A Bill of Goods, Maybe

The trouble with the health care bill

For many, the health care reform debate has only reinforced a number of richly deserved stereotypes regarding the workings of Congress and the synergetic crookedness of big government and big business.

There's a little something for everyone, really. (And for the utterly gullible, there is a shimmering new make-believe birthright to go along with the mess.)

This week, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa claimed passage of reform would mean our nation had crossed the "demarcation line" that would transform health care from a "privilege" to a "right."

Which is absolutely true if your definition of a "right" happens to be "do it or else."

Beleaguered citizens would deal with all the same anxieties they wrestled with before reform—a lack of portability, rising costs, and so on—while enjoying a new, inalienable right to buy insurance in an uncompetitive marketplace with no downward pressure on prices.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Senate would increase overall health care spending by more than $200 billion between 2010 and 2019—a striking accomplishment considering the bill wouldn't even kick in until 2013.

At the same time, those scandalous profit-mongering insurance outfits that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called "villains" and President Barack Obama referred to as greedy would have the right to enrich themselves with millions of new customers via mandate on individuals.

Though most of the bill's provisions wouldn't be triggered until 2013, it doesn't mean Americans wouldn't have a right to pay taxes before that time. Paying taxes isn't only a right; it's patriotic.

The Senate bill would create more than a dozen new taxes and fees—some of them scheduled years before reform's righteousness could fully bloom. And if you've purchased one of those elaborate Cadillac health insurance plans—and aren't you selfish?—you would have the right to be charged a 40 percent excise tax for thinking you're special.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 10 million of you would have the right to no longer be covered by your private employers (independent groups put this number higher), despite the president's fictitious promise that no one would surrender his insurance coverage under his watch.

It's true, too, that if you couldn't afford health insurance, you would have the right to get it free. Everyone else would have the right to pay for you—except Nebraskans, who are blessed with a senator who can extract goodies from a feeble majority leader while wielding no more than an imaginary moral misgiving.

You also would have the right to live under the guidance of a newly consequential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which—as Kevin Patrick, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, explained to The Washington Post—"has been one of the crown jewels of evidence-based neutrality. It's like the Switzerland of thought on evidence-based medicine. I worry about it being politicized."

The task force's political recommendations would define what basic health insurance coverage meant for millions. On mammograms. On colonoscopies. On wellness. On vaccines. On preventive care. On everything.

The state-based insurance exchanges in which consumers (those who would be without insurance once their employers dropped them) would have the right to pick from a handful of government-authorized insurance plans would be guided by this task force.

You call it rationing? They call it freedom.

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  • John Tagliaferro||

    Do I get free health care in prison if I don't buy the insurance?

  • Brian Trust||

    Of course, the best other peoples' money can buy!

  • ||

    No, I think you pay a fine. They deduct it from the money you get for making license plates.

  • ||

    I think that there's a "Pay with Smokes" option.

  • Kathleen Sebilius||

    We're going to ban smoking in all prisons soon.

    You know, so inmates who have unprotected sex with each other won't be unhealthy.

  • Hank||

    Keep up, people: solar panels!

  • Radical Environmentalist||

    Yeah, like we want Big Solar to happen! Corporations are evil!

  • Kevin||

    Thanks for the early gift of such high-quality snark!

  • rho||

    I'm looking forward to getting all my health care in Costa Rica.

  • Old Mexican||

    Don't have to go that far - you can go to Mexico for your care...

    ... uh, unless Pharaoh Obama I twists the arm of the Mexican governemnt to impose an equivalent of Obamacare in Mexico and thus stomp the competition [we already have the "public option" and yes, it's pretty bad - if it weren't for the fact that Mexico has a TRUE FREE MARKET in health care, we would be all Canadians - ugh.]

  • ||

    And that's why Mexican health care is renowned all over the world...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Get the fuck back to Mexico and choke to death on antibiotics if you don't like it here, puta.

    I'll even buy you a bus ticket.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Soon, when any physician not wanting to be a bureaucratic microbe goes to Mexico to work in a border facility, Mexico will have some of the best care in the world. It will become what the US is to Canada today.

  • ||

    Wow, another Libertarian Nostradamus.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yeah, and raising taxes and energy costs will create jobs.

    Right?

  • ||

    I'm not the one making predictions about the future, so why are you telling me this?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Because it will happen. It's not predicting the future, it's logic. You should try using it once in a while.

    But, do please go on, and tell us how higher taxes and energy costs will create jobs. We can't wait.

  • ||

    <libertarian_crybaby>IT WILL HAPPEN!! CHAOS!! CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER!!! </libertarian_crybaby>

    I am not trying to predict the future, you are.

    And you are an idiot if you really think you can predict the future.

  • ||

    Amerika, the comfort you've demanded is now mandatory.

  • Lord Obama the First||

    That's right, pitiful minion, because I decreed, in My Infinite Wisdom, that there is such a thing as positive rights.

    Now, back into your cage, tool.

  • Rahm the Enforcer||

    Y'wan' I should shake him down for pocket change, Boss? I can have these SEIU goons beat th' shit outta him while we're at it... worked for us in St. Louis with that fucktard sellin' the "Don't Tread on Me" propaganda...

  • Old Mexican||

    I was amazed when I came to the US that one could not get antibiotics over the counter - you have to pay a doctor $100.00 just to fill a prescription. I called that "racketeering". My American friends just give me this look of amazement, as if monopolizing the supply of a good was a "good thing."

    Oh, why was I amazed? Because in Mexico you can get antibiotics at the "Generic" drugstores for $5.00 a bottle. That's why. Oh, and I don't mean those silly yellow bottles, no - I mean ACTUAL BRAND BOTTLES, like those you find in the vitamin section of your drugstore.

    If you ahve ever visited Tijuana or any other Mexican bordertown, you will notice that one of the highest growing businesses near the walk-through border crossings is:

    DRUG STORES!

    Of course, MANY Americans just drive or walk to Mexico to get their drugs C-H-E-A-P. Forget about Canada - people who mention the low price of drugs in Canada don't know what they're talking about. In Mexico there are factories CHURNING drugs to meet demand.

    I have never, ever heard a politician in the US (even the so-called "free market types", except Ron Paul) talk about the fact that Mexico has a totally free-market system, competing against an inefficient and wasteful series of "public options" offered by the Mexican central government. I wonder why . . .

    [Hint: Racism? Chauvinism? Take your pick...]

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Free market, or black market? How do you have a "wasteful series of public options" and a free market system - aren't Mexican citizens required to pay taxes to support the public options? Do explain. Also, what about all this that we hear about bad quality of care in Mexico?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Sean,

    Free market, or black market?

    In order for a black market to exist, the act of supplying a certain good would have to be made illegal - so far, no legislature has made it ILLEGAL to provide health care in Mexico. So there is NO black market. QED

    How do you have a "wasteful series of public options" and a free market system - aren't Mexican citizens required to pay taxes to support the public options?

    Anybody that's on a payroll has to pay taxes for the national Social Security system, which provides "free health care". Only contractors do not have to pay. However, you pay taxes to keep your roads and yet you cannot say there is no free market for car buying - so paying taxes in itself does not preclude the existence of a free market.

    But, to be more accurate, it is FREER than America's or Canada's system, in that you simply go to your doctor, pay him, and you're done. Doctors have to compete for your business; you do not need a prescription for any drugs except narcotics or dangerous drugs (like for instance, chemo); and certainly, insurance companies do compete across state lines.

    Also, what about all this that we hear about bad quality of care in Mexico?

    Yeah. What about it? All I can tell you is that I was intoxicated, twice, for eating in the street, and all I did was to go to the hospital, stayed one night, got antibiotics and a prescription, and all for (get this): $56.00 USD. Of course, it was a Catholic charity hospital, but there are several HUNDRED of them in Mexico. Try finding one in the US with THOSE rates . . .

  • ||

    You're either an complete idiot or a liar by omission.

    How much is US $56.00 for the average Mexican?

    The average Mexican earns US$ 4-12 per day, so that medical bill equals to one week (5 days) of work.

    I don't want a system where a hospital visit costs me one week of work!

    So thanks, but no thanks.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh wahhhhhhhhhhh wahhhh.... omg... wahhhhhhhh.... I have to work a WHOLLLLLLLLE WEEK to pay for life-saving medical care! That's SOOOO much time I'll never get back... WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

  • ||

    A bright future as a Maquiladora worker awaits you in Mexico, Mr. Malone.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Cry some more, Mr. Toddler's Chew-toy.

  • ||

    So Mexicans don't make less money than Yanquis?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's the fault of the Mexican government, crayon. Not ours.

  • crayon||

    Rich white people suck! Except for rich white Democrats! Hurr durr!

  • ||

    <libertarian>
    WAAAAH! WAAAAAH! WAAAAAH!
    IT'S THE GOVERNMENT'S FAULT WHEN SOMETHING IS BAD!!!
    WAAAAH! WAAAAAH! WAAAAAH!
    PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IS FOR POOR PEOPLE!!
    WAAAAH! WAAAAAH! WAAAAAH!
    </libertarian>

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Personal responsibility is for everyone - it's the government that removes it. So not only did you miss the point (i.e. government, as a result of eliminating any personal responsibility in favor of force & special favors to the politically connected few, fucks entire nations full of people quite often - sometimes this is known as kleptocracy, dictatorship and quite often: socialism), you also failed severely to understand the libertarian philosophy.

    Way to go, you epic failure.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Personal responsibility is for everyone - it's the government that removes it. So not only did you miss the point (i.e. government, as a result of eliminating any personal responsibility in favor of force & special favors to the politically connected few, fucks entire nations full of people quite often - sometimes this is known as kleptocracy, dictatorship and quite often: socialism), you also failed severely to understand the libertarian philosophy.

    Way to go, you epic failure.

  • Old Mexican||

    Reply to: Chad, MNG, and Neu Mejican,

    You cannot have a right to something that is ultimately somebody else's labor. Otherwise, you are talking about enslaving the owner of that labor.

    So, no, MNG or Chad or Neu: People do NOT have a right to health care NOR do they have a right to education or anything else that entails the labor of others. People do have a right to seek a service, to trade for it with others, but not to have it.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    +1 Billion

  • Tony||

    Actually, I went to public school, so as a matter of fact I did have a right to education. People in other countries have a right to health care. It doesn't matter that there's not a stone on which these rights are etched. What matters is how people are collectively better off with access to basic services.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Actually, I went to public school, so as a matter of fact I did have a right to education.

    That's a non sequitur. The other day I went to Ace, and got myself a hammer. So, therefore, I have a right to hammers. Makes sense?

    People in other countries have a right to health care.

    No, they don't. What they have is their services paid by the government, but it is not like health prviders are enslaved like drones to provide healthcare.

    What matters is how people are collectively better off with access to basic services.

    What's a "basic" service, and who desides what "basic" means?

    Because I can decide tomorrow that everybody has a right to basic cable - but not anything else. What if you want the sports package? Tough. What if you want the Adult channels? Tough. It is the same with this "basic services" schtik.

  • Tony||

    As a simple matter of fact I did have the right to an education. Maybe it's an illegally provided right, but it exists nonetheless. I also have the right to police protection and national defense. Should we abolish those services because they require the labor of others?

    Surely what constitutes a basic service can be debated, but it's not as if the question is completely unanswerable. I'd say whatever is necessary for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a good place to start.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    As a simple matter of fact I did have the right to an education. Maybe it's an illegally provided right, but it exists nonetheless.

    You cannot make valid something just because it is made "legal".

    I also have the right to police protection and national defense. Should we abolish those services because they require the labor of others?

    Yes, they should. First of all, what's "national" defense? Why would it be MY concern to defend someone else's border, just because it happens to be bordering some artificial political border?

    And you don't have a right to police protection - even the Supreme Court had to concede that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Surely what constitutes a basic service can be debated, but it's not as if the question is completely unanswerable. I'd say whatever is necessary for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a good place to start.

    You cannot offer "basic" anything if it means trampling any of the rights you mentioned above, for what would be the point, then?

    If by providing free healthcare, you give a person life at the cost of freedom and the pursuit of happiness, then you defeat the purpose of providing "basic goods". If by providing education you also limit someone's liberty (by making it compulsory), that would defeat its purpose.

  • Tony||

    The only freedom given up in order to provide universal healthcare is the freedom to spend the pittance in taxes used to pay for it. For the vast majority of people, this is a very good deal. Having access to healthcare without worry is a huge increase in freedom any way you slice it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The only freedom given up in order to provide universal healthcare is the freedom to spend the pittance in taxes used to pay for it.

