Service Guarantees Citizenship (Part II)

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    Lines of Departure - Service Guarantees Citizenship

    We’ve been discussing the system put forth in naval officer and science fiction author Robert Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers. For some background see last week’s column. For more background, read the book and spurn the wretched movie.

    *****

    So why are we – those of us who are in favor – even concerned with radically changing the system that has, and for the most part well enough, seen us through over two centuries? It’s simple: We think that system’s time has run, that we are not the people we were and that our ruling class is no longer worthy. Indeed, it’s not even trustworthy, let alone generally worthy. We observe that our political and economic fate has fallen into the hands of the denationalized rich, who frankly don’t care a fig for us. We see that where once we were an “ask what you can do for your country” people, we are increasingly indistinguishable from the worst third-world kleptocratic and nepotistic hellholes. We see the PC fascisti replacing us with unassimilable foreigners, often enough from cultures that are not just incompatible, but which actively hate us. We see that we are fracturing in ways that are arguably worse than anything we’ve ever seen before, worse even than before and during the Civil War. Yankees and Rebs used to, at least, mostly speak the same language. Our language today, as spoken by left and right from north and south, may sound the same but the words and concepts have changed meanings.

    In short, we think that we either, in Brecht’s words, elect a new people, as our denationalized and corrupt rulers seem to be trying to do via immigration, or we fall hard – so hard we’ll never stand again.

    The thing is, though, that we’re not all that far over the edge. Democracy of the kind we’ve long been accustomed to is only failing by a few percentage points. The expensive, counter-productive and too often oppressive regulatory bureaucracy under which the people groan is only sustained by that few percentage points, too.

    Still, there are criticisms, some of them more valid than others and some not valid at all. I can’t address them all, but we can look at a few from last week’s column and perhaps one or two others not previously raised in full. Some are easy to dispose of. Others are much harder.

     

    1. Why pin everything on a single virtue?

    I think this objection hinges on the preposterous notion that if someone has one virtue, he must be deficient in all others. Why someone should think this I cannot be sure; it may be a case of projection, which is something of a specialty for many on the left and especially for the social justice warriors. Still, are there any grounds for believing that someone with a sense of civic virtue or altruism is, say, unintelligent? I think not. Devoid of compassion or selfish? The man or woman who puts their life on the line for others is devoid of compassion or selfish? Oh, please. In short, the question is fraudulent; no one is pinning everything on one virtue; they couldn’t if they tried. Rather, presuming that the virtues are present in large chunks of the populace, they’re asking for a little bit more of one, an objective demonstration of a little bit more of one, that we have become deficient in overall.

     

    1. But why civic virtue?

    We pin our hopes on that partly because we sense that that few percentage points warping the body politic and the fabric of our civilization are a mix of the free shit army, left-wing fantasists, which is to say fantasy-obsessed, sociopathic, larval stage mass murderers, corrupt bureaucracies staffed with self-serving bureaucrats, and the corrupt and denationalized rich, few or none of whom have any civic virtue, though they may mouth the platitudes eloquently enough, and though they may wrap themselves in a threadbare cloak of false altruism.

     

    1. It is collectivist.

    I’m not sure quite what this means? Is it that it’s not based on an Anarcho-capitalist, Objectivist (which was nothing of the sort), or Libertarian fantasy. Well, true enough, it’s not and it should not be. Whatever the merits of those, or various other extreme individualist positions, one thing seems to me inarguable; they are incapable of effective self-defense in a hostile world. Sorry, but after Ayn Rand told Atlas to shrug off his responsibility to others, as she shrugged off her responsibility to anyone but herself, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t trust her, or anyone who adhered to her fantasy, to guard my left or right flank.

     

    1. There will be sociopaths and other wicked characters who will earn the right to vote and hold public office.

    That’s absolutely true and one of the areas the book addressed. Short version; so what, we have those now? Is there a reason to believe we’ll have more of them? Other than left-wing fantasies about the easy and reliable malleability of man, I mean? Longer version, also so what; we’re not pinning our hopes for this on individuals but on the average and the aggregate? Yes, that does rather mean we’re rejecting that whole Vanguard of the Revolution thing.

     

    1. It won’t last forever.

    So what; nothing does. Next objection.

    Oh, all right. Actually, this deserves a little more commentary. That short and glib answer I gave is true, but it’s only a half truth, hence misleading. Forever may not be possible, and may not even be desirable. Duration, however, still matters. And that, how long it would last, is an important question. One of last week’s commenters estimated two to three generations before the thing rots into nepotism. I think that estimate was based precisely on a somewhat optimistic view of how quickly the Soviet Union turned rotten and corrupt. In fact, the Soviets turned a lot quicker than that, within a single generation, actually, or two split ones. Indeed, I’ve read the suggestion that Stalinism was only possible because the bureaucracy lined up behind him to protect their positions and the perks that went with them. If a system like the one in Starship Troopers could not be expected to last more than a generation, why bother, really?

    But would it? Is the Soviet Union a good example? For a couple of reasons, I don’t think so. First, there is the background. We’re starting with a two hundred year history of a pretty good society, with a strong body of law, respect for law, and a general respect for limited government, for diffusion of power via federalism. Conversely, what was the background to the Soviet Union? Was there respect for law there? No. A history of limited government? No. A generally successful society? No.

    There’s a saying, “You are what you were back when.” The Soviets clearly drew from the Czars. We did not and will not have.

    All that said, though, let me be clear; the system would not last forever. However well it starts, eventually people would start reverting to the human default state of “me and mine.” Eventually, the children of existing citizens would find their path to citizenship being eased and greased. Eventually, the citizens will start voting themselves largesse. The most we can hope for is that, since we’ll have started well, since we’re beginning with selecting for a virtue opposed to all that, and since we’re not early 20th Century Russia, we may have anything from centuries to millennia before things rot. If so, it would be an achievement – a worthy achievement – unique in human history.

     

    1. The system needs an external enemy or the armed forces will begin to redirect their focus to the internal.

    This objection is presupposing that the thing expands to become a global government, with no external enemies. It’s not clear that it has to. Oh, true, foreign governments would have a very hard time resisting the system, because their own soldiers would be likely to be in great sympathy with that system, and to have little sympathy for some other system. Short version: “Go ahead and raise an army to resist us. However will you resist it?”

    It is not, however, obvious – it does not follow – that simply because two societies have similar governing philosophies that they must therefore become one society. We are not Canada, after all. The UK and the Netherlands are not united, either. And the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China fought several times viciously along their common border.

    Part III next week.

    Photo by Marko Marcello/Getty Images

    Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.

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      • Ori Pomerantz

        “It is collectivist.”

        I think the answer to that objection is that we aren’t talking about how to run a SOCIETY, but a GOVERNMENT. Government is inherently collectivist.

        I am fine with this system, even though it would disenfranchise me, for that reason. If I do not agree to apply violence myself, what right do I have to tell others how to apply it?

      • Ori Pomerantz

        “The system needs an external enemy or the armed forces will begin to redirect their focus to the internal.”

        I suspect this is a variant on a real problem. In the absence of a credible external enemy, I can see this system developing cushy, safe military jobs for the children of the elite. I saw some of that in Israel in the 1990s, many of us in technical jobs got trained before the military to be able to do such jobs instead of combat.

        • Tom Kratman

          Yes, it’s a problem, which is why global unification must not be the objective, at least until we’re in a position to wage interstellar war. Yes, that means people will fight and die. When has that ever not been the price of freedom?

        • Ori Pomerantz

          It also means keeping some enemies, strong enough to pose an existential threat, alive and capable of inflicting that threat – even if you have an opportunity to eliminate them. Can you see the US, or a system derived from the US, doing this?

        • Jack Withrow

          Ori, the US did just that with the Soviet Union from 1945 up till the USSR collapsed.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          Good point. Under the kind of stress that would cause a Timocracy I expect us to revert to type, but that may not happen.

        • Adam the Red

          Are you serious? Heard of Al Qaeda? How about ISIS?

          Can I see the US doing this, why yes, I can, in real time.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          Al Qaeda and ISIS/Da3esh haven’t proven themselves existential threats. They are annoying, but manageable like Gaza is from Israel’s perspective. They are also not enough of a threat to keep a military from decaying .

      • Ming the Merciless

        The most serious problems are:

        1. How do we get there from here? How do we limit the voting franchise when doing so requires people to vote that in the future they won’t get to vote? The free shit army isn’t going to line up behind that idea, that’s for sure.

        2. If voting is based on “military service” (or government service), how do you maintain a proper definition of such service and prevent the Left from perverting it? The Left would immediately start trying to water down the requirements for service, and left unchecked, we would quickly have universal suffrage once again with a mere figleaf of “service” as a requirement for voting.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          #2 is somewhat protected by the fact that those who fought to get the franchise wouldn’t want it diluted, and they’ll be the ones to decide (probably through their representatives) if something qualifies as service or not.

          #1 is a bigger issue. I can’t see it happening as long as our system works, for a fairly low value of the term “works” (anything insufficient to justify a coup http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/09/28/politics/to-coup-or-not-to-coup/ is well within this definition).

        • Ming the Merciless

          Today, the franchise is being diluted by people who think they will benefit from it politically. And I am sure you personally know lots of Democrats who think that requirements for voter IDs are bad and open borders are good even though illegal voters dilute their votes. “So long as we elect Democrats, who cares how” appears to be the logic.

          The phenomenon of “if I campaign to get more people the vote, then they will vote for me” will not go away after the franchise is restricted.

        • Tom Kratman

          The campaign won’t. The prospects for that campaign being successful will be diminished, This is why I insist there be only one track, because that is harder to prevert without the precedent of multiple tracks.

        • Steven Schwartz

          And I am sure you personally know lots of Democrats who think that requirements for voter IDs are bad and open borders are good even though illegal voters dilute their votes.

          And plenty of Republicans who feel that strict requirements are essential, even though it denies perfectly valid voters their rights — “So long as we elect Republicans, who cares how” appears to be the logic.

          Given that the massive investigations and screams of voter fraud tend to turn up at most a handful of cases, while disenfranchisement investigations turn up thousands, I think it’s pretty clear which side of that particular argument is doing more harm.

        • http://themcchuck.blogspot.com McChuck

          These words you keep using – I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

          It’s wonderful how you consistently manage to get facts wrong, and usually backwards – but always in accordance with what the Politburo, err, I mean the progressive movement is pushing at the moment. Is that a natural born gift, or did you have to work hard at it? Maybe a class you took in college?

        • Steven Schwartz

          I am, as always, impressed with the ratio of evidence to invective in your posts; one would think you’d been learning at the feet of ultra-right-wing talk radio. :)

        • Jono

          Stop patting yourself on the back, Steven. You seldom provide anything that could be considered evidence, i.e. a fact, and instead offer opinions as if they were facts. It is not particularly impressive.

        • http://themcchuck.blogspot.com McChuck

          Steven – You never use facts or logic in your arguments, so why should I use them in a rebuttal? The point isn’t to change your mind. The point is to show that you’re just another leftist stooge, pretending to care about people while working for the overthrow of all that is decent and good in the world. All I have to do to accomplish this goal is to encourage you to keep talking.

