Republican Thread

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krazykate
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Republican Thread

Postby krazykate » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

I'm going to toe the flame-war line again and hopefully get a bit of enlightenment. So far Obama is the first president of the united states in my lifetime that I feel that I can fully trust. I don't watch the news (unless you count checking Digg and the occasional Daily Show), but whenever I listen to a speech of his or hear a story about what he's doing, it sounds like he is a calm, intelligent, and highly motivated leader who wants to get things done. So I don't understand it when the press covers protests and town-hall meetings, and republican pundits rail against every action the president takes.

While I'm sure a lot of these people that oppose obama are being played up by the media because news is probably scarce and news sources love conflict, but the fact that Glenn Beck made it to the front page of this week's Time magazine and the fact that shouting at the president earned Joe Wilson an extra million dollars in campaign contributions make me think that there's a large portion of the population I'm not hearing from.

Anyone here vote for McCain? listen to O'Reilly? Skeptical of Obama? Please post here so people like me can get a chance to hear from the other side in terms we can understand.

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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby Surgery » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:29 am UTC

krazykate wrote:I don't watch the news (unless you count checking Digg and the occasional Daily Show), but whenever I listen to a speech of his or hear a story about what he's doing, it sounds like he is a calm, intelligent, and highly motivated leader who wants to get things don.
You know, just about every president and leader is going to sound calm, intelligent and highly motivated when he's giving a speech. All leaders want to get things done, it's what exactly they want to get done that we have to worry about. You should watch more news that isn't social networking sites or satire shows (and I don't mean this personally, everyone should do so, myself included). Just about every news agency is going to be biased unfortunately, so when I want to get information and make my own opinion about something I like to make the rounds of The Guardian, Fox News, CNN and Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP) and maybe other places that would be more specific to issue at hand.

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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby scrovak » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:33 am UTC

Surgery wrote:Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP)


Then why not just read the AP?
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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby Surgery » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:37 am UTC

scrovak wrote:
Surgery wrote:Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP)


Then why not just read the AP?
I wasn't actually aware there was a way to directly read the AP, I thought you had to get it through redistributors.

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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby Lord Aurora » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:39 am UTC

scrovak wrote:
Surgery wrote:Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP)


Then why not just read the AP?
Because the AP site is kinda shitty compared to all of the other sites. My favorite is Reuters, although they do seem to focus a bit heavily on business news.
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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby scrovak » Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:05 am UTC

Surgery wrote:
scrovak wrote:
Surgery wrote:Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP)


Then why not just read the AP?
I wasn't actually aware there was a way to directly read the AP, I thought you had to get it through redistributors.

Then have I got some good news for you!

http://www.associatedpress.com/
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Hammer » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:27 am UTC

Safespace tag removed. This is not an appropriate use of that tag.

Please try to respect the reason why the OP used it though and see if we can avoid simply screaming "HURRRR! EVIL CONSERVATIVES! and HURR! DIRTY LIBERALS! at each other. Thanks.
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Velict » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:30 am UTC

I'm a registered Republican. I voted for McCain, and oppose a lot of Obama's domestic policy. Something important to note, however, is that I fall into the fiscally conservative wing of the Republican party, not the currently-dominant neoconservative wing. I can't do much to defend neoconservative views like big government, opposition to gay marriage, or interventionist military policy. I also don't really care much for Fox News, Limbaugh, or the rest of the conventional Republican media at all; they overwhelmingly support neoconservative views. More of an Economist, National Review, and William F. Buckley guy myself.

There's no doubt that Obama is an intelligent, capable, and collected man who is genuinely interested in helping America. I just disagree with him on how America could best be helped.

I'm very heavily focused on economic and fiscal policy, and I doubt that Obama is beneficial for even small business owners (much less the folks from corporations like AIG or Sachs). America is where it is because of our economic strength, and my political views are focused on accomplishing what I believe will maintain our strong growth rates and raise our standard of living. I don't oppose the welfare state in its entirety, but I am inclined to believe that America is best served by rapid economic growth than attempting economic equality. It's an equality of opportunity vs equality of outcome thing.

So far as health care is concerned: essentially, I think that a universal health care system is undesirable. It would cost an incredible amount of money, likely increase the cost of health care, and drag down the American economy. I also think that Obama vastly understates the costs of his program (and costs are something he likes to glance over entirely) and similarly overstates the money to be saved by what reforms he proposes. Instead, I would propose a means-tested voucher system where families and individuals who are in poverty and cannot afford health care are given the means to purchase a health care plan. I would also support liberalizing the health care system wherever possible, such as eliminating state boundary limitations.

