Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Benevolent Dictator

Tonight’s post will be quite brief, but will probably provide a better picture of me than any post thus far. Basically, I will run down the first 10 things I would do if I were given total control of the United States. As you know, I classify myself as a left-leaning libertarian; my list will clearly reflect this.

Before starting on the list, which will be quite brief, I just wanted to mention that I especially seek feedback on this post. I’m curious to know with how many of my 10 bullet points you agree. Additionally, in your comments, please “classify” yourself with some type of label. I’ll be interested to see the classifications of those who hardly ever agree with me, as well as the classifications of those who share my viewpoints.

OK, let’s get started.

1. Immediately end all political foreign aid. Immediately scale back humanitarian foreign aid.

2. Adopt a strict policy of non-intervention with respect to foreign conflicts. The US will only get involved in military conflicts if said conflicts demonstrably and substantially affect us.

3. Recognize an absolute, unrestricted right to abortion, as well as a personal right to die.

4. Repeal any and all laws banning private, adult drug use.

5. Promote global free trade (including with countries that have poor human rights records) and eliminate as many tariffs as feasible.

6. End all forms of torture and end all forms of the death penalty.

7. Expand domestic oil drilling (especially ANWR), raise fuel efficiency standards and explore non-Middle Eastern foreign oil sources.

8. Repeal any and all obscenity/indecency laws.

9. Repeal any and all laws regulating private, consensual, adult sexual activity.

10. Transform healthcare from a public obligation to a private responsibility.

So those are my 10 key issues. What do you think? With how many of them do you agree? With what classification do you identify?

Would you agree that left-leaning libertarian is the most appropriate label for yours truly?

30 Comments:

Anonymous speedwell said...

Would you agree that left-leaning libertarian is the most appropriate label for yours truly?

No, because you are proposing a scenario in which you are the government and are instituting your reforms (I'll agree most of them are reforms to some extent) by unilateral decree. :P

Other than this, the major problem with most of your suggestions is that they still assume that some theoretical amount of government coercion or taxation is legitimate. Speaking in terms of "The US will..." and "The US should..." is simply shorthand for "The government hereby decides on behalf of individuals, at the expense of those individuals and regardless of their wishes, that the bureaucracy will/should make plans, collect and spend money, and pass legislation to further the goal of...".

If something is valuable enough to justify its own existence, people will support it voluntarily. If enough people don't voluntarily support it, then it ought not to be coerced into existence.

That said,

1) All foreign aid should be made by volunteer citizen groups, not by government action.
2) All involvement in armed conflict should be predicated on a strict and minimal self-defense policy. Only volunteers should serve. A citizen-organized military, rather than a government-run one, is preferable.
3) Recognize unrestricted rights of individuals over their own bodies, including things attached to their bodies, as a general rule.
4) Covered by (3).
5) Promote free trade by actually freeing trade. End all government intervention in commerce.
6) The federal government must not be in the business of spanking babies of any age. Private arbitration can resolve most civil conflicts and small, local community enforcement can be tasked with criminal issues. No justice system can ever be perfected.
7) Covered by (5).
8) Totally agree. If someone is being demonstrably hurt by a bad actor, then it becomes a different issue. There is no such crime as "obscenity."
9) Covered by (3).
10) Absolutely. Private enterprise and private charities can take care of medically needy individuals much better than any government.

(Anarcho-capitalist "small-L" libertarian atheist chick with Randian undertones. Probably more left than right but not reliably so. Prevailing attitude, "Why can't we all just grow up already?")

12:05 PM EDT  
Blogger Delta said...

Oh the familiar dictator thought-experiment, I know it well =)

I agree with speedwell's rendition of your views up until her point #4. After that, we start to have differences. A free market is an idealization that is used to make teaching easier in economics class, just like a frictionless pendelum attached with a massless spring is to physics. Free markets do not exist in practice and as far as I can tell they could never be realized (I've asked anarcho-capitalists to justify this before, but they refuse to even though it's their central belief). Because any market that would exist would be nonideal, it would result in those with power having a bigger advantage of succeeding in the future, and this would compound over time resulting in a select few with a very large amount of power who could use it to deprive people of their basic rights.

So with that view on the situation, my time as dictator would be spent doing something different. I would spend a few years encouraging unbiased debate about all issues, from economics to religion. These would be broadcast on primetime tv and would hopefully give ideas that aren't usually allowed in the corporate, evangelical-leaning media to be heard. Of course, all sides would be invited to discuss their views, as ideas need to stand on their own feet. After I feel that people have had the chance to make up their mind on what they thought was best, I'd abolish the government and give back all non-personal private property to the general population. At this point the people could decide what they wanted to do. If they wanted to have an anarchist society, they could do so. If they wanted to have a country like the US again, they could do that. If they wanted a religious theocracy, go for it. Oops, said that twice =) But it would be up to each community and no community would have real justification for invading another and claiming the land as their own (in contrast to today, where a community cannot rule themselves and would be faced with military intervention if they wanted to secede).

Politically, I'm an anarcho-syndicalist. And yeah, I guess I'd grant you the left-leaning libertarian position.

1:30 PM EDT  
Blogger Delta said...

Actually, upon thinking about this more carefully in the shower, there are complications that would arise in my plan that might make the timetable longer than a few years. Issues like what to do with the nuclear stockpile and how to prevent the individual communities from being taken over by foreign powers after the government's dismantling are the types of things that I was thinking about, but I think these issues can be resolved.

2:04 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

Hello speedwell,

Other than this, the major problem with most of your suggestions is that they still assume that some theoretical amount of government coercion or taxation is legitimate. Speaking in terms of "The US will..." and "The US should..." is simply shorthand for "The government hereby decides on behalf of individuals, at the expense of those individuals and regardless of their wishes, that the bureaucracy will/should make plans, collect and spend money, and pass legislation to further the goal of...".

If something is valuable enough to justify its own existence, people will support it voluntarily. If enough people don't voluntarily support it, then it ought not to be coerced into existence.


I respect your position, but I must disagree. Though I'm a libertarian, I do believe some form of organized federal government is essential to the function of our country. For example, I think the government should organize the military, should organize public education, should organize criminal justice, etc. I don't believe in privitizing those things that I consider to be legitimate purposes of formal government. As such, the government must have some coercive powers, in order to do the jobs it rightfully should.

