Archive for October, 2013

Team America

October 10, 2013

Jon Bell19 hours ago

@J. Kelley 

Can you juxtapose your ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ statement with the phrase ‘promote the general welfare’? You’ll find the ‘general welfare’ phrase in the preamble to your Constitution. Any of those approving your post are welcome to respond.



Jeff Miller9 hours ago

@Jon Bell “promote the general welfare” does not mean giving welfare to the lazy except to liberal progressives. It means general policies that enable those who work to succeed to whatever level their talents, skills and work ethic enable them to achieve. When they do succeed they are then perfectly entitled, and indeed encouraged, to share their success with those less fortunate but only as they see fit. That will in fact “promote the general welfare” which is the desire for a positive outcome for the overall population. When you re-define the clause, “promote the general welfare” to the contemporary definition of “welfare” your are at best, Orwellian and clearly disingenuous. 


Jon Bell9 hours ago

@Jeff Miller

‘Welfare’ in ‘promote the general welfare’ does not refer to welfare in the contemporary sense.  True.

That’s not the issue. The issue remains. Does the ‘if you don’t work, you don’t eat’ sentiment lie within the ‘promote the general welfare’ principle? If so, in what manner? If not, why?



Jeff Miller8 hours ago

@Jon Bell @Jeff Miller the phrase, “promote the general welfare” refers to promoting the nation as a whole not any individual or group. I would also ask that you explain why “don’t work, free eats” does in fact align with the general welfare of the nation as a whole.

It is my belief that the general welfare of the nation as a whole is in fact promoted when there is the expectation that able bodied (fully or partly) individuals are held to be responsible for their own individual welfare – e.g., “don’t work, don’t eat”. 

To do otherwise – and again we are purposely excluding those unable to do so – requires that those of us who do fulfill our own responsibility are also required to support those who by their own choices and decisions do not. That is a prescription that diminishes the “general welfare” of the nation as the weight of those who avoid personal responsibility drags down those who do fulfill their responsibility. Human nature being what it is, that weight will increase to such a point that the nation as a whole is damaged, potentially fatally. No dominant civilization has yet been able to survive when the weight of the unwilling overcomes the power of the self-reliant. 


Jon Bell3 hours ago

@Jeff Miller

No disagreement here re the entirety of your post, though some comment is in order.

Re your request for explanation:  While a particular frame of reference is required, I offer America is a team, where all members, regardless of industry, intellect, etc. are of value.  As such, when the team does not aid and assist the weaker members, the team is diminished, notwithstanding some members’ positions are improved.

Here’s is a test of the America is a team thesis:  If the statements ‘America is great’ and ‘God bless America’ have any meaning, so does the team thesis.  If not, then there is no America.  There’s just a bunch of semi-civilized folks living in North America each competing not only with each other but each of the other organized nation-state economic engines in the world.  (For an objective measure of what I describe as your ‘every man for himself’ strategy, which has since about the 1980’s been a significant, though latent, theme in America, compare USA to all other nation-states.  You’re not at the top, save for your Congressional-military-industrial complex expenditures.)

Re your ‘by their own choices and decisions’ position:  People occupy every range of industry, intellect, etc.  Using the theory x and theory y distinctions for convenience, there are uber x’s and uber y’s and many degradation in between.  And, yes, you have your x’s just like every other society, current and past.  Just because other societies may have failed to solve the x issue, doesn’t mean you can’t.  In fact, you must.  The fate of your society, and the fate of all future societies are dependent on that answer.  This is because x’s will always be with us and are not going away.  (‘Don’t work – don’t eat’ will not work in a Darwinian context.)  Solve this issue and there will be, at the minimum, a Nobel in it for you.  Don’t, and ‘don’t work – don’t eat’ is no solution, and America will, in time, meet the fate of the civilizations/societies referred to as ancient.



Jeff Miller 1 hours ago

@Jon Bell @Jeff Miller I appreciate the cogent writing and serious thought.

However, the premise of America as a team is false construct. There are teams, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, etc. where your premise has value. Other teams such as in industry operate differently. When a “team member” fails to fulfill their responsibility they are not aided but removed from the team. That is, if a co-worker doesn’t do their job they are fired. Certainly there may be some intervention between the two acts but the end result is the same: don’t work, don’t eat.

 As for your “x’s” yes they will always be with us. But I also believe firm application of the “don’t work, don’t eat” will trim their ranks if only for their own survival. After all, this is how nature works and I believe humans are part of nature and as such the “don’t work, don’t eat” is precisely Darwinian. And it does work (no pun intended).

 The statements “America is great” and “God bless America” have meaning but that meaning differs depending on the speaker and listener. The team thesis has no relation to either statement. One can believe “America is great” and simultaneously offer up other individual Americans to die in a war. Indeed it may be precisely because one believes America is great that one is even willing to offer oneself up for war. I have. Clearly, offering oneself and others up for war hardly fits the team thesis much less helping those who are weaker.

 I completely disagree that America must follow your “Team” construct or else! I also disagree with the “semi-civilized” label as it suggests a “my policy is the only true path everything else is wrong” philosophy. If that’s the attitude then no further argument is of interest. 

For my part I happily believe that America is composed of a wide variety of individuals each working towards their own self-interest within a system of rules (laws & regulations). In so doing we each provide value to the whole. We work for ourselves and benefit all. This is the America that was originally founded with respect to individuals – not just your 1980’s Reagan implication. 

For a team analogy it is perhaps more like a golf team (Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, etc.) where individuals compete and the group benefits. But if a team member fails they aren’t carried by the others they are dropped from the team (at least in the following year).

 It is a long standing and truly false analogy to point to various other nation-states – typically the European social-welfare states – and claim how much better life is there than here. Each and every one is benefiting by the U.S. military-industrial complex. It is what enables them to spend more tax money on social-welfare instead of self-defense. You may find me a compatible spirit if the discussion pivots to whether that is appropriate.

But it is reality. And the other reality is that America in particular and the Western world in general do have enemies and those enemies would like very much to destroy us. If America adopts the European social-welfare status – and the current administration would like that very much – then who will protect us? Not China nor Russia. There is no one. So adopting your desired social-welfare scheme , which in essence is the thrust of your argument, will rather quickly result in the demise of Western democracy and over some time America itself. Along with our friends, neighbors and allies of course.

Nice chatting with you. I will post this thread on my blog: You may contact me their if you’d like.