Headlines from the Mt. Juliet News, June 25, 2008

MJ commissioners pass budget, city pay raises and skate park
The vote was 4-1, with only Bradshaw voting no.
Hagerty asked the commission to address questions raised by citizen Butch Huber.
“The auditors are here this week,” City Manager Randy Robertson said. “I haven’t heard any doubt of the substance or soundness of this budget”

Iron Works business center sets path to revitalization
New commercial development on Industrial Drive

City needs to clean up its own land
The City’s Public Works Department uses a city-owned lot on Industrial Drive to store equipment. It’s not town center compliant.

Wheat-cutting harvest revives memories of bygone days
Rufus Page has refurbed a 50+ year-old “thrasher” and “binder”
(I think the paper means a wheat “thresher.”)

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59 responses to “Headlines from the Mt. Juliet News, June 25, 2008

  1. Joe Fleenor

    I know I’m not going to make any friends with this post, but I read this column in today’s Tennessean (Williamson A.M. section) about Spring Hill’s recent property tax addition and I think it needs to be saved and used for the day MJ imposes this much-needed tax. Yes, I am for a MJ property tax. Always have been, always will be. Just read this article. It is great.

    (I copied it and pasted it below)

    By Knight Stivender

    So Spring Hill has a property tax again.

    Good for Spring Hill.

    Somewhere along the lines, the city made the mistake of thinking that its golden goose would always lay eggs. That regardless of economy and build-out, Spring Hill would always have enough growth to constitute eliminating taxes for the very people causing all the growth.

    It apparently never occurred to anyone — OK, it occurred to some, including Alderman Eliot Mitchell — that all those people would one day expect a decent offering of services.

    Sidewalks. Parks. Recreation. Decent roads. Pretty, clean surroundings.

    In other words, all the things that drive people to Williamson County in the first place.

    Together, we are a community that mostly shuns “big government,” but it’s not because we’re necessarily opposed to taxes. It’s the federal income tax that tends to turn us off. Many of us object to the ways our money is spent, on things we don’t necessarily prioritize politically.

    But a lot of people — politicians, journalists, bloggers, etc. — assume that means we’re flat out opposed to any sort of tax.

    That isn’t the case. While there are a fair number of folks who do object to any tax at any time, as a general rule we’re OK with spending money in our own communities.

    We want them to look nice, with quality amenities and good schools, because we care about our quality of life, our children’s education and our own personal property values.

    How many people move to Spring Hill because there’s no property tax? I dare say none. How many people move to Spring Hill because they want their kids to be in Williamson County schools? That’s a much bigger number.

    Another number I’d be interested to know is how many people who live in Spring Hill would rather live in Franklin. When I lived there, I certainly did. Even though the taxes were much higher. Maybe even because of it.

    What we get for our money in Franklin is lovely surroundings, terrific recreation opportunities, good roads with convenient connectivity, and the retail options that abound in a city willing to spend money on economic recruitment.

    I know some folks in Spring Hill are furious that the city has reinstituted its property tax. But you know what? I imagine that tax — if administered correctly and spent wisely — will ultimately pay off in an increase in property value.

    And maybe Spring Hill will one day be a destination because of what it has instead of what it doesn’t have.

  2. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    I am not a 100% against property tax guy, but I am not a 100% for property tax guy, either. In fact, I think I am kind of neutral on the issue. I am not in favor of a property tax just to have a property tax. And I am certainly not in favor of property taxes so that we can erect another socialist indoctrination chamber where a liberal left wing activist organization called the NEA can screw with the minds of young impressionable children and where well intentioned teachers who only want to teach our children are handcuffed to a system that forces them to spoon feed our children the socialist slop from the public trough. However, there are some basic and essential needs that I would be in favor of paying a property tax for, if it made sense. I am talking about things like police, fire and rescue, and emergency services. I am talking about adequate roads. Parks? I am not really in favor of redistributing wealth so that we can build another park. Sorry. If it is a project that serves the needs of 100% of the people, makes sense economically, can’t be done more efficiently and effectively by the private sector, doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution of the State, and isn’t just another social engineering program then I am probably for it. But when you are dealing with a commission that is going to take 100% of the people’s money and give it to a YMCA that only has the interest of 9% of the people…no way!

    Let’s look at fire protection. The county taxes us, in the form of property taxes, to provide fire protection. They are required by law to provide us with fire protection or they can’t tax us for the service. If they put together fire districts they can’t tax us. If they don’t put together fire districts and they don’t want to provide fire protection they have to rebate the city an amount equal to the per capita expenditure they designate for protecting non-incorporated Wilson County. That means that the city of Mt. Juliet would experience a windfall of rebated property tax money. If they went with Fire districts the city could raise the city property taxes by the amount that the county no longer can charge city residents and we would again have a windfall of taxes.

    If the city commission has $1.3 million dollars to give to the YMCA (Which will really cost us about $2,000,000) it has plenty of money to build a police department. The city has assets that it can use to provide for what it needs at this time.

    Joe, we don’t have an income problem…we have a spending problem. When Rob Shearer was city manager he worked with a lot less money than the city is currently bringing in, during a time when the city was actually growing faster as a percentage of population, and he had massive surpluses each year. There was a lot of money left in the general fund at the end of each year because he was conservative with his projected revenues and was liberal with his projected expenses. That way the commission couldn’t appropriate a lot of money for things like a $20,000,000 gift to the YMCA. Then, Rob would do a tremendous job making sure that department heads kept their costs down. He would also find ways to pay wholesale for things the city is now spending retail to acquire. Rob also found a way to take advantage of grants to the city and state spending. In fact, this city had more money allocated to it per capita than pretty much any where else in the entire state during Rob’s tenure. Because the city was booming and revenues were higher than expected and spending was lower than projected, the city had surpluses. Rob found a way to get things done cheaper and better than most city managers could dream. He didn’t do it alone, he had a great team. Mayor Elam and others made sure that that team was dissolved. Now, we a very, very tight budget and little to no money left in the general fund after this year (We will see how close Mr. Robertson’s projected remaining fund balance is next June. I wonder if the red ink will be blamed on Rob too.)

    Government’s job is not to make our property values increase! Government’s job isn’t to socially engineer society. Government’s job isn’t to provide for our every need. Government’s job is to do for society what it can’t do for itself (But that is necessary) and to play referee.

    Joe, you can have a wonderful 1000 acre park with soccer fields, football fields, running track, pole vault pits, tennis courts, basket ball courts, swimming pools, both indoor and out, golf course, riding club, boat docks, bike trails, walking trails, hockey fields and every other amenity you would like if you can find enough people with money who want the same thing, but why should the 60, 70, or 80 year old who has no interest in a park have to pay for you to play? You might say, “because they should exercise”, but you would be wrong! They should exercise, but they shouldn’t have to do it your way, Joe? And isn’t it their choice whether they exercise or not?

    Let’s look at economic recruitment for a minute. Now, I will be the first to say that I look forward to the day that Cheesecake Factory, Flemings, Ruth’s Chris and other fine restaurants come to Mt. Juliet, and I don’t mind a little recruiting, but it makes me a little bit of a hypocrite to say that. It’s a little embarrassing really. (My mind and spirit say that government should stay out of free enterprise as much as possible, but my stomach says I want some cheese cake {I know, to you it looks like my stomach should be screaming for a YMCA}) You see, whenever government gets involved in recruiting it causes businesses to favor one area over another. They only have so much money to spend, so they are either going to put a restaurant in Mt. Juliet or they are going to open up shop somewhere else, but they can’t put them in both places at the same time, there just isn’t enough money to go around. So what government’s start doing is providing breaks to recruit businesses. When that happens all of the people end up subsidizing businesses that they may never use. Businesses are concerned about their bottom-line, and if Mt. Juliet can make their bottom-line look better than say, Hendersonville, and if Mt. Juliet can eliminate some or all of the risk to the business, they will come here. To illustrate my point I will take it to the extreme. If you owned a business and you wanted to open a new location and you found that Mt. Juliet was willing to pay your rent for the first five years after you open up in Mt. Juliet, and you don’t have to charge sales tax, and you don’t have to pay any taxes, you are probably going to be very interested in coming to Mt. Juliet. However, if only 9% of the public has an interest in your products the entire city population will be paying to subsidize the purchases made from your store and to subsidize your profits. Meanwhile, Hendersonville my have a populous where 30% of the population would be interested in your products. You might make the same profit in Hendersonville as you would in Mt. Juliet, however the risk to you is lower in Mt. Juliet so you come here. Now, in order to fill the need that Hendersonville has for your products they may have to spend money to recruit another company or provide breaks to lure them in. In short, Joe, 100% of the people are 100% better at making decisions as to where they want to spend their money than 5 commissioners with their own personal agendas.

    If and when the City really needs a property tax, because it needs one and not because some politicians with personal agendas and/or political agendas cause the need, I will be for a property tax. Until then…I can’t support it.

  3. Bobby Franklin

    I have a brother in Chicago that was always in favor of higher taxes – until he came here to visit.

    We live in the same size house (I actually have 5 times his acreage) and he pays 10 times the property tax I pay. He also pays a healthy State income tax (TN has none) and his sales tax rate is now the highest in the country (10.25%).

    I suppose all that tax money should produce pristine infrastructure and near perfect living conditions. It is the complete opposite. Everything up there is falling apart.

    The roads are terrible and traffic jams are legendary. There are parks but people don’t use them because of the crime rate. The schools are terrible, so bad that everyone with any income left send their kids to private ones.

    The real estate market is awful. A house typically stays on the market 10 months to 2 years to sell. Upward mobility is nearly impossible.

    I am not against a property tax for any reason. But you have to draw the line somewhere and force government to be accountable. Mt. Juliet does not have an income problem.

    Why give them more money to give away?

  4. Joe Fleenor

    Yes, I agree that Mt. Juliet does not have an income problem, but don’t you think that will change? The retail boom and residential boom has caused this influx of revenues for the city, but we’ve already seen those expected tax dollars coming to the city be much lower than budgeted for. Eventually the retail boom will subside and we’ve already seen the residential boom tail off.

    The city has many problems — that is why I moved. I am a big believer in parks and recreation (sorry Butch) and I’m a big believer in proper infrastructure. Mt. Juliet is lacking in both. I was willing to pay a little more to live in an area that offered the amenities I was looking for. I’m not alone. I am young — just 26 yrs old — but I should be the type of person Mt. Juliet caters to. I have a college degree, a good job and disposable income. Mt. Juliet is not targeting people like me, and that’s going to hurt them if things don’t change.

  5. Matt Sloan

    Quick question Joe – did your brother, Andy, and Knight (writer of the article, daughter of Kathy Stivender – Stoner Creek Elementary principal) get married after college? I used to hang out with them at UTK many moons ago.

    Also, my primary impetus for moving to MJ was due to the no property tax advantage. Our town could be MUCH better managed. Giving millions away (and having our hands out – ::cough::Elam::cough::) isn’t how public service and local government should be run.

  6. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    If you go back and read my posts you will see that I have already stated on here that in time the growth in sales taxes will subside, however, there are other factors that need to be brought into consideration.

    If the city is going to operate without a property tax it is going to have to develop a retail to residential mix that allows that model to cover expenses. In other words, if we have enough retail in this city to offset the expenses to run it we can operate without a property tax forever. However, if the government tries to provide all things for all people it will need a property tax.

    Mt. Juliet may be uniquely positioned and uniquely sized to actually pull it off. We are situated in a great place to attract a very large number of shoppers and retailers. Additionally, we have a tremendous opportunity to attract class “A” office space. (Not suggesting that the city government try to create something, but rather suggesting that city government “nudge” growth in a particular direction if we are going to operate without a property tax.)

    Joe, I am a big believer in parks and recreation. I am just not in favor of “government” parks and recreation. Parks and recreation can be provided privately, it doesn’t have to be done through taxation. Covering all of these things through taxation helps to create the entitlement mentality that is rotting America at her core. I catch myself from time to time saying “the government should” when I think about something like medicine or homelessness. I know in my heart that most (if not all) things that government puts its hand to things that it doesn’t have to results in a mess, and a financial anchor, but I have been steeped in the socialist system and I sometimes I mentally slip, momentarily, into the caldron of socialist gruel.

    Mt. Juliet shouldn’t cater to you Joe. You seem to me to be a bright person and you appear to be very nice and I appreciate the dialog without the vitriol. But I don’t think you have thought through the part where you say that Mt. Juliet should cater to you. I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that what you are really saying is that Mt. Juliet should be trying to attract 25 to 40 year old people who have college degrees, good jobs, disposable income, families, and who are upwardly mobile. However, if Mt. Juliet targets you and your group, won’t it be disenfranchising other groups? We are all citizens of this city, state, and country, and we all deserve the exact same product or focus of government, no one should be favored or disfavored by government based on age, race, social status, marital status, income, education, etc. You see, special interest is what the social engineering thing does in society…it says, if you look this way or act that way or fit in this mold you are acceptable and/or favored, however, if you don’t look a certain way or act a certain way or fit a certain mold you are less favorable, or worse, you are a reject. That is not to say that I am not in favor of Mt. Juliet being a younger, more affluent, more upscale community, I just don’t think it is a good idea for “government” to engineer that community.

    Joe, government’s job is to say, if you want to live here, and you want to work here, we are going to do what we can to make sure that you are able to live and/or work safely, and that you have your basic needs (that you can’t meet on your own) met. But to go beyond that starts down the road to social engineering.

    Let me ask you, “why is Mt. Juliet going to be hurt if it doesn’t target people like you”? I am not being smart or nasty (sometimes it is hard to tell, especially when you are writing things instead of saying them.), I am just curious what makes you think that it will hurt Mt. Juliet not to attract people like you.

  7. Joe Fleenor

    Hey Matt. Yea, they got married after college and have a 6 year old daughter, Lily.

  8. Joe Fleenor

    Hurt may have been the wrong choice of words. I just think that Mt. Juliet is building itself — at least in the retail sector — as a community that my demographic enjoys, however, I think that they’re missing the boat on truly attracting people like myself by not capitalizing on all the amenities that we’re looking for.

    I don’t think that the government should focus only on my demographic. That would be ignorant of me to think that. However, I do believe that we’re not given enough attention in the City of Mt. Juliet. This is my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth. Nice roads and a good police force is great, but it is not the primary determining factor in deciding where I’m going to live. Greenspaces. Good schools. Recreation opportunities. Shopping. Location. These are things that make property values increase. These are things that attract me and make me what to live there. I cashed in on my house after living there for 2 1/2 years. I made a significant amount of profit on the sale and I’m thankful that I moved into my house when I did. With that said, I’m glad I got out when I did. I bought in at the perfect time — Providence was being built, news of another retail giant development was popping up, all of this happening less than 2 miles from my house — and I got out at a perfect time — Providence complete, Paddocks set to begin. But what’s next? Other than living this close to the retail mecca of east Nashville, what other value did I see in staking claim in Mt. Juliet? I could get the same shopping experience in most any other city within 20 miles of Nashville. I wanted entertainment and recreational opportunities, I wanted to live in a beautiful area, and I wanted to continue to increase the value of my home ownership by buying in to an area that offered all amenities that covered all people — schools, parks, roads, emergency services, recreation, location.

