INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2B

The post continues where INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2A left off. Please refer to INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 1 for links to the other posts.

Here we will consider the last three of four questions.

When does it become immoral for the government to tax us? That is, where do you draw the line and say no more?

When does it become immoral for the government to tax us? That is, where do you draw the line and say no more? Well, consider what we established as the justification for taxation in INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 2A.

Therefore, because some agency has to exercise the force required to maintain order and protect everyone’s rights, forcing everyone to pay taxes to maintain a good government is one of those cases where the means is in accord with the end and therefore justified.

That is, we can justify forcing people to pay taxes because government has an indispensable purpose which requires all of us to pay for it. However, what if government starts doing other things with our tax funds? Then what justification do we have for raising taxes to pay for those additional things?

Consider what we have added. In this country we have various health, education, and welfare programs. Supposedly, because you have a right to:

  • Life = government has to provide our healthcare.
  • An education = government has to educate us.
  • Food, clothing, shelter, a job, and so forth = government has to give whatever it is we can get enough people to vote for.

Does the Constitution authorize Congress to spend our money on health, education, and welfare programs? No. So why does Congress do it? Why do some people rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Congressmen rob the Federal treasury because that’s where the money is that they can use to buy our votes.

The purpose of government is to keep us from infringing upon each others rights, not to give us our neighbor’s property. When government starts taking some people’s property and giving it to other people, we have too much government. The answer to the next question explains why that is a problem.

How do we ensure that a government that runs our lives will exercise its power for our benefit and not someone else’s benefit?

How do we ensure that a government that runs our lives will exercise its power for our benefit and not someone else’s benefit? Well, if the government is running our lives, we already have a big problem. Consider the issue.  Government is supposed to protect the rights of All the People, not skew things to the benefit of special interest groups (We are all members of some special interest group.). Therefore, we have to keep politicians focused on protecting the rights of the People. That is, to make certain our politicians are not tempted to skew things to the benefit of some special interest group, we have to make certain they don’t have a conflict of interest.

The Conflict Of Interest

What usually causes politicians to have a conflict of interest? Instead of just expecting politicians to protect our Rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, we start expecting them to give us so-called “rights” like “free” healthcare, schooling, food, clothing, shelter, job benefits and so forth. Unfortunately, no politician can give us anything unless he starts taking what he gives us from our neighbors, and there lies the conflict of interest. When politicians start giving us stuff for “free”, we make the same people responsible protecting everyone’s Rights also responsible for taking away some people’s Rights. That’s how politicians get the stuff they use to give “other people” their “rights”. Such a system is not charity; it is just thievery on a mass scale that seems okay because everyone is doing it.

So How Should We Help The Needy?

So how should we help the needy? In an old post, THE RIGHT OF FREE ASSOCIATION, I cite what Alexis De Tocqueville observed about 1830’s America in his classic work, Democracy in America. Here is a sample. I suggest reading the entire post.

Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association. I met with several kinds of associations in America, of which I confess I had no previous notion; and I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men, and in getting them voluntarily to pursue it.

What De Tocqueville observed is that when Americans saw a need, they voluntarily banded together and did something about it. If you love your neighbor, that is what you do.

How big and powerful does the government have to be before the people have lost the ability to refuse it anything it wants?

In a constitutional republic the People instill their values into their government. In an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, government seeks to indoctrinate the People in politically correct values. What is the distinction? In a society that operates as a constitutional republic, a limited government, the People disperse control of the educational system and mass media infrastructure among many people who operate independently of each other. An authoritarian or totalitarian regime, however, seeks survival by indoctrinating the People. To that end authoritarian or totalitarian governments monopolize the educational system and the mass media infrastructure.

The Education Problem

We want our children to have a good education, one that helps us as parents to instill the right values, right? What makes us think we can depend upon politicians to help us? Who trusts politicians? Yet that is what we have done. We have put government in charge of our educational system and turned what should be a blessing into a predicament.  Instead parents being in charge of what the children they love learn, children learn whatever the dominant political party thinks important.

The Problem Of A Free Press

We want to find out what is going on in the world, right? Ideally, we would choose from a variety of independent mass media outlets. Then we would compare notes with our family, friends and neighbors and decide which outlets are the most credible and informative. But what if the mass media is dominated by the government or a relatively small number powerful men and women interested in influencing the political system (see section on Crony Capitalism)? What if much of the mass media seems more interested in dispensing propaganda than in being trusted?

An Observation From The Past

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (6 January 1816) ME 14:384.

For the time being control of our educational system and mass media infrastructure is still somewhat dispersed. If we want to remain a free people — if we do not want government lackeys corrupting our children and feeding us falsehoods — we need to support school choice for parents and fight any effort to concentrate the mass media into the hands of a few wealthy men or government official officials.

What Is To Come?

Please refer to INCOMPATIBLE VIEWS ON GOVERNMENT — PART 1 for links to the other posts.

GOSSIP, FAKE NEWS, OR THE TRUTH?

When we listen to the news, what are we trying to do? Well, supposedly we want someone to communicate to us what has been going on in the world that is “important” while we were sleeping, working, playing, or otherwise preoccupied. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to get an unbiased report. In fact, some people are devious.

Here we will consider an example of the work of the devious. The Washington Post put out this story, Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador, based upon unidentified sources.

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. (continued here)

What is peculiar about the story is how The Washington Post goes on to tell us this:

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities. (from here)

Since when is okay to reveal highly classified information to a reporter? Yet The Washington Post‘s supposedly reliable sources did exactly that, supposedly.

Anyway, the White House emphatically denied the story.

The White House has denied a Washington Post report that Donald Trump revealed classified information when he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak last week.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters this Monday: “The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time — at no time — were intelligence sources or methods discussed.”

