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Weakening democracy lol

DrZoidberg

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I hate these Facebook is ruining democracy articles. Yeah, I get it, journalists think that shifting power dynamics is scary, because any shift means they need to use their little heads to stay in power. And they might risk losing it. No, shit they think it's scary. But democracy isn't threatened by Facebook. What does that even mean?

The foundation of democracy is that we give power to a big bunch of uninformed nitwits who have equally uniformed opinions and elect neutered liars as leaders. We create an environment that is very hard for any single person or group to derail and seize power. Because for the majority of the people, this is rarely a good thing. We're simply, better off organizing society like this. But it is a terrible, inefficient and dumb way to organize society. But it is the best way we've figured out.

How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?
 

fromderinside

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Well there were Hitler and Stalin in the last century. One of them is sputtering into meaningful discourse as droughts drive populations to migrate into other populations' territories. Seems the best we can do is say "build better" rather than admonish "one needs only fear fear itself".
 

DrZoidberg

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Well there were Hitler and Stalin in the last century. One of them is sputtering into meaningful discourse as droughts drive populations to migrate into other populations' territories. Seems the best we can do is say "build better" rather than admonish "one needs only fear fear itself".

The Russian revolution started in a monarchy. Ie no democratic tradition. German democracy had existed in exactly 15 years, and was upon it's inception utterly hamstrung and fucked by the "free" world and was dysfunctional to the extreme.

I don't think either of those examples are particularly relevant for the west today. Democracy has delivered excellent results 100+ years in the rest of the west.

I think Chile is the only example of example of stable and well established democracy reverting to dictatorship. And that was with quite a forceful "helping" hand from the land of the free. And that bounced back.

Based on statistics, it doesn't seem like we have much to worry about. No?
 

none

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I hate these Facebook is ruining democracy articles. Yeah, I get it, journalists think that shifting power dynamics is scary, because any shift means they need to use their little heads to stay in power. And they might risk losing it. No, shit they think it's scary. But democracy isn't threatened by Facebook. What does that even mean?

The foundation of democracy is that we give power to a big bunch of uninformed nitwits who have equally uniformed opinions and elect neutered liars as leaders. We create an environment that is very hard for any single person or group to derail and seize power. Because for the majority of the people, this is rarely a good thing. We're simply, better off organizing society like this. But it is a terrible, inefficient and dumb way to organize society. But it is the best way we've figured out.

How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?


Corporations are people.
 

JohnG

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58805965

The foundation of democracy is that we give power to a big bunch of uninformed nitwits who have equally uniformed opinions and elect neutered liars as leaders. We create an environment that is very hard for any single person or group to derail and seize power. Because for the majority of the people, this is rarely a good thing. We're simply, better off organizing society like this. But it is a terrible, inefficient and dumb way to organize society. But it is the best way we've figured out.

I agree that democracy is messy and for the most part everyone is flying by the seat of their pants. It's really hard, and especially hard when you have a diverse population to govern. Politicians can't do anything for one group without pissing off 5 others. I don't like to fall into the trap saying "All politicians are idiots" - because they are not, although we have a system that rewards loud mouth belligerence, and that trait rarely sits aside intelligence. I agree it's the best we have

How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

I do see it as a powerful tool to divide however. Further, division is a powerful tool for gaining political power. The problem with using FB as a political tool is that it rewards outrage. Engagement = $, and engagement is driven by fueling rage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with leveling the field of discussion, but the core of the discussion is driven by rage.
 

DrZoidberg

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How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

I do see it as a powerful tool to divide however. Further, division is a powerful tool for gaining political power. The problem with using FB as a political tool is that it rewards outrage. Engagement = $, and engagement is driven by fueling rage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with leveling the field of discussion, but the core of the discussion is driven by rage.

So? Angry people also have a right to vote
 

steve_bank

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I recently listened to a discussion on social media. I assued pschology is ud sed in the algoritms, but is far worse than I thought.

It is at the point, probably unintended. of shaping thought. It cretes a psycholgical profile and narrows what is highlighted for you.

It is indeed damaging for kids who have no defenses.

Democracy depends on a level of national consensus. It was always difficult, now it appears near impossible. It is not just social media. All of the so called mainstream news media purs out a cbtant strem of negatives.

For example the publishing of 10 year old emails form the Raiders coach. We can nor survive culturally under that constant deconstruction of people and the country. There will be nothing left to believe in other than manufactured pop culture, like music and sports

There is nothing in media or culture today that supports a comma identity.

It is getting violent over here and it is looking at times like what we see in 3rd world countries. Recently ANTIFA showed up in Portend unannounced burning and destroying businesses.

BLM and white supremacists have been shooting at each other.


Democracy has failed here in the USA at the national level. Critical things are not getting done. We have wide swings in policy when the admission changes. It is impossible to do any long term planning as China does. Aging infrastructure and an outdated power grid has been an issue since the 90s.

The system set up at the founding is utterly inadequate to maintain stability today.
 

DrZoidberg

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I recently listened to a discussion on social media. I assued pschology is ud sed in the algoritms, but is far worse than I thought.

It is at the point, probably unintended. of shaping thought. It cretes a psycholgical profile and narrows what is highlighted for you.

That will always be the case. There's always some algorithm or another distorting the public discourse. IN the 17th century people who went to cafés a lot gained an inordinate degree of power, compared to those who didn't or couldn't.

What makes programming algorithms different is that they are explicit in the code. But they have always been there.



It is indeed damaging for kids who have no defenses.

Lol. "But think of the kids". That's always been the case. Kids have always believed all kinds of dumb shit. They've never had defenses. We all know that when we were kids we were idiots. Understanding this and growing up is a part of becoming an adult. And accepting that in some way or another we're always going to be idiots. There's just no way for a single person to know everything that's important.

A positive feature of representative democracy is that it creates a kind of wisdom of the crowd.

Democracy depends on a level of national consensus. It was always difficult, now it appears near impossible. It is not just social media. All of the so called mainstream news media purs out a cbtant strem of negatives.

I think Internet has brought about a kind of shock to the media system. Now we're recalibrating.

Before the Internet the working class and the rurals were dependent on an enlightened and educated urban middle class to speak for them in the national media. Internet changed all this. Now the working class and rurals can speak for themselves.

It's just power shifting from the proxy to the actual people. And that's a good thing IMHO. Yeah, what a surprise that poor people are more racist and homophobic than the liberal urban middle class that used to represent them in media. Their power allowed us to live a lie.

The disempowered old leftist media elite are struggling to stay relevant. I think that's what we are seeing now. That's what the woke movement is all about. Clinging to the old power structure.

It doesn't matter if we like it or not. The old ways are over. New players are in control now. The sooner we accept and move on the quicker sanity and cooperation can return.


Democracy has failed here in the USA at the national level. Critical things are not getting done. We have wide swings in policy when the admission changes. It is impossible to do any long term planning as China does. Aging infrastructure and an outdated power grid has been an issue since the 90s.

The system set up at the founding is utterly inadequate to maintain stability today.

It's allowed to change it a bit to better answer to the needs of a changing world. That's not a failure of the founding fathers.
 

JohnG

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How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

I do see it as a powerful tool to divide however. Further, division is a powerful tool for gaining political power. The problem with using FB as a political tool is that it rewards outrage. Engagement = $, and engagement is driven by fueling rage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with leveling the field of discussion, but the core of the discussion is driven by rage.

So? Angry people also have a right to vote
But the rage is conjured - its not directed at the things that actually need to change to help those enraged. In fact, it's directed at the mechanisms that can help.

There's a meme going around that says "Billionaires pay millionaires to convince the middle class that poor people are the problem" If you don't fix the mechanisms that spew these messages, nothing gets fixed, it gets worse and it all falls apart - just like it has every other time in history.

Not sure why you think this time it will be different.
 

JohnG

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Check out this propaganda from the 30s.

People often ask "How could the Nazis just roll in a take all the Jews from other countries without a fight?"

Other countries were glad to hand them over, even though they were less than 1% of the population. They had been peppered with enough propaganda for years that they eventually believed their problems were because of this tiny segment of the population.

Look at Tucker Carlson's latest special on Jan 6.



These arent the days of flyers posted on telephone poles - these are the days of targeted messaging on a global scale.
 

