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Old 06-11-2002, 02:57 PM   #21
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I don't deny that the US murder rate may be higher. First, your number (which has the US's rate at five times that of Britain - really, "five times" isn't "nearly ten times") is still nowhere as extreme as the firearm-murder rate that STING2 provides, a number that puts the US rate at 200 times the UK rate.

(And even when I adjusted for population, the claim is that the US rate is 45 times higher.)

Second, the article I quoted said the following (emphasis mine): "The total British violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, assault) is now significantly higher than the U.S. rate."

At any rate, it doesn't matter; I conceded the possibility that the crime rate in the US is higher. No one has yet connected that high rate with the legality of firearms. No one has offered any explanation that also accounts for the low crime rates from fifty years ago (when US gun laws were even more lax) or the ridiculous murder rate in D.C. - where gun laws are among the most restrictive.


Moving on, if I did confuse the terms "wealthy" and "elite", I wasn't the only one:

Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
At least the canadian government doesn't let the elite class thrive near so much as it does in the US. The unequal distribution of goods is painfully poignant.
I'd like to see a lorenz curve from each of these countries!!
If the "elite" had nothing to do with wealth, how does the "distribution" of goods have anything to do with them?
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Old 06-11-2002, 03:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba


[i]The total British violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, assault) is now significantly higher than the U.S. rate.

I have heard this is true from others as well.
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Old 06-11-2002, 07:24 PM   #23
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My figures for murder by firearms came from the FBI. It was actually just for the United Kingdom and it was 50 for the UK on average per year vs 10,000. Yes the USA is larger by about 5 times the size of the UK, and if we had a murder from firearms rate the same as the UK, the number of deaths in this country every year would be 250.

John Lotts comparison of the counties with concealed weapons laws seems to demonstrate that its effective, until you look at the fact that most counties with right to conceal weapons laws tend to be in less populated rural area's where the poverty rate is low.

The sources you site seem to be biased sources that clearly are a bit unobjective and discriminate in the "facts" they choose to print. How is refering to gun control advocates as "chicken little" informative or objective? I find this source doubtful and at best questionable. FBI and similar law enforcement agency's in the UK are the best source of factual and objective information on this issue.

I have spent weeks in both Edinburgh and London. Edinburgh last year as well as several cities throughout Scotland. In Edinburgh, my sister was staying in a guest house in the downtown part of Edinburgh 2 miles from the hostel where I was staying. Every night my sister would walk back to the guest house nearly 2 miles away at 3 am in the morning! How many major US cities the size of Edinburgh can a female do that in without any worry?!?!?! This greatly increased murder rate was non-existent in my experience. I was just in Ireland in January where guns are non existent pratically and according to the writers of the article, it should be open season on the unarmed citizens. But I talked to hundreds of people and spent hours at night in the downtown part of multiple cities without seeing this "WAR" on the unarmed citizens of Ireland. A higher level of safety in Ireland and the UK is no wild assumption! My friends and I feel far safer there and observe the people there doing things that most people in the USA would avoid doing.

Clearly if there are no or few firearms to commit crime with, the death from firearms is going to be very low. Why do you think foreign or US militaries when attempting to occupy and CONTROL a certain area disarm ANY possible combatents?!? Obviously to prevent the use of those firearms against its soldiers or others, and clearly its done because it makes the situation in the area of control a more secure one. So that clearly shows there is a connection between citizens owning firearms and possible deaths of others as a result.

If American gun owners were all law abiding citizens, there would not be 10,000 dead every year. Over 600,000 Americans have been killed either in accidents involving guns or through murder, since John Lennon was killed in 1980.

As far as 200 years ago or 100 years ago its difficult to compare. Most people had large rifles for hunting and certainly not concealed weapons for security. The overall population was a tiny fraction of todays population and most of the population was spread out in Rural areas. The economy for the most part was still based on agriculture. Statistics on gun owner ship in cities in the Northeast might be helpful, because the cities are where you would be able to look at the debate more closely 100 or 200 years ago. National statistics back then though are simply a distortion to observe the problem because the population, economics, and population distrubition of rural vs. urban are so different from today.

You really think that the education of people who commit crimes is so high that they know not to invade a home in the suburbs of Texas? I would argue that wealth and proximity to those likely to commit crime are greater factors there. Again, the fact is criminals continue to commit these crimes on a massive scale despite citizens being armed. In the middle of the night, there is no way I'm going to know if house y is unarmed as opposed to house z. Yet crime continues and murders continue at an unacceptable average Plus criminals by nature are a bit naive about the logic of their actions anyways. You also forget the element of surprise, clearly an important factor in any criminal act which mere gun ownership is unable to effect.

Let me give you a personal situation I had out with friends in downtown Pittsburgh. There were 6 of us checking out "the Decade" where U2 first played in Pittsburgh back in 1981. Where were standing outside the place looking at the sign that showed all the people who had played there when a person came out of the nearby alley attempting to sell one my intoxicated friends some weed. My friend took the weed looked at it and then tried to give it back to the person who refused it. The weed dropped on the ground. The person selling wanted my friend to pay for it, and right after that, he called into the alley. Two people came from the alley with handguns not yet drawn but clearly visible. At that point another one of my friends hastily payed for the weed(still on the ground) and we left in horror over what happened. We were unarmed, but the 3 individuals from the alley did not know that. That did not stop them from forcing us to pay for something we did not want. Say for a minute that we all had handguns. I ask you how that would have helped in that situation?

There is a big difference between guns purpose in society and the purpose of automobiles. Most people need automobiles because public transit is limited in many parts of the country. Ones need to own a gun is questionable and certainly not neccessary for jobs and the smooth running of the economy. Transportation is clearly a neccessity, gun ownership is not. Since gun ownership is not a neccessity and is involved in well over 10,000 deaths when accidents and murders are combined, clearly banning them or vastily limiting their use should be considered.

On to the US Federal Government. Here is the Federal budget of the United States from Oct. 1, 2000 to Sept. 30, 2001.

BILLIONS OF DOLLARS

National Defense.........................................304.5
International Affairs.......................................16.5
General Science, Space, Technology..............20.7
Natural Resources and Environment..............23.7
Agriculture......................................................28.3
Commerce and housing credit..........................5.8
Transportation................................................53.9
Community and Regional Development...........12.8
Education, Training,
Employment, and Social Services.....................62.9
Health............................................................171.9
Social Security................................................433.0
Medicare.........................................................217.4
Income Security..............................................263.3
Veterans Benefits and Services........................45.0
Administration of Justice...................................29.8
General Government.........................................15.1
Interest...........................................................206.1
Undistributed offsetting receipts......................-47.0

TOTAL BUDGET OUTLAYS...............................1,863.0
TOTAL INCOME was nearly 2,000 producing a budget surplus of nearly 137 Billion.

