Positively Living Lies

A couple of days ago, I offended one of you who thought I was being facetious at Canada’s expense (which I only do in terms of accent, and which is my right as a linguist. Also, because my accent is the funniest of them all) when I said they’d had something like 10 constitutions. I was in fact repeating the claim of a Canadian (and patriotic) commenter who thought this flexibility of their uniting legal principle made Canada superior to us, hide bound Americans.

Turns out this is wrong… but maybe not as wrong as we thought. Canada has only had two constitutions. However, it has had several revisions.

Now, you’re going to say so has America. We’re up to how many amendments? And that’s true. Except that our amendments aren’t as sweeping. They usually concentrate on one topic and also technically can’t go against the tenor or thrust of the founding documents.

Note I said generally. I’d rather you didn’t get lost in minutia about the prohib– Oh, who the heck am I kidding. You guys will battle out the small details in obsessive frenzy and still remain friends and Huns. That’s what makes this place so much fun. So carry on.

At any rate this is not about Canada’s Constitution, because I’m really not in a place where I can take time to research it and do it justice, but about the thought it sparked.

The reasons the original commenter was so proud of Canada’s flexibility was that he pointed out it allowed them to “modernize” and grant citizens “positive rights.”

In fact the lack of positive rights is a reason our Pres(id)ent Affliction thinks the constitution is passe and should be revoked.

For those of you who don’t know what positive rights are, they’re not “I’m dang right positive that you can’t do anything the constitution doesn’t allow, and I’ve got this here gun to positively ensure that.” (One kinda wishes it were though.)

Positive rights are guaranteeing things, usually material, that are in the “rights of men” (a well known Soviet tool to fire back at free countries that called it on its abuses) but not ah… accruing to the human condition.

For instance, some countries guarantee “minimal sustenance” or a “minimum income” or “housing” or “health.”

The problem with these guarantees are that you can’t obtain any of those things without taking them from another human being. Just saying “you have a right” doesn’t cause them to appear out of clear air. So the “positive right” of one person is the “negative theft of the other.”

While I think all taxation is theft (hey, I’m clear headed on this, okay) I think some theft is sometimes vaguely justified on the grounds of “we need to have common defense and we’ll defend the guy we stole from, too.

Mind you, this is not particularly morally right, but in a world where just being inoffensive doesn’t guarantee you’re not attacked (on the contrary) it’s necessary for collective survival.

However while you can extract penumbras and emanations where “to make everyone minimally affluent is good for everyone.” (Government is a word for the things we choose to do together, like drunken orgies and baby sacrifice!) Those are a bit far fetched. It’s pretty easy to prove it’s easier and more profitable to defend x amount of territory and everyone in it than one individual here and one there, by themselves. It’s harder to prove that making sure Miss Aramintha Smith in Kentucky having a minimum of 20k she doesn’t have to work for is better for me, and so I should make that amount over at a minimum per year. I think Miss Aramintha should get off her behind and go to work.

(It’s even harder to prove that I derive benefit from sending 20k of my money a year to the Palestinian authority or that I derive benefit from paying for Nancy Pelosi’s liquor which is about the same amount, give or take a million. Which just goes to show our Constitution is a fine thing and we should try following it, sometime.)

None of which means, understand, that I’m against helping people in need. In fact, if that’s where it stayed it would be fine.

As some of you comment with SS Marriage, (Yes that topic is still closed, because no one is going to change his/her mind. However I CAN see your point in this regard.) is that it slides. Same Sex Marriage being legal the perpetual agitators will move on to polygamy and incest and whatever. (I just suggest making it hard and fast TWO consenting adults and then ignoring the shrieking.) Part of this is of course Marxism. The serpent might be gone (or perhaps undead. Hello Mr. Putin. But its agit prop lives on.) And part of it is intellectuals. Those of you in the sf/f community where we all “think too much” know exactly what I’m talking about. Having staked out an extreme position, no one stays happy with it. You must prove how enlightened you are by claiming yet a more extreme position. This is why, btw, the Social Justice Warrying is now moving to “trans rights” which will render them irrelevant because those are a minority of a minority.

But this happens with everything, not just sex. So if we grant SOME positive rights, like say the right to a safe living place (how we keep it safe is something else) and food, next thing you know we’ll see articles on the plight of the poor who can’t take European vacations. Even though a lot of the employed and “wealthy” can’t either. But the argument would be they could if they chose to/spent all their money/put it on credit. While the poor can’t.

This is one of the reasons I’m against life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. I’ve seen this road in Portugal. First you say “we’ll lock them and throw away the key.” And next thing you know there are articles on the horrible punishment of being locked up for life, and are they really a danger when they’re old? Then it will be “Aren’t twenty years enough?”

I don’t know now, but when I came to the US the penalty for murder was about 7 years, with time off for good behavior. (Keep that in mind when they lament how many people are incarcerated in the US.)

So… How many “rights” plausible of interpretation do we want to “grant?” It starts with aid to women and children, and it ends up with subsidizing college and medical care for non citizens here illegally. This is a provable course of “positive rights” where the government grants you benefits at others’ expense.

And since “positive rights” is a proven normal thing for people to demand of their governing bodies (mostly because it looks like the money comes out of nowhere. They don’t have to see that they’re stealing someone’s savings or retirement fund. They just see “the government gave me this”) the only defense against them (THE ONLY defense against them) is to have a founding document that lays out the rules and is not easily revised. And one which points out there are very few things government as power over.

If government can change the rules at will, in an endless game of Calvin Ball, what you have Is not a country, but an ever changing dance where the partners move around but the government gets more and more power, no matter under what guise of benevolence, until the “law” is what government says.

That goes for easily revisable constitutions and it goes double with salt on it for the penumbras and shadows of the “Living Constitution.” You want to add Health Care to it? Or a right to privacy, for that matter, or even a right to Drugs, Sex and Rock and Roll? Fine. You stop peering into that venerable document like a fake seer into a glass ball and discerning shapes that were never there. Instead, you come out in the open and say “I want to change this” and “this is different.” And then – then – we can have a vote on it like civilized human beings. You might still blunder – the Prohibition, again – but at least it will be a common blunder.

This “Living Constitution” and “executive power” thing are tattered masks pulled over the Will To Power you know damn well your fellow citizens wouldn’t grant you.

Which of course is why you employ these.

Stop it. We can see your face. It’s old as sin and new as the Stalinist purges.

And we are not amused.


277 thoughts on “Positively Living Lies

  1. Creating “positive rights” means creating conflicts among “rights” that government gets to arbitrate, with further increases in governmental power and losses of freedom.

    1. More and bigger conflicts, plus fewer points of agreement, put a lot more power in the hands of the folks who get to “balance” the interests.

    2. A good example of this are “hate speech” laws. Since two opposing groups are offended by each other’s speech, the government gets to decide which if any to permit, and hence has great political power over them. Or imagines it does — actually, the sufficiently-fanatical will meet your hate speech law and answer it with a team of assassins.

      1. This is in the pipeline as we speak, fortunately some people are resisting.

        This is actually pretty amazing as Hawaii is a heavily democrat machine state and the last governor was a card carrying socialist (commie),

      2. The problem we are currently running into is that there is developing a positive incentive to send that team of assassins. No one is insisting that Muslim bakers bake cakes for anyone they don’t want to. The mayor of Houston didn’t subpoena the sermons of the local mosques.

        When the only way to be left alone is to adopt that old motto “Let them hate us, so long as they fear”, you have a society that is doomed.

        1. When the only way to be left alone is to adopt that old motto “Let them hate us, so long as they fear”, you have a society that is doomed.

          I don’t see that. That philosophy worked well in dealing with Islam. Now that they don’t fear anyone else though, Western civilization is looking a lot more doomed than it was when gunboat diplomacy and collective punishment were considered acceptable responses to terrorism and piracy.

          1. The SJWs are not going to leave anyone alone unless they are afraid of them. That’s why Christian bakers and churches are fair game for having their beliefs persecuted….. and Muslims aren’t.

          2. Except many of them are afraid of us. The leadership and many of the thinking folk are terrified of us… why? because our mere existance gives their people options. “You mean it doesn’t have to be this way and we have a say?” is the biggest threat to many of those countries. The idea doesn’t go away easily.

            1. Fearing that we represent a better way of life and may seduce their subjects away from them and from Islam isn’t the same thing as an existential fear of reprisal in the face of terrorism. The former *encourages* terrorism, the latter discourages it. At least it does until we get a change of administration that undoes all the good work that’s been done towards destroying those who tick us off:-(.

  2. For certain, rather heinous crimes (murder in the first degree, kidnapping, treason), I have absolutely no problem with imprisoning the convict for life.

    Of course, it will still be a very short sentence. . . . (evil grin)

    1. Once upon a time a sentence read: life (or x years) at hard labor. Any significant sentence pretty well broke a man. These days not so much. Three hots and a cot, entertainment, exercise, education if you choose, really not so much worse that a hitch in the armed services.

      1. And if you live in an rich, progressive country like Norway, the prisons are more like US college dormitories than actual prisons.

        1. The more I think about it, the more I think Roman Polanski’s effective sentence of banishment for life from the United States is a pretty good sentence after all. He would have been out decades ago on the sentence he would have received, and some period of deportation was going to be part of that punishment anyway, and it’s clear he really, really wants to be allowed to visit New York and live in Los Angeles.

      2. I always wondered why hard labor was removed as a punishment. It did a, relatively, effective job of removing the threat while maintaining and improving infrastructure.

        1. Several reasons. One, it’s really hard to force people to do work. Two, it’s hard to force people to good work. Three, supervision when you can’t just shoot the guy who’s running away is very expensive and difficult. (we still have trash pickup guys doing this often enough, and that’s a small sub-group of low risk) Four, it hurtz the feelz.

          1. You’re assuming the labor needs to be productive. “Here are a bunch of big rocks. You get lunch when they’re turned into smaller rocks.”

            1. That falls under the “feelz.”

              It’s much easier to motivate people when you don’t have someone standing nearby and saying that being locked up at all is the worst punishment possible.

