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(Here is an unedited Facebook thread, continuing the ongoing discussion….):
David K Williams Jr: What radical, ignorant tea-bagger said this?

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” 

David K Williams Jr: A: Abraham Lincoln

Matt Arnold: As quoted by yours truly several months ago:
http://www.clearthebenchco​lorado.org/2010/10/25/figh​ting-the-%E2%80%9Cprogress​ive%E2%80%9D-takeover-of-s​tate-courts/

Joshua Sharf: I think he even had a low, sloping forehead.

Audrey Lussier Hussey: what a radical.

Lawrence Depenbusch: Barney Frank????

Jacque Rhoades: Crazy Abe. What was he thinking?!?!

Lawrence Depenbusch: Abe said enough great things, he could have had one off day. You try getting selected for Mount Rushmore and the Lincoln Memorial, and the penny…

Steve Harvey: Right. The same guy who led the opposition to your ideology in his time, and who would continue to lead it today were he alive, strengthening the federal government against a secessionist movement, denying the individual liberty asserted by southern slave owners. The words are perfect; your blindness to the fact that today you are those “men who pervert the Constitution” ironic.

Joshua Sharf: Steve: I wasn’t aware that “my ideology” included the ownership of other human beings.

Buddy Shipley: xactly, Joshua. Beat me to it! Steve’s a twit.

Steve Harvey: Your ideology includes an extreme notion of individual liberty that neglects to recognize how its exercise affects the rights and liberties of others. The inability to abstract and apply general principles to new variations on repeating patterns is part of what permits them to be repeated. Or, more conventionally, “those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it.”

Buddy Shipley: Liberals reject principle in favor of moral relativism, screws their reasoning every time.

Steve Harvey: Read John C. Calhoun’s “Union and Liberty,” which argued in langauge almost indistinguishable from Tea Party arguments why the overreaching federal government was depriving Southern Slave owners of their Constitutionally guarnanteed liberty by trying to abolish slavery.

Buddy Shipley: Wrong again, Stevie.

Buddy Shipley: On all counts/

Steve Harvey: Really, Buddy? Because I read it, cover to cover, when I studied American Political History. And that is exactly the argument that Calhoun makes.

Steve Harvey: Once again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but not to your facts, no matter how determined you are to simply declare that the facts are other than what they are.

Buddy Shipley: That’s my line, thief.

Steve Harvey: You are a bunch of throwbacks, lacking the knowledge, humility, or imagination to have the faintest recognition of to what extent that is the case. And, in the process, you try to inflict a utopian farce on an otherwise pragmatic nation, ta…king an idea divorced from its articulation with our lived history and insisting that only that idea must be revered, even if the version to which you reduce it can be implemented only at the cost of our prosperity and our humanity.

Buddy Shipley: WRONG: “ideology [that] includes an extreme notion of individual liberty that neglects to recognize how its exercise affects the rights and liberties of others.” –YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG.

David K Williams Jr: Steve – read Massachusett’s abolitionist Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason.” It’s readily available on the internet.

Steve Harvey: Yes, Buddy, you frequently repeat it, though you never demonstrate it. You ignore the historical, economic, and legal empirical evidence that I mobilize. Your last comment, citing another argument, does nothing to address the one that I cited.

Joshua Sharf: Steve, this is a non-argument. I’m not going to be held responsible for Calhoun’s misuse of Constitutional arguments, any more than you would be for early “progressives'” racism.

Buddy Shipley: Lincoln inherited a nation already in conflict over the economic canard of state’s rights to free commerce based on slave labor. Rather than allow the Union to collapse Lincoln chose to fight to keep it together, and that meant he had to choose between sanctioning slavery or ending it –One nation United without slavery, or divided and enslaved. The choice is not difficult.

Steve Harvey: Joshua, you would be absolutely right, if your ideas were fundamentally different from Calhoun’s. Unfortunately, they are fundamentally similar, just in a different historical context. They were used to oppose Civil Rights, and your own Ran…d Paul said that he wouldn’t have been able to support The Civil Rights Bill of 1964 because of how it infringes on the liberty to be (though he of course did not put it this way) a discriminatory racist.

Steve Harvey: The fundamental flaw in libertarian ideology is the de-emphasis of interdependence, and the neglect of the degree to which freedom must be articulated with where its exercise affects the welfare of others, which is extensive and ubiquitous.

Buddy Shipley: ‎”They were used to oppose Civil Rights…” — WHAT?

Buddy Shipley: Steve, you are babbling again.

Buddy Shipley: ‎”de-emphasis of interdependence” — ON WHAT?

Buddy Shipley: The Left has for generations been allowed to manipulate the language to serve their own ends with deceptively crafted legislation presided over by a Judiciary that has been corrupt at least since Liberal luminary Thurgood Marshall who asser…ted: “Do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” — ie: legislate from the bench because we the elite anointed few, surely know better than the great unwashed masses or any Legislative Branch that must actually be elected by the proletariat.

Steve Harvey: Uh, yes, Buddy. Southern leaders, such as George Wallace, used the complaint of an overreaching federal government to resist desegregation and the enforcement of Civil Rights provisions. The history of your ideology begins with the Articles of Confederation, and continued with “nullification” doctrine (that states have the right to “nullify” federal law at will), and then was used to impose Jim Crow, and finally has been reincarnated as Tea Party dogma.

Of course, it has articulated with other essentially absolutist doctrines along the way, such as religious fundamentalism, but the integral thread is very easy to discern, and to recognize as coherent across our history. And, yes, I see that you have now indicted Thurgood Marshall, responsible for arguing “Brown v. Board of Education,” which made desegregation the law of the land, and catalyzed the modern Civil Rights movement. Thanks for demonstrating my point.

Buddy Shipley: I indict Marshall for legislating from the bench.

Buddy Shipley: You fail civics 101, asshole.

Buddy Shipley: Your reading & comprehension skill are also lacking.

Steve Harvey: Right. You indict Marshall for doing what his namesake (Chief Justice John Marshall) had established as the role of the Court in the early 19th century, to the great benefit of the nation (which would almost certainly not have managed to so… closely approach “rule of law” as it has had he not done so, since your ideal of each imposing his or her own Constitutional interpretation, and not tolerating any process which imposes one in any centralized fashion, would have obliterated the law by converting it into a creature of each person’s imagination).

And I have no doubt that I failed your version of Civics, though I have taught it (and US History, and US Government), though not the caricature of it that your litmus test requires.

Steve Harvey: There are three branches of government, all involved in creating the law of the land, in different ways. Congress legislates, but legsilation is not the only law producing process. When the executive branch implements the laws, it must affe…ct them to make them implementable. Executive branch agencies do this in the form of agency rule making, a very elaborate process with lots of in-put from all interested parties. The judicial branch interprets the law, which cannot be drafted to cover all contingencies. The process of interpretation is a process of creation, inevitably.

Part of the genius of our system is this tension in the creation of law, a lathe on which it is forever refined, a lathe that you are determined to smash and replace with a sledgehammer for all occasions.

Buddy Shipley: WRONG AGAIN, asshole.

Steve Harvey: Yes, Buddy, you keep saying it. But, strangely, you are completely devoid of arguments. I know you are convinced that whatever you declare to be true must be, especially if you can accompany it with a profanity. But, alas, that’s just not how it works.

Steve Harvey: Buddy, that’s the elementary school version, not the reality, either by design or in practice. The idealized version is that the legislative branch writes the laws, the executive implements them, and the judicial interprets them. The realit…y is that all three of those processes affect their formation, inevitably, by the very nature of what it means to do those things. The shallowness of your mind is the problem, not the complexity of the real world.

Buddy Shipley: The 3 branches have DIFFERENT responsibilities!
The Legislative Branch has the sole authority and power to craft and pass Legislation — NOT the Judiciary, you twit!! The Executive can choose to either sign the Legislation into law or veto it, and the Judiciary must APPLY THE LAW, not MAKE SHIT UP as they see fit!

Aaron Michael: The fundamental flaw with progressivism is that it seeks to cure the vices of men through force via the state. Libertarians acknowledge interdependence among people (hence the advocation of pure capitalism), but stop at trying to impose th…eir social norms on others. That’s not to say they don’t recognize universal morals, but being a prejudice dick does not fall into a category of aggression that would warrant a negative law enacted for the purpose of curtailing persons with discriminating behavior.

Buddy Shipley Just like Obama’s tyrannical policies to NOT enforce the laws of the land, T. Marshall chose to ignore the law and exert his own despotic opinion in place of the law and in blatant defiance of the Legislature that was actually ELECTED by the People. This is tyranny, and Steve wholeheartedly advocates it.

Aaron Michael: And once again Buddy emerges from the swampy soil to give his opinion on a matter he know nothing about.

Buddy Shipley I’ve been here all along, what steamy turd did Aaron crawl out from under??

Buddy Shipley ‎”Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” –P. J. O’Rourke. Why do you leftist maggots insist on doing just that?

Buddy Shipley ‎”Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded”
–President Abraham Lincoln (December 1840).

Buddy Shipley: Can your wee wittle bwains expand these concepts to everything else, or is the strain to great?

Aaron Michael: Buddy, O’Rourke is much too sophisticated to have jelly brains like yourself quoting him.

Aaron Michael: Try quoting Justin Bieber; it fits you better.

Buddy Shipley: Ohh, how witty. How many books have you written, maggot?

