Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

ChrisGraley (29.65)

A country's success depends on freedom and opportunity for the weakest individual.

Recs

19

February 22, 2010 – Comments (21)

This is me thinking out loud. It's meant to stir debate and bring out ideas from others. Call it trickle up economics if you want, but I think my version of what makes a country successful for the long haul is different from most.

I consider both opportunity and freedom to be at least initially accidents of birth and while some can overcome being slighted at birth, the struggle is harder when you weren't born in the right place at the right time. 

Freedom at birth is determined mostly by where you were born and the laws in place. Freedom can be loosely defined.  One could say that someone born in Yemen is free to do as he wishes since there is no government control, but I think that the religious control is enough to squash the governmental freedom. Economic freedom is available if you want to be a pirate, but not much else is available.

Opportunity is also mostly determined by where you were born and the laws that are place, but the difference can be sub-divided much more. Being born on one side of the tracks can provide you much more opportunity than the other. Also who your parents play a bigger role. A son born to a high ranking cleric in Yemen is born with a lot more opportunity than the daughter of a pauper. Again you can overcome either of these things, but your struggle is harder.

So I know most of you are scratching your heads thinking that I'm sounding awfully liberal and providing a platform for the introduction of broad based social programs aimed at providing for the weakest. Stay tuned, because that is not exactly what I'm proposing. In fact in my own little cluster of brain cells,  it's more like the opposite. Let's talk a little more about that accident of birth. You can't choose any variable of your birth. Where, when, who etc... are all chosen for you by your parents. That's right, your freedom and opportunity are chosen for you, before you are even born. Doesn't sound fair does it? Now immediately some of you thought that the way to correct that would be to limit the freedom of your parents to make that choice, but after a second or two you realized how stupid of a scenario that actually is. Imagine the the power of some other entity that could decide your very existence. A freedom for you would be limited before you are even thought of. If you were born, you would have to submit to the same power later in life. On the other hand, is it right for a single mother of 6 on welfare to decide to have another child out of wedlock that will be the responsibility of society? This brings me to some tenants about freedom.

I initially thought that freedom should only be limited for the individual if it infringes on the freedom of others, but you can see how this would be applied mis-correctly in the above scenario. There has to be more than an infringement on someone else's freedom. Otherwise, Your freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion could all be limited with such a tenant.

"In "On Liberty" (1859) John Stuart Mill argued that "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered. "[28] Mill argues that the fullest liberty of expression is required to push arguments to their logical limits, rather than the limits of social embarrassment. However, Mill also introduced what is known as the harm principle, in placing the following limitation on free expression: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.[28](1)" 

(1) copied word for word from wikipedia

The freedom of deciding to have a child and making a bad choice does harm society as a whole, but is it enough harm to decide to take that freedom away? I personally think not.

What it amounts to is that "With freedom comes responsibility". You can't mandate responsibility anymore than my mom could get me to eat my peas at dinner, unless you are willing to remove freedom. In my case, it was my freedom to have dessert. While I fully believe that there are a few cases to limit freedom for the greater good, this would not be one of them. Once a freedom is surrendered, it is hard to get that freedom back. Often, the reasons for taking away a freedom are expanded to the point that the result is far from intended. I don't want to sterilize welfare moms anymore than I want the China "One Child" policy implemented.

So what can you do? Well I am a firm believer in education and an educated person is less likely to make a poor decision. I believe that education is an investment in society. My version of what education should be is a lot different than most people though and too long of a discussion to go into here. You should also not encourage a poor decision and I think that in this case, that might be the better solution. A welfare program that rewards someone for harming society is just adding fuel to the fire. Any program that doesn't help her take the responsibility of supporting her children on her own, including getting support from the father(s) is harming not only society, but her children. She should be given enough of an opportunity to fix her situation, but if she is unwilling  to, (notice that I didn't say unable to), society and her children are better served by removing them from her care. I know that this is picking at nits here, since I did still take away freedom as the end result, but only after she refused an opportunity to take responsibility. If she takes the responsibility, she keeps her freedom in tact and tells the government to jump in the lake.

