Video: The most “unpatriotic” thing you’ll see this year

posted at 7:15 pm on April 10, 2009 by Allahpundit

Well, maybe not the very most: No doubt we’ll be told the tea parties rate awfully high on the treason scale, too. I’m tempted to call this a ready-made campaign ad for the GOP once the inevitable — and they are inevitable — Obama tax hikes are finally announced, but reminding the poorer 50 percent of American households that they’re freeloading on taxes does not a brilliant populist strategy make. No wonder libertarians can’t win elections.

Trim out the stuff about relative burdens, though, and replace it with estimates of the average household’s bill for Great Society II and you’ve got a sweet spot set to go for the midterms.


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Comments

canditaylor68 on April 10, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Snap out of it woman! Your trying to reason with the character project by Viscount_Bolingbroke. These ideals are a mosaic of farces. Anyone that picks up eco, soc and poly-sci books at the community college bookstore can craft this trip. Doesn’t mean they attended the classes and were instructed how to use the knowledge the books have to offer.

ericdijon on April 10, 2009 at 9:41 PM

ericdijon on April 10, 2009 at 9:41 PM

You’re your of course.

ericdijon on April 10, 2009 at 9:42 PM

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 9:14 PM

If everyone thought like you, well, there would be no one to ‘support’ you.

HornetSting on April 10, 2009 at 9:46 PM

We are all here together, bound by a common thread of humanity and existence. That should be reason enough.

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Like this?

Glenn Jericho on April 10, 2009 at 9:47 PM

We are all here together, bound by a common thread of humanity and existence. That should be reason enough.

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Isn’t “existence” kind of redundant following “humanity”? I mean things can exists without being human, but how can one be human without existing?

MB4 on April 10, 2009 at 9:55 PM

Hey, Viscount, consider this thing we called the ‘War on Poverty.’ We took trillions from earners to give to the poor and wound up with just as many poor people at the end of it as we had at the beginning, with multiple generations of people ‘discovering themselves’ by waiting for the government check. We now have ‘families’ in this country that have not had a wage-earner in generations.

These people have more children than average, and at earlier ages, bringing them into the same cycle of aimlessness and uselessness that their parents had. Families disappear because government becomes the fulfillment of their needs, and these kids wind up uneducated, amoral, uninterested and unmotivated to achieve anything for themselves, because, frankly, they don’t have to.

snickelfritz on April 10, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Exactly.

I only had two children because that’s all we provide for. Our schools are over-run with deadbeat parents not doing their jobs of disipline, homework help, etc.

TN Mom on April 10, 2009 at 10:00 PM

“all we could provide for”

TN Mom on April 10, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Today, in my town, following layoffs at our little rural hospital, a newspaper published the top incomes of the middle/upper management and executives. To me, the agenda is clear.

The grunt workers are reacting just as the author of the news story wanted them too. They are incensed, furious and down-right PISSED off that these people did not take pay-cuts before people were laid off.

Now, as a nurse, I am a target of contempt as a high-wage earner. Even though I have clearly paid my dues and am of great value to the facility and my patients.

Here’s my paradigm shift: I always felt that professional basketball players made too much money when I was bustin’ my arse taking care of the sick and dying.

Guess I am eating some crow now.

First they came for the CEO’s…

keebs on April 10, 2009 at 10:20 PM

Superb vid. Reason.tv hits another one out of the park. Now if they could just get it straight on the border…

MadisonConservative on April 10, 2009 at 10:34 PM

Show me a liberal who just won a million in the lottery and I will show you a new tax rate conservative.

KW64 on April 10, 2009 at 11:23 PM

…but what happens if you simply don’t want to work your ass off, spending all your time amassing wealth? Should you suffer?

Well if you’re suffering then you obviously aren’t doing what pleases you. Plenty of people choose to live what may be considered a frugal lifestyle, while doing what they love. For all your protestations, you are the one equating happiness(non-suffering) with wealth.

The fact is that life isn’t fair, and that there will always be those who through misfortune, birth, or circumstance have less wealth, power, and opportunity.

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

And that more or less sums up the whole issue. Even Jesus said “the poor are always with you.” We may choose to help them or we may choose to ignore them. That is our own moral decision. Whether you find it the correct one is up to you. But it is not something that should be imposed. There are many ways to assist the “poor” other than to simply hand out money.

Gee, maybe they need to be taught how to…

enjoying our time as leisure and self-exploration while seeking enlightenment through an understanding of the complex universe we live in.

Deanna on April 10, 2009 at 11:30 PM

The idea that everyone should keep what they earn is rather ludicrous, as is a flat tax…
I wasn’t always semi-Marxist, but poverty gives you a whole new outlook on life… Not everyone has the drive, luck, or cunning to climb to the top…
Anyway, I say tax the rich… Now that things are tough, it’s time for them to cough up the funds for those who are unable to survive.
Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 7:28 PM

Bravo… At least you admit that you don’t think those who earn their own money should get to keep it (so who made you pick-pocket in charge), and that there are those who don’t know how, or do not have the “drive” to go out and get their own (especially because the Obamas of the world are promising something for nothing).

But you miss the greater point… The government is hyper-wasteful with all of our tax moneys. To the tax man, it’s not about spreading the wealth to those who just need a little extra help, it’s about taking as much as possible and doing pet projects, controlling as much cash as possible, and filtering just enough to the masses to keep them in the heard.

Now that things are tough, it’s time for them to cough up the funds for those who are unable to survive…

How about they provide a job, instead of pouring more taxes into a broken system? Or did you mean ”handouts”?

On the other hand… I’ve known plenty of people with your attitude, even when Clinton was in and according to the left things were great. It’s caused by a gene that nature would have normally reduced/removed from the pool by starvation, or being eaten by wolves. The left however actually encourages it. It is the source of their power. Very sad.

