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  1. #91
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Corporations don't use tax dollars to find their managers (well, some do now, clearly). It is not necessary to fund political campaigns, and there is no reason to believe that it will improve the caliber of candidates we will have. Why should we silence the voices of private citizens who want to enter the debate, and why should we shut out a wealthy private citizen who believes he/she would make a good candidate and is willing to give it a go?
    No, they use their own funds. As one of the owners of the organization called "the United States of America", I should be using my funds appropriated for organization-wide projects, also known as taxes, toward the hiring of new public servants.

    We're silencing no one. That wealthy citizen can say whatever he wants to. He can even run for office. It's just that I, the hiring manager/voter, should bear the costs of seeking out that employee, rather than just hiring the one who throws the most cash at me.

    Grow up and quit whining about paying taxes. I don't like it either - but it's necessary, and better than the alternative (Somalia)

    Grow up and realize that there are people who are as well-informed as you who disagree with you. Better-informed, even.
    I don't care if you disagree with me, regardless of education. I care if you espouse such puerile clap-trap, because it's to the detriment of the great majority of Americans, and encourages a self-destructive view of our society. One can know a wealth of things and still miss the forest for the trees.

    Donating money to politicians or to political action groups is clearly political speech.
    No it is not. It is exchanging monetary value for the value of their actions. Political speech is actually saying "I like so and so because of this, this and this".

    And you make exchanges voluntarily. Do you see where the problem of using taxpayer money to fund candidates might be?
    No. I voluntarily live in this country and enjoy the benefits of its public services. If I find that the benefits of living under this government no longer justify the taxes I pay toward it, I will attempt to change it, or move elsewhere.

    One of those benefits is being able to choose my public servants, since I, along with my fellow citizens, am the ultimate source of political power in this country. However, if the agreement changes to where I was required to fund the selection process, I would find this fundamentally just, because having someone else fund that process would give them undue influence over those servants, taking away that political power from me.

    Murdering someone is not protected by law. Professing political beliefs is. Faulty analogy.
    No one is restricting your ability to profess political beliefs. Bribing politicians is not protected by law, unless it's in the form of campaign contributions.

    The interests of shareholders can mirror the interests of society at a whole. Does it always? Of course not.
    So why should they have influence over the collective decision-making body of society as a whole?

    But neither does governmental interest. That's the whole point. It is NOT in everyone's interest to fund political candidates. They DON'T represent all of us.
    Yes they do. Let me repeat that: Yes. They. Do. That is the fundamental philosophical framework for our political system - that our representatives derive their power from the consent of the governed to represent the governed.

    This is the core weakness of the libertarian belief system, that government in our society is an oppressor imposed upon us by someone else, and that it always will be that way. It is not - government is US. It is the embodiment of the collective will of We The People. Therefore, if it becomes destructive to that collective will, we have the right, if not the duty, to alter or abolish that form of government. By its very nature, our government does represent all of us. That doesn't mean we all have to agree with it.

    Many candidates represent policies that are abhorrent to Americans.
    Sure, but I'm not paying for them, I'm paying for the process. Don't you see the difference? Candidates don't just get a lump sum they can just keep - they've got to spend that money on the election alone.


    Where does being an asshole come in? If I found a candidate who came out and said, "I am not going to be fighting for more tax dollars to come to our district; I am going to fight to decrease the amount of taxes taken from your paycheck and every other paycheck in this country," that would be about the least asshole-ish statement in government history.
    I'm glad you like Senator Coburn so much. Too bad most people like public services.

    Taking care of your friends is nice. Putting any and all principles aside to do so is moral weakness.
    The claim of moral superiority is ultimately the refuge of the powerless. The powerful point to results.

  2. #92
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Healthy natural skepticism of those in power + scandal after scandal = distrust. It's better to be skeptical of those in power than trusting.
    That's your right. I don't know how you developed that opinion, but a lot of people I know who feel the way you feel got tired of trying to sort the good from the bad, the well-intentioned from the power-hungry, and the necessary deal-making from the corruption. It was just easier to condemn the whole system. I choose to believe in the system and accept that there will be bad apples.

