Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Occupy grievances

Here are a few basic points from the occupy wall street groups. And while i might agree with some of the points of the occupiers, there are too many premises that are faulty, & too many assumptions made that are not based on reality. I don't think our system is broken. We have for too long tried to blend socialism & capitalism, which hasn't worked, & we have allowed the politicians to spend money wildly without any accountability. But the assumption that the system is broken is flawed. America as a concept was the most revolutionary political idea in human history. We have let it become co mingled with marxism, & that is what has caused the current problems. I'll look at some of the grievances below..

1.Campaign Finance Reform
All votes are no longer equal in our Democracy. Money must be put outside of politics, or politicians will continue to pander to those who contribute the most to their campaigns, rather than their own constituencies. Specifically, we abhor the decision by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC. Corporations are NOT people.

In general, i agree.. no one likes the way money can buy a place in leadership. But the problem is equally there with the big unions & bundled 'PACs'. I don't see any solutions offered. NPR & much of the left pushes limits on the money a candidate can raise, along with who donates. They want the taxpayers to fund politicians' campaigns. But there is a fundamental flaw in paying someone to convince us to vote for them. It would also not stop outside groups from attacking the opposition. You would still have the 'bundlers' like unions & PAC's who would support their candidate. You would also have corporate money & lobbyists behind the scenes working for their agendas. I think an informed, educated electorate is a better solution. I would support a limit on donations.. say $1000 from any entity.. individual, bundle, corporation, union, etc. The problem i see with this generic grievance is the lack of specific solution.

2.True Shared Sacrifice
While corporate profits have been skyrocketing and the wealthy have been getting wealthier, the average worker’s income has dramatically dropped. While the cost of living has exponentially increased, wages have not followed. It has been shown time and time again that tax cuts for the wealthy are NOT effective. Taxes on those who practice greed should be raised.

This is bogus. During this recession, most companies have been hit hard.. sure there are some sectors that have done ok, but not overall. The 'wealthy' have decreased. Many of them are now poor or middle class. The poor have not been affected that much. They still get welfare & food stamps. Some sectors.. housing & construction, for example, have added to the poor & taken from the middle class. Whose fault was that? Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac get any votes? The socialist managers of fannie & freddie have done alright.. getting big bonuses along with exorbitant salaries.. & for a bad job to boot! But the greedy construction workers are no longer in the 1%, it seems.

If we raise taxes on those who practice greed, a lot of those who get entitlements would have to pay taxes. There is so much fraud & corruption in the system.. based on greed & getting something for nothing. The elites' view of the humble poor with a dickensonian hand outstretched is a fantasy. The more typical entitlement recipient has worked the system to get free stuff. Some hire lawyers to get on disability.. some fraudulently get welfare, adc, food stamps, etc. Where are the protesters for this greed?

I think it is the leftist culture, now pervasive in our govt & society that is at the root of the greed & corruption. Why do they want to spend even more money on wasteful, ineffective govt programs? The govt. is a bad investment. We get little bang for the buck with our tax dollars. They waste it, give it to the greedy & their cronies.. yet we think we can give them more & they will somehow manage it better? NO!! We need to stop the flow of money to the govt. That will do more to limit the corruption than anything.

3.Equality in Justice
This great nation was founded on liberty, but also, on equality. When the balance of justice is swayed in favor of those with wealth, the very fabric of this nation is torn apart. The decision of a judge should not be based upon the race, creed, or wealth of an individual, but rather, the content of the case.

This is a strawman. Is there a problem with justice for the disadvantaged? I agree that the justice system should be pursuing corrupt politicians, because they are the only ones who seem to get a bye on justice. This is some kind of international, generic left wing 'cause' that was just cut & pasted into the US occupy movement because it sounds good.

4.The End of the Revolving Door
The Obama administration was supposed to bring change and hope to our country, but instead, brought us into despair and insecurity. Those working in his administration are the very people whom we are fighting against. Those who enter Washington should not be representatives of the elites, but representatives of the people. One cannot simply enter an administration, reap its benefits, and simply exit.

I think this shows a lot of disillusion with Obama.. he did not do what he promised.. welcome to politics. This only illustrates to me the problem the left has in looking for a 'messiah'. If the 'chosen one' has flaws or does not meet expectations, there is weeping & gnashing of teeth.. the world is dark & hopeless. We are dealing with humans, & we need checks & balances. We should not look to the leaders to magically bring us into the promised land. At best they should stay out of the way, at worst they pass stupid laws that interfere with the economy & personal freedom. Our electorate needs to stop buying the left wing lie that the govt is the solution to economic problems. They only cause economic problems, not solve them.

