Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

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Kimmo
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Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Kimmo » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:09 am UTC

The title isn't a reference to recent events; I just discovered this Mark Morford bloke and was reading back through some of his stuff cause I love his writing.

This piece is from November, but I had to share : )

Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, November 10, 2010


And now, hot on the heels of our recent letter to whiny young Democrats, a loving shout-out to all those moderates and independents, confused conservatives and hard-line Repubs who went just a little more than slightly insane this past election.

To all of you who either flip-flopped your wishy-washy ideals and switched your vote from bluish to reddish this past election because Obama and the lukewarm Dems failed to solve all world problems in 700 days, or because you got yourself so emotionally riled up/mentally watered down by the sexy caveman grunts of the Tea Party that you actually bought the BS line about being "mad as hell" about nothing even remotely coherent.

Here is your grand message: You are hereby wonderfully, thoroughly screwed.

Oh darling, it's so very true. The fun-filled news is, despite all the bluster and rhetoric, thinly veiled racism and rampant Islamophobia on display, the new army of jittery, anti-everything GOP bobbleheads that you just voted into office doesn't care a single iota about you, or your haphazard values, or what you sometimes occasionally stand for. And what's more, deep down, you secretly know it.

Are you slightly offended? Are you scowling and mistrustful of the notion? I'm delighted to hear it. Also: It doesn't really matter.

You don't have to believe me. Just wait until nothing at all is done to service the Tea Party non-agenda, because it's ridiculous and impossible to service. Just wait until you note how there is no actual shrinking of government, no restoring some bogus sepia-toned idealism that never existed, no saving of your job. There is, of course, but one GOP agenda: furthering their personal stranglehold on all things powermad and avaricious.

That's not to say they won't try to tackle some issues. Boehner & Co care very much about nailing down enormous tax cuts for wealthy people, preventing education reform, gridlocking Congress at every turn, denying the fact that seven billion rapacious humans have an effect on climate change, and blocking as much newly available health care for 30 million Americans as possible. And so on.

But truly, the issues themselves don't matter. For what Boehner & Co value most is not so much making any sort of significant change in American culture, but rather, in keeping the anger, the dread, the paranoia alive.

In other words, they care most about keeping you in the lower, plebian castes all riled and blind as long as possible. This way, power lies. This way we find war and military expenditure and all manner of misprision, torture, environmental rape, WMD and homophobia, you name it. Just ask Karl Rove. Hey, it's a platform. It worked for Dubya. Well, sort of.

Perhaps you secretly agree with this assessment, understanding that the Repubs are indeed mostly shmucks, but at least they're shmucks fighting in your corner. Maybe you think the Dems are no better, and it's all a matter of lesser-of-two-evils, a needful balancing of power, that the nation's new rightward tilt serves Obama right for -- what was it again? "Overreaching"? For daring to accomplish in two short years more than any president in six decades? Right.

One thing's certain: the populace remains angry and scared about, well, what we've always been angry and scared about: jobs, a massive deficit, war and terrorism, taxes and drugs, gangs and goons, evil bumps in the night.

But these days, one source of anger trumps all others. We are perhaps most furious about our dysfunctional political system, one that cherishes acrimony over cohesion, backstabbing over unity, bickering over a calm and respectful, unified vision. (Which is a little strange, considering how much Pelosi and the Dems accomplished in two years. It might have been acerbic, but the output was actually sort of stunning. But never mind that now).

Are both parties to blame for this hateful, acerbic tone? Are they equally responsible for the ongoing divisiveness? Sure. To some degree. Then again, no. Not really. Not by a long shot.

Let's be perfectly clear: The modern Republican party has one masterful, godlike skill unmatched by any other org in this century: Its leaders are geniuses at deceit, at leading throngs of blind believers into rabbit holes of war and fear and factual inaccuracy, often using an aggressively dumbed-down form of Christianity as a trump card. Sexual dread, mistrust of youth, of women, of gays, foreigners, of the ever-changing cultural landscape? It's in the DNA. And the Tea Party chugged it like Coors-flavored heroin.

