Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Isn't is ignoramic to be exclusively liberal or conservative?

Asked by ETpro (34550points) November 13th, 2011

First, let’s define our terms. Both words have been stretched far from their dictionary definitions by political spin-masters. Words actually do have meanings. They don’t mean whatever some partisan PR hack decides to define them as. For instance, social welfare programs do NOT equal socialism. Socialism is an economic system in which the government owns the means of production and distribution of wealth. Everyone works for the government. There are no taxes. And everyone gets paid with checks drawn on and cashed by the government bank.

Here’s what the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary says conservative means and here’s their definition of liberal. Both words have very positive meanings and both are needed to make sane decisions. Neither one is a single track to perfection in every policy. So please, at least for the duration of answering this question and debating responses, let’s stick to the dictionary definitions as relates to the question, and if current conservative or liberal policies differ from the definition, let’s point up that there is nothing wrong with the word, but plenty wrong with the policy.

The fact is that the current crop that call themselves conservatives in America may bellow constantly about socialism, and claim that all liberals are socialists, but the right’s actual policies are more socialistic than those of current liberals. They favor deregulating Wall Street completely and then are forced to bail out Wall Street when Casino Capitalism goes awry, as it always eventually will. This is privatizing all profits while socializing risks for those allowed to get to big to fail. They favor farm subsidies and subsidizing the oil industry and corporate jets. This is a form of socialism adopted by the Fascists in the 1930s. Mussolini defined it thus: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

The current liberals are widely for sale to corporate lobbyist as well. On issue after issue, they have stood in the way of a true progressive agenda that would apply liberal principles to solving serious problems the USA faces. Obamacare is widely unpopular because it failed to address most of the endemic problems in a healthcare system with costs gone out of control.

Isn’t the best governance achieved with a healthy blend of conservatism where practical with liberalism where change is needed? In other words, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But if it is broke, by all means don’t keep supporting it.

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128 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I make up my mind on each issue. I don’t jump into one camp or the other. I hate the polarization in today’s political discourse.

syz's avatar

Ignoramic?

dabbler's avatar

You’re right, labels are dangerous.
I like your observations that intelligent definitions of liberal and conservative both have positive attributes, and further both are needed to make intelligent,balanced policy decisions.

I don’t think your description of socialism is very good, for example the most socialist countries around (Scandanavian, and some other European countries, esp Germany and France) have fairly high tax rates, but in return they have fairly high levels of public benefits provided by the government.

Your observations about corporatism and for-sale politicians are dead-on.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think assuming people who call themselves either of those things are all in complete agreement is ignorant.

Mariah's avatar

It’s not ignorant if your opinions on all the issues just so happen to all fall under one label or another. It’s ignorant if you identify a label and then choose your opinions with the purpose of being consistent with that label.

jerv's avatar

@Mariah Sadly, that is how it often goes. It doesn’t matter what you think; you have to go along with the party line.

bkcunningham's avatar

I was excited for a minute when I saw your question and even gave it a click for “Great Question” without actually reading through the entire thing. I think your question does exactly what you are preaching against, @ETpro. You are grouping everyone under a certain name inside a little box of one size fits all.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Not how I read it. I mean, I can see how you may think that if we were talking about 5–10 years ago, but it seems that we have been polarized to the point where this question as asked is actually accurate.

If you don’t believe me, look at how many straight party line votes we have in Congress now. Look at the “You’re either with us or against us” mentality that seems so prevalent these days.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, that’s why I am apolitical. lolol

Actually it is insane to identify with any group/concept/affiliation as a source of personal identity, be it politics, religion, status, looks, gender, etc.

You can always tell those that do by their over the top defensive reaction as if in disagreeing with their leanings you are invalidating their very exisitence and they must fight tooth and nail to defend their “rightness”, lest they evaporate into nothingness. lol

Just in-joy your being and chill out, have a happy brownie and watch the leaves fall for awhile. ;-)

bkcunningham's avatar

Okay, @jerv, just for shits and giggles, name the conservatives in Congress who, “favor deregulating Wall Street completely”?

dabbler's avatar

@bkcunningham I think the OP meant more about the state of public discourse than a comment about all of us citizens. It’s all about terms and how they are being used. That how it reads, to me.
And I have to agree with @jerv that, as far as politicians go, there is a maddening inclination to party-line voting. However, you bring up an exception that backs OP original statement that most politicians under all labels are for sale to lobbyists with big bucks.

bkcunningham's avatar

@dabbler, read @ETpro‘s question again. This is the part I asked @jerv to elaborate on for me. “The fact is that the current crop that call themselves conservatives in America may bellow constantly about socialism, and claim that all liberals are socialists, but the right’s actual policies are more socialistic than those of current liberals. They favor deregulating Wall Street completely and then are forced to bail out Wall Street when Casino Capitalism goes awry, as it always eventually will.”

That seems just as much a blanket statement to me as to what @ETpro was criticizing. I get that @ETpro is saying although people say they are conservative they favor socialist policy and because they say they are liberals they aren’t progressive enough. I just wanted to see if there is truth in the one little statement about conservatives wanting to deregulate Wall Street.

dabbler's avatar

I dunno maybe your’e right, but I think the media are where you hear/see the bellowing and those “policies”. The characterizations of liberals were just are broad and unfair to liberals at large. They seem aptly applied to what we see/hear in the press as “liberal” point-of-view.

I still agree with the overarching point that party-line politics are not so good for us, and the labels used are applied gratuitously and to no useful point. At least that’s still the way I read the intention of the OP.

So maybe the OP was clumsy in the way it was put across. Or maybe you’re right and blanket statements were made hypocritically…. Let’s hear your thinking on the rest of the intention of the OP.

laureth's avatar

Not to nitpick, but the Mussolini link is debunking the claim that he ever said such a thing.

That said, any “ism” is going to miss some of the best answers to the questions we’re asking.

