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Old 06-09-2002, 09:00 PM   #1
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The American Freedom

In the Amnesty International topic, syntethic plaid (I think) says that "Americans have more rights than any where else".

I orient this discussion with sarcasm saying that it's true : here, I don't have the right to pay to see a doctor and I don't have the right to have a weapon at my house...

What Americans enjoys more ? What freedom do they have more than where I live... than France, than England ???

To me, unless someone can englighten me (or convince me), this rethoric of "Americans have more freedom than ANY where else" is still an historical relica that made more sense after the American Revolution than on june 9th 2002, the day I posted that topic.

Anyways, cheers and don't start to bash (you don't have the right to do so).
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Old 06-09-2002, 09:11 PM   #2
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Well like i said in the original thread I didn't get very far in the boring AI article.

I'm not sure what your intent is here either.

I am not familiar with your health care system or your gun laws/issues.

I do know that we here have freedom of choice in both, freedom to choose which doctor we want and freedom to chose gun ownership. Many people hold this in high regards.
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Old 06-09-2002, 09:15 PM   #3
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Well, for one thing we don't have to pay GST.
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:11 PM   #4
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Is American Freedom have everything to do with economics and dollards instead of human rights ????
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Old 06-09-2002, 11:06 PM   #5
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Wow, at least one person here has absolutely no sense of humor.

I just thought it was fair to point out that the taxes used to support Canada's health insurance system (and other government services) take their toll on the national economy. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it.

And I do believe that you do have the right to pay to see a doctor--don't many Canadians have private health insurance to supplement the government's health insurance?
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Old 06-10-2002, 05:58 AM   #6
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Well I don't know what is GST, so...

It was more of a question than a "I want it serious" stuff...

Well, some Canadians have private health insurance, I guess, but that is for what the free health-care system dosen't pay, mostly "secondary" products. Free Health-Care, in my province, supplies primary needs (aka what you really need to be in good health, not "deluxe" stuff). We have a free-drugs system too, wich is costing more than it should because of the high prices though...

You see, I don't believe you should have the right to pay to see a doctor.. that would made another interesting discussion.

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Old 06-10-2002, 08:07 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Holy John

You see, I don't believe you should have the right to pay to see a doctor.. that would made another interesting discussion.
So you believe there should be free health care for everyone (as there currently is in the UK, and I think Canada? As well as many European countries) and people shouldn't be able to pay for healthcare outside of that system?

It is an interesting question. I think it also leads into a discussion about the cost of training doctors and whether if a doctor is educated free of charge (ie pays no tuition fees to his/her university) then should they then be required to work in the national health service for a number of years? And does allowing wealthy people to pay for private healthcare risk creating a 'two-tier' system where the rich can afford high-quality healthcare, while the rest of society suffer from a loss of funding for the national health service?
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Old 06-10-2002, 08:31 AM   #8
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I for one am glad that if I get cancer or some other horrible disease my family won't have to pay a mint for treatment.
I think thats worth the "worsening" of our national economy (which is not a real affect anyways)

If there is separate health care in canada for the elite I don't believe it has lessened the quality of the "average" persons healthcare.
The reason why Preston Manning was so deplored, in fact, was because he proposed, or apparently proposed, that they install a "two-teir" system all over canada.
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Old 06-10-2002, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
I for one am glad that if I get cancer or some other horrible disease my family won't have to pay a mint for treatment.
I think thats worth the "worsening" of our national economy (which is not a real affect anyways)

If there is separate health care in canada for the elite I don't believe it has lessened the quality of the "average" persons healthcare.
The reason why Preston Manning was so deplored, in fact, was because he proposed, or apparently proposed, that they install a "two-teir" system all over canada.
My mother was disgnosed and went through 2 long years of cancer treatment, VON visitations, hospital stays, home healthcare. Both parents were retired at the time living on measly government pension and what little RRSP income they had. All I have to say is thank god we live in Canada as the entire expense was covered - otherwise I don't think my mother would have had the luxury of 2 years. I don't know what it's like anywhere else but that's one thing that is good about living in Canada - when you're sick and you need healthcare - you will receive it and you won't be delegated to the gutter just because of social standing or income. As far as that goes there is only one-tier healthcare in Canada - and that is healthcare for all those who need it.
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Old 06-10-2002, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Holy John
Is American Freedom have everything to do with economics and dollards instead of human rights ????
of course it does, don't forget bombs either
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Old 06-10-2002, 05:42 PM   #11
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The question of whether Americans enjoy more freedom than anybody else comes down to how you define rights. In other words, do people have a right to bear arms? A right to speak freely? A right to health care? As necessary as health care may be, I honestly do not believe people have a right to it, as such. My reason is simple: the government has to steal from someone else to provide someone health care.

(The same applies to food and shelter, and I'm a bit surprised that more people don't claim a right to those items in addition to health care.)

Look at it this way: I have the right to speak freely, and I can exercise that right at the expense of no one else. Certainly it may cost money to get others to listen, to publish my essays and air my commentaries, but that is part of the reason I don't have the right to be heard, only the right to speak. If I had the right to be heard, the government would have to buy airtime (by taxing others) or seize the means of broadcasting outright (which is also theft).

Likewise, I have the right to own property, but I don't have the right to property itself. Property rights mean that I can buy a castle, and if I own that castle, I can do pretty much whatever I want to it. Property rights do guarantee me a castle. If they did, the government would have to steal the funds to build me a castle or steal somebody else's castle.

(Certainly, it takes some amount of money to ensure that these rights are not being trampled on by others. But taxes spent to ensure that property rights are respected and taxes spent to give people castles are CLEARLY two different things.)

It seems pretty clear that health care does have SOME level of expense. (Even if it's overpriced now, it would always have SOME pricetag involved.) So, providing healthcare to Paul requires taxing Peter or seizing drugs that his company manufactures.

Thus, you do not have a RIGHT to health care.

Given that definition, I would think it's fairly self-evident that America enjoys more freedoms than almost any country on earth. There may be tiny, minor exceptions; and, fact is, Russia recently adopted a flat tax, making their tax system far less restrictive than ours. But the fact remains:

We enjoy more political, economic, and religious freedoms than any major nation on Earth. Next to our system of republicanism (lower-case "r"), only pure democracy is more politcally free, and no major nation practices anything close to a democracy. Capitalism is THE expression of economic freedom; it is the only "-ism" that simply states how things are. Even the socialism of Canada and Europe is very restrictive compared to the current condition of the U.S. (which, admittedly and regretably, has drifted from the ideals of the Founding Fathers). Finally, we practice religious pluralism. Certainly, most of the civilized world has followed suit (leaving behind previous efforts of collaboration between church and state). So the U.S. and Europe may be equally free in religious terms; we still enjoy more freedoms in other areas, thus we are more free in an absolute sense.
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Old 06-10-2002, 06:38 PM   #12
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We here in Canada have pretty much all of what you have just said. And I think that its fine to, how did you put it..."steal" from others if it means we can have a free health care.

And I hardly call it stealing.
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!!

And by the way. Canada is by no means a socialist country! Democracy thrives here every-bit as much as it does in the US.

I'm probably just getting over-heated and irrational here.
I just get sick of hearing how the Americans are the leaders of the free world
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Old 06-10-2002, 07:08 PM   #13
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Freedom is a very hard thing to define. Many people may consider freedom as the right to have a gun. That made sense 200 years ago, but with over 10,000 Americans murdered by firearms every year, one has to ask does ones(civilians) rights to bear arms infringe up on my right to live in a safe and secure environment. I was in Ireland recently in January and had no fear of walking through downtown Dublin, Galway,or Cork in the middle of the night by myself. Naturally because of this, there is a sense of safety and security there that allows one to be more free in their actions because they are free from the danger and fear of violent attack with a deadly weapon. This is a freedom that one does not have in the USA.
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Old 06-10-2002, 08:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
We here in Canada have pretty much all of what you have just said. And I think that its fine to, how did you put it..."steal" from others if it means we can have a free health care.

