26
Apr
08

Dear Government, Please Regulate All Aspects of My Life

Digg This So, a few months ago I got in a debate with some self-admitted Communists. Now before I get started, let me say that you can be whatever you want – I believe in individualism and am not going to try to say that you can be this and cannot be that. If you want to be a Communist, then so be it.

In this conversation with these Communist it was obvious that they were lustful of big government. In fact, I think they wanted to have everything regulated by the government. I mean, after all, we elect the officials so they will always be looking out for our best interests, right?

They wanted electricity to be [governmentally] re-regulated. That way we wouldn’t have California-Brown Outs. They want radio and television and all forms of news regulated. So that everyone with a political idea could be heard. They want all food production to be regulated. So that there is no surplus. They want universal “free” health care. So that everyone gets to go see a doctor whenever they want. Oh, and they want to burn the Constitution. So that everyone is free? Wait…

So, in part, I agree. Nobody wants to go through brown outs or have high utility bills. Everyone with a political idea wants to be heard. No farmer wants to be poor because their field did not yield crop. And everyone wants to be able to go to the doctor to get help. However, is the answer to all these problems to give all power and decision making to some entity? An entity that in the past has repeatedly proven itself to be (a) vastly incompetent in upholding it’s promises (b) providing a solution that is long-term (c) being more efficient than the private-sector (d) and not creating additional problems in the process.

One of the Communists dared to ask “is there anything that the government deregulated or privatized completely that has proven to run better or more effeciently (with the exception of the US army via blackwater)?” And below is my answer…

Airline Deregulation Act: Effect – Average fare per passenger mile was about 9% lower in 1994 than in 1979. Between 1976 and 1990 the paid fare had declined approximately 30% in inflation-adjusted terms. Passenger loads have risen, partly because airlines can now transfer larger aircraft to busier routes and replace them with smaller ones on shorter, low-traffic routes. (link)
The Staggers Rail Act: Effect – Studies of the rail industry showed dramatic benefits for both railroads and their users from this alteration in the regulatory system. According to the Department of Transportation’s Freight Management and Operations section’s studies, railroad industry costs and prices were halved over a ten year period, the railroads reversed their historic loss of traffic (as measured by ton-miles) to the trucking industry, and railroad industry profits began to recover after decades of low profits and widespread railroad insolvencies. (link)
Motor Carrier Act: Effect – Allowed manufacturers to reduce inventories, move their products more quickly, and be more responsive to customers. Consumers indirectly benefited from the more efficient, lower-cost transport of goods. (link)

Impact and Benefits of Deregulation:
North American Experience:
(1) Mexican economy gained US$ 600 million per year
from more efficient road transport.
(2) The number of trucks increased by 21%.
(3) The average truck tariff decreased by 25%.
(4) The trucking sector became more responsive to customer needs, offering higher quality service (especially services to small communities and small users requiring less-than-truck-load services).
(5) Private companies began subcontracting trucking services instead of providing these
themselves.
European Experience:
(1) In the UK reductions of as much as 35-40% were achieved following deregulation of non-urban buses.
(2) UK experience shows the important role played by long distance coaching (both scheduled and non-scheduled) in offering an alternative to passenger rail services and in stimulating competitive rail services.
Chile Experience:
(1) Non-urban and trucking markets can be made more efficient by removing government regulation of access, services and prices.
(2) Deregulation has
resulted in more services being offered, especially in rural areas, and improved the frequency and quality on existing routes (especially where many operators compete).
(3) The business is profitable.

Consumer Benefits from Deregulation of Retail Natural Gas Markets:
Lower Prices: Prior to restructuring, there were reasons to believe that gas
prices were already about as low as they could go in Georgia. Nonetheless,
customers saw savings of 7 percent to 12 percent on their total monthly gas
bills after switching to competitive marketers. For many, these savings were
supplemented by one-time sign-up bonuses worth upwards of $50.
Expanded Options: Twenty-one PSC certified marketers entered the Georgia market. At least 13 remain and, as noted earlier, additional marketers have
applied for PSC certification in order to enter the market. Competition yielded a variety of pricing plans that offer new and different features for customers to choose from. This variety ended the one-size-fits-all/one supplier approach to residential gas service and gave rise to the emergence of pricing and service options customized for niche markets.
Customer Service: The desire of providers to capture and retain market share has led them to develop offers with new convenience features.
Product Innovation: Spurred by lower margins on the gas commodity and
the need to justify customer acquisition costs, providers are developing plans
to offer a broader range of services bundled with gas, including
telecommunications, appliance servicing, and other fuels. This process is part
of a broader restructuring and convergence of the energy, telecommunications
and other network industries.
“Georgia’s experience has important implications for public policymakers. First, and most important, competition works. It produces benefits for consumers.”

Property-Liability Insurance Price Deregulation:
“In summary, rate regulation does not significantly reduce long-run prices for consumers. However, it does generally reduce availability of coverage, increase price volatility, and reduce the quality and variety of services available to consumers. Regulated rates tend to subsidize high-cost drivers, creating perverse economic signals and increasing accident costs. Regulation also increases cash flow volatility for insurers, raising the cost of capital. In essence, regulation creates material economic inefficiencies in order to provide cross-subsidies to the drivers who impose the highest costs on state automobile insurance systems. The clear policy implication of these findings is that deregulation of property-casualty insurance premiums is long overdue.”

Rail deregulation in the United States
“Consumers have benefited by lower rates, the railroads have achieved much higher levels of performance, and traffic has increased. By 2003 the market share of rail for intercity freight shipments was 42%, against 35% in 1975. Although revenues have not grown at the pace of these other parameters, the US railroad industry has made a profit since deregulation, and seemingly has been rescued from bankruptcy.”

Air Transportation: Deregulation and Its Consequences:
“There were some positive consequences of deregulation. The average airfare, for example, dropped by more than one-third between 1977 and 1992 (adjusting for inflation). It is estimated that ticket buyers saved as much as $100 billion on fares alone. Deregulation also allowed the proliferation of smaller airlines that took over the shorter routes that were no longer profitable for the big carriers. In sum, the major airlines probably suffered the negative consequences of deregulation the most. New smaller airlines and the millions of passengers flying gained the most.”