Ron_C's avatar

I’m a Progressive Democratic, liberal republican libertarian. I think that I have all the bases covered.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Actually, it’s ignorant to adhere to any of the “predigested” political philosophies. Eventually, the pragmatists are going to win over all the “labelled” people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s ignorant and it’s dangerous. Stupid politicians start opposing something just because the other party proposed it, and for no other reason.

CaptainHarley's avatar

We can say what we like about politicians, but it’s a truism that “you get the government you deserve.”

dabbler's avatar

@CaptainHarley “Eventually, the pragmatists are going to win over all the “labelled” people.”
I’m all for that and I hope so. Some of the labeled types have a lot of money and media in front of and behind them.
”“you get the government you deserve.” Have we been that bad ? ;)
We’ve certainly neglected to keep a tight enough rein on them.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I take it that you were not even alive let alone politically aware during the Reagan years or you wouldn’t need to ask. So, before I go into history, how basic do I need to get, and how far back do I have to go?

bkcunningham's avatar

Just this current 112th Congress @jerv.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, and I tried to prove your statement about the voting along party lines. I got to the Thomas site and I’ve beeen trying since you asked the question and still can’t get an answer. I’ve gotten as far as the votes in both the Senate and the House and bills sent to Obama. I think it was over 800 for the Senate.

I wish the FCC would Congress and all other governing entities and bodies to present better f-ing websites. Easier to navigate and with more search options. My God, they look like campaign ads.

philosopher's avatar

@ETpro
I try to review available documentaion on any issue and vote according to that. I prefer neither party anymore. They both support the Lobbyist and No one Represents the working Middle Class.
I wish the Wall Street Protesters had a Leader. America has no Leaders. Congress Represents themselves and the self interest that support them. All the Protest mean nothing because among them are disorganized people, Anarchist and angry people without a working plan or goal. I wish this could change. We need real change and No one running will provide that.

jerv's avatar

@philosopher Sad but true.

philosopher's avatar

@jerv
I wish someone could make me wrong.

woodcutter's avatar

To be that way is also to be narrow minded.

Rarebear's avatar

Is “igoramic” a word?

Paradox25's avatar

This is funny since I had asked a similar question here on Sodahead. The intention behind that question was similar to yours (I think), to eliminate political labels and to focus on what is most important for not only America but the rest of the world as well. But of course I get some RWNJ bonehead, who claims he had studied American history for the past 10 years, not able to challenge any of my points but instead post some stupid homemade clip art where he quotes what Ronald Reagan had said along with mixing political terms together to his own satisfaction. I’m not sure about how many of these arguments I had with this guy and others like himself but I don’t feel like digging through my archives containing hundreds of responses so there was my most recent one.

To answer your question liberalism means freedom and conservatism means supporting traditional institutions according to most of the reading I’ve done about political history and putting these definitions in short terms. I agree with the author here and political extremes in any direction whether it’s libertarianism, populism, conservatism or liberalism not only opposes freedom but would also lower our standards of living drastically. Personally I don’t agree with using these political classifications in this way since when terming political ideologies both the economy and social issues need to be taken into consideration. I also agree with the author here when he says that social protection programs does not equate to socialism. A social market economy is not socialism. True freedom and harmony lies within a centralized circle relating to both economic and social issues. I hesitate at calling myself a libertarian when I would rather classify myself as a liberal but with that it seems comes a partisan agenda of its own.

Let’s look back at history and why we need to understand the meaning of not only political terms but past patterns as well. In order to cover their skin the ‘right’ loves to call Hitler a lefty or a socialist. Hitler’s National Socialist Party was nothing more than a political misnomer because it was anything but socialist. Hitler replaced the old trade unions (Weimar Unions) with the German Labor Front. The entire purpose of the GLF was to actually eliminate workers right’s and to increase worker production for less pay. Indeed the average pay rate after the Nazis eliminated the Weimar Unions was nearly five cents less an hour. The private sector still made profits but the Nazis still had the ultimate power over these corporations. Social issues (for the most part) along with strong militarism, nationalism and support of traditional institutions made Hitler a right wing conservative in my book, not a socialist or a liberal. I still don’t buy the religious angle though Hitler identified as a Catholic. From reading about Hitler he struck me as more of an atheist than a religionist but the Nazis still used the religion card nevertheless. One other thing here, there were no true socialist nations that ever existed. The nations that called themselves socialist or communist were actually aristocracies. The Amish and early Christians were more communist than any ‘communist’ country ever was.

jerv's avatar

@Paradox25 Sodahead… that is where you went wrong XD

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv I expected a little more of a challenge from a group that studied poltical history from either their TEA Party camps, Faux News or the back of a cereal box.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox25

I don’t even want to try. Sigh!

Paradox25's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’m fairly conservative on many issues and I have nothing against libertarians. I even like Ron Paul. I like Gary Johnson too. I’m a bit suspicious of this so-called TEA Party and their timing. The Tarp legislation was passed by W I believe. The Paulbots (what I was called by SH neocons who hated libertarians with a passion) spoke out during W’s term but this ‘we want our country back’ crowd just doesn’t cut it with me. Like the OWS movement the TEA Party is not even a centralized movement and there seems to be many different factions with different ideologies. I’m also somewhat surprised (or maybe not) that 70% of all of the TEA Party’s supporters are registered Republicans. The TEA Party reminds me of an amped up Brooks Brothers riot on steriods. I don’t even understand why there is a TEA Part movement. Why not just vote Libertarian or support a Ron Paul/Gary Johnson type of candidate then?

jerv's avatar

@Paradox25 Because Buddy Roemer doesn’t have the backing or funding to win against a multi-million-dollar media blitz from the major parties or from other Republicans going for the GOP nomination.

Jaxk's avatar

First let me say, the question would be better served by using the definitions of Conservatism and Liberalism. At least they pertain to the actual ideology rather than ‘a liberal helping of mashed potatoes’.