    You're just indulging in question-begging, Tony. What's a "pittance"? Who gets to decide that, you? Me? You cat? My mom? The butcher across the street? The term "pittance" is entirely subjective. You cannot argue from subjectivity - the value each of us posits on our property is only the business of each of us, not someone else's.

    For the vast majority of people, this is a very good deal.

    I would bet it is, for when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you are certainly going to have the full support of Paul.

    So, what? Stealing is right because it is popualr with the recipients?

    Having access to healthcare without worry is a huge increase in freedom any way you slice it.

    You are equivocating - how can it be better for liberty the taking of people's property to pay for the services borne on others?

  • Tony||

    Come on, the idea that small liberties are given up (say, in the form of taxes) in order to create a much larger freedom (say, access to healthcare) is not some radical new idea--it's the basis of every government, everywhere.

    But as long as you're being consistent, and feel that every tax is theft and every government action the immoral byproduct of theft, fine, you're an anarchist, and that's really a conversation stopper. Just so long as some government services aren't okay (like national defense) and others are the immoral spawn of theft just because you say so, then we're good.

    I happen to think anarchy presents just about as few individual freedoms as totalitarianism, however.

  • Tony||

    I will note however that the absence of government enforcement makes it difficult to define theft in the first place. Without some arbitration mechanism my freedom to take your stuff is just as legitimate as yours to keep it.

    See you just can't get away from needing government.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I will note however that the absence of government enforcement makes it difficult to define theft in the first place.

    Why? That's silly. Even in the absence of government in the high seas, you know piracy is theft, so how can the mere absence of government make it intellectually impossible for you to define theft?

    By that token, defining anything would be impossible or incomprehensible sans government.

    Without some arbitration mechanism my freedom to take your stuff is just as legitimate as yours to keep it.

    You are equivocating again - the fact that you have the freedom to do it does not make it your RIGHT. You can try, but that does not mean you HAVE the right.


    See you just can't get away from needing government.

    That's not true - I am using this computer and writting in it without needing government.

  • Barack Obama||

    Lots and lots of government, Tony. Have I taught you nothing? We must crush what I called "working behind enemy lines", and I can't get that accomplished unless you pay attention and get the talking-points down.

    You don't want to end up like Biden, do you? I've got his stupid ass locked up in a broom closet most of the time. Get it together, minion!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Come on, the idea that small liberties are given up (say, in the form of taxes) in order to create a much larger freedom (say, access to healthcare) is not some radical new idea--it's the basis of every government, everywhere.

    Tony, you're equivocating, again. The terms "smaller" and "larger" are yours, and only yours. That does not make the action of taking someone's property any more valid.

    But as long as you're being consistent, and feel that every tax is theft and every government action the immoral byproduct of theft, fine, you're an anarchist, and that's really a conversation stopper.

    I have said that I am an anarcho-capitalist, so it should not come as a surprise. Apart from that, I cannot fathom why this fact would suddenly become a "conversation stopper". Why?

  • Tony||

    It is definitely not beyond human abilities to define what rights are trivial and which are important. We have citizen-based government to decide those things.

    I've said that you can be a consistent anarchist, which is why it's a conversation stopper. If you believe any and all government actions are immoral, fine. You just can't say it's necessary for some things but not others based on your arbitrary judgment.

    But as I said, it's not really consistent. In the absence of government there is no way to justify your right to keep your property. It's not written in the stars. With no government there is no one to punish me for taking your stuff. Therefore your liberty to keep it extends only until it meets my liberty to take it. You want a legal code without any institution to enforce it.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    First off Tony, yes, you can - and you personally DO - say that government is fine for some things and not for others. You, for instance, I assume would be pretty upset if a government made being homosexual illegal and threw people in jail for that, no? All you're doing by posting that argument is saying that *your* determination over where government's powers should extend is right and everyone else's is wrong. And that just makes you an idiot.

    That said, everyone here knows I'm personally a pretty hardcore anarcho-capitalist and I see 0 inconsistencies in expecting a simple moral code to be adopted across the board. That moral code is easy to understand: Deal with people voluntarily, or not at all.

    "Law" enforcement is also simple... I hire people to protect me, or protect myself by various means, and set up arbitration agreements as part of any contracts I make. It's really not that hard to do without government. Beyond that, it's easy enough to set up a "government" without monopoly powers of enforcement which gets paid voluntarily, rather than through forced taxation. There are very little problems with this mode of thinking - except that it doesn't provide dictator-wannabes the power they so desperately crave over sheep like you.

  • Tony||

    Wow, you're loony.

    The sovereignty of your property should be protected by private guards and no one else? Kinda sucks for those who can't afford a staff.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    We're social creatures Tony, we invented group protection LOOOOOOONG before we formalized any government, or granted one person the power to fuck over everyone else. Had we not done that... Guess what, dumbass, we'd have died off a hundred thousand years ago.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It is definitely not beyond human abilities to define what rights are trivial and which are important. We have citizen-based government to decide those things.

    So basically you prefer to delegate the responsability of defining what is a right to an arbitrary body of notables. I call that "intellectual lazyness."

    I've said that you can be a consistent anarchist, which is why it's a conversation stopper.

    I cannot see what one has to do with the other - if I know you are a consistent [i.e. unwavering in his principles] Devil Worshiper, I would know exactly where you stand, no surprises. However, if you switched positions every time it becomes convenient for you, THAT would be a convrsation stopper for me.

    If you believe any and all government actions are immoral, fine.

    No, I believe all actions that unduly limit someone else's right to liberty, property and life are immoral, does not matter who commits them.

    You just can't say it's necessary for some things but not others based on your arbitrary judgment.

    Tony, there is NOTHING arbitrary about the principled position that people HAVE a right to life, liberty and their property. If the actions of government bureaucrats trample on any of these rights, then how can calling these actions "immoral" be arbitrary? The judgment certainly does not come out of the blue.

    Again, you are equivocating.

    But as I said, it's not really consistent. In the absence of government there is no way to justify your right to keep your property.

    Of course there is a way to justify it: by asserting that right. And in the absence of government, I can perfectly justify my right to life, by asserting it.

    Unless you think that sans government, people become dumb and unable to act to protect their life or belongings.

    It's not written in the stars. With no government there is no one to punish me for taking your stuff.

    Yes there is - me.

    Again, try it.

    Therefore your liberty to keep it extends only until it meets my liberty to take it.

    You are absolutely right - and it works both ways. Again, try exercising your freedom to take my property - I am not one to believe the government will come riding to my rescue, so I am prepared. Try it.

    You want a legal code without any institution to enforce it.

    Did I say that? Where? When?

  • ||

    Liberturdians just want to turn the US into Mexico.

    Well, I prefer the US to become Western Europe than to that third-world shit hole.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    So I take it you've never been to Western Europe... I have. Many times... There's nothing short of millions and millions of dollars that could get me to move there for any length of time.

  • ||

    Hahahah!

    The ugly American goes abroad and complains that nobody likes him when he acts like a total cunt.

    PROTIP:
    Don't assume everyone here is Yanqui or living in United States of Jesusland, you hillbilly fucktard.

  • ConstiCrayon||

    You're a piece of shit traitor. Why do you even live here?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    So, you're retarded on literally all counts:

    1. Actually, everyone I've ever met overseas loved me - and I've loved most of them. And I have about 20 good friends who are in countries ranging from the UK, Germany & Romania to Singapore and the Philippines...

    2. I made no assumptions about where *you* came from and couldn't care less.

    3. I'm not Christian - and am, in fact, Atheist.

    4. I am in no way, under any circumstances, what you would call a hillbilly. I've lived in several parts of the US - but never the South, and for the last 5 years, I've lived in 2 of the largest cities in the world.

    So... STFU, you fucktard.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "Well, I prefer the US to become like the former East Germany"

    FIFY, crayon - er, Constitutu...

  • The ?||

    "you hillbilly fucktard"

    But don't EVER call a liberal an elitist!

  • ||

    I'm not an elitist,
    I'm just better than you.

  • ||

    HURRR DURRR
    WESTERN EUROPE IS THE SAME AS EAST GERMANY!!!
    DEEERP DOOH DURP

    http://imagemacros.files.wordp.....t_derp.jpg

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    FORMER East Germany, crayon. Unless you intend to whitewash the past, and tell us what a wonderful place it was under communist rule.

  • ||

    Since when has Eastern Europe been a part of Western Europe, you turd monkey?

  • ||

    My shotgun and AR enforce my right to keep my property. Try and take it, without any government interference the only thing you will get is about 1/2 ounce of lead.

  • Tony||

    And that kind of society is the most ethical conceivable!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Tony, again, is your definition of anarchy "anyone who wants less government than I do"?

  • anonymous||

    Not necessarily. If the government was simply bankrolling your choices, that might be true, but under sort of functional universal healthcare system, the government will be making or restricting the choices.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony, it's not a "right", it's a privilege. It can be revoked at any time, and it's being *given* to you as a gift. It's not something intrinsic to your humanity, and it's something you have to forcibly take from someone else to get, thereby denying their (actual) right to use their life, time, money & resources as they see fit.

    You're just confused because your public education made you remarkably stupid and you haven't done anything since to correct the situation.

  • Tony||

    Intrinsic to humanity, what bullshit. How come it took so long for people to discover these rights that were apparently intrinsic?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Tony, people have known about their rights since they were cavemen. What took so long to understand (and what you still don't understand) is that the rights of others form a natural moral boundary which allows voluntary interaction only.

    When one man claims "I have a right to be provided with something", he is saying that "another man exists somewhere who must provide it for himself(as I did not) as well as for me(because I did not)".

  • Marc||

    How come it took so long for people to discover X, where X is damn near anything?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Neither one of those is a "right", Tony. No matter how hard you try, you can't justify calling them rights.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I need to refresh my Spanish. I think Mexico is looking pretty good about now.

  • ||

    I'll buy you a one-way ticket.
    Seriously, I will.
    Go Galtierrez, young man.

  • ?||

    Only if you go to North Korea, Cons- er, crayon.

  • ||

    I'm not the traitor who wants to leave to Mexico.
    The US of A is actually looking quite good now that the health care bill has passed!
    USA! USA! USA!
    Love it or leave it, liberturdians!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You leave, and go to a country that has what you want - handouts for everything.

  • ||

    Agree it is wrong to enslave anyone but what about the right to a court-appointed attorney if you are accused of a crime and cannot afford a lawyer? That's a right that is specified in the Constitution and if the government is going to accuse someone of a crime shouldn't an attorney be provided? Haven't been able to reconcile that with the idea it is wrong to take labor or property from one person and give it to another.

  • RG||

    Pablo, my best guess is that since the government is trying you, they must also provide you with a defense.

  • smartass sob||

    Not only that, but government has a monopoly on the court system and who can practice law in it. It sets the terms under which one can practice and one of those is that a lawyer (an officer of the court) must at times provide his services when so ordered. Else he doesn't get a license to practice law.

  • Old Mexican||

    This is the text:

    "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

    Nowhere does it say the government should provide, only that you have the right to a speedy trial with a jury, a right to confront your accuser and the charges listed as well as the right to have counsel. Meaning, if none of these conditions are met, then YOU CANNOT BE TRIED!

    Only in the mind of a positivist would this language make it mandatory for the government to enslave 12 people for weeks or months and to make an attorney work for peanuts to defend a thug. Either the things described above are done voluntarily, or the guy cannot be tried - that IS what the amendment SAYS.

  • ||

    That interpretation actually makes sense but let's live in the real world. If the alternatives are 1) not trying someone because we can't find jurors and lawyers willing to volunteer huge chunks of their time, or 2) using taxes to pay for jurors and public defenders, there is no way in hell #1 will win out. So 2 is the only choice left.

    Someone in another thread made a good analogy. You don't have the right to health care, but if the government injures you it has a duty to provide care. Same thing with accusing someone of a crime and then providing an attorney.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Pablo,

    Someone in another thread made a good analogy. You don't have the right to health care, but if the government injures you it has a duty to provide care. Same thing with accusing someone of a crime and then providing an attorney.

    it's actually not an analogy, since there is nothing analogous about compensating you for an injury you suffered and being compensated for undergoing a criminal procedure. One was unwarranted, the other supposedly stemmed from a criminal act you allegedly commited, where there's a victim seeking compensation. The State is actually acting as an advocate for the victim. Why would it then provide an advocate for the accuser, I would have to speculate, but it is not mandated in the language contained in the 6th Amendment. I believe the mandate was simply conjured up by the Supreme Court and its "Constitution interpretation" powers.

