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Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview

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  • C. S. Wyatt
    ... My problem with this is that left/right become black and white moral positions. Those of us who consider things more centrist recognize some ideas from
    Message 1 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
      > convince you. If you are not on the left, fine. Its your conscience.

      My problem with this is that "left/right" become black and white moral positions. Those of
      us who consider things more "centrist" recognize some ideas from each are needed and
      that both sides keep the other in check -- when things actually function.

      I admit, my conscience is based on what *I* do. Giving money to any group, even a charity,
      and hoping it does good deeds is not enough. Likewise, blindly paying taxes and hoping
      for the best is not acceptable. Every organization must be monitored and challenged.

      As we watch the free press decline, with newspapers and magazines failing, I'm not sure
      who will be around in 20 years to challenge authority. Creative writers used to turn to
      fiction, plays, and even poetry to expose social issues. But, bookstores are closing and the
      number one search on Google today is Jennifer Anniston.

      Who will the watchdogs be? Will anyone pay attention?

      The idea that I have a moral obligation to pay taxes is fine -- if those taxes actually do
      something. But, I'm in a state busy with three sports stadiums, subsidizing billionaire
      team owners and millionaire athletes. We're spending public money on mall expansions,
      with nearly $1B in aid proposed for the Mall of America. Our schools are crumbling,
      bridges falling, our water is literally brown, but we have $2.5 billion for entertainment and
      shopping venues? Right... I'm supposed to trust these idiots?

      Oh, and our legislature that is spending so wisely is overwhelmingly "DFL" (Democrat-
      Farm-Labor). Only the governor is a Republican. Every other state official claims to be a
      "progressive." I guess we are progressing to a retail only economy. Yippee.

      No, I don't trust government -- because I have a conscience. I cannot condone subsidies
      for the already-rich. I cannot condone giving public resources to entertainment venues.
      Eminent domain for high-rent condos on the river? Absurd.

      If you are skeptical of human nature, corporations, and most other human endeavors, you
      should be skeptical of government. Government is a business, but one with armed
      enforcers. Government can and does threaten people in ways private citizens cannot.

      I have no idea how to make government more "trustworthy" and more responsive to what I
      consider real needs and priorities. I vote for people who promise change... and change
      seldom happens.

      Maybe the next four years will be better. But, I wouldn't give government power just in
      case the next administration is incompetent. Our system's turnover means the changes we
      make for a "good" administration can come back to haunt us under a horrible
      administration.

      To claim trusting government signifies moral superiority is just not sufficient. You have to
      also want major, major reforms. These reforms are unlikely, of course. Not unless you find
      a way to change our entire electoral system and numerous Supreme Court rulings.

      Trust in government? Heck, I don't trust anything that large and powerful.
    • eupraxis@aol.com
      Well, there are some, like Chomsky, who wonder if the US is heading towards being a failed state . If so, then the matter becomes very much more radicalized.
      Message 2 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
        Well, there are some, like Chomsky, who wonder if the US is heading towards being a "failed state". If so, then the matter becomes very much more radicalized. But even then, and I would say especially then, I would advocate something far to the left.

        Wil




        -----Original Message-----
        From: tom <tsmith17_midsouth1@...>
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 4:22 pm
        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview CORRECTION

























        Wil,



        What is the best thing to do is usually a question that can't be answered authoritatizely and honestly. My point in listing the congressmen of both parties who have been convicted, indited, or investigated within the Bush years was to give some idea of the extent that legislation is slanted by bribery. I also make the point that for every one caught, there are many more that remain undetected. I'd guess the liklyhood of getting caught taking illegal gratuities is similar to getting caught speeding. If we have been popped for speeding 5 times in our life, we have probably got away with it thousands of times. You can then add in the various things that are legal but obviously unethical like congressmen, cabinet and subcabinet members, and even their aides and secretaries going directly from their government positions to lobbying jobs; and u begin to see how we have the best government money can buy.I did the math, and approximately 4 and 1/2% of congressmen have during the Bush administration been convicted, indited, or investigated.



        That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves."

        - Thomas Jefferson



        The exact direction that should be followed is always uncertain;but the reality that corruption is so extremely prevalent in United States government at all levels is a very significant factor that might lend itself to being suspicious of any programs that tend to expand government. Jefferson, and many of his peers saw government as by nature likely to lend itself to corruption and tyrany. However, there was and is no question that some government is necesary to protect citizens from enemies, foreign and domestic. Interestingly, Jefferson did favor education being made available to all, so as I've said Jefferson like many of us was pulled between libertarian and liberal values. The northern European countries certainly appear to have much less a government corruption problem than us, so at this time it is practical for them to have a larger government than it is for us. The point has been made that the manner in which social security was operated for so long in this country isvery much like the Madof scandal, robbing Peter to pay Paul. As the baby boomers came into the work force in the 70s, it was politicallyopportunistic to give large increases to a relativelysmall number of retirees to get votes. These guys knew theyd be dead or at least retired before the chickens came home to roost. In the fall of 2005, I heard then Tennessee state senator Steve Cohen, now US representative, make a statement at a drug reform meeting that politicians tend to be short term opportunists.

        Tom

        ----- Original Message -----

        From: eupraxis@...

        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

        Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 11:04 AM

        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview CORRECTION



        You argument doesn't really make sense to me. Their are corrupt officials, therefore ... what? Do away with government programs to help the poor, to guarantee social security for those who retire or are incapacitated, etc.? Huh?



