A Grownup Party forum

As I mentioned back here, sometimes I call the UnParty the Energy Party (depending on the subject at hand), and once or twice I’ve referred to the Grownup Party. That kicked off a discussion that I think has a certain relevance to some of the philosophical friction that vexes us these days. Here’s the discussion:

Doug, I give you credit for being a consistent anarchist…but don’t you support parental "authority"?

Posted by: Randy E | Apr 30, 2008 9:17:05 AM

Not coercive authority… I should be able to influence my children
through my words and actions, not by threats or intimidation.

I want a government based on ethics, productivity, and fairness.   We have a government based on lies, inefficiency, and
greed.   

Posted by: Doug Ross | Apr 30, 2008 9:48:46 AM

Actually, whenever I have disputes with libertarians, I do so as a
parent. I’m in my 32nd year of being a parent. I have five kids and
three grandchildren, and my worldview is that of a parent. Whenever I
hear people standing up for their "right" to do something stupid — such as not wear motorcycle helmets on the public roads — I hear the voice of a child. By now, it’s sort of hard-wired into me.

Lots of people look at laws in terms of "what this means to me" in
terms of "what I get to do" or "what gets done to me." I tend to look
at society as a whole and think, Is this a good idea overall? or Does this make society safer, or healthier, or wealthier? or Is this the logical way for society to function?

I don’t think, Do I want to pay this tax? or Do I think I should have to buckle my seat belt?
To me, those are unacceptably self-centered questions. This makes for
profound disagreements, because the basic cognitive processes, the
entire perspective going in, is very, very different.

Posted by: Brad Warthen | Apr 30, 2008 9:52:30 AM

Brad,

You may not understand this but my view on society is the same as
yours: Is this a good idea overall? Does this make society safer, or
healthier, or wealthier? Is this the logical way for society to
function?

And then I examine the issue using my own personal experience as
reference. Take taxes for example… I look at the issue logically
based on the taxes I pay and conclude that a) the system is illogical
b) the use of tax dollars is inefficient and c) the tax burden is
unfairly applied.
I don’t want MY taxes to be lower, I want EVERYONE’s taxes to be
lower… because I believe our economy would be far better off for
EVERYONE if we had less government. The same logic applies to my views
on Social Security, healthcare, education, etc.

Your world view is what gives us the government we have today. One
where we citizens pay people to sit around making crucial decisions
like: when can we sell beer and wine on Sunday? what time does a store
need to open on Sunday? what tax breaks does a newspaper deserve that
other companies do not? should we give people age 785 and over a 1/2%
sales tax break? how much of the taxpayers’ money should we give to the
Okra Strut? and on and on it goes. Completely wasted effort… I want
to see that abolished for EVERYONE’s benefit, not my own.

Big government types are worse than selfish – they take what isn’t theirs.

Posted by: Doug Ross | Apr 30, 2008 10:52:03 AM

And I see those as unrelated questions, not in terms of some sort of
overriding conflict between "government" and… what — "ungovernment?"
But you’re right in that government in one sense or another is involved
in all those decisions. What I wonder about is what you see as the
alternative.

Basically, we have this thing called a civilization. But even in the
most chaotic, anarchic situations, certain arrangements arise among
human beings that determine how they are going to live together (or NOT
live together). Such things seem unavoidable in a group of any sort of
social animals. With gorillas, you have a whole network of decisions
and arrangements that tend to be built around the overriding question
of, "Who gets to be the alpha male?"

Things get more complicated with humans because we are a verbalizing
race, and think in symbols and abstractions that can’t be communicated
without language. But everywhere that there are two or more humans
together, some sort of arrangement or agreement has to be arrived at in
terms of how to interact and arrange things, from the ownership of
property to acceptable behavior.

In the closest thing to a state of nature — a place where
government has utterly collapsed, such as in Somalia; or a place where
conventional government is not recognized as legitimate, such as Sicily
over the centuries — you have something closer to the "alpha male"
model found among other creatures. In Somalia, it’s warlords. In Sicily
(and sometimes among transplanted communities of Sicilians) you have a
system of bosses and underbosses who hold power through the most
elemental system of violence-backed "respect."

