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View Diary: Aliens, Elves, and the Politics of Utopia (238 comments)

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  •  Regardless of how much "we" promote (0+ / 0-)

    virtue, there will always be a bully on the playground.  I think of my government as the pooled resources and efforts of all of us.  The only way to deal with bullies is if the rest of the kids join together to protect the vulnerable interests of each of them as individuals.  That is why we have government.  It is just as possible to envision promoting virtue within the centralized power such that unscrupulous forces don't take over as it is to expect promoting virtue in a private community preventing a private entity from becoming a bully.  Frankly, promoting virtue as a method of improving life is doomed to failure, because someone figures out that they can get ahead by being a bit less virtuous while everyone else is behaving nicely.   Personally, I want my government to enforce the rule of law to give me the liberty to live my life free from the ravages of bullies.  It seems to me more likely to control the efforts of the unscrupulous in the central power by having an actual democracy (representative since we are such a huge number).  To repair the current problems with our democracy, we need to stop the unrepresentative over-influence of corporations.  In other words, the flow of dollars to govt personnel from business needs to be controlled such that it is not allowed to overtake the interests of the common people.  

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 11:19:13 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Bad logic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tea Bag You

      Read some history! No organization in any society has ever been such a bully as GOVERNMENT. And bully is too weak a word... no organization in any society has every been such a psychotic, destructive force as government has been. Any other "bully" can theoretically be fought within the framework of the governed society. But government can, and inevitably does, grant itself a monopoly on physical force and other control mechanisms and kill, imprison, bankrupt and silence opposition.

      Corporations control society because they are controlling GOVERNMENT. Without government protection, corporations would be subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and would have to behave relatively ethically or risk court battles and the wrath of the consumer.

      You have misidentified your--and all of our--enemy. It's power that can't be challenged, and that will inevitably be seized by the least ethical members of society. This sort of power begins and ends in government.

      •  Fascism =synthesis of corporations with the state (0+ / 0-)

        And we've been living in a fascist state for quite some time. Probably since the early 1900s.

      •  Something we agree on. (0+ / 0-)

        "Corporations control society because they are controlling GOVERNMENT."

        And that's what makes goverment a bully (when it is, but show me when it is).  We're fully in favor of removing "government protection".  But someone will always be willing to "risk court battles and the wrath of the consumer."  That's the problem with laissez-faire--it only provides for fixing problems after the fact, not preventing them.

        A government that can be held accountable to the people is not necessarily the enemy--and that's not a function of its "size", however "size" is defined.

        One part of the solution in curbing corporate control of government is to outlaw corporate lobbying.  Another part is to provide for exclusive public financing of elections.  Are you in favor of these?  

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:26:05 PM PST

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        •  Is this thread dead? I'll anwer anyway (0+ / 0-)

          Government is the only organization in society that ultimately can't be held accountable to the people.

          WHEN'S GOVERNMENT BEEN "THE BULLY"? Are you kidding me? Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, China, N. Korea, go down the list around the globe, all through history. Where you been? Our government had legalized slavery with no recourse in the courts. Had a private organization tried to uphold slavery as an institution, it would have been sued, challenged, razed by mobs, but the government can create the laws of the land, which exempt the government from public retaliation, and even gives it an army to enforce this.

          Corporate power can't be curbed by government, because government is always and forever for sale, and corporations have the money. The only solution is to take the power away from government, and then it's not there to be stolen by the corporations it was intended to rein in.

          •  Those were all tyrannies. (0+ / 0-)

            They took power by force.  Explain how, say, single-payer health care funding will put the U.S.A. on the road to tyranny when it hasn't done so in any other country.  Taking government out of such endeavors won't make it any less for sale, as you appreciate, but what that means is that the problem can't be solved that way; government was plenty small (by our standards) in the robber-baron era, after all.

            As for slavery, there was (obviously) already slavery in the colonies; if it hadn't already been there in 1776, neither the Articles of Confederation nor the present Constitution would've introduced it.  Most people wanted to get rid of it in 1787, but the South wouldn't have ratified a Constitution that got rid of slavery, because slaveholders were controlling state governments.  Making government "smaller" wouldn't solved that problem, either.

            The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

            by Panurge on Sun Dec 20, 2009 at 08:48:23 PM PST

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            •  Government IS force (0+ / 0-)

              that's all it is in the final telling. Any government health care plan, publicly funded that is, is done so under the ultimate threat of violence. That is, although I don't agree with it, My savings, earnings, property, are confiscated from me to fund it. No private citizen could force me into any similar arrangement, but the government can. The key word being force.  

              This is an identical process to funding and persecuting wars. Are you in favor of being forced through taxation into participating in wars? They are undertaken, we're told, for our the common good, to help us and keep us safe. Depending on who is speaking and who is listening, any given war is just as noble and necessary as health care, so why can't I take your money, using the government as my agent, and force your participation with this cause that I'm passionate about?

              •  yeah, I meant prosecuting wars (0+ / 0-)
                •  Are taxes themselves wrong? (0+ / 0-)

                  Must they require 100% agreement?  Congratulations--you've just yanked the rug out from modern society.  The threat of coercion doesn't increase with the amount of money taxed--the power to tax alone gives it that.  Most of us, however, understand that these things are necessary.  Sorry you don't give the rest of us that level of credit.

                  The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

                  by Panurge on Mon Dec 21, 2009 at 05:39:59 AM PST

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        •  Oh (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry, missed the last part. No I think public financing puts the power to fund elections in the wrong hands. Maybe public non-financing. Nobody is allowed to run a high dollar compaign. Something like every candidate gets to write an essay on each issue, making their best case, and that's all we know of them. That would save us from Obamas in the future, since he is a flashy media creation.

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