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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nharkey View Post
    Hmm, I am struggling with this a little as being the most basic conflict of visions. It certainly separates a tribal vision from what I think is an uber-tribal vision (government is your tribe, not family), and I certainly would not disagree with that. However, I think there is something else (perhaps deeper) that underlies all of this, and that is an assumption about the nature of human nature. I owe a lot of my thinking about this to Thomas Sowell's Conflict of Visions, but remarkably enough I clarified it some more for my self while writing a book on Parenting by Temperament. If you have the patience to read through a quote about human nature in babies I will try to carry this forward. "...young children are both loving and cooperative and selfish and demanding--depending on the circumstances. This is not only okay, it is absolutely necessary. Because they really do have to motivate themselves, children also come equipped with determination, perseverance, and a perfectly useful sense that their needs are the most important thing in the world. The screaming newborn is acting from an instinctive reflex that seeks to relieve discomfort, hunger or distress, but the screaming six month old who has just dropped a spoon from the high chair and wants it back--now-- is asserting her absolute intent ( and right) to have it so. Writers may describe this as self-centered, or that even more dreadful sounding word--egocentric. Of course it is. What you may or may not have considered is that this is a good thing. Nature sees to it that children have the tools, first to motivate parents to feed and care for them, and then to allow them to try to master everything they come upon, as fast as their little neurons can get it together. The wet or hungry baby who lay there thinking "oh dear, I wonder if anyone would get upset if I cry?" would be in serious risk of malnutrition or at least a lot of soggy diapers."

    Brushing past all the parentese, my point is that for all human beings, regardless of temperament differences, cultural differences, etc. life starts with the self, not with others. If we grow up well and wisely we come to care about others (also) and perhaps even put them first under some special circumstances with children, spouses, close family, but this does not extend to faceless strangers in ever widening circles. Early in his book Sowell makes the point that it would be utterly exhausting and unproductive if we desperately grieved every time a tragedy happened to anyone, anywhere in the world.

    We do come to recognize that the limitations on what we can have are built into the life we want to share with others. We learn to cooperate and share, but it never changes the essential duty and desire that we have to take care of ourselves. Friends, families and governments may be able to change our behaviors, but not our inner drive to organize our own lives in pleasing ways, nor our decreasing sense of emotional closeness to others who are less and less known and at further and further distance from us. Socialism/communism ends up having to turn coercive because it assumes that "from each according to this abilities and to each according to his needs" will just naturally happen under the right sort of government. It doesn't and never will, and so government has to give us the ugly boot in the face to keep the state going. And of course that really isn't productive either and it all eventually collapses.

    So, for me, the most fundamental difference in vision is that a. human nature is a given and is much as I have described it, or b. human nature is plastic and the right government can get us all behaving as it wishes.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great One View Post
    I'm not even sure I'll vote this year to tell the truth.
    I have yet to vote (I am 21) but I have been a delegate to the SC state democrats convention for 3 years.
    Dirt Farmer

  3. #23
    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    I can't help but feel like there is a false dichotomy being presented here...
    "The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it."
    ― Woodrow Wilson

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinker683 View Post
    I can't help but feel like there is a false dichotomy being presented here...
    The path that will move us forward, will take the best ideas from both sides and combine them.

    Compromise is the hallmark of a well functioning republic.

  5. #25
    Junior Member nharkey's Avatar
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    I really appreciate your support here. Many thanks!

  6. #26

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    I realize, @Discobuiscuit, that you are just pointing to one person’s opinion, which is not necessarily yours.

    Keep in mind that his sort of identity politics has a way of losing voters that you would otherwise have. In the 2004-2008 time frame, I was on the fence.

    I have voted many times for Republicans (I especially liked Doug Ose), and was close to choosing McCain for president (frankly, Palin lost my vote for him). This sort of “us v. them”, insular, xenophobic mentality will often put otherwise reasonable people in the “them” category.

    I firmly believe Romney would lose the identity politics game, because he can easily be pegged as the spoiled rich kid and bully who liked to force conformity, while Obama can easily be branded as someone who had to actually work to get where he did with the odds against him.

    Luckily, there is evidence that Romney is attempting to make this campaign about ideas, and not identity: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/24/us...f-our-era.html

    If he continues that way, I think he is more likely to win. If he can show himself to be a problem-solver, and not a partisan hack, he’ll get my vote.

    But back to this author’s opinion: I realize the person who wrote this won’t answer, but many questions are raised by this editorial.

    If anyone shares any of the author’s perspectives, would you mind responding to my comments and questions?

    Barack Obama and Mitt Romney offer us a contrast not only in economic philosophy, political experience and religious upbringing. They also offer the voter an intensely different worldview of the proper place of the individual in our society.

    Obama is a mystery man, while Romney comes from a mystery tribe.
    Mystery man vs. mystery tribe? This seems like a pot-shot at Mormons. This part made little sense to me. Can someone explain?

    The president is a contradiction. Born of a white mother and an African father in what was then the most exotic part of America, raised in a Muslim country, schooled on both coasts, Barack Obama finally decided to put down his roots on the South Side of Chicago. He defies easy description.
    Contradiction? This simply means he has seen many parts of the world and country growing up and has some perspective. Is that a bad thing?

    The former Massachusetts governor seems easy to figure out. His father was a governor and once a leading presidential candidate. Romney met his wife in high school, had business success, was a leader in his church and has a big, beautiful family, which are all typical attributes of a political star. Where Obama had to search far and wide for where to plant his roots, Romney is rooted firmly in his family tradition. But that family tradition and the church that is so central to it remains inaccessible and somewhat discomforting to non-Mormons.
    Wow. Just wow. I’m not sure what to make of this.

    So if someone didn’t have a father of influence, didn’t meet their wife in high-school, wasn’t a leader in their church, or have a “big, beautiful family”, then they don’t have the qualities of a ”political star”? The only qualm is that the church was Mormon?

    That whole paragraphs drips with xenophobia, insularity, and cronyism.

    Isn’t the author’s sentiment here exactly the “look-the-part” mentality of a person of privilege and wealth? How is this expected to appeal to the average voter?

    Isn’t this xenophobic mentality, and the desire to conform and force conformity, that got young Romney to forcefully pin-down and cut off someone’s hair: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi...KFU_story.html
    and lead a blind person into a closed door?:
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...nd-romney.html

    The president is individualism personified. Romney is the product of a successful tribalism.

    Obama, as a result, reflects the urges of an individualistic society, one where the highest value is placed on an individual’s happiness. If it feels good, go ahead and do it. This worldview fits in perfectly with the vast majority of the Democratic base, which sees individual expression as the most important freedom to be preserved.
    So is the author saying that the Republican base believes that individual expression is not the most important freedom to be preserved?

    Which freedom would be most important then, if not freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and the petition of grievances?

    Isn’t this the first amendment the one that ensures that all other rights stay intact?

    Who would find a society that devalues freedom of expression appealing?

    Romney places more emphasis on tribal dynamics and social stability. The New York Times had a story this weekend that portrayed Romney as a strict enforcer of church rules. For him, an individual gains happiness from a well-ordered society, where people obey the rules, even if they seem trivial.

    Human society has played out this philosophical debate for thousands of years. What is paramount to a culture’s survival: individual freedom or a rules-conscious society based on a common moral standard?
    This reads like absolute nonsense. When has individual freedom and a rules-conscious society ever been a dichotomy? I can only think of cases when a dictator or ruling class wants to make sure the subjects “stay in line.”

    What NYT story is he alluding to here? Is it similar to this hit piece in Salon: http://www.salon.com/2011/11/22/mitt...cer/singleton/
    So what is the author applauding here? Threatening to excommunicate a church member if she didn’t give up her child for adoption? (Romney denies the threat and says he only advised her to give the child up for adoption. But is that advice the “strict enforcement” the author is talking about?)

    In Christian-speak, isn’t petty rule enforcement in contradiction to what is right called “being a Pharisee”?

    Or is the story being alluded to more like this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/us...pagewanted=all , where there is no talk about “strict enforcement” and paints Romney in a rather good light.

    Frankly, I think Romney would do better if he distanced himself from opinions like the Feehery’s.

    I find it sad that Romney had to avoid talking about his faith and what could possibly have been his most life-transforming social role in order to “look the part” for his party.

    At this point, however, I think he just needs prove himself as mature, caring, and intelligent --a problem-solver, and competent leader. That is what will win the independents. Forget the partisan hackery. We all know the base will vote for him regardless.

    The poet John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself,” standing alone without need for help.
    Finally, something that makes sense.

    For Obama, the government plays a substantial role in helping the individual achieve personal happiness. The Obama campaign showed how deeply it sees government entwined in each person when it released on its website the “Life of Julia” campaign. For the president, the government is not just a partner in the development of the individual; it is the major partner.

    For Mitt Romney, such a partnership is unimaginable. In Romney’s experience, the government plays only a limited role in an individual’s path to happiness. For the Romney clan, church and family, not government, occupy the pre-eminent position in an individual’s development.
    This also makes sense to me. The role of government is big difference between the parties. For an independent, this is still an open question. What role should government play, and how should it go about playing this role?

    Outline what changes are going to be made, and make a case for why this way is better than what the “Life of Julia” has to offer.

    Romney’s worldview is not unique to the Mormon Church. Indeed, it is a view shared by Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians and many other people of faith.
    This may be true. I don’t have a good read on people’s beliefs on the role of government based on their faith.

    Historically speaking, Romney’s belief in the subservience of the individual to greater social stability is on solid philosophical footing. Indeed, a nation wherein everybody does his or her “own thing,” without regard for the society at large, isn’t going to survive long.
    Again this reads like nonsense. Where is he pulling this crap from? Everybody doing their “own thing”, without regard for the society at large”? Seriously, where does he get this nonsense?

    But Obama’s worldview might fit better with the iCarly generation. We now have a higher percentage of people living alone than at any time in our national history, fewer going to mainstream churches, more doing their own thing by themselves and seemingly enjoying it.
    The iCarly generation? Seriously?

    It’s like his brain doesn’t talk to itself. He writes this article about the importance of winning over the millinieals: http://thehill.com/opinion/op-ed/835...he-millennials, but cannot manage to hide his disdain for them (even in the linked article).

    Also, he has a problem with people doing their own thing by themselves and enjoying it? WTF? Can anyone explain?

    Those who live alone and don’t attend church on a regular basis are far more likely to vote for President Obama, while those who are married and go to church are far more likely to vote for Mitt Romney, even if they have some qualms about the Mormon Church.
    Again, I don’t know how people will lean, but my guess is that it will be something like that (I am not sure about “far more” parts though).

    These two worldviews will collide this fall. The election is not just about the economy, despite what the pundits believe. It is also about these contrasting philosophies.
    I didn’t find contrasting philosophies here. At best, he picked out some things that may bear out statistically, and tried to explain it in term of “worldviews”. At worst, he is attempting rationalize, and even advocate, xenophobia.

    I don’t see this as a winning strategy for Romney.

    This election IS mostly about the economy.

    If the Republicans make this a culture-wars thing, I know Romney will lose my vote (I cannot take the risk, given Romney’s youthful xenophobia).

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  7. #27
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Isn't "worldview" thinking sooo last century?

    What about universal view? You know, taking into account large scale inanimate forces that human beings have little to do with and have little power to control : ) ) Oh wait, we don't like to think about that! I'm sure if the human race became homogeneous that would solve everything!
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  8. #28
    Junior Member nharkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueMixture View Post
    Isn't "worldview" thinking sooo last century?

    What about universal view? You know, taking into account large scale inanimate forces that human beings have little to do with and have little power to control : ) ) Oh wait, we don't like to think about that! I'm sure if the human race became homogeneous that would solve everything!
    Actually, if the human race became fairly homogeneous, in a good way, that really might solve a lot. By a good way I mean similar in high levels of intelligence, self control, and emotional stability, not in race, ethnicity, etc. If so, I think there is a very good chance that society would work. The great divisions of resources and living conditions, and the anger this breeds, are fundamentally the result of human inhomogeneity (if that could be a word), not the cause of it.

  9. #29
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nharkey View Post
    Actually, if the human race became fairly homogeneous, in a good way, that really might solve a lot. By a good way I mean similar in high levels of intelligence, self control, and emotional stability, not in race, ethnicity, etc. If so, I think there is a very good chance that society would work. The great divisions of resources and living conditions, and the anger this breeds, are fundamentally the result of human inhomogeneity (if that could be a word), not the cause of it.
    The problem with this is that there are different combinations of traits that are mutually exclusive that give different benefits and allow for better survival when the whole specializes. For example in humans, men are typically more physically powerful, but have less endurance than women. It's these kinds of adaptations that allow for the richness of complexity that makes humanity more survivable. This is why species which reproduce sexually tend to outcompete those that reproduce asexually in high stress environments.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  10. #30
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelchairdoug View Post



    ^ I wish I could be so detatched...I'd be less bitter and frustrated. I think we're closer to the scenario Carlin envisions than we give ourselves credit for, and I find this really alarming. Also, I found the title really ironic given the whole 'hope and change' thing.






    That said, fascinating article with valid and interesting insights, despite the author's apparent inability to distinguish between hedonism and individualism.
    Agreed with Carlin and Doug!
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

    Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
    "Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
    Piglet was comforted by this.
    - A.A. Milne.

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