Now THAT is a system in which somebody is, as you say, taking what isn’t theirs.

Actually, through much of human history, the warlord model has held
sway, in such disparate settings as pre-communist China and Europe
during the middle ages. Europeans called it feudalism. Under such a
system, wealth that is coerced from weaker members of the society is
used in such capital projects as building fortresses for the warlords.
What you don’t see in a system such as that is a system of roads. For
such infrastructure as that, which might economically benefit the
society more broadly, there has to be a different governing system. For
well over 1,000 years, Europeans continued to use roads the Romans had
built because that was the last time there was a broad government with
an overarching concept of acting on behalf of something broader — in
that case, an empire in which the rule of law was only helpful if you
were a Roman.

You saw some city-states rise up in Italy, and bands of city states
along the Baltic and in other regions, in which councils and other
decision-making bodies created infrastructure and regulations that
facilitated commerce that created wealth for a somewhat larger group.

Anyway, to speed ahead… in this country we came up with
representative democracy as a means for a free people to work out
questions of how they would arrange themselves socially and make the
decisions that WILL BE MADE one way or another among any group of
humans. Once everyone gets a voice like that, all sorts of questions
will come up: Do we need a new road? OK, how will we pay for it? Some
people will not want to see alcohol sold at all, others will have an
opposite view. Perhaps for a time, the community will strike a
compromise: OK, we’ll allow alcohol to be sold in our community, but
not on Sunday, because there is a critical mass in the community that
finds such activities on a Sunday beyond the pale, and those who don’t
feel that way go along to get what they want on the other six days.

Of course, laws governing alcohol get far more complicated than
that, with debates over where to draw the lines in terms of operating a
car on the PUBLIC roads after drinking, whether minors can drink or
even hang out in drinking establishments, and so forth. And all of
these are legitimate areas for regulation as long as we, acting through
this system of representative democracy, decide they ARE legitimate
areas for such.

Government, and politics, are in our system the proper place for deciding where all those lines are.

In our constitutional system, we have in writing certain guarantees
to prevent a government answering to a majority doesn’t trample certain
fundamental rights (life, liberty, and such) of any individuals,
including those in political minorities. This does not, of course, mean
that individuals can blow off the more general will. You can’t commit
murder just because it’s in keeping with your personal value system.
Nor can you take your neighbor’s car without his permission, or poison
his cat, or engage in insider trading, or sell beer in a community that
has legitimately (acting through the proper processes) decided to make
that illegal.

This is a great system; it beats the hell out of doing things
according to the whim of the local warlord. And everyone —
libertarians, authoritarians, Christians, Wiccans, what have you — get
to make their case in the public square.

Some libertarians, unfortunately, seem to regard the political and
governmental decisions that THEY DISAGREE WITH — a tax they don’t want
to pay, for instance — as being illegitimate. But they aren’t.

Each and every one of us accepts losing political arguments, and
submitting to the resulting regulations or laws or lack thereof — as
the price of living in this (I would argue) highly enlightened system
of making social decisions. We accept it rather than go live in a place
where only brute force counts.

That doesn’t mean we don’t make our case for the next election, and so forth.

Is anything I’m saying here making sense to you?

Posted by: Brad Warthen | Apr 30, 2008 11:51:33 AM

Also, Brad, your view of government is what gets us things like rebate checks to stimulate the economy and gas tax holidays.   

McCain claims both of those are great ideas designed to help
everybody out when, in reality, he supports them for purely selfish
reasons – to dupe voters so he can get elected President. He hasn’t got
the guts to tell the truth. His own personal ambition means more to him
than the truth. Guess he’d make a good libertarian, huh?

