1
   

Political Change: In Context

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 05:14 am
PRIOR: About four years ago, on a cold morning in Washington State, my wife and I went out to vote. We were angry, but hopeful, having watched in horror as the pain of 911 was taken and used to falsely justify slaughtering a people and toppling a regime, we were going to make a difference and show that our people had a conscience. Later that night, my faith in the morality of the people of the United States fell - a wound tore open when we realized that George W. Bush, Jr. had been re-elected. It's been very dark since then and that wound's not closed; and after having given 20 years of my life to a people who seemingly cared not a whim for any semblance of right and wrong, I've been hurt and (I'm afraid to say) ashamed.

PERCEIVED SHIFT: Last night, I saw my people embrace something different; real positivism, compassion, a desire to put greed in check and bring what's left of our traumatized sons and daughters home. I saw people happy, I saw an overwhelming voice that said, "No More!" by embracing a new leader whose youth, idealism and unashamed compassion is almost unparalleled in our nation's history. Can I be proud of this decision? Is there a chance that; perhaps, we found that moral center as a whole?

QUESTION: In an age where apathy, negativity, consumerism and resentment has typified this country on the world-scene, does this elections' result represent a need for change? Is this a shift towards a desire to embrace something better? Or is it perhaps simpler; being simply a republican backlash or an ethnic issue?

I'm curious how others place this election's results in context. I suppose history and events - as they unfold - will tell. But as philosophers I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm especially curious to hear from those of you coming from outside the U.S., who are not prejudiced by party-affiliation.

Thanks
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sarek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 05:26 am
@Khethil,
Well, what can I say?

I think change is really in the air. Perhaps it is perceived by many as masquerading as merely an anti-republican backlash.
But the fact is that the current political/social/economic system is showing structural deficiencies and a need for correcting them is clearly felt.
In that sense the Bush years were only a symptom, maybe in the same way Louis XVI and Tsar Nicholas II were also symptoms of an outdated constellation.
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 03:46 pm
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
Well, what can I say?

I think change is really in the air. Perhaps it is perceived by many as masquerading as merely an anti-republican backlash.
But the fact is that the current political/social/economic system is showing structural deficiencies and a need for correcting them is clearly felt.
In that sense the Bush years were only a symptom, maybe in the same way Louis XVI and Tsar Nicholas II were also symptoms of an outdated constellation.


Change is definitely in the air, but of what kind? Obama is the quintessence, the pure and self-confident distillation of what is wrong with the system. He will correct the system in the same way that FDR corrected the system, which corrections have lead to our present plight.

I would like to ask, with all seriousness, in hopes of getting an honest answer and beginning a real debate; what do you think is the cause of the current problem? The ideology that is perfected in Obama has been reigning since FDR. I assume that you blame conservatives or Raeganomics; fact: there have been no conservatives (those who beleive in minimal government) in public office for many decades, Raegan not excluded.

It is foolish to blame corperate greed for our problems. Unless you plan to move everyone to farms in the country, Pol Pot style, or to re-education camps, there is no way to eliminate human self-interest. That is the fact of life. However, that is not the cause of the problem. The fact is that government policies have not only enabled, but encouraged, and in some cases mandated, unwise and risky business practices; see the housing bubble of late. The decline in American industry, our reliance on imports and numerous other economic and, consequently, social woes, are the direct result of government interference.

As for consumerism, that is somewhat a fact of modern life; I refer you again to Pol Pot as an alternative. However, the unprecedentedly ugly and wastfeul consumer society of modern America has been carefully nurtured and encouraged by government actions beginning after the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913. Since then, Keyensian theory, or its derivatives, has dominated eonomic policy. What is the basis of Keyensian theory: that an economy can grow at a constant rate in perpetuity if demand is never allowed to fall: i.e. if people constantly spend money on disposable products. Beside ensuring the dominance of wall-mart and the like, this policy of the government has gradually allowed for the transformation of the American economy from the greatest producer and exporter of manufactures to the greatest consumer: the greatest creditor has become the greatest debtor. Whenever times ar ebad, moreover, and people do not have money to spend, the Fed prints money and releasesit into the market to be lent and subsequently spent, on new cars, houses, etc. The housing bubble, our negative average savings rate, our huge national debt and the about to explode distaster of inflation have all resulted from this policy. The idea that everyone has a right to own a home, or have acertain standard of living is great until there is no more money to borrow to pay for it.

