T Nation

Wit and Wisdom of Harry Browne

This article goes a long way in addressing many of the fallacious arguments and criticisms that I’ve recieved from others while upholding Libertarian viewpoints on this board. I especially urge my detractors to read and respond to the statements regarding anarchy, conservatism vs. liberalism, democrats vs. republicans, as well as defense & the military.

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The Wit and Wisdom of Harry Browne, A to Z

by Harry Browne
2000 LP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

Editor’s note: During his 1996 and 2000 campaigns for president, Harry Browne created a booklet of “soundbites” that he used to prep for interviews, debates, and speeches – easy-to-remember and easy-to-use phrases, one-liners, and arguments about almost every political issue.

Browne’s way with words and his ability to craft a crisp, persuasive argument led the Washington Post’s David Broder to call him “articulate and quick-witted.” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby complimented his “pander-free campaign.” And Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. saluted the “bracing quality” of Browne’s “extremely practical ideas.”

Here are some of the highlights from that booklet, covering the wit and wisdom of Harry Browne from A to Z – on issues from Abortion to the (Zero) Flat Tax.

  • Abortion: Given the government’s record with the War on Poverty and the War on Drugs, we can assume that a War on Abortion would lead within five years to men having abortions.

  • Anarchy: Some people say that Libertarians want anarchy. But anarchy is what we have now. Our cities aren’t safe, our schools are centers of violence, the politicians have turned the rule of law into a chaotic web of millions of regulations and mandates. Libertarians want to restore order by removing, wherever possible, the destabilizing influence of government.

  • Antitrust laws: The standard argument for anti-trust law is that a large company can eliminate all its competition through low prices and giveaways – and then raise its prices to the sky after the competition is gone. And yet no one has ever cited a real-life example of a company that was able to do this. The day a company tries to abuse its customers, new competition suddenly springs out of the bushes – except when anti-trust laws prevent companies from entering a market to compete.

  • Big Business: “If government were reduced, what would prevent big business from becoming too powerful?” Competition. So long as there is a General Motors, there will be a Ford, a Chrysler, a Toyota – offering to treat customers, stockholders, and employees better than General Motors.

  • Bill of Rights: The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment says you have a right to speak out even if the government thinks it has a “compelling interest” in shutting you up. The Second Amendment says you have the right to keep and bear arms even if some madman in Texas shoots up a restaurant. The Fourth Amendment says you have a right to be safe from search and seizure even if some DEA agent thinks you fit the profile of a drug dealer. The government has no right to interfere with your freedoms under any circumstances.

  • Campaign Finance Laws: The problem with politics isn’t the money, it’s the power. So long as politicians have the power to grant favors, exemptions, and business protection, people will find some way to subvert them – if not with money now, then with promises to take care of them later. The only way we will clean up campaign financing is by taking power away from the politicians – reducing the federal government to just the functions specified in the Constitution.

  • Christians: Christians should vote Libertarian because we’re the only party that will take away the power of government to inflict one person’s values on another. This not only will make Christians safe from others with alien values, it also will make the others feel safe from Christians – so they no longer will feel the need to fight them.

  • Compassion: In my experience, people who are truly compassionate rarely use the word “compassion.” Those who do talk compassion generally intend to be compassionate with your money, not their own. It’s wrong for someone to confiscate your money, give it to someone else, and call that “compassion.”

  • Compromise: They say that politics is the art of compromise. And that’s true. The politicians compromise away our money, our civil liberties, and our property.

  • Conservatives & Liberals: Conservatives say the government can’t end poverty by force, but they believe it can use force to make people moral. Liberals say government can’t make people be moral, but they believe it can end poverty. Neither group attempts to explain why government is so clumsy and destructive in one area but a paragon of efficiency and benevolence in the other.

  • Corruption: It is pointless to talk about corruption in government. Every government program is corruption, because it is organized on the basis of who has the most political influence. Thus corruption – the buying and selling of legislators – is inherent in every government program.

  • Defense & the Military: The Constitution authorizes the federal government to defend us from enemies – not run around the world creating enemies. The politicians justify U.S. military power by saying, “It’s still a dangerous world out there.” But if it is dangerous to us, it’s because our government has repeatedly stuck its nose in matters that are none of our business – and thereby created enemies all over the world.

