The Right To Bear Nuclear Arms

"Just

My lovely Japanese wife frequently asks me about gun ownership in America. In Japan, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to buy a gun. So when there are incidents of gun violence in America __ and there have been many recently __ she understandably questions the prudence of having so many guns around.

I explain that written in the U.S. Constitution __ specifically the Second Amendment __ is a clause which protects the right of U.S. citizens to possess and use all sorts of guns for a variety of commonly accepted purposes, hunting and self-defense chief among them.

She has several times asked me, “Is it really that easy to buy a gun there?”

I came across this article:  “Amazon ships assault rifle instead of television“.

Apparently it’s not only easy, it’s actually difficult to not buy a gun. This guy just wanted a nicer screen to watch TV and movies and ended up with a full-blown assault weapon.

I got to thinking about the whole thing and came to a surprising conclusion. The rationale for having so many weapons at our itchy fingertips springs from the powerhouse argument contained in this pithy gem of philosophical analysis:

Guns don’t kill people. People kill people!

Since this is irrefutable logic, I began to wonder why it has been applied so narrowly. The truth is, guns are just one form of lethal entertainment. Thanks to the amazing advances in science and technology, there is a cornucopia of devices which fit the legal definition of “arms” as referred to in our Constitution. It seems to me, the legal framework and the rationale would apply equally to nuclear weapons.

Now, narrow interpreters of the Bill of Rights might say:  “There’s nothing in there about the right to bear nuclear arms.”

I say:  “So what? There’s nothing in there excluding them!”

Conservatives argue that government should be about increasing the options of its citizenry, or at least staying out of the way so that all of the options are on the table. Normally, I’m not one to agree with people on the right end of the political spectrum. Grudgingly I admit the wisdom of their arguments here is just too overwhelming.

So let’s go for it! After all . . .

Hand grenades don’t kill people. People kill people!

Stinger missiles don’t kill people.  People kill people!

Cluster bombs don’t kill people. People kill people!

Predator drones don’t kill people. People kill people!

Nerve gas doesn’t kill people. People kill people!

Nuclear weapons don’t kill people. People kill people!

Just think about how much fun we can have if we’re not restricted to only using sawed-off shotguns and assault weapons! It’ll be awesome! Finally, hunters will regain the upper hand from those pesky critters out there who have been outwitting them and managed to keep from being slaughtered into extinction. We’ll show ‘em who’s boss around here!

Understandably there have to be a few controls in place. You can’t just have anybody and everybody driving around with WMDs in the trunk of their SUV or family station wagon. But with some reasonable waiting period and background check, I don’t see why this couldn’t work. Permits could be issued as they now are with handguns . . .

The bearer of this permit, offering appropriate corroborative identification, is entitled to possess and use within applicable limits and restrictions, explosive nuclear devices up to 50 kiloton explosive equivalency, as defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


It’s time to claim our rights under the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution and realize the profound wisdom of the founding fathers.

It’s time that we be able to put in that munitions cache which has become the hallmark of a safe and happy American home, all of weaponry available today, including nuclear bombs.

It’s time to assert our constitutionally protected right!

The right to bear nuclear arms.


Comments

John Rachel Added Jan 16, 2014 - 12:58am
Wow! So many brilliant minds?
But can anyone spell S-A-T-I-R-E?
John Rachel Added Jan 16, 2014 - 12:58am
How about ... I-R-O-N-Y?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 16, 2014 - 3:58am
Couple of thoughts:
 
1. As a physicist I feel it my inalienable right to bear nuclear arms.  This is carrying the argument ad extremis I know... but presumably no-one believes it is OK for each of us to have their own nuclear warhead... so where should the "line in the sand" be drawn... should I need police and sanity checks before I am permitted to build my own warhead?
2. Letting the population bear arms did not emancipate the slaves in the USA.  The bearing of arms maybe allowed those with guns to subjugate those without?
3. The idea of a citizen militia having any relevance it today's world is pure fantasy.  Even in Saxon times the Fyrrd really just came along to make up the numbers... real fighting was even then done by professionals.   The Fyrrd used to mill around at the back.  Today with advanced weaponry which the average citizen could not afford the idea is even more laughable.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 16, 2014 - 10:19am
Hi John - -

Nice to meet you & (although I’m a fairly new guy myself), welcome!  As a right-of-right-conservative we should have some good fun kicking around the issues of the day.  I can spell ‘irony’, ‘wit’, ‘satire’, and ‘sarcasm’.  I have great fun poking them in the eyes of people with no sense of humor - - and I appreciate it when I see it - - .  I find it much more entertaining to fight with razors rather than guns - - or nucs - - or clubs - - . 

So put-em-up!  I’ll go a round with you! 

I have always been surprised not by the differences between LOLL and RORCs, but the similarities.  Both extreme ends of the spectrum seem to have given the political landscape a great deal of heartfelt thought.  ‘True Believers’ on each end sincerely believe converting the ‘other side’ will be better for everyone - - - even the slugs in the middle, who couldn’t care less.  That each end has reached different conclusions is where the fun is - - - that’s the field to play in - -

My wife is an Icelander, and was, I speculate, raised in a culture more similar to Japan than the US.  Individualism vs. collectivism, trust vs. distrust, politics and culture.  Ha, ha!  Each is a book in itself! 

In Iceland (IMO) government reflects common thought and belief.  When government is at odds with the common will, there is open and honest public debate until the two are reasonably back in synch.  A politician’s penalty for scandal, deceit, or betraying the public trust is societal ostracism - - the ultimate penalty in an island nation of 300,000.  And so, In Iceland, the trust-bond between government and the governed is strong.  Individualism is respected but it is subordinate to the ‘common good’.

The individual, too, is required to conform to social standards of personal honesty and integrity.  The penalty for abusing social service is the same as that afforded politicians who abuse their station in life - - social ostracism. 

And there, in an island nation of 300,000, where government and the governed live in an atmosphere of well-earned mutual trust and respect - - - Socialism not only works, it works very well. 

The USofA is a different animal in so many ways, and to such extremes it defies standards of trust and cooperation seen in Iceland (or Japan).  I have yet to see a convincing argument - - - or social program - - that suggests Socialism could possibly work here, and while many disagree, we have a very long list of expensive failed attempts that go a long way toward proving my point. 

But  - - far too much for here & now - - maybe an article later “Why Socialism Won’t Work Here”, or the like. 

So, Welcome!  I’ll look forward to your articles.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 16, 2014 - 10:44am
You want to make it easier for someone to stage an armed insurrection then Joy?   Including people you don't agree with maybe?
Rick Kelley Added Jan 16, 2014 - 11:54am
Great quote (John Locke) & response.  Which is it in Great Britain, do you suppose - - Do politicians refrain from lying to their constituents, or are they more adept at keeping it covered-up?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 16, 2014 - 12:33pm
So I guess the answer to my question is yes then.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 16, 2014 - 6:31pm
Hmmmm.  Got it?  We don't trust our government.  They have given us plenty of reason not to trust them.  They have identified our heroes - - - defenders of liberty, and the constitution they have sworn to uphold - - as traitors!  They have betrayed their trust.  

You wonder why we insist on being armed?  In our culture it is the traditional defense against tyranny.  It is the ultimate statement, "I will not be dominated by the Government who is my servant, NOT my master!"
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 12:14am
So then... I can have my own nuclear warhead.   No mental health tests etc.
 
That's good.   The voices in my head will be very pleased.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 1:04am
No Joy... my everyday consciousness wants those things
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 1:05am
One other point about revolution etc with guns... of course logically this means arming others in the country who you perhaps don't agree with... such as Mr Bey
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 1:09am
Better to have a proper system of democratic process and debate.
 
One thing I do notice from time in the US is how polarised everything seems to be.  There seems to be a need to see things as black or white with no meeting in the middle.  It's a case of my team or your team winning.
 
Better to put some effort into making politics less confrontational... with more emphasis on getting things done for the good of the country rather than just one's own tribe?
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 1:11am
BTW at University my T shirt slogan read:
 
Nuclear Physics Boot Boys Rule OK
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 3:14am
These days I work in marketing (couldn't make enough money out of nuclear physics... perhaps I should have held the country to ransom ...)
 
In marketing we always seek to make the proposition as simple and as emotionally driven as possible so that the "customer" can understand it.   This is to cope with the "clutter" that bombards everyone's consciousness.
 
It seems that politics works the same way now.   The idea has to be simple to get any traction.   So you get some politician saying something crass like "a vote for me is a vote for freedom" to appeal to the emotion.
 
The basic problem is that we are not prepared to spend enough time on how we govern ourselves.  There are more fun things to do.
 
So, just as in marketing, we end up supporting different "brands":  Democrat, Republican, Labour, Conservative etc etc.  And because most of us are not skilled in political thought or have a full understanding of the issues, we make decisions through peripheral cues such as whether the guy has a nice smile, whether he has been faithful to his wife etc etc.  In most cases we support one political tribe or another because of what our friends and family say and do.  We are sheep... mainly because to be otherwise is too much effort.
 
I am pretty much like that.  Life has always been pretty good for me and my friends and family here in England, so I have spent my time and energy on other things.  Yes the Government sometimes does some dumb things but, so far, nothing that makes me want to create fire, mayhem and bloodshed to protest about.  It will never be perfect but one thing is for sure... any armed insurrection would be certain to bugger things up for a very long time.
 
And we have nutters in society.  There are those who believe that their way is the right way and should be imposed on the rest of us.  Some of these believe this with an unreasoning religious fervour and I don't really want to make it easy for them to get hold of guns.  Lord knows what would happen if nutters like the BNF could simply buy guns over the counter.   We would have to arm our police next... then the criminals would all go about armed... and life would just all get rather more dangerous.
 
Deaths through violence now stand at about 0.9 per 100,000 in the UK and this figure is declining.  Violent crime generally has halved in the last ten years.   Gun and knife crime within the gang culture has also been significantly reduced. I don't think that arming the population would help this trend.
 
