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Leftwing & Rightwing Anti-Centralized Government

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Woodland_Annie, Jan 16, 2006.

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  1. Woodland_Annie

    Woodland_Annie Member

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    Some food for thought for all of us, regardless of political beliefs. It expresses my beliefs better than I can myself. BTW Backwoods Home magazine is devoted to personal liberty, gun rights, and self-reliance.

    We had always been told in school that we Americans have the right to abolish our government when it no longer served us. - WoodlandAnnie


    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/wolfe97.html

    Activists on both the left and the right spotlight a broken federal government

    By Claire Wolfe

    On October 28, 2005, 400 citizens of Vermont met amid the pomp of their capitol building and voted to secede from the Union. The media, to say the least, was surprised. Those who noticed (which included CBS News and the Christian Science Monitor) treated the story as a novelty, only slightly more serious than the latest sighting of the Virgin Mary’s face in a Texas taco. But the vote was the first rumble of what could become a political and cultural earthquake. And Vermont isn’t the only state on the fault line. Other secessionist or state sovereignty movements are building from Hawaii to New Hampshire.

    Millions of Americans perceive that the federal government is broken and might not be fixable. They view centralized power as heavy-handed, intrusive—and yet useless when it’s called upon for help, as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    Right or wrong, like them or not, state sovereignty activists say, “We have a solution.”

    Their solution is radical local activism to restore power to citizens at the state level. They aim to make state laws that counteract federal ones. They hope to preserve local or regional cultures against homogenization. They’re all aiming for their idea of freedom—although often their concepts of freedom are diverse, to say the least.

    Watch them: They may be the vanguard of a much larger movement of frustrated citizens who feel helpless to achieve their aims at the federal level but who aren’t willing to accept the status quo.

    The Vermont meeting was a gathering of activists, not a session of the state legislature, so the secession vote has no legal force. The members of the Second Vermont Republic (SVR) consider it simply the first of many planned steps.

    The SVR is “left-wing.” In addition to opposing big government, it also opposes “big business, big markets, and big agriculture” and what members see as a dreary, institutional sameness being imposed on the entire world.

    But secession isn’t inherently left-wing. Secession is simply the separation of one political entity from another. And it’s just one of a number of related ideas now being actively promoted.

    Next door to Vermont, for instance, the libertarian Free State Project (FSP) aims to encourage enough activists to move to New Hampshire to permanently alter that state’s politics. They want smaller government, a free-market economy, and the ability to “just say no” to the worst federal laws and bureaucratic policies. The FSP has already signed up 7,000 of a hoped-for 20,000 activists.

    The FSP and the SVR arise from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They differ in tactics and goals. The FSP is not secessionist. But both groups share that key central concept: local activism to achieve aims that can’t be achieved at the federal level.

    Other sovereignty movements have arisen in Hawaii, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska, among other places. The group, Christian Exodus, aims to spark an en masse move to South Carolina. There, they hope to gain control of the legislature and run state government on religious principles.

    Others would like to unite Canada’s western plains provinces to the USA’s western mountain states, pointing out that they have more in common with each other than with their respective eastern urban centers.

    Some groups, like the FSP, are determined to work within the system. Even the most radical secessionist groups hope to “go in peace.” They want no trouble, just to be left alone.

    “But isn’t secession illegal?” some object.

    Actually, probably not.

    The U.S. Constitution is silent on secession. But the 9th and 10th amendments make it clear that states have higher authority than the federal government in all but a few specified areas. Those same amendments proclaim that the people have rights, while the central government has only limited powers delegated to it by the states and the people. In other words, since the Constitution doesn’t say that states can’t secede, then naturally, say the organizers of the SVR and other secessionist groups, they can.

    But of course, theory and practice are two different things. The last time American states tried to act on such a claim, the federal government overpowered them, with catastrophic loss of life on both sides.

    Will the Second Vermont Republic—or any other regional independence movement—succeed? The example of 1861 sets a disastrous precedent for those who want the most radical solutions. On the other hand, the former Soviet republics more recently separated from Russia without war. And historically the boundaries of countries are ever-shifting.

