David, It is articles like this one that give me hope that some day you will see the light and realize that forcible, coercive government is the problem. But thinking strong democracy will solve the problem of soft democracy is naive. The problem is democracy, or monarchy, or oligarchy, or any other form of men ruling men through force, violence and coercion--the trademarks of nation-states.
Democracy is less defensible than monarchy, wherein it was thought that the king ruled by "divine right." Christianity at one time lent its wholehearted support to the idea that hereditary dynasties derived their authority from God. But when democracies and republics came into vogue, a new source of governments' authority to initiate the use of force had to be found. And so it was determined that government authority in a democracy belonged to "the people," who merely delegated it to their representatives. But if the people delegate authority to initiate force, where did they get it? No individuals has legitimate authority to initiate force against others for any purpose, and one cannot delegate something one doesn't have.
So you see, David, whereas the king's authority supposedly came from God, that at least makes a lot more sense then the concept that the authority of democracies or republics is conjured from nothing. Come around to voluntaryism. It is a lot more rational.
@ David Cook [excerpts] "...understand this most important truth: Protesting state violence is protesting street violence. By ending one, you end the other. "The violence we see inside our communities is a symptom of that state violence," Henderson said
David, Putting these words of yours and Mr. Henderson's together suggests to me you are on the right track to understanding the cause of essentially all violence in America and throughout the world. To state the essential truth in a three-word aphorism, "VIOLENCE BEGETS VIOLENCE." It cannot succeed in reducing or eliminating it. (How's that VRI you've touted doing??? Three murders over this past weekend (last full weekend in October) demonstrate it is a total failure, probably because it is predicated upon violence itself."
David, you hit the nail on the head when you say, "Protesting state violence is protesting street violence. By ending one, you end the other." Absolutely true. Top-down state violence, including, but nowhere near limited to, wars, executions and extortion (a.k.a. taxation) perpetrated by political leaders through their agents reflects in all of the violence in America today--all of it--because violence begets violence. How the spawn of state violence spreads itself throughout American society as it percolates, germinates, mutates and bursts forth anew is entirely unpredictable but nevertheless certain. The violence condoned to collect the taxes that fund our favorite government benefits becomes the Sandy Hook Elementary slaughter of young children tomorrow. In the words of your friend Mr. Henderson, "[T]op-down, vertical violence creates conditions where horizontal violence -- kids in blue shooting kids in red -- can flourish."
David, if you want to preach nonviolence, you will have to practice it in all of your affairs if you expect anyone to pay heed. (Of course you'll have to resign your membership as a political progressive, for progressive politics demands lots of state violence--hilariously--often in the name of benevolence.)
@ Hunter_Bluff: "The problem isn't 'them blacks' or 'them whites', the problem and thus the solution lies with 'we Americans.'
Yep, as long as we allow our public servants (ha, ha, ho, ho) to do violence we get what we deserve. If it sounds like I'm casting stones, so be it. I don't have to worry as long as I live in a rock-hard house constructed of absolute nonviolence. It is a safe place. Try it. You may like it.
[continuing my third @ paragraph]...and your salacious article isn't telling them anything they didn't know before they volunteered--or should have known if they are not as dumb as you infer they are when you write such screed.
David, this article is 40 leagues beneath your standards. Retract it.
@ "Look, I'm not dogging the race." Yes you are, and the only question is Why?
@ "...if it takes a global corporation to create that, so be it."
I'm sure when that "global corporation" started doing the Iron Man it wasn't global. Furthermore, there ain't no such thing as a "global corporation." Corporations are creations of a particular state, in this case I'll assume it is the USA, and so it is an American company--not a global corporation. Nice try at slurring.
@ "Nor is this any guilt trip on the volunteers or our city's volunteer spirit. Holy hamstrings, anything but." No, you're not laying on a guilt trip. Far worse, you are inferring they are stupid for not insisting on getting paid. The volunteers knew what they were doing and your salacious
Ned Netterville Other than envy, I cannot imagine what inspired you to write this article. If you or anyone else volunteer to work for no pay, I don't give a hoot what any stupid labor law says, you don't get paid. The idea that the sponsor company earns a profit, and you are a violent progressive who would use the force of government whenever possible to wipe out everyone's profit but you own friends and employers, because that would jeopardize you income, is the only rational reason I attribute to you writing such screed. Are you aware of the words, "Live and let live?" Translation: Mind your own business.
