View Full Version : Microsoft the NSA and you!
You've just got have a look at this site!
Welcome to the land of the free, and don't forget big brother is watching!
Given that I don't conduct confidential information on my computer, all they'd find out about me is that I like UFOs, the paranormal, and engaging conversation. Although I wonder how intelligent the CIA is trusting Microsoft to build them a quality back-door. I mean, did you ever hear the one about the helicopter that got lost in Washington state?
Very scary! Wait until they get our
guns and then see what happens.
Puhleeease. Ladies and gentlemen, we have here yet another victim of NRA brainwashing (they do possess quite a marketing talent...)
Do you seriously think that if the Government (and its police, army, navy, airforce, FBI, CIA, GODKNOWSWHATELSE) came at you with their high technology and military firepower, that you little shotgun, or pistol, or whatever-have-you would make any difference?????? If "they" want you dead, you will definitely be dead -- and no gun or even a cannot could possibly save you, nor present any challenge to "them".
The right to carry arms was never intended as a protection from the government (because even in 1776 the government was too powerful for anyone to resist it). It was intended as personal protection against bandits and such, in the days when police was powerless or altogether non-existent. And that's the only argument that still may apply today -- guns are for *personal* protection, not for protection of citizens against possibly hostile government agencies. Also note that assault rifles do not fit under the 'personal protection' umbrella. Remember that the "government" is not trying to confiscate handguns from law-abiding citizens; they are trying to ban assault rifles, and prevent convicted criminals from obtaining guns.
I am; therefore I think.
No I don't because they want to control us not destroy us. Ask yourself how many innocent people the government killed
over the years and how many people were
killed by the NRA. Yes,if enough people
wanted to over throw the government in
the 1700's I think it would have happened
by citizens with arms. Regardless of
our technology the greatest threat is an armed person. I agree that they are not after the law abiding citizen yet but
lets wait and see.This is how I feel
about it right or wrong.
Oh, so they don't want to kill you; they only want to <u>control</u> you?
And may I ask how owning a handgun would save you from being "controlled"??? What would you do with it, go and assassinate some politician or something? Because if you are thinking armed militia, it would be considered a threat to national security, and we all know how armed militias defying the government are handled these days...
I am; therefore I think.
A single person nothing but thousands of people and then you have a problem. Just because one fringe militia group
does something bad people think they are all up to the same thing. I can see that
you are listening to big brother. Why
don't you go out and get a paper and you'll see that there is a 15 million dol ar plan to buy guns from the public in rural areas.This is the first step believe me. Also if the miltias are such
a threat why are thousands joining every day including a lot of military personnel? If you want documentation I'll happily supply you with some. Why do you
think what I say is so far fetched?
First of all, lest you think that I am a pain in the neck debunker determined to suck your blood, I want to tell you that the reason I keep up such a pace of debate here is because the issue genuinely interests me, and I have not debated this particular one before. So, if I seem to come after your every post, please don't think it's personal (because it's not). Now...
I have nothing against militias as such; in fact I think they are rather akin to political parties. However, I do not believe that as military units they any longer wield a force, nor have any hope to in the future.
Consider the situation. Our government is a representative democracy. This means that the main issues in political campaigns are determined through the interests of the majority. If the majority becomes particularly dissatisfied with the current government, we all know it will be changed within at most two years (House elections.) Now, if the government somehow gets so out of hand as to overthrow the Republic and discard the Constitution, going against the wishes of the majority -- then they will have not just thousands, but hundreds of millions of p.o.'d citizens -- and this many people don't need weapons to effect change.
On the other hand, if a relatively small group (even on the order of thousands of people) arms itself and starts behaving aggressively against the majority government, they will most likely be suppressed by force -- similar to what happened in the ex-Confederate states following the Civil War. And this time, the suppression will be swift and brutal -- because no handgun can protect you against remote-controlled smart weapons, stealth/supersonic airborne attack, state-of-the art surveillance or ultra-high-tech infantry specialized for urban combat. If a militia group really goes to war (otherwise, what are the guns for?) -- it stands absolutely no chance with an all-out combat against the combined State and Federal forces.
As we enter a global and economy-dominated information age, war seems to be on its way out. This is easily seen from the current trends in Western military forces toward a defensive/suppressive, as opposed to aggressive stance. Businesses benefiting from world-wide trade dominate GNPs of countries; the military sector is no longer the heavyweight it used to be. As a result, economic policies dominate, and armed aggression is increasingly discouraged. Just look how U.S. is treating China, for example -- the economic sentiments are clearly dictating the policy here, despite the ideological objections from the right wing. Military forces are on a continual decline, and as the trend continues they are being reduced to a mere high-tech global police aimed at suppressing rogue states. This ought to be a hint for the old-fashioned groups that still espouse military strength as the ultimate form of empowerment.
I think it's more likely that in the future dissatisfaction with the government will be unfailingly manifested through political movements, akin to the Civil Rights movement or the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. To my knowledge, in U.S. militia groups have not altered government policies for well over a century; contrast that with political parties and you should see that armed resistance is really a thing of the past in the first-world nations (not just U.S.) For another example, look at the Ireland's struggle with Great Britain: their militia resulted in intensified oppression, and proved a huge hurdle in achieving a resolution. Ultimately, the resolution is achieved between political bodies with international backing. If your movement does not appeal to the worldwide politicians, you are probably just going to be subjected to extreme violence like the Muslim insurgents were in Russia, or like the Palestinians were in Israel before they came out onto the world's political stage.
I therefore maintain that personal handguns (or indeed any personal weaponry whatever) are not an effective protection against persecution or control. Political wavemaking is. Armed insurgencies rarely garner sympathy from bystanders; peaceful yet determined political movements, on the other hand, usually do. So I am still convinced that the only justification of having a lethal weapon on you is for protection on the street or in your home. I do not at all see how arming yourself is an assurance of freedom from politically-orchestrated persecution.
And by the way, there are dozens if not hundreds of gun buy-back programs throughout U.S., and a lot of them are not even orchestrated by elected governments but rather are spearheaded by various non-profit foundations. Furthermore, the gun-control measures coming out of the elected governments are aimed to outlaw weapons of too much power from civilian use. For example, you probably would not object to the stipulation that ordinary civilians should not have access to nuclear weapons, or to cluster bombs, or to high explosives, or to biological weapons. These could of course all be used for self-defence, but they represent too much destructive power to entrust to individuals, some of which are guaranteed to be untrustworthy. The trick is to cut a line between weapons adequate for self-defense, and weapons designed not merely to defend, but to kill en masse. Assault guns have too much penetrating power, and shoot too many bullets too quickly, to be deemed adequate for mere self-defence; on the contrary they are designed for efficient murder, and present a threat to law-enforcement personnel as well as ordinary civilians.
One could argue for a slippery slope leading from elimination of assault guns to elimination of all weaponry capable of killing a person. And I think you would be correct. With appearance and eventual perfection of non-lethal weapons, I can see the day when civilians are forbidden from bearing any arms that may cause death to an assailant, and would instead be restricted to devices which incapacitate or otherwise reliably thwart aggressors. Until such devices are perfected, however, ordinary handguns (not of assault variety) seem suitable for the self-defence goal.
Some people are enamoured with weaponry either because of the power it bestowes, or due to some nostalgic sentiment. However, just as the principles of the Constitution (including its amendments) were crafted for its own day, modern policies cannot fixate upon 200-year-old precedents without considering the changing circumstances. The Constitution was purposefully designed to be flexible, to accomodate precisely the kind of policy shifts necessitated by the evolving world. While certain principles of the Constitution, such as representation, democratic elections, checks and balances, or fundamental rights, are unlikely to ever fail, things like the second amendment must be interpreted in a modern context; just as a court of law must consider the circumstances of a precedent to judge its applicability, so must we consider the modern circumstances as contrasted to those 200 years ago, when we consider applicability or utility of certain parts of the Constitution. Blindly following rules with no consideration for their intent is a bad policy; that's why we have separation of church and state.
