Billy, with all respect, bub, ya missed at least part of it.

Billy gives a longish quote of George Phillies in NR and then comments on it:

This person is a credulous moron. He believes that “Congress” — or its members, at any rate — hold the individuals who live in this country as highly valuable as the scam that they’re running on us in order to hold power. He does not understand that their power is directly connected to and dependent on our productivity, which pays for the whole crummy show, and he harbors the delusion that they would agree to relinquish some major percentage of their grip on it in order to keep some kind of human peace.

I agree with most of your comments, on this topic, but wonder about the tie to productivity as you mention. I think you’ve missed the relationship to a degree. The political power of Congress, is in fact, as you say, based on *our* productivity.. The sweat of OUR brow.

It would be, however, more accurate to say, rather, that congress’ political power is dependent on our ABILITY to produce…. An ability which is either hampered or helped by the kind of decisions they make. Usually, the more intrusive they are into the process that goes on between employers and employees, the less gets produced. I would think a libertarian like Phillies would have a better understanding of those relationships. That he does not raises some questions in my mind as to his rationality.

I fear, though that Phillies (And for that matter, the article HE is discussing, in his turn) has hit on something that has been bothering me since the early 90’s…  The divisions between us as Americans are escalating, as the pols play their redistribution games.  He labels these as structural problems, which I think overplays it a bit.(Suggest going to the link and reading the list yourself)

Amazing to see just how much he gets wrong in his article. While he gets right, for example, that:

Ideological purity of the major parties is progressively increasing. Once upon a time, Democrats and Republicans alike ranged from the liberal to the conservative. Now one party is progressively more liberal, while the other is more and more purely conservative. Once upon a time, a party serving its own constituents had to offer a mix of liberal and conservative policies. Americans of both of those political shades saw some progress, no matter which party controlled Washington. With a liberal and a conservative party, supporters of the party out of power never see any of their policies being advanced, and become increasingly bitter the longer the other party stays in power. Matters become more complex when the party in power prefers opportunism to issues, because when it steals the other side’s planks its own supporters conclude that they have been betrayed.

I’ve made this point repeatedly in this space, myself.

On the other hand, he gets dead wrong, that:

The ultimate sign of a tyranny is that trial by jury comes to an end. The military seizes citizens, throws them behind bars, denies them counsel, and throws away the key. We need not ask if this is likely in America. Tyranny is already here. Jose Padilla reposes in a Federal Gulag, denied counsel, denied the right to a trial. He has been imprisoned, not by a judge and jury but by a Presidential lettre de cachet.

Apparently, Philles has never heard of war, and what is needed to win one… Particularly one in which the enemy is so ill-defined by the usual measurements. The kindest thing I can do for Philles is to put this comment and the one you quoted by Arthur Silbur in the same slop bucket… the one labeled “witless hysteria”. I suspect it may be more accurate and more damning to say Philles doesn’t CARE about winning this war of survival, but either way, he’s wrong.

(Glad to see you understand why I rather enjoyed taking Silbur apart a few weeks ago. I’ve got Silbur, for all his pretense, in the end, tagged as just another far-leftist. In fairness…. Possibly his financial situation in combo with some other factor is driving him further over the edge than usual?

Interesting, too that Silbur and Philles seem to be trying to carry the same points as regards this war of survival. Consider Silbur’s words to this point:

As I have stated at great length, I fully support a war on those terrorist groups who have attacked us, and who can be demonstrated to be planning to attack us in the future. Furthermore, when another country itself is a clear, serious and immediate threat to our security, then that country is our enemy — and it is our government’s obligation to defend us from it.

Clearly, Silbur, like Phillies, doesn’t understand or doesn’t care that such lines cannot be drawn, here. This is not a war of one country against another, nor has it ever been such. )

I also discount Philles’ insistence that this is the first serious discussion of separation as his not having paid attention since the late 60’s.  Any resident of upstate NY (as well as those along the ‘Tier) will tell you there’s always been an underlying current to separate NYC from the rest of NY.  You living in Ithica will have noted it; Emo Houghton made such noises just a few years back, now.

Yet, for all those problems, Phillies seems to correctly identify that there is deep political division, one area to another, and that those areas can be more or less correctly identified by means of the red and blue areas of the voting patterns of the last election.  The import of the side-note about NYS/NYC’s divisions becomes clear as one notices the deep voting swings tend to be largely between the taxpayer dependent cities and the more independence driven heartland.

(Side point: I find it interesting that Philles is part and parcel of that division, but fails to identify himself as such.)

I find as unlikely as he seems to, that such divisions would ever escalate to a civil war. OTOH, there’s a goodly number of things that have come to pass, we’ve not forseen.

And in any event, Philles is apparently trying to apply rationalism to a process he’s already at least partially identified as irrational. The results of any such exercise will be at best, as inconsistent as his article was.

On re-reading this, a passing, and rather disturbing thought occurrs: Is Phillies floating a trail balloon, I wonder?

(PS: I notice, after writing the above that Silber, after raisiing the hysterical cry about ‘protesting Bush before you lose your right to protest’ has cut off the comments section. I wonder why he’d do that. Perhaps because he’s aware his ravings won’t stand up to any kind of serious scrutiny.)

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