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Extremism

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As Wikipedia has it:

Extremism means, literally: driving (something) to the limit, to the extreme or the quality or state of being extreme, advocacy of extreme measures or views.

 

The United States' form of government is designed to make extremist results almost impossible. Because the House, the Senate and the President can each sink the others' goals (except in the case of super-majority), they are forced to compromise if they want anything to be accomplished. Without compromise, nothing gets done.

 

Also, finally, if both legislative bodies and the President all agreed on an extremist position, the people can appeal to the court system, and finally to the Supreme Court, to over-rule an unconstitutionally extremist position.

 

It's not perfect, but it's a pretty, pretty, pretty good system. :)

 

We can easily recognize extremism on the far right. Their intractable attitudes, their unwillingness to compromise about anything, particularly with this President.

 

Can we also recognize it on the far left?

 

I've seen people on this web site calling liberal Democrat politicians right-wing, just because they compromised with the Republicans on something or because they haven't fully supported every left-wing idea to the letter. I've seen people on this web site saying they won't vote for Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, and therefore rather risk getting Ted Cruz. (Or, dare I say it, Trumpelstiltskin?)

 

Don't get me wrong: I'm for those left wing ideas. But I recognize that in this country, I am not a dictator. Nor should there be a dictator. That being the case, if a politician wants liberal-thing-X to happen, that politician might have to join forces with a Republican and allow conservative-thing-Y to also happen. Each team holds their nose and goes along with something they dislike to get something they really want.

 

The result is a pretty centrist result. Neither team gets all of what they want, but both get some of what they want. And that's by design.

 

Right now and for at least 25 years, the American right has become less and less cooperative, more and more extremist. What should the left do? If we become more and more extremist, we risk being perceived negatively by the vast majority of the population that is in the center (normal curves being what they are), and we risk getting nothing. On the other hand, how do you compromise with a political opponent that wants no compromise at all and will primary out their own people if they risk compromise? You can't.

 

Where do we go?

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You probably consider me extreme. However, I do not suggest that a politician is right wing just because he/she doesn't follow every policy to the letter. Nor do I consider our system to be a good system. I don't see myself as a dictator and I would welcome honest negotiation and discussion about how our nation should be run.

 

I don't see our government being run by moderates, but by those extremists. The republicans have moved far right, and the democrats moved right to pick up those who were abandoned by the GOP. The democrats now try to appeal to those far right wingers who are not so insane as to see the GOP as being off their rockers.

 

As far as getting something from the negotiation between the democrats and republicans, there has been nothing I can support. My issues are typically economic, and the economy of the US has been such that all gains go to the rich, and the poor and middle class have been suffering from lower and lower standards of living since Reagan put trickle down in place. There have been a few good things done by Obama such as gaining a few elucidated rights for gays. When Obama kept the Pat Act in place, all rights were removed so what does it matter?

 

Perhaps you consider it extreme to support the constitution, freedom and a limited government. That would certainly be considered extreme from the point of view of those who position themselves between the democrats and republicans.

 

Where do we go? I suggest non-violent protest. The judicial system is broken. The legislative branch is up for sale to the highest bidder. The executive branch is dysfunctional. The election system is corrupt. I would suggest support for democracy spring and their efforts to protest money in government and the corrupt election system. That would be a start.

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My issues have been mainly social, but most of those battles are won. Now it's just a matter of picking up the pieces, i.e. preventing discriminatory laws by right wing state legislatures.

 

Economically, I want social security to be protected, and ideally want a single payer healthcare system.

 

The economy will never be what it was. Politics and politicians can't erase technological progress. The days of great manufacturing jobs are gone. The best bet going forward would be a national union of service workers, starting with Walmart, then McDonald's, Target, Burger King, etc etc.

 

Personally, whatever economic system is in place, I'll find a way to benefit from it. Democrats are slightly better for me because the stock market and business do better under the Democrats. (Try to convince Republicans of that!)

