Is “In God We Trust” The Only Thing Standing Between Us and Anarchy?

We have previously discussed how leaders in both the United States and Europe have focused on atheists and secularists as one of the greatest threats facing the free world. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) seemed to take this to a new level in arguing this week that if the nation did not reaffirm “In God We Trust” as our national motto, we are inviting anarchy and accepting that we are nothing but “worm food.”

Of course, the motto has only been embraced since 1956 and we seemed to do pretty well through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Moreover, not having a motto based on the recognition of faith does not mean that we are a country of faithless citizens. Indeed, there are plenty deeply religious secularists.

However, Franks went to the floor to say “Is God God? Or is man God? In God do we trust, or in man do we trust?” Otherwise, he warned “we should just let anarchy prevail because, after all, we are just worm food. So indeed we have the time to reaffirm that God is God and in God do we trust.”

Of course, no one was asking to rescind the motto, but the legislative debate is part of the increasing faith-based politics that remains the rage this year.

Source: Washington Post

125 thoughts on “Is “In God We Trust” The Only Thing Standing Between Us and Anarchy?

  1. It seems obvious that no one’s god is particularly interested in our failing economy, out of control government spending, our war of the day, our civil liberties, etc. Maybe we should opt for “In the Constitution we Trust.” Neither Democrats or Republicans seem to remember the Constitution being part of their oath of office, leading to, “In the Two-Party System we Distrust.”

  2. There are two telling aspects of Franks’ statement. 1. are we just worm food and 2. that there will be anarchy without his particular god being worshiped. Both show the fear based and inherent selfish nature of his belief.

    The only reason he thinks god is necessary is because he is afraid that after he dies, nothing will happen–no pearly gates, no 79 virgins, no nothing. He also feels there’s only one reason to pretend to be “ethical”–so he can fool god into thinking he is a good person and thus, get into heaven. In short, this is a person whose “ethical reasoning” resides in his spinal cord.

    I often hear believers claim you have to have god to be a good person. Obviously, facts do not bear this claim out. Further, if the only reason one will be a decent person in life is because of fear about what will happen to one in the next life–I would just be ashamed to admit that was my motivation!

  3. How many crazies does this congress embrace. Criminals like Vitter and nuts like this are the face of the republicans (and tea party). Seems to me these folks can;t hate Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc and call for a theocracy here. (His statement always begs the question: whose G-d? Mine is good, yours is bad.)

  4. LarryB,

    I like your way of thinking. However, I’d be happy if we simply abandoned the 1950’s theocratic jingoism of “In God We Trust” for the de facto motto that served us so well up to that point, “Out of many, one”, better known as “E Pluribus Unum”.

  5. carol,

    I’d like to dispute your idea that this is a form of Republican/tea party crazies. Here’s the vote count and here’s some information on Mr. Obama’s speech concerning it: “You’ve had legislation reaffirming that ‘In God We Trust’ is our motto. That’s not putting people back to work,” Obama said. “I trust in God, “but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.”…

    Just to be sure there is no misunderstanding, the House voted 396 to 9 Wednesday to re-reaffirm the motto and encourage its display in all public schools and government buildings. One Republican (Justin Amash of Michigan) and eight Democrats voted nay.” (Washington Post)

    Have you noticed that the truly important aspects of what is happening in the world are continually being reduced in the US to a red state/blue state “thought box”? Well, that isn’t even an accurate description of the US! Which god is Obama believing in and how does he know that god, ” wants to see us help ourselves by putting people back to work.” When did god tell him this, which god told him this, and how did god convey these words to him? Is Obama’s statement really more sane than Franks?

    This problem transcends the US. It is international. Trying to put an important issue like separation of church and state into a little box labeled “political party” does a disservice to our understanding of the world. It shrinks our thinking into propagandistic jingos which support the party of our choice. Yet, thinking about god and religion is far more profound than any candidate’s jingo.

    These are serious issues that need to be looked at deeply and broadly. Putting them in ready made and inaccurate “though boxes” does a disservice to us as citizens.

  6. Jill,

    “Have you noticed that the truly important aspects of what is happening in the world are continually being reduced in the US to a red state/blue state ‘thought box’?”

    Here’s what I’ve noticed: Politicians who would rather waste time on issues like this one rather than tackle the REAL problems that our country is faced with today.

    That said, one should question who the driving force is behind all this talk of God and religion and atheism in politics.

    *****
    “Just to be sure there is no misunderstanding, the House voted 396 to 9 Wednesday to re-reaffirm the motto and encourage its display in all public schools and government buildings.”

    Why do you think so many House members voted to “re-reaffirm” the In God We Trust motto?

  7. The religious right has hijacked many of the Congressional members and this ridiculous vote is just one more example. I may trust in God, but I sure as Hell don’t trust in Trent Franks to do anything that might advance this country.

  8. Jill, I said Vitter, Franks were the faces of the repub party. I should have written it better when I wrote “these folks”. I meant any who make these calls for this to be a “Christian nation” or that, essentially, we must all profess a belief in G-d whether we do or do not.
    Sadly votes like what you cited tend to be more for political reason (what a surprise). Polls show more people support then don’t the idea of a G-d motto and belief. What the politicians do not bother to check is the postings and letters that seem to show the people who want their reps to vote yes tend to want this to be a nation of their G-d, their beliefs and their ‘values’. “the folks back home believe in G-d so this a vote that will not backfire on me.” the politician reasons.
    Mr. Obama referred to the legislation you mentioned. I would venture to say he was referring to the legislation when he said G-d wants to see us help ourselves…” That does nor preclude his using it as a stepstone from his trust. If that was how he meant it it is just as bad as the other pols. He is trying to get the people who have believed the cry (and I am sorry but this is from repubs and tea party) that Obama and the dems are unpatriotic and unamerican. Sometimes you have to speak the language of the majority. (I was at a McCain rally where he spoke, I heard it form him and his supporters.)
    Jill, Unfortunately that is where we are now. Bipartisanship seems to be a ship that has sunk. It is not only religion but our politics and way of governing by those who put party and ideology first that needs to be looked at “deeply and broadly”.

  9. “I may trust in God, but I sure as Hell don’t trust in Trent Franks to do anything that might advance this country.”

    Now that’s hardly fair, raff.

    Whether he will or not is a separate issue, but I can think of something Franks could do that would immediately advance the country.

    Resign.

  10. Elaine,

    They did this for the same reason they just did it a few years back–pandering! In addition to pandering, it is possible that some of these politicians believe it is genuinely important. Many religious people are sincere in this belief. It becomes pandering because our Constitution means even sincere religious believers should stand for separation of church and state.

    They don’t have the courage or innate understanding to stand up for our Constitution. Our politicians have shown this over and over again, with “in god we trust” being the least of these instances–ie: enabling torture along with other war and financial crimes!

