Tibor Machan on the US Tea Party, Its Influence and What the Future May Hold
The editors of The Daily Bell are pleased to present an interview with well-known libertarian philosopher Tibor R. Machan.
Introduction: Tibor Machan is currently Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Auburn University, Alabama, and holds the R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University. He is also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Machan, who earned BA (Claremont McKenna College), MA (New York University), and Ph.D. (University of California at Santa Barbara) degrees in philosophy, has written numerous books and papers in the field of philosophy, including on issues surrounding the free-market. Machan was selected as the 2003 President of the American Society for Value Inquiry, and delivered the presidential address on December 29, 2002, in Philadelphia, at the Eastern Division meetings of the American Philosophical Association, titled "Aristotle & Business." He is on the board of the Association for Private Enterprise Education.
Daily Bell: In light of recent US Tea Party victories much in the news, we wanted to get a libertarian and philosophical point of view. Thanks for giving us some time again.
Tibor Machan: I follow the movement's doings by reading both pro and con comments on its candidates and leaders, as well as listening to what some of the active members say in public forums. From what I have learned through reading both supporters and critics, it appears to be a spontaneous assembly of very disgruntled American citizens with what I take to be mostly valid concerns about how the American federal government is administered now.
Daily Bell: Tea Party candidates seem to be squeezing out middle-of-the-road Republican opponents in favor of those who say they want serious tax cuts and a much smaller US federal government. Of course, the final results won't be known until November, but the trends seem obvious now, don't they?
Tibor Machan: I am no spin-doctor, but it occurs to me that if the Tea Party is to have a solid chance at influencing American politics and public policy it will have to pare down its message to certain fundamentals and express this publicly in palatable ways. The one principle that is truly representative of America as the Founders conceived of it is limited government, limited by the principle of individual liberty. Perhaps turning to this message with a clear emphasis on not trying to impose anything else on the country could be successful.
If a Tea Party candidate or leader is pressed for views on matters other than the proper scope of government, the answer should be: "No comment on that since it isn't a part of politics proper, not in a free country!" Yes, it is judicious, prudent to simply refuse to get caught up in all the issues that people may bring to the political table by teaching the lesson that they really aren't political, even if they are on the minds of millions of people.
It is also feasible to look at the Tea Party as a moving target. That is, the Tea Party is not what it was two years ago or even last year. If the movement continues to grow, and there is some evidence that it is, then some of the issues that have been identified with it may subside. Candidates may become more sophisticated and the general literacy level regarding freedom may rise.
Daily Bell: It's a bit confusing, isn't it?
Tibor Machan: Obviously, the Tea Party is a kind of populist assembly of people who have disparate ideas and objectives. Social conservatives, especially, seem to be welcome, what with pretty heavy moralizing as their central pitch. Free market champions, too, tend to be accepted but not if they are also committed civil libertarians who might stand up for illegal immigrants and oppose the vicious War on Drugs.
The overwhelming schism is probably between the libertarian element in the Tea Party and how libertarians and those who call themselves conservatives manage to make common cause or do not. There is also a Democratic libertarian element in the Tea Party but I do not think anyone knows of the numbers of the various groups or factions.
Daily Bell: Are you optimistic about its ultimate success?
Tibor Machan: Tea Party members, leaders, candidates and the like might succeed by pointing out that this country isn't supposed to be a totalitarian system in which politics takes over everything, addresses all issues on the minds of the citizenry. No, one need not have an opinion on creationism, intelligent design, child reading, drug use, and yes, even abortion. Let most of these topics be part of our social discourse, not our political thinking. That way the central Tea Party theme of reining in the scope of government is kept in focus and the pluralism of the movement can also continue to flourish but within its proper domain, namely, the variety of social positions the huge tent of those who love liberty makes possible.
Daily Bell: What do you think of groups like Dick Armey's Freedomworks? What about Sarah Palin?
Tibor Machan: Armey is, as far as I can tell, the best of what the movement has put forth from the Right Wing/conservative standpoint. Palin's energy is inspiring but once again it is unclear just what political philosophy she wants to promote. There is certainly a divide between the libertarian-oriented wing of the Tea Party and the more conservative factions, and anyone who studies the issue can see it. Palin seems to straddle that divide though her views on US self-defense are much different from the Ron Paul faction of the Tea Party."
