Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quick Notes: What Do You Believe In?

A co-worker suggested this post a few weeks ago. Now that the election is over, and the holiday season is about to be upon us, I think it is a great time for it. My friend suggested a post simply exploring what the readers of my blog believe in. When it comes to politics what do you believe?

Personally, I believe the U.S. Constitution should be the backbone of our government. I also believe the Constitution should be read in the original intent of the founding fathers. What about issues the founder's could never have predicted, such as the internet? The Founder's allowed for these things, they included an amendment process.

I believe our government spends way too much on programs the federal government shouldn't be involved in. I believe we need to have more problems solved at the local and state level. I would point to the Department of Education as a great example. There are 50 states. Many of these states have different problems facing them. Let the states be more involved in the curriculum of there schools to help solve these problems. And if the federal government isn't involved in the school system, we shouldn't be taxed to pay for it. I don't believe the $700 Billion bail out is within the scope of what the Federal government should do.

I also don't believe in man-made global warming. If it is science, it isn't consensus. There is a lot of scientific evidence and fact on bot sides of the argument. Most global warming claims are made based off what computer models predict might happen. They aren't made off of real world observations. More importantly, I don't believe the government should legislate based on a "best guess" theory. If there is science supporting both sides of the global warming argument, the government should stay out.

These are just a couple of examples. What do you believe? Do you agree with me? Is there something I didn't touch on that you think is important for our government to do or not do?


Anonymous said...

I believe that you don't get much more evil than the "original intent" of parts of the U.S. Constitution's Article I, Section 2 and Article IV, Section 2.

I don't believe Andy agrees with that "original intent" either so I believe he's got some logical contradictions to deal with.

Andy D said...

I believe you have a very poor definition of the word "evil". I think genocide in Darfur and Hilter's actions in Germany are quick examples of something much more evil than those parts of the constitution. Terrorism on 9/11, 3/11, or any number of times throughout the Middle East are larger evils than that.

I assume you are referring to the part's of the constitution dealing with representation and voting qualifications of slaves (as opposed to the qualifications of a Senator as outlined in Article 1, Section 2). You should really study history. The "original intent" of those parts of the Constitution were to create a compromise on representation that would allow our nation to exist. Slavery was not going to be abolished at the Constitutional convention, so without some sort of compromise, the United States would not exist today. If that is the "original intent" you reference as evil, then I disagree, I do agree with it.

It is a travesty that slavery wasn't abolished with our Constitution, however the greater travesty would have been for our Constitution, and our country, to have never existed at all. The world would be a much worse place today. Our Founders were faced with a choice: outlaw slavery, and face the end of the fledgling nation, or find some compromise tactic, and allow our country to move forward. I think the choice they made was the best one available given the conditions at the time.

Anonymous said...

I love it.

Andy would be fine having a few generations of his family live and die as slaves. Have his kids sold off and bred.

That wouldn't be evil.

That would just be sensible "compromise."

Taking it for the team. USA!

Aaron said...


I'm having difficulty figuring out where to start with you. Your inability to see the constitution in context tells me you were educated in the public school system, but that's another discussion completely. As a Jewish American, I get tired of the African Americans constant complaints about slavery. Last I checked, the the African slave trade began in the 15th century and US slaves were freed well over 100 years ago. As my people where slaves in the land of Egypt (The book of Exodus, The Holy Bible), and more recently singled out for extinction by Hitler in WWII, I think I get dibs on complaining about slavery. I also think that since the country of Israel, our version of 40 acres and a mule, is under constant threat of being blown off the face of the earth by its neighbors, I have a better understanding of slavery then you. Also, my grandfather is a survivor of the holocaust, so I have heard a first hand account of slavery and the cruelties there-in. The numbers on his arm are a constant reminder.

The fact that slaves and women where even mentioned in the constitution was a huge step forward. The majority of other countries, at the time, did not deem them even worthy to mention but I believe our (maybe not your) fore-fathers included them with the knowledge that the 3/5 status would be changed and created a method through the constitution for it to change. It's also interesting to note that it was the south which fought for slaves to count as a whole person, in regards to voting, because of the vast number of slaves in the south, and the northern states wanted slaves not to count at all.

Perhaps if you would put your anger and resentment to the side, you'd see how forward thinking our forefathers were in their creation of the US Constitution. Also, post comments like that under anonymous is pretty chicken of you, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"aaron" (or whatever your name is),

First: this is what comes up when I clicked your name "aaron": "The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile." How is that different from being "chicken" and posting as "anonymous"?

Second: You dismiss complaints about African American slavery because it ended around 100 years ago. But *you* "get dibs" on complaining about slavery because your people were enslaved more than a couple thousand years ago? I guess African Americans will get the right to complain about slavery sometime around the year 4758?

Third: The South wanted slaves to "count" in the constitution so that slave *owners* had more representation. The North didn't want to give extra representation to slave owners. Dude, that is really basic.