Posted by: Doug Ross | Apr 30, 2008 11:56:27 AM

You can’t commit murder just because it’s in keeping with your
personal value system. Nor can you take your neighbor’s car without his
permission, or poison his cat, or engage in insider trading, or sell
beer in a community that has legitimately (acting through the proper
processes) decided to make that illegal.
-Brad

Murder or killing the neighbor’s cat are issues not in dispute by
anyone, libertarians or otherwise. Those are acts that clearly affect
other people and clearly must involve intervention by the government.
Doug nor anyone else has suggested the legalization of murder. Clearly
that is the mother of all non-sequetors.

But selling or buying beer on Sunday is completely different. That
is a decision which rightly belongs in a class of activities that can
and should best be handled by individuals without interference from the
government because it has no affect on others. That is true regardless
of who has their say in the public square. If I want to buy beer on
Sunday that is a decision that should be made on the basis of my own
conscience, religious views and other factors that only I can evaluate.
It’s no one else’s business if I buy beer on Sunday. Same with video
poker, pot smoking, what I do with my own body – including who I sleep
with. It’s no one’s damn business, period.

Let’s try another example that perhaps Brad can understand. What if
some religious extremist came to power and, with the help of Congress,
decided that only their religion could be exercised. The majority of
the people agree. The folks from the banned religions had their say in
the public square but were overruled. Brad could no longer attend the
Catholic Church he’s been a member of for decades.

Or, let’s say that all movies that depict the political process in
an unflattering light must now be banned. The Manchurian Candidate can
not be shown any longer as a result.

Or, perhaps hitting close to home, what if the only newspaper
allowed is the one run by the government. Even though The State has run
editorials oppossing this the law passes anyway. The day after the law
passes the government troops occupy The State paper’s operation and
begin publishing their own spin on the world.

According to Brad’s world view all of these events are a legitimate intrusion into the way people conduct their lives. 

Posted by: bud | Apr 30, 2008 12:51:57 PM

Right, Bud. I don’t want all government abolished, just some of it.
I don’t want to abolish all taxes, just some of them. I don’t want to
repeal all laws, just those that intrude on personal rights.

The whole drug issue is a perfect example. Nobody should ever go to
jail for using drugs unless they end up doing some harm to another
person. We have a society filled with people popping anti-depressants
and sleeping pills, abusing alcohol, etc. and yet we have law
enforcement people spending time and resources making sure adults don’t
smoke a joint. This is a case where the moral minority in power feels a
need to enforce its will upon people.

Posted by: Doug Ross | Apr 30, 2008 1:27:26 PM

Actually, bud, what you just said is completely inconsistent with what I wrote. So this is a non-argument.

And Doug, come on: When a majority wants cocaine to be legal
(again), it will be. I direct you to the Volstead Act and the
Eighteenth Amendment, which were followed by the 21st Amendment

A lot of people (primarily libertarians) point to Prohibition as
evidence that such things "don’t work." Nonsense. Prohibition went away
for the same reason it came in– the prevailing political will of the
time, acting with sufficient force to change the constitution (which is
what would be necessary for bud’s farcical scenario to work, and good
luck that that one, by the way).

In other words, "Prohibition doesn’t work" only makes sense when you say, "Prohibition doesn’t work if we don’t want it."

Doug is using the reasoning of the child — someone OUT THERE is
imposing something on my in contradiction of my sovereign will. With
the child, it’s the parent; with Doug, it’s this alleged "minority in
power."

I don’t look at the world that way, because I am not alienated from
the American political system. Therefore I can say WE decide something,
whether it was my idea or not. I don’t see the decision-making
apparatus as being something OUT THERE.

Posted by: Brad Warthen | Apr 30, 2008 1:43:56 PM

Anyway, I decided to create the separate post to call more attention to the exchange.

