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My political beliefs amongst all the "ism's"



April 12, 2010 – Comments (19) | RELATED TICKERS: AM.DL2 , CRIS

OK, I'm going to finally define my political beliefs among the 3 popular "ism's". Conservatism, Liberalism, and Libertarianism. Since I'm attacking everyone else's beliefs in one singular post I'll suspect that this post goes rec-less. I expect everyone to be in attack mode and to get bombarded from all sides, and that's fine if I open up the possibility in your mind of a flaw in your own system.

I'm also going to introduce one more "ism" that you may or may not be familiar with. 

I'm going to start out by defining myself as an Individualist. I think that most Libertarians would identify themselves as the same, but I slightly disagree. I'm sure that there are a lot of Libertarians that would agree with every one of my talking points, but even in the broad spectrum of Libertarians, I haven't found a group that agrees with my personal beliefs totally. I do find  that Libertarians accept me even though I disagree with a few points, more than the Liberals or Conservatives would accept me though.

OK, so now I should define my perspective. I have stumbled through my life with a series of both failures and successes. I think that the reason that I've achieved, is that I learned from my failures and I capitalized on my successes. I know that everyone was expecting something more profound than that, but it's actually that simple. I'll be the first to throw luck into the equation, but I think that effort had something to do with it as well.

OK, so a young Chris was born and he had no choice in the matter. When he came out of the womb, he had to follow a series of rules from that point on. He's still following the rules, (but a lot less than he used to), because there is always going to be someone more powerful than Chris and there is always a consequence of disobeying a rule. Even a young Chris decided at a very early age that a lot of rules didn't make sense. Since I was young, a lot of rules that didn't make sense to me then, made a lot more sense to me later, but when I looked at the sources of those rules, I spotted a trend. It seemed that the farther away from me that the rules were initiated, the less likely that they were in my best interest.

What I had figured out is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Each one of the above "ism's" seems to be in opposition to corruption of some entity, which is noble. All the above parties suffer the same flaw though, in that they cause a shift in power to another entity and therefore an eventual shift in corruption.

Liberals see corruption by the government trying to legislate morality of the individual. They believe in a redistribution of wealth.They also see corruption of the corporations due to a lack of government regulation. They solve these problems by entitlements for the poor paid for by the wealthy and middle class and by huge government regulation on the corporation.

The end result of this system is corruption of the individual in the entitlement program. An individual that is forever dependent on the government and a government that mishandles entitlement money. The corporation is the biggest loser in this scenario and they won't be able to compete globally with companies that aren't over-regulated. 

Conservatives see corruption of individual morality and corruption of big government. They believe that taxation and regulation are a burden on the economy. They solve these problems by lowering taxes and by removing government regulation. They also pass laws to impose their moral beliefs.

The end result is corruption of the corporation and corruption of the government on behalf of the corporation. The individual is the biggest loser in this scenario and his personal liberties have been infringed upon.

Libertarians see corruption of the government and that corruption being enhanced when it aligns with another entity. Their solution is a smaller government. A government that has limited control should also have limited corruption. They believe that the court system can arbitrate when someone's rights have been infringed upon.

The end result in this system is pretty interesting. It would lead to a little corruption by both sides immediately. Without government support though, that corruption would be limited by the court system to the point that doesn't infringe on others. Wherever one entity had a power base though, that corruption would get distorted. How would a jury in a mining town vote in a case against a mining company for negligence? The mining company would probably be the weaker party in this case, because although it supports the town, they can't move the coal. A manufacturing company may be the stronger party in the same case though. In my opinion, this may be a better answer for the overall country, but it may not be the best answer, especially at the local level.

So what's the best answer? Well all 3 of the above "ism's" correctly identified the corruption. All 3 thought that changing the balance of power was the solution and to a small extent, they are right. The problem is that there needs to be an exact balance of power.

For the Liberals...

I don't mind a redistribution of wealth as long as that redistribution goes directly to the individual and is not eroded by a government administration that's ripe with fraud. Give them a check and let them decide what to do with it. They can earn as much as they want on top of that check and they don't lose it because they are trying to better themselves.

I don't mind any consumerist legislation as long as it applies to imports as well and doesn't apply to exports. Our market is captive and as long as everyone selling us goods has to play by the same rules. It's a net win for the consumer.

I would like to throw out a new one that you might like. Every employee of a business must be offered the same pay, benefit, and compensation package as the highest paid employee in some proportion. With the lowest paid employee getting no less than 1/35th of what the CEO gets. This gives incentive to the CEO reward labor, if he wants his own pay to increase.

