Venezuela continues to sink in misery

6 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

 

For clarity 

1) I am in no defending the regime in Venezuela. Nor by the way does my friend (who now lives in Denmark and an expat; it is his family that still lives in Venezuela)

2) I lived in the Southeastern US so I understand responsible gun ownership etc. 

All I was trying to say was that this is not black and white. Oil prices were way different back in 2012 and similarly Venezuelas finances. It is perfectly possible that the then government wanted to disamr the populace. But at the same time I believe they also wanted to end gun violence. 

As an example - Denmark has super strict gun-control laws (and gun owners are mainly hunters); we are the perfect example of only the bad people having guns. Yet, gun deaths per capita is way lower in Denmark than in the US. Now, there are several reasons for this. But gun proliferation is also one of them. 

ps. I wrote the above and other posts from an airport. They could have worded better / clearer. 

Rasmus, I understand and take your point.  I did not think you were defending the Venezuelan regime, past or present.  

I was making the point that safety for all is always the outcry used by government gun confiscation proponents.  This however is a strawman argument.  2016 Centers for Disease Control statistics demonstrate that 38,658 people died as a result of firearms in the U.S.  The vast majority, 22,938, were self-inflicted.  Of the total firearms deaths 14,415 were homicide.  The same year statistics from the CDC show that 38,748 people were killed in traffic related accidents.  I guess we could lower that by confiscating motor vehicles.  

The U.S. does have a higher rate of gun deaths per capita than your example of Denmark.  Viewed in context however, with US population in 2016 at 325 million and Denmark at 5.73 million, we were bound to have more.

Gun deaths could be lowered significantly through better parenting, first.  It amazes me that we make people go through driver training and testing to be licensed to drive, while anyone can have kids.  Anyway.....  Second, better mental health services would likely lower the vast majority of our gun deaths, at least the self inflicted ones.

Viewed in the appropriate context it’s clear, gun control/confiscation is a ruse as it pertains to security for all.  It only secures governments from the will of their people.

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1 minute ago, TXPower said:

Rasmus, I understand and take your point.  I did not think you were defending the Venezuelan regime, past or present.  

I was making the point that safety for all is always the outcry used by government gun confiscation proponents.  This however is a strawman argument.  2016 Centers for Disease Control statistics demonstrate that 38,658 people died as a result of firearms in the U.S.  The vast majority, 22,938, were self-inflicted.  Of the total firearms deaths 14,415 were homicide.  The same year statistics from the CDC show that 38,748 people were killed in traffic related accidents.  I guess we could lower that by confiscating motor vehicles.  

The U.S. does have a higher rate of gun deaths per capita than your example of Denmark.  Viewed in context however, with US population in 2016 at 325 million and Denmark at 5.73 million, we were bound to have more.

Gun deaths could be lowered significantly through better parenting, first.  It amazes me that we make people go through driver training and testing to be licensed to drive, while anyone can have kids.  Anyway.....  Second, better mental health services would likely lower the vast majority of our gun deaths, at least the self inflicted ones.

Viewed in the appropriate context it’s clear, gun control/confiscation is a ruse as it pertains to security for all.  It only secures governments from the will of their people. 

What does US gun crime look like if you remove the liberal inner cities with gun control? 

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(edited)

17 hours ago, TXPower said:

Rasmus, I understand and take your point.  I did not think you were defending the Venezuelan regime, past or present.  

I was making the point that safety for all is always the outcry used by government gun confiscation proponents.  This however is a strawman argument.  2016 Centers for Disease Control statistics demonstrate that 38,658 people died as a result of firearms in the U.S.  The vast majority, 22,938, were self-inflicted.  Of the total firearms deaths 14,415 were homicide.  The same year statistics from the CDC show that 38,748 people were killed in traffic related accidents.  I guess we could lower that by confiscating motor vehicles.  

The U.S. does have a higher rate of gun deaths per capita than your example of Denmark.  Viewed in context however, with US population in 2016 at 325 million and Denmark at 5.73 million, we were bound to have more.

Gun deaths could be lowered significantly through better parenting, first.  It amazes me that we make people go through driver training and testing to be licensed to drive, while anyone can have kids.  Anyway.....  Second, better mental health services would likely lower the vast majority of our gun deaths, at least the self inflicted ones.

Viewed in the appropriate context it’s clear, gun control/confiscation is a ruse as it pertains to security for all.  It only secures governments from the will of their people.