And the Dems? The Dems wish they could be that masterful. Progressives are just terribly weak in fearmongering. There is something about the liberal spirit that values independent thought and self-determination, that defies screaming eye-glazed megachurch groupthink dread. This makes it tough to hold power for very long. It's so much easier to rally around sameness, conformity, institution, fear of the Other. Right, Karl?

Proof? Look no further than the GOP's leaders and mouthpieces: Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, O'Reilly and Fox News and even newly minted Senate demigod Mitch McConnell, et al. There are almost no liberal equivalents to these professional liars, warmongers, kingmakers and overlords. In the category of media and message manipulation, the libs have proven disastrous.

I take it back. Not all red-leaning voters this election are hereby screwed. If you're tremendously wealthy and/or run a very large corporation, you're feeling damn good right about now. Wall Street is giddy like Charlie Sheen in a Bangkok brothel, eager for more deregulation, bigger bonuses, less oversight. The CEOs of every oil company in the world are positively orgasmic knowing that their GOP breathren will now asphyxiate all attempts at new environmental legislation and regulation. And so on.

But if you are a lower to middle-class Republican, Tea Partier or flip-flopping indie voter, you are now in the most delightfully ironic position of all -- you think you just voted yourself more voice, when in fact you voted for far less. You think yourself a lion; you're actually the meat. You actually just voted yourself an even lower position on the food chain. Congratulations.

But don't worry. There is a bright spot ahead. 2012 is nigh, and a dramatic new vote simmers and looms, as it always does. Soon enough, it will shift and mutate all over again, and we can kickstart the eternal debate once more. Something to look forward to, no?


He has a viciously incisive turn of phrase : )

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Me321 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:18 am UTC

Good one, another example of people who should not be writing. thanks for the laugh.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:38 am UTC

Guy writes story using his english degree, talks about how he doesn't like the tea party and america is doomed because people voted for him. I believe there are thousands of blogs that can do this sort of thing.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Korrente » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:39 am UTC

I am now riled up and fearful of conservatives.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:40 am UTC

Holy shit, that was insanely verbally abusive.

The only reason why I don't give him an awesome award is because he talks about sound political discouse while insulting the political right and everyone who shares those values.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:41 am UTC

Kimmo wrote:He has a viciously incisive turn of phrase : )
Invective is easy. Insight is hard.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:10 am UTC

Cool story, bro
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby iChef » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:12 am UTC

I face-palmed so hard I think I hit the inside of my skull. This sounds kinda like my stoner college roommate who would go on and on about how the right-wing, Christian, facist, Zionist, Illumanati, corporate, military conspiracy is trying to hold us down, man. Although a point that he kind of skirts around is the fact that both parties are failing. There are a few Democrats with some good ideas, there are a few Republicans with some good ideas, but very few of them are getting anything done. I would like to see a more moderate conservative party rise up and knock the republicans out of the picture as has happened to other dominant parties in the past. Something more like Nelson Rockefeller envisioned for the Republicans back when he got booed for being pro-civil rights in the early 60's at the republican national convention in San Fransisco. Nixon all but killed the moderate side of the party (many people forget how liberal Nixon was) and let loose Barry Goldwater and Reagan to take control of the party up to the present day.
Early on I thought the Tea Party movement might turn into a moderate conservative party.... but, yeah no such luck. I think a new party will have t be a top down organization more than bottom up or you are just asking some charismatic idiot to turn it into his fan club *cough* Glenn Beck */cough*
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:13 am UTC

I thought it mildly funny since it happens to align with my political leanings at the moment. But it's nothing particularly new.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
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a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby TheAmazingRando » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:31 am UTC