  11. Jill,

    I agree that the politicians are pandering. I think there are lots of religious people who are genuine in their beliefs. I also believe there are many who are hypocrites. I’m thinking of the preachers who get rich off their flocks of followers. I’m thinking of the people who talk about “praising the lord”–but who would turn on a fellow man or woman who was experiencing tough times. Some of these same religious folks think they are the only ones who have faith in the “true” religion. They are pressuring politicians to inject their religious views into our government and laws. I find that something to be concerned about.

  12. Elaine,

    I agree it is something to be worried about. As you elaborated the other day, religion is being injected into the mercenary and armed forces of the US. Private religious institutions which are often discriminatory are given public money in various voucher programs. JT mentions European blasphemy laws, which are just unbelievable (pun intended!)

    The problem is that politicians are not usually people of courage, not in the US nor abroad!

  13. It’s a purposeful distraction meant to take our attention away from the important issues confronting this nation.

    Whenever the politicians engage in this sort of public foolishness I become super alert to what other measures they are quietly pushing … or quietly refusing to push … like the Jobs bill.

    Of course a Jobs bill might lead to an actual improvement in the economy which would strengthen the Democrats and further weaken the Republicans come election time so … what the hell, let’s put our efforts into a motto.

    There’s a reason 82% of us disapprove of congress … and on that note I vote with Bob.

  14. Wouldn’t you think that by reaffirming the bill to maintain “In God We Trust” as the national motto would coincide with them passing another bill prohibiting schools to teach kids that America is a “melting pot”? Even if you do “Trust in God” then at least have respect for those who do no believe in the same god as you, or in any god for that matter.

  15. Off Topic
    Here’s a story about another sterling member of Congress:

    Deadbeat Rep. Joe Walsh, Who Owes $100k In Child Support, Receives ‘Pro-Family’ Award From Family Research Council
    By Lee Fang on Nov 4, 2011
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/11/04/361149/joe-walsh-family-research-council/

    In July, the press learned that Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a Tea Party freshman in Congress, owed $117,000 in unpaid child support to his ex-wife. Walsh, despite earning a hefty salary as a member of Congress, has continued to refuse to pay his ex-wife to support his children. Now, it appears, an influential Christian right lobbying group is lending some support to the deadbeat congressman.

    The Sun-Times reports that the Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy nonprofit headed by CNN pundit Tony Perkins, has awarded Walsh a 100 percent rating as a “True Blue” member of Congress. The FRC said it gave the honor to Walsh because of his “unwavering support of the family”:

    “We thank Cong. Walsh who has voted consistently to defend faith, family and freedom,” said FRCA President Tony Perkins. “Cong. Walsh and other ‘True Blue Members’ have voted to repeal Obamacare, de-fund Planned Parenthood, end government funding for abortion within the health care law, uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, and continue support for school choice. I applaud their commitment to uphold the institutions of marriage and family.”

    “I am proud and honored to be recognized by the Family Research Council as the only member from Illinois with a 100 percent pro-family voting record,” Walsh said in a news release. “Defending American values have always been one of my top priorities, and this reward reaffirms my dedication to that fight.”

    Despite their very poor understanding of what the term “pro-family” means — the Family Research Council was recently designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their virulently anti-gay views — they are disturbingly influential among conservative lawmakers. Their legislative arm’s annual “Values Voters” convention drew such speakers as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) this year.

    Additionally, it’s worth noting that Walsh’s failure to pay child support isn’t even his only failure to look out for the basic needs of his own family. As Marie Diamond noted for ThinkProgress a few months ago, “Walsh also rejected the congressional health insurance plan for his family on principle, much to the chagrin of his current wife, Helene, who had a preexisting condition and needed surgery while the couple was uninsured.”

    Recently, a judge rebuked Walsh for failing to even show up to a court hearing about his missed child support payments, telling the Chicago-area lawmaker that he doesn’t deserve special treatment and that he’s “no different than anyone else.”

  16. Well, it beats wasting an entire day naming a Post Office. No, actually, I’d rather see the post office being named…it’s at least a concrete building rather than an abstract (and in many minds) outdated concept.

  17. So if we change the motto does that mean we can finally have anarchy? Wow I never knew all that was needed was a slogan change. What have I been doing all this time?

  18. Why not adopt the motto of antiquity: “Our God’s better than your god and we’ll fight you for it.” Seems to fit in nicely with the line of reasoning.

  19. on the subject of anarchy—“Published on Friday, November 4, 2011 by TruthDig.com
    No Arrests Inside Goldman Sachs, Though We Were Arrested Outside
    by Chris Hedges

    Chris Hedges made this statement in New York City’s Zuccotti Park on Thursday morning during the People’s Hearing on Goldman Sachs, which he chaired with Dr. Cornel West. The activist and Truthdig columnist then joined a march of several hundred protesters to the nearby corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs, where he was arrested with 16 others. [Christopher Hedges and other Occupy Wall Street protesters get arrested in front of Goldman Sachs headquarters in Battery Park City after they held a mock trial against the company at Zuccoti Park and marched to the building with their guilty verdict. Approximately 15-20 protesters were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. (Craig Warga/New York Daily News )] Christopher Hedges and other Occupy Wall Street protesters get arrested in front of Goldman Sachs headquarters in Battery Park City after they held a mock trial against the company at Zuccoti Park and marched to the building with their guilty verdict. Approximately 15-20 protesters were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. (Craig Warga/New York Daily News )

    Goldman Sachs, which received more subsidies and bailout-related funds than any other investment bank because the Federal Reserve permitted it to become a bank holding company under its “emergency situation,” has used billions in taxpayer money to enrich itself and reward its top executives. It handed its senior employees a staggering $18 billion in 2009, $16 billion in 2010 and $10 billion in 2011 in mega-bonuses. This massive transfer of wealth upwards by the Bush and Obama administrations, now estimated at $13 trillion to $14 trillion, went into the pockets of those who carried out fraud and criminal activity rather than the victims who lost their jobs, their savings and often their homes.

    Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Goldman Sachs hoards rice, wheat, corn, sugar and livestock and jacks up commodity prices around the globe so that poor families can no longer afford basic staples and literally starve. Goldman Sachs is able to carry out its malfeasance at home and in global markets because it has former officials filtered throughout the government and lavishly funds compliant politicians—including Barack Obama, who received $1 million from employees at Goldman Sachs in 2008 when he ran for president. These politicians, in return, permit Goldman Sachs to ignore security laws that under a functioning judiciary system would see the firm indicted for felony fraud. Or, as in the case of Bill Clinton, these politicians pass laws such as the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act that effectively removed all oversight and outside control over the speculation in commodities, one of the major reasons food prices have soared. In 2008 and again in 2010 prices for crops such as rice, wheat and corn doubled and even tripled, making life precarious for hundreds of millions of people. And it was all done so a few corporate oligarchs, the 1 percent, could make personal fortunes in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite a damning 650-page Senate subcommittee investigation report, no individual at Goldman Sachs has been indicted, although the report accuses Goldman of defrauding its clients.

