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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Civil War from a Religious Perspective

The Christian "Roll Over" Argument

Obviously since people have devoted entire books to the topic of the American Civil War, I cannot possibly do it justice in a short amount of time. (For those of you who are interested in delving into it, I highly recommend William Safire's book "Freedom").

However, there is a renewed interest in the Civil War at this time, due to the current Federal government's continual references to The Commerce Clause in the Constitution. There are rumors that states may, once again, try to secede.

I have heard some Christians cite scripture from the Bible, who say that it is our obligation to bow to the government, with little exception. (The exception would be if the government demanded we do something which is against what the Bible teaches).

But How Do You Define Government?

There were 13-16 states that defined the confederacy in 1861, out of a total of 33 states at that time. So it was a significant number of states (almost half) that decided to exert what they considered to be their state rights.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolution:

"Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that by compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes, delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: That to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party....each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress."

Yeah, he was the master of the run-on sentence.

What It Boils Down To

But what it boils down to is that Jefferson (the third President of the USA) felt that the States called the shots and created the Federal government, thus the Federal government wasn't supposed to reign over the states, but was supposed to be ancillary to them.

Jefferson also wrote the famous "Separation Letter" which set the precedence for the separation of church and state, and contributed to a great deal of thought as to how government should work in the early stages of our republic, so let's not quickly dismiss him as a crackpot.

So, What Does it Mean?

So, is it truly rebellion if the states try to secede again? And if so, is it contrary to what a Christian should do? And, perhaps more importantly (as Christians are a minority), is it something that should be considered by a citizen of the USA?

Rebellion, like history, is in the eye of the beholder. It can certainly be slanted to justify whatever we might want. However, this is a topic which we need to begin to consider, as the Federal government continues to extend its powers via the excuse of the Commerce Clause.

24 comments:

Scott said...

Very interesting and thought provoking questions at the end of the post there.
I think that Rebellion is the duty of a citizen as a last resort to all other efforts to effect change. I do not advocate armed rebellion and mob rule but if THE MAJORITY of citizens feel that they are under tyrannical rule (whatever they define it as) then they should have a right to overthrow the government or secede from their Country.
It would seem that the US is a country divided. We always see the map of the red states and the blue states and it seems to stay pretty much consistent (in recent times). Perhaps the values of the two sides have become so divergent that there needs to be some kind of reconciliation in order to move forward. If not then there mine as well be a revolution and breakdown of the country.
That very idea though brings about so many other questions about how to divide the country and what about those who do not want to secede and what to do with the division of debt, property not to mention creating a new Constitution. I sincerely hope that it never comes to that.

Ellen said...

Well..... before we throw the towel in on the society we have spent many years making, perhaps we deserve a little good news:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/opinion/06brooks.html?src=me&ref=generalod

Maybe we all need to simmer down a bit, and quit taking to heart the Hannity's, Beck's, and Limbaugh's of the country. They, more than anybody else, have stoked the fires of hate this time around.... leaving everyone thinking that secession is the answer.

With Hannity recently applauding the Teapartiers as "Tim McVeigh wannabes" (YIKES! how frightening is that??), Limbaugh hoping that this President fails, and Beck telling his viewers to bail out on any church that teaches social justice, what do you expect? The unrest due to the lies and accusations have made decent folks fearful.

We are America. We are still the land of the free... just not so brave anymore.


Go ahead, label me as a liberal and socialist. Unfortunately those tags do not bother me. I have always believed that the true content of character in a country is in how it treats its populace.

Maybe my comment doesn't fall too well in line with this post, but I was a little late to the table on your last post.

I wish you the best of luck in your internet findings of how this country is leaning, and I always wish you the best, Saur.

Underground Logician said...

To Scott:

I'm sorry, but we need to understand what a "right" is and where it comes from in order for us to act with moral authority. We receive a right from a higher power; in this case, human freedom is inalienable because we are created by a Higher Power. We cannot allow for a individuals to interpret the meaning of "tyrannical rule". Otherwise, any group could claim a right to rebel and we would have chaos.

There are principles in play that must be identified so that we don't just rebel. We must always do what is just; when a law is unjust we are obligated to disobey it. If the government proves to be tyrannical, then we must overthrow it. But let's understand first what the alienable rights we possess are and go from there.

I do agree with you that we DON'T want to have a revolution and the mess that would make. But I don't want to lean toward a reconciliation either. If one side is clearly violating human rights, they need to stop. There is no reconciliation between justice and injustice. The injustice must end.


Good post Saur.

Gary Baker said...

Ellen,

As one who listens regularly to a variety of comments from the left and right, I can pretty much guarantee that if Hannity was applauded anyone as Tim McVeigh wanna-be's, it was facetious. In fact, I just watched the video clip and know it wasn't meant as a serious comment.

