Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holding fast

I haven't blogged much lately due to general business at home and work. I have also had ample discussions lately with various friends whom I respect greatly on our differing opinions. One of the most common debates I've had has been with people who intend to vote Republican to "stop" Obama. Here is part of my response in one of these:

I reject casting a vote out of fear or as a defensive move. I want to vote for something. Even a vote against Obama is still a vote for something. So what are people voting for with McSame?

My issues with the Republican party are less idealogical and more practical. They say the "right thing" but do the "wrong thing" and they have proved it time and again over the last eight years. Voting for McSame is voting for a party that:
is supposed to be for limited government but has expanded the size and power of Federal gov't more than ever.
is supposed to be for fiscal restraint but has ballooned the largest Fed budgets in history.
is supposed to be for "law and order" but illegal immigration has gone unchecked and they mostly discuss the best plan for amnesty.
is supposed to be for free market capitalism but they have been using tax money to bail out failing companies left and right. They were silent when the Supreme Court took away our property rights, which has long been held as a cornerstone of individual liberty and economic development.
is supposedly morally conservative but when they had majorities across the board, did they defend marriage by defining it or scale back abortions? Did they scale back gov't spending on sex education or abortions or the perverseness that is the NEA? No!
claims to be a friend to Israel but ends up giving three times the amount of money to Israel's enemies than they do to Israel -and I don't doubt that Bush and the others use the aid given to Israel to bind their hands in defending themselves. The Republican platform generally looks good on Israel but still expresses support for "the vision of a Palestinian state".

The Republicans espouse Christian moralist viewpoints but have not delivered on anything. I don't like being lied to!!! And I'm not going to reward their lies with my support.

Friday, October 3, 2008

How history repeats itself

Let me be clear- I'm not advocating anything. My tendency is to notice patterns. I have to do that to be able to reduce complex processes to predictable routines that can be encoded in a program. It's how I'm wired and how my mind was trained. Todays complete failure of the Congress to heed to the will of the people and exercise any type of practical judgment reminded me of some passages I read in The Outline of History by H.G. Wells. Here are some excerpts...

Chapter 26: Section 1: The Science of Thwarting the Common Man

Our world to-day is still far from solving the problem of representation and from producing a public assembly which will really summarize, crystallize and express the thought and will of the community; our elections are still largely an ingenious mockery of the common voter, who finds himself helpless in the face of party organizations which reduce his free choice of a representative to the less palatable of two political hacks...

The comita tributa could be worked at times so as to vote altogether counter to the general feeling of the people. And, as we have already noted, the great mass of voters in Italy were also disenfranchised by distance.

There can be no doubt that all Italy, all the empire, was festering with discomfort, anxiety, and discontent in the century after the destruction of Carthage; a few men were growing very rich, and the majority of people found themselves entangled in an inexplicable net of uncertain prices, jumpy markets, and debts; but yet there was no way at all of stating and clearing up the general dissatisfaction. There is no record of a single attempt to make the popular assembly a straightforward and workable public organ. Beneath the superficial appearances of public affairs struggled a mute giant of public opinion and public will, which sometimes made a great political effort, a rush to vote or such-like, or broke into actual violence. So long as there was no actual violence, the Senate and the financiers kept on in their own disastrous way. Only when they were badly frightened would governing cliques or parties desist from some nefarious policy and heed the common good.

The real method of popular expression in Italy in those days was not the comitia tributa, but the strike and insurrection, the righteous and necessary methods of all cheated or suppressed peoples.

Section 2: Finance in the Roman State

Another respect in which the Roman system was a crude anticipation of our own... was that it was a cash- and credit-using system.

People began to buy land and the like not for use, but to sell again at a profit: people borrowed to buy, speculation developed.

We, who can look at the problem with a large perspective, can see that what happened to Rome was "money" - the new freedoms and chances and opportunities that money opened out. Money floated the Romans off the firm ground; everyone was getting hold of money, the majority by the simple expedient of running into debt...

The Equestrian order, in particular, became the money power. Everyone was developing property. Farmers were giving up corn and cattle, borrowing money, buying slaves, and starting the more intensive cultivation of oil and wine.

A small body of very shrewd men was growing immensely rich. Many patricians were growing poor and irritated and unscrupulous. Among the middling sort of people there was much hope, much adventure, and much more disappointment. The growing mass of the expropriated was permeated by that vague, baffled and hopeless sense of being inexplicably bested, which is the preparatory condition for all great revolutionary movements.