  • Defense & the Military: The government can’t keep the peace in Washington, DC, but it sends troops on “peacekeeping missions” to Somalia and Haiti – to save those countries from being run by the wrong thugs.

  • Disaster Relief: It makes no sense for the people of Missouri to pay to rebuild Florida after a hurricane – only to have the people of Florida pay to rebuild Missouri after a flood. In both cases, Washington, DC takes an enormous cut. Each state would be much better off taking care of its own problems.

  • Drug War: There are no violent gangs fighting over aspirin territories. There are no violent gangs fighting over whisky territories or computer territories or anything else that’s legal. There are only criminal gangs fighting over territories covering drugs, gambling, prostitution, and other victimless crimes. Making a non-violent activity a crime creates a black market, which attracts criminals and gangs, which turns what was once a relatively harmless activity affecting a small group of people into a widespread epidemic of drug use and gang warfare.

  • Education: If we repeal the income tax, you’ll be able to afford to put your children in any private or religious school you want – where they’ll be taught the subjects and values you want them to learn, not those imposed by the educational bureaucracy. Every attempt to fix education through national standards, testing, vouchers, charter schools, or some other Band-Aid amounts to just another government program that requires you to continue fighting to make the program work as you want.

  • Environment: Most pollution takes place on government property – on government lands and roads, in government lakes, rivers, and streams. If someone dumped garbage on your property every day, you’d call the police and get them to stop the trespasser from polluting your property. But government allowed companies to dump toxic wastes in its lakes and streams, and to clear-cut or strip-mine its lands. Then, when public outrage became overwhelming, the government responded by passing new laws and setting up new agencies that harass companies and property owners who have always kept far better care of their property than the government has.

  • Extremism: Is it extreme to want the government to abide by the Constitution? To believe that when federal, state, and local taxes amount to 48% of the national income, government is too big and oppressive? To think that people should be free to invest their retirement money as they see fit? To believe that the Bill of Rights should be honored literally?

  • FDA: If you had a package that absolutely had to be somewhere in the U.S. tomorrow morning, would you send it by the Post Office – which is a government agency – or by Federal Express, a private company that can make a profit only if it keeps its promise to you? If your life depended on the accurate testing of a medicine, would you want it done by a government agency or by a company whose success depended on absolute accuracy?

  • Free Market: The free market punishes irresponsibility. Government rewards it.

  • Free trade: The so-called “trade war” is actually a battle in which special interests and politicians are pitted against consumers. The only jobs saved by protectionism are those of the politicians and bureaucrats who get to decide what we will be allowed to buy. Trade barriers have never protected a sinking industry for very long.

  • Freedom: Whatever the issue, let freedom offer us a hundred choices, instead of having government force one answer on everyone.

  • Government: I want a government small enough to fit inside the Constitution.

  • Government: We elect a Republican president and government gets bigger. We elect a Democratic president and government gets bigger. We elect a Democratic Congress or a Republican Congress and government gets bigger. We are told “the era of big government is over” and government gets bigger. Welfare is reformed and government gets bigger. We’re told that Congress has made “tough budget cuts” and government gets bigger. Whatever happens, government just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

  • Gun Control: The politicians routinely pass laws that prevent you from defending yourself. But they don’t disarm themselves. Members of the Secret Service, the FBI, and other federal agencies charged with protecting politicians are always well armed.

  • Health Care: Today 51% of all health-care dollars in America are spent by governments – not insurance companies, employers, or individuals, but by governments. If there is a crisis in health care – and there certainly is – the government, not the free market, is responsible for it.

  • Immigration: Immigrants used to come to America seeking freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom from government. Now they come looking for free health care, free education, and a free lunch.

  • Internal Revenue Service: The IRS can impose penalties on you for any of 150 different reasons. In 1992 it imposed 33 million such penalties on taxpayers. Did you get one? If not, maybe your turn will come next year. You may think a penalty is unlikely because you fill out your tax return so carefully, but Money magazine estimated that almost half of all penalty notices the IRS mails are incorrect, and that the IRS collects up to $7 billion in mistaken penalties each year.

  • Laws: Every time you help pass a law you think is needed, you make it easier for others to pass a law you won’t like. Give the government the weapons to fight your enemy and it will use them against you.

