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Our Political Downward Spiral


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#1
purpose

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As someone who very much hoped Biden would win the election I must admit I find myself more concerned than ever with the direction the US is headed.   I am concerned not because Biden won, but rather in winning I better realized how unhealthy things really are (I knew it was bad, but it is actually way worse).

 

I have spent the last couple weeks focused on consuming as much right-wing media as I could find and doing my own research in order really try and understand where the right is coming from. I am now convinced that most people in the center and left have no clue how to turn our country around.  I say this not because progressive and/or centrist ideas are not preferable to what we have been witnessing but because these ideas simply will not be able to take root in the current environment.

 

Close to 70% of the voting eligible population participated in this election, which is amazing and about as good of a sample of the true will of the people as we are likely to achieve in the near to medium term.  Furthermore, I have no reason to assume that had we achieved 100% participation that this would have favored Biden, in truth I suspect the opposite may be true.  In other words even with the most verbose voting in US history at best you can say the left-center had a pyrrhic victory and at worst a victory that will cost the war.

 

There seems to be two theories in circulation among those who want to see Trump (and to a lessor degree the right) lose power.

 

1) We need to focus on policies where we can find common ground and that are not universally rejected by the right in order to lower the temperature (while still pushing enough progressive policies to avoid an internal rebellion).

2) The left should push progressive policies with every bit as much aggression as Trump and the GOP did (i.e. anything goes, they are the enemy and deserve no quarter).

 

Neither of these approaches will be successful. 

 

Lets start with 2) since its the easiest to see how this would fail:

 

This approach will not only fail due to the reality that even if democrat's win the senate, they still won't have enough votes to pull off a strong progressive agenda; but more importantly it will rile up the opposition even more, pushing many more voters into the rights camp. Ceding even more power to the right will only result in further loses 2 years from now.  This kind of strategy only works when your side has overwhelming support and you can afford to lose some of that support in the short term to gain in the long term (once the policies prove successful and people buy into them).

 

The issue with 1) is harder to see without really understanding what the other side wants.  I say "other side" but in reality its not at all that simple.  Take for example that Biden won while almost all other competitive democrat's races were lost.  Add to this the fact that Trump greatly increased his number of supporters overall in the 4 years he was in office.  This tells us that Biden only won because a small percentage of the right's supporters were willing to vote Biden over Trump due his personal qualities, even though they on the whole would prefer the right's agenda (which itself has been radical long before Trump).

  

When it comes to 1) it is also critical to fully understand and accept that Trump DID NOT create the vast majority of the radical and conspiratorial thinking on display by the right; much of it has been dominant in the GOP for decades and what is new hasn't come from Trump. What changed is Trump made it safe to speak it out in the open.  To be sure Trump did bring more people into the GOP and far right, but this is more due to Trump being a better salesmen than that hey was selling something new. 

 

So what does the right actually want?  First and for most they want the other side to stripped of all power.  Sure they can list a hundred "liberal" agendas they want to thwart but make no mistake, any agenda that a "leftist" might support is and must be thwarted.   I see the left continuing to try and make reason based arguments on things like how socialism is different than communism, or how BLM does not mean other lives don't matter etc... but this fails to understand what the argument is really about... its not about issues, its not about coming up with winning arguments, it is 100% about belief and feelings.

 

The right has over decades developed a fairly complex, robust and always evolving "theory" of the left.  This theory is centered on the idea that the left is destructive, manipulative, insidious, hedonistic and short sighted.  Now the right is not monolithic group, no more than the left-to-center is.  However, make no mistake there is a larger group of hard core believers in the "evilness" of the left than there is any group of people on the left-center (perhaps as many as 60 million).  This hard core group would reject their own policy agendas if it meant their opponents would lose even a little power in the long term. 

 

Sadly I don't see a straight forward way to solve this problem and I suspect things will need to get worse before they get better.  One thing I am certain of is this cycle must be broken.  We on the "left" have sadly played into the "rights" hands, in that we have allowed them to make us a nameless monolithic "other" that must be defeated at all costs.    



#2
starspawn0

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Greetings, Purpose.  I see you have found a new home here on this forum (in addition to the other forums I've met you on).
 
