[EM] language/framing quibble
fredgohlke at verizon.net
Tue Jan 13 13:04:53 PST 2009
Good Afternoon, Juho
re: "The first thing in my mind would not be to limit contacts
between legislators and lobbyists but to limit too heavy
bindings, maybe most notably monetary dependencies. One
could limit e.g. second jobs, right to move to some
commercial position, financing of political campaigns."
That would be roughly equivalent to throwing a chunk of meat into a pack
of dogs and telling them they can't eat it. We have no shortage of
rules now. They are gutted, twisted and ignored to the point they are
My country is doling out hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to
'needy' industries. If you think that isn't the cause of an immense
feeding frenzy among lobbyists and government insiders, you don't know
how our government currently works.
When we elect corrupt public officials by corrupt methods, when we put
party above probity, we are foolish to imagine we can eliminate
dishonesty by sanctimonious assertions. It might be possible to conduct
our government without limiting contacts between legislators and
lobbyists, but to do so we must devise a means of selecting the best of
our people as our representatives rather than the dregs of our society.
(If you think me harsh, provide a justification for the over 100 BILLION
DOLLARS of pork demanded by our legislators before they would pass a
(supposedly) emergency bill to bail out institutions whose greed,
mismanagement and outright theft caused the economic disaster engulfing
all of us.)
re: "Radical changes are often problematic since people are not
able to anticipate all the implications of the changes, and
they often are too idealistic or optimistic."
I don't agree. Radical changes often have an adverse effect on the
people because those who lead the charge for change use their influence
to establish norms that gratify their interests. The American
Revolution was unusual because its nominal leader had no aspirations
beyond the stated aim of the revolution.
re: "Sometimes fast changes work quite well. That typically
requires that there is some well adopted model that serves
as a basis for the change. One could think e.g. Estonia
that regained its independence in 1991. Although times were
different before the second world war the fact that there
was some old model available surely helped a lot."
I agree, but we must also note that Estonia's loss of independence was
externally imposed. When the shackles that bound it disintegrated, it
could resume as much of its former model as it wished.
re: "It is also possible that there is a recently developed
common basis for the change but certainly these changes fail
Again, I agree. The failures flow from an unwillingness or inability to
harness our own natures. Morality is an acquired trait. It must be
nurtured and encouraged. Systems that assume it will flourish under
adverse conditions are doomed.
re: "When looking at Fascists in Italy and National Socialists in
Germany they eventually got quite wide support among the
That's the point!!! Partisanship is dangerous. As I once wrote in
another context, the most destructive words in any language are:
re: "One key point in how they got to that level was that they
used all means, including violence, to silence the
opposition. From this point of view it is maybe important to
make sure that all opinions will always be given sufficient
space to breathe."
Are not the cited instances of Fascism, National Socialism and Communism
enough to show that in a partisan environment it's impossible to
guarantee "all opinions will always be given sufficient space to
breathe." However much you may advocate partisanship, you can not deny
its potential for extreme and destructive manifestations.
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