I think that the US is a rather more individualistic and disastisfied society.  People seem less prepared to make compromises with society in the interests of maximising overall well being and happiness.  So this is why things like universal health care, universal education etc have such a tough time getting adopted.
 
The "strong" do rather well in this environment and can enrich themselves.  The less strong however can do very badly indeed.  Perhaps this is why some want guns to defend themselves against the "have nots"... I don't know.
 
I know that I am soft, but I believe in trying to make the environment as good as possible for the majority.  It makes me happy to go for a walk in the country and wander where I please.   It makes me feel happy to be able to go to my doctor and not have to worry about the cost.  It makes me happy to have a drink in the pub and talk with everyone from a banker to a bricklayer to shop assistant.  I think that I am part of society and not outside it.  Somehow that is worth more to me that owning another car ...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 5:06am
On America and guns:
 
I have traveled for years in America and, compared with Britain, have noted how open and forthright Americans are with respect to what they earn, what their house is worth etc etc.  We Brits are more reserved.  Whilst this openess is great, and I think we Brits could generally be more open about a lot of things, it does show a degree of status and ego obsession.
 
As a status based society that values personal and group status along with personal ego, I think the abilities of Americans in conflict resolution may be impared by ego and a near obsession with a "win-lose" outcome rather than finding a "win-win" outcome.  
 
This drives the approach, posture and content of problem/conflict resolution.
 
This may explain the rapid escalation in discussions and violence in people whom in their mind have a point to prove or a wrong to right in their viewpoint of the world.  Hence the high number of gun related incidents.   The fact that they lost their connection with reality is immaterial to their need to do harm.  Guns make a handy tool to cut through all of that tedious discussion and a need to understand a neighbours point of view.  So much simpler to just shoot him.
 
So perhaps, because of the make up of American society you do have to carry a gun for personal protection.  You do need to arm yourself to get what you want and to frustrate what others want.
 
I guess this also explains why parts of the US still, in the 21st century, have a death penalty.  It explains why social medicine has such a hard time and it explains why social mobility is declining.
 

Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 12:50pm
You obviously have not been to New York Joy
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 12:52pm
A truly educated society is a polite society:  Robin
 
I mean truly and roundly educated in the old fashioned be considerate to others sense.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 5:09pm
No Nathan... do they deliver a good education?  From those I have met who have been there I don't think so.   The education seems very narrow and simply focused on the acquisition of wealth and status.  Definitely not guys to go out with on a pub crawl...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 17, 2014 - 5:10pm
I am sure that the average gun owner is very polite and stable individual.  It is the political, religious and just insane that I worry about (as well as the police... I would not want them going round with guns)
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 18, 2014 - 2:45am
Well as a kid we did experiment with sugar and fertiliser.  When it dries it is somewhat combustible.  
 
And back then PC Plod used to wear hobnail boots.
 
Very entertaining.
 
Seriously though, this thing about criminals and arms.   I think it is all a question of an arms race.
 
The police carry a truncheon, the criminal carries a knife.  The police carry hand guns... and the criminals carry an assault rifle.
 
In most conflict situations a true resolution only comes along when you start to bring the temperature down.  In Northern Ireland, for example, things started moving in the right direction when the IRA started to get rid of their arms.  At that point genuine trust started to build.  Today we no longer have to worry about being blown up in pubs (I was a few doors along at a rock concert when the IRA blew up the Maybush killing 24 people) or being shot at by the IRA.
 
Looking at the record on police deaths in service... it is only 1 per year since they were founded.   1... not 100.   So I don't think there is a case for arming them.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 18, 2014 - 2:49am
Fun with explosives:
 
On Jacks farm we used to have access to rook scarers.  These are a type of firework used for scaring off birds.
 
Get a large (empty) coffee tine.  Light firework and jam the lid back on.   The lid will fly a very long way.
 
When we were in the Army cadets we got access to things called fire flashes... an even bigger firework.    These are used to simulate grenades in various exercises.
 
This time use a dustbin.   I reckon at least 50 feet into the air with the lid.
 
You can also use them for fishing... but it is not considered sporting to do so...
Rick Kelley Added Jan 18, 2014 - 8:02am
 - - - And there is the matter of culture and circumstance to consider. 

In Mexico, for instance, where I travel regularly and have many good friends, gun laws are every bit as strict as those in Great Britain, New York, or Washington, DC, and yet Mexico is one of the more violent countries in the western hemisphere.

As a resident of Texas, where our attitude toward gun ownership is well known, I’ve had many long discussions with my Mexican friends on the subject of arming the general population.  We agree on a fundamental point:  If the citizens of Mexico were allowed to be armed, if the right to bear arms were a cornerstone of their constitution, Mexico would be a very different country than the country it is today, and by any measure it would be far better off. 

For those who have a knee-jerk reaction to object, allow me to take this one step farther - - - .  If you have any experience with Mexico, you will know that the people of Mexico are moral, family oriented, peaceful, and generous.  The evolution of the Narco syndicates and their influence on government is more than I can address here, but the point is this;  taken as a whole Mexican culture is admirable - - highly admirable.  What a very different place Mexico would be  - - - .

As we consider the possibilities of lawless, self-serving, corrupt, deceitful politicians, and the criminal elements that support them and place them in power, we look toward the south and vow ‘Not here!  Never here!’  
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 18, 2014 - 11:07am
I should point out that, for all the gun registration requirements we have in place, I have used guns quite a lot over the years.
 
Starting with an air rifle as a kid.  Then .22 shooting in Army cadets followed by some .303 shooting.  And quite a lot of shotgun target shooting (not a big fan of killing things just for sport personally).
 
So our rules do not stop the average person from reasonable use.  They would stop the obviously insane though
Rick Kelley Added Jan 18, 2014 - 4:39pm
Well, perhaps the questionable area concerns ‘reasonable use’.  In the US we hear disturbing stories about burglars with a history of violence being shot by people defending their families and property from home invasion, only to be clapped in jail (for long periods!), while the bad actors are freed.  We hear these stories mainly from the UK and Australia, usually with the admonition, “Don’t Give Up Your Guns!”

I’m sure many in the US had the same knee-jerk reaction I had when the mad, blood-covered, knife-wielding Muslim presented his views on television after killing a London policeman:  ‘Damn!  If only the Brits would arm their police!’
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 18, 2014 - 5:18pm
Well Rick it seems that we work on stats.  You are, on average, four times more likely to die violently in the UK... about 0.9 per 100,000 to 4. something per 100,000 in the US
 
So, on average, it is better.
 
I am just happy that the knife wielding Muslim was not wearing ballistic body armour and toting an assault rifle.  He could probably have killed many more.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 18, 2014 - 5:19pm
And mostly those stories emanate from papers like the Daily Mail.
 
That rag even advocates bringing back capital punishment... that's how mediaeval its view are.   Laughable.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 18, 2014 - 6:35pm
@Robin - OK - - - .  Without re-hashing the whole history, culture, tradition debate (I would not be surprised if we each had our questions and answers in line for a 2-hour exchange that failed to convince either of us of anything) I don’t doubt your stats - - what role legal guns play in violent crime stats is another question where I doubt we would agree very much - - -  however - -

I believe we are far more likely (at least 4 times more likely)to have truly evil, un-invited mid-night callers in the US  than you are in the UK - - - callers who would not hesitate to do us harm, and who visit with the intention of (at the very least) depriving us of our property. 

1.  Do you consider the use of deadly force permissible when dealing with those  - - ‘people’ - - ? 

2.  Do you consider the broad distribution of legal firearms a deterrent to criminal activity in general, and home invasion in particular? 

3.  Considering regional and national differences in relative violence, security provided by police, and crime rates, do you believe all guns should be banned??

4.  Does legalizing gun ownership for the ‘average’ citizen (subject to background check and licensing) increase or decrease the incidence of violent crime?  Is the answer to the question any different in the US, UK, or Australia? 

I don’t have specific data to back my position, although I have seen many wild numbers bandied about by both sides of the gun-control issue.  I just want your opinion, and will answer any challenging questions you may wish to raise - - - .  
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 19, 2014 - 3:35am
Thanks Rick.  Let me try and answer these as best I can:
 
1. This is a tricky one.  Emotionally I would like to say yes.  Logically I have been told by a couple of people I know who are ex army and ex forces, you are better off not to.  It is likely to deliver a better result if you try to defuse the situation rather than stoke it up.  I have also been told that, in an armed confrontation, the average well balanced citizen will find it difficult to actually shoot a living human being.
 
And with my humane hat on I would probably say that the intruder has a few problems.  Why is he driven to break in?  Drugs? Poverty?  Mental disturbance?  Mistake?  Who am I to take his life?
 
I am reminded of a rather gung ho female friend of mine who moved into a new neighbourhood in Chicago.  Saw a black male sliding over her fence.  Gave chase and ended up holding a gun to his head.  Turned out to be the neighbours kid taking a short cut home from school...
 
It is a terrible thing to take a life... we should all think long and hard before contemplating doing such a thing.
 
I would not hesitate to use a taser however or use a baseball bat.  I would also invest in an alarm system before doing that.
 
However, where we live, there is no need.  Many don't even lock their doors at night.  Burglaries, where they do occur, tend to be during the day.  The professional criminals know what they are doing and seek to avoid confrontation (you also cannot actually keep them out).  The rest are relatively easily kept out with good locks and alarms.
 
2.  Definitely not a deterrent.  It promotes an arms race between the criminals and everyone else.  The criminals start carrying guns at that point.  But, as I have said, it is the despaerate that are going to break in at night.  And they probably don't think too clearly beyond getting themselves a gun that is.
 
Crime is reduced throught the liklihood of capture.  Here it has halved in the last decade for a number of reasons.
 
