Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Liberal View of Christian Conservatives

From Rodak's blog:
"I maintain that conservative economic values, which glorify the acquisition and hoarding of wealth; conservative social values, characterized by the establishment of a rigid meritocracy; and conservative civic values, which lead to a form of aggressive nationalism, characterized by militarism, neocolonialism, and a nearly constant state of war, are all in 180-degree opposition to the New Testament doctrines of Christianity proclaimed as central to the moral conduct of their lives by the vast majority of those Americans who characterize themselves as “conservative.” Rather than characterizing such people as hypocrites, consciously doing the very opposite of what their, often fundamentalist, Christianity would prescribe as partaking of Christian virtue, I am suggesting that, while thinking in the socio-political conservative mode, they are unaware of, and unable to access, strictly Christian values. Similarly, when directly engaged in religious activities, they are apt to say, and temporarily believe in their very hearts, things which, while in political mode, they vote against."

The basic mistake here is claiming the New Testament is proclaiming a political philosophy, instead of a personal philosophy. Neither Christ nor Paul said anything even remotely close to "use government to do good for your fellow man". If anything, Christ's "render unto Caesar" comment was the antithesis of the liberal political philosophy, showing a distinct split between the political and the theological.

In viewing the split between religion and politics, it also helps to consider the historical context of the Bible. During the time of the New Testament, there were no democratic or republican governments around. The Greek democracies and the Roman republics were both history by the time of Christ. In thinking of government, both Christ and Paul were referring to monarchical forms of government.

Which begs the question of how should Christians within a representative democracy view government?

Since it is not covered in the Bible, this is an area open to personal interpretation of the Bible. Considering government is the LEAST effective form of charity (you only have to look at the government's response to Hurricane Katrina to figure that out), why would ANY Christian in their right mind relegate to the government their own personal responsibility to commit charitable acts?

With this in mind, I would add to Christ's quote: Render unto Caesar that which is his, and NOTHING MORE. Do not pass your personal responsibilities to Caesar. By doing so, you place a burden on your neighbor. Would you have your neighbor place his burdens on you?

Other flaws in Rodak's statement:
"I maintain that conservative economic values, which glorify the acquisition and hoarding of wealth"

Glorifying a free market does NOT glorify greed. It uses greed to provide incentives for the improvement of society as a whole. Wealth does not accumulate in a vacuum. Simple greed does not allow someone to accumulate wealth.

What conservatives glorify is hard work towards a goal which benefits society. If the individual who performs this hard work is rewarded by society with great wealth for their accomplishments, then so be it. We glorify these individuals, and reward them, to provide incentives for other individuals to do the same.

But conservatives also take the view that an individual who works hard towards a goal which does NOT benefit society should NOT be rewarded. In addition, an individual who does NOT work hard should not be rewarded. In essence, we allow our neighbors to decide if there is a reward, and what the amount of the reward should be.

When government decides the individual rewards, then only government needs to benefit from the individual's work.

"conservative social values, characterized by the establishment of a rigid meritocracy"

The definition of "meritocracy":
1. an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth.
2. a system in which such persons are rewarded and advanced: The dean believes the educational system should be a meritocracy.
3. leadership by able and talented persons.

Maybe it's just me, but a meritocracy sounds like a great idea. What kind of liberal alternative to this would be an improvement? Affirmative action programs where we can promote people based on superficial characteristics, instead of ability?

conservative civic values, which lead to a form of aggressive nationalism, characterized by militarism, neocolonialism, and a nearly constant state of war

Maybe I missed it, but who was the last conservative to suggest the U.S. should colonize ANY country?

Or maybe by "neocolonialism", Rodak means the U.S. tries to maintain world peace by overthrowing governments which would threaten world peace, such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq?

While the virtue of the U.S. being the world's "police force" can be argued, the conservative support of this philosophy is built on history: When the U.S. tried to withdraw from world affairs after World War I, we ended up in a bigger mess in World War II.