I personally believe in gun control. But I would never dream of advocating for it in America. Having lived in the South Eastern US I know guns are an integrated part of American culture. And that's fine. There are many weird regulations in our societies - for example : how many people does alchohol and tobacco kill directly and indirectly? But we would never dream of regulating those. 

Anyways, I was just trying to bring some nuance to "we must we have guns so we can make a revolution argument". To me a far better argument is "it is part of our culture". Period. 

Edited by Rasmus Jorgensen
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17 hours ago, mthebold said:

What did work, however, was "winning hearts and minds".  We went out into the neighborhoods, established relationships with people, found out what they needed, and provided it.  Soon enough, people were on our side

Seems like something @Jan van Eck is suggesting to do with Venezuela. 

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18 hours ago, mthebold said:

What does US gun crime look like if you remove the liberal inner cities with gun control? 

Although we have gotten way, way off the original thread, which was the abysmal situation in Venezuela, I will comment to this comment.  Specifically, the inner cities of America are NOT "liberal."  Indeed, they are authoritarian.  

Overwhelmingly, the US inner cities are controlled by Democratic Party machines, and the people who control the machine are authoritarians, people who brook no contrary thinking and crush all opposition.  There is no real difference between the governments of those cities and the Maduro government.  In neither setting do the power brokers give a damn about "the people."  It is all about keeping political control for themselves.  Trust this clarifies. 

What Venezuela really needs are people who really care.  Any leader who really cared about his people would be pleading for the Americans to please come in and take over, to stabilize the country.  What is more important: food and working hospitals, or the gold braids on your shoulder epaulets? 

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4 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Although we have gotten way, way off the original thread, which was the abysmal situation in Venezuela, I will comment to this comment.  Specifically, the inner cities of America are NOT "liberal."  Indeed, they are authoritarian.  

Overwhelmingly, the US inner cities are controlled by Democratic Party machines, and the people who control the machine are authoritarians, people who brook no contrary thinking and crush all opposition.  There is no real difference between the governments of those cities and the Maduro government.  In neither setting do the power brokers give a damn about "the people."  It is all about keeping political control for themselves.  Trust this clarifies. 

What Venezuela really needs are people who really care.  Any leader who really cared about his people would be pleading for the Americans to please come in and take over, to stabilize the country.  What is more important: food and working hospitals, or the gold braids on your shoulder epaulets? 

Sure... but how does one get "people who care" into positions of power?  Power is a magnet for sociopaths.  Capitalism solves this problem by playing sociopaths against each other.  Representative republics with power divided between several layers of government limits power where it can and plays sociopaths against each other where it can't.  These systems explicitly admit that authority figures will be evil and, in doing so, have become the most successful systems.  That said, the will of The People must be respected.  What should we do when The People vote for centralized power and the psychopathy it attracts? 

Also, this is at least the second time I've trampled your definition of "liberal", which suggests that I don't have a good mental picture of "liberalism".  I'd prefer not to make that mistake again.  I agree with your comments on on "authoritarian", but how should I envision "liberal"? 

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7 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I personally believe in gun control. But I would never dream of advocating for it in America. Having lived in the South Eastern US I know guns are an integrated part of American culture. And that's fine. There are many weird regulations in our societies - for example : how many people does alchohol and tobacco kill directly and indirectly? But we would never dream of regulating those. 

Anyways, I was just trying to bring some nuance to "we must we have guns so we can make a revolution argument". To me a far better argument is "it is part of our culture". Period. 

They're definitely a part of our culture, but I still think "opposing our own government" is the best reason to keep them.  It was the original reason, actually.  The British attempted to control the sale of military-grade muskets in the 13 colonies, and the founding fathers understood the consequences of a disarmed populace.

I say "military grade muskets" deliberately.  Even in the 1700's, there was a stark difference between civilian hunting rifles and military muskets.  The former was a delicate instrument optimized for a lone citizen hunting game; the latter was a weapon purpose-built for the rigors of combat.  Today, we have the same differentiation between hunting rifles and "assault" rifles.  That history suggests that the founding fathers wanted us to have military weaponry specifically to be ready for revolution.  "Culture" and hunting were secondary concerns. 

I stress this point because even recent history tells us government is a threat.  In the 20th century, the greatest cause of unnatural death was government.  Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all considered gun control a necessary step to controlling a population.  They succeeded, ultimately killing more than 100 million defenseless civilians.  The same authoritarian scenario is playing out in Venezuela as we speak. 

