Hurricane Sandy and the Social Contract

Mike Appleton, Guest Blogger

The great storm that ravaged the east coast this past week brought into sharper focus than all of the presidential debates combined the central issue facing voters on Tuesday.  Those who continue to believe that we are all in this together applauded the non-partisan meetings between President Obama and New Jersey governor Christ Christie.  The ideologues on the right saw those same meetings as a cynical betrayal of conservative orthodoxy.  Alternatively, they approved the initial response of Rep. Steve King (R. Iowa), who subordinated concern over the needs of the storm’s victims to the question of  what budget cuts would need to be made before providing federal assistance.  These distinct responses accentuated the fact that the election is not about economic policy or religious freedom or the mess in the Middle East.  It is not about climate change or energy independence or immigration reform.  And it is not about abortion or same-sex marriage or the rights of public unions.  At its core, the election is a referendum on affirming or rescinding the social contract.  All the rest is committee work.

By “social contract” I mean the principles which I believe most strongly influenced the Founders, the theory of civil government expounded in John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government.  A civil society is formed, he wrote, “wherever any number of men, in the state of nature, enters into society to make one people one body politic, under one supreme government . . .  .  For hereby he authorizes the society . . . to make laws for him, as the public good of society shall require . . .  .  And this puts men out of a state of nature and into a commonwealth . . .  . “

In Locke’s view, the purpose and end of government is the preservation of property interests, which he broadly describes as “life, health, liberty and possessions.”  He describes civil government as the “proper remedy for the inconveniences of the state of nature.”  Locke’s words are echoed in the Declaration of Independence with its references to the inalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  The Constitution incorporates Locke’s ideas in both the Preamble and in the division of government into separate legislative, executive and judicial branches.

The political debates over the past four years and the ideological opposition to the Obama presidency can be analyzed under many sub-headings, but taken as a whole, the arguments question the fundamental nature of government.  The following examples are illustrative:

A. The personal social contract. 

“It is not the public good that matters; it is the personal good.”

-Rep. Allen West (R. Fla.), CPAC conference, 2012

In Rep. West’s view, the social contract is unconcerned with common welfare beyond the requirements of the defense of individual interests.  The goal of government is limited to protecting one’s personal rights and, by extension, the independence of the country.  Therefore, government is a minimalist proposition.  It exists to maintain a strong national defense and the ability to prosecute and punish those who would harm one’s person or property.   The only obligation imposed upon the individual is to respect the same rights in others (or suffer the consequences) and to pay the taxes necessary for the common defense.  Although adherents to this view acknowledge the additional responsibilities of government described in the Constitution, they regard the social contract as essentially a private agreement between the individual and the state.

B. The exclusionary social contract.  

“If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.”

-Judson Phillips, president of the Tea Party Nation (quoted in Think Progress, November 30, 2010)

Although the Constitution does not address the right to vote, and the beliefs of the Founders were certainly a product of prevailing attitudes and values, the fact is that Locke considered consent an essential element of civil society. A commonwealth is formed, according to him, “by the consent of every individual.”

The history of this country has, until recently, been one of expansion of the right to vote, to propertyless citizens, to former slaves, to women and to all those deemed old enough to die in the nation’s wars.  Yet universal suffrage has been the subject of political and legislative attack in the last several years, largely, in my view, as a reaction to the election of a black president.  The lie that voter fraud compels the enactment of strict voter ID requirements has been too well debunked to warrant further comment.  The real motives are to be found in the language of the promoters of voter suppression legislation.  Florida State Senator Michael Bennett (R. Bradenton) has declared that voting is a privilege rather than a right.  “This is something people died for.  Why should we make it easier?” (quoted in the Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2011).  Writing in the American Thinker, Matthew Vadum criticized the efforts of Democrats to register the poor with the observation that “Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor.  It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money.”  Gov.  Romney’s now famous comment on the 47% is a variation on this theme.  Controversial New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien unsuccessfully pushed legislation which would have prohibited college students from registering to vote from their school addresses, candidly acknowledging that a college student will likely vote “as a liberal.” (quoted in Think Progress, December 1, 2011).  And the Republican mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, upset that President Obama’s Afghanistan speech had preempted a Peanuts Christmas special, expressed his annoyance on Facebook with the erroneous statement that  “Our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that only property owners could vote.  It if had stayed there, things would be different.”  (quoted in The KC  Blue Blog, December 5, 2009).  True enough.

C. The corporatist social contract.

“Corporations are people too, my friend.” 

-Gov. Mitt Romney, at a campaign rally

Gov. Romney’s assertion has legal support in the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, a case which more than any other has contributed to the dominance of wealth in the political conversation.  Of course, this definition of corporate personhood did not exist when Locke was alive.  Corporations were created solely by grant from the sovereign for specific purposes.  In the early years of the republic, corporations came into being through charters issued by the legislature.  Now they have been granted standing as persons under the Constitution, but without any of the obligations imposed upon private persons.  The notion of corporate free speech has enabled corporate interests to spend money without limitation, essentially controlling commercial political speech on the public airwaves.  And the message most prominently promoted is that the interests of capital are more important than the interests of labor, that income inequality is a function of personal resourcefulness rather than political power.

Gov. Romney approved this view when he described concern over income inequality as attributable to envy.  “You know, I think it’s about envy.  I think it’s about class warfare.  When you have a President encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus one percent-and those people who have been the most successful will be in the one percent-you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the notion of one nation under God.” (quoted in The Economist,  January 12, 2012).

I confess to some confusion over the meaning of that statement, other than its implication that the wealthiest individuals in the world have earned a reserved seat  at the table of representative government.  In practical terms, it means that those who have most benefitted from favorable policies have no particular obligations to the commonweal.  It means that the rights of labor are subservient to the interests of capital.  It means that the elimination of unions, of pension plans and of health benefits may be justified solely on the basis of economic freedom.  It means that the accumulation of wealth is proof of civic and moral virtue.  It means that the economically powerful may continue to reduce the median income of the middle class if that is seen as  necessary to protect executive income and shareholder dividends.  And it lends support to the social darwinism perhaps best expressed by the comment of former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer that government assistance to the poor is comparable to “feeding stray animals.” (quoted at bostonherald.com, January 24, 2010).  It confuses jealousy with the reasoned perception of unfairness.  It dismisses the argument that the growth of income inequality is primarily a result of the misallocation of the benefits of increased worker productivity.  Most importantly, it ignores the truth that the social contract cannot be fair if the parties lack equal bargaining power.  It  converts the social contract into a corporate contract of adhesion under the myth of “freedom of contract.”

D. The Christian social contract.

“The long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise.  Those who refuse to submit publicly . . . must be denied citizenship.”

-Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (1989)

John Locke regarded civil government as a wholly secular institution.  His opinion was explained in A Letter Concerning Toleration, in which he wrote, “Civil interests I call life, liberty, health and indolency of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, land, houses, furniture and the like. . . . Now the whole jurisdiction of the magistrate reaches only to those civil concernments . . . it neither can be nor ought in any manner to be extended to the salvation of souls . . .  .”  This principle exists in the Constitution in the form of the First Amendment, which protects both religion and unbelief.  Nevertheless, the Christian right has attempted to redefine the Constitution as a Christian covenant borne of American exceptionalism, the idea of the nation as the “shining city on the hill.”  Thus the economic theory of capitalism becomes biblically compelled and the social contract becomes a Christian-only agreement, a covenant between the nation and a Christian God.

