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Forum LockedThe "welfare state"?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2008 at 16:33
The perceived conflict between the old and the young is much more complex when the State through its policies dissolves the bonds that had previously provided social adhesion. No one can mistake the reasoning behind either prolonged adolescence or enforced retirement. Not only are they related to population growth but also a product of greater human longevity. Naturally, state social engineering is the fodder fo the darker aspects of science fiction, yet what the Grimm Brothers memorialized in their little tale focused more on the educative function of family and not the dicta of contracts or government policy. Respect and responsibility, are they learned or imposed behaviours? Further where are their seeds first planted? Where are the roots of the social contract to be found? Are they the products of systems and methods. Rousseau certainly did not believe so since there is the tale of his encounter with a "disciple" who on meeting him asserted that he found Emile fascinating and that he had raised his own son under the principles therein espoused. The philosopher's response? "That is too bad, sir!"  And further clarified: To bad for you and your son. I did not intend to furnish a method; I wanted only to prevent the evils of education as it existed."
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2008 at 16:49
Originally posted by Decebal Decebal wrote:

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"I for one hope that the next time a nation experimenting with socialism or communism fails, which will happen the next time a nation experiments with socialism or communism, Ken Galbraith will feel the need to explain what happened. It's great fun to read. It helps, of course, to suppress wistful thought about those who endured, or died trying, the passage toward collective living to which Professor Galbraith has beckoned us for over 40 years."--William F. Buckley

Can't have one without the other as anyone who recalls the old Firing Line programs will understand.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2008 at 20:18
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Naturally, state social engineering is the fodder fo the darker aspects of science fiction, yet what the Grimm Brothers memorialized in their little tale focused more on the educative function of family and not the dicta of contracts or government policy.
What they were focussed on, and what is relevant to the present discussion, and what forms the moral of the tale, is that each generation provides for the last, because each generation will be dependent on the next. Whether at the family level or any other.
 
In precisely the same (or possibly the inverse) way, we look after our children, because we rely on our children to look after us. The generation that denies support to the old is denying the support it received when it was young.
 
 
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 30-Jan-2008 at 20:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2008 at 21:41
And that is exactly the point. The welfare state has increasingly disrupted the intergenerational relationships set long in history by its persistent intrusion into all aspects of daily life. There is no coincidence in the Britishism of the "nanny state", that is, the foisting upon the community the responsibilities once forged by personal bonds. Bringing up Baby or Making Room for Daddy is no longer a priority within the modern mind-set as the State has facilitated the expansion of self-centeredness (call it the ethos of narcissism) that sees no problem in the abdication of personal responsibility because the State shall provide.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian J Checco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2008 at 22:55
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
Originally posted by Brian J Checco Brian J Checco wrote:

Now, is that an argument against planning effectively for a foreseeable or likely future? I don't know, and can only speak with the illusionary wisdom of a twenty one year old. As an American, am I happy that the money taken out of my paychecks goes to members of a previous generation from whom I am largely disconnected and exploited by? Is it fair that I am stripped of a substantial portion of my income to provide for the health and financial well-being of those who have had their time in the sun and whose time is passed? What are the societal benefits of keeping these animated mummies breathing? Or of allowing people over the age of 65 the leisure to cease their productive endeavors so that they can play golf in Florida until they inevitable expire? I believe these are realistic questions that Americans need to address discursively, political correctness be damned.

 
Quote THERE was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards the table with his eyes full of tears. Once, too, his trembling hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young wife scolded him, but he said nothing and only sighed. Then they bought him a wooden bowl for a few half-pence, out of which he had to eat.They were once sitting thus when the little grandson of four years old began to gather together some bits of wood upon the ground. "What are you doing there?" asked the father. "I am making a little trough," answered the child, "for father and mother to eat out of when I am big."
 
The deal is supposed to be that they paid for the retirement of others when they were working, and that you will be paid for your retirement by the people working then. It's called continuation of community, and I guess if you feel unfairly treated by it, then you can try and do something about it.
 
