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  1. #11
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kephalos View Post
    A few semesters ago I took a class on Public Economics and the professor presented an argument that I agreed with whole-heartedly. Suppose that political preferences can be represented along a horizontal axis. Also let the support for that policy (from the extremes to the center) be represented by bell-curve -- I think it was a normal distribution: now a political party that supported the radical solutions on either extreme would get less votes than a political party that supported a more moderate (near the center) policy. That was the median voter theorem. But, if two parties supported what the median voter wants, they would each get fifty percent of the vote, that is, not enough to have a majority. The professor said that a party needed to get some of the more extremist votes, so what a party could do was to resort to more radical discourse and thus have a bare majority to court it. So, it is possible that what you see as more right-wing polarization is really a strategy to court the vote of the more extreme opinion while intending to pursue a more moderate policy once the Republican party -- putatively -- increases its share of power in Congress.

    As for welfare entitlements I will quote a recent article by Anthony de Jasay:



    I mean, how much did progressive welfare entitlements really go down during the past Republican administration?
    That's the old saying "He thinks like a Tory and talks like a Radical and that's so important these days" (Oscar Wilde).

    How would a professor account for the fact that it only really happens on the right wing of the political spectrum, you dont get a moderate left party ever talking hard left to appeal to the margins.

    Its always the right wing and whether they mean it or not they have succeeded in moving the centre ground to the right. For instance the Clinton administration was fiscally conservative and reduced the national debt in time for the Bush administrations creation of Homeland Security, that's an entirely new agency and source of graduate recruitment, and military adventures in the wake of 9/11. That rightward swing isnt acknowledged by the right wing, not even the moderates or politicians, instead it has involved a rebranding of moderate left wingers as militant extremists.

    Why didnt the Bush administration reduce welfare? They where on the record as suggesting they would replace it entirely with private charity. That is what has alienated their supporters because like the communists in Russia when confronted with the unworkability of the ideas in practice instead of abandoning the ideas or revising them they decided a great betrayal had taken place by key players who usurped the whole deal.

    Those supporters ARE alienated, they are stewing in anger and stockpiling arms and ammunition, maybe they'll keep themselves to themselves like they suggest is their plan but I suspect any sort of upheavel and they will come out shooting. Like opening fire on an unarmed and peaceful trade union picket kind of thing. If anyone intervenes to keep the peace then they'll shoot them too.

    I dont think its really a matter of politicians and elected representative making policy in office that is something to worry about. The Tea Partiers for instance dont imagine themselves to be partisan, sure they have a special hatred for the left wing but they hate the right wing too because they imagine that they are left wing too (the left wing being thought of in reductive terms of anything the state does).

    Re: Welfare I think there's evidence enough that people may fiddle with it but that the reality is its needed to circulate the money in a mass producing, mass consuming economy, I favour a fairer means than unemployment benefits for doing that but when all tax and spending is attacked the same the conservative snake really is swallowing its own tail.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    America has always been a very backwards country. The young people seem very civil and the old so virulent. It's like they're trying not to go gentle into that good night.

    Yes, I saw an American sign that said they wanted Churchill back. Maybe they want to reinstate British rule?
    I know what the Churchill talk means but I'm finding it hard to believe.

  3. #13
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I know what the Churchill talk means but I'm finding it hard to believe.
    Could you tell me what it means? Because I'm confused as to how you could want something back that you never had in the first place.

    Oh neat, there's a solidarity icon now.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  4. #14
    Senior Member Kephalos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    How would a professor account for the fact that it only really happens on the right wing of the political spectrum, you dont get a moderate left party ever talking hard left to appeal to the margins.
    Well, I wouldn't know that much about United States politics, but here in Mexico the left-wing party is the one doing exactly what I described. Here, there is a big conflict between an Electricians' Union and the (right-wing) Federal Government over the dissolution of a state-owned electric distribution company. There are presidential and congressional elections in July 2012 and the left-wing mayor of Mexico City is angling to become his party's candidate. So what does he do? He does nothing when the electricians block streets in protest against the dissolution. That is not necessarily inflammatory rhetoric, but it is a gesture of support for a pet cause of the Left and more importantly it is a gesture in favor of a method of doing politics that the more radical Mexican left often uses. However, during his administration he also has repeatedly gone against his predecessor's transit and sub-contracting policies -- adopting positions more akin to those of the Federal Government. This is speculation, but I doubt that, if Mexico City's mayor became President, he would bring back the aforementioned electric distribution company, given that the company was unprofitable and highly unpopular.
    Last edited by Kephalos; 09-08-2010 at 09:08 PM. Reason: bad choice of words

  5. #15
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    The right wing has become so zealous that it sees moderate politicians as internal threats to the USA and even the core values upon which our society is based.

    The left wing has experienced its greatest disappointment in what is now around a 35 year history of disappointments, feeling that Obama and his allies controling both bodies of the legislature have proven disillusioningly unprogressive.

    If it any point the left wing finally gets someone that it feels represents their beliefs into the political circles of influence again (you know, some sort of great society, new deal kind people), I think all hell will break loose. That is when the two fronts meet.

