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Is a law that's not enforced still the law?

Torrent

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
 

Simon W. Moon

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?
Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?
Who chooses which are which?
I think that prosecuting attorneys for the jurisdiction can decide that certain laws are unenforceable. If a law will not pass constitutional muster (state or national) and the legislature has not taken the matter up, it's silly for the PA to go ahead with charges he knows will be overturned.

Sometimes changes to constitutions or changes in case law can render a law unenforceable. Until the appropriate legislative body takes up the matter and changes the law, it remains on the books. But a PA has an ethical obligation not to subject citizens to legal proceedings which he has good reason to believe will come to naught.

My city could pass a law which says that everyone who resides here must worship at the First Church of Earworm. Obviously, that will not pass muster if challenged. It would still be a law. But it's a law which is unlikely to ever be enforced since enforcement would constitute a violation on behalf of the enforcers.

To answer your question, yes and no.
 

pinqy

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
Well, a lot of the laws, such as sodomy, church attendence, etc have been ruled unconstitutional and so cannot be enforced. But it's too much trouble to actually remove them. For example, the Maryland Constitution still has an article requiring declaration of belief in God, though that was ruled unconstitutional over 50 years ago.

As for other laws that are mostly ignored, like Virginia's laws against fornication and co-habitation of unmarried men and women, well, they're ignored and the police would look like idiots if they tried to enforce them.
 

Woodman909

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
Barry and Eric do, case in point... Immigration Law
 

Torrent

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Take houseing codes as an example, where people arn't suppose to have bushes over set height. There are alot of people that violate and let there bushes grow to however tall they wish all of which are breaking the law but only one or two of them ever gets a fine for it.

Its a law that is only enforced on a few, and mostly only when a third party complains about it. Should it be enforceing offical's duty to go to the other violators and enforce it equally?
 

ttwtt78640

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
Ask Obama, that has created "dreamy" immigration law, or Bush that simply ignored more of its enforcement.
 

clownboy

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Google "blue laws". There's lots of reasons they go unused. And yes, even if it's a blue law it's still enforceable at any time.
 

Fisher

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Take houseing codes as an example, where people arn't suppose to have bushes over set height. There are alot of people that violate and let there bushes grow to however tall they wish all of which are breaking the law but only one or two of them ever gets a fine for it.

Its a law that is only enforced on a few, and mostly only when a third party complains about it. Should it be enforceing offical's duty to go to the other violators and enforce it equally?
Where I live zoning enforcement gives you a chance for remediation and if you do not comply then they charge you and even then as long as you fix the problem before your court date it gets thrown out by the judge. That happens with a lot of things--like failing to pay fines, driving with no license, expired plates, etc.

A lot of laws still exist but do not get enforced because nobody breaks them--like I read where some state still has a law that makes it illegal to plow with an elephant. Cannot say that is something I have ever seen or heard happening in my lifetime, but I'd be curious as to what prompted the law in the first place.

Some state laws have not been officially repealed and taken off the books but they have been deemed invalid by Courts. Some laws just do not get enforced like spitting on sidewalks, and even if they did and you were convicted, the court would give you the most nominal fine there is like $10 plus cost. As much as people complain about the po po, I'd still hazard a guess that they do not enforce more laws than they do unless you go out of your way to piss them off.
 

Captain Adverse

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Google "blue laws". There's lots of reasons they go unused. And yes, even if it's a blue law it's still enforceable at any time.
Careful, someone might think you are using the term "Blue Laws" to refer ONLY to old religious sanctions about moral behavior on Sundays. Some people don't think it has any other definition...like maybe a general reference to morality codes.
 

Simon W. Moon

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Take houseing codes as an example, where people arn't suppose to have bushes over set height. There are alot of people that violate and let there bushes grow to however tall they wish all of which are breaking the law but only one or two of them ever gets a fine for it.
Its a law that is only enforced on a few, and mostly only when a third party complains about it. Should it be enforceing offical's duty to go to the other violators and enforce it equally?
That's a different issue, imho.
Enforcement has to be done by people. People have limited availability. Hiring more people to acquire greater amount of available man-hours requires more resources. Cities have limited resources. Someone in the city has to make decisions about what is and is not prioritized and done.