The world is NOT a peaceful place. This is a fact which liberal idealism refuses to recognize. The Earth is NOT a utopian ideal. As long as there are threats to world peace, they must be countered. "Turn the other cheek" is a personal ideal, not an international political ideal.

I could go on to refute the rest of Rodak's post, but it is based on the faulty belief that individual responsibility is equivalent to government responsibility within Christian philosophy. In truth, this is Rodak's own liberal belief which he has projected onto Christianity.

38 comments:

Rodak said...

Ed--
Let me just for beginnings, address your "render unto Caesar" objection to what I wrote.
What was it that Christ said should be "rendered unto Caesar?" It was taxes. What were the taxes used for, in great part, in Imperial Rome? A huge welfare program: i.e. the *bread* half of the famous "bread and circuses" program, run by the government to keep the people generally content and unrebellious.
Conservatives generally oppose taxation. And their certainly oppose welfare.

Rodak said...

Second point:
In order to embody justice, a meritocracy must be able to assume a level playing field.
Affirmative action programs are a way to allow people who are starting out behind a chance to catch up.
There is no perfect way to accomplish this. Any affirmative action program, for instance, that allows persons who have attended substandard schools, and thus are not very competitive for college admission, to be admitted, may displace some more priviliged students on the margin. To oppose affirmative action is to throw out the good in an attempt to achieve an impossible perfection. And this is not charitable, or, ultimately, just.

Rodak said...

Final point:
I don't know if you read all the links I provided in my post, or just what I wrote. The part about Ayn Rand, and her huge, although sometimes disavowed, influence on the American business community and capitalist philosopy, is crucial to my point. In order to refute what I said about greed, you first have to refute what she said about greed.

EdMcGon said...

Rodak,
Your First Point: Do I even need to mention the excesses of the Roman emperors? I don't think Christ was in favor of paying taxes so Christians could be sacrificed to lions. :P

Second Point: I have no problem with affirmative action programs which ensure equal oppurtunities. But when they demand equal results based on superficial characteristics such as skin color, then they are recipes for failure, and provide no benefits to society.

Final Point: Rand was far more pro-capitalist than your comments were. In addition, Rand took a negative view of religion, so to lump her philosophy into a discussion of Christian conservatives is somewhat absurd.

Rand's philosophy, objectivism, shares some overlap with conservative philosophy, but conservative philosophy is more directly descended from the Age of Enlightenment than from anything Rand wrote.

Rodak said...

Ed--
Ayn Rand's philosophy made a virtue of selfishness. That's what makes it anti-Christian. Unlike many conservatives of a capitalist bent who are, either consciously or unconsciously, her disciples, however, Ayn Rand was anti-religion. She was also anti-government, and anti-intellectual (in the sense of anti-academia.) In all of these things--except for anti-religion--she was a spokesperson for, and even intellectual leader of, many conservatives of the Boomer generation. That many of these Boomer conservatives also think that they are Christians, is where the cognitive dissonance comes in.

EdMcGon said...

Rodak,
If there weren't promises of Heaven for following Christ, how many Christians would there be? How many people would love their neighbor just because it was the right thing to do?

Rand was right about how most people act in their own their self-interest. To ignore this fact is to ignore the basic nature of humans.

Christianity recognizes this fact about humans. Otherwise, why would we need Heaven?

Boomer conservatives who agree with Rand's politics do NOT necessarily buy into her entire philosophy. Is there cognitive dissonance for some conservatives? Possibly. But it would depend on how they reached their political beliefs. Keep in mind that Rand's philosophy is an offshoot from Age of Enlightenment philosophies, which are the true basis for most of modern day conservatism. In other words, one does not have to read Ayn Rand to be a conservative.

If someone became a Christian conservative BECAUSE of Rand's writings, then they obviously abandoned part of objectivism in favor of much older conservative views.

Rodak said...

Ed--
If you read the article I linked to about "Atlas Shrugged" and saw how high above, for instance, Jack Welch's book, in sales numbers, you would understand how very influential it has been.
And you would also learn that Alan Greenspan read it in manuscript in Rand's NY apartment as it was being written and became her disciple as a result.
I'm not too sure how to address your remarks about Christianity.

