Wednesday, October 29, 2008

That Music's Lost its Taste So Try Another Flavor


In a recent article posted on Lew Rockwell, writer and economist Mark Thornton points out the basic ways in which our presidential candidates define the concept "American." Definitions that pit the ideology behind Barack Obama's concept of "folks" against that of John McCain's "friends."

Thornton, on the other hand, much prefers the word "foes."

From the article:

The truth is that if the term has any real meaning then neither of these groups has a monopoly on the term American. In fact, if we could generalize, then neither would be called real Americans.

Folks are usually neo-liberals and democratic socialists. They either have no clue about the role of the Constitution, private property, sound money, and free markets, or they just see them as impediments to their fairy book vision of the future.

Friends are neo-conservatives and fascists who might talk a good game about the concepts above, but when push comes to shove, the foundation concepts of America are shoved aside in pursuit of empire, greatness, and imposition of "morality."

Foes are intellectually and ideologically opposed to both friend and folk. They know that the policies of both groups are impractical and the cause of all chronic social ills. Beyond the practical, they see both groups and their ideologies as unethical and immoral.

Therefore, we know that America is about freedom, sure, but there must be something more to it that does not involve "freedom to take over the world" and "freedom to control other peoples’ lives." The meaning of America is, simply put, freedom of individuals to their lives and what they wish to make of themselves. Every other consideration in society should be structured around that point.

Full text here.

26 comments:

A.B. said...

only you could combine a beautiful essay on Freedom with Adam Ant. Perfect! I actually printed this out to keep. I've collected a whole stack throughout this election (Aunty and K9 are other "contributors")

P.S. I had a hugey crush on the Dude during this era.

TROLL said...

I keep hearing libertarian moonbats ranting about Conservatives "imposing morality" and "building empires".

However, I've yet to see one of them cite any evidence that this takes place.

We've only had one Conservative President in the last 100 years, Ronald Reagan. Don't recall any morality imposing. Or any empire building.

I do recall that a morality imposing empire known as the Soviet Union went POOF, however. Something that would not have happened if moonbat libertarians were in charge.

Maybe libertarian moonbats need to pull some gold bars out of the attic, swallow their pride and convert it into "fiat money" and then buy a good dictionary.

One that defines "empire" and "imposing".

P.S. I'm not saying MOI is a moonbat. She isn't.

K9 said...

fee fi FOE fum
i think i be one of thum
monolithic control has just begun
so to the country i will run

moi said...

A.B.: I saw AA live in concert. Front row. Awfully pretty.

Troll: Well, if the bat flies, I do my share :o). Just sayin', though, my trajectory is neither left nor right, but always against tyranny. In all its forms.

K9:
. . . with pitchforks and swords a'quiver
sirs and madams all, stand and deliver.

Wow, that was awkward said...

So my sentries guarding my door should be saying, "Halt! Friend or folk?" And hope they come up with 'foe'?

moi said...

WTWA: Yes. And they should also bring donuts.

czar said...

Troll:

Maybe Ronald Reagan himself didn't impose any morality -- not surprising. It's tough to dispense what one has only in short supply. It's everyone Reagan brought to the P(p)arty, who made no bones about their intent to take over this country beginning with the school boards and working their way up. I believe it was Jerry Falwell who said that. And I think we see 28 years later the effects of that policy -- a Pentecostalist (not that there's anything wrong with that) totally empty suit for a vice presidential candidate who is probably largely responsible for the inability for anyone but hardcore fundamentalists to embrace McCain's candidacy seriously. Not to mention the disaster on so many fronts of the last 8 years. If McCain had run as McCain, he'd have had a much better chance.

Building empires? I think just about every time the American military flexes its muscles unnecessarily, it's empire building. Why we think we have any right to tell the world what to think or do amazes me, unless it's based on our . . . superior morality?

And it seems like any criticism of anything Republican these days is responded to with, "Oh, but they're not conservative (like me)." I am reminded of the play Steambath, which included a character who always blustered about "my generation, my generation." His generation, as he ultimately defined it, consisted of the thought patterns of a small group of people during about a year-and-a-half in the late 1940s.

So, the Republicans are going to lose, maybe, because they're not "conservative" according to someone's definition of it. Too bad no "conservative" ran this year. Whatcha gonna do?

Oh, by the way, the Soviet Union was going to go poof anyway -- whatever libertarian, conservative, liberal, or moonbat was at the helm over here. Don't forget that, like Dennis Kucinich, Ronald Reagan also claimed to have seen UFOs. As Yogi Berra said, "You can look it up."

