Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Capitalism = Corruption and Jobs = Slavery

So finally after weeks of asking Mr. Grapski what was his definition of profiteer we have an answer. He says we are “corrupt”, that we “profit” from our community service and that we will be “arrested” and “put in jail” because he has “proof positive” of our crimes. And what is our crime? It turns out it is because we believe in Capitalism. Mr. Grapski has revealed that he is a Socialist and in true ideolog fashion, everyone who believes differently is a criminal. He wants to REDISTRIBUTE collective resources (wealth) from those who have achieved success and give it to the public, i.e. those poor African Americans with high utility bills or those small business entrepreneurs trying to live the American Dream.

Mr. Grapski lives in a theoretical world. He certainly doesn’t live in the real world. In fact he is a parasite and I use that term in a scientific way, in all due respect. A parasite is an organism that lives off another organism without harming the host. For the past forty one years Mr. Grapski has been sucking at the teat of his liberal friends. He hasn’t found it necessary to go out into the real world and get a job to earn a paycheck to acquire life’s necessities. If he needs $10,000 to pursue his lawsuit he panders to his fellow Socialists/Liberals and they are happy to give him their hard earned money. In fact they shower him with computers and free housing. What a life. I wish that I could be so fortunate but I was instilled with a work ethic from parents who lived in the real world who didn’t believe that the government and friends should support them.

Let us look at some of Mr. Grapski’s arguments. Why are there some who have high utility bills? Is it the high cost of fuel that gets passed on to customers? Yes, to some extent but then “everyone” pays the same rate. Are some not conserving energy? Are the poor not supposed to conserve? Are their houses poorly constructed without adequate insulation? Can that be because there are not decent paying jobs available close to home so they don’t have to spend more of their budget on gasoline? In Mr. Grapski’s world the government will just give them more to pay their bills from those who have achieved. What we want is to give everyone the “opportunity” to pull themselves up the ladder to a better life and that is a “crime” in Mr. Grapski’s eyes.

Mr. Grapski as a Socialist/Liberal has a problem with our efforts to bring those needing decent jobs to those very jobs via buses. This is a contradiction in itself. I would have thought that this effort would be supported by him since he claims to be in favor of helping the poor. But he hasn’t attended any of the public meetings where this service was discussed. The goal is to establish routine bus service through out the day for everyone. This is just the first small step. Why is he against using tax dollars to help those less fortunate? I will never understand the thinking of a Socialist ideolog.

Mr. Grapski thinks that the City hasn’t helped local businesses with tax breaks and infrastructures. I can easily think of three; Hitchcocks, Sabine and Driltech. Grant money also was used to revitalize downtown Main St that helped ALL those businesses. Again, Mr Grapski wasn’t around when it was blighted with empty stores and a seedy bar. The City got a grant to purchase Rolling Green Academy and turned it into the finest recreation center in the county that all businesses and public have benefited.

The biggest rant of Mr. Grapski that bothers me the most is the claim that Dollar General jobs “guarantee” that their employees will be “locked into those …jobs”. I am sure that he has an image in his mind of poor people shackled to their work stations like slaves and the “evil” corporation whipping them to produce more. This is the biggest lie of the Socialists. The American Dream is that those who have the motivation to succeed can by hard work and learning skills for advancement. Dollar General has been a corporate leader in this area, go to their website for more information. However, this doesn’t fit Mr. Grapski’s agenda.

There was a letter to the editor recently when Mr. Grapski’s friends in the ALA were carrying on about the “menial minimum wage jobs that lead to the dumbing down of America” (Eileen McCoy’s campaign slogan). It was written by a woman who had worked at the local pharmacy while going to college. She needed to arrange her work schedule to fit her college schedule. The pharmacy said that they wouldn’t do that so she took a job at Dollar General. She pointed out that they were more than happy to accommodate her. In fact they helped pay for her classes AND paid her more then she had been making working at the pharmacy!

Bottom line, there will always be a difference of opinion between those who want bland government handouts and those who believe that America is the greatest country in the world because we give everyone the opportunity to succeed IF THEY ARE WILLING TO PUT IN THE HARD WORK NECESSARY. If this wasn’t true why do so many come here legally and illegally? Last time I looked it wasn’t a crime to be a Capitalist.

Posted by Bud Calderwood


At Wed Jul 05, 09:04:00 AM, Blogger Ward Scott said...


Thanks for your delineation of the two philosophies. A related article that might be of interest to the readers, entitled "Capitalism Spreads Freedom Even As Democracy Falters" may be read at


Ward Scott

At Wed Jul 05, 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Try again Ward and Bud.

You fail to understand my posiiton and you completely misrepersent it here.

Stick to what you know. Spay a cat or something. But you are quite ignorant about philosophy, law, and economic theory.

At Wed Jul 05, 09:10:00 AM, Blogger Ward Scott said...

Another attempt at the url:


Ward Scott

At Wed Jul 05, 09:12:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Actually, as for REDISTRIBUTING wealth - that is my charge of "profiteering" against the City.

They are REDISTRIBUTING wealth alright - its just that they take the COLLECTIVE resources, obtained by the government, and then GIVE THEM AWAY to the rich.

They rob from the poor and give to the rich - its robbin' the hood.

When you "subsidize" Wal-Mart (and all the rest) to get roads, and sewers, and tax breaks, and all of the rest - you are GIVING Wal-Mart (a rich corporation of outsiders) Alachua's money (and money from the County and State) TO Wal-Mart in a re-distributing fashion.

You claim - it "brings jobs" - and therefore "pays off".

In actuality - your trickle down approach should be seen as just that. You argue that the poor should be happy their wealth is being redistributed to the corporate giants - because IN RETURN those giants will give them a low-waged job in an environment in which there is no way for them to open a small business of their own.

I, personally, don't like being trickled upon.

But its funny how you love to recite your rhetoric about redistribution and socialism - which you clearly understand very poorly - and don't even recognize that in actuality you are the BIGGEST HYPOCRITE because you are condemning, although you don't realize it because you can only see the particulars of what you are focused on, exactly what you advocate.

At Wed Jul 05, 09:13:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Do tell us your position. It is very difficult to understand your interpretations of the law and philosophies.

At Wed Jul 05, 09:44:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski says:
In actuality - your trickle down approach should be seen as just that. You argue that the poor should be happy their wealth is being redistributed to the corporate giants - because IN RETURN those giants will give them a low-waged job in an environment in which there is no way for them to open a small business of their own.

Mr. Grapski, I have given you a real life example of an employee of Dollar General. Tell us how DG is holding a gun to her head and preventing her from starting her own business?

Conversly, if she wants to start a business, how is DG preventing her from doing that. Also, in your theoretical world, what is involved in starting a business. We know from your worldly experience that you are an expert in economic matters.

At Wed Jul 05, 10:13:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie, not every person has the aptitude or desire to run a small business of their own.

There is a place in our economic system for large corporations. The economy of scale in shipping large quantities of goods to large, centralized stores has added to our nations Gross Domestic Product. By some estimates, Wal-Mart, alone, has probably added 2% to our nation’s gross domestic product by job growth, but they have also been a big player in keeping inflation in check by keeping downward pressure on prices. Are you aware that the average worker that has a 401k or some kind of mutual fund probably has some Wal-Mart stock in their fund?

Back in the 60's, my grandfather owned Rite-Price Groceries in Alachua County. He had several of them. It was the typical, small corner grocery store. They don't exist anymore, Charlie. That style store, hardly, exists anywhere, anymore. Why? You couldn't get the selections and pricing that are offered by today's Publix, Albertson's or Winn Dixie. People like choices. They like options. If I like hot and spicy Chinese mustard, I can get it from the Chinese section at Publix. My Grandfather couldn't carry specialty things like that. Too expensive to get and not enough shelf space to store it. It's all about economy-of-scale Charlie.