One needs to put all this in the context of the American Left Wing as well. I have spent a good deal of my career studying the Left Wing from a philosophical standpoint. Let me tell you the snooty Left is scared stiff of the Tea Party and rolling out its heavy guns to demean it, with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin serving as convenient targets whose lack of academic erudition is held against them in massive articles in prominent magazines like The New Republic and The New York Review of Books.
Daily Bell: Generally, there seems to be a divide between conservative and libertarian in the Tea Party. What is the difference between a conservative and a classical liberal in your view?
Tibor Machan: Conservatives believe in being guided by a loose combination of traditions, sentiments, faith, and law. American conservatives, however, do have a link with libertarians and classical liberals since the American political system was conceived largely along classical liberal/libertarian lines. A libertarian is hard line about individual rights; they will readily bite the bullet when it comes to social security and other statist welfare policies instead of recoiling from opposing them as many conservatives and even Tea Party folks appear to be. This doesn't lead them to win elections (yet?) but shows them to have integrity, a rare quality among political beasts these days.
Daily Bell: Do conservatives believe libertarians – classical liberals in old-fashioned parlance – are crackpots?
Tibor Machan: No, only primitive, lacking in political sophistication, in deep enough understanding of human nature. The serious conservatives, some of the neo persuasion (Leo Strauss and his followers), see libertarians as failing to be historically savvy and thus propose policies that are at least framed too simply. But there are some very powerful minds among libertarians today from Mises and Cato, not to mention such individuals as Randy Barnett and Richard Epstein – also quite a few good political philosophers. These folks may in time educate the electorate to see that freedom – either of the conservative or libertarian variety – is really the right regime for human beings.
Daily Bell: How far back in time does "conservative" literature go? One could make an argument that libertarian philosophical literature goes back to the Greeks and beyond. Is the "conservative" philosophy in a sense a manufactured movement of modern America, designed as a Republican fall-back to maintain the two-party status of the American political system? If not, why not?
Tibor Machan: Conservatives in America can draw on Plato and Aristotle, too, just as can libertarians draw on Aristotle, Thomas, Locke, and a host of others in support of their understanding of human political affairs. I wouldn't claim that conservatism is manufactured – it is an ancient impulse the opposite of which throughout recorded intellectual history has been radical!
Daily Bell: Here is Dick Armey's Freedomworks Contract From America, below. Do you agree with these points? Does it go far enough?
1. Protect the Constitution
2. Reject Cap & Trade
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government
6. End Runaway Government Spending
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
8. Pass an 'All-of-the-Above" Energy Policy
9. Stop the Pork
10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Tibor Machan: Sadly the Constitution isn't a coherent legal document, especially now that it has been driven Leftward or Rightward by the Justices and their supporters in the field of jurisprudence. Prominent law professors such as Cass Sunstein, Richard Posner and Ronald Dworkin, different though they are, do not embrace natural rights or individualism.
As a hard line libertarian, for me the list is at best a stop-gap measure on the road to a bona fide free society. For example, instead of "Enact Fundamental Tax Reform" I would make no bones about demanding the eventual abolition of taxation just as serfdom had been. (It is made, in principle, of the same cloth, a type of involuntary servitude.) Some will say that political reality requires this kind of list, which is largely unprincipled, but I look to the long run and don't hold out much hope for progress within the framework of current politics.
Tea Party people should be wary about being drawn into discussions on matters that are not the proper concern of politics and public affairs. Therein might lie a way to victory, especially now that suspicion with governmental meddling is rife throughout the citizenry. This attitude can easily be linked to the central, crucial tenets of the American political tradition, the founding documents and the thinking of the Founders. That they may not all be entirely palatable in our age will not matter if discussions and proposals are kept to essentials. What is exceptional about America is its limited government tradition and moving away from this is wrong, inefficient, and, yes, un-American.
Daily Bell: Should the drug war be on the agenda as something that should be ended as well?
Tibor Machan: Here is a good one – if the Tea Party could come out four-square against the vicious War on Drugs it might gain some respect from most serious Americans. I am old enough to remember Baby Boomer attitudes to the War on Drugs from the 1960s and 1970s and I have a hard time believing that those who participated in the youth culture of that generation have changed so much that they now believe people who smoke marijuana should be incarcerated. The Drug War consensus is manufactured in this regard. If the drug laws were repealed tomorrow I do believe that the only constituency that would be upset would be law enforcement. Just like Prohibition and alcohol, the War on Drugs is a manufactured consensus, not one that has a great deal of grass-roots support. It is also a terrible tragedy for those who have been caught up in its destructiveness.