What you write reminds me of Corey Robin's view about conservatism:

https://www.nbcnews....ript-ncna874126
 

So Corey Robin's point is that conservatism, from the very beginning, hasn't been about limited government, hasn't been about individual liberty, hasn't been about freedom, hasn't been about restraint, hasn't been about prudential approaches to risk. It's been about fundamental opposition to movements that seek to restructure who has power in a society, particularly from the bottom up. It has been a reaction to movements of liberation that seek to undo hierarchy. And if you understand conservatism in that way, if you go all the way back and then race all the way forward, and you look at conservatism from Edmund Burke and the French Revolution to the slave holding class in the South during the Civil War, up through the modern republican part, up through Richard Nixon, up to Ronald Regan, up to Donald Trump, what you see is continuity. You see a very clear picture of what the movement is, what its ideological precepts are, what its political position is, and why Donald Trump makes absolutely perfect sense as a conservative.


That may be what the leaders of conservatism are up to, but I'm not sure about the average voter. Many probably see politics as a team sport, and don't pay attention to the issues and news. They go to the voting machine, and just check all the candidates that are Republicans, as that is the brand they know. (I confess to doing this for "Democrat" for the minor political positions I don't have much knowledge or interest in.)

Another thing you mention is the reaction to "destructive" and "hedonistic" left -- that there is a battle between "order" and "chaos". This reminds me of Jordan Peterson, who sees the world through that lens. He sees Communists and Socialists as agents of chaos that must be put down (in debate), in order for humanity to flourish. It reminds me of the cosmic battle between the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien and Michael Moorcock:

https://www.newstate...-crypto-fascist
 

“I think he’s a crypto-fascist,” says Moorcock, laughing. “In Tolkien, everyone’s in their place and happy to be there. We go there and back, to where we started. There’s no escape, nothing will ever change and nobody will ever break out of this well-­ordered world.”



#3
purpose

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That may be what the leaders of conservatism are up to, but I'm not sure about the average voter. Many probably see politics as a team sport, and don't pay attention to the issues and news. They go to the voting machine, and just check all the candidates that are Republicans, as that is the brand they know. (I confess to doing this for "Democrat" for the minor political positions I don't have much knowledge or interest in.)

 

 

I used to believe in the vocal minority theory of the right as well, however after doing a bit more research I don't see any evidence to support this view and it now seems more like wishful than something supported by evidence.  Now I am certain that the majority of these people do not share a specific and robust conception of the "left" but I have come to accept that the majority of them do in fact think the left is "evil" in a generalized sense.  At the end of the day it doesn't so much matter the particular reasons an individual believes this, what is important is if they are willing to go along with the idea that the left must be defeated at all costs and are willing to support those who go to any lengths to achieve it. 



#4
caltrek

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“I think he’s a crypto-fascist,” says Moorcock, laughing. “In Tolkien, everyone’s in their place and happy to be there. We go there and back, to where we started. There’s no escape, nothing will ever change and nobody will ever break out of this well-­ordered world.”

 

It is worse than that.  It is not a desire for a "well-ordered" world. Purpose is right. They see the left as evil. That includes science. At least they think that religion should take priority over science.  Look at the most recent Supreme Court decision (see today's post of mine in the Disease and Outbreak News and Discussion thread).  Churches should be allowed to ignore public health directives because to do otherwise is to infringe upon freedom of religion.  

 

What is next?

 

" I should be exempt from anti-discrimination laws and ordinances because they violate my religious freedom."

 

"I shouldn't have to pay taxes or provide health insurance to my employees because it is against my religion to do so."

 

"I shouldn't have to comply with environmental regulations because it is against my religion to do so."

 

"Oh, your honor the reason why I took an AK 47 and killed all of those people was out of religious conviction, so if you find me guilty you will be depriving me of my religious freedom."  

 

Of course, you can almost bet your bottom dollar that if somebody asks to be allowed to use peyote in their religious ceremony, the justices will shrink back in mortal terror at the outlandishness of such a proposition. No, it will only be the religious conviction of right wing so-called Christians that will be protected to such extremes. The freedom from religion that our founding fathers envisioned will be warped into domination by fundamentalist Christians, and that in the name of religious freedom.  All others, as Purpose indicates, will be considered "evil".  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
purpose

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It is worse than that.  It is not a desire for a "well-ordered" world. Purpose is right. They see the left as evil. That includes science.