          2. That makes sense. There is obviously a good way to do it, otherwise the railroads would never have been built. I imagine that’s the part where shooting the uncooperative convicts comes into play.

            Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Then again I’m pretty sure I don’t have any feelz.

        2. It’s still in the UCMJ. When in San Diego had to visit the brig once. There was a handball court looking wall there. Day 1 the hard labor inmates had to paint it. Completely, No concrete showing. With 1″ wide brushes. Day 2. Chipping hammers. All day. Day 3. Finish removing paint with wire brushes. The little toothbrush sized ones, until ALL the paint was gone. Repeat. Again and again and again, Sundays off.

      3. Point of order on the “…education if you choose…”. Yeah, not so much your choice. You will get a GED. Period. Because the Department of Corrections gets more money from the Federal government for every inmate that enrolls in GED classes.

        PHD guy was convicted for something financial related. In processes at the prison to start his 3 year sentence, and is told that he will be attending GED classes. “Why? I graduated high school. I have a flipping PHD!” Their response? “Happen to have your high school diploma on you? Didn’t think so. Shut up and move on. And have fun in class. Don’t give the teacher any trouble or we’ll put you in the hole and make you start them over from the beginning.” That actually happened – I know several guards and one of the counselors at that institution.

        I also personally know a certified PE – with a masters in Engineering (I can’t remember the exact field) that had to go through GED classes when he was sent to prison.

      1. Homicide (noun): The slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy

  3. most ‘positive rights’ end up boiling down to being ‘the right to someone else’s money’.

          1. Hmm, now that’s a good litmus test for ACTUAL social justice!
            They can order a cake from a Fundamentalist Christian baker, ham for 100 people from the Halal caterer, and then demand a Catholic priest perform the sacrament of marriage for them. (Maybe they can get the Mormons to set up chairs at the reception, too)

              1. You’d end up with the worst coffee and booze you’ve ever had.
                It would probably be Postum and alcohol free beer.

          1. You could reduce it to “another’s labor” and cover money, but not the other way around– no amount of money will get you what you want if nobody will do it in return for that money.

            Probably easier to reduce it to “get what you want for free.” (The problem there is that it frequently *doesn’t* get you what you want, or you get what you thought you wanted and find out that you really didn’t.)

  4. What seems to have been lost in the shuffle (what in bloody hell do they teach in school these days about government anyway?) is that our Bill of Rights is actually a shopping list of those natural rights that government can keep its damn hands off from. The founders intended our government to be small and lean, only doing the absolute minimum required to keep the country safe and secure. But power abhors a vacuum, so those who are compelled to dictate how others behave gravitate towards government, and ultimately turn a great little society into yet another dictatorship, whatever name they choose to slap on the process.
    IMHO were any of the founding fathers brought forward to see what we’ve become the sight would induce projectile vomiting.

    1. (what in bloody hell do they teach in school these days about government anyway?)

      well, the curricular is made by people who think like our current waste of oxygen occupying the Office of the POTUS. They might well fully know the Constitution, but they hate it with every fiber of their being (those “negetive” rights telling the gov’t the keep its grubby hands off) What do you think they are going to cover of something they want removed or twisted to their wants?

    2. You may well be right, but it does pay one to keep in mind that the Founders started weaseling around what they had voted for before the ink was dry.

      I’m not saying this invalidates their achievement. I’m saying that great men are probably not CONTINUALLY great. They might well simply shake their heads sadly, and then roll up their sleeves and pursue their various agendas.

  5. Those who Live For The Revolution will not stop just because they won a victory. They will continue to revolt, and be revolting.

  6. That moron that was mentioned a few days back had criteria for positive rights so flexible it might easily include the right to have ‘those who make me uncomfortable’ killed.

    Normally I’d jump on the Prohibition topic, but I’ve probably already scheduled myself the maximum of that my capacity for rage and insomnia will bear.

    Just trying to expand ‘read history’ is starting to push me over the line, so I’ll be purposefully wandering off for a while now.

    1. Well, Talks-With-Plants thinks that Utopia starts with her and her ilk “euthanizing” most males so there are definitely those who think they have a right to deaths.

  7. Canada doesn’t have a constitution. We have “reasonable and customary”, which turns out to mean whatever is convenient at the time.

    We also don’t have rights. At all. We have “reasonable and customary”, which means there’s nothing the government can’t take from you should they decide to do so. Your car, your freedom, your kidney, all the same.

    Ask an old Japanese Canadian. They’ll tell you.

      1. Certainly not.

        The American internment of Japanese citizens was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States as unconstitutional before the end of 1944 if memory serves.

        Canada by contrast kept Japanese Canadians locked up until 1946-47 and did not return to them the privilege of voting until 1949.

        Please note the use of the word “privilege”, I use it advisedly. Because Canadians don’t have a constitution and they don’t have any “rights” that can’t be removed by a simple act of Parliament.

        1. Wow, this I had not heard before!

          (Then again a lot of people don’t know that Germans were Interned in the US as well, because that doesn’t fit the Racism narrative).

          1. Germans are excluded from the debate on account of their White Privilege. 😉

          2. Back in my college days (late 60s – early 70s) I came across more than one college-age Canadian who went on at length about the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans, but had never heard of the Canadian internment. A couple of them, after being enlightened, did have the grace to look sheepish and apologize.

          3. Oh yeah, in addition the Japanese Americans and Germans (about 7000), there were about 3000 Italians interned as well at the same time.

        2. There is no right to vote in the US Constitution either. Even the 13th – 15th Amendments do not provide one. All they do is say that if there are any criteria for being allowed to vote they must apply to absolutely everyone. Period.

  8. But “positive rights” sounds so much better! Who doesn’t want to be positive?

  9. Canada was essentially organized by the people who had LOST the Revolutionary War and allowed the 13 Colonies to break away and form their own nation. Perhaps it is a case of “sour grapes,” or maybe an attempt to show up those American yokels about how a REAL government is made…what’s that, Quebec? you want FRANCAIS to be an official language? Why, sure! (Take that, you American rednecks!)

    1. We’re a strange country, it is true. Our pop culture is 85% American, but we sneer at you. When Target announced all their Canadian stores were closing, I heard lots of Canadians gleeful at a big American company being shown the door, despite the fact that thousands of Canadians will lose their jobs. But we’re not biased, or anything. Only Americans can be biased.

      1. I grew up in Canada, so far be it from me to say that the unofficial motto of a lot of Canadians is “We’re not American, eh?”

        1. You know, a while back I was reading about Ben Bova’s bad experience making The Starlost on Canadian TV. One of the things he noted was how arrogant the Canadian TV execs were, how they thought they were going to show the Americans how it was done. And anyone who had the misfortune of watching that show can see how it was done. 😀

          1. I mean, the show could have been bad on American TV too. After all, this is a series with three boring Amish people wandering plastic corridors and getting into sub-Trek adventures. But at least it wouldn’t have been shot on video with CSO effects that made Classic Who look expensive by comparison.

  10. A fundamental human right is an inherent property of being human, like charge or spin with a subatomic particle. As such these rights must be independent of the environment the human is in. A man alone on a desert island can avoid being murdered, he can do and say anything he desires, and he can claim any part of the island as his. He cannot get Healthcare – no doctors, a job – no employers, or a healthy meal – if the desert island is truly desert his stay will be rather unpleasant and brief.

    Life (freedom from being murdered), liberty, property. Those are the fundamental rights. Everything else is either derivative (free speech is derivative of liberty, self-defense of life, privacy of property) or it is bullshit.

    1. THIS is what they simply cannot understand (I’m not talking about the leadership, who understand it, they merely hate it) – that true rights are the same whether there is anyone else there or not. The right to defend oneself, try to make oneself happy, accumulate stuff by working to do so, and say anything you darn well please. In actuality, the Bill of Rights enumerates more rights than are actually basic to these, but the extras tend to cover the extensions of those basic rights into the realm of having to deal with other people and government.

      1. Universal rights are the same whether there is anyone else there. You can acquire duties by contract or by negligence, and in that case, the person you have a duty to has a right for you to carry it out. But those are to and from specific people.

      2. But Wayne when Jeff is in this Island all alone who is going to provide his security for him?


      3. Not surprising since the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to explicitly protect certain rights from the government, not enumerate rights (hence the 9th amendment).

  11. And since this is going to be it’s own furball: Not all taxation is theft. A restaurant presenting the bill at the end of the meal and expecting you to pay it isn’t stealing from you, they are demanding payment for services rendered. Likewise, the government does provide valuable services that are impossible to get elsewhere (because any alternative system to provide those services quickly becomes a government. Anarchists are people who want to go back to feudalism via the scenic route). Those services need to be paid for, and they should be paid by those who benefit.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t taxation that is theft. Taking my money at gunpoint and giving it to some cowboy poet whose work isn’t good enough to support itself is immoral regardless of if the gun is welded by the poet or the IRS.

    1. I agree with you…up to the point that the government begins imposing “services” that were never demanded and that are not required. Simple example: wife and I are never going to have kids at our age and are not wild coastal party beasts. Why should we be forced by law to pay for maternity care or AIDS insurance. (Hell, the wife objects to paying school taxes on the same grounds, but I argue at least it keeps the little carnivores off the streets.)

      1. A certain degree of welfare is necessary to national defense. A large population of desperate people is a powerful tool that a demagogue can use to put himself in power. A welfare system mitigates the desperation and gives the mob something to lose by overturning the apple cart. The trick is to keep it from growing until it consumes everything. I’ll let you know when I’ve got that figured out.

        And the reason to pay for schools is because they’re educating the people who will be staffing your nursing home.

        1. A certain degree of welfare is necessary to national defense. A large population of desperate people is a powerful tool that a demagogue can use to put himself in power.

          You can never give the indolent enough to keep them from wanting more, so to give them anything other than assistance getting back on their feet is an exercise in futility.

          Making productive citizens that have a basic understanding of the political system and have the basic skills to learn a job, trade or profession will keep them as much out of the hands of a demagogue as any other handouts.

