Archive for the ‘group politics’ Tag

Dems Go Crazy   5 comments

PHOTO: Pictured (L-R) are Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton in Osage, Iowa, Jan. 5, 2016 and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas, Dec. 28, 2015.I am totally opposed to socialism because I’m smart enough to realize that you can’t give everything to everybody just by soaking the “rich” and expect to achieve any sort of stability. High taxation systems are not compatible with liberty.

So Hillary is losing her national lead against Bernie Sanders. I say “Good!”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/hillary-clinton-losing-national-lead-bernie-sanders-poll/story?id=36733595

The 2016 Presidential race might, possibly, be between a radical ideologue and a conservative. Nice! Not that Hillary is not a radical ideologue, but she’s better at couching her radical anti-liberty ideals in more moderate tones, which makes it more likely that people will not recognize the liberty-death-spiral that she represents.

The hope is that the American people, confronted with the insanity of socialism, will finally see how reasonable conservative views really are.

And, if we don’t … if we prefer to become Greece … well, that won’t last very long. By the time my kids are the age I am now, I suspect we will have had a third American revolution and something other than the United States of America will exist in its place.

Bernie Sanders is a great argument for why democracy is a bad idea.

Lela on Group Politics and the Evil of Special Interests   2 comments

Thom Stark and I are engaged in friendly debate about our societal divisions. Last week he offered his take on things.

 

DSC01494Seriously, Thom? Us and them? How can there be a definable“us”? Given the group politics of our era it’s at best a moving target.

How does an elected official (or, worse an unelected bureacrat) decide whose values are higher?  Southern politicians thought they were protecting “us” (whites) against “them” (blacks) by passing Jim Crow laws. Today white racists are “them” and non-racists of all colors are “us” … or are they? I’m a member of an Indian tribe and on the reservation, white people are “them”. My cousins talk about “them” like lower animals and do it in front of me, because I’m supposed to be a member of the tribe and hostile to white people, but they forget that I spend most of my life as just a person among  people. The law says Indians are allowed to discriminate against Thom Stark (and my husband Brad) on the reservation.  It’s racist as hell, but the tribal coucil and my cousins don’t see that. It’s just “us” and “them”.

Government officials like herds. They’re easier to direct , control and marginalize. It is easier to choose winners and losers among groups and to ascribe antisocial motives to individuals who fail to comply with their herd.  It’s also easier for the officials to justify marginalizing one group over another based on the selected criteria of the moment.  A century ago as an Indian woman, I had no rights in American society. That wasn’t in the Constitution, but government officials said my grandmother was a member of a group that was outside the law and therefore had no rights. Now as an individual I have all the rights that you do, but as a member of a group, I have the authority (I won’t deign to call it a “right”) to discriminate against you on the Rez because elected officials (the tribal council) say I may do that and federal officials have agreed the council has the authority to make that judgment. Wow, that sounds suspiciously like a Jim Crow law, doesn’t it?

Thom StarkI don’t see you as a member of some “other” group. I see you as an individual and it is a whole lot harder to look an individual in the eye and treat him as if he weren’t really human. Special interest politics has gone by a lot of different names, but it really comes down to limiting the opportunities and marginalizing the humanity some people in order to maximize the opportunity and magnify the humanity others. It’s choosing winners and losers in society and patting ourselves on our backs for our continued lack of self-awareness.

 

I’m running out of time to post today and covering both of Thom’s topics in a concise manner has proven difficult, so this is going to be a two-parter.

Lela on Slavery and Individual Rights   1 comment

Thom StarkLast week, Thom Stark expanded upon his centrist views. And, I’m still hung up on the idea of government being obligated to pursue policies for the greatest good, while also protecting the rights of minorities. I still don’t think it’s possible.

Again, we agree on quite a few points.

Slavery and US slavery particuarly are huge topics we could discuss. How a country could claim, on the one hand, that all men are created equal but allow some men to own others is incomprehensible. It’s tempting to say the Civil War was fought for wholly moral reasons and therefore was a “good” war, but I know too much about what was also going on besides the issue of slavery to agree. Just the fact that Lincoln didn’t free the slaves until halfway into the war suggests there was something more going on than slavery.

And, then you also have to deal with the repression that grew from the Union victory in the Civil War. Reconstruction was a brutal and immoral period that raped the South economically, forced it into a subservient role for the next century, and led to Jim Crow and the eventual need for the Civil Rights movement, but worse, the abrogation of states rights has had profound negative effects on individual rights throughout the nation in subsequent years. It has been used as an excuse for repression of regionalization ever since. In effect, the moral crusade to end slavery empowered the federal repression of states and gave structure to Plato’s Republic in modern America.

But that would be a later discussion, I think.

Lela Markham Davidson Ditch CorrectedI still believe strongly that the individual is the smallest and most powerless of minorities and that government generally is the antithesis of protecting the rights of the individual. We could certainly delve into how various minorities groups have banded together to create a statistical majority bent on forcing others to fall in line with what they want. A case in point would be the Masterpiece Cake Shop, which shows that minority group power overrides the individual right of freedom of faith.

Or we could tear an example from the headlines.

Eric Garner was allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the streets of Staten Island — coincidentally only blocks from one of the neighborhoods my husband grew up in. First a single police officer confronted him with the victimless crime. I’ve seen the video. He was agitated and loud, but never violent toward the officer, but it quickly escalated into four officers holding him on the ground, one with his knee in Garner’s back and another with his hand pushing Garner’s face into the concrete. Yes, very much police brutality, but while we’r freaking out over a symptom of government repression, I want to look at the cause.

