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US Elections 2012

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#1
Kjetil

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There was a Republican debate Thursday night in Orlando featuring eight presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. Who won the debate, from an Objectivist's perspective?


Please tell me if you know where this debate can be watched online!

Edited by Kjetil, 22 September 2011 - 09:42 PM.


#2
LeftistSpew

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I'm not sure what you'd mean by, "from an Objectivist perspective", as all of these candidates are committed statists.

Another question you might ask is, "based on this debate, who do you think advanced in their goal of winning the nomination the most?".

In that regard, I'd say Romney. He, Perry and Paul were the only ones on that stage seriously running for the nomination--and Paul's seriousness is questionable. The rest are running for VP (I think Gingrich did himself a few favors in that race tonight).

So either Rick "Social Security should be abolished" Perry or Mitt "Gold Plates" Romney is going to make Obama's work pretty easy.

I certainly could be wrong--and the economy is going to suck pretty hard in the next 18 months putting huge pressure on the currently-in-office pols, but the repubs and the bizarre t-party populist line they are taking are, in my view, completely unelectable right now.

I watched this because I was flipping through channels and stopped there while distracted by something on my iPad. I'm certainly not a follower of these things and can't imagine why anybody would be.

That said, watching the debate commercials was informative in that I got to learn all about the products I will want to start using when I turn 90.

LeftistSpewTM

"Intellectual accuracy and truth trumps e v e r y t h i n g".

#3
softwareNerd

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There was a Republican debate Thursday night in Orlando ... ... Please tell me if you know where this debate can be watched online!

This one was partially sponsored by Google and was streamed live. They have it on YouTube now.

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So many otherwise intelligent men want to raise other men to their mountain top by marching them up at gun point.


#4
IchorFigure

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I was furious when Santorum told the gay soldier who asked on a Youtube video if he would reverse the ended policy of DADT. Santorum said under his presidency he would put it back into place because gays shouldn't get a "special privilege" and the military isn't for "sex". So being able to talk about your life without lying is a "special privilege", and being gay is tantamount to some kinky sex fetish. What an asshole.

The rest of the debate was par for the course. Mitt Romney lying, Perry acting, Ron Paul sounding weird, Ginrich looking like a Lucas Arts CG monster.
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#5
brian0918

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There's been a lot of positive comments about Gary Johnson among Objectivists, though he's unlikely to win.

The problem with reality is that it only works in practice. In theory, it can never work. ;)


#6
softwareNerd

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Seeing things evolve over the last few debates, and seeing that the GOP nominated McCain the last time around, I'm guessing they nominate Romney (perhaps with a suitably kooky Christian running mate) this time around.

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#7
2046

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The only 285 seconds out of the whole 2 hour debate that wasn't spoken by a lying fascist. But still terrible questions. Though usually they are like: Ron Paul the economy is collapsing, so why do you hate kittens and want babies to use cocaine, you have 10 seconds to answer, and time started 5 seconds ago... And unfortunately terrible abortion position. But not a great debater either.

#8
Trebor

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"[G]overnment is too big in Washington, D. C. It's runaway; we have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control on the Federal Reserve printing money. So, if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there's no authority in the Constitution to do so much of what we're doing. There's no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with out personal lives."

So, it's not proper for the federal government to, "if we want government," to control whatever we want, "whether it's medical care or whatever," but fine if it's done on a local level?

"Would you tell me please, Mr. Howard, why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can." - Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), "The Patriot" (2000)

Or, why should one trade one tyrant in D.C. with 50 tyrants in 50 states? A state government can trample a man's rights as easily as the federal government can, and they will if "medical care or whatever" is proper to do at the local level.

Edited by Trebor, 23 September 2011 - 11:25 AM.


#9
CapitalistSwine

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as all of these candidates are committed statists.


Gary Johnson and Ron Paul are statists? Go figure...

#10
2046

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"[G]overnment is too big in Washington, D. C. It's runaway; we have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control on the Federal Reserve printing money. So, if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there's no authority in the Constitution to do so much of what we're doing. There's no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with out personal lives."

