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You get what you pay for. Nice things cost money, but quality is worth it.

Rich people understand this – better, perhaps, than anyone. And most of them are willing to pay well for quality.

Why, then, are so many people – rich and poor alike – convinced that spending money on our nation is wrong?

Where’s the disconnect between the ideas of buying quality shoes, and funding quality schools?

Is it because things you buy for yourself are yours alone, while things you buy with taxes are part of your community as a whole?

And really - if it is, when and how did such selfishness become a virtue?

It’s certainly not a virtue in the Bible, most especially not in the words of Christ. Jesus and the prophets have stern things to say about folks who hoard wealth for themselves at the expense of their souls, society, and fellow human beings.

It’s not in the writings or actions of our Founders, either – many of whom invested their fortunes, risked their lives, and in several cases lost everything for the sake of the nation they built for us.

Selfishness is not a virtue in any creed save LaVeyan Satanism, nor in any philosophy save the rantings of third-rate authors who did not even live the things they preached.  [1]

It’s not ever truly a virtue in untamed Nature, where “survival of the fittest” does not mean “those which kill everything off,” but “those which ADAPT TO THE BALANCE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS.”

Despite the lessons and legacies of history, science and culture, there’s a popular idea out there right now that investing in our society, buying quality for our nation and its people, is wrong. Immoral. Even illegal. A concept that somehow it’s better to cut funding for schools, for cops, for firefighters, for clean air and safe roads and a future for our children, than it is to tax a millionaire.

Where did we GET this idea?

Did you ever think that maybe it was being sold to us?

That people with something to gain from it had a vested interest in impoverishing the rest of us so that they could continue buying more nice things for themselves?

And then, if you DO consider that possibility, why would you still think it was a good idea to live in a shoddy nation so that a handful of people could continue to buy nice things at the expense of your present and your children’s future?

Let’s be real: Taxes are necessary. They are investments in a society. They keep the bills paid.

No human society has existed without some form of required contribution from its members: money, labor, inspiration, guidance, military service, very often all of those and more. [2]

Anyone who has shared a household knows that you need to keep the bills paid, the food stocked, the garbage cleared away. People have to do chores, chip in, keep the place in order. It’s not something you do when and if you feel like it – it’s something you regularly if you want to keep that home intact. Otherwise, everything falls apart. The lights go out, the water goes off, the trash piles up and everyone goes hungry. This was even truer of the households of “rugged individualists on the wild frontier” than it is today; back then, if you didn’t do those things – and do them OFTEN – you’d just simply die. [3]

That’s what taxes do. They keep the power on, the water clean and flowing, the kitchen stocked, the house clean and safe.

They pay for you to live in a nice country.

They provide for your home.

And like I said, you get what you pay for.

Want a nice country? It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. [4]

If you want a shoddy, selfish, cheap-ass country, then go find another one... and then go live THERE.

I don’t want to be stuck in one with you. I’m willing to do my share.


------------------
NOTES
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[1] Nietzsche was a demented mooch from a monied family; Ayn Rand had no problem accepting welfare and tax-funded medical treatments; Ragnar Redbeard was a bad pen-name invented to shield someone without the courage of his convictions; and LaVey was a childish pseudointellectual leech who bilked money from losers before dying bankrupt in a Catholic charity hospital. None of them provided shining examples of the philosophies they proclaimed.

[2] Another popular myth insists that 53% of the population pays the taxes that the other 47% life off of. Nonsense. Even if 47% of the U.S. population actually WAS exempt from income taxes (which we’re not), we all – even homeless people on the streets – pay sales taxes, licensing fees, permit fees and so forth… all of which are forms of tax. Even people without money contribute work, caretaking, education and the like, often in all-but-invisible ways. The handful of people who contribute nothing whatsoever to our society is proportionately microscopic… and most of them are too mentally or physically sick to make reliable contributions, anyway.

[3] The archetypal Mountain Man still needed to buy the gear we couldn’t make himself; trade with people for supplies; hunt for himself and… if he had one… his family; deal reasonably with his neighbors; obey local customs – or at least not violate them; and work out some equilibrium with his natural environment. A man or woman who lived only for self-interest became an outlaw – hated, hunted, and eventually killed by Man, Beast, or Nature.

[4] As history tells us, a country where everyone that isn’t not rich is starving, ignorant, living in poverty, dying of disease, and supporting the rich minority is NOT a nice country. Nor does it survive for long without collapsing in a bloody heap under the weight of its own misery. The French Revolution, in large part, ignited because the wealthiest nobles and clergy were all but immune from taxation - which left the rest of the burden of national support on the working and lower-merchant classes. We saw how well that turned out. Why are so many Americans eager to employ the same idea?

Originally posted to Satyros on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Selfishness comes from John Calvin. (9+ / 0-)

    That's where this country gets it from.  Remember the "pilgrims" were Calvinistic arch fundamentalists.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 06:10:39 AM PDT

    •  I personally invented lust (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      caul, old possum

      ... in case anyone wondered where THAT came from.

      How all you guys got it is a mystery to me.

      •  Just seemed like a good idea at the time ;-) (0+ / 0-)

        First they ignore you. Check. Then they laugh at you. Check. Then they fight you. Check. Then you win. Check back. Or, if you aspire to be a mensch, Check in.

        by caul on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 06:44:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How did you come up with that one? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ogre

      The Calvinist colonists (whether the Pilgrims or the Puritans) believed in a cooperative society.  John Winthrop, the fist governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, gave his famous "City on a Hill" speech in 1630, saying that for the colony to survive they would have to be "a model of Christian charity":

      wee must be knitt together in this worke as one man, wee must entertaine each other in brotherly Affeccion, wee must be willing to abridge our selves of our superfluities, for the supply of others necessities, wee must uphold a familiar Commerce together in all meekenes, gentlenes, patience and liberallity, wee must delight in eache other, make others Condicions our owne rejoyce together, mourne together, labour, and suffer together, allwayes haveing before our eyes our Commission and Community in the worke, our Community as members of the same body, soe shall wee keepe the unitie of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us...

