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Opening Arguments

All for one and one for all

Hoosier superdelegate Joseph Andrew, as all political junkies know by now, has violated the rule of sticking with the one you brought to the dance and ditched Hillary for Barack. Lots of people have lots of things to say about that, so I'll just remark on his unintended perfect description of what the Democratic Party is about these days:

Here is my message, explained in this lengthy letter that I hope is perceived as a thoughtful analysis of how to save America from four more years of the misguided polices of the past: you can be for someone without being against someone else. You can unite behind a candidate and a vision for America without rejecting another candidate and their vision.

Well, no, you can't. Your aren't for one person and against another; you listen to their ideas and visions. Some ideas are right, and some are wrong. Some visions make sense, and some don't. You accept the right and sensible, which means rejecting the wrong and nonsensical, even if that means rejecting (hurting the feelings of) the people who insist on clinging to the wrong and nonsensical.

How could anyone -- indeed, millions of anyones -- think like this? Well, it's easy:

The difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that you are always welcome in the Democratic Party.

Because Democrats don't care if you are black or white or brown or a nice shade of green, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you pray in a church or a synagogue or a temple or a mosque, or just before math tests, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care if you are young or old, or just don't want to tell your age, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care what gender you are, or what gender you want to hold hands with; as long as you want to hold hands, you are welcome in the Democratic Party.

We don't care about the size of your bank account, just the size of your heart; and we don't care where you are today, just where you dream you want to be tomorrow.

Notice the superficial diversity valued here -- what people look like or how much money they have or what age or gender they are. Not a single thing about what they might think. OK, I'm old and white and middle class and Midwestern. Am I an acceptable Democrat? That tent got enough room left in it?  OK, fine. I also believe in a limited federal government that leaves me alone and doesn't spend too much of my money, and I value individual responsibility over group identity. Hello? Still there? Can you hear me now?


Fri, 05/02/2008 - 8:20am

>>I also believe in a limited federal government that leaves me alone and doesn

Fri, 05/02/2008 - 8:21am

Hmm, I messed up some brackets there --

"I also believe in a limited federal government that leaves me alone and doesn

Bob G.
Fri, 05/02/2008 - 11:06am

Read you FIVE BY FIVE here, Leo...
Sometimes, it's like looking in a mirror (metaphorically-speaking).

Doug...aren't one's ACTIONS (all religion aside) also "all about thought" (as in WRONG actions vis-a-vis criminal intentions due to irresponsible behavior).
...Just a "thought".



Harl Delos
Fri, 05/02/2008 - 12:12pm

Poor guy, you must feel awfully alone just now and for the past 40 years, give or take.

Close to fifty. The thing is, there are a LOT of us who feel awfully alone.

The thing is, a conservative isn't threatened by racial diversity; he figures that America's multiracial makeup is one of her strengths, sorta like a biologist talks of hybrid vigor, and he believes in a colorblind government. That's not true of liberals, nor of the neo-cons who have come to dominate the Republican party.

Nor is a conservative threatened by religious diversity. Most people pray to the god of Abraham, whether they're jewish or christian or muslim, and the ones that pray to other gods, well, they're usually pretty good people, too. Even atheists tend to have the same ethical ideals. But a conservative treasures the Constitution, and the First Amendment is highly important; not only should government not promote one religion over another, but it shouldn't even recognize religion. The theocrats who have come to highly influence the GOP favor fundamentalist christianity over everything else, and liberals want to give tax breaks to churches, not because they are functioning as non-profit charities, but simply because they are churches.

Conservatives do care about age. Children are naive and that's why conservative want to protect them. Liberals want to give them freedom from supervision, and neo-cons want to prosecute them as adults, even though they are incapable of protecting themselves when adults, who may have a conflict of interest, can coerce them by threatening to deprive the child of food, clothing, and shelter.

Conservatives also care about the elderly, who often get treated with disrespect. Liberals make fun of the elderly, claiming that they're too stupid to have wanted to vote the way they actually voted, and in their arrogance, claim to know better. Neo-cons want to deny the elderly the ability to work, so that they can't get health insurance, and they set up a drug plan with a big "doughnut" in it, hoping that any with serious problems will conveniently die.

