The ineffable stupidity of political ideology in America

It’s a real quick one, but an interesting juxtapositioning of logically cancelling positions. Keeping in mind, that as with anything political, the definitions are broadly appllied.



Anti-Death Penalty



Pro-Death Penalty

On the issue of abortion, I’ve heard both sides, ad nauseum. From the Democratic/Liberal perspective, abortion is a matter of the individual’s right to make a choice about their own body; thus, logically denying the potentiality present in a growing zygote/fetus. Yet, in the manner of true idiocy, they generally are against the death penalty, as from the arguments I have heard, “it’s still murder, killing is wrong”. Ratifying the value of life for individuals who have proven themselves unworthy of such sentiments, and a detriment to and dredge upon society.

From the Republican/Conservative, you will most certainly hear the affirmation of the sanctity of life, as regards abortion. But when it comes to the death penalty, life has no inherent value for a criminal, and thus, they are fit for death. It is also oft times mentioned that there is an appreciable cost to maintaining a criminal; and blindly, in the manner of a true dolt, they are completely unawares that they have now set the parameters of life’s value outside the aesthetic of potentiality, by randomly applying a physical currency valuation.

Yes, I assert ineffable stupidity for both parties; blind, unconscious, incorrigible, ineffable stupidity.

Even with the generalization disclaimer, I still think it is too much of a generalization.

For one thing, according to Gallup, not only do 65% of people support the death penalty for those convicted of murder, but 49% of people don’t think it is used often enough. You could make your argument for the latter statistic, but the former is going to require some Democrats to be on board. (1)

Additionally, 57% think that abortion should be legal only in certain circumstances, but 21% think it should be legal in all circumstances vs. 18% who would illegalize it completely. (2)

Now, with combined responses, 21% say any circumstances, 13% say most and 42% say only in a few. Either way, you end up with 76% that think it should be legal in at least a few cases which is going to take some Republicans. (2)

I think that the problem we clearly end up with in the abortion debate is over-simplified choices such as, “Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, pick one.” Obviously, a person that does not believe that they, themselves, would have an abortion under any circumstances would choose, “Pro-Life,” but might extend the right to have an abortion to someone else. To wit, someone else might choose, “Pro-Life,” if they believe abortion to be morally wrong in all cases, but might still let another choose what is morally wrong for herself despite the fact.

In any case, it is clear that abortion (at least in some cases) as well as the death penalty have clearly drawn majority support, which almost by definition (i.e. two-party system) is going to require a Bi-Partisan support.

1.) … ll1009.pdf


That points out the problem of a two-party state. Both parties are coalitions with all sorts of inconsistent positions. Or seemingly inconsistent ones anyway.

I’m pro-choice because I don’t think the unborn are human beings in a meaningful sense. Since I eat meat, I don’t have any strong proscriptions against killing other animals for my own enjoyment. Ideally the process ought be “humane” and “respectful” but, eh, those get pretty wishy-washy.

On the other hand, I’m opposed to the death penalty not because of ideology but rather because the American penal system is a horrifically broken, racist system. If out penal system could get its act together, I’d have no problems with the death penalty. Until then, it is a bad idea.

Pav, no offense, I call unmitigated bullshit:

“Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,013 national adults”

That sample, out of 300+ million Americans, is statistically irrelevant. Polling data is useless/meaningless. You can’t make a case for percentages of “all Americans” with that sample. No logical individual would even see that poll sample as meaning anything beyond those 1K individuals.

The second link, has zero information on the polling sample. That one gets tossed period. Not withstanding, if you look at proper protocols to avoid inquirer/participant bias ~ they NEVER happen with political polls.

Polls are meaningless. I stand on my assertion, especially with respect to the fact there is a growing segment of the population that is atheist/non-theist; individuals who are almost uniformly liberal. Go throw up an abortion thread at or and tell them abortion is wrong; watch the unilateral response, absolutely, vehemently against anyone who does not support abortion rights.

