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Liberty versus Progressivism

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Liberty versus Progressivism

maxwell edison
Liberty is the enemy of Progressivism.

Progressivism is the enemy of Liberty.

Choose your side carefully, because the day of recokning will soon be upon us.

I choose to defend Lady Liberty.

Discuss (if you dare).
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    dogknees

    Because to me limiting my own behaviour when it adversely affects others is a fundamental part of civilised behaviour. Liberty is always contingent on not impinging on the liberty of another.

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    maxwell edison

    Yes, limiting one's own behavior when it adversely affects others is a fundamental part of civilized behavior. I agree. And yes, liberty is always contingent upon not impinging on the liberty of another - which is exactly what progressivism does.

    Please consider joining robo_dev and Delbert in the study hall.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    good answer, my friend

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    maxwell edison

    I love it. You are my hero! Do you know how many people will have no idea what that means? (Yes, I peeked.)

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I've gotten lots of flack about that one over the years.

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    maxwell edison

    Progressivism is the aggressor in an ideological war. Progressivism takes away (steals) from others that which is not theirs. Liberty is the defender.

    Aggressors start wars. Defenders end them.

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    robo_dev

    is another man's attempt at reform.

    Obviously a struggle for what's mine vs what's yours is the basis for all human struggles throughout recorded history.

    The wealthy coal mine operator who pays his workers fifty cents an hour is hardly a hapless crime victim if his workers form a union and demand sixty cents an hour.

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    maxwell edison

    ..... it's not reform at all. It's tyranny. Again, you should educate yourself.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Now, they're not all good, but they're not all bad either.

    Purism, will get you nowhere.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    enchains one in what one may or may not say or do. Witness King Bloomberg (among others). Let the homeless starve and the excess food go to waste in the name of the health of the homeless.

    I left out that progressivism is wasteful. Though that's more than implicit, I think.

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    DelbertPGH

    "Progressivism" is a pretty slippery term. I'm not sure what you mean by it, or what it's going to mean tomorrow, so I'll substitute another: big-governmentism. I think that probably captures your fears.

    I don't like government to be bigger than it needs to be. How big is that? We need government to do things that benefit citizens, which cannot happen (or won't happen well) if left to the initiative of individuals and private companies. If government tries to do for us what we would otherwise do on our own, it usually comes out costing more, and we are stuck with obeying unnecessary rules: that's bad. If government can do something we could do, but can make it cost less for everyone and distribute the benefits to people who might otherwise be unable to pay for it, that's good. (Street lighting, fire control, and police come to mind.) If government can effectively do things that no private party can accomplish, (national defense, courts, public health), then that's good.

    Life can often enough leave you with no choices, except those that would be a dishonor to make, and forces you to walk a path you don't want. Without big government, and the liberal-progressive state of mind that brings it into being and limits its tendency to grow to monstrous dimensions, most of us would face many more no-good-choice dilemmas. It would be a mistake to call the absence of good choice "liberty", or the acceptance of socially-constructed benefits "servitude."

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    maxwell edison

    It's been around for more than 100 years, and has slowly but surely made inroads into American society. But it's a chameleon; it changes its colors to disguise itself, and it enters into people's lives under false pretenses.

    No, Delbert, I'm not going to substitute progressivism with big government. Progressivism is the ideology, big government is a consequence of the ideology - the intended consequence of the true Progressives, and an unintended consequence for those duped by its duplicity.

    It you're not sure by what I mean by it, perhaps you should team up with robo_dev in the TR study hall and brush up on such things.

    Not to mention the fact that while you freely acknowledged your ignorance of the term, you went on to defend it. That seems kind of silly to me.

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    DelbertPGH

    That's about a hundred years ago, and it applied to a strictly American sense of politics. Teddy thought that it was time for the United States to rise to be one of the dominant commercial and military powers on the earth, and that the government should actively pursue this; that the rise of corporations in the United States led to concentrations of immense new social power in the hands of a few self-interested men, and that government should mitigate this imbalance; that government should intervene to see that national resources were rationally, not wastefully, managed; that democracy should continue in America, and needed to adapt to the new society that the new wealth had created; and that the Democratic party was an assembly of reactionary racist rural sentimentalists, and the Republican party needed to adapt, or would lose the mantle of justice and confer power to Democrats who wanted little more than to turn the clock back. Is his the progressivism you abhor?

    People who call themselves progressives today sound more like social democrats: concerned with "fair outcomes" in society, building a more extensive welfare state, and finding new ways to bring government into everyday life. I think some people like "progressive" better than "liberal" because it sounds more muscular. It's also about equally as vague, hardly more precise than "conservative."

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    maxwell edison

    Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama.

    Teddy Roosevelt, initially a Republican, was also a populist; he called himself a progressive (the progressive movement was a world-wide movement, not "a strictly American sense of politics"), and was involved in the formation of the first Progressive Party for its populist appeal.

    He'd certainly be a RINO today, possibly a Michael Bloomberg type of Republican, or he'd jump ship and join the Democrats - kind of like he broke away from the Republican Party and tried to ride the populist tide into the White House for a second time in 1912.

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    DelbertPGH

    I don't much agree with Wikipedia's classification of presidents, or with your denigration of TR as a populist. However, that's all pretty much beside the point.

    The presidents named inaugurated the Federal Reserve system, the income tax, the Social Security old age and disability insurance system, Medicare and Medicaid, and universal health insurance (Obama's as-yet-incomplete work.) A lot of lesser programs were started along the way. Wilson, by giving us a banking system and a broader window for taxation, gave us the financial base without which we could not have a stable, functioning government. Roosevelt defended democracy and capitalism against the socialist alternative, and capitalism won, with his help. Johnson broke the back of institutionalized racism in this country, the first president since Lincoln to bet the farm on racial justice, and we all won. Obama, with a lot of help from G. W. Bush, saved this country from entering a second Great Depression, and has taken some steps toward fixing the problems of health care in this country. (There are two problems: health care doesn't effectively or economically reach people who aren't insured, at this point 20% of the population; and it costs 16% of our GDP.)

    We live much more decently because of government than we could without these services. We are also not free to withhold all these services. Keep in mind that in 1932 things were so bad that many Americans would have desperately chosen communism or fascism had government not stepped in to prop up the economy; and had we let libertarian laissez-faire stay its hand in 2009, we would have experienced another crisis of democracy.

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    robo_dev

    In an intersection, I should have the liberty to proceed full speed, my liberty shall not be infringed by the red light, a silly device put up by the nanny state.

    In the same intersection I should have the liberty to proceed at full speed, safe in the comfort that the police and rule of law will help to ensure that others will stop at the red light, since my light is green, and that no libertarian a___hole will **** through the red light.

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    maxwell edison

    It's obvious you don't understand the meaning of liberty. You should do a little self-learning (as opposed to simply making silly and ignorant assertions) before you post foolish things for all to see.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    and as max says, educate yourself. You are using straw men, and I've got a torch right here

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    maxwell edison

    And is why the "tea party" (note lower case) was grossly misunderstood and egregiously misrepresented by the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media. (And hijacked by some Republicans for political expediency.)

    P.S. Good to see you back!

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    AnsuGisalas

    Empty space has limitless liberty.

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    john.a.wills

    Some ran "For the liberty that we love... vote CDU". Others showed grandma pushing a grandchild on a swing (the SPD had just upped pensions) and ran "Of liberty we understand more... vote SPD".