    If the right wing hates the current politicians so much, how are they going to respond to politicians that the left wing can actually call its own? I think they'll handle it like Martian invasion, or the second coming. The right wing will find these new left wing progressives ideologically incomprehensible and will have about as much respect for them as a Bolshevik had for a kulak. The left wing, for their part, will be staunchly rooted in the sense that they are entitled to be respresented by these politicians after what they consider so many years of being impotent and ignored.

    The difference, I conjecture, should be irreconcilable. What kind of conflict it will turn into, I cannot exactly say, but a conflict it will be. It's going to be something big, something that will shape the history of this country for the rest of its existence. That's usually what happens with irreconcilable political differences.

    Somehow, the whole paradigm of reasonable disagreement and loyal opposition has disappeared. My own guess is that it had to do with the Democrats over-exposing and over-extending themselves, subsequently resulting in decades of their ideological commitment declining directly coinciding with the Republicans ideological commitment inclining. That eventually brought us to this situation, in which letting the Republicans go unchecked would be dangerous for this country, but the political gap is so wide that no attampt to check them can be civil anymore.

    Throw in an economic depression and fading glory on the international stage and you have a great backdrop for political disagreements to boil over.

    The balance got all screwed up and there is no comfortable way to set it back. Or is there?

    Let's suppose that it doesn't have to play out in the boundaries I've set: How could we possible reconcile this situation? One must understand that it can't be acceptable to completely ignore or disregard all the people in the USA who might, for example, actually want universal healthcare (or various other progressive, left-leaning policies). On the other hand, I have no idea how to calm down the right wing at this point. When I see the venom that comes from them, and the incredibly burning anger with which it is ejected, I see people that can't be reasoned with
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I kind of think most of American politics is smoke and mirrors. It's kind of sad and funny at the same time. I like to watch the Daily Show, because the whole thing is rediculous.

    My take: the Republican party is actually the party most honest with itself. They know that they're corporate tools, so they play the part accordingly. The Democratic party on the other hand still wants to do good, but they need (or want) corporate money to fight their battles (and enjoy other perks on the side). So the result is that the Republicans become more right wing and the Democrats become more centrist. The whole nation gradually is shifting right. The show we see on our TVs is really to distract us from seeing that corporations are calling most of the shots.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I've got to say that I agree with MP though, the left and right in America are becoming more polarised and also more identifiable, if you dont cut a particular profile you're not welcome in their respective camps, the hostility is getting ramped up too.

    The only faction which I would expect to make trouble would be the right wing, not maybe in the sense of organised uprisings but perhaps simple things like getting pulled over escalating into fire fights, that's mainly going to be a problem for the authorities.

    The right wing are also tooled up and have had years of preparedness and self-reliance propaganda the left has ignored. I used to be a visitor to a US watch site when I met a guy who was pretty funny on a socialist website, he was kind of trolling the place but had a lot of interesting points too. I dont visit anymore, I didnt get banned but things got to such a pitch that being a state employee pretty much put me outside the boundary of civil exchanges, it was all swearing, hate, pretty awful things said. That site now is pretty much only a preparedness site, there's kind of a consensus, the talking is done, now lets get ready. Ready for what I'm not sure but they expect a left wing government to get elected eventually and to resist it with force.

    The left is not organised and its not prepared either, I dont think anywhere globally that it is but in the US it could have to contend with some pretty mean armed elements its a little different. The long detour into identity politics, particularly minority identities, has meant they dont have a lot of support, it doesnt matter if the policies are good if their purveyors provoke a basic dislike.

    Perhaps big shifts in policy only happen at the behest of corporations or the military industrial complex but other things can happen too, a lot of the right wing are totally disillusioned by their party, they wanted Bush to whole sale abolish state benefits and it didnt happen, they dont know who to vote for to make that happen. I see it as kind of the US's equivalent of communism in Russia, until its demonstrably unworkable and possibly even then the perfectionist schemes of the right will hold appeal and motivate crazy demands.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    How would a professor account for the fact that it only really happens on the right wing of the political spectrum, you dont get a moderate left party ever talking hard left to appeal to the margins.

    Its always the right wing and whether they mean it or not they have succeeded in moving the centre ground to the right. For instance the Clinton administration was fiscally conservative and reduced the national debt in time for the Bush administrations creation of Homeland Security, that's an entirely new agency and source of graduate recruitment, and military adventures in the wake of 9/11. That rightward swing isnt acknowledged by the right wing, not even the moderates or politicians, instead it has involved a rebranding of moderate left wingers as militant extremists.

    Why didnt the Bush administration reduce welfare? They where on the record as suggesting they would replace it entirely with private charity. That is what has alienated their supporters because like the communists in Russia when confronted with the unworkability of the ideas in practice instead of abandoning the ideas or revising them they decided a great betrayal had taken place by key players who usurped the whole deal.

    Those supporters ARE alienated, they are stewing in anger and stockpiling arms and ammunition, maybe they'll keep themselves to themselves like they suggest is their plan but I suspect any sort of upheavel and they will come out shooting. Like opening fire on an unarmed and peaceful trade union picket kind of thing. If anyone intervenes to keep the peace then they'll shoot them too.

    I dont think its really a matter of politicians and elected representative making policy in office that is something to worry about. The Tea Partiers for instance dont imagine themselves to be partisan, sure they have a special hatred for the left wing but they hate the right wing too because they imagine that they are left wing too (the left wing being thought of in reductive terms of anything the state does).
    This is precisely what I've been hearing (On a Christian board), and for the past two elections, at least. They had Bush, and even the congress at the same time for a while, and you would think they would have been happy (since in the Reagan years, they blamed the "liberal Congress" for everything, in addition to Carter, and later Clinton), but by then, they were screaming that the Republicans were "closet Democrats". Prt of the problems were the moral issues of abortion and gay rights, of course.

    In 2004, you heard about this increasing push for a third party, and the one many were rallying behind was the Constitution Party, with the radically right Peroutka! The scariest thing about it, was that those conservatives whio opposed only did so on the grounds that they knew he wouldn't win, and the Democrats would get the votes!
    I remembered I couldn't wait for the 2008 election, to see if that movement would gain steam, but it seems they gave up.

    Now, it seems they are not happy with much of anyone, and can do nothing but bash Obama. (It seems Huckabee and Romney were the ones some of them were behind, but even then, they didn't seem to be that much enthusiasm about them. Just anybody but the Democrats and mainstream Republicans).

    Re: Welfare I think there's evidence enough that people may fiddle with it but that the reality is its needed to circulate the money in a mass producing, mass consuming economy, I favour a fairer means than unemployment benefits for doing that but when all tax and spending is attacked the same the conservative snake really is swallowing its own tail.
    I think that's just a smokescreen issue (and it was even reformed, and under Clinton of all people), while they continue justifying corporate greed, and if anyone points it out, they tell you to stop "whining' or being "jealous". But as has been pointed out here, guess who is controlling all of this. (The Republican partly may be aware of this, but it's the voters who think they can do no wrong; even in tha bailouts, Obama was to blame!)
    Here's a good article on tax rhetoric:
    Thom Hartmann: The Great Tax Con Job

    Looking at it psychologically, there is a lot of projection going on in the Right. They are so bent on trying to prove someone is out to get them (including through such stuff as "reverse racism"; hence the focus on "taxes" and "welfare"), yet they are the ones who have never owned up to their own
    endency to control and oppress (or at least their identifying with past institutions that did). They tell others not to whine, but they are doing nothing but complaining, and more loudly than anyone else.
    Hence, while they stockpile up weapons defensively, it will likely end up becoming offensive, and stuff like Oklahoma City (the biggest act of homeland terrorism before 9-11) basically foreshadowed this.
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  6. #16
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Here's the latest darling of the conservative attack
    http://www.youtube.com/v/EfH46DTAkxo?fs=1&hl=en_US

    It would be funny if all this sarcasm and hostility being substituted for real solutions blew up in their face, and they did not 'take back the country' in November!
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  7. #17
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Cool The Moon and the Noosphere

    Americans never resolve their differences, they just move on. This is because they believe the Frontier is forever beckoning them.

    But the Frontier ended with the Moon Shot and now there is nowhere to go. So instead of exploding out to the Frontier, they invented the Internet are now imploding inward to their origins.

    They seek the origin of the species in the sequencing of the genome and the origin of their souls in the internet.

    The explosion of American literacy took us to the Moon, where will the implosion of the noosphere take us now?

  8. #18
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Could you tell me what it means? Because I'm confused as to how you could want something back that you never had in the first place.

    Oh neat, there's a solidarity icon now.
    Churchill wrote about the US being the future hegemon at the end of WW2, its pretty complex and to do with his unambiguously imperialist and ethno-nationalistic politics but he basically saw the US as a depository of anglo-saxon norms and culture and that its ruling in the sted of the British Empire was fine as a consequence.

    Churchill felt that the UK had sold out to socialism with as minor economic and social reform as pensions, let alone the national health service, so the US which did not make the same sorts of changes and looked like it was shaping up to be the next war fighting nation was Churchill's iconoclastic future state.

    A lot of his writings about this would correspond pretty closely to the neo-con project for a new American century but I'm pretty sure that its a pretty facile reading of it that results in the kind of connections which those which use the jargon are making. Most of the time when US pundits or politicians describe the UK as Churchillian they mean that the UK knows its place as a subordinate and very junior partner which is dependent for its defences against other more powerful nations upon US support, a satellite state in war debt bondage.

  9. #19
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Oh, wow, I didn't know that!

    The more you know.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  10. #20
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    Oh, wow, I didn't know that!

    The more you know.
    The brits pretty much gave the Americans the atomic bomb, they had a smaller version which didnt work properly, before that they game the Americans radar and "the beam" a single along which bombers could fly in order to reach targets.

    There'd been a lot going on behind the scenes before that to try and bring the US into the war, although Churchill definitely did want to give up on the UK as a dead socialist duck and did consider the US the new great nation to preserve his ethno-cultural ideals.

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