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Senator Arlen Specter Becomes a Democrat

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the crossing-the-aisle dept.

Democrats 1124

Akido37 was one of many readers letting us know that US Sen. Arlen Specter has changed parties to become a Democrat. This gives the Democrats 59 seats in the Senate, and 60 if and when Al Franken gets seated from Minnesota. However, Specter said in his announcement that he will not be an automatic 60th vote for breaking Republican filibusters. While the senator's move seems to have surprised many Republicans, it is understandable to moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who said, "You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words of how they [Republicans] view moderates. Either you are with us or against us." Specter noted that in his home state of Pennsylvania, 200,000 formerly Republican voters switched party allegiance last year.

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Fucking Democrat fags. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749755)

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/books/04/27/ayn.rand.atlas.shrugged/index.html?eref=rss_topstories [cnn.com]

For twelve years, you have been asking: Who is John Galt? This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing-you who dread knowledge-I am the man who will now tell you.' The chief engineer was the only one able to move; he ran to a television set and struggled frantically with its dials. But the screen remained empty; the speaker had not chosen to be seen. Only his voice filled the airways of the country-of the world, thought the chief engineer-sounding as if he were speaking here, in this room, not to a group, but to one man; it was not the tone of addressing a meeting, but the tone of addressing a mind.

"You have heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis. You have said it yourself, half in fear, half in hope that the words had no meaning. You have cried that man's sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded. Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster. In the name of a return to morality, you have sacrificed all those evils which you held as the cause of your plight. You have sacrificed justice to mercy. You have sacrificed independence to unity. You have sacrificed reason to faith. You have sacrificed wealth to need. You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial. You have sacrificed happiness to duty.

"You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection. You have fought for it, you have dreamed of it, and you have wished it, and I-I am the man who has granted you your wish.

"Your ideal had an implacable enemy, which your code of morality was designed to destroy. I have withdrawn that enemy. I have taken it out of your way and out of your reach. I have removed the source of all those evils you were sacrificing one by one. I have ended your battle. I have stopped your motor. I have deprived your world of man's mind.

"Men do not live by the mind, you say? I have withdrawn those who do. The mind is impotent, you say? I have withdrawn those whose mind isn't. There are values higher than the mind, you say? I have withdrawn those for whom there aren't.

"While you were dragging to your sacrificial altars the men of justice, of independence, of reason, of wealth, of self-esteem-I beat you to it, I reached them first. I told them the nature of the game you were playing and the nature of that moral code of yours, which they had been too innocently generous to grasp. I showed them the way to live by another morality-mine. It is mine that they chose to follow.

"All the men who have vanished, the men you hated, yet dreaded to lose, it is I who have taken them away from you. Do not attempt to find us. We do not choose to be found. Do not cry that it is our duty to serve you. We do not recognize such duty. Do not cry that you need us. We do not consider need a claim. Do not cry that you own us. You don't. Do not beg us to return. We are on strike, we, the men of the mind.

"We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.

"There is a difference between our strike and all those you've practiced for centuries: our strike consists, not of making demands, but of granting them. We are evil, according to your morality. We have chosen not to harm you any longer. We are useless, according to your economics. We have chosen not to exploit you any longer. We are dangerous and to be shackled, according to your politics. We have chosen not to endanger you, nor to wear the shackles any longer. We are only an illusion, according to your philosophy. We have chosen not to blind you any longer and have left you free to face reality-the reality you wanted, the world as you see it now, a world without mind.

"We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who had always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.

"Are you now crying: No, this was not what you wanted? A mindless world of ruins was not your goal? You did not want us to leave you? You moral cannibals, I know that you've always known what it was that you wanted. But your game is up, because now we know it, too.

"Through centuries of scourges and disasters, brought about by your code of morality, you have cried that your code had been broken, that the scourges were punishment for breaking it, that men were too weak and too selfish to spill all the blood it required. You damned man, you damned existence, you damned this earth, but never dared to question your code. Your victims took the blame and struggled on, with your curses as reward for their martyrdom-while you went on crying that your code was noble, but human nature was not good enough to practice it. And no one rose to ask the question: Good?-by what standard?

"You wanted to know John Galt's identity. I am the man who has asked that question.

"Yes, this is an age of moral crisis. Yes, you are bearing punishment for your evil. But it is not man who is now on trial and it is not human nature that will take the blame. It is your moral code that's through, this time. Your moral code has reached its climax, the blind alley at the end of its course. And if you wish to go on living, what you now need is not to return to morality-you who have never known any-but to discover it.

"You have heard no concepts of morality but the mystical or the social. You have been taught that morality is a code of behavior imposed on you by whim, the whim of a supernatural power or the whim of society, to serve God's purpose or your neighbor's welfare, to please an authority beyond the grave or else next door-but not to serve your life or pleasure. Your pleasure, you have been taught, is to be found in immorality, your interests would best be served by evil, and any moral code must be designed not for you, but against you, not to further your life, but to drain it.

"For centuries, the battle of morality was fought between those who claimed that your life belongs to God and those who claimed that it belongs to your neighbors-between those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of ghosts in heaven and those who preached that the good is self-sacrifice for the sake of incompetents on earth. And no one came to say that your life belongs to you and that the good is to live it.

"Both sides agreed that morality demands the surrender of your self-interest and of your mind, that the moral and the practical are opposites, that morality is not the province of reason, but the province of faith and force. Both sides agreed that no rational morality is possible, that there is no right or wrong in reason-that in reason there's no reason to be moral.

"Whatever else they fought about, it was against man's mind that all your moralists have stood united. It was man's mind that all their schemes and systems were intended to despoil and destroy. Now choose to perish or to learn that the anti-mind is the anti-life.

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without a knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch-or build a cyclotron-without a knowledge of his aim and of the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.

"But to think is an act of choice. The key to what you so recklessly call 'human nature,' the open secret you live with, yet dread to name, is the fact that man is a being of volitional consciousness. Reason does not work automatically; thinking is not a mechanical process; the connections of logic are not made by instinct. The function of your stomach, lungs or heart is automatic; the function of your mind is not. In any hour and issue of your life, you are free to think or to evade that effort. But you are not free to escape from your nature, from the fact that reason is your means of survival-so that for you, who are a human being, the question 'to be or not to be' is the question 'to' think or not to think.'

"A being of volitional consciousness has no automatic course of behavior. He needs a code of values to guide his actions. 'Value' is that which one acts to gain and keep, 'virtue' is the action by which one gains and keeps it. 'Value' presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? 'Value' presupposes a standard, a purpose and the necessity of action in the face of an alternative. Where there are no alternatives, no values are possible.

"There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or non-existence-and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not; it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and-self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it does; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil.

"A plant must feed itself in order to live; the sunlight, the water, the chemicals it needs are the values its nature has set it to pursue; its life is the standard of value directing its actions. But a plant has no choice of action; there are alternatives in the conditions it encounters, but there is no alternative in its function: it acts automatically to further its life, it cannot act for its own destruction.

"An animal is equipped for sustaining its life; its senses provide it with an automatic code of action, an automatic knowledge of what is good for it or evil. It has no power to extend its knowledge or to evade it. In conditions where its knowledge proves inadequate, it dies. But so long as it lives, it acts on its knowledge, with automatic safety and no power of choice, it is unable to ignore its own good, unable to decide to choose the evil and act as its own destroyer.

"Man has no automatic code of survival. His particular distinction from all other living species is the necessity to act in the face of alternatives by means of volitional choice. He has no automatic knowledge of what is good for him or evil, what values his life depends on, what course of action it requires. Are you prattling about an instinct of self-preservation? An instinct of self-preservation is precisely what man does not possess. An 'instinct' is an unerring and automatic form of knowledge. A desire is not an instinct. A desire to live does not give you the knowledge required for living. And even man's desire to live is not automatic: your secret evil today is that that is the desire you do not hold. Your fear of death is not a love of life and will not give you the knowledge needed to keep it. Man must obtain his knowledge and choose his actions by a process of thinking, which nature will not force him t9 perform. Man has the power to act as his own destroyer-and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.

"A living entity that regarded its means of survival as evil, would not survive. A plant that struggled to mangle its roots, a bird that fought to break its wings would not remain for long in the existence they affronted. But the history of man has been a struggle to deny and to destroy his mind.

"Man has been called a rational being, but rationality is a matter of choice-and the alternative his nature offers him is: rational being or suicidal animal. Man has to be man-by choice; he has to hold his life as a value-by choice: he has to learn to sustain it-by choice; he has to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues-by choice.

"A code of values accepted by choice is a code of morality.

"Whoever you are, you who are hearing me now, I am speaking to whatever living remnant is left uncorrupted within you, to the remnant of the human, to your mind, and I say: There is a morality of reason, a morality proper to man, and Man's Life is its standard of value.

"All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; all that which destroys it is the evil.

"Man's life, as required by his nature, is not the life of a mindless brute, of a looting thug or a mooching mystic, but the life of a thinking being-not life by means of force or fraud, but life by means of achievement-not survival at any price, since there's only one price that pays for man's survival: reason.