RalphyBoy on April 10, 2009 at 11:33 PM

KW64 on April 10, 2009 at 11:23 PM

I disagree. Odds are good you’ll see someone back to square one after they blow it all frivolously. One doesn’t respect what one doesn’t earn. That is an all too common tale.

My wife and I come from poor families relatively speaking. Blue collar types and farmers. We were the first to go to college and get decent degrees. I could have worked harder and perhaps even gotten in to medical school. I could maybe even go back to medical school today. But, I am satisfied with my lifestyle. I could even be a farmer and be satisfied. We made the lives we live; we choose. And I resent the government telling me I don’t give enough so that others can have more. If I want the poor to have more, I give more to charity. I reject the idea that government should be responsible.

Ben Franklin said that we should keep the poor uncomfortable. That way they are less inclined to stay that way. Marxist Socialism is economic slavery. And Ayn Rand was right. I’ll go John Galt before I become a slave to the looters.

I suspect the Tea Tax Protests have Vincent nervous. Can you feel the momentum?

Great video BTW.

DWB on April 10, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Alright, since SOMEbody has to do this…

Viscount_Bolingbroke:

Well, the simple fact is that those with more have less need of the marginal dollar.</blockquote

I can understand your point there, and I can only grudgingly concur.

How much is needed to live on? How much is for showing off? And how much of that showing off is needed? For starters, we can’t change the tax system into a new one. We can just tweak the numbers.

While your initial point is all fine, you simply shoot yourself in the foot by NOT asking the crucial question:

Who is to decide WHERE “enough” money is enough?

This is the reason attempts to absolutely centralize production simply collapse: those making decisions on how much often misjudge the situation. which usually means quality and/or quantity fall far below what is healthy.

The idea that everyone should keep what they earn is rather ludicrous, as is a flat tax.

How so? I’m not saying it won’t be difficult as hell, but I think that if the Western Allies could charge the fortress of Stevastopol and emerge bloodied but victorious, we too could charge the roudina of Mount Tax System and win, though reform is almost by definition long and painful. But, as LBJ and Nixon proved by radically altering the tax system in the first place, it isn’t impossible.

And while there are certainly problems with a flat tax as it is (lack of room to adjust, etc), who is to say that our CURRENT tax system is not as bad or worse? Granted, we can’t say that it IS or ISN’T yet, but it isn’t like our current system is pleasant.

Second, the value of a dollar to a millionaire is far less than that same dollar to someone below the poverty line.

You have a point, but you are missing a bigger one:

WHO CREATES WEALTH?

Here’s a hint: it usually isn’t those living on the street. I should know: how many people do you think I hired when I was living off of the charity soup kitchens?

And what happens to the money the rich and the “rich” pay out? Does it vanish? No, it doesn’t. It goes around, which has been proven by experiments tracing individual dollars around the economy and across the oceans and back again.

Thus, the point is that while an individual dollar is of less concern to Bill Gates than to Charlie Watkins of the San Jose Overpass, Charlie Watkins can hardly create jobs or produce much, now can he?

Thus to fund government it is logical to take more dollars from those with more to take.

Meh, perhaps, but you go overboard by changing from Taking $5,000 in Taxes from a Millionaire each month and $5 or less from the poor souls under the Overpass to BLEEDING the Rich dry and taking $998,000 in taxes from the Rich while letting the poor get a free ride.

Am I saying we bleed the poor to death? God no, ’cause I’ve been there. But let’s at least have them pull some weight, no?

I wasn’t always semi-Marxist, but poverty gives you a whole new outlook on life.

Well, tell me about it, because I’ve been there as well. Unless we compare notes, I can’t decide who “Got it Worse,” but I can tell you that I was pretty badly off, and I had to do things that literally embarrass me today (no, I didn’t do anything that would require regret like stealing, but it isn’t a period of my life I would like to repeat).

And you are right, living on the edge does add perspective to it.

Firstly, you realize how damn GOOD we are in comparison to some, even when we are living largely on charity and from hand-or-foot-to-mouth. You should have SEEN the Mexican nationals who came across the border. Some of them were literally skin and bones (and I WISH I was exaggerating on that), or had suffered from cartel violence (yes, it was going on than too).

Now, I wasn’t great, but I never was shot even in some rather ugly parts of town and I always had a healthy layer of blubber on me.

And I didn’t have to worry much about somebody coming from “higher up” and Shanghaiing me at gunpoint for some “Great State Project” that needed warm bodies with a pulse.

You see, it isn’t a part of my life I would like to relive, but it is one I could probably survive again if need be.

Can one say the same for those poor individuals who came across the border or who toil in Chinese sweatshops?

You begin to understand the lie of the American Dream.

Au Contaire, you begin to see how damn WELL it holds up under immense pressure, though I do concede that it isn’t true for everyone.

It doesn’t work out that everyone can retire a millionaire if they invest wisely.

Dat true, dat true. I do believe that Fontaine on BioShock said that “”These intellectuals and philosophy types always seem to forget one thing. Someone always has to clean the toilets, even in paradise.”

In addition, Death of a Salesman should tell us that one can do everything right and still fail.

But while the American Dream is not guarenteed- a point you are correct on- you still miss another point:

Is it not good to have even that CHANCE?

I mean, look at India- even today, when things have definitely improved a lot-; there are entire families condemned to live and die in filth without ANY chance whatsoever to improve because they are “Untouchable.”

Say what you will, but the American poor are hardly in such a situation.

Oh yes, and guess what: even the Untouchables still have far more rights and opportunities than those who had the misfortune to belong to the wrong ethnicity, wrong beliefs- religious, capitalist, Democratic-Republican, etc- or who simply were on the “$hit List” of a party bigwig in those nations that openly declare their Marxist heritage.

Sound appetizing?

Not everyone has the drive, luck, or cunning to climb to the top.

And some have all of the above but STILL can’t climb to the top.

But that brings me back to my previous point: is that not better than having entire families being consigned to the ash heap of history NOT because of their identities or boons as humans but as a CASTE?