Which is why, before our polyverbal and multisyllabic diversion, I said, somewhat more tersely:
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

But what will you be able to buy with those future dollars? It's not simply a matter of inflation, though that's important. You're relying on the belief that the producers of wealth in the future will honour a contract with you that they won't themselves have agreed to, that contract being that they will exchange their goods/services for your money.
 
You apparently are toying with the idea of not honouring that contract, which exactly makes my point.
 
 


You make it sound as if I've proposed that rather than providing for the elderly, we eat them. The simple fact is that these generations benefiting from social security are largely the first en masse recipients. Simply put, in previous generations, the expected lifespan would not carry them through the age a which many choose to retire, let alone deep into their 70's, 80's, or 90's. And taxes for their benefit, i.e. social security, have gone up, putting excess strain onto the younger generations which they themselves never paid. And they expect not only medical care and some degree of social security, but for the other generations to provide for their leisure and entertainment.

It's not like putting an old horse out to pasture, with food, medical care, and a roof over its head; it's like doing all that, and hiring a Swedish masseuse to continually rub said animal continually, while perpetually feeding it sugar cubes and pieces of apple. And I think, as a member of the younger generation, I pose a legitimate question when I ask just how much we're expected to provide for them. Now, if my generation comes to the conclusion that we also would like to sacrifice a certain part of our income to provide for an uncertain future of unmitigated leisure after the age of 65, then I guess that's how it will be.

I repeat though; I believe that social security and medicare are a good thing; but the amount that needs to be provided is what's in question. I have no problem feeding, clothing, housing, and caring for the older generations- but I don't necessarily agree with sponsoring months-long geriatric field trips to Arizona and the Gulf Shore.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 10:18
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

And that is exactly the point. The welfare state has increasingly disrupted the intergenerational relationships set long in history by its persistent intrusion into all aspects of daily life. There is no coincidence in the Britishism of the "nanny state", that is, the foisting upon the community the responsibilities once forged by personal bonds. Bringing up Baby or Making Room for Daddy is no longer a priority within the modern mind-set as the State has facilitated the expansion of self-centeredness (call it the ethos of narcissism) that sees no problem in the abdication of personal responsibility because the State shall provide.
 
But the decline of the extended family, and the parallel decline in the size of the nuclear family, was not dictated or even encouraged by the State[1]. In fact some states, notably France, still provide fiscal and other encouragement to increase family sizes.
 
The abdication of responsibility at the personal level is one of the driving factors that makes state support necessary. It didn't come about because the state intervened: the state intervened because it happened. The other factors are of course simple enlightened self-preservation ('I want a good pension system because I want a good pension') and human sympathy.
 
 
[1] except insofar as it encouraged migration - emigration, immigration or simply moving to the frontier as in the US.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 11:25
 
Originally posted by Brian J Checco Brian J Checco wrote:

  The simple fact is that these generations benefiting from social security are largely the first en masse recipients. Simply put, in previous generations, the expected lifespan would not carry them through the age a which many choose to retire, let alone deep into their 70's, 80's, or 90's. And taxes for their benefit, i.e. social security, have gone up, putting excess strain onto the younger generations which they themselves never paid.
And that younger generation itself of course will put even more strain on the generation that follows them, because they will live even longer. And expect to be looked after.
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And they expect not only medical care and some degree of social security, but for the other generations to provide for their leisure and entertainment.
You write as if young people and old people were different groups. The truth is that people are just people who are young at one time, middle-aged at another, and old at another. Today's 'young' are just tomorrow's 'old'. They too will be decrepit, sick, lose their memories and their facilities. Young does not imply superhuman.
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It's not like putting an old horse out to pasture, with food, medical care, and a roof over its head; it's like doing all that, and hiring a Swedish masseuse to continually rub said animal continually, while perpetually feeding it sugar cubes and pieces of apple. And I think, as a member of the younger generation, I pose a legitimate question when I ask just how much we're expected to provide for them.
Decide first how much you want to be provided with. And don't count on being able to provide for your own needs.
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Now, if my generation comes to the conclusion that we also would like to sacrifice a certain part of our income to provide for an uncertain future of unmitigated leisure after the age of 65, then I guess that's how it will be.

