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Ignorance Is Ruining America

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Ignorance is ruining this country. Plain and simple.

I’m not referring to ignorance about who was kicked off American Idol last night. I’m not talking about ignorance concerning who has the best RBI in the American League. I’m not speaking of ignorance of the rules of English grammar.

am talking about ignorance of this country’s history and its founding. Specifically, it is ignorance of the Constitution and what its role is in this republic that is ruining this once great country.

On Twitter yesterday, a liberal woman was arguing with me that the budget cuts to Planned Parenthood would harm women’s health and that cuts to education would be detrimental to our children. These are the same arguments that the Democrats in Congress are spouting. The problem with those arguments is that they miss the underlying issue – the Constitution does not grant Congress the authority to regulate women’s health (or any health care for that matter). Nor does it place education within the realm of Congress. In fact, there are hundreds of federal agencies, services, programs, and departments that are not authorized by the Constitution.

United States ConstitutionWhen I pointed that out to this woman, she asked me where the Constitution prohibits “laws/legislation from being enacted by congress” and used that as her basis to claim that Congress could legislate on any issue. Fortunately for America – but unfortunately for her argument – the Constitution explicitly grants power to the federal government – not implicitly. If a power is not listed in Article I, section 8, Congress does not have it!

It is ignorance like this that fuels the left. It is ignorance like this that gives Democrats their power. Americans have to wake up and see that the vast majority of the federal government is operating outside the Constitution.

By simply ending all of those extra-constitutional programs, agencies, and services, our budget problems would be over. We would have a vast surplus of tax revenue with which to pay off our debt. We could then slash taxes since we would only have to pay for the very minor role the federal government is supposed to play in our lives. Then, each state would once again have its sovereignty back. Each state (and its residents) would be able to decide for itself whether it wanted to enact legislation providing the benefits the federal government was unconstitutionally providing.

People would actually have options in this country once again. We would all finally be living in a true republic of united states, as our founders did in the late 18th century. To get there, all we have to do is learn the intentions of our founders. All we have to do is end the ignorance.

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About Dave Jones

  • maryhouck

    People should never forget that real health depends how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry but I agree health insurance is important for every one. Search “Penny Health Insurance” or online for dollar a day insurance plans.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Yes, ignorance IS ruining America – specifically, in that we are taught to ignore the GOOD lessons that other nations have learned.

    For instance, which is more important – the general welfare of the people? Or an incredibly-bloated defense? You know…the old guns-and-butter argument.

    What every other first-world democracy on the planet has found is that taking care of the people ENABLES the people to take care of the nation as a whole. That, Mr. Jones, is why even though America has the BEST medical care on the planet (for those who can afford it) is also something like forty-seventh on the list of countries by life expectancy.

    Republicans like to claim that thousands of people come to America every year to get health care that they can’t get overseas…but back in 2009, CNN reported that 6.6 MILLION Americans are going overseas every year to get health care that they can’t get or can’t afford here. I’ve done precisely that, and so has a family friend. It’s called ‘medical tourism’ – Google it sometime.

    Tell you what, Mr. Jones – how about educating yourself on how well conservative government works out? Can you point out even ONE first-world democracy that allows more freedom of gun ownership than America does? Don’t even try to list Israel or Switzerland – they’re significantly more restrictive than we are! Not only that, but our ‘freedom’ of gun ownership is enabling gun-running across the border to Mexico to the tune of TWO THOUSAND GUNS A DAY to drug-runners who are ruining that country. And why can gun-runners do this? Because the gun-manufacturer-controlled NRA wants to keep our law enforcement from being able to track those gun-runners by registration of all firearms and background checks of all prospective gun buyers (including those at gun shows).

    And you don’t think the American-gun-enabled drug wars in Mexico are going to have any effect here? Sure, they can get guns from other countries…but why do we have to make it so easy for Mexican drug lords to get guns from America?

    EDUCATE YOURSELF! Study the census, Mr. Jones – see which states generally are better when it comes to crime, to murder, to teenage pregnancy, to divorce, to income, to levels of education, to poverty rates…

    …and you will find in ALL of those cases, blue states are generally BETTER OFF than red states. If liberal governance is SO bad, then are people in our states generally better off than people in red states? And this is NOT a new thing, but has been the case for generations! And you canNOT blame tax inequity for it, because blue states generally pay MORE federal taxes than they receive back from the federal government, red states generally RECEIVE more in federal taxes than they pay out!

    So Mr. Jones – EDUCATE YOURSELF! And learn to judge freedom (as defined by you) by the results it actually brings to the people as a whole.

    One last thing – you cannot show me a single first-world democracy that is run on libertarian principles…but I can show you LOTS of third-world countries that ARE run on largely libertarian principles. Why do you think that is?

  • Heloise

    And the job they do have saving us from foreign invades and protecting the border with moats, mortar and bombs they just look the other way. And education comes under what pursuit of happiness? We can’t regulate fertility or the right to reproduce so why should we pay 4 abortions? Or even appear to?

    Overhaul of the Feds is in order. Starting with SCOTUS and a seat for life for left wing nuts like the 2obama put in there. I don’t think so. Who said that was for life and who said illegals anchor babies should become natural born citizens?

    After Obama I hope we get candidates whose parents are both NBCs.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Heloise –

    What you have…is rhetoric, and ONLY rhetoric. But how about reading #2 and explaining exactly how it is that people in blue states are generally better off than people in red states?

