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Tuesday links


  1. Joel
    Joel September 30, 2014 12:41 pm

    “How is it that a nation that was never interested in politics has now made everything political?”

    This from a guy who makes a very good living politicizing everything? Pot, meet kettle.

  2. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 30, 2014 12:53 pm

    I don’t really understand what all the “adulthood” article is trying to say, and not sure I care. Way too verbose for me.

    I don’t relate to much of it anyway. Maybe it’s because I never watched much TV or movies, and didn’t care for much of what I did see even when I could understand it. (Can’t hear well)… and maybe it’s because I had to go to work in high school (1960), have always been independent and didn’t give a hot damn what most men (or anyone else) thought about it. I’m a human person first, and nobody is going to push me into some role or limitation I don’t set for myself.

    Seems to me a lot of this is the silly idea that people can live vicariously, and not be responsible for themselves – which is the essence of growing up. And I’ve got news for them… the eternally irresponsible are not going to survive in the long run.

  3. Bear
    Bear September 30, 2014 1:23 pm

    Maher: “How is it that a nation that was never interested in politics has now made everything political?”

    Never interested in pol… In what frickin’ universe?! Perhaps Mr. Maher should look into how a collection of tea-sipping Brit colonies became hardcore coffee drinkers. The Federalist Papers versus The Anti-Federalist Papers. The [original] tea party. Politics is our national sport.

    Tamny: “Realistically until the 1930s, they could ignore election day simply because what happened or might happen in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t much impact them.”

    Unless you count little things like debt structuring and taxes that drive rebellion (Shay’s and the Whiskey rebellions). Or slavery (Nat Turner). Or a civil war prompted by DC’s creative take on tariffs and slavery. Or 100 year phone taxes to fund the Spanish-American War. Or a federal income tax (completely unconstitutional in 1861, constitutional by amendment 1913). Or hell: War of 1812, assorted Indian Wars, Mexican-American War, forementioned Civil War, more Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, Phillipine-American War, Moro Rebellion, World War 1. All before the 1930s, Tamny. I suspect those things affected one or two folks outside of DC.

    Tamny: “[H]e perhaps unwittingly expressed a libertarian frustration. We’re not supposed to care about politics. By design.”

    [sarc] Naturally. That’s why representatives are selected by governors, and not by direct election, and why senators are appointed for life. And why the framers made sure to exclude ordinary people from juries, and forbid them to judge laws. ‘Cuz we aren’t supposed to worry our little heads about what our glorious leaders do for us.[/sarc]

    Maybe I missed it, and Tamny’s entire column was supposed to be satire and sarcasm. But what I could stomach reading sounded like the musings of someone with no knowledge whatsoever of American history, especially the Constitution.

    People are losing “interest” in elections (more accurately, in voting) because they’re nothing but, “Would you prefer to be dry-humped, or would you like the vaseline doped with sand?”

  4. Pat
    Pat September 30, 2014 2:46 pm

    And yet… it was only the “3-percent” of colonists who fought the good fight. Most didn’t know the details, or didn’t care, they just wanted to be left alone. It wasn’t “politics” per se, but “MYOB” that compelled the farmer, craftsman, and shop keeper to rail and push back against the British.

    I suspect that’s why a large majority of people still don’t fight today, and have never done so. Those who do – increasingly in the past few years – do so because they see that interference – from local bosses to the NSA – is taking over their personal and family lives, killing their dreams and incentive. But fighting back is not politics – it’s self-preservation.

    It’s the politicians who insist on insinuating their modus operandi into our lives. It’s the politicians who make politics “important”. And we should not take their self-importance to heart.

    Lilija Valis, Lithuanian poet, said in Freedom on the Fault Line:
    Politics is not politics.
    It’s what you think of me
    and how I see you;
    it’s family and the stranger;
    it’s who will do the work
    and who will get the reward;
    it’s how we decide
    who owns what and
    who the thieves are;
    it’s how we act when
    we see a child broken
    from a beating or a dog
    chained and starved;
    it’s marriage and divorce
    and what we teach our children;
    it’s what we do when floods
    carry away our lives,
    when fire surrounds us.
    No, politics is not politics;
    it’s you and me
    and how we decide
    to live together;
    it’s love and hate
    and everything in between.