Ok, so now a little bit about opportunity. 

Simply by breaking the cycle above, I have created more of an opportunity for the next generation. There will be fewer children born to raise the welfare paychecks, and less of an economic strain on the public as a whole. Fewer children will grow up with the blueprint of total dependence on the government. Now that being said, the greatest opportunity I can give is a better investment on education. (specifically personal finance) I actually believe that most people have children at a time that they shouldn't have. If you are struggling to take care of yourself, you have no business having a child. If we taught even the most basic personal finance skills, children born today would be much better off, for the simple reason that their parents are more prepared. Also we will have to consider a hopefully declining amount of children under the care of society that we took from the Welfare moms. Money must definitely be spent to make sure that they have opportunity. The cycle of dependence must be broken for society to make an investment rather than a dependent.

OK to sum up, I initially tried to solve a problem without limiting freedom. When I found that I had to somehow limit freedom, I could not come up with a litmus test to limit a freedom based simply on impact to society that was fair and just. It wasn't until I gave the individual an opportunity to be responsible that I was able to come up with such a test. By making a conscience decision to shun responsibility, the mother decided to harm her children and society. At this point I could decide to limit her freedom because of her decision and not her circumstance. If I would have arbitrarily decided that she could not have children because she is on welfare, I would have condemned a freedom when she did not have opportunity.

Notice the generational effect of the Welfare program. It not only limits the opportunity for the mother, but limits the opportunity of the child at birth. That's why social programs should never be entitlements. The mother must be given a opportunity to succeed, not just blind support or the cycle will never be broken.

This scenario was entirely thought out as I was posting on this blog. I have not tested this theory on other problems as of yet, but I intend to try and find the fly in the ointment. Maybe you can come up with it before I can.

 

Please expand, debate, or call me nuts below...

 

 

 

21 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 22, 2010 at 10:46 PM, outoffocus (22.75) wrote:

Interesting blog but arguably one-sided.  You placed the "harm" to society solely on the welfare mother.   Which I think is unfair.  Just because she is stuck raising the children doesnt mean that the blame falls squarely on her.  What about the fathers?  What about the men out there that are "rolling stones".  They persuade vulnerable young women to have sex with no condom while making dozens of unplanned babies and spreading all kinds of disease.  What about all the young men out there that arent contributing anything to society?  They just sit around making babies that they refuse to take care of.  We could use them in the workforce.  We need them to make families, not just babies and "baby-mamas".  If theres anyone who needs to be educated, I would definitely start there. Because, call me old fashioned, but I still believe the man is the head of the household, so if theres no man, theres no family.

Report this comment
#2) On February 22, 2010 at 11:33 PM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

Actually I did include a blurb in there about getting support from the father(s). I meant that as government mandated support from the fathers. I totally agree with what you posted though. How many of those "rolling stones" do you think were raised as welfare children? The only reason that I had to focus more attention on the mother is because that's were the children are. They would be taken away from the fathers as well, but I don't think these "rolling stones" know what it means to be a father, let alone care. The best thing you can do as a government is to try to educate them and make sure they are financially responsible. You simply can't legislate morality.

Report this comment
#3) On February 23, 2010 at 12:12 AM, FleaBagger (29.21) wrote:

The best thing to do is to leave people responsible for themselves and their families.

@comment #1) It's remarkable how low the pregnancy rate for unwed girls is in a society without a welfare state or child support. Is it inhumane to the unwed girls who get pregnant anyway? Yes. But it is no less humane than any other system, nor is it unmitigated by the closer bonds that form in society in the absence of government fiscal support.

Report this comment
#4) On February 23, 2010 at 12:34 AM, russiangambit (29.12) wrote:

Why is it in the american society the "freedom" is the ultimate goal? Freedom to be free of any responsibility, freedom to have fun regardless of who gets hurt in the process? The nature designed us for survival not for enjoyment or freedom. That is where the crux of the problem is. To continue as species we have to keep that in balance - survival vs. fullfillment. This is why family was very important, strong family ensured survival of the line. In Russia many women will continue in a miserable marriage for the sake of the children, because it gives children better chance in life. For this same reason women are unlikely to have children without a partner. If that happens though , then the family takes care of the kid . Not kids, mind you. Having several children without  a father is unheard of. Of course, Russia's horrible  abortion rate might have something to do with that as well.