Have you ever read the Fishkind report? I have. The ALA group wanted a study done. It was commissioned to try to prove that the "tax giveaways" to Dollar General were a bad deal for the city. Instead, the Fishkind Report projected a net positive in jobs and taxes for the city of Alachua and actually projected an increase into the county tax coffers as well as the Alachua County School Board. You aren't against education, are you, Charlie?

The ALA didn't like the results of the Fishkind report, so they don't really talk about it, anymore.

The fact is, Dollar General has had a positive effect on jobs and the tax base of the city, county and the school board. After paying bonds, etc, the city has a net positive of somewhere between $250,000 and $350,000 per year in tax revenue. That is called “diversifying the tax base” and in the future, should allow the millage rate to be rolled back, some, for Alachua residents (I know that is being discussed).

How much do the custodians that empty your garbage can and clean your toilet at the University of Florida make? By your standards, are they not stuck in dead end jobs. Are they not trapped, too?

I am willing to bet that the custodial staff at UF makes less money than the average warehouse worker at the Dollar General distribution center. Last numbers I heard was that custodial staff was being paid about $9 per hour and Dollar General jobs were paying about $12.

Charlie, do you advocate that we get rid of the Dollar General distribution center and tell the Alachua County School Board that they now need to give up the extra tax revenue that they receive?

Do you advocate telling a worker that moved from an $8 or $9 dollar an hour job that they should give up their $11, $12 or $13 per hour job at DG?

Charlie, you have no vision beyond an unworkable utopia.

I have one comment for you about posting on this blog. You claim to favor decorum, so show some. Bud Calderwood and Ward Scott each have a lifetime of experience that qualify them to comment on these subjects. I will put their practical experiences up against your “theory” any day.

If you want to post your opinions, then post them. You are always welcome to do that. If you want to throw barbs (i.e spay a cat or something), then in the future, I will delete them. Are you for decorum and reasonable, even spirited debate, or aren’t you?

At Wed Jul 05, 10:39:00 AM, Blogger A. Scott said...

Mr. Jones

Very well stated.

I fear, however, that you are urinating against a stiff wind in trying to impart rational and logical points to a liberal parrot.

At Wed Jul 05, 10:50:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski, quickly tell us what ROI means in economic terms. No fair looking it up. Its 11:45 AM

At Wed Jul 05, 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Funny, to be called a parrot. When that is all I see coming from Stafford and Hugh. Parroting. They use terms and catch-phrases, particularly Hugh, without much understanding. That is called parroting.

And of course the rhetoric of "socialist" and "liberal" is about as parrot like as you can get.

I suggest Mr. a. scott learn what a "liberal" is before calling people such.

I certainly do not claim to be a liberal. But not because of your naive misuse of the term. But because I believe that "liberal" in the political sense - is NOT what I believe.

So before calling me a "liberal" - you should 1) find out what that term means; 2) find out what I believe.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:19:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie, is your only mechanism for responding to posts with reasonable opinion and information is to claim that we are parroting?

Bud has mentioned real life experiences of somebody who works for Dollar General. I have mentioned a real life experience of my Grandfather owning grocery stores.

I asked you about the people that empty your garbage can and clean your toilet at UF.

You have offered no answers, but only insults.

Grow up, Charlie.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

You are taking way too long to answer my question about ROI. I guess that you are busy looking up the answer.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Pick me, pick me! I know the answer.

Return On Investment.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Now Stafford, that isn't fair. Mr. Grapski doesn't need any help. Why he has even stated that he isn't going to help the City with their illegal affairs anymore because they keep pointing out to the Court all his illegal actions against his release conditions.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


I find your criticism of my mentioning "spaying a cat" as problematic.

Perhaps you would like to take a look at Hugh Calderwood's rhetorical style in this "endorsed" article that you have hosted of his.

You and he have made all sorts of attacks on me - ridiculous ones at that - but usually when ad hominem is the best defense, it is because it is the only offense you have.

Hugh claims I am living off the public. A false statement - at best.

Hugh makes all kinds of incorrect and misleading statements and barbs and jabs.

So give me a break with you "fairness" issue - until you get a handle on your own operatives.

At Wed Jul 05, 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Actually, Hugh,

The Court has not stated that I have committed a SINGLE illegal action to date. You are incorrect.

Indeed, to date, I have not been CHARGED with a single crime.

Now why is that?

What I did say was that you are not going to use this discussion to try and get information out of me that you are seeking as a means of your legal defense.

You have the highest paid City Attorney in the State (I would venture to guess). Her nice Red Mercedes, by the way, is the product of a REDISTRIBUTION of wealth from the people of Alachua to her pocket.

And given her actions to date - she is INCOMPETENT for the job.

So I am not going to do her legal work for her. But I am going to do all I can to expose her negligence and incompetence and seek to have a competent City Attorney hired for Alachua at a REASONABLE salary.

Its sad to see the firm of Rush and Glassman, and particularly Rob Rush, involved in the scams of Alachua. I had long respected Rob Rush. I have to reconsider my position on this - given his firms complicity in the wrongdoing in the City of Alachua.

At Wed Jul 05, 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi guys,

Just so you know what Charlie's talking about, "liberal" in the political science sense runs a spectrum. A classical liberal at one end is what would be associated with a) limited government, negative liberties perspective; and b) free trade/open market philosophy. We might associate a "liberal" with the libertarian movement, perhaps with just a smidge more government oversight to ensure efficient market activity. Classic liberals tend to favor individualism and personal initiative as the determinant for opportunity/prosperity and, consequently, as the basis of morality.

At the other extreme end of liberalism resides the positive liberty, socialist/communist philosophy. These people prefer to be described as progressives since a) liberal has a bad political connotation nowadays; and b) it distinguishes them clearly from classic liberals. We would associate progressives with the liberal wing of the Democrat party and/or the greens. Progressives also believe the impact of social structures to be determinant in individuals' opportunity/prosperity, so using government power to "level the playing field" is a moral imperative. Efforts to prevent them, such as a limited government platform, is inherently immoral as a result.

As you can imagine, two key social structures include race and class. Class is the more animating factor for progressives. In their worldview, the rich create rigid social structures to empower themselves and use the power of the state to maintain this (inherently immoral) order. Since capitalism a) is based in individualism, b) is the most capable system of generating wealth thereby ensuring the dominance of the rich, and c) limits the role of the government, it is a troika of evil incarnate. In this view, moral action requires effort to overturn the injustice and social structures generated by the wealthy. Hence, providing incentives to objectively wealthy corporations, regardless of the financial benefits to the community, merely reinforce the dominance of the rich and deprive the poor of potential resource; nevermind the fact that, without the concessions and continued profitability of the company, the community gets nothing. This moral philosophy also argues that the rich OWE their continued success from the labor of the poor, so the rich are morally indebted to the poor and act greedily (which is a sin to everyone) when they refuse things like higher wages.

Hope this helps.

At Wed Jul 05, 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Philosophical question, Charlie,

Isn't that payment for services (even if they are awful services) rather than a redistribution? The former indicates a return for the movement of wealth whereas the latter does not.

At Wed Jul 05, 01:25:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Thank you Dave. Mr. Grapski blurs the line between his moral indignation and it becomes criminal (as in my wife and I being lead off to jail in handcuffs). This will be the lawsuit of the century worthy of Mr. Grapski's opinion of himself.

