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A Philosophical Moment of Weakness

posted 6/12/2009 2:38:41 PM |
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  manwithoutahorse

Many political blogs of late. Many horror stories about the effects of our country's financial crisis. And there are many here on AMD who are looking at life differently than we did a year or two ago, including me. Here is my contribution to the fray:

Our world is changing. We have a right and an obligation to speak up if it is not going in the direction we believe appropriate. The biggest sin we face will be if we remain silent.

There may be disagreement as to the specifics of Pastor Niemoller's speach; this came from http://www.serendipity.li/cda/niemoll.html but there can be no disagreement as to the message. Many of us will not let it ever get that far in this country. We are a democracy. And we are watching.


Pastor Martin Niemöller

There are several versions of the well-known statement attributed to the German anti-Nazi activist, Pastor Martin Niemöller (his family name can also be writted without the umlaut as "Niemoeller"). The following is said, by someone who heard him speak at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA, in 1959 (or 1960), to be what he actually said:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.



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Comments:

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Roustabout

Jun 12 @ 2:44PM  
Yes -- and no.

I have no argument with this, not a single point of contention, other than to wonder whether anyone WILL speak up before it's "too late for some". Then again it's always "too late" for someone, somewhere because that's life.

It's one thing to believe liberally and strive not to offend; quite another to allow that social pendulum to swing so far that one dare not speak up for fear of offense.
Ewe_Wish

Jun 12 @ 2:48PM  
The biggest sin we face will be if we remain silent.
I have said many times........it is not only our right to question our Government but its our responsibility to question them.


In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak


I love it and how true. sadly people don't take a stand until it personally hits us than we are ready to cry fowl. Wouldn't it be nice if we could go back to whatever was the best for our Country and not just for ourselves.

Btw, if opinions count........I think this is the best blog i have read here in a long time. Thank you. Kudos
visualone209

Jun 12 @ 3:02PM  
Kudo's to you Man Without a Horse! I have known of this for many years and it is absolutely true. What is sad is so many have reached the point that they cannot bring themselves to disagree or buck their own party when they see wrong. This can apply to both sides, but one cannot seem to admit their party is wrong ever and will use personal attacks when facts are against them. They don't seem to have the ability to believe that their party can do any wrong. Just as happened in Germany 70 years ago and Russia almost 100 years ago.
Thank you, Excellent!
Laura
Wordsofwit

Jun 12 @ 3:03PM  
He spoke profound words but it wasn't like Germany had any form a heritage of democracy. I am not going to look it up but it seems to me that the Weimar Republic lasted about a dozen years or so.

We all certainly all have a right to our opinions but much of the alarmist shrill hew and cry about socialists, marxists and communists rings of the thirties and the ten years or so after WW II. History would demonstrate that these concerns were blown way out of proportion and sold America, and the American people, short. The nation has, is, and always will be, resilient by having the collective moderate common sense to continue the democratic evolution of the greatest nation on earth.
StraddleMyNose

Jun 12 @ 3:31PM  
Good blog! Deserves another kudo!
theSkwirl

Jun 12 @ 3:33PM  
Many do speak up and get told to shut up.

I love that sermon btw.
manwithoutahorse

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Jun 12 @ 3:39PM  
You're absolutely right Bruce, even my fears of some months ago are being allayed as having been reactionary. (Other factors involved) The good news is that concerns are aired and dealt with. Cooler heads will always prevail. But the hotheads and reactionaries (on both sides of the aisle) are stimuli that serves us well in the long run.
buatbu

Jun 12 @ 3:48PM  
I think you have made a good point but I am believe some people are afraid they will be called racist if they disagree with the President. Look how the press and Ohio Government distroyed "Joe the Plumber" To say it can't happen in America because we aren't Germany is going to allow it to happen.
sugarnspice005

Jun 12 @ 7:24PM  
Good blog. Kudo!

NightOfOld

Jun 12 @ 7:56PM  


Nice job my friend. Good blog.
Dione

Jun 12 @ 10:46PM  
We all certainly all have a right to our opinions but much of the alarmist shrill hew and cry about socialists, marxists and communists rings of the thirties and the ten years or so after WW II.

It's because of these cries which brought these concerns to the surface. Those intelligent enough to recognize them realized the seriousness of "what could be" and work towards eliminating it (positive change) ... which is part and parcel of democracy in action.

History would demonstrate that these concerns were blown way out of proportion and sold America, and the American people, short. The nation has, is, and always will be, resilient by having the collective moderate common sense to continue the democratic evolution of the greatest nation on earth.

This is true as long as our freedoms are protected. However, our freedoms have been and continue to be eroded by a government hell bent on raising equality to the highest order. Our nation will not ALWAYS be the greatest on earth as long as we allow our rights to be placed on the bottom rung of our society's needs.

One example of an individual who recognized the greatness of our nation was Ayn Rand. Rand developed and voiced her philosophy of Objectivism which helped our nation avoid Socialism and Marxism. She was Russian born, rejected Marxism and embraced the tenets formulated by our Founding Fathers. She immigrated to this country and wrote "that the only social system consistent with respect for individual rights are embodied in pure laissez-faire capitalism." The enormous benefits of vastly increased knowledge and wealth are possible in an organized society, but only one in which rights are protected.

Freedom allows those who are rational and productive to achieve at their highest capacity. As a result, Objectivism holds that the individual possesses inalienable Rights: life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Rights are moral principles defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. Socialism, Facism, Communism, Nazism and the Welfare State, as systems under which individual rights, including private property rights are not legally protected. To deny property rights means to turn men into property owned by the state. Whoever claims the 'right' to 'redistribute' the wealth produced by others is claiming the 'right' to treat human beings as chattel.

I am not a consummate supporter of Ayn Rand or her philosophy of Objectivism. However, the essence of what I have written can be found in her philosophy... the part concerning freedom and our inalienable rights being protected is one I stand by and for which I will fight to maintain.

If we continue to allow even moderate socialist thought and action take place we will lose as a nation. We cannot depend upon our government to protect our rights. Our collective "moderate common sense" has been so diluted I do fear we will not continue to be the greatest nation on earth. This is not an alarmist attitude, it is an attitude based on observation of what is occurring in our country on a daily basis.
Wordsofwit

Jun 12 @ 11:45PM  
Very well written and intelligent respectful points Dione!

It's because of these cries which brought these concerns to the surface. Those intelligent enough to recognize them realized the seriousness of "what could be" and work towards eliminating it (positive change) ... which is part and parcel of democracy in action.

What often happens is that there is a crisis of some sort and the response can lead to increased government involvement and governmental power. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is not. Often it is a bit of both and individual, or even corporate, freedom can take a hit. Two recent examples of events are 9/11 and the economic meltdown. Both were major events requiring action.
After 9/11 we got the Patriot Act. Its power if misapplied is frightening in potential breaches of individual liberties, rights and due process. Fortunately, there has been very little excessive use of this power and some of the more questionable provisions have since been removed.
As for the bailouts and government jumping into the boardroom, this comes as a major rapid about face. Beginning under Reagan there had been constant deregulation of business at an exponentially increasing rate through all administrations, including Clinton's. The idea was to make business more competitive and innovative by removing the shackles of red tape and regulations. This became greater with the advent of the global economy in the mid-nineties. Some American businesses did become more competitive and innovative with social responsibility. Unfortunately, others did not obviously.
Basically, government in a democracy is not about increasing power in and of itself, as much as it is about addressing issues and increasing or using power to accomplish this objective. Going back through the 20th century there are numerous instances of the federal government stepping in with power to clean a house that wouldn't get cleaned otherwise. Examples include democratic President Truman jumping in to temporarily take over the railroads during a stifling strike in the interest of national security, republican President Eisenhower sending the national guard to enforce school desegregation in Little Rock, republican President Reagan firing striking air traffic controllers in the interest of national security. There are many others. But these actions we temporary and the government largely withdrew once the crisis had come to pass.

If we continue to allow even moderate socialist thought and action take place we will lose as a nation.
That depends on what is considered "moderate" and "socialist". It also depends on how long the action lasts. In the case of a bailout, a classic example is Chrysler in 1979. Teetering on bankruptcy, new CEO Lee Iacocca presented a plan and received federal help. For the next 15 years Chrysler gave us unibody construction, the first minivan and SUV. They also paid off the bailout loan, in full, ahead of schedule.


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A Philosophical Moment of Weakness