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Right versus Left

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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09 January 2018 14:40
 
FROZEN - 24 December 2017 02:31 AM

Its always hard to join an existing thread that has an established voice without ruffeling a few feathers.

Recently Paul Ryan reminded his coworkers that an attack on one of them is an attack on all of them. He meant both LEFT wingers and RIGHT wingers btw, not the American people. That statement was one degree and 300 years away from, an attack on the kings mens is an attack on the king. That stone started one of the bloodiest wars ever.
Ryans foreboding message to the other members was telling. If they are going to keep their gravy train on its tracks they had better stick together. So they merged.
Our system does not represent our interests, it represents their interest, period.
We must stop pretending like we matter.
We simply have to stop cooperating.

In Opiate of the Intellectuals Aron lays the blame on the system. (Aron considered that there was a form of intellectual dishonesty or hypocrisy at work in his time period, where some people were extremely critical of certain forms of government or society (such as capitalist democracy) but forgiving towards crimes and infractions committed in societies claiming to manifest the ‘correct’ ideology. He was, therefore, deeply critical of what he perceived of as a form of intellectual dogmatism and fanaticism that held to a fixed framework of thought regardless of empirical evidence in opposition to it - a process akin to the creation of a kind of secular religion or faith system. (wiki)) Our political system has transcended its humble origins and no longer represents our interest. Its become a religion and our politicians the priests.

Every political party vieing for power thinks their ideology is the only one, true, system.
(Not to put too fine a point on it in what started out as an atheist support forum.)
The similiarities between our past failures, our present predicament and our impending political destruction are too numerous to mention.
We need only to consult the past to explain our present and predict our future. Our political system has failed, us, them and itself.
We must abandon it.

Who among us could fairly represent the 1 billion people within walking distance of our nations capital (350m US + 650m SOB), especially considering that every person that makes a cash contribution (citizen or not) is doing so to buy a piece of the American pie, and our politicians are ready, willing and able to sell it to them.
Wether you ascribe to History or Herstory, Left or Right, Conservative or Liberal the Elephant in the room is our democracy has failed us.

I suggest its time we stop cooperating. Stop participating in a system that is so corrupted its unrecognizable. If every person in our country just stopped participating in the system, we all called in sick until the system changed, if we all stopped cooperating the system would change. It would have to change. Ghandi proved that!
No more marches, no more fighting, no more special investigations and no more threats to force change.
If we all stopped the system would change softly, gently, responsively, immediately.
Call it a year to read, write and reflect. If that makes you feel better.
If we stop fighting to keep the old system alive, take it off life support and kiss it goodbye, we could start building a new system that works.

They will threaten all out war on us if we stop playing their game but we can see that coming already as another thread cautions.
The smart way, the safe way, the most responsible way is to simply stop cooperating.

I definitely appreciate the sentiment to decline cooperation.

I think I disagree about the parties believing that they have the true article…. this is part of what I’m disputing. I think republican loyalty to Trump is a pretty round defeater here. I think that watching evangelical beltway regulars doing photo op breakfast prayers with Trump demonstrates that they DON’T believe in any genuine article. Rather, they promulgate a fairly transparent charade for the benefit of the least critical members of their constituency and rely on the idea of party loyalty to fill the crevices.

Similarly Democrats are very fond of grandstanding on issues of social justice while simultaneously cashing the same checks, granting the same no bid contracts et cetera.

Pardon if I misread you on this point. Either way I would agree that citizens should stop playing ball and find a way forward that entails being truthful. Whatever that looks like.

 

 
bcflyfisher
 
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bcflyfisher
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10 January 2018 11:55
 
Brick Bungalow - 09 January 2018 02:40 PM

Either way I would agree that citizens should stop playing ball and find a way forward that entails being truthful. Whatever that looks like.

That’s my big question - what on earth would that look like?  Abstinence from voting will only serve to exacerbate the problem since the fringe lunatics on both sides will sure as hell show up.  Individuals with comparatively little wealth ceasing to register or donate to parties would go unnoticed.  Corporations and the wealthy would just have a slightly straighter line to their goals. 

