Americans See the Federal Government as a Threat to Civil Liberties, Poll Finds

Reason 24/7ReasonSo, after a steady flow of unsavory revelations in recent weeks about the federal government's use and abuse of power, and the Obama administration's oversight of the same, just how are Americans feeling about their Uncle Sam and the role he plays in their life? As it turns out, a survey of 1,013 registered voters conducted from May 18-20 finds that the residents of this oversurveilled and IRS-beleaguered nation are a bit sour on the old guy. In fact, they find him downright threatening. President Obama has taken a ding in his approval, too, though not half as bad as that suffered by the federal government (and Congress's ratings are in the toilet).

From Fox News:

After a week of revelations about government spying on reporters and the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives, most voters feel “like the federal government has gotten out of control and is threatening the basic civil liberties of Americans.”  

At the same time, a new Fox News poll finds disapproval of President Obama’s job performance is above 50 percent for the first time in a year, his honesty rating is at a new low and half of voters already think he’s a lame-duck.

More than two-thirds of voters -- 68 percent -- feel the government is out of control and threatening their civil liberties.   About one quarter disagree (26 percent).  

Nearly half of Democrats (47 percent), as well as large numbers of independents (76 percent) and Republicans (87 percent) feel Uncle Sam is taking liberties with their liberties.  

The full results can be found here, and they're worth reading. Among other results: 60 percent believe that the seizure of Associated Press records "went too far," though the public sees the IRS scandal and Benghazi as more concerning. Forty-nine percent say President Obama is now a lame duck.

Of course, one hundred percent will have to suck it up as our masters in D.C. do what they will. But we can still make life as difficult as possible for government officials and relish their discomfort.

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  • Sevo||

    Yeah, so they'll vote for Obozo, since he's so dreamy.

  • John Galt||

    The same kind of folks who think Obama is dreamy are the same kind who thought Chairman Mao, Jim Jones and Charles Manson were "dreamy."

  • Dweebston||

    A better comparison would have been the Twitter teens lavishing the surviving Tsarnaev brother with adulation. All of the hallmarks of a pathetic should-know-better mentality married to a creepy variety of sexual fetishism. And both are highly contemptible.

  • John Galt||

    "The Tsarnaev Fan Club." We've all seen the likes of which so many times over the years that we barely even take notice of such things these days.

  • Inigo M.||

    Hmm, maybe they're also the same kind of folks who joined FDR in nicknaming Josef Stalin, "Uncle Joe."

  • jonathan132||

    my friend's step-aunt makes $84/hr on the laptop. She has been out of work for nine months but last month her income was $21727 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more..... WWW.DAZ7.COM

  • Brandon||

    Step-aunt?

  • Libertymike||

    If one's divorced daddy marries Betty, Julie, Betty's sister, becomes one's step-aunt.

  • Brandon||

    Yeah, I get that, but if you're making up bullshit to post on random forums, why would you cite somebody's step-aunt? It just doesn't make you look credible.

  • Inigo M.||

    Maybe not credible to you, but in Nigeria the step-aunt is regarded as a dispenser of wisdom in most families. LOL

  • Sevo||

    "She has been out of work for nine months"

    Yeah, well, once a ho hit's 50, things get tough.

  • Inigo M.||

    "She HAD been out of work for nine months, but last month..."

    The addition of that clause calls for "had," not "has." "Has" would imply the aunt is STILL out of work. Then again, maybe it is correct that she is still out of work, since it's BS from a spam bot anyway.

  • Xenocles||

    Maybe she's starring in pregnancy fetish shows.

  • John C. Randolph||

    But how does it compare to the money she makes servicing syphilitic sailors?

    -jcr

  • ||

    Provided "a few hours" means approximately 258 hours.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Nearly half of Democrats (47 percent), as well as large numbers of independents (76 percent) and Republicans (87 percent) feel Uncle Sam is taking liberties with their liberties.

    I wonder how that compares with--just to randomly pull a date out of thin air--five years ago.

    Fucking Team Cheerleaders. Fuckers.

  • John Galt||

    President "Lame Duck" is about the best we can hope for. Well, the best thing short of a completely gridlocked federal government powerless to further attack our liberties in anyway. I love when they get caught red-handed. And I love seeing them at each others throats. Keeps our throats alot safer.

  • SusanM||

    Don't worry! After all, the Republicans are dedicated to making sure that Bruce can't be legally wed to Lance. Once they're certain - certain, I tells ya - that no consenting adult male is boning another consenting adult male, and that every brown-skinned person is 100% certainly not a terrorist and that absolutely no one in the country is having a non state-sanctioned good time the small federal government they've been promising only for the last 30 years will come into being.

