BBC bias: Why they got on air resignation so badly wrong

I love the beeb, it is one of the finest and most trusted of British institutions.

In order to remain so, its principles of impartiality and objectivity need to be held to account.

Laura KuenssbergYesterday, Stephen Doughty resigned live on air just before the political punching match which is Prime Minister’s questions.

By resigning in this manner, he gave David Cameron a big stick to poke Jeremy Corbyn with.

This is standard fare in the world of politics, no foul. That is, until you read the contents of a now deleted BBC blog entry:

Would [Stephen Doughty] consider [resigning] live on the show?

The question was put to Laura, who thought it was a great idea. Considering it a long shot we carried on the usual work of building the show, and continued speaking to Labour MPs who were confirming reports of a string of shadow ministers considering their positions.
Within the hour we heard that Laura had sealed the deal: the shadow foreign minister Stephen Doughty would resign live in the studio.

Although he himself would probably acknowledge he isn’t a household name, we knew his resignation just before PMQs would be a dramatic moment with big political impact.

The last line is the key, consider its implications for impartiality: “we knew his resignation just before PMQs would be a dramatic moment with big political impact.”

Many would argue this is just journalism, no different from a newspaper orchestrating a front page resignation for maximum political impact, to complain is just making a mountain out of a molehill.

The problem is, newspapers are private entities with the freedom to create a political narrative. It would be a shocking event if the Daily Mail actually led with an impartial headline. If I want partisan journalism, my options are endless.

The BBC does not have this freedom, it is paid for by the licence payers and bound by its constitution to remain neutral.

The BBC should be simply reporting on “dramatic moments with a big political impact”, not doing their best to manufacture them. Doing so completely undermines the integrity of the BBC.

It is very telling that the blog entry has since been removed. I personally have lost faith in the ability of Laura Kuenssberg in particular to be impartial (her tweeting record the last few days has been pretty skewed too). This loss of public trust is very damaging for the BBC.

What is essential now is for the BBC to take action to preserve its most important of assets: integrity.

Share this:

We’re all doomed! What 2016 means for the global economy

Its easy to be a naysayer. If you’re constantly predicting a dip in a system that is fundamentally peaks and troughs, you’ll always be able to say “I told you so” eventually .

That said, I’ve been worried about the anaemic recovery following 2008 for years now: our entire global economy is built on debt. We’re not just talking mountains here, its impossible to provide a sufficiently large metaphor without going galactic.

After debt triggered the last collapse, what was the solution? More debt. Tantalisingly low interest rates to encourage more borrowing. It sounds comical, but there weren’t many other options. We’ve just prolonged an unsustainable status quo.

Its a shame there isn’t more overlap between the fields of economics and psychology, because one day we’ll look back and scratch our heads at how so many people were oblivious to what was coming for so long.

2016 is going to be a interesting year. It has started very badly for pretty much every financial market, prompted by panic in China. Today, shares have dropped by 7% there and trading has been suspended. This is reminiscent of what happened in 2008 in the West.

The West is protected a little, a faltering China does not spell immediate catastrophe, but China is a growing market that the West has been growing increasingly reliant upon. Trouble there now will create trouble here further down the line.

I think 2016 will be a year of patches applied to keep a creaking system from another failure. Its not going to creep up on us seemingly from nowhere this time, there are still a few tools in the chest to keep the wolves from the door a little longer, negative interest rates could be fun.

It will be fascinating to see how it all plays out. No matter what you do, a market will always correct itself eventually, and we’re heading for an almighty crunch.

Its not all doom and gloom though. Like so many of the worlds problems, technology will be our saviour. As we automate more and more tasks, we should no longer need to worry about being productive enough to serve the needs of our population.

The problem lies in our financial system. It was built for a different era, when humans produced everything. As machines start to produce everything, we’re going to have to completely redesign the system. Next time the global economy tanks, we can start doing just that. Technology is already building the foundations for the next generation, Bitcoin for example is immune to many of the vulnerabilities of the current system.

In a world where technology can do most of the work for us, why would we keep insisting on working every waking hour when could be spending more time with our families and doing things we enjoy? That future is closer than we all think, it will happen in the lifetime of the majority of living people today. While its going to be a difficult transition, once we get over the hump we have a lot to be excited about.

Share this:

Ignore Lib Dem claims they’re on life support, they’re DEAD! Here’s why

In 2010, we entered a new era of politics. As someone who was swept up on a wave of Cleggmania, I really can’t believe what has happened.

I’m not “banging on about tuition fees again”. I mean, yes, without a doubt what happened on 9 December 2010 is what killed them, but they didn’t just increase tuition fees that day, they did something far worse, they destroyed faith in politics for an entire generation of young voters.

The few remaining LibDems who haven’t jumped ship continue to delude themselves. “They had no choice”. Utter tosh, I’ve combed over the coalition agreement, this was entirely an unforced error. Suicide.

Don’t say “tuition fees weren’t a big deal” or “other parties break their promises all the time”. My earliest memory of the LibDems was walking through Sheffield city centre as a teenager and seeing a campaign stall against tuition fees. Make no mistake, tuition fees were a big deal: a flagship, party-defining policy party that won many votes. Other parties break promises as the realities of government kick in, but none, ever, have so dramatically betrayed those who voted for them. I, and millions of others, felt sick, like our votes had been stolen.

For those who still don’t get it, imagine if UKIP gained power and within 6 months abandoned plans for a referendum and instead voted for closer ties with the EU. Its really not a stretch to make this comparison, it would quite rightly kill UKIP as a party and that’s exactly what has happened to the LibDems.

I used to swoon over Nick Clegg, now all I feel is loathing. A few years ago on the Sheffield to London train I briefly glanced up from my book as a man walked past. It took a moment to register that man was Nick Clegg, but I was immediately overwhelmed by an emotion I can not ever recall feeling before or since: rage. Undoubtedly the most angry and betrayed I have ever felt in my life. What he and his colleagues did was unforgivable.

I see the party is trying to promote the #‎libdemfightback‬ hashtag. It won’t work, they’re just performing CPR on a cold corpse. The LibDem brand as toxic and uninhabitable as Chernobyl. RIP.

– John

Share this:

Pond Politics is back

After almost 5 years, I’m back. I find writing my thoughts very therapeutic: it forces me to more deeply consider my beliefs and challenge myself, and if anybody stumbles upon my musings and enjoys reading or challenging them too, great.

Sadly, since the last time I was blogging, my old friend/sparring partner/tea party supporting right wing American, Greg, the is no longer here to challenge me in his special way. I was de-friended by him on Facebook right after Obama won his second term which marked the end of our exchanges. I wasn’t gloating, I promise. Though lengthy, those debates remain on the blog and still make for interesting reading.

Five years is a long time, and since I last blogged about politics I have quit the Liberal Democrats after they tripled tuition fees and joined Labour. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the future of both of these parties. I also created a site which analysed the betting markets to predict what would happen in the 2015 UK General election. I’ll be looking at just how wrong the betting markets and pollsters got it and why, and also look at doing a similar analysis of the upcoming 2016 US Presidential elections where the betting markets typically do far better.