Rodak said...

Ed--
If you read the article I linked to about "Atlas Shrugged" and saw how high above, for instance, Jack Welch's book, in sales numbers, you would understand how very influential it has been.
And you would also learn that Alan Greenspan read it in manuscript in Rand's NY apartment as it was being written and became her disciple as a result.
I'm not too sure how to address your remarks about Christianity.

Rodak said...

I should point out, btw, two errors in the title you've chosen for this post. 1) What I've presented is *my* view. I don't think that it's fair to generalize my argument as "liberal"; and, 2) In this strictest sense, any really good Christian would be "conservative" as contrasted to the prevailing social mores. But the kind of conservative of which I'm speaking, and who suffers from cognitive dissonance, is a *socio-political and economic* conservative, who also *claims* to be a Christian.

EdMcGon said...

Rodak,
The flaws in your argument are that (1) you assume all Christian conservatives came to their current beliefs via Ayn Rand, and (2) that a person has to believe ALL of a philosophy, or none of it (not to mention the rejection of parts of a philosophy automatically creating cognitive dissonance within someone).

I don't deny that "Atlas Shrugged" was influential among conservative "movers and shakers". But among the average Christian conservative, I doubt most have even read it.

What I've presented is *my* view. I don't think that it's fair to generalize my argument as "liberal"

I was being kind. I could have called you a socialist.

You and I both know your views come from the Left side of the political spectrum. While your views do tend to be thought out a bit more than the average Leftist, they still contain the usual talking points (i.e. conservatives are selfish, greedy, war-mongering, ignorant Bible-thumpers). It would not be a long stretch for a Leftist to reach the same conclusions you have, since their understanding of conservatism is as biased as yours.

In this strictest sense, any really good Christian would be "conservative" as contrasted to the prevailing social mores. But the kind of conservative of which I'm speaking, and who suffers from cognitive dissonance, is a *socio-political and economic* conservative, who also *claims* to be a Christian.

We're coming back to this again. You assume the Bible, specifically the New Testament, is representative of a "socio-political and economic" philosophy. That is your interpretation of the New Testament, which most Christian conservatives do NOT share.

There is nothing explicitly stated in the New Testament which says the Christian philosophy is "socio-political and economic".

Rodak said...

xdrcfiEd--
Your first point is wrong. I said that contemporary capitalism and thus economic conservatism had been greatly affected by Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand has NOTHING to do with the Christian aspect of it, as I have said.
Your second point is clearly not attributable to what I said. In fact, I'm saying just the opposite, that conservatives tend to cherry-pick, and, in doing so, often end up believing things on the political side which are not compatible with other things from the religious side, but that they don't necessarily SEE to conflict.
If they believed all or nothing, there would be no such conflict.
Finally, I never said that conservative rank and file knew anything about Ayn Rand. What I said was that the people who represent Big Capital, and who fund conservative politicians use hot button issues to get the rank and file to vote for candidates who will, when elected, put Randian economic policy (which is not necessarily good for the rank and file) into effect.
If you are going to argue with me, Ed, at least argue against the positions I've actually stated, and not ones that you make up yourself, based on your idea that I'm a "liberal". I would much prefer being called a socialist to being called a liberal. Don't kill me with kindness.

Rodak said...

Oh, last point. Christian philosophy is certainly NOT socio-political. That is precisely why people who call themselves Christians should not allow themselves to be swayed politically by socio-economic arguments, but should only vote for those politicians who will support their MORAL beliefs.
Often those moral beliefs are in conflict with conservative economic policies.

Rodak said...

The "render unto Caesar" thing is the proof that Christianity is not poltical. When asked if it was allowed for a good Jew to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus asked for a coin. Somebody handed him one, and he asked "Whose image is on this coin?" "Caesar's," came the answer.
"Okay, then," said Jesus. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's." In other words, money is shit. Don't concern yourself about where it goes, or who you give it to, or what is done with it. Concern yourself with doing God's will.