As for who is fomenting hate in the discourse, you are entitled to your opinion, but I can bury you with data showing that hatred is far more widespread among liberals, and it isn't just hatred of conservatives, but of the democratic process in America. That's a large part of why they rely so much on judges to get their agenda passed: They know that their social goals are not popular and cannot in most cases be passed by representative democracy.

"Unfortunately those tags do not bother me. I have always believed that the true content of character in a country is in how it treats its populace. "

I quite agree, but what we are talking about with health care is how much force the government is willing to use to achieve those ends. That's the measure of a dictatorship, and has little to do with character.

Having said all that, I am far from ready to start talking secession myself. As a conservative, former military member, and Christian, I know that working through all possible legal channels must be exhausted before any such drastic course is attempted. While Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and company have no use for the Constitution, I believe that if we can't preserve the nation using Constitutional means it will not be preserved at all.

There's a great historical irony at work here. A little over a hundred years ago, the country was split because the elected president was an outspoken supporter of freedom. Now we face a split because the current administration believes in it so little.

Scott, Ellen,

I know you disagree with that assessment. To that end, I propose a test. Scott has said repeatedly that the obligations that Canada imposes do not make him feel like a slave. The test is simple: A free man can change his mind without the government interfering. Can you?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Scott and Underground Logician, Thank you! Great contributions. This is really quite a complex issue, the more you delve into it.

Ellen, I'm not aligning myself with all the right wingers, necessarily. Some of them are downright rabble rousers and they do it for the ratings. Some of what they say is puerile at best.

BUT,

Sometimes they're correct.

The problem is that if the healthcare bill does end up becoming a TRUE law (in other words, Congress approves the funding for it), then we will shortly be looking at a U.S. National debt that will rise to 90% of GDP by 2020. No country has ever survived such a ratio in the history of mankind.

Ever.

So if we're going to share articles, please look at that one.

How nice that there are still feel-good Polyanna articles (such as the one you recommended by David Brooks). But the truth is that there is a reason that Brooks is the minority voice: Most experts don't agree with him.

For one thing, his optimism is based on a premise of a surge in the population. Really? From where? Mexico again? Because the average illegal immigrant actually DRAINS our coffers more than they add to them.

Even the average LEGAL worker drains the coffers, if they're making only minimum wage.

And we can only hope that people who can actually contribute to the GDP will enter the country. Recently there has been a mass emigration of illegal Mexicans back to their own country. Why? Because our economy sucks. So hoping that more people will come...? Well, let's just say that although we're a popular destination for terrorists and illegal immigrants, there is little to recommend us right now.

What? You think we have a lock on landscape? Freedoms? Clean drinking water?

Think again. Canada and Europe are looking pretty darned good to a lot of people these days.

And I find Brooks' claim that "...the average American worker is nearly 10 times more productive than the average Chinese worker, a gap that will close but not go away in our lifetimes" to be particularly ludicrous and completely unbelievable. I surely would like to see how he got THOSE impossible numbers.

Sitting on the sidelines and being a cheerleader isn't all bad. But if the cheerleader doesn't have all the facts, they could be sounding the wrong cheers.

Brooks reminds me of the cheerleader I heard who chanted "Our team is RED HOT! Our team is RED HOT! Our team R-E-H-O-T-D HOT!"

Ellen said...

Gary~

I believe that the healthcare bill was passed by Congressmen and Senators... elected officials, not judges. Albeit all Democrats, and no Republicans, they were still all elected officials.... and look at the amount of hate and death threats towards those that voted yes. I will concede that the hatred comes from both sides of the spectrum, it just seems that the loudest voices are coming from the Right.

The force you speak about, I assume, is the mandating of having to have healthcare in the first place. If you listen to the rightwing fringe, they will spout tactics of how the IRS will come after you if you do not have insurance. If you read the bill, you will see that the IRS is powerless to come after you for not having it.... nor will they prosecute you. They can do nothing. It's the second worse scare tactic since Palin's "death panels".

I am sure you could bury me with all the data out there how the liberals are angry.... but most of us are angrier that the public option was not even considered in the last stages of passing healthcare reform. This is where you will bury me with data concerning the generational theft talking points Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh ,et al spout. Funny how they can make millions of dollars over raging up the masses, yet fret over the roll-back of the Bush tax cuts. How many more millions more do they need to sustain their lifestyle? They also, more than likely, have a golden healthcare plan.... one which Beck pariodied and exclaimed that the United States had the worse healthcare in the world, but then recanted when this fight for the common folk came along. It's all in the ratings.

As it stands for me, I already pay 28% in taxes, and a 28% tax for my healthcare insurance. My monthly insurance rate is $256.00 a month, making that a little over $860.00 in taxes I pay this year alone. If I'm just a little lucky I can offset this with deductions, especially considering that I only made about 15K this year in salary.... which is still well below the poverty level.