    I disagree with you (respectfully) that governments should not provide parks and recreation. I am willing to listen to examples that you have of successful parks (and recreation) that are not government run. I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Williamson County. I joined the Parks & Recreation for just over $200 (family membership/year) and I have access to the following: half dozen community centers with workout facilities, gymnasiums, tennis courts, olympic sized swimming pools, racquetball, soccer, lacrosse, table tennis, etc. The area is well-developed, the infrastructure is maintained, the schools are the best in the state, the neighborhoods are gorgeous, the people are friendly, and the city governments actually have a plan for how they’re going to spend their money.

    I don’t blink twice when I pay my property taxes here in Franklin. I know the services I receive when I write that check and I’m grateful that I’m able to have them.

  9. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    Franklin is a wonderful place. So is Brentwood. But just because something is “nice” and you enjoy it doesn’t make it right. Being right makes it right. You happen to be living in a very unique county in all of Tennessee. If we are talking about general concepts of how government should be run, you can’t hardly use Williamson County as the standard. Besides, how do you know that the same amenities couldn’t be provided for less money if the government were to have stayed out of the business? Affluent people will find a way to have the things they want without the government.

    Mt. Juliet and Franklin are not exactly the same. I believe you would find that Franklin is way more liberal than Mt. Juliet if you really studied it. Again, it is a very nice place, but being nice doesn’t mean that what they have done fits Mt. Juliet.

    Do I want my property values to increase? Of Course I do. Do I want to increase my property value by needlessly hanging a property tax around my neck? No.

    I don’t know an example of a community that has parks where the parks are privately controlled or maintained. They may exist or they may not exist, but either way, it doesn’t mean that they “Can’t” exist. All of the recreational items that you mentioned can be covered by YMCA’s or other private organizations. Then, people have a choice (Except here in Mt. Juliet) where they want to spend their money. If there is enough interest in something capitalism will normally find a way to provide it. However, if there isn’t enough interest to support it, and government steps in to provide it, what you end up with is a community where all of the people pay for things that only some of the people use. What that boils down to is that some of the people now have less money to spend on the things that they want to do because they are forced to pay for the things others want to do because government subsidizes.

    Joe, I would like a nice new BMW. Now, I might not have the money for a nice new BMW. Should the government take money from everyone else, including you, so that I can have a nice new BMW or should I settle for a car that I can afford on my own? What we are really talking about here is the redistribution of wealth. Do you believe that there is anyone in Williamson County who doesn’t have children to attend their schools and who isn’t interested in the things you are excited about? Joe, there is no way that your $200 family membership pays for all that you have spoken about in your last post, so the next time you go to the facilities that you are speaking of take a few minutes to mentally thank the people who help you pay for them but that don’t use them. The government in Williamson County is taking money that belongs to all of the citizens of Williamson County and they are giving it to a certain group of people. You happen to be in that group of people so you are happy. But does that make it “right”?

    Government should not be in the business of deciding for people where their money should be spent except for items that government has to provide, like Police and roads. Even fire and rescue can be made private. (I don’t know how well that works, but I do know that it exists.)

    Joe, the country can’t afford to continue to provide so much to the people. Go look at the federal debt and you will clearly see that the road we are on leads to financial disaster. People need to learn how to live without having everything provided for them by the government.

    Williamson County is beautiful, and perhaps the people who live there can really afford what they have, but look around you Joe. Watch what happens in Brentwood and Franklin every time there is a dip in the economy….For Sales signs fly up everywhere. I have watched this occur again and again over the 13 years I have lived in Nashville. You are young and bright, probably have a great personality and probably doing quite well…but I can tell you that there is also an awful lot of keeping up with the Joneses going on in Williamson County. I have spoken to a lot of people from Brentwood who are not as excited about what has occurred there over the past few years as you are about living in Franklin.

  10. Joe Fleenor

    Hey, watch the LIBERAL usage! I’m as proud a liberal as they come!

    I think you’re taking it to the extreme when you talk about how governments should not provide services that only a fraction of people use. When you say that parks should not be government controlled, I think that’s a stretch. Governments are just like any other business. They make their money primarily on the taxes the bring in. The more people they bring in, the more money they make. The better roads you have, the more people come in. The better schools you have, the more people come in. Governments want to “grow” their business. To “grow” their business means that they have to go out and “market” their product. Better roads, better schools, and yes, better parks, are ways to market their product. Each of these markets a different demographic, but they’re all very important.

    Should I be upset that a city government wants to create a place where teens can hangout and be safe, even though I’m not getting any direct benefit from it? Should I be upset that a city government wants to build a new senior center even though I’m not getting any direct benefit from it? I don’t think I should be. I may not be receiving any direct benefit from these government projects, but I am definitely receiving indirect benefits.

    Teen hangout — hopefully less community crime, better grades in local schools, preparing our future leaders more efficiently, all of which helps to increase my way of life and property values.

    Senior Center — offering health programs, recreation, socialization, and financial assistance, all of which are big selling points for people wanting to move into a new community.

    The same would go for new Parks and Recreation opportunities offered through a local government agency. More recreation offerings, even if not taken advantage of directly by me, affect me indirectly because it helps develop strong communities, provide people personal benefits such as exercise, fitness and conditioning, provide people social benefits, it helps better the environment and the economic benefits are there as well by providing affordable recreational opportunities for ALL residents. All of this benefits me because it creates a sense of community. All of this benefits a government agency for the same reasons. It’s just another marketing tool for helping to bring people in, thus more tax dollars coming in.

  11. Butch Huber

    This could be fun, a liberal who seems willing to actually debate the issues. I have never understood the thought processes of a liberal, this could really be interesting.

    Joe,

    From where do you draw the conclusion that it is okay for government to be involved in social issues? I mean, how is it the business of government to be involved in education, recreation and social projects? We didn’t have public schools until the 1850’s, we did just fine without them. Public parks are obviously a part of life in America, but the first public park was actually a place to graze cattle, a place for military purposes and a place to hang people. That isn’t exactly what parks in America are today.
    As a liberal, where do you draw the authority to take the people’s money and provide amenities with it? I don’t get it.

    As far as teen hangouts and the associated crime, or diminishment thereof, from where do you draw the conclusion that teens hanging out leads to less crime and a better society?

    Senior Centers? We are spending hundreds of Billions on the elderly in this country “Because” government has fostered the breakup of the family unit. The elderly used to live with their children and they provided another layer of adult leadership and guidance for children. Today, we stick them in nursing homes because both parents are working all the time. Things aren’t better because of what the government has been doing over the past 30 to 40 years, they are worse by far. Joe, before you were born a lot of families were one income. The dad typically went to work and the mom was able to raise her kids. Today, both parents are typically working full time, but their spending power is less than one income families just 4 decades ago.

    Look at all the statistics over the past 40 to 50 years and you will clearly see that the liberal social engineering project in America isn’t working so well. Jails are full, homelessness is rampant, children on mind altering drugs prescribed by doctors, drug abuse, etc. Joe, things are worse, not better. Government is not the answer. Our society needs to rebuild the family unit. Starting with a strong family unit you can really build “community”.
    Government can’t legislate what we feel in our hearts and how we love one another. All of the bells and whistles are an illusion of “Community”.
    The bells and whistles are a distraction. Not that they aren’t fun, and not that they can’t be used in the process of building up the family unit, but they are not the answer to society’s needs.

    We need to find our center as a society, but I assure you that our center is not a “community” center.

  12. Bobby Franklin

    Joe,

    I suggest you read a column by Thomas Sowell titled “the imitators” – http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/06/24/the_imitators

    Sowell asks why Americans would want to imitate Europe. Our 100-year political track record is clearly much better than theirs. Why would we ever want to adopt their policies?

    Michigan lost 600,000 jobs in the same 5-year period that Texas created 1.6 million. If you want to create jobs in your state, which state policies should you imitate?

    Sowell uses a golf comparison. You would want to imitate the best golfer wouldn’t you?

    Would you adopt my physical training program in quest of becoming a better tennis player? (Joe is a very good tennis player btw) You could follow me up to the top of Bristol Speedway with a cooler and help me cheer for Dale Jr. – but do you really want my blistering 38 mph tennis serve? Probably not.

    Why should Mt. Juliet imitate cities clearly less successful? Most people advising us to implement a property tax have one thing in common – they don’t live in Mt. Juliet.

    I laugh at cities with property taxes that raise 400,000 dollars per year just to turn around and appropriate 450,000 to market their city. It was always my inside joke that Mt. Juliet’s zero tax rate was its marketing budget. All those negative stories written about Mt. Juliet’s zero tax rate sold the city! You cannot buy that type marketing with any amount of money – and the residents get to keep their money!

    You spoke of the profit you made selling your house in Mt. Juliet. The upward mobility you experienced, in part, is a result of a good decision you made – to buy property in Mt. Juliet. Your story is not unusual and many people see the value of investing here. Real estate times are tough everywhere right now but still pretty good here in Mt. Juliet.

    Mt. Juliet has been criticized for imitating Franklin. Why not be better?

  13. Nathan Clariday

    Government is not a “business” unless you want to call it a very poor business. If governement was a business; it would have about 1/3 the work force doing the work. It also would have to raise taxes just to keep afloat.

  14. Butch Huber

    Hey Joe,

    I hope I didn’t run you off. I am sincerely interested in our little debate. Don’t take my disdain for liberalism as a disdain for you personally. From all that I am told about you, and from what I can gather, I think you are probably a great guy. When I say I don’t understand how a liberal thinks, I am being honest…my mind simply doesn’t work that way. So far, every time I have had a debate with someone who is willing to admit they are a liberal, they either quit debating or they go nasty on me. Maybe I somehow precipitate their attacks, but I don’t mean to. Usually I am just strongly responding to something they say.

    Let’s pick a subject, any subject, where liberals and conservatives differ, and let’s get down to the core question of “What makes you feel your position is justified and what do you base your position on”? So far, every time I start to drill down with a liberal to determine from what basis they draw their beliefs, convictions, and conclusions, they go just so far down the road with me and then the quit and start calling me names.

    Is there a liberal out there that will answer just this one question? “Is there more authority to liberalism than mere personal and/or group opinion, and if so what is the authority”?

  15. Joe Fleenor

    No, you didn’t run me off. I don’t take things too seriously, especially not politics. I’m a liberal, and I know I’m a liberal, but I am far from one of the hardcore political junkies out there. I like to debate certain issues (for fun) but I don’t thrive on debating fundamental issues between Dems and Reps. While I may lean much more heavily on the Democratic side of things, I make sure I take the more common-sense approach to things. Sometimes both sides get caught up in what they’re “supposed” to be and don’t adjust to what is actually right.

    I know this is way off subject, but one things that bugs me about politics is how the issue of “flip flopping” has become such a negative thing. In my opinion — again, take that for what it’s worth — to change your mind on something for the better is a good thing. (Don’t let this next sentence start a whole new debate. Let me just say it and move on.) That’s what irks me about President Bush. Iraq, in my opinion, as well as most Americans, was a mistake. However, President Bush doesn’t see it that way and in my opinion he doesn’t see it that way because he doesn’t want to appear to have “flip-flopped” on the issue. I respect politicians who quote, unquote change their minds on things if it’s for the betterment of the people they represent. That’s a good thing in this world and that is what’s wrong with politics these days.

    I’m not naive in the fact that I think things are going to change overnight. Heck, things will probably never change, but I do see right from wrong and I do appreciate honesty and moral integrity from those people that represent me at the highest levels.

    Now as for me and my liberal viewpoints, that’s a personal choice that I have made — and been molded into — over time. I see the country in a far less conservative light than Republicans and I have philosophies on life that some people might not agree with. That is fine, just as it’s fine if someone has different viewpoints than myself.

    In conclusion, I think drilling for oil in America would be a hasty, unintelligent, political decision that I am totally against!

  16. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    I have to say, this is fun for me.

    Can you answer the question I posed in my last post?

    As far as flip-flopping, do you remember how the democrats hung Bush 1 out to dry over the “read my lips, no new taxes” issue. No offense intended, but you probably are too young to remember it, you may be knowledgeable of it, but you certainly were too young when it happened to fully appreciate its significance. Democrats are simply reaping what they sowed. Bush was hamstrung with a stalemate congress, Democrats were shutting down government to force Bush to sign in to law an act establishing a new tax, then once they were successful in forcing him to sign the act into law, they burned him over the read my lips speech.

    I don’t believe the reason Bush is refusing to pull out of Iraq is because he is afraid to be viewed as a flip-flopper, what does he have to lose to be called a flip-flopper now? I believe he is staying the course in Iraq because he believes we are going to win and that it is the right thing to do.

    I didn’t think Clinton was right to take the possibility of a ground attack off the table in Kosovo, and I have never agreed with publicly declaring a ground attack to be out of the question, but the mission was accomplished in the end. Who knows if it was a good decision? I am not knowledgeable of the information that is provided to the President of the United States, I only know what I read in the papers, research on the internet, hear on the radio, and see on Television. Perhaps, Bush knows some things that you and I, and Senator Obama, don’t know about the issues in and (AROUND) Iraq.

    You said: “While I may lean much more heavily on the Democratic side of things, I make sure I take the more common-sense approach to things. Sometimes both sides get caught up in what they’re “supposed” to be and don’t adjust to what is actually right.”

    Joe, my questions for Liberals is “who determines what is “Right” and from “what source or authority” shall that person make such determination”? You spoke of Common-sense, but Common-sense is somewhat subjective and to a large degree, when you are dealing with politics at least, based solely on “personal or group opinion”. Opinion is not authority, authority is authority.

    Please, Joe, answer the question. For once in my life I would like to hear a liberal actually answer that question.

  17. Joe Fleenor

    Geez, that question is like a Thesis. I have to be honest, I don’t want to think about it and spend the time answering it.

  18. Butch Huber

    Joe, I have never met a liberal who would answer that question. I believe the reason is because there are as many answers as there are liberals. However, I believe any true conservative can answer the same question about conservatives very easily. “We draw our authority from the Constitution of the United States and the Constitutions of the individual States.” This is a country that is established by law. Even our inception was based on law. I used to believe that we were established on lawlessness, but later I learned that there were provisions that allowed for our revolution. We are a nation that is governed by law, not opinion. Laws my be established based on opinions of the time and on opinions of the majority, but once laws are passed they become the standards by which we draw authority. Religion, or lack thereof, has a significant influence on the enactment and passage of laws. However, it is still the law from which we draw our legal authority. I am a Christian, and I believe all authority on earth comes from God through Christ. Which takes me back to “laws”. I believe God establishes governments on earth, and in this country, our governments have to live up to the standards of our Constitutions. Other conservatives my not share by beliefs regarding God, but I believe most, if not all, conservatives share my belief that our authority comes from “law”.

  19. Joe Fleenor

    Wo Wo Wo! I thought we were talking about parks…

  20. Shawn Donovan

    Very interesting reading.

    I would have to say I’m torn between Joe and Butchs comments, since I live in Mt. Juliet but work for the Franklin Fire Department, so I guess I get to see the best of both worlds.

    Joe, first off I would like to thank you as a resident of the City of Franklin for the city’s pro-active stance towards fire protection. Without the taxpayers, we would not have the best staffing, equipment, and personnel in Middle Tennessee. This is also due to City Leaders putting an emphasis on public safety and making it a priority. You should sleep well knowing your family is protected by some of the hightest trained firefighters in the state also.

