greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I was always inspired by the statement--Don't criticize the problem unless you have a plan and are willing to fix it. SO--lets try this ! Keep the same basic central government but instead of elections we will appoint representatives from a pool of citizens --like jury duty. Requirements--21 or older---a high school or equivelent education--a property owner and they may not have had any education in the legal field. Each to serve a 1 year term--their wages will be the same as they made last year on their w2's and their job will be quaranteed returned when they get back. If they are a business owner and have no one to run it--we will have a team of employeees to fill that spot. No person shall ever be called upon twice in one lifetime to serve in this capacity. During this term the individual will not be allowed to conduct business or to meet with outside influences except family and friends. Give it some thought and than lets hear it !!!

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 25, 2000


I don't know Joel. Most of the public has no idea about government at the local level, much less at the national level. I'm not sure we'd be any better off. Seems to me that most of the locals are too worried about when the next good time will come around, and if they will be able to pay for the party and still keep the lights on. Then there are the ones that DON'T worry about keeping the lights on, just when is the next party. All too depressing for Saturday morning before 8 am.

-- Carmen (logcabin_now@yahoo.com), March 25, 2000.

-"Don't criticize the problem unless you have a plan and are willing to fix it".

Joel, we are in agreement! The sun is shining today! I have really been wondering about how many folk here are trying to do something to fix some of these problems we have been grousing about. I wondered how many people actually vote, or stand up at a town meeting to speak out on some of these issues. It's one thing to analyze and complain about something, but wholly other to take a stand and commit to making things better.

I look at participatory government about the same way I do with earth stewardship. If you keep taking and not putting back, you will get a worthless, depleted, disfunctional system, whether it's based on carbon based systems or political. I used to be really cynical, hated everything, but when I moved to the country I decided that part of that country heritage was a "town hall" mentality. I now work to make things better. I still think government doesn't function too effectively (!) above about the COUNTY level (mostly because of $$$$ contributions outmuscle-ing participation) but I still think it's fixable. I live in a part of the country where there are 3 counties that have popuations that want to secede from their counties!! Not even states! We have a lot of lively opinions about government around here. I don't agree with some, for sure, but am glad people still care enough to debate about it.

With respect to your proposal, I think some of it sounds interesting. I question whether or not a year would be long enough for people to get over being "shy" and my other concern would be that hardly anyone seems to have even a basic notion about how civics and governments even work. How many folks have an interest? How many folks try to get off jury duty? Think they would want to isolate themselves from their next business transaction: i.e. issuing the next hot IPO??

I would love to hear what everyone has to think, too. Sorry to be long! Answer soon, school starts Monday!!!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 25, 2000.

Interesting...and, I prefer the system we have now and am lobbying for term limits, as well as huge reform of the campaign contribution mess,mandatory media exposure for ALL candidates, and improved education regarding government in the schools...Whew ! Your idea,would exclude women who did not work (what "team" will come into the home and be mother and wife for a year)?,as well as some of the most intelligent folks I know..those without a high school diploma. My Grandfather had a third grade education, yet was on of the finest historians I have ever met.Many of my neighbors never had the chance to complete high school, yet could easily debate Harvard graduates on government function.One year is not enough to develop an effective grasp of all of the issues, and more than four years is too much.I hate the concept of career politicians and could see that go by-the- by with term limits.We have a system in place that CAN work, because it HAS for many years.The recent demise of effective government goes hand in hand with economic standards.Folks nowdays have a false sense of a terrific economy because any boob can get a credit card and drive a leased luxury car.Folks credit the politicians now in power with all this "booming economy" and are blind to the intrusiveness of that same government in their lives.Too bad. I'm hoping for a market crash to help bring people to their senses.Anyway, I tend to ramble on and on (been pulling garden weeds and am brain dead)..I agree with you that the current government is a pitiful immoral mess, yet I feel that the basic concept of structure and function is worth shoring up rather than tearing down.Now back to the garden weeds and have a great day !

-- Lesley Chasko (martchas@gateway.net), March 25, 2000.

I think it's an interesting proposition with some potential for serious problems. Regarding the education, requiring one and yet negating a law degree seems to be contradictory. I understand the reasoning behind it, but my "equality ideals" reject it. If you read the Declaration of Independence the same types of things that were going on then (ie. government from thousands of miles away, abuses of power and privelege and on and on) are going on right now. My personal opinion is that the government is much too generalized and not something that the average individual feels they have any sway with whatsoever. The solution to that, in my mind, would be to contract government making it much more localized,bring more power to each individual state. Complete annhilation of all Federal Government subsidies and programs like welfare and medi-care etc. Thereby making the Fed Gov only able to do the job as outlined in the original Constitution..protect borders, work fair and equitable trade agreements with other countries that our "Servants of the year" or two years find to be acceptable.As far as "social" programs go I think they should be handled on a VERY local level and have severe restrictions to stop those who are inclined to take advantage of people's generosity from doing so. I am for helping people, but feel that churches and community at large would be better able to truly help through a tough time as opposed to the faceless and nameless dole check each month. I would also like to see all of the items that come up for legislation and would have to require that prior to a vote for or against could be cast that each representative must read it in it's entirety and have any discussions on it be open to the public. I would like to see both a local and State newsletter with at the least an overview of any propositions sent out to all citizens on a monthly basis. Or perhaps posted on the internet with free access guaranteed via appointment at the town hall or the like. Yet another thing I think would help tremendously would be a requirement that no election would be held as valid if less than two- thirds of the citizens cast ballots in it. In short, we become better informed,more responsible and more active in our governance. Sorry for the long-windedness of my reply, but you asked!

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 25, 2000.

For all it's many faults, I still think we could have a very effective government with the existing foundations. One of the things I would like to see abolished is the practice of tacking something onto a bill or a law that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the original law. Too many bad things get slipped by just because no one wants to vote against the major portion of the law. That's just one example. Joel, I can immediately think of a big drawback to the one-year- only proposal. With only one year to serve and no reputation or record to protect many people would be easily bribed. Sorry to be so blunt, but I think it's true.

-- Peg (jnjohnsn@pressenter.com), March 25, 2000.

One of the things I've enjoyed about this forum is the respectfulness of the posters and its ability to stay on topic. I've noticed politics creeping into recent topics and I just hope we can still remain respectful. That said I'll move on to topic.

Personally, I think one of the most important political issues facing us today is campaign finance reform. Until we get a handle on that which reflects reality everything else is academic. The supreme court has decreed in its dubious wisdom that corporations are people and can contribute to campaigns. I know a person when I see one and a corporation aint one.

One person, one vote, $1000. max campaign contribution and only by eligible voters. Then we'll see the country operating closer to its intended ideal. Mandate debates, comandeer the networks and require them to air the debates.

When the politicos try to get us all whipped up by saying "Lets take our country back!" they should be saying, under the current system, "Lets buy our country back!" The land of the free if you can afford it.

When Bob Dole was running for pres he was asking "Where's your outrage?" Believe me Bob, I don't think you really want to know.

Personally, in these days of the internet, I think we might be able to do away with congress altogether. Put the issues before the people with accurate information to base decisions on and let the people decide.

We've become easy prey to issues driven by emotions and the politicians depend on that. I tend to be a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. I believe in freedom. I don't know if anyone else has noticed but our civil liberties have eroded enormously since the socalled Reagan revolution. Reagan was elected by a landslide. One of the major planks of his campaign was reducing debt, yet when elected he increased the debt dramatically and his socalled conservative successor continued the trend. Trust me folks when I say, loan me 6 trillion dollars and I'll create the illusion of prosperity too.