TSwizzle

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I hate these Facebook is ruining democracy articles. Yeah, I get it, journalists think that shifting power dynamics is scary, because any shift means they need to use their little heads to stay in power. And they might risk losing it. No, shit they think it's scary. But democracy isn't threatened by Facebook. What does that even mean?

The foundation of democracy is that we give power to a big bunch of uninformed nitwits who have equally uniformed opinions and elect neutered liars as leaders. We create an environment that is very hard for any single person or group to derail and seize power. Because for the majority of the people, this is rarely a good thing. We're simply, better off organizing society like this. But it is a terrible, inefficient and dumb way to organize society. But it is the best way we've figured out.

How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

The attack on Facebook by the charlatan Haugen is laughable. It's an attempt at censorship by the establishment. There is a lot wrong with Facebook in regards to illegal activity but that's not the establishment's main concern. Their main concern is to stop the plebs from seeing "misinformation".
 
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DrZoidberg

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How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

I do see it as a powerful tool to divide however. Further, division is a powerful tool for gaining political power. The problem with using FB as a political tool is that it rewards outrage. Engagement = $, and engagement is driven by fueling rage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with leveling the field of discussion, but the core of the discussion is driven by rage.

So? Angry people also have a right to vote
But the rage is conjured - its not directed at the things that actually need to change to help those enraged. In fact, it's directed at the mechanisms that can help.

There's a meme going around that says "Billionaires pay millionaires to convince the middle class that poor people are the problem" If you don't fix the mechanisms that spew these messages, nothing gets fixed, it gets worse and it all falls apart - just like it has every other time in history.

Not sure why you think this time it will be different.
I think the rage is a result of that the elite no longer represents the people. Because the voice of the people has shifted. The elites will adapt. They always do. That's why they're the elite. When that happens a new bullshit stable political dichotomy will form and we can all go to sleep again.

I don't actually know how a mature post-Internet society will look like. Or what values it will have. Nobody does.

I belong to the old middle class Liberal values crowd. So for me my world is coming to an end. I've accepted it.

But I have a cautious optimism about the future. Stuff usually sorts itself out in the end. Even though transitions can be painful
 

JohnG

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How exactly can Facebook make anything worse for society as a whole? What we're seeing is new groups gaining a bit more power. Good for them. And those who enjoyed relatively more power before is having less. Too bad for them. But I can't see how democracy as a whole is in any way diminished.

Thoughts?

I do see it as a powerful tool to divide however. Further, division is a powerful tool for gaining political power. The problem with using FB as a political tool is that it rewards outrage. Engagement = $, and engagement is driven by fueling rage.

There is nothing inherently wrong with leveling the field of discussion, but the core of the discussion is driven by rage.

So? Angry people also have a right to vote
But the rage is conjured - its not directed at the things that actually need to change to help those enraged. In fact, it's directed at the mechanisms that can help.

There's a meme going around that says "Billionaires pay millionaires to convince the middle class that poor people are the problem" If you don't fix the mechanisms that spew these messages, nothing gets fixed, it gets worse and it all falls apart - just like it has every other time in history.

Not sure why you think this time it will be different.
I think the rage is a result of that the elite no longer represents the people. Because the voice of the people has shifted. The elites will adapt. They always do. That's why they're the elite. When that happens a new bullshit stable political dichotomy will form and we can all go to sleep again.

I don't actually know how a mature post-Internet society will look like. Or what values it will have. Nobody does.

I belong to the old middle class Liberal values crowd. So for me my world is coming to an end. I've accepted it.

But I have a cautious optimism about the future. Stuff usually sorts itself out in the end. Even though transitions can be painful
I'm not so sure. There is nothing that says that history has to repeat itself infinitely, like a TV show that resets itself for the next episode. We can say for certainty that it won't.

Some elites, at the moment, seem preoccupied with getting off the planet, or building bunkers in NZ.

This charade of political history will end at some point, and I don't know what chaos will follow either. If I had to guess, I would say that the climate situation will drive mass migrations and the political fallout will be a hard pivot to the right (politics of fear but no solutions) before the wheels fall off the wagon.

Good chance that a different (maybe much smaller?) society restructures itself afterwards. If Nuclear weapons are involved there will be none.

This may sound extreme, and maybe it is - but there is nothing preventing any of this from happening, and the degradation seems to be accelerating.
 

DrZoidberg

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I'm not so sure. There is nothing that says that history has to repeat itself infinitely, like a TV show that resets itself for the next episode. We can say for certainty that it won't.

I didn't say it'll be exactly like before. But we're a tribal species that think in dichotomies with brains adapted to keeping track of a tribe of up to 70 individuals. The world is too complex for normal people to manage. I'm convinced that's why religion was invented. It's a way to simplify the world to make it manageable.

Some elites, at the moment, seem preoccupied with getting off the planet, or building bunkers in NZ.

Any elite is dependent on support form the masses. They like to think of them as special, set apart and superior. But they're not. The fact of the matter is that they're always the bitch of the whims of people. But the people aren't wielding their power consciously. The elites are mostly just riding a wave they barely have any control over.

Whenever there's a paradigm shift there's a section of the old elites that try to resist change and fight back. This only acts to isolate them, and the moment they're disconnected form their support base they're instantly crushed. And because these people are prominent members of society, it's always a heavy and painful fall. And they're made examples of.

History teaches us this.

There's a reason we keep saying that a critical characteristic of a leader is humility. It doesn't matter how awesome they are in other ways. If they don't understand that they aren't really superior to the people, that it's all just an act, theatre, then they will be destroyed at the first bump.


This charade of political history will end at some point, and I don't know what chaos will follow either. If I had to guess, I would say that the climate situation will drive mass migrations and the political fallout will be a hard pivot to the right (politics of fear but no solutions) before the wheels fall off the wagon.

You don't know that. We're evolutionarily pre-programmed to worry more than we hope. I don't think the climate situation will matter a damn in the long run. I'm sure we will completely destroy the current ecosystem and bring about catastrophic change. The number of species will plummet. Deserts will spread , sea levels will rise. But we'll be fine. Humans are very adaptable. We can get used to almost any shitty situation. Sure, we won't have avocado and beef on the menu anymore. But is it such a big deal?

Good chance that a different (maybe much smaller?) society restructures itself afterwards. If Nuclear weapons are involved there will be none.

This may sound extreme, and maybe it is - but there is nothing preventing any of this from happening, and the degradation seems to be accelerating.

I think and hope you are wrong.
 

JohnG

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I'm not so sure. There is nothing that says that history has to repeat itself infinitely, like a TV show that resets itself for the next episode. We can say for certainty that it won't.

I didn't say it'll be exactly like before. But we're a tribal species that think in dichotomies with brains adapted to keeping track of a tribe of up to 70 individuals. The world is too complex for normal people to manage. I'm convinced that's why religion was invented. It's a way to simplify the world to make it manageable.

Some elites, at the moment, seem preoccupied with getting off the planet, or building bunkers in NZ.

Any elite is dependent on support form the masses. They like to think of them as special, set apart and superior. But they're not. The fact of the matter is that they're always the bitch of the whims of people. But the people aren't wielding their power consciously. The elites are mostly just riding a wave they barely have any control over.

Whenever there's a paradigm shift there's a section of the old elites that try to resist change and fight back. This only acts to isolate them, and the moment they're disconnected form their support base they're instantly crushed. And because these people are prominent members of society, it's always a heavy and painful fall. And they're made examples of.

History teaches us this.

There's a reason we keep saying that a critical characteristic of a leader is humility. It doesn't matter how awesome they are in other ways. If they don't understand that they aren't really superior to the people, that it's all just an act, theatre, then they will be destroyed at the first bump.


This charade of political history will end at some point, and I don't know what chaos will follow either. If I had to guess, I would say that the climate situation will drive mass migrations and the political fallout will be a hard pivot to the right (politics of fear but no solutions) before the wheels fall off the wagon.

You don't know that. We're evolutionarily pre-programmed to worry more than we hope. I don't think the climate situation will matter a damn in the long run. I'm sure we will completely destroy the current ecosystem and bring about catastrophic change. The number of species will plummet. Deserts will spread , sea levels will rise. But we'll be fine. Humans are very adaptable. We can get used to almost any shitty situation. Sure, we won't have avocado and beef on the menu anymore. But is it such a big deal?

Good chance that a different (maybe much smaller?) society restructures itself afterwards. If Nuclear weapons are involved there will be none.

This may sound extreme, and maybe it is - but there is nothing preventing any of this from happening, and the degradation seems to be accelerating.