Daily Bell: How about public schools?
Tibor Machan: The advocacy of the abolition of public schools has to be on the list of a solid revolutionary program but it has to be framed very well. For example, opponents of the government education system should draw on the work of the Leftist Ivan Illich, who was a fierce critic and based the criticism on serious anti-statism. The trouble with taking on public education, I should note, is that it commands a good deal of support of the vocal suburban middle class in America. Generations have grown up within public schools and tend to believe the positives outweigh the negatives. Of course, they have no exposure to inner city schools and tend to not to dwell on the dropout in American high schools, which is approaching 50 percent. Something needs to be done, but I would not bet that public schools would end up on top of an expanded Tea Party agenda.
Daily Bell: What about the Federal Reserve and central banks in general?
Tibor Machan: The Fed has to go, in time, but as with public schools much education is needed before that can get on the agenda. As Rand once put it, "It is earlier than you think," meaning the American public hasn't been sufficiently educated about the very meaning of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
Daily Bell: The "libertarian" wing of the Tea Party might agree with many points of the Contract From America. But overwhelmingly, the libertarian Tea Party movement seems anti-war and wishes to bring US troops home without delay from Afghanistan and Iraq, etc. Many in the libertarian version of the Tea Party movement wish to shut down some or many of the 1,000 or so military and intelligence bases that the US has built and staffs around the world at great expense. Do you agree?
Tibor Machan: I would not wish to be too brazen here since I do not know just what kind of genuine defensive military policy would be suited to America's current geopolitical situation. I have noted along with many others, and your website as well, that the Afghanistan war seems to be coming in for a good deal of criticism, not regarding its purpose or utility but rather its success or failure. For many Americans, the criterion for war regardless of larger strategic issues is whether or not victory is at hand. Short wars, regardless of expense, are more popular than long ones.
Daily Bell: Is there currently much of a difference between Republican and Democratic administrations?
Tibor Machan: Only that the Republicans, in the main, like controlling people's personal morality and private lives while Democrats mainly aim to control people's public morality and economic affairs. But both want to grab power from individuals and have been increasingly successful at doing so over the past decades. Whether groups like the Tea Party can reverse this trend remains to be seen.
I will give you one anecdote. In one discipline I work and teach in, business ethics, the assault on business, on the pursuit of profit – read: private prosperity – is unrelenting! The bias in the literature is overwhelming. But generally if you work in academia, you are exposed to it and unfortunately it is often made clear that people will not go far if they do not adopt at least rhetorically some of the talking points of the Left.
Of course, much of the Right is also wedded to some type of theocracy and will not give that up. The clash of ideologies makes progress a good deal less rapid in my view than it might be otherwise.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet making a difference in all this? How so?
Tibor Machan: It does render delivery of news and communication very rapid. And it has been in part responsible for the resurgence of libertarian thinking via Cato and the Mises Institute because the information it presents is very cheap to place on line. Of course all that may change in the future depending on 'Net neutrality and two-tier billing systems that differentiate 'Net services.
Daily Bell: There was just a Tea Party movement set up in Australia. Is this becoming a worldwide movement? What are the ramifications?
Tibor Machan: Obviously, the Tea Party's populism isn't confined within country borders. I am less certain, I should say, of the Tea Party's penetration in Europe. If there is one theme the Tea Party endorses it is that the entitlement system of public policy is economically fatal and Europeans are so far too wedded to it. They tend, on the whole, to believe that government is Big Daddy and must look out for them all.
Daily Bell: Time will tell. Additional books our readers should look at? Articles?
Tibor Machan: There is a flood of works coming from The Mises and Cato Institutes and other think tanks such as the Reason Foundation. Fox Business Network is now regularly showing programs such as "FreedomWatch" with Judge Andrew Napolitano and "Stossell," with John Stossell (formerly with ABC TV), which are nearly consistently libertarian ... and not in an economic reductionist way either.
Daily Bell: Interesting. Thank you for making space in your busy schedule to answer these timely questions.
Tibor Machan: You're welcome.
