[EM] language/framing quibble

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Jan 13 16:25:19 PST 2009

--- On Tue, 13/1/09, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:

> 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 useless.
> 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.)

This sounds to me even more like there
would be a need to limit the economical
dependences. Maybe e.g. a fixed limit for
campaign costs, maybe other rules that
force all flow of money public (and sets
limits where appropriate).

If there is a common understanding that
this (or some other plan) should be
implemented then you can do it. Or if you
can't despite of wide consensus, you are
in trouble.

> 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.

There have been also idealistic revolutions
that have not led to positive results in
the long run.

> 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
>      citizens."
> That's the point!!!   Partisanship is dangerous.  As I
> once wrote in another context, the most destructive words in
> any language are:
>   I BELIEVE!!!
> 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.

Parties have the potential to be
destructive. But I don't see that they
would necessarily become destructive at
some point. The overall spirit of the
society is more important.

One should observe also other countries
than those where the radical movements
went too far. For example in Finland there
was a right wing movement and in 1932
there was the "Mäntsälä rebellion" where
the movement started to oppose the
government openly. The key single reason
that killed that "rebellion" was the
speech of the president (also a right wing
man) where basically he told the men that
they are now working also against him and
that they should go home. That was pretty
much the end of the story.

In the light of this discussion I'd say
that the balance was sufficiently strongly
on the side that at some point extreme
opinions start making more harm than good.
Most of the members of the movement
understood this. It is good to
intentionally maintain an image of a
working society that may allow all
opinions and that makes balanced decisions
taking all the opinions into account.

The breathing space also keeps hate and
distrust at some reasonable limits. No
need and interest to drive your viewpoints
forward with violence then.


> Fred Gohlke
> ----
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