    And you complain about abortions…yet I don’t see many conservatives out there pushing for prenatal care. I don’t see ANY conservatives trying to stop pregnant women from drinking or doing drugs…and I’ve taken care of a Foster child for 10-1/2 years who has fetal alcohol syndrome – g-tube, trach, rods in his back, cleft palate, seizure disorder – and it’s costing the taxpayer over $250,000 per year just to provide the nursing care required for him.

    So what does this tell me? That the Republicans are all about preventing abortions…but could care less about making sure the child is born healthy and lives a quality life. In other words, you’re pro-birth…but NOT pro-life.

  • Boeke

    I’m surprised that partisans bring up the Jones form of argument against congressional action favoring the general population since it is so easily beaten down.

    In the preamble it says” “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”

    It says “the common defense” and “The general welfare”, NOT, for example, “for property defense” or “for business welfare”.

    Additionally, the ninth amendment states “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    This is pretty clear, I would think. And while there is a lot of interesting, even engrossing argumentation available around this, the original text is pretty plain, and The Founders were pretty plain about their reasons: it is beyond mere man to list and LIMIT all the rights of citizens in the eighteenth century. We can argue about the consequences, but the text is clear, and Borks contention that it is an ink blot is merely an outburst from a frustrated man.

    The 14th amendment provides for Due Process and Equal Protection so that constitutional privileges are not simply restricted to the ruling class.

  • Baronius

    Boeke –

    Here’s my problem with that argument. Look at the beginning of the Articles of Confederation:

    The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

    Now look again at the preamble to the Constitution. The second document contains three new items: forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, and insuring domestic tranquility, those being the first three items on the list. There was no sense (that I’m aware of) that the new form of government was intended to do more in regard to defense, welfare, or securing liberty. That’s not to say that there weren’t changes in the form of government that affected the last three – for example, the power to provide for the common defense was strengthened by the central government’s power to tax. But the Constitutional government was designed to improve relations between the states, not to alter the promotion of general welfare.

  • Boeke

    And so we abandoned the Articles of Confederation for the improved Constitution.

    What I see reinforced time and again is the idea of the COMMON benefit, that these nobel rights are not reserved for a signal few, an elite.

  • http://www.obesitywars.net/ Joshua Tyler

    Article 1 Section 8…

    “TO MAKE ALL LAWS WHICH SHALL BE NECESSARY AND PROPER FOR CARRYING OUT THE FOREGOING POWERS, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

    Combine the last clause of Art.1 Sec.8, with the Preamble’s “general welfare” clause…

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE…”

    and the first clause of Art 1, Sec.8. …

    “The Congress shall have Power To… PROVIDE FOR THE … GENERAL WELFARE of the United States;”

    … and the woman that you had that argument with, looks like a genius to me. Just like Rush Limbaugh, the average Republican, in America, is clueless when it comes to the Constitution.

  • Arch Conservative

    The more dependent upon the state the citizenry becomes the less power they have to control their own lives and destinies. The more power the government can exert over the people.

    The Democrats know this. It is their bread and butter. None of the social welfare programs the Dems tout ever actually help anyone to become a more self sufficient and independent person. Rather the individual becomes more and more dependent on the government for his or her welfare. It’s akin to a heroin junky that just can’t live without that next fix.

    It’s why year in and year out the Dems/liberals schtick is the same old same old……..”republicans and conservatives are evil heartless bastards who don’t care about you…vote for we saintly Dems and we’ll make sure that big brother takes care of your every need and desire.”

    Teach a man to fish and he will eat for life. Convince him to vote for and support the leftist agenda and his destiny and his soul are no longer his.

  • zingzing

    so… archie… how is it that the right is “teaching a man to fish?” that’s the only way your simplistic, hyperbolic line of thought would make any sense in the real world.

  • http://www.obesitywars.net/ Joshua Tyler

    “Teach a man to fish and he will eat for life. Convince him to vote for and support the leftist agenda and his destiny and his soul are no longer his.” – Arch Conservative

    But, what if there are no fish, because of Conservative deregulation?

  • troll

    …soylent green

  • Heloise

    Our medicine makes babies born at 5 ounces possible put taxpayers foot the bill. That’s a problem. Blu v red you got your facts fixed.

  • http://www.obesitywars.net/ Joshua Tyler

    “…soylent green” – troll

    The unintended consequenses of Conservatism.

  • http://www.obesitywars.net/ Joshua Tyler

    Unintended “consequences”. Apologies to the spelling police.

  • Boeke

    My numerous fisherman friends say you’ve got the quote wrong. They say

    “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and you make him a liar for life.”

    If you don’t understand it then you need to go fishing more.

  • S.T..M

    As an Aussie living in the workers’/employers’ paradise in the sun-drenched island continent, where universal health care is as ggood as the in the US, and where the standrad of living is higher than that of the US, sometimes I think SOME Americans forget they are actually living in a country … not a constitution.

    I see it every day on these threads. A modern democracy moves with the times, it doesn’t spend half its time navel gazing over a piece of paper written 200 years ago. Americans should thank their lucky stars for the judiciary in the US, which has attempted in many cases to keep moving with the times. It might be that – beyond the obvious human rights contained in the Bill of Rights and which we all collectively believe in having been descended from the British: free speech, liberty of the person, due process, etc – the constiitution might now be somewhat of a hindrance. I believe Madison and a couple of the other founding fathers are on record as saying that future Americans would change the constitution and the law as they saw fit. Instead, the opposite has happened among a certain section of the populace.

    Boek’s right too about the ninth amendment. I’ve also heard some ridiculous interpretations of it, too, about state’s rights, limiting federal powers, etc. No, it says exactly what it says. I couldn’t find ant hidden meanings in it or any words between the lines. I don’t know which of the founding fathers insisted on its insertion, but he was a smart fella. Problem is, it’s “forgotten”. But while all the navel gazing has been going on, courts and lawmakers in the US have been quietly adding to the rights of the citizen over the past 200 years … including Congress.