    When the government in the fall 2008 provided the firm with billions of dollars in the form of cheap loans, FDIC debt guarantees, TARP, AIG make-wholes, and a late-night label-shift from investment bank to bank holding company, giving the firm access to excessive Federal Reserve aid, access [the corporation] still has, it enabled and abetted Goldman’s criminal behavior. Goldman Sachs unloaded billions in worthless securities to its clients, decimating 401(k)s, pension and mutual funds. The firm misled investors about the true nature of these worthless securities, insisted the securities they were pushing on their clients were sound, and hid the material fact that, simultaneously, they were betting against these same securities—$2 billion against just one of their deals. The firm then had the gall to extort from its victims—us—to make good on its bets when the global economy it helped trash lost $40 trillion in worldwide wealth and huge insurance firms were unable to cover their bad debts.

    The Securities Act of 1933, established in the wake of the massive fraud that pervaded the securities market before the 1929 Crash, was written to ensure that “any securities transactions are not based on fraudulent information or practices.” The act “prohibits deceit, misrepresentation, and other fraud in the sale of securities.” The subcommittee report indicates that Goldman Sachs clearly broke security laws.

    As part of the political theater that has come to replace the legislative and judicial process, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to a $550 million settlement whereby Goldman Sachs admitted it showed “incomplete” information in marketing materials and that it was a “mistake” to not disclose the nature of its portfolio selection committee. This fine was a payoff to the SEC by Goldman Sachs of about four days’ worth of revenue, and in return they avoided going to court. CEO Lloyd Blankfein apparently not only lied to clients, but to the subcommittee itself on April 27, 2010, when he told lawmakers: “We didn’t have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients.” Yet, they did.

    And yet nothing has been done. No Goldman Sachs officials have gone to trial. This is because there is no way within the corporate state to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. There is no way through the formal mechanisms of power to restore the rule of law. There is no way to protect the ordinary citizen and the poor around the globe from the predatory activity of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs. Since our courts refuse to put on trial the senior executives at Goldman Sachs, including Blankfein, who carried out these crimes and lied to cover them up, we will. Speculators like those in Goldman Sachs—who in the 17th century when speculation was a crime would have been hanged—must be prevented by law from again destroying our economy, preying on ordinary citizens, hoarding food so the poor starve and running our political process. We are paying for these crimes—not those who orchestrated perhaps the most massive fraud in human history. Our teachers, police, firefighters and public employees are losing their jobs so speculators like Blankfein can make an estimated $250,000 a day. Working men and women are losing their homes and going into personal bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills. Our unemployed, far closer to 20 percent than the official 9 percent, are in deep distress all so a criminal class, a few blocks from where I speak, can wallow in luxury with mansions and yachts and swollen bank accounts.

    What we are asking for today is simple—it is a return to the rule of law. And since the formal mechanisms of power refuse to restore the rule of law, then we, the 99 percent, will have to see that justice is done.

  20. Elaine, another example if the thinking by the right that a lie repeated often enough will become the truth; say enough times, reward him often and by golly, the guy really is a decent man who cares about his family (yeah, right.)

  21. Jill, as a rally member on a few occasions, and I expect to be there again tomorrow, at Occupy Philly, it is time a cogent statement was made. Mr Hedges has made it (thanks for posting it). Now maybe the media will finally focus on the majority rather than the tiny few pot smokers, incoherent, and strange. We are the 99%. We are democracy speaking, We are America at it’s best.

  22. Blouise,

    Being pro-obama, who has claimed the right to murder anyone, anywhere on the planet, at any time, without even having to explain why is a horror. Why would you think otherwise?

  23. Jill,

    Hmmm goldman sachs, operating as it was, would have gone bankrupt and would have been unable to continue its fraudulent and criminal activities. The government with its power to confiscate resources by force took other people’s money and gave it to them because they were too important to fail. Where do you think the real problem lies, the business practices that would have run the company into the ground, or political power to confiscate wealth to keep the charade going?

  24. It was just their usual shenanigans. It was meant as a corrective to Obama. This is from the Christian Science Monitor….

    The measure sponsored by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., supports and encourages the motto’s display in all public schools and government buildings. It was approved 396-9, with 2 abstentions.

    Forbes said the resolution was needed because President Obama had once called “E pluribus unum” the national motto, and the Latin phrase meaning “from many one” was engraved in the new Capitol Visitors Center until Congress ordered that it be corrected

  25. SwM,

    Well reasoned and well written.

    BTW – Look at Huntsman and what he’s doing in S.C. … check out his funding and notice how well he’s keeping himself separate from the Cain & Co. clowns.

    I really think he could threaten the inevitability of Romney if he does well in N.H. and follows that up with a strong showing in S.C.

  26. Ekeyra, Have to get my sound up and will listen to it.

    Perfect timing for this article also:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/gretchen-whitmer-michigan-senator-slams-new-bullying-legislation-video/2011/11/04/gIQAaGHAmM_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost

    Michigan Senate passed new anti-bullying legislation, but some say it actually encourages bullying to take place….Whitmer cites a special exception in the law for bullies who have “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction

    A religion that says kids should bully? That is ne heck of a G-d they have.

  27. Curious,

    WHAT?!! Are you suggesting this was all a done by the republicans to get Obama for mistaking that the motto congress had carved on their new visitor center was correct? Oh my word, thank the good lord Forbes was on the ball. They had the engraving changed too.

    Whew … another crisis handled!

    Now, maybe the clowns can do something about the economy.

  28. Ekeyra, This guy is so impressed with his positions that I got tired of listening to him talk over the people he supposedly wanted to ‘talk’ with. I stopped when he said why don;t the walmart workers quit andf get a better job if theyre not happy there. That question indicates he really does not have a handle on what is happening. He talks get low prices when have low wages. How about CEO’s not getting millions as bonus, severance even when they have bankrupted company, a non profit like BC?bc CEO getting millions in bonus? so prices can go down? hta is not government as he incists, that is corporate greed, plain and simple.

  29. Granted, this is a contentious issue – but again I feel it is a moot point. From my perspective, the way that he is preaching that we must “trust in god” has its drawbacks – in that surely the different interpretations of God i.e. religion has ultimately caused war. I mean even if we go back centuries to the crusades of the 11-15th century, religious disparities between franks and Muslims caused a multitude of deaths.

  30. From Merriam Webster
    ANARCHY:
    a : absence of government b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
    2a : absence or denial of any authority or established order b : absence of order : disorder

    Ekeyra, Your statement above regarding anarchy “So if we change the motto does that mean we can finally have anarchy?” as well as Franks, is missing the mark a bit. This country already exists in a state of anarchy as practiced by our corporate and banking citizens, enabled by every politician in Government from the President on down and policed by the national and local security apparatus. We are the world’s first fully functioning anarchist state.

  31. Blouise,

    Of course they’re all idiots. They let michelle bachman pretend like she could be president some day. I do notice one name conspicously absent though… Ill let you figure out who im talking about.