And yes, a lot of the protests by conservatives against health care are quite stupid. The Republican party has a massive problem with ignorant bible-thumpers and neoconservatives at the moment.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:16 am UTC

Some questions:

Velict wrote:America is where it is because of our economic strength

What do you mean by where America "is"? I have trouble parsing that in terms other than economic strength, which makes it rather tautological. Do you see social problems (such as unequal access to health care) as casualties of our economic success — that is, are they part of where we "are"? Do you see the recent economic troubles as the result of flaws in our present economic policies, or simply a regular, occasional occurrence in a well-run economy?

Velict wrote:I would propose a means-tested voucher system where families and individuals who are in poverty and cannot afford health care are given the means to purchase a health care plan.

Wouldn't this also be a universal health care plan?
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Velict » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:01 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:What do you mean by where America "is"? I have trouble parsing that in terms other than economic strength, which makes it rather tautological.


I am referring to America's status as the dominant geopolitical and economic actor in the world today (the former likely being derived the latter).

Do you see social problems (such as unequal access to health care) as casualties of our economic success — that is, are they part of where we "are"?


Accesss to health care is directly a result of economic inequality, which itself is unfortunately a given in a free market economy. I do not advocate a free market economy for this reason; I like having enough of a welfare state to roughly equalize equality of opportunity. Other social problems are not necessarily the result of economic forces.

Do you see the recent economic troubles as the result of flaws in our present economic policies, or simply a regular, occasional occurrence in a well-run economy?


It's essentially both.Boom and bust cycles naturally occur in free market economies, and it is the task of government to minimize the effect of these cycles. It's probably impossible to completely eliminate them, but proper regulation can go a long way. The causes of our recent economic crisis are numerous, but government policy is certainly part of the problem. Greenspan kept interest rates too low for most of the last decade, which led to too many people and firms taking on too much debt, which led a speculative bubble, which led to the market crashing. The government was also guilty of relaxing too much regulation in recent years.

Wouldn't this also be a universal health care plan?


By universal, I mean an entitlement system.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:56 pm UTC

Velict wrote:And yes, a lot of the protests by conservatives against health care are quite stupid. The Republican party has a massive problem with ignorant bible-thumpers and neoconservatives at the moment.
I appreciate you saying this; one of my big problems with a lot of Republicans - or conservatives in general - has been their unwillingness to point out that, yeah, the rampant social conservatism that's infected their party is dragging them the hell down. I understand it's frustrating for every conversation about these sort of things having to start out with you distancing yourself from the crazies in your party of choice, though1.
Velict wrote:Accesss to health care is directly a result of economic inequality, which itself is unfortunately a given in a free market economy. I do not advocate a free market economy for this reason; I like having enough of a welfare state to roughly equalize equality of opportunity. Other social problems are not necessarily the result of economic forces.
In part, definitely--but I think it's unfair not to also mention that it's a direct result of your currently existing level of health, too. Obviously, those who are richer will be healthier to begin with--but one of the biggest problems with our current health system is that those with pre-existing conditions or who are otherwise at high risk cannot get coverage. Offering vouchers works for families if they're healthy and the insurance company is willing to cover them for an affordable cost - but what if the father has a heart condition? What if the mother's family has a history of horribly expensive brain cancer? What if the insurance company decides it's not cost-effective to cover this family? Are vouchers really going to be enough to cover that gap?

Also, I beg your pardon--I'm by no means well versed in matters of economics--but as I understand it, when the government steps in and gives customers a bundle of imaginary money to buy a service from a business, wouldn't that business take this opportunity to raise their rates, accelerating the problem? I mean, I'm no business wiz, but if I'm selling a big box labeled 'Need-This-To-Live', and I just found out all my customers just got five dollars from the government that can only be used to buy my big box of 'Need-This-To-Live'... I'm hiking my rates up by five dollars. That'd be the smart business move, wouldn't it?
krazykate wrote:Anyone here vote for McCain? listen to O'Reilly? Skeptical of Obama? Please post here so people like me can get a chance to hear from the other side in terms we can understand.
I just wanted to point out: I am skeptical as all fuck about Obama, but generally align myself with the liberal camp (social liberalism, anyway). His position has always been one of compromise - and I haven't been happy with a lot of the compromises he's made - some of his compromises have struck me as combining the disadvantages of both solutions and the advantages of neither. Mostly though, I supported the fuck out of him once McCain picked Palin as a running mate.

