Request for Comments

by

I’m being quite serious here.

Question: What is the difference between Obama’s vision of the role of the federal government and Kim Jong Il’s vision of the role of the North Korean government?

Please respond with your answers below.

This is deathly important. See, this year, North Korea is likely to produce only 60% of what it produced last year—in food. (link) While South Korea is rapidly becoming an economic powerhouse, North Korea is exploring new depths of poverty unseen in our world’s history.

For those of you who don’t understand why this is important, let me share with you what I, and the majority of the United States citizenry, believe the role of the federal government is.

The federal government exists solely to protect free trade between the states, ensure that contracts are enforced across state borders, and to protect the states from physical threats, foreign and domestic. The federal government also exists to represent the states in international politics. These functions are outlined quite clearly in the Constitution of the United States.

The things that President Obama is attempting to do do not lie within the realm of the role of the federal government. It is not supposed to provide for your retirement or provide health insurance or health care (except as compensation to its employees). It does not exist to keep our streets safe or to limit the trade of potentially harmful substances. It does not exist to tax and distribute those taxes to schools and state governments. It does not exist to control the banking industry, the auto industry, or the medical industry. The only industry it can hope to control is the military industry, and that only because congress writes the checks.

Our view of government as a limited government is where our freedom truly lies. And it is because of our freedoms, not our government, that we have been the most efficient producers of economic wealth in the history of the world. It is also why, even in our poor economic condition, we still continue to run circles around the rest of the world.

When you’ve identified any difference between Kim Jong Il’s vision of unlimited control over the lives of the people and President Obama’s vision of the same, let me know in the comments below.

Remember to keep the comments clean and free from ad hominem attacks.

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17 Responses to “Request for Comments”

  1. demo kid Says:

    Why respond? You’re comparing a government that revels in torturing its citizens, controls almost ALL industry and production in the country, funnels its resources into ludicrous amounts of defense spending, and idolizes their leader-for-life to an absurd degree. You can knock down straw-men all you want, Jonathan, but don’t pat yourself on the back for how brilliant you think you are when you’re dong it.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Have you ever wondered why the US government doesn’t look like the North Korean government?

      What fundamental difference between the two can there be?

      Or are you saying that North Koreans are a degenerate race incapable of governing themselves like the North Americans can?

      Now, give the only obvious answer to the above, let me ask again:

      How does Obama’s view of government differ from Kim Jong Il’s view? Or is it plain that they both believe the government can do whatever it likes in the name of the good of society, even if that means torturing and oppressing the people?

      We are certainly feeling the oppression coming from the White House.

  2. demo kid Says:

    Or are you saying that North Koreans are a degenerate race incapable of governing themselves like the North Americans can?

    No, but it seems like you have to resort to straw men to make your point.

    How does Obama’s view of government differ from Kim Jong Il’s view? Or is it plain that they both believe the government can do whatever it likes in the name of the good of society, even if that means torturing and oppressing the people?

    Man, you know… it’s great that the US is such a free country, such that we can shelter those Swedes fleeing their repressive government. I myself have witnessed the horrible, horrible atrocities committed by the Canadian government on those that disagree on health care in that country. (Hours of SCTV reruns! It’s against the Geneva Convention!)

    And let’s not even start in with the Austria and Germany. The horrors of two world wars are nothing in comparison to their environmental regulations.

    Jonathan, please. Your use of hyperbole to make a point is astoundingly shallow. You should try to make your point again, without your typical references to North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, the Soviet Union, et al.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Or are you saying that North Koreans are a degenerate race incapable of governing themselves like the North Americans can?

      No, but it seems like you have to resort to straw men to make your point.

      Let me put it another way. What is it that makes the US Federal Government not torture its citizens and oppress them like the North Korean government? Your answer cannot include anything about the genetic makeup or natural dispositions of people living in the US versus those in North Korea, since we are all made out of the same stuff and we all have the same tendencies. To rely on such an argument makes you a racist, so don’t do it.

      Jonathan, please. Your use of hyperbole to make a point is astoundingly shallow. You should try to make your point again, without your typical references to North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, the Soviet Union, et al.

      OK, I’ll try to use a successful country that has enjoyed the wonderful promises of socialism without any of the side-effects of central control of the citizenry.

      Oh wait, I can’t find one!

      So I might as well turn to those countries which do consolidate all power in the central government as a good example of what happens when you consolidate all power in the central government.