3.  No I don't believe that all guns should be banned.  They are not banned here.  But you do have to register a firearm.  The police come round to check that you don't seem nuts and that you are keeping it locked up.  You are also not usually permitted to keep a rifle or handgun at home (really it is only shotguns and air rifles you can have at home) unless you are a registered marksman for the control of pests or a registered firearms officer.  If you want a handgun or rifle you have to keep it and use it on registered premises as I did.
 
Most genuine users don't see this as a problem.
 
4.  Difficult answer to this.   I don't think it does here.  I have only known highly responsible gun owners.  I have been shooting with them (clay pigeons) in the hills around here many times.
 
I have come to wonder about the US though.  It does seem to me that popular culture does glorify violence to a quite horrifying degree.  Films, TV shows all seem to suggest that violence is a simple and morally good way to settle a problem.
 
So I can quite imagine that someone who, for example, has no food may turn to violence to get it.  Especially in the absence of decent social security, universal education, universal health care etc.
 
So the "haves" may well feel they need to use violence to protect themselves.
 
Social justice is the way to combat this I feel.
 
Disarming the regular police is also a good move I think.  It makes it easier for the police to act as part of the community rather than as some alien outside force.  Anything that reduces the barrier is a good thing.  It is hard to have a friendly chat with someone who is armed to the teeth.
 
Some American friends of mine suggest that many are overly status and money driven.  They can feel it is their right to have something and that they should just reach out and take it (because they are worth it).
 
I don't know.  It is  way of thinking that is alien to me.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 19, 2014 - 4:38am
I should point out the bad effect of the media.
 
If you watch the TV, or read the papers, you could be forgiven for thinking that we lived in a violent society and that things were rapidly getting worse.
 
In fact the opposite is true.  Crime has halved in the last decade.  But that kind of news does not sell papers.
 
This means that many people are scared of going out and engaging with society.  They keep their kids at home.
 
When I was a kid we roamed the woods and fields.  We did not come home until bedtime.  Often we would make fires at lunchtime and cook sausages somewhere far away in the fields.
 
No-one thought twice about it.  It was a great childhood.  We would talk with farmers, with the gardeners on the estate... indeed with anyone that would suffer us.  I think that this was the very best education.
 
The absolute worst is to read the Daily Mail.
 
If there is a violent incident we tend to be told about it several times in salacious detail.  Once when it happens... then several times during the search for the guilty... then when they are arrested... then as the trial approaches... then the appeal etc etc.  You are aalways hearing about violence, therefore you think violence is always happening.
 
The popular philosopher Alain de Botton is launching a users manual for the "News".  It promises to help you cope with it...
Rick Kelley Added Jan 19, 2014 - 8:02am
Thanks for the explanation.  I’m up for one-more-round, and then I think I will leave with an ‘agree to disagree’ - - - .  I would be very surprised if either of us could do much to change the other’s point of view. 

In the three years I lived in the UK, I never met a person who scared or threatened me.  In my view it is a truly civilized place, as is (once again in my opinion) Switzerland, although the two have nearly opposite views regarding firearms access.  Perhaps one day the rest of the world will reach that level of civilized thought and behavior, but the day hasn’t arrived yet.

Ten miles from the US border, 4 men were murdered and dismembered.  Their limbs were used to ‘decorate’ small trees around a bus stop, and the torsos were placed in a car that was set alight.  A badly beaten man was videoed being lead to a hillside, where he was staked-out while a flock of vultures gathered, hopping around his prone body.  A grinning Narco sliced open the man’s stomach, and the vultures fought over the living man’s intestines.  NOT Daily Mail hype.  In fact, not reported at all.  ‘Isolated’ cases?  Not at all.  The Mexican press will provide real, documented cases of as much atrocity as you care to view. 

In the US we have a government that refuses to enforce our border laws.  The state of California estimates 8% of their population is here illegally.  Crime, violent crime and incarceration stats on illegal immigrants are appalling.  We also have a government that is often (often) less than truthful with the general population.  So we are not the UK.  Perhaps we are less civilized than the UK.  Is the general population uncivilized, do we have a more significant violent criminal population? 

We know this:  When it is after midnight and there is an uninvited guest in your home, you have no time to stop and consider how to react.  It is more likely to happen than your home catching fire, so working-out emotional and ethical dilemmas beforehand is not paranoia, but practical planning.  For me, that involves keeping a dog to alert me if my home is broken into, and having a loaded pistol readily available.  Should an intruder decide to visit, he will be told to lie on the floor.  At that point he has two options that will save his life: Lie on the floor and wait for the police to arrive, or run.  If he advances, or raises his arm, I will shoot until I am out of ammunition - - - and I expect he will be quite dead. 

I respect your decision to put your life at risk for your principles.  I think your odds for survival are much better in the UK than in the US, and I don’t believe that has much to do with giving responsible citizens access to firearms.  For my part, I believe having access to firearms, and laws that recognize my right to use them to defend my home and family, is fitting and proper.  
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 19, 2014 - 12:12pm
You may well be right Rick.  I have never felt frightened in the UK.  Ever.  I don't know anyone who has been.
 
Any violence that does occur, happens within families or gangs and so does not really touch the general population.   Terrorism is of course the exception.  I used to work above the Allied Irish Bank and we had to evacuate once because of a bomb threat.  Likewise I was near the May Bush pub when the IRA blew it up.
 
I am not putting my life at risk for my principles.  I have simply been told that you stand a much better chance of getting away with little injury if you do not react violently.  I would also not want to have to live with myself knowing that I had killed or done serious harm to another human being.  It would ruin my life.
 
I have been told that getting a dog is the very best defence.  Few criminals will break in if you have a dog.
 
The other thing I have been told is that these days we tend to have fewer high value portable possessions.  TVs and audio kit these days are very cheap.  Any intelligent criminal will do cyber crime ... not physical crime.
 
I have worked in Switzerland.  It is a very well ordered (and somewhat dull... with the exception of Fasnacht: 4 days in early Spring when everyone goes on an extended bender) place.  Until recently every adult male was expected to be part of the army reserve and would have a rifle and sealed cannister of ammunition at home.  So most adults would have had firearms training by high quality instructors. Each home would also have its own nuclear fall out shelter.  All part of a policy of armed neutrality.
 
I don't think that there is a culture of buying a gun over the counter and just heading off to the woods to blaze away at deer ... if you did, the Swiss would complain about the noise.   I have also never seen a Swiss carrying a hand gun.  The culture focuses around gun clubs and hunting rather than individual gun ownership.  I don't know of any Swiss that have a gun for "defence".  Their idea of a crime wave is someone parking in the wrong place...
 
I do remember many visits to South Africa, before and after the end of Apartheit, and realising how different life was there.  Most wealthy people lived behind high walls with an armed response hot line.  I was told not to stop at red lights after dark.  I even saw adverts for door mounted flame throwers.  In my time there I always drove a fairly tatty low end car and low key clothes to avoid attracting unwanted attention.  Everyone there was armed and terrified of midnight visitors.  It was not pleasant.
 
Perhaps I have to accept that England is an unusually benign place and be more careful in future trips to the US
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 20, 2014 - 9:50am
Jeffersonian political ideology states, "The state exists to serve the individual."  In diametric opposition, Hegelian political ideology states, "The individual exists to serve the state."
 
As our American plutocrats try evermore fervently to transform our individualism/Jeffersonism into collectivism/Hegelism, I think it is evermore important that we preserve our rights to bear arms, including so-called "military weapons" and, in so doing, preserve our democracy.
 
In the likely event of a substantial civil uprising, presently, we Americans have an advantage: our approximate 80-million private gun owners compared to our little over half-a-million military personnel, perhaps, only half of which, are combat ready.  Add to that another one-to-200,000 Chinese troups making their ways into the US via the Mecican-American border crossings (they want their money back) and we civilians still have the advantage.  Fortunately, as our American troups are now hep to the inner workings of plutocracy, I would expect a great deal of dissent and mutiny among our troups.
 
In any case, it is vitally important that we Americans vehemently refuse disarmament; even despite the growing popularity of government/corporate staged massacres and catastrophes.
 
John Rachel: I understand that your article was intended as a satire.  Lest we forget, George Orwell's, 1984, was intended as a parody. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 10:24am
If things ever did get to such a pretty pass, what would stop such a deranged Government from nuking a couple of cities to cow the amateur warriors? 
 
I imagine that, as a Government intent on cowing the populace my strategy would be to simply turn off the utilities and close all banks. 
 
They say that we are never more than about four meals from rebellion.  No electricity and no food in the shops would get most people screaming for the Government to get back in charge pretty quick I reckon
 
Anyway before you could persuade anyone to rebel you would need to wrest control of the media... and after all it is the media that are the real rulers of the universe
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 20, 2014 - 11:48am
Robin, re: your Jan 20, 2014 - 10:24am comment:
 
We've got a case, here, of "the hero becoming the villain."  Our allegations against King George III in our Declaration of Independence are now self-convicting hypocrisy.  And, our plutocrats are not limited to the confines of our borders.  They've got a global agenda.
 
Presently, it's a 'leveling game' (as ForcePro once put it).  It's composed mostly of social indoctrination via our public school system, mass mind control via neuro-linguistics programming via our Rupert Murdoch-Ted Turner mainstream media duopoly, and global expansion of our debt-based economy.
 
There are any number of ways such a "Deranged Government" could "Cow the populace," including the methods you mentioned.  But, as one of our famous plutocrats, Andrew Carnegie, stated, "We (plutocrats) do not deal well with dissent," (and goes on to talk about the importance to plutocrats of public school indoctrination/conditioning).  Therefore, (I believe) they're taking a more subtle, longer term approach; largely, a mass psychological conditioning and subtle usurption of power and control via trickery/deceit.
 
I think our plutocrats are preparing for civil uprising and potential violence.  But, I don't think they want to resort to that.  They're not stupid.  They've learned from history that, in any such clash of interests, the masses always win and the plutocrats always lose.  
 
