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Post Reply What's the best system of government?
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Posted 10/29/14

BlueOni wrote:



Forget petty criminals and nomadic warlords, it'd be even scarier if anarchist capitalism functioned as planned. In an anarchist capitalist society the people with the most negotiating power (that is, the individuals who own the means of production) would have a clear incentive to write employment contracts such that they'll never, ever lose a dime even if they still have to pretend to pay you. And they could do that because they'd either be the paying customer of whatever private insurance/arbitration/security firm enforces contracts or would be that series of firms themselves. Company stores, company dormitories, company currency, personal conduct standards of any sort and to any extent they want, at-will employment for any and all positions, they would literally own massive swathes of the population.


If a society claims to be a democracy, constitutional republic, or monarchy, and most company chains are controlled by the same group of people, would it then be safe to consider it an anarchy capitalist society that succeeded on the down low?
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Posted 10/29/14
Any government run by humans will succumb to corruption and eventual dissolution.
Posted 10/29/14 , edited 10/29/14
Aye, a necessary evil, but also a temporary one. History shows time and civilization go through a cycle, of phases. A time of simplicity, a time of pharaohs,, a time of democracy, a time of imperialism , a dark period (which can be long) , a time of feudalism, a time of enlightenment and rediscovery, a time of industrial enlightenment. Vary it a bit or give or take a few skipped steps, we'll go through another dark age as the cycle repeats.

just like the song, turn, turn, turn. There is a season..

As for an answer to the OP question, I would choose a democracy or a parliamentary republic/constitutional monarchy, but that won't work in every place and time.
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Posted 10/30/14

DollyDagger11 wrote:

If a society claims to be a democracy, constitutional republic, or monarchy, and most company chains are controlled by the same group of people, would it then be safe to consider it an anarchy capitalist society that succeeded on the down low?


Not if the state still exists and is able to effectively act throughout its territorial boundaries. Formation of an oligopoly doesn't disqualify an economy from being capitalist, but the existence of an effective state precludes its categorization as an anarchy. What you've described might be crony capitalism if the oligarchs are politically inclined and have succeeded at establishing extensive regulatory capture and a network of people in the state to protect that regulatory capture, but it's not anarchist capitalism since a state still exists. In the incredibly unlikely event that the oligarchs have no interest in politics and keep out of it you'd simply be looking at a democracy, constitutional republic (democratic or otherwise), or monarchy with an oligarchic economy.
Posted 10/30/14 , edited 10/31/14
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BlueOni wrote:


DollyDagger11 wrote:

If a society claims to be a democracy, constitutional republic, or monarchy, and most company chains are controlled by the same group of people, would it then be safe to consider it an anarchy capitalist society that succeeded on the down low?


Not if the state still exists and is able to effectively act throughout its territorial boundaries. Formation of an oligopoly doesn't disqualify an economy from being capitalist, but the existence of an effective state precludes its categorization as an anarchy. What you've described might be crony capitalism if the oligarchs are politically inclined and have succeeded at establishing extensive regulatory capture and a network of people in the state to protect that regulatory capture, but it's not anarchist capitalism since a state still exists. In the incredibly unlikely event that the oligarchs have no interest in politics and keep out of it you'd simply be looking at a democracy, constitutional republic (democratic or otherwise), or monarchy with an oligarchic economy.


I agree with much of what you said. However, although I cannot speak for her, I believe she might have been referring to a failure of a government, a hypocrisy. It could be an oligarchy that is not effective for whatever reason simply does not function as it was intended, it has become defunct and its subjects begin to police and regulate themselves, in a way becoming a de facto anarchy, while the decadent elite turn a blind and deaf eye to the citizenry. You might be right on crony capitalism but even if that fails it becomes a mockery of what ever it once stood for. This is no government imho, just some class-based decadence without care for its own people.. I would compare it to Panem from the Hunger Games but that's more like oppressive Fascism.
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Posted 10/31/14

Mylia_Black wrote:

I agree with much of what you said. However, although I cannot speak for her, I believe she might have been referring to a failure of a government, a hypocrisy. It could be an oligarchy that is not effective for whatever reason simply does not function as it was intended, it has become defunct and its subjects begin to police and regulate themselves, in a way becoming a de facto anarchy, while the decadent elite turn a blind and deaf eye to the citizenry. You might be right on crony capitalism but even if that fails it becomes a mockery of what ever it once stood for. This is no government imho, just some class-based decadence without care for its own people.. I would compare it to Panem from the Hunger Games but that's more like oppressive Fascism.