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    mjd420nova

    Opinions. Freedom Liberty All have differing definitions in every county of every state of the union. The right to free speech is the only one I can exercise and not have to worry about violating anyone elses rights. Plug your ears. I don't fully understand the term PROGRESSIVISM. Common sense doesn't exist. It's more like " Look out for me because I'm not". My rights are walked on daily and if I took an afront to every transgression, I'd go nuts, steal my mothers gun and kill some innocents. Spare me the lantern in the dark sermon and bring back the freedom to feel SAFE on the streets and in my home. Politics corrupted democracy. The governing body has no desire to do their jobs and the rest of the country falls apart while the idiots sit on their hands, or each others even. We have the right to agree or disagree but not to impinge those ideas upon anyone else but the politicians can do it on TV. Save that money and put it back into the neighborhoods that need help with the failing infrastructure that the federal management fails to consider neccesary.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Please, educate yourself

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Or can you not articulate it?

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    AnsuGisalas

    I love how all movers and shakers in the USA seem to be always looking for a panacea.
    And, that panacea is always assumed to be something incredibly simplistic, like "No more guns", "No more gov't", "Freeing the market", "Outsourcing" or "Jesus!"...
    Pick one, just one, and then work to prevent all those other solutions from being implemented.
    And then you wonder why all your hard work only lands you deeper in trouble...

    Did you ever consider working together on the things you can agree on, WITHOUT relying on simplistic solutions OR hunting for "Panacea or bust"?

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    AnsuGisalas

    I mean, "magic cure or bust" is such a good way to go.

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    AV .

    You know what? I'm for liberty. I am totally sick of supporting programs for every need du jour. Its like being nickeled and dimed to death with so called "good causes". Why can't I keep the fruits of my labor?

    We have all been duped by the progressive agenda in this country. I've come to this conclusion after working my entire life. I've paid into Medicare, Social Security, etc., etc., and now when it comes time for my turn, its almost out of money. WTF?! If I had been able to keep more of the money I had earned and invested it myself, I wouldn't be looking at this total train wreck when I'm about to retire.

    I'm sorry. I'm a little bitter. I paid into this and not by choice, just like the rest of you. I'm mad. Do you really want to trust your retirement to the government? If I was younger, I wouldn't. You're going to end up like me. I have an uncertain future, just like a lot of people.

    If I had liberty and didn't have the mandates of Social Security and Medicare, I would have been able to use that money for the retirement I want and it would be on my own terms.

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    DelbertPGH

    First, Social Security never was a 401k, with money in the bank equal to the need of all future retirees. It's old age/disability insurance, meaning that if you're fortunate enough to become too old to work regularly, or become disabled before you get old, it pays you money. It is funded by current wage earners, not by the people who get the benefits.

    The "Social Security trust fund" is a bank account at the U.S. treasury, which contains the excess of money collected via the FICA tax over money paid out to retirees, accumulated over the entire 80 years history of SS. It is required by law to invest in nothing but U.S. Federal bonds. The excess has really been just a sneaky way of collecting taxes for the general use of the Federal government for 80 years. Whether it has a positive or a negative balance makes no difference to the Federal government's ability to pay benefits.

    Social Security costs the U.S. 5% of GDP now. At the height of the baby boom retirement, it is estimated to cost 6%. Increasing SS revenues, either by the FICA tax or some other means, is easily within our capability. Medicare is a different problem, a much more serious problem. If we continue paying medical bills in our current style, with our current rate of crazy growth in per-procedure costs, then Medicare could sink the government. Of course, even if we don't pay for the elderly, the growth in health care costs will eventually destroy the rest of the economy.

    Finally, if you had "liberty" and no Social Security or Medicare payroll tax, what makes you think that 7.4% of your pay (and your employer's matching amount) would wind up in your pocket? Is there anything in the capitalist class's current behavior that makes you believe they'd give it to you? They'd cut your pay, because you wouldn't need that money to meet current needs, and they would put it in their own pockets, and invest it in countries like China or Bangladesh, because Americans expect too much for themselves, relative to the genuinely poor of the world. You'd have the liberty to work til you dropped, and starve in a cardboard box with your illness untended, until you ended up in an underfunded charitable hospital, where you could die between clean sheets.

    Give me that good ol' "progressivism" every time.

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    AV .

    Just look at Greece. If I took the amount paid into SS by myself and my employer and invested it in a private account for me alone instead of thrown into a big general fund, I'd be a lot better off today after 40 some years of working. One thing is for sure, none of my invested money would end up in the general government fund.

    When all the baby boomers retire, there will be less current workers to support their SS needs. What happens then?

    Medicare is just a mess and unsustainable in its current form. Privatizing it and increasing competition in the insurance industry might be the way to go. Also, modernizing healthcare treatments by using more nurse practitioners/physician assistants would help lower costs.

    I still think I'd be a lot better off on my own. I would have a 401k, my own private social security fund and private insurance that I choose on the open market. Costs would come down if there was more competition in healthcare insurance. The way it is now, I have an uncertain future when I retire. Thats if I can retire. Even with these fabulous government programs, I'll still be working til I drop.

    AV

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    AnsuGisalas

    You want to prove that something is unsustainable, and then you pick as evidence, out of all possible examples... Greece!?!
    That's the kind of argument only a Fox News anchor can love.
    Besides, "progressivism" is a straw man, and no, Greece is not an exemplar of that, nor do "progressivist" states exist.

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    DelbertPGH

    If you have a 401k that you draw down to fund your retirement, you are left depending on America to set aside some of its wealth to make you comfortable, just as if you were drawing from Social Security. Your 401k, remember, doesn't consist of a lot of canned hams and warehouses of grain, laid down in the past for you to eat in the future; when the future comes, you will go to the stock market and exchange assets for cash, which you will then exchange for things like ham and flour. ('Scuse my metaphor if you are Jewish. Substitute canned chicken.) My point is that you will depend upon the producers of 2030 to feed and house you in 2030; you will be a taker, who takes from them, whether or not you have private savings. The national economy will support its cohort of retirees, however they pay for it.

    The administrative costs of Social Security are smaller than the management fees on 401k funds, by the way; SS is a more efficient way for society to distribute pensions to all its citizens. The risks on SS are smaller; the stock market may fall, and bonds may default, but the government goes on. The only risk in Social Security is that a future generation will refuse to pay the tax, and vote its senior citizens to live under bridges.

    If we do away with SS and put the money instead into investment accounts, what do we do with people who don't save enough? Let them live in destitution until they sicken and die? Like in 1930? What happens with conscientious savers like you, who have money until they live too long, or tap their savings to deal with a major illness or an emergency with a child, and then are left without enough to go on? Do we say, "Sorry, Ma'am, your time of comfort is over: work, find charity, or fade away."

    The pension bill is affordable. Medicare is not. You're right about medical care. It's too expensive in America, and a solution must be found.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel.
    Provide a public alternative for the cartel to compete with, nothing else will keep them honest.

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    maxwell edison

    I agree with the stated problem, i.e. "Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel."

    Better known, however, as the medical insurance industry - which has, in essence, co-opted the medical delivery industry.

    The Progressive world view says, "Provide a public alternative....."

    Translation: Provide a government run alternative

    The Progressive world view says, "..... to compete with"

    Translation: To be run out of business by.

    Progressives call government competing with private business competition. What a joke!

    First of all, government's role (in America) is not to compete against private business. (What the idiots in Nordic Europe want to do is their own business.) Second of all, it's not competition at all. Governments can raise taxes and run deficits (apparently both indefinitely and with impunity); private business can't do that without putting themselves out of business. It's the epitome of unfair competition - the very thing government (in America) is suppose to protect against. (Again, what the idiots in Nordic Europe want to do is their own business.)

