By the way, the only one who has made a serious effort to debate any of my arguments is @LazyDev, for which I thank him. Perhaps you’re too busy, both monitoring this discussion and in real life, but I feel that I’ve easily refuted all of your points, and you haven’t really been able to argue with any of mine. I’m really genuinely trying to establish if there is any merit to your views, because I have to be honest, despite this conversation, to me they’re still just idealistic nonsense. And it seems the majority of voters in both Britain and America are rejecting your views and agreeing with me.
By the way, I didn’t see anything in the comments… what would you like this new party to look like and do?
I’m going to comment here, b/c the site seems to want to limit me to only 3 replies total. I guess that means after this, I’m done…
I’m not going to put words into Jeff’s mouth, so I’ll give my possible similar view. First, as he said, your assertion is a straw man. Yes, uncontrolled borders would… be messy. But what we really need to compare is the status quo. I haven’t heard anyone say we need to have open borders (and that includes Hillary Clinton!).
The first question is: do we have a problem? I think both sides of the argument would say yes. But on one side, the problem is “illegal immigrants”. On the other side, the problem is: we have a de-facto economy that runs on the current situation, and so unofficially requires these undocumented immigrants (we depend on them!) and yet on the other hand, treats them like the scourge of the earth, and blames them for more than their share despite a long history, even pride, of immigration.
Americans get angry that government money is being spent to educate, care for and police these people that don’t even pay taxes. Well, actually, they do pay taxes. But their underpaid jobs aren’t enough for a decent existence. That leaves us with 3 choices: kick them out, let them stay but give them nothing, or give them basic services.
Kick them out: will leave huge gaps in our economy which, it has been shown, will not be filled by Americans in many cases. This also leads to a LOT of animosity unless done well (Trump does not seem to have the sense of nuance required for that last part).
Let them stay, but give them nothing (and take nothing - no taxes): this will lead to spikes in crime and health issues, and a worsening of tension between illegals and citizens. Free education and health care are paramount to maintaining a state of civility.
Give them basic services: It’s what we’re doing, but the whole unofficial nature of the situation is getting ridiculous
So, I personally feel the solution is NOT to kick them out and build a wall, but figure out exactly what it is that makes them so necessary, then adapt the system to either allow it, or slowly phase it out. I’m all for stronger borders (assuming it’s done humanely, and without blaming other countries), but only once we are honest about the importance of immigrants to our nation. Yes, this would mean larger quotas.
Lastly, note that the number of illegal immigrants here has actually stabilized, or even decreased, in the last few years. This is, believe it or not, a situation in equilibrium! It is a system, it just isn’t official. Of course, that will only be stable as long as there are no major external (or internal) shocks.
Wow, great answer! I believe in putting the citizens of your own country first, but a nation is really just a set of competing political interests. So it really boils down to, roughly, do you allow the business-owning citizens to benefit from cheap illegal labour at the expense of the working-class American? Or do you protect the workers at the expense of the business owners? I come down on the side of the worker because the converse decreases net American incomes and worsens wealth disparity, and I believe that societies are healthiest when they have a large middle class. If America really needs Mexicans to do the nasty work, let them come in legally under the category “unskilled labour”. Like in Australia and New Zealand, we have lists of skills shortages, everything from doctors to plumbers to fruit pickers. If we need more of any, we ship them in. It’s not perfect, but I believe it’s a better, fairer, and more sensible system than just letting people rock up uninvited and then having to deal with the giant deportation/citizenship problem America now has. Even if you grant all illegals citizenship tomorrow, if the border is not secured, history will just repeat and things will come to a head again several decades from now, and the underclass will continue to grow. In terms of building a wall, well, if you want to prevent people from entering illegally in the future, it seems the current border protection isn’t enough. Even if a literal wall, which is symbolically repulsive to idealists and hippies who want humanity to come together, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya, is not built, somehow, the border must be secured. I, Trump, and many others happen to think an actual, literal wall is an important part of securing the border. Anything that helps in this regard, I’m for. For example, I’m for harsher penalties for businesses who exploit migrant labour. In New Zealand, we jailed a Member of Parliament in 2009 for doing exactly that. It seems that the political situation in America is so toxic that deadlock and stalemate have become the norm, and real solutions are never proposed. I have never once heard other countries mentioned in American policy debates. No one ever seems to think: hey, let’s see what other countries are doing? Oh, wow, look at that, Singapore proves that it’s possible to win a War on Drugs. Oh gosh, Australia proves that a points-based immigration system and a secure border mean that both businesses and workers win. And so on…
Christopher Noxon’s graphic essay is interesting. He rightly recalls the people of the civil rights movement as brave, focused, prepared, faithful (religious), tolerant of disagreement, non-violent, joyous, and dignified. We need to learn from their example, he says, in planning opposition to Trump.