Kind of a rambling, ranting post but I feel better!

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), March 25, 2000.

And Ithought getting behind in field work was easy--I'm way behind in here ! I'm gonna try to catch up--first I tried so hard to include women(thought the kids could tear up that rose garden and make the place look lived in. I think 21 years of living was equal to anything I ever learned in school--just wanted everyone to be able to read proposed drafts and be able to write thier own. I thought I covered the bribery by limiting thier visitors to family and friends but I'll sequester them if necessary. (spell check that s word). I'd love to shore up the present system but after trying to get my candy back from the neighborhood bully when I was 5 --I learned the powerful never surrender the power even if you ask nicely. Lots of good intentions were brought out but I thought I covered those also--I thought if you weren't trying to buy your way in than we wouldn't ned finance reform. There is a portion of the constitution that states " Congress shall enact no law that limits--etc. I was hopeing that they were shy enough to enact no laws period. I thought if they couldn't agree on it in a year it wasn't worth having to begin with. Yes, I hate bills sworn into law with attachments and I loved the line item veto but as you can see--that was declared unconstutional because the supreme court has interest in attachments for their indivdual states. FIX IT--no FACE IT--The system is trashed , it outlasted most recent governments by miles but it no longer is a servent--It has become the master. My suggestion would force people to serve--that is a true public servent (if nominated--I will not run If elected--I will not serve)

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 25, 2000.

I wanted to share something with you. During my off season I work for the local big city government--only a an equipment operator but let me give you a breakdown on your tax dollars at work. 6:15 punch in (won't do anything but drink soda till 7 but we are on the clock 7 step outside to catch up on last nights rumour mill 7:30 till 8---check equipment out(oil water gas more coffee more rumours)8:30--leave lot and go to job site) 8:30 till 9 discuss job and the hazards of working before break 9--Break(drive to other side of town for break) 10--breakover 10:30 arrive back at job site--begin work 11:30--stop work to clean up for lunch 11:45--drive across town for lunch 12 to 1-- lunch 1:30--arrive back at job site begin work 2:00--break (drive across town )2:45 break over but not enough time to go back 3:00-head back to works to fuel vehicles 3:15 to 3:00 sit and wait for clock to hit 3:30 and I'm not exaggerating one bit. My mother in law is a city water manager in Iowa and her schedule is even more hilarious--she is gone to the Bahamas twice a year for meetings that last weeks. And this is city government folks--it gets progressivly worse te farther up you go. If you don't believe it--take a day and follow a city work crew around--any city, it doesn't matter--they are all the same. Now, How were you going to fix that ? You can't fire them--they are union.

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 25, 2000.

Why Joel! In your list the other day of the things you wanted the government to do for you.............you forgot to mention you paycheck!! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), March 26, 2000.

Joel, re: City jobs (somewhat off topic).... "we" could privatize the job(s). Get it out of the government all together and let the free market make it competitive. Set it out to bid. Any company that had to be accountable to either stockholders and/or market forces would have to ditch the b.s. and make a profit. Create a climate where it isn't "us vs. them" and involve all levels of workers in decision making. Sounds idealistic, true, but it does work in some cases. Hard to erase years of the culture of management and workers hating each other, but once they both understand the competition is now "outside" they might be able to work it out. I know I am dreaming somewhat but I am seeing interesting things going on out here where we have an extremely tight job market and folks are being forced to make it happen to retain good help. Conversely, "losers" are being dinosaured out of the marketplace. No room for that kind of thinking anymore. .

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 26, 2000.

I disagree-- Vicki(again) You call it my paycheck and I refer to it as my poperty tax rebate. I average 6 rebates (paychecks) a year from the city and don't like that many. I've seen them bid jobs out also--Sheepish---to the friends of the mayor and the city council and is that a nightmare ! There is no end to government corruption--it is rotten from the park janitors to the president of the United States. If you were honest the day you started they will have that problem corrected in a few days.Kinda like vegetables--a few rotton ones got left in there and now we have a whole rotton bushel basket. I think the only solution is to compost the bushel basket, hope for better crops next spring and be more selective when we put up stores next time. I will also answer why I wouldn't allow people with legal education in the government--I consider that a conflict of interest. To make law and than make money from the laws is indeed a conflict of interest. I would also like the people to understand what they read--laws don't have to be complicated.

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 26, 2000.

I'll defend Joel on the government job. HE does not set the schedule and as a part time employee, he would not be likely to be able to set the tone. I am sure that if he farms for the bulk of his living, he has trouble making enough to pay the property taxes and needs a job somewhere else that pays enough cash money to prevent foreclosure.

I worked for the Department of Human Services one time. There were about 8 people out of 40 who actually earned the paycheck they received. The rest of them spent most of the time worrying about coffee breaks, where to go eat lunch today, and where did you get that outfit? It just killed their souls to have to actually work with the people they were hired to work with (clients).

I don't like the welfare system. It pays just enough to keep people dependent, and not enough to really help them get on their feet. It encourages the shiftless to remain that way, and doesn't help those who would like to do better to be able to do better. They require and enforce total poverty on the elderly who are confined to the nursing home, and frequently treat them like dirt beneath their feet. People in nursing homes have to sign over any and all income from social security and retirement plans, only receiving $12/month back. Try to buy shampoo, deoderant, toothpaste, and clothes on $12.

The entire system is corrupt. The problem isn't the people who are in it so much as the stupidity and gullibility of the people who have allowed they system to grow corrupt.

I am not sure the system can be corrected peacefully. Joel is right about the bully---once he has something, he won't give it back until he is forced. And once he gets something from you the first time, he keeps coming back forever.

-- Carmen (logcabin_now@yahoo.com), March 26, 2000.

Carmen, so what's the solution? Joel, agreed that there is graft and corruption in bidding processes, but if you get enough people in oversight situations who give a rip, ("we the people") some of this can be eliminated. "We the people" in my school district booted out some folks who operated a little less than ethically, and also got the sheriff of our town locked up a few years ago. Like I said, it's at the local level where you can make a difference. But if each locality cleaned up it's own mess, eventually it would make a difference. If everyone stays cynical and does nothing, nothing ever changes.Feeling like a victim doesn't do it for me so I do what I can.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 26, 2000.

Anyone remember when the Federal Government closed several years back ? Did anything change? Did you pay in federal taxes during that 60 day period ? My answer is yes , I remember and it was the best time in years. Yes, somethings changed and the no news is good news thrilled my soul. Did you pay taxes? well, you should be writing letters to the IRS demanding a rebate because you payed for services you never received. Some see a dying, mutilated animal and scoop it up and run to the vet spending a thousand dollars to watch it die. Others shoot it,bury the poor thing, shed a tear for their loss and walk away to start over. Neither was wrong in what they did--just a different way of dealing with the death of a used up Servant-friend. So, here we stand in agreement that the ole graymule is on is deathbed--some of us are backing up the trailer and others are loading the gun.

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 26, 2000.

