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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Sunday, September 24. 2017
The same fallacy is applied to health - and to economics. Why can't governments keep the economy nice?
It seems to be that political correctives are often critiqued by conservative economists, but the "something must be done or you don't care about ____" often wins the day in politics. This is part of why the only politicians I even half trust are those who did not seek a lifelong political career. I respect most those who do some service and then go back to the farm.
Related, The Left Wants Supermen to Rule
It's human nature, I suppose, to enjoy imagining that somebody or some thing can fix reality to make earthly life more like the paradise of our dreams. Worldwide, the powerful have sought to affiliate with gods, or to become gods in name, to exploit that human yearning.
And if only government had more money and power, it might work. Or not. At the least, it would help fulfill the dreams of those who seek power. Unlike wealth, power is a zero-sum game.
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The 'Superman' thing is playing now @ Puerto Rico. The Government is working on the problem but it it simply to great for a quick solution.
"And if only government had more money and power", there would be even more opportunity for corruption and graft. How is it possible for long-term congresscritters (and their families) to become multimillionaires on congressional salaries?
They must be gods, because there are a hundred thousand lobbyists tithing to them. They must be gods because they can turn paper (legislation) into gold for themselves and their "donating" worshipers.
My view is that the current government worshipers in the US, can be traced to the radical pietists of the mid-19th century. They developed a belief in using government to impose proper behavior for salvation upon society as a whole. In time, a split developed with on body abandoning Christianity for Marxism and putting their faith in government rather than God. The Christian pietist branch continued using government to impose their ideas of morality on society as a whole until they were overcome by the secular pietists to the situation we have today. This to me explains the "Progressive" hatred of Evangelicals since they derive from the same 19th century political movement to use government to enforce their brand of salvation upon the society as a whole.
Now, it might seem as if the pietistic emphasis on the individual might lead to a political individualism, to the belief that the State may not interfere in each individual's moral choices and actions. In 17th century pietism, it often meant just that. But by the 19th century, unfortunately, such was not the case. Most pietists took the following view: Since we can't gauge an individual's morality by his following rituals or even by his professed adherence to creed, we must watch his actions and see if he is really moral.
From there the pietists concluded that it was everyone's moral duty to his own salvation to see to it that his fellow men as well as himself are kept out of temptation's path. That is, it was supposed to be the State's business to enforce compulsory morality, to create the proper moral climate for maximizing salvation. In short, instead of an individualist, the pietist now tended to become a pest, a busybody, a moral watchdog for his fellow man, and a compulsory moralist using the State to outlaw "vice" as well as crime.
Also, here are two observations on the modern trend, i.e., last couple hundred years, toward popular (statute) lawmaking in the US in particular.
Popular Law-making: A Study of the Origin, History, and Present Tendencies of Law-making by Statute
by Frederic Jesup Stimson (1910)
Thus at first the American people got the notion of law-making; of the making of new law, by legislatures, frequently elected; and in that most radical period of all, from about 1830 to 1860, the time of “isms” and reforms — full of people who wanted to legislate and make the world good by law, with a chance to work in thirty different States — the result has been that the bulk of legislation in this country, in the first half of the last century, is probably one thousandfold the entire law-making of England for the five centuries preceding. And we have by no means got over it yet; probably the output of legislation in this country to-day is as great as it ever was. If any citizen thinks that anything is wrong, he, or she (as it is almost more likely to be), rushes to some legislature to get a new law passed. Absolutely different is this idea from the old English notion of law as something already existing. They have forgotten that completely, and have the modern American notion of law, as a ready-made thing, a thing made to-day to meet the emergency of to-morrow.
Now this is a very interesting matter, and were it borne in mind by our modem legislators they would escape a good deal of unintelligent legislation; that is, the distinction between a sin and a crime. A sin is against the church, or against one's conscience; matter, therefore, for the priest, or one's spiritual adviser. A crime is an offense against other men; that is, against the state, in which all are concerned. Under the intelligent legislation of the twelfth century all matters which were sins, which concerned the conscience, were left to the church to prevent or punish. For the same reason usury was matter for the priest — because it was regarded under the doctrines of the Bible as a sin. This notion prevailed down to the early legislation of the colony of Massachusetts, though doubtless many things which were then considered sins would now be regarded as crimes, such as bigamy, for instance. The distinction is, nevertheless, a valid one, and we shall have occasion frequently to refer to it. We shall find that the defect of much of our modem legislation — prohibition laws, for instance — is that they attempt to treat as crimes, as offenses against the state, matters which are merely sins, offenses against the conscience or the individual who commits them.
The socialists claim they know how to create heaven on earth, but the right person has to be in charge. So far they haven't found the right person but one day socialism will be a big success.
The believe that if government does not control things, then other large forces will. Big Business, or Multinational Corporations or The 1% are frequent targets of that. Other critics prefer The Religious Right. Or maybe the Freemasons are poisoning the wells or something. The left is sure that if they are not thwarted somehow, then they will control all, so we need government interference as the only thing big enough to rein in these nefarious creatures.
Yet in America, power is diffuse. For example, the 1% do have outsize influence on some aspects of investment trading, but they have little to do with your local zoning, TV and radio programming, the school curriculum, or state drug laws.
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