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While our bicameral Congress and independently elected President can each nullify the agenda of the other two, our system goes too far in the other direction. Without compromise, there is gridlock. That's why I like a parliamentary arrangement better ... The ruling party, or coalition of parties has the votes to override the opposition which can only criticize and otherwise voice their disapproval. While the Constitution might have been brilliant back in 1776, parliamentary systems have arisen since, which serve government "by the consent of the governed" better than our Democratic Republic.

 

The far right and left are extreme by definition and sometimes in deed. In the US, power is way out of balance toward the right. The ranks of the crazy far right have multiplied and the ranks of the crazy far left are depopulated. I am far left. Whether I'm crazy or not may be left to the subtle perceptions of the gentle reader. I live my life, on the whole, happy. But I see our system being replaced by Plutocracy before my very eyes. Some Democrats here, appear to be barely concerned, with accelerating income inequality ... Increasing numbers of people maxed out on their credit ... Living out of their cars ... More children staying with their parents well into adulthood with no prospect of ever leaving. If this trend is allowed to deepen, and there is no sign to the contrary, at present, the extremism seen now will pale in comparison to what's coming.

 

Except for the years leading up to the Civil War, there has never been as much gridlock as now, blocking even moderate legislation. Most of the legislation allowed to go through funnels the Nation's wealth to the top ... Like the TPP.

 

Hillary will undoubtedly propose progressive legislation like possibly raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, etc ... Making it appear as though she's promoting a progressive economic agenda. But she is in the pockets of the Plutocracy and she will not tamper much with the fundamental causes of rising income inequality ... Outsourcing. Corporate mergers including big banks and financial institutions and the media. Medical Insurance and Big Pharma. Tax evasion using overseas banks. And an increasingly lopsided tax system.

 

What to do about it? I don't know right now.

 

When Hillary is the Democratic candidate, I will vote for her to avert the unthinkable. But it will only happen after slugging half a bottle of vodka and a liberal dose of Pepto Bismol. I will try to maintain my dignity at the polling place.

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If the "liberal Democrat" politician you're referring to is Hillary Clinton, it isn't extremism to call her right wing. Farther to the left than Republicans does not equal progressive.

 

Myself I would refer to her as at the least mostly a centrist who leans liberal on social issues and leans conservative on economic and foreign policy issues.

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Hillary does seem right-of-center. As Obama is. You can still be right-wing and progressive, just as you can be left-wing and conservative. They're completely different axes.

 

Take the Political Compass. Left and right are left and right. They are economic policy. Up is conservative and down is liberal.

 

Hillary is probably where Obama is.

 

tUd2B4K.png

 

These are Canadian and US politicans mapped. Stephen Harper was probably the only Conservative PM we had who was right-wing. All of our other Conservative governments were left wing, but conservative... In the upper left hand quadrant of the political compass.

 

Conservatives and liberals in the US have mostly leaned to the right, however.

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If the "liberal Democrat" politician you're referring to is Hillary Clinton, it isn't extremism to call her right wing. Farther to the left than Republicans does not equal progressive.

 

Myself I would refer to her as at the least mostly a centrist who leans liberal on social issues and leans conservative on economic and foreign policy issues.

 

Since she's the likely nominee, the alternative will be a Republican who is hard right (not just "leans conservative") on each of social issues, economic issues and foreign policy.

 

A centrist is better than someone who is hard right. A centrist will not take away social security, medicare etc.

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I think the cause of extremism in politics worldwide is a result if epistemic closure.

 

This article deals more with it among conservatives, but it is found among liberals as well:

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/books/28conserv.html?referer=&_r=0

 

Thanks for posting this. I find it interesting.

 

There is a technical use of the phrase "epistemic closure" in use in philosophy of knowledge that probably isn't what it is meant to mean in the political sphere.

 

For politics, I understand it as saying that a group becomes epistemically closed when they keep believing what they believe despite incontrovertible empirical evidence to the contrary.