I disagree with the American right wing as much as the next guy (and, probably this guy), but this article is bullshit. Emotional, hyperbole- and generalization-ridden, fact-deficient tirades are the lowest form of discourse. I find it ironic that the author blames the right-wing for the hateful tone of political discourse, while lambasting them a manner that perfectly characterizes exactly what he's blaming them for.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:38 am UTC

iChef wrote:I face-palmed so hard I think I hit the inside of my skull. This sounds kinda like my stoner college roommate who would go on and on about how the right-wing, Christian, facist, Zionist, Illumanati, corporate, military conspiracy is trying to hold us down, man. Although a point that he kind of skirts around is the fact that both parties are failing. There are a few Democrats with some good ideas, there are a few Republicans with some good ideas, but very few of them are getting anything done. I would like to see a more moderate conservative party rise up and knock the republicans out of the picture as has happened to other dominant parties in the past. Something more like Nelson Rockefeller envisioned for the Republicans back when he got booed for being pro-civil rights in the early 60's at the republican national convention in San Fransisco. Nixon all but killed the moderate side of the party (many people forget how liberal Nixon was) and let loose Barry Goldwater and Reagan to take control of the party up to the present day.
Early on I thought the Tea Party movement might turn into a moderate conservative party.... but, yeah no such luck. I think a new party will have t be a top down organization more than bottom up or you are just asking some charismatic idiot to turn it into his fan club *cough* Glenn Beck */cough*


By moderate conservative party, do you mean more like the libertarian party or something else?
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:52 am UTC

Angry guy writes in blog about people he doesn't like. News at 11...

Anyway, unless the economy recovers, the Dems will most likely lose the Senate in 2012 (and more, if the Repubs can put someone up against Obama). There is a very cruel justice in politics, that punishes you for your association rather than any personal accomplishments. In 2006, when public disgust over the Iraq war (among other things) cost the Republicans dearly, one of the Republicans to get booted was Senator Lincoln Chafee, the only Republican to vote against the war. While Hillary, who voted for the war, kept her seat. In 2010, Russ Feingold lost his seat for being a Dem, despite probably being the least partisan Senator in existence.

If you want to know why American politics are so partisan, that's why. If you are partisan, your faction will assist you, if you aren't, you'll get no extra support from the voters.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:58 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Angry guy writes in blog about people he doesn't like. News at 11...

Anyway, unless the economy recovers, the Dems will most likely lose the Senate in 2012 (and more, if the Repubs can put someone up against Obama). There is a very cruel justice in politics, that punishes you for your association rather than any personal accomplishments. In 2006, when public disgust over the Iraq war (among other things) cost the Republicans dearly, one of the Republicans to get booted was Senator Lincoln Chafee, the only Republican to vote against the war. While Hillary, who voted for the war, kept her seat. In 2010, Russ Feingold lost his seat for being a Dem, despite probably being the least partisan Senator in existence.

If you want to know why American politics are so partisan, that's why. If you are partisan, your faction will assist you, if you aren't, you'll get no extra support from the voters.


Small add on, I believe there its frequent for the moderate senators to be from districts that tend to be the opposite party as them. For instance, a moderate republican(scott brown perhaps) might have only made it to congress because they ran a moderate platform in a liberal area. It makes sense that those would be the districts where the party in power would lose seats in an election where they are unpopular.

(insert rant about preferential voting)
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:25 am UTC

Isn't there a form letter for this sort of thing at this point? I mean, it's not like things have really changed since Reagan.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby LtNOWIS » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

Linking to a site highlighting Obama's accomplishments directly undercuts the message. The whole point of the Tea Party is that they are wholly against the "stunning" changes the Obama administration has implemented.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Thesh » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:34 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:Linking to a site highlighting Obama's accomplishments directly undercuts the message. The whole point of the Tea Party is that they are wholly against the "stunning" changes the Obama administration has implemented.


The whole point behind the tea party is that government has been growing too large, and the main problem they were focused on was the growing national debt. They were fed up with republicans and democrats. Unfortunately, because they were made up mostly of conservatives, the insanely hardcore conservatives jumped on and caused the party to lose focus. The voices of reason in the party grew quieter and quieter, at least compared to the voices of the insane.

