Skip to main content

From a general philosophical standpoint, I believed that it was best to put the weight of decisions in people's hands at the local level. I thought that - based on their ability to directly and easily influence the outcome - people would quickly become more involved in the political world. I thought that people would more or less be decent enough to stick to their own regional successes and failures and not try to dump their problems onto others and freeload.

I was wrong. Wisconsin and Texas have made that clear.

What I wanted was a federal government that legislated almost solely on issues of clear national importance - things like discrimination, security, and economy. I wanted state governments to be a similar layer for things like transit and resource use. I wanted local governments to do the heavy lifting on taxation and crime and gun control.

What I see now is that - with the way people currently are - that would result in local governments running wild and changing things overnight to serve a powerful handful of people, who would use their power in underhanded ways to get only certain groups to vote and to intimidate others, and there'd be a sweeping effect straight up the ticket. As well, they would use underhanded efforts to hide discrimination and the like, and use insane codes and taxes to try to force out groups and ideas that they don't like. I thought that such efforts would be counter-acted by an informed populace - but I now see that if such a population could exist, it likely would be crushed before it could get up to speed.

Americans aren't nearly mature enough for a system that puts the power into their hands. That what I heard from people in Wisconsin was "we're tired of voting" and "it was inconvenient to stay informed" and "voting was out of my way"  after all of what's happened, and that I've come to understand how Texas is using voter intimidation and is siphoning resources from the rest of the country, shows clearly that any move toward localizing at this point is a terrible idea.

Localizing only works when (1) local means self-responsible, (2) local means equal access, and (3) local means rallying around the smart people.

Forget about the role that money played in Wisconsin. The people weren't interested in being involved.

Forget about the out-of-state funds. People around the nation could have donated, but didn't get involved.

You know who did get involved? The idiots.

More after the jump.

Simple-minded. Staunch Republicans. "Anti-elitist" populists. Racists. "Didn't get a handout" thinkers. Misogynists. Heterosexists. Homeschoolers. Dogmatists. Schadenfreudeists. Now I'm just making up words.

Whatever you call them, these are the people who went out in large numbers to vote. They stayed informed enough to know when and how to do so. They probably couldn't tell you what Walker's record is, or discuss political philosophy at length with you, but they know how to get to the polls and they're vigilant about doing so.

These are the people who are increasingly dominating election contests. And they're being led by figures who purport to believe a wide span of things - so there's a figurehead for everyone. There's the "evangelical Christian", the "anti-state atheist", the "small government, small-r republican", the "libertarian/liberty lover", the "evil union destroyer", the "fair guy", and the like.

No matter who they're following or what their motivations, all of these simple-minded fools are, perhaps because of their limited mindset, laser-focused on voting. Voting against Democrats? Voting against non-Republicans? Voting against "thieves"? Voting against "people not like me"? Whatever the answer, they're voting.

And it isn't just in Wisconsin.



I was naive enough to think that these some of these people weren't simple-minded. I bought into their rhetoric, pledges, mission statements, and public proclamations about wanting "fairness" and "individual liberty" and "civility" and "reason". I bought into the idea that they sometimes worked with people who are clearly simple-minded or corrupt because they felt that it was necessary to get their message out and the election day votes.

What I've recently discovered is that, after some continued prodding during a stressful situation, they reveal their true colors.

Ron Paul, for example, who I strongly wanted to see win the Republican nomination because his views were so very different and were centered on things that, as President, it seemed he would generally only do positive things with - like reverse horrible executive orders and refuse to acknowledge terrible legislation. It seemed as though he was a decent - if uninformed on key subjects - guy who, if he somehow managed to win the election, wouldn't tear down everything despite his nutty claims about killing off whole departments. I mean, this was a guy who spoke at length about reading bills carefully and looking at evidence related to legislation before his presidential run.

It was wishful thinking.

What has come to light is that he doesn't feel any moral obligation to condemn the corruption that surrounds him.

He doesn't speak out against Mitt Romney being a horrible person - which I let slide originally because of the idea that Paul was going to change the party platform for the better.

He doesn't speak out about how his former business associates (read: Lew Rockwell and his ilk) are liars, nor does he disinvite their speaking on his behalf.

He doesn't speak out about the corruption attached to his campaign spokespersons and advisers.

His campaign doesn't say a word about the horrible acts committed against even his own supporters at GOP conventions.

He barely made a clear condemnation of the guy who wrote those racist things for Paul's business newsletter operation.

And he's had plenty of time now to do any of the above - and less reason to shrink from doing so given that he won't win the nomination.

I mean, really. So much for "Mr. Principled".