"Man's life is the standard of morality, but your own life is its purpose. If existence on earth is your goal, you must choose your actions and values by the standard of that which is proper to man-for the purpose of preserving, fulfilling and enjoying the irreplaceable value which is your life.

"Since life requires a specific course of action, any other course will destroy it. A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain.

"Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death. Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness-to value the failure of your values-is an insolent negation of morality. A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard. By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man-every man-is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.

"But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.

"Sweep aside those parasites of subsidized classrooms, who live on the profits of the mind of others and proclaim that man needs no morality, no values, no code of behavior. They, who pose as scientists and claim that man is only an animal, do not grant him inclusion in the law of existence they have granted to the lowest of insects. They recognize that every living species has a way of survival demanded by its nature, they do not claim that a fish can live out of water or that a dog can live without its sense of smell-but man, they claim, the most complex of beings, man can survive in any way whatever, man has no identity, no nature, and there's no practical reason why he cannot live with his means of survival destroyed, with his mind throttled and placed at the disposal of any orders they might care to issue.

"Sweep aside those hatred-eaten mystics, who pose as friends of humanity and preach that the highest virtue man can practice is to hold his own life as of no value. Do they tell you that the purpose of morality is to curb man's instinct of self-preservation? It is for the purpose of self-preservation that man needs a code of morality. The only man who desires to be moral is the man who desires to live.

"No, you do not have to live; it is your basic act of choice; but if you choose to live,. you must live as a man-by the work and the judgment of your mind.

"No, you do not have to live as a man; it is an act of moral choice. But you cannot live as anything else-and the alternative is that state of living death which you now see within you and around you, the state of a thing unfit for existence, no longer human and less than animal, a thing that knows nothing but pain and drags itself through its span of years in the agony of unthinking self-destruction.

"No, you do not have to think; it is an act of moral choice. But someone had to think to keep you alive; if you choose to default, you default on existence and you pass the deficit to some moral man, expecting him to sacrifice his good for the sake of letting you survive by your evil.

"No, you do not have to be a man; but today those who are, are not there any longer. I have removed your means of survival-your victims.

"If you wish to know how I have done it and what I told them to make them quit, you are hearing it now. I told them, in essence, the statement I am making tonight. They were men who had lived by my code, but had not known how great a virtue it represented. I made them see it. I brought them, not a re-evaluation, but only an identification of their values.

"We, the men of the mind, are now on strike against you in the name of a single axiom, which is the root of our moral code, just as the root of yours is the wish to escape it: the axiom that existence exists.

"Existence exists-and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

"If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothing to be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itself as consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claim to perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.

"Whatever the degree of your knowledge, these two-existence and consciousness-are axioms you cannot escape, these two are the irreducible primaries implied in any action you undertake, in any part of your knowledge and in its sum, from the first ray of light you perceive at the start of your life to the widest erudition you might acquire at its end. Whether you know the shape of a pebble or the structure of a solar system, the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it.

"To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of non-existence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was-no matter what his errors-the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.

"Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

"Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders' attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.

"Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses. The task of his senses is to give him the evidence of existence, but the task of identifying it belongs to his reason, his senses tell him only that something is, but what it is must be learned by his mind.

"All thinking is a process of identification and integration. Man perceives a blob of color; by integrating the evidence of his sight and his touch, he learns to identify it as a solid object; he learns to identify the object as a table; he learns that the table is made of wood; he learns that the wood consists of cells, that the cells consist of molecules, that the molecules consist of atoms. All through this process, the work of his mind consists of answers to a single question: What is it? His means to establish the truth of his answers is logic, and logic rests on the axiom that existence exists. Logic is the art of non-contradictory identification. A contradiction cannot exist. An atom is itself, and so is the universe; neither can contradict its own identity; nor can a part contradict the whole. No concept man forms is valid unless he integrates it without contradiction into the total sum of his knowledge. To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one's thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one's mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality.

"Reality is that which exists; the unreal does not exist; the unreal is merely that negation of existence which is the content of a human consciousness when it attempts to abandon reason. Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.

"The most depraved sentence you can now utter is to ask: Whose reason? The answer is: Yours. No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider. Your mind is your only judge of truth-and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal. Nothing but a man's mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity.

"You who speak of a 'moral instinct' as if it were some separate endowment opposed to reason-man's reason is his moral faculty. A process of reason is a process of constant choice in answer to the question: True or False?-Right or Wrong? Is a seed to be planted in soil in order to grow-right or wrong? Is a man's wound to be disinfected in order to save his life-right or wrong? Does the nature of atmospheric electricity permit it to be converted into kinetic power-right or wrong? It is the answers to such questions that gave you everything you have-and the answers came from a man's mind, a mind of intransigent devotion to that which is right.

"A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest-but if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.

"That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, and that which you call 'free will' is your mind's freedom to think or not, the only will you have, your only freedom, the choice that controls all the choices you make and determines your life and your character.

"Thinking is man's only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think-not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment-on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict 'It is.' Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper. By refusing to say 'It is,' you are refusing to say 'I am.' By suspending your judgment, you are negating your person. When a man declares: 'Who am I to know?'-he is declaring: 'Who am I to live?'

"This, in every hour and every issue, is your basic moral choice: thinking or non-thinking, existence or non-existence, A or non-A, entity or zero.

"To the extent to which a man is rational, life is the premise directing his actions. To the extent to which he is irrational, the premise directing his actions is death.

"You who prattle that morality is social and that man would need no morality on a desert island-it is on a desert island that he would need it most. Let him try to claim, when there are no victims to pay for it, that a rock is a house, that sand is clothing, that food will drop into his mouth without cause or effort, that he will collect a harvest tomorrow by devouring his stock seed today-and reality will wipe him out, as he deserves; reality will show him that life is a value to be bought and that thinking is the only coin noble enough to buy it.

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments.

"My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists-and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason-Purpose-Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge-Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve-Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.

"Rationality is the recognition of the fact that existence exists, that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it, which is thinking-that the mind is one's only judge of values and one's only guide of action-that reason is an absolute that permits no compromise-that a concession to the irrational invalidates one's consciousness and turns it from the task of perceiving to the task of faking reality-that the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind-that the acceptance of a mystical invention is a wish for the annihilation of existence and, properly, annihilates one's consciousness.

"Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it-that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life-that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.

"Integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness, just as honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence-that man is an indivisible entity, an integrated unit of two attributes: of matter and consciousness, and that he may permit no breach between body and mind, between action and thought, between his life and his convictions-that, like a judge impervious to public opinion, he may not sacrifice his convictions to the wishes of others, be it the whole of mankind shouting pleas or threats against him-that courage and confidence are practical necessities, that courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to one's own consciousness.

"Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud-that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee-that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling-that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.

"Justice is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that you must judge all men as conscientiously as you judge inanimate objects, with the same respect for truth, with the same incorruptible vision, by as pure and as rational a process of identification-that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly, that just as you do not pay a higher price for a rusty chunk of scrap than for a piece of shining metal, so you do not value a totter above a hero-that your moral appraisal is the coin paying men for their virtues or vices, and this payment demands of you as scrupulous an honor as you bring to financial transactions-that to withhold your contempt from men's vices is an act of moral counterfeiting, and to withhold your admiration from their virtues is an act of moral embezzlement-that to place any other concern higher than justice is to devaluate your moral currency and defraud the good in favor of the evil, since only the good can lose by a default of justice and only the evil can profit-and that the bottom of the pit at the end of that road, the act of moral bankruptcy, is to punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices, that that is the collapse to full depravity, the Black Mass of the worship of death, the dedication of your consciousness to the destruction of existence.

"Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live-that productive work is the process by which man's consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one's purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one's values-that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others- that your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human-that to cheat your way into a job bigger than your mind can handle is to become a fear-corroded ape on borrowed motions and borrowed time, and to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind's full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion: decay-that your work is the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live-that your body is a machine, but your mind is its driver, and you must drive as far as your mind will take you, with achievement as the goal of your road-that the man who has no purpose is a machine that coasts downhill at the mercy of any boulder to crash in the first chance ditch, that the man who stifles his mind is a stalled machine slowly going to rust, that the man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap, and the man who makes another man his goal is a hitchhiker no driver should ever pick up-that your work is the purpose of your life, and you must speed past any killer who assumes the right to stop you, that any value you might find outside your work, any other loyalty or love, can be only travelers you choose to share your journey and must be travelers going on their own power in the same direction.

"Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man's values, it has to be earned-that of any achievements open to you, the one that makes all others possible is the creation of your own character-that your character, your actions, your desires, your emotions are the products of the premises held by your mind-that as man must produce the physical values he needs to sustain his life, so he must acquire the values of character that make his life worth sustaining-that as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul-that to live requires a sense of self-value, but man, who has no automatic values, has no automatic sense of self-esteem and must earn it by shaping his soul in the image of his moral ideal, in the image of Man, the rational being he is born able to create, but must create by choice-that the first precondition of self-esteem is that radiant selfishness of soul which desires the best in all things, in values of matter and spirit, a soul that seeks above all else to achieve its own moral perfection, valuing nothing higher than itself-and that the proof of an achieved self-esteem is your soul's shudder of contempt and rebellion against the role of a sacrificial animal, against the vile impertinence of any creed that proposes to immolate the irreplaceable value which is your consciousness and the incomparable glory which is your existence to the blind evasions and the stagnant decay of others.

