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Old October 14, 2008, 09:27 PM   #1
alizeefan
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Americans view on government interference

Hi everyone, Here in Australia the pay TV network has just begun airing what looks like being a good series, namely John Adams.

I don't profess to be a whiz at american history but from what I do know ( taxation without representation etc. ) it got me thinking that modern US governments have been every bit as overbearing as Britain ever was.

I think this fact shows how dedicated to the concept of personal freedoms the men involved with forming the republic were and what truly remarkable men they were. There is the Nicholas Cage line in National Treasure when he is reading part of the constitution and he mentions nobody uses language like that anymore and he is right.

Without trying to upset anyone it seems to me that people nowadays ( all western nations not specifically americans ) are to lazy to aspire to such things, as long as the big screen tv is working and the beer is cold everything is okay. Sad to say but if this was 1776 ( I think ) the republic of america may not have ever happened. What do you guy's think ?.
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Old October 15, 2008, 01:45 AM   #2
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I'll bite...

You are entirely right, about some of it, anyway. The US govt is much more involved in our lives today than the Crown was in the early 1770s. BUT, one thing not commonly thought about is that it was not just the burdensome rules the Crown forced on the colonists that got them so upset, it was also the rate of the change that did it.

The early colonists got rather little help and support from the Crown in direct fashion, and very little involvment in daily matters. The Colonial Governors were two months travel time (on the average) from England and the colonists developed mostly on their own, with their own legislative bodies. As they became more successful and profitable, England took a more direct role. The various taxes and acts imposed on the colonies came in a relatively short period of time, and were a burden on people used to taking care of themselves for the most part. Add in the general attitude of the English aristocarcy toward the colonists (with some notable exceptions), and things went downhill rapidly, for English rule at any rate.

Today, in the US it is a much different situation. Certain political factions in our govt have been nibbling away at our independence and freedoms for a long time. Taking small bites, often, while we are distracted with our bread and circuses (beer and TV, etc.). Also there is no foreign King to get mad at. We (God help us) put these people into power. It has taken most of the past 100 years for us to get to the state we are now in, one little thing at a time, but now we stand near the edge of them taking big bites. Many see this, and are fighting back, within the system. But many more don't really care, as long as they have a job and Sportcenter to watch the games. And some don't even care about the job as long as they get a check from the govt for not having one.

One writer has said "America is at the awkward stage, too late to work within the system and too soon to start shooting the bastards". More and more folks are seeing the accuracy in that statement. Will enough? and in time? Only time will tell.
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Old October 15, 2008, 03:27 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply 44 AMP. It was a very insightful and detailed post. I was maybe expecting a " hell yeah " or something .
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Old October 15, 2008, 04:51 AM   #4
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America was settled by people crazy enough to leave everyone and everything they knew, to get on a rickety wooden boat, to travel across a dangerous ocean, and to try to survive in a wilderness consisting of nothing but trees and people shooting arrows at them.


These people were self-reliant perhaps to the point of madness. A lot of them died or came to bad ends, but they built the wealthiest, most powerful nation in the world.


The people who have come here more recently are of an entirely different sort. They have come to a wealthy country where they are taken care of. Self-reliance is less dominant in them than in the original settlers.


The nature of Americans has changed a lot since the Founders wrote the Constitution. The results are as we see. This will continue.
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Old October 15, 2008, 10:29 AM   #5
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One of the many "truisms" is this, from our Declaration of Independence: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." (my emphasis)

Which brings some perspective to that Claire Wolf quote, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." that 44 AMP used. The rest of the quote is also instructive of her mindset for the first part, "On the road to tyranny, we've gone so far that polite political action is about as useless as a miniskirt in a convent." 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution (1996)

While I somewhat agree with her first part, I wholly disagree with the second.
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Old October 15, 2008, 02:51 PM   #6
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One key difference: We are no longer "without representation". It may not be doing us much good, but we can at least go to the ballot box instead of going to the gun cabinet.
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Old October 15, 2008, 05:03 PM   #7
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I don't think it will get any better for us, and will probably get worse...

Until we find a means to stop accepting the candidates that "they" put in front of us as our only choices. The two parties and the media.

I'm not saying the Ron Paul is the answer, nor the Libertarian party.

But... an effective grass-roots system that unseats a good batch of Congressmen or Senators nation-wide with folks endorsed by neither the D's or the R's would certainly get "their" attention.