I hope you enjoy reading, any suggestions or thoughts, please leave a comment.

– John

Share this:

Republicans who oppose the ‘ground zero mosque’ are hypocrites

It’s a strong statement and a controversial topic, but John believes the recent uproar by many Republicans over the proposed ground zero mosque is hypocrisy in action, double standards of Republican ideology. Surprisingly, Greg holds a different view. Who is right? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

First of all, let me try to explain how I distinguish between republicans and democrats.

Democrats believe in democracy, the will of the people. Simple enough… it’s a concept we can all recognise. Republicans believe in democratically electing representatives, who then have their power limited by a constitution. The difference is subtle, but very important.

Every democracy in the world has a constitution; in Britain we have no single document, but an unwritten constitution, a body of statutes, court judgments, and treaties. In some countries the constitution is mainly procedural: how often an election must be held, what happens if no party establishes a majority and so forth. The US constitution for example goes much further and established a number of principles upon which an entire country was established.

Obviously, this makes it much more difficult for politicians to ‘do what they like’ as they are bound to uphold the terms of the constitution. The merits to this system are that a well written constitution can prevent tyranny, leaders making changes which fundamentally harm a nation. A drawback is that politicians are often restricted in what they can accomplish, even with the will of the people, constitutional supremacy can suffocate legislation being passed. Understandably, many Americans are fiercely proud of the constitution and will staunchly defend any attempt to challenge its authority, these people most often identify as Republicans.

As a side note, it’s fascinating to consider that over 200 years after a group of unelected men decided how the country should be run, even the elected President is restricted by the wishes of this small group of individuals who have long since died. You could almost consider it the ultimate dictatorship. Fortunately, these men had nothing but good intentions and created a fantastic foundation upon which the United States was built. I can understand why many Republicans so passionately defend the constitution and are absolutist that its provisions should be upheld without exception, because the second you start making exceptions, the integrity is lost and those foundations can start to crumble.

This brings me nicely to my point. The ‘First Amendment’ of the US constitution guarantees every single US citizen freedom of religion, even the Muslims.

America has for over two centuries prided itself upon this. If you want to build something the two questions to be asked are: Do you own the land, and do you possess the required permits? As soon as you also ask ‘what is your religion’ this most basic of constitutional rights is violated, and it is here I justify my claim that Republicans who oppose the ‘ground zero mosque’ are hypocrites. If you make the claim that ‘the will of the people’ is that it shouldn’t be built, then even if this is the case, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

In America, people are allowed to own guns. A number of gun users abuse this right terribly and many innocent lives are taken each year. Gun ownership, much like religious freedom is a constitutional right, some gun owners do evil things, and after each tragic massacre there are often calls for guns to be banned met by a fierce response that the majority of responsible gun owners should not lose their constitutional rights because of the actions of a small number. I feel the analogy I am making here is quite evident.

I should point out that in the US, scare mongering by the conservative media has many Americans convinced that the proposed building is a mosque being built directly on the site of ground zero by Muslims who hate America, were delighted by 9/11 and plan to train new terrorists. The reality is a Muslim community centre, featuring such fearsome amenities as basketball courts, swimming pools and an art school. Please America, get this notion out of your head that because of a few bad apples ALL Muslims are out to get you: These are your fellow American citizens, they are good people who lost loved ones and felt the same horror after 9/11 as you did, who want to provide wonderful facilities for their communities as you do, who have brave members of their community serving the US military as you do, and have as much right to practice their religion as you do. Don’t violate their constitutional right to satisfy your own ignorance.

On a personal note, I do not support the building of any religious based facilities. Religion has an unprecedented ability divide communities and create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Only when we identify each other as human beings than by labels such as Muslim, Christian or Jew will we live together in peace.

The Constitution is a uniquely supreme document in the history of world governments. Its brilliance and timelessness is a subject all to itself. (An issue I will address in a separate posting) And yes, I am a staunch supporter of the United States Constitution. I am a Conservative and have always voted for candidates under the Republican moniker primarily because the Democrat alternative is always farther away in their understanding of how our country was designed to function.

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution were issues that were discussed during its formation but that were not included in the primary document. They were deemed so important that they were passed under the heading of the ‘Bill of Rights’. They are designed to delineate, in very specific terms, what the FEDERAL government CANNOT do to you. They close with the 10th Amendment which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

The very first amendment was designed to avoid the religious persecution the founders had fled and fought against when they declared Independence from the King of England. It was also designed to protect citizens against the political oppression that results from speaking out and assembling against the government.

The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.

It is critical to understand that it is the FEDERAL government that cannot establish a NATIONAL religion. And it is the FEDERAL government that cannot prohibit the free exercise of people wishing to worship in any way they choose. The states were reserved the power to do so and many had state recognized religions at the time of the founding of the country.

Our COUNTRY does not persecute people for their religious beliefs or practices. We are, and have largely been, very tolerant of religious beliefs that are different from our founding principles. We allow people to worship and we allow people to not believe. To that end, we now have hundreds to thousands of Islamic mosques throughout the country. These houses of Islamic worship exist under predominantly peaceful circumstances. Stories of vandalism or destruction are no more prevalent toward Islamic mosques than they are with any other religious entity.

With respect to the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, if they are able to build it, those of us who think it’s a bad idea will have to peacefully accept it. The Constitution however, only applies insofar as the FEDERAL government cannot stop them from practicing their religion. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifies someone’s right to build, where, and as they see fit. We restrict construction all the time. The Constitution also provides that those who don’t want THIS mosque in THIS location have a right to say so.

This would probably be a good time to note that prior to the destruction (by Islamic Practitioners) of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 there existed a Greek Orthodox Church near the towers. That church was also destroyed as a result of the attacks. The church owns the property, and they asked to rebuild… far, they have been denied.

The people behind this particular mosque have stated that they want to build it to ‘reach out’ to our Country and New York to show what magnanimous, peace loving people they are. Given the opposition to their intentions, wouldn’t it be a good gesture to reconsider their location and show their understanding for the sensitivities that have been created? Is this location so important that it is the only place to build such a mosque? There are currently over 100 mosques within the 5 boroughs of New York City. There is clearly no plan in place to deny religious practice but, as reasonable citizens, we would no more accept a Japanese Pagoda at the gates of Pearl Harbor than we should accept a mosque within sight of where the World Trade Center once stood. When combined with Islam’s historical practice of building mosques as symbols of triumph, and celebrating the destruction of their opponent’s places of worship, it is safe to say; we ignore the potential intent at our own peril.

There are many videos detailing the location of the proposed ‘mosque’. First of all ground zero is NOT visible as it is around a corner 2 blocks away. Second there are other buildings which many would deem far more objectionable to on grounds of taste just as close to ground zero. The real issue here is that if the proposed building was for a Christian community centre, say a YMCA, nobody would have given it a second thought. The problem is that as soon as you treat a project differently solely on the basis of religious affiliation then you are breaking that sacred freedom of religion. I don’t care about the technicalities of how it does or doesn’t sit under constitutional authority and neither should anybody else. It’s a clear violation of a basic right which any developed state should pride itself on.