"Are you beginning to see who is John Galt? I am the man who has earned the thing you did not fight for, the thing you have renounced, betrayed, corrupted, yet were unable fully to destroy and are now hiding as your guilty secret, spending your life in apologies to every professional cannibal, lest it be discovered that somewhere within you, you still long to say what I am now saying to the hearing of the whole of mankind: I am proud of my own value and of the fact that I wish to live.

"This wish-which you share, yet submerge as an evil-is the only remnant of the good within you, but it is a wish one must learn to deserve. His own happiness is man's only moral purpose, but only his own virtue can achieve it. Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue-and happiness is the goal and the reward of life.

"Just as your body has two fundamental sensations, pleasure and pain, as signs of its welfare or injury, as a barometer of its basic alternative, life or death, so your consciousness has two fundamental emotions, joy and suffering, in answer to the same alternative. Your emotions are estimates of that which furthers your life or threatens it, lightning calculators giving you a sum of your profit or loss. You have no choice about your capacity to feel that something is good for you or evil, but what you will consider good or evil, what will give you joy or pain, what you will love or hate, desire or fear, depends on your standard of value. Emotions are inherent in your nature, but their content is dictated by your mind. Your emotional capacity is an empty motor, and your values are the fuel with which your mind fills it. If you choose a mix of contradictions, it will clog your motor, corrode your transmission and wreck you on your first attempt to move with a machine which you, the driver, have corrupted.

"If you hold the irrational as your standard of value and the impossible as your concept of the good, if you long for rewards you have not earned, for a fortune, or a love you don't deserve, for a loophole in the law of causality, for an A that becomes non-A at your whim, if you desire the opposite of existence-you will reach it. Do not cry, when you reach it, that life is frustration and that happiness is impossible to man; check your fuel: it brought you where you wanted to go.

"Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy-a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.

"Just as I support my life, neither by robbery nor alms, but by my own effort, so I do not seek to derive my happiness from the injury or the favor of others, but earn it by my own achievement. Just as I do not consider the pleasure of others as the goal of my life, so I do not consider my pleasure as the goal of the lives of others. Just as there are no contradictions in my values and no conflicts among my desires-so there are no victims and no conflicts of interest among rational men, men who do not desire the unearned and do not view one another with a cannibal's lust, men who neither make sacrifice nor accept them.

"The symbol of all relationships among such men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit-his love, his friendship, his esteem-except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread-a man of justice.

"Do you ask what moral obligation I owe to my fellow men? None-except the obligation I owe to myself, to material objects and to all of existence: rationality. I deal with men as my nature and their demands: by means of reason. I seek or desire nothing from them except such relations as they care to enter of their own voluntary choice. It is only with their mind that I can deal and only for my own self-interest, when they see that my interest coincides with theirs. When they don't, I enter no relationship; I let dissenters go their way and I do not swerve from mine. I win by means of nothing but logic and I surrender to nothing but logic. I do not surrender my reason or deal with men who surrender theirs. I have nothing to gain from fools or cowards; I have no benefits to seek from human vices: from stupidity, dishonesty or fear. The only value men can offer me is the work of their mind. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

"Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate-do you hear me? no man may start-the use of physical force against others.

"To interpose the threat of physical destruction between a man and his perception of reality, is to negate and paralyze his means of survival; to force-him to act against his own judgment, is like forcing him to act against his own sight. Whoever, to whatever purpose or extent, initiates the use of force, is a killer acting on the premise of death in a manner wider than murder: the premise of destroying man's capacity to live.

"Do not open your mouth to tell me that your mind has convinced you of your right to force my mind. Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins. When you declare that men are irrational animals and propose to treat them as such, you define thereby your own character and can no longer claim the sanction of reason-as no advocate of contradictions can claim it. There can be no 'right' to destroy the source of rights, the only means of judging right and wrong: the mind.

"To force a man to drop his own mind and to accept your will as a substitute, with a gun in place of a syllogism, with terror in place of proof, and death as the final argument-is to attempt to exist in defiance of reality. Reality demands of man that he act for his own rational interest; your gun demands of him that he act against it. Reality threatens man with death if he does not act on his rational judgment: you threaten him with death if he does. You place him into a world where the price of his life is the surrender of all the virtues required by life-and death by a process of gradual destruction is all that you and your system will achieve, when death is made to be the ruling power, the winning argument in a society of men.

"Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: 'Your money or your life,' or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: 'Your children's education or your life,' the meaning of that ultimatum is: 'Your mind or your life'-and neither is possible to man without the other.

"If there are degrees of evil, it is hard to say who is the more contemptible: the brute who assumes the right to force the mind of others or the moral degenerate who grants to others the right to force his mind. That is the moral absolute one does not leave open to debate. I do not grant the terms of reason to men who propose to deprive me of reason. I do not enter discussions with neighbors who think they can forbid me to think. I do not place my moral sanction upon a murderer's wish to kill me. When a man attempts to deal with me by force, I answer him-by force.

"It is only as retaliation that force may be used and only against the man who starts its use. No, I do not share his evil or sink to his concept of morality: I merely grant him his choice, destruction, the only destruction he had the right to choose: his own. He uses force to seize a value; I use it only to destroy destruction. A holdup man seeks to gain wealth by killing me; I do not grow richer by killing a holdup man. I seek no values by means of evil, nor do I surrender my values to evil.

"In the name of all the producers who had kept you alive and received your death ultimatums in payment, I now answer you with a single ultimatum of our own: Our work or your guns. You can choose either; you can't have both. We do not initiate the use of force against others or submit to force at their hands. If you desire ever again to live in an industrial society, it Will be on our moral terms. Our terms and our motive power are the antithesis of yours. You have been using fear as your weapon and have been bringing death to man as his punishment for rejecting your morality. We offer him life as his reward for accepting ours.

"You who are worshippers of the zero-you have never discovered that achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. Joy is not 'the absence of pain,' intelligence is not 'the absence of stupidity,' light is not 'the absence of darkness,' an entity is not 'the absence of a nonentity.' Building is not done by abstaining from demolition; centuries of sitting and waiting in such abstinence will not raise one single girder for you to abstain from demolishing-and now you can no longer say to me, the builder: 'Produce, and feed us in exchange for our not destroying your production.' I am answering in the name of all your victims: Perish with and in your own void. Existence is not a negation of negatives. Evil, not value, is an absence and a negation, evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us. Perish, because we have learned that a zero cannot hold a mortgage over life.

"You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.

"You, who have lost the concept of the difference, you who claim that fear and joy are incentives of equal power-and secretly add that fear is the more 'practical'-you do not wish to live, and only fear of death still holds you to the existence you have damned. You dart in panic through the trap of your days, looking for the exit you have closed, running from a pursuer you dare not name to a terror you dare not acknowledge, and the greater your terror the greater your dread of the only act that could save you: thinking. The purpose of your struggle is not to know, not to grasp or name or hear the thing. I shall now state to your hearing: that yours is the Morality of Death.

"Death is the standard of your values, death is your chosen goal, and you have to keep running, since there is no escape from the pursuer who is out to destroy you or from the knowledge that that pursuer is yourself. Stop running, for once-there is no place to run-stand naked, as you dread to stand, but as I see you, and take a look at what you dared to call a moral code.

"Damnation is the start of your morality, destruction is its purpose, means and end. Your code begins by damning man as evil, then demands that he practice a good which it defines as impossible for him to practice. It demands, as his first proof of virtue, that he accept his own depravity without proof. It demands that he start, not with a standard of value, but with a standard of evil, which is himself, by means of which he is then to define the good: the good is that which he is not.

"It does not matter who then becomes the profiteer on his renounced glory and tormented soul, a mystic God with some incomprehensible design or any passer-by whose rotting sores are held as some inexplicable claim upon him-it does not matter, the good is not for him to understand, his duty is to crawl through years of penance, atoning for the guilt of his existence to any stray collector of unintelligible debts, his only concept of a value is a zero: the good is that which is non-man.

"The name of this monstrous absurdity is Original Sin.

"A sin without volition is a slap at morality and an insolent contradiction in terms: that which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. If man is evil by birth, he has no will, no power to change it; if he has no will, he can be neither good nor evil; a robot is amoral. To hold, as man's sin, a fact not open to his choice is a mockery of morality. To hold man's nature as his sin is a mockery of nature. To punish him for a crime he committed before he was born is a mockery of justice. To hold him guilty in a matter where no innocence exists is a mockery of reason. To destroy morality, nature, justice and reason by means of a single concept is a feat of evil hardly to be matched. Yet that is the root of your code.

"Do not hide behind the cowardly evasion that man is born with free will, but with a 'tendency' to evil. A free will saddled with a tendency is like a game with loaded dice. It forces man to struggle through the effort of playing, to bear responsibility and pay for the game, but the decision is weighted in favor of a tendency that he had no power to escape. If the tendency is of his choice, he cannot possess it at birth; if it is not of his choice, his will is not free.