When the polls open Tuesday morning, those who have not already cast their ballots should understand that we are deciding between starkly different ideas of government and social cohesion.  Hurricane Sandy brought many of us to our knees.  But it will serve a positive end if it also brought us to our senses.

123 thoughts on “Hurricane Sandy and the Social Contract

  1. I fear our friends in the USofA may have become way too polarised to step back from the brink this excellent post describes.

    Those advantaged by their interpretation of the founding ideals will not stop. I won’t hold my breath waiting for their fundamentalist zeal to wane.

    Do children still get civics lessons at all, or have the fundies inserted their version of the founding story there as well?

    If yes and if there is time for the US empire, two or three generations may pass before a “restoration”. Good luck with that.

  2. To form a contract there must be two willing parties who agree on the terms. To fulfill the contract there must be two willing, honest parties who can and will perform. At the present time in Amerika we have several parites who can not agree on what the terms are, who are not willing to perform, who are not honest, and who cannot perform. It is akin to a guy named Akin who goes to a cathouse in Amsterdam and can not get it up.

  3. Thunder, believe me, the civics I took in Jr high (9th grade) does not look like it is from the same country we are living in now! Can you believe, we actually had to learn about these really archaic and obsolete documents, called the Consitution and the Bill of Rights?

    Kids now don’t know what they are and don’t care. But why should they? the government stopped knowing and caring long ago . . .

  4. Mike A.,

    This is the part where I deliver thunderous applause for a job well done.

    Well played, sir. Your best column to date.

  5. “At its core, the election is a referendum on affirming or rescinding the social contract. All the rest is committee work.” (Mike A.)

    YES!

    A mighty throwing down of the gauntlet. … let’s see who picks it up.

  6. Mike,

    My excitement rose as I read through your elegant and eloquent prose. You conceptualized the essence of this election and the ongoing struggle against the forces of Corporate Feudalism. You accomplished this via weaving together your narrative of what this country really should be about, with the words of those who would destroy our freedom, for want of shoring up their underserved egotism. Bravo, I am in awe and can only reply with a rousing AMEN!

  7. Mike A., a most excellent essay. I agree with the comments above that this is your best piece to date. Eloquent and accurate observations.

  8. The word “convergence” comes to mind on this topic. I think it was John Kenneth Galbraith who coined the phrase and elucidated the concept. In plain language the commies get more like us and we get more like them. In this decade the Chinese capitalists get more like Romney and Romney gets more like the Chinese Communists with their control freak ways. But convergence between socialism and facism came together with Hitler and his National Socialist Party. Curley on the Three Stooges sums it up best when he lays eyes upon the Romneys of the world: Hotsie Totsie, I smell a Nazi.

  9. ” Like Mr. Clinton, President Obama restored FEMA’s professionalism, effectiveness, and reputation. But would Mitt Romney destroy the agency again? Yes, he would. As everyone now knows — despite the Romney campaign’s efforts to Etch A Sketch the issue away — during the primary Mr. Romney used language almost identical to Mr. Allbaugh’s, declaring that disaster relief should be turned back to the states and to the private sector.

    The best line on this, I have to admit, comes from Stephen Colbert: “Who better to respond to what’s going on inside its own borders than the state whose infrastructure has just been swept out to sea?”

    Look, Republicans love to quote Ronald Reagan’s old joke that the most dangerous words you can hear are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Of course they’ll do their best, whenever they’re in power, to destroy an agency whose job is to say exactly that. And yes, it’s hypocritical that the right-wing news media are now attacking Mr. Obama for, they say, not helping enough people.

    Back to the politics. Some Republicans have already started using Sandy as an excuse for a possible Romney defeat. It’s a weak argument: state-level polls have been signaling a clear and perhaps widening Obama advantage for weeks. But as I said, to the extent that the storm helps Mr. Obama, it’s well deserved.

    The fact is that if Mr. Romney had been president these past four years the federal response to disasters of all kinds would have been far weaker than it was. There would have been no auto bailout, because Mr. Romney opposed the federal financing that was crucial to the rescue. And FEMA would have remained mired in Bush-era incompetence.

    So this storm probably won’t swing the election — but if it does, it will do so for very good reasons.” Paul Krugman

  10. Mike,

    A masterful job and presentation!

    *****

    Swarthmore mom,

    A Case Study of Republicans vs. Democrats on FEMA
    By Kevin Drum
    Oct. 30, 2012
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/10/fema-case-study-difference-between-democrats-and-republicans

    Mitt Romney apparently still thinks that downsizing and privatizing the functions of FEMA is a good idea. After all, everyone knows that federal bureaucracies are cesspools of incompetence.

    Except….it turns out that they’re only cesspools of incompetence during certain eras. See if you can spot the trend here:

    George H.W. Bush: Appoints Wallace Stickney, head of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation, as head of FEMA. Stickney is a hapless choice and the agency is rapidly driven into the ditch: “Because FEMA had 10 times the proportion of political appointees of most other government agencies, the poorly chosen Bush appointees had a profound effect on the performance of the agency.”

    Bill Clinton: Appoints James Lee Witt, former head of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services, as head of FEMA. The agency is reborn as a professional operation: “As amazing as it sounds, Witt was the first FEMA head who came to the position with direct experience in emergency management….On Witt’s recommendation, Clinton filled most of the FEMA jobs reserved for political appointees with persons who had previous experience in natural disasters and intergovernmental relations.”

    George W. Bush: Appoints Joe Allbaugh, his 2000 campaign manager, as head of FEMA. Allbaugh explains that his role is to downsize FEMA and privatize its functions: “Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level. We must restore the predominant role of State and local response to most disasters.” Once again, the agency goes downhill: “[Allbaugh] showed little interest in its work or in the missions pursued by the departed Witt….Those of us in the business of dealing with emergencies find ourselves with no national leadership and no mentors. We are being forced to fend for ourselves.”

    Allbaugh quits after only two years and George W. Bush downgrades FEMA from a cabinet-level agency and appoints Allbaugh’s deputy, Michael Brown, former Commissioner of Judges and Stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, as FEMA’s head. A former employer, Stephen Jones, is gobsmacked when he hears about it: “Brown was pleasant enough, if a bit opportunistic, Jones said, but he did not put enough time and energy into his job. ‘He would have been better suited to be a small city or county lawyer,’ he said.”

    Barack Obama: Appoints Craig Fugate, Florida’s state emergency management director, as head of FEMA. Fugate immediately revives FEMA, receiving widespread praise for the agency’s handling of the devastating tornadoes that ripped across seven Southern states last year: “Under Fugate’s leadership, an unimaginable natural disaster literally has paved the way for a textbook lesson in FEMA crisis management….Once the laughingstock of the federal bureaucracy after the bumbling, dithering tenure of director Michael Brown, FEMA under Fugate prepares for the worst and hopes for the best rather than the other way around.”