    As as resident of Providence, who has continually heard that my section of town will be the “next Cool Springs”, we have have a lot of work to do. My fire station is in Cool Springs, so I have a very good working knowledge in the subject and one key area MJ is missing is the public safety aspect. As a resident and a firefighter, I have been asked by many citizens my concerns about the public safety in our town and they are high. I understand the perspectives of many of the residents that we need more parks, sidewalks, etc.., but in my professional opinion parks don’t save lives. As this community continues to add more roofs and big box retailers, as each ribbon is cut, my brother and sisters who protect this town in the areas of fire and emergency medical care have the deck stacked higher and higher against them. So if you want to fight for something to help the town, help to fund another ambulance, equipment, or manpower to protect the city residents. I have to applaud the City Manager Randy Robertson, for his pro-active stance in allowing me to assist in organizing the Mount Juliet Volunteers Firefighters to assist with manpower at Station 3, but we need to continue to build on this program once it is organized.

    As a resident am I for a property tax, yes, if it is specifically earmarked for police and fire protection only. If there is another source of revenue for our outstanding MJPD, then that will free up funds for other projects, i.e. parks. I hope that residents begin to realize that there is a serious danger posed to them as the growth continues in this area. I personally don’t want to have to read any headlines in the MJ News, Chronicle, etc. of a child killed in a fire for any reason, especially due to a lack of manpower or equipment. That is not a scare tactic, that is reality.

  21. Tennessee Jed

    Meanwhile back in the shallow end of the gene pool…………..

    Marlowe runs for MJ Mayor….no comments from this group of Platowannabes? Or did the ego balloons just get deflated?

    Fire Cop Comic Bill Cosby and buy a Two Rivers Ford F-150 with a nice garden hose attached using his salary. And tell Lebanon we now have our own fire dept.

    Or hire a one-armed traffic cop for the new high school since traffic will only be going in one direction. Get ready for a new level of gridlock. Moronic.

    ROADS? ROADS! I heard Moonlight Graham, Skateboard champion during the dead-brain era whisper to me today…”Build it, and they will go….build it, and they will be able to go.”

    I’ll be sunning at the YMCA (it’s fun to stay) or breaking limbs at the ESP (Elam Skate Park) if ya’ll need me.

  22. Butch Huber

    Joe, we are talking about parks. How can we talk about parks if we don’t talk about how we are going to fund them. If we are going to talk about how to fund them we have to discuss the different perspectives regarding that funding. If we are going to talk about perspectives we are going to deal with philosophy, if we are going to deal with philosophy we are going to end up with a conversation regarding the differences between liberals and conservatives. If we are going to talk about the difference between liberals and conservatives we are going to have to figure out where we draw the basis for our beliefs, which goes to authority. I just thought I would cut the crap and just get to it.

    Now, can you answer the question? From where do you draw your authority as a liberal? Why can’t you answer that question? It should be simple. Joe, if you can’t answer that question in one or two sentences you probably don’t have a strong basis for what you believe. If you don’t have a strong basis for what you believe your positions are probably based mostly on feelings and emotions and are probably largely influenced by the feelings and emotions of other people of the liberal persuasion. Joe, you sound like a pretty smart guy, shouldn’t you have a concrete foundation for what you believe?

    Joe, one of the great differences between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives want people to have all that they can afford, and liberals want people to have all that society can afford. Conservatives want people to learn personal responsibility while liberals want to create dependency on government. Conservatives have hearts that are just as big as liberals, but conservatives want to be allowed to direct their giving in the direction they choose, and they want to give what they can afford when they can afford it. Liberals want government to fund everything and they want to fund it “now”.
    If those who live in Brentwood and Franklin were true liberals they would not live in 6,ooo and 7,000 square foot homes and drive BMW’s, they would live in 1,500 square foot homes and drive economy cars and they would donate the rest of their income to charity. Liberals are trying to use property taxes as a means of providing parks (and other things) for themselves. I believe that is why we have a liberal slanted commission trying to provide a gift to the YMCA when only 9% of the people are even interested in a YMCA in Mt. Juliet. If this were a liberal society in West Wilson we would have Mayor Elam’s $20,000,000 aqua center right now. Joe, you can have parks all over the place if you can find enough people who share your dream, why does government have to be involved? Why can’t liberals just get together, form a non-profit, put their money up, build their own parks and amenities?

    Okay, I know you won’t answer my previous question. So I will ask you another.

    You want to talk about parks. So here is a question about parks.
    Why is it government’s job to provide parks? (Caution: if you answer this question, and stay with me, we will end up back at the first question…which never seems to get answered.)

  23. Nathan Clariday

    The real answer is so that the public will re-elect the official that got the park. Hopefully the elected official will get their name on the park. They will get name recognition and a legacy. Because most people in our society today are too busy working and trying to stay afloat to bother to looke where the money actually came from. This is why property tax doesn’t bother most people. Because it is included in most individuals mortgages and they never really see the actual property tax bill.

  24. Joe Fleenor

    Butch, I honestly respect your viewpoints and I enjoy reading your explanations as to why you feel the way you do, however, I am not going to get into a debate over the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives for 2 reasons:

    1) There is no way to debate someone, like yourself, who is so far on one end of the spectrum. You make comments that are so “matter of fact” even though in reality it’s just a stereotype and generalization. For example, you say that conservatives want people to have all that they can afford, and liberals want people to have all that society can afford. You also say that liberals want government to fund everything and they want to fund it “now”. Those types of comments are so ignorant that the only real result you’re asking for is a defensive response. I can’t debate these types of comments because they’re so absurdly false and it amazes me that someone who is obviously as intelligent as yourself could make such broad generalizations.

    2) As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t take things too serious, especially politics.

  25. Nathan Clariday

    Most people want to say they are liberal. I find the actual definition to be somewhat ellusive and misleading. They want to help everybody take care of their problems but not with their money; but somebody else’s money. The most liberal people I see often are the ones that are most sheltered from the reality of society. Like Al Gore, so concerned about the enviroment but lives in a 16 bedroom house in green hills or whereever. Let’s not forget he does buy those green power credits though. If he want so bad to help the enviroment; he would close down his Zinc mine that is one of the leading polluters in TN and go live in a one bedroom cabin in Carthage.

  26. Joe Fleenor

    This is why debating politics is useless. Once again, broad generalizations…this time by Clariday (I am friends with Nathan, we’re the same age and went to school together so I have no qualms about dogging on him).

    Let’s move on to issues happening here in Mt. Juliet rather than arguing about what a Democrat believes vs a Republican.

    Oh, and if I hear something along the lines of “just like a liberal, never can back anything up”, I’m going to flip!

  27. Glen Linthicum

    Property tax issues are somewhat related to Dem vs. Rep. argument but, you are right we need to keep this to local issues.

    I find it interesting that Mt Juliet has not even actualized half of the retail yet. Providence is incomplete, the Paddocks is not completed and more retail space is coming. These revenues have not yet come on line and we think we need a property tax now? How about we go back to spending within our means and continue to grow our budget and be fiscally responsible in our spending. I believe that some in Mt Juliet are currently trying to spend our city into or maneuver our city into a property tax. When you ask why would they do this we often get the “because” line; because Cool Springs has one, because Lebanon has one, because, well because others have one. Spending is a choice in priorities and as we grow we will be able to spend on wants, but currently Mt Juliet need to concentrate on needs.

  28. Unknown Soldier

    SHAWN
    Did you know that they are building homes
    and businesses without passing the fire codes
    right here in Mt Juliet, Robertson knows all about it,
    and will do nothing.

  29. Butch Huber

    Joe, it sounds like I am getting you a little flustered. I am not trying to offend you, but I am trying to provoke you to think about “why” you take the positions you take.

    Joe, your unwillingness to defend your beliefs and positions is very telling. Everyone that is reading RadioFree can see that you are trying hard to avoid the question. For a moment there I actually thought you might answer it. Debating politics will always be useless until we develop a clear concept regarding where the other side draws the authority to back up their position.

    You are exhibiting a very normal behavior when it comes to the discourse between liberal and conservative. Rather than being willing to answer a question that exposes the core weakness of the liberal movement, you try to deflect to other issues. You tried going back to parks. You threw out the flip-flopping issue. You threw out the war in Iraq. You threw out the oil drilling in America bait. But you didn’t address the real question.

    Now, you are calling my position “ignorant”. Joe, the next step is usually either name calling or personal attacks following by ignoring me “or” there will be a period of ignoring me followed by name calling and personal attacks. If you don’t call me names and personally attack me another liberal will step in and do it for you. It is a pattern that we have seen here on radiofree again and again. All the while nothing is accomplished (except the continued exposure of the serious weakness that exists in the liberal philosophy) because liberals refuse to recognize that they have no central foundation for their beliefs. Liberals don’t have a central foundation for their beliefs because the liberal movement is more or less based on a collection of abstract opinions commonly shared by a mass of people, coupled with tolerance of behaviors and beliefs that are rather loosely similar to the normative set of beliefs of that group. (Which is why the democrats have been hijacked by the radical fringe groups. In order for democrats to win seats in congress they are willing to acquiesce to the influences and pressures brought to the democratic party by the radical extremists within their ranks. (Hint for the democratic party: Stop letting the extremists control your party….you will still get their votes….where else are they going to go? They aren’t welcome in the Republican Party.) However, when you get to the individual level, dealing with a single liberal, they really can’t answer the question because they don’t have anything concrete to hang onto…the individual liberal seems to me to be led by his personal set of abstract thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When the average liberal looks around for a political party to become part of he has to choose the democratic party, because only the democrats are willing to conduct their affairs based on opinions and beliefs, rather than by following the Constitution. Liberals assimilate with other liberals because if they were to assimilate with Conservatives they would have to accept that they have to ascribe to assent to law as their guide. They would have to accept a common set of rules from which to live by. Assent to law means our personal opinion doesn’t really have a bearing on what is permissible at any given point in time. Opinion matters before laws are enacted, and they matter if laws are passed that are factually unconstitutional (because unconstitutional laws need to be struck down, which typically requires citizen involvement), and I don’t believe you have to follow unconstitutional laws (you will be arrested if you don’t, but then you can challenge the law in court….but you better be right.), but once a law that is constitutional is passed, opinions of the masses no longer matter (unless the constitutional law is so unacceptable to a large enough group of people that a Constitutional Amendment could be ratified). Liberals seem to be willing to do whatever is necessary to be able to do what they want, when they want, regardless of the law…but what is interesting is that they use the law to force conservatives not to be able to have publicly funded schools that teach about God.

  30. Joe Fleenor

    I am going to move on Butch. And no, I would never call you names. We’ll leave that for the city employees and politicians. And no, I’m not frustrated. I would probably be saying the same things if someone wasn’t willing to answer my questions I pose to them.

    I agree with a lot of what you say Butch. The only area that I disagreed with you on — at least to this point — is that parks should be offered by the government. I think it’s a service to the community. I don’t “expect” this service, but it is a nice amenity to a community that I choose to live in. (We’ve gotten way off track)

  31. Butch Huber

    Okay, Joe. I will respect your decision not to engage in the debate. However, I will say that as long as liberals and conservatives refuse to work together to overcome their differences we will always have the great divide.

    The track you were speaking of is “Parks”. But something has to pay for the “parks”. That is how we got to the central question. You, and other people of the same mind, believe that “I” should have to contribute to government owned parks regardless of whether I want to or not. That is what disturbs me. “Parks” are not a “need to” item. “Parks” are “want to” items. I don’t believe it is government’s business to provide us with “want to” items.

  32. Butch Huber

    Joe, I was just re-reading the last couple posts between us, and I just want to say “thank you for being civil”. Most times when there is a dialog between liberal and conservative it turns nasty, not saying that the nastiness always starts on one side or the other, but you didn’t turn nasty toward me…which was refreshing. Again, thank you. I enjoyed this little exchange.

  33. Joe Fleenor

    I’m sure there will be many more exchanges…and many more chances for me to become nasty 🙂

  34. Joe Fleenor

    Ok Butch, quick question:

    Do you think there should be a National Park Service, whose mission is to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations”?

    If yes, then explain. If no, then explain.

  35. Butch Huber

    Joe, fair question.

    The answer is “no”. I enjoy the National Parks, don’t get me wrong. But, being for as limited government as I am, I can’t say that I agree with the National Park Service. I believe in the American Citizen. I believe that if there is enough will of enough of the people to have a national park they can create one through the formation of a non-profit. I believe it would be better run if it were citizen- member controlled and managed, and it would be out of play politically. Remember when the budget got tight in Tennessee? What happened? They started shutting down parks. If those parks were out of play politically they couldn’t have done that.

    Joe, I am for a very, very week government domestically, with very little influence over the everyday affairs of law abiding citizens, and a very, very vibrant and strong government internationally. Whatever can be taken from the hands of government domestically, and turned over to society to deal with, should be. God will work it all out for us in the end, I promise. And if you are not a believer, or anyone else looking in isn’t a believer, and you are afraid the Christians will take over everything, I promise, if there isn’t a God in heaven, you will end up in charge of everything, because we don’t play by the same rules as those who don’t know God. Our rules are very limiting on us without the power of God in what we are doing.

    Government needs to spend its time focused on international affairs, which would lead to better trade, less need for war, and better security for our country and government should serve in its role as referee domestically. We would accomplish more as a country, and we would fit into the world stage better. I believe that we should rely on God as our source, but from a political standpoint, a self-assured, self-reliant, confident, empowered people of an open and unrestrictive government is attractive no matter who you are. I know that a lot of the things that you seek “seem” good, and they are enjoyable, but where ever you allow government to have influence it comes in and takes over. It is the nature of organizations. By giving way to government in social issues, as well as others, you give legs to something that never should have them…a money grabbing, liberty stealing, oppressive monster called “big government”.

    If government didn’t have its hand in everything domestically you would have a lot more money in your pocket, Joe. Then if you want to invest in a national park you would have the money and it would be your choice. Just like there are timeshares, their could be “Parkshares”. There is absolutely no need for government to be in the business of parks, whatsoever. They are involved in parks because someone came up with an idea and made a sale to the public. We have been inviting government into more and more areas of our life since the Declaration of Independence. Again, Joe, I am all for you having anything and everything you want in life, as long as you are willing to personally pay the price to have it. God Bless. But when I have to kick in one red cent to pay for something that you are going to enjoy, but that I am not (whether by my own choice or not), I feel like I have been robbed.

    The problem in America is that we are capitalists that don’t truly trust capitalism. We rely on government for the redistribution of wealth when “Compassion” and “enlightened self-interests” are the best mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of wealth should be completed through shrewd consumerism and through charity and donations, not through taxation. Taxes cost valuable resources through bureaucracy, whereas capitalism has the ability to rein in costs through the requirements of investors and contributors having control of the purse strings. In other words, choice gives us control. Taxation gives government control.

    If we are the ones working our hearts out to earn a buck, shouldn’t we have a say in where our money is spent?

    My position isn’t because I want to keep you from having the things you want in life, my position is so that everyone has a fair chance at having as much of the things in life as they are willing to sacrifice and invest to attain.

