I have been hanging out at DK for quite some while. I have commented on some posts (my first was in bad taste and I apologize). I have decided it is time for me to introduce myself.
Below are 29 statements that reflect the way I view society, government, and politics. These statements are generally not my original ideas and I need citations for most of them. They reflect the learning gained over more than fifty years, including a public elementary and high school education in Kansas along with an excellent higher education at Georgetown University, The College of William and Mary Law School, and the University of London.
1. In the state of nature, life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Hobbes
2. In a society, government is means in which the costs and benefits of living in a society are organized.
3. Benefits and burdens should be equal unless those who are worse off are made better by the inequality. Rawls
4. Politics is the process by which society makes decisions about government
5. Capitalism (allowing individuals to pool investment for potential profit and limiting potential loss to the amount of the investment) is the best way of making everyone better off.
6. Corporations are the tools by which capital is pooled. Civil and Criminal loss is generally limited to the extent of the investment.
7. At law, corporations are considered people because of a legal fiction is needed to allow corporations to sue and be sued in court. They are not people, though people invest in and own the corporation. Corporations cannot be put in jail or executed, though they can be put out of business if they are forced to liquidate all assets.
8. Capitalism does not reflect the true cost of business. Costs to the environment and transaction costs are frequently borne by the society rather than the individuals (or corporations) making the investment. Consider Love Canal and Exxon Valdese for examples.
9. Law and regulation limit the costs of capitalism that are borne by society.
10. Without sufficient laws and regulations, or with lax enforcement of law and regulation, corporations accumulate excessive wealth for investors.
11. Full participation in democratic government is the only way to ensure that laws and regulations are sufficient and enforced to adequately insure that the costs to society are borne by the investors who benefit from the economic activity of the corporation.
12. Inadequate participation in democracy leads to excessive accumulation of wealth for those who have invested in corporations.
13. Marx was a brilliant analytical thinker, though his predictions have not all been accurate. 14. Those with money have an inordinate amount of influence on our democracy (in the U.S. and some other countries) and authoritarian governments in other countries make income inequality much worse.
15. Capital does not recognize national borders, though the movement of labor is regulated extensively.
16. Artificial differences (race, religion, etc.) create false distinctions that keep many people from acting in concert to protect their economic interests.
17. These differences (often called wedge issues in American politics) are exacerbated, if not created, in order to keep people from voting in their economic interest. How, for example, does marriage of homosexuals harm heterosexual couples?) âIt is only class warfare when we fight back!â
18. The current political system makes accumulation of wealth by the richest 1% inevitable. (Really, it is the richest 0.1%, but 99.9% doesnât quite have the same ring to it.)
19. There is no progressive party in America; both republicans and democrats are OK with the current system that benefits the ruling class.
20. The Republican Party, however, has gone âall inâ against the middle class.
21. They are conducting a nationwide campaign (along with some democrats) to disenfranchise poor, minority, elderly, and disabled voters who are the most likely to try to prevent further political changes leading to dramatic changes in the benefit versus burden aspects of government.
22. The mainstream media in the United States in not liberal. Major corporations own and profit from the news as presented on TV, radio, and in major newspapers.
23. Those who get their news from Fox and Rush Limbaugh know less about key issues than other Americans.
24. The Supreme Court and the judiciary (Citizens United) are inherently conservative and have worked along with the rich to change tax and entitlement policy to hurt the poor and middle class.
25. Now is a critical time in American politics. Demographic changes make the Republican Party (which increasingly caters to white males only) a wounded animal. Consider, for example, the increased movement for disenfranchisement noted above.
26. Money is a powerful tool in politics, but so are organizing and GOTV efforts.
27. There is reason for optimism, but we must act now.
28. Iâd like to stop here.
29. But I canât. Why the hell is Obama killing American citizens without trial?