    It might surprise Americans to learn that as an Aussie, I have more rights enacted in law than they do. I won’t go into what they are precisely but some of them are aimed at offering me some protections when it comes to the workplace.

    The other good one is that I probably wouldn’t have to go bankrupt if I got sick and didn’t have private medical insurance (luckily, here you go can have both public and private cover, which I do).

    This place has worked largely on the assumption that this is a country and that it is the duty of the state and federal governments to make it as fair and equitable place to live as possible … the old Aussie adage being: “A fair go for everyone”. It sounds hokey, but it’s true – they do strive to that end, being nothing but our elected re[resentatives anyway.

    As a result, politics tends to be less polarised.

    People on the Right in the US talk constantly about small government – and I agree up to a point; I especially don’t want the feds here poking their noses into my business more than they have too.

    Yet it was a conservative government a decade ago here that enacted legislation to stop cowboy bankers. It was that – and the fact the ground is full of stuff China, Japan and India want – that not only hardly affected us during the GFC, but saw us grow through it and survive better than any other developed western economy.

    It’s possible to live in a country rather than an economy. Yes, you need a strong one of those, but it isn’t only about that.

    And it’s possible for a country to change words on paper written 200 years ago that have held America back as a modern democracy (I mean democracy in the new sense, not the ancient Greek; I don’t want to hear that ridiculous argument) in a changing word.

    Even getting rid of the electoral college might be the first step. I realise it is largely inconsequential today, but it’s still exists as a law in the US that signals the people actually can’t be trusted to make a decision.

    That is not modern democracy. It’s not much better than old King George deciding to add a threepenny tax to a pound of tea without asking anyone.

    The kind of ignorance that is ruining America is not the kind described above (I’m not sure Ameria is being ruined, anyway … its people are too smart for that). But if there is any ruining going on, it’s because of the ignorance of Americans who think they should rely on a piece of paper written 200 years ago for EVERY decision ever made in the interests of the nation.

    Wrong. Don’t tell me there are aren’t Americans just as dsmart as those old farts in Washington 200 years ago who couldn’t put their heads together today and make a few changes for the better.

  • S.T..M

    And just in case anyone decides ton tell me that Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, ikt’s true.

    But the rights all exist at common law. At the time of writing it, the framers of our constitution decided not to add a bill of rights for that reason. It’s also been lauded by many here as a smart move, because it hasn’t left us hidebound.

    While the High Court decided years ago that free speech is implied in our constitition, just like the US it not absolute.

    I.E, you can pay the penalty for saying or writing things about another person that are not true and which can ruin their reputations or destroy them personally and financially.

    I like to see the right not to be slandered or defamed or ruined on the whim of an idiot with a wire loose between brain, mouth, or keyboard as another right I have.

  • Arch Conservative

    We went from the greatest generation who fought in the big one, came home to grit out the Great Depression and then turn this nation into an economic and political superpower to spoiled, bitchy, whiny 22 year olds fresh out of college who feel entitled to lecture the rest of us with mortgages and children to feed as to how the world really works because they took a couple of poli sci classes where some professor with a pony tail set them straight and who actually think that the world owes them a six figure job because they put up with the unbearable horror of dragging their asses out of bed before nine am twice a week to go to class so that they could obtain the degree that
    we’re supposed to pay them 100k for.

    Life is tough. Life is unfair.

    Kill yourself or get over it.

  • http://thevirtuousrepublic.com The Machiavellian

    To me, it always has been amusing how people can’t seem to read the entire preamble: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Can anyone really argue that 18th century republicans, who just threw off what they viewed as a tyrannical government, were opening the door to another type of over-bearing government?

    The 18th century liberty of the founders was a mostly negative connotation. If you are clueless, Locke’s “Second Treatise” would be a good place to start your education.

    The phrase, “general welfare”, can in no way, shape or form, be twisted to justify an ever expanding government.

    As to the necessary and proper clause, once again, reading comprehension is required.

    “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

    Note the important phrase, “for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

    It doesn’t mean Congress has the power to do anything it wants, just that it has the ability to implement the limited powers listed in the Constitution.

  • S.T..M

    Mach: “Can anyone really argue that 18th century republicans, who just threw off what they viewed as a tyrannical government, were opening the door to another type of over-bearing government?”

    What is interesting about that is the revolutionaries were agitating for – and ultimately fighting for – was to have the same rights as those afforded native Englishmen.

    That’s what they got. George had interfered illegally in Britain’s political process by forming a coterie in parliament, which is why colonial Americans got a raw deal as did many native Englishmen, but America wasn’t the first of the modern demovcracies, Britain was: from the late 1690s, when the King’s powers were stripped and given to parliament, which was meant to represent the people.

    Their constitution is virtually identical to that of the US, except it’s unwritten.

    I realise people will scratch their heads over that; but it’s made up of convention, decisions of the courts, legal precedent and statute and legislation.

    Free speech and the monarch’s lack of interference (as nothing but an executive role in the political process) as among the conventions; and due process a statute introduced in the late 1300s (yes, that far back and its wording is almost identical to the due process amendments contained within the US constitition.)

    Americans just wrote it all down. Everyything contained in the Bill of Rights had a precursor under the laws of the colonies, except the 9th amendment, and you could argue the case for that, too.

    That’s why I find it so interesting the Americans are still arguing about this stuff 200 years down the track.

    It’s there, much of its existed for many hundreds of years, even prior to the founding of the US.