I repeat though; I believe that social security and medicare are a good thing; but the amount that needs to be provided is what's in question. I have no problem feeding, clothing, housing, and caring for the older generations- but I don't necessarily agree with sponsoring months-long geriatric field trips to Arizona and the Gulf Shore.
What particular provision should be made for whom is a legitimate subject for political debate. My main point here however was not that, but to dispel the illusion that people can be assured that they can provide for their own old age. I'm in agreement with you that whether anybody will honour your contract forty or fifty years from now will depend on how they answer the same question you are asking yourself.
 
That will include whether the money you put aside, or the shares you bought, or those diamonds, or that real estate are worth anything or whether, indeed, they will still be recognised as belonging to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 12:26
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

And that is exactly the point. The welfare state has increasingly disrupted the intergenerational relationships set long in history by its persistent intrusion into all aspects of daily life. There is no coincidence in the Britishism of the "nanny state", that is, the foisting upon the community the responsibilities once forged by personal bonds. Bringing up Baby or Making Room for Daddy is no longer a priority within the modern mind-set as the State has facilitated the expansion of self-centeredness (call it the ethos of narcissism) that sees no problem in the abdication of personal responsibility because the State shall provide.
I cant see how welfare promotes self centeredness.  i like the fact i pay tax that helps others amongst other things.

 The break down of the extended family was due to urbanisation. In the case of Britain this, by and large, coincided with the industrial revolution. The process was not forced by an external body, instead this was a result to structural change in the economy and the roll on effects to society.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 12:58
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
 
But the decline of the extended family, and the parallel decline in the size of the nuclear family, was not dictated or even encouraged by the State[1]. In fact some states, notably France, still provide fiscal and other encouragement to increase family sizes.
 
The abdication of responsibility at the personal level is one of the driving factors that makes state support necessary. It didn't come about because the state intervened: the state intervened because it happened. The other factors are of course simple enlightened self-preservation ('I want a good pension system because I want a good pension') and human sympathy.
  
[1] except insofar as it encouraged migration - emigration, immigration or simply moving to the frontier as in the US.
 
 
I would disagree and underscore that it was the rise of the State as parliamentary democracy that initiated the social manipulation in a manner little different from the most maniacal central planner paying homage to the scientism of Marx.
Government as gratification may be ancient in some respects but refusal to give deference to the individual is not.
Essentially, from the last decades of the 19th century onward, the State as social engineer has moved steadily to destroy the autonomy and dignity of the individual consolidated by European thought with the advent of the Modern Age. And it has done so within the rationales of a debilitating collectivism. Whether by the craftiness of a Bismarck or the corporate distributism of France, political dialogue has become nothing more than argument over benefits. Further, throughout the 20th century, it became steadily difficult to comprehend where the State ended and civil society began as the former steadily manipulated (or "managed") the extent of individual decision.


Edited by gcle2003 - 31-Jan-2008 at 18:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 13:39
Originally posted by Leonidas Leonidas wrote:

I cant see how welfare promotes self centeredness.  i like the fact i pay tax that helps others amongst other things.

 The break down of the extended family was due to urbanisation. In the case of Britain this, by and large, coincided with the industrial revolution. The process was not forced by an external body, instead this was a result to structural change in the economy and the roll on effects to society.

 
Well, Leonidas, you would be one of the few individuals on this side of the pond that proclaimed a love for taxes! Besides, your declaration is near tantamount to equating government with charity, and such an attitude does promote self-centeredness when it comes to individual attitudes within the paramaters of social interaction on the personal level: why should I concern myself since the government will take care of my neighbor.
Likewise, it is a bit naive to assign the disruption of the extended family to urbanisation. For example, my family has been in an urban environment since even before the Industrial Revolution and city life did not affect the proclivity toward multiple procreation [now that's a construct guaranteed to raise the hackles of a certain resident wordsmith].
 
