“I love my country, it’s the government I’m afraid of”

Tourist shops here in the D.C. area sell a t-shirt that says, “I love my country, it’s the government I’m afraid of!”  (sic, the comma splice)   I believe it was first worn by liberals opposed to George W. Bush.  Now it’s being worn by conservatives opposed to Barack Obama.  (I present this as evidence for my assertion that both liberals and conservatives have become cynical when it comes to patriotic ideals.)

Now I understand the point.  It’s possible to love America with its purple mountain majesties, its history, its people, and its ideals while being utterly opposed to the government.  That’s a commendable distinction.  At the same time, in a democratic republic, the people choose their leaders and elect their government, so there is going to be a connection between the country and the government.  There is a fine line between hating a nation’s government and hating the nation.

In the older patriotism of my childhood, which I talk about in that other post, there was a palpable distinction–parallel to the rejection by orthodox Christianity of the Donatist heresy–between the office and the person who holds the office.  Critics respected the office of the presidency or of a Senator or Congressman, even if they attacked a particular office holder.  A person might complain about politicians in Washington, but not “Congress” as a whole.

Today. . . .I don’t know.  I worry about the preservation of our institutions if hardly anyone has any respect for them.

I suppose some people are afraid of their country–thinking the American people are essentially racist, plutocratic, and oppressive– but love their government, which they want to protect them from society.  Is there a similar danger in the sentiment on the t-shirt?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Susan

    Pastor Peters has an entry on his blog, Pastoral Meanderings, today, that might help shed light on the polarities in views? If we are not using the same definitions of words and/or have shared understandings of how government was designed to work and our responsibilities as citizens, then I would think it difficult to find consensus on patriotism, liberty, equality, and so forth…

    Pastor Peters writes:

    “A member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has written eloquently of the problem of looking at words and defining them according to current usage rather than in the context of when they were written. In this case it is the pivotal document of American liberty — the Declaration of Independence.

    Mr. Rogers has demonstrated that neither happiness nor pursuit meant then what we oft take them to mean today — the unfettered pursuit of self-interest and the guarantee of law to indulge those self-interests. Instead he argues that happiness had a very different meaning in 1776 — one imbued with goodness, piety, responsibility, and faith. In addition the word pursuit does not mean the right to do as one pleases but the sense of vocation or calling for the well-being not exclusively of self but of all — a vocation to righteousness if we were using religious terminology.”

    James R. Rogers post can be found here:
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/06/the-meaning-of-the-ldquopursuit-of-happinessrdquo

    Excerpt:

    “Understanding the moral and religious overtones of the Declaration’s “pursuit of happiness,” as well as its application to physical sustenance, has potentially significant implications for understanding constitutional guarantees, as well as for understanding the nature of the American project more generally.”

  • Susan

    Pastor Peters has an entry on his blog, Pastoral Meanderings, today, that might help shed light on the polarities in views? If we are not using the same definitions of words and/or have shared understandings of how government was designed to work and our responsibilities as citizens, then I would think it difficult to find consensus on patriotism, liberty, equality, and so forth…

    Pastor Peters writes:

    “A member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has written eloquently of the problem of looking at words and defining them according to current usage rather than in the context of when they were written. In this case it is the pivotal document of American liberty — the Declaration of Independence.

    Mr. Rogers has demonstrated that neither happiness nor pursuit meant then what we oft take them to mean today — the unfettered pursuit of self-interest and the guarantee of law to indulge those self-interests. Instead he argues that happiness had a very different meaning in 1776 — one imbued with goodness, piety, responsibility, and faith. In addition the word pursuit does not mean the right to do as one pleases but the sense of vocation or calling for the well-being not exclusively of self but of all — a vocation to righteousness if we were using religious terminology.”

    James R. Rogers post can be found here:
    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/06/the-meaning-of-the-ldquopursuit-of-happinessrdquo

    Excerpt:

    “Understanding the moral and religious overtones of the Declaration’s “pursuit of happiness,” as well as its application to physical sustenance, has potentially significant implications for understanding constitutional guarantees, as well as for understanding the nature of the American project more generally.”

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Part of the problem is that we view systems, rather than people, as corrupt: an absurdity if one thinks about it.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Part of the problem is that we view systems, rather than people, as corrupt: an absurdity if one thinks about it.

  • Susan

    @ J. Dean,

    I think you are right about part of the problem being that we fail to view that people are corrupt/fallen nature. I would also hazard a large part of our problem is our ignorance.

