[EM] language/framing quibble

Fred Gohlke 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
      more often."

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.

Fred Gohlke

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