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  1. #61
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  2. #62
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post

    That .jpg should be funnier, since it's David Schwimmer.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #63
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Premise of social conservatism - "I'm used to a certain way of going about things. When people do things differently, it really bothers me, regardless of the results. If people just did things the same way, everyone would be happier. People who say that the traditional way of doing things hurts them either are delusional, immoral, or made bad choices they don't want to suffer the consequences of. If we don't keep doing things the same way, then society will collapse because nothing will unite us anymore."
    This isn't fair at all, but I've noticed that it's a common response to pretty much any argument that "things were better before..." There's just a kneejerk rejection of the idea - any hint that anything used to be better than it is today is assumed to be a crutch for people with poor memory and no imagination. It's a lot easier to create the frame of the small-minded, conservative scold and then knock down their arguments as out-of-touch and falsely sentimental.

    But I do wonder which side is more likely to make snap judgments about "the way things used to be." Seems the other side sees things in equally black and white terms: "Everyone was sexually repressed and forced into little societal boxes - based on gender, race, class, etc... Stability was a facade created by those Evil Conformists. Under the surface, individuals were stifled. Thankfully, the rules have started to change, and freedom from old constraints has begun. Now, people are happier, but a few hangers-on of the Old Ways want to take all that away and bring back the [fill in the stereotype] '50s."


    For the record, I'm the last person in the world who would ordinarily be stereotyped as a conservative of any kind. I'm a young, single, professional political activist for progressive causes and candidates. I was not raised by conservative parents or in a conservative part of the country. I'm an unabashed liberal, and I always have been. And, having given it a lot of thought, I do worry that changing values about society and family threaten to - what was your phrase? - destroy the things that unite us. Rates of reported depression, crime statistics, kids growing up in broken homes, distrust of government and other major institutions... I don't see how any of these things can be seen as "progress." What you see as Freedom, I see as self-indulgence - as though personal happiness is the only end worth considering, or even something ultimately achievable.

    If you disagree, fine. But don't act like the people who share my concern are just too simple-minded to "get" how magnificently liberated our society is becoming.

  4. #64
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    This isn't fair at all, but I've noticed that it's a common response to pretty much any argument that "things were better before..." There's just a kneejerk rejection of the idea - any hint that anything used to be better than it is today is assumed to be a crutch for people with poor memory and no imagination. It's a lot easier to create the frame of the small-minded, conservative scold and then knock down their arguments as out-of-touch and falsely sentimental.
    That doesn't mean that social conservatism isn't essentially a desire to return to a perceived better state that once existed, or recoup perceived losses.

    But I do wonder which side is more likely to make snap judgments about "the way things used to be." Seems the other side sees things in equally black and white terms: "Everyone was sexually repressed and forced into little societal boxes - based on gender, race, class, etc... Stability was a facade created by those Evil Conformists. Under the surface, individuals were stifled. Thankfully, the rules have started to change, and freedom from old constraints has begun. Now, people are happier, but a few hangers-on of the Old Ways want to take all that away and bring back the [fill in the stereotype] '50s."
    How is that a snap judgment? Were people not forced into more heavily class-based roles at that time? Likewise, weren't the '50s a lot more socially dynamic than often given credit for? Didn't "the '60s" only happen to a small, small percentage of the population (other than Vietnam)?

    It's the utopian vision that is denigrated by many, much like the socialist worker's paradise is.

    For the record, I'm the last person in the world who would ordinarily be stereotyped as a conservative of any kind. I'm a young, single, professional political activist for progressive causes and candidates. I was not raised by conservative parents or in a conservative part of the country. I'm an unabashed liberal, and I always have been. And, having given it a lot of thought, I do worry that changing values about society and family threaten to - what was your phrase? - destroy the things that unite us. Rates of reported depression, crime statistics, kids growing up in broken homes, distrust of government and other major institutions... I don't see how any of these things can be seen as "progress." What you see as Freedom, I see as self-indulgence - as though personal happiness is the only end worth considering, or even something ultimately achievable.
    The main criticism of social conservatism that I have is that these problems are perceived to be something new. These are essentially the same things we've been worried about for the entirety of our country's existence. And at the end of the day, many of these things really do not matter or affect our lives, except that they make us personally uncomfortable. There's been a whole lot of evil justified in the history of the world based on the fact that it made someone uncomfortable.

