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NeoNotes — The screws

"…yet that ominous backdrop of a changing world that is inexorably shifting to the right…"

The traditional right wing and left wing definitions really don't work all that well. But the Nazi party considered themselves left wing, and they were left wing by the standards of the time. A better distinction is if someone supports the state over the individual. Unfortunately many don't recognize that a state that supports them today can turn against them in a second. Sort of like happened recently.

Trump deserves criticism, there's no doubt about that. But it's impossible to understand why Trump won without considering the actions of Obama over the previous eight years. It was backlash. You may not believe me, but look at all the Congressional seats, the state legislative seats, and the governorships the Democrats lost in the last eight years.

Heinlein said that a government supported artist is an incompetent whore and he wasn't far wrong. I don't want politicos and technocrats deciding what is art and what is not. Neither should you.

The muses live in the artist and the art, they are reflected in the eyes and ears of the audience. I don't want a government rating on how artistic something is, I want to feel it touch my spirit.

There are ways to deal with Christian attacks. Point out that any faith system that needs government force to back it up tells just how weak someone's faith really is. Work from there,

There's also our secret weapon. The U.S. Constitution mentions the Christian god exactly once, in the date. Unlike every other government document in Western civilization at the time, the Constitution does not beseech the Divine or claim that government power derives from the authority of the Divine. It set up the United States as a plural society and we have remained that way ever since. Despite repeated efforts by certain evangelicals.

Don't look to government to solve your problems or protect you from your fears. That's always going to depend on getting the right people elected, and who has time to make everything in life political? Even if you could pull it off. Look to your neighbors and friends, the people of good character who are the real power in our country.

I'm not reducing it to one dimension. I'm pointing out that the left and particularly the Democrats are not the saints they claim to be. There were at least just as many who felt attacked by Obama as feel attacked now by Trump. There are differences in how each handles it though.

Oh, and going by the cash spent, the Democrats outspent the Republicans for the Presidency this last time around.

What people forget is that when the Nazis came to power they were the new kids promising deep changes to solve social problems. And that is precisely what they delivered. That is about as left wing as it gets.

I've said it elsewhere and I will say it here again. The problem is government. The more you let government into your life, the bigger a victim you set yourself up to be.

Which, as I keep pointing out, is exactly what happened. Obama and the Democrats expanded government in every way that they could, and now Democrats and progressives are all surprised when government can be used against them just as easily.

One of the things that Obama set out to do was prevent "right wing" money from being spent at all. That's why the IRS didn't recognize conservative groups for tax exempt status.

I'm not right wing. One thing libertarians soon learn is that both the so-called right wing and the so-called left wing both want massive expansion of government, just for different reasons.

This is the bone of contention between us. You are convinced that with the correct people doing the correct things, a bigger government is a Good Thing™. I think that if you make a government bigger today, it's sure to be used against you tomorrow.

Just as happened in 2008. Just as happened in 2016.

Your problem is that you think government power is being misused. I'm telling you that government power is misuse.

ETA: I cited all the losses that the Democrats had over the last the last eight years. Ask yourself why the money was spent the way it was over four separate election cycles. Do you honestly think it was all Republican spite money? Why do the Democrats get to spend money and the Republicans don't?

I still think there should be a None of the Above.

According to internal IRS documents, conservative and tea parity groups were targeted. These documents were published (among other places) in Stassel's excellent The Intimidation Game. The story about the Judicial Watch FOI lawsuit and all the IRS crashed hard drives is particularly interesting. Some of it was even reported in the press at the time, although with a very patronizing tone.

The comment about spite money avoids the issue. Here, I'll emphasize to make it easier. Why should the Democrats get to spend money while the Republicans shouldn't?

I'm not a Social Darwinist either, I rejected that philosophy when I was still in junior high school.

Here's the thing. In the first few paragraphs of this article that we're commenting on, fear of government in the wrong hands is obviously the central issue. In all your comments on this site about the power of government, you've always supported government in the correct hands even as you say it's hard to find and elect honorable people to serve. You're arguing over who gets to drive the getaway car.

I can talk about the proper places of the muses and defending against Christian attacks for a year and a day. All you're focusing on is who gets to call the shots and why. You are willing to surrender power over your life to some politico who looks good and says the right things on cue. Why? Does it make your life better? Does it give you the secret food additive so when you pass gas it smells sweet?

Or does it give you power over others?

Check closer. It wasn't just Wisconsin.

Neither the IRS or the DOJ is supposed to delay FOI requests, especially not for years at a time. That's beyond the means of most organizations and individuals to follow up. It's also a direct violation of the law.

That's the point. It was never exclusively left. Or right either.

My irritation at progressives since the election is that all the blame has been put on Trump for what he might do while excusing everything wrong that has been done by Democrats.