  • Libertarians: I don’t agree with the idea that a libertarian is someone who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It is a mistake to define libertarians in terms of conservatives or liberals. Conservative politicians are as fiscally imprudent as liberals, and liberal politicians are as contemptuous of individual rights as conservatives. Libertarians stand for individual liberty and personal responsibility on all issues at all times. Conservatives and liberals each sometimes take positions similar to libertarians, but – unlike libertarians – there is no consistent principle running through all their political positions.

  • Matching Funds: I don’t believe in government welfare for individuals or corporations – and I certainly don’t believe in it for politicians.

  • Morality: If you ask the government to impose morality, then moral questions will be decided by whoever has the most political power.

  • Politicians: Politicians play cruel jokes on us. They talk of plans to bring peace to the world, when their real interest is in subsidizing military contractors. They speak of “empowering” minorities, when their real interest is in empowering the leaders of special-interest groups. They talk of helping the poor, but eagerly put them out of work with minimum wage laws. Whatever they proclaim publicly, there always seems to be someone in the background with extraordinary political influence who benefits far more than those the politicians claim to help.

  • Politics: The great delusion of political activity is the belief that you can have the government do exactly what you want – that, somehow, you can get it to perform some function for some good purpose, with nothing bad thrown into the bargain – and that the program you envision will be carried out dutifully by thousands of bureaucrats in just the way you think it should be handled.

  • Quotas: Imagine what it will be like when the federal dictators perfect their quota regulations. A company of 100 employees will have to include, among others, one Jewish, Puerto-Rican, female sales manager; one Buddhist, Abyssinian office manager; and one black, gay, Catholic Indian as bookkeeper.

  • Regulations: Whenever the government fails to prevent a plane crash, the event is cited as justification for having the government prevent plane crashes.

  • Republicans: Republicans campaign like Libertarians and govern like Democrats.

  • Republicans and Democrats: The Democrats say a particular crisis is so severe that they must take another $300 from you. The Republicans say, “No, it’s not that bad; we need to take only $200.” Or the Republicans say a threat is so great they must take away three more of your civil rights. The Democrats counter by saying, “No, that’s too extreme; destroying two civil rights will be enough.” Whatever the issue, both sides agree it’s a reason for more government, and that you should pay for it. And no matter what price or intrusion they eventually agree upon, within a few years the cost will always be far greater than either side had asked for originally.

  • Responsibility: Government seems to operate on the principle that if even one individual is incapable of using his freedom competently, no one can be allowed to be free.

  • Safety Net: The most secure safety net in the world is the generosity of family, friends, churches, service clubs, foundations, the United Way, and other charitable agencies. These people are determined to help. Government bureaucrats are determined to enlarge their power by keeping as many people as possible on welfare.

  • Selling Liberty: If you want to win an argument, appeal to natural rights or economic theory. If you want to win a convert, appeal to self-interest. No one will pay much attention to you until you show how your proposals will change his life for the better.

  • Selling Liberty: Working to acquaint people with our message isn’t always as much fun as sitting around thinking the American people aren’t smart enough to understand our superior ideas, but it’s a lot more productive.

  • Smoking: Even people who defend the right to smoke often say that smoking is irrational. Why? Because it increases your chance of getting lung cancer? Hamburgers increase your chance of having a heart attack. Driving a motorcycle increases your chance of being killed in an accident. Even riding in a car is a risk. Life is full of risks. We decide which ones we will take on the basis of the benefits as we perceive them, combined with the risks as we perceive them. No two people will perceive these benefits and risks in the same way. An act one person considers irrational may be a source of great pleasure to another – something so tasty that it makes life worth living. The whole concept of a free society is based on the assumption that no one can decide what others should want.

  • Social Security: So long as Social Security remains in government’s hands, it will be in trouble. We can’t leave our retirement money lying around on the table, because the politicians will grab it and spend it on their favorite pork barrel projects.

  • Taxes: Federal, state, and local taxes take 48% of the national income. That means if you and your spouse both work, one of you is working for the government and the other is working for your family.

  • Utopian Thinking: Robert Bork has said that Libertarians have an unrealistic “sweet view of human nature,” and that is why they oppose government attempts to impose morality. He has this matter precisely backward. It is because there are evil, incompetent people in the world that we must never give government the power to enforce morality, economic equality, or any other social goal. The coercive power of government is always a beacon to those who want to dominate others – summoning the worst dregs of society to Washington to use that power to impose their will upon others.