1) All foreign aid should be made by volunteer citizen groups, not by government action.
2) All involvement in armed conflict should be predicated on a strict and minimal self-defense policy. Only volunteers should serve. A citizen-organized military, rather than a government-run one, is preferable.
3) Recognize unrestricted rights of individuals over their own bodies, including things attached to their bodies, as a general rule.
4) Covered by (3).
5) Promote free trade by actually freeing trade. End all government intervention in commerce.
6) The federal government must not be in the business of spanking babies of any age. Private arbitration can resolve most civil conflicts and small, local community enforcement can be tasked with criminal issues. No justice system can ever be perfected.
7) Covered by (5).
8) Totally agree. If someone is being demonstrably hurt by a bad actor, then it becomes a different issue. There is no such crime as "obscenity."
9) Covered by (3).
10) Absolutely. Private enterprise and private charities can take care of medically needy individuals much better than any government.


1. I could understand government-issued foreign aid in circumstances such as the Asian tsunami and African AIDS relief. I would just dramatically scale it back.
2. Though I entirely agree with respect to volunteer only, I disagree about having a citizen-run military. I think that's a legitimate purpose of government.
3. Amen!
4. Amen!
5. I agree with you here, too. No subsidies. No tariffs. Take the necessary steps toward global free trade.
6. We disagree here. I view criminal justice as a legitimate duty of federal government. However, torture/death penalty are wholly intolerable.
8. Amen! Also no such crime as "indecency."
9. Yup.
10. Agreed. Plus, doing this will give the government less leverage in its quest to promote "nutrition" and "health" and "exercise." The War on Obesity is really a War Against Individual Freedom. As such, it must end immediately.

Delta,

I agree with speedwell's rendition of your views up until her point #4. After that, we start to have differences. A free market is an idealization that is used to make teaching easier in economics class, just like a frictionless pendelum attached with a massless spring is to physics. Free markets do not exist in practice and as far as I can tell they could never be realized (I've asked anarcho-capitalists to justify this before, but they refuse to even though it's their central belief). Because any market that would exist would be nonideal, it would result in those with power having a bigger advantage of succeeding in the future, and this would compound over time resulting in a select few with a very large amount of power who could use it to deprive people of their basic rights.

I basically agree with you here. That's why I believe that government is essential. Formal, federal government can enact laws to preserve freedom and civil liberties. I want laws explicitly allowing abortion, allowing personal drug use, etc. When freedoms and liberties are codified, it's very difficult for the powerful handful to deprive people of them. In this sense, the existence of government can actually secure rights, rather than take them away.

So with that view on the situation, my time as dictator would be spent doing something different. I would spend a few years encouraging unbiased debate about all issues, from economics to religion. These would be broadcast on primetime tv and would hopefully give ideas that aren't usually allowed in the corporate, evangelical-leaning media to be heard. Of course, all sides would be invited to discuss their views, as ideas need to stand on their own feet. After I feel that people have had the chance to make up their mind on what they thought was best, I'd abolish the government and give back all non-personal private property to the general population. At this point the people could decide what they wanted to do. If they wanted to have an anarchist society, they could do so. If they wanted to have a country like the US again, they could do that. If they wanted a religious theocracy, go for it. Oops, said that twice =) But it would be up to each community and no community would have real justification for invading another and claiming the land as their own (in contrast to today, where a community cannot rule themselves and would be faced with military intervention if they wanted to secede).

Very interesting!

I'd love to see how that would turn out. It might actually work: Think of it, a population that's educated, interested and engaged on every level. It would be the ultimate in self-determination, which is certainly the most noble form of governance. But you are correct that there are still some loose ends to tie up.

Thanks for stopping by! By the way, I replied to your comment about my immigration stance.

7:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

1. OK, makes sense.
2. Fine line as to what affects the US. A place where US citizens are made to feel unsafe for example, is that a concern? Are oil prices a concern? If a country that hates the West builds nukes pointed at Western nations, is that a concern?
3. I agree
4. Are you saying that drug dealers are to be made legal too? I have a problem with allowing herion and coke to be legalized. I believe in deterrance when it comes to hard drugs. Make the penalties harsher.
5. This could cause economic collapse to the US in a huge way. Plus it makes all countries who deal with the USA major concerns and possible military targets, as Americans could be at risk in certain countries.
6. I think many Fundies don't murder because of the death penalty. It is very hard to prove whether death peanlty is a deterrant. I think child rapist/murderers should by put to death in the most diabolical ways.
7. Oil is a limited commodity. Money is better spent on alternative energy sources.
8. Sorry, but yanking in public should be a crime.
9. I agree. As long as we are talking about consenting adults.
10. I disagree, most people will go without unless it is mandatory. This will cause even more money being spent by the government in domestic humanitarian aid.

11:15 AM EDT  
Blogger Duane said...

IMO you are Libertarian plain and simple (not that there's anything wrong with that). There are several beliefs that you share with liberals but there are also several that are share equally by conservatives.

The biggest commonality of all your beliefs are what I call "The Cult of the Individual."

You can grab the mantle of left leaning when you realize first and foremost that there are many individuals who are not capable of caring for themselves. Of course a true individualist would say that we should let Darwin's survival of the fittest reign. But that is not left leaning.

Another thing that left leaning individuals understand is something known as "Tragedy of the Commons." This is where there is a logical individual behavior that causes harm for everyone. This means that someone pays (not necessarily "the guilty") whether you do or not.

In Houston where I live we have about 500 admitances to the emergency room every day for asthma. On a very bad air day that number can soar to as high as 5000. In your scenario the individual should be forced to pay for that bad air day if they are unfortunate enough to get sick because of the bad air. A left leaning individual understands the importance of clean air standards and the importance of making those who cause the costs bear the burden of those costs (as much as possible).

I am left leaning, and I will tell you that although there is a lot to fear from the government (especially one being run by the current gang) someone who is left leaning will believe that there is so much more power and much more dangerous power in the corporations running the globe.

Again I would not call you either right or left leaning. To me your footprint really does have the look of a Libertarian.

PS: I'm wondering if you believe the first European settlers were "legal"?

6:58 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

Interesting discussion going on here.
I would label myself as a libertarian centrist leaning left as well. I think that a lot of our views line up, except I may lean a bit further left than you do.

1. Immediately end all political foreign aid. Immediately scale back humanitarian foreign aid.

Immediately scale back all foreign aid. Increase humanitarian foreign aid.