I assume he is intentionally criticizing the way the progressive left is currently opposing Trump, as the contrast could not be more obvious.
Witness the riots in DC on January 20th, the profanity and vileness of Madonna and Ashley Judd at the march the next day (never mind the profanity laced signs and the hats of the crowd), the fact they would not let women’s pro-life groups join the march, the riots in Berkeley against free speech, the physical attacks against Trump supporters, etc. Virtually every aspect of the left’s opposition to Trump is the exact opposite of that list of lessons.
And I guess this should not surprise us. Is there any doubt that Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous quote about dreaming of a world where his children are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin is non-operative in today’s progressive left - even the main stream Democrat party? Just look at the current race for the chairman of the DNC. There is a white woman from Idaho running. In the debates she apologized for her whiteness, and said that if she was elected, her job would be to shut up other white people so brown voices could be heard. Of course the irony of her even throwing her hat into the ring when there are plenty of non-whites running for the same spot was lost on her. This is where we are now.
But there is a larger point I think about Noxon’s essay that should not be missed. He starts off by directly comparing Trump to Hitler. Trump is Hitler, his supporters are Nazis, this is the 1930s. His essay is explicit about this. But if this is true, his calls for a joyous, non-violent, dignified response ring hollow. If Trump is Hitler, non-violence is suicide. If trump is Hitler, the lessons and methods of the civil rights movement are worthless.
Hi, the profanity and vileness of Madonna and Ashley Judd is easily tolerated since it is the expression of protest against negative action, of rights being taken away. If you look at why they used the profanity it was to express disgust of those rights being taken away. If you compare that to how Donald Trump uses profanity, it is when he abuses or speaks about abusing women. He from a position of power is bullying someone who cannot effectively fight back. Would you say that act of profanity from Madonna compares to all of the acts that Trump has done to so many people? Trump insulted the Terminator yesterday, who has more governing experience that Trump does.
It is the context of the action that matters. Another example if you kill someone defending yourself and your children in your home then it is justifiable. If you kill an unarmed black teenager in the back of the head, and you are a cop, it becomes much more difficult to justify. Both actions of killing are reprehensible. However one is self defense when attacked. The other is the abuse of power by that person holding the power (the gun, or police badge) often due to the perceived threat that the other represents. One of my best friends is a police officer and for me he is above reproach. You can say the same of some politicians - insert joke here… The problem is usually caused by the poor representatives of a group, the point is they don’t represent that group. You could say that of some black people as well, or Mexicans. But you must always remember that the vast majority of all people black, white, police, etc. are good. We become racist when we allow our perceptions of those groups to become our default beliefs when dealing with people of those backgrounds - like Muslims too. We become a problem to others, when we start basing our actions on those false beliefs.
For representation, this is something to think about. Trump’s cabinet is primarily white male, I believe he has one black make and two females. It is the least diverse since Ronald Regan. About half of the united states is minority, and half of the population is family. How do you think minorities and women will feel about their representation in government. Minorities and women have to live with that scenario. White males have never had that scenario, only once they have had a black president. How would white males have felt if Obama had only minorities and women in his cabinet? I’m not sure politically he could have gotten away with that. Trump is getting away with it, much like he is getting away with a lot of other hypocritical things. For example, his business is going to be run his kids until he leaves office, and he says that eliminates his conflict of interest which he cannot have since he is president. So if I buy a Ferrari and lend it to you for a week and then will get it back at the end of the week, I have no vested interest in that car for the week? It’s not possible to not have a conflict of interest in those cases.