And the thing is, Paul is the best thing on that side of the national aisle. As far as "small government/libertarian" people go, he's as good as it gets when it comes to people who've actually had a chance. (Strong civil rights rhetoric that he actually seems to believe, opposition to war, opposition to "total information awareness" policies, opposition to the militarization of the police, opposition to the War on Drugs, support for rehabilitation, and so on.)

What Paul lacked, I thought some of his supporters made up for. I truly believed that behind Paul was a coalition of Democrats, right-libertarians, left-libertarians, minarchists, independents, and the like who had reasonable views on the big issues - like civil rights, equality, war, and so on. If Paul wanted embryos to be persons, at least most of his supporters didn't. Most importantly, I believed that most of them were civil and philosophical - ripe for conversion to more sensible policy positions - while also being active in politics.



The last few weeks have been a learning experience. I've learned that probably 50% of these supporters - by whatever label - refuse to vote for someone who does not agree with at least 90% of their personal views.

According to my polling, a chunk of them are anarcho-capitalist atheists, many are "Pro-life Christians", and another big hunk are extreme libertarians and "small government conservatives".

Some of the most active members of one of the pro-Paul websites responded to a poll that I put up and some of them explained their answers. Here are a few highlights:

30% refuse to vote for someone who supports abortion.

Barely 50% support marriage equality.

Nearly 20% wouldn't vote for an atheist.

Nearly 40% wouldn't vote for a muslim.

70% vote based on ideology or personal principle.

30% believe that most scientific studies are unreliable, and that scientific communities are untrustworthy.

65% believe that "everyday Americans" make the best decisions, compared with an educated class. In other words, they believe that "everyone knows what's best for him/herself". (I should've also asked what they thought about knowing what's best for everyone in their household/their employees.)



So it shouldn't have surprised me that Paul's paid political blogger, Jack Hunter, tweeted to his followers that they should go out and vote for Scott Walker yesterday...but it did surprise me.

I didn't think that carelessness and "team sport" nonsense was that deep in the campaign and its supporters.

It also shouldn't surprise me that some people who I had come to have extended contact with and leaned toward believing were good, informed people defended GA as an "overall good political area" with "a few problem-starters", insulted me for "waving government around like someone waving a gun in my face" when I pointed out that regulations against Verizon and ATT were a good thing - not a terrible government overreach as was being claimed, attacked me for "being uncivil, unkind, and condescending" because I said "You're wrong. I don't think you know what affirmative action means. Look up 'adverse impact'." to people who were arguing that affirmative action is a way for minorities who feel discriminated against to get a job, and were upset not because Scott Walker won the recall vote, but because it was being chalked up as a victory for Mitt Romney.

Those same people work for a website that has in its rules that conspiracy theories are not to be tolerated, and were talking last night about how the results from recent primaries "must be flipped" to where Romney was given Paul's numbers. Other people previously in the week had been talking about "chem trails", "FEMA camps", and how the lack of "god" and the "protestant work ethic" are the real reasons why the country has been falling apart.

So, I guess I'd now make an argument for completely unrestricted speech on the basis that I'd rather know who is or isn't an idiot from the start.



In sum, I wasted a lot of time, effort, and money supporting a candidate whom I expected to be a good person who couldn't actually do much harm, and working with others whom I expected to be mostly decent people that would come around when presented with facts.

I said in the comments on one of my previous diary entries that when I'm wrong, I openly and fully admit it.

I was wrong. About a lot of important things.

I'll be attentive so as to not make that same mistake again.

And I'll be working hard to counteract the effects of that mistake.

It's clear to me that what we need in this kind of environment is a stronger federal government - one that can keep idiots in check and educate people until they can take the reigns again - if that ever happens.

It should still be a limited government - limited by careful debate over what is best for everyone - as government always should be. But it certainly should be a largely federal government that prevents the village idiots from taking over the village.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)

    Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

    by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:53:54 AM PDT

  •  If people are idiots, how is the problem (0+ / 0-)

    solved by changing the level of government at which the problem is sposed to be addressed?

    •  Think about access and uniformity (0+ / 0-)

      If we go by what's happened recently in FL, WI, GA, ad TX, it's easier for the idiots to take over local contests and keep at it, then use local regulation to prevent people they don't like from influencing higher-up contests (state and federal).

      Moreover, if you put the power to regulate education at the local level, there's no real way to know what kids are being taught - and education is clearly a huge factor at this point.

      Most importantly, if people are so easily fatigued by voting and information density, it's better to focus on big contests that they'll pay attention to.

      Put another way below.