The Bell has recently offered several additional articles on the Tea Party and this interview with Tibor Machan is fairly comprehensive. The important issue from the Bell's standpoint is that the truth-telling of the Internet is likely a driving force behind the Tea Party and one that is hardly ever acknowledged within the mainstream media – which continues to treat the Tea Party as some sort of Ross Perot revival ... only crazier.
In fact, some of the same themes that Texas billionaire Ross Perot tapped (in the 1980s versus Bill Clinton) are inherent in the Tea Party narrative. But the difference is that Ross Perot pretty much co-opted the message of his day (and may have done so to throw the election to Bill Clinton, some speculate) whereas the current Tea Party movement seems broader and deeper, and is undoubtedly, in many of its parts, sincere. For this reason, in the Bell's view – and Bell staffers have been making this argument generally for years – the underlying dissatisfactions with the current Western sociopolitical setup should continue to resonate.
The Gutenberg press began a revolution that culminated with the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Internet, as the Bell often points out, is a modern-day Gutenberg press, so to expect that the Tea Party movement will soon lapse into irrelevance is perhaps a misguided perception.
Powerful communication revolutions are processes, and are not wedded to a time frame. They are not even, in our view, necessarily mitigated by censorship, as they may take on a life of their own. Certainly the Tea Party movement seems somewhat "co-opted" by the establishment currently. But it was initially a libertarian-oriented movement and as it grows up, it may become MORE libertarian and free-market oriented not less. (The power elite, for instance, was apparently behind the Reformation but history seems to show they lost control of it.)
Yes, co-option, which is continually taking place, eventually may not make a difference. The Tea Party movement has now spread to Australia and Europe seems to be having its own version via protests against austerity, etc. Again, what's (at least partially) driving the Tea Party, is a yearning for more freedom and less authoritarianism; this is in fact something the truth-telling of the Internet addresses.
Nothing has happened like this for 500 years in our view, and thus to compare today's events to a particular political movement or some sort of evanescent social convulsion is probably not apt. Even the alternative press – often focused on elite conspiracies and social control – doesn't fully seem to grasp what is going on, nor of course does the mainstream press. The Tea Party movement, as the Bell has expressed before, is actually only a manifestation of deeper cultural trends that are now in play. Are these seismic shifts?
The Tea Party is likely being driven by the twin engines of the Internet and profound sociopolitical frustration (in the West) with the systems the power elite has put in place. History shows us that such profound cultural paroxysms do not subside until something "new" has arisen. We are probably only at the beginning of such "newness" and thus it is difficult to say what it will be or how much control the elite will be able to exercise over its evolution. But it may be at least a little bit different than what has gone before.
(Note: Information from an article on the Tea Party by Dr. Machan was included in this interview.)
Posted by Clayton on 09/19/10 07:57 PM
Alas, you might be right, but as one who is old and white and male, I am hoping to have some small taste before I depart the scene. I found your observations to be true at the Ron Paul event in San Francisco earlier this month. Many more young folks than my age. But their numbers were not very convincing, relative to the Tea Party events put on by Bay Area Patriots. But, I do love to see a twenty something holding a sign that reads, "What would Mises say?" I hope that Click to view link can get out some large poster sized photos of Mises and Rockwell to carry in these events. Most attendees, even now, have little knowledge of the intellectual treasures to found in their works.
Yes, it is a great affirmation to see these people who have escaped the ideology of their societies and embraced the cause of freedom. We have taken our gifts for granted, they experience them for the first time. They know the difference immediately. We feel it vaguely. But this may change when it begins to completely disappear. Then we will need the reminder provided by these new comers.
Posted by Ichabod on 09/19/10 07:55 PM
This article by Dr. Machan is unfortunate at best. Imagine anyone telling people what they can say! From his description as well as Clayton's, neither comes close to those I know who are sympathetic to the TPcause.
Personally, I think it's just wonderful that the TP has everyone so confused. It keeps things interesting. It was started by Ron Paul with his Tea Part in Boston. That's all he did. He isn't the head but was the instigating influence.
Libertarians aren't any better at uniting than the collectivists. It's the nature of the dialectical tension between the two: sometimes they follow the collectivist line by thinking they should even tell people what to say. Shades of the dems who play the perception game and require obedience.
I talked with a truck driver in the lobby of a motel who commented on my "restore the republic" T shirt. He said he saw a lot of them in Texas last time thru and further added "This is not a Republican or Democrat thing." He made a better statement with that summary than Dr. Machan did with a much more lengthy one.