    2. Jeff,

      Who chooses what is an essential service. Those that advocate for positive rights believe it all is, and will present you a bill to pay for it.

      Those on the Socialist side, use you argument and do not think of what they do as theft, but as presenting a bill to fulfill a social contract.

      1. And the free riders eat their lunch, then object when handed the bill because they didn’t finish all their totillas, didn’t ask for the chips with salsa and didn’t get a discount for the sour cream they asked the cook to subtract.

        Your argument is used by those who want to get the benefits of others’ work without risking someone getting theirs.

        1. Foxfier,

          You are not obligated to provide anything to anyone not paying into the system. If they do not want to partake of the security provided then they are morally responsible for doing without or provide their own.

          What you and others are advocating is no different than me going into a shop and saying, “I’m going to provide protection for your shop, you will provide me what I think is fair compensation, and you do not get a say in it.”

          Their is no such thing as Free-ridership, it is just an excuse that those who want to force others to participate use to force people to do so.

          1. Not true, as already elaborated by Joel Salomon here:

            You do have a say in it. Free association. If you do not like the rules of an area, you can leave. Don’t go to the restaurant. Going there, or staying, means that you are choosing to be part of the group and be bound by the public rules.

            You don’t like any other option? Why, exactly, is it the responsibility of those where you happen to be to adjust themselves so you get veto power over their choices, or to provide you with a place that meets your desires at the expense of theirs?

            1. Foxfier,

              No veto power, they can do what ever they want. They are just under no obligation to provide the service.

              The guard is under no obligation to stop someone from robbing my apartment or stoping someone from assaulting me.

              There needs to be some legal issues address here.

              Is this a new service the build owners want to provide? Then the next time my lease is up we will discuss it. I contracted for certain services and amenities they do not get to change this on a whim.

              If this is some of the tenets pooling resources, once they get permission from the property owner, a contract will be made and as part of that contract it will out line the scope and responsibilities of all parties. Part of that will be statement which apartments are part of the agreement and under the protection of the new security guard.

              BTW this is what I do far a living. Example: I work for a specific building complex. I’m tasked with insuring the physical security of the building (Doors locked and that their are no breaks in any security measures in place.) and providing a physical presence as a deterrence for crime. If something happens off property that I become aware of I have a choice to make.

              • My first responsibility is to the property that I’m contracted to protect.

              • Can I deal with the problem without making my post vulnerable.

              • Stopping crime off property is a benefit to mine, and if done is done for that reason.

              Another example.

              I spend or have spent a lot on training and equipment. Just living in my apartment creates a benefit, because as a good neighbor I’m going to try to stop or protect all the properties around me. Not for their benefit but my own, because I want to discourage crime around where I live.

              Should I be sending these people a bill?

              P.S. Communities form Crime Watch Groups all the time. Look up Guardian Angles.

              1. “Should I be sending these people a bill?”

                Why? You just admitted you were getting compensated for your actions. Is your name Kaff Tagon, that you think you should get paid twice?

                1. Jeff,

                  My neighbors should I be sending them a bill. For providing the same service as my job.

                  That question was asked right after outline the benefits received buy my neighbors, don’t play stupid like you think I was referring to my first example.

                  And the benefit referenced in the second is a lower crime rate.

                  1. “Not for their benefit but my own, because I want to discourage crime around where I live.”

                    That right there is when you admitted to being compensated for your crime reduction efforts. Payment is how we align the self-interest of others with our own. Since you have already admitted that your interests are aligned with your neighbors’ payment is unnecessary. Any benefit they derive is a positive externality of your efforts to live in a safe neighborhood.

                    1. Jeff,

                      But if I incidentally benefit from their efforts they some how get to demand of payment and accuse me of free loading.

                      This why I asked should I be acting like them and demand they help pay for my time effort and ammo to keep up my skills is not cheep.

                    2. Maybe, but the fact that you continue to do it proves that your economic profit is non-negative, so payment is unnecessary.

                      Constant that with an E-6 on patrol in Afghanistan. We can be fairly certain that he wouldn’t be doing that on his own. Furthermore, he possesses a skill-set acquired through years of training, during which he was unable to pursue productive activities. His opportunity costs are just this side of enormous, requiring payment to offset. That payment has to come from somewhere and since you’re benefitting it is right for you to pay a share. If you can beg off, so can anyone and shortly we don’t have the resources to put that E-6 on patrol. And now the Taliban don’t have to worry about fighting for every Podunk village in the Hindu Kush and can focus on planning to attack New York, LA, or your neighborhood. And your mall-cop-fu isn’t going to be much help.

                2. Growing up I lived in an area where I knew several people who lived in the immediate meighborhood of known, let’s be polite, shady Italian types. They’re neighborhoods were very safe. For a number or reasons, some legal, some not-so-much. Crime did not pay in the immediate neighborhood of people who didn’t use the law for, um, hmmm, justice.

              2. No veto power, they can do what ever they want. They are just under no obligation to provide the service.

                You stand under the umbrella and tell the person holding it that you’re not using the umbrella that he is freely giving it to you.

                You are a freeloader.

                1. Foxfier,

                  I already provide for my own security, If my neighbors want to provide a service then claim that I benefit from it and on top of that then claim I must help pay for it … My answer will be f’off.

                  If they want my help learning how better secure the homes and how to defend themselves, then I’m all for that.

                  1. I am aware of what you say.

                    What you have not done is make an argument that goes beyond assertion, such as making logically valid arguments or answering arguments (the actual ones made), or shown how your taking benefits without chipping in is not a golden example of the freeloading problem.

                    1. Foxfier,

                      All you have done is make your own assertions that I supposed to take as fact.

                      Name one benefit provided by this security guard that I can not provided for myself and already do.

                      The little old ladies and those physically unable to defend themselves might benefit, need his services. But their need doesn’t necessitate a morally or financial obligated to share in the cost of their defense. I would probably chip in and do it, because I’m a nice guy.

                      Whether or not you realize it your and Jeff’s is the same argument used to justify Obamacare.

                    2. All you have done is make your own assertions that I supposed to take as fact.


                      I have made arguments, as have at least two other people, all of which you have failed to answer.
                      Why on earth would I spend time making even more arguments before you have responded to the wide array of prior ones?

                      And yelling about how you want it to be is not an answer.

                    3. Foxfier,

                      You claim that I am a freeloader because I would refuse to pay for a service I do not want or need, and because they claim that I benefit from their actions that I must contribute to the funding of their solution.

                      I stipulate that I do not need their protection and am able to provide for my own security. What my neighbors do is for their protection and benefit so they do not have to take the time to learn the skills to defend themselves. That any benefit I might receive is ancillary (Just as there is ancillary benefit to me living in the community.) to what their actually doing; which is fear Management. Because if they truly wanted to be safer and not just feel safer, they would learn the skills needed to protect themselves. Oh, but that’s hard or I do not have enough time or I’m to old or yada yada yada… It’s all just excuses.

                      You and others are are claiming that security is a Positive Right and that I must contribute whether I want to or not. I was hoping you guys would realizes this on your own.


                    4. Josh, stop trying to change the subject and answer the actual arguments.

                      I’d be shocked if there’s a single person here who isn’t aware of your philosophy and the way you want it to be; you pontificating on it over and over does not answer any of the arguments.

                      Go to the argument, look at what it actually says and respond to that, don’t just tell us yet again about the way you want the world to be instead.

          1. And what happens when those rough men you paid to do or threaten violence on your behalf decide to not allow you to voluntarily cease your association? Voluntarism, like all other forms of anarchy, is the scenic route to feudalism.

                1. Jeff,

                  Yes, the world is a dangerous and scary place, but that doesn’t negate my personal responsibility to do all I can to insure my personal safety, and that no one else is morally responsible to do so.

                  There are no guaranties in life, even though the government likes to sell you them.

                  What you have put forth is not an argument against mine or for your position, but a statement that I might not be able to win and that there are forces in the world larger than I. You are arguing in favor of the strongman position.

                  What it is, is an argument for doing what ever those we deem more powerful than ourselves want, and that has nothing to do with freedom.

                  Pick a side security or liberty.

                  1. And I’m trying to tell that there is no liberty without security because people – actual human beings, not the caricatures that are the foundation of your philosophy – will first and foremost demand security, and most of means of providing security are hell on liberty – at least for anyone who isnt at the top of the scrum.

                    You may prefer a stateless society because you’d rather die than submit to tyranny, but any tyrant worthy of the name will simply respond “deal” and order a dozen of his henchmen to shoot you.

                    1. Substitute security for equality and what do you get.

                      At least with me this supposed strongman tyrant has to expend time and resource.

                      So, if it can be done in the name of Security it’s ok? Are you ok with the Espionage Act of 1917 or the Sedition Amendments of the following year? Or any of the Spiritual descendants?

                      When people prioritize security over liberty…

                  2. By that standard, the ultimate liberty is that of children in 1970s New York City whose mothers kept them indoors at all time for fear of their being shot in cross-fire.

                    1. Mary take the Supreme Courts definition of what a positive right is and apply it to the situation you gave me.

                      Now ask yourself is security a positive or negative right?

                    2. Mary,

                      Yes, I am denying that to be the case. You do not have to go back to 1970’s NYC. It happening today in Chicago, why because that mother and the communities at large are not allowed protect themselves due to gun control. Communities that are allowed to arm themselves and protect themselves are safer and that is bares out and is proven statistically.

                      To applied to Jeff’s scenario which is more likely to provide for the communities security; a lone security guard or able-bodied people within the community seeing to their own defense?

                      P.S. Children are dependents or wards of their parents, a guardian or the state are not legally free and independent beings. Not until they are emancipated at 18. So technically children are not free at anytime.

                    3. Nonsense. Obviously they could get guns if they wanted to. Witness the number of them in the city.

      2. We do. More accurately, our elected representatives do. It may be an imperfect system, and I think government routinely running up debt is deeply immoral, but the only alternative is those decisions being made by whoever has the most guns or is better with a sword.

