Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thoughts on Government

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I have always felt that government - at any level - has two primary functions, for lack of any better terms I'll call those two functions infrastructure and protection. If any government cannot provide either of those two functions, that government deserves to be replaced. Mind you, government is not some thing or machine, no, government consists of people either elected, appointed, or anointed. If the people in government aren't doing the job, get others who will.

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By infrastructure I mean roads, railroads, bridges, canals, seaports, airports, schools, hospitals, cemeteries, parks, beaches and the like. Things that people need to get from point A to point B. Things whereby the productive folk can move their goods from source to marketplace to consumer. Places to teach the young, places to care for the sick, and places to inter the dead. Recreation in the forms of parks and beaches are useful and I think necessary.

Protection takes a number of forms. Protection from natural disasters could be viewed as part of the infrastructure but I view this as the duty of weather services, both local and national. Protection from crime, from fire, from stupid people (there are reasons for zoning laws, some being better than others).

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On a national level the people require (not need but require) protection from invaders, both armed and otherwise. (Trust me, illegal immigrants are a massive drain on local services. Those who don't wish to assimilate are here to make our home like their home. If their home is so damned wonderful, why are they here?)

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It is not the business of government to involve themselves in the private lives of their citizens as long as those citizens are not harming anyone else. (For instance, an individual's right to go where they wish ends at someone else's property line. Your right to free speech does not mean that that speech need not have consequences. While I have the God-given right to call my boss an idiot, he has the God-given right to fire my ass should I do so.)

Different levels of government should not meddle at other levels. For instance, the Federal government has no business dictating to the individual states what those states can and cannot do, as long as those states are not in contravention of the Constitution of the United States as a whole.

By the same token the individual states should not meddle in Federal territory. For instance, Rhode Island may not enact a mutual defense treaty with Croatia. (I know that would be impractical and illogical in addition to being illegal under the Constitution.) But if Rhode Island wants to make common cause with Connecticut in an area of mutual interest, what right does the Federal government have to interfere? Provided of course said common cause does not violate the Constitution.

A number of distractions currently in play have the Feds interfering with state governments. Things which they have no business interfering with, such as who goes to the bathroom and where. Really DOJ? Aren't there existing Federal laws being broken which should demand your attention? (And threatening to cut off Federal funding? Where do you think that money came from? Washington DC? No. It came from the states. How about we cut off your funding?)

It's all bread and circuses. Distractions meant to entertain and confuse. If you think the nonsense coming in over the transom every damned day is not orchestrated, you probably need to rethink the way you look at things. There's an agenda out there and reasonable, limited government is not on that agenda. I'm not saying I know what's going on, but I smell a rat.

The Ideal...

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I think we've lost our way. Let's start making noise and get back to the ideal. Damn it, this is our country we have a right and a duty to make it work for the benefit of all citizens. Not just a privileged few. And yes Congress, I'm looking at you!





44 comments:

  1. Problem is, we now have a majority of participating voters who feel that the government should provide everything for everybody and pay for it by taxing the people who have more money and stuff than they do. The idea of a massive big government doesn't scare them because they don't have much if anything for it to take away, or because, as a supporter of it, they feel or know that they'll be exempt from the takings that the rest of the successful will be subject to "for the common good". And having opened the door, there's going to be no closing it again.

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    1. Until we run out of other people's money.

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    2. A picture is worth a thousand words, Murph.

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    3. Most of the folks I know fall into a different category. They think government should maintain them in the style to which they'd like to become accustomed, and firetruck everybody else, it'll all work out somehow. I don't think very many of the folks who live here think otherwise. Certainly far, far less than 10 percent.

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    4. And that situation cannot last forever.

      Things might could get bloody!

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  2. I am compelled to point out the many errors of this dissertation...Ah hell, I got nothing!

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    1. :)

      (Just for that I am going to the store and poke and prod tomatoes.)

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  3. Spot on Sarge. Our sufferings continue because while everyone knows that the current reps should be fired, no one wants to fire their OWN rep, ergo the incumbents enjoy a 90%+ reelection rate. I'm voting to fire both of my reps that are up for reelection this year.

    I recently listened to George Washington's Farewell Address while out on a drive in the country, and, just wow. Mr. Washington could not have been more clear about the Constitution, what it meant and what it did not mean, how citizens could redress grievances against the government, and key metrics to judge the Federal Government by. I printed it out when I got home and intend to develop a FB post showing how clearly he knew the dangers of the Federal Government becoming what it is today. It would have been a lot easier to control 13 States with 3 Million people over 50 States with 330 Million people.

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    1. I have voted against the incumbents in Little Rhody over the past several elections. Quite frankly I am urinating into the wind on that score. But it makes me feel as if I am doing something other than accepting the status quo.

      It amazes me just how complacent many of my neighbors are. Content to be Democrat regardless of reality. One could run Satan as a Democrat in this state and he would win. Probably by a landslide.

      Sigh...

      (I am going to add Washington's Farewell Address to the blog as a new page. Maybe today, certainly NLT the end of the week. I have never read the whole thing before. Odd but true, certainly galling though when you consider that I consider myself to be something of an historian! Thanks for reminding me of that document.)

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    2. My voting rubric (again)
      1) NO democrat
      2) No incumbent
      3) No unopposed

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    3. Hope hear about the facebook page. It needs to be done.