So, it's not proper for the federal government to, "if we want government," to control whatever we want, "whether it's medical care or whatever," but fine if it's done on a local level?

"Would you tell me please, Mr. Howard, why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away? An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can." - Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), "The Patriot" (2000)

Or, why should one trade one tyrant in D.C. with 50 tyrants in 50 states? A state government can trample a man's rights as easily as the federal government can, and they will if "medical care or whatever" is proper to do at the local level.


A little context, Trebor. Obviously, Ron Paul knows this and agrees with this. What he is saying is that it is proper, under the US Constitution (as in, it is only legal under the system we are told we live under), to do it that way, but not proper to do anything at the federal level. Shrinking the behemoth federal government and letting these battles be fought at the state level, where RP would also oppose it, would increase freedom, so certainly one should trade one tyrant in DC who recognizes no limits on his power with 50 weaker and more limited state tyrants who face a vastly different incentive structure. Why do you think the statists love centralization of power?

#11
Jonny Glat

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Dear LeftistSpew,

Ron Paul is absolutely, objectively not a statist.

I'd check your definition of Statism and then do research on Ron Paul beyond emotional whim.
And somewhere the stinging smell of burning leaves...

#12
Trebor

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A little context, Trebor. Obviously, Ron Paul knows this and agrees with this. What he is saying is that it is proper, under the US Constitution (as in, it is only legal under the system we are told we live under), to do it that way, but not proper to do anything at the federal level. Shrinking the behemoth federal government and letting these battles be fought at the state level, where RP would also oppose it, would increase freedom, so certainly one should trade one tyrant in DC who recognizes no limits on his power with 50 weaker and more limited state tyrants who face a vastly different incentive structure. Why do you think the statists love centralization of power?

From his statement, it is not obvious to me that Ron Paul does know and agree. It is no more proper for state governments to violate rights than it is for the federal government to do so.

I am not convinced that having 50 tyrannies, one per each of the 50 states, is better than having one federal tyranny. Tyranny is tyranny. I know that there are arguments for that, arguing that there would be competing governments (not in the same territory), as it were, and individuals could more easily move to states with greater freedom, creating an incentive for the worst states to shape up, and that makes some sense to me, but only to a degree. Where that sufficient, were there more governments for smaller territories, then by that argument, we should have growing freedom across the world, not growing tyranny. After all, there are a great number of countries, each with its own government currently. There are, as it were, those competing governments now, across the globe, but we're not moving towards more freedom, but towards less freedom. What's driving us into tyranny is ideas, not details with respect to the implementation of government.

Why not just get rid of the federal government altogether? And then, why not get rid of state governments altogether, reducing governments to smaller and smaller geographical areas?

The federal government does have a proper role with respect to the states. If the states are violating individual rights, then the federal government does have the Constitutional authority to force the states to abide by the fundamental principle of individual rights, does it not? Isn't the whole, proper, point of having a federal government, to ensure the protection of individual rights throughout the fifty states, throughout the union?

#13
2046

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From his statement, it is not obvious to me that Ron Paul does know and agree. It is no more proper for state governments to violate rights than it is for the federal government to do so.

Right, it wouldn't be obvious to someone who criticizes without investigating, but that's why we shouldn't take things out of context, don't you think? To anyone who has read Ron Paul's books, articles, listened to his speeches, it would certainly be obvious because he has explicitly explained this topic repeatedly. For the section you quoted, he was asked a question about the authority of the federal government under the US Constitution to take on these kinds of projects, so he's saying no, under our system, it is only proper for the states to do these things. He nowhere says he supports states doing these things, or even thinks that, given the various state constitutions, that it would be legal for them to do it, and certainly does not believe it is proper for the states to violate individual rights.

Don't you think it would be a bit frustrating if you saw people consistently distorting or making straw men out of someone you respected's view, say Ayn Rand, in spite of what s/he had explicitly wrote and spoke about on the issue? Why should we treat Ron Paul any differently than what we would expect then?

I am not convinced that having 50 tyrannies, one per each of the 50 states, is better than having one federal tyranny. Tyranny is tyranny. I know that there are arguments for that,...