I think the main problem with most things in this country, including government, is that there are too few people that stand up for what is right and DO IT. I have worked for several Federal agencies including the Department of the Navy and the State Department over the course of the 26 years I have worked so far. I currently work in Washington, D.C. and guess what. I don't take smoke breaks or coffee breaks and I work my butt off. I get to work at 8 a.m. and start working. My vanpool doesn't leave until 5:10 so I keep working until 5:00. I get paid for eight hours. Why? Because I am a public servant and the taxpayers pay my salry. I remind my staff where their salary comes from on a regular basis. I'm not trying to sound like a pollyanna but frankly the public makes it unpopular to do what is right. Peer pressure makes you want to take breaks and not bust your hump but frankly, I wasn't raised that way and I don't plan to start now. But what gets me is that people in general expect you to take advantage of any kind of benefit you can get. For example, I don't make personal phone calls on my office phone but how many people think I'm stupid for not taking advantage of that? I don't go across the street and pick up my cleaning or buy that dress I saw at Hecht's during work hours and I don't mail my personal mail in government envelopes. Nor do I take home pens, paper, paper clips, blank computer disks etc., etc., etc. But how many people can say the same thing? Just because I have the opportunity to do so doesn't mean I should or that I will. It is hard to do the right thing day in and day out. It would be so much easier to just kick back and relax. Society makes fun of you if you tell the truth, don't steal when no one is looking and stand up for what you believe in. Our society encourages everyone to see what they can get for nothing whether it is from their employer, the local grocery store or cheat on our taxes. Society says, get what you can while you can. And this is WRONG. Until we make it not cool to rip companies and people off, we will never change our government because whoever is running the government will be acting just the way their friends and society say they should. So why should we be upset about our corrupt politicians? How many of you out there can say that you will do what's right, not what profits you as long as no one is looking? I'm not trying to come across as holier than thou. What I am trying to point out is that everyday we all face opportunities that we can get something for nothing that we are not entitled to and so we grab it because society says it is okay to do that. Until each of us can be honest in our daily lives, how can we expect the next guy to be that way. The change starts at home, not with the other guy. It really gets to me when people think I have a gravy train because I work for the Federal Government and that they think I don't have to work hard just because I am a Federal employee. There are plenty of people out there who do work hard who work for various governments and it is about time we started giving them credit for doing so and let the slackers know you don't think it is cool that they waste your tax dollars. Until society says it is not acceptable, nothing will change. We as a people, tolerate theft, immorality, lying and laziness in each other as long as they can show they "pulled one off." A perfect example is letting President Clinton stay in office. But people in general were not outraged at the multiple wrongs the President committed as a government official. We should have been dancing all over our Congressional representatives to take action. But we didn't. Our inaction just continues the problem. So don't just blame the politicians. What are you doing to change it? Vote. Write your Congressman and speak up to your friends when you see them high fiving someone who just ripped someone else off. It's about time we became a country that does what's right not what gets us the most benefits. Okay, back off my soap box and under my rock.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 26, 2000.

I'll buy that Colleen--you sound sincere, honest and intelligent. I used to listen to my uncles talk--they all worked for the government D.O.T.--laison to an admiral and the pentagon. They weren't as impressed as I was wth their positions but when they all took early retirements--I started asking questions. They moved into the private sector because they couldn't believe in what they were doing any longer. There are many honest people but 1 dishonest person in a group of 10 nullifies the other 9. I supported Clinton during the scandal because his accusers were more corrupted than he was. We knew slick willy was a snake before we put him in office. Actually before they put him in office because I didn't vote. I can't see voting when the choices are felon #1 , Felon #2,or crazy texan with a stick,easal and chart. I picked candidate #4 which was--none of the above. I believe your an honest bureaucrat but I live and die by statisical data and .001% honest people doesn't yield a good crop. keep trying--I am listening.

-- Joel Rosen (oel681@webtv.net), March 26, 2000.

I agree with keeping legal professionals out of government, they create technacalities (sp) and make law through legal decisions, including overriding jury decisions in some cases. How about only private individuals can donate to campaigns(not corporations nor PACs. The initial idea was to not have a professional political leadership, but now they are almost all hired guns. Of course it would also help if everone got active in their local politics and put their values in front of the public.

-- Michael M. McFall (mcfallm@aol.com), March 26, 2000.

Colleen, You are RIGHT ON!! Honesty begins at home!!! Duh, how hard is that? And by the way, if you believe one apple in the bushel spoils the whole bunch (or however it's said) I believe that one apple in the bushel will save the whole bunch! Just set an example, do the right thing, and show them how. (And don't be self righteous about it!) Why assume the equation only works on decay? You gotta start somewhere...and the best way you can do that is to change yourself. Act locally and think globally, isn't that the cliche? Applies to everything but politics? 'Fraid not. Be a leader, not a follower. Speaking of cliches, I think that's enough to gag a few folk. But hope you get my point....

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 26, 2000.

Okay, Think Globally, Act Locally....I live in a small Texas town, which I thouroughly enjoy, however, the "good Ole Boy" network is in full effect and nearly impossible to breakthrough. For instance, at a recent school board meeting the elcted and appointed individuals decided that they needed to lower the homestead exemption by 5% to augment our "illustrious" government training centers, oops! I mean schools and in the same meeting they decided they were doing such a good job that they deserved a pay raise of 3%....somethings rotten there.Peoples responses to my questioning the logic of this type of decision making was "Well they are doing a job that nobody really wants to do, so they should be paid well for it".EEEGADS.

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 26, 2000.

Ok, I'm "talking" way too much here, but Doreen, keep the faith. I know it's hard to make headway sometimes. (And hard not to get angry). At my first water district meeting, I was the only woman (and they thought I had no valid opinion) and I felt like they were just waiting for everyone but their buddies to leave so they could watch porno movies or some other stag activity. Serious! It was way too weird. Anyway, change doesn't happen overnight ( I am full of cliches or *something* these days...sorry!!) and some of us are still trying and trying. That in itself might say more about our character, but that's still valid and moral behavior if you ask me. No don't ask! I'll shut up!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 26, 2000.

Some one has to take a shot at the "ole biy net work", I helps to enlist friends to go along if you can find them. Generally most folks won't get involved and that just makes matters worse. You can take over an entire prcinct in Texas particularly. Just get enough like minded people to attend a precinct meeting with you. A group of us did it in 1992 in Harris County to help get a very liberal judge out of office and put in a few folks that believed in individual rights. Like anything else you grow at home the quality is better but you have to spend the time cultivating it. Keep it up.

-- Michael M. McFall (mcfallm@aol.com), March 27, 2000.

I think Doreen and Sheepish have the right idea. We can make a difference in our local politics. I originally lived in New Hampshire which is a very conservative state and I moved to a town that was about thirty miles from where I grew up. No one in the town knew my husband or myself when we moved there. I had an interest in being involved in local politics and started going to the zoning board and the planning board meetings. Since I was, most of the time, the only citizen that showed up in the audience, the boards quickly noticed me. This was a very small town, population 6,000. In fact, they thought I was from the local papers because those were the only strangers that showed up. I told them I was new to town and just wanted to see what their town was all about. They quickly got used to me being there as I would chitchat with them at breaks, etc. This was a board with only one woman on the planning board, a local retired school teacher, and no women on the zoning board mind you. In six months there was a vacancy on the zoning board and I mentioned that I was interested in being appointed. Since no one else came forward to volunteer, and they had gotten to know me, I got a one year appointment. When that expired, they reappointed me to a full three-year appointment. Meanwhile, a vacancy came up on the planning board and I volunteered for that as well and was appointed. So, what I am trying to show is that, although I was a total stranger in a town that did not particularly trust outsiders, I gave them a chance to know me as a person and what I could offer them and it gave me the entre into the inner sanctum. I did it in a non-threatening manner and not as someone who was coming in to change everything. It also helped that meanwhile my husband became a volunteer fireman and both of us volunteered on the ambulance crew. We got to know the people and let them get to know us and learn that they could trust us. Once I was on the boards, I got my opinions heard and while they didn't always go the way I wanted them to, they did listen to my viewpoint and sometimes I did help change minds.