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    4. I'll keep an eye out for that Facebook post Dave.

      (FWIW, I have added a new page to the blog which contains the whole thing. It's over on the sidebar, near the top.)

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    5. I can't remember the last time I voted for anyone who actually won. Starting with Goldwater, I guess. Maybe I voted for Reagan.

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    6. It gets tiresome being one of the few adults at the polling place, doesn't it?

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    7. Most of the folks I know don't even know who their LOCAL elected representatives are, let alone state or federal. And most of them claim they vote. Probably do, too, because it's just a thing to make them feel filled with wondermous self esteem about how passionate they are about being passionately wondermous. What are all those names and words and stuff anyway?

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    8. I know I do it for the colorful "I Voted" sticker...

      Sigh... [Face Palm]

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  4. Great essay--should be part of the curriculum in schools. As a side note, I should point out that many states do, in fact, have mutual assistance compacts with other states, usually focusing on Emergency Management--though not excluding National Guard assets under state command.

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    1. Thanks Cap'n. I reckoned that some of the states had agreements to work together in some circumstances. Emergency Management seems to be a logical place to do so.

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  5. Today, our bread and circus are know as a six-pack of Bud and the remote (oh, and free cable).

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    1. That describes it very well.

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    2. Most of the folks I know (are we detecting a theme here?) make fun of the romans and their bread and circuses...while munching on bread at the circus.

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    3. Oh dear.

      Quod suus 'a forsit.

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  6. Well said, Sarge. Pity that it's so far outside the welfare recipient's frame of reference that they wouldn't believe it, even when confronted by it.

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    1. That lot have no clue...

      ...and no hope, they just don't realize that.

      Yet.

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  7. Frame this post and hang it on the wall.
    The pols and bureaucrats hijacked the educational system and now mandate what shall be taught in public schools.
    The last thing they want taught is history because they don't want current generations to have a clue.
    The last thing they want anyone to know is that they don't have to be, nor should they really want to be anything but independent ...or responsible.

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  8. Got time for more reading, Sarge? One of the best things I've ever done was to read The Federalist Papers, every damned one of them. It's fascinating to learn what the concerns were ("Publius" is writing to alleviate New Yorkers' concerns about the proposed Constitution), what the justification was for this or that provision, what solutions had to remain for those who came later to figure out. You can get it online, here:
    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/
    I am three chapters into "The First Congress" by Fergus [love that name!] M. Bordewich. This is the 1789-1881 Congress where our first-elected representatives and senators under the new Constitution set up the rules of governance, created the courts, etc.
    They are at sixes and sevens already with disagreement about the details of what tariffs (imposts) and excise taxes to impose to fund the national government; the north v south sectionalism and the rum, molasses, sugar, cod, and other local interests have butted heads - no surprise there!
    PS: if I ever knew it I had forgotten that only 11 states were represented: Rhode Island and North Carolina had rejected the Constitution.

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    1. I need to make the time to read those papers. I've seen them referenced, quoted, and misquoted for most of my life. I should actually read them myself.

      North Carolina did ratify the Constitution eventually once the Bill of Rights was added (as I recall). Little Rhody did so eventually as well, by a margin of two votes. Two.

      Little Rhody has ever been "different."

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    2. The only way I got it done was to task myself to read one each night before turning out the light. I slipped in some other reading from time to time, so it took something more than 2 but less than 12 months. ;-) But having the book (a summat large single volume) lying there on my bedside table was nag enough to eventually git 'er done.

      Be forewarned, though. It will make you yearn for statesmen of like quality, education and level of discourse to fill congressional seats today....

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    3. I have often yearned for "statesmen" (wouldn't that be "statespeople" now) to fill seats in Congress and in the various legislatures of the individual states.

      The more I study history, the less confident I am of that ever happening.

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  9. I will agree, spot on. But, was this not settled during the whiskey rebellion? Ah, err, the civil war, ah err the Peabody strike, ah err, the GM initive? Ah voting rights act? Ah err, am I seeing a thread here. The Fed step in when the people demand an action. Which people? Those with the green. And then cooler heads come in and say, we need the tax money, because we cannot impress like foreign States do, that states cannot create sub humans, or partial people, that we should not use our military to quell riots, relearned again after a small incident in Ohio. But, agreed in theory.

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    1. I see where you're going here and I shan't disagree.

      The people with the green command far too much power. But that has always been the case. Not sure how we can ever rectify that.

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    2. Yet by law the people without the green are in charge. But they're at the circus with their cake holes stuffed with bread.

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  10. All I can say is a whole hearted amen. Men of true spine and intellect walked the earth in those days. We are left with Pajama Boy and his friends who have nary a clue and even less conviction.

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    1. VDH has some thoughts today re: Pajama Boy, et al.

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435448/obamas-pajama-boy-menagerie

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    2. I like this video of you (with an English accent) (found it at Irish' place)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjYLWadz5Yc

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    3. @ColoComment - OMG. Now I'm really mad.

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  11. Two quotes.
    Those who seek power are not worthy of that power.
    Plato

    “Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism. Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism. It is the cause of Republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people. ”

    ― Barry M. Goldwater

    Both were true at the time spoken, and even more true now.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)