Something I have learned over the years is that if you want certain things done, you have to exert effort. In this hypothetical case, it could involve going to town council meetings and repeatedly making the case for increased funding of the city code enforcement division.
 

douglas

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?
Mostly they are unconstitutional, so they are unenforceable.

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
It's as simple as whether or not a prosecutor actually thinks they could convict you for it. There are even constitutional laws, like j-walking, that are practically unenforceable, because no one will ever actually be convicted for it. Common sense is the ideal measure to decide which is which; since nobody has the same common sense (it's never really common), we have different ideas of what should be a "stupid" law and which shouldn't.
 

Captain Adverse

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
Look at it this way. It is impossible for you to know every law that might apply to you and your government understands that. However, the legal dictum "Ignorance of the Law is NO Excuse" is applied universally simply because to do otherwise would allow a defendant to simply claim he did not know it and be set free. It's a catch-22 situation.

There's no real advice that can be given except remember you can't steal, rape, murder, burglarize, vandalize, embezzel, kidnap, burn things down, assault or batter, speed, use drugs, drive under the influence, or any variations of these things and not get into trouble with the law. For the rest, just watch your back and hope you haven't done something someone passed a local law against.
 

CanadaJohn

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You don't have to go to obscure, ancient laws to find laws that are not being inforced or that are being enforced inconsistently.

This is a major issue here in Ontario, Canada at the moment where police and prosecutors aren't enforcing laws against natives, claiming to do so is not in the "public interest" or may lead to violence. Law abiding citizens and businesses are furious, and a few judges as well, considering that even court orders are not always being enforced against native protesters.

Police and prosecutors have created a self-fulfilling cycle of lawlessness - natives protest - natives threaten violence if protests are interrupted, police refuse to enforce laws because to do so may incite violence, when charges are laid, prosecutors refuse to prosecute because to do so would not be in the public interest and violence may result, natives start protests with threats of violence if protests are disrupted, and on and on. Meanwhile, the average citizen paying the freight for all of this gets treated like crap. If a non-native protests at the site of a native protest, they are hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace but no native is ever hauled off because when they protest, they brandish rifles and other weapons.
 

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Older laws and nonsensical laws can be rescinded by local towns and cities. Federal Laws passed by Congress may be repealed or updated.
What does Orlando Shaw do when he knocks up another baby momma? Why he just keeps moving on letting her and the government worry about raising the children he's fathered.
 

Captain Adverse

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You don't have to go to obscure, ancient laws to find laws that are not being inforced or that are being enforced inconsistently.

This is a major issue here in Ontario, Canada at the moment where police and prosecutors aren't enforcing laws against natives, claiming to do so is not in the "public interest" or may lead to violence. Law abiding citizens and businesses are furious, and a few judges as well, considering that even court orders are not always being enforced against native protesters.

Police and prosecutors have created a self-fulfilling cycle of lawlessness - natives protest - natives threaten violence if protests are interrupted, police refuse to enforce laws because to do so may incite violence, when charges are laid, prosecutors refuse to prosecute because to do so would not be in the public interest and violence may result, natives start protests with threats of violence if protests are disrupted, and on and on. Meanwhile, the average citizen paying the freight for all of this gets treated like crap. If a non-native protests at the site of a native protest, they are hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace but no native is ever hauled off because when they protest, they brandish rifles and other weapons.
I'm curious. What exactly are these "natives" protesting about? By natives I presume you are speaking about indigenous peoples who lived in North America before later immigants arrived, right?
 

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I'm curious. What exactly are these "natives" protesting about? By natives I presume you are speaking about indigenous peoples who lived in North America before later immigants arrived, right?
They protest many different things, principally related to what they view as land rights over and above what their treaty agreements may provide as well as any attempts to scale back on very generous government supports provided to native peoples - indigenous, if you'd prefer.

I'm curious, since England was in control of the majority of the United States at one time, do you believe that ancestors of the English have claims against the people who defeated them and drove them from the US in the late 1700s? How about the French, who were defeated by the British here in North America - should French ancestors get to block railways and roadways seeking additional supports?

How many times and by how much do native/indigenous ancestors in North America need to be compensated? Is there ever a time when they are going to be expected to be contributing, civil, members of society at large or should they forever be able to hold progress to ransom?
 

