jay - just a few things:
1. the country is big. the gov't is going to be big. get over it. don't like it go live a a village in Africa and see how much you hate gov't.
2. i guarantee you spend more than you make. anyone with a house or car payment spends more than the make. people all over the world use credit. all businesses do as well. credit is issued to people or companies that creditors deem likely to repay it. why should gov'ts be excluded? the power to tax is the power to repay debts.
3. i would argue that the Dems really do seem to care about things like gay rights. maybe not all of them but most and certainly their base.
you seem to have some fairly sound libertarian ideals, but like most libertarians you likely are both confused and just libertarian in the abstract. would you be cool with your grandma losing her medicare or social security? should we not take care of our veterans for life? should we kick sickly old people out of nursing homes? should we be expected to inspect our own meat? should we not provide air traffic control? then there's police, defense, departments to fund, infrastucture...i could go on. see, big gov't!
lets not forget that many so called entitlements are called so for a reason. we pay into them! we pay into unemployment insurance, social security and medicare. those 3 alone make up over 50% of our entitlement payments. i guess that's why i don't see the welfare state as such a problem.
1) By big, I mean invasively large. Far beyond providing the structure for a system of law, but instead through literally tens of thousands of laws endeavoring to control thousands of details, including thousands of aspects of people's private personal lives. Liberals and conservatives both want to harness the power and money of the government to tweak their particular proclivities.
2) No. I don't. Not in the long run in any case. On overall I spend less than I make, save the rest. The government, in seeking to appease swaths of the public, hands out far more money than it takes in.like a frat boy with daddy's credit card.. not on a temporary emergency basis but as a permanent mode of operation,. The only way to pay for this fiscal mess is borrow more, and print more money (devaluation) just to even approach the cost of interest. It's a raging whirlpool getting deeper all the time with no end in sight. You can't run a home like that. You can't run a business like that.
3) Hurray. Some Dems care about gay rights. Fine. They don't care about freedom (neither do the Repubs). They don't care about the cost of an international military footprint. They don't care that the cost of borrowing is rivalling the cost of running government. A much better approach to rights is simply freedom for all, instead of the government picking and choosing what rights it's going to protect (or enforce).
Your concern about SS is interesting because, part of 'balancing' our budget has been consistent raiding of that source..,. for decades. We've also got the 'problems' of longer life spans and lower birth rate which will eventually wreck the financial model it was built on.
Actually when I was young I considered myself a lefty. But I began to recognize that the left's objection to government coercion was really only when the government was coercing them. They had no problem with economic coercion, income redistribution (theft is bad, except from the 'rich') ,even property seizures, or restrictions on speech that the found offensive (not that the left is monolithic but the overall pattern is there). Once at a Humanist group meeting there was a near fight between two old women: one was life long communist who had been hounded (along with her late husband) by the FBI, the other was from Hungary and had been hounded by the Communists. Was an interesting evening!
Billions of dollars and decades of programs have not cured poverty, they never, ever will, but instead have created a permanent dependent class. It's absurd to believe that the government can cure poverty and eliminate racism and other bad things, rewriting human behavior and expecting to do this without invoking a coercive authoritarian state (which will become corrupt, guaranteed). Give people a hand (or even a job... there's lots of work that needs to be done), but they've got to work themselves out of poverty. (Believe me, I've got a family member too lazy to work, or look for a job that lives off the state).
Rationally, the more powerful a government is, the more subject to corruption it is. The more it's inclined to enforce it's (that is the currently favored political group) preferences. The group in power changes, and a new set of priorities come into play.
jay, can you tell me how the jack booted gov't is stomping on your freedoms? they don't seem to mess with me.
it seems to me that conservatives are fearful of the gov't because conservative gov'ts have a tendency to be authoritarian. it's classic projection. if conservatives truly believed in American exceptionalism they would assume that we were truly a shining beacon on the hill above the possibility that our gov't would oppress its people.
conservative takes on matters financial have also delved into the abyss. you, for example, continue to worry about runaway inflation and the debasement of the dollar despite any evidence of such things happening. and many examples conservatives offer are data trickery, like saying gas prices have soared over the past 6 years while they were actually higher in 2008. true story!
there is plenty of waste and fraud in our welfare operations but it is generally considered less than 1%. while it's a lot of money it is a proverbial drop in the bucket.
finally, remember that the conservative movement in America hates you.
