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10 April 2011

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Adam L. Silverman

Twit: I didn't mean to leave Justice out of the mix. I think that a good deal of what we would construe as Just would be resolved if we hammer out just what public goods should be and therefore what the social contract should be.

Adam L. Silverman

JT Davis: I agree 100% that folks lift one sentence from Smith's very voluminous (if I may use the phrase) Wealth of Nations and then fetishize it. Also, thanks for the info on the Jefferson quote. I've been looking for both the exact wording and where he wrote it/said it for several years and had little luck.

Adam L. Silverman

Steve (and anyone else interested): I strongly recommend this excellent piece by Freeland on the topic you've raised:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2011/01/the-rise-of-the-new-global-elite/8343/

The author makes a clear and cogent argument for why the elites in the US have essentially broken their ties to the rest of us, further invalidating the social contract.

Adam L. Silverman

COL Lang: I am definitely in agreement that regional, religious, ethnic and other differences make discussion of a social contract, or a singular social contract for all Americans difficult. That said I do think there are certain things were broad agreement can be found leaving the differences to be dealt with. In specific regarding the issue of guns and abortion I think its less the coasts versus the interior - and please remember the majority of Americans live on the coasts and not in the interior - but rather the extremists on the issue that prevent the majority of Americans from enacting reasonable compromises.

Adam L. Silverman

Arbogast: G-d Forbid!!!!!!

William R. Cumming

The Woodrow Wilson Center has posted a web broadcast and paper by a Mr. Y. on where US national security "narrative" should go. The broadcast was April 8th. I found the broadcast slightly more interesting than the paper but perhaps some contribution to the dialectic. Tom Friedman, Brent Scowcroft, Robert Kagan, and Congressman Ellison participating. Anne Marie Slaughter also involved in both the doc and the webcast. I think PL and commentators on this list might have done better.

Sidney O. Smith III

As long as one person, one vote is ensured, then why shouldn’t the focal point of government power, at least at this time of history, start to trend more to the States?

If the people of State A want to go the way of Ron Paul, then have it. If the people of State B wants to go the way of Tom Hayden, then have it. Such an approach would create diversity -- a term strongly contrasted to multiculturalism in which those with access to the power of a national government tell others what is correct and how to live.

Under this approach, if you don’t like the jurisdiction in which you live and prefer another way of life, then other State jurisdictions would be available.

Problems arise when a national government becomes over centralized and acts only on behalf of special interests, whether such interests support a corporatist state or otherwise. Much mischief can take place, including ripping the American people off to the turn of trillions of dollars.

History has demonstrated that people are held more accountable when political decisions are made at the local level. It’s easier for nationalists to steal trillions of dollars than someone on a local school board to misappropriate two hundred.

Patrick Lang

Adam

"please remember the majority of Americans live on the coasts and not in the interior"

So, what? Do you believe that this is a federal republic or not?

What difference does it make if most Americans live in big cities or not?

If the states are administrative units like Australian states or French departments then let us get on with changing the constitution to remove fderal elections from the power of the states, getting rid of the "great compromise" in the senate and the presidential electoral college.

None of that will happen because the original constitution would not have been ratified without those featues and it is still a bargain among the states.

If you say that this issue was settled by the outcome of the WBS, then you favor government by force majeur. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks Dr. Silverman for that cogent and I believe correct response to my very brief comment. It might be of interest to some to learn that all nuclear power generation facilities in FRANCE and JAPAN have standardized control rooms but not in the US. So operators moving from one to another facility in the US must undergo retraining. It is my belief this is accurate but perhaps some plants--I believe there were five manufacturers in the US---may have standardized their own designs.

And noting for the record after the close of the first month Japan's event is trending upwards not down in its serious long term impacts on that nation-state. IMO of course.

The Twisted Genius

Dr. Silverman,

Most of the public goods you mention are commonly accomplished at the state and local level and, I believe, best accomplished at that level. The exceptions are health services in the form of Medicare and Medicaid and national defense. I would add judicial protection to the national level goods. States and localities can and should be allowed determine the public goods and establish social contracts among their citizens to the maximum extent possible, including health care.

Because of the inevitable disparity of social contracts that would be established among the states, the states should also be allowed to control immigration at their borders. Although this will certainly lead to major problems, it would be necessary to control access to social goods, especially health care. The federal judicial system would assume increased importance to settle intra-state issues and, most importantly, state - corporate issues. It would also have to deal with massive state immigration issues.

I look forward to seeing this idea ripped apart by those much more versed in constitutional and legal matters than I.

JTCornpone

Thank you Adam for a great post.

So many things to say in 15 lines. First, I don't think the current libertarian/tea drinkers want a discussion, they want capitulation. I think from my observations of 50 years that they want to obliterate the social structure of the new deal entirely. No more social contract.

I worked for Bell Labs for 26 years. When I started it was a regulated monopoly, the inventor of the transistor and arguably the laser. As regulated they had to license the use of the transistor without charge. If they were allowed to charge what the transistor was worth, the current technology we depend upon would have been retarded by years and Ma Bell would be Microsoft.