    It’s probably a long way to the first true secessionist vote. Possibly no such vote will ever be taken. But even if these projects don’t achieve their ultimate aims, they do succeed in bringing activists together. They shine much-needed light on deep national problems. They get people to think “outside the box.” Organizations like the SVR and the FSP could renew the cultural climate of their states and restore an independent spirit to parts of North America. That alone could be a worthy goal.

    For more information:

    The Second Vermont Republic, PO Box 1093, Montpelier, VT 05601, www.vermontrepublic.org
    The Free State Project, PO Box 1684, Keene, NH 03431, 1-888-532-4604, www.freestateproject.org
    The American Secession Project, www.secessionist.us (This is a web-only listing of many secession and free state projects.)
     
  2. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

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    btt

    One of the things that originally attracted me to the Green Party was that one of it's key values is decentralized political power. At the time it was considered a "third way" alternative. That was before the right-wingers took over the media and portrayed anyone who doesn't agree with Limbaugh as a leftist.
     
  3. Woodland_Annie

    Woodland_Annie Member

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    Thanks Malone! I agree with many of the Greens' values as outlined in their web site. I couldn't find anything about gun-control or RKBA specifically, pro or con. Perhaps they would leave it to the individual to decide for him/herself...what a novel approach!:D Please correct me if I'm wrong, though I hope I'm not.

    You don't have to be a particular political persuasion to distrust government involvement in what are essentially personal decisions. Or that the system is basically unfixable. I hear that from people all across the spectrum. That was the point in posting that article.
     
  4. dm1333

    dm1333 Member

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    Haven't seen the article yet but I am a fan of the magazine. I don't want to secede but I would like a viable alternative to the Repubicans and Democrats. I don't understand why I can't have guns and the environment from the same party.(and ethics, let's not forget that one!)
     
  5. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    The root of the problem. The real target often becomes freedom of choice. How many of these "anti-big government" folks would rather see Wal-Mart or Microsoft broken up before bloated, unconstitutional government agencies like the EPA?

    Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Microsoft, etc. did not "impose" anything on anyone. IMHO, there's a HUGE difference between big government and big business.
     
  6. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    http://www.gp.org/platform/2000/#criminal

    Sorry folks. I support much of the environmentalist viewpoint as well, I just happen to think that good environmental intentions are often twisted by politicians and implemented with a non-local, bureaucratic iron fist when done at a national level.
     
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    States taking back power from the federal government? I'll believe it when I see them wean themselves from the federal government's money.
     
  8. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    nail, head
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    Hard to wean yourself off of something that was taken from you in the first place.
     
  10. Kodiaz

    Kodiaz member

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    Our Fed. gov. is way to big it's needs to be cut back bigtime. My cousin says govt. is like the mafia they always want more. Our fed gov needs to get a major cutting back
     
  11. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I hear about stuff like this all the time ... I even hear the terms "Left Libertarian" and "Socialist Libertarian" thrown around, but I just don't for the life of me understand how someone can be both Leftwing and anti-centralized government.

    :confused:

    The left doesn't like "big business" ... but most "big" businesses start out small and grow big (WalMart for example). So how do you stop small businesses from becoming big without a large centralized government?

    The left wants strict environmental laws ... laws that heavily restrict or eliminate outright the rights of property owners. How do you enforce these laws without a large centralized government?

    The left wants things like "universal health insurance" and/or "socialized medicine", but how do you 1) pay for such a thing without a large centralized government taxing everyone or at least forcing a segment of the population into indentured servititude (doctors and nurses and such). or 2) how do you administer such a thing without a large centralized government?

    The left wants the poor fed, clothed and housed for free. How does one achieve this without a large centralized government to take from those who have to give to those who don't (either via taxation or outright redistribution of wealth/property) or again a large centralized government to force a segment of the population into indentured servitude (farmers, ranchers, construction workers, etc)?



