice way of saying they are older). They see the shades of gray and the pitfalls that are hard to see when you are still wearing the black and white glasses.

                      You are fighting about an extreme– where the wolf is at the door and there is no other way to fight it, them, etc. In normal circumstances I agree that we should compensate granny for her home. I have personal experiences of what happens to the older generation when the State decides to take away a home for eminent domain (a freeway) and will only pay 5,000 dollars for the house and property which was over ten acres. You can argue that the freeway was needed and the State was poor. You can argue that the freeway could have been put somewhere else, or that my grandmother should have been compensated better. Yes– I agree because the wolf was not at the door. However, if it was in the extreme situation, I would forget the incident, take my grandmother into my house, and care for her. BTW the compensation for the property did NOT pay for the rest of her life. She was 80 when they took her property and she lived to be 98.

                      Shades of gray again. Expand your brain a little. 😉 Sarah being fair, only used that one example of taking stuff from granny. In a non-threatening situation, taking stuff from granny would cause outrage.

                    7. Or if we know we can’t compensate her we agree to bear the guilt.

                      Look — in abstract I agree with you — and the goal should be to get rid of taxes entirely — I don’t know about you, but I would voluntarily contribute to keep the military running, because otherwise we risk losing country and getting someone else’s military in. That’s besides the point.

                      In this world we live in you’re never going to get rid of taxes. Consider all taxation theft, that’s fine. MORALLY it is.

                      I’m willing to bear the guilt of it for mutual defense. To have babies aborted and grandma euthanized, NO.

                    8. I am not expressing myself well.
                      I hear you saying we live in the real world and you are right.
                      I was trying to say that we need stars to steer by or we are lost.
                      Of course I said it by running around in circles, and throwing things in the air and trying to act like I was always right.
                      This is an apology for that part. Sorry.

                    9. You’re okay Bob– shooting for the stars is a worthy goal. 🙂 But if you need to shoot at stars, you might want to lower your target for better results. lol

                2. It’s a large step from trespass due to taking a lifesaving opportunity and the “kids shaving the corner”/eminent domain dichotomy. One is survival, the other is convenience. As Paul said, I would not want to live in a world where saving someone’s life amounts to punishable trespass. It doesn’t have to be a completely binary proposition.

                  1. And you probably are right. I’m expressing opinions.
                    Granma and the cliff and stoping your fall on a balcony are also a method of trying to find the edges of an argument, to find out how far they go or if they get looney if you get too close.
                    Personally, I would argue that the harm done by someone using your balcony to stop a plunge to the death was so minimal as to be ignorable in any real context, but I would argue that it does not negate that the owner does have the right to be compensated if it is brought up. And if he wants to charge you five cents for your rent you would be wise to pay it because the sort of person who would insist on compensation under those circumstances is not the sort of person you would want feeling you owe him something.

                    I’m sorry if I offend. I get carried away with how wonderful I am at times.

      2. RES,

        I am kinda thick, and all that “economics and political science” stuff is deadly dull and way beyond my power of comprehension. I’ll let you adults carry on.


        1. If you don’t understand and don’t want to, you should refrain from displaying your ignorance in public.

          Unless you enjoy having your inadequacies aired to the world, of course.

          1. Kate,
            Dave, in the name of “freedom”, adheres to a five-year-old’s understanding of the term, the better to enjoy his ignorant bliss.

            “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” Friedrich von Schiller

  22. TOtally agree with most of what you have to say here. Don’t know if this got mentioned (too many comments for me to get thru) , but your quote “And here we come to where taxes are justified …. when the goal to be obtained is so clearly and obviously not just good but necessary that it justifies shaking down a grandma for the dividends on her investments. As a further test, it is justified when even just one person not contributing can markedly affect your chances of obtaining your goal”
    Don’t know if you are aware, but this has been the whole rationale for obamacare and why ‘everyone must take part’. In general, I do know what you’re getting at though.

    1. The fact that Obama misuses the argument does not invalidate the argument, it simply means Obama’s a Kung Fu Strawman master.

      1. No, his speechwriters are. Have you heard the man off-teleprompter? I would dearly love to see Anonymous hack his teleprompter just to see how long it took before his brain caught up with his furrowed brow and running mouth.

  23. Sorry! I’m an Idiot, just read every thing in the right order and in relation to correct responses. Just figured out WordPress was in mobile(on my phone), you can turn it off, and that was why text was compressing with the more replies. I was reply via e-mail, in the cronoligacal order I received them. The e-mail seends you to a reply box at the top of the threads mobile page.

    I lost all continuity & sense consitency at the end there, Idiot. I thought I had a good grasp, but boy was I wrong. I thought I was being unfairly maligned, turns out I AM an Idiot. I feel a compelled to reply to people who resonded to me, it would be rude not to under normal situations, and I’ve never been shy about standing up for myself, turns out this is a bad combo, when you are in the wrong.

    RES, I tonally see the metaphor just as you said I would, the thread where I didn’t make an arguement. A lot clearer now. All that on top of my crappy grammar.

    Hoyt, you should of Drunk Uncled me sooner.

    I hope you don’t think I was trying to be mean to Cyn, I spent the better part of 6 hours, off an on, because I want to insure due consideration was given in my reply. I even hoped to get new insight into RES. It was like a new fresh place to start over & make a new impression if it was me. I wasn’t enen expecting her to reply. Probably still came off looking like an ass.

    Again, I apologize for being a rude gest, and to stupid to take the hints.

    Josh A. Jruschke
    Austin, Texas

    1. Josh, i will take the liberty of replying for all here (an advantage to being an old hand is getting to occasionally speak for the group … and because I have spent the most posts in discussion with you) and say “No problemo.”

      We have all of us been new to the cocktail party and I don’t think any of us hasn’t lost focus and pursued a point beyond reasonableness (Be Warned: I will maintain that position and defend it against all comers, to the end of Time if need be.)

      We all have dealt here through various approaches with various results. We learn and adapt – that’s the Human Wave way. Learn from this, moderate your approach to conform to group custom (you are not far off, you just need to learn the Hostesses signals to quiet down, the horse is expired.) We hope you will continue to participate in the conversations here.

    1. Josh, if you don’t leave that thread, I’m going to get mighty upset. Move on up the posts — there’s other stuff to read and get riled up about, believe it or not.

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