The point I'm trying to make is that each and every one of us can make a difference. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to accomplish but it can be done and we each need to take on the responsibility of our governments whether it is local or federal. If we don't like the way they are, then work for change. Sitting back and grousing accomplishes nothing.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 27, 2000.

Good show Colleen.

-- Michael M. McFall (mcfallm@aol.com), March 27, 2000.

I admire your courage and the thought "we can change it" After 40 years of watching that idea in progress -yo and I both no it is a pipe dream. Sure we can change our areas but than big brother puts the cabash on that. Everyone wants to take it back but no one wants the inevitable war it will take to accomplish that result. Frankly with 40 acres of discing ahead of me--I don't have time myself to do it this week. I appreceite your responses--they made me think. I believe in the end we will either behead the giant or be crushed under his feet !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 28, 2000.

No guts, no glory,huh? When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a people.................. ...............tick,tock,tick,tock,tick,tock,tick,tock,

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 28, 2000.

Hey,that's a clock.

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 28, 2000.

Joel, I have to disagree with you on this one. My experience has been that I have made significant changes. I don't want to sound like I am bragging but I want to illustrate that one person can make a difference. In that same small town the local bank decided that we needed to build a new high school. The fact that they would hold the bond and make a lot of money off of it of course had nothing to do with their coming up with the idea. This proposal was made at a time when we had a declining population because of the local economy and the vacancy rate of rental units was at 40%. People were leaving the town in droves because there was no work. I'm sure the bank was not making much money because of this. There was no growth in enrollments which would support the need for a new school. So the bank put pressure on the school board and Selectmen to put it to a ballot at our town meeting. They then proceeded to railroad a lot of officials and townsfolk into supporting the school because they held the mortgages on a lot of the homes in town. At the town meeting, there was no one slated to speak in opposition and they basically told the town that we had to have this new school and it was the best thing for us. If anyone in the audience wanted to question the need for the school, they cut them off and moved on to the next person. Well, the secret ballot held at town meeting was screwed up because the people conducting the ballot had a blue piece of paper to vote yes and a yellow piece of paper to vote no. Duh, that pretty much kept it from being a secret ballot since the ballot box was up front of the town hall and everyone could see how everyone else was voting. Half way through the voting, it was pointed out that this was a problem and since a lot of the voters had gone home after voting, they had to reschedule another town meeting and a revote. Since my husband had been one of those trying to say something in opposition at the town meeting and had been basically cut off and one of the school board members gave him a hard time about speaking up in opposition after the meeting, I asked the school board member if he didn't have a right to free speech in this town. The answer was no he didn't. I then told the school board member that he was going to learn what free speech was. I immediately called the town manager and told him I wanted to give a speech in opposition at the next town meeting. He had to give it to me particularly since I was on the planning and zoning boards at this point. I gave a ten minute speech in front of an auditorium of approximately 700 people about how I did not feel a new school was needed at this time, blew holes in their flimsy arguments, brought in statistical reports to show the town was not growing but was shrinking, and politely blasted them for insinuating that the townspeople could not think for themselves because they were supposed to have been given several options after the study was done and instead they just ramrodded one option down our throats. I mentioned several alternatives which could be better than their proposal. I received a standing ovation and the vote failed to pass. They didn't build a new school.

So, I know one person can make a difference. I was the only one who had the guts to stand up and buck the "powers that be". I believe in our country and its system of government. I also believe we each can make a difference. It is hard to do, it takes guts and frankly it just takes getting off your butt and doing something. So, Joel, I haven't been "watching" for 40 years. I've been doing. If we all spent more time doing instead of watching, things would change.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 28, 2000.


I'm supposed to be studying and then off to another meeting ( I am also involved in local things, as is my spouse). You deserve a medal! I admire you!!

Anyone listening to National Public Radio this week? In the mornings, Susan Stamberg ( I think) has been doing a daily report on Seattle, and how new millionaires are making a difference around here: supporting the library, opera, schools, sports (!), all manner of charities, etc.. They still wear their flannel shirts even though they drive expensive cars, and donate lots of time as well. They CARE! Real creativity is being directed toward solving some of these tough problems. The radio feature points out some civic activism stuff that I find interesting and there's all kinds of new creative thinking out here (around Puget Sound). However, we have a great local economy, powerful *young* (read unindoctrinated) folk (b/c of Microsoft money and new related companies) and the guts to try new things. Here's the good part: you don't have to be a millionaire to do ANY of the things, except have some time (which they have plenty of). Maybe certain parts of the country are dying off, and it's depressing, but here change is happening. Give it a listen if you can.. I think it's on all week. Not all is rosy, since real estate prices are through the roof, and everyone is or wants to move here, but it does show that optimism and creativity can make a difference. (And if you think it's just about money, it may be the reason the show was produced, but it's not really what's going on).

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 28, 2000.

I quess I see a bigger picture than the lcal school board although as you pointed out, corruption is everywhere. We all made some rather interesting points. I have only three questions left---Will you dress your children and grandchildren up in little green suits to kill their friends and neighbors? Will you feel justified when they are killed by men who did their constitutional duty to overthrow an unjust government? Which side will you step on after admitting it is corrupted ? "Brother fought Brother and together they fell"

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 29, 2000.

You can look at the big picture and do nothing or you can make changes on a local level which will eventually spread to the state and federal level. Remember, our Presidents and Congressional leaders started out it in local government. If we work to make the local level free of corruption and represent a government we want to have governing us, the local politicians who have learned what good government is will go on to be good state and federal leaders. Change starts at home.

Now, I'm not sure what your questions on killing have to do with anything. I'm not interested in killing people to make change. Less violent methods work better than killing. Killing just perpetuates more violence to seek revenge for those that have been killed. That is why we never stop having wars. War begets war. It's time we stopped having wars to settle matters and operated by giving more rewards and favors to those that take the civilized path. Sometimes this makes me wish that women ruled the world since we tend to not take the violent way to solve things. We would have eliminated war centuries ago if we were in charge.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 29, 2000.

Colleen-I'm not an avid fan of war either but in the next few years it will find your newspaper if not your front door. I cannot change your mind nor do I intend to try. Like many of my countrymen, I'm tired of talking. Good words do not matter much when they come to nothing( "Chief Joseph") You can put your blinders on and think americans will take the abuse of our government or you can open your eyes and see the war coming to change things. I was just asking what side your on not if you cared to have one. A war is the only way to have our country free of politicians and by Job we are going to take it back or die in the effort. This talk of war you have no idea about is Montana asking to be a republic along with Idaho,Washington and Oregon. The South(most of the original) will back their cause. We are not asking for your permission. I am asking you that if you have any friends or relatives in the US Army to bring them home before the bullitts fly in an honest attempt to spare their lives. The government can release us as friends or we will leave by force--there are no other choices !!!!

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 29, 2000.

Jeez Joel, don't you think the FBI has your IP address? You are making some pretty inflammatory statements here! I for one have enjoyed your posts so far, and hope you don't lose your right to make them! Take care, and come in off that tractor once in a while...

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 29, 2000.

Good one Sheepish, another comment would be like everyone rallied to help the Branch Dividians and Ruby Ridge, and all of the good old boys who went and helped the guys in Wyoming? When it comes right down to it Joel, you are alone with this type of thinking, everyone is really big with this kind of talk, but their is never any action. And if push did come to shove the majority of those who talk anarchy would run. We wouldn't need this kind of talk if everyone would just vote. Yes, I do believe it is that simple, most folks do not vote, and I do know that if you make changes at the local level, it does make a difference. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), March 30, 2000.