What we should be getting out of the tea party is that we need more than just two parties to represent the views of the American people. The democrats are authoritarian right, the republicans are authoritarian slightly-further-right. Then you have the tea party coming in libertarian right. However, now the religious right overwhelms the tea party bandwagon and makes them slightly more right and slightly more authoritarian than republicans.

The fact is that we have socialists, communists, fascists, socialist libertarians, conservative libertarians, etc. and they don't get spoken for in the government. I believe this is the root of a lot of political unrest in this country. The solution is to choose a system of government that allows everyone to be represented, especially in the legislative branch. The more I research, the more I like Single Transferable Vote, because it allows proportional representation while still allowing you to vote for candidates rather than parties.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:34 pm UTC

The problem with multi-party system is that it's unstable. Inevitably, one or two of the few parties would be more popular than the rest, and so supporters of parties that are slightly different would jump on the winning team, forming a big tent party. This party leads to an alliance formed by the rest of the political spectrum in order to survive, which leads to another big tent party. The parties that would not join either side simply have too little influence to matter. Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

Democracy? Hardly. It's an equilibrium of the worst possible voting system.

Which, unfortunately, we have. Check out range voting, one of many systems under which multiple parties can flourish.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jan 17, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote: Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.

That's only true for district systems. Many, if not most democracies have some form of proportional representation, and they usually show no tendency towards two parties at all.

Thesh wrote:The fact is that we have socialists, communists, fascists, socialist libertarians, conservative libertarians, etc. and they don't get spoken for in the government. I believe this is the root of a lot of political unrest in this country.

I am pretty sure that is not the source. With more parties, unrest is simply more often inter-party than intra-party, also because politicians can more credibly threaten to split off and form a new party. If having parties for everyone acted as a damper on unrest, Italy would be a paradise of political stability.

In the end, politics is always about over-constrained problems, where different opinions and desires have to be formed into a limited set of actions. You shouldn't really expect too much stability, or satisfaction with the outcomes.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:00 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
PeterCai wrote: Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.

That's only, perhaps, true for district systems. Many, if not most democracies have some form of proportional representation, and they usually show no tendency towards two parties at all.


For example, Canada recently became a two-party system with one big tent conservative party and an alliance (though an unstable one) of the politically left; UK is moving toward a two-party system with one conservative big tent and two liberal parties, where labour is actively absorbing platforms from lib dem; Australia is a two-party system since 1944, etc etc. Actually, it's hard to come up with a healthy multi-party democracy. France, I guess?

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:05 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:
Zamfir wrote:
PeterCai wrote: Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.

That's only, perhaps, true for district systems. Many, if not most democracies have some form of proportional representation, and they usually show no tendency towards two parties at all.


For example, Canada recently became a two-party system with one big tent conservative party and an alliance (though an unstable one) of the politically left; UK is moving toward a two-party system with one conservative big tent and two liberal parties, where labour is actively absorbing platforms from lib dem; Australia is a two-party system since 1944, etc etc. Actually, it's hard to come up with a healthy multi-party democracy. France, I guess?

No, the thing is that you are looking at former colonies of England, who all took England's district system as example for their own system. But outside of the English-speaking world, the system is much rarer. France is actually rather close to the English system, including something resembling the dynamics of a two party system. Ireland and Spain have something in between, with a result nearer that of proportional representation.

Edit: Wiki has a list of countries with currently a coalition government: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_coalition_governments

Some of the countries on the list have a roughly two-party system with accidental deviations leading to coalitions, like the UK. But most have a tradition of multi-party governments, and definitely of multi-party parliaments.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:No, the thing is that you are looking at former colonies of England, who all took England's district system as example for their own system. But outside of the English-speaking world, the system is much rarer. France is actually rather close to the English system, including something resembling the dynamics of a two party system. Ireland and Spain have something in between, with a result nearer that of proportional representation.

Edit: Wiki has a list of countries with currently a coalition government: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_coalition_governments

Some of the countries on the list have a roughly two-party system with accidental deviations leading to coalitions, like the UK. But most have a tradition of multi-party governments, and definitely of multi-party parliaments.