    If you disagree, fine. But don't act like the people who share my concern are just too simple-minded to "get" how magnificently liberated our society is becoming.
    Please refrain from using strawmen. Your concern isn't simple-minded, it arises from the basic human psychological bias that fears loss disproportionately to anticipating gain. Combine that with the consistent need that we have to find patterns in things, and it's not surprising that many come to the same conclusion you do, regardless if the evidence supports that assertion or not.

  5. #65
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    1. Do away with no-fault divorces. Absolutely not. It would tax the courts enormously. Here's one; make it harder to get married in the first place. The ridiculous pre marriage classes in place now should be something more like how to handle finances and how to have a conversation for starters, and why the hell is there even a reason for 16-17 year olds to get married?

    2. Strengthen labor unions [the need for multiple incomes adds stress to marriages]. What is happening to the auto industry is a perfect example of why this is a bad idea. Multiple incomes might stress a family but there won't be any jobs with a union demanding more from an employer either.

    3. Mandating a year of national or military service [re-teaching the ethic of duty]. Good luck with that.

    4. Use public funds to bring jobs back to old industrial towns [cut back on transient communities] Public funds? What public funds?

    5. Support same-sex marriage. [Marriage is a social stabilizer] This is a non issue to me and it should require the exact same prerequisites any marriage requires as I stated above.

    6. Increase the minimum wage. [money issues are the number one cause of divorce] You want #4 and this? It won't happen. You'll kill small business.

    7. Teach character and civic values in school [hopefully encouraging participation in basic institutions, whether religious, civic, or community-oriented] How about the parents teach this?

    8. Stiffer prison sentences for violent offenders [crime kills neighborhoods] Prisons are already overflowing. The root of the problem is education and poverty.

    9. Strict banking and wall street regulations [greed hurts families and communities] Sure but not when it starts to stifle growth

    10. Public support of faith-based organizations [they feed the hungry and house the poor effectively] Yes I believe charity should be done at a local level but not just faith based organizations.

    11. Medicare for all. [medical catastrophes lead to bankruptcy; bankruptcy hurts families.] I don't think I need to explain this - just watch the news.

    12. Stricter gun control laws [see #8] Enforce the laws that are already in place
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  6. #66
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    That doesn't mean that social conservatism isn't essentially a desire to return to a perceived better state that once existed, or recoup perceived losses.
    Why are you so certain that it's just "perceived?" This is exactly what I mean - it's dismissive for you to assume the entire argument is in the psychology of the speaker and has no grounding in reality.

    How is that a snap judgment? Were people not forced into more heavily class-based roles at that time? Likewise, weren't the '50s a lot more socially dynamic than often given credit for? Didn't "the '60s" only happen to a small, small percentage of the population (other than Vietnam)?
    It's a snap judgment because it's only part of the story. Were people forced into more class-based roles 50 or 60 years ago? Absolutely, and I'm glad that fact has (in part) changed. But it's also true that generations of people acting out of expectation rather than desire had a major upside.

    Uh, I added the line about the '50s in there as part of my phony argument from the opposite perspective, hence the sentence being in italics. To answer your question though, there are two lines of argument: one, that decades/generations matter; and two, that the culture has pretty much remained static and only the media-created focal points have changed. Sounds like you're arguing the latter. I do actually believe the former, but that has nothing to do with my point.