In the US approach is completely different, children are a second consideration to me-me-me mentality which is very self-centered and individulistic. Just look at the Tiger Woods saga, people don't understand why his wife would want to stay with him. Because of the kids. Duh. At least his wife has her priorities straight. 

Report this comment
#5) On February 23, 2010 at 12:50 AM, starbucks4ever (97.43) wrote:

A rec for an honest effort. But your solution still reminds me of a hypocritical monk who observes his fast by crossing his meat and calling it fish...

Report this comment
#6) On February 23, 2010 at 1:14 AM, matthaios (< 20) wrote:

Good blog! First we must define the limits of freedom. My freedom, stops when your freedom starts. A good law could be to use the sterilisation method to people that are proven by court to be irresponsible to take care of children, when this is a persistent (more than one child). I also want to express how important is to be a freeborn, and your blog was quite successful explaining some of the benefits of it... now how right, or legal should be, for a child to be braine-washed in any religion, or even attend in any church, because of their parents believes? How a free nation gives the right to any adult to dictate age minors freedom of religion, speech e.t.c.? How schools have the right to not teach evolution? Have you ever seen a Pentecostal church or children camp on TV? These parents need to go to PRISON, it is as serius as molestation,(and I am using Pentecostals as one example only)... So yes being a freeborn is a big thing, and a rare one! P.S. To any Pentecostal parents that do what they do to their children and might be offended, I still thing you should be in jail, or an asylum!

Report this comment
#7) On February 23, 2010 at 8:09 AM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

Thanks to everyone so far.

I think that most of the feedback given so far is an agreement that freedom must be balanced with responsibility.

Sorry you feel that way zloj. Take this particular problem and demonstrate a better solution that doesn't involve an endless cycle of government dependence.

Report this comment
#8) On February 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM, ralphmachio (24.57) wrote:

Freedom is more easily balanced with responsibility if we realize that our actions unto others are the results we reap. Our present system shields those who sow greed and hate from getting what they deserve. 

Report this comment
#9) On February 23, 2010 at 1:28 PM, turdburglar (39.78) wrote:

If you just read the title of the blog and think about it a minute you'll see that it's a ridiculous idea. 

Someone on their deathbed who will die within 5 seconds, and our success depends on how much opportunity this warm corpse has?  Or maybe a baby born with some genetic defect that means they will live only a few days?  Somewhere someone is the true #1 weakest, and frankly our country's success has very little do do with them.  The thesis of the blog is just poorly thought out cr*p.

This somehow reminds me one of my favorite quotes from Natural Born Killers:  "Don't think!  You're a @#$%in' idiot!"

Rec for being thought provoking and an enjoyable target for verbal abuse.

Report this comment
#10) On February 23, 2010 at 1:45 PM, mhonarvar (< 20) wrote:

Give an unemployed/undermeployed person $1000 and theyll buy food, clothing and pay rent.

Give a corporation a $1000 worth of tax breaks and they...let it sit in the bank so it shows they have extra "cash on hand", or they give it out as a bonus to the "hard working ceo"...the ceo then puts the $1000 in his bank.

which one happens more often?

Which one is more "moral", "ethical"

Report this comment
#11) On February 23, 2010 at 2:05 PM, CrisDeVeau (< 20) wrote:

Chris,

You state that, "A country's success depends on freedom and opportunity for the weakest individual."

I disagree with that statement and offer my own. "A country's success depends on equal opportunity for each citizen."

This should create the same starting block for each citizen, and then their success is determined by the effort they apply towards that success.

Get rid of the hand out on every level of gov't, which will in turn lead to personal accountability and responsibility.