To that end, I would ask you to come up with a hypothetical situation in the not-too-distant future which would have no good resolution other than that provided by armed citizenry. Can you really think of a situation where given U.S.-like social structures, private guns become more fruitful than public outcry, with respect to opposing, altering, or abolishing government policies or agencies?
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited September 09, 1999).]
I agree with some of what you have posted. Yes the government would like to kill all militia organizations. If they
did more innocent people would die. I know the government has a lot of people believing they are criminals and out to kill everyone.Something happens and right away its the militia.I've talked to these people and lived near them all my life
and can tell you for sure that what the government tells you is false. Militia leaders work with senators they do not run around killing people and I'm not talking about the wackos that they try to
group militias with. Now if the government wants to enslave the american citizens I believe thousands of people
(military and civilian ) could overthrow
the government with handguns and rifles.
If the government wants to do this they would not want the people to be armed.Shooting or rounding up an unarmed
citizen is easier.This was the point I was making. The question is does the government have a take over in mind?
I forgot to add that there will be a lot
of people within those state and federal forces you talked of who will side with
the militias remember they have families and believe in the constitution also.
And therein lies your problem. The 'government' is not some sinister independent body; it is made up of people just like me and you. They are people with careers, families, neighbourhoods, and investments. It is silly to suggest that our government would somehow attempt to enslave its citizens, at least in the short term, because then they would be enslaving themselves as well as their own children. Not only that, but with what army would they proceed in this enslavement? As long as American ideology is kept alive, 'enslavement' would be impossible. But on the other hand, if ideology dies, then even handguns would be of no help. Our only defense against enslavement is our creed of fundamental endowment, equality, and independence; guns provide no extra assurances.
The typical scenario envisioned by fatalists is a slow descent down a slippery slope into some Orwellian nightmare. There is a popular belief that surrendering one 'right' would inevitably lead to eventual surrender of all rights, creating an unprincipled police state. Guns could play no role in arresting such regress, as it must by definition be gradual (spanning many generations), as well as widely accepted and even endorsed by the majority.
But you see, not all rights are created equal. The right to life, for example, is a far more important, fundamental, and inelienable one than the right to bear arms. In the Confederate days, plantation owners might have cited a right to enslave as fundamental, but today we clearly see that it is not. So the idea of gradual loss of rights from the fringe to the core is not necessarily valid. While we may give up the 'right' to bear arms, we could never give up the right to free speech. The difference is that the former is merely an outdated and increasingly meaningless symbol of empowerment and independence, while the latter is absolutely vital for democracy, and is the true, actual pillar of said independence and empowerment.
I am; therefore I think.
I don't think it is a silly theory
at all. Not all those in the armed forces or govt. would side with the citizens.If
less than 50 percent did could it be possible? What about other countries
who lost the right to bear arms have you spoke to any of them? I want to know why
you think the NRA brainwashes people
when all they want to do is protect our
right to bear arms. The people I have talked to say the govt. wants all guns.
Right here in Idaho govt. bought all guns
in a auction last year which were mostly
collectible firearms.They outbid everyone
with our taxes so what did they do with them? They destroyed them!! Its very clear to me that they are not after just
assault rifles and nuclear weapons.
I do agree with you on certain ideas and
yes maybe what I think is highly unlikely
but the data shows its clear on thier plan concerning guns. I believe we the
people were given the right to bear arms
thats why people did then and still do now and they can twist the meaning to suit them but I'd rather trust my neighbor over anyone in DC.
With respect to NRA, 'brainwashing' might have been a little too strong a word, but: have you ever considered the possibility that their prime interest is not to protect your right to bear arms, but to protect the right of their sponsors to sell those arms to you? They are pushing a product, while at the same time claiming ideological motivations. At least for me, it doesn't add up very well (at least not in our capitalistic world...) In particular, it starkly reminds me of the tobacco industry's campaign to convince their victims that smoking was actually good for them, and that smokers were not addicts.
As regards the right to bear arms, you said you believe we were "given" that right. By whom, may I ask? By God? (not by a Christian one!) By the Congress? But then we weren't really "given" that right; we merely chose to legalize personal weaponry. In which case, you have to ask yourself, for what reason, and whether that reason remains applicable, or whether it will forever remain applicable (as it would have to, if the right to bear arms was truly 'inalienable').
Finally, on 'trusting the neighbor'. It is good when you live in a closely-knit community where you actually know your neighbor. Most of us city inhabitants, however, never even met our neighbors. And a lot of us are actually afraid of our neighbors (*especially* when they have guns.)
Now, you alluded that countries where personal guns are outlawed must necessarily be worse off than we. Then I should ask, what do you think of Japan? I have to question the connective logic in your assertion. It is akin to observing that all birds have beaks, and concluding that, therefore, to fly one must have a beak. I claim that gun restrictions do not cause less freedom or less economic success; rather, the very social structures present in the country are the real factors influencing life, and that gun legality is usually decided almost as an afterthought, when the main principles have already solidified. Thus, freedom to own guns is not a causative factor, but rather a kind of random pseudo-effect.
I am; therefore I think.
Have you every been to Australia?
Japan may be an exception but what about
Europe and why are we here now in this
country. The founding fathers gave us the
right to bare arms and they made it clear
that this right will not be infringed.
So the NRA may be making some money off
firearms manufactures but can we really blame them for that? I'd rather see them make some money to protect our rights
rather than see millions of dollars being
funneled into black programs that Congress can't get info on! Sure, as I'm sure you'll agree any large organization has its problems even charities. When the NRA starts to experiment on people with radiation then I'll see things a little differently. The ironic part of this issue is if we do not have the right to
bear arms criminals will still get them
and they will be used on defenseless
citizens.I for one do not want that to happen.
You know what would be neat? A political debate forum. I really didn't want to jump into this one. I am very biased towards guns because I live in a violent neighborhood. Police response is very slow, and who can blame them. I always say that I support the right to return fire. Sure, it would be nice not to get shot at, but I'd own a gun anyway.
My father taught us gun safety when we were very young. The gun was just like one of his tools. We didn't know how to use it, so we weren't supposed to touch it. No problem. We didn't know how to use his power tools, either, and we'd never dream of playing with those. When we got older and , presumably, more intelligent, we went out to the desert where he set up some targets. He taught us how to aim and got us used to the feel of the guns he owned. As we looked steady enough to hold them without looking like kids in a toy store, he loaded them and we fired them. We started on .22s and my brothers quickly took to the .38s.
We spent a lot of time shooting targets out in the desert. As he stood there, teaching us the art of the quick-draw and hip-shooting, he told us something that very few people bother to pass along when teaching someone else how to shoot. WHEN to shoot.
Unless we were hunting, we were never to shoot animals unless they were attacking.
Never point a gun at anything unless you fully intend to squeeze the trigger.
The gun knows no loyalty. It will kill you as well as it will anyone else, so never let someone else hold it, loaded or otherwise (a good friend of ours bought the farm this way).
Keep your gun in easy reach. If someone breaks into your house while you're asleep, you'll most likely hear them. If that gun is nearby, it should practically leap into your hand.
Never shoot to wound.
Twice so far I have had to draw down. Somebody named Gomez had lived in our place before, and he had gotten into big trouble with some dangerous people. We constantly had people coming by looking for him, and these weren't the kind of people you'd invite in to tea. We figured word would get around that Gomez had moved. They didn't take the hint. I was in high school when somebody came to the door. I was home alone and had the door chained while I watched TV. There was no peephole, so I opened the door slightly, bracing the bottom with my foot. Some big hairy guy asked for Gomez and I told him that Gomez hadn't lived their for two years now. He said "oh" and I thought he was going to leave. Instead he used the oldest line in the book. "I need to use your phone."
