Michael Moore and the 99%

As many of you know, I despise Michael Moore with a white-hot passion that makes a supernova look like a light-bulb. He’s always been a seditious creep, now we know that he’s an extremely wealthy one as well.

For proof, Andrew Breitbart got a hold of land records which showed that he owns a mansion on a beautiful lake in an ultra-ritzy section of Michigan. Look at the photos to give you an idea of what it’s like to hang out with the swells.

One thing’s for sure: he’s not part of the 99%. Hell, he ain’t even part of the 99.99%.


  1. Based on the photos of it, I would have to say that Michael Moore’s huge home — located on a lake in Michigan — is worth several million dollars. Yet, he constantly seems to complain about life in America. What else does he want?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      A yacht floating right off that pier?

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Well, he’s fat, ugly, and Roman Catholic. He made his fortune from the movies he made. Wikipedia says his “Fahrenheit 9/11” is the highest-grossing documentary of all time, while “Bowling for Columbine” and “Sicko” also placed int the very top ten.
      I suppose that house he bought with his new riches would have cost a lot more in New York or California; moreover, we would have to learn whether he bought it since the housing market collapsed.
      I suppose some who were brought up in so-called working class families would tend to go overboard if they should make a lot of money. My dad, too, was an hourly wage earner, not in Flint, but in Detroit, and I’ve worked on both Ford (truck) and Dodge assembly lines while putting myself through college.. Perhaps if i had made a lot of money in a hurry, I, too would have a luxurious house (or two or three) and some great cars as well.
      There are a lot of what one might call ‘repulsive’ people in public life.
      What are the other people who own houses like that like, I wonder?
      I guess he would support Mrs. Steve Brown’s life style, but he doesn’t profess to be Orthodox Or orthodox.
      How does he spend the rest of his money?

  2. cynthia curran says

    This isn’t about Michael Moore but a lot of studies that are on poverty ignored that illegal immigrant children are at about 80 percent or higher on the free and reduce lunch program. It mentions they don’t get food stamps but the free and reduce lunch program involves millions of kids from 6 to 18 and in Calif and Texas most kids on the program are children of immigrants. Also, in Calif sometimes parents of kids can get meals as well and breakfast is included. Why don’t liberals be honest that a lot of immigrants here illegality have kids that are on government medical programs and the free and reduce lunch program. Hispanics in most border states use welfare particularly in Texas and Calif about 2 or 3 the white rate. Not being anti-Mexican but most immigrant Hispanics are more likely to now have minor children compared to the native born population and are in poor paying jobs.

    • Bill Christensen says

      It is a fact that the vast majority of the recipients of “free health care” and “free lunch programs”, food stamps etc are American citizens and it is absolutely true that “Illegals” only receive a small minority of these benefits. The vast majority of services go to American citizens that are the bottom 20 %. Or haven’t you heard that 40 americans have no health insurance? We pay for the cost of these medical services for Americans—-the 30-40 million that have no insurance by our high premiums.

      Stop your blatant scapegoating of illegals. They may be perhaps 10% of those receiving these services. I used to work in a large (25K kids) southern CA city school districts that served these kids. They were mostly your white americans .BTW, Non legal immigrants are presently leaving for greener pastures back to Mexico or central america. More are leaving than coming at the present time. If there is no work they will not come. Go after the employers who hire them illegally. IF THERE IS NO WORK THEY WILL NOT COME. It is the employer who is perpetuating this tragedy by paying them with “paper bag” money and not deducting social security and and worker compensation insurance. They are treated like dogs in many instances. I am white BTW and am an independent voter.

  3. If, as de La Rochefoucauld wrote, hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, then with his Michigan mansion Michael Moore is paying the USA a very large tribute indeed.

  4. I give Michael Moore credit for defending the movie The Passion of the Christ. Moore claims to be a devout Roman Catholic and in the middle of the firestorm about Gibson and his movie that swirled around Gibson’s supposed antisemetic statements Moore came out and said he saw the movie and recommended to the extent that he took his father back to see it again. Of course my Orthodox priest preached against seeing the Passion but by then I had already seen it. I can’t remember now why my priest was against it.

    • George Michalopulos says

      JD, if Moore did indeed support Gibson, then we can chalk it up to the old cliche of “even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” Otherwise, the many criticisms about him stand.

  5. Yeah, Moore is from the St Karl branch of Catholicism.

  6. Michael Moore rages against the 1% ers who, in his estimation, do not pay enough in taxes. He is willing to pay more in taxes, I don’t know if he pays above what he is required to by the IRS, supposedly we all can give the US Government a tip if we want to. So M.M. has a big house, he makes a lot of money, conservatives should not have a problem with that, they want everyone to be rich. What Moore is not happy about (most recently) is how fat cats play the inside game and stick it to others.

    If anyone saw the 60 Minutes opening episode last week (this is 60 Minutes Overtime synopsis not the full story. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388042n&tag=component.1 )

    how our lawmakers LEGALLY take inside financial information, liberals and conservatives – Pelosi and Boehner, and use it to make millions in personal trading profits, it would make you sick. That is the type of immoral activity, oh, yes it is legal, but is it moral, behavior that makes people like M.M. stand up and shout so loud. OCA application – Maymon, emails, legal, moral?

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Here’s what Michael Moore can do (and there’s nothing stopping him from doing so) is write a big, fat check over and beyond whatever taxes he owes to the government. There . . . no coercion from the government through tax raises.

    • Oddly enough, Sarah Palin has an excellent editorial in the WSJ on this very subject. It is a pity she has been so successfully, and unfairly, vilified, because she fights the whole rotten institution.

      “How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians’ stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers’? … Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.”

      Plus, an interesting ‘tale of the outrageous new Nancy Pelosi insider-trading scandal.

      • Sarah Palin only has to look in the mirror to see how a person with modest means becomes a politician and then a millionaire. Wonder who her ghostwriter was?

        • Patrick Henry Reardon says

          logan46 inquires of Sarah Palin: “Wonder who her ghostwriter was?”

          Apparently Logan46 lives on the moon. At any rate, he has not watched Sarah Palin handle a crowd, if he thinks she needs a ghost writer.

          Ghost writers are for people who don’t know how to express themselves.

          Sarah Palin is one of the most articulate people I have ever watched in action. I suspect she dictated that WSJ piece in fifteen minutes, without notes.

          I have spent my life as a speaker and writer, and I am several decades older than Sarah Palin, but she could go quickly past me in any competition.

          And that, I suggest, is how “a person with modest means becomes a politician and then a millionaire” in a fairly short time.

          • Patrick Henry Reardon says:

            Apparently Logan46 lives on the moon. . . . Sarah Palin is one of the most articulate people I have ever watched in action.

            Even here on the moon, we have access to cable and the internet. I thought of posting a number of You Tube videos to prove my point, but then it occurred to me, perhaps the standard for intellectual expression and fluency, in your view, might be lower for conservative female politicians, or females in general?

            • Well, “logan” you are in good company in your profound ignorance. I don’t say stupidity, I say ignorance. An attitude such as yours can only have come about by suffering from a severe curtailment of intellectual liberty. Thirty years of educational indoctrination at the hands of the Marxists has succeeded in brainwashing a couple of generations of otherwise thoughtful and good-hearted Americans. It’s a virus that spreads from century to century, from nation to nation, from university to university, from person to person. Left is Right. Down is Up. Good is Evil. Being older than you, and remembering an America in which intellectual freedom still held sway, I am now at the point where I feel as though I’m living in a bad re-make of “The invasion of the Body Snatchers.” (You can play the Dana Wynter part; I have a pod in your size.)

              Believe it or not, a whole body of respectable thought exists that expresses and explains the philosophy of conservatism. American Conservative and Classical Liberal thought are legacies of the Scottish Enlightenment and have resulted in the most free, egalitarian, prosperous, and socially mobile society that has ever existed. By their fruits you shall know them.

              Just as such a body of thought explains Conservatism and Classical Liberalism, so a body of thought explains what currently masquerades as “liberalism.” (It’s not liberalism. When truth and freedom of expression are vilified and suppressed, it’s nothing other than tyranny. True liberalism can hold its own in the marketplace of ideas.)

              Marxism—for that is what it really is—is a legacy of the French Enlightenment. Read Hippolyte Taine’s contemporary history of the French Revolution (online at Gutenberg) to see where it logically, invariably—inevitably—leads. Or interview any of the millions of innocent victims of the Sons of Karl—the ones who were slaughtered in Russia, China, and Cambodia. Or step over to the financial pages and see how Marxism’s latest Utopian experiment, the EU, is doing. It’s going down in flames even as we sit here.

              You stick with that Stalinist, Howard Zinn, and your ill-informed, waspish, electronic ad hominems, and may it give you much comfort. If Marxism prevails in America, you are going to have plenty of time to repent.

              • Geo Michalopulos says

                qwfwq: I am very glad that you bring up the point of the Scottish Enlghtenment. You are correct. That Enlightenment was profoundly Christian (albeith of the heterodox Calvinist) mindset but it is what animated our Founding Fathers. Fortunately, the French Enlightenment did not. I have a theory here: because the Terror took place almost simultaneously with the crafting of our Republic, it is possible that we recoiled in horror and made sure that their excesses would never happen here.