        Wil



        -----Original Message-----

        From: tom <tsmith17_midsouth1@...>

        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

        Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 10:51 am

        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview CORRECTION



        To me, the most significant part of this discussion is not so much the goodness or badness of Ron Paul, as it is the question as to whither it's really prudent to have so much money and so much power in the hands of people, who have been shown to be very prone to corruption Some references were made in the New Republic article about Ron Paul's distrust of much of the banking system. Recent developements tend to give credence to it.



        I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing ... Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)



        Tom



        ----- Original Message -----



        From: eupraxis@...



        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com



        Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 9:55 AM



        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview CORRECTION



        -----Original Message-----



        From: eupraxis@...



        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com



        Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 9:54 am



        Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview



        That should have read, "Like I said, I am NOT here to convince you."



        Tom,



        Well you can certainly cut and paste with the best of them! Like I said, I am here to convince you. If you are not on the left, fine. Its your conscience.



        Wil



        -----Original Message-----



        From: tom <tsmith17_midsouth1@...>



        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com



        Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 9:44 am



        Subject: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview



        Distrust of government is not a position, it is a mood. Wil



        Distrust of government is awareness of reality. Aside from ideological leanings, do u really like having power in the hands of people like this? And crooked politicians are like insects in your house, for every one you see there are hundreds you dont see. There is also the factor that there are so many ways for politicians to be paid off, that are not illegal per se, like the fact that over half congressmen now become lobbyists after their tenure. Many spouses of congressmen are also lobbyist. I'd trust a crack whore walking the street as much as these people.



        Tom



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        Category:Members of Congress under investigation



        From SourceWatch



        Jump to: navigation, search



        Editor's note: This article is an index of current and recent members of Congress currently under investigation by the congressional ethics committees, or under investigation, indictment, or conviction by law enforcement authorities, based on credible media reports. In cases where it is contested whether or not the member is being investigated, it is noted in that member's profile. All information here is taken from the members' personal profile pages. If you wish to edit or contribute to this article, please make sure to first add the information to those profiles (with a source).



        Contents



        [hide]



        a.. 1 Senators



        a.. 1.1 Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)



        b.. 1.2 Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)



        c.. 1.3 Note



        b.. 2 Representatives



        a.. 2.1 Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York)



        b.. 2.2 Rep. John Doolittle (R-California) - Retiring



        c.. 2.3 Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Florida)



        d.. 2.4 Rep. Bob Filner (D-California)



        e.. 2.5 Rep. Jane Harman (D-California)



        f.. 2.6 Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) - Indicted



        g.. 2.7 Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-California)



        h.. 2.8 Rep. Gary Miller (R-California)



        i.. 2.9 Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-West Virginia)



        j.. 2.10 Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania)



        k.. 2.11 Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Arizona) - Indicted and Retiring



        l.. 2.12 Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)



        c.. 3 Former members of Congress



        a.. 3.1 Former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Colorado)



        b.. 3.2 Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-California) - Convicted



        c.. 3.3 Former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) - Indicted



        d.. 3.4 Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida)



        e.. 3.5 Former Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada)



        f.. 3.6 Former Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Florida)



        g.. 3.7 Former Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois)



        h.. 3.8 Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) - Convicted



        i.. 3.9 Former Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania)



        d.. 4 Former investigations regarding members of Congress



        a.. 4.1 Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) - Retiring



        e.. 5 Past investigations into members of Congress



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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • eupraxis@aol.com
        CSW, Your centrism has always struck me as way anti-left. Some center! Based on a kind of an oblique circle, I guess, like a large ellipse. Anyway, yes, I am
        Message 3 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
          CSW,

          Your "centrism" has always struck me as way anti-left. Some center! Based on a kind of an oblique circle, I guess, like a large ellipse. Anyway, yes, I am aware of your position. It is one that I disagree with, in the main. And it is one that I interpret as egoistic and self-interested, as you have confirmed, but oddly apologetic and uncomfortable in its own skin.

          I guess you would also be for ending the billions we give to Israel?

          Wil




          -----Original Message-----
          From: C. S. Wyatt <existlist1@...>
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 4:32 pm
          Subject: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview

























          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:

          > convince you. If you are not on the left, fine. Its your conscience.



          My problem with this is that "left/right" become black and white moral positions. Those of

          us who consider things more "centrist" recognize some ideas from each are needed and

          that both sides keep the other in check -- when things actually function.



          I admit, my conscience is based on what *I* do. Giving money to any group, even a charity,

          and hoping it does good deeds is not enough. Likewise, blindly paying taxes and hoping

          for the best is not acceptable. Every organization must be monitored and challenged.



          As we watch the free press decline, with newspapers and magazines failing, I'm not sure

          who will be around in 20 years to challenge authority. Creative writers used to turn to

          fiction, plays, and even poetry to expose social issues. But, bookstores are closing and the

          number one search on Google today is Jennifer Anniston.



          Who will the watchdogs be? Will anyone pay attention?



          The idea that I have a moral obligation to pay taxes is fine -- if those taxes actually do

          something. But, I'm in a state busy with three sports stadiums, subsidizing billionaire

          team owners and millionaire athletes. We're spending public money on mall expansions,

          with nearly $1B in aid proposed for the Mall of America. Our schools are crumbling,

          bridges falling, our water is literally brown, but we have $2.5 billion for entertainment and

          shopping venues? Right... I'm supposed to trust these idiots?



          Oh, and our legislature that is spending so wisely is overwhelmingly "DFL" (Democrat-

          Farm-Labor). Only the governor is a Republican. Every other state official claims to be a

          "progressive." I guess we are progressing to a retail only economy. Yippee.



          No, I don't trust government -- because I have a conscience. I cannot condone subsidies

          for the already-rich. I cannot condone giving public resources to entertainment venues.