Megalomania is formulaic and, thus, predictable.  World history has witnessed revolutions---clashes between the "haves" and the "have nots"---time, and time again.  And, as history always repeats itself---we never seem to learn from it---I think it would be silly not to expect it to repeat itself again.  Nevertheless, I think we Americans should be prepared for civil warfare.  It won't be our first and it won't be our last.  There are obvious plutocratic attempts at disarming Americans.  There's got to be an agenda; a more, or less hidden agenda.  And, I think, the stronger the populace, the better we can deter such plutocratic efforts.  
 
They know what they're doing.  "Know thine enemy."
Rick Kelley Added Jan 20, 2014 - 12:48pm
@Robin - "No electricity and no food in the shops would get most people screaming for the Government to get back in charge pretty quick I reckon" - - You do?  Hmmmm.  If it came to that - - - I don't think you know Americans nearly as well as you think you do - - - 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 1:18pm
Perhaps not.  They would probably be fighting each other for resources.  Perhaps small armies would form around specific affiliations... different religions, different neighbourhoods etc
 
Then a strong man would emerge.. probably dressed up as a champion for the working man
 
Rick Kelley Added Jan 20, 2014 - 1:30pm
Ha, ha!  Oh, Robin.  You really don't get it.
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 20, 2014 - 1:34pm
@Rick Kelley:
 
I think Robin gets it.  She just failed to realize that we Americans kill our visionaries and men of genius. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 2:12pm
OK chaps, why don't we conduct a little thought experiment.  Let's write a possible history of how we actually get to a civil war in the USA.
 
I am interested to see how you see that happening and why arming the population is necessary for overthrowing an unpopular regime.
 
Let's start with the conditions that would be necessary and the trigger point.  Who would react first and what would they do?  What would the counter reaction be... and who from?
 
How would the scenarios play out with guns and without?
 
Let's ask what a Ghandian approach to the similar situation might be.
 
The last time the UK staged an armed rebellion against the Government was in the 17th Century in civil war.  More people died, as a percentage of the population, in that disagreement than in any conflict since... including the four years of World War One.   The King has a farily small professional army... but many flocked to his banner and many flocked to Parliament.
 
Yet just a few years after... people generally wanted the King back...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 3:16pm
So you see this sort of divisions arising again?
 
How many died in your civil war?  Would it have been better to negotiate a succession?  Presumably the South felt itself oppressed by the North?
 
Should England take up arms now against Scotland under the same logic?
 
I would like to think that, if it comes to parting, we could do so as friends. 
 
India, Australia, Cannada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Botswana etc all departed without war.   It does not have to be.
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 20, 2014 - 5:52pm
@JOF1836 & Robin: Just to point out:
 
It was the plutocrats (textile industry/cotton) operating under the guise of slavery abolition who instigated our Civil War.  Though principly, but not technically a "civil war," in kind, it was the plutocrats (oil industry/oil) operating under the guise of WMD proliferation who instigated our War on Terror (sorry: 12-years of intensive research discounts our government's version of 9-11).
 
The reason I say "principly, but not technically" a civil war is that the US now operates as an "empire" or, at least, an empire wannabe.  Most of the OPEC countries want to forsake the 1971 Nixon-OPEC Petrodollar in favor of the Euro, or Yuan.  However, the OPEC countries with whom we wage war are the ones making concerted effort to abandon the Petrodollar: specifically, Iraq, Libya, and, likely, Iran.  So, in essence, those countries represent "succession" from the "empire."  Thus, principly, but not technically, they are civil wars. 
 
The masses need compelling reasons for war.  Otherwise, they won't cooperate.  Thus the mass emotion-evoking guises of slavery abolition and terror abolition.  But, personally, I believe slavery and terror were/are non-issues; just excuses to forward plutocratic agendas. 
Rick Kelley Added Jan 20, 2014 - 6:46pm
Robin, I believe you have put your finger on a good part of the communications gap - - “ - - Yet just a few years after... people generally wanted the King back...”  We never had one of those.  We hit the ground with ‘ - - of the people, by the people and for the people’.  After the Declaration of Independence, we spent nearly10 years drafting a Constitution to protect individual rights from overly invasive government, and ‘government’, particularly our Federal government, seems to have forgotten who works for whom. 

It could happen any number of ways - - - a shot fired across a bridge, with history never quite sure whether it came from an angry mob on one side, or armed troops on the other - - - . 

I have speculated that the underlying cause will be the Federal Government exceeding their constitutional authority  - - - boundaries they have abused more and more blatantly in the past six years - - provoking more and more ire among strict constitutionalists and giving rise to the Tea Party as well as the less militant Libertarian Party. 

Perhaps a massive gun confiscation program, or the Federal Government once again deciding to steal privately owned gold to cover their insane appetite for spending - - - Perhaps some Hegelian dialectic - - or contrived ‘crisis’ (global warming?) the only ‘logical’ answer to which is suspension of constitutional law, and  imposition of martial law - - who knows what will light the fuse .  There is a growing concern, however, that there is indeed a fuse waiting to be lit - - -
John Rachel Added Jan 20, 2014 - 7:30pm
Many of the comments have been thoughtful, informative, and interesting. My main point is that intelligent dialogue can break down at many levels, especially when passions run high. The logic of "guns don't kill people blah blah blah" self-destructs by trivializing the issue. If guns weren't such effective killing machines and innocent victims not so often in the path of fire, I could care less if everyone had 50 or 100 of them. But they are deadly whether in the hands of a well-trained, disciplined insurrectionist or hunter, or a 4-year old going through daddy's desk.
 
Let me shift gears. Revolution is coming to America, in one form or another. It will either be a reasoned, negotiated paradigm shift, or a violent upheaval. Yes, we need to be able to protect ourselves against the police state. But unless I am completely confused, typically guerilla armies don't go to city hall and get gun permits. Some sensible regulation of ownership and responsible use of firearms by those who will not be in the revolutionary vanguard doesn't seem to me unnecessarily restrictive at all. With or without strict gun control, if the government sees any level of threat by citizens armies, they will come after you on some pretext ... you burnt your toast or picked your butt ... and they'll come down hard. It is delusional to think that some Rambo style standoff is going to end well. I do, however, sincerely believe that all of this energy being put into protecting 30-bullet AK-47 gun clips could be more constructively channeled into things which could actually topple the greedy sociopaths who are looting our country and turning most of us into serfs. More on that later as illustrated with exacting attention to detail in my next novel, "An Unlikely Truth", due out March 24th.
 
Brothers and sisters (see, I didn't say 'comrades'), I hope whatever our political stripes we can stop the bickering and work on the serious existential threats to our lives and the future of the country.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 10:51pm
Just for the record guys, Scotland did not take up arms against England.  They asked for financial assistance after the Darien adventure went wrong.  The Union was essentially a corporate bail out.
 
The had however been mutual brder raiding and warfare for years.  One of the fascinating thngs about Northumbria is that fewer people live there today than did in the year 1000.  The Scots terrorised people fromt he land.  You should listen to the various ballads about the border reivers.  (I did a weekend singing workshop on the subject just north of Hadrian's Wall)
 
All that Braveheart bollocks is just so much Celtic romanticism on overdrive.  There were of course the Jacobite rebellions.  This was more a war between two ways of life... lowland and highland Scots.  The highland way of life being put down with much the same logic the American colonists used on native Americans about a century and a half later.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 10:54pm
Why do you think revolution is coming?
 
Collapsing social mobility with wealth being hovered up into increasingly fewer hands?  Increasing hopelessness of the poor?  Reductions in living standards due to re-balancing of the global economy?
 
What is the underlying cause and who exactly who you revolt against?   Who would be first up against the wall come your revolution?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 20, 2014 - 10:56pm
Following the second world war, revolution in Britain was headed off through the creation of the welfare state and the NHS.  It was thought to provide the citizens all of the benefits of communism without the blood...
 
Maybe the US should try that
Rick Kelley Added Jan 21, 2014 - 7:45am
@Robin - 
We are trying that - - With much the same result - -  A passive, lazy workforce producing inferior goods, and whining constantly about needing ‘more’ (of everything).  As Britain continues to make motorcycles with 1950 technology while the Japanese control the market they once owned, the US continues to make cars with 1990 technology while the Japanese control the market they once owned.  We now have corrupt, self-serving, deceitful politicians who, no matter what fate they impose on the ‘herd’, make sure their own nests are feathered with nothing but the best (of everything) - - I believe we actually out-did you there.  We are moving toward an inferior, production-line healthcare system where middle-aged men are required to ‘buy’ maternity coverage, and imposing ‘special’ taxes on the medical technology that is perhaps the best example of US innovation.  We have borders we don’t maintain, schools we have turned into soup-kitchens that can’t teach children to read.  We have shifted responsibility for much of our social services from State and local government, where needs are understood, to the Federal Government, where they are not. 
AND - - - we are systematically destroying our monetary system in the process.  So let’s do some more of that.  Let’s do it in the name of ‘progress’, ‘enlightenment’.  Who knows.  Perhaps if we give it 100% effort we can look just like Great Britain - - - sitting on the porch, wrapped in a government-supplied comforter, and ruminating over lost empire - - .  
Rick Kelley Added Jan 21, 2014 - 8:54am
I believe the bloodless revolution (the one I favor) is a far more likely revolution than armed insurrection, although there are those who disagree with me.  The revolution is under way.  This discussion is part of it.  Obamacare is part of it.  While you may find nationalized healthcare the hallmark of civilized society, poll, after poll before, before, during and after the bill’s passage indicate quite clearly that is not the opinion of those upon whom the legislation is being imposed.  It is this ‘imposition of law’ - - law envisioned and enacted by self-serving elitists, rather than envisioned by ‘the people’, and enacted through their representatives, that is at the heart of the revolution.  Despite the actions of the executive branch, as long as the Constitution remains the ultimate law of the land the US will operate as a Republic, not as a Monarchy.  Do not underestimate the national resolve to keep it that way. 