  • Irish||

    My personal favorite is the Republicans bitching about Lois Lerner taking her fifth amendment right during a hearing about the stifling of conservative first amendment rights. Rights are for us bitch, not for you!

    Whenever I start to feel sympathy for conservatives, they remind me why they suck almost as much as progs.

  • SIV||

    Where did they force her to testify? Exercising your 5th Amendment rights does not insulate you for being criticized for it. Bitch is a government employee who has been lying her ass off. She has the right not to (further) incriminate herself but she should be fired immediately for not truthfully answering questions about her job.

  • Irish||

    I've seen conservatives today trying to make the argument that her choice to plead the fifth is evidence of Obama's lack of transparency/evidence that she's guilty of any number of crimes/claiming that she should be forced to testify. Go read the Breitbart articles about this and check out what people are saying. They're acting like the invocation of a constitutional right is evidence of guilt for any number of serious crimes.

    Furthermore, Issa's claim that she can be recalled because she 'waived her fifth amendment right' is pretty ridiculous. Townhall has a good explanation of why that argument is absurd.

    "When somebody is in this situation," says Duane, a Harvard Law graduate whose 2008 lecture on invoking the Fifth Amendment with police has been viewed on YouTube nearly 2.5 million times, "when they are involuntarily summoned before grand jury or before legislative body, it is well settled that they have a right to make a 'selective invocation,' as it's called, with respect to questions that they think might raise a meaningful risk of incriminating themselves."

    Issa's argument that she 'waived her fifth amendment right' is ridiculous and totally contrary to constitutional law.

  • SIV||

    Issa isn't the only one making that argument. Quite a few lawyers are.
    Lerner pleading the 5th Amendment makes her look guilty. Congress can force her to testify by granting her immunity but that makes it harder to eventually send her to prison

  • SIV||

  • RBS||

    Sure, exercising your 5th Amendment right isn't itself evidence of wrongdoing and can't be used as such but people don't plead the 5th unless something they would say could incriminate them.

  • SIV||

    I'm assuming she's guilty of everything, including bestiality, until she proves otherwise. History shows us that only mobsters and Communist Party members plead the 5th when called to testify before Congress.Lois Lerner might be both.

  • ||

    I'm assuming she's guilty of everything, including bestiality, until she proves otherwise.

    That's not very libertarian.

  • SIV||

    She's an IRS director. Taxes are theft. Fill in the rest.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    This is true. THIS is the libertarian position. Fuck her.

  • Sevo||

    Irish| 5.22.13 @ 8:25PM |#
    "I've seen conservatives today trying to make the argument that her choice to plead the fifth is evidence of Obama's lack of transparency..."

    John ain't here. but it certainly *is* evidence of a lack of transparency.
    She has every right to do so, and I have every right to point out that it *does* constitute a lack of transparency.

  • Irish||

    It's not evidence of a lack of transparency from the Obama administration. She's exercising an individual right against SELF incrimination. There is no evidence that she's pleading the fifth in order to shield anyone above her or on the orders of Obama or some other superior.

    That's all speculation based on nothing but her decision to exercise a fifth amendment right.

  • SIV||

    I have as much right to speculate as she has not to testify. Maybe more of a right.

  • Tman||

    She has the right not to testify, period. If she is going to make a grand announcement at the hearing that she is TOTALLY INNOCENT forgive me for thinking she's full of shit.

    I think if Issa calls her back he's making a mistake. Any decent attorney will tell you that if you are going to invoke the 5th than shut the fuck up period, and don't say anything that could screw you later (most Attorneys will just tell you to shut the fuck up period whether you take the fifth or not). If they get a special prosecutor to find out whether or not she signed off on the illegal prosecution of non-profit applicants she will be FUCKED, not just for that but for perjuring herself as well.

  • Sevo||

    ..."she will be FUCKED, not just for that but for perjuring herself as well."

    Exactly. She's claiming a right not to testify after she has testified under oath.

  • Sevo||

    Irish| 5.22.13 @ 9:08PM |#
    "It's not evidence of a lack of transparency from the Obama administration. She's exercising an individual right against SELF incrimination. There is no evidence that she's pleading the fifth in order to shield anyone above her or on the orders of Obama or some other superior."

    Not going for it.
    A "transparent" administration means the individuals working in that admin are "transparent" in their activities, not just that Obozo is "transparent".
    She is part of the administration; 'fess up or can the claim.

  • ||

    Well, she's certainly not being transparent about her part in the Obama administration.

  • Inigo M.||

    Why can the claim now? The claim had zero credibility from the start. They might as well just keep insisting they ARE being transparent in the hope that Goebbels was right in his advice that if you repeat a lie often enough, everyone will eventually come to accept it as truth.