For the Conservatives...

I don't mind getting rid of the Income, Estate, Capital Gains, Social Security, FICA, and Corporate taxes entirely and replace them with a tax based on consumption as long as you don't mind allowing me to exclude food, shelter, utilities and anything else that would make it a regressive tax. The tax decrease for the corporation should more than offset the inflationary increase due to the consumption tax since the bulk of that tax is getting redistributed back into the hands of the consumer. Also, most of the things that we are excluding from tax would be produced right here in this country. This increase in domestic demand should lead to an increase in domestic jobs. The tax paperwork reduction alone, should mean that you can focus more money on actually producing your product. Your raw material costs will probably rise some due to an increase demand, but your labor costs will go down substantially, even though you are paying higher wages. By the way, demand for your product should go up at the same pace as the demand for your raw materials.

For the Libertarians...

Hey, I'm all for the government leaving me the hell alone and letting me run my own life. I'm all for smaller government too! Care has to be taken on how small though. Consider that part of the reason that everyone hates the US for telling them what to do, is because we are able to tell them what to do! While I don't want to be the bully, I would prefer to have that power and not exercise it, than to step down and have another bully tell me what to do. A smaller government will be a weaker one. We have to figure out where a weaker government is good both globally and domestically. There are literally thousands of places where this makes sense! I have a feeling that we will need to increase both domestic and global intelligence. While we might be able to decrease the military, we will probably have to increase the domestic police force. I didn't throw any bones out there for the Libertarians as they tend to accept me more and most would probably agree with the bones that I threw out to the Liberals and Conservatives.

OK, so what am I hoping for this next election? I'm hoping for Liberals and Conservatives getting no more than 40% of available seats each and Libertarians to getting the rest. (20%) The Libertarians only need this amount to get a large part of their agenda put out there for the president to sign or veto. The conservatives agree with about half their platform and the liberals agree with the other half. They have the advantage of looking like a neutral party to the American public and when the public gets to watch Obama veto half of their platform, I'm guessing that Ron Paul gets elected as the next President. While I think that you will see a lot of solidarity with most of the first term Libertarians, I think you are going to see the group splinter quite a bit in the next election. This is because they were diverse to begin with and they will want to have more influence on the party as they gain more power. Also, you'll see a defection on both the left and the right into the Libertarian splinter groups as well. I'm guessing that the 3 party system in the next election looks more like a 5 party system for the one after. It might sit at 5 parties for quite a while, but iI'm hoping for more like 10 parties later. That's when things will start to turn around.

What happens when any 1 party is a lot weaker? Well, every choice a politician makes will have to be thought about a lot more by the same politician. In a 5 party system, most of the people in your district probably didn't want you, but more wanted you than the next guy, you can't force things on your voter base any more! You don't have the power! Did I mention that absolute power corrupts absolutely? Now you have to be more accountable than corrupt.

If you vote for an absolutely horrible health care bill that is identical to what your opposition would have voted in, because you know if you would have lost this vote, you would be impotent for the next 4 years, and then try to rally the party zombies to spin it like it's a good thing, you might be able to get away with it in a 2 party system. It's not that easy in a 3 party system. It's impossible in a 5 party system. The more choices a supporter has, the less willing he will be to lie for you.

If you totally agree with anyone in a 2 party system, you are either a moron or a liar. You have to buy everything to buy anything in that system. Salesman love morons. Pyramid schemes love liars.

It all boils down to the same thing. To get what you want, you have to pretend that you want a lot of things that you don't want. You are a political whore! If you had enough backbone to denounce your own party, you would be respected by others. The fact is that you are selling lies to get what you want and the buyers are drying up. This isn't new and don't be surprised when people recognize it for what it is.

I keep saying over and over again that "You are part of the problem!"  You are! It's OK, because you are getting less and less effective. I'm still part of the problem, but I'm focused on trying to be a part of the solution more and more. My thoughts are my thoughts. They are influenced, just like everyone else's, but I'm at least man enough not to pretend that Obama or G.W. Bush is the next Einstein to get what I want. The reason is that what I really want is is what's best for the country, and I'm not willing to sell my ideals to the party that I agree with the most. Those of you that are selling either one of those Presidents should be ashamed of yourselves. You are contributing to the problem to get what you want.