 

 

The key realization I have come to is the right doesn't need to be anti-science to be anti-global warming.  If the right has reason to believe global-warming is a tool of the left they have multiple rational reasons for opposing global warming.  For the lay people of the right its simply enough to know the left is pushing global warming to be self justified in resisting it.  For the learned on the right they can justifying their opposition by taking the position that the left is the more immediate threat and suppressing the lefts power grab is sufficient reason to ignore the long term threat of global warming.

 

In other words do not underestimate what a human social group will say, think or do if its supported by the belief that they are fighting a greater evil.  I think this is hard for those outside of the right's bubble to fully grok their point of view.  Groups on our side look at the right and are not sure what to think.  Some on our side feel confusion, pity, disgusts and even anger.  I don't think many of us spend enough time considering how the right feels when they know we look at them that way and how this only serves to increase their negative response.    

 

What we need to do is figure out how to look on them with hope and compassion; eventually even understanding and acceptance.   We also need to figure out how to decentralize our politics better I think. A two party system plays into this negative binary "left vs right" theory of good vs evil.



#6
purpose

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What you write reminds me of Corey Robin's view about conservatism:

 

 

I am genuinely curious how strong a role traditional conservatism plays in the minds of the 64ish million people who voted for Trump.  Sure if you ask them if they support conservatism I am sure many of them would give it the thumbs up... but if you were to measure how faithfully each of them lived according to these values I suspect there would be a huge delta.  In many cases, perhaps most cases, I think the right's talking points can be seen as means to an end.  No where was this more apparent to me than in this election.  Take Biden and Trump for example, by any kind of rational measure both Christians and Conservatives will undoubtedly receive more Christian and Conservative compatible policies from a Biden administration than a Trump one, yet its absolutely clear this had only modest impact on how Christians and Conservatives voted. 



#7
Nick1984

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Yet another Trump/Biden thread

#8
Erowind

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Close to 70% of the voting eligible population participated in this election,

Welcome to the forum. Sorry to quote you for the first time with a contention. Unless the electoral college is that incredibly flawed or I'm using wildly wrong statistics I don't think this statement is true. The people of this country have long rescinded the consent of the governed, which, any well-to-do liberal should be aware is the central principle of governance for the entire ideology and political structure. This in mind, it's no wonder there's a downward spiral. It's of note that voter turnout has improved massively but I'm not holding out hope that this will be a sustained trend nor that the voting mechanism within an oligarchy will matter.

 

https://scholar.prin...olitics.doc.pdf

 

I'd also contend that the centre-left in American politics would be a right-wing party in almost any European country. Further, that the DNC and the GOP are unspoken allies where the GOP moves the country farther right while the DNC prevents reaction back to the left when in office. Both parties serve almost entirely overlapping interests. Both parties consistently pass lobbied (legal bribary) bills to fund the military industrial complex among other corporate complexes. Both parties at every turn consistently curtail civil liberties for profit and impose austerity on the public barring the occasional temporary virtue signal or concession to stave off revolt. It's an illusion the oligarchs use to control us. There is nothing to be gained from working within the confines of either party and until the people reject both the country will continue to deteriorate.

 

If the statistics I've cited are wrong I'm more than happy to learn why and look at yours.

http://www.electproject.org/2020g

Turnout Rates

f1eibt0.png



#9
caltrek

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Erowind: Further, that the DNC and the GOP are unspoken allies where the GOP moves the country farther right while the DNC prevents reaction back to the left when in office. Both parties serve almost entirely overlapping interests

 

The DNC is an organ within the Democratic party. It is not the whole party. There is now a significant minority within the party, including elected officials like Bernie Sanders and AOC, who are not sympathetic to the more conservative goals of the DNC. In fact, there are openly declared tensions between the two factions. Issues such as "defund the police"  and a "Green New Deal" come to mind. The centrists support a version of the Green New Deal, but are careful to distance themselves from the more radical elements of that policy.