    Here is another good article, this time from the blog, Mere Comments, that helps highlight the importance of shared historical understanding of how our government is supposed to work:

    Michael Avramovich writes in part:

    “In addition to referring to the Creator and Divine Providence, the Declaration also appeals to “Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World.” A number of years later, when the Constitution was published, something new had been created: a system of self-government by the consent of the governed. Our founders created a constitutional republic with individual liberty to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, elected representatives and limited government. Our founders created a republic in which the power to govern was checked and balanced by procedures designed to stop tyranny in its tracks. Our founders did not create a democracy, but rather a republic.

    They knew Plato’s warning that unrestricted democracy must logically result in a dictatorship. They knew from the study of Greek history that a fanatical majority can deprive the individual of his rights, his life and his property. They had all studied Roman history, where after many centuries, the Roman republic gave way to the “bread and circuses” and the rise of the corrupt despotism of the Roman emperors that lasted until the collapse of the Roman Empire. The founders firmly believed that the republican government they were creating could last only if it was rooted in morality and religion. John Adams said, “A republic can only be supported by pure religion or austere morals.” George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”

    Source: http://touchstonemag.com/merecomments/2012/07/happy-independence-day-2012

  • Susan

    @ J. Dean,

    I think you are right about part of the problem being that we fail to view that people are corrupt/fallen nature. I would also hazard a large part of our problem is our ignorance.

    Here is another good article, this time from the blog, Mere Comments, that helps highlight the importance of shared historical understanding of how our government is supposed to work:

    Michael Avramovich writes in part:

    “In addition to referring to the Creator and Divine Providence, the Declaration also appeals to “Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World.” A number of years later, when the Constitution was published, something new had been created: a system of self-government by the consent of the governed. Our founders created a constitutional republic with individual liberty to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, elected representatives and limited government. Our founders created a republic in which the power to govern was checked and balanced by procedures designed to stop tyranny in its tracks. Our founders did not create a democracy, but rather a republic.

    They knew Plato’s warning that unrestricted democracy must logically result in a dictatorship. They knew from the study of Greek history that a fanatical majority can deprive the individual of his rights, his life and his property. They had all studied Roman history, where after many centuries, the Roman republic gave way to the “bread and circuses” and the rise of the corrupt despotism of the Roman emperors that lasted until the collapse of the Roman Empire. The founders firmly believed that the republican government they were creating could last only if it was rooted in morality and religion. John Adams said, “A republic can only be supported by pure religion or austere morals.” George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”

    Source: http://touchstonemag.com/merecomments/2012/07/happy-independence-day-2012

  • Susan

    @ J. Dean

    Apologies for mangling the sentence where I was trying to agree with you thought about the corruption of men. You have a great point.

  • Susan

    @ J. Dean

    Apologies for mangling the sentence where I was trying to agree with you thought about the corruption of men. You have a great point.

  • SKPeterson

    Susan @ 3 – And then they included an overly broad Commerce Clause that has been the fount of every government evil since, oh about 1801. Every criticism of the Anti-Federalists with respect to the awful power granted to the federal government by the Constitution which comes at the expense of our liberties has been realized. If you want to know where contempt for our government has arisen, look to 1789. It was on a somewhat even keel for about 50 years or so and then we had our second war for empire (the first having its remembrance this year) in 1848, followed close on its heels by the first truly monstrous expansion of federal power in the aftermath of the Civil War. We then recovered as the government regained some of its senses through the end of the 19th Century, but further assaults on common sense and liberty were in store with the rise of the Progressives in both parties (T.R. Roosevelt for the Republicans and Woodrow Wilson for the Democrats). They managed to usher into federal policy much mischief in the guise of anti-trust legislation and the beginnings of every piece of busy-body legislation we have been saddled with for over 100 years. FDR came along a few decades later and performed the coup de grace on the dying corpse of the Old Republic.

    I will posit this: The increasing contempt of the people for their government is in direct proportion to the amount of silly patriotic effluent which issues forth from Washington about this time every year hearkening us back t days of yore and the brave men and women who won our independence from the tyranny of the King. Yet, our government is no so far out of sorts with that which was envisioned by the Founding Fathers that the rhetoric rings hollow; the speeches of politicians are mere empty words. The people now know that these types don’t mean it when they talk about patria, libertas and democratia. Because in the end, if people would actually care to look around, they tyrannies of the King over which we so proudly wave our flag, are minuscule in comparison to the tyrannies visited upon us by people who have sworn oaths to protect and defend us from those very same tyrannies by protecting and upholding an increasingly meaningless and useless piece of paper call the Constitution of the United States.

