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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

AEI: Opinion: James Pethokoukis: The New Marxism: What is Democratic Capitalism


AEI: Opinion: James Pethokoukis: The New Marxism

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Winston Churchill famously said, "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest." This logical form can be applied to other systems as well.

It works fairly well in economics, e.g., "Capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the rest."  Capitalism has many forms.  In one, Laisssez-Faire economics, government has no role in the economy and all capital is controlled by the private sector with no rules on how to operate. Whatever government exists is funded by trade tariffs.  This form was found seriously wanting and discarded at the end of the 19th century.

The beauty of capitalism, in whatever form, is that individuals are not guaranteed wealth.  They have to earn it.  This incentivizes them to get a good education and be productive in life so that they don't need public assistance to take care of them.  In a good capitalist economic system, as many people as possible are able to get the skills needed to be productive and successful in life.  Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives and Socialists have been arguing about this at least since the New Deal.

Even Socialists in Europe and in America now acknowledge that capitalism and private enterprise are here to stay.  The Marxists have lost, so the question now is what type of capitalist economic system should we have. I went into this on my blog yesterday but as a Liberal I believe in liberal capitalism or liberal economics.  Some on the far-left would call this "Neo-Liberalism" (because it is not Socialism). But it is is an economic system where, ideally, everyone has an opportunity to attain the  education needed to succeed in life. 

In such a system, the role of government is to protect workers and consumers not from themselves but from predators who would hurt them and to help people who fall though the floor of the system.  The  safety net exists to give them temporary financial relief and a hand up.  This is the outline of liberal capitalism. 



The Federalist: Opinion: David Corbin & Matt Parks: Publius and the Progressives: Progressivism vs. State Collectivism


The Federalist: Opinion: David Corbin & Matt Parks: Publius And The Progressives

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I see two dominant political factions in the Democratic Party today.  The first is the FDR/LBJ progressives, who are not Socialists but real Democratic progressives in the best sense of the word. They believe that we should have an essentially free market economy that works for everyone and that there should be social insurance for people who fall through the cracks of the capitalist private enterprise system.  They believe in a big centralized government and tend not to trust the states but they also believe that there are limits to what government can do well for people.

The second is the JFK/WJC or Bill Clinton Liberals who are called New Democrats.  They believe that the safety net should just be there for the people who really need it.  They like the idea of states being able to run their own social insurance programs  and that these programs should primarily empower people to take care of themselves. These are the economic philosophies of the two factions.  They have been the dominant factions in the Democratic Party for over eighty years and the basis of the party's dominance over that period of time.

The people who are called Liberals and Progressives in America would probably be Conservatives in Canada or Britain and their center-left parties would look like our far-left parties, which brings me to my next point.  The Democratic Party changed in the mid and late 1960s as more baby boomers came of age and became Democrats.   The New-Left in America, today, is made up a lot of boomers and their kids.  They staffed the Occupy Wall Street movement. This far-left movement combines both socialist and anarchist (when they see certain laws as unjust) leanings.  They want a government large enough to see that no one is rich or poor, that we are all the same even if some of us are more productive and skilled than the rest.

The MSNBC talk lineup (is there anything else on MSNBC these days?) gets labeled as "progressive talk or progressive voices" when they are not ( and they sure as hell ain't liberal either!).  In actuality, they (except for Ed Schultz and to a certain extent Larry O'Donnell) speak for the Occupy Movement and the New-Left in America.   The rest of them, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hays, and Melissa Harris-Perry are, I'm sure, fine decent people but they are whacked out New-Leftists.  There are no limits to what they believe the government, especially the Federal government, can do for people.  They essentially believe that Americans should want to (and consider it an honor to)  pay Uncle Sam as much in taxes as necessary to take care of all us. 


Friday, March 21, 2014

Hoover Institution: Defining Ideas: Richard Epstein: Our Property Principle


Hoover Institution: Defining ideas: Richard Epstein: Our Property Principle

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I guess because of the way I look at the United States Constitution, I would be described as a Liberal Constitutionalist, who looks at the entire Constitution and doesn't pick out parts that I like and rail against the parts that I do not like, which is common among both the far left and far right in America.  Both the left and the right pick and choose the parts of the Constitution they favor and then claim they are upholding the Constitution, but see things they do not favor and support amending the Constitution for the good of the country, however they would phrase that.

I like the Constitution as a whole and am not interested in eliminating any of the amendments, but I might add an official Right to Vote to it as well as update the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which would throw out most of these so-called Voter ID laws that are really voter prevention laws. But there are parts of the U.S. Constitution that are my favorites, which is the real point of this post.  I'm going to concentrate on these because they protect our individual freedom and make us a liberal democracy.