2. Adopt a strict policy of non-intervention with respect to foreign conflicts. The US will only get involved in military conflicts if said conflicts demonstrably and substantially affect us.

Agreed.

3. Recognize an absolute, unrestricted right to abortion, as well as a personal right to die.

Agreed.

4. Repeal any and all laws banning private, adult drug use.

Agreed.

5. Promote global free trade (including with countries that have poor human rights records) and eliminate as many tariffs as feasible.

Agreed.

6. End all forms of torture and end all forms of the death penalty.

Agreed.

7. Expand domestic oil drilling (especially ANWR), raise fuel efficiency standards and explore non-Middle Eastern foreign oil sources.

I would strike this completely. Instead, I would put all of this money into developing alternative sources of fuel.

8. Repeal any and all obscenity/indecency laws.

Agreed.

9. Repeal any and all laws regulating private, adult sexual activity.

Agreed.

10. Transform healthcare from a public obligation to a private responsibility.

I used to agree with this, but I don't anymore. I am starting to think that socialized healthcare might be a good idea...


Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :-)

8:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Delta said...

In this sense, the existence of government can actually secure rights, rather than take them away.

While I recognize that what you say is theoretically possible, I think that usually those with powerful economic influence end up manipulating those in the government and so the government ends up representing primarily their interests anyway. The one redeeming feature about government is that the rich and powerful do control the government in a democratic way, and thus prevents the government from being too extreme, although they'll always be right-wing. This is an improvement over the situation where individual corporations might essentially rule unilaterally in their respective regions of the country.

1:59 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

BEAJ,

2. Fine line as to what affects the US. A place where US citizens are made to feel unsafe for example, is that a concern? Are oil prices a concern? If a country that hates the West builds nukes pointed at Western nations, is that a concern?

I would say "affects the US" in essence means affects the United States as a whole in a substantial and demonstrable way. With respect to the Iraq War, I would say Iraq did not meet the criteria. After all, Saddam never actually threatened to attack us. A weapons-wielding maniac who actually threatens to attack would meet the criteria, though. Basically, I am arguing situtations like Kosovo, Rwanda and Sudan aren't the US' business, no matter how tragic things might be.

Are you saying that drug dealers are to be made legal too? I have a problem with allowing herion and coke to be legalized. I believe in deterrance when it comes to hard drugs. Make the penalties harsher.

I think that drug laws usurp my sovereignty with respect to my own body. Thus, I oppose them all.

This could cause economic collapse to the US in a huge way. Plus it makes all countries who deal with the USA major concerns and possible military targets, as Americans could be at risk in certain countries.

In terms of military policy, I would primarily be concerned with defending Americans at home, rather than Americans who are abroad. For example, one of my top trading partners being invaded would not automatically push me to engage in that conflict. To use an analogy, if my favorite clothing store were bought out by a larger chain, I wouldn't try to stop the deal from happening. I'd just try shopping at the larger chain.

I think many Fundies don't murder because of the death penalty. It is very hard to prove whether death peanlty is a deterrant. I think child rapist/murderers should by put to death in the most diabolical ways.

Our criminal justice system is woefully imperfect. In all likelihood, innocent people have been executed. Since criminal justice can never be perfected, the only way to ensure no innocent people are executed is to abolish execution.


duane,

I use the modifier "left-leaning" for a reason I don't think you considered. To me, social issues are simply more important than economic issues. With respect to both kinds of issues, I'm a libertarian. But, since I cherish cultural freedom more than economic freedom, I more often side with the left than the right.

For example, the right to abortion is more important to me than free trade. Additionally, the right to gay marriage is more important to me than making healthcare entirely private. Legalizing drugs and prostitution is more important to me than cutting taxes and spending. So, while I'm a libertarian on all these issues, my priorities betray leftist tendencies - which is why I vote Democrat.

Cassandra,

Boy, it seems like we have a ton of common ground!

I would strike this completely. Instead, I would put all of this money into developing alternative sources of fuel.

You are correct: Alternative energy is very important. However, my top priority is not getting off oil altogether. My top priority is getting off Middle Eastern oil. Only when we are Middle Eastern oil independent can we finally leave that region to its own devices and mind our own business. Therefore, I am willing to endorse just about anything to break our dependence on the Middle East.

I used to agree with this, but I don't anymore. I am starting to think that socialized healthcare might be a good idea...

My opposition to socialized healthcare is based in a rather unique concern. I'm not that concerned about the price, or about the increase in government beaurocracy. I'm concerned about the increase in government leverage with respect to private health choices. When the government has a financial interest in keeping me healthy, it can justify all sorts of intrusive behavior: anti-smoking legislation, anti-drug legislation, anti-junk food legislation, exercise initiatives, etc.

Hell, a "War on Obesity" has already been declared. That might as well be called a "War on Personal Freedom."

2:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Duane said...

Dear Benevolent,

I've known many liberals and Dems and still feel you are much more strongly libertarian than Dem (if at all Dem).

Some of the biggest issues for Dems are healthcare (universal), increased funding of education, increased programs for the needy, stopping the continual redistribution of wealth toward the top, reestablishing good government programs for the middle class (such as increased funding for college student loans). There are numerous issues in this general flavor.

Many of the social issues that you claim are Democratic are virtually one-hundred percent Libertarian. I do not believe it makes you left leaning when you simply share a number of beliefs with Dems (as I said, you share a number of traits with hard right).

One other question: would your foreign policy have allowed for an intervention to stop the genocide of the Jews in WW2? No philosophy thatdoes not allow for this can ever convince me of being right.

7:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

FTM said:
Alternative energy is very important. However, my top priority is not getting off oil altogether. My top priority is getting off Middle Eastern oil. Only when we are Middle Eastern oil independent can we finally leave that region to its own devices and mind our own business. Therefore, I am willing to endorse just about anything to break our dependence on the Middle East.


Ok, I see what you mean, and I can agree with this. I would just want to make sure that the parks that we have are protected from this.


My opposition to socialized healthcare is based in a rather unique concern. I'm not that concerned about the price, or about the increase in government beaurocracy. I'm concerned about the increase in government leverage with respect to private health choices. When the government has a financial interest in keeping me healthy, it can justify all sorts of intrusive behavior: anti-smoking legislation, anti-drug legislation, anti-junk food legislation, exercise initiatives, etc.