Okay, so given that you know there are arguments for that, given that you know Ron Paul probably sees it this way (that more decentralization provides a better incentive structure for freedom as compared to the status quo), then why would you suggest Ron Paul thinks it's okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights? If you were indeed aware of that, it would seem to make sense to believe Ron Paul thinks this is a way to have more freedom, not immediately declare that, why, that darn Ron Paul must be a state-level statist! You could say that Paul is mistaken on that, if you disagree with that premise, but it wouldn't make sense to say Paul thinks it's okay to for states to become tyrannies and violate rights if you recognized the above.

Where that sufficient, were there more governments for smaller territories, then by that argument, we should have growing freedom across the world, not growing tyranny. After all, there are a great number of countries, each with its own government currently. There are, as it were, those competing governments now, across the globe, but we're not moving towards more freedom, but towards less freedom. What's driving us into tyranny is ideas, not details with respect to the implementation of government.

Well I think you are fatally misconceiving of the argument. The argument does not say that this is a sure-fire way to ensure people take on the right ideas. After all, as we know, the amount of freedom prevailing at any given moment depends on the ideas in the heads of people. What it is supposed to argue for instead, is that the incentives provided for any one area becoming more tyrannical are drastically reduced, and that if any one area does go tyrannical, it is not imposed upon all. Decentralization is no guarantee that people will accept liberal ideas. If all the people are dead set on statism, everywhere, then there will be no freedom. But neither will there be any freedom under centralization, if we accept that premise.

So the point is, on the other hand, if not all the people are dead set on statism (and who can doubt this would be the case with regard to most of the actions of the federal government, thus giving us more freedom?), then centralization makes freedom more difficult. So it is about incentive structures, not guarantees.

So your historical analysis is a bit off the mark. And anyway, have we not also seen increasing power in centralized governments recently in the twentieth century? Do you think an Adolf Hitler, for instance, would be possible, or that it would be as easy to do what he did, when Germany was split into hundreds of loosely federated polities? What if America had remained severely decentralized? Would the Federal Reserve had been possible? The 16th Amendment? World War I? The New Deal? Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare? The regulatory state? Obamacare? Indeed, part of the "ideas" that are turning us toward more statism, as you indicate, is the idea that there must be one centralized plan for society and the economy on every issue!

Edited by 2046, 24 September 2011 - 10:15 AM.


#14
Trebor

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Right, it wouldn't be obvious to someone who criticizes without investigating, but that's why we shouldn't take things out of context, don't you think? To anyone who has read Ron Paul's books, articles, listened to his speeches, it would certainly be obvious because he has explicitly explained this topic repeatedly. For the section you quoted, he was asked a question about the authority of the federal government under the US Constitution to take on these kinds of projects, so he's saying no, under our system, it is only proper for the states to do these things. He nowhere says he supports states doing these things, or even thinks that, given the various state constitutions, that it would be legal for them to do it, and certainly does not believe it is proper for the states to violate individual rights.


You are accusing me of criticizing without investigating and taking things out of context. It seems that, in your view then, I have no business criticizing what Ron Paul said until and unless I've "read Ron Paul's books, articles, listened to his speeches" because had I done so, his actual meaning "would certainly be obvious because he has explicitly explained this topic repeatedly."

The context was what he said in that debate, not all that he has written or said elsewhere (of which I know very little). In what context would it be appropriate or justified to say that "if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level"? Or, "it is only proper for the states to do these [medical care or whatever] things"?

National control of medical care (or whatever) is bad or improper, but state control is good or proper?

Don't you think it would be a bit frustrating if you saw people consistently distorting or making straw men out of someone you respected's view, say Ayn Rand, in spite of what s/he had explicitly wrote and spoke about on the issue? Why should we treat Ron Paul any differently than what we would expect then?


You have seen me "consistently distorting or making straw men out of someone you respected's [Ron Paul's] view in spite of what [Ron Paul] had explicitly wrote and spoke about on the issue"?

I understand your point, but I did not distort what Mr. Paul said, nor did I create a straw man our of what Mr. Paul said.