    I'm sure there are many here who consider themself a "Leftwing Anti-Centralized Government" type ... please explain what that means.


    Or is a "Leftwing Anti-Centralized Government" type nothing more than someone who is both pro-choice and pro-gun?
     
  12. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

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    The quote is from the 2000 platform, which was after the Naderites took over. The greens were hijacked by basically reform Democrats about the time Nader became their candidate. At the time I supported Nader because I thought it would help the party reach more people. Unfortunately, it also brought in a lot of people who were just angry about the Democrats rightward tilt during the Clinton years.

    Too bad, there was a real potential there.

    Supporting big governmental solutions has been the kneejerk reaction of a lot of leftists, but it's not necessarily the only one. Actually, the Walmart example: local communities have been the most effective counter to the bad effects of Walmart.

    The laws that I think we would all agree can be the most restrictive usually originate at the very local level. Think neighborhood zoning. The problem is those restrictions often serve no real environmental purpose.

    I don't see how the governments of Canada or France, which have socialized medicine, are any larger or more centralized than the US, which does not have socialized medicine, but has a huge corporate bureaucracy. In the US, we spend roughly twice the percapita rate as France for a health care system that covers a smaller percentage of the population. Somehow ours is considered more politically correct because it belongs to the "free market." But it's still controlled by a detached bureaucracy that cares bugger all about the patients.
     
  13. LAK

    LAK Member

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    I have thought for a while now that one of the only political solutions to the problem of our current usurpers in Washinton DC is just a few States legislatures and governors with a backbone. That is about all that would be needed.

    ---------------------------------------------

    http://ussliberty.org
    http://ssunitedstates.org
     
  14. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I think you are on to something here. Excellent post, with way too much to think about this early in the AM.

    I think your descpription of the left is pretty accurate. It made me think about some things. I have beliefs that fall all over the political spectrum. I am staunchly pro-capitalist and anti-socialist and don't like the government interfering in my business, which happens to involve the motorcycle industry. But if industry was left to its own devices, the country would be covered with soot and ash, so there has to be a compromise somewhere.

    Also, letting a free-market economy thrive is different than bending over backwards for big business and basically handing it the keys to the brothel that is Washington D.C., which is pretty much what happens now.
     
  15. Wllm. Legrand

    Wllm. Legrand member

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    Secession, while legal, will probably never be allowed. There was an incident in the 1860s that had secession as its focal point and was supposedly "decided" by force. Mistakenly, though. That is why the leaders of the Confederacy were never brought up on charges of treason. What was done had no prohibition, despite the "glorious Republican" assertions.

    That is, an agreement democratically entered (like a unilateral contract, one that can be broken by either party, with or without cause, and without prejudice, or, "right to work" employement agreement as an example) can be dissolved by the same process by which it was entered. That was the theory, so it goes. There was a hubbub of activity in the 1830s in the N.Y./Atlantic states region over slavery and secession that never went anywhere.

    Public perception is crucial to these kinds of actions. Until such time as the public understands that John Wilkes Booth was the patriot and Lincoln got what was coming to him, it's a moot point. If only Booth would have acted four years earlier, it could have saved the South from an unconstitutional war that brought it destruction on the level of what happened to Soviet Russia at the hands of the Nazis in WWII.

    BTW, I am firmly in agreement with the previous paragraph. I was not until I did significant study of the causes of the "Civil War" (a misnomer...the South did not try and overthrow the North, the North's goal was to prevent the South from exercising their liberties as articulated in Declaration of Independence). But that's a topic for another show.
     
  16. tube_ee

    tube_ee Member

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    A good set of questions, and since I fall into the "social libertarian / economic liberal" category, I'll try to answer from my own perspective.