      Assume:
      - Casual voters lean Democratic
      - Casual voters vote in big elections
      - Rabid idiot voters are Republican
      - Rabid idiot voters vote in every election that they hear about
      - Rabid idiot voters use local elections to disqualify casual voters from voting in big elections

      Solution to getting the rabid idiots out of power:
      - Reduce the number of election contests so that only big elections are left
      - Create federal legislation that disables the ability of local governments to disqualify casual voters
      - Make federal legislation the supreme legislation

      Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

      by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:06:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm starting to be very pessimistic about the (5+ / 0-)

      scalability and long-term sustainability of democracy itself. It requires an educated, informed, and interested citizenry, and we haven't actually had that for decades.

      I fear that what we are going to have going forward is a combination of "rule by elites" and "rule by mob", and it won't be pretty. And I fear we may be twenty years too late to stave off this fate.

      I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

      by eataTREE on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:12:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If people were too lazy or disinterested, why was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allergywoman

      there such a overwhelmingly heavy turnout?

      Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by auapplemac on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:43:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  High turnout compared to what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Saint Jimmy

        If you're comparing the turnout and voting trends to 2010, there were more voters and interesting patterns. If you compare it to the Presidential election in 2008 (a big election), there were fewer voters and different trends.

        That's why I stuck to talking about people's motivations, casual voters, and the like.

        http://www.jsonline.com/...

        Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

        by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:14:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not to sound cranky but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    klompendanser, allergywoman

    you still sound like a Paulite, a Libertarian or a Republican.  All your chit chat about Paul and Romney and the Repubicans--you're on the wrong site.  

    •  I don't know how to make it more clear for you (0+ / 0-)

      In the diary here, I talked about my intention to educate people in the Paul camp. I don't see how you got from that to the idea that I'm a GOP or LP supporter.

      Look at my previous diaries if you're really that lost. I'm an independent. I support candidates based on their policy stances and interviews, regardless of party. However, I tend to vote for Democrats because they make far more sense.

      Just because I supported Paul on the GOP side doesn't mean that I'm a Republican or Libertarian.

      If I was, why would I have contributed to Elizabeth Warren, Dennis Kucinich, Alan Grayson, the campaign against Joe Walsh, and so on and so on?

      Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

      by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:17:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is always a problem with (3+ / 0-)

    states' rights.  States' rights mean that an uninformed population that is large enough can keep informed people from ever having a turn to speak in any meaningful way.  Some states would still have slavery, segregation, no suffrage for women and laws against interracial marriage.  We would have laws justifying the killing of immigrants in some populations.  Some states are meccas of ideas and freedom, while others are where progress goes to die.

    The recall was a bad idea in many respects.  The overstep of power by Walker was there, but the people weren't behind the idea of recall elections.  It was doomed by that judgment, not by Walker being a good governor.  It was going to be an uphill climb.  I wish we could have scaled it, but it was one hell of a mountain to get a population that was fundamentally against recalls to make one successful.

    It was a situation where people didn't appreciate the gravity of what had happened enough to care.  A moving object stays in motion, but an object at rest stays at rest.  Those of us who are politically active and vigilant fight hard, the rest will do as little as is possible to change things.  Conservatives live off of that (look at the House of Representatives) and the large populations of apathetic dunces in some states.

  •  I appreciate your honesty and hard work to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LimitedGovernment

    gather facts.  I was somewhat blind and politically asleep through most of the 1980s and 1990s.  By the time I woke up, I really didn't recognize the political landscape any more.  It had become alien and completely hostile, in my opinion.

    I don't dismiss the concept of "limited government" out of hand.  However, there are times when limited government is appropriate and this is not one of those times.  I tend to like the phrase "reasonable government" or "efficient government", rather than "limited government".  In my opinion, federal government is far too limited in some areas and not nearly limited enough in other areas, such as homeland security and defense.  

    Government can be limited in many ways but we must be careful about which aspects of government we limit and tailor the limitations to the times.

    One in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder, or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. ~ Chris Hedges

    by Saint Jimmy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:15:30 PM PDT

    •  Reasonable, efficient, and limited (0+ / 0-)

      If you ask me, they should all be the same thing.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

      by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:21:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can live with the following definition of (2+ / 0-)

        "limited government", which is provided in your link:

        It is a form of government in which only necessary intervention in the lives of citizens is allowed by law, and in which careful processes are created in order to allow the people to determine what is necessary. It stands in contrast to arbitrary governance - like that by many kings, dictators, and oligarchs.

        However, as mentioned in the definition above, there must be "...careful processes... to allow the people to determine what is necessary".

        Unfortunately, our "careful processes" have been almost destroyed by big money.  Also, the people MUST have the knowledge and awareness to determine what is necessary for the times in which they live.

        I don't disagree with your general point of view, at all, but the phrase "limited government" is a phrase mostly usurped by republicans, corporations, big bankers, and the very rich.  You will fight an up hill battle getting folks to accept your definition and vision of "limited government" in place of the definition that the rich have fed them for 3 decades.