          Eminent domain for high-rent condos on the river? Absurd.



          If you are skeptical of human nature, corporations, and most other human endeavors, you

          should be skeptical of government. Government is a business, but one with armed

          enforcers. Government can and does threaten people in ways private citizens cannot.



          I have no idea how to make government more "trustworthy" and more responsive to what I

          consider real needs and priorities. I vote for people who promise change... and change

          seldom happens.



          Maybe the next four years will be better. But, I wouldn't give government power just in

          case the next administration is incompetent. Our system's turnover means the changes we

          make for a "good" administration can come back to haunt us under a horrible

          administration.



          To claim trusting government signifies moral superiority is just not sufficient. You have to

          also want major, major reforms. These reforms are unlikely, of course. Not unless you find

          a way to change our entire electoral system and numerous Supreme Court rulings.



          Trust in government? Heck, I don't trust anything that large and powerful.






















          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • C. S. Wyatt
          ... I am against most foreign aid that goes beyond medical, educational, and agricultural aid. I think selling weapons, be it F16s to Saudi Arabia or tanks to
          Message 4 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
            > I guess you would also be for ending the billions we give to Israel?

            I am against most foreign aid that goes beyond medical, educational, and agricultural aid.
            I think selling weapons, be it F16s to Saudi Arabia or tanks to India, makes the world a
            much worse place. While Israel has a right to defend itself, they are not entitled to any U.S.
            financial aid to buy weapons.

            And you seem to have quite the penchant for name calling and insulting people. It does
            not persuade anyone, certainly -- even when you are right you are abrasive and arrogant.
            I doubt you are so in person, so why be so online?

            I am quite comfortable with my views. Never trust people in power. It's a simply guideline,
            but one I find is constantly supported by experience.

            What I don't understand is how so many people unhappy and critical of the current U.S.
            system can bear to remain if it is so foul. Canada isn't far away, and many European
            nations would welcome educated immigrants.

            Personally, I don't think any system is great, any system is worthy of trust. I know I'd be
            just as critical of people in power in any nation/state. People who want power, by
            definition must want the power for some reason. The few "good" (honest, true to ideals)
            politicians struggle against the currents.

            I do want to be left alone... that seems pretty reasonable to me and many others. It's a
            simple, normal desire to have "ownership" over myself.

            For those willing to let committees and centralized authorities decide what individuals
            must be compelled to do, that's also a choice. You're always free to be part of a collective
            somewhere. The problem is that even collectives end up with leaders, and those leaders
            start to love power.

            (Now, if I thought better of humanity, I'd probably lean towards anarchy, but that's an
            absurd ideal in modern society. Anarchy would be a disaster due to -- of course --
            human nature.)

            Back to rest and the nonsense that is life.
          • eupraxis@aol.com
            CSW: And you seem to have quite the penchant for name calling and insulting people. It does not persuade anyone, certainly -- even when you are right you are
            Message 5 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
              CSW: "And you seem to have quite the penchant for name calling and insulting people. It does


              not persuade anyone, certainly -- even when you are right you are abrasive and arrogant.


              I doubt you are so in person, so why be so online?"




              I can be very abrasive at times, but I didn't think my last post was particularly so: I will parse my post line by line with commentary...



              1) "Your "centrism" has always struck me as way anti-left." -- I mean, center compared to what? Maybe I do understand what passes as center. That is possible, since I laugh whenever I hear about the left-wing press.



              2) "Some center!
              Based on a kind of an oblique circle, I guess, like a large ellipse."
              -- Okay, a tad dismissive, but hardly insulting. My point, though, is that if the gradation is already skewed way past what I take as 'center', how can I take seriously any claims of centrism?



              3) "Anyway, yes, I am aware of your position. It is one that I disagree
              with, in the main." -- Well, true enough, no?



              4) "And it is one that I interpret as egoistic and
              self-interested, as you have confirmed, but oddly apologetic and
              uncomfortable in its own skin." -- You had just championed your position as self-interested, had you not? You had just written, "I admit, my conscience is based on what *I* do." But you often append your positions with anecdotes that show your support for issues that one might consider to be liberal. That is what I was pointing to, at any rate. I meant no insult, but I was nevertheless registering my discomfort with those gestures.

              Perhaps I we are also channeling past arguments, interpreting present comments in light of old wounds. I have not really gotten over the Katrina comments, maybe. Maybe you have a few soar points as well.

              Wil














              -----Original Message-----

              From: C. S. Wyatt <existlist1@...>

              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com

              Sent: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 5:15 pm

              Subject: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview
































              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:


              > I guess you would also be for ending the billions we give to Israel?





              I am against most foreign aid that goes beyond medical, educational, and agricultural aid.


              I think selling weapons, be it F16s to Saudi Arabia or tanks to India, makes the world a


              much worse place. While Israel has a right to defend itself, they are not entitled to any U.S.


              financial aid to buy weapons.





              And you seem to have quite the penchant for name calling and insulting people. It does


              not persuade anyone, certainly -- even when you are right you are abrasive and arrogant.


              I doubt you are so in person, so why be so online?





              I am quite comfortable with my views. Never trust people in power. It's a simply guideline,


              but one I find is constantly supported by experience.





              What I don't understand is how so many people unhappy and critical of the current U.S.


              system can bear to remain if it is so foul. Canada isn't far away, and many European


              nations would welcome educated immigrants.





              Personally, I don't think any system is great, any system is worthy of trust. I know I'd be


              just as critical of people in power in any nation/state. People who want power, by


              definition must want the power for some reason. The few "good" (honest, true to ideals)


              politicians struggle against the currents.