David, Please argue logically. "Black lives matter ... therefore America cannot continue to profile, arrest and shoot its black men in such ways." In other words, the cop, Wilson, didn't shoot Brown, America did? Good thinking! I just hope if Wilson is charged he doesn't use your America-did-it excuse as a defense. A jury of logical people won't buy it.
@ "Mike Brown was a person," said Henderson. "A person about to start college. A person with hopes and dreams with a mother and father who loved him." Mike was also described as a "gentle giant" by family and friends, but video evidence of his strong-armed robbery and assault of a store clerk belie that description.
@"Black lives matter ... therefore the rates of poverty and unemployment which affect black people in disproportionate ways must be addressed."
Must be addressed by who? I know what you have in mind, because your columns indicate you believe in "progressive government," which means you think government should solve the problem. But that is illogical, to put it kindly. Progressive-government policies "to solve problems" over the past 125 years have so shackled the once-relatively free market, which use to provide a way out of poverty for so many Americans, no longer exists. If you want to reduce poverty, get rid of your taxing, regulating progressive government.
David, you say, @" It is an economic system that has created a permanent underclass of white, black and brown Americans." Yes, and your "progressive" government programs based on government handouts has emasculated both the once-vibrant economy and the poor souls who sell their independence for a bit of slop from the government's trough and perpetual dependence on the almighty state.
David, The reason you are coming to Mr. Bennett's defense is that you have invested a lot of your mojo in the city's Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI). I think you are sincere, but as these other comments imply, you are also rather naive, which I seldom detect in your columns. You want to see the program work so you are looking at it and its participants through rose-colored glasses. Wake up and smell--not the roses--but the stench of city government wasting taxpayers' money on its sure-to-fail VRI program.
David, here's an axiom you can take to the bank: "Violence begets violence." And its corollary: "Initiating violence to reduce violence is trying to suppress fire by throwing petrol on it."
All taxes are collected by force. All tax laws include enFORCEment provisions. If someone declines to pay a tax, the government will use all the force (viz., violence!) necessary to see that the money is collected. The funds used to pay Mr. Bennett from the city's VRI, is OPM, which sounds like opium, is equally addicting, and stands for Other People's Money--forcibly extorted. In my opinion, receiving and spending OPM is the equivalent of stealing. The crimes Mr. Bennett may or may not have committed in the park that night pale in comparison with the crime of living off the fruits of other people's labors taken from them by force or coercion.
@"Private school(s)...profit being their primary motivation." Rickroo, what do you thing is the motive of the public-school establishment, which has taken literally trillions of $$$ by force and delivered, as you acknowledge, a putrid product. Wake up and smell the stench these government programs emit.
@"Without a doubt our government is corrupt now..." Of course it is, and the reason is its very nature. Everything government does is based on its unholy and illegitimate "authority" to use force.
"Reagan..." Hey, he is your man not mine. You are a voter, aren't you? Reagan talked a good shrink-government game, but if you look at the record of growth of government during his tenure you will see that he was just another progressive in conservative clothing. You don't like him because he spent OPM on programs (star wars, etc.) that were not to your liking. Don't try to hang Reagan on me. The only difference I see between you and Reagan is that the utterly vapid rhetoric you spout has no impact on anything, whereas Reagan's utterances could and did, like Obama's, send young Americans to their graves.
@"To think that this nation of over 3 hundred million people of such diverse character, or even 50 individual states, could be run efficiently without a strong centralized government is nuts" To think that a government officials with their insatiable desire for wealth and power can rule 300 million people is insanity gone mad. Where do you suppose your rulers derive their superior knowledge and ability to be able to manage the lives of 300 million people they don't know without screwing up catastrophically? Come on, Rickaroo, attributing such superhuman powers to the State is a form of deity worship, which Ludwig von Mises aptly dubbed Statolatry. I find such devotion to government embarrassing to witness.