    If we look after it properly – yes, that hokey, we (collectively, in the English-speaking nations) the people – it won’t be going anywhere. That is why we all exist today with our freedoms and places like Nazi Germany have been ground into thre dust of history, where they belong.

    And yes, Arch is right up to a point about the greatest American generation. There are things worth protecting, and they did …

    He’s also right that no bastard owes anyone a living and that the chattering classes, who think its all a bot above them, need to get real and get their hands dirty.

    You might expect to get a six-figure job when you actually know what you’ve been douing because you’ve been doing it for 20 or 30 years, rather than bullshitting about it.

    That might be where we’re all falling down.

  • zingzing

    archie: “Kill yourself or get over it.”

    you kinda sound like you need to “get over it” as well, bud.

  • Baronius

    Boeke – I think you missed my point. I’m not saying that we’re under the Articles of Confederation, or that the Constitution isn’t better. I’m saying that it doesn’t make sense to view the phrase “general welfare” as expansive, given what we know about American history before the Constitution. You’re right that the government is responsible for protecting everyone’s welfare; that is the meaning of “general”. But “general” doesn’t mean that government has unlimited power by which it is to protect everyone’s welfare.

    Just to reiterate: the Founders had been living under a central government that didn’t have the authority to wipe its own butt. When the Founders got together to formulate a new Constitution, they described the power of the central government in exactly the same way as before with regard to “general welfare”. They even made a big deal out of the fact that it couldn’t do anything more than it had been assigned. During the debates over the new Constitution, the big question was whether the wording was restrictive enough.

    Reading the phrase “general welfare” as permission to enact health care law is like passing a kidney stone. It’s possible to do it, but it’s painfully obvious that the structures weren’t built for that purpose.

  • Boeke

    Mach says: “It doesn’t mean Congress has the power to do anything it wants, just that it has the ability to implement the limited powers listed in the Constitution.”

    How does that follow? I’m not saying it isn’t desirable, just that it doesn’t necessarily follow. So, what’s the logic?

  • Boeke

    “Reading the phrase “general welfare” as permission to enact health care law….”

    I think that’s exactly what it does. I think you don’t like it, but that doesn’t make it not so.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    I must congratulate you, congressman. You demonstrated your thesis about ignorance with your article.

    Tommy

  • STM

    Archie … here’s one specially for you.

    There’s a neighbourhood in in inner-Sydney that has become what you in America might call a a very liberal enclave.

    I prefer to call it an entire area that has become a loony-left ghetto with a green bent. A ghetto of insane ideas and bizarre values. When we’re talking green, maybe we should say “red”.

    As you know, I’m on the very right of the Left here … union oriented and a believer in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay and in trade-offs on that basis that add to profits for private industry – because that is the only way this stuff works.

    The neighbourhood I’m talking about, a few years back they had a bunch of blokes dressing up in loin cloths, putting mud and paint on their bodies and running around a rugby oval with spears and shields. They did it a couple of days a week.

    I’m sure there were ponytails involved. It’s the kind of place where if you’ve made a depressing short movie about a junkie and a singlemother, it counts for more than working in a blue-collar job five days a week, even if it’s your only claim to fame. I won’t put sh.t on Hollywood because it makes a fortune, but there are a lot of self-proclaimed “artists” out there who aren’t making a quid for themselves or anyone else.

    The ground where they ran around was a ground where I’d played footy over winter where me and a thousand other blokes got in touch with our male sides by getting our faces ground into the dirt or getting broken in half in a tackle. It struck me as bizarre that these guys were doing this but I couldn’t really put my finger on what was giving me the sh.its about out.

    The one of the women I work with said: “Getting in touch with their masculine sides?? What a bunch of clowns …. why don’t they just play footy or go to the pub like normal blokes.”

    Maybe that’s what’s wrong with us all. Someone who knows the value of hard work and of contributing to the economy and the community by earning a quid and then making that money go around, say by buying locally, which then keeps someone else in a job, gets second prize, or is regarded as making less of a contribution, while someone who hasn’t done much but is “arty” is regarded as having more worth. I am generalising of course and there are obvious exceptions when people have genuine talent, even better if it leads to the employment of others, but it seems like that’s the case everywhere. In you neck of the woods, too, last time I was there.

    It shouldn’t be. And worst of all, it seems a bit French.

    And bullsh.t.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “We went from the greatest generation who fought in the big one, came home to grit out the Great Depression…”

    How exactly did people who fought in WWII go back in time to grit out the Great Depression? Next you’ll be asking us, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

  • zingzing

    rose-tinted glasses have a disorienting effect, eb.

  • STM

    Come on you boys, many of us might not like Archie’s views most of the time, but in this case, he might have a bit of a point – and he’s just got the times mixed up a bit.

    People came home from WWI, had to go through the depression; lots of ‘em had kids early, so their kids grew up in the depression (there’s the grit) … then, most of America (most of the world) had to go off to war, what, 20 years later.

    You have to admit, too, that what America used to be good at … making quality stuff the world and American consumers wanted, then selling it at a profit, has kind of gone by the wayside a bit.

    America’s almost – not quite – a post-industrial society. Which means it needs to adapt hugely.

    I can’t see it not happening because of native ingenuity but it’s still a huge ask.

    Maybe Archie’s right about people getting their hands dirty again.

    Blue-collar or labouring jobs aren’t just for immigrants. For instance: One plumber who hires five staff, which keeps the money going round.

    My son recently tossed in a white-collar job paying good bucks, and couldn’t get another.

    In the meantime, to make a quid, he’s been cleaning people’s gutters, mowing lawns, tidying up garages, cementing and painting.

