Davy Crockett

av Unknownrebel Lagret under: filosofi on mai 20th, 2009

Her følger en historie om den amerikanske kongressmannen David Crockett. Det er et langt stykke, men du vil være rikere etter å ha lest den.

Not Yours to Give

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

“Mr. Speaker–I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

“Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

“Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

“The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

“I began: ‘Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called
candidates, and—‘

“Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again.”

“This was a sockdolager…I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

” ’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.
…But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

” ‘I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

“ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

” ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

” ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. ‘No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.’ “The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.’

” ‘So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.’

“I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

” ‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

“He laughingly replied; ‘Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.’

” ‘If I don’t’, said I, ‘I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.’

” ‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’

” ‘Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.’

” ‘My name is Bunce.’

” ‘Not Horatio Bunce?’

” ‘Yes.’

” ‘Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.’

“It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity,  and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

“At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

“Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

“I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

“But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.

“In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

” ‘Fellow-citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.’”

“I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

” ‘And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

” ‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the
credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.’

“He came upon the stand and said:

” ‘Fellow-citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.’

“He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.’

“I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.’

“Now, sir,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday.

“There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased–a debt which could not be paid by money–and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000,  when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

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Vold og staten

av Unknownrebel Lagret under: politikk on april 22nd, 2009

Etter en kort diskusjon på en annen blogg, tenkte jeg at jeg skulle oppklare et av de sentrale begrepene jeg og mange andre liberalister bruker; vold.

Jeg mener vold kun er legitimt i selvforsvar. Dette standpunktet er det vel omtrent umulig å være uenig i. Hvordan har det seg så at mange som tilsynelatende er enig i dette prinsippet da ikke kommer til de samme konklusjonene som liberalister når det gjelder politikk?

Det er to forklaringer; Enten så synes de faktisk ikke at vold er grunnleggende galt, eller så har de en annen definisjon på hva vold er. Jeg tror og håper det siste gjelder for de aller fleste. Men om vi skal kunne kommunisere er det en forutsetning at vi er enige om definisjoner, ellers kommer vi absolutt ingensteds hen.

Mange tenker nok på blod, knekte bein og flyvende tenner når de tenker på vold. Og det er utvilsomt voldelig å slå noen til blodet spruter, men å forårsake fysisk skade er ikke nok for å kunne karakterisere en handling som voldelig.
En bankraner som kun peker en pistol forårsaker ikke fysisk skade, men hans handlinger er fremdeles voldelig.
En voldektsmann forårsaker ikke nødvendigvis fysisk skade, men han er likevel voldelig.
Slaveholdere trenger ikke piske og slå sine slaver, men det er likevel vold som ligger til grunn for deres forhold.

Hva raneren, voldtektsmannen, slaveholderen og han/hun som slår ut tenner har til felles, er at de tar fra individer/grupper råderetten over eget liv mot deres vilje. Og der har vi en tilfredstillende definisjon på vold.

Så til stat og politikk. Staten er et voldsmonopol. Det er den eneste institusjonen som rettmessig kan initiere vold, enten gjennom militær makt eller rettsvesen. Politikk handler om hva vi skal bruke statens voldsmonopol til. Alle lover, reguleringer og bestemmelser hviler på det faktum at staten kan kaste deg i fengsel om du ikke føyer deg. Derfor mener jeg at statens virke bør være begrenset til å beskytte indivdets rettigheter og liv mot overgrep, slik som ran, mord voldtekt og så videre.

Men den begrensingen er det ikke alle som er enig i. Når alle disse felleskapianerne er så ivrig etter å bruke staten (vold) for å gjøre hva DE mener er godt for samfunnet, bør man spisse ørene.

La oss ta et eksempel; røykeloven. La oss gå litt tilbake i tid å si at du eier en pub. Kanskje du har startet den selv for egne penger, eller du har kjøpt den. Det spiller liten trille, saken er at denne puben er din eiendom. Du tilbyr et sted hvor folk kan komme å drikke og kose seg. Folk liker tilbudet ditt, det er hyggelig der og du har billig øl, så de velger å benytte seg av tjenesten din. Som så mange andre steder tillater du røyking inne på din eiendom. Nå er ikke røyking det sunneste man kan bedrive, men det er ikke noe problem, for du tvinger ingen til å sitte hos deg. Du tvinger heller ingen å jobbe hos deg. Kundene dine veier fordeler og eventuelle ulemper ved ditt tilbud, så kommer de til en beslutning helt på egen hånd. Noen liker ølet, noen liker kanskje å røyke, noen liker klientellet osv. De som ikke liker prisen på drikken, eller røyklukten, eller klientellet går helt frivillig et annet sted.

Så er det noen politikere som synes det er forferdelig dumt med røyk. Det er så dumt og usunt synes de, at de gjerne vil begrense hvor mye røyk nordmenn får i seg. Det er tross alt forferdelig usunt så da er det bedre at man røyker mindre, eller enda bedre, ikke røyker i det hele tatt. Så de foreslår en lov som sier at det er ulovlig å røyke på utesteder. Forslaget blir lov, og du kan ikke lenger tillate røyking på din pub. Nå hjelper det plutselig fint lite hva du og kundene dine synes, for om du ikke følger loven strammer staten musklene. Kundene dine er ikke skikket til å velge selv, så voldsmonopolet tar beslutningen for dem. Om du mener dette er galt og du nekter å samarbeide havner du i tilslutt i fengsel. Er det riktig? Åpenbart ikke.