Get rid of the incumbents, and don't vote for the alternative party in that race. Put a completely fresh face in there that deflates the D/R power structure.
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Old October 15, 2008, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Sad to say but if this was 1776 ( I think ) the republic of america may not have ever happened. What do you guy's think ?.
i'd strongly agree


we'd still be swigging tee, flying the British flag, and be singing god save the queen if we were this lethargic in 1776

we can talk the talk like never before, but when it comes to walking the walk, we might as well throw in a bunch of brain dead monkeys and typewriters to make the decisions
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Old October 15, 2008, 07:15 PM   #9
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Numbers vary on source, but only about 10% of the population supported rebellion at the onset of the war. The driving force of the revolution was wholesalers and warehousers who were being crushed by the taxes. Farmers did not buy paper or other finished goods being imported and taxed so they did not care.

Revolutions always start with a few, the general mass is always lethargic. The French Revolution was months old by the March to Versailles, an it was probably the fastest/most decisive I know off.
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Old October 15, 2008, 11:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Numbers vary on source, but only about 10% of the population supported rebellion at the onset of the war. The driving force of the revolution was wholesalers and warehousers who were being crushed by the taxes. Farmers did not buy paper or other finished goods being imported and taxed so they did not care.

Revolutions always start with a few, the general mass is always lethargic. The French Revolution was months old by the March to Versailles, an it was probably the fastest/most decisive I know off.
That's an excellent point and it goes a long way to explaining the number of brutal leaders/governments we see throughout history.
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Old October 16, 2008, 10:13 PM   #11
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Even at the height of the revolution, only about 1/3 of the population supported the revolutionary cause. About 1/3 supported the British. The other third refused to take a side...and this was at the height of the revolution!
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Old October 16, 2008, 10:28 PM   #12
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I think at present, many Americans actually support increasing government intrusion and control, simply because their handouts come from it.

There appears to be a large divide between self reliant, independent people and those who are indolent and want to be cared for.
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Old October 16, 2008, 10:30 PM   #13
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I agree with the post concerning the woes of our two party system. Choosing the lesser of two evils is getting a little old.
It would be nice to see some real backing behind a third and truely conservative party in the running for the executive level of office, but frankly, if that ever happened I don't think it would really make a lasting difference anyway.
It is congress, the house and senate, our law makers (what a stupid idea, by the way; 'time to churn out some more useless, expensive, and oppressive laws... I have financers to keep happy, and I want to look like I actually produce something helpful to the economy...') are the ones who we have the most sway over, and whom have the most sway over government policy. Frankly, a federally mandated gun ban of any sort should never have the chance to be considered on the national level anyway!
Can we clean up/do away with federal firearms laws? Sure. But not before we clean up our own state.
Stay vigilant.

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Old October 17, 2008, 12:30 AM   #14
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A point that I think needs to be made is that a majority, maybe a large majority, of Americans don't feel unfree at all.

I live in Las Vegas, recently named by Reason magazine the freest city in the country. (Yay us!) Grew up here. Now, I hardly ever gamble. But I think the restrictions placed on gambling in most of the country are asinine.

So how much time do you spend each day, lamenting the infringements on your ability to gamble?

And yes, I understand very well that roulette wheels and Pai Gow tables are not mentioned expressly in the US Constitution. (They may be, in Nevada's.)

My point is that, generally speaking, there are very few things most Americans want to do, which they aren't allowed to. Most people, even most gun owners, don't want a suppressed, full auto SBR HK91, the freaks. So the fact that such (absolutely, positively, don't-know-how-I'm-continuing-to-draw-breath-without-one necessary) tackle is so heavily regulated doesn't mean anything to them. Same idea as alluded to by the poster who mentioned that 18th Century American farmers didn't feel the heavy tax burden imposed by Britain, therefore didn't feel oppressed, and so did not support the rebellion. (Good job, by the way, pointing out that the US was founded to avoid "spreading the wealth.")

Offhand, the only groups I can think of which are exercised about lack of freedom in America are gunnies, druggies and gays who want to get married. (Maybe NAMBLA...)
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Old October 17, 2008, 01:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Even at the height of the revolution, only about 1/3 of the population supported the revolutionary cause. About 1/3 supported the British. The other third refused to take a side...and this was at the height of the revolution!
That does take some of the shine off I guess. I suspect that the generally held view around the world ( and possibly in the US as well ) is that it was a well supported endeavour. Given these facts I think it's lucky the British were busy in other places at the same time or things might have turned out different. Courage and resilience can only achieve so much
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Old October 17, 2008, 06:19 AM   #16
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I think that one point being missed is that the Framers were children of pioneers who braved the terrible hazards of a wilderness with only the things they could carry and with no back up. These people were not far from having to fight for their lives every day. The Frontier was just a horseback ride away, and there were hostile tribes within close proximity.