I also fail to see any relevance in stating a baseless number of mosques currently in New York. Surely if demand exists it needs to be filled, unless there are quotas set on religious buildings? The Greek Orthodox Church is also utterly irrelevant, as the issue is not religion, its money.

Would it be a nice gesture to reconsider their location? Sure! Is expecting people who just want to peacefully practice their religion to go to the trouble of relocating because many ignorant people consider them sinister after an appalling flow of misinformation and vilification from the media acceptable? Probably not.

I couldn’t help but feel an enormous sense of irony at your comment on Islam’s historical practice of using religious buildings as a symbol of triumph while considering just how many churches in the US now stand on sacred sites where for millennia Native American’s used to worship. You almost seem to be suggesting that Islam is unique in building new places of worship after a successful conquest? I’d suggest a look at the history books.

Ultimately, what concerns me is attitude towards Muslims not just in America, but throughout the West. I went to school in an area with a large Islamic community, nearly a quarter of my classmates were Muslim so perhaps I have a different perspective. These were friendly, hard-working and peaceful people who were as horrified and powerless as the rest of us following the atrocities committed by a tiny minority of their faith. My fear is a culture where people consider these fellow citizens fair game to be treated with suspicion and contempt with the appalling scale of atrocities outside of their control used as justification. Pastor Terry Jones decided to show us how peaceful Christianity is with his moronic plot to burn the Qur’an. Would I oppose the building of a church in my community because Christians have no tolerance for other religions and have a history of building Churches as symbols of triumph? I just might.

1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by?
A Muslim male between the ages of 17 and 50

1972 at the Munich Olympics, Israeli athletes were kidnapped and massacred by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1979 the US embassy in Iran was taken over by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

During the 1980’s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1983 the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up by?
1983 the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by?
1983 the US Embassy in Kuwait was blown up by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1984 the US Embassy in Beirut was blown up again by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by?
1985 a restaurant frequented by US Soldiers was blown up in Madrid, Spain by?
1985 the US Air Force Base at Rheine-Main, Germany was bombed by?
1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, Greece and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1986 TWA Flight 840 was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1988 Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1993 two CIA agents are shot & killed as they enter CIA headquarters in Langley, VA by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

In 1995 a US military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is car bombed. 7 service personnel were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1996 a US military complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was truck bombed destroying Khobar Towers, a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and injuring over 500. The complex was bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

1998 the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2000 the USS Cole was bombed while refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen. 17 US Sailors were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

On 9/11/01 four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers.
Thousands of people were killed by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2001 Richard Reid attempted to blow up an airplane by igniting explosives in his shoe. Richard Reid represents?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

2009 Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Ft. Hood in Texas, killing 13 unarmed US military personnel. Nidal Hasan represents?
2009 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day by igniting explosives in his underwear. Abdulmutallab represents?
Muslim males mostly between the ages of 17 and 50

Muslims have used mosques in Iraq for the storage of weapons and for the basing of military operations. They have numerous Imams, the actual leaders of their mosques, espouse attacks of terrorism.

We are not at war with a country or a military. Currently, we are at war with a religious ideology – Islam. We are attacked in the name of Islam, and we must defend ourselves against those who operate under the name of Islam.

We have a right to be cautious and a responsibility to be vigilant.

You response has sadly helped back up my fears that there is an underlying feeling that it’s acceptable to label an entire group of people as guilty until proven innocent because of the actions of a small number of extremists.

“Currently, we are at war with a religious ideology – Islam. We are attacked in the name of Islam, and we must defend ourselves against those who operate under the name of Islam.”

This wording in particular concerns me. The ideology we are at war with is religious extremism. You do not need to ‘defend yourselves’ (which seems to be code for ‘discriminate’) against Muslims, the battle is with the extremists. There is a huge distinction and it is not acceptable to blend the two.

Your list demonstrates its credibility with its first suggestion: Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a Christian.

Lists such as these do not support an argument, they serve to create fear and result in the discrimination of innocent people. Anybody can create lists to make a one-sided argument.

1968 Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1968 Martin Luther King was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1981 John Lennon was shot and killed by?
A Christian male.
1996 at the Atlanta Olympics and 3 other bombings up to 1998. 3 killed and 117 injured by?
A Christian male.
2001 US Anthrax attacks kill 5 and infect 17 others by?
A Christian male, who interestingly is from Lebanon, Ohio where we first met.
2009 Washington D.C. Holocaust Memorial shooting and security guard killed by?
A Christian male

I’m from Britain and since 1970 over 3,000 people have been killed as a result of sectarian troubles between Catholics and Protestants.
Is the appropriate response to protest the building of churches in London, a place where innocent people were killed in terrorist attacks by Christian extremists? Of course not.

I’ve said it before and I’ll make my point one last time. The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people, it is inexcusable to use the appalling actions of a minority of extremists to discriminate against those who want to peacefully practice their religion. As soon as you claim exceptional circumstances make it acceptable to treat one religion differently to another you are jeopardising the integrity of the values upon which your nation was founded.

I’ll have to give you Bobby Kennedy and make sure I double check my sources in the future.

While individuals from all backgrounds may perpetrate violent actions, it’s the actions of the larger group that are indicative of that groups integrity.

Where is the outrage in the Muslim community about the attacks made in their name?
Where are the consequences for those who perpetrate violent acts?

The vast majority of Muslims may be peaceful, or they may just be quiet. Personally, I would be much more confident about their intentions if we saw far more condemnation and action about those who kill in the name of Islam. We are not fighting a war of religion but they most certainly are.

Please give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Share this:

The Problem with Capitalism

John Hardy, liberal, offers a critique of the free market. Greg Carter, right winger, not-too-surprisingly disagrees!

For a background on John and Greg please click here.

As someone who many would call a ‘socialist’, it is also often assumed that I detest capitalism, and for some reason a subsequent assumption made by a minority is that all socialists are ultimately communists.

Here I will state exactly where I stand. Some goals of communism appear superficially attractive: a society that shares its rewards equally and amongst all of its members. This ideal is made all the more appealing when you see the grossly unfair world we inhibit as I do; a world where you can find the mansions and Ferraris enjoyed by the obesely rich just a few short miles from the extremes of poverty suffered by their fellow man.

Of course any fling with communism reaches an abrupt end as soon as you turn the page to reveal the brutal reality of communist society the history books tell us about. We disregard the lessons of history at our peril. The biggest problem I have with communism, however, is this very idea that everyone is rewarded equally. It is a fact of human nature that, in its bluntest terms, some people are lazy and others are hard working. I believe a fundamental requirement for society is that individuals should get out of society what they put into it, a society based on merit, a meritocracy.