    The masses could control wealth if we weren’t bleating sheep. Captains of Industry and Robber Barons created a great divide through shrewd business deals and unfair business practices. We didn’t have the right “laws” or “rules” in place yet (we still don’t) to ensure that there is always a fair and equitable financial playing field for everyone. In other words, the child that is born into luxury didn’t earn that privilege, and the child born to poverty didn’t deserve that burden. How exactly to create a society where each person, when he or she comes to the age of majority, starts their adult life with the same opportunities has not been discovered, at least not to my knowledge, but that is what we should be aiming for in life. But, instead, we settle for a system that placates the poor and middle class with National Parks, local parks, public schools, welfare, social security, medicare, etc., with the government acting as the great mediator between the haves and the have-nots in this country. Because we invite government into our lives in so many ways we become the puppets and the government becomes our Marionette.

    The masses could control practically everything, without government intervention, if we didn’t have the right/left thing going on in this country. What we need is right/wrong. Either a thing is right or it is wrong, but we keep going back and forth. Nothing gets accomplished, all the while, the world around us is moving on. As long as democrat and republican fight each other, as long as the atheist and the believer are at odds, as long as there are race issues, as long as there are domestic things that divide our nation, big government’s survival is assured (Until we run out of money anyway.)

    In the very macro picture, until we embrace the entire world as brothers and sisters, and we work to develop a system of balanced trade, friendship, acceptance of our uniqueness and differences, and favorable and agreeable international relationships, and until we learn to empower the people to the fullest extent, we will be servants of the master (government).

    Capitalism won’t work by itself, but capitalism mixed with compassion, will work. The self-enlightened interests of the motivated masses can create anything, have anything, and overcome anything it sets its collective mind to, and it can do it without government involvement. Government assures its own survival in all three branches by having its hands in everything, if you kick it our of one area of your life it is still involved in enough other areas to allow it to still control you and to control society. Government isn’t the answer Joe, you are the answer, I am the answer, and the rest of the people are the answer. Government should merely make what the people resolve legal. We don’t need to change our governmental structure, we need to take back the power that was given to us by the founding fathers and take our rightful place in the American experiences as “Citizens”.

    Sorry for giving you such a short answer to your question, but I am kind of pressed for time right now, I am working on developing a contract that will hopefully let me stake a larger claim of the American Dream. Thanks for asking me that very good question.

  36. Butch Huber

    Joe, there is an article on Foxnews.com about a woman who had her children taken from her because her kid went to school with a Nazi symbol on her arm. This happened in Canada, but this is the future in America if we don’t get control of government. Not that I believe in Nazism, but that I believe in parent’s rights. A parent values their children more than all of the money in the world, (Good parents anyway). If the government were to take the assets of a multi-billionaire it would still pale in comparison to the magnitude of taking away a child from its parents. However, governments have come to the point that they believe that children are the property of the state, and not the child of a parent. Big government knows no limits, its hunger is never satisfied, its thirst never quenched.

    Things like parks, schools, etc. “seem” good at first, but then they start taking your children from you if you don’t comply with their rules. The government doesn’t values “Family” it values “power”. You and I, and all the rest, can do whatever we want without the government involved, we just have to be willing to work together.

  37. Joe Fleenor

    Just for curiosities sake, what is your plan for how schools should be offered? No more public schools?

  38. Butch Huber

    Another great question, Joe!

    The answer it “YES!!!!” You got it….NO MORE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!! DING-A-LING-A-LING GIVE THAT MAN A PRIZE!!!!

    NO MORE INSTITUTIONALIZED INDOCTRINATION CHAMBERS WHERE THEY SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF OUR CHILDREN AND MAKE THEM WILLING WORKERS FOR THE INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!!!!

    Joe, I can’t tell you how many public school teachers, who once they find out that I don’t send my children to institutional schools, but that my wife is teaching them at home, tell me “You are doing the right thing, if you can keep them out of public school, do it.” I can’t tell you how many, but I can tell you that it has been a lot of them.

    I want to make sure that everyone knows that I have nothing against school teachers in general, I appreciate most of them and I respect what they do. I just want them to be able to teach without the burden of Bureaucracy and union interference.
    I also want them to be paid what they are worth.

    Joe, I want you to imagine schools without walls, learning without boundaries and education without limitation. I want you to think of individual specific education. You simply can’t do that in traditional public schools.

    Joe, if you were in a group of thirty people, would you learn at the exact pace that the other twenty-nine people learn? Probably not, right? You would probably be in the upper half of the group if I haven’t missed my guess. You may not be the quickest, but you would almost for sure be in the top twenty percent. So should we teach that class at your pace, or should we teach more to the middle, or should we teach to the top of the class or the bottom? Public education, now that “no child left behind” is in place, has gone from “Mastery” of subjects to “familiarity” with subjects! They seem to be teaching to the BOTTOM!!!

    Schools have become social working institutions in this country. Joe, we are out of control. Teachers are spending their time trying to deal with a lot of issues other than “teaching”. And when they do teach they are very, very limited.

    Let me give you some insight to what I have envisioned. Imagine being able to be taught by the best, most well educated, most well informed person on the planet in each and every subject you are studying! You say “how can that happen”? I say; “I’m Glad you asked”!

    There is something on the way called the “Grid”. The grid will make the internet become obsolete. The Grid will be 10,000 times faster than broadband. They believe that it will allow holographic conferencing! That will mean that we will be able to put a holographic image right in your living room, Joe. And if the grid doesn’t get us there, the next stage will. Now, let’s say we go to the Einsteins of today and ask them to teach lessons on their topic of expertise. Now, we video tape them giving their lessons. Then, we put those videos on the internet as VOD (Video on Demand). You can then order that video and whoosh, there the guy or gal is right there in your home, going over the subject right there in front of the kid, and the whole family. You say, “what if my kid has questions”? Great question! How will my child get his questions answered? The answer is, through a bank of pre-developed answers. Most people can predict what the most general questions will be, so when the kid asks one of those questions, (and he can interrupt at anytime), the program kicks into a patch program where the lecturer answers that question. Then, the program goes back to where it left off and continues on. “But what if my child asks a question that isn’t in the data bank”? Well, your child must be really, really stupid or really, really smart! Just kidding. Children will certainly come up with questions that are not in the database. In cases such as that, they can interact with the lecturer through instant messaging, e-mail, and other means. If there are questions that keep coming up there will be a new patch program with the answers to that question. Computer programs can be created to recognize the same question being asked in many different forms, so the system could interpret the question no matter how it is asked. So why would the Einsteins of this world contribute? One, because it would make them very, very rich. Think about the royalties they could make! One time through making the main program, which might take one month of actual teaching time, occasional patch programs and updates, and 10 to 20 years worth of royalties! With 65,000,000 kids in school, if only 10% of the students took that class, it would mean 6.5 million paying customers over a twelve year period! And that is if the expert only taught one grade level! If he or she made only $10 per student per year they would make $65,000,000!! Not bad for a couple months worth of work and an occasional weird or brilliant question, wouldn’t you say? Would you pay $10 to have Albert right their in front of your little genius (and you) teaching him quantum mechanics? I would!
    “What about live teachers?” What about ’em? If they are good at what they do they will have jobs for life. If they aren’t good teachers they will go on to do something they’re actually good at. Good teachers won’t have to worry, there will always be room for them to tutor, to teach in private schools, to give lectures, to conduct research, to proctor video lectures, to mentor.

    “Well, where will the children go when the parents are at work”? That is the 1 Trillion dollar question, Joe!!! (I say that because I estimate that is what we are really spending each year in public schooling.) I have the 1 Trillion dollar answer!!! Are you ready for this? Where ever “you” put them!!!! You made ’em, you take care of ’em!!!! Ding-ding-ding!! PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

    7,800 years of teaching children at home or in parent directed private schools and all of a sudden we need “Public School”?!!!!! Why? Because we are smarter for it? Hogwash! Because we are better for it? Are you kidding me? Joe, the question you really should be asking yourself is, “is America better off with public schools or worse off with public schools”? You, and about 80,000,000 parents of school aged children are locked in a paradigm that children have to go to “School”. Who should know the needs of a child better, the parents or the teacher? Who cares more for the welfare of a child, the parent or the teacher?

    Joe, homeschoolers have ripped open the magic lamp of the “Public School Paradigm” and it is going to be very hard to put that genie back in the bottle. Homeschoolers have very little assets, very little money, and very little help from anyone, yet they soundly trounced public and private schools in every area! The movement has so shaken the system that the U.S. Bureau of statistics conducted a study to determine how many homeschoolers there are and what the growth of the movement looks like. Their report is very telling. It gives the reader the clear message that homeschoolers have the government very, very worried. They say things like “Homeschoolers are largely made up of one income families, with one parent in business for himself or herself and the other teaching. It gives a picture of how many families fit that profile. They were worried that everyone would want to join in the movement. They seemed relieved when they came to their conclusion that we were going to be limited to a certain amount of families homeschooling because if its limitations. Its as if they were trying to minimize the damages. Homeschoolers rock! And it isn’t because they are so intelligent, its because the public school system stinks!!!

    Do you know why “public school” is so important to the government? Because if one parent from every home stayed home to raise their own children the government would be in very, very big trouble…for a lot of reasons.

    First, the NEA would be crawling up the government’s you-know-what like a angry gastroenterologist with Giant hands! 10,000,000 people work in the public education system! There are 4,000,000+ members of the NEA. Do you think they wouldn’t absolutely come unglued if the government did anything to help parents teach and raise their own children?

    If you were a government official, would you want to tick off 10,000,000 people in one shot? That would seem like political suicide. (It might be real suicide, you might just get shot over that one.)

    Think about the waste in that system, Joe. Didn’t we just spend $40,000,000 on a new high school? Wow, give that money to homeschoolers and stand back. If you think the disparity in test scores is bad now, give the homeschoolers $20,000 per year per kid and watch what happens. If you did that the only way you could really measure the difference would be to have public school kids take tests that are designed for homeschool kids, because the public school tests would just be way too easy.

    Joe, did you know, that the average 8th grade homeschool student, who has been taught at home all the way through school, is 4 years ahead of public school students? Joe, they are doing that with hardly any money! The parents are just sacrificing the second income! Which brings me to the second reason government would be in a lot of trouble. Or at least they think they would be.

    They “want” both husband and wife working. Just imagine a 30 to 40 percent dip in our GDP. Isn’t that what would happen if moms came home from work and raised their children (Or dads). What would happen to the tax base? They don’t realize that if we returned to the old days, grandma and grandpa wouldn’t be put in nursing homes, but would end up living in our homes, where they would contribute to the education and upbringing of our children. Which would also cut down on “entitlement spending”. Remember those 10,000,000 people? They would have to find employment where they had to produce something. I am willing to bet that there could be models developed for a scenario where parents were responsible for their own children’s education that would actually increase productivity of the nation while reducing our costs for production. You would end up with less per capita prison populations, less homelessness, less depression, less anxiety, less crime, and a happier society. But government is afraid of what would happen if they began to favor parent directed childhood education. But, Joe, kids wouldn’t be the only one’s learning! My wife is working her way through school for the fourth and fifth time. She went through school when she was a child. Then she went through school with my older sons. Now, she is going back through with my youngest children. She teaches every grade and practically every subject. She is amazing! She knows so much it would blow your mind! Its scary! My Children know things that blow me away! Its like they are on mental steroids or something.

    All that being said, “homeschooling” is still in the stone age. We could have campuses just like college, where parents and students could interact with other families and with guest speakers and instructors (So that we don’t become hermits), but where parents are in charge of everything. There is so much that could be developed with just one generation of public school spending, properly directed, that we could abolish public indoctrination in this country forever. Government could make a graceful bow out of education and parents would be responsible for raising their own children, including the expense.

    Corporations would probably sponsor the brightest children’s education, regardless of social status, because they want the brightest and best minds to get the best education. They would also sponsor scholarships to help defray some of the costs for the not so wonderful brain’s education. “But what about the not-so-bright minds”? Mommas will know what to do to help them find their way as well. There is no profit in trying to make someone with a 60 IQ into a rocket scientist. All you are going to do if you try is waste money and time, irritate yourself, and frustrate the kid.

    The third reason the government would be in trouble is because the left leaning, ACLU crowd would get so angry that they no longer have public education as a vehicle to teach our children lies as truth that their heads would start spinning around on their shoulders, their eyes would pop out and their face would peel off. No more teaching children that we came from some ooze or from a monkey. No more teaching them Leftist morals. No more propagating liberalism through mass indoctrination. No more control of society through control of children. Without schools the radical left would be virtually powerless in just 12 to 20 years. If children realized that there is an intelligent designer that created all of this they would realize they are precious and valuable and they have worth. They would realize there is meaning to their lives. That their life counts for something. They would never feel that they are nothing more than another heard of two legged cattle being herded through life at the end of the shock stick called ” big government”.

    Joe, government isn’t the answer…God is the answer, you are the answer, I am the answer, and the people are the answer, but government is not the answer. Government isn’t meant to be our answer. Government is meant to empower us, to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves, and to play referee. We can teach our children and we can teach ourselves. We don’t need institutional learning. Institutional learning is very limiting and it produces very marginal results when compared to what is possible. Government is a wonderful, beautiful, necessary thing in the human experience. But when government forays into any aspect of life that it doesn’t belong it becomes ugly, overbearing, and oppressive.

    One of the last places on earth you should want your children is in “public” school. I thank God that I have had the ability to keep my children at home. I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to watch my children grow up. (We have had our times that were not so good, but I wouldn’t trade for anything.)

    Public, Private, and homeschool are all in the stone ages, Joe. We need to work toward bringing it into the 21st century.

  39. Nathan Clariday

    When will the Franklin suit appear in court or has it been settled?

  40. Butch Huber

    Sorry Joe, I did respond, I guess my response ended up in never-never land somewhere. I was waiting for my post to go up, thinking Publius was taking the weekend off.

    I will answer again.

    Joe, you hit the nail on the head. I think “public” Schools, in their current form at least, should be abolished. I don’t think they should ever have been started.

    This country had a literacy rate of about 97% before public schools were started, and from the last information I have received, the literacy rate today stands somewhere between 90% and 94%.

    Public schools didn’t start as a means of educating the masses to their fullest potential, Joe, they were started by Captains of Industry to educate willing workers for the industrial complex.

    I suggest you do an exhaustive study on the history of American public education. I suggest that you read “The Underground History of American Education”, “None Dare Call It Education”, and “Dumbing us down”. They are eye-opening books that are very telling of what our education system is really about. If you really study the education system in this country you will find connections to Marxism, Nazism, communism, socialism, and other anti-capitalist organizations…even though the public school system was started by America’s most wealthy people. Do the research on people like John Dewey, Horace Mann, Kant, Nietzsche,and Hegel and observe their connection to “public school”.
    Observe how unions have used the education system in this country to serve its ends.

    Joe, the American public education system is a battle ground, not a place for learning. As a liberal, you might well enjoy the public school system, for it certainly tends to your left leaning mindset. However, as a conservative, the Public School system in this country is very counter-culture to my beliefs and mindset. Joe, if the reverse were true, and you saw the public school system as nothing but a right leaning propaganda machine, indoctrinating child after child, generation after generation, with ideology that was counter to your beliefs, and if you saw that system as hopelessly incurable, wouldn’t you want to see it abolished?

    Unions were able to put laws in place to force compulsory attendance in Schools. In 1925, Catholics were able to form “private schools” and escape the public system, but most of the rest of us were stuck. By 1938, with the passage of the fair labor standards act, we had compulsory attendance in public school, or a private school, 180 days out of the year.