        The fact that vileprogs use the argument is the strongest evidence of the importance of federalism and the weakness of their position. If their ideas worked they would simply implement them in the states they control and let the example speak for itself. But they know that low-tax small-government Texas performs better in the categories people care about than high-tax big-government California, so they have to implement their schemes nationally to spread the fail around.

  12. Of course a “positive right” can be used to “over-ride” a negative right. IE give the government the authority to restrict somebody else’s right. You got a right to “Freedom Of Religion”? Not if the government thinks some other group has the right to force you to do something against your religion. [Frown]

  13. “Positive Rights” do not exist. They are a lie, and an evil one.

    What DOES exist is the duty to be charitable. One does not pay for food for the starving because they have a right to your money, but because you have a duty to feed the hungry.

    Naturally, the SJWs HATE this view of things. For one thing, the word “duty” reminds them of all the unpleasant but necessary things they duck out of doing whenever possible.

    1. For one thing, the word “duty” reminds them of all the unpleasant but necessary things they duck out of doing whenever possible.

      For another, a duty can’t be forced.

      You can force someone to lessen the damage from not doing their duty, sort of, but you can’t actually make someone, oh, care for the children they created, or keep their promises.

      1. There are (at least) two definitions of the word “care”.

        I cannot make someone love their child, but I can make sure that any labor they undertake goes to benefit the child before it benefits them.

        1. I have seen people who deliberately reduce their income so that the “leaches” don’t get more from them.

          People suck, sometimes.

          1. Actually, “leeches” doesn’t necessarily refer to the children; it refers to the ex-spouse who is completely unaccountable for using the support for the children instead of themselves.

            1. The plural when they said it suggests otherwise. (Not that you had any way to know that I was quoting, rather than collecting.)

              My parents have had several hired hands that felt that once they abandoned their wives and children there was no reason they should sacrifice their drinking money to support the children.

                1. Only if they’d remarried.

                  In one case the guy wouldn’t shut up about it because he’d managed to get the child support he was paying reduced to less than $30, total, on hardship declarations. Two boys. He’d abandoned them when his wife insisted on actually paying the rent and it cut into his “fun” money.

                  We saw a lot of the deliberately-reducing-income men because ranch work is one of the places it’s easiest to have a low cash income and still live fairly well– house and beef are part of the benefits.
                  We saw a lot of them because, to nobody’s surprise, those who think that it’s unreasonable that they support the children they fathered also think it’s unreasonable that they do the job they’re being paid for.

                  We’ve got family friends whose exes do take the money that’s meant for support of the kids– that some people actually do their duty to their children, and are abused by others who don’t, doesn’t change anything.

                  1. Of course, those stories (and I’m not questioning their validity) are balanced out by the stories of women who go on to lasting relationships with other men and refuse to get married so that they still get alimony in addition to child support.

                    1. I’m talking about men who are being financially crippled while trying to pay the support ordered by the State, after having been forced out of their marriages, only allowed to see their children on alternate weekends, and then one day when they go to pick up their children for those visits, their child asks, “Hey, daddy! Did you see the brand-new truck that mommy and [Insert boyfriend’s name here] bought?”

                      All while he’s still paying not only the child support that he is perfectly willing to pay, but also alimony to the woman who threw him out.

                    2. Then he’s got a case to go back to court and make the case that the alimony is no longer needed.
                      Alimony isn’t enforced with child support, incidentally; the abused folks I know are paying child support that is being stolen, which is a much bigger problem.

                    3. If they’re his, and the statistics show a 25% or better chance that they’re not… when you can get the tests. (Unless you buy the “women don’t lie”)

                      If she’s living up to her side of the bargain on visitation, etc.

                      The net bottom line is that it’s amazing how many people buy the SJW line on this subject…. even though it’s no more honest than anything else they preach.

                    4. If they’re his, and the statistics show a 25% or better chance that they’re not… when you can get the tests.

                      So only 25% of guys who have a strong enough belief to buy a test are right?

                      Dang, I knew that psychos like my former brother in law (boy could be his shaving mirror, but was born with club feet, so he accused her of cheating on him) weren’t unusual, but three in four is even higher than I would’ve figured.

                      That’s also not accounting for things where we don’t know how common it is, like that case where the DNA test showed that he was the father, but the woman who gave birth wasn’t the genetic mother. (chimera; we have no idea because DNA tests for maternity are really rare, for obvious reasons)

                      The net bottom line is that it’s amazing how many people buy the SJW line on this subject…. even though it’s no more honest than anything else they preach.

                      I find it amazing that people buy every single “I’m a victim” story they hear, even when it should be obvious that, if they have 15 folks they trust in a situation and they’re all Being Done Wrong, there’s something screwy with their sample and thus stories they hear from sources where they haven’t evaluated the character of those involved should be taken with a great deal of caution.

                      Doesn’t take much figuring to realize that scumbags like the ones I’ve mentioned are unlikely to be socializing with decent people, or at least won’t talk about it when they do, and decent people are the ones who will get upset at someone being abused like this– rather than taking notes for future use. That’s before the “selective information” aspect comes out. Nobody’s a bad guy in their own mind.

                    5. No. First, they can’t require the test, and the courts look with much favor on exes who object. Out of the limited population that they can get the test for, that’s the average bastardy rate.

                      Second, even in the cases of the 25%, courts overwhelmingly decline to vacate support orders.

                      And at this point, I’m going to stop responding, not because you are right, but because your blind spot on this issue makes it pointless to continue.

                      This is precisely why men are on strike.

                    6. It’s not a blind spot when the facts– which I only found when trying to find the origin of the statistic you were using, and which were dead simple to find with even the slightest hint of skepticism about one in four children being bastards– go overwhelmingly against what you are claiming.

                    7. Found the statistic.

                      It’s most commonly listed as 28%, and it includes those cases where the mother says “well, the father could be one of X people” and when the mother openly states that the child’s father is not the man she was married to at the time.

                      Please note, it even points out that paternity tests can have false positives, so it’s not like it’s horribly biased in the opposite direction.


                      It also mentions that in the sample of a large lab’s peace-of-mind tests (suspicious husbands) in Australia, about 10% were negative, although a smaller lab got all the way up to 11%. That’s even more psycho than your one in four stat… “9 out of 10 guys who think their wife cheated were wrong.”

                  2. it’s unreasonable that they support the children they fathered

                    And why should the men be responsible for the consequences of the woman’s decision? *He* wasn’t free to kill his children before they were born, nor was he free to prevent their mother from doing so. The birth of a child is 100% a woman’s decision, and therefore the consequences of that decision should, in a sane world, rest 100% on her shoulders.

                    Holding one person accountable for the consequences of another person’s decisions either enslaves the first, or infantilizes the second.

                    1. And why should the men be responsible for the consequences of the woman’s decision?

                      Because when he chose to have sex, he accepted the chance that make-a-baby activity would result in a baby. The obligations to that child, should they survive, cannot be voided by the action or inaction of someone else who also has an obligation.

                      Also, the justification for abortion has nothing to do with the child, it has to do with a pregnancy continuing or not. The predictable– though not guaranteed– side-effect of an abortion is a lack of child being born, it’s not the goal.

                    2. Because when he chose to have sex, he accepted the chance that make-a-baby activity would result in a baby.

                      She likewise chose to take that risk, yet she’s free to avoid, via homicide, the consequences of that choice. I thought women and men were supposed to be legally equal, but apparently not.

                      The obligations to that child, should they (sic) survive, cannot be voided by the action or inaction of someone else who also has an obligation.

                      “Obligation”, like not killing it? When women are held to that standard, *then* you can argue that men should be as well. Otherwise you’re arguing for female supremacy and the enslavement of men.

                      Also, the justification for abortion has nothing to do with the child, it has to do with a pregnancy continuing or not.

                      “nothing to do with the child”? Really? You can’t separate the pregnancy from the child. Terminating an unwanted pregnancy *is* killing a child. When the tech is developed to safely transfer the conceptus to an artificial womb or a surrogate, whence it can then be carried to term, *then* that distinction will become valid. Until then, it’s not.

                      The predictable– though not guaranteed– side-effect of an abortion is a lack of child being born, it’s not the goal.

                      The predictable, though not guaranteed, side-effect of shooting someone in the head is the death of that person, it’s not the goal.

                      Yeah, and I have a small country to sell.

                    3. She likewise chose to take that risk, yet she’s free to avoid, via homicide, the consequences of that choice. I thought women and men were supposed to be legally equal, but apparently not.

                      Women who abandon their children are also liable for child support.

                      Men are entirely entitled to end any pregnancy they experience, within the legal limits of their state and such.

                      “nothing to do with the child”? Really? You can’t separate the pregnancy from the child.

                      Please read it again, it was on legal argument they made to justify the death of a human being who was inconveniencing another.

                    4. Women who abandon their children are also liable for child support.

                      Wome who put their children up for adoption without telling the father that he *is* a father are liable for child support? How many women go to prison for failure to *pay* child support? How many women, as a proportion, actually lost custody?

                      Men are entirely entitled to end any pregnancy they experience, within the legal limits of their state and such.

                      Cute. Also irrelevant. Are men entitled to kill their own children because they want to avoid child support? As long as women are given the “right” to kill an innocent human being because they find him inconvenient, you’re going to be arguing from a position of moral illegitimacy. Refusal to pay child support is not inevitably (or even commonly) fatal to the child. Refusal to carry it to term is.

                      Anyone who claims to believe that men and women should have equal rights before the law cannot also argue that women should be free to kill their children *and* free to indenture the fathers of those children. Responsibility without authority is slavery.

                      Please read it again, it was on legal argument they made to justify the death of a human being who was inconveniencing another.

                      It’s a morally obtuse argument.

                    5. Actually I just want equality of responsibility. If women aren’t going to be held responsible for their children, then men shouldn’t be either.

                    6. Ok: abortion. There, done. If you’re free to kill your child, then you’re free to not take responsibility for it (dead babies don’t require much support). Those women who don’t kill it have voluntarily taken responsibility. Why should men not have an equivalent right to choose?