    The Articles of Confederation are dead. Long live the Articles of Confederation.

  • SKPeterson

    Susan @ 3 – And then they included an overly broad Commerce Clause that has been the fount of every government evil since, oh about 1801. Every criticism of the Anti-Federalists with respect to the awful power granted to the federal government by the Constitution which comes at the expense of our liberties has been realized. If you want to know where contempt for our government has arisen, look to 1789. It was on a somewhat even keel for about 50 years or so and then we had our second war for empire (the first having its remembrance this year) in 1848, followed close on its heels by the first truly monstrous expansion of federal power in the aftermath of the Civil War. We then recovered as the government regained some of its senses through the end of the 19th Century, but further assaults on common sense and liberty were in store with the rise of the Progressives in both parties (T.R. Roosevelt for the Republicans and Woodrow Wilson for the Democrats). They managed to usher into federal policy much mischief in the guise of anti-trust legislation and the beginnings of every piece of busy-body legislation we have been saddled with for over 100 years. FDR came along a few decades later and performed the coup de grace on the dying corpse of the Old Republic.

    I will posit this: The increasing contempt of the people for their government is in direct proportion to the amount of silly patriotic effluent which issues forth from Washington about this time every year hearkening us back t days of yore and the brave men and women who won our independence from the tyranny of the King. Yet, our government is no so far out of sorts with that which was envisioned by the Founding Fathers that the rhetoric rings hollow; the speeches of politicians are mere empty words. The people now know that these types don’t mean it when they talk about patria, libertas and democratia. Because in the end, if people would actually care to look around, they tyrannies of the King over which we so proudly wave our flag, are minuscule in comparison to the tyrannies visited upon us by people who have sworn oaths to protect and defend us from those very same tyrannies by protecting and upholding an increasingly meaningless and useless piece of paper call the Constitution of the United States.

    The Articles of Confederation are dead. Long live the Articles of Confederation.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I would turn the question upside down; is our lack of love for our government a sign that we ought to be concerned for our institutions, or is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions? I’m leaning towards the latter–it just took a few decades for most people to figure it out.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I would turn the question upside down; is our lack of love for our government a sign that we ought to be concerned for our institutions, or is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions? I’m leaning towards the latter–it just took a few decades for most people to figure it out.

  • Susan

    @SKPeterson,

    You are very right about the misuse of the commerce clause and expansion of federal powers. I think your points tie well into J.Dean’s point about the corruption of man’s nature and Dr. Veith’s concern: “I worry about the preservation of our institutions if hardly anyone has any respect for them.” I have found our current dilemmas with our federal government and all of the complexities far beyond my abilities to unravel. For the last few weeks, I have begun to increasingly wonder if we are seeing similar progressive/conservative splits in both kingdoms. Generally speaking:

    1) In the church, progressive theology seems to seek to have the church conform to culture vs. conservative theology that seeks to have the church conform to sound doctrine/confessions (eg: Book of Concord).

    2) In the secular, progressive politics seem to seek to have institutions/government that will easily conform to an ideology that is increasingly saturated in narcissism and utopianism vs. conservative politics that seem to seek to have institutions/government conform to and ideology that has checks on man’s fallen nature: a respect for limits, boundaries, and the rule of law.

    In our current events, I found it interesting that Judge Roberts, in his opinion on the health legislation, said: “It’s not our role to forbid it or pas upon it’s wisdom.” It reminded me of the passages in the bible where God’s instruction was ignored and he a) gave the Israelites their first king and b) he turned men over to their own lusts. I am increasingly finding our nation’s trajectory of making our post-modern wisdom and our lust for alternative lifestyles the rule of law a scary thing.

  • Susan

    @SKPeterson,

    You are very right about the misuse of the commerce clause and expansion of federal powers. I think your points tie well into J.Dean’s point about the corruption of man’s nature and Dr. Veith’s concern: “I worry about the preservation of our institutions if hardly anyone has any respect for them.” I have found our current dilemmas with our federal government and all of the complexities far beyond my abilities to unravel. For the last few weeks, I have begun to increasingly wonder if we are seeing similar progressive/conservative splits in both kingdoms. Generally speaking:

    1) In the church, progressive theology seems to seek to have the church conform to culture vs. conservative theology that seeks to have the church conform to sound doctrine/confessions (eg: Book of Concord).

    2) In the secular, progressive politics seem to seek to have institutions/government that will easily conform to an ideology that is increasingly saturated in narcissism and utopianism vs. conservative politics that seem to seek to have institutions/government conform to and ideology that has checks on man’s fallen nature: a respect for limits, boundaries, and the rule of law.