At Wed Jul 05, 02:19:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Here is Ward's article:

Capitalism spreads freedom even as democracy falters
Posted 6/27/2006

By Carl J. Schramm

With the Fourth of July approaching, many politicians and pundits have been asking: What would the Founders do in our situation?
How would Presidents George Washington, John Quincy Adams or Thomas Jefferson handle Iraq? Afghanistan? The war on terror? The search for global peace?

One overlooked "founder" offers enduring answers: Adam Smith. Smith published the Wealth of Nations in 1776, the same year the Continental Congress declared American independence. By the time of the Constitutional Convention 11 years later, his ideas had been incorporated into the thinking of the new nation's leaders.

Smith's great revelation was that political freedom would most likely emerge and persist under conditions of economic freedom, what we now call capitalism. Our democratic system as defined in our Constitution incorporated respect for this economic system.

Like Smith's invisible hand in the market, the Framers saw an invisible hand in our politics. They believed that, if allowed to work freely, these hands together would shape America into the land where invention, creativity and entrepreneurial activity would flourish.

There would be no danger of an aristocracy of wealth because the instruments of financial success were available to every person.

In the two centuries since then, Smith's proposition has served to advance all of civilization. America has become the hope of the oppressed, the "mother of exiles" and the cradle of modern commerce.

Twice, America considered turning away from economic freedom. In the Depression, nationalization was seriously considered, and Presidents Roosevelt and Truman did attempt to take over several industries. In the late 1970s, in the face of low growth and high inflation, the nation nearly followed the advice of such economists as Harvard's Wassily Leontief and John Kenneth Galbraith to establish government central planning.

Instead, in the 1980s, we returned to our origins and bet on individual entrepreneurs rather than on government bureaucrats. The result has been today's extraordinary economic engine — Smith's entrepreneurial capitalism at work.

Indeed, research from the University of Maryland and Census Bureau shows that net jobs created by businesses less than five years old exceeded 20% per year during the '80s and '90s (equating to millions of jobs), while jobs created by more mature businesses remained essentially flat.

Even so, what do we do now in the face of a new enemy to freedom, driven by a notion that our democratic way should be eliminated?

More than the export of democracy, it is the export of entrepreneurial capitalism that can produce a new birth of peace and freedom around our globe. Entrepreneurial capitalism is based on individual invention, and because wealth comes from one's own initiative, it advances human dignity.

And here is the good news. Virtually every country, whatever its political system, wants to embrace it. They have seen the success of the American economy.

It has been said that when goods cross borders, armies don't. Today, China and India are the world's two largest countries racing toward entrepreneurial capitalism. They are the example and test of that thesis. Several decades ago, their armies clashed. Now no one talks of war, only of their economic emergence. Capitalism has promoted peace and, in China, better — though still inadequate — respect for rights.

If, with our assistance, Adam Smith's entrepreneurial capitalism were to become ubiquitous, the cross-border investment in the success of our brothers and sisters around the world, and theirs in us, would cause people everywhere to see the futility of ancient struggles, whether based on plunder, conquest or theocratic fervor.

In the insight of our invisible founder is the secret for achieving a future of global peace.

Carl J. Schramm is president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation,which focuses on advancing entrepreneurial success.

At Wed Jul 05, 08:00:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

The definition of socialism:

Main Entry: so·cial·ism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

At Wed Jul 05, 08:05:00 PM, Blogger Ward Scott said...


Thanks for posting the article entitled "Capitalism Spreads Freedom Even As Democracy Falters."

The article may now be referenced for further discussion as the readers deem appropriate.

Ward Scott

At Wed Jul 05, 10:51:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

I find your criticism of my mentioning "spaying a cat" as problematic.

Um...I don't care if you find that problematic. Hugh has had some edge to his posts, but when you get hit with good, valid and well thought out opinions, you respond with hate without even offering any substitute opinion.

Have I attacked you? No, I haven't, but I have been very critical of you.

This site isn't an attack site. It is defense. Don't you dare come out and attacke (and you have) and expect people to not respond.

You have attacked me. You have, downright, lied about me. I saw your post on the ALA site talking about some kind of information we we (the REC) were trying to get on you. Are you that self-important, or do you have some kind of paranoia disorder? How about the claim that some REC person was going to attempt to set you up in a "compromising situation"?

What the heck are you talking about? Like, with a goat or something?

What about your statement that I was "out to get you" (you posted that to your Deaniac friends). I never said it, Charlie, but you believe it if you want. If it helps you get through the day to think that, then enjoy yourself.

Where do you get this stuff?

Charlie, however Hugh said it, what I took away from it is that you have never really created anything. You have spent most of your adulthood in the education system. Have you ever had to make sure that there was enough money in the bank to pay your employees every week, year after year? Have you ever had to make sure that you brought enough money home to make the mortgage payment and keep the lights on, not because it will effect you, if you don't, but because it will effect your wife and children? Have you ever put off a new eyeglass prescription so that you could spend the money on your children?

I doubt that you have done any of those things. Sure, you will probably throw something up, but you haven't experienced the kind of life in which everything you do, every waking minute, every opinion that you forge and every action that you take is for your wife and children, and not you.

Charlie, I am comfortable knowing that you don't have a grasp on the real world. I don't think that you could survive in my world.

You complain that people should be able to start their own businesses instead of going to work for somebody else, but you haven't done that. If you had to leave the university system, create a product and go sell it it to survive, could you do it?

At Thu Jul 06, 11:47:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


Hugh's stuff is hardly "hard hitting" or valid. It is made up absurdity in which he uses the rhetoric of capitalism and socialism in a way in which he clearly shows his ignorance of the meaning of both of these concepts.

He certainly is NOT ignorant of the MIS-use of these terms in partisan rhetorical wars by the Republican Party.

But this does not excuse his lack of knowleged - but more importantly - he is ascribing to me things that have no relationship whatsoever with my actual positions.

So - when I mention (with a respectful air) his talents as a Veterinarian (which I respect) - it is not inappropriate in such a way that you should threaten to eliminate that post.

If that is your standard, however, you should apply it uniformly - and Hugh's message, which I could care less if it appears as such or not (its just that he sounds foolish to anyone other than your unquestioning followers), should be equally subject to your censor's pen.

As for Hugh's comments: Capitialism is not "illegal." Capitalism is also not "just make money by any means." And Capitalism is also NOT a founding value of this nation (it was a concept which emerged AFTER this nation was founded).

And Wal-Marts and other big box stores are not CLASSICAL capitalism examples - but a distorted concept of "capitalism" which merely takes the outcome - "profit" - as the only thing that matters. Yet classical economic theories of EARLY capitalism had a number of ETHICAL dimensions associated with it - from the POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY it was derived in relation to - which you have conveniently removed while still claiming the legitimacy which derives not from mere "profit motive" - but from the LIMITS to that set by the ethical dimension.

At Thu Jul 06, 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


Putting aside the absolutely inaccurate basis of your points regarding the "real world" and how I survive and the institutions of academia ... lets analyze the POINT of your criticism.

Obviously in your world ONLY those who are "capitalists" are legitimate (and of course - in your view of capitalism - so are the very "thankful" individuals who are "given" jobs by the capitalist - who, although he is not attempting to be BENIFICENT (he is only looking out for his own self interest) you somehow adopt a religious belief that someone some "invisible hand" guides this self-interested behavior to produce the common good of all. Again - I have wonderful bridge in Alaska to sell you if you believe this nonsense)).

Because you openly suggest in your statement that persons in ACADEMIC professions are less than legitimate and are not really valuable or productive to society - because they don't "produce" a "product" which they "sell" for "profit" to earn a living.

Sorry Stafford, neither do Sanitation workers - who also have value and merit - and a number of other "jobs" that don't fall into your naive and narrow view of the religion of "capitalism."

