Popular Government Cannot Flourish Without Virtue

It is certainly true that a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.

-- Richard Henry Lee letter to Colonel Martin Pickett — 1786



Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.

--James Madison speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention — 1788



The question I put forth before WB is the question of virtue in government and media.

Fraction of the people in government and the media posess virtue?

Is the government virtues, and please break your contemplation into levels of government: local, county, state and federal?

Have the people as a whole responding to the level of virtue in government and the media?

Do the people work to return virtue or speed up the destruction of it?

How is the election of Donald J. Trump as president and the rejection of Hillary R. Clinton related to the virtue level and it's level in the political parties?

What level of virtue did the Obama administration have and are the massive loss of legislative seats of the Democratic Party related to this virtue level?

Is the failure of Congress to pass any of the Trump and GOP campaign promises related to virtue?

Is the election or rejection of Judge Roy Moore and the campaign tactics being used related to the virtue?

Is the overall actions of the media an issue of virtue?

Is the rise of public unrest related to virtue and is in fabricated by those with political objective?

Is the sudden increase of sex predator finger pointing movement related to virtue of the lack of virtue earlier?

Comments

rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 19, 2017 - 1:45pm
I cannot see if virtue is an essential component of our current political spectrum, or if it is embedded in some remote place in our founding documents. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 19, 2017 - 1:54pm
The two quotes are from the colony discussions for adopting or rejecting the Constitution.  So the people of the day understood virtue.  If you can not see virtue is an essential component then the people that want to void the Constitution have trained you well.   The 57 signers of the Declaration of Independence  placed their fortune, lives, and honor which is virtue at risk.  Five were captured by the British and hung as traitors,  they lost children wives to the revolution,  they lost their wealth and some never recovered.   Since honor can not be measured I have no idea how much of their honor was lost.  We know that Benedict Arnold lost his honor.   
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 19, 2017 - 2:09pm
Thomas'
 
"The two quotes are from the colony discussions for adopting or rejecting the Constitution."
 
There must be millions of words and comments from such blather and comments during that period. None of this was able to inject a clear indication of what virtue would be required or how it might be defined. The Declaration and Constitution are highly truncated versions of many ideas and manuscripts. 
 
"...honor which is virtue .."
 
Def:
 
Honor
noun
1.
high respect; esteem.
"his portrait hangs in the place of honor"
2.
a privilege.
"the great poet of whom it is my honor to speak tonight"
 
No word resembling virtue appears in this definition.  You are stretching a point that is not realistic or evident. 
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 19, 2017 - 2:26pm
Thus the fact that you do not consider virtue important today and they did in 1700's means you answer a lot of my questions.  Congratulations.  I and other can guess the answers from your words.
 
Those two founding documents are part of a group that point to the same thing.  Produced by different people in the colonies and in Europe.  That is a clear statement that the founding document were understood by the people of the colonies and in Europe.  I would not expect anything different.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 19, 2017 - 3:50pm
"Thus the fact that you do not consider virtue important today and they did in 1700's means you answer a lot of my question
 
Your attempt to insert material where it does not belong means you answer a lot of my questions.
 
"That is a clear statement that the founding document were understood by the people of the colonies and in Europe. "
 
It is not clear at all except in the minds of those who would attempt to clarify past documents with flimsy arguments. This sounds like Griswold v. Connecticut where the 'right to privacy' was inserted using a scam and prosecution of an old law that was never exercised. 
 
"Thus the fact that you do not consider virtue important today..."
 
I did not say that. I said the obvious: the word is not there. You should read the text more carefully and refrain from inserting materials or deriving meanings that was not in the original text, which includes my posts and the founding documents. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 19, 2017 - 4:03pm
They are too many questions to answer them all. Sure enough I'm on your side when it comes to recognizing the value of virtue.
 
I think we are in such a troubled times that people have to remember what virtue means in the first place. The debate must be had.
 
We also see fake morals now that drown true morals. A social behavior or 'moral' can be instilled in the wider population by punishing people in public. The entire SJW dogma is based on this.
 
Morals must be cleaned up again and again. I think what helps is to know the roots, e.g. the bible. The ten commandments were already a reduction of moral wilderness. The early Christians tried the same. I would argue that the American Revolution had a similar effect and brought a clean moral framework to uphold freedom.
 
Good morals tend to serve two masters: god and country.
 
I see the current talk about sex offenders as a short phase. It takes more to regain strong morals. One big obstacle is the double-standard. Double-standards have actually replaced moral. That's why we now see all the sex offenders popping up in the first place.
 
I would say the Trumps election was a moral reawakening. Many were motivated by their disappointment about graft, lies and questionable war strategies. It is a grain of hope.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 19, 2017 - 4:35pm
I think the present sex scandal will end up as the McCarthy era mess with the same type of actions taken.    Who controls Hollywood?  Much closer to the communist being kicked out then those that went to war.   The Democratic party survived the Civil War.  This is a piece of cake in comparison because it serves a particular thinking individual that never to out of style.  The GOP is another issue. The party of Lincoln of those that would be abolitionist today do not run the party but make up the majority of those that vote Republican.  Will the leadership jump to the Democratic Party where then share more then the Lincoln majority?  Will they stand and fight?  will the Lincoln people fight or gin up a new party?  I have no idea and can not think of anyone else that can make a good guess.  Bannon says he will represent the Lincoln majority but he actually represent a small sliver.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 19, 2017 - 4:53pm
Thomas: I must say that I don't even see a conservative majority in the Republican party. Bannon indeed represents only a minority (even of the ordinary card holders).
 