38 thoughts on “A Grownup Party forum

  1. Lee Muller

    I don’t ride a motorcycle, but testified for repeal of the mandatory helmet law in the 1970s, because it is the right of riders to make their own decisions.
    The expert testimony was from neurosurgeons, who had treated hundreds of vehicle accidents, car and motorcycle, road, highway and racetrack. They had kept meticulous records. Their experience showed that the helmets killed as many people as the possibly saved, by two means:
    1. The force of concussion normally would have fractured the skull, permitting the brain to swell. But with the helmet, the skull was intact, the brain swelled, and the patient died.
    2. The weight of the helmets broke riders’s necks.
    3. The helmets impaired vision and hearing, which were the direct cause of the crash.
    That testimony is why the legislature repealed the helmet laws. Newcomers to the scene, in their ignorance, jump to judgements without researching the deliberative process which preceded them.

    Reply
  2. Doug Ross

    Whenever I try to argue logically about Brad’s positions, I get a history lesson and/or a condescending “tut, tut, my son” reminder that I am being selfish and not thinking about “society” first.
    When confronted with specific questions however, the Grown Up Party’s main platform plank is: “Because I Said So!”.
    These are simple questions.
    Why does an 85 year old need a 1/2% sales tax break?
    Why does a newspaper deserve to a sales tax break?
    Why is the car sales tax capped at $300? Who decided that $300 was the correct amount?
    Why can I buy six beers in a restaurant on Sunday afternoon but can’t buy a six pack in the convenience store next to it?
    Why do our children need to spend two weeks taking tests every year when the results are not used for anything but creating reports that are ignored? (Unless the results are bad, then the test is blamed)
    Why do taxpayers fund lobbyists for USC to seek even more tax payer dollars for USC?
    A Grown Up would look at this and say “it’s time for an intervention”.
    What Brad really represents is the “Enablers Party”.

    Reply
  3. Dum Spiro Spero

    I think some folks out there are breaking the first two rules of Libertarianism: “YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT LIBERTARIANISM!” I was told those were the first two rules.

    Reply
  4. just saying

    Lee: Just to clairfy. If the evidence was clear and conclusive that the helmets reduced injuries and deaths by a significant amount(and by proxy saved the rest of us money by the state not having to pay for the bills of the under-insured), would you have been ok with a law requiring helmets?
    Where the line is between outlawing use of asbestos fibers and plutonium as wall covering in your house, and outlawing french fries, I’m not exactly sure… just seeing if you think there is a line somewhere.

    Reply
  5. just saying

    Doug: ‘A Grown Up would look at this and say “it’s time for an intervention”.’
    Has Brad come out in favor of any of those things you listed? Or would he agree with you on trying to intervene and fix those?
    Clearly some taxes are needed, unless you are arguing that neither a military or police force is needed.
    Clearly some restrictions on private and business activities are needed, unless (for example) you think that toxic dumping isn’t a big deal and would clean up itself.
    Once its admitted that taxes and restrictions are needed… then we’re (as a country) just haggling over how much.

    Reply
  6. Lee Muller

    If helmets overwhelmingly reduced injuries more than they caused injuries, I might consent to requiring them. The State has a right to dictate anything about its roads, if you see them as being owned by The State, rather than being public property.
    But no one other than the rider at a particular moment is capable of making the decision that it is better to wear a helmet or not in a particular situation. You cannot sit on your sofa, or at a legislative desk, or judge’s chair, and declare that you know one rule which is best for every rider in every situation.
    If the roads are public property, like a park or river, then the state’s only legitimate interest is in regulating behavior which might damage that property or endanger or intefere with other people. A motorcycle with defective brakes or no muffler would fall within those categories. A rider choosing to not wear his helmet does not.
    Outlawing asbestos fibers is a good example of blanket stupidity. In most cases, asbestos is not dangerous to anyone, and it offers superior insulation and protection. Many of its replacements are less effective, less safe, and less beneficial – but a lot of people got rich off the retrofits.