Captain Adverse

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They protest many different things, principally related to what they view as land rights over and above what their treaty agreements may provide as well as any attempts to scale back on very generous government supports provided to native peoples - indigenous, if you'd prefer.
I am not familiar with how the British government handled treaty issues with the indigenous peoples of Canada, or how the current Canadian government may or ma not have been violating them. Are you stating that all the protests are unfounded, that there are no real problems being raised with treaty violations?

I'm curious, since England was in control of the majority of the United States at one time, do you believe that ancestors of the English have claims against the people who defeated them and drove them from the US in the late 1700s? How about the French, who were defeated by the British here in North America - should French ancestors get to block railways and roadways seeking additional supports?
Interesting question. Most of the British and French you are referring to remained here after the Revolution and the Louisnana Purchase and accepted citizenship. In the case of the Tories who left, many went to Canada, so how are they doing up there? :) In any case, it can be argued that the limited occupation of a few hundred years (what, 500 if we start the count at 1492?) doesn't compensate for the 12 - 14,000 years the indigenous peoples had control. ;)

How many times and by how much do native/indigenous ancestors in North America need to be compensated? Is there ever a time when they are going to be expected to be contributing, civil, members of society at large or should they forever be able to hold progress to ransom?
Hmmm, again I don't know about Canada. In the USA the Federal government has broken every single treaty they ever made with it's indegenous peoples. Made the remainder permanent clients of Federal largesse, which is seldom very large.

I guess I'd ask you, how much compensation do you think native people deserve for having lands they lived on for over 10,000 years usurped by people who've been there less than 1/20th of the time? Besides, how much could they possibly be asking for? There aren't that many of them left.
 

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
They are still laws, they exist as a large set of arbitrarily applied laws. If the cop don't like the cut of your jib, then you'll get charged. Arbitrary enforcement laws are a big problem IMO.
 

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I was looking at list of older "stupid" laws (sodomy, enforcement of church attandance, etc) that are still on the books but are never enforced. And was woundering if State/Local/Federal Goverments are createing books worth of new laws every year are all the laws equal?

Should we still be held accountable for all of the laws that are in the books or just the ones that are enforced?

Who chooses which are which?
Yes, it is still a law - they have to take it out, delete it, vote against it, or render it inert explicitly . . . because as long as it's on the book someone can use it against you if they please.
 

CanadaJohn

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I am not familiar with how the British government handled treaty issues with the indigenous peoples of Canada, or how the current Canadian government may or ma not have been violating them. Are you stating that all the protests are unfounded, that there are no real problems being raised with treaty violations?



Interesting question. Most of the British and French you are referring to remained here after the Revolution and the Louisnana Purchase and accepted citizenship. In the case of the Tories who left, many went to Canada, so how are they doing up there? :) In any case, it can be argued that the limited occupation of a few hundred years (what, 500 if we start the count at 1492?) doesn't compensate for the 12 - 14,000 years the indigenous peoples had control. ;)



Hmmm, again I don't know about Canada. In the USA the Federal government has broken every single treaty they ever made with it's indegenous peoples. Made the remainder permanent clients of Federal largesse, which is seldom very large.

I guess I'd ask you, how much compensation do you think native people deserve for having lands they lived on for over 10,000 years usurped by people who've been there less than 1/20th of the time? Besides, how much could they possibly be asking for? There aren't that many of them left.
Firstly, I would never suggest that native/indigenous peoples don't have the right to protest, nor that they never have legitimate complaints. They are Canadian citizens, so they have all the same rights and privileges that every other Canadian has. However, they also have the same responsibilities and the requirements to follow the laws of the country as well.

I have every right to protest an action of my government that affects me adversely, but in so protesting I do not have the right to stop trains from running for days/weeks on end without any legal consequences, nor do I have the right to blockade a roadway that is the only way for a large population to get to and from their homes nor do I have the right to threaten them, wave guns and bats and other weapons at them and intimidate them. But apparently natives are allowed to do that on a regular basis, at least here, because police and authorities aren't prepared to match the native violence with violence of their own. What the police and authorities will do, brave souls that they are, is harrass, intimidate, and arrest the non-natives who are trying to get through blockades or are protesting against the blockades. Easier to round up the little grandmother who's trying to get home than take on a dozen native hooligans with rifles, masks, bats, etc. But you probably think it's okay for a dozen so armed natives to pull an 80s couple out of their car, shoot up and burn the car, as a sign of their willingness to resort to violence because these 20 something thugs think they're being disrespected. And let's just forget about rounding up and prosecuting the culprits because that might upset the natives, bless their little hearts.