    And the mind-set of a Progressive illustrated:

    "..... nothing else will keep them honest." (Define "them": Business and/or the individuals who run businesses.)

    In government do the Progressives place their trust; in business and individuals do the Progressives place their distrust; governments should keep business and individuals honest.

    Opposed to Lady Liberty, whose mission is to keep government honest.

    Progressivism is the world view that infringes on the individual rights of people - that infringes on individual liberty. Let the idiots in Europe do what they want, but if this world view is allowed to establish a foothold in the USA (as if it hasn't already), you can kiss freedom and liberty in America goodbye.

    P.S. My solution to the agreed upon problem, as stated in the first sentence of this message?

    Break up the !@#$%^&* cartel. Duh!

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    AnsuGisalas

    Besides, Liberty doesn't have a stated mission. How on earth would that work?

    I know you like to think Liberty is a panacea, but there's no mechanic for how it's supposed to work.
    Lots of speculation about how it *might* work, but there is nothing stopping it from leading to oligopolies, oligarchy or worse.

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    maxwell edison

    Does not at all fall in-line with how Americans view, or otherwise define "conservatives". You are either intentionally being deceptive or ignorantly applying terms. Either way, it's typical for people of your ilk - deception, that is.

    Keep it out of conversations with me, since it's absolutely meaningless.

    And of course liberty does not have a "mission", per se. Different individuals have different missions; and as long as one doesn't infringe on the other...... It further illustrates your different world view.

    YOUR mission, however - Progressivism - MUST suck people into the scheme. You MUST suck people into YOUR world view.

    Progressives love to mind other people's s business.

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    DelbertPGH

    We have turned an insurance system into a payment system. It isn't a problem of a "cartel"; it's the fact that the people who receive the services (patients) have no idea of the cost, and that the people who deliver services (doctors) have no incentive to deliver a cheaper product. Insurance stands between them, handling all the money, and usually the insurance is paid for by a third party (employers), who don't have any leverage in medical choices at all. Consumers don't care much; given the choice of getting more care or less care, measured in dollars, they will take more. And, naturally, doctors are happy to deliver more, and insurance companies are happy to see more money flow through them.

    HMOs and other managed care conglomerates were supposed to fix the problem, by receiving a fixed fee per customer, instead of per service; because their income was pre-set, they would have an incentive to control costs. However, mysteriously, the cost of delivering care through HMOs keeps rising year after year, faster than the economy that sustains us grows. Same as the rest of the industry, actually.

    The cost of delivering care is rising in countries with state-controlled industries, too. They're just ten or fifteen years behind the U.S. in terms of this economic disaster.

    Probably the best way to solve it is to work some kind of consumer choice into the system, so patients will understand cost, choose accordingly, and encourage the industry to develop cheaper ways of delivering care. What you don't want, of course, is this: "You want $50,000 to fix that broken leg?! Are you nuts? ****, my kid can walk with a limp and get along fine!" The trick will be avoiding situations on the road to low cost where people are forced to decide to choose death over bankruptcy.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Insurance is the cartel. They demand that doctors give better rates to insured patients than to uninsured patients. This drives up the prices for everybody, but especially for the uninsured.
    This is in the interests of the insurance companies, it makes their service more necessary.
    Also, because many people do not have medical insurance, preventative medical care is often neglected, leading to a larger number of more expensive emergency room treatments.
    These ER treatment costs are "eaten" by the hospitals, again, driving up costs for everybody.

    Having a public option means less money wasted overall (since there will be preventative care for everybody, and preventative care is much cheaper than letting conditions go critical before acting). This doesn't even take lost working hours into account.
    Waste due to lost working hours is a net societal loss.
    Like free abortions, preventative care is an investment that pays itself back and even gives a net profit on the societal level.
    (Remember, they really didn't build that - society creates a lot of wealth that is not the property of the people who happen to channel it, that is the basis for taxation).

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    AnsuGisalas

    It does not mean "applying hare-brained extremes of dogma without a foundation of proven effectiveness".
    It just so happens that Conservatives seek to avoid riots and societal wastefulness. This means supporting tried-and-true safety nets.

    It's not my problem that the Republican party have largely abandoned conservativism. That is your problem.

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    DelbertPGH

    "Conservative" used to mean hanging on to what worked, not changing too fast, not having dreamy ideas about the perfectability of people, trusting to authorities and traditional structures. It wasn't a doctrine that resisted change; it acknowledged change as inevitable, but not to be sought carelessly or for its own sake. Society is a big complicated ecosystem where people and institutions interact, and human identity is an uncertain mix of good and evil, and you should be respectfully cautious about the unintended effects of big programs. That to me is conservatism, and its values I share.

    Liberalism, progressivism as Max would have it, has had a long tough time of separating itself from Marxism and from Rousseauism, throwing the crackpots back from the center to their various corners. American liberalism is much sweeter on captialism than it was in my young years, and more pragmatic.

    Conservatism, on the other hand, has become the magnet for libertarians who would disassemble institutions, Ayn-Randian dreamers, racists and segregationists, conspiracy lunatics, apocalyptic Christians, science rejectionists and modernity haters. Liberalism redeemed itself by pushing its nutbags off to the fringes, but conservatism has responded by moving its center to fringe territory.

    This stuff about liberty that I hear from Max is sentimentalism for a bygone time, the liberty that Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson knew. Liberty then meant that if you didn't like what you saw you could leave it, alone, and be yourself somewhere else. Liberty did not mean being tolerated; it was the freedom to reject everything and anything that displeased you. If you had property, liberty meant something else: the freedom to do anything with what you owned, including the people you owned, who were presumed unfit or unready for liberty. Property, family, and the baggage of prosperity and happiness actually limit your liberty: you do not feel free to destroy or devalue those things you prize, and thus you spend your life in servitude to their well-being. It's a paradox that if you are free to find what you want, you don't feel free to leave it behind, and you become unhappy being unfree. Libertarians these days don't pay much attention to this. It's kind of like, "Liberty gives me the space I need for a better life." In actuality, it depends on the desirability of the choices you can actually make.

    In countries like Afghanistan, where government doesn't work and doesn't restrict liberty simply because it's not around, you find life expectancy around 50 years and national wealth per capita under a thousand dollars a year: strikingly similar to the America of Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson. We've gone some place in the last 150 years, and it's for the better. I think liberty is better served by the ability to choose between two decent things, rather than to choose between two disasters. The progressive project has been good for this country.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    This has become the norm within the housing and auto insurance industry as well.

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    CharlieSpencer

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    Kris Kristofferson

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    maxwell edison

    Ansu espouses progressive / socialist government. Ansu lives in a nation with a progressive / socialist government. Ansu is content with the status quo - that is, a progressive / socialist government and society, Therefore he is a "conservative" because he is content with the status quo.

    Amazing to see how people will expose their warped way of thinking.

    What's even more amazing to see is how this Nordic Euriopean progressive fool is spewing his crap around here, and seeing the Americans who actually believe him.

    Go back to bashing FOX News, Ansu - as if you've ever even watched the stuipd network. (Another thing that continually illustrates your ignorance - bashing something you'e never even seen.)

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    maxwell edison

    You compare me, or my world view, to a caricature image of Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson - the typical straw man tactic - and then argue against it. Disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

    You define terms to suit yourself. What's pragmatic to you may not be pragmatic to me.

    You continue to misrepresent liberty, and you feel as though using government as an instrument of intrusion into other people's personal space is a good thing.

    Stay out of other people's personal space, Delbert. It's about as simple as that.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    If you break up the cartel, that would require *gasp* government regulation.

