The collective decision

Bananas

Endangered Species
#1
I stepped into this thread;

http://www.generalforum.com/politic...nation-rally-washington-77902.html#post906191

...and found it full of the typical behaviour expected within in any US political discussion here. One side mounts their plinth of sanctimony and condescends the other in some kind of tar and feather ritual. It also came to a surprise it is then objected to when the behaviour itself is objected upon and I wondered if this really is the confines to which all political discussions must enthrall.

Is the idea of politics no longer to confabulate and confer until one reaches a collective decisions but instead to belittle, ridicule and use suggestive language to condemn those who you disagree with to try and strengthen your own agenda within that so called collective decision? ....basically is discussion now a weakness inlight of rallied arguments? If not why do we see the ever increasing samples as above?
 

Sim

Registered Member
#2
I admit that I contributed to it, but I want to explain myself:

There are values I hold dear: Values of human rights and a free political system. Some of these rights must never be violated, not under any circumstances. One of the most basic rights is the right on a fair trial, that a suspect must never be considered guilty unless a fair trial has determined his guilt, when he was given the opportunity to defend himself, and the rule "in dubio pro reo". And the courts must be independent from government intervention. An executive, a government must never have the right to be above the law, it must not violate the independence of the legislative, to become prosecuter, judge and hangman by denying this right to any living human being. If it does, it has crossed the line to tyranny and it is a ridiculous mockery of everything our Western free socities are founded on, to call it anything else but a tyranny.

And even if 99% of the rest of such a political system may have fairly good standards -- this 1% alone is enough to consider it a despicable tyranny, and this 1% keeps it from being fairly called a "free" system.

Many people died to establish these rights and a system that protects them. Today, 3rd of October, is the Day of German Unity, remembering the bold people who, despite fear for their life, went on the streets to topple a tyrannic government, because it meddled into court decisions, denied the people fair trials and defense, and because it employed torture. They were successful in 1989. They risked their lives because they believed in these values and might have easily been murdered, had history taken another path.

The Bush administration blatantly violated these basic rights. Thus even if I agreed with 99% of the other things Bush and the Republicans demanded, I would not be capable to vote for that party and still be satisfied with what I see in the mirror. I could as well vote for a neo-Nazi party, or an orthodox Communist party and it would be the same. The Republicans have lost any right to ever speak in the name of freedom again, unless there is a change within that party that is not less radical than the change within the communist parties in Eastern Europe past 1989.

That's why I really have a problem with conservatives who play the blame game, completely fail to see this failure of the party they keep supporting and voting for, that can only be called historic. And some of them even have the impertinent boldness to claim to speak in the name of "small government" or complain about alleged "tyranny" because of tax raises or public health insurance -- without realizing the irony, and that they are pissing right into the faces of all people who have lost their lives fighting for these rights the party they still keep supporting has easily cancelled.

At first, I believed voting the Republicans out of power would change this problem. But now I realize I was wrong. Obama promised change and to put an end to extralegal renditions and torture. He did end torture, but he has not yet closed Guantanamo as promised, and did not even mention other sites like that, like Bagram in Afghanistan. The promise to close Gitmo was just a publicity stunt, a fig leaf, and even this promise was not kept. And the power of the secret services was even expanded, by allowing them to even assassinate suspects without a trial.

So apparently, Democrats and Obama supporters who fail to acknowledge that are just as bad as those Republican supporters who ignore the most blatant human right violations, when a Republican does it. Maybe you could say they still deserve a slight benefit of the doubt, because Obama may still do some of these things within the rest of his term. But don't bet on that.

Just like those on the right who hate Obama don't care for Bush's violations of the rights they accuse Obama of, those on the left who still support Obama, despite his failure to deliver a substantial change on that field, are hypocrites. And those who still keep playing the blame game, smearing each other with partisan cheap shots, are just making the problem worse and push a solution even further away.

The only people who actually seem to care are a little bunch of genuine, non-Republican libertarians and some human right activists.

