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Callie
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #125 on: Jan 21st, 2005, 4:42pm »
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I thought the $40 million was donated.
 
I know, you would like to see it donated to a charity.  But the political system is what it is.  People donate to a political party to get attention and/or consideration when they are the ones who want something.  They are not just going to say "Sure!  Just name the charity!"  They may donate to something on other occasions, same time each year, but this is a separate issue to them.  They are not just giving to charity in this case.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #126 on: Jan 22nd, 2005, 10:07pm »
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Thank you for pointing that out Callie.  I hadn't considered that the entire event was paid for by donation, but sure enough you are correct, that appears to be the case.
 
I was looking through the list of the contributors, and as you might imagine, the list is comprised primarily of energy, defense and large corporate conglomerates.
 
The maximum donation allowed is $250,000, and much to my dismay, I found that my company had contributed that very amount.  Oh well, I guess I did kind of indirectly end up paying for it anyway.  
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #127 on: Jan 25th, 2005, 9:51pm »
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Just made it over to shake hands with Newt Gingrich a few minutes ago.  He spoke at Catholic U. tonight.  I, unfortunately, had class and was unable to attend the event... "universals and particulars in analytical metaphysics" got in the way...  Who'd a thunk? ...
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #128 on: Jan 30th, 2005, 3:33pm »
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Well, the Iraqi elections went off without much of a hitch (relatively speaking, of course).  This is a great time in history for Iraq and its people(s).  I really believe that when people go on about their opining on the issue of the war in Iraq (against Saddam), people, especially those dead-set against Bush's policy, really need to incorporate in their paradigms on the issue the views of Iraqi expatriates (living in the west).  Their views are very,... well,... enlightening.  ...  Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS to the people of Iraq on the dawn of a bright new future for them and their country (not that there isn't still much work to be done).
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #129 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 5:10pm »
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And,... how about the ultimate irony of Senator Ted Kennedy's HEATED criticisms of the war in Iraq?  ...  Hey, dude, it was someone pretty close to you that got us into Vietnam, that quagmire you incessantly compare Iraq to,... eh-hem...  No, it was not a fellow Democrat Congressman or a friend or non-nuclear family relative like a cousin or something...  No, no, no...  It was your BROTHER!!! Moron!!!
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #130 on: Feb 6th, 2005, 3:09pm »
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I do agree that Ted Kennedy's opposition to the Iraq situation may indeed be one of the only things he has gotten right in his 40 whatever years of public service, but the connection to John F. Kennedy makes little sense. In fact, it may be as relevant as blaming Frank Stallone for Sylvester Stallone's misquided movie choices like 'Stop ! Or My Mom Will Shoot', and 'Rhinestone'.
 
For one thing, Ted Kennedy is no John F. Kennedy.  JFK was the first modern president to see the merits of suppy-side economics, he was able to defuse the Cuban missle crisis  while avoiding a dangerous conflict, he intended to splinter the CIA into a less powerful entity, he pioneered much of the important Civil Right's legislation of the 1960's, but most relevant to your point, Kennedy inherited Vietnam from Eisenhower, began to send limited troops, but before his death, JFK made it apparent that he wanted OUT of Vietnam.
 
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5360.htm
 
It was of course Lyndon Johnson that escalated the Vietnam War to the point that it became a diaster, not John Kennedy.
 
Perhaps a more useful parallel to today's Iraq situation is the fact that there was a celebrated election in South Vietnam during the year 1967:
 
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote:  
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror


by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)  
 
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.  
 
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.  
 
The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

 
Let's hope history does not repeat itself.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #131 on: Feb 7th, 2005, 11:51am »
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It was the French...both times.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #132 on: Feb 9th, 2005, 11:10pm »
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So I just watched Bill Maher on Hannity & Colmes tonight "commenting" (as if...) on the latest FEMALE-teacher-banging-a-13-year-old-student situation. What a God damn moron this guy is! He was dead-seriously taking (to the extreme) the position of how this is every 13-year-old boy's fantasy and how awesome it would be... in fact is for it to become reality, and, mind you, the teacher involved in this latest case is straight-up HOT from the footage I've seen! He kept on saying how he wished he, when he was 13, could have had such a "problem". Great... I get the joke, Bill. I too, Bill, at age 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 would have welcomed with open arms molestation by my HOT 20-something-year-old teacher. I also would have welcomed it accompanied by a joint. This is surely true. But, this fool seems to miss the point that this CRIME, mind you, isn't supposed to be looked at from the boy's point of view (and whether or not he wanted "it"), but rather from the adult's or, should I say, from the "adult" point of view. That's for starters... Let's move on to or, better put, onto the high-road now, Bill Moron. He further predicated his argument on the difference between boys and girls, males and females, regarding sexuality that we often (dis)miss or, in common parlance, dis(miss) (I think that is spelled with 2 s's, though). He does have a valid point here. Men and women are different kinds of sexual creatures and those lines get blurred by everything from certain tortured aspects of the feminist movement to the motives and dirty dealings of the porn industry. But, bottom line, his point was to mitigate the criminality or at least the immorality of these cases where a female teacher molests a boy vis-a-vis when a male teacher molests a girl based on this bogus a fortiori argument. First off, one simple, begged response... What about if she molested a girl student? What about if a male teacher molested a gay boy student? Hell, that should almost be legal by his line of reasoning. Ultimately, though, all of this little-point BS misses the greater point, the mental, emotional, moral and psychological/psycho-sexual (and even perhaps actual sexual) damage doled out to any mentally, emotionally, morally, psychologically, sexually immature birth-to-16-year-old (for sure) child by the crime of sexual molestation, no less when "real, long-term boyfriend-and-girlfriend" relationships are being implied in the wooing process. Namely among the future negative residual effects is, eh-hem, SEXUAL ADDICTION. Bill Moron, the fact that the 13-year-old male sexual creature may have liked it, moreover, vis-a-vis a girl and in light of some mistaken beliefs we have about the sexes and sex justifies, legitimizes or makes understandable NOTHING. This just goes to show how a good, albeit false argument is made to sound legit by mixing into your rhetoric a few general truths and half-truths. How does this mental midget get on TV, no less get paid for it?
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #133 on: Feb 17th, 2005, 2:32pm »
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Interesting post, Steg.  I agree that Maher is an idiot.  Not just annoying and disturbing and offensive, but a mental idiot.  He doesn't know what he's talking about, because all he does is throw around euphemisms.  When the subject of God comes up, all he does is belittle those who believe in God and praise those who believe in science without believing in God.  It's obscene.  He invites like-minded leftists to his show, and usually one conservative to gang up on.  Pardon my French, but it's all a big circle-yank (however it's spelled).
 