I also have to agree with @bkcunningham in that the way you generalize about conservatives with statements like, “They favor deregulating Wall Street completely”, completely misrepresents the issue. And in fact gives rise to the current situation where agreement can never be reached. We have 2,700 pages of new regulation in the pipeline right now. We’re regulating ‘Goat Herders’ for Christ sake. If you think slowing this onslaught of new regulation is the same as deregulating everything, it is little wonder we can’t reach agreement.

And since you mentioned it in your question, what exactly is the Liberal Agenda? You gave us definitions for everything else but neglected to tell us exactly what you seem to want. I only ask because as far as I can tell, the liberal agenda is to move us towards Socialism or Communism, or may be even Fascism. Actually Fascism seems closest. Don’t the liberals want government to do what is described below?:

“Fascism recognises the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade-unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which diverent interests are coordinated and harmonised in the unity of the State.”

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv Yes but pretty much all of the TEA Party’s wishes could be answered just by simply voting for a Ron Paul or Gary Johnson type of Republican then rather than a mainstream Republican. There is no need for a TEA Party, well maybe with the exception of protesting Congress, but the group seems too divided. I know this from my experience with Ron Paul hating TEA Partiers on SH. Why is Mitt the chameleon Romney the most likely to win the GOP nomination then as well besides the money and censorship issues that Johnson (and sometimes Paul) has suffered from anyways?

laureth's avatar

@Paradox25 – Re: “to eliminate political labels and to focus on what is most important for not only America but the rest of the world as well.”

And why is Mitt likely to get the GOP nomination? He’s (somewhat) more mainstream than the other very-right candidates. The Tea Party has pushed the Republicans rightward (and the Dems, too, for having to respond to them), but if you want to actually get a Republican elected, they have to appeal to at least 50% +1 (or so) of the population, not just the 10–11% that sympathize with the Tea Party’s radical agenda.

Thing is, even if we took away the labels, people would still have their ideas that they like or don’t like (or what they think will be “best for America” or even “best for the world,” if they can imagine a world out there), no matter what you call them. The names are just shorthand so that you don’t have to describe each position in long detail. In other words, some folks here will still think the opposite of what I think (or some blend thereof), even if my political position were called “blempglorf.”

I do wish the terms “liberal” and “conservative” were closer to a dictionary definition, though.

Ron_C's avatar

@laureth “50% +1 (or so) of the population, not just the 10–11% that sympathize with the Tea Party’s radical agenda.” I think the actual number is about 38%, less if there is an active third or forth party opposition.

From what I have seen with Tea Party elected officials, the first thing they do is attach what should be their base, middle class teachers, firemen, police, etc.. Next they attack all unions, after that, Hispanics, Blacks, Gays, Poor, and what is left of the middle class. The Tea Party has been co-opted by huge international corporations like the Koch industry group. They want a level playing field for labor, in other words, they want minimal wage and democracy in the work place. No arguing with supervisors and just enough money for their labor to live but not thrive. The level playing field is to reduce American workers to the level of Mexican and Chinese workers and make sure that the Executives and Investors make as much money as possible and they they are not weighed down with industrial or environmental regulations.

philosopher's avatar

These Politicians don’t care about anything but what us best for them. The party rhetoric is pure BS.
Logic says they should all be able to studying the documentation and come up with solutions to our Economic problems. They all get an F.
The Lobbyist, special interest ,China and the wealthest are running America.
Neither party Represents most American’s. We should demand that decisions are made based on documentation not Political Idealogy. I am not sure most of these jerks can comprehend the documentation.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk While you are correct that there is too much regulation or call for regulation in some areas, many of our problems stem from removing other regulations or not regulating other things at all.

Regulation itself is neither good nor bad; the real issue is regulating properly.

philosopher's avatar

@jerv
I agree but seeing this point requires common sense. Many people in the US despite their Education have none. I could not have put it better myself. There is No one answer to every problem.

Blackberry's avatar

I agree with @Mariah. Some of my ideologies just happen to fall under a liberal definition, but I still have some ideals that fall under conservatism.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I’d be curious as to what you think is ‘not regulated at all’.

laureth's avatar

@philosopher – It’s also important to note that people have many versions of “common sense,” based on their upbringing, philosophical and ideological viewpoint, life and employment experience, and any number of other factors. When I think someone has “no common sense,” it often turns out that they simply have different expectations from life than I do.

Paradox25's avatar

@laureth The problem with the TEA Party is the fact that their supporters are divided into many factions that have different ideas about what is best for America. I’m not sure why many on the ‘left’ associate Ron Paul with the TEA Party either because he did not formulate this movement and around 50% of all TEA Partiers think negatively of him. There is a very conservative faction of the TEA Party that does not believe that Paul is conservative enough, which makes me suspicious of many TEA Partiers true motivations since you can not get any more financially conservative than Paul.

Personally I’m not into the ‘isms’ myself because my views on many issues are divided and I have changed some of my stances as I’ve gotten older. I actually used to be more conservative when I was younger but I have gotten more liberal the older I’ve gotten ironically. I also don’t agree with many political spectrum quizes and their own political classifications since you have to take both economic and social issue stances into consideration. Radical economic neoliberalism in my opinion would not necessarily mean more freedom just like an absolute lack of some type of authoritarianism would not equate freedom either since we will always need some rules and regulations to protect us.