I know that often self-centeredness is confused for individualism (the praise of selfishness inculcated by the inverted Mass Thought of an Ayn Rand) but what I am focusing on is the natural instinct toward cooperativeness characteristic of man as a species, interaction on a personal intimate level. Sympathy and empathy are not attributes of the State.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 15:15
Quote Essentially, from the last decades of the 19th century onward, the State as social engineer has moved steadily to destroy the autonomy and dignity of the individual consolidated by European thought with the advent of the Modern Age.


In what way, or how, has it moved to destroy the autonomy and dignity of the individual from the latter 19th c onwards?  I am not disagreeing btw; a little contextual elaboration would be appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2008 at 18:49
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

 
 
But the decline of the extended family, and the parallel decline in the size of the nuclear family, was not dictated or even encouraged by the State[1]. In fact some states, notably France, still provide fiscal and other encouragement to increase family sizes.
 
The abdication of responsibility at the personal level is one of the driving factors that makes state support necessary. It didn't come about because the state intervened: the state intervened because it happened. The other factors are of course simple enlightened self-preservation ('I want a good pension system because I want a good pension') and human sympathy.
  
[1] except insofar as it encouraged migration - emigration, immigration or simply moving to the frontier as in the US.
 
 
I would disagree and underscore that it was the rise of the State as parliamentary democracy that initiated the social manipulation in a manner little different from the most maniacal central planner paying homage to the scientism of Marx.
Balderdash. The public welfare system antedates parliamentary democracy by centuries. Moreover it's been associated with countries that did not enjoy parliamentary democracy or other kind. That's certainly true in the ancient world but even in the modern world the welfare state begins with Bismark in what was hardly one of the world's great parliamentary democracies.
 
One of the greatest examples of public welfare systems is that of the medieval Church: hardly parliamentary and hardly democratic.
 
In fact welfare statism is more associated with tyranny, religious and political, than with democracy. Nothing is more associated with parliamentary democracy than the rise of politico-economic liberalism in Britain: very little is more associated with the denial of public welfare.
Quote
Government as gratification may be ancient in some respects but refusal to give deference to the individual is not.
Balderdash again. Refusing to defer to the individual is as ancient as Egypt.
 
And what on earth does 'government by gratification' mean? Bread and circuses? That's supposed to be associated with parliamentary democracy?
Quote
Essentially, from the last decades of the 19th century onward, the State as social engineer has moved steadily to destroy the autonomy and dignity of the individual consolidated by European thought with the advent of the Modern Age. And it has done so within the rationales of a debilitating collectivism. Whether by the craftiness of a Bismarck or the corporate distributism of France, political dialogue has become nothing more than argument over benefits. Further, throughout the 20th century, it became steadily difficult to comprehend where the State ended and civil society began as the former steadily manipulated (or "managed") the extent of individual decision.
 
There is no such thing as 'the State'. It's the invention of political Idealists (capital I). A large chunk of political dialogue [1] is of course devoted to levels of welfare payments: there can be very little of more importance to the functioning of a civilised society. But the idea of 'the State' manipulating or managing anything is simple metaphysical claptrap.
 
People manipulate other people, yes. That's all.
 
Incidentally why the apparently pointless quotation marks around "managed"? Does it have some special meaning to you here, or what?
 
[1] I can throw in pointless and irritating italics too.
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Bed knobs and broomsticks to you balderdash! Equating the activities of the Church to the public welfare system is as facetious as calling the Reichstag "undemocratic" in the 1880s as if its British counterpart was the paragon of  democratic virtue. Get over it! If you want to identify noblesse oblige as a form of welfare go right ahead but when one speaks of the welfare state or generalizes on the the State they are not entertaining an abstraction. They are directly addressing political life. Perhaps Jacques Barzun summed it up best when he wrote:
 
"It (the welfare state) was the eutopian imagination at work making corrective rules as the path to the good life. The welfare ideal did not merely see to it that the poor should be able to survive, but that everybody should be safe and at ease in a hundred ways. Besides providing health care, pensions, and workmen's compensation for accidents, it undertook to protect every employee by workplace regulations and every consumer by laws against harm from foods, drugs, and the multiform dangers that industry creates. All appliances were subject to design control and inspection. The citizen must moreover be protected from actions by others that are not visibly hostile or inherently criminal, those for example, that can be committed by the imagination in trade, investment, and banking.
 