              I do want to be left alone... that seems pretty reasonable to me and many others. It's a


              simple, normal desire to have "ownership" over myself.





              For those willing to let committees and centralized authorities decide what individuals


              must be compelled to do, that's also a choice. You're always free to be part of a collective


              somewhere. The problem is that even collectives end up with leaders, and those leaders


              start to love power.





              (Now, if I thought better of humanity, I'd probably lean towards anarchy, but that's an


              absurd ideal in modern society. Anarchy would be a disaster due to -- of course --


              human nature.)





              Back to rest and the nonsense that is life.



























              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • tom
              Dear C.S., I agree very much with you.Government does have such strong tendencies to perpetuate corruption and inefficiency, and it s so difficult to change,
              Message 6 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
                Dear C.S.,

                I agree very much with you.Government does have such strong tendencies to perpetuate corruption and inefficiency, and it's so difficult to change, because the very ones profiting from the schemes are the people whose cooperation would have to be obtained to bring about reform.I certainly agree with you that both sides need to be kept in some type of balance. And until the leaders of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches achieve a higher ethical standard than streetwalking crack whores, the most beautiful theories will remain rhetoric and never be translated into reality. At the present time, the northern European countries from most accounts seem to have honest enough leaders, so that larger government structures can be feasible. The greatest ideas without honest people to impliment them are like a great song being played by a tone deaf garage band.
                Tom
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: C. S. Wyatt
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 5:15 PM
                Subject: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview


                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                > I guess you would also be for ending the billions we give to Israel?

                I am against most foreign aid that goes beyond medical, educational, and agricultural aid.
                I think selling weapons, be it F16s to Saudi Arabia or tanks to India, makes the world a
                much worse place. While Israel has a right to defend itself, they are not entitled to any U.S.
                financial aid to buy weapons.

                And you seem to have quite the penchant for name calling and insulting people. It does
                not persuade anyone, certainly -- even when you are right you are abrasive and arrogant.
                I doubt you are so in person, so why be so online?

                I am quite comfortable with my views. Never trust people in power. It's a simply guideline,
                but one I find is constantly supported by experience.

                What I don't understand is how so many people unhappy and critical of the current U.S.
                system can bear to remain if it is so foul. Canada isn't far away, and many European
                nations would welcome educated immigrants.

                Personally, I don't think any system is great, any system is worthy of trust. I know I'd be
                just as critical of people in power in any nation/state. People who want power, by
                definition must want the power for some reason. The few "good" (honest, true to ideals)
                politicians struggle against the currents.

                I do want to be left alone... that seems pretty reasonable to me and many others. It's a
                simple, normal desire to have "ownership" over myself.

                For those willing to let committees and centralized authorities decide what individuals
                must be compelled to do, that's also a choice. You're always free to be part of a collective
                somewhere. The problem is that even collectives end up with leaders, and those leaders
                start to love power.

                (Now, if I thought better of humanity, I'd probably lean towards anarchy, but that's an
                absurd ideal in modern society. Anarchy would be a disaster due to -- of course --
                human nature.)

                Back to rest and the nonsense that is life.





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • C. S. Wyatt
                ... light of old wounds. I have not really gotten over the Katrina comments, maybe. Maybe you have a few soar points as well. No idea what you mean by Katrina
                Message 7 of 26 , Jan 2, 2009
                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@... wrote:
                  > Perhaps I we are also channeling past arguments, interpreting present comments in
                  light of old wounds. I have not really gotten over the Katrina comments, maybe. Maybe
                  you have a few soar points as well.

                  No idea what you mean by "Katrina comments." I think I'm not alone in suggesting FEMA
                  was a complete, total, horrendous disaster during various emergencies. I can't think of
                  much the central government did right -- but I give a lot of credit to some brave Coast
                  Guard, National Guard, and volunteer rescuers.

                  If anything, private individuals and organizations did much, much more for the Gulf Coast
                  than the feds did.

                  And the anecdotes are because you imply not trusting government = not having a heart.
                  Meant or not, it comes across that anyone not agreeing with your view of "left" must be
                  mean-spirited and cruel. That's just a really horrible thing to imply about not merely me,
                  but so many people I know from across the political and social spectrum.

                  I still don't understand how anyone in the U.S. can trust this government. As I have said, if
                  I were raised in a social-democratic nation, with a stable civil service... maybe a different
                  view. Our central system? No way I'm trusting it with anything important. The list of even
                  recent failures is too long, too disgusting to ponder.

                  You also don't have a general view of the United States "Center." Your view of "center" is
                  not based on the American electorate, of which I am in the middle. I don't consider myself
                  "center" in any international sense. I'd put the U.S. "Democrats" (whatever that party
                  means) in the European center... and center-left here.

                  Being "center" in the U.S. is "to the right" when compared to elsewhere. I don't live
                  elsewhere. However, I am not a nationalistic, social conservative with religious beliefs --
                  which is how I view the "far right" in America.
                • mary.josie59
                  You know? If I read only this posting from the recent discussion, I d say it makes sense. Political debate is too much about grudges and assumptions and
                  Message 8 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                    You know? If I read only this posting from the recent discussion, I'd say it makes sense.
                    Political debate is too much about grudges and assumptions and ideology. Existentialism
                    culminates with the absurd. The individual fights for what he needs within the tribe or
                    civilized society. Philosophy tries to make it more palatable. Mary