It is how Andrew Breitbart said, politics is downstream from culture. The Trump presidency is only a small hint that virtues may resurface. It all stands and falls, however, with the accessibility of internet communication. If Facebook, Twitter etc try to control us, we cannot have a rejuvenating debate. Other platforms (media, academia, hollywood...) are shut down.
 
It is the bottleneck. What we need is a way to install ideals again. People are ashamed when they fail ideals and therefore are afraid of them. We must take away the shame and praise people whenever they come closer to ideals. At the moment overcoming shame is the sick ideal. So a talk show guest who says 'all my kids outta wedlock, rest aborted' will be met with applause. It sets sick morals.
 
The congress, corporate leaders and so on will follow the morals that we must set.
Dave Volek Added Nov 19, 2017 - 6:28pm
I think the level of virtue in our political leaders reflect the state of virtue in the nation. And I should add that we have a mixture: some elected people have virtues, some don't.
 
I will just say that if we can put more people of virtue into public office, there is likely be a positive effect on society. And if we are running a trend of lower virtue in public office, that will bring the nation down. 
 
I explain this in Chapter 9.
 
Dino Manalis Added Nov 19, 2017 - 7:17pm
Good morals and values are the foundation of virtue and wise policies.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 19, 2017 - 7:57pm
Special interest pay for full time GOP leadership which means those are the voices heard.  Conservative are eliminated during the primary by being out spent that pays for campaign of disinformation.  Multiple candidates and some that many would have preferred ran in the Alabama Senate GOP primary.  McConnell smeared everyone including Moore, but with Moore's history running and being a political figure state wide meant the voters already had an opinion.  So McConnell actually did himself a disfavor by plowed the road to leave two candidates.
opher goodwin Added Nov 19, 2017 - 8:11pm
Politicians should be virtuous. They should be in office to improve conditions for the people. They clearly are not.
Kerem Oner Added Nov 20, 2017 - 9:22am
You ask many questions.  I will summarize them all in one answer.  Virtue is on its deathbed, and living its agonizing last days.  What is killing it is moral nihilism that the statist left has unleased on society through its education, media, and entertainment tentacles.  Human nature is greatly corruptible and imperfect and evil intentions will always undermine it. 
Eileen de Bruin Added Nov 20, 2017 - 11:07am
Thomas,
 
politicians cannot be virtuous by reasoning that if they are, they will not go up the hierarchy, if they can even get in, in the first place!
 
Sometimes, in our earlier histories of the UK and the US, yes, there were virtuous people and causes. But those times are gone.  I was a member of the Labour Party for a short while, in the nineties. It became very clear to me, after John Smith’s desth, that the New Labour and its New Model was a clear departure from ideals and virtuous behaviours for the good of the nation.  It became just a marketing machine, no soul at all and those within the party, if they had any virtue remaining after the change, were weeded out.  I think that Mow Mowlem was a woman of principles and virtue. She was the last of that ilk. Her replacement, Mandelson, was clearly of the new type...the political elite and it as an end in itself.
 
To be virtuous requires courage and selflessness. Those kinds of people don’t populate the US and UK governments as far as I can tell. Not in the French system either... or in Italy!  
 
My experience in Holland is that the politicians seem to be much more answerable to the people and they are expected to have high values and work hard for the country. It is also cross party and a coalition which means that arguments and issues can take a long time, but they seem to be more honest with telling it how it is.
 
Opher and Dave: 
Do we get the government we deserve? 
 
Probably.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 20, 2017 - 11:36am
Great response everybody.  Your being honest.  I do not see much virtue in politicians or the bureaucracy either.  The result is not that pleasant.  However Brexit and the election of Trump is a small break in the clouds.  We are the people that can by individually presenting the truth open the break.   
 
Egypt faced a worse situation and those people were willing to demand a change.   The army no mater what you think of them took the side of the people over the Islamic Brotherhood.  The army saw what happened to a similar army in Turkey when their government turned to Islam from secularism.  They only needed to see support.   Egypt is not a democracy that is for sure.  And they do suppress with force the Brotherhood. 
 
Islam is not a religion that teaches individual rights so the majority of the population is comfortable with Islamic government principles, a leadership interpreting from the 8 and 9th century.  At the time they were conquering the southern coast of Africa.  So these laws are from the military leaders and religious leaders of the a nation converting those conquered into the Islamic movement.  Failure to join ment conversion by the sword.   
 
Those in the street is the core that ar secular mostly in the cities.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 20, 2017 - 11:58am
Eileen: I think the Dutch are also a special people. It is possible that their representatives are more answerable than anywhere alse. I think it has a lot to do with how many people are represented by a government. In my humble opinion the UK, for example, is generally better governed than the US although the latter has the better constitution. This is what makes state rights and federalism so important for me.
 
The Dutch also have an outstanding history. I stand corrected, but I think many intellectuals like Descartes and Galileo published in the Netherlands when it was impossible anywhere else in Europe. I also think that this culture made civil rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali the woman that she is.
 
Thomas:
I can't read Islam the way you see it. I see things getting worse in some places (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Turkey) and improving in other places (Tunisia, Bosnia, Iran). There are also these mixed places. I see a lot of mischief among Arabs that is heartening. Iran is culturally very advanced. I believe that it is a matter of time until we will see something happen there. The most outspoken critics of Islam come from Iran which has implemented a rather strict version of the sharia since 1979. The population is visibly tiring of it. I see an enormous passion for individualism among many Muslims. I wished Germans had that passion. The picture is very mixed. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:17pm
Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are strict Muslim countries of opposing sects.  Only Egypt, Jordan,and Israel give their citizens individual rights including Muslims, Christians, and Jews.  May not be as complete as a western country but an order  more then the strict states.
 