Men siden de aller fleste faktisk betaler skatt og følger alskens påbud og regler, er det svært få som blir kastet i fengsel. Man ser ikke selve pistolene når staten tar bestemmelser for deg, så man kan fort glemme at de er der.

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Noen fascistiske komponenter i Stoltenbergs tale

av Unknownrebel Lagret under: politikk on april 19th, 2009

Vår statsminister har holdt en tale ved Arbeiderpartiets landsmøte, og da syntes jeg det passet å identifisere noen av denne talens fascistiske trekk.

Du kan lese talen i sin helhet hos sosialdemokraten.no

Før jeg begynner, vil jeg oppsummere kort noe av hva jeg har skrevet om fascismen før:

- Fascisme er ikke et høyrefenomen, men befinner seg fra sentrum til venstre på den tradisjonelle høyre/venstre aksen.

- Essensen av fascismen ble oppsummert av Mussolini; “Individet er intet, staten er alt.”

- Velferdsstaten er en sentral del av det fascistiske tankegods.

- Fascismen er kollektivistisk, en eller annen gruppe (klassen, rasen, nasjonen, felleskapet/…) står høyest.

- Fascisme innebærer blandingsøkonomi, samrøre mellom næringsliv og stat er helt essensielt.

Her er noen utdrag av Stoltenbergs tale:

“For å sikre alle rett til arbeid, og trygghet for hus, hjem og familie… Arbeid til alle er jobb nummer én!”

Her kan jeg bare linke til NSDAPs 25-punktsprogram;

“7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens…”

Dette grunner i fascimens ide om at staten bør være en aktiv del av borgernes liv.

“I evnen og viljen til alltid å ville forandre det bestående.”

Dette er en ganske interessant formulering. En av de sentrale ideene i fascismen er ideen om det aktive mennesket som konstant og energisk jobber med sine omgivelser. Tilværelsen er en kamp, og krever ens absolutte hengivenhet. Mussolini selv sa at inaktivitet er døden.

”Alle skal med”

Enten du vil eller ikke.

“Klimakrisen, og trusselen den representerer mot hele menneskeheten.” og “(finans) Krisen er global!”

Appell til kriser er typisk for fascismen. Først presenteres et problem, så kommer man med løsningen. Trusselen om en fiende i horisonten virker samlende, og er derfor uunnværlig for fascistens retorikk.  Og kriselogikk er det nok av i denne talen.

“Markedet kan ikke styre. Det må styres… Det må reguleres.”

Quiz: Hvem ga oss blandingsøkonomi? Det stemmer, Mussolini representerte den “tredje vei” mellom markedsliberalisme og planøkonomi. Samrøre mellom stat og næringsliv er essensielt for fascismen, eller korporatismen som var det navnet Mussolini foretrakk.

“Høyrekreftenes tredveårskrig mot staten.”

Denne tok jeg bare med for å illustrere hvor absurd det egentlig er at totalitære regimer med absolutt statsmakt har havnet på høyresiden.

“Markedet må styres! Kapitalen må reguleres! Det er fellesskapet, ikke markedet, som må sette grensene… Vi skal fortsatt bruke statlig eierskap til å sikre arbeidsplasser i Norge.”

Dette er fullstendig i samsvar med det korporatistiske ideal.

Dette var en liten smakebit av en tale, av et parti. Jeg kunne gjort det samme med bortimot hvilket som helst annet parti. Noen vil kanskje reagere på at jeg sammenligner AP med nazister og fascister. Men sannheten er at mye av tankegodset fra fascismens æra på 30-tallet henger igjen idag. Dette bør man være bevisst på. Fascisme er mer enn rasisme og politistat.

Jeg skriver ikke dette for å være ekkel, og jeg sier ikke at sosialdemokrater er bevisste fascister, men jeg gjør for å gjøre deg oppmerksom på hvor noen av de gjeldende ideer i samfunnet kommer fra.

Ledere i hele den vestlige verden ser i disse dager sitt snitt til å grafse til seg mer makt og innføre mer kontroll under dekke av å bekjempe finans- og klimakrise. Det står særlig ille til når de slipper unna med å legge skylden på innbilte fiender, slik som det “frie” marked.

Felleskap og rettferdighet kan vel være fine ord, men de er kun ord. Det må være krystallklart at konsekvensen av felleskapianernes visjoner om trygghet, rettferdighet og rettferdig fordeling er større stat. Og det bør man være svært skeptisk til, for desto tyngre voldsmonopolets knyttneve er, desto hardere kan den slå.

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Kloke hoder

av Unknownrebel Lagret under: politikk on april 11th, 2009

Jeg liker sitater. Finnes det noe verdt å si, så har ofte noen sagt det allerede. Og de har sannsynligvis sagt det bedre enn hva du får til.

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?”
– Thomas Jefferson

“The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, “See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk”.
– Harry Brown

“We are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them.”
– William L. Comer

“I never hurt nobody but myself and that’s nobody’s business but my own.”
– Billie Holiday

“When the government fears the people, it is liberty. When the people fear the government, it is tyranny.”
– Thomas Paine

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”
– Groucho Marx

“Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.”
– P.J. O’Rourke

“The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates.”
– Tacitus

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”
– Robert A. Heinlein

“When the government’s boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence.”
– Gary Lloyd

“What the government gives, it must first take away.”
– John S. Coleman

“If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all.”
– Jacob Hornberger

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”
– Thomas B. Reed

“The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it.”
– John Hay

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”
– H.L. Mencken

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
– William Pitt

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”
– Barry Goldwater

“There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as “caring” and “sensitive” because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money – if a gun is held to his head.”
– P.J. O’Rourke


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