Besides, why should being rich be important?

Um, because they are the engine that fuels the ecconomy?

Anyway, I say tax the rich.

Yes. But I say tax them only to finance the government, NOT as some attempt to crush them on the behalf of some Social experiment.

They benefitted from the bubbles of mortgage and stock market, and they will benefit again when the recovery comes.

Yes, but only if they REMAIN rich, as opposed to having fallen under the poverty line from excessive taxation.

The rich are mortal, and they do not have infinite money.

Now that things are tough, it’s time for them to cough up the funds for those who are unable to survive.

Fair point, but there is a fine line between making sure the poor can find enough to not starve and what Marxism proposes.

The assumption in conservative circles seems to be that hard work and self-reliance are the most important virtues.

They aren’t: Justice, Honor, and Morality are. But Self-Reliance is up there.

I used to think so as well, but what happens if you simply don’t want to work your ass off, spending all your time amassing wealth?

Than you work your ass off spending SOME of your time amassing wealth and using the rest for the activities of your choice?

Or you can expect to become dependent on food coupons and other people’s charity- the charity of those who DO work- while you can never reasonably expect to do much?

The latter seems to be what you advocate for.

Should you suffer? If the answer in your head is “yes,” then you’re a social Darwinist.

Hat to tell you, g’vner, but the WORLD is socially Darwinian. What happened back in ye olde days if you didn’t want to “work your a$$ off” hunting and farming?

YOU DIED.

It isn’t about what I think- though yes, I do think the poor should suffer to a degree, just as the rest of us must suffer-, but about the realities of the economy and of human nature itself.

As I’ve grown, matured, and got more experienced, I’ve become more compassionate.

As do most. However, that brings me to another point: for all your growth in experience and compassion, have you ever considered what it is like for the wage earner trying to stay in the black to both avoid ruin and to do what they wish to do?

I realize that there are a great many kinds of people in the world. Some are greedy, some are altruistic.

You seem to think Greed and Altruism are mutually exclusive. Here’s a hint: They aren’t. Look at “Wreckafeller”, Gates, and Carnegie.

The problem in our world is that we try to shove all kinds of people into the same mould- that of the hard-working capitalist always trying to improve their station. It’s become a social virtue to be a workaholic.

While you have a point, I must say that history is rarely made by those dependent on handouts.

This flies in the face of our advances in technology, siceince, and medicine.

And pray tell me how do you think those advances came about? By those working their a$$es off trying to make deadlines or to climb into prosperity.

We should be enjoying our time as leisure and self-exploration while seeking enlightenment through an understanding of the complex universe we live in.

And can one not do that in between shifts? Enlightenment is hardly opposite of enrichment (though the two are not necessarily alike either).

Of course, many don’t do that. They prefer a reductionist world-view such as religion or politics which offers trite answers to all of life’s complexities

Or they do their philosphising outside of the workplace and in between shifts (or perhaps during them if they can multitask). Such slander against those who are probably responsible for your continued existence is sickening. While some workaholics are indeed rather “shallow,” not all of us are.

And those “shallow” workaholics can actually bring tangible results, which I think even the “deep” poor would have trouble doing.

while freeing them of any responsibility.

Oh, like the responsibility to make a living, work to better humanity, and to care for one’s family, one’s friends, and the poor?

The irony is DEEP.

Let me put it this way: as under the Constitution, you have the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. As such, I am hardly going to advocate literally starving the poor out. But it goes both ways, and you have to accept some tradeoffs.

Let me put it this way: if you are rich, you have to put up with taxes but have the luxury to use the rest of your money as you please as long as you meet the legal obligations. And that is fine with me.

If you are an Impoverished Philosopher like you seem to advocate, you are free to draw breath and a mixture of government and private charity.

But the catch is that you can’t really expect to fairly get that X-BOX/Collected works of Marx/DVD Player on food coupons, now can you?

If you are fine with that, than that is fair by me. Just keep in mind that you ultimately are far more dependent on us than we are on you, and that you too must pitch in should an event such as war or natural disaster occur (no, you don’t have the legal obligation, but you have the MORAL obligation, like the rest of us).

That is all I ask.

Case in point: If you buy into Objectivism

Well, I don’t, and for reasons I shall get into later.

you absolve yourself from worrying about how your profit-

Not necessarily, because there are several breeds of “Objectivism,” and Rand was certainly a believer in Capitalism, but may I also point out that Objectivism as a philosophy is hardly generous to the poor or those in the way of one’s personal enhancement?

seeking affects those who you use (such as workers or investors) to earn those profits. If they get taken advantage of, who cares? It’s their own fault. They should have been more responsible.

And THIS much I can agree with you on. While I agree with some of Rand’s points, you can only take the “Dog-Eat-Dog” factor to a certain level before it becomes destructive, not only to society as a whole, but also to the individual.

The fact is that life isn’t fair, and that there will always be those who through misfortune, birth, or circumstance have less wealth, power, and opportunity.

And I can to. But the point is that is it just for those without them to take advantage of those with it to ultimately do nothing but philosophize and draw breath?

I see nothing wrong with those who choose to seek advantage being taxed to support the rest of society.

Well, I do, but I view it as a necessary evil to sustain the system that allows people the opportunity to “seek advantage” in the first place. But can we not agree that the poor must be taxed at a certain level too in order to both be somewhat fair to the rich and to encourage the poor to rise above their misfortune?

If the compassionate reasons for doing so don’t appeal, think of it as insurance against the pitchforks coming around to take by force.

But the problem with that is that once you pass a certain point and people believe (rightfully or wrongly) that working for one’s benefit and those of one’s loved ones is more trouble than it is worth, you have a whole lot of angry people doing nothing productive- indeed, being DESTRUCTIVE by their very nature- and nothing gets done.

Do you have ANY idea what would happen if that would happen?
Well, let’s just say that suddenly, charity and government aid goes out the window.