The problem is that almost everybody thinks that they stand for freedom. Muslim extremists will tell you that they are freedom fighters, and so will white supremacy groups, religious conservatives, fascists, aristocrats, etc. In the end it is all about common sense and being able to think for yourself. Some people I suspect like to be seen under a certain political label for some reason just for the heck of it without even really thinking for themselves. The scary part is that if political conformism and how we want (or don’t want) to be seen by others becomes the main focus of why we vote the way we do rather than using some type of critical thinking ability than we are all in deep trouble. I’m saying this because I live in a very conservative rural area and I know ‘how it is’.

laureth's avatar

@Paradox25 – And those groups may indeed ALL be for freedom. Just like there are many kinds of common sense, there are also different kinds of freedom. I think the two major kinds are “freedom from,” and “freedom to.” Example: a woman in a burqa. I might look at her and think, “How can she be free? She can’t go anywhere without a man escorting her, she can’t wear anything she pleases, her options are limited” – because I am looking at it from a “freedom to” viewpoint. But she may see it in a “freedom from” viewpoint, like “I am free from having to walk the streets thinking I might be viewed as a sex object, I have the freedom from fear that I’ll be mugged, when my man is with me, I am free from having to drive, or make certain hard decisions in life.” What kind of freedom you want, depends on what is important to you.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk True Laissez-Faire. I do not trust the market to regulate itself, as the market is comprised of humans at all levels. Without any regulations, there would be nothing to stop the economic disparity we currently have from widening to levels not seen in any first-rate since medieval times, the environment would be utterly trashed, monopolies would run rampant.. basically, we’d be a lot worse off.

That said, external regulations (like those imposed by a government) are also made by humans and therefore also screwed up. Like many other good things, there is such a thing as “too much”.

Paradox25's avatar

@laureth Oh yes, one person’s idea of freedom may not be another persons. The line gets drawn when somebody forces me to follow their rules with disregard for my own idea of freedom. Your rights end when mine start, right?

To me it is all about the freedom to choose as long as I’m not directly hurting others or trampling on their rights. This is what liberalism is all about. Libertarianism is a more modern term that brings its own baggage with it. Liberalism was opposed by both conservatives and socialists back in the 19th century as well but definitions of political terms seem to change with time. It seems that ‘progressive’ is a more widely used term over liberal these days.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@laureth

I suspect you are conflating “freedom” and “security,” which is easy to do.

laureth's avatar

@CaptainHarley – What is “security” except a kind of freedom? And, how “free” is someone who is, in some way, insecure?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Now you’re just dissimulating! LOL!

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler THe definition of socialism isn’t mine, it’s the dictionary’s. There are lots of countries in Europe with more social programs than we have here, but no socialist countries. The British have socialized medicine. Their goivernment does own the hospitals and employ the medical staff. But by and large, European governments take care of governing and private enterprise takes care of production and distribution of wealth (manufacturing, distribution, banking, etc.).

The Communist Bloc countries are the only ones currently practicing true socialism.

To everyone else. Thanks for all the great comments. It’s nearly 3 AM. I had to work very late. So I will get to them tomorrow.

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro Correct, there are no socialist countries in Europe today because a social market economy can co-exist with private sector for-profit capitalism. I’m aware that there are many types of socialism but I have a difficult time calling the old U.S.S.R and the former eastern bloc nations socialist as well. Even though unlike many European countries today the Soviet bloc nations did indeed eliminate their capitalist economic base this system (at least to me) seemed more like an aristocracy where pretty much a dictator held absolute control over the economy, not the people.

Maybe I’m wrong here but most nations that eliminated their private sector for-profit economic systems replaced them with a version of state capitalism under authoritarian statist control. I believe that most ‘communist’ or ‘socialist’ nations were aristocracies. True socialism is supposed to be an anti-statist economic system where the needs of the people replace profits. I don’t believe that a true version of communism or socialism was ever implemented.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox25

There have been a very few small towns and cities which have operated as socialist or communist entities, but you are basically correct, “pure” socialism has never worked with large communities of humans, so far as I know.

Paradox25's avatar

@jerv Actually I don’t believe that anyone has ever seen a true free market economy. Many neoliberal proponents believe that a true version of free market capitalism would actually end both corruption due to lobbyist influence, perks, government fraud and even corporate monopolies, at least according to Ayn Rand. Personally I’m not sure what would occur with a true free market economy but I don’t believe that Laissez-Faire capitalism would work. Putting a profit on everything including prisons and certain other institutions would create more problems then I care to mention here.

Paradox25's avatar

@CaptainHarley I don’t believe that socialism in itself is bad (in theory) but the problem is that even Marx realized that for Marxism (his version of communism) to work that this system needed both a strong capitalist base combined with multinational support to have a chance at working. True Marxism collapsed when the socialist uprisings in European countries collapsed, then the aristocracy under Stalin took over.

In true socialism it is the citizens of each country that would control everything so I don’t see a true version of socialism as opposing freedom. The problem always occurs when the ‘Communist’ Parties trying to establish a version of socialism have their dictators or group of elitists not wanting to actually give up their power to the common people. There is a huge difference between socialism/communism and socialist/communist political parties. The terms ‘Communist Party’ or “Peoples’ Republic” are nothing more than political misnomers just like Hitler’s National Socialist Party was.

CaptainHarley's avatar

All true. One way you can tell that a country is headed for some sort of totalitarian government is when it takes away the right of the people to bear arms. When a people are disarmed, the government has no further reason to fear them.

laureth's avatar

@CaptainHarley – I was utterly serious.

CaptainHarley's avatar

As was I.

I have trouble believing that an obviously intelligent woman like you could believe that having the government provide cradle to the grave security ( which is the logical conclusion of that line of thought ) actually grants the people more freedom.

laureth's avatar

Cap’n, I have trouble believing that an intelligent guy such as yourself would think that everything must be taken to its logical extreme. I find great value in gradients of grey. It seems too often in our political arena, people don’t want to (metaphorically) simply adjust a few screws and bolts to the right tension, as much as they want to condemn the entire machine.

There’s a big area between any two extremes. Landing somewhere in there is usually the best policy.

ETpro's avatar

@syz Yes, just as @gailcalled noted, ignoramic is a neologism. And it seemed the perfect word choice in the context both because it carried the right meaning and because it is such.

@tinyfaery What @Mariah said is exactly what I was trying to get at. Being a liberal or being a conservative_ seems as silly to me as being a yes or a no, always giving the same answer to a question with no regard for what the question might be.