                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "C. S. Wyatt" <existlist1@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eupraxis@ wrote:
                    > > convince you. If you are not on the left, fine. Its your conscience.
                    >
                    > My problem with this is that "left/right" become black and white moral positions. Those
                    of
                    > us who consider things more "centrist" recognize some ideas from each are needed and
                    > that both sides keep the other in check -- when things actually function.
                    >
                    > I admit, my conscience is based on what *I* do. Giving money to any group, even a
                    charity,
                    > and hoping it does good deeds is not enough. Likewise, blindly paying taxes and hoping
                    > for the best is not acceptable. Every organization must be monitored and challenged.
                    >
                    > As we watch the free press decline, with newspapers and magazines failing, I'm not sure
                    > who will be around in 20 years to challenge authority. Creative writers used to turn to
                    > fiction, plays, and even poetry to expose social issues. But, bookstores are closing and
                    the
                    > number one search on Google today is Jennifer Anniston.
                    >
                    > Who will the watchdogs be? Will anyone pay attention?
                    >
                    > The idea that I have a moral obligation to pay taxes is fine -- if those taxes actually do
                    > something. But, I'm in a state busy with three sports stadiums, subsidizing billionaire
                    > team owners and millionaire athletes. We're spending public money on mall expansions,
                    > with nearly $1B in aid proposed for the Mall of America. Our schools are crumbling,
                    > bridges falling, our water is literally brown, but we have $2.5 billion for entertainment
                    and
                    > shopping venues? Right... I'm supposed to trust these idiots?
                    >
                    > Oh, and our legislature that is spending so wisely is overwhelmingly "DFL" (Democrat-
                    > Farm-Labor). Only the governor is a Republican. Every other state official claims to be a
                    > "progressive." I guess we are progressing to a retail only economy. Yippee.
                    >
                    > No, I don't trust government -- because I have a conscience. I cannot condone
                    subsidies
                    > for the already-rich. I cannot condone giving public resources to entertainment venues.
                    > Eminent domain for high-rent condos on the river? Absurd.
                    >
                    > If you are skeptical of human nature, corporations, and most other human endeavors,
                    you
                    > should be skeptical of government. Government is a business, but one with armed
                    > enforcers. Government can and does threaten people in ways private citizens cannot.
                    >
                    > I have no idea how to make government more "trustworthy" and more responsive to
                    what I
                    > consider real needs and priorities. I vote for people who promise change... and change
                    > seldom happens.
                    >
                    > Maybe the next four years will be better. But, I wouldn't give government power just in
                    > case the next administration is incompetent. Our system's turnover means the changes
                    we
                    > make for a "good" administration can come back to haunt us under a horrible
                    > administration.
                    >
                    > To claim trusting government signifies moral superiority is just not sufficient. You have
                    to
                    > also want major, major reforms. These reforms are unlikely, of course. Not unless you
                    find
                    > a way to change our entire electoral system and numerous Supreme Court rulings.
                    >
                    > Trust in government? Heck, I don't trust anything that large and powerful.
                    >
                  • Aija Veldre Beldavs
                    The individual fights for what he needs within the tribe or ... not the only polar options, nor does tribe have to be used as in polar opposition to
                    Message 9 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                      The individual fights for what he needs within the tribe or
                      > civilized society. Mary

                      not the only polar options, nor does "tribe" have to be used as in polar
                      opposition to "civilized society."

                      sorry to pick your post, since others generalized similarly earlier...

                      the smaller and more sustainable social forms of organization in which
                      humans lived for most of their existence (clans, hamlets, villages,
                      tribes in the sense of kinship) can not be lumped into one type. rather,
                      as in nature, they would be more diverse (adapting to circumstances)than
                      the higher and more normalized forms of social organization.

                      tribal warfare, military specialization, strong forms of patriarchy, and
                      a worldview where violence predominates and men rule over women is
                      particularly characteristic of specialized pastoralists of the metal
                      (esp. Iron) ages, such as metal-period Indo-Europeans (in the sense of
                      language), rather than that of sustainable social organizations where
                      populations stabilize with resource availability and the cost of clash
                      is greater than the benefits of exchange or simply passing each other by.

                      raids and piracy and war aside, in normal times violence against one's
                      neighbor (not necessarily kin), has been more likely in the civilized
                      city where people may not form neighborhoods to look out for each other
                      and many are left isolated on their own, than in the country where
                      neighbors, nosy as they might be, have been expected to help neighbors
                      (not necessarily kin).

                      aija
                    • mary.josie59
                      aija, I agree, but got weary of using enclosed quotes to convey such. The need for a conjunction (or/and) betrays my own social conditioning. Since you haven t
                      Message 10 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                        aija,

                        I agree, but got weary of using enclosed quotes to convey such. The need for a conjunction
                        (or/and) betrays my own social conditioning. Since you haven't much time to read our
                        proliferation of postings, I'm hereby assuring you my recent interest in "primitive" self-
                        sustaining cultures is well...interesting. Of course for these people, it's merely their life :)

                        Mary

                        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...> wrote:

                        not the only polar options, nor does "tribe" have to be used as in polar
                        opposition to "civilized society."
                      • tom
                        aija, I agree with you. raids and piracy and war aside, in normal times violence against one s neighbor (not necessarily kin), has been more likely in the
                        Message 11 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                          aija,
                          I agree with you.
                          raids and piracy and war aside, in normal times violence against one's
                          neighbor (not necessarily kin), has been more likely in the civilized
                          city where people may not form neighborhoods to look out for each other
                          and many are left isolated on their own, than in the country where
                          neighbors, nosy as they might be, have been expected to help neighbors
                          (not necessarily kin).