Joel, There is a kernel of truth in what you're saying in the sense that we, the people, should never give up our rights to the point that a dictatorship can come in. While I don't believe there will be a civil war in this country in my lifetime, I also maintain just enough distrust of the government to keep a wary eye out that we are not getting set up to the point of helplessness if a ruthless dictator decided to take over. All civilizations rise and fall over time so it is probably inevitable at some point ours will also die but hopefully we will prolong its life as long as it serves the people. But, my point is that I do strongly believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I will defend this right to the end eventhough we do not own guns nor do we have any intention of owning any in the future but I firmly believe that the people's right to own guns protects our freedoms from tyranny. In the event of a threat of civil unrest whether from seccessionist activity or a tyrannical President, I would very willingly take up arms to protect what I have and would probably join others of a like mind, but I don't feel we, as a country, have reached the point where that is needed. Meanwhile, I will fight my battles with words as that is what I feel is important in solving our country's problems at this point in time. I will stay actively involved in trying to make this a better country. I will continue to vote and participate in protests, etc., etc. but I will not be taking up arms against my government unless events become vastly different from what they are today. Incidentally, my husband is a disabled vet from the Vietnam war and I am very aware of the price our young men, and their families, pay for fighting wars particularly those we should not be in and I will continue to voice my opinion and write my Congressional Reps when we make aggression decisions where I don't think we should tread.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 30, 2000.


Have you ever been in combat? Have you ever held a young man in your arms while he bled to death? Have you seen the lives destroyed by a bomb or missle that missed it's mark and caused collateral damage? Have you ever looked down a rifle barrel at another human with the full convictions that you are taking a life? If you can answer yes to any of this and still talk of war to me you have lost a big part of your humanity. These are some of the reasons that I chose the lifestyle that I now live. I have a scar on my soul that will never go away because of the terrible things that humans are capable of doing to other humans. I understand your anger and frustration but believe me that last thing in this world that you want is cause an armed conflict over something as petty as politics.

I will fight to defend my family and what is ours and I will fight to defend your right to feel the way that you do but I will also fight as peacefully as I can through the vote and protests and other civil matters to prevent any more of children being hurt in unwanted futile gestures of violence that will serve no good purpose other than hurting people and causing more problems.

Sorry about rambling but you finally hit a nerve.. God bless us all and protect us from the need of picking up arms.

-- Jim (tanner_jim@hotmail.com), March 30, 2000.

Joel Up until your last couple of posts I considered you to be a fairly reasonable, thinking person. However--- now I have my doubts. I have been thinking about your original post ever since you wrote it and have something for you to think about also. As I read your proposal, "someone" would appoint property-owning adults to a one year service. These chosen ones would be taken from their homes, families, and businesses, the businesses to be turned over to a group of (someone), and during the time of service these people who are supposed to be governing us would be isolated from all outside influences. That would presumably include news and current events for either of those things would influence decisions. This plan sounds a lot like imprisonment to me. I don't understand who would gain from this? Certainly, I wouldn't and no one I know would. I can't imagine what could have brought you to this place in life. You sound as though you have a good life and the freedom to pursue it. I know that in most other countries I wouldn't be where I am today. We had a goal and worked hard to achieve it. No one told us we couldn't, no one tried to stop us. It was hard sometimes, but we did it. I'll be the first to admit this country isn't perfect, but it's the best I've seen so far. Corruption makes me just as angry as it makes you, but do you really believe that threatening to kill my children and grandchildren is going to make anything better in this country?

-- Peg (jnjohnsn@pressenter.com), March 30, 2000.

I am glad you all spoke out ! AFTER FURTHER REVIEW--my wife and I have decided that some of the ugly words and argueing are not in this forums best interest. Moods and Opinions are something everyone has one of. If I should die in the pursuit of liberty than make my tombstone a park bench and on it inscribe To the north, The mighty Cascades run free To the south, A University To the east, a Tree To the west, Liberty All these things were loved by me !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 31, 2000.

Joel's scenario is worse case. To avoid it we all need to fight with word now. I understand his pessimism, this nation is too comfortable in some respects making the people complacent. As a group we do not go out and defend our rights nor guide this nation we leave it to the "paid professionals" who are paid by the wealthy and large corporations. Then we wonder why our freedoms are constantly erroded. I am proud of those of you that go out and get involved. I pray Joel is not a prophet.

-- Michael M. McFall (mcfallm@aol.com), March 31, 2000.

Joel, and Colleen: Great discussion. My theory is the Random Party. Instead of appointing people, they are picked at random from the phone book, and put in office for the normal term. The entire Fed (as stated specifically in the constitution)would be moved to an abandoned air base in South Dakota or someplace equally central to the contigous 48 (no offense, Ak and Hi, but you have to travel anyway..). The problem is, getting there. I also thought that top- down was the way to fix the problem. But, it isn't. The way to get rid of any system is to prove it obsolete. We have to start performing services ourselves to prevent the government from controlling us. Working locally, thinking globally, by making government services obsolete one at a time. An organized effort toward this goal can be achieved quickly. The first example I can think of is in education. Despite extreme active measures by the entrenched system, private companies and homeschoolers are proving that credential-driven egos and government don't belong in our children's minds. The largest step could be through the internet communications: A small spark could start a new cooperation worldwide that would help people realize that wars can't be fought without armies. I know, that's quite a pipe dream, but it illustrates a point of how far it could go. "The only thing worse than doing a union man's job for him, is making him do it himself." A quote from an ex-coworker. The government will whine while we do its job, but it would rather not put forth any effort to make itself more effective. My kudos to Colleen for her adherance to the Code of Conduct. It IS tough to do. A job that I used to do for the Navy was filled by 14 people after I was transferred. Not so much because of waste, but because of the growth-based design of the system. It doesn't know how to get smaller. No amount of decree can tell a plant to stop growing. But, take away the fertilizer and sunshine, and it will wither and die. The public's placid acceptance of our system is fertilizer to the taxers and looters we leave in office by inaction. Voids in our society have been created by the explosive population and material growth which we don't see, but are filled by the growing plants of government. Because they can. If we fill those voids first, there will be more knowledge of the world around us distributed where it needs to be, with the people. If we ignore the holes in our knowledge and connection to our neighbors, the jack- booted thugs step in to take our money and property to redistribute the wealth. Where mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary. Where mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable. Sorry it is so long. I've been stewing on this one.

-- Dan Conine (dconine@dotnet.com), March 31, 2000.

Those are some interesting points. Sounds quite a bit like the original Greek system of democracy. It's really good to see everyone expressing themselves on these issues. That's what liberty is all about! I would truly like to think that acting locally will cause some positive effects. There are some problems with the Federal Laws though. See everyone is all interested in taking their money back from the Fed Gov for things like roads and day care and "social programs of various kinds and that ties the local polics to the federal politics and causes the Federal Government to over-step it's constitutionally limited powers again. Which brings me to the crazy and radical point that Joel and I share. I can't see how things can go from the socialist agenda that we have been fostering for 5 decades to a more liberty oriented philosophy without a RADICAL and serious change. Joel pointed pout some interesting things to me in another e-mail and I feel that we could all benefit from the mass exposure of them.....basically regarding revolutionaries and the like.Joel,maybe you could share them with us en masse? If anyone can see how we can avoid the fall into utter socialism/ fascism with the road we are on NATIONALLY, please let me know how you see that as a conceivable possibility. Thanks!