                    7. I want equality of responsibility. As I’ve already said. Given that you’re apparently not going to read my actual *words*, I don’t see any point in continuing this conversation.

    2. I think you’ve touched on an important distinction – Charity is not the same as wellfare. Charity is voluntary, wellfare is based on taxation/theft.
      I’m not sure about the “duty” part.

      1. I have a personal religious duty, freely assumed, to be charitable. I’m not sure the state does.

        I know that requiring a pauper’s oath that, among other things, forfeits the right to vote while the person is being supported by the state, is necessary to prevent the dependent from overrunning the productive.

  14. Sarah,

    Positive Rights in a nut shell; I believe I have the right to force you to provide for my wants, and in an universe of infinite wants there are no limits.


    Enforced Fraternity Destroys Liberty

    Mr. de Lamartine once wrote to me thusly: “Your doctrine is only the half of my program. You have stopped at liberty; I go on to fraternity.” I answered him: “The second half of your program will destroy the first.”

    In fact, it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being legally trampled underfoot

    Legal plunder has two roots: One of them, as I have said before, is in human greed; the other is in false philanthropy.

    At this point, I think that I should explain exactly what I mean by the word plunder. [3]

    – “The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat.


    “While I think all taxation is theft (hey, I’m clear headed on this, okay) I think some theft is sometimes vaguely justified on the grounds of “we need to have common defense and we’ll defend the guy we stole from, too.”

    Clear headed? Are you sure? 🙂

    This reminded me of the first time I ever post here.

    I jumped in with both feet without checking for the depth of water.


  15. Here’s an example where the “taxation is theft” idea starts to get fuzzy around the edges: Consider a co-op where most of the residents begin to feel the need for a full-time security guard—do they have the moral right to compel the crank in apartment 4D to pay his share even though he (claims he) has no interest in hiring the guard?

    (And should the cost be apportioned equally, or proportional to the value of the apartments?)

    Scale that up to the city, state, and federal level and you have justification for taxes supporting cops, courts, prisons, armies, etc.

    1. (And should the cost be apportioned equally, or proportional to the value of the apartments?)

      Or the number of people, or the benefit they get from the guard (third story, no-window apartments vs first story with three bay windows and a sliding door that looks out on a simi-private yard)– or the primary and secondary benefits, or individual use? (Good luck finding a security guard who’s OK being paid only when he actively stops Mrs. Brown’s apartment from being robbed)

    2. What are the terms the crank (voluntarily) agreed to when he moved in? If he agreed that a board, for example, has the right to make that decision for the people there, then he should either pay up or move.

      1. I’ve actually seen this stuff happen– the pattern goes:
        “We’ll form a group to manage X, Y and Z for the neighborhood.”
        They do.
        Things improve.
        Then then there’s a vote on one of the agreed on things that Crank in 4D was on the losing side of, so he decides that he’s not going to play anymore….even if he’s one of the folks who was big on organizing it in the first place.

        There are some really horrible HOA groups out there, and flatly abusive HOA laws, but a lot of stuff turns out to be “it was great as long as I was winning.”

        1. I have shopped for a house twice. Both times, the first thing I told my realtor was that the letters HOA were an instant dealbreaker.

          1. Also, remember that no matter what you think of HOAs, they were formed because there was enough conflict in the area that they could get enough folks to vote for it. (…sometimes with a lot of fraud, or simple dishonesty)

            No reason to DELIBERATELY head into an unhealthy neighborhood.

            1. And a lot of that conflict was busybodies wanting to tell other people how to use their own land.

              1. Having lived next to people whose land use refused to stay on their own land, that does not remove the conflict.

                I rather doubt that the initial conflict being about other folks’ property is actually “most,” since those HOAs I know of that didn’t start out dishonestly are an attempt to replace the old couple down the road who use to take care of the community property like parks and flower beds.

                I’m already the kind of person who always ends up maintaining and mostly funding the coffee mess; I don’t need it to come home and have a high chance of one of the guys who never so much as drops a five or makes a new pot telling me what kind of coffee to buy.

                The ones that get in the news are just part of the Cycle of Leadership.

                Stuff gets started because of the Get Stuff Done people. The Stuff Gets Done but the folks who have oversized opinions voice them, and it eats up the Get Stuff Done folks.
                They eventually step aside for someone with oversized opinions, who may or may not be a Get Stuff Done person.
                If they are, they’re eaten in turn; if they aren’t, they find out that Getting Stuff Done is hard, and tend to shift to their focus on to the easier stuff that they Have Opinions about.
                Eventually they make enough demands that people kick them out, and nothing gets done until it’s bad enough that another Get Stuff Done person takes up the cross.

          2. HOAs are fascist by definition—public control over (theoretically) private property. We had the same restriction, and thankfully our area has lots of non-HOA neighborhoods—I’ve heard of some cities where HOAs are in excess of 90% of the properties.

    3. Taxation needn’t always be theft, although that has been the historical tendency. In a representative government, taxation could be the price of the franchise; you don’t pay taxes? You don’t vote.

      Can you just IMAGINE the howls of outrage from the SJWs if that went into effect?

      1. That’s easy. They’d smirk and say that everyone pays sales taxes, so everyone votes. They could find a loophole in a cube of solid steel.

  16. PRISON: Seeing as how the bleeding heart liberal idea, back in the 1800s, was to issue every prisoner a monk’s penitent cell so they could pray their crimes away . . . yeah. We need something different. Seeing as how we’re still a fork of British laws and customs, I have no problem with execution for common law felonies.

    Outlawing people for a relatively short period for lesser crimes seems more civilized than incarceration. Likely cheaper, too.

    TAXATION: Rights are, in the English tradition, often discovered in the negative. “Turns out you need to be able to X, because if you can’t X it is self-evident that you are not a free person.” The Third Amendment is an example of a newly-articulated right that the British Government demonstrated was necessary by violating it.

    Given how intrusive any income-percentage taxation scheme _must_ be in order to function, I’d say we’ve discovered(rediscovered?) another such self-evident right, at least on the Federal level(I’m a bit more willing to let states try stuff as long as people are free to relocate to a state more to their liking). Now we just need to kill the 16th Amendment and salt the ground it was grown on.

    1. Or, for nonviolent crimes–pickpocketing, embezzlement–force the criminals to pay restitution for what they stole. For violent ones–battery, criminal negligence–pay the hospital bills and lost income from jail.
      For very violent ones–rape, murder–execution.

      1. There may also be diminished ability to work in the future; there’s “pain and suffering”; and there are cases of assault where there is insult without lasting injury (a slap across the face, e.g.).

        1. Well,how about a legal pronciple to the effect that you may not start a fight, but once struck, unless you clearly escalate the force level beyond what is reasonable, you may finish one.

          1. You mean “Stand Your Ground” laws? I would also add that a fight has usually begun long before the first blow is struck, which is where the term “fighting words” comes into play.

          2. To stop the threat without taking damange yourself requires a level of force beyond what almost any court would interpret as reasonable, In fact many would interpret it as deadly force (broken bones, joints …).

          3. Bah. Define “reasonable escalation.” Do it so as to differentiate between two people of roughly equal strength, and one large, muscular, young person vs one small, frail, elderly person. At what point will you allow the person being hit first to pull a gun and kill the other?

            1. Pam,

              FYI: The Legal definition of what you are describing is called disparity of force.

      2. But the police and prosecutors MUST be strictly accountable. VERY limited immunity to cover good faith errors. If a Prosecutor is found to have surpressed evidence that might have prevented a conviction of a capitol crime, he should be charged with attempted murder.

        1. Suppressed evidence that might have prevented a conviction? What about having suppressed evidence of innocence? That’s a more likely scenario, unless he’s in collaboration with the defendant, which is relatively easy to prosecute, if the evidence of the collaboration can be found.

          1. Evidence of innocence is a very tough standard. Evidence that might have prevented a,conviction on the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard is a lot easier to demonstrate.

      3. For rape, or just for, you know, rape-rape?
        Serious question given that not all rape is violent, or known to be rape at the time by the perpetrator.

        1. “Serious question given that not all rape is violent, or known to be rape at the time by the perpetrator.”

          Then it isn’t rape. Being a gullible easily seduced fool isn’t rape. Voluntarily consuming a substance, alcohol, that is known to impair judgement isn’t rape. Cries of “rape” after there is no possibility of evidence being gathered aren’t rape.

      4. “Or, for nonviolent crimes–pickpocketing, embezzlement–force the criminals to pay restitution for what they stole”

        with ten-fold recompense. Otherwise the cost-benefit of stealing runs on your chances of getting caught. If you get caught half the time, you keep half of what you stole, etc.

    2. I don’t see how an income tax is necessarily more intrusive than a sales tax. I don’t see much difference between government asking a business “How much did you sell last year?” and “How much did you pay people last year?”

      1. The advantage of the sales tax is that it’s much more stable than the income tax on a year-to-year basis, and it has the added advantage of allowing the taxpayer to determine how much he’ll actually pay in taxes (by adjusting his spending habits).

        It has the added secondary advantages of ensuring that *everyone* pays taxes, and it encourages thrift in the people who most need to save their money, the poor (assuming that they’re not receiving taxpayer-funded handouts).

        1. And can you imagine the intrusiveness the IRS (or whatever you call the tax collectors; don’t really see that it matters) in pursuit of this sales tax? They would go after everything. You really have to push it on the “garage sale” front before the tax man notices, but with a sales tax they would be out looking every single weekend.

          AND it would quickly become a VAT. AND they pricks in DC would find a way to hang on to the Income tax, “just temporarily”.

          The problem isn’t the nature of the tax, or even the amount of that tax. The problem is the number of things that the political class consider to be their business. THAT has to change, and it ain’t gonna happen fast.

          1. While I agree that the Feds will look for any and all excuses to take more of my money, I’d still rather pay a sales tax than an income tax. No annoying forms, no interest-free loan to Uncle Sam for the year, and the system to collect sales tax is already in place most places, so a national sales tax would just be another check box.