EdMcGon said...

Your first point is wrong. I said that contemporary capitalism and thus economic conservatism had been greatly affected by Ayn Rand.

Rodak,
There is no objective evidence to show that Ayn Rand was a primary (or even secondary) influence on most modern Christian conservatives. A person could easily come to the same economic conclusions as Rand by many means, without ever picking up any of Rand's writings.

Your second point is clearly not attributable to what I said. In fact, I'm saying just the opposite, that conservatives tend to cherry-pick, and, in doing so, often end up believing things on the political side which are not compatible with other things from the religious side, but that they don't necessarily SEE to conflict.

The underlying assumption you make is that there is a conflict between Christian political/economic and theological philosophies.

Since Christianity is NOT a political/economic philosophy (contrary to your beliefs), then Christians may choose political/economic philosophies as they see fit (preferably ones which actually work).

Finally, I never said that conservative rank and file knew anything about Ayn Rand. What I said was that the people who represent Big Capital, and who fund conservative politicians use hot button issues to get the rank and file to vote for candidates who will, when elected, put Randian economic policy (which is not necessarily good for the rank and file) into effect.

I'll let this one pass, althoguh your post was not clear that you were referring ONLY to conservative leaders, and not to all conservatives.

As for whether Randian economic policy is good for the "rank and file", I would have to differ with you based on your own example: Alan Greenspan. Considering some of the strongest economies we've had as a country came while he was head of the Federal Reserve speaks quite well for Randian economic policy. I invite you to prove otherwise.

I would much prefer being called a socialist to being called a liberal.

As you wish, but the difference between modern-day liberals and socialists is minimal, at best.

EdMcGon said...

Christian philosophy is certainly NOT socio-political. That is precisely why people who call themselves Christians should not allow themselves to be swayed politically by socio-economic arguments, but should only vote for those politicians who will support their MORAL beliefs.
Often those moral beliefs are in conflict with conservative economic policies.


That entire statement is a contradiction of itself. If a philosophy is NOT political, then why would a follower be required to vote based on their moral beliefs (which are derived from their philosophy)?

EdMcGon said...

Concern yourself with doing God's will.

Therein lies the key. Concern YOURSELF with doing God's will, NOT concern your government with doing God's will.

William R. Barker said...

Well, boys, I originally came upon Rob's post on Rob's blog, but since the back and forth is going on here at Ed's blog... here I'll post.

Rob... I think of your blog as my slog. (*GRIN*) And that's a COMPLIMENT, my friend!!! I find that I have to read and re-read your posts and put a great deal of effort into pondering not only the lines but the themes running between the lines.

Having read Rob's original post, Ed's original post, and the back and forth that followed, my take is this:

While generalizations are useful and necessary, they're also lacking in terms of specificity and depth by definition. Therefore, putting aside Rand and Christianity, I'll go directly to what I see as the main flaw in Rob's reasoning; namely, his distorted view of conservatism.

Basically (and correct me if I'm wrong) Rob seems to believe that conservatism is BAD. Bad in the sense that (let's stick to economics for purposes of this discussion) it's some vast plot by the wealthy to subjegate the poor. Aside from the "partisan" underlying nature of this misunderstanding, Rob (IMHO) tends to both ignore human nature and common economic sense.

A modern capitalistic economy doesn't WANT large numbers of poor people. As both of you seem to acknowledge from admittedly opposing perspectives, in modern societies the poor *COST* more to subsidize than can be gained by "exploiting" their labor. If there's a "plot" afoot... a conspiracy... (*GRIN*)... it began with Henry Ford's reasoning that in order to create customers for his cars he needed to pay his workers (and this led to a domino cascading economic effect) enough so that they'd become middle class consumers. In short... the conservative American economic "conspiracy" is if anything to ever-expand the American middle and upper-middle and ultimately upper classes in order to stoke the fires of economic growth.

"Hoard" wealth??? Huh!?! Just the opposite, Rob; regardless of ideology, the wealthy in our society tend to INVEST wealth and yes... GIVE IT AWAY in terms of charity.