I mentioned earlier that the long boats spread the idea of individual rights into England and the coast of Europe.  As a side note Switzerland I believe was the Nights Templar wealth and people escaped to.   Their banking and not joining in with Europe wars is the expected results.  Dutch got lucky in history because they ended up setting up their own government because no one wanted to claim them since many powerful nations laid claim.  This is one of the first free markets of capitalism in Europe and it grew wealth because of that advantage.  They may have destroyed the guilds throughout Europe.  Jews that were prevented from many occupations moved to the Netherlands which is why we see some of the industries that are based their.  The end of guilds (licensed to practice an occupation is a 'guild' and the AMA is the strongest in America) and the inventions of the start of the industrial revolution coincided.  England and Netherlands were in the best position to profit from the starting growth of the industrial revolution.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:18pm
Norway is another country besides Switzerland that never joined the EU.   The home of the long boats.  
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:21pm
Egypt doesn't give her citizens individual right? I'm not sure about Jordan either. But Egypt grants no rights.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 20, 2017 - 12:48pm
Thomas: Yes, it is remarkable. I really think the UK, the Dutch and the Norway had a special role in the development of our modern society and they are still a very different people from the rest of Europe and really the rest of the world. I don't know anything about the 'long boats'. I just included Norway here because I hear more and more often that Norway is very, very different from Sweden and in a good way. So it connects with your perception that they were also influential on creating individual rights.
 
I happen to believe that it takes a long time for a people to learn certain things. As the adage goes 'freedom is the hardest thing to learn'.
 
But I also see something special in the Polish and in other Eastern European countries that defeated communism. Ultimately freedom can be learnt. And there are signs that things speed up. It's also a hope for the Muslim world.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 20, 2017 - 2:29pm
Poland at least allowed jews more property rights.  They migrated to Poland because freedom increased.  Fiddler on the Roof is an example that Jews could own land in Poland.  
 
Egypt due to British influence is more secular and Lebanon before the civil war also was a secular nation.  Answer said this to the question of secularism in Jordan. "Jordan always had Christian members of the cabinet and sometimes they were prime ministers."  Wikipedia says this about Egypt. " Egypt’s first experience of Secularism started with the British Occupation (1882–1952), the atmosphere which allowed the protection of debate. In this environment pro-secularist intellectuals like Ya'qub Sarruf, Faris Nimr, Nicola Haddad whom sought political asylum from Ottoman Rule were able to publish their work. . . . By 1919 Egypt had its first political secular entity called the Hizb 'Almani (Secular Party) - this name was later changed to the Wafd Party. . . .  A The Economist report in 2017 stated that Egyptians were turning more secular again, with supporters of sharia law dropping by more than half since 2011, people praying less than before, and gender equality now being widely accepted.[7] The government has also acted to preserve its Jewish heritage through the restoration of the abandoned Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria in 2017."
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 20, 2017 - 2:35pm
Thomas: I don't think that people praying less is a good sign for anything. The sharia is the foundation of all laws according to Egypt's constitution. People say that they are more secular because the brotherhood is persecuted. It has no bearing on the ground. Free speech is no longer possible in Egypt. There are also no other individual rights granted to the citizens.
Phil Greenough Added Nov 20, 2017 - 4:55pm
How would you answer these questions?
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 20, 2017 - 6:58pm
The author here attempts to tie all questions around virtue, an attribute now well-defined or even deemed important in political issues. As such, the essays here are meaningless. 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 20, 2017 - 7:04pm
Well, well another free dumb and liber tea deleter. The decayed particle didn't like how he was framed accurately.
Bill Kamps Added Nov 21, 2017 - 7:38am
Thomas, it is difficult to say how virtue would make the situation better.  That kind of like saying the best form of government is a benevolent dictator, true but rare.
 
In general the governments of Western societies have given people what they want.  People want more government services, and dont want to pay for them.  That is what we got.  More services, and a growing level of debt.  Exactly what Franklin predicted.
 
If politicians run on austerity they lose.  That is because people dont want austerity, and they want stuff for free.
 
In Norway the people are more realistic about what their services will cost, and are willing to pay for them.  Also being smaller, and with a different form of government compared to the US, it is easier to deliver competent services.  In the US, the government was set up to thwart its efficient operation, with the idea of keeping the government small.  Unfortunately the government grew massively, but it is still clumsy, and inefficient because of its design.  This is why virtually every government program is a mess, because it has to be compromised to death, in order for the legislation to pass.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 21, 2017 - 9:56am
Great comments Bill K.,  Voters want stuff for free.  First of all welfare violates the constitution.  That is not an enumerated power.  The states can provide welfare but the national government is prohibited, and Franklin I bet was involved in that decision.  Social security should be a state program.   The founders did not even want a income tax and if they did it would surely not be a progressive one.
 
If this Trump voting box revolution continues into 2018 to 2024 then maybe a few more men of virtue will be in Congress.  We can get real tax and healthcare reform after the 2020 election.  England's Parliament in its history have and a few period of being virtuous.  Maybe this is our period of increased virtue.
 
Ryck, the discussion if meaningless would not have gathered comments.  Discussions like this occur always before a fundamental change occurs in the direction of a nation.  The founders said that without virtue the Constitution is but a meaningless piece of paper.  The sex scandals and those in power not receiving equal justice shows the lack of virtue.  Politicizing the FBI, CIA, ICE, Justice, IRS, etc. are signs of the Constitution being a floor mat.   But Ryck, we can vote them out.  And the know well understood reality of the media being a partner in the deception that is more likely.
 