OK, after doing more research, I am convinced.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Vellyr » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:16 pm UTC

I seem to remember the OP posting a similar smug, substanceless left-wing propaganda article a while back...It's great that this guy tells you exactly what you want to hear Kimmo, but only reading viewpoints you agree with isn't going to help you develop your ideology.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Hawknc » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:53 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:
Zamfir wrote:
PeterCai wrote: Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.

That's only, perhaps, true for district systems. Many, if not most democracies have some form of proportional representation, and they usually show no tendency towards two parties at all.


For example, Canada recently became a two-party system with one big tent conservative party and an alliance (though an unstable one) of the politically left; UK is moving toward a two-party system with one conservative big tent and two liberal parties, where labour is actively absorbing platforms from lib dem; Australia is a two-party system since 1944, etc etc. Actually, it's hard to come up with a healthy multi-party democracy. France, I guess?

Australia is not a two-party system. There are at least four parties that have significant influence in parliament. The Labor Party currently holds a minority government with the Greens and some independent senators, while the rest of the seats are held by a coalition between the Liberals and the Nationals. This is because we have a voting system that doesn't consider your vote wasted if you vote for someone other than the Big Red Party or the Big Blue Party.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Jessica » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:02 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:
Zamfir wrote:
PeterCai wrote: Two-party system is sort of the equilibrium of democracy, in my opinion.
That's only, perhaps, true for district systems. Many, if not most democracies have some form of proportional representation, and they usually show no tendency towards two parties at all.
For example, Canada recently became a two-party system with one big tent conservative party and an alliance (though an unstable one) of the politically left;
Wait, what? Canada isn't a 2 party system at all. In fact there are 4 parties in our Parliament right now.
Image
Those parties, while they often work together, aren't the same, and don't have 1 voice.

Coalition and alliances do not one party make.

Then there's the provinces which have their own parties and politics.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:10 pm UTC

Yes, I realized that my views do not reflect reality.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Jessica » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:12 pm UTC

Oh, sorry about that. I didn't read the post where you said that. My mistake :)
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby RockoTDF » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
By moderate conservative party, do you mean more like the libertarian party or something else?


I wouldn't consider the Libertarian party "moderate" at all. They do score points for keeping government out of our personal lives (ie the bedroom, gay marriage, etc) and drug legalization, IIRC.

mmmcannibalism wrote:Guy writes story using his english degree, talks about how he doesn't like the tea party and america is doomed because people voted for him. I believe there are thousands of blogs that can do this sort of thing.


A big problem with our education system is that English classes from high school on up teach students how to argue and not how to find and use facts. You can have a totally logical argument that is completely worthless if your facts are absent. We base debates on who has the better "argument" (ie rhetorical skills) and not who has the better facts.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Thesh » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:03 pm UTC

Yeah, the libertarian party takes libertarianism to the point of minarchism. While I would love to live in a minarchist society if it could work, I just don't believe that's realistic. I wish there was party that had some sort of middle ground. There needs to be some regulations on businesses (e.g. antitrust laws, pollution regulations), but at the same time I believe that personal freedoms should be maximized (generally speaking, no victim, no crime).
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby M.C. » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:05 pm UTC

Vellyr wrote:I seem to remember the OP posting a similar smug, substanceless left-wing propaganda article a while back...It's great that this guy tells you exactly what you want to hear Kimmo, but only reading viewpoints you agree with isn't going to help you develop your ideology.


That's the word I was looking for! Smug!

This article does make some valid points, but they are so layered in 'fuck you's to the Tea Party it's almost as unpalatable as Sarah Palin's "hopey-changey stuff" comment.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Yeah, the libertarian party takes libertarianism to the point of minarchism.
It's almost like they... believe in their positions! Shocking.