On this issue of teacher molestation, you've got some good points, Steg.  Whether the kid liked it is irrelevant.  To argue that it's ok or cool because the kid liked it is ridiculously stupid: kids like the taste of candy, but if it contains poison it's not ok or cool for them to eat the candy.  People like getting high on coke, but it doesn't mean it's ok because they like it.  This is the problem with French Revolution "Enlightenment" principles of freedom: supposedly, you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt someone else.  Well, then, two people can engage in all the immoral activity they want as long as they both want it.  This escalates to the question of drugs: according to this principle of freedom, you can get high whenever you want, and no one should have the right to stop you.    
 
To get back to the point, you're right Steg that we can't do this to our kids nor allow it to happen to them.  They're still maturing, and they don't know what's best for them.  That's why we have parents: to help us mature until we're capable of going on our own.  It's absurd to think that we should just let kids do what they want: they don't know any better when it comes to lots of things, so they have to be told and they have to be constrained.  This Rousseauistic and Deweyistic nonsense about not forcing young people to do or not do things, but rather allowing them to do things they want, to explore things without constraint, to be unfettered from authority -- all this is completely absurd.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #134 on: Feb 19th, 2005, 12:45am »
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on Feb 17th, 2005, 2:32pm, gridiron_legends wrote:
This is the problem with French Revolution "Enlightenment" principles of freedom: supposedly, you can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt someone else.

 
While I hear ya, brother, regarding this, I have for quite some time been advancing the theory that (moral/ethical) decay (in America) has, at its roots, an emphasis on "freedom to" and an ignorance of or even disdain for "freedom from".  The latter (vis-a-vis the former) is precisely the brand of "freedom" I posit our forefathers were talking about in the Declaration of Independence, that is the few times they actually employed it knowing all too well the fragile nature of the word due to its dangerously wide range of interpretation, and were speaking in the spirit of in our Constitution (I wrote a piece back in '98 for the school I was working for in Korea on this whole issue titled "Freedom or Chaos").  My point here, T-Rave, is that...  Would not even that (loosey-goosey) "Enlightenment 'principle'" you indicate above work if people took seriously that (granted, not-well-defined) "as long as you don't hurt someone else" part?  I mean...  If people REALLY took seriously/RESPONSIBILITY for all the (I am willing to grant just reasonably foreseeable) ripple effects of their actions, couldn't even that "principle" at least have some explanatory or descriptive value even if not one of a categorical maxim by which to conduct your life?  I think it does express some level of truth.  It's just not nearly enough to be an axiom by which to live.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #135 on: Feb 19th, 2005, 1:13pm »
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an emphasis on "freedom to" and an ignorance of or even disdain for "freedom from".

 
I think it's pretty clear that America was conceived on the premise of liberty without undue interference from a centralized federal government, so freedom 'to' or 'from' is probably an unnecessary distinction.
 
However, there very well may be some truth to the fact that many Americans have grown apathetic with public affairs and their constitutionally granted ability to demand the redressing of grievances.  Maybe they don't feel empowered to fight injustices when they witness them, maybe they just don't care, but it is probably fair to say that even when the government does something terribly egregious, it will generally go unchallenged unless it affects some personal liberty, like their freedom to hear Howard Stern on their favorite radio station.
 
Of course with freedom comes the responsibility to scrutinize and diligently pursue answers when our government goes astray, there have been at least 10 scandals in the last 4 years that probably would have reduced the nascent federal government in 1789 to irrelevancy.  It's a much different situation in 2005 America, as long as you tell everyone that you will cut their marginal tax rate from 50% to 49%, and they can afford to fillup their SUV, they will keep hitting the snooze bar.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #136 on: Feb 19th, 2005, 5:23pm »
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on Feb 19th, 2005, 1:13pm, junkyardjake wrote:
I think it's pretty clear that America was conceived on the premise of liberty without undue interference from a centralized federal government, so freedom 'to' or 'from' is probably an unnecessary distinction.