What I really love most about the U.S. Constitution are the First Amendment, which guarantees our right to speech and assembly; the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees our right to privacy and protects our property rights, because it means that government can't come into our homes and businesses without what is called "probable cause" and cannot search our properties without a search warrant issued by a judge; and the Fifth Amendment, which again protects our property rights because government cannot take our property without  probable cause.

These rights allow Americans to live their own lives and associate with whom they choose just as long as they aren't hurting innocent people, and allows government to protect us from criminals and invaders but not to protect us from ourselves. As long as we aren't declaring war on the government or illegally leaking classified information, these rights give us autonomy over our own lives.  We should always remember this and not take them for granted. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mundane Matt: Video: Is Fred Phelps Dying? The Leader of the Westboro Church?


This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

I'm not going to say that I hope that Fred Phelps is dying (at least not in public).  That would simply not be the polite thing to do.  It is not consistent with our social mores to wish people to die.   You might think the world would be a better place if a certain person were dead, and Fred Phelps is the perfect example of such a person, but anyone who considers themselves civilized cannot publicly wish such a person to die.

But Fred Phelps dying.  If his organization goes out of business as a result, that would definitely be a great thing, not just for homosexuals or homosexual military personal but for the military in general and for anyone who hates bigots and bigotry.  It is indisputable that without Fred Phelps and his group, the world will be a better place.  Modern Christianity is against hate and hating people for having different lifestyles.  Christ said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself."


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Human Events: Opinion: David Harsanyi: Why Democracy is a Bad Idea: The Limitations and Advantages of Democracy


Human Events: Opinion: David Harsanyi: Why Democracy is a Bad Idea

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

To start this, I'll first quote former U.K. Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who said about democracy that it is the worst form of government except for all the rest. I naturally agree with this, especially living in a country of 310 million people where average Americans might be familiar with their favorite pop culture celebrity's eating habits but probably couldn't name their U.S. Representative or U.S. Senators or even mayor and governor if you spotted them a couple clues and even said their names.

The only thing I would add to Churchill's comment is that liberal democracy, to me at least, is the worst form of government except for all the rest because you are literally trusting individuals with their own lives and having the state back off and both regulate how we interact with each other and protect us from American criminals as well as foreign invaders. Then I take you back to the pop culture celebrity reference to point out that we have many ignorant people in this country who need to know as much as possible about things that frankly aren't important in general, but are clueless about issues that actually affect their quality of life, for example, the right to privacy.

Liberal democracy only works as well as the people allow it to work.  They need the skills to make intelligent decisions not just about their own lives but also about their choice of who will represent them in government.  You do not have to be a political junky to be a good citizen, but you at least need to know what goes on in government and what our representatives are doing with our money or to our individual freedom.

To paraphrase the great political satirist George Carlin (and I'm not sure a better political satirist is alive or has ever lived), politicians are only as good as the people who hire them and who they work for, so if you have bad politicians and voted for them, you have only yourself to blame. But if you take the time to research those you are considering voting for, from any party, and they have a good record and they represent you well, if you then vote for them, you are an intelligent and engaged citizen and a well-qualified voter. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

National Review: Video: Interview with Ralph Reed at CPAC 2014



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

The face of the GOP is really the religious right, the "get big government into our personal lives wing of the Republican Party." I wonder what the Conservative Libertarian wing of the GOP led by Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Jeff Flake, Senator Ron Johnson, Representative Justin Amash, and others think about that.  They have been working on getting big government out of our lives completely and not making the case that some big government is good.   






Friday, March 7, 2014

FOX Sports: Video: Daily Take: Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens Offseason Outlook



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

As far as the Ravens are concerned, they are probably going to need to sign a new every-down running back not only because of Ray Rice's current physical situation with the injuries, which is why he wasn't very productive in 2013 even when he was playing, but also because of his current legal situation, with what may have happened between him and his fiance in Atlantic City. So if I'm General Manager Ozzie Newsome, I'm looking at new running backs in the NFL Draft and in free agency as well as signing a possession receiver to complement Torry Smith, and having tight end Dennis Pitta back will be a big help as well.

