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23 September 2012

Comments

Russ Steele

Let start with Premise #1. Yes Americans should have the ability chose. . . without fear of being forces by their government of do otherwise.

We chose to return to California after 20 years in the Air Force, hoping to bring my family back to my childhood home and a caring community of friends and neighbors. For the most part we have found that to be the case, with the exception of the State of California exerting more and more rules on how we must live our lives. We are being forced to live a much different life than the one of my youth. My children have been exploited by a failed education system, we are paying higher energy bills due the restrictions on wood burning and alternative energy mandates, higher fuel prices due to environmental rules, and limited choices on the kind of vehicle we can drive in the future. How we spend out limited resources are being constrained by the zoning rules designed to limit population and economic growth in the community. We are currently anchored to this community by our grandchildren in Roseville and and our close friends who live in the community, else we would be making other choices, outside of the reach of the California EPA, Air Resources Board, Nanny Legislators, and Political Bullies.

TomKenworth

We needs more cultural diversity exchanges. Look at this to se what can be done. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI9KBLb_8ro&feature=share

TomKenworth

Russ, it would seem your children and grandchildren do not find California as odious as you do. Or are they chained up? What keeps them from moving to your hypothetical, "better states?"

billy T

Dr. Rebane, I will limit this first post to communities in general and add local themes later (You lucky dogs, you).

The first thing that pops out is most of your Premises are self evident. The right and freedom of association is guaranteed by the Constitution. Individual rights are protected. I suppose it is a sign of the times that we have to utter that which used to be taken for granted and acknowledged.

Remember when the community was blessed with having speakers come to town espousing the virtues of the Buy Local theme? Great ideas in theory. They mentioned Boulder, Co. and Bellingham, WA as the two examples we should follow. This was about the time someone gave me my first computer. A dangerous gift.

I got on line and searched the City of Boulder, Co . Found out that the median age was something like 29 and the average age was way lower than here. Way lower. The biggest employers were the University of Colorado, Microsoft, and The City and County of Boulder. Very high percentage of single people. Large stable employers with a lot of young single people. Does not sound like Western Nevada County.

Next I looked up Bellingham, WA. Home of Western Washington State College, known today as Western Washington University. Again, large employers. Lots of young single people. The ocean, the harbors, and a bunch of malls. Every big name box store was there. Not exactly Nevada County either. Lots of idealistic university students ready to party down and buy local. Local piazza and beer that is.

So, we must look at our community with the assets we have. A 10% grade leading to the local airport in winter. A detour between The Bay and Tahoe or between Sacramento and Reno. Take your pick. That is our starting point.

TomKenworth

On CNN right now, 8:04 pm Sunday, Germany leads the way with apprenticeship programs for youth. Seimens alone trains and hires 10,000 kids.

Russ Steele

TK27:29PM

My CA children do not see the same world we do. That is their choice and we respect it, thought we may not agree with their views. Life has many challenges and we accept them all.

George Rebane

billyT 753pm - Mr Tozer, I would be very surprised if any of those premises would appeal to a progressive. If such an exception be presented, then I wager it will be accompanied by a 'ton' of codicils and contingencies to make it palatable. (Premise5 may be the most acceptable to them, but then again ... )

Paul Emery

Catching up on this thread.

Mikey

I take it you support Dams on the South Fork of the Yuba River and all the Eminent Domain government taking of private lands ar are part of the process. It was not the conservatives that led the charge to protect the Yuba from the trash hydro projects that were in the works in the late 80's. That was the start of SYRCL that also led to Wild and Scenic status for the river and the formulation of the South Yuba State Park, a major economic asset to our region.

Russ

Yes indeed Charles Litton and the whole tech industry that folllowed had a huge effect on the quality of lif on our cummunity. However, the environment and cultural quality of life was a magnet to attract the workforce required to maintain such businesses. The workers were largely imports recruited nationally and internationally.

Todd

Lon Cooper was the leader of the movement to preserve the historical downtown of Nevada City. He was hardly a conservative nor were the supporters of that movement whose efforts we enjoy today. Do you believe that preserving Nevada city and Grass Valley were bad ideas? Can you imagine what we would look like without those efforts.

It was David Woods and Charles Osborne, gay partners that created the American Victorian Museum and the Liberal Arts Commission under Sally Lewis, hardly a conservative that saved the Nevada Theatre. It was Paul Perry who was the main inspiration behind Music In The Mountains and Diane and Ralph Fetterly the same for Foothill Theatre. Hard to find a conservative or Republican in that group. Hippies and Gays? Sure

George Rebane

PaulE 1035am - I do believe you have the cart before the horse in your arguments. All of those fine cultural project were started because there was already a sufficient audience to support the enterprises. And that audience was brought in by the Littons et al, not the other way around.

To suggest that a fallow and remote community is selected by some artful people who adopt the motto 'If we build it they (businesses) will come' is a more than a little far-fetched. Something else brought enough of them here first, and then they put the artsy-fartsy stuff in place. Of course, at that point those cultural amenities began contributing to the draw of the community for other folks considering moving here.

I went through that decision process in 2001 with my team from soCal. (That effort fell through because of the thin job market up here for the kind of tech talent involved, and not because there was not enough culture up here.)

Paul Emery

I don't dispute your look at this George. Perhaps we are both right. These ventures started out very small and were not well attended but that came with time. Nevada City went through its cultural renaissance in the early to mid 70's when the institutions we enjoy today were put in place including KVMR Radio. I was just detailing the type of people that put those things together. I will include the Center for the Arts since I was involved as Executive and Artistic Director for eight years. It was after we put thousands of volunteer and cheap labor hours getting the place going that we were able to attract supporters and members to the venue. I know who those in the trenches were during that time but don't need to detail my assessment of their cultural and political background. We had to fight tooth and nail the conservative establishment to get our feet on the ground which we eventually did.

George Rebane

PaulE 348pm - Why on earth did you have "to fight tooth and nail the conservative establishment to get our feet on the ground" since you weren't going after funds budgeted for other needs, and since you used volunteer labor? And in principle, why did conservatives single themselves out to oppose such salutary cultural projects? Was there some added baggage coming along that made them reticent?

Todd Juvinall

Paul, Lon Cooper was here long before you and most of those you listed. I have no idea what his political party was. You make a lot of assumptions with no facts. If you are a news person, please start writing like one. Egads! Nevada City was a ghost town when I was in my teens. Redneck locals saved it. It is now returning to a ghost town, regardless that they now tell you what color to paint your house.

billy T

The community here is a small town feel with rural surroundings. We have the natural resources like the rivers that without them would make this area less attractive.

Nevada City has done great restoring its town to how they want it. Think it was in the 70's when I pulled into town and hit Broad Street. I remember all the thrift and nick-knack stores selling old postcards and old pictures of the town for a dime. Told myself then that to restore this town they just would have to paint it. The old iron doors and structures were already there. Nevada City has developed into the city of their choosing.


Same for Grass Valley, except they have allowed bigger franchises on the outskirts. Good for shopping. Even the industrial parks (the few there are) are out of sight. More blue collar homes and apartments.

Penn Valley is Penn Valley. Ranch area. Have a good dear friend has always lived there including his parents and grandparents and maybe other great grandparents. I fondly remember when I was at his house during the 2020 era when he got a phone call. It was from person calling from a "Save Penn Valley" organization. He shot back that Penn Valley was just fine until all you new people moved in and started changing things". Heck, his granddaddy's barn is still standing out Spenceville Road.

I moved here to dredge and dredge I did. Nice living. I tried logging, and like dredging it was hard rewarding work. Manly work, if you will, and close to nature.

I call it the clash of cultures. Town was built by gold and logging and today aggressively promotes the gold rush historical towns. Yet, people hate the miners and loggers as their services are not longer desired. No more welcome mat for them. Talk about a culture dying, aka, Premise 6.

We all like it here. Climate, good people, nice place to raise kids. I have noticed that the most thoughtful, deliberate, easy going, slow to anger and gentle folks are the long time 3rd generation Nevada County residents who never left for long. Truly the salt of the earth.

What concerns me most is something I have little control over: State Regulations. From construction to vehicles, from taxes to sewer plants, burn days, school calendars, recycling to housing permits to moving 3 wheelbarrows of dirt, to diet to a myriad of every aspect of our lives with more coming down the pike. That is what makes it harder. Even the following link gives a kudos of sorts to native Californians facing hostile business regs. Hostile business climates create less jobs and less jobs means less money to attend the arts. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/24/residents-leave-california-in-droves-over-last-two-decades-study-finds/

Paul Emery

Todd

I did a story in the mid 90's about the successful campaign to establish a historical district. I spoke with Bob Payne who was on the city council at the time and according to him it was a real struggle. Supportfor a historical district was fueled by controversy surrounding the freeway to nowhere at that time between Grass Valley and Nevada City. According to Paine it was a real struggle but because of Lon Coopers perseverance it passed. I also spoke with Charles Woods who was a young man then and a supporter of the plan. He also spoke of the intense opposition to the plan by the old timers who didn't want any change.