"What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge-he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil-he became a mortal being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor-he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire-he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness; joy-all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man's fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was-that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love-he was not man.

"Man's fall, according to your teachers, was that he gained the virtues required to live. These virtues, by their standard, are his Sin. His evil, they charge, is that he's man. His guilt, they charge, is that he lives.

"They call it a morality of mercy and a doctrine of love for man. No, they say, they do not preach that man is evil, the evil is only that alien object: his body. No, they say, they do not wish to kill him, they only wish to make him lose his body. They seek to help him, they say, against his pain-and they point at the torture rack to which they've tied him, the rack with two wheels that pull him in opposite directions, the rack of the doctrine that splits his soul and body.

"They have cut man in two, setting one half against the other. They have taught him that his body and his consciousness are two enemies engaged in deadly conflict, two antagonists of opposite natures, contradictory claims, incompatible needs, that to benefit one is to injure the other, that his soul belongs to a supernatural realm, but his body is an evil prison holding it in bondage to this earth-and that the good is to defeat his body, to undermine it by years of patient struggle, digging his way to that gorgeous jail-break which leads into the freedom of the grave.

"They have taught man that he is a hopeless misfit made of two elements, both symbols of death. A body without a soul is a corpse, a soul without a body is a ghost-yet such is their image of man's nature: the battleground of a struggle between a corpse and a ghost, a corpse endowed with some evil volition of its own and a ghost endowed with the knowledge that everything known to man is nonexistent, that only the unknowable exists.

"Do you observe what human faculty that' doctrine was designed to ignore? It was man's mind that had to be negated in order to make him fall apart. Once he surrendered reason, he was left at the mercy of two monsters whom he could not fathom or control: of a body moved by unaccountable instincts and of a soul moved by mystic revelations-he was left as the passively ravaged victim of a battle between a robot and a dictaphone.

"And as he now crawls through the wreckage, groping blindly for a way to live, your teachers offer him the help of a morality that proclaims that he'll find no solution and must seek no fulfillment on earth. Real existence, they tell him, is that which he cannot perceive, true consciousness is the faculty of perceiving the non-existent-and if he is unable to understand it, that is the proof that his existence is evil and his consciousness impotent.

"As products of the split between man's soul and body, there are two kinds of teachers of the Morality of Death: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle, whom you call the spiritualists and the materialists, those who believe in consciousness without existence and those who believe in existence without consciousness. Both demand the surrender of your mind, one to their revelation, the other to their reflexes. No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter-the enslavement of man's body, in spirit-the destruction of his mind.

"The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive-a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. The good, say the mystics of muscle, is Society-a thing which they define as an organism that possesses no physical form, a super-being embodied in no one in particular and everyone in general except yourself. Man's mind, say the mystics of spirit, must be subordinated to the will of God. Man's mind, say the mystics of muscle, must be subordinated to the will of Society. Man's standard of value say the mystics of spirit, is the pleasure 0f God, whose standards are beyond man's power of comprehension and must be accepted on faith. Man's standard of value, say the mystics of muscle, is the pleasure of Society, whose standards are beyond man's right of judgment and must be obeyed as a primary absolute. The purpose of man's life, say both, is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question. His reward, say the mystics of spirit, will be given to him beyond the grave. His reward, say the mystics of muscle, will be given on earth-to his great-grandchildren.

"Selfishness-say both-is man's evil. Man's good-say both-is to give up his personal desires, to deny himself, renounce himself, surrender; man's good is to negate the life he lives. Sacrifice-cry both-is the essence of morality, the highest virtue within man's reach.

"Whoever is now within reach of my voice, whoever is man the victim, not man the killer, I am speaking at the deathbed of your mind, at the brink of that darkness in which you're drowning, and if there still remains within you the power to struggle to hold on to those fading sparks which had been yourself-use it now. The word that has destroyed you is 'sacrifice.' Use the last of your strength to understand its meaning. You're still alive. You have a chance.

"'Sacrifice' does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. 'Sacrifice' does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil. 'Sacrifice' is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don't.

"If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is. If you achieve the career you wanted, after years of struggle, it is not a sacrifice; if you then renounce it for the sake of a rival, it is. If you own a bottle of milk and gave it to your starving child, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to your neighbor's child and let your own die, it is.

"If you give money to help a friend, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to a worthless stranger, it is. If you give your friend a sum you can afford, it is not a sacrifice; if you give him money at the cost of your own discomfort, it is only a partial virtue, according to this sort of moral standard; if you give him money at the cost of disaster to yourself that is the virtue of sacrifice in full.

"If you renounce all personal desire and dedicate your life to those you love, you do not achieve full virtue: you still retain a value of your own, which is your love. If you devote your life to random strangers, it is an act of greater virtue. If you devote your life to serving men you hate-that is the greatest of the virtues you can practice.

"A sacrifice is the surrender of a value. Full sacrifice is full surrender of all values. If you wish to achieve full virtue, you must seek no gratitude in return for your sacrifice, no praise, no love, no admiration, no self-esteem, not even the pride of being virtuous; the faintest trace of any gain dilutes your virtue. If you pursue a course of action that does not taint your life by any joy, that brings you no value in matter, no value in spirit, no gain, no profit, no reward-if you achieve this state of total zero, you have achieved the ideal of moral perfection.

"You are told that moral perfection is impossible to man-and, by this standard, it is. You cannot achieve it so long as you live, but the value of your life and of your person is gauged by how closely you succeed in approaching that ideal zero which is death.

"If you start, however, as a passionless blank, as a vegetable seeking to be eaten, with no values to reject and no wishes to renounce, you will not win the crown of sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice to renounce the unwanted. It is not a sacrifice. It is not a sacrifice to give your life for others, if death is your personal desire. To achieve the virtue of sacrifice, you must want to live, you must love it, you must burn with passion for this earth and for all the splendor it can give you-you must feel the twist of every knife as it slashes your desires away from your reach and drains your love out of your body, It is not mere death that the morality of sacrifice holds out to you as an ideal, but death by slow torture.

"Do not remind me that it pertains only to this life on earth. I am concerned with no other. Neither are you.

"If you wish to save the last of your dignity, do not call your best actions a 'sacrifice': that term brands you as immoral. If a mother buys food for her hungry child rather than a hat for herself, it is not a sacrifice: she values the child higher than the hat; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of mother whose higher value is the hat, who would prefer her child to starve and feeds him only from a sense of duty. If a man dies fighting for his own freedom, it is not a sacrifice: he is not willing to live as a slave; but it is a sacrifice to the kind of man who's willing. If a man refuses to sell his convictions, it is not a sacrifice, unless he is the sort of man who has no convictions.

"Sacrifice could be proper only for those who have nothing to sacrifice-no values, no standards, no judgment-those whose desires are irrational whims, blindly conceived and lightly surrendered. For a man of moral stature, whose desires are born of rational values, sacrifice is the surrender of the right to the wrong, of the good to the evil.

"The creed of sacrifice is a morality for the immoral-a morality that declares its own bankruptcy by confessing that it can't impart to men any personal stake in virtues or value, and that their souls are sewers of depravity, which they must be taught to sacrifice. By his own confession, it is impotent to teach men to be good and can only subject them to constant punishment.

"Are you thinking, in some foggy stupor, that it's only material values that your morality requires you to sacrifice? And what do you think are material values? Matter has no value except as a means for the satisfaction of human desires. Matter is only a tool of human values. To what service are you asked to give the material tools your virtue has produced? To the service of that which you regard as evil: to a principle you do not share, to a person you do not respect, to the achievement of a purpose opposed to your own-else your gift is not a sacrifice.

"Your morality tells you to renounce the material world and to divorce your values from matter. A man whose values are given no expression in material form, whose existence is unrelated to his ideals, whose actions contradict his convictions, is a cheap little hypocrite-yet that is the man who obeys your morality and divorces his values from matter. The man who loves one woman, but sleeps with another-the man who admires the talent of a worker, but hires another-the man who considers one cause to be just, but donates his money to the support of another-the man who holds high standards of craftsmanship, but devotes his effort to the production of trash-these are the men who have renounced matter, the men who believe that the values of their spirit cannot be brought into material reality.

"Do you say it is the spirit that such men have renounced? Yes, of course. You cannot have one without the other. You are an indivisible entity of matter and consciousness. Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute. Renounce your body and you become a fake. Renounce the material world and you surrender it to evil.

"And that is precisely the goal of your morality, the duty that your code demands of you. Give to that which you do not enjoy, serve that which you do not admire, submit to that which you consider evil-surrender the world to the values of others, deny, reject, renounce your self. Your self is your mind; renounce it and you become a chunk of meat ready for any cannibal to swallow.

"It is your mind that they want you to surrender-all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or their motives, whether they demand it for the sake of your soul or of your body, whether they promise you another life in heaven or a full stomach on this earth. Those who start by saying: 'It is selfish to pursue your own wishes, you must sacrifice them to the wishes of others'-end up by saying: 'It is selfish to uphold your convictions, you must sacrifice them to the convictions of others.