      I certainly would not have wanted to live in a Puritan society, but I do wish that Reagan had actually read and understood what Winthrop was talking about.
  •  The Dalai Lama's facebook status: (17+ / 0-)
    Human beings are not intrinsically selfish, which isolates us from others. We are essentially social animals who depend on others to meet our needs. We achieve happiness, prosperity and progress through social interaction. Therefore, having a kind and helpful attitude contributes to our own and others' happiness.

    ^like^

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 06:23:12 AM PDT

  •  Selfish, I think, is harsh (7+ / 0-)

    I'm a married lawyer, and we have a very nice income (not uber rich), and we pay a LOT in federal income taxes.  I know exactly how many hours it takes me to earn what we pay in federal income taxes.  And I don't mind paying my "fair share" (although I'd love someone to define that for me).  

    But at some point I'd like to see the benefits I've earned through college, law school, and well over 20 years of working 50 - 80 hour weeks to go to things like paying for my children's college education (no real financial aid available once household income gets over $100,000 or so) and providing for my parents, and my spouse's parents, in their old age.   Is that "selfish"?  

    •  Amen to that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, eataTREE

      I don't have an issue paying my taxes - but I do have an issue when everyday, we see the waste of those tax dollars and rather than cleaning up the waste, we're asked to pay more.

      That's my problem and I don't think it's selfish to want my tax dollars to be spent wisely.

      The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

      by ctexrep on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 12:45:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You raise good points. What is a fair share, and (4+ / 0-)

      how can you afford the rising cost of education and care for your family.

      College costs have risen nationally at twice the rate of inflation.  Out here in CA the state just announced a 21% increase in tuition at state universities.  As states cut back funding on higher education the costs are pushed onto the families.  

      The states don't have much choice, as federal dollars from the stimulus dry up and they can't raise taxes on businesses without driving them to other states or on individuals here in California due to the Prop 13  requirement of a 2/3 majority on tax increases.

      So, you would probably have done better had the Reagan not cut the tax rates in the 80s.  You may have paid more on the top tier of your income, but you would have been better able to afford educating your children.  

      With SS and Medicare both apparently on the table of the super committee in Congress, it is possible that you will have to make larger contributions to your parents financial health.

      And that says nothing about how you can safely invest for your own retirement.  Dodd-Frank is unlikely to be of much help in protecting you or your retirement savings.

      It is a grim outlook.  And not at all selfish to question how we got here and how we can move forward.

      There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. - Elizabeth Warren

      by Susan Grigsby on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 12:55:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When you use a phrase like (3+ / 0-)

        "college costs have risen," you've disguised that some persons are responsible for charging more money from the get-go. What I would argue is that the reason we don't have a good handle on the problem and can't come up with solutions, is because our culture has become depersonalized.
        Things happen as if there were no people involved and certainly not responsible for their actions.
        We can say it's all been done behind the shield of money. That's true.  But, it is also true that money is just a tool and somebody or many somebodies are using money to deprive a lot of people without it being hardly noticed.
        The good thing about using money as a tool is that the rest of us can use it too. It's our money.  We can demand to have it back or, if need be, just make more.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 05:47:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The states do have certain choices: (0+ / 0-)

        From the Sac Bee:

        The highest paid state of California Employee is a football coach for UC Berkeley making $2,349,037.96 per year.

        There are literally 10 pages of employees who earn in excess of $400,000 per year.  Many are coaches and administrators.  Many, near as I can tell, are Doctors who either teach medicine or administer care in the case of a doctor for the prison system.

        I know they will pull the whole "competitive market" salary gibberish.

        My sister is a 6th grade teacher with 2 advanced degrees and 20 - something years of service in one of Sacramento's poorest neighborhoods.  She makes a little over $50K and has to withstand mandatory furloughs on a regular basis.

        My father was a Dean and Physics professor for a small Catholic University for 45 years, who never cracked the $100K mark and more or less had to work until he died of cancer.

        Football coaches are not the priority.  I get there is a contract but pay it off and send a message that the next U.C. Berkeley Football coach will earn $150K or something.  I don't think winning is that important - it is a university after all.  How many UC student grants or scholarships can be given out with what that Football coach makes?  

        The state can start by making some symbolic choices. I know it's a drop in the bucket but it's time to move the needle and shift priorities.  

        UC berkeley should not be allowed to cut ONE DOLLAR from it's budget until it addresses the bloat and priorities issue in it's athletics department.

        •  College Athletics (0+ / 0-)

          I was under the impression that most athletic programs are self sufficient. Unfortunately, I'm too lazy to look it up. On the whole, I think professional athletes are one of the only professions worthy of their salaries. Certainly more so than Wall Street bankers.

    •  You're not selfish you're screwed. (13+ / 0-)

      Just like everyone else. It isn't the amount of taxes Americans pay, we are the most lightly taxed people in the developed world. It is what we get for our taxes and what we don't get.
      Denmark, one of the most highly taxed nations, has the highest income mobility in the world. They get education, healthcare, energy innovation, and a modern infrastructure to live, work or run a business in. Danes are happy and Americans are miserable.

      We get the largest most expensive military in the history of the world for our taxes. If the tax dollars you pay, provided you with a more affordable quality education for your children, freed you from the health insurance  companies, and made caring for elderly parents less expensive, you probably would be a happier tax payer. And if the area you live in, not just your neighborhood, was safer, cleaner, and peopled by citizens who also enjoyed a life that wasn't an illness or paycheck away from ruin and homelessness, you would be a getting a good return for your tax payments.

      Increasingly working and middle class Americans get nothing of value for their taxes no matter what they pay. The payoff for most Americans is living to 65 and getting Medicare and collecting some Social Security and now even this is under attack.