I suggest you READ Adam Smith and UNDERSTAND his "invisible hand" theory - before you go using it as a foundation for theories of capitalism which are ANTITHETICAL to his point. But I doubt Hugh or you have actually read, let alone understood, the works of Adam Smith.

I have his complete collected works if you would like to borrow them. I read them often.

At Thu Jul 06, 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

I must point out that academics and sanitation workers ply the same trade, with the exception that the latter are often left to tend to the messes made by the former.

Each can conclude for himself which provides the more valuable service.

David C. Ellis, Ph.D.

At Thu Jul 06, 05:30:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

I have read Smith, Keynes and Laffer. I regularly read Luskin, Kudlow and even that quack, Krugman. And I understand every word of it, thank you very much.

Charlie, Hugh and I have practiced capitalism. We have employed people. You haven't. We have run businesses that we and our families have relied on for long term support. You haven't.

Try it, sometime. You might actually realize that there is a lot that you don't know.

At Thu Jul 06, 08:54:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

I agree with Stafford. Until you run a business the theortical concepts of Capitalism are just so much hot air worthy of discussing over brandy and cigars. Wages are set by the market. Employees are determined by their education and skills and availability. It would seem that Mr. Grapski thinks (wishes) that everyone should be making $30,000/year.

My problem with Mr. Grapski is the fact that he appears to be a "professional student". He has two (or three) college degrees. He is working on two advanced degrees at the same time. Maybe someone can tell us how many years he has been working on these degrees. I spent nine years on the faculty at Florida and worked with many graduate students. They have a program and a time limit to get that degree finished. They didn't have time to go out and tilt at windmills. So the general public looks at those students who dawdle as slackers. At age 41 Mr. Grapski appears to fit that bill.

While I'm at it, Mr. Grapski whines that I am attacking him. He forgets that it was he who came to town and attacked my wife and myself first. I had never heard of him before April 11th.

At Fri Jul 07, 06:04:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Charlie is partially correct about the timing of capitalism, but that's largely a consequence of the publication of Wealth of Nations coming in 1776 - the exact year of our founding. However, Alexander Hamilton principally established a framework that would allow capital to flow more freely and empower ordinary individuals to build enterprises. He was very familiar with the Dutch and British banking systems and improved on them by making sure credit and capital flowed freely. Of course, we had to battle back the forces of Jeffersonian yoamanism, but shcolars are completely in agreement that this is more Hamilton's country than Jefferson's (thankfully). Capitalism was a significant economic basis of this country within the first decade and a half of its founding, and that's close enough for me.

What progressives fail to understand about capitalism is that there is a moral system built into capitalism, only it's not located with the government. In capitalism, the moral order is found with the public and the ethic of charity. The reason capitalism has worked so well in the USA has been due to the moral basis of religion stressing individual responsibility and initiative for those capable and charity for those incapable. The irony of the recent progressive agenda is that socialism eliminates the social impetus for personal charity and caring about the community and the anti-religious element undercuts the very thing that brings morality to capitalism. Much of the religious fight on the right is to preserve a moral order for the most dynamic and prosperity-building economic system ever known to man.

At Fri Jul 07, 07:55:00 AM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Can someone, esp. Mr. Grapski, tell me how long he has been a Graduate Student working on his PhD degree at Florida?

At Fri Jul 07, 09:00:00 AM, Blogger Ward Scott said...


Your orderly, well-written parsing of the issues related to Alexander Hamilton makes a positive contribution to the debate.

I enjoyed watching you think your way through that.

Ward Scott

At Fri Jul 07, 09:11:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Mr. Calderwood,

I have run a business. But running a business and capitalism are TWO different things. But you don't realise this.

But then again - I thought you "cared" about all of those "workers" - they don't "run" businesses either.

You seem to assume that business OWNERS are the best and brightest. Yes - just like Ken Lay - I can see your point. I can also see the kind of things that you think are "good" for America which I think are "bad" for America.

Let me ask you a question about my Ph.D. What does it matter to you?

I have NUMEROUS degrees. I have them because I am trying to understand things. It takes time to understand them. My Ph.D. from the University of Florida COULD HAVE been granted several years ago. I have CHOSEN to pursue the work further - because my interest, unlike many who attend Universities in America today, is the UNDERSTANDING not the piece of paper.

My work for the Ph.D. at the University of FLorida - in terms of being a "student" (meaning taking classes) - ended several years ago. I have been ABD for several years - and all that is required for me to receive this Ph.D. (as well as a Ph.D. in Law) is for me to submit my dissertation.

THat dissertation's WORK (research) has been done for some time. I am in the process of "perfecting" it - and to do so more for publication as I know that if I submitted it at any time it would be accepted.

I had planned on submitting it in June - but as you and your wife and Clovis decided to play games in Alachua, and what it has cost me (although in the end I will have prevailed and you guys will have lost - and the public will have gained) - but as a result my life has been disrupted in many ways, including my campaign, my finances, my health, AND my academic work and teaching.

My Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida will soon be awarded. One way or another - it is really not of your concern.

A Ph.D. is misused and misunderstood to begin with. A Ph.D. has become a requirement for University level hiring on a permanent basis. Why? Just because Universities have adopted your valued "business model" - which has nothing to do with education. You see - running a business is not a lesson in running education, or running government, or being ethical.

But a Ph.D. was originally obtained, normally, WHILE the person was hired as a professor at a University. That level of academic training - to MASTER a subject (for the ability to TEACH that subject well) - was a MASTERS degree. That is a teaching degree in the original sense. Although we have forgotten this as BA's and BS's have become glorified High School degrees (with less standards than High School diplomas used to have). A Ph.D. is a recognition, properly awarded, of an ORIGINAL contribution to the field of study. It is not merely a degree of meeting certain "credit" requirements.

I have taught at the University level - and have several teaching awards - at two universities since 2000. I have a Masters in Political Science from the University of Florida which I received in 1997. I was admitted to the Doctoral Program at that point based upon my work.

At that point, however, I went to London. I went to University College London - which is one of the most prominent institutions of higher learning in the UK - and is one of the top UK law schools. I worked there with some of the most significant thinkers in legal and political theory.

I received another Masters degree there in 1998. An M.A. in Legal and Political Theory - which I received WITH DISTINCTION - the highest recognition that can be given at such an institution - I was one of TWO graduates to receive that distinction. I was then made the John Hume Scholar - and invited to obtain another Masters level degree - this time an LL.M. - a master of law - in Legal History and Jurisprudence. I was awarded that degree in 1999.

I was then admitted to the candidacy for a Ph.D. in London as well. I spent 2000-2001 working on an MPhil and PhD in law there - and taught on the Masters level in the law school and then returned back to Florida.

In Florida I began teaching Political Science courses, as stated above.

When >> I << am satisfied that my work is ready for publication - I will submit it to the University of Florida (sometime in the next two months I hope - I have, as I said, been delayed from my intended finishing last month).

Now - what exactly is your point?

At Fri Jul 07, 09:28:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Hamilton's vision of this country, by the way, was REJECTED in the Constitutional Convention.

Scholars who use the dualism of Hamiltonian vs. Jeffersonian have in many ways distorted our understanding of the country.

But Hamilton and Jefferson did have a major battle under the first Washington administration - when Hamilton was secretary of the Treasury.

Actually this was the point at which our Constitution began to become undermined.

You must remember - Hamilton's vision of STRONG EXECUTIVE and CENTRAL power (yes - CENTRALIZED power for you Republicans who speak the rhetoric of DE-centralization while worshiping the most centralized and un-American form of EXECUTIVE run government - which, by the way, is clearly indicated in your wife's attitude toward the people in running the City Commission - unfortunately it is also contrary to FLorida law) was REJECTED by the Convention and was WIDELY OPPOSED throughout the nation that just fought a revolution AGAINST the British-style government.