"This much is true: the most selfish of all things is the independent mind that recognizes no authority higher than its own and no value higher than its judgment of truth. You are asked to sacrifice your intellectual integrity, your logic, your reason, your standard of truth-in favor of becoming a prostitute whose standard is the greatest good for the greatest number.

"If you search your code for guidance, for an answer to the question: 'What is the good?'-the only answer you will find is 'The good of others.' The good is whatever others wish, whatever you feel they feel they wish, or whatever you feel they ought to feel. 'The good of others' is a magic formula that transforms anything into gold, a formula to be recited as a guarantee of moral glory and as a fumigator for any action, even the slaughter of a continent. Your standard of virtue is not an object, not an act, not a principle, but an intention. You need no proof, no reasons, no success, you need not achieve in fact the good of others-all you need to know is that your motive was the good of others, not your own. Your only definition of the good is a negation: the good is the 'non-good for me.'

"Your code-which boasts that it upholds eternal, absolute, objective moral values and scorns the conditional, the relative and the subjective-your code hands out, as its version of the absolute, the following rule of moral conduct: If you wish it, it's evil; if others wish it, it's good; if the motive of your action is your welfare, don't do it; if the motive is the welfare of others, then anything goes.

"As this double-jointed, double-standard morality splits you in half, so it splits mankind into two enemy camps: one is you, the other is all the rest of humanity. You are the only outcast who has no right to wish to live. You are the only servant, the rest are the masters, you are the only giver, the rest are the takers, you are the eternal debtor, the rest are the creditors never to be paid off. You must not question their right to your sacrifice, or the nature of their wishes and their needs: their right is conferred upon them by a negative, by the fact that they are 'non-you.'

"For those of yo

Re:Fucking Democrat fags. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750107)

tl;dr

Re:Fucking Democrat fags. (2, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750277)

tl;dr version:

"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I'm rich and i shouldn't have to have any responsibility for the things i do to others, the environment or economy! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! YOU'RE ALL POOR BECAUSE YOU ALL STINK!"

Re:Fucking Democrat fags. (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750347)

3 parent There are some good concepts in there - like can be found in any philosophy. But as for the book itself, that should be the Cliff's Notes.

And.... (4, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749769)

...nothing of value was lost or gained.

Re:And.... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749893)

The capacity for a filibuster by Republicans will be destroyed (assuming the Franken debacle does indeed go to Franken, which is perfectly consistent with every decision on the margin that the court has been making) and that is something of value. The ability of the minority to prevent a majority from running amok completely unchecked is an important part of our country's checks-and-balances in politics.

Prepare for some extremely Democratic legislation. (In the party sense, not the democracy sense).

Re:And.... (4, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749967)

The sooner this happens, the sooner an economic collapse could occur, and the sooner people might wake up to the idiocy of government intervention into the economy. Not likely, but a much better choice than this constant limping along that we get from bipartisanship and lip service to "freeing the market".

Hahaha, good one. (0, Flamebait)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750085)

Oh wait, you aren't joking, you sick nutcase. You actually WANT America to fail. You would rather we are all plunged into poverty and chaos than admit your ideology is broken.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (1, Insightful)

quietlysubversive (132179) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750127)

Well you, or at least others on your side, wanted America to lose a war for the same reason just a few years ago.

So big whoop.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (3, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750227)

And they really didn't care how many Iraqis would die if we pulled out of Iraq.

The problem with wanting a collapse is that they'll somehow pin it on capitalism (ie freedom) and then proceed to reduce freedom.

The worst kind of slavery is the one you choose for yourself.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (4, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750383)

If the US pulled out of Iraq... who or what would be killing Iraqis? Other Iraqis? Sounds like an Iraqi problem, not a US problem.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750247)

Nope. Nobody on 'my side' has ever wanted America to lose a war. Try again. Here's a hint: you may want to stop looking at politics as something with 'sides' and realize we are all in this together.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (5, Informative)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750269)

Actually, that was a right-wing projection. Democrats never wanted us to lose the war, they wanted the U.S. to stop pursuing the policies that were failing. Republicans, in their typically hyperaggressive way, screamed themselves red in the face that this was wanting America to lose. Put another way, Rush Limbaugh explicitly has said he wants President Obama to fail. Not his policies. Not his programs. His entire presidency. No Democrat of any significance actually made any statement calling for the war to be lost.

Re:Hahaha, good one. (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750293)

See there's a critical distinction there that you're missing (possibly intentionally). Liberals did not want the USA to lose, we believed the USA was likely to, and for that reason pursuing it was a bad policy.

The recent dramatic increase in violence in Iraq should serve as an ominous sign we may very well be proven correct.

Whether you want to acknowledged it or not, there is a real difference between the liberal fear (circa 2000) that George Bush would pursue policies that would prove disastrous to the United States, and the current behavior of the Right, cheering for Democrats to fail so they can regain power.

Re:And.... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750163)

Hey, Brian there, I've got news for you buddy - THE COLLAPSE HAPPENED LAST YEAR!!! And guess what? It wasn't the fault of government intervention into the economy. It was the fault of Objectivists like you. Hope you sleep soundly tonight, buddy, because the rest of us are going back to good ole KEYNES.

Re:And.... (5, Insightful)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750007)

Prepare for some extremely Democratic legislation. (In the party sense, not the democracy sense).

YEAH! Like universal health care, and an end to the 35% of health care expenditure that goes to parasite insurance companies! WOOT!

(Just for reference, the US is the only western country to tie health care to one's employer. It is a strange combination, that has many perverse effects such as separating the consumer from the one paying the health care bills, and turning the bill-payers into care-denial organizations. The macro effect is that we spend more of our GDP on health care than any other country in the world, yet our population dies sooner (about 3 years' shorter life span).)

Re:And.... (1, Flamebait)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750219)

The correct term is universal health bureaucracy, there is no care involved.

Re:And.... (5, Informative)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750333)

Sorry dude, but I've lived significant portions of my life in Canada, Britain, and Italy, both as an adult and child: *it* *just* *works* *better*

You feel sick, you go to a doctor without worrying about "prior condition" exclusions resulting in termination of insurance or non-coverage. You get hurt, you go to a hospital, without worrying about your care being delayed while they shunt you over to someplace else because you don't have the right kind of (or maybe any) insurance, or discovering that your insurance has gotchas such as only paying for 2nd+days in hospital (all the expensive stuff happens on the first day).

Not happy with the universal health insurance? You can still go to a private practitioner and pay for it yourself. But, because you are negotiating up front, the costs are much lower than the US, and come without some kind of arcane billing system designed to confuse the end user. And the care providers don't want an insane billing system and are much more likely to give you a rollup all-in-one bill amount before you start.

Re:And.... (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750389)

Great "reflex comment" there. Because of course the way we have it must be the best possible way, musn't it? Unfortunately in general health statistics, the US is at or near the bottom of the industrialized world and below some number of third-world countries, while our expendatures per-capita are the highest in the world. It's a great position from which to criticize the way others do it.

Re:And.... (0, Flamebait)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750325)

Prepare for some extremely Democratic legislation. (In the party sense, not the democracy sense).

YEAH! Like universal health care, and an end to the 35% of health care expenditure that goes to parasite insurance companies! WOOT!

(Just for reference, the US is the only western country to tie health care to one's employer. It is a strange combination, that has many perverse effects such as separating the consumer from the one paying the health care bills, and turning the bill-payers into care-denial organizations. The macro effect is that we spend more of our GDP on health care than any other country in the world, yet our population dies sooner (about 3 years' shorter life span).)

Yeah! I want my government deciding if I get care or not because they can make such a better decision that I can make for myself or my children.

I want my trip to the doctor to be like a trip to the DMV.

Re:And.... (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750013)

I forget who was it who said they preferred the two main parties to fight each other since they'd be too busy to screw over the rest of us, but they were on to something.

Re:And.... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749969)

Oh, I think this is bad news for the Republicans.

For one thing, while he won't be an automatic vote for cloture, he won't be an automatic vote against it either. If Franken is seated (as appears likely), Specter will be the swing vote. He'll have the Republicans by the short and curlies.

With the Republican percentage so close to the point where they can be stomped on in the Senate by the Democrats, this is a major setback for them.

Re:And.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750123)

Yeah, well, he'd been a closet Democrat for years anyway. The Republicans could never count on him, and there are several Republicans apparently gunning for him in the primary (next year). We'll see what happens then...

You rather miss the point (1)

realnrh (1298639) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750355)

Republicans can't gun for Specter in the primaries any longer. Specter will run in the Democratic primary instead, where Ed Rendell has promised to do everything he can to give Specter a clear field. Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth is now the clear front-runner for the Republican nomination, and he's well to the right of Rick Santorum, who the Pennsylvania electorate overwhelmingly rejected in 2006. A Toomey/Specter matchup is extremely heavily weighted to Specter's favor among the PA general electorate, even if it's weighted the other way among the PA Republican primary crowd.

Re:And.... (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750311)

He's hasn't been an automatic vote either way as it was. From a practical standpoint, nothing has changed. The big news here is that Specter thinks the Republicans are more likely to push a hard-right primary challenge (which they almost certainly go on to lose in the general election, given Specter's district) than Democrats are to push a hard-left challenge (which they might win).

except the Republicans continue to become (1)

NoBozo99 (836289) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750047)

a regional party further marginalizing them selves by moving to the right. Specter had to jump ship because he was going to be challenged in the primary by someone from the far right of the party. He left because the more moderate members of the GOP in Specter's state have seen the handwriting on the wall and have already left the party to either join the Democrats or go Independent.