This is where your tax dollars went during that year. How much would you cut from the TOTAL INCOME which is total taxes collected? Realize that there is a National Debt of 5.6 Trillion and that in this single year alone the US government was forced to pay 206.1 BILLION in interest on the National Debt.

Taxes are clearly needed of course, and comparing pre WW II tax levels to now is not a good way to get at how much we should be taxed today. In the Pre WW II era, the amount needed to spend on National defense adjusted for inflation is a tiny fraction of what is needed today. The world and are interdependency with it has changed that forever. Security is a must. Plus the number of people who live long enough to have a pension or be on medicare has vastly increased. Pre Worldwar II, these programs did not exist because the need was not there.

Also, much of the tax dollars here are redistributed to the private sector because the government contracts out much of its work and projects to private companies.

Still I'd be interested to know how much you would cut from the total collected taxes of 2 Trillion above for the budget last year, and what programs you would cut and by how much, plus how much in taxes do you think should go to paying of the 5.6 Trillion dollar national debt?
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Old 06-11-2002, 07:36 PM   #24
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Wow...I must tip my hat to you, STING2. An excellent post.

I don't wish to get too involved with this thread, nor do I wish to argue with anyone, but having lived in the U.K. for a month last year and conversing with the locals during that time, I am forced to agree with STING2. No one fears guns over there, because no one has them. In fact, due to this situation, the stereotype of America is one of a very violent place, where we are constantly afraid of being shot. So I must agree with STING2's observations of the U.K.; they are right on track.

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Old 06-11-2002, 08:34 PM   #25
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That is interesting information that you have Melon from your 1 month stay in London. I have only stayed in London for a few days. But I have stayed in Dublin and Edinburgh for months. Your experience helps to confirm my belief that the USA needs gun control enforcement and laws similar to what the UK has. It is so clear what works and what does not.
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Old 06-11-2002, 09:53 PM   #26
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Sting2:

With all due respect, you're ignoring several of my observations, observations I've made several times.


1. The crime rate was significantly lower FIFTY YEARS AGO, not just 100 to 200 years ago, when things were "difficult to compare," when "most people had large rifles for hunting and certainly not concealed weapons for security."

(And it's funny, but I thought revolvers came into significant use around 1850, over 150 years ago. Silly me for trusting those damn documentaries about the American Civil War and the American West.)


2. I've said this at least twice in this thread alone, and it apparently bears repeating:

Washington, D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws and among the highest murder rates in the country.

If gun control's the answer, what's gone wrong in D.C.?

(Here's a hint: the answer is not to ignore the question and name other European cities you feel safe in.)


On to things you actually did address...

Quote:
You really think that the education of people who commit crimes is so high that they know not to invade a home in the suburbs of Texas?
Yes, I do. You don't have to have a high school diploma to know that a LOT of Texans - and, frankly, Southerners in general - have guns, are more than willing to use them, and are quite open about the fact. (My neighbor in Alabama had a very straight-forward sign on his house; it said, "Forget the dog - beware of owner," with a picture of a very large handgun. I doubt very much that most criminals are so stupid as to ignore that notice.)

(In fact, I'm a bit perplexed about your notion of criminals. They're apparently smart enough to realize the element of surprise, but also too dumb to realize when a neighborhood is populated with gunracked pickup trucks and GUN NOTICES on houses. Are criminals morally bankrupt and a bit niave about permanently evading the law? Probably. Are they that fucking stupid? Not likely.)

Quote:
We were unarmed, but the 3 individuals from the alley did not know that. That did not stop them from forcing us to pay for something we did not want. Say for a minute that we all had handguns. I ask you how that would have helped in that situation?
Certainly, they didn't precisely know you were unarmed, but they could guess. Most people in Pittsburgh don't have guns at all, much less carry them concealed (and if you want to debate this fact, go right ahead - with the full knowledge that I've lived in PGH for the last 10 months). If you and your friends were armed and the thugs discovered the fact, they probably would not attempt to threaten you. And if the VAST law-abiding population was armed, the thought might not have occured to the thugs in the first place.

All of this leads to two interesting observations, which I bring to together for juxtaposition:

Quote:
Clearly if there are no or few firearms to commit crime with, the death from firearms is going to be very low. Why do you think foreign or US militaries when attempting to occupy and CONTROL a certain area disarm ANY possible combatents?!? Obviously to prevent the use of those firearms against its soldiers or others, and clearly its done because it makes the situation in the area of control a more secure one. So that clearly shows there is a connection between citizens owning firearms and possible deaths of others as a result.
Quote:
There is a big difference between guns purpose in society and the purpose of automobiles. Most people need automobiles because public transit is limited in many parts of the country. Ones need to own a gun is questionable and certainly not neccessary for jobs and the smooth running of the economy. Transportation is clearly a neccessity, gun ownership is not. Since gun ownership is not a neccessity and is involved in well over 10,000 deaths when accidents and murders are combined, clearly banning them or vastily limiting their use should be considered.
As an aside, you say that auto ownership is a necessity. It is not. The reason that commuting is required is because it is possible. If cars became illegal tomorrow, the U.S. economy and infrastructure would eventually re-arrange itself.

But my point is this: you acknowledge that individual gun ownership deters tyrants, and yet you believe that "one's need to own a gun is questionable." Is it NOT possible that the Second Amendment is in place to PREVENT OPPRESSION FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

Many Second Amendment supporters - myself included - believe that the amendment has nothing to do with hunting and everything to do with self-defense: defense from other law-breaking citizens AND defense from a freedom-infringing government.

Why else do you think the American Revolution suceeded? That the Vietnamese gave the U.S. so much trouble? That the Afghans gave the U.S.S.R. so much trouble? I'll tell you the cause. THEY ALL HAD GUNS.

Why did Eastern Europe fall so quickly to the Soviets? Why was Tieneman Square a massacre? They didn't have guns.

That is why one's right to own a gun is not only acceptable, IT'S ESSENTIAL.