  • SIV||

    Most transparent Presidential Administration in history, comrade.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Sadly, this may be the case. Low bar and all.

  • PapayaSF||

    Issa's argument that she 'waived her fifth amendment right' is ridiculous and totally contrary to constitutional law.

    Apparently not. Alan Dershowitz says: "You can't simply make statements about a subject and then plead the Fifth in response to questions about the very same subject. Once you open the door to an area of inquiry, you have waived your Fifth Amendment right . . . you've waived your self-incrimination right on that subject matter."

  • baansbo||

    thank you.

  • John Galt||

    You're welcome.

  • Libertymike||

    De rien.

  • PapayaSF||

    Questions for you legal types: Outside of a special prosecutor or a federal indictment from the DoJ, what are the legal options for people unfairly targeted by the IRS? All that looks like pretty clear violations of federal civil rights laws, and I've heard there's a class action suit happening. But could, say, a district attorney in Cincinnati indict people from the Cincinnati IRS office?

  • Dweebston||

    Legal option: simmer quietly and enjoy their newfound freedom from tax scrutiny. Because I doubt any of those targeted will be "double tapped" while punishments are meted out.

  • John Galt||

    Anytime they're occupied performing damage control chances are they'll be, at least momentarily, distracted away from their endless wars on our liberties.

  • Sevo||

    John Galt| 5.22.13 @ 6:40PM |#
    "Anytime they're occupied performing damage control chances are they'll be, at least momentarily, distracted away from their endless wars on our liberties."

    Oh, for the halcyon days of Clinton's impeachment! Congress did nearly nothing to make our lives worse and even Hilary had to plug her pie hole!
    And the wonderful, wonderful time of Nixon's slow twisting in the wind! Both he and congress managed to not make things worse for at least a year or so!
    Please, please make this a hiatus of activity as Obamascare makes its debut to the horror of those not yet convinced!

  • sulphurbottom||

    I'm a legal type, but I have no idea. My guess would be that unless one of them offers to approve your application in exchange for a happy ending, they probably have some kind of immunity.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    what are the legal options for people unfairly targeted by the IRS?

    Bring an action against the IRS in a district court (which several groups have already done).

    But could, say, a district attorney in Cincinnati indict people from the Cincinnati IRS office?

    That would depend on whether or not they engaged in a criminal act which the state of Ohio has jurisdiction over.

  • juris imprudent||

    A state cannot prosecute a federal employee with respect to performance of that federal employee's duties. (See Idaho's attempt to prosecute Lon Horiuchi in the Vicki Weaver death).

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The Ninth Circuit said there was a sufficient question of facts to move forward with a manslaughter trial against Horiuchi. The Boundary County prosecutor dropped the charges after the decision. The same prosecutor was later found to have forged signatures on court documents and resigned in disgrace.

  • RBS||

    Why Tuccille doing these polls? What happened to Emily Ekins?

  • John Galt||

    From the article, it appears that the polling was done by Fox News.

  • ||

    Ekins only deals with the Reason-Rupe polls, iirc.

  • Irish||

    I feel like every reason article should in some way be related to Emily Ekins.

    I just really like her prose style.

  • Sevo||

    "I just really like her prose style."
    I'll bet you used to read Playboy for the articles, too.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Most “Americans” don’t have a freak’n clue about civil liberties, nor do they care. Did you see that disgusting display in Boston with those people clapping and cheering for the “police”?

    This country, in its current state, may not be worth defending.

  • ||

    I loved it! It's like the polling shows - most Americans have respect for the cops (local, not federal) and it was wonderful seeing the display of support for the working class heroes of the Boston PD et al.

    I also love that anti-cop bigots find people clapping and cheering for police "disgusting".

    It warms my heart.

    Thanks for that.

  • Irish||

    Yeah. Fuckin' bigoratti, huh Dunph?

  • RBS||

    working class heroes

    We have different definitions of working class and hero.

  • Slammer||

    Or "work"

  • ||

    Doing the work right now. Keeping the streets safe and serving the public.

    Seriously, posts like AlgerHiss' warm the cockles (huh huh huh he said "cockles" ) of my heart. Big smiles all around.

  • sarcasmic||

    Standing around, acting cool, and serving no useful function except being there to react to situations in a manner that normal people may not do without being charged with a crime.
    Make the competition illegal, unionize, collect your paycheck through extortion... What's not to love about being a cop?

  • ||

    For fuck's sake Dunphy, why do you always have to pour it on too thick?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Because his ego and self-worth depend on what others think of him, and when that need is not provided he resorts to things like the post above. I'd almost feel bad for him if he didn't litter threads with his onanistic bullshit.

