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Old 04-13-2010, 10:13 AM
 
3,787 posts, read 6,083,397 times
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Ok, for some time now I've been seeing the "we don't want the government telling us what to do" line purported here in and around Austin. I'm not taking a stand one way or another on it.

However, it is my observation that while people here don't want their lives to be intruded by government the laws here contradict that premise.

What I'm wondering is how can one say they prefer smaller government, (less intrusion on their lives) yet support such huge law enforcement, (which includes capital punishment)?

What am I not understanding?
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:18 AM
 
4,687 posts, read 6,012,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtoiletsmkgdflrpots View Post
What I'm wondering is how can one say they prefer smaller government, (less intrusion on their lives) yet support such huge law enforcement, (which includes capital punishment)?

What am I not understanding?
One part of this is, I think, what I mentioned on another thread: Conservatives do not want government to get deep into public morality (all people should have housing, health insurance, good education, clean environment) but do want government involved in private behavior (don't allow gay marriage, don't allow abortion, make people pray in school, punish people severely.) When conservatives say that they don't want government in their business, they are really only meaning the public part of their business. So that speaks to why conservatives are OK with capital punishment, since they want government to be in tight control of private morality, and that means punishing people severely when they go wrong. The opposite is true with liberals, who also want government in half their business ... its just the other half from conservatives. To be moderate means that you are mixed in these categories, and there are a lot of ways to be mixed. But there are fewer and fewer moderates now days - they seem to be an endangered species, and certainly are being chased out of our legislative bodies. They tend to be demonized from both sides because they don't "fit". (We don't like people who don't fit - they vote in unpredictable ways.) Personally, I think this polarization is very unhealthy; neither extreme seems to believe in freedom of thought. You are either with us or against us. That doesn't seem very American to me, so I am disappointed to see things going that way.
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Pflugerville
2,211 posts, read 4,296,969 times
Reputation: 2229
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtoiletsmkgdflrpots View Post
Ok, for some time now I've been seeing the "we don't want the government telling us what to do" line purported here in and around Austin. I'm not taking a stand one way or another on it.

However, it is my observation that while people here don't want their lives to be intruded by government the laws here contradict that premise.

What I'm wondering is how can one say they prefer smaller government, (less intrusion on their lives) yet support such huge law enforcement, (which includes capital punishment)?

What am I not understanding?
You are not misunderstanding anything. It is human nature to embrace diametrically opposed viewpoints. I don't think it's a philosophy issue though, which is how you are sort of framing it.

For Example, The government "intrudes" on our lives in many different ways. It's just what we choose to focus on. Most people refer to this as NIMBY attitudes. (NIMBY stands for Not In My BackYard).

The typical NIMBY attitude is that you want all the benefits of government intervention, but you don't want to contribute or be inconvenienced by the government in any way. And that includes "forced" contribution to the government IE taxes, liscensing, census, etc etc.

This is not to say that everyone that is anti-government is a NIMBY. Far from it, some people are at least honest and wouldn't mind giving up all the government benefits in exchange for no government intervention (The republic of texas militia comes to mind).

So the typical NIMBY complains about welfare, the IRS, the census, etc etc. because they either 1) dont directly benefit from these things OR 2) do benefit, but feel inconvenienced by them. But if you bring up one of the thousands of government programs that a NIMBY does benefit from, then there is no problem.

So keep in mind, it's not that a NIMBY is philosophically opposed to government intervention, they LOVE government intervention when it benefits them. They just don't want it to benefit everyone else.

The example you provide above is (paraphrasing) "How does one reconcile the desire for a large police force and capitol punishment with a desire for smaller government", well, the answer is that they DONT. To the NIMBY these are mutually exclusive things.

You see, when you tell a NIMBY "government intervention" they think of welfare mothers, and income tax, and death panels and whatever else. They DON'T associate capitol punishment with "government intervention", even though that is exactly what it is. In fact, giving your government the power to legally MURDER someone if the ULTIMATE definition of government intervention.

However, when a NIMBY hears the phrase "capitol punishment" they don't think of the dozens of people who have been executed unjustly and without evidence. They only think about the pedophiles, and the axe murderers and the other scum and dregs of humanity that might be on death row. People where you could logically go "yeah, that dude needs to die".

It's perception, not philosophy.

When someone says to ME the phrase "government programs" I think of libraries and schools and the VA hospital. When someone says to a NIMBY the phrase "government programs" they think of welfare mothers, and planned parenthood and funding for plays about a gay jesus.

Both the NIMBY and I are correct. We are both thinking of legitimate government programs. I just look at the positive stuff. The NIMBY looks at the negative. Like I said in the first paragraph, it's just what we CHOOSE to focus on.

So in your example; when you use the phrase "government intervention" the NIMBY percieves "welfare mother". When you use the phrase "huge law enforcment" the NIMBY percieves "cleaning up the streets of human scum". To the NIMBY, these two things logically flow together, even though they are diametrically opposed.

**PS. This disclaimer probably won't matter because this thread will be shut down. HOWEVER, I am not advocating one view point over another nor am I saying "welfare rocks whoo hooo!! where's the nearest food stamp office". I am only trying to answer the question that the OP posed. I am not disparaging NIMBYs, I am only trying to offer insight into what I think is their thought process.

Last edited by JayBrown80; 04-13-2010 at 11:50 AM.. Reason: OP quote didn't box out. weird
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Old 04-13-2010, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 26,799,774 times
Reputation: 9236
There is a lot of arguing going on now about what it means to be a conservative.

Fiscal conservatives tend to favor free markets and let capitalism do its job with minimal regulation or intrusion from the government. Businesses should be allowed to fail. Fiscal conservatives usually do not believe the government does much well - and therefore shouldn't be trusted with too much taxpayer money.

Social conservatives seem to think one of government's duties is to encourage traditional family values. So they are comfortable, or happy, when the government legislates morality, regulates marriage, and otherwise encourages a traditional family structure.

Law enforcement and defense is not usually a controversial issue with conservatives. They tend to believe in active law enforcement and a strong national defense. Civil liberties however are not so clearly agreed upon. Some argue that big brother programs are necesssary, while others say they are too intrusive.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Pflugerville
2,211 posts, read 4,296,969 times
Reputation: 2229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
There is a lot of arguing going on now about what it means to be a conservative.

Fiscal conservatives tend to favor free markets and let capitalism do its job with minimal regulation or intrusion from the government. Businesses should be allowed to fail. Fiscal conservatives usually do not believe the government does much well - and therefore shouldn't be trusted with too much taxpayer money.

Social conservatives seem to think one of government's duties is to encourage traditional family values. So they are comfortable, or happy, when the government legislates morality, regulates marriage, and otherwise encourages a traditional family structure.

Law enforcement and defense is not usually a controversial issue with conservatives. They tend to believe in active law enforcement and a strong national defense. Civil liberties however are not so clearly agreed upon. Some argue that big brother programs are necesssary, while others say they are too intrusive.
Well, I don't know if we should go there. I have yet to meet a conservative that is not both SOCIALLY AND FISCALLY conservative. Usually they are both, but are afraid if they admit how anti-gay they are, then people will ignore them outright. Basically most conservatives I have interacted with have been of the "I can't stand gays, but if I say that out loud then no one will listen to this really good point I have to say on taxation".

I mean, I know the libertarians are going to jump in here and raise a ruckus, but even Ron Paul the patron saint of Libertarians supported DOMA (forbidding the federal government from recognizing any same sex union EVEN if the individual state recognized them) he supported the Marriage Protection Act (which would have forbidden judicial review of DOMA). He is anti-abortion and pro capitol punishment. His views on "social issues" are no different than any other bible thumping neo conservative. And yet he Is often portrayed as the ultimate example of "fiscal ONLY conservatism". How is he only for fiscal conservatism?

And if you look at the Libertarian Party of America, their candidate for president in 2008 was Bob Barr, the AUTHOR of the Defense of Marriage Act. I mean, what is it about the Libertarians that they can't just admit they are homophobic? Just embrace it. Why do they want to seperate themselves from the Republican party? It is custom made for them. They don't disagree on any issues.

I am just stating the facts here about the most powerful "libertarians" in the country. If you think you are one of those magical conservatives that isn't anti-gay, just anti-tax, then more power to you. But your leadership is certainly not representing you very well.

But I don't know if I agree with HoffDano theory that this is just a conservative philosophy, Because 1) there is no such thing as a FISCAL only conservative and 2) because liberals can be guilty of hypocrisy too. I mean, look at John Edwards. He insisted that Gay Marriage was a violation of the religious sanctity of matrimony, and he said that with a straight face while cheating on his wife. And the Dems ran him for vice president!
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,719 posts, read 26,799,774 times
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JayBrown - you are a sensible guy and I agree with you often. However - I believe there are many "conservatives" that are not social conservatives. They are typically younger, value the free market, but are socially moderate or even socially liberal. They favor legalization of marijuana, support or are indifferent about gay marriage, and believe the church and government don't mix.

They national names however, especially Republicans, are not necessarily like this. At least not openly because they don't want to fight against the religious right.

And to make this Austin related - many of the tech-types I know are fiscal conservatives but socially moderate. The flat tax supporters often are indifferent to gay marriage because a flat tax would do away with most deductions, including dependents and would treat married and unmarried taxpayers the same. In other words, why should the government care about who marries who if the tax treatment is the same?
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,617 posts, read 30,319,179 times
Reputation: 7195
Still not an Austin topic...
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