“Change” will come when enough people feel enough pain to demand change.  I believed, expected, and hoped four years of Obama would be enough to make that happen, but of course it didn’t.  Nor was there a good alternative.  Republicans seem every bit as determined to destroy our monetary system as Democrats.  While Republicans pay lip service to fiscal responsibility, they are as inclined to expand government as those who do so openly.  The attendant pain is well on its way.  When it becomes unbearable, we will have ‘change’, and not the change envisioned by ACORN.

There is a reasonably organized effort to replace career politicians whose legislative voting record is at odds with their campaign speeches.  We’ll have to see how that works out in 2014 and 2016.  I hope and believe the general population is starting to understand the source of our national pain, and the part government plays in producing it.  I would like to see some of the more blatant, destructive, corrupt members of the Senate and House of Representatives indicted, tried, and jailed.  That is, perhaps, the form the Revolution will take.  And yes, I have my list of favorites I would like to see ‘in the dock’.

So we will have to see how the revolution forms-up.  Bloodless, I hope.  
DEarley Added Jan 21, 2014 - 9:00pm

I haven't read everyone's comment, but the 2nd Amendment wasn't about having arms for hunting.  It IS the American people's license to physically defend themselves against a tyranny government, such as what we have now if they don't straighten up. That's what the American Revolution in 1776 was about.
 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 22, 2014 - 4:01am
I thought Rand's fantasy was all about those with the money buggering off.   Not the ones actually producing the wealth... farmers, manufacturing workers, plumbers etc.
 
If there is a revolution coming it will be because monetary wealth "production" has become disassociated from real value production... stuff that you can eat, used etc (most of which these days is produced anywhere other than in America or Europe).   At some point someone will point out "Look Mummy... they've got not clothes on..."
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 22, 2014 - 4:09am
The true source of national pain, in the US and here, has nothing to do with Government.   It is the pain caused by the re balancing of the world economy.   For years we have essentially been selling stuff to the underdeveloped world and growing rich on the proceeds.
 
Now that world is actually making that stuff and selling it back to us instead.  Real wealth is flowing out accordingly.  Balance will ultimately be achieved when average living standards roughly equate around the world (subject to several factors causing friction and delay in the process... cost of transportation being the pricipal one).   Our citizens will not appreciate being paid the same as their equivalents in China or Africa
 
The Government can do little about it... except maybe to try and establish a sense of social justice to head off a pointless revolution (which would achieve nothing because... how would revolting against the Government help?)
 
Meanwhile the masters of the Universe... those with the cash, are no longer resident in any one country...and will be living the life of Riley
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 22, 2014 - 4:11am
Don't believe me?  Want to keep thinking it is the evil Government that is oppressing you?
 
Dream on.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 22, 2014 - 4:36am
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-pollution-is-blanketing-americas-west-coast-2014-1#!
 
Seems that we have successfully exported all of our wealth creating manufacturing... but not necessarily the pollution that goes with it.
 
Irony strikes.
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 22, 2014 - 7:48am
@David Shimtzon re: your Jan 22, 2014 - 12:43am comment:
 
Thanks for exploiting your limited sphere of awareness.  If you're capable, look around you:
 
McDonalds-Burger King / Android-iPhone / French's-Plochman's / Apple-PC / Coke-Pepsi / AT&T-Verizon / Ford-Chevrolet / Kraft-Hellman's / Samsung-HTC / Liberals-Conservatives / FOX-CSNBC / Paper-Plastic / "Lefties-"Righties" (as you put it) and, lastly:
 
DEMOCRATS-REPUBLICANS
 
As long as you...  As long as we ALL keep playing into---allowing ourselves to be deceived---by our corporation-business modeled, "Divide & Conquer"/Profit in the Middle, duopolistic-illusion of choice, corrupt Two-Party System, "USA, inc.," then there's no hope of progress for the masses.
 
"United we stand.  Divided we fall."  And, our duopolistic plutocracy, masquerading as a democracy, damned sure knows it.
 
By the way, have you ever heard of good manners?
Pamalien TW Added Jan 22, 2014 - 2:43pm
"Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. " -Adrian Kittner

I don't think nuclear arms in the back of a station wagon will be an issue of you consider the cost of such an arm. The only one's who will be able to afford them will be the super rich and the governments. Tomahawk missiles are fairly available in comparison and only cost about $1.45 but, you don't see civilians with them.

I worry about the entities that can afford them because, for what purpose do you need a weapon that can eliminate millions, indiscriminately of lives if aimed at the right place? Most of us will be bystanders to the aim of greater forces...

It being an adult has certainly given me a different view on the heroes and villains of my childhood. Back then, I used to say, "Thankfully this is a fantasy and can never be real." As an adult, I realize the villains are very real and, they don't wear costumes... in public. The heroes and villains of reality are the people with the desire, ways and means to take over the world and, those who oppose them.

I always thought, "What is the point of killing everyone on the planet to take over the world." I still ask that question... What good is ruling over nothing? Of course, I now take a different stance... We've overstayed our welcome. Destroy all the people. Let nature sort things out.

What if we are just an alien experiment?  If left alone, would a naturally evolving race of sentient beings be able to live in productive harmony or, will they allow their ego to destroy themselves.
Pamalien TW Added Jan 22, 2014 - 2:44pm
Back to my original quote... Just like the Cold War; everyone has nuclear arms in order to assure world destruction should the wrong entity step over the line. The Cold War never really ended...
Rick Kelley Added Jan 22, 2014 - 6:54pm
@Robin - - - Well, well - -

“The true source of national pain, in the US and here, has nothing to do with Government.   It is the pain caused by the re balancing of the world economy.   For years we have essentially been selling stuff to the underdeveloped world and growing rich on the proceeds.
 
Now that world is actually making that stuff and selling it back to us instead.  Real wealth is flowing out accordingly.”

Spoken like (written like) a true capitalist!  I have to admit, there is a part of me that smiles when I think of the Chinese beating us at our own game - - - by our own, Capitalist rules!  

“ Balance will ultimately be achieved when average living standards roughly equate around the world (subject to several factors causing friction and delay in the process... cost of transportation being the pricipal one).   Our citizens will not appreciate being paid the same as their equivalents in China or Africa” - - -

 - - which makes me question your Socialist philosophy.  How does an economy on a par with India provide healthcare on a par with that which exists in the UK or US today?  More to the point, how do we move our social services program to line up with China or Africa?
Rick Kelley Added Jan 22, 2014 - 7:02pm
We won't like it.  It is simply the reality of the 'New World Order'?  Is that it?  And you ask 'Where will the Revolution start'? 
Jeff Kunkel Added Jan 22, 2014 - 8:18pm
@David Shimtzon re: your Jan 22, 2014 - 12:26pm comment:
 
Not to interrupt your FOX News program.  I just want to say I'm glad you know what 2 + 2 equals.  I'll let the rest of your comment stand on its own...  umm...  err...  "Merit?"
 
@JOF1836 re: your Ja
n 22, 2014 - 11:03am comment:
 
Good question.  Our government is so deeply and extensively corrupt, it's hard to know where to begin.  As I see it, the major problems our country faces, today, began with "That big sucking noise" Ross Perot warned us about; NAFTA.  It's been a downward spiral from there.  I think we can make huge dents in the corruption by:
 
 
1) Overturning Citizens United, immediately.  Under Citizens United, our government goes to the highest bidder.  This has to be stopped.
 
2) Totally declassifying and disclosing 9-11.  After 12-years of intensive research, 9-11 was obviously a conspiracy.  We don't know who did it, or how it was done, although we have excellent ideas.  But, we certainly know who covered it up.  Total declassification and disclosure will expose the criminals and traitors and, I think, they should be punished to the full extent of the law.  I also think declassification of 9-11 would lead to putting an end to the NSA (No Such Agency), it abuses, the privatization of spying, and mass surveillance.
 
While we're at it, I would also like to see the Sandy Hook and Batman Massacres and the Boston Marathon bombing declassified, as they, too, were conspiracies. The Sandy Hook news footage wasn't even filmed on the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School.  I would also like to see the criminals and traitors who perpetrated those punished to the full extent of the law.
 
3) Auditing the Federal Reserve Bank.  Similarly to 9-11, we don't know who wrecked our economy, or exactly how it was done.  But, we certainly know who's in charge of all our money.  I think a full audit of the Federal Reserve Bank would expose the criminals and traitors and they, too, should be punished to the full extent of the law.
 
 
We've got to exterminate the corruption in government before we can start moving forward.  The trouble is that the corporate bribe money is too enticing to politicians and the brave patriots who go up against the 'Power Elite' usually wind up getting their suicides faked.  And, for that, I don't have an answer.  
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 23, 2014 - 4:50am
@Rick
When did I say I was socialist?
Will we have to tailor our social programmes to what can be afforded.  Of course Africa and India etc will be increasing their wealth and be able to afford more... it is re-balancing not a collapse.  All we can do is try to maintain a feeling of social justice
 
Where will the revolution start?
 
Exactly.   Who will you revolt against?   Sure you can shout and scream at the "evil" Government.  All you will do is make things worse...  You might as well revolt at the tide coming in
Rick Kelley Added Jan 23, 2014 - 8:47am
@Robin


Ah, well then.  I guess decline for the West is inevitable, as we all move toward one ‘just’, homogenous world.  Whew!  I’m sure glad all that strife and angst are behind us!  There are still a few things that need to be ‘sorted-out’ - - some lingering greed, posing as ‘self-determination’ - - some entrepreneurs who believe innovation, hard work and sound business practice can actually improve their lot in life.  The more extreme of those cretins actually believe that if they succeed, they should be able to KEEP the fruits of their labor! What a nerve!  - - - No problem!  After all, what is government for if not to bang those greedy, small-minded, self-serving rebels back into line? 