If you can't stray away from your platform enough to show that you are capable enough for independent thought, don't expect people to view you as a thinker. We were economically bankrupt 30 years ago, and we are still not willing to admit that we are bankrupt today. We are bankrupt. Our solution is to borrow more and spend more. We have a diminishing global group of countries still buying our debt because they have to. 30 years ago, they bought it for economic reasons. Today they buy it for political reasons. We can't expect the same political response as we crumble economically.


The last "ism" that I want to talk about is Individualism.

 Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual".[1] Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and soindependence and self-reliance[2] while opposing most external interference upon one's own interests, whether by society, or any other group or institution.[3]

Individualism makes the individual its focus[4] and so it starts "with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation." Natural rights and freedom are the substance of these theories. Classical liberalism (including libertarianism), existentialism and individualist anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of analysis.[5]

It has also been used as a term denoting "The quality of being an individual; individuality"[6] related to possessing "An individual characteristic; a quirk."[7] Individualism is thus also associated with artistic and bohemian interests and lifestyles where there is a tendency towards self creation and experimentation as opposed to tradition or popular mass opinions and behaviors[8][9] as so also with humanist philosophical positions and ethics.[10][11] Wikipedia link

We used to be governed by our own consent. The government used to need a court order to wiretap me. I used to have a choice to buy health insurance, but now I'm committing a crime if I don't buy it. I used to be able to read exactly what was in a bill before Congress actually voted on it, but now my Congressmen  are voting on bills that they haven't even been able to read ahead of time. We used to have economic growth that wasn't solely based on inflation.

Ask yourself this...

"Are we any better off now, than we were 60 years ago?" 

Both Liberals and Conservatives have had control of the government many times in that 60 years. If you do admit that we are actually worse off now than 60 years ago, then why do you still tow the party line? Do you think another 60 years will be any different?


I gave you the Wikipedia definition of Individualism and now I'll give you mine. 


Hello big government. It's me Chris.  Is it too much to ask for you to keep your hands out of my pockets? Do you have to tax every possible path to success? I'm told our tax system is voluntary, but the only way I can figure out not to pay involves suicide and I'm not particularly keen on that one. Can I have my privacy back? Could you stop buying things with my money that I can't afford? Could you at least stop lying to me? Could you not force me to buy things like health insurance if I don't have the money to survive as it is? Could you stop taking bribes? While were at it, could you stop telling me how to think and what my morals are?

In other words, could you leave me the hell alone if I'm contributing to society and not bothering anyone else?

Sorry for being selfish,






19 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 13, 2010 at 12:05 AM, Option1307 (30.66) wrote:

Fantastic post Chris, I'm really enjoying this series! I'll respond more when I have time.

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#2) On April 13, 2010 at 12:24 AM, motleyanimal (35.65) wrote:

May we add another ism?  Well, maybe not quite an ism, but worthy of discussion is


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#3) On April 13, 2010 at 12:56 AM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:


#2) On April 13, 2010 at 12:24 AM, motleyanimal (98.62) wrote:

May we add another ism?  Well, maybe not quite an ism, but worthy of discussion is



 That is an ism too! But I call it PayDayism.

That's the ism where you turn on your own party to get a big fat bribe and your party still defends you because people higher up in the party food chain say they should.

There's nothing like passing the other party's agenda and have your own party being the only people in your defense. 

If your own party balks at you, you should just point at your bogus Nobel peace prize and they should fall in line. 


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#4) On April 13, 2010 at 1:38 AM, G8BigBoom (64.70) wrote:


 Rec 1

Added to fav.

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#5) On April 13, 2010 at 6:20 AM, devoish (63.65) wrote:


I agree with 80% of what you wrote.

I was better off 25 years ago than I was 60 years ago. 25 yeaqrs ago most people who worked their whole lives could expect to have a secure, if not wealthy retirement. Pensions and benefits were fought for and won by unions, wages took a larger piece of  corporate income and retirement money was safer in Gov't investments not chasing higher returns to keep up with inflated stock valuations or risk falling behind.

I had a Gov't that could jail a corrupt union leader.

I don't mind any consumerist legislation as long as it applies to imports as well and doesn't apply to exports. Our market is captive and as long as everyone selling us goods has to play by the same rules. It's a net win for the consumer.

This is how unions were broken and fortunes were made at the expense of American employees and in favor of foreign interests and selected private companys that could globalise more easily. This also represents a huge win for the finance industrys as they profit off of the transfer of funds between countries.