Hamilton openly stated in the COnstitutional Convention that he admired the MONARCHICAL form of government - and that was what he wanted. Not a SINGLE vote was given to his plan.

MADISON (not Jefferson - although the two were in constant communication) - is the ARCHITECT of the Constitution.

Yet we have ABANDONED that Constitution and its original framework (so much, again, for YOUR rhetoric of "original intent").

If you actually KNEW what you were talking about - you would realize that I am actually far more of a "strict" follower of the Constitution than your party. I BELIEVE in it. I EXPECT it to either be FOLLOWED or AMENDED (according to the rules).

As for Dave's point on the Wealth of Nations being published in 1776 - that is correct. And thus it had no influence on the FOUNDING of this nation.

But it also leaves aside my other point - as this is CLASSICAL (early) capitalism - which is FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT FROM late "capitalism" - the capitalism of LARGE CORPORATIONS. This is a PERVERSION of capitalism - which is founded on the idea of SMALL-SCALE businesses and a number of LIMITATIONS as a result - which are eliminated by GOVERNMENT intervention which is the FOUNDATION of large scale corporations (so much for your rhetoric of keeping the government OUT of the economy).

By the way - while Adam Smith DID NOT support or justify this kind of "late" capitalism - another problem with your rhetoric derived from listenign to the Republican Party - is that you fail to understand that Adam Smith was not for "laissez-faire" capitalism (a French term if you didn't realize - and we all know what you think of the French - and by the way - a THEORETICAL term - and we also know what you think of "theories").

His book the Wealth of Nations, which includes the notion of the "invsible hand" - in ONE place, LATE in the SECOND VOLUME (this term is actually better understood if you read his Theory of the Moral Sentiments), is a book explaining HOW and WHY there MUST be Government intervention in the economy. (but again - not that the government should prop up a FEW people with power - to make more profit - and then trickle it back down on the rest of us).

I challege you, Hugh, ANY TIME, ANY DAY - IN ANY FORUM (Call Sky radio if you would like) to a DEBATE on this nation's founding principles.


I'd love the opportunity.

At Fri Jul 07, 09:36:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Dave is incorrect about capitalism having an ethic - and it being located in the public (as an ethic of charity) vs. the government.

The first reason is - this is a false dichotomy. No one ever advocated (in any of the philosophical classics - I am not talking about any recent claims) that government WAS the source of ethics.

Government and politics - was - however ESSENTIAL to forming an ethical society. This goes back to Aristotle. But it is also in many ways still there in Adam Smith. (And again - Adam Smith's works are JUSTIFICATIONS of Government REGULATION of the economy).

The ethical dimension of life is political - and vice versa - properly understood.

And that ethical dimension has been destroyed - primarily by greed - which has ironically been taken into a rhetoric of "Conservativism" (which has nothing to do with that ideology or philosophy as originally understood) which WORSHIPS it by this laissez-faire model which DISTORTS the invisible hand into a religiously held view that "greed is good" - otherwise phrased as so long as individuals seek to pursue nothing more than their individual interests (without concern for the common good) - the common good will, mysteriously - by an invisible hand - be obtained.

This is an absurd philosophy. But it is at the root of the rhetoric you continually employ without fully understanding the basis for your claims.

LATE (large corporate) capitalism - is the ANTITHESIS of early capitalism, democracy, freedom, equality.

The two terms may use the same sound/form of the word "capitalism" - but the two are completely different.

Yet you try and use one - and claim the ETHICAL and other merits of the other - as if they were the same thing.

That is your most fundamental error.

But again - Hugh - lets have a public debate, you and I, on the founding principles of this nation. Lets have a debate on how government OUGHT to work - according to the founders. ANd lets even do it in your territory - lets get it on SKY radio.

I challenge you.

At Fri Jul 07, 09:37:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Ward,

Thanks! I have long held Hamilton as my favorite founding father. Gotta love a guy who was so ahead of his time - the tragedy of his character makes him even more compelling. I've really enjoyed the recent resurgence of interest in him lately, especially as free market economics has become more predominant.

To Charlie, I think it's a bad rhetorical strategy to assume conservatives enjoy someone like Ken Lay. The whole point of the philosophy is to empower individuals to build wealth for themselves and their families. In this way, individuals have the capacity and resources to live their lives independently without having to be subject to government oversight. Corrupt business practices undertaken by individuals in powerful positions is antithetical to the conservative position, and those people deserve proper punishment. However, we understand that there is a precarious balance between regulation/oversight and the ability to grow businesses. Finding the right balance is the trick and open to meaningful and principled debate.

I said it before when the Enron scandal broke, but Enron was an accounting scandal more than anything. Investors expect businesses will cook the books and depend on independent auditors to verify their veracity. The renowned accounting firm Arthur-Anderson fell apart as a result. The conservative president, Bush 43, allowed Enron to collapse rather than bail it out. This was a supreme example of appropriate action by the executive branch in the face of corruption of a private enterprise.

The greater tragedy of the Enron collapse for the workers was that no one, especially and critically the public schools, taught them how to MINIMIZE INVESTMENT RISK through portfolio DIVERSIFICATION. It should be quite apparent that this is a pet peeve of mine. How in the greatest capitalist country on the planet do we not teach the fundamentals of investing and money management that provide the citizenry with limitless opportunity?

At Fri Jul 07, 09:52:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

By the way Hugh, you are incorrect. I have many more than "two" degrees. ANd your concern with my being a "professional student" - should be no concern of yours. HOw I choose to spend my life - pursuing greed or pursuing knowledge - is my personal business. Only if my private activities HARM others - should it be a matter of anyone else's concern. ANd the number of years I have spent LEARNING - produces harm to no one.

I have not been "dawdling" - nor have I been "slacking." Just because you claim the general public can be misled by your (mis)characterizations - doesn't make it so.

As for your years teaching - that is besides the point (ethics was clearly not your subject - although it is something I have spent a great deal studying - trying to find out what has happened to this great country to bring it so low).

You may not appreciate "tilting at windmills" - but it is my prerogative to do so.

And I believe that the Man of La Mancha, which of course is derived from Cervantes' Don Quixote, is quite an INSPIRATIONAL play.

Indeed written the last time people like you had taken absolute power in this country - and nearly destroyed it - turning it into a near-totalitarian country (under the McCarthy tactics we see coming back again under the Bush administration) - while claiming they were opposing totalitarianism (which the conflated with communism).

I do indeed dare to DREAM what is considered the IMPOSSIBLE DREAM - a dream of an ideal toward which we strive (a philosophy shared by most of the founders of this nation) - trying to make it better each day - and recognizing the politics and ethics are two inseparable concepts - interdependent on one another.

I do seek to make this country a better place. I do strive for a true democracy. I do believe in the founding principles of this nation.

And I actually gave up my intended career - as a VETERINARIAN - to pursue that goal. A goal that does not promise to make me personally rich. A goal, however, that "market models" of behavior destroy. I CHOOSE to struggle to survive - as I spend sufficient time LEARNING what this country WAS about, COULD BE, and how 1) to get there; and 2) how it got to where it is (and lost its way from where it started).

So I indeed will tilt at windmills. Because I know that I can bring those windmills down.

And the windmill I am about to bring down - is the undemocratic, centralized, executive-centric (but without the proper executive for this), deferentially-based style of government that YOU have helped, from behind the scenes, create in the City of Alachua - which has been "run" by your wife in a near-dictatorial style in direct conflict with Florida's laws.

I will keep on tilting at that windmill - because I KNOW how to bring it down. And I know why it NEEDS to be brought down. And I know how to set it back on a path toward democracy.