@bkcunningham I beg to differ, but to make you feel better about giving me lurve for the question, I gave it back for your answer. :-)

I wasn’t trying to suggest that everyone that leans either left or right are of one mind. Nor did I think anyone would read into my list of policies the right supports that they want total deregulation as in allowing murder, mayhem and armed robbery to rule Wall Street. I didn’t think I needed to explicitly state that. But for the record, that is not what I meant.

I hear what you are saying, and for self directed people, Representative Ron Paul for Senator Bernie Sanders would be examples from opposite sides who are willing to swim against the tide, you’re right. I don’t think it’s true of Liberals so much, unless you go to the lunatic fringe, but in today’s conservative movement there are a long list of “core principles” which you MUST accept and support no matter what the question. To violate any is certain to bring a primary challenge that is funded by massive money from the Super PACs, and likely defeat.
@dabbler * @jerv. Thanks for the backup on that.

ETpro's avatar

@laureth Thanks for noting that. I had seen that quote bandied about so often I just Googled it and popped in the first link that came up. I appreciate your calling the error in attribution to my attention. Nonetheless, that is exactly how Fascism did work.

@Ron_C Me too. What shall we name our new ” Progressive Democratic, liberal republican libertarian” party?

@CaptainHarley Great answer! Reality does have a way of ruling the day.

I fear that ’‘Youn get the government you deserve’’ has been replaced by a new rule. Now you get the government special interests pay for.

That’s all I can manage for tionight. More personal replies tomorrow..

tinyfaery's avatar

You asked, I answered. Too bad if you don’t like the truth.

Ron_C's avatar

@CaptainHarley I don’t really see the analogy. We are not offering free food, housing, or medical care. The new medical plan, especially, requires that everyone has insurance. I would not consider medicare, for instance, free. Since I am at that certain age where I have to pick the type of care I will need, there is nothing free except for the hospitalization portion and for that, they have been deducting from my paycheck for many years. Social security is an insurance/retirement plan for which I have paid by paycheck deductions for almost 50 years, There is no reason why any American should be starving or homeless. I would much rather pay for temporary housing and food than to let people die or commit crimes to survive. I don’t care if some of those people “don’t deserve” the benefits. As far as I’m concerned, they are just part of the “pursuit of happiness” clause in the preamble to the Constitution.

The trouble with this country is that we are more concerned about punishment than freedom. We would rather spend $40 or 50K/year to house a convict than $10k to educate and house a child.

Some people are worthless but the people I know that end up using food stamps have a job, it just doesn’t pay enough to feed their family. It is funny, the right insists that it should prevent abortion but cares nothing for the child after it is born.

If we spent just a tenth of the money used to conduct wars and drug raids, we could have decent public housing, better roads and bridges, and an excellent public education system. The problem isn’t that we don’t have the wealth to do these things, it is the waste that we sponsor for corporate welfare, advertising for public office, and drug wars that actually increase profits for the dealers.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sorry, but we don’t agree. I have no desire to engage in a battle of polemics just now. Forgive me, please.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III We’ve certainly got that going on in spades now. Thanks. GA.

@dabbler Politicans and the men behind their curtain may have lots of money and media behind them, but they don’t have geologic time, and reality does. Caesar once had lots of money and hype, but there haven’t seen any Roman Legionaries bossing anybody around for a very long time now.

@bkcunningham This blog shows charts of increasing partisanship from the end of WWII through the 111th Congress. It’s pretty sad. There’s an update about the 112th Congress as well. I’m closing in on being 68, and I have watched the nation go from one united as Americans to divided as left/right, lib/com, etc. We live in a dangerous and extremely competitive world today. Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately. The world still works that way.

@philosopher On the lack of Jeffersonian leaders, I can’t argue with you. But I think the leaderless, no platform nature of OWS is actually a brilliant strategy. Instead of being for shorter hours, or better pay, or some single set of specifics, they are calling attention to the growing wealth and income inequality in America, and the fact lobbyists for special interests now are the only people really represented by our government. They have actually already changed the national discussion. The media is covering the nasty thruth that we are sliding toward becoming a banana republic. Two months ago, before OWS began, I knew that was happening but saw no way to wake most Americans up to it.

@woodcutter How true.

@Rarebear Ignoramic is not a word, it is a neologism. I used it deliberately because I thought that rampant partisanship was, well, ignoramic.

@Paradox25 I just answered your question on Sodahead, at least in so far as it applies to this thread. I’m over there too, and I know what you mean about how rabid some of its members get. Anyone of libreal persuasion who gets out of line gets banned by the Mods, but for righties, anything goes.

philosopher's avatar

@CaptainHarley
The facts must out weight the Political bullshit.The Politicians will not do this unless we force them. They placate outsiders at the expense of hard working legal American’s.
They placate, China, illegals, Terrorist and more.

bkcunningham's avatar

Actually, @ETpro, the question I was asked, based on your original question and a statement you made there, was name the conservatives in Congress who, “favor deregulating Wall Street completely”?

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Suppose you are driving down the road. Now suppose that there is a tree about 500 feet directly in front of you, and you are on a collision course, but you don’t turn. At 250 feet in a straight line, you are still heading towards the tree. 100 feet. 50 feet.

Even though you have been heading straight at that tree for a while, you seem to lack the trend analysis skills to see where your car will be its it continues on it’s current course. You would plow right into the tree.

Think about that and you will find the answer you seek. Ignore it and you will never know no matter how many times you are told.

bkcunningham's avatar

LOL, @jerv. You make it sound like an episode of Kung Fu…find the answer you seek. Grasshopper, the path you take seeking a road to avoid answering a straightforward question sitting directly in front of you is very telling.

Paradox25's avatar

@ETpro RobJon loves to use his homemade little clip art as a legit response to almost every question. I should create my own little clip art and twist everything to what I want it to mean as well. The problem is whenever I keep pushing I would get blocked on there SH). Notice how he has all those political ideologies shoved into a single category. I had to take a break from there but I’ll probably reactivate my account in the future sometime.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Since you seem to not know that the sky is blue, I guess I have to state the obvious. The direct answer is “any Conservative that toes the party line”; a list long enough that I don’t feel like typing all their names out. The fact that you didn’t see the answer sitting right in front of you is telling.