To answer your final question, I'd say they and their ancestors have received thousands of times more in compensation over the years than they ever were entitled to and it's about time a lot of them actually started being productive instead of leeching off the rest of society. This is not a condemnation of all native/indigenous groups, because many of them are quite successful and led by intelligent, competent elders but even these strong groups are sick of the troublemakers who have nothing positive to offer.
 

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I have every right to protest an action of my government that affects me adversely, but in so protesting I do not have the right to stop trains from running for days/weeks on end without any legal consequences, nor do I have the right to blockade a roadway that is the only way for a large population to get to and from their homes nor do I have the right to threaten them, wave guns and bats and other weapons at them and intimidate them. But apparently natives are allowed to do that on a regular basis, at least here, because police and authorities aren't prepared to match the native violence with violence of their own. What the police and authorities will do, brave souls that they are, is harrass, intimidate, and arrest the non-natives who are trying to get through blockades or are protesting against the blockades.
Well, maybe it's time for a little genocide since it seems some of your native peoples have declared war. You know if you get rid of the pesky critters permanently they can't cause any disruptions can they? <---(two sentences worth of Heavy Sarcasm).

In all seriousness though, I don't support manhandling fellow citizens and such persons should be arrested. However, I have to admit that if a people who feel oppressed want to call attention to their plight, peacefully sitting around on railroad tracks to block commuter traffic is one way to do it. They must have taken a page from the book of Ghandi for those acts. Doesn't do much good if you protest on your own reservation.


To answer your final question, I'd say they and their ancestors have received thousands of times more in compensation over the years than they ever were entitled to and it's about time a lot of them actually started being productive instead of leeching off the rest of society. This is not a condemnation of all native/indigenous groups, because many of them are quite successful and led by intelligent, competent elders but even these strong groups are sick of the troublemakers who have nothing positive to offer.
I don't know, I guess it's all relative. I mean, how do you put a fair price on EVERYTHING that allows your nation to exist...all the land you've built up on and the natural resources that you used to do so? After all, they would not have to "leech off the rest of society" if that society hadn't taken pretty much everything that originally made them fairly independent. You must forgive me; I am arguing from a position of some personal bias since I am 50% Amerindian. ;)
 
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CanadaJohn

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Well, maybe it's time for a little genocide since it seems some of your native peoples have declared war. You know if you get rid of the pesky critters permanently they can't cause any disruptions can they? <---(two sentences worth of Heavy Sarcasm).

In all seriousness though, I don't support manhandling fellow citizens and such persons should be arrested. However, I have to admit that if a people who feel oppressed want to call attention to their plight, peacefully sitting around on railroad tracks to block commuter traffic is one way to do it. They must have taken a page from the book of Ghandi for those acts. Doesn't do much good if you protest on your own reservation.




I don't know, I guess it's all relative. I mean, how do you put a fair price on EVERYTHING that allows your nation to exist...all the land you've built up on and the natural resources that you used to do so? After all, they would not have to "leech off the rest of society" if that society hadn't taken pretty much everything that originally made them fairly independent. You must forgive me; I am arguing from a position of some personal bias since I am 50% Amerindian. ;)
The difference between Ghandi and native/indigenous peoples here is that Ghandi represented the vast majority, 99% percent of the population, who were being ruled with an iron fist by an invading country who had not moved to settle the country but had moved to exploit the country. Natives, in North America, are perhaps 1% of the population, if that, and are still fighting the war they lost centuries ago and they get no sympathy from the majority here whom they inconvenience on a regular basis.

As for exploiting the land, just what part of the entire economy of Canada or the US do you think they deserve? I don't know what level of delusion leads someone to think that the work over centuries of men and women who built Canada and the US should devolve to the benefit of people who've created nothing and who seem incapable of even fending for themselves or expressing a desire to do so. There are many tribes and indigenous groups here in Canada who have taken the initiative to work with business and natural resource developers and to benefit from the exploitation of the lands they have and the resources they enjoy to the benefit of their people. Others, the violent thug types, choose to try to coerce or steal from others what they lack the initiative or wherewithall to create themselves.