    Not to mention infringing on their liberty.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    To rail against others' defining terms you use in your arguments, but have yet to define yourself.

    Give us your definition of "liberty".

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    maxwell edison

    You took my "break up the cartel" comment, and made an incorrect assumption. I don't advocate government regulation to "break up" insurance company monopolies / strangle hold / whatever you want to call it. I advocate consumer competition.

    Moreover, I'm not "disingenuous" at all by not defining liberty. While it certainly does have different meanings to different people, you and I both received an American education, and if you don't know what I mean by it, go back to school.

    By the way, Nick, it's a real bore to have you "moderate" my comments to other people. If you have something constructive to add, fee free. Otherwise.......

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    there can be no "consumer competition" because, by definition, there are no viable alternatives to the cartel.

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    maxwell edison

    ....and/or intentionally being a real PITA. What is it with you, Nick? Did I **** in your Wheaties somewhere along the way? It's obvious to me (and to others who've mentioned it to me) that you are on a mission to pick on any and all of my nits.

    It was ANSU, Nick, who called our insurance industry a "cartel". Not me. I was merely playing on his word - AND THEN I went on to correct him when I said, I agree with the stated problem, i.e. "Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel." ......Better known, however, as the medical insurance industry - which has, in essence, co-opted the medical delivery industry.

    Grow up, Nick. I really am tired of you and your childish games. And since your true colors are coming across, I have zero interest in what you either think or say.

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    DelbertPGH

    Although you and I had similar American educations, I recall no course in my curriculum, "What Liberty Means to Young Max." (We were both young, back then.) Consequently, I don't actually know what liberty means to you, especially since you won't say. Clearly it is something different to me. I've thought a lot about liberty, and my idea of it has changed since we were in school.

    There are lots of points of liberty: saying what you want, running a business the way you want, worshipping in your style, being an atheist, owning a gun, doing what you want on your own property, disciplining your kids and dogs as you see fit, to move anywhere in the country, to apply for any job. It goes on and on. Not all liberties are mutually compatible, and if your liberty degrades somebody else's quality of life, then the state may have to restrict your liberty in the interest of that other guy's. When Huck Finn or Jeremiah Johnson felt they were being squeezed by society down some path they didn't like, they just pulled up stakes and got the **** out. Very few choose live that way; mainly a few off-the-grid survivalist neo-Nazi cranks in mountain valleys in Idaho.

    A big part of liberty for me is the pleasure of not having my life determined by poverty, not suffering bad health, being able to buy good whisky and wine close to home, to have controversial talks with intelligent people, and so on. Liberty is in part not having a lousy life, and that is a compromise: I do things I've not chosen freely (work, commute, pay taxes, never leave the house naked) because that's part of the rich lifestyle. Lots of little rules of behavior, but if I break the rules and wind up living like the poor people eight blocks from me, I have even more restrictions to endure. Some liberties I trade for others.

    Some of the Bill of Rights liberties are still strong and nearly absolute: religion, speech, gun ownership. When it comes to guns, though, what's important? Having a revolver, a bolt-action rifle, or a shotgun? Carrying a pistol in public under your shirt? Having several semi-automatic guns, with extended magazines and military features, that would be suitable for fighting off the National Guard? Owning a full-automatic Thompson sub-machine gun, as was legal in the 1920s? Grenades and rocket launchers, to make your post-apocalypse contest with the Army more even? Some liberties are incompatible with the safety of your neighbors, or with their ability to feel safe from the guy with the arsenal down the street, or with the security of the state itself. Jeremiah Johnson could live deep in the woods, worship Satan at the top of his lungs in his front yard if he wished, shoot his gun in his front yard if he wished, because he exercised his special liberty to leave everything behind and live with no one. You and I are not him, and our esteem for liberty must be compromised in ways his was not. He's not a model for our times, and the absolutism of his values cannot be ours. ****, he shot Indian men, women, and babies on principle. If anybody told him he couldn't, he'd feel his liberty was being infringed.

    The state protects us from each other, and creates an environment wherein civil society and economy can flourish. The progressive state recognizes the interests of its citizens: when Teddy Roosevelt saw that trusts had grown to such power, he created ways for the state to limit the might of the trusts and to keep them from funneling the nation's income to a small circle of people. That's progressivism: finding things that only the state can do to enhance the lives and wealth of the whole people. I'm in favor of that principle, among other principles.

    Perhaps the biggest squeeze on liberty is experienced by small businessmen. Do you operate a business, by any chance?

    You will have noticed that I explain why I bring Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson into my discussion: not to suggest you are like them, not to create a false depiction of libertarian positions, but to show that some ideas of liberty that were once dear to American principles are no longer viable, at least not to men who are rooted in civilization. You will also notice that I am using "progressive" without worrying that you misunderstand my meaning by it, or insisting you tell me what you mean by it. I'll mean what I mean, and if you are unclear about that, just ask.

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    AnsuGisalas

    http://www.heritage.org/index/
    "Socialist" Denmark still beats the USA.
    Economic freedom isn't just "not being subjected to limits", it also involved "being able to do stuff".
    It seems, Max, that you think "not being prevented from doing anything" equals "anybody being able to do anything". In practice, it only applies to the rich.
    Max, it seems you are another one of those Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires.

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    maxwell edison

    (And it's a sad commentary that I have to post this.)

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Personal space.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Owning and controlling ones own body, mind, thoughts, desires, goals, ambitions, choices, outcomes, etc.,

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Thomas Jefferson's definition: Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the limits of the law" because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Liberty and rights ARE NOT defined by anything that forces anyone to do anything. Progressives try to FORCE people to succumb to their will.

    Rights and responsibilities:

    However, to live in a free society, one must accept responsibility for it. Unfortunately, all too many people are unwilling to accept the responsibility that comes along with their naturally endowed rights. Moreover, there are people like Delbert and those of his ilk, who TAKE responsibility AWAY from people with their progressive schemes. They use government as the instrument of their misguided compassion. They use government as the instrument of their misguided pragmatism. They use government as the instrument of their misguided social engineering . They use government to make choices for other people. They use government as their instrument of tyranny over a voting minority - which is nothing more than tyranny of the majority.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

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    DelbertPGH

    As you say, to live in a free society, one must take responsibility for it, and unfortunately, all too many are unwilling to accept the responsibility that accompanies their natural rights. It is not reasonable to say, though, that progressive government saps the will of people to make the sacrifices and do the work to meet the public need. ("Public" need being what private people experience, but cannot satisfy with self-serving action.) People are plenty lazy and feckless and indifferent without help from external agencies. Who mows the lawn in front of the vacant house? Usually it's not the homeowners on either side of it, who complain about the jungle and its effect on their property values, but don't want to be the sucker that does the work that every other freeloader benefits from.

    There are things that government does that individuals cannot do well, or can't do at all. Police, courts, printing money, cleaning streets, regulating pollution. Up through the Civil War, the U.S. government did not control money; banks printed it independently of any government. In California around 1870, gold was mined by blasting hillsides with water, and sifting gold flakes out of the muddy flood, which destroyed streams and fishing for miles downhill. In the 1950s, any restaurant could order black diners to leave. In the 1960s, bosses could extort sex from their female clerks, and fire them if they didn't put out. Progressive government made these offenses illegal. Can you complain? These are all things that constrain free men from using their property, controlling their environments, and running their businesses as they want: reduction of their liberties, impositions of the will of "somebody else", that somebody being the public, the government. Exerting the public will upon people who didn't experience the private courage to be decent.