 

But hey, if you don't want to bother to find out who your friends are, don't let me stop you.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#10
caltrek

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There is nothing to be gained from working within the confines of either party and until the people reject both the country will continue to deteriorate.

 

By your own evidence, voter participation was up in 2020 over 2016. The Democratic party made gains in enlisting popular support. Does that mean deterioration occurred between the two elections?

 

So Joe Biden represents a more deteriorated way of looking at the world then Donald Trump?

 

Right....


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#11
funkervogt

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Yet another Trump/Biden thread

Well yeah, but maybe THIS one will finally settle the debate in everyone's minds forever! 



#12
starspawn0

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If the statistics I've cited are wrong I'm more than happy to learn why and look at yours.


A quick look at the results in California suggest this map is wrong:

https://electionresu...s/voter-turnout

I'm not exactly sure why they have different counts -- whether that's for mail-in ballots, in-person ballots, military ballots, or what. But, regardless, it looks like the total that voted was comfortably above 70%. Given that Biden won that state by 63% of the vote, that means that fully 44% of the eligible voters in that state voted "Biden". That's far above the 30% = 100% - 70% that "didn't vote" could have gotten.

....

Here is an interesting statistic:

https://www.thecrims...ents-on-campus/
 

Despite nearly half of the country voting for President Donald J. Trump, 90 percent of incoming students in the class of 2024 reported they would vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., compared to just 7.1 percent for Trump, according to a fall 2020 Crimson survey. In 2012, meanwhile, a Crimson straw poll of students found a higher percentage — 17 percent — supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Additionally, in The Crimson's freshman survey, only 7.4 percent of the current freshman class identified as somewhat to very conservative, a marked drop even from the 12.4 percent of incoming students for the class of 2023.


Harvard students identify as "liberal" in overwhelming numbers compared to "conservative" students. Is this due to Harvard discriminating, and accepting more liberals than conservatives? If so, then that would seem to run counter to the often-heard message that, "there's no discrimination; people who complain are just jealous". Which is it?... "more liberals" or "discrimination"? I think it's the first option, in this case.

But why so many liberals? Part of it is their upbringing -- they come from highly-educated, liberal families. But I think part of it is simply that they aren't that bothered by a little upset in the order of society, because they know that they will be rich, regardless. They can afford to be generous, because... they'll get a hedge fund gig on Wall Street; or stint as a legal assistant at a top law firm; or a consulting job; or a job in Silicon Valley; and so on, so long as civilization continues to exist. The people who really fear are the ones who don't have the intelligence, connections, opportunities, and even beauty -- those people are afraid they could wind up in a pickle if the social order is given a little shake.



#13
caltrek

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^^^Percent of turnout may be different than percent of eligible to vote.  One measures against the population that is registered to vote and the other measures percent of all eligible to vote regardless of whether they bothered to register to vote.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#14
starspawn0

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Okay.  "Didn't vote" still shouldn't have taken California, even given that:
 

Secretary Of State: Nearly 85% Of Eligible Californians Registered For 2020 Presidential Election

 
https://sanfrancisco...-of-state-says/

Let's run the numbers: so, 15% of the total of eligible voters didn't register; and then more than 70% of the 85% actually voted, which means that 30% of that 85% didn't. Add that up, and the percent of eligible voters who didn't vote is:

15% + (30% of 85%) = 40% of eligible voters didn't vote.

Biden won 63% of 70% of the 85% of eligible voters, which is about 37.5% of voters. The numbers are close.

And that 70% I used should probably be more like 75% -- with that number we get:

 

15% + (25% of 85%) = 36.25%

 

Then, 63% of 75% of the 85% = about 40%.  



#15
purpose

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Well yeah, but maybe THIS one will finally settle the debate in everyone's minds forever! 

 

 

My goal with this post was to attempt to move the conversion from a state of confusion to a state of understanding; so that we are better equipped to discuss what a functional politics of the future might look like =).



