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Post Reply What's the best system of government?
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Posted 11/1/14 , edited 11/1/14

morechunch wrote:

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 just think, the very same people who are striving to influence policy in Nebraska for their own profit have allowed their pipelines to become so decrepit that two teenagers burned to death after starting a truck over a butane line. I'm sure they'd treat an aquifer which is a vital source of drinking water and a key agricultural reservoir with all the care in the world. Might be time to consider that corporations, while composed of people and certainly in need of at least some of the rights we assign people for the sake of commercial efficiency, might not need or deserve the right to political speech.

Edit: At least not in the form of money, anyway.
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Posted 11/1/14

BlueOni wrote:


morechunch wrote:

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 just think, the very same people who are striving to influence policy in Nebraska for their own profit have allowed their pipelines to become so decrepit that two teenagers burned to death after starting a truck over a butane line. I'm sure they'd treat an aquifer which is a vital source of drinking water and a key agricultural reservoir with all the care in the world. Might be time to consider that corporations, while composed of people and certainly in need of at least some of the rights we assign people for the sake of commercial efficiency, might not need or deserve the right to political speech.

Edit: At least not in the form of money, anyway.


Hahaha, I was told on these forums that putting up barriers does not solve anything.

I responded by saying there should be a barrier between wealth and power.

But I work for a small business who has the wrong ideas, and spends its money as the founder sees fit.

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Posted 11/1/14

morechunch wrote:

Hahaha, I was told on these forums that putting up barriers does not solve anything.

I responded by saying there should be a barrier between wealth and power.

But I work for a small business who has the wrong ideas, and spends its money as the founder sees fit.


I probably would've flowered that up more, but you've captured the essence beautifully. I'd have probably said something like:

"There is no threat to liberty and good order more pernicious and devious than a man who persuades statesmen to act neither through eloquent logic, nor honorable candor, nor valorous and noble deeds, but rather by inundating them with currency. Likewise, there is no greater failure on the part of a statesman than to allow oneself to be so persuaded."
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Posted 11/1/14

BlueOni wrote:


morechunch wrote:

Hahaha, I was told on these forums that putting up barriers does not solve anything.

I responded by saying there should be a barrier between wealth and power.

But I work for a small business who has the wrong ideas, and spends its money as the founder sees fit.


I probably would've flowered that up more, but you've captured the essence beautifully. I'd have probably said something like:

"There is no threat to liberty and good order more pernicious and devious than a man who persuades statesmen to act neither through eloquent logic, nor honorable candor, nor valorous and noble deeds, but rather by inundating them with currency. Likewise, there is no greater failure on the part of a statesman than to allow oneself to be so persuaded."


Is that Thoreau? I could swear that's Thoreau.

In any case. for the sake of a pun, that's thorough.
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Posted 11/1/14

morechunch wrote:

Is that Thoreau? I could swear that's Thoreau.

In any case. for the sake of a pun, that's thorough.


It's original, I came up with it entirely on my own and just now. I was just compared to Thoreau!

When I write formally on subjects like this I take pretty heavy inspiration from speeches given during either Roosevelt administration and Lincoln's more famous speeches. FDR's speeches impact me most strongly.
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Posted 11/1/14
Athenian democracy.
Posted 11/2/14 , edited 11/2/14
This is a tearful reminder of how pure love can blossom in History Class. Oh, its nothing, nvm

Money. Greed. Corruption. That's not Athenian, Roman perhaps. I like to think of how paranoid Rome was of being ruled by a king that they would murder their would-have-been first emperor. Also coming to mind on the subject of ancient Rome is the decadence of its imperial era and how its own entropy ran itself into the ground and into the eager and too-willing hands of Franks, Vandals, and Visigoths. If you dream of global enterprise outside of the realm of business you are biblically delusional. Like the business model without competition you are heading for the swamps where all stagnant monopolies belong and go to rot. But I'm for it if you can make it work better than Alexander the Great or the Romans did, free of corruption.


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Posted 11/2/14

2006Veteran-Returned wrote:

Athenian democracy.


Why a direct democracy? I'm assuming you're eschewing the part about only adult males receiving the right of suffrage, but direct democracy is an inextricable part of the package.
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Posted 11/2/14

BlueOni wrote:


2006Veteran-Returned wrote:

Athenian democracy.