          So keep talking. Show the world what evil in a friendly guise looks like, that they may know it when they see it elsewhere. You are inadvertently providing a valuable public service here, so by all means, please continue.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Steven – You never use facts or logic in your arguments, so why should I use them in a rebuttal?

          Seeing this in a thread where I’ve been citing specific state voting issues, tax references from a right-wing think-tank, and discussing specific gun control laws just underlines how much you’re relying on the “Ooga-booga! He’s a Marxist, therefore he’s bad!” line of attack.

          What was that? Ah, yes, the argument ad hominem.

          pretending to care about people while working for the overthrow of all that is decent and good in the world.

          Wow. Who knew that supporting teachers was “working for the overthrow of all that is decent and good”?

          Or, indeed, protecting democracy from the people who want to take away people’s voting rights?

          This is obviously some new definition of “decent and good” with which I was not previously familiar.

        • Adam the Red

          So you’re against having to prove you’re entitled to a specific right, tell me, how do you feel about the 2nd Amendment?

          Funny thing about those disenfranchised voters, most are because they’re convicted felons. Aside from that, I find, in the liberal bastion of MA, where I live, I need to register yearly. Something to be said for requiring a bit of civic responsibility on the voter’s part.

        • Steven Schwartz

          So you’re against having to prove you’re entitled to a specific right

          When only certain groups are required to prove that, it’s discrimination plain and simple.

          how do you feel about the 2nd Amendment?

          That it’s been drastically misinterpreted for much of American jurisprudence, and has outlived its purpose. :)

          Funny thing about those disenfranchised voters, most are because they’re convicted felons.

          No — the investigations I referred to were for people who were *mistaken* for felons, or who managed to get their name on a list for who knows what reason, were disenfranchised, and then later had their name *cleared*. Not the same thing.

          Aside from that, I find, in the liberal bastion of MA, where I live, I need to register yearly. Something to be said for requiring a bit of civic responsibility on the voter’s part.

          OK. Now, imagine that the only place you could register to vote was one of three places in that state — all of which happened to be distant from where you lived, did not accept appointments, and where once you could have gone down to the corner, 90% of all such voter registration places were closed — the overwhelming majority of them near voters like you (by race, creed, or political origin) — would you consider this an innocent action and an acceptable state?

          Because that was going to happen, until massive uproar stopped it, in a state in the U.S. this year.

        • PavePusher

          Straw-man: no-one here has even hinted that such fucktardery is acceptable.

          And the Citizens would have been entirely justified in shooting and burning the government officials who accomplished such an Act.

          That’s what the Second Amendment is in place to protect….

        • Steven Schwartz

          I presume you mean the registration restriction stuff?

          Heck, people here have promoted far more restrictions on voting than that, and described the people they don’t want to see voting, so I don’t see why many of them should get a free pass.

          And the Citizens would have been entirely justified in shooting and burning the government officials who accomplished such an Act.

          So you think the state government of Alabama should be shot? That’s what you’re asserting, right here.

        • PavePusher

          Sounds good to me, assuming you can document what you’ve claimed.

        • Adam the Red

          I’ll agree that the 2nd has often been misinterpreted, but I probably differ in opinion on how.

          So, only certain groups? My example still stands, as most states have exemptions from the law for certain groups. It sounds like you’d be happy with blanket restrictions for all equally, while I’d be happy with none. As it stands, those who are least restricted are also most likely to kill unjustly, and adding more laws will not likely change that.

          As to your disenfranchisement statement, my point was that you depicted it as an entirely Republican position, I point out it’s not, you move the goalpost, I see why some say your arguments are not in good faith.

        • Steven Schwartz

          So, only certain groups?

          OK. Let me try and explain something to you: the State has, by general agreement, the power and authority to revoke some rights from people as punishment — would you agree to that?

          Good.

          Convicted felons are in such a group.

          The example I gave, and to which I refer, is when a group on the basis of race (or, as has been suggested in some places, religion, or sex) was being targeted by specific closures of registration locations.

          As it stands, those who are least restricted are also most likely to kill unjustly, and adding more laws will not likely change that.

          I have no idea to which group you’re referring here — save, perhaps, people in states with low gun control laws. :)

          As to your disenfranchisement statement, my point was that you depicted it as an entirely Republican position, I point out it’s not, you move the goalpost, I see why some say your arguments are not in good faith.

          Then permit me to clarify: The vast majority of voter disenfranchisement efforts, whether through voter caging, accepting shoddy disqualification lists, or passing discriminatory rules regarding voting and registration, come from the Republican party.

          And, as I said originally, given that those efforts disenfranchise orders of magnitude more people than any ‘voter fraud’ investigation has turned up, it’s pretty clear which side of that particular dispute is doing more harm.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Your premise is false. Strict requirements do not deny anyone their rights. “Disenfranchisement” is just another mendacious code word for “elect more Democrats”.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Strict requirements do not deny anyone their rights.

          So you’d accept that, for example, to own a gun you needed to fulfill a strict set of licensing requirements, demonstrate your accuracy to a match level, and turn in the paperwork along with your $1500 filing fee to the one office in the state that can accept it?

          Because “strict requirements” are how the African-American vote was suppressed under Jim Crow, and how even now people with the right to vote are being stripped of it because they’re not as economically privileged or live in the right part of certain states.

        • Ming the Merciless

          I already do have to contend with strict requirements to buy a gun (or drive a car). Stricter, in fact, than voting. I not only have to present ID to buy a gun, but also submit to a background check and endure a waiting period. For the car, there is not only license and registration, but tests, insurance, and taxes. Your argument is working against you there, chief.

        • Steven Schwartz

          I not only have to present ID to buy a gun, but also submit to a background check and endure a waiting period.

          That’s “stricter than voting” only in some places, Ming. (Oh, and driving a car is not a guaranteed right.)

          Indeed, the “background check” is what many people had to undergo (with little or no time to appeal) when they’ve been disenfranchised due to voter suppression efforts. You, at least, got to be checked up front instead of going to the polls and being told “No, you can’t vote, you felon!” when you were, in fact, no such thing.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Voting isn’t a guaranteed right, either.

          Felons, among others, should not be allowed to vote, and it is reasonable to ensure that they do not do so.

        • Steven Schwartz

          The franchise is far more protected than driving, I submit.

          (And no right is “guaranteed” completely; every right has exceptions. However, I have not seen any case law suggesting that driving is a right akin to freedom of speech or of the vote.)

          Felons, among others, should not be allowed to vote, and it is reasonable to ensure that they do not do so.

          We agree here, though I think that in a reasonable world, it is worth risking a felon voting to allow hundreds of non-felons to vote, rather than the reverse, as we’ve seen in voting suppression drives.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Heh, if you asked most people what’s more important to them, I bet they’d pick driving over voting.

          In a reasonable world it is perfectly possible as well as necessary to ensure that every voter has the right to vote, and that every voter only votes once.

        • Matthew

          Uh huh?

          Name 5 places in the US where the voting requirement is stricter than that.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Well, let’s see:

          39 states restricts same-day registration. In other words, you can decide on any given day to buy a gun, but if you haven’t gotten registered in advance, you can’t vote.

          (10 states, by contrast, impose waiting periods on gun purchases.)

          Federal law permits people with a concealed-carry permit to circumvent the background check.

          We can also go into states that allow documents like the aforementioned concealed-carry permit to function as valid ID, though the more-frequently-updated state-issued Student ID is not valid for voting.

          Shall I continue?

        • PavePusher

          1. And the up-to-three-days-time to complete the background check? That’s a FEDERAL requirement.

          2. No, there is NO “circumvent(ion)”. The BACKGROUND CHECK VERIFIED ID is proof of one’s non-criminal record.

          3. Carry permits/licenses require a background check. Student ID does not, indicating only that one has paid fees to a school; it says nothing about Citizenship nor criminal history.

          Do, please, continue…..

          P.S. A. If a license for one Right is not considered to be an obstacle to that Right, it can not be considered so for any other Right.

          B. The Second Amendment states: “shall not be infringed”. Surely a license requirement is an infringement. It certainly would be considered so for the First, Fourth and Thirteenth Amendments.

          C. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment states “The right of citizens of the United States….” This would seem to open the door to verification of citizenship status. Thus a requirement for an I.D. providing such is Constitutionally acceptable. A student ID doesn’t meet that requirement, see item 3, above.

        • Steven Schwartz

          1. And the up-to-three-days-time to complete the background check? That’s a FEDERAL requirement.

          Which means, I’ll note, that if it doesn’t pass in 3 days, it’s considered “cleared”. Still: you can buy a gun at potentially the drop of a hat, but you can’t vote at the drop of a hat.

          2. No, there is NO “circumvent(ion)”. The BACKGROUND CHECK VERIFIED ID is proof of one’s non-criminal record.

          Save that, for example, one can violate the background check and still possess the ID.

          3. Carry permits/licenses require a background check. Student ID does not, indicating only that one has paid fees to a school; it says nothing about Citizenship nor criminal history.

          The requirement is not “proof of citizenship” or “proof of clear background” but “proof of identity” — the state of Texas does not think its own ID is sufficient proof of identity to vote with, apparently.

          (As another note, a quick check on Texas law requires a CCL to have a no-felony background check — but does not require them to be a U.S. citizen. This becomes relevant below.)

          P.S. A. If a license for one Right is not considered to be an obstacle to that Right, it can not be considered so for any other Right.

          So, you have no objection to, for example, newspapers being required to get a state license to publish? That’s what you’re asserting, here.

          B. The Second Amendment states: “shall not be infringed”. Surely a license requirement is an infringement. It certainly would be considered so for the First, Fourth and Thirteenth Amendments.

          We can get into 2nd Amendment jurisprudence — though it is worth noting that most 1st Amendment rights do have restrictions upon them (e.g. libel laws, restrictions on religious practice) that would make many 2nd Amendment advocates blanch. (For example, given the way that 1st Amendment rights are restricted for “clear and present dangers”, one could make an argument for severe locational restrictions on weapons use.)

          As I said, I think the 2nd Amendment has served its purpose and is obsolete; but it is still there.

          C. The Twenty-Sixth Amendment states “The right of citizens of the United States….” This would seem to open the door to verification of citizenship status. Thus a requirement for an I.D. providing such is Constitutionally acceptable. A student ID doesn’t meet that requirement, see item 3, above.

          Neither, as stated above, does a Texas CCL — yet that is somehow considered sufficient ID to vote, while a student ID is not.

          This is an example of voter suppression, rather than honest lawmaking.

        • PavePusher

          1. I know when and where elections will be EVERY year. I can plan for that. If you can’t, you aren’t qualified to vote. You don’t have to wait three days to vote.

          I don’t always know in advance when I might want to buy a gun (deals, or items I find interesting, pop up unexpectedly). So waiting three days might not work for me. Also, why should I have to wait three days due to government incompetence?