    Think about it, if someone, or a lot of someones, were denigrating your profession would you resort to public opinion polls to prove them wrong?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I also love that anti-cop bigots find people clapping and cheering for police "disgusting".

    The best part of "Die Hard" is when the APV was hit with the missiles.

  • ||

    My daughter in law posted on her facebook? page about the case of the women in new york who can go about topless.

    She has received a flood of lambasting from all of her acquaintances whom she did not know were such prudes. One of them was complaining that women should not be able to do this, i.e. should be thrown in jail for going topless, and then bemoaned the loss of our freedom. WTF?

  • Dweebston||

    The more important question here is why you didn't post the link here.

  • ||

    No chance I would expose her to this gaggle of libertarian jerks, crazies and perverts.

    Here is the news story.

    http://www.policymic.com/artic.....-says-nypd

    I think Reason already did a story on this.

  • ||

    It's great that NY is one of several states that does not consider it illegal (indecent exposure or whatnot) for wimmins to bare their breasts in public.

    Around these parts, we have bikini baristas wearing solely pasties and thong bottoms and that's kosher. Does NY have "bikini-less" baristas? If not, there's an awesome business opp

  • juris imprudent||

    No chance I would expose her to this gaggle of libertarian jerks, crazies and perverts.

    And that's why we can't have nice... things.

  • RBS||

    should be thrown in jail for going topless, and then bemoaned the loss of our freedom. WTF?

    You know, our freedom from behavior we don't like...

  • db||

    Freedom from want, Freedom from need, freedom from ick.

  • Sevo||

    "Freedom from intelligence!": FDR.

  • John Galt||

    Too bad we can't develop a way to fuel our vehicles and homes with America's most abundant renewable resource, hypocrisy.

  • Hyperion||

    Stoopid is in more abundance, but hypocrisy is not far behind.

  • RBS||

    Stupocrisy

  • juris imprudent||

    Bio-fuels for the win!

  • General Butt Naked||

    I've never gone on the face-book before, but in the past couple of weeks people have linked to stuff on there, and it makes the youtube comments section look like a bunch of quantum physicists. Christ almighty there is a lot of stupid concentrated in one place.

  • John Galt||

    It shouldn't be humanly possible to out-retard the stupidity of the average YouTube professor.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I thought that as well until I read some facebook posts. You need waders 'cause that stupid shit runs deep.

  • PapayaSF||

    I don't know. I suppose it depends on who your friends and friends of friends are. There's a lot of political stupidity among mine, but overall they're a bright lot. YouTube, though, rarely seems to have any bright comments, and a high percentage of what seem like aggressive retards.

  • Libertarian||

    Color me skeptical. But if the Free State Project in NH thinks 20,000 libertarians can turn things around in that state, I find it hard to believe that 68% of the people think the government is out of control even as we become more fascist everyday.

  • Hyperion||

    Start asking some of then why their liberties are being threatened, and start getting answers like 'Well, free cell phones is a right and they Republicans wants take that away'.

    Then you'll start to understand.

  • ||

    I dunno, that state isn't terrible.

    Although their property taxes are obscene.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Isn't government the only threat to our civil liberties short of a foreign invasion?

  • Dweebston||

    No, see, private interests acting privately and self-interestedly hope to compromise the civil rights of minorities and women in ambiguous, unprovable ways, the evidence of which lays in statistical disparities and the only solution for which is ever-greater government controls.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So yes, the state is the only threat to your civil liberties.

  • sarcasmic||

    The logical conclusion of having legislation and regulation for every damn thing on the planet, and reacting to the consequences of said legislation and regulation not with repeal but with more legislation and regulation, is a totalitarian state where even the most minute aspect of daily life is subject to scrutiny from some government asshole with the power to kill you or lock you in a cage.

    Thus the blip of liberty disappears and humanity returns to it's default state: slavery.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You say that like it isn't part of the plan.

  • Hyperion||

    The good part is that it will eventually collapse under it's own monstrous weight, becoming unmanageable, and lack of funding due to there's no more money to steal. This is already starting to happen and there's no stopping it, because our congress will never repeal anything, or even slow down from passing more stupid laws.

  • ||

    ^This, in spades.

  • ||

    Might be good for you youngsters, but I will likely lose everything I've aquired. By the time it turns around after the collapse, I'll be long dead.

  • Libertymike||

    but not forgotten!

  • ||

    Same here Francisco, but in my view a small price to pay.

    Most of what I have acquired in the way of material goods I have done so for my children. Given a choice between leaving them riches or freedom...well it just isnt much of a choice.

