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Liberals and Size of the State

BigRat
Posts: 465
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3/27/2013 10:53:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
If a liberal (meaning social liberal not classical liberal) were to argue with a conservative of libertarian about what liberalism or progressivism was really about, the conservative would likely say that liberals support expanding the state in all instances. The liberal would counter with something to the effect of saying that they only support expanding the state in pragmatic cases because it helps people.

This is an interesting discussion. However, one thing needs to be clear: every single major piece of legislation or idea coming from the left involves an expansion of the state (putting foreign policy aside for a second). There is not one cause or act that president Obama or anyone in the congress with a D after their name has taken up that involves shrinking the state.

The only cause that liberals have ever been on the side of freedom on is the drug war. And, of course, this is one of the few issues where Obama has broken from his liberal tendencies.

Instead, we see the president successfully pushing through legislation that massively expands state power in the health care industry, massively expands regulations in the banking industry, increases taxes on businesses and investors, and many other similar initiatives. We also see failed initiatives to dramatically expand the role of the state in the energy industry (cap and trade) and to expand the failing state run school system (as well as opposing any efforts to open it up to any sort of competition). By the way, another area Obama has veered from the left is in his support for strict standards in public schools. He's a committed and reliable leftist when it comes to the welfare state and regulation but when it comes to any of the few positions where leftists want the state shrink, he takes an opposing position. Hence, my argument that Obama is not a radical leftist at all but simply a radical statist.

Liberals would argue that this is merely pragmatism. They think al of these things will help society. They are wrong on that point but that is not the point of this post. All of their "prescriptions" involve expanding the state. But, they claim that they would never support expanding the state just for the purpose of expanding the state.

And how about things like licensing reform?

This is a common sense, pragmatic reform that should get universal support. However, many on the left oppose it. Why?

Well, the way I see it folks on the left want to create a narrative of "we need a larger state to help solve our problems". Supporting a common sense reform like licensing reform or trying to end the cruel and inefficient drug war go against this narrative. So, liberals are either quiet or in opposition.
My-Self
Posts: 92
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3/27/2013 11:14:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I recommend reading a book to allow your biases to weaken. The name of the book is _Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution_.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org... http://www.amazon.com...
"Genesis could be compatible with anything. Theologians are great at mental gymnastics." ~ phantom
BigRat
Posts: 465
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3/28/2013 12:25:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/27/2013 11:14:11 PM, My-Self wrote:
I recommend reading a book to allow your biases to weaken. The name of the book is _Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution_.


http://www.c-spanvideo.org... http://www.amazon.com...

Odd. I've read (most of at least) that book.

I agree with virtually everything in that book.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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3/28/2013 12:38:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/27/2013 10:53:27 PM, BigRat wrote:
Liberals would argue that this is merely pragmatism. They think al of these things will help society. They are wrong on that point but that is not the point of this post.

Actually it is the point. You use liberal solutions to existing problems as evidence that liberals are really just trying to expand the state as it's own end, yet you don't want to discuss any individual issue so you can prove your point. In your last thread you asked why liberals want more government. You got many liberal answers which showed your premise to be inaccurate, yet you failed to reply to a single one and instead responded with another blanket assertion of how liberals want more government. That is kind of like me accusing an employer of racist discrimination for hiring a white person, but when they pull out the resume's they received I refuse to look and see if any of the minorities who applied were actually qualified for the position.
BigRat
Posts: 465
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3/28/2013 1:44:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 12:38:58 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 3/27/2013 10:53:27 PM, BigRat wrote:
Liberals would argue that this is merely pragmatism. They think al of these things will help society. They are wrong on that point but that is not the point of this post.

Actually it is the point. You use liberal solutions to existing problems as evidence that liberals are really just trying to expand the state as it's own end, yet you don't want to discuss any individual issue so you can prove your point. In your last thread you asked why liberals want more government. You got many liberal answers which showed your premise to be inaccurate, yet you failed to reply to a single one and instead responded with another blanket assertion of how liberals want more government. That is kind of like me accusing an employer of racist discrimination for hiring a white person, but when they pull out the resume's they received I refuse to look and see if any of the minorities who applied were actually qualified for the position.

First, you are confusing me with someone else. That wasn't my thread or my responses. So, everything you wrote here is based on an attack that should be directed at someone else.

I will gladly defend my assertion that plans to expand the state are bad for society.

The argument I am making here is not that liberals want to expand the state for the sake of it. It is that liberals want to believe in a narrative that a more expansive state is necessary and, at times, they will choose defending a more expansive state over supposedly liberal principles just to avoid anything that goes against this narrative.

For years, I have heard liberals say they are against the drug war. They are correct in this. But, as soon as a liberal takes office, the drug war is just doubled down. Liberals may put this as evidence of him not really being a liberal. But, I don't think so. Liberals take the streets to fight for more state involvement in the economy and various sectors. They take to the street to expand the government's involvement in marriage to same sex couples. I don't see them taking to the street to fight against the drug war.

Obama is a big fan of the "we need a bigger state" narrative. And, fighting against the drug war would go against this narrative. So, he doesn't fight it.

I'm sorry that I can't stand this cheerleader for statism that we have for a president. And, yes, he is much more statist than other recent presidents.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
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3/28/2013 9:56:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 1:44:23 AM, BigRat wrote:
At 3/28/2013 12:38:58 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 3/27/2013 10:53:27 PM, BigRat wrote:
Liberals would argue that this is merely pragmatism. They think al of these things will help society. They are wrong on that point but that is not the point of this post.

Actually it is the point. You use liberal solutions to existing problems as evidence that liberals are really just trying to expand the state as it's own end, yet you don't want to discuss any individual issue so you can prove your point. In your last thread you asked why liberals want more government. You got many liberal answers which showed your premise to be inaccurate, yet you failed to reply to a single one and instead responded with another blanket assertion of how liberals want more government. That is kind of like me accusing an employer of racist discrimination for hiring a white person, but when they pull out the resume's they received I refuse to look and see if any of the minorities who applied were actually qualified for the position.

First, you are confusing me with someone else. That wasn't my thread or my responses. So, everything you wrote here is based on an attack that should be directed at someone else.

My mistake. Although you did twice contribute to the thread with blanket statements about how liberals just want to expand government while ignoring the many responses given which addressed that very notion.

The argument I am making here is not that liberals want to expand the state for the sake of it. It is that liberals want to believe in a narrative that a more expansive state is necessary

That is a pointless argument to make. Expansion of the state is a result of the liberal belief that government can actually solve problems. Solving our problems are what we care about, not the expansion of government. The drug war example is a horrible argument. I don't know anyone who really cares about it one way or the other.
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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3/28/2013 11:32:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Early 20th century progressivism, which is what modern liberalism is based on, was so far on the left side of the spectrum that it would make Rachel Maddow look right wing. They literally viewed Leninism and the Bolshevik experiment as a "great success" and Mussolini, according to them, was a "great statesman." Not to mention that one of the most prominent founders of modern progressive thought, Herbert Croly, fully condemned individualism, in favour of collectivism in relation to the State. Wilson saw the State as an "organic" and "Darwinian" force of nature that justified its "evolution" into virtually all aspects of private life.

And don't get me started about FDR.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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3/28/2013 11:34:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Oh yeah.. and does anybody remember the Espionage and Sedition Acts?
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
BigRat
Posts: 465
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3/30/2013 9:57:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 9:56:45 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 3/28/2013 1:44:23 AM, BigRat wrote:
At 3/28/2013 12:38:58 AM, Double_R wrote:
At 3/27/2013 10:53:27 PM, BigRat wrote:
Liberals would argue that this is merely pragmatism. They think al of these things will help society. They are wrong on that point but that is not the point of this post.

Actually it is the point. You use liberal solutions to existing problems as evidence that liberals are really just trying to expand the state as it's own end, yet you don't want to discuss any individual issue so you can prove your point. In your last thread you asked why liberals want more government. You got many liberal answers which showed your premise to be inaccurate, yet you failed to reply to a single one and instead responded with another blanket assertion of how liberals want more government. That is kind of like me accusing an employer of racist discrimination for hiring a white person, but when they pull out the resume's they received I refuse to look and see if any of the minorities who applied were actually qualified for the position.

First, you are confusing me with someone else. That wasn't my thread or my responses. So, everything you wrote here is based on an attack that should be directed at someone else.

My mistake. Although you did twice contribute to the thread with blanket statements about how liberals just want to expand government while ignoring the many responses given which addressed that very notion.

The argument I am making here is not that liberals want to expand the state for the sake of it. It is that liberals want to believe in a narrative that a more expansive state is necessary

That is a pointless argument to make. Expansion of the state is a result of the liberal belief that government can actually solve problems. Solving our problems are what we care about, not the expansion of government. The drug war example is a horrible argument. I don't know anyone who really cares about it one way or the other.

I know liberals say and think they are just about "solving problems", but it is hard to take that seriously. Virtually all of the "problems" they want to solve with more state were caused by a state intervention in the first place (classic example being health care). Either liberals are obsessed with state expansion or truly stupid.
lannan13
Posts: 23,074
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3/30/2013 9:59:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/28/2013 11:34:07 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Oh yeah.. and does anybody remember the Espionage and Sedition Acts?

I thought it was the Aliens and Sedition Acts. Yes I remember them.
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Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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3/31/2013 11:56:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/30/2013 9:59:58 PM, lannan13 wrote:
At 3/28/2013 11:34:07 PM, Lordknukle wrote:
Oh yeah.. and does anybody remember the Espionage and Sedition Acts?

I thought it was the Aliens and Sedition Acts. Yes I remember them.

No. You're thinking of the Alien and Sedition Acts passed in 1798 (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

I'm talking about the acts passed by Woodrow Wilson.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

http://en.wikipedia.org...
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."