      It just happens that those countries are North Korea, Cuba, the Soviet Union, and other disasters of humanity.

      • demo kid Says:

        I said nothing about any “genetic makeup”, so stop lying by implying that I did.

        You can certainly discuss why the US federal government may not torture its citizens in the same way as the North Korean government, but there’s that pesky argument again: why compare North Korea and the US? Why not Britain and the US? Sweden and North Korea? Heck, compare North and South Korea (post-1987), for that matter.

        The issue is, as you’ve often mentioned, the right to property, and the level of control that the state exerts over individuals. However, in your crucifixion of the Obama administration as being “Maoist”, you pretty much ignore what REAL Maoism entailed. Has the federal government proposed a large-scale industrialization program for, say, the middle of nowhere in Oklahoma? Are poor families from Detroit being shipped out to work on collectivized farms in Nebraska? Have we created hard labor camps in Alaska? No? Then comparisons to Maoism (or Stalinism, or fascism, or Trotskyism, or whatever) are in error.

        (Not to mention that many of the heaviest interventions of the federal government into private industry in the US during the 20th century was through government defense contracts. The entire West Coast of the US would probably be unrecognizable if Senators hadn’t funneled money into Silicon Valley, Boeing, and other interests in the area.)

        But seriously… ensuring that folks can get healthcare is a human rights abuse? C’mon. Unless you’re willing to point at the fascism in Switzerland tied to their medical care system, you’re not being intellectually honest by invoking a truly repressive regime.

        OK, I’ll try to use a successful country that has enjoyed the wonderful promises of socialism without any of the side-effects of central control of the citizenry.

        How about each and every single Western democracy?

        Whinging about socialism in generalities is pointless, because there is no single form that it might take. But if you’re going to start talking about “socialism”, I’ll be more than happy to talk about some of the benefits: roads, emergency services, schools, parks, environmental protection, workplace protections…

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        How about each and every single Western democracy?

        Yes, let’s, shall we?

        Ever since Western European countries have adopted socialism, their economies have become second-class. Even today, a good European economy is one that isn’t collapsing very fast. I cannot point to any Western, socialistic economy that is out-producing America, or any of the Asian anti-socialist countries, or any of the anti-socialist African or South American countries. Socialism spells the end of advance in the economy. It is, at best, a stagnation. At worst, a complete meltdown.

        But what of the “benefits” of socialism? All I see is death. Literally, death. In Britain, if you get cancer, you may as well crawl into a hole and die, because you’d get better treatment. The numbers speak for themselves. (link)

        Admittedly, socialized medicine pales in comparison to forced migration and labor camps under Mao. But they are a difference of degree. The same system that says the government has the right to deny health coverage and deny people the right to freely associate and trade in goods and services as they see fit is the same government that can say you have no right to choose where you live or what your profession is.

        The reason why European governments haven’t gone that far is because they can’t. There are still limits, limits imposed by the people. Perhaps they are not encoded in the constitution, nor anywhere else, but those limits do exist.

  3. Mike Says:

    Now Now Gentlemen,

    I must say that Jonathan is attempting to get an answer. Without putting all of the other countries, such as cuba, etc., into account and answering his question directly I say this……we as American’s are much more educated and have the technology to understand and see in real time what is happening to our Country….we have the Constitution, of which some people are trying to throw it to the side, nonetheless, demo kid you need to wake up……… Remember what Patrick Henry said “Nex ut Tyrannus”….. and also remember what Lincoln said, and I am only parapharsing: that those who attempt to destroy the Constitution are traitors and those who protect the Constitution are Patriots….but then again I am just a guy with only a GED but am retired from the military so I did my time and can voice my opinion……to me anyone or any group who are undermining or attempting to destroy the Constitution are Traitors….PERIOD….are you one demo kid….hmmmmmmm…..in conclusion the north koreans are uneducated and are kept that way, our Country and those in positions of power are attempting to continue to dumb down our children so that it will, in time, unless we stand up soon, have the same amount of dumb people to have as servents to the powers……

  4. demo kid Says:

    Wow, first you ask for comments, then you don’t post the replies? How interesting… and dishonest.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Your reply was so long and so irrelevant that I didn’t even bother to read it all.

      You can’t identify an ideological difference between Kim Jong Il and President Obama on the role of government. This is very disturbing, and you know it. A government without limits is a government of endless tyranny. That is the government that Kim Jong Il has and President Obama wants.