           

    •  yeah I'd say it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gulfgal98, houyhnhnm

      is coming from you coffeetalk. Do not see what your problem or point is.  If you make this much money and you pay your taxes what your problem? Surely you've invested enough or made enough to pay for  your kids education and can provide for your elderly parents? Are you saying you've been short changed as your taxes don't cover the for profit ever hungry free market beast we must all feed? You need help but aren't eligible?   Are you complaining because you make to much to get aid? Take a look around at your fellow citizens and start thinking about the 'benefits' of the common good. this is what the free market, dog eat dog world looks like and it isn't even working for you is it ?  

      •  Sigh. You misunderstand completely. (0+ / 0-)

        My point is, I am willing to pay my "fair share."  The problem is, different people define that differently.  If I'm taxed at 90% of what I work for every day, and that upsets me because I want most of what I work for to go to my family instead of the government, I don't think that's selfish.  On the other hand, if I complain about paying ANY taxes, that IS selfish.  

        How much of what I work for every day am I expected to pay to the government instead of for those things I described?   THAT'S the point.  These kinds of undefined statements -- "if you aren't willing to pay your fair share, you're selfish" are meaningless without defining how you determine "fair share."  

        •  Your tax rate is 90%? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          You don't live in the US, so the diary doesn't apply to you.

          Light is seen through a small hole.

          by houyhnhnm on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 04:10:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course I didn't say that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Satyrblade, VClib

            my tax rate was 90%.  

            Some people at this site are advocating for a top rate on earned income of 90% as some people's "fair share."  (I come across them all the time.)   Given the post 1986 definition of AGI (which is dramatically different from that pre-1986), a person would not be "selfish" to resent paying that.  I don't know whether the diarist is one of those or not who advocates that or not.  I don't know what the diarist means by saying it's "selfish" not to want to pay "their fair share."  That's my point.  Tell me what you mean by "fair share" before you start calling people "selfish" for not wanting to pay their "fair share."  

            •  No, Not 90%... (4+ / 0-)

              No, I don't think it's fair for you - or anyone - to pay 90% of your income in taxes.

              What I find selfish is the people who already pay less than 30%, find loopholes to pay less, and then proclaim that they shouldn't even pay that much - or ANYTHING, for that matter - other than some mythical "voluntary donation."

              I generally make less than $20,000 (some years more, some less - I'm a freelance author and a business owner), yet pay roughly 25%-30% of my income in taxes. I'm fine with that, so long as I'm making enough to get by on. Like I said, I don't expect society to support me. We're all in this together.

              That said, it hacks me off to see people bitching that taxes are "immoral" (the remark that inspired this post), "illegal," or "stealing" (a remark made during a debate I was in just yesterday). It infuriates me to see folks who think taxes should be even lower than they currently are, and to hell with infrastructure, schools ("Well, I don't have any kids, so I shouldn't have to pay taxes for them..."), military pay, and so on.

              (It hacks me off even more to see low taxes touted as economic solutions by the very same people who spent us from a surplus to a deficit in less than eight years, and who then try to cut both budgets and programs back even more as they laugh all the way back to the banks in which they also own stock. Dear Mr. GOP: Your massive bankroll doesn't do shit for my purchasing power.)

              Also, let's be honest: How much are you really paying AFTER LOOPHOLES AND EXEMPTIONS? Because tax rates mean nothing when you've got a good enough accountant... which is a privilege for those who can afford one, and a detriment to those who can't.  

              Please note: I'm not saying that YOU are the problem, personally. I know plenty of well-off hard-working people who pay their fair share, and more besides. I'm just sick of people gaming the system, even as they take as much as they can grab from the rest of us... and then somehow feel they're entitled to even more. THAT is the "selfishness" to which I refer.

              Thanks! :)

              "Be sand, not oil, to the machinery of the world." - Gunter Eich

              by Satyrblade on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 05:20:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This may be true for the uber uber rich (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib
                Also, let's be honest: How much are you really paying AFTER LOOPHOLES AND EXEMPTIONS? Because tax rates mean nothing when you've got a good enough accountant... which is a privilege for those who can afford one, and a detriment to those who can't.  

                But working professional couples don't have all those "loopholes and exemptions" you think.  A lot of what used to be "loopholes and exemptions" were eliminated in the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  Not only that, but if someone does happen to have a lot of deductions, then the Alternative Minimum Tax kicks in.  

                The notion that "the rich" paid a far less percent of their income in taxes is based on a small number of uber uber rich who get all of their income as capital gains income, which is taxed at 15%.

            •  And lets not forget (6+ / 0-)

              that you pay the same % on the first 30K of your taxes that folks that earn a total of 30K total pay.  And you pay the same % on the next 30K that people that earn 60K pay.  Folks that make in the 100K+range, are only paying a higher % on that amount that is in excess of what the 99% do.  If your tax rate increased a few percent it would only be on the income that is in excess of what is now the top rate.  

              Also, I see no reason why unearned income should be taxed at a lower rate than earned income.  I recognize that the reason for this is to stimulate investment...but I don't believe it.  And I think it is wrong that money that people work to earn ... they spend time and effort ... is taxed at higher rates than unearned income.  

              And BTW, I got no grants and next to no financial aid for my 3 kids going through college because we earned too much, even though I am sure we did not have nearly the income you do.  Neither myself nor my husband had a degree.  I worked in an office and he worked in a grocery store as a department manager.  And I promise you that my husband worked as many hours a week as you did and as hard as you did.

              I have a mother living on $15K a year.  And her kids are so badly off that we have no way to provide more for her.

              I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

              by DamselleFly on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 05:52:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That 90% bracket kicked in... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quill, ogre

              ...at an inflation-adjusted level equal to making several million dollars per year today.

              While I'm not one of those people who are advocating the return of the 90% bracket, I'm pretty sure that none of those who do think it should apply to people making in the hundreds of thousands per year, which is where I suspect you fall.

              So 90% really is a distraction from the discussion at hand, which (I presume) is what a fair tax rate would be for someone in the upper portion of the upper middle class.

              Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

              by TexasTom on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 05:48:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Are you taxed 90%? (0+ / 0-)

          I don't thinks so. I think your just worried that you might be, that taxation might cut into your own profit.  Undefined fair share of what you might pay if our taxation was adjusted wouldn't really hurt you and your family which you work for. You say i don't work for my government but your taxes you pay to the government are supposed to work for the common good the common welfare. your concerns education and care for the elderly are common concerns ones that our government refuses to pay for. your fair share would contribute to this good.

          You are selfish if all you think about is that I don't want my hard work to go to the greater good. That good would benefit you and your family.  Your fear of sharing and your disregard of others, the people who do work, or have no way to work, those who aren't as fortunate as successful as you are is kind of revolting. Perhaps you need to expand and get a little empathy.  Not to mention the fact that 'fair share' is required to make a world that works for people all of us, including your precious family. All our families are the family of humankind, and we all deserve a decent and equitable way to live. your selfishness is showing and so is your elitism.    

          •  Hmm, how about if I say I'm ok with some of my (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            hard work -- a significant amount -- going to the greater good, but most of my hard work going to support my family, pay for college for my children, support my parents in their old age, and save for my retirement?  is that selfish?

            •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

              so what's your problem with this dairy?

              •  My problem with the diary is that it seemed (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                to indicate that if people weren't willing to pay some undefined "fair share" in taxes, they were selfish.

                My point is that whether I'm willing to pay my "fair share" or not depends on what you think my "fair share" is.  

                You can't call people "selfish" for not wanting to pay their "fair share" unless you define what "fair share" is.  I'm willing to pay some people's notion of "fair share," not others.  And I don't think that makes me "selfish."  

                •  "Fair share" is negotiable... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shaharazade, IreGyre, Floja Roja

                  ...but when war vets come home to find their families on welfare, when schools renege on their contracts with teachers, when cops take pay cuts and firefighters get laid off to be replaced by prison labor so that a handful of people can get even bigger tax cuts than they've already enjoyed, that ain't "fair."

                  A negotiation involves mutual conversation. And up until now, that handful of people has been controlling the issue. That time is past.

                  "Be sand, not oil, to the machinery of the world." - Gunter Eich

                  by Satyrblade on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 07:42:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I find negoiable (0+ / 0-)

                    hard to swallow when forced to live on the crumbs that are left after these 'hard working' people tally up and decide what they consider fair. there really is no negotiating once the top has it's way. the rest of us are just supposed to suck it up cause people like coffeetalk work hard for their family, and don't give a rat's ass about the rest of us. Were losers in their book why should they carry our load when it impacts their ability to not live like the bottom the 99% have to. Selfish personified and sadly justified with whining about negotiations and unfairness cause I work hard. Who doesn't .    

                    •  If I may (0+ / 0-)

                      I think what coffetalk is trying to say is that he feels more comfortable providing for his family himself rather than pooling resources for the welfare of all, because he cannot imagine a society in which his family's basic needs (healthcare, elder care, education) are understood and met by the public, because in our society that kind of assistance is considered taboo, and those who needs it are "losers" or "parasites."

                      Right?

                      •  Of course... (0+ / 0-)

                        that doesn't account for other "socialized" services that I suspect coffeetalk might want but have trouble providing by himself, at least, if he wants to be able to continue making a living by practicing law.

                        Roads.  Bridges.  Clean water.  Healthy, nutritious food that doesn't include poisons.  A safe neighborhood to live in.  A country that doesn't get invaded by its neighbors every few years.

                        You know, socialist commie fascist things like that, which are currently paid for by (say it quietly) taxes.

                    •  The important thing to remember (0+ / 0-)

                      is that "consensus" does not equal "concession".

                      (What can I say?  The 1% and their bought-and-paid-for lackeys seem to have a problem with getting that distinction.  For that matter, so do the Dems.)

                      OWS operates, as far as I can tell, on something that's a cross between real democracy and consensus... and it's driving the right crazy that it's working so bloody well.

    •  Did you receive student aid? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      houyhnhnm

      Did you attend public schools, public college, public law school? How about your children-public schools, etc? Are they attending a public university? Is the tuition lower for in-state students?

      Sounds like you have received a great education and are making sure your children do, also. Sounds like an excellent benefit that your taxes helped provide.

      Do your parents receive social security? Medicare?

      I am sure you work very hard but you seem to be very blessed.

      There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

      by VA Breeze on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:47:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  99%er (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      left turn

      This is exactly the point that OWS is trying to make. You don't have to be unemployed or poor to feel the negative effects of our wealth distribution. It truly is an extremely small group reaping all of the benefits at everyone else's expense.

      What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole.- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

      by Southpaw Atl on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:53:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not selfish (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fumie, IreGyre, Floja Roja

      unless you have already spent like 500K/year on fancy things and vacations and still want to do all of the above on the non-existent savings :).
      I'm in a similar situation though so I'm not just jeering you. I have a 6-digit salary and my wife is very close to a six-digit salary.  Last year, we spent about 60K MORE than we took home, mostly because of the 35K tuition for my wife to improve her job skills (and we got zero deduction on that because we were considered rich).
      My first kid attends a public university this year.  The total cost will be around 35K/year.  By the time my 3 kids get through colleges, it will cost around 500K in today's dollars (i.e. if college costs don't go up much faster than inflation and/our incomes).  My kids will get no help because we're considered rich and we'll get no tax deduction since we're considered rich at the same time we're getting deeper and deeper into debts.  And the in-laws are living with me.

      But, do you know what ?  I don't blame any of my problems on the taxes. We do have a spending problem.  Even though we don't go on vacation or buy very expensive stuff. all those few dozen dollars here and few hundred dollars there add up.

      As a matter of fact, I think I get an excellent deal out of the taxes I pay.  My oldest daughter saves about 30K/year because she goes to a state public university in CA instead of going to NYU (which has more prestige but about the same level of education).  My two young kids save around 40K/year by going to public elementary schools instead of private schools.  Just those benefits alone almost make up for the taxes we have to pay to the government so I have no qualm about paying taxes.  And if taxes are raised on people with high incomes, I don't think I will be affected much. If I'm affected at all, the amount to be too small to significantly contribute to any of the issues you mentioned.