Conservatives remember that the traditional definition of marriage was "one man and one woman OF THE SAME RACE" and recognize that stupid things happen when government tries to take over a religious sacrament. Neo-cons conveniently omit that last part because they're embarassed by their opposition to miscegnation, but they want to use government powers to promote their own religion. Liberals ignore the common law, which allowed anyone to marry over the age of 6, and ignore jewish tradition, which says someone is an adult at 12, and ignore biology, which establishes puberty at about that same age, and try to raise the age of consent to 14, then 16, then 18, then 21, then 35, as if you can prevent the tide from coming in by royal decree.

Conservatives don't care about the size of your bank account; they typically started out broke and built something, not by being a wage-slave to someone else, but by starting a business, and they want to keep the barriers low to young adults trying to do the same. Neo-cons figure that the way to get money is to swindle someone on Wall Street, and the way to get away with it is to share your wealth with lobbyists. Liberals want protect "jobs" because they figure people are too dumb to be their own bosses, so they try to create barriers to young adults creating competition for big corporations.

A government that pretty much leaves you alone, Leo, doesn't have a need for much of your money, and if the government leaves you alone, that pretty much forces you to be responsible for yourself.

There's a reason why the blue states are on the coasts, and the red states are in the middle. The coasts are crowded and if you're elbow-to-elbow, you need someone to keep order. The great fly-over gives you the space to do your own thing without intruding on your neighbors - and it makes it highly impractical to do things like mass transit.

But the economy is changing, and people are finding it easier - and obviously cheaper - to live in the center of the country instead of in the overcrowded rat warrens of the coast. That's why the red states are gaining population faster than the blue states. Some blue states are actually expected to lose population in the next 25 years.

It's not necessary to tell liberals that they're stupid; they aren't stupid, just ill-informed. Just point out to them that they could live a lot better on the same income if they move to the center of the country, and within a few years, they'll see that conservatives are right.

And it's not necessary to tell neo-cons that they're stupid. They are, but as their policies bit them in the kiester, they'll eventually figure that out. Think of it as evolution in action.

Right on, Leo!

Fri, 05/02/2008 - 1:40pm

Mr. Delos:

You obviously have way, way, way too much time on your hands. This has enabled you to become a master of over -simplification of complex issues. Fortunately, my time does not permit me to argue with each of the misstatements in your long post.

I will just say that, based on your rules, I am not a conservative, liberal, neo-con, or, like Leo, a libertarian. I guess I'll have to settle for being an independent, since I fit none of your descriptions or, for that matter, Leo's description of himself. Independents tend to look at issues on their own pluses and minuses and not how they jibe with a prepackaged ideology.

I will allow myself the luxury of refuting the merits of one of your sacred cows, however: entrepreneurship. I don't deny that it has and does play a vital role in the the economic life of the nation. But to even infer -and you have- that those who work for salaries are somehow inferior or lazy or that everyone should aspire to running their own business is just ridiculous on the face of it. I didn't buy that philosophy 43 years ago in graduate business school, and I don't buy it now. It would be the same as saying everyone should aspire to be doctors or, God forbid, lawyers.

And, while I'm on a roll, I totally reject your notion that if you "Just point out to (liberals) that they could live a lot better on the same income if they move to the center of the country...", they'd see that conservatives are right. First of all, it is very difficult to duplicate typical incomes from either coast in the middle of the country, and then there are those of us who have always found it much more important to live where we want rather than what we do or how much we make.

I never cease to be amazed at how many of those who post on this blog are obsessed with their wallets. If the most important thing someone does with their life is build and try to maintain their wealth, it is a life very poorly lived.

tim zank
Fri, 05/02/2008 - 4:32pm

CED...just one small point. in r/e :

"If the most important thing someone does with their life is build and try to maintain their wealth, it is a life very poorly lived."

That's easy to say if you're using someone elses wallet.

Fri, 05/02/2008 - 4:41pm

Well, Mr. Zank, I know how paranoid you are that some of your dough would accidentally fall into anyone's else's hands, since the whole world revolves around your net worth, but be assured that the only money I have comes from my own wallet.

