The Other Free Thinkers


The Other Free Thinkers

This is for Jeffersonian Liberal, Moderate, Libertarian, Constitutionalist, and Capitalist Atheists. Objectivists are always welcome too! If you don't know about this stuff, it's also for you.

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Latest Activity: Jun 2, 2016

Discussion Forum


Started by Parallax. Last reply by Renee Oct 22, 2012. 23 Replies

God Who Took Human Sacrifice

Started by Brian. Last reply by Tonya Wynn Sep 12, 2012. 1 Reply

Ron Paul Is Naïve

Started by Brian. Last reply by Will Faithless Sophia Jan 27, 2012. 10 Replies

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Comment by Jason Edwin DeLeo on November 13, 2011 at 1:49am

I have decided that perhaps atheism is not the correct term for the way I view the world . I think it should reflect that as far as I can see the concepts God or gods are both undefined as God is supposed to be defined as that which cannot be defined . And how can something that by it's very nature not be defined by anyone be a concept at all? How can I define myself as an a-theist when in fact I am pro fact and pro conceptual driven reality and therefor am not so much an atheist as an advocate of the world and reality and I am driven by the passion to do things in a manner in accordance with the laws of the real world . So the whole debate about the non-concept God or the non-concept gods is exactly like the debate about Santa Claus or ghosts or the Easter Bunny .


Comment by Jason Edwin DeLeo on November 5, 2011 at 3:39pm

So I see we are all stating where we stand . I myself hold the following convictions . 

1. Leave me alone !

2. All people should be able to do anything to themselves that they want to do .

3. Ultimately there is no way to stop rule 2.

4. I don't care about anyone else's goals and or ambitions or lack there of except when it interferes with rule 1 .

5. The only exception to rule 4 is people I have personally agreed with to help pursue goals and or ambitions together.

6. I really mean it.

Comment by Jason Edwin DeLeo on November 5, 2011 at 3:21pm

So at the heart of Craig's arguments seems to be his willingness to support people who can't or don't want to work. So does that mean all my useless loafing relatives can come move into his house eat his food and defecate in his yard? 

There are two kind's of businessmen in this county (women also) . The kind who asks for nothing from the government and succeeds or fails on his own merits . And the other kind the kind that succeeds with a small portion of his own money and a huge government loan . These second type are usually the type that steal you blind , run their companies into the ground and defraud investors . When dealing with any man/woman it is important to figure out what type of person is running the company and invest accordingly . 


As to the so called social support network so lauded on other groups . Also known as the welfare state or nanny state . This was a huge con from when it was first created . The federal governments very own Ponzi scheme . 


At the time it was created very few people lived long enough to ever collect. It is ironic that some of the same policies that are now costing us so much money ( Medicare and Medicaid ) are leading to everyone living longer . So we have about ten more years before the last of the baby boomers hit 65 this is the watershed moment . And Obamacare won't help matters any . Increased regulation of medical treatment and providing massive government funding for new state of the art expensive technologies is the very thing that led to the massive rise in healthcare costs in the first place . 


If you were drinking a glass of water and you found out it had poison in it would you not immediately put it down and seek help ? Or would you finish the water and go back to the same well and consume more ? I think everyone can see my point .


Over the years even though the Republicans have claimed to deregulate things and be for less and smaller government . It is patently untrue . George W. Bush enacted more regulations in his eight years than Clinton did . The supposed deregulation of the Energy companies was a shell game with little real effect . Except in California where it cased a massive bureaucratic screw up and huge revenue losses . The only true solution to polluting companies isn't just deregulation . It's Deregulation plus the sale of every piece of so called government property in the U.S.A to private individuals . They would then be responsible for the use of the land and could be sued for allowing their pollutants to infringe on any one else's land . The so called public ownership of certain lands ends up meaning that people feel free to pollute it . This goes all the way from some idiot dumping a pile of trash in the desert to huge companies dumping toxic waste in the wilderness .