I don't think that a lot of Obama's supporters are crazy-thrilled with him. I'm just guessing here, but if we were to see a cut of the demographics, I'd expect a very substantial portion of his votes came from the 'Well-He's-Not-McCain' camp.

1 Democrats don't seem to face the same challenge - every discussion about Democrats doesn't have to start out with a Democrat distancing themselves from crazyheads who compare Bush to Hitler, for instance. It seems there's a double standard, where crazy Republicans are seen as mainstream Republicans, and crazy Democrats are seen as fringe. This might actually be fair, however - Republicans have a lot more party solidarity than Democrats, so there's an expectation that the Republicans are more 'responsible' for what their members are saying than the Democrats - because they have a greater degree of authority over each other.

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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby Ralith The Third » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:32 pm UTC

Surgery wrote:
krazykate wrote:I don't watch the news (unless you count checking Digg and the occasional Daily Show), but whenever I listen to a speech of his or hear a story about what he's doing, it sounds like he is a calm, intelligent, and highly motivated leader who wants to get things don.
You know, just about every president and leader is going to sound calm, intelligent and highly motivated when he's giving a speech. All leaders want to get things done, it's what exactly they want to get done that we have to worry about. You should watch more news that isn't social networking sites or satire shows (and I don't mean this personally, everyone should do so, myself included). Just about every news agency is going to be biased unfortunately, so when I want to get information and make my own opinion about something I like to make the rounds of The Guardian, Fox News, CNN and Yahoo! News (because they just reprint stuff directly from the AP) and maybe other places that would be more specific to issue at hand.

Yeah. Also, if you listen to one side's talk show hosts, you should listen to the other sides. This is why I don't watch 'em at all.

Looking back, I failed at original post. I don't want to tell you my opinion- thats not what you came here for. I am fundamentally against his fiscal views, though. Any politico has to be calm, sound intelligent, and be highly motivated. But what are they motivated for, and do they have ethics? Obama isn't unethical, imo, he just wants totally different goals.
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Re: Republican Thread (safespace?)

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

Ralith The Third wrote:Looking back, I failed at original post. I don't want to tell you my opinion- thats not what you came here for. I am fundamentally against his fiscal views, though. Any politico has to be calm, sound intelligent, and be highly motivated. But what are they motivated for, and do they have ethics? Obama isn't unethical, imo, he just wants totally different goals.
Don't you mean 'totally different means'? I think the majority of us have the goal of a progressive society where everyone has the opportunity to pursue happiness and success on their own terms. We just disagree on what will get us there.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Ralith The Third » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:44 pm UTC

I suppose so, if you look at it broadly enough. Either way, different beliefs.
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Velict » Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:07 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Also, I beg your pardon--I'm by no means well versed in matters of economics--but as I understand it, when the government steps in and gives customers a bundle of imaginary money to buy a service from a business, wouldn't that business take this opportunity to raise their rates, accelerating the problem? I mean, I'm no business wiz, but if I'm selling a big box labeled 'Need-This-To-Live', and I just found out all my customers just got five dollars from the government that can only be used to buy my big box of 'Need-This-To-Live'... I'm hiking my rates up by five dollars. That'd be the smart business move, wouldn't it?


Cost of health care will probably go up, but there is still competition (as opposed to something like the "public option"), so you might see a provider raise their rates up by only four dollars so they can attract more customers than you. And then the next provider does the same thing, and so on and so forth.

But you are essentially right, and that's one of the many reasons I oppose an entitlement system for health care. With a means-tested system that applies to only the small percentage of the population that cannot afford health care, there is much less of that effect that you just described. Instead of all of your customers, one of ten of them would be receiving a government voucher to cover their health care. You can't safely afford to just jack your prices up to nullify that voucher, because most people simply don't have them.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Darkscull » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

I have a question for republicans (or anyone that knows the answer):

If the lunatics currently in control of the party really do represent only a minority, and assuming they can't be kicked out and sanity restored, why isn't there a movement to jump ship from the ruined republican party (I'm not sure the public perception of the party would change much even if the leadership did) and set up a new party that represents the majority of 'sensible'* conservatives?

Is the idea of a two party system really that strong?
Why is such a system even considered a good one? Most democratic countries have measures in place to actively prevent a two party situation coming about, because, quite frankly, it's not that much different from having a single party (indeed, in some cases it can be worse, depending on the sort of single party).

In other words: Lots of people point out how madmen are at the steering wheel, but why is no one doing anything about it? You just sit there content to have your views pretty much ignored by the organisation you're supporting.