Bill K. one test is Judge Moore.  Not living in Alabama I have know Idea what news they are hearing and seeing.  The Media feeds us slanted news with not balance.  I am including FOX also.  Hannity is the closest one of FOX to be balanced.  The rest could be on CNN etc.  
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 21, 2017 - 10:48am
Thomas
 
"Great comments Bill K.,  Voters want stuff for free.  First of all welfare violates the constitution.  That is not an enumerated power.  The states can provide welfare but the national government is prohibited, and Franklin I bet was involved in that decision.  Social security should be a state program.   The founders did not even want a income tax and if they did it would surely not be a progressive one."
 
I agree 100%
 
"Ryck, the discussion if meaningless would not have gathered comments.  Discussions like this occur always before a fundamental change occurs in the direction of a nation.  The founders said that without virtue the Constitution is but a meaningless piece of paper. "
 
Except this does not meet the criterion of a 'fundamental change.' We are stuck in a swamp. 
 
On virtue
 
There are two versions of the myth Pandora. In one, she finds or is given a box [actually a jar] that she opens and gives out various attributes but does not give out Wisdom. 
 
Lacking Wisdom our founding fathers did not know what they were doing and we wound up with a corrupt political system devoid of virtue. She did not mention virtue; it was probably absent from the jar. 
 
Wish us better luck in the next incarnation. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 21, 2017 - 12:17pm
The Congress and Whitehouse could change is a decade.  Recall that the change made by FDR started about 1900.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 21, 2017 - 2:05pm
That was TDR and then Wilson and FDR got us into two world wars [160,000 and then 400,000 dead], not much of a virtuous endeavor.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 21, 2017 - 3:47pm
rycK WWI is a different then WWII.  The nature of the ideology of  Germany, Italy, and Japan and the never ending war that would conduct is different then another European war. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Nov 21, 2017 - 4:47pm
Thomas Sutrina
 
All wars are different.  Wilson set up boundaries in Europe and the Balkans and other places by offering some new defined method of allotting land and such. All he did was to set the stage and props for WW2. 
 
Ideologies change so we then have several problems in:
 
[What do we do for these poor souls?]
 
The African Question [echoing  Lord Randolph Henry Spencer-Churchill ]
The Irish Question [defined  by same Churchill ]
The Caribbean Question
The Cuban Question
The European Union Question
The North Korea Question
The South American Question. 
 
and so on and so forth. 
 
New ideologies and theories of war and government abound in each age.  WW1,2 and 3 when it happens are all different views of a rapidly changing world. 
Eileen de Bruin Added Nov 21, 2017 - 5:36pm
rycK, hmmm, yes, very interesting. perpetuation of the same. . . the more things change, the more they stay the same?
 
Thomas:  whose long boats?
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 21, 2017 - 5:50pm
Long ships  is a little better,  consider this 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxKw68Xo4eI
 
rycK,  WWI treated was driven more by the European powers then America.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 21, 2017 - 6:15pm
This talks about the Viking individualism and understanding of government. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Sw0KFmIF8
Kate Moss Added Nov 22, 2017 - 8:59am
What country has a popular government?
Jeff Michka Added Nov 22, 2017 - 1:49pm
The Sutrino tells falsehoods: The Congress and Whitehouse could change is a decade.  Recall that the change made by FDR started about 1900-Ah, your hero FDR You go on and on about bashing for what you call "racist policies," but can't even know when he was actually president.  As syck ryck even said, try FDR'S cousin, Teddy, around 1900.
Eileen de Bruin Added Nov 22, 2017 - 3:04pm
Thomas, I guess you mean the Vikings.  8th Century...Well they were Scandinavians and some of them ended up in what is now Normandie, from which the Norman Conqueror emerged and invaded or claimed his throne in 1066. Every angle they came in on!  But what is your point?
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 22, 2017 - 5:28pm
A Viking owning his own boat, they needed to know how to survive as individuals because they are separated by winter, forest, and mountains.  One could go our on his own.  The ancestors of Vikings settled in mainland Europe brought this understanding with them.  The Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest to me seem related to those idea of individualism. 
 
The church and government said institution needs come before the individual.  Individuals are fleeting the institution eternal.  Old Testament profits were not part of the government of church, officials, but acting as individuals.  They laid down the laws of Nature which are God's laws that all live under including themselves.  Law of nature is very well know to Viking because that was the reality of the sea and their land.
 
Martin Luther reintroduces individual again.  By the grace of God individual are saved not the institution of the Church.  The Church does not provide salvation.   Locke, Smith, de Montesquieu, Wise, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Washington, and Lincoln saw individual and Natural law as a basis for a culture. 
 
Rome Catholic Church under the Popes (different then the first century church), monarchs, Islam, and Socialism placed the eternal state over the needs and even life of fleeting individuals.  They lived in a class society with different laws for different classes.   Which by this alone suggest that the laws were man made.  In nature their is no such thing as a species being separated by an arbitrary class.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Nov 23, 2017 - 2:07pm
Sutrina: I did not look more into it, but I really doubt that the Vikings did much here.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 26, 2017 - 11:57am
BG sez: Sutrina: I did not look more into it, but I really doubt that the Vikings did much here. -Well "Vikings" was a great TV series for Sutrino.  Sutrino learned all a rightist needs to know about them from the show, although he's loath to admit it.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 26, 2017 - 12:51pm
Jeff M., I am sure you enjoyed the 'Vikings' TV series.  It is not my type of series.  I am from the 'Ponderosa' and 'Dragnet' era Jeff.  'Vikings' is your age group I would guess.
 