Re:And.... (4, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750211)

Republicrat or Democan, the only difference is where their pocket change comes from (and it doesn't come from We, the people).

Sure, sure, they each use different issues to trap you into voting against the other guy (who really votes *FOR* anyone these days?). But each side knows they need the other and that no matter who has the majority the "big" issues can't ever be completely done away with (what would they run on then?).

Re:And.... (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750387)

Are you one of those bipolars he was talkin' about..? You saying you don't find any value in Arlen's votes over the years, or were you just goin' for the cheap Karma?

Shift in dynamics (4, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749803)

This does pose a dramatic shift in the balance of power. While a lot of votes do go on party lines, often most of what happens is self interest, with politicians doing what is most likely to keep them in office. Specter is just doing a better job of staying with the times rather than any real change in his personal convictions.

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

Spice Consumer (1367497) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749861)

"Specter noted that in his home state of Pennsylvania, 200,000 formerly Republican voters switched party allegiance last year."

Exactly. He's locking in those 200k votes.

Re:Shift in dynamics (4, Informative)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749985)

Eh. Specter is an old school reagan-ish republican. He's pro-choice, pro-environment, and pro-immigration. He's crossed party lines repeatedly over the last few years: he was 1 of three senate republicans to vote for the big stimulus package.

The stimulus vote pissed off the republican leadership, with Steele going so far as to threaten not to contribute to his campaign fund. He's had republican challengers in the primaries for the last 2(?) primaries.

I think they did a good job of making him feel unwanted, and frankly, they can suck it up.

Re:Shift in dynamics (2, Insightful)

cml4524 (1520403) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750205)

He's going to lose though.

He's basically switching because he knows that the republicans won't really back him in-state during the primaries. He was challenged last time and narrowly won, this time around I can just about guarantee that the republicans will come down on him full-bore in the primaries to try and remove him. Specter won't go along with the republican machine in lockstep and they hate it, and they don't think they need him anymore.

The only thing that's going to save him is if the republicans run another extremist in the state against him. Someone along the lines of Rick Santorum. If that happens and the democrats don't challenge him in the primary, he may have a shot, but I think this is basically his curtain call. This state, particularly up through the center simply has too many core republican supporters (read: poorly educated, poorly informed, and highly sensitized against anything "liberal", "socialist", or "democrat"). They're going to hammer him as a "liberal sympathizer", tie him to the "socialist" recovery plan and basically villify him not with anything he's actually done or said, but by simply telling a lot of old and bigoted hillbillies that he's Obama's buddy and a liberal and maybe even a commie to boot.

And it will work.

Personally, that's fine with me. I've supported him in the past but after his vote for Paulson's bailout - which I railed against in several contacts to his and Casey's offices - I'm not going to again. I suspect it will mean I have a farther right Senator replacing him, which I don't care for, but so long as we don't wind up with a whack-a-doodle like Santorum was, it's no big deal.

Re:Shift in dynamics (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750433)

The leading competitor in the republican primary against him was Pat Toomney- an ultra right wing nutjob. He was going to take the primary due to the number of Pennsylvanians who reregistered as D to vote in the presidential primary, but he had no chance against any D in the general. Specter polls very well with both democrats and independents. If he wins the democratic primary (likely), he's an automatic win for the democrats against any republican likely to run. The only person who could possibly win the seat from him is governor Rendell (D), who won't be running.

Re:Shift in dynamics (4, Insightful)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749929)

He lies in the middle of the political spectrum and he feels that he might get a more of a chance to air his views with the democrats than with the republicans, who from the UK at least seem to be crazy right wing nut jobs at the moment, well more so than usual. Seems like a sensible move to me.

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749995)

republicans, who from the UK at least seem to be crazy right wing nut jobs

I've gotten that impression from in the US, since just before Bush the 2nd was elected.

Re:Shift in dynamics (5, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750137)

They seem like crazy nut jobs here, too. Every time I hear another insane rant about "Obama's Fascist Regime" it pushes me further and further away from the Republican party.

They are SO upset that they lost the election and they're going ape shit. Instead of trying to push their message with resonable thought, they force it on you with words of communism and "fascism."

The more they do it though, the less people they will inevitably get to vote for them. You might get some simple people to believe the nonsense but not a thinking person.

Re:Shift in dynamics (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750423)

They seem like crazy nut jobs here, too. Every time I hear another insane rant about "Obama's Fascist Regime" it pushes me further and further away from the Republican party.

They are SO upset that they lost the election and they're going ape shit. Instead of trying to push their message with resonable thought, they force it on you with words of communism and "fascism."

So 100 days of Republican bitching has more of an effect than 8 years of relentless Bush Bashing?

Re:Shift in dynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750437)

interesting, I don't doubt that there are republicans who do that but I've experienced more from the democrates about why I'm an ignorant bigoted fucktard for disagreeing with them. Then again being an educated realist and lean strongly towards what the republican part was, maybe I'm just not noticing.

Plus how can a thinking person claim blind following either party?

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750171)

Except that I doubt his vies have anything to do with it. If he had stayed a Republican, he would be out of office next term; as a Democrat, he has at least a shot at re-election. It's purely self-interested politicking.

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750411)

He's close enough to the democrats that they would talk to him and even allow him to run for another term. I would suggest that his views may have something to do with that.

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749947)

I don't think this really presents all that much shift in the power balance. On many issues, democrats and republicans don't all swing one direction or the other. Although it does give the Democrats the potential to break a filibuster, I don't believe we're going to see a dramatic swing in the laws (or types of laws) being pushed through Congress.

Plus, as you said yourself, politicians do what they think is most likely to keep them in office. It's why both the democrat and republican parties look so similar to each other.

Re:Shift in dynamics (1)

pi_rules (123171) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750045)

Specter is just doing a better job of staying with the times rather than any real change in his personal convictions.

Nah, he's just avoiding the Republican primary race.

Re:Shift in dynamics (5, Interesting)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750119)

Rather than being a change in personal convictions, Specter claims the opposite: that the Republicans have shifted away from him, i.e. more to the right. I think that sounds pretty accurate, don't you? For example, the chair of the Republican party has recently been apologized to Rush Limbaugh for stating the obvious, that Limbaugh is incendiary. While this is circumstantial, it's still pretty compelling that the Republican party has become more radical from the 1980s where it was a "big tent" kind of party.

This will be interesting though! Just for yucks, I went over to fox news to see what they had to say about it, and their first headline read "Specter abandons millions of GOP voters to join the democratic party." I think that's pretty funny since Specter himself says the GOP voters are abandoning the GOP. That is, he says 200k registered republicans switched parties in the last election in pennsylvania. (They've got something else up now about him being a party pooper.)

Not Really (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750217)

This is just a case of survival. Specter was down over 20 points in polls regarding the 2010 primaries, and would have certainly not made it to the General Election.

Maybe i'm just cynical... (1, Insightful)

robinsonne (952701) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749845)

Specter noted that in his home state of Pennsylvania, 200,000 formerly Republican voters switched party allegiance last year.

So you switched your allegiance cuz it would give u better chance to keep getting elected, Mr. Specter, regardless of your actual political beliefs? (Not that I think either party is that different from the other)

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (5, Informative)

halivar (535827) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749921)

Specter left the Democratic Party in '81 because he lacked seniority for cool appointments. The Republicans were (and have been) desperate enough for a Pennsylvania senate seat that he could write his own checks in the GOP. Now, he's looking at being part of a permanent minority, and the majority party is probably going to give him nicer committee chairs than he could get with the GOP.

It's not a principled stand; it's politics.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750005)

Permanent minority? Are you really that dense?

I'd accept minority that will outlast him, but it certainly won't be permanent--nothing ever is.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27750285)

Get with the times, comrade. The communists are in power, they will not relinquish it. Bring on the fetus farms and gun bans!

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750403)

"Specter left the Democratic Party in '81 because he lacked seniority for cool appointments."

Uh, wrong. Specter was a Republican since 1966, essentially has been a Republican his whole adult life, apart from a short time as a Dem in his youth.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749925)

No, he would probably still get elected if he had the R on his name. The change to D probably better reflects his political beliefs anyway.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

edmudama (155475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750317)

Doubtful.

The issue isn't overall voter support in Pennsylvania, as he would get plenty of votes from people who registered as Democrats.

The problem is that he wouldn't survive a republican primary in his own state, since the voting in that primary would more heavily favor a right-of-center candidate than the overall voter biases would indicate.

If he doesn't win the party primary, it's tough to be elected, since I don't believe Pennsylvania allows people to run as independents if they lose the primary. (Unlike Connecticut and Lieberman)

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750075)

Well, to be fair, he has always described himself as a moderate republican; elected in the 80's when the 'Big Tent' philosophy was strong in the Republican party. If 200,000 people left the Republican party for the Democratic party, you can bet that it was the moderates that were leaving, shifting the party farther to the right and making it impossible for him to win the primary as a self described moderate.

