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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Wednesday, October 22. 2008
I have a good example here of how powerful a simple picture can be when it comes to selling a message. In the web ad below, note the strong, wise look of presidential candidate Joe Biden as he takes his young vice-presidential protégé by the arm and points to his vision of a better tomorrow.
(more silliness below the fold)
Pretty funny, eh? Poor Barry looks like he's a year out of college. My first thought was "Plant!!" Obviously a McCain backer was behind this nefarious plot.
But no, I'd bet it's just some dweeb in some graphics studio somewhere who'd been told to put together a composite pic, but for some reason he just glitched and never looked at the whole picture and came to the realization that young men fresh out of college usually aren't elected to the presidency.
And look, I can even make a blog-within-a-blog with our assembled pieces:
They keep talking about all the things we still don't know about Barack Obama.
You know, little things — like what he looks like!
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Over at the WaPo this is one of the questions they are asking
The Irony of Obama
By Michael Gerson
WASHINGTON -- Less than two weeks away from his likely election as president, the debate continues about the nature of Barack Obama's deepest political beliefs. Is he -- as some liberals quietly hope and many conservatives loudly accuse -- a closet radical?
Needless to say the articles is a bit longer but given it’s the WaPo I figure it can wait. But what struck me was this;
” Is he -- as some liberals quietly hope and many conservatives loudly accuse -- a closet radical?
The reason it struck me is that the people who are supporting Obama want a radical, but historically those very people are the first to perish when a radical takes over, and a radical is the very thing that once in power in this country would be the easiest to defeat . Why do I say this? Because for the past forever pollsters have told us that our core, our bedrock being, is that of conservatism. It’s the type of psychology a nation does not shed overnight. We may make a huge mistake in ‘08 but I don’t see it as permanent, especially if the radical change agent moves too quickly and therein is the trap. To satisfy his supporters he’ll be forced to move in haste, exposing what he has so far managed to hide.
The immediately clarifying event will be the Israeli attack on Iran. That my friend will expose his nature.
That will allow our now 24/7/365 political campaigns to actually have a developing Obama record to work against. They won’t have a very big megaphone but I’ve always been in favor of the kazoo if you want to get rowdy and then be heard. Although for the life of me I can’t develop a war cry out of kazoo.
On the bottom running thread on Fox this morning, Ahmadinejad said he wouldn't meet with any U.S. presidents without pre-conditions. Those pre-conditions: ... darn it, I forgot the exact phraseology, but something to the effect quit supporting Israel and get out of Iraq. I laughed out loud at the Saturday Night Live style parody of Obama. :)
Well, when it comes to him being a 'radical' of any sort, if someone's hollering "Change! Change! Change!" over and over again at the top of his voice, what else could he be? That's basically the definition of the word. Add destruction to the mix and it becomes 'anarchist.'
As far as "don't see it as permanent", there was a real ugly article by Michael Medved floating around yesterday that talked of the long-term repercussions, like laws and entitlements that won't be able to be reversed, not to mention the Supreme Court selections. Obama will certainly be gone one day, but, as they say, his legacy will live on.
Okay, here's the post:
And he didn't even catch everything. One of the commenters at Hot Air mentioned two more things and another added a third.
"Although for the life of me I can’t develop a war cry out of kazoo."
It's amazingly difficult, isn't it? You end up sounding like a 2rd grader trying to play "The Mulberry Bush." Even in unison, they lack that certain 'gumption' to really drive fear into the enemy's heart. Sun Tzu knew this, and now so do we.
QUOTE Add destruction to the mix and it becomes 'anarchist.:
You fail to understand what most anarchists believe.
Well, if you're playing that game, you fail to understand what the word "anarchy" means:
1. Absence of any form of political authority.
2. Political disorder and confusion. [caused by that "destruction" stuff I mentioned]
3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.
"...what most anarchists believe."
How does one "believe" in an absence?
I'm not sure where you get numbers 2 and 3 on your list. Contemporary anarchists believe in non-aggression. In other words, that no-one may morally initiate force against anyone else. Sound familiar? It's the libertarian philosophy carried to its logical conclusion.
Sure, there a few who advocate violence to get there, but they're a minority. At least, they are unless you count the breaking of chains as violence.
And yes, there are some many socialists who call themselves anarchists because they dislike this from of coercion government, and want to replace it with a different one..
Here and here are some deeper reading, if you like.
The three definitions were from the American Heritage Dictionary. Meant to credit it, forgot.
The first link didn't work, but the second one was interesting, and I remember spending a while on the same site a year ago when chasing down some info on Ayn Rand.
Their FAQ confirms that the dictionary's multiple use of "absence" is correct. But here's the point:
While it's easy to sit there in a comfy armchair and loftily claim that "anarchy" merely means the absence of leaders, it's how you get there that's the issue.
Because, unless you do it with bombs, you'd have to have a general election where everybody voted on whether or not to have "leaders" at all, and it's doubtful the "run it by a committee composed of 2,000 equal members" party is going to win that one.
Ergo, it makes zero sense to be an 'anarchist" unless you're planning on living up to the word's reputation and start lobbing some bombs. The only other way is with an election, and if that ain't ever gonna happen, then it's just pissing into the wind to sit around and pontificate about it.