Buddy Shipley: Debt Default: More Honesty, Less Hyperbole
U.S. Annual Deficit spending is projected at $1.4 Trillion this year alone, or 10% of GDP. The national debt is over $14.3 Trillion dollars, or 91.2% of GDP, which is no one claims is sustainable…. Service on the national debt amounts to nearly $400 Billion each year, based on average interest rates of ~3.9%, as Democrats demand a higher debt ceiling! This cannot be permitted. If the U.S. were to actually default on its debt payment we may lose our AAA rating (determined by Standard & Poors, Moody’s, Fitch), which in theory could cause our interest rates to increase; specifically, if the U.S. rating was downgraded from “AAA” to “AA-” it could result in an increase from .25% to .50% percent paid in interest, or a total of between $1 Billion and $2 Billion per year. Compared to our national debt, annual deficit spending and even the annual service on our national debt, $2 Billion is chump-change, especially considering the debate in Congress is about the need to slash federal spending by Hundreds of Billions, even Trillions of dollars! Too many politicians are addicted to spending other people’s money, and like a drug addict they will do anything to satisfy their addiction, no matter the harm done to others. It is well-past time for intervention; our only recourse now is interdiction. True fiscal conservatives must stand their ground at all costs, they must NOT cave-in on demands, threats and scare-tactics to lift the debt ceiling or raise taxes! Raising taxes will only stall an already stagnate economy and facilitate the politicians’ addiction. Defaulting would not be the worst thing to happen, but raising the debt limit and increasing taxes on a stagnate economy with 9.1% unemployment certainly would. This Congress has consistently proven it cannot be trusted to conduct the nation’s business within its means, with or without any wars. If you eliminate the entire $1.2 Trillion in war costs for Iraq and Afghanistan from the budget we’re still smothered under $13.1 Trillion in debt! Our junkie government has a SPENDING problem, not a revenue problem. The socialists have finally run out of other people’s money; it’s time for tough love, they must be forced to quit cold turkey.

Buddy Shipley: You maggots want a revolution? Keep it up.

Aaron Michael: So writing a book makes one smart? Oh and a captain planet coloring book doesn’t count.

Buddy Shipley: So, ad hominem attacks are all you’ve got?

Aaron Michael: Hahahaha and the pot calls the kettle black.

Steve Harvey: Let’s start with a thought experiment: What happens if you remove the state from the pricture? No force, only freedom. Those inclined to prey on others will do so, and will band together to do so, while those who are not will band together …to defend themselves. They will use force in both cases. Some of these bands will defeat others, consolidating into larger entities, with those able to assert or impose leadership becoming de facto governments, only far more tyrannical than those of developed modern democracies that you are now decrying.

If you remove the state, then you essentially press the reset button on political history. The state is a reality, because force is a reality. So pretending that the issue is over whether the state is good or bad is moot; the question is how to limit it and use it to maximum advantage, all things considered.

Yes, limiting it and controlling it is an essential part of the challenge, but not as some quasi-religious notion unrefined by a recognition of both its inevitability and its range of competence. The state is our vehicle of collective action, our public agent, and free people using mechanisms by which they, in effect, ARE the state can, should, and must accept that responsibility, despite the real challenges and obstacles posed by it.

My version of progressivism doesn’t declare the state good or bad, but rather starts with the recognition that we cannot escape the responsibility of governing ourselves to the best of our ability, today, here and now, guided by the brilliant products of our history, but not absolved of our living responsibility by them. We can best do this by first resolving to be reasonable people of goodwill rather than raging blind ideologues, whether on this side or that of any question.

To do that, we need to be somewhat humble, recognizing that we live in an almost infintely complex and subtle reality, with wonderful minds that are more limited than that reality. So we need to know that we don’t know, that we are constantly discovering. Then we need to do our best to mobilize our collective genius in this inevitable effort to continue to do the best we can, as reaonable people of goodwill. When, through that process, we arrive at conclusion which limit the state more, then I am the first to applaud our success. When, through that process, we arrive at conclusions that utilize the state more, then I applaud that success as well. There is no one final panacea that answers all questions and resolves all challenges, once and for all.

The Constitution is a short and vague document, interpretable in mulitple ways, one which provides brilliant guidance, but does not resolve all questions. We are participants in a living history, just as the drafters of that wonderful document were (who knew better than their modern idolators how great the need would be to continue to refine it as history created new challenges and opportunities). There is no escaping that fact, nor should we wish to.

Argue your positions, and I’ll argue mine, and let’s strive to be reasonable people of goodwill doing the best we can in a complex and subtle world. Now, THAT would be tribute to our Founding Fathers, who showed us the way!

Buddy Shipley: “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it” –Thomas Sowell

“Most people who read “The Communist Manifesto” probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of ‘the workers.'” –Thomas Sowell

Buddy Shipley: Compromise ALWAYS means losing ground to progressives/liberals! As Thomas Jefferson said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” For the past century this is exactly what has happened. In the…ir attempts to “bring the country together” many prominent Republicans have pursued the disastrous course of “moderation” and “compromise” as they seek what they mistakenly believe to be some sort of desirable “middle ground.” I say there is no such thing! It is a fallacy to describe compromise with liberals as anything more than the constant erosion of conservatism and liberty — we are constantly yielding more ground to the Left — toward socialism, fascism, communism. They may call themselves Liberals or Progressives or Democrats, but history reveals them to be one in the same: Leftists progressing toward total government rule, always for our own good of course! Whether the Leftist Lemmings are aware of this or not, they seek a form of government better known as Totalitarian. Read Orwell’s “1984” with a different perspective, one where the totalitarian dystopia is Obama’s Leftist dreams made manifest. Forms of Government:
http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=DioQooFIcgE. Liberal Fantasies v. Reality:
http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=90SdmjuCAqw. And yes, “socialism” is but a few steps away from communism.
http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=DioQooFIcgE. “The problem with splitting the difference between opposing sides, as many negotiators are prone to do– whether these negotiators are marriage counselors, labor arbitrators or the United Nations– is that this gives an advantage to the side with the most unreasonable demands, and therefore promotes more unreasonable demands in the future.” –economist Thomas Sowell

Steve Harvey: Buddy, what you are now calling “socialism” has a record of success, not of failure, for not one modern prosperous nation has achieved modern levels of prosperity without the form of government you are now calling “socialism.” Not one. The post-WWII economic boom was participated in only by nations that had large administrative states in place prior to it, and not by any nation that didn’t. Your semantic game of applying a word overbroadly, to indict one system by lumping it together with another completely different one, carefully obfuscating the reality of world history, may be satisfying to your ideological zeal, but it is an affront to reason.

And your loathing of compromise is a loathing of the process which produced the Constitution you turn into an object of idolatry rather than the legal framework it was intended to be, for it was all about compromise. The basic argument has existed throughout our history, between “the Hamiltonians” on the one hand (ironically, the original “federalists,” though “federalism” then meant an argument for stronger rather than weaker federal government), and “the Jeffersonians” on the other (though Jefferson explicitly repudiated many of the notions you now enshrine as sacrosanct).

Steve Harvey: Okay, I can’t spend my life demonstrating the historical, legal, empirical, logical, economic, and just general folly of every bit of nonsense that Buddy Shipley insists is not only Gospel truth, but justification for social and political disintegration. Go for it, Buddy. The podium is yours and yours alone.

Aaron Michael: I added doughnuts to my new workout routine and have lost 35 lbs! Therefore, doughnuts made me lose weight. Steve, you also failed to mention the more appropriate correlation that the 20th century was by far the bloodiest and the perpetrators were those very same gigantic centralized states.

Buddy Shipley: Steve, that previous comment is perhaps the most cogent thing I’ve ever seen you write & share, if only it were not so long and rambling — dude, you need to focus better. I never suggested eliminating the state. The State is certainly th…e problem and direct cause for our economic crisis, but that is because it has exceeded its authority! I am no anarchist, although I’ve recently given it more consideration I still think anarchy is too unstable to survive aggressive parties seeking dominance. You are correct about the effect of a “reset,” and the emergence of groups using force for aggression and defense (now apply that to the current world). Force is essential in protecting individual rights, and the right to exercise that force has been granted to government, and yes, “limiting it and controlling it is essential,” else it might be turned against those it is intended to protect. But again, that is why the founders constrained the government’s authority with the limited powers enumerated in the Constitution! You seem to support these great ideas but then contradict your own position by endorsing ever more excessive government, legislating from the Bench, and progressive nonsense that only leads to more government excess! You do not seem to comprehend your own ideas. It’s certainly a concern that overthrowing our current government could result in even worse tyranny than what it has become. We must certainly seek to govern ourselves rather than depending on Big Government to do it for us, but that concept in and of itself is an ideology, perhaps one some might consider “raging & blind”… Our founders were “reasonable people of goodwill” and to that end they crafted the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need to return to them. Also, they are only “vague documents” to those who wish to circumvent their intent and exceed the limits of power proscribed by them. In their wisdom the founders also incorporated the means to amend the documents, but our elected officials prefer to ignore that difficult hurdle and again exceed their authority! How is it you do not grasp this? Our Constitution defines the limited powers of government and distributes those powers among the three branches: Executive, Judiciary, and the bicameral Congress. When any of these branches usurps a power of another branch it is unconstitutional, a breech of the Public trust, and a crime that should be prosecuted, but instead goes ignored, thereby establishing precedent for the next breech, and the next, each more egregious than the one before. What you advocate, we already have, if only it were enforced. And finally, you’re wrong about the successes of socialism — it is a cancerous disease destroying every country it has infected.

Lawrence Depenbusch: What Buddy said…

Jacque Rhoades ‎:( Just looked at Steve’s profile, he is a teacher. Sad.

Steve Harvey: Aaron, I did not mention the perfect correlation between large administrative states and modern prosperity as proof of causation (though, unlike your doughnuts analogy, it wasn’t the offering of one anomalous example otherwise disproven by a flood of contradictory examples, since EVERY modern prosperous state has a large administrative infrastructure, and HAD one in place prior to participating in the post-WWII explosion of wealth. Furthermore, the ACTUAL socialist states, that HAVE universally failed, are distinguishable from these modern prosperous states in their political economic form, including the Western European states and The United States, despite the sloppy use of a single ideologically-charged, rhetorically exploited term to conflate them). I offered it as refutation of Buddy’s not only erroneous, but diametrically-opposite-to-​the-truth, statement, that all “socialist” states (by which he meant “states characterized by large administrative infrastructures”) have failed. What have failed are states which have dismantled market economies en masse, which the large prosperous states with large administrative infrastructures have not done.