*In quotation marks because it's a subjective term. I for one have not seen anyone involved in american politics, nor anyone talking about american politics, propose anything I would consider sensible.
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:52 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:In other words: Lots of people point out how madmen are at the steering wheel, but why is no one doing anything about it? You just sit there content to have your views pretty much ignored by the organisation you're supporting.
For me (and I hasten to add that I am by no means a Republican, so take this with your daily boulder of sodium), there are two very important distinctions here - Republican as a party and Rebublican as an ideology. It's perfectly feasible to value the ideology over the actual party--much like Communists don't like you bringing Stalin into a discussion about Communism, or Christians don't like you bringing in Fred Phelps during a discussion of Christianity. I mean, it's totally fair to point out that these ideals lead to these results, but it's not quite as fair to hold, say, a Muslim responsible for what an Islam extremist has done.

I know I'm using extreme examples here--my aim is not to equate the excesses of the Republican party with the likes of genocidal dictators and terrorists. I'm just saying that we don't hold ideologies accountable for people who do bad things; we hold the people doing them accountable.

All that being said, considering the solidarity of the Republican party, I'm not 100% convinced that the assorted Obama = Hitler nonsense is being discouraged by the upper echelons. At the very least, there are some serious crazies in the RNC. And I'd agree that when you're part of an organization, you have some obligation to either work to iron out the nonsense or stop being part of that organization. I'd love to see Republicans either junking the socially regressive wing of their flagship or setting up their own lifeboat and letting the rest of it sink.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby poxic » Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

The problem with splitting the Republican party into two is the voting block thing. The candidate with the most votes gets in. If there is one Democratic candidate, one Republican, and one Newpublican, and the country is roughly split 50/50 conservative/liberal, there's a good chance that votes will go 50/25/25 to the Democrat.

Pretty much this is happening in British Columbia right now. The left vote is split between the NDP and the Greens, but all votes for the right are going to Campbell's illogically-named Liberal party. We're stuck with the creep again. (Don't get me started on how he's just screwed us over with the HST thing.)
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Kizyr » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:05 pm UTC

Velict wrote:Something important to note, however, is that I fall into the fiscally conservative wing of the Republican party, not the currently-dominant neoconservative wing. I can't do much to defend neoconservative views like big government, opposition to gay marriage, or interventionist military policy. I also don't really care much for Fox News, Limbaugh, or the rest of the conventional Republican media at all; they overwhelmingly support neoconservative views. More of an Economist, National Review, and William F. Buckley guy myself.

This (and what follows) is the main reason why I consider myself a conservative by Democrat standards (though probably a liberal, or maybe a centrist, by general standards). I'm a registered Democrat and nearly always support the Democratic party, but I still agree with many of the fiscal policy aspects of the Republican platform (including some, though not all, of what Velict mentioned). My main reason for supporting Democrats usually ties into my views on civil rights. But, this thread isn't about my point of view, so I'll leave it at there.

I will add, though, that I do know plenty of Republicans who are similarly irritated at the ridiculous aspects of the Republican party. I think the perceived (and if you ask me, actual) inevitability of a two-party system is one of the reasons why you find many Republican congressmen loathe to strongly speak out against that part of their base. KF
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Velict » Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

Darkscull wrote:I have a question for republicans (or anyone that knows the answer):

If the lunatics currently in control of the party really do represent only a minority, and assuming they can't be kicked out and sanity restored, why isn't there a movement to jump ship from the ruined republican party (I'm not sure the public perception of the party would change much even if the leadership did) and set up a new party that represents the majority of 'sensible'* conservatives?


I'm not entirely sure that the neoconservatives are a minority. Sure, there are extreme neocons and moderate neocons, but I think it's likely that the average Republican shares more political views in common with Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee than with the Ronpaul or Bob Barr.

Is the idea of a two party system really that strong?
Why is such a system even considered a good one? Most democratic countries have measures in place to actively prevent a two party situation coming about, because, quite frankly, it's not that much different from having a single party (indeed, in some cases it can be worse, depending on the sort of single party).


It takes a lot to dismantle a political party in the United States. The last time we saw a major party eliminated, it was because that party couldn't come up with a comprehensive policy on slavery. Before that, the only other party eliminated was the Federalists during the very early stages of our nation (they vanished because they passed some very nasty laws called the Alien and Sedition Acts). The GOP has been around for a long time, and it's not likely to implode without a very major issue dividing the party's voting base. I don't think the current struggles over social vs fiscal conservatism are likely to destroy the party.