Ok, I can see this too. You're absolutely right. Healthcare is a tricky subject. I said that I'm beginning to lean towards socialized healthcare but in all honesty, I also believe that we have the best doctors and technology in medicine because it isn't socialized. I think that we may suffer if we were to go this route. On the other hand, I know from experience that healthcare is expensive, and crappy. LOL!! We are constantly buried in medical bills (our oldest gets physical, occupational and speech therapy, not to mention the other appts. he has) and our insurance is expensive and it sucks. I know, I'm so not alone...

7:27 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

delta

While I recognize that what you say is theoretically possible, I think that usually those with powerful economic influence end up manipulating those in the government and so the government ends up representing primarily their interests anyway. The one redeeming feature about government is that the rich and powerful do control the government in a democratic way, and thus prevents the government from being too extreme, although they'll always be right-wing. This is an improvement over the situation where individual corporations might essentially rule unilaterally in their respective regions of the country.

You raise a good point. Libertarian philosophy is all about maximized individual freedom; not maximized freedom for multinational corporations. While libertarians might oppose excessive commerce restrictions, I don't think very many of them would be happy living in a corporate bordello run from an ivory tower by Ken Lay. Perhaps that's why my focus is on social freedom rather than economic deregulation.


duane,

I've known many liberals and Dems and still feel you are much more strongly libertarian than Dem (if at all Dem).

Some of the biggest issues for Dems are healthcare (universal), increased funding of education, increased programs for the needy, stopping the continual redistribution of wealth toward the top, reestablishing good government programs for the middle class (such as increased funding for college student loans). There are numerous issues in this general flavor.

Many of the social issues that you claim are Democratic are virtually one-hundred percent Libertarian. I do not believe it makes you left leaning when you simply share a number of beliefs with Dems (as I said, you share a number of traits with hard right).


I agree with you. I'm definitely more of a libertarian than a Dem or Repub. However, I don't vote libertarian; I recognize that would be a wasted vote in this country. So, 99% of the time, I vote Democrat. Again, that's primarily because of my cultural views. I'm willing to vote for somebody who endorses welfare (as long as their other issues are in line); conversely, I wouldn't vote for a pro-life dogcatcher or tax collector.

One other question: would your foreign policy have allowed for an intervention to stop the genocide of the Jews in WW2? No philosophy thatdoes not allow for this can ever convince me of being right.

That's very tricky. As I said earlier, I opposed intervention in Rwanda, Kosovo and Sudan, arguing those situations were none of our business. I hold to that position. In the case of the Holocaust, Hitler clearly had visions of world domination. And, he seemingly had the means by which to accomplish that. On that basis alone, I would endorse our actions in WWII. However, if he had no means for world domination, and his actions only affected his own countrymen, I would be much more hesistant.

Cassandra,

Thanks for stopping back, and for linking my blog up. The healthcare issue is really complicated for me, too. For a short while, I was without health insurance, and it was scary. But, considering the way government already is intruding into people's private health decisions, I shudder to think what would happen if government had an even larger investment in keeping us healthy. They might target the fast food and tobacco industries more than they already are! The "War on Obesity" might seem like child's play in comparison.

Thanks, all, for your interesting and thought-provoking comments on these issues.

9:45 PM EDT  
Blogger KA said...

FTM:

1. Immediately end all political foreign aid. Immediately scale back humanitarian foreign aid.

Isn't all foreign aid political to some degree?
Good will is coin of the realm, after all.

2. Adopt a strict policy of non-intervention with respect to foreign conflicts. The US will only get involved in military conflicts if said conflicts demonstrably and substantially affect us.
I have 3 cheers for that 1.

3. Recognize an absolute, unrestricted right to abortion, as well as a personal right to die.
The former? No. Your parameters are far too wide. No definition. "Common sense is none too common." The latter? Yes.

4. Repeal any and all laws banning private, adult drug use.
No. You obviously don't live in California. I live in the Bay area. The higher percentile of the walking wounded are out here. A lot of it's drug abuse.
Also a former druggee.

5. Promote global free trade (including with countries that have poor human rights records) and eliminate as many tariffs as feasible.
Ambivalent. More parameters (for me).

6. End all forms of torture and end all forms of the death penalty.
Agreed.

7. Expand domestic oil drilling (especially ANWR), raise fuel efficiency standards and explore non-Middle Eastern foreign oil sources.
Depends. How much oil do we have left, anyways?

8. Repeal any and all obscenity/indecency laws.
What about child porn?

9. Repeal any and all laws regulating private, adult sexual activity.
Insert 'consenting' next to adult, I'd go for that.

10. Transform healthcare from a public obligation to a private responsibility.
WHAT? No way, uh-uh.
Presently I don't have ANY insurance whatsoever. Or anything resembling healthcare. I get hurt, I get screwed.
I'd gladly shell out what few $ I have to help someone else out.
Because someday, I'll need that help in return.

1:35 AM EDT  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

Okay, I'm going to look at it from a mostly pragmatic point of view, because when you get to pure ideology, you end up mentally masturbating.

What I think about your points is:

1. Humanitarian foreign aid is what keeps a significant number of people in the world from starving, and more pragmatically, supporting such pernicious causes as Islamism and communism. Far from reducing it, the US should comply with UNDP request and increase it to 0.7% of its GDP (it's right now at 0.11%).

2. I can understand in most cases, but I'm iffy when the country in question is an ally of the US, or when there're war crimes going on.

3. Right on, but in addition, if the free market and NGOs are unable to provide the infrastructure, the government should foot the bill.

4. I agree, but certain forms of drug dealing, especially those involving addictive substances, need to be regulated because the consumers are being defrauded.

5. Definitely - a lot of the problems in the third world stem from unfair trade, in which third world countries have to open their markets up to first-world goods but first world countries are free to impose tariffs and quotas on third-world goods.

6. You're right, but ending torture is a bit complicated, and requires serious reform of intelligence agencies, which typically are the ones doing the torturing.

7. ANWR's a drop in the bucket - what you want is oil shale. American oil shale reserves are equal to the entire world's proven traditional oil reserves. Higher fuel economy standards are definitely a good idea.

8. As long as what's done is consensual...

9. Ditto.

10. On the contrary, the USA's health care problems stem from excessive privatization. I'd be happiest if the US lifted the French, Swedish, or Japanese system (the Canadian one is a bit problematic).

