For those of us who love Liberty, we have more work to do.
True – and given that Democrats and Obama supporters — and Obama himself — love liberty, that work is in front of all of us. The problems are still real and the solution requires compromise and cooperation across party lines. Hopefully they’ll find a way to get things done.
given that Democrats and Obama supporters — and Obama himself — love liberty
No Scott, you are wrong.
The Democrats have very little understanding of Liberty and Obama certainly has none himself. Anyone that thinks it’s within the powers of the government to mandate the purchasing of a good cannot say they have an understanding of Liberty.
When the President orders the assassination of an American citizen that demonstrates a total disregard of Liberty.
Transferring of wealth, literally take the property of one man and handing it, literally giving it another man, is a total and complete lack of understanding of Liberty.
I know that you are in favor of many of these and other similar programs. I would suggest that you lack an understanding of Liberty. When people advocate the government do a thing that we would not teach our children to do, there is something fundamentally wrong with the vision we all have of what America is and where it has been.
The simple fact that more people vote to express their desire of government does not make that version of Liberty the correct one. It just means that the two wolves voted to have the lamb for dinner.
Anyone heard from Alan Scott? Is he leaving the country?
Is he leaving the country?
He may be in Canada.
I’m going to work on a post to rebut what you said, I think it’s a fantasy to think the left doesn’t value liberty. But neither party is anarchist. Of course, your wording is wrong at a fundamental level. Liberty is an oft debated concept. You and I have different understandings of how to achieve it (the impact of government programs may increase liberty, you seem to think that by definition they decrease it), and what exactly it is. That debate is a great debate in western civilization, harkening back to Mill and others who tried to define who to achieve true liberty. Since everyone – almost everyone – agrees that no government would allow the strong to dominate and take liberty from the weak, the question is how to find the right balance. There is no black and white answer, its forged in context and through practical application.
So while we may have different perspectives on liberty, it’s wrong to say I don’t understand. I have studied political theory a lot. I understand your perspective completely, I just think you’re wrong. You can say you think I’m wrong, but it’s incorrect to say I don’t understand it. I could make a real strong argument for your position, I’ve read and examined those arguments for years. I understand that perspective, but I don’t find it convincing.
I think it’s a fantasy to think the left doesn’t value liberty.
I think the left values what it thinks liberty is.
I think that liberty means two different things to you and to me.
You and I have different understandings of how to achieve it (the impact of government programs may increase liberty, you seem to think that by definition they decrease it), and what exactly it is.
I don’t think we’re even pursuing the same thing. You seem to think that it is in the name of liberty that we create national healthcare. I think it is through tyranny that you create such a program. We may agree, and most likely do, that it is the “right thing” for one man to help his neighbor. We just disagree that it is “in Liberty” to rob your neighbor to the east only to give the plunder to the neighbor to the west.
You can say you think I’m wrong, but it’s incorrect to say I don’t understand it.
When a person takes the position that it is perfectly fine to relieve a man of his property not to build proper infrastructure but to literally distribute it in the form of cash to another man it demonstrates, with respect, a lack of understanding Liberty.
Nobody is robbing anyone. Legal taxation of the currency created by the government to facilitate trade is not robbery. If you choose to use government notes and have the legal protections given by the government to help your business or work activity, you buy into a system where taxation is used to support that system. Robbery by definition must be illegal. You only have property because there is a state and a government. Your business can thrive only because there is a legal system in place to protect its rights, and we have a society with stable social structures. You do not have a functioning economy without a strong government – the world gives evidence of that every day and throughout history.
Social welfare programs are about liberty. You do not have true liberty if the very wealthy can secure advantage for themselves and their children by using their wealth, thereby limiting the opportunity for the poor and their children. That is theft – that is to deny opportunity to others in order to secure it for oneself. True liberty requires we try to achieve something close to equal opportunity. Otherwise, only the wealthy have liberty, the poor do not. So you need equal access to legal protections, fire and police protection, access to basic education and health care, and protection from starvation. The state gives these things to promote the general welfare only based on democratic and legal processes. By definition that is not theft. One can only call it theft by changing the definition of theft.