Rasmus, you may want to consider this detail in particular: authoritarian regimes start out "populist" and target the "privileged" classes.  The well-off are targeted with the ostensible reason of providing justice to the poor, but the practical reason is that authoritarians don't like competition.  The "privileged" classes are the only people who pose a credible threat to centralized power.  Stalin sent the Kulaks to the gulags and Mao stripped the lost generation of their wealth before sending them to the farms.  In the West, aspiring authoritarians have villianized capitalism and labeled all white males "privileged".  If an authoritarian regime comes to power, it will see you and your family as "privileged"; best of luck with that. 

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(edited)

2 hours ago, mthebold said:

 

Also, this is at least the second time I've trampled your definition of "liberal", which suggests that I don't have a good mental picture of "liberalism".  I'd prefer not to make that mistake again.  I agree with your comments on on "authoritarian", but how should I envision "liberal"? 

That opens up a complex subject.  I promise to get back to you on that in a few days!  Very short answer:  a "Liberal" is a person who has studied literature, the classics, science, the humanities, and the history of politics, and has drawn from each the wisdom to see a path forward for the betterment of his community, and applies that knowledge in his daily life, and urges others by his example to do also.  

Edited by Jan van Eck
scrivener error
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(edited)

19 hours ago, mthebold said:

Rasmus, you may want to consider this detail in particular: authoritarian regimes start out "populist" and target the "privileged" classes.  The well-off are targeted with the ostensible reason of providing justice to the poor, but the practical reason is that authoritarians don't like competition.  The "privileged" classes are the only people who pose a credible threat to centralized power.  Stalin sent the Kulaks to the gulags and Mao stripped the lost generation of their wealth before sending them to the farms.  In the West, aspiring authoritarians have villianized capitalism and labeled all white males "privileged".  If an authoritarian regime comes to power, it will see you and your family as "privileged"; best of luck with that. 

I am well aware. That is why I vehemently oppose populism. Populism exist on both sides of the political spectrum and are equally dangerous. 

 

Rather than weapons I believe in education, economic inclusion etc. Lead by example. And teach people to fish.  

Edited by Rasmus Jorgensen
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1 hour ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I am well aware. That is why I vehemently oppose populism. Populism exist on both sides of the political spectrum and are equally dangerous. 

 

Rather than weapons I believe in education, economic inclusion etc. Lead by example. And teach people to fish.  

Is there evidence that that actually works, or are the kinder, gentler cultures destroyed by those with stronger wills? 

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12 minutes ago, mthebold said:

Is there evidence that that actually works, or are the kinder, gentler cultures destroyed by those with stronger wills? 

 

1 hour ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I am well aware. That is why I vehemently oppose populism. Populism exist on both sides of the political spectrum and are equally dangerous. 

 

Rather than weapons I believe in education, economic inclusion etc. Lead by example. And teach people to fish.  

Hi Rasmus.  Please remind me what country you live in, and the population (or I can Google it once you remind me).

The reason I'm asking is because I believe your country may still have a small enough population to manage many of the types of programs you speak of. 

It's like my old hometown of 1,000 people: if you did something wrong on one side of town; by the time you got home your parents, and probably a couple of neighbors know about what you did wrong.  That was a big incentive NOT to do something wrong anywhere in town.

Also, when assistance of any kind was offered, people took advantage of it (that needed it) or helped to implement it.  This of course happens every day, in every city across America, but the coverage per capita could never reach the level of my small hometown.  But a whole lot of people still try, and they are angels in the real sense, every one of them.

 

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20 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

That opens up a complex subject.  I promise to get back to you on that in a few days!  Very short answer:  a "Liberal" is a person who has studied literature, the classics, science, the humanities, and the history of politics, and has drawn from each the wisdom to see a path forward for the betterment of his community, and applies that knowledge in his daily life, and urges others by his example to do also.  

this is a very...er...generous definition. 

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Just now, Rodent said:

this is a very...er...generous definition. 

Mm-hmm.  You noticed that, too, eh?  I can't wait to read the follow up, based on what I've seen him write about liberals before......

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3 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

Mm-hmm.  You noticed that, too, eh?  I can't wait to read the follow up, based on what I've seen him write about liberals before......

:) I trust he will take it in the spirit it was given. 

