Alarming News

March 29, 2010

You will obey

What’s the best way to make people take climate change seriously? Suspend democracy, says James Lovelock, “the globally respected environmental thinker and independent scientist who developed the Gaia theory.”

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

That pesky democracy, always getting in the way.

Posted by Karol at 03:11 PM |
Comments

There’s a reason why I don’t trust the greenies. Sorry, but when then say things like, “It would be better for the Earth if we trimmed the population by a few, oh, billion…” then pardon me while I back away slowly while reaching for my gun. Because, you know, the fact they’re saying this rather than _leading by example_ tells me that I’m not among the anointed few and can expect to be purged momentarily.

Posted by: James at March 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Scientists with messianic qualities are nothing new. Back in the ’70s the scare scenario was global starvation, and the same types walked awfully close to the genocide+eugenics line.

Posted by: Mark Poling at March 30, 2010 at 1:35 am

Not to mention all the scientists in the early 20th century who thought we would be smarter and more moral if only we got rid of the people whose heads weren’t shaped right.

Posted by: Eric at March 30, 2010 at 1:45 am

Yeah, it’s all _those_ scientists that make me not trust _these_ scientists. It’s always “for the good of humanity” with those types.

Posted by: James at March 30, 2010 at 8:12 am

Yet “democracy” is actually a very good method for envirowackos. Democracy is not just a people “ruling” themselves, but majority (sometimes plurality) vote with no regard for individual rights. That’s precisely how the envirowackos are enslaving us today.

Isaac Asimov noted in his “Book of Facts,” originally published in 1979, that it wouldn’t take much for a new Ice Age: a slightly cooler summer followed by a slightly cooler winter. My, my, how “science” quickly reverses itself when the scientists are merely out to prove personal agendas.

Paul Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would die from starvation, and the utterly execrable Jacques Cousteau was a believer in forced population control. If they think there are too many people, these nutjobs are perfectly free to start with themselves.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 30, 2010 at 9:25 am

“Democracy is not just a people ‘ruling’ themselves, but majority (sometimes plurality) vote with no regard for individual rights.”

Perry, you’re simply pissing into the wind with this one. You have so many complaints about so many aspects of life the United States that will never change–taxation, the existence of the police, government “intrusion,” the very nature of democracy itself–that maybe you should think about living somewhere else.

Perhaps you could found Libertarian Rainbow Unicorn Land down in Antarctica.

It would be hard to get along without you, but we’d make do.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 2:08 am

Perry-The United States is not a democracy, it’s a “representative republic.” That funny Constitution thing makes that rather clear. The Founding Fathers (specifically one Mr. Madison) were well aware of how much fun Athens became once you had several demagogues persuading large numbers of people to do really dumb things.

The reason the envirowhackjobs are “enslaving” (yet another word you toss about way too freely) us is not because of democracy, but because one party is willing to fight war to the knife, knife to the hilt and the other is too scared the press will say mean things about them. See our last Presidential election for an example of this in action. However, at some point I think the people are going to get fed up. Hopefully this will manifest itself at the polls, but I’m starting to have the sinking suspicion it’s going to get bloody.

Posted by: James at March 31, 2010 at 7:30 am

Oh look, our little troll returns. Well hello there!

Perry, you’re simply pissing into the wind with this one. You have so many complaints about so many aspects of life the United States that will never change–taxation, the existence of the police, government “intrusion,” the very nature of democracy itself–that maybe you should think about living somewhere else.

My complaints? Oh, you mean that people can simply “vote” to seize my property and otherwise rule my life? And if things were the reverse, with a government that isn’t redistributing from me to you, then you would be complaining, would you not? The difference there is that I complain about being stolen from, under the guise of “government,” whereas you would be complaining that the theft is not being done.

In fact, the things you cite as “will never change” are precisely what have changed in America, thanks to your kind. It was founded on the very principle of freedom from the sort of oppressive government that you favor. So don’t even try to insult our intelligence by implying these things are as they always were.

If it weren’t for the fact that leeches like you could vote to have control over my life and property, I’d have no problem with your existence, as much of a waste that it is. You wouldn’t matter to me. But the fact is that you do.

