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The Sad State of the Republican Party

This January New Yorker piece about the current state of the Republican Party really resonated for me. I used to think of myself as an independent who shared many views with both parties, but the Republican Party has become so extreme that we need a new alternative.

"In 1959, Vice-President Nixon, speaking to members of California’s Commonwealth Club, was asked if he’d like to see the parties undergo an ideological realignment—the sort that has since taken place—and he replied, “I think it would be a great tragedy . . . if we had our two major political parties divide on what we would call a conservative-liberal line.” He continued, “I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other. And the reason we have avoided that is that in both parties there has been room for a broad spectrum of opinion.” Therefore, “when your Administrations come to power, they will represent the whole people rather than just one segment of the people.” Ten months before the general election, the increasingly angry, suspicious, and divided party of Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Perry seems ever more immersed in its current orthodoxies. None of the candidates, though, seem the least bit interested in even addressing how they, or their party, might actually govern the “whole people” of a fractious nation."

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250 comments
Noel Yap
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We need a new alternative to both Democratic and Republican parties.
 
We don't need different parties, we need to be more involved with our parties, and demand more from them.

Creating more parties will just create more problems.
 
One with an actual LIBERAL platform, maybe? I'd like to see that.
 
+Tim O'Reilly - I consider myself more of a Libertarian these days... but I too used to be like you. I lean Libertarian because I think government needs to be scaled back... the Republicans and Democrats want two different kinds of BIG government. I think our system has to be changed to get a viable third option.

Take the House of Representatives and make it proportional voting on a statewide basis. Remove 'districts' and winner takes all voting. This would allow smaller parties to win seats and remove the US vs. THEM environment in the House.
Noel Yap
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+Shelley Powers , I would actually prefer having no parties and have candidates be elected based upon how people agree or disagree with them on the issues. Another way to look at this is to have one party per candidate since no two candidates will ever agree on everything.
 
I also don't think we need any new parties, but to be more involved with the political process. We as a nation allowed the Republican party to be co-opted by the extreme evangelical right, and the tea party. Due to us not going to the polls in the 2010 midterm elections. If we do not go out and vote, then this allows them to take over and get their crazy representatives elected.
 
The extreme nature of the Republican party these days has lead to increasingly bigoted rhetoric. The way some of these extreme conservatives talk, "liberals" are barely human. I'm not one to panic, but it has started to concern me at times. While I have heard the occasional poor comments from the far left, it hasn't reached the levels I regularly see from the right these days.
 
+Noel Yap There's nothing stopping any of us from voting for a person rather than their party. I will be voting for a Republican in the next election, my state senator, because of how much he fought for something (a puppy mill bill) I wanted. And how responsive to my concerns he was (his assistant actually called me after his vote).

I won't be voting for a couple of state Democrats for the same reason. Well, that and the fact that they're the most right leaning Democrats I've ever come across.

We have the government we want. These people didn't steal in, in the dead of night, and abscond with these offices. We voted them in.

If we don't like the government, ultimately we're to blame. If Republicans are extreme now, the voters made them that way. The only way to balance any party is to vote in the direction we want the party to take.
 
we need too, for more development
E Tudor
 
I think it's a global problem of lack of leadership, not only concerning to the Republican Party. It´s notorious the debacle of the political class, not only in America, but on the rest of the world, especially in Europe.
 
I would argue that the Democrat party is a lot more extreme. This country was designed to have an absolute minimum of government expense, and George Washington ran it with fewer than 50 bureaucrats in Liberty Hall, Philadelphia. The founders would have never agreed to a Union if they had ever thought government expense would rise to 3% of GDP or above. Now Federal alone is 25% and state/local a hefty part on top of that. The amount of permits and complexity of the tax code is insane. At least before 1913, the only contact most Americans had with the federal government was the post office. 99% of all government employees should be fired, the salaries to the reminder should be cut by at least 70%, and their budgets eliminated or cut by more than 90%. The only thing that's not extreme is the original American idea of freedom. This started going down the tubes within 100 years of the founding, and really went out the window around 100 years ago, and accelerated in the 1930s and beyond. Fire the bureaucrats and eliminate their budgets!
 
"The founders would have never agreed to a Union if they had ever thought government expense would rise to 3% of GDP or above. "

And your evidence for this is ... ?
 
+Anton Wahlman, reactionary positions, such as what you are advocating, are pretty much extreme by definition.
 
I hardly call the steady stream of violent words directed to conservative women in power, 'ocassional'.
 
+Sean Reynolds Ah well, it's not like Anton is the first person to insist he knows the Founding Fathers' minds.
 
+Charles Profitt We could even take that further, and allow each individual to choose their own representative, who would vote on their behalf much the same way that a shareholder votes their number of shares in business. With a minimum number of votes required to hold a physical seat in the house or to propose new legislation, and perhaps a few other new rules to avoid unnecessary disruptions, this could work quite well. It would also give representation to distributed minorities who might be large in numbers but not a majority in any district.

Of course, one problem is the mainstream media. By now it should be obvious that it is just the propaganda wing of the government. Look, for instance, at how they refused to include Gov. Gary Johnson in all but two debates in the Republican primaries, despite allowing in several other candidates with lower polling numbers and less experience in public service. It was clearly an attempt to silence him. Or, more recently, after insisting over and over again on reporting the winner by popular vote rather than delegate count, the media recently decided to report the winner by delegate count in the Virgin Islands where Ron Paul won the popular vote. There are a lot of powerful people working to protect the status quo.
 
+Tim O'Reilly the Republican Party has become so extreme

That's just false, Tim. It's really the same as it has always been. For more than 100 years, there's been a battle between the conservatives and moderates. Look back at the election of 1912 and the fight between W. Taft and Roosevelt, for example. Or 1952, and the fight between R. Taft and Eisenhower. Or 1976: Reagan v. Ford. In all those years, the moderate won, by the way.

Sometimes the conservatives win out, sometimes the moderates do, and yes, right now it is tilting toward the conservatives, but no moreso than it did in 1980 ... probably less. And look at the winners of the GOP presidential nods in recent years: Bush, McCain, and probably Romney ... all of them from the more moderate wing of the party, all of them firmly in the tradition of Roosevelt and Dewey and Eisenhower.

You're just wrong. And this is just stupid: "But little that he says today deviates from the Party’s prevailing hard-line tenets: no new taxes, a blanket repeal of “Obamacare,” the appointment of Supreme Court Justices committed to repealing Roe v. Wade, a pledge to cut billions of dollars in unspecified spending for entitlements, little sympathy for gays." So what? Without picking apart the overstatements in there ... since when are those "extreme" positions? They never have been before.

Those are actually very mainstream positions across our nation, and in most cases majority positions. Yes, not on Roe v. Wade, but the rest are literally majority views, or very close to it.

I am not saying you have to like or agree with those positions, but to pretend they are "extreme" is bizarre.
 
+Anton Wahlman , somebody will have power over you. Nature abhors a vacuum. Wouldn't you rather choose your leaders and have the tools to hold them accountable than leave it to the likes of Goldman Sachs and Bombardier?
 
Me too. For a long time I thought I was a "Republicrat". I found a better name for it is Libertarian. Check them out --> http://www.lp.org/
 
+Matthew Jacobs The way some of these extreme conservatives talk, "liberals" are barely human. I'm not one to panic, but it has started to concern me at times. While I have heard the occasional poor comments from the far left, it hasn't reached the levels I regularly see from the right these days.

You must not listen to liberal talk TV/radio, then. It's actually much worse on the left, from Ed Schultz, Bill Maher, Lawrence O'Donnell, etc. It's bad on both sides, no doubt, but the vitriol and contempt on the left is far, far worse.
 
I think both parties have become to extreme. To point the finger at the Republicans is sort of insincere.
 
Kerri: No. You don't understand the nature of "power." Only the gov't has the power to force people to comply. I don't have any business with Goldman, Bombardier or whomever. If I don't have any interest in getting into business with them, I can simply ignore them. When the gov't decides to spend money and force me to pay for it, I have no choice. If I don't like McDonald's, I can go to Burger King or boil my own potatoes or do whatever else I feel like I want to do.
 
I think +Chris Nandor is wrong. Since Ronald Reagan was elected the entire political spectrum has shifted. Socially liberal fiscally conservative Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller or Lowell Weicker have gone the way of the dodo bird. There are no true liberals left any more in mainstream politics, or they're rapidly dying off. Moderate Dems (like Clinton and Obama) are called "liberal" -- and it's used as an insult. Conservative Dems are "mainstream." What that means is that the wacko end of the right wing (like the John Birchers), which the Republicans used to be able to safely ignore, are now driving the bus. Sure, a 'moderate' like Romney will likely get nominated, this time. But he will have to pander to the wackos. That's new.
 
+Shelley Powers , it's true we don't have to vote for either party, but the mere existence of these parties sets the context for the vast majority of people that the two major parties are the only choices. The whole thing is divisive are polarizing such that those supporting party X will defend that party no matter what and attack the other party even though nowadays both parties are very much alike.
 
+Matthew Jacobs reactionary positions, such as what you are advocating, are pretty much extreme by definition.

That's just (obviously) false. Was the civil rights movement, inherently reactionary, extreme?

"Extreme" has three meanings: a position that is far away from the mainstream (which does not include much of what Anton said) which doesn't say much, but is implied to be bad because it's anti-democratic; a position that is far away from the status quo, which is obviously not necessarily a bad thing, as with the civil rights movement, not to mention most of what +Tim O'Reilly stands for; and -- as Tim and you seem to be using the word -- "a position I greatly dislike," which is completely uninteresting.

So if you're using the latter definition: yawn. If you're using the second definition: so? If you're using the former definition, which is the most commonly understood meaning, you're simply incorrect.
 