              • qwfwq says:
                Well, “logan” you are in good company in your profound ignorance. I don’t say stupidity, I say ignorance. An attitude such as yours can only have come about by suffering from a severe curtailment of intellectual liberty.

                Good grief! I’m ignorant and a Marxist because I question Sarah Palin’s ability to logically and coherently express her thoughts in writing, after listening to her prior verbal ramblings? Ignorant, maybe; Marxist, I don’t think so–not after doing my duty for God and county against those pesky Communists in SE Asia.

                • Well, I take my hat off to you and thank you and apologize to the extent that I have been unjust. I am sorry.

                  But I still maintain that you are parroting a Leftist canard about Palin. Palin is by no means perfect, but her ideas have a respectable historical provenance and deserve not to be dismissed as morally aberrant and unworthy of serious consideration. She is a victim of a concerted effort by the media to vilify her, and you have accepted that lie to the degree that you disparage the intelligence of those who agree with her, immediately resorting to casual ad hominem arguments. The same concerted attack was just directed at Herman Cain, and for the same reasons, with the expected results.

                  Regardless of whether you agree with these politicians or not, if you are truly liberal, you must admit that our society is the poorer for their voices being shut out of the conversation. I don’t care for Ron Paul, but I take it as an assault on my freedom when his views are not given the benefit of a fair hearing; he has valid things to say about the role of the government as it affects our personal freedom, and since Marxism seeks primarily to suppress personal freedom, I am all ears. Societies die when intellectual conformity is enforced. The first weapons are ridicule, then censorship, then force.

                  The modern “liberal” is noteworthy for the ease with which he vilifies and ridicules his intellectual opponents. This is a legacy of Marxist philosophy, the weaknesses of which can not survive the light of day. The goals of genuine liberalism are the exact opposite. I am just suggesting that many good Americans have been unwittingly infected with Marxist attitudes without even realizing it. Read the Democrat Party Presidential platform of 1960 and then the mission statement of the Communist Party of the United States as expressed in 1963, and you may come to understand exactly how far Left that Liberals have shifted in the last 50 years.

            • Patrick Henry Reardon says

              Logan46 confessed, “it occurred to me, perhaps the standard for intellectual expression and fluency, in your view, might be lower for conservative female politicians, or females in general?”

              It is amazing the sorts of things that occur to Logan46.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Fr, you are correct. I’ve seen that woman in action. Reagan in heels.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Logan, like many liberals, you seem to be confused when you come across a statesman the likes of Palin, Reagan, and Goldwater. These people are (were) not brilliant in their own right but magnificent speakers ex temporare. They actually harken back to an earlier time in which men could not ascend the cursus honorum of America without being able to think on their feet. People like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and Abraham Lincoln spring instantly to mind. Theodore Roosevelt was another such eminence.

          For proof of Palin’s gifts, please go to Youtube and watch her speech before the GOP convention in 2008. The Teleprompter wasn’t working. She gave that performance by heart.

          I so see your point about politicians enriching themselves and concede that it is possible to posit a correlation between her material success and –say–Nancy Pelosi’s or Barney Frank’s catamite. However Sarah Palin did not make her money as a lobbyist (like Harry Reid’s sons), marry into it (like Nancy Pelosi), or inherit it (like the late Ted Kennedy). Does she make money? Lots of it. She gives speeches and writes books. If people didn’t want to purchase her wisdom, then she wouldn’t be wealthy.

          • Geo Michalopulos says:
            For proof of Palin’s gifts, please go to Youtube and watch her speech before the GOP convention in 2008. The Teleprompter wasn’t working. She gave that performance by heart.

            She gave the speech by memory, which is quite different than doing so without notes or preparation. And yes, she can give a good speech when prepped adequately. However, there are also plenty of Youtube videos that show the opposite.

            Because I spoke in a negative manner about her ability to convey her views, some here concluded that I was attacking those views–nothing could be further from the truth, especially when it comes to family, personal responsibility and accountability, and patriotism. But if you’re a politician, and presume to champion those views, you better know your American history and have some insight as to what makes us tick as society, if you want me to listen.

            • George Michalopulos says

              What exactly did she say about American history that was wrong? Did she say that America had 57 states? No, Barack Obama said that. Did she say that our national motto was “out of one, many”? No, Al Gore said that. Did she take the oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Koran? No, Keith Ellison did that. ( Although he thinks Jefferson had a Koran because he was a free-thinker, he procured one because he wanted to know as much as possible about a religion he believed was diabolical.) Did she eulogize a deceased senator by mispronouncing his name? No Jimmy Carter did that.

              As for the speech, the fact that it was given “by heart” only proves the point. It was a bravura perfomance. She wasn’t prepped any more than any other speaker.

              • George Michalopulos says:
                What exactly did she say about American history that was wrong? Did she say that America had 57 states? No, Barack Obama said that. Did she say that our national motto was “out of one, many”? No, Al Gore said that.

                Citing other mediocre politician’s gaffes should convince me that I misjudged Mrs. Palin? (Interestingly, and I’m sure only coincidental, the ones you mentioned are all liberal-oriented.) But since you asked, here’s her noted Paul Revere quote:

                He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

                We all, being human, have memory lapses, misspeak sometimes, or just don’t know. Sarah Palin, however, couldn’t admit to any of those, but instead insisted she was right and was being persecuted.

                I’m generous in my criticism of all politicians whether they are liberal or conservative. There are many fine conservative thinkers; however, I wouldn’t put Palin in that category. That shouldn’t make me . . well, all those earlier pejorative terms.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  point conceded on that one. however in other venues she spoke well and extemporaneously. I dare say that there are more of those than the ones cited by you above.

              • Patrick Henry Reardon says

                George, referring to Jefferson’s copy of the Koran, remarks: “Although he thinks Jefferson had a Koran because he was a free-thinker, he procured one because he wanted to know as much as possible about a religion he believed was diabolical.”

                More than that, one suspects: Jefferson oversaw America’s first war—against the Barbary Pirates—and I suspect he had in mind to understand the Muslims we were fighting.

                If you want an interesting fictional take on this fact, check out The Last Patriot, by Brad Thor.

  7. cynthia curran says

    Gee, Michael Moore movies which I have not seen all of them are funny satire but none of them are in the class of Procopius. Procopius actually made several references to The Clouds in his Secret History and some orthodox might be offended by Procopius comparing St Justinian and St Theodora to demons but the work can be funny. Image writing about a ruler that can remove his head from his body that I think is the funniest passage in the Secret History. Procopius is considered by many historians a conservative in his day since he supported the land aristocracy against Justinian taking their wealth for churches, fortifications and bribery to Persia and North Barbarian groups to keep the peace. No modern satirists like Michael Moore on the Left or the Right will last 1500 years from now. In the case of Procopius it was a copy of the Secret History in the Vatican around 1600 or so which made him available in the West.

  8. cynthia curran says

    Personality, unlike a lot of conservatives it doesn’t bother me if the tax loopholes and the amount of money millionaires or billionaires can sheltered is less and also a small tax increase will not bother Moore, Soros, Buffet and company. Also, poor people that are childless that make 25,000 or less usually don’t qualify for the earn income credit like the poor that has kids. That’s why a lot of illegal immirgants were able to use the earn income credit since they usually had children while poorer native born were more likely to be childless and less likely to be able to use it..

  9. Making this point reminds me of Krugman’s recent discussion of the misunderstanding of the word hypocrite.:


  10. cynthia curran says

    Jacob is right both the politicians whether liberal or conservative were into the take on the housing mess. Nothing new here, this is why I’m becoming more neutral in regards to either party. I think Sarah Palin said someone helped her on her book which is different from doing a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

  11. cynthia curran says

    Logan you are a leftist and I not a leftist or a rightist anymore, so while I don’t agree with Ms Palin on all issues I’m not going to state she is the dumbest person around.

    • cyththia curran says: Logan you are leftist . .

      If you are referring to leftist in the historical sense, you are correct. I readily espouse republican ideas as opposed to monarchical notions. I’ll even admit to a touch of radicalism relating to democracy and egalitarianism.

      I didn’t say Sarah Palin was dumb, just that she’s no William F. Buckley.

      • Sarah Palin is a quitter.

        She renounced her elected office as governor of Alaska for reasons which she never clarified in public. Had she thought that family concerns would prevent her tenure as a public servant, she shouldn’t have run for election in the first place. And she would run for president?!

        If I recall correctly, it was just after one (Herman Cain?) of her competitors for the GOP nod made a point of saying that he’s ‘not a quitter’ that SP withdrew from the race. I don’t think that this was a coincidence. He hit a nerve, and she responded appropriately.

        I admit that she can hold her own in an argument, at least until she says something stupid like ‘I can see Russia from here.’

        Please understand: I’m neither a republican nor a democrat. I don’t do politics at all and I don’t have a dog in this fight. I just think that SP isn’t the kind of politician we could depend on to see anything through.

        Even in Alaska, SP seems to be a sort of ‘invader’, more of a sympathizer with the lower 48 than integrated into the land and culture of her state.

        I could be wrong (I was once, you know), but I seem to recall that our orthodox parish in Wusilla AK closed recently, for reasons unknown to me. It seemed a great lack of discernment, sympathy, and judgement on SP’s part not to address the problems of her own town before aspiring to higher office. And that’s in spite of the fact that she’d been the mayor there for a while.