As to recycling I think it should be encouraged everywhere . It turns out you can recycle almost anything . I think even the long chain polymers and toxic waste products can be recycled and rendered reusable . It is of course all a question of money . There is a city in New Jersey that recycles all of there aluminum and other metals there tires batteries and trash . They have zero waste and they have a clean beautiful city and they even truck in other peoples trash to run their trash burning power plant . That also has soot scrubbers on it I believe . This should be a much better solution than New York City for instance that has barge loads of trash continuously taken out to sea and dumped . Anyway that's all for now.

Comment by Craigart14 on July 2, 2011 at 2:09pm


We're almost on the same page.  Do what you like as long as you're not hurting anyone else.  The rest is negotiation, but dammit, those negotiations are complicated.  I think that freedom should include, for example, the freedom to smoke weed, which endangers no one but me, but not the freedom to drive on public roads while stoned.  (If anyone is curious, I don't smoke weed.)  People should be free to have consensual sex with other adults, in any combination they want.  But the right wing wants the freedom to exploit workers, to pollute the environment in the pursuit of short-term profits, and to defraud the public.  Which of these behaviors is harmful to others?  The right was all a-twitter a few weeks ago over new government efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs.  They insisted it's their right to buy whatever kind of light bulbs they want--and I would agree, if it weren't for pollution and climate change.


There's an old saying that "my right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."  I think your right to swing your fist ends considerably short of my nose.  Where it ends exactly could be the subject of a lengthy debate.  Where does your right to pump black smoke into the air end, or your right to inject carcinogens into the ground water?  Where does my right to ride my motorcycle at 110 end?  Where does a woman's right to control her own body end--if it does?  My right to burn my trash in a barrel in the back yard?  I was once part of a faculty committee investigating the harassment of members of a new student organization: a gay/straight alliance.  They thought they had every right to crowd around the entrance to the meeting room shouting "Fag!  Fucking dyke!" to the students trying to enter.  Some I spoke to thought it was just free speech.  Hmm.  One guy said there were posters on campus with the number 666 on them.  The posters, he said, were harassing him, so why couldn't he harass the queers?  If the government, in the form of the campus police, stops the harassment, are they protecting the rights of the gay/straight members or violating the rights of the protesters?

So we agree on most everything, but I stick by my original point that the joys of free market capitalism are myths.  When there was laissez faire capitalism, there were also robber barons and stock manipulators, all getting rich on insider information.  There were also widespread illiteracy, ignorance, and poverty because short-term profits always outweighed the greater good.  The preamble to the Constitution clearly states the reasons for creating the Constitution.  One which we all know is to "provide for the common defense."  Another, which you seldom hear mentioned, is to "promote the general welfare."  That one, it seems to me, gives government broad latitude to make regulations for the common good.  However much we may distrust our government--and believe me, I do--we would be fools to trust BP or Union Carbide or Monsanto.

Comment by Aesthetically Vile on July 2, 2011 at 1:46am

Okay, I'm not an anarchist libertarian, I'm more of a minarchist. Almost all of my beliefs, social or political, stem from my belief that everyone has a freedom to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn't interfere with someone else's freedom to do as they please. Simple but I can't find fault with it personally. Anyway, what I'm saying is I do believe that the government should enforce crimes that exploit other people or, otherwise, are not victimless. I do believe in government regulation, just not to the extent that you propose.

If I had to make a choice between freedom and security, I will always choose freedom. The there will always be corrupt individuals in big business but the most I or anyone else can do is educate people. Let people know that they should research options and find a product that suits their needs and coincides with their beliefs. If people don't listen, which is likely, then it still isn't the governments job to step in and force them to do so.