Aunty Belle said...

Heh..reckon ya'll will unnerstan why this old conversation came ter mind:

Man tole me how it was that he had the good sense to break the speed limit law whenever he judged it "reasonable" and he had "no problem" if others did the same since "good sense" not arbitrary laws is what held thangs together.

All morality is relative, this fella intoned. He was fervent about his "right" to his own morality and even happily paid a few hefty speedin' fines to prove to all his own law trumped traffic laws.

Imagine his surprise a few years later to be an amputee courtesy of a driver whose "good sense" tole him he too could make his own traffic laws too--and run a red light.

Morality of some stripe is imposed friend/folks by SOMEbody in every settlement bigger than two tents.

The question is whose morality are you most safe living under? most free living under?

I'll toss my hat in the same pile wif' St. Augustine who noted that slaves were free who served master's with honor, while men of vice served many cruel masters though they be rich and freemen.

Countrymen, consider well who you want to meet in a dark alley--a man willing to follow the ten commandments or a man who is his own god, his own morality?

Then, Countrymen, think how easy it is to sell the domination of marxism to a people besotted with their libido. They think an unfettered sexual society equals freedom, oh how they revels in shunnin' morality --which ain't nuthin' but code-speak for religion.

An chillen' notice how it were in Lenin's reign that unfettered public libido first was offered to Russians, and in Hitler's that German's first toyed with open public debauchery.

Lions greedily gnawing bones never even notice the net lowered over them.

Friends and folks, be not fooled nor fools.

Wicked Thistle said...

You realize that our gub'mint has just about outlived its shelf life, don't you?

K9 said...

a short trip down folsom street in san fran should clear up any misunderstandings about an oppressive christian nation. grrherhahaha

i loved your reference to augustine aunty! indeed.

moi said...

Czar: Actually, I can't find much evidence of us empire building, not in the traditional "colonial" sense at any rate.

Aunty: I am not a moral relativist by any means. But my "belief" in government as a force for good is very limited. Few exist except to perpetuate power for themselves by taking responsibility off the individual.

Wicked: Yes. I'm at a few hours and counting. Backwards. Like, maybe all the way back to the Sioux Nation.

K9: Different strokes are not within the purview of gub'ment. We got bigger problems.

pamokc said...

I was hoping for a comment on one of the perfect 80 songs of all time -- Goody Two Shoes -- which is a personal fave.

And I know first-hand that elected leaders don't know better than the general population about what is good for them. Because guess what, they came from that population too.

The force behind Obama is scaring me in a Boys from Brazil kind of way. But they probably learned the tactics from the Christian Conservatives, for sure.

Aunty Belle said...

Moi, Dahlink, Aunty ain't saying no *gubmint* is the moral agent--no no, Sweet Pea, not a'tall.

Aunty means that the gubmint enforces the laws that reflect how the people wanna live, what "morality" they done chose an' by which they order they lives (Mark Thornton's "imposition of morality" and "The meaning of America is, simply put, freedom of individuals to their lives and what they wish to make of themselves" in the article.)

That ain't quite accurate, Aunty thinks. America always had freedom *with limits* --certainly no wholesale freedom "of individuals to their lives and what they wish to make of their lives."

When individual lives is lived in such a manner as to destroy the good of the whole, or threaten rights of others then SOME moral framework is the basis for laws that contain what is deemed contrary to the good of the social fabric.

Reckon I'se usin' that ole saw, "A People git the gubmint they deserve". So, puhlease, folks, friends, foes, countrymen, take care which version of "morality" youse choosin.'

Aunty Belle said...

(Or, iffin' folks ain't real nice "the goblins' will gitcha if ya doan watch out" as detailed on the FRONT Porch.)

czar said...

Aunty:

If you're making the argument that I should be choosing my president based on whose personal morality I oughta be following, damn, I'm feeling better and better about my decision. Family values and all that.

And we must be reading a different Declaration of Independence -- and I realize that that document is not law, per se (at least I don't think so). The version I've read does not have "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness *with limits*." Yes, of course, there are laws. Maybe some rogue editor took out that "with limits" punchline in my version.

"The good of the whole." "The good of the social fabric." Boy, this is getting better all the time. Sounds positively socialistic to me. Oops, that's this year's dirty word. Speaking of which . . .

The whole thing about Marxism and sex went right over my head. Do men and women only and only in the missionary position and only in the covenant of marriage lead to a better representative democracy or republic? Frankly, I think an unfettered public libido would be rather healthy. At least then we could address sex openly and honestly. We certainly don't do so now.