It sounds like you're describing a failed state, a condition where the state may still nominally exist but has proven unable to enforce its authority and/or provide essential goods and services throughout its territory. The important point to note is that I said that the system I was asked to address wouldn't qualify as an anarchy so long as the state was still able to function throughout its territory. If it was implied that the condition to be examined was a failed state, I simply missed that implication.

It's true, a failed state might qualify as an anarchist capitalist society. A state which cannot effectively enforce its economic policies can't really regulate markets or exchanges, private actors could emerge and begin competitively offering to provide essential services in the absence of public sector provision thereof, and free movement wouldn't inherently be prevented. Of course, that's not generally how failed states end up working. More often than not they fail to meet essential criteria to be an anarchist capitalist society. Drug barons may limit free movement, enslave people without contracts, and murder emerging competitors, for example.

An anarchist capitalist would see that situation and demand that competitors be allowed to emerge, that people be free to move from place to place, and that people should be enslaved by contracts instead of by force. Yes, you read that right. In an anarchist capitalist society slavery is not only allowed, it is considered a vital part of maintaining the institution of self-ownership that it be possible to irrevocably sell one's self-ownership by becoming a slave. This is, of course, false. The vodka in my freezer is surely mine, but I may not distribute it to people below the legal drinking age. That doesn't make the vodka any less my own, it simply limits the options I have for its use and distribution. Whether those limitations are justified or not is a secondary matter; what is most important is that ownership hasn't been destroyed simply by having limitations at all. It's still my vodka, I still own it. I just can't pass out bottles to the kids on Halloween.

As a side note, I would say that Fascism is by its very nature oppressive (and intentionally so). The Fascist calls for complete subjugation of the individual by the state, a total eradication of individualism and merger of all people into a collective nation (which can be formed based upon either ethnic, cultural, or civic nationalism). It is the among the most extreme forms of statism, summarized succinctly by the phrase "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." The Fascist imagines the state's interests and the interests of the nation to be identical in all cases, and so while it may be admitted that the state is oppressing people a Fascist will never cede that the oppression is unjustified unless it can be shown that the state's interests are not actually advanced or enforced by its implementation.
Posted 10/31/14

BlueOni wrote:



An anarchist capitalist would see that situation and demand that competitors be allowed to emerge, that people be free to move from place to place, and that people should be enslaved by contracts instead of by force. Yes, you read that right. In an anarchist capitalist society slavery is not only allowed, it is considered a vital part of maintaining the institution of self-ownership that it be possible to irrevocably sell one's self-ownership by becoming a slave. This is, of course, false. The vodka in my freezer is surely mine, but I may not distribute it to people below the legal drinking age. That doesn't make the vodka any less my own, it simply limits the options I have for its use and distribution. Whether those limitations are justified or not is a secondary matter; what is most important is that ownership hasn't been destroyed simply by having limitations at all. It's still my vodka, I still own it. I just can't pass out bottles to the kids on Halloween.




Selling onesself into slavery and distributing vodka to underage trick-or-treaters. Kinky. Shame. On. You. ! I think you are still your own person even if you are legally a slave. As for the vodka, once the youngsters get tipsy, vomit all night in the emergency room, and their BAC% returns to normal for their age, it ceases to exist as it has been consumed by the poor kids' bodies. Anyway that was quite hilarious a thought process. All humour aside I agree that anarchist capitalism theories are oft. full of holes. Just don't waste good vodka on youngsters


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Posted 10/31/14 , edited 10/31/14

BlueOni wrote:


An anarchist capitalist would see that situation and demand that competitors be allowed to emerge, that people be free to move from place to place, and that people should be enslaved by contracts instead of by force. Yes, you read that right. In an anarchist capitalist society slavery is not only allowed, it is considered a vital part of maintaining the institution of self-ownership that it be possible to irrevocably sell one's self-ownership by becoming a slave. This is, of course, false. The vodka in my freezer is surely mine, but I may not distribute it to people below the legal drinking age. That doesn't make the vodka any less my own, it simply limits the options I have for its use and distribution. Whether those limitations are justified or not is a secondary matter; what is most important is that ownership hasn't been destroyed simply by having limitations at all. It's still my vodka, I still own it. I just can't pass out bottles to the kids on Halloween.