You can probably guess that the political ideology I identify with is liberalism. But in cultural theory terms, I'm an individualist rather than an egalitarian.

If you're interested, I'm putting a similar list of my 10 hottest issues on my blog, Unscrewing the Inscrutable.

6:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous Dustin said...

My own list is as follows:

1.The first order of business would be to end all foreign military aid. We have no business promoting military action that isn't directly related to defending American territory. Things such as our non-proliferation programs, anti-terrorism aid, demining activities, and small arms destruction programs are better categorized as peacekeeping programs, and those, along with emergency aid to an ally during armed conflict, I would keep.

2.I would immediately implement Charles Murray's plan detailed in his book In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State (2006). Details are better explained here, here, and especially here, but the basic premise states that by eliminating all current money transfer programs (social security, Medicare, corporate aid, etc.) and instead giving each citizen $10k after their 21st birthday we can, in actuality, save money in the long run while at the same time providing a comfortable pension/safety net to allow people to pursue their dreams.

3.While not the free ride many want I would make health care insurance universal. Companies wishing to continue to provide insurance would have to cover the entire population. They should do for roughly $3k/year.

4.The commercial pressures demanding increasing automation in the workplace is replacing well-paying factory jobs with low-level service careers, but even they aren't safe, or desirable, forever. Thus I would set a corporate tax on automation and add it to the total pension provided in #2. Eventually this may even lead to the majority of the population becoming full-time students or hobbyists, and I see nothing wrong with that.

5.An immediate repeal of the drug war. If it's crime, domestic abuse, etc that we were truly worried about we've already got laws to cover those. Criminalizing private recreational activities, or even worse addictions, does nothing but destroy lives. note: I say this as someone who doesn't even like to get drunk, so don''t assume this to be the wishful thinking of a closet pothead.

6.I would remove all mention of religion from government currency and the pledge. Simple enough.

7.An alternative fuel initiative along the lines of Kennedy's Apollo Program is constantly being hyped. I'd make it a reality (including clean nuclear fuel), and once it's completed I would ban the now unnecessary burning of fossil fuels.

8.A womans right to an abortion, a scientists right to pursue stem cell research to the benefit of humanity, and a gay couples right to legal recognition of their relationship are all fundamentally good things. I would remove all barriers currently being erected against these and other progressive rights by the Religious Right.

9.The FCC does not stand for the Federal Censorship Commission. I'd take them out of the business of regulating free expression. Don't like it? Change the channel.

10.With the exception of preventing/stopping war crime atrocities such as Rwanda and Kosovo I would withdraw United States forces from foreign involvement.

I've cross-posted this at my own site for anyone interested, just though you should know :)

3:50 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

Thanks for the continuing comments, everyone!

Isn't all foreign aid political to some degree?
Good will is coin of the realm, after all.


I suppose a rephrase would be in order. I endorse foreign aid only in isolated cases, for example, after the tsunami. In other cases, like the African AIDS pandemic, I would also consider it, pending a review of to what extent the African problem affects the US.

No. You obviously don't live in California. I live in the Bay area. The higher percentile of the walking wounded are out here. A lot of it's drug abuse.
Also a former druggee.


I look at this purely from the self-ownership perspective. I own my body; therefore, I have a right to put whatever substances into my body that I choose.

What about child porn?

Here's my gut reaction:

Making it - Illegal.
Watching it - Legal.

Watching a video clip is too passive to be criminal, IMO.

Humanitarian foreign aid is what keeps a significant number of people in the world from starving, and more pragmatically, supporting such pernicious causes as Islamism and communism. Far from reducing it, the US should comply with UNDP request and increase it to 0.7% of its GDP (it's right now at 0.11%).

I tend to look at foreign aid as huge-scale welfare, and I oppose welfare.

I can understand in most cases, but I'm iffy when the country in question is an ally of the US, or when there're war crimes going on.

War Crimes are morally tough. However, I would have to say genocide is not enough to warrant US involvement in a conflict that doesn't affect us.

You're right, but ending torture is a bit complicated, and requires serious reform of intelligence agencies, which typically are the ones doing the torturing.

It would definitely be complicated. But it's also one of the issues about which I feel most strongly. Capital punishment, in my opinion, makes murderers of us all, via our tax dollars. And, if the CIA engages in torture, and we fund CIA operations, we are also torturers, which is highly disturbing.

On the contrary, the USA's health care problems stem from excessive privatization. I'd be happiest if the US lifted the French, Swedish, or Japanese system (the Canadian one is a bit problematic).

But, if that were to happen, don't you think the government would immediately get more leverage to butt its nose into your private health/safety/nutrition choices? When the government has a financial stake in keeping you healthy, it can justify all sorts of intrusive behavior.

Dustin,

We agree on most points. I found your list to be very reasonable and pragmatic, despite our few disagreements.

The FCC does not stand for the Federal Censorship Commission. I'd take them out of the business of regulating free expression. Don't like it? Change the channel.

Right on!

7:45 PM EDT  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

But, if that were to happen, don't you think the government would immediately get more leverage to butt its nose into your private health/safety/nutrition choices?

I'm not so sure. The US government butts into people's health, safety, and nutrition choices as much as European governments. But then again, the US government spends about as much as European governments on health care, per capita; the main difference is that in Europe that's all the spending there is, whereas in the US there's also a big chunk of private spending.

On the other hand, there is a very big concern with the civil liberties aspects. I read once about how the Canadian government flouts civil liberties protections and profiles citizens' medical expenses, though the source was very biased. In the American climate of surveillance, it's very likely that the federal government will try using a single-payer system to spy on people.

And yet, there are ways to institute cheap, nationwide health care while protecting civil liberties. Apparently Britain manages to do so, even while the government promotes ID cards and surveillance cameras. I guess you can conceivably put an independent, transparent government agency in charge of health care to ensure no surveillance is going on.

5:58 AM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

I'm not so sure. The US government butts into people's health, safety, and nutrition choices as much as European governments. But then again, the US government spends about as much as European governments on health care, per capita; the main difference is that in Europe that's all the spending there is, whereas in the US there's also a big chunk of private spending.

On the other hand, there is a very big concern with the civil liberties aspects. I read once about how the Canadian government flouts civil liberties protections and profiles citizens' medical expenses, though the source was very biased. In the American climate of surveillance, it's very likely that the federal government will try using a single-payer system to spy on people.