      • demo kid Says:

        Pfft. If you ASK for comments, say that you didn’t even read my (quite relevant) response, and then declare that I “can’t identify an ideological difference between Kim Jong Il and Obama, you’re just dishonest and untrustworthy. I have better things to do than to feed your poor little victimization complex.

      • Jonathan Gardner Says:

        Even in your short replies, you can’t even identify the topic. The debate was never about me and it was never about you.

        Let me help you write a coherent response. It would go something like this:

        “Barack Obama and Kim Jong Il’s views on government are different because… (you fill in the rest).”

        Or you can try:

        “Barack Obama believes (X) about government, while Kim Jong Il believes (Y). These are clearly different.”

        Can you do this, or are you still going to admit defeat by failing to appear at the debate?

  5. demo kid Says:

    Can you do this, or are you still going to admit defeat by failing to appear at the debate?

    No, I’m going to stop debating because you’re filtering what I’m saying. That’s akin to trying to debate on state-controlled TV… the one in charge of the station is the one that can twist the message.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Yet again, you can’t seem to find a way to respond to the original question. This leads me to conclude that my original assessment is correct. There is no difference between President Obama’s and Kim Jong Il’s views on government.

  6. demo kid Says:

    You know, you can pat yourself on the back as much as you like, but you didn’t even prove your own thesis here. As I said in the beginning: you’re comparing our government to one that revels in torturing its citizens, controls almost ALL industry and production in the country, funnels its resources into ludicrous amounts of defense spending, and idolizes their leader-for-life to an absurd degree. As I can see, we still have three branches of government under an Obama administration, as well as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion.

    Likewise, this healthcare bill that you hate changes the income tax code, which is a granted power under the Constitution, and it regulates interstate trade, again allowed under the Constitution. That has not changed.

    Now, if you’re trying to use a dishonest, hypoerbolic argument to goad people into believing that a government with ANY power is equivalent to a government with the power to brutally control its people and every single sector of its economy, be my guest. However, I can play that game too! Many of the laws controlling social behavior in North Korea sound similar to the punitive responses you would have for your own theocracy. Throwing people into prison if they don’t follow your social code? Preventing people from marrying if they don’t comply with your beliefs? That sounds quite familiar.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      we still have three branches of government under an Obama administration

      So the czars were approved by the senate according to the laws of the constitution?

      as well as freedom of speech

      Unless you are on talk radio or Fox news. Or you protest government spending. Then you are called all sorts of vile things and attacked as un-American by the president. And you get your teeth kicked in by his union thugs.

      and freedom of religion.

      Unless you’re the Catholic Church and you lobby members of congress not to fund abortion. Then the IRS is asked to do a complete investigation into your operations. Or you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and defend the institution of marriage.

      the income tax code

      So if you tax medical care, that’s like taxing income. Are medical care and income the same things? If medical care is income, what is not income? Or is the 16th Amendment a carte blanche to tax anything at all?

      it regulates interstate trade,

      I don’t cross state lines to see my doctor. Do you? Last time I visited the hospital, it was in Washington State.

      If seeing your doctor is considered interstate trade, then what, praytell, is not interstate trade? Or is this carte blanche to do anything at all?

      Throwing people into prison if they don’t follow your social code?

      Yeah, me and the North Koreans agree here. If you go around murdering people, you deserve a long prison sentence, and perhaps death. If you steal, lie, cheat, or otherwise behave in an misanthropic way, you deserve to be punished as well. The reasons why we believe that are different, of course. See, I believe individuals have a right to life, liberty, and property, and as such, I believe that people have to defend the individual’s right to life, liberty, and property, even if it means stopping people who would violate that right. In North Korea, the government believes it has the power to create law and order by any means necessary. A bit of a difference there in philosophy. The results of this difference in philosophy speak for themselves.

      Does Barack Obama believe government exists to create law and order, or does he believe government exists to protect rights? I’d like to know. I don’t see him talking about rights and balancing government to protect and expand the rights of the individual, so I have to believe it is the former.

      Preventing people from marrying if they don’t comply with your beliefs?

      Call me old fashioned for believing that every child has a right to be raised in a family of love by a father and mother. Or call me a man who stands up for the rights of children even if it means forbidding certain behaviors that interfere with that right. I prefer the latter, although the former is true. See, a long time ago, in the United States, we talked about rights and we talked about protecting those rights. That was the sole purpose of governments small and large. We don’t talk about rights anymore because they are messy things. The only time a leftist invokes an argument about rights is to protect their rights to destroy society and take rights away.