It is too bad we aren’t all the same height.  There are those ‘too high’ people, and then there are those ‘too low’ people.  Thank God we now have socialized medicine!  Maybe a program to take a couple of inches out of the femurs of the ‘too high’, and transplant them into the ‘too low’ folks - - - Hmmmm.  It might be problematic when we get to The Netherlands and Cambodia, but, thank God, we have government to work all that out. 

You never said you were a Socialist, Robin?  You say it clearly very nearly every time you post - - .
 
Rick Kelley Added Jan 23, 2014 - 9:10am
@JoF - - We were doomed the moment the Federal Government inserted itself in funding and setting curriculum for public schools.  To think Washington can dictate appropriate ‘one-size-fits-all’ education programs for Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco - - - assuming literacy, rather than political indoctrination is their goal - - is insane.    
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 23, 2014 - 10:05am
@ Rick:  You still have not said who you would revolt against... the original question
 
You say I am a socialist.  Actually I belong to no party.  I form my beliefs from experience.  I follow no man's party line.
 
I am an entrepreneur in actual fact.  I knwo you find it hard to think that I should have some sort of social conscience but...there you are.  Probably my mother should have fed me more red meat.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 23, 2014 - 11:32am
@Robin - My Jan 21, 2014 - 8:54am post pretty much describes the revolution I see against 'progressive' government, collectivism, and the abuse of power.  

Not for a moment do I find it hard to think you should have whatever conscience, values, beliefs, property or aspirations you feel are appropriate.  Give whatever your conscience dictates to whomever you wish to give it. Call yourself whatever you like. What I find hard to tolerate is you (or anyone, for that matter) organizing and working diligently to hire political thugs to confiscate my property.  I disagree with your assertion that lapsing into mediocrity is inevitable - - .  When I see politicians encourage class envy in a nation that once had the highest standard of living in the world - - - and witness the attendant destruction caused by that vile manipulation - - my emotions vacillate between sadness and outrage.  I wonder that intelligent people fail to recognize the manipulation, the poor becoming poorer, the few wealthy becoming wealthier, and the infrastructure that made the entire nation wealthy in a world context, year-by-year poorer. 

When I see basic, fundamental approaches to education shift from a philosophy based in Pygmalion effect to one based in Golem effect, I wonder how that happened, why that happened, and when the trend will be reversed.  In each of these destructive trends, I see our Federal Government in the middle of it, up to their arm-pits.  The song never changes - - ‘Just a Ll-i-i-t-t-t- l-l-l-e bit more - - - More - - - MORE’ - - more power, more tax, more control and - - (fill in the blank for the promise of the day).  We (ahem, WE, ‘your’ government!!! - - and aren’t you fortunate to have us!!) will – end poverty, protect you from all adversity, keep you safe, housed, clothed, and make sure you have a cell phone!

I don’t think you necessarily needed more red meat, but it would be nice if you were taught to eat solid food - - - .  
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 23, 2014 - 3:51pm
Rick:  I don't know what you are smoking.  You think I care enough about you to "organise thugs to confiscate your property.  Not me mate.  Very happy with what I have over here in lil ol England.
 
You miss my point.   The pain you (and we all) suffer economically is down to macro economic forces.  Whatever any Government does is simply rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
 
This week the wealthy are in Davos debating the future.
 
 
Currently the thing that worries them most is how they are becoming so much wealthier, minute by minute, than the world's poor and how this could lead to some sort of revolution... perhaps of the type you are preparing for.
 
Inequality is rising between individuals everywhere, whether in the US, Europe, Africa or China. The rich get richer... but the poor stay poor and may, in western economies, actually be getting poorer.
 
It is happening even as the gap between the incomes of nations narrows. There are two conventional and contradictory theories of why inequality is so determinedly on the ascendant.
 
The version preferred by the typical Davos delegate is that in a world of globalised, easy-access capital and data, disproportionate rewards naturally accrue to those with greater talents.
 
You can see why they like this explanation - it suggests that their wealth is due to their own efforts.
 
The other theory is that nepotism and closed networks rule and that there is little equality of opportunity when it comes to access to education and capital, so a smallish cadre of the privileged reinforce their privileges through the generations.
 
It doesn't matter which theory you sign up for. At least part of the prescription to roll back the tide of inequality would be the same on both diagnoses - better education for all, better access to affordable finance for all.
 
Which is neither controversial or desperately original, although that somehow doesn't mean we are galloping towards an egalitarian future.
 
If you have not made your billions by now, you probably never will.  The expectation is that, within a few years, technology will have provided a solution for 80% of jobs currently done by humans.  This includes accountants, lawyers and software programmers.  All that will be left will be highly creative jobs like stand up comedian or really menial jobs such as toilet cleaner (apparently no one yet foresees a way that automation will replace the need for humans to do that).
 
So the need for "workers" will decrease.  Your worth will depend on the capital and connections that you can deploy.
 
Currently less than 50% of US adults have a full time job with a pay cheque.  Don't count on it getting any better or on anyone being able to do anything about it... Government or anyone else.
 
Yes the economy may improve, we may "produce" much more, but the benefits may only be felt by a small proportion of the population because only they are required for production.  Everyone else is going to be unnecessary to the economy.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 23, 2014 - 3:56pm
I should point out that the view in my previous post are those reported from Davos.. not my homespun theory.  Believe them or not... tis all the same to me.
 
BTW today also saw the publication of crime figures for the year just gone in the UK.  Violent crime overall down 14% year on year... at a time when the economy is struggling and police numbers have been reduced.  This is without the police or anyone else being routinely armed.   I guess this must put the death through violence figure at around 0.86 per 100,000 in the UK against aroun 4 per 100,000 in the US.  Something is accounting for this difference.  If it is not the omni presence of guns then it is something else.  You tell me.
 
Fraud on the other hand, is up 33%.  The smarter criminal has figured out he is less likely to get arrested for fraud than if he commits violent crime.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 23, 2014 - 3:59pm
Rick:  And I repeat... who exactly would you take up arms against?
Rick Kelley Added Jan 23, 2014 - 6:54pm
@Robin – And (once again) my Jan 21, 2014 - 8:54am post pretty much describes the revolution I see against 'progressive' government, collectivism, and the abuse of power.  What is it you want me to say?  I have explained that I envision a bloodless revolt against deceitful, corrupt politicians, and would much rather see them jailed than shot.  I have explained the circumstances under which I believe the use of deadly force is justifiable, and speculated on circumstances that could spark an armed revolution (and also stated that is not an option I favor). 

Those who have grand plans to satisfy their ‘social conscience’ (in this country at least) tend to leave the question of how their plans will be financed until after the legislation that puts the plan in play.  When they find there simply aren’t enough ‘wealthy’ to fund their grand plans, they come for the middle - - - where the wealth is - - and pump-up the national debt.  “Your healthcare costs will decrease by an average of $2,500” (pre-election), becomes “Your healthcare costs will increase somewhere between 200 and 300% (post-election).  So if you are not supportive of the political thugs who use deceit to rape the middle class, sorry I mis-cast you, but you sometimes sound very much like them.  I’m delighted you have it all worked-out in England, and that you are happy with what you have.  Here in the US, we don’t, and we aren’t.    

I’m also delighted your violent crime figures are down for the year.  Way to go!  If I interpret our January 19 exchange correctly, you believe guns are a (if not the) major difference in our countries crime statistics, and I believe it is the make-up of our populations, and attitude of our respective governments toward law enforcement that is responsible.  So - - I expect we won’t agree on that one.   At one point you described your childhood trips through the woods and the fields, which sounds very much like my own childhood.  Many fewer children enjoy that freedom today, particularly in our cities.  Perhaps we didn’t spend enough time teaching our children the joys of the great outdoors, but there is also genuine concern, justified or not, for child safety - - - .  That is a sad commentary on US societal evolution over the past 60 years or so - - - . 

So, no, I don’t need a $B  - - - or even a $M.  I’m quite content with what I have, and do not feel I have earned it on the backs of any individual or group.  As you pointed out, the part of managing my affairs that I am coming to regret is the attention I neglected to pay to our government representatives.  Their spending habits and priorities in no way reflect my lifestyle or priorities - - and they are certainly deciding the price of my neglect in Davos. 

And yes - - the issues being considered there - - and decisions that will be made when the meetings are over - - - will make any differences of opinion we may have seem petty in comparison.  That’s a whole new discussion - - - one few are willing or able to undertake - -
Rick Kelley Added Jan 23, 2014 - 7:19pm
@JoF - - Sorry for the delay, but I just ran across this Youtube clip, and it fit your earlier comment so well, I wanted to pass it on.  Please take the time to have a look - - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2npftyFvkWo&feature=youtu.be&t=5m49s
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 3:29am
@David:  Still living in the Hollywood tinted past then.  Of all the people that might be oppressing you, I don't think it is the British.  Rather stupidly we have been supporting the US in its military adventures in the belief that we were friends with common goals.
 
Of course you naturally look for simple solutions, some guy wearing the black hat who is obviously evil.  The world is not like that.
 
Edib is right.  Watch Unforgiven. 
 
By the way, why is it you keep changing your name?  Don't you want to stand by what you said earlier?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 3:34am
@Rick:  You also seem to be seeking someone to blame... a guy in a black hat.
 
I don't doubt that there are corrupt politicians, corrupt businessmen etc in the USA.  By all means bring them to book.
 
But they are not the main cause of your pain.
 
I would like to see how you see the revolution getting started.
 
There you are at breakfast one morning.  Suddenly, one Fox News, one item causes you to splutter over your corn flakes.
 
That's it you say.  "They" really have gone to far this time.   Grabbing your assault rifle and ballistic armour you head outside.  Together with a few like minded neighbours, no doubt some with the latest weaponry that the gun store could provide.. others carrying pitchforks and burning brands... you storm off.
 