Non-violence works as long as there is still a path for it to be used, like civil rights etc. where the current environment still allowed peaceful protest. Would you have advocated that the Jews on the way to Auschwitz continue to resist non-violently? When blacks were fighting for their civil rights with marches, KKK were lynching them. You can’t only point one the violence on one side while ignoring the violence on the other side. You also have to ask yourself, what happens if the peaceful protest has no effect and is not listened to, then I think violence by some of the protesting groups is inevitable. It is not necessary justifiable (but sometimes it is) and it doesn’t generally help their cause.
As to Hitler, he wasn’t instantly the Hitler we all know and love, he took a long time and started out small and once he got power/elected then he immediately started to eliminate his opposition and we ended up with the war and concentration camps. We are at the start of a new movement like that one where the media and opposition are suppressed and made to be impotent. Once that is complete then the real agenda of people like Bannon will surface. We have to be smart enough, and active enough to not allow the government to go down that road. That is where we are now. For Noxon’s essay, most of Hitler’s supporters were German people to get him elected. His political part was the Nazi party. Most of the German people were upset after WWI at the economic costs they were made to bear after losing the first war. Much like rural America is angry at their loss of jobs due to globalization. Trump isn’t Hitler, not yet, but he is well on his way.
One other thing I read about the 3 options for illegal immigrants like Mexicans working in the US. I worked in the US (I am from Canada) on a TN1 free trade visa years ago. Is it not possible, or maybe it already exists, to have a migrant worker class of visa where they can come over and do those jobs that “Americans are not willing to do”, and then tax them and provide benefits as I think you mentioned the US already does?
Another thing I don’t quite understand is, why doesn’t the US Government simply make all illicit drugs legal? You wouldn’t have to spend anything on the deterrent and enforcement side of things. You would then focus on the positive/demand side of the equation - regulation, prevention, rehabilitation. It would reduce the price of the drugs dramatically and generate government tax revenue. It would be like prohibition which didn’t work to making alcohol legal. Less money spent on prisons, courts, etc. There are countries where this has been done quite successfully. It would be a massive blow to the Mexican cartels as well. As an illegal product it is quite valuable, as a legal product it’s like talc powder at the pharmacy. From the benefit side, prisons are quite profitable as the military cost of intervention for those who supply the military.
Thanks! I wish I had more time for back and forths…
Do you think there should be a wall built between the U.S. and Canada, too? Also, how much $$ do you think the border is worth? The current estimate puts it (Mexican side only) at about 1.5x the budget of NASA, without any specific estimates of how much it will reduce illegal immigration. That’s way less than the estimated annual cost of immigration, but the wall won’t actually eliminate the existing costs, nor will it eliminate illegal immigration. In this case, I’m missing numbers. Also, it will carry a heavy cost to maintain.
Note that a wall SOUNDS like a good idea, but most countries don’t protect their borders with walls. This will be seen as an extreme measure. To look for an example of a place where a wall actually was a good idea, Trump is going with Israel. You can see why his case might be considered an exaggeration of the real necessity.
Yes, absolutely true. The system seems to be broken. The Democrats have been trying to tackle the immigration problem head on the way I said: acknowledge it exists, figure out a way to make their status official, and then solve how to prevent new illegal immigration (I’m not too sure their resolve on that last part…). The problem is that the Republican position have been “make Obama fail, no matter what”. Also, there’s the little problem that since the Democrats are the pro-immigration party, the Republicans will NEVER want to allow more voters to enter that constituent.
My long-term solution is direct democracy. Eliminate parties. Remove personality from debate. Remove the need to “save face” or “look good” from what are otherwise important negotiations. Right now, I’m just starting with trying to create a real debate site that can be crowd-sourced and produce concrete results. Maybe then, it will be harder for politicians to hide behind bluster and personal attacks.
