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Socialism or a Republic: Which Do We Want?

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Socialism or a Republic: Which Do We Want?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Socialism or a Republic: Which Do We Want?



We are on the cusp of an entirely new United States. It is, I believe, a United States that our founding fathers would not necessarily recognize. Certainly they would recognize its physical characteristics but beyond that, not so much. And certainly not if they were able to examine our newspapers, television, media and, more importantly, our local, state and federal governments.

They would be shocked at our governments, I would wager. They would read many of the decisions handed down from our own United States Supreme Court and shake their heads in dismay. "No," I am sure they would say, "that is not what we meant."

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison


This reminds me of a conversation that the brilliant economist Milton Friedman once had, in the 1970s, with very Leftist television show host Phil Donohue, the video of which is very popular on the internet now. The gist of the conversation was this:

Donahue: "When you see around the globe the mal-distribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in undeveloped countries … when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good idea to run on?"

Friedman: "In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you're talking about … they have had capitalism and largely free trade. … So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system."

Later, when asked by Mr. Donahue whether capitalism rewards virtue, Friedman responds, "Tell me, is there some society you know that doesn't run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy; it's only the other fellow who's greedy. This — the world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. You know, I think you're taking a lot of things for granted... Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? … Just tell me where in the world you're going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us? I don't even trust you to do that!"

What are we, ladies and gentlemen? What kind of country are we? When asked, what would most people say? A "democracy"? And if answered that way, I say: we are not. We are a Republic.

I'll wager the bulk of United States politicians couldn't answer that question correctly.

So: what kind of a nation are we? Now?

Please weigh in.

BZ

11 Comments:

Blogger cary said...

Now?

We are a chocolate-covered country, with the stench of socialism wrapped in a deep, dark layer of feel-good-because-we-voted-in-a-black-guy, ready to bite in and get the surprise of our lives.

Wed Mar 04, 08:06:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Cary, nice analogy. But within lies the brown recluse spider.

BZ

Wed Mar 04, 08:27:00 AM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

We started out a a republic but we have descended into the stinking cesspool of the social-democracy...

McHenry’s notes were first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, and the anecdote on p. 618 reads: “A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it.”

We have not kept it!

Wed Mar 04, 11:26:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

And so it doth appear, TF, so it doth appear.

BZ

Wed Mar 04, 11:35:00 AM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

Don't give up yet.

Wed Mar 04, 12:15:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I don't think anyone's giving up, Shop. But first we have to enable the country to see there's an actual problem and, at this point, way too many people are wearing blinders.

BZ

Wed Mar 04, 12:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger commoncents said...

Nice post!

Would you like to exchange links with our new blog COMMON CENTS??

http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

Wed Mar 04, 05:56:00 PM PST  
Blogger Z said...

We're a nation of badly educated people who keep thinking there will always be an America as we know and love her so we don't have to do much.

I couldn't agree with you more, BZ, on your comment above this..absolutely.

Wed Mar 04, 08:07:00 PM PST  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

A nation can be a republic or a democracy and fall into socialism. Socialism (whether it creeps or runs at us) is destructive of much if not most of individual intiative, but it could be enacted by republics as well as democracies, and most effectively by despotic individual rulers. I agree with most of what you say except that the title gives a choice that is not totally a valid contrast.

Wed Mar 04, 09:58:00 PM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

We are so blind it is scary. Of course except us and most people who listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Thu Mar 05, 10:51:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

What is the trend of giving the people wholly the control over all branches of government?

It is a slow descent into chaos as the majority has no checks upon it after an election and ignores the very safeguards of a federal system that is balanced not just within the federal but amongst the States and people. That has been the aim of the two party system since Teddy Roosevelt had kicked off a decade of massive change in American power structure.

A change for the worse in the long term, as unbalancing a stable system has now brought unchecked power to government run of, for and by the aristocratic politicians Upon the Hill. As I remind everyone, history has no guarantees to it, it is not inevitable that our future success is foreordained as a Nation. Thus what was once a well balanced republic becomes an unbalanced representative democracy where the voice of the people is ruled by the few and previous checks and balances were unwisely taken out in the name of 'progress'. Change is not progress it is just that: change. One can change for the better, choose a lesser road, become more evil by limiting good choices, and fall into the trap of the 'greater good' over-ruling what can be sustained as 'just good enough to get by on'. Well are we warned that people will choose to suffer abuses by government until the government becomes insufferable. Then it is the inalienable right of the people to change or remove such government to try again.

That is why I warned about a Constitutional Convention that is 'issue driven' as, once folks realize they can re-write the whole thing, it becomes those driven by that issue that do the writing and no good will ever, not once, come of that. Only once necessity pushes all of the people to start over to create limited government so that we may utilize our positive social liberties do we ever find any good in such an endeavor. For the freest exercise in liberty we require restricted government that is harshly kept on a leash and learns that it is to protect us, not snarl at us to corner and trap us to its claws that we give it to protect us. No matter how well meaning any minority group is at trying to draft a social compact, it will fail rapidly as its problems that are in-born of that restricted minority viewpoint will not be hashed out and hammered out. Our own Constitution had to be quickly retro-fitted with the Bill of Rights to ensure that we understood that the Constitution restricts the federal government and reserves all rights not given to such government to the State and the People.

It says so, right in Amendment IX and X. Single sentences, easy to read or have read to you. When someone wants the federal government to do 'more', the answer must start at "NO". And yet, ever since the 'Progressives' changed the structure of our government telling us, oh, so soothingly, that it should be "YES", that we have seen an unbridled expansion of the federal government beyond its measure and our means.

I am thankful for the demise of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc as it has told us that when you get government of "YES" it means, when you want to do anything, say anything, have anything, the answer is "NO". I am further thankful for its demise and the need for cash by these Nations in pulling out their old WWII and early Cold War equipment and putting those for sale on the open market... amazing what they squirreled away for a rainy day and now we get to use the squirrel's hoard while they get some steady income off of selling, to them, priceless if not so useful history to those of us in need of useful and not so priceless goods to secure our liberty. For that is the difference between citizen and subject: being able to say 'no' to government and force it to show its dark and snarling face. For that is the final and first measure of our liberty - being able to say 'no' to those who coerce you and have *them* fear you. It is always hard to get subjects to willingly become someone else's honor guard to Hell... and those forcing them to do so become easy targets.

Well do we know those who have forgotten these lessons of history: their names are self-evident by their words and deeds. They wish authoritarian dictatorship, despotic government and to force the common man to their will. I will say 'no'. I will seek that in a peaceful and civil way, as is the wisdom of our founders. But for those who wish to make me subject to their whimsy, they have my answer and their response will guide their fate.

I will not start that fight, but if they bring it to me I sure, as hell, will end it. - The amended battlecry of US citizens at war.

Fri Mar 06, 04:38:00 AM PST  

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