  • Waste In Government: There is no waste in government. Politicians create programs for the specific purpose of helping their friends and political supporters – to make it easier to re-elect the politicians. The re-election rate of incumbents proves that the programs are very efficient; they do exactly what they’re designed to do.

  • Wasted Vote: The only way you waste your vote is by casting it for someone you know will make government bigger. If you want your vote to be counted for smaller government, you have to vote Libertarian. Voting for the lesser of evils endorses the evils, and guarantees that you’ll never have anything but evils to choose from.

  • Welfare: Who is helped by being made a ward of the state, forced to live in slums, cornered in a housing development to be preyed upon by criminals and drug dealers, and unable to take a job without losing money on the deal? Only politicians and bureaucrats benefit from welfare – and that’s why every welfare reform leads to bigger budgets and more people on welfare.

  • Zero: I’m for a flat tax – as long as the flat rate is zero. The object is to get rid of big government, not find a new way of financing it.

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http://www.lp.org/lpnews/0104/atoz.html

That “article” (it’s more like a whackadoo’s laundry list) does NOT go a long way toward repudiating anything.

All it is is a bunch of talking points offered by someone who barely made it on the ballot.
I’m glad he’s your hero. I’m happy for you and him. Now his mother doesn’t have to be the only one carrying signs at his rallies. But for God’s sake kiddo, will you stop?
I thought it was cute for the first couple of days, but now you’re even pissing off me. And everyone here knows how tolerant I am. (Right, T-Mag Mod??).

I agree with some of these statements, and disagree with others. I’m generally a libertarian, but it’s a shame that the people in charge of the party are such kooks.

I’d be a libertarian if the party didn’t suck dick. Flat out. Its terrible.

That article is trash.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
That “article” (it’s more like a whackadoo’s laundry list) does NOT go a long way toward repudiating anything.[/quote]

First off, ad-hominem arguments are the first indication of the lack of any true understanding of the discussion at hand. Secondly, they generally indicate that the individual doing the attacking is afraid to change or adapt.

Al Shades never said this was a post to “repudiate” anything. He or she merely points out that this is “a way of addressing” several issues that he/she has been attacked for having.

If Harry Browne barely made it onto the ballot, it is only because he was put there by the courage and determination people such as Al Shades. These are people that know deep down inside that they are truly supposed to be born free, and yearn deeply for that freedom, but experiencing our society, know and feel deeply that we are not really free. For you cannot be truly free until you choose for yourself how your life will be and become. We have become slothful and lazy and lulled into servitude for the empowerment of royalty. It’s a different form of royalty than what we recognize from the outside; but the results are the same. The person with the most power controls all that they purvey. And they will do all that they can to elimate anyone, or anything that stands in the way to that power. Or threatens to take it away. It’s human nature… for the most part.

The aware know that to give someone power is the ultimate power. The ability to let someone make there own decisions and live there own life requires courage and belief in ones own self. They must believe that when the one who grows beyond them and where they have been that they have given the greatest gift they can of themselves and that is the gift of self-determination. It is what we fought for in the revolution. It is what the south fought for in the Civil War. (Parenthetically, Lincoln broke almost every Constitutional law there was in place at the time, according to the constitution the states had the right to determine their own laws; No matter how repulsive we may find them today).

If I may, I suggest that you read the Constitution, and ask as many questions as you can of Constitutional scholars. If you’ve read it already, I suggest reading it again. Some people declare “I believe in the Constitution”. And that is admirable but silly. The Constitution is merely a piece of paper with ink on it in a particular pattern that we recognize as letters, that form words, that form paragraphs, that form ideas. But in these ideas are principles and that in there understanding are truth… No matter what religious or political dogma you prescribe to, whether your “republican”, a “democrat”, or you’re a “I don’t give a rats ass because no one listens to us anyhow”. No matter if you’re "Catholic, “Protestant” or “Jewish”, or “Muslim”. These are all just titles affixed to what the perception of “this” or “that” is.