And yet, there are ways to institute cheap, nationwide health care while protecting civil liberties. Apparently Britain manages to do so, even while the government promotes ID cards and surveillance cameras. I guess you can conceivably put an independent, transparent government agency in charge of health care to ensure no surveillance is going on.


Healthcare in the United States definitely is a problem. There are a lot of people not getting sufficient care, and a lot of people spending a hell of a lot of money to get what they can. But, the idea of the government picking up my tab definitely scares me.

Let me use an analogy:

Say I was ultimately responsible for paying my neighbor's medical bills. I collected a "health care tax" from him every couple of weeks, which funded my service. Then say I saw this neighbor smoking cigarettes, sleeping with prostitutes, using Ecstacy, eating KFC five times per week, and getting no exercise. Since I would still be ultimately responsible for his medical bills, I certainly would feel justified in demanding he modify his behavior. After all, if he doesn't, I stand to spend a hell of a lot of money on his hospital bills.

That's my fear with government health spending.

Drugs ought to be legal.
Prostitution ought to be legal.
Obesity ought to be looked upon as a legitimate choice.
A sedentary lifestyle ought to be looked upon as a legitimate choice.

If we are that unhealthy neighbor from my analogy, and the government is the bill payer, then sooner or later the government is going to come knocking on the door making demands about lifestyle changes, as doing so would clearly be in its financial best interest.

12:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

The difference is that if you tell your neighbor what to do, you won't get heckled by civil liberties advocates, and a host of progressive movements like fat acceptance; the government will. And as I said, practically speaking, the USA has a lot more restrictions on health-related individual behavior than many countries with public health care, so I don't see any reason why public health care will make the government more intrusive.

The only state that inteferes with lifestyle choices on health spending grounds that I know of is Singapore, whose leaders have a despicably authoritarian mindset that makes the Bush administration seem like Emma Goldman.

8:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Drunken Tune said...

What a country! I certainly agree with most of your wonderful domestic policies: abortion rights no matter what, your private life's your own friggin' business, and immediate repealing of the drug laws. As a pragmatist, these are the only obvious options if we are to be truly free. Yet, being a libertarian socialist (I do see a place for government, unlike nutty right-leaning libertarians), I begin to waver with my steadfast agreement with your international program.

(1) I am for humanitarian aid, and I see that as one of the few things our government in the US has going for it. Military aid? Forget it! In a possible outcome without humanitarian aid, World War II could have ended in chaos, and today Europe would just recently be recovering from the financial debt and civil war without the help of the United States. Simply put, many more countries would dissolve into civil war without financial aid. Historically, in the US’ attempt at combating Communism, our military aid has gone to dictators and other such undesirables. If I was to have my way today, this monetary power (sadly used too often as a political weapon) would reside with the UN, not with the US, so I'll give you that one. We do agree, yet I believe we have different objectives and intent.

(2) The more I look over your new law on intervention, the less I would have to adapt your new decree to fit my own beliefs. Yes, the US should not actively force nu-imperialism; the UN would have the power to settle international disputes. Again, I would have to say I agree with you to a point. I see that there must be an international policeman, and if I had my way, the UN would be it.

(5) These days free trade has the same sound as 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice'. The words do not describe in actuality the idea behind them. One side doesn't want women to have the right to have abortions; the other side, (obviously correct) sees that as bullshite. I see free trade as another way the US has tried to acquire goods for less at the expense of other nations. Blah blah blah... You know, the usual socialist diatribe. If free trade did what it said it would do, I'd be behind it in a heartbeat. In reality, I'm wary of such policies, even if they're part of a utopian pipe-dream.

(7) Yes, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and (in essence) give the equivalent of a powerful hybrid car to everyone. That's a no-brainer. To tell the truth, the US has very little oil in Alaska, and would not cut our insatiable desire for more crude. I'd rather focus on filtering Canada's expansive oil and sand wasteland and working with our next door neighbor. They have the greatest crude oil supply in the whole world. It just needs to be accessed.

(10) Lastly, your position on healthcare. Just reading that gets me the heebie-jeebies. No thank you. It doesn’t sound feasible or reasonable. It puts too much pressure on the individual to understand the precarious stock market or what have you, and the money would most likely be invested in mutual funds that would form monopolies, and endanger any trust in any one’s economic future. Once privatized, no money is guaranteed in your old age. Americans need a safety net, and privatized money reeks of corporate misuse. Ra puts it best when he said, “I'd gladly shell out what few $ I have to help someone else out. Because someday, I'll need that help in return.” We’re all in this together. Economic freedom doesn’t always equal individual freedom. I would have preferred if you focused on corporate scandals. Now that’s a moral outrage! I do see the dangers of a socialized health system. However, I can see what horrors await us if we abandon it. Simply, I choose a conservative choice and stick with the reliable method.

I’d still rather live in your country than the US. While I thoroughly disagree with only one of your stated attempts, I could survive with a privatized social security if the other nine were passed into law. Perhaps we’d be lucky and the system would work itself out with a good deal of corporate regulation. Hopefully your dream will be realized one of these days, or at least the few we can agree on.

It sure sounds like you're a full-fledged libertarian (abet a slightly right-winged one) and a well-articulated atheist. It's always enjoyable to find someone as inteligent as yourself speaking out and providing reasonable and intellectually stimulating discourse.

4:27 PM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

I am for humanitarian aid, and I see that as one of the few things our government in the US has going for it. Military aid? Forget it! In a possible outcome without humanitarian aid, World War II could have ended in chaos, and today Europe would just recently be recovering from the financial debt and civil war without the help of the United States. Simply put, many more countries would dissolve into civil war without financial aid. Historically, in the US’ attempt at combating Communism, our military aid has gone to dictators and other such undesirables. If I was to have my way today, this monetary power (sadly used too often as a political weapon) would reside with the UN, not with the US, so I'll give you that one. We do agree, yet I believe we have different objectives and intent.

Basically, I view foreign aid as huge-scale welfare...and I oppose small-scale welfare! Just as individuals should rise or fall based upon their own merits, countries should survive based upon their own merits...or not. In my view, handouts of any type breed dependence. Only when there are no handouts do the "needy" begin to do what's necessary to survive on their own.

The more I look over your new law on intervention, the less I would have to adapt your new decree to fit my own beliefs. Yes, the US should not actively force nu-imperialism; the UN would have the power to settle international disputes. Again, I would have to say I agree with you to a point. I see that there must be an international policeman, and if I had my way, the UN would be it.

