[Cialug] Telecom Immunity
thiessenstuart at aol.com
Thu Jul 10 16:35:31 CDT 2008
Nah, I don't think there was a golden age either. I do think there was
more that unified us in the past than there is now. Now many in this
country are too busy disrespecting anyone who disagrees with them and
branding everyone else intolerant. (It pretty much doesn't matter
which group you want to talk about ... there are almost no exceptions.)
Either way, with the current "POWER" mentality, I find little in any
political party or candidate that attracts my interest. All I can say
at this point is trust whatever party that is governing at the time to
do whatever it can to squash the opposition and any of their
supporters and build up their own power. It doesn't matter much which
party. None of them are innocent in this matter.
I guess I'm done on that topic. Lest you think I am a pessimist ... I
do believe there is hope for the future, so I plan to keep my eyes
open for it. :)
... We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming ...
On Jul 10, 2008, at 14:12 , Nathan Stien wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM, Stuart Thiessen
> <thiessenstuart at aol.com> wrote:
>> Just my 2cents.
>> <off-topic relevance="related to previous comment">
>> The rule of law only works when both the leadership and the people
>> willing to submit to the law. When we adopt a whatever-benefits-me
>> mentality, then the rule of law becomes meaningless because those
>> in power
>> will do whatever benefits them. Frankly, I see this whatever-
>> mentality pervading American society and it will hurt us. This is
>> whether it comes from the people or the leadership.
>> The Soviet Constitution is a case in point. The Soviet leadership
>> did not
>> deny themselves what they denied to the general population. The
>> situation in Zimbabwe is another example.
>> America was successful in the past because we did our best to
>> follow a
>> whatever-benefits-us-as-a-nation mentality. We weren't perfect, but
>> that was
>> the general trend ... until now. Now it is a
>> mentality ... on all sides.
>> Call me a cynic, but that's what I see.
> Stuart, I'll see your delightfully off-topic $0.02 and raise you
> $0.02 more. ;-)
> I must respectfully disagree with your analysis of the problem. If
> you think there were any number of idealistic
> whatever-benefits-us-as-a-nation politicians holding power our
> history, cynical is the last thing I would call you. I do not believe
> such persons have ever held significant power here, particularly
> because our political system unintentionally but predictably selects
> against them. As far as I can tell, there was no golden age of
> civic-minded rulers here, not even in the beginning.
> The US constitution, for all its faults, has fared a lot better than
> the USSR's because of the superior incentive structure it established.
> It's all about the decentralization, separation of powers, and
> checks-and-balances. The founders realized that power attracts the
> worst sort of people, and tried to design a system such that the
> power-hungry bastards would all be at each other's throats, preventing
> any one bloc from getting too much power. It was a Real Good Try, but
> it has clearly been breaking down for a long time. The
> congresscritters and other politicians long ago figured out how to
> collude (cf. "logrolling") to scratch each other's backs and otherwise
> obviate the checks.
> And they are essentially bound to do this as a matter of
> politico-evolutionary fitness. A politician who does not scratch
> backs very well does not tend to have a successful career. If you
> don't play ball, you get shut out. Any would-be politician's devotion
> to "will of the people"* is pretty irrelevant if they are locked out
> of the process by the incumbent power blocs. There's precious little
> room for idealism there. I do not regard this as particularly
> intentional or malicious, but something more akin to an "invisible
> hand" effect. Perhaps the "invisible fist" would be the better term
> here regarding government actors, since this effect tends to be
> deleterious for most of us.
> The current administration's antics are just the latest chapter in
> this story; it may be vivid and fresh in memory, but I contend that it
> is nothing fundamentally new to our politics. In my view, these types
> of problems are bound to arise from the incentive structure of our
> *: I am skeptical that there is any one policy or set of policies you
> can point to as the "will of the people". We are a diverse lot, and
> we have diverse Wills and diverse notions of The Good Life. A
> majority-rule scenario will even in the best case still only serve
> just the one-size-fits-all "will of the more politically powerful
> people". Whether that's a feature or a bug on balance seems pretty
> **: Please do not read this critique of our democracy as an
> endorsement of any other particular political system; I would easily
> prefer the US over any dictatorship, kingdom, or caliphate. I'm just
> trying to be honest about what I see as the faults of our system.
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