"It's the libertarian philosophy carried to its logical conclusion."
Smartly put. And I'm still waiting to meet one of those "Libertarian" (capital 'L') things. Sure read a lot of quasi-Libertarians (aka "libertarians"; hello, Neal Boortz; hello, Glenn Reynolds), but the Real Deal Libertarian™ seems amazingly elusive.
At the moment, I'm crushed that Cynthia McKinney isn't going to make the debate tonight. I was going to post a whole blurb on it, but without McKinney (aka "America's Sweetheart"), I'm going to skip it. Only two of the six candidates are going to be there. Their one televised debate and they blow it off? Some commitment to the party, huh?
How to get there is a different argument than whether or not we should be there.
"How to get there" would be, ideally, that people simply stop begging to be ruled. That requires more convincing than can probably ever be done, and I recognize that. So do the bomb-throwers. If they only wanted to throw bombs at the actual rulers, I might agree with them morally (but not practically).
Whether we should be there is, to me, a settled question. I used to consider myself a libertarian (and still frequently describe myself as such due to the very common misconceptions), but if taxation is theft, and theft is wrong, how can a little taxation be right? I was forced to see the inconsistencies in the libertarian position.
"but if taxation is theft, and theft is wrong, how can a little taxation be right?"
Well, I'd say the question is illegitimate because it's based on a false premise; that any taxation is "theft". You like paved roads, just to pick Exhibit A? Like the idea you can walk out to the mailbox and not be ravaged by a pack of wild dogs? Like the idea of after-school sports for your kids? You know the drill; it's the excesses and rampant greed that's to blame, not the inherent concept of taxation, itself. Taxes do tons of good.
And, as soon as we use the word "greed", then how can one blame The System -- any system -- and not simply the baser impulses of man? Man is a greedy animal, period, and will more often than not steal when he thinks he can get away with it. That's part of the human psyche, not part of some ideology, and is going to be there no matter what 'system' is being used.
I love skating the thin line between 'cynical' and 'realistic'. :)
QUOTE You like paved roads, just to pick Exhibit A:
Yep, sure do. And I'd be willing to pay tolls to use 'em, rather than pay taxes, much of which will be wasted, and some of which will pay for the badly-maintained roads.
QUOTE Like the idea you can walk out to the mailbox and not be ravaged by a pack of wild dogs?:
Yep, sure do. And that's another service that could be provided by a free market, if allowed.
QUOTE Like the idea of after-school sports for your kids?:
And that one's the best example of the three of what government I shouldn't be paying for, since I don't have kids. Let those who want after-school sports pay for after-school sports. I don't, and I shouldn't.
Taxation is taking money from me against my will. That's theft, regardless of how much good you can do with the half that isn't eaten up through fraud, waste, abuse, and salaries.
QUOTE Man is a greedy animal, period, and will more often than not steal when he thinks he can get away with it. That's part of the human psyche, not part of some ideology, and is going to be there no matter what 'system' is being used.:
Exactly why we shouldn't legitimize it and call it "taxes."
Well, never having had kids, I can certainly see your point about the schools. I also certainly considered you might not have kids, but I was going for the generic example, not a specific one. That should have been obvious.
But who, exactly, pays these 'free marketers' who are paving our roads and rounding up stray dogs? Do we split it up and ask everyone to pay their fair share? What if -- to use your argument -- you don't use those other roads? But now we have to put a GPS unit in your car to make sure you don't cheat and use those roads that you didn't pay for, right?
And, have you actually thought that "toll booth" idea all the way through? That would be a toll booth...where? At every intersection? Every other intersection? You don't foresee people making elaborate zigzag patterns through town to avoid them? And, if we divvy up the yearly tax into per-use payments, the toll would be about a nickel per section of road, right? Of course, we could use those electronic instant-pay things and just drive right on through the booths, assuming you don't mind the government tracking your every movement every instant you're in your car.
(Actually, they're probably already tracking you through that RFID chip in the sole of your shoe, so never mind that last part)
Back to the free-market street pavers, if the cost isn't split between everybody and it's some 'Official Payer' paying them, where does he get the money? Donations? Wealthy patrons of the arts?
How about if we only tax rich people? Doesn't that make the most sense of all? You, uh, actually planning on spending that 80 million dollars before you die, Mr. Landed Estate Owner?
At some point, it becomes pretty easy to see why the word "anarchy" was invented in the first place.
Well, the technicalities of how it would work are unknowable until someone tries it. What is certain is that the market would find a way to do it more efficiently than the government can.
As for how it could work, I would envision networks of owners with reciprocal agreements to let each other's users travel from one network to another. but as I say, you can't know until you allow it to happen. Who, even a scant 20 years ago, could have predicted even half of the things Google does for free (while making billions on profit) today?
I'm going to buzz next door for a few hours and help a neighbor with his computer, but thanks for the fun conversation and let's pick up on it the next time it relates to a post. Your idea of 'networks' has merit.
It's probably no coincidence that as I've been going back and forth with you this last hour, I've been getting a post ready for Maggie's on government waste.
OK. Sounds like "next time it relates to a post" might be your next post!
Ironically enough, the subject of this post on government waste is probably the one agency that you couldn't turn over to the free market:
The U.S. Mint. :)