I don’t know if “uniformly liberal” makes sense when it pertains to atheists. A lot of them are quite hawkish, traditionally not a liberal trait.

No, they are inconsistent, to any rational individual, and that is precisely the point.

There’s a great read from the book, … 1400040310, and of course the Federalist Papers, #9, #10, #51 from James Madison, as well as an enormous number of letters and essays from Thomas Jefferson; all of which denounce “factions” or political parties.

Sadly, the masses of brain dead, unwashed plebes that form the Sheeple Nation will never get it.

Vae victis, hail the honored dead and the glorious burning of Rome. May history be even handed in its detailing of our fall.

Ahem, I said “almost uniformly liberal”. As I stated also, go to any atheist site and throw up a thread denouncing abortion and then monitor the reaction; you will find my position is heavily supported.

I don’t know if you can blame the population for that. This sort of a situation is unavoidable in a political system that excludes third parties. Both parties have to become very broad coalitions. Basic game theory here. This is especially true when it comes to wedge-issues. Compromise is the nature of politics.

As for the atheists, again, I’d say that their near uniformity as liberals is not true. You could make the case that they are on social issues (like abortion) but I offered the contrast of that with international policy where New Atheists are pretty uniformly on the right.

Also, New Atheists are such a small subpopulation, I’m not sure that they will ever have much power as a demographic. . .

Okay, Xunzian, let’s not play the “moving the goalpost” type of argument game, that’s inordinately boring.

“New Atheists” isn’t a demographic, wasn’t part of the post, don’t even know where that came from … other than a few fringe individuals somewhere on the net. So, again, as I stated previously ~ go to any site like AtheistNexus or AtheistAlliance, hell, go to the Brights site; do exactly what I said, and find out for yourself.

On the issue of “socially liberal”, that’s only part of the equation; it’s utter balderdash that they claim “fiscally conservative” … when you pin their ears back on the matter, and I have repeatedly; then it’s “universal healthcare, more social assistance for groupX, more control of corporate [policy, compensation, benefits], more humanitarian aid …” until it becomes crystal clear, they use the phrase having no idea what it actually means, and hold to ideals that have thing to do with fiscal responsibility.

On the international policy, “hawkish” means right leaning? No, it just means war monger, and I think that “international policy” is a broad scope phrase with a great deal of latitude for discussion beyond war/military policy. Of which, no real mention was made and you’re making a point of evading the point.

Ummm, I’m fairly certain that the Founders, being studied and brilliant men, were very pointedly direct about the fact they didn’t want to see “factions” or political parties arise. The fact they have, and as with the fall or Rome, bodes of the end of our country under the weight of such stupidity. Compromise is inherent to the nature of failure as well.

Hawkish foreign policy is associated with the right. A lot of that has to do with the legacy of the Vietnam War in America but it also plays out pretty well when viewed internationally as well. I can’t think of a modern country where hawks aren’t on the right and doves aren’t on the left.

As for the Founding Fathers not wanting people to form factions, that is actually why we have the mess we do right now. People naturally tend to form factions but the Founding Fathers didn’t think this would happen in America (despite the fact that in order to actually get the Constitution, factions had already developed!). There is no control, no spoiler for this tendency. After that, it is just Hotelling’s Law.

Patently false. That’s why I suggested the book about Washington, the Federalist Papers, and a good study of Jefferson; they knew it would happen, knew that it would be the leading cause of failure, (as it has been throughout the history of civilisations), and wanted to keep it out of the governmental processes.

As a matter of fact; they knew the ideal, the whispered dream, that was to be America, was nothing more than an “experiment”, doomed to inevitable failure.

Sure, there was some hang-wringing about it but what did they do that would actually prevent it? Did they exemplify this virtue themselves? The answers are: nothing and no. Well, maybe not “nothing”, they said “tsk tsk” and awarded the opposition the useless office of VP thinking that would force cooperation. Then the same group of people decided that even that wasn’t going to work.