  7. demo kid Says:

    I’m pretty much done here, Jonathan. I’ll answer these, and then go to town. You’re not interested in debate, and you’re not making any reasonable, honest points anymore.

    So the czars were approved by the senate according to the laws of the constitution?

    Since czars have been appointed for over 60 years, including by Republican presidents, and their powers are more as coordinators than “ministers”, there is nothing particularly illegal about them.

    Unless you are on talk radio or Fox news. Or you protest government spending. Then you are called all sorts of vile things and attacked as un-American by the president. And you get your teeth kicked in by his union thugs.

    Man, I must have missed the teeth-kicking and imprisonment of Fox News reporters by government agents under direct orders from the White House.

    Unless you’re the Catholic Church and you lobby members of congress not to fund abortion. Then the IRS is asked to do a complete investigation into your operations. Or you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and defend the institution of marriage.

    I’m waiting to see where direct political activity and the donation of money to political campaigns is related to the practice of religion. Likewise, a tax exempt status is based on the separation of church and state.

    So if you tax medical care, that’s like taxing income. Are medical care and income the same things? If medical care is income, what is not income? Or is the 16th Amendment a carte blanche to tax anything at all?

    The 18th Amendment states that income can be taxed. That’s it. It’s a broad Constitutional power as written.

    I don’t cross state lines to see my doctor. Do you? Last time I visited the hospital, it was in Washington State.

    The Commerce Clause has been interpreted to apply to anything which COULD be traded across state lines by the courts. Insurance falls under that category.

    If seeing your doctor is considered interstate trade, then what, praytell, is not interstate trade? Or is this carte blanche to do anything at all?

    It is what is interpreted by the courts. I didn’t make it up spontaneously.

    Yeah, me and the North Koreans agree here. If you go around murdering people, you deserve a long prison sentence, and perhaps death. If you steal, lie, cheat, or otherwise behave in an misanthropic way, you deserve to be punished as well.

    And? That’s not exactly what I was referring to. Few people would disagree with that.

    The reasons why we believe that are different, of course. See, I believe individuals have a right to life, liberty, and property, and as such, I believe that people have to defend the individual’s right to life, liberty, and property, even if it means stopping people who would violate that right. In North Korea, the government believes it has the power to create law and order by any means necessary. A bit of a difference there in philosophy. The results of this difference in philosophy speak for themselves.

    You believe that… but you also believe that adulterers should be thrown in prison, with the pot-smokers and those that drink alcohol. To me, you are imposing a draconian social code for “the good of the people”, in exactly the same way that the North Korean government attempts to maintain social order through imprisonment of those that do not conform.

    Does Barack Obama believe government exists to create law and order, or does he believe government exists to protect rights? I’d like to know. I don’t see him talking about rights and balancing government to protect and expand the rights of the individual, so I have to believe it is the former.

    It’s a discussion of the role of government in providing public goods. This is not relevant to your black-and-white perspective.

    Call me old fashioned for believing that every child has a right to be raised in a family of love by a father and mother.

    That’s not exactly what I would call you.

    Or call me a man who stands up for the rights of children even if it means forbidding certain behaviors that interfere with that right.

    That’s not exactly what I would call you either. The rights of children have little to do with the orientation of their parents, and there are far better reasons why people have children taken from them. You’re advocating that children in need of adoptive parents should not have adoptive parents because of your own narrow perspective.

    I prefer the latter, although the former is true. See, a long time ago, in the United States, we talked about rights and we talked about protecting those rights. That was the sole purpose of governments small and large. We don’t talk about rights anymore because they are messy things. The only time a leftist invokes an argument about rights is to protect their rights to destroy society and take rights away.

    Get over yourself. At NO point was the function of any level of government SOLELY to protect rights. The Constitution allows for a federally-run postal service, for example, which was pretty much the only national communications infrastructure of the time. State constitutions were the same: the original Massachusetts constitution makes specific mention of Harvard University, and other state constitutions from the time make specific note of powers that don’t fall under your categorization. Your unsupported hyperbole makes little sense when viewed under the actual record.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Since czars have been appointed for over 60 years, including by Republican presidents, and their powers are more as coordinators than “ministers”, there is nothing particularly illegal about them.