At the same time, it was also held that the state had the duty of supporting art and science, medical research, and the integrity of the environment, while it must also make sure that all children were not simply literate but educated up to and through college--rules, rules, definitions, classifications, and exceptions = indignation--and litigation. The welfare state can not avoid becoming the judiciary state....The task of distributing benefits was alone overwhelming. High taxes was unavoidable, and so was waste. Add to it corruption, also inevitable when inspectors are afoot, and it should have no surprise to the contemporaries that the program fell short of its aim. There was still poverty, derelicts on the street, unattended illness, and complaints of "not enough" from every welfared group in turn--workers, farmers, businessmen, doctors, artists, scientists, teachers, prisoners, and the homeless."
 
"Demotic Life and Times" in From Dawn to Decadence (New York:2000), p.776-778.
 
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Edited by drgonzaga - 31-Jan-2008 at 21:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 11:16
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Bed knobs and broomsticks to you balderdash! Equating the activities of the Church to the public welfare system is as facetious as calling the Reichstag "undemocratic" in the 1880s as if its British counterpart was the paragon of  democratic virtue. Get over it! If you want to identify noblesse oblige as a form of welfare go right ahead
It is.
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but when one speaks of the welfare state or generalizes on the the State they are not entertaining an abstraction. They are directly addressing political life.
People who talk about 'the State' manipulating people are not just entertaining an abstraction, they are endowing it with consciousness and will and desire. Which is Idealism carried several steps beyond the border of sanity.
Quote
Perhaps Jacques Barzun summed it up best when he wrote:
I'll snip the Barzun extract since it's so long and it will be available for reference in your post.
 
It is of course more balderdash as one can expect from someone who can apparently write 'eutopian' (sic). Much more important is that silly use of the past tense everywhere. The welfare state is alive and kicking almost all over the world: to put it in the past is as silly as the idiotic quote from Buckley earlier (and, yes, I remember Firing Line, mostly from the '70s).
 
Simply take Luxembourg for example: for all but a few years socialist governments ever since WW2, nationalised railways and municipalised buses, both of which run superbly, shelter for drug addicts and homeless alcoholics (plus free, if necessary, clinic rehabilitation), low crime rate...and a per capita GDP greater than the US, and net disposable income much higher than the US, especially since Americans have to pay for higher education and medical care out of their 'disposable' income.
 
But all over Europe nationalised or publicly funded services produce a far superior infrastructure to that of the US: and the British example over the last 20-30 Thatcherite and Blairite years has also shown how essential infrastructure falls apart when privatised.
 
I have an American wife and have spent more of the last 20-odd years in the US than in Britain, and the poor quality of roads, transport services and even such things as potholed roads and dim street lighting - let alone the disaster of US health care - give immediate evidence that if there are failed states around, it's not the socialist ones.
Quote  
The culture of good intentions beyond the power to fulfill not only breeds distrust and contempt for politics
More nonsense. No-one has more contempt for their own politicians that the citizens of the US. And arguably no-one has rightly more contempt for their own politicians than the citizens of the US.
Quote
 but is also the starkest characteristic of a system in decadence.
No the starkest characteristics of a system in decadence are a population over its head in debt, transport infrastructure that is falling apart, nearly 20% of the population without health insurance, people with it who are forced into bankruptcy by long-term illness, incredibly high prison populations, unrestricted gun ownership, a plummetting currency. And so on.
 
I'm not a socialist and never have been, but the socialist governments of Britain and Europe have provided a far better universal living environment for their citizens than the untrammelled capitalism of the US, despite the way they had to rebuild after each world war while the US escaped scot-free.


Edited by gcle2003 - 01-Feb-2008 at 11:18
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 13:12
Gcle wrote:
It is of course more balderdash as one can expect from someone who can apparently write 'eutopian' (sic). Much more important is that silly use of the past tense everywhere. The welfare state is alive and kicking almost all over the world: to put it in the past is as silly as the idiotic quote from Buckley earlier (and, yes, I remember Firing Line, mostly from the '70s).
 