        Altogether, I think (as they say in Texas), she’s ‘all hat and no cattle’.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          If I were being pestered by nuisance lawsuits that the state was required to spend millions to fight, I’d give up the position so as to keep the state from having to blow their budget. Sarah Palin is NOT a quitter – she did what she had to.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Monk James, she never said that quote. It was made up by Tina Fey. As for quitting, her family was being harrassed by nuisance suits to the tune of $500,000. No one can perform a job in those conditions. Not an adequate job or one that is fair to the people of that state.

          Mind you, if these were legitimate ethics complaints then the consitutions of the various states already employ legal mechanisms for hashing them out. They’re called state legislatutures. The glory of using the system to pursue ethics violations is that it allows the state to keep functioning which is necessary for the good of the commonweatlh.

          • My thanks to George Michalopulos for clearing up the Palin/Fey connection. Funny how life imitates art.

            Help me understand: Sarah Palin (and/or her family? Who elected them?) was being sued for putative ethics violations while serving as governor, but she was no longer sued after she left office?

            What happened to the allegations? If they were false, how does her resignation protect the state of Alaska? Were there none of those legal mechanisms available to her? But if they were true, why didn’t the suits continue?

            Sorry to be so ignorant of politics, but it sure looked to me like she was a quitter, and then went on the most unusual self-promotion campaign across the country. I thought to myself: How long would she stay in office as POTUS before quitting that elected responsibility, too?

            • In the interests of accuracy:

              Sarah Palin did say “there are places in Alaska where you can see Russia” as part of an answer to a question about her background in foreign policy. This was probably the inspiration for the line “I can see Russia from my house,” which was spoken by Tina Fey while impersonating Palin, and presumably written by a member of the SNL writing staff.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              The allegations were against her as governor and not her family. Unfortunately, as anybody who knows anything about the American legal system (notice I did not say “justice system”) will tell you there is very little that is rational about it. The fact that they were thrown out shows the frivolity of it all. After all, had she performed actual crimes and misdemeanors she could still be liable for them even as a private citizen. That’s one reason why Nixon accepted Gerald Ford’s pardon –his resignation did not absolve him of any possible wrongdoing.

              • Well, that’s pretty much what I thought.

                But then, why does Geo Michalopulos now write: ‘The allegations were against her as governor and not her family.’ just after having written: ‘As for quitting, her family was being harrassed by nuisance suits to the tune of $500,000.’??

                And BTW, if Sarah Palin wasn’t guilty of anything, why did she abandon the office to which she’d been entrusted?

                I still think that SP is a quitter and would have been a poor choice for POTUS.

            • These were spurious lawsuits largely brought by political operatives for the purpose of bankrupting the Palins and the state. None had any merit, all were dismissed. (Frivolous lawsuit legislation anyone??) Nonetheless, one can sue for any reason, justified or not, and in this case the judicial system was being used as a political weapon. It doesn’t matter if you are in the right or not. When someone brings suit, you must hire legal council. This was a pretty underhanded bit of political hardball. After half a million in expenses, I daresay, you’d think about leaving the position too.

              Since her programs were largely in place and the Lt. Gov was in sympathy with them, she stepped down for the good of her state and her family. The horrible smears she was subjected to were a disgrace.

              Take a look at this short clip of her resume. No, Sarah was the real deal, so the leftist found it imperative to destroy her and her family, whether the assertions were true or not.

              And you have just provided an object lesson on why they do it – because people like you who don’t pay close attention are taken in by the lies.

              • In my estimation, the liberal, secular Progressives, including NOW and the abortion junta, are TERRIFIED of her, for she, in her own personal life, refutes and disproves everything they stand for and have gained over the last 20 years or so. Their first attempt to destroy her were those frivolous law suits with which they had hoped to bankrupt her and her family and thus force her to drop out of the political scene.

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Of course, she’s a living rebuke to the entire feminazi agenda. If she were a Democrat, she’d be lionized as a hero considering how she took on the Old Boy’s Club in the Alaska GOP.

                  I mean, just look at some harridan like Angrea Mitchell of NBC or Dianne Sawyer. Women who gave up having families to pursue “careers” that have left them with nothing. I personally think that if you scratch the surface of her most vociferous haters you will find that not only are they childless but have had an abortion or two as they were climbing the corporate ladder.

                  • George Michalopulos says:
                    Women who gave up having families to pursue “careers” that have left them with nothing. I personally think that if you scratch the surface of her most vociferous haters you will find that not only are they childless but have had an abortion or two as they were climbing the corporate ladder.

                    Could we include Ann Coulter within that group of “haters?”

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Well, she certainly gave up having a family. From what I’ve heard of her though, she’s been chaste and thus never had an abortion. BTW, she used to be a big fan of Palin’s but lately has gotten on the Romney train. As my dear mother used to say: “it’s a woman’s prerogative”

                    • I think Coulter is “staunch” RC.

  12. cynthia curran says

    I agree she isn’t William F Buckley. I don’t want to go back to the Byzantine and Russian emperors either. I have more of an interested in the Byzantine ones since I like Roman History and those Byzantines are a continuation of the Roman era.

    • Jane Rachel says

      cynthia, LOL!

      “I agree she isn’t William F Buckley. ”

      I really enjoy your posts, btw. So refreshing, and honest, and interesting.

      • Buckley was a philosopher and an ideologue (in the good sense of the word). His job was to show the way, which he did. Were it not for him, there would have been no Goldwater and of course, no Reagan (may his memory be eternal).

  13. cynthia curran says

    One good thing about George he allows anyone to write here. And Michael Moore and so forth is a good topic.

  14. cynthia curran says

    Logan, I use to live near little Saigon which is in California and the war in Vietnam is more complex than you write here. Some of the Vietnamese in the early period that moved to the USA actually could have ended up in camps and thousands of them were boat people. Vietnamese now come to the US because of economic reasons but back after the war some came because of government persecution.

  15. cynthia curran says

    Adam Smith was writing about mercantilism and the old Byzantine Empire certianly had the state grant certain trade rights to certain markets which is probably one of the earlier developments of mercantilism. Also, economic activity by Smith day was certainly different than in early Byzantine period. There were some small peasant farms, large estates worked by hired workers, slaves, and coloni somewhere between a serf and a hired worker. There was the emperor and empress estates that did agricultural work for the wealth of the emperor and empress and the empire’s state treasury by Smith’s time there were no state farms but there were still small farms and large estates with slaves in the colonies and some servants for a certain period similar to the coloni and wage workers. The development might be not religious belief but culture changed from the world of the 6th century to the 18th century. One book I came across on the internet is that this might be a natural development particularly as approaching modern times. I read that economic changes in late medieval society in the west also impact markets in Byzantium the later emperors granted or sold off their estates more to relatives or churches or monasteries or private individuals and the economy was becoming more the modern market economy. In the west in the late medieval period it was the Catholic nations like the Republic of Venice and Genoa and so forth that were pulling even the old Byzantine empire into a more modern economy.

  16. cynthia curran says

    This is the last I work mention about the subject. Some historians think that because military fortification are a large part of a local economy lets say like Corinth in the 6th century that the private economy like peasant estates or larger aristocratic ones near Corinth have no impact on the economy and its all the state which is responsible. Military fortification or military bases are state activity that can generate economy activity as well as defend the nation or empire or so forth. Adam Smith thought this was the responsibly of the state to defend the nation and the economic activity from military defense was good.

  17. cynthia curran says

    Well, on the Aoi Orthodox board the massacre of the Latins in 1182 was brought up. And the massacre of Italian City state merchants was the cause of envy of the masses in Constantinople over the success of foreigners in the market place which is what far left economic views shared today with them. Granted, maybe at the time Italian City state Merchants should not have had more tax exemptions than native merchants in Constantinople but killing over envy is the philosophy of the far left since the French Revolution and the Communist Revolutions.

  18. A. Anonymite says

    I think Sara Palin’s “time” is about 6 to 8 years from now, and in the meantime she is building up public recognition and support for that “time.”

    • Sara Palin’s time is now and she reaps the rewards of speaking engagements that have earned her far more than governership.

      Sara Palin will never be considered a serious candidate because many Americans consider her to be unintelligent.

      Those that don’t are willing to pay for her words and she is capitalizing on it.

      • It seems to me that she is now showing that she is intellengent and will become more experienced in the national political arena over the next few years when her “time” arrives.

      • Dan, you make assertions which are not supported by facts. The hatchet job which Joe McGinnis tried to perpetrate on Palin fell flatter than a pancake. It became a joke even within liberal circles and within 2 weeks, it was on sale at the $0.99 bin at Target. The same people who demonize her are the same ones who have tried to demonize the Tea Party. And yet, the Tea Party is still here and positively engaging the political discourse, whereas the Occupy movement is turning out to be a collection of vagrants, no-accounts, and drug-addled, spoiled ex-hippies.

  19. Michael Moore isn’t completely wrong, so hatred of him is really excessive if you ask me.

    His greatest statement from Sicko mirrors that of our 10th AAC, which basically states healthcare is not only for those financially able. Of course during the healthcare dialogue, our 10th AAC was conveniently overlooked by our leadership for its bias, which I have pointed out in criticism of Metropolitan Jonah.

