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Bush vs The US Constitution
May 3, 2006 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush Not much of this report from the Cato institute will be surprising to MeFites, but it is a great document [31 page PDF] that summarizes Bush's consistent disregard for the Constitution and drive for greater executive power.
posted by knave (27 comments total)

 
Cato is one of the great critics of Bush Administration. They also began early, see Ed Crane's "The Clintonesque George W. Bush".
posted by psergio at 3:59 PM on May 3, 2006


The beliefs, and actions, of our neocon overlords (read G.W. , Cheney, Wolfowitz, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, et al) with regards to Constitutional anything are unAmerican in the extreme. They come from the ancient imperial viewpoint that the great unwashed masses cannot be trusted to manage their own affairs.

History will view this administration, and the electorate that sat idly by and allowed them to rape the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, with great disdain.

I hope voters take their opportunity in November to begin to reverse this slow-motion train wreck.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:14 PM on May 3, 2006


Reading that report and this one, it just astounds me that a third of our country still supports this miserable excuse for a chief executive. What the fuck is wrong with us?
posted by EarBucket at 4:36 PM on May 3, 2006


I'll tell you what's wrong with us: we're lazy.

When the country was founded 230 years ago, the people who founded it had put up quite a struggle. Getting to that point involved sailing thousands of miles into unfamiliar territory, where harsh winters and never-before-seen diseases made life exceptionally difficult. Time passes, and the population grows increasingly unhappy with British rule. They dump shipments of goods into the ocean to protest taxes, ultimately fighting a brutal war to drive out the British, and set about creating a government that is run by the very people who created it, to prevent these abuses from happening again.

So, for at least a couple of generations, freedom is big on everyone's mind. They are all too aware of the price that had to be paid for these newly-defined freedoms, and since building a new society from the ground up -- especially just having ended a brutal war with your major trade partner -- isn't easy, they were reminded again every day.

Their strong convictions are well documented, of course. Quotes like "Give me liberty, or give me death," and "I would rather see a hundred guilty men go free than imprison one innocent man" (quotes might not be exact) came from that era.

But as time goes on, the fight fades from memory while the freedoms remain. Eventually, everyone who witnessed the war is dead, or close to it. And at this point, the value of the freedoms becomes less obvious, because there are no longer any living people who had to go without them.

More and more time passes, until over 200 years later, we not only have nobody left in this society who's personally aware of what the Colonists went through, but it's so far removed from life that it's not even a distant thought. People become lazy and relaxed, and the freedoms lose even more inherent value.

So, in the early 1800's, you have people who believe that anyone who would trade their freedom for security are undeserving of neither. In the 2000's, people have lost so much understanding of why these freedoms are important, that they value the security more.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:57 PM on May 3, 2006


Isnt the CATO institute a right leaning and/or libertariana think tank? It is refreshing to see that they see the abuses of power as well (its not some left wing paranoia/conspiracy theory).
posted by SirOmega at 6:00 PM on May 3, 2006


Cato Is definitely "right wing" although they have been consistently libertarian. I think they opposed the Iraq war and of course the war on drugs (IIRC).
posted by delmoi at 6:06 PM on May 3, 2006


They are very libertarian. That's the whole point of Cato. Anyway, it's nice, but not that surprising, to see them act in accordance with their stated beliefs. What I would much more like to see would be the rest of the right-wing, so influenced by liberatarians and so enamoured of "small government" rhetoric, join Cato in having a clue.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:17 PM on May 3, 2006


CrayDrygu, I think it's not even the valuing of the freedom. I think it is, to some extent, a lack of awareness or conception there could be problems and abuses here. I think the ideas of America as "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" have been a part of our national shared story for so long that many citizens no longer consider it possible that we'd ever be otherwise. We're the biggest, strongest, most powerful country on earth. We're the good guys. Oh, there might be a few bad apples here and there, and politicians will be politicans and disemble for the camera, and we have our rough economic patches and hard times like anybody, but when it comes down to it, we've still got the most liberties of anybody, and we're still the best goddam nation on the earth, right? Anything else is just not part of the story most people hold in their heads.