    Don't forget, the government can draft you and take you to war. Do you disagree with that prerogative?

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    dogknees

    Because to me limiting my own behaviour when it adversely affects others is a fundamental part of civilised behaviour. Liberty is always contingent on not impinging on the liberty of another.

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    maxwell edison

    Yes, limiting one's own behavior when it adversely affects others is a fundamental part of civilized behavior. I agree. And yes, liberty is always contingent upon not impinging on the liberty of another - which is exactly what progressivism does.

    Please consider joining robo_dev and Delbert in the study hall.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    good answer, my friend

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    maxwell edison

    I love it. You are my hero! Do you know how many people will have no idea what that means? (Yes, I peeked.)

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I've gotten lots of flack about that one over the years.

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    maxwell edison

    Progressivism is the aggressor in an ideological war. Progressivism takes away (steals) from others that which is not theirs. Liberty is the defender.

    Aggressors start wars. Defenders end them.

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    robo_dev

    is another man's attempt at reform.

    Obviously a struggle for what's mine vs what's yours is the basis for all human struggles throughout recorded history.

    The wealthy coal mine operator who pays his workers fifty cents an hour is hardly a hapless crime victim if his workers form a union and demand sixty cents an hour.

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    maxwell edison

    ..... it's not reform at all. It's tyranny. Again, you should educate yourself.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Now, they're not all good, but they're not all bad either.

    Purism, will get you nowhere.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    enchains one in what one may or may not say or do. Witness King Bloomberg (among others). Let the homeless starve and the excess food go to waste in the name of the health of the homeless.

    I left out that progressivism is wasteful. Though that's more than implicit, I think.

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    DelbertPGH

    "Progressivism" is a pretty slippery term. I'm not sure what you mean by it, or what it's going to mean tomorrow, so I'll substitute another: big-governmentism. I think that probably captures your fears.

    I don't like government to be bigger than it needs to be. How big is that? We need government to do things that benefit citizens, which cannot happen (or won't happen well) if left to the initiative of individuals and private companies. If government tries to do for us what we would otherwise do on our own, it usually comes out costing more, and we are stuck with obeying unnecessary rules: that's bad. If government can do something we could do, but can make it cost less for everyone and distribute the benefits to people who might otherwise be unable to pay for it, that's good. (Street lighting, fire control, and police come to mind.) If government can effectively do things that no private party can accomplish, (national defense, courts, public health), then that's good.

    Life can often enough leave you with no choices, except those that would be a dishonor to make, and forces you to walk a path you don't want. Without big government, and the liberal-progressive state of mind that brings it into being and limits its tendency to grow to monstrous dimensions, most of us would face many more no-good-choice dilemmas. It would be a mistake to call the absence of good choice "liberty", or the acceptance of socially-constructed benefits "servitude."

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    maxwell edison

    It's been around for more than 100 years, and has slowly but surely made inroads into American society. But it's a chameleon; it changes its colors to disguise itself, and it enters into people's lives under false pretenses.

    No, Delbert, I'm not going to substitute progressivism with big government. Progressivism is the ideology, big government is a consequence of the ideology - the intended consequence of the true Progressives, and an unintended consequence for those duped by its duplicity.

    It you're not sure by what I mean by it, perhaps you should team up with robo_dev in the TR study hall and brush up on such things.

    Not to mention the fact that while you freely acknowledged your ignorance of the term, you went on to defend it. That seems kind of silly to me.

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    DelbertPGH

    That's about a hundred years ago, and it applied to a strictly American sense of politics. Teddy thought that it was time for the United States to rise to be one of the dominant commercial and military powers on the earth, and that the government should actively pursue this; that the rise of corporations in the United States led to concentrations of immense new social power in the hands of a few self-interested men, and that government should mitigate this imbalance; that government should intervene to see that national resources were rationally, not wastefully, managed; that democracy should continue in America, and needed to adapt to the new society that the new wealth had created; and that the Democratic party was an assembly of reactionary racist rural sentimentalists, and the Republican party needed to adapt, or would lose the mantle of justice and confer power to Democrats who wanted little more than to turn the clock back. Is his the progressivism you abhor?

    People who call themselves progressives today sound more like social democrats: concerned with "fair outcomes" in society, building a more extensive welfare state, and finding new ways to bring government into everyday life. I think some people like "progressive" better than "liberal" because it sounds more muscular. It's also about equally as vague, hardly more precise than "conservative."

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    maxwell edison

    Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama.

    Teddy Roosevelt, initially a Republican, was also a populist; he called himself a progressive (the progressive movement was a world-wide movement, not "a strictly American sense of politics"), and was involved in the formation of the first Progressive Party for its populist appeal.

    He'd certainly be a RINO today, possibly a Michael Bloomberg type of Republican, or he'd jump ship and join the Democrats - kind of like he broke away from the Republican Party and tried to ride the populist tide into the White House for a second time in 1912.

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    DelbertPGH

    I don't much agree with Wikipedia's classification of presidents, or with your denigration of TR as a populist. However, that's all pretty much beside the point.

    The presidents named inaugurated the Federal Reserve system, the income tax, the Social Security old age and disability insurance system, Medicare and Medicaid, and universal health insurance (Obama's as-yet-incomplete work.) A lot of lesser programs were started along the way. Wilson, by giving us a banking system and a broader window for taxation, gave us the financial base without which we could not have a stable, functioning government. Roosevelt defended democracy and capitalism against the socialist alternative, and capitalism won, with his help. Johnson broke the back of institutionalized racism in this country, the first president since Lincoln to bet the farm on racial justice, and we all won. Obama, with a lot of help from G. W. Bush, saved this country from entering a second Great Depression, and has taken some steps toward fixing the problems of health care in this country. (There are two problems: health care doesn't effectively or economically reach people who aren't insured, at this point 20% of the population; and it costs 16% of our GDP.)

    We live much more decently because of government than we could without these services. We are also not free to withhold all these services. Keep in mind that in 1932 things were so bad that many Americans would have desperately chosen communism or fascism had government not stepped in to prop up the economy; and had we let libertarian laissez-faire stay its hand in 2009, we would have experienced another crisis of democracy.

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    robo_dev

    In an intersection, I should have the liberty to proceed full speed, my liberty shall not be infringed by the red light, a silly device put up by the nanny state.

    In the same intersection I should have the liberty to proceed at full speed, safe in the comfort that the police and rule of law will help to ensure that others will stop at the red light, since my light is green, and that no libertarian a___hole will **** through the red light.

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    maxwell edison

    It's obvious you don't understand the meaning of liberty. You should do a little self-learning (as opposed to simply making silly and ignorant assertions) before you post foolish things for all to see.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    and as max says, educate yourself. You are using straw men, and I've got a torch right here

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    maxwell edison

    And is why the "tea party" (note lower case) was grossly misunderstood and egregiously misrepresented by the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media. (And hijacked by some Republicans for political expediency.)

    P.S. Good to see you back!

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    AnsuGisalas

    Empty space has limitless liberty.

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    john.a.wills

    Some ran "For the liberty that we love... vote CDU". Others showed grandma pushing a grandchild on a swing (the SPD had just upped pensions) and ran "Of liberty we understand more... vote SPD".