                          aija

                          I have a friend who moved up to Vermont from here in Memphis sometime around the late 80s when he got married. He came back here after he got divorced 7 or 8 years ago for a year or two, then went back. He said that when anyone has disasters of various kinds, neighbors will come and without charge help rebuild. I've heard the idea that once a social group expands beyond the point where everybody knows everyone, something is dramatically changed for the worse. I suspect that the lumping together of huge numbers of people into the nation state has primarily military value. Once the nation state and the acompanying military industrial complex emerged, tribes either voluntarily allied themselves with nation states, or else were killed, occupied, or enslaved by nation states. I guess the question is to what extent it might be possible for the world to ever move away from predatory patterns, once they are established.
                          Tom

                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: Aija Veldre Beldavs
                          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 10:16 AM
                          Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview


                          The individual fights for what he needs within the tribe or
                          > civilized society. Mary

                          not the only polar options, nor does "tribe" have to be used as in polar
                          opposition to "civilized society."

                          sorry to pick your post, since others generalized similarly earlier...

                          the smaller and more sustainable social forms of organization in which
                          humans lived for most of their existence (clans, hamlets, villages,
                          tribes in the sense of kinship) can not be lumped into one type. rather,
                          as in nature, they would be more diverse (adapting to circumstances)than
                          the higher and more normalized forms of social organization.

                          tribal warfare, military specialization, strong forms of patriarchy, and
                          a worldview where violence predominates and men rule over women is
                          particularly characteristic of specialized pastoralists of the metal
                          (esp. Iron) ages, such as metal-period Indo-Europeans (in the sense of
                          language), rather than that of sustainable social organizations where
                          populations stabilize with resource availability and the cost of clash
                          is greater than the benefits of exchange or simply passing each other by.

                          raids and piracy and war aside, in normal times violence against one's
                          neighbor (not necessarily kin), has been more likely in the civilized
                          city where people may not form neighborhoods to look out for each other
                          and many are left isolated on their own, than in the country where
                          neighbors, nosy as they might be, have been expected to help neighbors
                          (not necessarily kin).

                          aija




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Aija Veldre Beldavs
                          I suspect that the lumping together of huge numbers of people into the nation state has primarily military value. Once the nation state and the acompanying
                          Message 12 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                            I suspect that the lumping together of huge numbers of people into the
                            nation state has primarily military value. Once the nation state and the
                            acompanying military industrial complex emerged, tribes either
                            voluntarily allied themselves with nation states, or else were killed,
                            occupied, or enslaved by nation states.

                            all states are not imperialist or expansionist, nor do they equally
                            oppress certain segments of their population.

                            Norway today, in contrast to earlier policies of trying to assimilate
                            the indigenous Sami, now has policies that acknowledge the right of
                            indigenous peoples to exist, which in practice include those attending
                            school in Sami-land must learn Sami, even if they are not Sami. Finland
                            and the Baltic states emerged not for "primarily military value," but to
                            escape Empire, colonialism, and social, educational, cultural, and
                            economic discrimination against the indigenous peoples that had clung to
                            their languages and cultures against the odds. the people of these
                            countries felt their languages, music, oral and material culture were
                            worth keeping, rather than being replaced by a few dominant world
                            cultural hegemonies. that is not necessarily to be insular or
                            provincial, as the ordinary peoples of small countries tend to know more
                            languages out of necessity than those in world-dominant large countries.

                            but Empires do suppress their conquered peoples and others who are not
                            voluntary members. and corporations based on maximizing their profits
                            no matter the cost to humanity as a whole have a lot to do with
                            predatory patterns indifferent to the suffering they cause at large.

                            aija
                          • mary.josie59
                            Don t know that I agree with forcing languages upon others, though I might understand the intent. Here in the US we have difficulties with assimilation,
                            Message 13 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                              Don't know that I agree with forcing languages upon others, though I might understand
                              the intent. Here in the US we have difficulties with assimilation, Spanish speaking vs.
                              English only, etc. There is also the problem of when well meaning nations try to build
                              schools in say Afghanistan, but the NGO's are more successful because grassroots
                              construction is more sensitive to gender disparity issues and funding doesn't disappear as
                              easily.

                              Mary

                              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...> wrote:

                              Norway today, in contrast to earlier policies of trying to assimilate
                              the indigenous Sami, now has policies that acknowledge the right of
                              indigenous peoples to exist, which in practice include those attending
                              school in Sami-land must learn Sami, even if they are not Sami. Finland
                              and the Baltic states emerged not for "primarily military value," but to
                              escape Empire, colonialism, and social, educational, cultural, and
                              economic discrimination against the indigenous peoples that had clung to
                              their languages and cultures against the odds. the people of these
                              countries felt their languages, music, oral and material culture were
                              worth keeping, rather than being replaced by a few dominant world
                              cultural hegemonies. that is not necessarily to be insular or
                              provincial, as the ordinary peoples of small countries tend to know more
                              languages out of necessity than those in world-dominant large countries.
                            • tom
                              aija My point was not that all states are imperialist or expansionist, but rather that historically smaller states that were not imperialist were often forced
                              Message 14 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                                aija

                                My point was not that all states are imperialist or expansionist, but rather that historically smaller states that were not imperialist were often forced to choose between aligning themselves with larger groups or being overran by ones that were. I certainly respect the fact that the Swiss have not been involved in a war in many years. It seems apparent to me that if Switzerland, a small country in the midst of Europe, which was the center of 2 world wars can avoid war, the US certainly could if they desired. I dont think the US has been involved in a war since the War of 1812, that they couldn't have avoided.

