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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The we decade?

OK for this part, though it sounds a trifle ambitious:

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation's challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps.

But, good lord, no, on this part:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.

I know I've written this before, but doesn't he recognize the oxymoronishness of "mandatory voluntarism"? The post includes a quote, apparently from Obama, that says the American ideal is that we want "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans." No, no. The American dream is based on the idea of individual pursuits, not the subordination of the individual to the group. This nation was founded on the greatest political idea in the history of the world: Rights inhere in the individual. Anything that weakens dedication to that principle is to be viewed with suspicion, and this would do it great damage.


Bob G.
Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:24pm

I love the way you expressed the American Dream.

You are NOT guaranteed "happiness"...just the ability to PURSUE it...and *if* you find it, all the better.

Sometimes the happiness lies in the (personal) challenge or "the hunt", as it were.

Well said!


Fri, 11/07/2008 - 4:25pm

"The American dream is based on the idea of individual pursuits, not the subordination of the individual to the group."

Leo, in your world of black or white - no greys allowed- you have subliminally inserted the word SOLELY after based and the word COMPLETE before subordination in the screed above.

My American dream is based on ideas expressed in, among other places, the preamble to the United States Constitution, which to me sure sounds like both individual rights and obligations to the greater society that the individual is part of were on the minds of the framers of the larger document.

The fact that we have different ideas of what individual rights, societal obligations, indeed, even happiness and/or freedom mean is precisely what the founding fathers hoped to have happen in the country they started. When it is all one way or the other, as you imply, is when we get into serious trouble.

Leo Morris
Fri, 11/07/2008 - 4:37pm

Yes, we all have different ideas on what those things mean -- that's the whole point. You pursue yours, I pursue mine, and if we decide to help each other, so much the better. But drafting our kids to MAKE them help others in the pursuit? No way.

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 4:49pm

IF we decide to help each other, so much the better? IF? See, here's the deal. We are obligated to help each other. I am talking now from a moral standpoint, not a legal one. So, I am not defending the mandatory service idea, but anything short of that which can foster an increased spirit of altruism will only make this country stronger.

tim zank
Fri, 11/07/2008 - 8:50pm

Hey boys, here's a newsflash. Find me ANYWHERE in the preamble, the constitution itself, or any freakin ammendment thereof that says, implies, or even relates to me paying for my neighbors shit, your shit, the poors' shit, the richs' shit, the Yugoslavians shit, my ex wifes' shit (after child support of course), the local veterinarians shit etc., I mean come on. I got your greater good right here (holds nutz with both hands) and you can't have it.

Sorry...Bite me....I pay more in taxes to support shitheads right now than most other people, and I am not rich by any means. Now I have to look forward to "helping" another entire generation of asswipes that refuse to get a job, pay for their cars and houses and kids etc....

Tell ya what boys, I have another kid starting college next year, how about you and your pals all pony up another $20k to $40k an send it my freakin way?????????

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:44pm

Ah, you did the biting. I knew you would.

Well, I'll tell you what, pal. If everybody had your slant on things, this country would have ceased to exist generations ago. The idea that the only thing that matters is yourself is so bizarre that it would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

Apart from what the the preamble, constitution, amendments or anything else states, human decency has been around one hell of a lot longer that any of that and is vastly- no wait, that's not the word I want..oh, yeah - infinitely more important than any any of them. I'll take my chances with living my life in a way that shows I don't think I'm the freaking center of the universe, as you apparently think you are.

Anybody whose tax burden, while important, is the focal point of their life, and that's what it sounds like it is for you, has their priorities so screwed up that you have guaranteed yourself a miserable existence.

So good luck to putting your kid through college. That was something I did for myself, by the way, since I didn't have someone as magnanimous as you to pay my way.

Bob G.
Sat, 11/08/2008 - 11:56am

Got some interesting views on the "me" thing....
Goes like this...

Every single one of us has a duty to THEMSELVES FIRST...without that "centrality" of the personal universe gig, we will never be in ANY shape to help ANYONE at ANY time for ANY reason...simple, huh?

After that, as long as we are accountable to OURSELVES first, THEN we can include those we choose to help, and given the nature of the human race, we more than often choose TO HELP, rather than ignore, and that goes for most everyone.

