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Thread: Morality of Government

  1. #1

    Default Morality of Government

    Hello this is a debate that started in the "Founding Fathers Thread" I am discussing with Maxx and presumeable others... Like the FBI... My perspective of the morality of having a government vs the allowing the individual the maximum amount of freedom to make choices for themselves.

    I am copying the last post from me to Maxx to pick up our conversation, please feel free to chime in.
    _______________

    Ahh but why Maxx?
    I don't have to be a LaMOE to live by choice within the context of society, I work and make a means to trade with those who work and produce the items I desire. Trade is possible when two people agree on the value of each others labors and product. I teach and for that I earn Money, ( l see the contradiction, that money is controlled and distributed by the federal government but for now it is the system we have to work and a Rational Anarchist does not want the eradication of all government only the reduction to its primary parts, hence the rational part of the concept)I then trade that money for another mans labor, say rice in which he then trades for my services and so on in a macro scale.
    Those engineers where not forced by a government to pursue the art of engineering and then to develop the techno wonders of our age, they worked collectively by individual choice. As for rule to society, but what standards are those rules set?
    I wish you had responded to the upper half of my post about the nature of Government law and the "rights" in the constitution, more often I don't get many logical counters to my argument, I was hoping for one here.

    We as individuals do not "Need" a government to live. But it is fair to say that a Government comes in handy for things like a military, a common method of trade like money and a structure that allows the individuals full control over who is in every leadership position. Rational Anarchist's recognize that not all people are able at this point to live completely free, either by training, laziness or nuance of birth and one cannot ask the population to simply dissolve the path of control overnight as Ron Paul would have us do, that would lead to violence and destruction. No this is gradual process and starts with the personal decision to choose to accept or reject every specific form of control as you come across it.
    You may even do that now, ever speed? Are you rejecting that the government knows best the safe speed on the highway for the belief that you know that you, the individual can safely do 70 in 65? Why if you are certain that you can safely do 70 should you be threatened with suffering for not doing the 65 required by law? Are the blanket laws smarter and more capable then you as a thinking human being?

    Or do this Maxx, Explain to me why we "Need" a set of rules. its an honest question and one we debate in class for about a week every semester.

    ---------- Post added at 14:50 ---------- Previous post was at 14:44 ----------

    Originally Posted by Fragarach
    THIS IS from WBDADDY on the other thread but its to good not bring over here.

    Your comments about the absurdity of delineating rights protected by the constitution were exactly the reason why the Bill of Rights were ten amendments to the original constitution. The people who drafted the original document felt that those rights "went without saying", that the Constitution served no purpose other than to clearly define the scope of federal government, and they only added the Bill of Rights because numerous states refused to ratify the document if those rights were not clearly stated.

    That said, the SCOTUS has betrayed the constitution time and again by expanding vague powers like the Interstate Commerce Clause to render the 10th amendment (The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.) completely and utterly irrelevant, which is the greatest tragedy of the 20th century in America. It started with Wickard v. Filburn ( Wickard v. Filburn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ), which opened the floodgates to any conceivable federal regulation being upheld under the preponderance of the Chaos Theory interpretation.

    Here's how it works: Some guy in Pocatello, Idaho smokes a joint he rolled from pot he grew in his backyard to relieve his chronic back pain. This, in turn, causes his primary care doctor in neighboring Malad City to not be able to prescribe him Norflex for that back pain, which the guy would therefore not get filled at the local pharmacy, which would then hurt the sales of the prescription drug distribution center in Ogden, UT (which supplies Malad City and Pocatello pharmacies). Because that distributor loses money because this guy smoked pot instead of taking Norflex, his smoking pot qualifies as interstate commerce, subject to regulation by the federal government.

    Go ahead and laugh. Then read Wickard v. Filburn and let me know if you're still laughing.

  2. #2

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    When you copy-pasted, you missed the link - Wickard v. Filburn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ---------- Post added at 15:57 ---------- Previous post was at 15:09 ----------

    The worst part, by the way, about Wickard v. Filburn, is that the Supreme Court, so wrapped up in the argument of whether this person's activities qualified as interstate commerce, never stopped to consider the extreme overreach of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, wherein the federal government gave itself broad new powers to apply restrictions to what free men could and could not do with the land they bought, paid for, and were recognized as owners of by the same government, by forcing them to accept a fixed payment from the US Treasury (paid for by the rest of the citizens) to not grow crops on their land.