Thanks for provoking thought,

Cris

 

 

Report this comment
#12) On February 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM, weg915 (< 20) wrote:

I would further amend your statement:

"A country's success depends on access to equal opportunity for each citizen"

Report this comment
#13) On February 23, 2010 at 2:20 PM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

Actually Cris I think that we agree entirely. The handout is what limits the oppotunity for the weakest citizen.

 

Report this comment
#14) On February 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

#10) On February 23, 2010 at 1:45 PM, mhonarvar (93.90) wrote:

Give an unemployed/undermeployed person $1000 and theyll buy food, clothing and pay rent.

 

They will also depend on the next $1000 to do the same. Help the same person earn $1000 dollars and he knows how to take care of himself.

I prefer to teach a man to fish.

Report this comment
#15) On February 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM, USNHR (31.60) wrote:

#1) What about the men out there that are "rolling stones".  They persuade vulnerable young women to have sex with no condom while making dozens of unplanned babies and spreading all kinds of disease.  What about all the young men out there that arent contributing anything to society?

 If these people take responsibility, like the main point that Chris is trying to make, then these situations don't occur or are much more limited.

#4)Why is it in the american society the "freedom" is the ultimate goal? Freedom to be free of any responsibility, freedom to have fun regardless of who gets hurt in the process? 

Russian, I don't think this is how American Society started out, just a bunch of uneducated people not understanding their responsibilities have evolved it into this. If you look at the founding fathers of America, they didn't believe either of those things. Having freedom is about being responsilbe, as Chris pointed out.

#11)  I couldn't agree more.

Report this comment
#16) On February 23, 2010 at 10:12 PM, devoish (98.56) wrote:

You can't choose any variable of your birth. Where, when, who etc... are all chosen for you by your parents.

I disagree with this premise unless you are carrying it well beyong reality. The use of the word "choice" is just poor marketing of a bad idea. Parents do not "choose" to feed their children polluted water, poisoned food or to breath dirty air. Your own development may be being retarded by your "accident" not "choice" of birth. In this example your parents have been damaged by the "choices" of the polluters, not their own and this has nothing to do with any misguided Gov't funded cycle of welfare support.

Imagine the the power of some other entity that could decide your very existence. A freedom for you would be limited before you are even thought of. If you were born, you would have to submit to the same power later in life.

We have Democratic Gov't because the power of Kings was abused by Kings. We have seperation of Church and State because the union of Church and State was abused. We will someday have seperation of Corporation and State for the same reason. We have unions because the power of employers was abused by employers. We have SSI and medicare and pensions because employment failed to financially support longer life expectancys. Those things made life good for most people. There is a very vocal group that hopes I  will forget and surrender those entitlements and mine and my neighbors personal well being with them. It sounds good until you get there, go back there, or look for a real world model of it.

Frankly, I think you tried to fit a Libertarian concept into a real world problem and found out it is not that easy unless you are willing to let the mother and her family die out. Your post hopes for declining welfare children roles but does not stop the mother from having more kids in either the responsible for herself or children removed by Gov't scenario.

I think the real failure of your post is that you have not done any real work. You do not seem to realize the number of people on food stamps or Gov't assistance is much higher that the number not working. You do not seem to realize that there are multiples more of people who will work for too little money rather than take Gov't handouts or do harm to their employer. And you don't seem to realize that Gov't handouts represent support for private corporations and the "ownership" society just as much as it is support for that individual.  I think you will try to blame Gov't interference for those problems regardless of the fact that those problems exist far worse where Gov't does not interfere and in some cases far less where it does. I think you are trying to pretend that jobs and income will magically appear if Gov't just goes away even though that premise has always failed. You seem to believe that some person with enough money to support that woman will suddenly decide he wants another boat with a full crew if only that mother would just get off welfare and take the job. You seem to think that job will pay enough to support that mother in a libertarian free market that requires that some people cannot succeed at a high enough level to buy what they need.

I am going to show you an example of real world Libertarian/Tea Party values. You aren't going to like it. David will only see Gov't interference without seeing that it began as a condition of non-interference. He will say it is not Libertarian. It is however, the inevitable result of following the policy recommendations of Libertarians.