Fourth: The evil of the Shoah is beyond comprehension. I am in awe of people like your grandfather; I am thankful he survived; and I cannot fathom his suffering and the millions of others who suffered and died alongside him. I continue to learn much from holocaust survivors. I give thanks that many of your grandfather's generation marched alongside Martin King and other descendants of slaves, because many Jews fight against all forms of slavery and oppression.

Andy D said...

Aaron, very, very good comment.

Your comment alleging I wanted my family sold into slavery is inane at best. You didn’t call the institution of slavery evil, but the parts of the U.S. Constitution that slightly deal with slavery evil. I wasn’t defending slavery; I was defending the Constitution and the people that wrote it.

I really don’t think you should criticize anyone else’s blogger id. You post repeatedly on here, and have never created an id of any sort. I suspect you don’t want the rest of the readers to spot if you are ever inconsistent.

I have also noted that over a number of posts, you fail to actually read what other people write on here. Aaron didn’t dismiss slavery because of when it ended. He was comparing the duration of the slave trade in America to the slavery the Jewish people faced in Egypt, the persecution they faced under Hilter, and the continued anti-Semitism they face through much of the world today.

Your original response to my post didn’t seem like a serious consideration. I can’t believe that of all the evils in the world, or all the evils that have been in the world, you think sections of the U.S. Constitution top the list. Your fourth point in your last comment calls this into question. My original post asked people to explore their own beliefs in regards to government. Surely you can think of a better response to that post that what you have written so far.

Anonymous said...


1) You're the one who wrote that you "believe in" the "original intent" of the U.S. constitution--which clearly included the institution of slavery.

I don't believe in that constitutional allowance for slavery.

I was simply pointing out that what you say you "believe in" has some pretty nasty stuff in it. You're the one who brought up the original intent U.S. constitution, not me.

2) I stand by those remarks. If you think allowing slavery in the U.S. constitution was a necessary compromise, then you either think it would be ok for your family to be enslaved, sold, and bred for the sake of the USA, or you are a hypocrite.

pack04 said...

A quick note, the constitution DID have some nasty stuff in it. Those nasty things such as counting a person as 3/5ths of a person have since been AMENDED. So you do not like the constitution as it was in 1787 (Do you like it as it is now, in 2008, with all 27 amendments?), and you are taking Andy's comments of "original intent" to mean that he thinks we should still have slavery. I would like to think that Andy does not believe we should still have slavery. Perhaps by "original intent" he meant to say he is a strict constructionist or that he does not like what he believes to be today's extremely liberal interpretations of the constitution, i.e. the federal government has there hand into many things that are not their business.

At the time the compromise for allowing slavery to continue was deemed a necessary but unfortunate compromise, a wrong compromise or a correct compromise by those writing the constitution. There were many differing opinions of the whole document and things could of happened differently, we could have not adopted the constitution and stuck with the articles of confederation. Of course this could lead to a nice discussion sort of like "What if the south had won the war?" But what is done is done and we have to live with what we have until such a time we decide it no longer works.

Anonymous, I do see what you are saying. You are asking if Andy or anybody believes that they are willing to allow their family to be enslaved for the good of the USA and if not then there is no possible way we can/should believe that the compromise was a correct one to make.
I think you question is unfair. This is a different time and a different situation and you question does not even exactly question what was happening. You question if we would be okay for the good of the country to TAKE AWAY personal freedoms. The question that being posed at that point was should we allow people to HAVE freedoms. That is a huge difference.
Not passing a law allowing a 17 year old buy beer is different than trying to pass a law to keep a 21 year old from buying beer.

Patrick said...


I'm going to have to make two separate posts here. First and foremost, I am not even trying to side with Anon, but I've got a bone to pick with Aaron's comment, which I'm sure you knew I would.


Ok, so not that either forms of slavery did the world any favors, you shouldn't really call dibs on the issue. The two parts of our history are very different. (And last time I checked, Egypt was in Africa, but that's another topic all together.) Hitler was in power for about 12 years. Twelve years of oppression and murder is definitely brutal enough, and should not be overlooked. However, let's count up the amount of years that mental and physical slavery took a toll on the African American. We're talking about hundreds of years. (Oh yeah, and more recent than the Eqyptian empire.) No comparison. And the amount of time it takes for a group of people (as a whole, not individually) to overcome just the mental slavery takes an extended period of time.

Jews went from being a full part of society to being exterminated. Africans came to this country already deemed less than human and only meant for work.

Also, about 6 million Jews died in the holocaust, my wife's relatives included. The reason why we know that is because we have records of it. Guess what, it's estimated that up to 3 - 4 million slaves died on the way to America, during the tight-packed, nowhere to move/piss/etc route. That's not even counting which slaves died on American soil. Who knows how many were not even accounted for? No experts can even say. (By the way, some experts estimate more, but I tried to be conservative with the number.)