I hate cigarettes. They’re stinky, unhealthy and produce trash that I usually end up having to clean up.  I hold similar attitudes toward marijuana and alcohol. I do not see these things as societal goods. I can understand why folks would ask their politicians to regulate them for the “maximum good”. I also think all such attempts at prohibition are stupid ideas.

That “societal good” zeitgeist and desire to prohibit or regulate individual liberty is the root cause of Eric Garner’s death. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — vices like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs fall under either the liberty or pursuit of happiness clause. When society tries to tell individuals they can’t do something (usually because it’s unhealthy), individuals find a way to continue doing it. Unable to prohibit tobacco, people who hate cigarettes asked their government to do something to curtail its usage — make it difficult for individuals to smoke by increasing taxes. Sounds good. You let those individuals continue to smoke, but you give the do-gooders a warm-fuzzy feeling of having done something to discourage them. Except ….

Every time they walk by a group of smokers and get their panties in a knot that their efforts have not made everyone stop that vile unhealthy habit, they lobby their legislators to raise the tax a little higher … which led to a market for untaxed cigarettes. Had there been no market for “loosies” the New York Police Department would have had no cause to harass Eric Garner that day and he might be alive today (I say “might” because he was obese and that’s another do-gooder target for societal improvement). Yes, you can blame Garner’s death on lesser causes like police brutality and racism, but if government had not been given the power to restrict individual liberty for “societal good”, any racism in the hearts of the cops would have been moot because they would not have been given permission to deal with Eric Garner.

I think it’s these little compromises with individual liberty — usually under the guise of something good for society as a whole — that lead us toward full scale repression. It happens gradually and so we don’t object until we see it working to kill citizens, but far too often when we seek to fix what our policies have wrought, we don’t acknowledge the cause, but try to fix the symptoms while leaving the cause in place. You can modify police training and try to modify police racial sentiments, but those efforts will be of limited effect because the real cause is inherent lack of respect for individual rights that is part and parcel with majority rule. When a societal consensus has been reached on any given issue, government feels it has a mandate to repress the individual for the greater good.

I wanted to talk about capitalism here, but I’m hitting my 1000-word guideline, so I may post something about it later.

Suspect Ones   1 comment

Thanks, Dak, for providing me with this link about how American “nativists” sought to dhimminize German Americans during World War I in a similar fashion to how the government treated Japanese Americans and Aleuts during World War II.

Dak suggests that it might be an understandable reaction to circumstances of the times and I partially agree with him. Human nature is exactly as we became after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. We stink and when we act as flesh-and-blood and violate principles our country was founded on or we say we believe from the Bible, we really shouldn’t be surprised because Adam and Eve, upon learning to discern good from evil, raised a brother-killer. That’s who we human beings are. Evil to the core and we chose to be that way. It is not at all surprising that we distrust those who are not like us and wish to remove them from our presence on any pretense available. That’s who human beings became when we chose to worship ourselves rather than God.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t be. Christians shouldn’t be, anyway. The Bible says Christians are to love our fellow human beings as God loves us, which is far deeper than the brotherly love spawned from mutual agreement. In other words, hating our neighbor is not an option for Christians, but disagreeing with them is. Moving beyond that to the political realm, the United States was founded on the ideal that “all men are created equal endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” … to self-governance. With rights comes responsibilities. If I truly hold that my neighbor has the right to govern himself, I should not seek to imprison him or take away his property or his natural rights because he isn’t like me. At the very least, he should have to have done something that substantively harms myself or someone else before I can restrict his rights.

I don’t get the right to violate the free speech and association rights of Americans of German descent just because our government was fighting Germany. I don’t get the right to stand quietly by while my government inters Americans of Japanese descent just because we were at war with the country they left to become Americans. I don’t get the right to relocate Aleut Indians from their homes and force them into camps just because — well, we weren’t at war with the Aleuts and the Aleuts didn’t immigrate from anywhere else. They were Americans before non-Natives got here, so I’ve always wondered what our excuse was for how we treated them. Oh, yeah, because they were different from us and the United States government wanted control of the rocks they lived on.

By the way, I used to buy the “well, we were at war and people were afraid” argument until I learned what happened to the Aleuts. The argument didn’t apply to the Aleuts and that brought the argument for the Japanese and the Germans into question as well.

Today, it’s Americans of Middle Eastern descent who are the suspect ones. I’m not saying there are not some American Muslims who are guilty of terrorism. Times Square, the Boston Marathon and 911 are all evidence that would argue against me if I claimed that. But not all are. Some are just as American as I am.

Oh oh! Just as “American” as I am. I’m a Christian first, an Alaskan second and an American third. I advocate for a loosening of the bonds that hold the states in the federal matrix. I want to see the federal government shrink to one-third or less of its current size. There are statists who think those ideas are really dangerous. Might they not advocate for my  internment? Could they not make the case that I’m different and therefore suspect and not worthy of constitutional protection of my civil rights?

There are strong atheist voices in this country who openly advocate for Christians to lose custody of their children and not to be allowed to run for public office, even not to be allowed to vote or work in certain professions because they suspect we don’t agree with how they would structure society and they believe we are working to create a theocracy. Maybe there are a handful of Christians living in America who actually fit that description.

Limited government and Christianity — could they become the new Japanese?

Interning Americans who don’t fit the white Anglo Saxon Episcopalian/Methodist statist mold sounds reasonable to white Anglo Saxon Episcopalians until it’s they’re no longer the majority and then … when they come for you, there will be no one left to protest.

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