If he is more likely to win the primary in the democratic party than the republican party, he is almost by definition a democrat. If he isn't a democrat, he will lose badly in his first primary and everything will be exactly as it would be if he had stayed as a republican.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750141)

Might want to check his actual political beliefs. He's more moderate than the democratic rep in my home district. Right of center sure, but it's more center than right.

It's not a big stretch.

Re:Maybe i'm just cynical... (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750449)

Well, maybe the fact that 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania have called it quits says something about the Republican party.

There is a saying in The Talmud: If one man calls you an ass, ignore him. If two call you an ass, buy a saddle.

Wait... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749847)

...Specter was a Republican to begin with?

Single Senator Theory (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749859)

It is believed that it is the very same senator who entered the Republican Senate Caucus emerged 30 years later unscathed, unblemished, eh, in the pristine form, entered the Democratic Senate Caucus. Who would believe such a theory? Senators are not bullets made by Western Case Cartridge Company.

Can't win as a Republican... (5, Informative)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749897)

Gee - big surprise. This news comes just a weekend after news that his primary challenger, Pat Toomey, is showing a commanding lead in the polls [thebulletin.us].

Makes sense (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749979)

I had to laugh when I read, "they're becoming more conservative" because that's what Bush was for the last 8 years. It's a little late to be saying you don't like it. He might as well come on the record and say we shouldn't invade Iraq....oops, late on that one too. Switching primaries is an interesting approach. I guess his voting record can or will sink him.

Re:Can't win as a Republican... (5, Insightful)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750113)

To quote a smart man, "Gee - big surprise."

The GOP has shrunk a great deal in the last 4 years. Moderates and Independents left the party. Millions of them.

The result is a GOP that is far more conservative than it was as recently as the 2004 election.

BushCo drove so many sane people out of the GOP that the only people left are of the dyed-in-the-wool variety.

Such a party is not going to nominate a moderate. Specter knew that. Everybody knew that.

The people of PA have re-elected Specter many times. By switching parties he's preventing a small group of very conservative voters from restricting the people of PA from electing somebody they've supported over and over in the past.

This would all be moot if PA, like most states, had open primaries where registered dems and indies could vote in the GOP primary if they chose to do so.

Re:Can't win as a Republican... (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750361)

By switching parties he's preventing a small group of very conservative voters from restricting the people of PA from electing somebody they've supported over and over in the past.

Very astute analysis. Here's a TPM article exploring that idea in more detail. [talkingpointsmemo.com]

As a politically-conscious geek, I also recommend Nate Silver's analysis [fivethirtyeight.com] of the impact of this move on Senate politics.

Re:Can't win as a Republican... (1)

Paul Pierce (739303) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750179)

Seriously, I love how he says "I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans", right after proclaiming "Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats".

Politics as usual. Toomey was going to win, so he's going to try playing for the other team. I didn't see him actually change any of his stances on the issues, and just last month he claimed it was important to have balance, so he wouldn't change.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749903)

Politicians will do just about anything to keep their job and/or get more power.

Ugh... (4, Insightful)

Argumentator (1524195) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749917)

While I may support Democrats more than the Republicans, I find the general principle of changing parties mid-term a disgusting and cowardly betrayal of trust.

You were elected as a Republican, for better or for worse. You should either finish your term as one, or if you can no longer consider yourself a Republican, resign. At the next election, feel free to run as a Democrat or whoever the hell you want. But for this term, you should act for the people who elected you. That's the principle of representative democracy.

I'd even accept the compromise of, when one leaves or is kicked out of the party, he/she should have the right to stay as an Independent member until the next election. But joining a party different from the one you were elected under, in the middle of your term, should be outright unconstitutional.

Re:Ugh... (5, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750043)

I find the principle of political parties disgusting and cowardly.

If you vote for the party, you deserve to get raped by your representative.

He was elected as Arlen Specter, and he's the same Arlen Specter he was last week. If you voted for him solely because of the R next to his name, you don't deserve a vote at all.

Purpose of partisan politics (4, Insightful)

Argumentator (1524195) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750393)

You are basing your argument on the classical philosophy that a vote, when cast for a person, essentially places trust in that person to serve as he or she sees fit, for the duration of his term.

I call that position bullshit and reject it in principle. I refuse to place unconditional trust in a politician, or be so naive as to believe that he is indeed there to serve his constituency. Politicians will always do what is in their self interest (wow, just like the rest of us). That's why we have the party system, so we have an extra layer of protection. We don't JUST vote for Specter, just like we don't just vote for any Republican. We vote for both. We vote for Specter AS LONG AS he maintains the principles of the party he was running under, in this case, Republican.

Partisanism has lots of problems, but I firmly believe that the extra layer of safeguarding against do-what-I-fuckin-like politicians makes it worthwhile. We don't place unlimited trust in the guy, we only vote for him as long as he maintains integrity to the party under which he ran.

If someone WANTS to run under the platform of "unlimited trust", he should run as Independent. There's a reason why almost nobody gets elected as one.

Re:Ugh... (5, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750055)

Nonsense. Party lines are more harmful than they are helpful. Also, he doesn't ONLY represent republican voters in the state, he represents ALL the voters in the state. So your notion that switching midterm is disgusting is just plain stupid, and hows your zealotry along party lines.

Personally, I'm inclinded to go with the founders, who believed parties were a bad idea. I think our history shows that to be true, and I'm in favor of doing away with political parties all together. Explain your ideas, don't just say "I'm a republican!" (or democrat).

Re:Ugh... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750245)

I agree about the harmful effects of political parties; but realize that the only reason Spector switched was to gain power and longevity by aligning himself with the currently reigning party. Even if switching parties isn't repugnant because it's betraying the Republicans, it's still repugnant because it's seeking favor from the Democrats.

Re:Ugh... (0, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750077)

Political parties are an abomination. Anyone who declares for a party should be killed immediately. Unfortunately, however, principles are completely unimportant to 99.999999999% of the world.

Re:Ugh... (4, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750299)

Well, I'm not sure I'd advocate slaughtering everybody, but my pet issue I'm working on memetically spreading is to get a law passed striking all political party information off of state ballots. You would be given the names of candidates, and that's that.

Re:Ugh... (1)

joranbelar (567325) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750145)

RIght. After all, it's the letter next to your name that defines you, not your actual beliefs or anything.

Re:Ugh... (1)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750187)

You were elected as a Republican, for better or for worse. You should either finish your term as one, or if you can no longer consider yourself a Republican, resign.

funny. i thought that he was elected as a senator, based on his values and the things he's done for his constituents. i didn't realize that once someone became a republican, or a democrat, or a libertarian, or a communist, that they lost all ability to do anything but the party line.

what a nice black and white world you must live in.

Re:Ugh... (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750295)

The constitution makes no mention of parties, but lets leave that aside--it's a living document so who knows what it may contain later. Is it not possible to run on a platform and decide that the party which you ran as is not only not willing to abide by that platform, but has chosen to actively fight against it?

Re:Ugh... (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750297)

Having voted for Jumpin' Jim Jeffords, I have to disagree with your opinion. My brother continues to say, and I have to agree, we still hold and follow the Republican values we were raised with, but the party has moved, and now we look more like Democrats.

Re:Ugh... (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750465)

Senators are elected as individuals, by the people of their state [findlaw.com], and shall only be responsible in front of them - not in front of their party.

Party switching in the US has noble history [wikipedia.org]: in fact, the parties as we know them today, are largely a result of historical switchings. (Weren't this the case, there would be no point in having a Senate. We would just have two parties, each weighted according to the votes.)

Historically, there have been examples of "strong parties" of this kind, but those are not the ones you would want to take as a model. Independent voting of each elected official, and ultimately party switching, is at the very core of the Democracy.

Said this, of course one could also switch party because it's a cheap way to get elected, but this is another story.

How is this news for nerds?!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27749919)

Maybe we should start discussing the latest celebrity news while we're at it.

Re:How is this news for nerds?!! (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749993)

Nerds are citizens, therefore we have an interest in this. We aren't idiots, therefore we don't have an interest in celebrity news.

Neo-Conservatives (3, Insightful)

Bigby (659157) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749961)

This just goes to show that the neo-cons have brought the Republican party to its knees. When are they going to learn. They now have the "fiscal conservative" religion, but there is a lot of doubt whether they can follow through with what they can say.

Fiscal policies aside, their doom was being so darn war driven. Not that the Dems aren't, but they took it to a new level.

Specter would have been smarter to have went independent. Does he really need a party? He has the name recognition.

Re:Neo-Conservatives (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750213)

Specter would have been smarter to have went independent. Does he really need a party? He has the name recognition.

Without access to the fundraising & legal apparatus of one of the major parties, he most probably would have been frozen out of any real competition for the seat, name recognition or no. He would be outspent, and out-lawyered, in short order.

Re:Neo-Conservatives (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750375)

They now have the "fiscal conservative" religion, but there is a lot of doubt whether they can follow through with what they can say.

Honestly, I'm a bit confused by what you're saying. Are you saying being a fiscal conservative is tantamount to being religious? Or are you saying that they have the intersection of fiscally conservative supporters and religious supporters?