                                As for the different relations between people in small and big towns, my dad worked with a young guy in the 30s from a small town. He told my dad it was hard for him to get used to walking downtown by people without saying hi. In a small town,everybody knew one another, and if u saw someone u didnt know, it was customary to say in affect "Hi, I guess u r new here, I'm ----".
                                Tom
                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Aija Veldre Beldavs
                                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 11:37 AM
                                Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview



                                I suspect that the lumping together of huge numbers of people into the
                                nation state has primarily military value. Once the nation state and the
                                acompanying military industrial complex emerged, tribes either
                                voluntarily allied themselves with nation states, or else were killed,
                                occupied, or enslaved by nation states.

                                all states are not imperialist or expansionist, nor do they equally
                                oppress certain segments of their population.

                                Norway today, in contrast to earlier policies of trying to assimilate
                                the indigenous Sami, now has policies that acknowledge the right of
                                indigenous peoples to exist, which in practice include those attending
                                school in Sami-land must learn Sami, even if they are not Sami. Finland
                                and the Baltic states emerged not for "primarily military value," but to
                                escape Empire, colonialism, and social, educational, cultural, and
                                economic discrimination against the indigenous peoples that had clung to
                                their languages and cultures against the odds. the people of these
                                countries felt their languages, music, oral and material culture were
                                worth keeping, rather than being replaced by a few dominant world
                                cultural hegemonies. that is not necessarily to be insular or
                                provincial, as the ordinary peoples of small countries tend to know more
                                languages out of necessity than those in world-dominant large countries.

                                but Empires do suppress their conquered peoples and others who are not
                                voluntary members. and corporations based on maximizing their profits
                                no matter the cost to humanity as a whole have a lot to do with
                                predatory patterns indifferent to the suffering they cause at large.

                                aija





                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • mary.josie59
                                Someone can correct me if I m wrong, but I think this has been shown to be fallacious. The Swiss were bankers for the Nazis and just about anyone who launders
                                Message 15 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                                  Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this has been shown to be fallacious. The
                                  Swiss were bankers for the Nazis and just about anyone who launders money. What is war
                                  about if not money?

                                  Mary

                                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
                                  It seems apparent to me that if Switzerland, a smallcountry in the midst of Europe, which was
                                  the center of 2 world wars can avoidwar, the US certainly could if they desired.
                                • tom
                                  aija From everything Ive read the northern European countries have by far the most honest politicians of any place on earth. I know politiciand here in America
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                                    aija
                                    From everything Ive read the northern European countries have by far the most honest politicians of any place on earth. I know politiciand here in America are bought and paid for. I guess the ones ranked much lower must be places where u have to bribe officials to get a drivers licence or get your garbage picked up.
                                    Tom


                                    Country
                                    rank Country 2007
                                    CPI Score
                                    1. Finland 9.4
                                    Denmark 9.4
                                    New Zealand 9.4
                                    4. Sweden 9.3
                                    Singapore 9.3
                                    6. Iceland 9.2
                                    7. Switzerland 9.0
                                    Netherlands 9.0
                                    9. Canada 8.7
                                    Norway 8.7
                                    11. Australia 8.6
                                    12. Luxembourg 8.4
                                    United Kingdom 8.4
                                    14. Hong Kong 8.3
                                    15. Austria 8.1
                                    16. Germany 7.8
                                    17. Japan 7.5
                                    Ireland 7.5
                                    19. France 7.3
                                    20. USA 7.2
                                    21. Belgium 7.1
                                    22. Chile 7.0
                                    23. Barbados 6.9
                                    24. St. Lucia 6.8
                                    25. Spain 6.7
                                    Uruguay 6.7
                                    27. Slovenia 6.6
                                    28. Portugal 6.5
                                    Estonia 6.5
                                    30. Israel 6.1
                                    St. Vincent and the Grenadines 6.1
                                    32. Qatar 6.0
                                    33. Malta 5.8
                                    34. Macao 5.7
                                    Taiwan 5.7
                                    United Arab Emirates 5.7
                                    37. Dominica 5.6
                                    38. Botswana 5.4
                                    39. Cyprus 5.3
                                    Hungary 5.3
                                    41. Czech Republic 5.2
                                    Italy 5.2
                                    43. South Korea 5.1
                                    Malaysia 5.1
                                    South Africa 5.1
                                    46. Bahrain 5.0
                                    Bhutan 5.0
                                    Costa Rica 5.0
                                    49. Cape Verde 4.9
                                    Slovakia 4.9
                                    51. Latvia 4.8
                                    Lithuania 4.8
                                    53. Jordan 4.7
                                    Mauritius 4.7
                                    Oman 4.7
                                    56. Greece 4.6
                                    57. Namibia 4.5
                                    Samoa 4.5
                                    Seychelles 4.5
                                    60. Kuwait 4.3
                                    61. Cuba 4.2
                                    Poland 4.2
                                    Tunisia 4.2
                                    64. Bulgaria 4.1
                                    Croatia 4.1
                                    Turkey 4.1
                                    67. El Salvador 4.0
                                    68. Colombia 3.8
                                    69. Ghana 3.7
                                    Romania 3.7
                                    71. Senegal 3.6
                                    72. Brazil 3.5
                                    China 3.5
                                    India 3.5
                                    Mexico 3.5
                                    Peru 3.5
                                    Morocco 3.5
                                    Suriname 3.5
                                    79. Georgia 3.4
                                    Grenada 3.4
                                    Saudi Arabia 3.4
                                    Serbia 3.4
                                    Trinidad and Tobago 3.4
                                    84. Bosnia and Herzgegovina 3.3
                                    Gabon 3.3
                                    Jamaica 3.3
                                    Lesotho 3.3
                                    Kiribati 3.3
                                    FYR Macedonia 3.3
                                    Maldives 3.3
                                    Montenegro 3.3
                                    Swaziland 3.3
                                    Thailand 3.3
                                    94. Madagascar 3.2
                                    Panama 3.2
                                    Sri Lanka 3.2
                                    Tanzania 3.2
                                    98. Vanuatu 3.1
                                    99. Algeria 3.0
                                    Armenia 3.0
                                    Belize 3.0
                                    Dominican Republic 3.0
                                    Lebanon 3.0
                                    Mongolia 3.0
                                    105. Bolivia 2.9
                                    Albania Iran 2.9
                                    Argentina Libya 2.9
                                    Burkina Faso 2.9
                                    Djibouti 2.9
                                    Egypt 2.9
                                    111. Eritrea 2.8
                                    Guatemala 2.8
                                    Moldova 2.8
                                    Mozambique 2.8
                                    Rwanda 2.8
                                    Solomon Islands 2.8
                                    Uganda 2.8
                                    118. Benin 2.7
                                    Malawi 2.7
                                    Mali Zambia 2.7
                                    Sao Tome and Principe 2.7
                                    Ukraine 2.7
                                    123. Comoros 2.6
                                    Guyana 2.6
                                    Mauritania 2.6
                                    Nicaragua 2.6
                                    Niger 2.6
                                    Timor-Leste 2.6
                                    Viet Nam 2.6
                                    Zambia 2.6
                                    131. Burundi 2.5
                                    Honduras 2.5
                                    Iran 2.5
                                    Libya 2.5
                                    Nepal 2.5
                                    Phillipines 2.5
                                    Yemen 2.5
                                    138. Cameroon 2.4
                                    Ethiophia 2.4
                                    Pakistan 2.4
                                    Paraguay 2.4
                                    Syria 2.4
                                    143. Gambia 2.3
                                    Indonesia 2.3
                                    Russia 2.3
                                    Togo Nigeria 2.3
                                    147. Angola 2.2
                                    Guinea-Bissau 2.2
                                    Nigeria 2.2
                                    150. Azerbaijan 2.1
                                    Belarus 2.1
                                    Congo, Republic 2.1
                                    Côte d´Ivoire 2.1
                                    Ecuador 2.1
                                    Kazakhstan Uzbekistan 2.1
                                    Kenya Bangladesh 2.1
                                    Kyrgyzstan 2.1
                                    Liberia 2.1
                                    Sierra Leone 2.1
                                    Tajikistan 2.1
                                    Zimbabwe Iraq 2.1
                                    162. Bangladesh 2.0
                                    Cambodia 2.0
                                    Central African Republic 2.0
                                    Papua New Guinea 2.0
                                    Turkmenistan 2.0
                                    Venezuela 2.0
                                    168. Congo, Democratic Republic of 1.9
                                    Equatorial Guinea 1.9
                                    Guinea 1.9
                                    Laos 1.9
                                    172. Afghanistan 1.8
                                    Chad 1.8
                                    Sudan 1.8
                                    175. Tonga 1.7
                                    Uzbekistan 1.7
                                    177. Haiti 1.6
                                    178. Iraq 1.5
                                    179. Myanmar 2.0
                                    Somalia 2.0

