The Wild West and Libertarianism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #1
    The drone of Libertarian fantasies recently has caused me to wonder how Libertarian principles somehow got turned into an imagined reality.

    Today's random speculation is that it is because of Westerns. The seemingly endless supply of low-budget movies and then TV that populated my youth is actually the idealized Libertarian world. Think about it.

    Taxes mentioned rarely if ever.
    No restrictions on guns.
    Everybody living on a farm or ranch, with the occasional small town.
    Big cities are far, far away.
    Bad behavior always punished by good guys in white hats.

    Of course, the West of the movies never actually existed. If you want real history, go read it. Things like Elinore Pruitt Stewart's Letters of a Woman Homesteader.

    But, even if you accept the fantasy West as some kind of ideal, there is still a problem: most people are somewhat self-sufficient (at least day-to-day), living on their farms and ranches, far from cities.

    The fact is, no one can accurately describe what a Libertarian-ish urban world even looks like. It only works, even as a fantasy, in a rural world. But, the world has changed, and most of us either live in urban societies, or, interact very heavily with it (where does your iPhone come from)? Deal with it.
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    The genocide of the native people's is certainly missing.
     
  3. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #3
    The natives had to be wiped out, they were communists.
     
  4. TPadden macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Guess there was no need ..... Cowboys had other things to worry about :rolleyes:.

    The Revolution began as a protest against taxes. Tariffs were the largest source of federal revenue from the 1790s to the eve of World War I, then it was surpassed by income taxes.

    No income tax until after the Civil War 1865, but it was quickly done away with. Showed up again in the 1890's but wasn't permanent until 1913. No inheritance tax until after 1900, no sales taxes until the 1930's.
     
  5. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #5
    Without representation ;).

    Multimillionaires must be able to pass down all their money to their children :rolleyes:.
     
  6. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #6
    Certainly westward expansion and the size of the country has influenced political beliefs and systems. Its similar in Australia for instance, that began as a place to send debtors and criminals, and today has one of the most informal cultures in the world. Societies like Sweden for instance, have way different factors that effected their political development.

    However movies are probably a pretty basic and incomplete view of culture and values. They were meant to entertain and not answer complex questions.

    Agreed that contemporary literature is a better view into the whole west thing.

    ----------

    Democracy is not the end all to a fair world. Look at Egypt for instance, the tyranny of the majority can create a lot of injustice. I suspect that some would label themselves libertarians are looking for systems that protect them from the majority.
     
  7. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #7
    Taxes were actually a minor part of the reason why the colonies rebelled. >_>;
     
  8. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #8
    Indeed it was a lot more than that. Colonial administration became increasingly retaliatory to what was perceived as a bunch of hoodlums and ungrateful subjects causing problems. Britain was a democracy herself at that point but limited and they used the systems that they knew to bring the colonies back in line.

    These included taxes but other key issues such as the 1763 prohibition from moving west to new lands. Moving west had already become a key part of the culture by then. Then there was an outlawing of town meetings.

    All of this in an increasingly uncomfortable enlightenment society were big problems for the powers in charge.
     
  9. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #9
    I think you undervalue entertainment. Movies instill values through emotional channels and encourage people to view complex questions in relatively simple terms (commercial grade movies, not art quality movies). Consider the intensity of focus that HUAC et al placed on Hollywood: cinema reaches people in ways that other forms of communication do not.
     
  10. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #10
    You're omitting a key part. The revolution did not begin as a protest against taxes, it began as a protest against taxation without representation.

    Today we have taxation with representation, and still that isn't good enough for some.
     
  11. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #11
    If we think that the only answer to the world's problems is majority rule, what happens to your rights as a minority or your ability to disagree? Representation is not the only answer. There should be checks and balances and challenges to the systems that prevent the majority from legislating us into a corner.

    ----------

    Yeah i was likely being too dismissive of entertainment as a barometer of culture.
     
  12. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Ummm ... we have checks and balances too.

    What more would you like?
     
  13. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    #13
    One could argue that in light of domestic spying etc and our friends at the NSA that they do not appear to be working very well. So maybe some that actually work.
     
  14. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #14
    And that has nothing to do with taxation without representation.

    But now you have a built-in excuse for any complaint.

    What about the NSA?

    Convenient.
     
  15. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    #15
    A barometer is a measuring device, I am ascribing influence/reinforcement of select cultural values to cinema. People are affected by what they see, movies do more than indicate the nature of society, they also establish it.
     
  16. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #16
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #17
    American economic bubbles are descended from the chaos that reigned after the US Revolution. Land speculation is part of our heritage. If someone didn't like it, there was always cheaper land a little further west.

    One of the greatest socialist acts in the history of the US was the Homestead Act of 1864. Many of those who settled the land were speculators who would hire a neighbor to "Prove Up" their land. Once that was done and they obtained title, they could sell it to somebody just off the boat for a huge profit. The Homestead Act was also the major contributing factor in the US' worst environmental disaster as well as the Great Depression itself. The Dust Bowl and the GD resulted of course in Roosevelt's New Deal.

    In my study of history of that time, nobody did it on their own. They borrowed money from family and friends, relied on neighbors for assistance and pooled resources like in almost no other period of US history. The modern suburban libertarian by contrast believes only in himself and everyone else be damned.

    I remember watching Ghengis Khan with John Wayne in the leading role. He made no attempt to change his accent and I think he and his movies have done a huge disservice to this country's history by romanticising it and purifying it.

    Awhile back somebody was spouting off about the death of the American Western, the great social unifier. This was in response to the poor showing Django. Django has a lot more to do with real history than any of the garbage John Wayne acted in. The people who grew up with John Wayne as their hero are nearing the end of the trail.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, until they're gone, this country is going to pay the price for their post WWII fantasies.
     
  18. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #18
    See responses in line.

    ----------

    That is what I like about those old movies. Back when we had things right, and people had a moral compass in which to gauge things by.
     
  19. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #19
    Yeah, that is the great thing about movies. They're great for showing idealized, whitewashed versions of whatever the director wants to put on a pedestal.
     
  20. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #20
    "They should be able to keep it". And they are. Now their sons/daughters didn't earn anything, so we tax it.
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #21

    Those damn city dwellers. All they do is pay most of the bills.
     
  22. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #22
    Great, so after Christmas is over and your kid has all his/her gifts from you, you would have no issue with someone coming by and taking some of them? After all they didn't earn it, someone else did and left it to them so it isn't really theirs.

    I have dibs on the PS4.

    Edit: P.S. The Government sure as heck didn't earn it either.
     
  23. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #23

    Spoken like someone who is clueless on how the estate tax works.
     
  24. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #24
    If people had better moral compasses back then, how come there were so many bad guys?

    :confused:
     
  25. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #25
    You don't keep your money when you die. Your heirs receive it.

    If you think you keep your money at death, you're gravely mistaken about how death actually works.


    See this article, payng particular attention to the sections on credits, deductions, exclusions, and exemptions:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_tax_in_the_United_States

    For further information, consult a qualified tax and investment adviser.
     

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