One must admit, you do "keep in character" and have the veneer of the supercilious expat in full shine. Just because you have never encountered a term does not make it an error is spelling. If you had known that eutopia is Latin for "true and good place" and that an eutopian theory of government encompasses the Welfare State (in contrast to the coinage of Thomas More for utopia, no place) then you would not have written in the verbal metier characteristic of Mass Man. Nevertheless, I am most amused by your protestations over not being a socialist although you do go out of your way to intone the usual mantra typical of the anti-American effete resident in Europe and steeped in the rationalizations typical of the "eurocrat".
 
I must admit however that you had me in stitches when you employed the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as the paragon of socialist efficiency!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 14:42
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Originally posted by Leonidas Leonidas wrote:

I cant see how welfare promotes self centeredness.  i like the fact i pay tax that helps others amongst other things.

 The break down of the extended family was due to urbanisation. In the case of Britain this, by and large, coincided with the industrial revolution. The process was not forced by an external body, instead this was a result to structural change in the economy and the roll on effects to society.
 
Well, Leonidas, you would be one of the few individuals on this side of the pond that proclaimed a love for taxes! Besides, your declaration is near tantamount to equating government with charity, and such an attitude does promote self-centeredness when it comes to individual attitudes within the paramaters of social interaction on the personal level: why should I concern myself since the government will take care of my neighbor.
For any functioning society we need taxes and we need welfare. i dont know how you expect the vulnerable to look after themselves but not everyone can 'pay their way' and not everyone on welfare is there because they're lazy. Granted many are, but many have disabilities, bad luck, no family etc etc.

 If your so self-less i imagine you open your door to those in need, share your plate with the hungry and shouted some one a doctors appointment! of course it cant replace the welfare state if it is just you, it would be take so many others to do the same. Since most people do not even get out of the way on the road or on the foot path i don't trust that revolution is coming to a soup kitchen near you any time soon. Otherwise if you haven't got a large, not great but adequate safety net these people will live a horrible life.... My self centered expectations would rather their basic needs to be met, via housing, medicine and eduction and by professionals that can make it happen. All subsided by my pay packet along with every other lucky one that has a job and with all the economic benefits of scale.

I agree that charity that isn't personal is somehow a cop out, blood money is how i would put it. but that goes for all charities not just  government taxes. However our; mass-scale, urban, anonymous but free society is designed like a pyramid. Some one needs to work other wise he also falls down into the poverty/welfare trap and therefore doesn't have a spare dime or time to do much else. so yes I expect the government to upheld the safety net and those that are unlucky to work their way out, and i will be as productive as possible to help myself and yes in a anonymous way, others around me. Its not idealistic like yourself, simply realistic.
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Likewise, it is a bit naive to assign the disruption of the extended family to urbanisation. For example, my family has been in an urban environment since even before the Industrial Revolution and city life did not affect the proclivity toward multiple procreation [now that's a construct guaranteed to raise the hackles of a certain resident wordsmith].
ah yes before reliable contraception and a TV hehe.

your talking about lots of kids, im talking about extended families. As some one that is one generation away from a peasant and with a largish extended family that lived in both worlds,  i can say urbanization has everything to do with the changes of community and family. In small tight knit rural communities there was less need for welfare and more of that 'helping each other' you seem to think is encroached by big government. i think you need to look back at the effects on urbanisation >on the individual (and family unit) and then take a snap shot to what the village was like before you think i am niave.
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

I know that often self-centeredness is confused for individualism (the praise of selfishness inculcated by the inverted Mass Thought of an Ayn Rand) but what I am focusing on is the natural instinct toward cooperativeness characteristic of man as a species, interaction on a personal intimate level. Sympathy and empathy are not attributes of the State.
One would find being cooperative very if he has no medium to express that but more importantly if the individual is alienated from his job/meaning and from his community. start with how we live and how we function in our living space and then comment on how (why) we behave.