I don't see any libertarians campaigning on restricting imports from countries with weak environmental laws, or weak labor laws.

Your CEO/ pay ratio could replace the good that unions did and probably more succesfully and clearly without the risk of corrupt union leaders. It would need to be applied across all income streams, not just salarys. (it is not a "new" idea. It is an old liberal one)

I don't see any libertarians or conservatives campaigning on CEO pay restrictions either.

For me, those parts of your changes need to come first, not after the others.

I would also like to see my tax return adjusted to reflect my values (and yours) for Gov't spending. I would like us all to direct where our tax dollars go by percentage, whether to defense, medicare, entitlements, infrastructure, aid to foreign countries etc.

+1 rec


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#6) On April 13, 2010 at 8:04 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.92) wrote:

Great post, Chris.  Even though I disagree with you sometimes, this is the reason why I respect your opinion quite a bit. 

I can definitely identify with you on 'walking your own path' as far as public policy beliefs go.  I don't seem to fit in with anyone either.  About as close as I could come to describing myself would be "Libertarian-Progressive", but I find myself in stark disagreement with both of those camps at various times. 

My biggest issue with Progressives tends to be that they are too often unquestioning about the efficiency of social services and often ignore the implications of a heavy tax burden.  Many of the issues progressives care about (environment, energy crisis, sustainable agriculture, etc) can be best solved by creative entrepreneurs and those entrepreneurs need capital to succeed.  That's difficult when they are taxed at 40% - 55% of their income.

My biggest issue with Libertarians tends to be that many fall into dogmatic thinking patterns that 'all government is evil' and 'less government = greater freedom'.  There's countless examples across the world that suggest it's not that clear cut. You alluded to this in your post, but my problem is that liberty can not survive in a completely neutered state --- a state that is too weak will get pushed aside by private interests, many of which will be more predatory in nature (and these interests will become de facto government).  I think we have to strike a careful balance to truly preserve liberty --- an overly strong state or an overly weak state both result in more tyranny. 


For me, I like hearing unique perspectives and well thought out arguments.  Conversely, I can't stand hearing dogmatic ideological proclamations.  Your post definitely fits into the former category.  Thanks for sharing.  

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#7) On April 13, 2010 at 8:14 AM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

5) On April 13, 2010 at 6:20 AM, devoish (99.48) wrote:


I agree with 80% of what you wrote.

The fact that you didn't agree with only 33.33% of what I wrote makes me feel like I accomplished something.

If each party focused on fixing the flaws in their own system, we'd be a little better off.

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#8) On April 13, 2010 at 8:34 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.92) wrote:


I would also like to see my tax return adjusted to reflect my values (and yours) for Gov't spending. I would like us all to direct where our tax dollars go by percentage, whether to defense, medicare, entitlements, infrastructure, aid to foreign countries etc.

Don't know if this would be practical, but it is a great thought.  

At the very least, it seems like everyone who pays taxes should receive a layout of where their tax dollars are going; maybe a 3-4 page financial statement-like presentation with a little bit of background info.  For the most part, people are oblivious to where their tax dollars are going and I continue to see politicians manipulate people based on this fact.  

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#9) On April 13, 2010 at 9:28 AM, binve (< 20) wrote:

Chris, wow man! This is a great post. I like your views on the indentification of the "isms".

I completely agree with this:

We were economically bankrupt 30 years ago, and we are still not willing to admit that we are bankrupt today. We are bankrupt. Our solution is to borrow more and spend more. We have a diminishing global group of countries still buying our debt because they have to. 30 years ago, they bought it for economic reasons. Today they buy it for political reasons. We can't expect the same political response as we crumble economically.

I really believe this is the case. And I am pointing it out in as many posts as I can. For this I am labelled a permabear. I think of myself as a realist. We have reached debt saturation. This path is unsustainable. I think it is a fairly obvious conclusion.

We have crossed over to where we now have negative economic production based on the decrease in the marginal utility of the debt (servicing accounts for more than the economic good that each new unit of debt initiates).

This isn't ideological, it's arithmetic.

Negative economic production (positively correlated economic assets, such as equities as a general asset class, go down) + currency devaluation (nominal cost increases for real assets) = stagflation.

I don't want to paint this good or bad ideologically (even though I do have an opinion, and yes it is bad), but rather I want to deal with this as a reality.

This is why I discuss precious metals just as loudly as I point out the problems.

.... But that just makes me a permabear (according to the permabulls).