    In our current events, I found it interesting that Judge Roberts, in his opinion on the health legislation, said: “It’s not our role to forbid it or pas upon it’s wisdom.” It reminded me of the passages in the bible where God’s instruction was ignored and he a) gave the Israelites their first king and b) he turned men over to their own lusts. I am increasingly finding our nation’s trajectory of making our post-modern wisdom and our lust for alternative lifestyles the rule of law a scary thing.

  • Susan

    @bike bubba

    I think you have a great point too: “…is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions?”

    It seems that there are so many parts and pieces in the puzzle. If I may, I would add the thought that a majority of people probably want to be about their daily vocations without a progressive ideology of governance intruding into their personal lives or self-rule on local levels. I have wondered if all of the years of progressive ideology’s appropriation in the federal government have escalated to such an extent under the current executive branch’s administration that people have finally begun to see it’s overt manifestations in our institutions? Hence there is a greater sense of betrayal, distaste, and disrespect for our institutions? I would hazard that the majority of people resent having their lives micromanaged.

  • Susan

    @bike bubba

    I think you have a great point too: “…is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions?”

    It seems that there are so many parts and pieces in the puzzle. If I may, I would add the thought that a majority of people probably want to be about their daily vocations without a progressive ideology of governance intruding into their personal lives or self-rule on local levels. I have wondered if all of the years of progressive ideology’s appropriation in the federal government have escalated to such an extent under the current executive branch’s administration that people have finally begun to see it’s overt manifestations in our institutions? Hence there is a greater sense of betrayal, distaste, and disrespect for our institutions? I would hazard that the majority of people resent having their lives micromanaged.

  • reg

    Susan,
    On the secular front you state:
    In the secular, progressive politics seem to seek to have institutions/government that will easily conform to an ideology that is increasingly saturated in narcissism and utopianism vs. conservative politics that seem to seek to have institutions/government conform to and ideology that has checks on man’s fallen nature: a respect for limits, boundaries, and the rule of law.”
    I don’t know where this view of what conservatives “want” comes from. It is a fantasy. Most good, conservative republicans I see on TV (whether talking heads or activists) want a system where the wealthy get to keep more and more and the rest of the populace be damned, where regulations would be repealed whether good or bad or indifferent, just on principle, the poor, the immigrant, the “other” should just shut up and know their place, who are against anything the illegitimate, black man (“oh horror”) in the white house proposes and who revel in a sentimental nostalgia for a country that never was.
    I would agree that the left lives in a utopian, pie in the sky “let me feel good about myself”, ignore the facts world.
    So I think your description of a culture “saturated in narcissism and utopianism” (and always seeking to be entertained) applies to both liberal and conservative Americans.
    We all like sheep have gone astray. Unfortunately grown-ups are now in short supply in this country.

  • reg

    Susan,
    On the secular front you state:
    In the secular, progressive politics seem to seek to have institutions/government that will easily conform to an ideology that is increasingly saturated in narcissism and utopianism vs. conservative politics that seem to seek to have institutions/government conform to and ideology that has checks on man’s fallen nature: a respect for limits, boundaries, and the rule of law.”
    I don’t know where this view of what conservatives “want” comes from. It is a fantasy. Most good, conservative republicans I see on TV (whether talking heads or activists) want a system where the wealthy get to keep more and more and the rest of the populace be damned, where regulations would be repealed whether good or bad or indifferent, just on principle, the poor, the immigrant, the “other” should just shut up and know their place, who are against anything the illegitimate, black man (“oh horror”) in the white house proposes and who revel in a sentimental nostalgia for a country that never was.
    I would agree that the left lives in a utopian, pie in the sky “let me feel good about myself”, ignore the facts world.
    So I think your description of a culture “saturated in narcissism and utopianism” (and always seeking to be entertained) applies to both liberal and conservative Americans.
    We all like sheep have gone astray. Unfortunately grown-ups are now in short supply in this country.

  • Susan

    @ reg

    I am glad we can agree on the dangers in a culture “saturated in narcissism and utopianism” (and always seeking to be entertained)” and “utopian, pie in the sky “let me feel good about myself” mentalities.

    It appears that you might be conflating conservatives and Republicans into one group and caricaturing the Republicans as: “…want a system where the wealthy get to keep more and more and the rest of the populace be damned, where regulations would be repealed whether good or bad or indifferent, just on principle, the poor, the immigrant, the “other” should just shut up and know their place, who are against anything the illegitimate, black man (“oh horror”) in the white house proposes and who revel in a sentimental nostalgia for a country that never was.”