Perhaps you could found Libertarian Rainbow Unicorn Land down in Antarctica.

Sorry to break the news to you, bubba, but I am going nowhere. You want me to leave? Make me.

It’s your ilk who changed this country, and for the worst, rather than following your own standard and creating your own socialist Utopia. But, we always knew you were a hypocrite.

Why don’t you leave? Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, or even Zimbabwe? You can give us personal reports on how wonderful socialism is.

It would be hard to get along without you, but we’d make do.

Ah yes, the liberal idiocy that’s simultaneously hypocrisy. You despise capitalists but at the same time accept what capitalism has done to improve lives: the inventions, the corporations that create jobs, the flows of money that allow people to borrow for houses and cars. And you don’t mind the massive tax revenue that wouldn’t be possible without the economic engines made possible by capitalists.

On the other hand, a land of freedom wouldn’t miss you for a second.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 31, 2010 at 11:31 am

To James: yes, yes, “representative republic” as Madison et al argued for in the Federalist Papers, even the Constitution. I’m quite aware of the disdain most Founding Fathers had for “mobocracy.” Madison wanted it to extend beyond the central government so much that the Constitution specifically requires the federal government to guarantee a republican form of government to the states. It’s laughable in light of how the federal government works today, how it ignores much of the Constitution.

But note what I said: “Democracy is not just a people ‘ruling’ themselves, but majority (sometimes plurality) vote with no regard for individual rights.”

And that’s exactly what we have today: there’s no regard for the rights of the individual. Sure, we have “elections,” but remember that elected officials are still determined by the will of the majority (sometimes a plurality), and Karol’s title “You will obey” applies to environmentalism, health care, taxation, and just about everything else where the will of the majority triumphs over the will of the individual. It’s the same result as pure democracy, just in a more logistically feasible form.

The reason the envirowhackjobs are “enslaving” (yet another word you toss about way too freely) us is not because of democracy,

I wasn’t arguing that envirowackos are necessarily or always using “democracy” right now, only that the idea of pure majority rule is very usable.

How am I too free in using “enslaving” or similar words? Isn’t it slavery when you’re told you can’t emit more pollution than the bureaucrats decide is permissible, or that you can’t manufacture incandescent light bulbs? (The latter is coming up, btw.) When it’s “the law” that I must buy health insurance despite my wishes, and I’ll be fined (imprisoned if I refuse to pay the fine), how is that not slavery? When I’m told I can’t use my land because some silly worm is on there (and how would bureaucrats know unless they’ve been trespassing on my land?), or my neighbors elect a “town council” to decide if I can add on to my house, do I not become a slave to the state? Is it not saying that my supposed “ownership” of the land is limited by those who rule me? Do you not consider it slavery when you cannot keep the fruit of your labor? Taxes are, and always have been, how some people live off the labor of others, under the guise of “government.” Such people do not “govern” me, for I certainly didn’t consent in the first place. Therefore it can only be “rule.”

Because of Albany’s idiotic requirements and foot-dragging, it’s taking us months to get our new heating oil tank approved for installation. What do you suppose would happen if we said to the contractor, “Screw it, it’s our land and 200 feet from the nearest property line, so go ahead and put it in”? I may not have physical chains around my neck, but I am still chained by the threat of retaliation.

but because one party is willing to fight war to the knife, knife to the hilt and the other is too scared the press will say mean things about them. See our last Presidential election for an example of this in action. However, at some point I think the people are going to get fed up. Hopefully this will manifest itself at the polls, but I’m starting to have the sinking suspicion it’s going to get bloody.

Oh, I absolutely guarantee you that, whichever “side” wins, this will not end peacefully. I’m equally certain that the same thing was said by many people, oh, 140 years and 235 years ago.

A friend of mine has said for years that we’re looking at impending civil war, and only in the last couple of years have I been willing to agree. It will be for the same fundamental reason as the first (Revolutionary War), but not the second. Don’t count on elected Republicans to have enough backbone to do what’s right; they’re too willing to compromise.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 31, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Perry, the troll was bored here and went on “annoy” trip around; he came to my place and was spouting irrelevant nonsense until I entered his IP into a spam filter; the scam dared to address me as “comrade”, imagine. Don’t feed it; it’ll die when ignored.