What we really believe in when Libertarians say we believe in the Constitution, is that ALL humans are created equal, ALL humans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in what Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and a number of the founding brothers’ called “Natural Law”. These are laws that are not determined by men or women, clergymen or clerics, guru’s or prophets. These are laws that need no words. You know them in your being, and in your soul, when you stop and take the time to ask and listen. They are already there.

Implicit in this belief is that you, as a human, have the capability of determining these things for yourself.

Now of course this can bring us to a whole other discussion around societies and their structure and growth for the benefit of survival. But that’s another topic. That can be solved by letting you become the best of who you are.

Joe Weider, you have a strong personality, I can feel it in your writing style and tone. Be really strong and have the courage to let people determine their own lives. Including you’re own. Ask where did you get your beliefs and are they serving you or hindering you.

Al Shades, a personal message for you. NEVER STOP. Have the courage of your conviction. You are one of the few who have listened to what nature (God… The Force… Buddha… Allah… pick whichever you like) has been screaming at you since you were a child. You are born a free person! But you are not in a free world. It takes sacrifice, passion, drive and determination. But ultimately… you are the one that decides what and who you become. Do not let anyone take that from you. Live by it, breath it daily and when you get really bummed and frustrated, and you will, remember what the Buddha said, “The secret is to live in this world, but not of this world”. You have an old soul and a brave heart. Continue on your path.

Ah, the passive, aggresive technique. By making jokes about your aggresiveness and lack of flexibility you hope that you won’t come off a beligerent jerk. It didn’t work.

Now I know that you not a beligerent jerk, until now, you’ve just acted like one in the past. But when would now be a good time to put the things in the past that no longer serve you there now. And bring to you’re present the positive resources now and in the future to create experience of success and passion and pride in your life. Is it not?

I encourage anyone who really believes in liberty to visit www.freestateproject.com

Sincerly,
Allen V. Burnsworth

RLTW

It makes as much sense as you AL.

In other words it is silly and childish and completely unsuitable for society.

No wonder you idolize him. You need him like a ho needs crack. It validates you.

[quote]hedo wrote:
No wonder you idolize him. You need him like a ho needs crack. It validates you.[/quote]

Burn.

[quote]dond1esel wrote:
hedo wrote:
No wonder you idolize him. You need him like a ho needs crack. It validates you.

Burn.[/quote]

ahhh…ok.

Sure dude.

Warriorsage’s sappy infomercial notwithstanding, it is important to remember a couple of nuggets.

The US never has been a libertarian society. I don’t mind libertarians calling for change to move into a new era, but doing so under the premise that we will be returning to some libertarian utopia we once had is erroneous and dishonest.

As a conservative, I can get on board with some of the criticism - that the government reach has gone farther than expected or needed, etc. - but Harry Browne’s America has never existed.

Nor, in my view, will it ever.

But I think it foolish to complain that we have ‘drifted’ from a libertarian Eden that never existed.

warriorsage:
Being a retired Airborne Ranger as well as what I would like to consider as an intellectual, intelligent and well traveled man, I choose to examine every issue from as much of an objective point of view as possible when it comes to military issue. The world us too complicated and complex to make it simple “black/white”, “you/me”, “us/them”, and of course the current thread Democrat/Republican.

Isn’t this funny? The world is too complicated to be divided into us/them or even you/me.
So how can you and Al be so gung ho to believe that Browne is so very very good and the rest of us are so very very bad?

[quote]Warriorsage wrote:.

First off, ad-hominem arguments are the first indication of the lack of any true understanding of the discussion at hand. Secondly, they generally indicate that the individual doing the attacking is afraid to change or adapt.
[/quote]

not really. Sometimes they just mean that someone is tired of playing patty-cake with an ill mannered child who’s only shown so far that he can cut/paste like a champ.

[quote]Warriorsage wrote:
If I may, I suggest that you read the Constitution, and ask as many questions as you can of Constitutional scholars. If you’ve read it already, I suggest reading it again. [/quote]

Thanks for the advice. May I just say that you’re assuming facts not in evidence?
The way you structured that sentence–as a put down for me “I suggest you read the Constitution”…then, just to cover yourself and make yourself look like less of a jerk, you give yourself some cover by saying “if you’ve read it already…”.
Thanks, I’ve read it, I’ve read articles about it yada yada. Politics has been a hobby of mine for literally as long as I can remember. I was campaigning for Reagan in 1980, when I was 9.
And I know that in a society of natural law, Little Al would soon be found in a mulch pile somewhere.
Laws keep things like that from happening, for the most part.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Warriorsage’s sappy infomercial notwithstanding, it is important to remember a couple of nuggets.[/quote]

Well one person’s “sappy” is another person’s heartfelt and passionate feelings about a subject. In this case the subject being freedom. I have an intense passion for freedom. I choose not to pander intellectually to the masses.