The second mistake Rob makes (IMHO) (as I've already mentioned) is that he tends to ignore human nature. Ideology... religion... that's all fine and dandy... but man behaves as man behaves largely due to human nature. Both meritocracy and nepotocracy are sides of human nature. (Congnitive dissonance on parade?) (*GRIN*) Aggressive nationalism, militarism, colonialism... these are off-shoots of human nature far more than any artificial ideology based upon an economic model.

Anyway... these are my initial thoughts.

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
Right. A modern capitalist society doesn't want large numbers of poor people. That's why our capitalist leaders are bucking their own constituencies to keep the borders open and the poor of Mexico flooding in by night. To be exploited, btw, relative to the rest of the economy.
Human nature, Bill, is that which religion is supposed to supercede. I will grant you that it usually doesn't. (I thought that was the general drift of my post?)
"...it's some vast plot by the wealthy to subjegate the poor."
American history is so rife with examples of that, Bill, that I won't even bother to go into them.
Let the current influx of Mexicans stand as a relatively benign example. (Benign mostly because the Mexicans themselves are better off than they would be in Mexico, usually.) Americans treated that way would be a scandal.

EdMcGon said...

American history is so rife with examples of that, Bill, that I won't even bother to go into them.

Rodak,
Actually, I'd love to hear some recent examples of this. Since American history is full of them, you should have no trouble pulling some from, say, the last 20 years? And try pulling some that did NOT involve a conviction, since a conviction would indicate the legal system actually took care of the subjugation of the poor.

William R. Barker said...

Rob,

You confuse selfish reasoning with principled reasoning - which is another way of noting that you simply don't take human nature into account and confuse the same with ideology and macroeconomics.

Yes, Rob... as I've mentioned time and time again during various blog conversations with you, Ed, and others, lazy and selfish individuals and organizations favor exploiting cheap immigrant (legal and illegal) labor, but as an economic fact... while these individuals and organizations benefit in the short term, from a national economic perspective the costs to society far outweigh these transitory and selfish "benefits."

Sure... the off-the-books employer (or even on-the-books employer who pays poor wages and provides little or no benefits) benefits from exploiting his or her worker... but when that worker gets sick... gets caught up in the criminal justice system... supports his or her family partly on the backs of social and educational funding from general revenues where outflows far exceed inflows... where's the benefit?!?!

The answer is... to society... it's a net loss. Certainly that's not "conservatism" by any definition I'm aware of. (*SHRUG*)

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
The companies and corporations who are profitting from the use of cheap illegal immigrant labor don't CARE about the cost to society. Surely you realize that a corporation is an entity which must grow in order to live. It does what it must to survive.
Again, if you read "Atlas Shrugged" and see how it ends, you will understand what I'm talking about.
You are lifting my "reflection" completely out of the context in which I made it.
The corporate world is global now, anyway. Corporations no longer have any loyalty at all to their home country. That said, I would maintain that any patriotism ever shown by corporations was mostly illusory and based on the fact that they operated in their nations of origin. "Atlas Shrugged" predicted globalism, although Rand assumed that Europe would have gone completely Soviet.

William R. Barker said...

"Bill--The companies and corporations who are profitting from the use of cheap illegal immigrant labor don't CARE about the cost to society."

Exactly my point. Glad to see you've come over to my side of the debate. (*WINK*)

"You are lifting my "reflection" completely out of the context in which I made it."

O.K. Sorry. All I can tell you is that in that case... there's nothing more for me to say on the subject. If I don't understand you, I certainly can't argue (either in agreement or disagreement) with you.

"The corporate world is global now, anyway. Corporations no longer have any loyalty at all to their home country."

In large measure I agree. My only question is... do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? I think it's a bad thing.

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
I think it's a bad thing.

William R. Barker said...

And once again... (*GRIN*)... "driving" a circular path... me traveling clockwise, you counterclockwise... we pass each other and shout greetings out our respective drivers side windows.