            Given that employers could then cut those jobs dedicated to accounting for income tax withholdings, and matching contributions (and, in my preferred scenario, SS and Medicare taxes and matches), and that money could (again, ideally) go to the employees, employers would come out ahead, and workers would all get a minimum 15% raise. That should create some new jobs for all the displaced IRS employees:-).

            1. I’m afraid I’m with cpschofield. I’ve been watching what the Europeans and Brits did with the VAT, on top of income taxes, estate taxes, medical taxes, fuel surcharges, environmental taxes . . . It’s just too tempting for any government to say “oh, we’ll have a VAT and leave the others in place just temporarily until we get the VAT all set up and running smoothly.” And the VAT rises from 2% to 22%, with all sorts of strange protectionist carve outs, like Italy saying that books with an ISBN are taxed at 4% and non-ISBN books are 20%. And the other taxes stay in place.

                  1. A quick search of the USDA FSA site got me this:

                    The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) authorizes nonrecourse marketing assistance loans (MALs) and loan deficiency payments (LDPs) for wool to eligible producers who produce and shear wool and mohair for the 2014 through 2018 crop years. The LDP program is also available to eligible producers of nongraded wool in the form of unshorn pelts.
                    Nonrecourse MALs and LDPs are administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

                    So it is temporarily permanent

                1. The United States Railroad Administration (USRA) was organized in 1917 during WWI to lease and manage most of the nation’s rail system. It was gone by 1920. Unfortunately, Congress expanded the powers of the ICC somewhat at the time USRA dissolved. Ironically, many of the problems USRA was intended to resolve were caused by conflicting priorities assigned to shipments by government entities.

            2. No annoying forms? I bet you’d have to get forms for everything you threw away or donated, to prove you didn’t SELL it and duck the tax.

              No. No, we do NOT want to go there.

              1. That’s why I’d make it a tax only on first time retail sales. Second-hand stores wouldn’t have to collect. Garage sales likewise. Used cars or used houses wouldn’t be subject to it, etc.

                To address other concerns in the thread, of course the Feds would try to make it an additional tax rather than a replacement. But that’s a risk with all tax schema. The income tax was only supposed to tax the top 5% of earners or somesuch, and a proposed cap on it was rejected because the taxpayers would never tolerate a high rate, while the government would doubtless up the tax to the cap immediately (cap was 10% IIRC). That worked so well…

                I’m talking about my ideal arrangement. I doubt it’ll ever happen.

                1. Lets face it, form of tax is so low down on the list of actual problems that it’s hardly worth the debate. Trim the government back to its legitimate functions and the TAXES won’t matter so goddamned much. The problem isn’t how much money goes into taxes, the problem is how much money disappears into busybody regulation and gets pounded down “feel good” ratholes. The problem is that the government is trying to do too goddamned much and is so bloody awful at doing it.

                2. That’s why I’d make it a tax only on first time retail sales. Second-hand stores wouldn’t have to collect. Garage sales likewise. Used cars or used houses wouldn’t be subject to it, etc.

                  I buy from distributors for private use. (Cash and carry, yay! Costco, yay!)

                  My mom buys stuff and then makes new stuff to sell.

                  Maybe some kind of a license to sell that you can show when you buy stuff to avoid the tax? Although that would get gamed, too, and pretty obviously. (the 70s fad of “becoming a minister to avoid taxes” for example)

                  1. I don’t think there’s an un-gameable system in anything. The 1st-time-retail-sales-tax idea would have specifics that needed to be addressed, but I still think it would be superior to the current system, especially if we ditched all the non-Constitutionally-mandated “non-discretionary” expenses the Feds indulge in.

                    Yeah, it’ll never happen short of a Civil War, but I can dream!

                    1. *grin* I don’t ask for ungamable, I just try to figure out which ones will encourage gaming on a high level and pretty much require expensive enforcement!

                      One of my pet never-gonna-happen solutions is for the feds and state to actually be decent land managers and make money off of all that land they took.

      2. You can do a lot more mischief if you’ve got a record of every purchase a person made– not to mention that it takes a lot more paperwork, and thus makes it so you can more easily drive sellers out of the marketplace entirely because they can’t fulfill their tax requirements.

        It’s also easier to cheat, and to accuse someone of cheating, both in not paying and in faking that you paid.

        1. Why do you need a record of every purchase a person makes to collect sales tax? Pretty sure the grocery store just keeps track of all the sales tax they collect, not who purchased what.
          The big advantage of avoiding income-based taxes is that it makes it much easier to hire folks for odd jobs without running afoul of a law. If I want to hire the neighbor to do some housework, I have to figure out if I have to pay tax on her working for me or not. Easier to not hire her.
          Mind, I rather favor sticking to the old Constitutional (not amended) sources of revenue. More limited and all that.

          1. If I remember right from when my mom was selling in California, they do have to keep a record of what was sold.

            And there’s no shortage of sales tax fraud now. Sales tax goes up, going to hurt a lot more. (not to mention that it really hurts those businesses that aren’t big– that have to buy from distributors, rather than being their own; this would end up getting more gov’t “help”)

              1. How long do you think that would last before they started messing around with it? Income tax was only for the insanely wealthy at the start.

      3. Personally, I’d like to see the government push responsibility for tax collection to the States. Tell California that since they have 12% of the population, they need to pony up 12% of the money for next year’s budget.

        States that don’t pay get recognition of all their legal documents, license plates, etc, revoked until they pay up.

        1. For FY 2012:

          Federal tax reciepts for CA were $292,563,574,000

          Total Collected $2,514,838,095,000
          which means CA will end up paying a grand total of 0.6% more.

          In fact if you look, the ‘tax collected from the states’ does roughly follow their population, with some minor reshuffling.

  17. Perhaps, when the Stateists start nattering (or shrieking) about “positive rights” we should call them “service rights.” As in “So, you are saying the government has to provide you with the service of housing/ service of dining/ service of entertainment/ service of education. Why?”

    Annnd I notice, in terms of escalation, that the Occupy et al tried to shut down the Castro District last night by going into the bars and telling gay patrons that they have “white privilege” and should be out shutting down the city to persons of color. (And Sweet Saint San Andreas, but I hope that Latin@ construction doesn’t become academic usage anytime soon. Latino/a (or a/o) is awkward enough.)

    1. Public Notice: If someone uses Latin@ in my presence, and it isn’t part of a classical languages email, I will not be responsible for my actions.

  18. Taxation for services provided by the government can be a very interesting area of discussion. Starting with fire departments.

    I used to live in SC. There was a volunteer fire department. Each year you ponied up your contribution, and if you has a house fire, the VFD would fight it. If you hadn’t paid, the VFD would rescue people, then watch the structure burn. You didn’t have to play and pay, but if you lost your bet and had a fire, you’d lose your house.

    In NY, where I live now, the VFD encompasses a taxing district. If you have a fire, they respond and fight it. You cannot refuse to pay and play. If you refuse to pay, your house will be seized and sold for unpaid taxes. Which is more fair? Um. Neither or both. In a city, with row houses, forced pay and play is absolutely required, else the middle homeowner need never pay the FD. In rural districts, why shouldn’t people be allowed to take their chances? VFD members in NY that I know, BTW, are horrified at the SC approach.

    1. Gospace,

      Their is a third option and that is the what I call the old Doctors model.

      Fix the problem and present a bill.

  19. Land taxes, another fun area. There are a very few communities in the U.S. where land is taxed. Only land. If you own 1 acre, you are taxed for 1 acre, 10 for 10, and so on. On your 1 acre, it doesn’t matter whether you drop a $2 million mansion or a $20k shack. You’re taxed on 1 acre. The reasoning is simple. Why should you be taxed for improving the land? You have the full use of 1 acre no matter what you put on it. And if you put up a $2 million mansion, you’ve already paid taxes on- the wood, bricks, nails, flooring, and workers wages, and everthing else that went into construction. Why should you be taxed again on all that? I actually like that idea. I cannot see it ever be instituted in anyplace where it doesn’t already exist. The hostility when I present that idea to people is almost palpable.

  20. The essence of positive rights is that someone else should labor against his will for your benefits.

    That’s slavery.

    That’s not my definition. That’s the Supreme Court’s.

  21. Anyone who endorses any form of “positive rights” is endorsing slavery. Period Full Stop.

  22. I took a quick look at the Canadian “Charter of Rights and Freedoms” to see if it’s somewhat like what the Brits have. It is in some ways, though better in others.
    It seems to be like the US Constitution in that it is harder to change than a regular law.
    But it also starts right out with this disclaimer: “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” In fewer words that translates to “void where prohibited by law”.
    I don’t see a right to keep and bear arms. I also don’t see any limits on the power of the government, unlike (at least theoretically) the U.S. Federal Constitution.
    At least it’s not the horrible joke that is the Dutch “constitution” which says that the courts have no authority to enforce it. But it certainly has some ways to go before it is as good as the U.S. example.
    Meanwhile, on “positive rights” — that’s just as bad an example of abuse of language as “affirmative action”. Real rights are what people have that others (especially other governments) are not allowed to take from them. But these other things are stolen property — stolen from their rightful owners by force and given to others. The merit of the U.S. Constitution is that it does not have such things, and in fact it prohibits them explicitly (4th Amendment). Unfortunately, various legislatures and courts have trampled all over this (as in the infamous “Kelo” decision), but the principle is still present, to be recovered some day.

  23. Foxfier & Jeff,

    Sarah wrote,

    “For instance, some countries guarantee “minimal sustenance” or a “minimum income” or “housing” or “health.””

    And I’ll add one more, or “security.”

    I wrote this essay, “Stuck in the middle and What do we really believe?” in 2011, because I was having a hard time wrapping my had around this paradox, ” If the Repubs are the party of Small Government, fiscal responsibility and Liberty, why do they often support and vote counter to their stated goals?”

