Originally posted by return_to_hades
The following post is in response to chal_phek_mets post right Here
I think you are confusing democratic socialism with communism, as well as micro and macro level principles.
Every individual has the ability to make their own decisions. We could theoretically live on a to each his own principle. The result is anarchy as even the people with best interests will encroach and infringe upon others or cause harm in the process. Even in a free market or society there is a government.
Even though people occurs three times in Lincoln's quote, government is the important word. Unlike those who rule or dictate, a government is a body that governs. People follow pursue their interests but are governed by rules that prevent them chaos and infringement.
Unlike a communist government in a democracy the government is of the people. Ideally a diversity of people is represented so the government takes from the common interests, common goals to create governing rules that create harmony. It is by the people so that a diverse amount of people can choose people who represents their interests best. Ideally the chosen representative presents a balance of interest. For the the people means that the government is accountable to its people. Governing is not a right or power, but a service they are expected to perform any power whatsoever is with the basic principle of serving.
I am not talking about equal distribution of wealth making sure everything is exactly the same. Peter and Paul are two different people with two very different wants and needs. What I am talking about is democratic socialism, where a level playing field is created so Peter and Paul both have the equal opportunity to fairly pursue their wants and needs while preventing either from exploiting the other to do so.
Foreign Policy, Infrastructure, Fiscal growth, Education, Development these are all responsibilities of the government to ensure welfare and a equity.
Of course I am not asking the government to be everyone's financial adviser and manager. On the microeconomic level individuals and businesses manage their income.However, on a macroeconomic level governments have to manage the income of the nation. They have an economy to look after. They have to have a fiscal policy that gives everyone a fair opportunity and incentive to manage their finances, as well as prevents misuse the finances. This means the government carefully manages their expenditure, their interest rates and their tax structure.
When I say the tax structure is flawed, I am not complaining about high taxes. The way people are taxed, the way the brackets are structured, the way breaks and penalties are given is skewed. Personally, I am all for paying high taxes in a structured economy. The higher the taxes the more resources government has to serve me and my community.
Scandinavian countries may have high tax rates yet their citizens are happier and healthier than those in the United States with lower tax rates. That is because they get a lot of social rights.
When I speak for socialized healthcare I am not talking to create a system of freeloaders. Other countries have done this without such a problem.
The reason I call for socialized health care because health is the most basic physical need of a person. In fact I believe education, health, food, shelter and clothing are basic human necessities that must be fulfilled for a successful society. Every citizen must have equal access to to fulfilling these basic needs.
A wiser citizen will still manage their finances better even in a high tax stringent tax structure so that they can buy Gucci instead of generic clothes, to have caviar and champagne instead of simple bread and milk, to buy a mansion instead of a community shelter, to choose private expensive schools and private hospitals with private rooms, personal nurse, TV and internet in the room. However, basic essential needs must be fulfilled, it is the right thing to do in a democratic society. I too cringe to have my money pay for someone else's medications and doctors visit, but it offers them health and comfort what is so bad about that.
Btw the offerings of free health care advertisements you speak about are not subsidized health care offerings but research facilities that invite patients to come to them and offer free health care in exchange for free treatment. After lab test they need clinical trials.
Let us move to the topic on hand 'Standing Up To America' and how all this ties in to it.
There are several reasons to stand up to America. Firstly the responsibility of a nation is to look after the welfare of its own citizens. It would be prudent of the American government to learn to run its own country efficiently, before telling others how to run their country.
American health care system is in shambles, the school system is failing, natural disaster management is dysfunctional,the tax structure is erratic, the economy is going into recession, the fiscal policy is not really addressing the situation, unemployment rates keep increasing. The government needs to fix that before trying to fix other nations.
Secondly the government offers interferes in other nations only to serve the interest of few select people within itself and it's affiliates. When a nation is prosperous, citizens are happy and they have resources to expend it is expected as a good member of the international community to offer help and guidance.
When I oppose interference in Iraq and support assistance in Darfur, I am not of a rigid no interference policy. It is because I think there is a priority of things.
Taliban was an atrocious regime and what happened on 09/11, it was fair of America to retaliate in Afghanistan. However, they should have focused on capturing the guilty masterminds and fostering stability in Afghanistan before moving elsewhere.
I am not going to say Saddam was a good person or Iraqi people were happy, but there was a status quo in Iraq. Darfur with the genocide, rape and abuse was a much more pressing situation.