Funny thing, though – how quickly those “tolerant”, “enlightened”, “open-minded” and “embracing all opinions” liberal types scream “go back where you came from!” as soon as they encounter legitimate soundly-argued opposition. Reveal themselves as the little dictators wannabees they are.

Posted by: Tatyana at March 31, 2010 at 1:13 pm

“How am I too free in using “enslaving” or similar words? Isn’t it slavery when you’re told you can’t emit more pollution than the bureaucrats decide is permissible, or that you can’t manufacture incandescent light bulbs?”

No, it’s not.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but slaves are not free to leave their enslavement. That’s one of the things that makes it slavery. You’re welcome to leave, Perry. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

“Funny thing, though – how quickly those ‘tolerant’, ‘enlightened’, ‘open-minded’ and ‘embracing all opinions’ liberal types scream ‘go back where you came from!’ as soon as they encounter legitimate soundly-argued opposition. Reveal themselves as the little dictators wannabees they are.”

You are apparently under the impression that Perry is from Antarctica. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t that that such is the case, so I never told him any such thing.

Neither did I ever tell you to “go back where you came from,” so what you’re doing here is known as “making shit up.”

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 1:33 pm

The crybaby remains true to his usual inability to see the point of the argument.

Posted by: Tatyana at March 31, 2010 at 4:31 pm

What you don’t seem to get, Tatyana, old comrade o’ mine, is that what you write either supports or dismantles your argument——that is to say, your argument does not exist in isolation from the way you express it. Thus, if what you write in support of your argument is idiotic, the argument itself suffers.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 7:45 pm

No, it’s not.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but slaves are not free to leave their enslavement. That’s one of the things that makes it slavery. You’re welcome to leave, Perry. Don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s still slavery when someone is forced by a single tyrant, a majority of neighbors, or “elected officials” of the neighbors’ choosing, to start doing things against their will. The fact that one “is free to leave” but decides “stay” is not acceptance, nor should ever be construed as acceptance, of what is essentially slavery.

Do you argue that if a woman stays with an abusive husband, she’s therefore accepting it? After all, “she could leave.”

If you don’t think it’s slavery, then what if everyone else in your town voted to impose a special tax on you? (Say, an Idiot Tax.) Or perhaps they decide to make you live as they do, and after all, it’s all by majority vote. But you could leave, so you move to the next town, and the next town after that… Do you honestly think there’s any freedom in such a situation, or do you just not believe in freedom?

Well, I’d better stop asking you questions to which we already know well the answer. I wish I could say I’m sorry you can’t understand a simple concept, but I’m not and you never will. If it weren’t for a minority of the population, you’d be speaking Queen’s English (or maybe Mexican Spanish) today.

You are apparently under the impression that Perry is from Antarctica. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t that that such is the case, so I never told him any such thing.

Why should I be surprised that you couldn’t let one thread go by without putting words into someone’s mouth?

By the way: you’re wrong, as usual/always/expected/assumed.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 31, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I think I said it before here (but the lesson didn’t register. To no surprise.): тамбовский волк тебе товарищ, сопляк.
I’ll translate for the braincell-challenged Doc Bullshit:

Jailbirds are your comrades. Not me, you dipshit.

Posted by: Tatyana at March 31, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s still slavery when someone is forced by a single tyrant, a majority of neighbors, or “elected officials” of the neighbors’ choosing, to start doing things against their will.

No, it’s not. It may not be a good situation, but it’s not slavery.

The fact that one “is free to leave” but decides “stay” is not acceptance, nor should ever be construed as acceptance, of what is essentially slavery.

Do you argue that if a woman stays with an abusive husband, she’s therefore accepting it? After all, “she could leave.”

Don’t put words in my mouth. Her situation is really bad, but it’s not slavery.

This word “slavery”: it does not mean what you think it means.