        One in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder, or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. ~ Chris Hedges

        by Saint Jimmy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:33:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Trying to kill the false dichotomy (0+ / 0-)

          I think that one of the reasons why Democrats, Independents, and 3rd Partiers have been less successful over time (and there are many reasons) is that they have increasingly lost language that can be used to appeal to people.

          Political words in general have mostly lost their meanings, and often the new meanings are interpreted as "positive, conservative words".

          "Limited government" is a key example, in my mind. "Small government" was recognized as a bad thing by a lot of people, but "limited government" doesn't sound - at face - as a bad. So why wouldn't Republicans conflate the two?

          What does that leave everyone else with? "Big government"? People don't like that. "Reasonable government?" "Reasonable" depends on the listener - it has no bound meaning. "Efficient government"? No one is against that, but Republicans also claim to create it.

          If "limited government" stays in the hands of Republicans as their pet definition, it's hard to see how Democrats (or others) can ever get a victory among casual voters when talking about the size and functions of government.

          Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

          by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:44:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmmm. Tragic, isn't it? There are a number of (0+ / 0-)

            words and phrases that they have subtly re-defined or "captured", if you will, during the past 30 or so years.  One I saw mentioned in a post last is the word "homeland".  "Homeland" is a perfectly good word.  For example, the USA is my homeland.  I love my homeland.  However, moderates and most certainly leftists shy away from using "homeland", unless they are referring to a certain federal government department.

            I'm sure someone or some group could, or possibly even has, created a list of words and phrases whose meanings  have been altered in political discourse, mostly by right wing, republican, and fascist political strategists and lobbyists.  Should someone have the time and energy, I'm sure such a listing, complete with revised definitions and modern connotations, would make a fascinating, enlightening, and possibly useful and humorous diary.

            One in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder, or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. ~ Chris Hedges

            by Saint Jimmy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:58:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Have you also changed your mind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman

    on whether we need general funding of public schools rather than having parents pay for them (i.e. privatizing schools)?

    Just remembering our conversation of a few weeks ago.

    •  Still for "pay for service" and "general funds" (0+ / 0-)

      As I said before, I still believe that public schools should be funded by a combination of the people who use them and a "general public fund" for research, development, and health.

      I'm not opposed to private schools and homeschooling - but there had better be some really specific legislation about what passes for "education" as far as what credentials those students get based on what they have to know.

      In all honesty, I think that my plan would actually increase revenues for public schools and decrease the "moral argument" of libertarians and "conservatives" against taxation. Recall that there are places where people pay no property tax because of exemptions, despite using the public schools, etc.

      Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

      by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:27:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Liberalism and Limited Government: what it means (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LimitedGovernment, Saint Jimmy

    I've often heard people claim that classical liberalism stood for limited government, and this is true, just not AT ALL in the way those people tend to think.

    After all, the government they were seeking to limit was absolute monarchy. Pretty much every form of constitutional democracy is "limited government" in the classical liberal sense.

    When the plutocrats call for limited government, they mean "A government which has no power to limit my actions, even if those actions harm others." This is nearly the opposite of the original meaning of limited government, as it simply moves tyranny into the private market. Government has always been about limiting the power of the overly powerful. It is nothing more than the little guys banding together to confront their bullies.

    •  Bingo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Saint Jimmy

      Not sure if you meant to be educating me or agreeing with me, but the reason I use this UID is as pat of trying to "take back the meaning" of limited government as "restricting the power of autocrats, plutocrats, and mobs".

      Supporter of philosophical constitutionalism, republicanism, and democratism. -3.5, -4.87 All about the rule of law and moderate regulation + Civility first + Constructive comments + Remember the cooperative principle

      by LimitedGovernment on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:29:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Educating others (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LimitedGovernment, Saint Jimmy

        You obviously get it but I have heard others folks, even here (usually "third way" types, yech) claim that classical liberalism stood for limited government, and then go on the make arguments that would have made a "classical liberal's" blood boil. Within a constitutional framework, pretty much anything that we, the people decide to do qualifies as "limited government" as long as it respects the constitution. Socialized medicine? That's limited government. Welfare and social security? Still limited government. The president deciding to kill a bunch of people in a foreign country without congress declaring war? Yeah, uh, that is NOT limited government. That is exactly the sort of autocratic bullshit that "classical liberals" hated.

  •  Oh dear we can't have people voting on things... (0+ / 0-)

    "Americans aren't nearly mature enough for a system that puts the power into their hands. "

    Wow. Just wow.

  •  If everything were settled by local plebiscite, (0+ / 0-)

    you'd see reinforcement of the worst kind of abuse of minorities. The entrenchment of know-nothing bigotry. The abuse of immigrants. And the worst kind of demagoguery.

  •  rec'd with the hope you continue to evolve. n/t (0+ / 0-)

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site