          2. Not sure what your point is.

          3. The point is that a ‘Student ID’ does nothing to VERIFY who that person is.

          A. I object to licenses and permits for ANY Constitutional Right. Proving ID to vote does not/should not require paying a fee to the government. If it does, I’ve given the remedy elsewhere: Second Amendment and flammable substances. Add rope at the user’s discretion….

          B. I think 1A ‘restrictions’ are bullshit too. Hold people responsible for actual harms and damages, real injuries. Don’t invent crimes on a blanket basis.

          C. Texas offers both Resident and Non-Resident permits. I don’t have time to look up the ID requirements for each, but I’d assume a Non-Res permit isn’t valid ID for voting. And certainly a ‘Student ID’ shouldn’t be, as previously explained.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Also, why should I have to wait three days due to government incompetence?

          Well, considering that it’s the people who oppose the very idea of background checks who have done everything they can to throw roadblocks in the way, ask them.

          And you know what? You can still *buy* the gun on the spot, if a “deal” pops up; it’s getting it in your hands that might — repeat, *might*, be delayed.

          As opposed to “Hey, we found a problem with your registration (or someone told us there was a problem) — we won’t count your ballot unless you force us to *and* it’s close enough (by our judgment) that it matters.)”

          See the difference?

          2) My point is that the ID verifies that *at the time it was issued*
          I’d pass a background check. I may have violated that for any one of a
          number of reasons, but so long as I have the physical ID, the check is
          skipped.

          3) The point is that a ‘Student ID’ does nothing to VERIFY who that person is.

          Sure it does; it was verified by the issuing body, and the state of Texas considers it valid for other legal checks — but not for voting.

          A. I object to licenses and permits for ANY Constitutional Right. Proving ID to vote does not/should not require paying a fee to the government. If it does, I’ve given the remedy elsewhere: Second Amendment and flammable substances. Add rope at the user’s discretion….

          Wow. This opens up a whole bunch of practical questions, which we could go into — for example, you believe the government should supply all forms of ID for free? (Not to mention the whole “needing a permit” — so you accept as valid freedom of assembly any group peaceably assembled, like, say, protest marches before they are attacked by police? In which case, the “disturbers of the peace” are those same police officers? Perhaps you should think this through, especially before advocating killing government officials.)

          B. I think 1A ‘restrictions’ are bullshit too. Hold people responsible for actual harms and damages, real injuries. Don’t invent crimes on a blanket basis.

          But those 1A restrictions (like libel) *are* supposedly harms and injuries.

          They have to be noted exceptions because, well, otherwise you could make the claim that a 1A “right to free speech” trumps a civil law against libel.

          C. Texas offers both Resident and Non-Resident permits. I don’t have time to look up the ID requirements for each, but I’d assume a Non-Res permit isn’t valid ID for voting. And certainly a ‘Student ID’ shouldn’t be, as previously explained.

          Technically, the Texas government’s website doesn’t make a distinction between the two, and since address verification is explicitly *not* listed as a disqualifying factor, there’s no reason to presume that.

          And a Texas Student ID does require proof of citizenship or lawful presence status and identity. So it’s just as valid as a CCL for those purposes.

          Hence, accepting one and refusing the other is, as I said, an act of voter suppression.

        • Adam the Red

          “39 states restricts same-day registration. In other words, you can decide on any given day to buy a gun, but if you haven’t gotten registered in advance, you can’t vote.

          (10 states, by contrast, impose waiting periods on gun purchases.)”

          Your analogy is bad, and you should feel bad.

          I don’t recall having to take a class on acceptable manners of voting, or which particular vote I am authorized to take part in, at a cost of around $150. Which would grant me a certificate I can bring to get my “voter’s license” for another $100, along with a background check, fingerprinting, and mugshot style picture session. And then waiting around 6 months to finally grant me a license to practice the “right” to vote. I don’t think there’s a state generated list of which issues are the only issues I’m allowed to vote on. Which I could then do “on the same day”.

          “Shall I continue?”

          Please don’t, I’d prefer to feel contempt for your position, if you continue, it will likely turn to pity.

        • Steven Schwartz

          I hate to break it to you, Adam, but in fact, you don’t have to do any of those things to buy a gun.

          If I had a rifle, right now, and you had money, I could sell it to you. I’d get in trouble if you were a felon, or a minor, or the like, but I could sell it to you as a private citizen.

          All the restrictions I’ve seen listed are for buying a gun from a shop, or getting a concealed carry license.

          So, no, it’s a lot easier to get a gun in the U.S. than it is to be allowed to vote.

          I don’t think there’s a state generated list of which issues are the only issues I’m allowed to vote on.

          Generally, it’s called a “ballot”. ;) — to be slightly less snarky, there are things that are so flatly unconstitutional they’ll never make it to the ballot, which constitutes, in some ways, a set of issues you’re allowed to vote on or not.

        • PavePusher

          Depends on what state each of you lives in.

      • Lawrence F. Greenwood

        The issue should be how to recreate the mindset of “What can I do for my country?” rather than putting in a new system. We also need to look past career politicians and go for people who have served there country in some way or another. The concept that a man or woman has worked for the right to lead by first serving is a tangible goal rather than a pipe dream. Look at it this way, could Lincoln get elected in today’s political environment? When did it become a requirement that a person needed to be rich to be President or in Congress or the Senate? Or that the party’s only backed those with deep pockets? Because of this current mindset problems are arising that those in power have no interest in fixing because it has never been a problem for them. In recent years we have gained a ‘political class’ who have a whole different set of rules applied to them and are shielded by there own class.

        Do we destroy the system and rebuild it? Break our oaths to defend against enemy’s both foreign and domestic? Are the politicians and the international rich now becoming the domestic enemy due to there own self interest at the expense of the greater whole? In a way I have to say yes because unless something is done soon the United States will join other nations from the past in the Dust Bin of history. Because what will be there will not be the USA of old, a Republic but a Tyranny of a super elite over a worker class.

        • Tom Kratman

          Next week. But for a preview, destruction is not the only option.

        • Steven Schwartz

          We also need to look past career politicians and go for people who have served there country in some way or another.

          So, for example, teachers in public schools or professors in public universities?

          I could get behind that.

        • http://themcchuck.blogspot.com McChuck

          Perhaps you misunderstood. He suggested looking past career politicians – which public school teachers and university professors most definitely are.

          Oh, wait, you’re a Marxist. You didn’t misunderstand – in your weird, Marxist Utopian world, teachers are just as heroic as police, firefighters, and soldiers. And the teacher’s unions don’t have power, and actually care about the quality of education the children receive.

          Back in reality, let’s take a look at how Detroit is doing – only 4% of students were proficient (equates to about a C+ or better) in math, and 7% in reading. Those teachers sure must be real heroes, devoted to teaching children basic skills for life and improving their country, eh?

        • Steven Schwartz

          which public school teachers and university professors most definitely are.

          If they’re politicians, then so are Armed Forces officers, and we’re right back where we started. Or are officers also not to be allowed the franchise?

          teachers are just as heroic as police, firefighters, and soldiers.

          So the only sacrifice you understand, it seems, is the risk of death — since certainly being underpaid and underappreciated would *never* be a sacrifice.

          And the teacher’s unions don’t have power, and actually care about the quality of education the children receive.

          I think teachers’ unions have a lot less power, and care a lot more about the services they provide, than policemans’ unions, which seem to exist primarily to ensure that cops hardly ever face consequences — consider the NYPD’s union chief, who asserted that no one, not even judges and attorneys, have any right to judge a cop’s actions.

          . Those teachers sure must be real heroes, devoted to teaching children basic skills for life and improving their country, eh?

          By that standard, let’s look at the *wonderful* job of establishing peace in Iraq the Army did; clearly those people were real heroes, fixing the country, right?

          But of course problems in the schools must be blamed on the teachers, while problems on the battlefield must be blamed on politicians, because how could anyone you ordain a “hero” be at fault?

        • Jono

          You have made a good case for excluding all non-armed forces personnel from consideration for the franchise. Teacher’s unions, police unions, even professional semi-unions like the Bar and SFWA are, at their root, designed to get more of the pie for their members and eliminate as much competition as possible. Pretending that they have noble purposes suggest that either one’s IQ must be questioned or that it can be assumed that one’s IQ is so much greater than everyone else that they will be bamboozled.

        • Steven Schwartz

          You have made a good case for excluding all non-armed forces personnel from consideration for the franchise.

          Just because they have their advocates as *aprt* of the government rather than outside it doesn’t mean that there is not a large portion of the Armed Forces devoted to maintaining and extending their own power and privileges, just as with any organization of sufficient size — and this hasn’t gotten any better with the move to a volunteer force.

        • http://themcchuck.blogspot.com McChuck

          “So the only sacrifice you understand, it seems, is the risk of death —
          since certainly being underpaid and underappreciated would *never* be a
          sacrifice.”

          Yes, that is correct. You finally made a true statement, even if only by accident! * achievement unlocked *
          Heroism does not consist of low wages and lack of appreciation – it consists of personal risk on behalf of others, because it’s the right thing to do. Sacrifice consists of giving up one thing in favor of another thing, for your own personal reasons.

          (Logical fallacy on display – I was talking about heroes, which Steven magically transmuted to ‘sacrifice.’)

          I know that you Marxists don’t really understand the concept of heroism, as you have no sense of honor or belief in human dignity and the value of life. We can’t really expect you to be decent human beings – you see the world through Wonderland glasses, where everything is upside down and backwards. That doesn’t mean that we’ll forgive you, or forget all the evil you do, however.

          I’ll leave off fisking everything else he said in this one short post as an exercise for the imagination, as I actually do have better things to do than trying to apply logic to a Marxist who by nature, inclination and training refuses to acknowledge the existence of such things as facts, logic, history, and human nature.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Yes, that is correct. You finally made a true statement, even if only by accident!

          Oh, no — that wasn’t accident, that was sarcasm. :)

          Heroism does not consist of low wages and lack of appreciation – it consists of personal risk on behalf of others, because it’s the right thing to do

          Mr. McChuck, for example, finds it more heroic to risk the loss of life (which can be a very small risk) rather than to voluntarily sacrifice a great deal of, for example, economic well-being for the good of one’s fellows.

          (If we were to put this into the SST world, he’d much prefer to have a government run by high-risk, high-reward gamblers, in other words. Think on that.)

          Let us also note that, by this definition, anyone who joins, say, the Army for any reason other than “It’s the right thing to do” is not a hero; they’re just sacrificing, which, to McChuck, is worthless. Of course, since we’re not mind-readers, we can’t tell who those people are…

          …rendering the exercise of determining “heroism” useless.

          Sacrifice consists of giving up one thing in favor of another thing, for your own personal reasons.

          So — “because it’s the right thing to do” isn’t a personal reason, even though society *needs* teachers just as much as it needs soldiers, and people feel it’s the right thing to do?

          (Logical fallacy on display – I was talking about heroes, which Steven magically transmuted to ‘sacrifice.’)

          Well, I was actually referring back, in my original post, to “people who served…” which you converted into “heroes”, so we can discuss where the fallacy started. :)

          I know that you Marxists don’t really understand the concept of heroism, as you have no sense of honor or belief in human dignity and the value of life.