Paradox25's avatar

@CaptainHarley That wordpress blog is :o)

bkcunningham's avatar

I give up, @jerv. Your answer to: name the conservatives in Congress who, “favor deregulating Wall Street completely,” is “any Conservative that toes the party line.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox25

Not sure I can figure out what you mean. Please say more. : )

Paradox25's avatar

@CaptainHarley It made my day, lol. However I’ve always thought the hardline Russians would say you capitalist dog!

Jaxk's avatar

This would all be amusing if we weren’t on the brink of economic collapse. What most fail to realize is that there are distinct differences in the position of the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats don’t want higher taxes just because they are Democrats. They are democrats because they want higher taxes. Same with Republicans. They don’t want to keep taxes low because the are Republicans. They are republicans because they want to keep taxes low.

It is a difference between how much government you want. Democrats want large government and Republicans want small. They join the party that most closely represents thier ideology rather than joining a party to find their ideology. Until we understand that we will never get to a solution.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Which party wants the government to regulate who can get married, what is allowed on the internet, and otherwise have the government intrude into our lives? The Republicans claim they want small government, but their actions say otherwise.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Paradox25

LOL! Excuse me? That’s “running capitalist dog” to you! : D

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk I” Democrats want large government and Republicans want small.” I love the irony in that statement. It was the Republicans that brought us the jobs programs like Home Land Security, TSA, and innumerable mercenaries and military.

They want to deregulate wall street, regulate the Internet, and monitor what you do in the bedroom and who you marry. I’m just not seeing small government there. I do see big corporation influence peddling, however?

bkcunningham's avatar

@jerv, who passed the Defense of Marriage Act?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv @Ron_C

If I’m reading your comments right, you seem to be OK with smaller government but don’t believe the Republicans will do it. Or am I reading you comments wrong?

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I can’t speak for @Ron_C, but yes. In an ideal world, we would neither need nor have a large government, and people and businesses would regulate themselves well enough that that government would not need to intrude anywhere. We currently have a bureaucracy that butts in where it shouldn’t, stays away from things it does need to be involved in, and just doesn’t serve it’s purpose.

CaptainHarley's avatar

“Running capitalist imperialist militaristic dog?”

laureth's avatar

@Jaxk, re “Democrats want large government and Republicans want small.”

I have seen Republican-type folks cheer any smallification in government, no matter what the effect, because for them, small government seems to be a goal in itself.

What I have not seen, ever, is Democrat-types cheering any embiggening of government, just because they want it bigger, no matter the effect. Big government is not, for us, a goal in itself. We’re not your mirror image that way. The only reason I would want bigger government (or smaller government, for that matter) is because there’s a good reason to do so. Not for its own sake.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Let’s just say that Democrats tend to trust government a lot more than they trust the people, while Repubicans tend to trust corporations a lot more than they trust the people.

laureth's avatar

I suspect that has something to do with the profit motive. (Did you mean to say that Republicans trust corporations more than government, and Democrats trust government more than corporations? That’s the way I understand this to be.)

Republicans trust corporations because corporations have a profit motive, and they will (in theory) act in such a way as to improve that profit. This is supposed to increase efficiency (which doesn’t always work), but also means that the unprofitable but important things will be left for…someone else? Probably government. (This is why we have Medicare – because old folks need health care, but are too unprofitable to be insured cheaply on the free market.)

Democrats trust government (if that’s the right word) because of a lack of a profit motive. In theory, since they’re not so cutthroat as to slay their own grandma for a profit, they can do the Peoples’ bidding, rather than that of the almighty shareholder. This doesn’t necessarily work though, because individuals often have a profit motive,and can be too easily purchased.

Both groups would do well to recalibrate their trust meters. And both groups would do well to elect better people.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The problem with that is that I don’t see the government “doing the people’s bidding.” All they ever seem to do is get bigger and bigger, gain more and more control over people’s lives, and pour trillions of dollars down a rathole.

laureth's avatar

In theory, you vote for the guy whose policies you like. I do the same. Then they go to the capital of your state or the country, and enact those things which we have elected them to do.

If they don’t act according to your will or what you think is best, you can vote for someone else in the next election. However, I’ve never been able to vote out a CEO.

Jaxk's avatar

@CaptainHarley

The problem is, when government screws up, the solution is more government to fix it. When business screws up they generally go bankrupt (unless the government bails them out), either way the solution is more government to fix it. So no matter what goes wrong, the solution is always more government. Is there maybe another solution?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Jaxk

Yes… less government and no bailouts. No such thing as “too big to be allowed to fail.”

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk @CaptainHarley Isn’t part of the reason executives get paid so much because they take big risks with major potential consequences if they screw up? Seems to me that failure it’s the market’s way of saying, “Don’t be stupid!”.

Jaxk's avatar

@CaptainHarley

That’s too simple. The people will never buy it.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

No that’s really not the the point. CEO’s are paid to minimize risk and maximize potential. The ones that fail (or should) are the ones that take big risks.

dabbler's avatar

Yes, they would, totally, buy that! The people, 99% of them for example, would buy “No such thing as “too big to be allowed to fail.”” They are rallying in the streets for that sort of thing fer chrissake!
Theoretically CEOs are “paid to minimize risk and maximize potential”, it’s true to some extent. But ”the reason executives get paid so much”, and the reason they suffer so little downside when they screw up hugely, is because they sit on each others’ boards of directors. (<=that takes a little while to load the flash thingie) And shareholders in the US have yet to find a way to get a grip on this wholesale larceny.
Financial “services” companies are only some of the highest profile examples of this problem that is sucking the life out of most major corporations in the country, in the name of profit that does not get to the shareholder/owners.