    Joe, tell me how compulsory attendance laws aren’t in violation of the 4th Amendment? I mean, isn’t the government really incarcerating our youth 8 hours every day? If the government were to compel you to be at a certain place 8 hours every day, five days per week, for a total of 180 days of forced presence in any place other than where you wanted to be, wouldn’t you feel violated?

    Read about the things that they are teaching our children in school today. The 9th circuit judge said that parents don’t have a right to interfere with what the school is teaching our own children in Public School. Joe, the public education system in this country is a left wing indoctrination system, not a place for free thinkers to learn and form their own views and opinions.

    Today, public education is teaching to the lowest level. Meanwhile, the brightest minds are not being fed the kind of information that will enable them to lead this country, and the world, to the next great advances.

    I challenge you to take the time to actually read the books I have suggested. I bet you end up amazed.

    Joe, I envision a day where there will be thousands upon thousands of different types of schools across this nation. Some with only one student (home school); some with a few students (a place where children of like gifts, talents, abilities, focus, interests, and callings are taught toward those traits, rather than being melded into mediocrity through a socialist indoctrination mechanism.); some will consist of hundreds of students who share a common campus, where they study particular interests, share ideas and thoughts, and interact with one another socially, all the while being guarded over by parents; some that are actually contained in businesses and research centers, where the brightest minds in the world can be taught things that are of real interest to them while they are helping solve some real world problems and while they are actually using the skills and knowledge they are being taught; I envision many, many variations for education. And I am willing to give room to parents who want to indoctrinate their children, rather than educate their children, meaning that they have parental rights just like I have parental rights, and if they want indoctrination instead of really educating their child, so be it. (It would be cruel, in my estimation, to indoctrinate a child rather than educate them, but without that freedom for those parents, the world would suffer a greater loss…the freedom of choice for the rest of us.)

    There is something on the way called “the Grid”, which is going to make the internet seem like it is standing still. It will be 10,000 times faster than broadband internet. It is so fast that they suspect that it will allow holographic conferencing in real time. It will be like the person you are talking to is actually in the room with you.

    Imagine that kind of technology being used to educate. We could go out and get the world’s foremost expert in each subject, have them work on a lecture project that is video taped, develop answers to commonly asked questions and develop patch programs with videos of the lecturer giving the answers to the questions. Children will be able to sit in their houses or school campuses, or wherever, and watch the lecture. If they have questions they will be able to simply ask the question and the patch program with the answer will play, and when done, the program will resume as if the question was never asked. Students will be able to watch the tape over and over at home, they will be able to rewind the tape and go over a part they didn’t understand until they finally understand it. If they have a question that a patch program hasn’t been developed for, a message will go out to either the lecturer or an attendant who will find the answer for the student.

    We could have some serious competition in education if we weren’t spending so much on bureaucracy. Think about it, Joe, if a person were to develop a program that only 10% of the students used in their education, and if the person developing the program only received 10 dollars per student per year, he or she would make around $5,000,000 per year! The program would probably be useful for 10 to 20 years, depending on the subject matter, so he or she might make as much as $50,000,000 to $100,000,000 off of that one subject. We could have complete video series for each subject a student needs to learn for about $60 to $80 per year per student! Joe, we are currently spending about $20,000 per student per year and we are getting horrible results!

    Joe, there are so many choices that could be made available for education it is mind blowing. The reason that they aren’t out on the street is because the government isn’t interested in losing control of the child. The ACLU isn’t interested in losing control of the child.

    The government needs families to have two income families, Joe. At least they think they do. They need the tax base. We were largely a one income society until the early 70’s, then we went to two incomes. What have we gained? Nothing! What have we lost? We lost the family! So much as happened to tear at the fabric of our nation since the 1950’s. Public education is a flawed concept at best. It isn’t a failed institution, because it is doing exactly what it was designed to do, but it is a “flawed” institution.

    Parental choice is the answer to education. Personal responsibility for the children we bring into the world is the answer. Free enterprise creating competition in education is the answer. Government run indoctrination centers are not the answer…they never were, and likely never will be.

    Separation of Church and State is the reason government is able to hang on to control over education. They control the purse strings over education, and as such, they control what is learned.

    I say that it is in the best interest of America to depoliticize education (and everything else we can depoliticize) by taking it out of the control of government. Let parents control where money is spent on education.

    Chris, Joe and I aren’t having a “debate”. I tried to have a debate, Joe wouldn’t “debate”. I have tried to “debate” you too. But you ended up getting nasty and personally attacking me instead.

    Chris, are you willing to “debate” me on the topic of education? Are you willing to “debate” me on anything?

    Joe, you are looking for your answers in the wrong place when you look to government. Again, government run properly is a beautiful thing, but it has to stay within the lines. Remember when you went to school and they were teaching you how to color with Crayons? They told you to stay inside the lines. They got it wrong! You should be able to draw any picture you want, when the picture is your life. Government needs to stay inside the lines!

    Government schools are forcing teachers to teach evolution. Evolution is a concept that has been proven. No self-respecting scientist believes in “evolution” today. They may not know the “Truth” yet, but they certainly know that evolution isn’t the truth. Joe, why on earth would anyone want to send their children to a place where they are going to be taught lies?

    Joe, I really enjoy the questions. They are great questions. In the end, I want “you” to be empowered, not the government.

  41. Joe Fleenor

    I’m going to have to read this a few more times to take it all in. I’m not going to comment one way or the other until I totally get what you’re saying.

    However, I do have one question (that has a couple of extras with it). What are your thoughts on private schools? Are any sort of institutions that teach large groups of children a bad idea in your opinion? Should all children be taught individually?

  42. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    I believe that private schools today, as I understand them, are too much of a reflection of “public school”. It is time for real innovation in education.

    I believe in private schools, but only to the degree that they provide “education” as per a parent’s direction. If they are able to accomplish that in large groups, great! But if they take on the role of the parent in a child’s life they have gone too far.

    I believe we have become way, way too dependent on “government” to tell us what to think, how to learn, where to live, what to do, how to act.

    I think children could benefit from a mixture of environments, if their interaction with the mixture of environments is carefully scrutinized and controlled by the child’s parents. What I am saying, Joe, is that I want “you”, not the “government” to be in charge of your children. However, I also want you to be responsible and accountable for their actions as well.

    We need to tear down the school house walls. We need to be able to employ as many mechanisms as possible to give children the best education possible, while at the same time, refrain from “Forced Social indoctrination”. I don’t want to force you to let me teach your children compassionate capitalism any more than I want someone to force me to let them teach my children secular socialism. I am not afraid of my children being made aware of anything and everything that exists in the universe, I just don’t want them to be taught things that aren’t true as if they are fact.

    Let me give you another example of what the “Public School” model does to children. One, it grades them. You might as well take out a stamp and mark their forehead. This one is “Grade A”, that one over there is “Grade B”, and then there is Mark over there, he is “Grade F”. Two, it places false values on children. There is no more or less personal value in a scientist than there is in a lumberjack, but schools will make you think that there is.

    We should be teaching children how to live a life that will make them “Happy”, not teach them how to fit into a certain “mold”. Sure, they should be functional, and should make a contribution to society, but they should endeavor to be “Content and happy” so they can enjoy the process of living. When you set an arbitrary set of requirements on a child, then grade them based on how well they measure up to those arbitrary sets of requirements, you establish a clear mental image in the child’s mind that you are grading him/her against an “Ideal” state. Who gets to choose what the “Ideal” state is? Education should endeavor to find out how each child is wired, what makes them tick, and then help the child become the best they can be at what they are individually wired to become. That is hard to do in a system like the “public school system”. But that doesn’t mean that large classrooms and large institutions can’t be used as part of your tool chest to develop that child.

    School should be something that kids “want” to do, not something that we “make” them do. I mean, when is the last time a parent had to fight with a child to get them to play a video game? They don’t “have” to play video games, they “want” to play video games. Learning should be a blast. It also shouldn’t be something that we do to get a degree so that we can get a job, but rather something that continues throughout our lives. We should never quit learning. If you tear down the school house walls, and re-invent education, you can have whole life learning.

    Many people have a lot to say about Rob Shearer, both good and bad, but I know the man, I have shared nearly 7 years with him, I find him and his wife to be among some of the brightest, most well informed, well educated people I have ever met. I could sit and listen to Rob and Cindy talk about history for hours. Man, do they know history. But what they know didn’t come just through school, they continue to read, study and learn.
    That is what it is like being around “home schoolers”. It is amazing what these folks know.

    Homeschool isn’t a new thing, but it has become a “revolutionary” thing. Revolutionary in that society had so far removed themselves from parent directed education that when people started doing it again it seemed alien to them. “YOUR GONNA DO WHAT?!!!””” “YOUR KIDS ARE GONNA BE STUPID!!!!”” “THAT IS AGAINST THE LAW!!!””” That is what we heard. Today, people marvel at the accomplishments of homeschoolers, and I am here to tell you that we have just gotten started. We haven’t scratched the surface of what is possible.

    We should not only be developing systems of learning for “American Citizens”, we can provide education to the entire world!!! In my previous example I gave the profit motive for developing education programs for our children, but remember, the United States only represents about one-twentieth of the world’s people. Education can be a bridge that brings all people together in a common bond. Ignorance of the beauty of the uniqueness of other cultures, the intricacy of other governments and cultures, the nuances that make us unique, is the root of hostility in the world. Rather than learning to co-exist, and embrace the things we agree on and savour our differences, we bump up against one another in ignorant hostility. Education can be used to help cut down on the times we step on each other’s toes. You learn a lot about a person when you observe what they are learning about and when you understand “why” they are learning it.

    Governments can’t bridge the gap between the peoples of the world alone. Government’s bump up against each other way more than the people of the different countries bump up against each other. Governments trying to change the people of other cultures leads to war. One person embracing another and sharing their position with them leads to understanding. Education, teaching facts, without injecting religion or political opinions, can be made to be universal. It can be made to be vivid and real, it can be made to be exciting and very interesting. Education, teaching values and morals, religion and politics, not as the “best” way, but to make people familiar with other cultures, so as to provide the student with an understanding of that culture, can be very valuable.

    The world is getting smaller and smaller. One Hundred Fifty years ago it would take a long time to get a message to someone in China. You would have to have someone interpret the letter for you. You would have to wait for the letter to be responded to, then you would once again need it to be interpreted for you. Today, you can probably send a message to someone in China, have a computer program re-write it for you, get it to the person in their language, and do it in seconds. In ten years time, with innovations like the grid, you will have that person holographically sitting in your living room, and you in theirs, holding a virtual meeting with one another, just like you were visiting with them in person, except you won’t be able to touch them. (what a shame we can’t overcome that one)

    Joe, it is time to set the children free, free from government oversight, free from liberal and conservative mindnapping, free from atheistic and religious warfare, free from being held hostage on the battlefield of the heart and mind. Our greatest hope is that our children will learn to co-exist in a world where they can grow to become whatever they are wired to become without any strings attached to them, without government oppression, without guilt, without shame, without regrets.

    None of this is to suggest that I believe that people should be able to do whatever they want, because that is not the case, but it is to say that I believe with all my heart that “government” is not the answer.

    As a Christian, there are a lot of things in the world that I disagree with. There are a lot of things that I see as “problems”, but I don’t believe “government” is the answer to the problems. I believe in the omnipotence of God to overcome the problems of the world. I believe that we need to be about the business of discovering and understanding his ways and the creation He made, and let Him be God. Government should be of very, very little influence in our lives. It is necessary, government is very “necessary”, but its impact on our lives should be very incidental.

    I am not naive enough to believe that there aren’t radical religious people in the world that want to kill me for my beliefs, but I believe that there are more people in the world who want religious freedom than there are people who want religious domination. You can’t change a person’s heart with power and strength, you can only change a person’s heart with love. If you tear down the walls of the school house you can build a model through which the world can really get to know one another. Once we get to know one another we can learn to accept one another. When we get to a point where we accept one another we can learn to love one another. When we get to a point where we have a genuine compassion for one another, we won’t be so inclined to kill one another. When the treat to kill one another is reduced, the waste of spending hundreds of billions of dollars each year on militaries won’t be necessary. That money can then be spent on things that actually improve life rather than on things that end life.

    We will never get there by making little Johnny sit in his desk with his feet in front of him all day, every day.

    Long answer to your question, but I think you are really asking for the insight, not just the “opinion”. I’m not against private schools, nor institutions that teach large groups of children, but I am against the limitations that typically come with them.

  43. Butch Huber

    Joe, I have answered your questions. Will you answer mine?

    Let’s try this one. Is it morally right for government to tax me so they can spend money on something I oppose, when that something is an item that government doesn’t really “have” to be involved with? If yes, explain. If No, explain.

  44. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    Are you there?

  45. Joe Fleenor

    Hey Butch, I’m here. I’ve just been extremely busy with work and I’m not at home until tomorrow (Thursday) evening. Plus, today is my birthday! I have time to come on here and check the recent posts, but I don’t have time to compose a post. I promise I’ll respond as soon as I can (hopefully tomorrow).

    Don’t worry, I’m here for the long haul.

    What about others? Why isn’t anyone else chiming in?

  46. Lori Ruotolo

    I’ve always wondered if it would work to pay taxes, but get to choose which projects each of my own tax dollars goes to. So a person could choose between different government approved projects/benefits to spread their tax money out to and then choose what they feel is important.

  47. Butch Huber

    Lori,

    I don’t think we have ever heard from you on RadioFree until now. I am glad you posted.

    I don’t know what you mean when you say “work”. If you mean “I wonder if the government could set it up so that we could choose where our money goes”? The answer is “yes”, they could do that. If by “Work” you mean, I wonder if everyone would be happy with that scenario, the answer is “no”. That is, if by “everyone” you include “me”.

    I believe in “government”, but I believe that government should only be as big as it absolutely has to be in order to provide for the people the things that only “government” “can” provide, and that “must” be provided by “government”.

    I believe whenever government takes one red cent from any citizen, and puts it into a project that government doesn’t have to be involved with, it is improperly using its power. I believe at that point government has gone from “governing” to “directing” and “influencing” society and “benefitting” and “favoring” certain sectors of society.

    I believe you are on the right track, but you got on the wrong train, Lori. The right track is the one that says: “people should have control over their own finances”. I believe you were at the right “depot”. But then you got on the train with the words “Big G” painted on the side, which stands for “Big Government”. Under your scenario, government would ultimately have thousands and thousands of different approved items for you to spend your money on. They would end up saying, “we have to tax even more now because we aren’t putting a dent in the need that all of these special groups have”.

    Lori, I think that people who rely on government to extract money from the hands of the people of this nation, so that government can ensure that there is money available to provide to those in need and to fund special interest projects, believe that those with money wouldn’t “donate” money to special causes without taxation. However, even with a government that is taxing us quite heavily, we are by far the most generous nation in the entire world, and have been for a long, long time.

    Lori, you really don’t need government to take any more money from you than what it really needs to do what its real function is, do you? Wouldn’t you rather have a dollar in your pocket than in the pocket of good ol’ Uncle Sam? Wouldn’t you really rather have “total choice”, rather than “government approved choice”?