Perhaps my moral relativism makes me see no reason for a global policeman. Since I don't believe any behavior is objectively moral or immoral, I can't gather the moral outrage necessary to butt my nose into other countries' affairs. I defer to self-determination. And, if two countries get into a bit of a shoving match, I'm happy to let them settle it all by themselves.

These days free trade has the same sound as 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice'. The words do not describe in actuality the idea behind them. One side doesn't want women to have the right to have abortions; the other side, (obviously correct) sees that as bullshite. I see free trade as another way the US has tried to acquire goods for less at the expense of other nations. Blah blah blah... You know, the usual socialist diatribe. If free trade did what it said it would do, I'd be behind it in a heartbeat. In reality, I'm wary of such policies, even if they're part of a utopian pipe-dream.

As a libertarian, I believe in a self-regulating global marketplace. When you look at the prices in Wal-Mart, for example, you see evidence that free trade benefits Americans. Goods made overseas are cheaper, and I'm all for a consumer-oriented economic policy. Free trade might not benefit the laborer--especially the American laborer--but it unquestionably benefits the consumer.

Yes, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and (in essence) give the equivalent of a powerful hybrid car to everyone. That's a no-brainer. To tell the truth, the US has very little oil in Alaska, and would not cut our insatiable desire for more crude. I'd rather focus on filtering Canada's expansive oil and sand wasteland and working with our next door neighbor. They have the greatest crude oil supply in the whole world. It just needs to be accessed.

As long as we break our crippling dependence on the Middle East, I'm happy.

Lastly, your position on healthcare. Just reading that gets me the heebie-jeebies. No thank you. It doesn’t sound feasible or reasonable. It puts too much pressure on the individual to understand the precarious stock market or what have you, and the money would most likely be invested in mutual funds that would form monopolies, and endanger any trust in any one’s economic future. Once privatized, no money is guaranteed in your old age. Americans need a safety net, and privatized money reeks of corporate misuse. Ra puts it best when he said, “I'd gladly shell out what few $ I have to help someone else out. Because someday, I'll need that help in return.” We’re all in this together. Economic freedom doesn’t always equal individual freedom. I would have preferred if you focused on corporate scandals. Now that’s a moral outrage! I do see the dangers of a socialized health system. However, I can see what horrors await us if we abandon it. Simply, I choose a conservative choice and stick with the reliable method.

I simply couldn't enact my progressive social policies (legal prostitution, legal drug use, etc.) if the government was responsible for picking up the citizenry's medical tab. Take away the government's incentive to keep you healthy, it will be more than happy to butt out of your personal choices.

10:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous bernarda said...

Almost all that Americans have today they stole from somebody. The continent for example.

Property in America is a clear example of the thought "property is theft". But all property throughout the ages has been based on "might makes right".

American corporations have been pillaging countries around the world for more than a century. 10 times more foreign aid than now would be minimum of sops for the decades of exploitation and theft of other countries resources by American economic terrorists.

Free-trade or free-exchange is a religious myth of the libertarians. It has never existed, will never exist and cannot ever exist. Whoever has the power at the moment will arrange affairs to their benefit. So people who have gained property--meaning they stole it before someone else--will push their accidental advantage.

If you look from space, where do you see border lines and more specically property lines? "Property", particularly "private property", is an abstract concept intimately tied to certain forms of social organization, including ours. That doesn't mean it is the best form.

10:20 AM EDT  
Blogger TheJollyNihilist said...

If you look from space, where do you see border lines and more specically property lines? "Property", particularly "private property", is an abstract concept intimately tied to certain forms of social organization, including ours. That doesn't mean it is the best form.

Interesting points.

I agree with you, to some extent. Certainly, I recognize there is nothing "real" or "natural" about countries. The United States is an invention. Every country is. Border lines are imaginary - simply created on a piece of paper by those in power.

That said, what is the feasible alternative? Communalism? Group ownership? The abolishment of countries/territories/states?

11:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Drunken Tune said...

Just as individuals should rise or fall based upon their own merits, countries should survive based upon their own merits...or not. In my view, handouts of any type breed dependence. Only when there are no handouts do the "needy" begin to do what's necessary to survive on their own.

Pardon my saying so, francesthemagnificent, but that's the biggest problem I've had with pure capitalist systems. It's always been the logical ending to social Darwinism. People do not rise and fall based on anything but what the shaky economy dictates, and history shows that the few and lucky are there to grab hold of the newest trade (i.e. fiber-optic cables, railways, cars, etc.) because they're there at the right time. It's as if the rich somehow "deserve" being rich and the poor have to fend for themselves. The same (although I do not claim you are a racist in the least) goes for racists who believe they either "deserve" more rights, or are destined to hold them because they were born into different circumstances than others. The rich breed the rich, forming a feedback loop where the rich stay wealthy. Those who have opportunities thusly have more opportunities.

I therefore propose an idea we both can hopefully agree on. What we should give poor nations, instead of money, is the technology and education to bring themselves up out of squalor instead of exploiting them (brings to mind Nestlé’s use of inferior baby formula in Africa and big pharm's distribution of defective medication to the sick).
For a fraction of the cost of giving them economic aid, we raise their living conditions and add more experienced workers to the global economic system. We have more competing marketplaces and advances in technology. It ain't socialist, so you're happy; it ain't oppressing human beings for profit, so I'd be happy even if it wasn't socialist.

One more thing of note:
I simply couldn't enact my progressive social policies (legal prostitution, legal drug use, etc.) if the government was responsible for picking up the citizenry's medical tab. Take away the government's incentive to keep you healthy, it will be more than happy to butt out of your personal choices.

I never said the government had to stick its head into our business. Just as insurance companies can't dictate what we choose to do, the government would only provide an amount of money to help with someone's surgery or prescriptions.

Sure, the government would then have an incentive to keep us healthy, but I'd think they'd combat our ill health differently than policing what we choose to eat. If the government has to pay for your asthma medication, and the medications for millions of asthma sufferers, suddenly cracking down on the smokestacks spewing tar across the river seems like an easy way to cut down the tab. No more mercury in the water. No more lead paint stuck in our wallpaper. Suddenly, keeping the air clean and our food absent of BGH looks cost-effective. We're healthy; the government pays less. Of course people would still be able to drink themselves silly and smoke whatever they want to. The government couldn't possibly regulate something like that (oh wait... but not in my perfect government).

