The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Is it over? Can we come out now?

Ahhhh! The conventions are over and we get to move on to the meat of the election. The conventions are simply the longest (and most annoying) of the campaign ads. We can now tune them out, DVR everything and Fast Forward through them.

I was thinking about how I became a conservative as I drove home from Biloxi the other day. Reagan had a line... "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Party left me." My transition was something like that.

When I was a liberal, it was the late 60's. The liberal mantra was all about getting government intrusion out of our lives. Let us live as we please, stop invading our bedrooms, quit judging our lifestyles. Now, the liberal mindset is much the opposite and demands intrusion by the government and supporting those lifestyles with the taxes of others.

I think most people in this country only want government intrusion when there's a natural disaster or a major downturn in the economy. On the latter, they seem to approve of bailouts for themselves only.... which they never get.

That's the problem with allowing government to intrude; it is never the way you want them to. You want them to help the little guy but he's hard to find. From the homeless guy on the street to the small businessman who wants less paperwork and lower taxes, the "little guy" would like to be left alone. But we want the government there to help us rebuild after a hurricane and to grant us low interest loans to add to the insurance payouts. We want the government to do most of the cleanup. But once that's done, we'd like it to go away and let us get ourselves going again.

I was listening to the radio and someone interviewed people on the street around the Democratic National Convention. He asked about corporations and profit. Almost all seemed to be opposed to both. That bothered me. Do they not work? Do they not work for a corporation or a company that has at least one corporation as a major client? I worked for a large corporation for 34 years. They treated me both well and poorly over those years. My desire to do as I pleased conflicted with their desire to have maximum productivity. I wanted a larger paycheck, they wanted to keep my wages down. We compromised often enough to keep me around.

Liberals seem to hate the rich. Yet I have never met one who didn't want to be rich himself. I could never understand that. I think it was just envy in action.

So... I didn't leave liberalism, liberalism left me.


Tom Sightings said...

I don't disagree with most of what you say. But isn't it also the government's role to define the rules so that by exercising our rights, we don't infringe on other people's rights. And in this increasingly crowded world, exercising our rights often DOES burden other people.

Do I have the right to burn my garbage -- and send my stinky smoke into your yard?

Do I have a right to run my dry cleaning business -- and pollute the nearby lake?

Do I have the right to speed and tailgate and run stop signs -- and endanger other drivers?

Do I have the right to drive a gas-guzzling SUV all over the place -- sending more pollution into the air and making it easier for oil despots to tighten their stranglehold on us?

The list goes on and on, and it gets complicated.

Douglas said...

Let me answer your questions this way:

No (there are legitimate laws not to limit the smoke but to protect against fires)
No (there are legitimate laws against damaging water supplies)
No (there is no right to drive)
Yes(you can purchase any vehicle that is for sale in which to exercise your privilege to drive... the pollution and the stranglehold are not relevant)

Do I have a right which directly infringes on your right? None of those questions involved rights which I have. You see, you do not have a "right" to unpolluted air, you do not have a "right" to clean water, and you do not have a "right" to drive.

We seem to be inventing rights all over the place. Just calling something a "right" does not make it so.

Tom Sightings said...

I guess I was using the word "Right" not in its strictest terms. I'm not thinking of items that are in the Bill of Rights, necessarily, but situations where one person's activity affects other people, particularly in a negative way. And I think the govt. has an obligation to make rules and regulations to define the limits of those activities -- i.e. make laws about them ... or intrude in our lives, if you will. It sounds like you're a libertarian -- am I right? I think libertarianism is fine in theory, but doesn't seem to work as well in this crowded world of ours.

Anyway, what you're saying that a conservative in 2012 believes a lot of the same things as a liberal of the 1960s? If so, I think you make a good point. But, as for myself, I think I'm more a liberal of the 1990s variety.

Douglas said...

You are correct, the purpose of a democratic government is to act as the arbiter of society. That is, to set "standards" for society and to enforce those standards. I say "democratic government" because it is different under an autocratic one. Under an autocratic form, the standards are dictated by the autocrat(s). Under the democratic form, standards can be changed if they are ineffective or deemed too oppressive or strict. Or for a myriad of other reasons.

I don't think I am saying the conservative of today is the same as the liberal of the 60's; just that some of the basics of liberalism of the 60's are the basics of the conservatism of today. Or, at least, my notion of it. I would call myself a pragmatic libertarian if I had to have a term. A full libertarian government would almost resemble anarchy. Society is much too complex to function in that form.

Let's just say I think smaller is better and strong fiscal conservatism may be what we need. We tend to over-regulate, I think, simply because we can.