  • ||

    I only wish that every criminal accusation involved an actual victim. The majority (drugs) do not.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Given that you're innocent until proven guilty, the State charging you w/ a crime can be considered the state injuring an innocent person.

    It may not be a perfect analogy, but its a hell of a lot closer than "public defenders == single payer healthcare"

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    When someone gets their money confiscated at an airport, the MONEY is guilty - the legacy of the War on Drugs-pumped notion of asset forfeiture.

    And liberals are licking their chops, like Tony for example, with his "pittance" in taxes being taken from those of us who don't want to participate in this health-care Ponzi scheme his kind are cookin' up as we speak.

    But it's For Our Own Good. Apparently, grown adults have to be treated like toddlers.

  • Mel K||

    No where in the fifth amendment does it say that you have a right to an attorney. Only in the Miranda ruling.

  • Tony||

    Nowhere. Look at the 6th amendment.

    The 6th also guarantees a right to a jury. Talk about a right to others' labor.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Such reverence for the 6th Amendment, and yet you ignore the 10th.

  • ||

    Such reverence for the 10th Amendment, and yet you ignore the 16th.

  • ||

    I was referring to the Sixth.

  • ||

    The 6th also guarantees a right to a jury. Talk about a right to others' labor.

    Your right to a jury is actually the right not to be convicted except by a jury of your peers, Tony.

    Nowhere does the Constitution require (or even explicitly authorize) the conscription of anyone to serve on a jury.

    If no jury convicts you, you walk free. How does that entail in any way the conscription of a jury? How does it map in any way to requiring someone to provide you with a good or service?

  • Old Mexican||

    RC, it doesn't. It was the State that decided the 6th mandated that 12 people be taken from society to sit in a trial. That would not be so bad if most cases involved an actual victim, but most cases now are for victimless crimes, bogus allegations or Federal statutes that are in themselves unconstitutional.

  • Tony||

    A distinction without a difference, which is why the concepts of negative and positive rights aren't really that clear cut. Juries aren't gonna spontaneously generate. In order to justify the negative right to be free from punishment without the option of a jury, there has to be positive action to provide juries.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    A distinction without a difference, which is why the concepts of negative and positive rights aren't really that clear cut.

    No, Tony, they do have a clear-cut definition: Negative rights require or oblige inaction when it comes to others, whereas positive rights burden people to action in favor of others.

    Juries aren't gonna spontaneously generate.

    So?

    In order to justify the negative right to be free from punishment without the option of a jury, there has to be positive action to provide juries.


    No, that's not true - you cannot provide a right by trampling on someone else's rights. What the amendment says is that the State cannot try you criminally without a jury - if it cannor gather one voluntarily, well, tough.

    The mandate to enslave 12 people came later with a SCOTUS decision - I don't remember which one, but it gors totally against the PLAIN LANGUAGE contained in the amendmnet.
  • Tony||

    You're begging the question a bit here. We simply do not have the right to be free from jury conscription. Maybe you feel we should have that right, but we don't. Similarly, we don't have the right to keep every cent we manage to get our grubby hands on. It's just not a right that exists in this world, even though you may want it to.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You're begging the question a bit here [excuse me?}. We simply do not have the right to be free from jury conscription. Maybe you feel we should have that right, but we don't.

    That would make the right to freely act and freely associate meaningless, Tony - I am not begging the question, you are however commiting a perfunctory contradiction. You are basically saying you have no right to be free.

    Similarly, we don't have the right to keep every cent we manage to get our grubby hands on.

    Really? By whose decision? Your's? Mine? The butcher across the street? Your cat [if he talks to you]?

    Nobody has a right to keep their honestly obtained property because you say so?

    It's just not a right that exists in this world, even though you may want it to.

    Are you asserting this ex cathedra?

  • Tony||

    "The right to freely act and freely associate" of course has a lot of provisos. You can't freely murder someone. All rights are subject to restriction for the sake of other, more important rights. And this is not the only right that exists.

    Who says we don't have a right to keep all of our money? Factual reality. You may say it should be a right, but at present, it isn't. You're the one asserting that certain rights exist in the ether without regard to whether anyone actually enjoys those rights, whether they exist statutorily, or whether there is an enforcement mechanism to protect them.

    Your concept of freedom is both severely limited (representing much, much less actual individual freedom than I am for), and self-contradictory: you assert that the freedom of self-determination exists in the absence of, indeed in spite of, government. But how can you say any right exists if there is no institution around to protect your access to it? Someone is going to come around and remove your freedom unless there is some sort of police force to prevent it. So we pay a little into the common treasury to guarantee this; the money is trivial, the protection is not.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    "The right to freely act and freely associate" of course has a lot of provisos. You can't freely murder someone.

    What does the right to freely associate and freely move have to do with murdering someone? Why does violating someone's right to life preclude the right to feeely associate and freely move? I don't get it.

    All rights are subject to restriction for the sake of other, more important rights.

    I don't understand: What can there be that's more important than your life and your liberty, and how can those things be rights of a "higher order"?

    Do you know what you're talking about, or are you about to invent some "collective right" that trumps individuals' rights?
    exists.

    Who says we don't have a right to keep all of our money? Factual reality.[What?] You may say it should be a right, but at present, it isn't.

    Tony, you're equivocating the concept of "rights". Rights are not laws of the universe that matter or energy cannot break - they are entirely human concepts of what is "good" and what is "bad". The fact that people are not physically restrained by these rights does not preclude their existence as concepts.

    You're the one asserting that certain rights exist in the ether without regard to whether anyone actually enjoys those rights, whether they exist statutorily, or whether there is an enforcement mechanism to protect them.

    I am asserting that people have these rights regardless of their statutory or written status. You would conclude your life is important enough to defend, regardless of the fact hat your "right to life" is not in a statute, would it not?

    Your concept of freedom is both severely limited (representing much, much less actual individual freedom than I am for), and self-contradictory: you assert that the freedom of self-determination exists in the absence of, indeed in spite of, government. But how can you say any right exists if there is no institution around to protect your access to it?

    You don't seem to understand, Tony: You do not need "access" to something you already have. Your freedom of movement exists by virtue of you being a rational living being. You can act, that is, do things with purpose (otherwise you would not be writting to me). Your rights stem from your being, that is, a rational, thinking individual. You do not need a government to either tell you nor give you that.

    Someone is going to come around and remove your freedom unless there is some sort of police force to prevent it.

    I contend that someone can deprive me of my freedom either despite of the existence of government or even because of government - but that does not mean I do not have the right to be free. I can always run away - meaning, I can act freely to remove myself from an unwanted situation.

    So we pay a little into the common treasury to guarantee this; the money is trivial, the protection is not.

    Ah, the expected non sequitur. Since government "guarantees" our rights, government should take part of our property - the very institution purported to protect our rights, violates our rights to protect them. This is the kind of circular thinking the left revels in, like happy pigs in the muck.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    More government = more freedom? Wow!

  • ||

    Bullshit. We do have the right to be free from jury conscription, just as we have the right to be free from military conscription.

    If the government wants people to serve on a jury, they should pay the market rate for the juror's services.

  • Tony||

    No you don't. Again, you're asserting rights that are supposed to exist in the fabric of the universe. No such rights exist. Rights exist because we make them.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    No you don't [have a right to be free from jury duty]. Again, you're asserting rights that are supposed to exist in the fabric of the universe.

    He's not asserting such a thing, Tony. Rights are certainly not like laws of matter and energy, but they exist as concepts based on logical deductions.

    No such rights exist. Rights exist because we make them.

    Indeed, but they cannot be contradictory. Sayign that we do not have a right not to participate in jury duty would make our right to freely act and associate meaningless. You commit a perfunctory contradiction You cannot say that rights only exist because the government enforces them, for that is circular thinking.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    Look, guys, Tony obviously has no conception of the history or the meaning of the word "right". Arguing with him is like arguing with someone who insists that a "dog" is a "cat" because they both have four legs.

  • kinnath||

    Approaching 400 comments in the other thread, so Reason thinks its necessary to start all over again in a new one.

    The argument is between:

    An 18th concept that the state does not own its subjects, but instead, people are born free with the right to live their lives in the manner of their own chossing.

    A 20th century concept that no one is free if he or she has no place to live, no clothes to wear, no food to eat, or no medicine to make them well.

    No amount of discussion is going to reconcile those two different concepts because it comes down to a fundamental believe system: Does the second concept include the first? Or does the first concept preclude the second?

    I shall waste no more effort trying to change the belief system of Tony, Chad, Neu, and others.

  • Tony||

    It is perhaps an irreconcilable moral question, but I also think you're mischaracterizing the 18th century ideas you refer to. Among the freedoms that individuals enjoy is the freedom to set up a government, whose function is to regulate our lives to some extent. Enlightenment democracy isn't about only the right to sit in your basement and eat cheetos without people bugging you.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Awesome!! I'm going to exercise my right to set up a government that makes being Tony illegal, punishable by death.

    Can I get another voter, so we can make this legitimate by outvoting Tony?

  • Jeffersonian||

    If you accept Tony's premises, there's really no basic difference between his idea of government and that of any other garden-variety totalitarian. It's all a matter of practical politics.

    I'm certain that even Tony would bridle at what sort things his State would do.

  • kinnath||

    Tone, almost of your posts fail at basic logic.

    Statement 1) If the government offers a service to the population, then all members have a right to equal access to the service(true).

    Statement 2) If the government offers a service to the population, it's because the population had a fundamental right to get that service (almost always false).

    Our government has throughout its history peformed tasks it has not legitimate authority to perform because humans are fallible.

    The voting population behaves as though a 50% plus one majority means the majority has the "right" to do what it wants. When in fact the consitution exists to prevent this simple majority from stomping on the rights of the minority.

    The courts are supposed to act to halt cases when the simple majority steps out of line and abuses the rights of the minority. However, the humans on the court are subject to human failings and routinely fail to set aside unconstituional actions.

    Those of us focussed on "negative" rights are striving to overcome human failings and get the state to undo the unconstitutional acts of the past.

    Progressives use past human failures to justify new human failures.

  • Tony||

    It's not your job to decide what's constitutional. All you're saying is "I don't like this government action, therefore it's unconstitutional." The Constitution is not a libertarian document.

  • kinnath||

    The constitution defines a hand-full of responsibilities for the federal government. ALL other work that the federal government has taken upon itself is by definition unconsitutional, since it was accomplishe without ammeding the constitution.

  • Tony||

    If courts decide that an action is constitutional, it is by definition constitutional. Sure they've made broad interpretations here and there, with regard to general welfare and interstate commerce and such. But to say all government actions besides the enumerated powers are unconstitutional is just simply false. There are built-in ways to determine constitutionality, and it's not "ask a random libertarian dude what he thinks."

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Bullshit, Tony. The US Constitution was written in plain language that anyone could rightly understand for a fucking reason. Get a clue.

  • Tony||

    It is written in vague language open to a wide range of interpretation. That simply a matter of fact; if it were otherwise then we wouldn't need courts, we could just decide all disputes with a simple computer program.

  • kinnath||

    I postulated that the courts are fallible and that the decisions of the court are at least occasionally, if not frequently, incorrect.

    Is it your position that the modern supreme court has the authority to decide the Dred Scott was actually correct the first time, so slavery could be deemed to be constitutional after all.

  • Tony||

    Who else is gonna decide? Magic freedom elves? If something is called constitutional by the legitimate authority that decides such things, it is by definition so.

  • kinnath||

    So then the modern supreme court has the authority to make slavery legal again in the US?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Yeah, Kinnath, that's quite clearly Tony's position. Unbeknownst to him, I would suspect.

  • Tony||

    Why is slavery illegal in the first place? An angel didn't descend and declare it so. Theoretically the people, via the government they elect, have the power to do anything as long as they abide by the established rules. Who is gonna stop them? A benevolent libertarian despot? A deity? This is why it's called the worst system except for all the others.

  • short, fat bastard||

    Why is slavery illegal in the first place?

    Because it's a blatant violation of someone's unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    But that's not actually in the Constitution, right Tony.