You only have property because there is a state and a government.
Without question, no.
I have the right to property a priori. The government does not give me that right or that property. It may protect it, but those rights do not flow from government.
The state gives these things to promote the general welfare
You are misusing the term welfare. When they say “promote the general welfare” they are not talking about welfare programs that deliver food to the poor. They are talking about the proper role of the state to make sure we remain free.
One can only call it theft by changing the definition of theft.
The left may only support Liberty by changing the definition of Liberty.
No, property rights don’t exist in nature. You can have stuff and a stronger person can take them. If you lived without an effective state and government, organized criminal elements would define what property rights you have — that’s the conclusion one has to reach when looking at places where governance and rule of law break down. As Jeremy Bentham said, a belief in natural rights is “nonsense on stilts.” In nature we do what we want, limited by the environment and what others do. Rights emerge when we build legal systems. Without legal systems, they don’t exist. And I believe social welfare programs are necessary to make sure we remain free — that’s in fact why they were originally invented by conservatives in Europe, to prevent a socialist revolution.
The state gives these things to promote the general welfare only based on democratic and legal processes.
So lemme ask you Scott. When slavery was legal, did that represent a state of “Liberty?”
And now, today, when gay marriage is against the law nearly everywhere, does that represent a state of “Liberty?”
The laws of men have little or nothing to do with the concept of Liberty. Its why brave and courageous visionaries fought, died and built this nation. They did it so that could live free, not at the whim of others.
You make my point for me. Liberty does not exist if it is not reflected in law. There is no right to liberty if the law does not grant it. Those who believe people should be free will only get their way if they work to create those legal rights. Otherwise, it’s just opinion. I believe in liberty as a moral value, but it’s something I work to promote, and try to create and sustain human rights. They don’t exist if we don’t create them — they’re just our beliefs of what ought to be.
You make my point for me. Liberty does not exist if it is not reflected in law.
You make the point that theft isn’t theft if it’s legal. I am making the point that simply because slavery at one time was “legal” didn’t change the fact that it was wrong and immoral; without Liberty.
I believe in liberty as a moral value, but it’s something I work to promote, and try to create and sustain human rights. They don’t exist if we don’t create them — they’re just our beliefs of what ought to be.
That concept isn’t at all consistent with the view of the nation’s founders. Read the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
This directly contradicts what you are claiming. First exists Liberty, from God, and then make erects government to secure those rights. That is, Liberty does not flow from government, it exists a priori.
Pointing to slavery is irrelevant. You are simply asserting it is theft. You have no basis for that assertion, and I gave you numerous reason why it is not theft. To compare it to slavery makes no sense. The declaration of independence was written by Deists with a late 18th Century view of politics and rights. We’ve come a long way since then (after all, they also accepted slavery). So what they believed is not relevant to the issue at hand either. Anyone who thinks slavery is wrong is in contradiction of the founders! I don’t believe in natural rights – again, as Bentham said, that’s “nonsense on stilts.” It’s just opinion. If you construct systems of rights then they exist. Otherwise, you have diverse opinions and lots of people thinking they are right and trying to say they’re representing “God.” That’s all very nice, but in reality rights are real when they are constructed and protected by rule of law.
Pointing to slavery is irrelevant. You are simply asserting it is theft. You have no basis for that assertion, and I gave you numerous reason why it is not theft. To compare it to slavery makes no sense.
You claim that as long as something is made legal, it’s an example of Liberty. I claim that Liberty exists outside the legal definition of men and gave you an example. Slavery was legal yet no one thinks it represents a state of Liberty.
The declaration of independence was written by Deists with a late 18th Century view of politics and rights. We’ve come a long way since then
First, I would not claim they were Deists. They were Christian.
Second, as long as you are admitting that what you are supporting is not what the nation was founded on, I think we have a better picture. I would say that the modern liberal wants to change the way and manner in which the country was founded.
after all, they also accepted slavery
They found it reprehensible.
So what they believed is not relevant to the issue at hand either.
And there it is.
What they believed resulted in the greatest nation on earth, in the history of the earth.