You say, "So that clearly shows there is a connection between citizens owning firearms and possible deaths of others as a result." To which I say, so what? We shouldn't ban something merely because of the "possible deaths" that could result (particularly if those deaths are of people who break into houses to do others harm). And I think "possible death" is the whole point: it is the threat of lethal force that will keep criminals and tyrants at bay.

To quote George Orwell (emphasis mine):

It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon--so long as there is no answer to it--gives claws to the weak.

On to economics...

Quote:
Still I'd be interested to know how much you would cut from the total collected taxes of 2 Trillion above for the budget last year, and what programs you would cut and by how much, plus how much in taxes do you think should go to paying of the 5.6 Trillion dollar national debt?
To be honest, I don't think any answer will do me any good. If I suggest cutting some program or other, you or others will scream about those who will be affected. It's the bind that we've allowed the federal government to get itself into: every program benefits so many special interest groups that it's almost impossible to cut programs even when necessary.

(Though it's worth noting: spending increases have generally been THREE TIMES the rate of inflation. Just curbing that rate of INCREASE to TWICE inflation is what brought about the budget surplus. As much as others called them "Draconian cuts," they were still ONLY decreases in the rate of increase, and they brought about budget surpluses.)

So, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. The Gross Domestic Product for the United States (2000 estimate) was slightly less than $10 trillion.

That's right: 10,000,000,000,000.00

In Leviticus 27:30 and other verses, God demands 10% of what we earn. (I honestly believe that He wants us to give Him everything, to dedicate our entire lives to Him; but He seems to set ten percent as the minimum.) If God wants 10%, the government should expect no MORE than 10%. Ours is a federal system - with authority distributed to the national, state, and local levels - so that 10% should be distributed likewise. Since the national government has to worry about defense more than the more local governments, they should get the lion's share. I propose this system:

5% - national government
3% - state government
2% - local government (county and city)
-----
10% - total

(Certainly, if one of the governments wants to charge a LOWER rate, it should feel free to do so. But with the rare exception of war, economic disaster, or natural disaster, these governments should tax us no more than the amounts above.)

So, that means the national government should only tax its people 5% of the GDP, or about $0.5 trillion ($500 billion).

Its revenues were about $2 trillion, or FOUR TIMES the absolute maximum during times of peace and prosperity (as 2000 was, more or less). So, it should do some serious cutting.

($2 trillion. 20% of the GDP. TWICE of what God Himself demands of us. I would think the confiscatory nature of that level taxation should be obvious.)

I'm honestly not wise enough to suggest how these cuts should occur. I would think that those who have paid into a system like Social Security should not be cheated; pay off those you owe, but stop bringing more people into the system. Those programs that could just as easily be handled by the private sector should be eased into that area. And those who are beneficiaries of social programs (be it subsidies or welfare, personal or corporate) should have time to find other sources of income, but their days on the government dole should be numbered.

(Certainly, cutting welfare has the VERY rare exception of those who genuinely cannot provide for themselves. But even then, we should see how much can be provided on the local level and through private charities.)

And the national government should pay off its debts with the surplus it gets from spending cuts. My order would be this:

1. Bring spending to within 5% of the GDP.
2. Use the resulting tax surpluses to pay off the debt.
3. Once the debt is paid off, the rest of the surplus is returned to the taxpayer, and taxes lowered to ONLY what is needed to fund (1).

In terms of actual programs, I'm not entirely sure how'd I distribute that $500 billion (assuming we're using 2000 numbers). But here's one thought:

$250 billion for national defense.
$250 billion for everything else.

If there are any other questions, I'll answer them as soon as I can, but I'll soon be taking the weekend off, so please be patient.
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Old 06-11-2002, 10:30 PM   #27
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Um, I'm in America at the moment, and a great many people here dont have any or little access to healthcare.
I know a woman who has cancer, and has to wait four months for the surgery.
I myself may need surgery, but will probably never get it. Ive nearly died on more than one occasion due to the fact that i couldnt get proper healthcare.
When i was little, i was in a bad accident and the hospital refused to treat me, left me bleeding on the ER floor because they wouldnt accept our insurance.
How many times have I and other people needed medicine but couldnt get it? Or exams? Or treatment?
As for freedom, i think everyone here would be quite surprised at how little freedom Americans really have. Most people here arent even aware of it. I try to educate people, but some wont listen. You kinda have to be there to point it out to them before they'll begin to understand.
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Old 06-11-2002, 11:06 PM   #28
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Pretty peculiar that the tpic is 'The American Freedom ?' and that it turned out into a debate on the gun issue. Personally, and that is my opinion and I don't know numbers or economical impact of having guns at house, but I'm strongly against it. What's the use ?

To get back to the original topic, right before the gun discussion began, I think we were at the very complex "What is freedom ?" question. According to my dictionnary, the definition of the word 'freedom' is : "I- State of a person that is not under servitude. 2-State of a being that isn't prisoner of another state. -Animal living in liberty- 3- Possibility of movement without any danger of repression. 4- Possibility to act and think according to ist own beliefs" The definition then turns into several definitions of freedom : personnal freedom, social freedom, civil freedom, public freedom, union freedom, etc... Definition taken from the 2002's edition of 'Le Petit Larousse Illustré", Paris, France. (original word : Liberté)

Freedom, or Liberty, is perhaps the most undefinied word of this moment in History and perhaps of all History of mankind (since its mankind who invented the "restrictions" of Liberty).

My definition of freedom is most of a social or public freedom. I am nearly 20 years old and I haven't quite read all the sociology, geopolitics, articles that I would have liked on Freedom, Democracy, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, etc, etc... but I certainly have my view on this from what I have read and experienced.

Freedom is obviously going, necessarly going with Democracy and to me, real Democracy (the big 'D') and the most honest one goes with proportions. For example, if 24% of the people voted for the X Party, well the X Party will have 24% of the whole National Assembly of a country. In Québec, and Canada, the system we have is the old british parliament system, too old to my eyes, no representative at all, weak and... old after all. But other countries already achieved that goal, proportion, and I won't eternize myself in it, but its definitely part of my vision of social freedom.

I say Social Freedom because I'm one of those Social-Democrats, although I don't like to define myself as one because my thoughts may change a lot, since I will start serious University studies soon in, perhaps Geopolitics.

Personnal Freedom goes with Social Freedom and it implies that each person takes consciences of its own existence, political and social abilities and, of course, conscience that he/she is living in a society and therefore he/she has to work, not only for himself, but for the whole society. The goal isn't to become the world's first power, the goal is all about helping others and himself and make sure that the social rights will remain. The willing of the people will always be there, through elections, referendums and public concertations, but there will be a "social running goal" that will be taken as a fact.

