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Re: [existlist] Answer to CS

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  • eupraxis@aol.com
    Thank you for the tour, and, with Bill s blessing, perhaps we can now move on. Wil ... ************** Stay up-to-date on the latest news - from fashion trends
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 3, 2009
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      Thank you for the tour, and, with Bill's blessing, perhaps we can now move


      In a message dated 1/3/09 4:20:55 PM, existlist1@... writes:

      > n Jan 03, 2009, at 8:29, eupraxis@... wrote:
      > I don't live in a theoretical world. Never have and never will. I take
      > bits and pieces from a lot of inputs, mix them with lived experience,
      > and try to develop the best solutions for the current conditions I
      > encounter.
      > That's why I have little problem taking some ideas from Nietzsche,
      > Hegel, Kierkegaard, Tillich, and so on, but embracing no thinker as
      > perfect for my existence. I don't consider myself a part of any school
      > of thought -- simply influenced by several. Certainly, I am influenced
      > by Adam Smith and several economists.
      > I did have a "management class" education, especially when owning and
      > operating small businesses. Small business definitely comes into
      > conflict with governments on a regular basis, sometimes in the most
      > absurd ways. Farming is also a business, and part of my family
      > background. Talk about government involvement -- ag is so regulated
      > (and subsidized) that it makes your head hurt.
      > Experience did and does shape my views. Theory? It never had to deal
      > with running a business or meeting payroll.
      > Most of us live this way. If you life unflinchingly according to
      > theory / ideology, you are not able to compromise and exist in the
      > now. I cannot imagine any "ideologue" in politics getting much
      > accomplished -- the nature of community / coexistence is compromise.
      > That doesn't mean compromising the personal or ethical. It means
      > realizing that social/communal solutions might work in some
      > situations, while the "free market" might work best in others. Purity
      > is simply not possible for most of us in the world.
      > Purity or rigidity means sticking to an approach even when it isn't
      > working. Or, it means championing an approach the majority would never
      > endorse.
      > > 'Meant or not, it comes across that anyone not agreeing with your
      > > view of
      > > "left" must be mean-spirited and cruel."
      > >
      > > Response: No, not by a long shot. Although I do impute mean-
      > > spiritedness and
      > > cruelty, and to some degree across the board, to the libertarian
      > > position. I
      > > have already stated why I do so.
      > I believe creating dependence can also be cruel. There must be a
      > balance between personal responsibility and social outreach.
      > Unfortunately, I think there are people who rely on there being an
      > underclass. Some of these people sound racist to me, at least in my
      > workplace, when they imply there is almost an inherent reason for the
      > poverty of north Minneapolis or anywhere else.
      > It's the same racism/classism one might hear when people discuss
      > "white trash" I suppose. There is a condescension -- a sense that
      > "without our help, without our superior selves helping them, these
      > people could never be anything." That strikes me as egocentric and
      > narcissistic.
      > I also think there is a strain of "I give to the government, so I'm
      > absolved" among some people. As if taxes to provide the safety net
      > means you've done all you are obligated to do socially. There have
      > been several books and studies showing donation patterns in the U.S.
      > As I recall, S.F. was the least generous population, as a percent of
      > income, while Wyoming or Montana was the most giving.
      > Trusting a central authority to do good works in your name is
      > insufficient to me.
      > > Response: Well, look at it this way. You may be the best guy in the
      > > world,
      > > but your ideology is, in my opinion, given to cruelty and selfishness.
      > Again, we disagree on which is crueler. I think some people, not sure
      > how many but some, need to be told, sorry but the aid lasts only so
      > long. Cyclical poverty is a problem. How we solve it is a matter open
      > to debate. I'm also all for national service and workfare, because
      > people should do *something* in return for support.
      > > Just
      > > because there are schnooks in the government doesn't mean that all
      > > government
      > > should dispensed with. Vote the bums out.
      > Ah, but our system and laws encourage some of the problems. One set of
      > bums will replace another. I just have very little faith in anyone who
      > will spend millions for a job paying under $200K / year. Something
      > smells when the candidates burn through cash like a dot-com startup.