          I know that you don’t really understand the concept of sacrifice, since you’re overwhelmed by privilege and have no concept of the value of life that doesn’t fit your narrow little boxes.

          There? See — I can drag out random insult rhetoric too, save that mine’s a little more personalized.

          That doesn’t mean that we’ll forgive you, or forget all the evil you do, however.

          The feeling is mutual.

          as I actually do have better things to do than trying to apply logic to a Marxist who by nature, inclination and training refuses to acknowledge the existence of such things as facts, logic, history, and human nature.

          Let’s see: you’ve yet to deploy any facts save, perhaps, what you believe to be facts in your little paragraph of presumption about Marxists, your “logic” has consisted of saying “He changed the subject!”, you’ve shown nothing of history, and as for “human nature”, that’s often a nifty shorthand for saying “This is the way it’s always been, so it’ll stay that way!”

          ‘would seem that, whether by nature, inclination, or training, you’re a Marxist too. :)

        • Jono

          You consistently redefine arguments and terms until you have weakened them enough (in your mind at least) for you to attack them. However a contempt for language and meaning does not serve you well when it is so obviously displayed.

      • Jack Withrow

        Two to three generations? I would wish we had that much time left. Everyone should look around and ignore what the MSM is telling you. Our infrastructure is rapidly rotting away, yet our taxes are higher than ever. Ever notice how some commodities in the grocery store are out of stock for longer and longer periods of time? Companies would stand behind the goods and services they offered, yet now it is a crap shoot if a company still does so. It’s just little things. But our civilization is rapidly going to pot. Things that would have been fixed 30 years ago are now allowed to go unfixed.

        Folks need to realize it is time to make a decision while there is still some time left. Can our present form of government be saved or is it time to come up with something different?

        • Steven Schwartz

          yet our taxes are higher than ever

          Actually, no, they’re not. The tax rates on high-income families are very low, compared to the bulk of the 20th Century, and aren’t “higher than ever” even for low-income families.

          Indeed, that lack of funds is part of *why* we’re having infrastructure problems; people aren’t willing to pay for repairs.

          We have problems, yes; but we have always had problems. And changing our form of government is likely to make matters *worse*, rather than better, since the balance of power right now is much more in corporate hands than in, say, populist hands; a government emerging now would probably owe even *more* to corporate interests.

        • Tom Kratman

          So you believe that tax _rates_ tell the whole story, do you? What about hidden taxes? What about taxes that are passed on? He’s absolutely right, for peacetime the total percentages of GDP spent by the various levels of government are unprecedentedly high, and the rich, and the corporations they control, pay essentially none of it.

        • Steven Schwartz

          So you believe that tax _rates_ tell the whole story, do you? What about hidden taxes? What about taxes that are passed on?

          Tom, if you really believe that, say, the top “earners” in this country are paying taxes at anything like the 1950s rates, you’re utterly delusional.

          He’s absolutely right

          Well, actually, you completely change what he said, and…

          for peacetime

          Funny — I wonder how we’d be doing if we hadn’t wasted trillions on a war of choice started by the previous administration?

          and the rich, and the corporations they control, pay essentially none of it.

          Sometimes, Tom, you sound like one of those left-wingers. :)

          I agree – -we should strengthen the government against those who pay very little compared to what they own; but it’s not the “free shit army” that one of your other commenters cited that’s the problem — and cutting off the franchise of the people who have spent, historically, the most time fighting wealthy and corporate power isn’t going to fix this problem either.

        • Tom Kratman

          What I said was that the top earners pay essentially nothing, but pass on every dollar allegedly paid by them to the workers. And your sort contribute to the lie that the rich do pay, by advocating the lie that there’s any way to make them.

          For fuck’s sake, don’t marxists even bother to learn what control over the means of production even _means_ anymore?

        • Steven Schwartz

          And your sort contribute to the lie that the rich do pay, by advocating the lie that there’s any way to make them.

          So, clearly, the only way to solve that problem is to ensure there aren’t any rich. :)

          Seriously: if there’s no way to make them, then it won’t matter if you give soldiers the vote, or everyone the vote; the problem remains, unless you eliminate them altogether, and ensure the means of production are in the hands of the workers.

          In other words, Tom, you’re a socialist, you just haven’t figured it out yet.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nope, that doesn’t work either. it’s been tried all over and it has failed.

          Addendum: and the body count, economic, moral, and environmental disasters that resulted preclude ever giving anyone the chance to try it again.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Nope, that doesn’t work either. it’s been tried all over and it has failed.

          Then give up, Tom. Nothing will ever work, and you’re wasting your time — you’ve said just as much above.

          (Oh — and saying “it’s been tried” when it’s been tried in an environment where, over and over again, capitalism has tried to destroy it is rather like saying “democracy never worked” in 1750 or so.)

          Seriously — what can “we only give the vote to group X” do in the face of your claim that getting the rich to pay anything like what they owe is impossible? Your “solution” won’t fix your ills.

        • Tom Kratman

          Nothing will ever work to make the rich pay taxes, but paying taxes isn’t everything that matters.

        • Steven Schwartz

          but paying taxes isn’t everything that matters.

          No system you build will survive long with a powerful, non-responsible class; and unless your “timocracy” reins in other sources of powers, it won’t last for long as anything like you claim it to be. We’ll be back in the same position we’re in now.

          Oh, except people you like more will be on/near the top, which is, I suppose, the whole purpose of this exercise from your point of view.

          So much for “civic virtue”.

        • Tom Kratman

          Why should I worry about something that can’t be done, Steven? That said, now the plutocrats buys elections with your help and the illusion of high taxes on themselves. I think it will be harder for them to do so,

          Steven, I am not even entirely convinced I should have the vote or be allowed to hold public office. I may have civic virtue or I may not, but because I thoroughly enjoyed my service – barring having to deal with the odd asshole, of course – I haven’t proven it one way or the other.

          Tsk, more lefty inability to understand that something could be true of someone else that isn’t true of them.

        • Steven Schwartz

          That said, now the plutocrats buys elections with your help and the illusion of high taxes on themselves. I think it will be harder for them to do so,

          Why? Why should shrinking the electorate make it easier?

          (And no, I’m not helping them — except insofar as I give people a hope that maybe there might be a better way to do things in this regard, instead of just shrugging my shoulders and giving up, as you apparently have done.)

          . I may have civic virtue or I may not, but because I thoroughly enjoyed my service

          History suggests you don’t, given your stated willingness to order other people to violate laws and the Constitution, but point taken.

          Of course, the SST system would assert that you did — along with the assholes in the service, and all the people you’ve been complaining about in various articles here — so perhaps you should think about that.

        • Tom Kratman

          Because they won’t have the capite censum, the free shit army, and the SJWs voting for the people who tax the middle class into poverty to buy the votes of the free shit army and SJWs.

        • Steven Schwartz

          No; they’ll have the morons who want government out of their medicare, who vote for lower taxes for teh rich because they’ll be rich someday, and who believe government is evil and should be shrunk down and drowned to vote them back into power.

          You seem to have the idea, somehow, that Democrats prop up plutocrats, while others are trying to tear them down. I have *no* clue where you get this notion, and find it risible that you seem to think that eliminating working-class and lower-class votes will somehow reduce the power of the wealthy.

        • Tom Kratman

          Yes, the modern western left props up plutocrats, Steven.

          And one should vote for lower taxes on the rich, or no taxes on the rich, not because you may be rich someday, but because any taxes on the rich they do not pay, but simply pass on.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Yes, the modern western left props up plutocrats, Steven.

          By that standard, Tom, *everyone* props up plutocrats — after all, that’s just what you’re doing in the very next sentence; issuing a craven unconditional surrender to them.

          That you can’t see that you’re falling victim to the classic “No, Middle Class, we the rich aren’t your enemies — it’s those underneath you you need to attack” line is….sad, really.

        • Tom Kratman

          Steven, “Everyone” doesn’t insist on the lie that you can tax them. “Everyone, therefore, isn’t contributing to the immiseration of the (in America’s case, very expansive) working class. That’s a lefty function. And, again, that display of ignorance, just sheer bloody damned ignorance. OF FUCKING COURSE they’re my enemy. But it doesn’t get better by playing into their hands and taxing ourselves into poverty so their creatures, the Democratic Party, can buy votes from the free shit army.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Steven, “Everyone” doesn’t insist on the lie that you can tax them.
          “Everyone, therefore, isn’t contributing to the immiseration of the (in
          America’s case, very expansive) working class.

          Oh, that’s not how *you* are propping up plutocrats. You’re propping them up by insisting they can’t be touched by those means, or by means of expropriation and community ownership, so instead we need to attack the people who have little rather than those who have a lot.

          The fact that you see the Democratic Party, and not (apparently) the Republican Party as the tools of the plutocrats, is truly impressively blind — the party that *outright* supports them is somehow not as bad as the party that opposes them — but according to you is doing so secretly, through deception.

          Rarely have I seen a paranoid mindset so …clearly pointed out, Tom. Might want to get that looked at.

        • Tom Kratman

          Ever look into the average size of a contribution to the Repubs as compared to the Dems, Steven? However, you – typically – portray a false dichotomy. The republicans are just democrat light, with the occasional outlaw conservative put on display to lull the masses.

          And they can’t be touched by any means, Steven, except full confiscation and extinction. We’ve been there, here and there around the globe, and it is always much worse. There is nothing to be done, which does not mean we have to try to do things that sound pleasant to lefty ears but only make it worse for the people. Indeed, it mean we ought not try the silly, the impossible, the fraudulent, and the counter-productive. It’s quite hopeless and not all that important, whether they actually pay or not, provided we stop the fraudulent notion that we can tax the rich, and allow tax levels to drop before they extinguish the middle / working class.

        • Steven Schwartz

          The republicans are just democrat light, with the occasional outlaw conservative put on display to lull the masses.

          I repeat: you’re blaming the people who are trying to fight things like income inequality and wealth disparity, and then passing off those fighting *for* the plutocrats as “Democrats-lite”.

          I should, I suppose, be reassured that you consider your side to be such a small percentage of the population. :)

          And they can’t be touched by any means, Steven, except full confiscation and extinction.

          It’s funny; we seem to be worse off than, say, chunks of Europe — they’re not great, but it’s not as bad there as here — but there’s nothing to do be done.

          It’s quite hopeless and not all that important, whether they actually pay or not, provided we stop the fraudulent notion that we can tax the rich, and allow tax levels to drop before they extinguish the middle / working class.

          I am sure the plutocrats love hearing you sing their song for them. Drop the tax levels so that the government is too weak to resist the plutocrats at all, and get the middle class fighting the working class because the middle class feels like the working class is stealing from them, and the working class feels like the middle class is holding them down.

        • Tom Kratman

          Doesn’t really matter what they’re trying to do, Steven, what they are doing in impovershing the middle/working class, while solidifying the power of the ueber-wealthy.

        • Steven Schwartz

          And nothing you’ve shown, Tom, would do anything other than “solidify the power of the über-wealthy”. Certainly your little timocratic oligarchy won’t do it, if the state we have now doesn’t have the power.