I pledge that to you, Hugh. I will indeed be victorious in this matter. To date - all your wife could do is rant and rave and bang a gavel - and then seek to have me arrested through an abuse of police and government power. But I have to date NOT been charged with a CRIME. And I will not be convicted of one - and do not fear your wife or any of the tactics the City has attempted.

But each step of the way - whether they openly admit it or not - your wife and others have been ADMITTING that I was correct.

I find it amazing that she is as naive and uneducated about the laws and procedures of the City - and she is the mayor and has been on that commission sufficient years to have learned - that she actually thinks what she read into the record the other night in response to John Prosser's attempt to use the rules (which your wife does not know) - actually SUPPORTS her misuse of the Consent Agenda.

And now it has been revealed that Alachua's pro-WalMart policies have been set by CLOVIS WATSON acting nearly universally and alone - and once and a while with your wife - and BEHIND THE SCENES, outside of the sunshine - including giving themselves retroactive pay raises.

I hate to tell you this - but your wife is the kind of political figure that this nation DEPLORES. And it is not a partisan criticism. It is a broad consensus.

I will stand firmly on my position - and I am prepared to fight any opposition - in order to have the TRUE RULE OF LAW followed in this nation - and TRUE DEMOCRACY established.

At Fri Jul 07, 09:59:00 AM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


My point about Ken Lay - is that he and his activities were the result of a NAIVE adoption of so-called "Conservative" philosophies - which are being sold to people like snake oil - by a combination of the manipulative and the ignorant/naive.

I find Hugh Calderwood to be the epitome of the latter being influenced by the rhetoric of the former.

Ken Lay did nothing more than ADOPT and PURSUE what the un-ethical economic philosophy of so-called COnservatives worship.

I do not blame this on TRUE conservatives - but there are very, very few of those out there. Most who call themselves conservatives know not what it means.

But if they did know - they would also know that conservativism is also not a founding philosophy of this nation. Quite the opposite.

And it is a philosophy that also was begun AFTER this nation was founded.

It is a DEFERENTIAL politial philosophy - not a DEMOCRATIC one.

But the idea of keeping government from regulating the economy (where we have governments CREATING "big" corporations) - is not only antithetical to classical capitalism - but it is HYPOCRITICAL when those very same people argue for keeping the government OUT of regulating the economy.

Indeed, again, Adam Smith deemed government regulation of the economy as ESSENTIAL - not contradictory to his principles.

But so-called Conservatives like Hugh Calderwood have no problems with the government regulating and interfering in the market - but PROPPING UP business so that they can grow far larger than they could unaided by government (public subsidies); but when government comes in to regulate - for ethical reasons (the kind that Adam Smith was concerned about) - and to help the little guy - they jump up and down and cry "socialism."

Again, I am challenging HUGH CALDERWOOD to a public debate on the founding principles of this nation and the concept of democratic government.

Put your mouth where you money is Hugh. Lets have a FULL PUBLIC DEBATE - and lets even do it in a forum which directly addresses YOUR audience.

At Fri Jul 07, 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I did not mean to suggest that Hamilton and Jefferson debated at the Constitutional Convention, rather I was alluding to the later philosophical debate between the Federalist vision of commerce versus the Jeffersonian version of the late 1790s-early 1800s. In this debate, Hamilton figured prominently.

I also reject the notion that I must accept all of Hamilton's principles in order to support some of them. Yes, Hamilton wanted a much more powerful executive than I would like, but that does not erode the strength of his economic vision for the country in the slightest. I will support him, though, on the point that the degree of decentralization supported by Jefferson was simply unworkable. And it proved to be so.

On ethics and capitalism: I whole-heartedly agree that capitalism as an economic system has no intrinsic ethical/moral expectations. It simply offers a theory of how best to generate wealth. This is why I argue that any morality undergirding it must come from the society itself. One of the biggest conceptual failings of progressives is their inability to understand that conservatives relegate morality to the private sphere. There is a communitarian ethic underlying conservative philosophy, and it comes from the self-discipline and respect to not impinge on the life and liberty of one's neighbors and to help when they cannot help themselves. Progressives make the mistake of assuming that individualism as an economic philosophy transfers through to personal behavior as well. The opposite is more the case.

Socialism and communism in contrast do make moral claims on the community and its wealth. The morality of social justice and redistribution is expressed through the public sphere (the government and economic system) while personal behavior is left to be individual desire (everyone can decide for himself what is moral). In this view, the community cannot make any moral claims on personal behavior. The ethic is that everyone can act as he pleases and society at large will provide the resources necessary for life should he stumble.

Incidentally, I think much of the problem we as a country face right now is that we have an untenable mix of individualism undergirding a capitalist economy (conservative base) with an individualist philosophy of personal behavior (progressive base). The political struggle is how to bring some morality back to the system.

At Fri Jul 07, 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...


I'm as much a supporter of capitalism as anyone, but I don't think many on my side would quibble with the need for some government intervention. Pure markets can be corrupted. As a scholar of international development, I know the importance of rule of law institutions in making a capitalist society function effectively. I think I conceptually differ with you on the notion that big capitalism is necessarily bad as opposed to small capitalism. I'm still trying to fully fathom what you mean by that, but I think I'm getting it.

Let me give a response and see what you say. I think small corporations are your preference because they offer individuals their own freedom and wealth while simultaneously limiting the power and resources of the rich. Is this essentially it?

I think large corporations do have some major benefits you are overlooking, however, especially with the issue of economy of scale. Sure, some small enterprises will be driven out of business due to their inefficiency, but other opportunities arise as technology changes. Moreover, large corporations have the ability to offer benefits many small corporations can't.

The point about Ken Lay is this: Trust must underlie a capitalist system for credit and stock to be issued. The more honest individuals are in their business practices, the more dynamic an economy will be. The overwhelming majority of businesses adopt honest business practices - this is evident by the strength of trust underlying our economy. Investors know that the temptation to lie during tough times will win out at times, so strict and reputable accounting practices are needed to verify companies' integrity. When idiots like Lay get caught, they deserve all they get. You will not see me crying for him or any of his ilk.

At Fri Jul 07, 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

Sorry for the string of messages, but I think I deciphered a conceptual conflation we need to break apart. It seems like we are conflating the constitutionality of government intervention/regulation with the philosophical/ideological desire to do so.

Conservatives certainly believe in limited government, but not in no government. To the extent that the government must prevent the violation of law, such as Lay's fraud, in order to maintain the efficient operation of markets, then we are for it.

However, conservatives also note that the government has involved itself in social programs that had to be construed by the Supreme Court, and are vocal in limiting this activity in order to prevent the government - and inherently inefficient enterprise - from sucking too much capital from the private sector - an inherently more efficient enterprise.

In saying conservatives are against government intervention, you are partially correct, but it seems like you ascribe to conservatives an extreme version of minimalism. Am I understanding you correctly?

At Fri Jul 07, 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


I certainly will engage in an intellectual discussion with you on these matters. I think it could be quite fruitful.

I don't believe this is the best forum for this - and I only have the time for quick responses right now as I am working on several things at the moment.

I am going to go through your last few posts - and then consider how we can find a discursive space to have a real discussion on these matters.

I think it would be highly productive.


At Fri Jul 07, 01:17:00 PM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

Hi Charlie,

Keep it here. There are a bunch of people reading this site right now and I think they're interested. As long as we keep the discussion civil, there shouldn't be any trouble.

At Fri Jul 07, 01:35:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

Mr. Grapski:

Since you wanted to be a veterinarian like me and I never wanted to be you, I'll leave the debate on our foundering principles to you and Dave. I was busy studying how to regulate a diabetic cat or rebuilding a dog hit by a car.