    I’m glad … because it’s taught him the value of work – and a dollar – and how well-paying office-type jobs don’t come that easily and aren’t there to be thrown away simply because you don’t like working ’til 9 some nights, or on Saturdays.

    I imagine it’s the same deal with genY over there.

  • pablo

    STM,

    I wonder if you can describe in your own words and meaning just exactly what a “right” is STM. I am of course referring to it in the context of law.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Heloise –

    Our medicine makes babies born at 5 ounces possible put taxpayers foot the bill. That’s a problem. Blu v red you got your facts fixed.

    In other words, you don’t believe what I said because you don’t want to believe it’s true…

    …but the data’s all there in the Census. Google it – you’ll find it. Or Google “list states life expectancy” or “list states birth mortality” or “list states educational attainment” or “list states murder rate”…

    …and you cannot help but see what I mean.

  • velmaowen

    Hell, at the moment,health care threatens to grow to consume the entire economy of not just the United States, but most of the developed world. If you want to use your go to example of Europe, they too face rising health care costs. Check our “Penny Health Insurance” to read articles on how to save money on health insurance.

  • Clavos

    …but the data’s all there in the Census. Google it – you’ll find it. Or Google “list states life expectancy” or “list states birth mortality” or “list states educational attainment” or “list states murder rate”…

    Data in and of itself is meaningless — no — less than meaningless, because it can be manipulated by the unscrupulous and misinterpreted by the careless.

    But you know that.

  • S.T..M

    I wonder if you can describe in your own words and meaning just exactly what a “right” is STM.

    Something the law says you can do, should be able to do, and it has now power to stop you doing … or something the law says it can’t do to you, is never able to do, and won’t do … according to the law.

    I regard free speech, liberty of the person, equality under the law and diue process as “natural rights” worth protecting under the law.

    When I read people on here saying free speech might also constitute hate speech, I only agree when it’s about someone’s right to say they don’t like someone, something or a group of people. That is not hate speech. It’s an opinion, right or wrong.

    When it comes to inciting violence against others, that is not free speech … unless of course you regard things like the urging of all Germans by lovely folk like Himmler and Ernst Roehm to smash Jewish shops and bash up Jews.

    That kind of stuff formed the basis of Nazi doctrine.

    It doesn’t constitue free speech.

    Free speech is also being able to tell a government or politician it, he or she stinks and should go … without ending being worked to death at Dachau or Schsenhausen.

    I know you know exactly what I mean amyway Pablo.

    Somewhere in there, between free speech and inciting others to violence, there’s a fine line. Perhaps we should tread it warily.

    One of our states here is about to introduce a law against bullying following the death of a 16-year-old (and numerous other incdents, including bullying that has led to suice), which could result in charges related to the bullying law where harm results for the victim of the bullying.

    I believe you might also see the right NOT to be bullied as a right. They (the State government in question) plan to deal with it the same way as they might with legislation on stalking and police charges related to that, although how it will be is anyone’s guess and we’re all wondering.

    I’m almost certain, though, Pablo, that you might have different words for me when it comes to what might constitute a right.

    I’ve expressed it the best way I can … and yes, rights are for the people as protections against say, corrupt governments, greedy employers (like those who won’t pay wages set down by the law), and criminals, to name but a few.

  • S.T..M

    And that first line is Pablo’s quote, so this adddressed to him. Cheers.

  • Arch Conservative

    Yes I believe the average person has become too lazy, bitchy and too often refuses to do the hard work in their own lives for themselves.

    However I’d also like to make a concession to the other side. I also believe that while there is nothing wrong with corporations doing what they can to maximize profits, more often than not they go beyond the bounds of decency and exhibit a complete lack of concern and consideration for those they employ that help make them what they are.

    In a perfect world everyone would be honest. We’d be respectful of and give a damn about others who put in the effort on their own behalf. But the world is far from perfect. It goes back to what I said before. Life is tough and unfair. You’d be better off doing whatever you can to adapt to life as it comes at you rather than complaining all the time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Data in and of itself is meaningless — no — less than meaningless, because it can be manipulated by the unscrupulous and misinterpreted by the careless.

    Yeah, Clavos, I know – every time a statistic comes out that doesn’t match up with what YOU personally believe, it’s either the data is wrong or it’s misinterpreted or it’s otherwise manipulated…and there’s ZERO chance that you might be wrong, that the statistics are PRECISELY what they seem, right?

    Your stance is really no different from the birthers, the CBO-data deniers, and the moon-landing deniers (and the AGW deniers of whom you are one) who will deny everything that doesn’t fit in their worldview no matter what the evidence may be that is shown to them.

    And I’ve seen Dave do exact same thing – every time I show him a poll that he doesn’t like, he’ll use the exact same excuse you used above…but this doesn’t stop him from referencing polls that HE likes and declaring them as gospel truth.

    In other words, Clavos, you’re trying to pick and choose your own facts. You’ll accept facts you like, and you’ll flatly deny facts that indicate or prove you’re wrong. That’s what you’ve done from day one that I came to BC.

    Don’t get me wrong – I do think highly of you. Unlike some here, you sincerely try not to be hypocritical. You do try to answer as honestly as your beliefs will allow – and that counts for much, in my book. But you’ve still got the habit of trying to pick and choose your own facts.

  • Clavos

    You still don’t get it, Glenn. It’s not the statistics; it’s the conclusions YOU (not the Census Bureau or whomever — you) draw from them that I question.

    Although, having been a crew chief and a trainer during a year-long stint in 2000 working for the Census, I can tell you for a fact that their data is often questionable — and significantly so.