As a side note, I would say that Fascism is by its very nature oppressive (and intentionally so). The Fascist calls for complete subjugation of the individual by the state, a total eradication of individualism and merger of all people into a collective nation (which can be formed based upon either ethnic, cultural, or civic nationalism). It is the among the most extreme forms of statism, summarized succinctly by the phrase "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." The Fascist imagines the state's interests and the interests of the nation to be identical in all cases, and so while it may be admitted that the state is oppressing people a Fascist will never cede that the oppression is unjustified unless it can be shown that the state's interests are not actually advanced or enforced by its implementation.


Great fire! Hypothetical situations involving alcohol are my favorite.

Plus, it acknowledges that politics happen whether there is government or not. Kids want booze, your decision is a political move. The underaged will be back if you give them booze. And I apologize for the agism, but nobody wants that.

I'm going to attempt to continue your points a little from my own perspective.

As a practical matter, a Fascist state would need to have every resource it required to advance its interests, and considering interests usually include keeping up with beneficial technology, geographically it becomes pretty tough to sustain. So there are only a few potentials where true Fascism wouldn't include expansionism.

It's kind of a sliding scale, governments can be good or bad, but government itself is just as necessary as government limitations. A capitalist anarchy is just an economic system, it wouldn't be enough.

People try and harp on socialism and communism as systems of government, but they're only economic principles. Capitalism is the same way, it's not enough. Economic principles are not enough to advance a group of people by themselves, because people always do money so badly. So while it's good and generally works to have a drinking age, it's also not good and generally doesn't work to have a government that prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol.

So a better system of government comes from somewhere in the middle. A fundamental part of finding middle ground is democracy. I split a bottle of whiskey with a friend. We want to divide it, and I only had five on it, which accounts for a fifth, but I had bought beer on my own the night before and split it fifty-fifty with this same friend. And another friend who has sometimes had beer to share and sometimes has not asks for three drinks, who gives two and who gives one? Or do we give one and a half each?

Look, my friends and I are all very good at executing liquor politics quickly and satisfactorily, to the point where we cast our vote, we deal with the consequences, and things continue seamlessly. We have a good house governance. But it is a recognized democracy, where a one to one tie vote doesn't create gridlock. We need intelligently established government institutions to guide politics, because politics will continue and we're talking larger stakes than a bottle of whiskey.

Well, maybe larger stakes in your guys' opinions.
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14

Mylia_Black wrote:

Selling onesself into slavery and distributing vodka to underage trick-or-treaters. Kinky. Shame. On. You. ! I think you are still your own person even if you are legally a slave. As for the vodka, once the youngsters get tipsy, vomit all night in the emergency room, and their BAC% returns to normal for their age, it ceases to exist as it has been consumed by the poor kids' bodies. Anyway that was quite hilarious a thought process. All humour aside I agree that anarchist capitalism theories are oft. full of holes. Just don't waste good vodka on youngsters


The tricky part about it is that if you own yourself you're not a slave. The defining criterion for being a slave is that one is owned as property by someone else. Slavery is anathema to the institution of self-ownership, and yet the position has been advanced that it is a crucial part of self-ownership that one be able to sell oneself into slavery, to surrender their self-ownership. Given that the basis for self-ownership in anarchist capitalist rhetoric is natural law the contradiction should be fairly plain.


morechunch wrote:

Great fire! Hypothetical situations involving alcohol are my favorite.

Plus, it acknowledges that politics happen whether there is government or not. Kids want booze, your decision is a political move. The underaged will be back if you give them booze. And I apologize for the agism, but nobody wants that.

I'm going to attempt to continue your points a little from my own perspective.