But to mandate, insist, require, or otherwise force people to help others without regard for themselves and their situations FIRST, that' s just plain ridiculous.

We volunteer because we CAN, not becasue we are MADE to.
Drafting citizens as soldiers is one thing...drafting them to help front those who choose to NOT do anything is quite the other.

Morally, we ARE bound to hellp one another...but take into account the ability to freely give that help, personal universes not withstanding.


tim zank
Sat, 11/08/2008 - 4:14pm

CED, Along the lines of what BG said, I prefer to donate to whom I choose. I give dutifully to my church, which helps thousands of people in my community and missions worldwide. I donate substantially every year to United Way and my wife is on the local board. I donate to my school systems by sponsoring numerous events year round. I donate to The Steuben County Community Foundation twice a year, which in turn helps out local agencies serving those in need. I help host the bloodmobile at my office twice a year. I spend a few hundred a year sponsoring Cameron Memorial Hospital Fund to buy new equipment. I donate my time for projects at Trine University at the business school.

I'm leaving out a number of things, but my point is, I go above and beyond the call of duty helping others and I don't need, want or require my frickin' government (which wastes aprox 50 cents out of every dollar it grabs from me) or any other liberal ne'er do well to take anymore and redistribute it to those THEY deem worthy. It's absolutely socialism and has NO place in this country.

Sat, 11/08/2008 - 5:10pm

Well, excuse me, Mother Teresa, I mean Mr. Zank. I couldn't hear about all the wonderful things you are doing because your previous post was shouting too loudly. That you are able to do all these things in Stueben Couty is all the more remarkable, since it is populated by some of the most litigious people I have ever encountered. I say this based on over 40 years of firsthand observation, but that's another story.

At no time in my posts did I say that service to others should be a legal requirement, but only that there's way too much of the "I got mine, so to hell with you" mentality in this country. That's what needs to change if we're ever going to get past the ridiculous state of nastiness and division in this country.

When your frickin'government is controlled by so-called conservatives and the price of that government goes through the roof on their watch (and yes, I mean before Pelosi and Reid), I guess that's not socialism by your standards. So if your taxes go to line the pockets of fat cats on Wall Street or in the oil industry, among others, I guess that means corporate welfare doesn't count as redistribution of wealth.

tim zank
Sat, 11/08/2008 - 8:11pm

CED..I guess I'm fortunate I haven't been sued in the last 21 years up here. I grew up in Ft Wayne and found that county pretty damn litigious, and I miss it about as much as a I would a recurring case of the clap. That being said, I am just as pissed, dissapointed, and generally disgusted with the fiscal performance of the last eight years as I am scared to death of the next eight. I got surprised by the Republicans, and it pisses me off no end, but with The One, we're being told up front, so we at least have a chance to stave off some of it.

I don't think our government should be bailing ANYBODY out, corporate or personal. It's not the job of the government, period.

Milt W
Sun, 11/09/2008 - 1:22pm

What Tim said, and what Bob said, and what Tim said.

CED can move to Russia.

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 10:49am

And I'll help buy the ticket, ...

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 11:33am

Milt and Larry: What well thought-out and articulate comments!

For my part, I would like to suggest where you two can move. You don't have to worry about helping anyone, because everybody there is beyond help. On the plus side, it's much warmer than Russia, I hear.

Having said that, I'd like to know where I veered off from standard reactionary thinking and into bolshevism. Reviewing my posts, I pointed out that I do not support manatory public service, but think that citizens should be encouraged to be involved in public service as much as possible, and that is in line with the intent of the constitution, along with the protection of individual rights.

I also stated that moral imperatives are more important than political ones. If you think politics are more important than morality, you need to re-think that. That doesn't mean your politics or morality have to line up with mine, but the relative importance should.

I pointed out that both sides of the political spectrum are very capable of wasting tax dollars, and, indeed, have done so very skillfully. I even was so bold as to call a spade a spade when it comes to the idea of redistribution of wealth. Probably stepped on some wing-tips there.

I guess it must have been when I said that people in Steuben County like to sue each other. Sorry, but I'm not backing off from that. I saw that time and time again for many years, so I'll just go with my own experience on that one.