    Both. People who believe that they are right AND that they are motivated by altruistic motives AND that they deserve to wield power are the most dangerous people of all. Have you ever heard the phrase "the attempt to create Heaven on Earth invariably produces Hell?" Or the more blunt "People who want to be in Congress are creepy people?"
    Let's bring things back down to Earth here. I didn't say they had altruistic motives - I said they were mostly a mix of good and bad. I didn't say they were aiming for some kind of utopia - I said they might want to build roads for people who need roads. I don't really think you have to be creepy to see a need, have some ideas of how to solve problems, and have skill at the political back-and-forth that's required. You describe politicians the way some might describe a cult leader. Worse, I don't think you even see much of a difference.


    No, it's not just "different points of view." There is an honorable position regarding this question.
    Really? No wonder you see dishonor everywhere. I'll tell you, if I served in Congress, I'd do everything within my power to get my people jobs, and to build schools, parks, and museums in my state. And I would advocate for federal money to be spread across the board so other members could do the same for their constituents. To most people, ideology is far removed from their lives and your concept of strict adherence to the letter of the Constitution doesn't matter to them one bit. But they would like to have a steady paycheck, and they would like their kids to go to school in a decent building. Politics is so much smaller than you're making it out to be. There IS honor in serving your country and your constituents.

    It's always lots.
    For me, yeah, it is. But in down times, it's lots, lots, lots.

    Upholding the Constitution IS serving the interests of the nation and its constituents.
    In your ideologically-constructed view, maybe. But in reality, not as much.
    Also, it's not just upholding the Constitution - it's upholding it without interpretation and to the exclusion of everything else.

    Because the government is not supposed to play favorites. Using government power to benefit some at the expense of all is flat-out wrong. That is why the bailouts were so egregious.
    Different politicians shouldn't have different priorities??? All policies benefit some and not others because that's what making choices is all about. Supporting labor might mean hurting management, but not supporting labor is supporting management. Either way, it's a statement of values and of which side you're on. Look at it from a libertarian view: cut taxes (maybe, depending on how staunch the libbie, eliminate income tax) and cut government services and entitlements. Well, isn't that choosing one side over the other? Doesn't that help one group of people (the people shouldering most of the tax burden) and hurt another (those likely to use the services)? There's no such thing as a system that doesn't require choices to be made, or favorites to be picked.


    Loyalty to the truth and to principle is more important than loyalty to person or to party. It's higher even than loyalty to the nation.
    Truth and principle are abstract and usually subjective. I believe in the existence of objective principle, I just find that the terms are more often than not used as excuses for disloyalty and self-righteousness, and rarely used in the actual exercise of that objective principle.

  3. #93
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Yes they do. Let me repeat that: Yes. They. Do. That is the fundamental philosophical framework for our political system - that our representatives derive their power from the consent of the governed to represent the governed.

    This is the core weakness of the libertarian belief system, that government in our society is an oppressor imposed upon us by someone else, and that it always will be that way. It is not - government is US. It is the embodiment of the collective will of We The People. Therefore, if it becomes destructive to that collective will, we have the right, if not the duty, to alter or abolish that form of government. By its very nature, our government does represent all of us. That doesn't mean we all have to agree with it.
    Amen.

  4. #94
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Do you honestly believe that the two major parties wouldn't game the system so that they would be the only ones to benefit?
    Not to mention what it would do to the primary system....