Jeff Michka Added Nov 26, 2017 - 3:07pm
Jeff M., I am sure you enjoyed the 'Vikings' TV series. AND Vikings' is your age group I would guess.-Okay decayed particle Sheerluck Sutrino, what is my age group?  Yanno, you spew such falsehoods and lies I wonder how you can look in a mirror. "It is not my type of series."  Hmmm.  Wasn't rightist enough, eh?
Jeff Michka Added Nov 26, 2017 - 3:08pm
Dragnet "Just the facts, M'am?"  So you didn't learn much, you're long on rightist fantasy and usually short of any "facts."
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 26, 2017 - 9:38pm
Jeff M., you got it I do follow the rules of Dragnet, "Just the facts, M'am."  If I remember me asking of the your facts and you come up short.  I have done this many time my guess is at least half a dozen times.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:48pm
Decayed particle Sutrino laments: If I remember me asking of the your facts and you come up short.  I have done this many time my guess is at least half a dozen times.-Hmmm.  You write a lot of long comments, Sutrino, often they can't be understood.  You can always ask again, but remember a question mark ? signifies a question being asked.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 28, 2017 - 5:50pm
Hey, Sutrino, you ever figure out when FDR was in office?  No sign of it above...
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 28, 2017 - 10:39pm
Before I was born and my guess before you were born.  FDR took the oath of office on March 4, 1933 and died in office on April 12, 1945.
Eileen de Bruin Added Nov 29, 2017 - 4:06pm
. In nature their is no such thing as a species being separated by an arbitrary class.
 
Thomas, your comment above.  In relation to,the control of the churches through religion. It is about hierarchy and control. Like it is, today.  In nature, the natural state without materialistic development, ther will still be hierarchies...look at the indigenous Americans or First Nationers.
 
The  VIkings got all over the place, apparently. Perhaps it is inside of our genes...move on, explore, conquer, merge....
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 29, 2017 - 5:56pm
No royal families in nature.  Each generation has to determine its place in the hierarchy.  They only have the advantage of genes, that the parents teach, and better food provided by the parents
Eileen de Bruin Added Nov 30, 2017 - 5:03am
Mmmmm. But what about the lion world and the largest, strongest Lion king?  And many other species too.
 
genes, yes, and selective partnering...we all do it.
Thomas Sutrina Added Nov 30, 2017 - 8:50am
There is a hierarchy but it is earned not inherited in the lion world.  They young male has to beat the old male leader and drive him away or kill him.   
 
End the class barrier structure and then you will get a mix of the next generation.  Some will do better then their parents like Trump.    Many more will maintain or slowly loose wealth and then there will be those that throw it away.   A wealth manager in an article said that without barriers  and this is world wide, it takes about three generations for the wealth of the initial generation to be spent.  This is without inheritance tax.   
 
We do not need inheritance tax.   Those that create wealth like the original person that created the wealth will spend it in employing people to create his and their own wealth.  That is how the middle class came to be.   We want those people.   We do not want those that can not manage wealth and lucky they loose it on their own.
 
To prevent the loss of wealth government prevents those coming up that create wealth.  the nation is worse off for the barriers.
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 1, 2017 - 3:16am
Thomas, it is survival of the fittest in the animal world, yes and also in the human world.  But in a humane human society we shall be defined and judged by how we treat the  weaker members of the whole society, including the sick and the old. After all medical science progresses in its care of the whole society. Or not, as is the increasing notion these days...
 
I don’t want to discuss tax regimes!  My own view is to pay a lot of tax implies good earning and living and sharing into the overall welfare. I buy this concept. Growl and roar!
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 1, 2017 - 8:23am
Eileen the I totally agree that human society shall be defined and judged by how we treat the weaker members.  That is why I am totally against the practice of socialism.  The master minds that run socialism in countries are not angles and that is what it would take to create the utopia ideals of socialism.
 
America for example turned to socialism in the 1900s and really got into creating a socialist utopia during the great depression. FDR reorganized government into a socialist leaning state, about 1933.   85 years to get it right.  He started public housing and exploded government funded welfare including AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN.   America is living in a world initiated by socialism master minds.  This is the practical result of socialism Eileen.  We will be judged on results not ideology of how we treat the weak.
 
"Hustlers and people with little understanding want us to believe that today's black problems are the continuing result of a legacy of slavery, poverty and racial discrimination. The fact is that most of the social pathology seen in poor black neighborhoods is entirely new in black history. . . . Much of today's pathology seen among many blacks is an outgrowth of the welfare state that has made self destructive behavior less costly for the individual. Having children without the benefit of marriage is less burdensome if the mother receives housing subsidies, welfare payments and food stamps. Plus, the social stigma associated with unwed motherhood has vanished. Female headed households, whether black or white, are a ticket for dependency and all of its associated problems.

Ignored in all discussions is the fact that the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994." http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2015/05/20/thetrueblacktragedyn2000459/
print
 
Walter Williams in a black economist.
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 1, 2017 - 8:57am
Eileen the fact that socialism in my life time has always failed doesn't mean that capitalism works any better.   Actually the economic system is a free market.  Socialist countries also are capitalist.  Communism is socialism.   Russia collapsed because it did not promote free market capitalism.  China and the other more productive socialist states have robust capitalism occurring in the private free market sector of their economy.  Capital in a free market migrates to the most productive ideas.  Adam Smith defined this as an invisible hand since no one is directing it.  Many individual decision direct capital.  Adam Smith said that society is better off because of these invisible decision of self interest. 
 