Another typical target for blame is corruption and corperate lobbying. The truth is that government, besides often being incompentant at regulating its own behavior or the nation's, is corruptable, because people are fallable and corruptable. The larger the government, the more corrupt its likely to be; lobbyists can only demand special treatment for this or that company in some particular industry if the government is involved in regulating or subsidzing that industry. Look at the history; the more government has expanded, the more progams and departments it operates, the more lobbyists arrive in washington.

So, basically, my point is this; Obama, though a very smart fellow and a great politician, will in good faith continue to lead us into indebted, inflationairy, stagnating, consumer oblivion, albeit more hopefully...:bigsmile:

Note: I do not support McCain either, so make no claim about partisanship or anything like that. I am a libertarian and my party is a joke...
0 Replies
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2008 03:53 pm
@Khethil,
No.

If this is change, I would hate to see a stagnant nation.

All we did was vote for the other group of greedy, power hungry, lying group of crooks.

You don't think Obama and the democrats had their hand in the cookie jar? They just were lucky enough to not be the figureheads at the time. We will continue this alternating idiocy because both parties are defunct in terms of producing governors, but only one party gets blamed at any one time.
0 Replies
 
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 03:00 am
@Khethil,
So you think the best agent for change is an outsider? Try Ralph Nader for size.
I think we can safely say that that road will never lead to success.

I do not believe in single events or people being blamed for what is wrong. FDR or Bush or Bernanke didn't cause the current crisis. (I know that is an immense exaggeration of what you said, but is serves only as an illustration of my point)

A society is a system in development and to understand the problem and its potential solutions it is necessary to understand the system. You must also be able to make an educated guess about where the system is going.

I believe the US is a victim of its own success. It is the richest and most powerful nation in the world after all. Learning that not everything can be fixed by waving a magic wand is a hard lesson.

The second problem is indeed neo-Keynesian economics. Back in FDR's days the mondial economy was still underdeveloped and the internal market was dominant. That is not the case now. Pursuing Keynesian policies in the present mondial economic environment only leads to seeing dollars leaving the country.

The third problem is a social problem. In the US everyone is supposed to fend for themselves. If you get unlucky it's first and foremost you own problem.
In times of crisis this leads to social resentment agains the powers that be. Such resentment can be dangerous.
The government is well advised to do something about the social situation. It is for instance very strange that there is still no national health care system for everyone.
Deftil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 05:25 am
@Khethil,
I'm really tired. I hope what I'm about to type makes sense.

Khethil;31530 wrote:
PRIOR: About four years ago, on a cold morning in Washington State, my wife and I went out to vote. We were angry, but hopeful, having watched in horror as the pain of 911 was taken and used to falsely justify slaughtering a people and toppling a regime, we were going to make a difference and show that our people had a conscience. Later that night, my faith in the morality of the people of the United States fell - a wound tore open when we realized that George W. Bush, Jr. had been re-elected.

It really bothered me that we not only elected Bush, but re-elected him. I suppose the re-election might have been somewhat out of fear, and many thought the continuity of re-electing the incumbent was the best bet considering the state of things at the time. And I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I can't help but wonder if some votes were stolen somewhere along the line.

Khethil;31530 wrote:
It's been very dark since then and that wound's not closed; and after having given 20 years of my life to a people who seemingly cared not a whim for any semblance of right and wrong, I've been hurt and (I'm afraid to say) ashamed.

Oh, so you were in the military then?

Anyway, is it going a bit far to say that people that hold different political views don't care about right and wrong at all? Or is it more than that? Don't get me wrong, like I said, I was severly disappointed in both the election and re-election of W, but I have tended to chalk it up to ignorance more than immorality. Not that that's much better or anything. At least in ignorance the intention isn't evil though.

Khethil;31530 wrote:
PERCEIVED SHIFT: Last night, I saw my people embrace something different; real positivism, compassion, a desire to put greed in check and bring what's left of our traumatized sons and daughters home. I saw people happy, I saw an overwhelming voice that said, "No More!" by embracing a new leader whose youth, idealism and unashamed compassion is almost unparalleled in our nation's history. Can I be proud of this decision? Is there a chance that; perhaps, we found that moral center as a whole?

If W would have been running again (which was of course impossible... but hypothetically) then I'd say you might be able to say that the people had found their moral center, but this was another candidate. Sure he was still a Republican, and sure he had aligned himself with W in the past, but he's a different person, and wasn't nearly as directly responsible for the mess we're in as W. If McCain were elected instead of Obama, I personally wouldn't draw the conclusion that morality in America was dead. Sure McCain is a politician, and nobody, and I mean nobody, likes politicians, but I feel that McCain's record of service to our country is quite honorable. I don't agree with all of the man's views, but on the whole, I think he is a good man, a good American. I think more of this shined through in his concession speech than we've previously seen on the campaign trail and in the debates.

Khethil;31530 wrote:
QUESTION: In an age where apathy, negativity, consumerism and resentment has typified this country on the world-scene, does this elections' result represent a need for change? Is this a shift towards a desire to embrace something better? Or is it perhaps simpler; being simply a republican backlash or an ethnic issue?

I pick "a need for change" and "a republican backlash". No government can be perfect, and over time, I think that people will inevitably get frustrated with their government and it's leadership. So people get the "grass is greener" syndrome and select a president of a different party than what we've had. After that party has had some time, people naturally start to get frustrated with things and give the white house to the other party. And the cycle continues. I think this depiction is over-simplified, but basically true. Each party gets about 2 terms before people naturally start to want change.
1933 - 1953 = 20 years of Democrats in the White House
1953 - 1961 = 8 years of Republican
1961 - 1969 = 8 years of Democrat
1969 - 1977 = 8 years of Republican
1977 - 1981 = 4 years of Democrat
1981 - 1993 = 12 years of Republican
1993 - 2001 = 8 years of Democrat
2001 - 2009 = 8 years of Republican
And now it's back to Democrat.

Khethil;31530 wrote:
I'm curious how others place this election's results in context. I suppose history and events - as they unfold - will tell. But as philosophers I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm especially curious to hear from those of you coming from outside the U.S., who are not prejudiced by party-affiliation.

The state of our country seems particularly bad right now, but we have a Dem in the white house, a majority of Dems in the senate, and a majority of Dems in the House, so I'm interested to see how patient and tolerant people will be if things don't improve quickly. The Dems have the ball; how far and how fast will they be able to run with it? Will the American people demand quick and dramatic change, or will they feel that we're in so deep at this point to expect something immediate and profound would be unreasonable? Will it be 2 terms of Dem presidential administration, and then time to get frustrated and give the Republicans their shot again?
0 Replies
 
Mr Fight the Power
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 07:03 am
@sarek,
sarek wrote:
So you think the best agent for change is an outsider? Try Ralph Nader for size.
I think we can safely say that that road will never lead to success.


Not just one outsider, but a flood of outsiders that dismantles the system or bootstraps their own.
sarek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 03:37 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
Not just one outsider, but a flood of outsiders that dismantles the system or bootstraps their own.


That would mean an uphill battle waged from the outside by outsiders against a very monolithic system.
Whereas I think the change in generations which Obama represents may lead to the same results as the policies of Gorbatsjov did. In the end the process which was started by a political insider led inexorably to the overthrow of the ancien regime and the fall of the iron curtain.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2008 04:53 pm
@sarek,
Obama represents an immense change. We have an African American president-elect in the US. It's strange; I remember sitting at my friend's home watching the election results come in and then it hit me that fifty years ago a lynching could have been going on instead. That's a long way we've come.

Corruption will never go away, nor will idiotic economic policy. Both have always existed in major powers. To me, this election signals that this country is shedding some of it's Nixon and rediscovering some of it's McGovern. Is this perfect? No, but it's definitely nice to see.
chad3006
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2008 12:52 pm
@Khethil,
Does it represent a desire for change in the hearts and minds of Americans? Yes, I think so.
Will it represent that desire for change in reality? I'm not so sure.

Both parties compete for the same political dollars and the purse strings will close tight if anyone strays too far from the status quo. The Clintons found that out when they tried to change the health care system. I'm skeptical that any substantial changes will occur (and I say that coming from Texas, where brain washing of the entire populations seems to be thorough) It can get a bit depressing living here and having to hear the propaganda every day.
Deftil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 10:11 am
@Khethil,
Yea I think politics will still be politics. Unfortunately I don't see that changing.... ever. It's still a change in terms of some specific policies. It's still a change in that we elected our first african-american president. But in terms of a fundamental "politics" change...... no. It's more like changing a diaper. At first it's nice and clean but you know before too long it will be full of sh*t, just like all the ones that came before it.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 10:24 am
@chad3006,
Well, thanks for replying all.

It helps me put my own feelings (on the election results) into context. Yea, I do think there's real reason for hope, and reassert that the the results do represent an expressed need for change. Where this brings us, or what it nets us is quite another question.

But as many of you have deftly pointed out, Politics is still Politics; and where our leaders still exist in the same framework, that framework will continue to influence their decisions.

Thanks again
0 Replies
 
BrightNoon
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 04:01 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Obama represents an immense change. We have an African American president-elect in the US. It's strange; I remember sitting at my friend's home watching the election results come in and then it hit me that fifty years ago a lynching could have been going on instead. That's a long way we've come.


Heart warming, but it dosen't pay the bills. The fact that Obama won on his 'change' platform proves that American's hate the current system and that they do not understand why they hate it, as he is more of the same. People are dumb; this is a democracy; I'm very pessimistic.
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2008 06:19 pm
@BrightNoon,
Two people representing millions. Since you have to go on what they say, all that you can do is hope the one you vote for does what you want to happen. As for change, its what people want. Its what they should want. it happens to be on the table as a topic at this point in our country. All these factors make the game interesting, but whether its a good four years or a disappointment for the general population, Change in politics is a must, for the sake of elimination by process. Unfortunately the past is forgotten and never learned from. i think mostly because of smaller details that make the new situations seem like their different from the old.
Dewey phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:01 pm
@Joe,
The speculations in this thread about Obama in his new job vary except in one regard. Note these extracts:


"Sure McCain is a politician, and nobody, and I mean nobody, likes politicians."

"Yea I think politics will still be politics. Unfortunately I don't see that changing.... ever."

"But as many of you have deftly pointed out, Politics is still Politics; and where our leaders still exist in the same framework, that framework will continue to influence their decisions."

"The fact that Obama won on his 'change' platform proves that American's hate the current system and that they do not understand why they hate it, as he is more of the same."

"Since you have to go on what they say, all that you can do is hope the one you vote for does what you want to happen."

"All we did was vote for the other group of greedy, power hungry, lying group of crooks."


Regardless of our individual political beliefs, we Americans uniformly disrespect and distrust our politicians. The typical politician, as some one has said, is presumed to be venal, self-seeking, hypocritical, mendacious, and demagogic. I think that presumption is wrong and that it is a major cause of our political malaise.

I doubt that anyone could, as I have done, read about, watch and listen to politicians for many years and fail to appreciate the knowledge, skill, and dedication that nearly all of them possess

Who are we, we citizens, to put ourselves so far above our public servants, to condemn their every imperfection, mistake, or misdoing, and to absolve ourselves of all responsibility for their actions? Why do we denounce their practices and promises even as we demand benefits only for ourselves?
Where does the buck really stop in our democracy? It stops with the voter, of course. It's highfalutin to say, I realize, but still true that we are the masters of our destiny. We will respect ourselves more if we respect our politicians. Then the politicians will not lose their self-respect and we will not suffer the consequences of their loss of self-respect. It as simple as that.

Why don't we try win-win politics for a change?
markyr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:05 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
PRIOR: About four years ago, on a cold morning in Washington State, my wife and I went out to vote. We were angry, but hopeful, having watched in horror as the pain of 911 was taken and used to falsely justify slaughtering a people and toppling a regime, we were going to make a difference and show that our people had a conscience. Later that night, my faith in the morality of the people of the United States fell - a wound tore open when we realized that George W. Bush, Jr. had been re-elected. It's been very dark since then and that wound's not closed; and after having given 20 years of my life to a people who seemingly cared not a whim for any semblance of right and wrong, I've been hurt and (I'm afraid to say) ashamed.