  5. #95
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Yes they do. Let me repeat that: Yes. They. Do. That is the fundamental philosophical framework for our political system - that our representatives derive their power from the consent of the governed to represent the governed.
    Actually, that's just one of the fundamental philosophical frameworks of our political system; representation is more of a means (toward accountability) than an end in itself. Also, limited (not to be confused with "small") government is another fundamental philosophical aspect of our political system.
    Last edited by lowtech redneck; 12-01-2009 at 11:49 PM. Reason: forgot a word

  6. #96
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Actually, that's just one of the fundamental philosophical frameworks of our political system; representation is more of a means (toward accountability) than an end in itself. Also, limited (not to be confused with "small") government is another fundamental philosophical aspect of our political system.
    You might misunderstand what I mean by representation, which is likely why you added the limited government caveat (which I think is a somewhat misleading term). By representation, I don't mean we don't send politicians to Washington to lord over us, I mean that Society ("The People") establishes a government to make the decisions for the whole that cannot be handled individually. That is a fundamentally limited set of decisions, so ensuring that government is "limited" is almost a moot point, and usually determinant on personal policy preferences.

  7. #97
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    No, they use their own funds. As one of the owners of the organization called "the United States of America", I should be using my funds appropriated for organization-wide projects, also known as taxes, toward the hiring of new public servants.
    The United States doesn't have "owners." It has citizens. Property has owners.


    We're silencing no one. That wealthy citizen can say whatever he wants to. He can even run for office. It's just that I, the hiring manager/voter, should bear the costs of seeking out that employee, rather than just hiring the one who throws the most cash at me.
    You should hire whomever is the best candidate for the job. In a society with democratic elections, part of being the best candidate is being the one who most effectively uses available resources to get the message out. It should be acquired by donations from supporters, not by sticking up everyone in the country.


    I don't care if you disagree with me, regardless of education. I care if you espouse such puerile clap-trap, because it's to the detriment of the great majority of Americans, and encourages a self-destructive view of our society. One can know a wealth of things and still miss the forest for the trees.
    My beliefs are not puerile, and they are to the benefit of the country as a whole. It's not self-destructive IN THE LEAST to want candidates to uphold the Constitution, nor is it self-destructive for them to have to fund their campaigns through private donations. The imposition on the liberty (and resources) of using the tax money of those who would never vote for those candidates in a million years far outweighs any vague notion of "cleaner" elections.


    No it is not. It is exchanging monetary value for the value of their actions. Political speech is actually saying "I like so and so because of this, this and this".
    How are those things different? Donating money to your favorite political candidate IS saying "I like so and so because of this, this, and this, and I want them to be reelected." You have a massive gap in your reasoning if you can't see that.


    No. I voluntarily live in this country and enjoy the benefits of its public services. If I find that the benefits of living under this government no longer justify the taxes I pay toward it, I will attempt to change it, or move elsewhere.
    I attempt to change it every day. That doesn't mean I can't fight like hell to retain one of the liberties I still have.


    One of those benefits is being able to choose my public servants, since I, along with my fellow citizens, am the ultimate source of political power in this country. However, if the agreement changes to where I was required to fund the selection process, I would find this fundamentally just, because having someone else fund that process would give them undue influence over those servants, taking away that political power from me.
    1) The United States is not a democracy;

    2) The public as a whole can have undue influence over a politician, not just an individual or a corporation or a special interest group;

    3) If the power of politicians were strictly delimited, wouldn't it make little sense to bribe them? What value would be gained by bribing someone with a very small amount of power?


    No one is restricting your ability to profess political beliefs. Bribing politicians is not protected by law, unless it's in the form of campaign contributions.
    Political contributions do not equate to bribes, unless there is a quid pro quo.


    So why should they have influence over the collective decision-making body of society as a whole?
    That collective decision making shouldn't have that many decisions to make.


    Yes they do. Let me repeat that: Yes. They. Do. That is the fundamental philosophical framework for our political system - that our representatives derive their power from the consent of the governed to represent the governed.
    You misunderstand the framework if you believe that. One of the major points of having a constitutional republic is that the people themselves need to be constrained by the rule of law. Simply electing someone does not endow him or her with unfettered power to what the majority wants. The majority is wrong A LOT.


    This is the core weakness of the libertarian belief system, that government in our society is an oppressor imposed upon us by someone else, and that it always will be that way. It is not - government is US. It is the embodiment of the collective will of We The People. Therefore, if it becomes destructive to that collective will, we have the right, if not the duty, to alter or abolish that form of government. By its very nature, our government does represent all of us. That doesn't mean we all have to agree with it.
    Again, nonsense. The government is NOT the collective will of the people. It's the system we set up to protect our individual rights, which has the monopoly on the legal use of force. THAT IS IT. It is not society. It is not The People by Proxy.


    Sure, but I'm not paying for them, I'm paying for the process. Don't you see the difference? Candidates don't just get a lump sum they can just keep - they've got to spend that money on the election alone.
    It doesn't matter if they use it for the election or not. Even if they use it for the election only, it's still replacing funds that they would have had to acquire in some other way. It's a major violation of rights.


    I'm glad you like Senator Coburn so much. Too bad most people like public services.
    And public services count for what percentage of the federal budget? Please. Transfer payments and the military soak up the majority of federal tax dollars, and they could be SEVERELY slashed.

    P.S. Tom Coburn is great when it comes to voting against pork, but he's also a religious nut and a total prude. Probably an asshole in person, too.


    The claim of moral superiority is ultimately the refuge of the powerless. The powerful point to results.
    How wonderfully fascist of you.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #98
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    The United States doesn't have "owners." It has citizens. Property has owners.
    We, the citizens, own our country. It's as simple as that.

    You should hire whomever is the best candidate for the job. In a society with democratic elections, part of being the best candidate is being the one who most effectively uses available resources to get the message out. It should be acquired by donations from supporters, not by sticking up everyone in the country.
    Unbelievable. You really are a true believer in the propaganda, aren't you? Honestly, how do you have a functioning model of human society when you consider any form of tacit consent to be coercion? How do you not distinguish between these two things?

    How do you not see that the best fund-raiser, by his very nature, is the most corruptible individual?

    My beliefs are not puerile, and they are to the benefit of the country as a whole. It's not self-destructive IN THE LEAST to want candidates to uphold the Constitution, nor is it self-destructive for them to have to fund their campaigns through private donations. The imposition on the liberty (and resources) of using the tax money of those who would never vote for those candidates in a million years far outweighs any vague notion of "cleaner" elections.
    Yes it is. I could show you countless instances of donors unduly influencing our lawmakers, such as Frank Keating, but it doesn't matter, now, does it, if it conflicts with your ideological dogma?


    How are those things different? Donating money to your favorite political candidate IS saying "I like so and so because of this, this, and this, and I want them to be reelected." You have a massive gap in your reasoning if you can't see that.
    No, you're accepting someone else's faulty reasoning to espouse this claim, and most likely not to your economic benefit, but almost assuredly to theirs. Donating money to them is transferring some of your accrued economic value to them. It's nothing else. Money's not a Hallmark card you give to your grandma to tell her how much you love her - it's a means to an end. You're paying for that politician to be elected, and nothing more.

    Tell me, how are you expressing preference when you donate to BOTH sides?


    I attempt to change it every day. That doesn't mean I can't fight like hell to retain one of the liberties I still have.
    That's fine, but you've still got to pay your taxes.

    1) The United States is not a democracy;
    No, but political power is derived from the consent of the governed. That's Civics 101.

    2) The public as a whole can have undue influence over a politician, not just an individual or a corporation or a special interest group;
    That's called representing your constituency! It's what a representative or Senator is supposed to do! I swear, you have the oddest conceptualization of our legislature I've ever heard of, except that I've read other libertarian screeds.

    3) If the power of politicians were strictly delimited, wouldn't it make little sense to bribe them? What value would be gained by bribing someone with a very small amount of power?
    Power vacuums. You wouldn't have to bribe them because you'd have no competition in the areas you want to control. Capitalism is not protective of the rights of individuals without money, and tends toward monopoly and oppression. These statements are based on historical fact. And yet, you will almost assuredly deny them because they do not coincide with your stubborn ideology.

    Political contributions do not equate to bribes, unless there is a quid pro quo.
    You don't get contributions the next time around, you don't get your name out there, your opponent does, and poof! you're not a congressman any more. Even if it's not a direct quid pro quo, the process guarantees that no one is going to rock the boat too much.

    That collective decision making shouldn't have that many decisions to make.
    Last time I checked, maintaining the well-being of 300 million people is a pretty huge task.

    You misunderstand the framework if you believe that. One of the major points of having a constitutional republic is that the people themselves need to be constrained by the rule of law. Simply electing someone does not endow him or her with unfettered power to what the majority wants. The majority is wrong A LOT.


    It's pretty clear. Power ultimately resides with the people. This is why states have jurisdiction within their boundaries, and not everything is under federal jurisdiction. The people THEMSELVES imposed those restrictions upon themselves, and can remove or modify those restrictions at any time, through the legislative or amendment process.

    When we elect someone, We The People endow him with a portion of our combined power to aid in making decisions for all of us. The Constitution spells out the areas he will be making decisions in. The Constitution is fairly vague in many areas, so the judiciary helps interpret what those areas are. Disagreement in that area is a policy consideration, not a fundamental determination of the nature of our government.

    Again, nonsense. The government is NOT the collective will of the people. It's the system we set up to protect our individual rights, which has the monopoly on the legal use of force. THAT IS IT. It is not society. It is not The People by Proxy.
    You have a very Hobbesian view of the world.

    "In order to form a More Perfect Union, establish Justice, promote domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for Ourselves and our Posterity"

    Collective will of the people.

    It doesn't matter if they use it for the election or not. Even if they use it for the election only, it's still replacing funds that they would have had to acquire in some other way. It's a major violation of rights.
    Can you comprehend why paying for a process is different than paying for an individual?


    And public services count for what percentage of the federal budget? Please. Transfer payments and the military soak up the majority of federal tax dollars, and they could be SEVERELY slashed.

    P.S. Tom Coburn is great when it comes to voting against pork, but he's also a religious nut and a total prude. Probably an asshole in person, too.
    I'm no fan of useless defense spending. However, what you see as "entitlements" I would call public services... because it keeps our country from falling into a cesspool of civil strife. Promoting domestic tranquility and whatnot.

    How wonderfully fascist of you.
    Doesn't make it any less true. Pragmatism wins in the end, because at the end of the day, people want to see results.

  9. #99
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    We, the citizens, own our country. It's as simple as that.
    No, it isn't. We don't "own" the country. People own property. The country exists as a concept, but individual rights still exist even if the country dissolves.


    Unbelievable. You really are a true believer in the propaganda, aren't you? Honestly, how do you have a functioning model of human society when you consider any form of tacit consent to be coercion? How do you not distinguish between these two things?
    Where is the tacit consent here? There are things that the government should not (and, strictly speaking, cannot) do. It's NOT all up for debate. Did you ever think that Rousseau was full of shit?


    How do you not see that the best fund-raiser, by his very nature, is the most corruptible individual?
    Because that isn't true. It allows no room for individual differences. You can be the best fundraiser in the world and be above reproach, and you can believe in a publicly funded election system and be a corrupt bastard. Case in point: do you think that I would do political favors for my donors if I were a candidate for Senate? If not, then you entire edifice collapses here.



    Yes it is. I could show you countless instances of donors unduly influencing our lawmakers, such as Frank Keating, but it doesn't matter, now, does it, if it conflicts with your ideological dogma?
    You don't make something illegal because some people abuse the system. The offense is the influence-peddling, not the donations. It's not a difficult concept.


    No, you're accepting someone else's faulty reasoning to espouse this claim, and most likely not to your economic benefit, but almost assuredly to theirs. Donating money to them is transferring some of your accrued economic value to them. It's nothing else. Money's not a Hallmark card you give to your grandma to tell her how much you love her - it's a means to an end. You're paying for that politician to be elected, and nothing more.
    And what is WRONG with paying for a politician to be elected? Voting for the politician isn't wrong. Campaigning for them isn't wrong. Why is the addition of money so transgressive?


    [QUOTETell me, how are you expressing preference when you donate to BOTH sides?[/QUOTE]

    It's influence-seeking. That happens when you are a tightly-regulated industry.


    That's fine, but you've still got to pay your taxes.
    I can certainly try not to.


    No, but political power is derived from the consent of the governed. That's Civics 101.
    That doesn't make the exercise of that political power legitimate always and everywhere. That's Common Sense 101.


    That's called representing your constituency! It's what a representative or Senator is supposed to do! I swear, you have the oddest conceptualization of our legislature I've ever heard of, except that I've read other libertarian screeds.
    Representing your constituency to the detriment of the rest of the country and contrary to the Constitution is NOT what representatives are supposed to do.


    Power vacuums. You wouldn't have to bribe them because you'd have no competition in the areas you want to control. Capitalism is not protective of the rights of individuals without money, and tends toward monopoly and oppression. These statements are based on historical fact. And yet, you will almost assuredly deny them because they do not coincide with your stubborn ideology.
    Where does the oppression come in if everyone's rights are protected? The onus is on you to demonstrate this here.


    You don't get contributions the next time around, you don't get your name out there, your opponent does, and poof! you're not a congressman any more. Even if it's not a direct quid pro quo, the process guarantees that no one is going to rock the boat too much.
    So how is that different from your "respond to your constituency" philosophy? You don't seem to care about the principle of the subject, just that EVERYONE influences the politician equally.


    Last time I checked, maintaining the well-being of 300 million people is a pretty huge task.
    That's not the government's job.




    It's pretty clear. Power ultimately resides with the people. This is why states have jurisdiction within their boundaries, and not everything is under federal jurisdiction. The people THEMSELVES imposed those restrictions upon themselves, and can remove or modify those restrictions at any time, through the legislative or amendment process.
    There are rights that the people ultimately are not allowed to abridge.


    When we elect someone, We The People endow him with a portion of our combined power to aid in making decisions for all of us. The Constitution spells out the areas he will be making decisions in. The Constitution is fairly vague in many areas, so the judiciary helps interpret what those areas are. Disagreement in that area is a policy consideration, not a fundamental determination of the nature of our government.
    Is it vague? Read the Bill of Rights sometime.



    You have a very Hobbesian view of the world.
    Actually, I don't. I have a Lockean view of the world. Get your political philosophers straight.


    "In order to form a More Perfect Union, establish Justice, promote domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for Ourselves and our Posterity"

    Collective will of the people.
    Sounds like justification for the establishment of the apparatus of government to me. How can there be a collective will of over 300 million individual people?


    Can you comprehend why paying for a process is different than paying for an individual?
    It's not different when it's getting someone elected.


    I'm no fan of useless defense spending. However, what you see as "entitlements" I would call public services... because it keeps our country from falling into a cesspool of civil strife. Promoting domestic tranquility and whatnot.
    I didn't use the term "entitlements," so nice use of scare marks. If you can't understand that "promoting domestic tranquility" does not equate to "transfer payments," then you don't have a very keen understanding of statecraft.



    Doesn't make it any less true. Pragmatism wins in the end, because at the end of the day, people want to see results.
    Actually, it DOES make it less true.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #100
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    By representation, I don't mean we don't send politicians to Washington to lord over us, I mean that Society ("The People") establishes a government to make the decisions for the whole that cannot be handled individually. That is a fundamentally limited set of decisions, so ensuring that government is "limited" is almost a moot point, and usually determinant on personal policy preferences.
    uh, no, I didn't misunderstand you at all; your definition of "limited," like your interpretation of the commerce clause, is for all practical purposes boundless; for government to be "limited," the statutory and constitutional powers of government must be strictly delineated and enforced. Even then, it is the nature of government to constantly seek to expand its power, which is the entire reason our political system was designed with unprecedented checks and balances.

    By the way, having the national government in charge of virtually all collective actions drastically dilutes the impact of each individual voter, simultaneously violating the "spirit" of representation (leading to voter alienation, as per my point on a previous post) and undermining local communities.

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