I do agree with you that I am not impressed with the take most libertarians have on pollution. Most of the ones I've talked to about it are either far too loose in what they're willing to allow or far too tight (Rothbard, for example, once argued for a zero tolerance policy for pollution). That said, advocation for pollution markets (i.e. carbon credits) or at least taxes as a better way to go about pollution control is pretty common, and that's overall sensible. (Many people have the opinion that 'the courts' could solve pollution as a whole, which misses out on massive information cost problems.)
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Dauric » Mon Jan 17, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Thesh wrote:Yeah, the libertarian party takes libertarianism to the point of minarchism.
It's almost like they... believe in their positions! Shocking.)


There's a difference between believing in their positions, and believing in their dogma.

On one hand are the people who have realistic expectations and can see a place for government payment of services like emergency and transportation, that a federal or even a confederate government has to have a sensible domestic policy as well as a good foreign policy (even if the domestic policy only serves to unite the states in the overall foreign policy), and generally understand they're not the only ones at the table and will have to pick their battles.

The other hand are the people who simply equate anything government-run to 'bad' and anything that's not foreign policy (and in some cases things that are foreign policy) should be handled by individuals (state and local governance can take a flying leap of a tall cliff too), there should be no taxation of any kind (the military budget obviously comes from picking money-trees) and generally covers the gamut of unreasoning adherence to a set of ideals without any sensible means to make it actually work or any willingness to compromise with people that disagree with them.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:08 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:A big problem with our education system is that English classes from high school on up teach students how to argue and not how to find and use facts. You can have a totally logical argument that is completely worthless if your facts are absent. We base debates on who has the better "argument" (ie rhetorical skills) and not who has the better facts.

This has not been my experience at all, and it's not the first time this talking point of yours has left people unconvinced. Do you have any, uhh, facts to stand behind it?
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Vaniver » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:40 am UTC

Dauric wrote:On one hand are the people who have realistic expectations and can see a place for government payment of services like emergency and transportation, that a federal or even a confederate government has to have a sensible domestic policy as well as a good foreign policy (even if the domestic policy only serves to unite the states in the overall foreign policy), and generally understand they're not the only ones at the table and will have to pick their battles.
Those typically identify as minarchists (for example, me). The second kind you mention typically identify as anarchists. It struck me as peculiar to complain that some libertarians go so far as being moderate.
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Kimmo » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:53 am UTC

Vellyr wrote:I seem to remember the OP posting a similar smug, substanceless left-wing propaganda article a while back...It's great that this guy tells you exactly what you want to hear Kimmo, but only reading viewpoints you agree with isn't going to help you develop your ideology.

I read lots of stuff. Admittedly, not a great deal of it is from vastly divergent viewpoints from mine, but that's because it usually just inspires the creation of a lot of free radicals... although often enough I read something that crinkles my brow and provokes some tentative re-assessment.

But that's not the kind of infectious, punching-the-air, gleeful aha feeling I get from coming across stuff like this that's been waiting too long to be said:

Are both parties to blame for this hateful, acerbic tone? Are they equally responsible for the ongoing divisiveness? Sure. To some degree. Then again, no. Not really. Not by a long shot.

Let's be perfectly clear: The modern Republican party has one masterful, godlike skill unmatched by any other org in this century: Its leaders are geniuses at deceit, at leading throngs of blind believers into rabbit holes of war and fear and factual inaccuracy, often using an aggressively dumbed-down form of Christianity as a trump card. Sexual dread, mistrust of youth, of women, of gays, foreigners, of the ever-changing cultural landscape? It's in the DNA. And the Tea Party chugged it like Coors-flavored heroin.

And the Dems? The Dems wish they could be that masterful. Progressives are just terribly weak in fearmongering. There is something about the liberal spirit that values independent thought and self-determination, that defies screaming eye-glazed megachurch groupthink dread. This makes it tough to hold power for very long. It's so much easier to rally around sameness, conformity, institution, fear of the Other.