  5. Laird
    Laird October 1, 2014 12:48 pm

    Pat, I’ve never really believed that “3%” figure. That could be the number of active participants in military action (I haven’t looked that up), but the total number of active supporters of the revolution had to be substantially larger than that. They couldn’t have prevailed otherwise.

    By way of comparison (for whatever it’s worth), in the Civil War almost 12% of the total population of the Confederate states actually fought in its army. Almost 3% of the total population died. And a substantial majority of the (white) population supported secession. Yet they still lost.

    I’m not sure how relevant that is today; we live in a very different world. But it’s worth bearing in mind when people talk about the “3-percent movement.”

  6. Laird
    Laird October 1, 2014 12:49 pm

    BTW, Claire, I liked the “Happiness Leads to Success” article. Thanks.

  7. Pat
    Pat October 1, 2014 2:24 pm

    “Pat, I’ve never really believed that “3%” figure ….. I’m not sure how relevant that is today; we live in a very different world. But it’s worth bearing in mind when people talk about the “3-percent movement.”” [Quote inclusive]

    Laird – I’m aware of that, but my point stands. (I mentioned 3% because that’s what some vocal libertarians believe.) To me, it’s not about 3%, it’s about why we fight.

    I’m not a “fan” of politics, nor a believer that political energy drives most people. The reason people came here and attempted to establish a new world for themselves was to get away from the upper crust – religious, social, and monarchical – and be free to live their own lives. The Declaration of Independence laid out the reasons for that expectation, and the Bill of Rights backed it up.

    Every generation since, when people have started to relax and work and play for themselves, another war or crisis comes along to mess up their lives – driven by politicians. If enough time lapses between crises, more and more generations forget how to respond. The politicians tell us that only they know how to run the country, and soon we start to believe it. They tell us the only way to stop the bad stuff is to lean on them, to vote, and to let them take care of us. So we “get political”, thinking that’s the only choice we have. But any reaction people take will be for themselves – not “political”, but – I repeat – self-preservation.

    I realize this may be just a matter of semantics, a different interpretation or perspective on what constitutes politics. But I think we – as libertarians – give it credence by accepting the definitions that politicians impose on us. And we often make it hard for ourselves to defend our position when we get caught up in their terminology.

  8. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau October 1, 2014 7:15 pm

    Actually I think Tamny and maybe even Maher are on target (except for that last paragraph which is silly). Things didn’t used to be political, or at least not the way we use the term today. I have a quote from Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” in my quotes file:

    “When a private individual meditates an undertaking, however connected it may be with the welfare of society, he never thinks of soliciting the co-operation of the government; but he publishes his plan, offers to execute it, courts the assistance of other individuals, and struggles manfully against all obstacles. Undoubtedly he is often less successful than the state might have been in his position; but in the end, the sum of these private undertakings far exceeds all that the government could have done.”

    Here’s another:

    “Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds – religious, moral, serious, futile, extensive, or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found establishments for education, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; and in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it be proposed to advance some truth, or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society. Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association. I met with several kinds of associations in America, of which I confess I had no previous notion; and I have often admired the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men, and in getting them voluntarily to pursue it. I have since travelled over England, whence the Americans have taken some of their laws and many of their customs; and it seemed to me that the principle of association was by no means so constantly or so adroitly used in that country. The English often perform great things singly; whereas the Americans form associations for the smallest undertakings. It is evident that the former people consider association as a powerful means of action, but the latter seem to regard it as the only means they have of acting.”

    Where do you think Robert’s Rules of Order came from?

    As to the 3%, that has been pretty much debunked. It started with a letter by John Adams and apparently his passage was misinterpreted. IIRC it was more like a third supporting revolution, a third opposed, and a third confused or without a strong opinion.

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