And also…. you could argue the benefits of the free-market.
Education: America was on-par with student test scores prior to the DoE. Then after the DoE, we slipped way back in our student scores ranking.
Radio: Now we have XM and Sirrus.
Mail: We now have FedEx and UPS that has better rates for larger items than the USPS.

Oh, and their rebuttal? “naaah. I have on-average too much homework to be researching this heavily for myspace.” You have to love it when you face people with facts that they just are “too busy.”

Well, not too busy to call me a “CEO cocksucker” (later in the conversation)…

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27 Responses to “Dear Government, Please Regulate All Aspects of My Life”


  1. 26 April 2008 at 02:53

    Communism is an unattainable goal, unless the entire world went communist simultaneously. However, a degree of socialism in society is definitely beneficial to everyone. Let’s not forget, we already have a high level of Socialism in the USA. For starters, Public Schools, Police, Fire Departments, Welfare … and a great deal more. To completely regulate everything is unattainable not because it is a bad idea, but because people are corrupts, and by regulating everything there will still be an elite that will control various commodities. This can be seen in the former Soviet Union. Currently, it is an accepted ‘fact?’ that the USSR was a poor nation with poor people, poor government and a terrible economy. Today, however, Moscow houses the most billionaires. This may not seem like much, but you need to also take into account the money in other major USSR cities like St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odessa and a great deal more. So, the USSR wasn’t poor, wealth was just unfairly divided because of the communist framework … which is exactly what would happen to any nation. However, Socialism to a degree is beneficial. Universal Health Care works great in Europe, and for those with money they can go to Private Hospitals. Regulating Energy may be stretching things, but regulating the Railway would be a good idea with someone intelligent at the Helm. In Japan, traveling the subway to almost anywhere costs $1. It is possible, people just need to use it. Amtrack needs good advertising, and fair rates.

    … just a rant.

  2. 26 April 2008 at 02:59

    Good Layout and design. I like your blog. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. .

    Jason Rakowski

  3. 26 April 2008 at 03:06

    What we really need is a federal government official living on every block, that way the goverment can have their finger on the pulse of the entire nation. Only then will they be able to take care of our every want and whim.

    After all, taking care of my personal wants is what the government is all about, right? ;~D

  4. 26 April 2008 at 03:15

    I disagree at large. Regulation is bad on almost all fronts (possibly all). Free-market reigns supreme. If the world went Communist all at once, that would mean almost nothing. Communism is Utopian. Utopias ignore the fact that life is not fair and that humans are not robots. What is the benefit of doing great and wonderful things if the guy next door does just the bare minimum to “meet requirements”? There is no initiative in socialism and especially not in communism.

    I surely hope that you are not telling me that just because we are already have socialist programs, that they are all legitimate, correct, and righteous.

  5. 26 April 2008 at 03:19

    Para, LOL. True. In other words, our government is VERY out of touch with the people they “represent.”

  6. 6 dcbarton
    26 April 2008 at 03:46

    zhann, are you sure socialized medicine works so well ineurope? Canadians that need medical care and live close to the border will almost always come to the US to get medical care even though they have to pay for it. why? because they can at least get in to see the doctor here. In England, a man was recently refused necessary surgery on his ankle, be cause he smoked. The doctor I go to saw his father die in hong kong because of socialized medicine, it seems the government didn’t feel the old man was productive enough anymore to bother with fixing his broken hip. We can’t really say that socialized police forces work all that well either. Crime continues to rise everywhere people are forced to really on a “reactionary” police force. Crime has only dropped in places that allow concealed carry so the citizens can protect themselves

  7. 26 April 2008 at 03:52

    DC, you are right on. Many people with onboard with UHC are “Michael Moorized.” Now, Moore does bring up an underlying problem – our health care is out of control and needs to be fixed. But his solution, UHC, to me, is not a solution.

    Has anyone thought that the European UHC has worked at some level because America is not Universal? In other words, our free-market medical industry drives the innovation that UHC nations use to better their system, without the industry. Same with OUR free-market that drives prices down and quality up…. Just tossing ideas around and seeing if anyone is also in agreeance.

  8. 8 DJ
    26 April 2008 at 09:54

    “…a degree of socialism in society is definitely beneficial to everyone.” Sorry Zhann, Socialism does not work, has not worked, and provides no positive benefit to society. Free market Capitalism is the fairest and most beneficial system of creating prosperity. Socialism requires ME to work my ass off for someone else to gain a benefit. The Piligrams learned from day 1 in this country that Socilaism does not work.

    “The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense.” -From William Bradfords “Of Plymouth Plantation”

    As soon as Bradford implemented Capitalist ideals by letting each man farm his OWN land for his OWN benefit, it wsa quickly noticed that each farmer (family) had more than they could eat, this was traded amoungst themselves and wit the local Indians for the benefit of everybody.

    Regarding Health Care- If UHC or socialized medicine is so good, why do the leaders of Canada come here for treatments? Why did Cuba send to Spain for a doctor for Castro? Michael Moore and his ilk have outright said Cuba has the best health care system in the world, yet the Cuban government looked to Spain for a doctor. Pregnant mothers in England are being told they cannot have Epidurals to releive pain during child birth because they cost too much- try telling that to a mom-to-be here! Complicated pregnancies in Canada are sent to Seattle and Buffalo because the Canadian health care system cannot treat them properly (for full disclosure, the US hospitals do get paid by the Canadian government for the sevicess rendered) but the point is, the Health care system is not advanced enough to treat “ouit of the norm” pregnancies. In Tokyo, 4 people died in one week while laying on gurnies waiting for beds to become available-UHC does not work.

    Public schools- Our school system produced top notch students until the government got involved, this is quite possibly the worst program ever developed by our government. That being said, it does support the agenda of socialising America in that kids are indoctrinated at very early ages, Lenin said “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” This is happening throughout our “school systems”.

    Police and Fire departments are paid for at a local level, not a federal level (Federal fire fighters employed by the DOI are obvious exclusions and they DO NOT fight fires in the inner cities as the norm.)

    Welfare- The grand daddy of them all! Proof positive that the Socialism requires ME to work my ass off to support someone who (for the most part) chooses not to support themselves. There are exceptions to that statement, but fort he most the part, I know it to be acurate.