As for freedoms being revolked... Whose freedoms are being revolked? Are we not still free to say anyting on our minds? I find that hard to believe since we have Fox News as a cheerleader for the Right, and they still seem to be in business.

As for Hannity's remark at his little rally, it was bad form at best... facetious or not.


Saur~

Well, all teams must have their cheerleaders, it's what goads the team on. Each side sees injustices in either the handling or the offering of new bills to insure that all Americans are protected.

If it weren't for the liberals you would not have the services you now take for granted. ie: education, firefighters, policemen, rangers, social security, medicaid.... and the list goes on. I will be the first to admit that it is not a perfect system, but neither is doing nothing. I do believe that "provide for the common good" still exists in the Constitution.

The Right seem to laugh off the systems of the French, Brits, et al. Funny how little their opinion matters when it comes to taking care of the populace, yet it matters a great deal that we win a war or show strength. I find the irony ironic.

Perhaps Brooks' article may be a bit far-fetched for you, but I would like to believe that we can strive for a better Union, rather than tear it down over diviciness. The cheerleaders on the Right have been intent with their agenda as well.... hoping that this President fails. If the President fails, we ALL fail. Now that is red hot.

Oh, and I did read your link. Scary as it is, I'm sure there is some leftwing site that could site other opinions. It's all in who and what you trust for information.

Again, the greatet respect for you, Saur, and for you as well, Gary. I do respect your opinions, I just don't agree with a few of them. I do thank you both for being civil in your discussion.... I have not had that luxury when weighing in on political affairs in the past.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ellen, No problem, you are more than welcome to disagree!

A few points: I think you're coming from the perspective that I'm a devout conservative. I'm actually a moderate and in the past I've been both a registered Republican AND a registered Democrat.

All that being said, I find that both parties stink these days, and would love to see a new one. However, the schism would probably be terrific (can anyone say "Ross Perot" without shuddering?)

Here are some things I disagree with:

1. If the President fails, we all fail? In what way? If the President fails to create a holocaust, for instance, I wouldn't count myself among the losers. If you mean we won't save face, since when does any other country really respect us, anyway?

2. As for what other countries think of us, I could truly care less. I am an old fashioned isolationist, though, so I realize I am the exception and not the rule.

3. I think some of the other countries have some better systems than we do. But each country has it's own set of problems, too, and let's not forget that either. For instance, France may have... er, baguettes. But they also have a terrific problem with a growing Islamic/radical population.

4. I've been stating for some time that we need some reform in the healthcare system and I, for one, would like to see a form of socialized medicine. As you point out, we have socialized a lot of other things with a certain degree of success.

Gary Baker said...

Ellen,

"I believe that the healthcare bill was passed by Congressmen and Senators... elected officials, not judges."

You are quite correct. I was referring to the way they legalized abortion, gay marriage in several states, the continuous lawsuits against religious liberty, etc.

"and look at the amount of hate and death threats towards those that voted yes."

You seem to neglect the threats that Stupak received from the left when he was considering blocking the bill on the abortion issue. However, let's look at it. If you listen to the report from the house sergeant at arms, you'll find that there has been no increase in the amount of threats received. Things are as they have been for recent history. You might also look at all the claims of racial and sexual epithets that the Dems claimed that are suspiciously absent despite all of the taped coverage of them walking through the Tea Party Crowd. However, if you really want hate, you can get lots of footage of liberals on college campuses inciting violence to prevent conservative speakers from being heard, supporters of gay marriage yelling racial epithets at African Americans who supported prop eight, lots of calls from liberal talk show hosts for conservatives to drop dead, claims they should be imprisoned for speaking their mind, and so forth.


"I will concede that the hatred comes from both sides of the spectrum, it just seems that the loudest voices are coming from the Right"

It seems that way because that's what the press gives the most play to. Try doing some independent research. You'll find it most enlightening.

"If you read the bill, you will see that the IRS is powerless to come after you for not having it.... nor will they prosecute you. They can do nothing."

Really? That's why they passed a law to mandate health coverage and are in the process of hiring over 10,000 new IRS agents? As window dressing for a law that has no effect? Then why make it a law? Why specify fines.

As to your assertion that the IRS will not prosecute or come after anyone, that's quite rich. When the Endangered Species Act was first debated, one of the people supporting the act stated that it was ridiculous to think that the act might be used to stop valuable construction simply to protect some endangered fish, yet that happened in pretty short order. When the hate crimes law passed in Canada, people said there was no way that it would be used to prosecute people for religious views, yet that's exactly what happened. When Social Security was passed, it was promised that it was going to top out at 6% - Three from the person and three from the employer. Your assurances about what government will or will not do are laughable.