PERCEIVED SHIFT: Last night, I saw my people embrace something different; real positivism, compassion, a desire to put greed in check and bring what's left of our traumatized sons and daughters home. I saw people happy, I saw an overwhelming voice that said, "No More!" by embracing a new leader whose youth, idealism and unashamed compassion is almost unparalleled in our nation's history. Can I be proud of this decision? Is there a chance that; perhaps, we found that moral center as a whole?

QUESTION: In an age where apathy, negativity, consumerism and resentment has typified this country on the world-scene, does this elections' result represent a need for change? Is this a shift towards a desire to embrace something better? Or is it perhaps simpler; being simply a republican backlash or an ethnic issue?

I'm curious how others place this election's results in context. I suppose history and events - as they unfold - will tell. But as philosophers I'd like to hear your thoughts. I'm especially curious to hear from those of you coming from outside the U.S., who are not prejudiced by party-affiliation.

Thanks


Great post - I believe it is as simple as this.

We must start to gather all the clever, left-wing people together. We can do this now because of the internet. The rest is inevitable.

Tell me I'm wrong.

My name is Mark btw!

:cool:
markyr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:07 pm
@Dewey phil,
Dewey wrote:
The speculations in this thread about Obama in his new job vary except in one regard. Note these extracts:


"Sure McCain is a politician, and nobody, and I mean nobody, likes politicians."

"Yea I think politics will still be politics. Unfortunately I don't see that changing.... ever."

"But as many of you have deftly pointed out, Politics is still Politics; and where our leaders still exist in the same framework, that framework will continue to influence their decisions."

"The fact that Obama won on his 'change' platform proves that American's hate the current system and that they do not understand why they hate it, as he is more of the same."

"Since you have to go on what they say, all that you can do is hope the one you vote for does what you want to happen."

"All we did was vote for the other group of greedy, power hungry, lying group of crooks."


Regardless of our individual political beliefs, we Americans uniformly disrespect and distrust our politicians. The typical politician, as some one has said, is presumed to be venal, self-seeking, hypocritical, mendacious, and demagogic. I think that presumption is wrong and that it is a major cause of our political malaise.

I doubt that anyone could, as I have done, read about, watch and listen to politicians for many years and fail to appreciate the knowledge, skill, and dedication that nearly all of them possess

Who are we, we citizens, to put ourselves so far above our public servants, to condemn their every imperfection, mistake, or misdoing, and to absolve ourselves of all responsibility for their actions? Why do we denounce their practices and promises even as we demand benefits only for ourselves?
Where does the buck really stop in our democracy? It stops with the voter, of course. It's highfalutin to say, I realize, but still true that we are the masters of our destiny. We will respect ourselves more if we respect our politicians. Then the politicians will not lose their self-respect and we will not suffer the consequences of their loss of self-respect. It as simple as that.

Why don't we try win-win politics for a change?


Absolutely - zero-sum or win-win. I know which I'd vote for!

How do we get MORE people talking about this. The more the better surely?
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:31 pm
@markyr,
markyr wrote:
Great post - I believe it is as simple as this.
We must start to gather all the clever, left-wing people together. We can do this now because of the internet. The rest is inevitable.
My name is Mark btw!


Right on! Thanks.

I'm Warren, by the by.
markyr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:36 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Right on! Thanks.

I'm Warren, by the by.


Hi Warren,

Good to meet you.

Will you help me please?

RedIssue Forums

BTW - this is serious (ish). I mean there are huge problems to sort out but no reason why we can't have some fun sorting them out. Very Happy
0 Replies
 
markyr
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 03:50 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Right on! Thanks.

I'm Warren, by the by.


Oh, and please just ponder this for a while:

If we were able to model the earths problems in a computer and we programmed it to advise us to either:

a) Continue along the current path
b) Enable swift positive change

I think very firmly it would be b)
 

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