    I think a repulsive caricature of Democrats could just as easily be concocted. I would disagree with a view that limits conservatives to the Republican party and offer that conservatives are present among Independents, Democrats, and Republicans. I would also ask that you reread what I wrote and take note of the word: progressive. I believe there is a difference between progressive politics and classical liberal politics. I respect classical liberalism, but I object strongly to progressivism. I would agree with you if your last point is that both liberals and conservatives have been greatly influenced by their ideology’s narcissistic and utopian elements.

    If you are interested, this looked like a helpful primer:

    The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/07/the-progressive-movement-and-the-transformation-of-american-politics

  • Susan

    @ reg

    I am glad we can agree on the dangers in a culture “saturated in narcissism and utopianism” (and always seeking to be entertained)” and “utopian, pie in the sky “let me feel good about myself” mentalities.

    It appears that you might be conflating conservatives and Republicans into one group and caricaturing the Republicans as: “…want a system where the wealthy get to keep more and more and the rest of the populace be damned, where regulations would be repealed whether good or bad or indifferent, just on principle, the poor, the immigrant, the “other” should just shut up and know their place, who are against anything the illegitimate, black man (“oh horror”) in the white house proposes and who revel in a sentimental nostalgia for a country that never was.”

    I think a repulsive caricature of Democrats could just as easily be concocted. I would disagree with a view that limits conservatives to the Republican party and offer that conservatives are present among Independents, Democrats, and Republicans. I would also ask that you reread what I wrote and take note of the word: progressive. I believe there is a difference between progressive politics and classical liberal politics. I respect classical liberalism, but I object strongly to progressivism. I would agree with you if your last point is that both liberals and conservatives have been greatly influenced by their ideology’s narcissistic and utopian elements.

    If you are interested, this looked like a helpful primer:

    The Progressive Movement and the Transformation of American Politics
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/07/the-progressive-movement-and-the-transformation-of-american-politics

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – that was a first class rant! Should be included in a college rhetoric class!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – that was a first class rant! Should be included in a college rhetoric class!

  • Grace

    Bike

    “I would turn the question upside down; is our lack of love for our government a sign that we ought to be concerned for our institutions, or is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions? I’m leaning towards the latter–it just took a few decades for most people to figure it out.”

    “Betrayed” is key, however I add it is those who have lied, along with their supporters – knowing full well they were tearing apart what our forefathers worked so hard to achieve.

    Chris Rock: ‘Happy White Peoples Independence Day’

    by John Nolte 4 Jul 2012,

    “Still carrying a grudge against a country that has made Chris Rock wealthy and famous way beyond where his waning talents should’ve taken him, this was how the once-interesting and once-edgy comedian celebrated the 4th of July on Twitter today:”
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2012/07/04/Chris-Rock-independence-Day

    It’s just this sort of mind set, that still prevails.

  • Grace

    Bike

    “I would turn the question upside down; is our lack of love for our government a sign that we ought to be concerned for our institutions, or is the lack of love for our government a sign that people have been betrayed by their institutions? I’m leaning towards the latter–it just took a few decades for most people to figure it out.”

    “Betrayed” is key, however I add it is those who have lied, along with their supporters – knowing full well they were tearing apart what our forefathers worked so hard to achieve.

    Chris Rock: ‘Happy White Peoples Independence Day’

    by John Nolte 4 Jul 2012,

    “Still carrying a grudge against a country that has made Chris Rock wealthy and famous way beyond where his waning talents should’ve taken him, this was how the once-interesting and once-edgy comedian celebrated the 4th of July on Twitter today:”
    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2012/07/04/Chris-Rock-independence-Day

    It’s just this sort of mind set, that still prevails.

  • Grace

    Much of what I see today, are those who have come here legally, enjoying the fruits of our ancestors labors, but having no respect for the country they now reside in. It’s become all to apparent in the past dozen years or so.

    Our universities are packed with people who have no respect for our country. They in turn are the ones who are going forth in the same institutions, parroting what their parents taught them, which is not complimentary to the country they now reside in.

    One can observe the different cultures, however noting carefully, the wars this country has fought to free these people from bondage, and then receive a great portion of them to live here …. however, they have no respect for what WE sacrificed as a nation, FIGHTING for THEIR FREEDOM ABROAD, to be mocked and ridiculed as they come here to live, and enjoy, because of men and women in our armed services, gave willingly so that they might live a better life.