 
Thanks for "thoughtfully" "considering", "appreciating" and "responding to" my point (or maybe just not getting or even attempting to get it... again; however, apparently "getting it" just enough to use it as a springboard for your here-we-go-again hackneyed argument for taking up arms or whatever against our government), oh ye of all discernable political, diplomatic and socio-economic knowledge there is,... especially since I explicitly point out that this is a thesis I've been advancing for some time.  I guess I am just a babbling fuckin' idiot without the reasoning ability to draw distinctions worthy of reflection and "consideration" by a superior intellect like yours.
 
Quote:
However, there very well may be some truth to the fact that many Americans have grown apathetic with public affairs and their constitutionally granted ability to demand the redressing of grievances. Maybe they don't feel empowered to fight injustices when they witness them, maybe they just don't care, but it is probably fair to say that even when the government does something terribly egregious, it will generally go unchallenged unless it affects some personal liberty...

 
Maybe, just maybe, it's because we do in fact have it pretty good here in America and deep-down do not expect perfection from our government as humans are imperfect creatures and as long as we still have it better than anyone else living on this rock we call Earth.  That doesn't mean that I don't think there are things worth fixing and improving upon, BUT if there ever was a dude who could use a week or two in Manila or Ulaan-Baatar (to use reasonable, not over-the-top examples) to get a grip,...
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #137 on: Feb 20th, 2005, 1:37am »
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There you go flipping out again, I understood your distinction, and I personally don't think it's relevant.
 
I imagine our difference in philosophy might be likened to perhaps John Locke vs. Rousseau.
 
John Locke (me) believed that people are inherently rational and benevolent, and could be trusted with personal freedoms.  Government does not ordain these natural rights, and exists only by the consent of the governed.
 
Rousseau (you and seemingly Gridiron_Legends) place an emphasis on a 'social contract', which acknowledges natural rights, but sees the need for establishing reciprocal rights and duties as essential for the preservation of a political system.
 
Thomas Jefferson, who you implicitly cited, emphasized natural rights as inextricable from the social contract.
 
Hence, the distinction between freedom 'to' and freedom 'from' seems irrelevant in the context of the type of American democracy prescribed by Jefferson, at least to me.
 
For example:
 
The freedom to worship how you wish  
equals  
The freedom from government interference in your choice of worship
 
Now if you are referring to something like:
 
The freedom to beat your ex-wife and not pay alimony or child support.
 
-or-
 
The freedom to shoot smack all day, and deliver drugs for the Russian mafia.
 
Well, there are laws against that kind of stuff, which creates an essentially coerced and involuntary social contract.
 
Or, if you are referring to something like:
 
The freedom to wear suggestive clothing and shake your booty in an MTV music video to promote your new CD.  
 
That's a bit of a gray area, but if this is indicative of the type of 'moral decay' you are concerned about, you may be wasting your intellectual energies. (and remember what Je*us said about judging.)
 
But there is a bright side, although we can't, and should not attempt to control the moral choices fellow citizens make in their private lives, each individual can set useful moral examples:
 
Shut off MTV and read with your kids
Take a homeless person to lunch
Arrange Frank Sinatra karote night at your local senior citizen center
Adopt a stray puppie
 
Quote:
BUT if there ever was a dude who could use a week or two in Manila or Ulaan-Baatar

 
And you should visit Amsterdam sometime to see how morality in America really isn't as bad as you think.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #138 on: Feb 20th, 2005, 4:02pm »
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Steg, regarding the "Enlightnement" principle of freedom as the right to do that which does not harm anyone else, I inveigh against such a principle because of its implicit rejection of any idea that natural law binds us morally.  This is not to say that those who accept this principle accept this rejection, but rather that the ideas motivating this principle had this rejection in mind.  
 
I don't think that even if we took this principle seriously it would suffice as the foundation for morality.  There is no intrinsic check on one's actions, but rather only an extrinsic one (their effect on others).  So, according to this principle, our thoughts need not be checked: only our actions (or words) need to be checked.  But common sense observation of human nature tells us that when we let our thoughts run wild, our actions tend to follow suit.  Therefore, I find this principle acutely insufficient.  In addition, take the case of suicide.   According to this principle, everyone is free to kill himself/herself.  Why then is it against the law?  Because we recognize, in our heart of hearts, that there is a moral law deeper than this Enlightenment principle, a moral law that governs not only the effects of our actions on others, but our actions themselves, and our thoughts, words, etc.
 
I'm not so sure the distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from" is relevant here.  I think the source of moral decay is rather the worship of "freedom to" and the rejection of "responsibility to".  Everyone wishes to have freedom without responsibility; I think our Founding Fathers realized these were inseparable, and that once a people had abandoned responsibility, democracy would soon become anarchy.
 
Jake, I would hate to fall under the general class of "Rousseau."  The man's ideas were completely loony.  Naturalism and the "noble savage" ideal are clearly iconoclastic mutterings of a sociopath.  I think both Locke's and Rousseau's political philosophies are inadequate, and frankly, just plain wrong.  The primary premise for both of them seems to be that man's natural state is individual and not societal or political, and that man enters into society (or government) only out of some constraint.   I think Aristotle is much more true to human nature when he says that man is by nature a political being, and not just forced into society/government by external circumstances.  We desire the company of others naturally -- speech points to this political/communal aspect of human nature.  To say that we are individuals, and under the constraint of some external force surrender some of our rights to society -- as if society were arbitrarily formed -- seems to me arbitrary and artificial.  Societies, rather, grow naturally and organically.  In addition, I don't think we have any rights in our "state of nature" that we don't have once we "enter the social contract".  What kinds of rights would they be?  I don't have the right to kill someone or to lie or to malign someone in the state of nature nor in the social contract.  The "social contract" doesn't take away some of our primal rights; rather, society gives concrete and specific guidelines and laws according to which our rights are to be exercised.
 