    The lesson here is simple. At a deep ideological level, Republicans believe that federal bureaucracies are inherently inept, so when Republicans occupy the White House they have no interest in making the federal bureaucracy work. And it doesn’t. Democrats, by contrast, take government services seriously and appoint people whose job is to make sure the federal bureaucracy does work. And it does.

  11. Ryan Says Obama Policies Threaten ‘Judeo-Christian’ Values
    By TRIP GABRIEL
    Paul Ryan holds a rally at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo.Josh Haner/The New York Times Paul Ryan holds a rally at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock, Colo.

    CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — Representative Paul D. Ryan accused President Obama on Sunday of taking the country down a path that compromised Judeo-Christian values and the traditions of Western civilization.

    The remarks came in a conference call with evangelical Christians, sandwiched between public rallies in which he often spoke of the Romney-Ryan ticket’s promise to bridge partisan divides if elected.

    Mr. Ryan’s campaign plane touched down in Colorado late on Sunday, his fourth state in a hectic day of rallies meant to maximize turnout on Election Day, and he spoke by phone to the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a group founded by the conservative Christian strategist Ralph Reed.

    “It’s a dangerous path,” Mr. Ryan said, describing Mr. Obama’s policies. “It’s a path that grows government, restricts freedom and liberty and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian, Western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional nation in the first place.”’

    A spokesman for Mr. Ryan, Michael Steel, said, “He was talking about issues like religious liberty and Obamacare – topics he has mentioned frequently during the campaign.”

    Mr. Ryan has previously criticized the Affordable Care Act for requiring church-run charities and institutions to include contraception in insurance plans for employees, a criticism widely echoed by conservatives. But this was the first time Mr. Ryan had used such strong language on the issue.

  12. I am no Romney supporter, but thinly veiled “social contract arguments to bash Romney are quite funny. Romney is an interventionist every bit as much as Obama, why liberals try to draw these stark contrast’s between the two because of so called ideology I have no idea. What tangible differences are there between the men? Govt medicine, both pro, warfare and empire? Both pro, Medicare, corporatism, wall street bailouts? Both pro, central banking? Both pro!!!
    Romney and Obama both endorse assassination of Americans on their say so, disqualifying both from office. These choices are frightening to say the least.
    And to the so called social contact which you seem to imply we are all apart, well I nor you, or anyone else signed anything of the sort. So because you believe it’s the role of gov’t to take my dollars and steal from productive people, I’m not supposed to have a say in the matter? These collectivist ideologies need to be flushed. Accident of birth doesn’t entitle Trotskyites to dictate how or for whom my or others income should be confiscated ie stolen to help with their ideas of a social contract. Just because you believe like Romney & Obama in the nanny state and attempt to justify it through threat of the violence of govt how is this a social contract? It is outright tyranny for 51% to dictate how any society spend its money, be they liberal or conservative. Both sides endorse the all powerful state, and liberal and conservative blow hards continue to justify these massive intrusions into everyday life, as a social contract, well no one alive today signed any such contract, so how is it anyone’s right to decide what we must accept as a so called social contract?

  13. “well no one alive today signed any such contract, so how is it anyone’s right to decide what we must accept as a so called social contract?”

    Well unlike some societies, your participation in the American social compact becomes entirely voluntary once you reach the age of majority. You are free to renounce your citizenship any time you like.

  14. So I have would have to renounce my citizenship to avoid violence at the hands of the govt for what you deem is a social contract? But of a catch 22 wouldn’t you say? You would use govt force against others for what you justify as morally praiseworthy despite my objections? What social contract is this? And who would enter it other than statists?

  15. Dave S:

    If you’re primary concern is that you be able to keep all your stuff, you may have to consider something along the lines of the “Lord of the Flies” model. But I think it’s pretty well accepted that that’s not a particularly effective form of governance.

  16. “thinly veiled “social contract arguments to bash Romney are quite funny.” … “And to the so called social contact which you seem to imply we are all apart, well I nor you, or anyone else signed anything of the sort. ” (Dave S)

    To the first point … there was nothing “thinly veiled” about the essay. It was up front and in your face.

    As to the second point …

    Apart (adv) separated by distance or time
    A part(noun) a piece of something that forms the whole of something

    Freudian?

  17. No I believe in property rights, liberty, contract rights but not the right of the majority to decide for me with government force which programs it deems moral. It’s not for govt or liberal & conservative busy bodies to decide. There is no such thing as a social contract, only authoritarian’s justifying their positions via some greater good. These are abstract ideas, that in any real sense do not exist. Apple makes iPhones because it can make a profit, and generally speaking it benefits the greater good of those who willingly would like to pay for one. When statists use gov’t force to make me pay for things they want, like forcing me to buy an inferior phone, that I did not want to but have no choice because I could be imprisoned if I did not comply, what sociallly or morally is acceptable about this? People do things for their own benefit, for their friends and families and communities, this need for libs & cons to decide that we must needs to end.
    If you can’t do better than Lord of the flies perhaps Mr. Turley should find a better writer for his blog.

  18. “So I have would have to renounce my citizenship to avoid violence at the hands of the govt for what you deem is a social contract? But of a catch 22 wouldn’t you say? You would use govt force against others for what you justify as morally praiseworthy despite my objections? What social contract is this? And who would enter it other than statists?”

    You enter into a social compact whenever and wherever you are born. The salient point is that our social compact is voluntary (unlike, for example, North Korea) and you are free to leave as you wish and no longer be subject to the domestic laws that are the trade off for mutually derived benefit of being in a society. There is no Catch 22. The door is that way and no one will try to stop you from leaving. As to your straw man about what I would or would not endorse as a proper use of governmental force? It’s not worthy of address. You have no idea what I think on that matter, Dave. However, force is necessary in any form of government to enforce compliance with the laws as set in that given society. Law without enforcement is a suggestion. As to your objections? Society is a cooperative act. Your specific objections may or may not be rational and they may or may not conform to what the rest of society deems appropriate. For example, that douche bag Alan Greenspan thinks that fraud shouldn’t be illegal, but fortunately the rest of society disagrees with him. You do have a remedy though if your objections as so strong as to make your life ethically untenable. You can leave. Good luck finding a place to live though where you won’t be subject to the social compact in one form or another. They are simply a part of any society with organized government whether you like it or not.

    Also, statism – a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs – is only an issue of you endorse either anarchy (which doesn’t work) or some form of authoritarian/totalitarian regime. In a democracy, the power is vested in the decentralized People. If things aren’t going to your satisfaction and you don’t have the cajones to leave, then might I suggest participating in democracy and trying to reshape society to your liking. Given that you seem to endorse some kind of anarchist Lord of the Flies fantasy though, I doubt you’ll have much success on shaping anything at scale.

    Have a day.

  19. “No I believe in property rights, liberty, contract rights but not the right of the majority to decide for me with government force which programs it deems moral. ”

    Property rights and contractual obligations that would be meaningless without government enforcements and protections. Unless, of course, you’re the Randian Superman and the baddest ass on the planet capable of vanquishing all others who would take your property and rip you off on a contract.

    Also, you should have simply said, “I believe in my right to property and to do whatever I please without consequence, but I don’t believe in democracy.” It would have been much cleaner.