  • ||

    You're right, of course, but I have no kids. It really pisses me off that I've done the right things and it could all be lost due to the ineptitude and envy of others.

  • ||

    In addition to biological children, I have a daughter...not officially adopted. She was essentially abandoned and fallen through the cracks. I took her in. She is part of this equation too.

    She was 14 when her mother, a coworker of mine, told me "Yeah whatever, you take her".

    You may not have kids, but it is never too late to get them. You can make a serious difference in someone's life unless of course you are a complete misanthrope.

  • ||

    No thanks. Don't really like them. Mark me down as a misanthrope.

    I always assumed I'd have them, but my wife talked me out of them. Our careers would have made it almost impossible anyway. It's all for the best. Not sure what kind of world they'd be getting anyway?

  • Xenocles||

    "She was 14 when her mother, a coworker of mine, told me "Yeah whatever, you take her"."

    There's gotta be a good story there, if you're inclined to share. At any rate you're a mensch for taking her in.

  • sarcasmic||

    The collapse won't be pretty. Government does serve some legitimate functions, like responding to injustice. When it ceases its illegitimate duties it will also cease its legitimate duties. It's not something I really look forward to, while at the same time it is.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I'm just going to try to make the most of it and enjoy it. The "I told you so"/"what the fuck did you expect" opportunities will be delicious.

  • John Galt||

    When someone other than ourselves owns our bodies there is one word for that condition: slavery.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I wonder if Reason will do a story on Adam Kokesh being arrested for not doing a damn thing and being held incommunicado in a federal jail.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    It was in the 24/7 yesterday. Does that count?

  • RBS||

    OT but have any of you seen the video of the guy who killed the British soldier?

    Is this what an unarmed populace looks like?(Second Video)

  • General Butt Naked||

    Oh man, that's why that shit don't happen in Texas.

    And what the fuck was up with, "In our land..."?

    He sounded like he was from a shitty london neighborhood.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    "hat shit don't happen in Texas."

    Damn straight. Fucking savage would be dead.

  • Slammer||

    Well, they did yell at the guy, and the police came within 25 minutes.

  • A Serious Man||

    AUSTERITY!!!1

  • Sevo||

    SEQUESTER!

  • John Galt||

    What could be more civilized than denying people the natural right of self-defense?

    Thankfully, I live in an uncivilized corner of the world where the vast majority of the citizenry is armed and violent crime is so rare it's almost non-existent.

  • Irish||

    The attackers did not even try to flee the crime scene, brandishing guns and urging the witnesses to call the police and asking pedestrians to take pictures of them “as if they wanted to be on TV or something,” according to witnesses.

    So the only reason a large number of Englishmen weren't gunned down in the street is because the attackers wanted to make a statement, rather than getting involved in a mass killing.

    Gun control works!

  • Irish||

    I knew it!

    COBRA meets to address 'terror attack'

    Cobra was involved. Someone call in the Joes.

  • John Galt||

    Seems doubtful that COBR Cobra has anything resembling fangs unless the crisis involves an honest Brit carrying a weapon for self defense.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Wow, and Canada is almost as bad. Concealed carry is unthinkable up here.

    That video just angered me. All those fucking people just standing around, jesus fuck.

  • Ted S.||

    I thought that British soldier was still alive because Britain's strict gun control prevented anything from happening to him.

  • Slammer||

  • General Butt Naked||

    Riddle me this reasoners:

    Why do Canadian anthem singer suck so ear-bleedingly bad?

    It's like a parody of a real singer.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    They don't suck after a few canadian beers

  • General Butt Naked||

    Are you watching the senators' game? I'd need a couple of hits of acid to appreciate the guy they had.

  • ||

    You want painful? Try the song the puckheads play before every hockey game.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I thought that was the Canadian national anthem.

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Check out this anthem before the Memorial Cup last saturday.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Here's the Senators guy. I somehow remembered the guy's name, lyndon slewidge. Have seen this guy way too many times over the years.

    Jesus, what a freak. What kinda nut has his own anthem uniform?

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'm on a canadian othering roll here...

    What the hell is up with canadian hockey fans getting soooo upset anytime on of their players ends up on his ass?

    I swear man, a guy will be barely hit, fall down, look around and be shocked, SHOCKED!, that no penalty is called. Then the crowd goes BOOOOOO! (the sad thing is that this actually works sometimes in toronto)

    I thought y'all knew hockey.

  • ||

    Is hockey the one with the funny looking ball or the clubs?

  • RBS||

    You're thinking of Australian rules hockey.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Hey man, I only talk hockey because you fuckers fill thread after thread full of back-slapping, latently homosexual, craptastic football nonsense.

