The Struggle for the Soul of America

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Nick_A
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The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:05 am

There is a struggle going on for the soul of America. Should Americans struggle to regain the principles it was founded upon or seek to transform it into a statist utopia as suggested by others such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
"We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them."
― George Orwell, 1984

"God bless the America we are trying to create." Hillary Clinton

"We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." - Barack Obama, October 30, 2008
Is freedom really so repulsive? Is the Declaration of Independence really obsolete? I may be old fashioned but it makes good sense to me.

Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Are those like Alexis de Tocqueville really so misguided that they need to be reeducated by secular progressive experts dedicated to the transformation of America and the loss of the American soul? Does what he wrote really seem so absurd to you? Are you willing to defend Hillary and Obama’s dream of the transformation of America into statist slavery? I’d like to read on what basis you prefer to live under statist slavery as opposed to freedom?

“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:37 am

Nick,

Most of the folks here won't get, can't get, it.

They can't or won't cuz they're just too deeply steeped in some strain of communitarianism. America (government, culture, etc.) is alien and repugnant to them.

These folks are the first to point out, in great detail, all America's sins, how America doesn't live up to its 'ideals', how America is 'wrong', and on and on. If they mention America's virtues at all it's only to piss on them.

They'll point out, in great detail, the schizophrenia of America: its frenzied, fractured nature; its coarse and raw people; its violence, its sentimentality and simplicity, its, well, Americanism. They can't see the vigor, or the resolve, or the essential 'autonomy' of the place and the individuals who live here (hell, incapable of seeing themselves as individuals, they can only see Americans as pieces and parts).

They'll wag fingers, and cluck on about our corrupt politicians and systems (never mind that despite the clunky imperfections, things seem to keep working mostly as they should [which is to say, communitarianism hasn't won yet]).

They ain't listenin', Nick...they don't wanna...they don't hafta...they ain't gonna.
Last edited by henry quirk on Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:45 am

Can't see the irony in what he's saying. :roll:

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Impenitent » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:20 pm

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - Orwell

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:40 pm

Henry
These folks are the first to point out, in great detail, all America's sins, how America doesn't live up to its 'ideals', how America is 'wrong', and on and on. If they mention America's virtues at all it's only to piss on them.
There is a lot of truth in what you've written. There will always be those with the need to destroy anything good including the ideal of a free people and the American ideals which sustain it. The American soul strives for freedom while the statist collective ideal strives for psychological slavery. What is so attractive even theoretically about mindless slavery to some sort of state controlled communitarianism you mentioned which no one wants for themselves but is intent on inflicting it on others? Why voluntarily live with the goal of statist slavery? I don't get it. Have we become incapable of appreciating the objective relationship between obligations and rights? Has Simone become a voice within a vanishing minority?
"The notion of obligations comes before that of rights, which is subordinate and relative to the former. A right is not effectual by itself, but only in relation to the obligation to which it corresponds, the effective exercise of a right springing not from the individual who possesses it, but from other men who consider themselves as being under a certain obligation towards him. Recognition of an obligation makes it effectual. An obligation which goes unrecognized by anybody loses none of the full force of its existence. A right which goes unrecognized by anybody is not worth very much.

It makes nonsense to say that men have, on the one hand, rights, and on the other hand, obligations. Such words only express differences in point of view. The actual relationship between the two is as between object and subject. A man, considered in isolation, only has duties, amongst which are certain duties towards himself. Other men, seen from his point of view, only have rights. He, in his turn, has rights, when seen from the point of view of other men, who recognize that they have obligations towards him. A man left alone in the universe would have no rights whatever, but he would have obligations….” - Simone Weil, “The Need for Roots”
Statists demand forced obligations while the American soul is willing with the help of grace to invite voluntary obligations necessary to achieve rights. That IMO is why John Adams wrote:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
The value of moral and religious influence along with the Constitution must be destroyed in society to further the cause of statist slavery. The Great Beast smiles its approval.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by FlashDangerpants » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:56 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:40 pm
Statists demand forced obligations while the American soul is willing with the help of grace to invite voluntary obligations necessary to achieve rights. That IMO is why John Adams wrote:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
The value of moral and religious influence along with the Constitution must be destroyed in society to further the cause of statist slavery. The Great Beast smiles its approval.
So the freedom loving anti-statists must use statism to preserve the influence of an officially sanctioned religion in order to remove the malign influence of the state.