  20. Who is advocating no govt? It is a neccessary evil, to enforce basic rights, and defend its borders, not to be lorded over by statists who think it is some noble cause to have a nanny state. I vote libertarian in the hope people will come to their senses and reduce the state.
    I don’t know all your views Gene, from what I read you come off quite authoritarian. A social contract of birth doesn’t mean busy bodies off all stripes should devote their lives to making me pay for the state again for what they deem moral. There isn’t a lord of the flies theme, only that it isn’t your concern what I do with my person or property. That should be my concern as long as I’m not injuring others. Do you believe I should pay the govt money if I’m against abortion, for abortion? The end defense of all your lib and con arguments are govt force. When it should be for freedom, I’m not an anarchist, I believe law and order are quite neccessary, but not for busy bodies to twist law into every cause they feel is just in gov’t with or without my consent. The social contract is just justification for the nanny state, which is why I choose to argue the merits of strictly limited govt.
    Go work in the private sector to pursue goals which you deem noble, don’t use force to make me go along with what you think is part of this contract.

  21. Many people who deny the validity of the social contract can be defined as sociopaths, since they exhibit similar qualities, particularly their lack of empathy.

  22. Dave S: The problem with the notion that no one should be forced to pay for something they oppose is that a society adopting that principle would inevitably descend into anarchy. The function of voting is to provide guidance on what sorts of things society believes the government should be able to force me to do. I happen to believe in a number of libertarian policies on social issues and personal freedom. However, the limitation on government authority which you propose would produce mayhem in short order. Using the social contract analogy, your agreement would be terminable at will.

  23. SwM,

    Your lawyersgunsandmoneyblog.com link brilliantly summarizes my thinking much better than I could have done myself. Because many might not bother to actually read the article “Thoughts on the Left at the End of the Election Cycle”, which was a brilliant refutation of those one the Left who see no difference twixt Romney and Obama, I must post its ending summary:

    “.1. Change happens outside the election cycles–elections are for institutionalizing the changes you have attempted to make in the past 4 years.

    2. Every single U.S. president has blood on his hands. Voting in a presidential election is always a choice between two evils.

    3. We need to think less about our own personal moral position in voting. It’s not about you. It’s about the community where you live. Even if you vote for Jill Stein, the blood of Pakistani babies killed in drone strikes is on your hands. You cannot wash off that blood without changing the system–something that 3rd parties have never done. You want clean hands–organize the American public around the issues you care about. It will take the rest of your life. That is the timeline of real change.

    4. There actually are lessons from the past on these issues. There are lessons in how to organize. And there are lessons about what third parties do and do not do. When someone can tell me what value a third party has had to pushing the agenda to the left in the last 80 years, I’ll be real interested in hearing it.

    5. We need a tougher and smarter left. The self-described left punditry and journalists in 2012 has been individualistic, holier than thou, disorganized, and narcissistic. The real story of the left this year is smart and tough–the Chicago Teachers Union. That’s how you demand and make change. Writing editorials obscuring the differences between Obama and Romney and encouraging well-meaning people to protest vote is worse than worthless–it’s mendacious and serves as a tool for conservatives to continue pushing this nation back to the Gilded Age.”

  24. This is the beginning of the article SwM posted which I completely agree with:

    “Within left politics in 2012, the big story has not been Occupy or any other social movement. It hasn’t been building on the Wisconsin protests to create long-lasting change. It’s been a discussion of this question: Has Obama been so horrible that we can’t vote for him?

    I’m really disappointed in the left in this conversation.

    I would like to think that we on the left actually do understand history. We do not. There is a clear path to change. Conservatives understand this. You take over the party structure. That’s what they did in the 1950s and 1960s when they were disgusted by the moderate Republicanism of Dwight Eisenhower, Earl Warren, and Nelson Rockefeller. They took over party structures and local offices and turned them into bastions of energized conservatism. Note that conservatives basically don’t run 3rd party campaigns. Libertarians might talk about doing this–but they almost all vote Republican in the end because they know that they are moving their agenda forward by doing so.

    Any reading of history shows that change within the American political system does not come through third party campaigns. It comes through the hard work of organizing our communities to demand change. Eventually legal and political changes are necessary–but only after people are organized to demand them. Look at the major movements in the last century. The labor movement, African-American civil rights, the women’s movement, gay rights movement. Each of these movements spent decades (or a century) organizing for change. For each of them, there was a moment when it all came together and they could demand transformations of federal and state law, which for gay rights is happening right now.

    Note that not a single one of these transformational social movements used a third party mechanism as an important strategy.”

  25. Mike S, A lawyer friend sent it to me. I posted it because we have this discussion over and over again on this blog.

  26. Mike S., good points. I remember how bitter I felt toward the Democratic Party in 1968 when Humphrey won the nomination and Daley bloodied the streets of Chicago. It was my first opportunity to vote and Eugene McCarthy was my man. By the time election day rolled around, I was ready to swallow my wounded innocence and vote for Humphrey. Of course, he lost anyway.

  27. Great link Swarthmore!
    Kudos to Mike A. and Gene for their responses to Dave who does not believe in a social compact, if it impacts him negatively in any way. I think Dave just needs to buy an island someplace and live off the land. Of course, when you come to town to buy your supplies, the social compact will come into play.

  28. “I remember how bitter I felt toward the Democratic Party in 1968 when Humphrey won the nomination and Daley bloodied the streets of Chicago.”

    Mike A,

    Well I remember my bitterness too, since I supported RFK and was devastated when he was murdered as I had just watched his California victory speech. I couldn’t sleep that night with my reddened eyes glued to the TV. I was very active in the Movement for social change at the time and while I was unhappy with Humphrey for his being LBJ’s VP, I remembered how much good he had done in fighting Democratic Party racism. I also remembered Nixon’s history and so I had to vote for and support Humphrey, despite Chicago.

    Many of my associates in the movement thought me a fool and a traitor. Many of the purists on the left refused to support Humphrey, who only lost by a small margin. Nixon escalated the Viet Nam War precipitously, bombed Laos and Cambodia, directly leading to Pol Pot’s ascension in Cambodia. The issue today is only tangentially a war. The core issues are SCOTUS, Women’s Freedom and the suffering of the 99%. There is a clear choice to be made and those who refuse to realize it will have hands as bloody as was that of those Leftist purists back in 1968. The advantage of age is that you’ve lived through historic times most people alive can only read about.

  29. Rep. Ron Paul questions value of federal flood aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy
    By Pete Kasperowicz – 11/05/12 03:28 PM ET

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that the billions of dollars in damage Hurricane Sandy caused in New York and New Jersey raises “uncomfortable questions” about whether taxpayers should continue to pay for the cleanup from natural disasters.

    While many New York and New Jersey members are calling for billions in additional funds, Paul said on his website that the government will continue to lose money by insuring these sorts of events.

    The former GOP presidential candidate said most of the funding to help with Sandy will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). But he said these agencies will only put taxpayers deeper in debt by writing checks.

    “Many think there is a need for the government to provide flood insurance of this kind,” Paul said. “After all, the market would never provide insurance in flood prone areas at an affordable price. But shouldn’t that tell us something?