Yeah. Right. I told him it wasn't working. He repeated himself and hit the door hard enough to almost rip the chain out of the wall. Fortunately, I know how to set myself against a door. Also fortunately, my mother kept a .22 Magnum in the sewing machine right by the door. With one flip of the lid I had that nickel-plated sweetheart in my hand and shoved through the opening and into this guy's gut. I am told that this gun, though small, packs a lovely wollop. I was ready to find out. "How bad do you gotta use that phone?" I asked. He answered by taking off at a dead run.
Of course, I told the family about this guy. Two nights later there's a knock at the door that wakes me up. It was about 2 or 3 in the morning. My bedroom window was right over the front door. Some guy what appeared to be a uniform stood at the door. From my window I asked him what he wanted. He said he had to talk to Gomez. I told him "For the last time, there ain't no (expleteive deleted) Gomez here! He got away from you guys, so quit looking here!" You'd think they'd have learned by now, but this guy steps back a little and says "Can I use your phone?" (Remember, he was wearing what looked like a uniform.) I asked him who the hell he was. His answer? "It's okay. I'm a cop." I asked him for his badge. "I left it in the car," he says.
I popped back into my room and came out with a gun I had been keeping for my brother, a WW2 Russian Infantry Carbine. From my window I told him to run. He did.
Both times these guys might have been able to pull a weapon if they'd had one. Neither time did they. This leads me to believe that they were unarmed. If I had let them in they wouldn't have needed guns.
I believe that what is needed as far as guns go is education, not legislation. We can't enforce the laws we have now. Why put more in the books? The media always plays it up big when guns are involved in a crime. This adds to the image and the glamour of the gun, which makes it appealing to kids and people of less than rational personalities. If we can teach people that a gun is used primarily for hunting and self-defense and is not a one-way ticket to a murder spree, nor does it make you invincible (as many gang-bangers seem to think), we can prevent criminal activities by people who otherwise would never give a gun a second thought.
Case in point, my neighbor's grandson. He had just the age where the gangs looked glamorous. I didn't want to see this kid end up dead in a gutter somewhere. I took the bolt out of my rifle and let him hold it (the ONLY way you ever hand your gun to someone else). His eyes lit up and I let him hold it as I showed him some history books involving people like Al Capone, Amchine Gun Jack McGurn, Dion O'Banion, Bugs Moran, and all the old-school Chicago boys. I made sure he saw how they died. Bowling, standing in a flower shop, syphyllis...
He told me last week that he doesn't want a gun anymore. he told me that three members of the gang that wanted him to join were found floating in the river. One was a friend of his. He said he'd decided that he wanted to be an anthropoligist instead of a hit-man. Then we went a did some shooting anyway. We shot baskets at the playground. Hey, I had the basketball, so why not?
Education, not legislation. It won't work for everybody, but it'll work for the majority, I'm wiling to bet.
What about Afghanistan? They have armed militias patrolling everywhere; shouldn't they be better off then? Your logic is faulty; please re-read my previous post more carefully (especially the last paragraph).
Secondly, though it's a technical detail, the 'founding fathers' (the Constitutional Convention) did not give us the right to bear arms. Amendments are instituted by Congress, and the right to bear arms is worded within the second amendment. See my applicability objections in the previous posts.
Thirdly, what, are you arguing that if the criminals can get something it should be available to everyone else???? Then what about crack? Or, maybe, stolen cars? Heck, why have any laws at all, if the criminals can break them any time they choose? What kind of an argument is that??? I am not saying that everyone should go defenseless, and until non-lethal weaponry is perfected small handguns ought to be OK. But what about assault weapons? Also, the NRA is vehemently opposing absolutely any restriction on gun use or manufacture. For example, they are arguing against mandatory gun locks. They are arguing against mandatory background checks upon gun purchase. How, in view of all their activities, can you possibly think that it is your rights that they have at heart?
I am; therefore I think.
First of all, I do not argue against abolising all personal weaponry; indeed it is good to be able to defend oneself. However, when non-lethal multiple-application ranged weaponry is designed and becomes available, I will be strongly arguing for abolishing all lethal weaponry from civilian use.
You argue for guns as a means of self-defense. Then, how could you claim that one should "Never shoot to wound"??? Is preemptive murder the only way to stop an attacker?
I am; therefore I think.
I don't relate our militias with those in Afghanistan and I don't think they should be better off.What does that have to do with what I posted? I think you
misunderstood what I wrote about criminals being able to get guns if they
are outlawed.If this happens law abiding
citizens obviously will not own a gun
making it so much easier for them to come into your house and take what they want.
Now how is this faulty logic? Are the citizens suppose to defend themselves
with a stun gun? Think about how appealing it would be to the criminal if they knew citizens were unarmed.Also,you cannot compare the US with other countries if guns are taken away because our way of life is much different.If the
founding fathers did not give use the right to own guns then why did we have them? Wasn't it an extension of our
bodies hence the word firearm?To protect
our persons and property back then.
I have nothing against background checks or locks for guns.However, I don't think locks should be mandatory because there would be some problems associated
with it. I think the NRA feels if the government gets thier foot in the door
with some gun legislation then eventually
the government will have thier way with the rest.
We have always been taught that it's better to be tried by twelve than carried by six. I know it doesn't make any sense if you get the death penalty, in which case all eighteen get their hands on you. But if somebody's coming at you with an obvious intention of attack, I believe it's better to end his story quickly. Draw down and give him one chance to break off if your life can afford the luxury. Technically, the law around here says you have to give them three chances before you shoot. In both of my cases the mere presence of the gun was enough to break off the attack.
Why not shoot to wound? The standard scenario involves shooting to wound, the guy goes to the hospital (chance to get free here), goes to trial, and either has a smart lawyer who gets him off on a technicality or wins sympathy from the jury because his daddy used to beat him with a wet noodle(and now this nut is running around free once more and knows where you live and may be nursing a vendetta), or else (and I see this all the time on America's Most Wanted) he gets put into a minimum security prison or else on work detail because he was such a good boy in prison from whence he promptly escapes (and now this nut is running around free, etc.).
If I was into eugenics, I'd say it's also a nifty step in cleaning out the gene pool of some of the scum. I'm not that callous in regards to human life, though. It would be better if we could spot people with criminal inclinations early enough and take steps to correct them without having to lock them up like rabid animals. I would rather believe that the stranger who stops me on the sidewalk at night and asks me what time it is has genuinely lost his watch and needs to know the time. I'm no Bernie Goetz.
Of course, not all attackers are necessarily ill-intentioned, believe it or not. One night I was borrowing my father's Buick to get to work. The key didn't quite work, so I had to fight with it. Since I was guarding a vacant property that had often proved too tempting to the criminal element, my mother insisted that I pack that little magnum with me. So there I am, fighting with this stupid lock when I hear footsteps running up. I turn to see a man in a black jacket running up with a huge hunting knife drawn. I whipped out the pistol, aimed it head high and told him to stop. He did, but stayed in an attack stance. Behind him was another person who turned out to be his girlfriend watching in horror. "What the hell are you doing to Chuck's car?" he demanded. Only close associates know him as 'Chuck'. I introduced my self, never lowering the gun until this guy identified himself by the nickname I had heard my father refer to this guy by. I don't remember what it was, but it wasn't something anybody could make up on the spur of the moment. Identified to a satisfactory degree, we put our weapons away and laughed about it. I told my father about it the following day and this guy got a hefty bonus in his paycheck for his courage. (It's a good thing I was taught not to shoot if the attacker is not pressing the attack.)
Don't get me wrong. I don't go for the gun all the time. I have found that a baseball bat or a lead pipe works wonders in non-lethal combat. I have also since taken karate lessons for those questionable moments at ATMs.