If you don’t think it’s slavery, then what if everyone else in your town voted to impose a special tax on you? (Say, an Idiot Tax.) Or perhaps they decide to make you live as they do, and after all, it’s all by majority vote. But you could leave, so you move to the next town, and the next town after that… Do you honestly think there’s any freedom in such a situation, or do you just not believe in freedom?

The very fact that you can move from town to town and change your situation means that you are not enslaved.

“Well, I’d better stop asking you questions to which we already know well the answer. I wish I could say I’m sorry you can’t understand a simple concept, but I’m not and you never will. If it weren’t for a minority of the population, you’d be speaking Queen’s English (or maybe Mexican Spanish) today.”

So what? If I spoke another language–that is to say, if some other group had wound up running things–then I’d be speaking some other language. English is the language I speak, but that doesn’t make it sacred. There are lots of languages in this world, and the people who speak them are not necessarily inferior simply because they speak those languages.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Jailbirds are your comrades. Not me, you dipshit.

I’ll be all around in the dark, comrade. I’ll be ever’-where – wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad – I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, comrade, and livin’ in the houses they build–I’ll be there, too.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at March 31, 2010 at 9:24 pm

No, it’s not. It may not be a good situation, but it’s not slavery.

Oh, pardon us, we didn’t realize you had exclusive control over the English language.

Slavery is involuntary servitude: it’s the state of being forced to serve someone at that person’s pleasure. It doesn’t require chains, or being confined to living quarters. You’re probably going to counter with something involving “property,” which in fact is still true. If someone’s life is controlled by his neighbors, it’s because his neighbors are indeed asserting that the person is, to an extent, their property

Don’t put words in my mouth. Her situation is really bad, but it’s not slavery.

The difference between you and me is that I’m not putting words into your mouth at all, nor have I ever. I merely asked you a question — politely, I might add — and you graciously proved my point.

So you agree that an abused woman who stays is not accepting it. Why, then, should I be seen as “accepting” my neighbors’ control over my life just because I refuse to move?

This word “slavery”: it does not mean what you think it means.

You should practiced saying that to the mirror about a thousand times. It’s you who doesn’t understand the simple definition.

The very fact that you can move from town to town and change your situation means that you are not enslaved.

To add to what I just said, why should I have to move? It’s my property and my rights to enjoy it without harming others. It’s not incumbent upon me to “give up” just because you or others want to seize the fruit of my labor to spend on your own lives.

I ask you again: do you honestly think there’s any freedom in such a situation, or do you just not believe in freedom? “The Almighty says, don’t change the subject, just answer the fookin’ question.”

But as I said, I’d better stop asking you questions to which we already know well the answer.

So what? If I spoke another language–that is to say, if some other group had wound up running things–then I’d be speaking some other language. English is the language I speak, but that doesn’t make it sacred. There are lots of languages in this world, and the people who speak them are not necessarily inferior simply because they speak those languages.

Dear oh dear, you completely missed my allusion. A majority of the American colonial population (and not a bare majority either) was content to stay under Crown rule, however oppressive. It was a minority (seditious, traitorous colonials) who wanted independence, and an even smaller minority willing to take up arms for it, hence my saying that if it weren’t for that minority, California would be under British or Spanish rule today.

Are you further evidence of the sad state of affairs of the California public education system, or were you just nor born in the U.S. and can thus claim ignorance?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Tatyana, he reminds me of a certain idiot who kept bothering me with e-mails. He’s a socialist and never did practice his forefathers’ faith whatsoever, yet he had the gall to write “Shalom” at the end of every message.

I’ll be all around in the dark, comrade. I’ll be ever’-where – wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad – I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, comrade, and livin’ in the houses they build–I’ll be there, too.

He’ll skulk around like the coward he is. When people want to take something belonging to others, he’ll be there. When there’s a victim, he’ll stick up for the criminal. When he talks about “eatin’ the stuff they raise,” it sounds nice, but we know full well he doesn’t believe people should keep the whole of the fruit of their labor.