+shawn freeman I have to borrow author David Gerrold's response to that: "I have little patience anymore for refried Libertarianism. It's economically illiterate, it's politically poisonous, and as much fun as pure mean cussed selfishness might sound, it doesn't solve problems."
 
It's not the party but the actual people, you know the ones in the debate crowds who cheered people dying and booed gay soldiers? Not many are saying it, but the racist south has really lost it because of Obama and this anger is disguising itself as concerns about social issues or health care (even though most of them collect the very benefits they 'oppose').
 
I think the definition of moderate has changed. First of all, the 'moderate' position is now more far to the right than it was historically, say, in Nixon's time, or even Reagan's. Secondly, moderation implies compromise.

So, when you sign a pledge to never raise taxes for any reason, but also pledge to impose savage austerity and give more tax breaks and cut the deficit, you are not a moderate. A moderate is a trader, and he will accept less than perfection, and absolutist pledges that you will never do X or Y limit the kinds of governance you can participate in.

If you look at the current sitting Congress, every Republican, except 13 have signed Norquist's pledge for example. How is that representative of a moderate party?

What is moderate about bringing the country to the brink of default and damaging it's credit rating over the debt ceiling limit, which has been raised without such a fuss for every other President historically?

What is moderate about stonewalling the vast majority of the Executive Branch's nominees, not even allowing them to come up for discussion?

What is moderate about trying to nullify laws that Congress itself passed by funding tricks or appointee stonewalling, as was done in the CPFB?

I don't see moderation, I see a party that has been taken over by extremists with the majority of the establishment Republicans now trapped pandering to them.
 
People should simply be free to do whatever they want as long as they don't violate other people's property rights. For this purpose, a limited government is established to negotiate and enforce these property rights. Why is this simple concept -- the United States as designed in the late 1770s -- somehow extreme?
 
Because, and I say this only because I suppose it's possible you hadn't noticed, we no longer live in the United States of the late 1770s.
 
to Will, you mean the same debate crowds who cheered Ron Paul in Greenville, SC when he talked about legalizing drugs? Don't homogenize the South and pretend like anger at the exec branch only started when a black man got elected. For Christ's sake, there was a movie that came out during the Bush years that depicted him being assassinated, how do you think the left would react to the Tea Party bankrolling a similar movie about Obama? A pox on both your houses, I say
 
Douglas: Duh. The principle of freedom is eternal. You're basically saying that 2+2 isn't 4 anymore because it's no longer the 1770s. Theft is theft, regardless of the year, and freedom does not mean that the government has the right to tell me how to set up a lemonade stand, or steal any part of the money I may make by selling that lemonade.
 
The Constitution also said, over 200 years ago, "Promote the General Welfare". 200 years ago, 98% of the population were rural farmers, you know, like in the third world 'libertarian' governments.

It may very well be that a weak centralized government is great when everyone has 40 acres and a mule. But when population density rises, there are very good, fundamental reasons why government tends to increase.

At the very least because higher density leads to more interaction and more interdependence, and when people's fates are intertwined, externalities imply more rule setting and more adjudication, more interference.

The naive libertarian ideal makes the assumption that if you don't bother anyone else's property, you can't possibly hurt anyone else but yourself.

I grew up libertarian, starting with Rand in my teens. It's sad that I still see people regurgitating the same talking points almost as if they are Biblical quotes.
 
+Dan Tynan Since Ronald Reagan was elected the entire political spectrum has shifted. Socially liberal fiscally conservative Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller or Lowell Weicker have gone the way of the dodo bird.

So explain how George Bush got elected in 1988. Or his son in 2000. You might not perceive them as socially liberal, but maybe that's because you have changed. Compare their actual positions to Rockefeller's. GW Bush had No Child Left Behind, massive AIDS spending, interventionist foreign policy, Medicare Part D ... he's directly in line with the Rockefellers and Fords.


There are no true liberals left any more in mainstream politics, or they're rapidly dying off.

Then explain Obama. He's the most liberal President this country's ever elected (even moreso than Carter, the former recordholder). I get that you don't think he is a "true liberal," but still, the shift on the Democratic side has been toward more liberalism. When Reagan was elected, the Democrat Party never would have considered actually implementing "Obamacare," for example.


the wacko end of the right wing (like the John Birchers), which the Republicans used to be able to safely ignore, are now driving the bus

You're making that up. The Birchers are still ever in the backseat of the GOP, where they have always been.


Sure, a 'moderate' like Romney will likely get nominated, this time. But he will have to pander to the wackos. That's new.

No, it's not. There's nothing remotely new about a GOP candidate pandering to the right to get support. It's been happening for a long, long, time.
 
Mr. Blaack - Perhaps you can explain why it is "economically illiterate"? Hopefully using your own words and not just some noise (actually try to make an intelligent argument - without resorting to insults).
 
+Tim O'Reilly while you lament - and point to an article lamenting the loss of liberal/centrist Republicans, can you point out any conservative/centrist Democrats? It's not like only one party has been captured by it's extremist wing.
 
Mr. Cromwell - and why isn't this true? "Property" in the abstract means a lot more than just 40 acres of farm land.
 
+Chris Nandor Balderdash. Besides Obamacare, which Romney passed and which conservative foundations opposing Hillary Care proposed as an alternative, explain to me the legislation that Obama has passed that is more liberal than any other President.

Bill Clinton raised taxes in most brackets significantly, and he's less liberal than Obama?
 
"Promoting the general welfare" doesn't mean that everyone should be on welfare. Right now, approximately 50% of Americans are on some form of welfare. The only way the government can "promote the general welfare" is to stay as small as possible, and not steal from the people or boss people around by prohibiting stuff or mandating stuff.
 
There is no good idea why politicians and bureaucrats should be involved in any form of health care. They are already much more involved than they should be. Abolish all government programs and regulations with respect to health care, and prices will fall dramatically and quality will go up dramatically. As with any other industry.
 
There's good reason why Americans are fleeing both parties to the libertarianish center. And no, +Ray Cromwell, the Randites are not typical libertarians - just loud ones.
 
+Jerry Heyman I mostly agree. There are many centrist Republicans left (though in diminished power, in the legislature), but the centrist Democrats are much fewer and further between. For every Arlen Specter there's at least one Joe Lieberman.

The difference to me seems to be that the Republican Party is essentially the same as it has been since 1912, whereas the Democratic Party has undergone some massive changes (culminating, of course, in the shift during the 60s). Sure, there's a lot that's the same, but far more that's different with it than with the GOP. So it's startling to hear that somehow the GOP has "become extreme," especially as opposed to the Dems.
 
+Chris Nandor pretty clear we won't reach a meeting of the minds here, and I've got too much to do today to engage in an endless argument, but:

Most liberal democrat president? I think FDR and LBJ exceed Obama by many miles. Don't believe me? Ask someone who calls themselves liberal how they feel about Obama's liberalism.

Yesterday's John Birchers (et al) are today's Tea Party. The pandering to that tiny wing of cranky reactionaries has reached an all time high. And it will kill the GOP's chances, not that I mind.

Granted, George Herbert Bush was one of the last of the Republican moderates (though he played mega conservative to get votes -- Willie Horton, anyone?) But GWB a social liberal? NCLB a 'liberal' plan? Are you freakin kidding me? Come back to reality Chris, the waters' just fine.

dt
 
Where's a Whig when you need one?
 
It's useless to argue with true-believer libertarians. They hold onto a near religious belief fantasy that if you abolish all government, everything will get magically better. There is zero scientific evidence this will happen, and plenty of historical evidence that it won't.

Moderation means understanding nuance and context. As soon as you declare that there is one globally optimal solution that works everytime, in any circumstance, no matter the issue, you've essentially declared yourself as a faith-based zealot.

In the real world, adaptations are contextual to the conditions on the ground.
 
+Ray Cromwell Besides Obamacare, which Romney passed and which conservative foundations opposing Hillary Care proposed as an alternative, explain to me the legislation that Obama has passed that is more liberal than any other President.

First, you're misrepresenting the facts. Romney did not pass "Obamacare." While I do oppose what he did with health care after I voted for him as governor, it is not the same, if for no other reason than the massively significant difference between the state and federal governments.

Second, there was ONE "conservative foundation" that pushed that alternative, and almost no one knew about it. It's not a serious consideration in this discussion.

So yes, "Obamacare" is the most liberal policy probably in the nation's history, and the time and energy he spent on it alone is probably sufficient to label him the most liberal, as long as on the whole he is about as liberal as the others.

And he is. We can name policy after policy that are firmly far left: the creation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Dodd-Frank, the massive Keynesian stimulus and bailouts.


Bill Clinton raised taxes in most brackets significantly, and he's less liberal than Obama?

Oh, please. You're going to compare a tax increase during good economic times to a lack of one during bad economic times?

Now, I will say that what I am talking about is actually implemented policy, mostly. Clinton certainly tried to get a lot of this stuff through, like health care reform. It should tell you something about the liberal state of the Democratic Party that Clinton could not get his plan through in the early 1990s, but Obama got his through in the early 2010s.
 
+Ray Cromwell , I consider myself a libertarian and don't think abolishing government will magically make everything better. Rather, abolishing government is a goal much as abolishing slavery was a goal. Note that shortly after abolishing slavery, things got much worse, but in the end, it was still the right thing to do.

Now, if one thinks that abolishing government (which is part of the broader goal of ending the initiation of force) is a worthy goal, the obvious question is how we can achieve such a goal.
 
The GOP is no longer a Conservative Party. But a Religious and Neoconservative Big Government Party.
 
+Ray Cromwell The Constitution also said, over 200 years ago, "Promote the General Welfare".

But no such power was ever granted by the Constitution. That is a statement of intent, not a grant of authority, anymore than "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" is a grant of power for government to ban contraception, to ensure we have posterity to pass our blessings of liberty to.


