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From reverendgraham's rant about two recent Supreme Court decissions:

I hate the concept of political "moderates." This is a bullshit word. There is nothing noble or dignified about taking the crappy politics of the right wing, and the crappy politics of the left wing, and melding them into some nonsensical mush of unprincipled, indefensible neo-fascist bullshit. These so-called moderates on the court—namely Souter and Kennedy—are nothing but media whore tyrants who, as far as I can tell, have absolutely no idea whatsoever what the Constitution actually says about the principles this country was founded on.


link: http://www.livejournal.com/users/reverendgraham/52702.html

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
carocrow
Jul. 3rd, 2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
Hahaha... nobody likes moderates. The cons call us liberals, the libs call us conservatives, nobody trusts our judgement and wants to think we are wishy washy fence sitters when in fact we make our decisions based on our individual values and consideration, not social or political pressure or party lines. We're called waffles, indicisive, even untrustworthy or without core values. Well, too bad.

Firmly in the middle, though admittedly leaning a little to the left,
Moi
nobody123
Jul. 4th, 2005 02:23 am (UTC)
I have nothing against thinking for one's self and all that good crap. What I object to is the way the narrowness of our political dialogue confines people to this artificial spectrum of political thought. For instance: Gun control is a typically liberal issue. The flag burning amendment is a typically (idiotic) conservative issue. If you come out and say you support both gun control and the flag burning amendment, you are likely to be praised by the media as a "moderate," who is willing to "cross party lines" to "get things done." Good for you. But if, on the other hand, you vehemently oppose both gun control and the flag burning amendment, you will be scorned as an "extremist," who is, as Chuck Schumer might put it, "out of the mainstream." Then you have people like me who would not only oppose both of these asinine propositions, but would also like to legalize all drugs, abolish public schools, eliminate all age requirements for voting, buying alcohol and tobacco, driving, et cetera, and cut off all US ties with Israel. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Neither party would be particularly pleased with my assortment of political views, but nobody in their right mind would call me a moderate. To be a "moderate" in the media-accepted sense of the term, you have to presuppose the universality and logic of our right v. left political spectrum. And that's just silly.
carocrow
Jul. 4th, 2005 03:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for calling me silly. I think Libertarians can be silly, too.

There are a lot of problems with an anarchist way of thought, particularly when it comes to running a civilized country. I won't even get into all of that here. But suffice it to say that it may be all well and good to want to do whatever you want wherever you want without limits, but somebody has to pay the piper and think about those members of society, such as the jobless, the differently abled, the elderly, the orphans, etc. who aren't able to participate fully in this utopian system of gun chewing and rioting around that seems to be intrinsic in the libertarian way of thinking. There are elements in that way of thought that are fine with me; but you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater and expect all to be well. You might love the smell of napalm in the morning, but society needs to function in a constitutional way, by method of agreements codified into a structure of some kind. The two party bureaucratic system is outmoded and does need a shakeup and an overhaul. But I don't think we need people running around naked in the streets breaking windows.

There is nothing wrong with conservatism or liberalism as ways of thought, unless they are rigid and inflexible. It is the same for freedom; having all sorts of freedom is wonderful, if you have all sorts of sense. I'm not being patronistic to say that not everyone can handle that sort of freedom and continue to be responsible enough to manage adequate interpersonal relationships with others, hold a job, take care of the environment and give a tinker's damn about their neighbor's rights and needs.

I think you can look as an example to the progeny of the rich to see that a lack of parameters and limits tends to make people behave in a selfish, spoiled and, dare I say, sociopathic manner.
kmo
Jul. 4th, 2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
Napalm in the morning
You might love the smell of napalm in the morning, but society needs to function in a constitutional way, by method of agreements codified into a structure of some kind.

On a national level we call the codified structure we've agreed to use The Constitution of the United States. This document describes a very specific role for the federal government, and very few members of Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary publically acknowledge the limitiations the constitution defines for the federal government. People who want the federal government to operate within the limitations defined for it in the constitution get dismissed as "extremists" and "outside the mainstream."

The political figures the media and punditry call "moderate" do not seem to actually understand the role of the federal government as defined by the constitution, or if they do understand the limits the constitution places on federal power, they do not agree to operate within the limits set forth in that foundational document.

The two party bureaucratic system is outmoded and does need a shakeup and an overhaul. But I don't think we need people running around naked in the streets breaking windows.

The notion that limiting the federal government to its constitutionally defined role will result in a breserker frenzy of naked rioting cuts a very wide berth around what we could realistically expect in terms of results. Limiting the federal government to the role set out for it in the constitution would in no way invalidate or repeal the body of state and local laws which prohibit "people running around naked in the streets breaking windows."

There is nothing wrong with conservatism or liberalism as ways of thought, unless they are rigid and inflexible.

My definitions of "conservative" and "liberal" as used in the mainstream media and political punditry go as follows:

conservative: Someone who advocates the use of unlimited government power to deny people the freedom to behave immorally.

liberal: Someone who advocates the use of unlimited government power to deny people the freedom to fail.

So defined, neither position has much to recommend it. Don't subscribe to those definitions? Fair enough. YMMV

It is the same for freedom; having all sorts of freedom is wonderful, if you have all sorts of sense. I'm not being patronistic to say that not everyone can handle that sort of freedom and continue to be responsible enough to manage adequate interpersonal relationships with others, hold a job, take care of the environment and give a tinker's damn about their neighbor's rights and needs.