Here's my question.  Where do you storm off to?   What exactly do you do?
 
Seize the telephone exchange?   That was a typical target in early 20th century revolutions.  Then what exactly?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 3:40am
@Rick:   You keep ranting at me saying that I have grand plans to rob you of your wealth.   Nowhere have I said that.   I have said that this is a process you cannot stop.  Government is powerless to stop it.
 
All anyone can do is look for ways to make the landing soft rather than hard.  A negotiated, calm and survivable landing.... or a violent smash into the side of the mountain.
 
I propose no solutions to you.  I simply state the problem.
 
Whether you decide to support someone who is trying to help deliver a soft landing... or bury your head in the sand ... is up to you.
 
Or you could just carry on watching those John Wayne movies
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 7:30am
Interesting stats from Davos:
 
Since 1988 the average Americans income has risen by 0.6%
 
The richest 5% of Americans have seen their income increase by 19%
 
In 2013, for the first time, less than 50% of economic activity came from "advanced" economies.
 
In 1980 7.6% of the world's output came from Asia.  Today it is 26%
 
Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer, Google and Cisco hold $347 Billion in cash.  African national debt:  $261 Billion
 
Large multi national corporations have greater resources than most Governments...
Pamalien TW Added Jan 24, 2014 - 9:10am
@ Joy Think about it. Why would they only abduct people in trailer parks? Because they are disposable and nobody takes them seriously... I'm sure a few of them were just drunk and anally raped by some sick person in their neighborhood as well. Also, those people are not bound by contracts with the government and going to spew anything interesting in their own, ignorant lingo. However have been retired government employees, near death by age and no longer fearing the government, coming out on the subject over the past few years.
Pamalien TW Added Jan 24, 2014 - 10:08am
Joy, doesn't it make you wonder when the Iranian prime minister makes outward claims the the American Government is run by "Tall White" aliens. I've heard claims that the government has been working with aliens since the Roswell incident. We've always heard, "Take me to your leader." Why should we think it was never actually said and, why should we think that kind of connection would be made obvious if the idea was to farm us for future use. That was about the time our population really began to boom! Look at the pictures of the aliens from then that have been released. They don't look much different from us and could easily blend into the population with a wig! Remember when the beehive hair do came into fashion? Most of us are complacent cattle. It's been made to happen over the years with big pharma and the media. Do you have any idea how popular the game Call of Duty is? Did you know the release of the game is so popular, it has the ability to shut down America just because so many people call in sick to work to stay home and play on the same day! How would anyone notice an invasion tuned in to that screen for hours and dropped out of daily news...
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 11:00am
Joy:  I still come back to the main point:  short of dismantling global capitalism, what exactly are you going to do about it?   You guys seems to be aiming at the wrong target.  The cause comes from the way that economics, that global capitailsm works.   Saying you are going to revolt against it is ludicrous.
 
To quote another Brit:  King Knut (Canute) once commanded the sea to not come it.  He got very wet.
 
You are doing the same thing.
 
On the contrary to your statement, I am not predicting the end of Western civilisation.  Far from it.  What I am predicting is the end of our relative high average pay versus the rest of the world.  There is nothing that can sustain it.
 
If worldwide rates rise, then things may not be too bad.
 
Otherwise our economy will generate enough to keep everyone more than happy.  However many are likely to see a continuing decline in their income as there jobs can either be done by automation or by someone in Asia or Africa at a lower cost.  Capital will flow to the lowest cost as you know.
 
We will be able to keep highly creative jobs at a premium close to present time and maybe stuff which has to be done locally (agriculture etc)... but not much else.   Otherwise we are all competing with Asians and Africans... some of whom think being paid $10 a day would be heaven.
 
Government will not be able to provide a pillow because the tax revenues will not be there.  No-one can.  Short of putting an isolationist policy in place there is nothing we can do about it.  Britain cannot do that in any case as we cannot grow enough food to feed everyone here.
 
As I said:  create a sense of social justice (howsoever you can do that) and stimulate the creative and local based industries is about it (and try and get the multinationals to pay their fair share of tax)
 
This does not mean that corporations will not make money.  Of course they will.   They just will not need many workers in the western world to do it.  That's all. 
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 24, 2014 - 11:03am
In answer to the question "Where is the Tardis":
 
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=51.492159,-0.19092&spn=0.005291,0.013937&sll=51.492140,-0.193028&layer=c&cid=12502927659667388442&panoid=c9UMhWP_MWm9U0L48xEjYw&cbp=13,291.8,,0,18.86&gl=US&t=m&cbll=51.492132,-0.192862&z=17.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 24, 2014 - 11:28am
Two separate issues.  I’m not saying you have grand plans to do anything with my wealth (such as it is).  You told me you are content with the English brand of Socialism, and that is fine with me. I am happy for you.  The American brand of Socialism is not working well.  It is an element of government excess that has brought us to Davos.  Our government is very long on promises, very short on delivery, and secretive and deceptive when confronted with the imbalance - - - so I often become impatient with folks from abroad who have simplistic formulas to fix all our ills - - which invariably include giving more tax and authority to those who have made the mess in the first place.  No!  Absolutely not!  Not until the Federal Government has gone through Debt Addiction Anonymous (which they may be doing right now).   

You are impressed with Davos stats?  [I started to pick a few of the more blatant examples of government mis-management, and realized I had written an article that sketches it out pretty well - The Budget Scam or ‘Where is Paul Ryan?’ - - you might be interested].  

I found your stats on Apple, Microsoft, et al, interesting.  Why, do you suppose, are those companies sitting on all that cash?   There are a couple of more steps in the equation than “They have, I want, Gimme!” or “Gimme or I will take it”.  For example, we refine petroleum for the US and much of South America.  We have a petroleum refining infrastructure that is inefficient, obsolete, and badly in need of replacement.  Why isn’t that happening?

The Revolution.  OK  Please remember this is fiction!  The natives will not choke on their coffee and run out to butcher the politicians with their Rambo knives.  The economy will collapse.  The details aren’t really important - - - whether trade becomes so disrupted there is no food on the shelves, or inflation makes food-stamps worthless.  As always, the poor will bear the brunt of the pain, but there will be more than a few Mercedes Benz dealerships shut-down - - - and more than a few Mercedes Benz’s left in the garages of the rich because there are no parts to repair them - - - .  Despair coupled with complete lack of confidence in government will be widespread and intense. 

The revolution will begin with riots in the inner cities - - - food riots, riots for the pure ‘fun’ of it with food as an excuse, riots to release inner rage, riots for the uncivilized to express their displeasure - - - .  The presence or absence of guns will make no difference.  Clubs, knives, baseball bats - - - whatever is handy - - - whatever can kill and maim will do.  Watts on steroids. 

Local law enforcement will be quickly overcome, and whatever caches of arms they control will fall into the hands of the lawless.  The first level of escalation will be calling in the National Guard to restore order - - - possibly setting-up emergency compounds to distribute food and provide shelter - - - .  Since our law prohibits the Army from interfering in domestic disturbances, we have established FEMA, who are getting a fair amount of attention these days - - - .  Set-up and presented as a Government equivalent of the Red Cross, they are accumulating an alarming quantity of arms, ammunition and military equipment.   FEMA confiscated firearms during Katrina (New Orleans, 2005), a clear violation of the 2nd amendment, and there is much speculation over whether or not they have the authority to confiscate food or any other private property they may consider ‘necessary’ in time of ‘emergency’. 

Those who can will retreat to rural areas to watch the cities burn from a safe distance.  At some point, a real or fabricated incident - - - perhaps an ambush on FEMA troops (excuse me - - FEMA ‘employees’) will trigger a pivotal event; suspension of Constitutional Law (temporarily, of course), and imposition of Martial Law.  The more jaded believe this is an objective long planned and engineered by (fill in the blank - - it depends on which ‘conspiracy theory’ you subscribe to) let’s say ‘The New World Order’.  They believe, quite sincerely, that the economic collapse that set the whole thing in motion was 100% deliberate and planned. 

Once Martial Law has been established, the hidden agenda is exposed.  The first order of business is gun confiscation, and the second order of business is confiscation of everything else - - - and then, as armed camps in the countryside are attacked first by bands of lawless criminals, followed by lawless bands of quasi-military government, the revol
Rick Kelley Added Jan 24, 2014 - 11:48am
the revolt is unleashed.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 24, 2014 - 2:52pm
@Robin - - OK.  To this ‘leveling of the global playing field’ - - I take your point.  But I don’t necessarily agree with your conclusions.  No doubt we no longer make hammers in the US.  The hammer business has moved to China, and I also agree that we have done little to fill the job vacuum left by abandoning the hammer business.  Perhaps we simply haven’t had a big enough dose of pain yet.  (Great motivator, pain).  If, however, government is standing-by with gallons of Novocain as their solution to pain abatement we are neglecting to address the root cause.  Tapping your list of cash-rich corporations to buy more Novocain won’t help much either. 

There is a basic question that needs to be answered before any ‘fix’ is put in motion:  Is Capitalism the fix or the problem?  No, ‘yes, but- - - ‘ followed by a long list of conditions that make it impossible to operate.  Choose which will dominate, and which will be subservient to the other.  Government or Capitalism.  Which.  Don’t weasel-word it.  Pick one.  Yes, I understand both have to exist, and there has to be room for their co-existence.  Pick one.

To me the choice is an easy choice.  Capitalism creates wealth, Government consumes wealth.  I pick Capitalism.  (Yes, yes.  There is need for regulation; there have been instances of criminal manipulation, sins upon sins, etc, etc.  Give me a minute, here).  We have been on a course where both capitalism and government have abused their positions to such an extent they have very nearly bankrupt the country.  Often Government and Capitalism have worked in concert to bankrupt the country.  The financial collapse of 2008 is a good example.  Why was no one jailed as a result of the largest fraud in US history? 