Rickaroo, I assure you that you are more the conservative in every respect than I am. Conservatives are as addicted to government spending as progressives, only they would spend the OPM on other things. (FYI, OPM: sounds like opium, is equally addicting, stands for Other People's Money--forcibly taken.) I am a voluntaryist, which is as far from progressive and conservative as one can get.
Your comment suggests you have been persuaded by your rulers' propaganda.
@"Bill of Rights..." Like the Constitution, not worth the paper written on. Government, including the SCOTUS, honors it only in the breach. Ah, like being drafted to kill complete strangers isn't "involuntary servitude."
@"Civil Rights Act..." It was written to try, rather unsuccessfully, to counter the slavery and Jim Crow laws sanctioned by your federal government for all those many years.
@"Social Security..." A ponzi-like (except unlike Uncle Sam, Ponzi didn't force his marks to buy what he was selling) scheme whose real purpose is to make as many Americans as possible government dependents--and it's working. Dependency on booze or drugs or government benefits is a disease that robs its victims of their self-sufficiency and self-respect. Once their dependency is sufficiently advanced, their rulers can make them jump through any hoop they devise to keep the OPM flowing.
@"Medicare..." You acknowledge is flawed, but it is worse than that. It, along with other government-induced third-party payer systems have virtually destroyed what was once a fine and efficient medical profession, the best in the world, and made health care unaffordable for many and satisfactory health care unavailable to anyone. I'd call it a Ponzi scheme too, but as I pointed out, that would be unfair to Ponzi. Try to keep this axiom in mind as you evaluate those government programs dear to your heart: If they were good, the government wouldn't have to force people to pay for them by means of compulsory taxation. No one has to force you to buy the goods you obtain at the grocery store, or anything else you get that doesn't come to you from the almighty State.
Public schools are the problem because they are public, that is to say government schools. Government can't do anything right because it is a force-based (viz., violent)institution, except to conduct wars if there is a right way to do that. If it didn't rely on force and coercion to collect its taxes and enFORCE its laws it wouldn't be government as we know it, although whatever it became it would certainly be something better in every respect.
People just like you, David, have been raising the same futile hue and cry for eons, with the same results I expect to see from your wasted lamentation. Education is a product just like smartphones. If the government was in charge of making smartphones, they'd becalled dumbphones and, like the public schools, they wouldn't work. Get over your attachment to the almighty State. In the long run it will bury you and its schools will still be putrid.
@"violence pollutes like a cloud:" You've got that right. Violence begets only more violence. But how or when it germinates, mutates and spreads its savage spawn is unpredictable. Obama orders a drone to kill in Pakistan; Alex Hribal slaughters his school mates in Pittsburgh. Tit for tat in the world of violence.
As John Dear said at the meeting you announced in an earlier column, the only solution to the unending cycle of violence is, as Jesus said, to "turn the other cheek." We the people will respond to Hribal's violence, not by turning the other cheek, but with additional violence to keep the cycle unbroken. Already the prosecution has determined to try this sick youngster as an adult, so that we can inflict the death penalty or life in prison as our vengeance, and keep the cycle of violence going.
John Dear points out that the violence pandemic and the solution are within us. I point out that government is a violent construct. It operates by the "rule of law," and its laws are enforced by agents armed with assault weapons who are ready and all too willing to do violence to enFORCE the law. Government originates a vicious cycle of violence by collecting its taxes by force or the threat of force, using all the violence necessary to ensure collection. Forcible taxes are the lifeblood of the state; and, I would add, its Achille's heel. We have come to depend on government for a pantheon of government benefits, from security to education to roads and bridges to transportation for health and welfare and many of our other daily wants and needs. In other words, through our governments we have become utterly dependent on violence instead of God for our daily bread.
David, are you up to renouncing violence in all of your affairs? Until you are, at least according to John Dear, you may be part of the problem rather than contributing to the solution.