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.
There are very few limits to what you can do to people in the modern interpretation of democracy. A version where only majority rule is required, but where there is no longer a respect for personal negative rights – as we know them from the American Constitution.
The easiest target will always be wealthy people, or even just working people and savers who did the right thing all their lives. As the bloated welfare states begin to collapse under their irresponsible promises, their crumbling value systems and their unsustainable demographics, it will be easy to convince more than 50 percent of voters that confiscating and stealing other people's money is OK for the greater good. Boston Consulting Group calculated that 28 percent of ALL private wealth is needed to meet just existing debts – not future obligations , mind you – and the money can only come from one place… Your pockets. Beware.
A lot of things have gone wrong over the past few years, but the seeds were planted many years ago. In the form of pressure for more people having the “right” to own their properties, even if they did not fulfill the traditional mortgage criteria – hence subprime. In the form of enormous “entitlements” to not just poor, but also middle-class people in the welfare states – hence ballooning deficits and debt. In the form of a Euro, a grand, political project with no practical foundation – hence crisis after crisis, with the dominoes stretching far into the distance.
For sure, a lot of financial institutions took advantage of the hands they were dealt. They are not without guilt and responsibility for the current mess. But the real problems lie not in people trying to take advantage of whatever conditions they operate under. The real problem lies in the framework that is created by politicians, preventing free markets to deal with excesses in the way capitalism always does.
We will therefore conclude with the perhaps unforeseen result, that democracy, when crowned with power, seeks rather what it consders the well-being of the community than the liberty of the individual.
An observation from the mid-1880s. Somewhat prophetic. The author links private property, marriage and personal liberty together. His conclusion:
Therefore, without prejudice against any one proposed reform, it is impossible not to end, if not with the deduction , at least with the suggestion - that (for some reason which we will not now attempt to fathom) the three institutions - of private property, of marriage, and of personal liberty from State control - are so inseparably bound together that neither one may fall without the other two.
The Ethics of Democracy by F.J. Stimson. Scribner's Magazine (1887)
Of course, he argued for marriage as constituted in the 1880s. But one has to wonder, have we reached the point where marriage has fallen? We see personal property and personal liberty from State control are teetering as well. Can we shore them up?
It was a great advantage when tyranny had one head and one neck; but what axe will relieve us from the tyranny of the majority? Foreign conquest was an evil; but it commonly took only our flocks and herds and left ourselves in liberty.
The easiest target will always be wealthy people, or even just working people and savers who did the right thing all their lives.
I disagree on the wealthy being a target. The wealthy have the means to tilt the scale in their favor and the lower economic classes have politicians pandering to their every whim and wish and those of us in the middle pay for both the wealthy and their tax breaks and the poor (or incompetent, lazy, cheaters, etc.) who apparently are not capable of making their own decisions and have to be led by the nose and politicians with their cozy healthcare, travel and honorarium fees.
I said the other day that the most oppressed minority in the US was the white Christian middle middle class male - and it's true.
I don't who to blame.
Or I could blame Canada. (Does anybody get that joke?)