As for the bloody twentieth century, since warfare is ubiquitous in human history, and states of all types and degrees of development have engaged in it to fairly similar, extensive degrees, the main cause of the distinction in degrees of violence in twentieth century wars is level of technology, thus leading to more destructive warfare, rather than form of state, which does not significantly distinguish the degree of warfare (independent of technological destructiveness) that occurred.

As for Buddy, he continues to ignore arguments and rely on insults and arbitrary declarations, since I argued why the Constitution does not answer all questions, and have previously argued why we are already following it in a systematic, rather than political disintegrative, way (through judicial review, by which determinations are made concerning the constitutionality of laws which do not degenerate into the wild and generally erroneious ideological assertions of a particular fanatical faction). Yes, the Founding Fathers were, taken as a whole, “reasonable people of goodwill,” who did not absolve us of the responsibility to do the same by ending history for us, but rather began our national “experiment” in a brilliant way on which we are challenged to continue to build.

Furthermore, Buddy: The reliance on attacks on style (your literary critique) is both irrelevant and evidence that you feel that merely addressing substance (focusing on the arguments and responding to them) is insufficient to the task of “winning” the debate. I was amazed at your accusation toward someone else of relying on ad hominems, since that is well over 90% of the content of your posts!

And Jacque: I’m a former college lecturer, high school teacher, professional researcher, and author (I’ve presented papers at professional meetings of economists, and my original scholarship is cited in several articles and books); and am currently an attorney who has worked as an independent policy consultant. I have no doubt that you find it sad that your ideology is rejected by those who know what they’re talking about (which is why you, plural, always complain about academics and journalists, supposedly all “leftists,” though you never quite manage to explain why it is that precisely those people who professionally acquire, analyze, and report information should happen to lean en masse in the direction opposite of your dogmas).

You (plural) rely on a bizarre combination of insisting that reason supports your conclusions, while rejecting all reasoned empirical arguments as “intellectual elitism,” and relying instead on a completely irrational semantic game (“since we can erroneously label the modern capitalist hybrid of robust market economies and large, economically engaged administrative states “socialism,” and can point to other states characterized by completely different political economic structures that are generally known as ‘socialist’ [though we will also engage in the revisionism of recategorizing states that were historically characterized by far-right rather than far-left ideology as “socialist” as well, simply naming all failed or reviled states ‘socialist’ as part of our absurd, blindly ideological form of ‘argumentation’], by this sloppy and meaningless equation we have proven that large administrative states are universally failures, despite the historical fact that no successful modern state has not had a large administrative infrastructure.”).

Steve Harvey: As I’ve told David previously, intellectualism doesn’t guarantee success (Marxism was indeed an intellectual paradigm, and a failure both theoretically and politically), but anti-intellectualism guarantees failure, and is an institutionaliz…ed part of all totalitarian states while absent from all modern, prosperous capitalist states. Our Founding Fathers were markedly intellectual, mobilizing classical and Enlightenment thought in the devising of our political framework, and no one is arguing that that intellectual achievement was a failure. Marxism itself was just one of several competing intellectual paradigms, not the only one, and once it prevailed politically, became an anti-intellectual paradigm (the rulers of Marxist and other totalitarian states universally persecuting intellectuals, who are the bane of the kinds of ideas that they and you profess, that are mere blind fanaticisms in service to concentrations of power and impositions of human suffering). We have no choice but to continue to use our minds to the best of our ability, fallible as that faculty is, because the opposite is far more disastrous.

Lawrence Depenbusch: Wrong Steve: It is not modern techonology that was the force that led to the death of so many in the last century, but the rise of PROGRESSIVE idealogy in the hands of media supported tyrants in Russia, Germany and China. Progressive leaders slaughtered millions of people, who did not share their idealogy. Progressive ideas kill…..

Steve Harvey: Sorry, Lawrence, but that’s your semantic game again. Russia, Nazi Germany, and China are examples more dissimilar than similar to Western Europe and The United States, on multiple dimensions. The sloppy use of the word “progressive” to mea…n “any state that I reject, regardless of dissimilarities,” may satisfy your ideological certainties, but it is poor argumentation. To take it a step further, the reality of the world is one characterized by variation along multiple dimensions, to varying degrees.

While you identify “state engagement” as the defining characteristic, it is in fact one dimension, that comes in dramatically varying degrees. Western European and modern American levels of state engagement are, in reality, strongly correlated to prosperity and freedom, while significantly higher degrees of state engagement (displacing markets and freedom of expression and assembly) are associated with tyranny.

This conflation of dissimilar things to argue your position is persuasive only to those who are rationalizing irrationality, not to those who are examining the world, and trying to understand it as it is. Ironically, Libertarianism and Marixism are quite similar in form, even while being substantively opposites, because both are utopian fantasies, divorced from our lived history and our incremental pragmatic social institutional evolution, attempting to impose an internally contradictory and easily debunked extreme absolutism on a society, in ways inevitably destructive to the real freedom and welfare of the members of that society.

Steve Harvey: There is error at both extremes, whether too much or too little state engagement. This is strongly evidenced by history, and strongly supported by any well-reasoned analysis. You cite examples of the error of too much state engagement (“Tyranny”) to defend an argument for too little, in opposition to the paradigm that is most supported empirically and historically as the most effective balance.

Lawrence Depenbusch: ‎”Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” –P. J. O’Rourke >>> (…and Power in the hands of an institution that can tax and punish is even more odious)

Lawrence Depenbusch: ‎”Government is not reason, it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington >>> (For an educator -such as Steve- to cast off such primary wisdom against the danger of government force, shows him to be under the sway of this force that has fed him for decades and turned him into it’s guard dog—pity)

Lawrence Depenbusch: “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” ~Plato >>> (Laws and courts are ultimately at a loss to control evil people, and so more laws tend to hinder the good more than constrain the evil)

Steve Harvey: Again, Lawrence, does that mean that we should have no laws? Everything should be legal, no use of force involved, and if someone decides to commit murder or steal or rape, laws are irrelevant, because good people won’t and bad people will? Or do we, more sanely, and more in accord with reality, recognize that laws play a vital role in regulating human coexistence, and that the question isn’t whether, but rather how and in what ways?

Quotes, BTW, are made in historical context, by mere human beings. Washington’s doesn’t imply that government is bad, but rather draws attention to the real challenges involved in using it well, made at a time when his emphasis was determined by his context. Listing quotes of revered (or not revered) individuals is not argumentation either. It doesn’t absolve us of mobilizing reason applied to evidence in search of understanding and in service to humanity. And even the most brilliant quotes, taken out of context and misapplied, can lead to appallingly erroneous conclusions.

Bumber-sticker wisdom, even when it is indeed wise, is not enough for self-governance; real analysis, mobilizing real data, in service to real understanding, can’t be by-passed by recourse to your version of pithy sayings to live by (a tactic which is used more often in service to ignorance and tyranny than in service to wisdom and freedom). If you want to make arguments about how best to govern ourselves, cite instead the Federalist Papers, which are extensive and in-depth (and are arguments for stronger rather than weaker federal government).

But, more importantly than all of this, recognize that you champion one position in a national dialogue of legitimately conflicting views; champion it, by all means, making your best arguments, and advocating for what you believe in. But engage in the debate with the desire to grow and learn, and, when necessary, to compromise with those with whom you sincerely disagree. Because this nation belongs to all of us, not just to any one radical faction. And we have in place many systems for deciding from among our competing views.

While I fervently disagree with the bulk of your ideological corpus, I also recognize that there are legitimate debates to be had over the balance between investing in our present and future well-being and taming our growing debt, over how best to balance our various social institutional modalities, over how best to maintain a robust market economy. I do not dismiss monetarist economic theory, because I recognize that there are very well-informed and intelligent people who champion it, and so it is incumbent on me to consider the possibility that it is the more valid position, or that it has some validity even if not the more valid position. The most important point is not about our conflicting substantive positions, but rather about our conflicting attitudes toward how to go about engaging in this substantive conflict.

I argue that we are best off, first and foremost, suspending our substantive certainties from time to time, and agreeing that our first responsibility is to strive to be reasonable people of goodwill doing the best we can in a complex and subtle world. We all need to admit that, no matter how well informed we are, we are fallible, and our own beliefs may be in error, those of our opponents may be correct. We all have to recognize that being a human being is being a work in progress, that none of us have the one, true, unassailable final answer on all matters. And on that foundation, we need to continue to build our wisdom, our humanity, and our commitment to being responsible citizens engaged in a common endeavor.

I may be wrong about everything else (and, if so, fervently desire that that be demonstrated to me, or that I be defeated in our political contests, because my commitment isn’t to what I now think I know, but rather to what I don’t yet know and must still discover), but I am right about one thing: We need to recognize that our competing ideological certainties, militantly held and insulated against evidence and reason, do not serve us well. Disciplines and processes that favor reason and goodwill have proven to serve us much better, and the more we are able to extend those individual and collective disciplines and processes into ever-wider spheres of our existence, the better off we will be.

Buddy Shipley: Steve, why do you always ALWAYS misinterpret and exaggerate everything we say?? NO ONE suggested we should have NO laws! I never said we should have NO state! For an educator your reading and comprehension skills F’ing suck! And as I’ve suggested to you on several occasions — LESS is MORE! Your overly-verbose rambling tomes are not going to get read — these are COMMENTS, not books. WTF?

Lawrence Depenbusch: “The government solution to any problem is usually at least as bad as the problem.” —Milton Friedman
… It is not an ALL OR NOTHING situation. Realizing that government power is odious, that laws have unintended consequences, that evil is not often constrained by law, we ought to keep our laws general and few.

Steve Harvey: When I am arguing substantively, I try to mobilize evidence and reason to demonstrate what I perceive to be the dazzling empirical and logical weaknesses in the “arguments” dominating the opposition to my arguments on this thread. I see mostly sloppy semantic arguments, overapplying terms and then concluding that all forms stuffed into the overbroad terms are proven dysfunctional by the dysfunctionality of some of the quite different forms to be found in the same overbroad category (akin to arguing that cows must be meat eaters, because cows are mammals, and here are some examples of mammals that are meat eaters, proving that cows are therefore meat eaters too, despite the empirical evidence that they aren’t).

