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  1. #61
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    What I totally don't understand is how someone can be against raising taxes AND cutting entitlements AND cutting military expenditures AND against a deficit. To fix a deficit, you need to either raise taxes or cut spending, and our largest expenditures are entitlements and military, so...

    It's not even close, either. Reason just had a highly illuminating graph about this phenomenon. It listed how much each sector of the federal government spent, and the willingness of the public to cut spending in each sector. Foreign aid was the only area in which a clear majority supported significant cuts, and it was easily the sector with the LEAST spent each year. Cutting military spending was actually more popular than I would have imagined, so that would be the first I would target, given what a big chunk it is. Entitlements are the purality, though, and they are the elephant in the room. At some point in the near future, they will need to be addressed. And that means cut, hopefully.
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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I'm not attached to the idea that the early church was socialist (though 'having all things in common' -- it's a similar concept) -- it's the idea that Jesus is a capitalist and capitalism (in it's Reganish form) is somehow God's ideal that bothers me.

    There is just too much in the Bible about how to treat the less fortunate, including compulsory charity laws, for me to believe that the foodstamps program or whatever is the Great Satan.

    I'm not in love with our current programs because I believe they could be made more efficient and probably less self-perpetuating, but that wouldn't benefit the Ag lobby or big Pharma, etc so I'm not holding my breath.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    And this is why I think this whole thing is very silly. It's not greed, greed isn't the problem. It's a distinct lack of empathy.
    I actually think greed is the perfect word for this mentality. These type of people don't just want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want other people's cakes, as well. It's human nature to want something for nothing (and, of course, it's not "nothing" since it comes out of other people's pockets).
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I'm not attached to the idea that the early church was socialist (though 'having all things in common' -- it's a similar concept) -- it's the idea that Jesus is a capitalist and capitalism (in it's Reganish form) is somehow God's ideal that bothers me.

    There is just too much in the Bible about how to treat the less fortunate, including compulsory charity laws, for me to believe that the foodstamps program or whatever is the Great Satan.

    I'm not in love with our current programs because I believe they could be made more efficient and probably less self-perpetuating, but that wouldn't benefit the Ag lobby or big Pharma, etc so I'm not holding my breath.

    There's no conflict between being a capitalist and thinking you should help the less fortunate. I am a libertarian and not religious and I think people help the less fortunate. It's being FORCED to do so against one's will that is problematic. I am sure Jesus would NOT be a fan of "You pay this much on this date, or else a man with a gun shows up at your door to lock you away." That isn't very Christian, either. He basically told his follower "pay taxes to your leaders if you must, but that has nothing to do with God's Kingdom."
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  5. #65
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I'm not attached to the idea that the early church was socialist (though 'having all things in common' -- it's a similar concept) -- it's the idea that Jesus is a capitalist and capitalism (in it's Reganish form) is somehow God's ideal that bothers me.

    There is just too much in the Bible about how to treat the less fortunate, including compulsory charity laws, for me to believe that the foodstamps program or whatever is the Great Satan.

    I'm not in love with our current programs because I believe they could be made more efficient and probably less self-perpetuating, but that wouldn't benefit the Ag lobby or big Pharma, etc so I'm not holding my breath.
    Neither poverty nor alms giving exist as they did in biblical times, neither socialism nor capitalism exist either, other than as ideological totems for particular sorts of personality but then that's a different topic.

    Jesus said that "The poor you will always have with you" that's a challenge to some of the more crusading and liberation theology orientated Christians but structural adjustments the world over in countries with surplus wealth enough to allow for it demonstrate that its a true insight, although I would suggest that replacing starvation with obescity IS progress, I do think the one is more reprehensible than the other.

    There's no way at all that I believe Christianity can be reconciled to capitalism. The calvinist and other prejudices which provided the cultural mainstays of pre-capitalist societies permitting the accumulation of wealth necessary to industrialism, mass production etc. are anathema to consumerism which is the mainstay of contemporary society and economy.

    I would only say that it is wrong to suppose that Christianity (early or not) was communist or socialist because these are modern and modernist concepts, they shouldnt be ascribed to pre-modern societies or economies. In any case I believe that the Christian vision is much more radical than the extremes of either modern ideology, with the exception of possibly Che Guevara, they've not been able to inspire the same martyrdom or martyrology than Christianity, by which I mean enduring hardship or abandoning everything rather than simply risking your life and being killed.

    The themes of generosity, entitlement and forgiveness in Christianity (which most otherwise literalist Christians dont observe) is much more radical than anything envisaged by welfare states or socialism, with the possible exception of William Morris.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    And this is why I think this whole thing is very silly. It's not greed, greed isn't the problem. It's a distinct lack of empathy.
    I think greed is always a problem, even at its most individual, and perhaps therefore ignorable, avaratiousness quickly becomes addiction and some seriously ill shit.

    On the other hand legitimate self interest is fine, this isnt understood by some moralising socialists or liberals but it would be wrong to assume they all made mistakes like that.

    I'm really unsure how suggesting that Christians or Christ were communist can provoke anger to the point of wanting to punch things, that's pretty telling about the sort of personality which is liable to get drawn into Tea Party politics I think, no desire to tolerate possible or apparent contradictions or imperfections, pretty much prey to their own internal filters.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Socialism and communism are synonymous with atheism for many people in the US because of the Soviet treatment of Christians (or at least the propaganda that was fed to Americans regarding the Soviet treatment of Christians), and many believe that if the US moves in that direction, we'll start sending Christians to gulags as well. The Cold War propaganda machine was very successful.