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(edited)

35 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

 

Hi Rasmus.  Please remind me what country you live in, and the population (or I can Google it once you remind me).

The reason I'm asking is because I believe your country may still have a small enough population to manage many of the types of programs you speak of. 

It's like my old hometown of 1,000 people: if you did something wrong on one side of town; by the time you got home your parents, and probably a couple of neighbors know about what you did wrong.  That was a big incentive NOT to do something wrong anywhere in town.

Also, when assistance of any kind was offered, people took advantage of it (that needed it) or helped to implement it.  This of course happens every day, in every city across America, but the coverage per capita could never reach the level of my small hometown.  But a whole lot of people still try, and they are angels in the real sense, every one of them.

  

I live in Denmark. Total population less than 6 mio. 

I understand sclaing challenges, but what I am talking about the difference one can make as an individuel. 

Edited by Rasmus Jorgensen
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30 minutes ago, Rodent said:

this is a very...er...generous definition. 

It's the original, correct definition.  The term "liberal" was commandeered by idiots, unfortunately.  The question is whether Jan can successfully take it back. 

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On 12/12/2018 at 3:32 PM, jose chalhoub said:

good points indeed Jan and many thanks for starting such a quite interesting discussion on my country in pain. I dont think thugs armed and sponsored by Maduro will ever back him against any foreign intervention ever. 

I feel so sorry for your babies, starving to death before life even began.... Why do the children have to be on the front lines here? Dying because of a horrible government's lack of self control, destroying the one resource that could have kept all this from happening. I feel so sad inside when I see those pictures of emaciated little children, and the parents that have them must feel so horrible about what is going on. It's torture to watch someone die a slow death.

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On 12/17/2018 at 3:09 AM, Hugh Owens said:

 

Dear Sir.... Pardon me..... but you might have written on the wrong part of the reply box......... After you quote.... there is a whiter blank area below the quote to insert your opinion so that people would be able to differentiate your comment from the quote.... have fun... 

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On 12/18/2018 at 12:46 AM, TXPower said:

Rasmus, I understand and take your point.  I did not think you were defending the Venezuelan regime, past or present.  

I was making the point that safety for all is always the outcry used by government gun confiscation proponents.  This however is a strawman argument.  2016 Centers for Disease Control statistics demonstrate that 38,658 people died as a result of firearms in the U.S.  The vast majority, 22,938, were self-inflicted.  Of the total firearms deaths 14,415 were homicide.  The same year statistics from the CDC show that 38,748 people were killed in traffic related accidents.  I guess we could lower that by confiscating motor vehicles.  

The U.S. does have a higher rate of gun deaths per capita than your example of Denmark.  Viewed in context however, with US population in 2016 at 325 million and Denmark at 5.73 million, we were bound to have more.

Gun deaths could be lowered significantly through better parenting, first.  It amazes me that we make people go through driver training and testing to be licensed to drive, while anyone can have kids.  Anyway.....  Second, better mental health services would likely lower the vast majority of our gun deaths, at least the self inflicted ones.

Viewed in the appropriate context it’s clear, gun control/confiscation is a ruse as it pertains to security for all.  It only secures governments from the will of their people.

Dear Sir.... Thank you for the smart reply. Bemused......

Read somewhere long time ago that gun was commonly carried by people in the ancient cowboy era because those days were pretty wild. People could travel days or weeks or months without seeing another good hearted human who could offer a cup of water or a piece of bread but filled with untamed animals and may be bad people.... Self defence by owning a weapon was survival instint back then. A necessity. 

 

But then........... our society has developed. It would be a priviledge for people not to brusk shoulder with another or see flocks of other similar looking mankind while walking on the streets.... And...... wild animals are largely driven to extinct or kept in a zoo. [You wouldn't believe it not only untamed animals like lions and tigers etc but chicken could be found in a zoo too. (whispering mode............ some city kids somewhere in South East Asia thought the chicken could only be found in pink color without anything else in the market. Hence... they started to keep chicken in the zoo for real life reference....)]. Those bring to a point - having guns at random or uncontrolled manner would endanger majority of the population whom might not have one.

 

Licensing mentioned by TXPower is extremely wise. You can have one but you need to go through training and exam(s) to have one. The government can lengthen the training period so that more bullets can be spent on training; more wear and tear on weapons; more fees collected; more............ uuhhh...... they might need an actuary to do the extrapolating maths............ or no???