Maybe not shooting to wound was my father's way of driving home how serious it is to use a gun, so you'd better be damned sure about what you're doing.
[This message has been edited by Oxygen (edited September 12, 1999).]
Out of curiousity, in the post you addressed to Oxygen if we abolish
firearms and go with non-lethal weapons
are the criminals going to comply by using non-lethal weapons also. So if your
quicker the criminal goes to jail and eventually gets out.If hes quicker with
a firearm your dead.I don't know what you
would use but if I were a criminal I
would want a firearm of some sort.
Oxygen brought up a very good point that the mere sight of a firearm will deter
What makes you think that threatening an assailant with a gun will not similarly result in a raged vindictive thug on a war path? As far as I can see, threatening violence is similar to applying a non-lethal weapon -- in both cases the thug is deterred, and in both cases he may be pissed off enough to come after you when you least expect it.
Violence breeds violence. If you kill some attacker, you may well end up dead when his buddies take their revenge on you, or worse, on your entire family. If you merely stop him, then perhaps he wouldn't be so vindictive as if you tried to kill him and failed. And so on.
As for criminals getting out or not being punished adequately -- that's a problem with criminal justice system, not with guns or lack thereof. For example, in the old west practically everyone was armed, and yet we still had plenty of outlaws running around, murdering and robbing people. If your theory of lethal self-defense really works, then how do you explain that bit of American history?
As for making it easier for criminals "to come into your house and take what they want" by removing lethal weaponry from citizens, I couldn't agree more. But I believe you are focusing on the wrong issue. Thing is, one has to be pretty desperate, or else mentally disturbed, to rob somebody to begin with. If the criminals know that every citizen has a gun and is willing to shoot to kill, do you think they will hesitate to shoot everybody inside your house if they actually do break in? Pick the door lock on a dark night, crawl into the bedroom, and boom-bam, no questions asked. You think that would be better than if they broke in, tied you up with rope, took your belongings and left, without actually killing you and your entire family?? Additionally, as forensic science and tracking technologies advance, it is actually becoming harder and harder to get away with crime. I would rather let the criminal rob me, get caught, and be put away -- than having him kill me, then rob me, get caught and be put away.
So yes, I seriously do argue that the citizens are supposed to defend themselves with a stun gun. First you stun him/her, then you call the police and have the criminal taken away. The problem is, stun guns are not very practicable right now, so small firearms still have their place. And to prevent a criminal from killing you in revenge, pass a law that says a life for a life -- if he/she intentionally kills you, they forfeit their own life. No life sentences, no parols -- simple execution.
Actually, if firearms were abolished from civilian use, I would impose a death sentence for merely using a lethal weapon. If someone stabs you, or shoots you -- they automatically get execution, since they made an attempt to take your life. That way, criminals would think twice before using firearms themselves.
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited September 12, 1999).]
Yes what you say does make sense however I don't think it will work
nearly as well as you have in mind.
The old west you had outlaws yes but you will always have those guns or no guns.
If you want my opinion it worked out well in those days because criminals were shot. I'm not so sure there was more crime then than there is now are you?
Do we not have over crowded prisons? What
about the burden on tax payers to keep
prisons running. Estimates of $50 a day
or more to feed prisoners throughout
the country!!!As far as victims buddies
go, I don't think there will be many of those cases unless you shoot someone
in organized crime. Beside,There will
always be criminals using lethal force and it will always come down to who will react first right? The criminal or you.
Guns are collected and a part of our history,sport,and recreation. Once guns
disappear so will this great country as
far as I'm concerned.Maybe I'm wrong but I for one do not want to find out.
Small consolation to my family or me if I'm dead and this goon gets to live seventeen more years while his lawyer appeals.
The Old West you speak of is the Old West of Hollywood. Most people lived peaceful lives. Having lived in Arizona, I had ample opportunity to see many photographs of the Old West, and fewer than half of the people in the saloon scenes I saw were actually packing.
I know I am not the person with the most experience in gangs, but they are a cowardly lot. Obviously this Gomez guy had some important people mad at him or they wouldn't have been coming around for years. I live in a high-crime area and have confronted taggers who were putting their crap on buildings that were under my care. They put up a tough front until they see that you are not about to back down. Most walk away muttering empty threats. For the few that come back, it helps to have superior firepower.
Organized crime is another matter. It's bad for business if you draw too much attention to your activites. No "made man" is going to bother with petty burglaries, and his lieutenants have more pressing matters to tend to. Anybody below that level is only a goon and had better stick to following orders. Believe it or not, these guys tend to their images.
I confess I have had little experience with the Yakuza.
As far as letting them take whatever they want because being alive is much better...
...have you ever been raped?
Forget about the movies that show the strong woman (or man, in some cases) who bounces back and goes on to become the CEO of a major corporation. Most never recover and live the rest of their shattered lives in a prison not of their own making that is far worse than any sentence the perpetrator could get. Although the incident is physically over, the victim gets raped again and again as it drills itself into her or his memory. Death would be merciful, I have been told by one such unfortunate soul.
Having a gun is not proof against crime, but it gives you a better than average chance of walking away from the incident. Just let them have what they want? Many people submit and are shot anyway. For those who get raped, that's the easy way out.
I think oxygen has a good point,
Criminals are effectivily bullies, if your a soft target your done for, if your gonna defend yourself by putting a bullet through their head, then they'll think twice about trying to get you in the first place.
There is another side to the coin. I live in Europe, very few people have guns, in England hand guns are illegal and in a country with a population of 55 million there are only 56,000 registered fire arms holders. The police don't even carry guns! Guns make people think their tougher than they actually are, a status simple of power in the ghetto. Remove them from the equation then your society can only become less violent.
No, they would not think twice. Because until you actually get a chance to pull your gun, they are the ones who have an upper hand. In that scenario (where you are taken by surprise), if you pull you are dead.
As for society becoming less violent through removal of guns, I doubt the claim. Violence exists without weapons just as easily as with them -- it's just that with better weapons violence results in more fatalities, and less justice.
I am; therefore I think.
Yes, Oxygen has a very good point.
England is a different country.Having
no guns may work better for them but
ask yourself why people left Europe in
the first place.I'll tell you why,to be in the land of the FREE! Take guns out of the equation in the US and big brother leaves us alone right? I'm sorry but I
cannot believe that and this is my opinion on this issue. I hope my posts
have at least caused people to think seriously about this issue. Many people
see things the way I do up here and I have met a few against owning firearms
but not to many. I take our freedom
very seriously and do not want the
US to become like other countries.
[This message has been edited by Alien (edited September 14, 1999).]
Rape and robbery are very different, both for the attacker and the victim alike. Some states give death penalty for rape.
As for shooting your attackers, sometimes it is morally better to have a way of stopping them without actually killing them. For example, suppose you chance across a manic psychotic who thinks you are out to kill him and chooses to strike first. Obviously, such a person needs medical treatment much more than they need a bullet in their brain! Suppose you had a brother who tried to rob someone; would you rather have your brother killed or stunned?
As for organized crime -- just think what wonders it would do to outlaw civilian guns. The police would have so much of an easier time then, wouldn't you think? All the while, the thugs caught possessing or using guns would get even heftier sentences.
And as for deterrence, you are lucky that the bad guys knocked on your door and asked nicely, giving you a chance to reach for your piece. In most cases, however, it is not nearly as neat; you usually just get a barrel pressed to your back, or a crowbar to the back of your skull.
I am; therefore I think.
Are you currently free to hunt in the woods for anything you wish any time you wish anywhere you wish? Once upon a time, such was the freedom of American settlers; we chose to give up that freedom in the name of conservation and wise resource management.
Are you currently free to marry more than one woman? Yet, such a freedom is enjoyed in certain middle-eastern countries.
Are you currently free to drink at any age, drive at any age, work at any age? No, although all of these 'freedoms' were available just 100 years ago.
Are you currently free to decide whether or not you want to join the army? Yes! And yet, such a freedom was unheard of in the traditional U.S. of A.
"Freedoms" come and go, because they are not all created equal. You commit a fallacy by placing the "right" to bear arms alongside such undeniable rights as the right to free speech, freedom of religion, or the right to life and pursuit of happiness. If we are forbidden from bearing arms, we do not loose freedom. We merely impose a different code of behavior and a more evolved (and consistent!) moral foundation.
I am; therefore I think.
If we are forbidden to bear arms we do not lose freedoms? Do you have any proof
of what you say. Are you saying what I have been talking about does not make sense,faulty logic? You said freedoms come and go so does that mean eventually
we are going to lose what we have now?
Please reread my last post again.
What I am saying is that there is a big difference between one right and the next. We may loose the freedom to arm ourselves to the teeth; however that does not mean we could ever give up the freedom for free speech. If we loose certain lesser freedoms every now and then, it <u>does not</u> mean that we will eventually loose ALL freedoms. In fact, even as we lose some old 'freedoms', new freedoms are gained every day as well. For example, the Civil Rights movement gave non-whites a whole lot more freedom. Certain democratic initiatives aimed at giving everyone an equal chance in life regardless of their family legacy are also aimed at increasing freedom.
Freedom, in a very broad sense, is an ability to determine one's own destiny, and not be prevented from achieving one's dreams by some artificial external factors out of one's control. In that light, the right to bear arms does not at all affect freedom; it is merely a right legislated into existence by Congress. And as it once outlawed alcohol, the Congress could just as easily outlaw guns -- and in either case the cause of freedom does not suffer.
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited September 14, 1999).]
Ok,I hope your right I just don't feel
we will be free if firearms are taken away. You cannot compare guns to alcohol
because its hard to defend oneself with alcohol like it would be hard to drink a gun.
09-14-99, 06:04 PM
The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... Hmmmm... There are those who believe that these rights would be severely hampered if a gun was pointed at them... There are others who believe that these rights would be severely hampered if they were not allowed to point a gun in self-defense... However, if a disproportionate number of the masses increasingly use the gun in an illegal, destructive or murderous manner, then the freedom of the majority of citizens would probably be better served if the availability of guns were legally restricted. (Afterall, living a life with an ever-increasing chance of being shot to death at any given moment at the whim of another, and having to carry a gun at all times in an effort to be ready to try and defend myself against such an attack, does not seem like freedom at all to me). It all seems to come down to "a more reasonable balance of power". Just my humble opinion.
Yes, it may be better in that respect
but what about big brother and our way of life?
09-15-99, 12:06 AM
I can understand your concern.
My life is an open book, so to speak. I have also employed what some might consider big-brother tactics in my line of work. Those that I have employed, I have found to be reasonable and necessary. So, I am not really concerned about big-brother unless it is taken to an extreme or the results are used in an extreme or inappropriate manner. I believe that extremism is the danger. Reasonableness and moderation are the keys for me.
Boris-You have a good point about spontaneous acts of violence. I have been subject to attempted ambushes. I feel fortunate that such tries were only of the knife and lead-pipe variety. My karate came in handy at those times. Had there been firearms present, I probably wouldn't be here right now. Of course, I could have just handed over the cash, but thugs around here will just shoot you anyway.
Mental patients, of course, shouldn't be wandering around. What to do when one suddenly jumps and you have no time to react a la Mel Gibson? Well, if my life is in danger, I'm not going to worry about this guy's mental health too much. I do have an advantage in having learned a few hand-to-hand maneuvers that are most effective when struck from the back (unless that strike goes to the base of your skull, in which case you've had it). I try to keep my approach to self-defense as realistic as possible. I am not invulnerable. But I refuse to rely on the government to protect me when they can't keep an eye on themselves. On that note, I suppose that prevention is the best way to go. My instructors all told me to stay aware of your surroundings, (although that doesn't keep my butt from getting kicked when I play Half-Life Deathmatch). If for any reason someone in a crowd (or anyplace) stands out, stay clear. This doesn't mean the guy with flourescent hair. This refers to the fidgety person who looks around nervously, or the person who seems to just show up wherever you happen to be. Sure, it could be he just doesn't like crowds. Sure it could be that you and he just happen to have business in the same locations. But pay atention to that little voice, the one that says "take another street", or "watch that person". Better to look paranoid than posthumous.
P.S.: That little voice actually did save my life at the Great America Theme Park. That kid that fell of the Drop Zone...well, that was almost me in that seat, and it might as well have been. I knew him. (Nothing to do with firearms, but a good example of paying attention to your instincts.)
09-15-99, 02:20 AM
I consider that very good advice, Oxygen and I call that little voice "street sense"
Well said. That little voice is
probably what tells me theres something not right with whats going on in this country. You brought up an excellent point: how can we trust the government
when they cannot even trust themselves.
Compartmentalized to the extreme noone
really knows half of whats going on.
I've talked to ex-NSA person who kept eye on illegal activities in the Department of Energy he simply stated he's seen it all!
He proved who he said he was. I've talked to others who have delt with or knew about abuses within government. Don't get me wrong we need a governmental system of some sort to keep justice but not one thats running away with itself. People we have a lot of problems and I don't have any answers but I do know we need to correct them so the next generation enjoys the same freedoms that we do now.
I guess I've talked to too many of those
who worked within and seen to much.They are nice people and a lot of what they said I totally agree with.
Should we vote no on guns and trust
a large power to take care of us? If they do decide to round us up even though you
do not think it will happen as you have said but haven't commented on it being possible. Well I say if its happened before it will happen again lets face it.
Are we willing to take a chance in hopes of society becoming safer (although I think it won't) to risk enslavement?
Some out there might think I'm paranoid of the impossible maybe I am but just remember what can happen will happen
life has shown me this a few time already.Think about it- seriously.
Most American's I speak to always come out with the we're from the land of the free line. But your not free! Your not free to exercise political freedom, your not free to exercise religeous freedom. Your only free to do what the government has decided with what you are allowed to do, and who is always telling you your free, the government. Yes I agree Europe was a different place 300 years ago, but now we have more social freedom in Western Europe than anywhere else in the world.
I'm not just making this up, I work with some Americans. They all tell me the same kind of things. For example, In Holland you can buy Cannabis over the counter in a news agents, In Denmark you can get married if your gay. Just remember Wako, when your goverment shot dead a load of people and sent in tanks because it didn't agree with their religeous beliefs. Don't forget a couple of years ago when your government used troops against a peaceful native American protest. Don't forget until the 1960's back people were not even allowed to vote. Don't forget Vietnam, where your government troops opened fire on more than one occasion on student protesters. It's real freedom I'm talking about, personal choice, a respect for other cultures and not having an over powerful unaccountable government deciding what's good for you all the time.
So the next time your fined for having a beer in a public place, or your fined for J walking, or your fined for parking your car facing the wrong direction to oncoming traffic, or you get a criminal record for smoking a bit of weed, and the list go's on endlessly ask yourself if you really are free and the answer is no your not.
Your only free if you conform, but if you have to conform then surely your not free at all.
Yes there are laws in Europe, but here in Europe we have a thing called a European Court. A country cannot just do what it feels like because the European Law Courts would nail them into the ground.
If you don't believe me pay Western Europe a visit sometime, you may find the experience of feeling relatively safe and secure an eye opening experience.
When I was refering to our freedom
I wasn't thinking the way you think of it. Of course, I agree with your post
we are not as free as some people believe. As far as Waco, by the way
investigators have found new evidence to reopen the case to support what you've said, and other incidents is the basis
for my belief that we must be protected from big brother. And by this I mean
men dressed in black no warrants who beat down your door and kill or threaten lives. I don't know what you think but I would rather have a 45 than a stun gun.
this kind of harrassment is on the rise.
Innocent people have died for no reason
and I can support that with documentation. Forest officials are carrying machine guns and local sheriffs
are using tanks and the like. As far as Europe goes I'd like to visit sometime
but for now I'll settle for isolated parts of Idaho or the rocky mountains of Montana.In these areas I still feel free
and away from the rat race.
Sounds like we need a government reform much more than we need a right to bear arms. Just think: if our government was fully accountable and wide-open, would not the men-in-black problem be gone as well?
Much accountability in American government has been destroyed in the course of the anti-communist paranoia. I agree that it's about time we began rebuilding it. Might not even hurt to create a couple of new constitutional amendments to forever prohibit black agencies/projects.
I am; therefore I think.
09-16-99, 03:01 AM
Previously, the citizens of our country were kept in the dark about even the most trivial matters. The fact that Roosevelt was in a wheel-chair was kept from the public by the media (which used to be much more controlled by our government) for many years for fear that the public would perceive him as weak. Our high-ranking government officials were usually presented to the public in a respectful manner by the media.
Although we now hear almost everything (the good, the bad and the ugly), there is probably more openness in our government now than ever before, partly due to the competitiveness of the media and the freedom of information act.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, because apathy is, I believe, at the heart of the matter.
Every four years we here in America have a well-regulated revolution. It's when we try to throw out the old administration and put a new one in, and we're pleased to call it an election. Lately these little revolutions have become three-ring circuses where we get to see more of a candidate's charcter than we'd really like to see. That's when I take notes about behavior, then turn off the TV and get my information straight from the horse's mouth, i.e., the candidate's own camp. I then decide, without mass-media assistance, who has the better plan for the nation (read: who told the most convincing story) and back that camp.
Guns and bullets won't help in these revolutions. The ballot is your bullet. I know a lot of people cross their arms and snort that your vote doesn't count for anything anymore. Well, consider the tobacco tax and affirmative action. Whether or not you supported it, consider it.
THE TOBACCO TAX was the bane of smokers everywhere. I believed it was wrong and voted against it. (I don't smoke.) When it passed, my father griped and moaned at the increase in the price of his cigarettes. I had to remind him that it passed by one vote. Had he gone out and done his civic duty, it would have tied. Had just one friend of his gone and voted against the tax, nobody would be getting gouged for their smokes.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION was an idea whose time had come and gone, I believed, so I voted it down. It's continuance lost by a margin of about 2000-3000 votes. No sooner had they announced the news when the streets were filled with protesters. The headcount at the protest was at least 9000 more than had turned out to vote to keep Affirmative Action in place, and all of these people were of voting age.
I don't believe that enough eligible people are registered to vote. I am, and I vote based not on party affiliation, but on platform and character. I don't jump through their hoops and I analyze the issues as well as I can. I make the most intelligent, informed decision that I can, (hopefully) free of influence by the flash-bang campaigning that goes on.
And no government likes an intelligent voter.
My main arguement for the right to bear arms is to have some protection against a takeover. Like Boris said in a previous post, if you have enough pisted of citizens you do not need guns to change things. Does the government realize that if over half of the people go along with what they say and the rest are armed that they will have a big problem.Sure they do. A lot of people will leave the armed forces because they will not agree. I do not think on either
side you will have enough people to change anything without guns. Some say
the US is to powerful to win a battle with but how about when it is attacked from within? Its obvious the government
wants to do away with guns.They use the media as a tool like they have always done on any issue. They imply take away guns and everyone will be a lot safer as if crime would go away. Criminals can only be prosecuted if they are caught but
until then they will have guns regardless of the law. The government does have an agenda the question is is it good or bad?
Oh, I believe in the Second Amendment. "Fear the government that fears your gun." Although I think that using a bazooka as "home protection" is a little too Rambo for my tastes, I still don't think that the mere presence of a gun is enough to send anyone on a crime spree. You have to be screwed up to begin with. Perhaps what we should focus on is identifying these people before they can take an innocent life. The question is how do we do it while still respecting everyone's rights?
I agree that the key is to find ways
to prevent crimes although no matter what
you do there will always be some innocent
people getting shot,knifed,or attacked.
Why doesn't the government spend our money trying to accomplish this? It seems
to me they are not interested they are to busy feverishly working to abolish firearms. Think about it this way, our government would rather spend 32 plus
billion a year on black projects than seriously try to find a solution if all they want is less gun crimes. I believe
they have a something different in mind.
They attack owning firearms from every angle using tragic cases involving children or anything else to get the upper hand.Consider this,Montana is one of the states with the most firearms yet they have less crime than other states with not even half as many guns. The government seems to argue for all the wrong reasons and then again it may turn out not to be wrong but at that point it will be too late.
First, it is not the 'government' that wages a war on guns. As a rule, guns tend to be an agenda of the Democratic party; it just so happens that this particular party currently has executive control.
Second, the so-called black projects are primarily related to military technology, defense maintenance and upgrades, and espionage (including counter-intelligence). I think that they should not be black, but I also think that they are all necessary expenditures. It's quite simple: if you want the government to do more, you've got to give it more dough. But, it seems, Americans these days want the government to somehow magically fix everything that's wrong for free.
But whatever the faults of the Federal government, most of the blame for your local problems lies with your local governments. That is, your state, county, and city bureaucracies. If you want your schools to be better off, your crime to go down, your resources better managed, your environment cleaner, your taxes to be cut -- why don't you attack the government right next door, instead of going after the Federal administration? Did anyone notice that most of the gun buy-back programs and the like are all <u>state</u> programs, and hence are not even federally-sanctioned?
Thirdly, I view the gun-curtailment policy as sane -- and to the same degree as bazooka-curtailment policy would be if personal bazookas were actually legal right now. Lethal weaponry is not a good thing; it is not designed for self-defense; it makes results of violence more tragic than they could have been otherwise. If obtaining a gun was as difficult as obtaining a personal tank -- do you believe that shooter in Texas would have bothered?
Finally, as I have already shown, guns are not an effective protection against repression; only democratic political processes are. The government is not afraid of your guns (why should they be?); rather, the Democrats need a hot political debate they can win to boost their popularity -- and gun restrictions seem like a perfect candidate. Politicians rarely consider real solutions to problems -- because as a rule such solutions are too extensive, too long-term, too controversial and too disruptive for the order of things. Politicians look for quick and cheap widely-acceptable pseudo-solutions that they can brandish in their next campaign. And the Democrats are not the only ones to blaim; the presently-Republican Congress provides a prime illustration with their budget cutbacks in contradiction to important social programs such as medicare, the school system, or space development.
How would you propose that the government cut back on crime? Would you agree to more police presense (more importantly, would you pay for it?) Would you agree to more comprehensive surveillance of civilians? Do you propose that we build even more prisons, and put people away at the slightest sign of deviancy (or alternatively, would you rather execute anyone suspected of crime activity, including the falsely accused and convicted?)
The best regulative policy is always prevention. Personal non-lethal weapons would surely constitute a good prevention of extreme violence. But more importantly, we must eliminate the social factors that drive people to violent crime in the first place. That means eradicating sources and markets of illegal substances. That means providing equal opportunity to all who want it. Which means spending a lot more money on quality pre-schools, high-schools and guaranteed college education for those who want it but can't afford it, raising the minimum wage, tremendously expanding police presense, providing cheap housing for the less fortunate, guaranteeing retirement, free medical services to all, deconstructing urban slums, guaranteeing minimal sustenance to those between jobs (even if only on condition of active supervised training, and only until a job-placement program actually finds the person a new job) -- in short, engaging in a whole swath of socialistic policies that the all-American mucho generation of today does not like. Should all of these policies be sensibly implemented, our tax margins would rise dramatically -- as the rich would literally have to give to the poor; at the same time hopelessness, aimlessness, and destitution would be dramatically cut and crime would be bound to plunge to unbelievable levels. There is a hefty price to be paid for universal happiness and peace -- so we must choose between paying that price, or living rich amidst misery. So far, our overwhelming tendency is toward pure egotism. And while the opposite extreme is equally impossible due to economic competition from abroad, we ought to at least be trying to find a middle ground. But too bad for us, I suppose.
I am; therefore I think.
[This message has been edited by Boris (edited September 17, 1999).]
Hand guns are illegal in England, but you can buy a personal tank, no probs.
Boris- I had heard from a friend of mine from England that socialized medicine isn't all it's cracked up to be. She told me of some terrible conditions and, compared to US hospitals, she felt less like a person and more like a subject. I come from the ranks of the impoverished (my computer is piecemeal and hand-me-down) and would not accept socialized medicine for anything. I know all too well how state-run services are.
Welfare systems are something that are regulated by the individual states. This allows a state to cater to the needs of it's particular population. Unfortunately, it also opens to door to another nastiness. A state gets reimbursement from the federal government for each person it has on its welfare rolls. To keep the money coming in, the states provide no incentive to get off of welfare. What you end up with is generation after generation who can only better themselves if they sacrifice the previous generation.
If the welfare system was handled at the federal level, I believe it would be the beginning of an economic nightmare for the US. The needs in Kansas are different from the needs in California, which are different from the needs in New York. To ask the government to set up 50 different welfare systems and maintain them all is beyond reason. To ask them to come up with a one-size-fits-all plan is a pipe-dream. The welfare system needs reform, badly. My brother was on welfare. When he went for a job, his caseworker told him that if he found work the first benefit to be cut would be his kids' medical benefits, followed by his food stamps. This is inhumane at best.
Socialism isn't necessarily a dirty word. (Never mind what Beatty said in "Bullworth".) Socialism is simply impractical for a population as widespread and diverse as the United States.
(Whoops. There goes work bell. Off to labor camp, tovarisch! j.k.!)
You can't attack the local government
without attacking the federal goverment
or the state. They are all the same.
You are right about most implementations of social programs in existence today. However, do the failures of socialized medicine in England, or the failures of the welfare system in U.S. indicate that such programs are <u>impossible</u> to implement, or are they merely indications that the particular implementations currently in existence simply don't work?
For example, the U.S. first attempt at democracy failed miserably. Had they given up back then and went back to an oligarchy or monarchy, we wouldn't be the "leader of the free world" today. The thing about socialism is that it sounds too good not to work; it just has to be implemented correctly. In any government program, it is probably always a good idea to implement the same sort of counter-balancing and cross-checking scheme as is embedded within our federal structure (the three-point judicial-legislative-executive system.) To prevent mismanagement, create hostile auditing agencies. To prevent undesirable results, establish clear guidelines for success (such as the ratio of people who get on welfare to people who get off) -- and reward people with bonuses when their organization's success rankings go up. Require all social programs to publish yearly statements of budget and performance for popular review, just the same as we require from corporations. Socialism <u>can</u> work. Been to Sweden lately?
I am; therefore I think.
No, they are not at all the same. Your local government does most of the actual management around your area; the federal government mostly influences you only by setting guidelines.
I am; therefore I think.
I thought that too once. I can't tell them apart anymore. Maybe it was just my location.
Boris- Swedes and Americans are two vastly different creatures. The demographics of Sweden are almost blandly uniform compared to those of the United States. Beyond merely healthcare issues, the daily needs of people from one end of the US to the other are too different for Socialism to properly handle. Coming from Silicon Valley, I see drastic differences just going to the extreme northern and southern parts of my state, let alone other parts of the nation.
If Socialism works for Sweden, good for them. It won't work here. But I wonder, if Socialism is such a great deal, why did the populace of the USSR and East Germany live in such squalor? I saw pictures of Armenia before the earthquake. I thought it was a disaster area THEN. I know people who escaped from East Germany, and they weren't too pleased with it either. It seems that only the guys at the top were happy with it. And since it's the guys at the top who control the system of checks and balances, well, that's letting the fox guard the henhouse.
I could really go on with this post, but it's back to work for me. Maybe I'll post a bit more later today.
As I said, it's all about implementation. What they did in Soviet Union was only part socialism; in a large way it was also a police state and a dictatorship. It involved no democracy, no universal and inviolable freedoms, and it was an example of massive micromanagement of economy and development by the state that owned every economical entity down to the street beer vendors (which, not surprisingly, resulted in failure of both economy and development.) None of these things are essential, nor indeed synonymous with socialism, as some 'conservatives' would like you to believe. Socialism (a policy aimed at equal opportunity, but does not curtail individual freedoms or growth) is not synonymous with communism (which is a policy aimed at forced equalization.)
As for the different needs -- that's what we have local governmenets for. All they have to do is figure out how much money they need to sustain their local socialist programs, submit the budget request to the Fed, have it reviewed, and cash out. Alternatively, the local governments can levy their own taxes to support their socialist programs, although that might result in too much tax code confusion for businesses and mobile population alike. Also, the local taxation alternative does not work very well because states compete economically with each other; if one state raises its taxes before another, it is likely to loose industry. Thus, I tend to lean toward a federal tax-supported socialist agenda -- paid for the fed, but implemented locally and thus able to better cater to the diverse needs of our opportunity-wise diverse population.
I am; therefore I think.
Boris-So, if the government, whether local or federal, is going to provide for us equally, across the board, how much longer would we be an opportunity-wise population?
Sweden, I have read, has a pretty high alcoholism rate. Alcoholism is one of the most common paths of self-destruction. Voluntary self-destruction is usually indicitive of an organism that has lost its will to live. Indeed, why try if someone else is going to take care of it for you? I believe that, in a Socialist America the economy would stagnate and we would become no more opportunity-wise than a dairy cow who has only to stand in one place and squirt out milk while someone brings the food.
It may sound callous, but it's the lifestyles of the rich that make the rest of us want to get rich too. Whether or not we do it at someone else's expense is a matter of personal character or lack thereof.
Socialism, while not communism, has proven to be the stepping stone from a free state to a communist state. Have you ever read the Coomunist Manifesto? It spells it out in pretty plain language. Just for laughs, compare the Communist Manifesto to the UN Charter. Some might argue that Marx should sue the UN for plagiarism.
It seems that only the guys at the top were happy with it.
Ha! You have unintentionally provided an excellent description of current American capitalism. (At least that is the way things would be if you removed all the corporate and governmental propoganda that convinces the middle and lower classes that all is well). The problem with American capitalism is that it is unfaithful to the original intent of the democratic capitalist system. American capitalism is becoming an aristocracy. As the years go by, the wealth distribution becomes increasingly unequal, and consequently the power distribution in America becomes increasingly unequal. The government's stance of minimal intervention stimulates this process.
Since the goal of both capitalism and marxism is to eliminate unjustified inequality (ie. sweep away the aristocracy), there is no reason to condemn either system as worshipping the wrong utopia. There is nothing inherently 'evil' in either system. Ultimately, though, someone somewhere will try to measure the success of either socialism or capitalism by some standard. Capitalists will obviously suggest productivity as the standard -- so in their minds they have won. Socialists would suggest human equality -- so in their minds they will have won. The decision of which system wins is a value-based judgement. And since values are obviously biased by one's environment, one must accept that from an objective position (God's?), neither system is inherently better.
Obviously socialism would fit poorly with modern America, just as capitalism is fitting poorly with Russians today. Again, this is a matter of values. One needs to wait for a new generation to grow up containing the values appropriate for the system.
That being said, the ultimate goal of both capitalist and socialist systems is essentially a meritocracy, in which individuals can grow and prosper based on their innate abilities, free from outside discriminations involving class, race, etc. It is a mistake to believe that socialism creates robots. Socialist states, such as Sweden, encourage individualism (perhaps even more so than in America, as they have extra spending for culture and the arts).
It is also wrong to assume that government-centralized power is necessarily corrupt. Corporate-centralized power is just as susceptible to corruption. The benefit of a government over a corporation are obvious (vote them out when necessary). Corporations aren't too easy to get rid of.
Ideas are more enduring than products.
Military bases that don't exist,
people being draged out of their homes in the middle of the night, inhumane projects going on as we speak,deals being made behind the scences with tax payers dollars and they want our guns should we give them up? I would like your input on this.
All that you describe is (if it actually happens) a result of a government that has become detached from the people. The American national government is too large and too distant from those it governs (America is just too large a country). Additionally, state governments are too powerful, leaving the national government appearing to be a superfluous waste of money. This leads to both paranoia on the part of the citizen and to a sense in government that they can get away with anything without anyone noticing.
For true, effective democracy, one needs to have small units of people whose needs and values are roughly the same.
I do not argue for the government providing equally for everyone across the board, as Oxygen puts it. At least as worded, it sounds like too extreme an equalization, leaning more towards communism than socialism.
What I want the government to do is:
1) provide guaranteed and ample support for those who are in need of help. However, do not make the support unconditional as to encourage a wellfare state; condition it upon supervised progress toward resumed self-sustenance.
2) provide guaranteed life-sustenance for those who cannot afford it themselves. This includes, for example, education, medical services, public transportation, legal representation.
3) equalize the playing field during childhood. We are all supposed to be born equal, with an equal opportunity in life. Hence, there is no reason why a poorer child should get a lesser-quality daycare, guidance or education. At least until children can take full control of their lives, the government must indeed provide equally to the best of its ability (without precluding those who wish to invest extra capital or effort into their kids). It's all about evening the playing field before the games begin.
It is deceiving to look back upon old America for an example of equal opportunity. Back then, people earned a living primarily through blue-color labor (which still put women and disabled at a disadvantage.) These days, it becomes increasingly important to be smart and well-educated in order to succeed. To achieve equality in the modern world, therefore, one has to do more than just be born -- and for the less fortunate, socialist support structures can provide that much-needed boost.
I am; therefore I think.
Thanks I agree but what about the gun issue should we the people of the US give them up?
09-22-99, 07:43 PM
A more-even global distribution of resources is possible. Given our global resources, our current technology and the current distribution capabilities, noone in this world should be without adequate food, shelter, clothing or health care.
Let's encourage our respective governments to share.
Dave- The great thing about our system of capitalism is that it IS possible to improve your lot by your own merits. You can't, however, expect some fat cat to say "Look how hard he's working. Let's reward him." What you have to do is find a gap and fill it, or convince the public that it needs to be filled and you're just the one to do it. Think about it. Do we, as commoners, really NEED computers? We did fine before, yet now it's hard to imagine life without them in our homes. How DID we do homework before? How DID we meet people before? And yet, a handful of four-eyed geeks thrust these things into our hands and we've been happy as kids at Christmas ever since and the whole world knows the name of at least Bill Gates. Regardless of the flaws in his product, he is one heck of a business man. By his own hand he convinced us all to build and buy what he was selling.
In the true spirit of capitalism, open-source o/s's are coming right up behind to bite him in the butt. Will he survive? Will Microsoft be able to adapt to the new environment? Too many people are hooked on Linux to let the MS machine devour it and make it conform to their standards. If MS can't compete, it dies as open-source becomes the new standard until a new competitor comes up. It will be ultimately up to We The People to come up with that competitor.
Somewhere in that whole sordid story, somebody had an unfair advantage. Was it because Bill went to college and studied the right things? Is it because he was born with a greater understanding of business than the rest of us? Is it because he worked his butt off while the rest of us played "Pong"? Under socialism, his tactics and aims would have been supressed because they did not serve the good of the whole. Yet, we have all prospered. Because of the technology that individuals (not just Gates) were able to create and market and compete with without anyone crying 'unfair', we now have these things that you're sitting in front of and it's just as easy to make a friend in Alaska as in Australia. We can start our own companies without having to move into a downtown high-rise. We can all compete. We just have to find the right formula. We have to find the gap that needs to be filled, whether anybody knows it needs it or not. I do not believe that such opportunities are possible under socialism.
I suppose in another context I could point to my own education. A product of public schools (with one brief stint at St. Mary's), I found all of my subjects incredibly easy all the way through graduation. When my peer group would sit around and complain about how hard their classes were, I would say how easy I found it all. One of my classmates summed it up thusly;"Of course it's easy for you. You study."
If you aren't making the money that the fat cats are, you aren't managing your money properly. I live at the poverty level myself, but I don't plan to be for long. I'm managing my money and saving for some investments I've studied. It's not a sure thing, but nothing is. All it's going to take from me is a little of what this country was truly founded on; a little hard work.
[This message has been edited by Oxygen (edited September 25, 1999).]
[This message has been edited by Oxygen (edited September 25, 1999).]
There are a lot of Bill Gates out there. I'll tell you why he is successful
and he said it himself. Timing and luck,
simply being at the right place at the right time.Many people have good ideas but how many implement them.
" We are born millionares however very few people turn their credit into cash"
" Many people wait for their ship to come in; very few swim to meet it."
He was 20 and bankrupt with a high school
diploma.With a litle help from a few of his friends he used a simple concept and
a few years later became a multi millionare.
Just a little food for thought. I wish you the best in your investments.
Your comments describe the ideal capitalist world. I have no problem with the idea of capitalism. The problem I have is with American capitalism, which is very far from the ideal.
It is quite clear that you are convinced that under a socialist system, individuals end up being entirely unmotivated. And while it is true that in a socialist system, progress (especially industrial and technological) is not as rapid, it is not absent altogether. Additionally, progress is made more carefully and is in accordance with the will of the entire population. You yourself have admitted that change in America (eg. computer tech) is very often against the will of the general populace, and must often be forced down their throats. Industrial and technological expansion in America comes at the cost of social unrest, a confused value system, and suburbian dysfunction.
I should reiterate that your faith in the American system comes not because you are right (same goes for a socialist), but because you have been raised with one key value that differs from that of a socialist.
For a capitalist, respect = money.
For a socialist, respect = acheivement.
I think that it can be conceded that money is not necessarily representative of acheivement. Very often money is allocated not according to personal value or acheivement, but rather external, uncontrollable political/social factors. Ultimately, the driving force behind the acquisition of money is not the acquisition of material goods, but rather status and respect. (though, material goods are used as a convenient way to show off money)
A socialist removes this intervening value called money and directly relates respect and status to personal acheivement. In this environment, it's obvious that there still is significant motivation to contribute and to achieve. There are no 'get-rich-schemes' or lotteries to 'cheat' your way up the ladder. You will be judged on your own abilities. In a socialist system, a man such as Bill Gates would not be suppressed, as you claim. Bill Gates would be judged on his contributions, and would be judged very favorably.
To try and convince you that people CAN contribute to the world for the sake of the contribution alone, I offer the example of Steve Jobs (Apple Computer CEO). True, the man is a billionare, but he is the most uncapitalistic billionare I know of. The return of innovation and intelligence to the computer industry over the last few years can be attributed to his role at Apple. His astounding success at that company would normally be rewarded with a great deal of money and stock options. Steve, however, has refused a salary during his stay at Apple (no doubt a stressful job) and holds no Apple stock. The man has no vested interest, yet he persists in contributing.
Again I reiterate that I fully support capitalism. The problem is that American capitalism is no longer representative of true acheivement.
[This message has been edited by DaveW (edited September 25, 1999).]
In the true spirit of capitalism, open-source o/s's are coming right up behind to bite him in the butt.
What an absurd statement! :)
The open source movement is a socialist movement. It is the perfect example of people willing to contribute to the world without any thought of monetary gain. This doesn't fit the capitalist economic model!!