Classic, top quality, grade 1, primo Nick_A shit.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:18 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:56 pm
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:40 pm
Statists demand forced obligations while the American soul is willing with the help of grace to invite voluntary obligations necessary to achieve rights. That IMO is why John Adams wrote:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
The value of moral and religious influence along with the Constitution must be destroyed in society to further the cause of statist slavery. The Great Beast smiles its approval.
So the freedom loving anti-statists must use statism to preserve the influence of an officially sanctioned religion in order to remove the malign influence of the state.

Classic, top quality, grade 1, primo Nick_A shit.
No, An officially sanctioned religion is precisely what we don't need. it will only lead to secular spirituality which is being discussed now. Such philosophies are constructed on state approved political correctness and the glorification of imagination which denies the help of grace. Nothing good can come from such efforts. A free society must be open to religious principles such as humility in the face of higher consciousness denied by secularism and its glorification of the Great Beast and prestige.

Freedom is repulsive to so many because of fear of voluntary obligations. It has become normal for people to need "experts' to tell them what to think and do. The struggle for the American soul is between those who are willing to sacrifice for freedom and those needing to become slaves of the state they believe will take care of them. Right now it looks like slavery is gradually winning.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by FlashDangerpants » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:50 pm

Nick_A wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:18 pm
No, An officially sanctioned religion is precisely what we don't need. it will only lead to secular spirituality which is being discussed now. Such philosophies are constructed on state approved political correctness and the glorification of imagination which denies the help of grace. Nothing good can come from such efforts. A free society must be open to religious principles such as humility in the face of higher consciousness denied by secularism and its glorification of the Great Beast and prestige.

Freedom is repulsive to so many because of fear of voluntary obligations. It has become normal for people to need "experts' to tell them what to think and do. The struggle for the American soul is between those who are willing to sacrifice for freedom and those needing to become slaves of the state they believe will take care of them. Right now it looks like slavery is gradually winning.
I see. So you aren't compelled by outside forces to be a monotonous, yet distinctly shrill, egomaniac. It's merely a voluntary obligation that you happen to have adopted with great enthusiasm.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:29 pm

Nick_A wrote:There is a struggle going on for the soul of America. ...
Really don't care as one, 'souls' are nonsense on stilts and two, there appears to always be a conflict going on in America. Normally you solve it with an external enemy but looks like you haven't got a real one at present so the contradictions of your system and the myths that sustain it become more apparent.
Should Americans struggle to regain the principles it was founded upon or seek to transform it into a statist utopia as suggested by others such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
No idea, why don't you find an American political forum and discuss it there?
Is freedom really so repulsive? Is the Declaration of Independence really obsolete? I may be old fashioned but it makes good sense to me.

Preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So for example, the contradictions in the above. It says that the government gets its powers from the consent of the governed so if the governed vote for what you call a 'statist utopia' then the government has the right to implement it but then it gives those who disagree a duty to try and overthrow such stuff, this is why we don't have a written constitution as it's just to inflexible a tool to run a nation for a long-time in the face of change and is pretty much a lawyers charter and a tool for discord.
Are those like Alexis de Tocqueville really so misguided that they need to be reeducated by secular progressive experts dedicated to the transformation of America and the loss of the American soul? Does what he wrote really seem so absurd to you? Are you willing to defend Hillary and Obama’s dream of the transformation of America into statist slavery?
What do you mean by 'statist slavery'?

I think your situation is more like this -
"Egoism springs from a blind instinct; individualism from wrong-headed thinking rather than from depraved feelings. It originates as much from defects of intelligence as from the mistakes of the heart. Egoism blights the seeds of every virtue; individualism at first dries up only the source of public virtue. In the longer term it attacks and destroys all the others and will finally merge with egoism." Alexis de Tocqueville