    Regulating business doesn't require a large central government, it requires governments (at whatever level) that are willing to act to limit the power of businesses. It's not the size of any given business that bothers me, it's the effects of that business and it's practices on people that bother me. If, for example, WalMart undercuts local businesses by selling products at a loss (they do) until all competition is gone, two groups are hurt. The owners and employees of the businesses forced to close, and the consumers in that area, because once the competition is gone, WalMart kicks the prices back up to a profitable level, which can be even higher than the businesses they were undercutting before. If they choose to pay their employees very low wages, and offer no benefits, we are all hurt by that, because we are forced to pick up the tab for food stamps, Medicaid, etc. In essence, what WalMart is doing is pushing some of thier cost of doing business off onto the taxpayers. It's that that I have a problem with, not WalMart's size.

    If your right to do as you wish with your property includes killing my kids, there's a serious problem with your values. The proper level for the administration of environmental laws in that level that encompasses all of the effects of whatever damage you're causing. Air moves, water flows, and the person your pollution harms may be hundreds of miles away. My concept of Federalism is that the the level of government assigned to a problem needs to be large enough to span the problem, but no larger. Given the fact that Nature repects no man-made lines, this is probably a good place for central government action, at least in theory.

    Governments collect taxes. Taxes are part of the price we pay to be part of a society. With regard to health care, arguments fall into two categories, moral and monetary. As the Right has no problem basing public policy on private morality, I'll feel free to do likewise. The right to life has no income requirement. On a financial level, the current system simply doesn't work. We pay more, per capita, for the entire US health care system than most countries whose health care is funded by taxes, and we get less. Health care, even here, isn't a free market now, and won't ever be, as no market can be truly free if "buy nothing" isn't an option. If I don't like any of the screwdrivers available, I can do without a screwdriver. If I don't like any of my health care choices, I can die. Some free market.

    No leftie with even a semblance of a clue says that. Straw man, try again.


    To me, at least, it means that I should be free to do as I please, unless my actions infringe on another's freedom. If your free actions are to the detriment of society, that's not OK. "You" are not greater than "me", or "us". Also, if you recognize a "right to life", that seems to me to include a "right to health." It means that the State needs to shut up about any questions of religion, including whether or not God (or gods) exist. The Government can't have an opinion here. It also means that, wherever possible, differences in power between free citizens should be minimized. In particular, it means that the only advantage that wealth should grant is the ability to buy more stuff. It means that I believe in capitalism, but I also believe in regulation. Unregulated capitalism has been tried, and I have no desire to live in the 1880s.

    Really, I'd be a Libertarian, except that I don't see property rights as superior to all others, and all too often, Libertarian economic principles lead to oligarchy and oppression.

    Where is the contradiction?? To assume that all lefties are anti-gun (although many are) is as fallacious as to assume that all righties are anti-abortion (although many are.) NOTE: "many" != "most"

    --Shannon
     
  17. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    tube_ee, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions ... while its pretty clear I disagree with you on most of your points, its nice to know that some people in this form can disagree without being disagreeable.

    I don't see how that can be done with a small, non intrusive government. The manpower alone dictates a large intrusive government. Not to mention the fact that lots of rules and regulations requires more enforcers and less freedom for business owners (which does NOT help out the poor and downtrodden as such things tend to leave them unemployed).

    I don't buy all that about Walmart ... simply propaganda and lies spread by Walmarts competition so they can get the government to step in and eliminate their biggest competition. But thats not even the point, it IS about Walmarts size because a small company couldn't do all the evil you accuse Walmart of.

    Okay, that's not a straw man?

    Still requires large powerful government and certainly not a libertarian one.

    All taxes are collected at the barrel of a gun (don't believe me? stop paying your taxes and eventually men with guns will show up).

    However I'm willing to accept that some limited taxation is necessary, but in order to do all the wonderful things the left wants government to do it will require a much larger chunk of MY money and thus will require a large centralized government to force compliance with tax collection.

    Ah, so when people you disagree with do it its bad, but when you do it its good?

    Anther straw man. I don't believe we pay more and get less in the US ... I can go to a local doctor, negotiate a price for his services and even a payment plan if I can't afford it all up front. Under any form of government run health system I lose that freedom. Less choice ALWAYS costs more.