Okay, so given that you know there are arguments for that, given that you know Ron Paul probably sees it this way (that more decentralization provides a better incentive structure for freedom as compared to the status quo), then why would you suggest Ron Paul thinks it's okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights? If you were indeed aware of that, it would seem to make sense to believe Ron Paul thinks this is a way to have more freedom, not immediately declare that, why, that darn Ron Paul must be a state-level statist! You could say that Paul is mistaken on that, if you disagree with that premise, but it wouldn't make sense to say Paul thinks it's okay to for states to become tyrannies and violate rights if you recognized the above.


I do not know enough about Ron Paul to assume that he "probably sees it this way (that more decentralization provides a better incentive structure for freedom as compared to the status quo)."

"[W]hy would you suggest Ron Paul thinks it's okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights?" Because of what he did say in that context, and something that I cannot conceive of any context justifying. The implication is, yes, from what he said explicitly, in his view it is "okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights," but it is not okay for the federal government to do so.

From his own statement, "So, if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools," however, in the full context available to me (what he said in that debate), then yes, I did take him to be saying that if the states what government run medical care or whatever, then it is proper.

Were I to have heard Miss Rand, of whom I have read and generally understand, say something similar to what Ron Paul said, in any context, I would be equally appalled.

You tell me, when is it proper for us "if we want" to have government "medical care or whatever" as long as it's not on the national level? And, "whatever"? "Whatever" decided how? "Whatever" by what standard? By the standard that finds it appropriate to have government medical care as long as it's on the state level, not the national level?

Well I think you are fatally misconceiving of the argument. The argument does not say that this is a sure-fire way to ensure people take on the right ideas. After all, as we know, the amount of freedom prevailing at any given moment depends on the ideas in the heads of people. What it is supposed to argue for instead, is that the incentives provided for any one area becoming more tyrannical are drastically reduced, and that if any one area does go tyrannical, it is not imposed upon all. Decentralization is no guarantee that people will accept liberal ideas. If all the people are dead set on statism, everywhere, then there will be no freedom. But neither will there be any freedom under centralization, if we accept that premise.


I do not think that I've fatally misconceived the argument at all. I acknowledged the idea as valid, but not sufficient. Somewhere, I remember Dr. Peikoff making a similar point with respect to arguments for a one-world government. He said that he was against a one-world government because if it then goes bad, there's no place else to go, and he wanted to give man all the opportunity possible for freedom.

I agree with that; however, I do see good reasons for having a federal government and one nation as opposed to fifty independent nation states. It's not the size of the government, per se, that is the problem; it's what it does.

So the point is, on the other hand, if not all the people are dead set on statism (and who can doubt this would be the case with regard to most of the actions of the federal government, thus giving us more freedom?), then centralization makes freedom more difficult. So it is about incentive structures, not guarantees.


Then, in logic, why are you not arguing against not only federal government but state government as well? And even beyond that? Is it true that centralization as such offers no advantages for freedom?

So your historical analysis is a bit off the mark. And anyway, have we not also seen increasing power in centralized governments recently in the twentieth century? Do you think an Adolf Hitler, for instance, would be possible, or that it would be as easy to do what he did, when Germany was split into hundreds of loosely federated polities? What if America had remained severely decentralized? Would the Federal Reserve had been possible? The 16th Amendment? World War I? The New Deal? Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare? The regulatory state? Obamacare? Indeed, part of the "ideas" that are turning us toward more statism, as you indicate, is the idea that there must be one centralized plan for society and the economy on every issue!


The "size" of government, as far as the territory of its jurisdiction, is but a matter of scale - for a small country, a federal or central government would be comparatively small, compared to the US federal government, and for each state, were the United State's union dissolved, then their respective, centralized governments would be comparatively small, compared to the US federal government. Then, would not those arguing against a federal or central or centralized government be arguing for a dissolution of the state governments in favor or more and more regional and smaller governments?


Are there no arguments in favor, in your view, of a federal or central government?

Sure, having a centralized government makes some problems possible, but so too are there problems made possible by virtue of not having a centralized, federal government. Or do you disagree?

Edited by Trebor, 24 September 2011 - 01:14 PM.


#15
2046

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You are accusing me of criticizing without investigating and taking things out of context.