The rest of what he’s saying has me befuddled…do you understand it? I’ve lived in California, and I’m more than acquainted with its various dialects, but that sounds…Ozarkian.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm

The rest of what he’s saying has me befuddled…do you understand it? I’ve lived in California, and I’m more than acquainted with its various dialects, but that sounds…Ozarkian.

I thought you’d recognize the Steinbeck quote (albeit with emendations by me). My mistake.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 1, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Perry – you’re spot on. I’ll add another piquant detail:
this egalitarian (remember? “There are lots of languages in this world, and the people who speak them are not necessarily inferior simply because they speak those languages.”),
this benevolent champion of diversity leaves spam in my threads, mostly criticizing my English.
Or my mentioning somebody else poor English (As if everybody whose English is not native speak it equally badly.) Why, I must be a racist noticing it! And a hypocrite. Or something.

In a meanwhile, he completely misses the point of the posts he is commenting on…
As usual.

Posted by: Tatyana at April 1, 2010 at 2:18 pm

“this egalitarian (remember? ‘There are lots of languages in this world, and the people who speak them are not necessarily inferior simply because they speak those languages.’),
this benevolent champion of diversity leaves spam in my threads, mostly criticizing my English.
Or my mentioning somebody else poor English (As if everybody whose English is not native speak it equally badly.) Why, I must be a racist noticing it! And a hypocrite. Or something.”

Or something.

You’ll have to admit that your brought this on yourself, comrade. Remember when you called me a “demagogue?” And remember when I gave you the definition and said, “Okay, so what have I done that squares with this definition?” And then you said–and this is the priceless part–that the dictionary definition was wrong and that you were right? (And, further, that you didn’t have to explain what I did that counted as “demagoguery”; I just was a demagogue, neener neener neener?)

Good times.

If your situation were in any way congruent with the one mentioned earlier, you might have a point. As it is, however, you don’t.

I don’t know what your native language is, and I frankly don’t care. If I’d grown up speaking it, I’d be perfectly content, I’m sure, and I wouldn’t feel inferior, as Perry appears to wish.

Whatever your native language is, I wouldn’t presume to school you in it. When, on the other hand, you try to school me in English, then you have bitten off a little more than you can chew. You continue to tough it out, though; it’s cute.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I’m afraid I agree with Doc–some folks here have too broad a meaning of enslaved. Maybe it’s the fact I’m studying actual, you know, _slavery_ right now, but much like genocide that word has been overused to the point of futility.

I’m not even dealing with the ad hominem exchange. Whether Doc’s a troll or not, the fact remains that if you start calling someone an idiot that generally means the “troll” is winning.

However, Doc, I will ask what you would call the situation that Perry describes, where the majority enforces its will upon you? Personally I call that an insurgency waiting to happen (because I’m only moving once or twice, then I’m making some abject examples), but I’d be interested to hear what you say. (And yes, I am dead serious. Sorry, as I’ve said many times, it’s like if they ever voted to outlaw guns in this country. The only question after “How many cops are calling in sick today?” will be whether the patriots or oppressors run out of people first, and I feel that same way if the “majority” tries to tell me how I will conduct myself in my own home. Die on my feet or live on my knees and all that.)

I will say one thing–I encourage everyone to read how we ended up in the Civil War. Because while Perry’s right, the fundamental issue (*cough* slavery *cough*) is not the same, the way that we’re starting to talk about and radicalize towards one another is. Personally I don’t care, as I figure once the balloon goes up a lot of people are going to wish they learned how to talk civilly and I loves me some schadenfraude. However, those of you with children or loved ones who can’t handle a couple steps back in civilization might want to think about what we’re doing to one another as a nation. Because when you can’t debate the simplest issue without descending into ad hominem attacks, and you start to believe the caricature of the other side as a bunch of ignorant troglodyte mouth breathers, you’re closer to being willing to shoot one another than you think.

Posted by: James at April 1, 2010 at 8:26 pm

“However, Doc, I will ask what you would call the situation that Perry describes, where the majority enforces its will upon you?”

I call it a situation in which I see no knee-jerk answers. We live in a country which values–or claims to value–democracy. It’s a democratic republic, but the idea of counting noses is still in there. It is deeply enmeshed in the fabric of our nation.