    It's the utopian vision that is denigrated by many, much like the socialist worker's paradise is.
    I don't have a utopian vision of the '50s. First off, I'm not a particular fan of that decade - if we're going with the stereotyped ethic of the era, I'd much rather return to the communitarian '40s than the white collar suburbia that followed. But I don't even have a utopian vision of the '40s. Jim Crow was still the official law of the land in the South, and unofficially in the rest of the country as well. Women were not treated as equals. Life expectancy was shorter. I don't see why recognizing these facts and still believing that many (if not most) aspects of society were better at that time counts as idealizing a "utopian" past. I do think that the combination of '70s hedonism and '80s greed have created a culture where people are far less concerned about how their actions or inactions impact others.


    The main criticism of social conservatism that I have is that these problems are perceived to be something new. These are essentially the same things we've been worried about for the entirety of our country's existence. And at the end of the day, many of these things really do not matter or affect our lives, except that they make us personally uncomfortable. There's been a whole lot of evil justified in the history of the world based on the fact that it made someone uncomfortable.
    Here you go with that "perceived" thing again. You haven't even considered for a second that some of these problems actually are new, you just assume I haven't considered the opposite - like I'm just making a "these kids today..." argument. The fact is, in our nation's history, we never have had as many people raised in broken homes as we have over the past 40 years. We haven't had participation in civic, religious, or community groups down to today's levels. The number of job changes a person goes through in a lifetime is higher than it's ever been. Nobody knows for certain what the outcome of these factors will be, but all signs do point to a more fragmented society. These are actual changes that go way beyond what might make us "personally uncomfortable."

    And evil throughout history has been justified in all kinds of ways, so there's no need to pin that exclusively on one target.

    Please refrain from using strawmen. Your concern isn't simple-minded, it arises from the basic human psychological bias that fears loss disproportionately to anticipating gain. Combine that with the consistent need that we have to find patterns in things, and it's not surprising that many come to the same conclusion you do, regardless if the evidence supports that assertion or not.
    Why is my concern a "basic psychological bias," but your lack of concern apparently the more enlightened reaction? The condescension is incredible.

  7. #67
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Why are you so certain that it's just "perceived?" This is exactly what I mean - it's dismissive for you to assume the entire argument is in the psychology of the speaker and has no grounding in reality.
    It's perceived because there's no way to establish an objective standard. It's an entirely subjective judgment based on personal standards that at least 30% of the population vehemently disagrees with. Yet, there is an air of superior knowledge that goes along with this view, like it's somehow the only way to run a society (even though the socially conservative ideal itself is an evolution of some past societal set up).

    It's a snap judgment because it's only part of the story. Were people forced into more class-based roles 50 or 60 years ago? Absolutely, and I'm glad that fact has (in part) changed. But it's also true that generations of people acting out of expectation rather than desire had a major upside.
    Wasn't the American Dream acting out of desire? Sure, the desire might be more rooted in familial ties, but it still is a desire to better one's situation. That aspect of society in this country hasn't changed one bit.

    Uh, I added the line about the '50s in there as part of my phony argument from the opposite perspective, hence the sentence being in italics. To answer your question though, there are two lines of argument: one, that decades/generations matter; and two, that the culture has pretty much remained static and only the media-created focal points have changed. Sounds like you're arguing the latter. I do actually believe the former, but that has nothing to do with my point.
    My opinion is similar, if not exactly the same as the latter. It's important to remember that the aggregate actors are essentially the same over the course of decades. People are not of fundamentally different dispositions, rather, they are influenced by different events. It's here that I find the fundamental flaw in social conservatism: how do you establish the mindsets required for a societal character of a past time when the events that influenced that character have long passed from relevance or memory?