If society is set up as a struggle for dominance, don’t be surprised when those who cannot become dominant conventionally attempt to use unconventional means

True, but may I point out that it is not merely a case of SOCIETY being “set up” as a struggle for dominance, but that human nature itself is largely coded that way (remember, our ancestors spent their formative years trying to come up with odd doodads involving rocks and sticks to try and get enough to survive and to prevent anyone from taking it away).

The capitalists of the late 1900’s took the lesson to heart and became the greatest philanthropists in history.

Which brings me back to my previous point: human nature is by definition complex. Solzhenitsyn did more-or-less say that “the divide between good and evil lies in each man’s heart,” and the simple fact is that each individual has different boons and flaws, from the saintly (Gandhi, for example, heavily damaged the Allied war effort against Hitler and Stalin) to the sinful (Stalin was reknown for being a loving father to Svetlana, and would often take her with him to his “work”).

Also, I would personally disagree with the idea that they were the “Greatest Philanthropists in History,” though I believe that comes from my belief that freedom is worth more than money (and so the Western Allied leaders and soldiers of WWI, WWII, and at certain points of the Cold War were truly the “Greatest Philanthropists in history.”

Now we rely on the government for philanthropy, and so taxes are how it has to be done today. It sucks but it’s how things are.

A. Not exclusively; there is plenty of private charity out there if you look.

B. Yes it sucks, but it is necessary. However, here we get back to the “Tradeoffs.” Is it just for “Impoverished Philosophers” to expect all the joys of the world on the back of taxes? Somehow I doubt it. If you are happy with that tradeoff, so be it. But don’t bleed us dry.

So when those of you who have to cut checks to Uncle Sam do so, feel angry if you like but also understand that it isn’t unfair.

Oh, to an extent it is. But it is a necessary evil.

It’s the cost of doing business.

True.

It’s what was decided generations ago as how we wanted our society to function.

Not so much, it is how we were forced to adapt generations ago when we realized that there are some things even the most productive individual, and CERTAINLY “Deadbeat Economists” and Overpass Philosophers can not do alone.

Then go and earn more money if that’s what makes you happy.

Or here’s a better idea: make more money to cover “Cost of Doing Business” and then use what you have to DO what makes you happy. Climb Mount Everest. Visit Marx’s study. Do whatever in the bounds of legality. But the ticket is not free, that much you should realize.

I’m hearing a lot of stories about how people worked so hard for their lucre.

Cute. Suddenly, providing the necessities to our families AND YOU is “Shameful.” If you insist on living off of our dime, at least have the decency in not insulting us.

You chose to do that and were born into it.

Oh, so we all earned our fortune because we were “born” to succeed, not having “earned” anything from the ground up. Charming.

It doesn’t entitle you to anything. It doesn’t mean those who either chose not to do as you did or were unfortunate enough to be born into different circumstances are inferior.

Um, hate to tell you, but Yes it does, Yes it does, and yes it does. The simple fact is that we are those who provide all but the air you breathe to you and your fellow “Poor Philospohers.” That food you eat? Grown and/or raised in faraway fields by a rough combination of agribusiness and other producers/refiners. Those clothes you wear (that is a reasonable guess, no?)? The material that made them was grown in the fields, shipped to the factories, and than refined to make garments. Those food coupons and other government benefits you enjoy? Paid for by the taxpayer. The freedom to live your “life” philosophizing on other’s dimes? Earned in blood by those who fought, killed, died, tortured, and were tortured to preserve your RIGHT to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, and the ability to have food coupons delivered to you on welfare.

Yet, in all that philosophizing, you apparently never took those things into account.

The blunt fact is that we have made our society- for better or worse- off of our sweat and blood and those of our forebearers. Simply put, we work, we make the rules. Fortunately, they are not terribly inhumane rules- as I can personally attest to, and you obviously can as well-, all we ask is that you don’t take our sacrifices for YOUR livelihood (such as it is) for granted, that you do not belittle us, and that you aid us in times of crisis.

Yet this sort of social Darwinism and moralizing is the default response.

After millenia of foraging, hunting, planting, and fighting to survive, you wonder why?

Perhaps if I had been put into situations that were similar I might think the same way

.

Yes, I think if YOU actually had to fear the taxman, I believe you would actually care more about preserving your livelihood and that of your family. If you had to ever fight and kill for Liberty, I think you would be more appreciative of what must be done. Which is why I propose levying taxes on the poor as well as the rich and the middle class.

Privileged people tend to think they earned the privilege.

And would it be a stretch to say that they are often right about that?

It can be distressing for those who think they had power and control to relaie thet they in fact were at the mercy of fortune the same as those they looked down on as inferior.

You have a point, but you are missing a larger one: who is more at the mercy of fortune and fate? Back in ye olde days of Sumeria, if a famine struck, who would be more likely to survive: the hardworking farmer or the layabout philosopher who lived solely at the mercy of the Priest-King? The answer is hard to tell given the high mortalities of the day, but the former would at least have some stock of food to turn their back on, while the latter would likely have only the whims of fate. Does this mean that the former is immune or that the latter is certain to perish? Of course not. But the chances are likely better for the former. And, more importantly, it is the former, not the latter, that would rebuild the foundations for tommorrow. And the same exists today. What would happen if the Chinese were somehow able to impact several nuclear missles at strategic places around the US? Who would pick up of the pieces?

The losses in the stock markets come to mind.

On the Wheel O’ Chance, the Stock Market rates far Reliance on continued Welfare.

At any rate, I make no judgments on character or morality as regards to wealth, power, and “drive.”

Given your often condescending attitude towards us, I have reason to doubt that.

All that matters is doing the most good for the most people while doing the least harm.

I am sure that those who perished in the Gulags “For the Greater Good” would agree, if any of them were still alive.

I used to think that Objectivism (or something a bit like it- see Ayn Rand) was the best way to do that.