    The essay:

    I’m about as much of a Libertarian as you can get. I want as small and as unintrusive a government as possible.
    So I’m stuck between two opposing forces that want to run my life. The left wants to tell me how to spend my money, and the right wants to tell me how to live my life. Both feel I’m to stupid to figure this out for myself and that the government needs to force me to do the right thing.
    I don’t believe a government should be involved in any type of social safety net that this allows us to become bad lazy* to not have to think about or plan for the future. Why should we the government will take care of us. We no longer feel the need to take personal responcibilty for our lives the government will do that for us.
    Used to be that if we fell down our family, our church or a local charity** was there to help us pick ourselves back up so we could stand on our own two feet. That is if we even bothered to ask for help.
    We used to have a pride in our ability to pick ourselves up and start over. We didn’t need no stinking help. We could stand on our own two feet. Our forefathers would of been ashamed of how far we have fallen. How we can’t get off the government crack that is our “entitlement” system. This system that slaved ourselves to.

    You can not be truly free if you rely on other to take care of you.

    On to the other side there our those who feel they have the right to tell me how to live my life and who I can love. This is the one that is a little more insidious of the two, because they cloak what they want as doing it for my own good or trying to save my soul. Who can argue against that. They just have the best intentions, but what do they say about the road to hell. To me this is just more bad lazy think. If you can’t win over people in the court of public opinion, just in act legislation that will force them to act as you wish.

    Now to the second part of the title. If we, and say we because I have side with the right, because our stated beliefs line up the most. If we say we believe in personal liberty and small government, why do we grow the power of government and restrict choice when it gets us something we want?

    So again I ask, what do we really believe?

    What I did not understand at the time is that they are both selling. (promising) the same thing… security, and that they will make sure everyone is doing and paying there fair share, and the price is not just financial but in liberty.

    They both even use the same language, tactics and emotional trigger of fear.

    They both call each other names.

    They both will use the force government to get what they want, and feel justified in doing so…

    And will feel they are doing what is in that person or groups best interest. “Quit struggling this is for your own good.”

    If you could convince me that having a bloated wasteful military complex is to my benefit, you wouldn’t have to force me to help pay for the military I would do so on my own, because I would feel that it is in my best interest to do so.

    But You guys do not have to do that you can just declare it to be so, and get indignant if I disagree and demand I pay my fair share.

    By the way, I feel they is a better way they way our founding fathers wanted and believed was the best way to provide for the national defense.

    Foxfier, I wasn’t arguing from some obscure AC interpretation of what to base a future society on. This debate we are having today, of a standing army and how to pay for it, lead to some of the most heated debates amongst delegates at the Constitutional Convention.

    I object to force, because it leads to a lack of debate because you do not have to prove that what is under discussion is actually the best approach to achieving once goals and then convince them of it you can just turn to force and blunder on.

    Jeff, the right likes to tout that the Founding Fathers would be aghast at what the left has done. Left… they would be aghast at what the right has done in the name of security.

    Though Hamilton and Washington wanted a larger standing army than what they ultimately revived, one of the greatest disputes was over this issue.

    We no longer feel that it is right to conscript (use force) you into the army, but we sure as hell will force you to pay for it.

    There is no difference between the government guaranteeing your security than any other fairy tail they try to sell you.

    What was the name of this blog post again?

    1. No, you’re right. You don’t need the bloated wasteful military complex. I’m sure two spunky independent guys working out of their garage can build stealth bombers and SM3 missiles and F-22s. I’m sure as soon as we got rid of our horrible wasteful military complex that Mikoyan would stop developing new fighters and selling them to anyone that can write a check, I’m sure that a bunch of riflemen with nothing heavier or more sophisticated than a machine gun can hold off SLBMs, and I’m sure you won’t end up with all your textbooks being in Arabic or Chinese or Russian or Spanish within a generation.

        1. 1: outdated. F-22s have flown combat missions.
          2: outdated. F-23 costs are still going up as, once again, a one size fits all aircraft isn’t quite right. (You would think they learned from the F-4 and F-111, but noooooo…..)
          3. Skips over the part where a democratic congress (specifically, the senate) defunded the F-22 program, thus increasing unit cost by making far fewer aircraft bear the development cost.
          4. skips over how F-23 development costs would have been much higher if there had been no F-22.

          (this list ignored Wired’s liberal bias that made me stop reading the magazine 16 years ago)

          Also: Yes, the F-22 is twice the FIGHTER of an F-23. Ground attack? Maybe not so much. Especially with sensor fusion, supercruise, and 2d vectoring nozzles… the sensor fusion on the F-23 isn’t going to be as good, no supercruise, and no vectoring nozzles. The Marine Corps model also can’t VIFF, so its not going to be a very precise replacement for the Harrier.

  24. Now let’s look at the overal picture.


    Do we need to be spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined, and are we getting the most bag for our buck?

    I’m for a strong defense not so much for subsidizing other countries military & security. Their citizens should be footing more of the bill for their defense.

    1. Sorry this was supposed to be a reply to above.

      Yes the left in this situation will high light negatives and the right would high light the positives.

      If you want to find out what something’s negatives are look to the critics of it. I have you guys to tell me all the positives.


    2. Because everyone expects an openly socialist senator to accurately talk about defense spending problems, and believe it to be accurately reported on by someone that believe we shouldn’t spend any of it…

      “Base defense costs have doubled since 2001”
      So has the cost of gas. COMPLETELY unrelated, I am sure. (yes, it is lower than that at the moment, but ti wasn’t when the speech was made.)
      9/11 also happened in 2001. Completely unrelated, I’m sure.
      FOOD costs have not-quite-but-almost-doubled since 2001, partly because of gas costs, partly because of feed costs because of the idiotic ethanol BS… which Sanders probably voted for. Especially for high protein stuff- you know, the stuff those poor ignorant tax-sucking babykillers need. Completely unrelated,I’m sure.

      1. Draven,

        “Openly” is the key part; he’s not one for obfuscation. Calling out his ideology is not a refutation of his position. He’s open about what his priorities are, and what he thinks we should be spending our tax dollars on.

        1. Calling out both of their ideologies is making a point. One thinks we shouldn’t be spending money on defense, the other thinks it is best spent on social engineering programs.

        2. Ideology aside, I have seen no mention of where much of the bloat comes from. I joined in 2000. Several issues that were going on: congress had decided to cut down on various support MOSes and replace them with civilian contractors. This increased costs in the long run because of the way military bidding works and the difficulty of ditching contractors that were routinely going over budget once they had the contract. There were similar issues every where I went. The military was required by Congress to take the lowest bid and Congress, not the military, decided whether or no the contractor could bid again. There were little things like the contractor for services such a laundry and cooking in Iraq pocketing 2/3 of what they charged the army for wages for their employees. The army caught on fast, Congress didn’t for nearly 5 years, even though they were told, repeatedly. The problem with relying on congressional reports to diagnose the problem with military spending is that it fails to address the issue of the additional financial costs of how they keep telling the military to do business.

          1. It’s the classic fox guarding the hen house. Don’t let the Defense Department of the hook they are just as culpable.

            and Sanders wasn’t assessing blame only pointing out the reality of what we spend and pronouncing that as to much.

          2. Like something most people don’t realize- the food in chow halls is largely cooked by civilians, because the Army doesn’t have the manpower (and i mean, the Congressionally-mandated ability to have enough servicemen) in order to waste servicepeople on something like that. Yes, there will be people pulling KP, but most of the people actually working the kitchen are civilians, specially at training bases.

            1. And so what? I believe some guy named Heinlein put it best:

              “Civilians are like bullets or beans — you buy them as needed for any job that merely requires skill and savvy.

              But you can’t buy fighting spirit.”

                1. That depends; don’t forget that with a soldier you are having to pay benefits including food and shelter that the civilian’s employer has to pay, not to mention retirement. Also, you may not have enough soldiers to do all the jobs that need doing. Absent a return to the draft you probably won’t.

            2. And the contractors invariably cost more (it was an overt unhidden purpose of many of the contractors to milk as much as they could from the system, beyond what they bid. There were good ones, but oy there were a lot that were not.)

              1. May be an effect of the military being big enough to cost a ton, but small enough in specific influence to not be worth trying to bribe as a whole– while a contractor is small enough to not cost a ton in terms of the entire budget, but big enough in specific influence (area, specialty, connections) to be worth buying.

                I’m still amused at the idea that the contractor whose take-home pay was more than everybody else in the shop combined, who got better medical care and better insurance, and who couldn’t be fired for sitting there reading a newspaper because he’d (probably deliberately) flunked all but physical and dimensional calibration, was a money saving step…. They finally were able to file him because, on top of all that, he decided to take to falsifying his time-card and leaving an hour early every day, while claiming to be there the whole day; even then it took six months of near daily records to get it started, and even then the union fought it.

          1. What conflict of interest? Between his and yours maybe, but not as a matter of his job.

            It’s his job. Is it a conflict when a republican points out the fraud in condition in say Medicaid or Medicare? We question the governments ability to judiciously spend our tax dollars, except when it comes to the Defense Department.

            I wonder why ?

            1. For one ultimately simple reason: Medicaid and Medicare are not explicitly defined duties of the Federal government in the Constitution. Defense is.

            2. Now for the more complicated reason: Defense is one of the few activities of the national government (dealing with foreign governments and adjudicating disputes between the states are the others) that cannot be performed by a lower level government, or privatized to charity or the market.

              We must have a group of people drawn from the ranks of the governed who have the monopoly on extreme violence. You cannot hire private contractors to do the actual fighting; history has repeatedly shown that they will become the rulers.

              1. Snelson,

                What was set up by our Founding Fathers was a Militia system. Think Sweden. We were to avoid military adventurism and political entanglements, and we failed spectacularly.

                1. Wrong.

                  Article I, section 8:
                  “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

                  To provide and maintain a Navy;”

                  Sure sounds like defense to me.

                  1. Oh, and BTW, I have actually been involved with writing DoD accounting software. That two year appropriation limit on the Army still applies.

                  2. Remember this section when someone tries to complain about Congress cutting off a program by cutting off funding. Obviously the Founders thought it was suitable. Indeed, so suitable that they shackled the ability to throw it away in the area where it is most crucial.

