Thursday, June 12, 2008

Two Questions

Ok, any liberals or sort-of-liberals or partial liberals out there? Just answer two questions for me:

1) is there ever a justified reason for America going to war? If there is, what would that reason(s) be? Understand that by "going to war" I mean committing to the idea of spending billions of dollars and sacrificing American lives. Is there ever a reason to justify doing that?

2) whose responsibility is it to provide the following, the government, the individual, or both (and if both, in what ratio?):

a. medical insurance
b. dental insurance
c. college education
d. summer camp (for kids)

I really want to hear what you think. Honest.


abandoning eden said...

I'm a liberal!

1) yes. When someone attacks us first. Or attacks one of our close allies. So ww1 ww2, revolutionary war, civil war= good wars. Vietnam, Korea, iraq=bad wars. Gulf war part 1=abmiguous, is kuwait one of our close allies? I don't believe the US should just be throwing it's weight around, starting wars to show how mighty we are, or how much better capitalism is than communism or whatever.

2)a. federal gov, with the option of buying super fancy health care (so if you want to go to top doctor in the US you can pay extra, but basic health needs of all are met). Everyone has the right to live healthily, not just people who happened to be born into wealthier families, or got a better job. B doesn't have health insurence right now because he can't find a job that will give it to him, and he can't afford his asthma medication...he wheezes all night long. I have a friend whose mother had no health insurence, and so delayed on getting a lump in her breast checked out, cause she couldn't afford a doctor's visit. She ended up dying of breast cancer (she went to the doctor eventually, but by that time it was too late). Also her surviving family now has a bunch of hosptal debt. My best friend's husband has a mysterious disease that no one can diagnose, and she is like hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, cause even though they have health insurence now, they didn't when he first started getting sick.

b. hmm, this one is tricky. I haven't had dental insurence in like 3 years, but I'm young and haven't had many problems (although I did have to get my wisdom teeth out, thankfully when I still had dental insurence). Not sure what I think of this.

c.state gov should provide free college education. Kind of like the way CUNY was free up until the 70s. So I think state colleges should be free, or at most have a small (less than $100 per semester) fee for student activities or books or something. Private colleges can do whatever they want.

d. mix of federal and state gov- maybe. I think the government should provide some sort of child care during work hours for working parents, or some sort of school based program over the summer. Not necessarily summer camp, but somewhere where kids can be while their parents have jobs. I think the fact that school ends in june is ridiculous...the majority of jobs are year round. Maybe they don't necessarily have to be learning things in the summer (although why not?) but could have school-based summer programs that include some fun learning stuff in the morning and outdoors recreation in the afternoon. I also think the government should provide after school programs.

Yes, I am in favor of a social-welfare state. Our current capitalism everyone fend-for-themselves state was a nice experiment, that has clearly failed.

Nice Jewish Guy said...

Well,I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool liberal-- I'm more of a moderate, right-leaning middle-of-the-roader, but I'll give a shot:

1) Of course. Being attacked, obviously; I think even hardcore liberals would say we were justified in entering WWII. Historically, of course, wars have been started for all sorts of reasons. I think that the US was perfectly justified in going into Afghanistan after 9/11. Technically, I suppose I could say that based on available intelligence, and taking into account the extreme skittishness following 9/11, we were justified in going against Iraq as well. We now know, however, that a lot of our intel was faulty, and Iraq has become, if not an actual quagmire, then pretty close. On the one hand, the evil regime of Saddam & Sons has been removed; on the other hand, his regime was the only thing keeping the various feudal warlords and terrorist groups now running rampant at bay.

2) I do think that a government has a certain responsibility to see to the health and welfare of it's citizens. There is no reason why an economic power like the U.S. (thogh a little bruised of late) cannot see to the health care of every last one of its citizens. As far as college, there are already scholarships and municipal universities that offer high-quality, low cost higher education, which I think is adequate. But most other industrialized nations provide comprehensive care for their citizens. The US should be able to as well.

Shmilda said...

I'm certainly not a liberal, but I can't resist directing the following towards AE:

In WWII the U.S. was clearly attacked, and thus justified for going to war. But WWI? There was a huge (liberal) pacifist movement at the time pointing out that we could do without France, and that had we not been supplying the belligerents, the Germans would likely have left U.S. shipping alone. No direct attack, and not so justified. Civil War: southern states secede, and a few hotheads fire a few shots at one Union-occupied fort left on their turf. Months later Licoln responded to that minimal half-hearted provocation by invading the south to start an unpopular war; 600,000 deaths resulted. Again, doesn't sound justified. Revolutionary War: Also controversial in it's time, and not a response to direct military attacks. Had the colonists just paid their taxes and respected Parliament and the Crown, we could have had a peaceful separation a few decades later, like Canada.

Methinks your distinction is that any war before 1950 was justified, but those since are not. Not clear why.

Isophorone said...

I can understand that some people are genuinely pacifist, and some are isolationist, but most of the modern antiwar movement can falls into at least one of the following (non-mutually-exclusive) categories:

1) "Say no to war unless a Democrat is President." This is the BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) crowd that did not object to Clinton's bombing of Serbia, or Clinton's statements about how Iraq was developing WMDs. They also cannot formulate any criteria about justifying American military involvement anywhere. If, G-d forbid, Barack Obama became President and authorized military action anywhere, there would be no protest or objection.

2) "Say no to war unless the Islamofascists attack North Korea." These are the leftover leftists, basically communists from another era (and my late grandfather was one of these kinds of people). Their intellectual forebears objected to American involvement in WWII until Hitler attacked Stalin. Similarly, the modern hard left is sympathetic to anti-American dictators in North Korea, Cuba, etc., and would abandon calls for "peace" if by some freak occurrence these countries were attacked by al-Qaeda.

3) "Just say no to Zionist, neocon war." This is the pro-"Palestinian," anti-Israel, Jew-hating crowd. It includes the paleoconservative right as well as leftists. It's funny how the left makes common cause with David Duke in this regard. Most photos of "antiwar" marches will show the virulently Jew-hating posters that are always a part of these events. The fact that Barack Obama associates with so many of these kinds of people may explain why polls show Jewish support for him (61%) lower than for any other Democrat in modern history.

I might add for NJG's sake that Iraq is not a quagmire; in fact, we are winning! Our troops have put the terrorists on the run ever since the surge strategy was implemented in 2007. We should all wonder why many of the "mainstream" news sources choose not to publicize the successes of our troops.

As far as health care in concerned, I find that the more government intervention there is, the worse things get. Most other countries have found that government management of health care delivery leads to rationing. I vote for empowering the consumer!

Lubab No More said...

I'm catching up on my blog reading so please forgive the late response.

1) America is justified in going to war against any nation that has attacked us, any nation that poses a clear and present danger to us, or any nation that has attacked an ally of ours.
Under this criteria the current war in Afghanistan is just, the war in Iraq is not.

2) Who is responsible?
a) the individual (in theory)
b) the individual (in theory)
c) the individual (in theory)
d) the individual

OK, I say in theory because in theory everyone should be able to provide all of these things for themselves. However, our economy is not a theoretical construct. In practice it is in the government's interest to have more college graduates in the nation (more intellectual capacity, tax revenue, etc.) so the gov subsidies higher education. This is similar to the mandatory public K-12 education made available.
As for the health care, the US economy doesn't exist in a bubble. We are part of a global economy and as such compete against nations who are providing health care to their citizens. What then happens is the bottom line at Ford (and other US businesses that compete globally) are hurt because they are competing against companies that don't have to provide health care to their workers because the citizens in those countries get health care from their government. So in practice, it is in the interest of U.S. businesses to support universal health care.

No one has to go to Summer camp.