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 31, 2000.

Hi Doreen,

Per your comment: " If anyone can see how we can avoid the fall into utter socialism/ fascism with the road we are on NATIONALLY, please let me know how you see that as a conceivable possibility. Thanks! "

I think the consensus here has been that although there are some problems (some major) with the current federal system, that it still works okay for the most part. Forum folk, is that the case? ( I was up lambing last night so not much sleep). So, I think the protocol is rather for you (and Joel, should he chose) to demonstrate *your* thesis. In other words, perhaps you could tell us why you think we are in such a dire condition since most (many) of the rest haven't indicated that we think so.

Thanks. Look forward to your answer.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 31, 2000.

Both Doreen and Dan have some interesting comments. And to address Doreen's comments specifically, I think the only way we truly can change the way things are is to establish a third party which embraces the very things we are talking about, smaller government, less influence of big business (spelled money) on the way government is run, etc. I think one of the biggest problems we have with establishing a new third party is that the ones that try to get going take on a few of the "hot" issues that turn people off from one group or another so they can't get enough followers to grow big. For example, I think the vast majority of us feel there should be morals put back into public officials and government but if you start defining those morals as part of the party platform, such as right to life/choice, you divide people. I say, let's just push for a moral party and not make specifics of that morality such as life/choice a government issue. When we try to define what is moral and what is not by our laws, we take away the responsibility individuals should have for their own behaviour and divide people on whether or not this type of morality is right or that one is right. It is kind of like saying you have to be this religion or that religion or it is wrong. And the parties get bogged down on the minutae. Keep it a private individual issue each person making the decision for themselves. The same thing can be said about the gun control issue. The only thing that should be illegal about guns should be the committing of a crime with one. The rest should be up to individuals to handle, i.e. whether or not you own one, not supervising your children properly so they get guns and use them, etc. Our current government is designed to remove all responsibility from the people in their day to day life and dictate what we should and should not do. Let the population decide what is right. If we were organized, we wouldn't need laws to protect the environment. We could just get on the internet and let people know company A is poluting the environment and we boycott them. The company starts losing customers and they will quickly change. We have a lot of power in our numbers but we are not organized. We don't use that power. People think that they can't make a difference so they don't try. If each of us chose one thing we would do every day to protest something a company is doing, such as not buy their products, etc., we could change our country within a very short time. If we all got behind not allowing plea bargains and parole for murderers and those who commit serious crime and just made everyone serve their full sentences, a lot more criminals would remain behind bars. Nowadays, criminals don't mind going to jail much because they know they will get out again pretty quickly even if they are in for murder. Does this make sense? No, but lawyers make lots of money on this system so it stays in place. (Incidentally, my brother is a lawyer so I have nothing against them per se, but they are just an organized group that protects their money-making interests.) But does the general population protest about this? No, we just except it as the way it is. Why not petition your local politicians to present changes to your state laws on things you don't like? We can. It can work. We can make a difference. It is our apathy that makes us lose. Those in power know we will not try to change it and so they keep supporting the status quo. We, the people, need to stand up and say enough is enough. That's why I think we need a strong third party who is for minimalist government and doesn't try to have a few of their pet exceptions. As an example the Libertarians are for minimilist government but then they turn around and come out pro-life. Why is that issue an exception to their minimalist approach? I don't want the government, whatever the party, to tell me how to live my life, period. I except the need for some minimal laws to keep a society civilized but that should be it. Don't define my morality for me. Don't decide what charity should get my money (welfare), don't tell me how my children should be educated (schools), don't tell me how I can build on my property (zoning and planning rules), etc. Let the people decide these issues. If someone wants to build a hog farm next to me, publish it in the newspaper and take a vote from the public as to whether or not it will be there. If no one wants a hog farm in their back yard, maybe we need to look at how we are raising hogs in the first place. If no one wants a nuke plant next door, maybe we shouldn't have one anywhere. Instead, we get politicians, who don't have to live next to the hog farm or nuke plant, that get paid off to approve it. Most people have good common sense and will make good decisions if they are given the chance. Why not let the people decide for themselves? There's my take on this whole issue. Whew!

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), March 31, 2000.

I wrote a response to this post a few days ago and the promptly pushed the back button thinking I was pushing the send button. Then I got so frustrated I got rid of the thing entirely. So here's to second chances. I belive in a Constitutional government. Unfortunately there are a lot of Americans who are under the decieved notion that we are under one. We have a Constitution but we do not abide by it. I wish our Forefathers had been clairvoyant and had been able to see all the areas they needed to make perfectly clear 200+ years ago. Although the were exceptionally gifted they were still human. The constitution and the Bill of Rights has been twisted in ways no one who lived then could have believed. I say if you want to change things go back to the Constitution and live under it. I saw a post in which the writer claimed that they couldn't see how our government was slipping toward socialism and how that was bad. The message was I am comfortable and Why should I bother worrying. My answer is that Germans were comfortable right before Hitler came to power. Russia was under a constitutional republic right before Lenin and Marx hit that country with an intellectuals answer to government. The most comfortable peoples in History were the ones who were also not vigilant in protecting their liberty. Lets take a look at just some of the liberty lost in the United States since the Constitution was written. Maybe by listing it out it can help you see how blinded we've become.

1) The power to determine ones own destiny. This includes so many things that I can't even begin to touch in this short disertaion even a smattering of the encroachment of freedom. But lets try to give an Idea. In the late 1700s if you were a young man approach muturity you could have purchased and built anything you pleased to live in. you could have chosen to farm or ran any business that you preferred from your property. if you chose to farm you could have freely distributed your farm products to your neighbors without interference. If you sold the a bad commodity you could expect them not to buy from you any longer. To feed your family you could have freely hunted for your food. What ever money you made went into you pocket and stayed there unless you chose to give charitably to others around you. You always fed your family first. If you started a business there were no licenses to get and you built your business by treating people responsibly or if you decided to cheat them you went to jail. What ever you decided to do was your business and nobody elses. The resources on your land were yours to do with as you pleased. If you chose to cut down some trees to build your house they were yours to cut. If you chose to build a house that fell down around your ears you were free to do so. If you chose to be lazy and do nothing then you suffered the consequences of your actions. All land short of that which was donated for government use was private. There were no vast stores of government land held by the government to keep land prices artificially high. As a farmer when you grew a crop and sold it you got the value of the commodity at that time in return. If the price was high you made money. If the price was low you lost out and planted another crop next year. The government never bought farm products to sell to other countries cheap. The government never paid a man not to grow crops. If you built a business it was buyer beware. There were no regulations on anything other than stealing from others and murder. On your property you had the right to do what you wanted when you wanted. 2) The right to keep and bear arms. In the late 1700's a man could carry a weapon at all times to protect himself and his family from both predators and man. He could hunt food to feed his family and have his young son right beside him. It was amazing that although teens carried guns it was almost unheard of for a teen to shoot a bunch of people. I chalk that up to the fact that they were too busy working and helping their families survive, something that also is almost non-existent today. It constantly amazes me that we make our teenagers lives nothing but one big play day and then we get upset when they find something else to do with their time. It's no wonder our teens are so depressed. When humans feel useless they get depressed. Which leads me to my next point. 3)The right to get and education or not In the late 1700s education was at home or by private schooling. Most children stayed at home with their parents who were also mostly at home. The home environment is the best place for a child to learn. This is the place where he or she feels safest and also the place where his or her authority figures are. In those days children who were sent off to school often felt rejected by their parents. Education came from more than one direction. A child was taught not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also how to work and be responsible for their future families. Parents were the ultimate authority over their children, and no one had the right to interfere with another person's children unless there was abuse and then the men of the town got together and took care of it. Now this may not have been universally effective, but it was probably far more effective that the current foster care system is. The other thing that people of the 1700's understood that we do not is that an education does not guarantee a successful person. Some of the least educated people in the world are the most successful. This is because a truly successful person is focused on his family and working hard. My Nanny had a fifth grade education and her mother died quite young. My Nanny raised her sister who was three months old at the time of her mothers death and all her older brothers besides and then she turned around and raised five children of her own on a meager salary. She was one of the most successful people I knew. She raised most of her food and canned it all. When she wrote me a letter is the only time I ever knew she had to leave school when she was in the fifth grade. This is a woman who served in her community and did my pastor grandfather proud as his wife. 4)Private property rights Covered some above This covers just some of the things that prove that we are headed more and more toward socialism. We say but we can't do that the government gives me this or that, but the very strong people who came before us did just that and without all the modern conveniences too. As far as I am concerned I want the right to pursue my own happiness for my own sake and the sake of my family. I want the ability to build my own life the way the people who came before me did. I say that it is unfair to take away my chance to build a future for my children in order to support and over bloated social system that does nothing but hurt America. I live in rented property in one of the most socialized states in the country. I could go down and buy a bare 20 acres but before I can even stick a shovel in the ground I am looking at paying a government bribe of about $20,000. They say they want to help me. They say they want to give my family of 7 money but the truth of the matter is socialized government holds me and my family down. It keeps me from buying my land and using it as I see fit. They hold the poor man down with welfare and then stick them in government housing to "save" them, at the same time telling them that they can't put their own roof over their head unless they pay the piper. It is called slavery folks. You do what we want or else. Socialism is slavery with another name. In the south the slave owner gave his slave just enough to survive but not enough to escape. Our government does just the same. I want my government to protect me from foreign invaders and insure my rights are not taken, period. Other than that I want them to get out and stay out. Constitutional government!