No farmer controls the price of what he grows because too many farmers produce the same product.  Also the buyer does not control the price because there are too many buyers of the same product.  The is a free market.   The measure of a free market is the weighted number of producers or buyers.  When their are too few the market is a monopoly not a free market.  Eileen the problems you associate with capitalism is a problem of monopoly. 
 
Eileen the pesky lack of ANGLES in government.  The larger the government the bigger the problem.  Socialist government are leviathans and always has their fingers in the regulations that end up promoting monopolies.  Again the problem of ideals vs practice.   Socialism failed in redistribution of wealth, judge a society on how they treat the weak.   They failed on regulating businesses because they actually create monopolies, "to big to fail."
 
Eileen please consider these words about the weak in our society and what rights they need to succeed.  Not a full answer but a better start then what socialism has delivered.  "The Southern states after the Civil War took many measures to impose legal restrictions on Negroes. One measure which was never taken on any scale was the establishment of barriers to the ownership of either real or personal property. . . . It reflected rather, a basic belief in private property which was so strong that it overrode the desire to discriminate against Negroes.  The maintenance of the general rules of private property and of capitalism have been a major source of opportunity for Negroes and have permitted them to make greater progress than they otherwise could have made." 
 
"Paradoxes of experience is that, in spite of this historical evidence, it is precisely the minority groups that have frequently furnished the most vocal and most numerous advocates of fundamental alteration in a capitalist society.  They have tended to attribute to capitalism the residual restrictions they experience rather than to recognize that the free market has been the major factor enabling these restrictions to be as small as they are."    "Capitalism & Freedom" Milton Friedman Univ. of Chicago Press 1962 p 108, 109
 
 
 
 
 
 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Dec 1, 2017 - 9:59am
Thomas,
 
"Eileen the fact that socialism in my life time has always failed doesn't mean that capitalism works any better.   Actually the economic system is a free market. [best?? ed.] Socialist countries also are capitalist.  Communism is socialism.   Russia collapsed because it did not promote free market capitalism.  China and the other more productive socialist states have robust capitalism occurring in the private free market sector of their economy.  Capital in a free market migrates to the most productive ideas.  Adam Smith defined this as an invisible hand since no one is directing it.  Many individual decision direct capital.  Adam Smith said that society is better off because of these invisible decision of self interest. "
 
I agree here with most of this but remind you that when government tries to run things the result is nearly always disaster. I offer Cuba, PRC , USSR, Bulgaria, E. Germany, .. The USSR collapsed due to a phony two-tier ruble [internal different from external] and the divergence forced some 1500 fold inflation thus wiping out all Russian savings. 
 
"Socialist countries also are capitalist."
 
NOT USSR, PRC, Cuba Venezuela and others. 
 
The guiding difference here is that government is inefficient and bureaucrats tend to make political decisions rather than market oriented ones.  Capitalism does not recognize [or seek] equality because it selects those who can do the job. 
 
"Since there is no equality that can be demonstrated in even small groups we then come to the abrupt and perplexing question: who, then, can work the levers of capitalism and provide the leadership and structure for the group? The answer to this question is really not amenable to description or even analysis and cannot be answered because of the variations in capitalism itself.
 
If we inspect a primitive society that consumes mostly fish for food and their health and future depends upon gathering fish using boats or nets or spears in some water space then we quickly notice that some are skilled in one or more aspects of the fishing process.
 
Here, equality is not even desirable because if the group only had one basic skill it might not survive due to various tasks not being accomplished to standards that would support the ongoing existence of the group. Jobs in such a society are not interchangeable. 
 
Such a group as this spontaneously forms a pyramidal structure as there is a need for a central planner [chief ]and work force director and a need to distribute tasks with some efficiency so that the output of the group exceeds the sums of the collective harvest of individuals who would have to do every fishing task by themselves.
 
Thus, by sharing diverse duties in a group the means of production is made more efficient and all potentially benefit from the cooperative work process."--from a previous blog of mine
 
Socialism presumes that equality is the goal and selects political cadres to administer nearly all aspects of the economy, the very people that should not be involved in such decision-making. There was no equality in the Russian Politburo and PRC leaders or in Cuba, where wealth was squandered. 
 
jmnsho
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 2, 2017 - 3:59am
Thomas and rycK, wowI ok, yes, I appreciate your earnest remonstrations. I do not see socialism as communism and I think that, therein, lies the misunderstandings of what I mean to imply.  Capitalism is good. And with a healthy balance within its working, so as to avoid the extremes, it yields more for all of its people. The wealth of a country is for all its people.
 
Whilst I appreciate thatnthe concept of dependants on the state is not seen as desirable, it is a fact of life that people are not all the same, industrious people. Rather than let people die in the gutter, whilst living in the streets, we should recognise that a whole society needs every one in it. And education and training is the cost effective way, alongside health care. It costs less, in the end, than mopping up the mess of criminality and illnesses from over crowding and street living.
 
Equality is a wrong word to imply the same.  If God loves everybody equally, that does not mean to say that we are all the same does it?
 
The wealth of a nation is often not given to its people, as we well know in the regimes in Africa which is the richest continent on earth according to its natural resources!  Sadly, then the so called extremism creeps in, as a convenient reason for the military or capitalist companies to crack down on those people whose wealth has been stolen. They are forced to live in poverty and are told that that is just how it is. And then they espouse some radical cause because it is the only avenue they have to fight back.
 
And so it goes on.
 
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 2, 2017 - 11:18am
I am going to let the experts present the differences between Socialism and Communism.   
 
"Socialism and communism are alike in that both are systems of production for use based on public ownership of the means of production and centralized planning. Socialism grows directly out of capitalism; it is the first form of the new society. Communism is a further development or "higher stage" of socialism.
 
From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds (socialism). From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs (communism).
 
The socialist principle of distribution according to deeds— that is, for quality and quantity of work performed, is immediately possible and practical. On the other hand, the communist principle of distribution according to needs is not immediately possible and practical—it is an ultimate goal.
 
Are there, then, no differences between the Socialist and Communist parties? Yes, there are.
 
The Communists believe that as soon as the working class and its allies are in a position to do so they must make a basic change in the character of the state; they must replace capitalist dictatorship over the working class with workers’ dictatorship over the capitalist class as the first step in the process by which the existence of capitalists as a class (but not as individuals) is ended and a classless society is eventually ushered in. Socialism cannot be built merely by taking over and using the old capitalist machinery of government; the workers must destroy the old and set up their own new state apparatus. The workers’ state must give the old ruling class no opportunity to organize a counter-revolution; it must use its armed strength to crush capitalist resistance when it arises.
 
The Socialists, on the other hand, believe that it is possible to make the transition from capitalism to socialism without a basic change in the character of the state. They hold this view because they do not think of the capitalist state as essentially an institution for the dictatorship of the capitalist class, but rather as a perfectly good piece of machinery which can be used in the interest of whichever class gets command of it. No need, then, for the working class in power to smash the old capitalist state apparatus and set up its own—the march to socialism can be made step by step within the framework of the democratic forms of the capitalist state.
 
Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.
There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.
 
Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies."
http://www.marxmail.org/faq/socialism_and_communism.htm
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Dec 2, 2017 - 12:30pm
Thomas,
 
"Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. "
 
This is Marxism, modified by Lenin in the current context.  The notion that the government can run a business is a joke, check out our government's handling of GAF in upstate NY during the war, a business owned by I. G. Farben.
 
"It means taking away private property in the means of production"
 
Straight out of Marx, 1848, who used the term 'means of production.'
 
Notice how closely this 'socialism' definition fits Cuba, USSR, PRC, Bulgaria, E. Germany, Venezuela and several dozen spots in Africa. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Dec 2, 2017 - 12:34pm
Eileen,
 
"Capitalism is good. And with a healthy balance within its working, so as to avoid the extremes, it yields more for all of its people. The wealth of a country is for all its people."
 
The last sentence is a collective notion but does not offer equality in wealth or income or other.  But, the general effect of capitalism benefits all in the long run with jobs and savings of excess remunerations and more.  Some government help is necessary to help the indigent and others, and that is fine if the cost is moderate. 
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:56am
rycK and Thomas: yes, those descriptors are understood and absorbed. Perhaps, now that wenare in the 21st century, there can be a more balanced, less prescriptive socialism.
 
Drop socialism for community well being in that the many can share in good public services, whether rich, middle class or poor. Libraries, schools, hospitals etc. for the many.
 
There certainly doesn’t have to be equality to the degree of dogged dogma. 
 
To have virtue implies doing the best for all its nation, not the few. Currently, in both the UK and the US taces have been reduced on the super rich and many pay none. Tax is a fair way of making the community in which the rich live and work, yield well for them and for everyone else.  The society in which the rich operate and create wealth from the wealth of their nation, can expect to share in that wealth, can it not? 
 
Wealth creation is in part entrepreneurial and in part due to the geography, materials and other people. What is the point of a rich man in his castle surrounded by abject poverty and his gardens and walls patrolled by armed guards? And having to walk through the streets with a mask on because of street poverty and disease?
 
I give stark extremes to make a point but I can literally see those stark extremes now having been created in the UK, more particularly in England, because both Scotland and Wales have more robust public services.
 
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 3, 2017 - 9:12am
When there is tyrannical governments (man's laws by a few that form a class society with different laws within each class, economic, and political barriers between classes that retain the status quo) a black market always develops, why, "the free market has been the major factor enabling these restrictions to be as small as they are."    "Capitalism & Freedom" Milton Friedman Univ. of Chicago Press 1962 p 109   "Adam Smith's words, "the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his conditions, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived," has been, "powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things towards improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of governments and of the greatest errors of administration." Wealth of Nations Vol 1, page 325 book II chapter III   1776 edition edited by Edwin Cannan 5th edition London Methuen & Co Ltd 1930 provide in  "Free to Choose" Milton & Rose Friedman 1979 Introduction

Men are not ANGLES so man's laws alone always lead to tyranny!  That is why there must be checks and balances like the first ten amendments to the American Constitution and base set of principles of law like those found in the Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta, Charter of the Forest, etc..

Why do men make laws to create a class society?  Their prodigy on average will loose the gains made by a generation by the forth generation without barriers to prevent it and government is the only means to create those barriers.

"Socialism and communism are alike in that both are systems of production for use based on public ownership of the means of production and centralized planning. . . . The Socialists, . . . believe that it is possible to make the transition from capitalism to socialism without a basic change in the character of the state. They hold this view because they do not think of the capitalist state as essentially an institution for the dictatorship of the capitalist class, but rather as a perfectly good piece of machinery which can be used in the interest of whichever class gets command of it. No need, then, for the working class in power to smash the old capitalist state apparatus and set up its own—the march to socialism can be made step by step within the framework of the democratic forms of the capitalist state."    http://www.marxmail.org/faq/socialism_and_communism.htm

The character of free market (capitalist) and a socialist are direct opposites so the character of the state must change dramatically.   Free market Individual chooses combine like the dots that form pictures on the pages of new papers or TV screen. The dots do not know what image they are part of.   When the state controls the means of production that is like a picture painted with a brush.  The hand that controls the bush is in charge.   The most successful approach to the poor is individual to individual (local community) dealing with it.  The nature of man when productive beyond need is to provide for the poor.  This is central part of all major religions and societies/ governments ( only applies to those not threatening the power to be). 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Dec 3, 2017 - 2:23pm
Thomas and Eileen
 
Great posts. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:08pm
EIleen you seem to believe men are angles.  But they are not.  The theory of socialism assumes that men are angles.  Remove this one assumption and the socialism falls apart.  So let us assume that 90% of the people involved in your socialist government are making decisions for the people honest decisions. 
 
