This is part of some E-Mail correspondence I am having with a friend of mine who is a socialist.
“Glad we agree on some things. Health care is a contentious issue, and can be hard to prove what is truly best for the people. We haven’t had a free market in health care for 50 years. We were near the bottom in infant mortality back then, just like we are now, but were actually closer to the best percentage wise than now. However, infant mortality has dropped drastically across the board in all nations. Improvements in technology have made things better than doctors could have ever imagined 50 years ago. But this is for sure: When government gets involved in subsidizing something, the price will go up. The same is true in health care as it is in education. And while improvements in technology have drastically improved health care, which sort of mitigates the cost issue, they have not had the same affect on education.
I don’t believe there is any grey area on the right to trial. The founders believed, as do i, that we are born with certain unalienable rights. They wrote a document that restricted government to help the people protect those rights. What Obama has now codified into law not only violates his own government’s founding documents, it violates my natural rights as a free man. As far as political excuses, there are none. If he came out and said the first three sentences of this paragraph and then added, “this is why I am vetoing this version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. When congress can get this bill to fund the troops back on my desk without trampling all of our rights, I will sign it,” he would be the most politically popular president in the last 40 years. But beyond that, say following the constitution and not shitting on the right to trial wasn’t particularly popular with right wingers (it is by the way). There is no excuse for codifying military dictatorship in this country. None. If that were the true reason, it would be bad. The truth is even worse.
Obama demanded that he have the authority, not congress, to indefinitely detain citizens. In an earlier version that passed through committee Congress had exempted citizens and Obama threatened to veto that bill until they gave that power to him. He had, after all, already acted like he had that power whether codified or not (He had assassinated an American citizen without due process and released no evidence, of course he has the right to indefinitely detain them). He did not want any limitations to his office, The King. The only difference is our King is elected instead of inherrited.
Don’t believe me? Evidence.
Whether or not you support a candidate depends upon your priorities. Particularly with informed voters, this can explain severe differences of opinion. For me, I have firmly become an antiwar civil libertarian. If i had to, it would be extremely hard for me to choose which is more important, anti war or civil liberty. I might lean towards my own civil liberty because that affects my family much more directly. Still, those two principles are so core to my beliefs that it is almost unbelievable they are not more popular, that only one candidate in the race (including Obama) values them.
You can value the Department of Education more than your civil liberties or the policy of endless war. That is well within your right. But don’t get confused and think that prioritizing the Department of Education means that you are prioritizing education itself. The Department of Education was founded in 1980 amid controversy. How much worse was our education system in 1980 than it is now? We spend a whole lot more money per child, including federal funding from the department of education. Has throwing money at the problem solved it? The answer is unequivocally no. What else has the Department of Education done? Mandated more standardized testing. The only way for schools to get the federal funds is to implement more standardized tests. Educational experts all know that standardized testing does not help educational outcomes. They are essentially a waste of time. Who benefits from more standardized testing? The federal government who gets the data and can monitor the population more efficiently while also justifying its existence. What else has the department of education done? The No Child Left Behind Act. What teacher, liberal or conservative, supports this piece of shit act? It creates more work with no more pay (effectively decreases pay per hour worked) for teachers, expands the ever expanding educational federal bureaucracy, adds more standardized tests, and does not increase educational outcomes. Are we better off with the department of education? Have we seen a miraculous, nay, a minor improvement in educational outcomes in the past 33 years that justifies its existence. Absolutely, unequivocally, the answer is no. I too value education, but I do not support more federal involvement in it and I think we were better off without federal involvement. Either way, federal involvement in education is not my number one priority when I vote. My priorities are civil liberties and anti-war.
I’m going to conclude with a facially inflammatory comparison. But I believe it is deeper if you can look past the initial shock. Comparisons to national socialism are flagrantly and flamboyantly tossed around by meager opposition to whatever party is in power. Usually the comparison is only skin deep and purely based on a dislike for the person in power, not actual policies. But what was national socialism? Well, it’s in the name. National socialism prioritized socialist policies in the homeland and warfare outside of it. Nationalistic pride was a major tenet, “We are the best, we are number one, everyone else isn’t on our scale, isn’t as good as us, etc.” Sound familiar? “Nobody is as free as we are.” This propaganda primed the population to be able accept the vicious atrocities they would soon commit to “the other, the less good, etc” in the name of spreading the greatness of their empire (“democracy” in our terms, “Our form of government is the best and it must be exported by force”). How often do we hear about the million and a half Iraqis that are dead because of our warfare policies? How often do we hear about the less than 5,000 dead American soldiers? One a lot more than the other, even though they are a lot less. I bet you didn’t even know how fucking stark those differences are (How could you unless you looked it up? You won’t hear it on the radio or on TV or in a newspaper). I’m going to repeat that. 1.5 million dead compared to less than 5,000. Many, many of those are civilians including women and children. It is impossible to repeatedly bomb a nation for 9 years and only kill “terrorists.” Furthermore, 1 million terrorists never even fucking existed!!!! We killed millions of innocent people, or people who became so pissed off at being invaded and having their infrastructure decimated that they picked up arms against it. It was a manufactured war! Clearly some lives are valued more than others by our leaders and our media, and therefore our populous. Marketing works, why else would companies spend millions of dollars on it? The only difference between marketing and propaganda is that governments buy propaganda and companies buy marketing. Repeat something enough and it will stick. They are terrorists, they killed our soldiers, etc. Just to be clear, I am not comparing Obama or even Bush to Hitler. I am comparing the public policy priorities of our nation with that of national socialism.
They had fervent national pride, so do we. The started preemptive wars, (Hitler framed them as preemptive) so do we. They valued socialistic policies like national healthcare over everything else (a major tenet of the national socialist party), so do we. They were extremely war like, so are we. They allowed their elected representative (Hitler was elected) to take powers that were not delineated to him, so do we. Hitler promised he would return the powers when he leaves office and that he would not abuse those powers, so do we: Obama said as much in his signing statement for the NDAA. “Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.” The point is not whether or not I trust Obama, or even the next guy, not to abuse his claimed power. The point is that if he has the power he says he does, then we are not free. The slave that is granted temporary freedom without punishment by his master is still a slave. What makes him a slave is not the current freedom he does or does not enjoy in the moment, but the fact that on his master’s whim he can be taken, indefinitely detained, and beaten without a right to trial or any other recourse. He must take it upon his master’s authority.
You are completely free to choose what priorities you base your vote on. If national healthcare is the most important, so be it. For me it is antiwar and civil liberties.
This is probably the absolute best article on the tradeoffs voters are faced with this election cycle. I hope you have time to browse it.”
Heil The Republicrat Nazi Party!