But I never have, because I detected the flaws in Randian idealism (which I honestly find more similar to Nietzsche’s romanticism about power unchained by morality than anything else_

Now I swing more towards Marxist (NOT Communist) thought. I’d like no one to go hungry, sleep without a roof over their head, or live in fear. If the route to those things is higher marginal tax rates, so be it.

Perhaps, but do you realize that- regardless of how unfair it is- the producers and the dependents are not equal in terms of productivity and effects? Do you approve of “bleeding” the rich to death rather than merely taxing them for funds? Where do we draw the lines between the Individual’s rights and the good of the whole?

These are all questions I would sincerely like to here the answer to.

I’ve seen enough of life at the bottom, and enough of life at the top to give me compassion and understanding.

As have I.

I know that while one is at the top one can afford to pay more in taxes. If anyone wants to know my arbitrary definition of what the “top” is, I’d say that $200K+ a year is certainly the top.

Hardly, and you do realize that is probably over half of the populace, right?

Below that, it depends. In the good times, I expect the rich to get richer.

Well, it depends. The uber-rich Soros would probably wither away if “good times” continued for so long (cuts into hedge fund opportunities, you know?), while movies made a killing during the Depression. The Market is quite fluid, and it also depends on leaving the rich intact enough after taxation to use their capital to get richer.

IN bad times, I expect the rich to cough up more to cushion the blow to those at the bottom. The reason is because they can, and should.

OK, I can see some reason to this. But in really bad, the-Chinese-are-landing-in-Sacramento-Run-For-Your-Lives times, is it unjust to expect the poor to pull their weight (perhaps not only monetarily, but in labor and other means?) with the rest of us?

We are all here together, bound by a common thread of humanity and existence. That should be reason enough.

Perhaps it SHOULD be, but it often isn’t. The sad fact is that the freedoms you and I enjoy are the product of toil, blood, and death. Is it unjust to realize this, and expect that we all pull, even the poor?

I agree that further thought is required. It probably is for you, as well. That’s the nature of philosophy- it’s a journey with an unknown destination which takes place entirely whthin the self.

True, but what is the harm in drawing a paycheck to live and prosper in between philosophizing?

I know many comfortable people. They all got lucky in some way. In my weaker moments I am jealous, but not covetous. That is, I want that for myself but I wouldn’t think of taking it from them. They pay more taxes than I do, as they should. Nothing wrong with that.

Yes, but do you realize that you also OWE them for subsiding your choice of living?

I would assert that it can be very hard for some people to get comfortable.

That depends on your definition of “Comfortable.”

People who are not secure in their positions tend to be more on guard. That’s why there are so many stories being posted detailing why those who are comfortable deserve to hoard their winnings.

Perhaps, but some part of that may be in the fact that your comments warrant a response, and you yourself have chosen to emphasize poverty as the key point in your “conversion,” which (if you have studied debate) is a point that others must counter.

I’m not sure what is meant by “false choice.”

I get the impression he was referring to your apparent implications that there is a choice between material wealth and spiritual/philosophical wealth (ie “You can only have one”).

If you mean a Darwinian survival of the fittest, then I fully stand behind that as the model for most conservative economic thought.

It is the model for a heck lot more than merely “most Conservative economic thought.”

If you mean that I am being too broad in painting those who strive after material wealth with the brush of greed, then perhaps.

Well, at least you can accept that…

What I am trying to bring to attention is how the American Dream is a load of manure.

Hardly. It certainly is unfair, but it is real, as the stories of Carnegie and others tell us. In addition, is it not preferable to something like the Indian Caste system (where there is almost- if not absolutely- no chance of improvement)?

It pits us against one another in a contest few are equipped to win.

It depends on what you mean by “few” and what you mean by “win.” In addition, how can you know you are equipped to win if you never even try?

Those who merely get comfortable tend to buy into this notion of how society should be ordered, i.e. wealth = happiness and poor = failures.

And I must concede that is not necessarily true, but forgive me is that is sadly how societies- and human nature itself- are actually ordered, even “Marxist” societies. The American Dream- for all its flaws- at least allows the slim chance of one to climb to the top.

It’s a load of crap that we are fed since before we can talk.

That “Load of [email protected]” is the only thing keeping you alive and in coupons, so I would think twice before slinging mud.

Implicit in that world-view is a lack of compassion for those who do not fit the ideals of that world-view.

And now here you are painting us all with the Randian brush. Not all capitalists or those who work are Randian “Save Yourself First” enthusiasts. In addition, forgive me if we actually believe that becoming dependent on the government- an organ almost completely outside one’s control- is wise. But we will still subsidize your right to live as such. Forgive us if we actually expect you to pitch in.

Turtler on April 11, 2009 at 1:02 AM

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

The problem in our world is that we try to shove all kinds of people into the same mould- that of the hard-working capitalist

Beyond that point, TL;DR

Based on that sample, however, you are an idiot; our stomachs require each of us to be productive, not our fellow men.

“We” do not try to shove anyone into a productive mold. “We” simply have no interest in carrying your whiny, dead weight.

Troll Feeder on April 11, 2009 at 1:09 AM

Viscount_Bolingbroke on April 10, 2009 at 7:28 PM
Now that things are tough, it’s time for them to cough up the funds for those who are unable to survive.

Or perhaps it is time for those “unable” to survive — despite thirteen years of publicly-funded education — to quit wasting resources that the non-hapless could productively use.

How about you disgusting leeches do something charitable for once, instead of always just demanding charity from us?

I’m even willing to meet you half-way. Half of you go to hell, and I’ll pony up a little extra tax money to baby the half that are left.

And next year, we’ll do it again, hmm?

Troll Feeder on April 11, 2009 at 1:18 AM

Why was my comment deleted?

All I pointed out was that it is relevant to also look at the percentage of wealth those top 5% control. If it is also 60%, then it’s only fair they also pay 60% of the taxes.

Another, more important, question is: Is it healthy and just for only 5% of the population to control 60% of the wealth?