Since 2008 Government has resolutely identified ‘business’ as the villain of the piece - - the ‘black hat’ boys - - the greedy, self-serving money-grubbers resisting ‘reasonable’ taxation at the expense of the ‘unfortunate’ - - - while spending us into oblivion.  This ‘you aren’t being taxed enough/you are spending too much’, ‘yes you did/no you didn’t’ 5-year-old’s taunt & rebuttal has driven us to the brink.  While the smoke screen is laid down, nobody bothers to notice that no amount of additional taxation will keep pace with spending, that both parties continue to support bigger and bigger spending bills, and that nobody in government has the slightest interest in balancing the budget, much less lowering sovereign debt.  That must change.  I suggest each and every existing spending commitment undergo review.  Unless it can be justified as essential to national defense, scrap it!

It has been suggested that 1% of any budget be reserved to pay-down principal on the national debt.  Do it. 

When and if Government ever figures out that commerce is their salvation, and not their enemy, perhaps we can (once again) regain a position of world leadership in technical innovation.  Just how do we overcome a $40B/month trade imbalance?  Hmmm.  Tough question.  $1B at a time?  Tax incentives for the top 5 exporters?  Far easier to export $5B worth of LNG and lumber to China than $5B of hammers to France. 

Yes, indeed - - one long, hard, painful pull, but do-able if the national will is behind it.  Not at all do-able if we continue to see the rest of the world as consumers of our debt, rather than our products.

We also have to face some very painful realities regarding the quality of education in the US.  We no longer produce the ‘best and brightest’ engineers - - - .  Go steal them.  Go recruit them.  Get them over here.  Put them to work - - here - - re-building US industry.  Feel the pain.  Fix it. 

Skirr the country round. Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor!
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 25, 2014 - 5:05am
Rick:  Not everything can be fixed.   If you believe some commentators on this site this includes, for example, the climate.  But it definitely includes the global economic environment.  The genie is out of the bottle and has gone global.  No going back now.
 
Instead you have to focus of how to adapt to a new reality.
 
This can be good.  Maybe we need something to jolt us out of our addiction to materialism for example.  We all have enough stuff anyway (at least those of us on this site).  And perhaps its also time to forget those dreams of economic "superiority".   It was never down to our talents etc... just a happy accident of history.
 
So don't worry... be happy.   But don't expect a "fix" to re-establish the status quo.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 25, 2014 - 8:32am
I don’t worry.  I’m happy.  But there is no status quo. Global wealth, right along with what needs or doesn’t need to be ‘fixed’ is all dynamic and relative.  Anything ‘done’ can be ‘un-done’.  The financial markets are crying because economic growth in China has slowed to “only” 7.7%?  Who would have predicted 20 years ago that China would have that kind of a ‘problem’?  Hmmm.  Some far-sighted Chinese perhaps?

So you can write-off what I view as ‘advances’ in science, medicine, engineering and the arts - - all the things that make life more enjoyable as ‘accidents of history’, but I will continue to believe they were, and continue to be, the product of capitalism - - a machine fueled by ‘greed’ or ‘self-determination’, depending on your point of view.  None of it is inevitable.  The book is re-written every day (a look at last week’s stock market will prove that!).  There are tested and proven forces that improve or hinder the operation of capitalism - - - operation of government being a fairly significant one of them. 

So roll over, expose your throat, and allow the world to sweep you in whatever direction the 'inevitable tides’ you envision take you.  I haven’t quite given up on the thought that the golden goose can be nursed back to health.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 27, 2014 - 9:34am
Same for Watson and Crick (DNA discoverers)... not motivatedby cash.
 
Add Tim Berners Lee (Internet inventor) to that list.   Without being "free" the internet would not be what it is today.  The original "monetised" version would probably have been much more restricted.
 
By giving it away for free, Tim and others passed up on personal fortunes.    So they were not fueled by greed/ capitalism.
 
Many advances are made through pure scientific research with no thought, at least at the beginning, of what commercial gain there might be.  Gaining an understanding of the universe and advancing human knowledge is sufficient motivation.
 
Many that I meet everyday working in the NHS and in education. are clearly not motivated by personal greed.   Time and again I am met by people who go the extra mile with no thought of personal financial reward.  Clearly they are motivated by a genuine desire to do good and not by personal enrichment.
 
People like this give me hope in the future of humanity.
 
Rick Kelley Added Jan 27, 2014 - 11:19am
@Robin – Exactly - - we agree - - selfless people advance humanity - - but capitalism (not ‘government’) give those people the tools to conduct their research and make the discoveries.  Diverting ever increasing percentages of national wealth to non-wealth producing segments of society eventually strangles the entire economy, as many Eastern European countries have learned.  Innovation thrives only in healthy economies, as a quick look around the world will show.
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 28, 2014 - 9:15am
The work done by Crick and Watson and by Tim Berners Lee was funded, at least in part, by the British tax payer.
 
I doubt that private finance would ever have invested in it.  Certainly it would not have done so with a view to financial ROI.
 
However mankind, as a whole, has most deifnitely seen an ROI
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 28, 2014 - 9:17am
There is an argument that what is required for economies to be vigorous is competition.  This does not necessarily have to be financially based. 
 
I know full well the competitive nature of science.
 
But I am not sure how to explain the dedication of those working in the Health Service.  Clearly money is not the motivator.
Rick Kelley Added Jan 28, 2014 - 11:14am
Again, we agree.  There are professions where the very best rise with little motivation for personal gain.  Education, medicine, the arts, engineering come to mind.  Once basic needs are met, ego satisfaction, Love of beauty, and altruistic motivation are (IMO) stronger forces than greed.  I believe in the basic ‘goodness’ of man, but doubt man will ever come together in agreeing on a definition of ‘goodness’. 

The financial system is a backdrop to advances in altruistic pursuits - - a means to an end.  Capitalism is an imperfect system, subject to abuse and inequalities.  It is, however, so much more efficient than alternatives, I support it wholeheartedly.  The alternative is to support collectivism through government, a system that has shown us (in the US, at least) the consequence of placing too much trust in government.  Here, it has bankrupt us, and lead to a far more insidious form of abuse. 

You don’t have to look very far to see who Alexis de Tocqueville had in mind when he wrote - -
"Democratic institutions awaken and foster a passion for equality which they can never entirely satisfy," Tocqueville wrote. "This complete equality eludes the grasp of the people at the very moment they think they have grasped it . . . the people are excited in the pursuit of an advantage, which is more precious because it is not sufficiently remote to be unknown or sufficiently near to be enjoyed."  One result: "Democratic institutions strongly tend to promote the feeling of envy." Another: "A depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom."

When we look around the USA for the financial drivers of the arts, medicine, and research, we look to private foundations and trust funds for the majority of the funds.  Government involvement consists of allowing tax credits for private support.  When Government decides to ‘manage’ wealth distribution, invariably we have a mess.  
Rick Kelley Added Jan 28, 2014 - 11:22am
 - - so it comes down to the lesser of two evils - - Government or Private Sector - - - and one question:  Who do you trust?
Robin the red breasted songster Added Jan 28, 2014 - 11:38am
Well Rick, I certainly don't trust the large corporations.   I might trust the private sector if it was my neighbour and I knew him personally.
 
Been screwed too many times by corporations...
Rick Kelley Added Jan 28, 2014 - 12:00pm
@Robin

Breakthrough! 

Neither of us trusts the ones who have screwed us most often!  (Or most blatantly, or those we have ‘caught-in-the-act’).  Makes perfect sense to me.  There is little doubt both need watching.  I’m ashamed to say I believe your Parliament is far more trustworthy than our Congress, and your Prime Minister far more trustworthy than our President.  How did that happen?  The average British citizen is more politically aware than the average US citizen - - - you work harder to keep your politicians honest - - - .  
Rick Kelley Added Jan 28, 2014 - 12:31pm
@ Robin

"I might trust the private sector if it was my neighbour and I knew him personally"  The same goes for government.  Local and State government  - - - the ones we are able to watch most closely - - do a fair job of reflecting the will of the citizens who elect them.  It is the unlawful 'grab' of power at the Federal level where abuse is most evident.   

We actually have a President who is quite proud of his ability to circumvent legal restrictions placed on his authority by Constitutional  law - - - a sad state of affairs - - .
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 4:52am
More powers having nuclear weapons can lead to a stalemate like the MAD situation of the Cold War which is why One Superpower does not want the others to have it. 
 
It would obviously limit it's own capability to threaten the other lesser powers that have nuclear weapons. It's all about dominance and that's the same as with private arms which would impair the government's ability to dominate it's people.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 11:07am
It's the way the US is structured. It's probably a good thing when the government is so powerful unlike those of many European and Asian countries which depend on the US's Nuclear Umbrella. Asia doesn't have many democratic countries anyway and many European countries perhaps aren't as democratic as they seem. Europeans expect the government to act in their interest but the reality maybe a bit different so treating the government with a bit of suspicion is probably warranted. 
 
Shareholders of companies and maybe even employees also are likely to benefit from such an approach to Senior Management of companies because their interests aren't aligned.
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 11:29am
Phani..
 
I think I get your point. It is a topic for a different discussion. But I presume you are not suggesting that employees carry guns to offices to settle differences with the management.
 
No...just their wits :)
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 1:35pm
Nukes ensure the peace of MAD
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 1:36pm
No one will fire them until one power feels they've such superiority that they can launch strike and (largely) protect themselves from retaliation starting a new arms race
Kaushik Venkatasubramaniyan Added Apr 19, 2015 - 1:36pm
..before that situation actually comes to pass
Robin the red breasted songster Added Apr 19, 2015 - 2:26pm
Roy Draa:   It was certainly possible for private citizens to own warships.  Sometimes these were granted a charter to carry out actions against the ships of certain flags.  These were known as "Letters of Marque".  Private warships without this were simply pirates.

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