    Reply
  7. just saying

    I didn’t defend the government wasting countless millions getting rid of secured asbestos… I used the example of having the fibers hanging off walls (with plutonium) as wall covering. (Just because I am not against government does not mean I can’t be against government waste.)
    I can completely respect that you think the government oversteps in terms of regulations. The problem is that you come off sounding like all regulations everywhere are bad. I just wanted you to admit that that wasn’t the case.
    As far as needing to know what is safe or dangerous in every circumstance… that strikes me as silly. Knowing what happens the vast majority of the time should be enough. Surely there is at least one case where having defective breaks has saved a life. (Wow… if my breaks had worked there that care behind me would have smooshed me to a pulp… good thing I rolled through thee intersection.)

    Reply
  8. Lee Muller

    Proscritive laws should only be made when we KNOW the activity is wrong for other people EVERY SINGLE time, like robbery, murder, rape, etc.
    Making laws because a few legislators think that sometimes it is a good thing, or because something is good for them that it must be mandatory for everyone, is the height of naive arrogance. That is most regulations are.

    Reply
  9. just saying

    Doesn’t “Proscritive laws should only be made when we KNOW the activity is wrong for other people EVERY SINGLE time, like robbery, murder, rape, etc.”
    contradict your
    “If the roads are public property, like a park or river, then the state’s only legitimate interest is in regulating behavior which might damage that property or endanger or intefere with other people. A motorcycle with defective brakes or no muffler would fall within those categories.”
    from just a few posts up?

    Reply
  10. Lee Muller

    We KNOW that riding a motorcycle with defective brakes is reckless. If you do it on your own property, it endangers only you, and is none of the state’s business.
    If you ride it on public property, around other people it is not only reckless, but endangers others. If we cannot presume that others will be using the public property, there is no justification for the property being public, much less for any law regulating behavior on it.
    The sad thing is that I am having to explain a simple legal concept which was worked out centuries ago, but has been dismantled by ignorant legislators and become unknown to editors and political pundits. A century ago, most high school graduates were familiar with such basic concepts of civics.

    Reply
  11. just saying

    “We KNOW that riding a motorcycle with defective brakes is reckless.”
    Like driving without a seatbelt, or smoking around others?

    Reply
  12. just saying

    “If you do it on your own property, it endangers only you, and is none of the state’s business. ”
    And, with no breaks, you’ll stop yourself from leaving your own property by….?

    Reply
  13. Lee Muller

    Riding a motorcycle without a helmet (or leather suit) and driving without a seatbelt, can be easily handled by the free market – just let insurance companies deny benefits to those who do not meet their rules, or charge higher rates.
    Smoking around others is not proven to cause harm. There have been dozens of long-term studies of intercontinental flight attendants and bar workers which showed no differences in health problems between those workers and non-smokers who avoided other smokers.
    Light tobacco consumption has been proven beneficial to those suffering chronic diseases, such as colitis. Those persons have a right to make their own decision about the risk of smoking vs the risks of colitis. It is only between them and their physician, just like any other medication.
    Again, the non-smokers can weigh the imaginary (unproven) risks, and decide whether to hand around smokers. Owners of businesses can decide to appeal to smokers and maybe lose some other customers. Insurance companies can set rules and surcharges if they think their is a risk. Other insurance companies can set different rules and lower rates if they think there is little risk.
    Government is not needed or warranted for resolving matters of taste and manners. It is blue-nosed moralists, who want to misuse government to enforce their stunted personal lifestyles on everyone else that is the problem.

    Reply
  14. Brad Warthen

    Oh, well, and here I was hoping for a serious discussion, but then Lee weighed in, and “just saying” got pulled in to arguing with Lee, and here we go again…
    So I give up.
    How about this, Doug: We REQUIRE that everybody have wall coverings made of asbestos laced with enriched plutonium. This will be our party economic development platform… a tremendous boon for the “plutonium-laced asbestos removal” industry. And our health care plan will be to FORBID anyone to use a helmet to ride motorcycles. This will make organs for transplants much more widely available, and save many lives.
    And Thanos — what questions? Doug just asked some, but that was after YOU said something about questions…