This is true that the U.S. was never an official “Libertarian” society. We are supposed to be a Democratic Republic. But we are now a Socialistic Democracy, with no end in sight.

I disagree. The America that Harry Browne speaks of did exist. As a matter of fact Jefferson and Madison fought extremely hard to make sure that it was. Individualism and self-determination is what made America the most powerful nation in the history of the World. But today it’s mostly window dressing and marketing.

Nor, in my view, will it ever.

With this, I agree. It would be foolish to complain about drifting from a libertarian utopia. However it would be more foolish do stand by and do nothing about it.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
warriorsage:
Being a retired Airborne Ranger as well as what I would like to consider as an intellectual, intelligent and well traveled man, I choose to examine every issue from as much of an objective point of view as possible when it comes to military issue. The world us too complicated and complex to make it simple “black/white”, “you/me”, “us/them”, and of course the current thread Democrat/Republican.[/quote]

Ah, a fellow Ranger Hooah! While I respect the premise of examining things from as objective a point of view as possible. It is impossible. It can not be done. Everything in our lives is based upon subjectivity. Your past, creates and colors your future no matter how hard we try not to or how fast we run from it. It is what creates our beliefs and values.

[quote]Isn’t this funny? The world is too complicated to be divided into us/them or even you/me.
So how can you and Al be so gung ho to believe that Browne is so very very good and the rest of us are so very very bad?

[/quote]

Actually let me clarify something. I don’t like Browne. From a marketing point of view he comes off like a bit of a “kook” as they say. I am, if anything conservative and independent. I don’t profess to be a libertarian.

The reason for my post was that I see very few times when people actually debate the topics at hand and they end up resorting to attacks and diatribes. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand up for your convictions. It takes even more to actually do something about them. I would encourage all individuals to follow their beliefs. I also encourage all people to examine those beliefs. Are they yours? Were they given to you by somebody else? Hell and you didn’t even realize it. They could be an old, used belief.

I don’t believe you’re bad. I believe that based on what I’ve read in other post that I’ll be addressing in a little while that you have been steeped in your beliefs for a number of years and have not questioned them. If you really believe in them, then you can take a few days and try on new ones. I mean this seriously. Try taking on new beliefs and walk around with them and respond the way you would with these ideas, beliefs and values. It’s wild. It really does make you think. You can always go back to the old ones. If those really still fit.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
Warriorsage wrote:.

First off, ad-hominem arguments are the first indication of the lack of any true understanding of the discussion at hand. Secondly, they generally indicate that the individual doing the attacking is afraid to change or adapt.

not really. Sometimes they just mean that someone is tired of playing patty-cake with an ill mannered child who’s only shown so far that he can cut/paste like a champ.[/quote]

This may be true. And while I at times still resort to this style of argument, it gets us nowhere. Someone of your experience and intelligence could be helping to guide the wet-behind-the-ears person that has not experienced the world the way that we have.

We’re all guilty of it. I do it. You do it. I would like to think as we’ve aged we have gotten more intelligent in how we persuade people. (Of course a few hundred push-up and flutter kicks are a little more persuasive, but much hard to administer on the web.)

Al, keep dreaming of Harry Browne’s Libertarian Utopia. That is all it ever will be, a dream.

Yes, the current governemnt of the United States is horrible for many reasons. It is also the best government in the history of the world.

These talking points you posted are amusing, but so far off reality it is not worth debating.

Madison and Jefferson didn’t have to deal with a population of 250 million Americans that’s infinitely more diverse today than during their time. They also didn’t have to deal with issues pertaining to e-commerce, automobiles, cloning, and oil. Simpler times necessitated simpler government. Those guys also OWNED PEOPLE, so I’d say freedom and everyone being equal wasn’t very high on their list of priorities.