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3 hours ago, mthebold said:

It's the original, correct definition.  The term "liberal" was commandeered by idiots, unfortunately.  The question is whether Jan can successfully take it back. 

" and has drawn from each the wisdom to see a path forward for the betterment of his community, and applies that knowledge in his daily life, and urges others by his example to do also."

it is?

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3 hours ago, mthebold said:

It's the original, correct definition.  The term "liberal" was commandeered by idiots, unfortunately.  The question is whether Jan can successfully take it back. 

Paul, thank you for pointing this out.  The hijacking of original concepts by political partisans is a continuing problem.  The Liberal is a person with a certain upbringing and approach to life.  Yes, it was hijacked by political partisans, who have corrupted the concept beyond recognition.  No, I cannot successfully take it back.  I have very, very little input into the political input-stream. 

On the same continuum, lunatic partisans have hijacked just about everything else, to the point where original words and definitions have become meaningless, to be replaced by strident shouting.  The word "Conservative" had a specific original meaning.  A Conservative was, at one time, a person who sought to conserve the gains in society and social thinking.  Thus, a person who was inclined to adhere to the original meanings in the US Constitution, known generically as "Originalists," would be  a Conservative.  

A Conservative generally would be inclined to be careful with runaway taxes, would want a limited-powers government, and would seek to place all residual, unenumerated powers, into the hands of, and be reserved to, the People.  

Where problems start to arise is when the opponents to these positions start to try to belittle the other side, to the extent you can divide people politically into "sides."  Was John F. Kennedy a Liberal or a Conservative?  You can make a good argument for the case that he was both - he certainly wanted to see society continue to evolve into one "more just", as Dr. Zhivago famously said upon returning to his Moscow home and finding another 17 families living in it,  while simultaneously seeking to retain [American] society's cultural evolution, away from the primitivism of the 1800's. 

Today the politics has become so poisonous and so loaded with code-words that the fanatical elements have taken over, and I see little hope for any return to normalcy as to the political landscape. Conservatives, believing in limited government and limited taxes, get shouted down as Nazis and Fascists.  Liberals, believing in treating all with decency and expanded government social programs  (and the enhanced taxes to pay for it) get shouted down as Communists and Socialists and Libtards and Morons and all kinds of other unflattering, vulgar epithets.  None of this is helpful. 

Looking at academia, you find this useful term "a liberal education."  the "liberal" part in there references a large measure of the study of the classics, say  of Faust by Goethe.  It would also include the study and mastery of German, and French, at least.  It would include study of the writings of Voltaire, and Shakespeare, and Plato.  And it would include a healthy dip into the sciences, including biology, physics,chemistry and medicine, as without an understanding of the physical world one does not have a well-rounded education.  The person that emerges from all this effort then has an appreciation of the cultural basis from which he springs, and is tempered in ideas of radicalism by that appreciation. 

And you can say a lot similarly of the Conservative.   A lot of all this has been lost in the current vicious political climate. It has been devolving into camps of political authoritarianism, with both camps being authoritarian and seeking total control of society, according to their visions,  IN that sense, the political camps are both seceding into both Communist authoritarianism and Fascist authoritarianism, and the abuses and murders that flow naturally from those lines of social thinking.  

I cry for America. 

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10 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Thus, a person who was inclined to adhere to the original meanings in the US Constitution, known generically as "Originalists," would be  a Conservative.  

A Conservative generally would be inclined to be careful with runaway taxes, would want a limited-powers government, and would seek to place all residual, unenumerated powers, into the hands of, and be reserved to, the People.  

I believe this is precisely what it still means today. I might replace "originalist" with "constitutionalist" but then I'd just be splitting hairs. 

Regarding the "liberal" definition: 

Webster: "of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives"

Oxford: "Regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change" and " favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform." That too seems pretty applicable. 

oldest definition I could fine of liberal as a noun "

liberal (n.)

1820, "member of the progressive and reformist political party of Great Britain, an anti-Whig," from liberal (adj.). General meaning "person of liberal political principles or tendencies" (without reference to party) is by 1832; in reference to persons of a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c. 1920. Also used from early 20c. of ministers from less-dogmatic Christian churches.

I would agree wholeheartedly that JFK would not be classified politically today the same way he was during his presidency.