I think tobacco is a good example. You would be extremely hard pressed to find a single person, smoker or not, to tell you that they don't believe smoking is harmful. People are well educated about the effects of smoking. At that point, it is the individuals decision whether they want to smoke or not. The decision is effecting their own body, and it is their body to build or destroy. Same with fast food. I'm pretty fit (thanks to rigorous PT every morning at 0630), but every now and then, I want a #10 from Burger King; large, because I don't get to very often, but when I do, it's fantastic. Do I know that in excess, it's pretty unhealthy? Yes, but it makes me happy and it tastes good. The government should never be able to make it more expensive because they don't want me to eat it. I both smoke, eat fast food, and I can run 2 miles in 14 minutes. Does that mean it isn't harmful? No, it means I know it's harmful and I self-regulate. If someone does the same, weighs 300 lbs. and gets out of breath walking up a flight of stairs, then of course they're weak-willed, but it's not my job or the government's job to regulate their habits.

Also, it's illegal to impose a tax for the sole purpose of regulating behavior, yet the government does it anyway. Such as the tax recently put on cigarettes a couple years ago. Taxing big businesses because they sell harmful products is wrong. All it does is make it more expensive for the consumer, who is buying the product of their own volition. The companies aren't forcing anyone to buy the product. And that's where education comes in.


P.S.--Outside of the spirit of the debate, you probably should take jabs at Fox News. It's a news station made almost entirely of biased idiots. Having bias is okay, but not in the NEWS. Their job is to report facts and facts have no bias.


Just a note: Seeing the government from the inside is a wonderful way observe just how inefficient our government is. Not just in financial matters but in every aspect possible. I wish that was an exaggeration, but I swear, It's not.

Comment by Craigart14 on July 1, 2011 at 2:00pm

Hey, I'm not offended.  I don't expect the government to "hand out" jobs, but the Republicans have been promising since 1980 that Reaganomics would create jobs and that cutting taxes would create jobs by freeing up investment capital.  Taxes are at their lowest since Ike, and the economy still suffers.  What do they want?  More cuts, less regulation, and freedom to destroy the environment.  The cuts go to the rich, who supposedly create jobs, only now they create jobs in Indonesia and Mexico, not the US.  Not all the rich are entrepreneurs; some are just investors, and investments in manufactured securities do very little to create jobs.  The jobs to which I was referring are all the private sector jobs the right wing promises their policies will lead to, but which never seem to materialize.

Free market capitalism never worked the way we like to think it did because big money is always in power.  Societies--even American society--consisted of a few rich and a whole lot of poor until the build-up for World War II (a shitload of government spending) and the social and economic programs of the New Deal (another shitload of government spending) built the American middle class, so what works and keeps people relatively happy is government regulated capitalism.  Do we want sweatshops all over America, or do we want the government to protect workers from exploitation and unsafe working conditions?  Shall we have children working in the coal mines again, or shall we have some government regulation?  More realistically, shall we have the "freedom" to buy our gas guzzlers without seat belts, or shall we have life saving government regulation?  Do we want the freedom to guess what's in our breakfast sausage (in Teddy Roosevelt's time it was the sweepings from the packing house floor) or do we want a government meat inspector to keep an eye on the process for us? 


I'm not unhappy, by the way.  I have a decent job as a college professor, though I worked very hard to get it and still work very hard to keep it.  Maybe it is childish to strike my puny blow at Fox News, but on a larger scale, suppose more people were willing to forgo pleasure or profit for the greater good?  Suppose no one was willing to sell cigarettes because they cause cancer?  (The public health damage in the Third World, where governments neither regulate nor warn, and where American tobacco companies are putting their marketing efforts, is going to be enormous.)  Suppose no one was willing to work for a bank that defrauds investors, or a lender that defrauds consumers?  Pipe dreams, I know, a plot for a bad Ricky Gervais movie.  When there's money to be made, no matter how harmful or vicious the work, someone will step up and make the money, even if they have to sell slaves or crack or defective body armor to do it.  The faith involved in free market capitalism is the faith that the market is free.  It's not.  The choice we have is whether the government makes the rules in the interests of society or the corporation makes the rules in the interests of profit.


Kyle, I don't know where you're stationed, but thank you for your service.  Stay safe.


PS: The only thing I found offensive was the implication that I might resort to name calling.  I won't.