On the other hand, majoritarianism does actually exist. Just because most people want something doesn’t make it the right thing. Again, slavery–actual slavery, that is–is a good example.

Perry seems to want to live in a world in which nobody is required live with anything that he doesn’t agree with. (If I’m characterizing his ideas incorrectly, I invite him to set me straight, preferably without gratuitous insults or profanity.)

Such a world does not exist. Most of us live in a world where, for thousands of years, governments of various sorts have existed, and dreams of a libertarian utopia where true freedom reigns remain just that: dreams. Dreams are nice, but you have to wake up some time. I subscribe to the “social contract” theory, and believe that by living in this society I give up some of my power for the greater good.

Not everyone agrees on what “the greater good” is, and the majoritarianism problem is one that needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. There’s no realistic one-size-fits-all answer. (Note the “realistic” in there.)

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm

what a demagogic bore

Posted by: Tatyana at April 2, 2010 at 12:09 am

“what a demagogic bore”

Good morning to you, too, comrade!

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

Any “greenie” who’s pro-nuclear can’t be all bad.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at April 4, 2010 at 12:26 am

I thought you’d recognize the Steinbeck quote (albeit with emendations by me). My mistake.

I see, but wasn’t that from the movie, not the book? I once plodded through the book; wasn’t impressed. I’ve read two others and don’t particularly care to try for a fourth. However, besides the all-too-familiar quotations from his major works, I’d immediately recognize the “southern country anthem” from Travels with Charley.

I call it a situation in which I see no knee-jerk answers. We live in a country which values–or claims to value–democracy. It’s a democratic republic, but the idea of counting noses is still in there. It is deeply enmeshed in the fabric of our nation.

And that’s precisely the problem: democracy. The will of the majority (or a plurality “as provided for by law”) trumps the will of the individual, with no regard for the individual’s rights to his own life, liberty and property. Want your neighbors to live as you do? Vote in legislators who will criminalize…well, whatever the majority wants: alcohol, tobacco, drugs, guns, adding an extra room to your house.

On the other hand, majoritarianism does actually exist. Just because most people want something doesn’t make it the right thing. Again, slavery–actual slavery, that is–is a good example.

I’m surprised at your second sentence; maybe there’s hope for you after all. Now here’s something to consider: slavery was something that the majority of Southerners wanted, but it needed government to enforce it.

Perry seems to want to live in a world in which nobody is required live with anything that he doesn’t agree with. (If I’m characterizing his ideas incorrectly, I invite him to set me straight, preferably without gratuitous insults or profanity.)

In an world of freedom, nobody is forced against his will until he infringes upon others’ rights to their own lives, liberties and property.

If

Such a world does not exist. Most of us live in a world where, for thousands of years, governments of various sorts have existed, and dreams of a libertarian utopia where true freedom reigns remain just that: dreams.

The closest mankind ever came in recent centuries, was the eastern North American continent. Frontier communities were based on that ideal of individual freedom, where all transactions were completely voluntary, and they could because they were so far away from the Crown. Why else do you suppose that colonial Americans were forbidden to settle west of the Appalachians? It wasn’t because the Crown was afraid of conflict with Indians or the French. Actually, colonials who went west did very well, trading peacefully with French and Indians alike. The problem was that once they were over the mountains, it became much harder for the Crown to control them. Armies would have to march over the mountains, which was possible, but then they’d have a much harder time dragging their artillery behind, and they wouldn’t have the benefit of ships bombarding from off shore.

Jefferson once explained to a French friend, “In America, no other distinction between man and man had ever been known but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last, the poorest laborer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favored one whenever their rights seem to jar.” There was no king to give favoritism, only a concept of real justice that applied to everyone regardless of social status.