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), March 31, 2000.

How Profound ! Just when your about to give up--than comes the intelligence of the 21st century.Liberty relies on the most distipicable amoung us to voice his opinion and that well, might be me ! It took them years to choose a way to proceed with this government and it will take us twice as long if not longer to meet all the issues of a changing world. But when every government decision is met with a ---why?--the system needs an overhaul. A Congressional referendum ? Why Not? Probably because it makes sence --not dollars. I have learned a lot tonight and it will take some time to sink in--I'll post later after I have slept on it. I admire you all !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), March 31, 2000.

How wonderful and how civil! I also admire all the thought that goes into these posts. And, not sure what you were referring to, lest you think I was thinking that we are NOT on the road to socialism , etc. please understand that I was simply asking a question, not stating my specific opinion, regardless how I phrased it (and no, I am not being defensive, but rather objective).

Re: question from Lil Bit Farm...What difference do you think the *population* factor makes in the changes we have seen since the late 1700's? Do you think the same rules should apply now with a population so much greater? Think there's enough for all of us? Or who is worthy? Should folks still be able to hunt all the game around they want? Take all the salmon I want out of streams? Pollute all they want? Beat their wives? Hold slaves?

Please note that I am not stating my opinion (not that I wouldn't give it!) but that I am simply asking something relevant for the sake of discussion. Sometimes there is a difference.


-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), March 31, 2000.

Lil Bit Farm,whew, you are well versed and on most everything I am in agreeance! This has been fabulous. Sheepish, it doesn't seem that everyone is pretty content, I think that just being drawn to the 'homesteading" philosophy and participating in this forum to such a degree is evidence of that. It would appear that by nature none of us is truly satisfied with the consumerist norm that is the standard of this country at present. Complacency kills. Joel is absolutely on as far as taking years to make an acceptable form of government. It is nearly impossible to get things done by committe which I believe was one reason that the Founders placed so much emphasis on the limitations of the Fed Gov. Please let me say that I am not an anarchist by any means as someone implied a while back. I am a Constitutionalist, yes, to the extreme. It goes along with the other pieces of paper that govern morality and so many are so against at this time.

Colleen, I don't believe that the Libertarian Party is concerned with the abortion issue at all. The stand is to bring the Fed Gov out of those decisions. It was a few years back that I truly checked into it so they could have changed their stance, but it was pretty stongly against any federal involvement.

Regarding the Third Party as well, I haven't really found where we came into the two-party system. How did this happen exactly, anyone??

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), March 31, 2000.

I was waiting for the question of population. This is a difficult point for most people, and it is true that as population increases the pressure on everyone to get along with their neighbor is greater also. There are so many factors that fall into the answer that it is difficult to cover all of them here, but as to some of those mentioned by the auther above I will try. First let's talk about hunting. Hunting problems to a great degree arise from a lack of private property in the U.S.. The reason that is true is because wildlife are resources just as oil or timber are. When there is vast amounts of government owned land, the resources of that land lose their value to the average American. Government owned land is mostly multi use land. In other words The land that is hunted is also grazed, hiked on, walked on, driven on. The problem is nobody has a stake in maintaining or improving the land. When this country started there was a lot of focus on conquering the land. The land was opened and no one owned it, at least the average pioneer didn't consider it so. When one doesn't have a stake in something it gets abused. In those days there was so much land and so much wildlife that no one thought that it could ever be depleted. The mind of the pioneer couldn't see those resources ever depleting so if the game or fertility decreased he just moved to another place. As the population increased suddenly it became clear to everyone that these resources were not infinite. If you go out and count no hunting signs the places you will find them are on private land. Public land is primarily where animals are hunted in this country. When a man owns a piece of land and he has a herd of deer on it and he knows that his future hunting lies in that herd, he cultivates those animals. This only doesn't work when the man knows he can go down the street and hunt on the local BLM land. In other words the existance of the government land actually prevents the conservation of animal species. All government land needs to be turned back into the hands of private individuals, the way it was intended to be in the first place. Originally all the land across the US was set aside for private ownership. The only problem was that this created great problems for the people in the east who wanted to maintain their control over the money. Not to mention the loss of property value when the west open up. In order to stem the tide of people flocking to the west the government limited the amount of land per person to 160 acres. The only problem was that in the arid west 160 acres was not enough land because of lack of water. The watered places in the west were homesteaded right away, but this left the government holding large parcels of land that nobody wanted. Remember that water technology was very limited at that time. If water wasn't 20ft. deep or less it just wasn't gettable by the pioneers. This onetime reject land is what was eventually turned into BLM land. This land was set aside for multi-use. The point of this whole discussion is that Government owned land encourages abuse. Private owned land encourages conservation. This easily seen in communist countries like the former USSR. The abuse of resources in the USSR are legendary. It amounted to rape of the natural landscape. The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether as the population increases can we live Constitutionally, but what will happen to our Country if we don't. A public captive to socialism cannot care if something happens to the States resources. People only care about that which affects their livelihood. When they have no stake in their country they abuse the land and each other.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), April 01, 2000.

Few more questions, then.

How does private property relate to all the population that can't afford to own any? Does that mean they just lose out?

And continuing along that line of thinking, as *one* example: do National Parks serve any purpose, particularly with regard to those people who cannot afford property? Should National Parks be private, too? Like maybe not even made into National Parks? (BTW, Have you seen the effects from private companies operating within them)? Or should this land be locked up for the only people who can afford it (let's say the rich folks back east, as was mentioned earlier)? Is it socialism to provide National Parks for everyone?

And another thought: how about the guy who lives upstream from your property and decides that he wants to use all that scarce water? Too bad for the folk downstream? Or how about when all his livestock manure gets into the stream?

Should the individual property owners build their own roads, (telegraph lines, telephones, or whatever? on into the future) or is there some need for shared infrastructure? How about a standing army? Or just a militia? What if the folks don't want to serve?

How about all that disenfranchised population in the cities (from which we have fled)? Just tough luck that they can't afford any land.

I guess we just assume everyone to be well intentioned and caring about the well being of his fellow man. This personal enlightenment is a pretty big factor, it would seem. Is our population (which is huge) that capable? Is our education good enough (broad enough) to support this kind of philosophy? How many people are able to think critically, and not get swayed by their emotions? (Note the election process, or check out advertising on teevee).

I'm trying to think pragmatically because even though I can appreciate the value in returning to those thoughts of earlier times, I have a hard time understanding any way back to them. Realistically we have a whole bunch of people we are talking about when considering a government of, by and for.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), April 01, 2000.

You're absolutely right Sheepish. We can't go back to a much lower population, nor can we make everyone concerned with the welfare of the entire system, speaking ecologically. Which in return brings us back to the original supposition. What can we do to make tings better and keep liberty and freedom as a paramount concern of at least the majority?

This is where things like intentional communities and the contraction of government and the (uh oh, I'm going to upset some people!) seccesion of some like minded individuals from this monolithic union come in.

Things are much too large and on many smaller levels we can make a mostly agreeable and honest attempt to change things for the positive. However, as a nation, we are too large and too spread out ecologically to be able to enact those kinds of positive changes. There comes again my continual references to the Declaration of Independence and the Constituion. (ruled from thousands of miles away....etc.etc.)

Regarding the disenfranchised, throughout all of human history they have been there, in my life I have numbered among their ranks, but you can't make everyone equal. You can make everyone equal under the law, but not in intellect, ability, or by birth and upbringing.

There will never be a perfect system that is designed and enacted by mankind for mankind, but there can be a "more perfect" system. To quote Franklin "We gave you a republic....if you can keep it."

I guess that's what most of us are disappointed about. Our lives have been greatly affected by the apathy of those preceding us and I can't begin to imagine what we will be looking at in forty years or so if we fail to act now to preserve something for later generations.

I have to get back to the garden. Thanks for giving me more top ponder as I pull those evil weeds.

-- Doreen Davenport (livinginskin@yahoo.com), April 01, 2000.

So what's being said here is that it's impossible for liberty to be maintained, therefore why try? The question is what is left? I don't think national parks should exist. For one thing privately owned parks make more sense anyway. The truth of the matter is everyone has the chance to make their own way in the world. They can pursue their dreams and reach for what they want. There are a lot of people out there who see a road block where there is none. The truth is that even given the freedom there are a lot of people who don't want private property, but that doesn't mean that our society should have to support them. The truth is that like it or not population controls itself. This is the cold hard truth most 21 century Americans can't live with. People die folks. People die whether the huge social system is there to catch them or not. We're all headed there. There will always be death for one reason or another. for instance as population pressures become too much wars tend to happen. now that is not to say that war is a wonderful thing but even it serves it's purpose. Lately I've been dealing with this with my mother in law. She is diabetic, and recently had a toe removed. I am telling you after watching for a few months the things done by the medical establishment to slow the process of death I'm not so sure it wouldn't just be better to let God take you when he wills. My mother in law is on eleven different kinds of medication each of which I am assured she can't live without. I am just not sure it would be worth it for me. One thing we've lost for sure in this country is the peacefulness of dying. Today when we go we are hooked up to so many gadgets and on so much medication that what used to be a peaceful end to life is now a sideshow. All I'm saying here is we stuggle so hard to prevent the inevitable that the joy of living is lost and that we can be free and all live together too. Of course the guy upstream shouldn't be able to use all the water(as if he could), but these are simple laws that prevent the encroachment of freedom of others. the problem is this has been stretched beyond the limits of reason in this country. I have a friend who is having to get rid of all her animals because someone in her neighborhod complained. From her house this person can't even see her animals. He has an eight foot fence and his house is situated at the fron of his property with at least 2 or 3 footballfields of length between his house and hers. Yet he feels he has the right to destroy her livelihood. I ask where does it end? How much do I owe my neighbors? I am not responsible for my neighbors property values. What kind of world do my children get? Do I leave them with no way to build a future because I raised my property values on their backs? Don't your children deserve freedom or do we get what little is left and leave them to tyranny? I don't want that kind of nation for my children. I want my children to enjoy the advantages of freedom too. When does it stop? Would you be happy with a dictatorship instead or how about communist oppression? We can either return to freedom or go on to tyranny. There is no standing still.

Little bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), April 01, 2000.

Very interesting thoughts! My husband and I sat outside this evening...watched the sun go down and reflected on some of the points brought up on this thread. To all of you: thanks for enriching my marriage!

I have observed common themes in our discussions: concern about various expressions of greed, and concern about apathy. I would also say that I think it's important to think critically and to develop an attitude of not reacting to rhetoric. I guess that's a theme I think is important, anyway...hooray for critical analysis!

Thanks for the discussion. I am grateful for the opportunity to consider how things are, how others perceive them, and hopefully how to make them better..

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), April 01, 2000.

I wanted to touch back and say that I also appreciate the openess of this forum. In order to better this country and our lives it is important that we discuss these things. It really does have a lot to do with homesteading as our politics and our beliefs are the beginning of the homesteading experience. Why we homestead is almost as important doing it itself. Thank you all for your willingness to discuss things without getting bound up emotionally to the point of saying hurtful things without thinking. This is a refreshing list. Thanks also to our moderator for letting free speech mean something on this forum. Sometimes I'm sure he asks kimself what this has to do with homesteading, but maybe it all comes down to this in the end. There are so many reasons to homestead and the reasons of today may or may not be the reasons of the past. This is how we all learn. After all homesteaders are an awfully creative bunch by nature. People who don't farm don't realize how much ingenuity it takes to do so. There are so many variables.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@calinet.com), April 02, 2000.

I am overwhelmed at the recent answers and you all have partially refreshed my hope for mankind. I am studing hard the responses and tying to absorb them. Is there any hope? OH YES ! As long as I draw breath I will hope and strive to make it a reality. I strongly agree that we need to take respondsibility for our own actions and conduct ourselves as moral,honest and considerate humans. By nature man seeks liberty--it is the soul of man that does not ask for it but demands it, and well he should ! Thoreau said "If only one man stands against change and resists it than the change is not complete and he is the victor".Someone ask me to air publicly my thoughts on revolutionaries--I am not sure which thought it was but I think it was---I'll never understanded why revolution fell squarely on the shoulders of those so ill suited to conduct it and those who hate war so much in our hearts."You may as well expect the rivers to run backward as to expect any man that was born a free man should be contented to be penned downed and denied liberty ! Let me be a free man--free to travel--free to stop--free to work--free to choose my own teachers--free to follow the religion of my fathers--free to think,talk and act for myself" (Chief Joseph) I will be content to stop revolting when this government stops it's abuse of the power it so politely stole from we the people.At the present rate of government I see that free speech will probably be changed from a right to a privledge that only the rich and powerful are afforded ! Joel Rosen

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), April 02, 2000.

Joel, Sheepish, Colleen, Little Bit, and everyone else, You know I want to thank all of you. It really makes my heart glad to read all these letters from people who really care about this world and this country. karen

-- Karen Mauk (dairygoatmama@hotmail.com), April 04, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