Two party systems have a few advantages to them, though. For one thing, they work. Coalition governments often have a difficult time passing legislation or responding to crises, whereas our system is a little quicker to respond. Secondly, our electoral system pushes both political parties towards the middle in order for them to get enough votes to win elections, which means that it is more difficult to enact radical changes in our form of government.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby eekmeep » Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:51 am UTC

Not saying there aren't nut jobs in the Republican party, but ... have you heard Pelosi lately??

Generally, the overarching theory of conservatives is: less federal government involvement in our daily lives = better. Liberalism wants the govt to parent the rest of us.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:07 am UTC

eekmeep wrote:less federal government involvement in our daily lives = better.

The state governments, on the other hand, are free to fuck us over?

eekmeep wrote:Liberalism wants the govt to parent the rest of us.

Do elaborate.
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby eekmeep » Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:22 am UTC

People have more direct control over their state governments ... and yeah, state rights are good.

Caveat: there are people in desperate situations that should be helped. That is not what I am talking about.

Liberalism TENDS to want bigger federal govt instead of allowing capitalism, hard work, and ingenuity to pull people through.

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:07 am UTC

eekmeep wrote:People have more direct control over their state governments

Straight white men have more direct control over their state governments, particularly in states where there is less demographic and general political equality. Granted freedom from federal oversight, many states have historically (and still do) oppress the fuck out of their citizens. So, whatever advantages states' rights may have, lack of government involvement in people's lives is not one of them.

eekmeep wrote:Liberalism TENDS to want bigger federal govt instead of allowing capitalism, hard work, and ingenuity to pull people through.

"Allowing"? Is capitalism designed to pull people out of poverty? Do hard work and ingenuity accomplish this in a free market? What about all the hard workers who nevertheless remain trapped in poverty throughout their lives? Would you write off every single one of these as the desperate situations that you're not talking about? And what about the simply average people who would go to college and live relatively leisurely lives being born in the middle class, but are instead born poor and suffer through life because we decided that only the outliers of the working class deserve comfort?

Hard work and ingenuity are great personal qualities, but it's unreasonable to make a basic standard of living dependent on having them. The achievement narrative at work here sounds good but solves nothing; it's really just smoke and mirrors.

Edit: Seriously, read that link. It's really good.
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Re: Republican Thread

Postby Surgery » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:30 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:"Allowing"? Is capitalism designed to pull people out of poverty? Do hard work and ingenuity accomplish this in a free market? What about all the hard workers who nevertheless remain trapped in poverty throughout their lives? Would you write off every single one of these as the desperate situations that you're not talking about? And what about the simply average people who would go to college and live relatively leisurely lives being born in the middle class, but are instead born poor and suffer through life because we decided that only the outliers of the working class deserve comfort?

Hard work and ingenuity are great personal qualities, but it's unreasonable to make a basic standard of living dependent on having them. The achievement narrative at work here sounds good but solves nothing; it's really just smoke and mirrors.

Edit: Seriously, read that link. It's really good.
I just want to understand what you're arguing so I can form an opinion. Are you saying that in a capitilist society the achievement narrative doesn't actually work? That no matter how hard you work getting ahead is just a matter of luck or pedigree?

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Re: Republican Thread

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:27 am UTC

Surgery wrote:I just want to understand what you're arguing so I can form an opinion. Are you saying that in a capitilist society the achievement narrative doesn't actually work? That no matter how hard you work getting ahead is just a matter of luck or pedigree?

That's exactly what he's saying (I think), and he's absolutely right. There are too many variables, too many things outside of your control. Even in the hybrid capitalist/socialist economy we have in the US, where we take a basic education for granted, there are people who work their asses off - sometimes even holding two full-time jobs to make ends meet for their family, which could very well mean disabled parent and underage siblings - and spend their lives in poverty. And if you get really, really sick (by no fault of your own, and there are a lot of ways that can happen) and don't have health insurance? Forget about it.

Consider, for example, railroads pre-unions. If you worked for a railroad, you lived in a railroad town. You bought your groceries at the store owned by the railroad company, your kids went to school owned by the railroad company, and you lived in a house you rented from the railroad company - all of which cost much more than fair market value and cut into your already meager salary. And at least in this case, you can't pull that bullshit that people do about the recent economic meltdown where they claim that the regulations caused it, because the railroads operated in a complete lack of labor regulation.

Unchecked, capitalism begets plutocracy.

While you're at it, go ahead and read that blog entry TGB linked. It's a good read.
Sexothermic
I have only ever made one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it. -Voltaire
They said we would never have a black president until Swine Flu. -Gears


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