Mind you, I’m Canadian.  We have a theoretical 3rd party.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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10 January 2018 15:45
 
bcflyfisher - 10 January 2018 11:55 AM
Brick Bungalow - 09 January 2018 02:40 PM

Either way I would agree that citizens should stop playing ball and find a way forward that entails being truthful. Whatever that looks like.

That’s my big question - what on earth would that look like?  Abstinence from voting will only serve to exacerbate the problem since the fringe lunatics on both sides will sure as hell show up.  Individuals with comparatively little wealth ceasing to register or donate to parties would go unnoticed.  Corporations and the wealthy would just have a slightly straighter line to their goals. 

Mind you, I’m Canadian.  We have a theoretical 3rd party.

I struggle as well. One day at a time. I have a few ideas: Things that I’m trying to practice.

Keep voting. It’s imperfect but I think it’s important to exercise all civic duties and privileges as mindful citizens. Exercise and defend every other right as much as possible.

Participate directly in the election process above and beyond voting. Try to understand the process up close and exert whatever pressure is possible to hold the system accountable. Contact representatives directly. Learn details about your own district is organized. I think lots of problems seem insoluble because we are detached from them. Getting your hands on something directly informs insights that are hard to come by from a distance.

Divest from banks and major financial institutions if possible. Stop paying interest where possible. Stop consuming products created by people who don’t endorse the spirit or letter of our societal principles…. however you define them. I feel like an overall reduction in consumption, particularly compulsive consumption will be ultimately one of the most empowering things a citizen can do.

Talk to people. Converse with your fellow citizens especially those with whom you disagree in a spirit of cooperation. Try to defuse and nullify the poisonous contempt that characterizes much of our discourse right now.

Think critically about the real role of government and its relationship to society. It occurs to me that we still have a lot of obsolete tribalism and weird psychological fixations with regard to our leaders. Lets try and separate our personal affection or lack thereof for public figures from our estimation of their competence. The office of the President, in particular I think has been eroded by an array of superficial expectations.

We should be more educated. Incompetent citizens elect incompetent leaders. I won’t name names here.

That’s all I got for now but I’m game for more suggestions.

 

 

 
Silverback
 
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Silverback
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11 January 2018 00:30
 

Hello.

I think the conservative/progressive paradigm itself is maladaptive. I think it’s a structural problem, and I don’t really have a good solution for that problem either.

Conservatism with it’s hesitancy to discard the collected wisdom of history lightly has clearly had great utility for a very long time, and it seems equally clear that utility is diminished as the rate of change accelerates. In the American progressive era conservatism has been forced into an almost entirely obstructionist position, and conservatives often feel besieged, their positions compromised by a century of incremental failure and retreat even while they wield great power.

Progressives seem to suffer a great deal from not have an appropriate counterparty in terms of what progress should actually look like. A century spent beating their heads against the same wall seems to have them focused on how much they dislike the wall rather than the kind of evolutionary/peer review processes that actually result in progress. They often seem to be off the rails in terms of priorities and narratives, post-modernism being an example.

That actually sounds like I’m being much harder on conservatism as the source of the problem, and perhaps that’s my bias as a strong proponent of reason over dogma, but the thought I’m really trying to express here is this seems like a really poor choice of organizational principles to build a two-party political system on. I could imagine better pairings that would allow for conservatism and progressivism without pitting them directly against each other, like social democracy/classical liberalism.

Reason seems to require discourse and debate to function properly, an individual can reason their way into utter madness without peers to check them, and political discourse seems to be breaking down entirely in the age of the echo chamber. Of course nobody’s interests are being best served in these circumstances, and of course in these circumstances corruption would thrive, what else do politicians have to do?

 
RoseTylerFan
 
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RoseTylerFan
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20 July 2018 04:03
 

I often felt the desire to get rid of the right/left dimension but I think it has a place.

On my political pentagon there are 5 basic political orientations:
-counterculturalist (purple)
-communist (red)
-market liberal / capitalist (yellow)
-traditionalist (black)
-nationalist (blue)

Of those, counterculturalists and communists are leftists. They always take side of the weaker guy. For the counterculturalist, it’s about being victimized and shamed by the mainstream culture, for the communist - being economically exploited. Anyway, both types of leftists always take side of the side which is considered inferior: gays vs straight, indigenous peoples vs Westerners, workers vs businessmen.

Market liberals, traditionalists and nationalists are rightists. They take side of the stronger guy, of the winner. For the market liberal, it’s the strongest companies, for the traditionalist - best and noblest way of life, rewarded by the gods, finally for the nationalist - the best nation is our nation. Rightists like to use the word “reality”. Reality is on our side, whether it is the invisible hand of the market, Allah’s infallible commandment or Darwinian forces of natural selection.

I’m a neo-con, which means mostly market liberal, but unlike capitalist purists I recognize the need for a compassionate form of capitalism. I am for a balance between the heart (which is on the left) and reason (which is on the right). The name of neoconservatism has been tarnished, but I believe it will be reclaimed by those who despise both the populist right and SJW left.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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21 July 2018 15:47
 
Brick Bungalow - 22 December 2017 12:56 AM

The United States currently operates under a two party system. At least thats the official line. The two parties ostensibly correspond to the right and left or conservative and liberal ends of a cultural spectrum. I understand that this is a gross oversimplification. That is is parcel to the point.

According to a recent article in the New Yorker, McPolitics, this hasn’t always been the case.

For much of the twentieth century. . . . At the federal level, the two parties resembled loose associations of disparate interests rather than ideologically cohesive movements. They had few resources and virtually no means of insuring ideological discipline among their members. Many Democrats were more conservative than many Republicans.

According to the article, the problem began with the “nationalization” of politics. The saying, “All politics is local” is no longer true. All politics is now national.

Assessing the twin problems of organizational weakness and ideological incoherence, a 1950 report by the American Political Science Association sought to turn the loose political federations into something that more closely resembled today’s unified parties. . . . To fix the problems of American government, the scholars believed, politics had to become more national and party platforms more clearly distinguished.

In other words, the problem you’re describing is by design of the two parties.

Almost seven decades later, their wish has come true. . . . American politics has become thoroughly nationalized: voters pay vastly more attention to what is going on in Washington, D.C., than to what’s going on in their own town or state. The Democratic and the Republican Parties have become much more homogeneous, offering largely the same ideological profile in Alabama as they do in Vermont. In each election, Americans now face a choice between two clearly demarcated alternatives of action. The medicine prescribed by the American Political Science Association all those years ago has been taken; the question is whether the patient can survive its side effects.

 

 

 
 
Tukikat
 
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Tukikat
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26 July 2018 13:20
 

The whole idea of a left-right spectrum seems far too limiting to me.  Political opinion varies according to changing economic interests, cultural influences, various affiliations, regions, etc.  Where on the spectrum do you plot a libertarianesque “live and let live” tolerant social liberal who also has small state, “market Uber alles” economic views?  Traditionalists, nationalists, militarists, peaceniks, environmentalists, 2nd amendment absolutists, etc. etc.  So many single issue activists whose views are not sufficiently comprehensive to plot on a simple left-right spectrum.  I am fine with political views as temporal and local expressions of interest, rather than as universal creeds.  Young, unmarried, newly employed, urban: one set of views. A few years later, 30-something, married with kids, mid-career, suburban: another set of views.  As conditions change, interests change, politics change.  That is all fine, as it should be.  Problems arise when we adopt parties and ideologies that confine us to a set of views even after our conditions of life and our experiences tug us in a different direction.  Ideological consistency is overvalued.  Reality is not consistent.  I’m an independent, mostly centrist…for now.

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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04 August 2018 09:57
 
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2018 03:45 PM
bcflyfisher - 10 January 2018 11:55 AM
Brick Bungalow - 09 January 2018 02:40 PM

Either way I would agree that citizens should stop playing ball and find a way forward that entails being truthful. Whatever that looks like.

That’s my big question - what on earth would that look like?  Abstinence from voting will only serve to exacerbate the problem since the fringe lunatics on both sides will sure as hell show up.  Individuals with comparatively little wealth ceasing to register or donate to parties would go unnoticed.  Corporations and the wealthy would just have a slightly straighter line to their goals. 

Mind you, I’m Canadian.  We have a theoretical 3rd party.

I struggle as well. One day at a time. I have a few ideas: Things that I’m trying to practice.

Keep voting. It’s imperfect but I think it’s important to exercise all civic duties and privileges as mindful citizens. Exercise and defend every other right as much as possible.

Participate directly in the election process above and beyond voting. Try to understand the process up close and exert whatever pressure is possible to hold the system accountable. Contact representatives directly. Learn details about your own district is organized. I think lots of problems seem insoluble because we are detached from them. Getting your hands on something directly informs insights that are hard to come by from a distance.

Divest from banks and major financial institutions if possible. Stop paying interest where possible. Stop consuming products created by people who don’t endorse the spirit or letter of our societal principles…. however you define them. I feel like an overall reduction in consumption, particularly compulsive consumption will be ultimately one of the most empowering things a citizen can do.

Talk to people. Converse with your fellow citizens especially those with whom you disagree in a spirit of cooperation. Try to defuse and nullify the poisonous contempt that characterizes much of our discourse right now.

Think critically about the real role of government and its relationship to society. It occurs to me that we still have a lot of obsolete tribalism and weird psychological fixations with regard to our leaders. Lets try and separate our personal affection or lack thereof for public figures from our estimation of their competence. The office of the President, in particular I think has been eroded by an array of superficial expectations.

We should be more educated. Incompetent citizens elect incompetent leaders. I won’t name names here.

That’s all I got for now but I’m game for more suggestions.

First off (says the broken record), both parties are almost entirely constrained by oligarchs. So even the most well intended initiatives and policies - from both parties - are distorted and fouled.

That said, I like your list brick! A few more:

- Support better education. Teach critical thinking. Get corporations out of education. Support good teachers.
- Decentralize when possible. Get partially off the grid, Buy local.
- Question Authority : )

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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10 August 2018 09:21
 
Brick Bungalow - 22 December 2017 12:56 AM

For background I was a registered Republican in the nineties and now identify as independent. I have never registered with any other party.

The United States currently operates under a two party system. At least thats the official line. The two parties ostensibly correspond to the right and left or conservative and liberal ends of a cultural spectrum. I understand that this is a gross oversimplification. That is is parcel to the point.

Left and right correspond to a respective set of cultural preferences and to specific strategies for problem solving. For this reason they also correspond to different and frequently opposed sets of cultural institutions including schools, law firms, lobbyist groups, media and non profit concerns.

I will argue that we might reduce left and right conceptually by a sort of algebraic equation where we list all the essential facets of each and cancel that which is functionally common. Both employ similar kinds of subterfuge. Both emphasize party loyalty. Both deliberately generalize the other in the negative. The list goes on. If we eliminate everything that can be ascribed to both sides we are left with some kind of undergraduate civics definition. Plug in your own terms here just please don’t be derogatory or sub referential. I think we want an efficiently charitable description.

My worry is that the distilled consensus definition for these ideas does not meaningfully correspond to the behavior of elected officials in either case. If this is true and true for similar reasons it becomes very difficult to prefer one party over the other on reasons of principle. It starts to look like there is something broken in the substrate. Something that the ascendance of either party will be helpless (even if willing) to repair.

I’m curious if forum members feel there is a real and substantive divide between the parties. For myself I suspect there is not. I think there is a different theory in principle but that difference rarely translates into practice. I think there are minority of civil servants who are trying to represent the intentions of our founding documents but its nearly impossible given the current terrain. I feel like liberal versus conservative is a sort of inside joke to wealthy investors. Politicians have to stick to a script and maintain an image and nourish static alliances so their identity probably gains some traction but I feel like its arbitrary. Especially now. Trump being the ultimate proof-of-concept. The avatar of politics-as-social-engineering. His election was a kind of nail in the coffin of any suspicion that that these categories are truly meaningful.

I’m very unhappy with this conclusion. My hope is that someone will talk me out of it. Or at least buy me a few stiff drinks.

I’m afraid I have to buy you the stiff drinks, my friend.  I agree with you entirely.  Well put.  I don’t know what could save us now.

 

 
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