In sum, I think that society is a natural and organic development that has its basis in human nature itself.  Its purpose is both positive and negative: to foster and promote the welfare of man (material, communal, and spiritual), as well as to prevent ills by means of laws, punishment, etc.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #139 on: Feb 20th, 2005, 5:34pm »
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Let's just say that you have a rather abrasive, undiplomatic and off-putting way of discussing politics, JYJ.  I never see you synthesize antitheses.  I have the perfect real-life story to exemplify what I mean here (it's not about you JYJ) to share with yous.  Not that it is that long of a story, but I don't have time now... But, actually, JYJ, I totally see a paradox in the way you "respond" (like you did above to my post) in light of your not liking (or not completely getting) my distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from" (as I get into below).  There is a roughly analogous context going on there...
 
on Feb 20th, 2005, 4:02pm, gridiron_legends wrote:
Steg, regarding the "Enlightnement" principle of freedom as the right to do that which does not harm anyone else, I inveigh against such a principle because of its implicit rejection of any idea that natural law binds us morally. This is not to say that those who accept this principle accept this rejection, but rather that the ideas motivating this principle had this rejection in mind.
 
I don't think that even if we took this principle seriously it would suffice as the foundation for morality. There is no intrinsic check on one's actions, but rather only an extrinsic one (their effect on others). So, according to this principle, our thoughts need not be checked: only our actions (or words) need to be checked. But common sense observation of human nature tells us that when we let our thoughts run wild, our actions tend to follow suit. Therefore, I find this principle acutely insufficient. In addition, take the case of suicide. According to this principle, everyone is free to kill himself/herself. Why then is it against the law? Because we recognize, in our heart of hearts, that there is a moral law deeper than this Enlightenment principle, a moral law that governs not only the effects of our actions on others, but our actions themselves, and our thoughts, words, etc.

 
I get you better now, T-Rave.  The foundations of the "principle" ultimately fundamentally undercut any efficacy it could have, i.e., it's rooted in bad philosophy.
 
Quote:
I'm not so sure the distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from" is relevant here. I think the source of moral decay is rather the worship of "freedom to" and the rejection of "responsibility to". Everyone wishes to have freedom without responsibility; I think our Founding Fathers realized these were inseparable, and that once a people had abandoned responsibility, democracy would soon become anarchy.

 
This is kind of semantics at this point, T-Rave.  The point you make about "freedom to" and "responsibility to" is not completely different from my distinction between "freedom to" and "freedom from".  Guys, ask people, without leading them, what "freedom" means (to them).  Americans will typically answer in terms of "freedom to" without even a "consideration" for "freedom from".  Now, what I mean by this distinction...  The dude playing his stereo loud in the apartment next-door is only thinking (if he is thinking at all) about or quite naturally acting in accordance with his "freedom to" play his stereo at a volume he wants WITHOUT "consideration" for the people living around him who are supposed to have the "freedom from" having to hear his blaring stereo.  I firmly believe there is something to (and, in my personal life, have seen the results of) this "turning this idea of 'freedom' (in America) on its head" for people.  It isn't attacking the moral problem, which we are beating around here, from the perspective of societal change, which I kind of gather you two are more so talking about,... a top-down approach.  I am more so talking about making/helping individual people, including myself, think and impacting the hearts and minds of individual people,... a bottom-up approach.  Some great guy once pointed out something along the lines that a society is or can be no better than the individuals that comprise it.
 
Quote:
Jake, I would hate to fall under the general class of "Rousseau." The man's ideas were completely loony. Naturalism and the "noble savage" ideal are clearly iconoclastic mutterings of a sociopath. I think both Locke's and Rousseau's political philosophies are inadequate, and frankly, just plain wrong. The primary premise for both of them seems to be that man's natural state is individual and not societal or political, and that man enters into society (or government) only out of some constraint. I think Aristotle is much more true to human nature when he says that man is by nature a political being, and not just forced into society/government by external circumstances. We desire the company of others naturally -- speech points to this political/communal aspect of human nature. To say that we are individuals, and under the constraint of some external force surrender some of our rights to society -- as if society were arbitrarily formed -- seems to me arbitrary and artificial. Societies, rather, grow naturally and organically. In addition, I don't think we have any rights in our "state of nature" that we don't have once we "enter the social contract". What kinds of rights would they be? I don't have the right to kill someone or to lie or to malign someone in the state of nature nor in the social contract. The "social contract" doesn't take away some of our primal rights; rather, society gives concrete and specific guidelines and laws according to which our rights are to be exercised.