    Reply
  15. just saying

    Brad,
    Apologies. I’ll stop getting pulled into these extraneous arguments as a way to blow off steam after the days work and restrict myself to commenting on the actual issues.
    I personally love the un-party concept. I always thought Nader would have actually made a difference in a positive way (towards his view) if he had focussed on finding candidates in both of the other two parties that came closest to his views and supporting them in the elections. (Those couple percent he got in the general would be a huge number in a lot of primaries.) If the concerned non-party people would do things like that we might have situations like this year more often, when we’ll at least get a semi-decent candidate no matter which party wins.
    Keep up the good work,
    (a newly chastened) just saying

    Reply
  16. Lee Muller

    Brad, this discussion is too serious for your Childish Party, which is defined by:
    * Wanting some authority to tell you what do do. Big Brother has been traded for Big Sister.
    * If you don’t do it, no one else needs to.
    * If you like it but can’t afford what businesses charge, then government must provide it to you.
    * Using government to enforce your lifestyle on others. Bothered by smokers but too timid to ask them to abstain? – just pass a law so you can call the cops on them.
    * Wanting someone else (us adults) to pay for your medical insurance, education, retirement and even your sports arenas, golf courses and rock concerts.

    Reply
  17. Brad Warthen

    Dang it, now Lee’s having trouble with the name of the party, and I tried so hard to explain it and all (and my careful explanation was the precise opposite, I might add, of saying “Because I Said So!,” which, come to think of it, SHOULD suffice for the Grownup Party, shouldn’t it?)
    I mean, if not even LEE, who’s a regular, can remember the name or the fundamental concepts correctly, I’ve got a problem, right?
    Maybe I should just pick ONE name for the party to avoid confusion, huh?

    Reply
  18. Doug Ross

    Here’s another simple question:
    If you brought together the best minds in the country to design a tax code for the United States, do you think they would come up with 60,000 pages to describe it as our Federal Tax Code is now?
    Or do you think they might be able to describe it in 50 pages or less?
    It’s the extra 59,950 pages that bug me… designed by a very, very small number of elected representatives for purely selfish interests.

    Reply
  19. Lee Muller

    Doug, the promise made to get income taxes legalized via Constitutional amendment was that the top rate would never be more than 5%.
    It was over 90% within 5 years.
    It was 92% when Reagan took office and cut it to 28%, and 92% was not enough for some Democrats who just hate those with more ability and business sense than they have.
    Brad, grow up and take responsibility for your own healthcare. Stop believing the tooth fairy stories from Obama and Hillary.

    Reply
  20. just saying

    Brief factual clarification. The ammendment passed in 1913. The rate didn’t hit 90% until 1944. It was only 70% when Reagan took office. It didn’t get cut til 28% til the last year. (all from http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=19). Also, in all casaes, this is only the rate for the top bracket, and is not applied to all dollars earned by the person.

    Reply
  21. Lee Muller

    Correction, just. I still have a 1973 1040 form which shows a 92% bracket with another 4% surcharge. You obviously have not been around long enough to be familiar with the current events back then, and have been reading some soft history.
    Since the brackets were not indexed to inflation, many working people were in brackets supposedly written to cheat the rich.
    Clinton raised the personal income tax rates 50% on working incomes. He cut the top brackets for investment banking and venture capital in half, to 11-14%.
    The Bush tax cuts only roll back part of that, and not the top brackets.

    Reply
  22. bud

    Brad, your condescending proclamation that government, through our elected officials, is the be all and end all in deciding what people can and should do is not a grownup position to take at all. Rather, this is a child-like retort that is unbecoming for a nation that strives to be free. As an adult I feel I can decide for myself whether or not to drink a beer on Sunday. I don’t need a group of people to tell me that, whether they are in the majority or not. You easily see your religion or vocation as yours and yours alone to decide. Yet you seem to be okay with allowing others to control your body and recreation choices. That is an inexplicable contradiction in logic.