      Are you trying to say fascism is OK if a Republican is doing it or it’s been done for a long time? That’s a very strange argument.

      Man, I must have missed the teeth-kicking and imprisonment of Fox News reporters by government agents under direct orders from the White House.

      So until someone ends up in the hospital, it isn’t oppression. Got it.

      Have you heard of Kenneth Gladney? Kelly Owens? (link) Does a woman getting punched in the eye count? (link)

      “Hit back twice as hard” — Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Barack Obama.

      I’m waiting to see where direct political activity and the donation of money to political campaigns is related to the practice of religion

      Gee, you’ve hit on two of the clauses of the First Amendment with that one, two rights that are explicitly protected.

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…

      separation of church and state

      I’ve been looking for this phrase in the constitution. The only thing close I can find is the first amendment, where it says “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Except in this case, the separation is quite clearly one-sided. Congress can’t interfere with religion. It says nothing about religion petitioning congress. Oh wait! It does: “and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      The 18th Amendment states that income can be taxed. That’s it. It’s a broad Constitutional power as written.

      “but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” — Article 1, Section 8. Unless they’re taxing at a uniform rate, they can’t single out certain kinds of income.

      The Commerce Clause has been interpreted to apply to anything which COULD be traded across state lines by the courts. Insurance falls under that category.

      But medical care can’t be traded across state lines, unless the doctor was on one side of the border and the patient was on the other. Besides, a new court is in town, one which may limit the scope of the commerce clause. If Obama would like to get a clearer definition on what is and isn’t interstate trade, this would be a good way to petition the court to make it clear. I guarantee your side won’t be happy with the outcome.

      To me, you are imposing a draconian social code for “the good of the people”, in exactly the same way that the North Korean government attempts to maintain social order through imprisonment of those that do not conform.

      No, I do not believe any such thing. I believe that those laws should be imposed because by not imposing them, our rights are fewer and less protected. Adultery does terrible damage to families and children and wives and husbands. Out of wedlock birth is a wonderful way to ruin a child’s life. This isn’t subjective, this is well-documented fact. Allowing people to do this is like allowing people to burn down other’s houses and wreck each other’s lives. This is clearly not protecting anyone’s rights, but allowing someone else to trample all over the victim’s.

      You can’t tell me what my beliefs are, and you can’t try to say that I want a society of law and order for law and order’s sake. I like chaos and I like the disorganization that capitalism brings. I don’t like people trampling on other’s rights.

      It’s a discussion of the role of government in providing public goods. This is not relevant to your black-and-white perspective.

      On the contrary, this is the whole point. Read the preamble of the constitution carefully: “provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. “Provide” defense. “Promote” general welfare, not provide it. “Secure”, not provide. These are important words, chosen carefully. None of the Founding Fathers wanted government to give the people things. They wanted a government to protect people’s rights to obtain things on their own.

      The other way leads, inevitably, to tyranny. That which a government gives, the government controls. Do you really want the state to make decisions about what medical procedures doctors will perform on you? Or would you rather have that be a discussion between you and your doctor, protected by the state but not provided by it.

      The rights of children have little to do with the orientation of their parents

      Except for the mountain of evidence that children need loving fathers and mothers. Those without one or the other do far worse in our society. (Interestingly enough, widows and widowers do just as well as married couples in raising children.)

      If there is a need for adoptive couples, then we need to, as a society, encourage people to become adoptive couples.

      Get over yourself. At NO point was the function of any level of government SOLELY to protect rights. The Constitution allows for a federally-run postal service, for example, which was pretty much the only national communications infrastructure of the time. State constitutions were the same: the original Massachusetts constitution makes specific mention of Harvard University, and other state constitutions from the time make specific note of powers that don’t fall under your categorization. Your unsupported hyperbole makes little sense when viewed under the actual record.

      You’re kidding yourself here. Read the comments of the people who did these things. Why a postal service? Because the right of free speech and assembly were so important, that the government had to provide the means to accomplish such. (No private entity could have done it at the time and provided such a service for a rate that would make communication possible to the masses.) Same for state-funded institutions of education. These were provided to educate the people so that they could understand and exercise their rights. That was the argument for them. It wasn’t a “gimme gimme” culture. It was a process of, “How can we best secure the blessings of liberty for us and our posterity?”

      And the Declaration of Independence is quite clear on what is an is not acceptable forms of government:

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

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