    Oh and just for shits and giggles heres herman cain clarifying where he stands on abortion

  32. Carol,

    “I stopped when he said why don;t the walmart workers quit andf get a better job if theyre not happy there. That question indicates he really does not have a handle on what is happening.”

    So…walmart really is putting guns to its workers heads? Whats preventing them from leaving? And what about that entire situation does peter schiff not have a handle on? Especially considering he was warning about the very financial crisis we are currently experiencing as far back as 2006?

  33. “This country already exists in a state of anarchy as practiced by our corporate and banking citizens, enabled by every politician in Government from the President on down and policed by the national and local security apparatus. We are the world’s first fully functioning anarchist state.” (lotta)

    That’s word!!!

  34. Anon nurse, :-) I’m sure we’d be fabulous in a swimming pool.

    It was my understanding that a special session of the House had been called to deal with unemployment and then a bunch of these do-nothing bills came forward. What a bunch of _____________ (fill in the blank as your heart desires.)

  35. Lotta,

    How could anarchy, in the absence of government, manipulate interest rates and the supply of money and credit, absent a central bank and legal tender laws? How could anarchy, in the absence of government, confiscate property from its rightful owners and distribute it to its politically connected financiers, and have its court intellectuals such as krugman claim that when this policy failed it was because not enough of it was done? How could anarchy, in the absence of government, even create the very police state you claim enforces the anarchy you claim to perceive?

  36. Lotta,

    There is nothing congress can do to “create jobs” absent getting out of the way. They were destined to fail if they chose any other course of action.

  37. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/larry-taylor-jew-them-down-insurance-company_n_1076482.html Texas republican lawmaker says “jew them down”. These Texas republicans are anti semitic. The republicans nearly voted out a speaker because he is Jewish. Maybe the republicans are better in other states but I will stick with the democrats in Texas until I leave in two years. We are not post partisan here, and the republicans make it an impossibility for the foreseeable future.

  38. Blouise, IMO, what rules there are only apply to the little people and as the arrests of the OWS folks show, the rules are made up as the powers-that-be go along.

  39. Lotta,

    “Blouise, IMO, what rules there are only apply to the little people and as the arrests of the OWS folks show, the rules are made up as the powers-that-be go along.”

    Isn’t the OWS answer for the inequality of wealth they are protesting more of the same government that is brutalizing and caging them? Hmmm…

  40. Martingugino,

    ““In God We Trust” should be “In Money We Trust”, although that trust will soon be shown to be misplaced.”

    You have no idea how correct you are, but sadly i doubt you truly know why.

  41. “Isn’t the OWS answer for the inequality of wealth they are protesting more of the same government that is brutalizing and caging them? Hmmm…”

    No. The answer is to force government to realize that they work for all of us and not just Wall Street. You know, democracy instead of oligarchical plutocracy verging on outright fascism which is what we have now.

  42. Yes ma’am … a”fully functioning anarchist state” needs a cover story in order to function.

    Over the years this country has developed a very good one and people actually believe it. They spout the fairy-tale, ignoring the thousands of contradictions pointing to the reality of their existence within the state.

  43. Gene,

    So we get the people who are beating and caging people to realize that, oh wait the people they are visiting violence upon at their whim are really the ones calling the shots?

    How would you plan to do that? Something about campaign finance reform perhaps, or some equally impotent suggestion?

    Maybe not giving people the power to do that to other people in the first place should be your starting point.

  44. Lotta,

    I don’t even bothering arguing with them for they have too much of themselves invested in the fairy-tale to step outside that box and try a new perspective. It is a mental exercise that questions their belief system and they have not the courage to try it.

  45. martingugino: In God We Trust” should be “In Money We Trust

    I”ve always preferred “In Dog We Trust” not one of my Canine-American friends has ever let me down although it is preferrable to have a second or backup motto “Never trust a dog to watch your dinner”

  46. Ekeyra,

    If government ceases to function according to its charter it ceases to exist. We do not have a functioning government any longer IMO, we have a figurehead assemblage of paid actors that serve and facilitate only the smallest minority of persons. Laws simply do not exist for the American wealth-based aristocracy.

    That a government (in name only) exists doesn’t mean that an effective system of laws or justice is put in place or enforced. The government is a figurehead institution IMO. It serves in two ‘states’- active and enforced for the peasantry but at rest or absent for the aristocracy.

    The lawlessness of the banking industry was enabled by government and is enforced by the absence of any action by the country’s justice system. What we have seen is that the government actually removed restraints on the banks and even when the banks ignored other laws, they were and are being given a pass.

    The banks and our other esteemed corporate citizens are operating outside of the law, either the spirit and intent or the actual letter of the law.

  47. ekeyra,

    Campaign finance reform would be a start. Making laws disallowing lobbyists to write law would be another. Putting stiff criminal penalties into place against pols taking corporate money that hold substantial jail time and asset forfeiture for both the pol and the corporate offenders would be another. There are many solutions to bad government and no one solution is a silver bullet solution. However, the solution to bad government is not no government. If you dislike tyranny now, just wait until there are no rules or enforcers of societies rules whatsoever. The trick to maintaining democracy is to make sure the rules serve the greater good and the enforcers work for We the People, not the plutocrats.

  48. Gene,

    The greater good is a fantasy. Everyone’s infinitely divergent view of “good” is hardly conducive to amalgamation. Start there and try again.

    As for thinking outside the box:

  49. Ekeyra, We have a contract with our government. I always go to the mission statement in a contract, the spirit and intent of the compact. Next, I go the the rights of the parties. Everything else is rationale’ and procedure, how we’re going to accomplish these intended goals. That’s why I like the Preamble to the Declaration, the Introduction of the Constitution (When in the course…) and the Bill of Rights. They are the spiritual heart of our country.

    When the government discards or so modifies those documents with procedure (laws) that those laws no longer serve the stated principles and rights, then the government – a legitimate government – ceases to exist. That’s where I think we are. OWS doesn’t want “more” government, or necessarily less. They (I believe) want a government that actually follows it’s own mission statement and lives up to its stated intent. I sure do.

    People haven’t fought and died for some subsection of Article 2 of the Constitution, they give their lives for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to promote the general welfare, to get a fair shake, to not be screwed over as a matter of course, and to be left alone.

  50. Ekeyra, ‘we agree but for entirely different reasons’. Yes, we do. While the Turleyblawg mojo is great, I just don’t think we’re going to get any closer than ‘S**t’s totally F****d up’! LOL.

  51. ekeyra,

    The greater good may be difficult to define on a level of individuals, but it is not impossible to define, ergo, it is not a fantasy. Take for example murder. Murder is a bad thing if you’re looking at it from the individual perspective. Or is it? It’s only bad if you’re the victim or a relative or friend of the victim, no? Because to a murderer, committing murder advances some personal need, either financial or emotional. It serves the individual to murder someone else for without some form of benefit, it is simply mindless violence (which with psychopaths is certainly a possibility, but a digression from the point at hand). So on an individual level, murder can be a good or bad thing. That’s relative.