Libertarians are different because they're convinced we took a wrong turn a century ago and that we have, in fact, not been free ever since. I disagree thoroughly with them on a large number of points about how society should be run, but God bless 'em, they distrust state authority and hell if that isn't something America needs more of right now.
posted by namespan at 7:21 PM on May 3, 2006


Libertarianism has nothing to do with "right wing". (Hope to avoid a derail about this, though.)
posted by knave at 7:22 PM on May 3, 2006


eb - David Frum doesn't seem to think that is very likely.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:26 PM on May 3, 2006


namespan, I think you're onto something there. Maybe it's less of a "value" thing, and more of a "taken for granted" thing.

And I agree with you about libertarians. Some of their ideals squick me, but I greatly prefer them to the current trends...
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:35 PM on May 3, 2006


our neocon overlords ... come from the ancient imperial viewpoint that the great unwashed masses cannot be trusted to manage their own affairs.

I posit that "limousine liberals" believe pretty much the same thing.

The real problem is the very existence of a ruling class in the first place, whether conservative or liberal.

And Cato totally kicks ass.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:23 PM on May 3, 2006


The real problem is the very existence of a ruling class in the first place, whether conservative or liberal.

People have said that before.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:49 PM on May 3, 2006


Good read. It's not surprising to see this though; the 'classic' conservative republicans with whom the libertarian ideals resonate with have been disgusted by the usurpation of the party by PNAC [neocons] and co. since 1994's Contract With America. Many have either left the party or lashed out against the direction that the party has been travelling in since. The blatant pandering by the neocons to the evangelicals is eye-opening. Instead of the party of small-government, the have increasingly expanded the scope and power of the federal government and extended the 'nanny-statism' to outrageous levels.

All I can say is 'you get what you vote for America.'

January 20, 2009 can't come soon enough.

Without true election reform and fundraising reform, the country is tanked. The two-party system is a smokescreen for corporate interests. Members of these parties don't actually stand for anything these days. Everyone is voting and earmarking to get that 'special interest' dollar.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2006


“Cato is one of the great critics of Bush Administration.”

I suspect he uses them only as a Clouseaueque foil to attack him to keep him sharp.


“In the 2000's, people have lost so much understanding of why these freedoms are important, that they value the security more.”
- CrayDrygu

I disagree. I easily equal if not surpass the desire for freedom and the spirit to resist power held by any of the founding fathers. I often find myself stating something that was said by Sam Adams or Franklin in different terms without knowing they said that.
There are three things I don’t have. Real influence (fame or political power), money - or rather MONEY, and genius.
I’m not a dullard, but who can rival Franklin in brilliance? I have flashes of eloquence, but how can I hope to compete with Jefferson?
The birth of the United States - unlike many other countries in the world - was at a moment in history when you had some of the brightest individuals of a very bright age with very strong international connections and material resources who were getting equally screwed by a government that was not only oppressive, but had overestimated it’s power, underestimated it’s rivals and was headed by a man suffering from mental illness.
The fledgling colonies had men of genius, wealth, and potent spirit on their side, some of the most innovative minds in the world, against a system that was so thick with bureaucracy and hampered by the rituals of royalty that it was nearly purely mechanistic in response.
Even then we almost lost.

Give me, say (’cause it’s off the cuff), Chomsky, Bill Gates, Buckley, Mandela, Soros, ElBaradei, Neil Postman, maybe Philip Rieff and Winthrop Rockefeller jr, and Jon Corzine or Tom Golisano (maybe a warhorse like Gen. Vines or Gen. Gary Jones, but I’d want Gen. Julian Thompson as my “Washington”) and a handfull of others with brains, juice and money, and I could shake the hell out of this country.

"When the hour of crisis comes, remember that 40 selected men can shake the world." - Yasotay

It’s not that we don’t want it, it’s that there are collaborators. People who make concessions to liberty. They are not to be hated any more than someone who is in advertising is to be hated. It’s an odious job, but it’s easy to rationalize if it gets your kids into a nicer school and neighborhood and you eat a little better. Not something I do myself, but I see where it’s hard not to take the money and be part of the machine.
I don’t know that everyone has their price. I don’t believe I do. But it’s not like they’re asking you to kill anyone. Someone pushes a briefcase full of money in front of you and asks you simply to make a couple phone calls, it’s pretty easy to say why not? I agree it doesn’t make it right, but blame the people that make the monster.