 

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7 hours ago, Rodent said:

" and has drawn from each the wisdom to see a path forward for the betterment of his community, and applies that knowledge in his daily life, and urges others by his example to do also."

it is?

Maybe not in those words exactly - and we could certainly argue policy - but Jan's overarching point is correct: what the average American calls "liberal" has nothing to do with the original meaning.  The same is true of "conservative".  At their most specific, these words describe states of mind, approaches to change management, and perhaps other tools of thinking.  They absolutely do not imply specific policies, yet our culture has made them synonymous with that.

6 hours ago, Rodent said:

I believe this is precisely what it still means today. I might replace "originalist" with "constitutionalist" but then I'd just be splitting hairs. 

Regarding the "liberal" definition: 

Webster: "of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives"

Oxford: "Regarding many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change" and " favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform." That too seems pretty applicable. 

oldest definition I could fine of liberal as a noun "

liberal (n.)

1820, "member of the progressive and reformist political party of Great Britain, an anti-Whig," from liberal (adj.). General meaning "person of liberal political principles or tendencies" (without reference to party) is by 1832; in reference to persons of a political ideology not conservative or fascist but short of socialism, from c. 1920. Also used from early 20c. of ministers from less-dogmatic Christian churches.

I would agree wholeheartedly that JFK would not be classified politically today the same way he was during his presidency.

Case in point: the original meaning of "liberal" and "conservative" did not imply political parties or specific policies.  Our culture has lost the meaning of these vitally important concepts. 

6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Paul, thank you for pointing this out.  The hijacking of original concepts by political partisans is a continuing problem.  The Liberal is a person with a certain upbringing and approach to life.  Yes, it was hijacked by political partisans, who have corrupted the concept beyond recognition.  No, I cannot successfully take it back.  I have very, very little input into the political input-stream.

You're welcome.  On that note, this explains our difference of definitions: I believe I understand the original meanings, but I'd given up on them because I was so often misunderstood.  I can define them as you wish to define them if that's what you prefer, but we run the risk of confusing others on a public forum.

What if we used more descriptive terms, like "classical liberal"?

 

6 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

On the same continuum, lunatic partisans have hijacked just about everything else, to the point where original words and definitions have become meaningless, to be replaced by strident shouting.  The word "Conservative" had a specific original meaning.  A Conservative was, at one time, a person who sought to conserve the gains in society and social thinking.  Thus, a person who was inclined to adhere to the original meanings in the US Constitution, known generically as "Originalists," would be  a Conservative.  

A Conservative generally would be inclined to be careful with runaway taxes, would want a limited-powers government, and would seek to place all residual, unenumerated powers, into the hands of, and be reserved to, the People.   

Where problems start to arise is when the opponents to these positions start to try to belittle the other side, to the extent you can divide people politically into "sides."  Was John F. Kennedy a Liberal or a Conservative?  You can make a good argument for the case that he was both - he certainly wanted to see society continue to evolve into one "more just", as Dr. Zhivago famously said upon returning to his Moscow home and finding another 17 families living in it,  while simultaneously seeking to retain [American] society's cultural evolution, away from the primitivism of the 1800's.  

That was my understanding. 

I also noticed that, if you combine the important ideas of classical conservatism and classical liberalism, you end up with what engineers call a "change management process".  As it turns out, there are circumstances when it's appropriate to conserve and circumstances when it's appropriate to test changes.  If we allow our allegiance to "conservative" or "liberal" ideas to be subsumed by the concept of "change management", we can think of them in a different way: they're just tools.  They're to be used when appropriate, just as we sometimes use a hammer and we sometimes use a screwdriver. 

The second we frame them that way, an important question arises: when and how do we apply these tools?  Fleshing out that answer creates a well-documented, rational change management process.  The beauty of an explicit change management process is that, when we attempt to change, we know what to test for and how to incorporate that knowledge into our process.  That allows us to change faster with minimal risk.  When done well, a change management process allows us to obtain both the innovation of liberalism and the stability of conservatism. 

I.e. there need not be a conflict between "conservative" and "liberal" principles.  They can operate within the same rational framework. 

 

7 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Where problems start to arise is when the opponents to these positions start to try to belittle the other side, to the extent you can divide people politically into "sides."  Was John F. Kennedy a Liberal or a Conservative?  You can make a good argument for the case that he was both - he certainly wanted to see society continue to evolve into one "more just", as Dr. Zhivago famously said upon returning to his Moscow home and finding another 17 families living in it,  while simultaneously seeking to retain [American] society's cultural evolution, away from the primitivism of the 1800's.  