As one of my favorite authors pointed out back in 1934, what does it say about our culture that penis and vagina remain untranslated from the Greek and Latin (cf. arm, leg, hand), and that the only words for these body parts in our own language are not mentioned in polite company?

Aunty Belle said...
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Aunty Belle said...
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Aunty Belle said...

Czar, Sugar, no, reckon I ain't in favor of choosin' a president based on this or that candidate's personal morality. Nope. Since ain't none of them perfect personally, their personal lives or examples ain't mah guide.

What I is tryin' to say is that some moral framework is the rationale for how laws is made and enforced. From what moral framework does yore candidate take his positions on freedom? on the right ordering of the public life? On the Constitution? on the proper role of gubmint?

Seems to me folks often confuse a person's deeds and the law. It is one thang to know and support the moral good and defend it in law, but human weakness will occur. Here's the difference: The honest woman will say "I was weak, what I done doan do no good fer nobody, I need to amend mah ways."

But the cad that cares not a fig for the good of the whole society not only refuses to admit his/her weakness but rather imposes their failure on the whole society by demanding to elevate their personal weakness to the status of a "right" and enshrine it in law.

Dumbing morality down ain't a prescription fer "pursuit of happiness," as fer as I can see.

If we's confused on the *limits* of "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" all's we need do is use our liberty to pursue bank robbery and see how fast the *limits* ride alongside our lives.

Or, more benignly, jes' try seceding an' see how quick the citizens in states lose their liberty and "pursuit of happiness."

The good of the social fabric ain't socialism is it? Socialism is aimed at absolute power of the state and the suppression of all who challenge the power of the state. Socialism and Communism doan recognize pre-existin' rights based on human dignity. Socialism sees us'uns as slaves of the state wif' no rights except what it serves the state to permit us.

Socialism and Communism see the state as the holder and dispenser of all rights, an' what the state gives, the state can takes away too.

Reckon the good of the society is more of a communitarian view--when folks *choose* to limit they own immediate interests on some thangs-- to follow basic rules that lead to more harmonious whole--like when I does keep to the speed limit and stop at stop signs even when mah urgent errand bids me to speed.

Or a fella that *chooses* to be responsible fer the chillens he fathers rather than slough the wee ones off on the taxpayers.


On yore hope fer an "unfettered public libido" how would that work?

Does ya mean to include the liberty and pursuit of happiness of pedophiles? flashers? polygamists? gaspers? S&M? bestiality? necrophilia? how unfettered does ya want to see the culture?

Seems to me that the unfettered culture is apparent ever'whar. If ya's worriet that sex ain't openly addressed in our culture, ya can now breathe a sigh of relief--why all ya need fer reassurance is to git over to some college campus where they's featurin' the Vagina Monologues, or a stroll down Folsom Street in San Fransicko as the K9 suggested, or jes' turn on one of the hundred plus porn channels, or pinch yore kid's CD of Madonna/Brittney/Paris. Or sit in the mall an' see how the 10 year old girl chillen dress like junior hookers.

Or visit yore proctologist/gynocologist an inquire about the percentage of STDs he sees every day. Everybody knows that STDs ain't caused by fetters.

Turned around, the rise of oral cancers due to HPV ain't much testimony to the dream of "unfettered public libido."
(http://www.rdoc.org.uk/hpv.html)

reckon I see an "unfettered public libido" as a teenaged fella's dream world, but has it ever served the good of an ackshull society?

October 30, 2008 12:14 AM

moi said...

Aunty and Czar: Several great points from both of you, all excellently stated. Now, this is dealing with the "issues," in ways no candidate has so far come close. Certainly, it would be much more interesting if we could all get together in person for a discussion instead of via blob comments.

I, too, have a problem with the concept of the "greater good" because the essential question is "who decides?" Usually, it is a government and it's for their own gain.

However, I do not have a problem with the concept of inalienable rights. The beauty of the United States of America is that for the first time in history, that "good" was not arbitrarily imposed by a ruling power. Instead, the ruling power recognized that, in an Aristotelean manner, human rights existed in and of themselves – they were A, they were Prime. They are what makes us human and they are the starting point out of which government is justifiably formed. All other rights can be defined out of those essentials. And the powers that be do not get to mess with them. Otherwise, we the people have the right to change our government.