But yes, let's end the corruption from politicians who only see public service as a means to get rich. Lets prosecute corruption. Limit contributions, donations, 'consulting', & other ways the politicians profit from their position. Stop the insider trading, the crony capitalism, giving loans to campaign contributors, etc. This can be done without scrapping the whole system.

I am definitely dissatisfied with the way the system has been running the last few decades, but i see the cause as very different. I had to get an outside job to support myself since my business as a home builder died with the housing crash. Many of my opportunities have been lost or diminished because of the failed social engineering experiment with the housing lending market. This was not just a normal market swing. This was caused by the left wanting to 'give' everyone a house.. no money, no credit, no problem! Then, when it collapses, they blame the greedy bankers & stop all investor loans. They throw out the baby with the bathwater & end all loans to investors, house flippers, spec builders, etc. A whole industry almost single handedly destroyed by left wing social engineering... not free market enterprise. I hope most people can see that the current economic condition was led by the housing crash. Research it. Think it out. Stop listening to comedians & pundits for your political position. If 99% of the American people want what the occupy movement is for, count me out. I'll be a 1%'er.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it."
H.L. Mencken

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Right & left the same?

The left expends a lot of time & energy distorting conservative views.. the 'war on women', or 'racist' accusations come to mind. I suppose there are some on the right who make distortions of leftist views, though i can't think of any at the moment. Most people see the partisan caricatures as smears.. nothing true, but just used to discredit the opposition. I have been amazed at how many people actually believe the propaganda being put out by the left to smear & distort conservative views. They primarily label the right as 'crazy', 'stupid', 'bigoted', or 'extreme'. I'm not as familiar with right wing distortions, but i'm sure they exist, too.

Then they go after those who think both extremes.. right & left.. have responsibility in the problem. Some people think that both are wrong.. that there is a middle ground of reason that neither extreme will compromise for. This is probably a majority view of the nation.  The left tries to bully these in the middle.. they have to come to their side or they will label them, too.  Who are these who don't want to be 'partisan'?

1. Many are moderates, who like to think there is a middle ground where all can agree.. yeah, i know! That is crazy!

2. Some are tender hearted classic liberals who don't like disputes.. they think a consensus can be found & all can get together & sing kum ba ya. This is what obama promised, but of course, could not deliver. It is then easy for him & the rest of the left to just blame the right.

3. There is a third category.. the libertarian leaning, fiscal conservatives. They don't see any difference between the big govt spending of bush or obama. They are disgusted with both parties, so equally blast both. The left likes grass roots energy like this, & they try to import the concept into their ideology, as they did with the ows crowd. But they have to slowly change the conversation from both parties being wrong, to just the right. I think i remember someone else in history who employed this tactic, too.. very effectively, i might add.

The efficiency of the truly national leader consists primarily in preventing the division of the attention of a people, and always in concentrating it on a single enemy. ~Adolf Hitler

But of course, it is easier for leftists if every dissenter fits neatly in one of their heresy boxes, & they don't like to have multiple explanations, or anything longer than a bumper sticker slogan to explain something. So 'crazy' or 'stupid' has to do. The left does not like any complicated explanations of opposing views. Plus, it is more useful if they can be vilified as extreme, bigoted, or stupid.

I would have to agree that i don't think both are alike, either. The right can in no way compare to the sheer volume of distortions & deflections from the left, as is illustrated in this thread. The left definitely wins with that. Someone should come up with a list of leftist distortions.. I'm sure there are some.. the left does not have a total monopoly on deception & distortion. But it is harder.. i'm drawing a blank now trying to think up some commonly thought misconceptions about the left.. but no matter. I will assume some exist. They still don't hold a candle to the barrage of propaganda from the left.

But to the true believer, propaganda IS truth.

I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky. For I know that the hypnotized never lie. ~Peter Townshend

Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves. ~Eric Hoffer

"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." ~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Classic liberals vs. the left.