Today I am about as liberal as you can get. The political system is actually a belief that depends on who is in power at the time. You have to approach it accordingly. I was once far right and associated with Bob DePugh. (I'll let you look that up, OK.) I have worked for whomever I could. I did a good job. My affilation did not always have a paycheck as I had to work outside of politics, but I have been a strong Republican in the Reagan years, and later just as strong for Bill Clinton. Today I support Barak Obama but carry a Libertarian Party card.
If you Google any of the above you might find me close to the Klan and the Minutemen. Don't believe all that you read. Everything had a purpose and my wife of 9 years is a Kenyan black woman.
@ Christian Soldier—
I’ve read through the entire string, and by and large would identify myself toward the liberal side of most issues touched upon so far, but only to a limited extent. Ultimately your statement most closely reflects where I think we are at this moment in history.
Maybe part of the complication we face is that the notion of “political ideology” itself is no longer adequate to encompass our cultural reality. At least since the first Reagan election, politics has really ceased to be based on a logical analysis of issues and become instead a battle of PR techniques based on propagandizing. The Republicans have “got” that and used it to much greater effect than the Dems, especially since their takeover by dominionists.
For decades I subscribed to what can best be termed an occultist outlook, and viewed everything as an interplay of opposing forces, as in the notion of yin and yang. If every Democrat in Congress were suddenly raptured away and replaced by a Republican, in a short time there would be a similar division into two polar opposite camps. To me that seems to be a bedrock fact of nature. But the notion that “the pendulum always swings back,” (whichever “side” one is on) seems at some point to have gone off the tracks, ( if I can mangle a metaphor). I don’t think Orwell could have imagined what we’ve become. You want “doublespeak?”What does “patriot act” really mean? Or “pro life” for someone who kills doctors?
Something even more complicated and unprecedented is going on, and it seems to me it’s inextricably wrapped up in our technology. The NSA could care less if any of us are conservative or liberal, and I was amazed that anyone found the “revelations” surprising. Long ago some futurist (maybe McLuhan or Fuller) noted that if a technological capability exists, it’s inevitably going to be used. Part of the irony this far beyond 1984 is that we don’t need Orwell’s jackbooted thugs or Huxley’s soma to keep us in our place (although we have plenty of both as backup.) We’re willingly (and often gleefully) doing it to ourselves via the Internet, even through positive experiences like this forum. It seems entirely possible that evolution is merging biology with technology and leading us to places we can’t imagine.
Political “issues” are just part of the smoke and mirrors that keep us distracted. Ultimately the one percent controls the technology and they don’t need no stinkin’ middle class.
Regardless of my personal beliefs I'll always be conservative!
Never say never! Thinking involves questioning and NOT pre-knowing the answer.
I idealized the Left for a long time. I thought of the Left as the champion of the downtrodden, defender of our environment against soulless people who didn't care about it, eaters of healthy food, the "natural" people who I could relate to, etc. etc. I'm anti-plastic and anti-motor vehicles, conservation-oriented, concerned about our future.
Then I moved to a little leftist "alternative" town, and I saw the downside. My rationality collided with what I was hearing around me. The demonizing of our government and Big Companies. The red and black anti-fracking signs on people's lawns giving the message that fracking is Satanic. The people driving their cars around and using electricity, while protesting Big Oil and fracking. The knee jerk anti-nuclear power attitudes. The paranoia about differently-colored cauliflower (someone is trying to poison us!) and non-rational food-purity ideas in general. The anti-vaxxers, helping to spread dangerous diseases.
I started reading some black conservatives, like Thomas Sowell. Some of what they said made sense to me. The picture of liberals enforcing thought-stopping "political correctness" and perpetuating injustice with affirmative action, with supposedly the best intentions.
To think new thoughts you have to break the bones in your head.
- J-P Sartre