As for Palin's assertion, you may object to the name but her reasoning is sound. Any time the demand for a service outstrips supply, there will be some kind of rationing. Right now, the rationing has been done by cost. With the government controlling what procedures are approved, there will indeed be panels who determines what people do and do not get treatment. They will have to because we can't give everyone the healthcare they need or want. I mentioned the case to Scott several weeks ago about the baby that was ignored to death after birth in the British hospital because it was born before the legally mandated allowable period for treatment. Some group had decided that babies born before a certain level of maturity were likely to die, so the government said let them die to conserve resources. It's happened there. It will happen here.

Gary Baker said...

"Funny how they can make millions of dollars over raging up the masses, yet fret over the roll-back of the Bush tax cuts."

You may find it funny, but it's their money. Not yours. Not the governments. I don't know why liberals fret over tax cuts so much. The only consequence of a tax cut is that people can keep more of what they earn. Wait...I guess I do understand why liberals get so upset about tax cuts.

"Whose freedoms are being revolked?"

As near as I can tell, everyone's. Let's start out with the basics of the Constitution: No one shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. No one shall be placed in a position of involuntary servitude. Those powers not assigned to the Federal government are reserved to the people and the states. No where in the Constitution does it give the Federal government the right to force people to buy anything.

"Are we not still free to say anyting on our minds?"

Depends. If you are a conservative on a college campus and trying to get a conservative speaker, chances are that someone may stage a riot to stop you. That, or call you racist, sexist, etc. Lots of people on the left try very hard to intimidate people into silence by threatening lawsuits, hate speech prosecution, etc.

"As for Hannity's remark at his little rally, it was bad form at best... facetious or not."

Really? Compared to the movie about assassinating Bush? All of the Bush Hitler signs? All of the bricks thrown through recruiter offices in San Francisco? Compared to forcing SF Firemen to march in a gay pride parade while they were taunted and insulted by the other marchers? Compared to Obama refusing to take responsibility for anything that happened on the first year of his watch? Compared to Reid, Pelosi, and Sharpton comparing the Tea Party to the KKK (a Democrat organization)?

"I do believe that "provide for the common good" still exists in the Constitution."

You need to review the facts a bit. The term is promote the general welfare, and under law that only applies to enumerated powers. The only way that it could possibly be changed is through judges, which brings me back to my earlier comment.

As for the services that you are talking about, today's liberal is nothing like the liberal of that past that actually believed in individual rights. Through unions, they have pretty much destroyed the education system. BTW - It wasn't liberalism that brought education. It was religion. Public schools were formed to teach people to read the Bible. Deal with it.

Gary Baker said...

"If the President fails, we ALL fail."

Thankfully, some people still believe that America is more than an incompetent stuffed shirt delivering pretentious speeches. America wasn't built on Washington, Lincoln, or any of the others. It was built on a Constitution that valued law over the arbitrary will of men. As long as that survives, we can succeed. Unfortunately, it is precisely that principle that the current administration is undermining.

"It's all in who and what you trust for information."

Or here's a really novel idea: Don't trust commentary for your facts. Research. Check out. Discover why the states that embrace liberal economic ideals are the ones that are deepest in debt and rapidly going down. Find out how Detroit, once the industrial capital of the world, has fallen into such a shambles that the city wants to bulldoze a good portion of it. Find out how Massachusetts is such a basket case with their state run health care that it has one of the fastest rising rate structures in the country and even then Health Insurance companies are refusing to issue new policies because they can't afford to.

The truth is out there, but don't expect either side to hand it out to you. Do the work it takes to find out how things fit together. Or at least check out the history. Just about every idea this administration has tossed out has been tried in one form or another and failed spectacularly. The fact that they have to know this and are still pushing so hard should tell you a great deal about their motives and their wisdom.

I can't honestly say that I respect everyone's opinion. But I do respect everyone's right to an opinion. I don't consider the Constitution sacred, but it's as close as any secular document can be. Let the fascists try to shut down debate. I prefer burying the opposition under facts.

Gary Baker said...

Saur,

You made some interesting points. As I expected, I am off to the right of you on some things, though some of our differences are odd. I am not an isolationist. I just don't think that's practical in our modern world. At the same time, I don't care what a lot of countries think about us as Americans. What I think of as more essential is that we maintain our system under law so that they will at least have a consistent reference as to how we are operating.

I've never registered with any political party, though I am a fairly hard line conservative. I take that approach because I genuinely believe that maximum liberty and personal responsibility are best for everyone. The human spirit degrades rapidly in a state of dependence.