Not much was expected from the Pittsburgh Steelers going into 2013.  They were expected to finish anywhere between 7-9 and 9-7, and they finished 8-8. This is an aging team with big holes on the offensive line, at running back, and with a beat up quarterback in Ben Rothlisburger, who's going into his eleventh season having taken all sorts of punishment in his career so far.  So if I'm the Steelers and running personal for them, I'm concentrating on these areas, including signing either a talented young QB or drafting one who could play right now if something were to happen to Big Ben.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Federalist: Opinion: Fred Cole: Sometimes We Have to Question This Whole Freedom Thing


The Federalist: Opinion: Fred Cole: Sometimes You Have To Question This Whole Freedom Thing

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I read both sides of the political spectrum, all the way from the far left to the libertarian right to the far right, and of course the center left, where I am, as well as the center right and anything else I might not have mentioned, so please do not get dizzy from reading this.  I'm sure people who read my blogs probably do not like that and perhaps wish I only read articles on the Left and probably wish I was a hell of a lot more partisan as a Democrat as well. I do this because I like to know what people are thinking, especially those who disagree with me, but it also helps me as a blogger to see what the rest of the political world is thinking about.

I mention this for a couple of reasons.  I am very liberal and do not want government controlling people's lives, and based on that, I see plenty of articles from the far left and far right about new ideas and proposals to control people. This year alone, I read three posts about Thom Hartmann wanting to repeal the Second Amendment, an article in the far left magazine Salon about nationalizing the news media because of the success of FOX News, and an article from the far right blog The American Thinker proposing to outlaw tobacco.  I am sure alcohol is not that far away either.

In 2012 alone, there were proposals from the Mike Bloombergs of the world (former mayor of New York City) arguing in favor of outlawing junk food and soft drinks.  The notion behind these proposals is that government (or a select few and elitist individuals) knows best how Americans should live, even Americans they've never met or heard of and know nothing about. These elitists know best because they are attended school in the Northeast or West Coast or Ivy League, and anyway, Americans are basically dumb and can't make these decisions for themselves.

Left or Right big government is too much government because it is government trying to control people and protect them from themselves, whether by prohibition of alcohol, food, and tobacco on the far left or outlawing pornography, premarital sex, adultery, abortion, and homosexuality on the far right. Being human is the ability to live, and part of that is about making mistakes, because, of course, none of us is perfect.  By then learning from those mistakes, we can do better the next time and not repeat them.

Personal freedom and responsibility as well as opportunity are what my politics and ideology are based on, and that means individuals have the freedom to control their own lives.  That means that property rights extend to people's own bodies and that we have the final say in what we do in life as adults as long as what we are doing is not hurting others. We are then held personally responsible, for good or bad, for our own decisions. 


Yaluc SD: Video: PBS Firing Line: Bill Buckley Interviews Ron Paul on Foreign Policy and Taxes in 1988



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Where Ron Paul loses me is when he comes out in favor of abolishing the CIA, an organization without which we would never have won the Cold War, because of all the information it provided about the Soviet Union. The CIA was critical to America in winning the Cold War because it could give us information about the Russians and their allies that we weren't able to get before. As far as the income tax goes, it is now in the United States Constitution, thanks to the constitutional amendment process, and government has the constitutional and legal right to tax people in the because of it.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Washington Post: Opinion: Andrew Cohut: Are Democrats Getting Too Liberal? The Modern Two-Party System


The Washington Post: Opinion: Andrew Cohut: Are Democrats Getting Too Liberal?

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

This is where political labels, that is, labels that only describe one's political ideology, get people into trouble when they don't understand what the labels mean and what that political ideology is about. I agree with Andrew Cohut of the Washington Post that yes, the Democratic Party has obviously become more liberal and that has been the case since the George McGovern reforms to the Democratic Party in 1972 that brought in more ethnic and racial minorities and more women as well as gays and Northerners. But has the DP become too liberal? What does Mr. Cohut mean by that?

Today the Democratic Party is very liberal on social issues, believing in a wide range of personal freedoms for individuals, and it uses the United States Constitution to make the case for ideas like marijuana legalization, equal rights for gays, privacy, free speech including hate speech, right to organize, and Freedom of Assembly.  Now even many Democrats who are in favor of the Second Amendment believe that constitutional common sense gun control should be part of that as well. And Liberal Democrats, especially younger people, do not like being told by government or anyone else how to live their own lives as well.

Today the Democratic Party is also very liberal on economic policy, because we want to see the private enterprise system work for everyone and not just people born to wealth. We are not calling for less economic freedom; we are actually calling for more economic freedom for every American, not leaving people at the bottom or bare middle to struggle without the ability to move up. Which is why we are always speaking in favor of ideas like new infrastructure investment and job training and education for low-skilled working adults, low-skilled non-workers, and laid-off workers who need to develop new skills to move to the middle class.