 
I largely agree, T-Rave.  I too think that putting me in the Rousseau camp (mind you, frankly speaking, I've barely even read any Rousseau) is a misdirected stab at what ends up being an incorrect generalization.  Not necessarily in this specific context, but I consider myself much more in accordance with, for better or worse, with all of his faults, the idealist Utopian Karl Marx, who, along the lines of what we are discussing here, thought "self-consciousness" to be a foolish, misguided contrivance.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #140 on: Feb 20th, 2005, 9:25pm »
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Steg, might I suggest you evaluate your own style of debating demeanor, more often than not, you will retort to many of my points with some type of personal attack.  If you want to be treated politely, it starts with the necessary decorum on your part.  If you don't like your points being challenged, then don't post them. If you have no facts to refute what I'm saying, a personal attack like 'well you should spend a couple weeks in Cameroon' really isn't a valid substitute for a reasoned rebuttal.
 
In fact it's kind of humorous how Gridiron_Legends and I both pointed out that we didn't see the practical relevance in your freedom 'to' and freedom 'from' distinction, but I got a rather rude response, and Gridiron_Legends was given a polite elaboration. (mind you, the distinction explained in your example is still not convincing to me personally, as although it would be nice that everyone played their stereo at a reasonable volume, the law provides a remedy for this situation under the theory of 'nuisance'.  In essence, you do have the freedom 'from' unreasonably loud music if you call the police about it.)
 
But let's really address the other underlying issue here, we don't agree politically.  You resent my Libertarian views, and I don't have much fondness for your version of Imperial Socialism.  That said, as long as we can refrain from name-calling and general insolence, I don't see why we can't have constructive discussions.  Besides, I still think you are a cool guy outside of your warped political views.  (OK, that was the last one.)  
 
Quote:
Jake, I would hate to fall under the general class of "Rousseau."  The man's ideas were completely loony.

 
Gridiron, I didn't intend to paint your and Steg's views with the broad Rousseau brush, I just used that example to draw the 'natural rights' versus 'social contract' comparison.  
 
Quote:
I think Aristotle is much more true to human nature when he says that man is by nature a political being

 
That's a great point, but natural rights need not preclude the responsibility to be a productive member of society ?
 
Quote:
What kinds of rights would they be?  I don't have the right to kill someone or to lie or to malign someone in the state of nature nor in the social contract.

 
No, of course not...I was referring to the 'natural rights' as generally prescribed by Jefferson, for example, the freedom to worship, the freedom to participate in a representative government and the freedom to own property.  'Natural rights' need not equal 'untempered hedonism' ?
 
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #141 on: Feb 21st, 2005, 12:52am »
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on Feb 20th, 2005, 9:25pm, junkyardjake wrote:
...really isn't a valid substitute for a reasoned rebuttal. ... I don't see why we can't have constructive discussions

 
That is because I find that there is NO reasonable rebuttal with you. There REALLY is NO reasonable bouncing back-and-forth of ideas with you. If you disagree, you just militate, not even attempting to see and appreciate my thoughts. In VERY short, your response to my post was "No, you're wrong. Actually, the point you are making is rather stupid. I have nothing really to say about your dumb idea. So, let me take this opportunity to use your stupid thesis to segue to my usual (Libertarian) spiel." Now, how am I supposed to really "respond" to that? I find it impossible to have "constructive" discussions when being dealt with passive-aggressively. At least with me, you just get straightforward aggression.
 
Quote:
You resent my Libertarian views, and I don't have much fondness for your version of Imperial Socialism.

 
Another example of getting it wrong... I "really" couldn't give a rat's ass and, for God's sake, do not "resent" what flag you feel you need to wave and what "-ism" you limit yourself to or (erroneously) associate me with... What I do suppose I resent (and I have stated this before in almost exactly these words, but it was passive-aggressively deflected or ignored) is this "lone Libertarian against the world" path you have single-handedly taken this thread down. If you go back to the initial posts to this thread (been down this road before and was just talked back "at" without any appreciation for the "FACT" of this matter), back on page one, it was just dudes' sharing their views on general issues, which we typically associate with the area of politics, in a non-partisan, unacrimonious way. In the write-ups, there was obviously disagreeing going on, but we weren't dealing with the disagreeing qua disagreement or disagreeably. It was all so very civil. I get nostalgic just thinking back to those days. I had set the thread up to function that way, actually. Not everybody's post, SURELY NOT MINE, need to be entrapped in this Libertarian web of yours that this thread has become so ensnarled in. To be honest with you, I have been trying to append posts to this thread that address a) someone else b) in a "different light" and that c) shouldn't step on your Libertarian heels. That was the ulterior motive of my last post. I was specifically addressing T-Rave and even consciously thinking to myself that this is a pretty innocuous post that should neither get under JYJ's Libertarian skin nor give him any fodder. And, then,... it's JYJ ... Mind you, I know for a "fact" of two fellow Libertarians of yours that you have turned off (from this thread). Out of friendship, I am not naming them, but they both have posted to this thread at least once and became disheartened (by you) and gave up.
 
Quote:
In fact it's kind of humorous how Gridiron_Legends and I both pointed out that we didn't see the practical relevance in your freedom 'to' and freedom 'from' distinction, but I got a rather rude response, and Gridiron_Legends was given a polite elaboration.

 
Exactly, what you see as "humorous", I see as "case in point".
 
Quote:
(mind you, the distinction explained in your example is still not convincing to me personally, as although it would be nice that everyone played their stereo at a reasonable volume, the law provides a remedy for this situation under the theory of 'nuisance'. In essence, you do have the freedom 'from' unreasonably loud music if you call the police about it.)