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
If you mean by that that we are not both talking about the same thing, then you're quite right.

William R. Barker said...

Well... that too... (*GRIN*)... but I was actually referring directly to our agreement on global corporatism being "bad" if it means American corporations end up feeling no loyalty to the nation or specifically to American citizen and legal resident workers.

BILL

P.S. - Ed... jump in! (*GRIN*) After all... this *is* YOUR blog. (*WINK*)

Rodak said...

Then you see what I'm talking about. The corporation's raison d'etre is to thrive. It does whatever it takes to grow and prosper. Corporations fund politics with the expectation that elected officials will pass legislation that promotes the best interests of corporations. NAFTA is one of the more obvious examples of this. There are many, many other minor ones, such as subsidizing corporations for going offshore. Generally speaking, corporations give more money to the GOP, which is traditionally the party of Big Business. In order for GOP politicians to get elected, they need the votes of the same workers who are hurt when their jobs go to Mexico, or Indonesia, or China. To get those votes, issues like abortion, gay marriage, gun ownerships, etc., are promoted by politicians. None of this stuff has anything to do with corporate profits. The politicians, and the corporations that fund their campaigns, for the most part don't give a rat's ass about the stuff they campaign on; they have a hidden agenda which tends to be *against the best interests* of their targeted constituency. That constituency must be incapable of seeing both sides at once in order to be manipulated in this way.
Liberals, as represented by the Democrat party, while they are also to some extent hyporritical (being politicians) at least openly *defend* the interests of the "little guy" most of the time. NAFTA is an exceptional sell-out, which should cause all traditional Democrat voters to despair.

EdMcGon said...

You both bring up the point of "unpatriotic" companies. Let me give you a hypothetical situation:

What if politicians constantly carped about how greedy YOU are, and how YOU specifically make too much money and don't pay enough taxes? What if YOU were being sued right and left by people trying to get rich off of YOUR hard work, because the legal system is set up to encourage this? What if YOU had people protesting in front of your house all the time, for transgressions both real and absurd?

Now tell me how much you'd love your country if this was happening to YOU personally.

The fact is we treat businesses like second-class citizens, in spite of the fact THEY are the source of all good things economic which happen in this country.

Rodak said...

Oh, Ed...

William R. Barker said...

Ed... hold on; let me address Rob first, then you next.

Rob. You wrote "Generally speaking, corporations give more money to the GOP, which is traditionally the party of Big Business."

The two key words there are "generally" and "traditionally." In other words, corporations tend to give to both Parties with a slight majority of their donations going to Republicans. Contrast this with Unions and other bastions of the establishment Left (academia for instance) who steer their financial and in-kind donations OVERWHELMINGLY to the Democrats.

My point? It's 2007 - not 1957. You're simply stuck in the past if you believe the Democratic Party is the Party of the "working man" and the Republican Party is the Pary of "Big Business."

I mean, Rob... think about your own example - NAFTA. That was Bill Clinton. (*SHRUG*) Yes... he was supported more by his "opposition," the GOP, than by his own Party... but that's a game the Dems are GREAT at playing - I call it "Janus." If you don't like one face of the Democratic Party, point to the other face that supports "your sides" policies. Note... "supports," not necessarily "passes." (Take the Dems Iraq War policies... rhetorically call for withdrawl but when push comes to shove stick don't actually withdrawl funding._

But anyway... we're getting off point. To rein us in... my point is simply that you seem to be so invested in "Republicans bad" that even while your head understands on an intellectual level that it's not 1957, your heart is stuck there. This much is obvious by your comment about the Dems supposedly defending the interests of the "little guy."

BILL

William R. Barker said...

Ed...

Oh, Ed.