As a practical matter, a Fascist state would need to have every resource it required to advance its interests, and considering interests usually include keeping up with beneficial technology, geographically it becomes pretty tough to sustain. So there are only a few potentials where true Fascism wouldn't include expansionism.

It's kind of a sliding scale, governments can be good or bad, but government itself is just as necessary as government limitations. A capitalist anarchy is just an economic system, it wouldn't be enough.

People try and harp on socialism and communism as systems of government, but they're only economic principles. Capitalism is the same way, it's not enough. Economic principles are not enough to advance a group of people by themselves, because people always do money so badly. So while it's good and generally works to have a drinking age, it's also not good and generally doesn't work to have a government that prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol.

So a better system of government comes from somewhere in the middle. A fundamental part of finding middle ground is democracy. I split a bottle of whiskey with a friend. We want to divide it, and I only had five on it, which accounts for a fifth, but I had bought beer on my own the night before and split it fifty-fifty with this same friend. And another friend who has sometimes had beer to share and sometimes has not asks for three drinks, who gives two and who gives one? Or do we give one and a half each?

Look, my friends and I are all very good at executing liquor politics quickly and satisfactorily, to the point where we cast our vote, we deal with the consequences, and things continue seamlessly. We have a good house governance. But it is a recognized democracy, where a one to one tie vote doesn't create gridlock. We need intelligently established government institutions to guide politics, because politics will continue and we're talking larger stakes than a bottle of whiskey.

Well, maybe larger stakes in your guys' opinions.


Salient points, all. We'd have better data for anarchist socialism or communism if the Free Territory hadn't been annexed, but for better or worse we don't have enough data to judge from. I don't expect either sort of anarchism to work especially well, but like I said: we lack data. Fascism, meanwhile, has been attempted in its truest form in Italy, and for long enough to pass judgment. It didn't work out particularly well in the end. The Axis Powers started a war they ultimately couldn't finish, and Fascism delivered ruin and humiliation instead of the glory and prosperity it had promised.
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14

BlueOni wrote:

Salient points, all. We'd have better data for anarchist socialism or communism if the Free Territory hadn't been annexed, but for better or worse we don't have enough data to judge from. I don't expect either sort of anarchism to work especially well, but like I said: we lack data. Fascism, meanwhile, has been attempted in its truest form in Italy, and for long enough to pass judgment. It didn't work out particularly well in the end. The Axis Powers started a war they ultimately couldn't finish, and Fascism delivered ruin and humiliation instead of the glory and prosperity it had promised.


That thirst for resources forces expansion. Either Fascism or anarchy might actually work out fine if they evolved from an extremely advanced global government. But I like the idea of multiple states. And I don't like the idea of each person being a sovereign state in and of themselves.

The democratic states, as it stands, kind of have their run of the world. China being a fair exception, is dealing more and more with its citizens' desire for democracy. The Axis lost because they tried to adopt a really complicated and advanced system of government without having the advanced society to go along with it. They eventually got crushed by the less complicated "Let's team up with countries that aren't Fascists so we can get back to nobody taking over the whole world" approach. And as much as things have changed between the 1930s and today, I think humans still have not advanced enough in their application of society to take on the challenges of anarchy or Fascism.

I think Fascism and anarchy both lack the flexibility necessary to sustain their resources and advance their society without being taken over by or caving into the power of the democratic states. Via democracy, society can advance its state, its state can advance the democracy, the democracy can advance the society. It's kind of gross how self-sealing it looks on paper. But the fragility involved in democracy is what keeps it on this cycle. So in the end, I think democracy in its purest form does the most to benefit a state, even if it sometimes takes things into a bad cycle for a bit.
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14
One that has a good leader for a change. By that I mean.... where everyone would get along and get jobs for a change and everyone was respected with dignity and where people aren't always bullied for being different.
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14

morechunch wrote:

That thirst for resources forces expansion. Either Fascism or anarchy might actually work out fine if they evolved from an extremely advanced global government. But I like the idea of multiple states. And I don't like the idea of each person being a sovereign state in and of themselves.

