Friday, February 11, 2005

Questions for Leftist Wack Jobs like Jim Bliss

Should anybody be bothered by the Sacramento (and Berkeley) home owner with the US soldier uniform stuffed with an American flag hung from a noose on his house? Should he be forced to do anything?

Should anybody be bothered by General Mattis' "fun to shoot some people" comment? Should he be forced to do anything?

Should anybody be bothered by what fake-American-Indian -who-doesn't-know-jack-about-Ethics prof Churchill said about 9/11 victims?

Do you think your employer would put you on a warning if were lecturing people in the lunch room about how 9/11 victims were in fact not victims and akin to Nazi's?

Should anybody be bothered by the bigoted and racist cartoons made by widely published liberal cartoonist of Condi Rice? Should they be forced to do anything?

Should anybody be bothered by gay marriage? Should anybody be bothered by group marriage? How about marriage to a goat?

Should anybody be bothered by Anheuser Busch Super Bowl commercial titled "Thank You"?

Should anybody be bothered if we target men of middle eastern descent for the most thorough airport searches?

Should anybody be bothered if those who don't legally live in the US, or pay taxes in the US, receive any benefit paid for by US taxes?


Tiny said...

So Jim, I'll apologize for putting your name in the title of this post...but I enjoy the dialog and occasional repartee (more witt would be good) with you. I suspect, but please prove me wrong, that if you answer each of these individualy and honestly the answers taken as a group will show hypocrisy.

RA said...

My word sir, you have a very thick neck.

Tiny said...

better than a pencil neck!

Anonymous said...

A must read cloumn for Tiny & Jim:

Tiny said...

Excellent piece by Hanson....I always love an intelligent slaying of the global left!

Jim Bliss said...

Hey Tiny,

Don't worry about it. It quite tickled me to be honest :-)

If you're interested, I've written a response (to the title, not the post itself) at: Who you calling a Leftist Wack Job?

Tiny said...

Hi Jim, I read your blog..nice job....although I disagree (big surprise right?) on your premise that right and left are tied up with economic differences. Economics is only one leg of the difference...big government, or government having more control over a certain element of the population is on the left, less for the right. The left also, IMHO, thinks nobody is responsible for their lot in life hence the support of over the top (give em fish instead of teaching them fishing) social programs and also the idea of over the top social freedoms are on the left. Just a word of warning if you want to sue me...I got laywers on retainer! :)

Scott said...

Hey Tiny,

You forgot to tell Jim "Happy Valentines Day"!

Jim Bliss said...

Tiny, our notions of left and right wing are indeed tied up with economics. It's simply not true that "big government, or government having more control over a certain element of the population is on the left, less for the right".

Certainly Soviet Communism is on the extreme left wing. But Fascist Italy was on the extreme right. What does that tell us about right and left? And just as you could say that libertarianism is on the right, so I can point out that anarcho-syndicalism is on the left. Both are idealistic theories that place individual liberty at the centre of their philosophy. So what does that say about left and right?

What differentiates left and right is - in essence - property rights and wealth distribution. Anarcho-syndicalism is about small (even no) government. Yet it takes "collective ownership of wealth" as it's starting point. Libertarianism is about small (even no) government, but champions individual property rights as a central platform.

Left and right are about economics. Plain and simple. I believe that you think the left wing is predicated on big government just because the current leftist slant in your country's politics is of that variety. Tiny, the world is not America. And there's far more to left wing theory than whatever Hillary Clinton may be trotting out today.

Tiny said...

Hi Jimbo, very eloquent comments indeed....ok, I'm only referring to the American political scene....that's all that matters anyway, right? :)

Tiny said...

Hey Jim, I'll further illustrate the American difference with the following joke (which by the way defines me as a Texan):


You're walking down a deserted street with your spouse and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner and locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises his knife, and charges. You're carrying a Smith & Wesson and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.

What do you do?

Democrat's Answer:
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does the gun have an appropriate safety built into it? Why am I carrying a loaded gun and what kind of message does this send to society and my children? Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me or would he just be content to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days to try to come to a conclusion.

Republican's Answer:

Texan's Answer:

Tiny said...

see, one can be funny without using the F bomb, sh*t, the n word or even the often useful "limey bastard"

Anonymous said...

In the real America (which doesn't include Washington D.C.) the left and the right are seperated by a few things but none more important than personal responsibility.

When a person makes poor decisions in their life people on the right believe that they should bear the brunt of the consequences brought on by their own choices. The idea being that when you have to face the consequences of your own making that you will make better choices in the future.

People on the left believe that we should all bear that brunt to minimize the affect on the individual. While this sounds nice it really only leads down one road, taking from one group of people to give to another group, while at he same time it does nothing to address the problem of the receiving group---poor life choices.

Another major factor in the seperation is that people on the right understand that nothing is free. You can rant all you want about free health care, affirmative action, low cost housing for the poor...pick your favorite social program...they all have one thing in common: taking from one group and giving to another thus they are not free.

Money (whether given in the form of cash or in governmental preference) can not buy values and those without values will take and take until there is nothing left to give.

Yes it's a broad brush but the picture it paints as a whole is quite accurate.


Jim Bliss said...

MG, I do understand your position. You are coming from a broadly libertarian angle, right? This will probably surprise you, but I once espoused a very similar philosophy (I would have described myself as "anarcho-syndicalist" for many years... think of it as a left-wing libertarian).

And before you say "Such a system could never work!" (individual liberty and collective property rights), I am fully aware of that. Just as I'm certain you're aware that the perfect ideal libertarian system could also never exist. Human nature will throw a spanner in the works of every system.

So I'm not saying that libertarianism is "wrong". It's a decent ideal, and when held by decent people (there are unpleasant libertarians just the same as there's unpleasant people of every political colour) it's a philosophy that I respect completely.

I don't think you're some evil fascist deliberately trying to inflict suffering. I understand that you just believe the country and the world would be a better place if it were more right-wing libertarian.

At the same time, I do disagree with your position. I think you are mistaken on certain points. But I'm not going to try and change your mind on them (I don't think either of us are going to convert the other, let's be realistic!)

I hope, though, that I can at least demonstrate that it's possible to believe in certain "left wing" ideals but still be wanting exactly the same thing as (I'd hope) the decent folks on the right-wing want: a better society, on balance, for all.

So let me, as you say, "pick my favorite social program". Let's use "free health care".

First off, I'm talking here about the UK and French models. I don't know anything like enough about the American model to discuss it properly. I suspect that the US model is quite terrible, as it's being done in a culture that doesn't truly believe in it.

First off, here in Europe we do not tend to talk about "free health care" (at least not in a technical discussion on the subject). We talk about health care "free at the point of delivery". There is no illusion that this system is "free". None whatsoever. We know exactly how much it costs. And we know who pays for it (we do, through taxation). This is not a controversial point for us.

Obviously the right wing wishes to see it change, but rarely pushes for too much change, because the public is aware of the issues involved and consistenly votes to maintain health care that is free at the point of delivery. The UK's system is under some strain right now due to two decades of centre-right government, but it does still work; and the vast majority of people want it to continue doing so (that's what democracy is about right... carrying out the will of the people?)

Why is this? It really isn't because everyone on the left thinks the wealthy should have their money taken from them and given to the poor. I know that's the impression the right-wing press likes to give. Just as the left-wing press paints you all as quasi-fascist religious nuts (oh they exist alright, but neither parody really applies to more than a small percent of the respective wings).

The fact is, when told how much it will cost us (the taxpayers), we agree that the price is worth paying. Because we believe that such a system benefits society as a whole and makes the nation a better place for us to live in.

There is a belief that by guaranteeing every single person is as healthy and as well-educated ("free" education also costs) as they can be, society is going to win out in the end. The benefits received from giving that opportunity to all, outweighs the financial cost.

So that's why I believe in "free" health care. You think I'm wrong (I assume) and that the cost is wasted because society gains little or nothing in return. But that's a judgment call, and with our - presumably - very different backgrounds we are apt to make different judgments. As Einstein remarked, "common sense is just the collection of prejudices we pick up by the age of 18".

I think we both want to see the same job done; just have different views on the best way of doing it.

One thing I would question you on, however, is how a libertarian-leaning person believes that Dubya Bush is a good bet? The US defence budget is gargantuan (massively larger than anyone else). Is that not just taking money from one group and giving it to another? And isn't it obviously nothing more than a judgment call as to whether society is made better by spending that money with the military instead of something else? What about the billions in military aid to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and lots of other places. That's exactly the same as spending taxes on health care, isn't it? You may say "but it makes our society safer"; to which I reply "Well, so you say. But I say health care makes society safer to live in. It's not that you have a problem with tax-and-spend at all; we just disagree on what the spending priorities are".

Anonymous said...

Jim--we don't agree on much but the banter is appreciated!

“The fact is, when told how much it will cost us (the taxpayers); we agree that the price is worth paying. Because we believe that such a system benefits society as a whole and makes the nation a better place for us to live in.”
----I won’t give you a huge dissertation on how our health care system evolved but a down and dirty one goes like this:

Up until WWII we had a single payer system. Very simple; you went to the doctor and you paid the doctor. Costs were low and care was good. After WWII the insurance companies got involved. You no longer paid your doctor, you paid premiums to your insurance, plus a deductible and the insurance company paid the doctor. This was the beginning of the upward spiral in health care costs in the US; which, by the way, still has the best health care in the world. It’s not free but everyone has access to excellent, timely health care in the US, that’s not the case in other socialized countries like Canada.

In the US any system that the government gets involved in quickly gets bloated and costly. The government in the US is good at two things; churning out mindless bureaucrats and spending money. There is virtually no US government program (save national defense)that wouldn’t be run more efficiently in the private sector. Anything from healthcare to waterworks to the US mail…all of them run better when the private sector is in charge.

“The US defence budget is gargantuan (massively larger than anyone else).”
---It is huge in dollars but it’s actually very small in percentage to gross national product (which is the best way to compare it; comparing our military to other countries is apples and oranges). When you compare those two numbers against each other we spend less on defense now then we did in the 1950’s. And this isn’t a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul, national security is the single most important job of the US government.

“What about the billions in military aid to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and lots of other places.”
---We agree on this Jim, I don’t think the US should give any foreign aid as policy. Tsunami’s and earthquakes…for natural and human caused disaster we should give some but the US people are very generous and they will give their own money without needing the government to decide where it should go.

Tiny said...

Jim, you said "I suspect that the US model is quite terrible, as it's being done in a culture that doesn't truly believe in it."

You're MG said most understand the benefit. And even without what I'll call free "well care" every person (rich, poor, homeless, illegal alien, etc.) can walk into (or be delivered to) an emergency room and get care. Having well care would be ideal. However, when you look at the entire collection of medical specialties we are second to no one when it comes to the care itself. Education is a much bigger topic.