Plenty of us here see it. But you can’t protest or bring the fight to the people pushing because they’re too far off or up and operate by chained proxies. So you stand in the street and yell or something and the cops have to do something about that. Are the cops doing it because they support “the Man”? No. Just keeping the peace for the most part. (With enough sellouts and exceptions though to be disquieting).

Hell, there’s enough people on Mefi alone that if you look at any given situation and say “well that seems fishy” or “I just don’t know” will bust their ass to convince you of one position or another.
Without solid links there’s no real proof. And even when there is, it’s hard to get solid info on it. And even then it’s mucked up by the proxies themselves and (worse) the fanboys (liberal or conservative).

Someone mentioned to me the other day that if BushCo did in fact have something to do with 9/11 (conspiracy, what-have-you) why didn’t they fake having WMDs in Iraq?

But I mean - Ritter wasn’t a stalking horse? The trailers, the yellowcake, Powell’s ‘evidence’ of “biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails”, the September Dossier and Andrew Gilligan, Judith Miller and the aluminum tubes (and Ahmed Chalabi), Georges Sada saying they were moved by 747 (snicker) to Syria, we abandon the search, but now there’s the retcon story about systematic looting.

Nifty Mark Twain story about a cat telling other animals that there was a beautiful picture in a hole in the wall in a house (a mirror). All the animals go look. The bear sees a bear, the mule sees a mule, etc. - The point being, people see what they want to see and that’s always been that way.
The key is to explain what a mirror is and why it’s useful.

But again, usually it takes some genius to pull that off.

“No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” - Samuel Adams


“O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?” - Patrick Henry


“People have said that before.”

T.D.Strange - I take issue with your insinuation that the abhorance of a ruling class is a communist doctrine. Or at least a purely communist doctrine.
We have a long history of distaste for anything smacking of a ruling class. Americans don’t bow to royalty for example.
And there is a wealth of American commentary on the subject.
(and I’ve gone on long enough)
posted by Smedleyman at 9:59 AM on May 4, 2006


I easily equal if not surpass the desire for freedom and the spirit to resist power held by any of the founding fathers.

Wonderful. All rules have exceptions. I had thought it would be assumed that, when generalizing about a society as a whole, there would be individuals that the generalization doesn't apply to.

It's like saying that people in America have an obesity problem, so you point at the skinny guy in the corner. Good for him. Americans still have an obesity problem, and they're still willing to trade freedom for security.
posted by CrayDrygu at 2:54 PM on May 4, 2006


“Americans still have an obesity problem, and they're still willing to trade freedom for security.”

Ridiculous. They are merely being beguiled by saturation advertising and repetative media messaging which isn’t at all giving them an accurate picture of reality.

I will concede that I perhaps have the luxury of more free time, access to technology, more money, perhaps a better education than most - which is indicative only of my intellectual curiosity.

But in using myself as an example I’m saying AS an average person. I am not a genius. I am not powerful.
In the Kantian sense - Arnold Schwartzenegger and I have the same physical chances engaging a large tiger.
The fact he is stronger than I am doesn’t matter in the slightest. If either of us fights a tiger hand to hand we will die and be eaten.

In the same respect, I might be in a far better position than most Americans in terms of information or access, but I am no match for any of the forces we face.

The only difference between me and any other average American is that maybe I pay a little more attention and I have a worse temper and I like a good scrap.

But I’m lucky. Most people are busting their asses, taking care of their kids and doing what they have to do day by day.

If they knew the score they would be pissed off too. They would not trade freedom for security.
How is it I choose freedom and they don’t when they’re just the same as I am?

Again - I’m lucky. I got some breaks. I read more and spend time learning.
Schwartzenegger got the body he did because he spent time in the gym - same thing. But everyone has biceps. Everyone has pectorals.
If they were well fed - that is had information and good dietery choices available to them - and had the leisure time to go to the gym they’d be in shape and healthy too.