Yes.

It seems that, in your view then, I have no business criticizing what Ron Paul said until and unless I've "read Ron Paul's books, articles, listened to his speeches" because had I done so, his actual meaning "would certainly be obvious because he has explicitly explained this topic repeatedly."

Yes. It would help your case not be wrong.

The context was what he said in that debate,

Yes. And what was that context? I only mentioned it twice in the two previous posts. So what was it?

In what context would it be appropriate or justified to say that "if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level"? Or, "it is only proper for the states to do these [medical care or whatever] things"?

In the context of the debate question Ron Paul was asked and answered.

National control of medical care (or whatever) is bad or improper, but state control is good or proper?

Yes, according to the US Constitution, if we want these things. In other words, exactly what Ron Paul said.

You have seen me "consistently distorting or making straw men out of someone you respected's [Ron Paul's] view in spite of what [Ron Paul] had explicitly wrote and spoke about on the issue"?

Is that what I wrote?

I understand your point, but I did not distort what Mr. Paul said, nor did I create a straw man our of what Mr. Paul said.

As I see it, that's exactly what you did.

I do not know enough about Ron Paul to assume that he "probably sees it this way (that more decentralization provides a better incentive structure for freedom as compared to the status quo)."

You said you were aware of these arguments, so isn't it safe to assume that's what Ron Paul thinks, given what you do know about him, e.g. that he is a libertarian?

"[W]hy would you suggest Ron Paul thinks it's okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights?" Because of what he did say in that context, and something that I cannot conceive of any context justifying. The implication is, yes, from what he said explicitly, in his view it is "okay for states to become tyrannies and violate rights," but it is not okay for the federal government to do so.

From his own statement, "So, if we want government, whether it's medical care or whatever, it's proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools," however, in the full context available to me (what he said in that debate), then yes, I did take him to be saying that if the states what government run medical care or whatever, then it is proper.

You can't imagine any context? Have you read the US Constitution? You are aware that it permits the states to do things, such as have medical care programs, if they so decide? Are you aware this is what the question pertains to? If you weren't aware of this, as you aren't aware of Ron Pauls views, shouldn't you have investigated further before criticizing?

Were I to have heard Miss Rand, of whom I have read and generally understand, say something similar to what Ron Paul said, in any context, I would be equally appalled.

Well that would be an unfortunate mistake. Since you are probably aware of OPAR, you may want to freshen up on this:

Let me begin this topic on a familiar note, by recalling a well-known fallacy: quoting a person out of context. This means quoting some statement of his while ignoring other statements that constitute its background and determine its proper interpretation. By this device, one can make a person appear to advocate virtually any idea. Such quoting is fallacious, because men do not write or speak in a vacuum; they do not emit a stream of disconnected sentences, any one of which can stand independent of the rest. To communicate a viewpoint, a man must say many separate things, each relying on the others; the viewpoint is understood only when the listener grasps the relationship among the items and thus the total. To interpret any single remark, therefore, one needs to know: what else did the man say (or presuppose) that conditions his statement? What was the surrounding framework? What was the context? (OPAR, 121)

You tell me, when is it proper for us "if we want" to have government "medical care or whatever" as long as it's not on the national level? And, "whatever"? "Whatever" decided how? "Whatever" by what standard? By the standard that finds it appropriate to have government medical care as long as it's on the state level, not the national level?

It is proper according to the US Constitution, which, as you may be aware of, is the legal system we are told we live under.

#16
Trebor

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On this, I think that we have to simply agree to disagree.

#17
2046

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Well, that's okay, because people can pretty much read these kind of plain facts which are open to all to see, such as the text of the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment, RP's statements in that video, and his published works.

#18
Trebor

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Well, that's okay, because people can pretty much read these kind of plain facts which are open to all to see, such as the text of the Constitution, the Tenth Amendment, RP's statements in that video, and his published works.

Yes, of course people can pretty much read "these kind of plain fact which are open to all to see."

And given, it seems, that you consider the context for any particular statement made by Ron Paul in a delimited context, such as that debate, to be the wider context of the text of the Constitution as well as his published works, then no one should consider any particular thing he has to say before they have familiarized themselves first with all that he has said to date, and read or reread the Constitution.