    Jesus Hasselhof Christ, I can't make one goddamn post about a hockey game.

  • ||

    Hey, hey, hey. You've NEVER heard me talk about teh fooseball round here.

    And nobody here wants to talk bird hunting or fly fishing, so I stick to sex.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Well I'm sorry then. I just figured that all you fuckers were in on it.

    Speaking of fly fishing...

    My granddad had a piece of property down in WV way deep in the woods that was just used as a camp for him and his cool old dude friends. He died a few years after the time I was old enough to go. I'm sure that I could still tie my own flies, though.

    It was basically a small lot that they'd construct a giant tarp over. They had a gas stove and many cases of liquor. We'd make spaghetti with deep fried rainbow trout. After he died people just quit going and I haven't went since. I will go again though. Still have a bunch of equipment.

  • burnt||

    Bass fishing?

  • LaudanumMilkshake||

    Only because elk hunting and fishing with rooster-tails is superior to your effete versions of outdoorsmanship. :P

  • General Butt Naked||

    You ever try elk fishing?

    I thought not.

  • ||

    Only because elk hunting and fishing with rooster-tails is superior to your effete versions of outdoorsmanship. :P

    *shakes head, sighs in disgust, adjusts tweed hat, tamps pipe

  • SIV||

    Rooster-tails are good, Panther-Martins are better. Elk are a damn invasive species the NPS puts in the Smokies when they aren't poisoning the browns and rainbows.

  • ||

    In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.

    /NM

  • Ted S.||

    I like both hockey AND football.

    Go Bayern München!

  • General Butt Naked||

    YOU LIE!

  • Irish||

    Follow up question: If Canada's healthcare system is so great, then why are all those hockey players missing teeth?

  • Goldwyn Smith||

    "It's what defines us as being Canadian and not being American."

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Besides square bodies and heads that completely separate from their jaws?

  • ||

  • Smilin' Joe Fission||

    Dental system is still private. I would be a dentist wayyyyyy before a doctor up here.

  • CE||

    Americans, not as dumb as you thought.

  • ||

    Americans aren't dumb at all, yet the reason elitism reigns its ugly head again in this thread as in so many others with post after post about how dumb americans are, etc. etc. bla bla

    except the person posting of course. THEY aren't dumb. it's just those OTHER americans.

    the elitism is classic. Very similar to what you see from liberals and progressives (DU etc) post after post in thread after thread about dumb merkuns

  • Anonymous Coward||

    reason elitism reigns its ugly head again in this thread as in so many others with post after post about how dumb americans are

    First things first, dunphinator: How do you figure what goes on around here is "elitism"? Unlike your buddies over at Officer.com and Policeone.com there are no locked-down "cop only" forums. Reason doesn't banhammer people for making statements against free markets or anarchism or whatever iteration of libertarianism it is you subscribe to, unlike the two pig pens that ban people for "bashing" (read: failure to not lick the heel of a LEO's boot) cops. Everybody is equally welcome to the commentariat, and equally welcome to get anally molested by Warty, who, is primus inter pares of the Reason Rape Conclave.

    Second piece of business: The dumbness of Americans. Are Americans "dumb"? That's a bad question. Americans have tended to act against liberty for, oh, let's say the late 19th century on. If a person acts to diminish liberty, which, according to rule-tarians and natural rights theorists is in everyone's best interests, then they are doing some dumb shit, in the same way cutting your own perfectly healthy arm off would be dumb.

  • John||

    Some Americans have acted against their liberty. Most Americans have been too busy doing other things to pay attention.

  • Sevo||

    John| 5.22.13 @ 9:58PM |#
    "Some Americans have acted against their liberty. Most Americans have been too busy doing other things to pay attention."

    I'm gonna try another view:
    Most Americans would rather not deal with the asshole politicos (see Congress' approval rating) and unfortunately, they suffer for that choice.

  • John||

    That too Sevo. Most Americans hate politics. And frankly, most of the time that is a good thing. We just need to get rid of these assholes and set a few things straight and go back to living our lives.

  • John||

    Liberals win because they are obsessed with government and view politics as a life and death struggle. Conservatives and Libertarians look at government as a side show and not life and death. That gives liberals a huge advantage in politics.

  • Sevo||

    John| 5.22.13 @ 10:28PM |#
    "Liberals win because they are obsessed with government and view politics as a life and death struggle. Conservatives and Libertarians look at government as a side show and not life and death. That gives liberals a huge advantage in politics."

