So both of these possibilities (good and evil) exist in all of us.
If we are to march out of the wilderness, I think we very vocally must acknowledge this very basic fact of human existence. Let us no longer pretend that everything our business leaders do will result in good outcomes for everyone. Sometimes what is "good for General Motors (or Enron, or Haliburton, or Black Water) is not good for America". So let's not pretend that it does.
All I am asking is we begin to acknowledge the obvious. For example, we need to regulate banks when what is good for them will actually destroy America. Greenspan never thought about this possibility until it was too late. Let's not allow our Legislature to repeat Greenspan's mistake.Comment Posted By bsjones On 26.02.2009 @ 19:03
Sara in VA,
I see lots of evidence everyday that shows the "heart of man" has (at least) a few dark corners. Going into business for yourself or heading a large corporation does not shine the light of "enlightened self-interest" into every nook and cranny of the human heart any more than going into government does.
The possibility of evil exists for CEO's just like it does for Congressman. Our system of government places checks on individuals in government through the ballot box, checks and balances, and separation of powers. Our government can place restraint on CEO's through government regulation.
Our job as citizens is to ensue that government does not commit evil and corruption through "narrow self-interest" like bribes and so on. It is also our job to make sure we do not allow government to needlessly restrict our freedom. If government makes one of these mistakes, we can hold them accountable through the ballot box.
We must equally be on guard against our politicians being purchased by a concentration of power in the corporate world. For, once the government is bought and paid for by these corporate interest groups, the government will act to shift the resources away from the people and into corporate hands. I think this is happening as I write.
It's simple. Politicians can be corrupted. Citizens can be corrupted. Business leaders can be corrupted. CEO's can be corrupted. EVERYONE CAN BE CORRUPTED.
Citizens must keep watch over government. Government must keep watch over businessComment Posted By bsjones On 26.02.2009 @ 17:40
while maintaining our God given freedom. This is a difficult balancing act. The balance is maintained through the art of politics.
I disagree with your position on Hannity, Rush, Beck, and Coulter. They are magicians assistants distracting our eyes (and minds) so the master magicians can complete their tricks away from public scrutiny.Comment Posted By bsjones On 26.02.2009 @ 16:20
Sounds like you have an interesting point. Care to elaborate?
bsComment Posted By bsjones On 26.02.2009 @ 16:13
I wanted to address the "nature of man" dichotomy you describe and point to an area where we conservatives have been lead astray.
I see two diametrically opposed views of man: man as intrinsically evil vs. man as intrinsically good.
James Madison saw man as basically evil. Men living together in society have a propensity to harm and commit injustice towards each other. The purpose of a well devised government is to put in place structural impediments (separation of powers, checks and balances) to limit man's tendency towards evil to his fellows while still allowing for man to express his God given freedom. Notice, man needs to be free so we need to have limited government, but man is basically evil so government must exercise restraint over man to prevent evil and injustice. Madison thought his system of government was so perfect that its very structure would prevent evil. Yet, it is tight rope act. The goal is to preserve freedom while preventing evil.
For Karl Marx man is basically good. Man is made bad by his society. Private property, inequality, racism are all in the structure of poorly designed societies forcing intrinsically good men to behave badly. Fix society, primarily by eliminating private property and "false consciousness", and man will return naturally to his intrinsically good self and a Communist Utopia will result. Something like a Garden of Eden, where each man is liberated to live up to his full potential.
I THINK MADISON IS MUCH CLOSER TO THE TRUTH.
Yet in our modern conservatism, I think we have gone astray. We have replaced Madison's "nature of man" for the one formulated by Marx in our political philosophy.
We think government unnecessarily limits man and forces him to do bad things because of poorly formulated government policy. Therefore, if we limit, or eliminate government and its policies man will express his natural innate goodness through his God given freedom.
This modern formulation explains why we conservatives think all regulation of business is bad even though there is ample evidence coming directly out of the real world that proves it is nonsense. We say free man from all impediments and he will be just and thrive, yet we don't see this in our real world experiences.