                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    From: Aija Veldre Beldavs
                                    To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 11:37 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview



                                    I suspect that the lumping together of huge numbers of people into the
                                    nation state has primarily military value. Once the nation state and the
                                    acompanying military industrial complex emerged, tribes either
                                    voluntarily allied themselves with nation states, or else were killed,
                                    occupied, or enslaved by nation states.

                                    all states are not imperialist or expansionist, nor do they equally
                                    oppress certain segments of their population.

                                    Norway today, in contrast to earlier policies of trying to assimilate
                                    the indigenous Sami, now has policies that acknowledge the right of
                                    indigenous peoples to exist, which in practice include those attending
                                    school in Sami-land must learn Sami, even if they are not Sami. Finland
                                    and the Baltic states emerged not for "primarily military value," but to
                                    escape Empire, colonialism, and social, educational, cultural, and
                                    economic discrimination against the indigenous peoples that had clung to
                                    their languages and cultures against the odds. the people of these
                                    countries felt their languages, music, oral and material culture were
                                    worth keeping, rather than being replaced by a few dominant world
                                    cultural hegemonies. that is not necessarily to be insular or
                                    provincial, as the ordinary peoples of small countries tend to know more
                                    languages out of necessity than those in world-dominant large countries.

                                    but Empires do suppress their conquered peoples and others who are not
                                    voluntary members. and corporations based on maximizing their profits
                                    no matter the cost to humanity as a whole have a lot to do with
                                    predatory patterns indifferent to the suffering they cause at large.

                                    aija





                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • tom
                                    Mary, The Swiss have ironically followed the words of Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the US constitution, much better than the US. Peace, commerce and honest
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Jan 3, 2009
                                      Mary,

                                      The Swiss have ironically followed the words of Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the US constitution, much better than the US.
                                      Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliances with none,
                                      I think the Swiss have been bankers for all sides, and also provided a neutral meeting ground for treaties etc., The US spends hundreds of billions on the military. It might be wise to spend a billion or so getting help from Swiss in staying out of wars.
                                      Tom
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: mary.josie59
                                      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2009 12:05 PM
                                      Subject: [existlist] Re:[exist]Re:What is the left?A short overview


                                      Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this has been shown to be fallacious. The
                                      Swiss were bankers for the Nazis and just about anyone who launders money. What is war
                                      about if not money?

                                      Mary

                                      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
                                      It seems apparent to me that if Switzerland, a smallcountry in the midst of Europe, which was
                                      the center of 2 world wars can avoidwar, the US certainly could if they desired.





                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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