    Reply
  23. Lee Muller

    That’s part of your “freedom delusion”, bud.
    You are unable to see that you need to be controlled by benevolent tyrants.
    Just learn to like the things they like, which will not only remain legal, but subsidized.
    As for beer on Sunday, start brewing your own, and quit sending tax money to Columbia. Hell, the newspaper doesn’t pay sales taxes or city property taxes (they moved), the editors don’t live in the city they want to tax – follow their lead.

    Reply
  24. Doug Ross

    Right, Lee…
    Bud – can’t you see that Brad only wants to help you be more like him? In fact, he’d adopt you if he could.

    Reply
  25. bud

    Brad’s problem is that he knows (or at least believes) none of his personal choices in his life will be affected by government intervention. He knows they won’t ban the Catholic Church. He knows they won’t ban the State Newspaper. He knows his house in Quail Hollow won’t be confiscated for a government project. He can eat or drink whenever and whatever he chooses without concern that these things will be arbitrarily banned or regulated. In that convenient, safe world he is ok with foisting government control over the free-will choices of others.
    But what if Brad could be subjected to arbitrary prohibitions on something he holds dear. Just what if. It would be an epiphany of epic proportions. Sadly, we can’t transport Brad away from his safe existence into a world where the majority subjegates his humanity. This would have such a profound effect on his world-view. If only for a day Brad could see the tyranny of the majority gone wild then perhaps Brad could understand. But alas, it’s only a dream.

    Reply
  26. Brad Warthen

    Actually, bud, this is not a “problem.” This supports my case. The fact is that no thing that a reasonable grownup might want to do (belong to a church, exercise freedom of the press, drink beer in moderation, hold a mortgage in a stable neighborhood, etc.) is in the slightest danger in our system of being banned or proscribed is actually an argument for my point of view. The Cassandra cries of the civil libertarian extremists that we hover on the brink of totalitarianism are childish rants.
    Reasonable adults don’t want to ride motorcycles without helmets, even if (and I’m not pointing to anyone in particular here) “Then Came Bronson” was once their favorite TV show. Even if, as a child, they once thought Steve McQueen’s chase scene in “The Great Escape” was the most awesome movie scene EVER. The grownup still doesn’t want to do that (“See, boys and girls, Hilts wound up back in the cooler after engaging in such shenanigans…”).
    Nor does he want to force other people to breathe cigarette smoke by lighting up in their presence. Nor does he want to view pornography on a computer at the public library.
    And so on and so forth. You get the picture, boys and girls. And stop doing that “wah-wah” thing with your hands over your ears while making siren sounds…

    Reply
  27. Doug Ross

    Brad,
    Would you use the terms “childish” and “selfish” to describe the views of Ron Paul?

    Reply
  28. Doug Ross

    Ron Paul – the guy who 1 out of 6 Republicans in Pennsylvania STILL think would be a better President than John McCain.
    Candidate Votes Percentage
    John McCain 587,210 73%
    Ron Paul 128,483 16%
    Must have been a bunch of 12 year olds who snuck into the voting booths.

    Reply
  29. bud

    Brad, would you say a person who wants relief from the nausuea of his cancer treatments is acting like an irresponsible child? A cruel tyranny is impossed on thousands of cancer victims by those in charge of the government (and probably not even a majority of Americans) who might ‘score’ a bit of relief for their symptoms if they could only take a few puffs of medicinal marijuana is denied them. Yet you accuse them of acting as children. How arrogant.
    Is it childlike for a person to choose to die with dignity rather than suffer excruciating pain for a few more weeks? Or is this an area than government can oversee as adults, thus condeming a person to live on the government’s terms not their own. How unspeakably cruel.
    Your world view does not, nor can it, take into account the various situations that arise during the course of human existence. It condemns people in many situations to government decision making that are far better suited to individual choice; choices that are made by rational adults based on thier convictions and individual circumstances.
    To suggest that our current system doesn’t impose extrodinary burdens on people through irrational and cruel rules is simply to deny reality. It goes on every day. Our jails are filled with hapless souls who only wanted a bit of harmless recreation or relief from pain. And what purpose has that served other than to ratify some out-of-touch rule passed by a process fraught with imperfections?
    Let’s let people make decisions on how to lead or even end their lives without the tyranical yoke of government oppression. Our country would be far better off for it. We would be more humane and certainly more accountable to the founding fathers dream of creating a free country that guarantees the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