But I live my life with the recognition that what I think I know today may be demonstrated wrong in some or all ways, and so must listen to arguments, address them, respect that others believe something different from what I believe, and engage with the purpose of improving our shared understandings rather than with the purpose of showing how my dogmatic religion is THE RIGHT ONE and yours is THE WRONG ONE. Of all of the irrational positions dominating the arguments against me here, the most irrational of all is the sense of absolute certainty, often in complete contradiction of reason and evidence, though insulated by a shared and reinforced delusion that reason and evidence supports whatever you are certain is true.

We all need to start with the recognition that none of us has a monopoly on absolute truth, that we need to rely on evidence and reason and to whatever extent possible submit ourselves to those disciplines of the mind in pursuit of our understandings, and to know above all us that, if we are wise, what we are certain is the one infallible truth today will be shown to be in some ways less than perfect if we do allow reason and evidence to influence us. I have long maintained that the most fundamental political divide in America (and the world) isn’t between any of the conflicting substantive positions we hold, but rather between those who are absolutely certain of a dogmatic ideology in a world that they insist is really quite simple, and those who are committed to using their minds to the best of their ability to address the challenges of life in a world subtler and more complex than our understandings in any given moment.

For this reason, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims are more similar than different, and play a more similar than different role in the world; and Marxists and Libertarians are, in the same way, more similar than different, and play a more similar than different role in the world, despite the substantive diametrical opposition of their respective positions.

I accept, as a fundamental tenet of reason, that I may be mistaken about any substantive position, that evidence and reason must be given primacy over what I think I know, that I must submit to a discipline that goes beyond simply rationalizing my current certainties and be willing to let go of some and gravitate to others as reason and evidence dictate. The most urgent of all political projects is advocacy of that procedural commitment, that shared humility and shared commitment to reason.

Believe what you will, but believe it with the recognition that we exist in a world of conflicting views that are not neatly divided into those that are absolutely and infallibly correct (the ones oneself holds) and those that are absolutely and invariably wrong (the ones that others hold). The more people who take THAT step, the better off we will be.

Lawrence Depenbusch: ‎”I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic. People know this and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me” ~Dave Barry >> reminds me of Steve.

Steve Harvey: Lawrence, “general and few” is a vague phrase. How about “we ought to do the analysis, mobilizing all of the tools and information and reason at our disposal, to determine how much and in what ways to utilize government to optimal advantage, and minimal harm”? Real governance, real policy determinations, are information intensive endeavors, involving huge amounts of phenomena to be taken into account, and require an attention to details.

For instance, markets are easily gamed, at extraordinary and sometimes catastrophic public expense, by central players with unique access to sophisticated information, unless the public implements mechanisms to police those markets and prevent that gaming of them. That is a necessary government function in modern capitalist economies, the failure of which to perform is heavily implicated in every major economic crisis of the last century. But that demand is not captured by an absolute ideological commitment to “less” government.

Buddy complains that I misinterpret when I argue as if you are advocating for no government, but I do not misinterpret; rather, I follow the logical implications of your position. Unless you are arguing for a balance of government powers and their absence, then you are implicitly arguing for no government. And if you are arguing for a balance of government powers and their absence, then you need to recognize that we are faced with the challenge of determining what precisely that balance should entail.

The argument that that has already been determined by the Constitution is both false and a mere appeal to authority rather than an argument on point. It’s false, because, for instance, Art I, Section 8, clause 1 of the Constitution states that Congress has the power to tax and spend in the general welfare. It is up to us to elect members of Congress who do that in ways with which we agree, which means that the Constitution ultimately does not tell us what balance is to be struck between governmental functions and their absence. It’s an appeal to authority because the Constitution, while a brilliant document, is not infallible, and we are still responsible for governing ourselves, and considering when and how we might best serve that function by amending the Constitution when appropriate.

And, thank you once again, Buddy, for your valuable literary criicism. I consider this a debate about our self-governance, but if you feel the need to try to talk about something else, I understand completely.

Steve Harvey: Lawrence, let’s suspend the urgent issue of who and what we are or aren’t as individuals, and focus instead on the topics of debate. Respond to my advocacy that we all strive to be reasonable people of goodwill, recognizing our own fallibility, and acknowledging the irrationality of assuming that everything we believe is, since we believe it, the one absolute truth, while everything our opponents believe, since we do not believe it, is absolutely wrong. I would be happy for every other argument I’ve made to be disregarded, if this one compelling point be addressed.

Don’t you think we would serve ourselves better by saying, “okay, you have your position, and we have ours. Let’s back up here a second, look for merit in the opposing view, acknowledge that none of us has a monopoly on absolute truth, and work together as reasonable people of goodwill to arrive at common understandings and civil compromises as we engage in this difficult task of self-governance”? Or do you think that a mere war of conflicting fanaticisms is the height of wisdom and responsibility?

Buddy Shipley: What Lawrence said! Steve: re-read each one of those quotes and try to grasp at least a fragment of their author’s insight. For all your attempts at intellectualizing political ideologies you utterly fail to acknowledge the wisdom of the …ages stated so eloquently by the people who made that history. Instead of learning from the best of them you advocate expanding the worst of them! Above, Steve stated, “The state is our vehicle of collective action, our public agent, and free people using mechanisms by which they, in effect, ARE the state…” blah blah blah — BULLSHIT. He implies the state is our ONLY vehicle of “collective action.” WRONG! Our ‘state’ was established with the express purpose of protecting our Rights to Life, Liberty and Property, to set free each individual to pursue their own happiness, their own dreams, to allow each to live his life as he pleases — WITHOUT government intervention and impediments to those pursuits. To these ends our ‘state’ — the federal government — was granted LIMITED powers to exercise LIMITED authority over a very finite set of issues, all primarily concerned with protecting the aforementioned individual Rights. In this country the state is NOT all-powerful, its scope of power was purposely restricted to avoid the bloodshed, destruction and ultimate collapse of governments past. To be clear, the majority of power was specifically granted to the individual States and to the individuals in each State, NOT to the central government, as Steve seems to believe. Steve seems to be denying the right or ability of people to freely assemble and create organizations such as churches, clubs, companies, volunteer groups, non-profits, etc to take collective action that benefits them and others. As I’ve said before: Government is NOT a charity, and spending other people’s money is NOT philanthropy! Government mandated “contributions” are tantamount to theft; taken from each according to his ability, redistributed to each according to his need — as determined by government bureaucrats. Karl Marx would be proud! If you want to pursue any certain “social agenda,” I suggest you start your own charity for that express purpose. Do not assume it is any part of the role of government, or that your social agenda is the same as mine. The rights of the individual extend only until they infringe on the rights of others; your pursuits cannot impede, impair or steal from those of others. “What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.” (AKA: Theft). Moochers, looters, thugs and parasites, otherwise known as Liberals/Progressives/Demo​crats and labor unions, have no problem with that. The rest of us object.

Lawrence Depenbusch: ‎”Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy” -Guiliiani- 9-3-08 (Busting the vague slogans of the Left)

Steve Harvey: Once again, are you willing to agree that we should all strive to be reasonable people of goodwill, working together to do the best we can in a complex and subtle world, or do you insist that there is only one absolute truth, and it is the …one that you hold to be true? Are you more committed to perpetuating our world history of endless religious and ideological wars, or are you more committed to seeking the common ground of proven procedures and disciplines?

Steve Harvey: What marks real progress is a growing commitment to such procedural discipline. The growth of scientific methodology revolutionized our understanding of nature, vastly increasing the signal-to-noise ratio in our contemplations of the phenomena that encompass and comprise us. The Constitution is a document establishing a procedural framework, the rule of law, through which we can settle our political and legal disputes in an orderly and rational way. Legal procedure has developed from “trials by ordeal” to a highly rational (if still imperfect) process, by which arguments are made and conclusions and resoutions arrived at.

Our political system is a procedure for deciding among relatively arbitrary ideological positions, but we can improve on that by all committing to procedures which make those competing positions less arbitrary, and narrow the contest more to those positions which fall within the parameters suggested by evidence and reason. Strings of bumper-sticker slogans do not define such a process; empirical, logical, analytical argumentation does.

Steve Harvey: Lawrence, I agree, we should not govern ourselves with slogans. So “busting the vague slogans of the left” with a pithy slogan from the right is not a solution to that deficiency, but rather a continued participation in it. We need governance not by competing bumper-sticker wisdom, by by competing arguments. That’s what I advocate.

Lawrence Depenbusch: In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty. ~Proverbs 14:23

Steve Harvey: More slogans. Do we agree, or don’t we, that we should all strive to be reasonable people of goodwill, humble enough to know that what we think we know may in any given instance be mistaken, and that the views of those who oppose us may in any given isntance be correct, and that we need to allow a vibrant public discourse, as disciplined by reason and evidence as possible, to sort that out? Do we agree, or don’t we?

Lawrence Depenbusch: ‎”A witty saying proves nothing.” ~Voltaire – and I say bye

Steve Harvey: I’ve asked this simple question repeatedly now, here and on other threads. I’ve received before flat out rejections of the notion (because, as Buddy once said, “liberals are neither reasonable nor have goodwill, so fuck you!”). This is what… defines the real divide, with dogmatists from across the political spectrum on one side, and people trying to engage in rational thought and discourse on the other. Which side do you want to be on in that struggle?

Steve Harvey: So, are we to be reasonable people of goodwill doing the best we can, with some modicum of humility, or are we Crusaders and Jihadists, Belsheviks and Tribalists, knowing that our own One Absolute Truth is the only Absolute Truth, and that …all who disagree with us are simply wrong, because they disagree with us? What’s it to be, the battle of Organized Ignorance against Reason and Goodwill, or an agreement to all strive to contain our disagreements within the parameters of reason and goodwill?

Steve Harvey: So, Lawrence, your fortress against Reason and Goodwill is impenetrable after all. What a surprise!