    As you mentioned Railroads I will steal from our most gracious host and repeat what he has already researched:

    “Rail deregulation in the United States-
    “Consumers have benefited by lower rates, the railroads have achieved much higher levels of performance, and traffic has increased. By 2003 the market share of rail for intercity freight shipments was 42%, against 35% in 1975. Although revenues have not grown at the pace of these other parameters, the US railroad industry has made a profit since deregulation, and seemingly has been rescued from bankruptcy.”

    Re-regulating the railroads will not make things better in America. Governmental regulation in any avenue causes more harm than good, deregulate everything, let the Free market run free!

  9. 27 April 2008 at 04:21

    Ok, let’s remove socialism from society and force all systems to be capitalist. I will even be happy to entertain the idea that you will all be happy to pay for your schooling, your children’s schooling, your grandmother’s social security, private police when your car is stolen, your parents will cover you if you are fired from a job … and so on, and so forth. Maybe you will all be perfectly fine in these situations, and more power to you. However, blindly ignoring the fact that well over 50% of American’s will not is simply ignorance.

    Socialism may have its downfalls when comparing elite. If you want to tell me that Canada’s elite come to America because medicine is better here than there, we you are simply stating the obvious. I have not, and will not, say that socialist medicine is better for the elite, but it is better for the masses. Why not make the claim that private schools are better than public schools? Why not claim that transportation 1st class is better than coach? If money isn’t a problem, then of course people will buy the best.

    It seems that either you guys have never seen poverty in America. You have never seen people that can’t afford food, or can’t afford medicine. You can easily make the claim that those that can’t afford it aren’t working hard enough, but that is ignorance at its highest level. If you truly believe that, travel to Upstate NY (where I grew up), and talk to some of the people that work 2 or 3 jobs to support their children. Sure, they made some mistakes in their life, they never received a college education, and are working one job in McDonalds and a second at a local Bar, but it doesn’t change the fact that by removing the socialist aspect of their lives they would simply wither and die.

    Don’t misunderstand what I write, and try not to jump to too many conclusions. Comparing Socialism to Capitalism is like comparing Bill Gates to the guy that pumps your gas. Regardless, if you remove Socialism from the USA, it would wither and die. Universal Health Care may not be the best option for everyone, and like I had said before, those that can afford it can always go to Private Hospitals. Adding UHC to the USA wouldn’t change a great deal. Your taxes would increase, but your medical insurance would decrease. If you are as rich as you seem, then you shouldn’t care one way or another.

  10. 27 April 2008 at 09:14

    This issue at hand (to me) is that we have problems in the US. However, many of these problems have been caused directly by government involvement, regulation, or redirection of the market. I think the perfect example of this is the problem with our health care. What did people do – how did they survive – before we had health insurance? They went to the doctor. Nobody was rich or had to be rich to see the doctor. It wasn’t until government stepped in and started to regulate wages (to control unemployment and inflation) that we started getting benefit packages, which in turn gave rise to the health care insurance problem we have today.

    And this kind of pattern can be applied to many of our problems today. IMHO, if you believe that socialism is the only way (which is to say that we have to have government to fix our problems) to fix our woes, then you must also think that people in a community/society cannot solve problems themselves. I have faith in human-kind in that we can solve problems. Socialism, aka your daddy, does not have faith.

  11. 11 DJ
    27 April 2008 at 10:30

    Zhann, I grew up dirt poor, in the inner city, I have not only seen poverty, I have lived it. I made a conscious choice that my kids were not going to grow up like I did. I was not athletic enough to earn a scholarship to college, I was not studious enough to be offered a scholarship, My folks obviously were not going to pay for me to go to college, ergo, I had to figure out what to do to get MYSELF out of poverty. I did, I live a very comfortable life, I am not Bill Gates rich but I live pretty damn comfortably. Socialism removes responsibility from the individual and places it on the group (in this case government). Prior to the 1950’s Each person paid their health care bills, Doctors made house calls, The Department of Education did exist (nor did any federal involvement with education) and as a nation we were content (war years aside). Lets go back a few more years, to the 1900’s; unemployment was low and we were the most prosperous nation the world had EVER SEEN, then, Socialist views take root and we get The Federal Reserve, the 16th and 17th amendments, A stock market “Crash”, Hoover, FDR’s new deal and all of a sudden the dollar loses 60% of its value (literally overnight) , Government is involved in many aspects of our lives, and along with government intervention is government agencies and government control. You my friend seem to like socialism, I do not. I want to be free to make my own decisions, not have a federal agency make them for me, I choose to live in a house bigger than I need because I can, not live in some small flat of government determined size for my need, I choose to drive a 1 ton dually and 4 bucks a gallon because I choose too, not take a state mandated bus or train, in short, I like freedom and I will fight tooth and nail to regain the freedom and the Republic we are supposed to have, the Republic that was stolen by the 17th amendment. The freedom that has been stolen by each and every administration from Woodrow Wilson on.

    Capitalism provides an equal starting point for everyone with an idea, Socialism removes thought from the masses. Bill Gates was not rich, but he had an idea, now he is. Steve Jobs was not rich, but he had an idea and now he is. The biggest fallacy around is that Capitalism makes the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, just the opposite is true. Capitalism helps the poor get out of poverty if they so choose, Socialism gives the masses what the ruling elites think they need and NOTHING more. You posted earlier “Moscow houses the most billionaires.” How many of those billionaires are old money? How many of those billionaires had an idea and became billionaires? (answer) VERY FEW and only AFTER President Reagan destroyed Communism. Look at China, N. Korea, Cuba, The Middle East-all places with Poverty levels among the highest in the world all socialist in some way shape or form. The US, has among the lowest poverty levels in the world (and if you look closely you will see that our “poverty line” here would make a very comfortable living in the vast majority of the world. I have one question for you Zhann, Why am I responsible (through taxation) to ensure some else lives a comfortable life if they CHOOSE not to?