    Nowhere in the Constitution is such reach authorized, except through this bizarre chaos theory interpretation of the Commerce Clause.

    What's so mindblowing about this decision is that the very same court struck down the original Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 for the exact opposite reason - that it was a violation of the 10th amendment (US v. Butler) ! The only change between the two acts was that the 1938 version did not have a direct tax on farm product processing companies (which the SC also ruled unconstitutional as an integrated part of the federal effort to prop up prices).

    The insidious portion of the US v. Butler ruling was the SC's statement of disdain for the 10th amendment, despite using it as its reasoning for striking down the Act:



    [The Commerce] clause confers a power separate and distinct from those later enumerated [,] is not restricted in meaning by the grant of them, and Congress consequently has a substantive power to tax and to appropriate, limited only by the requirement that it shall be exercised to provide for the general welfare of the United States. … It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution.
    In one broad and sweeping sentence, the Court declared that the shackles placed on the Federal Government by the 10th amendment were null and void if the government could make an argument that whatever state/individual powers it was grabbing could be justified as affecting interstate commerce and that said power grab was in the interest of promoting the general welfare.

    Fast forward 70 years, and commerce is nearly without borders. One can buy and sell anything imaginable to anyone in the country or even the world, so long as it can be shipped or otherwise transferred upon satisfactory payment.

    Thanks to the precedent the court set in 1936, there now is no limit whatsoever on the federal government's power to regulate and control every single component of your entire life, under guise of "promoting general welfare", and defended by the 1942 "Chaos Theory" interpretation of the Commerce Clause.

    Here's the jist of their explanation:



    A factor of such volume and variability as home-consumed wheat would have a substantial influence on price and market conditions...... Home-grown wheat in this sense competes with wheat in commerce. The stimulation of commerce is a use of the regulatory function quite as definitely as prohibitions or restrictions thereon. This record leaves us in no doubt that Congress may properly have considered that wheat consumed on the farm where grown, if wholly outside the scheme of regulation, would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing its purpose to stimulate trade therein at increased prices.
    Chaos theory. Growing your own food, in this bizzaro world the SC created, puts you in direct competition with ConAgra and all the other mega-farms, and therefore you are subject to federal regulations on what you can and cannot grow and how you go about doing it.

    And my example above? Slightly Goldberg-esque in its execution, but not far from later citations of Wickard v. Filburn by later courts... Justice Clarence Roberts in his scathing dissent in Gonzales v. Raich writes:



    If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress' Article I powers -- as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause -- have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to "appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce."
    Government out of control by proxy, with a judicial branch able and willing to render one portion of the Constitution irrelevant with their interpretation of another.

    Be very afraid when you look at a law and read plain English like:

    "the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described... to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners."

    with the caveat that:

    "The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States."

    and the people who drafted said legislation assure you that they only intend to use this incredible, virtually limitless, 4th amendment-destroying power on "terrorists".

    The emphasis, BTW, in the "participated..." quote was to demonstrate exactly how many layers removed someone could theoretically be and still be a target of military detention under the law of war instead of having the right to a speedy trial. Never mind the whole Secretary of Defense being able to have anyone held as an enemy combatant with a simple written statement to Congress that it is "in the interest of national security".

    For those of you too young to remember J. Edgar Hoover (and haven't seen the film by the same name), I suggest you read up on this mind-blowing example of just how capable the federal government is of abusing "national security" in their quest to stamp out political opponents.

  3. #3

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    I really like this thread and the one on the founding fathers. Both have intelligent, well-thought, and reasoned arguments with information to back said arguments. By the text of the law that WBDaddy just cited, I could indefinitely be thrown in jail for helping plan the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

    How?

    Simple. The people who planned the attack used laptop computers as part of the planning process for the attack. Those laptop computers have chips in them that I have designed. My work is in obviously in direct participation with the terrorists because my designs helped them achieve their goals. Should they decide to arrest me, I can be held indefinitely without trial for my 'crimes'.

    Sound ridiculous? Not really so when you look at Wickard vs. Filburn and truly begin to understand the potential parallels. What happens when the government begins to tell you that you are not allowed to have your own backyard garden for vegetables? Or maybe they'll levy astronomical fines or taxes on backyard gardens? Sound absurd? Since those vegetables are for personal consumption you would not be buying vegetables that come across interstate lines. Therefore, you are affecting said trade and are subject to federal regulation.