    This is a day to reflect upon what is taking place right now, in our own back yard. I know how much my own family paid, and the STRONG STAND they took and still do, standing firm.

    It’s not the government I’m afraid of, it’s the people who are coming here who have NO RESPECT for our country, who thumb their noses at our values.

  • Grace

    Much of what I see today, are those who have come here legally, enjoying the fruits of our ancestors labors, but having no respect for the country they now reside in. It’s become all to apparent in the past dozen years or so.

    Our universities are packed with people who have no respect for our country. They in turn are the ones who are going forth in the same institutions, parroting what their parents taught them, which is not complimentary to the country they now reside in.

    One can observe the different cultures, however noting carefully, the wars this country has fought to free these people from bondage, and then receive a great portion of them to live here …. however, they have no respect for what WE sacrificed as a nation, FIGHTING for THEIR FREEDOM ABROAD, to be mocked and ridiculed as they come here to live, and enjoy, because of men and women in our armed services, gave willingly so that they might live a better life.

    This is a day to reflect upon what is taking place right now, in our own back yard. I know how much my own family paid, and the STRONG STAND they took and still do, standing firm.

    It’s not the government I’m afraid of, it’s the people who are coming here who have NO RESPECT for our country, who thumb their noses at our values.

  • reg

    Yes Grace, the fault lies without. Its those dang foreigners. Its not us. If it weren’t for the foreigners everything would be perfect.

    What is your world like? Are there two moons in the sky? are your oceans purple?

  • reg

    Yes Grace, the fault lies without. Its those dang foreigners. Its not us. If it weren’t for the foreigners everything would be perfect.

    What is your world like? Are there two moons in the sky? are your oceans purple?

  • Grace

    Yes reg, there are moons over every window in our home, and the ocean just down the way, have lavendar waves, and periwinkle foaming on the sand. :lol:

  • Grace

    Yes reg, there are moons over every window in our home, and the ocean just down the way, have lavendar waves, and periwinkle foaming on the sand. :lol:

  • reg

    Grace@15.
    Well played, Grace. Well played! :-)

  • reg

    Grace@15.
    Well played, Grace. Well played! :-)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Reg, I know no conservatives who would simply let the poor fend for themselves. However, I know a lot of them who understand that when the property of the productive (and prosperous) is confiscated, it’s the poor who suffer the most. Think about it–can welfare payments and taxpayer subsidies to Solyndra match a real job that actually is justified by accounting?

    That’s what you give up when you “soak the rich,” since when you take money from “the rich,” that’s money they cannot spend, invest, save, or give away. And that’s a central reason that so many have no love of country anymore. We’ve forgotten that the central reason for our War of Independence is not to generate fairness, but to generate freedom–the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail.

    As a result, politics is increasingly one group trying to pillage another, and we wonder why we don’t have the same love for country that we used to. Early observers of our republic observed that it could only endure as long as people did not realize that they could vote themselves a subsidy, after all.

    By the way, Reg, your comment indicates that you may need to get out more–your descriptions of political parties read almost as a caricature.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Reg, I know no conservatives who would simply let the poor fend for themselves. However, I know a lot of them who understand that when the property of the productive (and prosperous) is confiscated, it’s the poor who suffer the most. Think about it–can welfare payments and taxpayer subsidies to Solyndra match a real job that actually is justified by accounting?

    That’s what you give up when you “soak the rich,” since when you take money from “the rich,” that’s money they cannot spend, invest, save, or give away. And that’s a central reason that so many have no love of country anymore. We’ve forgotten that the central reason for our War of Independence is not to generate fairness, but to generate freedom–the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail.

    As a result, politics is increasingly one group trying to pillage another, and we wonder why we don’t have the same love for country that we used to. Early observers of our republic observed that it could only endure as long as people did not realize that they could vote themselves a subsidy, after all.

    By the way, Reg, your comment indicates that you may need to get out more–your descriptions of political parties read almost as a caricature.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    In terms of the person/office distinction… while they are indeed distinct, the office doesn’t float about as some kind of abstraction–it’s always “incarnate” as a person. We don’t encounter it any other way. So what then happens to our perception of the office when we go through decades of people who are completely unworthy of the respect demanded by it? Well, those young enough to not really remember any respectable office holders can only respect the office in an abstract intellectual way. Give it long enough, and this too will fade. No one will remember why we’re respecting the office in the first place.