#16
Erowind

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Erowind: Further, that the DNC and the GOP are unspoken allies where the GOP moves the country farther right while the DNC prevents reaction back to the left when in office. Both parties serve almost entirely overlapping interests

 

The DNC is an organ within the Democratic party. It is not the whole party. There is now a significant minority within the party, including elected officials like Bernie Sanders and AOC, who are not sympathetic to the more conservative goals of the DNC. In fact, there are openly declared tensions between the two factions. Issues such as "defund the police"  and a "Green New Deal" come to mind. The centrists support a version of the Green New Deal, but are careful to distance themselves from the more radical elements of that policy.

 

But hey, if you don't want to bother to find out who your friends are, don't let me stop you.

 

 

Yes, my "friends" who supported genocide of Serbs in Yugoslavia and Trump's war budget last year respectively among other things. I've stated my piece on the Green New Deal multiple times. It's nothing more than green capitalism and a complete logistical failure of policy. Defunding the police has quickly been co-opted by liberal narratives to mean nothing more than budgetary cuts and functional austerity. There is nothing substantive on the grounds of real police and prison abolition and anyone towing the line of defunding the police who doesn't take it to it's true conclusions is a disgrace to the history of abolition. Abolition of slavery is abolition of the wage-relation. Abolition of slavery is abolition of the concentration camps we call "prisons." Abolition of slavery is abolition of the master's guard dogs we call "police." All three of these things are necessary to stop murder by cop. Moreover, I don't care about the stage play of tensions between social democrats and bog standard liberals considering they are both liberals.

 

 

There is nothing to be gained from working within the confines of either party and until the people reject both the country will continue to deteriorate.

 

By your own evidence, voter participation was up in 2020 over 2016. The Democratic party made gains in enlisting popular support. Does that mean deterioration occurred between the two elections?

 

So Joe Biden represents a more deteriorated way of looking at the world then Donald Trump?

 

Right....

 

This is cherry picking what I said and neglected the immediate following lines of my post. To quote myself, "It's of note that voter turnout has improved massively but I'm not holding out hope that this will be a sustained trend nor that the voting mechanism within an oligarchy will matter." Which is to say more clearly. Voting in an oligarchy is at best an official way to voice one's discontent and nothing more than an aesthetic choice. We as average "citizens" in this country have no substantive power over the governance process beyond choice local examples. This is not conjecture, money runs the country and the policy decisions regardless of one's favorite color consistently show this. Temporary half-measured concessions like the affordable care act do not substantiate citizen participation in the governance process in the context of the 90%+ of other policy that is blatant corporate-government malfeasance

 

It looks like that original reddit user was wildly incorrect. I concede Starspawn was right and Erowind was wrong on this one. This said, I don't think the opposing argument has salt to stand on because now the position is still arguing that voting in an oligarchy is acceptable. That even in record turnout years over a third of the country is completely disenfranchised from the democratic process and that somehow people should continue to support this process. Which, I understand only 11 states have "did not vote" as the winner, yet, "did not vote" still got plenty of votes in states it didn't win. Nevermind that most people voting for either Trump or Biden don't actually support their administrations but are caught up in the manufactured consent surrounding the lesser evils argument.

 

9DURRJ4.png



#17
caltrek

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Yes, my "friends" who supported genocide of Serbs in Yugoslavia and Trump's war budget last year respectively among other things.

 

Erowind, you are missing the point. There are elements within the Democratic party who opposed the "genocide of Serbs in Yugoslavia and Trump's war budget.."

 

One thing we need to do here is understand the difference between a Biden Democrat and the type of Democrats that I am describing. What I am describing is a faction within the Democratic party. A faction dedicated to changing the direction of that party. If you can't even recognize and acknowledge that such a faction exists, then there is little point in our continuing this discussion.

 

I've stated my piece on the Green New Deal multiple times. It's nothing more than green capitalism and a complete logistical failure of policy.

 

Well there are two alternatives. One, a return to the stone age in which any use of technology is disavowed; and two, a Marxist-Leninist inspired seizure of the means of production.  These are so far out in the fringe that there is no hope of them ever being adopted by the public at large.