Every house held a gun, and even farmers had to know how to fight. They fought for their livelyhoods daily. When the King became a problem, well it was just another fight.

Remember, the Pilgrims were hazarding everything for a philosophical ideal. They were people of principle who were all alone in a hostile world.

Now, Americans are wealthy, fat, indolent,(don't even vote) and lazy. They don't even educate their own children, but leave that to the State. Principles are a long second to the pocket book. As long as it doesn't cost them anything it is OK to leave criminals in office. Whatever you can get away with is OK.

The only thing that will get fat, lazy people stirred up enough to take action is personal privation.

Enough rant, Sorry.
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Old October 17, 2008, 06:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
I think this fact shows how dedicated to the concept of personal freedoms the men involved with forming the republic were and what truly remarkable men they were.

Most certainly. And many people in these modern times are so protective of their freedoms and rightfully so. In some way or another our freedoms are taxed, regulated, restricted, manipulated, and overall 'bound' by our lawmakers. And often, those lawmakers of ours are swayed by special interest groups and personal perspectives, even ignorance.



I watched the John Adams series over the summer around the 4th of July time. It was refreshing. Two nights ago I was on youtube and saw a guy ranting about guns and Americans, and how ignorant we are. This guy was from the UK somewhere. I read somewhere that its probably tough for people of other countries that prohibit guns to truly understand the significance of what they represent to us as Americans. It is not as simple as the item itself, but rather everything they represent throughout history by our struggles and freedoms.


alizeefan, I'm glad you posted this thread and are getting a chance to watch a bit of US history.
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Old October 17, 2008, 08:46 AM   #18
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Civil Rights. An issue most Americans today are truly ignorant over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustDreadful
Offhand, the only groups I can think of which are exercised about lack of freedom in America are gunnies, druggies and gays who want to get married.
The Harrison Narcotics Act (1914) was passed in order to "control" illicit drugs. But this was done under the Taxing power of the Federal Government. To completely outlaw a drug, required an amendment to the Constitution (Prohibition).

During and after FDR (and his "New Deal") the Commerce Clause was broadened and something called the "General Welfare Clause" (heretofore never imagined as a power) was used to regulate more and more things (drugs, farm crops), contrary to the legal thinking just 20 years prior.

It used to be that you weren't required to be licensed (taxed) to drive, let alone have to annually register your private vehicle(s) (more Taxation). You could drive anywhere, free and unencumbered. The Governments power (both State and Federal) could only reach to commercial activity, not private activity.

The Country made a left turn into socialism during this time, and has seldom looked back.

Further, one could look at 1st, 4th and 5th amendment encroachments. But it should be enough to ask, whether or not the citizens today believes that the Government is empowered to regulate every activity of the citizen, regardless of enumerated rights or not?

It seems that today, the citizen would answer, Yes! Hence Government power escalates at the expense of the citizens Liberties.

This, alizeefan, illustrates how governments seize power from a free people. With the acquiescence of the people themselves.
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Old October 18, 2008, 01:23 AM   #19
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Tyranny is what you are not used to...

What you are used to is normal, and in most opinions, what is right (even if it isn't). The overwhelming majority of the people don't care about much of anything that doesn't personally affect or intrude on their lives. But if it is something that does, they care alot. As long as it is somebody else's ox that is getting gored, they could (generally) care less.

Most people who enjoy firearms as recreation should understand this all too well, but even in the firearms community the attitude exists. Calling them "Fudds" (after Elmer Fudd) is almost charming (although I think a different name should have been used), but these are the "sportsmen" who don't care about gun control laws, as long as the guns they use in their particular sport are not the ones being restricted or banned. Rather short sighted, I think.

The state of encroachment by the government in our lives is a result of deliberate action by individuals in govt and the law of unintended consequences. Some regulations are a result of a genuine elitist worldview, that we are not capable of properly caring for ourselves, and therefore govt makes laws to force us to live in the manner they approve of (seatbelt laws and helmet laws are a prime example) Some are the result of govt seeking income (building permits and other licenses) and some just seem to defy reason altogether (I know you can think of some).

Bit by bit, over decades and even centuries it has happened. You cannot do some of the things your grandfather did on his own land without govt approval, and paying for that privilege. Some things you cannot do at all, legally.