Forty years ago a citizenry concerned with the freeway's destruction of integral parts of Nevada City as well as a boarded-up downtown business district, conceived of and established the Historical District Ordinance No.368. It was probably the first such statute in the West. It outlined absolute standards for altering, surfacing and constructing structures within the city. It was not only a guide but also a prohibition against removing pieces of the historic fabric of our city forever. A key provision is preserving Mother Lode architecture, which is defined as "the type of architecture generally used in the Mother Lode region in the State of California during the period from 1849 and 1900."

"I am one of the few people remaining who worked on that ordinance. I recall agonizing about appropriate materials and definitions of Gold Rush buildings. We worked to anticipate future problems: new construction illuminated signs, street entrances from parking lots and building demolition. I also recall discussing that subjective decisions relative to preservation might perhaps be the most hazardous aspect of the ordinance. The City Council at the time of the ordinance's adoption in 1968 consisted of Mayor John Rankin and council members Arch McPherson, Lon Cooper, Bob Paine and Joe Day. We were very fortunate to have Bill Wetherall's able assistance as our city attorney.

Since the adoption and highly successful implementation of Ordinance No. 368, Nevada City has extended those protections to historic structures outside the Historical District."

http://yubanet.com/regional/Regional_Op-Ed_Charles_Woods_Build_Nevada_City_s_f_57506_printer.php

Georg

It was mostly the bible thumpers up the hill who wished to impose their moral indignation over our youth programs and concerts. Also certain since retired GVPD members who enjoyed giving us hell for having rock and roll shows for kids. I don't recall any conservatives involved in the early struggle to establish the Center. Drew Bedwell refused to debate there as well. Howard Levine and Linda Stephens intervened and helped us get over the hump. The point is the Center, much like the Foundry and Nevada Theatre in Nevada City and Music in the Mountains and Foothill Theatre and KVMR were creations of Liberal members of our community.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE, did I miss something? You say you worked on the ordinance as passed in 1968 but told us you moved here in 1976. Also, the city council members you listed were all those infamous and hated "good ol' boys".

Paul Emery

My typo misled you Todd.

That was a quote from Charles Woods about working on the ordinance . I interviewed him when I did the story in the 90's. I didn't attribute it to Charles very well. Sorry for the confusion. It should of read:


I also spoke with Charles Woods who was a young man then and a supporter of the plan. He also spoke of the intense opposition to the plan by the old timers who didn't want any change.

"Forty years ago a citizenry concerned with the freeway's destruction of integral parts of Nevada City as well as a boarded-up downtown business district, conceived of and established the Historical District Ordinance No.368. It was probably the first such statute in the West. It outlined absolute standards for altering, surfacing and constructing structures within the city. It was not only a guide but also a prohibition against removing pieces of the historic fabric of our city forever. A key provision is preserving Mother Lode architecture, which is defined as "the type of architecture generally used in the Mother Lode region in the State of California during the period from 1849 and 1900."

"I am one of the few people remaining who worked on that ordinance. I recall agonizing about appropriate materials and definitions of Gold Rush buildings. We worked to anticipate future problems: new construction illuminated signs, street entrances from parking lots and building demolition. I also recall discussing that subjective decisions relative to preservation might perhaps be the most hazardous aspect of the ordinance. The City Council at the time of the ordinance's adoption in 1968 consisted of Mayor John Rankin and council members Arch McPherson, Lon Cooper, Bob Paine and Joe Day. We were very fortunate to have Bill Wetherall's able assistance as our city attorney.

Since the adoption and highly successful implementation of Ordinance No. 368, Nevada City has extended those protections to historic structures outside the Historical District."

http://yubanet.com/regional/Regional_Op-Ed_Charles_Woods_Build_Nevada_City_s_f_57506_printer.php

I recall talking to several people including Bob Paine at the time of my story about the intense opposition to the preservation plan. I don't know the final vote that affirmed it.

Anyone want to chime in on this piece of history?

By the way Todd, do you support the the Ordinance?

Todd Juvinall

No, it is too onerous and anti property rights.

Paul Emery

My point is made

Michael Anderson

"No, it is too onerous and anti property rights."

Whoops, wrong answer. And here we get to the onus of the boil (carbuncle?): the Hysterical District was the driver of the saving of Nevada City from boarded up hell. And yes, the building boom that resulted in Lake Wildwood, Lake of the Pines, Cascade Shores, Deer Creek I (and other smaller developments as well), was also a huge driver. A lot of things all came together to make it happen. And it is still a work in progress.

Then as now (now more than ever), the global economy and domestic demographics had a lot to do with our national success, as well as what drove the local success in Nevada County between 1962 and 1988.

I think this is a great discussion, and I would hope that everyone is willing to agree to disagree, as well as find whatever percentage of things there is that we can indeed agree upon.

One thing I would like to offer regarding the George v. Paul "hippies vs. GVG" meme is that I was in both worlds from 1988 till 1997. I was part of the local theatre scene from 1988 till 1996, founding the City Theatre Company on Commercial Street along with Karen Leigh in 1989 and eventually ending up on the board of the Foothill Theatre Company from 1992 till 1996. I was also a Systems Administrator for the Grass Valley Group during that same time frame, and came to appreciate the amazing gift that we have in our community with some of the top digital signal processing and communications protocol scientists in the world living here and raising their families. Actually, we're moving on to the second generation (at least) of that group.

We also have 2 generations of hardware and software engineers living here, from the same GVG jobs engine, probably living in quality homes that Todd and his brethren thankfully built.

I have more to add to the arts side of the discussion, but I'll let this comment stand as my beginning foray.

Todd Juvinall

What point are you taking credit for PaulE? Your ilk has made Nevada City a "rich" persons town and I thought you all were for the little foks. I never took part in any ordinances one way r the other since I was never a "city resident" so my opinion really means squat anyway. You can be proud that you helped drive the costs of living in the town and the renting of commercial space into the stratosphere. Good job, you have made the little town part of your evil 1%.

Steven Frisch

Ok, I am going to bite.

The real problem with George's premises is that actually creating such cultural communities of 'choice' is governed by law; law that has responded to the Constitutional challenges that arise when people seek to enforce the creation of such communities. It is really quite simple...when people band together by choice to live near each other....that is legal choice...when people exclude others it is un-Constitutional. So to the extent that you propose people band together to engage in celebrating their cultural heritage…like La Raza…great.

The US has a wide body of anti-discrimination law including the 14th amendment to the US Constitution, the Civil Rights Acts of 1871, 1964, 1968, 1991, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, the Fair Employment Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and many other legislative and Executive orders.

So the operative term in the entire post is "and in which it can practice discrimination so as to minimize the diluting influences of competing cultures." The long and short of it is that you do not get to practice discrimination--in the legal sense--to meet those objectives.

I think we can all agree that we like Premise 1: we plan our communities every day--that is what George did when he wrote a General Plan in Simi Valley right? That's what we do every day when we pass local zoning or design review ordinances, such as Ordinance 368.

I think there is similar agreement over parts of Premise 2: we like local control--but when local control discriminates, it is un-Constitutional.

It is on Premises 3 & 4: that we part company...to the extent that it is possible for people to "group themselves according to any criteria and/or attributes they consider proper” without such groupings "form[ing] for the explicit purpose of eliminating or harming another grouping” more power to ya'.....look at Del Webb communities. But I would ask, "How do you achieve the first portion of Premise 4 without violating the second portion of Premise 4?

So here is what you can do--you can move to Nevada County from Simi Valley because you like the location.

But once you are in Nevada County, you can not deny people jobs, housing, access to services, equal pay, equal access to banking and loans, equal access to the ballot box, the right to organize as labor units, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom to practice their religion, equal access to education, equal access to medical care, equal access to public places, on the basis of race or color, religion, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability or medical condition, marital status, sex or sexual orientation or age.

We live in a nation of laws, and you are free to live next to your buddy who looks and acts like you; but your buddy can't refuse to sell his house to a gay, Muslim, pregnant, woman, with aids. Nor can the bank refuse her a loan, nor the school a spot, nor the company a job, if she meets all of the other qualifications.

The beauty of the American system is that for more than 230 years now we have afforded people the ability to expand and celebrate their individual liberty, and stayed true to out founding principles, that all people are equal, and no government has the right to deny them equal rights, and that a government that allows its people to deny equal rights can transform itself and expand those rights within a logical framework of laws.

The real problem with Georges grand premise is that it is a utopian (for him) fantasy. It presupposes that we can separate ourselves from our broader culture, nation and globe. We live in the world.....It is simply not possible. It is an exercise in magical thinking.