And I hardly call it stealing.
What else would you call a tax? A donation that you HAVE to pay or risk a heavy prison sentence? A bill for the services you receive, even when your bill has nothing to do with the amount of services you're provided (with notable exceptions like toll roads)?

Certainly, taxation isn't precisely theft, since we elect those who pass the tax code. (And certainly, some amount of taxation is necessary.) But the fact remains: taxes are closer to outright theft than anything else.

Quote:
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!!
I don't think "distribution" is the right term, since wealth isn't distributed: IT'S EARNED.

At any rate, equally telling is your admission that the U.S. government allows an upper class; it doesn't enforce an upper class the way nobles in medieval Europe did.

But let's say, for an instance, that a naturally occurring upper class IS a bad thing, to the point that we tax them HEAVILY. First, luxury goods are no longer bought, and the middle class and lower class families that depend on the yachting industry suffer. Second, investment all but vanishes, since it is generally the wealthy who can most afford to invest. Finally, all incentives to become wealthy disappear, resulting in lower productivity.

And at what point does somebody have too much money? When they have more than you personally? When they have more than the median or average income? When there's even ONE person with less money? Taken to its natural conclusion, you get Communism, and the Soviet Union was not known for its economic prosperity.

Quote:
And by the way. Canada is by no means a socialist country! Democracy thrives here every-bit as much as it does in the US.

I'm probably just getting over-heated and irrational here.
I just get sick of hearing how the Americans are the leaders of the free world
I believe you're confusing political and economic systems. A democracy is a political system in which all citizens vote on laws. Socialism is an economic system where decisions are made by the government. It's possible to have both simultaneously.

(As an aside, neither Canada nor the United States are technically democracies. They are republics, in which citizens elect lawmakers.)

In fact, I believe most of the West has both a republican form of government and a socialist economy, including the U.S. (though it is less socialist than most).

Either way, the resentment toward the U.S. is understandable. However, like Spain and England before it, the U.S. is the leader of the Western world; to deny the fact is to deny reality.


STING2:

There is, I believe, no positive correlation between the legalization of guns and crime rates. In fact, I believe the opposite is true; criminals become bold when it's likely the next victim is unarmed.

Not only 200 years ago, but 50 years ago, guns were prevalent with no corresponding crime. And Washington, D.C. has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country - AND some of the highest murder rates.

(I certainly wouldn't feel as safe there as I would in Dublin, Galway, or Cork.)

So, I believe the increased crime rates stem from something else: an erosion in the culture and a lax criminial justice system, most likely. Disarming law-abiding citizens will not help either.

In fact, I feel safer knowing that law-abiding citizens have can legally defend themselves with lethal force.

If you have the time, I recommend reading this article, which imagines a world without guns.
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:38 AM   #15
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There have been times of late when ive wished Australia had more clearly legislated press freedom.

Ive gotta say I dont like the American welfare/healthcare system. In Australia private healthcare is encouraged, but its not the only form of care available. I dont think John Q is a particularly good movie but it does raise a good question about American healthcare...
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Old 06-11-2002, 02:50 AM   #16
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Well there is a corresponding difference between the number of people murdered in the UK and Ireland and the number of people murdered in the USA in any given year. In the UK, 50 people every year are murdered by firearms while in the USA its 10,000. Crime still occurs in the UK and Ireland, just not with deadly results.
You assume that having citizens not armed will increase the likelyhood of attack with a firearm and the article mentions this blackmarket that will develop. This has not happened in the UK or Ireland, countries that have similar economic and cultural similarities with the USA. Again 50 deaths a year to 10,000 in the USA!
The fact that a citizen might be armed in the USA has never detered any criminal. Unless the victim advertises to all before the attack that they are armed the attacker naturally assumes that they are not armed, or even if they are, the attacker assumes that the element of surprise will be to much for an armed victim to handle. Again the possibility that anyone could be armed in the USA, leads to attacks that cause 10,000 murders every year in the USA. In the UK and Ireland where firearms are essentially banned or difficult to get, you have a total of 50 deaths.