The democratic states, as it stands, kind of have their run of the world. China being a fair exception, is dealing more and more with its citizens' desire for democracy. The Axis lost because they tried to adopt a really complicated and advanced system of government without having the advanced society to go along with it. They eventually got crushed by the less complicated "Let's team up with countries that aren't Fascists so we can get back to nobody taking over the whole world" approach. And as much as things have changed between the 1930s and today, I think humans still have not advanced enough in their application of society to take on the challenges of anarchy or Fascism.

I think Fascism and anarchy both lack the flexibility necessary to sustain their resources and advance their society without being taken over by or caving into the power of the democratic states. Via democracy, society can advance its state, its state can advance the democracy, the democracy can advance the society. It's kind of gross how self-sealing it looks on paper. But the fragility involved in democracy is what keeps it on this cycle. So in the end, I think democracy in its purest form does the most to benefit a state, even if it sometimes takes things into a bad cycle for a bit.


I'm not really sure I can imagine conditions where Fascism would be viable in the long term. In order for the complete subjugation to the Fascist state to remain acceptable to the population there must always be some dire circumstance or dangerous other which necessitates extraordinary measures. The only way the DPRK has managed to keep its own brand of Fascism going as long as it has is because it has completely closed its population off from the outside world and intentionally educated them poorly, and the DPRK (while difficult to invade) is absolutely never going to be a global player.

Personally, I'd sooner see social and political liberalism continue to prevail as the dominant systems and for social capitalism with an extensive supporting welfare state to become the global economic modus operandi. I'd be fine with such a liberal state pretty much conquering every single square kilometer of soil as long as it kept market socialism on the back burner in case it should ever become a viable system (it wouldn't have to make the transition right away, if at all, but it should always be a consideration).

Edit: I even have the perfect candidate for the global anthem. Lyrics would need a little tweaking to remove religious references, though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUdspRfdm7c
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Posted 11/1/14

BlueOni wrote:



I'm not really sure I can imagine conditions where Fascism would be viable in the long term. In order for the complete subjugation to the Fascist state to remain acceptable to the population there must always be some dire circumstance or dangerous other which necessitates extraordinary measures. The only way the DPRK has managed to keep its own brand of Fascism going as long as it has is because it has completely closed its population off from the outside world and intentionally educated them poorly, and the DPRK (while difficult to invade) is absolutely never going to be a global player.

Personally, I'd sooner see social and political liberalism continue to prevail as the dominant political system and for social capitalism with an extensive supporting welfare state to become the global economic modus operandi. I'd be fine with such a liberal state pretty much conquering every single square kilometer of soil as long as it kept market socialism on the back burner in case it should ever become a viable system (it wouldn't have to make the transition right away, if at all, but it should always be a consideration).


I can't really imagine it either. I mean, there's always population control and crime reduction, but I meant things would have to evolve beyond my understanding before Fascism could work.

But that's also a very interesting point. Social capitalism costs a lot of, let's call it potential income. I have no problem personally giving up extra money to invest in solar and wind technology. When I speak to the business crowd, they say it's not a good idea because right this second it is a waste of their money. There certainly is a global economic modus, and usually it's for capitalists in social capitalist societies (where they can start and develop) to move operations to markets that don't account for society. Start Nike in Oregon, then when everybody is buying your shoes produce them in places like Indonesia, that, sure, operate well with your capitalistic intent, but have a lower asking price because social support is not part of their agenda.

So then we've got global politics. Although I cannot imagine how a global government system could come out of this mixed up world, I cannot say it wouldn't happen after centuries or millennia, assuming we don't end ourselves first.

And then something like Fascism might have things to fight like disease, poverty, inequality. I can't dream of a time like that, but as long as total state control remains a possibility, I think sustainable total state control would have to be possible under the right circumstances.
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Posted 11/1/14

morechunch wrote:

I can't really imagine it either. I mean, there's always population control and crime reduction, but I meant things would have to evolve beyond my understanding before Fascism could work.

But that's also a very interesting point. Social capitalism costs a lot of, let's call it potential income. I have no problem personally giving up extra money to invest in solar and wind technology. When I speak to the business crowd, they say it's not a good idea because right this second it is a waste of their money. There certainly is a global economic modus, and usually it's for capitalists in social capitalist societies (where they can start and develop) to move operations to markets that don't account for society. Start Nike in Oregon, then when everybody is buying your shoes produce them in places like Indonesia, that, sure, operate well with your capitalistic intent, but have a lower asking price because social support is not part of their agenda.