The Founding Fathers continued to have a lot of influence after the Constitution was ratified. So you can’t stop their thought process with the Constitution . . .

I’ve wondered about this, and the “information” that is available is so biased along strict lines of modern political affliations that it isn’t of much use. Although I don’t doubt that Hamilton was a brilliant man, from what I’ve read, (meaning subjective material), has stated that he was motivated by a sense of having been denied an aristocratic social position …

From what is written of Washington’s term as President, with Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson in tow, that’s probably some of the most interesting material. From all appearances, you are correct, and Washington is the only one who held true to the standards they all set. Madison and Jefferson, it is reported, agreed to faction against Hamilton’s press for a more powerful expansive central government …

There was more than “hand-wringing”, the Federalist Papers were a strong lobbying attempt. Washington, being probably the most visible figure, made a number of public speeches against it, prior to and during his administration.

Right, which is why what I think we need to do in government is not try and prevent factions from forming but rather try and find a way to mitigate its negative effects. There are plenty of modern devices that do just that, like instant run-off elections. We can’t judge the framers of the Constitution too harshly, they were products of their time. And for men of their time, the system they created is absolutely fantastic. That is why it has endured for so long, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While the Constitutional system hasn’t broken down (yet), it is showing its age and some of the patches we’ve attached to it (subsequent Amendments) haven’t fixed the underlying problems.

Dwarves on the shoulders of giants and all that.

There has been no means of, to this point, of controlling factions.

Not withstanding, the factions are not limited to political parties; lobbyists are a faction also. We are seeing exactly what the Founders warned against; the oligarchy created, and the “People” no longer have a voice.

I disagree with your first statement, the power of factions can be harnessed in a usefully in a democratic society. As for factions being limited to political parties, again, I’ll mention Hotelling’s Law. There are factions within the political parties but so what?

Feel free to show evidence then, because it has never been shown anywhere, under any government of democracy that I know.

Xunz, stop reading what you want, and read what I posted. Lobbyists are not a faction within a political party, and are exactly what the Founders warned against; the Oligarch.

That is exactly the definition given by the Founders as being treacherous and inevitably, the end of the People’s democratic rights and abilities.

Factions have worked just fine in systems where there isn’t a plurality voting system. Where a plurality voting system is in place, you get what I have described.

As for oligarchs and how they relate to democracy, their influence isn’t a result of political factions. Their influence is a product of the anti-democratic nature of capitalism, a plurality voting system, and the power (and cost) of modern advertising.

Really? So, presumably, because you’ve stated it twice, and shown no evidence; that makes it a factual assertion?

Again, really?

Well, I’ll keep this short because the continual “moving the goalposts” argument is really starting to become uninteresting. Lobbying existed prior to the systemised capitalism that became prolific in the 20th century. It has it’s roots going back as far as the Roman Republic; it has to do with ideology and minority preference. It has nothing to do with marketing in any manner, because oligarchy has to do with “behind the scenes” or “behind the curtain” politiking.

Hotelling’s Law’s_law

As applied to electoral systems:

Note, it doesn’t apply where a multiple-peak preferences are present. Multiple peak preferences can be created through a variety of techniques known to us, instant run-off being one of them. I mention instant run-off because it could be easily applied to the American system without any major changes. Proportional representation is another method but that would require more sweeping changes to the American electoral system.

I’m not moving any goalposts. I’ve been entirely consistent throughout. You, however, are employing a flawed thesis and your understanding through that lens therefore erratic. For example, lobbying is distinction from factionalization because it is in the interest of lobbies that both parties be the same. That way they will always get what they want. So rather than being divisive, lobbies are harmonizing elements that do their best to play both ends towards the middle. Which brings us back to Hotelling’s Law in a plurality system. Couple that with the other elements and you get precisely what I suggested.

As for behind-the-scenes politicking, the Founding Fathers were advocates of it. Hence the indirect election of senators, candidates chosen in closed door sessions, and so on. So I’m not sure where you are getting that.