Today the politics has become so poisonous and so loaded with code-words that the fanatical elements have taken over, and I see little hope for any return to normalcy as to the political landscape. Conservatives, believing in limited government and limited taxes, get shouted down as Nazis and Fascists.  Liberals, believing in treating all with decency and expanded government social programs  (and the enhanced taxes to pay for it) get shouted down as Communists and Socialists and Libtards and Morons and all kinds of other unflattering, vulgar epithets.  None of this is helpful.  

If this plays out anything like war, the opposing sides will tire of conflict and become more reasonable.  I see signs that it's happening already, actually.  Trump supporters are getting their pound of flesh, democrats are realizing they don't like their own medicine (served under Obama), and moderates on both sides have had their fill of political dickery.  When I discuss with people, their primary concern is a return to sensibility.

So yes, America is a gaggle of spoiled children fighting on the playground.  Maybe there's hope we'll get over it though? 

 

7 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Looking at academia, you find this useful term "a liberal education."  the "liberal" part in there references a large measure of the study of the classics, say  of Faust by Goethe.  It would also include the study and mastery of German, and French, at least.  It would include study of the writings of Voltaire, and Shakespeare, and Plato.  And it would include a healthy dip into the sciences, including biology, physics,chemistry and medicine, as without an understanding of the physical world one does not have a well-rounded education.  The person that emerges from all this effort then has an appreciation of the cultural basis from which he springs, and is tempered in ideas of radicalism by that appreciation.  

And you can say a lot similarly of the Conservative.   A lot of all this has been lost in the current vicious political climate. It has been devolving into camps of political authoritarianism, with both camps being authoritarian and seeking total control of society, according to their visions,  IN that sense, the political camps are both seceding into both Communist authoritarianism and Fascist authoritarianism, and the abuses and murders that flow naturally from those lines of social thinking. 

My experience has taught me to divide "academia" into two categories: competent private schools, and everything else.  When I speak to people from private schools, they usually exemplify the classical, liberal education.  Not always, but usually.  When I talk to people from public schools, they almost always exhibit political authoritarianism.  As I learned more, I discovered that public institutions like UW Madison and Berkeley were pioneers in this kind of ideological thinking.  Then it occurred to me: the ideologues have no original ideas and can't properly explain the ideas they hold.  They're parroting someone else.  Then I realized I've watched people come from conservative families, attend left-leaning universities, and suddenly start parroting leftist ideas.  My conclusion from all this is that it was academics - mostly from public institutions - who created the current political environment.  America sent armies of unqualified idiots to university, academics with political agendas filled their heads with ideas, and they parroted those ideas to the masses.

The solution is to cut off public funding of higher education.  There is a market for competent graduates, and that market will support sufficient higher education.  If we cut public funding, the worthless departments - mostly corrupted liberal arts - will die off.  The public will end up better off because there will be no worthless degree to pursue.  This will shunt more people into useful jobs, where they'll learn how the world works and save the money their kids will need for private school. 

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2 hours ago, Rodent said:

I believe this is precisely what it still means today. I might replace "originalist" with "constitutionalist" but then I'd just be splitting hairs. 

 

The term "Originalist" is that of Mr. Justice Antonin Scalia.  He avoided "constitutionalist" in that the original Constitution has been amended multiple times.  This is not to suggest that Justice Scalia would obstruct the various Amendments or for that matter any Statute of Congress.  Indeed, Justice Scalia wrote a powerful Opinion on the enforcement of Congressional Statute, as written by Congress, and not to be tampered with by the judiciary, in Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc,, 574 U.S. ___ , 135 S. Ct. 790; 190 L. Ed. 2d 650.   Interestingly, large numbers of Judges, particularly State Court judges, have been ignoring Jesinoski, mostly because they don't like the result it requires.  Justice Scalia roundly slapped them down.  

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17 hours ago, SERWIN said:

I feel so sorry for your babies, starving to death before life even began.... Why do the children have to be on the front lines here? Dying because of a horrible government's lack of self control, destroying the one resource that could have kept all this from happening. I feel so sad inside when I see those pictures of emaciated little children, and the parents that have them must feel so horrible about what is going on. It's torture to watch someone die a slow death.

So true. 

We need to get back on topic.

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