This "social running goal" is composed of diverse aspects :

I - Free and completely accessible Education system to all : Education is the important point for democracy and that is what, I think, people tend to forget nowadays, esp. in the United States (because its them who, obviously, talk more about Democracy being a reason of their diverse foreing political and military operations, without bashing). It is very nice to talk about democracy in Africa, but you can't achieve democracy without education that brought you the abilities to read, write, that gave you conscience of the exterior world, your culture, etc...

I am not against private school. I went to private schools, but those schools really are accessible, in 99% of the cases, to the "social elite" (bourgeois or "the riches" is you like). A good public system, accessible to all and attractive to all social classes is a formidable place to take conscience of the others.

2 - Free and completely accessible Health-Care system to all : no one will ever be able to make me think that you have to pay to have health care, I just can't imagine it even if it exists. Each humans have the right to health care. The First point of the Human Rights Constitution is : "Every human is born equally". I strongly believe in it. I won't bring personnal experiences (by myself or friends deeply sick that I have). Of course, this system is applied to Health... not to "personnal operations" (see what I mean ?).

3 - A decent lifestyle and house to everyone : Poverty is unnacceptable. I'll bring a personnal example because it really stucked me (again) today. I work downtown Montréal, just near the Financial District (I call it like this... the part of downtown where its alive only from 9am to 5pm) where there is all the class-skyscrapers and office buildings. I was comming out of work (I work in a lawers office between my school session, as a messenger), heading to the metro station underneath the I000 de la Gauchetière building, Montréal tallest office building, very high-class, etc... (you see the style ?), a beaufitul building, a kind of miniature World Financial Center is you like (architecture look). I was people sleeping in sleeping-bag, underneath a little bridge over the street. It was the perfect contradition and would have made a "beautiful" black&white picture (I would have taken it if I have my camera) : the masters and of the world and the poor of the world. How can a society tolerate this ? A decent lifestyle and a home to everyone is acceptable, the opposite is unacceptable. Of course, giving the poor one or those who lost their jobs a home and a decent lifestyle isn't the complete solution, we must help them find another job (even if its volontary work). Nowadays, a lot of companies move towards the south, take their factories down in Mexico and employs "slaves"... while people here loose their jobs.. UNACCEPTABLE. In that case, I strongly applaud the Québec's government to adopt an "anti-poverty" law next week. I hope thise law will be at the highs of my expectations.

4 - Democracy : I said it and I say it again : Democratic proportion in the National Assembly is real democracy. Public consultations, referendums, regular voting for politicians, etc... everyone agrees with that. You have to listen to the people otherwize the people will change of government, sometimes for better, sometimes for worst (exemples : Extreme-Right rise in France and Europe, dangerous right (or economical extreme ???)-right wing in Québec). In the France and Québec cases, the government in place, and social-democrat, respectivly, distanced themselves from the people and from new ideas. See what it does, esp. in Europe ?

I have nothing against private enterprises. I'm no communist at all, I do believe the private sector have to play a role in economics and social aspects of a society, but the State must preserve democracy and give the basic needs to the people. That is my definition of freedom (the "social deal"). I don't vote for corporations, I vote for my government that will (I hope) work to provide my society well-being, that will help to solve unemployment, that will eradicate poverty. And I believe the private sector must also play a role in it and sometimes forget its goal (profits).

Free Health-Care, Free-Education, the right to a home and a job, democracy, freedom of speech, thought, action is the whole freedom.

Is it utopic ? Yeah. I think you can't achieve that without a personnal and social mentality change. But Democracy was utopic before the American and French revolution, was it ?

Cheers and I have to say that even though I think the debate turned into a gun debate, that I appreciate the absence of personnal-bashing.

Cheers.
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Old 06-12-2002, 03:04 AM   #29
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John:

First, if I may be honest, I'm not sure what you mean by "personnal freedom, social freedom, civil freedom, public freedom, union freedom, etc." With all respect, please share with us what these terms mean.

As far as I've known, there is only individual freedom, applied to several fields: religious freedom, the right to choose whether to worship, Who to worship, in what ways to worship, and with whom to congregate in worship; political freedom, the right to make our own laws or elect those who do; and economic freedom, the right to earn property in whatever way you see fit, to own the property you earn, and to do with that property what you will. From this perspective, "public freedom" seems very odd indeed.


Second, I agree that a minimum level of education is necessary. Only with the right technical skills (literacy, math skills, etc.) can a man make a decent living; and only with a knowledge of history, civics, philosophy, and economics can a man become a responsible citizen.

Beyond that, a well-educated workforce is a very fluid workforce, which is good for both the employee and the consumer (which is often the same person at different times).


Moving on...

I believe that an ideal existence is goodness freely chosen; a state where man is free to choose good and evil, but chooses good - where man enjoys freedom but accepts the responsibility that comes as a natural consequence of that freedom. When men freely choose to be perfectly good, society itself will become perfect - every man will work to feed himself and others, will not interfere in the affairs of others, and will give to those in need.

(I further believe that a perfect society is the natural result and not should not be the goal in itself; the goal is goodness. The moment that religion and philosophy - the two pursuits of goodness - are twisted to serve society rather than pursue what is right is the very moment that everything will fall apart; neither goodness nor a good society will be found.)

So, the ideal is goodness freely chosen. It's clear that we're not yet perfectly good - a fact that will remain unchanged, I believe, until this world passes away. So what do we do for the time being?

Well, I believe that our government should do little more than ensure that we are always free (its primary concern, I believe) and help in times of overwhelming needs, such as natural disasters on a catastrophic level. We as individuals try to find the path to goodness and lead others to it. We should not try to force the issue by having government short-circuit freedom and bring about a good society. As long as men still choose to be selfish, the efforts will backfire. (And the moment all men choose to be truly selfless, the efforts will be completely unnecessary.)

In case I am not believed, let's see what happens if the government tries to provide a decent existence to all people - sufficient food, shelter, health care, and transportation. After all, "a decent lifestyle and a home to everyone is acceptable, the opposite is unacceptable."

The state of things will be this: some people will have more money than they need, and some will have less than they need. The only way this will work is to take from those who have more to pay for the benefits of those who do not.

(Keep in mind: men will still be the self-centered individuals that they have been since the dawn of human history.)