I think and hope you are wrong.
It's a safe bet that our political structures will fail us at some point - maybe distant future, maybe not. There are countless ways it could happen.

I don't think it matters whether we worry about it or are optimistic - If we (as a population) start blowing each other up because some radicals took over a nuclear armed but failed state in the wake of a hypothetical climate catastrophe, then that's how it goes. Again, there is no mechanism (or god) that will prevent such a disaster.

I see chaos as something that it always possible, sometimes systems enter a feedback loop until they break apart into fragments. I don't worry too much about it, but I'm conscious of it and appreciate the systems that hold things together, for better or worse. People who talk about the destruction of govt. have no idea what they are asking for.

It's true our brains are wired for worry, tribal identities, fear of the other, etc. AI is exceptional at hacking into our extremely predictable psyche, and influencing our decisions. It has already been used successfully to power social upheaval. Surely you can understand where the concern comes in for many people regarding social media.

Just off the top of my head, the moment Donald Trump announced that the concern for Covid was a democratic hoax, political divisions fueled by social media ripped through the world. Many people died because they distrusted those that were attempting to put the brakes on the pandemic. I don't think past pandemics went through that kind of confusion caused by officials.

Things are different now.
 

DrZoidberg

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I see chaos as something that it always possible, sometimes systems enter a feedback loop until they break apart into fragments. I don't worry too much about it, but I'm conscious of it and appreciate the systems that hold things together, for better or worse. People who talk about the destruction of govt. have no idea what they are asking for.

It's interesting how conservatives are always overly afraid of the chaos, and the left aren't afraid enough of chaos. Even though the right is all about letting free markets rip through the world unconstrained, and the left is about governments controlling everything. These are very interesting paradoxes in both the left and the right.

Yes, chaos is never far away. Every war teaches us that. This can all fall apart in an instant. Let the cops go home, cut the power and water and we'll get Mad Max in a matter of weeks. Days. Anywhere.

It's true our brains are wired for worry, tribal identities, fear of the other, etc. AI is exceptional at hacking into our extremely predictable psyche, and influencing our decisions. It has already been used successfully to power social upheaval. Surely you can understand where the concern comes in for many people regarding social media.

Just off the top of my head, the moment Donald Trump announced that the concern for Covid was a democratic hoax, political divisions fueled by social media ripped through the world. Many people died because they distrusted those that were attempting to put the brakes on the pandemic. I don't think past pandemics went through that kind of confusion caused by officials.

Things are different now.

Trump is a populist. People didn't want their lives to be disrupted by a virus. So Trump told them it would be. And then he made up stuff to justify that. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

Populists win election when the sensible elites have lost the trust of the people, because they've failed to adapt to a changing world for too long. But they're elites. They're highly adaptable. But sometimes it's hard for them to understand the new rules. Sometimes nobody knows what's really going on. The Zeitgeist can be hard to figure out, even for experts. That's what I think is going on.

Hillary Clinton thought that the Zeitgeist was woke. So she put all her chips in that basket. The entire world cheered her on. Nope. She was wrong. Everybody was wrong.

The Trump vs Hillary campaign wasn't conservatives vs liberals. It was the old elite vs nothing. The people thought nothing, or rather anything else was a better choice than to keep doing things like we always have. Trump was just team "anything else".

In Sweden now the second biggest party are conservative racists. A party founded by Swedish volunteers to Nazi Germany in WW2. It's just our Trump party. The Swedish people have lost faith in that the politicians knows what they're doing.

The Danish prime minister has high support from the people. In Denmark the politicians have been sensible the last 50 years and paid attention to the people. We don't have a Trump, Johnson or Sweden Democrats here. It's one of the reasons I moved to Denmark. This country is great. Sweden isn't right now.
 

JohnG

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I see chaos as something that it always possible, sometimes systems enter a feedback loop until they break apart into fragments. I don't worry too much about it, but I'm conscious of it and appreciate the systems that hold things together, for better or worse. People who talk about the destruction of govt. have no idea what they are asking for.

It's interesting how conservatives are always overly afraid of the chaos, and the left aren't afraid enough of chaos. Even though the right is all about letting free markets rip through the world unconstrained, and the left is about governments controlling everything. These are very interesting paradoxes in both the left and the right.

Yes, chaos is never far away. Every war teaches us that. This can all fall apart in an instant. Let the cops go home, cut the power and water and we'll get Mad Max in a matter of weeks. Days. Anywhere.

It's true our brains are wired for worry, tribal identities, fear of the other, etc. AI is exceptional at hacking into our extremely predictable psyche, and influencing our decisions. It has already been used successfully to power social upheaval. Surely you can understand where the concern comes in for many people regarding social media.

Just off the top of my head, the moment Donald Trump announced that the concern for Covid was a democratic hoax, political divisions fueled by social media ripped through the world. Many people died because they distrusted those that were attempting to put the brakes on the pandemic. I don't think past pandemics went through that kind of confusion caused by officials.

Things are different now.

Trump is a populist. People didn't want their lives to be disrupted by a virus. So Trump told them it would be. And then he made up stuff to justify that. I don't think it's any more complicated than that.

Populists win election when the sensible elites have lost the trust of the people, because they've failed to adapt to a changing world for too long. But they're elites. They're highly adaptable. But sometimes it's hard for them to understand the new rules. Sometimes nobody knows what's really going on. The Zeitgeist can be hard to figure out, even for experts. That's what I think is going on.

Hillary Clinton thought that the Zeitgeist was woke. So she put all her chips in that basket. The entire world cheered her on. Nope. She was wrong. Everybody was wrong.

The Trump vs Hillary campaign wasn't conservatives vs liberals. It was the old elite vs nothing. The people thought nothing, or rather anything else was a better choice than to keep doing things like we always have. Trump was just team "anything else".

In Sweden now the second biggest party are conservative racists. A party founded by Swedish volunteers to Nazi Germany in WW2. It's just our Trump party. The Swedish people have lost faith in that the politicians knows what they're doing.

The Danish prime minister has high support from the people. In Denmark the politicians have been sensible the last 50 years and paid attention to the people. We don't have a Trump, Johnson or Sweden Democrats here. It's one of the reasons I moved to Denmark. This country is great. Sweden isn't right now.
I think you put too much worry into "woke". I can't say for sure what it means to Europeans, but in NA it is just another manufactured fear tactic by the right, in an endless line of right wing fear mongering.

It fits perfectly as a subsection of their replacement theory narrative, and "anti-woke" serves as a mask for their fear of change, the core of conservatism.

It boils down to using fear of the other as a political tool. Conservatives are always in a panic about gays, trans people, immigrants, POC, indigenous peoples, caravans, and so on. This tactic wins elections for them, so it just keeps rolling along.

"It's interesting how conservatives are always overly afraid of the chaos, and the left aren't afraid enough of chaos. Even though the right is all about letting free markets rip through the world unconstrained, and the left is about governments controlling everything. These are very interesting paradoxes in both the left and the right."

I agree, free markets can be great, and collective action (elected govt.) can be the best way to approach certain problems - and both should always be kept in check.
 

DrZoidberg

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I think you put too much worry into "woke". I can't say for sure what it means to Europeans, but in NA it is just another manufactured fear tactic by the right, in an endless line of right wing fear mongering.

It fits perfectly as a subsection of their replacement theory narrative, and "anti-woke" serves as a mask for their fear of change, the core of conservatism.

It boils down to using fear of the other as a political tool. Conservatives are always in a panic about gays, trans people, immigrants, POC, indigenous peoples, caravans, and so on. This tactic wins elections for them, so it just keeps rolling along.

I think woke is the revolution eating its own children. Woke is the tail end of the rise of feminism and civil rights. The easy pickings have been plucked. If we want further equality we are going to have to do things that are not easy to identify, nor guaranteed to work. Woke is the frustration of the lack of progress, instead of pointing the guns outward towards shared enemies, the guns are pointed inward and the progressives start attacking themselves. The woke ethical standards are now so high that nobody qualifies. Certainly not the people claiming to be woke.

I consider myself progressive and I did not hear about woke through conservative channels. I heard it about it in progressive circles. People who identified as woke.

I have no doubt that it fits nicely into the conservative narrative and it makes perfect sense that they took it and ran with it. It doesn't make it wrong. Sometimes even the evil people say something true.