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    mjd420nova

    Opinions. Freedom Liberty All have differing definitions in every county of every state of the union. The right to free speech is the only one I can exercise and not have to worry about violating anyone elses rights. Plug your ears. I don't fully understand the term PROGRESSIVISM. Common sense doesn't exist. It's more like " Look out for me because I'm not". My rights are walked on daily and if I took an afront to every transgression, I'd go nuts, steal my mothers gun and kill some innocents. Spare me the lantern in the dark sermon and bring back the freedom to feel SAFE on the streets and in my home. Politics corrupted democracy. The governing body has no desire to do their jobs and the rest of the country falls apart while the idiots sit on their hands, or each others even. We have the right to agree or disagree but not to impinge those ideas upon anyone else but the politicians can do it on TV. Save that money and put it back into the neighborhoods that need help with the failing infrastructure that the federal management fails to consider neccesary.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Please, educate yourself

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    Or can you not articulate it?

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    AnsuGisalas

    I love how all movers and shakers in the USA seem to be always looking for a panacea.
    And, that panacea is always assumed to be something incredibly simplistic, like "No more guns", "No more gov't", "Freeing the market", "Outsourcing" or "Jesus!"...
    Pick one, just one, and then work to prevent all those other solutions from being implemented.
    And then you wonder why all your hard work only lands you deeper in trouble...

    Did you ever consider working together on the things you can agree on, WITHOUT relying on simplistic solutions OR hunting for "Panacea or bust"?

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    AnsuGisalas

    I mean, "magic cure or bust" is such a good way to go.

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    AV .

    You know what? I'm for liberty. I am totally sick of supporting programs for every need du jour. Its like being nickeled and dimed to death with so called "good causes". Why can't I keep the fruits of my labor?

    We have all been duped by the progressive agenda in this country. I've come to this conclusion after working my entire life. I've paid into Medicare, Social Security, etc., etc., and now when it comes time for my turn, its almost out of money. WTF?! If I had been able to keep more of the money I had earned and invested it myself, I wouldn't be looking at this total train wreck when I'm about to retire.

    I'm sorry. I'm a little bitter. I paid into this and not by choice, just like the rest of you. I'm mad. Do you really want to trust your retirement to the government? If I was younger, I wouldn't. You're going to end up like me. I have an uncertain future, just like a lot of people.

    If I had liberty and didn't have the mandates of Social Security and Medicare, I would have been able to use that money for the retirement I want and it would be on my own terms.

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    DelbertPGH

    First, Social Security never was a 401k, with money in the bank equal to the need of all future retirees. It's old age/disability insurance, meaning that if you're fortunate enough to become too old to work regularly, or become disabled before you get old, it pays you money. It is funded by current wage earners, not by the people who get the benefits.

    The "Social Security trust fund" is a bank account at the U.S. treasury, which contains the excess of money collected via the FICA tax over money paid out to retirees, accumulated over the entire 80 years history of SS. It is required by law to invest in nothing but U.S. Federal bonds. The excess has really been just a sneaky way of collecting taxes for the general use of the Federal government for 80 years. Whether it has a positive or a negative balance makes no difference to the Federal government's ability to pay benefits.

    Social Security costs the U.S. 5% of GDP now. At the height of the baby boom retirement, it is estimated to cost 6%. Increasing SS revenues, either by the FICA tax or some other means, is easily within our capability. Medicare is a different problem, a much more serious problem. If we continue paying medical bills in our current style, with our current rate of crazy growth in per-procedure costs, then Medicare could sink the government. Of course, even if we don't pay for the elderly, the growth in health care costs will eventually destroy the rest of the economy.

    Finally, if you had "liberty" and no Social Security or Medicare payroll tax, what makes you think that 7.4% of your pay (and your employer's matching amount) would wind up in your pocket? Is there anything in the capitalist class's current behavior that makes you believe they'd give it to you? They'd cut your pay, because you wouldn't need that money to meet current needs, and they would put it in their own pockets, and invest it in countries like China or Bangladesh, because Americans expect too much for themselves, relative to the genuinely poor of the world. You'd have the liberty to work til you dropped, and starve in a cardboard box with your illness untended, until you ended up in an underfunded charitable hospital, where you could die between clean sheets.

    Give me that good ol' "progressivism" every time.

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    AV .

    Just look at Greece. If I took the amount paid into SS by myself and my employer and invested it in a private account for me alone instead of thrown into a big general fund, I'd be a lot better off today after 40 some years of working. One thing is for sure, none of my invested money would end up in the general government fund.

    When all the baby boomers retire, there will be less current workers to support their SS needs. What happens then?

    Medicare is just a mess and unsustainable in its current form. Privatizing it and increasing competition in the insurance industry might be the way to go. Also, modernizing healthcare treatments by using more nurse practitioners/physician assistants would help lower costs.

    I still think I'd be a lot better off on my own. I would have a 401k, my own private social security fund and private insurance that I choose on the open market. Costs would come down if there was more competition in healthcare insurance. The way it is now, I have an uncertain future when I retire. Thats if I can retire. Even with these fabulous government programs, I'll still be working til I drop.

    AV

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    AnsuGisalas

    You want to prove that something is unsustainable, and then you pick as evidence, out of all possible examples... Greece!?!
    That's the kind of argument only a Fox News anchor can love.
    Besides, "progressivism" is a straw man, and no, Greece is not an exemplar of that, nor do "progressivist" states exist.

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    DelbertPGH

    If you have a 401k that you draw down to fund your retirement, you are left depending on America to set aside some of its wealth to make you comfortable, just as if you were drawing from Social Security. Your 401k, remember, doesn't consist of a lot of canned hams and warehouses of grain, laid down in the past for you to eat in the future; when the future comes, you will go to the stock market and exchange assets for cash, which you will then exchange for things like ham and flour. ('Scuse my metaphor if you are Jewish. Substitute canned chicken.) My point is that you will depend upon the producers of 2030 to feed and house you in 2030; you will be a taker, who takes from them, whether or not you have private savings. The national economy will support its cohort of retirees, however they pay for it.

    The administrative costs of Social Security are smaller than the management fees on 401k funds, by the way; SS is a more efficient way for society to distribute pensions to all its citizens. The risks on SS are smaller; the stock market may fall, and bonds may default, but the government goes on. The only risk in Social Security is that a future generation will refuse to pay the tax, and vote its senior citizens to live under bridges.

    If we do away with SS and put the money instead into investment accounts, what do we do with people who don't save enough? Let them live in destitution until they sicken and die? Like in 1930? What happens with conscientious savers like you, who have money until they live too long, or tap their savings to deal with a major illness or an emergency with a child, and then are left without enough to go on? Do we say, "Sorry, Ma'am, your time of comfort is over: work, find charity, or fade away."

    The pension bill is affordable. Medicare is not. You're right about medical care. It's too expensive in America, and a solution must be found.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel.
    Provide a public alternative for the cartel to compete with, nothing else will keep them honest.

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    maxwell edison

    I agree with the stated problem, i.e. "Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel."

    Better known, however, as the medical insurance industry - which has, in essence, co-opted the medical delivery industry.

    The Progressive world view says, "Provide a public alternative....."

    Translation: Provide a government run alternative

    The Progressive world view says, "..... to compete with"

    Translation: To be run out of business by.

    Progressives call government competing with private business competition. What a joke!

    First of all, government's role (in America) is not to compete against private business. (What the idiots in Nordic Europe want to do is their own business.) Second of all, it's not competition at all. Governments can raise taxes and run deficits (apparently both indefinitely and with impunity); private business can't do that without putting themselves out of business. It's the epitome of unfair competition - the very thing government (in America) is suppose to protect against. (Again, what the idiots in Nordic Europe want to do is their own business.)

    And the mind-set of a Progressive illustrated:

    "..... nothing else will keep them honest." (Define "them": Business and/or the individuals who run businesses.)

    In government do the Progressives place their trust; in business and individuals do the Progressives place their distrust; governments should keep business and individuals honest.

