Politics

Who Owns You

The kids have been coming home from elementary school talking about politics, mostly about how awful Donald Trump is. Apparently kids are picking this up from parents and taking the thoughts to school. We’ve had some discussions as a result, mostly involving them and their mother, but it has made me think more about how to introduce them to political philosphy. I’ve been disturbed to see young relatives turn out to be commies/fascists, or at least muddled and confused, when I might have expected them to learn better. The trouble is, that is what is taught at school, and especially at college.

This is not new knowledge or a new conclusion for me, but what it comes down to, and where I’d start with an explanation, is that all politics and related philosophy comes down to the question of who owns you. Who owns your life?

That makes everything one might agree to as an aspect of giving up rights to their life a matter of degree and kind, but to believe that any should be given up puts you on one side, and believing you own yourself and in not giving it up puts you on the other. The rest is shades of greater or lesser evil, at its lightest not apparently evil in the least.

This is a good way to explain property, since it’s an extension of yourself. It’s a good way to explain self-defense, since it’s inherent to being alive. It even gives a basis for explaining how governments arose and were assigned to do certain things for us as a group, and how that could easily lead to a government being “in charge, with force” rather than “charged with force.” Not helped by individuals not always being rational or acting in their own best interests. Not to mention there always being those who see their best interest in a place of power and disregard for the interests of others.

I believe it’s a bad idea to leave kids to pick up on things themselves, especially with those out there whose goal it is to instill wrong. Educational systems run by those who believe you don’t own yourself have been part of a long game to mold people to the desires of those who enjoy power. If you know better, you counteract that.

This Is Bad

I have become a fan of Carly, but Fiorina supported an individual mandate in 2013. Not the same mandate. A more sensible mandate. However, it is wrong either way. No matter what the NSA has and allowed Obama to use on Justice Roberts to get a decision that says otherwise, the mandate is unconstitutional.

I’m not convinced this destroys her chances utterly, and it’s going to be hard to do more than modify ObamaCare no matter who wins, but it certainly looks bad. You cannot, by definition, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America if you support and pursue unconstitutional policies.

The problem may be a corporate background informing her views. The trouble with Republicans is that it’s OK if a corporation does it, the way a Democrat considers it good if the government does it, but then that extends to it being OK if the government does something of benefit to corporation(s). If you see an individual mandate as somehow benefiting business, especially big business, you are more likely to support it as a Republican. No principles need apply.

Perhaps it’s already time to bring back Rick Perry. He has the problem of invoking Jesus, but not to the extent of being a Christian theocrat as some Republicans might be.

Candidate Questions

This is a fun set of questions, taylored for each of the Republican candidates. One question. One followup. Since I haven’t examined every single candidate as closely as someone interested in political blogging could have, I learned a couple things. I agree on many points. This seems to be heavy on losing the religious angle some bring to the table. That’s a Good Thing. Religion should never be a factor in how a candidate or party campaigns or governs.

Bush has no serious chance anyway, but supporting gun control? That’s poison. Even Democrats are best of leaving that alone. It’s at least as much a lost cause as, say, gay marriage. More so, in that it has the Constitution more clearly and explicitly behind it, and the Constitution in that case is simply affirming the government will not interfere with a right that precedes and is not based in government.

I tend to agree on Carson. Why? How will he survive? Perhaps he’d be best off as Carly’s VP.

Speaking of Carly, she’s doing pretty well if the crony question is the worst you can come up with. Valid, perhaps, but a relatively modest concern.

Kasich supported Obamacare? Buh-bye.

Pataki’s question made me laugh my ass off. I won’t spoil it.

I didn’t quite finish a post about immigration I started the other day, but when the questions are about amnesty, I am not as strong in opinion as some. I’ve come around to less open borders as a matter of security, but otherwise I have always been rather more anarcho than libertarian on the topic.

Walker has been a disappointment. He, Perry and Fiorina have been my big three. I get the impression he is more muddled than it might have appeared when he did battle as governor. I was unimpressed by the Canadian border fence thing, and have wondered, since it was Just That Crazy a thing to say, whether it was overblown or taken out of context by the media, or was meant as a joke and taken seriously. My inclination to support him crashed hard with that. But he’d still be vastly better than what we have, than any running or potentially running Democrat or Socialist, and better than most of the Republican field in actual practice.

Huckabee is a joke. Was a joke before. Should even be running now.

Jindal is a technocratic policy wonk who would be adequate to good as President, but can’t get theah from heah. So yes, cabinet for him.

Trump apparently needs more of my attention. People I respect seem to actually support him! I have seen him as the clown car sideshow to entertain us before the real race gets underway. Instead he seems to have become the real race.

Didn’t mean for this to become a commentary on some of the candidates. Definitely go read the link if you haven’t already.

Sama on the Aftermath

I couldn’t agree more with Rob Sama and what we have lost. I keep forgetting the Deep Capture angle, which is fascinating and all too plausible. Rolling back the police state is imperative. A pack, not a herd should be the prevailing attitude.

Finally, as I keep thinking I need to blog about, I cannot agree more about Gary Johnson as the candidate who gives us a chance to set everything right. This is why he is so profoundly muted by all aspects of the powers that be.