In Germany at least half the members of boards of directors have to be employee representatives. (thanks to laws the US set us there after World War II) CEOs make a multiple of about 40x the least paid employees, The workers all have single-payer health care. Their companies are very profitable and weather downturns more robustly than ours, They have the highest National monetary surplus on the planet.

Jaxk's avatar

@dabbler

You’ll have to forgive if I don’t read the message from the OWS as clearly as you do. Hell, they seem to have trouble interpreting it themselves. I will say that smaller government wouldn’t have been my first guess. They do seem to say, they don’t like bailouts but even that message is a bit muddled. They hate the banks but don’t seem to have an issue with Freddie and Fannie. They don’t seem to have an issue with GM or Chrysler either. Does that mean that a bailout is OK if the government takes over the company? And how does that square with smaller government? I’m just so confused.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk That lack of cohesiveness and coherence is an issue that they will have to address fairly soon. However, unless you expect to have intelligent discussions about Keynesian economics with a four-year-old, you have to cut them a little slack; it takes a little time for any movement to go from an angry mob into… well, something more than an angry mob.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley My kneejerk reaction is to agree. However, we tried that in 1929 and it took 15 years and a world war to rec over from the carnage it produced. Do we have to repeat the lesson to learn it? Can’t we just act to regulate derivative transactions and break up those that get too big to fial before their size puts at risk of more bailouts?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@ETpro

That might work too. : )

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley It would, if nothing else does. We indeed may be headed there.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@ETpro

It’s for samned sure we need to do SOMETHING! : (

dabbler's avatar

@Jaxk OWS are upset about bailouts, using public money, that do not benefit the public at large. (arguably the CEO of Chase bank is a member of the public, and unfortunately is still at large) But TARP didn’t even pretend to benefit most Americans, except the beneficiaries of it were(ARE! dammit!) holding our economy hostage. I don’t know anyone who likes the bailouts of Fannie and Freddie because instead of helping the people losing their homes, it helped the dopes who bought so much junk-class MBS keep their jobs.

Be not confused, OWS are fed up with corporate-welfare/corporate-personhood at the expense of taxpayers. Not just banks, most big corporations, but financial institutions are the most high-profile offenders because they’ve been given HUGE breaks at our expense while the public are left floundering.
Rolling Stone (Oct 27,2011 p. 30) has a great one-pager that distills the best of OWS thinking into five points.

The bailouts of GM and Chrysler at least helped some Americans keep their jobs – but I’ll agree there should have been some tighter strings attached so they didn’t continue moving factories and jobs overseas.

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler It looks like @Jaxk has a strange ally in this debate. I maintain that TARP prevented a wholesale collapse of the US banking system, and thus the world banking system. The last time we had one of those, it brought the Great Depression and the angst of WWI, with 60 million people killed. And yes, the American public did profit from TARP directly. We taxpayers actually earned money in interest on the loans made under TARP. That’s in addition to probably saving us from a depression.

I know that the OWS movement seems to be largely ignorant of this. It’s easy to chant “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” And there is reason for righteous indignation at Wall Street executives getting multimillion dollar bonuses for crashing the US economy. But the bonuses are a separate subject from TARP. I’m convinced that the bank rescue was necessary, and saved enormous grief for average middle class Americans. I

dabbler's avatar

@ETpro Indeed, “TARP yes” and “TARP no” is simplistic. I agree that the TARP was necessary, to avoid the collapse of the banking system as you note. [ that whole too-big-to-fail thing is why I’d say they’re holding us hostage ]

What was wrong with TARP, in my opinion, is that there were hardly any strings attached- that could and should have been – that would directly benefit a greater number of people. An overwhelming chunk of bailout went straight to the bottom lines of a few institutions. GoldmanSachs for example got a good fraction of the total directly. What wasn’t as obvious is that a large fraction of the money that went to AIG rescued obligations to GS that were going to default. GS went on to record profits the next year.
Some sizeable chunk of the worthless “securities” still being shoveled around are (literally over-rated) mortgage-backed-“securities” and people still hold millions of underwater mortgages and institutions like BofA are still foreclosing homes encumbered by mortgages they never should have been sold.

On top of that almost nothing has been done in the US to limit the proliferation of worthless securities. The EU is at least talking about it, although unless they get London on board it won’t get much done.

And you’re right, OWS seem to be, and largely are, naive about exactly what’s wrong with the big financial institutions, they just know something’s wrong. And the lost opportunity of the bailouts are just the start of the list of things that need an overhaul that should include corporate-structure overhaul (affecting CEO pay), elimination of high-frequency trading, some oversight of ratings agencies, regulations on derivatives to assure each actually means something and is backed by sufficient and restrictions on speculation in commodities markets by parties who aren’t producers or consumers (and maybe allow some market makers. ya ya liquidity and other textbook arguments. BS I say, the volumes of most commodities markets assure their liquidity for anything but some rare earth metals).

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro & @dabbler

I’m not convinced that TARP was absolutely necessary, nonetheless, I have no problem with it. It was given as a loan and as far as the banks are concerned it was paid back with interest. Seems like cheap insurance even if it wasn’t necessary.The truth is many of the big banks did not want TARP funds. It was felt that if TARP only went to the banks that were in trouble, it would create concerns of insolvency and and a subsequent run on those banks. If we had tried to put restrictions on the banks in order to get these TARP funds, it would likely have made the entire deal fall apart. A statement from Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO, is quite telling:

“JPMorgan would be fine if we stopped talking about the damn nationalization of banks. We’ve got plenty of capital. To policymakers, I say where were they? … They approved all these banks. Now they’re beating up on everyone, saying look at all these mistakes, and we’re going to come and fix it.”