On the other hand I will be willing to debate you on why an employee at Dollar General isn't "guarenteed" to be stuck at a dead end job. Just to peak your interest we could use Clovis Watson as an example.

At Fri Jul 07, 02:47:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


I'll consider doing that here perhaps if you think it will work.


I didn't say I wanted to be like you. I said, like you, I always had planned to be a Veterinarian and never planned to be involved in law or politics.

But you cannot escape that easily by shifting the burden to Dave. Dave and I will have some very interesting debates I am sure.

But you are not stopping your rhetoric on topics you now admit you have little knowledge about.

Again I challenge you, Hugh, to a public debate on the founding principles of this nation and the Constitution.

As for your comments on Dollar General. It may work in the company you keep but you cannot set up straw man arguments and defeat them and then try and pretend you argued against my position.

Try LISTENING to what I say first - before arguing with me - and then we can have a discussion.

At Fri Jul 07, 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Now, as I have never made any claims that there is a "guarantee" that working at Dollar General will stick someone in a dead end job - we can take that silliness off the table.

But what in the world can you use Clovis Watson as an example of? Quite frankly I feel badly for Clovis. People like yourself have USED the man - and he is no angel - but you have led him down much further paths of wrongdoing than he would have gone on his own.

Clovis is NOT an example of someone coming from the lowest and rising to the top. Clovis, unfortunately, is an example of someone getting to "the top" by taking short-cuts. Short cuts that you, and Ward, and others have encouraged and enabled - because he is willing to do your bidding.

Clovis is NOT a good City Manager. Clovis is not even qualified for the position. Yet he is among the highest paid. Clovis is NOT a good City Clerk. CLovis does not even know the laws and procedures of the City. (This is not an attack on Clovis. James Lewis has been on that Commission for 40 years and doesn't have a clue. And your wife is the Mayor and she doesn't have a clue. Bonnie used to be Mayor - and she has no clue. I could say the same for Orien Hills and Gib Coerper. Again these are mere observations of their actual performance - not personal attacks. This is truly sad - and indeed in many ways frightening. But I guess when the President is George W. Bush we have really set our standards and expectations pretty low as a nation).

I feel sorry for these people. I don't like publicly exposing them for what they are as public actors. I have no problems with their personal lives - that is their business. But their public lives are positions not of power but of responsibility. They are servants of the public. And we deserve far better.

And I cannot understand how ANYONE, Republican, Democrat, or other - could ever be satisfied with this kind of incompetence in government. Its appalling. Its simply inexplicable.

At Fri Jul 07, 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...


You are partially understanding me correctly. But the confusion lays a little bit deeper.

And the problem, I think, is the label "Conservative." This is misleading. Most people calling themselves Conservatives are anything but such.

So lets try and move off of the conservative/liberal meme - and go right to the particular philosophies, etc., being advocated.

You stated that your position is not one of "no government" (an extreme "libertarian" position - or a position of anarchy). We are on the same page on that.

You stated you have no problem with government intervention in economics. OK so far.

What you have a problem with are the so-called social policies of the 20th century - I guess New Deal Era through the 70s.

This really is the heart of this particular debate, I believe.

Then there are many questions:

1) Is it "legitimate" for the Government to engage in such policies - in a general sense? Many so-called Conservatives bring up "original intent" and "judicial activism" in this context - without understanding either. THey argue that it is illegitimate (unconstitutional) to even go there. This is simply not the case - nothing in our Constitutional law, our general constitution, or in our founding principles prohibits such social policies.

2) Are the PARTICULAR policies enacted GOOD policies? Do they achieve their desired aim (and is that aim a good aim). Here we have another divide even among those calling themselves "conservatives."

Some of the more extreme on this side say that the aim itself is bad. Government (which ought to be understood as nothing more than socieity in a more organized sense) should have nothing to do with "positively" providing for people or society as a whole. It should merely be a NEGATIVE concept - a means of restricting behavior that harms individuals and thats it.

I do not share that position. Nor did the founders of this nation - at least not the overwhelming majority of that generation. There are perhaps a few of those who lay the foundation of libertarianism in that era - but few who actually played a formative part in shaping the nation's policies or institutions at that stage of time.

Others criticise not the concept of such policies - nor even the aim - but the effectiveness in achieving that aim.

I believe that debate to be a VALID one that ought to take place. I also see those who are called "liberals" (and many who call themselves such) who won't even allow a debate on these topics - and I also understand why they take that stand. I think that is unfortunate.

I start with the aim - and in some cases where this fits - the problem to which a solution (the aim) is being proposed.

I have no problem with the aim and objective, generally, of most so-called "social programs."

There may be other ways to achieve those aims. There may - and often is - a better way.

And in some cases - those programs never achieved their aim (and more often because of the nature of the compromise that was made to get "a" policy adopted - rather than to get "the" policy adopted as designed).

I don't believe in a night-watchman state. Neither did the founders of this nation (the product of laying that foundation is not based upon such a premise). I do not believe in a nanny-state. Neither did the founders of this nation. So it is not as black and white as that - and the conservative/liberal dichotomy (even if using the terms properly) does not fully cover the entire topic - but leaves most of it unaddressed.

Now, as for the Supreme Court, this is where the "judicial activism" claim comes in - with the social policies.

In actuality the Supreme Court's most "active" (legislative) period came BEFORE the social legislation period - when the Courts took up the perspective of big business and ignored its main function - to interpret the law as AIMING AT justice.

The social programs - had as their intent (when they had legitimate intent), at least in original concept before the process watered them down and distorted them, to ensure JUSTICE. That is a legitimate goal in the American political/legal philosophy.

Rights, in America, are expressions of justice/the common good (two sides of the same coin - one looking at things from a legal and the other from a political perspective).

They do not need to be LEGISLATED. We are a nation founded on a philosophy of NATURAL LAW (and this - not religion - is the foundation of our nation's ethical philosophy. Religions MAY be consistent with that - but they were not considered as NECESSARY to it). That philosophy assumed that justice was the only legitimate end. Acts contrary to justice - were unjust - and thus violated certain NATURAL rights.

AMONG THOSE rights (but, as Madison - who authored the Bill of Rights - tried to stress (and warn)) are not the TOTALITY of rights recognized in the constitution (small c) of this nation. This is not an exhaustive list. It is a partial list - trying to STRESS the importance of some. It is also not an ENACTED list. They existed whether or not they are written down or even recognized.

The Courts today, under the rhetoric of "conservativism" (which is improperly used), are at probably the MOST activist level ever - and expect far more to come.

But now we come back to conservativism. This is a philosophy which emerges in the 19th century in reaction AGAINST the age of democratic revolution - and use the extremes of the period after the French Revolution as the justification for their views. But it is as much against DEMOCRACY itself - and thus against the founding philosophy of THIS nation as well.

Conservativism, properly understood, is a philosophy of deference to one's betters. Where people are subjects, not citizens - and collectively are the ruled. And there are a set of rulers that do and ought to rule.

Variants of this can be extreme or fairly reasonable (within their premises). You can seek to have a benevolent aristocracy (in Aristotelian terms this is "aristocracy") - where a FEW rule but IN THE INTERESTS of the whole. And then there can be the other extreme - where the FEW rule in their self-interest (that is an oligarchy - and I believe it best describes what has happend in America). The few can be "wise" (as is expected in a "True" aristocracy) - or they can be merely "wealthy" or "well-born", etc. This is not a "good" form of such government.

Conservativism is also a philosophy ANTITHETICAL to the enlightemnent philosophy this nation was founded on - and upon which our "natural rights" are "grounded."

This is ironic - since "original intent" arguments are ANTITHETICAL thus to the Conservative interpretation of our laws.

