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thinkinginpictures
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07 Dec 2013, 3:32 pm

Liberty... that's a nice thing. If only it wasn't restricted to the wealthy classes only, who also use it to abuse the situation of the working poor.

The wealthy people have historically speaking been the ones working and fighting for more liberty.
Historically speaking, the poor classes only went along when drafted, either by the wealthy landlords in action against the "tyranny of the king" or drafted
into the army of the authorities, to fight against the liberty of the wealthy.

Some of them have historically speaking, joined the authorities voluntarily, because they knew that the liberty the wealthy elite was fighting for, was only for the wealthy elite, who could not exploit them.

So was it, at least in Denmark in 1660, when the Feudal Monarchy (electing the king) was turned into Absolute Monarchy (the king inherits the throne) supported by the peasants and merchants in alliance against the landlords.

During the First Schleswegian War in 1848-1851, Denmark got a Constitution, where liberty of speech was to be (somewhat) ensured and the people got a vote...
Except if you don't own your property, of a certain size. Voting was restricted only to men above the age of 30 who owned their own property of a certain size.

The universal right to vote dates as recent as to 1961, when people on Welfare, gained the right to vote, but till this day, the Law does provide for abolishing that right to vote for people on Welfare, with only the parliament's decision to abolish that right (Article 29, The Constitution of Denmark as of 1953).

While I am not saying that the right to vote itself is a sign of liberty, what I am saying, or trying to make a point of, is the fact that liberty and rights and privileges are mainly restricted to the wealthy elite.
They are only ones fully enjoying the liberties in liberal democracies.

For example, the wealthy people are the only ones who can afford to work less time (because of their high salaries). If you earn $100.000/year, and the regular salary and costs of living can be paid for only half of it, you only work half the time of a 37 hour work week. That's ~20 hours work/week.

The only reason to work that little, for other people, would be due to serious disabilities. They are now subject to disability benefits, but they are pressured and forced to work these hours, for less than half of the salary the wealthy people get, even though they have the same type of occupation! Meanwhile, the wealthy elite can afford to retire early, whilst other people have to work till the age of 70, before they can have their Old Age Pension.

I'm not in favor of income equality. But I am in favor of liberty equality.

I believe in Negative Income Tax or Basic Income as it is named.
This is a certain amount of money supposed to be paid to people regardless of their capability to work.

The amount should be equivalent of the Unemployment Benefits.
It should be reduced by 30 % for every other income, until you reach a scale where you pay a regular income tax.

To finance the Basic Income, all we need to do is to abolish all other sorts of welfare benefits, and all the bureaucratic administration costs and forced activation/employment schemes along with it.
This will finance the Basic Income of roughly $22.000/year alone, with the current taxes VAT etc. kept intact (the $22000/year are not subject to be taxed) .

Would people be too lazy to work? Well, I don't care. If people choose to live a life without work, they should be free to do so.
The country would be poorer, and we would eventually have to decrease the Basic Income Salary per recipient, but if that is what people choose to do, it should be their choice.

The government shall not rule the people by forcing them to do stuff they don't want to do.
(That includes all sorts of compulsory labor, including conscription or other national service).

The Government shall only prohibit the people from doing stuff it don't like it to do. Negative Laws (prohibiting, banning) are better than Positve Laws (enforcing, make obligations).

Before you claim that Paying Taxes is a "Positive Law" May I remind you don't actually need to pay taxes if you don't earn money. In fact, at the very basic level, there's only a Negative Tax, giving money TO you, only if you earn more than you recieve in Basic Income, you should pay a tax. That way, it is completely voluntary for people to pay a tax.



Magneto
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07 Dec 2013, 5:38 pm

Why not have actual liberty for all, instead of keeping the aggressor state? Abolish the private ownership of natural resources, and people will have homesteading as an alternative to wage slavery - with access to all the knowledge of the world a few finger taps away. But then again, if wealth wasn't be siphoned off by the state, people would be earning more anyway...

Throw in a bunch of open source designs for personal microarcologies, and you can get the machines to do most of the work for you. Similar effect to a basic income, but requiring some effort, and without statist aggression. Not that the big corporations would support such a thing, since it would lead to their downfall - no-one needs to buy Monsanto-Hovis bread when they have machines which will grow and harvest the wheat for them and convert it into flour, which they can then get another machine to turn into bread...


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thomas81
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08 Dec 2013, 10:35 pm

Its an inherent characteristic of the status quo.

the problem is that capitalism, libertarianism, neo-liberalism, is seeking to reduce liberty down to a mere paradigm of property relations.

Since wealth and property is synchronous, only the wealthy are getting liberty.


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AutisticMillionaire
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09 Dec 2013, 1:26 am

thomas81 wrote:
Its an inherent characteristic of the status quo.

the problem is that capitalism, libertarianism, neo-liberalism, is seeking to reduce liberty down to a mere paradigm of property relations.

Since wealth and property is synchronous, only the wealthy are getting liberty.


No, not just property but self-interest, be it quality health care, housing, career security, education, legal protection and representation or the personal choice to use a firearm to protect oneself. It all cost's money. Freedom cost money...have you never heard that freedom is not free? :twisted:

Most people have to wait to see a doctor, but those who don't want to wait are practicioners of capitalism, libertarianism, neo-liberalism in today's world. When doctors are overloaded only money gains immediate access. That's a boon more valuable than mere property. It's about personal mobility and freedom to do as one will. Abortion was always available to the rich when illegal, it always still accessible. As was booze during prohibition. It's access to freedom.

Drug's, machine guns, airplanes, bodyguards, political access all sorts of stuff unavailable to you or I are both legal and available to the rich. OJ Simpson and Robert Blake were effectively allowed to murder without punishment because of wealth and fame. Magic Johnson cured his HIV/Aids ....wealth has it's privileges, I don't begrudge a person for using their resources and expect them to fight for Liberty when they can.

The short answer is: Wealthy people fight for Liberty, because wealth spoils one to do as they want. One get's used to perks quickly and despises those seeking to limit them.


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ruveyn
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09 Dec 2013, 7:53 am

Not true. The poor are free to leave any time they wish and are able to afford passage.

ruveyn



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09 Dec 2013, 8:51 am

There's the boat, guys ... take it back to your own countries.

@ AutisticMillionaire & Ruveyn: Have you ever noticed that those who complain most about having no liberty are European (mostly from the UK)? Have you also noticed that such people are the first or the loudest (usually both) to criticize America and American values?

If liberty sucks so badly, then they should be happy that they have so little!

:lol: :lol: :lol:



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09 Dec 2013, 9:31 am

Fnord wrote:
There's the boat, guys ... take it back to your own countries.

@ AutisticMillionaire & Ruveyn: Have you ever noticed that those who complain most about having no liberty are European (mostly from the UK)? Have you also noticed that such people are the first or the loudest (usually both) to criticize America and American values?

If liberty sucks so badly, then they should be happy that they have so little!

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Three words: Misery Loves Company.

We don't have liberty in America any more, dear. It's about to be as bad as France or Germany-- and We the People are happily choosing to walk down that road, believing in false promises.

Yeah-- I was stupid enough to vote for the bastard. The FIRST time. I have believed in liberalism all my life, and I don't know what to do now that I don't-- can't-- believe in it any more.


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09 Dec 2013, 12:21 pm

Fnord wrote:
There's the boat, guys ... take it back to your own countries.

@ AutisticMillionaire & Ruveyn: Have you ever noticed that those who complain most about having no liberty are European (mostly from the UK)? Have you also noticed that such people are the first or the loudest (usually both) to criticize America and American values?

If liberty sucks so badly, then they should be happy that they have so little!

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Yes....yes...I've noticed.

That last jokes funny. :D


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thomas81
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09 Dec 2013, 12:44 pm

Fnord wrote:

If liberty sucks so badly, then they should be happy that they have so little!

:

The problem isn't that liberty sucks, the problem is WHO gets to decide what liberty means and why?

As for why i complain as a european about what goes on in america, its because reactionary demagogues in this country want to phase in and are succeeding in bringing over american style infrastructure (private hospitals, private dentists etc).

I want to defend what little socialist infrastructure we have left.


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Last edited by thomas81 on 09 Dec 2013, 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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09 Dec 2013, 12:47 pm

AutisticMillionaire wrote:
have you never heard that freedom is not free? :twisted:



Ah yes, that old chestnut. Taking a hackneyed turn of speech or axiom and presenting it as an absolute truth.

If you present freedom as not being free without having even defined what something as abstract as freedom means, then you've already shut down the debate before its even started.

Freedom can be as free as the society practicing it wants.


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thomas81
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09 Dec 2013, 12:51 pm

i'm starting to get the impression that when rich americans talk about 'liberty' what they mean first and foremost is the ability to act like and be a contemptuous as*hole to anyone less privileged than themselves. What they want is selective freedoms. Freedoms that benefit only THEM.

Oh, that freedom they will fight tooth and nail for but when it comes to the freedom against extortionate hospital bills or freedom against slave wages, that can go to hell.


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cubedemon6073
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09 Dec 2013, 3:23 pm

Thomas, to define liberty we would have to go back to the historical context of liberty as our founding father's envisioned it. During the founding of our constitution, our founding fathers had a big fear of a huge centralized body which had no restraints meaning it was arbitrary. During that time, we were a set of 13 colonies who belonged to Britain and at the time it was governed by King George the IV I believe and Parliament.

For a time, the colonies were allowed to govern themselves because of the vast distances of the Atlantic Ocean. Communication was slower then and we didn't have things like radios. Because of this, the colonialists had to be more autonomous. This autonomy helped to shape who we are as a people today. Later on down the line, the French and Indian war happened and this war cost money. Taxes had to be collected to pay for this war. The central government still considered the colonialists as British citizens and believed the colonialists needed to pay their fair share of these war debts.

The colonialists grew accustomed to a different lifestyle which was more independent in nature. The colonialists especially the more affluent ones wanted to keep to the status quo. During this time 1/3 of the people wanted to break away from the British Empire, 1/3 wanted to stay and 1/3 was indifferent.

They developed a sense of independence because they had to because of the vast distances of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, there was a vast land space in which people looked for opportunity and wealth. People came here to make a name for themselves. Another thing, we have thinking that comes from the puritans which is that we're God's chosen people. We are here to bring God's Jerusalem and his light and glory. This is where the American Exceptionalism comes from. We as a nation are operating on a set of these assumptions which are woven into our cultural DNA.

In addition, we have an assumption of limitless growth. We can have more and more and more. What liberty meant to them was freedom from an arbitrarily rule by a centralized government in which they had little to no representation in it so they could pursue their own wealth without limits. Before we had the constitution we had the articles of confederation in which the centralized government was much weaker than the constitutional one. There were issues with the articles of confederation which is why the constitution replaced it. When we mean rights like liberty we're really meaning constraint on centralized government power. When this country was first founded our rights were intended to apply to the central government only and after the civil applied to the states as well. Our rights in a more concrete sense are not what we really have but restraints on what the government is allowed to do. Our government(s) have certain defined functions.

Our country today is the conclusion of these ideas. We have a different kind of Tyranny today. To illustrate what I mean look at the 10th amendment. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/tenth_amendment Any power that is not given to our federal government is given to the states or to the people. This means any power the states do not have and the federal government does not have the people will have.

This means the corporations will have power and the majority of people with certain beliefs will hold the power in the social context. Because of America's mindset we seek to expand ourselves across the globe in an economic and social way. Instead of conquest and tyranny by government and the military it is conquest and expansion by socialization and economics. By the letter, conservatives like Fnord, AutisticMillionaire, Reuveyn, NT conservatives are technically correct in the things they say. Therein lies the tricky part, the American beliefs by keeping to the letter of them in an absolute manner has become our new tyranny and our downfall. As much as it is weird for me to say this liberty has become the new tyranny. To resolve this, we have to look at the spirit as well as the letter.

Alas Sir Thomas, this shall never happen. People will not think in this way. To fix our problems, we would have to examine our very identity and make the necessary changes needed. We would have to fix our own ontology. The coliseum in Rome, Italy is a testament of what once was the greatness of Rome. Two-thousand years from now, The Washington Monument shall be seen in the same respect when a new nation is trying to understand what caused our downfall.



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09 Dec 2013, 3:32 pm

@ cubedemon.

Thats kindof my point, i'm not completely disagreeing with you. 'Freedom' and 'liberty' are horribly abstract things, and no-one has ever truly defined them.

Any 18th century definition of the term is just as horribly antiquated and not fit for purpose in the modern context.

So for one group to say they have the authority to determine it, portion it or set a price on it, slapping on a tag boisterously and obnoxiously proclaiming to the rest of us plebians that "FREEDUMB AIN'T FREE SONNY!" is absolutely ludricious.


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09 Dec 2013, 3:53 pm

thomas81 wrote:
@ cubedemon.

Thats kindof my point, i'm not completely disagreeing with you. 'Freedom' and 'liberty' are horribly abstract things, and no-one has ever truly defined them.

So for one group to say they have the authority to determine it, portion it or set a price on it, slapping on a tag boisterously and obnoxiously proclaiming to the rest of us plebians that "FREEDUMB AIN'T FREE SONNY!" is absolutely ludricious.


I think where we differ is you're more optimistic than I am that something can be done. I do not believe anything can be done especially when a good chunk of the population are in capitulation with it. Tyranny is an abstract concept as well and I think we need to put a definition to it as well. Technically, it is legally possible to leave our country but it is very difficult to leave especially since a. our country seeks to spread itself socially and economically around the globe so where do we really go? b. other countries have strict requirements as to who can come in. I understand these requirements because it is true there is a limited amount of space and habitable land in their geographical borders.

This tyranny is not like the Soviet Union's tyranny in which people were not allowed to leave and people were murdered. Here you won't be murdered for speaking out but if a person speaks out he will be socially ostracized especially from employment. Politically we have freedom of speech. Socially and economically, we do not. We are controlled in this insidious manner.

Tyranny in this sense means certain rights is restricted by social and economic constraints and it is very difficult for one to leave. One can't speak out, one can't challenge and more than likely one can't leave even though none of these are illegal to do so. Some of them are impossible economically and are socially inappropriate. Let's look at the phrase of our declaration of independence.

Quote:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness


Notice it has the word among. This means we have these three inalienable rights but what if we have others which simply were not stated out. Do we have others besides these three based upon this wording?



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09 Dec 2013, 4:16 pm

I just want a job, and a GF. Why do the laws even need to change?


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09 Dec 2013, 4:20 pm

appletheclown wrote:
I just want a job, and a GF. Why do the laws even need to change?

Theres getting a job, and there's getting a job with a dignified wage and workplace conditions.

You have to understand that the forces at work here that want to uphold the synonymity between property and liberty want you to have as few of these things as possible.


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