It is quite possible, and we have a visa system now that is used for skilled workers, there is no reason you couldn’t do the same for any other classification of labor. The issue is that there are a number of people who will claim we have all these deadbeats, you know, all those people on welfare, and they should be willing to take those jobs, that’s why we don’t really NEED immigrant labor, we should just make anyone not working do those jobs. Or all the unemployed factory workers, they should all take the jobs, you know, cleaning hotel rooms, washing dishes, or landscaping. Either way it would either give them a new job for those out of work, and it would force the deadbeats to take jobs, leave welfare, and everything would be rosy and we could lower our taxes, and all be happy forever since then we are all equally pulling our weight. Reality is yes, we have people are on welfare in many forms. Some of them are out of work and need to work, some are underemployed and can’t feed themselves or their families. Some are old and need nursing home care and don’t have the money for it (yep, this is welfare too). And I’m sure there is some level of abuse, almost any program with significant money involved will have abuse within it. And in case someone thinks I’m a “bleeding heart liberal”, no, I don’t appreciate having to be on the on the hook to support half a dozen children in a family that can’t afford to feed them either. But I don’t see the only fix as force these people into equally poor jobs that won’t really ever fix the problem. Would I like people to think more before they have children, sure, but what alternatives are there here? I think we really need to look as much at the reason we have people who can’t afford to feed their families. Maybe they need better education, opportunities that better fit their needs/skills, whatever, but the answer isn’t always as easy as “make them pick the fields”, which as has been mentioned earlier, more of a “let’s create a slave labor class and force the to work for their welfare checks”.
That would all be too easy. First, it’s big business fighting the “war no drugs”. Second, those drugs are SINS, we can’t have people doing them. Of course alcohol is a drug, quite legal, and highly abused, but it’s socially acceptable. If you dig back many of our drug laws were designed for one thing, to keep minorities held back. Cocaine at one point in history was legal, we had opium dens on the West Coasts. Weed wasn’t even classified as a drug. But when desegregation happened, they had to find a way to keep the iron fist over minorities, mainly black minorities. So they looked at what are the drugs that minorities tend to use that whites don’t, hmm, well alcohol is out, that one is pretty universal. How about weed, and other drugs that are probably as they go no more harmful, but aren’t mainstream in white America. Let’s outlaw those. And with that we now have the highest incarceration rate in the world per capita. Let’s talk about the cost of that for a while, I’m not sure if you put the two issues together, the “war on drugs” and the prison population it drives, and illegal immigration / employment that the drugs/prisons probably costs a lot more to our economy.
IMHO it’s funny that people act like President Trump didn’t want the popular vote. Base on his actions, he deeply cares about this and with no doubt would have like to have won it. Why all the talk about how he only lost it due to voter fraud, is that a guy who sounds like he didn’t really care? Look at how important it was for him his first days in office (and still to today) to discuss the crowd size at the inauguration. He’s all about “followers”, he wants an adoring group of fans that love him. He’s a narcissist, which I don’t mean in derogatory way, most TV personalities are, they get fulfillment out of having a large base of people watching them. Otherwise why does he care so much about ratings, crowd sizes, and how the press conveys his image. He needs other people to validate his actions and his own view of how great he is. He’s an extreme extrovert in that he continually needs others to tell him he’s doing great things. He blusters like he doesn’t care, but you can tell he is very insecure about this, why else does he watch every SNL episode to see how they will portray him? No judgements here, many people are like this, but I’m personally not sure I want this in a President, though it wouldn’t be the first time in history we’ve had one.
As for how he campaigned, I’m not convinced yet if it was strategy or luck. His actions through the election weren’t one of someone who was sure they would win. Maybe it was his strategy all along, I doubt we will every know what the real truth is here, but he did win, for the votes of about 75,000 voters in three key states. No a mandate that I’d be walking with a huge swagger myself with, but it’s one in the win column no matter if it’s by 1 vote or millions.
I don’t think Donald winning was strategy or luck, but fate - something like this had to happen. He was carried by the Tsunami of discontent that is being felt in the States, and that’s not a left or right thing. It’s the first “wave” in the people realizing that the government is not working for them. If people don’t learn that is how it is, they start to see it in their every day lives.
Absolutely Trump is a Narcissist. A big part of the problem is that Bannon has his ear and that is not good. Recently on a cruise, I read about the psychopathy checklist written by Robert Hare. The book was “Without Conscience”. My wife once had a psychopath as a boss so I was interested in the topic. That was our year of hell. I think it’s required reading so people understand the condition. The most important things I took from it were, that their brains are wired differently from normal people so they can’t feel empathy(pretty much as adolescents to adults), the best tactic to minimize their damage to your lives it to learn to recognize and avoid them, and they cannot be rehabilitated - because they see nothing wrong with themselves and they don’t want to/can’t be changed. In some professions having their traits like a lack of empathy and ruthlessness are an asset. Jobs like stock traders, or CEO’s of corporations for example, usually these things can be a significant advantage.
Another thing I have realized that is unfortunate, the more money you get, the more it corrupts you. I’m not sure how to get around that fact. We all pretty much want to get more money, and we work harder to do that. What concerns me, and I see it in myself is that it changes you over time. I watched the first 5 minutes of a BBC documentary on the salaries of hedge fund managers. Their salaries were in the range of 500 million to 1.5 billion. At that level of income I’m not sure how you keep your humanity intact when pretty much anything is for sale. And that is the level of money that Trump is playing around with. His secretary of state is getting about 285 million to leave Goldman Sachs so he can go and run the treasury, free of conflicts of interest. That is the definition of conflict of interest… The treasury department (Mnuchin) picks face was twitching so much answering the questions, I wasn’t sure if it was that he was uncomfortable answering the questions or if he had some real underlying condition. He was involved in the subprime lending mess. It’s like we are relying on the cancer itself to rid us of the cancer - I guess this is the swamp we are all talking about.
Thanks Lazy Dev for the info - I just finished reading “Wages of Rebellion” and he spoke about the prison system in the States and how much that has replaced the slavery system, it was really quite a depressing read(maybe I can go watch finding Dory in the white house screening room to lift my mood). In the end the problem we face for all of these issues is a lack of education in general about them, and the social and political will to make the necessary changes. The problem is getting that education is not an easy process and people (in general) want an easy solution without doing any of the hard work required. Learning to think for yourself is not an easy process and the learning is never finished.
What I believe is that people from all walks of life and backgrounds need to intermingle and mix so they can better understand and appreciate each other. If Trump lived in a small apartment with minorities for a month, he would better understand them. I assume he has never done so… Perhaps If he picked fruit off of trees for 18 hours a day in the hot sun he could both improve his tan and his understanding of migrant workers. Also the more around the world you travel and see the more compassionate you become. When you see how people live in other countries you realize how good we have it here. Poor people especially in other countries don’t care about Trump because they have so little already and are struggling to get by. When we all look into the eyes of our kids we all feel the same pride, love, and responsibility to protect and care for them. That crosses all lines, borders, genders, and races. The problem is when you wall yourself off in your own world or tower then you can forgot and ignore these things and other people, and not fell any the worse for doing it.
In 2012, 52% were from Mexico, 15% from Central America, 12% from Asia, 6% from South America, 5% from the Caribbean, and another 5% from Europe and Canada.
Obviously, these numbers aren’t going to be totally accurate. The commonly accepted total number seems to be anywhere from 10-30 million illegals.
Basically, illegal immigration from Canada, a wealthy, first-world nation, is relatively tiny and most of it is temporary rather than persistent. If Canada becomes as poor as Mexico and Canadians start flooding in to live permanently without going through the legal migration process, I’d say, yeah, take measures to stop that happening.
Back of the envelope: 1.5x the budget of NASA is what I’ve head too. Let’s say $25 billion. Let’s assume it stops land-based immigration over the southern border. Once it’s built, it stays built, and it wouldn’t be expected to eliminate the existing costs of protecting the southern border. They may increase or decrease. Probably increase, but I doubt the current border protection budget would need to double. And yes, you’ll have to also have to take measures at the next path of least resistance, which is sea and air. But it will make it much harder. It’s easy to patrol your waters, the US has a big navy. As for air, well, that’s a challenge that can be overcome also. I just think nations must enforce their laws to work properly and not be dysfunctional. If the laws don’t make sense, change the law. That’s why I think the US should have a points-based immigration system as well.
So say the number is 15m illegals, of which 73%, using the above numbers, came over the southern border. That’s 11m. Dividing into $25 billion, that’s just $2270 per current illegal to stop illegal immigration over the southern border forever, although as I said the current annual border protection budget would have to slightly increase to pay for ongoing maintenance and so forth. That seems like a pretty good deal to me!
Again, symbolism. To idealists, a wall says: we don’t want you, you’re an “other”, stay out. To people who are against illegal immigration on principle, simply because it is illegal, it says: we are a nation of laws, and we will enforce our laws. Countries that don’t enforce their laws fall apart.
Regarding your second-to-last point, I completely agree.
The last point, I can see where you’re coming from. My view is that the only thing that matters, whatever the political system, is a commitment by the state and culture of a country to good governance. What do I mean by that? Again, look at Singapore, possibly the only dictatorship in the history of the world that has been committed to helping its people. The results are pretty spectacular. Lee Kuan Yew turned a drug-addled swamp into a prosperous, first-world city state with zero crime and zero drugs. Obviously there’s a trade-off in terms of “freedom”, to be honest I found the atmosphere and level of control a little oppressive. They even enforce housing rules such that your neighbours have to be of a different culture/background than you, to encourage everyone to interact and get along. Direct democracy is an experiment that has never worked large-scale. It’s a good idea, but I think it’ll fall back to professional elected representatives because people are busy with their own lives (look how much time it’s taking to participate in this discussion! Will have to call it quits soon). I think the answer is pay them well, stamp out corruption, and make sure they’re competent. In Singapore, a government career is very competitive and meritocratic. The best and brightest work for the state, not just in law and finance. At uni, my mates, who went on to become investment bankers, lawyers, doctors and so forth, laughed at the thought of working for the government, whose employees tend to employ their friends and family and don’t offer a well-paid or competitive career environment. Even standing for office could be dismissed pretty much immediately from an economic standpoint. Overall, the “quality” of our state employees and elected representatives is, I hate to say it, low.
Haha, completely agree. Although for the reasons you pointed out, Trump can’t stand even the thought of losing. He’s been sniffing around the Presidency since the 80s. He just never ran until he was highly confident he could win, lest he become like Ross Perot and look like “a total loser. Sad!” This time around, with Jeb Bush (lol) and Hillary Clinton running as a third term, he smelled weakness. Nah, he was in to win it from day one, in my opinion. I thought it was pretty obvious he had a good chance, it just shows how out of touch the establishment was that they got it wrong. I hate to brag, but I locked in betting odds at 50:1. It was like buying credit default swaps before 2007.
I don’t see the point – you are in New Zealand, what is your stake in this argument, exactly? Why do you continually type paragraphs and paragraphs of material for people to churn through with no skin in the game? It is unclear to me how American policies can affect you in New Zealand, or matter to you at all in any way.
I’d rather debate with Americans living in America.
Turns out, some of the houses are on fire and need more attention than others. We can’t just spray water on all houses for perfect equality.
I believe this is deeply true – you cannot understand what you never see. It’s another reason why America as “the great melting pot”, is such an important and intrinsic concept to what we stand for. We are all immigrants.
We are becoming more and more diverse over time. Voting reflects that:
Well, according your worldview, if I catch a plane to San Francisco and decide to stay, I’m automatically an American. I expect to (legally) live and work in America at some point. I might even go for dual citizenship. I don’t think you can have a decent debate or conversation with 140 characters. Your views are pretty representative of liberals and the left, and I’m genuinely trying to see if there’s anything I’m missing. You’ve proved that there doesn’t seem to be. Your views are messy, inconsistent and idealistic, and won’t work. I’ve done my best to present facts and logical argument. It’s sad that liberals and the left today are so uninterested in testing their ideas with rational dialogue. You’re right, I do have better things to do than argue with you (namely programming). All the best, Jeff. If you ever run for office one day, people like Tucker Carlson are going to absolutely shred you in an interview.