Now on the face of it, that doesn't seem like a hugely original point... but given its obvious validity and the scope for making it repeatedly and passionately enough to actually make a difference, it strikes me as odd that it should seem so fresh and unsaid.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:02 am UTC

Kimmo wrote:
Are both parties to blame for this hateful, acerbic tone? Are they equally responsible for the ongoing divisiveness? Sure. To some degree. Then again, no. Not really. Not by a long shot.

Let's be perfectly clear: The modern Republican party has one masterful, godlike skill unmatched by any other org in this century: Its leaders are geniuses at deceit, at leading throngs of blind believers into rabbit holes of war and fear and factual inaccuracy, often using an aggressively dumbed-down form of Christianity as a trump card. Sexual dread, mistrust of youth, of women, of gays, foreigners, of the ever-changing cultural landscape? It's in the DNA. And the Tea Party chugged it like Coors-flavored heroin.

And the Dems? The Dems wish they could be that masterful. Progressives are just terribly weak in fearmongering. There is something about the liberal spirit that values independent thought and self-determination, that defies screaming eye-glazed megachurch groupthink dread. This makes it tough to hold power for very long. It's so much easier to rally around sameness, conformity, institution, fear of the Other.


Now on the face of it, that doesn't seem like a hugely original point... but given its obvious validity and the scope for making it repeatedly and passionately enough to actually make a difference, it strikes me as odd that it should seem so fresh and unsaid.

Not really fresh or unsaid. Joe Bageant pretty much covered the same thing years ago and with more depth. And if you're goal is to actually try to ever sway the working class to your side, inferring that they're poor-ass dipshits that aren't worth their own existence isn't going to do much for your cause and only help the conservatives with their brand of manipulation.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:15 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:A big problem with our education system is that English classes from high school on up teach students how to argue and not how to find and use facts. You can have a totally logical argument that is completely worthless if your facts are absent. We base debates on who has the better "argument" (ie rhetorical skills) and not who has the better facts.

This has not been my experience at all, and it's not the first time this talking point of yours has left people unconvinced. Do you have any, uhh, facts to stand behind it?


In that thread I was arguing against literary interpretations of human behavior, in favor of ones backed by empirical evidence. In this thread, I am arguing that English courses teach argument techniques (rhetoric) but lack solid grounding in fact finding, source checking, empirical evidence etc. Both arguments say that empirical evidence is good, but attack different things. I would normally say that you misunderstood either that thread or what I am saying here, but based on your tone I'll say that you are either flamebaiting or making a strawman.

I'm basing this on the fact that the AP composition exam, parts of the SAT (at least when I took it) and the GRE writing section are built upon rhetorical analysis**. Granted, the last two are standardized tests (so is the first, but one normally prepares an entire year for that test in coursework) but show what skills are considered the most valuable when evaluating a student for college or grad school. Just because you have a "works cited" section or whatever at the end of your paper does not mean you looked at anything empirical, or that said sources are really understood by the author.

That and so far in my first two years of teaching/TAing it is pretty obvious that students are trained to write this way. Forgive me if that is anecdotal, but I think hundreds of papers represent at least a few data points.

I'll also add that there is a large difference in how one is taught to write and argue as a scientist, and one that I think has an edge because it is more about the facts than the words. So, if the post stuck at the top of the thread was written by someone writing this way, you'd probably have less pathos and more statistics about the things that the GOP are doing (percentage of congresspeople against gay marriage in each party, etc). Additionally, hyperbolic comparisons like "Charlie Sheen in a brothel" would probably be absent.

**forgive me for being US-centric
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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:32 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:A big problem with our education system is that English classes from high school on up teach students how to argue and not how to find and use facts. You can have a totally logical argument that is completely worthless if your facts are absent. We base debates on who has the better "argument" (ie rhetorical skills) and not who has the better facts.

This has not been my experience at all, and it's not the first time this talking point of yours has left people unconvinced. Do you have any, uhh, facts to stand behind it?


