Friday, November 7, 2008

Sensible Party and First Blush at GB's Reaction to Service

First of all, in the spirit of sensibility-building, I nicked a list of "issues" from a web site called, funnily enough, I haven't spent the requisite time to know whether the site is crap or lighting in a bottle, but here is the list of "issues" that they have out there to begin to discuss and formulate a Sensible Party platform.

Budget & Economy
Civil Rights
Energy & Oil
Families & Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Government Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Infrastructure & Technology
Principles & Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War & Peace
Welfare & Poverty

I think it is entirely appropriate to respond by not responding to certain elements. For example, "Principles and Values" might receive a resounding "Yes, I do" from the Sensiblists, with little more detail than that. It also might offer the prospective Sensy the opportunity to chime in on movie ratings, gay marriage, man-dog love, all-girl porn, en fin, whatever. Use your imagination to help determine the Principles and Values for which the Sensible Party will come to be known.

My hope is that this provides a framework from which to start to flesh out the SP platform.

Regarding GammaGirl's distaste for national service, I would point to a) the American draft in WWII and b) the Yids in Israel as people who have required service of their young people. We are not talking MoveOn, but voter registration doesn't seem to me to be all that politicized an issue, unless you are unconfortable with those people voting.

Secondly, "What if my son doesn't feel like serving?" or something along those lines. Move to Canada may be an option, as it proved to be for young men not looking to get shot in VietNam. Asking (ok, effectively requiring) young people to serve their community and country in the Green Corps, or the Kumbaya Corps, or the BlowJoy Corps sounds to me like a lot better option than going to 'Nam. Forgive me.

Third, getting back to your politicization argument, how about Federal Government support during the Bush Administration for "faith-based" initiatives, or the use of vouchers to subsidize parochial schools? Establishment Clause be damned, we are going to use YOUR tax dollars to feed the pederast Papists. This idea pisses me off a lot more than the Peace Corps, VISTA, etc.

My sense is that Obama plans to create options for people to serve their communities and then build in some carrots and sticks for young people to actually serve in some capacity. I doubt very seriously that he is going to draft kids to a particluar "branch" of the Federally sponsored services corps, but to require that they give of themselves in some way. Unless you are wildly opposed to the idea of community service (albeit somewhat obligatory) you can't complain that your lazy kid is being "forced" to do something for the good of his country. This little nibble at our freedom to sit on our fat asses and abuse ourselves bothers me miles less than the government tapping my phone, reading my mail and sending my tax dollars to religious organizations.

Anyway, get cracking on the Sensible Party platform, boys and she-males.


Friedmanite said...

You can't justify some action by saying its not as bad as A or B. Sure slapping you in the face isn't as bad as popping your tires or pooping on your doorstep, but it still isn't ok.

Yes, giving government $$ to religious organizations or tapping our phones are abuses of government. So is mandatory community service. It comes back to a question I wish everyone would ask more often. Is this a power I want government to have? It's not the responsibility of government to decide how and for whom our children volunteer. It IS the responsibility of government to defend our country, hence why a military draft is ok (although not preferred).

This is another idea that rings true emotionally, but doesn't hold up to logic. It warms the heart to think about children coming together to help the community. The question is, is the free market for charitable organizations failing? People vote with their time and money for the causes they care about. Causes that are popular attract a lot of investment, others that are not don't.

Now, instead of people having the liberty to choose their cause, we're talking about central planning determining what causes should be supported. If those causes don't attract resources on their own merit, why should government force resources to them? Are the government planners more knowledgeable about what causes should be supported? How would you feel if government said we require you to donate x percent of your salary a year to charity, and we'll choose the charity? Whether its your money or your children's time, the choice of what causes get our resources doesn't belong to the government. (Although unfortunately government has gotten way too far into charitable decision-making - read the famous Davy Crockett speech -

Restless Native said...


Wilkommen auf der KodiakPyramid zeit (fun times with pidgin German).

Again, and with all the pain in my heart for being redundant, I agree that the Gov't oughtn't impose charitable organizations to whom you must give your time or money. I also don't think (and I could be wrong, but I am not often mistaken) that Obama is suggesting that he is going to determine WHICH organization is going to get Little Friedmanite's time. He's just gonna make Lil' Freidie' shake his fanny for the betterment of the Upper East Side Neighborhood Coalition or, alternatively, the Wasilla Snowshovelers for The Elderly Club. Lil' Friedman is going to be "forced" to do something, but my sense is he'll get to pick it.

Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Damn good comment, friedmanite. I'd never heard that Crockett story before, thanks for the link.

Restless Native said...


I loved the piece attributed to Crockett. It appeals to sensible people in a lot of ways. Couple of thoughts:

1) I am not entirely sure I buy that this was an actual conversation about an actual speech he gave. No offense, but the use of the word "barbeque" threw me a bit. I may be wrong, but it set off an alarm.

2) If we really practiced what we preached in terms of private individuals, either alone or in civic/religious/affinity groups did enough to help the least among us, a lot of government intervention wouldn't be necessary. That said, why should the government build a levy anywhere? River bottom land should be caveat emptor and that is it. That knocks out all the cities on the Mississippi from Minneapolis to New Orleans. Why should people in Denver have to pay money, indirectly, into the National Flood Insurance program? Maybe your answer is that they sould not have to, and if it is, I take my hat off to you for your consistency. Notwithstanding Davy's sage words, the genie is out of the bottle and we do, in fact, have transfer payments from one group to another in this country, and, largely, they are deemed to be a societal "good". See Al Powell's post on the Federal Pork Pie and which states are net takers and which are net contributors. See also the EU (God-forbid we use them as an example) but the UK paying into a system that makes Ireland a more viable trading partner and less likely to breed people willing to bomb Canary Wharf seems like a decent use of their funds, and that's not even in the same country.

All in all, I enjoyed the piece and your thoughts and hope you'll stick around, as it was thought-provoking and a solid perspective.

Thank you and welcome.