 

Examples: The belief held by young-earth creationists that the world is under 10,000 years old. The belief that lowering taxes always improves the economy. The belief that social programs are socialism. The belief that less government is better.

 

I agree that this mental state can be found in liberals as well.

 

I think in all cases it stems from a slavish adherence to a set of principles, an "ism", in preference to a pragmatic attitude to reality.

 

Way back, before he was president, Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare was socialism and would lead to a loss of freedom. Despite the incontrovertible evidence that Medicare has not decreased our freedom, and that Medicare isn't socialism, some on the right would have dismantled it. (Carson, for example. Others are more quiet about it, knowing how popular it is.)

 

Edit to add: I see from the article that even conservative pundit David Frum acknowledges the problem. Canadians (and ex-Canadians) may know David Frum as the son of Canadian journalist Barbara Frum, who died in 1992. Do you remember her, Souriquois?

 

Barbarafrum.jpg

 

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Thanks for posting this. I find it interesting.

 

There is a technical use of the phrase "epistemic closure" in use in philosophy of knowledge that probably isn't what it is meant to mean in the political sphere.

 

For politics, I understand it as saying that a group becomes epistemically closed when they keep believing what they believe despite incontrovertible empirical evidence to the contrary.

 

Examples: The belief held by young-earth creationists that the world is under 10,000 years old. The belief that lowering taxes always improves the economy. The belief that social programs are socialism. The belief that less government is better.

 

I agree that this mental state can be found in liberals as well.

 

I think in all cases it stems from a slavish adherence to a set of principles, an "ism", in preference to a pragmatic attitude to reality.

 

Way back, before he was president, Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare was socialism and would lead to a loss of freedom. Despite the incontrovertible evidence that Medicare has not decreased our freedom, and that Medicare isn't socialism, some on the right would have dismantled it. (Carson, for example. Others are more quiet about it, knowing how popular it is.)

 

Edit to add: I see from the article that even conservative pundit David Frum acknowledges the problem. Canadians (and ex-Canadians) may know David Frum as the son of Canadian journalist Barbara Frum, who died in 1992. Do you remember her, Souriquois?

 

Barbarafrum.jpg

 

Yeah I remember Barbara Frum. But not well.

 

And actually there are some conservatives I enjoy reading and it's to expose myself to different views, David Frum is one of them. He is a sane conservative. I love now that he is pointing out that what is happening to the GOP is what he warned was going to happen years ago.

 

David Frum is a proponent of Obamacare and social programs in general. He is for single-payer health care, actually. He believes that conservatives should stop being so adverse to it. He also believes conservatives need to address income inequality, he supports a $15 minumum wage, things like that. He just believes conservatives would be better at doing these things, where liberals would overspend or not be efficient enough and hence the social programs would not be as useful as they could be (so he's not really much different from Canadian conservatives in that regard).

 

I disagree with a lot of stuff he says but he raises good points too, on how to solve problems with a conservative approach.

 

Why did Canada lose him? His sister Laura Frum sits on the Canadian Senate and she is crazy as the birds. She's always on Twitter Tweeting links from the Islamophobic propaganda site CIJ News. I said to her on Twitter that I don't think she's sound of mind enough to be deciding on whether a bill that passes through the House of Commons should be passed into law or not.

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My issues have been mainly social, but most of those battles are won. Now it's just a matter of picking up the pieces, i.e. preventing discriminatory laws by right wing state legislatures.

 

Many social issue battles have been won and many are yet to be fully engaged. For instance, equal pay for equal work has largely consisted of sanctimonious political rhetoric, by Democratic politicians, up to now. Discrimination against minorities in hiring and housing has not yet been overcome. Nationwide police mistreatment of Blacks and others is epidemic.

 

 

.Economically, I want social security to be protected, and ideally want a single payer healthcare system.

 

Absolutely^^.

 

 

 

The economy will never be what it was. Politics and politicians can't erase technological progress. The days of great manufacturing jobs are gone.