Does capitalism allow for a meritocracy? Absolutely, and as far as I can see it is the greatest means we have to link contribution with reward.

Following the industrial revolution, Britain became THE global economic superpower. The greatest, most enterprising minds developed production methods and technologies which changed the world forever. This was thanks to capitalism; great innovation was being rewarded directly by a market developing products, technology and even brands at an incredible pace.

The reason this period was so prosperous is because these industries were new, there were no existing monopolies to choke the competition, competition being the essential ingredient to make capitalism a success. The growth period of the industrial revolution was the closest Britain has ever been to a meritocracy.

Take a step forward in time, to when the explosive growth of the revolution slowed. The strongest businesses had captured much of their market and the founders of these organisations deceased. In subsequent generations who benefits most from this wealth in society? The reality is that once a market is established, and after the initial tussle for market share, that’s pretty much it, game over. The relatives of those who were fortunate enough to be around and successful when the market was competitive are destined for unimaginable wealth that can stay in a family for centuries. True enterprise no longer exists; the greatest minds are hired by the wealthy establishment, they are used to generate yet more wealth which will in turn be inherited by the next heirs to the family fortune, a postmodern system of royalty. Every now and then a new market will emerge, and a new line of royalty will materialise, the king of the Internet age for example is Google.

With the new establishment, meritocracy has been replaced and aristocracy again reins supreme, where opportunities are instead determined by origin. The premise of the capitalism is compromised, equal opportunity does not exist, and the most enterprising and innovative minds may be suffocated by circumstances of their birth. Instead of being able to compete freely and realise their potential in the way a free market should allow, instead only the minds which have both ability and privilege can flourish. This means there is a smaller pool of talent being realised and this is to the detriment of the entire society.

Needless to say, Britain suffered and ceased to be a global superpower long ago. The closest America has come to a meritocracy was after the Second World War, when enterprise and industry flourished. It is during this period that the USA became the world’s current economic superpower.

Society supports the aristocracy because of this romantic notion that we all have the potential to be a part of it, and while in theory we do, in reality our prospects are bleak. The elite want to maintain the status quo, and by dangling this carrot, even those who suffer the most will fight to defend it.

It’s ironic that the very system which creates unprecedented prosperity and enterprise can, if left to its own devices, become corrupt, greedy and suffocate competition.

The USA has entered a new era, the aristocracy. Its days as economic superpower are numbered, the longer the free market goes unrestrained, and the more irreversible damage will be done. I support capitalism, but government intervention is essential to help find a balance, without intervention the corporations simply become too big and consequently the market becomes stagnant. The enterprising characteristics which made America great are suffocated.

History has a habit of repeating itself, and has shown us twice the conditions required to be an economic superpower. Britain and the USA have had their turn, next will be China.

As socialism fails to meet its desired outcome, socialists become more and more frustrated. Their superiority complex compels them to prove that they are correct in their beliefs and it’s only because people don’t understand how brilliant they are that the process fails. Socialists will take additional steps to enforce their brilliance and the process ends up being managed at the point of a gun.

Throughout the entire history of man it has been proven time and time again that without the reward due from effort, productivity ceases to exist; unless, of course, a person is forced into productivity in fear of their very life being taken from them.

Society cannot and should not ‘share’ its rewards equally. Individuals are rewarded based on their contribution to society, their ingenuity, their productivity and their ability to provide a good or service to others. Life is not ‘fair’ and there is no such thing as having too much money. Unless someone buries their money in a can in their yard, they do something productive with it. They spend it on other goods and services, they invest it in other businesses, or they can give it away to charity. The disparity of incomes among people will always be present regardless of the governing model under which people live. Someone will have….and someone will have not! Under the capitalistic system, anyone….anyone….can become an unparalleled success. How else can one explain how a high school graduate, who dropped out of college, could build the world’s preeminent computer company and become on of the world’s wealthiest people in his own lifetime?

One of the best examples of the failures of socialism lies in the story of the pilgrims who first immigrated to the new world. When the Mayflower finally arrived in America, the colony was established for the good of everyone and everyone shared equally in the fruits of productivity. They nearly died from starvation! Subsequently, they decided to change their process and allow for individuals to benefit directly from their own productivity and to trade with others within the colony. Those who chose to be productive were rewarded for their efforts because they were able to trade more goods and services. Those who chose to be less productive settled for a more meager existence. We define the productive efforts of those first settlers as the Protestant Work Ethic.

When people have the ability to build mansions and drive Ferrari’s they do so. In doing so, they employ people to build their mansions and manufacture their Ferrari’s. They also employ people to build boats, airplanes, motor homes, vacation homes, etc… They go out to eat at nice restaurants, shop in stores and travel. They spread their wealth around by doing things. By purchasing goods and services from others who in turn are seeking a better life.

There is no silver bullet to success. At the turn of the last century, prior to the advent of the automobile, people working in the horse trade were in fat city. Those who raised and sold horses, made saddles, buggy whips and wagons were often the ‘rich’ of the day. Their roles however, ended rather abruptly when the automobile came along and a new set of people were given the opportunity to be the ‘rich’ of the 20th century. Today, we see another change in place. During the 20th century, many newspaper operators were very wealthy and enjoyed the trappings of success. In the 21st century, they are finding that their business model is now a failure and they have been slow to adapt to the times. They have given way in large part to a new generation of computer related ‘rich’.

The primary point is that the markets are constantly moving and changing. There is no limit to the potential someone has to be successful and there should be no limit to the rewards they may reap from that success.

Generational wealth is difficult to maintain and I would submit that it only exists when propped up by Socialism, Communism, or official Aristocracy. Capitalism itself is a great equalizer. There are always people looking to ‘build a better mousetrap’ because they know they can be richly rewarded.

Take a close look at the business world and I’ll bet here is what you find in the life cycle of a family run business.
1. First generation: Someone had a great idea and the drive and determination to make it successful. They built a small business into a large business and they were passionate about their success.
2. Second generation: A founder’s child, but not all of their children, will become involved in the business. They are close to it as they grow up and they take an interest in its success. That interest however, is not as strong because the initial idea was not their passion. They see it as a good opportunity to make a good living. The other children not involved will pursue their own interests. Usually, at this stage, a successful business will become a publicly traded entity.
3. Third generation: In most cases, if the business is still privately run, failure is eminent. The third generation has lived a life benefitting from the efforts of their parents and grandparents. Also, due to the exponential nature of family growth, there are more people present at this level. If they are involved in the business, they are not nearly as committed as the prior two generations and are not nearly as interested in putting forth the required effort to make it successful.

During this time, competitors will take note and begin to generate their own business plans. They will introduce options to the marketplace and begin to build their own success.

Businesses that become public entities will continue on and are subject to the managerial skills of those in charge. They employ people, pay dividends to share holders, and spread the wealth around as a matter of course.

Capitalism is the only true way for enterprising and innovative minds to prosper and grow. Under capitalism and free enterprise, anyone can become successful. Are there frustrations? Sure! Are others seeking to protect what they’ve worked for? Of course. But there is no other societal structure that more rewards their effort, or makes it more possible than capitalism.