    The left thinks that it can devise a way to extract money from the rich and give it to the poor. While it is true that they can construct laws in a way to get “some” of the money of the rich, they are fooling themselves if they think that the money they are extracting is more than the losses incurred by trying to soak the rich. You can’t solve the financial or other problems of this nation by trying to “stick it to the rich”. Lori, I am not saying that you are on the left, or that you are trying to “stick it to the rich”. I am just saying; “the left” in this country seem to want to stick it to the rich. What they end up doing is “sticking it to the middle class”. Nothing you do, short of a revolution, is going to take from the rich in this country to give to the poor. Trying to take from the rich is a waste of time and money! It costs jobs, it costs labor, it costs money, it costs time, it costs opportunity, it costs us as a society…stop relying on government to do for society what society can do for itself! (I am not screaming my fingers off at you Lori. I am trying to influence anyone reading this post to get them to think about their position.)

    Competent Consumerism, Shrewd Consumerism, mixed with philanthropy and altruism, with a nice smattering of community and societal citizen involvement, service, and activism, will help to solve the things that “government is woefully inadequate in solving”. By taking away from government all things that don’t belong, the government all of a sudden has much less to focus on. We would be able to see more clearly what they are doing with our money and how well they are doing it. Citizens need to be in control of government, not the other way around. (Being a politician should be something people do as a service to the country, state, community. It should be something that you do as a duty. It shouldn’t be something that you do so that you can inflict your personal agenda upon the people. But that is what politics are today, aren’t they? Isn’t it true that the vast majority of the people who run for political office do so to work toward building their own personal utopia? I think politicians should have to wear a uniform. It should have black and white vertical stripes on the shirt and black pants. I think they should all have a whistle tied around their neck. Every time government begins to go into an area it doesn’t belong they should blow the whistle, yell “out of bounds”, and then take the political ball and put it back in the center of the “court”, which in our case would be in the center of the house or senate.)

    If government gets involved in something it shouldn’t be involved with it typically winds up with waste. I am not busting on the government worker. I am saying that there are too many levels of bureaucracy and too much red tape in government for it to be effective or efficient in those areas that government has no business being involved with.

    Bring things down to the community level where citizens can get involved…have to get involved…and all of a sudden you can get things done quicker, better, and more cost effectively (if government “empowers” them).

    A lot of people don’t have money to give, but they can give “time” and “effort”. They can also give “expertise”. For a huge portion of society, what the can “personally” contribute through their efforts completely overshadows what the government can extract from them “financially”. I am not suggesting that government “force” people to do anything. I am suggesting that we begin to work to create “Community” in this country by requiring something from the citizen in the community if the citizen wants to enjoy the benefits of living in this country.

    I project that government could be pared back to about 40% of its current size if it weren’t involved in so many social projects. If we were able to cut down taxation by 60% we might be able to go back to one income families again. I can hear it now; “he is trying to take us back to caveman days, where the man goes out and kills something and drags it home, grabs the wife by the hair on the way in the cave, and drags both the dead animal and the wife into the cave.” That is simply not the case. If you want to go work 40 to 50 hours each week, more power to you, no matter which gender “you” are. I just believe that it is better to have choices in this area. I am certain that children grow up better for having at least one parent in the home with them all day than they do being put in day care. (I will probably draw a lot of flack from that one). I also believe that a lot more marriages would stay together if one person was able to avoid the pressures of the work-a-day life and focus on the home and community.

    The more government gets involved in the social aspects of this nation, the more the social aspects become “sterile”. The only end that government can reach is the place where we agree to disagree as a society, but a place both sides can “live” (Put up with) with. That is not the “right” position for society to be in, it is the “accepted” position.

    I will give you an example. Let’s suppose you are in favor of government spending a bunch of money on ending homelessness in this country and that I am against government even being involved in the homelessness issue. You could go on and on about how homelessness leads to crime and violence, and about how inhumane it is for this country to be so wealthy and yet have so many people living out on the streets. And I would agree with you up to that point. But when you say that it will take government intervention to solve that problem, you and I will have just figured out we are both on the right track, but we are riding in very different trains. My train allows for churches, mosques, synagogs, temples, and civic organizations to take care of those issues…which is anything by “sterile”. Your train (and I am not suggesting that this is how you feel, this is pretend) leads to generic solutions that really don’t get to the heart of the causes for homelessness. Government largely has to treat the symptoms (and to a large degree that is all it wants to do, treating symptoms ensures constancy of purpose…which in government is to keep yourself gainfully employed and to justify the need for more top level managers), whereas, churches, mosques, synagogs, temples, and civic organizations can treat the “Cause” of a matter. (That isn’t to say that there wouldn’t be waste in the private sector, because there would be. However, we can put our money where we know it is doing what “we” want it to do, so if there is waste, you can turn off the money spigot. More importantly…”you” can put your money where your heart is, and so can “I”. And we can both do it without government “approval”.

    Government is supposed to be our servant, our protector, our guard, our referee, and when necessary, our enforcer…but it is never, never ever, never ever ever, supposed to be our “master”….not in this country.

    Why have the government take my money, your money, our money, put in in a pot, and then tell us which organizations we can send it to? Why not just pay government what it absolutely needs in order to do its job, the one it is designed to do, and then save, invest and spend your money on whatever you want and give it away to whomever you want, and let me do the same? Why does the government have to be involved in what we do with the “rest” of our money?

    Does the left feel that they won’t be able to fund their special interests without over-taxification (I know, I made that up) of the people? Does the left feel that there is only one way to solve problems in our society….”Theirs”. I say, let the left spend their money their way, and let the right spend their money their way, and then watch as the masses start gravitating toward the middle. The vast majority of the masses are not “really” so polarized…it is political parties and media that are polarizing our nation. Depoliticize as many things as you can and the news and politics will get very, very boring.

    You see, I can accept that those who are currently on the left are left of me, and that they believe things I don’t believe, but until they stop trying to “force” me to see things their way and “force” me to accept things their way, and until they stop using government to “force” me to subsidize their way against my will, we will be at odds with one another. I am sure that those on the left can say the same thing about the right.

    The left/right thing is very much the same as the black/white thing in a lot of ways. No matter how hard I try, I will never fully understand what it is like to be black in this society. I simply can’t do it. I am not black, I wasn’t raised in a black neighborhood, I didn’t have to deal with things black people deal with, I don’t have to look at the future through their eyes. How could I understand, I mean “fully understand” what it is like to be “Black”. The Black community will never fully understand me, either. No matter how hard we try, we will never really understand what it is like to be the other. But that doesn’t mean that we can work together to build a society that is “Right” (this time I am using the term “Right” as in “Correct”, “just”, “equitable”, “fair”, “even”, “proper”, etc.) Same is true for the Right/left thing. I grew up in a very, very left area of this nation. When it came to politics, I never-ever got it? I just couldn’t understand how those people around me, that wonderful, very, very large circle of family and friends, could be so right (correct) about so many things and yet be so wrong politically. I just couldn’t understand it. I still don’t. I am sure they say; “I never understood how Butch could have missed the boat on the political issues”.

    I think the single biggest issue of all that separates left from right today is Abortion. You may think differently, but that is what I think. I think the Abortion issue so violently drives people to the radical, extremist fringes of both political parties that it causes a great chasm in the center. I can’t ascribe to anything that “authorizes” the killing of unborn children. I just can’t do it. I believe it is murder. I will always believe it is murder. I just can’t agree with it. Those on the left, especially the radical left, will never agree with me that abortion should be illegal. Unless we overcome that one central issue, either by agreeing that it should be illegal or by somehow depoliticizing it, or by some other means, we will always and forevermore be polarized. In other words, no matter how much we work on the “Financial issues” to bring us closer, if we don’t overcome the “Abortion issues” we will remain just as far apart as we are today. While I believe Abortion should be illegal, and the left wants it to be legal, we should all be able to agree that Abortion is a tragic event that should be eliminated through the elimination of the need for Abortion. I can’t legislate a person’s heart. But through family and community, through ministry, through friendship, through love, through societal influences, we can greatly diminish “Abortion”, and thereby greatly diminish its influence in the political spectrum.

    If we are going to take as much of the societal issues off-line (depoliticize) as we can, we need to work hard to answer the question: “how can we work together to fix the Abortion issues and take “abortion” off-line”? I believe with every fiber of my being that Abortion should not be legal in America, but the real thing I want to see end is Abortion. The left should have the same goal, whether it is legal or not. But, that having been said, the government shouldn’t ever even think of using my money to pay for an abortion.

  48. Butch Huber

    Folks,

    Did you hear that great ripping sound? The one created when the democrats actually said that they were considering a “second stimulus package”, the ripping sound that was created when the veil that had hidden the truth from half of America was torn to pieces?!!! What just happened was the democratic equivalent to a “surrender”!!! They finally understand that putting money in the hands of consumers, rather than wasting it on government programs, helps the economy!!! That’s why they call it an “economic stimulus” package…because it stimulates the economy!!! Now, I am sure they will manipulate and play with things in a left-handed way, but they can never retreat from the idea that we are better than they are at dealing with our money in this country!!!

    This has been a monumental moment in the history of our country and it has largely gone unnoticed! The democrats are actually acting like the rebates were their idea! I don’t agree with the rebate thing, because I don’t believe they should take more money from me than they really need in the first place, but the idea that our money in our hands is better than our money in government’s hands has finally been established as “truth and fact” once an for all!!

    Bells should be ringing across the country. The republicans should be shouting from rooftops. This truly is a cause for jubilation! Break out the fireworks, the hot dogs, the apple pie, the baseballs and baseball bats. It is time for an American celebration!! VICTORY!!! I believe that the day the speaker of the house came out and stated that they, the democrats, were considering another economic stimulus package should go down in history as VA day, for Victory in America!!! You, yes “you”, average American Citizen, have been declared our best hope for our economic future in America. The war has been fought and has been won by the radical idealists that believe in the American Citizen! Victory is ours!!!

    Read the story and you will see that the Republican President is saying “let’s wait to see how the first package takes effect first”!?!?! The world has turned upside down!!! The democrats are wanting to give us back more of our money than the republicans want to give us!!!! Someone stop this ride, I’m getting dizzy!!! Did I wake up in another country???

    Now, if we could only get them to stop taking so much money in the first place, we could really accomplish something in this country! Stop taxing America as a solution to all our problems and watch the American Citizen solve the world’s problems, one person, one city, one county, one state, then one country at a time.

    Capitalism, mixed with compassion, will be the vehicle that ushers in the future in this world. We can overcome anything with the help of God, and with a system that enables and empowers those who are willing and able to stand and do the right thing.

    Thank you Nancy Pelosi and this democratically controlled congress…Man, those are words I never thought I would ever hear coming from me!!!

  49. Joe Fleenor

    Ok Butch, I’ve been thinking long and hard about our little debate about what role the government should play and what our tax dollars should go towards. I’ve created two or three outlines of possible responses that I could give you on how I feel and the arguments I can make to defend my opinions. After creating these outlines and on the cusp of writing a long, detailed explanation of my views on the issue, it hit me. I can provide a summary in a very short, concise statement:

    The thought of wanting people to become responsible for their own actions and for private entities to step up to the plate and provide those services that you feel as though the government should not provide is unrealistic.

    Let’s take public schools for example. You claim that our public schools are not providing the type of education that our children needs and that we’re not helping them become individuals. You think that parents should take an active role in the education of their children and talk about how great of an experience your family has had with home-schooling. My argument against that is that you are in the minority, and you always will be. Most families have two full-time working parents. Some families only have one parent supporting their children. It is unrealistic to expect all parents to take what you call “personal responsibility” and educate their children. Social and economic factors play a huge role in this equation and it’s not as simple as saying “you created ’em, you take the responsibility”.

    I still can’t get over the topic of discussion we’ve been having about what the government should provide for the American citizens. I see so many things that the government provides (that I typically agree with) that you are completely against. For example, you are probably against government entities enticing businesses to their communities, correct? Should we not spend money and offer incentives for these companies to come to our communities? What about the job growth that it provides for the citizens? What about all the other benefits that comes along with having new businesses move to your city/state/nation? I think these are good things.

  50. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    Thanks for the surrender. I wouldn’t have thought that you would have conceded so easily.

    You probably don’t even know that you surrendered, do you?

    Observe:

    You said:

    “Ok Butch, I’ve been thinking long and hard about our little debate about what role the government should play and what our tax dollars should go towards. I’ve created two or three outlines of possible responses that I could give you on how I feel and the arguments I can make to defend my opinions. After creating these outlines and on the cusp of writing a long, detailed explanation of my views on the issue, it hit me. I can provide a summary in a very short, concise statement:

    The thought of wanting people to become responsible for their own actions and for private entities to step up to the plate and provide those services that you feel as though the government should not provide is unrealistic.”

    You also said:

    “It is unrealistic to expect all parents to take what you call “personal responsibility” and educate their children. ”

    You also said:

    “You (meaning me) think that parents should take an active role in the education of their children and {you, meaning me} talk about how great of an experience your family has had with home-schooling. My argument against that is that you are in the minority, and you always will be.”

    Joe, you took the position that I am “wrong” because what I propose is “unrealistic”. What is absent is the argument that I am “wrong” because I am “wrong”. You stated that you thought long and hard on this, which I take as meaning that you really searched for answers, your best answers, and you wrote out several outlines for your response, and were about to write a long dissertation on why I am wrong and you are right, and you came to the conclusion that the best way to answer me, I assume you would use your best argument, especially when you use it to form a short and concise response, was to say that the reason I am wrong is that my position is “unrealistic”. In other words, based on your response here, at the same time that you disagree with me on the basis that what I propose is “unrealistic”, and since you offer no other reasoning to prove that I am wrong, you are saying that if my position “were” realistic, it would be ideal.

    Joe, I think we have had a break-thru. Now, all we have to do is make the “impossible”, “possible”, and that’s easy. We certainly have a lot of examples of how to do that. Shall I list them?

    x-rays
    Television
    Radio
    printing presses
    motor cars
    engines
    trains
    boats
    planes
    satellites
    lasers
    telephones
    guns
    missles
    space travel
    atomic bombs
    democracy
    computers
    e-mail
    video
    electricity
    video games
    radar
    sonar

    These were all “unrealistic” to most people. It is always amazing how many people are willing to tell those who are doing something that it “can’t be done”.

    Shall I continue with more examples? I will if you want me to, but I think you get the point.

    Joe, now that we are on the same side, let’s start a club of reformed liberals and let’s do something great together.

  51. Joe Fleenor

    I like you Butch. You combat arguments that same way that I would if I were in your position. It’s funny and I appreciate it. While we disagree on this issue, I do see where you’re coming from and if I believed what you did and somebody was debating me on it, I would have said the exact same thing.

    When I say that it is “unrealistic” to do the things you’re referring to, I reference the fact of the social and economic differences among families. You are in the minority in what all you can do. I want you to comment on those social and economic differences amongst families today and how those parents that both work, or those families with only one parent who has to work two jobs to support her children, can do what you’re proposing. I just don’t see it being possible. Throw in the fact that you want families to purchase the GRID (something I don’t believe in) and it only helps argue my point that what you’re proposing is unrealistic.

  52. Lori Ruotolo

    Hi Butch,

    Let me start by saying that I agree with everything you mention in your post to me. Yes, I am on the conservative side of politics and am against abortion. I have 2 children and one only needs to look upon the face of a sleeping child to realize all that is good in the world (even if that child is a terror while awake).

