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Is dissent still patriotic?
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Author Topic: Is dissent still patriotic?  (Read 16190 times)
joshbrenton
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« on: February 23, 2009, 00:24:47 EST »

The original article:

http://www.denverpost.com/harsanyi/ci_11505879

Quote
Is dissent still patriotic?
Reach columnist David Harsanyi at 303-954-1255 or dharsanyi@ denverpost.com.
Posted: 01/21/2009 12:30:00 AM MST
Updated: 01/21/2009 03:49:53 AM MST
Do all Americans truly have a yearning to fundamentally "remake" our nation? There must be a subversive minority out there that still believes the United States — even with its imperfections and sporadic recessions — is, in context, still a wildly prosperous and free country worth preserving.

Some of you must still believe that politicians are meant to serve rather than be worshiped. And there must be someone out there who considers partisanship a healthy, organic reflection of our differences rather than something to be surrendered in the name of so- called unity — which is, after all, untenable, subjective and utterly counterproductive.

How about those who praised dissent for the past eight years?

Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?

Yes, two important historical events transpired Tuesday: The first was the peaceful transfer of power from one freely elected politician to another (an uninterrupted streak we often take for granted). Then there was the first presidency of an African-American, which proves we can transcend our unsightly past.

After that, what we had was just another election. We conduct one every four years. For those of you not shouting hosannas, it might have occurred to you that we are suffering from a rampant sickness in American life that casts government as the author of your dreams and an Illinois politician the linchpin of your hopes.

Tom Brokaw — whose hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, corraled thousands of innocent Asian-Americans into internment camps and assaulted the Constitution at every turn — went as far as to compare Obama's inauguration to the Czechs' fight for freedom over Communist oppression.

George Bush's administration, which I have a multitude of problems with, is not comparable to a tyranny, despite the protestations of his emotional detractors.

Liberals rightly recoil at the prospect of conservatives dictating which morals they should live by. Obama, though, has spent the past year preaching his own brand of morality — with a list of demands. Everyone, you see, "must" sacrifice. Michelle Obama recently explained, "Barack Obama will require you to work. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Those of us who refuse to buy left-wing orthodoxy will remain "uninformed" and, inevitably, "selfish."

To be fair, I'm uncertain what Obama is going to require of me during these next four to eight years. I do know, right off the bat, that if he passes his centerpiece trillion-dollar, ideologically driven government expansion (in the guise of a "stimulus" plan), he will be demanding my grandchildren work overtime to pay it off — and that's after they're done paying Bush's tab.

Obama challenges Americans to have "a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves." So if you find massive concentrated power in Washington a turn-on, you've found your higher purpose.

But surely, most of you have found meaning in something greater than yourselves long before some politician demanded it.

To require such fealty to power in the name of patriotism was once repugnant to the left. Now, with the right guy in charge, apparently it can once again be embraced.

Change, indeed.


 

Penn Jillette's response to the article:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqJ_Yp3tw74
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Medivh
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 00:54:08 EST »

Well. It's clear that the editor wrote the headline, and not the guy writing the article. The writer probably wanted "Why libralism is more of the same, only at least the fiscally responsible conservatives wouldn't spend so much. Oh, and because I think Bush was a rotten bastard, you can trust me."

Lacks the punch of the editor's version.

A more objective title, though, would have been "Straw men get attacked in this article". I shouldn't be surprised though: a small amount of research tells me that the writer is a frequent contributor to "Reason", the WSJ and the "Christian Science Monitor".
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 02:26:11 EST »

To the title - yes, absolutely.  It is still every bit as much everyone's responsibility to plainly speak their views and argue their positions and perspectives, whether or not they align with the current administration.  Going so far as to, say, hope that the stimulus bill fails *simply* or *primarily* because it will reflect poorly upon the Democratic administration may be unpatriotic, but I won't even actively make that claim.

Quote from: TFA
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?

The Constitution doesn't mention happiness.

The Declaration of Independence, written a decade earlier by a slightly different group than the Constitution, lists "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" as "inalienable rights."

So yes, no guarantee of happiness, only it's pursuit.  The right to life, however, is unqualified - and denying someone access to health care could fairly be judged an infringement of this right.  Of course, methods of ensuring we do *not* deny anyone health care of course come with attendant costs, and the position that they are not worth it is not fundamentally untenable.  What is ridiculous, however, is the implicit assertion that only a denial of any governmental guarantee of health care can be in line with the values expressed in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence.
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 09:39:56 EST »

Quote from: DavidLeoThomas
The right to life, however, is unqualified - and denying someone access to health care could fairly be judged an infringement of this right.
That though does not mean that the denial due to lack of financial means is necessarily precluded.
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wodan46
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 11:03:07 EST »

That though does not mean that the denial due to lack of financial means is necessarily precluded.
So in other words, you are alright with the concept that people who do not have adequate financial means are not entitled to life and liberty like other people?

Anyways, on the subject of Dissent, of course its Patriotic.  Its mandatory for the system to work.  However, there is a difference between constructive and destructive criticism.   Tearing down the government without having a plan to implement an alternative is the latter.  Even if your community plans were somehow able to work, there is no way that the country could shift to such a system without causing massive upheaval.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 11:58:21 EST by wodan46 » Logged

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wodan46
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 12:18:38 EST »

Quote
Do all Americans truly have a yearning to fundamentally "remake" our nation? There must be a subversive minority out there that still believes the United States — even with its imperfections and sporadic recessions — is, in context, still a wildly prosperous and free country worth preserving.
Strawman.  We know full well that the US is a wildly prosperous and free country.  We seek to preserve it.  However, we will fail to preserve it if we believe that the recession can be solved by doing nothing, and letting the economy take the hit.  We are prosperous, but not that prosperous.  We would survive the loss, but the US would become a shadow of what it once was.

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Some of you must still believe that politicians are meant to serve rather than be worshiped.
Strawman.  I have specifically emphasized that politicians are to be criticized and watched.

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And there must be someone out there who considers partisanship a healthy, organic reflection of our differences rather than something to be surrendered in the name of so- called unity — which is, after all, untenable, subjective and utterly counterproductive.
Correct.  I support partisanship between center-left and center-right groups.  However, I have no interest in allowing an extreme right party take part, because no party as extreme as that can take part in true partisanship.

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How about those who praised dissent for the past eight years?
Dissent against an extreme right politician who did his best to implement extreme and unconstitutional policies.  We will dissent against a center politician who does his best to be bipartisan

Quote
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?
Full Education, full Health Care, basic Shelter, basic Nutrition, and the opportunity for jobs, all of those are mandatory for ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Also, strawman, by saying those things, you imply things that we do not.  There is a difference between giving poor people houses and giving them a homeless shelter.

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Tom Brokaw — whose hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, corraled thousands of innocent Asian-Americans into internment camps and assaulted the Constitution at every turn
I saw him do what he felt was needed to deal with the greatest economic crisis of the century and the greatest war of the century.  Also, to say that he was arbitrarily racist to Asians is unfair when bigotry was rampant back then, few hold the early presidents accountable for supporting slavery.

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George Bush's administration, which I have a multitude of problems with, is not comparable to a tyranny, despite the protestations of his emotional detractors.
His was a wannabe tyranny.  What he advocated, what he believed in, was far more virulent than what actually got implemented.  The Patriot Act could have been a nightmare in a different light, but was instead used for spying on little old ladies.

Quote
Liberals rightly recoil at the prospect of conservatives dictating which morals they should live by. Obama, though, has spent the past year preaching his own brand of morality — with a list of demands. Everyone, you see, "must" sacrifice. Michelle Obama recently explained, "Barack Obama will require you to work. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."
How is this different from what me and Current both advocate?  We have both stated that for our systems to work, people must work, be informed, and be proactive, and that the system would hardly run itself.

Quote
Those of us who refuse to buy left-wing orthodoxy will remain "uninformed" and, inevitably, "selfish."
You mean center to center-right, I assume.  The left wingers aren't in office at all.

Quote
To be fair, I'm uncertain what Obama is going to require of me during these next four to eight years. I do know, right off the bat, that if he passes his centerpiece trillion-dollar, ideologically driven government expansion (in the guise of a "stimulus" plan), he will be demanding my grandchildren work overtime to pay it off — and that's after they're done paying Bush's tab.
No, the stimulus plan became necessary because of the actions of economists who thought they could work the system forever the way they were.  It is their fault, and it is only fair that they will be the ones paying the tab for their deeds.

Quote
Obama challenges Americans to have "a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves." So if you find massive concentrated power in Washington a turn-on, you've found your higher purpose.

But surely, most of you have found meaning in something greater than yourselves long before some politician demanded it.

To require such fealty to power in the name of patriotism was once repugnant to the left. Now, with the right guy in charge, apparently it can once again be embraced.

Change, indeed.
Once again, you confuse being patriotic with being loyal to the government.  Obama wants people to be patriotic, Bush wanted them to be loyal to the government.  Obama is advocating the same thing as Current, that people step up and take responsibility for their role in governing the fate of the country both politically, socially, and economically.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 12:21:57 EST by wodan46 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:30:34 EST »

*gets all wordy*

It's actually the difference between percieved and intended.

Take Galeleo (sp), in his writings he was trying to help the pope, but the pope felt betrayed and had his locked away.  The same in true of patriotism, while it may be patriotic to be honest about the issues confronting a country, most people live in bubble-worlds and don't much like those bubbles being busted.  So we refer to such actions as unpatriotic, but what they really are is unpalatable.

Of course, it is always in the interest of government to label dissent as unpatriotic (so they do).  Bush and Obama simply ratcheted the system up to new levels.
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 13:24:45 EST »

That though does not mean that the denial due to lack of financial means is necessarily precluded.
So in other words, you are alright with the concept that people who do not have adequate financial means are not entitled to life and liberty like other people?
My point was about what the US constitution means.  It was not meant to mean that the state must provide sufficient resources to any particular individual to ensure that they remain alive.

Personally I think that having some basic medical care provided for such cases is reasonable.  However, it is not contrary to the principles of the US constitution not to do so.  The US did not do so for most of it's history.

Anyways, on the subject of Dissent, of course its Patriotic.  Its mandatory for the system to work.  However, there is a difference between constructive and destructive criticism.   Tearing down the government without having a plan to implement an alternative is the latter.
Not necessarily, in many cases there is no reason for the government to act.
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wodan46
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 14:17:12 EST »

Take Galeleo (sp), in his writings he was trying to help the pope, but the pope felt betrayed and had his locked away.
Actually, Galileo was a huge asshole.  Yes, lets write an inflammatory pamphlet in language the general public can read, that is directly insulting to the Pope himself, during the Protestant Reformation.  Oh, and the science is incorrect, which the antagonized colleagues of Galileo were only too eager to point out.

The same in true of patriotism, while it may be patriotic to be honest about the issues confronting a country, most people live in bubble-worlds and don't much like those bubbles being busted.  So we refer to such actions as unpatriotic, but what they really are is unpalatable.

Of course, it is always in the interest of government to label dissent as unpatriotic (so they do).  Bush and Obama simply ratcheted the system up to new levels.
When, precisely, has Obama labeled dissent as unpatriotic?  All Obama had done is suggest that if America wants to move forward, people need to work harder and be informed.  This could be labeled as saying that people should be more patriotic, but it is the good kind of patriotism that me and Current and even David Harsanyi advocate, with no specific indication of it being tied to slavishly supporting the government.
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wodan46
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 14:22:21 EST »

My point was about what the US constitution means.  It was not meant to mean that the state must provide sufficient resources to any particular individual to ensure that they remain alive.
I'm pretty sure that was exactly what it was providing for.  You have no problem with protecting people against murder.

Also, Jersey and to a less extent you have gone on and on about how Liberty is an "irreducible political end", but now it seems as though its only a irreducible end for people with money, along with things like Life and Pursuit of Happiness.

The US did not do so for most of it's history.
It was not in a position to feasibly do so for most of its history.  If the government can enact a functional universal healthcare system, it is obligated to.

Anyways, on the subject of Dissent, of course its Patriotic.  Its mandatory for the system to work.  However, there is a difference between constructive and destructive criticism.   Tearing down the government without having a plan to implement an alternative is the latter.
Not necessarily, in many cases there is no reason for the government to act.

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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 14:42:37 EST »

My point was about what the US constitution means.  It was not meant to mean that the state must provide sufficient resources to any particular individual to ensure that they remain alive.
I'm pretty sure that was exactly what it was providing for.  You have no problem with protecting people against murder.
It depends on what sort of prevention you are talking about.  I don't think that it would be reasonable for each person to have their own armed guard provided by the state.  It is a similar situation with healthcare.

If the government can enact a functional universal healthcare system, it is obligated to.
I fail to see why.
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Ihlosi
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 15:41:00 EST »

It depends on what sort of prevention you are talking about.  I don't think that it would be reasonable for each person to have their own armed guard provided by the state.  It is a similar situation with healthcare.

Holy false analogy, Batman. That's all there's to say to that.

As a side not, the state should make sure that most people don't need an armed guard. That's more easily done and much, much cheaper.
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 16:40:40 EST »

Quote from: DavidLeoThomas
The right to life, however, is unqualified - and denying someone access to health care could fairly be judged an infringement of this right.
That though does not mean that the denial due to lack of financial means is necessarily precluded.


If, hypothetically, that could be done without impinging on anyone's right to life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, then I would argue it *does* necessarily preclude that.

I don't see a way to do that, so it's a matter of deciding between options that *all* impinge on those "inalienable rights" in some measure, and the goal is finding the role of government that impinges the least.
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wodan46
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 17:33:03 EST »

My point was about what the US constitution means.  It was not meant to mean that the state must provide sufficient resources to any particular individual to ensure that they remain alive.
I'm pretty sure that was exactly what it was providing for.  You have no problem with protecting people against murder.
It depends on what sort of prevention you are talking about.  I don't think that it would be reasonable for each person to have their own armed guard provided by the state.  It is a similar situation with healthcare.
If the government can enact a functional security and justice system to protect people from murder, it is obligated to.  Your strawman is none of that.

If the government can enact a functional universal healthcare system, it is obligated to.
I fail to see why.
Because the purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the best of its ability.  An enactable and functional universal healthcare system falls within those criteria.  If it would be non-functional, or non-enactable, or would cause undermining of life/liberty/pursuit elsewhere, then it would not qualify as "best of its ability".  Most of the pseudo dystopian extremes you accuse me of advocating would also fail the last and probably the first/second criteria.  Implementing a government that is excessively vulnerable to sliding down the slippery slope from advocating protection to undermining it for the supposed greater good is itself a failure to meet the criteria.
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wodan46
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 17:53:46 EST »

If, hypothetically, that could be done without impinging on anyone's right to life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, then I would argue it *does* necessarily preclude that.

I don't see a way to do that, so it's a matter of deciding between options that *all* impinge on those "inalienable rights" in some measure, and the goal is finding the role of government that impinges the least.
Exactomundo.  Current and other libertarians seem to be of the perspective that its one step forward two steps back for the government, and that for every right they protect they impinge on two others.  I agree that government can reach that point, but I see no reason why such is inevitably the dominant product of government, even in a social democracy system.
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