          As I said — you’re doing a great job of serving their interests, Tom.

        • Tom Kratman

          No, but you and the rest of the deluded left are.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

          You pronounce them untouchable except by means that only people you feel ought to be killed would even consider being willing to use.

          Then, you attempt to focus all efforts on reform on things that won’t touch them.

          Sure looks like serving their interests to me. I’m curious to see how you think it’s not.

        • Tom Kratman

          There’s a difference between untouchable and untaxable, Steven. But the point is, it doesn’t really matter. The working classes have always been the significant taxpayers and always will be. Nothing to be done about _that_, per se. But we can reduce the burden on them, and reduce government’s burden, in general, if we stop letting the rich pretend to pay even as they pass everything on, and make the worker’s understand that they, and only they, pay tax and that voting for higher taxes on the rich is only, in reality, voting for higher taxes on themselves.

        • Steven Schwartz

          And they can’t be touched by any means, Steven, except full confiscation and extinction.

          There’s a difference between untouchable and untaxable, Steven..

          I was just taking you at your word, Tom, and see what it got me? 12 hours later and I’m being told that what you said, apparently, wasn’t what you said.

          The top 10 percent of income earners paid 68 percent of all federal income taxes in 2011 (the latest year available), though they earned 45 percent of all income. The bottom 50 percent paid 3 percent of income taxes, but earned 12 percent of income. — Heritage Foundation

          The working classes have always been the significant taxpayers and always will be

          Not at the Federal level, clearly. And while this does not discuss sales taxes (which fall disproportionately on the poor), neither does it discuss property taxes, which do not (except by the math of ‘We assert the rich pay no taxes, therefore all their taxes are passed on to other people.’)

          Tom, what you’re saying, as I’ve pointed out before, is “Leave the rich alone and let the middle class fight the workers for what’s left of the pie.”

          Which is why I, again, say that you are the stooge for the wealthy here.

        • Tom Kratman

          No, Steven, that’s not it. The problem is that you’re dense – really, really dense – and that you have certain – I use the term loosely – intellectual filters that make you incapable of understanding, anymore than you could understand how someone might want to see something be permitted, without wanting to do that something himself. The problem is in you. It it moral and intellectual. It is also, I think, supported by fairly typical left wing arrogance. You ought to work on that.

          However, just to be clear, you fucking idiot, there are open taxes and hidden ones. There are direct income taxes and there are other taxes. Corporate income tax, for example, is just another business expense, which the corporations pass on to the workers in the form of higher prices, lower quantities, and lesser quality. If you cannot get that through your neutronium-dense lefty skull, I cannot help you.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Ah — as usual, when Tom runs out of arguments, he resorts to the “You’re an immoral idiot!” defense.

          I am aware about “open taxes” and “hidden ones”. Indeed, if you look elsethread, I discuss the fact that arguing that renters pay property tax is trivial in comparison to the rent-taking behavior of landlords; the percentage of rent that belongs to property tax is trivial.

          (Indeed, it’s useful to have stooges like you argue that “taxes are just passed on” when you want to explain why rents have gone up — “It’s the fault of taxes! Lower my taxes and your rent will go down!” when the percentage of rent going to taxes is minor in comparison to everything else, in at least some parts of the country.)

          And you still haven’t explained what your “timocracy” is supposed to do that’s at all useful in this case, other than supposedly have more “virtue” to do — apparently nothing useful, according to the rest of your whining.

          Really, trying to argue “You’re the plutocratic stooge” when you sit there going “There’s nothing we can do about it!” is particularly risible.

        • Tom Kratman

          In this case, Steven, just an idiot.

          Steven, percentages of rent paid that are property tax doesn’t really change that the tax is passed on inside the rent as are all – or virtually all – other taxes on the wealthy. More lefty obfuscation, I suppose.

          Oh, you’re not a deliberate plutocratic stooge. But inadvertent or deliberate, stooge you remain.

          Because, unlike the free shit army, they’re more inclined to vote the public good than their private good, as demonstrated by their actions and decision to qualify for the vote in the first place.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Because, unlike the free shit army, they’re more inclined to vote the public good than their private good, as demonstrated by their actions and decision to qualify for the vote in the first place.

          In other words, they will be the first people in history to resist the notion that power corrupts, because they somehow passed through the moral gamble unscathed.

          Balderdash.

          And, to top it off, if they can’t *do* anything useful with that public good, as you appear to be indicating, then what’s the point?

          Oh — they can fight off the dreaded socialists so that the plutocrats can reign unopposed, that’s it. I forgot; your entire moral stance appears to be “socialists/SJWs/liberals/people who believe in a governmental safety net are evil, so anything that opposes them is good”.

          (Side note: Won’t it be awfully *expensive* to have all these unpleasant makework jobs for people who are trying to gain their franchise? I wonder how the government will get the money.)

        • Tom Kratman

          They’ll be the first voting populace in history ever selected for demonstrated civic virtue as opposed to property, me and mine first last and always, birth, claims of millenialist ideological leanings, or any other factor. Will they do perfectly? No, just better. Will it last forever? No, just longer.

          Simpy trimming the bireaucratic state and stopping the fraud of taxation on the rich which is actually taxation on the workers would be a huge good. Or did you think that all good comes from government? Oh, that’s right, you did.

          (Shovels are cheap.)

        • Steven Schwartz

          They’ll be the first voting populace in history ever selected for demonstrated civic virtue

          Nompe. That’s the whole point. They’ll be a populace selected for people willing to suffer the whims of the State for a fixed period, including the risk of death, in order to gain the vote.

          That’s not “demonstrated civic virtue”, that’s a different reward for a different risk.

          Simpy trimming the bireaucratic state and stopping the fraud of taxation on the rich which is actually taxation on the workers would be a huge good.

          So, let’s see; we’re establishing a large bureaucracy in order to handle the new citizenship process, while simultaneously slashing our income drastically, and “trimming the bureaucratic state” by eliminating health care and old-age pensions (since those, and defense, are taking up the bulk of the budget these days, in case you hadn’t noticed), all the while letting people with the most money keep even more of it.

          Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant prescription for improving the lot of everyone.

          Or did you think that all good comes from government? Oh, that’s right, you did.

          Not at all. But I believe a lot more of it, clearly, comes from there than you do, which is not the same thing. Do try and get into your skull the notion that not everyone who disagrees with you believes the most extreme version of the position you disagree with, OK? It’ll make your life easier.

          And cut down on your straw expenses.

          (Shovels are cheap.)

          So, you support the CCC and the like, then? You do sound more and more like a big-government socialist every day, Tom.

          I mean, let’s just look at some math here, shall we? To maintain a body of — what was it? 30 million citizens? We’re talking at least 1.5X the current enrollment in the armed forces, all of whom have to be clothed, fed, etc. to minimum standards — even if they’re just counting caterpillars — and that’s not even counting the fact that the current standards are skewed drastically on a gender basis. So, do you think that civic virtue is 90% male? If not, let’s make that 2-3X the current armed forces, and that’s assuming your number is correct; these people all need to be processed, fed, clothed, given work to do, etc.

          Or are they going to be slave laborers for the plutocrats who now don’t even have to pretend to pay taxes?

          (And you still haven’t given any indication of what your new system would do — or is this Kratman’s inversion of the Gospel of Matthew: The Rich Will Always Be With Us, So There’s Nothing You Can Do — about those aforementioned plutocrats.)

        • Tom Kratman

          I’m sorry, Steven, not least for you. That is the demonstration of civic virtue required. You can try to pervert the meaning anyway you like, but it remains standing well enough even so.

          Since you and the left have no civic virtue, but only lies and fantasies, I know you can’t see civic virtue. I mean, after all, you seem to be insisting on maintaining the pretense that the rich can be made to pay taxes. If you’re that addicted to frauds….

          Well, no surprise there; you also seem to insist on the probity of a system/philosophy that fails wherever tried. No help for it, I suppose.

          If you would do the math yourself, you probably could – oh, you wouldn’t let yourself but you _could_ – see that the numbers don’t work the way you think. (Hint one: you can always accept greater casualties for lesser weapons and poorer, less expensive training. Not saying a state should, but it can.)

        • Steven Schwartz

          That is the demonstration of civic virtue required.

          You can define that as “civic virtue” all you like; the simple fact is it doesn’t demonstrate what you think it does. Unless you think that civic virtue is, as I said, a willingness and ability to obey the State’s whims in order to gain power. In which case, I see no reason to believe it will produce the outcome you describe.

          I mean, after all, you seem to be insisting on maintaining the pretense that the rich can be made to pay taxes.

          Given sufficient enforcement mechanisms, they can be made to pay enough. No system is perfect,as you are so fond of pointing out — but can they be made to pay more? Yes. I don’t really particularly want to get into a detailed discussion of such mechanisms (estate taxes, taxes on stocks/shares/etc., restrictions on capital flows), but if that really floats your boat we can go there.

          Well, no surprise there; you also seem to insist on the probity of a system/philosophy that fails wherever tried. No help for it, I suppose.

          Given that my preferred system has never *been* tried, outside of small areas, I find this a highly amusing remark. You seem determined, again, to think I’m some kind of ultracommunist — when I find both bureaucraticized Communism (a la Stalin), agrarian communism (a la Mao) and the like to be obvious political and philosophical failures.

          If you would do the math yourself, you probably could – oh, you wouldn’t let yourself but you _could_ – see that the numbers don’t work the way you think.

          Well, do tell: you want to reduce tax income significantly, thus requiring the government to cut a great deal *more* than has already been cut.

          And then, on top of that, you add a large unfunded mandate — which could easily spiral out of control, if more people than you think tried to become citizens.

          So, shall we eliminate health care for the poor and elderly, old-age pensions we’ve already promised — or shall we cut drastically into the readiness of our military, to turn it into a makework organization to supposedly test for “civic virtue”?

          Because if you don’t do any of those things, you’ve completely failed to show where you’re going to save any money, or get any more money to pay for your new citizenship bureaucracy.

          (Hint one: you can always accept greater casualties for lesser weapons and poorer, less expensive training. Not saying a state should, but it can.)

          Of course, the people you’re killing off are your supposed bearers of civic virtue, right?

          So we’re going to value the lives of our potential citizens *less* in order to save money in taxes? And how long do you think *that* will last? Hint — until you actually apply the system and get the citizens voting to raise their own benefits, because why should *they* suffer so much, or those who follow them, to benefit people clearly lacking in civic virtue?

        • Tom Kratman

          Willingness to place the welfare of society ahead of one’s own, Steven. You know, what the left always claims before they become the nomenclatura and just claim perks?

          You’re still demonstrating a math deficiency, Steven. Some dying is not the same as all dying. You know, A > B and all? Oh, wait, you don’t. Oh, well.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Willingness to place the welfare of society ahead of one’s own, Steven.

          Except that’s not what it is. Causing society to generate makework jobs in order to test you is not “putting the welfare of society ahead of one’s own”.