I really, really don't like defending Trump. But overlooking the "sins of the past" while attacking Republicans for everything wrong with the world won't get Trump out of office any faster. If anything, it will dilute effective criticism because people will just start tuning out all criticism of Trump. People will tire of complaints that never panned out and will just stop listening.

That's the shell game that you've been conditioned to accept.

It's always the other party's fault. And you can fix it if you just get enough of the right people elected at the right time to do the right thing. And if you can't do that, it's because the other party is oppressing you. It's their sneaky tactics and blatant manipulations that are driving out goodness and democracy.

The solution to government problems is always…More Government! Of the correct kind, of course. Our government, not their government. And since the other guys are sneaky, we have to be sneaky to protect our legacy and the truly good things that government can do, if just given a chance. Or ten. Just in case government doesn't get it right the first few times.

Do you see how that works? Do you see how the problems never get solved, just made worse?

Don't you see how much of your freedom this costs? Don't you see how you end up bowing at the altar of Government Doing the Right Thing?

How much freedom will you be allowed tomorrow?

Not a nerve. It's just annoying when modern liberals excuse behavior in "their own" that they would not stand for if it were done against them. Which reflects the same point I've been making since Trump was sworn in. It's also the same point that almost every American progressive refuses to accept. They don't object to government power, they just object to government power used against them or the things they believe in. You'd be perfectly willing to apply the screws if the situation were reversed. Almost nobody bothers to ask if the screws should exist in the first place.

The label of social Darwinist is inaccurate because the philosophy itself is deeply flawed. If you had bothered to ask or even to check, I'd tell you that I'm the guy who said that humanity is a colony organism. I'll let you work through some of the implications.

If the Obama administration conspired to keep conservative and tea party groups from getting tax exempt status and the Obama DOJ investigated those same groups, then something is a little screwy. Especially when no one was taking a close look at the Clintons. Odd how the Clinton Foundation has folded up shop. It's almost as if it had no purpose other than to get HRC elected. In violation of I don't know how many laws.

Humans have been taking care of each other for a very very long time. How many old stories have gods wondering the Earth disguised looking for hospitality and charity? Our society is built on the idea of honor and fair play. Parity is a keystone. The Christians called it the Golden Rule, but it existed in dozens of successful cultures. It may be the most important idea of Western civilization and the best thing that sets us apart.

Look closer at the Clinton Foundation. Their donors are down, they hid the third quarter 2016 drop until after the election, they've been releasing staff, and their operations have scaled way back.

The thing is, we're getting better. Americans especially. We're practically hardwired to help. Show us something that we can do something about and we will do it. Not because we're obligated to, not because of some government edict, but because we genuinely want to. Child fallen in a well? We're there, not only with (mostly unofficial) rescuers but with people feeding the family and the rescuers. New Orleans flooded? We're there with fan boats carrying supplies and the most efficient trucking network on the planet bringing in more. Notably the fan boats got turned away because they weren't "official." You should watch for that, it's a repeating pattern.

The Clintons have been doing shady and not quite shady enough things since Bill was governor of Arkansas. The press doesn't call them on it. Case in point, before the election HRC and her staffers met with Russian officials more than Trump and his staffers. There was also a questionable uranium deal while HRC was Secretary of State (and while the CF was receiving scads of funds from Russian sources), but who is counting, right? And this is the problem. Prominent Democrats get a pass while every Republican action, legal or not, gets made into the scandal of the week. I'm not excusing Republicans for their screw-ups. I just want Democrats held to the same standards.

ETA: It's early and my caffeine hasn't quite hit yet. I forgot to mention in the first part that America is the biggest source of private charity in history by a few orders of magnitude.

And now if you'll excuse me I think I will go wake my companion. There's time for a little fun before the sun rises.

You misunderstand.

Unrestrained government is the "unvarnished evil." The Constitution was designed for limited government.

There are very few areas that the free market actually sucks, and most of those are caused by (wait for it) government mandates and restrictions.

The free market is built on two very simple principles. The first is the voluntary exchange of goods and services between consenting adults. The second is hardly ever acknowledged but just as important. Someone will see something and think "I can do better than that!" Most will fail, some spectacularly. But the ones who succeed change everything. There's no way to tell who will succeed in the free market now or in the next decade. It can't be controlled or predicted. Nor should it be.

Choice and the free market make the most effective advancements in human history. Good law protects free choice and the free market while insuring responsibility.

Even here, our choices make it possible. We choose not to be part of the prevalent monotheisms. We choose to look at the Divine and the World in ways not accepted by most of our fellow citizens. That choice and accepting responsibility for that choice shape who we are and how we touch the other lives on this planet.

It's not about the mechanisms of government. It's about how much we keep it restrained. Transparency is useless without limiting government because politicos won't limit themselves.

There is an old proverb, fire and water are good servants but evil masters. Some say that Washington said government is like fire, a troublesome servant but a bad master. He probably didn't say it, but the idea is sound. class="ghoster">

NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.
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