I think I really do get what some of you Americans understand by 'freedom', i.e. that inequality is a consequence of your freedom and devil take the hindmost and in fact is needed to sustain it but the problem is that you believe your myths that opportunity is open to all and that is just not born-out by your history as by-and-large you have had very little social mobility in your society it's just been masked by the a period where all where doing okay by comparison but now that's pretty much over with the end of your major industrial period. Now the reality is that the wealth is being sucked higher and higher and into fewer and fewer hands, take the past four or five decades, the working slob and lower middle-classes have pretty much had no rise in pay but have been more productive than ever and the benefits of that production have been taken and given to higher management who have rewarded themselves by quadrupling and more their own incomes, I think this is the unacknowledged anger that is driving your citizens.
I’d like to read on what basis you prefer to live under statist slavery as opposed to freedom?
Not sure what you mean by 'statist slavery' but if you mean things like our National Health and Welfare system then the basis is that I prefer to pay my taxes and money in a more efficient way than the privatised system that you have as it means I don't have to worry all the time that some insurance company will find a loophole if I catch something bad or have a bad accident not covered by my policy. It also means that in times of recession and high unemployment I won't have to turn to crime to stop myself starving.
“Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville

“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
― Alexis de Tocqueville
He makes some cogent points and as such I think over here we should change how Welfare is distributed, a universal Citizens Income seems to be on the cards with a scrapping of all means-tested benefits and I think a flat-rate wealth tax with a 'Land tax' and the abolishment of Income Tax might be useful as well.

What I'm amazed at is that Americans can't see what a waste of money their current health system is? I get that you won't go down the NHS route as that was due to circumstances at the time but why not look at the Swiss Health Insurance model as I think it is probably more like what was intended by your system and would suit most of your requirements for freedom and little government interference.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Nick_A » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:31 pm

“Those that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Notice how the progressives cannot discuss ideas so they descend into attacking people in the cause of temporary safety. Slavery is perceived as a desirable goal when people lose the ability to comprehend the value of freedom. As Benjamin Franklin said, that attitude only assures the loss of freedom and safety.
“Of the liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press; of the trial by jury of the vicinage in civil and criminal cases; of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus; of the right to keep and bear arms...If these rights are well defined, and secured against encroachment, it is impossible that government should ever degenerate into tyranny.”
James Monroe
These rights must be eliminated to assure the transformation of America into Statist Slavery and capture the soul of America.

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Re:

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:36 pm

henry quirk wrote:...
They ain't listenin', Nick...they don't wanna...they don't hafta...they ain't gonna.
You do us a disservice, I think most of us 'get it' as how could we not with the endless amount of Yanks passing through this site yakking on about it and how the rest of us are all commies, etc, etc. I think most of us don't give a toss about what you do as it's your country and you can do as you wish, hence you'll find very few posts about America here by anyone but Americans and they seem to be more concerned with dissing the rest of us and proclaiming the brilliance of your nation but really most don't give much of a toss and personally I wonder why they aren't on American political sites rather than an obscure British philosophy forum. Presumably most of them have been banned everywhere else even on their own sites.

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Nick_A » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:13 am

Arising
No idea, why don't you find an American political forum and discuss it there?
Freedom as a societal ideal is now considered obsolete for those with your mindset so is unworthy to be considered a philosophical question. It has been ruled a fantasy. The freedom to pursue Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is now considered politically incorrect. The politically correct goal is now serving the Beast, obedience to the Beast, and pleasing the Beast by paying its bills. Progress
So for example, the contradictions in the above. It says that the government gets its powers from the consent of the governed so if the governed vote for what you call a 'statist utopia' then the government has the right to implement it but then it gives those who disagree a duty to try and overthrow such stuff, this is why we don't have a written constitution as it's just to inflexible a tool to run a nation for a long-time in the face of change and is pretty much a lawyers charter and a tool for discord.
Governments as expressions of the Great Beast will always attempt to deprive the people of freedom so as to become more powerful and take advantages of people. The advantage of the U.S. Constitution is that it makes it as difficult as possible offering the people hope for freedom.
What do you mean by 'statist slavery'?
In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree. While the term statism has been in use since the 1850s, it gained significant usage in American political discourse throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

Statist slavery is simply surrendering freedom and adopting psychological slavery to these absurd beliefs.
Not sure what you mean by 'statist slavery' but if you mean things like our National Health and Welfare system then the basis is that I prefer to pay my taxes and money in a more efficient way than the privatised system that you have as it means I don't have to worry all the time that some insurance company will find a loophole if I catch something bad or have a bad accident not covered by my policy. It also means that in times of recession and high unemployment I won't have to turn to crime to stop myself starving.
First of all, remember that America has already lost its freedom and largely has adopted statist slavery. This thread is about the possibility of regaining the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Socialized medicine is just another way of creating psychological slavery to their imagined progressive superiors.
Vladimir Lenin: "Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State."
Why above all if socialized medicine is the keystone, why would a free society that values its freedom possibly accept their government controlling their life and death?