It may very well be that a weak centralized government is great when everyone has 40 acres and a mule. But when population density rises, there are very good, fundamental reasons why government tends to increase.

Then amend the Constitution. You are not making an argument for what the law says, or whether we should follow it, but only for how you want to change it.



The naive libertarian ideal makes the assumption that if you don't bother anyone else's property, you can't possibly hurt anyone else but yourself.

How could that possibly be false? Can you give a single example?


true-believer libertarians ... hold onto a near religious belief fantasy that if you abolish all government ...

False. Those are called "anarchists." Libertarians believe in a significant, important, and powerful role for government. They also believe it is a strictly limited role.


Moderation means understanding nuance and context.

Therefore you demonstrate, by your misrepresentation of libertarian views, that you lack moderation.


As soon as you declare that there is one globally optimal solution that works everytime, in any circumstance, no matter the issue, you've essentially declared yourself as a faith-based zealot.

Wow. You are essentially making the libertarian case: that people should be free to seek their own solutions. Did you mean to do that?
 
Time for us raging moderates and radical centrists to get involved in Americans Elect!! Go to americanselect.com and help pick the candidates and platform for a serious 3rd party Presidential ticket. The first Caucus round is 49 days away.
 
Let's not forget that the Democratic Party has also shifted significantly to the left -- JFK wouldn't have recognized it now. It's a never-ending circle -- each party's shift is relative to the other's.
 
I don't think that the Framers were aware of many things. Like, trips to the Moon. Anti-biotics, blood transfusions, cars, automatic weapons, and the devastation of the Environment. It seems rather silly to expect all things to be covered in a Constitution written nearly 300 years ago.
 
Look at Theodore Roosevelt - Republican . He'd be considered a socialist by all current benchmarks.
 
Noel and nuts. And a welfare Queen.
 
+Chris Nandor , I consider myself both a libertarian and an anarchist. I've met many libertarians who don't want any government and some who think there's a role for minimal government.
 
Vlad.. .you're kidding right? The Democratic Party has significantly gone to where the Republicans used to live. Everything has gone to the Right. I mean Obama has expanded the Bush power grab over liberties and expanded the military.
 
Libertarianism and anarchism are one of those great things that sound amazing until you try to apply it. And then realize its entirely impractical.
 
+Jack Ward , the Constitution was meant as a document limiting what government can do. As such, it didn't need to forecast the future.
 
+Jack Ward , why are libertarianism and anarchy impractical? To me it's because people still feel the need to force others to do and not do things. When children are faced with differences of opinion, do we teach them to use force or do we teach them to discuss?
 
+Jack Ward Since when have liberal Democrats not expanded the use of military power? Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, ... Obama is in a grand liberal Democrat tradition there.
 
+Jack Ward -- yes, I'm serious. They have shifted to the left just as much as the republicans have shifted to the right.
 
+Chris Nandor Obamacare is liberal? It's hilarious how the meaning of liberal has been shifted. A liberal healthcare program would be Medicare for All/Single Payer. ObamaCare is Private Insurance for All/Health Exchanges.

You call the CFPB and DoddFrank liberal? Then what do you call Sarbanes Oxley? Is George Bush America's most liberal President? For christsakes, the CFPB is merely an extension of regulation from Banks to "shadow banks". The government already had the power to regulate banking, but extending it to Credit Cards is now some mega liberal takeover?

The bailouts were created under Bush and voted on by conservatives and liberals alike, passing 74-25 in the Senate and 263-171 in the house. Bush also instituted the first auto-bailout.

The American Recovery Act was over 40% tax cuts, and a huge chunk of it was aid to states to keep the lights on and unemployment assistance, only a small fraction of it was "Keynesian" infrastructure spending. Hardly what liberals were calling for. Most liberal economists thought the Recovery Act was actually very conservative.

Don't let facts get in the way of your Obama derangement syndrome. Or the cloud of nostalgic ignorance that let's Republicans view Reagan as some kind of Tea Partier, when he'd be crucified in a primary of today's GOP for his "liberal" policies.
 
+Chris Nandor I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the term, "reactionary". How would the civil rights movement qualify?

My point was not to make a judgement call as to whether extreme positions are inherently bad; my point was that it seemed a little odd to be condemning the other side as "extreme" while advocating a pretty extreme position oneself.
 
Comparing libertarianism to abolition is pretty offensive IMHO. The government is made up of people. People are fallible. People have differing preferences. There's simply no way a libertarian government would be stable. It would simply slowly add back all of the rules and regulations that it originally had.

People are hardwired for political conflict, you see it in every private company with > 100 employees. And in political conflict, you have compromise, and political settlement, and that naturally turns out to be setting regulations.

It's a fantasy to think a) this is going to happen and b) that it would last and c) sheer economic ignorance in the face of data that it would even have have the benefits promised.
 
+Ray Cromwell , both government and slavery are based on the initiation of force to take away liberties from people. Why do you find that comparison offensive? Because you like government and don't like slavery?

Absolutely people are fallible. People who favor government often dismiss the fact that government is comprised of people. Moreover, when mistakes are made by government, the consequences are far wider reaching than if non-government entities make mistakes.

People are hardwired for conflict in general. Yet we've learned to control much of that hardwiring (eg we don't go around hitting others whenever we feel like it). Compromise can exist without government. IMO, though, compromise isn't ideal -- it's a lose-lose situation. Better is what voluntary transactions provide -- win-win situations.

The data points to the fact that people have become much less violent through the ages. Just because we may need government today doesn't mean we can't work towards a future without it.
 
+Ray Cromwell I find it really interesting that "liberal" has become a word without any real meaning any more when used by certain conservatives, especially the more extreme ones. In reality, I wouldn't describe health-care reform a liberal issue at all, but a progressive one. However, I think Republicans fear using the word "progressive" in the way they use "liberal", because some great Republican presidents were progressives, also, such as Theodore Roosevelt (as +Jimi Dunn mentioned)
 
To add to +Ray Cromwell's last point, free-market capitalism works when and if governments impose a level playing field. Unrestricted laissez-faire capitalism leads to the boom-and-bust cycles we saw in the late 19th Century, and which led to reforms, including antitrust laws. The 2008 meltdown was largely the result of inattentive regulators allowing the system to run unchecked.
 
+Anton Wahlman You realize, of course, that George Washington governed a country whose total population was 3 million (600,000 of them slaves, in case that changes your notion that nothing should be different than in the days of the founders.)

I agree that the Federal government is too large, but I have yet to see a Republican who actually acts to shrink it. That's what I find most repellent about Republican rhetoric. It is completely hot air.

See for example: http://www.businessinsider.com/government-spending-2011-7#ixzz1padq199i

"As you can see, from 2000 to 2008, under President Bush, Federal spending rose by $1.3 trillion, from $1.9 trillion a year to $3.2 trillion a year.


"From 2009 to 2011, meanwhile, under President Obama, federal spending has risen by $600 billion, from $3.2 trillion a year to $3.8 trillion a year. It has also now begun to decline."

And it's not just President Bush. The president in recent history (since Nixon) who had the smallest growth in Federal spending: Clinton. Number two: Obama.

Check out this graphs in this story from The Atlantic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/03/obama-most-fiscally-conservative-president-in-modern-history/254658/
 
Yea, and murder and someone blowing smoke in your face are also obviously the same because they are both 'initiation of force'. I'd say that the world isn't black of white, but I'd expect someone to quote Francisco D'Anconia from Rand in response.

This is the problem with libertarians. To them any rule that prohibits your actions is by definition initiation of force. Someone regulating that you can't paint your house with lead paint is the same as working as an indentured servant. There's no shades of gray. On the other hand, they completely ignore negative externalities where the actions of private individuals or in concert have largely bad effects on other people.

Maybe one day, humans will be mature enough to live in a completely libertarian society. You look around the world today at the state of people devolved into tribalism, gangsterism, and warlordism, and you should be deeply skeptical that we are ready for it.
 
+Jim Douglas , WRT the strong imposing their will upon the weak, government allows the influencers to impose their will upon the non-influencers. For example, how many of us would actually spend our time, money, and energy killing civilians in the MidEast? Yet those that influence our government funnel our money towards such activities.
 
and the left isnt extreme at all! Both sides are guilty. Don't be so damned biased! Obama got in and hes pulling the same shit as Bush did but spending way more while doing it.
 
+Chris Nandor The notion that the vitriol is worse on the left is laughable. I guess it just goes to show that when you agree with someone, you don't see his or her comments as insulting.

I don't actually watch political theater from either side. I am disgusted with both right wing and left wing extremism, and I despise the fact that anyone who says that the Republican Party has become the party of right wing extremists is accused of being a liberal extremist, rather than someone who calls for the party to return to some sensible level of moderation and practicality.

That's what I'm asking for.
 
+Jim Douglas , WRT boom and bust cycles, they're cycles as are the seasons and inhalation and exhalation. Certainly government hasn't done anything to end them. Perhaps government has even exacerbated them.

WRT anti-trust, the only monopolies that are bad are government-supported ones.
 
How brilliantly Orwellian is it that wanting to actually follow the constitution is considered too extreme.
 
Noel... the idea that somehow Anarchism and Libertarianism can function as a realistic alternative has never occurred in modern times, and I would argue in any times of civilization. The suggestion that somehow government is intrinsically bad, seems to come ONLY from Americans who actively to prove it through the choice of people who find government is bad and therefore outsource everything making it more so. The Canadian alternative to "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" is in our charter as "Peace, Order, and Good Government' and while the Conservatives currently are doing their best to kill the last of that, our expectation that government is there to service the public good has made Canada in the top ten nations of the world to live in... consistently for decades... and always in front of the U.S. for a reason. I submit that the idea that "government is bad" is a poor concept. Government when it works is operated for the people, by the people. If it's not working, you need MORE controls and transparency not less.
 