    Moore does present his arguments with a clear bias, and is willing to overlook the benefits of a capitalist healthcare system.

    The interesting thing about exposing Michael Moore’s wealth is the health care industry’s tactic in dealing with Michael Moore is to discredit him as a wealthy Hollywood movie man. Sicko made about 30 million over costs of about 9 million. Moore is actually a small time movie maker; so I find your post outrageously funny. I’d say AHIP has you sucked in pretty good. Moore is far from a 0.01 %

    Save that for the hedge fund managers on Wall Street. Now there is some Moore fodder.

    • Sicko?; 10th AAC? — ???

    • You’re funny.

    • Dan, “Sicko” was so full of nonsense that it would take three documentaries to rebut it. As to your point however that he is not always wrong, I agree, nobody can be 100% wrong all the time. It’s statistically impossible. That being said, he is a blowhard, almost always mendacious and most probably a liar. My distaste for him comes not from his politics but from his giving aid and comfort to the enemy in Iraq while we had troops in harm’s way. That’s unforgivable. I suppose I can’t blame him too much though, because we gave Jane Fonda a pass back in 1970. She should have been clapped in irons and forced to do a lifetime of hard labor.

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      Dan, criticism is not the same thing as “hatred.” Words mean things. The promiscuous use of language debases critical thinking. The confusion between criticism and hatred that you display is one example of it.

      What you are really saying is this: I don’t like the criticism of Moore I read here, but since I can’t answer the charges with ideas of my own, I will brand them as hateful.

      This is not going to fly. It’s presumptuous. No one is under any moral obligation to defend themselves against the charge of being a hater because you could not craft a coherent response.

      • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:
        Dan, criticism is not the same thing as “hatred.” Words mean things. The promiscuous use of language debases critical thinking. The confusion between criticism and hatred that you display is one example of it.

        What you are really saying is this: I don’t like the criticism of Moore I read here, but since I can’t answer the charges with ideas of my own, I will brand them as hateful.

        This is not going to fly. It’s presumptuous. No one is under any moral obligation to defend themselves against the charge of being a hater because you could not craft a coherent response.

        If we were to apply your criteria here concerning the use of robust language, we would have to add quite a few posters’ names besides Dan. Although I find your criticism always to be instructive, it did seem selective in this instance?

        • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

          I’m not so sure we could add that many names alongside Dan’s, Logan46. People have strong opinions, no doubt about that, but how many people accuse their opponents of “hatred” right out of the box? None that I recall.

          Does Dan really think people hate Michael Moore? It’s hard to tell. What I see is that Dan is promiscuous with language and has lost sense of the real meaning of words. It’s important that his respondents recognize the malady because it may mean that to Dan’s ear their responses are unintelligible. That’s what happens when language is corrupted.

          Only Dan can clarify this and the place to begin is to more responsible with the words he chooses to communicate.

          • Daniel E. Fall says

            Fr. Hans, let me quote the original article for you.

            “As many of you know, I despise Michael Moore with a white-hot passion that makes a supernova look like a light-bulb. He’s always been a seditious creep, now we know that he’s an extremely wealthy one as well.”

            Despise is a synonym in most every dictionary for hatred. I won’t patronize you with defitions of white hot passions greater than a supernova’s light. I suppose you’ll suggest that is a lighter form of hatred. Puns intended.

            To suggest I am ‘promiscuous with language and have [sic] lost sense of the real meaning of words’ is really patently ironic, nearly cruel, and certainly bizarre. OK, maybe just shameful.

            Here are my comments:
            “You’re funny”, no comment
            equal sign thing, no comment
            George, when did MM side with the enemy? For Fahrenheit 9/11? Thanks for at least attempting to make a point, valid or otherwise.
            Logan, man up a bit bud, Fr. Hans deserves it.
            Fr. Hans, bite me (how is that for more responsible for you?)

            In the words of Charlie Brown when he is frustrated by Lucy for her continual abuse retracting the football.


            Happy Holidays to All! And no I’m not trying to secularize Christmas, I’m just trying to lump everything into one word (sorry again Fr. Hans for my promiscuity).

            What a jerk.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              How about this for some more “hatred that is excessive:”

              Woe to you… hypocrites!

              Woe to you… hypocrites!

              Woe to you… hypocrites!

              Woe to you… hypocrites!

              Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

              Rough stuff.

              Look, if you want to take issue with George’s comment, take issue with it. Challenge it. But don’t expect that the charge of “hatred” will carry the day. You could argue that it is “hate filled” and then make your case why you think it is so. Instead “hatred” stands alone, as if the charge is self-evidently true and thereby negates George’s point. It’s not and it doesn’t.

              Here’s how it works. “Hate” in your sentence is meant to function as a political statement , one that ostensibly dismisses George’s statement which is also political (your sentence would make no sense otherwise). The problem is that once words are politicized, their real meaning gets lost (see: George Orwell, Politics and the English Language).

              That’s what I mean by using language promiscuously.

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says:
                The problem is that once words are politicized, their real meaning gets lost (see: George Orwell, Politics and the English Language).

                That’s what I mean by using language promiscuously.

                Hopefully, people here don’t heed Orwell’s advice to express their ideas in simple written English. I confess to reading many of the posts to learn new words, and for the satisfying amusement of seeing a well-turned, sarcastic phrase. With apologies to Orwell, I would like to add my own meaningless political euphemism, “the deserving rich,” to accompany the “undeserving poor” I see here so often.

  20. cynthia curran says

    Well, most of the Republican speakers including Palin don’t have the advantaged that Reagan did. Republicans appeal to people on foreign policy. Reagan was probably the last that was successful in that field. He never did any military adventure that last more than a few months. He was able to pushed the Russians on arms deals. Reagan was similar to the old Byzantine emperor Anastatsius who gave out some tax arrears but was able to built fortifications and the long wall. of Anastatsius for defense purposes. Reagan was more successful at explaining the advantage of his foreign plan than the current group of Republicans. Bush was terrible at this and this is one reason why the Republicans lost the white house last time. Economics isn’t anything as Grover Norquist and some other Republicans think it is.

  21. Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

    Political liberals (modern, not classical) love to quote such verses and boldly proclaim, “see, Jesus was a liberal”. Let’s analyze whether this has any merit.

    Modern liberals generally believe in using the coercive power of government to take money from some and give it to others, mostly to bureaucrats and payoffs to lobbyists, but let’s grant them that some of the money actually goes to the poor. Classical liberals (including some modern conservatives and libertarians) generally believe in limited government, leaving more money in the hands of those who earn it, and trying to avoid a dependency class who feel entitled to what they do not earn.

    The standard I will use to measure the benefits of each system is “virtue”, since clearly Christ is primarily concerned with the man’s soul, as is clear by the terms “be perfect” and “treasure in heaven”.

    If government takes $1 from a man in order to give to the poor, there is no benefit to that man’s soul because it was not given voluntarily. What if the man says “I voted for the liberals who required me to give that $1 so it is voluntary”, still the dollar is being given for the glory of the omnipotent state, not for the kingdom of God, and so there is no benefit to his soul. What about the recipient? The recipient, who maybe gets 25 cents from the dollar as a check from the government after all the overhead, has now been convinced by the class warfare rhetoric of the liberals that they deserve that money from the government even though it is not theirs. In fact, they have been convinced that they have a claim on someone else’s money just by virtue of the fact that the other person has earned more than they have. When someone views a benefit as an entitlement and not a gift, they have no reason to be grateful. Thus, they are guilty of the sins of envy and ingratitude, and so receiving the 25 cents is actually detrimental to their soul.

    Consider now the classical liberal model based on limited government. In this case, that dollar is left in the hands of the person who earned it. That person may hoard their wealth with no thought for the needy or for the kingdom of God, and in that case there is no benefit to their soul. However, some will take heed to Christ’s command, to live simply and altruistically give generously to the poor and to the church for the sake of the kingdom of God. Now that dollar has immeasurable benefit to that man’s soul, for he has laid up treasure in heaven. What about the recipient? The recipient knows that the money was given freely, not under compulsion, and that it is given in the name of Christ, and they receive it with gratitude and praise God. This is also beneficial to their soul.

    The conclusion, then, is that the economic system that creates the best opportunity for fulfilling the commands of Christ is that of limited government. Limited government does not inherently create virtue, but it creates a greater opportunity for altruism and selfless sacrifice to take place by free choice. Statism, on the other hand, is a leviathan with insatiable hunger to confiscate more and more of a nation’s wealth, squeezing out the opportunities for fulfilling the commands of Christ.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Ken, thank you for this cogent essay on virtue and coercion. One of the things that must be drummed into people’s heads is that the vast majority of the money that is taken from the productive classes does not actually go to the poor but to finance those who “help” the poor.

      If I may plug IOCC here, an independent audit of them showed that for every $1 given to IOCC, only 8 cents goes to overhead and 92 cents go to the actual victims.

      For those interested in understanding how Christian compassion actually worked before the creation of the Welfare State, please get a copy of Marvin Olasky’s book The Tragedy of American Compassion.

    • Ken Miller says (paraphrasing):

      1. Governmental welfare programs are inefficient with 75% or more of appropriated money actually going to bureaucrats and lobbyists.