                    1. Yep, and this is why we get things like the recent ‘we’re going to buy a slightly retooled M9 oh wait no we aren’t’

                2. You mean *Switzerland*, which does actually have a standing military in addition to the militia. Apparently, specialized tasks like aviation (and maintenance thereof) requires you to have hangars and stuff, not be practicing in your back yard.

                  Avoiding ‘political entanglements’ was barely realistic when it was originally proposed, and is completely unrealistic in a global economy. And, should so say something to that effect, no, we can’t just wish away the global economy and would be screwing over our own people by even attempting to do so.

                  1. Wouldn’t matter if the economy was global; as soon as the tech existed to make the oceans days instead of weeks to cross, that policy was doomed.

                    1. Snelson,

                      We still have the remnants of the Militia system we now call it the National Guard.

                    2. Not quite. According to federal law:


                      The National Guard and the Naval Militia are the ‘organized militia’. The ‘unorganized militia’ is all able-bodied males age 17 to 45 who are not in the organized militia.

                      (And yes, I think if feminists really want ‘equality’ then they need to get ‘males’ change to ‘persons’ in the above, and make them change federal law to make females subject to the draft.)

                    3. The crazies have already been doing that, have been since before I was born and probably earlier (mom got it in college), they just don’t get a lot of news time because the relatively sane fellow-travelers. Kind of like the “nobody will ever push for polygamy” thing with homosexual marriage– it happened, it just didn’t get much news time.

                      There’s also the part where they hate guns, and that bit of code wold mean their argument about “guns only for active duty military and National Guard” is blow all to heck.

                      And, a third reason– they really don’t care what the law says except where it’s a useful weapon.

                    4. I’m not, it’s short sighted, and we already beat that subject to death at least twice in the last six months, with something like four “cut it outs” from Sarah.

                    5. That is why I said remnants, our current is what morphed out of and turn that on it’s head.

                      We were supposed to have a well armed and trained Militia (Armed Populace as protected by the Second Amendment); which the State Organized Militias would pull from; with a small standing army need to hold the line long enough for the state militias to mobilize. And if we needed to Project Military might over seas (Protect Embassies and to protect international water ways for American Shipping.) that is or was to be the roll of the Navy & Marines.

                      We have flipped that around holding large standing armies all over the world…

                    6. Actually, that is NOT the militia as the Founders understood it. Their idea was closer to what is known as the unorganized militia, as defined in Sec 10 US Code: all able bodied non felon members of the population.

                    7. Snelson,

                      You need to read Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention.

                      They used Militia interchangeable to refer to both abled bodied men that could take up arms in defense of their communities and thoughts groups that organize within the communities to do so.

                    8. The very short version is that active duty is all about getting things done and the national guard is all about getting things inspected. But that’s an over simplification.

                      It’s very much the nature of a weekend warrior that causes the problem. (And there are exceptions but they tend to be the exceptions that prove the rule). There are attitude differences: I tried to hash out a schedule while deployed with the two people who shared night shift with me (both national guard and never active duty) and they saw it as me trying to get out of work. On active duty it would have been ‘X is the schedule and Y is when you come in even if you’re supposed to be asleep right now. We’ll try this kind of a rotation so we actually have someone reasonably fresh on that watch all the time.’ Unless they’d personally been deployed before they had very little concept of reality when it came to day in and day out military grind.

                      I will say, I was MI. I didn’t have a complete picture of what it was like in the combat zone myself, but I had a solid idea of ‘the job dictates the hours’. If shit hit the fan at shift change when I was active duty you’d be staying over. The guardsmen had more issues adapting to a day in and day out MILITARY work day, They acted like civilians in uniform usually until about the second or third month in country (which was usually the fourth or fifth after being activated.) Even then, they’re not really fully military. Some got there by the time we left country others didn’t. Now, imagine that isn’t just the privates but the officer and NCOs. They think like bankers and lawyers and school teachers and farmboys not like soldiers. The cohesion isn’t there, there’s a loose comraderie, but there’s not the sense of ‘I hate this person but lives depend on each other. I’ll hate him at the bar in the US. We don’t have time for it.’

                      Unfortunately it’s something more easily seen when you’re living through it than explaining. I don’t know what your experience with the military is so I don’t know which comparisons I can draw that will make sense to you.

                    9. IIRC this was true with Militias in the US prior to the start of the National Guards.

                      They varied strongly in terms of quality.

                      Some came close to the quality of the regular army but others were closer to a “social club”.

                      I suspect that the better militias were from areas where there was a strong need for a militia.

                      The National Guard started when there was little need for an organized militia.

                      Note, I was a member of the Illinois National Guard but was “let go” when I didn’t pass the Army’s Boot Camp.

                    10. And there’s more room for major SNAFUs in the Guards than in the Active duty lines… example: When I deployed the unit that was slated to go had told the fedral government they had 2500 troups that could go. 1500 disqualifications in the first round. Of those half DID NOT EXIST. They were either dead, had been AOL (some for years), or got out (again often months or years earlier). Yet they were carried on record still. Active duty getting away with that or even attempting it. (They’d attempt other things, but not lying about force numbers like that. They want to get their vacancies filled.)

                    11. And all the officers were appointed by the state governor since the regiments were sponsored by states…. which meant that being a supporter of the governor politically was the first requirement and military aptitude was strictly a bonus.

                    12. Wyrdbard,

                      I kind of figured this would be your answer and it is mine too.

                      The problem as I see it is…

                      1) We have lost a lot of our martial/gun heritage/culture except in certain rural cultural enclaves. Places like The South and Alaska.

                      2) Kids from these enclaves tend to just go Active regular Military and Make up the majority of the personnel.

                      3) Why do we have two systems the Reserves and the National Guard?

                      4) This allows those that just want to play at being a soldier. One weekend a month and two weeks a year. Though our National Guard Units got a wake up call in Iraq.

                      How I would structure and fix these “problems?”

                      1) I would develop a National Recruit Training Program of those students that want to at the High School level. To be run not by the Public Schools by the Military’s recruit Training Command.

                      2) Require a Two year enlistment Active Duty before joining the National Guard.

                      3) Combine the Reserves and the National Guard. This way those that muster out of active can pass on their knowledge in the National Guard.

                      4) Foster competition between NG and Active Duty by having Red vs Blue war games every two yrs.

                      I think these changes would return us to be more inline with what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

                    13. Some corrections for you.

                      The National Guard was not intended as a deployable unit. They were not designed for that they were designed to be a quick reaction force for things happening stateside. Invasions, disasters, riots, anything you would need to, locally, put a lot of boots on the ground in a hurry but not necissarily keep them that way long. In that function they usually perform admirably. They don’t deploy well, as I can attest from personal experience.

                      The Reserves were designed to be just that: A reserve component to supplement the active duty when things got squirrelly and the active duty component was insufficient for whatever reason.

                      For your fixes:
                      1) Get congress out of TRAIDOC first. There are also several programs that look like this already with iffy levels of success. The issue is not initial training but the ‘after basic and AIT’ portion.

                      2) Eh this happens a fair amount, with mixed results. You get a lot of people going National Guard from active duty who never really ‘caught on’ with active duty either.

                      3) They have different purposes. They should be left to those purposes and those purposes should be re-clarrified (with some major restructuring of the National Guard given what they’re FOR. They’re not a secondary deployable reserve component.)

                      4) Some of this already happens but it’s a state by state basis. It does limited good

                      Frankly there’s no way to make the national guard consistently into the quality of the Active Duty folk short of sending them consistently active duty and NOT two weeks a year. The ‘Militias’ that you seemed to want to convert our army too would look like the National Guard, not Active Duty and there wouldn’t be any Active Duty for your points 1, 2, and 4 to make use of.

                    14. Plus there’s a certain mythos about the militias and the American Revolutionary War.

                      The Militias were often good when fighting Indians but showed that they were no match for the British Army (which was one of the best armies of Europe).

                      It was only after the Continental Army was trained to the standards of European armies that they won battles against the British.

                      Oh, don’t get me started on the myth of the Kentucky Long Rifle winning the war.

                      European armies rejected rifles of the time as weapons for the line of battle for good reasons.

                    15. Wyrdbard,

                      “The National Guard was not intended as a deployable unit.”

                      To your point #1. This why I set a two year requirement of active duty this when you get the bulk of your AIT and MOS; which under my system would be more of refresher training as most of the Basic Training would happen in High School.

                      We were not supposed to have any forward deployed troop’s at all, except during a time of active war. But now we have all these forward deployed based subsidizing these countries defenses at US Tax payer expense. I’m sorry! The citizens of those other countries need to be providing and paying for their own defense.

                      Originally the Standing Army was supposed to be only big enough to hold the line, if we were attacked, until the State Militias could take over.

                      None of this fighting on behalf of other countries of becoming the policemen of the world.

                      I envision the Standing Army (Active Duty) as where you get all of your initial high quality training and a high level of discipline is instilled. Then in the NG it’s about maintaing those skills and passing basics of those skill on to the next generation during High School.

                      Note: Going to try to sleep now.

                    16. Have you, yourself, served? I ask because how I frame my answer will depend on yours. I would guess no, but i could easily be wrong.

                    17. There were Germans drilling in their beer halls in Missouri before the Civil War.

                      Said Germans were inducted into the Army under circumstance that would — err — benefit from not being too closely inspected, and so a loyal general was able to seize the National Guard armory and prevent succession by keeping the weapons from successionist hands.

                    18. “Plus there’s a certain mythos about the militias and the American Revolutionary War.”

                      I recommend Discipline and Bayonets by Joseph B. Mitchell on the topic.

                  2. Yes, thank you was Up 36 hours at that point.

                    Hate when I do that.

                    Snelson, yep. It is what Sanders was arguing agains the Autheraztiom of the then next NDAA.

                    And a lot of Pork from both sides gets attached to it. We need the ability to hold citizens without trial… yada yada yada. Which party was champing that idea… all in the name of… security. And if you vote against this you are Un-Amarican and hate puppies.

                    I’ve now had 5 hours of sleep and my head feels like it’s packed in wool. Can we pick this up at a latter date?


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