  • Tony||

    Wrong. The 13th amendment made it illegal. Until that time, incidentally, the marketplace made slavery very profitable.

  • short, fat bastard||

    So it's not illegal because it's mallum per se, it's merely mallum prohibitum.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Ok, first off... You're confusing the illegality of an activity with rights, yet again stemming from the fact that you don't really know what rights even are.

    It's quite simple though. EVERYONE has the *right* not to be enslaved. Historically, many governments & individuals have violated people's right to be free from slavery however. This is unfortunate. And yes, in the US the 13th Amendment made Slavery illegal - that, however, did not *add* a right to those who formerly didn't have it. They ALWAYS had the right to be free. Always.

    What the 13th Amendment did was *correct* the government's previous violation of said right.

    Secondly, the market can make just about anything profitable - that's the cool thing about it. Markets are entirely morally neutral because they're merely the natural way of people trading and exchanging goods. As sickening as it is that many governments thought that people could classify as tradable goods (which is obviously, as noted above, completely wrong) - the market provided those goods efficiently and successfully.

    What's funny is, as awful as the topic is, you've shot yourself in the foot because here is a situation where A. private property was respected and B. trading was allowed more or less free from any particularly onerous government intervention and the results were a highly successful (albeit quite evil) industry which brought new wealth to both buyers & sellers.

    The trouble is, of course, human beings aren't "goods" to be owned or sold by anyone (except of course, themselves). So you're really messing up here, Tony - Slavery was a government institution first and foremost, AND, you've discovered markets as a way to economic success - independent of the goods they are providing to meet demand.

    But again, the point is that all humans have the right to be free to do with their lives what they wish, so while buyers & sellers may have benefited from slave trading, the human beings as slaves most certainly did not. Thus, buyers & sellers of slaves were engaged in an activity that violated the rights of other human beings - and for that reason, the whole institution needed to go. Thus governments which protected human beings as "property" to be traded had to be stopped, and the 13th Amendment then was a correction of the violation of people's rights - and again, it did not "give" any rights to anyone.

    I guess what's even greater about all this is that you don't seem to grasp the soft-slavery currently being imposed on everyone as a result of all the wonderful things you support. Sad though.

  • smartass sob||

    If something is called constitutional by the legitimate authority that decides such things, it is by definition so.

    No, it is not - and the legitimate authority or Supreme Court would be the first to tell you so. It would, in fact, be highly exercised at the suggestion that its pronouncement is what makes something constitutional. Its view would be that something is or is not constitutional objectively or in fact - ie., regardless of its own perception of it.

  • JoshInHB||

    Tony,
    perhaps you sould try reading the constitution.

    9th Amendment
    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    10th Amendment
    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    It is perhaps an irreconcilable moral question, but I also think you're mischaracterizing the 18th century ideas you refer to. Among the freedoms that individuals enjoy is the freedom to set up a government, whose function is to regulate our lives to some extent.

    Indeed, a group of individuals have the freedom to associate, call their association "government", and agree on a set of rules under which they will act. However, that in itself does not mean the "government" can spread its powers to govern over those that did NOT agree to associate with the first individuals nor accept their rules.

    Just because a set of people call it "government", does not mean that body has the right to govern over others. So far, clubs and organizations can perfecly set up their rules and obligations to live under, but that does not make them binding on others, for instance, I do not have to abide to the rules of the Kiwanis Club nor the Catholic Church.

    Enlightenment democracy isn't about only the right to sit in your basement and eat cheetos without people bugging you.

    If you cannot exercise that choice, then what good can there be from this so-called Enlightened Democracy?

  • Tony||

    Now we're getting into social contract theory. According to the contract you have with your fellow citizens, which you became a party to upon birth according to the rules of the system you were born into, via custodianship of your citizen parents, there are certain rules you must obey and certain rights you enjoy. You have every right to renounce your citizenship and move abroad.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Really Tony, have you ever looked into how that works? You realize that it's nearly impossible to do this without already being a citizen of another country, right?

    What if, for argument's sake, you actually didn't want to be the property of *any* government? What then?

  • Tony||

    There are about 200 governments to choose from. In any marketplace that would be considered a large enough pool of competition. I may want a flying Hummer but if one doesn't exist, that's just too bad. In the marketplace of goods and the marketplace of governments there is no guarantee that you'll get everything exactly as you want.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    It seems you're missing the point, Tony - as usual.

    Let me repeat what I wrote for you so it can sink in one more time:

    What if, for argument's sake, you actually didn't want to be the property of *any* government? What then?

    What if I find the idea that someone else having the power to take my time & effort and the products of my labor by force is immoral and unacceptable? What if I actually want a life where I get to choose who I deal with, why I deal with them, and under what terms, without having a gun at my back compelling me to do what rulers I didn't elect & haven't asked for want me to do?

    Attaching myself to one of the other 200 Governments around the world doesn't exactly help that situation, does it?

  • Tony||

    Perhaps not. I still want that flying Hummer, but the marketplace hasn't produced it, so I'm SOL on that particular desire. If you want to live in an anarchy there are several countries that come close. But you can't expect to find perfection in any market, can you?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    You realize that government and markets aren't the same thing right? One involves one-sided force taking from one party who has no ability to walk away from the deal, and the other involves trade where exchange is mutually beneficial ex ante or the trade doesn't take place... right?

    You get that there is no comparing having 200 options of varying degrees of tyranny, but not having the option *not* to exist under that condition at all isn't a market - it's all force, it's just a difference of degrees.

    And the US used to be one of the *lowest* degrees of tyranny you could find... and when that was the case, we were the world's largest creditor, thriving economically and people from virtually everywhere around the world wanted to come here. Now... People want to go to Singapore & Hong Kong.

    And no, Tony, I can't think of any nations that "come close" to anarchy. I'm sure you'll regale me with tales of Somalia though, where once centralized government has been replaced by dozens of warlords... Alas, that would properly be described as Feudal, and not "anarchy".

  • Tony||

    That's because anarchy is completely unsustainable. People are social animals. If it's the case that you can't find a piece of land on this planet without any authority, sorry, there's a finite amount of land and you are one guy. Who ever said anyone is entitled to a perfect country? You live in one of the freest societies that has ever existed and you're still bitching that it's too oppressive. Maybe you need to grow the fuck up, ever consider that?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Tony, does your dictionary define "anarchist" as "someone who wants less government than Tony does"?

  • ||

    And you live in one of the wealthiest countries in the history of earth and are still bitching about all the shit other people have more than you.

  • Barack Obama||

    Once I jack up the tax rates, we'll have that utopia I so desire to create.

  • .||

    You live in one of the freest societies that has ever existed and you're still bitching that it's too oppressive. Maybe you need to grow the fuck up, ever consider that?

    Actually you are the one that is usually bitching that you are "oppressed" because you aren't provided with free health care and other goods and services.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Has it ever bothered to occur to you to figure out how exactly it is that the United States produced the unprecedented prosperity it has been slowly eating away at for the last 70 years?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Oh yeah, also, I think we've covered this in the past, but last I checked, "Social Contract" theory is bullshit.

    I've neither signed, nor agreed to, nor ever read, nor authorized any such contract and legitimate contracts can only exist between parties who are freely able to choose to enter into them. And supposing that I did accept the horrendously flawed premise that simply because I was *born* in a particular geographical location, I am a subject of such a government that exists there... Then the only sensible conclusion would be that the terms of the "contract" would be the written Constitution. In the case of hte United States, the Constitution as written has been clearly violated a thousand times over. So it's the *government*, and not me or anyone else who's displeased with the way things are going, who has broken the terms of the deal. I still pay my taxes, I pay for parking tickets and register my car... I live up to my end of the non-existent contract every day of my life. But the government does not. So how does that get addressed? Unfortunately, they're the ones with the big guns.

  • Tony||

    No provision of the social contract says that because Sean W. Malone declares something unlawful, it is so. The contract, which yes includes the constitution, provides for the means to arbitrate these questions.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Again, you raving fucktard, the Constitution is in EASY TO UNDERSTAND language! The fact that you can't understand it is sad, but it doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of our Government's actions over the past 100 years have been completely against the Constitution.

    Let me give you a simple one: To go to war according to the US Constitution, the Congress must ratify a declaration of war. Name me the last time that's happened with respect to US military action internationally?

    Think back, Tony... Think back real hard there...

    I don't feel the need to provide you with the 10s of thousands of other examples, both large & small, that fit this category of unconstitutional problem.

    Another fundamental issue for you - is that you clearly don't understand the flaw in the judicial & legislative system that allows easier access to unconstitutional laws. That flaw is simple: Laws aren't reviewed for constitutionality as they are written, and are only struck down after the fact by the Supreme Court. So it takes years, sometimes 10-15 for that process to play itself out... In the meantime, legislators write *other* laws around the first one (i.e. Dept. of Homeland Security and associated offshoots like the TSA) and it become harder and harder to reverse the problem. This doesn't make the initial legislation any more Constitutional than it was when it was written, but it does make it increasingly difficult to strike down.

    Unfortunately, your lack of understanding of this problem seems to have lead you to this bizarre and very naive position that actually does beg the question and puts you in the position of essentially asserting that all laws are constitutional, and we know that because there can't be any laws that aren't which the Supreme Court hasn't eliminated.

    It's naive, it's stupid, it's perfectly predictable from you...

    But it doesn't have a damn thing to do with "my" declarations. It has everything to do with decent reading comprehension and a cursory understanding of history & 18th Century political philosophy... Sadly, you lack all of the above.

  • JoshInHB||

    Sean Malone-"Laws aren't reviewed for constitutionality as they are written, and are only struck down after the fact by the Supreme Court. So it takes years, sometimes 10-15 for that process to play itself out... In the meantime, legislators write *other* laws around the first one "

    Sometimes SCOTUS realizes that they made a bad decison with terrible results and overturn all the precedence in one fell swoop.

    Plessy v Ferguson was one such bad decision.

    Hopefully the court will realize that Wickard v Filburn was another such bad call and overturn it.

    Not holding my breath.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Also, of course, you see how your answer precludes the possibility of ever being wrong, right?

    Your arguments work like this:

    1. There is a social contract you are born into which obligates you to do everything the government says.
    2. If you disagree with what the government is telling you to do, too bad, you're contractually obligated to obey anyway.
    3. Fuck you.

    If the government does something against the contract - in your world - it's legitimate 100% of the time, because by mere product of being the government, anything they do is lawful and thus acceptable.

    If you don't like it... Move somewhere else. Awesome.

    The universe you live in makes my brain hurt.

  • Tony||

    Obviously governments can overstep their bounds. Our system is set up to at least attempt to prevent that, with checks and balances and its system of jurisprudence.

    But you try violating a law and trying to escape punishment because you declare the law illegitimate and see how far that gets you. You are only obligated to follow the rules of the system insofar as you care about the consequences of not doing so. That's why it's a contract.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    AGAIN, Tony. Try to understand this.

    The GOVERNMENT is the one that violated the "contract", insofar as that contract is on display as the US Constitution. They have done so repeatedly. The language used to explain their powers in the Constitution is quite clear overall... You like to pick "gray" areas like the Social Welfare clause while ignoring virtually everything else that is so clearly spelled out you cannot possibly "interpret" it.

    So when the Government's "checks and balances" have all but been eliminated (which is largely true in the US), and they do things blatantly in violation of the contract - exactly what is the recourse for the average person (who isn't in control of a 3 million+ member army with tanks & aircraft) who is getting screwed by that abrogation of contracted duty?

    You're right Tony, if I try to violate illegitimate laws, I get a boot up my ass. If government violates the law, then - according to your circular reasoning - the violation is the new law.

    This is precisely how we wind up torturing and wiretapping people, not to mention converting a somewhat competitive market into pure socialist fascism, and the government gets to hide behind the facade of everything being "legal", as if A. it is remotely legal to begin with, and B. that the supposed legality isn't created by those individuals seeking the power, and C. that legality somehow translates into moral acceptability.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    AGAIN, Tony. Try to understand this.

    The GOVERNMENT is the one that violated the "contract", insofar as that contract is on display as the US Constitution. They have done so repeatedly. The language used to explain their powers in the Constitution is quite clear overall... You like to pick "gray" areas like the Social Welfare clause while ignoring virtually everything else that is so clearly spelled out you cannot possibly "interpret" it.

    So when the Government's "checks and balances" have all but been eliminated (which is largely true in the US), and they do things blatantly in violation of the contract - exactly what is the recourse for the average person (who isn't in control of a 3 million+ member army with tanks & aircraft) who is getting screwed by that abrogation of contracted duty?