That means 10% are not.  And it is in the interest of the 10% to act together.   And the 90% to not act together to oppose the 10%.   Cuba turns communist.  Russia becomes the USSR.  American colonist form a new government.  The King of England is constrained by the lords that control his purse strings.   
 
Put that 10% in the control of the party and you get the GOP today,.  And the Democratic party before Obama.  Today the Democratic deep pockets are not funding the NDC, but the state Democratic parties.  Hillary and Obama spent the NDC dry.    
 
The 10% in American politics is the swamp of special interest. Crony Capitalist  that want to be in control.  They want the Constitution in the circular file.  They see class societies as an ideal situation.   
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:17pm
If 60% of the people choose freedom and see through the lies.  Really know what is needed to be free then they do not have to organize to beat the 10%.  The vote them out of office and they make justice and laws blind.   Judges are removed that create laws and fail to properly umpire the court.   
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 3, 2017 - 4:58pm
Eileen and rycK,  I am a poor writer.  I hope this from a great writer help you understand the perilous times we are in today.  Sound like the goal of the liberals in the American Government and bureaucracy and I guess England also.  
 
“What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish?
 
There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license.
 
When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.”
 

“It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.”
 
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”
 
“Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” 
 
https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/465.Alexis_de_Tocqueville
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 5:50pm
Thomas and rycK, very well put. Thank you too. rycK. I learn much from you both.
 
Thomas, yes, nothing is harder to deal with than freedom, I agree. In spite of all of the ills of the West, there are great places to live, not least in the US. But, I am patently aware of the current fragility of our governments in the US and the UK. I am frightened by the xenophobia and right wing facets, especially when the greatest of nations is made by so many different peoples from all over the world.
 
Self interest is part of it all and enlightened self interest is an evolution in itself.  We cannot rely on the whims and well meaning of charities, it is better to have a government to redistribute some of the wealth, otherwise the  do gooders become dependent upon people being grateful and the dynamics are not egalitarian.  When Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake, it showed a fundamental incomprehension as well as incompetence, of the throwing out some crumbs principle.
 
We need to move on.  And, Thomas, you convey your points well enough and at least you are interested enough to want to write.  If only Mr. Trump had as much insight eh?
 
As to virtuous people, if they are led by two bad hair do’s, one orange and the other black, we might all be in trouble!
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 6:08pm
rycK, do you know who made this speech?
 
“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.' "
 
Thomas, this would imply virtuous people and government indeed.
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 3, 2017 - 6:11pm
...and this one?
 
“We must recognize the full human equality of all of our people before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this, not because it is economically advantageous, although it is; not because of the laws of God command it, although they do; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do."
Thomas Sutrina Added Dec 3, 2017 - 8:20pm
I agree Eileen we must recognize the full human equality, but we both know that actions are important.  Words that do not match actions is fraud when those in charge repeatedly  fail year after year.    I pointed out the failure of welfare for the black community that you would think could be addressed in 85 years.   Failure to control immigration,  open borders for 50 years is understood internationally as a disaster.  
 
Your thinking that principles are more important then actions.  What does your criminal justice system consider more important actions or thoughts?   Can a person be put on trial for thinking?  
 
Socialism has had long enough to show success but these two failures are just the easiest to identify.   The performance of a free market has a better track record.    
 
Socialism called progressivism, interfered with the free market starting with Theodore Roosevelt.  Anti trust was not applied uniformly thus created special interests.    The Federal Reserve was a government monopoly.  Milton Friedman showed that this monopoly failed to follow it's charter and let runs on banks occur, three waves that resulted in a total loss in confidence.  Also special interest obtained tariffs, went against Adam Smith approach for free markets.  FDR as I pointed out started to build a socialist government. 
 
England followed Adam Smith economic approach for decades which ended I believe around 1900.  Both America and England major economic growth occurred prior to WWI.  America continued until the Great Depression.  It has been moving down hill ever since as the socialist state grew by small steps. 
Eileen de Bruin Added Dec 4, 2017 - 3:46am
Thomas, you and I beg to differ, as I do not share your views at all.
 
Major economic growth before WW1 was based on slave labour and huge poverty and early deaths and no rights in the UK, for a start.  Welfare of being not a payment, began only after the second world war in the UK, for more people.
 
Adam Smith’s work is genius but not applicable as an absolute in all time and in all cases.
 
Open borders is not a problem at all; war mongering and the arms industry is the real culprit.
 
I admire much in the US not least because from the 1900s it was a place of refuge to go to for so many disenfranchised Britons...! The relative egalitarianism and mass immigration to,the States is its success story.
 
I have watched, with increasing incredulity, the unravelling of the UK these past twenty five years and I simply cannot go back there to live, stepping over the homeless on the pavements and the dreadful headlines and lies and brain washing in the “news” papers.
 
There is no virtue left in the UK either on the street and definitely not in Westminster where the values practised there will make Adam Smith as well as Dickens and even Queen Victoria look in astonishment.
 
If the US makes the UK its 51st state, it will solve many idealist issues but not the crass poverty and lack of decent housing and schools. Virtuous eh?