It's because Madison was right. Men are basically evil. They have a tendency to accumulate and use power for unjust or evil ends. This is why Madison wanted to limit government. Yet the same men who can accumulate and abuse power in government can accumulate and abuse power at the world's largest bank (think Sh*tty-Bank) or a large deregulated power company (think Enron). Man's "nature" is the same regardless of where he works (either in business or government).
I think part of the road back is recognizing the fact that abuses of power can take place in the private and public sector. Citizens must keep an eye on government and government must keep an eye on business. If government behaves in an evil way, we must remove the evil doers from office. Since men in business will, on occasion, act in an evil way government must have the power to regulate them as well.
Summary: the mantras that regulation is bad or that business is always good need to be dropped.Comment Posted By bsjones On 26.02.2009 @ 15:10
Here is a discussion between Shields and Brooks over Jindal's response. It reflects some of the disagreements people around here having been having.
Click on the second video.
Warning! Brooks is pretty harsh on Jindal.Comment Posted By bsjones On 25.02.2009 @ 13:26
O.K., here's another one.
Northern Trust Bank received $1.6 billion in TARP money (i.e., tax payer money). They were so happy to take your money they threw a party complete with trinkets from ... TIFFANY AND CO.
The whole sickening story can be read here:
Maybe we should put accountability up there with tax cuts as a foundational part of conservatism. It might even get us a few votes.
What a minute. Yeah. That guy over there. The one in the Dior tux. No, not him. The one eating the seared salmon. Yeah!! Isn't that Rick Santelli?Comment Posted By bsjones On 25.02.2009 @ 04:26
Sara in VA,
I wrote this with you in mind. It's all about sh*tty-bank, I mean Citi-Bank.
TARP 1 25 BILLION LOAN (at below market interest rates)
TARP 2 20 BILLION LOAN PLUS 300 BILLION IN LOAN GUARANTEES FOR BAD ASSETS
For anybody interested, all this happened in 2008. Bush II was still SUPREME LEADER, so this was not Obamanomics.
The funny thing is, Citi-Bank could be purchased on the stock market for only 20 billion. Since we have paid for Citi two times over, why don't "We the People" own this bank?
All of this means, "We the People" are on the hook to the tune of 350 Billion dollars FOR JUST ONE BANK.
Who is getting the welfare now?
Who is paying for the failed bets taken by Sh*tty-Bank?
If you invested this much money in a business, would you want a say in how it was run?
Just asking.Comment Posted By bsjones On 24.02.2009 @ 23:21
If any of the stuff in the post, The "Americans want bipartisanship", is true, we are in big trouble.
Read it here:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/Comment Posted By bsjones On 24.02.2009 @ 13:35
I have enjoyed reading Ricks posts for awhile now. I especially like the ones that ask us as conservatives to question our assumptions, take a look with fresh eyes, or simply acknowledge that there are occasionally contradictions in the movement.
However, feeding on raw red meat all the time turns out to be a bad diet and those who eat like this all the time are likely to have fuzzy thinking and develop poor eye sight. It can even lead to a kind of blindness.
This leads me to my post.
I was just checking out the responses when I saw the American Tea Party ad, which features, among others, "joe the plumber". After clicking on the ad I discovered they are against "giant government programs that reach deep into our pockets".
All of a sudden I was mad. Isn't "joe" a liar, tax cheat and a "welfare queen"? His parents were welfare recipients too. From what I can tell we have all been sharing the wealth with "joe". He and his family have already been digging "deep into our pockets".
I do not want to pick on the guy, but why is anyone listening to him? It makes my head want to explode!! His actions demonstrate what he thinks of conservatism and its principles far more than his words do. I, for one, do not need an Average Joe tax cheat and inter-generational welfare queen to talk to me about wasteful government spending.
I hope I am not alone. If we really believe what a conservative believes, how can we stand for this hypocrisy?
Is there a contradiction when we ask someone like joe to be a spokesperson for the movement? What does this do for our credibility?
Someone, please, take a look with "fresh eyes" and explain what is going on.Comment Posted By bsjones On 23.02.2009 @ 23:20