We are trained from birth to comply, and the rules we grow up with are the natural order of things for us. It is only when they add new ones that we see ourselves as being oppressed. All the things we cannot do that our forefathers did, all of these things have been taken away from us, for our own good, or so we are told. All these things have been done tro us, with the best of intentions, so they say, and they have been done with our tacit agreement, or at least enough of it so they can do it. Sometimes, only one vote is the difference between continuing to live the way we used to and them doing it to us again. One vote. One judge or one Congressman tips the balance, and we are stuck with someone else's view of a "proper" life.

If there is a down side to our system of government, that's got to be it.
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Old October 18, 2008, 09:22 AM   #20
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I have long held the thought that ALL elected leaders should have "Term Limits" That is what the founding fathers envisioned for our Government to be. Serve your elected term and then go home.
We have a serious problem today with SOOO many "life time" Politicians, they become God like in their minds.
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Old October 18, 2008, 01:12 PM   #21
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I think what seperates us from most other countries of the world is that Americans just don't seem to place much emphasis on their government. That's probably becoming less and less true as generations of government dependent sheeple begin to gain popularity. But I realize all the hype with this upcoming election and it appears it's the hot-topic with every American. But when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of things, government doesn't have much to do with our daily lives and after all the electoral hype fades away, it's back to ourselves whom we depend on to make our lives work and make it better. When they pass laws that are unpopular, well, most of us just shrug, become outlaws by proxy and keep on doing what we do, like during the Clinton gun-ban.
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Old October 18, 2008, 07:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
stop accepting the candidates that "they" put in front of us as our only choices.

...

Get rid of the incumbents, and don't vote for the alternative party in that race. Put a completely fresh face in there that deflates the D/R power structure.
I agree with this 100%, azredhawk, and frankly it is frustrating to me that more people don't vote outside of the two parties. I truly feel that this is the only way things can change for the better and for more freedom of our rights. The "revolution" will need to begin at the polls.
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Old October 18, 2008, 08:55 PM   #23
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You aren't seeing what I am seeing

Quote:
But when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of things, government doesn't have much to do with our daily lives
I disagree. Perhaps it is only a point of view, but my point of view is that government is deeply involved in our daily lives. The moment we step outside our front door (and even while we are inside our homes) we are subject to hundreds of laws, regulations, rules and ordinances, every minute of every day. And that, my friends is a result of our government working tirelessly to make life better for us all.

Just get in your car and drive to the store to buy aloaf of bread. How many laws apply to you during that simple action? Dozens? Scores? maybe even a hundred? Local, state, and Federal, how many do you think apply for each and ever single action you might do during the course of a normal day?

We are so used to it that many don't even realize just how many rules we actually have, here in the land of the free.

Sure, we need laws, and even regulations for an orderly society. I just don't think we need as many as we currently have.

There are places in our nation where citizens have to pay the govt because water runs downhill.

We are free to do whatever we wish, as long as we stay inside the framework built around us by the government. And that framework has been getting more and more rigid with more and more bars and walls with each passing year. We here see it most with guns, but it is being applied to all areas of life. The difference is the rate of application, and the scope of regulation. 20 years ago, you could choose to wear a seatbelt in your car, or not, as you saw fit. Sure, it is a good idea, you ought to wear one, but it was your choice. Today, it isn't your choice anymore. If you do not wear the mandated belt, the govt will fine you. Take your money as punishment for not following orders.

Just because you do not have daily interaction with govt enforcers doesn't mean that govt isn't "involved" in our daily lives. Look around and think about it.
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Old October 20, 2008, 07:30 PM   #24
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You may be correct to a degree 44 AMP, but let me remind everyone, the laws are only as effective as those who are willing to obey them. You ever been around during a mass riot when the National Guard are called out to restore order? Law enforcement is generally nothing more than a token portrayal of order and security, they are not obliged to protect you or anyone else but themselves. When the masses make up their mind to do whatever they want to do there's not much, including here in the U.S., that can stop them aside from themselves.
So, my point is, government, is only as relevant as you want it to be.
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Old October 22, 2008, 01:45 AM   #25
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This has always been true, everywhere

Quote:
So, my point is, government, is only as relevant as you want it to be.
Our society operates by the consent of the governed. The difference in aristocratic and totalitarian societies is how easily and effectively those governed can express their discontent. Kings and dictators are not easily overthrown, but they have been from time to time throughout history.

Our police are not sufficient force to maintain order without the general population's respect for the law. And they were never intended to be able to. That isn't their job.

Throughout history there are men who did not respect the laws the rest of the people lived under. As individuals they were generally considered outlaws. As groups they were brigands, or rebels, or revolutionaries, depending on whether they were acting soley for themseves, or for a claimed greater good.

Government is as relative as you want it to be, as long as you are willing to pay the price when their opinion is different from yours.
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