We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, November 13. 2007
People are talking about the new Brit socialist/communist blog, Liberal Conspiracy. It is remarkable to me that, with so many years of Labour power and their disheartening, intrusive programs, that there are still people in the UK who want more government in their lives.
Our thoughtful friend Chris at Stumbling and Mumbling, with whom we generally disagree, discusses the two types of "Positive Liberty," which are at odds with the "Classical Liberalism" which we stand for here. A quote:
Heck, I want a free Lamborghini.
But thus does the "new," FDR-era definition of "liberty" become an infantile and spineless serfdom to a supposedly benevolent, but ultimately psychotically power-hungry State. It always works that way, human nature being the dark thing that it is. But I guess I would be OK with a Philosopher-King - as long as it's me, and not you - because I seek no power over anybody except my dogs.
What's the point of all of this in prosperous, middle-class countries which are full of opportunities for anyone who wants to reach for them... assuming they are not either dysfunctional, or the fortunate people who are motivated by the good things in life above and beyond material gain, and choices which cost money like recreation, entertainment, education, and special comforts and pleasures? God bless 'em, but I am not one of them (mostly) because there are too many things I'd lke to do which have costs attached. Like another ten days in Tuscany or Turkey or Scotland. My basic human dignity will not permit me to take things from others: it's degrading and leads to shame and shame's companion - bitterness, rather than the pride in finding your own path through life. A path illuminated by your own conscience, abilities, gifts, judgement, resourcefulness, hopes and dreams.
In my view, "positive liberty" represents, or necessitates, a form of totalitarianism (whether democratic in origin or not), and "classical liberalism" is far more than a pretty abstraction.
Has the dream ended? Are people in the West exhausted by fighting for freedom from the State, and resigning themselves to an ignoble "Gimme" attitude? I hope not, but sometimes I wonder.
Photo: Our Massachusetts Minuteman, who was not fighting the Brits for a free lunch, but for autonomy and self-determination, freedom from the State and its power and its oppressive taxation at gunpoint.
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I think it is important to remind people that they are "taking" when they ask government to get things for them. In most cases I find they are a little sheepish when it's described that way. Or they respond with the same "I'm owed it" response people use when taking pencils home from the office!
Words matter. If you want some ones farm or forest, you can't just say it's open space and extort them to giving it to you , you have to pay them for it. Similar words like "comparable worth" are used to soften the actual act
Taking from an abstract government ("the Man", etc) is much easier to self-justify...just like taking pencils from the office.
Ultimately, though, they are paid for by someone. In order to achieve "positive liberty" for one, you have to degrade actual ("classical") liberty for someone else.
What bunk! In a class with the demogogic claptrap of 'economic democracy'. Only a delusional pinhead could speak about such nonsense with a straight face. As HL Mencken put it, " Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard." 'Postive liberty' is a charming concept, I suppose, although the advocates of such idiocy never ask themselves the one pertinent question, " but what if someone I don't like is in charge". They don't want 'democracy' or 'liberty', positive or otherwise. They want to rule. Utter stupidity.
Its remarkable to me that youre promoting them.
A cursory glance
1) Its blog Pickled Politics regurgitated
2) There isnt much in it that corresponds with your criticism of them/it
3) Each post gets only a handful of comments - for a blog starting out with all the links into it thats crap
4) Harrys Place - leagues ahead, great read, proactive with islamism and good trad liberal ideas. Great blog.
5) Britain has a strong tradition of political debate of all sorts. Nick Cohen to my mind the best of them at the moment.
Why do US blogs gets so panicky?
Thanks for the delicate put-down, Red. We needed that this week.
re the great illo, here's another, in a Veteran's Day-associated essay on the contrast between the styles and meanings of the old vs the new memorials. This statue is in Concord, also depicting a Massachusetts Minuteman, of which the essayist says:
The contrast of our modern fare with Daniel Chester French's "The Minuteman," in Concord, Mass., erected in 1875 for the centennial of the battles of Lexington and Concord, could not be more devastating. "The Minuteman" is best seen in person. He is slightly larger than life-size, and set on a pedestal about 6 feet above the landscape. He's holding a gun, and he is obviously prepared to use it. Not only that, he still has his other hand on the plow. It means he's an ordinary man who must make a living, not a professional soldier or a robot. He steps up when it's time to risk his life violently for his country. He's determined. He seems to be in motion. He's dangerous. My wife describes the statue as having "sex appeal."
See it all at "The American Thinker":
Buddy, thanks for the link. About the Vietnam Wall, my father, a 3 tour Vietnam Vet, has always hated it. He's not much into victims.
Oh boy Grant... that is interesting... hadn't heard that viewpoint before. I need think about that. But, first thought that springs to mind, they weren't victims. Could you possibly have meant another descriptor.
though there was a lot of objection to it early on, that it is a beloved monument now sort of makes the essay's case that we're getting used to a new sort of monument that remembers the dead but avoids any reference to why they died, or to the ideals they were defending --which is a departure from the old style of memorial.
As far as my own feelings, I think the question and the answer both belong to people (and their families) who fought the war--like grant's dad and luther--so long as those people are alive or in living memory.
There'll be all the time in the world for distant future Americans to learn what they will from it. my 2 cents.
What I meant what they are portrayed as victims and not as heroic. Along the victim line is that they are equal and he remembers guys that got killed in accidents or even doing illegal things and they are on the wall besides say the vets from the Ia Drang valley campaign. I later read something(it may have been here) about the Iraqi war count is the same way. A soldier killed his girlfriend and new boyfriend then himself. All 3 are added to the total of lost in the war when they are actually crime statistics. (which of course is another subject here)
Thanks for the clarification '63'. I see what you mean now.
I have always viewed the wall as tribute from a grateful nation, for any who lost their lives as a part of the war effort. I guess it is in the eye of the beholder as to whether they were victims or hero's. As Buddy says, this memorial is different than what has been done before. Is that a good thing... the almost 'neutrality' of the wall, I'm not sure. As someone just mentioned to me, perhaps that is why the soldiers and nurse were designed and placed... to offset that neutrality.
And, as an aside, I think the term 'hero' is greatly overused. Dying for your country may make you many things... noble, patriot, etc., but it does not make you a hero. To my mind that is a word that should have limited use. Though it is too late now, now it is just another word that no longer means what it once did.
As to limiting the names to only those who were directly killed by enemy action... well, yes, I can see that, perhaps. But really, nothing new there... the grunts always get the shaft... the only thing they have ever received extra might be a bit of medal to place on their chest... marines not even that. But that is a long tradition...
And your point about criminals... completely agree of course.
Its amazing how liberalism has changed from putting forth that all rights are inherent in individuals, and that people are endowed with same and that is self-evident... to... you must be empowered by government with rights it holds.
That stark contrast is given by two Americans giving speeches at the Sorbonne, separated by almost 90 years ( http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/2007/10/citizenship-and-duty-then-and-now.html ). The degeneration of liberal thought into authoritarian and totalitarian is stark and horrifying at the same time. The concept of government existing to be a curb to the excesses of individuals and changing it to the source of what is good was spoken against by Thomas Paine in Common Sense and how he speaks holds vast implications for where we are today:
"Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher."
When free men do not create government, but seek to get rights from it they are, by definition, no longer free. And government is the worse place to put one's rights... or one's responsibilities, for that matter.