  12. 28 April 2008 at 00:54

    I will start by correcting an assumption you seem to be making. Judging by the tone of your article, it looks like you are under the impression that I am looking to replace capitalism with socialism. I have never made that claim, nor would I. I am, however, in favor of adding more socialist ideals to the USA, such as UHC. I have lived in Europe for 3 years now and see socialism in action on a greater scale. People here are much happier, regardless of what you believe, and are very fond of their government’s socialist framework. This is primarily the reason that most European countries are now led by a socialist party. You may not like socialism because you don’t like paying for other people, or you may not like socialism because of the leftover taste of the Soviet Union … I am not sure, and it doesn’t really matter. However, the fact that you are so against socialism seems to point to two things. First, you are overly selfish, thinking only of yourself and caring little for those less fortunate. Second, you have forgotten what it is like to grow up poor, forgotten your childhood friends (who are likely still poor), and are ignoring the fact that without socialism in the USA, millions of people would start to starve, causing massive riots in the streets, and an ever increasing shortage of cheap labor for minimum wage jobs.

    You are doing a good job at pointing out the negative aspects of socialism, and you seem bent on convincing yourself that socialism is the root of all evil in society. However, have you given any thought what would happen to America if socialism was removed? Just sit back for 5 minutes and give that some thought. Remove the Welfare system (your most evil of socialism) … and what happens? What happens to all the old people? Do you want people to work until the day they die? Or should family support them until they die? Will you be doing that for your family? What about the poor, what will happen to them? Many don’t want to work, I agree. Many are lazy, I agree. There are a lot of people on welfare that we would be better off simply killing (maybe a bit extreme) rather than paying for their existence. Fine! But, this doesn’t change the fact that they exist, and that they live in our cities. What will happen to all the poor neighborhoods if you removed socialism? Of course, crime would escalate, but more importantly you have to realize that NOTHING will drive a man to riot quite like an empty stomach that doesn’t appear to be filling any time soon.

    By all means, despise socialism. You can equate it to whatever you see fit, you can make it out to whatever evil you like … but a statement like “Socialism does not work, has not worked, and provides no positive benefit to society” is not only wrong, it completely ignores everything that socialism does and removes any credibility from the person that utters it. A much more correct statement may be “Socialism does not work well, has not worked well, and provides little positive benefit to society”, but it too is skewed and doesn’t eliminate the need for socialism, it only asks for socialist programs to be adjusted.

  13. 28 April 2008 at 01:31

    I think you were referring to DJ…. but I will take a stab at your response.

    My only question (and my answer to your questions about what would happen) is this. What did people do before welfare and social programs? Did they survive or just die off? Did they go hungry or find a way to get food? Did old people just wither up and die when they retired? What did people do before social programs were made? And if people didn’t starve, die, and go medically untreated before social programs, why can’t people do it today?

    I think you know where I am going with this, but I’d like an honest answer nevertheless.

  14. 15 DJ
    28 April 2008 at 10:53

    Zhann, I am an ardent defender of Capitalism, I am an ardent defender of individual rights. I can not see any positive benefit in Socialism. America was built as a Republic, not a Democracy, not Socialist. It was built on Capitalism, not Socialism, this country became great off the sweat of the brow of the American worker-who wold have no jobs if not for capitalism (over-sized government positions excluded). Socialism has no positive impact on society (go ahead, call me names, belittle my point I am used to from your side). Socialism and Communism have the same goal, the State dictates to the people, America is designed for the People to dictate policy. The American people as a whole do not want Socialism (although some do-Obama, Clinton, Kennedy, Soros, Sarandon), the vast majority of the American people enjoy the fruits of Capitalism because they helped create many of the products they buy. Socialistic policies prevent trade, The Old Soviet union didn’t even allow US goods in for the public to purchase, yet the elites were allowed to buy them on the black market. Socialism creates class distinctions, you will have the ruling class, and you will have the ruled. A ruler will never be elected from the ruled, the ruler will be chosen by the rulers (Do not confuse this with the Bush-Gore 2000 election, that has nothing to do with this topic.) The people will be allowed to work, for what they need. nothing extra, nothing more. Socialism in the beginning may look like the nicest, most comfortable, easiest, most personable form of government ever devised, but in the immortal words of Vladimir Lenin “The goal of Socialism is Communism.” I for one, do not want to put any policy in place that will lead to Communism.

    In this country, people are poor because they choose to be. Any person who desires to make there life better can. I did it. Some of friends are still poor, thats the choice they made. Poverty cannot be cured by giving more of my earnings to someone else. There are exceptions to every rule, I am well aware of the instances in which an 8 or 9 year old is left without parents because of a horrible accident, that is what family and church are for. We had that once in this country and it went away sometime in the mid 1960’s.

    I have read your responses several times now, I still have not seen an answer to my question Zhann, so I will pose it again; Why am I responsible (through taxation) to ensure some else lives a comfortable life if they CHOOSE not to?

  15. 28 April 2008 at 15:37

    Let me start by saying that it is difficult to properly express your opinions in 100 words or less. I really don’t want to write a novel, so I am trying to keep my responses short. If I am not answering a question, I apologize. More importantly, if I offend, I apologize. I am trying to make my view clear in text, which is a very cold medium. If something comes out as demeaning, or offensive, please understand that I am not doing so intentionally. I am simply writing what comes to mind. This is going to be a rather long response …

    Kyle, it is difficult to compare today’s economy to that before socialism. One very important factor is population growth, the second being a global economy. For the past 200 years the global population has been growing steady at about 2%/year (I can’t find a good source on this online, but you can find this statistic in Stephen Hawking’s ‘The Universe in a Nutshell’). With that, you can reason that over 100 years ago the population crossed a critical point, and poverty came in full force. Big business started to surface which brought large amounts of capital to a smaller group of people (please note: I in no way think that this is bad). Don’t forget, capital is more or less a fixed resource on this planet (similar to conservation of energy), so in order for one person to get richer, another has to get poorer. When poverty became critical, socialist programs were becoming more and more popular. Of course, those at the tops of these programs became richer, but the poor were fed. Over the years, more and more socialism was introduced into society. This definitely makes more people at the top rich (especially in the law abiding USA), but it helps distribute wealth so that the poor don’t turn to crime, or more importantly riot. To answer your questions more to the point …

    What did people do before welfare and social programs?
    … there were much smaller populations and societies were local. People took care of their towns. Not a lot of big business.

    Did they survive or just die off? Did they go hungry or find a way to get food? Did old people just wither up and die when they retired? What did people do before social programs were made?
    … I am sure that poverty led some to die off, but in that society, again, populations were smaller so the strongest survived. Those that were more dedicated found more food … the drunks probably died in alley’s at times. Those with disabilities probably didn’t make it to the crib. Again, different times.

    DJ, again, sorry if I offended. Your question:

    Why am I responsible (through taxation) to ensure some else lives a comfortable life if they CHOOSE not to?
    … This is just one of those questions that can’t be answered without stating an opinion. Also, I am not really sure what you are referring to, so I will assume the Welfare System. Personally, I don’t think that this people live very comfortable. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable living in those apartments, nor driving some 20 year old car. I too grew up very poor in a very poor town in Upstate NY. I will never return to that lifestyle, and will do everything in my power to make sure that my children don’t end up that way either. But, why should you pay for them? Well, if people were given the choice of whether or not to support welfare, no one would. I know I wouldn’t, I would prefer to give that money to NASA (by the way, another socialist program), but if the government allowed that the poor would simply riot. Many of the people in my town lived on Food Stamps. They had jobs, but they were primarily uneducated, and the vast majority of my high school didn’t attempt college, let alone finish. If they removed farm subsidies (more socialism), that town would have revolted long ago, not to mention all the neighboring towns and cities. Welfare brings a small level of stability to the nation. You may not like it, but you must acknowledge its importance to some degree.

    I am also having a hard time understanding what you are arguing. It seems like you are arguing against a Socialist State, such as the USSR. But, I am not proposing that in any way. I have no problem with capitalism, primarily because I enjoy the game. I am simply stating that socialism, to a degree, is necessary in society. Quick Note, Democrats in the USA are simply socialists under a different name, so Socialism was taken into account during the inception of the USA. Further, my argument is that the USA should take into account 2 additional forms of socialism, UHC and Public Transportation.

    UHC does not affect the current system a great deal. The private sector still exists (it does so throughout Europe). Those that wish to go to private hospitals may do so freely. Those that can not afford hospitals have a free method. Yes, taxes increase. However, insurance costs drastically decrease. In reality, this doesn’t work out to a big difference in cash flow. The insurance companies are thrilled by this, of course. Most importantly, this will drastically decrease the price of prescription drugs, further elating the Drug Companies. It is amazing how drug prices vary between the USA and Europe.

    Public Transportation, on the other hand, is something that just needs to be done. There are many reasons for this; Oil, congestions, pollution, etc. Most importantly, no private company will tackle this on a large scale. For one, it isn’t nearly profitable enough for big business. Secondly, the permits required would kill most private companies. By public transportation I mean not only within all major cities, but between cities as well. The US dependence on cars is ridiculous. There needs to be a low cost means of travel that is efficient … not a completely congested highway, 4 lanes wide, stop and go traffic for 20+ miles in each direction … with ONE person in each car. And this is in almost every major city.

    DJ, I am having a hard time understanding what you are arguing. You say “I can not see any positive benefit in Socialism”, but what do you propose? I will ignore welfare, but what about the Police, Fire Department, Schools, Social Security?

  16. 28 April 2008 at 17:26

    @Z: So, the world has grown. What is your point? All the people out there are still humans, right? And as far as I know, humans are competitive and (largely) selfish creatures. Look at us when we are young – out playing with toys and we (a) have to have the “fastest” toy and (b) we don’t want to share that toy. Socialism eclipses both of these facts by (a) taking away the competition and making everyone an equal and (b) by giving your hard work (your money) to others when you don’t need to share. IMHO, socialism is going against fundamental human qualities that we are born with.

    If the towns simply took care of each other (as you answered my question), then why can’t we do that today? You seem to imply that we had to create social programs because our populations increased. Honestly, if SPs were not created, then people would have continued to find ways to network with their neighbors – or they would have perished, which, is another human trait – survival.

    Back before SPs, people took care of themselves and if they were having difficulty, they asked their neighbor/community to help. If they could not feed their family, then that was because they made decisions that led to that event. They took responsibility for not being able to feed their family. When SPs came along, it was much easier to make decisions in life and know that you had a safety net to help you out. So people became less responsible and more reckless with their daily decisions.

    Both of you (DJ and Z) came from ‘poverty’ (not sure your levels) and chose to be responsible to get yourself out of that poverty. So you made good, sound decisions that got you out. If the government came in when you were 18 and struggling and said, “Hey, just do what makes you happy. We will make sure that you always have food” you would probably have a much more laid back response to life than a government that goes “Hey, you ‘F up, and your gonna starve.” In other words, tough-love is much better for causing the subject to strive for a better life. And this is yet another human trait, we are lazy – if we can get a free ride, we will take it. As DJ said, why should we have to pay for someone that chooses a free ride? That, IMHO, is a corrupt system.

    With that said, I wish that America had a Public Transportation system like Europe. However, is the PT system in Europe socialist? Isn’t it still run by private companies? I believe some of them are. But, UHC? No way. Maybe you will change your mind about UHC when your loved one needs a new-experimental AND very expensive surgery to save their life and you can’t get it because it is too expensive and everyone gets universal health care. Maybe then you will see what UHC really is…

  17. 29 April 2008 at 00:45

    I have answered both of your questions, but what about mine? What shall we do with the following socialist programs?

    1. Police
    2. Fire Department
    3. Social Security
    4. Schools

    I will not go into more detail than that, because the USA has dozens more, but these 4 I think are the hardest socialist programs to remove from society. I would also cite NASA, but if you are against that program you would just want it removed anyway. My understanding is that if the poor can’t afford food, they either find food some way or die off, correct? What about the other 4? Do we privatize them? If someone doesn’t pay the Private Police, what then? Will they not respond to a call by that person? Regarding schools, privatising all of them is an easy solution, but how do you ensure that all children get an education? Lastly, Old People … what about them? How long should they work? Who takes care of them if their children simply don’t want to?

  18. 29 April 2008 at 03:29

    1. Nobody here is arguing Police
    2. Nobody here is arguing Fire
    3. What about SS? Isn’t it supposed to be bankrupt by the time I retire – so how is that good?
    4. Schools? I’ve already told you that the DoE is stupid and has harmed education. Public schools also are worse in comparison to charter schools, etc.

    I don’t think that anyone is arguing against socialism entirely here (well, at least I am not). Let’s put it this way. If there is a service to be provided where it can be largely improved (via better customer service or lower prices or a better product) then the free market always is better. With the police and fire, there is not really a “better service” to be done. So that is fine to be “socialist.” Retirement, again, why do we need to help people retire? Shouldn’t we each individually be responsible to make sure that when we retire, that we live as we wish, instead of relying on the government? How is that the burden of some 16yr old working at McDonalds to make sure that you live comfortably when all you did was piss your money away when you were working (and should have been investing and saving)? Schools scores are slipping down and have been since education was socialized. So of course that service can be bettered. How do you ensure that children get an education? How about vouchers. If your school sucks, then people are not going to spend their vouchers there are they?

    Z, look back at my original blog post. I show multiple examples of how the government regulated something then deregulated and the products became better, the prices went down, and the customer service went up. How is this not stone truth to how much the free-market does better than the government?

    As for the poor finding food or dying off question. I am not really sure how to answer this question as it is a loaded question. If you choose to not find work or find a way to obtain food, then yeah, you have made the choice to die. Now with that said, I think charity is a GREAT thing. I think that if we took government out of “caring” for people, we would be a lot more passionate, empathetic, and charitable society. But since government claims to help, we just don’t care about people anymore. Z, do you think that if we didn’t have a faceless entity (the government) that claimed they would be the savior all the time that people would be kinder and help others out more – or do you think that we are just inherently selfish and would rather just watch people starve and die on the street and let our old people just die off when they retire?

  19. 20 DJ
    29 April 2008 at 08:22

    My belief is quite simple, Socialism does not work. As I read the comments here, it appears that social services and socialism are being inter connected. I am not professing that they cannot be interconnected, only that Socialism should not be the principal form of governing. The Police and the Fire Department are not Socialism all though they are social services, I am not abdicating privatizing either, local taxes pay for these services, and the local populace gets the protection they pay for. Schools should be contracted by the local populace, not the Federal or State governments. If people want to home school, that is there right. No person is born with the “right to an education” that is a privilege, the founding fathers of this country never implied that education was an unalienable right. We have come to believe in this country that what we want is a right, that simply is not true….but I digress.
    Preparing for your retirement is something each and everyone of us should be taught to do at an early age, no one taught me, and again I chose not to let that happen to my son, he is prepared.
    It is not my responsibility to take care of the less fortunate. I give a lot to charities, I don’t give much of time, but I give money, clothes food etc. I do this because I have been there, I want to give, I want giving to be something people want to do, not something government mandates. Government giving is wealth redistribution. Progressive (illegal) tax rates are wealth redistribution. When you (a government) take from people who work hard, and give to people who do not, that is wealth redistribution., that is socialist.
    As far as UHC, prior to the late 40’s early 50’s, doctors made house calls, people new there doctor, the doctors new their patients. The number of people or the increase in population is totally irrelevant. The percentage of Health care providers as relates to the population has been pretty static over the last 100 years, same as police officers, firemen, librarians, pest control bubbas, nurses, and lawyers. With government mandated employer paid for medical care, you have an inefficient bureaucracy in which the patient does not get the care needed, only what some pencil pusher deems is appropriate. Health care is not a right, it is also a privilege, if it was a right, the founding fathers would have included it the Constitution; before you jump on the “General Welfare” clause, I suggest you research the definition of the term as it was defined when written. It is my opinion, that should the government get out of health care, and the entire idea of health care is put back into the free market, in less than 2 years time you will see doctors making house calls again, an entire industry will be created with rolling labs, 24/7 hot lines, scheduling Dr. visits when you get off work (yeah, I know sounds far fetched, but here in Arizona, you can get your cracked car window replaced while you are at work, or they come to your house…even on Saturdays, my Dad came down for a visit and thought that was the coolest thing, becasue when he needed to get the window replaced on his truck, he had to take time off work to go to the insurance adjuster and have them verify it was cracked enough to warrant replacement, then a couple days later he had to take time off work to take the truck don to the glass shop, here, the window was replaced while he watched TV.) I mention this because this is an example of Capitalism at work, over the years, the original business has grown, people got hired and the business grew, then competition came along, and now there are several companies that offer the same type of service, insurance covers the cost if you claim it, if you do not want to file a claim or because your deductible is too high the out of pocket price is low because of the competition. It is a win-win, no government involvement, a lot of jobs are created. An example from the medical profession-Lasik eye surgery. When Lasik first came out, it was 10000 per eye, and insurance companies would not touch it! Now you can get Lasik eye surgery on a walk-in basis for less than 2000 for both eyes-most insurance companies still won’t insure it, yet the procedure is thriving, you can’t watch a sporting event without seeing a Lasik commercial, when was the last time a commercial for appendectomy’s was shown? How about heart surgery? Never, they are not controlled by the free market as Lasik is, and therefore Doctors cannot compete for business, and the prices stay ridiculously high. An interesting website regarding socialized medicine is http://www.freemarketcure.com (thanks Kyle), there are several video stories about issues with single payer plans as in Canada.
    I strongly believe returning medical care to the free market will not only bring prices down, but will provide better overall health care to the American people at large. Socializing medicine only hurts people.
    Socialism does not work, has not worked, and provides no positive benefit to society!

  20. 29 April 2008 at 10:23

    Kyle, just to be clear, my argument is such. My original premise was:

    Communism is an unattainable goal, unless the entire world went communist simultaneously. However, a degree of socialism in society is definitely beneficial to everyone. Let’s not forget, we already have a high level of Socialism in the USA.

    The reply given to be by DJ was:

    “…a degree of socialism in society is definitely beneficial to everyone.” Sorry Zhann, Socialism does not work, has not worked, and provides no positive benefit to society. (echoed in the last post)

    So, my argument was against “provides no positive benefit to society”. I attempted to prove that there is a benefit to society, and that benefit is great. More so, it was a benefit that couldn’t be achieved in a different way.