As highlighted previously, Socialism has a dampening effect on the human spirit.

· Why should I work any harder if I’m not going to benefit?
· Why should I push to be more successful if my home is going to be like everyone else’s?
· Why should I make more money if the government is going to take a greater percentage to give to those who don’t work as hard?

And yes, Socialism will eventually lead to Communism. I draw very little distinction between the two. In modern terms, the only difference between the two is the level to which socialism is enforced. Under totalitarian Communist regimes, you’re far more likely to be killed for not toeing the party line. Communists build walls to keep people in, not to keep them out. It’s insidious what it does to the human spirit and condition, and oh by the way….in all communists regimes, those with the power have the riches. They just don’t let anyone else have any chance at individual success. Socialism is just a softer step in the same direction.

At present socialist governments are breaking down all over the world. They are finding that their policies are bloated and unrealistic. “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”, Margaret Thatcher. Socialism cannot survive without the productivity of those in society who still seek to outperform others. The problem is, eventually, people will grow weary. Too many people will become comfortable with their surroundings and productivity will wane.

The capitalist system has a tremendous cleansing mechanism for those who become corrupt, greedy and unscrupulous, it’s called bankruptcy. The free market (capitalism) will not support people who are corrupt and greedy for long. In fact, the only way they are allowed to exist at all is with some form of government intervention. In a true free market environment, corrupt individuals would be toast in no time. No business can control any market without some form of government assistance.

If capitalism has any downfall it’s that it allows people to become too complacent. To tolerate statements that begin with, “You know what we should do to help people…..”. We become willing to accept the intrusions of socialism into our society.

The United States of America faces only one obstacle to our continued success as the world’s economic, political and military superpower. That obstacle is the Federal Government of the United States. Over the past 60 years, and in fact for most of the past century, we have allowed socialism to creep into our society bit by bit. We have allowed people to become comfortable with the handouts from government. We have destroyed the family structure in many cases.

We have Regulated, Legislated and Mandated our way out of prosperity. It’s as simply as that. We have pushed companies out of our country through environmental policies, taxes, and employment regulations. We continue to hinder our growth even today as our government considers the ridiculous proposals under the ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation before it. ‘Cap’, as in ‘Don’t grow anymore’, and ‘Trade’, as in ‘other people are going to grow more’. And in between, government sanctioned people are going to make huge profits selling THIN AIR!

The United States has shown a resilient nature and an enterprising spirit throughout its existence. When enough people decide they’ve had enough of the nonsense, we will snap back into productivity. We have progressively moved to this point in our history. With the most recent general election here, we have seen this process come to a very quick head. Fortunately, our country has elections every two years. If enough Americans have had enough of the progressive/socialist/communist movement in this country, we will begin to turn ourselves around.

In sentiments loosely attributed to Admiral Yamamoto following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 he is rumored to have said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Such are the feelings about the state of America’s productivity in the world under the current leadership of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, et. al. in Congress. We will find out soon enough, but we appear to be heading toward an awakening and the desire to be filled with resolve.

Britain was a dominant power when its empire encircled the globe. After they lost their territories and possessions, they failed to have the resources necessary for continued dominance. America does not face that prospect. We have the resources we need and can trade for ones we don’t possess. What we need is the resolve to do so.

America is the world’s greatest hope for freedom, free enterprise and capitalism. All we have to do is choose to lead again.

Greg, much of your response is focused on the benefits of capitalism, I fear I failed to express my point… I was supporting capitalism too! I agree entirely with your argument as to why capitalism is the best system we have and that it is our greatest way of achieving meritocracy. I also feel your attack on socialism totally disregarded the entire basis of my original argument, and wasn’t really a response to anything I have ever suggested, more a generic attack on communism, rather than what I would consider progressive socialism.

On a more light hearted note, I must admit to having found your interpretation on the pilgrims quite amusing. I’m English and we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, but even I know that to arrive in a new continent for the first time you’re going to struggle to survive without local knowledge! It’s incredibly creative, and hilarious, to suggest that their inability to produce enough food from this simple lack of knowledge was actually caused by a lack of productivity because of their wicked communist tendencies.

There is some merit on what you have to say on generational wealth, yes, often in say most family businesses wealth will dilute through the generations. I would however distinguish this from the super wealthy, David René de Rothschild is today worth over half a billion dollars, their family business started in the early 1800s! The Rockefellers and Rothschilds of this world are now in their approaching their 7th generation, with little sign that the family fortune is diminishing! If you think the USA is free from the aristocracy, think again! Not only does being born into these families guarantee you wealth, but along with extraordinary wealth also comes political influence, just look at how many of America’s super wealth go into politics. If you believe these people seek to represent anyone’s interests other than their own you are sadly mistaken.

I did suggest that generational wealth is a problem which leads to aristocracy, I’d like to clarify that I was not suggesting this is an issue which I believe we should rely on government intervention to solve. My overly optimistic dream is for society itself to value merit, to frown upon those who choose a life of indulgence, the fruits of their ancestor’s hard work. I believe the greatest gift any parent can give their child is not a lifetime of wealth, but a lifetime of worth. To provide their child with the skills, knowledge and attributes that should they die penniless, the child will still be able to realise their potential and go on to lead a fulfilling existence on their own merit. My admiration for the two richest men in the world, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett is immense; their fortunes will support philanthropic causes rather than make spoiled brats of their children.

I fear Greg that your views are too absolutist, you make clear there is no room for compromise, and I think it’s evident that on this point we will never agree. Simply I argue that without compromise, capitalism, while being the best hope for meritocracy we have, corrupts. The world is not fair, but without intervention, there will always those who have, and there will always be have not. Here I refer not to money, but to something much more important: opportunity. I dream of a world where a person’s accomplishments in life hold no connection to the circumstances into which they were born by chance, but to the accomplishments achieved through choice, through their own actions and on their own merit. Sure, every once in a while a high school dropout will become a millionaire, but this merely creates the illusion of opportunity and keeps the serf happy.

The story of the Pilgrim experience is found in the writings of William Bradford, the Colony’s first governor, and governor for the first 30 years. As they were coming to the new world, they adopted the Mayflower Compact. Being devout believers in God they looked to the ancient Israelites. They choose to follow a true commune under which to live. They lived for the ‘common wealth’. What they learned from the experience is that people who could work harder did not and those who wanted to could try to live of the productivity of others. Bradford quickly changed the process, giving everyone a plot of land and the ability to farm and trade for themselves. They thrived, paid off their debts to their merchant sponsors and began the Great Puritan Migration. Their experiment with socialism in its purest form failed and their switch to personal responsibility and capitalism saved them. They then gave thanks to God for their salvation.

I begrudge no one for the successes their family had no matter when it began, with the exception of monarchies which live off the productivity of the populace. Rothschild, Rockefeller, Getty, Kennedy, you name it….if their families amassed a fortune, and they’ve been able to maintain it, more power to them. There’s no doubt that money and politics lead to corruption but there’s no requirement that that money be generations old. Right now we see an immense amount of corruption without inherited wealth being involved.