    In terms of our institutions, how exactly can we “respect” them anymore? To respect something is to treat something as though it is what it is. We respect a boundary by not crossing it. We respect authority by submitting to it. But what are our institutions? There was a time when they had a constitution–when they were specific organizations with specific purposes, functions, and limitations. But now their constitution is “living” for the sake of pragmatism. Our institutions are amorphous. They are what people want them to be at any given moment. Is a social welfare program unconstitutional? Who cares–somebody wants it. Does a defense or police policy violate our rights? Who cares–some rights are in our way and need to be ignored. Does some official say the government can’t do a particular thing? Ignore or replace him and move on.

    It increasingly seems like our governmental institutions merely consist of power for whichever political interests currently have control of them. How do we respect something without any form beyond that? I realize that those with longer memories have a better idea of what to respect. But if it is only the earliest memories that inform that respect… what are the rest of us to do? Without a government that respects itself–that treats itself as though it is what it is–I’m afraid cynicism will be all we have left.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    In terms of the person/office distinction… while they are indeed distinct, the office doesn’t float about as some kind of abstraction–it’s always “incarnate” as a person. We don’t encounter it any other way. So what then happens to our perception of the office when we go through decades of people who are completely unworthy of the respect demanded by it? Well, those young enough to not really remember any respectable office holders can only respect the office in an abstract intellectual way. Give it long enough, and this too will fade. No one will remember why we’re respecting the office in the first place.

    In terms of our institutions, how exactly can we “respect” them anymore? To respect something is to treat something as though it is what it is. We respect a boundary by not crossing it. We respect authority by submitting to it. But what are our institutions? There was a time when they had a constitution–when they were specific organizations with specific purposes, functions, and limitations. But now their constitution is “living” for the sake of pragmatism. Our institutions are amorphous. They are what people want them to be at any given moment. Is a social welfare program unconstitutional? Who cares–somebody wants it. Does a defense or police policy violate our rights? Who cares–some rights are in our way and need to be ignored. Does some official say the government can’t do a particular thing? Ignore or replace him and move on.

    It increasingly seems like our governmental institutions merely consist of power for whichever political interests currently have control of them. How do we respect something without any form beyond that? I realize that those with longer memories have a better idea of what to respect. But if it is only the earliest memories that inform that respect… what are the rest of us to do? Without a government that respects itself–that treats itself as though it is what it is–I’m afraid cynicism will be all we have left.

  • helen

    De Toqueville envisioned the majority poor voting themselves a subsidy.
    The majority are not organized and have no clout to do anything of the sort.

    He apparently did not comprehend that those who are already rich enough to buy our politicians are in a much better position to vote themselves and their businesses tax breaks, subsidies for taking jobs overseas, and myriad other loopholes which dwarf anything the 99% could dream of. Where in the world can multi billion dollar corporations pay no taxes but in many cases collect subsidies from the government?

  • helen

    De Toqueville envisioned the majority poor voting themselves a subsidy.
    The majority are not organized and have no clout to do anything of the sort.

    He apparently did not comprehend that those who are already rich enough to buy our politicians are in a much better position to vote themselves and their businesses tax breaks, subsidies for taking jobs overseas, and myriad other loopholes which dwarf anything the 99% could dream of. Where in the world can multi billion dollar corporations pay no taxes but in many cases collect subsidies from the government?

  • reg

    Bike,
    The answer lies in the middle. We can tax the rich fairly, without “soaking” them. We can regulate with common sense.
    And if you think political parties and politicians of all stripes don’t represent power, hungry narcissists who would do and say anything to get elected and who care only about themselves, you are naive, not I. That is not to say I don’t vote-I do. But I have no illusions about who it is I am voting for and simply try to vote for the least bad.

  • reg

    Bike,
    The answer lies in the middle. We can tax the rich fairly, without “soaking” them. We can regulate with common sense.
    And if you think political parties and politicians of all stripes don’t represent power, hungry narcissists who would do and say anything to get elected and who care only about themselves, you are naive, not I. That is not to say I don’t vote-I do. But I have no illusions about who it is I am voting for and simply try to vote for the least bad.

  • Grace

    Reg,

    Bike made this comment @ 17 ” And that’s a central reason that so many have no love of country anymore. We’ve forgotten that the central reason for our War of Independence is not to generate fairness, but to generate freedom–the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail.

    Read his post over again.

    reg, you wrote @20 “The answer lies in the middle. We can tax the rich fairly, without “soaking” them. We can regulate with common sense.”