I don't expect to bring down Fox News by my refusal to support their advertisers.  I know they don't care, and that it's a small gesture.  It was only intended as an example of how difficult it is to know whom we are supporting with our consumer dollars.



Comment by Aesthetically Vile on June 24, 2011 at 9:04am

There is no "faith" involved in free market capatalism.  You don't need faith when its the only system that has proven to last, and keep people relatively happy.  Emphasis on relatively, you're never going to appease everyone.

Other than that bit, I was with you right up until "where are the promised jobs?" and "I try never to buy from companies that sponsor Fox News."  Okay, now I know why you're unhappy.  You expect the government to hand out jobs, and you let Fox News decide your consumer habits. Really? Not just a tad childish? Think about that. You're not hurting Fox News. You think they spend they're overpaid time plotting about how to get you to buy their products? Short answer: No. They could give rats ass about you buying their products, yet you limit your options. All I am asking is that you think about how you're going about this "protest". I think your heart's in the right place but your head's not following.

And before you call me uber-conservative, or some other equally ignorant name, just to clarify, I am a libertarian.

Oh, and I'm in the Army. I live the government socialized healthcare "dream", and trust me, you can ask any military individual, it sucks something awful. We literally get excited about seeing civilian doctors and going to civilian hospitals.


P.S.--I don't mean to offend. If it came out that way, I apologize. Just trying to be honest.

Comment by Craigart14 on June 20, 2011 at 12:10pm
People have faith in free market capitalism, and in some industries it works fairly well.  But there are some industries in which profit and service present conflicts of interest.  Health insurance is one, and investment banking is another.  Government does need to act as a referee, regulating business in the public interest to protect us from fraud and to protect our environment.  There aren't enough government employees to unravel the creative accounting used to conceal profits or to exaggerate profits to pump up stock prices.  Corporate executives make millions in bonuses for outsmarting government regulators.  A lot of them seem to be psychopaths or sociopaths.  They just don't care about defrauding people, as long as they themselves are making money.  Yet the right wing wants less and less regulation, insisting that more freedom for corporations creates more jobs.  Taxes have been cut steadily since the 1950s and industries have been de-regulated.  Where are the promised jobs?  Government employees are sometimes inept, but they're up against the best legal and accounting talent corporate millions can buy.  Small businesses are not the problem.  Of course, in some American industries, a company can employ 1,500 people and still get tax breaks as a small business.  As for voting with our wallets, it's almost impossible to know exactly who is profiting from the dollars we spend.  I try never to buy from companies that sponsor Fox News, but I can't always keep track.  With one merger after another, particularly in the electronic media, the number of sources we have for vital information keeps shrinking.  Rupert Murdoch may soon own them all.
Comment by Craigart14 on May 12, 2011 at 7:53pm

The free market is a myth because corporations don't want a free market.  They do whatever they can to tilt the playing field in their favor.  As for researching who and what they are buying, that would be a full-time job in today's conglomerate controlled society.


As for Ross Perot, he did help to engineer the Nixon administration scam about POWs.  There weren't any.  There were far fewer MIAs by percentage in Vietnam than in any previous wars.  Nixon's "peace with honor" program included the nonsensical idea that we wouldn't negotiate peace with Vietnam until our POWs were returned.  Normally, POWs are returned when hostilities come to an end, not as a pre-condition for peace talks.  Nixon managed to keep the war going for several years by lumping POWs and MIAs together so that we could claim that MIAs were really POWs the evil Vietnamese were denying they had.  (There are always MIAs that are never accounted for in any war.)  Nixon called them bargaining chips, though how anyone can bargain with something they deny having is beyond me.  Perot, with the help of Admiral Stockdale (later his vice presidential candidate) and the admiral's wife, orchestrated the "grass roots" movement of POW families.  It was a scam, and Perot's reward was a fortune in government billing contracts.


I don't think I like supporting indigent people any more than you do, but it is a tiny portion of the budget, and the alternative is children starving to death in the streets and roving gangs of bandits overwhelming the police.