Conservativism worships the "ancient constitution" - and the status quo. And seeks to maintain things AS THEY ARE/WERE. Liberal is not the antithesis of this - but progressive is (things should change - for the better).

There can be extremes of both - but one does not have to deal with the extremes.

THe Conservative philosophy was born in Britain - post French Revolution - as Britain was coming under pressures to reform toward democracy. Conservatives argued AGAINST Democracy - and to preserve the English aristocratic rule in a monarchical form (some argued that the latter - the form - could change - so long as the aristocratic substance remained).

A classic example of conservative philosophy - as it can be applied to evaluations/criticisms of the American form of government - is Walter Bagehot. Indeed his work forms much of the underpinning of the assumptions - ironically - of what would be referred to as "liberal" political science.

But his work was hostile - openly - to the American system.

So it is ironic that our system, in practice today, fits more into a Bagehotian framework than a Madisonian framework.


At Fri Jul 07, 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Hugh Calderwood said...

A new movie, "The World According To Grapski"

Mr. Grapski says:
Now, as I have never made any claims that there is a "guarantee" that working at Dollar General will stick someone in a dead end job - we can take that silliness off the table.

He can't keep his rants straight because he said:

all in return for LOW WAGE jobs and an employer who will guarantee they are locked into those low-waged jobs the rest of their life - because they will never be able to open a locally-owned business once these giants are in town.

At Fri Jul 07, 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Stafford Jones said...

Charlie said:
Again I challenge you, Hugh, to a public debate on the founding principles of this nation and the Constitution.

As for your comments on Dollar General. It may work in the company you keep but you cannot set up straw man arguments and defeat them and then try and pretend you argued against my position.

Charlie, you are deflecting. This debate isn't about the founding principles. You have complained about government giveaways to corporations. You have complained, for example, that you should be able to buy blue jeans from a small, locally owned business instead of Wal-Mart. You have, indeed, complained that Dollar General and Wal-Mart warehouse jobs are dead end and trap people there (go back and read your posts over several threads).

Hugh and I, both, have put us substantive arguments on how and why much of your ideology on such things are wrong, but you won't answer any of that and provide a realistic alternative vision. See my 11:37, July 5th post. You have not addressed that in any substantive way. In the previous thread, 12:30, June 24th, I made some valid points, but, once again, you answered with sarcasm as well as an untrue claim that we accelerated Clovis' switch (we didn't, we planned it months ago and sent out printed invitations a couple of weeks before the event).

Now, instead of addressing either mine or Bud's experience and opinions as it has been laid out, here, you just want to challenge Bud to a debate on the founding principles of this country. Frankly, Charlie, that is just stupid. Twice, now, Dr. Ellis has offered up some valid points that you seemed to be unable to refute, so you have claimed that you don't have time.

As one of the public actors in this debate, Charlie, you have been the most melodramatic of them all. I have read your posts. Me, the REC, eBay, Spencer Mann, Bill Cervone, Steve Oelrich, etc are all out to get you. This is all just some big Republican conspiracy to steal from the poor and give to Wal-Mart.

By the way, have you ever looked at the City of Gainesville's consent agenda? I have. Lots of them. Review a bunch of them the past few days. They have use the consent agenda to spend $30,000 here and $40,000 there, and have used the consent agenda to approve the application of various types of state and federal grants.

Please, give us your very creative explanation for why that is not worthy of your attention, as a public actor, but the City of Alachua is.

At Fri Jul 07, 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

OK Mr. Calderwood - what you did now was to put my ENTIRE sentence there.

I did not say that once one worked for Dollar General - they are guaranteed to be stuck in a dead end job.

I said that the world according to Hugh Calderwood is that the people (collectively - through their taxes) should pay for large corporations to set up shop in their town. The aim of the corporation is not to provide jobs - but to make a profit - thus their goal is to get all of their costs at the lowest rate - including workers. Thus their jobs are not being provided as a "service" to the people or the city - but as a way to make a profit for the corporation (I did not say making profits was evil - but exploiting people, or breaking the law, or being immoral, etc. as a means to a profit WOULD be wrong).

And along with filling a town with publicly subsidized out-of-town big box corporate stores - is a GUARANTEE that the local people (who are paying to bring that corporation into their town) will not be able to start a traditional, locally owned, business in town - where their income is something they control - in an ownership sense - rather than having little opportunity but to work for low wages at the big corporate employers you have conned them into PAYING to bring here.

I don't think that you can argue (oh but you will) that locating a WalMart, for example, or a SuperWalMart (even more) in a town PUTS LOCALLY OWNED, INDEPENDENT, SMALL BUSINESS - OUT of business.

Maybe if YOU ran a business of that nature - YOU would understand. I know - because I DID run such a business. And I WAS affected by just such policies and practices.

It would be far more honest if you referred to this not as "bringing jobs" - but paying for employers. Employers who will make millions from being here - yet you are asking ALL of the people to pay millions to bring them here - in return for "low wage jobs."

It would be far less disengenuous - if you want to pander about jobs - to INVEST in the local community (not Bentonville, Arkansas and Wal-Mart's stock owners), and ITS PEOPLE, and have a system whereby you SUBSIDIZE the start-up of a locally owned business that employees local people, provides a service to the community, LIVES IN the community, cares about its future and present, KEEPS THEIR MONEY CIRCULATING in the neighborhood, and enables not mere jobs - but OWNERSHIP.

Thats the difference between you and I, Hugh. I CARE about others. You seem to care about corporations. The latter have millions to spend - and can afford their own taxi service, their own driveway, their own sewer lines, etc. Yet you PAY for them with the money of OTHERS (given through taxes). They thus get those things for free - and make MORE profits.

Whereas Joe Smith, living down the road, would love to open, let's say, a grocery store (you have a locally owned one in Alachua - that will be affected tremendously by WalMart's SuperCenter), a film store (I ran those and know what that's like with the corporate giant using film or photo processing for a loss-lead - to bring them into their store for other products - by selling the products I sell BELOW my own cost), a beauty salon, an optometrist, a drug store, etc.

And a town with each of those LOCALLY owned - is far more attractive and healthy than a one-stop shop under one big roof (taxpayer subsidized) WalMart SuperCenter.

You are having the POOREST people - who also pay the taxes you are RE-distributing for the benefit of out of town RICH corporations - PAY what little they have to ENSURE that they cannot OWN their own business.

I say, do the same process, but put it towards those people themselves - enable them to OWN a business, don't just give them a job (that they had to pay for via their taxes).

You call that "welfare", "socialism", "redistribution." But it is the SAME as you are doing for out-of-town corporations as a middle man in the process.

At Fri Jul 07, 07:12:00 PM, Blogger Charles Grapski said...

Stafford, I'll enter the debate on substance with Dave Ellis.

As for you "deflecting" onto founding principles nonsense - I am not deflecting. That is an issue here - as I have laid it out to Hugh.

And I have CHALLENGED Hugh - who talks as if my "theories" are FOREIGN to this nation and as if he were a "true patriot" in his views - to come out PUBLICLY and debate me on the founding principles and which one of our "ideas" is more in line with those principles.

Hugh has declined the invitation - deflecting to Dave Ellis - who he seems to think can do a better job of it.

From past performances of Hugh - I would guarantee that he is correct. Dave would do a better job.

Dave would also not say much of what Hugh would argue. So the debate would be fundamentally different.

What is at issue here - is Hugh's view of the world - and his criticism of my view of the world.

So I am not deflecting from that - he laid out the challenge - I have upped the anti to make it a REAL challenge - and I am waiting for him to step up to the plate and put his mouth where his money is.

At Sat Jul 08, 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Dave Ellis said...

I guess we're using a new thread so my response will be there.

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