      > And I do think public financing is now dead. Obama helped kill it,
      > along with various court rulings. We'd have to amend the Constitution
      > to change the American electoral system. That's no small matter and
      > unlikely to happen.
      > > Response: An argument for socialism? Thought I'd never see that! So
      > > it's just
      > > our government that makes you a libertarian. Interesting. Sounds
      > > more like a
      > > retreat than a position.
      > Not a retreat. Just a simple recognition that experiences shape views.
      > If I were a European, I would definitely have had different
      > experiences with both government and industry. I have no idea how
      > those experiences would have affected me. As it stands, I know only my
      > experiences with various institutions.
      > As I have said, I live in what is -- and I believe it is the best
      > system for our nation based on its heritage and the general views of
      > the public. If there is a major shift, that will have to be
      > accompanied by some major changes to our founding documents.
      > I do believe in the market. I believe in more rewards for invention
      > and risk. I do not believe in corporatism, which is where we have
      > drifted for at least 60 years.
      > > Response: That, I think is your mistake. And on two counts. First,
      > > the US
      > > electorate, when polled on specific issues, is demonstrably on the
      > > left. See Jack
      > > Clarke's podcasts on the subject.
      > Considering the Prop 8 mess in California, I don't see a lot of social
      > tolerance. The death penalty seems to be another such issue where
      > voters are several steps from my own views. When I look at statewide
      > or national elections, not local (House races, for example), I see a
      > socially conservative nation, at least for now, with a lot of economic
      > insecurities.
      > Any move we make to the left (there was a debate on the center-left/
      > center-right in Time or Newsweek this summer, I forget which) or to
      > the right is slow, gradual, in America. We are by design a slow system.
      > The surveys trying to claim a "left" tilt generally deal with trade,
      > health care, and tax policy. On trade, I don't see "protectionism" as
      > left or right. Remember, the extremists in both major parties are
      > turning to protectionist rhetoric, as if "They" are to blame for any
      > ills in our economy. (Also, I don't see the benefit of anyone
      > encouraging wasteful consumption -- imported or not.)
      > Health Care? People want it all: complete, unquestioned coverage for
      > anything and everything at no direct cost. Do I understand this? Sure,
      > but it isn't going to be realistic. Any national system will have to
      > decline some coverages and treatments. Then people will complain and
      > gripe about the new system. Right now, the "ideal" is just a dream.
      > The reality will be far less perfect.
      > As for taxes -- class warfare is misplaced when the taxes are on
      > income only. As I have noted, the wealthiest Americans have no
      > "income" thanks to legal loopholes and savings. I read a study last
      > week that people would be happy with less money as long as *everyone*
      > had to do with less. It was a study on "happiness" and wealth. The
      > happiest people thought they had "more" than their neighbors. That's
      > just sad -- regardless of politics. "They" never pay enough, "We"
      > always pay too much.
      > But ask about abortion, death penalty, gay rights, and so on, you can
      > get entirely different pictures of America. The "left" versus "right"
      > of America depends on the questions asked, how they are framed, etc.
      > > Response: I think you're off here. The Dems are center right, as a
      > > group,
      > > here. Vis-a-vis Western Europe, they would be even more to the right.
      > I think that might be accurate. Certainly the major national figures
      > are DLC influenced and run towards the right each term. That would be
      > why I have little problem with many "moderate" Democrats and hold
      > several in high regard, especially on matters of personal liberties.
      > At present, I cannot think of a national figure in the "other party" I
      > could easily support for any post. That's a pretty sad reflection of
      > how far the Republic party has strayed since at least 1972. The
      > "moderates" of the party have been forced out by social conservatives.
      > So, if thinking some Democrats are closer to my views than any major
      > Republic makes me "right wing" then I am proudly in favor of a return
      > to the 1990s versus the last eight years. And yes, I can list many
      > failures of Clinton... many... but much closer to my views in the end
      > than Bush ever was. Hence, I do embrace the new economic team and
      > "better" but not ideal.
      > I still view myself as an American centrist. If that's "right" to
      > someone else, sure... fine. It's a silly label thing.
      > - C. S. Wyatt

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