But they’re being lied to, constantly.
So yes, they're fat and "choose" security.

Tell me you don’t apply this same logic to rape victims because they were willing to wear short skirts to attract men.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:26 PM on May 4, 2006


"Tell me you don’t apply this same logic to rape victims..."

Let me give you an example. We have people in this country who say things like, "Why do you care that the government was performing wiretaps on citizens without approval? You shouldn't care unless you have something to hide. Since I have nothing to hide, it's OK."

These are not "victims" of freedom-rape. These are people who are very much aware of what is happening, are actively supporting the actions, and are saying that everyone who disagrees is being absurd. They are not only willing to trade liberty for security, but they actively suggest it.

For you to compare this to a rape victim is nothing short of appalling.
posted by CrayDrygu at 5:27 PM on May 4, 2006


“We have people in this country who say things like...”

Indeed. I concede there are those kinds of people. But those people are mostly on television. That the extremists are the most visible does not make them representational of the majority. And a majority of people don’t believe it, they just can’t stop the machine from rolling that way. And the folks who do believe it only believe it because they’re scared. And why are they scared? Because that’s the message.

“For you to compare this to a rape victim is nothing short of appalling.” -posted by CrayDrygu

Oh bullshit. Firstly, your attempt at such ham handed emotional manipulation not insults my intellect but if proof that you’re deliberately misunderstanding the core of my point.
Because if the manipulation of someone’s mind and spirit though domination of their environment through brute force isn’t akin to rape, I don’t know what is.
Secondly you’re oversimplifying the issue.
There are smaller and smaller numbers of companies that control the media. Power is consistently crushing the truth out of visibility. This is being done merely because it can be done.
It’s not as gross and manifest as physical rape. But it’s clearly an obscenity.

What’s appaling is that your view of human nature is apparently that people will do things contrary to their best interests.
They won’t. Even intolerance and bigotry is a learned trait. And someone learns something because someone else is teaching it.

Get out of the house a while. Talk to some people. Talk to a lot of people. There are quite a few who don’t like whats going on lately and even among those who do, you can see that they’re being misled.
Talk to them enough and they’ll see it too.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:07 PM on May 5, 2006


You've completely discredited yourself in my eyes, Smedleyman, and allow me to explain why. This is the only part of your post I'm replying to, because I found it so offensive that I no longer see any value in continuing the conversation.

"...your attempt at such ham handed emotional manipulation..."

Let's talk about your ham-handed emotional manipulation. The one where you brought rape into the conversation. You're the one who attempted to align my viewpoint with that of a rape apologist. Don't accuse me of manipulation for calling you out on it.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:00 PM on May 5, 2006


"You're the one who attempted to align my viewpoint with that of a rape apologist."

I think it's valid. Your argument is similar to the position of blaming the victims. (As well as harkening back to a nostalgic time when everyone in America was apparently a different form of human than they are now)

If you are speaking ONLY of the talking heads on television that are taking the position that we should give up freedom for security than your point is valid. And one I conceded to.

But I took it that you were as you said: "generalizing about a society as a whole" - and said people were generally lazy and cared more about security than freedom.

Your statement: "In the 2000's, people have lost so much understanding of why these freedoms are important, that they value the security more" - agrees with my basic point.

My focus is on why and how people have lost their understanding your (apparent) focus is on people - society as a whole - actively suggesting that their freedoms be taken away and how they are inferior to the colonists that I think you have painted into a rather rosy picture.

"You're the one who attempted to align my viewpoint with that of a rape apologist."

Now I concede the term "rape" might be a bit emotionally charged. But I suspect that you are overreacting to it.

I attacked your logic and your postion. I did not say or imply that you have raped anyone or empathize with someone who did or shared that point of view. I noted that the structure of your argument was similar in form to that "blame the victim" mentality. Is 'rape' a harsh term? Yes.

But I will defend the use of that term because I find the lies and distortion and resultant lack of understanding on the part of the American people to truly be an obscenity.

I find it appalling that anyone can support those who do say if you have nothing to hide you should consent to a search. But people do. And I share your distaste for them, but I don't blame them for not being the equals of some kind of non-existant fledgling nation of heroes.