Without that context which you seem to think is necessary, others simply have no way of understanding or assessing what he says.

That is a unique requirement for context.

Edited by Trebor, 24 September 2011 - 05:52 PM.


#19
2046

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Nope. I don't see why you would feel the need to come up with such exaggerations and uncharitable readings of people?

#20
LeftistSpew

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I first saw RP in person about 20 years ago (I was literally walking by). He's a nice enough guy. I've always had fun watching his presence in the primaries.

But he's also a case-study in the pointlessness of libertarianism.

Yes, he ducks a lot of questions in the name of constitutionality, and perhaps this is politically expedient.

When it comes to the "hard" questions, he's party-line fundy:

“I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.”

The denial of a person's right to an abortion is no more a "state issue" than the denial of any other fundamental right. Wherein he believes that a successfully fertilized human egg is a person yet then says that he 9th and 10th amendments preclude the federal government from prohibiting their murder does not logically follow. Murder is a Federal offense, and no state in the union can legalize murder.

***

Another area RP makes me want to vomit is the area of immigration. This in particular proves he has not even the faintest clue about the true origins of liberty. And no, it's not just about adding more people to the dole, because that would have a pretty simple solution that would nicely support his stated goal of countering the police state. In fact, for this particular issue, an all-out police state is exactly what he's necessarily advocating: how else to do systematically identify and deport some 10% of the population, as he advocates?

The immigration issue is now and always has been about jobs. It's no accident we only hear about it when the economy is in a down phase and demand for labor is low. The fundamental (immoral) belief that you are owed your high-paying job is what is behind calls for the Berlin-like wall across the southern desert.

***

It's worth noting that in the debates the reaction to Paul is, among non-libertarians, one of distrust. He seems slimy to a lot of people. That's because he is, in context, talking out of both sides of his mouth in ducking issues on "constitutional grounds". He's doing what the other candidates routinely do, but on much more fundamental issues and, frankly, not as effectively as they do. Not only is he a con-man, but he's just not a very good one.

The next question somebody might ask me would be, "but Mr. SpewTM, how will we make any progress towards liberty without people like Ron Paul who can perform the necessary compromised to make progress?"

The answer is, this isn't progress. Ron Paul and the libertarians will kill liberty by displacing it with something that is ultimately false. It's a straw man attack wherein they are themselves the straw man.

If you don't believe me, observe what has recently happened to Keynesianism: intellectually, it's dead. It died about two years ago when the $700b stimulus failed to jump start the economy. Obama's new $400b hail Mary--which every Keynesian will tell you is about 5x too small--has a snowball's chance of passing and would make things worse for Keynes even if it passed.

Surely we can all celebrate this here. But we should note that the same exact disease that killed one of our enemies could kill us just as dead.

LeftistSpewTM

"Intellectual accuracy and truth trumps e v e r y t h i n g".

#21
Black Wolf

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I found Herman Cain's response to Lee Doren's question to be weak.

"If you had to get rid of one department, would would it be?"
"I want to get rid of the EPA!!!!!!!!!!! so i can rebuild it"
Immanuel Kant, not to be confused with "A Man Who, Well.. Can't"

Ask not what your country can do for you, nor what you can do for your country, but what you can do for yourself?

#22
Trebor

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Nope. I don't see why you would feel the need to come up with such exaggerations and uncharitable readings of people?


I did not see what I said as being an exaggeration, nor as uncharitable, but perhaps I missed something somewhere.

I will say, still not having much familiarity with what Ron Paul has written or said in the past, that I have heard him say some very good things, even in that debate. Perhaps it seems that I am only picking something gratuitously out of context; perhaps it seems that way because I did not acknowledge anything good said by him (or other libertarians). Sometimes, when people criticize, its seems they only see the bad, especially if and when they do not explicitly acknowledge what was good.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I understand in part at least, I believe, the point of Dr. Paul (and you) as being, that under our Constitution (10th amendment, which Dr. Paul addressed in the debate), certain things not specifically, constitutionally delegated to the federal government are retained ("reserved") to the "States, respectively, or to the people."