+Jack Ward , please read what I've been writing. I don't propose that we abolish government tomorrow. Rather, I propose that we work towards a society that doesn't need government nor the initiation of force.
 
+Tim O'Reilly , +Chris Nandor , I used to be Republican, but dropped the party back in 2003, because I didn't like the direction it was going. I couldn't stand that a moderate Republican is destroyed in primaries for being "too liberal". At least I've never heard a Democrat candidate attacked for being "too conservative". That is why the Republican party has gotten so extreme, IMO. The primaries have increasingly been about finding the most extreme candidate, not the most sensible.
 
+Stephen Rodgers The constitution is not a scripture interpreted by priests, it is a legal document interpreted by the courts. If the constitution were not being followed, the Supreme Court would have struck down government legislation that violated it. They've had 200 years to rollback everything. There is nothing in the constitution that encodes libertarianism, the idea that the feds couldn't impose taxes or regulate property. The idea that the founders were libertarians is nonsense. Do Libertarians even bother to read Jefferson or Madison's letters? Anti-federalism != libertarianism.
 
Wait, so are you telling me that not all of us Americans are firm in the belief that Obama is a Muslim-terrorist-socialist-fascist who has, despite what the elitist "facts" say, has single-handedly destroyed our economy and is trying ever more aggressively to eat our babies? That's what liberals do, right? Eat babies? I was pretty convinced that we needed some incredibly right-winged conservative to take office so that we could end contraception and get our kids working as janitors in the schools. You know, balance things out with the liberal media and all.

P.S. Just in case you're an idiot, this is all supposed to be read with heavy sarcasm in mind.
 
+Noel Yap Just go look at FED recession data going back to the 1800s. Prior to 1940s, recessions were more frequent, deeper, and sometimes even lasted longer. The data is there to lead to the inescapable conclusion that modern government: fed monetary policy, automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance, banking regulation and deposit insurance, and fiscal policy have all led to a moderation -- a lowering of volatility. We still have recessions, but the gradient and frequency has been moderated so that they aren't as tragically disruptive, although they may be longer.

I would argue that human beings are better dealing with predictability, and a long recession, but a slow descent and climb back, is easier to deal with than sudden large swings.

Do people really want to live in a world of bank runs?
 
hi this old fashion i find the picture b4 5 years
 
+Ray Cromwell SCOTUS really, that's what we should depend on, ask Dred Scott what he thinks of that institution. SCOTUS has turned into a corrupted and political 3rd branch of government that has basically relegated its responsibility to the bureaucracy of the executive branch.

If you think that the government has the authority to do, and I quote "Whatever is necessary to solve large problems" then there is really no limit at all to the power of the federal government.
 
+Ray Cromwell writes "Maybe one day, humans will be mature enough to live in a completely libertarian society. You look around the world today at the state of people devolved into tribalism, gangsterism, and warlordism, and you should be deeply skeptical that we are ready for it."

Whereas human beings are immature and incapable of governing themselves, we must select a few of them to govern everyone else? Is that really what you're saying?

Iceland, in its anarchic period, was more peaceful than the United States is at present. What does that say?
 
Both the Republican and Democractic parties are broken. Republicans are running into problems because their party line has left them supporting shock jocks like Rush and religious zealots like Santorum (the logic for which is, believe it or not, "this guy who wants craziness is Christian and so are a large number of Americans, so we have to take him seriously"). Democrats are only slightly less broken in the sense that they've had the wisdom to disown the majority of the truly offensive idiots that sit somewhere on the leftish side of the spectrum. Still, I think it's growing close to time to reconstitute the two parties in the U.S. (assuming we're not smart enough to reform the voting system to a non-plurality system that can support more than two parties).
 
well for 25 years, no one voted for them, GW Bush, made that so ever apparent, the rest of the Republikants are just as bad, they are invested in the oil companies, health insurance, off shoring for profits, buying up companies and giving foreign competitors patent information for money. They promise jobs, they can't produce and have helped sink the American dream into the gutter.....their solution ever since Ann Richards was to bring H-1B visa people and eliminate American workers, so now we have a mess and we are not regulated with Draconian laws to control us, because of their forceful policy making. My one question since 2001 has been, why are we "The American People" all of a sudden the domestic enemy? If you read the entire speech of Patrick Henry in his give me liberty or give me death, you will see what I mean.....
 
100% agree.. What are you going to do though, when everyone is bought and paid for BEFORE the election.? Their alliances are already made.
 
+Aaron Sherman Yes. The Founders were good, but not perfect. They did not expect the party system that has developed, and actually opposed the idea of parties. I like the idea of every citizen selecting their own representative, who would vote a number of votes equal to the number of their constituents in the House. Senators should be selected by State legislatures again, and the President? I'm not sure. Possibly selected by the House and/or the Senate, or it could remain largely unchanged.
 
Oh dear, someone tripped over Cromwell's Law analog to Godwin's Law, which is when someone cites Icelandic Sagas as proof of libertarianism, the thread is over. (Maybe there is an analog when people cite small communes "working" as proof of communism)
 
+Jack Ward from one Canadian to another, well said. The anti-government rhetoric I hear from Americans is bewildering. Government, to me, represents roads, sewers, clean water, parks, libraries, schools, firefighters, health care and the rule of law. What do American libertarians offer in exchange for selling off the building blocks of civilized society to the highest bidder? Every experience I have had of a public asset being privatized - from UK railways to Ontario power - has resulted in the public paying higher prices for deteriorating services provided by increasingly underpaid and apathetic workers. Libertarians, assuming reality matches their ideology without ever taking a good look at the facts, seem to live in opposite land. Who in their right mind would rather live entirely under the power of unaccountable, profit-driven mega-corporations than live in a democracy?
 
LOL, "Obamacare" is a washed down version of a bill the Republicans (Romney and co) put forward. It being "liberal" (which you can only guess what someone means when they say that because people use the term wildly differently depending on context and if they listen to Rush and watch fox). That bill has more Republican in it than Democrat, the fight was over who was going to get to put their name on it.
 
If it is not made in America, we don't want it, I mean that literally, they stick a label on it saying made in America, when in fact it was made offshore, that provision should be made illegal. Made in America or it will not sell here, collapse the retail market, millions of apartments, not habitable because property corporations are trying to get the people who lost their homes because of foreclosure and can pay the higher rates, which has created a new class of homeless, that needs to be changed...with immediacy, example $1222.00 for 349 square room HUD guideline, is ridiculous when most people are not even making a living wage, thank you Republikants, more important to kill 2.5 million Iraqi women and children....or genocide Palestinians, or make vast areas of the USA uninhabitable because of fracturing for profit........
 
The math of first-past-the-post voting dictates that we have two parties, but that comes up against the fact that both Democratic and Republican parties are losing members. There is an unmet need (which I think is Libertarian, but we'll see how many votes Gary Johnson gets this fall.)
 
+Kerri Brown , I don't know about Canada, but the introduction of highways in the US meant the destruction of local economies (eg the Bronx, which is still recovering). They also create incentives to drive cars which, if you buy into the theory, contribute to global warming.

In the end, people who like government cite the benefits that it brings presuming said benefits wouldn't exist if it weren't for government (perhaps toilet paper wouldn't've existed if it weren't for the Soviet Union). They also think that their desires for these benefits outweighs the collective desires of the market. Finally, they completely ignore the costs (eg by granting the government such powers, government can now fund the killing of innocent civilians in the MidEast).
 
Well, Obama was ranked as like... what, the most liberal of all liberals in Congress when he was a Senator? And now the Republicans have parked their trucks in freaking crazy town with how extreme they are.

Looks like our parties have completely left the moderate field.
 
Good leaders don't want to "rule" people, they want people to be free. This is true in every other relationship; it is no different with respect to government.
 
Obama was ranked "most liberal" by the National Journal. Hmm, strange, when Kerry was running for President, Kerry was suddenly the one ranked "most liberal". Sensing a pattern? How can Obama be ranked more liberal, than say, Bernie Sanders, an actual self-described socialist?
 
Jake. That's insane. I can't believe Obama was actually the most liberal of all liberals in Congress. Dennis Kucinch has more liberalism in his pinky than Obama does in his entire being.
 
Republikants are failsauce all the way and should get pwnd so hard they will just go away, We need our highways fixed not as through fares for cheap Mexican goods, displacing American and Canadian workers. Enough is enough. We want politicians who are actually public servants not Gofor and do what corporation or foreign entity tells them to do and drugging our Mentally Gifted Minors should be a criminal offense and the law rescinded immediately that requires that, another GW Bush carry over. Obama is not Liberal or Conservative, he straddles the line of both....
 
Larry Lessig has it right. Dominance of the funders rather than the "whole people" explains modern politics pretty well. That's why they don't have to represent the whole people. http://unitedrepublic.org/ Fix the root cause...
 
the republicans do realize that every thing the candidates insult each other with Obama can use. If Romney points something out about Santorum's history Obama can use that
 
+Noel Yap have you ever seen the battle between supporters of vi and Emacs?

If the parties are divisive, it's because people are inherently divisive. Or I should say, we're inherently clannish.

We want to be part of a group. We want to identify with a group, and sometimes that identification becomes so strong, we make poor decisions.

More parties will create smaller units of polarization, but the polarization will still exist. Imagine it: take the current GOP Presidential primary race and multiply it by however many new parties--you couldn't invent a horror movie this scary.

The problems exist within us. We have to have the courage to tell those in our "group" when they've crossed a line they shouldn't have, or haven't crossed a line they should.

And we have to be able to back this up by denying our votes, even if the "other" side is worse.
 
+Ray Cromwell +Jack Ward +Jim Douglas I'll recognize that as a contested bit of data, I wasn't fact checking it. (BTW, I'm probably voting for him, the Republican candidates are all just a little too... well... insane... for my tastes.)
 