    Extrapolate that to the realm of a higher order of operation and analysis, the collective of individuals known as society. Is murder still a good thing? No, it can never be a good thing and making laws against it serve the common good because of the following factors.

    It is not in the interests of justice to allow murder to go unpunished. To do so encourages anarchy in the form of retribution by friends of family of the victim against the perceived murderer. As we all know, sometime appearances can be misleading and someone who appears guilty of murder may not in fact be guilty of murder. People reacting out of emotion – as people would be in these circumstances – are not going to be acting rationally or systematically in their pursuit of the guilty. You are allowing one injustice to anarchy and possibly a whole new set of injustices by allowing self-help remedies to the family and friends of murder victims. A third party is best to both investigate and punish murderers.

    Since the pursuit of justice is not just about making victims of crimes as whole as possible after the fact but to preserve social order in the process, it becomes readily apparent that a law against murder serves the common good in that it defines the crime, provides a framework for discovering the true perpetrator of the crime and a framework for punishing them without creating further injustices and/or unpredictable social outcomes that the alternative of self-help creates. By setting up a system to provide justice against the crime of murder, you serve the greater good by both punishing the guilty, maintaining social order and mitigating any further possible ancillary injustices that might be brought about by pursuing said killer.

    Now if you want to argue that our justice system is imperfect in this endeavor by sometimes convicting the innocent and therefor somehow inappropriate, I’ll just remind you that no system of any sort is perfect, but that the goal is to make that system as perfect as possible. But the alternative of no systems at all? Is simply anarchy and anarchy exists by one rule and one rule only: the tyranny of the strong over the weak. There is no justice in an anarchist society except what the individual can get themselves through individual force. And that is in itself not guaranteed justice, but rather the will of the individual as the outcome may not be equitable.

  52. Lotta says our current system of governance creates an inequality of justice. Gene says if we do away with our current system of governance we will have an inequality of justice. Tell you what you guys hash it out and get back to me

  53. Did I say somewhere that our system was currently functional as is?

    Because I’m certain that I didn’t (and wouldn’t) say that.

    We have the tools to make this a just society contained within the framework of the Constitution as informed by the Declaration of Independence, however We the People must take them back from the fascists who have co-opted our government through the campaign finance system first. The tool of government can be used for not only good, but the common good, but the responsibility of making sure it is used that way falls to the many. Right now, the tool is being misused by the few for their private benefit at the expense of the many.

    None of this changes that the answer to injustice is not anarchy, because on this LK and I agree: there is no justice in an anarchist society, only conditions which guarantee maximized tyranny.

  54. No lottas premise is that the injustices originate from the unequal treatment meted out by our current rulers. Genes premise is that if wedo do away with the current system we will have an inequality of justice

  55. Gene

    Governments murdered 170 million of their own citizens during the 20th century. How is that not “maximized tyranny”? Even if private murderers somehow managed to match that scale of slaughter they would not be doing it while maintaining they had their victims best interest in mind.

    As for campaign finance reform all you will accomplish is raising the cost of bribes which will only concentrate political power into an even smaller pool of those who can afford the higher prices

    Nice try

  56. Blouise, Thank you, you beat me to it.

    My premise is that the restraints of law does not exist for a portion of our society and the effect is predation and ruin for their victims and that our government, which has lost its legitimacy, its moral imperative, facilitates this and protects the wrongdoers. Your summation Ekeyra, in the main is correct. Gene is also correct IMO.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t have government, I’m saying we shouldn’t have this government. This government has as its mission a course of action and benefit for some that is contrary to its stated aim. The problem is that the wealth-aristocracy in this country is a law unto itself and the politicians running the government that works (dysfunctionaly) for the rest of us are just their handmaidens. That there is a state of anarchy for some (and profitable it is for them) is a problem.

  57. OTOTOT:

    Second Iraq War vet hospitalized after Oakland protest

    (Serious injuries, hospitalized, surgery, witness may have come forward according to Countdown interview)

    “The Guardian reported on Friday that a second Iraq War veteran is in intensive care in an Oakland Hospital, with a lacerated spleen allegedly resulting from a beating by police during the protests on Wednesday night … ”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/04/second-iraq-war-vet-hospitalized-after-oakland-protest/

  58. ekeyra,

    Both LK and I are essentially correct although we may disagree slightly on details.

    As for the “maximized tyranny” statement? First, it’s a statement with no proof, only your word that 170 million people have been murdered by governments in the 20th Century. I’ll assume arguendo for the moment that it is correct. Were all of these democratic governments? No. Were all of these deaths caused by the American government? No. Not all forms of government are created equal in their potential for creating a just society. The deaths under the fascist dictatorship of Hitler’s Germany or the Communist hegemony of Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution were most certainly exacerbated by their fundamental “choice” (albeit a forced choice in those two circumstances) in form of government being autocratic and top down instead of the bottom up design of democracy. You, in short, even if you are correct, are making several gigantic false equivalences.

    As to this? “As for campaign finance reform all you will accomplish is raising the cost of bribes which will only concentrate political power into an even smaller pool of those who can afford the higher prices”

    Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote and were more worried about your reactionary response. I wouldn’t “raise the cost of bribes”. I’d make them criminal to the point that someone accepting one for malfeasance of office would spend most of their life in prison (and as an unmentioned addition lose the ability to hold any public office ever) and someone offering a bribe to an elected official would not only spend most of their life in prison, but loose all their personal assets and put their company at real tangible risk of losing all of their assets as well (dependent upon knowledge within the company about said bribe). No corporations would be allowed to donate to campaigns in any way shape or form – no issue ads, none of that bullshit that has corrupted the system. Not only would they not be able to contribute, they would not be able write law via lobbyists anymore. For that? I’d demand life imprisonment for all involved. The only allowable contributions would be from individual citizens and have a fairly low maximum amount threshold like we once had in this country. The only laws being written would be by elected officials for the best interests of ALL their constituents and if you were caught doing otherwise it would be enforced political suicide.

    Either your were ignoring what I said or you’re attempting to create a straw man, either way, you’re also wrong in that assertion.

    Nice try.

  59. What Gene said. A little extreme, maybe, but we are at a crossroads where the Justice system needs to dispense a healthy dose of real justice.

  60. lotta,

    Any argument, no matter how valid and fact based, that threatens the status quo, ie the myth misnomered “free market”, is purposely misunderstood, for how else may one continue to support the myth as something other than a fiction?

    The twists and turns applied to both your and Gene’s words are necessary if the myth is to be something other than a mere traditional story developed to permit the greed to continue unabated.

    Did George Washington ever chop down a cherry tree? Highly doubtful as back in the early to mid 1700’s, destruction of a fruit tree was a crime punishable by death. But the myth was developed to illustrate his honesty … even in the face of danger in order to support his leadership role as an adult. Anyone who tries to argue the myth of the cherry tree itself as fact has to twist and turn their words and the words of others beyond reason.