The one thing I really agreed with from Browne’s list was about the “incompetent, evil people.” No problems here. But do you actually believe that by eliminating coercive powers of the government people will act with a greater senses of personal responsibility and benevolence to their fellow man, leading to cooperation and continued sponsorship of public goods (bet you hate that word) that you believe the gov’t should stop providing? That’s pretty utopian yourself.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
Warriorsage wrote:
If I may, I suggest that you read the Constitution, and ask as many questions as you can of Constitutional scholars. If you’ve read it already, I suggest reading it again.

Thanks for the advice. May I just say that you’re assuming facts not in evidence?
The way you structured that sentence–as a put down for me “I suggest you read the Constitution”…then, just to cover yourself and make yourself look like less of a jerk, you give yourself some cover by saying “if you’ve read it already…”.[/quote]

You’re right, I did come off sounding like a jerk, and insulting you. It was not my intention to insult you. I should have preframed my premise differenly.

My point was and is that understanding the history of the foundation of the Constitution and reasons for using these anchors and guidepost in history, gives the reader of the Constitution a different and hopefully new interpretation. Again this reading is subjective.

Just as Madison, Jefferson and Adams’ reading of Plato’s Republic and Marcus Aurelius’ essays on the Senate, Republic and the responsibilities of leaders of men were purely subjective; they clearly made a massive impact on the content and structure of the Constitution. As well as a large number of Roman and Greek politicians, philosophers and poets.

Could it be that here in lies the “rub”. To people like Al. Politics is not a hobby. It’s too big and has tenticles in too many places. Politics is life and living. It makes the most tremendous impact on an individuals life, whether they realize it or not.

Could you have possibly determined what you believed to be 100% accurate at the age of 9? I served as a Ranger during President Reagans’ terms. I had a hard time deciding what to believe and I was 20 years old. This is what I meant earlier that we have a tendency of developing beliefs that we don’t even know where they came from.

Nine years old and your parents (I assume) had you working on a conservative republicans campaign. You think this may of determined the outcome of your future decisions?
Taking into account secondary gain from the parents and any relative or adult friends that thought it was so cool that you were out there learning about the political process, how could you possibly be objective when they are now idolizing a man that when you were 9 they had you believing that he was practically the second coming. And now all those anchors fire off when he dies (rest his soul). I mean for crying out loud there are people suggesting we put him on Mount Rushmore. I’m sorry, I know to much about human neurology to know that your decisions thus far have not been purely objective.

[quote]And I know that in a society of natural law, Little Al would soon be found in a mulch pile somewhere.
Laws keep things like that from happening, for the most part. [/quote]

That may very well be. But natural law is not just about survival of the fittest. It takes into account the socio-economic ramifications of the decision of a society as well. And if Al could not produce a useful result in that society, it is true he would be set acast and forced to fend for himself. So be it.

Just a quick note. I have noticed that no one has questioned my statements. They have only questioned (okay and someone did call me “sappy”) me for protecting someone else’s right to speak his or her mind. This is to my point about ad-hominum arguments. If you want to discuss and debate the issues. I honor and respect that. Jumping on someone and calling them a name. Is intellectually lazy.

[quote]john p wrote:
Madison and Jefferson didn’t have to deal with a population of 250 million Americans that’s infinitely more diverse today than during their time. They also didn’t have to deal with issues pertaining to e-commerce, automobiles, cloning, and oil. Simpler times necessitated simpler government. Those guys also OWNED PEOPLE, so I’d say freedom and everyone being equal wasn’t very high on their list of priorities.
[/quote]

I agree, Madison and Jefferson did not have to deal with 250 million people. They did however have to deal with mainting a fractioning government, growing a fledling republic and fend off countries that thought we would be ripe for the picking after the revolutionary war.

They also did not have an army of representative, senators, cabinet members and high tech solutions to make their lives much easier to handle.

The beauty and majesty of the Constitution is that it is a living document. If we don’t like what’s in it. We can amend it to fit the needs of the country. But we must do it in a very specific manor so as to avoid just changing a law on a whims notice. (note the Terri Schiavo case… scary, very scary)

Unfortunately, politicians today are bending and twisting the language in the Constitution to suit there own needs. My disdain is not so much for the politicians but for the people who continue to be asleep at the switch and not notice that the farm is being taken from them one or two boards at a time.