So, when someone tells me I can't do this or I can't do that for the "good of our social contract," I think real hard back to what that contract in actuality is (for one, it's not Hobbesian.) Now, take smoking. Some factions want to outlaw it. Yup, we say, nasty, nasty habit. Outlaw it. Okay, but WHY? Well, if the state (i.e. my fellow citizens) were forced to pay for the consequences of my anti social behavior (say, paying for my health care as the result of abusing my body by smoking), then the government is justified in outlawing that behavior. But if I and I alone am willing to assume the consequences of my actions, suddenly smoking becomes a non issue, not within the purview of government to regulate. Just because you don't LIKE something, heck just because something is BAD for you, doesn't mean it should be outlawed.

We don't need more laws. We need to wake up and learn some personal responsibility.

moi said...

Pamokc: "You don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?" I buy shoes :o)

The tactics of thugs to the left of me and jokers to the right never change, do they?

Anonymous said...

The Obama-Worshipper Czar proved my point nicely. Asked to provide proof that Conservatives make "imposing morality" with Federal Power a priority, what does he come up with?

Something a long-deceased Minister may or may not have SAID about SCHOOL BOARDS.

Grrrherhahahahhahahahahaha!

Anonymous said...

The Obama-Worshipper Czar proved my point nicely. Asked to provide proof that Conservatives make "imposing morality" with Federal Power a priority, what does he come up with?

Something a long-deceased Minister may or may not have SAID about SCHOOL BOARDS.

troll
Grrrherhahahahhahahahahaha!

czar said...

Troll: Starting with school boards. Starting. And that's exactly what happened. Falwell hasn't been dead that long, and the influence of him and his ilk on hijacking the Republican Party seems pretty obvious. Oh, but we're not talking about Republicans, are we? We're talking about Conservatives. Much different. Uh-huh.

Aunty: In the words of Troll, I think you've made my point precisely. With a more open attitude about sex, we wouldn't have the interest in it that we do. Do the aberrations you mention arise because we are too open about sex, or not enough? And do you think any of them are new to our culture because of permissive attitudes?

And to lump the Vagina Monologues in with porn channels and bestiality? Come on. Have you ever seen the play or read the script? Or were you doing a little reductio ad absurdum here? Of course, I don't want to see pedophiles given free reign; there are limits, hopefully self-imposed. But look at what limits on sexuality have done to the Catholic Church.

And these references to San Francisco and Folsom Street? Is there a generic problem with homosexuality here? Or is something else going on there? Seems like most of the most prominent (i.e., talented, culturally influential -- in a good way) gays and lesbians of the 20th century came from small southern towns, not the evil big cities. Maybe homosexuality is just something that happens, hmm? Are they flaunting it? Is that the problem? Hell, if you want to get rid of flaunting, you might as well taken down all of Moi's blog's fashion content. Who would wear that stuff around the house?

K9 said...

the point about folsom street was to remark that you can sell baby jesus butt plugs on a city street without so much as a shame on you look. it was one of the most colorful examples i could think of to demonstrate that whatever it is that you is - seems to me you are FREE to do it. i didnt see any pentacostal police in there arresting anyone.

however thought and behavior police have a happy home with the american left

how dare you drive an suv.
how dare you smoke, eat fat,
how dare you use too many paper towels.
how dare you have too many children
you better be green or else!
blah blah blah

the libruls are the controllers. but like moi i hate em all. and would rather see my dog trout as president. or moi.

moi said...

Well, yes. While I have no love of the Republitards, the lefties make me see most of my red.

I'll take Trout as a running mate any day!

czar said...

K9: Yeah, those friendly, freedom-loving Pentecostals are too busy telling me I'm going to burn in hell for eternity if I don't think like they do. I get their mass mailings from the local church, so I know. To be told "how dare you . . . or else" seems like an empty threat in comparison. Well, for that matter, the Pentecostals' threat is empty in my mind as well.

But, gee, in this glorious free-market society that everyone seems to think will cure all ills, what's the problem with shame-free baby Jesus butt plugs sold on the city streets? If there's not a demand for them, then the makers and the sellers will go out of business. No harm, no foul, right?

And frankly, while I've heard the term "butt plug" before, I'm not exactly sure what one is . . . nor do I necessarily want to know. But I know that if I were still the parent of a young child, if I knew that there was a street where they were being hawked shame-free, I'd probably avoid the street, or at least not bring any special attention to such a device as we passed. I think we'd all agree it's all about choices that everyone is free to make. Some choices are far better than others. And I think Moi might agree here that one of your choices should not be to control my right to choose.

Oh, by the way, Troll, just because I am voting for someone does not make me a worshiper. Just a voter.