    Nuff said? Sho-nuff! ;)

  61. Blouise

    Really? I thought I was a crazy anarchist who wants to tear down the government? When did I turn into staunch defender of the status quo? Also what free market exists when the federal reserve dictates interest rates and credit creation. The fact you think we are operating in a free market is plenty of evidence that myths abound in this discussion, however im not the one spinning them

    Gene,

    Have all the laws penalties and oversight you want. Someone will circumvent them, they always do. The more restrictions the more costly access to power becomes. The higher the cost the less who can afford it and the more power concentrates. Checkmate.

    Lotta,

    I agree with your analysis that there is a ruling class using government. Power to insulate itself from not only the laws of this country but the laws of economics which would have long ago dismantled their hold on power however I should not have let you continue to refer to this situation as anarchy. In an anarchic society there would be no political power for them to manipulate and they would be beholden to the same laws as everyone who was not politically connected.

    I don’t have the time right now but ill be happy to post an archive of justice systems in a stateless society. I would recommend starting with chaos theory by Robert murphy

  62. Geez, something is acting up – I just made a reply to you Blouise and it disappeared.

    In any event, I never thought it was a problem that a situation had facets that appeared contradictory but were symptomatic of a deeper problem. You can have the same condition manifest itself in apparently contradictory ways but be different facets of the same initial condition.

    The great thing about myths is that you can start with a conclusion and work backward to construct a myth around it. You don’t need to make your conclusion actually fit the facts. You’re right though, they’re fragile things.

  63. ekeyra,

    “Have all the laws penalties and oversight you want. Someone will circumvent them, they always do. The more restrictions the more costly access to power becomes. The higher the cost the less who can afford it and the more power concentrates. Checkmate.”

    As Winston Churchill noted, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” When you make the costs loss of freedom and assets, it becomes cost prohibitive and counterproductive to engage in the behavior. The solution to lawless is not going to be an absence of law. Laws don’t prevent crime. They, at best, discourage crime and provide a method of punishing criminals. A really good criminal law has penalties so high that they reap a consequential high deterrence value as well., but even laws with the ultimate penalty, the death penalty, don’t stop crimes. It’s childish to think that they do. A determined criminal does not care what the law says. So how do you address that problem? Make the penalty so severe that if they get caught they won’t – and preferably can’t – commit said crime again. Also, I’d like for you to point to a successful anarchist state. By successful, I mean long lasting and stable and capable of developing a lasting culture. You can’t, can you? Why might that be that in the entire span of human history, anarchy has never been a successful form of rule? Anarchy does not work if you want a lasting, stable society. Never has. Never will. It is the juvenile fantasy of teenaged rebellion and most people grow out of it about the time they realize that, yes, Sid Vicious wasn’t a cultural hero, but rather just another junkie drunk jackass. However, democracy has worked and does work as long as it is not allowed to be co-opted by oligarchs, plutocrats and other would be dictators. The price for the freedoms democracy allows is permanent vigilance against those who would subvert it for their personal benefit.

    If you thought you had checkmate, I suggest you never, ever play chess.

    If your poker skills are as bad as your chess skills, I also suggest avoiding Vegas and Atlantic City.

    Thanks for playing.

  64. MYTHS, MYTHS, MYTHS!!!

    This whole thread has been about American Myths, starting with the biggest one of all — that this Country trusts God. Yeah? Seems like we trust in horses and chariots a hell of lot more than the name of the Lord, our God. Why the big military budget? Why the lust for war? Why the rampant consumerism? Why the destruction of a creation that evinces God’s eternal attributes, his power and goodness?

    Read the Sermon on the Mount — hell, just read the Beatitudes. Does any of that describe America? Anyone see the fruit the Spirit in any of our public discourse?

    This Country doesn’t trust God because its people don’t really believe in God.

    But they sure as hell believe in the Myth of America, the great Christian Nation! And the myth of rugged individualism, the free market, and the capitalist system. Our Manifest Destiny!

    And they use their myths for their own purposes — not to form a more perfect union, but to divide and conquer. The most unholy of all purposes.

  65. Another perspective on American myths — I heard these lyrics on a internet radio of Native American music:

    Our country, ’tis of thee,
    sweet land of liberty, of thee we dream;
    land where our warriors died,
    land of the many tribes,
    from every sacred site let freedom stream.

  66. Gene H. “I’d like for you to point to a successful anarchist state.”

    In the modern usage of the word “anarchy” as without rule, I cannot; but in its original meaning as “no ruler”. . .

    [Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler] . . .

    most of the native tribes of the Americas, such as the Incas, Mayas, Aztecs, the Iroquois Confederacy: the individual tribes operating very much like the democratic New England town hall meetings but with no designated leader, and the Confederacy operating very similar to the U.S.Senate.

    The idea of a single, authoritative chief was imposed on tribes by European monarchial-powers which required a single representative of a tribe with whom they could deal. Before that time, the tribal “leader” was more like a spokesperson who served at the pleasure of tribal members.

    It was this tribal form of “government” which spurred European philosophers to espouse the democratic ideals of the Enlightenment — the primitive man at peace in his natural setting. The founders’ knowledge of these writings and their own association and appreciation of native American tribes made substantial and indelible contributions in the crafting of a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

  67. “They did this for the same reason they just did it a few years back–pandering!”

    They also did it to kill time. Any productive legislation, they think, would help Mr. Obama get reelected.

    They need something to talk about until November, 2012.

  68. Gene,

    “I’d make them criminal to the point that someone accepting one for malfeasance of office would spend most of their life in prison”

    Dont you mean you would have to convince the very people that would have the most to lose if your law was passed, to pass your law? Or are we just assuming you are dictating laws as you see fit?

    Thank you for saving me the time of refuting your assertion that laws stop behavior. You dont even really bother trying to address this this glaring flaw in your logic except to say that if you set the penalties really really high then maybe they wont think it’s worth it. Im sure by doing that and crossing your fingers everything will just work out fine and noone will break your well thought out law. If they even have time left to vote on it after theyre done laughing.

    As for your ramblings about anarchy, if even one individual escapes the clutches of the state that is success. To couch it in collective terms such as culture is to give up the ghost that you dont even have a frame of reference for the entire concept. And way to pick out sid vicious as the symbol of anarcho capitalism. Should i present toby keith as the champion of democracy because he wrote that song about america putting a boot up your ass?

    Regarding the checkmate comment, forgive me a rhetorical flourish. I only meant that i had seen your argument coming from a mile away, hence my reference to campaign finance reform before you even brought it up.

  69. Lotta,

    Government creates anarchy, and that allows people to behave badly and escape punishment, so we need government to make sure we do not have anarchy.

    Forgive me if i remain utterly unconvinced by that argument.