First, you're clearly intruding on property rights, the right to own goods and do with them what one will. You're intruding on property rights by taxing away the property itself. Second, consider: what will be the effects of taking from those who have more than enough? Well, you eliminate or severely weaken the incentive to earn more, so they will work less. After all, why work overtime if that extra money is taxed away from you? Finally, what will be the effects of giving to all those who do not have? Well, you eliminate or weaken the disincentive from laziness, so they too will work less. After all, why work in the first place if you're guaranteed food and shelter.

(You can then require some minimum amount of work, but some will still refuse. At that point, you either abandon the requirement of labor or abandon the idea of universal contendedness. Let's assume you do not give up the latter.)

By eliminating the work incentive in both directions - the spoils of hard work and the dire consequences of not working - you will find that everyone works less, everyone produces less. The economy then goes south, and the entire society is worse off for it.

In summary, you cannot short-circuit history, and you can't override human nature.

Without getting too technical, you cannot immanentize the eschaton - you cannot achieve in the here and now what is meant to occur in the great hereafter.

The good news is, men are partially good; the response to 9/11 was proof enough of that. People will often rally to help those who are truly in need. But the reality remains: you can stand up and declare, "No more poverty!" but you might as well declare, "No more selfishness!" at the same time. In fact, the former will only arrive after the latter is achieved; there's no way to circumvent that fact - or to speed it along with government intervention.
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Old 06-12-2002, 03:17 AM   #30
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Finally, a quasi-random question:

Quote:
Originally posted by Holy John
Freedom is obviously going, necessarly going with Democracy and to me, real Democracy (the big 'D') and the most honest one goes with proportions. For example, if 24% of the people voted for the X Party, well the X Party will have 24% of the whole National Assembly of a country. In Québec, and Canada, the system we have is the old british parliament system, too old to my eyes, no representative at all, weak and... old after all. But other countries already achieved that goal, proportion, and I won't eternize myself in it, but its definitely part of my vision of social freedom.
Why are proportions more "honest" than, say, the current system the U.S. employs in electing its representatives? In the American system, each citizen can vote on three people to represent him: two for the Senate, where these two are elected by the entire state; and one for the House of Representatives, an individual elected by a section (a "district") of the state.

As far as I can tell, the system you recommend is the following: everybody votes for the party of his choice; the percentages that each party received is reflected in the number of seats they are allocated; and the party fills those seats with its members.

In other words, as a voting citizen, I do not actually vote for an individual. Further, the individuals in the offices are not directly accountable to a small group of people - a state or a district.

How exactly is this more honest?
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Old 06-12-2002, 04:36 AM   #31
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Well on #1 I'll give you that. I'm rather uncertain on the exact state of things 50 years ago as far as crime and the rate of murder by firearms in the USA.

Also it is true that the revolver started into widespread use in the 2nd half of the 1800s, but where do you think the term "the Wild Wild West" came from. It would be interesting to see what the rate of crime and death from firearms was for the population west of the Mississippi between 1850 and 1900. I think there might be a case to prove my point there, but I don't have any statistics all to say one way or the other. Even if there is some statistics for the period back then, their accuracy is questionable.

With Washington DC. Washington DC is an area of roughly 100 square miles. Very small and bordered by two different States. Its rather easy to drive into Maryland or Virginia to find what you may not be able to get in Washington DC. My point is that restrictive gun control laws will not work in the USA if they are only applied to a single city. You have to have nationwide enforcement of those laws for them to have any effect. No one has to pass through check points and searches when going into or out of DC. There for restrictive gun laws will not achieve their aim because they are undermine by the more lax gun laws of the surrounding area.

As far as the education of Criminals, obviously many of them are commiting the acts you say they would not because we have 10,000 dead on average per year. Criminals probably have a wide range of education, so certainly what you said is probably true in many instances, but in many other instances it may not be so. The criminal always has the element of surprise (to some extent whether he realizes it or not) on his side because people do not spend every waking minute expecting to be attacked and positioning themselves for it.

As far as what happened in Pittsburgh outside the Decade, I can say that if the situation had taken place outside say Windmill Lane in Dublin, we most likely would not of been approached because they would not have guns, and there was 6 of us to 3 of them.

The 2nd Amendment was put in place because there was no standing army so there was the need to maintain a militia to defend the country. Today we have a professionaly army that uses complex weapons to defend are interest. A militia is not needed and could not accomplish its mission with hand held firearms in the 21st century. I also do not want citizens to have the capacity to overthrow MY elected government. Of course that would be impossible with hand held weapons vs the US Military. Plus any attempt to end US Democracy from within would have to have the total support of the US military. Such an attempt would never gain that support and would fail. Of course I'm sure the movies or an X-file episode will disagree.

Of course being armed is necessary to win wars, but that is why we have a professional army armed with sophisticated aircraft, Tanks, Armored Vehicles, Artillery, and other complex weapons. Citizens armed with small arms don't have anything remotely similar to the capability of a Modern military and cannot effectivly resist a determined Modern military bent on doing everything in its power to crush resistence. Important to note that Afghanistan(USSR) and to a lesser extent Vietnam are not examples of the total use of force to crush all resistence swiftly. If they had been the Russians would not have capped their troop total at 120,000 in a country 5 times larger than Vietnam, and the USA would have invaded North Vietnam and Laos with ground troops to take over those area's. These were limited conflicts fought in a restrained manner for many political and geostrategic reasons that I will not go into here for the sake of time.

The Soviets took Eastern Europe so easily because it had been decimated by fighting between the German and Soviet armies. 85% of Warsaw was destroyed! Besides even if the students had AK-47s at Tienamen Square, they are useless against Chinese Type 69 tanks or any Chinese tank for that matter. The bottom line in all these cases is that you need modern complex heavy weapons to have a chance in defeating a similar armed military. I never said in any of my statements that a tyrant would be detered by a population armed with small arms. I did say they would sieze such weapons to prevent uneccessary losses. The only thing that deters a tyrant is a well armed modern military force of superior size and capability.

I have notice this about the two sides of the gun debate although I could be wrong. The gun control advocates chief concern is the reduction of murder rate from firearms in this country. The chief aim of gun advocates is protecting the right to bear arms regardless of the security issue.

I feel that there is no reason that the USA should have a firearm murder rate higher(its many times higher) than the UK and Ireland. Something needs to be done to reduce this. I feel that it is unacceptable. The fact is that the gun control laws of Ireland and the UK are very successful in preventing firearm deaths. It is an undisputed fact. In comparison, the USA's lax gun laws have been a terrible failure. How do gun advocates plan to reduce the level of US deaths from firearms to levels similar to Western European nations?

Now on to the Economic question of taxes and the federal budget. You suggest that the Federal government should reduce its share to about 500 Billion dollars. If you eliminate 6 big portions of the federal budget you could get down to 566 Billion. These are:

Budget surplus of 137 Billion
Paying interest on the National Debt of 206 Billion
Health 171 Billion
Social Security 433 Billion
Medicare 217 Billion
Income Security 263 Billion

The first two can easily be eliminated by paying off the national debt. The problem is that Health I think refers not just to health care but also investment in companies working to cure diseases and other health related things. I think that its very important that there be investment from everyone into the Health industry and of course a good way to insure this is through taxes. How would you propose to make sure that a portion of what every citizen earns goes to funding the Health industry without the Federal Government involved? I guess one way would be for private health sector to raise its cost, but not everyone is sick and a large portion of the country does not pay for any health insurance. I know next to nothing about the healthcare debate so yours or anyones suggestions would be helpful.

Social Security is the largest portion of the budget. It of course did not exist back in the1920s, then again the life expectancy in 1900 was only 48 because of high birth mortality rate. It seems reasonable that people should be able to fund their own retirement without the government helping them, but what if they don't, and what problems do masses of old people without the money to support themselves present for are society?

Medicare is of course for Senior Citizens and is very important because the cost of nursing homes can be huge. Without government intervention through taxes, is it really possible to correctly fund this very important program?

Income Security: 263 Billion was spent on this last year. I'm not sure what the correct definition of this is. Is this government pensions, or something similar to Social Security, or is it welfare?

Anyways, these 6 portions of the budget constitute 75% of the Federal budget. I think everyone can agree that we should get rid of uneccessary surpluses and debt interest payments eventually. The problem is the other four: Health, Social Security, Medicare, and Income Security. Can we really do away with these Federal programs or are they to important and best provided by the Federal government?

On a different note, I generally feel taxes should be lowered and raised based on the Economic growth rate, level of unemployment, and level of inflation. A tax cut does not make sense when the economy is at full employment. Once the Economy is at full employment which it was in the summer of 2000, further tax cuts or interest rate cuts will only cause inflation. Labor shortages put pressure on wages and can cause inflation. But if economic growth declines and unemployment rises then a tax cut is necessary to increase economic growth there by reducing the unemployment rate and hopefully achieving full employment without an increase in inflation.(full employment means an unemployment level that is the natural rate of unemployment resulting from briefly being between jobs or other events, but not from work being unavailable).

It seems though that your suggestion with the Federal government is mainly a major redistribution of services provided by the Federal government to the private sector. Whether this is possible, the best way to provide the particular service, and how the service would continue to be correctly funded if still needed is the big question.
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Old 06-12-2002, 04:39 AM   #32
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In other words, as a voting citizen, I do not actually vote for an individual. Further, the individuals in the offices are not directly accountable to a small group of people - a state or a district.

How exactly is this more honest?
It is actually possible to have a system of PR (proportional representation) in which you'd retain the constituency link. The most popular way of doing this is to have each constituency elect a representative in the normal way (ie the candidate with the highest number of votes wins, regardless of whether they have a majority or not) but also have a number of members of whatever representative body you're electing to who aren't elected by a constituency. To achieve this, you would probably use the party list system where each party composes a list of candidates in order of preference. Then you consider what overall percentage of the vote each party got, and whether this corresponds to the number of representatives they elect. If it doesn't correspond then parties who have a higher percentage of the vote than the number of representatives will be able to have the candidates on their list also elected.

To give an example (because I think that explanation was probably somewhat confusing):

After each constituency has elected a representative in the normal way...

Party X gained 25% of the vote nationwide but only got 20% of seats in the assembly. Therefore, the candidates at the top of Party X's list will be elected to the assembly until Party X has 25% of representatives there.

There are many, many systems of PR which can be used to overcome the problems associated with PR. The debate really comes down to whether PR is desirable at all: does it give too much power to minority parties?; does it mean that most governments will be coalitions and may be weaker than single party governments?; does it encourage people to vote for the candidate they genuinely support, as opposed to the one they think has the better chance of keeping out a candidate they dislike?; can it encourage the larger parties to be more responsive to citizens' wishes?

Personally I'm not against PR in principle, but I do oppose it in practice because it would mean that the party I support (Labour Party, who are currently in government) would never be able to govern as just a Labour government - it would always be as a coalition. I'm also concerned about the implications of PR for extremist parties, for example, in this country PR coud give increased power to the British National Party who are a far-right racist party and who currently only hold three council seats throughout the country, but who under PR could significantly increase their representation.
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Old 06-12-2002, 04:42 AM   #33
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Originally posted by STING2
On a different note, I generally feel taxes should be lowered and raised based on the Economic growth rate, level of unemployment, and level of inflation.
Just out of curiosity, about what level is your direct taxation (ie that which comes out of someone's paycheck) in the US right now? And does it vary in different states?
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Old 06-12-2002, 10:13 AM   #34
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A (hopefully) quick reply...

Sting, let's say, for a moment, that the crime rate was actually quite high during the Wild West; I too have no stats on the matter, so I can't say either way. Could such a crime rate have been reduced by gun laws? Probably not. Outlaws would still have had guns - that's why they call them "outlaws." And the people they terrorized, common settlers who often had to defend for themselves, would have been disarmed. That doesn't seem to make the situation any better.

On the issue of D.C., I certainly grant that the availability of guns outside the city may make gun laws imperfect. But one would STILL think that crime rates would at least decrease, wouldn't they? Instead, they ARE among the worst in the nation.

And on the issue of how gun advocates would lower the crime rates, it points to what we think caused the high rate to begin with: a ludicrously lax criminal justice system, where criminals are treated as victims, convicted less often then they should, given lesser sentences than is called for, and serve even LESS time because of parole. The solution is to be far tougher on those convicted for violent crimes, to punish criminals even further when they use firearms in their crimes, and to imprison them for life when they've committed one violent crime too many (a "three strikes" policy).

On to the more important issue of WHY we have the right to bear arms...

You seem to think that the Second Amendment was put in place to allow for "a militia to defend the country;" presumably, you think that it has little or nothing to do with individuals having the right to defend themselves from an oppressive government. This, after the American Revolution, in which the British were clearly trying to oppress the colonists, and in which these efforts were defeated because individual colonists owned guns. I believe it's clear that tyranny was in the minds of the Founding Fathers when they added the Second Amendment.