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 11:53am

CED - I think one place you veered off track was by implying that it was everyone's moral duty to do something - and, for my money, the one thing besides political discussions that is about as likely to irk someone as not is someone trying to apply his own morality to others. Like Tim, I pay way too much taxes to the government already (according to the national stats, I pay enough in taxes to support a family of 4) and, yes, I got surprised by the last 4 years of uncontrolled spending - I would like to not only have a say in what my tax money is spent on but would like to keep as much of my money as I can - selfish, yes, but hey, I earned it. The other thing that irked me over the last 8 years was the propensity of the sitting administration to invoke the "I'm right because God said so" line while wasting all my tax money. Don't tell someone else how to be moral, just like most everything else, we all have our own ideas about how to do that. What we all do down here seems to work in my neighborhood, ...

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 12:17pm

"I think one place you veered off track was by implying that it was everyone

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 12:39pm

And as I said - that's where you veered off course - you can't impose your faith or your faith's tenets onto me. Doesn't matter where I am, what religion I am, or any aspect of my life - not your job, ...

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 1:19pm

Where was I imposing my faith or it's tenets on you? I'm not talking about legally requiring anything of you or anyone else.
What I am saying is that, legal requirements notwithstanding, we are indeed required to help others, if we can. You can believe otherwise, but I will continue to support my beliefs, as I assume you do yours.

tim zank
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 2:37pm

Where you made your mistake CED is by assuming you knew something the founding fathers were "THINKING", since they never wrote down anything close to your "All For One" moral mantra.

Here's a great analogy similar to what BG was saying about taking care of yourself first.

Just before take-off on any airplane, the flight attendant always points out the oxygen mask and emphatically implores you, in the case of an emergency, ALWAYS PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST!!! AND THEN HELP OTHERS!!! (cuz ya can't help anyone if you don't help yourself first)

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 2:38pm

CED: From the earlier post "We are obligated to help each other. I am talking now from a moral standpoint, not a legal one." - I can only assume you're not referring to the "royal we", ... hard to miss that one, ...

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:16pm

Mr. Zank:

I don't have a single problem with taking care of yourself first. It is when it stops there that I have a problem. And again, it is helping others when we can. And by the way, telling others what the founding fathers were thinking is a cottage industry among your ilk. I just thought I'd get in on that action.

You're right , Larry, I should have said we are ALL obligated..., even Texans.....

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:25pm

No, wait , Larry,Texas has already given us W for the last eight years. ...You've done enough.

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:27pm

From the previous post - right next to each other, ...
"I don

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:35pm

OK, let me spell it out, using real small words.

Taking care of self first: good.

Once self taken care of, and still have ability to help others, but decides not to: bad.

Class dimissed!

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:47pm

Oky doky, I was just going for clarification and I think I got it - that means that someone else gets to decide that if I have the ability to help someone but don't, I'm a really bad person. Sure sounds something like wealth redistribution to me, ...

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 3:51pm

And, by the way, if I'm gonna burn in hell for that, it's probably ok - can't be much hotter than south Texas in the summer, ...

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 4:48pm

It is amazing to me that I have had to spend any time at all defending the simple idea that increased, voluntary, public service would be a good thing for this country. When people read a darker agenda into that, it shows how nasty, petty, and mean-spirited many people have become.

"...that means that someone else gets to decide that if I have the ability to help someone but don

Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 5:03pm

CED: Let's be clear - I too believe that "I" should help those in my local community when I have it to offer and can to the extent that I don't jeopardize my families welfare. Perhaps that's the difference, I still put me and mine first, I don't realistically think I CAN help anyone if I'm not on stable ground. And the "darker" agenda is only evident from remarks like "We are obligated to help each other. I am talking now from a moral standpoint, not a legal one." No, we are not. We are all OBLIGATED to do what we can to better ourselves and our families - THEN, if we can do so, we can help others, but I still insist it should be in our local communities. The use of the word "obligated" leads me to believe that you want to decide if and how much I help others according to your rules, ...
Have we beat this horse to death yet,

Mon, 11/10/2008 - 5:26pm

I guess not.


Larry Morris
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 5:42pm

Promises, promises, ...

tim zank
Mon, 11/10/2008 - 6:39pm

heh heh heh...CED could very well be related to Harl....Nice of him to take Harl's place, eh?