    Some conservatives do not act as you propose, but in general, I'll agree.
    The government should act as do the stock-folks at the local market; do your job, make sure the stuff I can't put on the shelves is there, shut up and get lost.
    Sort of like Dunphy; cops are the social janitors. Sweep up the streets, here's your pay and STFU. I don't care to hear about how wonderful you are; you ain't.

  • Dweebston||

    Rational ignorance. I die a little bit on the inside when I hear people excoriate strangers to "get involved!" as if what's needed is more discordance within the political echo chamber.

  • Sevo||

    "Rational ignorance"
    Yes!
    And no.
    It *should* be rational ignorance, but while 'we' want to get on with our lives, the shitheads of the world organize and steal the damn fish off our hooks, claiming we owe it to somebody or other.
    I wish I knew the answer. The LP no longer gets bucks from the Sevo family, since the LP hasn't shown one bit success in changing things.

  • Dweebston||

    Yep. I shrug noncommitally when I'm asked my views on the topics de jour. I've not much to add to their conversations. I sound hopelessly naive when I wax philosophical on non-aggression and self-ownership. I sound utilitarian when I try making the case against regulatory regimes, because I'm "missing the bigger picture." And after I've had a few drinks and lost patience I'm the brusque asshole teabagger isolationist. Which is probably the closest approximation.

    My cynical side tells me nothing changes, least of all in politics, and all my optimistic side cares to add is that at least I can look forward to a monetary crisis and Roman-like dissolution of the current concentration of powers.

  • Dweebston||

    That sounds like a non sequitur. I was riffing on your bit about the libertarian party.

  • Sevo||

    Aimed at Sevo? Not intended to duck an answer; care to try again?

  • Dweebston||

    My response seemed like a non sequitur to yours, in hindsight, but I was tiredly agreeing with what you said about the LP.

  • John||

    Also, America's elite and media have totally let the country down. People shouldn't have to try to know what is going on. The media should tell them. Instead the media lies and shills for the government.

  • Sevo||

    John| 5.22.13 @ 10:04PM |#
    "Also, America's elite and media have totally let the country down"

    Correct and irrelevant; both have done so in self interest. Expecting otherwise is fantasy.
    Until we manage to get the government to accept the limitations of the constitution, we are hoping to win every election. Won't happen.

  • John||

    It is not in the self interest of the media to shill for the government. In fact it is against their interests. A powerful government is the death of media. And nothing is more boring and less likely to sell copy than government propaganda. The media is dying because of its love for government. It is essentially on a suicide mission for the cause of authoritarianism.

  • John||

    But thinking you can get the government to accept the limitations of the Constitution without winning every or close to every election is not a fantasy?

    You say the strangest things sometimes. I really don't get it.

    And the media and elites are not irrelevant. You have to change those classes before you can chance the government. Kick them out and change the culture and the government will follow. Thinking you can change the government before changing them is pure fantasy.

  • John||

    Americans are not dumb. They just have lives and don't pay much attention to politics. Reason is populated by dorks who do. I can say this because I am one of the dorks. But most people have no use or interest in politics. So they just don't pay attention. And that is actually one of our greatest virtues as a country. In countries were most people do care and pay attention, things get very ugly very quickly.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance."

    -John Philpot Curran, 1790

    Go to sleep a free man and wake up a slave.

  • John||

    Political classes do matter. And media and other information elite matter. And they are all awful in this country. We have an entire mass media complex that is nearly united in lying and shilling for the government and against liberty.

    I hate to go all Godwin, but that is what happened in Germany. Nazism was not popular initially with the population. But it was initially wildly popular with journalists, writers and academics. That allowed the Nazis to hide who they really were until it was too late.

  • Sevo||

    "Go to sleep a free man and wake up a slave."

    Does that mean I have to yield my liberty and spend my time dealing with gov't agencies?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Does that mean I have to yield my liberty and spend my time dealing with gov't agencies?

    Should the .gov agency in question exist in the first place?

  • Sevo||

    "Should the .gov agency in question exist in the first place?"
    See Rich, below:
    "You may not be interested in politics; but politics is interested in *you*."

    Between the two of you, you have clearly defined the question of how someone claiming libertarian sentiments should live their lives.
    As regards the answer, I don't have a clue.

  • Rich||

    I wouldn't say widespread lack of attention to politics is "one of our greatest virtues"; it's one of our characteristics that allows/encourages the government to be "out of control". Moreover, things are already very ugly in some senses. I agree that reasonoids are atypically attentive and knowledgeable about politics. But it's bad out there. I was really shocked the other day when talking with a person who knew *nothing* about drone warfare; but kindly I educated her -- without uttering the pejorative I probably would have in this forum.