  • troll

    Glenn – here’s a top 10 list of states’ murder rates/100,000 for ’06 (not sure about its accuracy as it’s pulled from a secondary source but assuming it’s correct)

    1. Louisiana – 9.9
    2. Maryland – 9.7
    3. Nevada – 9.0
    4. Alabama – 8.3
    4. South Carolina – 8.3
    6. Mississippi – 7.7
    7. Arizona – 7.5
    8. Arkansas – 7.3
    9. Michigan – 7.1
    10. California – 6.8
    10. New Mexico – 6.8
    10. Tennessee – 6.8

    …does this data support your red/blue distinction as you see it?

    seems to me that it points to the probability that some other controlling variable(s) is involved

  • Baronius

    Boeke – That really isn’t an argument, it’s an assertion. Please give some historical context.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Now look at the list you posted – out of the top twelve states, all but three (Maryland, Michigan, and California) are quite red. Now if you look at the other end – at the bottom ten – you’ll find mostly blue states.

    Is this blue-states-are-better mindset true in ALL cases? Of course not. But it is still GENERALLY true.

    If you go back and check stats on crime, divorce, teenage pregnancy, poverty, income, education level…you’ll find the SAME is true on ALL these matters.

    And you know what? It’s NOT primarily because of the Republican governance of red states! Let me repeat that – it’s NOT primarily because of the Republican governance of the red states…

    …but the statistics (crime, divorce, poverty, teen pregancy, income, education) strongly indicate that conservative governance of those red states certainly isn’t doing them much good.

    Look again at the states listed – the states listed are largely RURAL…and yes, California can easily be said to be a mostly-rural state. As you probably know, rural areas are generally more conservative, and as such will elect more conservative candidates. That, troll, is why, before the Civil Rights Act most of the South was Democratic, because the Southern Dems were quite conservative. But once the Civil Rights Act passed, the Southern Republicans took on the conservative label…and now the rural South is completely red.

    But the point is this – rural areas strongly support conservative candidates and have done so since the end of Reconstruction…so how has conservative (first Democratic, then Republican, but ALWAYS conservative) rule worked out for those rural states?

    As you can see in the stats, not too well. My contention is that rural areas elect conservative leaders because of the nature of rural populations.

    Keep digging in the stats, troll, and you’ll see what I mean. You can’t miss it. But you might be interested in the ONE area where blue states were worse than red states – drug use. But in virtually every other area, red states are GENERALLY worse off than blue states.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You question my conclusions…yet now as before you refuse to offer any other logical explanation. The last time I pointed this out – which is somewhere in the comments concerning the first article pointing out all these shortcomings of red states – you said that you don’t have to. (note – I also stated in those comments about the rural nature of red states being the cause, and that their perpetual conservative governance has done them little good)

    But your refusal to offer (or to even ATTEMPT to offer) any other logical explanation despite the rather weighty amount of solid stats indicating red-state shortcomings…greatly weakens your stance against my argument.

    But then, I remember it’s the same with AGW – you refuse the evidence presented and supported by 98% of the world’s climatologists and stick instead to those few who are funded and supported by Big Oil.

    And that goes back to what I said about you picking and choosing your facts. You accept the facts that support what you want to believe…but nothing and nobody can force you to accept facts that challenge your personal worldview.

  • troll

    but Glenn…as there are half again as many red as blue states to start with I would not be surprised to find 1/3 blue and 2/3 red states by chance alone

    …and when I look at the bottom of the distribution I find – 8 of the states with the lowest murder rates are red including the 3 with the lowest rates

    seems like some conservative states have done fine relative to the liberal ones

    I don’t see your general rule holding at least as far as murder rates go

  • Boeke

    I can imagine few things that have a clearer and better claim on ‘the general welfare’ than Universal Healthcare.

    It does not swallow the entire economy, as some alarmists fear. Indeed, countries with UHC have lower average economic burden than we do. We could actually save money with UHC. It’s just a quaint ideological conceit that healthcare should be private, part of the cost of which is thousands of unnecessary deaths every year. Seems dumb, to me.

  • troll

    (ps – New Mexico is blue)

  • http://walkingupstream.blogspot.com Maureen O’Danu

    What some people in this thread don’t realize is that one of the primary issues that the American colonists had with King George was the way he allowed a corporation (the East India Tea Company) to dictate to the colonists.

    The US Revolution wasn’t just a revolution against tyrannical government, but against early corporatism. Several of the Federalist papers touch on this, and the Boston Tea Party is a prime example of colonial anti-corporate sentiment.

    The founders certainly weren’t advocating for a libertarian world. That’s exactly what they were objecting to, as libertarianism necessarily over time devolves into feudalism, and they had come to America to escape feudalism, only to have it rear its ugly head in the form of corporatism.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    and yes, California can easily be said to be a mostly-rural state.

    I’m sorry, Glenn, that isn’t even close to being true. While California does contain significant amounts of farmland and wilderness, 98% of Californians now live in urban areas according to 2010 census data.

    Two-thirds of the state’s population live in greater Los Angeles and the Bay Area alone – and that proportion’s even higher if you include greater San Diego, which can be regarded as contiguous with LA.

  • troll

    (erp – I misspoke in #44…7 out of the 10 states with the lowest murder rates are red – not 8)

  • zingzing

    troll, which ones are you considering blue? and what’s the deciding factor? in the 2008 election (the next election after the year the data comes from, not including the 2006 election, as there was no election that covered every state that year), 6 out of those 10 are blue. but i guess it’s kinda hard to decide what’s a blue state and what’s a red state. (for ex, iowa is blue that year, although that isn’t always the case.)

    if your red/blue divide hinges on presidential elections, 6 out of those 10 states were blue at least most of the time from 1996-2008.

    i’ve got no real truck in this race, but i’m just wondering how you’re defining a state’s color.