      I do have something to bitch about though.  Between me and my employer, we have to cough up around 40K/year on health insurance.  Adding my wife's contribution and the Medicare taxes, we're looking at around 70K/year our family contribute to the health care industry, not counting thousands in deductibles and operations not covered by the insurances.

      As a matter of fact, the health care industry in the US sucks 17% out of the GDP, about twice as much as all other developed countries with much better health care services.  If I ever complain about wasteful spending, that will be where I point my finger at.

      Anyway, a person replying to your post said that he did not want his money to go to wasteful spending from the government. I bet he could not find any proof that the US government is spending twice as much as other developed countries (like I can with the health care industry).  Statistically, all the complaints about wasteful government spending is just a bunch of hogwash to deceive ignorant people.

    •  No that's not selfish and it's also not (0+ / 0-)

      self-centered.  However, the problem is we've allowed self-centered people into positions of power where they have been able to undermine the social contract.  Perhaps it's because they simply don't understand it.

      There's a critical difference between selfish (as in aware of self) and self-centered (as in focused on the self and nothing else). One could say that a spinning top is self-centered. Some people are like that.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 05:41:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A student of mine once confided that he thought (9+ / 0-)

    he shouldn't pursue the clergy as a profession, because he thought he was too selfish.

    I asked him what that meant.

    He looked confused.

    I said, "By selfish, you mean you want what's good for you?"

    He nodded.

    "So," I said, "what's good for you? Would it be good for you to become more loving?"

    His eyes crossed a bit, and then he said, "Yes, of course."

    "What else would be good for you? To be closer to God? To be more accepting of others? To grow in wisdom?"

    "Well, yes," he said, "but... "

    I laughed, gently. "I think the problem," I said, "isn't that you're too selfish. It's that you're not selfish enough."

    grieving citizen of the murdered Republic, unrepentant rebel against the Empire.

    by khereva on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 08:55:55 AM PDT

    •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

      My idea of a perfect world is one where everyone else is devoted to my well being.  Of course, if we're all going to live in this perfect world, then we all (including me) have to be devoted to one another's well being. And if I don't want to pay into this perfect world, then I have to counsel my selfish self that there's not much reason to think that anyone else is going to care a nickel's worth about me.

      So here's my selfish question to myself: do I gain more from giving in my strength to others in their weakness, than I could ever gain in my weakness from others in their strength?

      A refined version of the question above: let's say it's not just me personally who would gain, but also includes my heirs and/or anyone I care about who might live longer than me.

      Because selfishness eventually arrives at selflessness, when you think about it.

      •  It all comes down to... (0+ / 0-)

        ...what's really good for you?

        Which is where we draw a distinction between selfishness (as we've discussed it above) and avarice (simply wanting MOAR).

        grieving citizen of the murdered Republic, unrepentant rebel against the Empire.

        by khereva on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 08:28:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ginny in CO
    Ayn Rand had no problem accepting welfare and tax-funded medical treatments

    Rand never accepted 'welfare' - and since most people here scream to high Heaven that 'Medicare' is not 'welfare', then you would seem to be off-message.

    And Rand admitted to the morality of taking government payments if one had spent a lifetime involuntarily paying into said programs - as both she and her husband did for decades.

    And Rand advocated income tax payments as perfectly proper and expected - her arguments were over whether what they were used for was a proper role for the state or not - a subject that humans have disagreed on for millennia.

    And, of course, Rand's definition of 'selfishness' bears little or no resemblance to the scenarios you put forth - but then, I find that to be the case almost 100% of the time for most here who comment on Rand.

    Best get your facts straight before you broach the subject again. :D

    Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

    by GayIthacan on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

    •  Rand carefully redefined her terms for those (7+ / 0-)

      occasions when non-sociopaths were listening, then went right back to using the original meanings when she was once more surrounded by sycophants. She was fond of this sort of backpedalling when directly confronted with the outrageous implications of her own ideas; any endorsement she ever gave to taxation can be safely dismissed as more of the same given the many, many times she clearly and without qualification states that all taxation is immoral.

      Cleverer and more well-written people than I, from right-wing figures like Whittaker Chambers and Robert Nozick to noted leftists like Gore Vidal have thoroughly deconstructed Rand; I refer you to their work because you are going to get less than nowhere defending her around here and ought to know why.

      I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

      by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:43:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        Rand defined her terms in her writings - especially the non-fiction writings - and was perfectly clear about what she meant by her use of the term.

        Something the diarist obviously does not know - having apparently not read the source materials.

        Gore Vidal being my favorite writer, I do have some familiarity with his works - having read all of them (fiction and non-fiction) - but thanks for the recommend! Actually, he gets a lot of things right - and a lot of things absolutely wrong - as is usual when dealing with subjects open to opinion.

        I understand why defense of those who are non rabid leftists is often futile 'around here' - the intellectual level of many of those who try to argue about Rand never having read a word of her non-fiction writing. But then, when I look for intellectual heft in politics, I don;t look for it on the Internet. I look for it in my library - and in scholarly journals.

        And note, of course, that no one contradicted a single argument or point I made. Which I suppose is fairly typical when one HAS no counter-argument to make. :D

        Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

        by GayIthacan on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:22:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, you exhausted my Objectivism Patience (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Praxical, DWG, Floja Roja, quill

          Now I mock and make fun of you:

          Oh, no one responded to your argument? Did you make one? I didn't notice. Oh, right, I see it now: "In her non-fiction, which no one ever really read, Rand sorta backpedalled some of the clear implications of her philosophy as described in her fiction, read by millions. But the non-fiction, being more rhetorically convenient to me, is what really counts, not Rand's clumsy and ham-fisted division of the world into Parasites and Supermen which formed the philosophical foundation of her entire output." Gee wow, that's a good argument, no wonder no one responded to it. Or was your argument "Waah! Everyone make fun of Ayn Rand for not being leftie"? Cos that was pretty funny but didn't merit a response either.

          I am not surprised that you frequently lose arguments on the Internet if you attempt to devent Rand's bullshit and beat an offended retreat to your 'library', presumably consisting of hagiography by Rand toadies. Oh and by 'scholarly journals', I suppose that would be toilet paper printed by the Objectivist Institute or whatever Peikoff's litte clone is called. Organizations founded by her little henchmen have always been and remain the only 'scholarly' bodies to pay Ayn Rand any attention.

          In short: Ayn Rand was a psychopath. Her followers were either psychopaths or fools. Your continued defense of her shows you to be the latter. Go defend selfishness somewhere else.

          I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

          by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:39:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Rand certainly had an ugly (0+ / 0-)

            childhood that undoubtedly contributed to her mistakes.

            Although I learned a lot from reading Rand's work, and still agree with some of her concepts (no one should make the mistake of thinking they are even 60% correct), the thing I distinctly disliked in her work was the intolerance to others. I was not raised Trinitarian and have had many problems with the Catholic church.

            First I would point out that the people who are destroying the country by promoting her ideas have drastically distorted some of them. They have picked, chosen and ignored her as much as they have the writings of Jesus Christ.

            So in responding to people like GayIthacan, it surprises me that you use so many of the rude tactics the woman you apparently abhor did.

            English was a second language for Rand. No matter how fluent she became, I don't think she understood the full cultural connotations of 'selfishness'.

            Today, the term that describes the attitudes and actions of her businessmen and women would be "Enlightened self interest."  Which she probably would have violently hated and refuted.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 03:09:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, it was lack of civility (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dixiedemocrat

              that gets me mad about Rand, not, you know, the total sociopathy of her world view.

              Some things ought not to be treated politely. Rand's excuse for self-centered behavior going by the name of the "philosophy" objectivism is one of them.

              Rand can't be blamed for her own vileness because she had a nasty childhood and didn't learn English until she was grown up? I must admit that's a new one.

              I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

              by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 05:09:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Best to let dead Objectivists lie (6+ / 0-)

      Seriously, don't try to defend Rand here. Objectivism is no better than Scientology, and Rand was not any sort of a philosopher or writer. She was a sociopath. Her followers are sociopaths, and if you continue to defend her, most sane folks here will start to suspect you of the same.

      Please follow eataTREE's kindly advice and educate yourself. Only intellectual midgets find Rand's writings educational or thought provoking. No, I won't get into a debate with you about that, I will mock and deride you because followers of Ayn Rand do not deserve the effort that foes into a real debate, they deserve only scorn an condemnation.

      I'm going easy on you here. Others won't be so kind.

      •  I found it useful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eataTREE

        to read the Virtue of Selfishness, and not because I became a Randroid. I also find the definition of 'selfish' used in the post to be loaded with bile.

        Is it selfish to want good quality schools? Is it selfish to want well funded and equipped fire fighters? Is it selfish to want a society that's nice to live in? Is it selfish to want a good environment that will outlast my lifetime? I think so. If I value my safety, my society, my family that will live on after me, sure. I'd call that selfish.

        Ayn Rand had no clue what 'enlightened self-interest' looks like, and neither do her modern-day acolytes. She may have wanted the concept of selfishness to get beyond being a slur or bad word, but she failed to get it there because her ideas for that sucked. The post bears witness to that.

        There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. -- Isaac Asimov

        by tytalus on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:19:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ginny in CO, tytalus
          Is it selfish to want good quality schools? Is it selfish to want well funded and equipped fire fighters? Is it selfish to want a society that's nice to live in? Is it selfish to want a good environment that will outlast my lifetime? I think so. If I value my safety, my society, my family that will live on after me, sure. I'd call that selfish.

          Funny - Miss Rand would have agreed with you - her only point of contention would be that there might be better ways to provide for all of them.

          Which is a perfectly acceptable and rational position to take.

          I used to believe her position. Now I have another position on those issues. But it was arrived at through discussion and research and an examination of history - not through treating those idea as a child treats a rival on the playground.

          In short - I respect other opinions that are both well-reasoned and defensible through appeal to principles that I, in the main, accept. In short - only those who cannot argue based on fact resort to the kind of language I find here (as well as on conservative sites) that is on a level of a middle school student - someone with lots of ides but little or no intellectual capacity or experience that contributes anything to the discussion.

          At times Kossacks are every bit as childish, reactionary, and ill-informed as anyone at REDSTATE. And with less excuse.

          Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

          by GayIthacan on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:35:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Funny how some cannot objectively deal with (0+ / 0-)

            contemplating what has been condemned by some group of elites. One of the reasons to examine her writings is linguistic. People learn many different ways. Some find Lakof's linguistic ideas valid and effective. Others much prefer Westen.

            In dealing with ideas, you have to remember all the blind men feeling up one elephant.

            My daughter, a severely dyslexic honors student at CO School of Mines, recently sent me this link that she got in a lit class.

            How facts backfire.

            Researchers discover a surprising threat to democracy: our brains

            I would add, 'human progress' to democracy.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 03:20:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        If this is what passes for intellectual argument and discussion around here, I can assure you that well-rounded individuals with excellent educations will not take part. Which, judging by the average intellectual level shown by about 40% of those who post here, is to be expected.

        Having 3 degrees - 2 of them in history and education - I think I can handle pretty much any discussion of history, economics, or philosophy from the locals here. [insert laughing emoticon here] And actually having read all of her works - as well as those who opposed her - I can pretty much determine who has something of value to offer - and someone who does not. (For the record, I am a liberal on most issues - as was Miss Rand - that is, if you knew the first thing about her political stances on most issues.)

        Your offering, sadly, offers nothing whatsoever of value to the discussion - containing as it does not one single relevant quotation or example on the subject - but, instead, nothing but ad hominem attack and childish invective I would expect from a high school girl who has just had her favorite boy-band member attacked.