What the Left believes relegates us to one of a herd of western-European states that lacks any sense of the dynacism of early America.
Note: when I say it’s just opinion, that doesn’t mean they can’t be opinions one believes. I can believe health care should be a right, you can believe taxation to provide it is theft. We each have arguments in favor of our view. You think you’re right, I think I’m right. But until we build a system that reflects either of our positions, there is no proof.
I have never claimed that as long as something is legal it’s an example of liberty. I claimed that rights are social constructs. Beliefs about what should be rights are individuals. Individuals have different beliefs, but unless they are turned into an accepted system of rights (either legally or culturally — as long as they are recognized and accepted is what matters) it is a question of opinion outside of proof.
The founders were mostly Deist, that is undeniable if you study their biographies. A few were Christian, but Jefferson, Franklin and most of the biggies were Deist. The founding of the country was just that, the founding. But the country has and will continue to change. You are acting as if the founders were somehow God like. They were politicians. They had 19th Century ideas. We’ve progressed. We’ll never be slaves to 19th Century ideas! We’ve progressed greatly in our understanding of life and liberty since then. It would be foolish to say that we have to adhere to what people over 200 years ago thought. They’re just politicians from a different era.
I have never claimed that as long as something is legal it’s an example of liberty. I claimed that rights are social constructs.
You claim that there are no property rights in nature. Not until they are legislated are they created. Using this, the laws of the past spelling out the rights of slave owners made owning another human being a right.
I disagree with that. I argue that was tyranny. You label it as a human right simply because it was legislated.
And if you disagree that legislating slavery made it a human right, then you have no standing that stealing my stuff through the same legislation doesn’t make it theft.
The founders were mostly Deist, that is undeniable if you study their biographies. A few were Christian, but Jefferson, Franklin and most of the biggies were Deist.
I’ll have to look more carefully. Both by what we mean as Founders and then if those folks were Christian. The main thrust, in any event, is that they all acknowledged the Divine and felt that our Liberty, our Rights, flowed from that Divine.
The founding of the country was just that, the founding. But the country has and will continue to change. You are acting as if the founders were somehow God like. They were politicians. They had 19th Century ideas.
They were politicians of extraordinary substance. They created the greatest nation ever known. And the politicians of today are changing that nation into the exact duplicate of those place we fled.
A slave owner has a right to own a slave in a system that protects and grants that right. That is a statement of fact – an “Is” statement, not an “ought” statement.
I accept that you believe in natural rights granted by God. I accept that you don’t consider health care a right. But I hold different views. Neither of us can prove our views correct, the “rights” that become real – is statements rather than ought statements – are the things codified by law. They are also “is” statements (real) if you can defend them individually (you can stop someone from stealing from you) or they are defined by strongly adhered to social custom and tradition. There is no reason to consider any existing right as one that is correct or moral. That’s why political action to change existing rights (such as the right to own slaves) is valid.
But taxation is defensible in that: 1) you use money produced by the government: federal reserve notes, and supported by a monetary system; 2) you have the legal protections of government; 3) without the social stability provided you’d not have success – places without governments lack social stability and thus businesses either fail or are taken over by organized crime; 4) you have an infrastructure created very much by government; and 5) there is rule of law and the constitution defining these rights in context. To say taxation is theft you have to deny the validity of the constitution and the very founders you cite so glowingly.
I also reject the notion that the US is “the greatest nation ever.” We have strengths and weaknesses, moments of national shame and pride like any other state. Nationalism is something I think we are well advised to avoid. Moreover, looking at the advanced industrialized states I see nothing inherently superior about our system — some things are very good, some things we do poorly. I don’t think the founders were that much different than you and I, or the politicians of today — and their biographies show that they are typical human beings with typical weaknesses.
Also, note that America is a European creation. The ideas of the founders came from Montesquieu (checks and balances), Locke, and European enlightenment thinkers. The foundations of democracy were borrowed from Great Britain, which was the first modern democracy. The founders were able to implement European enlightenment thought more completely because they weren’t overthrowing centuries of tradition.