Why a direct democracy? I'm assuming you're eschewing the part about only adult males receiving the right of suffrage, but direct democracy is an inextricable part of the package.


At least it's a good way to make sure things don't get settled well enough to not need another vote on them later.

Inefficient and outdated, but I still have some love for the direct democracy (minus any gender, race, and property-ownership requirements for voting).

You would think it would be easier for a society that can find good information on just about any topic to be able to put up a vote after they've learned a bit about what they're voting on.

But it's too easy to skew the results by disseminating misinformation faster than it can be debunked.
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Posted 11/2/14 , edited 11/2/14
I do love that increasingly, even my comments in passing are instigating immediate response and debate.

I don't mean Athenian democracy as literally what was put in practice in ancient Athens. That's absurd, Western civilization has evolved. I mean Athenian democracy in an idealistic or philosophical way: the idea that people all have a vote and run society themselves. Put into practice in the modern era, yes it would undoubtedly fail and make a mess of things. But the idea of direct democracy with modern assumptions of equality and equal protection under the law is appealing.

For practical purposes however, I believe in Jeffersonian democracy; it was at one point the way American government was run, and as far as I can tell it seemed to work. Put simply: the Constitution must evolve with the times and be interpreted in the context of the times; the federal government takes precedence over state governments. While the federal government does take precedence over state authority, I believe the government exists to protect the interests of the people, not its own, and ought to leave well enough alone until there is a conflict of interest in the general populace. We don't have that anymore (and haven't had any semblance of it since the Second World War) but the US became great governing in that framework.
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Posted 11/2/14 , edited 11/2/14

2006Veteran-Returned wrote:

I do love that increasingly, even my comments in passing are instigating immediate response and debate.

I don't mean Athenian democracy as literally what was put in practice in ancient Athens. That's absurd, Western civilization has evolved. I mean Athenian democracy in an idealistic or philosophical way: the idea that people all have a vote and run society themselves. Put into practice in the modern era, yes it would undoubtedly fail and make a mess of things. But the idea of direct democracy with modern assumptions of equality and equal protection under the law is appealing.

For practical purposes however, I believe in Jeffersonian democracy; it was at one point the way American government was run, and as far as I can tell it seemed to work. Put simply: the Constitution must evolve with the times and be interpreted in the context of the times; the federal government takes precedence over state governments. While the federal government does take precedence over state authority, I believe the government exists to protect the interests of the people, not its own, and ought to leave well enough alone until there is a conflict of interest in the general populace. We don't have that anymore (and haven't had any semblance of it since the Second World War) but the US became great governing in that framework.


I think the United States has become so much larger and diverse in interest that the Jeffersonian model at the Federal level would actually reduce progress.

I like that Colorado can take a look at their own problems with keeping law enforcement running and what their economy can benefit from, and first de-criminalize marijuana to free up police and courts to work on real problems, and then legalize it to boost the economy.

I think I remember when California was starting this, the Federal government offered no protection for the people in the state. Federal institutions could still treat marijuana as illegal, even within the state. I'm not sure if this is still the case, and I welcome any correction if I'm wrong entirely.

I am not a Libertarian, but what about a Jeffersonian approach to state government while putting the Federal government on the backburner? State constitutions could be stronger and more tuned to the needs of their state, which could be given more power to govern on a county basis, while the Federal government could work on issues of interstate and international cooperation. Maybe that's kind of what we're already doing, but I think specifically the United States is too big for an over-arching federal authority.



EDIT:
I fully admit that this is a half-baked plan. It does not account for things like creating a huge gap in wealth between states or protection of certain rights that the minority should never have stripped just because a county or state majority supports stripping them. It would still require some Federal oversight that could supersede state decisions.
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Posted 11/2/14


I think I phrased what I was thinking poorly. When I said the federal government takes precedence over state authority, I meant that states have autonomy only as far as their borders go and their affairs go. As in, federal law will supersede a state law in a conflict of interest. That's not to say that the feds should dictate down to the states or that they should police state governance. It's that the federal government (ideally) is the final say on law as it applies to the whole.