"It's interesting how conservatives are always overly afraid of the chaos, and the left aren't afraid enough of chaos. Even though the right is all about letting free markets rip through the world unconstrained, and the left is about governments controlling everything. These are very interesting paradoxes in both the left and the right."

I agree, free markets can be great, and collective action (elected govt.) can be the best way to approach certain problems - and both should always be kept in check.

We seem to agree about something :)
 

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I think woke is the revolution eating its own children. Woke is the tail end of the rise of feminism and civil rights. The easy pickings have been plucked. If we want further equality we are going to have to do things that are not easy to identify, nor guaranteed to work. Woke is the frustration of the lack of progress, instead of pointing the guns outward towards shared enemies, the guns are pointed inward and the progressives start attacking themselves. The woke ethical standards are now so high that nobody qualifies. Certainly not the people claiming to be woke.

I consider myself progressive and I did not hear about woke through conservative channels. I heard it about it in progressive circles. People who identified as woke.

I have no doubt that it fits nicely into the conservative narrative and it makes perfect sense that they took it and ran with it. It doesn't make it wrong. Sometimes even the evil people say something true.

That all seems pretty vague. I can give you a very specific example of a fabrication of wokeness and it's effectiveness as a political tool by the right.

4 days ago a Virginia Rebublican won his election for governor. Surveys indicate he won that race, fueled by women, who voted based on education issues, specifically CRT in schools.


He focused on that issue during his campaign and it worked.

Only thing is there is zero CRT being taught in Virginia schools. It was just another fear tactic that the "Woke" progressives are going to ruin their lives. I know this is anecdotal, but it's very typical.

There are some very serious culture undercurrents going on in the USA. I don't think wokeness is one of them. I think the issue you are confusing it with is online echo chambers. They exist for every kind of nut imaginable.
 

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I think woke is the revolution eating its own children. Woke is the tail end of the rise of feminism and civil rights. The easy pickings have been plucked. If we want further equality we are going to have to do things that are not easy to identify, nor guaranteed to work. Woke is the frustration of the lack of progress, instead of pointing the guns outward towards shared enemies, the guns are pointed inward and the progressives start attacking themselves. The woke ethical standards are now so high that nobody qualifies. Certainly not the people claiming to be woke.

I consider myself progressive and I did not hear about woke through conservative channels. I heard it about it in progressive circles. People who identified as woke.

I have no doubt that it fits nicely into the conservative narrative and it makes perfect sense that they took it and ran with it. It doesn't make it wrong. Sometimes even the evil people say something true.

That all seems pretty vague. I can give you a very specific example of a fabrication of wokeness and it's effectiveness as a political tool by the right.

4 days ago a Virginia Rebublican won his election for governor. Surveys indicate he won that race, fueled by women, who voted based on education issues, specifically CRT in schools.


He focused on that issue during his campaign and it worked.

Only thing is there is zero CRT being taught in Virginia schools. It was just another fear tactic that the "Woke" progressives are going to ruin their lives. I know this is anecdotal, but it's very typical.

There are some very serious culture undercurrents going on in the USA. I don't think wokeness is one of them. I think the issue you are confusing it with is online echo chambers. They exist for every kind of nut imaginable.

It's not mutually exclusive. Conservatives can use dog whistles, taken out of context, to garner support while the same term inside the liberal camp can mean something different.

Also, conservatives are bound to misunderstand the nuances of a liberal concept. I'm convinced that those republicans had replaced CRT with "white man bad". Not entirely wrong. But misses nearly everything CRT is about. And that's fine. We shouldn't dumb down our internal language just because there are idiots on the other side who won't get it. Everybody is made smarter by using clear unambiguous language. If somebody is hellbent on misunderstanding you, there's nothing you can do to fix that.
 

JohnG

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I think woke is the revolution eating its own children. Woke is the tail end of the rise of feminism and civil rights. The easy pickings have been plucked. If we want further equality we are going to have to do things that are not easy to identify, nor guaranteed to work. Woke is the frustration of the lack of progress, instead of pointing the guns outward towards shared enemies, the guns are pointed inward and the progressives start attacking themselves. The woke ethical standards are now so high that nobody qualifies. Certainly not the people claiming to be woke.

I consider myself progressive and I did not hear about woke through conservative channels. I heard it about it in progressive circles. People who identified as woke.

I have no doubt that it fits nicely into the conservative narrative and it makes perfect sense that they took it and ran with it. It doesn't make it wrong. Sometimes even the evil people say something true.

That all seems pretty vague. I can give you a very specific example of a fabrication of wokeness and it's effectiveness as a political tool by the right.

4 days ago a Virginia Rebublican won his election for governor. Surveys indicate he won that race, fueled by women, who voted based on education issues, specifically CRT in schools.


He focused on that issue during his campaign and it worked.

Only thing is there is zero CRT being taught in Virginia schools. It was just another fear tactic that the "Woke" progressives are going to ruin their lives. I know this is anecdotal, but it's very typical.

There are some very serious culture undercurrents going on in the USA. I don't think wokeness is one of them. I think the issue you are confusing it with is online echo chambers. They exist for every kind of nut imaginable.

It's not mutually exclusive. Conservatives can use dog whistles, taken out of context, to garner support while the same term inside the liberal camp can mean something different.

Also, conservatives are bound to misunderstand the nuances of a liberal concept. I'm convinced that those republicans had replaced CRT with "white man bad". Not entirely wrong. But misses nearly everything CRT is about. And that's fine. We shouldn't dumb down our internal language just because there are idiots on the other side who won't get it. Everybody is made smarter by using clear unambiguous language. If somebody is hellbent on misunderstanding you, there's nothing you can do to fix that.
RW political messaging is hampering the US moving forward. They are going to forever pay $200 for a vial of insulin because they can't stomach the idea of paying into a universal health care system that might help someone they don't "approve of".

In Canada, our national radio station has been pretty good (not perfect) at educating people about the downsides of letting stigmatized minorities wither from lesser opportunities, and the human and economic costs of doing that.

The basic concepts of what is happening (and why) aren't hard to grasp - it's the solutions that are complicated. Many people do a great job laying it out. However, there is a great interest in using it as a political divisive tool and the social and economic concepts are being countered with a narrative of victimization.

Fox News is the most watched news feed and Tucker Carlson has the most watched program among adults aged 25 to 54. Its hard to cut through their relentless griping about how vulnerable groups are causing all America's problems. Now that it's a proven successful business model, it doesn't get any easier.
 

Swammerdami

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I just noticed this thread and was slightly surprised to see I'd not posted.
Briefly: OP is wrong, very very wrong. 100% wrong. He has it backwards.

There is definitely such a thing as too much reductionism! :geek:

Sometimes I wish I'd memorized the names of the major fallacies of reasoning; then I could just post a 2-word response, probably in Latin. Instead I will explain Fallacy #5 with examples. @ OP, do you find the following reasonable?

"I stubbed my toe and that didn't hurt much, so go ahead and chop off my arm. Same-same."

"A year ago my local newspaper published a letter from some moron or liar. So go ahead and bombard every American household with bullshit, some of it carefully constructed by the Kremlin. Same-same. Sure, millions of voters are stupid enough to be duped, but that's their fault, not mine."

These caricatures do not form a long well-reasoned essay. But I've posted essays and links to essays on this topic before. Google knows where they are. Horse, water, drink?
 

DrZoidberg

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I think woke is the revolution eating its own children. Woke is the tail end of the rise of feminism and civil rights. The easy pickings have been plucked. If we want further equality we are going to have to do things that are not easy to identify, nor guaranteed to work. Woke is the frustration of the lack of progress, instead of pointing the guns outward towards shared enemies, the guns are pointed inward and the progressives start attacking themselves. The woke ethical standards are now so high that nobody qualifies. Certainly not the people claiming to be woke.

I consider myself progressive and I did not hear about woke through conservative channels. I heard it about it in progressive circles. People who identified as woke.

I have no doubt that it fits nicely into the conservative narrative and it makes perfect sense that they took it and ran with it. It doesn't make it wrong. Sometimes even the evil people say something true.

That all seems pretty vague. I can give you a very specific example of a fabrication of wokeness and it's effectiveness as a political tool by the right.

4 days ago a Virginia Rebublican won his election for governor. Surveys indicate he won that race, fueled by women, who voted based on education issues, specifically CRT in schools.


He focused on that issue during his campaign and it worked.