 

Technological progress can't be erased and neither can 30 years of policy which incentivized outsourcing. Outsourcing should be granted only with a heavy tax.

 

 

The best bet going forward would be a national union of service workers, starting with Walmart, then McDonald's, Target, Burger King, etc etc.

 

Labor unions are the only way to bring back the middle class ... Not just in the service industries but in nearly all employment. Even professionals not often thought of as needing unions:

http://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/1996/9/labor-unions-physicians-idea-whose-time-coming

http://www.lifeofthelaw.org/2014/01/should-lawyers-unionize/

Government can play a limited role in keeping pay and benefits at desirable levels. But the main role of government, for the benefit of workers, is to make laws encouraging unions, not discouraging them.

 

 

Personally, whatever economic system is in place, I'll find a way to benefit from it. Democrats are slightly better for me because the stock market and business do better under the Democrats. (Try to convince Republicans of that!)

 

I'm sitting pretty too. I have everything I want and then some, for the future. But I have always felt we are all in it together. For whatever reason, I've always been for the little guy and gal. I am them and they are me. That's the main reason I'm a Democrat. So I'm appalled when I see so many of my fellow Americans fall on hard times.

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I'm sitting pretty too. I have everything I want and then some, for the future. But I have always felt we are all in it together. For whatever reason, I've always been for the little guy and gal. I am them and they are me. That's the main reason I'm a Democrat. So I'm appalled when I see so many of my fellow Americans fall on hard times.

 

Almost everyone is "the little guy". Even being upper middle class doesn't get a person away from being "the little guy".

 

You don't stop being the little guy unless you have investments that can keep you, your children, and your grandchildren living as rich people for the rest of their lives, without any income except from the investments.

 

I think I'm doing well and will probably always do well, but if I lost my job tomorrow, I'd have to find another one. (I'm pretty confident that I could.) I couldn't just retire right now and expect to be ok until age 100. But I think I can retire when Medicare kicks in at age 65, and be ok until age 100, provided I have a job like the one I have now.

 

When I retire I'll probably do something else anyway for fun, like teaching or possibly writing music, or learning Spanish. (I have an ambition to visit England, Spain, France, and Germany, and speak the native language in all of them. I'm still missing Spanish.) I have a great example to follow: my very left-wing high school English teacher, years after she retired, learned Russian and Italian.

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As Wikipedia has it:

Extremism means, literally: driving (something) to the limit, to the extreme or the quality or state of being extreme, advocacy of extreme measures or views.

 

The United States' form of government is designed to make extremist results almost impossible. Because the House, the Senate and the President can each sink the others' goals (except in the case of super-majority), they are forced to compromise if they want anything to be accomplished. Without compromise, nothing gets done.

 

Also, finally, if both legislative bodies and the President all agreed on an extremist position, the people can appeal to the court system, and finally to the Supreme Court, to over-rule an unconstitutionally extremist position.

 

It's not perfect, but it's a pretty, pretty, pretty good system. :)

 

We can easily recognize extremism on the far right. Their intractable attitudes, their unwillingness to compromise about anything, particularly with this President.

 

Can we also recognize it on the far left?

 

I've seen people on this web site calling liberal Democrat politicians right-wing, just because they compromised with the Republicans on something or because they haven't fully supported every left-wing idea to the letter. I've seen people on this web site saying they won't vote for Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, and therefore rather risk getting Ted Cruz. (Or, dare I say it, Trumpelstiltskin?)

 

Don't get me wrong: I'm for those left wing ideas. But I recognize that in this country, I am not a dictator. Nor should there be a dictator. That being the case, if a politician wants liberal-thing-X to happen, that politician might have to join forces with a Republican and allow conservative-thing-Y to also happen. Each team holds their nose and goes along with something they dislike to get something they really want.

 

The result is a pretty centrist result. Neither team gets all of what they want, but both get some of what they want. And that's by design.