 
Exactly, again,... it's not being understood at the level of the individual (thus, necessitating a societal response). I can appreciate your point on a societal level. You can't seem to appreciate my point on the level of the individual.
 
...
 
No even remote chance of a meeting of the minds with the junkster, yet again,... Just more talking "at"... Why should I expect otherwise anymore? That's really the question. I should just take off too like the other disheartened ones.
 
...
 
on Feb 20th, 2005, 5:34pm, StegRock wrote:
I have the perfect real-life story to exemplify what I mean here (it's not about you JYJ) to share with yous. Not that it is that long of a story, but I don't have time now...

 
Now,... as for the story,... So, I am sitting in some bar(ish-type place) in Ulaan-Baatar, Mongolia. I was the only western face in the place. There are not too many westerners in Mongolia. Then, this familiar-looking white face walks in. I give him the "what's up" knod (a dicey venture over in far-east Asia as many won't return the, ultimately, kind genture as they don't think they should "have to"... Oh, brother...) and he doesn't respond like a freak (whew). I eventually go over and talk with him. The dude's in one of the weirdest expatriate situations I've ever come into contact with and that's saying a lot. He's a Brit whose wife is working in Mongolia; he's not. They recently had a child and he is, in "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" Mongolia, a stay-at-home western dad... and practicing neophyte Buddhist (yea, feel free to "roll eyes" here). He was also showing himself to be a disagreeable sort. So,... we start talking Buddhism. I know my share, but from a more genuinely interested academic-onlooker perspective, not that of a practitioner (though I did take a meditation class at the famous Hwa-gye-sa Temple, didn't much care for it actually, have visited a number of temples and could tell you the story of the Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, Siddharta Gotama, while walking around a Buddhist temple, and do actively apply useful Buddhist and Hindu principles in my life). Ultimately, I was more than willing to and in fact did assent to what he said. I then, being more interested in Buddhism from a global perspective than from the religious perspective of wanting to convert to Buddhism, at some point merely brought up one of the main differences between Theravada (old-school) Buddhism and Mahayana (new-school) Buddhism, their widely differing paths or ways to achieve Nirvana: Theravada (branches of) Buddhism tend(s) toward the mastery of the more "real-world" practices of the "Four Noble Truths" and the "Noble Eightfold Path" for the attainment of Nirvana; whereas, Mahayana (branches of) Buddhism tend(s) toward the belief that the achievement of enlightenment, i.e. Nirvana, comes by way of meditation and achieving high-level meditative states. Now, I know I am not crazy. I know what I am talking about and I have talked about it with others "in the relative know". But, this guy just chokes me off. He just goes on in a "disagreeable" way to ramble about how the main goal of Mahayana Buddhism (which is what he would likely be practicing in Mongolia) is not Nirvana, BUT the attainment of Buddhahood. Now, that doesn't really contradict what I had said, though he made it sound that way. Moreover, what I had said actually presented him with a great opportunity to "synthesize" the (degree of) truth of what I said with what he was going to "add" (of course, he was not thinking of "adding"; he was thinking of correcting). He could have, instead of being pretentious and pompous, took what I said and ran with it. I (unwittingly, mind you) built the perfect bridge for him to meet me (in the middle) and extend his hand to me on. All he had to do was point out, nay, exploit the affinity of our two points, i.e. that Mahayana's making Nirvana more readily attainable (as meditation is, so to speak, just one stop on the Noble Eightfold Path) could definitely have necessitated an even higher-level of enlightenment to strive for in Mahayana Buddhism, namely Buddhahood. Mind you, this is a point the validity of which I have confirmed with others. But, no, he just decided to be a know-it-all show-off, having the ultimate effect of turning me off (from whatever it was that he stood for, namely the righteousness of Mahayana Buddhism). And, no, it wasn't just his British accent.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #142 on: Feb 21st, 2005, 8:47am »
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In VERY short, your response to my post was "No, you're wrong.  Actually, the point you are making is rather stupid.  I have nothing really to say about your dumb idea.  So, let me take this opportunity to use your stupid thesis to segue to my usual (Libertarian) spiel."

 
Yeah, I would have to say that is a very accurate assessment of my initial response to your freedom 'to' and freedom 'from' idea.  I must admit, although I didn't come right out and say 'What the fuck kind of dumbass thesis is that ?', the way I responded definitely had that 'passive-aggressive' tone.
 
Quote:
I find it impossible to have "constructive" discussions when being dealt with passive-aggressively.  At least with me, you just get straightforward aggression.

 
Yup, bingo again.
 
Well, despite the perception I created, I don't think your thesis is devoid of intellectual merit (as I find many of your theories interesting).  If I did, I wouldn't have posted anything.  
 
Quote:
I can appreciate your point on a societal level.  You can't seem to appreciate my point on the level of the individual.

 
I do after your 'neighbor playing the loud stereo example', but what you are talking about is really a study in community ethics, and etiquette.  (Both of which I agree have probably suffered an acute decline in recent years).
 
I originally interpreted your idea more broadly, as 'Americans are becoming more egocentrically and provincially interested in their own personal, superficial freedoms, and are less interested in the manner in which they are being oppressed in the pursuit of more essential liberties, like freedom of speech and the freedom to petition their government'.
 
Quote:
Now,... as for the story,...
 
 
Good story, that's what you get for leaving the US, and then having the audacity to talk about religion, of all things, with a foreigner. You probably should have seen that coming.  Thank goodness we don't have jerks like that in this country.  
 
On a different note, I saw the author/history professor Thomas Woods on CSpan yesterday, although I obviously haven't read it myself yet, this appears to be a very interesting book:
 
'The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History'
 
http://www.regnery.com/regnery/041009_politically.html
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #143 on: Feb 21st, 2005, 9:29am »
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If you really wanted someone to be contrary, you should have just asked!
 
For the most part in this thread, I find the subject matter to be pompous and irrelevant.
 
But maybe that's just me...
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #144 on: Feb 21st, 2005, 10:00am »
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Quickly, first, JYJ,
 
As you are gathering, JYJ, I am much more concerned with the development of the individual person. Whereas, I perceive you to genuinely be more interested in politics as such. I really think that this simple difference in perspective accounts for much of the acrimony that (almost) came between us (double-entendre-ish thing alert).
 
...
 
on Feb 21st, 2005, 9:29am, sexydexy wrote:
If you really wanted someone to be contrary, you should have just asked!

 
... We did not want nor ask.
 
Quote:
For the most part in this thread, I find the subject matter to be pompous and irrelevant.

 
Aw, come on, friend... In the least, the timing of your comment here is way off.
 
Quote:
But maybe that's just me...

 
Maybe...
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #145 on: Feb 21st, 2005, 7:18pm »
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All in good fun...
 
 
 
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #146 on: Feb 22nd, 2005, 1:53pm »
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on Feb 21st, 2005, 9:29am, sexydexy wrote:
If you really wanted someone to be contrary, you should have just asked!
 
For the most part in this thread, I find the subject matter to be pompous and irrelevant.
 
But maybe that's just me...

 
I got lost when this topic turned into a graduate-level Political and Social Philosophy exercise.  I find the subject matter here to be a bit too deep (for me) and, hence, irrelevant (again, to me).  Besides, it's turned into an X vs. Y thread more than anything else.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #147 on: Feb 25th, 2005, 1:47pm »
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To get back to politics . . .
 
My point with asking "what kind of rights would they be" was merely that I don't think there are any rights that man enjoys in the "state of nature" over and above those he enjoys in "the social contract."  Therefore, I don't buy the view that when we "enter the social contract" we "give up" some of our "rights" that we had in the state of nature (before the social contract).  
 
Now, this doesn't men I'm denying natural rights.  I think there are natural rights, but I think Locke's view of natural right has problems.
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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #148 on: Feb 27th, 2005, 8:36am »
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My point with asking "what kind of rights would they be" was merely that I don't think there are any rights that man enjoys in the "state of nature" over and above those he enjoys in "the social contract."  Therefore, I don't buy the view that when we "enter the social contract" we "give up" some of our "rights" that we had in the state of nature (before the social contract).

 
I agree with that Gridiron, you are probably correct that 'natural rights' vs. 'social contract' suggest only a very subtle distinction in the type of rights granted in a civilized culture.
 
I thought this was at least sufficiently related to our recent 'freedom' discussions to post this. It's authored by perhaps the most principled member of the current Congress, Ron Paul, R-Texas.
 
What Does Freedom Really Mean?
 
Ron Paul, February 7, 2005  
 
"...man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."
 
- Ronald Reagan
 
We've all heard the words democracy and freedom used countless times, especially in the context of our invasion of Iraq. They are used interchangeably in modern political discourse, yet their true meanings are very different.  
 
George Orwell wrote about "meaningless words" that are endlessly repeated in the political arena. Words like "freedom," "democracy," and "justice," Orwell explained, have been abused so long that their original meanings have been eviscerated. In Orwell's view, political words were "Often used in a consciously dishonest way." Without precise meanings behind words, politicians and elites can obscure reality and condition people to reflexively associate certain words with positive or negative perceptions. In other words, unpleasant facts can be hidden behind purposely meaningless language. As a result, Americans have been conditioned to accept the word "democracy" as a synonym for freedom, and thus to believe that democracy is unquestionably good.
 
The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this, as evidenced not only by our republican constitutional system, but also by their writings in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere. James Madison cautioned that under a democratic government, "There is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual." John Adams argued that democracies merely grant revocable rights to citizens depending on the whims of the masses, while a republic exists to secure and protect pre-existing rights. Yet how many Americans know that the word "democracy" is found neither in the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence, our very founding documents?  
 
A truly democratic election in Iraq, without U.S. interference and U.S. puppet candidates, almost certainly would result in the creation of a Shiite theocracy. Shiite majority rule in Iraq might well mean the complete political, economic, and social subjugation of the minority Kurd and Sunni Arab populations. Such an outcome would be democratic, but would it be free? Would the Kurds and Sunnis consider themselves free? The administration talks about democracy in Iraq, but is it prepared to accept a democratically-elected Iraqi government no matter what its attitude toward the U.S. occupation? Hardly. For all our talk about freedom and democracy, the truth is we have no idea whether Iraqis will be free in the future. They're certainly not free while a foreign army occupies their country. The real test is not whether Iraq adopts a democratic, pro-western government, but rather whether ordinary Iraqis can lead their personal, religious, social, and business lives without interference from government.  
 
Simply put, freedom is the absence of government coercion. Our Founding Fathers understood this, and created the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else.States, not the federal government, were charged with protecting individuals against criminal force and fraud. For the first time, a government was created solely to protect the rights, liberties, and property of its citizens. Any government coercion beyond that necessary to secure those rights was forbidden, both through the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of strictly enumerated powers. This reflected the founders' belief that democratic government could be as tyrannical as any King.  
 
Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn't be called taxes, they'd be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.
 
The political left equates freedom with liberation from material wants, always via a large and benevolent government that exists to create equality on earth. To modern liberals, men are free only when the laws of economics and scarcity are suspended, the landlord is rebuffed, the doctor presents no bill, and groceries are given away. But philosopher Ayn Rand (and many others before her) demolished this argument by explaining how such "freedom" for some is possible only when government takes freedoms away from others. In other words, government claims on the lives and property of those who are expected to provide housing, medical care, food, etc. for others are coercive-- and thus incompatible with freedom. "Liberalism," which once stood for civil, political, and economic liberties, has become a synonym for omnipotent coercive government.
 
The political right equates freedom with national greatness brought about through military strength. Like the left, modern conservatives favor an all-powerful central state-- but for militarism, corporatism, and faith-based welfarism. Unlike the Taft-Goldwater conservatives of yesteryear, today's Republicans are eager to expand government spending, increase the federal police apparatus, and intervene militarily around the world. The last tenuous links between conservatives and support for smaller government have been severed. "Conservatism," which once meant respect for tradition and distrust of active government, has transformed into big-government utopian grandiosity.  
 
Orwell certainly was right about the use of meaningless words in politics. If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word "freedom" to describe state action. We must reject the current meaningless designations of "liberals" and "conservatives," in favor of an accurate term for both: statists.
 
Every politician on earth claims to support freedom. The problem is so few of them understand the simple meaning of the word.  
 
Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican, represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas, which encompasses the Gulf Coast region south and west of Houston.  
 
« Last Edit: Feb 27th, 2005, 8:48am by junkyardjake » Logged

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Re: G.T.K.Y.G. - Topic: Politics
« Reply #149 on: Feb 28th, 2005, 3:45pm »
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That was a great post, JYJ. Democracy is not freedom, at least not per se.
 
on Feb 27th, 2005, 8:36am, junkyardjake wrote:
Every politician on earth claims to support freedom. The problem is so few of them understand the simple meaning of the word.

 
Few, period, understand it and to point out to them that freedom without responsibility is not freedom, that freedom requires responsibility, is too vague a notion for most. Truth be said, it is not an easy relationship to understand, which brings me back to (my bailiwick)... (I am going to resurrect this sucker yet)
 
...
 
I am observing what is going on over in Lebanon. They are in the nascent stages of regaining, or at least fighting to regain, their autonomy and at this stage SO VERY focused on their "freedom from" (Syria). They are NOT thinking about rights or entitlements. They are just thinking about being "free from". Eventually, though, and this is just a natural progression, if people are successful in gaining their "freedom from", they start to take it for granted, which we in America have done. Granted, this takes a long time (at least in terms of human lives). But, eventually, people then start to become focused on their "freedom to"... now that they are "free from". They want to explore the far reaches of their freedom; they want to know all their freedoms: they want to push the limits of their "freedom to". This is where we currently are in America. Our feverishly pursuing "freedom to" lends itself to an inherent neglect of "freedom from", which, in any event, we already take for granted and has fallen into the deep recesses of the backs of our minds (though 9/11 was a bit of a wake-up call; I say "a bit of" because where we are in our history and with respect to "our" brand of freedom is stemming the lesson). But, in this context, eventually the "freedom to" mindset starts encroaching on people's "freedom from" and "freedom from" comes back into focus and the pendulum swings back. But, eventually, we once again become comfortable with our "freedom from" and "freedom from" gives way again to "freedom to". This back-and-forth, give-and-take quite literally, "to-and-fro" so to speak, is how freedom meanders through history. They seem to be two sides of a coin which have a difficult time coexisting. Maybe they just cannot. Or, maybe, just maybe, the (ubiquitous) realization of this phenomena (by many) can help us make them (better) coexist. The ultimate truth is that "freedom from" is the FUNDAMENTAL of the two: "freedom from" lays the necessary groundwork for "freedom to". "Freedom to" is a sufficient condition, but "freedom from" is the necessary condition: strictly speaking, without "freedom from" there is no "freedom to".
 
This is a very fine distinction (if I must say so myself,... taken in the "other" sense that is). Really, it is not a conspicuous distinction. It is not apparent to the untrained eye, especially to the one who does not/has not been trained to consider other's "freedom from" when he is acting (solely) on his "freedom to". That said, it is not a complex or complicated distinction. It is a simple realization, actually. The very fine line between the two and their ultimate interconnectedness is what makes the distinction difficult to see or "appreciate" (in both senses), though. It is not the kind of thing that is going to make you want to spit at the President or join this or that (off-the-beaten-track) political party or take to the streets or just "get angry" or whatever. It's not the kind of thing you march about. That does NOT in the least make it unworthy of recognition, no less unimportant and worthy of dismissal, however. QUITE THE CONTRARY! It is a more fundamental distinction than all that stuff that foments unrest and dis-ease. It actually has a calming effect. You come to realize that all we can do... you can do... one can do is recognize, accept and hopefully adjust and set the playing field aright for the long haul, for future generations, and that all this "sweeping" stuff is merely ephemeral (politics of the day).
 
...
 
But, what do I know?
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