Tag Archives: free speech

Words of Warning and Wisdom

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Merry go round horses

Here’s a great Robert Heinlein quote from one of his books: “Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.” – Robert Heinlein

And here’s a Tea Party rant today.  See any similarities?  Unless we make the right to vote conditional on paying taxes or being off government support, this is what we will get.

“By any objective measure, Mr. Obama’s first term has been a colossal failure. His signature legislative achievements — the economic stimulus and Obamacare — are unpopular. Unemployment has remained chronically high. Economic growth is sputtering. The recovery is anemic. Inflation is rising. He has presided over multiple, consecutive trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits. He has amassed more than $5 trillion in debt. The national debt is more than $16 trillion — a staggering amount that threatens our economic security. We are sliding toward Greece and impending bankruptcy. Yet the electorate rewarded him with another term.

“Why? The answer is simple and ominous: because more than half the population — 50 percent plus one — is dependent upon government benefits. For the past four years, the Obama administration has created a Franco-German welfare state whose sole purpose is to forge a majority political coalition wedded to the Democratic Party. The stimulus; the health care overhaul; the redirecting of financial resources to the inner cities; the explosion in the number of Americans on food stamps and welfare; the massive spending increases in public education, infrastructure and agriculture; the green-energy boondoggles; the bailouts of the auto industry; the contraceptive mandate; the federal funding of abortion; support for homosexual “marriage”; and pushing amnesty for illegal aliens — all of these measures directly bought off key liberal constituencies, such as unions, public-sector workers, environmentalists, blacks, Hispanics, feminists and the homosexual community.

“In short, America has been fractured into two nations: the tax producers and the tax consumers, the givers and the takers, those who generate wealth and those who exploit it. Mr. Obama has peeled off the larger chunk. The productive classes are being harnessed into subsidizing the nonproductive elements. Statism and sex trump entrepreneurship and self-reliance.”

Benjamin Franklin’s Junto

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Benjamin Franklin is one of my favorite American success stories.  I picture him with a    twinkle in his eye and a salacious bounce in his step.  But for all of his “Hail Fellow Well Met”  bonhomie, he was actually a very wise man with an eye to improving the future.  Take the concept of his Junto group.  (Description taken from PBS website.)

“Ben Franklin was a gregarious person, who loved sitting down and having long conversations with friends and acquaintances. In 1727, Franklin organized a group of friends to provide a structured forum for discussion. The group, initially composed of twelve members, called itself the Junto.

The members of the Junto were drawn from diverse occupations and backgrounds, but they all shared a spirit of inquiry and a desire to improve themselves, their community, and to help others. Among the original members were printers, surveyors, a cabinetmaker, a cobbler, a clerk, and a merchant. Although most of the members were older than Franklin, he was clearly their leader.

Franklin describes the formation and purpose of the Junto in his autobiography:

I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year, [1727] I had form’d most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.

The Junto’s Friday evening meetings were organized around a series of questions that Ben devised, covering a range of intellectual, personal, business, and community topics. These questions were used as a springboard for discussion and community action. In fact, through the Junto, Franklin promoted such concepts as volunteer fire-fighting clubs, improved security (night watchmen), and a public hospital.”

Would Congress work better if they shared interests and ideas in a social setting rather than just committees?  I don’t think large cocktail parties count.  Maximum eight people, and they follow The Junto rules of Benjamin Franklin.  We say we send the politicians to Washington to work.  But wouldn’t it be better if, before they work, they discuss, share, grow mentally, learn and cooperate?  Where did we go so wrong?

Tell it like it is.

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From a great comment by Jake over at Monsterhunters Blog.  Jake, if you are ever in the neighborhood, I would love to buy you a drink!

“Democratic civility: “If you believe things contrary to what I do, I will call you a bigot. Just letting you know.”

Democratic compromise: “Here’s my deal for you. I’ll tell you what I want, and you’ll give it to me.”

Democratic racial tolerance: “Romney is out of touch because black people don’t understand savings accounts.”

Democratic free speech: “The US strongly denounces this despicable video. They had no right to say those things.”

Democratic religious tolerance: “Suck it, Catholics – we’re the moral authority here, not you, so we’ll tell you what’s what on abortion.”

Democratic non-interference: “Israel has no right to defend its settlements or its people. Until they shape up and stop hassling those poor, defenseless Palestinians, I’m not even going to meet with them about Iran.”

Democratic economics: “That guy over there has more than you. He must have stolen it from you! Get him!”

Democratic military affairs: “Those Navy SEALs did an excellent job. Good thing I was there to make it all happen!”

Democratic foreign affairs: “My most-of-one-term as senator makes me far more qualified on foreign affairs than my opponent. Why, I organized entire neighborhoods! The most he’s ever organized was the Olympics, a state, and some multinational corporation!”

And finally, Democratic responsibility: “And my policies would have worked, if it hadn’t been for those meddling Republicans!”