    You still have the choice ... you can also choose to buy your health care elsewhere. Health care is not under some sort of centralized control so you can shop around (which is the essence of a free market). Whats ironic is that if the left gets its way then there will be a monopoly on health care, one run by the government, with all the negatives of a monopoly (ie no choice). Plus if you're forcing me to pay taxes for it I've then lost my "buy nothing" option.


    Speaking of straw men. :scrutiny:
    There are plenty of lefties who want the poor clothed, fed and housed for free ... its called welfare.



    Here at least we agree ... however I believe that if your actions include lots of government regulation and high taxation then you're infringing on MY freedom.

    Again we run into the problem of who gets to define what actions are "to the detriment of society". You lesson freedom and increase the centralization of government when you start legislating morality (especially when you don't extend that same power to those you disagree with).

    You are falling for the classic failings of leftist thinking ... you seem to think that 1) Rights can exist where they create obligations for others and 2) equality of outcome is more important than equality of opportunity.

    You should grow corn ... you have enough straw men to frighten away all the crows for miles. :)

    Property rights are an extension of the concept of "ownership of the self" ... if you don't own the ground you stand on, you can't own yourself and you become someone else's property.

    In addition, every time libertarian economic principles are allowed to flourish you end up with freedom and prosperity on a wider scale ... oligarchy and oppression always show up when you eliminate property rights and abandon libertarian ideals (look at nations that have embraced Communism).



    There is no contradiction there ... its just that in the context of American politics, those two views are seen as attributes of opposite camps and thus I asked the question as if to ask "are people claiming the title of 'Leftwing Anti-Centralized Government' type because they don't feel comfortable in either the Republican or Democrat camps?"
     
  18. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    "...once the competition is gone, WalMart kicks the prices back up to a profitable level."

    Nope. The competition that loses out is the group selling low-end retail and providing little or no service. Still, by and large, the consumer wins insofar as everyday items.

    I do a lot more browsing than buying. High-end malls to Big Lots. I've yet to see anything at Wal-Mart which wasn't among the lowest prices for any chainstore operation and for a given quality. Wal-Mart's "stuff" is generally of better quality than Dollar General or Family Dollar.

    :), Art
     
  19. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    I'm no fan of WalMart's business practices, since I am one of their suppliers and they regularly brutalize their suppliers without the benefit of lubrication, but neither am I a WalMart basher. Having lived in a western state where the choice for many items was either shopping at the local WalMart or driving a 220-mile round trip to pick up the same item at the nearest city of any size, I am grateful for WalMart. WalMart is what it is, and in many ways represents the best and worst that a free market has to offer. I'm willing to accept the negatives of a free market in order to enjoy the benefits.
     
  20. xd9fan

    xd9fan Member

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    justa side note here..... this article reminds me of the civil war. That war should have been renamed. A civil war is when two sides fight for the controling power....that was not the case with the war of 1860-1864. The South wanted to leave and the North forced them back in. The south leaving was a threat to the growing centralized Govt. (side point: Its beyond sad that the South had slavery and used it as "their right")
     
  21. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    In a nutshell that is what I believe.

    Therein lies the difference between me and most people I know on the left ... they have the opposite view.
     
  22. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    that's why we in the South call it "the War of Northern Aggression" or sometimes "the recent unpleasantness".
     
  23. DRZinn

    DRZinn Member

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    Name just once.
     
  24. xd9fan

    xd9fan Member

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    and this is THE problem with the states.....they are all weak.....and need mothers milk. They will never learn to become strong again...not in my lifetime.
     
  25. tube_ee

    tube_ee Member

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    Try the Industrial Revolution. Even here, the 1880s and 1890s were pretty much hell for anyone whose name wasn't Rockefeller, or Morgan, or Carnegie. The same arguments about government regulation of business were made then, and then, they were the law. The results can be found in any history book.

    Unregulated, unrestricted capitalism can be as oppressive as unrestricted socialism, or unrestricted anything else. Extremes are usually bad.

    I wouldn't want to live in the McKinley era... Or 1920's Russia.

    --Shannon
     
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