 

Right now and for at least 25 years, the American right has become less and less cooperative, more and more extremist. What should the left do? If we become more and more extremist, we risk being perceived negatively by the vast majority of the population that is in the center (normal curves being what they are), and we risk getting nothing. On the other hand, how do you compromise with a political opponent that wants no compromise at all and will primary out their own people if they risk compromise? You can't.

 

Where do we go ?

 

 

​I appreciate the point you are making but I can't help thinking that extremism or overreach are the least of liberalism's problems. The problem is a demoralized and confused liberalism that can't define itself, communicate its message, and organize to fight back. As for those who see themselves as radical and progressive left they are small in number scattered across various activist groups and academia. None of this has turned the tide against conservatism or pro corporate centrism, so liberals and the left are not responsible for our broken politics. The Clintons with the New Democrats pushed liberalism and the Democratic Party closer to big business and away from reforms to combat poverty, racism, sexism, and protect organized labor. This why some liberals and leftists are so tough on Hillary Clinton no matter what she says. Let me be clear Hillary Clinton is clearly more liberal than Bill in every sense, but she is far less liberal than anybody who would identify with liberalism. People know this and are speaking out. Calling that extremism isn't accurate.

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Where do we go?

 

That's a really good question. The apparent answer being implemented by today's Democrats seems to be 'do unto them as they have done unto us'. The Republicans started this race to the sewers, and the Democrats have followed. What other option is there?

 

I don't blame the politicians really. They deliver whatever will get them votes. Calm, moderate, thoughtful, willing to compromise...gets you nothing. Voters on either side don't respond to that. If that's what voters wanted, that's what we'd get.

 

I also don't blame the voters. I don't believe today's voters are any less capable or well-intentioned than those in years past. At heart, we're not more racist/sexist than voters of the '60s. We're just as compassionate. But, somehow we have changed.

 

I blame the media (and yes, Fox was first to go). Back in the day, media covered issues and discussed the merits of candidates' plans and fact-checked their statements. Today, you get stories about Hillary trying to navigate the subway. The media spends endless hours reporting on the horse race aspect, campaign strategy, and convention rules...but next to nothing on the issues.

 

I grew up in a time when reporters treated their job like a sacred trust. They presented facts, good or bad. They presented both sides of the story (in the same article!) and let the voter make up their own mind. Today, with a zillion media outlets and no accountability, a person can spend all day every day reading 'news' and never encounter a fact or viewpoint that doesn't reinforce what they already believe.

 

It's almost impossible to find a reasonable media source with a balanced, non-partisan view. Everyone has an agenda. They're all pushing one side or the other. What we need is 'fair and balanced'. What we get is partisan demagoguery. When that's all people hear, there's no wonder that so many believe the other side is evil. When you believe your opposition is evil, why would you ever compromise?

 

So, where do we go? We need to understand that reasonable people can have completely different opinions without being 'evil'. Neither side has a monopoly on reason or virtue. It's OK to give a little to get a little. If I get everything I want, that's just as bad as if you get everything you want.

 

That's a goal, not a plan. I have no idea how to put the partisan fruitcake genie back in the bottle.

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​I appreciate the point you are making but I can't help thinking that extremism or overreach are the least of liberalism's problems. The problem is a demoralized and confused liberalism that can't define itself, communicate its message, and organize to fight back. As for those who see themselves as radical and progressive left they are small in number scattered across various activist groups and academia. None of this has turned the tide against conservatism or pro corporate centrism, so liberals and the left are not responsible for our broken politics. The Clintons with the New Democrats pushed liberalism and the Democratic Party closer to big business and away from reforms to combat poverty, racism, sexism, and protect organized labor. This why some liberals and leftists are so tough on Hillary Clinton no matter what she says. Let me be clear Hillary Clinton is clearly more liberal than Bill in every sense, but she is far less liberal than anybody who would identify with liberalism. People know this and are speaking out. Calling that extremism isn't accurate.