(*GRIN*)

My response to you is gonna have to wait till later today or tonight. Right now I've gotta run out and spread good throughout our economy. (i.e. I have some business to attend to.) (*WINK*)

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
Why are you talking to me about Dems and NAFTA? Did you not even read my 6:17 a.m. comment?
That said, DLC aberrations aside, the Democrat party is still the party of the working man and the GOP the party of business to a great extent. Which is why (as you yourself just pointed out) the labor unions tend to support Democrats. And also why the Democrat "base" is more and more represented by minorities.
Bottom line; I find your 11:57 a.m. comment most confusing--incoherent, almost. What's your point? Are you just trying to argue with me because you think you should?

EdMcGon said...

Actually, there is a better argument why Democrats are the party of big business. When government passes heavy regulatory burdens on businesses, which the Democrats love to do, who benefits? Big business, which can afford to comply with heavy regulatory burdens. The impact of regulation on small businesses is far greater, thereby creating an unlevel playing field, which actually ends up protecting big business.

It is a tremendous irony that Democrats can have their cake and eat it too: they can give the impression they're protecting the little guy, when in fact they're protecting big business.

Rodak said...

Ed--
Govenment regulations are more likely to provoke the big corporations into moving off-shore, causing their American employees to lose their good paying jobs to Mexicans and Asians.
The real irony is that the Dems, in trying to protect the environment, end up hurting their constituent base in the process.

William R. Barker said...

Rob:

YOU believe the Democrat Party is the Party of the "working man." I don't. We'll simply have to agree to disagree.

YOU believe the Republican Party is the Party of Corporate America. I say BOTH Parties are the Parties of Corporate America. If we have to disagree on that one too... so be it.

As to Unions... to my way of thinking a Union is just another "corporatist" operation where instead of the "Execs" exploiting the system, the shareholders, and ultimately the workers, the "Bosses" are exploiting the system, the consumers, and ultimately the workers. As to the Union "workers" themselves... I give them no special halos. Most people, white collar or blue collar, union or non-union, are "workers." And for that matter, most "workers" are ALSO investors. (*SHRUG*)

Rob... listen to Ed. He makes an excellent point with his 9/21/2007 1:54 PM comment.

That said, kudos once again (Rob) on acknowledging in your "response" to Ed that the Dems are hurting their own constituency by often backing extreme and unreasonable environmental schemes simply because it's the politically correct path. (*SHRUG*)

Ed - again... I'm short on time. Dinner plans with friends tonight. I'll get back to you and your other points tomorrow.

Have a good night boys!

BILL

William R. Barker said...

Busy weekend, guys. Friday's dinner out with friends was a disappointment. Four of us... $425 with tip. Not the most expensive meal I've ever had, but at a C-note-plus per person I expect to have my socks blown off. They weren't.

Saturday was good. Went out with a different couple; dinner at a local "nice" Mexican restaurant came to $90 - or $45 per couple. And much better service, believe it or not!

Sunday. Dinner at a friend's. Steak and sausages on the grill. YUM!!! My buddy Phil knows how to cook a steak!

Now... Ed... where you and I seem to have divergent viewpoints is that while Rob seemingly instinctively attacks "business," you seemingly instinctively laud "business." And while I'm partially with you, you don't seem to see a heck of a lot of difference between a Mom & Pop operation and a Forture 50 multinational corporation. They're both "businesses" and thus both "good" - at least that's the way I read you.

While I concur that government is by far a larger "problem" than big business, where we differ is (especially) on Big Business, which I believe operates hand-in-hand with government and thus gives us the worst of all possible worlds economically.

I don't see the need to get too specific simply because we've been reading each others posts for years now and you know what my specific complaints are as I've given them many times.

Here's the problem with these "broad" discussions: They're too broad. Too epherial. (sp?) I much prefer debating specifics rather than "ideology." Obviously there's no contest between "free market" economics and nanny-statism, but all too often in the real world once we move beyond small business to large corporations... the "ideology" of free and open markets vs. government regulatory and tax policy gets all jumbled up.

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
Quite true. It is virtually impossible to extricate American Big Business from Big Government; they are two aspects of the same phenomenon.

EdMcGon said...

Bill/Rodak,
I agree business is much too cozy with government (and vice versa). I'm not sure what the solution to this is though. Business does need to be regulated to an extent.