I agree that it’s noble for Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to give away half of their fortunes. Both men came from humble beginnings and both amassed large fortunes. I guess it would be more noble for them to give away all of their fortunes and leave their families penniless correct? I mean if your fortune is a big pile of billions, and you give away half of your pile, don’t you still have a pile of billions? They can do as they please. They can suggest that others do so as well. With our death tax coming back into play on the first of 2011, I don’t think it’s going to matter anyway. The government will again take 55% of a person wealth.

John, I don’t think you acknowledge the link between ‘intervention’ and ‘corruption’! As intervention becomes more prevalent, corruption occurs; the more intervention, the more corruption. Those with the means will seek to influence those with the supposed control. Through payoffs, bribes, political contributions, etc…..viola…..corruption.

My views are a bit absolute. I trust business people far more than I trust government people. Those who work in government are parasites to the process. Those who are given power to control outcomes are truly frightening. The market place will always take care of weeding out abusive business practices unless those people are somehow protected by a government entity.

Share this:

Political Sobriety

From a conservative perspective, Greg Carter offers his views on the reality that has followed Obama’s presidential victory in 2008. Read on, as John Hardy offers his view from the left of what Greg has to say.

For a background on John and Greg please click here.

Greg Carter

Oobaaamaa, Oobaaamaa, Oobaaamaa

The glaze was in their eyes as the chant rolled off their lips. Millions of Americans bought into the undefined mantra of “Hope and Change” only to vote more for a cult leader than an experienced political figure. A feel good vote for a person very few people knew anything about. Those who had studied Obama were shouting from the mountain tops only to be called Crazy – Right Wing and Extremists.

That was the fall of 2008.

At the time I predicted that people would sober up and come to their senses but I honestly thought it would take at least a year. Then, Barack Obama, with the assistance of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi began to push their agenda. It’s amazing how quickly the citizens of America can come around when confronted with a Hard Core Radical Socialist leading this once great country. We will see what happens in November of 2010, but I will go on record stating that Barack Obama will see the greatest loss of Congressional seats that any President has ever seen. A pounding for the history books as Americans reinforce our vastly Conservative principles.

To be certain, those who threw the tide to Obama can be forgiven for their foolishness, so long as they repent and sin no more! His predecessor, George W. Bush had endured an unmerciful beating within most of the domestic press outlets. Despite his unwavering stance toward dealing with those seeking to wreak death and destruction (here in after referred to as RIT, or Radical Islamic Terrorists), despite a rebounding and growing economy for 7 years of his administration following the attacks on our country, despite leading the effort to keep our country free from attack following September 11th, 2001, President Bush was routinely vilified in the press as an incapable idiot. If there’s one benefit to the election cycle of 2008 it’s that no single media outlet in the United States can claim any sort of unbiased journalism. Assuming that Fox News is on one side, that puts them up against ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, PBS, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and on, and on, and on.

As the bulk of the media in this country worked as advertising agents and cheerleaders, then candidate Obama only had to say “Hope and Change”. To be fair, he did sometimes seek variety. He would sometimes alter his approach to a different theme of “Change and Hope”. No specifics, no details….he knew all too well he wouldn’t be accepted if he did. And then…Holy Shit…he won the election. Granted he was up against a lifeless, hapless, pitiful candidate in John McCain. (It should be noted however, that even though George Bush was a whipping boy for the press, and John McCain simply sucked as a candidate, Barack Hussein Obama only won 52.9% of the popular vote) McCain won more states and vastly more land mass, but I value our electoral college process and Obama won that without issue.

Barack Obama then took office. (In the texting world I think the proper expression is OMG!) Within a few short months, the country sat up straight and took notice. Much like a wild party that got out of hand, with a little too much drinking and a few date-rape drugs, many Americans woke up and said, “What the hell happened?!? I did what?? With who?? Oh dear God!!”

What has clearly come to the forefront is that this is a battle between Conservative Principles and Progressive Politics. It’s been a long time in the works, 100 years plus as a matter of fact, extending back to the turn of the last century. Progressives within both the Democratic and Republican parties have relentlessly moved our country away from the founding principles that gave us such a great foundation for success. As the decades moved on we moved away from a two party system into what became a 11/4  party system. Until this year we basically evolved into the Progressive/Liberal Democrats and the spineless, gutless, slightly less Progressive Republican party. It has been a recipe for disaster.

Now we have reached a point of political sobriety. After witnessing government bailouts of numerous business entities, government takeover of key elements of the auto industry, government takeover of our health care system and most recently, a financial regulation package that is sure to create further problems, Americans in droves have said enough is enough.

The TEA Party movement in America is not seeking the establishment of another political party to muddy the waters. Rather, the effect of the TEA Party is to ‘clean house on the right and defeat the left’. TEA Party participants are leading the charge for Political Sobriety. It’s a fight for freedom over serfdom, a battle for the heart and soul of America. As Americans, we generally are a happy and welcoming people. We don’t seek to pick fights and we just want to have a good time for the most part. The problem is sometimes we get a little too stupid and a little too lazy for our own good.

No single Federal welfare program in this country is more important than the freedoms we were bestowed with and the heritage our country had. In my lifetime, we last had such a jolt of reality when Jimmy Carter was President. I said before the elections that I thought Barack Obama would make Jimmy Carter look like a genius. It sucks to be right about such things. We had to endure Carter in order to get to Ronald Reagan, and we have to survive Obama in order to get back on the right path this time. I can only hope that the resources now available to people; the Internet, Social Networking, Email, Talk Radio, Satellite Radio, etc…can help sustain the level of interest and awareness within our society. It will be a fight to the death to defend some of these outlets of information and communication, but it’s a fight worth fighting. 

November 2010 will be a test to see how sober we’ve become, but it’s only midway through what amounts to a 12 step process. We know we have a problem; we’ve begun to deal with it, now we need to see it through and NEVER let it happen again.

John Hardy

Greg, it’s shocking but I’m about to agree with you on a number of points. You’re correct; the American people did buy the mantra of hope and change, big time. They bought it in spite of the puerile suggestion that Obama is more of a cult figure than an experienced politician. So what does this tell us? Well, it suggests to me that people were fed up of one of the most conservative presidents in US history. The American people demanded change and they got it!

In Britain, a country where ironically I feel a greater sense of freedom than in the self-proclaimed ‘land of the free’, we are allowed to gamble. You can go to a bookmaker (betting shop) or online and bet on pretty much anything; elections, sporting events, even your newborn child one day winning Olympic gold – you name it, they’ll give you odds (probability) and take your wager. They make their money by being damn good at predicting the likelihood of these outcomes. In 2008 the ‘bookies’ said an Obama victory was almost certain. When I told you this however, you remained so confident McCain could still win we had a small wager of our own, one bookmaker paid out a week before the election took place. In January when Brown and Coakley competed for Ted Kennedy’s former senate seat in Massachusetts, while you guys were no doubt keenly following the election, over here the bookmakers were so convinced the contest was over they paid out on a Brown victory 24 hours before the election even took place.

