Monday, October 1, 2012

Ryan Sheffield's 12 Political Compromises

My Bar Friend Ryan Sheffield has put a list of "12 Political Compromises" on Facebook.  This is his governmental wish list. 

As a side note, Ryan is one of those creative people who can do just about anything he wants to do.  Go here to view (and purchase) some of his artwork, mostly drawings of authors that incorporate their quotations.  I think I've used the Twain and the Hunter S. Thompson to liven up posts on this site a few times. 
Go here to download (no purchase required) his two e-books.  I've read some of his stories, and they're good stuff. 

IMHO, Ryan is very close to the Kingdom Of God, i.e., the Libertarian Party, with this list.  My additional commentary is in italics.  Here goes:

1. Repeal Citizens United. You would be hard-fought to find any normal citizen who thinks it’s a good idea for corporations, labor unions and special interest groups to have an unfettered cashflow into political campaigns. It doesn’t matter what “side” you are on, you should probably oppose Big Money syndicates controlling the election process and fueling the obnoxious TV commercials you are being bombarded with every day.

Why do we have big corporations and super-pacs giving a rip who gets elected?  Well, to produce a successful product, you have to convince millions of citizens to purchase the product.  That's the hard way.  The easy way is to get Congress to mandate the use, purchase, or monopolization of the product.  Corporations want protection from competitors.  In a nation with a massive government, it's far more effective to purchase one Congressman that to sell to 330 million Americans.  Here's something from the Cato Institute:
The proper answer to large expenditures for speech is either more speech or, if the existing system proves unworkable, a constitutional amendment. As for money, it's just a symptom. We have a big money problem because we have a big government problem. By restraining the regulatory and redistributive powers of the state, we can minimize the influence of big money. Restoring the Framers' notion of enumerated, delegated, and limited federal powers will get government out of our lives and out of our wallets. That's the best way to end the campaign-finance racket, and root out corruption without jeopardizing political speech.

In other words, if it really matters who wins the elections, your government has gotten too big.  If governments can mandate profits for favored corporations, government has gotten waaaay too big. 

2. Close the “Revolving Door” and shut lobbyists out of government. This is an extension of number 1. Again, no one wants these organizations, right or left, buying and bribing politicians or running their own regulatory agencies. Politicians work for us, not the highest bidder.

Once again, lobbyists are just a symptom.  They're not the disease.  If the government matters enough to justify the hiring of lobbyists, the government has gotten too big. 

3. End the “War on Drugs.” This doesn’t mean we have to legalize EVERYTHING, but this “war” is a bottomless money pit and a failed experiment. It is the reason the violent cartels exist and the reason your idiot son is snorting bath salts in your basement.

Precisely.  Exactly.  Ever since Nixon began the War On Drugs in 1970, the only drug whose use has declined is....tobacco.  That's because tobacco is legal and no longer cool.  
There are a few antibiotics that should possibly be restricted because unfettered use causes viruses to mutate and grow stronger.  
Everything else?  Well, ask yourself which currently illegal drugs you want the Mexican and Afghan Drugs Lords to have a monopoly on. 

4. Stop treating the environment as a partisan issue. The environment SHOULD be something we all agree on. It affects us all equally. As long as free enterprise exists, there must be checks & balances on pollution, deforestation and animal cruelty. This is not “socialism.” It’s the necessary price business owners must pay for the ability to run operations that affect our natural surroundings and resources. The beautiful but unrealistic Libertarian idea that simply boycotting polluters will solve the problem is a pipe dream. Especially if the public is unaware they are polluting in the first place (or simply doesn’t care.) We need to agree on what “facts and science” are and deal with the problems accordingly. Present “free market” alternatives. That is healthy and good. But accept science before you make suggestions. Economic freedom doesn’t make toxic waste taste any better.

The environment is a classic economic "externality".  You want to purchase powder-coated metal parts from me, so I powder-coat the parts.  You give me money.  I give you painted parts.  We're the only two people involved in the deal.  But not if I dump a lot of leftover zinc and iron-phosphate into the Trinity River.  Then a lot of other people become a party to our deal.  That's called an "externality". 

The classic Anarchist position in this case is to boycott the polluters.  The classic Libertarian position, however, is to sue the shit out of them if they have done YOU harm.  (Plus, all environmental regulations should be voted on by Congress, not enforced by appointees.)  Go here and here for two more excellent Cato downloads on how we could help the environment, lower the bureaucratic costs, and also let manufacturing businesses prosper. 

5. Audit the Federal Reserve and, preferably, abolish it. A private banking organization with no oversight or accountability should NOT be in charge of the nation’s economy. Central banks were never a good idea. But private and secret central banks are even worse.

Oh yes, yes, yes, Mr. Sheffield.  Yes, yes, yes.  And when we End The Fed, let's level all their buildings and plow salt into the earth where they stood so nothing will ever grow there again. 
The Fed was founded in 1913 to stabilize the money supply.  Since 1913, the dollar has lost 97% of its value. 

6. Legalize gay marriage. It doesn’t affect you. Just let it happen, move on, and turn your attention to issues that actually affect us all.

Yeah.  If God doesn't like gay people, why does he keep making so many of them? 