        Sadly, everything Communism said about itself was a lie. Even more sadly,, everything Communism said about Capitalism was the truth.

        by GayIthacan on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:28:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          Ginny in CO

          Are you auditioning for a part in the musical, Pretentious Twits? Just wondering.

          I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

          by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:40:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This time you abandoned any attempt (0+ / 0-)

            at discussion and resorted to an unnecessary, rude comment that adds nothing to the discussion.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 03:24:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh heaven forfend. (0+ / 0-)

              Are you clutching your pearls on your fainting couch yet?

              I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

              by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 05:10:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The only thing that has ever made me (0+ / 0-)

                afraid I would faint was during my pediatric nursing rotation. I was in an Oncologist's office that did chemo infusions for kids from rural areas of the county.

                I was in an exam room getting to know from the chatter of the regular nurse, the 6 year old boy who was my assignment. His pets, hobbies, school, family. He had stage IV Hodgkins, since he was 2. The door opened and another nurse wheeled in an IV pole with a bag of fluid and tubing. No chemo, just fluid. He started retching at the sight of it. Couldn't stop until they gave the IV anti-emetic. I can still see the nurse's hand on the wispy remains of blond hair he still had.

                I backed myself up against the wall mentally vowing that for the kid's sake I would not faint. I didn't.  35 years ago. I've never fainted in my life. Open heart surgery closings, multiple trauma patients, severely burned 4 year old from a firecracker...

                I'm an atheist, no forfending needed.

                I do get a super strong fly swatting impulse with really inane comments.
                (No, it is not misspelled. That is a word, check your dictionary for the definition.)

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Tue Nov 08, 2011 at 08:20:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I thought I made it clear (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eataTREE

          I will not debate insane theories. The earth is not flat. Hexagonal water is a scam. Phlogiston does not exist. Objectivism is not a philosophy, it is the insane rambling of a sociopath.

          I see that you consider yourself intelligent. Intelligent people stop digging when the find themselves in a hole. You will not find anyone willing to debate your crazy theory here, all you will do is destroy any credibility you may have gained. If you want to debate about objectivism, refer to the documents eataTREE linked to, read them all, come up with refutations for the arguments presented there, and present your refutations in a diary.

          Debating ideas that have already been extensively debunked is just stupid, but if you want to take a whack at it, be my guest.

  •  Ironic, isn't it, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eataTREE, Satyrblade, gulfgal98, ilyana

    that so many of these "don't tax me" conservatives think that they are BFF with Jesus.

    Just because it's made up doesn't mean it isn't true.—Plan 10 from Outer Space

    by mofembot on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:21:22 PM PDT

    •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mofembot, Satyrblade, ilyana, Floja Roja, quill

      They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

      But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

      “Caesar’s,” they replied.

      Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

      -- Mark 12 14:17 (NIV)

      I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

      by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:56:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prudence is a virtue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eataTREE, shaharazade, ilyana, VA Breeze

    so are thrift and frugality, but selfishness is not.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:26:40 PM PDT

    •  Industry (in the old sense of being productive) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo in NJ, Satyrblade

      is also a virtue, and selfishness is not. The attempt to conflate the two has been ongoing for a century or more, at least dating back to the self-justifications of the Railroad Robber Barons.

      I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

      by eataTREE on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:51:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Prudence is also (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo in NJ, houyhnhnm

      a virtue that many cannot practice as they can't afford it. Where does frugality start and poverty end? thrift is the only store I can afford to shop in. Selfishness has made these virtues you speak of obsolete/irrelevant to a large swath of people lining on this earth, as they require a means, a stream of income a living,  that you need to have to practice these virtues.  

  •  Time For A Jesus Moment (9+ / 0-)

    Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple. It is time for the 99% to throw Wall Street (today's money changers) out of the temple (America) and put our nation more in line with Christ's actual teachings.

    BTW, I'm an athiest but I recognize great ideals when I see them.

    How quickly the Pacifist becomes the Warrior when it's "our side" doing the killing.

    by edg on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 01:29:30 PM PDT

  •  This past spring in Florida (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA Breeze

    when I was demonstrating against the Governor's proposed budget which contained major corporate tax cuts funded by huge cuts in public education, one of the signs I carried read:

    "Paying Taxes is Patriotic"

    Paying taxes is also what makes us civilized.  

    Great dairy.  Tipped and recommended.

    The United States is not just losing its capacity to do great things. It's losing its soul.--Bob Herbert. gulfgal98's corollary- We are fighting back to save our soul. Thank you, #OWS for empowering us all.

    by gulfgal98 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:17:18 PM PDT

  •  I'd love to see a chart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Question Authority

    that shows the % of total income spent on all taxes (state, federal and local, including property) plus all government-associated fees (car registration, etc), and show how the percentage changes over income levels.  

    I suspect that might be a good graphic to show the current system's inequality, especially with the capital gains/hedge fund tax break and the social security cap, plus the regressiveness of sales tax.

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:27:39 PM PDT

  •  This says a lot, here: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Satyrblade

    Real Patriots who don't come from the 1 percent pay their fair share, and more -- a lot of them these days in some variant of the BDU.

    We have to show the world we're a First World Country with First World Priorities, not a banana republic with Third World corruption run amok.

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 02:37:02 PM PDT

  •  Expensive != quality (0+ / 0-)

    A quant and damned proud of it.

    by Cera on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 04:08:53 PM PDT

  •  That is why I never considered Republican ideals (0+ / 0-)

    a legitimate ideology. Anyone with half a brain can see that it is purely based on selfishness which they try to mask and validate with various delusions and lies. The conservative ideology is not worthy of respect because it in no way improves the human condition. It only improves their individual condition at the expense of everyone else.  Their ideology is really a personality defect which is genetically based. They are simply inferior quality human beings.

  •  What we have here is an attempt at (0+ / 0-)

    making a virtue out of a vice. By "here" I don't mean this post, but rather the behavior of a certain percentage of the population which, IMHO, is deficient in a few of the senses the rest of us have and, as a result, are incapable of even knowing where their real interests lie.