    You're right Tony, if I try to violate illegitimate laws, I get a boot up my ass. If government violates the law, then - according to your circular reasoning - the violation is the new law.

    This is precisely how we wind up torturing and wiretapping people, not to mention converting a somewhat competitive market into pure socialist fascism, and the government gets to hide behind the facade of everything being "legal", as if A. it is remotely legal to begin with, and B. that the supposed legality isn't created by those individuals seeking the power, and C. that legality somehow translates into moral acceptability.

  • Tony||

    I believe torture was illegal. I hope that the system is strong enough to punish any and all responsible for the illegal act. But it's not my job to declare it illegal, it's for our system of jurisprudence. I'm not prepared to be as cynical and nihilistic as you. Our government isn't perfect but it could be a lot worse. There could be no consent of the governed at all, just a king and his arbitrary will.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Well Tony, I think it's time that you wake the fuck up and realize that that's nearly what we have now.

    Massive, society altering legislation happens every year that has no public support what so ever. The bailouts of 2008-2009 being an obvious example, the Iraq War being a wonderful example, the current health care bill being a pretty huge example... It doesn't matter. Neither does your vote. Welcome to the real world.

  • Barack Obama||

    "no consent of the governed at all, just a king and his arbitrary will"

    Jesus, Tony, I'm working on it, oKAY?

  • Marc||

    Your arguments work like this...

    You forgot
    4. Repeat ad nauseam.

    Otherwise, accurately and nicely summarized.

  • Old Mexican||

    Now we're getting into social contract theory. According to the contract you have with your fellow citizens,

    There is no such things as "social contracts", Tony. Contracts are agreements between two consenting parties. The concept of "social contract" was an invention to justify the existence of the State, or to put it more succinctly, just another case of circular thinking.

  • Jeffersonian||

    OM, how's about you and I work out a social contract whereby we take all of Tony's shit and have a big party with it?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Can I be in on that one?

  • Tony||

    The state can justify its own existence without social contract theory. "I get my authority to enslave you from God" is a common one. Social contract theory provides a framework for people to enact a legitimate government that exists via their consent.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    False. I didn't give my consent - neither did anyone else I've ever met.

  • Tony||

    Your consent comes from when your parents, acting as your custodian, chose your place of citizenship upon your birth. No further action is required to continue the agreement, and you can renounce your citizenship at any time and thereby dissolve your agreement. Or you may have explicitly entered into the contract yourself by becoming a naturalized citizen.

    There are many contracts that take this form; that is, the agreement remains until explicitly revoked.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    And yet again, here we have you arguing that a contract can exist which I never gave consent to, nor signed, nor have any way out of without abandoning my family, friends and life - purely because you assert that a government has the power to control me on the basis that that's where I was born.

    Dumbass.

    You know what else Tony? The Bible is true & provides all moral and legal authority, because God wrote the Bible, and we know God is true because the Bible says so...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Seriously though, Tony - you've replaced "God granted me the authority to be your ruler" with something that's almost worse: "Government gave me the power to be your government".

    WTF

  • Tony||

    What you seem to be arguing is that it's not fair for the enforcer of the contract to be a signer of the contract. But that's what checks and balances are for. The contract isn't just between government and people, it's between the branches of government, local and federal jurisdictions, and the people.

    You sign a lease to an apartment. You don't own the apartment, and you don't own the country. At most you own some property within the apartment, or the country.

  • Barack Obama||

    My minion, Tony, is absolutely correct.

    He doesn't know HOW correct he is, though, because I have yet to exercise My Will as I see fit... but I'm working on it with Hugo and Kim Jong in the war room as I type this entry.

  • Tony||

    Or you could try not being such a moralistic libertarian absolutist and stick with your friends and family and try to influence the pretty-good system you happen to live under. All I'm saying is that government(s) have jurisdiction over you because of the geographical place of your residence. You enjoy the benefits of that system immediately, and you also have obligations immediately (don't kill people). And as a bonus you are free to renounce it all if you really feel that oppressed. Can you explain what system would be preferable? That at birth, every man is an island, with his own laws? How would that work out?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Or you could try not being such a moralistic libertarian absolutist and stick with your friends and family and try to influence the pretty-good system you happen to live under.

    First off, that is primarily what I'm doing, but it galls me to no end that I even have to. The America I was told about in history class in school not only doesn't exist now but it hasn't for over 100 years... The lessons of the Constitution I learned in my Civics class have been entirely abandoned.

    I frankly, shouldn't have to work this hard to save sheep like you from destroying the very core of the system that provides you with "benefits". The US was at one time a nation that had liberty built into it's charter - that was the first time that's ever happened, and the US is unquestionably the most successful nation of all time. It's now declining because the framework that made our progress possible - i.e. well protected property rights, highly limited government that was based on actual laws rather than the whims of the rulers, and a comparatively massive amount of liberty for people to pursue their own values - is being systematically demolished. It's being demolished precisely by people like you who don't seem to be capable of understanding some very simple concepts, for instance: You cannot promise people a "right" (privilege) to have a good or a service without first denying the (actual) rights of those who create & provide it - meaning you are legitimizing theft. When you do stuff like this, the country moves from one based in evenly applied laws protecting the individual and his life, time, money & property into a kleptocracy where the currently favored group benefits at the expense of everyone else.

    I shouldn't need to spend my life dealing with this shit, Tony - yet I do. I can't make any promises as to how much longer I will keep fighting though, at some point, I will give up and leave you to get exactly the economy & the society you deserve as a consequence of the government you've chosen and watch the rise of tyranny from somewhere else.

    All I'm saying is that government(s) have jurisdiction over you because of the geographical place of your residence.

    One of the weakest arguments for enslaving people of all time. It's also strangely, and annoyingly, American-centric... I guess if you live in North Korea... Tough luck, huh? You were born there, so Kim Jong Il owns your ass. Right, Tony?

    You enjoy the benefits of that system immediately, and you also have obligations immediately (don't kill people).

    If only the government also had the obligation not to kill people. Funny how one-sided these things are...

    I get the obligation to pay about a 50% tithe or higher in perpetuity, I can have the obligation not to do anything that might piss off the ruling class, and the obligation to do what I'm told - or I can enjoy the benefit of watching as the rulers come with guns, lock me up, steal all of my things and then fine me for the pleasure.

    Of course, if I had been born even 50 years ago, perhaps I would have had the actual benefit of being able to pursue some of my own ambitions in an environment that wasn't crushing and economically impossible. Perhaps the value of my currency would have still been worth something, and perhaps I wouldn't have been burdened against my consent with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to other nations - and thus there might have been capital available for starting the projects I actually want to start.

    Instead, I was born more recently, and I have the distinct "benefit" of seeing government idiocy cause a 1000+% decline in the value of the dollar, politicians incurring heaping piles of debt on my behalf, economically illiterate policies push unemployment higher & higher, causing first a decline in the value of a college degree coupled with massive increases in education costs, then watching as the same thing happens in health care & housing - all the while watching everything else that the government has more or less left alone decline in price by huge percentages...

    Yeah... Great benefits. Perhaps I should just have been born 30 years earlier.

    And as a bonus you are free to renounce it all if you really feel that oppressed.

    Right, which is great, since your options are Oppressive Place A, or marginally less Oppressive Place B.

    Can you explain what system would be preferable?

    Sure, Tony. It's simple... The system is to just get the hell out of everyone else's lives. I'll take care of me - and my family, and my community, and everything else that I deem important to me - and you can take care of you. We respect each other's property, and agree that if either of us want something from each other, we obtain it by offering something in exchange - a trade - and we don't simply hire thugs with guns to take it. We back that up by protecting our own property with tools and hired help if need be, purely for defense, and if we have more complex dealings, we write contracts which stipulate how arbitration will be handled if one party was lying or causes damages.

    If you simply must have a government for that purpose, then you limit that government exclusively to making sure people aren't initiating force against one another - they aren't stealing, killing, defrauding, or attacking each other. It's a small, but important roll which is, as it stands, pretty easy to achieve on very little money - which should only be raised by bond auctions or voluntary fund drives. No IRS, no taxes.

    That at birth, every man is an island, with his own laws? How would that work out?

    Repeat after me Tony: "Government and Society are not the same thing"

    Don't conflate the two. No one is an island, we are all connected in one way or another and that's great. That doesn't give you the right to force other people to do what you want, in fact, since we know and can easily demonstrate that people have unique values, hopes, dreams & other goals or interests, forcing people to do what you want - to give you their time or their products, to give you their money, to behave how you want them to (provided, again, such behavior isn't attacking or harming anyone else) - is is not only immoral, but a disastrous condition socially & economically.

    I would like to stop moving towards the disaster, and move back away from it. Quit doubling down on failed policies, go for more freedom.

  • ||

    if Tony had been born in Nazi Germany, he would have been a "good german". He would have obeyed the laws of the Nazi state, because it was legitimately elected according to the "social contract", and he would have turned over Jews to the Gestapo, because that's what the government told him to do, and the government has the right to control his actions.

  • Barack Obama||

    You tell 'em, lowly servant to My Glorious Works!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Social contract theory provides a framework for people to enact a legitimate government that exists via their consent.

    That is circular thinking. Haven't you consider that it is implicit in your argument that if people were interested in a social contract, then they would not need a government? And if they need a government to enfirce it, then there was never a contract to begin with?

  • ||

    We're getting sidetracked here. Tony, what you have to explain is how it make sense to take the life (i.e., the time spent working) of one person to extend the life of someone else. When I work, I'm trading my life for money, I'm giving up everything else I could be doing with my time (enjoying my family, kayaking, golfing, whatever) in exchange for something I value more (security, goods, etc). That decision is mine because that life and time is mine. To take that time away from me is to literally steal my life. To what? Help someone else live . . . at the expense of my life. Your moral calculus zeros out.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    FYI, another lie:

    If You Like Your Health Plan, You Will NOT Be Able to Keep It
    I like my employer’s health plan. Today I learned that under both the Senate and the House bills, I won’t be able to keep my plan. Both bills require reductions in health reimbursement benefits under my plan.

    Both the Senate and the House health bills slash a significant part of my employer’s health plan — the Health Flexible Spending Account — restricting them to $2500 and restricting what they can used for.

    That single change in my health plan (and my wife’s) will cause our family to pay a couple thousand dollars more each year in income taxes, and yet my FSA might still cause my employer’s plan to trigger the 40% Senate tax on Cadillac plans (I don’t know enough about the full cost of our plans to know)....

  • kinnath||

    Since Tony is such the scholar, please explain if the clause to support the general welfare of the of the US is superior to all the other clauses in the preamble or if the other clauses, such as securing the blessings of liberty, impose any restrictions on what the state may do to promote the general welfare.

    Do you have a position on whether the explicitly defined powers of congress represent the true limitations on promoting the general welfare or whether these items were just intended to be a starting point for accumulating new powers in the future?

    Preamble

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Section 8 - Powers of Congress

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

  • Tony||

    There are two questions here. One about the abstract power of any government to act. Clearly since some functions are allowed (paid for by taxes of course), then it's not inconceivable that other functions are justifiable. It's flatly contradictory to say that some taxes that pay for some services are morally okay, but other taxes paying for other services are immoral theft.

    The other question is what does our government have the power to do given its own rules. My answer is that the rules themselves have provisions for deciding this very question. I don't have to arbitrarily decide whether an action is in the service of the general welfare or is necessary and proper because that's what the courts are for. The constitutional language is simply too vague to provide an unarguable definition of government's proper role. I say this is a feature and not a drawback. It makes things flexible enough to deal with reality.

    Now I'm happy that courts have interpreted the relevant clauses broadly. A government as restricted as you want it to be would result in much fewer individual liberties than we actually enjoy. But the fact that I like it doesn't make it right, just as the fact that you don't like it means the courts have done something illegal in deciding these issues broadly.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Freedom is Slavery. War is Peace.

  • George Orwell ||

    I should never have invented Newspeak.

  • wackyjack||

    The fact that you consider the Constitution vague explains a lot.

    And, yes. The uses for tax revenues are absolutely related to the validity of the tax itself.

  • Tony||

    The fact that you consider the Constitution vague explains a lot.

    The fact that you're pretending it's not tells me you have your particular political beliefs and you want to give them an artificial boost of legitimacy by declaring them, without justification, to be the product of a clear reading of the constitution.