    “Shouldn’t that tell us that it is a losing proposition to insure homes in coastal areas and flood plains often threatened by severe and destructive weather patterns? And if it’s a losing proposition, should taxpayers subsidize the inevitable losses arising from federal flood insurance?”

    Paul said the NFIP in particular creates a moral hazard by making it more affordable for people to keep building and rebuilding in flood prone areas.

    “The obvious and expected outcome is more danger to life and limb when disaster strikes,” Paul wrote.

    Regarding FEMA, Paul said that agency has a record of “mismanaged recovery and relief” efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. He said charities and private organizations are better equipped to help people that FEMA.

    “Organizations such as the Red Cross and private companies like Home Depot and Duracell have already stepped in admirably to help those in need, and we can only hope FEMA has learned this time not to impede and frustrate private efforts as they have in the past,” Paul said. The Hill

  30. Okay mike gets it, but makes the wrong conclusion, raff & gene are statist’s arguing for more govt. Mike law can be a very simple thing, aggression against another person or
    his property, it needn’t be anything else. When you take it past this point what are you doing? Logically you are arguing for big brother gov’t, whether you think it is moral or not is simply irrelevant. It’s is no ones business to tell you what to do with you person or property, as long as you do not agress against another. The conclusion of allowing the govt to do any of what Raff or Gene argues is the totalitarian state, because govt does not relinquish power, it only seeks to expand it, unless violent revolution should demand otherwise. History is full of examples of men who want the all powerful state, and they all failed. For the sake of common sense and liberty this notion must be ended. If you let govt do what Romney & Obama(of which there is virtually no difference)do, then you consent to anything they do. Since both agree they can assassinate you, control your medical care, spy on you, steal your income.
    Where does it end, I do not consent to these busy bodies and do gooder beauracrats who claim to dictate what I should think is morally necessary. It has no logical end except the complete state.
    So limit govt in all ways except to defend freedom,
    let people help people, not be told they have to because it’s some noble cause some busy body thinks you should endorse it.

  31. Outstanding article Mike. You have delineated the stakes at issue tomorrow concisely and one can only hope that more voters vote for the social contract (degraded as it may be) than to trash it. If I wanted to live in Somalia I’d move there; anarchy (nor a social compact founded on nobleness oblige) has never been attractive to me.

  32. Wow. This site is the Pravda blog.

    Go along with our social message or leave. Anything short of our social desires is anarchy.

    You folks have much in common with Rush L. The ONLY difference is he is on the extreme right.

  33. lottakatz:
    Voting here in Florida tomorrow may resemble living in Somalia. I live in Winter Park. I planned to vote on Saturday at the early voting location in the Winter Park library. Instead it was shut down due to a bomb threat. Lawyers for the Democratic Party then had to file a law suit and get a court order requiring Sunday hours as a replacement. I expect True the Vote people will be swarming the precincts like bees tomorrow and with early voting days cut in half, I predict a mess.

  34. Me:
    After following presidential politics since 1960 and witnessing the accelerating lunge to the right in recent years, I believe you would suspect Eisenhower of Marxist tendencies.

  35. Mike A., I hate to contemplate what they think of a couple of other Republican Presidents: Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

  36. You’re right, OS, and I don’t get it. All I was attempting to do was illustrate some distinctions by taking the political debate back to first principles. But it appears that for some people it has conjured up images of collective farms with hordes of Young Democrats marching through rows of wheat, carrying wooden-handled scythes and singing patriotic songs in unison. E pluribus nullum.

  37. Ah, so I have a few folks who see genes and raffs circular logic, abide by the “social contract” or bow down before it. The law should read live & let live not listen to what I think or bow down to the state.
    What a failed “state” of mind.

  38. My model of the social compact?

    Thanks, but I’m not going to take the credit for the work of dozens of philosophers, political scientists and jurists over the last 350 years.

    If you two clowns want to disbelieve the nature of the social compact as defined by history and jurisprudence, then more power to you.

    Let me know what color the sky is in your world though. Because you certainly aren’t living here if you think it is other than as described.

  39. Gene, have you noticed there is enough material for at least two more installments on logical fallacies right here in this single thread?

    I am reminded of the running joke line in the old Life of Riley comedy series: “Don’t confuse me with facts, I have made up my head.”

  40. http://jonathanturley.org/2012/10/21/ethical-relativism-a-good-idea-or-a-path-to-anarchy/

    The social compact has recently been argued on this blog in greater detail than either of you two nobs can muster at the link above. And even though Tony argued against the basis of Rousseau poorly and with only a pedestrian understanding of Locke, he still put up a better fight than either of you are capable of. However, even he wasn’t so ignorant as to argue the social compact did not exist as described. His bone of contention was over Rousseau’s language surrounding his particular rationale for the social compact which Tony mistakenly took too literally and built a semantic argument upon which has no relation to the reality of the thoughts in modern jurisprudence on the social compact.

    Instead of toying with you two trolls which would end in your resounding defeat no matter what you two might think, I’m just going to point to a much better discussion of the topic already had with a much more worthy opponent.

  41. OS,

    Yes I have. These two not only qualify as Life of Riley characters (that was a great radio show) but they are textbook examples of the tactical application of logical fallacies by propaganda trolls as pointed out in the Propaganda Series of articles.

  42.  Those who continue to believe that we are all in this together applauded the non-partisan meetings between President Obama and New Jersey governor Christ Christie.  The ideologues on the right saw those same meetings as a cynical betrayal of conservative orthodoxy.
    There’s one. I never said communist but nice try. I said statist.
    You’r first folly is that “we are all in this together”, this is false logic on its face. Are you going to come to my house if it’s flooded? Possibly, but of your own free will, so where does gov’t belong here? It simply doesn’t.
    Alternatively, they approved the initial response of Rep. Steve King (R. Iowa), who subordinated concern over the needs of the storm’s victims to the question of  what budget cuts would need to be made before providing federal assistance.
    #2 the country aka the state is 16 trillion in debt aka broke. It is broke because statists believe govt can solve every problem. Mr king may sound dispassionate, but he’s being pragmatic, so cut your junk programs to help others then. Oh but you can’t cut what “you” want because that would be immoral, the poor, or sick or whatever cause you champion today. It all adds up to a flawed logic where everything you advocate can’t be cut but what I think doesn’t matter.
    In conclusion, statism is circular logic that builds on itself, if you want to buy into the social contract, then do it , but while you’r feeding at the govt trough, allow me the option to opt out, that’s my social contract.

  43. Your first fallacy is that you don’t recognize that society – a naturally cooperative endeavour – is real despite your childish notion that the individual is the end all be all unit of human organization. Also, don’t use terms you clearly don’t understand like circular logic. It only makes you look more like a dipstick who learned logic and political science from the backs of sugar packets at Denny’s. And this? “allow me the option to opt out, that’s my social contract.” You have the option to opt out of the social contract. Renounce your citizenship and move elsewhere. No one will try to stop you. Damn. You are stupid.

    Are the troll shops scrapping the bottom of the barrel this close to election?

    Apparently so.