I suppose it's likely that some other countries have better systems that we do, at least for specific items. I am not necessarily opposed to change (I do think we have to make a lot of modifications in our health care), but I also am convinced that what is done has to pass Constitutional muster and consent of the governed to work. Abortion is an example of what happens when the system is short circuited. The matter was removed from the democratic process, and supreme court nominations have been held hostage ever since because despite all the claims that abortion is a right, people know it is not. It was a power play by the court, and what one court gives, another can take away.

The idea that socialized services have a degree of success is very subjective. It all depends on how you define success. I do know that government services are more expensive, less efficient, and slower to react than comparable free market systems. From my standpoint, that pretty much makes them a failure. As I said, it depends on your definitions.

Scott said...

Wow, lots of dialogue happening here. Impressive.

Gary, you asked a question:
A free man can change his mind without government interference. Can you?

Can you give me an example of this? Without an example I am thinking that this is basically asking is it better to have freedom to or freedom from. Without access to health care can someone truly be free? If you are completely broke because you have diabetes do you have real freedom? If you don't have access to solid education can you be free? In our World I would argue no. It is important to recognize that there are all kinds of systemic issues out there that get in the way of self determination. I am not saying that nobody can rise above, in fact I think that many can, but there is very real class difference in most countries of the world.
In North America only 10% of citizens will ever change 'class.' That is the odds say that if you are born rich you will remain rich, if you are born poor you will remain poor. That is systemic and needs to be addressed for people to truly have freedom.

You said:
"When the hate crimes law passed in Canada, people said there was no way that it would be used to prosecute people for religious views" When has this law been used to prosecute someone, I live hear and don't recall any such incident. I have heard that there are fears of that happening, but have yet to ever see it. In fact the law protects speech that is from a religious perspective.

Scott

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gary, 100% agreed. Yes, I'm an odd bird - no doubt. ;o) It takes a while to get to know me.

Here's my thoughts on our socialized systems, such as schools, libraries, etc.

You've never seen a true free market system at work, thankfully, and neither have I. However, we've got some historical data that shows how ugly it can get.

As a Christian, I believe that man's first tendencies are toward evil, and not good. We are all basically self-centered beasts who will happily plow someone under to get what we want (look at the recent Christmas trampling of an employee at WalMart who stood in the way of "bargains").

Human nature is "me first".

In the 1800s in England and America, where Big Business ran amuck and was unregulated, we had people who were terribly taken advantage of. Factory workers who lived in abject misery, children who were literally worked to death, and those were the lucky ones.

Why?

Because they were able to extend their meager lives by being able to pay for something warm to wear, a place to sleep, and a little food to put in their bellies.

We forget those horrors when we watch movies that glorify those times.

So who stepped in? Big Business? No - the government did.

The government knew that Big Business was motivated by profit only (or at least in the large part) and that because mankind (and Big Business) were basically greedy, selfish monsters, it would take someone else outside of the system to look after the poor and needy.

If it were up to Big Business, and we left them to take over the schools, the roads, the parks, the libraries, etc., do you think that they would?

Schools would be converted to factories, libraries might last for a while because of their entertainment value (but you can bet people would be charged for the privilege), and companies would only pave roads that led to their establishments. Parks would become shopping malls.

Don't fool yourself.

And don't forget that modern neo-cons have redefined "conservative" to mean "pro Big Business". And, to some extent, that was also Reagan's fault (though I loved him as a President).

You don't have to be pro Big Business to be conservative.

Ellen said...

Gary~

Decisions made by both sides of the spectrum tend to upset the opposing side. A judges job is to step in to cast a deciding vote.... be it abortion, gay marriage, religious lawsuits, gun laws in National Parks, or campaign finance laws. The last two coming from conservative lawmakers that I didn't agree with. Yet they are law, and were not voted on by constituent. Like it or not, I have to abide by the decisions.

I live close to a town in Georgia that REQUIRES each homeowner to carry a gun in their home. Yes, we have the right to bear arms according to the Constitution, but accordingly, it is a right and not a demand.

Concerning death threats, I will concede that both sides have received their share. Both sides have made a mockery over the way they stand for or against the current and past administrations. I don't condone this, and never have. I find it truly shameful that an intellectual discussion is ruined by opposing views that use hateful rhetoric to pass their idea along.... be it Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal. It weakens the message. Unfortunately this discourse has had a long history in our country with even Eisenhower being compared to a Communist back in the 1950's. It was never right then, and it isn't right now. Neither are the outbursts from the Senate floor we have currently witnessed. The Joe Wilson "YOU LIE" comment, as well as Randy Neugebaur "BABYKILLER" comment. Even though Neugebaur apologized and said it wasn't that Reid was a babykiller, it still showed poor form.
(By the way, wasn't it Hannity who said that it is treasonous to undermine a sitting President while at war? Guess that only applied to Bush, eh?)
I don't seem to recall Mr. Bush getting that kind of treatment during any speeches or State of the Union addresses...even as he was lying to us about WMD. But then, I guess he took a page out of Rush Limbaugh's playbook, where he wasn't lying, he was just misinformed.