Sure, slaves were emancipated, but what how do you live free if you can't work for, get your supplies from, or still co-exist with the same people who freed you? Come on, Jim Crow was only abolished in the past 40 years. You talk of oppression, but being fair-skinned got you farther in that society than being African American.

After being freed, did America just think all of a sudden that African Americans would be on the same playingfield as the rest of the country?

So when you draw that comparison, don't forget, the people who threaten you are seen as irrational by those who aren't subject to government-run television. African Americans were seen as commodities and treated as such in a very accepted and rationalized fashion.

Just so you guys don't get the wrong idea, I don't feel like I need 40 acres and a mule. I make my own money.


I'll post something else to answer your topic later.

Anonymous said...


Yes, I dig those amendments.

I appreciate the philosophical labor in your last paragraph, but here's the deal: slavery is *always* the taking-away of freedom. Every single slave in the U.S. (and anywhere else) had their freedom stolen from them. Every person is born free.

I really don't see why this upsets anybody. Honestly, I'd love to see where we differ on this. Feel free to point out my error(s) in any of these logical points:

1) The "original intent" of the U.S. constitution allows slavery (and disproportionate representation to slave-owning states).

2) A constitutional accommodation for slavery is not cool and is not something civilized people "believe in."

3) People who think constitutionally accommodated slavery is an acceptable compromise either are willing to put their family into slavery for the sake of the nation or are hypocrites.

Andy D said...

I will point out the flaw in your logic, the third point. It makes no sense whatsoever. You oversimplify a very complex issue to make a point that makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

My point #3 is simply an application of Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative, one of the cornerstones of ethical theory: "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law."

If you think slavery is an acceptable compromise for the sake of national unity, then you must "at the same time will that it would become a universal law," i.e. that you and your family would become enslaved.

Basically, Kant is adopting "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" as a philosophical test case for ethics. For example: "in favor of slavery as a compromise? Then try to wish slavery on yourself." If you don't want to be a slave, then don't call it acceptable for others.

So, Andy, you're going to have to take on Immanuel Kant if you don't like my reasoning. And even if you disagree with him, I think you're stretching it to say that Kant's dictum "makes no sense."

But I'm glad to see that you apparently concede point #2, that slavery allowed by the constitution is nothing to believe in. That was what I was critiquing you for in the first place. Glad you've seen the light.

Andy D said...

Your logic breaks down because there is a flip side to this equation. Would criticizing slavery during the 1700's be worth the loss of the United States of America?

There is no reason to believe that slavery would have been abolished if the Constitution outlawed it because there is every reason to believe the south wouldn't have ratified it. Without the U.S. Constitution, it is very unlikely the current United States would exist.

Am I to believe that you would have preferred the Founders attempt to outlaw slavery, without success, and in so doing prevent the United States from existing today?

Anonymous said...

Interesting question, Andy.

Would I accept slavery as a national institution (including the enslavement of my family for generations) in order to guarantee that the United States would include all of the original states? No.

I am an abolitionist now, and would be one back then, too. Abolition is something I *believe* you don't compromise on.

Do I understand Andy to be on record for supporting American slavery for the sake of national unity?

Andy D said...

Anon, I still feel as if you aren't reading what I write. Would you have accepted the compromise, if it meant there would not be a United States today, at all. I am not talking just minus the Southern states.

I don't agree with slavery as it exists today, and I wouldn't agree with it in the late 1700's. However, the Constitution is silent on the institution of slavery itself. This was a compromise in order to keep the United States existing. Many of the founders continued to fight against slavery until the day they died. However, they new there was a much better chance at abolishing slavery with a United States in tact than there was without one.

Anonymous said...

Andy, your question is doubly hypothetical. What would you choose 1) back then and 2) if an anti-slavery constitution surely meant the non-existence of the U.S.

I think that's a goofy question, because you don't know what would have happened if leaders insisted on freedom instead of slavery for the U.S. (I could insist that if more states had firmly opposed slavery, then the South would have moved more quickly to freedom, either by joining the union or because they were weakened and isolated.)

But I'll answer anyway: yes, even if the existence of the U.S. absolutely depended on the legal sanction of slavery I would still oppose slavery. Freedom is a greater cause than one's country. Give me liberty or give me death.

So, I take it that you would sacrifice the freedom of a few generations for the sake of national unity. It makes me worried about what else you'd sacrifice. "Give me liberty or give me slavery" ...?

Renee said...


Why don't you 'come out of the closet' and give yourself a name? It would more fun for us that way, you know, to catch all your inconsistencies along the way.

the anonymous guy said...


now i have a name.

let the inconsistencies come to light!

Andy D said...

Excellent. I like the new id. Congratulations, you have taken a big step. Now that you are willing to take ownership of what you do and say, you are just a short step from becoming a conservative. Welcome!