    Opposed to Lady Liberty, whose mission is to keep government honest.

    Progressivism is the world view that infringes on the individual rights of people - that infringes on individual liberty. Let the idiots in Europe do what they want, but if this world view is allowed to establish a foothold in the USA (as if it hasn't already), you can kiss freedom and liberty in America goodbye.

    P.S. My solution to the agreed upon problem, as stated in the first sentence of this message?

    Break up the !@#$%^&* cartel. Duh!

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    AnsuGisalas

    Besides, Liberty doesn't have a stated mission. How on earth would that work?

    I know you like to think Liberty is a panacea, but there's no mechanic for how it's supposed to work.
    Lots of speculation about how it *might* work, but there is nothing stopping it from leading to oligopolies, oligarchy or worse.

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    maxwell edison

    Does not at all fall in-line with how Americans view, or otherwise define "conservatives". You are either intentionally being deceptive or ignorantly applying terms. Either way, it's typical for people of your ilk - deception, that is.

    Keep it out of conversations with me, since it's absolutely meaningless.

    And of course liberty does not have a "mission", per se. Different individuals have different missions; and as long as one doesn't infringe on the other...... It further illustrates your different world view.

    YOUR mission, however - Progressivism - MUST suck people into the scheme. You MUST suck people into YOUR world view.

    Progressives love to mind other people's s business.

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    DelbertPGH

    We have turned an insurance system into a payment system. It isn't a problem of a "cartel"; it's the fact that the people who receive the services (patients) have no idea of the cost, and that the people who deliver services (doctors) have no incentive to deliver a cheaper product. Insurance stands between them, handling all the money, and usually the insurance is paid for by a third party (employers), who don't have any leverage in medical choices at all. Consumers don't care much; given the choice of getting more care or less care, measured in dollars, they will take more. And, naturally, doctors are happy to deliver more, and insurance companies are happy to see more money flow through them.

    HMOs and other managed care conglomerates were supposed to fix the problem, by receiving a fixed fee per customer, instead of per service; because their income was pre-set, they would have an incentive to control costs. However, mysteriously, the cost of delivering care through HMOs keeps rising year after year, faster than the economy that sustains us grows. Same as the rest of the industry, actually.

    The cost of delivering care is rising in countries with state-controlled industries, too. They're just ten or fifteen years behind the U.S. in terms of this economic disaster.

    Probably the best way to solve it is to work some kind of consumer choice into the system, so patients will understand cost, choose accordingly, and encourage the industry to develop cheaper ways of delivering care. What you don't want, of course, is this: "You want $50,000 to fix that broken leg?! Are you nuts? ****, my kid can walk with a limp and get along fine!" The trick will be avoiding situations on the road to low cost where people are forced to decide to choose death over bankruptcy.

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    AnsuGisalas

    Insurance is the cartel. They demand that doctors give better rates to insured patients than to uninsured patients. This drives up the prices for everybody, but especially for the uninsured.
    This is in the interests of the insurance companies, it makes their service more necessary.
    Also, because many people do not have medical insurance, preventative medical care is often neglected, leading to a larger number of more expensive emergency room treatments.
    These ER treatment costs are "eaten" by the hospitals, again, driving up costs for everybody.

    Having a public option means less money wasted overall (since there will be preventative care for everybody, and preventative care is much cheaper than letting conditions go critical before acting). This doesn't even take lost working hours into account.
    Waste due to lost working hours is a net societal loss.
    Like free abortions, preventative care is an investment that pays itself back and even gives a net profit on the societal level.
    (Remember, they really didn't build that - society creates a lot of wealth that is not the property of the people who happen to channel it, that is the basis for taxation).

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    AnsuGisalas

    It does not mean "applying hare-brained extremes of dogma without a foundation of proven effectiveness".
    It just so happens that Conservatives seek to avoid riots and societal wastefulness. This means supporting tried-and-true safety nets.

    It's not my problem that the Republican party have largely abandoned conservativism. That is your problem.

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    DelbertPGH

    "Conservative" used to mean hanging on to what worked, not changing too fast, not having dreamy ideas about the perfectability of people, trusting to authorities and traditional structures. It wasn't a doctrine that resisted change; it acknowledged change as inevitable, but not to be sought carelessly or for its own sake. Society is a big complicated ecosystem where people and institutions interact, and human identity is an uncertain mix of good and evil, and you should be respectfully cautious about the unintended effects of big programs. That to me is conservatism, and its values I share.

    Liberalism, progressivism as Max would have it, has had a long tough time of separating itself from Marxism and from Rousseauism, throwing the crackpots back from the center to their various corners. American liberalism is much sweeter on captialism than it was in my young years, and more pragmatic.

    Conservatism, on the other hand, has become the magnet for libertarians who would disassemble institutions, Ayn-Randian dreamers, racists and segregationists, conspiracy lunatics, apocalyptic Christians, science rejectionists and modernity haters. Liberalism redeemed itself by pushing its nutbags off to the fringes, but conservatism has responded by moving its center to fringe territory.

    This stuff about liberty that I hear from Max is sentimentalism for a bygone time, the liberty that Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson knew. Liberty then meant that if you didn't like what you saw you could leave it, alone, and be yourself somewhere else. Liberty did not mean being tolerated; it was the freedom to reject everything and anything that displeased you. If you had property, liberty meant something else: the freedom to do anything with what you owned, including the people you owned, who were presumed unfit or unready for liberty. Property, family, and the baggage of prosperity and happiness actually limit your liberty: you do not feel free to destroy or devalue those things you prize, and thus you spend your life in servitude to their well-being. It's a paradox that if you are free to find what you want, you don't feel free to leave it behind, and you become unhappy being unfree. Libertarians these days don't pay much attention to this. It's kind of like, "Liberty gives me the space I need for a better life." In actuality, it depends on the desirability of the choices you can actually make.

    In countries like Afghanistan, where government doesn't work and doesn't restrict liberty simply because it's not around, you find life expectancy around 50 years and national wealth per capita under a thousand dollars a year: strikingly similar to the America of Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson. We've gone some place in the last 150 years, and it's for the better. I think liberty is better served by the ability to choose between two decent things, rather than to choose between two disasters. The progressive project has been good for this country.

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    boxfiddler Moderator

    This has become the norm within the housing and auto insurance industry as well.

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    CharlieSpencer

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    Kris Kristofferson

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    maxwell edison

    Ansu espouses progressive / socialist government. Ansu lives in a nation with a progressive / socialist government. Ansu is content with the status quo - that is, a progressive / socialist government and society, Therefore he is a "conservative" because he is content with the status quo.

    Amazing to see how people will expose their warped way of thinking.

    What's even more amazing to see is how this Nordic Euriopean progressive fool is spewing his crap around here, and seeing the Americans who actually believe him.

    Go back to bashing FOX News, Ansu - as if you've ever even watched the stuipd network. (Another thing that continually illustrates your ignorance - bashing something you'e never even seen.)

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    maxwell edison

    You compare me, or my world view, to a caricature image of Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson - the typical straw man tactic - and then argue against it. Disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

    You define terms to suit yourself. What's pragmatic to you may not be pragmatic to me.

    You continue to misrepresent liberty, and you feel as though using government as an instrument of intrusion into other people's personal space is a good thing.

    Stay out of other people's personal space, Delbert. It's about as simple as that.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    If you break up the cartel, that would require *gasp* government regulation.

    Not to mention infringing on their liberty.

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    To rail against others' defining terms you use in your arguments, but have yet to define yourself.

    Give us your definition of "liberty".