  70. Speaking of Bob murphy what do i see on the front page of the von mises website today? I must have precognition

    “First, we must abandon the idea of a mythical “law of the land.” There doesn’t need to be a single set of laws binding everyone. In any event, such a system never existed. The laws in each of the 50 states are different, and the difference in legal systems between countries is even more pronounced. Yet we go about our daily lives, and even visit and do business with foreign nations, without too much trouble.”.

    http://mises.org/daily/5646/Law-without-the-State

  71. Off Topic:

    MICROSOFT FUNDS KOCH’S CLIMATE-DENYING TEA PARTY CONFERENCE | Microsoft Corporation, which argues that climate pollution requires a “comprehensive and global response,” is sponsoring the Koch brothers’ Tea Party convention taking place in Washington, DC. Microsoft is a “gold sponsor” of the Americans For Prosperity Foundation’s fifth annual Defending The American Dream Summit, cheek and jowl with top climate denial front groups like the Heartland Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Speakers at the conference include climate deniers Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Ken Cuccinelli, Ann McElhinney, Chris Horner, Myron Ebell, and Carly Fiorina. Their prominent involvement was captured in a photograph by Slate.com reporter Dave Wiegel.

    http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/11/04/361929/microsoft-funds-kochs-climate-denying-tea-party-conference/

  72. From Erekya, “I agree with your analysis that there is a ruling class using government. Power to insulate itself from not only the laws of this country but the laws of economics.”

    Depoliticize the supreme court and maybe they will continue to give their imprimatur to corporations essentially highjackiing the elections.

    I missed to whom you directed this: ” I should not have let you continue to refer to this situation as anarchy…”.

    An OWS supporter as well as almost anyone else would say you have the right to disagree, you don;t have the right to stop someone else’s presentation of their point of view.

    (As for your walmart ? to me, the reason they cant just up and walk off thier jobs there, as per the video you posted, is because of the lack of jobs in this country. Seems you are a little shortsighted as to what has been posted here, in the media, and one of the the reasons OWS exists..

    OraLee, Right on.
    This spouting of G-d, G-d, G-d, usually by the right and the ones obstructing jobs bills (and spreading horredous anti choice laws across the country – but that is for another place and time) and using this as a time waster, as though it were a football game and you just need to spend down the clock, would not know what Jesus said on the mo0unt. I think.
    My life experience has shown me the more people mouth their Christianity (because that is usually the religion that seems to be the loudest in this type of behavior) the less they act on it or maybe even understand what it is about, in terms of how we should be treating and caring for one another.

    (Someone here also mentioned the legislator who used the j-w them down expression. I am saddened that this tends to be ignored for the most part, anti-semitism a little less important to people. I still hear people say, some very smart and worldly-wise, “all the banks are owned by the jews.)

  73. ekeyrah,

    “Dont you mean you would have to convince the very people that would have the most to lose if your law was passed, to pass your law? Or are we just assuming you are dictating laws as you see fit?”

    Don’t you mean that you simply don’t understand how democracy in action works? The rulers only rule with the consent of the ruled in any system of government. If the masses tire of the abuses of leadership, said leadership is always brought to heel one way or another but always with some degree of populist support for their ouster. The difference in a democracy is that power rests in the people, not in the rulers. Convince the very people that would have the most to lose if my law was passed to pass my law? You bet. By making sure they get the message that they could lose a lot more if they don’t comply with the will of the people. It’s basic math. 99% is greater than 1%. There is no argument for anarchy that holds water. It is a inherently flawed premise and form. “[I]f even one individual escapes the clutches of the state that is success” is ideological clap-trap if that individual ” escapes the clutches of the state” only to enter in to a state of absolute tyranny of the strong over the weak with no safeguards and no recourse except what they themselves can carve out with a knife or get at gunpoint. Lawlessness provides exactly for that kind of environment without exception. It’s human nature without restraint. Seeing an argument coming doesn’t mean you know how to defeat it.

    Oro Lee,

    The Maya and the Aztec both had monarchs in pre-Columbian times. As to the use of the term anarchy, let’s stick to the modern usage to avoid the easily confused becoming more so. By the archaic usage, yes, the Iroquois had an anarchic state because they had no titular head of state, but they had laws and processes for both decision making and dispute resolution. The rule of law is what is necessary for stability in a society of any substantive size. The Iroquois may have had no central leader on a regular basis, but they did have the rule of law.

  74. Gene,

    “Don’t you mean that you simply don’t understand how democracy in action works?”

    I think i have a much firmer grasp on its operational reality than you do.

    “Convince the very people that would have the most to lose if my law was passed to pass my law? You bet. By making sure they get the message that they could lose a lot more if they don’t comply with the will of the people.”

    So whats stopping them from getting the message right now? And what would you alter to make that happen?

    ““[I]f even one individual escapes the clutches of the state that is success” is ideological clap-trap if that individual ” escapes the clutches of the state” only to enter in to a state of absolute tyranny of the strong over the weak with no safeguards and no recourse except what they themselves can carve out with a knife or get at gunpoint.”

    So it was ideaological clap-trap when someone escaped mao’s china? or cambodia under the khmer rouge? or stalin’s gulags? Oh well i guess those people should have turned right around and went back to the protection of their government. Good point, who wants to take that risk?

  75. Gene:

    Thank you for making clear the point I was trying to make — there is a big- time difference between no ruler and no rule of law. To the extent anarchists promote no rule of law, well, that’s no more than jungle law espoused by those with an inflated sense of ego.

    With respect “no ruler,” the issue is actually how many rulers — a monarch, a ruling junta, an aristocracy, an party, each voter. With appropriate protections against mob rule, I vote for democracy. Each man for himself leaves each man at the mercy of the mob.

    Then there’s the economies of scale in establishing and directing national, state, and local interests through organizations with national, state, and local authority. it requires more than disparate private contract — it requires a socil compact in order to make a more perfect union.

    As far as the Aztecs and Mayans having “Monarch” — no, not really. The concept of a monarch or emperor was totally foreign to them. The person usually so depicted by the Europeans was more a spokesperson for the ruling elite. It was pretty much an aristocracy without the monarch. The aristocracy acted much like a democracy. Exceptions were made for times of disasters and emergencies — like smallpox epidemics and invasion by foreigners. Of course, those were types of rulers described by the conquerors.

  76. ekeyrah,

    “I think i have a much firmer grasp on its operational reality than you do.”

    Said the person advocating a system that guarantees tyranny. You may think you do, but you only think you do as evidenced by your predilection for the worst form of government possible: none.

    “So whats stopping them from getting the message right now?”

    The same thing that stops people from getting the message before every revolution: arrogance and/or greed.

    “And what would you alter to make that happen?”

    Identifying the problem, knowing the solution and knowing how to reach it are separate things. The solution can only be reached, however, by the application of true democracy and heeding the call to punish the guilty instead of protecting them. How to overcome the aforementioned arrogance and greed in the ruling class is as problematic as it ever was, but ultimately the key rests in their intransigence. The message is being sent clearly. If they refuse to listen, then they will bear the cost ultimately.

    “So it was ideaological clap-trap when someone escaped mao’s china? or cambodia under the khmer rouge? or stalin’s gulags? Oh well i guess those people should have turned right around and went back to the protection of their government. Good point, who wants to take that risk?”