You are going to see private contracts between employees and employers that do not support those employees or allow a retirement, education for their children, affordable medicine or decent living quarters. You are going to see an ownership society, where all the available resources are owned by one corporation, and no employee can take them without it being stealing and there is no other opportunity to compete. You are going to see those employees try to better their conditions by negotiating for better conditions. You are going to see them fail, but not quit. You are going to see a Gov't that supports the rights of the privately owned corporation to replace one set of impoverished employees with a new set. You are going too see a Gov't that puts aside decency in favor of contract enforcement.

You are going to see one example of the ending result of the 50 year time period in America that many Conservatives, Tea Partyists, and Libertarians have idealized as a period of freedom, self reliance, and independence in America.

Remember this history, forgotten in our schools, of fighting for freedom and opportunity in the United States of America and what our parents did and sacrificed, including their lives. Just as they broke free from the oppression of a powerful individual King in 1776, 130 years earlier, they fought and died for freedom and opportunity against a powerful abusive individual again.

 

Report this comment
#17) On February 24, 2010 at 10:54 AM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

You can't choose any variable of your birth. Where, when, who etc... are all chosen for you by your parents.

I disagree with this premise unless you are carrying it well beyong reality. The use of the word "choice" is just poor marketing of a bad idea. Parents do not "choose" to feed their children polluted water, poisoned food or to breath dirty air. Your own development may be being retarded by your "accident" not "choice" of birth. In this example your parents have been damaged by the "choices" of the polluters, not their own and this has nothing to do with any misguided Gov't funded cycle of welfare support.

The fact that you are arguing my statement above proves that you are just out to argue ideology. Let's re-read...

You can't choose any variable of your birth. Where, when, who etc... are all chosen for you by your parents.

Parents choose to have children. If the water sucks and you still decided to have a child. You decided to poison the child. If he didn't exist, you wouldn't be pouring tainted water down his throat. This has everything to do with the "misguided Gov't cycle of welfare support. When you are paid to have more children, you are rewarded for  having that 6th child and pouring tainted water down his throat.

I'll try to paraphrase the rest of the liberal diatribe. Kings = evil. Church = evil. Corporations = evil. Free money = good and it grows on trees.

Frankly, I think you tried to fit a Libertarian concept into a real world problem and found out it is not that easy unless you are willing to let the mother and her family die out. Your post hopes for declining welfare children roles but does not stop the mother from having more kids in either the responsible for herself or children removed by Gov't scenario.

Exactly! That's the point! The mother is not forced to stop having children! She's also not rewarded for having children that she can't support either. If she is responsible for herself, I don't care how many children she has. She's able to take care of them.

I'm not sure why you identify me as a Libertarian. While valuing freedom is definately a Libertarian concept, a Libertarian would prefer to leave the Welfare mom and her 6 children to her own resources.

I do agree with you that there will be a revolution though. There will be a revolution against both the liberals and conservatives in power that have abused their power to the detriment of society. Especially the liberals. the liberal solution to everything is to put your hands in somebody else's pockets and spend their money. (You still pay for it with inflation though) What you don't realize is the our country can't compete globally as it is. That money that you're spending will make us even less competive. That will erode your standard of living even more. You are your own worst enemy.

It probably will be the libertarians that are in power next, the corruption of your own party is reason for it.

 

Report this comment
#18) On February 25, 2010 at 12:07 AM, devoish (98.56) wrote:

Like I said, you would not like it. But I did not expect to be accused of arguing ideology as if it is a bad thing by someone trying to justify his own ideology.

There are historical events that can support both of us. I a sorry you cannot face the ugly side of your ideology, especially as inevitable as that ugly side is when Government does not stop it..

Parents choose to have children. If the water sucks and you still decided to have a child. You decided to poison the child. If he didn't exist, you wouldn't be pouring tainted water down his throat. This has everything to do with the "misguided Gov't cycle of welfare support. When you are paid to have more children, you are rewarded for  having that 6th child and pouring tainted water down his throat.