  • troll

    Zing – I went with the ’04 election for the ’06 data set

    I agree that getting too precise with red/blue claims is dicey –

    a different way to look at the question would terms of percent of population governed at the state level by republicans vrs democrats and how this relates to murder rate etc

  • zingzing

    yeah, that’s my general theory about all this. when you break it down on a local level, things become very complicated. a state that looks red will have large sections of blue in it, and vice versa. how do the federal, state and local laws commingle? how can anyone know how those laws are being enforced in each municipality?

    beyond all that, densely-packed urban areas can be murder hotspots, as can rundown hick-laden trailer parks. there are lots of reasons why an area might go to seed. the politics of an area can only really have so much affect.

    that said, glenn’s numbers have to add up to something. and it is curious and suspiciously coincidental, so i’m not ready to totally dismiss it like clavos is. (and now i’m going to go do that thing we liberals do so well–blow. no wait, charlie. no wait, ski. that sounds better.)

    (btw-this is the map i used, which covers a wider chunk of time than just the 2004 election.)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    beyond all that, densely-packed urban areas can be murder hotspots

    Bingo, zing.

    High-crime areas are almost always urban.

    Humans are designed to live in small groups, not packed into vast hives containing millions. The biological stress placed on the human organism by the latter condition expresses itself in crime, among other things.

  • zingzing

    well, then it would be interesting to look at an urban area that sticks out like a sore thumb from its surroundings. like, say, austin. very liberal in a conservative state. then look at a similarly-sized city in the same state (so that state and federal laws work together in the same way) that is governed in a more conservative fashion.

    would el paso count as “conservative?” i dunno. fort worth is also around the same size, but it’s kinda just an extension of dallas, so i wouldn’t use that one (even though they did vote for mccain 56%-44% in 2008, and even though the cities are 35 miles apart). (and el paso voted 66%-34% for obama in 2008, but i dunno what’s up with them on a local level.)

    finding two such cities to compare might be a real challenge. austin-forth worth may be the best two to compare, but there has to be a more clear-cut comparison somewhere… if it can even be done at all.

  • troll

    that said, glenn’s numbers have to add up to something. and it is curious and suspiciously coincidental…

    murder rate is the first thing I looked at and ’06 was the first data I found…and the conservative vrs liberal (red/blue distinction) explanation isn’t convincing in that instance

    are there similar problems in all of Glenn’s comparisons from a red/blue perspective

    hmmm…maybe if we used those red/blue county maps instead of by state

  • S.T..M

    Maureen: “The US Revolution wasn’t just a revolution against tyrannical government, but against early corporatism.”

    It also really wasn’t a tyrannical government although once the shooting started there was some nastiness. At the time, Americans weren’t an ppressed people, but they -rightly – did want self-determination.

    In fact, in the beginning, Washington (George, not the city) only wanted that. They wanted the kind of status later given to Canada, New Zealand and Australia – wholly independent sovereign nations with their own governments but with their ties to the Crown remaining.

    True about rebelling against early corporatism, but there was a bit more to it than that: many of the revolutionaries were wealthy and powerful too, and sought to cement their own positions, There is also the ruling against slavery by the Court of King’s Bench in London two years earlier (the James Somerseet case). Since court decisions of those kinds pass into law as precedent, it actually was the first LEGAL step to the eventual banning first of the slave trade (1808) and then slavery itself with the British empire.

    So while there was a kick-back against early corporatism, there was also some self-interest. Judge Mansfield, in his ruling, knew that his decision would cause trouble.

    In his judgement, he said he made it no matter what problems it might lead to in the futuure *historians believe he was talking mostly about slavery in the Americans, since Somersett, who was freed and lived out his life in England, was “owne” by a Bostonian and bound for either Virginia of the Caribbean (depending on which version you believe; most seem to theink iit was Virginia).

    And yes, I do know and understand it was a different era with different values, but let’s not forget that whilst banging on loudly about rights, liberty and equality, someone forget to tell the blackfellas in the shed down the back.

    Jefferson was one of them, and deserves to be remembered more for that than as the father of so-called “Jeffersonian democracy”, which on close examination is very similar to the democracy he and his mates rebelled against. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s still revered in the US when part of his cementing his own position as a power figure in early American society involved large-scale slave ownership tied to corporate profit.

    In fact, the revolutionaries used Britain’s own democracy against her. It was their personal and political freedoms as colonists that allowed them to build up, plot and eventually mount what we’d now call an insurgency. It didn’t really become a proper war until the perfumed nancy boys of absolutist France (the exact opposite of what the revolutionaries sought) got into bed with Americans. I can understand the alliance, but it became one democracy fighting another with an absolutist monarch who gave his own people no religious or political freedom fighting a democract nation fighting against its own people over democratic ideals. Work that one out.

    Not that Americans didn’t have a right to self-government nor the right to fight for it, nor that the British government shouldn’t have given it to them.

    Had the Whigs been in power in Westminster, there would have been no war at all (they always supported American self-government; when they were elected they stopped the fighting and refused to Grant King George any more money to continue it, although it had actually continued for quite some time after the debacle at Yorktown).

    Even back then, truth was the first casualty of war.

    Had George not set up his own personal coterie wielding political influence in parliament (illegal as convention under Britain’s constitution), Americans and Britons would never have gone to war in the first place.

    The interesting question there is: What would the US have been like had they not?