    What's to stop the federal government from deciding that 'food producers' with acreage less than say, one acre, are now subject to several thousand dollars worth of added taxes every year? Then, they claim that, even though you are producing it for personal consumption, you are subject to the same federal regulation and your backyard garden will cost you that much a year.

    "The beating of a butterfly's wings in China affects the weather in Africa." This is the sort of thought that goes into chaos theory. The effect does not need to be significant to be related. I could argue that my designs did not make significant impact on whether or not the terrorists achieved their goals, they might have used a different laptop that did not have my designs in it. It won't matter, because by the argument in Wickard vs. Filburn my work directly affects the competition and therefore materially affected the terrorist planning.

    The same thing with your backyard garden. The few pounds of food are insignificant relative to the tonnage produced by the interstate companies, but you affected their sales nonetheless. Therefore, you are subject to federal legislation.

  4. #4

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    I have not yet had time to review the case you mentioned as semester has just started, but I promise I will read more about it. If I understand both of you, then I would also point to the "Patriot Act" in the early days after 9/11. The budding Department of Homeland Security was using the wording of the Act to detain foreign born citizens for possession of GPS devices, specifically if the profiled individual was found in proximity to what the government deemed "Key Security risks" For example, three middle eastern men were detained by a DOHS security team while fishing across from the Groton Submarine base and held without charge. Later released because they turned out to be normal average immigrants to the US with no oversea connection of note. I was on that particular operation, although as a very low ranking member and it was not till years later that I understood the evil we had committed in the name of "protecting freedom"

    Here is the thing, we gave very special attention to Federal instillation's while ignoring daycare's. The federal Government felt its authority was under attack and, overnight, became willing to toss out the very rules they were swear to uphold in order to use force to protect themselves.

    one last thing, I need to make a distinction that Maxx tried to use against me.

    Society is not government. A society can function just fine without a government. A government on the other hand needs a society willing to give up its personal, individual sovereignty to what it perceives as the authority. The myth is that without government you have no society because we "NEED" someone to tell us what choices we have and punish us when we don't make the choices government deems to be the right ones. It is this subjugation of the human mind that we fight against and we fight it through any means short of violence.

  5. #5

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    Power structures will always rise up because, in the end, its in most people's best interest for there to be stability and for some entity to, sometimes forcibly, enforce said stability. There are countless things that government do, have done and will do that is not morally acceptable. But in the end, I think a democratically elected government is morally legitimate because it, assuming the electorate does its job, looks out for the well being of the country and of its citizens.

    I do not think anarchy is practical because it would be in the strongest's best interest to formalize their strength into a power structure, and it would be into the weak and mid-strength's best interest to formalize a power structure to defend themselves from those that are stronger. In the end, I think there is too much incentive for power structures for those not to emerge naturally. Since democracy is what I perceive as the fairest power structure I see it as inherently moral.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Near View Post
    Power structures will always rise up because, in the end, its in most people's best interest for there to be stability and for some entity to, sometimes forcibly, enforce said stability. There are countless things that government do, have done and will do that is not morally acceptable. But in the end, I think a democratically elected government is morally legitimate because it, assuming the electorate does its job, looks out for the well being of the country and of its citizens.

    I do not think anarchy is practical because it would be in the strongest's best interest to formalize their strength into a power structure, and it would be into the weak and mid-strength's best interest to formalize a power structure to defend themselves from those that are stronger. In the end, I think there is too much incentive for power structures for those not to emerge naturally. Since democracy is what I perceive as the fairest power structure I see it as inherently moral.
    Its a fair argument you make Near. Winston Churchill once stated that "...democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

    But consider this: What is the greatest weakness of any democracy?
    I agree with Heinlein when he argues that the "Disenfranchised minority" is the weakness that leads to the immorality of democratic majority rule.

    For a simple example take an issue to which a community off 100,000 people can vote directly for choice A or Choice B. If 60,000 vote for A and 40,000 Vote for B then Choice A will be adopted and the 40,000 people who were against it will be told to go home and accept it as it becomes a new law or rule or whatever they will be required to comply with.
    Is the sovereign freedom of those 40.000 people now up for oppression simply because they did not have enough votes? If a majority republican congress with a republican president held a constitutional convention to repeal the section of the first amendment that declares freedom from impediment of religion an instills Christianity as the "State" religion and only one allowed in the USA, what then? Is it law? What about the mass of people who are Anti religious or of another faith like Muslim. I know the example is a wee bit extreme, but consider the context of the argument more then specifics if you want to get my meaning.