You aren't implying that being fiscally conservative is a bad thing, are you?

Re:Neo-Conservatives (5, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750391)

It's a bit too simplistic to call all the people responsible for the Republicans' fiasco neo-cons.

The Republicans looked very powerful around the time of GW Bush's first election, but what they had is something we old time Democrats knew a lot about: a big tent coalition. We had the cultural elite and labor, and Reagan figured out that that was a fracture line he could split Democratic support along.

The difference is that the Republican coalition had even less coherence than the Democrats, and underwent spontaneous implosion as they tried to put together an agenda that pleased everyone in the tent: Westerners of a libertarian bent, the old economic and intellectual elite of the Republican party, the evangelicals, the flat out racists. That's why they could never control spending, they were too busy keeping everybody in the tent happy. They fooled themselves into thinking they were cleverly doing this temporarily so they could "starve the beast" until such a time the system began to fall apart. That was stupid. You can't starve the beast. If you try, then when things start to fall apart it just reaches out and eats you alive.

Still, if you want to find a scapegoat, look the the Southern social conservatives. It was their backing of the messianic mission of the neo-cons that allowed them to hijack foreign policy.

Nixon invited the old enemies of the Republicans economic elites into th party, the old Dixiecrats. They became powerful, like the far out religious parties in Israel, because they were the key to power. They're the ones that run the Republican party; not the people who elected Eisenhower. It's too bad, because the old economic and intellectual elite of the Republican party weren't such a bad bunch, if you kept an eye on them. The country needs people like that, even if you didn't want them to have unchallenged control over policy.

But those old time Republicans don't have any place to go now. The Republican party has been redefined out from under them. It's now the party of anti-intellectualism, xenophobia, and racism, all things that were anathema to those old time conservatives.

Maybe it's time for a Grand New Party.

Republicans need to forcibly remove party label (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749989)

Need to get back to being party of extreme tax and spending cuts.

Stand for something than being a 'less than democrat' party.

Idea - Shut down the government next time in control and FORCE massive spending cuts. Bureaucracy jobs suck up a lot of money and don't produce jobs.

We need to start limiting our cancerous entitlements too.

Get rid of all business taxes and illegal property taxes. Yeah government confiscation of property is against everything that people who fought for freedom of independence. Property laws are in our original constitution. Taxing them and confiscating land is immoral and wrong.

Mother England has been replaced by 'High Taxation. Hidden Socialist Runaway Central government'.

Re:Republicans need to forcibly remove party label (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750183)

How about we increase tax rates and reup spending for actual programs that aren't wars or bailouts?

We've done nothing BUT cut taxes and essential services.

Screw John Galt, we need Monty Brewster.

Re:Republicans need to forcibly remove party label (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750427)

How about we increase tax rates and reup spending for actual programs that aren't wars or bailouts?

Is this based on the obviously unassailable premise that any program that isn't a war or a bailout is a wise & useful way to spend tax money?

I'd be happy to see the government stop increasing (and increasing deficit) spending, stop cutting taxes (even moderately increase taxes if that money would go towards paying down the national debt), pay down the fucking debt, and stop wasting money on programs that the government really has no business providing.

That would be a nice start.

First of Many (3, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27749999)

You know, this is a good move for Pennsylvania. Spector has been demonized by his own party for some time now. VERY wierd for a 30 year senator in a party that embraced Ted Stevens so fondly.

One of the important parts of all this is that Democrats agreed not to run a candidate against him in the primaries. The GOP has at least 3 candidates they wanted to run against him in the primaries before he made the switch.

The thing about the GOP that really sucks is that it eats it's own when it loses. Spector is not the only senator who has been castigated by his own party in a state that is becoming more progressive. Don't be surprised to see this happen again in the next 12 months.

M

Mixed value. (3, Informative)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750029)

Bad:

1. his presence will serve as a brake on more progressive legislation.

2. being a Democrat will prevent the Dems from offering up a more progressive candidate to oppose him had he stayed Republican.

3. He'll likely vote as a "liberal" Republican, ie: with the interests of capital in economics, in the interests of no one in particular (i.e. who ever pays his bills) in social issues.

Good:

1. He'll likely vote with the Dems about 60% of the time.

2. This will force the Republican party (now the property of ignorance and corruption) to be more considerate and thoughtful of their positions.

3. This could lead to someone like Snowe defecting as well, which would really bury the Republican part, possibly for good, as it could split between the Bible Thumping retard faction and the neocon fascist faction, which would work to the benefit of the Democrats.

RS

Also now a member of Wu Tang Clan. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750031)

http://tinyurl.com/dlzo96 [tinyurl.com]

"My life had got no better, same damn 'Lo sweater. Times is rough and tough like leather," said the senior senator of his 29-year membership with the GOP. "I figured out I went the wrong route. So I got with a sick tight clique and went all out."

Nice to see Change we can all believe in.

As someone from PA... (3, Interesting)

QuickSilver_999 (166186) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750089)

It's a joke. Who cares? Specter was pretty much a lock on most votes for the Democrats anyway. He was just a way for them to get a Republican to vote with them and then scream about how great they are at "bipartisanship." LOOK! A REPUBLICAN SUPPORTS US! Ignore all the others that stand by their principles. He's been pretty much a schmuck who basically votes to please Philly and Pittsburgh. The rest of us he thinks can all go hang.

He's 79. Have you ever noticed politicians all want you and me to retire by 72 at the latest? But they're supposed to keep getting into office until they're dead? And in some cases afterward? We need to have an age limit on politicians and judges. Over 70 and they should ALL be forced out of office. That's a law that really needs to be passed.

Awesome. (3, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750093)

First I am a conservative though not a Republican. I am all for this.

I want the Democrats to have to own what happens the next few years. After all the years of hearing them harp on Bush deficits I want them to have undeniable majority so they are undeniably responsible for the economy busting budgets they are signing off on. I want ownership to be a non question. While there are good people on both sides of the aisle as a whole I think the entire Congress stinks.

Their actions have become the best reason for term limits. Too many of them think themselves as kings and queens, benevolent in their view because they know better and they are better - in their own minds. They game the system ensuring two party rule and the American people are more enamored with American idol personalities and similar : see Obama.

Now we just need Snowe to flip. She is nothing more than a RINO as well. Make them honest - if you vote one way consistently then be willing to take up the mantle of the party you align with. That way when it comes time to swap parties in power you can get outed. The tragedy is that most won't. They have so many connections and so much power from their office that unseating them takes serious criminal acts and even that is not a guarantee they don't get back in.

Its a great day. Now the Democrats have their "majority" and the hot seat is all theirs. The question becomes, do they do to Obama what they did to Clinton? See the flip side is that when one group has a real majority they don't answer to anyone - including the President. After all they no longer need them. It also leads to internal factions which happened to them in the early nineties. That majority benefits and hurts them.

But the key is, they cannot escape the responsibility for the spending spree or legislation. It will give Obama a convincing excuse too for what he signs off. So he can claim its not what he really wants "but the reality of the situation..."

So, awesome, and lol. Can't wait to see all the excuses for doing stuff that people would eviscerate Republicans for doing.

Re:Awesome. (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750373)

Not really on-topic, but I found your sig striking when juxtaposed against your post.

* Winners compare their achievements to their goals, losers compare theirs to that of others.

So, awesome, and lol. Can't wait to see all the excuses for doing stuff that people would eviscerate Republicans for doing.

Reminds me of another quote...

"To feel envy is human, to savour schadenfreude is devilish"

-Schopenhauer

Pennsylvania Politics (As Usual?) (4, Interesting)

Orne (144925) | more than 4 years ago | (#27750457)

For those that are not aware:

  • Unlike other new england/midatlantic states, Pennsylvania's Primary system is restricted by party registration. Democrats voting in the primary can only select who the democrat nominee is, and Republican can only select the republican, and third party selects third party, etc.
  • Last year, the big contest was Obama versus Clinton for Democrat presidential nominee. By the time PA came around in the primaries, late, only McCain remained, so a Republican vote meant nothing; only 26% of registered Republicans voted.
  • There was a huge drive by radio personalities last year to have Republicans switch their party status to Democrat to vote in the election. Additionally, many people felt abandoned by spend-happy double-talking Republicans. Many ended up leaving the party, 200,000 is the reported number. PA had a record turnout for Clinton, but that's besides the point.
  • Forward to 2009, the registered Republicans who are left are pretty much hard-core conservatives: stop the spending, get government out of business, etc etc
  • Over the last couple of years, Sen. Specter has behaved in a manner that is against the core of the party, voting in favor of dozens of high-priced spending bills, in favor of the bailouts, etc
  • Sen. Specter is up for re-election this year, and his advanced polling is showing his Republican support at about 20% for / 80% against. It is almost certain that he will not be the Republican nominee next spring, since he is running against the same challenger who almost unseated him 6 years ago when Specter had huge party support.
  • Sen. Specter has now switched his party to Democrat to take advantage of PA demographics, and possibly extend his political career an additional term instead of being voted out by his constituents in disgrace: "On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate" - Specter [politico.com]
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