In that thread I was arguing against literary interpretations of human behavior, in favor of ones backed by empirical evidence. In this thread, I am arguing that English courses teach argument techniques (rhetoric) but lack solid grounding in fact finding, source checking, empirical evidence etc. Both arguments say that empirical evidence is good, but attack different things. I would normally say that you misunderstood either that thread or what I am saying here, but based on your tone I'll say that you are either flamebaiting or making a strawman.

I'm basing this on the fact that the AP composition exam, parts of the SAT (at least when I took it) and the GRE writing section are built upon rhetorical analysis**. Granted, the last two are standardized tests (so is the first, but one normally prepares an entire year for that test in coursework) but show what skills are considered the most valuable when evaluating a student for college or grad school. Just because you have a "works cited" section or whatever at the end of your paper does not mean you looked at anything empirical, or that said sources are really understood by the author.

That and so far in my first two years of teaching/TAing it is pretty obvious that students are trained to write this way. Forgive me if that is anecdotal, but I think hundreds of papers represent at least a few data points.

I'll also add that there is a large difference in how one is taught to write and argue as a scientist, and one that I think has an edge because it is more about the facts than the words. So, if the post stuck at the top of the thread was written by someone writing this way, you'd probably have less pathos and more statistics about the things that the GOP are doing (percentage of congresspeople against gay marriage in each party, etc). Additionally, hyperbolic comparisons like "Charlie Sheen in a brothel" would probably be absent.

**forgive me for being US-centric

Well, the real problem is that you should treat it like a composition course and not a lit course. And the bigger issue is that a decent chunk of the Republican base couldn't give two shits to fact check anything and don't have the time or resources even if they wanted to. Sure, teaching college students proper methods of argument is great and all, but they're not really the problem. The rhetoric out of the right is almost all emotional appeal aimed at the working class. It is fact because Limbaugh, Palin, and Beck said so. The issue isn't argument, it's ethics and listening to more than one point of view. That debates gone all the way back to Greece anyways.

For the most part, the only bit of this essay that people in the tea party are likely to see is the vitriolic parts aimed at dehumanizing them when some idol of the right writes an essay on how the left disparages them.

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby Kimmo » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:39 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Not really fresh or unsaid. Joe Bageant pretty much covered the same thing years ago and with more depth. And if you're goal is to actually try to ever sway the working class to your side, inferring that they're poor-ass dipshits that aren't worth their own existence isn't going to do much for your cause and only help the conservatives with their brand of manipulation.

Too fresh and unsaid, regardless.

Sure, it's hard to imagine any of this zombie army heeding a word of it, but at the very least such rants stand a chance of mobilising some sentiment on the other side of the fence... some competition for the relentless propaganda spewing from right-wing pundits daily would be healthy.

And who knows, maybe someone exists who's thoughtful and empathetic enough to spin this message into something palatable enough for those who need to hear it most to swallow...

Wait a sec, what am I saying. These are the folks who actively strive to wedge the crap out of everything and think God's on their side... seriously, all is lost.

It's too late; these turkeys have enough momentum to drag the US into unadulterated, idiocratic barbarism.

Due process is already dead... how come Huckabee hasn't been arrested for inciting Assange's assassination?

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Re: Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

Postby RockoTDF » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:14 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Well, the real problem is that you should treat it like a composition course and not a lit course. And the bigger issue is that a decent chunk of the Republican base couldn't give two shits to fact check anything and don't have the time or resources even if they wanted to. Sure, teaching college students proper methods of argument is great and all, but they're not really the problem. The rhetoric out of the right is almost all emotional appeal aimed at the working class. It is fact because Limbaugh, Palin, and Beck said so. The issue isn't argument, it's ethics and listening to more than one point of view. That debates gone all the way back to Greece anyways.

For the most part, the only bit of this essay that people in the tea party are likely to see is the vitriolic parts aimed at dehumanizing them when some idol of the right writes an essay on how the left disparages them.


Treat what like a composition course?

I got on this topic because someone said something like "the author sounds like he just got an English degree and...." as more of a side conversation.

But, I agree with the problems you point in general.
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