+Tim O'Reilly my new party affiliation is the Wutbürger:

German Politics Faces Grass-Roots Threat - 'Loosely translated as “enraged citizen,” the Wutbürger has stepped outside the classical system, and has become the bane of every political party in Germany... This phenomenon of the angry or even enraged citizen has become so entrenched that the German Language Society in December named “Wutbürger” word of the year for 2010... “In the case of the Wutbürger, the citizens feel that the political decisions are made over their heads. It has created a kind of frustration, or anger... You can see it from the spate of protests over the past year...The Wutbürgers are not ideological as such. They are educated people who are against a certain style of politics in which the political parties have failed to create a platform for citizens’ discussions.”'
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/world/europe/02germany.html?hp
 
Then as American People it is our duty to ourselves with respect to law and make that change, so that again America stands for We The People, we want the world to have Cultures of Democracy, yet we allow our own leadership to deny us the Culture of Democracy, that is why no one wants to hear our rants about democracy, because our very living example, undermines the very good intent of what democracy is like to live under....
 
+Jake Weisz I won't be voting for him; they don't let Canadians vote for President. But I would, given the available options. The other thing is that the entire U.S. political spectrum has lurched to the far right over the past 30 years. The Democratic party is now centrist, while the mainstream (or at least the loudest, shrillest voices) of the Republican party has become radicalized. By any reasonable measure, Obama is solidly in the pragmatic centrist tradition.
 
+Jim Douglas Obama's made me fairly happy in his last term. Probably one of the biggest things for me was him standing up to the MPAA on SOPA. It probably hurt him pretty badly financially.
 
Lol at a NY article thinking it knows anything about republican party..and republicans voting for Obama over Romney...lol
 
Seriously? The new Yorker? Now there's a middle of the road rag....
 
Really! What or who in this world could possibly be worse than Alibama.
 
Ahh the insanity of arguing which major political party is more extreme. Extreme times call for extreme measures and these are extreme times. However extreme fails when those measures are not the solutions needed, and neither party has the right measures by any stretch of reason and rationality.

Both parties have a mindset of "my way is right and I seek to impose my way upon you". Can you not see the folly?
 
+Shelley Powers , I completely agree the problems reside within us. Many take it for granted that those problems exist and can never be resolved completely dismissing the fact that we've overcome through the centuries much of our violent tendencies.

Moreover, let's say I'm for candidate X, you're for candidate Y, and someone else is for candidate Z. If we're able to vote for them on an equal footing, so what? Nowadays, though, that doesn't happen due to the two party system. Instead, the system leans towards mediocrity or least worst rather than the best.
 
Yeah, but they sure are a good looking bunch...
 
+Tim O'Reilly The notion that the vitriol is worse on the left is laughable.

It's laughable that you think so.


I guess it just goes to show that when you agree with someone, you don't see his or her comments as insulting.

No. I hate it when the people on the right, who agree with me, do this, like Sean Hannity. I see his comments as insulting, too.



I don't actually watch political theater from either side.

Then, might I suggest that you have no basis for saying my comment is "laughable"?


I despise the fact that anyone who says that the Republican Party has become the party of right wing extremists is accused of being a liberal extremist, rather than someone who calls for the party to return to some sensible level of moderation and practicality.

I despise the fact that people say the GOP is a party of right-wing extremists, despite no serious evidence supporting that claim, and that the people who do so -- i.e., you -- are actually asking for the GOP to agree with them, rather than to be more "practical."
 
Isn't it interesting that the party selecting a candidate is always under fire for falling apart. Same truth goes for media channels; they are always willing to attack the President (whoever it is) but rarely put their neck out by giving details on how they would do it.
 
+Noam Chomsky is endorsing the +Green Party. Are they a real, credible alternative?
A 2-party state is not really a democracy, and not much better than a dictatorship, IMHO. It comes down to which one you dislike the least.
We (the rest of the world) would really like to see some real leadership for good coming out of the US for a change....
 
It's one thing to bemoan the shortcomings of the two party system, but when you compare it to dictatorship, you only show that you have no idea what it is actually like to live in a dictatorship, +Jakes vdM
 
+Parth Kotak you need to know, that anything Santorum knows about Romney, Obama knew about Romney already. The same could have been said about Obama and Clinton in 2008, but it didn't work out that way. Most of the material dug up during a primary battle never sees the light of day in the general. The context is not the same.
 
+Thomas Andrews , just because the two party system is better than a dictatorship doesn't mean it's the best there can be especially when one considers that both parties are essentially identical nowadays.
 
Sitting here and thinking all these political issues. It seems that we have missed the boat. So, what if we got the best constitutional lawyers in the US and created the Peoples Lobby, since Lobbyists have so much to say and form that organization with everyone contributing $1.00 US, $310 million dollars would create 1 hell of a Lobby and we can tie Washington for 100 years or get things done that Serve American needs at home, new concept using the tools we have....
 
What we need are people that have good ideas, and a non-dumb electorate to put them in office. We will keep electing more of the same from both parties in the U.S. until we value ideas over affiliations.
 
+Ray Cromwell Obamacare is liberal?

Very much so, yes. And until this decade, it was far too liberal to ever become law. It's forcing all insurers to provide minimum and maximum levels of coverage, to offer insurance only through a government-run "market"; it's forcing all individuals to have insurance; it's forcing all non-small employers to provide insurance (or be penalized if their employees get subsidized insurance). It's massive new controls over every single one of us for the "common good."

Yes, it's very, very, liberal. Now, they could go much further, of course ... and they plan to.


You call the CFPB ... liberal?

A new government agency with -- except for the President -- unchecked power and massive purse powers. Yep, very liberal.


and DoddFrank liberal? Then what do you call Sarbanes Oxley?

About as bad as Dodd-Frank.


Is George Bush America's most liberal President?

You may have missed it, but I already noted that GW Bush is from the "moderate" wing of the GOP. He's not nearly as liberal as Obama or Clinton, obviously, but yes, Sarbanes-Oxley and many other programs from Bush show he is no conservative.


For christsakes, the CFPB is merely an extension of regulation from Banks to "shadow banks".

No, it's not. I am not against regulation, I am against a new unnecessary bureaucracy with no serious oversight on powers or expenditures.


The government already had the power to regulate banking, but extending it to Credit Cards is now some mega liberal takeover?

I think you haven't been following the opposition to the CFPB, because it's not about that at all.



The bailouts were created under Bush ...

Sorry, I was actually talking about the auto bailouts. I should've been more clear. And the thing about TARP is that it was not a real bailout: the money was intended to be repaid, and largely was. That's not to say I am in favor of it, but it's not the same.


Bush also instituted the first auto-bailout.

Yep. Bush did many things that were bad.


The American Recovery Act was over 40% tax cuts, and a huge chunk of it was aid to states to keep the lights on and unemployment assistance, only a small fraction of it was "Keynesian" infrastructure spending.

The tax cuts (which were 37% of the act) were ridiculous. They essentially had no stimulative effect. Most people never noticed the payroll tax credit. And the rest were tiny targetted cuts that may have helped some people, but again, had almost zero stimulative effect.

And I wasn't talking about infrastructure. Any time you put government money into something in order to stimulate the economy, that's Keynes. And that includes unemployment benefits, which were sold not just as a way to help unemployed people live, but as a way to get them to spend money to stimulate the economy.


Hardly what liberals were calling for. Most liberal economists thought the Recovery Act was actually very conservative.

No, they did not. They thought it was not "liberal enough." Nothing about it was conservative, in fact. A conservative stimulus would've been, for example, a corporate tax holiday that would've freed up capital to use to hire people. Spending money to stimulate is not conservative.


Don't let facts get in the way of your Obama derangement syndrome.

You provided no facts that argue against anything I wrote. You argued against incorrect assumptions about what I meant, but that's not the same thing.


Or the cloud of nostalgic ignorance that let's Republicans view Reagan as some kind of Tea Partier, when he'd be crucified in a primary of today's GOP for his "liberal" policies.

Yawn. You do realize 2012 is not 1980, right? You're not actually making any kind of an argument.
 
+Matthew Jacobs I'm not sure you understand the meaning of the term, "reactionary".

I am quite sure that I do. ;)


How would the civil rights movement qualify?

How wouldn't it? It was entirely reactionary from beginning to end. They were reacting to the current trend of government against civil rights in order to restore it to the clear words and meaning of the constitution that guaranteed equal protection of rights for all citizens.



My point was not to make a judgement call as to whether extreme positions are inherently bad; my point was that it seemed a little odd to be condemning the other side as "extreme" while advocating a pretty extreme position oneself.
And what position is "extreme"? And what do you mean by "extreme"?
 
Yup. I don't like the Dems, but the Repubs just boggle the mind.
 
+Matthew Jacobs I used to be Republican, but dropped the party back in 2003, because I didn't like the direction it was going. I couldn't stand that a moderate Republican is destroyed in primaries for being "too liberal".

When did that ever happen in or around 2003?

At least I've never heard a Democrat candidate attacked for being "too conservative".

Wow. It actually happens a lot. Joe Lieberman is a very clear and obvious example. My own current congressman gets saveged by his party (mostly behind closed doors, although the left did run a candidate against him in 2010), because he is currently in a swing district and can't be very liberal if he wants to win (though thanks to the magic of redistricting, Rick Larsen will never face another serious challenger for the rest of his life). But it does happen less and less, because Democrat candidates are now much less likely to be moderate.

That is why the Republican party has gotten so extreme, IMO. The primaries have increasingly been about finding the most extreme candidate, not the most sensible.

That may sound good to you and others who tend to agree with you, but the evidence doesn't demonstrate it. There's not even any serious evidence that the GOP has gotten more extreme, let alone that primaries pick extreme candidates.
 
A pseudo-intellectual, New York Liberal flinging his poop at decent people. Boring and stereotypical.
 
It's hard to discuss politics when everyone is using this limited and overly simplistic definition of "left" and "right". Left and right have nothing to do with government size, that would be more "top" (totalitarianism) and "bottom" (Anarchy). Both the democrats and republicans are "top" in that sense.

"left" can generally be thought of as social or for the individual and "right" more company friendly (overly simplistic, I know). In that sense, both parties are "right". Anyone who thinks democrats are as extreme left as republicans are extreme right is using an extremely bizarre definition of the term. The only actual left party in the US are the green party (obviously any socialist/communist party as well, but they play no role in US politics in any case). 
 
+Noel Yap I think the comment by +Warren Strange demonstrates the difficulty of eliminating polarization. It's so much easier just to be generally dismissive than to have to provide a thoughtful and even nuanced response.
 
+Jason Johnson Left and right have nothing to do with government size, that would be more "top" (totalitarianism) and "bottom" (Anarchy). Both the democrats and republicans are "top" in that sense.

You do have a point, but the problem is that people are left and right on multiple axes. Someone who is "right" on foreign policy, social issues, etc. might not be "right" on the economy. So if you are going to look at a single left/right comparison, yes, you're correct. But I tend to look at the multiple axes, where it still works out.



"left" can generally be thought of as social or for the individual and "right" more company friendly (overly simplistic, I know)

Not overly simplistic ... just completely inaccurate. Look at the leftist policies of Obama that many companies back because it represents massive handouts (direct cash, tax breaks, regulatory friendliness, etc.) toward those companies. These are policies most people on the right oppose ... though many others on the right don't.


Anyone who thinks democrats are as extreme left as republicans are extreme right is using an extremely bizarre definition of the term.

Well, no, you have it a bit backward. "Extreme" is a necessarily relative term, as are "center" and "moderate." So we take the American center, and say it is where most Americans are, and if we can say that one party is as far away from that center to the left as the other one is to the right, then both are, by definition, equally extreme. Certainly the Democrat Party is to the left of the American center, so saying the Democrats are on the "right" makes no sense, unless you further qualify it (e.g., it is to the right of most people/parties in Europe).


The only actual left party in the US are the green party (obviously any socialist/communist party as well, but they play no role in US politics in any case).
Then by that same standard, there is no real "right" party in the U.S. Shrug.
 
+Noel Yap is it the mere existence of public roads that destroys local economies or the fact that they all lead to Walmart?

If you have a viable alternative to public spending financing the establishment and maintenance of essential public infrastructure I would live to hear it. In the real world, the profit motive leads to pisspoor public services. Your health care system is a prime example. Twice as expensive as the next most expensive system in the first world and worse outcomes than most.
 
If you believe the republic or demacratic party are better then one another you as much of a sheep as everyone else there both so corrupt its pathetic how we have let these party's become and still be in power today
 
+Chris Nandor Ah. I see what you did there. You think that if you define the constitution as the ideal, every movement you agree with is "reactionary". Cute, but utter and complete propaganda, rather than actual history. You may have forgotten that the Constitution included the "three-fifths compromise", which I kind of doubt those taking part in the civil rights movement wanted to go back to. If it was simply a matter of "going backwards", they wouldn't have needed the 24th amendment. The Civil Rights Movement was Progressive, pure and simple; the movement sought to do away with old practices, not illogically go back to them.

The Constitution has never been a magical document. It was a great starting point, but we wouldn't have needed 27 amendments if it was so wonderfully perfect to begin with.
 
Boot everyone in the White house, senate, etc out of office. Too many scumbags. The founding fathers would be very angry about how this country is being run today.
 
Noel I don't see how that fits in my argument in the Long Game. After all, how many Googles do you think you could place around the country to justify the outlay of infrastructure for the people? I wasn't suggesting government controls business. That's not the rational middle view. The rational middle view sees Government as an intermediary both supporting business to flourish with roads and infrastructure, while keeping strict labour and environmental protection laws so that business is certain to create stable businesses locally that do not pollute or harm the local populace and encourage community. Remember, business' purpose is not to create community in any way. It is to make profit. There is no other large organization (outside of Unions and they've already been sadly devastated) that is actually interested in the public good of the workers and the community they inhabit.
 
+Shelley Powers , I agree. Again, the question is how to change people and society so that they're not so dismissive. I think such dismissal stems from (the primitive part of) the brain's response when one's ideas, beliefs, etc are challenged, questioned, etc -- it treats it as a physical attack and responds with fight-or-flight. Again, the solution is to learn better to control these kinds of reactions much as we have learned to control our violent responses.
 
+Kerri Brown , you place the context as 'public infrastructure'. Why must infrastructure be public in the first place? Aren't Google datacenters a good example of infrastructure that's not public? Anyway, the fact that highways split local communities is what destroyed the economy in the Bronx.

It's really a shame that when something goes wrong, free markets are blamed. Healthcare is nowhere near free markets. For one, the government skews the market by incentivizing companies to provide health insurance. The market is so skewed that health insurance is now pretty much synonymous with healthcare. Other areas where the government introduces market friction are:
* the government-supported monopoly AMA which limits the supply of doctors thereby driving up their prices
* the restriction of insurance companies to work across state borders
* the restriction of some pharmaceutical drugs to enter into the US

Heck, is G+ such a pisspoor service that we're forced to use it?
 
I agree with felix, the regulations and out of control government spending is destroying our freedoms and rights.
 
+Jack Ward , you're still thinking like a central planner. Those that think they can profit from laying infrastructure will do so. They'll take the risk and reap the rewards or pay the consequences (eg Google used to outsource their datacenters). The fact that you and others may be too risk averse to invest in these things doesn't mean everyone in the market is.

Why shouldn't roads be a private enterprise just as datacenters are?

Unions aren't interested in the public good. They're interested in the good of their leaders. There have been some cases in which sanitation unions have prevented entrepreneurs from entering into their turf even though consumers would've paid much less for better services.
 
+Noel Yap - you're right: calling the US 2-party state a dictatorship is an oversimplification.
But from outside the US is does not seem all that different to other autocratic regimes, such as China or the middle-east, especially considering the fact that the real seat of power does not seem to be wielded by politicians (who can be called to account - sometimes), but by those shadowy figures behind the scenes, pulling the purse-strings.
 
I love his quote: “I think one of the attributes of our political system has been that we have avoided generally violent swings in Administrations from one extreme to the other." - Well, that sure changed since then, eh? Now it seems violent swings in the opposite direction are inevitable. Not including the increase in ideological voters due to sensationalist media on both sides, the rest of the population is so fed up with politicians the idea is usually to just vote the incumbent out. In fact, as citizens are 'spun' more and more, lied to, and otherwise manipulated ... and as more and more politicians get caught doing the most abhorrent things, this general distrust may very well ensure nobody holds office long.
 
+Noel Yap If you don't want people to be so dismissive of Libertarianism, you'll have to find ways to make sure they haven't studied things like psychology, sociology, and modern history.

Good luck.
Chris M
 
Don't get me started on THIS! IF the American people go GOP in November, our country is in worse shape than I fear!
 
I have never seen a democratic President govern the "whole" people, especially our current president. Mitt Romney will come the closest we have ever come to doing that.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , I actually study psychology and sociology. Again, while we collectively may not be mature enough to have a libertarian society, it's still a worthy goal. The question is how to achieve it and that requires knowing something about psychology, sociology, brain physiology, etc. So, I actually encourage people to study these topics. I also point out that whatever shortcomings human beings have, those in government also have those shortcomings.

WRT what can be learned from modern history, watch Praxeology: The Austrian Method | Hans-Hermann Hoppe. For example, those supporting the stimulus would say things would be much worse today than without the stimulus (despite the projections when the stimulus was being sold) and those against the stimulus would say it caused more harm than good. There's really no way to tell because controlled experiments can't be done and there are way more variables than data points to do proper statistical analysis.

Let me ask you, if a child isn't sharing with another child, do we teach the other child simply to take from the first?
 
I find it very interesting to imagine the +1 data of this entire thread on reddit, where people can also be downvoted. I wonder what it would look like there (assuming the same audience). Also, I wonder if you could approximate it based on this +1 data (i.e. are negative signals perfectly inversely correlated with positive signals, or is some information lost when they are censored?)
 
+Matt Kevins , some may have noticed that I +1 posts from people who sometimes disagree with me (I'll +1 if they make a good argument or I agree with the post). I have a feeling many don't do that.
 
This is the end of all parties. In fact, democracy based on parties are unconstitutional. The Constitution doesn't say that you have primaries and eliminate candidates. Read George Washington's farewell address. Washington warned against political parties. Both Democrats & Republican parties are dead now. Both parties are now replaced by Facebook & Google+ This is the new modern democracy for, by, of the people; no longer for, by, of the politicians.
 
It's all part of the circus act let them fool themselves, on other news watch out for the bunkers that will not help avoid the cosmic impact for the Indocryn glands are going to be put thru the magnetic radiation felt in the entire cosmos in the Right Ascention based on your own will. All level of negativity will be wiped out its the golden age of man to be or not to be ,the chance to become like the Mayans and or enabled to become godly like ufos, no joke so start to let go of this misery in the fallen socialism that has become pathetic and retarded, free yourself and if you want more details I will be around the truth else go back to your strings, excuse me and have a great night polly's.
 
+Matthew Jacobs You think that if you define the constitution as the ideal, every movement you agree with is "reactionary".

No, I in fact did no such thing. I am holding it up as the law of the land, not necessarily as an idea. I simply stated the fact that the Constitution says, quite clearly, that the governments of the states were required to provide equal protection of the laws to its citizens. Being reactionary means to oppose a status quo to return to some other idealized state. The civil rights movement fits that perfectly.


Cute, but utter and complete propaganda, rather than actual history. You may have forgotten that the Constitution included the "three-fifths compromise", which I kind of doubt those taking part in the civil rights movement wanted to go back to.

You're not making sense. Slavery was repealed, whereas the 14th Amendment was in effect.


If it was simply a matter of "going backwards", they wouldn't have needed the 24th amendment.

Yes, in terms of law, they actually didn't need the 24th Amendment. If we had no 24th Amendment today, I guarantee you that any poll tax would be found unconstitutional. But in practical terms at the time, they probably needed it.


The Civil Rights Movement was Progressive, pure and simple

You seem to think that something cannot be progressive and reactionary at the same time. You're wrong.


The Constitution has never been a magical document. It was a great starting point, but we wouldn't have needed 27 amendments if it was so wonderfully perfect to begin with.

You're not actually making an argument against anything that anyone has ever said.
 
+Noel Yap, I have a feeling many people have a lot of emotion invested in threads like these..hence my wondering in my previous comment. If there was -1s from the start, I wonder if/how that would affect the outcome of the discussion: would it deteriorate more rapidly into all out flame warfare? does the +1 help to keep things "positive"? Who knows.

As far as people not +1ing "the enemy", well..everyone thinks differently I suppose...
 
yes,it is a sad time for all of us no one to get behind or believe
 
Any Ron Paul supporters on here, BTW?
 
+Noel Yap I actually study psychology and sociology. Again, while we collectively may not be mature enough to have a libertarian society, it's still a worthy goal.

My spouse has degrees in both subjects, and she tends toward libertarianism too. Funny that.


The question is how to achieve it and that requires knowing something about psychology, sociology, brain physiology, etc.

I certainly does not need the latter. It doesn't need much of the two former, either. All you really need is a high value for the right of all men to self-determination, or an understanding of the fact that government is literally incapable of determining society's path along the most optimal trajectories. Either one will do. Both is best.



those supporting the stimulus would say things would be much worse today than without the stimulus (despite the projections when the stimulus was being sold) and those against the stimulus would say it caused more harm than good. There's really no way to tell because controlled experiments can't be done and there are way more variables than data points to do proper statistical analysis.

I won't argue it caused more harm than good -- unless we are including a discussion of the long-term effects of the debt, the loss of public confidence in government, and so on -- but though we cannot know for certain, we can say with extreme confidence that we would've seen significantly greater economic expansion if we gave a corporate tax holiday that cost roughly, oh, I dunno, $787 billion. I can't see how it's even rational to argue that we wouldn't have seen a significant decrease in unemployment from that.
 
+Noel Yap I think it's fair to want some of those goals, but I think history has shown that Libertarian/Free Market concepts quickly devolve into something very unpleasant. Like communism, it can work on small scales, but once you start scaling up, you quickly run into major problems.

Internet-age Libertarians often seem to think that the free flow of information will fix everything, but that's not the way it works out in real life. More information only works up to a point, after which it becomes information overload, in which people have greater and greater difficulty finding the relevant information and making sure it's accurate. People begin looking for easy answers, which con artists and other types of hucksters are too happy to provide. They start cyber-balkanizing themselves into segregated communities, in which only the information they want to hear is shared, and the rest is redefined or spun for their particular belief system. Manipulators can then easily make use of this by simply telling them what they want to hear, regardless of whether or not the information is true.

+Chris Nandor The two types of movements are most easily identified by their rhetoric. Reactionary movements talk about moving back to some past ideal, progressive movements talk about moving forward to a future ideal. The civil rights movement did not talk about the past, but the future as what should be made right. Your attempt to redefine history to support your claim falls flat.
 
+Chris Nandor , yes, one doesn't need to know those sciences in order to have a libertarian society, but I think while people may agree with the goal of self-determination, they won't feel comfortable allowing others to have that until they understand the underlying mechanisms that make them uncomfortable with it. At least that level of understanding helps me become what I consider to be a more mature human being. Other people may need other means to help them.
 
Information Overload and the Paradox of Choice are reasons why eventually, public codes and standards are perceived as good because they simplify mental overhead. An infinite variety of competitive services replacing every government service would be too much for most people to handle, the exact opposite of why Apple is a success.

Everytime you move into a building, do you want to read through a competitive list of earthquake building code providers and see which one is best? Everytime you pump gas, do you want to see a competitive list of gas inspectors who verified you're not being gipped and "subscribe" to their reports? Competitive food safety reports? Competitive police? You want to worry that each road you turn on might have a different road-subscription network provider?

The idea that I want to be shopping around, continuously, all the time, for multiple providers for every basic infrastructural or civil rule is ludicrous. At a certain point, it becomes more efficient, and more useful to people, to draw the line at a less efficient solution, that everyone can agree on, and etch that one in stone so everyone knows what it is and depends on it.

The government is the layer-1 operating system for society. It provides the underlying kernel so that our "applications" (capitalism businesses) can run on top of it.

Having no operating system at all is not always an improvement, although programmers who "go bare to the metal" can often extract useful efficiencies.

On the other hand, you get more crashes from misbehaving processes.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , free markets can also help with information overload. For example, Priority Inbox helps me a lot.

As for balkanization, in what way is the current government setup helping with that? From what I can tell, the two party system leads to more polarization.

Like I said before, nothing is perfect. This includes freer information flow.
 
When Nixon quotes become sage prophecy...
 
What burns my butt, besides a 3 foot high flame, is that the only discussion seems to be big v. small government. Lets start talking about affective government instead of size for awhile and see where that takes us.
 
I think it' s funny when "conservatives" call Bill Maher a "liberal." That makes as much sense as calling the Washington Post "liberal."
 
+Ray Cromwell , simplification doesn't have to be the responsibility of government. Indeed, if government were given that responsibility, you can be sure those who influence it will use it for their own benefit.

Immature markets will have lots of players. As a market matures, the number of players decreases as those less efficient will succumb to competition from those that are more efficient. Take a look at the search engine space for an example (everyone knows Google today; some may remember Alta Vista, Lycos, and many others).

The OS and kernel are great analogies. Note that no one is forced to use the OS and kernel and everyone is free to subvert it. Note also that subversion against the government is a punishable crime. IOW, I wouldn't mind at all if governmental participation, like many other relationships, is voluntary. Unfortunately, those who like government feel others ought to be forced to support it in every way. In fact, use of force is what differentiates government from other types of human organization. (As someone else pointed in another discussion, this isn't exactly true; the mafia also uses force).
 
+Bala Sankar democracy based on parties are unconstitutional

That is simply incorrect.

The Constitution doesn't say that you have primaries and eliminate candidates.

It doesn't say you can't have them, either.

Both Democrats & Republican parties are dead now.

How often is a non-Democrat or non-Republican elected to federal or state office? Wishing it to be true doesn't make it so.

Both parties are now replaced by Facebook & Google+ This is the new modern democracy for, by, of the people; no longer for, by, of the politicians.

And THAT, +Bala Sankar, more than anything else, is why the two parties are more polarized than ever: because they are responding to the whims of we the people. They are not the problem; we are.
 
+Richard Sunbury What burns my butt ... is that the only discussion seems to be big v. small government. Lets start talking about affective government instead of size for awhile and see where that takes us.

I can't speak for you, but usually, when people say that, it's because they want license to have big government programs. For example, Obama used that line in his inaugural address.
 
+Richard Sunbury , that's a good point. If a government is big, it can do lots of things. OTOH, those influential to that government will be able most to wield its power. And a bigger government will make bigger mistakes with bigger consequences.
 
+Matthew Jacobs Reactionary movements talk about moving back to some past ideal

Yes ... like equal protection.

progressive movements talk about moving forward to a future ideal

Like massive government protections for unions. Oh wait, that's a past ideal.

Your attempt to redefine history ...

No, really. The 14th Amendment was ratified like 100 years before the Civil Rights movement. You can look it up.
 
I would counter that in order to be efficient, it must be small. There is no way a government this large can have any efficiency whatsoever, and in fact streamlining and eliminating useless departments will lead to much higher efficiency.
 
+Noel Yap one doesn't need to know those sciences in order to have a libertarian society, but I think while people may agree with the goal of self-determination, they won't feel comfortable allowing others to have that until they understand the underlying mechanisms that make them uncomfortable with it.

I don't agree. Indeed, I think it is a mistake to try to help people feel comfortable or get past their discomfort or even really try to understand it at a very deep level. Sure, some people will get it, and get past it, but most won't, and more often than not, they will just become more resentful. What's much more important is that they realize that everyone is uncomfortable with someone else, and that's not sufficient reason to limit their freedom.

So I couldn't care less who hates gays, or Christians, or blacks, or Alaskan governors ... all I care about is that they recognize that we live in a pluralistic society, and you have no reason for it to matter that you dislike someone else.


At least that level of understanding helps me become what I consider to be a more mature human being.

Might I suggest that maturely being accepting of people also includes being accepting of people who aren't accepting? :-)
 
I don't think that believing in principle, morality and God is too extreme at all. Moving forward does not mean leaving our morals and teachings behind.
 
+Fernando de Orbegoso I would add that moving toward more government control over our lives -- such as with "Obamacare" -- is not progressive at all, but patently regressive.
 
+Chris Nandor

You do have a point, but the problem is that people are left and right on multiple axes. Someone who is "right" on foreign policy, social issues, etc. might not be "right" on the economy.

Agreed.

Not overly simplistic ... just completely inaccurate. Look at the leftist policies of Obama that many companies back because it represents massive handouts (direct cash, tax breaks, regulatory friendliness, etc.) toward those companies. These are policies most people on the right oppose ... though many others on the right don't.