PeterReaper on April 11, 2009 at 6:13 AM

Flat tax – every person making some type of income (earned or unearned as the IRS says) pays the same percent.
Every citizen making an income should pay taxes to maintain the government – that is the patriotic duty.

albill on April 11, 2009 at 6:59 AM

Peter:

I doubt if it was deleted. Some times posts just go away. I have had it happen myself. I think the larger point is that it is not an issue of fairness. That is like saying it is not fair that Tiger Woods makes so much money than the other golfers so let’s take more away from him. In the end, it only hurts Woods, takes away incentive for competition and does not help the other guy who stops bothering to try. After all, why bother?

I think the larger issue is that the wealthy are indeed responsible for creating a great deal of wealth in the economy and that wealth in turns creates the engine for the economy. If you take too much from them, it is simply less they put back in terms of jobs and growth.

Terrye on April 11, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Why was my comment deleted?

All I pointed out was that it is relevant to also look at the percentage of wealth those top 5% control. If it is also 60%, then it’s only fair they also pay 60% of the taxes.

Another, more important, question is: Is it healthy and just for only 5% of the population to control 60% of the wealth?

PeterReaper on April 11, 2009 at 6:13 AM

Your comment wasn’t deleted. But it was stupid (or at least ill-informed). The “top 5%” don’t control 60% of the wealth. They “control” (or as normal people view it – “own”) around 30% of the “wealth”.They worked for it and they earned it, and then they have enormous chunks taken away from them against their will.

Unlike democrat wealth, which is either inherited from criminal ancestors (see Ted Kennedy), or is married into (see Pelosi or Kerry/Heinz-Kerry), conservative wealth is built from nothing. No, this is not universally true, but it is true in majority.

George Soros is an exception that proves the rule. He makes a giga-fortune shorting the market, and shorting currencies (which if you don’t know, by definition is getting rich off of driving someone else into poverty), which causes enormous destruction to the world economy, and he’s one of your own. Even the old robber-barons weren’t stupid enough to try to destroy the gravy train. Soros isn’t funding another “Carnegie Hall”, he’s funding people who want to tear the economy down. I guess he thinks he will be one of the chosen few, and maybe even emperor (and if we allow this Obama/leftist/stealthewealth nonsense to go on, he might be).

You sir, will not be one of the chosen few. You will be very, very lucky to survive. And it will be because of the largess of those of us who stockpiled, and saved and worked hard. So don’t piss me off. I’ll have many many people like you to choose from, and I won’t choose someone with an attitude like yours.

Squiggy on April 11, 2009 at 7:29 AM

What the heck does that even mean?

thomasaur on April 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

It means that Viscount_Bolingbroke is probably a sophomore in college.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 7:30 AM

dawgyear on April 10, 2009 at 9:39 PM

Too bad there aren’t more teachers like you..

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 7:33 AM

Flat tax – every person making some type of income (earned or unearned as the IRS says) pays the same percent.
Every citizen making an income should pay taxes to maintain the government – that is the patriotic duty.

albill on April 11, 2009 at 6:59 AM

I’ve come to the conclusion that a flat tax (no exemptions, no deductions, and with a percentage cap somewhere around 20 on the rate) as a constitutional amendment is desirable just from the standpoint of simplicity and keeping the federal government honest (fairness aside). Let the states impose progressive taxes if they want to, and let people vote with their feet.

Count to 10 on April 11, 2009 at 7:40 AM

Too bad there aren’t more teachers like you..

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 7:33 AM>

There are many like us and seems to be a slowly growing group. I work in a school similar to dawgyear. It is frustrating to see students from poverty not do anything in your class or any other class in school. What is worse is to hear them say “I can get welfare and live better than than most people.” Unfortunately, they are right. I have students who live in Section 8 housing, have foodstamps, and many other entitlements wearing the newest shoes and jackets that many students only dream about.

A large problem is the schools and the type of student coming out of the teacher indoctrination programs. Schools of education indoctrinate teachers who indoctrinate students. Review the history of the leaders of the educational reforms after WWII. The majority of them were Cultural Marxist. Hell, even education leaders before WWII were studying the systems in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and wanting to implement their ideas and models.

bej on April 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM

Turtler on April 11, 2009 at 1:02 AM

Nicely stated and no doubt appreciated by all of us in your camp. A waste if you wish a slacker to reform.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 7:30 AM

I have to dig in my heels and disagree. This stuff isn’t even mainstream liberal; this stuff has convoluted thought. It isn’t possible this can be imparted this way by a college or university instructor or even a TA or even Judy Hensler.

ericdijon on April 11, 2009 at 9:33 AM

bej on April 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM

It is comforting to know that there are a growing number of educators out there that aren’t droids teaching children to become the same. I feel very pessimistic of late witnessing how little people understand the fundamentals of economics, scientific method, and critical thinking. It is not just poor children that are suffering either, if Viscount_Bolingbroke’s posts are any indication. I have personally had too many conversations with people who are as muddled in their thought processes as VB.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 10:31 AM

I have to dig in my heels and disagree. This stuff isn’t even mainstream liberal; this stuff has convoluted thought. It isn’t possible this can be imparted this way by a college or university instructor or even a TA or even Judy Hensler.

ericdijon on April 11, 2009 at 9:33 AM

I am not knocking higher education at all, I have benefitted from it myself. I do think if you put a philosophically confused person in classes with certain professors you will get this type of muddled and confused thinking. I have met too many philosophy majors who “think” like this and let’s face it, there are few majors that appeal to slackers more, it’s impractical, it spins it’s own bull, they try to befuddle people with their great “intelligence” which is nothing more than rhetorical tricks, basically it’s for game players and manipulators with few exceptions. While there is nothing more valuable than good philosophy, there is nothing more damaging than bad and the bad is emphasized in most liberal arts colleges.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 10:46 AM

I think the larger issue is that the wealthy are indeed responsible for creating a great deal of wealth in the economy and that wealth in turns creates the engine for the economy. If you take too much from them, it is simply less they put back in terms of jobs and growth.