Another thing with civilians having guns is that so many do not take care of them or know how to properly use them and fail to secure them leading to accidental death of family members or friends living nearby. Why should someone have to deal with the unsafe practices and use of a weapon by a neighbor who is not professionaly trained like someone in the military or police force? In the Military and entire base of 50,000 people will shut down if a single M-16 is missing. Even if that M-16 is just used for basic training and cannot actually fire a round. Extreme safety and care are used with all weapons in the military, and there is all kinds of oversite. With civilians though, there is little if anything to ensure the safety, proper use, training, and security like there is in the military.

The fact is, there is a freedom that people in Ireland and the UK enjoy that most people in the USA do not because of the gun control laws that exist in Ireland and the UK. Crime still happens in the UK and Ireland, but for the most part its not deadly.
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Old 06-11-2002, 03:01 AM   #17
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One thing about profits and making money. I think its just fine up to a point and were talking a very high point. That point is when someones accumilation of wealth through a business of some type begins to lead toward a monopoly and less competion. Monopoly and Communism are both very similar in that there is an absence of competion. The most important factor in Capitalism is Competion! The runaway profits of a few leads to monopoly which is not Capitalism. There for, government does need to step in to insure that monopolies are not formed or even start to form. The highest level of competion has to be maintained. In general I think the US government does a good job of this. I also would not complain about the US tax rate which is one of the lowest in the industrialized world. Besides the taxes that are paid allow the government and military to operate, without which you would have anarchy and no business to profit from.
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Old 06-11-2002, 04:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba


(As an aside, neither Canada nor the United States are technically democracies. They are republics, in which citizens elect lawmakers.)

In fact, I believe most of the West has both a republican form of government and a socialist economy, including the U.S. (though it is less socialist than most).

Either way, the resentment toward the U.S. is understandable. However, like Spain and England before it, the U.S. is the leader of the Western world; to deny the fact is to deny reality.
Two points:

Firstly - are you defnining democracy as direct/participatory democracy? ie where citizens directly participate in the decision-making process as they did in the city-states of ancient Greece? And does that mean you consider any form of representative democracy (as in the US, where an individual is elected by the people to represent their interests) to be inferior to participatory democracy?

Secondly - are you saying you believe countries in the West have 'socialist' economies? If that's the case, what do you define as socialist?

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Old 06-11-2002, 11:20 AM   #19
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Originally posted by STING2
Well there is a corresponding difference between the number of people murdered in the UK and Ireland and the number of people murdered in the USA in any given year. In the UK, 50 people every year are murdered by firearms while in the USA its 10,000. Crime still occurs in the UK and Ireland, just not with deadly results.

You assume that having citizens not armed will increase the likelyhood of attack with a firearm and the article mentions this blackmarket that will develop. This has not happened in the UK or Ireland, countries that have similar economic and cultural similarities with the USA. Again 50 deaths a year to 10,000 in the USA!
First, if your numbers are correct, they do not account for the population difference between the UK/Ireland (with a combined population of about 64 million) and the US (population 280 million). You're essentially saying that there is one firearm death in the UK/Ireland for every 200 in the US. But adjusting for the population, the ratio is actually about 1 for every 45 - or 50 for every 2,300.

That's still a wide gap, but a fair comparison needed to be made.

And not everyone finds Britain to be a much safer place:

Advocates of more gun control laws often find their dream scenario in Britain. But for crime victims, repressive anti-gun laws are making ordinary life a crime-filled nightmare. The total British violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, assault) is now significantly higher than the U.S. rate.

....

The British government works hard to ensure that British criminals face unarmed victims; "safe storage" laws like those pushed by the American anti-gun lobbies make it illegal to have a firearm ready for home protection in an emergency. So about half of British burglaries occur when criminals bash their way into homes and terrorize their occupants. In the U.S., burglars fear getting shot by armed homeowners. Only 13% of U.S. burglaries take place when someone is home.

The magnitude of the deterrent effect of an armed population was estimated by Yale Law Professor John Lott's meticulous comparison of crime rates in U.S. counties with and without right-to-carry concealed-handgun laws. The data show that allowing concealed carry would prevent about 1,500 murders and 4,000 rapes each year. It would also reduce deaths from mass public shootings by 90%. Other than suicide by the killers, armed citizens are the only thing that has ever stopped a school shooting in progress — as in the 1998 incidents in Pearl, Mississippi, and Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Fortunately, Pennsylvania and Mississippi, like 29 other states, adopted this sensible law years ago; and none of the Chicken Little warnings of the anti-gun lobby have come true in any of the states with handgun carry laws.


Also:

And the British plan (of gun control) succeeded. There isn't a large American-style gun culture in England. America's gun culture is comprised of law-abiding, hard-working, family-oriented people. In stark contrast, Great Britain's emerging gun culture consists of armed criminals, and of police "deploying the level of force appropriate to the threat."

Signs of the new British gun culture are everywhere. According to the December 31, 2000 edition of the Guardian Unlimited, "gun crime in Britain is soaring to record levels: executions, woundings and related incidents in the past year are set to be the highest ever…. The number of armed operations by police is also at a record level." And on January 11, 2001, the Guardian Unlimited reported that "the use of handguns in crime in England and Wales reached its highest level for seven years in 1999-2000". In 2000 alone, it jumped 37% from the previous year. How can this be, when a ban on private ownership of handguns — promising to reduce violent crime — became law in November 1997 under what was characterized as "the toughest gun control laws in the world"? (The British proponents of the new gun law were exaggerating a little. Nicolai Ceausescu's Communist dictatorship in Rumania actually had tougher laws, until it was overthrown.)


(No black market, indeed.)

But even making the wild assumption that your stats reflect a truly higher level of safety in the UK, you haven't been too pursuasive on connecting the legality of guns in the US to its high crime rates. The fact of the matter is, stats indicate that there IS no connection. Two hundred years ago, the US enjoyed wider rights to bear arms, and yet crime rates were low. A mere FIFTY years ago, the same held true. And, again, Washington, D.C. simultaneously enjoys (if that's the word for it) some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation AND one of the highest murder rates.

Quote:
The fact that a citizen might be armed in the USA has never detered any criminal. Unless the victim advertises to all before the attack that they are armed the attacker naturally assumes that they are not armed, or even if they are, the attacker assumes that the element of surprise will be to much for an armed victim to handle. Again the possibility that anyone could be armed in the USA, leads to attacks that cause 10,000 murders every year in the USA. In the UK and Ireland where firearms are essentially banned or difficult to get, you have a total of 50 deaths.


The possibility of an armed citizen "has never detered any criminal"? Really?

Unless you generate some facts to back that assertion, I will take it as the wildly improbable statement that it is. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would think twice before breaking into a house in the suburbs of Texas - where the citizens are legally armed to the teeth and the culture encourages self-defense. The fact is, I DO stand a greater chance of getting my head blown clean off if I break into a Texan's house; how does that fact NOT influence my decision to commit a crime?

Quote:
Another thing with civilians having guns is that so many do not take care of them or know how to properly use them and fail to secure them leading to accidental death of family members or friends living nearby. Why should someone have to deal with the unsafe practices and use of a weapon by a neighbor who is not professionaly trained like someone in the military or police force? In the Military and entire base of 50,000 people will shut down if a single M-16 is missing. Even if that M-16 is just used for basic training and cannot actually fire a round. Extreme safety and care are used with all weapons in the military, and there is all kinds of oversite. With civilians though, there is little if anything to ensure the safety, proper use, training, and security like there is in the military.
The same point (untrained civilians accidentally harming or killing others) can be made about automobiles, and yet very few reasonable people assert that cars should be illegal. Accidental deaths ARE a bad thing, and the culture should emphasize safe gun use (following the lead of the National Rifle Ass'n). But this doesn't justify making guns illegal. What it may suggest is making guns LESS of a cultural taboo - encouraging gun ownership, as was done in generations past - so that there can be a open dialogue about its safe use.

(After all, "safe sex" didn't become a wide cultural issue until sex itself became more widely discussed.)

Moving on to your second post...

Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
One thing about profits and making money. I think its just fine up to a point and were talking a very high point. That point is when someones accumilation of wealth through a business of some type begins to lead toward a monopoly and less competion. Monopoly and Communism are both very similar in that there is an absence of competion. The most important factor in Capitalism is Competion! The runaway profits of a few leads to monopoly which is not Capitalism. There for, government does need to step in to insure that monopolies are not formed or even start to form. The highest level of competion has to be maintained. In general I think the US government does a good job of this. I also would not complain about the US tax rate which is one of the lowest in the industrialized world. Besides the taxes that are paid allow the government and military to operate, without which you would have anarchy and no business to profit from.
I agree ABSOLUTELY that competition is necessary for market forces to control price and supply. I further agree that the U.S. government should step in to ensure such competition. And while I agree that the federal gov't does a reasonable job in this respect, I also think it goes too far in terms of medling with the economy: setting interest rates, not tying the dollar to anything tangible, corporate subsidies, industry regulations, etc.

Further, let us not compare the U.S. tax rate to other Western countries; let us compare it to PREVIOUS (particularly, pre-WWII era) tax rates. From that standpoint, Americans are being subjected to confiscatory, punitive taxes. And while some of these taxes go to operate the military and justice system, FAR TOO MUCH of it goes to social programs, corporate and personal welfare, services that can be provided AT LEAST as well by the private sector, and the simple redistribution of wealth.

(America is, after all, the "great experiment" in freedom. Should we not compare our current state to the ideal of freedom rather than the realities of Europe?)

Finally, Whizzbees' post:

Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Two points:

Firstly - are you defnining democracy as direct/participatory democracy? ie where citizens directly participate in the decision-making process as they did in the city-states of ancient Greece? And does that mean you consider any form of representative democracy (as in the US, where an individual is elected by the people to represent their interests) to be inferior to participatory democracy?

Secondly - are you saying you believe countries in the West have 'socialist' economies? If that's the case, what do you define as socialist?

*Fizz
1) I am defining "democracy" in the most strict sense of the word: law-making through direct participation. That doesn't mean the American republic of representative rule is in any way inferior; it's just a matter of calling a spade a spade.

(All apologies if I insinuated otherwise; I merely have a tendency to be precise in my choice of words. I'll call a thing a "square" only if all four sides are equal and meet at right angles; otherwise, I'll call it a "rectangle", "rhombus", or "quadrilateral" as applicable).

2) I do believe the West has socialist economies, and I define socialism as having the government determine much of the state of the economy. Look at the amount of government-run programs (including health care, job placement, and outright welfare), the amount of price-fixing, and the level of social taxation (taxing to punish certain groups or certain behaviors). I know of no other word to describe these economies but socialist.
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Old 06-11-2002, 01:20 PM   #20
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I would just like to say that according to world-renowned professor Elliott Leyton the homicide rate for britian is 2/100,00 tying it with Canada while the homicide rate in the U.S is 10/100,000.
Almost ten times more.

Bubba,
I would aso like to point out that you confuse the terms wealthy and "elite"; they are worlds apart.
Elites do not usually earn their money but get a lot of support from the government in the old "You scratch my back I'll scratch your" deal.
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