Reply from The Daily Bell
We thought the interview made many interesting points.
Posted by RF on 09/19/10 06:20 PM
Living in the 21st century , expecting the world of politics to return to the fundamentals we engaged in in 1776 is a little unrealistic.. The basic make-up of TEA party members are White Christian right, blue collar, no collar, no jobbers,non wealthy Baby Boomers,middle and lower incomes.
The list of 10 expectations, are well thought and would be great for a country with an hard working, internal population. Unfortunatly one third, doesn't work, one third consumes taxpayer money and what's left is expected to shoulder the burden, what they are complaining about.
The lower wages, retail consumer society caters to wealthy , will never allow those changes to replace the comfort zone they have, hence in some point in time, bankrupt America. Thay are basicly asking two thirds of the elected officials to give it up, go home and never be heard from again, in politics , that is a fantasy
Posted by Roberto on 09/19/10 06:14 PM
Personally I currently know of a Tea Party enthusiast who survived Tiannamen Square AND emigrated legally to this country. The courage to renounce ones faith in collectivism and passionately decry the appalling slide towards it in ones adopted land is truly Click to view linktience and the long view will confound our implacable foes.
Posted by Mpresley on 09/19/10 06:10 PM
"Posted by Lila Rajiva: Racism, of course, is intellectual AIDS..."
I believe I know what you mean, but would offer another metaphor. Aids is often quite manageable, and is really more of a manufactured social problem. Among the establishment it has become a means to extract a liberal social transformation in ways many would be surprised to realize: never has so much been spent to study something affecting so few. Especially when it is simple to avoid if you behave properly.
In a traditional society those contracting it by their own actions would likely be forgiven, however in our left-liberal world there is nothing to forgive because their behavior is considered natural; in any case it is hardly ever discouraged. In the specific case of addicts the problem is viewed as amenable to welfare programs: "free" needle exchange and/or subsidized drug "treatment" programs.
On the other hand, a person accused of racism, whatever it means (and if it means anything it usually means someone upholding the tenants of Western civilization in one way or another), will never be viewed by the left-liberal mind as worthy of tolerance. Certainly they will not be viewed as behaving naturally, or be found worthy of welfare subsidies.
"For the American republic to survive, some degree of nativism is not a bad thing, as it builds community feeling (unlike artificially imposed diversity)..."
We are told that "diversity is our strength," but this sort of Orwellian newspeak is challenged by the reality of our world, every day. It is only the psychosis of both left and right (the bi-polar manifestation of liberal thinking) that fails to recognize that difference only creates problems. Frequently these problems degenerate into violence.
There is no organic community within a multi-cultural system--a system where equality is seen as natural, and rights are viewed as conventionally derived from this equalitarian ground. In such cases, only those possessing a will to assert their "rights" within the (really artificial) liberal order will prevail, and then only at the expense of other groups.
Like tends toward like, and always has. It is nothing new: Socrates and friends spent a lot of time discussing it at their Symposium, but who reads Plato, anymore, and what could he say to us moderns that would make any sense? He, and others like him, are guilty of an "historical narrative" that is intrinsically racist. Or so we are told by our left liberal academics.
Groups showing major cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious differences have never been able to get along very well, but there are many examples of the divisive nature of difference that one can point to. Consider what happened after the Soviet Union fell apart. It is why China is very happy to make sure the Han majority stay that way (but I wonder if they can pull it off?).
I suspect that short of violent central government coercion, the US will split. We already witness examples of self-balkinization:
* inner cities are often segregated by race and ethnicity--some to the point where those from different groups are not welcome.
* the US-Mexican border is fast becoming a "no mans" land.
* Muslims GB have their own sharia courts alongside indigenous courts. This argument will be put forth in the US soon enough, although it will be met with much resistance as the central government will not be willing to relinquish its power.
* already schools and employers are facing civil suits for not adapting to Islamic practices. The list goes on.
Right now, from what I've observed Tea Parties are not discussing these issues openly, as many members are sensitive to accusations of racism, etc. They want to be inclusive, but do not understand that the transformation of the country into a mostly Third World mentality makes fiscal conservatism an impossibility--simply because these "immigrants" have no understanding of or desire for a purer form of capitalism, and limited government is not part of their vocabulary.
When Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other right-liberals embrace the 16th President they do not understand (or maybe they do and it is their listeners that do not understand) that they are embracing a statist tyrant who is responsible for creating a central government with essentially unlimited power. And their embrace of Martin King Jr, as if he were some sort of principled Jeffersonian, is risible. But, again, if they said anything contrariwise, they would be called racist, and who wants that?
Finally, in all of this, there is the structural problem facing any third party. If we had a proportional representative democracy it would be different. But to work outside the two party mainstream is almost impossible, at least from an electoral standpoint.
But, the TP is good in that it's independence frightens established party elites. Witness Karl Rove, who is still beside himself. It evens frightens Democrats who have to wonder if the same thing could happen to their party? Thus, I wish them all well.
Posted by Shane on 09/19/10 06:04 PM
I, as a "Generation X-er", have a VERY BIG PROBLEM w/military spending.
I don't think we should have a single overseas military base, nor do I see the need for a blue-water navy.
Please don't generalize so broadly.
If you're going to, at least recognize that its the Baby Boomer generation who run things in America.
And, the FACT is that social security and, even far moreso medicare, are the biggest budget-busters out there--DWARFING even the outrageous military spending.
And, the main culprit for these problems is the very INSTITUTION of govt--esp. federal.
Posted by Duane Bass on 09/19/10 06:01 PM
Tibor Machan is my favorite read at the DB
Posted by Shane on 09/19/10 05:57 PM
Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937): "...a decision by the United States Supreme Court, which held that Social Security was not a contributory insurance program. The Court defended the constitutionality of the Social Security Act of 1935, requiring only that welfare spending be for the common benefit as distinguished from some mere local purpose."
Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960): "The Court ruled that no such contract exists, and that there is no contractual right to receive Social Security payments."
Both from wikipedia.
Posted by Kenn on 09/19/10 05:50 PM
Social Security was and is an admitted Ponzi scheme. Heard very few complaints while the economy was doing well, say the 60's 70's and 80's. I personally had no problem supporting Grandma.
Who considered back then corporations would start exporting work to the lowest bidder and worse the government would be an active participant! So now the boomers, who paid in more to SS than all previous generations combined, and more than they will ever collect are evil blood sucking parasites. The boomers are worried because they can see the jobs required to keep the scheme going just are not there.
The new generations can see the writing on the wall. SS will most likely not be there for them. Who can blame them.
So both groups are correctly worried. Here's where it starts getting weird. Both groups seem to support the huge military industrial complex. Our Defense related budget on and off books are more than all other countries combined but this does not seem to be a big problem with the boomers or generations X and Y.
The Defense Department loses two trillion dollars,,, NO PROBLEM! The Defense budget hits Americans for a trillion dollars every year,,, NO PROBLEM! The unnecessary wars all over the globe costing trillions,,, NO PROBLEM! Just print the money!!
But those pathetic parasite wannabes forced to pay into a government old age pension fund,,, NOW WE HAVE A PROBLEM! These leaches will break the nation! It's un-American!
There's justifiable anger on both sides but we need to direct this just anger to the correct groups....
The Corporations, their enabler the FED and the paid for cronies that call themselves our representatives.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 09/19/10 05:46 PM
Good...time the government kept its word for a change.
Posted by Shane on 09/19/10 05:46 PM
@ LILA & Colvin
Ahhh...but NO ONE has any legal claim to SS...this was decided many decades ago by the supreme court...
Posted by Greg Colvin on 09/19/10 05:45 PM
Which is why Bill Ward and I think those entitlements will be paid if at all possible. People get angry when defrauded.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 09/19/10 05:18 PM
It seems to me if people have paid into something with the understanding they will receive it back, it is an entitlement not in the sense of welfare but in the literal sense...they have a title to it. If the government tears up that title, then the government has committed a fraud on its citizens on that score..
at least, so it seems to me.
Posted by Greg Colvin on 09/19/10 04:41 PM
@DB There is no "money" – only "super IOUs" in the SS "lock box."
Acount for it however you will, but every paycheck gets taxed for SS, and every year every working American gets a notice that at a certain age they are entitled to a certain SS pension. So unless the USA has literally collapsed those pensions will be paid. And collapse is possible, but it will take more than SS to bring it on.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 09/19/10 03:52 PM
Personally, I like the astrological cycles. Most poetic and powerful.