    The uses for tax revenues are absolutely related to the validity of the tax itself.

    But one tax can't be legitimate while another is immoral theft. Unless you're an anarchist you have to concede that taxes in and of themselves are legal and morally justifiable. What they pay for is another question altogether, a matter of policy.

  • wackyjack||

    So what is this vagueness in the Constitution? Put up some passages that give you trouble and I'm sure the community will help you out.

  • Tony||

    Oh I'm sure y'all have your fringe interpretation of many clauses in the constitution. I have my interpretations as well, but I'm not going around saying my interpretation is gospel (regardless of how few people or whether the courts may agree with me).

  • short, fat bastard||

    If your only purpose is to say that legal scholars have been arguing for centuries and that you have no opinion on your own, then just shut the fuck up.

    The point of an open forum is to allow lots of people with strong opinions to express them so that someone may perhaps learn a thing or two.

    If you have no opinions of your own to express, you are merely obscuring the discussion with chaff.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "General welfare" doesn't mean "welfare, generally-interpreted", Tony.

    Again, if there's a "right" to health care, then we should all be getting food, shelter, clothing, jobs, and transportation on the dole right along with it. Because it's stupid to expect fully-functional, able-bodied adults to actually pay for their own upkeep. Right?

  • The Foudning Fathers ||

    Pay attention to the Tenth Amendment, Tony. We put it in there for a good reason.

    What your party, and the Republicans, have done with that simple owners' manual we wrote for your ungrateful asses, AND the country WE created for you, is a disgrace.

    You're lucky we're all dead, or we'd kick the shit right out of all of you liberals AND your far-right doppelgangers.

  • ||

    My answer is that the rules themselves have provisions for deciding this very question. I don't have to arbitrarily decide whether an action is in the service of the general welfare or is necessary and proper because that's what the courts are for. The constitutional language is simply too vague to provide an unarguable definition of government's proper role. I say this is a feature and not a drawback. It makes things flexible enough to deal with reality.

    Shorter Tony: "I'm so happy there is someone else to do my thinking for me. That way I can simply follow orders instead of dealing with messy reality."

  • kinnath||

    The constitutional language is simply too vague to provide an unarguable definition of government's proper role.

    On the contrary, the constitutional is crisp, clean, and clear enough that a grade school student could understand it. It only becomes vague to people that want it to mean things it doesn't -- this applies to social conservatives that want to regulate private behavior as much as it applies to progressives that want to make us all wards of the state.

    - - - -

    I'm bailing out of work and heading in the rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow here in balmy Iowa.

    Good wishes to all those that celebrate the various holidays as well as those that don't.

  • Tony||

    Really? If the meaning of a text has been debated for centuries then I think that makes a strong case that it's not precise and clear-cut. The fact that the bodies responsible for interpreting that language have for the most part not found what you want them to find means not only is the language imprecise, but that your interpretation of it is not commonsense enough to appeal to most people or the relevant authorities.

  • wackyjack||

    Good grief, Tony. At least read what people write.

    The reason the Constitution has been debated is because people want to find validation for their grand ideas.

  • kinnath||

    Depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is then?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony, I hope you realize that Jefferson, Wilson, Paine, and Madison in particular deliberately went out of their way to write the Constitution in plain language so that the common person would be able to understand it.

    They did this because they were of the opinion that any government who's fundamental principles could not be easily understood by the average citizen was going to be intrinsically tyrannical.

    Funny how you are now arguing that it's totally ok if the meaning is willfully obscured, failing entirely to realize that the more it becomes obscured the more the document legitimizes precisely the kind of tyranny (and in fact on a much grander scale) than anything the Founding Father's had to deal with.

    Here is a group of people who started a revolution over *the principle* of a 2% excise tax and you seem to think the document that came out of that revolution legitimizes the theft of 90+% of some people's earnings?

    What PLANET are you on, Tony?

  • Tony||

    Earth, what about you? Here, the complaint was a lack of representation, not the very idea of taxation. On the planet earth any idiot knows that taxes are necessary to the maintenance of human civilization. Except libertarian crazies who want a free lunch out of everything while condemning everyone else for being parasites.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I wouldn't take a free lunch if I were on the brink of starvation.

    Would you?

    NOW who's the parasite, Tony?

  • Tony||

    You want your life exactly as it is, minus the taxes and government. Well your life would be pretty shitty without taxes and governments so if you're going to bitch about them move to some lawless swamp somewhere and stop taking up the services I pay for. Libertarians want the rewards of civilization and none of the responsibilities. The only thing you are in favor of is a free lunch, you just don't realize it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Bullshit.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Damn, hit "enter" too early...

    Bullshit. We want less taxes AND less government - which is how it will work if given a chance.

    By your grasp of logic, we can only exist with shitloads of government and high tax rates. More isn't better, Tony.

    Would you rather have ten dogs shit in your yard, or ten million?

  • ||

    It's erroneous to equate "civilization" with "government".

    Much of the progress of human history has been in getting rid of government. Not creating more of it. We started off all slaves to the God-king. Over the next severeal millenia, in fits and starts, with many reversals, we gradually rescicted the power of governments further and further.
    Civilization has flourished in weak states. It has been stifled in strong ones.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    That's absurd Tony, how can you be so retarded? You're the one sitting here advocating that people can have a "right" to other people's hard earned money, time & products - and you're accusing *US* of wanting a free lunch?

    We're the bunch who invented TINSTAAFL for fucks sake!

    I don't want a free lunch Tony, I want you to quit taking my stuff, quit pretending I owe you and whoever else you deem worthy a living off the back of my labor. Without governments or with extremely minimal ones, people have gotten along exceedingly well many times throughout history, and with technology as it is today largely as a result of particularly America's previously pro-liberty, pro-competition market place, it's easier now than ever before.

    But all that we built America on, you and your ideological flock are busy destroying. Good luck with the results.

  • ComradeZero||

    I hadn't realized that you and all other libertarians were over 200 years old.

  • JoshInHB||

    Its pretty clear that Tony and all other progs think the constitution is bullshit.
    Something to get around, not a charter for how to run a limited government.

    Plus it helps to think that the constitution only means what 5 lawyer-political hacks say it means.

  • ||

    A government as restricted as you want it to be would result in much fewer individual liberties than we actually enjoy.

    O RLY?

  • wackyjack||

    If you believe that your rights are given by the government, then yes. A bigger government can grant bigger rights.

    If, however, your rights are inalienable (too big of a word, Tony?), then government can only infringe on your rights. For the most part, we can live with that. But other times, we draw a line in the sand.

  • Tony||

    Where do rights come from? And how do they persist without an institution in place to defend them?

    You can't get beyond the mystical explanation that rights somehow come from God or the universe. That may be a useful bit of rhetoric employed in the declaration of independence, but it's just not adequate.

  • wackyjack||

    Wow. Glad no one founded a country on rights that were endowed by a creator or anything.

  • Tony||

    As an atheist I find that explanation inadequate.

  • short, fat bastard||

    If there is no god and only government can grant rights, then there is no such thing as a human rights violation. The government grants rights; the government strips away rights; nothing matters.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Well, then, Tony, you can't use the "my brother's keeper" or any other moral argument in your quest for State-Run Shoddy-Assed Healtcare.

  • Tony||

    You can have morals without backing them up with "God said so." Better morals, imo.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You're the one equating morals with government, Tony.

    I'm certainly no fan of using religion as a basis for moral enforcement, but neither am I a fan of using government in that role, either.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I agree with you there - in fact, I would go so far as to say that you can *only* be moral without god... but the same is true for government.

    The point is that moral principles are things you do because they are right - not because someone threatens you with eternal damnation or jail if you don't do them. What's frustrating, Tony, is that you drop the idea of a mystical god, and replace it with a terrestrial one - Government.

    You sir, are then no more moral than anyone else precisely because your conception of rights isn't born from principle, but from jackboots and who ever has the biggest stick.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Godvernment!

    Ew.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Tony, I'm an atheist too - as most people know - have been forever. I don't accept that "god" or a "creator" in any specific sense granted me any rights, I'm flat out saying that because I am an autonomous self-owner (meaning, I am the final arbiter of all my actions), at the very most basic level of discussion - I OWN ME.

    You don't.

    Thus, I (not you) get to decide what I spend my time doing, who I spend that time with, what I do with the things that I create or have a hand in creating and by extension, what things I trade my labor for.

    It's fundamentally that simple. You don't own me. You don't get to place a lien on my life or demand that I pay you for any reason. What you get to do is offer me the possibility of voluntary exchange. If you've made something I want, and i have something you want, we may agree to trade - if not, you don't get to cry to Big Brother and have him point a gun in my face and take whatever you want from me anyway. That's the deal.

    You "own" you. I "own" me. I don't steal from you, control your actions or enslave you, you don't steal from me, control my actions and enslave me. We get along as a society partially due to our biological proclivity to be social, and partly because we rely on each other physically for the means of survival. When what you want collides with what I want, the solution is recognizing ownership - which in about 99/100 cases is pretty cut and dry.

    God is unnecessary in that picture.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Since Tony touts himself as Captain Communitarianism, I hereby demand he give us his home address so we can come over and raid his fridge and rifle through his DVD collection.

  • Tony||

    I don't have an agreement with you to loot my house. I do have an agreement with government to pay taxes as required by law and receive in return services only it can provide. Pretty simple arrangement. And if I don't like it I'm free to bitch all day long or leave. Is there some other way to go about things?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, you're saying everyone owns everything - not verbatim, but that's what you imply.

    SO... if you're "entitled" to money out of the wallet of a stranger, then that stranger is "entitled" to your stuff. Right?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    There's a LOT of other ways to go about things, starting with the idea that there are any services "only [government] can provide".

    I reject that notion out of hand. Everything that the government does can be handled better, cheaper, more efficiently and non-coercively by private actors.

    And if that were the case then instead of "bitching all day long", or "leaving" you would have option #3: Hire an alternate service provider, or option #4: Start your own business offering a service.

    I can currently hire private security, private legal arbitrators to deal with contract disputes, I can buy bottled water or have a pump built on my property, I can hire a firm to build a sewer or septic system for my house, I can generate electricity to power my needs quite easily without any government run power plant (though I'd be much happier to pay for power services from a competitive market of power providers), I can and have driven on private roads and I could (and probably will) send whatever children I eventually have to private schools.

    It doesn't matter what you name, a private option would be better - first because economically; market competition and a free price system produces far superior results simply because rational calculation is possible... and secondly, because morally; no one is forced to contribute to anything they don't wish to pay for.

    The moral side has some secondary upsides as well in my opinion - people learning to be more self-sufficient and autonomous is good for society overall because they must rely on critical thinking & problem solving skills to succeed, rather than relying on being able to force others to support them and make decisions for them...

    Tony, unfortunately, desperately wants someone to make all his decisions for him. Weak.

  • Tony||

    Since most of the history of humanity has consisted of mass enslavement rather than societies of free rugged individualists, the idea that you own yourself isn't totally self-evident. It's a moral principle based on an article of faith.

    Do you really expect to be able to enjoy the freedoms and luxuries of the civilization you happened to be born in and not contribute anything back? As I said, you're free to give up your citizenship, but as long as you're here you are compelled to live by the same rules as everyone else. What exactly do you want? You can't be this autonomous being here, there are too many taxpayer funded services you encounter daily. You are free to try other countries, but good luck finding much more freedom. Might try Europe, at least they are free from worrying about healthcare bankruptcy.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Who owns you, Tony? You, or the government? Or do we ALL own a piece of Tony?

    Ew. Forget I suggested the last bit.

    I'm nobody's property. My body, my choice. Sound familiar?

  • Tony||

    You own your personhood, unless you forfeit it by breaking laws. Then not only does government own your ass, your big hairy cell mate does too. Anyway, being an autonomous individual doesn't = having the right to possess every cent you manage to get your hands on.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Your style of governance would make everyone in America the property of the state, along with "every cent".

    Sorry, but that shit won't work.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Why do you make this about "cents" when you clearly don't understand what money is?

    To break this down for you Tony, money is nothing more or less than a voucher you get for your labor or the products thereof, which you can trade for someone else's labor or products.

    So the chain of logic is quite simple:

    Premise 1: I own me & every action I take as an individual - productive or otherwise.
    Conclusion 1: I control my time, my associations, and have ownership of all property I've used my time to either create myself or through voluntary arrangements with others, traded for.

    and...