My point being, while I believe the democrats may lose seats in November, I think your suggestion that the Democrats will receive a pounding for the history books is based more on wishful thinking than reality. After all the bookmakers currently have Obama as favourite (just) to win the 2012 election so his support can’t have fallen as much as perhaps a diet of Fox news and talk radio would have their audience believe.

That brings me neatly to another point where we are in agreement; the United States media is most definitely biased. We are privileged in Britain to have the BBC which is constitutionally neutral. While those on the political right like to suggest it has a liberal bias, they clearly have never been subjected to the appalling and unashamed partiality endured by our American cousins. As a conservative you will no doubt be horrified to discover that the BBC is funded by a ‘licence fee’, essentially a compulsory tax of £149.50 ($210) paid annually to the BBC for the right to view any television programming within that household. The BBC, however, is one of the most popular institutions in Britain and one I feel makes a great case for government intervention: all the commercial networks have to compete with the high quality, unbiased and commercial-free output it produces. Consequently, in my biased opinion, the commercial networks here are of a much higher standard than they would otherwise be as they are forced to compete with what the BBCs produces. A great example of how a public option can force the private sector to produce higher quality output, more efficiently, except of course for the fact that in this instance the licence fee is not optional (if you want to watch TV).

You are correct also, that George W. Bush was vilified by certain elements of the media… but so was Obama. When you suggest “those who had studied Obama… [were called] crazy – right wing and extremists”, are these the same people who suggested he was a Muslim, and not even American? If so I’d say those extremist labels were probably accurate, fortunately most of the media did not participate in this vile scare-mongering that the ignorant so willingly bought into. If you are referring to this ‘card carrying socialist Obama’ that’s another entirely pointless debate, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter; I don’t consider Obama a socialist, you don’t consider Bush an “incapable idiot”. But why must everything be polarised? Politicians and the media all seem to be labelled as being on one extreme or the other, where is the middle ground? I fear the 2-party politics of America has much to do with this; I was amazed to discover that in the US election campaigns are offered government funding based on criteria which usually benefit only the Republican and Democratic parties. This strikes me as undemocratic and in my view amounts to a state-sponsored duopoly! The consequence is that every political issue becomes polarised and all the shades of grey are overlooked.

I welcome the TEA party movement. I had hoped it would begin a move away from traditional 2-party politics where more diverse views can be represented. Sadly, this is not the case, and contrary to yourself I view the goal of shifting the Republicans further to the right as a move away from the ideals of mainstream America. The best thing that can happen to the Democrats is for a Palin-esqe figure to win the Republican nomination. Not only would this provide slapstick we haven’t seen since Bush was in office but she is unappealing and unelectable to all but the most staunch of conservatives.

We just elected the Conservative party in Britain after 13 years out of office. Well, actually we didn’t elect them; they failed to achieve a majority and had to find support from the Liberal Democrat party, something I never thought possible. The conservatives only managed to regain power after realignment away from the right, they even redesigned their logo as a tree to show they care about the environment. You clearly yearn for the Republican party to be move even further towards the right, and I’m sure surrounded by vocal and like-minded individuals at tea party rallies it feels like lots of people do, but I feel this isn’t a true reflection of the American people and you’ll end up pushing yourselves away from power, the opposite of what the British Conservatives have achieved. Ultimately, time will tell.

You criticise Obama for intervening in the failing auto industry. Would you offer the same criticism to Bush for intervening when the banking system, and with it, the basic premise of the free market failed? On that occasion the bankers requested demanded $700bn of public money to be saved.

I’d like to take a moment to point out this conveniently took place 8 weeks before the election, with the bill rushed through a congress terrified by how the vote would affect the outcome of the upcoming election.

So who were biggest benefactors from this panicked frenzy? I’ll give you a clue; it’s the smartest minds your nation produces. After graduating in physics and mathematics from Harvard and the like, these great minds choose not to further the medical and scientific endeavours of mankind but to instead opt for a career of unrivalled greed. While the global economy collapsed around them their great minds were not looking for solutions to the crisis they created. Instead their thoughts were consumed by the one thought allowed in a free market system: how can they make a profit! And profit they did, while everyone else continues to struggle, the bankers are once again raking in massive profits and contributing nothing of value to humanity. Easy when you’ve been given $700bn as a parting gift from George W. Bush!

Share this:

What do we believe, and why?

In our first article, we attempt to express our political beliefs, and why we hold them.

What do you think? Please feel welcome to post your comments at the bottom.

Why I’m an American Conservative
Greg Carter

During the latter part of the 1700’s, the founders of our country laid out a solid foundation for the effective government of the people of the United States of America. Through the establishment of The Constitution of the United States and the ensuing Bill of Rights, we were given the Freedoms due to all mankind in the pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness.

The Constitution of the United States lays out clear rules:

  • The powers of the FEDERAL government are clearly stated and limited.
  • The founder’s of our country provided the means necessary to alter the plan through amendments to the constitution. The process is, by necessity, cumbersome and specific.

Conservatives recognize and believe in the Constitution. We believe that the founder’s were divinely inspired in their actions and that they established man’s single greatest hope for government here on Earth. We believe the Constitution must be adhered to as it was originally intended or modified as it was prescribed. In the event the people of the United States feel it necessary to add on to, or alter, the Constitution, we believe the prescribed rules are to be followed.

As such, we believe that our FEDERAL government has perpetrated numerous acts that have been unconstitutional or extra-constitutional at a minimum. Our FEDERAL government has overstepped its defined powers and exerted itself on the States, Municipalities and People of the country. Furthermore, at no time should the Courts of the United States create law. Their sole purpose is to interpret the laws that exist and decide/apply them to the case at hand. All too frequently, these changes have been pursued without regard to political party and are functions of the Liberal/Progressive movement. These changes have been slow, but sure, and have worked toward the detriment of our society, its institutions, traditions and values.

Our founder’s were firm believers in a Divine Providence. They recognized this divinity in the form of God. Our county was, in fact, founded on Judeo/Christian principles. These principles allow for and, in reality, demand an adherence to God’s teachings and expectations for our lives. We were founded by people seeking the freedom to worship their God, not by people seeking a way to avoid or admonish the presence of God. They did not seek to establish a national church per se, such as the King’s Church of England. They did however expect the people to be devoted in their beliefs and devoted to God. It is because we are a Christian nation that we allow other religious practices to exist. It is because we are a Christian nation that non-Christian believers are able to freely practice their beliefs, so long as those beliefs do not endanger the lives of other Americans. Religious tolerance is not the same as religious abdication! Despite allowing for other religious beliefs to exist, our founders did not establish a method for abdicating our spiritual foundation.