Here is where many liberals fall short. They are so horrified at being thought of as a racist, that they toss aside their reason & run to the only philosophical refuge out there.. the sanctuary city of non-racists: The left. This is, of course, an illusion.. the left has many racists in it as well.. there is nothing in the statist ideology to prevent it. They need the sanction of liberals to validate them as true non-racists. And also, the implication is that anyone NOT living in their sanctuary city of non-racism is by definition a racist. So there you have it. Conservatives are racist by definition. They do not need facts to prove it. And if a leftist says something racist or actually is a racist, that is dismissed.. they cannot be a racist. By definition they are not. Facts are not needed by the left, since they can simply redefine truth in any way that suits them.

Classic liberals need to wake up & stop enabling the left. Don't be intimidated by their distortions, deflections, & discredits. Don't see everything through the emotional filter they set up.. use your head. Reason & logic are solid weapons they have no answer for. Don't let yourself be tossed about in the sea of relativity & hysteria. Get your feet on solid truth.

Where all is but dream, reasoning and arguments are of no use, truth and knowledge nothing. ~John Locke

“To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.” ~John Locke

He that would seriously set upon the search of truth, ought in the first place to prepare his mind with a love of it. For he that loves it not, will not take much pains to get it; nor be much concerned when he misses it. There is nobody in the commonwealth of learning who does not profess himself a lover of truth: and there is not a rational creature that would not take it amiss to be thought otherwise of. And yet, for all this, one may truly say, that there are very few lovers of truth, for truth's sake, even amongst those who persuade themselves that they are so. How a man may know whether he be so in earnest, is worth inquiry: and I think there is one unerring mark of it, viz. The not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant. Whoever goes beyond this measure of assent, it is plain receives not the truth in the love of it; loves not truth for truth's sake, but for some other bye-end. ~John Locke

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Leftist weapons: Hitler & racism

The left has 2 primary weapons. They draw them quickly, & use them indiscriminately. The first is 'Hitler', or nazi. The second is 'racist!' Any discussion with the rabid left you will see these drawn like guns. A person trying to discuss an issue is taken aback.. they thought the topic was religious freedom, or fiscal responsibility, or limits of government. But it always goes to hitler & racism. It doesn't matter what the topic is, hitler & racism will always come up.

I think it is important to make another clarifying distinction. The left is not liberal. Liberals are not necessarily the left. Liberals, from the historical perspective, are champions of personal freedom.. liberty. They are the ones who marched with Martin Luther King, & champion rights for the down trodden. Kansas is a historically liberal state. It even has a town named, "Liberal".  Liberals want equality & freedom. This is not a leftist position. The left has hijacked liberals, making them think they have to embrace the full leftist agenda or they are evil conservatives. This thought horrifies liberals, so they usually align themselves with the left. But there are a great number of social liberals who are fiscal conservatives. Many of these liberals don't want the statist agenda, & see it as contrary to their more libertarian views. But they can't align with the conservatives, they are too toxic. So they are either in limbo or grudgingly accept the leftist tag. A liberal doesn't really care about race, religion, sexual preference, or any personal choice issues. They want liberty. Liberals were primarily religious people, who cared about the poor & needy. They were called 'bleeding heart' for wanting justice & fairness for all. Progressives are the new left.. they are not liberals, but try to take in captives to their cause of statist domination.

Socially, i am a liberal. I don't care who you sleep with, what church or philosophy of life you adhere to, or what color you are. I am opposed to war & the illegal & immoral military conflicts that have been going on for over 60 yrs. Time transport me to the mid 1800's or the 1950's & i am protesting segregation & opposing slavery. But regarding fiscal issues & size of government, i am conservative. There is no conflict in this. I see fiscal liberty & personal liberty as linked ideologically. You cannot have one without the other.

But the left does not want to debate central issues.. either social or fiscal. They herd people into right & left camps, & won't accept that a person can think for themselves & decide their own opinions. They are anti-individual. For them, the state is preeminent. The state is the central part of their philosophy & they worship it like a god. They want to destroy any opposition to their statist agendas, & they demonize any who criticize their plans. Soft hearted (& sometimes soft minded) liberals can't stand the charge of 'racist!' so they run like rabbits to the left. They become dupes of the propaganda machine. Their ideals are no longer consistent, & they fall into the hostility & vitriol of the left, even though they were peaceful & looked for compromise & solutions before. They begin to believe the smears & distortions from the left, & are amazed at how inhuman & extreme the right is.. of course, they only hear the propaganda from the left.

Think about it, you liberals out there. You know the leftist hatred has hardened you & you no longer have a soft & compassionate heart. Use your head & break away from the leftist propaganda machine. It is the enemy of personal freedom. The left requires a statist solution, which does not includes personal liberties.

“In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.” ~George Washington

"Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State." ~Winston Churchill

"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking." ~J. K. Galbraith

Saturday, March 10, 2012

America: Love it or leave it?

It seems like every time i criticize the govt, i get some lefty saying, "America. Love it or leave it!" Well, back in the '60's, when this slogan rose to prominence, the counter culture had a response: "America. Change it or lose it." 

So the left gets a champion for president, & continues to spend us into oblivion. His 'change we can believe in' was to print money & hand it out like a parade queen. To oppose or criticize this is seen as unamerican by the left.. & they recycle old conservative slogans to defend it. The unions used to give out those bumper stickers.. funny how times change.

I don't think americans are stupid. I think we have been duped. I think it is not too late to reverse the trend to statism. But it will take a thoughtful, critical electorate to see through the hollow promises & slogans the left throws out. Something for nothing is always a good scam.

The american system does work. It has worked for a couple of hundred years, now. There has been nothing like it in history. But, like other nations in history, there are caveats. Money is the main one. When democracies discover they can vote themselves goodies from the treasury, fiscal responsibility goes out the window. Corruption becomes rampant. It's all downhill after this. I am afraid this is where we are in the historical timeline. But instead of being alarmed & addressing the problem, the politicians distract us with dessert menus. "Oh, don't worry about that.. here, have a cookie." They give us the illusion of freedom with our affluence. But soon we may have neither.

The statists have been very successful in duping the electorate. People think there is 'something for nothing' in the govt. They think the rich can be taxed so they don't have to work. They think they are entitled to all manner of free goods & services. People are glad to hop on the gravy train & celebrate all the free stuff. Most people don't care about free-dom anymore.. they just want free-stuff.

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. ~Cicero

Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily. ~George Santayana

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Genealogy. Time travel?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” ~Mark Twain

I think i've found something else to go with travel:  Genealogy.  Studying people from the past, noting all their weaknesses, differences, & struggles is a recipe for the same thing.  You can't judge or condemn anyone, they did the best they could in the times they lived.  Some made a lot of money.. some didn't.  Some died young.  Some lived to a ripe old age.  Some died alone, others lived with a large family.  Some people lived all of their lives on the same farm, working the land to survive & raising a family.  They had civil wars, blights, legal problems, & religious views.  They had family problems.. cousins, brothers, sisters, & grown children moved in with them.  They took in orphans.  They cared for their elderly parents.  They buried a lot of people.. a lot of them children.  They registered for the draft, went to war, & died in conflicts they cared nothing about.

These people crossed a hostile wilderness & ocean to build a home & make better lives for their children.  They left the conveniences of civilization, & built new lives from scratch.  They were their own grocery store, hardware store, lumber yard, & shopping mall.  Some were very religious.. they went to church & said eloquent & spiritual things in their wills.  Some struggled with the institutions.  They left the church, then came back.. then left again.

When you study someone from a distance, you don't really know what kind of person they were.  Were they kind?  Obnoxious?  Greedy & self serving?  Generous & benevolent?  You don't know.  Some have flowery epitaths.. they were saints on their tombstones & at their funerals.. but people tend to cast their ancestors in a good light after many years, even though when they were alive they were crotchety curmudgeons.  Time is a softener.. it slowly makes us all into normal people.

So what else does the study of old dead people provide?  I think it's helped me see the living in a different light.  In a few hundred years, a future descendant of mine may briefly see my name in a census.  We live.  We die.  We are part of a long line.  Ultimately, we are all connected.  The common thread is we live in the times we are born in.  Some of us struggle to survive most of our lives, or we die young in that struggle.  There are many names that have brief dates.  They did not have a family.  They did not homestead on land, have a will, marry, or appear in a census.  Some of us had time to ponder the meaning of life & reflect on our existence.  We arrived at various religious & philosophical views.  We each are the sum of our experiences, backgrounds, genenic makeup, & cultural surroundings.  Some of us fought with those limitations & imposed our will on the process, changing things for future generations.  But the acorn does not fall too far from the tree.  We are the sum of our ancestors.

So let us live.  Let us value & cherish the time we are alive.  We should appreciate the uniqueness & differences among us.  None of us has a clear view of eternity.  We might see glimpses of possiblities or hopes, but we do  not know what lies ahead, nor can we make sense of what lies behind.  We should enjoy the life we have.  It will not come this way again.  And maybe we should get out more & travel, too!