Atlas Shrugged Part 1

I went to see Atlas Shrugged in Bellingham Saturday, that being the handiest option, an easy 38 miles away.

In brief, I iked it. I could pick nits, as some have done, but all in all, a good effort and worth seeing. My brother would like the train p0rn aspect.

I was most critical, right at the time I was watching, of the scene with Hugh Akston at the diner. He seemed poorly cast, maybe poorly acted, and the scene seemed poorly written and presented. The gratuitous dollar sign cigarette shot was just that, very in your face. It was well and good that he represented a dead end in her quest for the maker of the motor, but I liked better that he cooked her the best burger ever, in the book, and there was a message about doing the best you can, no job too lowly for that, even while employed in a less substantive job than you could, as a form of strike against a mad society.

Later I realized that something that might bother purists, yet to some degree was necessary for the medium, is the way scenes or dialogue right out of the book are connected by Reader’s Digest stretches of film that convey situation and story without being verbatim, or perhaps… feeling deep.

Rob Sama also has a review, and he noted something I had completely overlooked: Francisco’s speech about money. If money is the root of all evil, well then… what is the root of money, what are you really saying? Perhaps a nod to that would have been good. I don’t, for comparison, expect the films to contain anywhere close to all of “this is John Galt speaking.” That would be absurd! There’s a reason why in three readings of the book I have read that chapter through just once. But then, if you pay attention while reading the rest, it is redundant. Anyway, I absolutely expect a nod to it, a short version, something.

In the “odd details you notice” depatment, there is an emphasis on characters putting a $5 bill on the counter to pay for a coffee in a diner. All the world is not a Starbucks, and last I knew an ordianary cup of coffee was a lot less than that, even with a tip. So it’s giving us a visual of the relative value of money, and where inflation has gone in that world of the near future? If coffee and a tip is double, for instance, then $36 a gallon gasoline is actually $18 a gallon gasoline. Still insane, but less extreme than at first impression.

I could say a lot more. I agree that James seems too intelligent and competent, if differently so than Dagny. Ditto for Mouch, brilliantly played but less the zero at the intersection of various forces than a force in his own right. The world of the film is scarily similar to the world of today, and Mouch has been aptly compared to Barney Frank, who seems intent on competing with Jamie Gorelick for amount of disaster associated with his name. Intent being a key word, as with her it almost feels accidental, whereas with him it feels as if he means to invoke economic ruin.

That the film is not perfect leaves an opening for someone, sometime, to make another attempt. That the film is good leaves production of parts 2 and 3 of this attempt safe, I hope.

Debtor’s Prison?

I had no idea that debtor’s prison still existed! It always struck me as counter-productive. A strategic pound of flesh, as it were, appropriate when a creditor has crossed over from caring about collecting to caring mainly about punishing in retaliation for what may never be collected. Can you imagine if we still had that in all states and for debts of all kinds? It might be worse than the ridiculous overstuffing of prisons via the drug war.

That aside, the big issue here is the lack of representation, which is so blatently wrong it’s amazing it’s taken this long to show up before the Supremes.

On the plus side, each year the deadbeat spends in prison is a year of supporting himself he doesn’t have to do, so in that sense he benefits…

(I really need to add some categories if I am going to post regularly.)

No Second Term

I think this is exactly right. He is out of place, over his head, not happy, knows it, most of the world knows it, and everyone would be better off, including Obama.

Then there could be an honest battle for the office by new contenders. We wouldn’t have to vote for a stupid primary victor just because he wasn’t Obama, nor would we risk Obama winning because of an absurd nomination winner.

If the song and dance that got Obama elected was ever more than song and dance, he’s lost that, much as can happen when someone goes from normal (or brilliantly manic) to deeply depressed.

Nixon, Wilson, One of Those…

Don Surber notes just how Nixonian Obama seems, and rightly so, among others. I’ve compared him in the past to Wilson, Johnson, Nixon and Carter.

Thing is, he’s not as politcally savvy as Johnson, even if he’s wrecking the economy and ensuring things get really bad down the road, while trying to do big things that buy votes.

He’s not as natively intelligent as Carter, misguided and wrong though Carter was most of the time. Carter suffered in part being at the point when something had to be done about the fallout from Johnson and Nixon’s economic damage (and longer term, FDR’s), and from being too intellectual and micromanagerial. As much contempt as I have for Carter, having come of age then, and for the foreign policy problems dating back in large part to him, he nominated Volcker and he go the needed deregulation process rolling. Further, I doubt Carter ever had a malicious bone in his body, which I can’t say for the guy who’s now making him look almost… good.

Nixon, though… misguided on the economy, in ways almost as big as Johnson, and perhaps more directly. I mean, price controls? From a Republican? From anyone? Come on! Master of dirty tricks. If not subtle and masterful enough, obviously. Yeah, Nixonian for sure.

But the intellectual heir to Wilson, not caring about the Constitution, since it’s sooo outdated. Progressive nanny stater. Tinpot wannabe because he’s smarter and knows better than us. But was Wilson into crony “capitalism” like the rest? Maybe that’s something he has on Obama, but probably doesn’t count for much.

No doubt Obama would prefer to be compared favorably to Lincoln or Roosevelt, but those are the breaks. You have to lead, and at least want to be President once you’re in office.