    Premise 2: Money is representational of human labor & productive effort
    Conclusion 2: I do get to keep "every cent" I acquire through this process because I own 100% of my time and labor.

    See how this works, Tony? It's quite simple.

    You own exactly 0% of me.

    I own exactly 100% of me.

    Since money is merely an abstract, widely-accepted and easy to transport reflection of my time & labor, assuming my money has been acquired without coercion, then in fact I do get to keep all of it... And then, I can use all those cents to pay for things *I* deem necessary.

    Don't worry Tony, I pay my own insurance, I would gladly pay for some sort of personal physical protection (there's alarms in my apartment and lo-jack on my car already so that shouldn't be a huge issue)... I wouldn't, in that case, have to pay for military bases in 120 countries, or for you to have the brain replacement surgery you so desperately need.

    So once more, with feeling: I'll handle me. You handle you. Quit advocating the theft of my time & stuff. I don't appreciate it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    But, but... it's not YOUR time and stuff - it's Tony's!

    /snark

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Apparently.

    You know what's ridiculous about this though? Tony is gay. It blows my mind everytime I meet someone who fits into a category of oppressed people who then turn around and advocate for their oppressor.

  • JoshInHB||

    Tanony want to be "owned".

    He want to be some one's bitch.

    Unfortunately he's too ugly and anti-social to get a boyfriend.

    So he has mastubatory slave-owner fantasies about "government".

    Having a good looking black guy as the "man" enhances those fantasies.

  • ||

    Since most of the history of humanity has consisted of mass enslavement rather than societies of free rugged individualists, the idea that you own yourself isn't totally self-evident. It's a moral principle based on an article of faith.

    Yes, let's continue the time-honored human tradition of enslaving eachother.

    Human beings just aren't up to this freedom shit. They need masters.

  • Barack Obama||

    That's why I'm here, Hazel.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    It was self-evident enough for Thomas Jefferson... I seem to recall him writing about that somewhere famous... hmmmmmmmm.... what was that document again?

    Gosh, I can't remember. Maybe Tony can remember what I'm thinking of.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Where do rights come from? And how do they persist without an institution in place to defend them?

    Tony, if you cannot notice the basic contradiction of what you're asking, then you should have no business making arguments.

    You cannot argue with a question that rights do not exist and then that they can only exist if an institution is created to enforce them. That renders the existence of the institution meaningless.

  • Tony||

    I'm saying that whether I have the freedom to do something depends very heavily on whether someone is gonna beat me with sticks if I do so. Similarly, my freedom from something depends heavily on whether somebody else isn't imposing it on me. How are liberties and rights meaningful if they can be violated at will by anyone because there is no government to enforce them and arbitrate disagreements?

  • short, fat bastard||

    We just need to get some big enough sticks, then we can make Tony our slave. It's not like he has any inherent rights that can't be taken from him by a big bully.

  • Barack Obama||

    I've got my henchmen working on stick-gathering as we speak.

    These things take time , people. I can't destroy a Constitutional Republic AND the free market in just one year of throne-occupation.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    What you fail to grasp, Tony, is that Government is the one with the sticks. If you were arguing for government being limited *solely* to enforcing agreements and protecting people from aggression, then you'd be a libertarian. You're not however, you're the one constantly arguing for those sticks being used against people who aren't acting the way you think they should simply because you have different values than they have.

    I'm going to pimp my video again... hooray!

    The Fear of Violence: Governments vs. Liberty

  • Tony||

    That's exactly what you're doing. You are claiming your minimalist system of government is the only morally correct form. I'm making a different case. It's really simply a disagreement over policy. But I'm not the one making cosmic moral claims about my policy preferences.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    You're saying YOUR system of government is the only morally-correct form, Tony.
    Therefore, government = moral arbiter.

    Who's right here? Us, or you?

  • Tony||

    I don't know what the most moral form of government is. I believe in experimentation and pragmatism over being a slave to a rigid antigovernment principle that nobody would like if they had to experience it just because you say so.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    It's a rigid MINARCHIST principle, Tony. The bulk of true anarchists show up at anti-globalization rallies.

    You're conflating being a libertarian with "every one of 'em is an anarchist who hates ALL government". A few fit that profile, on a good day.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Hey man, I fit into the anarchist profile - but I think you're wrong about anti-globalists being anarchists anyway. Many of them are the oxymoronic "left libertarians" and "anarcho socialists" or even the dreaded "mutualist".

    Those types are hard to stomach though because the internal inconsistencies of their principles are so blatant and idiotic that they've managed to block out reality severely.

    At any rate, I've moved away from minarchy over the years purely because of people like Tony. Minarchy seemed to work in the US (sort of) for the 8 years Washington was president and that's about it after that. Everyone since then have expanded the powers starting with Adam's Alien & Sedition acts moving onto Jefferson's territorial expansion, up to today's crushing taxation, domestic spying and treating people like criminals for smoking or talking on the phone while in a car.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Sean, I just can't wrap my noggin around the idea of a stateless society. There HAS to be a way to make a minarchist system work... we put a flag on Mars, according to Maxine Waters [snark], for crissakes! Why can't we reinvent government and make it behave?

    Ever since I heard the term "night watchman state", it's stuck in my head as probably the best way to go. But it would take a LOT of oversight and severe, crippling penalties for ANY gov't official when they step over the line. That, IMO,is how it could be done - just toss the first fucker in prison when they ignore the Tenth Amendment. No trial, straight to the hoosegow.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Honestly, I don't think it can - minarchy is still built on some principle contradictions... Namely that a monopoly on force should exist and that taxation is moral. If you accept that people have a right to control their own bodies, ideas, labor, time, choices, etc... Then I don't see how anyone can legitimately support taxation, fundamentally, as a concept.

    The idea that you could build a society based on the principle that all men are free, and yet take X% of their productive effort by force is a serious problem.

    And that little bit of force just leads to bigger bits of force. America's done well because there are a lot of protections built in - though not nearly enough (I think we'd have done far better, for instance, if Thomas Jefferson's idea of all laws having to sunset at 19 years had been implemented) - which kept us from falling into abject tyranny right away. But note that even here, within only a few years of this country's existence John Adams went about prosecuting people for insulting the presidency. It doesn't take long for people to use the stick against the people.

    The only way out of this I see is eliminating the monopoly of force.

    Granted, I realize the practical problems that this presents, but i just don't see any reason that people can't set up private means of defense for themselves & their property. We do already anyway... But at least that actually reflects a condition by which we haven't institutionalized force as a means of human interaction. That, I think, is far preferable and I'd like to give it a shot.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Honestly, I don't think it can - minarchy is still built on some principle contradictions... Namely that a monopoly on force should exist and that taxation is moral. If you accept that people have a right to control their own bodies, ideas, labor, time, choices, etc... Then I don't see how anyone can legitimately support taxation, fundamentally, as a concept.

    The idea that you could build a society based on the principle that all men are free, and yet take X% of their productive effort by force is a serious problem.

    And that little bit of force just leads to bigger bits of force. America's done well because there are a lot of protections built in - though not nearly enough (I think we'd have done far better, for instance, if Thomas Jefferson's idea of all laws having to sunset at 19 years had been implemented) - which kept us from falling into abject tyranny right away. But note that even here, within only a few years of this country's existence John Adams went about prosecuting people for insulting the presidency. It doesn't take long for people to use the stick against the people.

    The only way out of this I see is eliminating the monopoly of force.

    Granted, I realize the practical problems that this presents, but i just don't see any reason that people can't set up private means of defense for themselves & their property. We do already anyway... But at least that actually reflects a condition by which we haven't institutionalized force as a means of human interaction. That, I think, is far preferable and I'd like to give it a shot.

  • ?||

    "being a slave to a rigid antigovernment principle"

    Said the man who wants a rigid PRO-government principle...

  • ||

    Tony, the difference between the minimalist form of government and yours, is that instituting the minimalist government does not compell you to do anything against your will. It merely prevents you from compelling others.
    You are, at ANY TIME free to form a health-care cooperative of your own accord. You can go out and campaign for donations and subcribers to this coop, get people to buy lifetime members, whatever the heck you want. Nobody is stopping you.

    The only thing we advocate stopping you from doing is forcibly compelling people who DON'T WANT TO JOIN your coop into joining it.

    You are perfectly free to form mini-governments and socialist enclaves within a libertarian state. Nobody will prevent you.

  • Chad||

    Sean, how can the government enforce ANYTHING without initiating force on innocent third parties?

    Once you concede that it is ok to tax in order to provide cops, courts, and soldiers, you have actually opened up a bottomless pit in your theory, as you have conceded that the use of force against people who did not use it is legitimate.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Therefore, Chad, government should do everything.

    Right?

  • Tony||

    You're not even trying not to be disingenuous here.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Me, or Hazel?

    I think both of us are dead-on serious, Tony. No disingenuosity here.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I have never conceded that it's ok to tax anyone!

    Ever.

    Find me a place where I've been inconsistent about that. Upthread I think the best you'll find is that I said a "government" might be able to exist that funds all it's operations with voluntarily paid fees and which doesn't have a monopoly on law enforcement. So, I never opened up said bottomless pit - though you are quite right that it is one.

    There is no level of institutionalized theft which is acceptable. Period. End of story.

    The fact that you use that argument to say "well, hey, even some libertarians think it's ok to tax people - so naturally we can tax everything all the time and grow gov't to where more people are being paid by it than are actually paying into it" is laughably absurd though. Just because some people find it ok to have a defense-only minarchy which does nothing but bare-bones services protecting the clearly guaranteed liberties of say - the Bill of Rights - doesn't mean that their minor inconsistency means you can go whole hog into the most bloated, tyrannical, controlling government of all time.

  • George Orwell||

    Dammit, I should never have written 1984 - idiots like Tony took it literally.

  • Old Mexican||

    *Sigh* Here's another example of the intellectual lazyness that stems from the left:

    Re: Tony,

    Every system of government in the world requires that people sacrifice some trivial rights [...]

    [Emphasis mine]

    What's a trivial right? One that does not jibe with you?

  • Tony||

    The right to beat old ladies with ferrets, for example. I gladly sacrifice that right so that when I'm an old lady I will be free from ferret beatings.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    You never had that right, Tony. You are not the master of the old lady and thus have no business violating her physical well-being by beating her in any way.

    You cannot have a "right" to initiate violence against someone else. So you aren't "giving up a right" by agreeing not to beat people up in exchange for not beating people up.... But what's doubly ironic, is that, as I noted above, you are constantly the one advocating that *someone else* (Governments) beat people up at your discretion.

  • Tony||

    In the absence of somebody threatening me with guns, I have the freedom to do pretty much anything, until someone comes along and exercises his freedom to club me over the head. Your assertion that nobody has the right to initiate violence either has police backing it up or it's just a meaningless platitude that I'm supposed to accept on faith and the honor system.

  • The Liberal Guy||

    So you're not an old lady yet , Tony?

  • Freud||

    Did one of my slips, didn't you?

  • Tony||

    And actually the "trivial" aspect isn't all-important. It's arguably not a trivial sacrifice not to be able to assault people. But knowing that I won't be assaulted with impunity is a good reason for me to give up the liberty to assault others.

  • Brian Trust||

    Remember kids: if you've never tried to steal from someone, then you can ward off any approaching thief by simply telling him you've already waived your right to steal, and so he has no right to steal from you.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Health care is NOT a right. Period.

    There's also no such thing as "positive rights". Again, period.

  • ||

    Basically, Tony has a very conservative attiude towards law and order. He thinks that it's every citizen's duty to obey the laws of the state, no matter how irrational or objectionable they may be.

    Actually, that's not quite true. He think that it's YOUR duty to obey the laws that HE benefits from and supports.

    In other words, his attitude is the attitude of everyone who is the priviledged beneficiary of the established order. Which liberals are, but pretend they aren't. They are always pretending to be the revolutionaries, resisting the establishment, when in fact, they are the establishment.

    The whole "it's a right because the majority says it's a right" argument is just another form of bootlicking the establishment. You could substitute "the king" for "the majority", and it would be equally repugnant.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I was arguing with a local-level liberal about the "evils" of tax resistance/protesting (which, oddly enough, she conflated as being EQUALLY evil), and I asked her why a NON-VIOLENT form of protest was such a bad thing.

    No answer but a lot of stammering and "Obama's gonna get you effing anarchists and throw you in Gitmo" (verbatim quote).