Whether you believe it or not, you still have the right to free speech... hate speech maybe not so much. Crying "fire" in a crowded theatre is still against the law.
Ann Coulter was a recent victim to this, but not in the US, it was in Ottawa, Canada.... and I suspect it had much to do with her comments about Canada in the first place.

Yeah, I'm sure you can cite instances of other conservatives that have been shut down, and I know they exist, but being a controversal person puts you in that position regardless of party. Personally I believe in boycotting rather than full out assault... but that's just me.


As for:
death panels~ I don't exactly trust the insurance companies death panel either.... and they have been practicing this for a long time, while their CEO's rake in profits enough to make God blush. Why should anyone be happy that they are skimming off the top rather than give needed services? This isn't because they worked hard for their money... on the contrary, it is nothing more than greed and a couple of extra toys they can buy themselves. By the way, they still will make out pretty well regardless of the passing of the bill.

KKK~ You are correct, the KKK started out as a democratic organization but the Dems switched over to the Republican side during Civil Rights, and took their Jim Crow beliefs with them. The southern democrats further cemented their loyalty to the Republicans during Reagans run for office.

10,000 new IRS agents~ actually I read that the number is closer to 16,000 new agents, and mostly hired to get through the paperwork of everyones filings. But if you want to believe that it will bring the black helicopters to your door over healthcare insurance, I can't stop you.


I am reserved in my faith of the Government, especially after the last administration, but like it or not, it is a necessary evil. To me, it is not whether a government is large or small, but in how effective it is to it's populace.

Gary Baker said...

Scott,

For some coverage of religious suppression in the name of "Hate Crimes" in Canada and elsewhere, refer to:

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message207505/pg1

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/persecution/pch0080.html

http://thewordout.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=73944

http://www.catholicregister.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3256&Itemid=849

"Without access to health care can someone truly be free? If you are completely broke because you have diabetes do you have real freedom? If you don't have access to solid education can you be free? In our World I would argue no."

You are certainly free to make the argument. The United States, however, was founded by people who valued freedom and self determination far more than being cared for. In at least some colonies the mortality rate for colonists approached 50% for the first winter. Likewise for people who moved west during the expansion. What you are arguing is that unless you are cared for and protected from life, you cannot be free. You are entitled to your opinion, but it hardly sounds like a worthwhile life to me. And using it as an excuse to rob your fellow citizens is downright pitiful.


"In North America only 10% of citizens will ever change 'class.' That is the odds say that if you are born rich you will remain rich, if you are born poor you will remain poor. That is systemic and needs to be addressed for people to truly have freedom."

I don't know what figures you are looking at, but refer to this article:

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4519

Here are some high points - A study followed a group in the lowest 20% economically in the US over a sixteen year period from the seventies to the nineties. The result was that only five percent of the group stayed in the bottom quintile. Seventy five percent moved into the top three quintiles. Because the US has, or had, economic freedom, people don't have to stay in poverty. Compare that with the conditions in other socialist countries in North America. That would be Mexico and Canada.

Add to that, the vast majority of people who are poor and stay poor do things that ensure they stay poor. These include drug abuse, out of wedlock pregnancy, poor effort in school and/or job performance. Yes, I know there are always exceptions, but the majority of people who work to get ahead do get ahead. To say that they should be penalized by subsidizing the unproductive lifestyles of others is ridiculous. It is that economic freedom in the US, including the freedom to fail, that has generated unsurpassed prosperity and a relatively high standard of living even for the poor.

Gary Baker said...

Ellen,

"A judges job is to step in to cast a deciding vote.... be it abortion, gay marriage, religious lawsuits, gun laws in National Parks, or campaign finance laws."

No, a judges job is to determine the correct answer under law. When unelected judges get to decide that legislation means what they say it means, they have crossed the line from judge to king.

"I live close to a town in Georgia that REQUIRES each homeowner to carry a gun in their home."

I would appreciate it if you give me the name of the town so that I can research that. I don't see how such a thing is constitutional or enforceable, and I would love to research it.

"By the way, wasn't it Hannity who said that it is treasonous to undermine a sitting President while at war?"

Can you get me an internet reference?

"But then, I guess he took a page out of Rush Limbaugh's playbook, where he wasn't lying, he was just misinformed.

Perhaps you can give a satisfactory answer to a question that no other liberal has: The constant liberal refrain was that Bush lied when he said Iraq had WMD. To me that implies that the statement was false and he knew it was false. Now, it's very difficult to prove what he knew, so let's stick with the statement itself. Every major Democrat politician in the country said the exact same thing. Repeatedly. This includes Gore, both Clintons, Kerry, Edwards, and most anyone else who threw their hat in the political area. They were all certain, never had any doubt of it, right up until the time came when someone decided to take action. Then the backpedaling began. Yet no one on the left ever branded them liars. Why is that?