I just laid out for you the center of the Democratic Party.  We are called the center-left party because we are a liberal party not a social democratic party, even though we do have social democrats in the party who want to take America much further left economically and politically toward Europe, which does not favor our Constitution and would either change it or get rid it of altogether, scrap our federalist system, and move to a social democracy and perhaps even a unitary government. However, the social democrats do not run the Democratic Party today. The Liberals and Progressives, the center left, does. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Conol Rad: Video: How to Spot a Communist: 1950s Right-Wing Propaganda About Communism



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

The U.S. government, just a few decades ago, had an undemocratic habit of suppressing dissent by labeling any person or organization whom they perceived as disapproving official actions or policies, for whatever reason, as communist.  In the heyday of McCarthyism and cheerleading jingoism, this was an enthusiastic effort joined by both media and government, as exemplified by the video above.

Government propaganda, amplified by right wing media, about communism, tried to pick out individual people and give them the horrible label of communist, equivalent to being called a devil.  This guilt by association is very undemocratic and  typical of totalitarian republics.  So-called American conservatives often, unknowingly, advocate policies typical of totalitarian governments.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Yaluc SD: Video: PBS Firing Line: Bill Buckley Interviewing Ron Paul on Why He's Running For President in 1988



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

What I respect most about Ron Paul, former U.S. Representative from Texas and presidential candidate for both the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party, is his honesty.  He's truly against big government from both an economic and a personal standpoint, like all classic libertarians or classic conservatives. In this video, he explains why he's running for president for the Libertarian Party in 1988, to grow the size of the Libertarian Party and not to actually win the election but to bring publicity and new members to the LP.

FOX Sports: Video: The Sports Butterfly Effect: What if the Portland Trail Blazers Drafted Michael Jordan Instead of Sam Bowie



This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

If only this were true, and the Portland Blazers instead of the Chicago Bulls had drafted Michael Jordan in 1984; how different the NBA would've been!  The Blazers and Bulls played each other in the NBA Finals in 1992, by the way, which was a classic six-game series that the Blazers could have won with Clyde Drexler at the off-guard instead of Air Jordan and Kevin Duckworth at center and instead of Sam Bowie, the man they drafted in 1984.

We'll never know, obviously, but had the Bulls drafted Sam Bowie instead of Michael, they would have been stuck with an injury-prone center who had a bad foot in college before he got to the NBA, which everyone including the Blazers knew about. That only got worse the more he tried to play in the NBA, because the man had a stress-fracture in his foot that never healed properly after he injured it the first time in 1981 or 1982, and this was from a movie made about big Sam's career. So his foot was simply never strong enough to play basketball, at least not basketball at the professional level.

But look at the positive aspect of this story, a team with both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler on it. I mean, think about it, you have Mike at the off-guard and Clyde at the wing-forward because Clyde at 6'7", 220 pounds or so, was big enough to play up front. Both were great players, both were great scorers, both were very good defenders, both could handle the ball, both could shoot, both could drive, both could rebound, etc. If you had the Blazers, with Terry Porter at point guard, and then you had found a solid center, the Blazers would have been serious NBA Finals contenders for at least 10 years.

Without Mike and with Clyde Drexler, the Blazers were NBA Finals contenders for 3 years from 1990 to 1992, and then they fell back to the middle of the pack in the Western Conference in the mid-1990s. With Sam Bowie, the Bulls would not have even been a playoff team for probably another 5 years with such an big investment in their center, who was missing half of the season or more every year.  The Bulls and NBA would have been a lot different.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The American Conservative: Opinion: Leon Hadar: The Right's Putin Problem: What American Neo-Cons Like About Vladimir Putin



The American Conservative: Opinion: Leon Hadar: The Right's Putin Problem

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger  

I'm not trying to sound overly partisan or harsh and when my dad reads this he might say, "Why not?". But when I think of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, I think of Neoconservatives in America, especially when they praise the man for his clamp down on homosexuality in Russia.  He is not democratic or authoritarian. He's somewhere in between, a fascist politician who believe he knows what's best for his country and therefore shouldn't have to contend with any real opposition or dissent.

Sound familiar in America, especially when you look at the Neoconservative flank of the Tea Party that see themselves, a lot of them from the least populated parts of America, as the true American Patriots?  The believe that they know what is best for America and anyone who disagrees with them should just shut up or move to Canada or some socialist country. Well, again, that is Vladimir Putin who believes that it's his way or no way and you if you don't like it you may end up in jail labeled as a traitor to the Russian Republic.

Imagine what it would be like if we really had a Tea Party President of the United States.  This will never happen as free speech, privacy and personal freedom becomes more popular everyday. But how different would someone like a Michelle Bachmann or a Rick Santorum or Steve King, U.S. Representative from Iowa, be from Vlad Putin. They wouldn't be able to lock up the entire opposition in the country but they may try to. I would doubt we would see much difference in governing style  between a Tea Partier and Vlad Putin.