    I also have to side with Joe on a few things. It’s one of my dreamworlds that we would have the government not controlling so many issues. As a nation, we’ve been programmed to think we need the government controlling us. Those of us that admit we’ve been fed misinformation are the minority. I’ll go by the Ron Paul numbers and say we are maybe 9% of the population at most. So, I am struck with a harsh reality that I will have an uphill battle in reducing the government’s controls. I’ve taken a losing side just for the sake of what was right in the past and am not afraid to continue to do so.

    Homeschooling is great if you can do that but I don’t consider it feasable for everyone. I also don’t agree in a public school system and would prefer more private school options with smaller class sizes and unstructured time and curriculums. In my own case, my son has special schooling requirements and neither I, my husband (who stays home with our childen) nor our school system is qualified to handle those issues. Unfortunately, the only working school costs $600 a day. We’ve opted to send him to public school under a special contract with the school system, partially teach him at home and bring in special tutors in order to meet his needs in an affordable way.

    As for the GRID. I am a computer security person by trade. Our current internet is one security issue away from full goverement control and any future projects are sure to have more monitoring features built in. I am in the middle of a good book right now. “The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it” by Jonathan Zittrain. The book talks about the ultimate government control of our internet if the current trends of fraud, spam and hacking continue. I’ll be glad to lend it to you when I’ve finished it. If we could complete the GRID, I would be the first in line to use all of its benefits.

    If you think there is more that our small minority can do to bring back the original design of the United States, I will be more than willing to listen.

    Lori

  53. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    When we started homeschooling our children I was in the Navy. I was flat broke, we lived in a trailer (mobile home), I had a truck and a small car. We mostly had what I call “stick furniture” (because half of our furniture was made of 2 x4 and 2 x 6’s, we had no savings, and we were going deeper and deeper into debt each year. Joe, I would venture to guess that most people who actually tune in to Radiofree are in a much better position than we were when we started. When I got out of the Navy, I went right into commissioned sales where I had no benefits. I worked very, very hard to learn sales and I clawed my way up. My wife taught the kids and I focused on making sure we had the money we needed.

    Joe, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was very, very difficult. Not much worthwhile in this world comes “easy”. And don’t think that my wife and I didn’t have battles over the one income thing either. I wanted her to get a job, Joe. I wanted a nice house, nice cars, nice things…”She” wouldn’t budge. Not an inch! She was right. It took me a very long time to figure out that she was right and I was wrong. In fact, it took a devastating tragedy in my life to figure that out.

    I had invested myself into building a business, it was going great, I was on my way to mega-wealth, literally, when the manager, one that I had invested everything in to get him to a certain place where he could play a vital role, used his unique access to my sales force to turn them against me. He ended up taking them with him and started another business. It was a tragic event in my life. It devastated me, Joe. Crushed me. I went through a massive depression over it. I grieved over my loss just like I would if my best friend in life had just died. I mean I really took it hard. I went through about 4 years of depression, 3 of which were massive. It wasn’t just about the loss in the business, once I started dealing with things I found that there was an awful lot of “junk” that I had to deal with. Finally, after 4 years in hell, I recovered.

    Joe, I am the type of guy that when I go through adversity I actively search for the opportunity, I know it is there, it’s always there. Opportunity is most often cloaked in a black cloud. I don’t like losing, but I can’t stand losing without finding opportunity. I believe that sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward. As long as you keep the ball going down the field, if you have to take one step back to take two steps forward, you need to do the Texas Two Step right into the end zone, Joe. Whatever it takes!

    Here is what I found out in that black cloud of my life called depression.

    1) Wealth is fleeting. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. One day your are rich and on top of the world, the next day you are broke, lying on your face with the whole world sitting on your back. If you are depending on wealth to validate you, you are asking for heartache and disappointment.
    2) Drawing your identity from “what you do”, rather than “who” you are, is a recipe for despair.
    3) Most people really aren’t that interested in what “you” are doing, they are interested in what “they” are doing.
    4) There are an awful lot of people out there who are suffering from depression and other issues…an awful lot of them. It really breaks your heart when you realize just how many people are suffering in a country as wealthy as ours and with all the opportunity we have,
    5) Depression and anxiety are very, very debilitating things. Being in a body cast wouldn’t be as debilitating to me as going through a depression debilitated me, Joe.
    6) When I was laid bare, and I was laid bare, when the thing that I was working on was taken from me, I had to do some real soul searching. I had to learn what was important in life and what wasn’t important in life. It wasn’t easy to let go of what I was trying to build, Joe, especially when the guy who took my well-trained sales force used them to launch a business that made him very, very wealthy. I think it would have been much easier to take had he gone broke, but if he had, I wouldn’t have learned my lesson. All those years I invested to get to that point in life only to have someone else reap the reward! Joe, that guy is divorced now, has a miserable time trying to see his children, and has ruined his life. He leaves a trail of destruction behind him everywhere he goes. I was very, very angry at God for letting that happen to me…in time I came to realize that what God was doing was saving me from a greater loss. Had I continued down the road I was on I would have been the one divorced. I would have lost my family, Joe. In a lot of ways, it had already happened. We were living in the same house and we looked like a family, but I was so busy and so wrapped up in what I was building that I didn’t have the time to focus on my family. At ballgames I would have the phone to my ear dealing with business issues. At family events I would have to step outside and deal with business issues. When I wasn’t on the phone, I was dealing with issues inside my head. I was always some place else. God blessed me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. But I had to be willing to let go of the wheel and let Him drive; Which wasn’t easy for a control freak like me. I had to learn that my wife and my children are more important than money, wealth, or status. I learned that there were people who had nothing in this world except family that were happier than I was, more fulfilled than I was, and had more peace than I had. I learned that there are people who had a lot more money and wealth than I had who were much more miserable than I was. I had to accept that if both of those things were true, and they were, then “money” or “wealth” must have little to do with happiness. (When you are in a major depression what you are looking for is a way to be happy. At least that is what I was looking for.) What else matters in life if you are unhappy and unfulfilled? So I figured out a way to take a little break in life, Joe. I went to the opposite extreme and I found a way to semi-retire. (this too had its price) I went from not spending hardly anytime with my family, to practically spending all of my time with my children. God blessed me with an opportunity to actually live with my family full-time and work part-time. What a wonderful experience it has been. Now, I know that it isn’t practical for everyone to be able to do what I have been able to do, but I can tell you that being here when the kids get up and being able hug them first thing in the morning, getting hugs throughout the day, and then putting my children to bed at night and getting a hug good night has been an amazing experience.
    7) I learned that we have the wrong focus in America. We focus on things, position, material, wealth, achievement, success, status, fame, fortune, acceptance by others, approval, and being more well off than the next guy. I know now that all of those things are fluid, meaning you can have them one day and the next day they are gone.
    8) I learned that before someone says “I can’t afford to take “personal responsibility” for educating my children, if they want to be honest, they have to first take a personal assessment. They need to ask themselves, “what am I putting before my children on my list of things important”? Are they willing to live in less house? I did. Are they willing to drive a lesser car? I did. Are they willing to give up family vacations? I have. Are they willing to give up nice furniture? I did. Are they willing to give up the things in life that are necessary for them to give up in order to put their children first? I did. It wasn’t easy for me, but I did it. As a result, I believe that God honored that in my life and returned to me a life I couldn’t have imagined, Joe. Not that I am wealthy, because I’m not…I have been wealthy once, and I will get back to it again, but for a time, all that had to wait. Joe, as you might imagine, you are not the first person to tell me that the idea of them being personally responsible for their child’s education is “unrealistic”.
    9) I learned that people need to make a choice regarding where they want to invest their time. What is more important to them, their children or things? People need to take an assessment of their time and determine what they spend their time on now, and if that is the best use of their time?
    10) I learned that in order to have a different lifestyle, they have to figure out what their current lifestyle is, figure out what they want their lifestyle to be, then develop a plan for the transformation. Perhaps it requires selling the house and getting an apartment. Perhaps it requires selling the house and getting a “mobile home”! Prehaps it requires selling the second car. Perhaps it requires selling everything. But perhaps it would only require a “little” change. Being a one income family doesn’t have to be just “one” income. I know, I know, that doesn’t make sense. But what I am talking about is in the “traditional” sense of the word “income”. There are lots of ways that a family can work out the issue of income. Perhaps a family business that can be worked at anytime of the day would meet the need. For the vast majority of families with two incomes, by the time they pay child care, after school care, taxes, lunches, extra gas, etc., the second person working is not really making that much net income for the family coffers (What they are really doing is helping to fuel the government machine through additional taxes). In most cases, but not all, a couple hundred dollars per week is all that has to be made up for and they could be “one income”, meaning one person leaving the home full-time. Most people could make the decision to live a lesser life style and make the transition. They may have to live in less of a home, drive less of a car, give up eating out, give up having a phone, give up cable television, turn the heat down in winter and the air down in summer…or give up air conditioning altogether. They may have to give up vacations. They may have to give up retirement accounts. Joe, I am telling you that the vast majority of people who say that they “can’t” be personally responsible for their children’s education are really saying that they “won’t” be personally responsible for their children’s education. But then there are those who really “can’t” do it right now. Those people have to work towards being able to do it. They need to develop a plan, then focus on the plan and make it happen. It may take 5 years, it may take 7 years, it may even take 10 years to get to the point where they can do it…but I believe that the vast majority, the very vast majority, of families “Can” take personal responsibility for their children’s education…if they want to…the trick is making them “want” to.

    Side note: I would not recommend depression to anyone. It is a hell on earth. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy…but I might wish it on my best friend. That doesn’t make sense does it? Depression is a terrible, miserable, unbearable thing to deal with…but if you deal with it, you find liberty. If my best friend were walking around with a bunch of junk he wouldn’t let go of any other way, I would wish that he go through depression to force him to break free of the junk that infects him. It would be a very difficult thing to do, wishing depression on him, but I would do it. If you are going through depression, the road out starts with forgiveness. (No Charge for that one) I wouldn’t wish depression on my worst enemy because, well….they are my enemy. I want my enemy to be held back by all of that junk. I can pray for him, God says that I am to pray for my enemies…but I don’t necessarily have to pray that he go through depression. Maybe I could pray that he be inflicted with depression. Notice I didn’t say that he “go through depression”. You gotta watch those words. One leaves him in depression and the other takes him through it. Clever isn’t it?

    Now, down to business.

    Joe, we are spending about 1 trillion dollars each year on “public education” in this country. Do you think that we have to start with zero dollars? The only reason we have to start with zero dollars is because the left wing nuts have taken over the school system. They actually believe that the government “can’t” spend money that is used in a way that helps religion. They are wrong.

    “The establishment of religion clause means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church. Neither can pass laws that aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion… . Neither a state or the federal government may, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.'”

    There are four tests of the “establishment clause”, and they are the Lemon test, the Lemon test redux, the endorsement test, and the neutrality test.

    You can go look them up on the internet, so I will spare you the explanation here, but to get to the point, government can spend money for the purpose of education, and such expenditure “can” be of aid to religion if the purpose of the expenditure is for education. Government couldn’t spend the money if the purpose was to aid religion and as a by-product of that aid children end up being educated, but the reverse is perfectly legal.

    In other words, if atheists had equal access to the money to educate their children, and through their education atheists are able to lie to their children and tell them we “evolved” from lower life forms, the government could make money available to the public so parents could educate their own children.

    With that in mind, would you help me write the paperwork to petition the government to send me a check for the $840,000 they didn’t have to spend to educate my children so far and to get them to send me the $40,000 per year they aren’t spending on my children each year for the next several years?

    Joe, let me give you a little history. When people started homeschooling their children, society at large and the government said, “your children will be uneducated”, some would say “your children will be stupid”. Government tried very hard to stop homeschooling. Then, when tests were taken, homeschoolers mopped the floor with both “public education” and “private” schools. I mean they rung their bells. It wasn’t even close. It was a bloodbath. So, people could no longer argue that homeschooling would produce stupid, uneducated children. Then they started trying to make parents who are homeschooling have degrees. However, they found out that there was little difference in the results between children of parents who graduated college and those who just graduated high school, and in fact, even parents who didn’t graduate from high school were doing much better at educating their children then “public school” was. So, the government and society couldn’t use that excuse anymore…at least not with a straight face. Then, they said “what about socialization”? Your children won’t be “socialized”. Homeschool parents had a great laugh over that one. Our children are “socialized” out the gills! Unless you mean “socialized” as in “they won’t become good little socialists”, in which case they are right. Tests were conducted and it was found that homeschoolers were way more “socialized” than their counterparts in Public and private schools. So they couldn’t use that one anymore. The public school quiver was out of arrows, so they threw the bow at us. They said “well, if you educate your children at home we won’t get the money we would have gotten to educate your children, which hurts the other children because there is less money available for the system”. AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!!! Joe, it is about the money! It’s about power! It’s about control! It is about security for a certain group of people. It’s about influence! It is about “socialization” as in “making good little socialists”. But what it isn’t about is “education”!! And the proof is what came out when they ran out of arrows. The public education system in America is still trying to get paid for educating “homeschool” students. They want the money and really could care less about the child!

    There is a war going on in America, it is a war over who owns the child. The state wants control over your children. The state wants us to be incubators of children…not parents. Don’t think I am right? Go read the treaty of the child that Mrs. Clinton almost was successful in getting the United States into . It would have taken away your parental rights and given them to the United Nations! Folks, you better wake up if you don’t realize you are in a war. What did Hitler do? He developed the “Hitler Youth”. Folks, it only takes one generation to change the world! Infect the hearts and minds of children and you can rule the world! Teach children to think for themselves and you can overcome anything.

    I see secularism as the religion of the left. Not that there aren’t people on the left who don’t believe in God, but I believe that the left predominantly replaces Yahweh, Allah, Buddha and other gods of world religions with “Uncle Sam”. That may sound harsh, but that is what I see and how I feel. That is why the ACLU pushes so hard to put the “God is unwelcome here” sign outside the school doors. It isn’t because they don’t want children to learn religion, it is that they want the children to learn the religion of secularism. “Uncle Sam” has become the god that provides to the secularists.

    I think the case could be made that secularism has “evolved” into a religion, especially since it is teaching lies as truth (their basic argument against religion), and that now government is aiding one religion, “secularism” and inhibiting all other religions.

    On that basis, I believe that it would be perfectly justified for state governments to develop programs that put the $20,000 per year they are currently spending in the hands of parents, for them to spend as they see fit, even if they spend it to pay for their living expenses. I know, I know, that is way to radical for you. But look at the fruit on the tree, parents have done a smash-up job teaching their own children when compared to “public” and “private” schools, why not put the money where the results are coming from? If the average American family has one child in school, they would get $20,000, if they had two children in school they would get $40,000! How many moms in America could come home from work and raise their own children if they were getting $40,000 to do it? Do you really think that free enterprise wouldn’t step up to provide those parents with cutting edge technology and materials to help those parents teach their children? Do you think campuses wouldn’t start popping up everywhere? Do you think there wouldn’t be innovation and invention? Go ahead, take that $20,000 per child and give it to parents and watch how fast the public school system crumbles. The “public school” system couldn’t justify itself if you put parents in control of the money. Joe, homeschoolers trounce both private and public school in pretty much every area, so much so that certain events, sports, programs, etc are excluding homeschoolers, not because they are stupid, but because the have a tremendously unfair advantage! We do that while sacrificing second incomes and with less than $1,000 per family spent on materials each year! Just imagine what we could do with $40,000 to $80,000 per year! My God!