Vice President Gore Talking about WMDs

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a6d_1247512392

John Edwards

http://noolmusic.com/youtube_live/john_edwards_iraq_wmd_a_grave_threat_us_mustcreate_democracy_in_iraq.php

Hillary Clinton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYATbsu2cP8

"Neither are the outbursts from the Senate floor we have currently witnessed. The Joe Wilson "YOU LIE" comment, as well as Randy Neugebaur "BABYKILLER" comment. Even though Neugebaur apologized and said it wasn't that Reid was a babykiller, it still showed poor form. "

I agree, it was poor form, though at least the Wilson "You lie" comment was accurate. That was in contrast to President Obama's dressing down of the Supreme Court during the state of the union message when he made a comment on their decision which he at least should have known was untrue.

"Ann Coulter was a recent victim to this, but not in the US, it was in Ottawa, Canada."

Yes, though she and other conservative speakers have been blocked by threats of violence and unlawful demonstrations and assaults on US campuses. Yet the liberal administrations never seek to punish this type of facism. Instead they let it go and thus encourage more.

"Whether you believe it or not, you still have the right to free speech... hate speech maybe not so much."

Well, the last time the supreme court ruled on the matter they were very specific: There is no exemption on the first amendment due to hate speech. In fact, I would say that the use of such laws to shut down dialogue has a great deal to do with why the amendment was adopted to begin with.

"10,000 new IRS agents~ actually I read that the number is closer to 16,000 new agents, and mostly hired to get through the paperwork of everyones filings."

Let's examine your logic: Tax revenues are down. Unemployment is the highest it has been in decades. Fewer people are filing. Government debt is at an all time high. So, we need to bring in 16,000 more IRS agents for no particular reason except handling the return filings? Wow, that one got right by me...

Keep em coming. I can keep this up at least as long as you can.

Gary Baker said...

Saur,

Like you, I tend to believe the worst about human nature. I also believe that one of the most important duties of government is to protect the health and safety of workers through reasonable regulation. Theoretically, this is best served by the government acting as an impartial referee without a vested interest in either side. We both know that isn't going to happen.

Despite the free market's drawbacks, I still believe it is the best that humans can practically achieve simply because it allows people to better serve their own interests by better serving the interests of others. In that way, it's almost magic. If prosperity were a matter of work ethic and resources, Mexico would have probably surpassed the US and we would be sneaking in to get their jobs. On a world wide scale, Africa would probably be the most wealthy country. There are several reasons for this. I happen to believe that America's Christian heritage, not universal but dominant, played a tremendous part in our prosperity. But aside from direct blessings, it encouraged us to develop a system that promoted economic liberty. Imperfect yes, but it still allowed the upstart country to become the last super power. We have now reached a point where people are simply too afraid to be free or find it too much work. If the trend is not reversed, decline is inevitable.

Gary Baker said...

Ellen,

BTW - I have been doing some research on your IRS "non-enforcement" issue. Apparently the head of the IRS is on record as saying that rather than go after people for fines, they will simply withhold income tax refunds. So, the roughly 47% of people that don't pay income tax, who also are likely to be the biggest winners under Obamacare, will get all of the benefits with nothing to fear. It's only people who pay taxes that have to worry. This fits right in with the current administration's policy of punishing achievement and rewarding non-performance.

Gary Baker said...

Scott,

I've dug up some wonderful information with regards to your "Can you truly be free without..." query. It relates to Greece, once cradle of democracy, now broke Socialist economic basket case.

Like many European socialist democracies, Greece maintains a hefty set of benefits. Of course, there being no such thing as a free lunch, there are trade offs. For example, if you are unemployed and a job you are qualified for becomes available, the government can compel you to take the job to keep those benefits. That doesn't sound bad on the surface. Sounds fair really. But some jobs are less agreeable than others. For example, prostitution, or sex trade, is legal and government approved in Greece. So, if a woman, or man I suppose, is out of work and a slot opens up in a red light district, she may find herself with a whole new career she never anticipated! Wife? Mother? Religiously opposed? Too bad. Get out there and earn your keep!

Which makes me wonder: If a government official came knocking on your door and said "We want you to (fill in the blank with something really distasteful). You can refuse, but that will be the end of all government benefits permanently."

What would you do? Or more importantly, what would you refuse to do? After never having to worry about handling a real emergency yourself, just how free are you?

If you've never considered the question before, I suggest you do so now.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gary, But then truthfully, how free are WE?

You don't have money to pay child support? You go to jail. (This isn't a discussion of dead beat parents but how the government can impose laws that you go to jail for, whether or not you can comply).