The government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac probably started the panic, but it was unnecessary.  They weren't failing.  And the bonds that crashed were invented at Goldman Sachs.  Mortgages are often bundled into bonds by the thousands, then rated by Moody's or Standard and Poor's.  Such bonds are low risk--until you start overloading them with sub-prime loans.  Mortgage brokers don't vet their clients as thoroughly as commercial banks did in the past because they make their money by initiating a loan, not by collecting the payments.  Mortgages are often sold.  The real scam was the credit default swap, which is just a fancy term for insurance.  So a commercial bank writes a lot of mortgages.  An investment bank (sometimes a separate division of the same bank) buys them up and rolls them into a bond issue.  They then bribe the ratings agencies to pretend the bonds are AAA investments (very low risk) and sell the bonds, which are actually chock full of sup-prime mortgages, many of which will go into default.  The investment bank then buys insurance on the bonds that they've already sold.


Suppose I sell you a house.  I know it's got termites and a faulty, antequated furnace.  So I bribe the inspectors.  They are bonded, so you trust them.  As soon as we close on the property, I buy insurance on the house, and I take out life insurance policies on you, your husband, and your kids.  Maybe the furnace blows up.  I collect on the house.  Maybe the furnace leaks carbon monoxide into the house one night, killing you and your family in your sleep.  I collect on the life insurance.  (By the way, many corporations buy life insurance on their employees; they call it "dead peasant" insurance.)  This scenario is essentially what occurred during the crash of 2008.


The SEC did screw up on the Madoff scheme, but so did a lot of professional fund managers.  After 9/11, some 400 FBI agents were transferred out of white collar crimes to focus on terrorism and security.  Government simply doesn't have enough people to monitor unregulated banks.  When the dividing line between commercial banks (which make loans) and investment banks (which buy up and re-sell those loans) was erased during the Reagan years, it created new opportunities for fraud.  The securities were designed to fail, and they were so complicated that even auditors didn't know what was in them.  A handful of rich, powerful, greedy bastards brought about the crash.  What might they have done with no government regulation at all?


Shit!  I've missed the first period of the Detroit-San Jose game 7.  Gotta go.

Comment by Craigart14 on April 15, 2011 at 10:47pm

Um, I think I'm a liberal Democrat.  (Don't shoot!)  Government should stay out of our lives as much as possible, but I really don't mind supporting those people who can't or won't take care of themselves.  Every society in history has had to deal with them, and in ancient Rome or Greece parents could sell their children into slavery or leave unwanted babies on the garbage heaps.  Corporate thieves are much worse than a few welfare cheats.  McDonald's gets hundreds of millions from the feds for "job training," even though their "training" consists of a short video.  Capitalist hero Ross Perot became a welfare billionaire when he was awarded Medicare billing contracts for his part in organizing the supposedly grass roots POW-MIA organizations.  Frankly, though I have never had a pleasant interaction with the federal government, I wish to hell someone had been governing the banks and bond traders who issued securities designed to fail and then bought insurance on them, bringing our economy down so a few frauds could get obscenely rich.  I'm glad we have meat inspectors.  We would all like to see the free market solve our problems, but the free market is a myth.  Corporations have always tried to tilt the playing field in their favor, with or without government regulation.  That's why 135 of the Fortune 500 companies have outsourced jobs and paid taxes to foreign governments, while bitching and moaning about American taxes, which they do not pay.  The courts consider corporations people, so the Roberts court has ruled that the constitutional principle of free speech gives them the right to put as much money as they want into election campaigns, thereby ensuring that elected officials will always be in the corporations' pockets.  Conservative organizations like the Family, ALEC, and the Discovery Institute are writing the idiotic laws that the GOP is trying to pass, even at the state level, which is why the labor movement has been targeted by so many governors in recent months.


By the way, my name is Craig.  I believe in freedom in areas that don't cause harm to others, and regulation in areas that do cause harm.  I guess that means something like the rams should be able to fuck other rams if they want to, but the wolves don't get to decide what's for dinner.


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