Wednesday, January 05, 2005

a post about something worthwhile

i am not sure how many people have heard of Walter Williams, but he has a great article about republic vs. democracy. i hope someone will read it and post some feedback. i thought it was very interesting. so many people throw these terms around without considering their actual meanings. this article should be required reading.


Blogger Julie, deconstructed said...

Well now it just so happens I took a colonial history class last semester...

Without question the U.S.A. was to be a new Republic. If pure democracy was intended then the addition of the Bill of Rights would not have been necessary, right? I mean, the Bill of Rights, protects the rights of all people and perhaps most importantly, the minority. However, the founding fathers had some interesting ideas about who exactly counted as human and therefore protected by the constitution, didn't they? Human beings as written into law were white, male, christian, landowners...I forgive them though as they were products if their times. Overlooking that sore point I think what they came up with is one hell of a great document...Now, if only Bush and the contemporary Republican party would actually read it and practice its principles, things might be okay in this country.

January 5, 2005 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger withknivesout said...

while it is easy to blame the problems in our country on the republicans, i think both parties have fucked up our country. thank you very much.

January 5, 2005 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger Julie, deconstructed said...

ha! I think you are right, thank you very much! I am not a democrat! They suck too.

January 5, 2005 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger withknivesout said...

i never said you were a democrat, i only noticed that (in the past, and in this case) you blame much of the ills of our nation on the party in power. 5 years ago, the President was a Democrat. not giving him and his party at least partial credit is a mistake in judgment, i believe.

January 6, 2005 at 6:12 AM  
Blogger Julie, deconstructed said...

Well...I do think the republicans are slightly more evil than the democrats...yes, I do. I am fairly consistent with that fact no matter who is in power! I think you underestimate me...the prob's in this country are historically based and highly complex. My complaints about Bush are mostly in reference to his scary domestic and foreign policies which imo are making things worse and not better. I am not so simple to think he created the probs, nor am I so simple to think they can be solved easily (if ever).

nice article btw, I enjoyed it.

January 6, 2005 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger withknivesout said...

sorry, julie, i apologize if i came across as condesending or rude to you. i appreciate your comments and your blog on a regular basis. thanks for sparring a bit with me.

January 6, 2005 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Julie, deconstructed said...

thanks Dan.

I always enjoy sparring with you as well. I just get a little sensitive when I feel like my opponent doesn't respect me. Its really *my* problem; an old chip on my shoulder and all...

January 6, 2005 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger DD said...

Interesting interchange you guys had going there. Having been a Walter Williams fan for a long time anyhow (I'm a lot older than you), I had to check out the article. The subject isn't a new one, needless to say, but the article comes up to his usual standard. I'm curious that in your discussion of political parties neither of you mentioned the Libertarian Party, of which I'm pretty sure Williams is a membe If you're not familiar with it, you should be, even if you decide it's not your cup of tea. Though I'm not thrilled with every aspect of the LP, it's the only political party I know of whose political philosophy actually makes good sense -- even though that good sense is out of favor at the moment for the reason Williams pointed out: Americans (and therefore both major parties) have become overly fond of the idea of unrestricted democracy, and therefore of (political) might makes right.

George Washington and John Adams were the only presidents we've had who honestly believed in taking into account the good of ALL the people -- not just their own supporters. Jefferson -- whom I love for other reasons -- was the first to play party politics, and we've been stuck in that mire ever since. Many people say that the practical alternatives to a party system are even worse (single-party systems are always dictatorships), and that's probably so.

Still, it's hard to think that we couldn't improve on our current spoils system, which is based on large voting blocs of special interest groups and vested interests that wrestle in the political arena over pieces of the wealth-and-power pie. Libertarian principles (by which is usually meant the broad principles of government as laid out by the Founders), if actually applied on any wide scale, would eliminate a great deal of the friction that now exists between what we seem to be calling these days the "red" and "blue" sectors of the country.

It is always astonishing to me that most people, whether Democrats or Republicans or something else, are so goodhearted and well-meaning in person, but do such bizarre things and harbor such evil animosities when acting in a large group via their elected delegates. The result is that large numbers of basically good people demonize similarly large numbers of other basically good people -- and the politicians reap the harvest.

I don't believe that it's the politicos' fault much more than it is that of the rest of us -- we conspire in the political charade, while at the same time blaming one or both parties for all our ills. (Though in my darker moments I suspect that there is something inherently peculiar about those people who choose political careers, given the nature of the activity as currently practiced.)

Anyhow, it's worth being at least familiar with the Libertarian platform and some of its literature. Besides Walter Williams, the two most brilliant libertarian thinkers these days (IMO, to borrow Julie's term) are Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute and Thomas Sowell (who, according to the first website I looked at, seems to be at the Hoover Institute at Stanford). An excellent book is one from about 20 years ago: FOR A NEW LIBERTY by Murray Rothbard (not that I agree with Rothbard about everything), but there are lots of others.

Anyhow, I'd be really curious to know what you think.

January 19, 2005 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger DD said...

I feel just the way you did when you did the really long blog and it dematerialized on you. I wrote a long comment here earlier today, but it seems to have vanished into one of the chinks between the universes.

What I said in brief was that I was interested in the discussion the two of you were having. I'm probably older than both of you put together (I'm 60), so I've been a fan of Walter Williams for quite some time. What you may not know is that Williams is a Libertarian, and that article represents some very fundamental libertarian (small "L") principles. Which is another way of saying that it's in line with what the Founders were up to--what, in fact, most of them had in common despite their many differences--when they put together both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Two other brilliant Libertarians are Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute at Standford and Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute in D.C. Here's the address of a Bandow article on George Bush (written during the election) that you might find interesting. It's addressed mainly to conservatives rather than libertarians, but that doesn't matter:

I'm not beating the drums for the Libertarian Party as such--it has some weaknesses of its own--but by comparison to either the Democratic or Republican principles and platforms, its philosophy is sweet reason.

I swear I had some really good stuff to say earlier. It's like the fish that got away. THIS fish is no comparison to that one--you should have seen that sucker!

January 19, 2005 at 10:31 PM  

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