In fact, if anybody I know died tomorrow, I'd be asked to chip in to pay for the casket. And I probably would.

Harl Delos
Fri, 05/02/2008 - 5:47pm

I didn't say a wage slave was inferior, but the State of Indiana sure does.

Indiana companies killed 92 employees in the course of their employment last year. How much are those wrongful deaths worth? A maximum of $318,000. On the other hand, if a doctor causes a wrongful death, the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund will cough up a maximum of $1.25 million.

When Lincoln emancipated the slaves, a lot of them were reluctant to stop being slaves. Their owners had an investment to protect, so he had a reason to make them better when they got sick or injured, and he felt responsible for them when they got old.

A wage slave? An employer can get rid of him at any time. You and I both know of employers that regularly get rid of workers as they get older, as their health care costs increase, and replace them with younger, cheaper workers.

The wage-slave isn't able to ensure the security of his wife and children, or even himself. All he can do is beg of his employer.

Fri, 05/02/2008 - 6:14pm

"I didn

Fri, 05/02/2008 - 9:13pm

Mr. Delos:

Were you drunk when you wrote your last post ?

No sane, sober person could possibly defend your assertion that those who work for another are, by definition, wage slaves.

I have read your bio on your website. You apparently have been an active and successful entrepreneur yourself. Congratulations. Does this mean that those who worked for you in your various enterprises were all wage slaves? Did they beg of you for their security and that of their family? How important and superior that must have made you feel, then.

Get a grip on reality, for God's sake!

Harl Delos
Fri, 05/02/2008 - 11:23pm

W.D., there's a difference between being inferior and being vulnerable. Someone weak, slow, and clumsy is inferior in a football game. Someone who's not wearing a cup is vulnerable. People have different athletic abilities and can't help being superior or inferior. If they refuse to wear a cup, it's their own fault their vulnerable.

CED, if you're sane and sober, tell me where to find a definition of wage slave that suits you.

www.srds.co.uk/mdg/dictionary.htm says a wage slave is "a person who is wholly dependent on income from employment."

The Free Online Dictionary says a wage slave is "A wage earner whose livelihood is completely dependent on the wages earned."

Merriam-Webster Online says a wage slave is "a person dependent on wages or a salary for a livelihood"

Like I pointed out, it's a historical fact that many slaves wanted to continue working for their former owners after the emancipation proclamation. It's not comfortable giving up security in exchange for freedom. As James F. Bymes said, "Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death."

Does this mean that those who worked for you in your various enterprises were all wage slaves?

If my payroll was their sole source of income, yes.

Did they beg of you for their security and that of their family?

I don't like being a slave holder. Where I could, I dealt with self-employed persons rather than employees, and when I could, I tried to encourage employees to become independent.

As Hodding Carter said, "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other, wings."

And yes, it is paternalistic and a little insulting to treat your employees like children, but it's even more paternalistic and far more insulting to keep your employees as children, dependent on you.

How important and superior that must have made you feel, then.

What made me feel happy was knowing that, if I were to be killed by a watermelon falling from an airplane, the people working with me wouldn't suddenly be without an income. Spell BOSS backwards: it's "double ess oh bee".

Sat, 05/03/2008 - 8:08am

There is no definition of wage slave that suits me. It is terminology I would never think of applying to people because I find the entire concept insulting and condesending.

You are fostering a concept that, in its essence, says that ONLY persons who are self-employed have any real worth in the economics of a society. I reject that idea categorically. For far too many reasons to go into here, there are millions, if not billions, of people in this world who do not even want what you apparently do, much less have the option of starting businesses.

As I have said previously, entrepreneurship is a wonderful thing. It is not the Holy Grail. Obviously, your experiences in the world of commerce have been vastly different than mine. Maybe that has something to do with our seemingly divergent views of the value of work and the morality involved in the employer/employee relationship.

Harl Delos
Sat, 05/03/2008 - 9:44am

You are fostering a concept that, in its essence, says that ONLY persons who are self-employed have any real worth in the economics of a society.

No, I'm saying that they are the only ones who have any FREEDOM.