I don't like them. But I blame the ones beguiling them.

"You've completely discredited yourself in my eyes, Smedleyman"

Like I fucking care. Go be offended. I attacked your argument, not you. And that's not an apology, because I don't have anything to apologize for. Your argument that I connected people "actively supporting the actions" of encroachment on civil liberties is specious at best.

If that's your argument, then you didn't make it clear and you didn't clarify me when I reiterated it and offered a counterpoint.
So it's your fault for the misunderstanding as well.

If you "no longer see any value in continuing the conversation" then monkeyscript me and write me the fuck off or ban me, cause you're not interested in reaching an understanding anyway.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:58 AM on May 6, 2006


"If you are speaking ONLY of the talking heads on television..."

Actually, I was speaking of everyone but them, because I pay no attention to TV news whatsoever. I literally have not watched TV news in years.

"I attacked your argument, not you."

You brought the emotionally-charged "rape" comparison into play. You then attempted to accuse me of "ham handed emotional manipulation."

If you don't think it's a personal attack, fine. But it does show that you have no interest in honest discussion.
posted by CrayDrygu at 4:39 PM on May 6, 2006



“But it does show that you have no interest in honest discussion.”

Again - horseshit. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be replying or typing much I’d just be trolling.

So in essence your point appears to me to be that:ALL Americans have completely devalued freedom with the sole exception of me and perhaps some few others (your point: “I had thought it would be assumed that, when generalizing about a society as a whole, there would be individuals that the generalization doesn't apply to.”) because they are lazy and “not only willing to trade liberty for security, but they actively suggest it.”

In my disagreement I proposed that not ALL Americans do that. I asserted that in fact as an average American myself I don’t. I futher illustrated that in my experiance nearly everyone I have spoken to does not. And the few that do are incorrect in their base assumptions.
I followed that point to determine why are they incorrect in their base assumptions if - when I speak to them - they see the validity of promoting freedom versus handing over your rights in exchange for security.

/I suspect we agree that this is a false dilemma in the first place promoted by the powers that be.

In all cases they have been watching/reading/etc. mainstream media and/or other infotainment such as Fox “News” and what have you.

So I put forward as a proposition that based on my experiance and related observation that people do “choose security over freedom” as you say only when lied to.

I also believe - and all my my experiance and observation confirms, that when most people know the straight story they will make the right decisions.
(Socrates said this thousands of years ago and he’s still right).

I felt, and still feel, that lying to people to deprive them of their liberties is an obscenity and I very much feel it is akin to rape.

From that basis I asked - given your position that all Americans have an obesity problem as metaphor for freedom hating - if you apply the same logic to rape victims.

This is a valid position - not in the least because your earlier argument - that I was selectively observing certain exceptions to your assertion rather than making a statement about myself and the many people I know as relatively average individuals compared with the giants of history I used as an example; but it is also valid because you have a false dichotomy - people aren’t either patriots or traitors.

Now I didn’t mind that so much, perhaps you misunderstood my point that I was an average person myself and I know a lot of other average folks - indeed many right-leaning folks - who very much favor freedom over the kind of security the Feds are offering.

But it was based on MY experiance and I only extrapolated your argument onto that.

You then took offense to that by inserting a scenario of your own - “We have people in this country who say things like... " to “These are not "victims" of freedom-rape.”

Well, I agreed with you - given your terms, that that was the case. There is a small number of people who can’t be reasoned with who do say things like that.

Well the only place I’ve heard people say stuff like that is on T.V.

For some reason you seem to think that the fact you don’t watch T.V. invalidates my point.

I am wearing white, grass stained shoes right now.
You could say “Well, I don’t wear white shoes or walk in the grass” - and it doesn’t mean a damned thing or change the facts.

I don’t care whether you watch T.V. all day or never watch it. It doesn’t alter the validity of your observations either way.

And you give no reason why people might be saying things such as we should give up security for freedom - you simply assert they are.

Which I agree - some people are. I’ve seen them on t.v. You haven’t. Ok. So?
They exist and I’ve conceded they don’t enter into my experiance.