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  30. Lee Muller

    Brad doesn’t try to argue his viewpoint, so he calls names. In this thread, everyone who disagrees with his lifestyle choices FOR THEM, is labeled, “childish”.
    Brad only engages in the behavior of “reasonable adults”. Everything else is “childish”. See how simple it is?
    And he is wrong about his lifestyle activities not harming anyone else, too. If he gets to pay for his medical care with some taxes paid by me, my family has fewer choices for their medical care.
    Too bad great grandpappy Warthen wasn’t around to help write our Constitution so it outlawed anything a Warthen wouldn’t need to do.

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  31. Brad Warthen

    Dagnabbit, back in MY day, nobody was allowed to think anything that the king didn’t think, and we liked it!
    Back then, our entire system of government was based on strange women lying in ponds distributing swords, and we liked it!

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  32. Lee Muller

    just saying,
    You give yourself as a youngster, repeating the false history factoids fed to you. Don’t feed them to those of us who were there, especially this old economist.
    Your professors might love that regurgitation, but it’s bunk. And you can quibble all you want about rates of 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, and 92% – they are all too high. The fact is that Reagan reduced it to 28%, fixed the Carter Malaise, and started a boom that was ridden into the ground by Clinton increasing rates by 50%.
    There should be one rate for everyone, and 14% is more than enough to run everything this country needs. It ran for 120 years with no income tax (except the illegal one of Lincoln). Most of it goes to buy votes with welfare, which perpertuates poverty.

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  33. just saying

    Brad writes: “Back then, our entire system of government was based on strange women lying in ponds distributing swords, and we liked it!” – Ah for the good old days. :::sigh:::
    Lee writes: “repeating the false history factoids fed to you”
    False? I looked them up and gave you the references. I think it is important to distinguish between fact (what the percent was) and opinion (that it was too high).
    “It ran for 120 years with no income tax”
    It also ran with no cars or plumbing either. But back to your point, if you don’t think that Medicare, Medicaid, and all discretionary funding (interstates, FEMA), etc…) are needed, then it does look like we can cut out half of the budget and lower the tax rates accordinly. (Still not back to the old days of 0%). All you need to do is convince just above 50% of those voting in the country to agree (and have them pick representatives who will do the peoples will).
    “they are all too high.”
    Reagan liked that percent… and the Bush cuts still let us into a momentary downturn. (The economy, like the enviornment is cyclical after all).

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  34. Lee Muller

    FEMA? Why should inland taxpayers provide insurance to beach front developers whose projects are too risky for the experts in private insurance?
    Social Security? A welfare Ponzi scheme which will soon be broke again and require another bailout.
    Medicare? 21,000% over its original projected size for 2008. A good yardstick of just how incompetent government is.
    Since way fewer than 50% of adults pay income taxes, or payroll taxes, we have passed the tipping point, where freeloaders are the majority, just as Ben Franklin predicted.
    That’s why democracy never works unless the constitution prohibits votes to transfer wealth from one group to another. Ours does, but it is ignored by a corrupt court and the legislature which appoints the judges.

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  35. Lee Muller

    just saying,
    It’s obvious you don’t teach business or economics, and don’t invest your own savings, or you would be aware that President GW Bush inherited a recession from Clinton, which began with the Clinton tax increases choking off the Reagan boom. There was almost zero growth in 1996, so Clinton poured on the deficit spending and cut the military. Then the DotCom bust and stock market crashes of 1998 and 1999, then his recession in November 2000.
    The small Bush tax cuts revitalized the economy by August 2001.

    Reply

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