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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-01-29 05:06
Subject: [politics] Conservatism's greatest legacy
Security: Public
Location:Omaha
Mood:thoughtful
Music:the wind trying to tear the hotel apart
Tags:politics
I've commented extensively on the ironies of modern conservatism. The GOP legacy of fiscal responsibility has created the worst budget situation in American history. The GOP legacy of strong defense has broken the military as badly as it has been broken in modern history, rivaling the post-Vietnam malaise. The GOP legacy of American power has reduced our international diplomatic, economic and military influence to the point that our nation quite possibly cannot recover its superpower status.

But I'm increasingly convinced the true political disaster that conservatism has inflicted on America is the elevation of the Tragedy of the Commons to a virtue. The anti-tax, anti-government rhetoric of the GOP has won quite a few elections, but the consequences to our infrastructure and our social fabric will be at least a generation in the unwinding.

On a purely personal level, it's frustrating that the people responsible will never know the difference, or feel the pain. Reagan had no clue, even long before his Alzheimer's diagnosis was made public. Bush 41 is smart enough to know and wealthy enough not to care. Bush 43 will never understand that he's not a second Lincoln. The win-at-any-costs strategists behind the — Rove, Ailes, Atwater, et al. — are people who by definition don't care. They led the charge in surrendering our long term vision of the public good in favor of a mantra that boils down to "taxation is theft."

The great triumph of modern conservatism is the elevation of personal privilege (defined as "rights") above the interests of everyone else's personal privilege, and even more so above the interests of society as a whole. That conservative triumph is America's tragedy.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
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nballingrud
User: nballingrud
Date: 2008-01-29 13:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I couldn't agree with you more. "The Commons," sadly, is a phrase we rarely even hear from the Democrats these days. I think a vast majority of the American population has probably never heard the term. Liberal talk show host Thom Hartmann bangs this drum regularly, but he's one of the rare ones.
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Cheryl Myfanwy Morgan
User: cherylmmorgan
Date: 2008-01-29 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Proposition 1: "Taxation is theft".

Proposition 2: "Property is theft".

Discuss.

P.S. Persons attempting to stake a position in the middle ground may be shot at by both sides.
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-29 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Insofar as the democratically elected representative government actually represents its constituency, the requisitioning of the funds is legitimate, and thus not theft.

Property is not theft, property is murder. If I have a ham sandwich, or goods/commodities/labor which could produce or be exchanged for food/medicine/life saving research etc... and I horde it rather than attempt to provide it to those who must have such things or die, then I am complicit in murder.
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russ: zen
User: goulo
Date: 2008-01-29 15:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:zen
You seem to be saying that virtually everyone is complicit in murder. Am I understanding that right? In an abstract philosophical cocktail party sort of sense, I can agree (we could all theoretically sell all our possessions to donate the money to dying people who need medicine), but it seems to dilute the concept of "complicit in murder" to an extreme degree.
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-29 15:25 (UTC)
Subject: Man, the rationalizing animal
There are plenty of people who have insufficient means to be guilty in this fashion.

It isn't so much a dilution of the concept of murder, as our inability to equate the effects at a distance with those face-to-face.

I'd wager most people would find it far easier to press a button which would thrust a knife into someone's chest half a world away than they would to stand over a victim and drive it home face-to-face.

Making an economic transaction which means someone will starve, or die for lack of medicine, is yet another level of remove... so it is far easier to kill someone in this fashion, but still murder.
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-29 18:10 (UTC)
Subject: From the OED
Murder, n:

1 c. The action of killing or causing destruction of life, regarded as wicked and morally reprehensible irrespective of its legality (e.g. in relation to war, death sentences passed down by tribunals, and other socially sanctioned acts of killing); an instance of this.
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chessdev
User: chessdev
Date: 2008-01-29 18:56 (UTC)
Subject: Re: From the OED
I cant help but notice you had to use the 3rd definition of murder...rather than the 1st and probably most used.

Other definitions of murder include:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/murder

1. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.


another one includes

1. Law. the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law. In the U.S., special statutory definitions include murder committed with malice aforethought, characterized by deliberation or premeditation or occurring during the commission of another serious crime, as robbery or arson (first-degree murder), and murder by intent but without deliberation or premeditation (second-degree murder).


Notice the qualifier of "malice"
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-31 22:23 (UTC)
Subject: A short video on property (especially relevant to the original 'property is theft' proposition)
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jeffsoesbe: bald man thinking
User: jeffsoesbe
Date: 2008-01-29 21:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bald man thinking
The anti-tax, anti-government rhetoric of the GOP has won quite a few elections, but the consequences to our infrastructure and our social fabric will be at least a generation in the unwinding.

It might be a dangerous assumption that there will even be an "unwinding". It seems that any politician who even dares to suggest anything about "new taxes" is a dead duck in the water, especially at the local and state level. And I certainly don't hear Obama or Clinton or even Edwards making any statements even hinting in that direction.

These will certainly be interesting days ahead...

- yeff
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2008-01-29 23:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I believe I've heard Edwards, and probably Obama, indicate that the Bush Tax Cuts on the wealthiest Americans would have to go.

Even if Hillary said it, I wouldn't buy it.
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jeffsoesbe: kevin spacey lex luthor
User: jeffsoesbe
Date: 2008-01-30 05:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:kevin spacey lex luthor
Wow, they'll never get elected! And that's what they all want, is to get elected. I wouldn't buy what any candidate says right now...

- yeff
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Dave Bara
User: dbara
Date: 2008-01-30 00:26 (UTC)
Subject: "Taxation is theft."
Incorrect. Some taxation is moral. Excessive taxation is theft. We live in a nation where excessive taxation occurs to the detriment of all.

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." - This should be the conservative mantra; End government bailouts, get off your ass and get to work for yourself, and your country.

Some other JFK quotes:

"In short, it is a paradoxical truth that ... the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."
– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, news conference
________________________________________
"Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

"In today's economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"
________________________________________
"It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today's economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: "The Economic Report Of The President"
________________________________________
"Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate."
– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.
________________________________________
"A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues."
– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

db
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-30 03:41 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "Taxation is theft."
Excessive taxation is theft.

I don't have a big problem with the idea, though I might argue with the phrasing. My whole point is the idea of what constitutes "excessive taxation" has been in effect dialed down to any non-zero sum by conservatives.


“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” – Grover Norquist, The Nation, 10/12/2004
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Dave Bara
User: dbara
Date: 2008-01-30 20:05 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "Taxation is theft."
I agree that the idea of zero taxation is ludicrous, and not morally supportable. Even Jesus said "Give to God that which is God's, and to Caesar that which is Caesar's". In other words, pay your taxes assholes.

Where I differ is on how people are taxed. Taxing income only hurts people going up the economic ladder. We should reduce income taxes to a low rate, say 10% across the board, and fill in the gaps with a retail sales tax, then institute a Net Worth tax so the rich actually pay something.

db
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Dave Bara
User: dbara
Date: 2008-01-30 20:06 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "Taxation is theft."
Sorry, there I go thinking progressively again. What am I doing?

db
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