Only thing is there is zero CRT being taught in Virginia schools. It was just another fear tactic that the "Woke" progressives are going to ruin their lives. I know this is anecdotal, but it's very typical.

There are some very serious culture undercurrents going on in the USA. I don't think wokeness is one of them. I think the issue you are confusing it with is online echo chambers. They exist for every kind of nut imaginable.

It's not mutually exclusive. Conservatives can use dog whistles, taken out of context, to garner support while the same term inside the liberal camp can mean something different.

Also, conservatives are bound to misunderstand the nuances of a liberal concept. I'm convinced that those republicans had replaced CRT with "white man bad". Not entirely wrong. But misses nearly everything CRT is about. And that's fine. We shouldn't dumb down our internal language just because there are idiots on the other side who won't get it. Everybody is made smarter by using clear unambiguous language. If somebody is hellbent on misunderstanding you, there's nothing you can do to fix that.
RW political messaging is hampering the US moving forward. They are going to forever pay $200 for a vial of insulin because they can't stomach the idea of paying into a universal health care system that might help someone they don't "approve of".

In Canada, our national radio station has been pretty good (not perfect) at educating people about the downsides of letting stigmatized minorities wither from lesser opportunities, and the human and economic costs of doing that.

The basic concepts of what is happening (and why) aren't hard to grasp - it's the solutions that are complicated. Many people do a great job laying it out. However, there is a great interest in using it as a political divisive tool and the social and economic concepts are being countered with a narrative of victimization.

Fox News is the most watched news feed and Tucker Carlson has the most watched program among adults aged 25 to 54. Its hard to cut through their relentless griping about how vulnerable groups are causing all America's problems. Now that it's a proven successful business model, it doesn't get any easier.
"hampering the US moving forward."

The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.

If progressives fail to convince voters to vote for them, then perhaps we should work on our arguments?

The degree of democracy of a society also isn't based on the amount of boring-as-fuck media people are willing to suffer through. If the progressive message isn't fun to listen to, we'll just have to work on our delivery. Seriousness and humorlessness is NOT the same thing. This is something us progressives can learn a thing or two from the conservatives.
 

Swammerdami

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.

Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)
 

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.

Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)
The Nazi Party only garnered 43.7% of the vote. As you wrote They managed to win a majority of seats by joining with another party to form a government.
 

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.

Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)

 Adolf Hitler's rise to power

(Summarized from above) The Nazi Party only garnered 43.7% of the vote. As you wrote They managed to win a majority of seats by joining with another party to form a government. Even then it is only because President von Hindenburg of Germany feared anarchy if he didn't acknowledge this coalition as winners they never would have won power.
 

DrZoidberg

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.

Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)

I was not referring to that particular historical event. Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Which is the opposite of democracy.

I only posed a hypothetical. But fascists have historically gotten into power lawfully.

In the 2012 Egyptian election Mohammed Morsi won on a openly anti-democratic Islamist Muslim Brotherhood ticket. He got 40% of the vote and created a coalition together with Al-Nour (30% of the vote) an even more bonkers anti-democratic Islamist party. Together they got 70% of the vote on the promise to make a one party islamist state. That was a free and fair election. The will of the people had spoken.

In 2010 Fidesz took power in Hungary in a free and fair election. They won again in 2014. A free and fair election. At this point they voted for constitutional changes to game the parliament in favour of Fidesz. This could only have succeeded if Fidesz won the 2018 election. The people cast their vote, Fidesz won and free and fair elections were history. Next Hungarian elections are next year. Who wants to bet against Fidesz winning?

The take away from this is that people do sometimes value things other than democracy as a greater good.
 

Swammerdami

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.
Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)
I was not referring to that particular historical event. Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Which is the opposite of democracy.
You didn't refer to that particular historical event. I did.

But I'm curious why you state that Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Before we proceed I think we'll need clarification of why some fascist takeovers are coups and some are not. . In accordance with German law, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Mr. Hitler to be Chancellor and later issued the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat.

Is your insight that 44% is less than 50%? What about the 2016 U.S. election where Trump prevailed with 46% to Clinton's 48%? Anyway, Hitler's coalition got 52% in the 1933 elections.

52% is more than 50%. Where's the coup? Are you the arbiter of whether or not a particular election is "exactly how democracy should work"?
 

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It is a problem with democracy -- if one votes to shut it down, then restoring it can be difficult.

As to Fidesz, it was hard to predict that Fidesz would try to tweak the electoral system so that it would be hard to defeat. Likewise with Nazism. There was no hint that it would end up outlawing all political parties but it itself, even its coalition partners.

That reminds me of a monarchist objecting to some ex-monarchy republics having provisions in their constitutions that forbid the re-establishment of monarchy. It would be hard to undo such a re-establishment.
 

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.
Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?

(If you nit-pick that the Nazi coalition won only 44% of the vote and had to mount a "Stop the Steal" campaign to obtain complete control, you lose.)
I was not referring to that particular historical event. Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Which is the opposite of democracy.
You didn't refer to that particular historical event. I did.

But I'm curious why you state that Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Before we proceed I think we'll need clarification of why some fascist takeovers are coups and some are not. . In accordance with German law, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Mr. Hitler to be Chancellor and later issued the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat.

Is your insight that 44% is less than 50%? What about the 2016 U.S. election where Trump prevailed with 46% to Clinton's 48%? Anyway, Hitler's coalition got 52% in the 1933 elections.

52% is more than 50%. Where's the coup? Are you the arbiter of whether or not a particular election is "exactly how democracy should work"?

I think what makes a democracy is the populations general attitude towards politics. In authoritarian regimes people don't talk about politics. It's not safe to. And their opinion doesn't matter anyway. In authoritarian regimes political discussions among the citizens is reduced to poking fun at their leaders in various ways.

The Pro-Trump Capital Hill riot does prove one thing. Americans feel empowered. They feel that their voice matters. And that's the primary hallmark of a well functioning democracy. I was in Egypt during the revolution. The Egyptians on Tahir square who rose up to topple Mubarak were prepared to die. Maybe not all of them. But they were warriors going to battle. They didn't wear war paint and dressed in a parody of native American dress. They didn't have humorous t-shirts.

A lot of people in well functioning well run democratic societies don't care about politics and can't be bothered to vote. In democracies people only get engaged in politics when they feel something is not developing in the right direction. So apathy and cynicism isn't necessarily a sign of a democracy not working.

Hitler exploited a legal loophole to topple the very institution his main job was to protect. That's a coup. Just because something is legal, doesn't make it morally right, or even in the spirit of what the law was intended to do. The entire point of laws is to direct people into constructive endevours that act to make the world a better place. I think few people think Hitler managed to do that.
 

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It is a problem with democracy -- if one votes to shut it down, then restoring it can be difficult.

As to Fidesz, it was hard to predict that Fidesz would try to tweak the electoral system so that it would be hard to defeat. Likewise with Nazism. There was no hint that it would end up outlawing all political parties but it itself, even its coalition partners.

My Hungarian ex-wife explained it to me. People think in dichotomies. In Hungarian politics the divide is between socialists and the conservatives. In 2006 this guy won the election for the socialists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferenc_Gyurcsány

It turned out that he was a Putin puppet, sold out his nation, cooked the books and was generally, the worst possible prime minister a country can have. It all exploded in his face in a public manner. In the 2010 election the voters swung heavily to the right, just because they hated this guy so much. Fidesz was the leader of the conservative block, so managed to nab power. And that's the whole story. All they need to be is NOT massive traitors to their nation, and they will always look better than the socialists preceding them. It's not a hard competition to win.


That reminds me of a monarchist objecting to some ex-monarchy republics having provisions in their constitutions that forbid the re-establishment of monarchy. It would be hard to undo such a re-establishment.

But constitutions can be changed. If there's enough popular support for something it will happen. What matters ultimately in a democracy is the will of the people. Actually, that's also what ultimately matters in a dictatorship. If people's basic needs aren't met no ruler is safe.
 

Swammerdami

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.
Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?
I was not referring to that particular historical event. Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Which is the opposite of democracy.
You didn't refer to that particular historical event. I did.

But I'm curious why you state that Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Before we proceed I think we'll need clarification of why some fascist takeovers are coups and some are not. . In accordance with German law, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Mr. Hitler to be Chancellor and later issued the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat.