  44. OT, way OT but I thought you would appreciate this.

    A senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road, he floored it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little gray hair he had left. “Amazing,” he thought as he flew down I-94, pushing the pedal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a state trooper behind him, lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120. Suddenly he thought, “What am I doing? I’m too old for this,” and pulled over to await the trooper’s arrival. Pulling in behind him, the trooper walked up to the Corvette, looked at his watch, and said, “Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a reason for speeding that I’ve never heard before, I’ll let you go.”
    The old gentleman paused. Then he said, “Years ago, my wife
    ran off with a State trooper. I thought you were bringing her back.”

    “Have a good day, sir,” replied the trooper.

  45. Blouise 1, November 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Ah, the bewildered incomprehension of the home schooled.

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

    Blouise wins the Internets tonight. Now I have to go clean the hot chocolate off my screen. At least it does not burn as much as orange juice when snorted out the nose.

  46. You are apparently an expert on onanism, Me. Especially the mental sort. However, make no mistake about it, we are laughing at your ignorance as well as each other’s jokes.

  47. good one Gene. I bet OS got a belly laugh on that one.

    OS – “Good one Gene, you showed him”
    GENE- “I sure did, “

  48. See Gene, that’s why I’m correct and your not.  You look to everyone else as if you have some implied guarantee of safety, security, health, or what have you.  It is a game you like to play with people of inferior intellect, where what you advocate is correct, and what people on the other side advocate is wrong.

    Your first fallacy is that you don’t recognize that society – a naturally cooperative endeavour – is real despite your childish notion that the individual is the end all be all unit of human organization
    So what don’t I understand Gene? You believe it’s okay to use a gun to make me do what you think is right?Or that I believe that it’s not okay?  Who said I’m not part of society? I bet I’m a much more social person than you, if you’d like to argue statism in a public venue I’ll be happy to provide my # for you.
    You have the option to opt out of the social contract. Renounce your citizenship and move elsewhere. No one will try to stop you.

    Damn. I must be stupid, because I don’t resort to name calling and slight to make my point. Justify statism however you may Gene, it boils down to you wanting to point a gov’t gun at me and not vice versa.
    Oh and when you and your social contract buddies are done laughing, perhaps you can solve my assertion that statism is circular logic. But you’d rather call me stupid and assume your superior, I’m sure other statists are clapping.

  49. Blouise

    Nothing to get mad at yet. I’ve just witnessed a couple of teenage like outbursts, some back and forth inside jokes, a cute joke about a trooper that got an oversized reaction (I mean please…hot chocolate on the screen?) and then a bunch of supposed insults that made two of the teenagers think they got even.

    Not one person has countered what DaveS had to say. They think they have, but they haven’t.

    And even then Blouise I wouldn’t get mad. I’m man enough to say when I am wrong. But besides all of Gene protestations, he has done nothing to think I am wrong (or Dave). On the contrary, I think our side is more right.

    Now back to reading the back of Denny’s sugar packets (jeez that insult was so terrible I now think Gene is pompous and a elderly)

  50. Dave,

    You have the argument of a child against the issue of legitimacy of the use of force by governments. All those topics and more have been addressed elsewhere as directed. If you don’t understand the basic logic that laws without enforcement are mere suggestions and that civilization is not possible without out laws, then I can’t help you. Why don’t you go away, read a book, understand the book in context of other books and come back with an argument that’s better than “force is wrong” and “I don’t wanna be in the social compact”. Here is a fact about civilization: Force is necessary for the rule of law. This is whether you approve or not. It is simply the matter of human nature. Laws exist in part to protect the many from the evils perpetrated by the few. The use of coercion by government is how those laws in enforced. It has been that way from the beginning of civilization and it will be that way until the end of civilization and no amount of whining on your part is going to change that fact. Like it or not, the use of force by government is necessary. The only question this raises in social compact theory is rather or not a particular use of force is legitimate or not.

    Also, you are really stupid and I just call them like a see them. All men are created equal, but not all men are created equally. Seriously, I’d say get a clue, but you and a clue aren’t even in the same ZIP code.

    If it is any consolation, I don’t revel in your ignorance. “If any man is able to convince me and show me that I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth by which no man was ever injured. But he is injured who abides in his error and ignorance.” The only person you harm in your ignorance is yourself and that is simply as sad as watching the self-imposed decline of someone wallowing in substance abuse.

  51. Gene = Will Hunting

    He knows so much, but is still a snot nosed punk that knows so little.

    Throwing more quotes around can’t hide you buddy.

  52. Me:

    “Not one person has countered what DaveS had to say. They think they have, but they haven’t.”

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

    How could they? DaveS hasn’t made any logical assertion he’s simply stated his rather simple opinion that societies aren’t necessary and that if they are he’s got an opt out clause. He’s also taken a few potshots at statists and tried to imply Gene H is of such a mindset when even a cursory review of Gene’s work here would prove just how downright silly that suggestion makes Dave S sound.

    In my view, Gene H did precisely what any person would do when faced with silliness, simplistic opinions, and ludicrous observations, he just laughed and then he followed Jefferson’s recommendation when faced with non-distinct irrational propositions,he ridiculed them.

  53. Me:

    “He knows so much, but is still a snot nosed punk that knows so little.”

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

    Now there’s some persuasive argumentation. How’s about a retort about the relative pugilistic skills of your father versus Gene H’s?

    You’re fun!

  54. “DaveS hasn’t made any logical assertion he’s simply stated his rather simple opinion that societies aren’t necessary”

    Really, that’s what he asserted? Arguing against this faux social contract is not the same as arguing for anarchy. I just re-read the original post and NOWHERE does he say that “societies arent necessary”.

    SO take it back.

  55. You have the argument of a child against the issue of legitimacy of the use of force by governments. All those topics and more have been addressed elsewhere as directed. If you don’t understand the basic logic that laws without enforcement are mere suggestions and that civilization is not possible without out laws, then I can’t help you
    How do I argue a point that you fail to grasp? I am for law, enforcement, and the like but not for your dictates. Where is the childish argument? Again you take a reasoned opinion that govt force other than to protect person or property is a call to anarchy, perhaps you like to hear yourself speak.
    No one said force is wrong, I simply stated that force of the majority is wrong, so persist in your childish accusations if you must. I will not go away, there isnt a social compact beyond aggression against another.
    How much free time do you spend helping the poor? Or do you simply say we should make the govt do it?
    Again, you’r feeble protestations of my arguments merely show you as callous and meek.

  56. Me:

    Dave graciously told us he’s all for law and order so long as the law is subject to his consent and the order is toothless. Out! Out! Damned force. That’s anarchy by anyone’s definition but why let a little well-settled political theory interrupt your unending, unlettered questioning of why the sky is blue or why you mother is called “mom”? It’s all subject to your tortured reading of the language. Like Gene H says, get a book. Were I you I’d start with reading comprehension.

  57. Dave S:

    “No one said force is wrong, I simply stated that force of the majority is wrong, so persist in your childish accusations if you must.”

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

    All law — every morsel of it — is backed by the legitimate force of the state that enforces it. In our case it’s majority rule. Sorry in your world that’s a foreign concept but questioning why the state can force you to do things you don’t want to do in service to the general welfare is about a childish a position as you can take. And stamping your feet while holding your breath makes a rather sheer argumentation approach.