  • Sevo||

    Rich| 5.22.13 @ 10:10PM |#
    "I wouldn't say widespread lack of attention to politics is "one of our greatest virtues"; it's one of our characteristics that allows/encourages the government to be "out of control"."

    But that suggests I spend my time dealing with sleazy politicos?

  • Rich||

    That recommends you spend *part* of your time "dealing" with sleazy politicos.

    You may not be interested in politics; but politics is interested in *you*.

  • Tman||

    I love the PJ take on the positive sides of having a generally uninterested population in terms of "policy".

    Why Americans hate foreign policy

    Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign lands, even if we came 10,000 years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait.

    America is not "globally conscious" or "multi-cultural." Americans didn't come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, Sheenies or Wogs. If we'd wanted foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home. Or - in the case of those of us who were shipped to America against our will - as slaves, exiles, or transported prisoners - we would have gone back.

    Being foreigners ourselves, we Americans know what foreigners are up to with their foreign policy - their venomous convents, lying alliances, greedy agreements and trick-or-treaties. America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don't think that way.

    We don't think much at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you've got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags. A fundamental American question is: "What's the big idea?"
  • WomSom||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.Proxys4u.tk

  • General Butt Naked||

    Roll that beautiful bean footage!

    Booosh!

  • SIV||

    "Dis cash register ain't got no dots on it"

    Said the cute Walmart cashier who had to hit a bunch of extra keys to enter a decimal point and give me my quarter in change from a $6.01 payment for a $5.76 purchase.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    She deserves $15.00/hour for trying to find that decimal point. And a union to represent her interests so evil owners and capitalist pigs like yourself don't take advantage of her.

  • ||

    $15 an hour??!?

    Are you crazy?

    She deserves a REAL LIVING WAGE.

    Nothing less than $20/hr. will do. She's got car payments, cable bills, childcare, and plus she needs to be able to pay tuition for higher education since those damn rethuglicans refuse to make CC free in every state.

  • cavalier973||

  • cavalier973||

    "My second contribution to enlightened government will be to reinstate the literacy test as a requirement for voting. It is not evident why an inability to read qualifies one to influence policy regarding, war, schooling, and the intricacies of national finance. The situation is dire. In Detroit, for example, the rate of functional illiteracy has been measured at some fifty percent. If half of the population cannot read at all, most of the rest don’t read much. In most cases this will mean never having willingly read a book. I don’t want these running a country. Or a car wash.

    The objection will be raised that to require literacy will be to disenfranchise various minorities. The solution is for the various minorities to learn to read."

  • ||

    I'm going to respectfully disagree. That might make for a better government, but it would definitely be an unjust one.

    Why stop at reading, why not just require an IQ test and say you must get 110 on it to gain suffrage?

    Once you start putting those kinds of qualifications on a person's vote, it becomes very difficult to argue against other ones. You don't want to have people who don't "willingly read" books running the country? Well plenty of people don't want someone who willingly reads the "wrong" kinds of books running the country either.

  • cavalier973||

    Why stop at reading, why not just require an IQ test and say you must get 110 on it to gain suffrage?

    Actually, while spilling forth these my luminous policies, the thought comes that it might be reasonable to limit the franchise of those of IQ 130 or higher: roughly Mensa intelligence, the top two percent. This will outrage those of us who do not meet this standard. But why? If I need brain surgery, I want it done by someone who can do it better than I could do it myself. Why should this principle not apply to government? Do we not hire plumbers because they plumb better than we do?
  • ||

    "...why not just require an IQ test and say you must get 110 on it to gain suffrage?"

    "limit the franchise of those of IQ 130 or higher"

    Because IQ is a terrible way to measure intelligence...or anything else. It is comforting to think that there is a safe, reliable way to gauge intelligence; a sure-fire test for competence. There just isnt. My own IQ is ridiculously high. I found two errors on the test and made the testers correct them.

    And yet I am a bumbling idiot in many areas. I do not consider myself remotely competent to make even basic decisions about other people's lives and how they should live them.

    The solution is to limit and disperse power. Creating an elite class is how we ended up with the mess we have now. Changing or tweaking the requirements for being in that class wont fix anything.

  • cavalier973||

    Tell us what to do, Suthenboy!!!

    Do your duty to society, you slacker!

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    Oh my fucking God! Do you know what kinds of stupid socialist shit people like Stephan Hawking advocate? Do you have any idea what kind of statist bullshit gets them hard?

    I agree with William Buckley (which is rare) - "I'd rather be governed by the first 100 people in the phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

  • ||

    I'd rather not be ruled over by anyone.

  • WomSom||

    Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it. Wow.

    www.AnonThis.tk

  • cavalier973||

    This guy should definitely be in government.

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