    Why should a governing body threaten me with force if I don't agree with them? Yet if the majority rules that I have to live my life according to rule X what am I to do, fight? I tried that but I am in the disenfranchised majority.

    Does this line of reason make sense. because i have an alternative that may allow a democracy to function with the maximum inclusion possible. I just make sure the above point is clear enough before I explain my idea for an alternative.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragarach View Post
    Its a fair argument you make Near. Winston Churchill once stated that "...democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

    But consider this: What is the greatest weakness of any democracy?
    I agree with Heinlein when he argues that the "Disenfranchised minority" is the weakness that leads to the immorality of democratic majority rule.

    For a simple example take an issue to which a community off 100,000 people can vote directly for choice A or Choice B. If 60,000 vote for A and 40,000 Vote for B then Choice A will be adopted and the 40,000 people who were against it will be told to go home and accept it as it becomes a new law or rule or whatever they will be required to comply with.
    Is the sovereign freedom of those 40.000 people now up for oppression simply because they did not have enough votes? If a majority republican congress with a republican president held a constitutional convention to repeal the section of the first amendment that declares freedom from impediment of religion an instills Christianity as the "State" religion and only one allowed in the USA, what then? Is it law? What about the mass of people who are Anti religious or of another faith like Muslim. I know the example is a wee bit extreme, but consider the context of the argument more then specifics if you want to get my meaning.

    Why should a governing body threaten me with force if I don't agree with them? Yet if the majority rules that I have to live my life according to rule X what am I to do, fight? I tried that but I am in the disenfranchised majority.

    Does this line of reason make sense. because i have an alternative that may allow a democracy to function with the maximum inclusion possible. I just make sure the above point is clear enough before I explain my idea for an alternative.
    This is exactly why our governmental system was developed as a republic, not a democracy.

    There are soooo many protections built into the constitution to prevent "mob rule" (aka the tyranny of the 51%) - the biggest one being the one that is so poo-pooed even here, by people who don't understand the first thing about the long-term effects of law-making - that being the amendment.

    The Framers knew that the law would have to evolve with the times, to reflect the way society had changed, technology had advanced, etc. So they made sure that the Constitution was not a rigid, unchanging document - by building in the amendment process.

    This is not such a difficult or cumbersome process - 2/3 of each house of Congress must vote for an amendment, then 3/4 of the state legislatures must ratify it.

    "Oh, but how could you ever get something passed with that kind of requirement?" - exactly the point. To prevent the tyranny of the 51%, any fundamental change to constitutional law must be a change that has overwhelming public support, not be something so contentious that a vote would fall along party lines! Same goes for impeachment - for the same reason! Removing a sitting president from office in the middle of his term is a grave matter, and should never be motivated by politics! Hence, it takes a supermajority in both houses to impeach the president!

    By the way, back to our republic...

    What poisoned the well, more than anything else, was mass-media. The ability, with enough money, to reach virtually all potential voters in an election with a single, well-rehearsed, well-vetted, 30-second speech.

    Not only did this systematically destroy political discourse (as the "talking point" replaced in-depth debate, due to these time constraints), but it gave rise to the need for vast sums of money in order to advertise as much as (or preferably more than) your opponent, which amplified the already growing problem of graft shaping public policy via the "lobbyist".

    Now we live under a Republic-shaped window dressing which serves merely as a front for the oligarchs and plutocrats that pull the strings and make the puppets dance every four years.

    "Hey wait a minute - there's one guy holding up both puppets!" - Bill Hicks, RIP.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBDaddy View Post
    This is exactly why our governmental system was developed as a republic, not a democracy.

    There are soooo many protections built into the constitution to prevent "mob rule" (aka the tyranny of the 51%) - the biggest one being the one that is so poo-pooed even here, by people who don't understand the first thing about the long-term effects of law-making - that being the amendment.

    The Framers knew that the law would have to evolve with the times, to reflect the way society had changed, technology had advanced, etc. So they made sure that the Constitution was not a rigid, unchanging document - by building in the amendment process.

    This is not such a difficult or cumbersome process - 2/3 of each house of Congress must vote for an amendment, then 3/4 of the state legislatures must ratify it.

    "Oh, but how could you ever get something passed with that kind of requirement?" - exactly the point. To prevent the tyranny of the 51%, any fundamental change to constitutional law must be a change that has overwhelming public support, not be something so contentious that a vote would fall along party lines! Same goes for impeachment - for the same reason! Removing a sitting president from office in the middle of his term is a grave matter, and should never be motivated by politics! Hence, it takes a supermajority in both houses to impeach the president!