Well extremism isn't as strong among liberals yet, but it's possible. And it exists, but I have only seen it in some corners of the Internet.

 

Obama has stated his concerns, with the GOP as off the rails as it is (from extremism), that Democrats don't have anyone with a different worldview challenging blind-spots that they have from dogmas of their political view which could result in, at best, bad policy and at worst, epistemic closure like I had previously mentioned.

 

If you look at my thread "Liberalism is in your genes", failure of both sides to engage with eachother could be looked at as a loss because liberals and conservatives have different brain structures, which could lead to different ways of solving a problem, and if they discussed together, and bounced ideas off of eachother, maybe they would come up with a solution that is superior to both the liberal and conservative view. That's actually the original purpose of politics, and having debates.

 

I don't know, I think here in Canada, we have more left-wing extremism in our politics than the US. Our democratic socialist party is pretty much collapsing right now, a divide between the, I guess, normal left, and the far left. These guys are extremist, they want to shut a whole industry down, the fossil fuel industry, right away. I believe shutting it down is a goal but will have to be tapered off, otherwise people will lose their jobs and there will be backlash. I kind of feel bad for the party leader who just got tossed.

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Since she's the likely nominee, the alternative will be a Republican who is hard right (not just "leans conservative") on each of social issues, economic issues and foreign policy.

 

A centrist is better than someone who is hard right. A centrist will not take away social security, medicare etc.

 

If she is the nominee, I will be voting Green or writing in someone else. Part of the reason the Democratic party has slid to the right is because we have accepted 'settling' for 'better than the Republican choice'. Well, I can't do it anymore. I won't. They want my vote, then they need to give me someone acceptable to vote for, and Hillary Clinton just isn't it.

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Almost everyone is "the little guy". Even being upper middle class doesn't get a person away from being "the little guy".

 

You don't stop being the little guy unless you have investments that can keep you, your children, and your grandchildren living as rich people for the rest of their lives, without any income except from the investments.

 

Living in the highest affordable ivory tower can help isolate the financially comfortable from the less affluent. From the tops of their towers, they can look up longingly at even higher ones. Some so high, they soar out of view. Rarely do any of the occupants look below.

 

Many who are merely financially comfortable, protect their complacency by inuring themselves to the plight of the needy. When the upward concentration of wealth is complete and almost everyone is needy, more people may recognize a need to fight back.

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Many who are merely financially comfortable, protect their complacency by inuring themselves to the plight of the needy.

 

This is true. It's as though poverty is a disease they might catch: better not look or you'll end up that way, better not have empathy or you'll end up on the street.

And lack of empathy can transform itself into active cruelty.

 

Empathy is important, and not everyone has it or is capable of having it. Parents can help to develop it in children, but not all children will respond equally. While I am an utter and complete atheist, I recognize that having this kind of empathy is a religious feeling of sorts. (Sanders has talked a bit about that, while skirting the question of whether he's a believer.)

 

Not everyone is capable of this kind of empathy to the same degree.

 

Let me give you a related example: my father. he was a very empathic man, cared about suffering of people, but also of animals. In fact if there was a bug in the house he'd never kill it. Instead he'd shoo it out an open door. I remember him saying more than once that even a bug has a life and wants to live it. So he'd shoo a bug outdoors, and let five more in, in the process. But my mother just killed them.

 

It didn't go that far with me. I'll kill a bug. But then I'll feel bad about it. I recognize that the bug has a right to live, just like my father. I think about the end of that little life, but I hate bugs, and will kill them. Not unthinkingly, not unfeelingly, but they end up dead anyway. If I think about the pets I've had to put down because they got old and sick and in pain, I can make myself cry. It's an avenue I don't go down often, because it's not good for me.

 

Someone else might not think twice about killing a bug. Someone else might not feel anything if they give pain to a dog. Someone else might not feel anything if a human being starves. Then we get to pathological cruelty: someone else might actively torture a human.