The problem is they haven’t really fixed anything but rather prolonged the credit freeze. One of the reasons we continue to stagnate economically. The SEC has approved every one of these mergers that created too big too fail. Now we seem to want more regulation to fix the regulation that failed.

dabbler's avatar

Well pigs are flyin’ ‘cause I’ll agree with @Jaxk that “The problem is they haven’t really fixed anything” and that the SEC didn’t do their job on bank mergers and all sorts of other things in the past couple decades.

However, I diverge to say yes we definitely need more regulation. The SEC didn’t do their job partly because of executive branch policy (they work for the White House) and defunding that has rendered them impotent.

ETpro's avatar

@dabbler Maybe the Mayan 2012 prophecies are true after all. The world is about to reset. I agree with @Jaxk on that as well. Yes, TARP could have been handled much better than it was.

Jaxk's avatar

Hell, has indeed frozen over.

cockswain's avatar

I think that @Jaxk has actually become more moderate in the last year, as much the idea horrifies him.

Jaxk's avatar

No call for insults :-)

XxBOOMxX's avatar

It is ignoramic to be anything other than American.
Read and understand our Declaration of Independence.
We the people can suffer just as much at the hands of the moderates as we can in the hands of the far left or right. It is our duty to monitor this activity and act accordingly as per our declaration of independence.
Read it.
Understand it.

ETpro's avatar

@XxBOOMxX How true. We still live in a representative democracy. Moeny may decide most elections, but if it does, it is because “We the people” are letting the biggest liar and spin doctor rule our minds and buy our votes. We still vote for the folks who represent us in Washington. If we don’t like what we keep getting, we need to examine ourselves, and figure out why we keep falling for their pitch.

XxBOOMxX's avatar

ETpro, that train keeps rolling over us, rolling over us, rolling over us.
Furthermore, the bible says, ”...if thy hand offend thee, cut it off…”
Hmmm…
Nevermind :-E)

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk sorry for taking so long to answer your question (health problems).

I am a liberal, progressive democratic republican, libertarian. I feel that government absolutely has an obligation to its citizens. I also feel that citizens have an obligation to their government.

As it now stands, the U.S. government is uncontrollable and needs to be reduced. We also need to look at laws and regulations to eliminate redundant and unenforceable laws and regulations.

The are many agencies that need reduced especially in the Federal policing efforts. Virtually all drug and alcohol laws need to revised and reduced, the DEA needs to be phased out. Firearm laws need revised and border laws need revision.

There are so many things wrong with our legal system, we should probably start over again.

I personally think that the U.S. should be broken up into autonomous regions to break the strangle hold of corporate federal governance.

Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C

I recently read a quote from James Madison in talking about a failed state:

“The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”

Seems amazingly appropriate today.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk Madison was pretty smart for agreeing with me.

I love how our founders were able to be concise and precise.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C

Yes, they were amazingly knowledgeable and eloquent. I believe the original intent was to have autonomous regions. They were called States.

laureth's avatar

It’s a lot easier to have simple, concise laws when your economy is small, mostly agricultural, and you only have 3–4 million in population. I think it will be nearly impossible to again have the size of government that you can drown in a bathtub without going back to a similar state of being.

One reason laws are so complex, is because as our culture, economy, and population grew, the number of interactions between these elements grew (probably more than exponentially). We must either have complex laws (written by our elected representatives), or we must write very general laws and leave the interpretation of the complexities involved to (generally appointed, not elected) bureaucrats, who may enforce or interpret these laws in ways that are not uniform (or less uniform than now) throughout the country.

An example, if I may. You may have heard about the 26-page brownie recipe that is necessary to follow if you want to make brownies up to Army spec. People laugh at this, like “OMG, why do you need 26 pages to describe the formulation and dimensions of a a freakin’ brownie?!” But here’s why. If you leave such a thing up to “common sense,” and just explain in theory what a brownie ought to be, you will not always get an acceptable brownie. (Mr. Laureth, who spent ten years in the Army, tells of a time before the recipe for fruitcakes was standardized. I mean, we all know what a fruitcake is, right? Some kind of grain-based bread with dried fruit in it, that’s all. Which is why the contractor who was hired to make fruitcakes for the Army once supplied some crispy corn tortillas stuffed with raisins. That’s why you need 26-page recipes for brownies and fruitcake.)

If something like dessert for troops (who really aren’t all that picky when it comes to food) requires that much complexity so that people don’t frack it up, imagine what kind of complexity is needed to make sure people don’t frack up your healthcare, your taxes, your drinking water, the roads you drive on, and other things that are much more important than brownies. We’re not a simple agrarian small bunch of colonies anymore. We can’t legislate like we are, either.

Jaxk's avatar

@laureth

That’s an interesting take on the problem but it is also the reason we have the $640 toilet seat, $435 claw hammer and $7600 coffee makers. A little common sense goes a long way. If you receive tortillas labeled as Fruit Cake, you refuse to accept them. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper.

When we pass laws like the health care law or Dodd-Frank, those are interpreted by non-elected bureaucrats to create all the regulation which becomes massively larger than even the original law. The 2600 page health care law will turn into tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of pages of regulation. All left to the interpretation of the complexities involved to (generally appointed, not elected) bureaucrats. As if all this isn’t bad enough, the people (you and me) that have to adhere to these regulations, must then hire lawyers to interpret them and hope the lawyers get it right. Otherwise we’re back in court getting a judge to define it for us.

Not everything can be made simple but where it can, it’s generally better. IMHO

laureth's avatar

Huh. Common sense would tell me that the $7600 coffee maker isn’t just your average Mr. Coffee, but something for, say, a military pilot to use such that when he’s dodging fire, he doesn’t spill hot coffee on his lap. (I imagine similar uses for toilet seats.)

HungryGuy's avatar

@laureth – Right. If you’re pulling high Gs, or negative Gs, whilst being chased by enemy fighter planes, you need an absolutely spill-proof cup holder for your coffee :-p

laureth's avatar

I’m sure it’s much cheaper than the new military jet we’d have to buy to replace the one that crashes when hot coffee spills all over the airman’s crotch and he loses control. {shrug}

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