Click to view link
Posted by MetaCynic on 09/19/10 03:40 PM
Clayton observed that Tea Party activists in his area are primarily middle aged white conservatives. Three years ago this month, I attended a Ron Paul rally in Chicago. I estimated that Paul drew a wildly enthusiastic crowd of about 2,000 overwhelmingly white but young people, largely in their 20s.
Perhaps we can tentatively conclude from Clayton's and my limited observations that the conservative wing of the Tea Party is composed of nostalgic aging conservatives while the libertarian wing comprises largely the young who have been exposed to freedom ideas at a relatively early age.
If these observations are correct, we can generalize that demographics favor the libertarian wing. If reason and argument fail to inspire the Tea Party conservatives to embrace libertarian principles, we can at least confidently depend on the Grim Reaper to force that paradigm shift.
Posted by Davidus Romanus on 09/19/10 03:25 PM
If you look (broadly) at western history, these shifts seem to take place every 500 years or so. First Christianity (0), then the fall of Rome (500), then the end of the dark ages and resumption of international trade (1,000), then the discovery of the New World, the Renaissance and the Reformation (1500). It is indeed time for a seismic shift.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Yes, but in our view, clever as your analysis is, you are conflating a number of historical influences to come up with a cyclical perspective. We prefer to analyze history from a communications/tool-making point of view. That has archeological credibility by the way.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 09/19/10 03:20 PM
"This stands in stark contrast to other American continent nations such as Brazil."
Oh really? Brazil is an extremely race-conscious society. Far more than the US. Such statements make me doubt the rest..
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 09/19/10 03:07 PM
Actually, I don't fear nativism or anti-immigrant sentiment, except personally, as it impacts me, which is only natural. However, I differentiate as a citizen between what's good for me and what's good for the republic.
For the American republic to survive, some degree of nativism is not a bad thing, as it builds community feeling (unlike artificially imposed diversity)... even if that might end in antagonism toward non-natives or other races. I believe this is in its essence a healthy and natural reaction in the body politic.
My fear is that it will be subverted and led into more expansionism. But even that fear isn't too great, as there's always reality (small and big R) to put set limits there.
So yes, I foresee a growth in nativism initially, and this isn't in its essence a bad thing. The elites would like to make you think otherwise, though. And I'm afraid their propaganda machine might win out, at least in the mid term. Long term, they will lose. That is almost guaranteed.
Posted by Clayton on 09/19/10 02:37 PM
Thank you for reading my post and picking up on my major point. There has been far too much externalization going on. The question folks have to ask is what are they doing in their own individual lives. That includes the time they set aside to do some self education and thinking on the issues that confront them.
Government reaches down all the way to the community level and can be accessed by attending local board meetings, where policy is being formed right before your eyes. It is at this micro level that even the smallest voice can occasionally be heard.
Self-Governance requires showing up. Most of the people that I have talked to in these so-called Conservative or Libertarian groups would rather huddle amongst themselves than venture out into the real world of interaction and confrontation. I can't get them to help me with anything locally. Consequently, they have ceded the field to the Socialist by default.
To toot my own horn, I stopped a Park Service project that would have cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and destroyed the community I live in nearly single handedly.
Support only arrived after I had risked being arrested by the Park Police. It took that much theater to get the message out, but it was worth it. I am not asking anyone to take the risks that I sometimes take, but that does not excuse the complainers on the right from being habitual no-shows.
Concerning your fears (if they are fears) of a growth of nativism, to an extent you are correct. You are also correct that this could well be what leads to a subsequent growth in libertarianism. Today, we live in a very forced and contrived social environment.
The endless preaching about diversity has ended in the paradox of balkanization. However, at the higher end of the IQ curve, the attraction to culture on a meta level quite naturally abides. Libertarianism is not attractive to the person whose principle feedback loops are dominated by sentiment. Therefore, its core tenants are likely to be the guiding principles for only a minority of people at any time. What is important is that this minority remains in sufficient involvement and dominance of the social dialogue as to create is tone and direction of economic action.
Returning to my assertions in the first paragraph, this is where I call into question the lone wolf, atomistic egoism (Hoppe) of the current crop of so-called libertarians. But isolating ourselves in a Libertarian Party is in my opinion counter-productive. We must accept our position as a permanent minority and the reasons for it, and reassess our future plan of action.
Again, I deeply appreciate your up-to-the-plate stance in living, even should we bitterly disagree on any particular issues. In the end, we can best teach by example, rather than argument.