Natives in North America are really no different from any other demographic here. There are the majority who work within society to create a better life for themselves and their families and then there are those who prefer to play victim and act out that victimhood through illegal and unlawful actions by way of the power of violence and threatened violence. The black youth gang in Chicago is no different from the native masked "warriors" taking what isn't theirs.
 

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Many laws that are not enforced are not overhauled because they are unenforceable and illegal on their face. They get forgotten and the legislature never gets around to changing them. Enforced church attendance is a classic example of this.
 

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The difference between Ghandi and native/indigenous peoples here is that Ghandi represented the vast majority, 99% percent of the population, who were being ruled with an iron fist by an invading country who had not moved to settle the country but had moved to exploit the country. Natives, in North America, are perhaps 1% of the population, if that, and are still fighting the war they lost centuries ago and they get no sympathy from the majority here whom they inconvenience on a regular basis.
Point of information: Ghandi represented the vast majority of NATIVE (east) Indians, not the vast majority of all citizens of the British Empire. So, all the native protester's have to represent are a majority of their own people, not ALL citizens of Canada.

So they are still fighting the war they lost eh? And your problem with this is? Nothing you are giving them isn't already theirs, ALL of the land belongs to them. As long as you allow/require them to hold a semi-independent status, you are tacitly indicating that you owe them a debt for stealing their lands. If a conqueror want's the prior landowners to submit, he must force absolute submission. You can't have it both ways.

As for exploiting the land, just what part of the entire economy of Canada or the US do you think they deserve? I don't know what level of delusion leads someone to think that the work over centuries of men and women who built Canada and the US should devolve to the benefit of people who've created nothing and who seem incapable of even fending for themselves or expressing a desire to do so. There are many tribes and indigenous groups here in Canada who have taken the initiative to work with business and natural resource developers and to benefit from the exploitation of the lands they have and the resources they enjoy to the benefit of their people. Others, the violent thug types, choose to try to coerce or steal from others what they lack the initiative or wherewithall to create themselves.
You are asking the wrong guy, because if it were up to me, both Canada and the USA would acknowledge they are tenants on land wholly owned by native peoples, and pay major rents in perpetuity.

Natives in North America are really no different from any other demographic here. There are the majority who work within society to create a better life for themselves and their families and then there are those who prefer to play victim and act out that victimhood through illegal and unlawful actions by way of the power of violence and threatened violence. The black youth gang in Chicago is no different from the native masked "warriors" taking what isn't theirs.
Again, native peoples in both the USA and Canada, at least those that were tough enough to have to be bribed with "treaty reservations" to prevent genocide, are members of semi-autonomous nations. That means despite grants of citizenship by Canada and the USA, they are actually citizens of their own nations. As long as this status continues they can and will act in a warlike manner if it suits their purposes. That's the difference between them and any other "cultural sub-group" you wish to cite.
 

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Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Point of information: Ghandi represented the vast majority of NATIVE (east) Indians, not the vast majority of all citizens of the British Empire. So, all the native protester's have to represent are a majority of their own people, not ALL citizens of Canada.

So they are still fighting the war they lost eh? And your problem with this is? Nothing you are giving them isn't already theirs, ALL of the land belongs to them. As long as you allow/require them to hold a semi-independent status, you are tacitly indicating that you owe them a debt for stealing their lands. If a conqueror want's the prior landowners to submit, he must force absolute submission. You can't have it both ways.



You are asking the wrong guy, because if it were up to me, both Canada and the USA would acknowledge they are tenants on land wholly owned by native peoples, and pay major rents in perpetuity.



Again, native peoples in both the USA and Canada, at least those that were tough enough to have to be bribed with "treaty reservations" to prevent genocide, are members of semi-autonomous nations. That means despite grants of citizenship by Canada and the USA, they are actually citizens of their own nations. As long as this status continues they can and will act in a warlike manner if it suits their purposes. That's the difference between them and any other "cultural sub-group" you wish to cite.
I respect you have a point of view, which I respectfully consider to be nonsense. Thanks for the discussion, but it's run its course.
 
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