In the early 1970's Nixon's attourney general, Bill Saxby from Ohio moved to break up Ma Bell which eventually succeeded. I think it was done because Ma Bell was a regulated monopoly that was working very well for society and this was anathema to conservatives. Universal service was the mantra. When Bell Labs went down, other companies discontinued research on that scale and GE labs, Westinghouse Labs and RCA labs went down also and now are also no longer a significant factor in fundamental science.

This eventually had an effect on my later life by causing me to be retired from Lucent Tech. even though I had never worked for them. Lucent decided to terminate dependent health coverage for retirees 5 years after I retired causing me to spend $1000 per month for health insurance for my wife but that's not the point of this comment but it is why I'm for Obamacare.

The curent extreme libertarian thrust by the Koch brothers, Murdoch, and other oligarchs who control the Republican Party IMHO is bent on destroying any working socially controlled entity. Starting with regulated monopolies like Bell Labs and Ma Bell 30 years ago, down to Medicare and Social security today, any working socially regulated entity must be destroyed. We are at a high watermark of a long ago generated tide and anyone who is not independently well off by now will be washed away. Military and government employees and retirees beware. You are entitlements too. Sacrosanct for now but in the threatened shutdown troops in the field would have gone short on pay. There is evil afoot and its considerable financial resources have been completely unbound by the supreme court. You have been warned.

Best

JT

Patrick Lang

JT Cornpone

Your reading skills have not revealed that "posts" are unlimited in length. pl

steve

@arbogast

"I live in France. I'm not afraid of being shot."

I live in Iowa and I'm not afraid of being shot either. And I suspect that Iowa has far, far higher rates of gun ownership than France.

I lived in New Orleans where I was genuinely afraid of being shot.

In Iowa, guns are used to shoot small animals. In Louisiana they are frequently used to shoot people.

@Mr. Silverman

Thanks for the link. I will read it.

Andy

This is a large, diverse nation, and so there isn't one "commons" for most things. Attempts to impose the standards of the "coastal" American commons on flyover country (and visa-versa) will inevitably generate backlash. The principle of subsidiarity is one that I think works well for the USA and it is what I personally subscribe to when considering political power at the various levels of government.

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

@Dr Silverman, great post! I hope we can get to the point of having the discussion, but given the immaturity of our people and the fatuous (& profit-driven) nature of our 4th Estate, we're doomed.

@commenters - thanks to you as well for the thoughtful posts. I'm with JT Cornpose and agree 100% his observations that federal/military pensions are at risk. And soon. The Koch's & their ilk are "owners" and they want their "property" back.

RP

JT Davis

"What difference does it make if most Americans live in big cities or not?"

-pl

I have always felt some restrictions on firearms,as to type, make sense as a result of population density. Wyatt Earp felt similarly, and to be sure, he had some "liberal" attitudes. It makes little sense for an urban, high density city dweller to own an assault rifle for personal protection and home defense. He may want one for sport shooting but this just illustrates some of the problems with federal regulations at state and local levels.

"Most of the public goods you mention are commonly accomplished at the state and local level and, I believe, best accomplished at that level."
-The Twisted Genius

I have to disagree with this most vehemently,and would like to think it most obvious to anyone. There is a vast difference between public goods and federal regulations concerning firearms which do have local applications.

Patrick Lang

JT Davis

You have completely missed my point and validated it all at once. The issue is not the specifics of gun control and for example abortion. the issue is simply the question of who has the right to establish the norms, You, as an urbanite? Why? Because there are more of you? this is a recipe for revolt. pl

William R. Cumming

A ferocius but accurate last comment by PL!

William R. Cumming

TTG! Actually depending on whether SCOTUS overturns its own precedents [some over 100 years old] on immigration some may be surprised at how much control the STATES have over immigration. Not citizenship but immigration.

Essentially for over a decade SCOTUS has ducked the hard issues while pretending to be doing its job. Well be interesting to see if they do it under Roberts or wait for the next Chief Justice. They [SCOTUS} finally seem to have gotten the message that 5-4 opinions erode their authority and depict not competence but its absence.

William R. Cumming

From an earlier comment by PL on this post:
"If the states are administrative units like Australian states or French departments then let us get on with changing the constitution to remove fderal elections from the power of the states, getting rid of the "great compromise" in the senate and the presidential electoral college.

None of that will happen because the original constitution would not have been ratified without those featues and it is still a bargain among the states.

If you say that this issue was settled by the outcome of the WBS, then you favor government by force majeur."

Hit the nail on the head on that comment Patrick!
what did you major in a VMI? What was your branch commission in?

Patrick Lang

WRC

English. Infantry. pl

Nancy K

My feeling on gun control and abortion is a simple one. Those who want guns have them those who don't want guns don't. Those who want an abortion, have one those who don't, don't. Everyone needs to stay out of everyone else's business. I don't want some religious nut telling me what to do with my body and I'm sure he or she does not want me telling them what they can do with their gun.

Nancy K

addendum to what I just wrote. I am not implying people with guns are religious nuts. I have a gun. It is impossible to legislate gun control and abortion, these are such volitle issues.

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL and the world's most dangerous weapon a literate infantryman!

Shades of SASSOON in some of your posts.

Patrick Lang

WRC

Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, JRR Tolkien. Maybe.

I think I owe more to Conrad and Hemingway. pl

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