Michael Anderson

Todd, your rock beckons...the sun is up, time to return to the darkness underneath.

Steven Frisch

Premise 7 is kind of odd.

"Utility (what is ‘good’) is a subjective measure usually consisting of multiple attributes. Neither a single utility, nor any of its specific attributes, are necessarily shared by more than one culture. Therefore, all cultures are not of equal worth to anyone."

It starts by stating a basic tenant of secular humanism, that "good' is relative (or subjective); then it devolves to the premise that not 'all cultures are of equal worth to anyone."

Under our system not all cultures need be of equal worth to anyone, they merely need to be of equal worth to someone. I have as much at stake in protecting or recognizing the culture of the smallest group as the largest, because as the rights of the smallest goes, so eventually go the rights of the largest.

The entire premise seems to run counter to the basic premise of American governance, that rights are enjoyed by individuals.

billy T

Nevada City is nice, but who can afford to live there? Funny that Mr. Frisch mentioned Semi Valley. Had a friend down in Semi. One day I loaded up my van and trashed out all I had in the storage sheds, gave away the furniture and industry tools, cancelled my answering service, moved into my van and hit the road. My friend looked at me ruefully stating he would love to get out of here but how would he make a living? He had a wife, house, and growing business. I, on the other hand, decided to let go of the tiger I had by the tail and figured it would be better to be broke and near nature than to have money and hate where I was living. I ended up living in my van down by the river (Bear River outside of Colfax) for 2 years. Never looked back. Never regretted it for one second. Ironically, the last call I got was from a woman who offered (begged) me a great long term job in an industry where you can retire after 15 or so years. There it was. The red carpet career, the white picket fence, the American dream. Money, power and prestige. I never returned her call.

So we all are here in this tiny speck on the globe. Seen many come and go. I am still standing and many of my new acquaintances I met upon arriving upon Nevada County's shores, albeit younger, have died or disappeared.

When the newborn twins came along and their mother decided to chase booze and drugs, I had to raise two girls in a car. Couldn't dredge anymore and the car broke down. Had to move closer to town for the girls and lived in a broken down car parked outside an apartment building. Still, never regretted one second. Finally got hired by a convenience store at night telling drunks they could not buy booze after 2 am, much to their rather loud vocal displeasure. Stood there and took it, thinking I used to hire guys for $900-$1100/week in the 80's and I am eating ca-ca for $5.25/hour. Never regretted moving here, never for a second.

Let the towns do what they do. I like the surrounding areas a lot, but that is just me. A million dollar house on a road next to a trailer. Unplanned sprawl has its charm. Love a ranch house next to a backyard junkyard. Something for everybody.

The welfare mama here is typically white, educated, and divorced. She and her spouse moved up here to chase their dreams. He can't find work, their saving depleted, and they eventually move into the parent's house. The financial strains become crushing and the divorce ensues. He goes back to the city, she takes her kids up to the welfare office as her Mom and Dad tell her it is time to move out...again.

What kind of community do we want? What kind of community do we have? Its great here. Not easy for young families to stay here though. Life is tough as it should me. But the rewards are great. From a newbie, lol.

Todd Juvinall

MichaelA, a typical liberal sycophant. If one disagrees they go personal. My my my, such an unintelligent person you are MichaelA. Oh, and I was a part of Community players before you even came to my county.

TomKenworth

Guess what Todd, based on this list, you are on the FBI list for using some of the words listed in this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150281/REVEALED-Hundreds-words-avoid-using-online-dont-want-government-spying-you.html

BTW, since when do you "own" a county? I'm a native Northern Californian, and claim everything northwards from San Simeon. You too tight beamed to get that? Besides I first hit Nevada County before you were born, early Tahoe visit, right up the Lincoln Highway.

Steven Frisch

By the way George, to the extent that you wish to discriminate in your personal choices, or as a community, and they do not violate any of the above listed (and other unlisted) anti-discrimination laws, it is fair game. People do it all the time.

When I was a kid I grew up in a heavily Czech-Bohemian (the real Bohemians, not the beret wearing poets) neighborhood in Berwyn/Cicero Illinois. We went to the Sokol Slavsky, a Czech youth organization and gymnasium that focused on sports and youth development. It was one of the great things about living in an ethnic enclave. As a kid I was acutely aware of the fact that a few short blocks away there were many kids who would not have dreamed (or wanted) to join Sokol Slavsky. It was all white...largely because Berwyn/Cicero was all white; a vestige of housing discrimination, lending discrimination, employment discrimination and outright violence against newcomers. The same father who allowed us to attend Sokol Slavsky would not allow us to attend a segregated swimming pool when we moved to Missouri a few short years later.

These rights were hard fought...and necessary. We are all richer and freer because they were extended.

I relay this story merely to illustrate just how fine and temporal this line can be.


Michael Anderson

Thank you Todd, for leading the way in having good manners on the blogs. As someone who never goes personal and always sticks to the subject, I truly thank you for your excellent example.

George Rebane

Thank you SteveF, your thoughtful 737am, 821am, and 915am challenge the presmises, and address the subject of the post. They deserve a reply which I'll do as an update to the post. I invite other readers to join in a similar vein, addressing my questions or posing new ones of their own.

Michael Anderson

I tried George. Then Todd claimed this was "his county," and all hope was lost.

George Rebane

MichaelA 1024am - Courage me lad, press on!

Steven Frisch

One final point....the gradual demise of Sokol Slavsky in Cicero, Illinois

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vyvDxzynL.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7021/6820671907_a75b1ac488.jpg

was a result of third generation Czech children not seeing themselves as Czech....they were now fully Americans...if one has not seen the movie Avalon (different ethnicity, same story) I highly recommend it....and the result of flight, Sokol Slavsky now has a facility in Brookfield, Illinois, about 5 miles west of Cicero.

http://www.sokolspirit.org/aboutus.html

Czech's in Chicago started in the inner city working class neighborhoods around the mills, stockyards and slaughterhouses of the stockyards neighborhood on the south side and in the "Prague" and "Pilsen" neighborhoods of the near west side. As they become Americanized the late first generation and second generation moved to Cicero, a lower middle class suburb that afforded them access to the jobs of the city, but a certain separation. They were served by organizations like Sokol Slavsky and fraternal banks like the Korsny Bank (which failed in the Depression but whose family was revered in Cicero for making capital available to an entire generation of Czech families) if I remember correctly.

I think a really interesting question we should be asking is "does association with such organizations speed assimilation, or retard assimilation?" My personal experience (through the eyes of a child) were that access to capital meant starting businesses, starting businesses meant speeding assimilation through commerce across cultural boundaries, and the next generation was slicking back their hair, using American slang, and changing their names from Augustin' to Jack.

I think a comparison of the speed of assimilation of immigrants today and immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries would show that fraternal organization actually speeds assimilation and builds stronger citizens.


Todd Juvinall

MichaelA, you are a usurper and ungrateful. I have done a post commemorating your ilk on my blog. What a hoot!

billy T

No one is talking about housing discrimination or racial discrimination, or discrimination on the basis of creed, color, religion, or ethnicity. That is a given. Its not like the good old days when China Town here was burnt to the ground of the Chinese working one the railroad were herded into a tunnel on pay day and each received their wages in lead bullets. Those days are long gone.

Birds of a feather flock together. Ever been to a Green Peace function? How about Ananda right in our own back yard. Exclusive. Some might call that discriminatory, but Ananda is a good example. Sure, some newcomer might sneak off the res and buy himself a can of tuna in a moment of weakness, but basically they all are on the same page.

Nevada County reminds me of Northern Ireland. When there are no Jews, Chicanos or Blacks to kick around, the white man will improvise.

Michael Anderson

Todd, I have no idea how to respond to your comment. So I will just move on.

George wrote: "Courage me lad, press on!"
Yes, and your addendum afterward is interesting. I will try to comment tomorrow on this subject.

Steven Frisch

Great Billy......you made my point....there is no legal mechanism to discriminate thus the entire thing is an exercise in magical thinking.

"I see great benefit in a society that is allowed to practice beneficial discrimination in the widest possible sense."--George.

I guess I have to ask, George, what legal discrimination do you wish to engage in? What exactly do you mean by living with people who think like you, within the constraints of US anti-discrimnation law?

Steven Frisch

"1. According to my lights, people assemble into communities to enable and maintain their Bastiat Triangle of rights – security, property, liberty – which is fundamental to the apologetics put forward in these pages. Culture subsequently arises in such communities for utilitarian reasons – behaviors and traditions that give pleasure and maintain a mutually accepted social contract."

On this point I think we have clear agreement. Whether those rights are defined by Bastiat, or defined by another system of Law, security, liberty and property, are intrinsically linked. The definition of "private property" has been somewhat more fungible than the definitions of security and liberty, with different social constructs (cultures) and bodies of law defining the level of private versus community property differently; but I will heartily grant that liberty, security and property are, as Basiat stated, linked and each is dependent upon the other.

Steven Frisch

"2. A cohesive society naturally stratifies in its organization – higher levels tend to prescribe generalized principles, lower levels get into more detail about acceptable and proscribed behaviors. And in descending into lower levels we see diversification, not every cohort at a given level of organization behaves and solves its problems the same way."

I am going to grant you this one as well. Not only does the American constitutional system support the concept of stratified government with power devolving to the local level, logic dictates it, for the very reason you state; diversification breeds innovation with the least risk and greatest reward. Solving problems in the crucible of the local community means that we can experiment, try, fail, and succeed with the most liberty and the least risk to the overarching governance structure.

Steven Frisch

"3. Nature shows us that ideas/methods/memes/… arising from a rich and diverse broth of how different groups of people live their lives contributes to the overall benefit, quality of life, and survival of the society. Nature goes on to tell us that homogeneity (i.e. systems of high entropy) is the prime characteristic of a path to dissolution and destruction. In short, large societies of one mind and uniformity don’t do well when confronted with either new dangers or new opportunities."

Although you may be an unlikely professor of biomimicry, I think you are substantially correct here as well. This could be seen as a re-stament of the second point, but I see them as appropriately two different points. Point 2 dealt specifically with organization (which I have construed to include 'governance' through all of the institutions of a society). Point 3 deals with the raw material of that society; and makes the point that homogeneity breeds destruction. On this, I also could not agree more. It is this very point that leads me to embrace new cultural influences rather than reject or isolate myself from them; and I clearly believe that a society that does likewise is more likely to endure and prosper.

Steven Frisch

"4. Private property – its accumulation, use, and sustenance – is the prime motivator of human efforts that are at the margin of satisfying elemental survival needs. That is, after you know that you’re going to live in the short term, you start gathering and building stuff that will allow you to do so in the longer term."

Once again, fundamentally true, which is why it is one of the sides of the Bastiat Triangle. Yet I think that this is where we begin to part company. Although the accumulation of private property on a subsistence level falls into your system nicely, the continued accumulation of private property, and underlying motivations for that accumulation, begin to become ore complicated. And this is where biomimicry ends and human psychology begins.

Once basic needs of food, clothing shelter, and I would add sex, are satisfied, the motivation for gathering stuff for the long term begins to branch out into family, health, management of resources to ensure future supply, and eventually art, poetry and astronomy. Humans are more than mere biological units, they are conscious and self aware biological units. Many people prefer to define that through the existence of the soul, I do not; but the existence of more in the minds of men is clear and compelling. Accumulation ceases to be the prime motivator for most people; most people are much more interested in what that accumulation will enable them to do, and the world is rife with examples of people who have traded security and even accumulation for the third, fourth or fifth levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Who has not given up a fortune for love? Who has not traded being in a place they love for gold? Who has not made the choice of moral code at the occasional expense of the accumulation of wealth? I believe that is common (even within the confining construct of 'conservative' or 'liberal').

And it leads to another even more important concept; which is that although liberty, security and property are prime motivators, we value them so much that we have constructed societies, and thus governance, to protect them And in that construct "Freedom" as a goal becomes tempered with responsibility. At times that is responisbility to your peers, the requirement in our moral code to be "our brothers keeper" , and in the larger contract, to occasionally trade pure Freedom for pragmatic Freedom, the ability to retsruct ones action in the accumulation, in order to maintain and support a larger society that protects more Freedom.

I am reminded of the famous quote by Vikto Frankl:

"Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast."

George Rebane

StevenF 640am et al - Steve, laws for various jurisdictions, including up to constitutional amendments, can be changed as we see the wisdom in doing so. Nowhere have I argued that a community according to the discussed premises can today be implemented in full. Yes indeed, this is an exercise in "magical thinking", for that also is a progenitor of creativity. And I believe that as a nation we are at the point where a lot of magical thinking is required to avoid the Great Divide. The status quo is not working for about half the country.

You conclude your 758am with the implication that communities more purposely coherent in their cultures and/or ideologies would be isolated. I don't see that at all; there would be no dictum across the land to prevent a rich intercourse in commerce and ideas between the various communities as goes on today. The only new idea needed is that communities have the legal right to maintain their belief systems, and not have them abrogated by democratic colonization.

And that requires my property to be mine, to dispose of as I wish. If I don't want to sell my house/business to someone, say, a liberal or an Estonian, then I don't have to. And if this be a poor decision, then the natural order of economics will punish me. But in any event, I get to come an visit you in your community, see how you guys handle things, and take back the ideas that I think would benefit my neighbors. I will then have to make the case and see how they take to such ideas.

For example, I don't have to live among Irish Catholics 24/7 and have to share my calendar with them for holidays and celebrations in order to enjoy Irish Catholic culture. When I feel the need for it, I will go an visit them and abide with them until I get my fill. Or if I and my neighbors want to invite an Irish Catholic dance troupe to our theater, then we will be free to do so and then bid them adieu.

And if I come to feel stifled in my community, I'll move to yours with the understanding that I will have to follow your rules, and not seek/agitate to supplant them with my imports. Is there anything fundamentally wrong with this rough outline of a social order for lower level jurisdictions?

Steven Frisch

"communities have the legal right to maintain their belief systems and not have them abrogated by democratic colonization."

I am sorry George....but this statement is the crux of the matter...are you seriously proposing (or merely philosophically positing) that communities should be able to choose a belief system and exclude others who do not hew to that system?

What would keep you from refusing to sell you home to an African-American (a much more real and historically accurate depiction of this philosophy applied to the real ground in America)? How is this not a violation of our founding principles?

By the way, this is the key point, that more than 4 years ago, led me to label this idea here on your blog as fundamentally un-American.

George Rebane

StevenF 827am - My concern in these deliberations is not to be exclusionary on the basis of someone's DNA, but on the basis of their behavior - their culture. I don't have any reasons to exclude people of any race who value my and my neighbors' culture, and come and live cheek-by-jowl with us, and have our kids inter-marry. But I (and most others in the world) find many other cultures more than irritating to abide, some are reprehensible. It is these I want to reject and hold at a distance, so as to allow mine (and theirs) to survive and evolve.

Steven Frisch

But what proxies would you use, or what system would you use, to determine ones culture?

The key point is still the same--no realistic proxy exist-- thats what makes human being so damn amazing-and it certainly does not exists within the construct of our Constitutional principles or boundaries. Thus this is just magical thinking. A fine philosophical exercise--in line with the theoretical musings of Bastiat, Hume, Berkeley, and Smith--and fun, but in the end we live in a world with multiple cultures and one cannot remove themselves from that without violating other core principles, like the primacy of liberty, security and property.

Don't you see--to exclude those you find irritating, one needs to deny their liberty. Who wants to do that?

George Rebane

StevenF 901am - We may be making progress. It seems that we have distinct views of what is liberty. Mine is that I want to be free to do my thing, and that includes my denial of myself to you or your purposes. Yours seems to be that your freedom depends on your being able to dictate my behavior. These are extremely different notions. (In 'The Liberal Mind' category I have covered other topics wherein fundamental logics between us are different.)

BTW, I understand your use of 'proxy' to mean a stand-in for a robust discriminant that can be used to ascribe 'this is not that'.

Paul Emery

George
Expand please on why conservatives in general sense their freedom seems to be dependent on their ability to being able to dictate to others behavior in such cases as a woman's right to choose and an individuals right to partake of herbal substances if they choose to do so for any reason including recreational. Also the right for gays to marry if they choose to do so. This critique doesn't include you since you seem to be the general exception to the rule.

George Rebane

PaulE 1210pm - I don't think that you characterize (understand?) the correct stance of conservatives. You keep using these liberal dog whistle(?) phrases like "right to choose". No conservatives I know would deny a woman to obtain an abortion. They just don't want government to be in the business of paying for either contraception or abortion. But more often than not, to liberals it is a denial of rights to something if someone opposes that government must pay for it (i.e. redistribution).

The problems with "herbal substances" seems to be one that both Democrats and Repubs enjoy prohibiting the legal enjoyment of on the basis of its inducement of bad behaviors. It's not only a conservative thing. I'm not the only conservative who would legalize drugs under the conditions we have covered here.

The best I can tell, gay 'marriage' is opposed by many conservatives on two grounds - 1) keeping the label man/woman marriage sacrosanct, and 2) Judeo/Christian/Muslim scriptural grounds as an abomination. Of the former, those people (Repubs and Dems both) don't seem to have any problem with giving gays the same functional benefits of a standard marriage, they just want to call the relationship something else so that it is not confused with heterosexual marriage.

I side with that, because progressives have a history of subsequently making the revelation of the type of marriage illegal once 'marriage' is the common term for both kinds of unions. When I establish a relationship with an individual, I do want to know both their gender and their sexual orientation ASAP.

Steven Frisch

Re: George Rebane | 26 September 2012 at 08:43 AM


George, In my response I was referring to this comment: "My concern in these deliberations is not to be exclusionary on the basis of someone's DNA, but on the basis of their behavior - their culture."

I fear I misused the word "proxy". What I mean to ask is how does one identify those who one wishes to exclude based on culture? How exactly does that work? How does one do it? Do they put a sign up at the entrance to the the community that says, "Only those who adhere to this set of principles are welcome as part of our community"? Or does one choose not to sell houses, or hire people who do not adhere to that set of principles? And how can one tell?

Steven Frisch

George Rebane | 26 September 2012 at 09:14 AM

"It seems that we have distinct views of what is liberty. Mine is that I want to be free to do my thing, and that includes my denial of myself to you or your purposes. Yours seems to be that your freedom depends on your being able to dictate my behavior."

I think you are misrepresenting my definition of liberty. I believe liberty is the condition of being free from outside control; the right to believe, act or express oneself in a manner of ones own choosing. It also includes a right to engage in certain activities without restriction or control.

One of those activities is the right to work or live wherever I want; the right to engage in the representative democracy I live in, and the right to be treated equally with others.

I do not want to control or dictate your behavior; but if you deny someone a job or a home based on a cultural litmus test, you are denying them their liberty...and that is a violation of my liberty.

Is that clearer. Once again, it my be nice (for you) to think that only one type of person can live in a community, but there is no mechanism for enforcing that. Nor should there ever be.

George Rebane

SteveF 523pm - Had no desire to put words in your mouth (hence my use of 'seems'), thanks for the clarification of liberty.

Re the right to work or live wherever I want. I don't think we have that right currently. It depends on the scope of 'wherever', because one clearly does not have the right to work for any given private enterprise or public bureau. And as much as I may want to live in some high end neighborhood, I have no intrinsic right to do so.

But we both are more interested in the reasons why someone can refuse you a job or to sell/rent you a house. If it is my company or my house, then my definition of liberty is that I don't even want to be forced to tell you the reason I refused you. I didn't want to deal with you, and that's that.

As soon as government puts a gun to my head and says I have to hire or sell, then my liberty is curtailed. You have no right to my property in any shape or form, and I have no rights to yours. In other words our individual liberties do not involve or depend upon our being enabled to dispose of the other's property contrary to its owner's will.

I think there is where we most likely have a wide divergence of what liberty means in a free society. And I further maintain that if my Bastiat Triangle is weakened, then we start on the slippery slope to autocracy through the siren song and well trod path of broad-based democracy.

Paul Emery

George

I take it then that no true conservative would oppose Roe v Wade since it establishes a woman's right to have an abortion. So with that in mind why then do so many called conservatives demand the repeal of Roe v Wade. I accept your opposition of public funding for abortions but I consider that a different question. Either abortion is legal or it's not.

I accept his as a description of the Court decision

All state laws limiting women's access to abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy were invalidated by Roe v. Wade. State laws limiting such access during the second trimester were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, which was not legal at all in many states and was limited by law in others.

George Rebane

PaulE 820pm - don't know if I can represent "all true conservatives". As you point out, abortion comes in all different flavors. And I'm sure that conservatives have all kinds of ideas about the legality of such flavors. My experience is that none (very few?) support the legality of third trimester abortions, and quite a few would support both contraception and the 'morning after' type of abortions. But in the final analysis, almost all conservatives would want the federal government to be silent on the matter - leave it to the states.

Paul Emery

So states could then could criminalize abortion in the early stages with whatever penalties they deem necessary to deter the "crime" of abortion. Do you yourself believe Roe v Wade should be overturned?

George Rebane

PaulE 924pm - I am always searching for ways to minimize federal power over the states, and states power over its cities and counties. Abortion clinics should be legalized at the lowest levels, and people can travel to where they need to get the services local jurisdictions allow.

My own prediction is that a safe (to the mother) abortion 'medicine' will become widely available soon enough that will take care of the first trimester abortions - miss your second period? flush the little bastard right out.

Yes, RvW should be overturned and abortion returned to the jurisdiction of states along with other powers that they already have over the termination of life.

Paul Emery

So then in your view a woman's right to decide is not a right protected by the US Constitution. If a state decides to criminalize abortion and send women who do so to prison that's OK with you.

Ryan Mount

Here's the [moral] conservative position, from my estimation:

1) We don't like abortion, and life begins at ______ (fill in the blank, but it's pretty early)

2) Abortion is a States Rights issue, not a Federal one.

3) States can pay for abortion if they choose, as per #2, but the Federal Government can't and shouldn't.

4) Roe v Wade was one of many rulings (the 14th Amendment) that have made the 9th and 10th even more irrelevant.

5) Practically speaking, if someone wants an abortion in their State where it is illegal, they should be permitted to travel to a State with more Liberal abortion policies.

On a side and very strange note, Norma L. McCorvey (that's Jane Doe), has had rather peculiar moral journey.

- After Row v Wade, she decided she was a lesbian. That's groovy.
- Then she decided she was a born-again Christian, and became a staunch pro-life advocate.
- Then she sorta renounced he aggressive pro-life stance, sorta.
- After that, she became a Roman Catholic. (I have no idea how that happened)

In summary, the woman behind Roe v Wade is a Lesbian, pro-life, fundamentalist Roman Catholic.

Only in America folks where we only value the adjectives that can preface our identities. I find this amusing.

Steven Frisch

So George, let me see if I have this correct. You live in a country where private property is a cornerstone of our liberty, protected by our Constitution, and your right to private property (for example the deed to your home or the right to do business in the nation under a body of corporate or employment law) is enforced by contracts, guaranteed by the Constitution; yet you do not want to enforce the other rights protected by the Constitution, the right to equal protection under the law. Why should the government guaranteed your contracts if you won't guarantee equal protection?

In essence you are saying that your right to property supersedes anothers' right to liberty; what you choose to do with your property or in making employment choices should supersede other rights.

Even under Bastiat's Law (which is not Constitutional law) the right to liberty, property, and security are co-equal. Bastiat's core theory was that these rights are dependent upon each other. Eliminate one side of the Triangle and the others collapse. Your position is not only inconsistent with American Constitutional law, it is inconstant with Bastiat's Law.

"Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right."

Please note the comment: "that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly", and "These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two."

I stand on this plank to state that Frederich Bastiat recognized the co-equal stature of security, liberty and property.

So in the US we have formed such a government. And that government protects security, liberty and property. A core function of that government is balancing the needs of the three core rights in order to find a way for them to support each other. Those rights are embedded in our Constitution. Regardless of how you or I define liberty, liberty, and the rights derived from our liberty, are defined in our Constitution. That there has been a tension between property rights and liberty is clear.

Amendment V (1789): "......nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Amendment XIV (1868): "....nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Our nation balanced liberty and property when we amended the Constitution to clarify the equal protection clause. We were forced to do this because a certain group of people (slaveholders) defined their property rights as superseding the right to liberty.

And our body of law further defined the equal protection clause under the Civil Rights Acts mentioned above.

Thus, I boldly state that your definition of your property right superseding the modern definition of liberty is inconsistent with American Constitutional law (and I would argue basic American values).

So although you may wish you had the right to deny selling your home to someone based on race, sex, religion, national origin or just because they do not look right to you; you in fact, do not have that right because their liberty to purchase your property is protected by the equal protection clause. The same is true in employment law. That is why this is nothing but an exercise in 'magical thinking'.

Your premise that property supersedes liberty was the reason I began posting on your blog many years ago. Look back at your archives from 2007-2008. Before you made this bold declaration about the supremacy of property rights, before there was a Tea party, or a Republican Congress, or a move to overturn the 14th Amendment, I considered this point of view as nothing but a quaint anachronism, a legacy of 1950's American Bircherism; but as the movement has grown to strangle governance, attempt to redefine liberty, and define corporations as people I see your position as not only dangerous to individual liberty but a serious threat to national security.

Steven Frisch

Great post Ryan....

Steven Frisch

By the way, by "the right to live or work wherever I want" i meant under the equal protection clause. I have the right to be considered EQUALLY with anyone else considering buying your home. I have the right to be considered EQUALLY with anyone else applying for a job (or accessing a public place, etc..)

I do not have a right to be considered for the sale of a house or a job if my qualifications do not meet the requirements.

Our laws, derived from the equal protection clause, spell out the perimeters of those rights.

So, I may be able to qualify for a loan to purchase a home in a Del Webb community, but I may not qualify to live there due to age restrictions.

George Rebane

StevenF 705am - The progressive and the conservative (at least this conservetarian) have profoundly different understandings of liberty and the Bastiat Triangle. Your exposition of this is excellent, and deserves its own post in RR, and most certainly a hallowed place in 'The Liberal Mind'.

We may dispose of the slavery related arguments quickly by recognizing that human beings can no longer be defined as chattel - this appears to be a worldwide acceptance in the pro forma sense.

I ended my 810pm on liberty with these words -

As soon as government puts a gun to my head and says I have to hire or sell, then my liberty is curtailed. You have no right to my property in any shape or form, and I have no rights to yours. In other words our individual liberties do not involve or depend upon our being enabled to dispose of the other's property contrary to its owner's will.

I think there is where we most likely have a wide divergence of what liberty means in a free society. And I further maintain that if my Bastiat Triangle is weakened, then we start on the slippery slope to autocracy through the siren song and well trod path of broad-based democracy.

Since it turns out we also have widely disparate understandings of what is private property and its ownership, and since your dissertation on individual liberties is based on such a non-Bastiatian understanding of property, there is nothing in your argument that would cause me to modify any of the above.

I hold that our Founders and Bastiat held precisely the same meaning of private property. To make progress here, we will have go to this meta level and attempt agreement (or outline the origin of our difference).

THEMIKEYMCD

Private property as we know it died in 1913. Even today I can't legally do much of anything with 'my property' (income, land, home, cars, etc) without government permission. The notion of property tax or income tax or gas tax or .... has stripped us of our property rights.

'Today' the government/collective owns everything and permits fools like me to borrow their property.

"None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free." --Johann von Goethe

THEMIKEYMCD

I consider abortion a personal moral issue. The government (Fed/State) should not be involved.

There is no reason why the government should know your sexual preference either.

$16 TRILLION in debt and we are focused on sex, God help us.

Steven Frisch

That may be the most ridiculous non-response I have ever seen. Your point is essentially, "we see things differently". I support my case with direct quotes from the Constitution, and Bastaiat, and a cogent case being made that rights are a balancing act, and you respond, "oh well, we just disagree".

Government is not "putting a gun to my head and says[ing] I have to hire and sell..." Government is saying that if you want government to enforce your contracts, and respect your property, you have to play by a set of rules that balances the rights of the individual with the rights of other individuals, including their property rights, in the society. That is the very definition of governance.; the management of power and policy to support collective social values and meet collective social ends.

Thus I hold the 'magical thinking' ground against you; you wish to have rights, while deny others rights, which is just never going to happen.

There could be no more clear example of the moral, legal and logical bankruptcy of your basic premise, that private property rights trump individual rights.

Finally, your vision of property rights, and its accouterment (land, houses, stocks, or socks), denies the first premise of property rights; that man has a property interest IN HIS OWN BEING, that he is the master of himself, and that laws which restrict the self unequally, are a violation of my property rights in my own being. So you may dismiss the 14th amendment off hand, but the legal tenets underlying the amendment are based on this very concept; I own myself, and owning myself all of my transactions deserve to be treated on a equal footing with every other member of society. Thus if I am denied the right to purchase a home, my right to own property, to use my capital at my discretion, and my freedom of self-determination, is restricted. In short, my property rights require equal protection to even exist.

"..we also have widely disparate understandings of what is private property and its ownership." is not going to suffice.

Steven Frisch

I should have said you respond with the functional equivalent of, "..oh well, we just disagree...". I don't want to leave the impression that I am directly quoting you.

Steven Frisch

And to McD: the Constitution simultaneously created the right to own private property and the right to tax and regulate, and created a threshold, the 'takings clause', to define when government has exceeded the right of private property. That right, like every other, has been defined by the US Supreme Court. The court has consistently held that the takings clause defines just compensation as "the market value of the property at the time of the taking." (see Olsen v. United States, 1934). So in short, although you may wish to interpret the Constitution to mean that you have a right to do whatever you want on your property without 'government permission', you have never enjoyed such a right under the Constitution. The Constitution says that if government restricts your right to do whatever you want, and it is either unequally applied or inconsistent with other interests of the state (such as eminent domaine, the police power of the state, or power to tax), then you must be compensated.

George Rebane

SteveF 920pm - my response was not a dismissive 'we just don't agree'. I claim that you fundamentally misunderstand what the Constitution and Bastiat say about private property. For example, there is nothing in the Constitution that either defines or embraces liberty in terms of allowing a person to dispose of another person's private property. That is a progressive ruse which has contributed considerably to the deconstruction of all our freedoms.

One more time, slightly restated - the Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to dispose of another's private property; it does exactly the opposite in guaranteeing the sanctity of such property from the ravages of thieves and an unscrupulous government.

THEMIKEYMCD

Steve your 9:20am post is in error.
One example being the progressive tax system which does not match a moral code whereby equality in the law is exhibited. It is, an envious mob empowered by democracy using the gun of government against the private property of another class. Period.

In practice it is one class stripping another of their rights of private property. If that (mob rule) is the working definition of governance then I am an anarchist. Collectivism is slavery.

" That is the very definition of governance. the management of power and policy to support collective social values and meet collective social ends."

Steven Frisch

McD--I don't want to devolve into a debate on the American tax code here and divert from the core philosophical issues being raised---George perhaps you could start another thread on the supposed inherent inequality of the US tax code? Suffice it to say that taxes fall under the definitions attached to the "takings clause", a graduated income tax has been consistently upheld by the SCOTUS as constitutional, and, as I have stated above, the "just compensation" language of the "takings clause" kicks in if that is found not to be the case.

Re: the definition of governance--I would entertain any alternative definition you wish to propose that is based on fact and scholarly interpretation.

Paul Emery

George

In your view does a person own his or hers body and is that protected by the constitution.

Steven Frisch

Re: George Rebane | 27 September 2012 at 09:47 AM

".....there is nothing in the Constitution that either defines or embraces liberty in terms of allowing a person to dispose of another person's private property."

I think I quoted the section of the Constitution that allows the state to dispose of another persons private property.
It is the "taking clause" of the 5th amendment, which states, "......nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

If it is true that the state cannot take property without just compensation, the underlying premise is that the state can take property, if just compensation is paid. Thus the concept is both defined and embraced. Any other reading of this clause would not only be nonsensical, it would be contrary to the findings of the SCOTUS for the last 230 years.

George Rebane

PaulE 1009am - great question Paul. Apparently the 'ownership' of one's own body is interpreted in terms of the person's assessed ability to properly dispose of that body. For example, we deprive the insane and the young of such ownership.

However, with regard to pregnancy, I think the dividing point here comes with the definition of the body's boundary. Is a carried fetus a continuation of the mother's body? Given the independence of the nervous and other functional systems of the fetus, and its natural physical limits, I would argue that the fetus is not the mother's body. And if so, it comes under the consideration (protection?) of laws that are intended to safeguard bodies, especially those bodies not capable of properly taking care of themselves.

SteveF 1014am - Let's not confuse the disposition of properties by peer entities under a form of governance, with that of the state that is the implementing form of governance, and serves the collective will of those who have formed it and continue to sustain it. Recall that I speak of "... allowing a person to dispose of another person's private property."

Steven Frisch

Well I am not quite sure how to read this response. Are you saying that you don't mind property rights being taken by the government if they pay just compensation, but you do mind them being taken by individuals? Well, I heartily agree. I am no fan of stealing.

Define for me how a person (how do you do those italics?) can deny another person of property, within the body of the law? If I steal your property I am subject to the law; if I damage your property I am subject to the law. All I am saying is that if you steal my property, that is my right to use my person, MY BEING, you should also be subject to the law. And if you are talking of a person disposing of another's private property why do you use the "government gun at the head" as the example above?

I fear that in the face of a cogent case you are no longer making sense!

George Rebane

SteveF 1133am - I have said nowhere that I am sanguine about government's taking of property. But in the collective sense even we conservetarians believe that a legitimate government has the right to take/appropriate private property for just compensation when it is in the interest of an obvious/established greater good. The legitimate examples for this kind of 'taking' abound, as do its corrupt counterparts.

[Most web text editors are designed to search for and interpret HTML code before rendering the text. Italics are created within an interval of text (a string) that is delimited with a "<" then"i" then ">" at the start and a "<" then "/" then "i" then ">" at the end. Similarly, text can be made bold by substituting a 'b' for the 'i' in the above.]

Within the current "body of law" there are too many cases in which it is impossible to deny PersonA certain dispositions of the property of PersonB. To that extent (as in many other cases) the law has become perverse, and has already diminished the meaning of ownership as thoroughly covered in these pages over the last years. In these discussions we should never assume that law and justice fly in tight formation - and that includes 'justice under existing law'.

(As any good lawyer will tell you over a glass of wine, our legal system is a total crapshoot, thereby making pretrial settlements the lavish standard when it comes to complaints/suits. E.g. the notorious PG&E 'Erin Brockovich' case.)

In your sense of justice, fairness, etc regarding property rights, you assert that these include the right of an individual (PersonA) to spend his money (i.e. to unilaterally enter into an enforceable contract) to purchase some good or service belonging to another person (PersonB) and against that person's will. Therefore, denying that unilateral ability to dispose of PersonB's property denies PersonA his liberty, and the complete ownership of his money/property. This in my view is an extreme perversion of the Bastiat Triangle's tenets.

On our money is printed 'This note is legal tender for all debts public and private.' Nowhere in the Constitution, nor in the recorded beliefs of our Founders, does it contemplate that any person is privileged, let alone guaranteed a right, to enter into a two-party agreement and obligation (i.e. debt) without the consent of the other party.

I emphasize the 'government's gun' because people habitually overlook the raw fact that 'at the bottom of every stack of government regulations lies the marshall's gun.' (from a writing by the young Alan Greenspan) If you resist the implementation of a regulation and its subsequent government enforcement, you will be killed - and that goes all way down to what kind of lightbulbs you are now required to use in the ceiling of your remodeled kitchen.

This illustrates that certain kinds of takings of individual liberties and their concomitant private properties are naturally so odious that the government must step in, threaten to, and, if necessary, enforce at the pain of death, for nothing less will do.

Steve, I hope this helps at least a little. But will it make sense to you and yours? given your previous writings and your excellent and elucidating 705am, I see little chance of it.

THEMIKEYMCD

Steve, my tax code comment was 1 simple example of how your 'equality under the laws' argument is illogical. Furthermore, it exemplifies how a mob can use the heavy hand of government to steal from another. Your definition allows for/promotes the use of mob rule (democracy) to target one class of citizen by another. The top wage earners are robbed by the votes of the low wager earners (obviously the "Takings Clause" does not apply). Under current law the property of one man is treated differently than the property of another man, that is not equality under the law.

I could have used employee versus employer rights to make the same point (or myriads of other examples - landlords vrs renters, etc). In the employee versus employer example one class has fought to stripe another of their equal rights. Employers don't have 1/10th of the rights that employees have attained through mob rule. Again the "Takings Clause" does not apply.

THEMIKEYMCD

At the Farm/Food Conference last year a guest speaker suggested that 'Americans [he was Canadian] should vote to have government take un-used agriculture land away from land owners who are not generating food for society'. This is no different than our tax code. A mob agreeing to steal from the individual for the benefit of the collective. Private property died in 1913.

Steven Frisch

Re:Posted by: THEMIKEYMCD | 27 September 2012 at 03:38 PM

"Steve, my tax code comment was 1 simple example of how your 'equality under the laws' argument is illogical."

McD: please tell me specifically how my statement is illogical. One of the things I have liked about this thread is that it has been coldly fact based. If my statement is illogical please tell me how the the progressive tax code is unfair or as you contend immoral, and cite sources and examples. That way we can avoid a conversation about FEELINGS.

"One example being the progressive tax system which does not match a moral code whereby equality in the law is exhibited. It is, an envious mob empowered by democracy using the gun of government against the private property of another class. Period."

Steven Frisch

George, I am going to have to get to you tomorrow morning. I am off to do a presentation on what California Ballot Propositions would mean for California business.

Ryan Mount

Well for starters Steven, with regards to Mikey's comments, the Progressive Tax system violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. And probably the Due Process one as well.

And I know this has been challenged in court, and lost, but it's weird to me that we can promote same-sex marriage under the provisions of the 14th Amendment (something I support), yet discriminate against an entire class of citizens by requiring them to pay more taxes than others.

I have yet to hear a compelling argument on why certain citizens should be taxed more or less than others. The whole "rich people use more" therefore they deserve to pay more is the most often cited fallacy.

THEMIKEYMCD

Thanks for the factual support Rebane and Mount.
I would add the 5th, 9th and 10th Amendments (to the aforementioned 14th Amendment) to protect individual private property rights from government/collective.

I purposely used the term immoral as a place holder for stealing/looting/plundering which any decent human would see as immoral activities. Surely you don't believe that an activity is moral based on being 'accepted' by a majority (think Nazi Germany)?

"Government is saying that if you want government to enforce your contracts, and respect your property, you have to play by a set of rules that balances the rights of the individual with the rights of other individuals, including their property rights, in the society." This is one of your illogical statements (I use the progressive tax system as my case and point). You are claiming some equality among individuals when in fact a mob/majority votes to steal (an immoral act) from the minority. The progressive tax system's attack on individual property is akin to the segregation of black Americans that taints our history.

billy T

The erosion of individual liberties and rights is what saddens me. If all politics are residential, then it does not matter to me what Romney pays on capital gains taxes. What matters to be is what I pay on taxes. Obama set to tax folks 40% on dividends. Better off not investing in America. Not even Obama's recovery bonds.

Forget community. We have a global thing here, one big international love fest, nations without borders.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/27/as-un-opens-its-general-assembly-session-it-is-already-thinking-up-new-global/

Ryan Mount

If you want less of something, be sure to tax it, billy T.

I still don't get why modern Progressives, and even mainstream folks, think it's a good idea to prop-up a 100 year old tax system that was born from a radically different age. (Well, occasionally I hear people evoke our neo-guilded age as a call to arms for modern Progressivism, but I still think we're a VERY long way away from an Upton Sinclair novel) It's funny how Modern Liberals are really Conservatives. Well, not funny. Dumb.


I find it also amusing how dismissive modern Liberals are about the Founding "Fathers," especially since they are literally playing right out of the Alexander Hamilton playbook in their "government is the answer" strong central government rantings.

And speaking of that irony, Alexander Hamilton was a proponent of a Consumption Tax, which you'd think Liberals would happily support. And as a rhetorical question, one has to wonder why they are so attached to an antiquated Progressive Tax system.

I need to stop before I start sounding like that lunatic Glenn Beck.

Again, I anxiously wait for an answer other than the typical "they deserve it"(class warfare) and "their workers built their wealth" (neo-guilded age rhetoric) and "they use more."(the traditional rationale for Progressive Tax policy). There are a few irrational others.

A Consumption Tax addresses all of those Progressive "concerns." And it's neutral on the underclasses in it's current proposals like the Fair Tax.

Sorry for the length of this rant. :-)

THEMIKEYMCD

Ryan, I share your frustrations about the progressive's arguments supporting the progressive tax system. Perhaps what pains me the most is that they claim equality via such an openly unequal system. Ugh. By now y'all know that I use the progressive tax system to highlight how hypocritical/illogical/immoral the progressives ideology is (using gov as their collective gun). It's an argument I can't lose.

Progressives claim to fight for equality using an unjust system. Tax code is but one example.

Progressives empower government to allow for corporatism, but that is for another comment stream.

Earl Crabb

Ryan - The Democrats have spent generations building the monstrosity we have today, a system that sucks money out of your pocket and is then doled back to you in little increments if you support their next scheme to suck money out of someone else's pocket. Asking them to throw it out is like asking a Christian to throw out the Bible. The only Democrat who did that was Jefferson, who deleted the parts about miracles and kept the stuff that could work in real life.

Steven Frisch

OK, so it appears that rather than sticking with the theory of property rights we are going to get into the "tax equity" issue. I still think that that should be a separate thread, but I will bow to George's moderation on this one.

The first component of the tax equity issue is federal income tax, and the proportional distribution of federal income tax. In short, it is my contention that the proportion of federal income tax being paid by the top 10% of wage earners in the country is not a tax issue, it is a wage issue. While the earnings of the bottom 90% have stayed stable over the last 50 years (causing me to seriously question just how committed to the American Dream the top 10% really is) and the bottom 50% have actually gone down when adjusted for inflation, the earnings of the top 10% have skyrocketed. That means the top 10% are paying a higher percentage of the federal income tax, but to contend it is disproportionately high is a fallacy. They are paying more because they are earning more. If conservatarians want to reverse this trend they can do it by adopting policies that share a greater portion of the earning with the middle 50% and they will pay more federal income taxes.

here is a great set of charts that make that case: http://www.businessinsider.com/who-pays-taxes-2012-8?op=1

Please make sure you go through the whole set.

I will deal with the second component of the "tax equity" issue later: the fact that measuring tax equity by federal income tax is inherently inaccurate, since the total portion of the tax burden, when factoring in sales and use, property, local and state, and payroll taxes, actually shows a different picture. When the TOTAL tax burden is factored in the burden is actually much more proportionally equal.

Finally, I will deal with the 'moral" issue, whether a graduated income tax is "fair" later as well.

Steven Frisch

Ryan, I am wondering if you could do me a favor and dig into your contention that the progressive income tax system violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. While you are doing that I will look at the legal and Constitutional arguments that have led to the progressive income tax system being consistently upheld in our courts, and post here.

I am really trying to get away from the blanket statements of "I believe" and get to the fact based case here.

By the way, re: your second point, I am not saying "rich people use more thus they should be taxed more" I am saying rich people earn more thus they should be taxed more.

Ryan Mount

Steven-

I mentioned above that the Progressive Tax system has been upheld but the courts over time. Doesn't mean I think it's just, nor do I think that it's rational, nor do I think it's consistent with the 14th Amendment. (it isn't)

History is littered with poor Constitutional decisions by the courts. If we were, for example, to use my admitted liberal interpretation of the 14th Amendment, we wouldn't need the 19th.

However, to your very last point, I actually agree to some extent. But not on the productivity side. I think people should pay more taxes on the consumption side.

***However, you need to provide more evidence and a rationale about why the "rich people earn more thus they should be taxed more."***

But to paraphrase RL above, who I think gets it, "if grandma had wheels, she'd be a wagon." Tax reform, in a very meaningful sense is never going to happen as long as the government keeps the electorate (of all income strata) on the hook. For example, the mortgage income deduction that the middle class cherishes or the numerous "credits" for the low to lower middle class. Not to mention the the shell game we play with the rich.

Steven Frisch

Bob, I think you need to look at the facts before blaming Democrats for "a system that sucks money out of your pocket and is then doled back to you in little increments". First, my contention would be that if that is the case it has been done by both Democrats and Republicans, as supported by this list of the top 10 tax increases in modern American history done by PolitiFact and FactCheck using CBO numbers:

As a percent of GDP, here are Tempalski's top 10 tax increases from 1940-2006:
1. Revenue Act of 1942: 5.04 percent of GDP; 2. Revenue Act of 1961: 2.2 percent; 3. Current Tax Payment Act of 1943: 1.13 percent; 4(t). Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968: 1.09 percent; 4(t) Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968: 1.09 percent; 6. Excess Profits Tax of 1950: 0.97 percent; 7. Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982: 0.8 percent; 8(t): Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980: 0.5 percent; 8(t): Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993; 0.5 percent; 10. Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990: 0.49 percent.


Their data goes on to show that without factoring in savings, the ACA tax would come in a .49 percent of GDP, tied for 10th.

And if your contention is that Republicans may have raised taxes but they also cut taxes here is the comparison of the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush tax cuts:

http://taxfoundation.org/article/comparing-kennedy-reagan-and-bush-tax-cuts

But wait: President Obama's tax cut in 2009 was $282 billion. If one adjusts Obama's $282 billion and compares it to the Kennedy, Reagan and Bush tax cuts, Obama is the biggest tax cutter in US history. And if one looks at the aggregate effect of all of the policies American are now paying less in federal taxes than they have since 1955.

http://www.ocregister.com/news/-117079-ocprint--.html


If your contention is that this is not an apple to apple comparison I will note that both Reagan and Obama have been in the ranks of both the top 10 tax cutters, and (Obama barely) the top 10 tax increasers.


THEMIKEYMCD

Is it not true that a wealthy man would pay more in $ terms than a poor man if both paid the same % of income?

Regarding 9:35am
No different than saying 'darker skinned people should have different (less) rights than a lighter skinned man.' (a belief upheld for years by the rule of law).

"I am saying rich people earn more thus they should be taxed more. " Posted by: Steven Frisch | 28 September 2012 at 09:35 AM

Steven Frisch

I am hoping that someone will get on and make the Constitutional argument against a graduated (or progressive) income tax system. If we are going to stay true to the original cases being made in this thread about the relationship between liberty, property, and security, it would be a valuable framework for the discussion.

By the way Ryan, I agree with you that a more liberal interpretation of the 14th amendment would have meant the right for women to vote in 1868; however the operative portion of the 14th amendment that would have made the 19th amendment un-necessary, is the very same "equal protection" clause that I am arguing for a liberal interpretation of in order to guarantee equal access to housing, employment..etc. Don't you find that somewhat ironic?

Finally, if we want to get into a side conversation about actually reforming the tax system and shifting to a consumption tax, once again a discussion that I believe deserves a separate thread, I am all for it. I agree, and would like to shift a large portion of the federal tax revenue equation to a value added tax (VAT), which is a consumption tax. A VAT would tax goods and services which means stock transactions would be taxed, investment portfolios would be taxed when changes are made, all purchases would be taxed...but once again, we are not in the world of magical thinking. I can't wave a magic wand....we have the system we have.

THEMIKEYMCD

The real world:
My taxes were slashed by Bush Tax Cuts (his best policy decision in 8 years)

My taxes have risen (slightly) under the Obama Admin (using every metric I can measure)

My taxes will SOAR if Bush Tax Cuts expire (I am already decreasing my revenue, laid off employees, will not hire to cope, fighting growth/production, not taking risks, etc)

George Rebane

Administrivia - Gentlemen, I believe the 'tax thread' in this comment stream evolved from Mikey's use of progressive taxation as another example of liberals' promoting inequality and depriving liberty, which was central to the ongoing private property thread that revolved around the centrality of the Bastiat Triangle.

The contributions on diverse views of liberty and property herein are well stated and important. My preference is that we continue the property/liberty thread so as to complete it (to the extent possible in this comment stream) and make later access to it more direct and simpler.

I'd like to continue the taxation issue in the stream that follows a post on taxation, so that can be as 'self-standing' as possible. To this end I invite one or more byline pieces on the fundamentals of taxation from the various ideological viewpoints. Perhaps Mikey and/or RyanM could pen some words from the Right, and SteveF and/or PaulE could do the same from the Left. Please email them to me at gjrebane@gmail.com and I will post them.

Needless to say, I continue to be heartened by the considerable arguments that are presented in these streams in the form of well-thought mini essays based upon reason and data as interpreted by their authors.

If you wish to do what I suggest, please feel free to cut and paste your already good and pithy arguments from this and previous streams in order to compile your byline opening rounds. Never let a good thought go to waste - they can and should be recycled ;-)

Steven Frisch

OK my little brain is having a hard time understanding exactly what you are referring to McD:

"Is it not true that a wealthy man would pay more in $ terms than a poor man if both paid the same % of income?"

Of course that is true, that is the case I am making. For the past 50 years earning of the bottom and middle 90% have stayed relatively stable when adjusted for inflation. Earnings for the top 10% have gone up. Thus the amount the top 10% pays in $ terms has gone up, even while the amount they pay as a % of income has gone down. What I am struggling with is how you can find this unfair?

"Regarding 9:35am
No different than saying 'darker skinned people should have different (less) rights than a lighter skinned man.' (a belief upheld for years by the rule of law)."

I am sorry, I don't know what you are referring to here. I looked back at 9:35 am and can't find it.

"I am saying rich people earn more thus they should be taxed more. " Posted by: Steven Frisch | 28 September 2012 at 09:35 AM"

Steven Frisch

OH, I promise I will work to get these html codes worked out. McD, do you understand my post?

Ryan Mount

Steven-

"is the very same "equal protection" clause that I am arguing for a liberal interpretation of in order to guarantee equal access to housing, employment..etc. Don't you find that somewhat ironic?"

Well, it seems we're smoking out the argument. I agree with this and not ironic in the slightest. Discrimination, is illegal. And I'm not that kind of Libertarian, on a personal note. So that's where I depart from the more Anarcho-Capitalist types. And I suppose my Humboldt State is showing.

The government is there to protect liberties of both property owners and renters and to uphold and enforce contracts. Now I'll agree that property owners are getting the shaft, but by the same token I have no problem going after someone who deliberately discriminates against someone (again, the key word is discrimination) who is African-American. Proving that is another tricky proposition.

However, it's a [very] long gap from "equal access to housing," which I support, to the government giving you housing.

When it comes to taxation, and I sense your reluctance to provide a rationale here, the Progressive Tax system is by it's nature discriminatory. It's OK for the government to discriminate against rich (and poor for that matter).

But never mind the war of ideas Steven, how about a direct question for the blog:

Q: Is what we have working and fixable.

On that parting question, I leave you with Obama's well-intentioned (and I mean that) attempts to plug some of the tax holes that has America's panties in a bundle:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Account_Tax_Compliance_Act

The ghost of Bastiat laughs heartily at us at our good intentions.

Steven Frisch

George: I appreciate your Adminstrivia and will lay out my thoughts on taxation in a single treatise that we can take pro and con positions on.

"The graduated income tax system is both fair and constitutional."

It may take a day or two to get this done. I do work.

Steven Frisch

test

Ryan Mount

trying to unBOLD.

Ryan Mount

FAIL.

Steven Frisch

I am also trying to unBOLD and failing. I suspect user error!

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