Hitler exploited a legal loophole to topple the very institution his main job was to protect. That's a coup. Just because something is legal, doesn't make it morally right, or even in the spirit of what the law was intended to do. The entire point of laws is to direct people into constructive endevours that act to make the world a better place. I think few people think Hitler managed to do that.

Can you be more specific? As I say, Hitler's Party won the Parliament; Hitler was appointed Chancellor in accordance with their constitutional processes. What "loophole" are you talking about? And anyway, is a "loophole" a "coup"?

Many or most democracies have idiosyncrasies. U.S. has the peculiar Electoral College which leads to R's becoming President despite the D winning the popular vote. Does this mean Trump won in 2016 via a loophole? Or via a coup? Google thinks "coup" is "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government." Do you have a different definition? (You do seem to have a Humpty-Dumptyish approach to definitions. What do you think a "Jewish temple" is again? :)

I'm trying to understand your "That's exactly how democracy should work." Was Trump's election "exactly how democracy should work"? Why wasn't Hitler's?
 

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 Nazi Party has the numbers in its table "NSDAP federal election results (1924–1933)"

DateFractionRankSeatsNotes
1924 May6.5%632 / 472H in prison
1924 Dec3.0%814 / 493H released
1928 May2.6%912 / 491
1930 Sep18.3%2107 / 577After financial crisis
1932 Jul37.3%1230 / 608H Presidency cand
1932 Nov33.1%1196 / 584
1933 Mar43.9%1288 / 647H Chancellor

Adolf Hitler was *not* directly elected leader, and his party did *not* win a majority of votes in any election where it had competition. Instead, it got into power by making a deal with the German National People's Party (DNVP), a nationalist-conservative party:  National conservatism - "National conservatism is a nationalist variant of conservatism that concentrates on upholding national and cultural identity. National conservatives usually combine this patriotism with conservative stances promoting traditional cultural values, opposition to immigration, and family values."

In the middle of 1933, the Nazis outlawed all political parties but theirs. That included the DNVP, and the DNVP meekly shut itself down.
 

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The topic was NOT Hitler's rise to power; it was Dr. Z's definition of "coup" and how to determine "exactly how democracy should work." There is reason to believe that GOP voter suppression has affected many elections in "red" states, and quite possibly even the 2016 Presidential Election. But the suppression measures were passed under the authority of "democratically elected" bodies. Is that exactly how democracy SHOULD work?
 

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So it's not a real coup if it's done from within? There is a name for that sort of coup:  Self-coup (translation of Spanish autogolpe). It's when a democratically elected leader makes himself dictator, and the article listed Adolf Hitler as an example, and Donald Trump as an attempted example.
 

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The measure of success for democracy isn't the degree of socialism in a society. If a majority of the people would vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis as such got into power that isn't a failure of democracy. That's exactly how democracy should work.
Just to make sure I'm following you, there is a well-known historical instance when a majority of the people DID vote for the Nazi party and the Nazis (as such) DID get into power. It happened in Germany in 1932. Is this exactly how democracy "should" work?
I was not referring to that particular historical event. Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Which is the opposite of democracy.
You didn't refer to that particular historical event. I did.

But I'm curious why you state that Hitler grabbed power in a coup. Before we proceed I think we'll need clarification of why some fascist takeovers are coups and some are not. . In accordance with German law, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Mr. Hitler to be Chancellor and later issued the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat.

Hitler exploited a legal loophole to topple the very institution his main job was to protect. That's a coup. Just because something is legal, doesn't make it morally right, or even in the spirit of what the law was intended to do. The entire point of laws is to direct people into constructive endevours that act to make the world a better place. I think few people think Hitler managed to do that.

Can you be more specific? As I say, Hitler's Party won the Parliament; Hitler was appointed Chancellor in accordance with their constitutional processes. What "loophole" are you talking about? And anyway, is a "loophole" a "coup"?

Many or most democracies have idiosyncrasies. U.S. has the peculiar Electoral College which leads to R's becoming President despite the D winning the popular vote. Does this mean Trump won in 2016 via a loophole? Or via a coup? Google thinks "coup" is "a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government." Do you have a different definition? (You do seem to have a Humpty-Dumptyish approach to definitions. What do you think a "Jewish temple" is again? :)

I'm trying to understand your "That's exactly how democracy should work." Was Trump's election "exactly how democracy should work"? Why wasn't Hitler's?
No democratic country on Earth is perfect. They're all riddled with exploitable loopholes and exploits. They're also all different, can into existence in different historical contexts, have different economies and different cultures and ethnic compositions.

The ones that are stable have found a recipe that works. The ones that aren't haven't. I can't be more specific than that.

USA is an extremely well functioning democracy. It has problems, yes. But they all do.

USA has gamed the voter power and given more weight to less populace States. If they didn't US politics would be California, Texas and New York and the opinions of the rest of the country would be irrelevant. This would be bad. That's why Trump won in spite of only getting 46%.

In EU the voting power of small states is disproportionaly high. This is necessary, or no small state would join the EU.

So many people are rigidly hung up on democratic principles so that they forget about pragmatism. Nobody should give a shit about what should work. They should care about what actually works.
 

Swammerdami

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The ones that are stable have found a recipe that works. The ones that aren't haven't. I can't be more specific than that.
Is it a yes-no thing? Or is there a gradation between perfect democracy (if you think there is such a thing) and severely flawed democracy? If the latter is your opinion, then you have a nuanced view not dissimilar from my own.

Where you confuse me and make your message ambiguous is with phrases like "exactly how democracy should work." Trump and his QOPAnon allies use immoral trickery or non-democratic means to obtain electoral victory, and so did Adolf Hitler. Is it your position that one of these rises to power was EXACTLY how democracy SHOULD work and the other was exactly how democracy should NOT work?

If you DO perceive NUANCE, do you see that your diction misleads?

Had you posted what you did but without the word "exactly", I would have skimmed your post, agreed to disagree, and moved on. Perhaps I'm too pedantic but that adverb struck me as so absurd I felt I had no choice but to respond! If, on reflection, you now realize that that adverb was a bad rhetorical flourish that detracted from more nuanced thought, then you can recant and we can move on. (But I won't hold my breath!)

USA has gamed the voter power and given more weight to less populace States. If they didn't US politics would be California, Texas and New York and the opinions of the rest of the country would be irrelevant. This would be bad. That's why Trump won in spite of only getting 46%.

Two points:

(1) If the U.S. had a popular vote for President, as many would find preferable, do you see that this would NOT give New York and California special power? Each vote in California would have the EXACT same weight as each vote in Rhode Island.

(2) Portugal has different culture and traditions from Spain. It makes some sense that Portugal has its own voice in the EU, rather than being lumped in with Spain. Do you think North and South Dakota have sufficiently diverse cultures so that each needs its own electoral advantage? Is there a good reason why Rhode Island gets 2 Senators and the similar region of Southeastern Massachusetts does not? Almost 4 centuries ago, Rhode Island was started as a refuge from the authoritarian Puritanism of Massachusetts. Rhode Island's founder embraced Baptism. Do you think religious schism still separates Rhode Island from its Bristol County neighbors? (Spoiler alert! Rhode Island is now the most CATHOLIC of all the 50 states! :) )

If you want to argue that Yes, North Dakota and South Dakota have different cultures and so somehow merit the extra political power, all I can do is laugh. And point out there is more cultural variation just in Northern California than in the entirety of Flyover Land put together!
 

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The ones that are stable have found a recipe that works. The ones that aren't haven't. I can't be more specific than that.
Is it a yes-no thing? Or is there a gradation between perfect democracy (if you think there is such a thing) and severely flawed democracy? If the latter is your opinion, then you have a nuanced view not dissimilar from my own.

Where you confuse me and make your message ambiguous is with phrases like "exactly how democracy should work." Trump and his QOPAnon allies use immoral trickery or non-democratic means to obtain electoral victory, and so did Adolf Hitler. Is it your position that one of these rises to power was EXACTLY how democracy SHOULD work and the other was exactly how democracy should NOT work?

If you DO perceive NUANCE, do you see that your diction misleads?

Had you posted what you did but without the word "exactly", I would have skimmed your post, agreed to disagree, and moved on. Perhaps I'm too pedantic but that adverb struck me as so absurd I felt I had no choice but to respond! If, on reflection, you now realize that that adverb was a bad rhetorical flourish that detracted from more nuanced thought, then you can recant and we can move on. (But I won't hold my breath!)

In politics everyone thinks their side is rational and that the other side is swindled by demagogues. The truth is of course that it's a bit of both on both sides.