How does that in any way change OR EVEN ADDRESS - the argument at hand?

Which is - either all Americans (with perhaps .000001 % exceptions) choose security over freedom as a matter of free will and with full understanding of the consequences or they don’t and their choice is based on the (mis)information they are given.

Again - I believe it’s the latter.

Now if we’re speaking “emotionally charged” certainly rape is heavier than obesity - but you opened the door to allowing those sorts of analogies (Obesity) so I attempted to argue in terms you understood.

You focused only on the term “rape” and ignored the entire context in which it was used.

I called you out on it. It doesn’t serve the point of the argument. I did not - for example - focus on the term “obesity” and argue that you meant to call me fat.

I incorporated your analogy into my argument. I recognized it as a valid attempt to illustrate your point.

Is that what you are doing now by engaging in ad hominem attacks?
(you’ve lost respect for me - I have no interest in honest discussion, etc)

Or do you actually have a point to counter my assertion that it is NOT 99.9999% of the American public saying they want to have the false security the government is pushing and are actively suggesting giving up their civil liberties?

With my explaination that those that are, do so only because they are being given a false view of reality by the media, government and other sources and if they had accurate information they would choose a course less destructive to their free will than they are choosing now?

Do you have any argument as WHY people would say the things you are saying that is different that what I’ve suggested? Something in the water perhaps? Inferior moral rectitude?
What is it that makes the basic human being who happens to be in North America choose differently than another basic human in North America by virtue of living just over 200 years ago?

We both essentially agree on what should be occuring - I’m trying to - and have been for some time - discover your rationale for saying what you are saying.

You seem interested only in “winning” this argument, in which there isn’t much disagreement in the first place.

So - ok - you win.
I’m completely wrong about accusing you of being ham handed. I am a complete asshole. It was me that brought all this emotionally charged language to metafilter. I am abject scum and you are completely right.
You are so much better than me that I am blessed to be enlightened by the honeyed eloquence and pure wisdom of your words.

Now - what is the REASON everyone in America but the people on t.v. (because you don’t watch t.v.) choose to actively suggest stripping our freedoms away to have security?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on May 7, 2006


"Or do you actually have a point to counter my assertion that it is NOT 99.9999% of the American public saying they want to have the false security..."

No, I do not. I do not have a point to counter that claim, because never once have I claimed that "99.9999%" of the public is willing to make this trade. I do not want to "win" this argument, as you seem to think I do. I want you to stop twisting my words around like this.

I find it impossible to have any reasonable discussion with you when you consistently take my claims out of context, make up wild accusations, or even ignore them completely.

This is what I meant when I said you have no interest in honest discussion. You obviously are quite interested in discussion. It's the "honest" part that I doubt.

You have not made a single reply to me that honestly represented my claims.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:31 PM on May 7, 2006


With my explaination that those that are, do so only because they are being given a false view of reality by the media, government and other sources and if they had accurate information they would choose a course less destructive to their free will than they are choosing now?

Do you have any argument as WHY people would say the things you are saying that is different that what I’ve suggested? Something in the water perhaps? Inferior moral rectitude?
What is it that makes the basic human being who happens to be in North America choose differently than another basic human in North America by virtue of living just over 200 years ago?


Well, I'll just jump in here and give my point of view. Offhand, I can count my FIL, one of my aunts, and another aunt's co-worker as having expressed the belief in giving up freedom for security. I am sure there are more, but it's late... These are all educated, competent people. In addition, we have the undisputed fact that there has been no huge public outcry about the wave after wave of violations of our civil rights. The thing about this administration is that most of what they're doing is out there in the public record. It is in the newspapers, although maybe buried in a little paragraph in page A16. And what they actually lie about is so easy to see through if you are paying attention. Like Bill Maher said, which I can only paraphrase, when the Bush administration went on the Sunday morning talk shows talking up the WMDs in Iraq, the nuclear threat, the "smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud" he knew it was BS. He just did, at a gut level and from being informed. I did, too. I didn't believe it for a second.