 

Defunding the police has quickly been co-opted by liberal narratives to mean nothing more than budgetary cuts and functional austerity. There is nothing substantive on the grounds of real police and prison abolition and anyone towing the line of defunding the police who doesn't take it to it's true conclusions is a disgrace to the history of abolition

 

Defunding the police runs the full gambit. Many who support that  concept fall well short of endorsing the approach you advocate. Others very much do support substantive changes in how we approach police and prison issues. Yes, very few are outright anarchists.  While such outright anarchism does have appeal to many on the left, it rarely translates into actual policy changes. Most such anarchists that I know have disengaged from the political process and will not reengage no matter how radical the proposals are that are brought forth. So, they are simply written off as relatively harmless neutrals. 

 

Abolition of slavery is abolition of the wage-relation. Abolition of slavery is abolition of the concentration camps we call "prisons." Abolition of slavery is abolition of the master's guard dogs we call "police." All three of these things are necessary to stop murder by cop. Moreover, I don't care about the stage play of tensions between social democrats and bog standard liberals considering they are both liberals.

 

See above.

 

Which, I understand only 11 states have "did not vote" as the winner, yet, "did not vote" still got plenty of votes in states it didn't win.

 

The fallacy of that perspective is to assume that you speak for those who "did not vote."

 

People who did not vote may have done so because they are very satisfied with the status quo and yet do not feel particularly attracted to one party or the other. They may simply not care. Girls just want to have fun, and so do a lot of boys. They don't see the relevance and, more to the point, don't bother to think much about whether there is a relevance. 

 

I am over-generalizing, but my main point being don't assume that you speak for that great silent minority. Even you indicated that you voted, though not for either of the two major parties.  I don't begrudge you your third party vote, especially in a state where the Green party was unfairly kept off the ballot due to a technicality. I just think that even in such circumstances, Trump was far worse than Biden as a choice.  Hopefully, the technical issues in your state will be cleared up and the Green party will have somebody on the ballot for president in 2024. Perhaps then, the Republicans will have a candidate who is not such a blatant proto-fascist.

 

Interesting maps. Thanks for sharing them.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#18
Omosoap

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^ In terms of people not voting, both me and my partner didn't vote. We both have a lot of trouble believing in institutions because institutions have failed us again and again. But, also, voting seems pointless when the result is always the same (both in the state we live in and also the parties not being that much different from each other or having anything other than the status quo with a flavor of right or left). I always say, when you have a rule but you don't enforce it, it is like you don't have a rule at all. So, we have witnessed the failure of a lot of policies simply because they aren't applied. This is from low level type organizations, whether private or public, all the way to the top. One could say we don't have a lot of faith in people either, in a sense. 

 

But, as for me, I voted my first two elections, but as I've grown in my knowledge, I feel so uneducated politically (and felt like I had sometimes made the wrong choice). So, for me, I am hesitant to vote for reason of fear of making a choice out of alignment with my values due to ignorance. I would say growing up, I knew more about Kenyan government, than the American government as well, so I have a lot of catching up to do. 

 

Interestingly, it seems religious people tend to vote at pretty consistently high rates. And, this seems to apply to minority religions as well. Even people who identify as Neopagan, appear to vote at a relatively high rate (according to a recent survey I read). I would assume Atheists vote at a high rate too, so my theory is most people not voting are those that are in the spiritual but not religious group, or the group that just doesn't care (doesn't give a lot of thought) about religion one way or another (with a minority percentage being religious or identifying with a religion). 



#19
caltrek

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^^^I tend to think that there are  lot of good insights in your response.

 

For myself, while I am a nonbeliever when it comes to the issue of God, I do have a certain faith in science and philosophy. Perhaps, that is what allows me to formulate an opinion concerning the issues and candidates of the day.

 

I also have a profound sympathy for Zen Buddhism, which does not require a belief in God and is more of a philosophical system than a religion. Followers of Zen often adopt a rather detached attitude toward politics. Some believe in an engaged form of Buddhism, in which the individual works very hard for things such as social justice.  Others believe that even that is a way of becoming too attached to things and to society.  I tend to be more sympathetic to the idea of engaged Buddhism.

 

Edit:  Of course, for the true believing so-called Christian, all of what I have written is just pure evil, or at least going down the wrong path.

 

Edit:

128297173_4065736300122410_8233085841328

 

Caption reads: "All I'm saying is that asteroids are a liberal hoax."

 

(Cartoon depicts one dinosaur talking to another).  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


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