Friday, October 25, 2013

Transcript of Facebook debate on roads and the New Deal

One of my conservative friends posted this link, along with an open invitation for debate:

One of his friends, who I'd describe as a moderate and informed liberal, took the bait. I responded to him, and we were off to the races. Here's a transcript so far: (I'll try to update it as new posts are made until it dies)

Moderate liberal: So dare I ask in this forum?: Do you fall prey to the tyranny of using Federal Roads? Or is following a federal roadway somehow --self expression? Our Federal Government decided the path you WILL forever take building highways. Isn't our Federal roadway system simply a more organized way to realize a more productive economy while our citizen live within a modicum of organization? Or is this Government intrusion into every State, out-of-line?

Conservative friend: totally appropriate ******** (name of friend)

It's tough to blame freedom-minded people for using government services when government intervention has eliminated our preferred alternatives. For example, could you really call Canadian libertarians hypocrites for using the public health insurance system, when in most of Canada, private health insurance is illegal? Inversely, I wouldn't blame an American communist for buying food, clothes, or even a car from big corporations - even if he thinks those things could be made better some other way, for the time being capitalism is the only option. Rationally operating within the system we have does not preclude advocacy for a better system.

So it is with roads. Maybe if private investment had been permitted to take the lead without coercive government intervention, roadways would be even better and more cost-efficient than they are today (see the link below for evidence of this). Perhaps privatization (which has already begun in some states) might help these roads be maintained more efficiently in the future. But in the meantime, one can drive on the roads which exist without endorsing the manner in which they came to be.

Moderate liberal: I said my piece, I ain't bitin'....this is crazy shit land...It's was called the Lancaster Pike in Philly and there are 1000's of "penny Bridges" all over the land...the idea of private roads died long ago. Offer it up.

Conservative friend: [You are] taking an approach, a concept, and trying to obfuscate by using one specific example that may or may not be appropriate. Refute the points made in the article. Andrew Doris gave a great rebuttal to your points and frankly better one that I could have. Take the article I posted apart. Keep it relevant to the article. That was more of a high level compare and contrast. Keep it there and ......go. (well done mr. doris...and you *****)

Moderate liberal:

^^^Herbert Hoover speech of 1936. It's points echo your article. Keep in mind that the men who actually fought Tyranny worldwide…voted for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, were mostly Unionized workers who demanded Health Care Insurance and fair pay and vacations, got themselves a GI Bill that allowed them to make a Down payment on a Home or go to college. When they hit age 65 and Social Security and Medicare were broke..Ronald Reagan raised FICA tax by 2% to fund the system. And I quote Ronald Reagan (1982), "The bond between the American people and the Federal Government's commitment to Social Security, shall never be broken." So, I say to have a mythological notion of America. Your whole Canadian/ American being forced to use government- argument, highlights a Philosophy that is runs completely contrary to reality and the needs of a modern nation in a modern economy. Herbert Hoover, Sen Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, were completely rejected by the American Voter year after year. IKE was the first Republican to be elected in 22 years after Hoover and he was a New Dealer. Nixon and Ford were New Dealers and RR was a secret New Dealer. Time to put your feet back on the ground. Philosophies are fine..reality is better.

And just in case you don't "get-it"…Hoover was Historically completely wrong….as you guys are today. as we used to say SSDD..same shit different day.

I'll respond to your arguments in order.

1. I read Hoover's speech from your link, and its resemblance to my arguments is tenuous and superficial. While his rhetoric is thematically similar, this was merely a politicized reaction to FDR's unprecedented power expansions - not a heartfelt concern for small government. His actions while in office say otherwise - the truth is that Hoover was mighty interventionist himself, and that the New Deal was merely an expansion of his policies, rather than an about face from them, as these links argue:

2. By "the men who actually fought Tyranny worldwide", I presume you mean those who fought in WWII. I don't see why that's relevant. Yes, the Nazi's were tyrannical, and yes, it was good to fight them. But a) Americans of all political persuasions joined in that fight, and b) even if the war effort was led only by FDR lovers, winning a justified war does not make one an expert on political freedom, much less economics.

3. "you have a mythological notion of America" - You conflate my notion of what America should be with my recognition of what America is. I do not pretend that my proposed policies have actually been followed in America in a very long time, or in some instances at all. My ideology is not about hearkening back to the good old days before FDR - there was plenty wrong with the country back then too. But not all change is good, and thus

4. "Herbert Hoover, Sen Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, were completely rejected by the American Voter year after year." - As I explained, Hoover was hardly a libertarian, but you are correct that Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater lost. Once again, that doesn't make them wrong. The downside of democracy is that is popular is not always right. I think Barry would have made a far better president than LBJ, and merely observing that he lost the election isn't evidence to the contrary.

5. "Hoover was Historically completely you guys are today." - Even if we accept Hoover as a stand-in for what I actually believe, saying this doesn't make it so. If your objective in this post was to rub it in that historically, the big-government side got its way, I assure you we needed no reminder. But you present no argument about the superiority of bigger government to smaller, because you present your unsupported opinions as incontestable facts. Perhaps these links will show that your "facts" about FDR being right can indeed be contested:

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