So, in my view what we're dealing with is willful ignorance. In part, I blame the public school system, which was never meant to produce an active democratic citizenry. It was meant to create an obedient workforce. I didn't have a single teacher who encouraged us to question authority, even a low-stakes authority of a bygone era in our history books. And I'm talking about questioning how the school was run by administrators, as well as questioning how the country was run by our public servants.

But mostly, people just don't want to know. Most people I know won't get interested in an issue until it directly affects them, their standard of living or a family member, etc. Yes, I do have a dim view of human nature. I think it's realistic.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 11:30 PM on May 7, 2006



“because never once have I claimed that "99.9999%" of the public is willing to make this trade.” - posted by CrayDrygu

“ ‘If you are speaking ONLY of the talking heads on television...’
Actually, I was speaking of everyone but them, because I pay no attention to TV news whatsoever.”

Your words pal. You were speaking of everyone but the talking heads on television. I don’t know how that breaks down in terms of percentages. (It was admittedly a rough estimate on my part.)

“You have not made a single reply to me that honestly represented my claims.” - posted by CrayDrygu

Yes. Fucking exactly. Why do you think I keep fishing for hints as to what your claims are?

It’s why I use terms like “It appears to me” and such when I reiterate what you’ve said.
We both know what you meant in the “everyone but” the people on television. But I’m trying to get some sense of who it is your talking about or in what way you mean “everyone” or “We have people in this country” and I offer you feedback and all I get back is vague assertions and that I’m “twisting your words.”

I’m not. I just want a straight answer.
I notice you didn’t address the last question on my previous post. It’s straight up asking for details from YOUR argument.

How can I twist what I’m not understanding? I’ve asked you three times now for clarification of your position. You keep making this about you and me.


“And what they actually lie about is so easy to see through if you are paying attention....But mostly, people just don't want to know. Most people I know won't get interested in an issue until it directly affects them, their standard of living or a family member, etc.”
- overanxious ducksqueezer

I agree. Many people are that way and I can see your points on the public school system. Most of the people I know who aren’t interested are just busting their ass to make their rent and car payments and take care of their kids and really don’t have the energy left to worry that one more baby step is taken towards tyrrany.

I don’t fully agree with your take on human nature, but I don’t disagree either. It’s a bit broad to tackle. I’m somewhat more optimistic. Most people aren’t political animals anyway, and I believe they have problems with big picture ideas in the first place - I think that problem is compounded when you have media spin. Even reasonable individuals can throw up their hands and say it’s a morass that’s impossible to get a clear picture from - sorta like the he said/she said coverage from Fox.
But the issue I have with CrayDrygu is different. I believe he is saying people are different now than when the U.S. colonies were formed. I don’t believe human nature has changed, but perhaps education and other factors were more conducive to the building of a new nation. Of course many of those people were pioneers, many were desparate, the situation was rather worse for them and they had a large crew of geniuses leading them.

I suspect if we had a similar conflux of events and incredibly talented people we would be able to change the course of the country to a more positive one.
That and letting people take home a few more bucks so they have more free time to pay attention to what’s going on.
But perhaps that is all part of the momentum towards a worse situation for freedom than we have now. I’d say “plan” instead of momentum, but that implies architect(s). Not that there aren’t any, but I think it’s more a function of systems. If it were just some guy or group of guys behind it all we could just kill them and move on. I’m as paranoid as the next guy, but I doubt it’s that simple.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:56 PM on May 8, 2006


This is what I meant when I said you have no interest in honest discussion. You obviously are quite interested in discussion. It's the "honest" part that I doubt.” -posted by CrayDrygu

Yeah, y’know what. The more I think about that, the less inclined I am to indulge you.
I am honest, but I am only human and I’ve lost my patience with you.
I really don’t care what your position is anymore.
It’s a small nuance in an argument that as far as I can see we both agree on in the macro level.
But I’m not interested in discussing it with you because if you had any integrity as you say I don’t have you would have stuck to your words and not replied to me when you said:

“This is the only part of your post I'm replying to, because I found it so offensive that I no longer see any value in continuing the conversation.”

Feel free to sound off as to what a dishonest asshole I am. I am a man of my word and my words are united in my actions.
You won’t hear from me in this thread again.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:05 PM on May 8, 2006


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