That is true, and the Left too often forgets that. Likewise, the Right forgets that if the wealthy use their money not only for enjoying being rich, but also for power, then there exists a point where the poorer feel exploited (child labor, 80 hour work weeks, no vacation, zero job security, etc.)

The “top 5%” don’t control 60% of the wealth. They “control” (or as normal people view it – “own”) around 30% of the “wealth”.

Interesting claim. Citation please?

You sir, will not be one of the chosen few. You will be very, very lucky to survive. And it will be because of the largess of those of us who stockpiled, and saved and worked hard. So don’t piss me off. I’ll have many many people like you to choose from, and I won’t choose someone with an attitude like yours.

This is the kind of statement that justifies the skepticism of left (and scares the crap out of them). When the wealthy abuse their power to intimidate the weaker into silence and submission, the Right is being amoral.

The misconception that the poor are lazy and dumb is a cliche that leaves the Right on the wrong side of this issue. Sure, there are lazy people, just as there are abusive rich people.

It’s the healthy balance between survival of the fittest and humane behavior that is best.

As long as the right forgets this, people like Obama (and worse) will be elected.

BTW: I voted McCain last election. So drop the threats and patronizing. ;-)

PeterReaper on April 11, 2009 at 10:56 AM

And now here you are painting us all with the Randian brush. Not all capitalists or those who work are Randian “Save Yourself First” enthusiasts.

If that’s your conclusion, then you really don’t understand what Rand was trying to say. She never advocated a dog-eat-dog philosophy but was trying to explain rational self interest. It is in my interest to be as ethical in my dealings with my fellow humans, it benefits me more and helps me achieve my goals which wouldn’t be achieved if I were unethical. Too many people don’t understand that and many of them are capitalists without a firm philosophical foundation. My happiness is the most important thing to me and I’m not going to be a happy person by alienating everyone I come in contact with, so it is in my self interest to treat people how I would like to be treated myself and this will benefit me in the long run.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 10:58 AM

If that’s your conclusion, then you really don’t understand what Rand was trying to say. She never advocated a dog-eat-dog philosophy but was trying to explain rational self interest.

…Which often was taken by many Objectivists to the point of “Dog Eat Dog.”

Too many people don’t understand that and many of them are capitalists without a firm philosophical foundation.

Ok, I can buy that.

My happiness is the most important thing to me and I’m not going to be a happy person by alienating everyone I come in contact with, so it is in my self interest to treat people how I would like to be treated myself and this will benefit me in the long run.

But what happens when you reach a point where morality and self-interest part ways? What happens if you are going to try and dodge the Draft- say, because you don’t see the reason to bleed and possibly die for “Moochers” like the Viscount- even as the shelling goes on overhead? What happenes if you are a young Jewish kid in the Concentration Camps who is offered the chance to become a Kapo- meaning that your own life is temporarily saved in exchange for your help in taking OTHER’S Lives.

What do you do than?

And secondly, you claim that I “really don’t understand” what Rand is saying.

Perhaps, though a re-reading of Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead doesn’t seem to clear that up much.

However, this brings me to my next point. Perhaps it would be wrong to tar Rand and the Objectivists like that.

However, if that is the case, I would ask that you please tell many of the SELF-PROCLAIMED OBJECTIVISTS out there.

Don’t believe me? Go to half of the Objectivist sites on the web and you will see the type of Dog-Eat-Dog tripe that- more than anything else- is responsible for Rand’s reputation as advocating Dog-Eat-Dog (rightfully or wrongfully).

The problem with that is- like I said- there are situations where morality and self-interest do not concur, and the question becomes what do you do now?

Ponder that.

Turtler on April 11, 2009 at 11:21 AM

Won’t mean anything to the class-envy clowns. They will rub their hands together with glee and say “Good. It’s about time they got the shaft.”
People like that are too stupid to breathe, but it’s not legal to kill them and harvest their organs.

SKYFOX on April 11, 2009 at 12:50 PM

But what happens when you reach a point where morality and self-interest part ways? What happens if you are going to try and dodge the Draft- say, because you don’t see the reason to bleed and possibly die for “Moochers” like the Viscount- even as the shelling goes on overhead?

What am I fighting for? If I were a German in Nazi Germany, then yeah, I would dodge the draft and join the resistance. I would fight for freedom and liberty and all the things that make this country worth fighting and dying for but if this country turned into Nazi Germany, I would fight for it to return to it’s ideals, but I wouldn’t fight on behalf of a totalitarian regime. I think you are a bit broad in your definition of morality with that one.

What happenes if you are a young Jewish kid in the Concentration Camps who is offered the chance to become a Kapo- meaning that your own life is temporarily saved in exchange for your help in taking OTHER’S Lives.

How on earth can you say you understand Rand and come up with that example? Her whole life was a crusade against the very philosophy that leads to regimes such as nazi Germany and the USSR. No real objectivist would ever do this straw-man scenario you’ve cooked up because a rational person would know that throwing their lot in with these types of people would be a temporary reprieve at best and against everything they believe to the core of their being at the most basic level. I’m not going to be a Nazi to survive.

Ann NY on April 11, 2009 at 1:58 PM

“The problem with Socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
~Margaret Thatcher.

DL13 on April 11, 2009 at 2:14 PM

What am I fighting for? If I were a German in Nazi Germany, then yeah, I would dodge the draft and join the resistance. I would fight for freedom and liberty and all the things that make this country worth fighting and dying for but if this country turned into Nazi Germany, I would fight for it to return to it’s ideals, but I wouldn’t fight on behalf of a totalitarian regime. I think you are a bit broad in your definition of morality with that one.

A. Fair Point.

B. You and I both know that this was not what I was referring.

C. Rand herself affirmed that, while any nation has the right to crush “Oppressors” (which I agree with), she proclaimed that none have the DUTY to do so. And I suppose it would be OK for Yugoslavia to keep killing itself in the battle between the 1. Russian Satellite/Tito Wannabe, 2. The Islamist “Window” into Europe, and 3. The Militarist, Nationalist Tinpot regime because, hey, it’s more trouble to get involved than to stay out?

How on earth can you say you understand Rand and come up with that example?

Um, I was specifically thinking of GEORGE SOROS when I came up with that example, and it was meant to show that “Self-Interest” can be twisted in all sorts of directions. Yes, I know that Soros isn’t an objectivist and would probably be offended by the comparison (though he has no right to be, and it is Rand and her disciples- however kookey they may turn out to be- who ought to be offended). Like I said, what happens if you are forced to choose between morality and self-interest? Looking out for yourself is all well and good, but at some point in time you have to make a descision to either stick your neck out or to not.

Her whole life was a crusade against the very philosophy that leads to regimes such as nazi Germany and the USSR.

You know that, I know that (I have, after all, read her Bio), but tell your fellows. Physician, Heal Thyself.

No real objectivist would ever do this straw-man scenario you’ve cooked up because a rational person would know that throwing their lot in with these types of people would be a temporary reprieve at best and against everything they believe to the core of their being at the most basic level.

True, but I was pointing out the question of where does one cease to have a “choice” to take action and one acquires and OBLIGATION to act. You haven’t answered that question, and you also haven’t addressed the fact that I didn’t really cook up EITHER of those questions. I lifted them almost verbatem from an “Objectivist” forum.

I’m not going to be a Nazi to survive.

Fine by me, and I didn’t think you would.

But your rage would be better directed against those giving your philosophy a bad name. If you want to critique other people, first start cleaning your own house.

That is all.

Turtler on April 11, 2009 at 2:53 PM

While certainly informative, the video is lacking at least one significant impact of further increases in marginal tax rates for the top income brackets. Yes, this comment is lacking the citations, but if you doubt the conclusions here, you are free to look up the data yourself. A large number of small businesses, the primary engine of new job creation, report their income on IRS Form 1040 and are thus statistically grouped with individual filers. If memory serves 2/3 of the top 1% of income earners are actually small-medium size businesses. Thus, an increase in marginal tax rates will have a direct negative impact on business operations, expansion plans, employment and, of course, owner and employee income. How does one judge the “value” to the economy and society of such increases vs the actual, not static projections, but actual, impact on tax revenue and government expenditure patterns? Is squeezing small business “patriotic?” Are higher levels of income redistribution of net higher benefit than allowing individuals and businesses to use their informed judgment for investment and expenditure decisions? Your call.

boqueronman on April 11, 2009 at 5:22 PM

This is the kind of statement that justifies the skepticism of left (and scares the crap out of them). When the wealthy abuse their power to intimidate the weaker into silence and submission, the Right is being amoral.

PeterPuffer on April 11, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Then you’re scared of lil ‘ol middle-class me. If you believe that me taking responsibility for me and mine is “being amoral” you’re an idiot. You leftists don’t know what the word “moral” means.

Not to mention, the so-called “wealthy” aren’t “intimidating the weaker into silence” in America – it’s the leftists with their pc crap. Like what you’re trying to do, only you’re not smart enough. You think you’re clever, but that’s not the same as smart. Even stupid people can be clever. That’s why Democrats love being clever (it’s the best they can do).

Squiggy on April 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM

I have been watching what has been going on with this subject. All I can say is Atlas Shrugged. If it continues on this road, I will either push for Texas to secede and remain a haven of sanity in this wave of insanity. Otherwise, I’m thinking Costa Rica or Australia look good.

Theophile on April 11, 2009 at 8:03 PM

Then you’re scared of lil ‘ol middle-class me. If you believe that me taking responsibility for me and mine is “being amoral” you’re an idiot. You leftists don’t know what the word “moral” means.

Not to mention, the so-called “wealthy” aren’t “intimidating the weaker into silence” in America – it’s the leftists with their pc crap. Like what you’re trying to do, only you’re not smart enough. You think you’re clever, but that’s not the same as smart. Even stupid people can be clever. That’s why Democrats love being clever (it’s the best they can do).

Squiggy on April 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM

“Squiggy’s” whole response reminds me of an excellent article (by a well-known conservative) on “Cognitive Egocentrism”. It’s worth a read:

http://www.theaugeanstables.com/reflections-from-second-draft/cognitive-egocentrism/

BTW: I’m not trying to be “clever”. I’m trying to build a common ground where people understand the positive aspects of the other’s standpoint. Unfortunately, it seems I might not be “smart enough” to always achieve that. I’ll keep trying … harder (in spite of “Squiggy’s” destructive, condescending, and insulting comment).

OT: A must-read: http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam101/

PeterReaper on April 11, 2009 at 8:56 PM

BTW: I voted McCain last election. So drop the threats and patronizing. ;-)

PeterReaper on April 11, 2009 at 10:56 AM

I made no threats. I said when the bottom falls out, I will be able to help only a very few people (the government will help no one, it’ll be trying to save itself). And you geniuses will be standing there telling us what we’re doing wrong, as we eat and you starve. Philosophy never fed anyone (did any philosophers plant anything, or build anything, or do anything that saves for the future? Not that I know of, but I digress).

As for my “condescending” comments, you’re such a typical lib. You take psych101, learn a few terms and now you know MORE than others. Well I’ve got news for you – the term “cognitive egocentrism” may be fairly new (though it was around twenty years ago, when I was in college), but the idea is much, much older than psychology. The Bible said it long ago (simpler and far more clearly) – as in “one tends to see in others what one sees in oneself”.

I would point out that that’s exactly what you’re doing, but I’m too old to say “I know you are but what am I?” You go ahead, though.

Squiggy on April 12, 2009 at 7:02 AM

Pass it on.

MSGTAS on April 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM