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Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. PatsFanInVa

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    What specifically about my point of view is at odds with the Federalist Papers?

    Let's agree to find out the truth of the matter instead.
  2. chicowalker

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    That was more or less shirtsleeve, not me.

    I understand the argument, and I think in some areas it has validity. However, I'm skeptical that it is valid in every area that the Constitution, strictly read, would reserve to the state (or municipality). My argument about changes in the country and the role of states would apply in this case.

    But my question about role of the government would come into play here, either in terms of the constitution or common sense. For example, the federal government shouldn't be fixing the potholes on local roads -- maybe the Constitution spells that out, but a common sense check would say so as well.
  3. chicowalker

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    While all of this may be true, one of the fundamental disagreements among the founders was the role the federal government should play.
  4. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Hamilton vs. Jefferson. The papers at the time were something to read!

    While I generally agree completely with 13 on his points, and the purpose of the Constitution was to specifically delineate and limit the role of the central government, while reserving all rights not delineated therein to the states, or the people as stated clearly in the X, this was a huge departure from the Articles. It gave the central government far more power than many states were willing to cede. In that way, PF is right in that its purpose was to expand the role of central government. This point should not be confused with a thought that the role of central government could be further expanded as the government sees fit, without further ammendment to the Constitution. That is where his arguement loses its wheels.

    Unless I misunderstood the point PF was trying to make here, which is entirely possible.
  5. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Speaking only for myself, it is my opinion that this is a general truism of any government, world wide, now or historically. The more that power is centralized and concentrated at the very highest levels, the more a populace is enslaved to that power.

    It is important to note, as the just previous discussion details, that in this country we have a constitution which specifically delineate and limit our central government's reach. It has been woefully ignored since 1913 (Wilson broke that ice, 13, FDR just went for a long swim in those waters after).
  6. PatsFanInVa

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    Warning, wall of text. But most of it's written by Alexander Hamilton, so be patriotic and read anyway.

    Okay, Chico, thanks for talking to the question I had about the progressively distant types of government. I think in general I agree with you, that a lot has to do with common sense. But I'll blather on about he current mischaracterization (as by 13, above,) of our founding documents.

    But first, for fun, here's a perfect example of "common sense" versus the theorum that "any power the feds have is always abused":

    The Constitution does, in fact, allow the Feds to fill all the potholes, as "post roads" are specifically mentioned as something the Feds can, if they want, take care of through the federal government, and override any claim to roads made by the states. If they want to, via the Constitution and with no argument, the federal government could say "fine, have a local Department of Transportation, but we're going to tax you, and we're going to use that tax to do every microscopic bit of road maintenance we want to... so long as we say that mail might travel on any road." Of course the feds did not do this. Had they done so, letting the Post Office become the Postal Service would have been thornier, and letting the Postal Service just plain die would be impossible. I could however imagine a federal "right" to establish (which they did) and expand the "information superhighway" as the natural extension of the federal right to create and maintain "post roads." Food for Constitutionalist thought (but somewhat beside the point that follows.)

    The Federalist Papers spoke on taxation almost entirely to mollify those who thought they would therefore not be able to raise state taxes, if there were a federal tax as well. They were not very concerned with "tax versus no-tax." They were not concerned the federal government would do "too much" for the people. They were concerned that we would not be able to fund state activities as well as Federal. Read #s 30-36, usually ascribed to Hamilton. For want of space, I'll spare you his dismissal of arguments of "usurpation," but we can do those next.

    So we're concerned with what the Feds are "allowed" to do, and of course, whether they can raise a tax to do it.

    Chico, I would say that the many references to the "general welfare," such as in the first clause of the section 13 quoted, gives the lie to the argument that the federal government can ONLY do thus and such. It is true that they can ONLY do thus and such, but thus and such INCLUDES projects for the general welfare. That's why those words are there:

    In terms of the Constitutional argument against various Federal "overreaches," the first problem is that any such argument is dependent on the words that are there not being there.

    The second problem is that "Publius," in authoring the Federalist Papers, was not so shy of domestic spending for the needs of the people, as are modern conservatives.

    We know of course that there were no airplanes at the time, so providing for roads in the Constitution but not for airports would a huge blunder, were it not for the "catchall" type phrases, such as "general welfare."

    But is the author aware of the terrible, terrible excesses coming from later generations? What if needs in "the future" would be different from needs at the time?

    --FP #30

    --FP #30

    Hamilton's caps, my bolding. Oh and by the way, let me briefly quote him on the necessity of regular taxation as it relates to war debt, just because it's so pertinent to our current crop of anti-Federalists, and their pretensions to roots in the Constitution (and of course in the FP and anything else from the era of tricorner hats):

    -- FP #30

    For any TL;dr types, he's precisely talking about the effect on our credit if we're paralyzed into not raising new taxes.

    Over in Federalist 34 (also ascribed to Hamilton, as are all the papers specifically on taxation...)

    --FP #34

    Far from finally, but finally for purposes of this post, we have this, in case you really truly believe they were concerned that the Feds would do too much for the benefit of the citizens:

    FP #30

    I honestly do not think that men so impressed with the glory of Rome would find it so inimical to the national interests to create public goods, other than that of national defense, some courts, and a few other sundries. That is why, in the first clause of the section of the Constitution that talks about what the feds can raise money for, they talk about the "general welfare," and why Hamilton talks about "liberal or enlarged plans of public good."

    Much in our early documents is concerned with war and the debt arising out of war, but we should not ignore those provisions, both in the Constitution and in the words of the Founders who supported that constitution, that look toward a brighter future. Nor should we ignore the words of Thomas Jefferson on the subject of future aspirations for America:

    PFnV
  7. PatsFanInVa

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    But let's take the literal example of slavery. A large union split into two smaller unions. The Secessionist south feared that the North would be too "intrusive" and impose its "tyranny" on their lifestyle -- which was dependent on slavery, an institution they feared they would lose.

    Upon seceding, they were able to phrase their struggle as "states' rights," meaning that each state should have freedom from the overreach of the federal authority.

    But the fact remains that they fought for the "states' rights" to denude their own people of their freedom.

    What is it about a larger unit of government that makes it more oppressive than a smaller unit of government? Why is it not true in this example? Do you argue that all small village or tribal governments, the world over, are by definition more free than the federal government of the U.S.? Isn't it just as likely that the individual will be subject to all manner of intrusive village habits, from mutilation to witch trials?

    PFnV
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2011
  8. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    When he talks about people in the NE and elsewhere far from the border, I think he particularly has the political class in mind. In other words, those making policy are isolated from the consequences of it. I think that was the point.


    I was thinking about life in AZ, particularly. Things like this:

    Kidnapping Capital of the U.S.A. - ABC News

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  9. patsfan13

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    Even the people who supported 'stronger' central government couldn't have envisioned the cancer our government has metastasized into.


    When the conversations about how the government should be structured the document was written to protect the individual and limit government.
  10. PatsFanInVa

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    I think that's vastly oversimplified. You're substituting a sweeping generalization for the facts on the ground. The big fight was between those who were against a strong federal government and those who supported strong state governments, not over the very notion of having a sovereign. It was a matter of which unit would be the sovereign power, and in many things -- as in, taxation or general welfare programs -- the answer was the federal government. That is not to say a state could not have taxes or programs benefitting the general welfare, but no state could veto the federal government's right to tax for that either.

    There is also the problem (from the point of view of someone who seeks to replace the whole of the constitution and contemporaneous documents establishing the founders' intent,) that they wrote so much specifically against the idea that they could envision all future eventualities.

    Much of that is quoted above, from Hamilton, but there is plenty more where that came from. They were bequething us mechanics of governance, not pre-establishing what percentage of tax would be paid from which source, or establishing what were and were not valid instruments of taxation. Indeed, Hamilton writing as Publius specifically weighs different kinds of taxation and treats them as conditional -- for example, if we were to use taxation method A, we could expect thus and such to happen. He also specifically says that the federal power to tax must be an unlimited power to tax.

    Think about it 13. You can say "The founders were against any amount of government beyond the bare minimum" and then redefine the "bare minimum" to establish that human trafficking ought to remain legal as a "property right" ad infinitum. In fact, something like that is precisely what the seccessionist south argued.

    It's no wonder our founders changed Locke's "Life, liberty, and property" to "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    Even at their most pragmatic, they were still idealists, especially when it came to the idea of avoiding a British system of wage slavery for the industrial working class, or the idea of an aristocracy being established on these shores.

    Look around you. What do you call it when 1% of the people own 35% of the wealth?

    These guys weren't just bumper stickers, they were real, thinking men, and smart ones at that. That's why they weren't rooting for religious unfairness or a continually widening gap between the rich and poor.

    Oh, by the way, particularly the ones we quote... they were also from the East Coast and went to elite universities, like William and Mary and Harvard.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  11. patsfan13

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    Many of the men who wrote the Constitution signed the Declaration of Independence. That document was the basis of the founding of our country. It is quite explicit on the matter of Natural Rights and the concept that citizens give government limited power. Note that government has no power to give 'Rights' to citizens under Natural Law they are endowed to humans by their Creator.

    Now if people want centralized government where government determines what the rights of a person are, how much they can earn is defined by government, well we all can have opinions. Recognize that that is a different theory of government than the one envisioned by the men who wrote/signed the Declaration of Independence & Constitution.


    I think many in this country agree more with Marx and Engels than Jefferson and MAdison.
  12. PatsFanInVa

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    Tilting at some windmills, 13?

    The US gubmit is in fact limited in its powers by its Constitution, and by the Declaration, which, while also of historical import, has little to do with the assignation of the rights reserved to government (and has very little legal standing.) But as I have discussed, I consider the Declaration as well to be a very eloquent expression of the Founders' principles: That we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    And by the way, it does not much matter that many now believe that "the Creator" is not a personal god, but a state of affairs; they would call their rights "human" rights. You can get all wrapped around the axle about "the Creator," but it doesn't matter. Atheists, by the endowment-by-the-Creator clause, and the inalienable corollary, have the same religious rights as you.

    Now as to your straw-man, i.e., carping about Marx and Engels: You have several problems.

    First, that you so recently replaced the words of Marx with the argument Jefferson made for a system of progressive taxation, and then attributed that quote, falsely, to Marx;

    Secondly, that nobody else here is bringing Marx or Engels into the conversation, but are resting solely on the actions and words of the founding fathers, and

    Thirdly, That there is such a tremendous gulf between Jefferson and Madison, and Marx and Engels, that you merely imagine that the "more like _____ than ____ " argument cuts only one way.

    The other way it cuts is this:

    Jefferson and Madison were much more like Marx and Engels than you would like to think.

    That is not to say they were very much like them. It is only to say that you've made such idols of Jefferson and Madison that you are eager to erase the historical record when it does not mesh with the distortion field of the modern Conservative movement -- which is not "Conservative" whatsoever, but revisionist and anti-Federalist (often on the model of the Confederate secessionists before them.)

    PFnV
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  13. chicowalker

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    only comment here is that the "kidnapping capital" doesn't really affect most Americans, even in Phoenix -- and even in that case, is it an immigration issue or a "drug war" issue? (probably both, I would guess)
  14. chicowalker

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    You're falling into the common trap of trying to pretend the founders could have envisioned anything about our nation today. I know this is hard to understand, but we live in a different world now.

    People like you just want to pick and choose when we "protect the individual" and invoke some monolithic "founding fathers" point of view. But when it doesn't suit your pov, you don't care at all about limiting government.

    Yes, the Constitution was written to protect individual rights and limit government -- why don't you start from that point on all issue you post about, not just the ones where it fits the pubbie stance.
  15. PatsFanInVa

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    We're very concerned about the "magnet" for "illegal immigration," when in fact the magnet is for extra-judicial economies.

    Create criminal economies and you create criminal funding schemes, with no justice possible because so often the victims are classed as "criminals" as well. An undocumented worker going to police about a kidnapping of an also undocumented relative? Sort of like going to the police because someone sold you an ounce of pot that was two grams short.

    When you're defined as illegal, you're on your own.

    Let's define a bunch of stuff as illegal then complain we don't have the resources to police it. Christ.

    PFnV
  16. chicowalker

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    I'm pretty sure most people in the country don't know much, if anything, about any of their points of view.

    I'm also pretty sure many of the people who pretend to know about those points of view just use them as oversimplified soundbites to try to justify kneejerk opinions when it comes to politics.
  17. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    Both. It's an issue of border security (as well as the disastrous "War on Drugs"...I know from previous exchanges that we are in agreement on that).

    That was my point. Because it doesn't affect those of us far away from the border, we view it as an abstract issue to debate. It is life and death closer to the action.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  18. chicowalker

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    But that was part of my original point, too -- that there are plenty of people who don't view it as "life and death" even though they live in places like AZ, and that there are plenty of people who act like it's life and death even though they're far from those places.

    Calling Phoenix the kidnapping capital when it mostly involves illegal immigrants and drug dealers makes the issue seem different than it is. I have good friends in Tucson, for example. They're not afraid of being kidnapped or targeted for a hit by a Mexican drug cartel.

    and btw, I'm all for practical efforts to secure the borders -- not so much because of jobs, benefits and other issues that are brought up as part of the debate on illegal immigration (though those are, to varying degrees, legitimate concerns) as for national security concerns. That means all borders, coastlines and shipping (imports, obviously), not just the Mexican border.
  19. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    I don't see how you can avoid collateral damage if that kind of thing has spilled over into our country, which was what I originally said.

    Agreed that security should be a concern everywhere, but as I mentioned previously there is no civil war happening on the northern border.
  20. chicowalker

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    There probably is some collateral damage, I just haven't seen much evidence of it.


    no, there isn't, but my bigger concern is a terrorist attack enabled by porous borders and ports anywhere in the nation

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