      2. Government welfare programs are anti-Christian, because they deprive us of voluntary giving and the spiritual benefit derived thereof.

      3. The poor, who are undeserving (implied), are deceived into believing they are entitled to money from the government, even though it is not theirs. They become ungrateful and thereby commit sin. They are also led to become envious of those who have more, thereby committing more sin.

      4. Without government welfare programs, there would be (more?) voluntary giving, by which the giver becomes more virtuous and the receiver more truly grateful.

      While I think many welfare programs have harmed the concept of the family unit and have fostered dependency, rather than the tools to become self-reliant, I see reform, not elimination as the answer. Also the impetus for many welfare programs has been the desire to help children, which means including the parent(s).

      There are numerous GAO (Government Accounting Office) studies of the administrative costs of federal welfare programs. The one I looked at covered 11 programs with annual expenditures totaling $194B. The administrative cost was 6.2%, hardly an indication of inefficiency. The source of the 75% administrative cost, according to Google, is Rush Limbaugh.

      I can’t cite empirical evidence, but I’ll hazard that the poor are no more sinful than the wealthy, and that the wealthy are no more virtuous than the poor. I could cite the ‘easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle’ saying, but that might be considered proof-texting? And that’s OK, as maybe I won’t have to hear the poor will always be with you saying. 🙂

      Helping the poor is Christian. If we, as a people, decide to use government resources to help the poor, I’m not sure it follows that it suddenly becomes un-Christian. The use of government resources has certainly been more effective than individual philanthropy in providing immunizations, health care, nutrition, housing, and education. What we consider poor in this country would astound many third world countries. Yet we are critical of our poor because they have cell phones, tvs, and even cars, even while we admire the hedge fund manager and his $140M bonus for manufacturing mythical financial profits out of thin air. Picking on the poor as undeserving (and more sinful to boot), is just as much class warfare as picking on the wealthy for being rich.

      • Logan,

        You’re taking my little essay far too literally. My little thought exercise was purely conceptual. I readily admit that the 25% number was pure hyperbole. If you wish, substitute $1 received for $1 spent. It was a side reference and not central to the point.

        First, let me clarify some things that I definitely did not say:
        1. I did not say that the poor deserve to be poor
        2. I did not say that the rich are more virtuous than the poor or worthy to be admired. In fact, it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
        3. I did not say the poor should not be helped. In fact, advocated for charity and altruism, and I believe that as a church and as a society we do far too little to help the poor
        4. I did not advocate a purist libertarian “utopia” where government is stripped down to almost nothing
        5. I did not say that all government programs for the poor should not exist
        6. I did not say there is no place for government “safety nets.”
        7. I did not say that one political system is Orthodox and the other not. I only concluded that with respect to the considerations made within the admittedly oversimplified thought exercise, limited government better facilitates the divinely ordained system of voluntary alms giving.

        Today, our country is bankrupt and in debt only marginially behind Greece, our entitlement spending is on a trajectory that is completely unsustainable, our entitlements go way beyond a fiscally sound safety net, our taxation is heavily progressive, about half the country do not pay any federal income taxes and therefore have no grounding in reality when considering the costs and benefits of programs, and Obamacare drammatically overreached by trying to force everyone into a rolls royce health care policy rather than focusing on a catastrophic safety net for the poor. I’m sure you have a completely different take than what I just said in my last sentence, but that’s why George allows robust debate. I would invite you to post your own mini essay presenting the positive conceptual case for what you think is the best vision for the role of government.

        • Ken Miller says:
          . . . . I would invite you to post your own mini essay presenting the positive conceptual case for what you think is the best vision for the role of government.

          Most political views expressed here are decidedly conservative–far right, Tea Party, libertarian (take your pick.) And that’s fine. My sensitivity comes from when those views are also an implied measure of a person’s Christianity. My apologies if my thin skin caused me read too much into your post.

          Politically, I’m a centrist and moderate. Our rights and freedoms would not exist without government. Thanks to the Enlightenment we have a form of government that has supported the progress of democracy and equality. From the early 20th century progressives, the New Dealers, the Great Society, there have been remarkable achievements, but also hubris in what governmental policies can change for the better. That tradition is now being blamed for every conceivable ill in our society, from crime, unwed mothers, the high divorce rate, the culture of entitlement, and on and on. With ascendancy of Reagan conservatism, we have turned 200+ years of progress on its head in which now the government is the enemy and the blame for every malady.

          All I ask is the same scrutiny of far right conservatism that’s frequently leveled here at leftist/liberal political views. My axe to grind (and perhaps with an accompanying loss of objectivity) is with the wealthy and power elites in this country. Dominant groups seek to maintain the basis of their dominance, whether it’s family background, racial, sexual, or economic supremacy. And they use ideology to maintain their dominance. Historically, think of the divine right of kings, the white man’s burden, etc. Conservatism by its very nature seeks to preserve the status quo and is a natural vehicle for such dominant groups.

          My view of the role of government is to keep the dominant groups in check, and to provide a level playing field where merit is encouraged and rewarded.

          As far as the issue of universal health care coverage–why in principle would we not want that? Why would we want to restrict health care to one’s ability to pay?

          If our country is bankrupt (and I agree we’ve made a good start), why do we spend more on our military than the entire world combined?

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Logan, our rights do not come from any government. You misread the Enlightenment of the Anglosphere (not the horrible French one), they come from God. We were put on this path by the Scholastic movement of the High Middle Ages. A case can certainly be made that we were put on this path by Christianity as gleamed through the Cappadocian synthesis. Perhaps the first and most radical of the Abolitionists was St Gregoy of Nyssa.

            As for a “level playing field,” this is no longer possible with the federal gov’t buying GM and Chrysler. The gov’t is now an active participant in the marketplace who has many unfair advantages.

            • Geo Michalopulos says:
              Logan, our rights do not come from any government. You misread the Enlightenment . . .

              Agreed. What I was saying was the freedom to exercise those rights is guaranteed equally through the rule of law, a function of government. Without government, my rights would be greater than yours if I had more guns?

              • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

                Actually, the right is enshrined in the Constitution, to which government is also bound. So freedom of speech is a right not guaranteed by government, although it is adjudicated by it and often imperfectly.

                You put too much faith in government Logan.

                • Geo Michalopulos says

                  Very well put, Fr. We forget that the government has probably slipped the bounds which the Constitution places upon it.

                  • Archpriest Alexander F. C. Webster says

                    “Probably”?! When the U.S. Supreme Court is determined to discover a “right of privacy” (that justifies the willful destuction of innocent preborn human life) in the “penumbra” of the U.S. Constitution–as if the justices were astronomers and the Constitution were the sun–there is no doubt about it. Galileos they are not.

          • ‘If our country is bankrupt, why do we spend more on our military than the entire world combined?’

            Good question, Logan46. Actually, the US does not spend more on defence than the rest of the world combined. If the estimate of $1 Trillion dollars (cf Robert Higgs’ 2007 article @ The Independent Institute) in annual defence expenditure is correct, that is c. 70% of total world expenditure. Nevertheless, that’s an astonishing figure, especially for a country that has been spiralling into debt for 20 years or more.
            50 years ago Eisenhower warned of the great danger posed by the ‘military-industrial complex’ to the liberal democracy of the US. This complex consists of the military and the industry that supports it; like all institutions it is impelled to preserve and extend its power, and thus has a vested interest in fostering war and the fear of war, as the business of war is its raison d’etre. The US economy has had several periods of being a ‘permanent war’ economy’ since the end of WWII, but the last 20 years really exemplify this. Not only is this immoral, it has been a financial disaster and has squandered the world-wide good-will America had at the end of WWII.

            At the present time the US is ‘too big to fail’, but in another generation the world may well not need the $US as its reserve currency (China and Russia have already called for a supranational world currency) ; that’s when the debts will really be called in, and that’s when the American people will lose their power of self-determination, just as the Greeks have recently. This also happened to Great Britain in the period 1955-1975, but in their case it the cost of maintaining the empire ( which was actually ‘revenue negative’) was added to the cost of WWII, which the US largely funded.

            That’s the ‘back of an envelope’ version.

            • Basil, your math is confusing but your point about defense spending is accurate. The best estimates I can find are the that the US spends about $700B on defense while total worldwide spending is $2.1T, so the US contributes “only” 1/3 of total defense spending worldwide, or 1/2 of the rest of the world combined.

              Nevertheless logan46’s point stands, which is that the US is not “bankrupt” by any reasonable definition of that word. We have a large amount of debt and are on a path to accumulating a great deal more very quickly if we not enact legislation making drastic changes in the next few years. This is dangerous, but it is not the same as being bankrupt.

              There is a world of difference between being actually unable to pay current bills, which is what “bankrupt” would normally mean, and just being in danger of reaching that point some time in the next decade or two (the actual state of affairs).

              Calling the country “bankrupt” is emotion-based exaggeration and not conducive to clear thinking about the country’s fiscal situation.

              • R. & Logan46,
                I was going on estimates of ‘real’ expenditure, which includes items not included
                under the line ‘Defence’ in any country’s budget.
                The estimates are that real world expenditure is about 1.5 trillion US$, and US expenditure actually US$1 trillion. Hence the 70%$ figure (rounding down).