Maybe I subscribe to "permabearism" ? ... :)  Thanks for the post!!.

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#10) On April 13, 2010 at 10:28 AM, brickcityman (< 20) wrote:

I'd like to kick in my own (evolving) definition of where I fit...


I am growing more congealed around what I call a Libertarian-Econo-Humanist.


Allow me to define with a few bullet points:


- In all cases I believe the solution with the smallest amount of moving parts is the best.  Elegant solutions produce superior results.

- Whenever "do nothing" is practical it is the best solution.  You cannot (successfully) improve upon what will naturally happen, at best you can prevent bad things from happening and little more.  So place your emphasis thusly.

- I believe government exists to be responsive to and to act on behalf of those governed.  This and this alone should define size of government, not some pre-conceived notion that bigger or smaller is better.

- When I see government corruption, waste, or inneficiency I don't think its a siren call for more or less of anything based on some "ism" playbook.  I think it's a call to devise a better mousetrap.  Step 1 is to define what is in the interest of society, Step 2 is to define the roles for each player, and step 3 is to define a framework in accordance with steps 1 and 2.

-  Government offiicals should be called upon to check their personal/moral belief systems at the door.  If they think it is required to do their work then they are sadly mistaken. 

-  The over-arching goal of society should be the advancement of the human race, government and business should be aligned as such.


Fundamentally I place the well being of people and society highest on the list of priorities, and I believe government and business should be formed around being responsive to them.  This does not imply anything with respect to class or wealth, just that our goal shoudl be to have each successive generation live a better life than those that came before it.



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#11) On April 13, 2010 at 10:33 AM, outoffocus (22.87) wrote:

All I have to say is wow...

Amazing post. After reading your definition I think I'm an individualist.  I've been an independent for years but I guess individualist is probably a better definition.  We're heading downhill fast on a slippery slope and most Americans are too busy following the carrots the 2 parties dangle in front of us to even care. 

Great Post.  I hope your ideas begin to take hold.

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#12) On April 13, 2010 at 12:43 PM, Schmacko (91.63) wrote:

"OK, so what am I hoping for this next election? I'm hoping for Liberals and Conservatives getting no more than 40% of available seats each and Libertarians to getting the rest. (20%)"

The elections this fall?  No chance in hell of libertarians (or any 3rd party) wins 20% of the open seats this year or any time soon.  There are two independents (one's really just a democrat) in the senate and 0 in the house.... 0 third party governors too.  Going from close to 0% to 20% in one election is unpossible especially since the libertarians (and other 3rd parties) don't have significant local government bases to draw upon.   It'd be a major accomplishment if they could pull 2% of the house seats (8-9).

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#13) On April 13, 2010 at 1:59 PM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

Don't underestimate voter apathy in this election.

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#14) On April 13, 2010 at 3:02 PM, FleaBagger (27.55) wrote:

Government binding corporations does not help consumers or laborers, but the competitors of those corporations, even if those competitors are overseas. Government as never helped anyone without doing far more damage elsewhere, and ultimately, the winners are the bankers and the other superwealthy who can influence the government.

In anarchy, competition would limit power, as long as we did not capitulate and allow a government to seize power from the people. As in all things, governments rule with the consent of the governed. As long as we support the government versus Ruby Ridge, versus Waco, versus the guy being wiretapped, we will always get the biggest, most abusive government we will tolerate. 

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#15) On April 13, 2010 at 3:17 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Good work Chris.  Reaching out politically is something you do very well.  I enjoyed it.  It's pragmatic without being pretentious.  You're always welcome in my house (and I don't mean the libertarian house, I mean that literally, as in my house - if you could ever find it lol.)

David in Qatar

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#16) On April 13, 2010 at 3:24 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:


Love you long time.


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#17) On April 13, 2010 at 4:51 PM, russiangambit (28.67) wrote:

This definitions apply only to the US, right? To anyone outside of the US these definitions would make no sense. It is amazing how the definitions got distorted by the US media tog et where theya re now.

Here is how I define l some of them:

Liberal -  stands for personal freedom and human rights, also for economic freedom.

Conservative - supports status quo, resistant to change.

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#18) On April 13, 2010 at 5:43 PM, ricoy5 (25.59) wrote:

Great read Chris.  Thanks for the post.

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#19) On April 13, 2010 at 8:58 PM, ChrisGraley (28.49) wrote:

I have to thank everyone for all the positive responses, I really thought I was gonna get flamed on this post.

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