The heartless libertarian would argue that those folks should enjoy the freedom to reap the fruits of their lack of good judgment and industry. The PR-minded libertarian might think to point out that other social structures exist to insulate people from the consequences of poor judgment and lack of self-discipline that do not depend on a federal government that has usurped powers that the constitution has reserved for the states and for the people.

I think you can look as an example to the progeny of the rich to see that a lack of parameters and limits tends to make people behave in a selfish, spoiled and, dare I say, sociopathic manner.

That does nothing to support the argument that the federal government should know no limits unless you accept the idea that limits on selfish, spoiled and sociopathic behavior can only come from the federal government, i.e. that local and state governments, churches, teachers and parents have insufficient influence to keep the berserker naked rioter in each of us under wraps.
carocrow
Jul. 4th, 2005 06:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Napalm in the morning
*sigh* That is how YOU define conservative and liberal. Ostensibly, according to the platforms they have strayed from, the Republicans have supposed to have been the party that focuses on less central government and more decentralized, ie, states' rights. Well, that's gone out the window, particularly since Reaganomics. They are hawkish and tend towards big business and tax (as well as program) restrictions. That part has stayed consistent. Democrats are known as bureaucracy and tax friendly, in order to promote social programs, environmental issues and other pricey things like the space program; they tend to be less hawkish.

If you look historically at the locations and politicians who have claimed party affiliation and values (ie, liberal, conservative or moderate) you can get a better idea of what they "stand" for, though in practice this has all been thrown out the window. That does not mean what they stand for is invalid, but like Christian priniciples, if you don't practice what you preach, you are a hypocrite. We're run by a government of hypocrites from the top down.

All systems have some validity... even socialism and communism have some points of value, though socialism has a better chance of long term survival than communism, or pure democracy, for that matter. For some reason our founders chose a representative republic, and unless we chuck the Constitution, that is what we have to work with.

This child I was responding to is not a Constitutionalist. I am a Constitutionalist. But there is room for interpretation of the Constitution, just like there is for the Bible. Who does it? The people the Constitution set in place to do it, and that we, as voters and taxpayers, should be carefully placing.

I'm sorry, but there are certain things that this society cannot function without, and many of those things are limitation laws. I think a person is within their rights as long as their rights do not impede the rights of someone else. Things that might easily impede someone else's rights, for instance, are eliminating an age requirement for driving, when already we know that adolescent and elderly drivers account for a large number of fatal accidents, or elimination of driving laws period, when you know some shmoe with no sense is going to get out there and drive 90 while he's drunk because there's no law against it, simply because they do it while there *is* a law against it.

You know I'm more aligned about drug laws and gun control, though I don't believe in the long run that complete lack of control will serve us there, either.

Look, I'd like my country to be run the way I'd like my house to function. I don't want just anyone coming and going, doing whatever they want, pooping on the rug and breaking the furniture, molesting my friends and taking advantage of the lack of parameters to destroy things they won't have to pay for because they aren't theirs. I've heard libertarians talk about hearing people breaking into people's cars and homes and not doing anything because they didn't want to call the cops or get involved. I'm sure the same people would watch a person being beaten or raped in the street, or break a window or steal something, and turn their head. They practically let their children teethe on weapons. If that's the kind of world you want to live in, with the kind of people you want to inhabit it, I suggest moving to a third world country with a worn out dictator who has a lazy constabulary. Or better yet, go watch Mad Max movies for a while.
nobody123
Jul. 5th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC)
there's nothing sexier than napalm
You are certainly able extrapolate a lot about my politics from a relatively small amount of information. For the record, I'm not too keen on naked window-breaking, or rug pooping, or car theft, or even the use of firearms for dental purposes (although I'm not necessarily opposed to that one either). I've never met your friends, and I have no particular interest in molesting them. Also, I didn't call you silly. But this seems like neither the time nor the place to get into a full accounting of my political philosophy.

I am not a big-L Libertarian—though I often vote for them—and in many respects I'm an outright socialist. But there is a clear difference between what the states have authority to enact in terms of civil policy, and what the Constitution allows the United States to do as a federal body. As per the tenth amendment—which was quoted in large type at the bottom of my original post, if you care to read it—all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Yes, the Constitution is quite generalized in parts, and requires a fair amount of good faith and rational thought to understand properly. Nonetheless, the scope of the federal government was clearly and intentionally limited to those functions which were deemed necessary for the adequate functioning of a federal republic. We are supposed to be a federation of sovereign states. Massachusetts is a sovereign state. Louisiana is a sovereign state. If you don't like the laws in your state, you can either try to change them, or move, or start a revolution. Any of these works for me. But it is not the federal government's job to dictate every facet of life in American society. The Constitution sets out specific roles for the federal government, regarding international relations, interstate trade, et cetera, and likewise it lists certain individual rights that neither state nor federal governments can infringe upon, such as those enumerated in the first and fourteenth amendment, among others.

To hear the media punditfolk talk about it, you'd think the Constitution is nothing but a cozy amalgam of all that is good and fair and just in the world, and that anything wrong and evil is probably "unconstitutional," and anything good and enlightened is necessarily "constitutional." And that's just silly. I don't even like a lot of the things in the Constitution, as it stands now. I think a lot of it can use some revision. And a lot of space is wasted in it addressing issues that were of pressing concern to 18th century colonialists, but which are absolutely irrelevant to us today. Be that as it may, it is the legal foundation of our government, and unless we are ready to abolish that government wholly, it seems only sensible to continue taking it seriously. I have no intrinsic respect for the government. I'm a fucking anarchist for fuck's sake. But if we are going to continue in this social contract, all parties must act in good faith according to the agreed upon rules. That's just common sense.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch Mad Max.
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