So then we've got global politics. Although I cannot imagine how a global government system could come out of this mixed up world, I cannot say it wouldn't happen after centuries or millennia, assuming we don't end ourselves first.

And then something like Fascism might have things to fight like disease, poverty, inequality. I can't dream of a time like that, but as long as total state control remains a possibility, I think sustainable total state control would have to be possible under the right circumstances.


I'm pretty sure it's not even possible to have a global state which is unitary. Federalism would be necessary in order to even attempt the project, lest the bureaucratic density bring the whole thing crashing down in a marvelously horrible collapse. Its central government would probably be something like the UN with its own standing army or an all-encompassing version of NATO.

The key to combating that economic strategy, I think, is to strive to improve labor laws, wage standards, and so on at the global scale while giving developing states both the resources and a substantial incentive to use those resources to enact and enforce those improved standards. The reason places are typically targeted by Nike and such is because those places either have low standards or can't enforce the standards they have. In other words, the way to defeat the race to the bottom is (in my mind, at least) to raise the bottom that anyone can reach. Give them nowhere to run.

On the point of state control of some industries, I'd agree. The energy sector, for example, has no business being in private hands as far as I'm concerned. It shouldn't even be a question of which energy source is most profitable. It should be a question of which is most sustainable, ecologically sound, and safely obtained.
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14

BlueOni wrote:


On the point of state control of some industries, I'd agree. The energy sector, for example, has no business being in private hands as far as I'm concerned. It shouldn't even be a question of which energy source is most profitable. It should be a question of which is most sustainable, ecologically sound, and safely obtained.


Lord, I've been working against the Keystone Pipeline where I can. I've attended rallies, helped build a green-energy barn, painted protest signs, raised awareness amongst my peers. I had a chance to talk to my state congressman Lee Terry on Friday but I blew it, I could only look him right in the eye and shake his hand, I couldn't say anything. Thankfully I was wearing my "pipeline fighters" t-shirt, which he made more eye contact with than he did me.

That's all personal stuff, though. I could slander the guy for days without getting bored. He was part of the push that said the Governer himself could overturn any state legislature ruling and put the pipeline through. He was part of the group of people who redrew the boundaries of the Ogallala Aquifer and the Sandhills to circumvent the environmental complaint, he was the guy who voted to shut the government down, but when asked if he'd keep his paycheck replied "Dang straight." That is an honest quote, on principle I don't quote other people as saying things they did not.

The fact is, I'm in a damn red state in a damn democratic republic. I understand the ire people have for bad government. I also understand the idea that the more people we get involved the more difficult things get. But I especially have been impressed since I came to Nebraska when I was 10.

Nebraska has a unicameral state government. It's leaning is broadly Republican, but we have been the only state to hassle Transcanada. And that is because the government forgets that this is a bipartisan issue and they can't rely on Republicans to secure a vote on this business.

The basic idea is the Keystone XL pipeline threatens the Ogalalla aquifer, Nebraska's major resource. The aquifer drives our agriculture, western Nebraska gets their drinking, livestock, and farmland water all from the same direct source. It's wells, it's not like a city where the water is processed and made safe. So our state government is divided on the subject, because landowners of both leanings have been enduring so many shady business tactics to keep their livelihood safe.

I could go on slandering Transcanada for days as well. They sent false claims of using Eminent Domain rights to landowners to get them to sign over properties, they had the Perryman Group, who is constantly being sued for false claims, claim the project would create 2 million jobs when the figure was closer to 2000, they issued a report to the US government saying there was a literal 0% chance of a spill in Nebraska (which the federal State Department intended to accept before Nebraska state courts put it in limbo), and they intended to buy the piping from a company in India that was being sued by two clients for giving them lower grade steel than they had claimed.

Uuuuugh, what a struggle! If any of Nebraska's agriculture is affected by a spill, it would mean much, much more to the state and national economy than we could gain from putting the line through.

So you see, I think all our governments are ridiculous and backwards. But in the end, it is this red state that values landowner rights and protects them through legal channels that I can really side with and that I must find a way to rely on.
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