  58. mespo727272

    Gene is more clever than that:

    Check out this beaut:

    “It only makes you look more like a dipstick who learned logic and political science from the backs of sugar packets at Denny’s”

    or this gem

    “All men are created equal, but not all men are created equally”

    that one floored even Me (elbow to chest..get it? Me?) . I was like, whoa, I’d better step out of this one’s way.

    Me

    PS-you didn’t just use the words political theory did you? like that oxymoron is supposed to levitate your argument or something?

  59. So again, I argue against statism? How many supreme courts haven’t been biased? How many laws aren’t?
    What I have been trying to articulate is that there should be very few laws, but all enforced, but not expanded until the law has no meaning.
    NDAA.
    So where do we draw the line? We accept a never ending beauratic set of popular demands? This is absurd. Law is person and property, derivatives of the theme may vary, but the gist of the argument is that it cannot be expansive, which is why we are $16 trillion in debt, can assassinate, spy on, detain indefinitely, etc….
    Keep up the States work.

  60. I’m still laughing at being called “meek”.

    I’m so quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on or submissive.

    Pst! That was irony.

  61. Me:

    “you didn’t just use the words political theory did you? like that oxymoron is supposed to levitate your argument or something?”

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

    Pardon. How could I have possibly thought that a discussion of the social contract, anarchism, and the legitimate use of state force could ever involve “political theory.” I’ll pass this along to Locke, Godwin, and Hobbes. They’ll be just as enlightened as me!!!

  62. How could I have possibly thought that a discussion of the social contract, anarchism, and the legitimate use of state force could ever involve “political theory.”

    case closed then. all settled. no need to continue. We will just go to the Political Theory textbook, finger through the index and find the answers.

    So sorry to have troubled you. But at least you and Gene got closer.

  63. Me:

    “case closed then. all settled. no need to continue. We will just go to the Political Theory textbook, finger through the index and find the answers.”

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

    Well … it’s not a bad place to start when the import of your words proves to those of us who have that you haven’t.

  64. You’re no trouble at all, Me. As adults we all expect a certain amount of bad and irrational behavior from children. Like screaming “I don’t wanna!” and “The law is touching me!”

  65. If only I could be a “have”. If only I opened that Political Philosophy book more instead of that physics book. I could have made something of myself. I could have been an elitist snob exposing theory instead of anything practical.

    If only…if only

  66. Gene H:

    “Like screaming “I don’t wanna!” and “The law is touching me!”

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

    Seems I ‘ve heard that before. Maybe it was that undercover cop who collared Larry Craig!

  67. Seems I ‘ve heard that before. Maybe it was that undercover cop who collared Larry Craig!

    I’m pretty sure it was Monica Lewinsky.

  68. Me:

    “If only I could be a “have”. If only I opened that Political Philosophy book more instead of that physics book. ”

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

    I doubt Gene H or I would debate you on physics. Why would you debate us here? ‘Cause you want to?

  69. Well I think my work is done here, gene argues in favour of the state and some implied contact, I simply argue for natural rights. There is no need for leviathan, yuck it up as statism fails. I tried the moral arguement, the economic arguments but you all think it’s funny.
    When your morally bankrupt ideas of collectivism crash, and they shall as every other nation states have in the past, I’ll be thinking of you Gene. We’ll have a drink and talk about those names you so eloquently called me.
    Perhaps we should all just listen to Judge Napolitano, or is he wrong too?

  70. You don’t know what you are arguing, Dave. Natural rights are a component of social compact theory and you’d know this if you weren’t ignorant. “Ignorant”. You did get that one on your lil’ list o’ names, didn’t you? Be sure to include it. As for Judge Napolitano? The words that usually comes to mind are “hack” and “talking head”. I pay as much attention to and take him as seriously as I do Judge Judy, which is to say not at all. But thanks for revealing you are a FOX viewer. Studies have shown that people who watch FOX News know less.

  71. Dave S:

    Your work here has not even started if you want to convince people on this blog who daily live the concepts you talk about that your anarchy theory is correct. How about some authority besides some Fox cable news commentator with a state judge title and a history of running a poor man’s Peoples Court?

  72. “Studies have shown that people who watch FOX News know less.”

    Thanks Gene for revealing how you like to throw statistically meaningless “studies” as evidence during your bullying tirades. Way to go stud.

  73. Of course, maybe when your done watching Rachel or Keith my ideas may be more in line with this blogs thinking.
    Great thing is, I don’t watch Fox, nor MSNBC, I read about law, natural rights, and economics all the time.
    I get the sense, most of you spend your time arguing that I’m wrong.

  74. “I get the sense, most of you spend your time arguing that I’m wrong.”

    well they certainly aren’t working! (Political Science…bwahahahah)

  75. Thanks for revealing that you are immune to facts gathered by scientific methodology, Me.

    And Dave? You may read about law and natural rights and economics, but you sure don’t understand any of it.

  76. “Thanks for revealing that you are immune to facts gathered by scientific methodology, Me.”

    That stud…in NOT science. That is flushing grant money down the toilet.

    PLEASE tell me you aren’t associated with that? (Actually, please tell me you are!)

  77. I’m pretty sure you don’t know what actual science is any more than you do what jurisprudence is, Me.

    612 adults is a valid sample space. The MOE is within acceptable range. If you have some evidence this is an invalid poll, present it.

  78. However, I’ll have to get up and laugh at your idiotic babbling tomorrow. I have things to do before I hit the sack. Thanks for the chuckles, Chuckles.

  79. go to bed ole man. you might know political science (bwhahahah…science…bwahahah) but you dont know stats.

    612 would be a valid sample size if the questions asked had any relation to what it is to be “knowledgeable”. It not the sample size that counts…its the darn test. Anyone that has at least dabbled in science knows that.

    That you would weakly comeback with sample size and MOE shows that you are running on fumes. Get some sleep pappy, build your strength back up. This was and enduring thread and you lost some on the way. But with some sleep, a nice oatmeal breakfast with some fruit and tea and we will get you back up to normal half-wit pace.

    I will resume writing code. A much MUCH harder job than political…gulp…science (I cant believe how much those two words together make me laugh)

  80. Ah Gene, class to the end my friend, I do hope I get to meet you someday. Your dismissive tone, pompous arrogance and idea of manners in a debate has been fun. The idea you can so narcissistically pawn off others comments says so much about the coward you are. Your ego demands others praise your immoral idea of what is morally acceptable, and you blindly follow the herd. Tell me Gene, when’s the last time you had an idea that wasn’t a Democratic party one? Or better yet, one of your own?
    You spent your time arguing against freedom, well good for you, & here in this blog you may have won, but “Sir” I assure you, you will fail along with many indoctrinated such as yourself to understand that govt isn’t our saviour, perhaps you call the state god.

  81. Sorry..can’t let this end (in the middle of a loop)

    Gene: “Studies have shown that people who watch FOX News know less.”

    “Isn’t that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight.”

    Dude, You provided a link to a study that said not that FOX viewers know less…but they know less about current events. You can’t even get your facts straight.

    So not only did you provide a link to a toilet paper study, it “supposedly” answered a different question than the one you thought it did.

    Good one. Brilliant.

    You should stick to the Denny’s zingers. I think with average age of this readership being Medicare ready, your Denny’s line will ring a bell in their collective heads (oops…I didn’t go THERE did I?) Mike S knows what I’m talking about, right buddy (I didn’t forget the sociopath reference above, comrade…but Gene stepped in your line of fire)

    Stay within your comfort zone. You know…lots of quotes. A few big words. Loads of insults (the ones that hurt like “you are ignorant…or I don’t have time to educate stupid”). That’s where you are most effective. And by all means do NOT, and I mean do NOT step outside of the political science (bwahahahah) box.

  82. Lucky for you, Me, I got belayed by a phone call.

    Go tell your stats teacher (you did have one, right? I had three) that sample space size and composition validity isn’t an issue. If you have evidence the survey was skewed, present it, but your word is precisely meaningless as evidence. Or we could ask OS to chime in. He designs tests professionally and is a working science professional.

    As to knowing less, if one knows less about current events, it is simply a contributing factor to their overall ignorance which you have displayed on the topic of government in copious amounts already.

    Now get back to work, Code Monkey. Careful with that Mountain Dew diet though. It’ll rot your already atrophied brain.

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

    Dave,

    Your veiled threats are mildly amusing. Could I get some fries with that, imbecile? Tough guys are so funny. You think (poorly and wrongly) that because someone is smarter than you that they are somehow incapable of defending themselves.

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

    The social compact theory is the foundation for understanding governments. It’s a theory like evolution is a theory – it’s a fact that is undergoing constant refinement until basic laws can be distilled from it. Whether you two anarchist clowns believe in it or not is irrelevant to its existence. Gravity is just a theory too. Why don’t you both disbelieve it and jump off a cliff. See how what works out for you.

    You will never escape the social compact as long as you interact with other groups of humans.

    So you can both look forward to a life of disappointment.

    I suspect you’re both quite used to that by now.

    Also, the idea that I’m a herd thinker let alone a Democratic partisan just goes to show that neither of you actually read this blog before you came in with your things in your hand and talking smack about a subject that your manifest ignorance automatically made you a laughing stock. Nice try with the Rove play though. You come in spouting ridiculous rightwing propaganda so of course in your little minds that means anyone who disagrees with you – or worse, subjects your inanities to the ridicule they deserve – must be a Democrat.

    Wow. You really missed the boat on that one.

    Sorry to disappoint (pssst! that was sarcasm) but I’m one of the least partisan people you’ll ever see. Partisan politics is a sucker’s game. The two major parties and the Libertarians are all a bunch of hucksters looking to self-aggrandizement and stealing as much as they can get their hands on while serving the interests of corporatists fascism instead of serving the democratic interests of the people. I’m far worse than just Independent. I’m a Jeffersonian Constitutionalist Liberal Progressive if you must attach a label to it. I think there should be a multitude of party options (not the two and half option present now which is only the illusion of choice) or none at all. And personally I lean to none at all. Partisan politics is, next to corruption, the leading cause of dysfunctional government in this Great Experiment of Ours. My primary concerns are justice and the betterment of society through the rule of law. The rule of law that underpins the social compact theory and all forms of governance as a fact and much to your anarchist chagrin. If you’ve got a problem with seeking justice? Well then, that says far more about you than you realize. It’s not flattering either.

    Now you two nattering ninnies be sure to carry on with some more of your infantile prattle in my absence.

    I’ll need a good laugh while drinking my coffee in the morning.

  83. “Go tell your stats teacher (you did have one, right? I had three) that sample space size and composition validity isn’t an issue. If you have evidence the survey was skewed, present it, but your word is precisely meaningless as evidence. Or we could ask OS to chime in. He designs tests professionally and is a working science professional.”

    I’m sure thats OS will chime in that this garbage:

    “Fairleigh Dickinson University recently questioned 612 adults in New Jersey about how they get their news, offering as options traditional outlets like newspapers and local and national television news, or blogs, websites and even Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show. They then asked a series of factual questions about the major events of the last year, from the “Arab Spring” to the Republican race for president.”

    now somehow answers the question, do Fox news viewer know less?

    Yup settled science. You were sooo right on that one Gene. Must be such a burden to know so much. To be able to answer with scientific accuracy the questions to all the hard questions ONLY the readers of this thread care to know.

    I’d hate to live with that burden.

  84. “I’ll need a good laugh while drinking my coffee in the morning.”

    Don’t forget your fiber. You know how irritable you get without it.

  85. Fortunately no one is ever going to accuse you of being burdened with intelligence, Me.

    Produce your proof the study is flawed.

  86. “Produce your proof the study is flawed.”

    The burden of proof is on you. That is how these things work. You make a claim and then you back it up.

    You haven’t backed up squat. The poll you have linked to is just a poll. It’s one data point that doesn’t even corroborate your statement (Fox viewers know less). You are so stuck in your confirmation bias arse that you just automatically assume you are right. I can see why after ready this blog. Oh Gene, you are so smart, blah blah blah.

    NOW..stay-in-comfort-zone!

    Tell me again about Jeffersonian Constitutionalist Liberalism…

  87. Gene, I shall address your arrogance in the morning. Really, I hope your not a professor because the world would be a poorer place for your so called I’m a Jeffersonian Constitutionalist Liberal Progressive’ism.
    Gene your a liberal blow hard, who wastes his intellect disputing freedom on a blog that I thought was for it.
    If your such a wise man Gene, put it to use. Stop debating freedom, progressivism is a gateway like a drug, to the nanny state, again circular logic. But an ego like Gene’s wouldn’t dare go out and make the world a better place, nope he’d rather argue the merits of a false narrative on a blog, against someone who is trying to show the merit of non progressivism.
    To finish your obvious retort, I don’t watch fox, read real economics, not Krugman, and don’t care if you’r ego needs more validation.

  88. “Wow. This site is the Pravda blog.

    Go along with our social message or leave. Anything short of our social desires is anarchy.

    You folks have much in common with Rush L. The ONLY difference is he is on the extreme right.”

    This is Me’s first comment on this thread. Much later on Me says:

    “they pat each other on the back and they laugh at each other’s jokes. it’s one big circle jerk.”

    The implication being that he/she/it is merely a reasonable person who came here to have a fruitful discussion. It is amazing, but not surprising how a certain sample of the population is intellectually and/or emotionally incapable of understanding that their aggressive disparagement would be met with a similar response. It is the psychological defense mechanism of denial, which makes one incapable of seeing their own contribution to perceived hostility.

    Back to the social contract issue though. One doesn’t have to read Locke to understand that humans have throughout their history always progressed in a societal context. We need each other and indeed we are social animals. The major problem with our history, is that certain of us were born without the ability to have empathy for others and therefore fall into the category of sociopaths and psychotics. The destructive forces that such people unleash generally cause harm to others, through violence and/or duplicity. Since it is their nature, as the old scorpion story goes, they are unable to feel any sense of shame at their actions, only an undiminished sense of justification.
    Because of this to argue with them is fruitless since they are incapable of understanding their own deficiency.

  89. There are folks from fusion centers who are paid to “drop in”, with the goal of provoking.

    America, 2012.

  90. I have been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this website. Reading this information So i am satisfied to express that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I came upon exactly what I needed. I so much no doubt will make certain to don?t fail to remember this site and give it a look on a constant basis.

Comments are closed.