“The president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”

“I was in the room — it didn’t happen.” (continued here)

Nevertheless, news organs such as The Associated Press breathlessly picked up the story.

On Monday, McMaster told reporters: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

The revelations could further damage Trump’s already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies. He’s openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates’ possible ties to Russia.

The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip. The White House was already reeling from its botched handling of Trump’s decision last week to fire James Comey, the FBI director who was overseeing the Russia investigation.

The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday, a conversation that was scheduled last week.

The revelation also prompted cries of hypocrisy. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disputed the report. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including “common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.” The nature of specific threats was discussed, he said, but not sources, methods or military operations. (from here)

The suggestion is that President Trump somehow fouled up and said more than he should have. Yet people whose names we have adamantly insist nothing untoward happen. So who are we supposed to believe?

Here is another report on the denials from the White House: McMaster: WaPo Story About Trump Sharing Classified Materials With Russians Is ‘False’ (freebeacon.com).

When we read stories like this, we need to keep something very basic in mind.  It can be quite difficult to prove nothing wrong happened. Hence, we insist that those charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Has Washington Post provided any proof? Read and decide for yourself.

 

 

THREE EXAMPLES OF QUOTES OUT OF CONTEXT — PART 4

confusedWell, here is the last post in this series on quotes out of context.  I would like to say I entirely understand the response I got, but I don’t. The best I can do is make some observations.

Most of the opposition’s comments in this series landed on the first post in the series. Why? Well, here are my guesses.

  • The post was a straightforward defense of Donald Trump.  There was no mention of H. Clinton. So H. Clinton’s supporters could attack Trump’s supposed narcissism without much fear they would have to defend H. Clinton.
  • The topic is fuzzy. Everyone knows Trump supporters would not stand by him if he started shooting people in the street, but it sounds awful to gun control freaks. Apparently, since sensitive souls can’t take such talk we must condemn it. Still, I wonder how such sensitive souls survive all the violence in the mass media.

Anyway, I would like to thank the commenters.

silenceofmind took the time to remind us that the news media’s bias has become dangerous to our republic.  He also pointed out that “one of THE Donald’s attributes that is so attractive is that he is completely unsullied by political correctness”.

novaDemocrat (AKA novascout) fomented confusion.  He described Trump’s utterance as useless braggadocio, even going so far as to say that people understood what Trump meant when they first heard the remark out of context. Shrug! He is entitled to his opinion.

Stephen thought Trump’s hyperbole imprudent.

But Prudence would dictate that you should not make such violent, hyperbolic statements to begin with.

Here is a list of examples of hyperbole. Here is an explanation of hyperbole as a literary device. People use hyperbole because exaggeration sometimes serves a purpose. If we let the news media deliberately misrepresent what people say to us, at some point we must blame ourselves for wilful ignorance.

Tony only made one comment (here), but it was a doozy. Here we get an elaborate explanation of how we choose our leaders the same way we choose our favorite soda pop and a hateful string of unsupported accusations against Trump. That comment simply disregarded the fact of news media bias.

One last observation, really a question. Has Trump manipulated the news media, or has the news media manipulated Trump? I don’t know.  There is little doubt that Trump’s willingness to express himself frankly and colorfully attracts media attention. However, frank, colorful statements are also easily distorted. So there is a trade-off.

The trade-off worked for Trump in the primaries. Will it work for him in the general election. Arguably, the news media wanted Trump to win the primaries. Given, for example, how a certain ten-year old video was held until October, that is sort of obvious. Nevertheless, Trump had to be aware the media would turn on him after the primaries.  So everything he said would eventually be used against him, and it has been. So how did he plan on dealing with it? Did he have a plan? I don’t know.

What about our plan? As voters, we want the best candidate to lead our country? However, we all have out own opinions about what that best candidate should look like.  That’s is why we have to vote, but voting doesn’t solve the problem of choosing the best candidate. We still have to learn about the candidates, and we still have to give the needs of our country some thought. That requires homework.

If we don’t do any homework, the news media will just tell us what to think. Everyone is biased, and that especially includes so-called objective journalists.  Therefore, if we want to learn about the candidates, we have to take the time to listen to them. That includes checking out their websites and listening to some of their campaign speeches. Otherwise, instead of voting based upon our own biases, we will be voting based upon the biases of our favorite talking heads.

Anyway, my future posts will focus on the issues.  Which of the candidates is more qualified? Which of the candidates has the best agenda.

BTW, here are the second and third posts.

THREE EXAMPLES OF QUOTES OUT OF CONTEXT — PART 2

The two big October surprises are Donald Trump’s supposed groping of women and Hillary Clinton’s wikileaks. Thus far Trump’s groping has gotten far more attention from the major media. How has the news media tried to portray the issue?

Do Republicans like teleprompters? We have not been teasing Obama about his teleprompters for years? I think we can skip that one. So what about Trump the victim? The video below is the one cited by CNN in the articles above. Keep in mind that Trump had other things to say besides what he said about the groping charges, but Trump response to the accusations is all CNN wanted to focus upon.

Trump’s calm response to the accusations begins 12 minutes into the video below. However, since the new media is not going to tell us anything, we may as well all listen to the whole thing.

Consider this example of how CNN has tried to put the issue into perspective.

When Harper started talking about diversion, I just wondered how he could say such a thing with a straight face. H. Clinton does not lie about just about everything.

When Sciolaro said God can use Trump, that did not compute for Harper and Baldwin. When Sciolaro started talking about and his wife being one, that just went over the Harper’s and Baldwin’s heads. Sexism? Really? Bill and Hillary are not one? It is funny, but I don’t think their fellow Democrats give their marriage as less credit than Conservatives.

Anyway, even though I have no idea just who Vicki Sciolaro might be, I can say one thing for certain. She is one of my fellow “deplorables.”