Edited by Leonidas - 01-Feb-2008 at 14:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 15:19
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Gcle wrote:
It is of course more balderdash as one can expect from someone who can apparently write 'eutopian' (sic). Much more important is that silly use of the past tense everywhere. The welfare state is alive and kicking almost all over the world: to put it in the past is as silly as the idiotic quote from Buckley earlier (and, yes, I remember Firing Line, mostly from the '70s).
 
One must admit, you do "keep in character" and have the veneer of the supercilious expat in full shine. Just because you have never encountered a term does not make it an error is spelling.
Where did I say it was an error in spelling? Nowhere that's where. At least I read what you post.
 
What it was was pretentious. And I don't put much stock in verbal pretentiousness.
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 If you had known that eutopia is Latin for "true and good place"
I knew that's what it meant. I also knew it was Greek, which appears to be news to you.
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 and that an eutopian theory of government encompasses the Welfare State (in contrast to the coinage of Thomas More for utopia, no place)
Utopia as used by Thomas More is a pun. It means BOTH 'no place' and 'good place'. You seem to have missed the whole point of the joke - to indicate that no good place exists. I am however not surprised.
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then you would not have written in the verbal metier characteristic of Mass Man.
It's true I try and write so that I am easy to understand. So I'll take that as a compliment.
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 Nevertheless, I am most amused by your protestations over not being a socialist although you do go out of your way to intone the usual mantra typical of the anti-American effete resident in Europe and steeped in the rationalizations typical of the "eurocrat".
You would be more effective if you explained what the mantra was, why you think I'm anti-American, and why on earth you think me 'effete'. Can't be the way I write.
In fact the point is I'm pro-American and i hate what is happening to the country.
 
And I stood for Parliament in the UK for the Liberal party, which, before you get all muddled again, is and was specifically opposed to centralised government and nationalised control of industries. That a socialist beat me was not due to lack of trying to beat him.
 
That you, in common with too many Americans, have no idea what 'liberal' and 'socialist' mean on the world stage is predictable, but not my fault.
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I must admit however that you had me in stitches when you employed the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as the paragon of socialist efficiency!
 
Why? What do you know? You've lived here? What's wrong with it? 60% of the population of Luxembourg City are foreigners attracted here by the standard of living - from other OECD countries mainly, whereas easily the majority of foreigners coming to live in the US are from the third world.
 
I'd listen to an argument that it's easy for a small country to be socialist (because of the small scale of the planning decisions, for instance) since I feel that way myself. But that doesn't appear to be the argument you're making.


Edited by gcle2003 - 01-Feb-2008 at 15:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 18:15

Leonidas observed

For any functioning society we need taxes and we need welfare. i dont know how you expect the vulnerable to look after themselves but not everyone can 'pay their way' and not everyone on welfare is there because they're lazy. Granted many are, but many have disabilities, bad luck, no family etc etc.
No one is dismissing the purpose behind taxation or that government exists to preserve the common good; instead, the focus falls on the systemic shortcomings of a regulatory ambiance that transfers all decisions to anonymous bureaucracies that forever encroach upon the autonomy of personal decisions. Further this impetus toward minimizing the ambit of individual initiative not only generates a false sense of security but also forges an understanding of rights that moves far beyond the political and enters the arena of economic entitlement. One might even surmise that the latter will ultimately breed a permanent underclass whose preservation becomes the driving force behind the interested bureaucracy whose existence flows from their deprivation.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 18:58
That you, in common with too many Americans, have no idea what 'liberal' and 'socialist' mean on the world stage is predictable, but not my fault.
 
 
Sadly true, many in the US wouldn't know a true Liberal or socialist if one were to bite them on the butt.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Feb-2008 at 23:11
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

That you, in common with too many Americans, have no idea what 'liberal' and 'socialist' mean on the world stage is predictable, but not my fault.
 
 
Sadly true, many in the US wouldn't know a true Liberal or socialist if one were to bite them on the butt.
 
 


Again true, Liberal and Socialist are often thought of and used in the same context and form in this nation.


Edited by Kevin - 01-Feb-2008 at 23:11
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