You don't pay the IRS? You go to jail and/or get all kinds of things seized, etc.

You can't afford to pay taxes on a home you've owned for years? Well, be prepared to lose your property.

etc., etc. ad nauseum.

Just saying.

Gary Baker said...

Saur,

I agree with you, and that's a good part of my point: How much more power do we want to give away?

Ellen said...

Gary~

I would have answered you yesterday, but my computer crashed, and I was too busy catching up on regular work by the time I got it back last night.

Anyhoo... a few points I can get to before I run out of space to comment:

Hannity~
I will stand corrected, but only halfway on this. I could not find any reference where he said "treason".... however he did (in a conversation with Ollie North and Alan Colmes) say that we are undermining the President with protests against the war and while our troops are in harms way. I guess that was then, and this is now, eh?

www.newshounds.us/2006/04/19/sean/hannity_defends_president_bush_and_the_iraq_war

required guns~
The town in Georgia is called Kennesaw. There are a few excceptions to the rule (such as contientious objectors, religious beliefs), but I'll take a 1/2 right on this one as well. If you read the article, you will notice that they exclaim that the crime rate went way down after passing the law.... but this article was written well before the shooting rampage that happened earlier this year where a disgruntled person went into a Penske Rental and killed 3 employees.... thereby wrecking the 25 year streak of no murders in the town. You can find this easily through your fast check by typing in: Kennesaw Georgia gun shooting or Kennesaw gun law.

Bush lies~
I believe that Bush really thought he had proof that Iraq maintained WMD.... but this was after George Tenet's "slam dunk". Of course Tenet was told to find the slimmest evidence of WMD proof, and everyone went along for the ride. We all believed Iraq had WMD, because that's what the report apparently said according to Tenet. We found out later that this was not nearly as true as presented. So here is one area where your mistrust of government is justified... can't always trust what's coming out from the elected heads. I'll concede to that.

"You Lie" comment~
Actually Joe Wilson shouted his famous line during a 2009 Presidential Address with the joint session of Congress. It was after Obama outlined his healthcare proposal that no illegal aliens would be covered under a passed law. The reference you mention was actually Judge Alito shaking his head no during the State of the Union address... but there was no outburst otherwise.

judges decisions~
You are right, and I should have clarified myself on this one... but again, only halfway. Judges are required to follow the rule of law, but they still cast the deciding decision. Our system allows for people to challange this with appeals ad nauseum, and this is why many convicted killers live for years past their sentences. This might actually surprise you, but I will admit (even being a liberal) that I do believe in the death penalty in the most extreme cases. Tim McVeigh comes to mind.

Well, I'm sure I am out of comment space as I have had to edit my last comments for going over the 4,096 characters. This has been fun, and I thank you for prodding me into looking further past the talking heads for info. It hasn't changed my liberal status though.

Gary Baker said...

Hi Ellen,

Thank you for the researched responses. A few cross comments...

"I guess that was then, and this is now, eh?"

You seem to be comparing apples and oranges to me. As you yourself wrote in the reply, Hannity was complaining about Congress and the hard left (Code Pink comes to mind) undermining the President's attempts to prosecute the war on terror and the difficulties it was causing in getting funds and supplies to the troops to enable them to succeed. I don't know of anyone on the right that is trying to interfere with the President in fighting the war. He is getting a lot of pressure from the left still to get out.

Thanks for the info on Kennesaw, though it sounds like the requirement for gun ownership is "in name only." If all a citizen has to do is say "I am morally opposed to owning a gun," then it doesn't have much real power. Still, you are correct in that the idea of forcing people to purchase or own anything, even in principle, is very troubling. I find the health care law far more troubling. It not only does not provide the exemptions, but also requires lifetime payments, not just a one time investment. There is also the big Constitutional issue. The Constitution reserves powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the states and people. This was an example of local people governing themselves.

Gary Baker said...

Sorry about my mix-up on the "You lie" comment. Quite right that I mixed up my statements. The president's comments during the state of the union I found particularly distasteful. According to tradition, regardless of what is said the judges are supposed to sit there and show no response. To be there and have someone lie about you to your face and be expected to take it cemented my view of Obama as a liar and bully. He may or may not be as smart as some people think, but I think his leadership skills are non-existent.

"So here is one area where your mistrust of government is justified... can't always trust what's coming out from the elected heads."

That's definitely a point, but in my opinion it's not the worst. The worst part from my perspective is that the press will continue to repeat the same garbage as long as it matches their political script. They pretty much abandoned their role as a neutral provider of information. People have begun to recognize that and as a result they are losing readership. The free market is working in this regard. People aren't paying for a product they know is useless. The leftist on the media are responding predictably. They are asking for government subsidies so that they continue to write the stuff. Pathetic.

Have a good day, Ellen. Until we meet again.