    I don't have a utopian vision of the '50s. First off, I'm not a particular fan of that decade - if we're going with the stereotyped ethic of the era, I'd much rather return to the communitarian '40s than the white collar suburbia that followed. But I don't even have a utopian vision of the '40s. Jim Crow was still the official law of the land in the South, and unofficially in the rest of the country as well. Women were not treated as equals. Life expectancy was shorter. I don't see why recognizing these facts and still believing that many (if not most) aspects of society were better at that time counts as idealizing a "utopian" past. I do think that the combination of '70s hedonism and '80s greed have created a culture where people are far less concerned about how their actions or inactions impact others.
    How do you have that sort of an era without the devastating deprivation of the Great Depression forcing people to become closer to one another, not out of desire, but out of sheer survival necessity? For fifteen years, the world shuddered to its foundations as it faced the twin evils of utter poverty and mass murder the likes of which we've never seen since. Is it any wonder people preferred things be pleasant, as they had just experienced enough tragedy for several lifetimes?

    The world we live in today is nothing like that.

    Here you go with that "perceived" thing again. You haven't even considered for a second that some of these problems actually are new, you just assume I haven't considered the opposite - like I'm just making a "these kids today..." argument. The fact is, in our nation's history, we never have had as many people raised in broken homes as we have over the past 40 years. We haven't had participation in civic, religious, or community groups down to today's levels. The number of job changes a person goes through in a lifetime is higher than it's ever been. Nobody knows for certain what the outcome of these factors will be, but all signs do point to a more fragmented society. These are actual changes that go way beyond what might make us "personally uncomfortable."
    I promise you, the societal evils affecting the average American 100 years ago far overwhelmed anything we face today. Families routinely dissolved as people traveled the country for work. The rates of alcoholism were such that temperance was seen as a severe, but necessary solution. Civil War morphine junkie veterans still lined the streets. Children were effectively ripped from their parents as their labor was required to make sure everyone had something to eat. Life expectancy was a joke - you were expected to die before 45 of tuberculosis. The food issues have been covered extensively by others. Street gangs roamed around the major cities wreaking havoc, only to be suppressed by either political machines or the Mob. If you tried to form a union to improve the lot of your family, you'd be sure to have a Pinkerton down your neck either roughing up your loved ones or making sure you're no longer a problem for those who hired the agency. And this is if you were considered to be "white" by today's standards.

    I promise you, while things are certainly no picnic nowadays, they are in no way close to those experienced just a scant 100 years ago, never mind the 1920s and Depression years. Much like you mentioned earlier, we've just started to pay attention to previously ignored groups.

    And evil throughout history has been justified in all kinds of ways, so there's no need to pin that exclusively on one target.
    Very true, however, resistance to social change, particularly through the use of force, does not exactly have a good track record.

    Why is my concern a "basic psychological bias," but your lack of concern apparently the more enlightened reaction? The condescension is incredible.
    Let me ask you - if you get a "feeling" that things are going to hell in a handbasket, and this feeling corresponds with a known psychological bias of humans, why is it more appropriate to go with the "feeling" rather than try to understand fully what's going on? You've said it yourself - your desire for a more communitarian society is based on a personal preference (one I happen to share). However, it's still just a personal preference - for every variable which supports your ideal of a better society, there's at least another which runs counter to someone else's ideal. What gives you the authority to determine that your set of ideals is correct, if the only justification is "well, it was like that, once"?

  8. #68
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    1. Do away with no-fault divorces. That would be unethical and destructive to the family is an extreme way. It says that conflicts must be resolved through a process of blaming and punishment. The state has no right to control a personal life on this level either forcing someone to be married or forcing them to have no access to marriage. It is a gross intrusion on the person.

    2. Strengthen labor unions [the need for multiple incomes adds stress to marriages]. I agree, but not for the reason you state, but rather simply to support the fair and ethical treatment of any human being in the work place. The corporations have become criminal institutions that threaten illegal firings in response to any inclination to unionize.

    3. Mandating a year of national or military service [re-teaching the ethic of duty]. This is another way to steal freedom. The assumption that it will teach the ethic of duty is a stretch. The military is not an institution designed to teach ethics. It teaches people to obey orders and kill the enemy. That is why it exists.

    4. Use public funds to bring jobs back to old industrial towns [cut back on transient communities] This could be useful in some cases.

    5. Support same-sex marriage. [Marriage is a social stabilizer] This increases personal freedom and liberty.

    6. Increase the minimum wage. [money issues are the number one cause of divorce] This is important regardless of its impact on marriage.

    7. Teach character and civic values in school [hopefully encouraging participation in basic institutions, whether religious, civic, or community-oriented] Critical thinking and ethics should be more of a main staple of education.

    8. Stiffer prison sentences for violent offenders [crime kills neighborhoods] And lesser sentences for lesser offenses including marijuana use. The punishment should match the crime, rather than the social strata.

    9. Strict banking and wall street regulations [greed hurts families and communities] The banks and corporations should become accountable institutions. They currently have all the rights of a citizen without any of the accountability.

    10. Public support of faith-based organizations [they feed the hungry and house the poor effectively] Public support of charitable institutions, but I don't see why a tax payer should have to pay to have pamphlets printed that teach something they don't support.

    11. Medicare for all. [medical catastrophes lead to bankruptcy; bankruptcy hurts families.] Universal healthcare is a main staple in Europe. The most conservative candidate wouldn't dare touch that issue. It would be seen as more extreme than a conservative here trying to do away with public schools and the police force. Healthcare is the most fundamental human right even before education imo, since one has to have life first before they can learn.

    12. Stricter gun control laws [see #8] Possibly.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #69
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    Why are you so certain that it's just "perceived?" This is exactly what I mean - it's dismissive for you to assume the entire argument is in the psychology of the speaker and has no grounding in reality.
    Whether or not it's perceived isn't the point.

    The fact is, things ARE changing.

    We will never be able to morally, ethically, or physically go back to the past.

    The sooner we realize this and try to come up with MODERN DAY solutions to Today's problems the better.

  10. #70
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Anyway -

    1
    . Do away with no-fault divorces. Nope. Divorce at least means that property gets to be divided, along with things like child support. Without no-fault divorce, the situation would be like before - unhappy couples wouldn't get a divorce, they'd just leave one another.

    2. Strengthen labor unions [the need for multiple incomes adds stress to marriages]. Yep. Management purchases labor collectively, therefore, labor has the right to market itself collectively. The tricky part is that this would only be effective with heavy protectionist measures thrown on top - not an easy sell.

    3. Mandating a year of national or military service [re-teaching the ethic of duty]. The concept of national duty is a fairly new one. Duty gets in the way of questioning authority when commanded to act unethically. Rigid hierarchy is just a means of exploitation

    4. Use public funds to bring jobs back to old industrial towns [cut back on transient communities] What would the nature of these jobs be?

    5. Support same-sex marriage. [Marriage is a social stabilizer] No reason why not.

    6. Increase the minimum wage. [money issues are the number one cause of divorce] Agreed. Money may not bring happiness, but you know what really doesn't bring happiness? Not having money.

    7. Teach character and civic values in school [hopefully encouraging participation in basic institutions, whether religious, civic, or community-oriented] Yeah, strict conformity might not be ideal - rather than attempt to strictly inculcate these qualities, provide plenty of opportunities for these qualities to arise within the students themselves.

    8. Stiffer prison sentences for violent offenders [crime kills neighborhoods] No. Our incarceration rate is already a national embarrassment. Crime follows poverty, and nothing solidifies poverty like persistent institutionalization of a community. "Tough on crime" measures almost invariably lead to disproportionate impact on minority communities, further entrenching them in disadvantage.

    9. Strict banking and wall street regulations [greed hurts families and communities] Agreed.

    10. Public support of faith-based organizations [they feed the hungry and house the poor effectively] None whatsoever. Strict separation is to the benefit of churches more than it is the state. If any state money went to a religious organization, that organization cannot promote its faith in the allocation of these funds.

    11. Medicare for all. [medical catastrophes lead to bankruptcy; bankruptcy hurts families.] It. Just. Works.

    12. Stricter gun control laws [see #8] More flexibility, I'd say. Let rural areas be free and cities more restrictive. The two do not have the same demands as one another[/quote]

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