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Re: Re:

Post by Impenitent » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:31 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:36 pm
... obscure British philosophy ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_B ... ilosophers

nothing obscure in that...

-Imp

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Re: The Struggle for the Soul of America

Post by Arising_uk » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:38 am

You are incapable of answering questions, is this a congenital trait?
Nick_A wrote:Freedom as a societal ideal is now considered obsolete for those with your mindset so is unworthy to be considered a philosophical question. It has been ruled a fantasy. ...
Where in Philosophy has this been ruled?
The freedom to pursue Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is now considered politically incorrect. ...
Where, in America?

How does one pursue Life? And Liberty for that matter. What do you mean by this? As your constitution actually seems to say a right to Life and Liberty which presumably just means the rights to not be unlawfully or unjustly killed nor unlawfully or unjustly imprisoned, basically the Magna Carta updated for the pleb.

As for the pursuit of happiness, well apart from being a pretty woolly term this sounds fair enough but what restrictions do you put upon this? As one man's happiness can be the cause of great misery to another.
The politically correct goal is now serving the Beast, obedience to the Beast, and pleasing the Beast by paying its bills. Progress.
Better than civil war and as far as I can see your 'Beast' is based exactly upon the ideals you say you laud.
Governments as expressions of the Great Beast will always attempt to deprive the people of freedom so as to become more powerful and take advantages of people. The advantage of the U.S. Constitution is that it makes it as difficult as possible offering the people hope for freedom.
Does it cross your mind that a government wrote this constitution and that to have it upheld one needs a government?
In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree. While the term statism has been in use since the 1850s, it gained significant usage in American political discourse throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Ah! So you'd be an Anarchist or Anarcho-Syndicalist would you?
Statist slavery is simply surrendering freedom and adopting psychological slavery to these absurd beliefs.
So what do you think government is for?
First of all, remember that America has already lost its freedom and largely has adopted statist slavery. This thread is about the possibility of regaining the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Socialized medicine is just another way of creating psychological slavery to their imagined progressive superiors.
Vladimir Lenin: "Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State."
Not much time for Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov apart from his analysis of revolution as he got truly shafted by Joseph Vissarionovich.

It may well be Lenin's aim but over here the NHS came about from the experience of two world wars, in the first it was the first time that the upper-classes came in contact with the lower and they were shocked to realise the state of their health, not least because it made them poor soldiers. After the second the promise of the first, 'a land fit for heroes' was not forgotten so easily and those who fought and lived decided that if we expect people to die for the state then the least we could do for our fellows is a provide some health-care for their loved ones. That and that it had the added bonus of being economical and socially beneficial.
Why above all if socialized medicine is the keystone, why would a free society that values its freedom possibly accept their government controlling their life and death?
Because it's much cheaper than allowing insurance companies to do it and in reality its not the government who do this but the doctors. On top of that in a Democracy people can also pay as well if they wish. I know it's hard for you to understand but personally I find it much simpler and cheaper to pay a small pittance(although this has been abused recently by lumping it in with general tax revenues) to get healthcare free at the point of service as when injured or ill I really don't wish to be bothered about forms and whether it's going to beggar me and my family if my coverage is incomplete. That it means that if I live pretty much illness free for most of my life I will have been paying for others who haven't doesn't bother me much as life is full of unexpected vicissitudes and it could well have been me and not them, it's just a bonus it wasn't me. How we implement such a system is open for discussion tho' and recently I'm beginning to think the Swiss system may be preferable.

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Post by henry quirk » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:38 pm

Nick,

What is so attractive even theoretically about mindless slavery to some sort of state controlled communitarianism you mentioned which no one wants for themselves but is intent on inflicting it on others? Why voluntarily live with the goal of statist slavery?

It's not complicated: most communitarians don't view communitarianism as slavery. Instead they see it as enlightened and practical (see A_uk's comments in this thread regarding healthcare/insurance as example). Comes down to individual, subjective, priorities:: a body assess itself, assesses the world, assesses itself in the world, and determines 'I can' or 'I can't'.

It's an unbridgeable gulf between two irreconcilable stances.

#

A_uk,

"You do us a disservice"

Probably.

I could say the same (you do us [Americans] a diservice)...meh.

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