Steve Harvey: Funny, Lawrence, that after relying solely on a long string of witty sayings, you end with the witty saying that a witty saying proves nothing, in an argument against someone not relying on witty sayings at all, but rather complete empirical arguments. It’s disappointing that I’m the only one here who can appreciate the irony.

Lawrence Depenbusch: Steve thinks using more vague terms in longer sentences brings more clarity? Steve thinks only his witty sayings prove anything? Self-Love 101

Steve Harvey: Once again, Lawrence, I ask you: Do you want to strive to be a reasonable person of goodwill, engaged in a debate encouraging other people to strive to be the same, or do you want to insist that the purpose of this debate is to prove what a… terrible person I am? What matters more: Who and what I am, or the issues we are discussing? What is more on-point, and what better serves our public discourse, focusing on me, who you don’t like, or arguing on the debate we are having, in which two citizens of this country are presenting conflicting positions and hopefully both growing as a result?

Buddy Shipley: Reality Check: From the outset our governments were small, their duties few, their powers fewer, and they imposed a very small tax burden on the People. All of this is no longer true, and witness the result of runaway government: Deficit spending $1.42 for every ONE DOLLAR of tax collected! Annual Deficit spending is projected at $1.4 TRILLION!
… JUST THIS YEAR ALONE — next year it will be higher. National Debt is now over $14.3 Trillion dollars!
… That’s over 91% of GDP, which is NO ONE claims is sustainable.
… The entire U.S. GDP is $14.6 Trillion, with no growth in sight. Service on the National Debt is $400 BILLION — EVERY YEAR! Liberals/Progressives/Demo​crats want to Borrow, Tax and Spend even more. Living within ones’ means is not “raging blind ideology” — it is only reasonable, prudent, wise and the fiscally responsible thing to do. To insist on doing otherwise is reckless and criminal, which sums up everything advocated by Liberals/Progressives/Demo​crats

Steve Harvey: Here’s my theory: This debate, and all like it, quickly become very personal, and as far removed from the substance of the debate as possible, because that is the only way to insulate your ideology from any information that challenges it. You simply ignore the FACT that all prosperous modern nations have the political economic structure (a large administrative apparatus) that you are condemning as unworkable.

You simply ignore the well-argued position that your ideology is a direct descendent of the ideology that has been on the morally, economically, and politically losing side of our national history since its inception, first championing The Articles of Confederation against The Constitution, then championing secession against the abolition of slavery, then championing Jim Crow over Civil Rights, and now championing a hamstrung government prevented from being used as our public agent to address the challenges which continue to face us as a people.

You ignore the economic arguments that you find inconvenient (while I do not; I grapple with them in order to continue to refine and challenge my own positions), the center of gravity of the entire discipline of economics (which is dominated by analyses which do not jive well with your ideology), and the realities of such things as “transaction costs,” which imply a larger role for government than you acknowledge (as demonstrated by 2009 Economic Nobel Prize winners Oliver Williamson and Elinor Ostrom, in their separate analyses on the role of extra-market institutional forms in the maximization of market efficiency).

You ignore the actual Constitution, which enumerates Congress’s power to tax and spend in the General Welfare, while errneously insisting that the Constitution unambiguously and unequivocally supports every article of faith you hold to be true. In fact, “ignoring” seems to be the basis of how you preserve and defend your position, engaging in the verb whose noun best describes your ideology and your attitude.

Buddy Shipley: NO Steve! Your premise is wrong from the start!

Steve Harvey: Reality check: No one is arguing against the need to address our balance sheet. Meeting that challenge, every reasonable person knows, requires both a decrease in spending and an increase in revenues. There are blind ideolgues on the left who resist the former, and blind ideologues on the right who resist the latter. Reasonable people seek real solutions.

As an economic matter, it is a non-linear proposition, so that some of the best solutions are counterintuitive: There are ways in which current investment is the best way to reduce future debt, and an economically and fiscally intelligent policy is not the one that uses your sledge-hammer understanding of the challenges involved. Furthermore, our debt has consistently grown more rapidly under Republican than Democratic administrations over the course of the last 30 years, with only the exception of Obama’s response to an economic crisis catalyzed by right-wing deregulationary fervor and a commitment to siphoning wealth upward into ever fewer hands.

Steve Harvey: But let’s get back to the real question: Regardless of which of us is right or wrong on these substantive issues, can we all agree to strive to be reasonable people of goodwill, exercising enough humility to acknowledge that any of us may be right or wrong on any given issue, and that we should try to build that recognition into our discourse and into our political process?

Buddy Shipley: You assume that because we condemn what the states have become that we are also condemning what they once were, but we don’t!

Buddy Shipley: I do not have time to prattle back and forth with you — some of us have to go earn a living/

Buddy Shipley: But Steve! LIBERALS never admit losing an argument, when they sense they are losing on any given point they just change the topic to a straw man or red herring and declare victory!

Steve Harvey: So, Buddy, you can’t admit to the possibility that you might be wrong about anything? I will: I might be wrong, on any position that I have argued. I hold every substantive position tentatively, submitting it to the continued lathe of evide…nce and reason. Can you meet me there, agreeing that none of us is omniscient, that our conflicting positions require an ability to recognize that no one of us or one faction of us has a monopoly on all truth? Why are you so resistent to this notion?

Buddy Shipley: Of course I can! Why just the other day I thought I was wrong, but then I realized I was mistaken.

Steve Harvey: First of all, I’m only “losing” this argument in the minds of people too deluded to acknowledge any of the evidence or argumentation that has been put into play. Secondly, arguing against ideological dogmatism and inflexible false certainty is not “a red herring,” but the most essential of all issues on the table. It forever astounds me that your entire ideological camp so consistently tap dances around the obvious: You represent (along with some counterparts on the Left) the historical norm of blind ideology and religious fanaticism. That is the core truth that you are so thoroughly insulated against that you can’t answer the question: Will you commit to striving to be reasonable people of goodwill engaged in a public discourse in which we have yet to determine where absolute truth lies?

You can’t make that pledge, just as Christian Fundamentalists, and Islamic Fundamentalists, and Bolsheviks, and Nazis, and Khmer Rouge, and all other militant fanatical ideologues throughout history are unable to make it. Because you represent and fight for the opposite of reason and goodwill.

Buddy Shipley: We are witnessing the collapse of socialist economies all over Europe, and the unelected powers-that-be expect the remaining Eurozone countries to save the others. This, too, is unsustainable. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The trouble with So…cialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” But Liberals/Progressives never learn from these mistakes, they just change their label and argue a different issue, and keep repeating the same failed behavior expecting different results. They are insane. And some of us must work… fin

Steve Harvey: You see? You have repeated a falsehood that I pointed out in one of our recent discussions, to shore up a position that is not supported by the evidence. We are NOT witnessing the collapse of “socialist” economies all over Europe. The German economy, which is far more socialist than ours, has outperformed ours for decades, was less affected by the recent economic crisis than ours, recovered from that crisis sooner, and is not facing any of the credit issues that Greece and Ireland and some others are.

What we learn from those countries that are in crisis is that what they specifically did must be avoided, not that all members of some overbroad category in which you place them is discredited by their failures. Again, meat eaters and mammals; not the same thing.

Buddy Shipley: Only seems wrong to Marxist polyps like you, Steve.

Buddy Shipley: Ask Big Government Spenders, How much government is enough? Or better yet, how much can we afford? Clearly we cannot afford the bloated over-reaching behemoth we now have. Clearly this is not what the framers intended, else they would have… created most of it at the outset. And WHY do those who favor big government and bigger spending steadfastly REFUSE to acknowledge their failures, and why do they insanely insist on repeating the same behavior expecting different results? Environmental Protection Agency: $10.5 Billion The EPA may have served a positive role when first established, but no more. It’s become an apparatchik of the Marxists in DC and it continues to grow like a metastatic cancer. The EPA and the Dept of Energy, along with the current administration, are a clear and present danger to our nations. SHUT THESE SOBs DOWN IMMEDIATELY. Energy Department: $26 Billion The U.S. Dept of Energy has utterly completely failed to attain its 1977 prime directive of U.S. energy independence and should have been terminated decades ago. Instead of euthanizing this diseased sow, DoE’s budget has grown to more than $26 BILLION this year. Instead of pursuing their mission, the fools at DoE are pursuing investigations and filing lawsuits against American businesses! PULL THE PLUG ALREADY! Education Department: $71 Billion, plus ARRA: $23 Billion (and more?) The U.S. Dept of Education is an insatiable and dismal failure. Throwing more money down this rat hole will not do anything to improve education; gutting this bloated pig and returning those tax revenues to the states will keep more money closer to the students where it belongs. There is NO justification whatsoever for a federal Department of Edumacation, Constitutionally or otherwise, and again it is a malignant out of control bureaucracy that defeats its own reason for existing. Fannie/Freddie Bailout cost taxpayers $7 Billion per month
(Already totaling $1 Trillion ~ $1.4 Trillion)
Their liabilities alone could increase the national debt by $7 Trillion. The GSEs, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac must be shut down and everyone involved investigated and the corrupt indicted and imprisoned, along with the politicians guilty of passing legislation such as the CRA and compelling banks to make bad loans to unqualified borrowers (ie, “sub-prime” borrowers). Instead of blaming lenders for making risky loans resulting in the mortgage meltdown, blame the politicians that compelled them to make such loans; one of those misguided pieces of legislation is euphemistically called the “Community Reinvestment Act” (CRA), starting with Public Enemy #1: Barney Frank and gang. ALL of these government departments and agencies have FAILED HORRIBLY and have been contributing to the demise of our country for decades! WHY keep raping taxpayers to fund them?? Then there’s the oppressive and abusive IRS that enforces the raping… Internal Revenue Service: $13 Billion
Eliminate the IRS and save $13 Billion immediately*! Americans spend over 6 Billion hours and billions of dollars yearly struggling to comply with the tax code. If we eliminated the U.S. Tax Code or at least simplified it and made it less onerous we could eliminate the IRS, immediately saving taxpayers $13 Billion, plus do away with the costs shouldered by individuals, families and businesses to pay for tax accountants and lawyers, which are totally unproductive and a waste of everyone’s resources. It would also reduce (or eliminate) tax evasion thereby increasing revenues as it increases peace of mind and insures domestic tranquility… Tax forms could be reduced to a 3″x5″ card and tax collections could be outsourced to several Temp Services – or maybe even the US Postal Service (they need the work!). *The IRS Oversight Board recommended $12.914 billion for 2011, an increase of $767.7 Million over the FY2010 budget of $12.146 Billion. This recommendation is $280.6 Million above the President’s FY2011 request of $12.633 Billion for the IRS. The Board’s recommended budget is 2.2 percent higher than the President’s request. I think these numbers are modest, and by no means do these few items address ALL the government’s insanely expensive, reckless and feckless failures. Not even the proposed $500 Billion in federal budget cuts will solve our fiscal problems, yet Democrats laugh and scoff at the mere suggestion of it – these bastards must be held accountable, indicted, impeached, dragged out of their offices in cuffs, publicly tried, convicted and imprisoned or better yet, sent to Gitmo for use as waterboard practice dummies.

Steve Harvey: It’s mind-boggling the extent to which you carefully avoid making any actual argument, or getting paste the absolute equation of “government engagement” and “socialism.” as if there are no degrees or differentiations to be found within everything you are able to stuff into that word you depend so completely upon.

Garrett Whitehorn: All of you, please! Ad hominem attacks have no place in a battle of reason! If this was in response to a status of mine, I’d have deleted a lot of these comments for that very reason. I’m especially disappointed in you libertarians/conservatives​ … you’re supposed to be better than that.

Steve Harvey: You know, Buddy, in reality, I’m exactly as opposed to Marxism as I am to your ideology, for exactly the same reasons: It is logically and empircally and politically and economically untenable. I am strong believer in the robustness of mark…ets, and in the dangers of not recognizing the salience of individual incentives or the importance of emphasizing personal responsibility. But you are so lost in oversimplifications and overgeneralizations and mischaracterizations, unable to distinguish between green and orange because both have a bit of yellow in them, that such distinctions are defined out of existence, and the ideology built on that contraction reflects the loss.

Steve Harvey: Here’s something I just wrote to a friend, joking with me about how I am “WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG” (to which I replied, “you forgot to call me ‘asshole’!”), which bears repeating: “here’s some irony for you: I actually assume that I AM w…rong, to some degree or another, on almost every substantive position I hold, because the truth is almost always subtler than our representations of it. To me, this more than anything else is the distinguishing characteristic in the debate you are referring to, and others like it.”

Click here to buy my e-book A Conspiracy of Wizards for just $2.99!!!

  • […] More Dialogue With Libertarians | Colorado Confluence […]

  • ‎Continued:

    Steve Harvey “This debate is what the Constitution is about”: http: //coloradoconfluence.com/?​p=2352 (you have to delete the space between http: and //).

    Jacque Rhoades @Steve Actually, I think it is sad because I know there is a huge amount of history that has been removed and changed, due to my own education in school and now my education out of school. I just think you’ve been in the echo chamber for far too long. I’m also sad that you taught others the falacies you are trying to sell us here. BTW, this is my opinion, only from what I’ve read in this thread and a couple of others. I don’t believe I said anything about you being leftist, but then again, maybe you were adding that in for effect.

    Steve Harvey Yeah, that’s me, Mr. “Echo-Chamber.” For instance, this is an exchange I just had a couple of hours ago with a friend on the left:

    SH: X is a poster child for sloppy thought, vague assetions, and other errors of thought and behavior. Which is why I’m extremely glad that he holds the ideology that he does, because we have more than enough similarly endowed folks in our ideological camp already.

    AL: I don’t think so, Steve. There’s no left-wing equivalent to the right-wing noise machine, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc. to fill our heads with similar mush. It’s no secret how X got that way, it’s obvious. What’s the left-wing equivalent to the dogma that cutting taxes of “job creators” creates jobs? How about global warming? Being a liberal is not about false dogma. Quite the opposite.

    SH: That’s not my point, A. I am speaking of individuals and ideology, and I encounter left-wing blind ideology all the time, usually about as angry and irrational as its counterpart on the right. I am not making a comparison between the absolute quantity held en masse by each respective ideological camp, nor do I wish to (because it serves no positive purpose). I am merely trying to innoculate my own substantive fellow-travelers against the errors in form they recognize more readily in their opponents than in themselves, though there is plenty to take stock of and mitigate on this side of the line.

    SH: And being a liberal is neither about false dogma, nor about its absence. It depends on the liberal.

    AL: X’s anger is about you threatening what he “knows” to be true with facts and reason. My own anger is about what people like him are doing to the country. Again, while I appreciate your point, and LOVE you commitment to reason and goodwill, I’d still like to hear an example of left-wing blind ideology. For example, we don’t reject supply-side economics on the basis of faith, but because it doesn’t work. But our painful experience has no affect on the true believers.

    SH: I’m sorry, A, I strongly disagree. On a recent FB thread on my page, one commentor said that all we had to do was tax the rich more to avoid any cuts in spending. I replied that I have never seen a single serious economic analysis that supports that position, and that the world is a bit more complicated than that. Another poster said “what amazes me is how easy it is to say that ‘it’s more complicated than that.'” You may remember, because you “liked” my reply to her, in which I said that I do not stop with that statement, but rather start with it. The positions of those two commentors are, to me, blind ideology, not analysis, and not willingness to recognize the true complexity of the world in which we live. I went to one MoveOn meeting, and found myself as uncomfortable with some of its members as I am with the X’s of the world. I’ve often repeated that the most fundamental political divide isn’t between our respective substantive positions, but rather between our procedural ones: Whether we cling to beliefs blindly, as articles of faith, or whether we remain open to our own fallibility, the subtlety and elusiveness of “truth,” and the need to commit more to how we arrive at our conclusions than to the conclusions themselves. I will not participate in a self-congratulatory mythology that the Left is devoid enough of blind ideologues that we can ignore the extent to which blind ideology undermines what I believe we should stand for. I’ve known several nominal conservatives who are more aligned with me, because they are more aligned to analysis and imagination and compassion, than are several nominal liberals, who use the ideology as just another vehicle for emotionally gratifying anger and blind faith.

    SH: A, everyone believes that their certainties are supported by the evidence (except when “blind faith” is considered a virtue, such as in a religious context). Stating that distinguishes no one and no idea. Rather, one must make the argument, taking into account the counterarguments and contrary evidence. For instance, I am not persuaded by monetarist/Chicago School economics, but neither do I feel that I am privileged simply to declare it “wrong”: There are Nobel Prize Winning economists who still support it, and I will not privilege my less-informed conclusion over theirs (nor simply assume that theirs is more correct than mine, since my view is supported by a few Nobel Prize Winners as well, and I have a bit of training in economics myself). The fact is that there are some legitimate debates that many on the left will not entertain as legitimate debates, particularly in the most complex areas, such as economics and foreign policy. We all need to be less certain of our conclusions, and more disciplined about how we arrive at them. I have seen no evidence that those on the left have already conquered this challenge en masse.

    Steve Harvey Jaque, I spent my 20’s backpacking, living, and working all over the world, in every economic sector; my 30’s studying the human condition from every academic perspective; my early 40’s raising a family and teaching inner-city youth; my late 40’s studying law; and my early 50’s working as an independent policy consultant. I pursue understanding and human welfare to the best of my ability, and am as impatient with blind ideologues on the left as I am with those on the right. I have over 14 years of post-BA education, a couple of advanced degrees, and have scored in the 98-99 percentile on every graduate level standardized test that I’ve taken (e.g., GRE, LSAT, PLACE), and you’re concerned that my students were getting ripped off because I failed to indoctrinate them into your tiny little ideology?! I try to be patient. I try not to let that kind of ignorant crap get to me, but sometimes…, it’s just a bit too much to take.

    Jacque Rhoades So, you don’t think there has been any revision of our history and any deconstructionist views taken by academics? I ask because I left college knowing one thing and through talking to people, was told my view was inaccurate. I argued with the best of them and was told to look it up myself. Which I did, sometimes finding both views, but in comparing the two views, realizing that I was wrong. Some of the same views you have, I had. I don’t believe that I am a blind ideologue, call me that as you wish. I’ve done a lot of reading and had to eat a lot of crow, because I had been misinformed or uninformed in my education. I too have scored in the 98-99 percentile on all standardized tests that I’ve taken. So, one thing we can agree on, I guess we are both somewhat intelligent based on that scale.

    Steve Harvey Jaque, as for history, try studying it more and pontificating on your own revisionism less. An honest analysis is not the mythology you rely on, but rather a more complex and nuanced story, one in which our own revolutionaries were just dead wrong about somethings, and very much in the pocket of smugglers who did not appreciate the LOWERING of the tax on tea that ignited the Boston Tea Party (and the other similar tea parties in all of the coastal port towns). Among the colonists’ complaints that ignited the Revolution was that the British allowed the newly conquered French Canadians to continue to speak French and continue to practice Catholicism, because the colonists didn’t appreciate not forcing them more decisively into their camp. One of the most remarkable of revisionist histories of recent vintage is the new definition of Nazism as a left-wing rather than right-wing movement (despite the fact that several of Hitler’s quotes could have come out of your mouths; quotes decrying Communists and trade-unionists. All you would need do is replace “Jews” with “Hispanics,” and the two would be indistinguishable). In reality, the characteristic of Nazism which relegates it forever to the annals of inhumanity was its ultra-nationalism, its commitment to an in-group/out-group mentality that continues today quite robustly in conservative thought. I didn’t actually teach these things to my students, because I used a standardized curriculum, not my own understandings, and, with much misgiving, had to to some extent reinforce your preferred mythologies rather than teach history in its full splendor. I left education when, after a complaint by a fundamentalist Christian for my use of the comparison of gene diffusion to cultural diffusion (thus implying that the well-establshed scientific theory of evolution might in fact have some validity), I had to deal with the pandering attitude of school districts to the ignorance that is forever trying to impose itself on our public education system. When you complain about the education I offered my inner-city students, at a fraction of my earning potential, with a background in academe and professional research, and an unusual ability to connect with kids, because I failed to indoctrinate them according to your preferences, you really make me foam at the mouth, because it’s just this highly motivated, highly organized movement of Ignorance that all rational people, dedicated to the growth of our consciousness and the fulfilment of our humanity, are constantly working against.

    Steve Harvey Jaque, “revisionism” is a constant of history, not in the one direction that serves your emotional/ideological needs, but, more often and more consistently, in the direction which reinforces nationalist mythologies. The greatest, though imperfect, bulwark against this is those professional academics you decry, because they can pursue whatever line they want. If they can do so with academic rigor, they can make careers for themselves, whether it reinforces your beliefs or mine. For instance, Charles Murray, working in one of the most liberal of all disciplines (sociology), became rich and famous advancing far-right views. What would you replace this with? The wisdom that people like you have discovered, with less academic rigor, less competition of ideas, less discipline imposed to create the most robust and accurate marketplace of ideas possible? Yeah, that’s a great idea. I’ve read original documentation and the works of conflicting scholars, and have assimilated enormous quantities of information in the formulation of an ever-evolving understanding of the world we live in, but that doesn’t rise to your standards…? And why doesn’t that rise to your standards? Because it doesn’t arrive at your preferred conclusions! That’s not wisdom, my friend, but the precise opposite.

    Steve Harvey I will entertain your views, hear your arguments, examine your evidence, always looking for something new and informative, because I do not insist that all knowledge serve the conclusion I have already latched onto. Try that sometime, and then we’ll talk.

    Steve Harvey Here’s the thing, Jaque, that you and your fellows just can’t seem to grasp, though it should be a basic premise that guides us all: You’re not omniscient. Your conclusions are not the final word on all matters. Those tens of thousands of professional scholars combing original documents and previous analyses for new insights are not irrelevant, and their conclusions, that you non-challantly sweep away as the error you have transcended, are not inferior to yours. This is a collective enterprise, a huge human endeavor, to which the lack of an ability to understand that our collective genius exceeds our individual geniuses is the greatest of obstacles. I know in your oh-so-humble imagination you discovered the errors of the entire planet of historical research, and have transcended the folly of millions who have invested lifetimes in trying to discern subtle truths, but, get a grip, it just ain’t so. If you were truly disciplined, and truly competent, you might add some marginal new insight. But this notion that you are above and beyond the entire corpus of human scholarship is both bizarre and horrifying. Be a mensch; get a clue.

  • Continued….

    Jacque Rhoades My apologies, Steve, apparently everything I’ve ever read or heard has been wrong and everything you have read or heard is correct. My apologies for making you believe that I think I’m omniscient. Apparently I said that somewhere along the way, although I don’t recall that and don’t even think that, but I must have said it. I mean, you wouldn’t infer that based on your opinion. In any case, I’m going to just agree to disagree with you, assuming you can agree with me on anything.

    Steve Harvey No Jacque, nice try. The message is that not everything you’ve read and learned trumps the cumulative corpus of human knowledge. You are a marginal player, as am I. There is no wisdom in failing to recognize that. The way you communicated is to voice your despair that a mere accomplished scholar and author was teaching our inner-youth, because unless they believe exactly what you believe, those youth are being jipped. Right. And your comment that you had the veil pulled from your eyes regarding all of that hogwash that “scholars” are teaching…. Right. No claims of being superior to the tens of thousands of people with diverse views working at understanding the world we live in there, now is there? Give me a break. Ignorance is the failure to realize that we are participants in a larger intellectual enterprise, and that anything we are certain of that others engaged in that enterprise in disciplined ways dispute in large numbers has to be held with a certain degree of humility.

    Lawrence Depenbusch Steve wants to save all the moss, ivy and orchids sapping the tree, we want to save the tree. The tree is America.

    Steve Harvey Another slogan, Lawrence? I want to apply reason to evidence in service to humanity, knowing that it is an on-going challenge that we must continually meet. You are all so eager to attribute all sorts of things to me other than a set of tentative beliefs based on dilligent research, and an overwhelming commitment to the processes by which beliefs are most rationally and productively arrived at. Make your arguments, mobilize your evidence, make your case, and I will be the first to cheer when it prevails on its merits. But, Mr. Gorbechev’s, tear down your walls! Open yourselves up to a world of thought and analysis and evidence. Recognize that your little ideological camp does not define the breadth and depth of all human wisdom. Participate in something bigger than yourselves and your ideology. Nothing will do that tree greater service.

    Steve Harvey Once again, forget our substantive differences: Why won’t you agree to the simple procedural commitment to rigorous logic applied to carefully acquired evidence in service to sound public policies? You claim, against even the insistence of the most conservative economists, that we must not “raise taxes” (i.e., sunset the Bush tax cuts). You claim it as an economic fact, though no economists agree. There are few attitudes on Earth more certain to kill the tree than that one. Give up your religion, and participate in the modern world instead, in which, yes, our political decision-making process is framed and limited by our marvelous Constitution, which is interpreted through a judicial process, and, yes, our value of individual liberty as good in and of itself is high. But one fanatical factions arbitrary certainties, held by the members of that faction intransigently and belligerently and in defiance of all other knowledge and wisdom, is not a patriotic act, is not a service to America or its people or humanity, but is just one more misguided Jihad, prosecuted by one more misguided mob of fanatics.

  • Continued….

    Jacque Rhoades All I see, Steve, is you saying, “My side is right and your side is wrong.” “No economists agree” that raising taxes during a recession is not a good idea? Really, not a one? None? Where is the evidence on that one? Oh wait, let me guess, if there is someone who is an economist that thinks raising taxes is not a good thing, they are people like us, who are obviously, devoid of any “dilligent research” so they don’t count. You are very quick to profess to know what I’ve researched and what I haven’t. You are also quick to know that only your ideological camp has the answers and the truth.

    Jacque Rhoades All those words and no evidence as to your assertions that there is “no economist” that supports the idea that raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea. As far as many of your allegations about what I believe, what ideas I found out I was wrong on, I’ve never stated any and you’ve never asked for any. You read a lot into what people post.

    Steve Harvey If that’s all you see, then you’re squinting mightily through your blinders, because my main message has been that any of us might be right or wrong on any substantive issue at any time, but that we should all agree to strive to be reasonable people of goodwill working together to do the best we can. Not one of you has acknowledged that that’s what we should strive to be, because you implicitly know that to subject yourselves to reason and evidence would undermine all that you stand for. Not one of you has acknowledged that they too might ever be mistaken about anything, or has recognized that in a world of competing views, that to simply insist that your own is the one truth, even against the overwhelming consensus of entire academic disciplines, because, well, you just know it is, is the ultimate folly. And, while I do argue my substantive positions, unlike you, I make actual arguments, that you never seem willing to address, arguments such as the fact that every single prosperous modern nation is characterized by what you insist is the bane of prosperity, a fact, and one which argues strongly against your premise. Arguments such as the one regarding the overbroad use of the word “socialism,” and the way in which generalizing quite different political economic forms into a single category serves the insistence on an empirical fallacy. Arguments invoking economic theory and evidence, concerning transaction costs, and information asymmetries, and how that implicates the need for certain kinds of government interventions to preserve a robust and fair modern capitalist market. Arguments that cite Constitutional provisions explicitly, and trace historical evidence, and utilize a variety of information and reason applied to the conclusions being drawn. As tempting as it is to go into more depth concerning the irony of YOUR insistence that it is I who just says “my side is right and your side is wrong,” when that has been precisely what you have been doing, and precisely what I have not (stating outright, alone on this thread, that I might be wrong on any substantive issue), there really is no point: You appear oblivious to the distinction between substantive argumentation and procedural, to the insistence that while I argue my substantive point, the main point is that we all try to utilize reason and evidence to arrive at better informed and more useful conclusions. No, it all boils down to your fanatical certainties, based on nothing more than the fact that they are your fanatical certainties, insulated against anything that might challenge them, any historicl facts, and Constitutional realities, any economic realities, anything at all that doesn’t preserve your dogmatic little delusion. You will be what you have been in every previous incarnation in every generation, because you lack the self-reflection and the drive to even try to understand the subtleties and complexities of the world you live in, and so you inflict yourself on the world over and over again. The story is endlessly repeated, with you re-enacting an old and well-worn tragedy, with determined ignorance imposing self-inflicted suffering on a world capable of doing far better, if people would only make the one step of saying, “yes, we should all strive to be reasonable people of goodwill,” and mean it.

    Steve Harvey First of all, Jacque, it’s not possible to prove a negative. I can’t prove that no economist has ever supported the notion that it is a good idea not to raise taxes as part of our effort to reduce our debt and pay our bills, because I can’t exhaustively poll every single economist in the world. What I did offer in support of my position was the fact that a pre-eminent conservative economist, who generally maintains that raising taxes is bad for economic growth, has come out in strong terms insisting that it would be the height of irresponsibility now not to raise them to address our fiscal needs at present. You, on the other hand, have a far easier hurdle to clear: You would just have to cite one single economist who maintains what I claimed (somewhat hyperbolically) that no economist maintains. And yet, you haven’t. As for your insistence that my participation in this debate on its face is “reading a lot into what people post,” that’s just too tiresome. I’ve invited all of you, a dozen or so times, to agree that we should all first and foremost strive to be reasonable people of goodwill, acknowledging the possibility that any one of us on any substantive issue might be in error, and to engage in civil discourse on that basis, and not one of you has offered any response to that invitation. I’ve presented arguments, cogent and empirically accurate arguments, that you’ve all simply disregarded, or responded to with a logical fallacy (e.g., the “doughnut” response, which neither was an accurate analogy, nor relevant in context to what I had said). Responding to these facts is not reading anything into what you post, but rather responding to what you choose not to address, while insisting on truths that were challenged by what you refuse to address.

    Jacque Rhoades Two comments about one question is obsessive? Yet, you’ve written volumes while basically only saying, you are well read and I’ve read nothing. You know nothing about me, yet attest that I do not research dilligently anything. You have the blinders on, you see only what you want to see, even in your own posts. Here’s a name, Thomas Sowell.

    Steve Harvey What I do love, though, Jacque, is the instant you found me in my first comment that actually was a bit of an overreach (I knew it at the time; you can never say “no economist,” no matter how closely the it approximates the truth), how obsessively you have latched onto that, not addressing the plethora of cogent arguments that preceded it, but suddenly salivating at having caught me in an imperfect argument that you can finally attack! It does nothing to enhance wisdom, or to improve our understanding, or to absorb new information, but it does help to insulate your ideology from the rest of what I’ve said, doesn’t it? Your sole purpose is to protect your ignorance from information, and any error on the part of those who are challenging your dogma is an opportunity to hunker down a bit more and protect it from reality. Does it really matter that the truth is that the overwhelming consensus of economists and policy analysts, including many conservative economists, is that raising taxes must be included in our debt response package, rather than that no economist supports the notion that we shouldn’t raise taxes at all? Does your identity depend so much on that distinction? Just too much.

    Steve Harvey Jaque, I couldn’t care less how much you’ve read, and have made no comment about how much you’ve read. I’m arguing about these competing ideologies, one which is a quasi-religious fanaticism, and one which is based on the pragmatic, detail-laden, and information-intensive project of self-governance. All I care about is what you argue, and how well you argue it. That, and that alone, is what I’m responding to. That is the extent of our relationship, and the extent of my interest in you. Don’t give me a name; defend your positions, and respond to challenges, or admit that you aren’t able to. Don’t give me a name, just tell me whether you believe that you might be mistaken on any matter, and, like the rest of us, need to incorporate enough humility into your understanding of the world to consider all arguments and all points of view. So far, you haven’t done any of that, but you are mighty indignant that I notice the fact that you haven’t done any of that.

    Jacque Rhoades I haven’t stated any positions to any ideology. That’s the point I was trying to make about you reading into things. You don’t know what my views are on anything. You only know what you think my views are, and that is you reading into things. You assume that I believe what I know at this current time is what I believe to be absolute. I’ve never said that, or even alluded to that. I know there are many things I’m misinformed about, because of my recent history, and I’m sure there are many more things I’ll find out as time goes by. I realize this. I learn things every day. Have you even read any of my posts?

    “You, on the other hand, have a far easier hurdle to clear: You would just have to cite one single economist who maintains what I claimed (somewhat hyperbolically) that no economist maintains.” I gave you a name of an economists that does believe raising taxes in this economy would be a mistake. If you are going to put forth a position and an argument, as hyperbolically, then don’t get mad when I actually answer your challenge.

    Lawrence Depenbusch I used a metaphor of parasites on a tree to represent the myriad special interests the Steve’s of academia cling to. That was hardly a slogan but an apt description of those who burden our system with ever more ‘apps’ as if DC was one big ‘Android’… >>> I use the term parasites, because it is the same metaphor Buddy used for Steve as he sees him being a polyp — a cancer — or a maggot that lives off the death of living things – as a defender of every entitlement program- to be a broker for parasites. We need thrift not snake oil, and a pruning knife for parasites that kill the American tree.

    Steve Harvey Jaque: No, I misunderstood. The name was so far removed, that I interpreted it to be presented for some other purpose. My mistake. Lawrence: A metaphor used to communicate an empty assertion, and an ad hominem empty assertion at that, is not an argument. Amazingly, despite the inability of every last one of you to admit to any possibility of error, any possibility that opposing views might have any validity, and any commitment to stiving to be reasonable people of goodwill, you neverthelss arrogate to yourselves some imagined moral superiority. This is pointless, and you’re gradually succeeding in dragging me down to your level. Have a good life, gentleman. May you achieve great happiness, and remain harmlessly irrelevant.

    Lawrence Depenbusch Steve’s blinders will not allow him any self examination, except to promote his good deeds in public service. A parasite to any organization can only scurry away when he is exposed in the light.

    Steve Harvey Not only will you not commit to striving to be reasonable people of goodwill, but you announce to what a great extent you are the exact opposite, with great glee, as if it is an insult to anyone but yourself.

    Steve Harvey And I hardly “scurried,” nor was exposed to anything resembling “the light” here. I spent the better part of the day arguing with irrational fanatics, to no avail, as most know is the result of arguing with irrational fanatics. I give up relucantly, with sorrow, because humans are capable of so much more, and yet insist on being what you are now insisting on being.

    Lawrence Depenbusch What makes anyone on this thread a ‘reasonable person of goodwill’ and someone else not? What is reasonable about those who defend the moochers and grafters and the brokers of entitlements? What is the ‘goodwill’ involved in a man who only seeks to justify his public service and desire to further enslave the taxpayer. >>> How is enslaving taxpayers of any redeeming value?

    Steve Harvey What makes anyone on this thread a reasonable person of goodwill? For starters, when another person on the thread repeatedly asks, “can we all agree to strive to be reasonable people of goodwill,” and receives no answer, then the lack of an answer is the expression of a commitment to the dogma being argued rather than to the processes of reason and goodwill which make the argument more productive. You start with your conclusions as premises (that, since those who disagree with you are defending those who you consider unworthy of being defended, they are not reasonable, and so neither should you be), rather than accept the offer to try to engage in something more productive, and something more mutually respectful. I see our various fates as more complicated, involving more factors, and with more concern for those who are dealt a less advantageous hand, but my view is irrelevant, because you already know that it’s irrelevant, and that your truth is all there is. That’s not reasonable. That’s not goodwill. You don’t even acknowledge anything I said about procedures to ensure more rational outcomes, because reason is extraneous when you already know the one absolute truth. That’s irrational and fanatical. I know you don’t get it. I know you can’t get it. But it’s blindingly obvious to anyone not lost in your mania. You are just another Jihadist, Crusader, radical utopian, lost in a false absolute certainty, completely insulated against reason and evidence and even human decency. But you don’t get it. You can’t get it. I give up.

    Lawrence Depenbusch Setting up straw-men arguments and railing against others being unreasonable shows the opposite of good will. You dismiss any who do not accept your vague virtues, and remain blind to your own dogma that are the arbiter of what is absolute and what is not. >>> You defend expanding the takers at the expense of the givers, I do not fault you for it, it has been your life’s mission, as it is the life mission of an orchid to kill it’s host.

    Lawrence Depenbusch You could get it, you only need to be reasonable and honest.

    Steve Harvey Once again, we can all say, “look, I strongly believe in these substantive positions, but I recognize that other intelligent and sincere people believe in opposing substantive positions. Since we are all human, and all fallible, as a foundation for our discussions of these substantive positions, lets agree on a few things that will make our discussions more productive: 1) Any one of us might be right or wrong on any substantive issue. For that reason, we need to focus on information, arguments, and address that information and those arguments, in a process as disciplined as possible, to refine our various positions as much as possible, and do a better job of informing one another; 2) we should focus as much as possible on the issues we are discussing, and try to avoid insulting one another; 3) we should not take anyone’s failure to live up to this ideal as a rejection of the ideal, but rather should encourage one to continue to strive to live up to it. These are not “vague virtues,” but the basis of civil discourse, and, when exercised more dilligently, of scientific discovery itself. I’m not going to get drawn into the substantive dicussion you insist on having while insisting on not actually considering any position other than your own, a discussion that would involve bringing in the realities of history, of statistical social mobility, of the concentration of wealth in America, and of the fact that that is not a function primarily of merit or virtue but rather of inequities of opportunity due to chances of birth, because none of that matters to you. Instead, I am only going to suggest that being a reasonable person of goodwill requires acknowledging that there are conflicting views held by intelligent and sincere people, and that we all need to be willing to consider the possibility that what we currently hold to be the infallible truth is almost certainly wrong in some ways, and may in fact be wrong in dramatic ways. To fail to do that is to be a blind ideological fanatic. To do it, and to argue positions zealously, but with the recognition that those postions are almost by definition imperfectly accurate, and at times dramatically inaccurate, is what it means to be rational.

    Lawrence Depenbusch Relativistic thinking and secular humanism dogma is at the core of your desire to cast doubt on everyone and everything, in order to set yourself up as the final arbiter of what is right. Your dogma and technique is the exact pap the schools are teaching… see attached.. very sad to see that you parrot this dogma >>>> http://www.criticalthinkin​g.org/print-page.cfm?pageI​D=494

    Steve Harvey You mean it is wiser and more reasonable to simply assume that what you think is the absolute truth really is the absolute truth, and the billions of people who disagree with you, including the majority of those who professionally research the subjects in question, are simply wrong, no further consideration required? Like I said, that is blind dogmatic fanaticism, the same as that employed by radical Islamists, Christian fundamentalists, Bosheviks and Nazis and all the rest. Humility is not relativism, it’s the recognition that while there may be one objective reality, none of us has any special privilege to know precisely what it is. Instead, we continue to discover it, often in a collective endeavor, such as that used in scholarship. Your above comment seems to be an explicit rejection of humility, of any recogntion that your beliefs may possibly be in some ways or at some times mistaken, and that the beliefs of others which you now reject may be in some ways at some times correct. I’m proud to “parrot” this “dogma,” because it is the basis of scientific methodology and rational discourse. You use the language of “liberty” to advance the cause of tyranny, the tyranny of a fanatical certainty which you’re attempting to impose on the rest of the world. But I do appreciate your finally making so explicit and clear your objection to recognizing that others may be correct and you may be wrong, to rational discourse and to civil society. You made my point for me, more perfectly than I was able to make it myself.

    Lawrence Depenbusch Knowing you come from the relativistic swamp, how can you write or talk or think otherwise. You drank the koolaid, comrade!

    Steve Harvey Reason isn’t relativism, exercising reason isn’t imbibing a poisoned drink, and refusing to exercise reason isn’t cause for pride.

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