    By the way, back to our republic...

    What poisoned the well, more than anything else, was mass-media. The ability, with enough money, to reach virtually all potential voters in an election with a single, well-rehearsed, well-vetted, 30-second speech.

    Not only did this systematically destroy political discourse (as the "talking point" replaced in-depth debate, due to these time constraints), but it gave rise to the need for vast sums of money in order to advertise as much as (or preferably more than) your opponent, which amplified the already growing problem of graft shaping public policy via the "lobbyist".

    Now we live under a Republic-shaped window dressing which serves merely as a front for the oligarchs and plutocrats that pull the strings and make the puppets dance every four years.

    "Hey wait a minute - there's one guy holding up both puppets!" - Bill Hicks, RIP.
    I want to tale this a point at a time because you are hitting on the fundamental principals of the intent behind the amendment process. The serious problem is coming from a usurpation of the original Constitution or the Amendments to it. But in the way the federal has expanded into non-election based entities that the states never gave a constitutional authority to. Instead the system that was designed to be an impediment to irrational expansion of federal power through legislation has failed. We have agencies that have near unlimited power with almost no oversight by the states, power that allows them, for example, to tell a sovereign individual what he can and can't do with his property at the threat of force. We have two presidents in succession that destroyed the consuming public's one weapon against high prices by bailing out companies as "to big to fail"

    Even in the 2/3 majority system, we excluded the concerns, the needs of 1/3 as irrelevant. In Maine 2/3 of the voting public pushed to ban gay marriage. Why should the 2/3 majority have the power to tell a group of people they cannot do something simply because they have the majority? Are gays lesser people because they are fewer in number?

    Why is it you never see people come out and want a law to ban something they do? Why is always something their neighbor does?
    Example: "The gay guy next door wants to marry his gay partner, I am not gay and I don't think its right so I am voting to ban gay marriage" Why do you never hear anyone saying "I like to give blow jobs, but I know blow jobs are wrong so please support this law to prevent me from giving blow jobs"

    Its crazy, why would I want to subjugate my life to the whim of busy bodies who want to protect me from myself?

    To your point about media. I agree in part because from my reading of federalist and anti-federalist papers. It seems the movers and shakers of that era were generally wealth themselves and used that wealth to get themselves heard. So its a problem that has been around since the word GO. But you are right, we no longer hold formal debates that challenge those who think they are "winning" a position of power. Instead we go with the emotional rhetoric that will fuel the fears of the people on both sides of an issue. Republicans seem to use "economic apocalypse and collectivism enslavement " to scare their side of the vote while Dems focus on Social injustice and environmental doom as the tool of fear. Meanwhile both are working to increase the gap betwix the wealthy and powerful and the middle class.

    The republic is all but gone and you are very accurate with the idea of political oligarchs and Corporate Plutocracies that spoon up new objects for the voting public to indulge in their opiate with.

    Hamilton knew, and eluded to the idea that once the federal government subjugated the states financially. the long term inevitable outcome would be total federal control, things may be made get so bad that an amendment dissolving the states sovereignty will look like a beacon of hope to the 2/3 well paid majority and that will spell the end of our dying republic.

    The saddest part is how many people have been taught in subtle ways since birth, that they need to part of a society with a powerful governing body when in truth the most powerful thing on this earth is a person and his brain. We have allowed ourselves to give up so much because we fear a life were one has to wager the continuation of his existence against his skill, ingenuity, willingness to work hard to succeed and his hope for more challenging tomorrow.
    We have become overfeed, overbred and so arrogant that we have some right to live our life without paying full price for it.
    Just look at the difference between what it takes to get the right to vote and how many people use it well and responsibly. They did not have to earn it, so they have little respect for it, but try to take it or even put up a law requiring them to prove they can use it an Watch OUT. I know this is turning a but in to a rant on the multitude of problems in our system so let me stop now, I have an online class session to host in 8 minutes anyway and I need to go brew the coffee.

  9. #9

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    The government is to serve its people, not special interests, lobbyists and corporations.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glaice View Post
    The government is to serve its people, not special interests, lobbyists and corporations.
    Tell that to the politicians who reap the benefits of serving said groups. Odds are, they'll tell you that they are serving the people--what they won't say is that they're serving the people who are funding them the best.

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