johnglas wrote:PVC King: thanks for that;
jimq: life cannot be an ideology-free zone and there are clear policy and practical outcomes from whatever position you adopt - free marketeers are generally very robust until the point they are challenged by an argument or until the realities hit them square between the eyes (cf. the bemused but arrogant and unrepentant Greenspan). You are free to inhabit a Know-Nothing world; I can't.
I don't understand your reference to a 19th century American political movement? Or was the capitalization an accident and the intention was simply to accuse me of ignorance?
Your problem here john is that hardly anyone is interested in the sort of 60s naive ideological battles any more, thus the lack of "bites" for your repeatedly offered bait. That sort of sophistry may entertain teenagers and the like but as soon as anyone starts reading a bit about history, economic theory and politics, the complex reality of the world simply does not fit into a model based on a simplistic binary dichotomy. Life thankfully can be and these days often is an ideology-free zone. Humanism and rationality over ideology for me every time.
For example, your insinuation that there is something obviously superior about "big government" over "little government" does not stand up to any type of scrutiny. During the last century or so, on the "big government" side we have the European fascist states, every single Marxist-Leninist state, the various autocratic Middle Eastern states, Putin era Russia, etc. Between them, these regimes - particularly the communist ones - have been directly responsible for more human slaughter, misery and suffering than any other human social organisation in history. On the "small government" side, we have the likes of Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, various African countries, Westbank&Gaza, etc. Not great arguments in favour of extreme "small government" either but in utilitarian terms, preferrable to the extremes of big government. However I suspect your "ideology" has decided things for you rather than an open-minded consideration of the historical evidence.
I even find the Boston v. Berlin quip highly irritating as it suggests there is a simple choice available. For starters there is no unified European model except it seems in the minds of certain British and American commentators: there is what's called the continental European model (e.g. France/Germany/Benelux - generous welfare, government ownership, "protection" and control of major "strategic" companies), the Mediteranean model (Italy/Spain/Greece - little welfare - no dole for example - but government involvement in certain industries), the Scandanavian model (generous welfare but no government involvment in "protecting" strategic companies) or the ultra-liberal countries like Switzerland (miniscule government spending - not even on healthcare provision) . There is no common theme from what I can see. As for the "Boston" side, it is meaningless also given the diversity in the US; some US cities/counties are far more socialist than many European ones.
I just find your attempts at provoking a deliberately antagonistic and simplistic discussion on the subject very irritating, is all. I really don't see the attraction of childish Rangers v. Celtic, Tory versus Labour, us against them types of binary arguments.
I suspect the problem may be a cultural one. Many of my UK friends and aquaintances seem to have a propensity to simplify and stereotype in this way and in fact seem to find it frustrating when it's not entirely clear what "side" you are on. I have a whimsical theory that this urge is generally proportional to the size of your country of residence; people who live in bigger countries have less reason to look outside so they tend to see and judge everything in the world in slightly myopic simplistic local terms. The bigger the country the bigger this effect; the US is an extreme, but the UK is pretty large too. Ireland is the opposite; any natural curiousity draws you to consider the wilder world and so you develop less partisan (not necessarily more sophisticated) opinions. The country isn't big enough to support niche or partisan media to the same extent; there is no equivelent here to describing yourself as a Telegraph versus a Guardian reader; the same ideological fault lines don't exist in Ireland.