What sets liberals and conservatives apart is basic values.

I can recommend The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. He interviewed liberals and conservatives and asked them about their basic values. This book spells it out.

Fundamentally it comes down to how "fairness" is defined.


I'm a big believer in systems design and implicit nudging.

Either a system is self correcting and people acting within it makes it more stable over time. Or it becomes less stable over time.

It's also important to stay humble. Its entirely possible that the secret sauce that makes democracy so successful in the modern age, has eluded us all. The real reason democracies work might be something so subtle and left field that nobody has thought about it yet.

There's no shortage of democratic experiments that failed. In hindsight we're guessing what the problems were. But we don't really know. Not really.

USA has gamed the voter power and given more weight to less populace States. If they didn't US politics would be California, Texas and New York and the opinions of the rest of the country would be irrelevant. This would be bad. That's why Trump won in spite of only getting 46%.

Two points:

(1) If the U.S. had a popular vote for President, as many would find preferable, do you see that this would NOT give New York and California special power? Each vote in California would have the EXACT same weight as each vote in Rhode Island.

(2) Portugal has different culture and traditions from Spain. It makes some sense that Portugal has its own voice in the EU, rather than being lumped in with Spain. Do you think North and South Dakota have sufficiently diverse cultures so that each needs its own electoral advantage? Is there a good reason why Rhode Island gets 2 Senators and the similar region of Southeastern Massachusetts does not? Almost 4 centuries ago, Rhode Island was started as a refuge from the authoritarian Puritanism of Massachusetts. Rhode Island's founder embraced Baptism. Do you think religious schism still separates Rhode Island from its Bristol County neighbors? (Spoiler alert! Rhode Island is now the most CATHOLIC of all the 50 states! :) )

If you want to argue that Yes, North Dakota and South Dakota have different cultures and so somehow merit the extra political power, all I can do is laugh. And point out there is more cultural variation just in Northern California than in the entirety of Flyover Land put together!
1) the current US electoral system is the result of the civil war. Maybe don't fuck with until after the next civil war. Obviously things have changed since then. What was sensible and fair then, isn't now. But how are you going to change it now, without starting that civil war we're trying to avoid?

2) cultures shift gradually across Europe. I argue that borders between European nations can be drawn anywhere in Europe. Its all arbitrary.

The reason why we don't lump Portugal and Spain together in the EU is because its easier not to. There's no other reason. Its just practical this way
 

Swammerdami

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Dr. Z, it sounds like you now take a more nuanced view; and are no longer sure of the black/white distinctions you made earlier. Good.

One remark caught my eye:
1) the current US electoral system is the result of the civil war.
This interpretation does NOT mesh with my understanding of U.S. history. Elucidate?
 

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lpetrich

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1) the current US electoral system is the result of the civil war. Maybe don't fuck with until after the next civil war. Obviously things have changed since then. What was sensible and fair then, isn't now. But how are you going to change it now, without starting that civil war we're trying to avoid?
I'm baffled at what might be the source of this elementary mistake.

It's easy to correct with a little research.

The elected parts of the US Federal Government are the two houses of Congress, the Presidency, and the Vice Presidency.

The House of Representatives has state delegations in proportion to the states' populations, and it has done so from its beginning:  United States congressional apportionment In the early days, some states used  General ticket - voting for all the delegates at once - but since the early 19th cy. nearly every state has used single-member districts. House members are elected for two-year terms on even years.

The Senate is has two members for each state, and they are elected in staggered fashion, one per election year. Senators are elected for six-year terms in staggered fashion: Class I is elected in years 6n+2, Class II in years 6n+4, and Class III in years 6n (6n+6). Each state has a Senator from two of these classes, and when states are admitted, their Senators' classes are assigned to try to keep the Classes' member numbers as close as possible. I once did a thread on that in Mathematics: US Senate Allocation | Internet Infidels Discussion Board

Senators were originally elected by state legislatures, but that was changed to popular vote in 1913:  Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The President and Vice President are elected by the  United States Electoral College but how that body is chosen has changed over time. Its members were originally elected by state legislatures, but with the rise of political parties, its members became chosen by parties, making it a rubber-stamp body. By the early 19th cy., which party gets the electors in each state was from which party got a majority of votes. So the EC system became what it has been ever since: a sort of aggregated and weighted popular vote.

The original system was for the electors to vote for President, with whoever gets the second most votes becoming the Vice President. This was changed to the current system in 1804 with the  Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution That is voting for the President and Vice President separately.
 

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1) the current US electoral system is the result of the civil war. Maybe don't fuck with until after the next civil war. Obviously things have changed since then. What was sensible and fair then, isn't now. But how are you going to change it now, without starting that civil war we're trying to avoid?
I'm baffled at what might be the source of this elementary mistake.

It's easy to correct with a little research.

The elected parts of the US Federal Government are the two houses of Congress, the Presidency, and the Vice Presidency.

The House of Representatives has state delegations in proportion to the states' populations, and it has done so from its beginning:  United States congressional apportionment In the early days, some states used  General ticket - voting for all the delegates at once - but since the early 19th cy. nearly every state has used single-member districts. House members are elected for two-year terms on even years.

The Senate is has two members for each state, and they are elected in staggered fashion, one per election year. Senators are elected for six-year terms in staggered fashion: Class I is elected in years 6n+2, Class II in years 6n+4, and Class III in years 6n (6n+6). Each state has a Senator from two of these classes, and when states are admitted, their Senators' classes are assigned to try to keep the Classes' member numbers as close as possible. I once did a thread on that in Mathematics: US Senate Allocation | Internet Infidels Discussion Board

Senators were originally elected by state legislatures, but that was changed to popular vote in 1913:  Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The President and Vice President are elected by the  United States Electoral College but how that body is chosen has changed over time. Its members were originally elected by state legislatures, but with the rise of political parties, its members became chosen by parties, making it a rubber-stamp body. By the early 19th cy., which party gets the electors in each state was from which party got a majority of votes. So the EC system became what it has been ever since: a sort of aggregated and weighted popular vote.

The original system was for the electors to vote for President, with whoever gets the second most votes becoming the Vice President. This was changed to the current system in 1804 with the  Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution That is voting for the President and Vice President separately.
Busted. I didn't look it up. Thanks for the lesson.

I still think it's ill advised to fuck with an electoral system that is working. The US economy is still very healthy. So the elected politicians could do a hell of a lot worse of a job
 

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Something not in the US Constitution is political parties, and none of its creators seemed to want them. Several of them went on record as deploring parties as leading to strife from rival factions. The Founding Fathers on Party Strife (Quotes) | Satyagraha and What Our Founding Fathers Said About Political Parties - Bill King Blog and The Founding Fathers Feared Political Factions Would Tear the Nation Apart - HISTORY

But their hope of a partyless political system was not to be. In the first term of the first President, George Washington, the politicians started dividing themselves into parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.

The Federalists wanted an industrialized nation with a strong government and a lot of international influence, while the D-R's wanted an isolationist, agrarian nation with a wimpy national government. Though many Americans continue to claim the D-R vision of the US as an ideal, the nation has become everything the Federalists wanted. The first D-R President, Thomas Jefferson, ended up acting Federalist-like with his Louisiana Purchase and his sending military expeditions to North Africa to punish raiders of American shipping.

 Party divisions of United States Congresses and  Political parties in the United States and  Political eras of the United States
EraYearsCongressesParty IParty II
1st Party System1789 - 17951 - 3Anti-AdminPro-Admin
1795 - 1825 4 - 18Dem-RepFederalist
2nd Party System1825 - 183719 - 24JacksonianAnti-Jackson
1837 - 185525 - 33DemocraticWhig
1855 - 185734DemocraticOpposition
3rd Party System1857 - 189735 - 54DemocraticRepublican
4th Party System1897 - 193355 - 72DemocraticRepublican
5th Party System1933 - 198173 - 96DemocraticRepublican
6th Party System1981 - present97 - presentDemocraticRepublican
We are at the 117th Congress.
 

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Peter Turchin is a biologist turned historian who has been involved in researching cyclic theories of history, the "structural demographic theory". It was worked out for preindustrial societies, because they have a long enough written record to make patterns evident. According to the SDT, human societies go in cycles that look like this:
  • Integrative phase - population increases, elites are relatively small at first, society relatively unified for a while. But elites increase, squeezing the common people, and they end up fighting among themselves for the top spots, thus ending this phase.
  • Disintegrative phase - the elites fight each other and population declines. That continues until enough of the elites are killed, exiled, or demoted to commoner status, thus ending this phase.
Violence in disintegrative periods is not necessarily continuous, and it often has two-generation "father and son" spikes.