  • I believe that America offers everyone equal opportunity but not equal outcome.
  • I believe in Freedom
    • The Freedom to Succeed and the Freedom to Fail.
    • The Freedom to choose the course of one’s life without government interference.
  • I believe that the United States was established with the Freedom OF Religion, not the Freedom FROM Religion.
  • I believe that ‘a government that governs least governs best’.
  • I believe that a large, central, FEDERAL government is inherently bad for the citizens
  • I believe that the most effective level of government is that which is local to the people. A government that is available to the citizens with an ease of access.
  • I believe that most issues should not exceed the level of state government.
  • I believe that an organization that is not explicitly Conservative will over time become Liberal.
  • I believe there is only one group of Americans who are ‘owed’ anything from the other citizens and that is the men and women of the United States Military.
  • As a compassionate, God-fearing people, I believe there is only one group of people who should be ‘entitled’ to anything simply by being born American. Those in our society who would perish quickly without the assistance of others due to a lack of cognitive and physical abilities.
  • Our founders knew what they were doing. They were brilliant with their thoughts and exemplary in their actions. They set forth a plan to be followed and preserved, ‘conserved’ if you will.
    • (Conserve: To protect from loss or harm; preserve: calls to conserve our national heritage in the face of bewildering change. The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009)

Thus, to these ends, I am a CONSERVATIVE. I don’t need to hide it. I don’t need to call it by different names during different decades. I don’t need to run from it or pretend it is something other than what it is. A conservative is proud of our heritage and our record as a country.

I believe those who call themselves Liberals/Progressives need to explain what they are progressing away from or progressing toward. They seek to change the fundamentals of our country not through prescribed means but through alternate methods. They use the court system to establish law rather than the legislative process.

Why I’m a Liberal
John Hardy

In Britain, things are different and we do not have a written constitution. I believe, however, that the US constitution is a fantastic document and that the USA couldn’t have been built on better foundations. However the world and our understanding of it has changed inconceivably in the 200+ years since it was written. I do not claim to be an expert on the constitution or those who wrote it, but I believe that many American’s have distorted the founding fathers intentions. As mere human beings, the founding fathers could not possibly have created a document that would be both infallible and eternally relevant. In America the constitution is treated as a holy text by some, and its writers held in such high regard as to almost be religious figures in their own right. Sadly, like the worlds many religions, everybody has their own interpretation of the meaning of the text and the views of its authors.

I do not believe the founding fathers intended the USA to be the ‘Christian nation’ it has become, and believe that some of these figures were actually quite opposed to Christianity. Whatever the beliefs of the founding fathers, I consider them entirely irrelevant in the 21st century. Had the constitution been written in an earlier time with mention of a flat earth, would we now be arguing whether it is unconstitutional to travel ‘around’ the world? Similarly, in 1787 with just 13 states, and a population 97% smaller than the present day, is it important whether the founding fathers favoured big or small government, for example, under circumstances incomparable with today’s world?

Don’t get me wrong, I value and respect the constitution, but think it is important not to let constitutional absolutism suffocate every piece of reform the house attempts to pass.

I believe that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity. Sadly, the world not a fair or equal place, and presently opportunity grossly favours the wealthy while, alarmingly, the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. I believe this is because the political class are from the privileged side of the spectrum and there are many, especially the political right, who are self interested and want to maintain the status quo, an unfair and unequal society.

I believe in freedom, but not at the expense of other people’s freedom. Everybody should be free from interference from other people’s religious beliefs, and the separation of church and state is essential for a society to be fair to everyone.

I believe it is the government’s duty to look after those less fortunate in society. Until everyone is born with the same opportunities, we cannot neglect those who perhaps didn’t receive a good education or enjoy a positive and supportive upbringing. I think government intervention is necessary to prevent a negative spiral of social inequality. It’s easy for the privileged, who have perhaps benefited from more aspiring role models or education to say people need to sort out their own problems, but its mere chance these privileged were not born into less fortunate circumstances themselves. I believe that when a society supports the less fortunate, everyone benefits from the improved social landscape.

I believe that nationalism and religion are divisive; they create an us and them mentality when in reality we are all just human beings who by chance happen to have been born in different places and different cultures.

I am a liberal, you could also call me a progressive. I believe we need to progress towards a world where geographical circumstance does not determine what can be accomplished in life, where everyone in the world identifies each other as human beings rather than enemies, and where everyone is born in a fair society with equal opportunities for all.

More articles to come, in the mean time for a background on John and Greg check out:

Share this:

Welcome to Pond Politics!

Greg, a 49-year-old conservative American, and John, a 24-year-old liberal Brit first met in the Summer of 2007.

Both were working at a YMCA Camp in Ohio, Greg ran the camp’s catering and John was working in an international summer camp program. John loved the experience and returned to the camp year round on an extended visa from Summer 2008 to September 2009.

During this time, political discussions began between the two and it soon became clear that both were very much at opposite ends of the political spectrum. John, a liberal, atheist, vegetarian, and Greg, a conservative Christian and right-wing tea party activist, who, with good humoured disapproval, had to provide a vegetarian option each meal for John. While completely disagreeing with each other on pretty much everything, the debates were good natured and a mutual respect and friendship developed between the two.

Thanks to the Internet, despite a giant pond separating the pair geographically, their discussions were able to continue first on Facebook, and now on this co-authored blog, Pond Politics.

There are many blogs offering a conservative or liberal narrative without exposing their readers to other views. We hope that this blog, an unlikely collaboration, will offer an interesting and unique perspective, providing 2 contrasting views for each discussion and inviting the reader to form their own conclusions.


“I am a 49 year old father of three. I have a degree in Business Administration and have spent my career in business management. For the past 30 years, I have employed and managed hundreds of people, primarily in the Hospitality and Retail Industries. For a period of 5 years, I owned and operated my own restaurant business.

I have a multiply handicapped daughter, a son who serves in the United States Marine Corps and a son who attends Christian School on line.

My interest in politics began in earnest while I was in college. My first election vote was for President Reagan when he smoked Jimmy Carter in 1980. I have voted in every single election possible since that time and I have never missed a Federal or State election in 30 years.

I am a Conservative Christian and currently a proud supporter of the America Tea Party Movement.”


“I am 24-years old. Since graduating in Business Management and Marketing I have worked for a finance company, but spent much of my time working with kids in the outdoors at a camp in Ohio. I am currently self employed in web development.

I come from a working class home in Rotherham. The town has high unemployment and many social issues caused largely by the decline of the local steel and mining industries. I went to a poorly performing Comprehensive school but have been lucky to benefit from supportive parents and teachers.

I became interested in politics towards the end of University, missing my first opportunity to vote in 2005 though registration issues and apathy. I became a member of and voted for the Liberal Democrat party in 2010, however I also support many policies and principles of the Labour party and always ‘try’ to keep an open mind to new ideas.

I think religion is divisive and should be kept as far away from politics as possible. I believe the government should aim to create a society fair for everybody, and not disproportionately advantage the wealthy.”

So that’s us, we hope you enjoy the blog!

Share this: