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Thread: Politics

  1. #1
    You're fired. Lol. Antimony's Avatar
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    Default Politics

    I'm 17. I don't know much about politics. I don't even really know where to begin.

    What are your political beliefs, and why? What are your values? For those of you who like to rant and provide statistics- please, do. I would absolutely love facts and numbers.

    Media related things will be taken with a grain of salt. There is always so much more to the story. So unless you find something really good, don't bother. Yeah, I could pick apart their wording, but it is THEIR wording.

    I'm going to be doing some research myself, but I think this could be a valuable resource.

    Also- in making my decision, I wish to be as empirical as possible. There are a multitude of 'facts' out there that I think are faulty at best. So it isn't the amount of information I receive, it is the content.
    Excuse me, but does this smell like chloroform to you?

    Always reserve the right to become smarter at a future point in time, for only a fool limits themselves to all they knew in the past. -Alex

  2. #2
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    I hate how difficult it is to get unbiased news and how easy it is for politicians to bullshit people to get their votes. One of these days I'm going to make one of those "despair.com" posters with a pic of someone on Fox News that says something like "MISINFORMATION: Well duh, we won't get their votes if we tell them the truth!"

    Wikipedia might be a good place to start. Scroll to near the bottom to read the part about left vs right, and libertarian vs authoritarian. From there, you can click on other links to get more info.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics

    You could start with the ideology that seems most right to you, and then adjust your viewpoint as you find out more information by challenging it, and talking to people who agree with you but have more information, and also by talking to people who disagree but have more information. Just beware that there is a lot of misinformation, and deliberate or not-so-deliberate spinning of opposing viewpoints to make them sound ridiculous, or because they don't understand them.

    Make sure you understand as many viewpoints as possible before choosing your own. And be willing to recognize when there is spin on the side that you find yourself aligning with, so you don't find yourself falling into the same trap as everyone else of being gullible to manipulation and misinformation.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I'm a socialist. For a lot of reasons which could be considered conservative, the importance of work ethics, providing people with outlets to be productive, independent people capable of earning at least a modest income to support themselves and their families or dependents. I dont think that mankind, at least in the developed world, is a frustrated consumer so much as a frustrated producer. Humanistic conscience and humanistic religion are big parts of my values matrix which mandate this.

    Although besides that I think I hate servility and in the last instance the opposite of a servile society is a democracy and socialists have wanted to see democracy and self-government extended the most. Conservatives are fans of elites and liberals want to restrict individual sovereignty to consumer sovereignty, with people buying and selling one another, that disgusts me. Where either of those things succeed they are ultimately corrupting to both parties, either the commercial or elitist positions. The values and norms of self-government I value are not the same beast as American libertarianism (which I think is phony anyway, an attempt to reframe the cultural landscape when individualism was equated with equally unpopular selfishness) but edwardian liberalism as it imrpessed GDH Cole, Bertand Russell, George Orwell and syndicalists in the UK.

    I'm also a cultural conservative. The reason is that a lot of norms and values which I believe are vital and used to be universal have now become the preserve of conservatives, I think this has been a result of a combination of the right wing's propaganda coup and the left becoming more and more fragmented and less and less able to convey its own traditions and heritage while integrating social change in the process.

    A lot of the norms and values which have become ascendent with the fragmentation of socialist and left wing movements are alienating to me, while I am relatively sympathetic to some of what these tendencies aimed to achieve in the first instance (being a minority myself) but I think they have changed, at best, they are alienating to me and I'm totally estranged from them, at worst I'm as hostile towards them as they choose to be towards me.

    These values all have much earlier, earlier precursors, steming right back to ancient debates about ethics, the selfish versus self-sacrificing, where the balance is, and ancient philosophy too and world religions, all of which interests me along with psychology.

    The reason being is that I believe that all the problems in the world can be traced to the world being out of tune with human nature, this has been a historical thing, the consequence of wars, natural disasters, famine, disease, shortages, scarcity, crisis and while its inevitable that the world will remain imperfect and every effort to better it could be and frequently is set back by unforeseen crisis, the war, natural disasters etc. it is still worth making efforts to restructure the world and defend what is good in it already.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, links and bullshit like that. Hmm.

    This is the single book on politics I would recommend. It is a fair treatment of all modern political ideologies, including those that cant speak their name, the updated version has a chapter on fundamentalism which I've not read. It is fair towards all ideologies, revealing the dark side of liberalism, ecologism and feminism, which usually framed as unassailably progressive or good even if impractical, while providing surprising secret histories of others, socialists who favour inequality, markets and private proprietorship, conservatives who favour planned economies and keynesianism, nationalists who where internationalist. The only chapter which I thought was unfair was perhaps that on anarchism, which was rehabilitated as an ideology academically and popuarly after Vincent was originally writing by people like Chomsky or the anarchist FAQ online.

    http://books.google.co.uk/books/abou...d=agBaYeKPL-gC

    Ian Gilmour is a UK conservative who gets mentioned in Vincent's book, he has been a keynesianism for most of his political life and wrote a book called Britain Can Work (which was an attack on both monetarism/Thatcherism and a political ad campaign by Satchi and Satchi which featured a dole que and the words "Labour Isnt Working", meaning both the party and the workers):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Gil...of_Craigmillar

    Unfortunately he was convinced that the Cameron ascendency in the UK conservative party meant a return to keynesian conservatism providing an alternative to the US and EU but it has failed to materialise. They are enthralled to the capitalists in the City as ever. Still he provides an example of the real alternative to the extremes of central planning and free markets.

    Good ideas of what could be tried as an alternative when capitalism's arteries finally, and unmistakeably, harden into something not even libertarians can be hopeful about:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economics

    Seven or eight years ago I favoured participatory economics, I'm not such a fan today, being a greater fan of ideas of a more mixed economy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_democracy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Schweickart

    Other ideas, good challengers to ParEcon.

    I've also been influenced by resource economists like Henry George, whose consideration about land being a natural monopoly made sense to me but I would consider there to be more resources which are natural monopolies than simply land, I agree strongly with GDH Cole that the welfare state should go and in its place a universal payment replace all benefits or services and some sort of gradual repossession of land by a single state proprietor along Georgist lines should replace it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_george

    The universal payment idea is close to another basic income or citizen stipend or wage idea, it is similar to the social dividend paid to residents where some resource, such as oil, is nationalised (I think something like it may exist in Alaska?). It has support across the political divide, the academic on anyway, with Charles Murray and Samuel Brittan (a hardline Thatcherite monetarist) supporting versions of the idea:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

    http://www.samuelbrittan.co.uk/index.html

    I personally think that this idea could be a gradiated one, in which people work reduced hours, top up their existing incomes with the money from the basic income scheme, it would permit the circulation of money in the economy and ensure subsistence while making for time and freedom for the real innovative economic activity.

  5. #5
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    @Antimony

    Also keep in mind that there are conflicting definitions of basic terms like liberal and conservative.

    Lark is calling himself conservative, which is considered right-wing politics in the US, and then describing values which would be considered left wing liberal in the US. In the US, socialism is considered radical left-wing liberal, while it is considered more the norm in most other first-world countries, such as across Europe.

    Also, what is now called libertarian in the US, used to be called liberal (now also called "classical liberal"), yet most libertarians here vote conservative/ Republican for the fiscal policy. It's all very confusing. Libertarian is now considered socially liberal and fiscally conservative by today's American definitions of liberal and conservative.

    Personally, I've become a bit more libertarian over the years; more fiscally conservative, and more socially liberal. Freedom! I'm not sure I would quite call myself libertarian, though. I tend to see more necessity for certain regulations than most libertarians do. The economic shit hole we've gotten ourselves into over the last few decades is partly because of corrupt deregulation that should never have been allowed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redcheerio View Post
    @Antimony

    Also keep in mind that there are conflicting definitions of basic terms like liberal and conservative.

    Lark is calling himself conservative, which is considered right-wing politics in the US, and then describing values which would be considered left wing liberal in the US. In the US, socialism is considered radical left-wing liberal, while it is considered more the norm in most other first-world countries, such as across Europe.

    Also, what is now called libertarian in the US, used to be called liberal (now also called "classical liberal"), yet most libertarians here vote conservative/ Republican for the fiscal policy. It's all very confusing. Libertarian is now considered socially liberal and fiscally conservative by today's American definitions of liberal and conservative.

    Personally, I've become a bit more libertarian over the years; more fiscally conservative, and more socially liberal. Freedom! I'm not sure I would quite call myself libertarian, though. I tend to see more necessity for certain regulations than most libertarians do. The economic shit hole we've gotten ourselves into over the last few decades is partly because of corrupt deregulation that should never have been allowed.
    Eric Fromm's book Escape from Freedom, republished as Fear of Freedom, is all about freedom but he would consider the "freedom" of fiscal conservativism to be Orwellian doublespeak, as would I, and I'm not sure what he would make of what is described as socially liberal.

    Terminologies may differ but I find that in the US they are simplistic and confusing.

    For instance describing the UK or EU as radically left wing liberal is highly contradictory considering there is a consensus favouring tax cuts, deregulation and special arrangements for the rich and corporations in the UK, its been that way for generations and for more than seven years of Labour government (the conservatives are embarked upon radical cuts which would make US conservatives cringe). Likewise in the EU context besides France there have been conservative parties, such as the German Christian Democrats, in power as much or more than any left or liberal party.

    The difference is that capitalism and what the rich may want are not synonymous with freedom, national interests or fiscal conservatism as they are in the US.

  7. #7
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Eric Fromm's book Escape from Freedom, republished as Fear of Freedom, is all about freedom but he would consider the "freedom" of fiscal conservativism to be Orwellian doublespeak, as would I, and I'm not sure what he would make of what is described as socially liberal.

    Terminologies may differ but I find that in the US they are simplistic and confusing.

    For instance describing the UK or EU as radically left wing liberal is highly contradictory considering there is a consensus favouring tax cuts, deregulation and special arrangements for the rich and corporations in the UK, its been that way for generations and for more than seven years of Labour government (the conservatives are embarked upon radical cuts which would make US conservatives cringe). Likewise in the EU context besides France there have been conservative parties, such as the German Christian Democrats, in power as much or more than any left or liberal party.

    The difference is that capitalism and what the rich may want are not synonymous with freedom, national interests or fiscal conservatism as they are in the US.
    That's why I don't consider myself libertarian. I think too much deregulation is dangerous because greed is too much a part of human nature to let it run "free". But I am pretty socially liberal, or at least relative to American politics. I don't see the point of spending a lot of time and money punishing people for doing their own thing if they aren't hurting anyone else.

    As for "fiscally conservative", I just meant that I have moved more in that direction relative to when I was younger, in recognition that people can be lazy, so we need ways to separate the lazy people from the people who need some help from social services as a launching pad out of poverty and into independence. I don't see the "trickle down" effect happening much, though. Incentives for innovation and small businesses to succeed, yes! Tax cuts for billionnaires to get richer at the expense of everyone else, no.

  8. #8
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    I admire your goal, Antimony, but I've gotta tell you that you can't have strong political beliefs without some sort of value system to back them up. In other words: there's only so much that your political opinions can waver if your morals/values are reinforcing them.

    Consider that Lark consistently mentioned his values, throughout his descriptions of his political views. (Nothing against that; in fact I'm about to do the same thing in this post.) It's pretty much impossible to convince someone to believe a certain thing politically without morals being involved somehow -- because as empirical/objective as you will try to be, certain appeals to morality will resonate with you more.

    But since you asked:
    I'm a member of what they call the "Religious Left" in America. I am, though not devout, a fairly dedicated Episcopalian, and their beliefs in the values of providing for the poor and needy, and treating everyone with equality and respect -- as well as belief in personal sacrifice for the greater good -- link in my mind with beliefs in universal health care, environmental regulations, significant tax hikes on the wealthy, assault weapon control, etc.

    I can't think of many very good sources of data on this perspective, but two that come to mind are the books of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the documentaries of Michael Moore (which, though skewed (obviously), have enough trustworthy data that they have gained some appeal outside of the far left wing; especially Fahrenheit 9/11). Also, "Homegrown Democrat" by Garrison Keillor.

    As for stats: the stats that back my opinion up are stats regarding increasing inequality of wealth in America, rising health insurance costs, and the basic fact that American health insurance does not cover everyone, but Western European health insurance does. In my opinion, a longer line is worth it, because keeping all Americans healthy, housed and well-fed is a higher priority than my personal comfort.
    Quote Originally Posted by redcheerio View Post
    That's why I don't consider myself libertarian. I think too much deregulation is dangerous because greed is too much a part of human nature to let it run "free".
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    I admire your goal, Antimony, but I've gotta tell you that you can't have strong political beliefs without some sort of value system to back them up. In other words: there's only so much that your political opinions can waver if your morals/values are reinforcing them.
    That's true, political beliefs are often a reflection of one's first principles overall.

    I can't think of many very good sources of data on this perspective....
    Don't know if this entirely applies to you, but this might be of help:
    Anglo-Catholic Socialism
    At the very least, has plenty of resources on the "religious left".

  10. #10
    Senior Member redcheerio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    ...providing for the poor and needy, and treating everyone with equality and respect -- as well as belief in personal sacrifice for the greater good -- link in my mind with beliefs in universal health care, environmental regulations, significant tax hikes on the wealthy, assault weapon control, etc.

    As for stats: the stats that back my opinion up are stats regarding increasing inequality of wealth in America, rising health insurance costs, and the basic fact that American health insurance does not cover everyone, but Western European health insurance does. In my opinion, a longer line is worth it, because keeping all Americans healthy, housed and well-fed is a higher priority than my personal comfort.
    I have similar values, especially having been raised in a Christian home. This is why I find the Tea Party movement of the far right wing conservatives strange and contradictory. They are supposedly strongly religious and Christian, yet they are the ones who cheered when the Tea Party founder would not give a straight answer to the question about leaving someone without health care to die. They are also the ones who seem to be the biggest warmongers.



    Certainly not What Jesus Would Do, at least from everything I learned in the Bible growing up. Because of that, I find it strange that it attracts the religious right. It seems so amazingly hypocritical to me.

    (I don't consider myself religious, but I'm familiar with the teachings and still hold many of the same values.)

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