    You might say “you still have government taking money from one and giving it to another”! AND YOU WOULD BE RIGHT! I didn’t say that we would stay in this arrangement. We could develop a long-term plan to phase out government tax collection for education purposes and we could phase out what government pays parents to educate their own children. In theory, it would take about 20 to 30 years to phase out government involvement in education, but in practice, it would take about 5 to 10 years to get to the point where government “Could” be phased out of education. The reason for that is that technology would step in and replace the teacher standing in front of the room very quickly. (By 16 years old children should be out working for a living, not sitting in a classroom. I believe that, with better systems, children could be fully educated with more knowledge than they would get in the current system, including a college degree, by the time they are 16 years old. They need to be productive earlier in life. The current system doesn’t put them to work, really put them to work, until they are 22 to 25 years old! That is ridiculous! They should have a PHD by the time they are 22!) And churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques would quickly develop “private schools” to replace “public schools”. Parents would band together and pool their resources to develop campuses. Groups would be able to get bank loans to build shared campuses because the government would back the loan with the parents’ annual payments. Secularists would be able to erect their schools too. Once the schools are built and paid for a huge chunk of the costs go down. Some of the public schools could be converted for use by parents to use for educating their children.

    Parents would need to be advised that after a certain period of time, payments would steadily decrease until there are no more payments. Society would be forced to make the transition, but it wouldn’t be hit with a sudden transition. People would “have” to be personally responsible for raising and educating their own children. But I don’t believe that they would be alone. I believe that there are plenty of people willing to lend a hand. I believe the seniors would be more than willing to be involved. I believe businesses would be more than willing to be involved. I believe that wherever government vacates, parents, family, technology, free market, religion, charity, and society will step in and fill the void.

    We have to be willing to make the hard choices, somewhere between making great sacrifices (as most homeschoolers have) and government fully paying for education (By taxing us out the wahzo) there is a balance that we can reach that will enable personal responsibility to take root…but when it does take root, I don’t think we will quickly return to viewing government as our solution.

    Today, we have the proverbial “tail wagging the dog”, militant secularists, which I believe are the real minority in this country, are controlling education, and through education, are controlling the family. We need to turn that on its head. They can build their militant secularist schools and we can build our Christian schools, and Muslims can build Muslim schools, and Buddhists can build Buddhist schools, and we can teach our children math, social studies, English, science etc with a Biblical view, and Muslims can teach their children from a view point from the Koran, and secularists can continue to lie to their children about evolution.

    Joe, it really can be done. We can simply take what we are currently spending on education and use it to replace itself. Every dollar not spent on education through government spending will create many more dollars in the capitalist system, which would give industry the incentive to help parents end “public education”. It would be much quicker to tear down public education than it was to build it.

  54. Butch Huber

    Lori,

    Read my last post to Joe. I believe that government is the wrong answer to your challenges, I just think it is the only one available that you know how to tap into. I think we need a better solution for you and others with special needs.

    We can have a private “Grid” if we want one…if we have enough desire we can have practically anything we put our collective minds to. Government cannot stop the masses, not here, not in china, not anywhere, if the masses have enough determination to be free of government oppression. We are like the proverbial frog in the pot..if you put a frog in a pot of water that he can jump out of and slowly turn the heat up, supposedly (I have never tried this) the frog will sit in the pot and boil to death, but if you drop him in a pot of hot water he will jump out immediately. We are the frog that was dropped in the pot of cold water and had the heat gradually turned up…we are boiling and we don’t even know it.

    Look at the national debt and tell me that we are not boiling.

    Yesterday I got to thinking, and it occurred to me that it might make sense to have a “national debt tax”. A tax that cannot be used for anything except paying down the national debt. Everyone has to pay it, perhaps like a national sales tax, but it cannot be spent on anything except paying down the principle on our national debt. We could potentially pay down the national debt in 5 to 10 years. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have a national debt again? We need a national war on debt in America. We can’t leave this country in its current state…can we? Would you tighten your belt to get this country out of debt? I would! I would gladly do it! I would be willing to reduce my lifestyle in order to get the country out of debt if everyone else would do the same! I would even be willing to put the squeeze on the rich in order to pay down the debt, and that runs counter to my way of thinking. They should be gladly willing to put in some extra money to get the country out of debt. (except those that make money because we are in debt. They would probably fight it.) The rich would get richer if the masses didn’t have such a negative financial drain as is our national debt.

    As for your question at the end of your last post, Lori, I am doing it. I am trying to show Joe that government is not the answer. I understand that a lot of people have been tuning in to this exchange. They can’t argue against what I am saying because it is the truth. We really can get government off of our backs, but we have to be willing to play the part of “Citizen” in order to do it. If the left were to lay down its secular agenda, and the radical right were to lay down its religious agenda, we would certainly find more common ground than we would find differences. Then, if we were to depoliticize as much as possible, we would have much less waste as a result of the swinging of the political pendulum. We could work to accomplish something rather than working to win a political contest.

    You see, I happen to trust God’s ability to be in charge, I don’t need “government” to be in charge. I need government to do its job and stay where I put it.

  55. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    Next question.

    Butch

  56. Joe Fleenor

    Before we move on to another subject (preferably one that deals with Mt. Juliet), I have one more comment on the “teaching your children at home” argument, one that I don’t think you addressed.

    How do you suggest we deal with the estimated 28% of children less than 18 years old that are in single parent households? Also, how do you deal with the children whose parents are the ones with the “not-so-bright minds”? Some kids are smarter than their parents by the 5th grade. To go to an extreme, drug dealers and prostitutes have children too, do you think they should be given a chance to rise above that? Isn’t one of the things so great about our country is the opportunity?

  57. Butch Huber

    Joe,

    First, you are majoring on the minor. Yes, there are a lot of children in one parent homes. Education is not supposed to be a social welfare program, it is supposed to be a program through which people “learn”. You, like the vast majority of left wingers, or liberals, that I have met and interacted with, mix government programs when it comes to social issues. This causes yet more government waste. The estimated 28% of children less than 18 years old that are in a single parent household question is a major reason “for” parent directed education rather than an argument against it. How many of those parents could leave their nine-to-five and raise their children if they had an extra $20,000 per child coming in tax-free from the government? Only a very small percentage would still need additional income; mainly those with only one child. However, if they had a sure income they could move to an area that is more affordable to them or they could work part-time or start a home based business or service of some sort. (Parent directed education also would reduce government spending on prisons and jails if momma was home to watch little Johnny on a full-time basis.)

    Joe, our society needs more children, not less. We need to increase our average child per family if we are going to be able to sustain ourselves in the future. Our society is currently geared toward having “less” children per family. Getting government off our backs, rebuilding the family unit, redeveloping the extended family concept, and retracting from the “government as god” mentality is what is needed, not “more” government.

    Next issue: You seem to be stuck on the thought that I am advocating “homeschool” as the “only” avenue through which public school could be abolished. Your thinking is flawed and inaccurate. Far from thinking that Homeschool is the only choice, I think the current “homeschool” model is the wrong choice. While it does soundly thump public school on the back of the head, it needs to be embraced by the public at large and improved. I would have loved to have been able to give my children more. Joe, “public school” is getting in the way of real education. I am not advocating “homeschool” as the one answer to education, I am saying that with almost no resources, homeschooling has proven that “public school” isn’t the answer. I am advocating “parent directed education” without government control, direction, oversight, scrutiny, or involvement. (The government involvement cannot be eliminated until the new programs are self-funding and established. The reason we can’t eliminate government involvement is because we need to continue to use the money currently spent on “public education” to rebuild American Education .) I am saying that we should begin to offer parents the option of taking the full amount spent per student per year as a cash payment and be responsible for their children’s education or let them continue to send their children to public school. In time, public school would be replaced almost, if not entirely, by private school, religious schools, industry schools, professional schools, trade schools, virtual schools, Business schools, Homeschool, and other institutions of learning.

    The not-so-bright minded parents would not necessarily lose a thing. They could just send little Johnny or young debbie to a school that is suitable for them. However, not-so-bright mom and dad would have a lot of options, including counseling services, to discover how little Johnny and young Debbie are wired and what the best school choice would be for their child.

    The children of drug dealers and prostitutes pose a dual problem: one problem of education and the other of “Crime” itself. Your statement presupposes that the “public school” system is a panacea for these children. Fact is, when you get to the base levels of society, public school is a very bad system for trying to help those children. It is not the right function of education to try to solve those children’s real problem, which is bad parents. You can’t educate a child out of a bad family situation. If you want to delve into that area, we most certainly can, but if we are going to talk “education”, let’s keep education focused on “education”.

    Joe, we could do so much more to combat poverty and crime by putting more options in the hands of those who have children than we can by instituting more and more money wasting government programs. Interestingly, I did a study of federal government spending this morning. It appears that last year we spent $1,551,000,000,000 on entitlement programs! This figure didn’t even include Federal spending on “public school” (Public school is largely financed through state and local taxes, not federal…at least not through”on budget” appropriations). I don’t think anyone would really grade our government social welfare programs in this country with an “A”. We need to wean the public off the government teet. We have to stop the illusion that “government” is the answer to all of our problems. Government has a place in America, but that place is not above the people. We are a government of the people, by the people, for the people…not a government “over” the people.

    Joe, you and I are not engaging in a “debate” here. What we are doing is a question and answer session. I am game for that, but the problem with this exchange is that your side has nothing to offer. If you begin to do anything but ardently support the status quo of public schooling, you immediately start traveling in my direction. You inherently accept what I am saying about the inadequacy of public school as a means to educate our children. At that point, the debate changes to one of “by what degree should we allow parents to direct the education of their children”. You can’t win the argument that public school is the best option to educate children, so you attempt to poke holes in my game by asking questions focused on tricky and touchy subjects like “Children of drug dealers and prostitutes”. What you should be doing, as should everyone in America, is saying, “you know what, the system we are using is flawed, it is wasteful, and it isn’t what government really should be doing, so let’s look at the alternatives with an open and unbiased mind to see if we can find a solution.” The social issues of “children of drug dealers and prostitutes” cannot be solved by education, as if education is the only problem these children face. Sure, we want to make sure that these children have a fair shake in life, but education is not the only issue that has to be dealt with there, and public school is not the department or program through which the overarching problem will be solved.

    An Army commander has to make difficult decisions during battle, he or she can send in a platoon to destroy a gun emplacement, almost for sure sending that platoon to its death, or he or she can “save the few” by trying to make sure that everyone is taking the same level of risk, and lose thousands because the enemy hammers the battalion with their artillery. Society has to make difficult decisions too, shall we continue to provide the masses with inadequate, flawed education, or shall we sacrifice a few in order to properly educate and equip the rest? I assure you that you will never provide the best education to 100% of society, no matter what you do. (I believe we can certainly get close to providing the best to 100% through the programs I have outlined on this site, though.) I am not suggesting that we leave any child on “the battlefield” of life…but we need to redirect education to provide the best affordable education to each child based on that child’s capability and motivation, and based on “parental involvement”. When “society” funds a project, including “education”, “society” needs and deserves the best ROI (Return on Investment) it can achieve. The best ROI is not achieved by teaching the masses to the lowest common denominator, which is what public school is doing. The thinking that we have to have a system that provides every child, regardless of other influences and issues, with exactly that same level of education is what creates suboptimization, and ultimately loss opportunity for society in general. We will never achieve the utopia of equality in education unless we are really ready for a world wide, one government, communistic state that rules over every facet of our lives. We might then have equality in education, but at what cost? Ultimately that system would fail, and we would be back to the drawing board.

    Joe, family is the basic building block of a successful society. Without a strong family core you can’t have a good community. Without good communities you can’t have a good local society. If you don’t have good local societies you can’t have good regional societies. Without good Regional societies you can’t have a good nation. Good nations are build from bottom up, not from top down. You can’t legislate the heart, Joe, and to have a great society you have got to have a good heart. The heart of a society lies in the center of the family, and to me the center of a good family is a reliance on God, not government. But even for the atheist, which I once was, it is not logical to take the position that “family” isn’t a better means of building a society than legislation.

    Joe, think about the possibilities my position offers before you start throwing up the mental road blocks. Joe, your questions reveal things to me that you may not realize. I can systematically dismantle all of your argumentative questions, Joe, because I am right…and your line of questioning proves it. You see, when you hone in on the very minor factions of society that may be disenfranchised by my system, you are accepting that the major points are valid. You are a smart man, so if there were flaws in my major argument, you would strike there first. If you could dismantle the major position, you would disassemble the entire argument and render my argument void of basis. The fact that you chose not to strike at the major position reveals that you recognize its strength, so you attempt to strike at areas that will garner sympathy for the small portions of society that my argument might leave wanting. This is natural, but it is not supportable in the grand scheme of things. As society improves and opportunity is increase due to more precise education and less waste in education, all of society will experience a swell in quality of life as a result. While there may be a short period of time where the most disadvantaged might possibly, but not probably, experience a loss of opportunity, I dare say that over a short period of time, under a better system, those disadvantaged will be rewarded with more options and more opportunities than they ever would have had under the current system.

    Joe, if the people in your camp would simply admit what the rest of already know you realize, which is that the current system isn’t what we need, we could start to make process in finding the solutions that will give us the best Return on our investment, and that will give all of us the brightest future. I know, that you know, that I am right, I can tell by the questions you ask. Why fight it? What do you have to gain by winning on a position that you know in your heart is flawed?

    The answer is, that you are steeped in a mindset that won’t release control of the masses, through the eradication of the public school system because you want the “Public School” system as a platform to “indoctrinate” the next generation into liberalism. Joe, I am not attacking you, its not your fault. This is how you and I and everyone else was raised. We are a product of the “public education” system, even those who went to private school, and we have to actually fight against the urges and tendencies that have been instilled in us through the “entitlement culture” of the 50’s, 60′, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now the 2000’s. It didn’t infect all of us to the same degree, and some of us have been in detox for awhile. I admit, sometimes I go into momentary relapse, and start looking for a government teat to suckle, but then I realize that I need to get off the government juice.

    The reason you continue to advocate the current system is because, if you don’t, you have to begin to question everything else as well. Joe, it really isn’t about liberals and conservatives, it is about who is going to be in charge of our lives, us or the government. Each side of the isle wants to control certain areas of the other side’s life…I am willing to admit that, Joe, are you? Depoliticizing as much as we can, by kicking government out of as many areas of our lives as we can, will bring the left and the right closer together. The lines will become blurry and undefined at first, but they will still be there. But in time, we could end up with a government that doesn’t interfere in the everyday lives of the American People, and that does its job well. Joe, I think if you drop the liberal agenda from your mind set, and really focus on what will deliver the best results, you can’t argue that choice in education provides a better hope for quality education than no choice in education.

  58. Tennessee Jed

    This business is well ended.
    My liege, and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
    Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
    I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
    Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
    What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?
    But let that go.

    Willie–1603

  59. Butch Huber

    I just read on the internet that some schools have gone to 4 day weeks to save money, and that some more are considering following suit. I can do 400% better… cut out the other 4 days!

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