So when I attacked SS's and pro2A's attitude, or Glenn Beck, I did not do so to prove that Obama supporters, who still blindly support him, despite all he failed to do, are better. They aren't. The Democrats are not better. That was not my point.

My point is that everybody who fails to acknowledge these horrible policies in violation of the most basic values of our civilization, no matter if left or right, but instead keeps playing a partisan blame game, is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

We really need all decent people of all colors to unite and stand up against such a kind of excessive big government -- a government that places itself above the law, becomes prosecuter, judge and hangman in one person.

I hope you understand better now where I am coming from. I really didn't mean to lash out at conservatives in general. But this mockery needed to be addressed, and I don't have the slightest respect for the likes of Glenn Beck, who cultivate it.
 
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Bananas

Endangered Species
#3
My point is that everybody who fails to acknowledge these horrible policies in violation of the most basic values of our civilization, no matter if left or right, but instead keeps playing a partisan blame game, is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.
This is close to what i was trying to hit on. To be more precise the larger umbrella of confrontation that it is attributed to. Politics should be about rallying together to come to the "collective decision" what we see though is rallying of an altogether different type.

Politics is not war, it should not have battle lines and sides, mockery should be subtle and not insulting, disagreement should be constructive and not decisive and the collective decisions should be supported even if in disapproval. When these conditions are not adhered then dissent becomes anarchy and all criticisms become tyrannical.
 

Sim

Registered Member
#4
This is close to what i was trying to hit on. To be more precise the larger umbrella of confrontation that it is attributed to. Politics should be about rallying together to come to the "collective decision" what we see though is rallying of an altogether different type.

Politics is not war, it should not have battle lines and sides, mockery should be subtle and not insulting, disagreement should be constructive and not decisive and the collective decisions should be supported even if in disapproval. When these conditions are not adhered then dissent becomes anarchy and all criticisms become tyrannical.
You line out one ideal. It's certainly very honorable, but I am not sure it is realistic.

Some kind of polarization has its good sides and benefits too -- when people feel emotionally involved, including personal anger, that may encourage more people to participate and put some effort and energy into a political process. When politics is too rational, not emotional enough and not very polarized, you see many people turning away from politics, decreasing turnout and an apathy that can be dangerous too (it was a bit like that during the "Great Coalition" of both left and right in Germany between 2005 and 2009, during Merkel's first term).

But I agree, this can only be beneficial when both/all sides still respect certain rules of the game. You are right, it should not become a war. And if they respect such rules is maybe not so much a matter of the stances of individual politicians or party platforms, but a systemic question: Does a particular system make it easy, or maybe even set wrong incentives for crossing the line?

But that is just a general thought. You are right, America at the moment is not suffering because of a lack of polarization.
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
#5
And if they respect such rules is maybe not so much a matter of the stances of individual politicians or party platforms, but a systemic question: Does a particular system make it easy, or maybe even set wrong incentives for crossing the line?
An all to familiar tale in many a western society. When you have polarised views the middle-ground suits nobody so nobody likes to go there, which leaves only one other way to function and that is by detracting from the collective decision by letting the phoney majority decide, that would have to be the incentive to divide "we" to become "us and them".

When politics is too rational, not emotional enough and not very polarized, you see many people turning away from politics, decreasing turnout and an apathy that can be dangerous too
People should be able to object emotionally without retorting to irrational condemnation, that is what I saw displayed in that thread, irrational condemnation based on nothing other than a political view. We live in 2010, the times of bigots like Joseph McCarthy (and many more mid 20th century politicians(Germany in particular)). should be long gone yet the suggestive psychological bashing is played out as if the world is dumb, and a lot of the time judging by the proponents and opponents of all the issues I wonder if a hypocritical naivety gets the better of us all. This would be the rational we must contain, it is not an aversion to emotion but our susceptibility to the subversions that division brings.

In short; Emotion is great, wholehearted one sided bias is not.
 
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Sim

Registered Member
#6
People should be able to object emotionally without retorting to irrational condemnation, that is what I saw displayed in that thread, irrational condemnation based on nothing other than a political view. We live in 2010, the times of bigots like Joseph McCarthy (and many more mid 20th century politicians(Germany in particular)). should be long gone yet the suggestive psychological bashing is played out as if the world is dumb, and a lot of the time judging by the proponents and opponents of all the issues I wonder if a hypocritical naivety gets the better of us all. This would be the rational we must contain, it is not an aversion to emotion but our susceptibility to the subversions that division brings.

In short; Emotion is great, wholehearted one sided bias is not.
Ok, I am not sure if you are addressing me too, but I want to defend myself in these regards: I do not believe that strongly defending basic values, which are necessary to keep our societies free, and accordingly emotionally rejecting those who violate these values, is "one sided bias".

"One sided bias" is only a bad thing when there actually is another side that has the same merits and legitimacy as the other. That is certainly the case when it comes to different emphasis on particular political problems. But it is definitely not the case when it comes to human rights.

When you passionately defend human rights and harshly condemn those who violate them, or those who support people who violate them and thus make that possible, that may technically be a "one sided bias" in favor of human rights. A bias against the enemies of human rights. But I fail to see that is a bad thing. On the contrary.
 
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Bananas

Endangered Species
#7
Ok, I am not sure if you are addressing me too, but I want to defend myself in these regards: I do not believe that strongly defending basic values, which are necessary to keep our societies free, and accordingly emotionally rejecting those who violate these values, is "one sided bias".
It is not the subject that is the problem, it is the manner in which the subject is reproached that is the problem.

Am I addressing you? Im addressing everybody, maybe some do it more than others but we are all guilty of it regardless of the subject matter.

Sim; said:
"One sided bias" is only a bad thing when there actually is another side that has the same merits and legitimacy as the other. That is certainly the case when it comes to different emphasis on particular political problems. But it is definitely not the case when it comes to human rights.
I disagree, you only have to look at the abortion, death penalty, (even healthcare) debate to see how intrinsic values play out to vastly different results, and all the while the proponents and opponents of both often look upon each other with a certain degree of disgust.

Sim; said:
When you passionately defend human rights and harshly condemn those who violate them, or those who support people who violate them and thus make that possible, that may technically be a "one sided bias" in favor of human rights. A bias against the enemies of human rights. But I fail to see that is a bad thing. On the contrary.
Opposition always inflames the enthusiast but never converts him.

You tell someone they are wrong, all you do is enforce that they are right.
 

Sim

Registered Member
#8
I disagree, you only have to look at the abortion, death penalty, (even healthcare) debate to see how intrinsic values play out to vastly different results, and all the while the proponents and opponents of both often look upon each other with a certain degree of disgust.
I am nut sure if I understand you correctly. So correct me if I'm wrong:

Are saying there are no values that are beyond criticism? If that's the case, let's look at extreme examples: Why don't we discuss the merits of killing infidels in the name of God, or gassing Jews to death? Or the merits of replacing a free political system with a murderous dictatorship? After all, their intrinsic values cause some people to believe things like that are just fine.

Yes, I look down on people who propose such and I am disgusted by them. But I don't feel ashamed in the slightest for my disgust of people who propose such, and don't think there is anything bad about that. And I couldn't care less if those people in question do have the same contempt for me. It is not the same. That is because I am right and they are wrong. And no, this is by no means arrogant. There are simply certain values that are beyond criticism.

But you are right when you say that showing mutual disgust will probably not lead anywhere. At any rate, it wouldn't be a useful political discussion.

Opposition always inflames the enthusiast but never converts him.

You tell someone they are wrong, all you do is enforce that they are right.
That is a good point. In these regards, this debate was/is probably not going anywhere. And enthusiasm will not change the values of a person. But in some cases, when the problem is not a fundamental difference of values and when there is at least a consensus about certain values, enthusiasm may actually trigger thought.
 
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