PT and his colleagues have found evidence of such cycles in ancient Rome, medieval and early modern Britain, France, and Russia, and Imperial China. Quantitative data on premodern societies can be hard to find, so they have to be creative, like counting coin hoards.

PT also concludes that such cycles continue in industrialized societies. He wrote a book about such cycles in the US, finding evidence for 1 1/2 complete cycles. It is Peter Turchin Ages of Discord - Peter Turchin and he has some supporting data in some related pages on his site. He described his work in an easier-reading form in History tells us where the wealth gap leads | Aeon Essays

He found evidence of this structural-demographic cycle in the US's history, though the cycles are faster and there are only 1 1/2 of them over the US's history. For ordinary-people well-being, he worked from a variety of sources of data, like how tall people grew (good), how late they married at (bad), how much their income was of the GDP per capita (good), and fraction of the population that is foreign-born (bad). For elite overproduction, as he calls it, he found the ratio of the highest fortune to the GDP per capita, elite-university tuition to the GDP per capita, and the amount of strife among elites, measured as political polarization. He also measured the among of social and political violence: terrorism, lynching, and riots.

Here is what he found:
YearsEraPeople WBElite OPViolence
1820'sGood Feelingshighlowlow
1890'sGilded Agelowhighhigh
1950'sFiftieshighlowlow
PresentGilded Age IIlowhighhigh

WB = well-being, OP = overproduction

So the US is headed for trouble.
 

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Welcome To The ‘Turbulent Twenties’ - NOEMA - "We predicted political upheaval in America in the 2020s. This is why it’s here and what we can do to temper it." - Jack A. Goldstone and Peter Turchin
Almost three decades ago, one of us, Jack Goldstone, published a simple model to determine a country’s vulnerability to political crisis. The model was based on how population changes shifted state, elite and popular behavior. Goldstone argued that, according to this Demographic-Structural Theory, in the 21st century, America was likely to get a populist, America-first leader who would sow a whirlwind of conflict.

Then ten years ago, the other of us, Peter Turchin, applied Goldstone’s model to U.S. history, using current data. What emerged was alarming: The U.S. was heading toward the highest level of vulnerability to political crisis seen in this country in over a hundred years. Even before Trump was elected, Turchin published his prediction that the U.S. was headed for the “Turbulent Twenties,” forecasting a period of growing instability in the United States and western Europe.
What happens?
First, faced with a surge of labor that dampens growth in wages and productivity, elites seek to take a larger portion of economic gains for themselves, driving up inequality. Second, facing greater competition for elite wealth and status, they tighten up the path to mobility to favor themselves and their progeny. ... Third, anxious to hold on to their rising fortunes, they do all they can to resist taxation of their wealth and profits, even if that means starving the government of needed revenues, leading to decaying infrastructure, declining public services and fast-rising government debts.
This leads to revolutions, and revolutions can be *very* nasty. There are often conflicts between elites who want to preserve their privileges and elites who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to improve ordinary people's well-being.

Writing a year ago, the authors speculated on likely outcomes of the then-upcoming Presidential election.
If Trump loses, he is likely to contest the outcome as a “rigged” election. But that action will again lead to massive popular protests, this time to insist that the election results be honored. If Trump again puts federal security forces in the streets, governors may ask their state troopers or even national guard to protect their citizens and defend the Constitution. Or Trump may call on his many armed civilian supporters to defend their “all time favorite president” (as he put it) against so-called “liberal tyranny.”
For two months since the election, it seemed as if Trump was going to be a much better loser than that, from his challenging the results from within the system. But on January 6 of this year, that last scenario happened.
 

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As a result, American politics has fallen into a pattern that is characteristic of many developing countries, where one portion of the elite seeks to win support from the working classes not by sharing the wealth or by expanding public services and making sacrifices to increase the common good, but by persuading the working classes that they are beset by enemies who hate them (liberal elites, minorities, illegal immigrants) and want to take away what little they have. This pattern builds polarization and distrust and is strongly associated with civil conflict, violence and democratic decline.
A good description of Trumpism.
At the same time, many liberal elites neglected or failed to remedy such problems as opiate addiction, declining social mobility, homelessness, urban decay, the collapse of unions and declining real wages, instead promising that globalization, environmental regulations and advocacy for neglected minorities would bring sufficient benefits. They thus contributed to growing distrust of government and “experts,” who were increasingly seen as corrupt or useless, thus perpetuating a cycle of deepening government dysfunction.
A good description of Clintonism, something common among centrist Democrats.
How can Americans end our current Age of Discord? What we need is a new social contract that will enable us to get past extreme polarization to find consensus, tip the shares of economic growth back toward workers and improve government funding for public health, education and infrastructure.

This sounds like commonplace leftist discourse and a weak response to such extreme conditions.
The authors then discussed Britain in the 1820's and the US in the early 1930's. In both cases, reformers worked within the system to improve conditions for ordinary people, and they were pragmatic about their reforms, abandoning what did not work very well. I must add that in both cases, reformers threatened to do chamber-packing, as it might be called. Lord Grey's response to the House of Lords's obstructionism was to threaten to pack it. Likewise, FDR's response to the Supreme Court's obstructionism was ot threaten to pack it. What body might a reformer have to pack this time around?
 

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 Cyclical theory (United States history)
FromToErasTypePSCPRcPT Cyc
17761788RevolutionLibCP
17881800Hamilton EraCon1
18001812Jefferson EraLib1
18121829Era of Good FeelingsCon1+++
18291841Jackson EraLib2CP
18411861Slaveowner DominationCon2
18611869Civil WarLib3Rc
18691901Gilded Age ICon3---
19011919Progressive EraLib4CP
19191931Roaring 20sCon4
19311947New Deal EraLib5
1947196250sCon5+++
1962197860sLib6CPRc
1978Gilded Age IICon6

  • PS = party system, a set of parties with characteristic platforms and constituencies.
  • CP = Samuel Huntington's creedal passion: "In terms of American beliefs, government is supposed to be egalitarian, participatory, open, noncoercive, and responsive to the demands of individuals and groups. Yet no government can be all these things and still remain a government."
  • Rc = race-relations upheaval
  • PT = Peter Turchin's history-cycle peak (+++) or trough (---) at the end of a period

We're still in Gilded Age II, and we're still struggling for a way out of it.
 

steve_bank

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IMO democracy in the USA has already failed. Here in Seattle city councul member who admitted wrongdoing and rants about tearing down the 'system' including elminating private property appears to have dfeated a recall election in her distict. Aparently around 50% support her.

I listened to a republican in Congress rant how when they win back the house they are going after democrats with a vengeance. He belives the DC riot was created by the FBI. Add to that sort f thing the fact that so many in the WH ans Congress appeared to have supported Trump's attempted takeover.

Democracy is not working on the dcale of the USA and its diversity and complexity.

Beyond ideologies I expect the Chinese leaders look at us and say 'no thanks'.

After V, Iraq, and Afghanistan Biden is yet again on the brink of engaging us militarily over Taiwan and Ukraine, both of which are essentially civil wars.

VP Pense made a statement that was probably based in part on racism. He said that we were more stable with the white majority. To a degree I have to agree. Today we have a constant clamor of minority grievances and no one wnats to give up any part of idenitity to a common identity.

Bang like whites is now a slur. 'Whiteness' is now offensive.

The Constitution was writen for a small agrarian population with little diversity of any kind.
 

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Kshama Sawant? Kshama Sawant maintains lead as many challenged ballots are resolved | The Seattle Times
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant was still narrowly staving off a ballot measure to recall her from office Monday, maintaining about 50.4% of the votes.

In updated results update from King County Elections, the recall effort to remove the three-term council member for a finance infraction and her involvement in 2020 racial justice protests trailed behind votes in support.
The two sides are working to resolve 436 contested ballots, but today, KS is ahead by 309 votes, her largest number so far. She was originally behind, but when more votes were counted, she came out ahead.
Ballots will be counted through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, and votes are set to be certified Friday. After that, both sides will have until Dec. 21 to request a recount, but they’ll have to foot the bill.
 
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