But that some issue is left to the states (or the people) to decide does not make it proper for the states (or their respective people) to decide to violate the rights of individuals. Perhaps it seems that I am making an unwarranted assumption from what Dr. Paul said, concluding that his respect for the Constitution shows a disrespect for individual rights, as long as that disrespect is by the states (or the people). What I heard was a moral endorsement, but perhaps you are saying that he was simply stating a constitutional endorsement of the 10th. Seems to me that that, after taking some time to consider it, is where we are in conflict.

My quarrel is with the idea that if the states (or even the people within the respective states) want to have a government medical care or whatever, then it is proper, it is right, for them to do so, with the implication that the federal government has no constitutional authority to stop the states from violating rights. In a sense, even if it is constitutional, I can't see it as constitutional. What then, were the states to decide to have government medical care or whatever, would be the use of a federal government vis-a-vis the states?

I'm planning on listening again to the debate clip that you posted and maybe posting a transcript of those responses (and the questions for which) Ron Paul gave. That is "maybe." If I do, perhaps that will be helpful to anyone reading this thread.

In spite of our disagreement, I have been giving this some thought, and I wanted to at least say something to you. I may disagree with you, but you have typically given me reason to think.

Edited by Trebor, 25 September 2011 - 11:05 AM.


#23
2046

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I understand in part at least, I believe, the point of Dr. Paul (and you) as being, that under our Constitution (10th amendment, which Dr. Paul addressed in the debate), certain things not specifically, constitutionally delegated to the federal government are retained ("reserved") to the "States, respectively, or to the people."

Right, that's all he was saying. The question was this:

QUESTION: There's growing concern among Americans about the size and the scope of the federal government and its infringement upon state and individual rights.

QUESTION: If you're elected president how do you plan to restore the 10th amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution and allow states to govern themselves?

So it's quite clear that the questioner wants to know, since RP is trying to be the President, how is he going to restore the federal government within the confines of the constitution, with respect for the 10th Amendment? So RP answers and explains:

PAUL: Well, I'll tell you what, that is the subject that is crucial because government is too big in Washington, D.C. It's run away. We have no controls of spending, taxes, regulations, no control in the Federal Reserve printing money. So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever, it is proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools. But there's no authority in the constitution to do so much what we're doing. There's no authority for them to run our schools, no authority to control our economy, and no authority to control us as individuals on what we do with our personal lives!

So you've seemed to have jumped from being that under the US Constitution, it is legally proper to do this, to it being morally proper to do this, in RP's view. Notice how he says, after he explains DC is exceeding its legal bounds, "So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever..." He nowhere says "I want government." He's saying, if the advocates of interventionism were to be forced to follow the Constitution, then they must relegate themselves to doing their projects on the state level. He doesn't say in that answer that he supports them in this. In fact, as we can see from an investigation of RP's beliefs (which I think is an entirely reasonable thing to do when you're critiquing someone, or at least you should listen when someone who has done such investigations point them out), he time and time again explains that his support for the Constitution in no way implies his support for any of these things For example, in his book Liberty Defined, there is an entire chapter on this, where he explains that properly understood, states have no rights, only individuals do, and that in the end, only the right ideas about liberty will work.

Now, I don't think you need to read his book to figure this out either, as a careful context-keeping of the question itself in the debate, and what RP says (and doesn't say) is such that it doesn't warrant making the claim that RP supports violations of rights at the state level, or that he thinks it is morally proper.

#24
Trebor

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I think we are still at agreeing to disagree.

I do understand the Constitutional point, and you have helped to make that clear. I take you at your word that such is what Ron Paul meant. However, I've asked you questions re the relationship of the federal government and the states should the states violate individual rights, questions which would help me to further understand the issue as well as Dr. Paul's position, but you've not responded on those questions. I assume that you are not going to do so, but if you care to respond to them, please do so.

Ron Paul was making his comments in a public, national forum to a general audience (anyone there or who watched it live or who has since watched the video or read his statement). At best, his statement is ambiguous, even in the context.