Can you not imagine a man whose water was poisoned after  his wife became pregnant and the child was harmed by that poisoning, by someone elses hand, not the fathers. You need  to believe the man knew his water was poisoned, and made a choice? And how do you get to be judge of whether or not he should end his line even if he did know. What you should do is stand with that man against the criminal corporation who poisoned his water, and maybe yours, and with the better corporations who did not, the corporations waiting for a Government strong enought to make them and their competition spend what it takes to not destroy water sources everywhere they go.

I'll try to paraphrase the rest of the liberal diatribe. Kings = evil. Church = evil. Corporations = evil. Free money = good and it grows on trees.

That diatribe is from the imagination of ignorant fools. You can pretend those words come from my mouth, but the truth is they came from yours. I decide evil/wrong based upon the actions I see. I don't say "banks = evil" I say GS and JPM and C and BAC are "evil" and treat their customers badly. So I changed and chose a "not evil" corporation to keep my money with. Remember? You were so proud of me when I told you. I decided that dean foods was evil because they were repeatedly caught violating organic standards but still claiming and charging for their milk as though it was organic. That is wrong. That is ripping people off. I do not buy Horizon Organic dairy products. I buy Organic Valley, a brand that does meet organic standards, or fixes it quickly if they miss. Seems if Dean is a cheat, they get a price advantage over the company that did not cheat. Typical "free markets" as it is practiced today. When I buy organic I look for QAI on the label. Quality Assurance something or other. They are the organic certifying agency that ignored dean foods violations and certified them anyway. They are not the Government, they are a private company. You have asked me what I think Government shoud be? I think Government should do their own law enforcement higher and pay people directlky to do it and not subcontract it out to the lowest bidder because someone is whining about taxes. I don't have confidence in QAI. I choose products with a different certifying agency when I can.

While all of you were ranting against GM quality last year and saying unions had destroyed their quality, I told you non union Toyota was barely any better quality than Ford or GM anymore. Go back and find the posts.

I hope someday you can think for yourself as well as most liberals do. I hope someday you can get past your own prejudice. The prejudice that makes you say every time someone says a corporation is doing something "evil" they are a "liberal" who presumes "corporate = evil" because that is allowing yourself to be ignorant and I genuinely think you are more intelligent than to let yourself down like that.

When David told me his beloved Qatar was an example of a small Gov't I went and found out. I found a Country that had Nationalized its oil industry just as Venezuela has done. I found an Emir, a King. I found a benevolent King using oil money to improve the healthcare, and transportation in his country. I did not declare "King = evil", those are your words you try to put in my mouth.  But I still don't want a King. A good King's son might not be so good. I want a Democracy where I can throw out a blinded Republican party, and now a weak Democrat party if I can find a Government willing to Govern and not surrender responsibility to an unelected "free market".

Electing Libertarians is a sure path to violent confrontation. look at the Libertarian values in the video I posted. It is where they will take us back to, and it is not "freedom" whether you like hearing it or not.

Do you need me to find a bad union now? To prove I am "balanced"? I know the teamsters were criminal 30 years ago. I grew up in that world. There are a hundred more unions that are not corrupt. Some of them are even fighting for your rights for you.

Do all Libertarians believe unions = evil? They say they do. Do all Libertarians believe Government = evil? They say they do.

But then their vision has failed 100% of the time.

Good night.

Report this comment
#19) On February 25, 2010 at 6:52 AM, devoish (98.56) wrote:

I think Government should do their own law enforcement higher and pay people directlky to do it and not subcontract it out to the lowest bidder because someone is whining about taxes.

I think Government should do their own law enforcement hire and pay people directly to do it and not subcontract it out to the lowest bidder because someone is whining about taxes.

Report this comment
#20) On February 25, 2010 at 4:11 PM, ChrisGraley (29.65) wrote:

I hope someday you can think for yourself as well as most liberals do

Good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. 

The philosophy of bribing people with their own money and spending without thinking of the cost doesn't require much thought.

 

 

Report this comment
#21) On February 25, 2010 at 9:44 PM, devoish (98.56) wrote:

Hard for you to consider the possibility, isn't it.

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement