Reforming Democracy

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby James S Saint » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:25 pm

Uccisore wrote:
James S Saint wrote:By "subtle", I mean influence that is unknown to the person, thereby causing their will to become what the influencer wanted without the person knowing why or who. Unconscious, unaware influence is more commonly known as "hypnosis".


Oh, yeah. That tendency is my primary criticism of the left- they lie like dogs and deny what they really want because they need popular approval and their agenda wouldn't sell if it was straightforwardly presented.

Once influencers of that type enter the game of democracy, "democracy" becomes no more than a smoke screen or veil. Society becomes no more than a competition of influencers; hypnotists, advertisers, and evangelists, aka "serpents".

Truth becomes irrelevant and undesirable from all sides because Truth bows to no one's wishes. The freedom to fight for one's cause is lost in the sight of Truth. Thus Truth is turned against by all parties yet the populous is kept under the illusion that the Truth is near and identifiable despite the clouds caused by "those bad guys". The truth is that even the influencers couldn't identify the truth even if it favored them. On rare occasion, one speaks the truth inadvertently but quickly recovers. The society is no more than a pit of snakes and sheep, cons and marks and cons who are themselves marks.

Through all of the confusions of deceit, even the influencers lose track of Truth without knowing it. They too become influenced by the cloud, remnants of their own doings. In effect, all people become blind yet unaware that they are, impassioned by the misguidance of believing that the Truth is reasonably clear to them, "just not to other people". Such is the state called "Dark Era".

So what does "democracy" really mean when those of influence love the darkness? And being of influence, they can easily ensure that everyone else loves the darkness such that it is sustained for many generations. For democracy to work, Truth must be reasonably clear to those doing the "voting" so they can truthfully choose which candidate actually favors their concerns. But in darkness, they know nether their true concerns, nor which candidate would help them more.

Socialist societies fear Truth and thus forbid democracy. There is actually no such thing as "Democratic Socialism" other than a socialist system pretending to be democratic while they each blind themselves and others as much as possible in their competition to coerce the future into their chosen image.

What laws do you imagine could be made to change all of that, especially when those of influence in making laws are enamored with their freedom to subtly deceive, often using laws to do it? It's a bit hard to step down from being a "god".
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:28 pm

James S Saint wrote:Truth becomes irrelevant and undesirable from all sides because Truth bows to no one's wishes. The freedom to fight for one's cause is lost in the sight of Truth. Thus Truth is turned against by all parties yet the populous is kept under the illusion that the Truth is near and identifiable despite the clouds caused by "those bad guys". The truth is that even the influencers couldn't identify the truth even if it favored them....


I couldn't agree more, James. It's our inner motives (often unconscious) which determine what we will accept as "truth" and what we won't, and those motives, though sometimes to seek the truth for its own sake, are not always aimed at truth.

I had a thread a while back that touched on something similar to this: What I got out of Nietzsche.

James S Saint wrote:So what does "democracy" really mean when those of influence love the darkness? And being of influence, they can easily ensure that everyone else loves the darkness such that it is sustained for many generations. For democracy to work, Truth must be reasonably clear to those doing the "voting" so they can truthfully choose which candidate actually favors their concerns. But in darkness, they know nether their true concerns, nor which candidate would help them more.


How do we find uncontaminated information? That's what we really need--a clear, reliable way for the people to get trustworthy information, and to have good solid reasons for knowing that the information can be trusted.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby James S Saint » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:44 pm

gib wrote:How do we find uncontaminated information? That's what we really need--a clear, reliable way for the people to get trustworthy information, and to have good solid reasons for knowing that the information can be trusted.

That is almost the entire point of philosophy. And my answer is through a broader yet more restricted form of Science, a more honest form, more reasoning and less ego. It is the ego issues that give rise to subtle deceptions, whether political, religious, or ideological. It hasn't been because they were stupid, but rather because they have been clever.

When they tell you that a certain object is yellow, how do you know if they are right? You can see that the color is the color you call "yellow", but perhaps they got it wrong long ago and "yellow" really refers to what you were taught is "blue".

How do you know if they got the names right? With certainty, how do you know that you and they are not being fooled about such things?
Clarify, Verify, Instill, and Reinforce the Perception of Hopes and Threats unto Anentropic Harmony :)
Else
From THIS age of sleep, Homo-sapien shall never awake.

The Wise gather together to help one another in EVERY aspect of living.

You are always more insecure than you think, just not by what you think.
The only absolute certainty is formed by the absolute lack of alternatives.
It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
Devil's Motto: Make it look good, safe, innocent, and wise.. until it is too late to choose otherwise.

The Real God ≡ The reason/cause for the Universe being what it is = "The situation cannot be what it is and also remain as it is".
.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:26 am

James S Saint wrote:
gib wrote:How do we find uncontaminated information? That's what we really need--a clear, reliable way for the people to get trustworthy information, and to have good solid reasons for knowing that the information can be trusted.

That is almost the entire point of philosophy. And my answer is through a broader yet more restricted form of Science, a more honest form, more reasoning and less ego. It is the ego issues that give rise to subtle deceptions, whether political, religious, or ideological. It hasn't been because they were stupid, but rather because they have been clever.


Though I think you're right, I'm going to be a bit more of a pragmatist: let's take the study Eric linked to. Now, how will philosophy help us determine whether Scott Atlas is right or not?

(I still haven't read through the whole thing; I think I will this weekend.)

James S Saint wrote:When they tell you that a certain object is yellow, how do you know if they are right? You can see that the color is the color you call "yellow", but perhaps they got it wrong long ago and "yellow" really refers to what you were taught is "blue".


Perhaps, but so long as we both mean the same thing now, it shouldn't matter what the term came from.
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In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
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Here's a good rule of thumb for politics--attribute everything to stupidity unless you can prove malice.
- Ben Shapiro

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:54 pm

Gib asked me to post up some personal stories of leftist bias in academia. These stories are all from my experiences with the Philosophy department.

1.) In my Environmental Ethics course, when we'd take a test there was always a question of the following sort: "Defend or criticize the practice of X using our course readings." Where X would be something like factory farming, nuclear power, genetically modified food, or what have you. Sounds like an objective question- you can answer it either way you want. The problem, of course, is that you have to use the readings, and there were never any readings defending the practice in question. So if you wanted to defend nuclear power, say, you couldn't complete the assignment.

2.) I have a friend that took the Marxism course. We were talking about it one day over lunch, and he was tell me about Chairman Mao and all the great ideas he had, and how the Little Red Book really opened his eyes to some stuff. I asked him about the Great Leap Forward, Thousand Flowers Campaign, stuff like that. My friend had no idea what I was talking about. Turns out, the Marxism course has a two-weeks section on Mao that doesn't even mention what happened when he got into power.

3). I was in a Philosophy of Religion course. Really, we didn't learn much philosophy of religion. We learned what a couple sociologists say about religion, and then the rest of it was a 'ethics' course- we'd read a paper against nuclear power, or against war, or in favor of racial reforms or whatever, but because the author was a nun or a minister or whatever, it qualified a Philosophy of Religion, I guess. The format of the class was, 3-4 people would assigned to lead the class presentation on the previous week's reading, with the professor providing a few clarifying comments at the end. One week in particular, the subject was some guy criticizing Catholic just war theory. Catholic Just War theory has several criteria that must all be met for a war to be considered just, that involve the reasons it is fought, and how it is fought. The author went through the list and refuted each criteria by showing how a war could be clearly unjust despite meeting that criteria. What he failed to take into account is that all the criteria have to be present, so criticizing them individually in such a way is meaningless. He also criticized Just War theory on the grounds that it turns "Thou Shalt Not Kill" from absolute imperative into a matter of subjective interpretation. I pointed out in class that this can't be a valid criticism because that commandment has been a matter of interpretation from the beginning- the very first thing Moses did after presenting the 10 commandments is have a bunch of people killed for worshipping the golden calf.
So anyway, I made these points in class, expecting that some more liberal classmates would disagree, because why not? That was just my take on the reading. But there wasn't much commentary. At the end of the class, the professor stood up to make his comments as usual, but instead of commenting on the reading, he commented on me- spent those 10 minutes (felt like more) talking about how if people aren't going to read attentively, they shouldn't be commenting in class at all, and on and on and on. Now, the class discussion was light enough that it could only be me he was talking about. So, after being berated for 10 minutes for expressing an opinion he didn't like, I didn't participate in his class anymore. I showed up, but insstead of asking questions and giving opinions, I just had my nose stuck in my laptop through the lectures. This was a small class, a 101 class where most people were not interested. So without me, there basically was no class discussion. After two lectures of people awkwardly sitting around not commenting at all, theprofessor eventually recanted his early comments, declaring to 'the class' that he hadnt meant to stifle discussion altogether. After that, I resumed participating as normal.

4.) This same professor was a member of MPAC- Maine Peace Action Committe or some shit like that. Peace protest organizers. A friend of mine who was also a member at the time told me that during the above incident, the professor told MPAC all about me- what a barbarian I was, and how people like me had no business studying philosophy in the first place.

5.) This was also about the time I was told by a Political Science advisor that I didn't have much of a chance as a philosophy professor, because I wasn't a woman or a minority.

6.) I remember being told, by my ethics professor back in my freshman year that we were going to skip the chapter on gay rights and homosexuality, because the issue was settled and there was no longer any controversy to discuss. This was the same year that in Maine, the state in which she was teaching, a gay marriage bill was struck down by popular vote. So, she considered an issue non-controversial when, not only was it controversial, but her side of the issue was the minority.

7.) I had many courses on political philosophy- the philosophy department was based around political philosophy, that was sort of the focus of the longest-serving professors. Despite that focus, Edmund Burke was never mentioned, not even to be criticized. Not even in the vast, rambling sections on Rousseau. No conservative writer was ever mentioned in class. No MacIntyre, no Sowell, no Hayek, no Montesquieu. No Kirk, no Goldwater, no Chesterton. When I mentioned one of these people, none of my professors had ever read any of them, with the exception of MacIntyre.

8.) When I revealed, in my senior year, that I was considering working for a political thinktank instead of being a philosophy teacher, my advisor was upset. By this time, it was no secret that I was a conservative. He expressed concern that I wouldn't really want 'people with political motives' to 'exploit my intellect in that way'. He was saying this to me in his office, which was littered with flyers and other advertisments for the various leftist political organizations he was a supporter or member of. There was no illusion- if he knew I was going to be joining organizations he approved of, he never would have made a comment like that.


There's lots of others. It was a purely leftist-democrat political advocacy environment. Anyone that wasn't on board with that was made to feel an outsider, made to feel (if not outright told) that they had chosen the wrong major. The treatment I recieved there was a big part in 'radicalizing' me- I'm a much more outspoken opponent of leftist politics now than I ever was before college. Five years of seeing how they act when they have power, or when they think there's not a conservative in the room to criticize, will do that.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:15 am

Thanks for taking the time, Ucci.

Do you think the atmosphere is similar to this in other state in the US? Or do you think it differs from state to state?
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In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
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Here's a good rule of thumb for politics--attribute everything to stupidity unless you can prove malice.
- Ben Shapiro

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Moreno » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:43 am

Uccisore wrote:Gib asked me to post up some personal stories of leftist bias in academia. These stories are all from my experiences with the Philosophy department..
Wow. I read those stories. I understand better some of your reactions to posts here by people who are or seem to be liberals. I do think academia tends to lean left or liberal at least, but the shit you experienced was mindblowingly idiotic. I attended one of the most radically left colleges in the US, but the profile could also be seen as libertarian so it attracted a significant conservative leaning group - though, yes, libertarian types, for the most part - also. It could be tough on them in classes, but from other students, not from the professors, at least to my knowledge. Tough in the sense that they would be fencing on all sides and minority viewpoint representatives, with all that entails. I think it was generally seen as an opportunity, however by the professors. A lot of people sitting around and nodding in a discussion group, which every class that was not a more practical type course was, is a boring and near useless discussion group. What poor educators. Of course, I am pretty misanthropic so it shouldn't surprise me but I still get surprised when specific instances come up.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:50 am

gib wrote:Thanks for taking the time, Ucci.

Do you think the atmosphere is similar to this in other state in the US? Or do you think it differs from state to state?


Based on what I've studied, California at least is that way or worse. Other states, I cannot say- but I can say that the professors in my college showed no signs of understanding that what they were doing was in any way remarkable, and I don't think any of them were Maine natives.
I can say that people are complaining about this sort of thing all over the country- it's not hard to find academic watchdog websites where people go to report similar incidents.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:14 am

Moreno wrote:]Wow. I read those stories. I understand better some of your reactions to posts here by people who are or seem to be liberals. I do think academia tends to lean left or liberal at least,


Statistically it does. The ratio of liberal to conservative professors is something like 8 to 1, and that's counting majors where it doesn't matter, like geology and business. If you just look at majors in which political views are most likely to inform the teaching- poli-sci, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, you're looking at closer to 20 to 1. I wrote my second capstone on that, after being exposed to all stories I told you. I wrote a lot of things that were subtle and not-so-subtle "This is why I am done with academia as soon as I graduate" papers in those days.

but the shit you experienced was mindblowingly idiotic.


To be fair, I picked the most mind blowingly idiotic examples spread over 4.5 years. There's lots and lots of littler ones I could mention. I remember one time the subject was euthanasia, and I suggested that people who want assisted suicide should be shot with a gun instead of a syringe. My point was that how you do it will affect how many people decide to go through with it- legalizing euthanasia doesn't just provide mercy to X number of people who are seeking it when it is controversial, it creates it as a live option for some number of people X+Y. Anyway, the professor was incensed. She said something to the effect of, 'What, you want some Billy-Bob guy all drunk missing and blowing half a patient's face off?' Salient point being that when I say 'gun', she immedately defaults to 'rural white poor Southern alcoholic'. Bare in mind, this was my ethics professor. Also bare in mind that I'm rural, white, and poor myself. Other than that, it was basically the level of bias that I woudn't even consider a serious problem- such as Rush Limbaugh or George Bush being the go-to example of a bad person every single time a hypothetical bad person needs to be referenced. That's the kind of stuff you expect.

So that's where I learned the leftist modus operandi: They talk about tolerance and diversity because it makes them feel beautiful to do so. In reality, though, if you wear the wrong clothes or vote the wrong way or pray the wrong way or listen to the wrong music or come from the wrong part of the country or have a certain accent, they wish you were dead and will do everything possible to write you out of history and write you out of their plans for the future as well. The degree to which they hide this is in proportion to whether or not they think there is a conservative in the room.

I attended one of the most radically left colleges in the US, but the profile could also be seen as libertarian so it attracted a significant conservative leaning group - though, yes, libertarian types, for the most part - also. It could be tough on them in classes, but from other students, not from the professors, at least to my knowledge.


There was a lot of flak from the students too, but I don't see that as a problem. I suppose part of the reason I didn't see it as a problem is I went to college in my 30's, didn't see the other students as my peers and thus couldn't care less what they thought of me or my ideas. On the other hand, my age made what I experienced from the professors even more infuriating- not because I felt like it was intimidating me, but because every time I had an experience like this, a part of me was thinking, "Imagine if this was happening to me when I was 18 and couldn't defend myself", and it filled me with rage.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:14 am

Uccisore wrote:
gib wrote:Thanks for taking the time, Ucci.

Do you think the atmosphere is similar to this in other state in the US? Or do you think it differs from state to state?


Based on what I've studied, California at least is that way or worse. <-- That might explain the predominance of liberals in Hollywood. Other states, I cannot say- but I can say that the professors in my college showed no signs of understanding that what they were doing was in any way remarkable, and I don't think any of them were Maine natives.
I can say that people are complaining about this sort of thing all over the country- it's not hard to find academic watchdog websites where people go to report similar incidents.


So my question is: how did a state of affairs like this ever come about? I mean, if it were one or two universities in the US, even separated by half a continent, you could probably just chock it up to a local group with some clout in the local universities exercising their power therein, but if we are to conclude that this trend has spread all over the US like a cancer, one has to wonder how it was possible at all. There must be a hand coming down from on high, some power base whose reach spans almost every state.
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In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
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right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:34 pm

gib wrote:So my question is: how did a state of affairs like this ever come about? I mean, if it were one or two universities in the US, even separated by half a continent, you could probably just chock it up to a local group with some clout in the local universities exercising their power therein, but if we are to conclude that this trend has spread all over the US like a cancer, one has to wonder how it was possible at all. There must be a hand coming down from on high, some power base whose reach spans almost every state.
College is one of the places where the results are not measured long term. What matters is the kids in the class, not what the kids might do after the kids are out of the class. It fits with the leftist ideology, which only focuses on temporary solutions. Keynesian economics is the same way.

There is also a level of teachers not knowing how to do anything except teach, the result is they praise teachers. I've been bombarded with pro-teacher ideology from a very young age, and I didn't even grow up in a super liberal state. I've had the teacher/babysitter comparison explained to me by teachers, multiple times. That it happened (once) when I was in third grade is absurd. Teachers go to school to teach, many of which never do anything else, except maybe wait tables, they can only teach how to teach. Add in a layer of verbal people being drawn to the job, they only praise verbal people (because they are who they understand). Liberalism is a verbal thing. What is said is far more important than actions. Examples: Bill Clinton is a rapist, but because he says the "right" things on politics about women, the rapist part is over looked.

The Affordable Health Care bill, does not create affordable Health Care. It (at best) lowers insurance costs... And those are two different things. Conservatives are remarkably bad at this, though Republicans do this too... Because verbal people are drawn to politics (the same as teaching).
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:40 pm

gib wrote:So my question is: how did a state of affairs like this ever come about? I mean, if it were one or two universities in the US, even separated by half a continent, you could probably just chock it up to a local group with some clout in the local universities exercising their power therein, but if we are to conclude that this trend has spread all over the US like a cancer, one has to wonder how it was possible at all. There must be a hand coming down from on high, some power base whose reach spans almost every state.


Well, the only organizations that have that kind of access and control would be teacher's unions, but I haven't seen any actual evidence that they did such a thing. But you can see how it works if you think about how a professor succeeds- They need to get tenure, which means the approval of the existing faculty, and in order to have any kind of respect (perhaps including tenure) they need to get published- and they aren't getting published in Reader's Digest, they're getting published in an academic journal that will mostly only be read by other professors, and certainly the opinion of other professors is what will determine the accepted quality of the published work.
So they are a very insular group, professors. Sure, millions of students go through their doors, but the students and their parents (who could be thought of as customers) have little to no impact on whether or not a professor is seen as successful. So it's easy to see how a group like that would drift out of the mainstream. You'd think that individual colleges would drift in all sorts of different directions, but publishing binds them together, and the fact that you almost never teach in the community in which you were taught binds them together- the State of Indiana has no opportunity to raise up professors that teach in the Indiana way, and go on to teach Indiana students; you get your PhD at the most prestigious school that will give you a good stipend, and you teach at the school that will hire you for the most money.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:05 pm

Uccisore wrote: Well, the only organizations that have that kind of access and control would be teacher's unions, but I haven't seen any actual evidence that they did such a thing. But you can see how it works if you think about how a professor succeeds- They need to get tenure, which means the approval of the existing faculty, and in order to have any kind of respect (perhaps including tenure) they need to get published- and they aren't getting published in Reader's Digest, they're getting published in an academic journal that will mostly only be read by other professors, and certainly the opinion of other professors is what will determine the accepted quality of the published work.
So they are a very insular group, professors. Sure, millions of students go through their doors, but the students and their parents (who could be thought of as customers) have little to no impact on whether or not a professor is seen as successful. So it's easy to see how a group like that would drift out of the mainstream. You'd think that individual colleges would drift in all sorts of different directions, but publishing binds them together, and the fact that you almost never teach in the community in which you were taught binds them together- the State of Indiana has no opportunity to raise up professors that teach in the Indiana way, and go on to teach Indiana students; you get your PhD at the most prestigious school that will give you a good stipend, and you teach at the school that will hire you for the most money.


I suppose, but is there any reason it should veer so far to the left? Does that just happen to be how it turned out? It could have turned out very far to the right if things were different?
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In fact, the idea that there's more differences between groups than there is between individuals is actually the fundamental racist idea.
- Jordan Peterson

Here's a good rule of thumb for politics--attribute everything to stupidity unless you can prove malice.
- Ben Shapiro

right outta high school i tried to get a job as a proctologist but i couldn't find an opening.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:40 am

I keep trying to reply to this thread, but every time I write something, I muck it up and lose it. Anyway. . .

I've come to an epiphany, of sorts, because of this thread. Thank you for that, gib.

The people of the US have lost the ability to speak as a democracy; our II Amendment rights have been abrogated by the corporate voice of the market; our voice has been lost in the cacophony created by the money counters. I think this is true of all 'democratic' forms of government in the world today. The people we elect to legislate no longer represent us; our capitalist economy dictates to us.

While I understand the situation, I wonder if it's a problem that can be solved. On the other hand, I believe we all should work for the future. Right now, we're products of our near history. Obviously, we can't change that. But can we change future history? In other words, can we learn from our history and do what we can to get rid of ideas that no longer work as they once may have or as they were intended?

Farm subsidies are an example. Billions are spent every year in farm subsidies, yet this is a Depression Era program. Not only that, but farming has been taken over, in great part, by agricorps. Corporations get 'corporate welfare' in the form of actual local, state, and federal subsidies as well as tax breaks, which, I believe, also began in the 1930's. Finance and defense are industries 'too big to fail.'

People are afraid of change; it's fear of the unknown. But there comes a time when chances have to be taken. I think we're getting closer and closer to that time. We can't go back.

Enjoy,

Liz ♥♥♥
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:04 pm

lizbethrose wrote:I keep trying to reply to this thread, but every time I write something, I muck it up and lose it. Anyway. . .


Whenever I post, I always write it up in Notepad first. That way, if you muck it up on the internet, it's still there in Notepad. You can even save it to your desktop to be extra safe.

lizbethrose wrote:I've come to an epiphany, of sorts, because of this thread. Thank you for that, gib.


You're welcome :D

lizbethrose wrote:The people of the US have lost the ability to speak as a democracy; our II Amendment rights have been abrogated by the corporate voice of the market; our voice has been lost in the cacophony created by the money counters. I think this is true of all 'democratic' forms of government in the world today. The people we elect to legislate no longer represent us; our capitalist economy dictates to us.


Is this the whole Big Business paying off politicians issue again?

lizbethrose wrote:While I understand the situation, I wonder if it's a problem that can be solved. On the other hand, I believe we all should work for the future. Right now, we're products of our near history. Obviously, we can't change that. But can we change future history? In other words, can we learn from our history and do what we can to get rid of ideas that no longer work as they once may have or as they were intended?


Now here's an interesting dilemma. The left want government to have a hand in how the market and people's lives are run. The right want the government's hands out. But what kind of position is it that says the people and the market should have their hands in the government (other than by means of running for office, that is)? That almost makes the right seem like the neutral middle ground. Big Businesses influencing politics by paying off politicians, especially to establish regulations in the market that benefit those businesses, certainly doesn't sound like the government and the people/market minding their own respective businesses. You could almost say this is where the right and the left come full circle--it's where the freedom that the right wants for the market and for businesses is it's own undoing: with that freedom, along with the attitude that the government belongs to the people, businesses attempt to manipulate and use politics to their own advantage, thereby injecting regulations and ultimately coming around back to leftist policies.

Now this is especially interesting because it really does bring your question to the fore: "I wonder if it's a problem that can be solved?" I suspect the right would say that as this is not the proper function of the government--implementing more regulations in the market at the behest of businesses--we ought not to allow this to happen, and I think they would be right. But an "ought" is not the same as a "how". The question is how to prevent it. It's not impossible that government should, of its own initiative, pull out of the market--look at Reagan--but when money is involved, human beings (and politicians are still human) are weak. It would take some principled politician to smell the money being waved under his nose by some wealthy corporation and say "Nope! It's not my business to be changing my policies in return for a bribe." <-- Here's the dilemma. You can strike down laws, introduce stimulus packages, declare war--a whole slew of ways to make things happen--but how do you make a politician scrupulous? How do you keep a market free of regulations without imposing regulations on Big Businesses prohibiting them from influencing politics?

lizbethrose wrote:Farm subsidies are an example. Billions are spent every year in farm subsidies, yet this is a Depression Era program. Not only that, but farming has been taken over, in great part, by agricorps. Corporations get 'corporate welfare' in the form of actual local, state, and federal subsidies as well as tax breaks, which, I believe, also began in the 1930's. Finance and defense are industries 'too big to fail.'


Right, so incentive programs to keep the agricultural industry afloat (so we can all eat) are easy to implement, but they rarely ever get withdrawn when they are no longer needed, do they?
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:16 am

lizbethrose wrote:The people of the US have lost the ability to speak as a democracy; our II Amendment rights have been abrogated by the corporate voice of the market; our voice has been lost in the cacophony created by the money counters. I think this is true of all 'democratic' forms of government in the world today. The people we elect to legislate no longer represent us; our capitalist economy dictates to us.



Is this the whole Big Business paying off politicians issue again?

No, gib, it isn't the 'whole big business paying off politicians issue, again.' Political bribery of one sort or another has always been around and will continue to be around. Nor is it that corporations have the money that is listened to in politics. It's deeper and more complex than that.

lizbethrose wrote:While I understand the situation, I wonder if it's a problem that can be solved. On the other hand, I believe we all should work for the future. Right now, we're products of our near history. Obviously, we can't change that. But can we change future history? In other words, can we learn from our history and do what we can to get rid of ideas that no longer work as they once may have or as they were intended?



Now here's an interesting dilemma. The left want government to have a hand in how the market and people's lives are run. The right want the government's hands out. But what kind of position is it that says the people and the market should have their hands in the government (other than by means of running for office, that is)? That almost makes the right seem like the neutral middle ground. Big Businesses influencing politics by paying off politicians, especially to establish regulations in the market that benefit those businesses, certainly doesn't sound like the government and the people/market minding their own respective businesses. You could almost say this is where the right and the left come full circle--it's where the freedom that the right wants for the market and for businesses is it's own undoing: with that freedom, along with the attitude that the government belongs to the people, businesses attempt to manipulate and use politics to their own advantage, thereby injecting regulations and ultimately coming around back to leftist policies.

Right and left are labels that originated in France during the French Revolution to signify where people sat in the assembly. Those who were loyal to the monarchy sat on the right and those loyal to the revolution sat on the left. It's only been recently that political ideologies have been described as either right or left. I prefer not using labels, and I've tried not to in this thread.

Now this is especially interesting because it really does bring your question to the fore: "I wonder if it's a problem that can be solved?" I suspect the right would say that as this is not the proper function of the government--implementing more regulations in the market at the behest of businesses--we ought not to allow this to happen, and I think they would be right. But an "ought" is not the same as a "how". The question is how to prevent it. It's not impossible that government should, of its own initiative, pull out of the market--look at Reagan--but when money is involved, human beings (and politicians are still human) are weak. It would take some principled politician to smell the money being waved under his nose by some wealthy corporation and say "Nope! It's not my business to be changing my policies in return for a bribe." <-- Here's the dilemma. You can strike down laws, introduce stimulus packages, declare war--a whole slew of ways to make things happen--but how do you make a politician scrupulous? How do you keep a market free of regulations without imposing regulations on Big Businesses prohibiting them from influencing politics?

Looking at regulations, right now it seems that everyone writes regulations. There was an article quoted in another thread, for example, that mentioned the Police Chiefs from around the country getting together to write the rules concerning the use of body cams by police forces to present to the Justice Department. Sugar producers got together to block the stevia plant from being used as a sweetener, even though it's about 200 times sweeter than cane and/or beet sugar and has zero calories. Now, the chemical in stevia that produces sweetness is synthesized in labs and has been introduced as 'pure' stevia to be used as a sugar substitute. Of course, sugar substitutes have a bad name, so fewer and fewer people will use them. President Clinton lifted regulations from banks and lending institutions, and look what happened. (Sorry, that's 3 examples of 3 slightly different things, but they tie together.)

It isn't so much that politicians are unscrupulous, it's that, for politicians, ethics and morality often get in the way of expediency. The same is true of business people. This is Capitalism. The goal of Capitalism is to make money. In order to make money, you have to have both a manufacturing base and a consumer base, right? They can both be the same--the manufacturer is the consumer and vice versa. Only now, the US is no longer an industrial country, it's a service country. Consumers are no longer the manufacturers. The market has to expand in order to continue making money; that's where trade becomes important. This is also one area where the Federal Government is involved with the market; the government makes the trade regulations.


lizbethrose wrote:Farm subsidies are an example. Billions are spent every year in farm subsidies, yet this is a Depression Era program. Not only that, but farming has been taken over, in great part, by agricorps. Corporations get 'corporate welfare' in the form of actual local, state, and federal subsidies as well as tax breaks, which, I believe, also began in the 1930's. Finance and defense are industries 'too big to fail.'



Right, so incentive programs to keep the agricultural industry afloat (so we can all eat) are easy to implement, but they rarely ever get withdrawn when they are no longer needed, do they?

First off, I used farm subsidies as an example and not as a suggestion for cutting down the size of the Federal Government--although I've thought of it ever since I read Catch 22. Maj. Major M. Major's father made his money during the Great Depression by not growing wheat on his wheat farm. The novel takes place during WWII, but farm subsidies still go on. Why? I think it's because now, instead of small, rural farms there are large corporate farms and there's no one to lobby for the small farmer. But that isn't the only 'problem.' The agricorps are allied with the chemical corporations which are allied with the food processors which are allied with the grocery stores--and so on and so on. (Throw the advertisers in there somewhere, too.) So it's more complicated than what a simple answer would solve.
_________________________

The US is also a nation of faddists. This is purposely done to us through the market. One of the current fads now is the gluten-free fad, although very few people know why or even what gluten is. Yet gluten is a commonly used additive in processed foods; it's used as a thickening agent, among other things. So called Greek yogurt is becoming a fast growing fad. Greek yogurt is different from regular yogurt because it's strained 3 times instead of just twice, so there's less whey in Greek yogurt. Would the normal yogurt eater know this let alone demand it from the yogurt producers? I don't think so. Staying with food, we eat more processed food than ever before. The chemicals used in the processing aren't necessarily approved by the FDA; few of them are. One additive everyone is aware of is sugar, but not everyone is aware of how many different kinds of sugars are used in processed food. You can't rely on labeling, either, unless you're an organic chemist.

I went up to a relative at a family party a couple of weeks ago. He's an engineer, middle-aged, with 3 grown kids. I told him he was wearing his jeans a bit low and he smiled and said that was all that was being made, now. And he's correct. Our clothing is what the manufacturers produce. You'd be out of luck if you were in love with, for example, wing-tipped shoes. There aren't any on the market. Women's clothing and foot wear is even worse.

Why has this all come about? Basically, because our nation is a capitalist nation. Our capitalist economy is all we know; producers have to maintain the consumer base in order to survive. What else is there? Remember, we can't go back.

Enjoy!

Liz :)
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:42 pm

lizbethrose wrote:Right and left are labels that originated in France during the French Revolution to signify where people sat in the assembly. Those who were loyal to the monarchy sat on the right and those loyal to the revolution sat on the left. It's only been recently that political ideologies have been described as either right or left. I prefer not using labels, and I've tried not to in this thread.


Labels can be useful for certain purposes. I use them mainly as shorthand for ideologies or theoretical positions, but you do have to be more careful when applying those labels to people--even when they're self-ascribed, they don't necessarily mean the same thing to the person as they mean to you.

lizbethrose wrote:Looking at regulations, right now it seems that everyone writes regulations. There was an article quoted in another thread, for example, that mentioned the Police Chiefs from around the country getting together to write the rules concerning the use of body cams by police forces to present to the Justice Department. Sugar producers got together to block the stevia plant from being used as a sweetener, even though it's about 200 times sweeter than cane and/or beet sugar and has zero calories. Now, the chemical in stevia that produces sweetness is synthesized in labs and has been introduced as 'pure' stevia to be used as a sugar substitute. Of course, sugar substitutes have a bad name, so fewer and fewer people will use them. President Clinton lifted regulations from banks and lending institutions, and look what happened.


Is this what caused the current recession? I don't quite understand enough about this to respond. I looked up the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act on Wikipedia (is that the same act?) and found this:

wikipedia wrote:The act is "often cited as a cause" of the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis "even by some of its onetime supporters." President Barack Obama has stated that GLB led to deregulation that, among other things, allowed for the creation of giant financial supermarkets that could own investment banks, commercial banks and insurance firms, something banned since the Great Depression. Its passage, critics also say, cleared the way for companies that were too big and intertwined to fail.

Mark Thornton and Robert Ekelund, economists who follow the free-market Austrian School, have also criticized the Act as contributing to the crisis, noting that the act did not at all 'deregulate' in the literal sense of the word, but merely transferred regulatory power to the regional Federal Reserve Banks. They state that "in a world regulated by a gold standard, 100% reserve banking, and no FDIC deposit insurance" the Financial Services Modernization Act would have made perfect sense as a legitimate act of so-called "deregulation", but under the present fiat monetary system it "amounts to corporate welfare for financial institutions and a moral hazard that will make taxpayers pay dearly".

Another Austrian School economist, Frank Shostak, has argued that GLB actually gave more regulation over the banking sector. He argues that with the existence of a central bank, competition among banks led to increased inflation and "rather than promoting an efficient allocation of real savings, the current "deregulated" monetary system has been channeling money created out of thin air across the economy".

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also argued that the Act helped to create the crisis. In an article in The Nation, Mark Sumner asserted that the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act was responsible for the creation of entities that took on more risk due to their being considered “too big to fail". Other critics also assert that proponents and defenders of the Act espouse a form of "eliteconomics" that has, with the passage of the Act, directly precipitated the current economic recession while at the same time shifting the burden of belt-tightening measures onto the lower- and middle-income classes.


I don't know what this means. The only thing I'm getting out of it is that some economists (mainly from the "Austrian School") think it wasn't real deregulation. As for what happened and how and why, I'm clueless.

lizbethrose wrote:It isn't so much that politicians are unscrupulous, it's that, for politicians, ethics and morality often get in the way of expediency. The same is true of business people. This is Capitalism. The goal of Capitalism is to make money. In order to make money, you have to have both a manufacturing base and a consumer base, right? They can both be the same--the manufacturer is the consumer and vice versa. Only now, the US is no longer an industrial country, it's a service country. Consumers are no longer the manufacturers. The market has to expand in order to continue making money; that's where trade becomes important. This is also one area where the Federal Government is involved with the market; the government makes the trade regulations.


Right, but these regulations still affect the domestic market. Being told what you can trade, at what rate, with whom, etc. affects how you perform within your own market.

lizbethrose wrote:First off, I used farm subsidies as an example and not as a suggestion for cutting down the size of the Federal Government--although I've thought of it ever since I read Catch 22. Maj. Major M. Major's father made his money during the Great Depression by not growing wheat on his wheat farm. The novel takes place during WWII, but farm subsidies still go on. Why? I think it's because now, instead of small, rural farms there are large corporate farms and there's no one to lobby for the small farmer. But that isn't the only 'problem.' The agricorps are allied with the chemical corporations which are allied with the food processors which are allied with the grocery stores--and so on and so on. (Throw the advertisers in there somewhere, too.) So it's more complicated than what a simple answer would solve.


Is that you're point? That it's more complicated than we've been letting on?

lizbethrose wrote:The US is also a nation of faddists. This is purposely done to us through the market. One of the current fads now is the gluten-free fad, although very few people know why or even what gluten is. Yet gluten is a commonly used additive in processed foods; it's used as a thickening agent, among other things. So called Greek yogurt is becoming a fast growing fad. Greek yogurt is different from regular yogurt because it's strained 3 times instead of just twice, so there's less whey in Greek yogurt. Would the normal yogurt eater know this let alone demand it from the yogurt producers? I don't think so. Staying with food, we eat more processed food than ever before. The chemicals used in the processing aren't necessarily approved by the FDA; few of them are. One additive everyone is aware of is sugar, but not everyone is aware of how many different kinds of sugars are used in processed food. You can't rely on labeling, either, unless you're an organic chemist.

I went up to a relative at a family party a couple of weeks ago. He's an engineer, middle-aged, with 3 grown kids. I told him he was wearing his jeans a bit low and he smiled and said that was all that was being made, now. And he's correct. Our clothing is what the manufacturers produce. You'd be out of luck if you were in love with, for example, wing-tipped shoes. There aren't any on the market. Women's clothing and foot wear is even worse.

Why has this all come about? Basically, because our nation is a capitalist nation. Our capitalist economy is all we know; producers have to maintain the consumer base in order to survive. What else is there? Remember, we can't go back.


The fad thing touches on manufactured demand, and the food additives the need for consumer awareness agencies (which would entail the need for regulations forcing producers and service providers to allow inspectors to test their products/services). Both these, I think, are important issues for conservatives like Eric and Ucci to address. They tell us that in a free market, businesses would emerge to meet the demands for these things (but who's gonna pay for it?) or the local community would decide upon what laws they want in place to handle these kinds of problems (remember, as long as it's not government, they're fine with it). I'd like to hear their feedback, as I'm sure you would too.

As for the baggy pants thing, I would think a free market is exactly what you need to solve that problem--for an industry to produce one thing and one thing only, despite the existence of an (albeit marginal) demand for alternatives, seems like something that could come about only in virtue of regulations limiting what that industry produces.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:54 am

My parents just came back from their 6 month escape to their condo down in Ft. Lauderdale. They do that once or twice a year--go down to the States for a good stretch of time, to their condo by the beach, then back up to Canada.

Just today I asked my dad: you've experience the American medical system for a while now--how is it compared to Canada?

He said: it's excellent if you're rich--and I mean really rich--but for regular folk, the Canadian system is much better.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:52 am

gib wrote:I suppose, but is there any reason it should veer so far to the left? Does that just happen to be how it turned out? It could have turned out very far to the right if things were different?



I think Eric's answer to this about Communism being a verbal thing thatdoesnt work in a practical environment was close, but I'd also like to point out another factor- the Cold War. About the time the universities went so far left was when the Gov't was blacklisting/investigating people with Communist sympathies to try to get rid of spies and seditionists. On the one hand, the USSR really did infiltrate academia with spies and seditionists, and on the other hand, many of those professors who were just decent American liberals were turned off from the anti-Communist actions (some would say extremes) of that time. Add to all of that, Vietnam.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Uccisore » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:00 am

gib wrote:The fad thing touches on manufactured demand, and the food additives the need for consumer awareness agencies (which would entail the need for regulations forcing producers and service providers to allow inspectors to test their products/services). Both these, I think, are important issues for conservatives like Eric and Ucci to address.


I guess the first thing I'd say is that Liz didn't say why us being a nation of faddists is actually a bad thing that needs to be addressed. OK, people eat a different kind of yogurt and wear a different cut of jeans because consumer culture told them to. Annnnnd? If the argument is that there should be all kinds of different yogurt and all kinds of different jeans, well...you're only going to get that in a capitalist society, and one of the most often spouted criticisms of capitalism is that consumer culture creates an overabundance of useless choices. So I find it odd to hear "Because capitalism, we are limited in our options" when I so often hear the precise opposite criticism.

I will also say that I'm more of a conservative than a libertarian, so I have no gut instinct to defend the actions of big corporations any more than big government. But as long as big corporations are funded by people choosing to give them money that they can choose not to give, and they don't have the right to enforce their will with violence, they will always be the lesser of two evils. Corporations absolutely can do evil things, and the primary way to combat that is through a society with a shared, single cultural norm of right and wrong such that outing corporations for that wrongdoing has meaning, people can be shamed, and consumer support flows to companies in part from our shared understanding of their dignity. In other words, all that 'objective morality' that a lefty wants to do away with. A leftist will tell you that corporations are behaving immorally on Monday, then tell you there is no such thing as objective morality on Tuesday. They will wonder why people act only out of self interest when it's the only absolute you've left them to believe in.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Sat Aug 30, 2014 11:16 am

uccisore wrote:

I guess the first thing I'd say is that Liz didn't say why us being a nation of faddists is actually a bad thing that needs to be addressed. OK, people eat a different kind of yogurt and wear a different cut of jeans because consumer culture told them to. Annnnnd? If the argument is that there should be all kinds of different yogurt and all kinds of different jeans, well...you're only going to get that in a capitalist society, and one of the most often spouted criticisms of capitalism is that consumer culture creates an overabundance of useless choices. So I find it odd to hear "Because capitalism, we are limited in our options" when I so often hear the precise opposite criticism.


That's because it isn't necessarily a bad thing that needs to be addressed. For example, I'm a little person with no hips to speak of; I'm kind of built like a boy. For years, I bought boy's jeans because they fit me better than girl's jeans. But it took years before manufacturer's started to make all types of pants for women. My relative is tall and thin and has a heck of a time finding trousers that fit him properly and he often has to pay more for them. But that wasn't my point.

My point is that, our voices aren't heard although we live in a democracy. Once elected, our representatives--the people who's job it is to speak for us--don't do their jobs. It isn't because they don't want to, I suppose, so much as it's because they're either over-whelmed or inured to the whole business of politics as politics.

The average years of service for Members of the 113th Congress, as of January 3, 2013, when the Congress convened, was 9.1 years for the House and 10.2 years for the Senate. The average years of service for Members of the 112th Congress, as of January 5, 2011, when the Congress convened, was 9.8 years for the House and 11.4 years for the Senate. CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress


That's the average tenure; obviously some Congressmen serve longer terms. And it doesn't include the representatives who then switch and become senators. Nine to eleven years can be a pretty long time, particularly in a boring job. I don't know if you've ever read the Congressional Record, but it's a pretty tedious read.

The people who are re-elected time after time are said to be there because 'they get the job done!' But have they? Or is more a matter of name recognition. What, exactly, have your electeds done for you and/or your community? And I'm talking about the Federal rather than the State government. And what does this have to do with US capitalism?

A capitalist market must maintain a consumer base in order to make money. Very simple no matter who's 'theory' is used. In order to make money, new products have to be introduced at a certain rate. Then, the consumer has to be convinced that he actually needs that new product for whatever reason. I used yogurt as an example. Basically, yogurt is sour milk. If the yogurt manufacturer wants to increase his market, he adds fruit to it. Once that starts to get passe, he comes out with a new variety of yogurt with a different name and a slightly different process. And he usually charges more for it. If the customer is lucky, both regular and Greek (or whatever) yogurt will be sold, but it'll take time. In the meantime, because more is being charged for sour milk called by one name than the less expensive sour milk, the more expensive product will be the one sold. That's where the fad factor is played. All that needs to be said is, "The more expensive yogurt is better for you." But sour milk is sour milk, for goodness sake!

The same is true with politics, to me. Tell someone often enough that Rob the Wrangler got 'more done' in Congress and he'll be re-elected, whether he has or not. Tell people that Pete the Plumber is an ass-hole who's never at his seat in Congress, and he won't be re-elected, no matter what he's done. A lot of politics is sales.

I started all my replies to this thread by saying I'm not a Party person, I'm an independent. Ucci, you heard what you wanted to hear; you didn't hear what I said. And I've certainly never said, "Because [of] capitalism, we are limited in our options" as you implied with your use of quotation marks.

Enjoy,

Liz :D
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby Eric_The_Pipe » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:02 pm

The Sub-prime Mortgage crisis had more to do with the Clintons using political pressure to lower the standards for people buying homes. GLB might have contributed, as people with more are willing to take bigger risks, and it lead, in part, to people having more. But the primary reason is, as usual, wishful promises and stage one thinking. The housing Boom and Bust, by Thomas Sowell (Buy the book) The book does not disagree that it was a bunch of greedy business men that exasperated the whole damned thing...

Liz, the nice thing about companies selling me something, is that if I buy it, and I don't like it, I don't have to go back. I still don't buy Nike to this day, I purchased two pairs of shoes made by them and they fell apart WAY to fast for my taste. Does my refusal to buy Nike stop them from making stuff, no, but it means I do not support them, because they did not fulfill my needs and desires. Politicians though, come whole-sell, if I don't like one politician in a race, I still must vote to have any influence at all and I effectively support them, until their candidacy is up. And unlike Nike, who has no influence in my life because other people vote for them, the politician can have HUGE influence, but only because other people vote for them.

You talk about not having a "voice" in the democracy of companies (WE ARE A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC, by the way), but I can think of no way to limit that voice more than to be forced to use the pants everyone else likes. You my not get your needs served fully, because of the limited amount of people "like" you (body type wise) by the evil corporations, but at least you don't have to wear what everyone else is wearing, because everyone else is wearing it. You can make your own clothes, you can find a business that is willing to cater to you... Politics and government doesn't work that way.

To sum up, the bitching you have for corporations applies worse for government.

I empathize on the pants thing... I'm short, and the result is a limited amount of pant options... (Being short is worse for men, especially when it comes to clothes.)
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby gib » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:25 pm

Uccisore wrote:But as long as big corporations are funded by people choosing to give them money that they can choose not to give, and they don't have the right to enforce their will with violence, they will always be the lesser of two evils.


When it comes to consumer awareness and safety, I think you might be comparing apples to oranges. The FDA would be an example of the government "evil" and the agricorps that Liz spoke of would be the capitalist "evil". But these two aren't substitutes, they're pitted against each other. What I would like to know is whether a conservative like you or Eric believe that in a truly free market, some equivalent to the FDA would emerge, something to protect the average consumer from incurring inadvertent harm from the products or services he consumes due to carelessness or oversight on the part of the producer or service provider. I can understand why you or Eric might say that such an establishment would probably be a lesser "evil" than a government agency like the FDA, but I'm wondering how it would emerge in the first place, and at what cost to the consumer. Specifically, why would businesses subject their products or services to inspection at all? And what would prevent such agencies from being "bought off" by the corporations they inspect to supply whatever data those corporations want their consumers to see (almost as if you'd need inspectors to investigate the business practices of the inspectors).

As for manufactured demand, I think that's less of a problem. People can die if they take a drug that wasn't produced with care. No one will die by buying a product they don't really need. I think some onus falls on the shoulders of the consumer sometimes, an onus to grab a backbone and not be such a drone to advertising or the warnings of professionals, to think critically for a bit and make independent free choices. We want to know if what we're being told is true, of course, and I suppose some want to enforce regulations on advertisers limiting them to what the original point of advertising was supposed to be--informing the consumer of what products/services are available and let him decide whether he wants it or not--rather than telling the consumer what he should want or what he needs, but I think regulations like this would only serve towards consumer convenience rather than consumer safety. Not that I like manufactured demand, but I think it's tolerable (at least at the levels we currently see it at).

lizbethrose wrote:A capitalist market must maintain a consumer base in order to make money. Very simple no matter who's 'theory' is used. In order to make money, new products have to be introduced at a certain rate. Then, the consumer has to be convinced that he actually needs that new product for whatever reason. I used yogurt as an example. Basically, yogurt is sour milk. If the yogurt manufacturer wants to increase his market, he adds fruit to it. Once that starts to get passe, he comes out with a new variety of yogurt with a different name and a slightly different process. And he usually charges more for it. If the customer is lucky, both regular and Greek (or whatever) yogurt will be sold, but it'll take time. In the meantime, because more is being charged for sour milk called by one name than the less expensive sour milk, the more expensive product will be the one sold. That's where the fad factor is played. All that needs to be said is, "The more expensive yogurt is better for you." But sour milk is sour milk, for goodness sake!

The same is true with politics, to me. Tell someone often enough that Rob the Wrangler got 'more done' in Congress and he'll be re-elected, whether he has or not. Tell people that Pete the Plumber is an ass-hole who's never at his seat in Congress, and he won't be re-elected, no matter what he's done. A lot of politics is sales.

I started all my replies to this thread by saying I'm not a Party person, I'm an independent. Ucci, you heard what you wanted to hear; you didn't hear what I said. And I've certainly never said, "Because [of] capitalism, we are limited in our options" as you implied with your use of quotation marks.


With all due respect, Liz, it's sometimes difficult, reading through your posts, to understand the overall point you're making. You post a lot of facts. You ask a lot of (rhetorical?) questions. And we're grateful for that (if I can speak for the others here). But sometimes you leave it to the reader to tie it all together into a succinct overall point. That's why I had to ask "Is that you're point? That it's more complicated than we've been letting on?" in an earlier post. In the quote above, you made it a bit more clear that you were using the phenomenon of manufactured demand as an analogy for "manufactured votes" in politics (if we may call it that). But did I get that right? I think Eric at least understood this.
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:18 pm

gib wrote;

With all due respect, Liz, it's sometimes difficult, reading through your posts, to understand the overall point you're making. You post a lot of facts. You ask a lot of (rhetorical?) questions. And we're grateful for that (if I can speak for the others here). But sometimes you leave it to the reader to tie it all together into a succinct overall point. That's why I had to ask "Is that you're point? That it's more complicated than we've been letting on?" in an earlier post. In the quote above, you made it a bit more clear that you were using the phenomenon of manufactured demand as an analogy for "manufactured votes" in politics (if we may call it that). But did I get that right? I think Eric at least understood this.


I apologize, gib. I'm very understandable to myself. :)

No, I take that back; I don't apologize. If you have to think about what I say, that's good. If what I say gives you new ideas or helps you to rethink your ideas in a slightly different way, we've both grown a bit. I think 'manufactured votes' is a good way of putting it. It's probably more accurate than any label I could come up with--as long as I can explain a bit more.

I've been trying so hard not to have to say this because I really don't like Rush Limbaugh, even as an entertainer. But he's correct when he says we're a nation of "sheeple." Marketing and advertising has made us so. That's why, according to [url]letsfreecongress.org[/url], 95% of the candidates that outspent their opponents won their elections; 68% of campaign funding came from only 1% of the population. (Use caution, I haven't been able to corroborate these figures.) I've been trying to compare[ the market and politics.

I started thinking about this back when we talked about corruption. Money leads to power; power leads to corruption; money leads to corruption. Actually, I've been thinking about it for much longer, but I started trying to bring all my thoughts together back then. Writing helps me; it's a process thing, for me. Getting feedback such as yours and Eric's helps me immeasurably.

The question, then, is can we get our voices back? Peacefully. So far, I can't see how.

Enjoy,

Liz :)
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Re: Reforming Democracy

Postby lizbethrose » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:33 pm

Eric_The_Pipe wrote:The Sub-prime Mortgage crisis had more to do with the Clintons using political pressure to lower the standards for people buying homes. GLB might have contributed, as people with more are willing to take bigger risks, and it lead, in part, to people having more. But the primary reason is, as usual, wishful promises and stage one thinking. The housing Boom and Bust, by Thomas Sowell (Buy the book) The book does not disagree that it was a bunch of greedy business men that exasperated the whole damned thing...

Liz, the nice thing about companies selling me something, is that if I buy it, and I don't like it, I don't have to go back. I still don't buy Nike to this day, I purchased two pairs of shoes made by them and they fell apart WAY to fast for my taste. Does my refusal to buy Nike stop them from making stuff, no, but it means I do not support them, because they did not fulfill my needs and desires. Politicians though, come whole-sell, if I don't like one politician in a race, I still must vote to have any influence at all and I effectively support them, until their candidacy is up. And unlike Nike, who has no influence in my life because other people vote for them, the politician can have HUGE influence, but only because other people vote for them.

You talk about not having a "voice" in the democracy of companies (WE ARE A REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC, by the way), but I can think of no way to limit that voice more than to be forced to use the pants everyone else likes. You my not get your needs served fully, because of the limited amount of people "like" you (body type wise) by the evil corporations, but at least you don't have to wear what everyone else is wearing, because everyone else is wearing it. You can make your own clothes, you can find a business that is willing to cater to you... Politics and government doesn't work that way.

To sum up, the bitching you have for corporations applies worse for government.

I empathize on the pants thing... I'm short, and the result is a limited amount of pant options... (Being short is worse for men, especially when it comes to clothes.)


Eric, I vote, but I don't vote for ideologies. By voting, I'm supporting a candidate, just as you do. And I don't think corporations are "evil" because, to me, only a person can be evil. Even then, there are very few truly evil people in the world. Despite the SCOTUS rulings, a corporation isn't a person, to me. I make my own clothes or have what I buy altered to fit me. Now, I wear Levi's and shirts most of the time. I'm not a fashionista!

Although we live in a representative democracy, I feel we've lost our balance of power to money. That's all. And I'm mostly concerned about the future. (Go ahead and laugh, I'll wait.)

Liz :)
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