But I don't think they have the authority to regulate intrastate commerce, as outlined by the 9th Amendment (correct me if I'm mistaken; it's 9 or 10). So in my opinion, Colorado legalizing weed and taxing it within their borders is perfectly constitutional, and it follows a Jeffersonian philosophy in that they're evolving with the times and minding their own business. As soon as someone buys weed and crosses state borders with intent to distribute, then yes, the federal government has the authority to police that. Since two states (that is Colorado and say Kansas for example) would be at odds with regards to marijuana regulation, they have the final say and they've said they don't condone weed. Don't take that as a judgment call on the ethics and legality of prohibition on weed (I think it should be legalized in all states provided the WA and CO experiments work out), it's that the feds do have the authority to do that.

I don't think that the federal government should should be so far reaching. In a Jeffersonian model, it's pretty isolationist and inactive until an issue arises. Take the coal miners strike in the early 20th century for example: there was a conflict between the upper echelons of the steel industry and the workers. T.R. stepped in and resolved that and then left them to their own devices with a solution in place. Was it perfect? No. But for the time, it was a working solution and business could continue as usual. That is what I would want: a government that only steps in and legislates when there is an issue at stake.

Here is the issue with states putting the feds on the back burner: we started out with that approach in the Articles of Confederation and very quickly, the country as whole degenerated into tension between all of the states with competing interests. The Constitution gave the federal government the power to unify all of the states and to resolve the disputes between states. And instead of each state building up their own forces to wage independent war, producing their own currency, leveraging their neighbors, etc, the federal system delegates all of that to a central authority in the interest of the nation as a whole, fair play, and states rights within that framework.

The second problem with the feds going on the back burner is that if states had that much autonomy, when and why can they ignore or outright defy the federal government. We've seen this issue come to head in the Civil War; the South believed the states superseded the feds in authority, while the North held the opposite view. And the South specifically wanted the ability to keep slavery legal (even though Lincoln said he would only stop the expansion of slavery into new territories). So think about this: if the states today could ignore federal law like the South wanted to, what's to stop a rabidly homophobic place like Alabama refusing to acknowledge and enforce the Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage? Gay couples would then lose equal protection under the law when the state of Alabama refused to recognize their legal union and denied them the legal benefits that they would be entitled to. That's why it's important to have an authority that has the final say; when we deal with states that have opposing views on individual or human liberties, there has to be a place to go to get a ruling where both sides have a fair shot at arguing their case (again, not that I condone homophobia or anti-marriage laws; I simply believe in the right to a fair trial, in a manner of speaking).

But otherwise, there's really no need for the federal government to have such a massive defense budget or to interfere in global affairs. There's no need for the feds to do really anything until a conflict arises (domestic or foreign; peaceful or violent). That's what I mean when I say a Jeffersonian government: a government that adapts to the times, minds its own business (and it's business is the interest of ALL the people in the US), only act when called upon, and during times of peace to keep a standing military large enough only to act as a defense in case of incursion. Mobilization and militarization should only happen in the event of a declaration of war; we should not be constantly fighting these "conflicts" abroad. I think the world would be a better place if the federal government was vastly reduced in size and more like the way Jefferson intended it to be: silent until called to act, and otherwise looking out for the best interests of the people across state borders.
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Posted 11/2/14

2006Veteran-Returned wrote:




Ah, I see where I got confused. But I'm still confused.

So basically the idea is to trim the authority of the Federal end to create a Federal system that is more specialized and efficient, and doesn't waste its resources creating complicated answers to potential non-problems (see Marketplace Fairness Act).

But with the global economy, the Federal system seems to get tied up in keeping the dollar advantage American, because that is a benefit to the country. With these extra-military operations to keep American businesses safely harvesting resources located outside of our borders, aside from the disgusting lack of morality I personally see in it, where do you see this fall in terms of citizen interest being protected by the government? Can we give up this unstable control entirely without seeing immediate negative consequences in our economy and energy needs?
Posted 11/2/14
a good old constitutional monarchy
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Posted 11/2/14

themediumdipper wrote:

a good old constitutional monarchy


Haha, oh yeah, because the populous needs a figurehead with no power. Hollywood took care of that in America until Ronald Reagan was actually given authority.
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