 

Empathy, and lack of it, is a continuum. The average person might not care that much about a bug or a dirt-poor family, but probably wouldn't torture an animal or kill a person.

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Great topic Laripu,

 

A full discussion would take a book length response (which I will resist).

 

In response to the extremism of the GOP, and their majorities in both houses, seems to me progressives and liberals should have the maturity of minds to vote for the Democratic nominee in the fall. Did we not learn the lessons of the Ralph Nader disaster in 2000? To read there are those who'd condemn us to the same plight again (with even more odious folks as the options this time) causes a mix of anger, content, and sadness. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the GOP.

 

Maintaining the Executive Branch is key. As is maintaining the related power to name Supreme Court Justices. At the least this prevents hard-won rights from being rolled back.

 

With an opposition controlling the legislature, I think the option is to seek common ground where possible and to act in the country's best interest. When there is no positive area of compromise, as when we need to stand fore-square in favor of human rights, then we stand firm. A veto pen and a Supreme Court that will stand against injustice are vital in this sort of environment.

 

The Leninist idea of magnifying the contradictions (as in voting Green to elect the GOP) is a very ugly thought to me, and one bound to increase human misery.

 

Bill

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Living in the highest affordable ivory tower can help isolate the financially comfortable from the less affluent. From the tops of their towers, they can look up longingly at even higher ones. Some so high, they soar out of view. Rarely do any of the occupants look below.

 

Many who are merely financially comfortable, protect their complacency by inuring themselves to the plight of the needy. When the upward concentration of wealth is complete and almost everyone is needy, more people may recognize a need to fight back.

Well said. This is the essence of my complaint about our government. This is why I consider the movement of wealth to the very few to be the major problem facing America. The game of monopoly has only one winner, as in the way our wealth moves to fewer and fewer people, there will eventually be only one "winner."

 

Social problems that are negotiated so that the rich get more of our money if they allow some people to have rights, doesn't mean much when they take everyone's wealth.

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You might think it "doesn't mean much" that significant numbers of people would lose their civil rights under a GOP presidential win, but I could not more whole-heartedly disagree.

 

Bill

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Great topic Laripu,

 

A full discussion would take a book length response (which I will resist).

 

In response to the extremism of the GOP, and their majorities in both houses, seems to me progressives and liberals should have the maturity of minds to vote for the Democratic nominee in the fall. Did we not learn the lessons of the Ralph Nader disaster in 2000? To read there are those who'd condemn us to the same plight again (with even more odious folks as the options this time) causes a mix of anger, content, and sadness. A vote for the Greens is a vote for the GOP.

 

Maintaining the Executive Branch is key. As is maintaining the related power to name Supreme Court Justices. At the least this prevents hard-won rights from being rolled back.

 

With an opposition controlling the legislature, I think the option is to seek common ground where possible and to act in the country's best interest. When there is no positive area of compromise, as when we need to stand fore-square in favor of human rights, then we stand firm. A veto pen and a Supreme Court that will stand against injustice are vital in this sort of environment.

 

The Leninist idea of magnifying the contradictions (as in voting Green to elect the GOP) is a very ugly thought to me, and one bound to increase human misery.

 

Bill

Being TOO idealist,too perfectionist can result in failing to see the forest or the trees...so...you may have jousted the windmill in fine style, but simply neutralized yourself. It's crazy to suggest Hillary is "just like" Trump or Cruz. Trump aside from past flip flops is an authoritarian ego freak. Cruz is a Theocrat... with his own excess ego. I would not trust either even were I happy how they pander to the "dark side".

 

As that great philosopher (Jagger) said....."You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you NEED".

 

Ideally.. Dems take the Senate, cut the gap in the house. HOWEVER...That's no lock. SO..... you also want to think DEFENSE. Frankly.. there's probably 50 Dems who'd be better than ANY Repub. There's a concern that (again) a Dem may have a great agenda and only get 1/3 of it dome. It CAN be worse.. with a Dem president mostly busy vetoing the CRAP Repubs will push, not able to do much.