7. Disrupt and destroy the partisan divide. We are all screwed if this extreme partisanship continues to divide us. The culture of the American media has made it impossible for us to discuss issues and make progress. The main source of this problem? Pigeonholing. If someone asks you if you support the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare, for the other partisans), your answer should be nuanced and thought-out and should NEVER place you squarely in a political party. The common practice of assuming what “side” someone is on based on a single opinion is the MOST destructive aspect of our modern political culture.

In my opinion, we have so much extreme partisanship and a partisan divide because the only choice we have is between two partisans.  You can pick the Crips or the Bloods.  I've commented on this dozens of times elsewhere, but let's say the Crips and Bloods are the only parties to hold office for the last 75 years.  They both advocate slavery, puppy torture, and poor dental hygiene.  But the Bloods have a better position on Healthcare. 

So you always support the Bloods.  Otherwise the Crips will win.  If a 3rd gang (The Libertarians) comes along advocating an end to slavery, puppy torture, and are pro-brushing and flossing, they're written off as a wasted vote.  They might help the dreaded Crips win !!  So what's the solution?  How do we end all of this partisanship of Us vs Them? 

Through a system of approval voting.  Go here for an explanation.  It would allow most of us to comfortably step outside the Us and Them boxes and safely try out some other points of view. 

8. Recognize that gun control is like drug control. They will always exist and banning them only makes them more dangerous. People have a Constitutional right to arm themselves and threatening to take that right away only makes the loony “patriot” gun nuts all the more rabid and frothing at the mouth for their insurrection fantasies. Compromise: Don’t sell assault rifles at K-Mart. Gun store owners are always going to be more scrutinizing than a 16-year-old making minimum wage at a big box store.

I became a rabid 2nd Amendment nutcase when one of my co-managers brought in plans for a WWI-era machine gun that we could make at the shop.  I totally understood those blueprints, and I'm a borderline mechanical idiot.  Ryan is correct.  Guns aren't going away if someone like me can make one. 
I don't have insurrection fantasies, but do have the fears.  I now sometimes carry a gun, because cops are too dang heavy. 

9. Remove the words “socialism” and “capitalism” from the healthcare debate. It should be universally considered the “noble” goal to provide affordable healthcare for all American citizens. The road to that goal is (and SHOULD be) up for debate, but the endgame should not. The question is how to pay for it and how to ensure that quality of care (and personal decision-making power) do not decrease. It’s going to be difficult to sort out, but it’s hard for me to believe that there is anyone in America who does not think it’s a positive thing for everyone to have healthcare. “Healthcare is not a right.” You’re correct. Now let’s sit down and figure out how to make it one in a way that we can all agree on. If your opinion on healthcare is little more than “I support the President because he’s a Democrat like me” or “I dang’ol hate commies!,” you should probably stop voting.

I think that true Capitalist Healthcare has never been tried.  Here's my modest proposal.  If this became the system in an 8-block Free Market Zone someplace south of downtown, people would be flying in from all over the state for treatment.  And I think this would meet Ryan's criteria of a noble solution for a noble goal.  Hit the link. Please. 
But I do like the word "capitalism", because when regulators and Nanny-Staters allow unbridled acts of capitalism to take place, capitalism usually works.  Lap Band surgery and Lasik eye surgeries have become 80% less expensive, mostly because Medicare, Medicaid and insurance policies don't cover them. 

10. All censorship is wrong. A message to the left wing: All speech must be permitted, even what most would consider “hate.” I’m sorry. Free speech is an “all or nothing” issue. We can never open the door for authority to tell us what we can and can’t say or express. A message for the right wing: Seriously, just think about it. Is it really worse for your kid to see a naked lady than it is for them to witness a mass murder? Obviously not, if you’ve ever watched primetime TV. Get your priorities straight.

Here's a Ryan Sheffield print.  It's gonna be the first one I order:

11. Recognize that nearly every one of those infographics, chain emails, or biased news articles you share with your friends is chock-full of misinformation, omission, and partisan agendas. Yes, even the ones that agree with your position. “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

That's why I probably won't watch the (ahem) debate between The Obamneys.  Much truthiness will be thrown around that's half-right, half-wrong, manipulated, and taken totally out of the original context.
My questions about the infographics, chain emails, news articles and partisan agendas usually come down to this...  a) Does this person want to leave me and everyone else alone? b) Does this person's agenda promote or discourage ethnic, racial, or national Tribalism?
Nothing else matters. 

12. Talk to each other. Stop being so goddamn clique-y with your politics. Talk to someone who disagrees with you without letting the debate devolve into a talking points recitation contest. We need more open minds, less partisan cheerleading. I feel like I’m watching a word-war between Crips and Bloods who haven’t yet realized that the only thing dividing them is the color of bandana they wear.

Sorry, I’ll shut up now.  

Some of my responses were old talking points and some were new. 

Sorry about breaking Ryan's post down into a word-war between Crips and Bloods and Libertarians. 

The LP bandana is red and blue with porcupines on it.  

I'll shut up too.  At least until tomorrow morning.  

Be sure to hit the links at the top for Ryan Sheffields art and stories !!   


CenTexTim said...

"11. Recognize that nearly every one of those infographics, chain emails, or biased news articles you share with your friends is chock-full of misinformation, omission, and partisan agendas. Yes, even the ones that agree with your position."

Including those that support Libertarianism... ;-)

The Whited Sepulchre said...

The truth is out there, but it's not to be found in Uncle Sam's statistics. (Although some of those are pretty damn entertaining these days.)