    WHO IS THE “WE” ? The rich and those who provide employment are not fairly taxed. What they earn is TAKEN from them, but people who vote to take it. Then they complain when they have no work, their job is elliminated. Their health insurance is gone – but the old idea still exists in this mind set .. ‘the rich are to blame’

  • Grace

    Reg,

    Bike made this comment @ 17 ” And that’s a central reason that so many have no love of country anymore. We’ve forgotten that the central reason for our War of Independence is not to generate fairness, but to generate freedom–the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail.

    Read his post over again.

    reg, you wrote @20 “The answer lies in the middle. We can tax the rich fairly, without “soaking” them. We can regulate with common sense.”

    WHO IS THE “WE” ? The rich and those who provide employment are not fairly taxed. What they earn is TAKEN from them, but people who vote to take it. Then they complain when they have no work, their job is elliminated. Their health insurance is gone – but the old idea still exists in this mind set .. ‘the rich are to blame’

  • Grace

    The majority of peoples, who are coming to this country from Asia and the middle east, have no STAKE in this country – nor do they love and care for the ideals which our forefathers put into the Constitution, or the natural born citizens of the United States, who have carried the burdens of this country and our military. I’ve observed this phenomenon for a very long time.

    It’s important that we who have ALWAYS had a STAKE in this country, and our freedoms, look closely at the facts, especially those of us who are prevy to the current trends.

  • Grace

    The majority of peoples, who are coming to this country from Asia and the middle east, have no STAKE in this country – nor do they love and care for the ideals which our forefathers put into the Constitution, or the natural born citizens of the United States, who have carried the burdens of this country and our military. I’ve observed this phenomenon for a very long time.

    It’s important that we who have ALWAYS had a STAKE in this country, and our freedoms, look closely at the facts, especially those of us who are prevy to the current trends.

  • DonS

    Our government has grown from a body of elected, part-time legislators, to an army of unelected appointees and bureaucrats, whose main purpose seems often to be ensuring their own survival and well-being, rather than the people. These components of government are, for practical purposes, unaccountable to the voter and so well protected in their jobs that they can abusively wield power in arbitrary ways without fear.

    This kind of government is rightfully feared. Remember that government acts only through regulatory authority, which is necessarily coercive. When government is asked to perform a function, it necessarily does so by restricting the liberty of someone, whether that be by regulatory effect or by confiscation of resources, or both.

  • DonS

    Our government has grown from a body of elected, part-time legislators, to an army of unelected appointees and bureaucrats, whose main purpose seems often to be ensuring their own survival and well-being, rather than the people. These components of government are, for practical purposes, unaccountable to the voter and so well protected in their jobs that they can abusively wield power in arbitrary ways without fear.

    This kind of government is rightfully feared. Remember that government acts only through regulatory authority, which is necessarily coercive. When government is asked to perform a function, it necessarily does so by restricting the liberty of someone, whether that be by regulatory effect or by confiscation of resources, or both.

  • Joe

    Love of country and fear of government is the foundational premise of America. Pretty sure the folks that built our political institutions would be just fine with us tossing them aside and starting fresh as long as it was in the cause of protecting individual rights:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … .”

  • Joe

    Love of country and fear of government is the foundational premise of America. Pretty sure the folks that built our political institutions would be just fine with us tossing them aside and starting fresh as long as it was in the cause of protecting individual rights:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government … .”

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    OK, Reg, let’s face facts; income for the most prosperous is already taxed at nearly 40%, and the income for the companies they run and own is taxed similarly–and then you add in state taxes. Yes, there is a break for capital gains, but at what point do we say that the tax rates are high enough?

    Keep in mind here that tax receipts from the most prosperous tend to rise when the rates are dropped, too. In other words, we’ve gotten to the wrong side of the Laffer curve already–and hence trying to be more “fair” in this regard not only gives the poor false hope, it will decrease the chances of our government remaining solvent.

    Sorry, Reg, but there are certain laws that even politicians can’t change, like the laws of economics.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    OK, Reg, let’s face facts; income for the most prosperous is already taxed at nearly 40%, and the income for the companies they run and own is taxed similarly–and then you add in state taxes. Yes, there is a break for capital gains, but at what point do we say that the tax rates are high enough?

    Keep in mind here that tax receipts from the most prosperous tend to rise when the rates are dropped, too. In other words, we’ve gotten to the wrong side of the Laffer curve already–and hence trying to be more “fair” in this regard not only gives the poor false hope, it will decrease the chances of our government remaining solvent.

    Sorry, Reg, but there are certain laws that even politicians can’t change, like the laws of economics.


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