    Which senses are lacking?  For starters, I'd suggest sense of time, sense of place, sense of direction, sense of order, sense of sequence and, most importantly, sense of self. Perhaps the latter is the sum total of a general inability to be aware of one's environment.  In any case, these people are clueless about themselves and others.  They are self-centered without being self-aware.  So, Socrates' injunction to "know thyself," is beyond their comprehension.

    It may be counter intuitive, but when you think about it, self-centeredness and self-awareness don't necessarily co-exist. Self-centered behavior is instinctive; self-awareness is cognitive.  We presume there's a connection in the brain.  But, connections can be severed.  And then there's the problem of faulty input.  We can correct for some vision deficits and hearing and touch.  We can and do compensate for a poor sense of direction. GPS helps people who never know where they are, if they can read a map.  

    What I'd suggest is that some percentage of the population does not feel connected to anyone else. Perhaps it's because they have no sense for another person's existence.  Whatever, the cause, they are effectively isolates.  They feel independent and conclude that's how they and everyone else ought to be.  Perhaps it's not fair to call it a vice.  But, if one happens to belong to a species where social connection is the default, then isolates have to be considered outliers, regardless of their impulse to make isolation the default.
    In other words, isolates tout independence because they do not know how to connect. And, to make themselves feel better (right), they endeavor to persuade by hook or by crook that all the other people ought to be isolates along with them.

    What's really strange is that the isolates, who tout independence, are actually incapable of maintaining themselves, probably because their sensory deficits keep them from interpreting their environment accurately.  (Birds know when foul weather is on the way; clueless humans are surprised because they have no sense for the environment).

    While the promoters of "independence" striving for dominion seems hypocritical, it's not.  Humans in isolation don't survive.  So, while the call for independence may be making a virtue out of a vice, the reality is that these people need to be cared for more than most.  They just don't recognize when they're cared for.
    Imagine a blind person with a cane not knowing someone has held the door open for him. We cannot know what we cannot sense.

    We know about sensory deprivation.  We are not as aware of sense-deprived people when the senses they are missing are the less obvious ones.
    How can one see another person and not be aware of that person? It's the standard for people whose superficial optics serve as prompts to cue some habitual response--e.g. see a black cat and cower in fear.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 05:35:25 AM PDT

  •  If you ask them (0+ / 0-)

    They'll tell you it's "enlightened self interest." Or some bullshit that allows them to be greedy, and still act like it's a morally good thing to do.

    I am an atheist for moral purposes. Seriously.

    by otto on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 06:42:24 AM PDT

  •  The authoritarian/conservative mind is (0+ / 0-)

    punitive in nature.  Thus, poverty is a punishment for behavior that leads to poverty;  drug abuse, not working or not working at a job that pays well, not studying and getting your education, paying bills late or not at all, etc.  In addition, as poverty is a punishment, they view the poor as responsible for their own condition and thus their punishment is their due.  Thus, fuck 'em.  They should get a damn thing but should pull themselves up by their boot straps.*

    On the other hand, there are people that are worthy of government assistance.  For the authoritarian/conservative, these people include police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, and the rich.  These are the people that inhabit the only parts of government that is legitimate; those that protect the property of property owners.  The rich inhabit the decision making realm of the state, btw.

    Thus, there are the worthy and the unworthy; the elect and the damned.

    It ain't difficult to figure out.  It is only among the Randians that "selfishness" is a virtue.  For all the other authoritarian/conservatives you are a worthless piece of shit unless you do for yourself.

    *No the idea that one ought to "pull themselves up by their boot straps" is not a negative attitude in and of itself.  Self reliance is a virtue whether you are a leftist or a lunatic.  Who wouldn't want others to be able to do for themselves and value hard work and self discipline.  Anybody that doesn't share these values may indeed be a leech.  But self reliance is not independent of compassion and respect for the dignity of others.  In that regard, sometimes "teaching a man to fish" is preferable to "giving a man a fish".  Sometimes a man just needs a fish.  Sometimes, we on the left assume that it is inappropriate to ask a man to learn how to fish and think that all problems should only be solved by giving a man a fish.  When we think that and actually try to teach a man to fish, such as in school, we somehow believe that the result we desire for others, is both desired by the person we are trying to teach and that we can somehow guarantee the outcome.  A truly democratic freedom must allow for the individual to learn to fish when he wants to and/or not learn to if he wants to.  If we have determined that teaching to fish is the preferred method for alleviating the problem and the person chooses not to learn, then and only then should the man be required to flounder (no pun intended).

  •  Paying your taxes is highest form of Patriotism (0+ / 0-)

    Invest in America

    Just like Ronald Reagan did.

  •  Where I have a problem (0+ / 0-)

    Is that we've been spending more and more on education to the point where the $'s per student that we spend is very near the highest of any country.  Yet globally we drop further and further in terms of quality of education... Throwing good money after bad in these instances is not the way to go.  

    To think that the problems with our education system can all be solved by throwing piles and piles more money at it is being naive at best.

    •  Credible evidential support would be helpful (0+ / 0-)

      % GDP comparisons seem to indicate your first premise is wrong, however. The U.S. is #37 on that list of education spending.

      #37, on a list that starts with #1, btw, is not "very near the highest of any country." Perhaps I should blame our education system for your mistake.  :)

      There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. -- Isaac Asimov

      by tytalus on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 10:05:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Using your same source (0+ / 0-)

        http://www.nationmaster.com/...

        Dollars per student (as indicated in my original post) puts the U.S in 4th which is in fact "very near the highest of any country".  

        Also as a P.S there's no need to resort to condescension in your responses to people!

        •  Then we're not getting our money's worth (0+ / 0-)

          as is the case with many, many other things.

          Maybe we should start INSISTING on getting what we have paid for.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 01:04:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, ok (0+ / 0-)

          I can see why you would prefer that statistic to make your point, then. I'm not worried about condescension against folks with axes to grind, sorry. Get used to it.

          There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death. -- Isaac Asimov

          by tytalus on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 03:57:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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