    Kyle, to get to your last comment. First, Schools … there is no doubt that the school system has a lot of room for improvement. Child brainwashing runs rampant, but that is to be expected in all civilized (and not so civilized) society. It is important for the kids to grow up loving their country. I am not defending it, I am simply explaining the reasoning behind it. In my opinion, it is the job of the parents to help guide the child beyond schooling (personally, I think the problem in the USA is not the school system but the parent’s apathy). As for vouchers, this is a system that will lead to a great deal more corruption. In effect, all parents will want their kids going to the best schools, forming a waiting list. Those parents with more money will be able to bribe officials (all major universities), and you will not achieve the results you are looking for. The US system is reasonably good, those that can afford private schools go there, and those that can’t learn in their school district.

    Returning to Welfare … let me be clear, I am not fond of the fact that my money goes to feed the lazy. Personally, I would modify the welfare system and force those on Welfare (aside from elderly) to work … but really interesting jobs. For example: street sweeper, cleaning up the garbage buildup in parks and other public places, washing public buildings … and so on, forcing them to give back to society in general. Trust me, in time these people will understand that McDonalds isn’t such a bad job after all. As for people’s ‘charitable’ nature … honestly, I don’t believe it would work primarily because I believe that people are only good hearted to strangers if it doesn’t hurt them personally. Of course, this is opinion, but you asked. My opinion is that that cities may be in decent shape (however they would experience an increase in crime), but rural areas where welfare runs rampant would be in bad shape.

    DJ, Socialist Programs and Social Service Programs are synonyms for all practical purposes. Socialism is simply a term that is too often confused with Communism. Democrats, Labor Party, Socialist Party … all the same values, all the same party with different titles. The founding fathers may not have known of Socialism per se, but they took it into consideration when forming their two party system. Health Care … this is a point that we can argue for ever. If you don’t believe it will help, that is your opinion. I remember growing up and not being able to go to the doctor because my parents couldn’t afford it, and many of my friends were in the same situation. I remember that feeling, and don’t think that children should have that on their minds. But, I have two questions …

    I am having a hard time understanding the following statement “I strongly believe returning medical care to the free market will not only bring prices down, but will provide better overall health care to the American people at large.”, what do you mean by ‘returning’?

    Do you now understand that Socialism (or Social Services) works, and provides a benefit to society?

  21. 22 DJ
    29 April 2008 at 12:32

    Zhann, Prior to HMO’s, PPO’s and all the other health care alphabet soup programs you can name, hospitals were primarily overseen by Religious organizations (churches) and many doctors negotiated contracts with the hospital administration (most were for very long term and the pay was not extraordinary but often the repayment of school related loans was included in the compensation), many doctors with no loans or the desire to open their own practice did just that. The hospital docs did the hospital thing, the private doctors advertised and did anything necessary to gain clients (patients) just like the old west docs did- threw up a shingle and commenced to healin’ folks. Today, the hospitals recruit doctors, each doctor has an office in the hospital and helps patients on his shift. The biggest difference is the doctor cannot apply his trade without permission from the HMOs and PPOs based on the type of plan the patient has. If a procedure or test is needed that a bureaucrat does not think is necessary or cost effective, the patient loses out. However, the doctors malpractice insurance may require extra (and often unnecessary) tests be performed to allow the insurance company to tell a judge how well they had the doctor cover his ass in the event the doctor gets sued (bear in mind that if the doctor is required to perform the test and the patients HMO will not pay for it, the doctor eats the cost-well, actually, he spreads that cost around to services the patients insurance will cover.) Malpractice insurance is so high now that many highly qualified students avoid the medical profession for that very reason. Those that go on to finish school have such a high premium on the insurance that they take a second job to pay for it or the only perform services that do not affect their insurance premium. If the HMO’s and PPO’s were removed from the system, and people were allowed to choose the doctor they want, the doctors, in order to be competitive and earn a paycheck will have to bring overall prices down, it is basic economics. LETS SAY, The current system requires test X (which costs $900.00), HMO 1 and HMO 2 both authorize the test, HMO 1 allows $750.00 for the test and HMO 2 only allows $350.00, the same doctor now has to recoup the difference somewhere, in a free market system, the doctor will be able charge 900.00 for the test or look elsewhere to have the test performed, in order for the testing group to get paid, the price they charge has to be competitive, so the price will go up or come down based on patient/doctor demand, again basic economics. This is how the free market works and why returning the medical profession to the free market will bring prices down and provide better service for everyone.
    Secondly, Social services are not socialism. Again this country is a REPUBLIC. We have a Constitution, we have laws, laws need a method of enforcement, the method of enforcement is the police. The Federal government does not pay the salaries of peace officers, the Cities do (State Patrol is paid for by the State. State is used in the geographical sense not the political sense). Socialism causes the federal (STATE) to pay for law enforcement, there is a significant difference. Same as Fire departments, they are funded by the cities based on the population size.
    “Do you now understand that Socialism (or Social Services) works, and provides a benefit to society?” No, I do not, I have stated my position (yet again), and I stand by it. Removing government from the lives of the people benefits the people-they way it is supposed to be.
    Socialism does not work, has not worked, and provides no positive benefit to society!

  22. 23 DJ
    29 April 2008 at 13:11

    Sorry for the double post, but I felt it necessary to respond to this:
    “As for vouchers, this is a system that will lead to a great deal more corruption. In effect, all parents will want their kids going to the best schools, forming a waiting list. Those parents with more money will be able to bribe officials (all major universities), and you will not achieve the results you are looking for.”

    With all due respect Zhann, the results will be exactly as expected, when parents cannot get their kids into the best schools, they will demand improvement in the existing schools, or they will home school, vouchers are an extremely good method to improve the school system-it hits the schools in the pocket book. John Stossel did a report on 20/20 a while back regarding schools , funding and overall student performance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4pN-aiofw). In the documentary, he interviewed a school official of an inner city public school and the only thing out of her pie hole was give us more money, give us more money, etc. he asked her how much would it take to improve the schooling her answer was (basically) a blank check would be a good start. He went to the newest, most advanced school in the country, same low grades and overall student participation and performance, this went on for about two thirds of the episode, then he talked to the overseer of a privately funded inner city school, all the students were required to work to keep costs low. This is a perfect example of how vouchers can work (if the government does not tie anything to the voucher.) If all schools were allowed to live or die based on performance vice need of the community, the schools will have to get better, the teachers will have to get better, and the students will learn. That is the expected result of schools performing within the free market.