    Yeah, she was *that* stoopid.

  • Marc||

    Disco.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Disco is evil, too. Unlike being against high taxes, big government, and Tony.

  • Marc||

    I acknowledge the general truth of Hanlon's [sic] law: never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity. But I'm forced to conclude that there may be exceptions.

    The only reason Tony isn't goose-stepping is that he happened to be born in a decent country.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    A country that isn't perfect by his standards, Marc. He and his kind want to legislate it into something that fits THEIR concept of perfection, while requiring people to comply with the mandates handed down From On High in DC.

    Not my idea of freedom.

  • The Knee-Slapist||

    "But I'm not the one making cosmic moral claims about my policy preferences."

    Guffaw! It is to laugh, Tony! Oh, me sides are hurtin' from all the levity!

  • ||

    Tony and Chad,
    Think about it this way:
    A libertarian form of government is really more of a meta-government. It's a minimalist umbrella state designed to allow people to form peaceful voluntary arrangements to govern themselves, only existing to prevent violent conflict between groups or individuals within it, or against external threats.

    You can go ahead and form a social democratic enclave within this state if you want, but you can't force non-members to join or prevent members from leaving.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    +1, Hazel.

  • Marc||

    "Utopia is meta-Utopia."

  • Todd Rundgren||

    No, Utopia was a band I had back in the 80s and 90s.

  • Tony||

    Sounds pretty crappy to me.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's because you want the exact opposite of what Hazel laid out.

  • ||

    It's sounds crappy to you that you can't force people to join your commune or prevent people from leaving?

    So, you thought the Berlin Wall was morally permissible then? You're okay with conscription?

  • Marc||

    Hazel, you've seen how he argues. It DOES sound crappy to him that he can't force people to join or prevent people from leaving.

  • Tony||

    Why is it that every time I defend the very idea of the existence of a modern country over your goofy commune pockets, that also means I'm in favor of the Berlin wall and Hitler?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Because you want to turn our entire country into a goofy commune?

  • Tony||

    Seriously, vastly more people die from health issues than from war. What principle (apart from what you say is constitutional) makes one the legitimate role of national government and the other not?

  • Barack Obama||

    We must cure death itself, then. I'll get my science squad on it first of next week.

  • ||

    The sole purpose of the meta-government is to prevent violent conflicts.

    It exists to maintain this peaceful internal state so that all the individual within it are free to form their own voluntary self-governmental relations within it.

    Clearly, preventing foreign invasions is covered by that.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Social contract theory provides a framework for people to enact a legitimate government that exists via their consent.

    That is circular thinking. Haven't you consider that it is implicit in your argument that if people were interested in a social contract, then they would not need a government? And if they need a government to enforce it, then there was never a contract to begin with? This renders either the contract meaningless, or the function of the government redundant.

    If you don't get it, then let me explain it to you in plainer terms: What would be the point in agreeing on a purported "social contract" if you then need to create a government to enforce it? Why not simply dispense with the notion of a "social contract" and just create the enforcement institution?

    The circular thinking behind the "social contract" is obvious. It is clear the concept is nothing more than an ad hoc justification for the State.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    And, to boot, the system Tony wants will be mandatory... not counting those who will be exempt, like those who wrote themselves escape hatches.

    Don't want it? Too bad. Democrats are going to MAKE you take part, against your will. That's freedom , yo.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Seriously, vastly more people die from health issues than from war.

    Indeed, people have this nasty habit of dying.

    What principle (apart from what you say is constitutional) makes one the legitimate role of national government and the other not?

    There is no legitimate role for government, only those that are entirely made up by Statists, like for instance: "National" defense.

  • Marc||

    Indeed, people have this nasty habit of dying.

    I upmod thee.

  • Edwin||

    Gee, tony - great question, "what principle says that a government shouldn't provide for things other than the protection of rights?"

    I dunno? uhh..... REALITY!?? FUCKING REALITY!!!???

    Are we really supposed to believe that you're so fucking stupid that you actually believe that some 500 dipshits in DC whose only qualifications in anything are being able to get elected can provide healthcare for 300 million Americans?

    It's fucking Santa Claus thinking and you know it. The government:
    1. has no cost-cutting incentive - if they need more money they can just borrow more or tax more
    2. has no disincentive for crappy service
    3. Can legislate itself out of liability
    4. Will have a huge bureaucracy to spend to maintain to administer health care for 300 million americans
    5. That huge bureaucracy will be a huge lobbying group, so it will bve very difficult to cut costs there

    How the hell is that supposed to provide better care for people than private industries, which have to COMPETE and are LIABLE if they screw up?

    And don't complain about "denying coverage" with the liability thing - any state government could easilu=y write some laws to speed up the process of illegitamately-denied-coverage claims in courts.

    Yeah health care sucks now, but that's because it's governed by MASSIVELY INTRUSIVE laws. If you cared so much about healthcare, you'd at least let one or two states try the free-market approach, but no. You want to go the Santa Claus route.

    What principle says the government shouldn't provide special services? The principle that it CAN'T. IT IS NOT CAPABLE OF THAT. That kind of thinking is SANTA CLAUS THINKING.

    Life is harsh and brutal, and everyone has to work very hard just to get a little. That's the way of the world since time immemorial, and you can't legislate it out of existence.

  • Tony||

    You can't say government is incapable of doing what many governments around the world have succeeded in doing. You can't get around the fact that the general rule in the modern world is that market-based healthcare is less efficient than government-run systems. THAT'S a fact. All you have to offer is "if our market were more free, it would be even better than all those systems that are currently superior to ours." That's asking me to take on faith the idea that your precious free market will do something that there is no evidence whatsoever it can do, or even should do according to its own rules.

    I believe government is capable of whatever a smart electorate wants it to do. The biggest problem with government functioning in this country is antigovernment loons like you bashing us over the head with the idea that it is eternally incompetent.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Goddamnit you're stupid, Tony.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, Tony, government is capable of whatever a deluded, brain-washed, dependency-minded electorate wants it to do.

    You only cheerlead government when it is run by your fellow travelers. Traitorous, thieving idiots with Ds after their names whose only claim of "smart" is backed up by being able to bullshit enough voters by dangling freebies in front of them every two years.

    And it's idiots like you spewing phrases like "your precious free market" that make the government = universal caretaker of millions of grown adults, that make the slide steeper and faster.

    Grow the fuck up, and stop idolizing the ideals espoused by murderous dictators like Stalin and Che Guevara. Ask a North Korean how well-cared for THEY feel, and if the trade-off of liberty for one square meal a day is worth the swap.

    Fuck you, fuck your party, fuck the OTHER party, fuck your twisted collectivist ideology... and fuck you again.

  • Edwin||

    Tony, Chad - here's a good analysis system you should use: if there are two possible realities being espoused by two separate groups or people, whichever is the harsher, less nice proposal about the nature of reality is the CORRECT ONE.

    Case in point:
    Liberals/Left: The government can effectively provide medical care at the same low cost to everyone
    Right/Conservatives/Libertarians: Governments can't provide shit. All they are is giant godzillas that are meant to stomp on criminals when they manage to see them. The only thing you can do with any important industry/human-need is leave it to the free market, i.e. LEAVE IT ALONE - and if it's expensive then it's expensive because THAT'S FUCKING LIFE. SOME THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE - SOME THINGS ARE JUST VERY DIFFICULT TO PRODUCE.

    Also, with the second proposal - see if there are scores of laws that get in the way of free actors providing said good or service, and get rid of them. I mean, the FDA requires $800 million of testing to MAYBE give approval. Individuals can't write off medical insurance. Medical insurance is REQUIRED to provide for DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING regardless if you want it or not etc. etc. Libertarians have been citing these things as what contributes to high medical costs - are you really going to deny this? The laws massively jack up costs, but your solution is to get government i=even MORE involved?

  • Edwin||

    It's dipshits like YOU who are being disingenuous. You know these laws exist - and by any logic, if we truly want to try to make medical care less costly, there's no reason not to try a more free-market approach, along with the statist approach, and see what works better.

    But you don't really care about actually trying to reduce medical costs? You've got a vision of how the world should be, reality be damned! Governments should provide for their people! Reality can't be this brutal! There must be a way to get out of it, and law is the answer!

  • Tony||

    It's not a utopian vision, it's very reality-based. The reality is we have a uniquely bad healthcare system in a world full of countries who have figured out how to do it universally at half the cost, and they've figured out how to get around the Law of the Universe that healthcare should only be available to the rich.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Except that first off... they haven't, you moron!

    Each of the socialist systems are crumbling financially - just like ours, and typically just resort to accounting tricks (again like we do) to make it appear like their systems are functioning. Canada, the UK & the French systems are all already out of money - Sweden's is approaching that state, although they do a better job of cost control... But ya know how cost control happens, Tony? By denying people timely or expensive treatments.

    And all of them do this on the back of American innovation and with the added bonus of having our ridiculously bloated military pay for their collective national defense.

    Your vision is in no way reality-based at all, Tony. What you have is the myopic vision of someone who's never bothered to learn anything of substance about the subject on which you're opining.

    What the UK, Canada, France, Sweden, etc. etc. have is certainly not universal health care. You may make the case that people are universally "insured" (in the loosest of all possible senses of that term), but when you have a thriving medical tourism industry of Europeans traveling to India and the US among other places for Surgery, and you have Canadians hopping the border for treatment in this hemisphere, you can be assured that what they do *not* have, is any sort of universal health care.

    Unfortunately, you equate promises with results, intentions with consequences... This is a common theme with statists such as yourself, and yet you never seem to learn.

    In the meantime, your representatives are well on their way to passing a bill that does absolutely everything it could do to redirect money by force into the pockets of insurance & pharmaceutical companies without shifting a single incentive to push costs down. So congratulations, you've successfully managed to force costs up, give big businesses even more monopoly control and put no pressure on any of them to significantly increase the supply of goods needed.

    How about you stop building up myths of utopia in your mind and pretending that it's real, and start making coherent arguments that actually do reflect reality instead?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    What an elitist attitude.

  • Edwin||

    How much does anyone want to bet that these idiots are just going to ignore the libertarian explanations for high costs and just tout the party line? They're just gonna be like "yeah, those laws raise medical costs, but if we just set up a government-provided healthcare...".
    i.e. not even address the lbertarian points

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "healthcare should only be available to the rich"

    Horseshit. Utter class-envy, wealth-hating horseshit.

    Typical, though.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Also, what's kind of hilarious about that is that in all of the more purely socialist health care schemes available in the 1st world (for our purposes I'll consider the US system fascist), it IS only the rich who get really high quality care and without waiting. You can always find a good physician if you're rich. Hell - there's even a show on TV that came out last year about a "Concierge Doctor" in the Hamptons or whatever.

    What *I* want to do, and I think most libertarians here would agree, is remove the various barriers to market entry, beef up production of health care goods about 100x over, let the market set the price for doctors and quit restricting medical licenses by quota - and then watch as supply booms in a highly competitive industry, raising quality and lowering overall costs... Thus providing quality health care with limited waiting time to everyone.

    Much like how 99% of American's own high quality, big, and colorful TVs now when only the very rich had only black and white, bulky versions with tiny screens in 1940.

    As Mises said; Markets are mass production for the masses...

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    +1

  • Passing Through||

    Happened upon this board by accident and have ben reading through quite a few of the postings. As a guy without a strong political affiliation or ideology I wanted to share my impressions:
    Despite the very strong protestations to the contrary by each party, most of the people here are intelligent and articulate. In addition, at the core they share the same basic values (everyone wants freedom, everyone wants the best possible social good for the most people) but only disagree regarding: a) the prioritization of those values and b) the best means for bringing them about.
    What is amazing to me is the level of vilification, ad hominem attacks and distrust among the parties here. This is a great illustration of why our political climate in this country is so noxious and the level of discussion is a quick race to the bottom (e.g. 'Death panels', 'Brown Shirt' Town hall meetings).
    Our founding fathers disagreed at least as much as the people on this forum about these same principles and managed to put their names together on some pretty awesome documents. That could never happen today and the country is a worse place for it.

  • abercrombie milano||

    How much does anyone want to bet that these idiots are just going to ignore the libertarian explanations for high costs and just tout the party line? They're just gonna be like "yeah, those laws raise medical costs, but if we just set up a government-provided healthcare...".
    i.e. not even address the lbertarian points
    reply to this

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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