But the government cracking down on large corporations is easy to do. Sure, it's idealistic, but it's pretty sweet.

Of course, that's taking it pretty far. I just want to see the government providing decent health care that doesn't exploit the poor.

It seems to me that you're exaggerating the qualities of the government. An odd idea what the government is. It's supposed to belong to its citizens and provide regulation, protection, and a social contract where we agree what is acceptable and deplorable.

9:06 PM EDT  
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9:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have time to explain how right leaning you actually are, or tell you how silly at least half of your proposals are (mind you, I do agree fully or mostly with the other half of proposals). I will however respond to number 10.
Look at Australia's "Medicare"(for all people of all ages) healthcare system (ignore funding issues however - funding is low due to a right-leaning gov't) and you will see how successful a government run healthcare system is. In fact, Australia with a public health system has one of the world's greatest life expectancies (about 2nd or 3rd, last time i checked).

10:46 AM EDT  
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8:18 AM EDT  
Blogger jacksquat261 said...

1. why would you end humanitarian aid? because people whose homes were destroyed by tsunamis or refugees fleeing civil wars are lazy and dependent on american dollars?
2. we tried that after ww1. to see the results, try googling ww2. it's informative. also, i find it morally repugnant that you could sit advocate non-intervention in the face of crises like the darfur genocide and the ongoing civil wars in places like the drc and uganda.
3. fine by me.
4. this is amazingly short sighted, for several reasons; first is the social impact of drugs. thousands of people are hospitalized because of their drug use every year. care to guess who pays their hospital bills? the taxpayers. this contradicts your last point. second, what of the families of people who are "making choices about their bodies"? all the abused and neglected children that this policy will create should just deal with the choices their parents make about their own bodies?
5. your lack of understanding of international and domestic economics staggers me. free trade, when not properly regulated, can devastate local economies, creating huge numbers of jobless, angry people who have nothing to lose. does that sound destabilizing to you? in the likely event that you will say something on the lines of "but it will be good for us", no, it wont. this will explode our already alarming trade deficit, increasing the already ferocious rate at which we are hemorrhaging dollars to other countries with non-existent labor standards (i thought the inhuman working conditions engendered by such a policy wouldn't be worth mentioning as you, as an educated libertarian, don't give a damn about anyone else's welfare). next point.
6. fine by me.
7. in 2007, of our 15 largest importers of oil, 2 (saudi arabia and iraq) are in the middle east. in the top six, 1 (saudi arabia, a consistant ally) is in the middle east. most of our imported oil comes from canada, south america, or africa.
8. regardless of how you feel, the strong majority of americans feel that there should be obscenity laws. they might not be especially rational about it, but i would hope that you at least value democracy.
9. sounds great.
10. this is probably the most ridiculous point you make. how is health care currently a "public burden"? 47 million americans have no health insurance at all. do you think it should be higher? or do you fault the poor for being lazy and stupid, thereby justifying denying them and their children services that could save their lives? are the young children of the poor also lazy and unmotivated? what would your state do if a six year old born to a working class family developed leukemia? would you tell his or her parents "this is what you get for being poor. tell your son/daughter that they should have been smart enough to be born into a richer family."? how do you account for the fact that poverty is statistical, that poor children are hugely more likely to grow up and be poor than are the children of the wealthy? is laziness and stupidity hereditary? are you or i genetically superior to the poor? or more importantly, is your money so important to you, are you so greedy, that you would literally let people, some of whom have made mistakes, die horrible deaths on the streets when treatment is easy and lifesaving, just to give a little less money on your tax returns? no offense, but doesn't that make you a real bastard?

7:08 PM EST  
Blogger jacksquat261 said...

1. why would you end humanitarian aid? because people whose homes were destroyed by tsunamis or refugees fleeing civil wars are lazy and dependent on american dollars?
2. we tried that after ww1. to see the results, try googling ww2. it's informative. also, i find it morally repugnant that you could sit advocate non-intervention in the face of crises like the darfur genocide and the ongoing civil wars in places like the drc and uganda.
3. fine by me.
4. this is amazingly short sighted, for several reasons; first is the social impact of drugs. thousands of people are hospitalized because of their drug use every year. care to guess who pays their hospital bills? the taxpayers. this contradicts your last point. second, what of the families of people who are "making choices about their bodies"? all the abused and neglected children that this policy will create should just deal with the choices their parents make about their own bodies?
5. your lack of understanding of international and domestic economics staggers me. free trade, when not properly regulated, can devastate local economies, creating huge numbers of jobless, angry people who have nothing to lose. does that sound destabilizing to you? in the likely event that you will say something on the lines of "but it will be good for us", no, it wont. this will explode our already alarming trade deficit, increasing the already ferocious rate at which we are hemorrhaging dollars to other countries with non-existent labor standards (i thought the inhuman working conditions engendered by such a policy wouldn't be worth mentioning as you, as an educated libertarian, don't give a damn about anyone else's welfare). next point.
6. fine by me.
7. in 2007, of our 15 largest importers of oil, 2 (saudi arabia and iraq) are in the middle east. in the top six, 1 (saudi arabia, a consistant ally) is in the middle east. most of our imported oil comes from canada, south america, or africa.
8. regardless of how you feel, the strong majority of americans feel that there should be obscenity laws. they might not be especially rational about it, but i would hope that you at least value democracy.
9. sounds great.
10. this is probably the most ridiculous point you make. how is health care currently a "public burden"? 47 million americans have no health insurance at all. do you think it should be higher? or do you fault the poor for being lazy and stupid, thereby justifying denying them and their children services that could save their lives? are the young children of the poor also lazy and unmotivated? what would your state do if a six year old born to a working class family developed leukemia? would you tell his or her parents "this is what you get for being poor. tell your son/daughter that they should have been smart enough to be born into a richer family."? how do you account for the fact that poverty is statistical, that poor children are hugely more likely to grow up and be poor than are the children of the wealthy? is laziness and stupidity hereditary? are you or i genetically superior to the poor? or more importantly, is your money so important to you, are you so greedy, that you would literally let people, some of whom have made mistakes, die horrible deaths on the streets when treatment is easy and lifesaving, just to give a little less money on your tax returns? no offense, but doesn't that make you a real bastard?

7:08 PM EST  

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