The reason for my statement which you took to be unwarranted exaggeration is that you state that before anyone should criticize his comments, they should investigate and know just what he really meant, that they should read or listen to what else he has said that is relevant and which would make his meaning clear. But where would they look? Since they don't know, then the expectation is that they must make sure they are familiar with all that he has written or said in case somewhere, they know not where, he said something that would make clear what his ambiguous statement (answer) actually meant.

It's one thing to speak in front of and to an audience already familiar with one's basic views; it's another to speak in front of and to a general, national audience, most of whom it can be reasonably expected with have much less if any familiarity with his basic views.

My guess is that you'll say that his meaning wasn't ambiguous in the context, but then it seems that if a person, myself or anyone else in that general, national audience, did at least find it to be ambiguous or even took him as morally sanctioning state medicare care or whatever, then it is their fault, that, again, they should have investigated what else Dr. Paul has said or written, so that they could properly, accurately interpret his meaning, before they take exception to his statement(s). I disagree.

Though I don't know much about what he has said or written, I do know that he considers abortion to be murder. So, even though I've not read all that he has written or listened to all that he has said, I have that much knowledge about him as context that I can bring to bear in listening to him.

Ron Paul on the issues (Abortion): "The first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don’t need a federal abortion police. That’s the last thing that we need. There has to be a criminal penalty for the person that’s committing that crime. And I think that is the abortionist. As for the punishment, I don’t think that should be up to the president to decide."

Obviously, what we need are state abortion police.

If he holds that abortion is murder, if he holds that life and rights begin at conception, then surely he would be fighting for state laws, within his state of residence (and morally defending all other states to outlaw abortion), to legally ban abortion and prosecute and penalize those who violate that state law. Such laws violating the rights of women, if no others, would have his moral blessings. Why in the world he would think that the women who hire the assassins are innocent, I can only guess. (I noticed that he did not answer the question he was asked in that debate about his exception, presumably, to outlawing abortion, within any and all states, in cases of rape which result in pregnancy.)

Given that bit of context, I cannot be assured that he would be against other violations of rights by the states.

Just what is his view of rights? I'll be investigating that. Upon that will depend what other rights he would be willing to let states violate.

"So if we want government, whether it is medical care or whatever, it is proper to do it at the local level as well as our schools."

Ambiguous at best, a moral sanction at worst.

#25
2046

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Well I guess we'll have to, but at least acknowlede that at the end of the day, this isn't RP's views. The worst you would be able to say is "I couldn't tell from this comment alone," or "He poorly communicated the point, from my standpoint," however I think you should be able to, seeing as how making such an inference is not valid based on those comments.

I can't quite agree that this would be "ambiguous at best, a moral sanction at worst," seeing as how the inference isn't there, that should take away the moral sanction as an option. I see it is ambiguous at worst, in which case I think it reasonable to investigate further, or at least listen to people when they try to make it unambiguous. Though I guess I can agree that RP isn't the most eloquent public speaker (though I did point that out in my first post in here.)

On the abortion issue, I don't think this argument works because again, if RP sees abortion to be murder, why wouldn't he advocate laws stopping it? In his view, he is protecting rights. I disagree with RP on that one. But I don't think that, if you were ignorant of his general views, that you can go from this to saying that he would also likely support state-level socialized medicine, or whatever advocates of government intervention would want, especially when he was just asked a question about how things should be organized under the Tenth Amendment. Such a jump isn't warranted from the abortion position he expresses. It's a subtle distinction, I know, and you're right that it's probably beyond the average Republican audience member, but I have higher expectations for this board.

His view of rights is the Lockean view, unfortunately leaning more toward the religious side, but I don't think it necessarily has to be taken as absolutely dependent on religion (also explicitly spelled out in Liberty Defined, which btw, you can read the Introduction and Appendix online for free.) I'm sure you can find some other views which aren't compatible with Objectivism, there are a few of them. But I can't help but wonder why Objectivists focus all their attention on these handful of things, when the vast majority of his views would greatly help increase our country's condition with regard to liberty, prosperity, and peace; and when he is the only principled and honest politician out there that understands liberty and Austrian economics.


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