          As I said, it’s like the IQ test issue: People *assert* that IQ is a measure of intelligence. What it *is* is a measure of how well a person takes a particular test.

          And what the SST model selects for is people willing to take some risk, and accept the whims of the State for a fixed period, in exchange for political power. That is the actual *test* — you are asserting this correlates to people willing to place society first, but that’s not what you’re actually doing.

          The problem is, the moment you put a reward at the end of a challenge, you eliminate the ability to test that people are doing it for any reason other than to get the reward.

          Indeed, one could argue that taking a low-paying job because society needed you to is more directly demonstrating what you claim is being demonstrated than volunteering for the theoretical chance that something might happen to you, while the government does what it wants to you.

          And we’re back to giving the vote to teachers in the public school system.

          Some dying is not the same as all dying. You know, A > B and all?

          Considering you’ve managed to switch your complaints about my math from one subject to another, while eliding my responses, we can understand that math, like so much else, is something you use like a drunk uses a lamppost — for support, not illumination.

          Of *course* some dying is not the same as all dying. But deliberately increasing the risk in order to save money? So that more citizens that you allege possess civic virtue in order to save those who do not from having to pay taxes? That’s neither virtuous nor sustainable, Tom.

          It is really interesting to see the positions you’re willing to twist yourself into in order to try and hold your ground.

        • Tom Kratman

          Oh, I don;t think I’ve done any twisting, Steven, though I’ve responded to some of your more inane twists.

        • Jono

          so how badly did you score on your IQ test?

        • Steven Schwartz

          Well enough that I feel perfectly comfortable arguing that IQ is really a measure of how well you take a test, rather than an accurate measure of intelligence, without worrying that I’m being self-denigrating. :)

        • Tom Kratman

          Of course, outting into power people less subject to bribery, because more civic minded, and braver, by test, means they will be more subservient to the plutocrats. Puh-fucking-leese, Steven, go find a clue.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Um. How you got to what you said from what I said is, quite frankly, incomprehensible.

          I mean, as pointed out elsewhere, I dispute your entire “this is what we’re testing for” — it’s like IQ scores; saying “We wrote a test, this is what we’re testing for” doesn’t mean that that’s what you are *actually* testing for; you’re testing “How well do people do on this test?”

          So, we’ll start there.

          Further: A smaller population is more subject to bribery and manipulation — fewer people to trick/corrupt/etc.

          Third: You’ve not given any indication of what new power, if any, you’d give to your petty “timocracy” that would help them to deal with the problem, so until you do that, no, nothing you’ve shown would do anything other than solidify their power by removing a significant number of people from the process entirely…

          Oh! Wait! I get it; you want your timocrats to be the dedicated revolutionary vanguard, indeed! You *are* a Bolshevik! :)

        • guest

          I shouldn’t bite, but which “chunks of Europe” are you talking about? The parts the Communists turned into vast death-camps where even now the very earth is poisoned, the forests stunted by generations of chemical runoff from Warsaw Pact chemical warfare stockpiles that they starved their children to manufacture? Or do you mean the parts currently being invaded by “refugees” who are establishing the new Caliphate before our very eyes?

          Please clarify. Thanks.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Or do you mean the parts currently being invaded by “refugees” who are establishing the new Caliphate before our very eyes?

          Those parts, since I think you’re drastically overblowing the situation.

          After all, if all it takes to turn a government into a religious dictatorship is some true believers, we would long ago have been one here in the U.S.

          And while I was speaking specifically of dealing with “the rich” in those places, I will stand by my statement in general.

        • Jono

          You really refuse to engage with him, don’t you? Your entire contribution is to wait until he says something and then announce that it supports the 1%. Are you a paid shill, or do you do this to get someone to pay attention to you?

        • Steven Schwartz

          Given who cuts out large swathes of argument from post to post, I think it is not I who refuse to engage with Kratman, but rather, often, the reverse. You’re free to think otherwise.

          (Though noting how often you respond to me, it appears your contribution is primarily to follow up to me drop in cheap shots and random invective, so…pot, zebra, black.)

        • James

          You can make the rich pay taxes the problem always is that eventually you notice you have run out of the rich.

          Then you turn around and realize a whole new group of the motherfuckers have appeared and they are ready to kill you to keep their riches.

          From what I can see the problem then becomes making the rich give a fuck about the nation and people. THAT is a cultural problem.

          Rome was great when the ruling class was willing to give the blood and life of their young to Romes survival. When they no longer did…it all falls down.

        • Tom Kratman

          No, you can’t. Their function is tax farmer, not taxpayer, and everything you lay on them for tax they just pass on.

        • James

          Oh no I meant murdering the Hell out of all of them and taking their shit.

          Just a whole new group pops up.

        • Tom Kratman

          That we could do, though the results always turn out badly.

        • James

          Yep, always the same in the end. Wealth is power. And power is something that can’t be destroyed it just goes from master to master. So in the end I guess it comes back to the article itself. Service Guarantees Citizenship.

        • Jono

          If you think that the United States was a democracy much before the
          beginning of the 20th century, you need to review your history books.

          Democracy never works. The men who designed our system of government knew that and despised its basic concepts.

          For awhile democracy sputters onward, claiming to have the virtues of the system it replaced while correcting all the vices, but sooner or later it crashes. That’s why we’d have said it was a guaranteed failure in 1750 and why in 1950 and why in 2015.

        • Steven Schwartz

          And yet it appears to be forging along, while the people who’ve been predicting “It will collapse under the masses voting bread and circuses” have been wrong again and again.

          It’s not perfect; no governmental system can be, unless it’s got perfect people to work with.

          But a military oligarchy hardly seems a worthwhile improvement, for example.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Those who predicted the collapse of the USSR were wrong again and again.

          Until they weren’t.

        • Steven Schwartz

          When your predictions repeatedly fail to come true, despite ample opportunities, it reduces your credibility.

          Of course, if your argument is “All things end”, then I guess we’re in agreement, because, eventually, they will. This is not an argument for doing them in ahead of time.

        • Ming the Merciless

          Yeah that’s what people said all the way through the 1980s…

        • Steven Schwartz

          Here’s the thing, Ming — if you want people to take action based on a prediction of doom, it has to be a useful one. And predicting “This will end at some indeterminate point in the future!” is not a particularly useful prediction, unless you can be a lot more precise. “This will end soon because of X” is also less-than-useful, if X has had many chances to occur and yet it has not, over and over again (especially if X is something under human control.)

          So, no, people saying ‘Democracy will never work!’ don’t have a lot of credibility, given how long it has worked, and the thing they repeatedly say will end it hasn’t come to pass despite repeated opportunities.

          And using such weak credibility as an argument to make a massive change? Yeah, right.

        • Ming the Merciless

          And if you want to avoid taking actions based on predictions that require you to do things you don’t want to do, then you require such precision of the prediction that it is never “true enough” that you have to do anything.

          There are many, many examples of failed Republics.

          The United States is not even a particularly long-lived political system, and it has changed significantly over time. Therefore the premise “given how long it has worked” is false. For example, the welfare state really dates from 1933, or 82 years ago. It has thus not “worked” for much longer than the USSR, which lasted 73 years.

        • Steven Schwartz

          And if you want to avoid taking actions based on predictions that require you to do things you don’t want to do, then you require such precision of the prediction that it is never “true enough” that you have to do anything.

          Here’s the thing; roughly the same number of people were predicting “The Soviet Union will fall”, as were predicting “The West will fall!” — so, which one are you going to believe?

          Taking a large-scale action based on a weakly-supported prediction is a huge gamble — though, as I’m coming to see, high-risk high-reward behavior is something the SST system is clearly designed to *reward*, whether or not you think it’s good in a government — and when there are so many predictions out there, why pick one?

          “The United States is not even a particularly long-lived political
          system, and it has changed significantly over time. Therefore the
          premise “given how long it has worked” is false. For example, the
          welfare state really dates from 1933, or 82 years ago. It has thus not
          “worked” for much longer than the USSR, which lasted 73 years.”

          And here’s the other part; if you’re going to change the terms of your prediction, you can increase your hit rate — but not your credibility. The U.S. as a democratic government has existed much longer than the “welfare state” — and survived. If your prediction is “welfare states always fail”, then we’ll have to look at that in terms of actual behaviors; certainly, they’ve been longer-lived than functional monarchies* in recent times, to pick an example. :)

          The point is, waving a broad statement like “Democracy never works” around as an argument to switch to a different system of government is advocating taking a massive leap into the unknown for dubious benefits, based on little evidence — which, I think you’d agree, is not a wise course of action most of the time; and the few times it might be, it’s impossible to tell in advance.
          *monarchies in which the royalty plays a useful role in government, rather than being a tourist-attracting ornament.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          Nope, that doesn’t work either. it’s been tried all over and it has failed.

          Has it? Nationalizing the means of production has been tried in many different places. But before industrialization, in the north, workers typically owned their means of production (land and tools for farming). Now that so much infrastructure is available for lease, I think we’re moving back in that direction.

        • Tom Kratman

          Oh, c’mon, Ori; you know better than that. What’s he difference between individual ownership of individual tools and land and collective? That’s not even natiobnalization, but rather, individualization. As for nationalization, can we say “irresponsibility”? Can we say “tragedy of the commons”? Can we say, “Putting our economic fate in the hands of doctrinaire – and not especially bright – fantasists”?

        • Ori Pomerantz

          “What’s he difference between individual ownership of individual tools and land and collective?”

          Nationalization is stupid, 99% of the cases (in the remaining 1% there’s an existential war going on). However “worker control of the means of production” can mean either collectively, or the workers of a specific business. With sufficiently small businesses, it can work.

        • Tom Kratman

          Yes, but that’s not enough of an answer. Keep working at it. ;)

        • akulkis

          Nationalization puts the means of production into the hands of politicians…. which is to say, making things WORSE.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Well, let’s see: by that standard, we shouldn’t be trying capitalism again, since it’s managed to do quite well in all those categories. Oh, nor religion, though most of its catastrophes were before the point where we could do *serious* ecological damage.

          Clearly, it’s time to give up on humans trying to be anything, according to your standards.

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        • Tom Kratman

          No, Steven, and please stop wasting time. Capitalism does what communism never has, produce economic well being, and doesn’t generally do what communism invariably does, produce death camps and forests full of unmarked graves.

        • James

          Most of those taxes weren’t payed in the 50′s. The rich just hired a ocean of lawyers to find the holes in the laws and got out of Almost ALL taxes. When that didn’t work they just had someone invent a new law.

          There is a huge difference in the amount of taxes demanded by government and the amount that people pay.

        • guest

          Indeed. And let us not forget that increases in health care insurance rates are also a tax. We know this is true because the Kenyan’s lawyers insisted to the Supreme Court that this was so in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius back in 2012–indeed, if it were not really a tax, Congress would have lacked Constitutional authority to pass the law.

          It’s surreal, of course, but no more so than a thousand lesser offenses against common sense and common knowledge with which we all contend daily in the name of PC.

          Nonetheless, the Administration’s lawyers argued it before the Supreme Court, so it must be true–anyone denying this is denying the legitimacy of the law itself, after all. Each American family that has seen its medical insurance rates quintuple under Obamacare is having difficulty paying for increased taxes. Q.E.D.

        • Jack Withrow

          Go back to your little fantasy world and leave the real world to adults. You do not have a clue what problems the middle class are facing. And trying to expound on something you are totally clueless about makes your ramblings on the subject meaningless.

          The People are paying through the nose for infrastructure repair through the highest fuel taxes on record, the highest property taxes on record, and highest sales taxes on record. Yet none of the infrastructure is being repaired or replaced at the level of taxes brought in.

          And your answer is to tax the rich, the same people who control all the companies that produce the products we consume and the set the prices we pay for them. They also control the government. I marvel at your ignorance thinking the rich can be forced to pay anything they don’t desire to.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Go back to your little fantasy world and leave the real world to adults.

          I’m not the one stating simple falsehoods and crying wolf because of them.

          the highest property taxes on record

          And here we go — evidence that you’re the one who’s living, at least in part, in a fantasy.

          A large chunk of the middle class is paying nothing in property taxes, because they can’t afford to buy property.
          Welcome to the 21st century.

          Yet none of the infrastructure is being repaired or replaced at the level of taxes brought in.

          Then blame the Republican party that repeatedly blocks increased infrastructure spending on a local, state, and national level — not the people who are trying to fix it.

          You want better infrastructure work? Talk to the people blocking it.

          They also control the government. I marvel at your ignorance thinking the rich can be forced to pay anything they don’t desire to.

          Well, then, you have two choices: cope with the world they are choosing to give you, or attempt to fix it. Here’s a quick clue: trying to fix it by taking money and power away from those who have less than you do isn’t going to work.

          You and Tom are quite the pair: going “The people who are really the problem can’t be helped, so we’re going to take from those we think we can take from!”

        • Jack Withrow

          Typical. You do not have a clue where I live, what I own, or how much property taxes are here. Also you fail to understand that renters are paying property taxes just as home owners do. Property taxes are figured into rent just like the mortgage being paid by the owner is. You don’t have a clue what the sales taxes are either, nor do you know what the city, county, and state property and income taxes are. Yet you make bald faced claims about the tax burden I face from your position of total ignorance.

          You also lack any historical understanding of the rich. The rich will be with us no matter what system of government we are under and denying that is the height of folly. The rich have existed in every form of government ever established, to include your Marxist paradise of the USSR. So killing the rich or confiscating their riches only provides the opportunity for someone else to become rich. No system of government has ever abolished the rich. All any system of government can do is to curtail the most blatant of the excesses of the rich, not in any way control all of them.

          Also you are showing your stupidity when you blame just the Repukeians for the lack of infrastructure repair. The Demoncrats are just as guilty. Your hero, that low grade moron, Obama, just killed the XL Pipeline which would have brought millions of dollars into my state in taxes for infrastructure repair. Your other heroes, the Greens, have killed all the mining in my state as well as almost destroyed the oil industry. Oh I’m sorry, I forgot, we are still waiting on all the benefits of Green Energy. I am truly thankful for that 75% increase in my monthly Electricity Bill courtesy of the Demoncrats and their fiefdom the EPA. So fuck the Repukeians but that goes even more so for the Demoncrats too.
          So just go back to your parents basement and your little fantasy world. I refuse to continue a conversation with someone lacking any critical thinking skills or basic knowledge of what the average citizen faces today. I have no desire to be dragged into the cesspool of your little SJW fantasy world. You are not worth my time to even bother to read your worthless ramblings from this point forward.

        • Steven Schwartz

          You do not have a clue where I live, what I own, or how much property taxes are here.

          Nor do you know that of me.

          Yet you make bald faced claims about the tax burden I face from your position of total ignorance.

          Considering that the income tax burden has dropped on most people since the 50s, and has not been made up by those other taxes, I am not too worried about your claims. You appear to be looking at things from a very short-sighted point of view.

          The rich will be with us no matter what system of government we are under and denying that is the height of folly.

          You really seem intent on saying “Well, the rich are powerful and self-interested, but there’s nothing we can do about that, so we need to fight tooth and nail to ensure that we get what the most of what those above us are willing to let drip from their table.”

          Your hero, that low grade moron, Obama, just killed the XL Pipeline which would have brought millions of dollars into my state in taxes for infrastructure repair.

          Considering that TransCanada asked to withdraw/suspend the permit request, the State Department opposed it, etc., it’s hardly one person’s call.

          I find it worth nothing also that once again — “Let corporations do what they will, and hope they give us something in return!”

          You serve your rich corporate masters well.

        • Ori Pomerantz

          A large chunk of the middle class is paying nothing in property taxes, because they can’t afford to buy property. Welcome to the 21st century.

          Yes, but they pay rent to the property owners, and that rent includes the property taxes.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Save that, for example, in California, the percentage of rent that goes to property taxes has *plummeted* since Prop. 13 — while rents have skyrocketed.

          So, blaming rent increases on property taxes in some places, at least (since I know not where Jack Withrow lives) is utterly ludicrous — like blaming budget deficits on the NEA.

        • Jono

          Actually all you have done is state your far-fetched opinions as if they were facts.

        • Steven Schwartz

          As I said to someone on this thread — perhaps even you — I’m the one who’s been citing specific tax rates and their results, gun licensing and voter registration laws, etc. Perhaps you need to look up the difference between “fact” and “opinion” again. :)

        • PavePusher

          “Ever notice how some commodities in the grocery store are out of stock for longer and longer periods of time? ”

          Examples, please? What have I missed? Admittedly, I’m not an average consumer-junkie….

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        • Jack Withrow

          I have noticed in my area that dried pinto beans, milk, beef jerky, saltine crackers, and some canned goods are out of stock on a fairly regular basis and may remain out of stock for days. And when the stores receive new stock, they do not get the quantity they ordered, so if you don’t get there quickly you are SOL. Eggs are being rationed, although that is more caused by disease in the chicken population. Also some grocery stores are placing limits on quantities of other staples, such as cuts of beef and pork.

          It so far is just products that most would not notice. The stores blame it on their distributor being out and distributor blames it on problems at the processing plant.

        • PavePusher

          Huh, haven’t seen anything like that in Tucson, Salt Lake or Moab areas. On- or off-post. Might just be a local problem…?

        • Jack Withrow

          Historically, commodity shortages started as local and then progressed to larger areas. I don’t know if this is a real shortage, if it is the fault of the stores failing to order product, or if there is a breakdown in the supply chain at the distributor level. Either way it indicates a problem in the supply chain that was not there a few years back.

          And for another example, I needed to put some oil in my truck. I use Mobile 1 Synthetic exclusively in my vehicles. I went to four different auto parts stores and three different Walmarts. all of them were out of that oil. It took almost a week for me to finally find some and the store where I got had been out for over two weeks before they finally got some in.

        • Tom Kratman

          I’d be inclined to blame “just in time” logistics, which frequently is no such thing. That said, given how much of our industry has moved away, I would not be surprised to see any given international crisis turn into shortages of everything but food. Food, of course, could also run short, locally, if the left succeeds in keeping us energy dependent on foreign oil.

        • Jack Withrow

          My point is there is a shortage for the consumer, no matter what is the actual cause. Shortages cause panic buying, making it harder for other people to get the things they need. Then panic buying gets worse causing greater shortages, and the vicious cycle continues.

          You could very well be right in blaming it on “Just in Time Logistics”. That said the average consumer does not understand nor care to understand how that is supposed to work. All they know is they cannot buy what they need or want. That undermines faith in the economy and more importantly undermines faith in the Government, not that most people have much faith left in the Government.

        • akulkis

          Where in the hell are you? I haven’t seen anything like this even in Detroit.

        • RealityObserver

          PP, it’s very localized here. (IIRC, your home base just has a different view of the Graveyard?)

          I have hit shortages in the Frys stores on Golf Links and 22nd Street, that were not in the one out towards Vail. I ignore ones that happen when they have a ganga sale on something, but there have been many times when flour, saltines, pinto beans, etc. have been out at those stores, and nothing in the back (and I maintain very good relations with their employees). Now, I don’t know about the other supermarkets here, as I pretty much hit only the Frys and the Walmart grocery stores. (Walmart is all too frequently out of anything but junk food, it seems.)

          Beef stock is another one – very frequently out. Yes, I buy it in the boxes, after figuring out that the beef bones at nearly the price of sirloin to make it myself was actually more expensive.

        • http://blog.timp.com.au TimP

          Hmm, here in Oz I’ve seen occasional products out of stock, but I’ve only been doing my own shopping for a couple of years, so I’m not sure if the occasional issues are unusual or not.

          What I have noticed though is that prices have gone up over the last couple of years, and a lot more than the official inflation rate of 5%-7%. I’d guess something more like 20%-50%.

        • akulkis

          The politicians and their bureaucracies are flat out lying about the consumer price index.

        • Tom Kratman

          Eggs? Jeez, the wife has about 4 dozen eggs upstairs from her half dozen chickens. She gives away more than we use at home.

        • Jack Withrow

          There was a very nasty virus that hit the chicken industry last summer, especially next door in Arkansas where most eggs are produced. Eggs have been rationed here ever since. Last I heard it will be sometime next spring before egg production reaches normal levels.

        • RealityObserver

          Yes, that is definitely a local thing. Here in Tucson, I have not seen eggs run out yet. (Well, in some packaging variants, when they have a sale in my local supermarket – but there are still eggs available in one size package or another.)

        • Stephen Brian

          I worked as a supply-chain manager for a food-importer for a while. There are a lot of problematic farms and producers out there. Most likely, shops in your area ultimately get their food from the same few suppliers, which operate through the same even fewer brokers, particularly for dried and canned goods that get produced en masse and shipped long-distance.

          It is entirely possible that rather than a symptom of a larger problem, the lack of those products may have more to do with a few mismanaged producers (probably only going digital now and not understanding that they still have to do their jobs) whose goods get relabeled and sold under multiple brands. It could also be a delay in a single shipping line or port-operations. Do you live in a coastal area? Has Maersk, which does a whole lot of transatlantic shipping, changed the day of its weekly visits (and if so, has the local industry adapted to the change)?

        • Jack Withrow

          SW US, well away from any coast.

        • akulkis

          Pinto beans… hmmm.
          Sounds like you’re overrun with Mexicans and the local distribution system isn’t keeping up with the increased pinto-bean eating population.

      • Mark Andrew Edwards

        I think the second sentence of this essay summarizes how I feel perfectly.
        Thank you, sir.
        Is the next chapter on implementation? That seems to me to be the biggest stumbling block. How do we get from here to there? Barring civil war or epic catastrophe, I can’t see a path there. Too few of our population has served anything greater than itself. Not a nit-pick just curious of you have thoughts about how to build that world in this world. If that makes sense.

        • Tom Kratman

          Yes. Though I can only talk about ways it might happen, not ways it will.

          And you’ll probably be surprised at one of the ways it might.

      • Can Terzioğlu

        “We observe that our political and economic fate has fallen into the
        hands of the denationalized rich, who frankly don’t care a fig for us.”

        The thing is, how do you plan on keeping the attention lacking masses from turning to a leftist rhetoric after you told them?

        Because any time I make a similar comment, PC dogs rush out of woodwork to paste any page-discussion circle with distracting leftist soundbites-words etc.

        • Tom Kratman

          Teach them how to march in step?

          More seriously, some people you will never get through to. Others, and possibly enough of them, if you can make them understand that the lefty rhetoric is nothing but lies and idiocy, may, just possibly may, come to the right conclusions on their own.

      • Steven Schwartz

        To address the article directly, rather than the comments:

        I think this objection hinges on the preposterous notion that if someone has one virtue, he must be deficient in all others.

        Not at all — though I agree, it’s preposterous.

        What it’s saying is that removing everyone who lacks a specific set of traits — since what you’re selecting for is actually “Is willing to risk their life, and accept discomfort, in return for the franchise” — which may or may not correlate to the “civic virtue” you describe — is removing many worthwhile people from the voting pool, and making of them an underclass.

        Still, are there any grounds for believing that someone with a sense of civic virtue or altruism is, say, unintelligent? I think not. Devoid of compassion or selfish? The man or woman who puts their life on the line for others is devoid of compassion or selfish?

        Ah: here we go.

        Over and over again, Tom, you have said that there has to be a single route to the franchise, or else the system will fall apart.

        You have a single gate, but you don’t have a single reason for entry. Indeed, you have many different reasons for entry, and they undercut your alleged sorting mechanism.

        Let’s look at the people who might join:

        1) People who are joining to gain the franchise because they believe it is an important civic duty to do so — these are the people Heinlein talks about, and expects to make up much of the electorate.

        2) People who join the military for excitement/because it’s a decent-paying job and they can’t get another/because of family tradition/because they think it’ll make a man of them/etc. — the mixed bunch that are not particularly likely to be any more “virtuous”, to put it mildly.

        3) People who join the military because it is the only route availble to them for power and they want power — in some ways the exact opposite of group #1, and the people that one would hope would be filtered out by such a system, but they won’t. (we’ll discuss this below)

        Ironically, Federal Service might become like law school — something aspiring politicians feel they need, so they do it, whether or not they actually practice or care.

        So, one gate, but many paths leading to it.

        Response to objection #2 is just the usual fearmongering and vitriol, blaming everything on the “other”.

        Other than left-wing fantasies about the easy and reliable malleability of man, I mean? Longer version, also so what; we’re not pinning our hopes for this on individuals but on the average and the aggregate?

        Oh, it has nothing to do with the malleability of man — if anything, it has to do with the fact that National Service isn’t going to make them any better either, and narrows down their competition.

        I do note that we are, in effect, eliminating voting rights from a whole group of people in the hope that a drastically unproven system *might* give us a better chance. And liberals are called “pie-in-the-sky”?

        Yes, that does rather mean we’re rejecting that whole Vanguard of the Revolution thing.

        The next Lenin will be glad to know you’re not looking for him. :)

        First, there is the background. We’re starting with a two hundred year history of a pretty good society, with a strong body of law, respect for law, and a general respect for limited government, for diffusion of power via federalism.

        And we would be throwing away large chunks of the underlying philosophy of that in order to establish a new system that was moving *away* from the things you describe. Why those things should survive the catastrophe that would be required to get there, and then the following establishment of power, is a very good question.

        since we’re beginning with selecting for a virtue opposed to all that,

        As noted above, we’re not; we’re selecting for willingness and ability to submit to military discipline for a given period, for whatever motivation people bring to the issue. That’s not the same thing, and conflating the two is foolish.

        So, in other words, we’re supposed to strip away large chunks of our governmental system and legal basis in the hopes that the new system *might* select for something that might make us better, that that thing would persist without slipping rapidly into corruption for…the generation or two that would, in theory, set us on the right path, even though the obvious result of such a wrong path is either another catastrophe, or oligarchy.

        All because things aren’t going quite the way you want them.

        Yeah, thank you, no. There are cures that are far, far worse than the disease — and, since, as you’ve identified in this thread, one of the main causes of the current disease wouldn’t be fixed by what you want to change, there’s no reason to administer such dire medicine.

        • Tom Kratman

          As I said, Steven, I don’t expect nor do we require perfection. Merely shifting the percentages a bit by elimination of the free shit army and large chunks of left wing fantasists and too-weak-for-words social justice warriors should be sufficient. Forever? No. Only for longer.

        • Steven Schwartz

          Merely shifting the percentages a bit by elimination of the free shit army and large chunks of left wing fantasists and too-weak-for-words social justice warriors should be sufficient.

          We’ve been around this before too many times, so I’ll just say you’d be surprised what happens when the chips are down.

          Hopefully, though, we shall never have to find out.

        • Tom Kratman

          Oh, I doubt anything about the SJWs would surprise me. What, are they going to develop some new routine for running for the feinting couches? Some new method of point and shriek when nobody cares what they think?

      • Dan

        The counter arguments you seem to be defeating are the lamest bunch of straw men I have seen in a while, very disappointed in the second entry of the series, which I thought started well.

        How would your system deal with dissent?
        Would Martin Luther King (or for that matter Martin Luther) earn citizenship by his protest? He placed his life on the line and ultimate lost it to make his country a better place.

        • Tom Kratman

          Why should it deal with dissent? Why shouldn’t it just ignore dissent?

          This word you are using, “Strawman”? I dunno thin’ it means wha’ you thin’ it means. (Psst. When someone objecting to something uses a particular argument, answering that argument is not creating a strawman. Just so you know.)

        • Dan

          Dissent is the most important feature of democracy. It is the ability to have and voice differing opinions. It is something that is actively trained out of soldiers. I think there could be issues there. But put those aside they aren’t deal breakers.

          The central strength of Hienliens restricted franchise is you earn it through risking your life for the betterment of society. Specificly fighting external alien enemies. Since there are no giant spiders attacking America you are going to find a new way to earn the franchise. Joining our armed forces I think we both agree would work, even if one is never deployed. “They also serve who only stand and wait”

          Now would Martin Luther King earn his franchise through his protest?

        • Tom Kratman

          And, once again, if you would read; let people dissent, why not? They can dissent forever and a day, without it doing them the slightest good, because all the power is with the folks who can and will fight, rather than dissent. IOW, from the POV of govewrnment and voters, dissent is a non-event, except from them, where it must be listened to because they will fight,

          You haven’t noticed that we still have external enemies, then? Don’t be an idiot. Bug eyed monsters or almond-eyed Chinese or brown-eyed Arabs or blue-eyed Russians, we still have external enemies.

          Don’t be silly, of course he would not have. He could, however, have joined up, done his term, convinced others to do the same, and had his effect that way.

        • Dan

          Hey Tom I’m on on board I like the idea but you really need to deal with dissent.

          You can’t just ignore serious protest and dissent, if you can its not working. And you are asserting that Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement should join up to fight the the fake enemies the Viet Cong before they can come home and fight the real enemies of Jim Crow?

          Who do you think took more risk for their country Martin Luther King or a member of the Alabama National guard who beat the shit out of peaceful protestors?

          Who did more for the country Martin Luther King or Jimmy Hendrix in Viet Nam?

          Consider an alternative path to citizenship. I have kicked this same idea around myself before. I considered jail. If you love your country but can’t be part of its current wars and (in your mind) misguided direction but we’re willing to give up 2 years (could be more could be less) of your life protesting officially the current government I think that proves “civic virtue.” It may not be the best idea and I am willing to accept suggests or improvements but it is an alternative path to citizenship. It offers a way to become part of a solution with out first being part of the problem.

          Please consider an alternative path to citizenship. It should not be easy but those who disagree with the governments policy should not have to enact them before they can change them.

        • Tom Kratman

          Why? If free speech is good in general, why should it be bad there? Dealing with it by ignoring it or listening to it is enough.

          No, for reasons given, one path and one path only.

          (Hendrix was a wash out. He never got to Vietnam.)

      • Stephen Brian

        As I understand it, the idea here is to select for people of civic virtue when granting emancipation by requiring military service. What impact would that have on the military? Turning armed forces into such tools of social engineering like that seems like it would open them to a whole new brand of corruption. Not only that, but would people who reach service-age in peacetime have the same rights and status as those who survive war? It just seems dangerous, to me, dilute the purpose of the armed forces away from physically protecting the country and backing foreign policy.

      • Stephen Brian

        Here are a few troubling questions:

        If we use the military for this sort of social engineering, what effect would that have on the military itself? The purpose of the institution would be diluted away from fighting wars and backing foreign policy. Would that make a difference?
        With politics becoming dependent on honorably passing through military service, how could corruption be kept out and the quality of the civic virtue required for military service be maintained? Would the military still be useful for this purpose, or any, after just a few years?
        People pay not for the work that goes into a service or product, but for its value to them. I get the impression that honorable service during war would be seen as more valuable, or even demonstrative of greater virtue, than service during peace. Ideally, I imagine this should make no difference, but realistically, would people’s rights depend upon when they serve?
        This just reminds me of the debate in Israel about conscripting the Haredi: It was meant as a push to bring them into the fold of the larger society, and the primary counter-argument was that filling a an army one fifth of the way with people who mostly lack the skills and tolerance to work effectively in the modern world, let alone in a modern army, would cripple it. Not only that, but they would effectively form special units that would still keep them insular.

      • Stephen Brian

        I learned to wait for at least the second of a series before objecting last time. :)

        I have actually seen a very good counter-argument to a lot of this and would like to check it out here: Every text is open to interpretation in terms of its meaning today. One common interpretation of the Koran which allows Muslims to reconcile it with modern values is that the message given in it, to the people of the time and place where Islam first arose, was as large a step toward modern society, or something like it, as could be accepted by its original audience and converts. Imagine someone demanding that you take up a totally alien lifestyle, based upon philosophies and addressing issues nobody has imagined, that you have no idea would seem perfectly normal in the year 4,000. That’s the reaction which would have been received after demanding that Arabs of that era behave in ways we would consider good. Muslims following that interpretation consider its dictates to be terrible alternatives to what we have today, but good alternatives to pre-Islamic Arabs’ norms. Prioritizing the principles of the laws rather than the laws themselves and considering it a religious obligation to continue Mohammed’s work and push them forwards, they end up having a whole lot in common with the West.

        The data that I see points to another source of the problem, highly correlated with Islam but definitely not the same thing. The sources of the problems are in the territory of the Caliphates, as modified by wave-migration. That leaves out Muslims in Southeast Asia (except for Aceh, which had a sudden wave of migration from the Caliphate centuries ago), and we really don’t see problems there except where there is well-documented modern Arab influence. That’s about 30% – 40% of the global Islamic population. I also see a plausible causal mechanism for the problems stemming from the social organization of the Caliphates, a social contract between individuals rather than between communities. That gets a bit long, but the gist is that with layered social contracts, our identities and nations require tolerance, multiculturalism, etc. while theirs require the opposite to survive. I’ll get into greater detail if anybody wants.

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