    Again with the false equivalences and illustrating that your grasp on operational reality isn’t as firm as you’ve led yourself to believe.

    *************

    Oro Lee,

    “As far as the Aztecs and Mayans having “Monarch” — no, not really. The concept of a monarch or emperor was totally foreign to them. The person usually so depicted by the Europeans was more a spokesperson for the ruling elite. It was pretty much an aristocracy without the monarch. The aristocracy acted much like a democracy. Exceptions were made for times of disasters and emergencies — like smallpox epidemics and invasion by foreigners. Of course, those were types of rulers described by the conquerors.”

    I beg to differ. What you’ve described is essentially how European court life operated as well. The monarch may have had a permanent title in European society, but the daily operation of court was much like a democracy in that it was based to a large degree upon consensus and allegiances among the aristocrats. It was usually (but not always – some monarchs were truly dicatators) in times of national emergency or war that the monarch proper acted unilaterally. That the Maya and the Aztec may not have had a full time title proper for their unilateral acting head of state doesn’t mean that they didn’t have one. I think they had monarchs if not in name, in function (although I’ll stipulate that the analogy is not perfect nor was Aztec and Maya society as rigidly defined as contemporaneous European society).

  77. Gene,

    “The rulers only rule with the consent of the ruled in any system of government. ”

    “Again with the false equivalences”

    So which is it? Some governments do not rule with the consent of the governed so its ok to evade them or do they all operate under the same assumptions of legitimacy?

    Democracy is not special. If it is wrong for one man to order the death an innocent person, what erases the guilt of that crime when millions order it?

  78. ekeyrah,

    Legitimacy of government is a separate issue. I never said democracy was “special” although it is and is for the following reason: it recognizes that the true power in society resides with the many, not the few. In this respect, a democratic form of government is far more legitimate than a monarchy or a dictatorship. You should re-read the Churchill quote until you understand it. Democracy is not perfect, but it is far better than the alternatives, including the alternative of no government at all.

    Also, I’m not sure what you are getting at in your last sentence, but if you’re arguing against the death penalty, you’re arguing with the wrong person.

  79. “The article quotes the international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith arguing that because Pakistan is not a war zone, these killings are “murder.” That’s an argument that — in the extremely unlikely event it were ever heard in America’s establishment media organs — would be treated with mockery and contempt. Everyone knows that the American President cannot commit “murder”; that’s only for common criminals and Muslim dictators (whom the West starts to dislike). But however one wants to define these acts, the fact is that we have spent a full decade bringing violence to multiple countries in that region and — in all sorts of ways — ending the lives of countless innocent people.”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/11/02/the_human_toll_of_the_u_s_drone_campaign/singleton/

    Yes gene, I have a firm grasp on its operational reality.

  80. ekeyrah,

    If you are arguing that the current and previous administration has caused the deaths of a lot of innocent people (in the name of profits by the way), then you are again arguing with the wrong person.

    That does not mean you have a firm grasp on operational reality though.

    Your premises are still underpinned by the twin fallacies that society can exist without laws and that the market can operate as a just mechanism to prevent and/or punish bad actors.

    There’s a forest behind them thar trees.

  81. I’ve also posted an article just today that describes the web of interweaving social behaviors that would be present in a voluntary peacefully cooperative society that would act as a de facto law.. At the very least read them and critique them instead of just asserting that my position is that there should be no law at all.

  82. ekeyrah,

    What you’ve posted is a fantasy that plays to your confirmation bias based on your predilection for anarchy. Your articles idea would only work in a perfectly homogeneous small scale society possessing both a minimum of a plurality of common behaviors and common values. As humans as a species are not inherently homogeneous in behavior and even less so today as people move from society to society on a global scale, that idea will not work. The closest thing to what your article describes is the Demarchist form of government and it has never been deployed on the scale of nations. While it has worked for city-states such as Venice under the Venetian Republic, it runs into problems at larger scales due to factionalism and the increased competition of interests inherent with larger orders of operation. What you reference, however, is just another form of government that requires the rule of law. It’s not true anarchy. Also, if I (and indeed others) have gotten the idea that your position is that there should be no laws at all, you should consider your presentation first as the cause of the perception. Demarchy is the term you should consider for describing your position rather than talking in terms of abdication of formal government (which is simple anarchy). Even so, while there are some legitimately attractive features of Demarchy, there are some very real problems to applying it to scale in the real world.

  83. No gene an interwoven fabric of social interactions that govern people’s behavior in a voluntary and peaceful manner is no way even close to demarchy where you pick your rulers by lottery instead of voting.

    You really dont get the whole individual soveriegnty thing do you? Perhaps the problem is that you have such little faith in yourself and your own abilities that you assume everyone is in need of a ruler as much as you are.

  84. “No gene an interwoven fabric of social interactions that govern people’s behavior in a voluntary and peaceful manner is no way even close to demarchy where you pick your rulers by lottery instead of voting.”

    No, it’s not exact, but a demarchist society is as close to your anarchist fantasy as possible and not be true anarchy. You seem to want a world where everyone follows the rules just because they should when the reality is it is not going to always be in an individual’s best interests to follow the rules. Your perception of human nature is fatally unrealistic.

    “You really dont get the whole individual soveriegnty thing do you? Perhaps the problem is that you have such little faith in yourself and your own abilities that you assume everyone is in need of a ruler as much as you are.”

    Perhaps the problem is that you simply don’t know what you’re talking about in your fantasy land where everyone acts with or is capable of uniform degrees of self-restraint, ekeyrah. Just because some individuals are capable of self-restraint and good behavior without the rule of law doesn’t mean that all individuals are capable of restraint and/or good behavior. Rules come with structure and enforcement mechanisms. Rules without structure and enforcement mechanisms are not rules, they are suggestions. Your understanding of human nature is almost as juvenile as your understanding of political forms and their necessity in a society of size.

  85. Just because some individuals are capable of self-restraint and good behavior without the rule of law doesn’t mean that all individuals are capable of restraint and/or good behavior.

    Occupy Wall Street is a good example

  86. Just because some individuals are capable of self-restraint and good behavior without the rule of law doesn’t mean that all individuals are capable of restraint and/or good behavior.

    Wall Street is a better example.

  87. Carol Levy re: Walmart. exactly. Also i Walmart moves to a small town it kills much of the small merchant business so that welds employees to them even more tightly. One of the small townships in my area (St. Louis) that was coming back from many years of depressed jobs and income by attracting and home-growing small neighborhood business’ and stable housing refused to let a Walmart build there a year or so ago. The business’ nor the citizens wanted it – it would in short order destroy what they had all worked so hard to re-build.

    The Mayor and some of the pols did want it and wanted to give heavy tax breaks and other benefits to get them to build a store, which was ridiculous, Walmart wanted to build there, they needed no incentives. Walmart won’t give up though, they’re petitioning for their build request which would require re-zoning be again taken up by the Zoning Commission. Maybe the citizens can win this round too, fingers crossed.

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