  23. 29 April 2008 at 13:52

    I think the above YouTube link is crucial to this argument and very good evidence of both the problem and a possible solution for the education issue. If you have 41 minutes, please watch this video.

    As for everything else. If you think that communism or socialism is worthwhile, then that is fine. I am not here to change your mind. The bottom line with me is this – before socialism came along, people got by fine. People held the personal responsibility to do what is right. If they messed up, it was their fault and they knew that no faceless entity was going to help them out. If anyone was going to help them out, it was their neighbors… their community. So, if society made it by fine without socialism (and actually, America prospered greatly before socialism, as DJ said), then society should be able to do it today. I don’t care if we have more people today and the “world is a lot bigger.” Just because we have more people in this world does not mean that we need to work to support those who have made a conscious decision to use and abuse that socialist program. So, if you think we need socialism, then I think you are in denial of history where it shows that America was great without Socialism.

    Literally, hundreds and thousands of people every day crawl out of the ghettos and slums. No, not because government pulled them out, because they worked their tails off to get out. They did what was needed, above all costs, to get out. If you think that it cannot be done, it can. I wrote about one guy that started with $25 and homeless here. According to you Z, you did it. According to DJ, he did it. Why can’t everyone else? Because they are lazy. Period.

  24. 30 April 2008 at 09:05

    Well, I see we are talking in circles here. So, this will be my last post.

    DJ, please don’t take offense to this, but your opinion of socialism simply proves the discussion of schools and brainwashing (stemming from America’s fear of communism). You are completely determined that socialism is bad, and refuse to acknowledge the countless good it has done, and does do. The fact that Europe consists of numerous states led by socialist parties and is progressing far quicker than the USA is one, the fact that China is completely a socialist state and is progressing far beyond most capitalist dreams is another. Socialism has worked in the past, works currently, and will work long and far into the future. You don’t have to acknowledge this, it really doesn’t change anything, but it is in your best interest to open your mind a little. If you want to break down socialism as run by the Federal Government as apposed to state government, well, that’s up to you. I would recommend reading a little about socialism, and you will see differently. But, if you claim that the USA is a republic, than the State government is the primary government, so social services mandated by the state is in fact socialism by your definition.

    Kyle, I see that you have a very optimistic view of humanity. That is fine, and is healthy. My only comment is that you fail to see the difference between people 100 years ago, and people today. Times change, People change … Government must adapt. You can’t apply government methods of 1000 years ago to today, nor 200 years ago (hence all the amendments to the constitution). Population growth is a factor, Global Economy is a larger factor … and, believe it or not, the Internet (easy global communication) is a huge factor that will likely cause many changes. In your lifetime you are likely to see many changes to governments in general, and I predict that America’s dominance is one that we are all likely to see end soon.

    It’s been fun arguing, but unfortunately I don’t think we came to any real conclusions.

  25. 26 DJ
    30 April 2008 at 12:25

    Zhann, Sorry to see you are giving up the discussion. Regarding your post though, your facts are a bit erroneous. First, several European nations are moving away from Socialism, France and Germany to name a couple. Secondly, China has shifted its economic plan to a capitslist format (government run capitalism, but capitailist in nature.) Ireland is quickly running up the list of prospering nations due the significant coprorate tax cuts and other capitalist policies put in place.

    Questions: If socialism is such a wonderful form of governance, why are so many Cubans leaving Cuba? Why do hundres of thousnds attempt to escape North Korea each year? Why is the North Korean economy in shambles? Why did the French elect a conservative who is implementing capitalist ideals into their economic plan?

    I have read a lot about Socialism, it is a dispicable form of governing people, not allowing a hard working person to keep and benefit from the fruits of their labor because the NEED of some person or group is more important is just plain stupid! I pity people who feel they can only survive off of the sweat of someone elses brow, and those the support that notion, well, I will pray for them (yes Zhann I mean you.)

    And to sum up exactly WHY socialism is horrid: “The goal of Socialism is Communism.” -Vladimir Lenin

  26. 1 May 2008 at 05:36

    @Z: Actually, I am quite a pessismist. As I stated before and I state again… before government got involved in people’s lives, people made life work. If people fell on hard times, basically, they were helped out by family and members of the community. Nobody looked or cried to the governement to care for them. And for the most part, those who were helped were grateful and generally humbled, and they tried to return the favor by whatever means they could (even if it was just a solid handshake and a sincere thank you.) You cannot deny this.

    Today, people depend much more on the government than anything else. We want more and more from the government. And when we do receive, we want more… and we are ungrateful. It is easy to be ungrateful to a faceless entity. It is also easy to ask for handouts from a faceless entity. And because these handouts are given without a face-to-face, we feel no need to repay the debt. IMHO, this is wrong.

    It is my belief that government involvement in “making life fair and comfortable” that we have lost touch with reality. We are far more apathetic and much less empathetic for the people around us. You say that times changed. I agree. But it changed because the role of the governement changed first. Instead of making laws to protect us [from the government and other citizens] it started making laws to attempt to make life “fair” and to make everyone an equal. We are not equals. We can’t be equals. Government is not your daddy. Life is not fair. You should get what you put into life. If you work hard and go to school so you can have a nice job, then that hard work should be returned to you. Your hard work (your money) should not be dulled out to those who simply choose to not work hard at providing a comfortable life for themselves. That is absurd and sickening.

    I believe that if left alone that we will look out for each other. I want to help people that are less fortunate than me – however, I don’t want to be forced to do that… What if I want to help the veterans that came back from war with no limbs, and the government doesn’t want to… so they don’t get any assistance. So my money is being taken to me and given to some cause that I don’t support. That is pretty pissy. What if I want to send my money to park preservation (because I like the outdoors), but the government wants to send it to AT&T for “reaserch.” That too, is pretty pissy. Point here is that when we are forced to give our money up, we have little say about where it goes. There is not individuality there. That is collectivism, and that is wrong when we are all unique individuals.

    Socialism = Collectivism; collectivism ignores the individual; therefore socialism is bad.


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