[lit-ideas] Re: Nation Building

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006 07:49:23 -0800



The Civil War was fought over whether there would be more or fewer "State's
Rights."  The States initially wanted their independence and the
Constitution never said they couldn't have it.  Nothing legally prevented
South Carolina from seceding from the Union, although the North being in the
majority past laws to prevent that at some point (I forget the details) but
by then it was too late and South Carolina did it anyway because they didn't
trust the North one whit.  After the Civil War the central government had
more power than before.  Nevertheless, even today, States have considerable
responsibility for their own welfare.  States have made deals, largely
through their representatives in Congress to get special benefits from the
central government, but the States aren't owed total economic protection.


I live in California and for a number of reasons we've had some economic
problems out here.  The central government doesn't have to bail us out.
Governor Swarzenegger doesn't have government paternalism to fall back on.
He is scrambling to make trade deals with foreign countries to get more
business in here, especially since to some extent we are operating like
France.  The State Government needs more money to take care of its
commitments, but we won't vote ourselves higher taxes to accomplish that.
Swarzenegger is doing something like Nevin is doing in inviting trade and
economic deals from foreign countries.  I'm sure that any deal France makes
in New Orleans is going to have the same sort of strings attached to it that
investors from foreign nations will have in California.


You have asked about political viewpoints from time to time.  The idea that
goes, "I am poor, you are rich, therefore you owe me some of your riches,"
isn't in the American tradition.  It is sort of in the Marxist tradition.
One of their slogans was "from each according to his ability, to each
according to his need."   That Marxist ideal is not a criterion in Liberal
Democracy.  If we become rich, we are not obligated to give our riches to
the poor.  The only way money gets from the rich to the poor is through
taxes, charity and the employment of the poor in the enterprises of the


The American ideal is that everyone has the freedom to work hard and improve
his lot, even to the point of becoming rich.   I have read theorists argue
that is why our economy runs so much more smoothly than that of welfare
states like France, let alone the failed Socialist states of the USSR and
Eastern Europe.  People are willing to work hard to improve their lot.  They
aren't so willing to do that if the sluggards and inept are getting as much
pay as they are.  Human nature works in favor of the Liberal-Democratic
economic and against the aforementioned Socialist one.


As we've discussed elsewhere, some Marxist ideals like the 8 hour working
day have been incorporated into American Society.  I believe the last time I
mentioned this some scoffed, and thought it was FDR.  I was basing my
statement on having struggled through most of Das Kapital years ago.  Here
is Marx on the "Working Day."






From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andy Amago
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 6:46 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Nation Building


Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the Union.  There's nothing united
about the United States if it's every man for himself.  The government has
no problem giving handouts to the ultra rich, but for everybody else, it's
welfare.  Let the ultra rich give us back our money if you're so against
welfare.  Tell them to get their frikkin fingers out of Medicare.  Never
mind.  It amazes me that people so enjoy living in a kennel where dog eating
dog is a desirable way of life, and since we're drowning in debt it's not
like the government is exactly setting a good example for fiscal



----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sent: 2/7/2006 1:25:35 AM 

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Nation Building


This could be a good thing.  We are United States, but the individual
States still have considerable responsibilities for their own destinies,
despite Mayor Nagins words which suggest hed rather we were a little more
like a Welfare State.  


Im not surprised to see Jordan jumping in, and if the French want to
rebuild a relationship with the Louisiana Cajuns, then Im for it.  Its
nice to hear of them doing something other than lambasting us  although
theyll probably lambaste Washington while helping New Orleans.  


Of critics, there is no end.



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