Yesterday, I blogged about why I'm against the bailout (here: http://thepete.com/…e-bailout). In that post, I said, in part:



"Regardless, we, as a country, survived the Great Depression and I’m sure America will survive this, whether we have the bailout or not.



So, why does it matter? It matters because the bailout lets people get away with breaking the rules. Hell, the bailout itself is breaking the rules of the free market.



I’m no free-marketeer, but the way I look at it, if you’re going to bother to make rules, you should bother to follow them. If you don’t want to bother to follow them, then change them and follow the new ones.



Breaking your own rules just makes you look unprofessional."



I also promised to go into more about rules today. So, I'd like to add that not only does breaking your own rules make you look unprofessional, it makes your rules look like they shouldn't be followed.



Now, if you're talking about basic things on a basic level, that's one thing. Sure, if you decide that Tuesdays are days you treat yourself to frozen yogurt and then go for some FroYo on Wednesday instead, it doesn't matter so much. But when these rules are on a larger scale and when those rules govern how you and/or others behave every day, then it's a little more important to stick with those rules.



I know, I know, it sounds stupid and obvious, but major rules get broken all the time these days.



Let's look at some quick examples. Back in 2000, the entire planet was impacted when a rule was broken by the United States government. It was the 12th amendment which states, in part, that once the vote totals arrive in the Senate and the president of the Senate views the results:



"...the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and *if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, **the House of Representatives shall choose** immediately, by ballot, the President.*"



You know what that means, right? It means that if the winner of the presidential election isn't clear, if there's no obvious majority, it falls to the House of Representatives to vote for the next president. If you'll recall, back in 2000 that's not what happened. The Supreme Court decided there wasn't enough time for a proper recount to be finished. So, rather than follow the rules they decided to allow Bush to be declared the winner. According to Wikipedia post on Bush V. Gore, Bush's lead in Florida was by just .5%. Sound close enough to a tie to me.



Yet, the Supreme Court didn't refer the case to the House. They let the decision be known and that was that. The media didn't seem to care and neither did the people. No one mentioned the 12th amendment (that I heard, anyway) and George W. Bush became our de facto president.



We all know how well that worked out.



Would 911 happened under Gore? Would Al have invaded Iraq (illegally) and Afghanistan (where we failed to get bin Laden)? Would our economy be in tatters right now if Gore were in Casablanca (the White House)?



I don't know. The point is, because we didn't follow the rules, we will never know if Bush was even the right guy to be in the Oval Office.



A more recent example would be the invasion of Iraq. The US signed the UN Charter back in 1945 (I think it was) and we also helped write it. In Article 2 of the UNC (which I quote in full here: http://thepete.com/…ck-illegal ) it effectively states that we can't invade another country without permission of the UN. Yet, we did invade two other countries.



Don't like the UN? Fine. We should leave the UN then. Breaking the rules makes us look disrespectful and untrustworthy to our allies and enemies around the world. Would you do a deal with someone you knew doesn't follow his <em>own</em> rules?



Hell, Bush doesn't even follow the laws he, himself, signs into existence. He uses these things called "signing statements" which often explain that he has the right to not follow the law if he chooses. He's done this to hundreds and hundreds of laws.. So, if he's got to write himself out of every law he signs, how can we trust him? Why bother with the laws at all? Why not just declare yourself king and be done with it?



Now we come to the economy.



The USG wants to bailout Wall Street.



A lot of people scream "SOCIALISM" because socialism is a economic system that advocates government or communal ownership of basic infrastructures, like banking, say. Ironically, people who scream "socialism" are both right and wrong about the accusation. They are right because, from the people's point of view, tax-payer money is being used to prop-up a failing system. "Social" benefits are being given to massive banks so they can keep loaning money to businesses and individuals.



So, here we go again--which are we? Capitalist or socialist?



Regardless of your opinion, we should decide one, the other, or come up with a third.



Saying we're all one "ism" while practicing the elements of another makes us look like we're liars.



For example, who would trust a person who says he's a Democrat but votes Republican?



So what's the solution?



The solution is simple, follow your damn rules!! If you can't, CHANGE THEM.



Start a movement, get involved, become a politician, write your representatives in Washington--do what you have to do to get the rules you think are wrong, unfair, stupid or simply unjust, off the books.



What happens if you don't think any of those attempts will yield any results?



Well, there are two ways to go. First, you can be the reasonable man and just deal with it.



The problem with that is, you'd better be willing to be reasonable for the rest of your life because the world doesn't change for the reasonable man.



I like to think of myself as an unreasonable man, actually. Though, I imagine I could be more unreasonable in certain socially important ways.



I think all of us could be...



One last thing: above, I mention that those who accuse the USG and supporters of the bailout of being socialists are both wrong and right. I'll talk more about this in a post tomorrow.
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