Peter Eckrich and Sons tried for years to force wages down in the Osage plant by making it less profitable. If a product was selling well, they'd move it to another plant, and they'd bring some slow-selling, less-profitable product to Osage Avenue.

The employees pulled a nasty trick on them, though. They made better product than any of the other Eckrich plants, and when a slow-seller started being made in Fort Wayne, it would start to sell better and better. Part of it is getting the spices right, but part of it is good sanitation: Moms don't choose what their families eat so much as replenish supplies, and if the last hot dog tastes as good as the first, it gets eaten instead of just sitting in the fridge.

But when there was a pissing contest between the president and chairman of Beatrice Foods, and when president Donald Eckrich lost that contest, as one would expect to happen, the business that shared Eckrich's name was turned over to a bunch of idiots from Swift, who had already demonstrated a marked lack of business savvy. They closed the plant on Osage Avenue, and moved production to a high-volume, low-cost, factory that produced crap people didn't enjoy eating.

So despite their highly-successful efforts to make Eckrich profitable, despite the best efforts of management, the employees manufacturing Eckrich products in Fort Wayne were tossed aside.

It doesn't matter if a flea eats well, gets plenty of exercise, and gets the best of education, if he lives on the belly of a retriever, and the dog's owner goes duck hunting, the flea is likely to drown.

You don't use the terminology because you find the concept insulting and condescending? And I suppose you don't have a definition you like for "cannon fodder", either. And you don't have a definition you like for "whipping boy"? And you don't have a definition you like for "sacrificial lamb"?

Closing your eyes doesn't keep it from happening, CED; it guarantees it will happen. The guy who got out of high school in 1965 and went to work building IHC trucks had one of the best jobs in Fort Wayne - but with kids a few years from college and a big mortgage that wasn't yet paid off, he found himself out of work in the early 1980s. The same goes for the guy who went to work for Gladieux Refinery, or became a maintenance man for G. C. Murphy or the W. T. Grant warehouse.

If he'd had his eyes open, he'd have become a chiropractor, or started washing windows for a business, or started repairing well pumps, or become a farmer, or dry cleaner. Yes, they all experienced ups and downs with the economy, but they didn't find themselves without no income and no insurance at the age of 55, taking a minimum-wage job as a greeter at WalMart because nobody else would hire someone of that age.

Maybe that has something to do with our seemingly divergent views of the value of work and the morality involved in the employer/employee relationship.

If someone is introduced to a man, they ask him what he does for a living. It's not just the defining characteristic of a man in our society, but creating something of worth, whether it be a bushel of corn, a clean window, or a properly-functioning septic tank, is the salt that makes life satisfying.

But you seem to be saying self-employed people don't work. The average farmer works 16-18 hours a day during planting and harvest seasons, and probably works 2500-3000 hours a year, compared to the less than 2000 hours most employees work, after vacations, sick days, etc. The standard joke about being self-employed is that although you work seven days a week, you only have to work half-days - and you can pick which 12 hours you want to work.

Self-employment isn't an alternative to working. It's simply taking responsibility. The self-employed person chooses where and when to work, and decides the standards by which he judges the quality of his work.

The guy who owns a septic tank cleaning business has unpleasant work by most people's standards - but he has freedom. A top executive at Lincoln a few years ago would have worn nice suits to work, and sat in a fancy office, and seemingly had a lot of power - but when the move came, he had to give up his home, his church, his friends, and yank his kids out of school and move to Philadelphia. Yuck. What do you think his nearly-engaged daughter thought of that?

Morality in the employer/employee relationship is the golden rule - he who has the gold, makes the rules. It's not exactly prostituting yourself; after all, a street-walker is self-employed, and doesn't have to accept every john who approaches her.

Sat, 05/03/2008 - 10:08am

There are a number of dictionary definitions for things that don't really exist: chimera, dragon, yeti, and unicorn come to mind. But I digress.

Anyway, you win. You have exhausted me with some of the most specious reasoning that I have ever been exposed to.

Let's just say that I have determined that what is important in life to you, based on your bio and your posts is not, in general, important to me. The same is true going in the reverse direction, I'm sure.

And so, we are very different. A common human condition. Have a nice weekend.