Regardless, it is pointless to discuss this ad nauseam when you aren’t even an American citizen; it would be like me writing thousands of words in 26 replies on New Zealand policies as covered by a New Zealand blogger. It is frankly quite bizarre.
In New Zealand, we welcome and discuss diverse ideas and opinions, wherever they come from. We figure out what works best and adopt it. I also have family in America. Anyway, another point of this discourse was to try Discourse, which you do by having… discourse. So thanks, it’s good software.
Ok, you’re pragmatic about it. I agree that on paper, it looks “cost-effective” (actually, I haven’t seen an estimate of the amount “saved” by the wall - the cost of immigrants won’t disappear. It will go down by a rate of number of illegals that leave vs. the number that make it in, which I haven’t seen estimated.
This begs the question: will the wall really be effective? The first thing that will happen is that those that are determined will start looking for weak spots, devising ladders, digging tunnels, and so on. And, as you mentioned, people will start looking for sea access, and via Canada.
Note that we are having, in parallel, a discussion that is ongoing with true experts in the field, with much lower quality here in terms of information. This is one of the main points of my project: create one place where the experts can put it all in and sort it out once for the benefit of everyone.
A wall is just a wall, just like a police force is just a police force, and gun is just a gun. The symbolism lies not in what it is, but how you wield it. A police force says, “we believe in the rule of law”. Unless those police are encouraged to beat political dissidents, or people of color, or… In other words, a wall, built slowly, as part of a national security program, coupled with DACA and programs to nationalize or give working visas to existing immigrants, and a rebalancing of the role of immigrants in our community and society shows that the U.S. recognizes the contribution of immigrants to our society, and that we want to better control our borders. A wall built by a white billionaire supported by the KKK that has accused the country on the other side of sending its worst, its criminals and rapists, and threatening to make them pay for it is a very different message. It isn’t just idealists vs. pragmatists.
Right, the so-called philosopher king effect. Of course that’s the most effective. Why isn’t that the preferred form of government? Because it’s a matter of luck. As you’ve pointed out here, the odds of it coming out well aren’t so good (“the only in the history of the world”… actually, there are many more cases, but in general, it’s best not to take your chances). Another, possibly the BIGGEST benefit of a democracy, is the peaceful exchange of power. How many people have died because the current leader passed on and factions started vying for power? Too many.
My idea is something more radical that hasn’t been tried yet, because it requires technology. Here’s a big IF, but let’s say my debate site gets built, becomes as universal as Wikipedia, and becomes the central place for political debate. How the site works is also too long for me to describe here, but assume that the average voter can look up in 30s the major pros and cons of anything, and know that those were fully vetted by all the experts. I now, big assumptions, but stick with me.
Now, say that we put proposals up for direct vote with citizens. Not just big once-in-every-four-years votes, but “should we designate this building a historic marker for preservation?”, “should we spend more money to protect the endangered koos-koos bird of the Mortinakinaye Swamp”, “should the TPP include a clause to allow businesses to sue foreign nations for damages” and “should the FCC permit internet access providers to charge content providers for higher bandwidth rates?”
Too many issues to vote on, right? And, there’s no one designated day to vote. Voting is an ongoing thing. So how would this possibly work? The short answer: most people would not vote on the majority of things. Many economists have said that one of the problems with the one-person-one-vote system is that there’s no way to measure HOW MUCH someone wants something. A casual voter (or one forced to vote by mandatory vote) gets as much power as someone that has dedicated their entire life to the cause being voted. In my proposal, that would still be true. BUT THERE WOULD BE NO CASUAL VOTERS. There are so many votes to be cast that people will naturally gravitate to the issues that most impact them, and those for which they are experts on the matter. Would that work? I don’t know - it’s just a thought experiment in my head right now, but it would be interesting to test out.
The other advantages with this type of system is that there’s no reason to “shock and awe” with changes to administration like Trump is doing, and like Obama did. Your first act as new president should not be to destroy everything the previous one did. Look at Obamacare: wouldn’t it be better to examine its problems, and find small adjustments to make (and measure)? In a pragmatic sense, yes, but politically, Trump must be seen as destroying it. Tsk tsk tsk.