    A more progressive version of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which are more progressive versions of America now.

    Interesting what ifs, and I still believe the American revolution constitutes one of the great lies and myths of history. I realise that view is controversial here.

    Nevertheless, I also have the view that history always works things out the right way, the way they should be, even if it might not seem that way at the time.

    Which is what happened in that case.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    1 – the vast majority of Californians live in the big urban areas, true…but do the vast majority of those who GOVERN CA come from urban areas? No. Think about it – the rural areas of CA have more power than they should, if we speak only in terms of population.

    2 – Yes, urban areas have a much higher homicide rate…but where are the universities? Where are the major employers, the true Big Business? Where are the major centers of culture and art? They are in and around the big cities…and even though the inner cities have a higher homicide rate, the surrounding suburban areas, the surrounding counties derive such an economic and educational benefit that their crime rates are much lower…and dilute the overall state statistics to the point that states with major urban areas have lower homicide rates.

    But that’s not the whole story…and I really don’t know yet where it leads. Why? Because the safest states (in terms of homicide) are also largely rural…though they are also largely (except for UT and ND) ‘purple’ or blue, as opposed to the much higher homicide rates in most other rural strongly-red states (see comment #40).

    Again, I’m not yet sure where this leads, because it’s not good to pay attention only to the homicide stats. The stats largely correlate, though, with what we see in terms of education and poverty level.

    So why do you think that is, Doc? Why are the reddest of the red states where they’re at, despite their having had strongly conservative governance (Democratic and Republican at different times, but ALWAYS strongly conservative) since Reconstruction? Are we to believe – as Clavos once implied – that the political philosophy of the governance makes little or no difference in the quality of life for the people? Personally, I am loath to accept such a determination.

    You’re intelligent and no fool (though on a good day I might qualify for only one of those compliments), so I’d like to hear your opinion on why the red states largely do so poorly.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Glenn,

    1. Not sure that the makeup of the California legislature, which is usually (though often without justification) seen as one of the country’s most liberal, has much to do with the crime rate. County and city governments have a much more intimate connection to and influence on crime – and in the highest-crime areas of California, they do tend to be very liberal.

    Nonetheless, here’s a map of California’s legislative districts. (Not a very good one, admittedly, but what can you do…?) Granted that rural areas are possibly overrepresented, but the state is still quite clearly and overwhelmingly urban.

    2. It remains the case that the more concentrated the population, the higher the crime rate. Although suburbs are still urban, they are a lot less crowded than the inner cities.

    I stand by my assertion that crime has a lot more to do with population density than with style of governance.

    As for why “red” southern states tend to do worse in the poverty stakes, history and culture has a lot to do with it. I also think it’s partly a function of conservative politicians’ tendency to eschew poverty rather than address it. A case of “you’re a grown-up, figure it out” versus the liberal’s “let’s help you better your lot”.

  • zingzing

    troll: “murder rate is the first thing I looked at and ’06 was the first data I found…and the conservative vrs liberal (red/blue distinction) explanation isn’t convincing in that instance.”

    i just want to see what a major city would look like with conservative governance. well, i don’t really… but maybe that’s just one of the reasons cities tend to be more liberal and less liberal in their gun laws. necessity, i suppose. i dunno. there’s got to be an example out there somewhere. but then it’s just an example. what works in one place may not work in another.

    “are there similar problems in all of Glenn’s comparisons from a red/blue perspective”

    i’m guessing that’s a question, and i don’t know. you could probably make a case either way. certainly a cursory glance at the types of info glenn is looking at would lead you to believe that blue states are better at life in general, but you just know things aren’t as simple as all that.

    “hmmm…maybe if we used those red/blue county maps instead of by state”

    that’s the best answer, but not one any of us are going to conquer. that’s a major study… one that should have been done by now. but i wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for such a study.

  • troll

    …perhaps we could get some major political organization (where’s Dave when we need him) to fund such a study if we commit to fudging the results as deemed necessary

    btw re your #52 – is it legit to use a map incorporating ’08 election results to analyze ’06 rate data? I do agree with your underlying point that averaging several elections is a good plan…

  • troll

    …forgot to add that yes I forgot the ‘?’

  • zingzing

    “…perhaps we could get some major political organization (where’s Dave when we need him) to fund such a study if we commit to fudging the results as deemed necessary”

    well, maybe just ask a university sociology department or something. whatever your feelings on them, they are a bit more trustworthy than political groups.

    “btw re your #52 – is it legit to use a map incorporating ’08 election results to analyze ’06 rate data? I do agree with your underlying point that averaging several elections is a good plan…”

    well, ’06 data is a bit old at this point (5 years… god, i’m getting old…), and although i doubt much has changed, finding newer data would be desirable.

    in the end, using election data that only references presidential elections might not be a good idea either. a friend of mine would never, ever vote for a republican president. but, he says, he would consider it at a local level. just look at new york city… a liberal hive, you’d imagine, but look at the mayors they’ve elected. sure, lots of dems, but we’ve had republicans for the last 15 years. (and republican rudy did enforce some pretty restrictive gun laws, and the murder rate dropped.)

    what such a study needs to do is look at federal laws and who’s making them, then look at state laws and who’s making them, then look at county/local laws and who’s making and enforcing them. and it has to stretch back far enough in time to be able to identify trends. and it has to be done on a statistically significant amount of localities.

    if someone would actually do that for lots of glenn’s categorical points, that would be something worth doing. that would be very valuable information.

    but of course, what with the nature of politics as it is, someone would be right along to call it bunk. and then some other study would make exactly the opposite point. because we humans are stupid.