You seem to think that defense from such a threat is unnecessary, that the U.S. Government would never overstep its bounds, that "such an attempt would never gain (the military's) support and would fail," and that such notions only occur in "the movies or an X-file episode."

I believe that such optimism is crushed not only by the movies, but BY HUMAN HISTORY. Look at the last great republic, Rome, which became a dictatorship because of the efforts of Julius Ceasar, a MILITARY LEADER. Look at Nazi Germany, which came about when Hitler used national crises to rise to power. Hell, look at American history, when FDR and Nixon were able to weild CONSIDERABLE political power. The belief that the US Government (or any government) will always look out for its people, and will do so of its own accord, is niave and dangerous.

You finally seem to think that if such a threat was real, firearms are useless against it - that they "cannot effectivly resist a determined Modern military bent on doing everything in its power to crush resistence." I disagree. Certainly, a military can wipe out entire cities with ease and can coerce unarmed civilians to do the will of the government, but they cannot easily oppress armed citizens at the individual level.

The reason is this: at the personal level, tanks and bombs are simply TOO powerful. The army generally cannot compel one person to go to work by threatening to attack his house with a tank or an arial assault; it comes down to a soldier threatening a civilian, and the soldier does that through a firearm (a rifle or pistol). If the civilian has a handgun himself, coercion by force becomes a LOT more difficult.

On to taxes...

If I may reiterate, we should not reneg on our promises in terms of Social Security, etc., but we should stop enrolling new people in government programs until the size of those programs are brought down to reasonable levels.

Now, everyone can agree that the health care system is in pretty bad shape, but not everyone can agree on the cause. I believe it's HEALTH INSURANCE itself. By separating health care from actually paying for the care, it allows providers to raise their prices substantially. Note: food is more important than health care. Yet, there is no "food insurance" and (I believe, for that very reason) food prices are low enough that there is no need for food insurance.

Assuming this problem can be corrected, the national government will have very little need to pay for individual's health care.

Further, government investing in drug research is unnecessary; it can be seen as simple investment. Some people will pay through such research through buying pharmaceutical stock, and they will be rewarded if such research produces something useful.

Social Security should be deprecated - allowed to run its course and pass away. People should be encouraged to invest. If they don't, I don't believe it is the national government's problem - possibly local gov'ts, but NOT Congress.

Medicare would be generally unnecessary if market forces were allowed to hold sway in the health care industry - and again, it would probably not fall to Congress to pick up the slack.

And "income security" smells of welfare, and should therefore be reduced and devolved to local governments.

Finally, you believe "taxes should be lowered and raised based on the Economic growth rate, level of unemployment, and level of inflation." I believe that taxes should be low enough that they don't have that big an impact on the country, that the government is small enough that it can't really influence interest rates.

At any case, taxes should be raised and lowered on the basis of what the government needs to operate; this use of taxes to tinker with the economy is absurd.

It's not only a question of what would work in the private sector, but what things the national government SHOULD NOT do on the principles of liberty.
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Old 06-12-2002, 10:27 AM   #35
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Quote:
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At any case, taxes should be raised and lowered on the basis of what the government needs to operate; this use of taxes to tinker with the economy is absurd.
Allow me to explain myself further: Sting seems to think that tax cuts cause inflation, which is more-or-less true in the current wacky state of affairs. But this state is directly brought about by earlier government actions - namely, taking the U.S. dollar off the gold standard (or any standard for that matter). If THAT problem was corrected - and it SHOULD be corrected - there would be no inflation to begin with.

As is often the case, government created a problem or two (or twenty) by meddling in one area - the gold standard, for instance. It tried to correct for those problems by meddling in other areas, like the tax code. Certainly, undoing one act of meddling may lead to trouble, but that doesn't mean we leave that act alone: it means that we do not stop there, that we fix ALL the problems our wise government created.
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Old 06-12-2002, 12:49 PM   #36
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This will be just a little 2 cents, I'll write something more detailed later on tonight (it's 1:00pm now) but about taxes... my province is the place in North America where people are the most taxed, but we now enjoy the best employment-rise in North America now, people are investing more money proportionnaly than anywhere else in North America now. We have the highest minimum wage in the world and more taxes than anywhere in N/A, but we enjoy the best employement rise and investing now.... I would wonder why we do if low taxes are the ultimate goal for a good growing and diverse economy.

Cheers and good afternoon/evening to all.
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Old 06-12-2002, 02:26 PM   #37
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I would be interested to find out how much of that employment increase is directly tied to government spending - and how you define investment (that is, does the local government's actions count?).

Beyond that, assuming what you say is accurate and that PERSONAL investment is up despite the high taxes, I'm still unclear about the underlying theory.

Allow me to explain: there's a belief (typically called Reganomics) that suggests that lowering taxes increases personal investment. The underlying theory is this: personal investment is high on people's lists of how to use their income, but not at the top of the list. People pay mortgages and bills every month because they have to, and they would LIKE to invest if they have money leftover. As the theory goes, if taxes are too high, people won't have that leftover money to invest. Lower taxes will allow them to keep that extra money, they will invest, and investment will increase as a result.

What's the underlying theory that connects HIGHER taxes and increased personal investment? I personally don't see it.

And, at the end of the day, I disagree with the proposition that "low taxes are the ultimate goal for a good growing and diverse economy." Generally, a growing economy results from a lessened tax burden, but that's not the REASON to lower taxes.

The reason to lower taxes is that is immoral to over-tax, it is WRONG to rob people of their property to the degree that most Western governments now engage in. It is wrong to trample on property rights to the point that individuals see 20% AND MUCH MORE taken from them - particularly when we're not engaged in a full-scale war, mired in a depression, or suffering some natural calamity.


I doubt I'll have much chance to reply again, so I will close with, I think, my most important point:

You should not immanentize the eschaton: you should not try to force into the present what will not come about until the end of history itself.

At the moment, people are generally self-centered and ultimately motivated by what makes their own lives better. As long as that holds true, schemes to eradicate poverty will fail; attempts to overcome man's shortcomings, eliminate such selfishness, or ignore its existence will fall apart. Again, any attempt to guarantee some minimum standard of living will result in taking from one group and giving to another. You disolve the correlation between what you have and how much you work, so nobody works very hard. The economy falls apart as a result.

(Certainly, that doesn't mean that we should ignore poverty completely. We should try to help those who are genuinely unable to help themselves - and perhaps help those in times of crisis, such as disasters and having to change jobs. But it's possible that this task should be left to local governments and individual charities, and it's folly to think that we can ever guarantee some universal level of comfort.)

At the same time, power still corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Thus, governments tend to become more corrupt as they grow in power, and grow in power because of the innate corruption. To assume that the government will not oppress its people the first chance it gets is both niave and dangerous. For that reason, the individual needs the power to defend himself, not only from other individuals but from the government that is supposed to protect his rights. The most effective form of personal power is the ballot box, free speech, and economic rights, all exerted during times of liberty. But in times of tyranny, the most effective personal power is the easy-to-use lethal force of firearms.

Note that I'm suggesting a balance between government and the people; that the government has the power to incarcerate criminals and people have the right to bear arms - all towards the end of protecting the most freedom for the largest number of indivdual human beings.

This balance of one potentially evil force against another seems necessary, and it may help explain why the American system of government works: rather than deny the existence of selfish motives, the U.S. Constitution acknowledges these motives and pits them against each other in the hope that freedom will be preserved in the process. The three branches of government (Congress, the President, and the courts) have checks and balances against each other. The several layers of government (national, state, and local) have a similar balancing act. And the people themselves have defenses against the government in general, most notably through the Bill of Rights.

So, there are supposed to be mechanisms that balance one group's desire for power against another - all towards the end of maximized individual liberty. When one group overcomes that mechanism and gains more than is necessary, things begin to go wrong. I think it's clear that the national government already has too much power; giving it the impossible task of eradicating poverty and giving up our own right to bear arms makes the situation even worse.

The truth that power corrupts leads to another observation, one first made by Thomas Paine: "government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one."

How do we arrive at this conclusion, and what does it mean for this discussion?

Well, we start with this first, essential premise: man is and should be free, free to determine his own fate to the degree that he does not trample on the freedom of others.

(If you disagree with this statement, we are at an impasse. There's no way on God's green earth I will change my mind, and I cannot convince you of what seems to me self-evident.)

The problem is the second basic premise: mankind is not perfect. While most individuals show moments of charity (in the strict sense), we ALL exhibit selfishness.

Because we are all selfish, government is necessary to protect individual rights from some person or group of people (sometimes in the form of another government). But because the government is run by selfish men, government ITSELF is also evil: power-hungry and willing to seize more power whenever possible.

Government is both necessary and evil - and it will continue to be both until humanity itself chooses to change (or, as I believe, God reveals Himself in all His glory). Then, when all people are good, government will be obviously good, but ALSO unnecessary; after all, what would government need to do if rights are respected and all men are charitable?

There will (hopefully) be a time where all men become purely good - the eschaton, the end of times. In the meantime, the government CANNOT circumvent the process, speed it along, or ignore the present reality. It cannot bring the end of times to the present by assuming that the government or all men are good or that they can be made to become good.

(Again, eradicating poverty assumes that men are good, or the fact that they are not can be circumvented. Revoking the right to bear arms assumes that the government is good and will not oppress its people. Both assumptions are disasterously wrong.)

Government cannot immanentize the eschaton. It cannot bring about heaven on earth, and every attempt will bring about something much closer to hell.
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Old 06-12-2002, 06:56 PM   #38
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That is interesting information that you have Melon from your 1 month stay in London. I have only stayed in London for a few days. But I have stayed in Dublin and Edinburgh for months. Your experience helps to confirm my belief that the USA needs gun control enforcement and laws similar to what the UK has. It is so clear what works and what does not.
To clarify, I stayed a month and a half in London and ten days in Edinburgh. My observations on what I think makes the U.K. safer:

1) Strict, long-running gun control. FYI, you *are* allowed to own hunting rifles, but only if you hunt. Hopefully, this will dispell a common superstition.

2) CCTV in public areas. Outdoor areas are constantly monitored by closed-circuit television, monitored by the police. And, yes, there are signs that inform you that CCTV monitoring is in place, so you can't complain that you weren't surprised. Speed cameras are everywhere as well, so you really can't get away with speeding either. Honestly, I must admit that I have a problem with the latter, if only because I think our speed limit laws are too low.

In America, there seems to be pride in averting the law and finding loopholes in laws. Does anyone else find that a bit odd?

However, back to #1, I doubt that it would even be successful here. First off, there are too many weapons out now, and if you suddenly changed the laws, how are we to retrieve all these guns? Secondly, even I must admit that gun control legislation as strict as the U.K.'s would likely never pass the Second Amendment, which does guarantee a right to bear arms. Of course, I've always been for a medium. We *do* have a right to bear arms, but we don't have a right to bear armor-piercing bullets, semi-automatic weapons, grenade launchers, etc. It's all about mediums that I'm sure the Supreme Court would uphold.

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Old 06-12-2002, 07:46 PM   #39
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In America, there seems to be pride in averting the law and finding loopholes in laws. Does anyone else find that a bit odd?
yes...especially after just coming out of a sociology course when talking about the murder of Bonnie Garland and the corrupt US law system.

It seems to be a fairly common thing now to put the victim on trial and diminish the reponsibility of the criminal. You can hire fancy 'shrinks' who will coin new terms that will impress a naive jury. Terms to point to the criminals past as being the culprit no himself.
To demean the victim as almost having desevred it.

Not long ago a guy walked into a US firm and shot 3 people. How di he get off with a slap on the wrist.
well...they said he had been living on twinkies and that he had some kind of sugar enhanced mental illness!!

Theres WAY TOO much room for maneuverability in the US Judicial system and although there are sometimes instances in Britain and the US it is by no strech of the imagination as corrupt.

I highly recommend reading "The Killing of Bonnie Garland". It was written by an American writer so its pretty unbiased in that regard.

Anyway...
this thread is beginning to turn into a nationalistic thing in which case nobody will convince the other.

Arguing is FUTILE when nationalism is invovled.
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Old 06-12-2002, 10:15 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
In America, there seems to be pride in averting the law and finding loopholes in laws. Does anyone else find that a bit odd?

I must admit that I am quite proud of being exhonerated by the City of Los Angeles for a parking ticket I received in September, 2000.

And Basstrap, don't get me started on the increasing of putting the victim on trial (especially on sexual crimes). Such criminals who "beat the system" due to that defense should have to spend a moment in a locked cell with the victim's brother/father/husband/etc.

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