There is no denying that American presence in Afghanistan and Iraq has benefited the nations in someways. However, it was done for the wrong selfish reasons and American citizens have bee exploited and shortchanged in the process.
Thirdly a nation must secure itself. I am sure every Indian wants India to be a nation that is self reliant and sustainable. They want their democratic government to work towards serving a common national good. Standing up to America for a nation is speaking up that we as a nation do not need America to be our crutch we will stand on our own and I am sure fellow nations will agree. Those countries that are economically stable state that we can be a more responsible nation than America, a power that strives to serve its citizens and then pass on the welfare to other nations. Countries like India who still have internal affairs can make a statement that America is not a role model, they would rather be a nation that serves its citizens first and foremost and then assists other nations with good priorities.
Finally the biggest reason to stand up to America is because it is evident that American government serves only itself. Not America, Not the world, but itself. It is securing the future of no one but a few select people. If these few are allowed to carry on it is no telling how many more nations they will use to be the prosperous, wealthy powerful few.
Which is why I am not asking America to spend money on any other nation. I am expecting that they be a good government and look after themselves first.
This topic was about America as a nation and the government that represents it, not the Private American citizen. Hence, my statistics of official American contribution make more sense. A nation with a strong society and reliable government is able to do much more through collective power than on its own. American government needs to stop gloating about looking after the world since they aint doing nothing. Similarly people also who gloat about doing something but not contributing or the other kind who do not contribute but whine also have to do something to work towards making this a better nation.
Private citizens like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who are philanthropic show the ethical responsibility of someone with power giving back. Their money is not American Money or USD, it is their money earned through their multinational corporation. America can do so much if it wants to, but the government wants to serve its personal interest. The politicians want to get rich and do not give about anyone.
- Not growing corn for a season makes sense, but for five years and more and being paid for it is ridiculous. Everyone knows that a rotation of grain crop, native prairie, cover crop allows for soil to replenish its nutrients and increase yields, whereas barren land needs much more umaintainence and is weakened by weeds.
- In a democratic society the income residue of a private citizen is what is left for them after taxes are paid. The nation is responsible to look after the citizens and then extend aid. The private citizen is not obliged. Which is why the private citizens aid was more far reaching and valuable as it was a supererogatory act, devoid of self serving purpose and also that the private citizen was not exploiting their dependents to cause harm to others.
- Stem cell research is not being banned for economic reasons, but for "other" religions. Even when Universities have foreign investors that will not only fund research but bettering the campus - US govt wants to put brakes to it.
- Europeans were Imperialists, they are not now. Heck they were not just Imperialists, they fought Crusades, Conducted purges and inquisitions. Most have learned from Imperialism.Also the Danes, Goths, Celts, Normans stopped conquering centuries ago we still do not judge them by that. The present counts.
Well on the whole this argument is endless because the conflict is between two ideologies 'to each his own' versus 'from each by their means to all according to their needs'. There is no clear right or wrong here.
Some people will always believe and fairly so that each man is for his own. Market forces determine everything and every person succeeds or fails on their own merit. Each person is an island intended to survive and sustain himself or herself on their own. Each person looks after their own welfare. If someone lives by that philosophy fine. Its a form of social Darwinism. Only the socially fittest will survive. Moral theorists call it egoism, what is right or wrong is determined by what serves personal interest the best.
Personally, I do not think my consciousness can live with that attitude. To me we are social people and we have ethical and moral obligations not only to ourselves but other people as well. I prefer to be utilitarian where the right thing to do is what causes maximum benefits to most amount of people.
Consider that the same right wing nationalists who support the current administration whine about outsourcing they are demanding interference. If it were a true market economy outsource away the demand and supply of labor determine who gets hired, where and why.
I also cannot forget that people who believed success or failure was based on personal merit, believed that white people warranted more personal merit as they were more successful. Why else would he be the master and colored man the slave.
To me as a nation or as an individual I would do the right thing instead of the self serving thing.
Indian youth (not all but a lot) are divided into two parts. One is a generation that is bedazzled by communist values. Many youth are joining communist parties. They believe wealth can be shared equally and all will be peachy. So they are rapidly becoming communist activists. The other half is bedazzled by capitalist values. The potential of limitless income and benefit lures them and they strive for free market to see how far they can go with money.
Ultimately in ethical, social and political ideology balance is the key. Communism, Capitalism, Utilitarianism, Egoism, they are all perfect world concepts. Heck even democracy is a perfect world concept. Everyone finds their way.
Yet again.. a wonderful post.. are you a litterateur by any chance RTH?