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    maxwell edison

    You took my "break up the cartel" comment, and made an incorrect assumption. I don't advocate government regulation to "break up" insurance company monopolies / strangle hold / whatever you want to call it. I advocate consumer competition.

    Moreover, I'm not "disingenuous" at all by not defining liberty. While it certainly does have different meanings to different people, you and I both received an American education, and if you don't know what I mean by it, go back to school.

    By the way, Nick, it's a real bore to have you "moderate" my comments to other people. If you have something constructive to add, fee free. Otherwise.......

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    NickNielsen Moderator

    there can be no "consumer competition" because, by definition, there are no viable alternatives to the cartel.

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    maxwell edison

    ....and/or intentionally being a real PITA. What is it with you, Nick? Did I **** in your Wheaties somewhere along the way? It's obvious to me (and to others who've mentioned it to me) that you are on a mission to pick on any and all of my nits.

    It was ANSU, Nick, who called our insurance industry a "cartel". Not me. I was merely playing on his word - AND THEN I went on to correct him when I said, I agree with the stated problem, i.e. "Medical care prices are controlled by a cartel." ......Better known, however, as the medical insurance industry - which has, in essence, co-opted the medical delivery industry.

    Grow up, Nick. I really am tired of you and your childish games. And since your true colors are coming across, I have zero interest in what you either think or say.

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    DelbertPGH

    Although you and I had similar American educations, I recall no course in my curriculum, "What Liberty Means to Young Max." (We were both young, back then.) Consequently, I don't actually know what liberty means to you, especially since you won't say. Clearly it is something different to me. I've thought a lot about liberty, and my idea of it has changed since we were in school.

    There are lots of points of liberty: saying what you want, running a business the way you want, worshipping in your style, being an atheist, owning a gun, doing what you want on your own property, disciplining your kids and dogs as you see fit, to move anywhere in the country, to apply for any job. It goes on and on. Not all liberties are mutually compatible, and if your liberty degrades somebody else's quality of life, then the state may have to restrict your liberty in the interest of that other guy's. When Huck Finn or Jeremiah Johnson felt they were being squeezed by society down some path they didn't like, they just pulled up stakes and got the **** out. Very few choose live that way; mainly a few off-the-grid survivalist neo-Nazi cranks in mountain valleys in Idaho.

    A big part of liberty for me is the pleasure of not having my life determined by poverty, not suffering bad health, being able to buy good whisky and wine close to home, to have controversial talks with intelligent people, and so on. Liberty is in part not having a lousy life, and that is a compromise: I do things I've not chosen freely (work, commute, pay taxes, never leave the house naked) because that's part of the rich lifestyle. Lots of little rules of behavior, but if I break the rules and wind up living like the poor people eight blocks from me, I have even more restrictions to endure. Some liberties I trade for others.

    Some of the Bill of Rights liberties are still strong and nearly absolute: religion, speech, gun ownership. When it comes to guns, though, what's important? Having a revolver, a bolt-action rifle, or a shotgun? Carrying a pistol in public under your shirt? Having several semi-automatic guns, with extended magazines and military features, that would be suitable for fighting off the National Guard? Owning a full-automatic Thompson sub-machine gun, as was legal in the 1920s? Grenades and rocket launchers, to make your post-apocalypse contest with the Army more even? Some liberties are incompatible with the safety of your neighbors, or with their ability to feel safe from the guy with the arsenal down the street, or with the security of the state itself. Jeremiah Johnson could live deep in the woods, worship Satan at the top of his lungs in his front yard if he wished, shoot his gun in his front yard if he wished, because he exercised his special liberty to leave everything behind and live with no one. You and I are not him, and our esteem for liberty must be compromised in ways his was not. He's not a model for our times, and the absolutism of his values cannot be ours. ****, he shot Indian men, women, and babies on principle. If anybody told him he couldn't, he'd feel his liberty was being infringed.

    The state protects us from each other, and creates an environment wherein civil society and economy can flourish. The progressive state recognizes the interests of its citizens: when Teddy Roosevelt saw that trusts had grown to such power, he created ways for the state to limit the might of the trusts and to keep them from funneling the nation's income to a small circle of people. That's progressivism: finding things that only the state can do to enhance the lives and wealth of the whole people. I'm in favor of that principle, among other principles.

    Perhaps the biggest squeeze on liberty is experienced by small businessmen. Do you operate a business, by any chance?

    You will have noticed that I explain why I bring Huck Finn and Jeremiah Johnson into my discussion: not to suggest you are like them, not to create a false depiction of libertarian positions, but to show that some ideas of liberty that were once dear to American principles are no longer viable, at least not to men who are rooted in civilization. You will also notice that I am using "progressive" without worrying that you misunderstand my meaning by it, or insisting you tell me what you mean by it. I'll mean what I mean, and if you are unclear about that, just ask.

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    AnsuGisalas

    http://www.heritage.org/index/
    "Socialist" Denmark still beats the USA.
    Economic freedom isn't just "not being subjected to limits", it also involved "being able to do stuff".
    It seems, Max, that you think "not being prevented from doing anything" equals "anybody being able to do anything". In practice, it only applies to the rich.
    Max, it seems you are another one of those Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires.

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    maxwell edison

    (And it's a sad commentary that I have to post this.)

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Personal space.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Owning and controlling ones own body, mind, thoughts, desires, goals, ambitions, choices, outcomes, etc.,

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Thomas Jefferson's definition: Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the limits of the law" because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

    Liberty and rights ARE NOT defined by anything that forces anyone to do anything. Progressives try to FORCE people to succumb to their will.

    Rights and responsibilities:

    However, to live in a free society, one must accept responsibility for it. Unfortunately, all too many people are unwilling to accept the responsibility that comes along with their naturally endowed rights. Moreover, there are people like Delbert and those of his ilk, who TAKE responsibility AWAY from people with their progressive schemes. They use government as the instrument of their misguided compassion. They use government as the instrument of their misguided pragmatism. They use government as the instrument of their misguided social engineering . They use government to make choices for other people. They use government as their instrument of tyranny over a voting minority - which is nothing more than tyranny of the majority.

    Living without being subjected to the will of another.

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    DelbertPGH

    As you say, to live in a free society, one must take responsibility for it, and unfortunately, all too many are unwilling to accept the responsibility that accompanies their natural rights. It is not reasonable to say, though, that progressive government saps the will of people to make the sacrifices and do the work to meet the public need. ("Public" need being what private people experience, but cannot satisfy with self-serving action.) People are plenty lazy and feckless and indifferent without help from external agencies. Who mows the lawn in front of the vacant house? Usually it's not the homeowners on either side of it, who complain about the jungle and its effect on their property values, but don't want to be the sucker that does the work that every other freeloader benefits from.

    There are things that government does that individuals cannot do well, or can't do at all. Police, courts, printing money, cleaning streets, regulating pollution. Up through the Civil War, the U.S. government did not control money; banks printed it independently of any government. In California around 1870, gold was mined by blasting hillsides with water, and sifting gold flakes out of the muddy flood, which destroyed streams and fishing for miles downhill. In the 1950s, any restaurant could order black diners to leave. In the 1960s, bosses could extort sex from their female clerks, and fire them if they didn't put out. Progressive government made these offenses illegal. Can you complain? These are all things that constrain free men from using their property, controlling their environments, and running their businesses as they want: reduction of their liberties, impositions of the will of "somebody else", that somebody being the public, the government. Exerting the public will upon people who didn't experience the private courage to be decent.

    Don't forget, the government can draft you and take you to war. Do you disagree with that prerogative?