                Yes, you’ve pointed out just what a pickle the ‘permanent war’ appraoch has got us into.

                Btw, I’m not against the military either, having several generations of servicemen behind me and a son two years away from enlisting. A military force is a necessity, to paraphrase George Washington, there comes a point when a permanent military is a threat to republican values.

                • PS
                  The case for trillion dollar p.a. defence spending is made here:
                  Note – it’s almost 5 years since this article was written.
                  We might argue this or that point, but I think his general argument is sound.
                  DVA costs, for e.g. (probably one area of defence where the US doesn’t spend enough!) are definitely defence related and should be categorized as such.
                  But note that the highest line item is for interest on debt financed defence outlays from previous years. What is that figure now?

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Basil, of course you’re right. But I agree more with Thomas Jefferson who feared a central bank far more than a permanent standing Army. The Army after all is made up of volunteers from the native population as opposed to a mercenary force of foreign auxiliaries (at least I always hope that this will be the case).

                  We would do better to disband the Federal Reserve, audit its books and find out who has benefited from the slavery of our nation to our staggering debt.

                  • Good suggestion, George.

                    Don’t hold your breath, though ;0)

                    Really, I think it would take a total collapse of the financial system to bring that about, and I’m not sure the price would be worth it. Incremental reform is the better way to go.

            • My apology for not being more exact. According to the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database for 2010, the US spent $687.1B on its military, while the rest of the world spent $789.2B, which would put the US spending 87% of what the rest of the spends combined. Also, I don’t think the supplemental appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan are counted as part of DoD’s defense budget, so my original statement may well be accurate.

              My point was to point out the folly of conservatives braying about the fiscal and deficit crisis, while maintaining outrageous military spending and favored tax status of the wealthy.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Speaking as someone who has supported the military, I have absolutely no problem with paring back our defense expenditures. But it would be disengenuous of me to suggest that this will right the ship that is the present debt.

                First of all, “paring back” military expenditures would necessarily dictate the closing of several dozen (perhaps hundreds) of bases overseas. This means the end of NATO. (BTW, I’m in favor of that. I’m quite the neo-Isolationist.)

                Second, bringing these servicement back to the US would increase unemployment unless they are provided a gainful job. A temporary measure would be to deploy 10,000 men along the US-Mexico border and another 10,000 to round up as many illegal aliens as possible to send them back to their country of origin.

                Third, even if we cut military spending by a significant amount (25%?, 50%), the fact remains that the reason our debt is spiraling out of control is because of our entitlement spending. Besides the fact that close to 50% of the American populace pays no federal income tax, they exist by reaching their hands into the pockets of those who do work. They are essentially parasites and/or wards of the state. As long as people are ok with that, then they should be disenfranchised because they use their votes to take money from the Public Treasury.

                Remember, the Constiution mandates that Congress establish and Army and a Navy. That’s their job and one of the 4-5 things that the federal government is morally obligated to provide. Anything else that the fed gov’t does is hurtful, tyrannical, and ultimately destructive to the commonwealth.

                (BTW, I have no problem with the individual States taking on the obligations that the fed gov’t does presently. That’s their rights as sovereign States. It may be foolish for Oklahoma to build baseball stadia or Utah to own liquor stores or Virginia to build a military academy, or Tennessee to provide Tenncare, or Vermont to perform weddings for homosexuals, but that’s their right. If a state gets too socialistic, the people will vote with their feet.)

                In sum, if you want to look at what is moral and right for the Federal gov’t to do, one needs only look to the Constiution:

                1. Provide for the common defense,
                2. Coin money,
                3. Treat with foreign powers and the Indian Nations,
                4. Regulate interstate commerce,
                5. Set up a Supreme Court to adjudicate cases between the States
                6. Set up a Postal Service,
                7. Build federal highways.

                Everything else: science, education, welfare, medical care, should be left to the States. Personally, all eleemoysynery activities (hospitals, charity, education) should be left to the Churches and philanthropic fraternities (IOOF, Masons, Eagles, BSA, etc.)

                If we did this, we would not be in debt because it would take only one trillion dollars (at the outside) to fund the federal gov’t. And if we let the Churches and Philanthropies do their part, then the States would not be facing bankruptcy.

                • George, the Constitution mandates that Congress establish a Navy. It ALLOWS Congress to raise armies, but it can only authorize an expenditure for armies for a maximum of two years. Current practice is to re-authorize the army annually.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    Alec, thank you for making that distinction. This of course solidifies the point: each State had its own militia but a Navy was beyond the capabilities of the several States. Only a collective of States (the federal gov’t) could maintain a Navy. (I suppose the same could be said for the US Air Force, and of course the USMC is the military arm of the Navy.)

                    • In addition, the Navy is the arm that could reach across the seas to influence our foreign affairs, which is the purview of the federal government (the Barbary Coast Wars come to mind.)

                      Being retired Navy, these things are personal! 🙂

          • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

            Logan, some things you say make sense, but this statement of yours reveals the Left’s fundamental confusion:

            My view of the role of government is to keep the dominant groups in check, and to provide a level playing field where merit is encouraged and rewarded.

            The underlying assumption here is that government exists to prevent dominance and to provide equality. There are two problems with that assumption:

            1. Government IS dominance. It exists to dominate. It is itself the dominant group.
            2. As soon as merit is rewarded, the playing field is no longer level, because the meritorious then have the advantage of their reward.

            So what you want of government is doubly impossible. No government can deliver us from dominance or inequality. Those that have tried the hardest have done a spectacular job of wrecking civilization.

            The most that we can hope for from government is a just dominance and a just inequality. Both require an understanding of justice that is essentially moral and that condemns neither dominance nor inequality as inherently immoral and therefore unjust, as the Left is prone to do.

            A just government checks the power of the certain groups for very practical reasons. It does not allow people to amass great fortunes through predatory enterprises in gambling, prostitution, pornography, etc. It doesn’t allow this for two reasons, both because such things are inherently evil and injurious to society, and because people who make fortunes injurying others are a threat to just government.

            A just government respects the dignity of all persons but also respects their different situations, motivations, and abilities. It does not therefore force people to ignore obvious differences between men and women, confiscate family inheritance to overthrow the upper class, or forcibly redistribute God’s blessings to preferred groups for the sake of equality.

            • Dn Brian,

              Thanks for your thoughtful response.

              I’m not sure I understand your statement that the (federal) government itself constitutes the dominant group. For me, it’s more accurate to say that many varied groups, be it political parties, lobbyists, all kinds of special interests, vie to use the levers of government to further the prospects of their dominance. The value of our democracy, at least up until this time, has been that no one group has been able to sustain dominance, thereby forcing compromise and (sometimes) benefiting the greater good. Again, my desire is that government act as a referee to ensure that no one group dominates in a manner that works against the public good. T. Roosevelt used anti-trust legislation to bring Republican laissez faire policies back in balance with the public good. FDR used legislation to balance business and labor again in the interest of the public good.

              When I spoke of equality, perhaps it would have been better to describe it as inequality based on factors other than merit, such as birth, family background, race, gender, or economic status. I didn’t meant to imply that government should make us all equal in terms of outcome, irregardless of individual abilities, talents, and effort. (I think your just equality is an excellent way of tagging it.)

              Just one little point I have difficulty letting go, which is the government should continue to play a role in preventing the extreme concentration of wealth within a small percentage of the population. At some point, it becomes an unjust inequality?

              • George Michalopulos says

                Logan, please read Amity Shlaes’ recent book. She lays out in exquisite detail how FDR prolonged the Great Depression through his fruitless and wasteful alphabet programs. You know, it’s funny, but Warren G Harding inherited a depression when he took over in 1919. However he held spending down and ushered in the Roaring Twenties. Had he done what FDR did in 1933, we’d be talking about the Great Depression of the 1920s.

                • George and Logan, you both should read Eight Ways to Run the Country, which should give you a better understanding of each other.

                • George,

                  I’m all for new revisionist interpretations of history when it represents true historiography, and not fodder for proving contemporary political viewpoints. Besides the Civil War, the Great Depression was potentially the most dangerous time in the survival of our Republic. Those of us who didn’t live through have no idea of the magnitude of desperation.

                  I’m fortunate that my mother is still with me. She is 88, and with her 8 brothers and sisters lived through the Great Depression. Her oldest brother worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was paid $30 a month, but was required by regulation to send $25 of that home monthly. That made the difference between the very real prospect of starvation for my mother and her siblings.

                  My mother has voted Republican all her life. She listens to Rush on radio every morning religiously and only watches Fox News. Yet if you ask her to talk about FDR, she does so almost in reverent tones.

                  • Logan, many people were helped by FDR’s national socialism. That’s what politics is all about: helping your group at the expense of another group. (See: Jim Crow.) The reality however is that though many young men were put in the CCC or WPA, others were thrown out of work when their small businesses were closed for various reasons, and usually these businesses were closed because of the continued economic downturn. According to the numbers, in 1937, unemployment bounced back up to 17% after it had dipped in 1934 to 12%. (And remember, in 1934, no New Deal legislation had time to work its magic because FDR was not in power til March of 1933.)