    I can't wait for the baby boomers to die off.
    The US isnt moving in the direction of socialism or communism, there's not a nation in the world which is moving in that direction or could even.

    I appreciate your point that its synonymous with athiesm which is a cultural anathema, especially since the rise of evangelism before the Carter administration as a well spring of American identity.

    The problem is that in propaganda terms the modern mixed economy, with tax and spending facilitating the circulation of money are synonymous with socialism and communism too.

    Unfortunately both the political left and right wing are in consensus on this, for different reasons, so you have the frankly ludicrous prospect that the squandering of wealth it took a lot of hard (possibly intergenerational) work to generation by state elites could be considered a victory by some socialists for socialism, how? That's patently crazy!

    Likewise conservatives, or more accurately capitalists since I dont think they are that conservative sometimes, consider any display of conspicious consumption or avaratiousness, including squander which would put the state to shame, as a victory for them.

    Personally I think its crazy considering things like that a victory anyway since they are far removed from any individual, why an individual should feel happy or sad as a consequence of what often occurs as caprice, ignorance or accident is a little odd but it happens a lot with both politics and sports. The two of which are getting so, so alike.

  8. #68
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    There's no conflict between being a capitalist and thinking you should help the less fortunate. I am a libertarian and not religious and I think people help the less fortunate. It's being FORCED to do so against one's will that is problematic. I am sure Jesus would NOT be a fan of "You pay this much on this date, or else a man with a gun shows up at your door to lock you away." That isn't very Christian, either. He basically told his follower "pay taxes to your leaders if you must, but that has nothing to do with God's Kingdom."
    Actually, the Old Testament does include laws -- government laws -- that enforced giving to provide for the less fortunate. When it says 'give an offering' in the Old Testament -- that is not just the religious law, that is the law -- period. When it says 'leave some grain in your fields for the poor and the wild animals' or 'let your fields lie fallow ever seven years' -- that is the law. When it says 'do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien' -- it's the law. There was no separate secular law. It was the government as much as if it was something passed by the legislature, signed by the president, and enforced by the courts.

    You are not a believer, so it isn't inconsistent for you to say you don't believe in it. For a someone who claims that the Bible is the inspired word of God to say that they believe it is wrong for their tax dollars to be spent on helping the poor -- it just seems inconsistent to me.

    Sure, Christians have a religious obligation to give voluntarily charity, but they don't have a religious obligation to oppose helping the needy via taxes. Christians are commanded by Jesus to pay taxes and submit to what was an oppressive, sometimes hostile, and idolatrous government. If that is not contradictory to Christianity, it's an awfully big stretch to me to believe that I'm supposed to be outraged about a poor person receiving tax-funded help for their basic physical needs.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  9. #69
    veteran attention whore Jeffster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    You are not a believer, so it isn't inconsistent for you to say you don't believe in it. For a someone who claims that the Bible is the inspired word of God to say that they believe it is wrong for their tax dollars to be spent on helping the poor -- it just seems inconsistent to me.

    Sure, Christians have a religious obligation to give voluntarily charity, but they don't have a religious obligation to oppose helping the needy via taxes. Christians are commanded by Jesus to pay taxes and submit to what was an oppressive, sometimes hostile, and idolatrous government. If that is not contradictory to Christianity, it's an awfully big stretch to me to believe that I'm supposed to be outraged about a poor person receiving tax-funded help for their basic physical needs.
    In principle I agree with you, but you seem to be completely discounting the practical aspect of whether sending our money to the federal government for them to help the poor is an efficient, effective, and/or moral system. I believe there is ample evidence to show that it is NOT, and that's why I don't support raising taxes and increasing federal spending on entitlement programs. I don't speak from a position of wealth on this issue. Yes, right this moment, I have more money than I've ever had in my life, but I was poor for most of my life, have been on government assistance, and know first hand was a ridiculously inefficient system full of fraud that it is.

    So, it's not as simplistic as many people make it out. It's not whether or not somebody believes in helping the less fortunate. Most people do. It's a matter of HOW this is accomplished, and many of us feel that the current system of continually increasing the size and power of the centralized government in DC is NOT the way to help anybody except for the politicians and power brokers who shape the system to best benefit themselves.
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  10. #70
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffster View Post
    In principle I agree with you, but you seem to be completely discounting the practical aspect of whether sending our money to the federal government for them to help the poor is an efficient, effective, and/or moral system. I believe there is ample evidence to show that it is NOT, and that's why I don't support raising taxes and increasing federal spending on entitlement programs. I don't speak from a position of wealth on this issue. Yes, right this moment, I have more money than I've ever had in my life, but I was poor for most of my life, have been on government assistance, and know first hand was a ridiculously inefficient system full of fraud that it is.

    So, it's not as simplistic as many people make it out. It's not whether or not somebody believes in helping the less fortunate. Most people do. It's a matter of HOW this is accomplished, and many of us feel that the current system of continually increasing the size and power of the centralized government in DC is NOT the way to help anybody except for the politicians and power brokers who shape the system to best benefit themselves.
    Is the following quote an indication that I'm completely discounting the practical aspect of whether sending our money to the federal government for them to help the poor is an efficient, effective, and/or moral system?

    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I'm not in love with our current programs because I believe they could be made more efficient and probably less self-perpetuating, but that wouldn't benefit the Ag lobby or big Pharma, etc so I'm not holding my breath.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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