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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?)  â€œIt is only class warfare when we fight back!”
18.    The current political system makes accumulation of wealth by the richest 1% inevitable.  (Really, it is the richest 0.1%, but 99.9% doesn’t 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 “all in” 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.    I’d like to stop here.
29.    But I can’t.  Why the hell is Obama killing American citizens without trial?  

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Comment Preferences

  •  I appreciate the way this is organized (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, native

    ...from the simple to the complex. Each statement builds on the acceptance of all that came before. And, that's cool unless you happen to trip over something in the middle.

    For example, I ran into some definition problems in 8 and 9, which caused me to stall out at 10.

    Thus, 11 was a side trip to Narnia, where 12 through 14 occurred in a parallel universe.

    But then I made it back and skated along until I reached 18, which was also was a slight stumble, along with 20 and 21.

    Then it was smooth sailing (although I feel that 24 could use some minor tweaking).

    I hit the wall at 26, however, which for me is an act of faith not unlike a creation myth involving turtles or snakes.

    As for 29, I don't believe the President has control over that largely privatized department. (See number 26.)

    But, I roll a little different than most. YMMV.


    "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley

    by Pluto on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 03:07:42 AM PST

    •  Thanks for the thoughtful comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, native

      8-9 are almost necessarily true.  Think about Love Canal.  Kodak may not even have been aware of the total cost of the pollution, but the cost of their cameras and film would have been much greater if the company would have had to pay for the clean up, cost of relocating residents, health care costs do to the effects of the pollution etc.  More controversially, gun manufactures do not pay (or factor in the price of their products) many costs associated with guns.  Policing, health care, economic and emotional loss from those killed or wounded are all costs borne by society.

      11-14 and 18 reflect my belief in a power elite that is increasingly emboldened in their power (money) grab.  

      19 is verifiably true.  i doubt that a live President Reagan could get nominated by the Republican Party of today.  I also suspect that Nixon could not get nominated by the Democratic Party because he is too far left.  Bernie Sanders is progressive, as are a few Democrats in Congress.  President Obama: not so much.  

      As for 24, the Warren and Berger courts were not all that much ahead of society on many issues, and they are historic anomalies.  

      26 again is accurate.  Generally, the side who spends the most wins.  On occasion, however, people are organized and motivated enough to overcome the advantages of money.  

      You are absolutely correct on number 29.  How silly of me to have not considered that point.  

  •  16-19 reflect the truth about our government. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, paulacvdw, marykk

    All the things we find wrong with our government are within the power of Congress to fix.  that they don't proves they like things just as they are...because the inequities serve them well.

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 04:36:49 AM PST

  •  Pleasetameetcha (0+ / 0-)

    looking forward to your posts.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:52:04 AM PST

  •  3 Is My Deal Breaker (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native

    despite agreeing with a great many of the later points.

    That kind of idea could only come from somebody who missed the 20th century; but these days that would be both political parties, as you point out in #19, and almost all Americans.

    Your #3 guarantees #18. The middle of the 20th century was the only cure for #18 humanity ever proved, here and around the developed world, but it required going against #3.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 05:55:51 AM PST

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