                    So yes, I get your point about how people talked about FDR in reverential tones and how his programs helped many people. I also know many people who lingered into poverty and unemployment up to the Second World War. My own mother’s family did not experience any upturn until 1942, when my grandpa pulled up stakes and moved to a nearby a Marine base and German POW camp where he and his brother-in-law operated a diner for 18 hours a day, seven days a week. This of course is Keynesian economics. Had it not been for the War (and 25 million dead), my grandpa and grand-uncle would have continued in poverty.

                    And I can see from an executive point of view he may have fended off Bolshevism in the 1930s, but we can’t overlook the fact that he put in place a permanent warfare/welfare state that has caused a permanent underclass to grow and that we are now dangerously close to a complete societal collapse. However, let’s not forget that there had been several depressions in American history in the 19th century (when they were called “Panics”). There was no attendent societal collapse as there wasn’t in 1919-20.

                    Why? Maybe the people were hardier, I don’t know. We forget however that the worst part of the Great Depression happened almost entirely on Hoover’s watch (Oct 31, 1929-March 4, 1933) and Hoover had anticipated many of FDR’s programs and tried to increase spending, increase taxes, engage in trade wars, etc. So that by the time FDR took over it was far worse than it could have been. Had Hoover done what Harding did, then the Depression may have ended in 1931.

                    • Dn Brian Patrick Mitchell says

                      Well said, George.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      George I agree with your thoughts, but it was exactly because the Government did NOT bail out Wall Street at this time, as we did this time around, that directly led to the Great Depression. The lack of government intervention did not stave off the Great Depression and the Lack of Market Regulation allowed the market to run amok, as it did three years ago with the repeal of many of our regulatory laws under both a Deocratic and Republican President and members of Congress.

                      FDR’s New Deal provided a safety net and economic support that America never had before. As for the creation of a permenant underclass I do not believe all of it can be laid at the feet of the New Deal without talking into consideration Racisim and the creation of Urban Ghettos, such as what we had and still have hear in Chicago.

                      Further, it was during the New Deal and WWII that a permenant and established Middle-Class was created in this country. That did not exist prior to the New Deal! It was because people were not slipping off into poverty, along with the creation ofmpowerful Union and the Pension System that staved off and even defeated I would argue the rise of Communism in America, which prior to the New Deal, the Rise of Unions and the Establishment of a Pension system, the Communist were poised to take over America and bring revolution to this country.

                      Look at America history prior to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and you will see an America that had no Child labor Laws, No pensions, No worker’s Rights whatsoever. the book The Jungle by Upton Sinclair depicted the meat packing industry’s horrendous practices and utter corruption here in Chicago. It sparked an outcry to the Federal Government to regulate the meat packing and processing industry and the Food and Drug Administration, or its precurser was created.

                      Such things as 8 hours of pay for 8 hours of work did not exist prior to Unions. Prior to Social Security and Welfare people were being going into and dying in poverty in their old age. On the Job work injuries were never or almost never compensated because a worker had no money to sue a big company that in the old days of Chicago and most of the Midwest owned the Court System. So the Worker’s Compensation Commision was established in every state of the Union to protect and compensate injured worker’s.

                      Small Business men and women very rarely obtained loans from local banks back then, especially if they were minorities because of Red Lining as well as not having any collateral to put down for the loan. So the Small Business Administration was created to fill the need.

                      Business were forced to obtain worker’s compensation insurance and business insurance so the costs of worker’s injuries were not passed of to us nor were the business owners made to skirt their responsibility.

                      Big Business polluted water ways, especially trough tanneries back then, so both local, state and federal EPA laws were created and the EPA was eventually created to regulate the pollutants that business were putting in our air, water and livestock and fish.

                      The Glass–Steagall Act, prior to its repeal by the the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999, kept a very high wall of separation between investment banks and commerical banks. Once this act was removed we all saw what happend, and we were brought to the very brink of economic collapse.

                      All of this shows that we in this world need, and have always needed, a proper balance between Capitalistic and Socialistic Principles. We need the Englin of Capitalism with the Regulatory Protections of Socialism. This is what we had, but no longer. We can all see the direct devastating consequences when we do not preserve this balance.

                      As Aristotle said: “with respect to spending money, generosity is a mean between
                      the excess of wastefulness and the deficiency of stinginess.” Moderation is the key.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Peter, a LOT to chew on here. I’ll do it in a piece-meal basis.

                      First of all, the case can be argued that Bush, by doing the bailout (TARP) did stave off a Depression. That’s arguable though. (If so, then the Liberals need to cut him a major break!)

                      Second, sure, there was no gov’t safety net but there were stronger families, next-to-no illegitimacy, and churches which provided alms for the deserving poor. Let’s not forget, we’ve been doing a reverse-Darwinian experiment by enabling ne’er-do-wells and criminals to sire scads of children who they are not responsible for. Like those trollops on the Teenage Mom reality show (or whatever it’s called). I saw a magazine article with the title “How Kaylee has made it all by herself.” No she didn’t. She reached her hand into my pocket and took my hard-earned money so she could slut around and have kids that I’m responsible for. I guess that makes me a sap.

                      Sure, there were no child-labor laws, safety standards, etc. And I’m not saying that these are wrong (they are not) but let’s not forget, no other country had them at the time anyway. The main reason was because the US (and most other countries) were heavily agricultural, to the tune of 90% at least. Child-labor laws would be hurtful for agricultural economies.

                      As for worker’s comp, I’m all in favor of that but we can’t overlook the fact that it’s one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. I’ve seen first-hand how illegal aliens are exploited because they are illegal and outside of the laws that protect citizens. Of course Wall Street doesn’t care because they pawn them off on Welfare so the elite get nannies, gardeners, and employees for their sweat-shops, all so they won’t have to hire citizens.

                      Third, the housing collapse was put in motion by Carter back in the late 70s when he outlawed red-lining. It only got worse (under W as well as Clinton). This, combined with massive illegal immigration (which drives down the wages of native Americans) caused the housing bubble. Quite simply, way too many people who should have only rented were given preferential loans that in a sane world they shouldn’t have gotten. (Redlining works.)

                      I’ll never forget how hard it was for me and my wife back in 1984 to buy our first house. A major fixer-upper, if you know what I mean. We had to jump through so many hoops and still come up with 20% down and I was a young professional so I wasn’t a credit risk. And yet I can’t tell you how many single mothers on Welfare and illegal aliens took out loans to buy houses in the 90s. Ground zero of the housing collapse was Nevada, southern California, and Florida, the three areas with the largest alien demographic.

                      Now, there were problems with minority businesses in the pre-60s that had trouble being as capitalized as white mom-and-pops, but in talking with older black people and seeing the vibrancy of black areas before integration, it’s easy to forget that these black areas were self-contained and largely self-sufficient. In the 50s, the black illegitimacy rate was 15%. If a young boy got a girl pregnant he married her and got a job, any job (it was that way for white men as well).

                      I ramble so please forgive me. I don’t disdain everything gov’t has done since the New Deal, the SBA was good, I’m sure I can come up with others. But the

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      P.S. a lot to chew on Peter and good arguments btw! Ultimately, I have no problem with some gov’t involvement (I lean to Libertarianism but I’m not one) but I fear the loss of our virtue. Aristotle was right 2300 years ago when he pointed out that it takes about 7 generations for a republic to fall. Once the majority realizes they can vote themselves money from the public treasury, it’s all over but the shouting.

                    • The New Deal did not cause the post-WWII boom that raised the middle class and made the U.S. rich; the war did — by destroying every other large industrialized economy, leaving the U.S. with the last economy standing and thereby making it the manufacturer to the world. The GI Bill probably added more to the boom than the New Deal did.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      I agree that abuses came into the system and came in hard. Yet I believe reform and not elimination is the solution, but nobody wants to do especially now. Illegal immigration must be dealt with and with the staggering amount of illegal immigrants in the country a multi-pronged approach is needed. First, if illegal immigrants serve our country in the Military then they have earned their citizenship. Second, if they go to our schools, especially college and get a degree they have earned their citizenship. Third, if certain immigrant families have significant ties to our country, work in our communities and spend their money here and educate their kids here then their should be a path to citizenship opened to them where they can apply to the INS without fear of deportation, especially if deportation will tear a family apart.

                      Next, we need to shut and seal our boarders as much and as tight as possible to allow the immigrant that are here to assimilate and become Americans. Many of these solutions have been kicking around congress for years and some were in the recent dream act that was defeated in congress. As much as things like amnesty and earned citizenship is distasteful to people some solution needs to occur. Millions of illegals cannot all be deported and cannot en mass leave our communities as this will directly affect our local economies in a negative way.

                      Business interest, primarily agricultural interests, wanted the cheap labor, but when they were done with them what were they left to do? Also, because of the rampant drug wars of several parts of Mexico and Latin America many just wanted to leave and find safety for themselves and for their kids. Not all of them are bad or criminals (I.e. Scarfaces).

                      As for the Decimation of the black family you are correct in your assessment, no argument there. However, their is now a vibrant Black middle-class that had to struggle to make it because of red lining that was used to keep Black families out of certain communities. In Chicago and its surrounding suburbs one can see the affluent Whites moving farther south, north and west as more minorities move into historically white communities. Eventually whites will not be able to move away anymore and be forced to mix as is now happening in communities like Bloomingdale, Wheaton, Naperville, Westmont, La Grange Park and Darian, and these are just some of the communities around me.

                      Further, this is not all Blacks, but Hindi and Pakistani immigrants coming into the area. Whites are now doing what they should have done 30 to 40 years ago – mixing!

                      As for the rest, regulation is needed of the market and for the protection of our Environment. Do we need a balance? Yes, I have no problem with logging as long as the trees are re-planted. Some old growth can be protected, but not all as people need jobs. Balance, this is important.

                      So I would agree with reform, not elimination. I would agree with streamlining and making programs more efficient, but not defunding.


              • We do have reason to fear extreme concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few, especially when the few are out of sympathy with the many morally or culturally. But the republican system of government you are calling “democracy” hasn’t prevented such concentrations, has it? If it had, you wouldn’t be warning about extreme concentrations of wealth. What our republican system has been able to do is peacefully resolve relatively minor conflicts of interests within the dominant group between competing concentrations of wealth. There is good in that, but it doesn’t guarantee a just society or always serve the common good. No mere system can. For just government, we must have just men.

                As for equality, the distinction between equal outcomes and equal opportunities, implicit in your preferred meritocracy, is an illusion. We only insist on equal opportunity when we are not happy with existing outcomes, and yet even equal opportunities produce unequal outcomes, which then produce unequal opportunities. That’s the fallen world. There is no escaping it, and only a very tyrannical government would try to escape it by legislating against the advantages of “birth, family background, race, gender, or economic status.”

                • Peter A. Papoutsis says


                  That’s the fallen world. There is no escaping it, and only a very tyrannical government would try to escape it by legislating against the advantages of “birth, family background, race, gender, or economic status.”

                  Well, no. We either all have a right to equal rights or not. When people are denied political, economic and societal improvement then Government MUST step in and protect the rights of the minority from the majority. In fact, the very basis of our Bill of rights and the structure of our Constitutional Government is to allow the minirity to have a voice and a say in the direction of our Government and country.

                  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Hapiness must be available to all, but as we know it was NOT avilable to Women, Blacks, Immigrants or Poor Whites. Equal assess is paramount, and Equal Outcomes as well if societal barriers to achievement exist.

                  People, especially Whites, may not like Affirmative Action, but without it many areas of our society would have barred many a people from the opportunity they could have naturally had if NOT for the societal barrier. Growing up in Chicago I saw racisim and national hatred on many levels. An Arab cannot open a returant in an Irish part of town. A German family has to change its name because of hatred for Germans during WWII. Chinese and Japanese Americans denied access to many fields of life so were regulated to the cleaning services once upon a time.

                  Sorry, but equal access also requires equal opportunity, and if its not given then Government through the law must step in the correct the situation. That is just a fact of American Life.


                  • Peter,

                    Thanks for many excellent, balanced responses. Getting George’s acknowledgement, even when he doesn’t agree with you, now that’s quite an accomplishment.

      • another one says


        Ken defends his position very well above, so here’s just a little rabbit trail to consider.

        Just a little trivia about the GAO. They are obliged, by statute, to score a piece of legislation using the assumption sets given them by those [usually] sponsoring said legislation. This is true no matter how stupid the assumption set.

        For example, we pay for the first ten years of Obama care over ten years, but the benefits do not kick in until year four. Done this way, the legislators claim they will incur no deficit.

        But what about the next ten years? GAO can say nothing, even though they know that the claims made with their analysis are so much garbage due to the assumption sets.

        So trust not in GAO numbers. Rush’s numbers are likely much closer to reality.

        In any event, are you actually arguing that the government is efficient in this area? Really?

        Compare them with, say, the Salvation Army.

        • another one says:
          Ken defends his position very well above, so here’s just a little rabbit trail to consider.

          Just a little trivia about the GAO. They are obliged, by statute, to score a piece of legislation using the assumption sets given them by those [usually] sponsoring said legislation. This is true no matter how stupid the assumption set..

          I think you’re referring to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO.) GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.

          Personally, I’ll take trained auditors and CPAs over Rush.

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Logan, you are free to do so but being in the healthcare field myself and studying 30 years ago the original Medicare legislatiion, I can assure you that the feds don’t know their a#$ from a hole in the ground. I’d take Charlie Sheen’s numbers over the GAO’s anyday.

    • Leaving everything else aside for the moment, I take issue with the astounding claim that if the government were to do something virtuous (such as helping the poor), that would be a bad thing because it would deprive other people of the chance to be virtuous. I have heard this argument too many times from Christian friends (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox), and it always seemed absurd to me.

      True enough, if the government provides assistance to the poor (or does any OTHER good thing, for that matter), then you can say it deprives us of the opportunity to lay up treasure in heaven by doing those virtuous things ourselves. But if you are going to follow this way of thinking, why apply it only to the government?

      Suppose we are both walking along the same road, and you are ten minutes behind me. I run across a man lying on the side of the road, wounded and unconscious. I call the ambulance and thus save his life. You pass by the same place ten minutes later, but the ambulance has already arrived and there is nothing for you to do.

      So, by helping that wounded man, did I deprive you of the chance to help him? Yes, I did. Were you unable to lay up treasure in heaven because I got to the site of the accident first? Yes, you were. But does that mean that I SHOULDN’T have helped him, so as not to deprive you of the chance to do something virtuous? No, that’s ridiculous. Helping a man in need is GOOD, it is an action that we must always support – even though it’s perfectly true that every time I help someone, I deprive you of the chance to provide that help.

      And it is ok to deprive you of the chance to help that one man, because you will have other chances to help others. Christ told us that we will always have the poor with us. We are not competing with the government for the chance to provide a small amount of needed help to a handful of poor people. Poverty and suffering is a massive, yawning abyss, which could hardly be filled by all the effort in the world. There is plenty of room in the world for an active government that does everything possible to help the poor, and for every church to do the same alongside it.

      And do not say that taxation deprives you of the money you wish to spend on helping your neighbor. The command to love your neighbor as yourself is not limited to pre-tax income. Having less money is no excuse to stop giving. “I’m not going to donate to charity because my taxes are too high” is a sinful attitude.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Brian, that’s not the government’s job. It’s also not the Church’s job to maintain an army, police force or build roads.

        • Well, to say that “it is not the government’s job” is an entirely different argument from the one I was criticizing. I was criticizing the argument that it is bad for the government to help the poor because that would somehow deprive us of the opportunity to help them – which I consider to be a ridiculous idea, as described above.

          Now, regarding the new argument you bring up – the argument that it is not the government’s job to help those in need – what makes you think that way? Why shouldn’t it be the government’s job?

          • George Michalopulos says

            Two reasons: 1) because it’s the Church’s job to enact mercy, and 2) because the gov’t screws it up.

  22. cynthia curran says

    Well, George believe or not, some of the Southern states have more folks on welfare because of the free and reduce lunch programs than Northern States like Minnesota or New Hampshire do. The South has high black populations that have higher poverty rates, so they actually are going to receive federal welfare programs even it their states have tougher requirements. Demographics have a lot to do with the welfare state. In California about 40 years ago, in places like San Diego and Orange there were few Hispanic immigrants or some poorer Asian ones either. So, free and reduce lunch programs were low there but now they have schools were as much as 80 percent of the student population receives them because of the immigration. Politicians like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry complain about welfare but encouraged people with low job skills to come to the United States and many of them have children after they come.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Cynthia, that’s true. Also a higher Hispanic population as well. Thanks to the Low Wages/Treason Lobby of the GOP and Dems, we have done a magnificent job of importing poverty into this country. Next stop: Greece!

  23. cynthia curran says

    And when you are discussing So Calif, the poverty is more immigrant related, small black populations even LA County is only about 8 percent black now and San Diego is about 5 percent and Orange is lucky to have even 2 percent black. Some native poverty among Hispanics and Whites and Asians but more of an immigrant problem since immigrants as a group with the exception of some high skilled ones tend to have lower incomes there. The last time Republicans tried to have legal immigrants sponsor their relatives on their incomes the Democratics complain and that was way back in the 1990’s.

  24. cynthia curran says

    Logan, not against military spending myself but there is some waste in military spending but some regions of the country did well with high military expenditures.. In fact during the Vietnam War states like California were doing so much better than today since a lot of the manufacturing jobs were for defense firms that pay higher than most manufacturing jobs. This was the era were a lot of easterners and mid-westerners came to California for a job. Once the aerospace jobs were cut a lot during the early 1990’s and went to states were production costs were cheaper California has suffered. Poverty rate was about 10 percent around 1970 and now probably around 16 percent for California. Military expenditures cost money and Republicans who favor them don’t want to even increase taxes for the military so higher debts as a result of foreign wars.

  25. cynthia curran says

    Eisenhower was after the World War II period and yes the war helped the economy get out of the depression. I believe military expenditures were higher in the 1950’s as a percentage of the economy than today, hence his warning. Not all military expenditures have to be for actual warfare. In fact, the late Roman Empire as everyone here knows built the Theodosian Walls most of it constructed in 5th century with land and sea walls. It was an effective barrier most of the time until gun powder came around. In those days like today the military was a placed were the poor could advance themselves. Justin the first, uncle of Justinian served in the military and advanced thru the ranks and this allow him to be in charged of one of the palace guard regiments the excubitors and when the emperor Anastasius died he became emperor since he had the backing of the palace guard regiments.