Monday, October 24, 2005

shaken, not stirred

I must admit that my rock solid faith in conservatism has been shaken recently as I came to the cynical realization that the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, or possibly worse, because they say they are for limiting government spending, stronger defense and against judicial activism to get elected and then go ahead and throw away those "principles" and spend like a drunken sailor, nominate a complete unknown moron to the highest court without a shred of evidence that she is qualified, and completely turn a blind eye to some security threats while pursuing others relentlessly despite the fact that they are not that real of a threat-----

but then I read this and it reaffirmed a little for me:
When you demand lower taxes and less government, you're damned by the Left as "selfish." And, to be honest, in my case that's true. I'm glad to find a town road at the bottom of my drive, and I'm happy to pay for the Army and a new fire truck for a volunteer fire department every now and then, but, other than that, I'd like to keep everything I earn and spend it on my priorities.
The Left, on the other hand, offers an appeal to moral virtue: It's better to pay more in taxes and to share the burdens as a community. It's kinder, gentler, more compassionate, more equitable. Unfortunately, as recent European election results demonstrate, nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: Once a fellow's enjoying the fruits of government health care and all the rest, he couldn't give a hoot about the broader societal interest; he's got his, and if it's going to bankrupt the state a generation hence, well, as long as they can keep the checks coming till he's dead, it's fine by him. "Social democracy" is, in that sense, explicitly anti-social . . .

That's the position European governments find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end will put those countries out of business. Just to get the Social Security debate in perspective, projected public-pensions liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP in the U.S. In Greece, the figure is 25 percent — i.e., total societal collapse. So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I paid my taxes, I want my benefits.

I know that political discussions are "boring" and they are already well made on both sides in many other forums, but this is my blog and therefore I get to write about what I want to write about....


Blogger Andy said...

Not at all, at all, at all.

It is a very interesting quote which I would like to incorporate into a partially formed post in


in which both communitarianism and gloabalisation are used as starting points, then takes an insane zig-zag into the immune system as a model.

Since the immunological idea, have mentally noted that there are an almost complete set of analogues between IM and the standard democratic-capitalist model, though my mind must have been on the idea of how a system could work more automatically to avoid all the disputation and waste of enrgy inherent in party politcs.

Immediately this might suggest some sort of socialism, which is not my idea at all.

Another insanity is looking at such things as how birds coordinate their flocking (e.g. starlings) as a way of suggesting how politics could operate without so much conflict and with so much inefficiency.

There is a links at




A friend of mine said the other day we are locked into the idea that everyone (ideally) should work and why this (a) never has been true and (b) might be better to build in to an economic system rather than pretend it is the aim.

In Britain only about 2-3 million of the 20 million or so who are likely to be able to do some form of work are actually creating wealth on which the rest depend. In the UK, for example we have roughly 1.5 m in the national health service: add teachers, police, firemen, social workers.....5 million on some form of work or other state benefit....

What might it be for the U.S. ?

12:12 PM  
Blogger djobe said...

wow, well unemployment is at record lows, but there is a significant portion of the general population that chooses not to work or is unemployable....

We have more like 300 million and unemployment is right around 5.4% but most economists consider 5% unemployment approaching "full employment" meaning, darn near everyone that would like to work is working....

9:48 PM  

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