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You might think it "doesn't mean much" that significant numbers of people would lose their civil rights under a GOP presidential win, but I could not more whole-heartedly disagree.

 

Bill

We have already lost all our rights. Read the Pat Act to see that the government no longer agrees that people should be free. When the government openly proclaims that they have the right and duty to arrest anyone, anytime they want, without charges, no trial, no phone call, just indefinite detention, extraordinary detention, without any right of the press to even mention the government took you away. Your family has no right to information about what happened to you.

 

I agree that things under a republican president would be much worse, but that is the direction our nation is headed. The point I was making is that the social gains made are a lower priority when the government removes all rights, and confiscates all wealth. We need to turn the direction so that instead of democrats giving in to republican ridiculous demands for very little in return, how about the democrats pushing for significant gains and let the republicans cave in a bit. We need to turn the direction. I don't accept that we must have falling standards of living for most people. I don't agree that 1/3 of all children should be food insecure. I don't accept that our educational system must be so dysfunctional. I don't agree that our nation should engage in military excursions all over the world.

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We have already lost all our rights. Read the Pat Act to see that the government no longer agrees that people should be free. When the government openly proclaims that they have the right and duty to arrest anyone, anytime they want, without charges, no trial, no phone call, just indefinite detention, extraordinary detention, without any right of the press to even mention the government took you away. Your family has no right to information about what happened to you.

 

Freedom, responsibility and safety are related issues, not separate no matter what the constitution says about freedom.

 

For example: A person who owns a business should be free from unreasonable government inspection. But if it turns out that businesses irresponsibly dump toxic sludge into rivers and therefore harm the safety of people, then the government will reasonably infringe that freedom, and inspect how companies operate, to prevent them from harming people. The freedom of the company from government interference is contingent on all of them acting responsibly all the time. Once that trust is broken, there will be a reduction of freedom.

 

The freedom of a company to sell any car they want is infringed when it turns out that the seat-belts are defective. The government interferes with free commerce to insure our safety.

 

Similarly with terrorism. My right not to be killed by a terrorist on a flight supercedes your right to the privacy of your bags when you board.

 

People should be free from unreasonable government inspection. But if it turns out that some people irresponsibly board planes with the intent to harm the safety of others, then the government will reasonably infringe the freedom from government search, and inspect their belongings for weapons, to prevent them from harming innocents. The freedom of people from government interference is contingent on all of them acting responsibly. Once that trust is broken, there will be a reduction of freedom.

 

Moreover, the magnitude of the government interference depends on the magnitude of the threat:

  • When the threats were fist fights, or kids stealing from small grocers, all you needed was a cop walking the beat.
  • If the threat was bank robbery, armed guards were needed, not much more.
  • The response to gang warfare must be commensurate. A cop walking a beat and an armed guard or two aren't enough. You need many police, armed, with Kevlar body armor, to take on a gang

There is now, and has been for some time, the threat that terrorists may get hold of nuclear weapons and transport them to American soil. Or bio-weapons. Or chemical weapons. These aren't imagined threats. The people that happily cut off the head of Daniel Pearl, or burn people alive, would use such a weapon if they could buy one. That's why ISIS is such a threat: they're building up economically so they can afford more dangerous weaponry.

 

The right of the 24 million people who live in the New York City metropolitan area to live without being burned alive by a nuclear weapon or sickened by a bio-weapon supercedes your right to have private internet traffic.

 

And it's going to get worse no matter which party is in power, because biological weapons are about to get cheaper (due to scientific advances), so bad nuts everywhere will be able to harm people without having to accumulate big sums of money. As we reach that point, expect much more erosion of privacy and much more detention without warrant.

 

Hey, you know what? The first time something really terrible happens, the first people to shout that the government didn't do enough will be the ones complaining that the government was infringing their freedom. Shit happens. Things change. This isn't 1776, 1876 or 1976 any more.

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