The simple reason that governments have existed throughout human history is because certain people refuse to give up their individual rights. It could be a tribal chieftain who initially gains control because he convinces enough strong men to fight for him (men who aren’t “loyal” so much as they’re “paid” from promised plunder), and then they conquer a neighboring village, until eventually someone is strong enough to declare himself a “king” over a region. Or a Western nation becomes so “enlightened” that the earnings of a few are redistributed to the many, because the many simply “voted” that way. The classic liberalism of the Enlightenment thought that government could be used to safeguard the rights that were historically violated by government, though the American experiment has proven otherwise.

Dreams are nice, but you have to wake up some time.

So tell me why a majority, or anyone else for that matter, should have any say over what happens to my life, liberty or property when I’m harming no one? Ah, but like I said, it’s because I don’t need to take from the majority of voters, but they need me: they need my property, and while they’re at it they’ll exert control over my person.

I subscribe to the “social contract” theory, and believe that by living in this society I give up some of my power for the greater good.

You can give up anything you want, but why should you or anyone else have any say over what I should give up?

The social compact is based on a strawman. “Freedom” aren’t about being free to kill or steal, because the concept of individual rights necessarily means that “freedom” ends at someone else’s equal freedom.

“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” – Thomas Jefferson

Not everyone agrees on what “the greater good” is,

Generally those are the people whose property is being taken away from them to be given to others, whose lives are being controlled by others.

and the majoritarianism problem is one that needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. There’s no realistic one-size-fits-all answer. (Note the “realistic” in there.)

Another surprising thing for you to say, and it answers why “greater good” should never be a consideration when deciding something — on either side. My side, by now, needs no explanation. On your side, it’s logistically impossible: you say need to determine the “greater good” individually, but then who does that? Elected officials? Judges? Whoever is chosen will have been elevated to that position by majority rule (directly or indirectly), defeating the idea of determining the rightness of “majority rule.” Moreover, you’re depending on an imperfect human, prone to mistakes, and even worse, someone prone to corruption because of the office. That’s why government, at the very least, is impractical.

The simpler answer is to go by individual rights: will a course of action violate someone’s rights to his life, liberty and property? There’s nothing arbitrary about that.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Looks like something got truncated. Where my single paragraph begins and ends, “If,” that should have been:

If you don’t think that people should be left alone to their lives, liberties and property, then at what point do they end? When I am not harming my neighbors, at what point can they say I must pay taxes for something that benefits them (or even all of us) that I don’t want to participate in? At what point can they dictate what I can and can’t do in my own home?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

James,

I’m afraid I agree with Doc–some folks here have too broad a meaning of enslaved. Maybe it’s the fact I’m studying actual, you know, _slavery_ right now, but much like genocide that word has been overused to the point of futility.

You are, from what I infer, studying a form of institutionalized slavery. But what else do you call it when I must work for what my neighbors would like? Gee, I get to keep half, isn’t that a great deal for me?

The thing about government is that if I wanted something, my neighbors wouldn’t need me to “vote” for it. They wouldn’t have to form a town council or other form of “government” to force me into something — if a government’s involved, by definition I didn’t want to participate in it.

I’m not even dealing with the ad hominem exchange. Whether Doc’s a troll or not, the fact remains that if you start calling someone an idiot that generally means the “troll” is winning.

It’s stating a truth.

I will say one thing–I encourage everyone to read how we ended up in the Civil War. Because while Perry’s right, the fundamental issue (*cough* slavery *cough*) is not the same, the way that we’re starting to talk about and radicalize towards one another is.

Actually I was talking about our country’s first civil war, which began in 1775. But if you’re talking about the second, slavery was secondary to the broader issue of states’ rights. Lincoln had been known for years, from his days as a Whig, as a believer in strong central government. As the first Republican president, his massive centralization and usurpation of powers (suspension of habeas corpus, income tax, military draft) set the precedent for future big-government Republicans.

Massive tax increases, because the highest level of government demanded that people pay for the services that the government forced them to consume in the first place. Back then it was a war with France that the colonials wanted no part of. Today it’s health care and a host of other impending things.

What do you suppose is about to happen between Washington and several states? When the colonies insisted on their right to govern their own affairs, the Crown asserted its superior authority and punished them further. What set off the powder keg was forcible confiscation of arms, and I can guarantee you the same result should it happen today.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm
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