Again, the disconnect here comes from you calling the democrats "left". Clearly Obama is not remotely "left". His "Obama care" amounted to handing out guaranteed customers to the Insurance companies and that's the most "left" thing he could be accused of. Wall Street has quite enjoyed his tenure. If you ignore what is said and concentrate on what is done you should realize that there is virtually no difference between the two so-called parties.

Well, no, you have it a bit backward.

No, you're turning the whole discussion into a near tautology. If we use the terms the way you suggest then we can make no comparisons with other countries or even US history. At the rate things are going we won't be able to compare to even the US political spectrum of, say, 20 years ago.

So we take the American center, and say it is where most Americans are, and if we can say that one party is as far away from that center to the left as the other one is to the right, then both are, by definition, equally extreme.

While technically correct in its way, this definition is near useless. A political spectrum only makes sense when done holistically. You can't say "republicans aren't extreme right" when you are defining them as the right most possible point. It's only when we compare all possible values of "right", "left", "top" and "bottom" that we can derive any meaningful information about where the parties actually stand. And by this standard, both parties are are well into the top right quadrant.

Then by that same standard, there is no real "right" party in the U.S. Shrug.

Check out the political compass site. Republicans and Democrats never leave the right side. It's only the US Green party that could even win a seat in a Western European government (Note that they are only extreme left within the US spectrum).
 
+Jason Johnson Clearly Obama is not remotely "left".

Clearly, he is.


His "Obama care" amounted to handing out guaranteed customers to the Insurance companies

Through massive government control over businesses and individuals, which is what Bastiat called "socialisme." Doing that big handout certainly isn't something that would ever be considered conservative.


... and that's the most "left" thing he could be accused of.

No, it's not. It's his biggest leftist program, but not his most leftist program.


Wall Street has quite enjoyed his tenure.

Not really, no. They've been able to succeed with him there, but they think they'd be better off with someone on the right.


If you ignore what is said and concentrate on what is done you should realize that there is virtually no difference between the two so-called parties.

Again, "Obamacare" is a massive difference. Then there's trying to fix the debt by proposing spending cuts on the right, whereas the left proposes continual net increases in spending. There's significant expansions of government, versus contractions.

Now, I will concede the GOP is not nearly as far right as where most conservatives are, and Obama and the Dems are not nearly as far left as most liberals are. But that's beside the point.


No, you're turning the whole discussion into a near tautology.

No, I'm not. I am recognizing the fact that is what it is.


If we use the terms the way you suggest then we can make no comparisons with other countries or even US history.

No: you simply have to state what you are comparing something to when you use inherently relative terms. If left unstated, we are going to make assumptions, and when someone says "the Republicans have become extreme," with no qualification, almost all of us assume that means in relation to the rest of the country.



While technically correct in its way, this definition is near useless.

Now you're getting it!


You can't say "republicans aren't extreme right" when you are defining them as the right most possible point.

I'm not.


It's only when we compare all possible values of "right", "left", "top" and "bottom" that we can derive any meaningful information about where the parties actually stand. And by this standard, both parties are are well into the top right quadrant.

Again ... compared to what? Compared to the rest of the country, no, you're absolutely wrong: the Republicans are on the middle right, and Democrats are on the middle left, each about equally distant from center.


Check out the political compass site. Republicans and Democrats never leave the right side.

Yes, by picking an arbitrary center position, it is easy to put them both on the right side ... or both on the left. That's not interesting, unless the center position is one that is meaningful: where most of the country is at.


It's only the US Green party that could even win a seat in a Western European government (Note that they are only extreme left within the US spectrum).
Nonsense. Both Republicans and Democrats could win in many European nations, including most obviously the UK (although you may not consider them European ... they often don't).

But you're just highlighting your own error: our politics are not theirs. When we say, unqualified, that something is on the left or the right, that almost always means relative to the current system, and in our system, where our voters are, the Democrats are on the left, and the Republicans are on the right.
 
+Marc Garcia if you don't miss RonPaul from the list of candidates, probably you'll see that there's someone who "addresses how he, or his party, might actually govern the “whole people” of a fractious nation."

LCE024 You Forgot Ron Paul
 
The new alternative that we need is no parties whatsoever. Elect people based on merit and how well they handle decisions and debates, not what ideology they support.
 
I have to agree. Back in the '90's I considered myself a conservative. Then in the 2000's I started going more independent. Last election I voted Democrat, mainly because all the Republican options are completely barking mad. Hooray torture and abolishment of habeas corpus! Eminent domain your house for Walmart! Watch out for those fatcat teachers, corrupting our nation while living large on our dime? WTF? It's become a parody but somehow too many people aren't getting the joke.
 
+Ernest Mueller , how different has Obama been WRT the Patriot Act, Gitmo, MidEast wars, etc?
 
the republican party seems to me calluos to the needs of the poorest of the poor in our society. Sweden has a higher standard of living than we do. All of united states does the past decade is start wars and continue to start more and more wars.
 
When Nixon makes your party look bad, you know you're in trouble.
 
+David Hart , I think socialism works best when the population is homogeneous. Look at what's happening in Sweden now that the Muslim population is growing.
 
+Chris Nandor Except the civil rights movement talked about moving forward to when they would have equal protection, not back to some alternate reality where they hypothetically did. Again, you're trying to rationalize around the obvious facts to make history fit the narrative you want. The Civil Rights movement never talked about going back to some ideal, but moving forward to something that, while it may have better exemplified an ideal, was not in their past, idealized or otherwise.
 
America, the one country where I -... Never mind.
 
+Kerri Brown But what happens when the government decides that the 'rule of law' is no longer important? Laws are for the 'little' people (you know the voters and the taxpayers). You'll note that our Congress exempts itself from laws it passes for everyone else (the latest being the health care law), trades on "insider" information - which if I did, would result in many years in prison. Speaking as a proud TEA Party member, an expanding government means a lessening of my individuality, my rights, and my freedoms. This is what we fear. One only has to look at the Kelo Supreme Court case http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London to see how overreaching government can become. To condemn someone's private property for the "common good" (paying them a value for it) because another private individual will pay more taxes on the same land is an abuse of governmental power.

Canadians have a different governmental tradition, hence less of an understanding of why American's loathe a large government. Things are best determined locally, not a centrally planned scenario as we are seeing now. It was a far away government that didn't listen to the people, continued to raise taxes, add rules/regulations that strangled local businesses that lead to the first American revolution...

Funny thing on privatization of services, many cities/counties here in the States that have done it have been able to lower their tax rates and get better service. I'm sure you can find counter points, but it is an over generalization to claim that government can perform functions better than private enterprise.
 
Noel.. I'd like to see ANY proof you have to show that this would happen. Like I said.. Businesses are there for a buck.. not to create communities. I think you're dreaming if you think they would create infrastructure for the greater good. Unless you're willing to live stacked up like cordwood in the factories like they do in China.. No business is going to make the money. I'm thinking like a "government" not a central planner. Governments develop communities. Businesses don't. This has been shown time and time again. The problem with Libertarians.. is they have no concrete modern examples to show from. It's all pie-in-the-sky, utopianism. I think we've had enough of that, don't you?
 
+Jack Ward , no such proof can ever exist just as you can't show proof that had the Soviet Union not provided toilet paper, free markets wouldn't've provided it. Or that if the free market didn't provide it, the government would've provided social networking sites, smart phones, etc.

Of course businesses wouldn't create infrastructure for the greater good just as businesses didn't drive down the cost of energy by providing oil (before that, there was kerosene, whale blubber, etc) for the greater good. And businesses didn't drive down the cost of Internet search for the greater good. And businesses didn't drive down the cost of computers for the greater good.

It actually makes sense that free markets drive down prices. Assuming there's a fixed amount of money (ie the government doesn't bias the economy towards inflation by printing more money and handing it to the rich thereby transferring its value from the poor), as more wealth is created through voluntary transactions, more of it can be purchased with that money. The economy would trend towards deflation.

In industries where we don't see such deflation (despite the government trying to work against it), we generally see the government providing demand-side subsidies. We see this in both the healthcare and the higher education industries. Demand-side subsidies increase demand (if this isn't true, there goes the rationale for government-backed, low interest rate student loans). Increased demand generally increases prices. What's really insidious is that when prices do increase, people demand more subsidies. Note that the suppliers are the ones making out in the deal and the taxpayers (including those not yet even born much less able to vote) wind up paying for it.

But let's assume for the moment that there wouldn't be roads if it weren't for the government (and the market wouldn't provide better alternatives like railroads or something beyond our imagination). You're essentially saying that your desire for roads outweighs the market's desire to have something else.

I live in a pretty good community that wasn't created by government. In fact, I live in several different communities not created by government -- my neighborhood, my workplace, my son's school, etc. IOW, communities don't need government to develop.

Absolutely it's utopianism. Again, it's a goal just as the abolition of slavery was a goal and was utopian before it was ended. Many thought it impractical. But in the end, it was abolished.

And wouldn't it be ideal if children didn't fight? Just because we may never achieve the ideal doesn't mean we don't teach children to try to resolve their differences without resorting to the use of force.

My question for you is, "Why do you defend the allowance of government to initiate force?" So that you can have the roads and other stuff you like? Even though it comes at the cost of lives outside the country?
 
Noel.. Which is why you can't play "Russian" roulette with the economy based on some belief that somehow the Free Market will grow a sense of humanitarianism and build infrastructure where they never would. The reason why, is because if they were going to- it would have happened. Hell, it would have happened in the early days of America. It would have happened before World War II. But it took "The New Deal" and government to step in to develop infrastructure. Did you not see how much of a cost even road would be in suburbs? There's no way private industry would create anything but slums that existed connected to their plants. They wouldn't have built communities with houses for minimum pay workers. It's just far too much of a stretch and an almost religious belief in the Free Market system for it to even be imaginable.
 
Samuel. If America were like most nations and people voted based on issue and competency then- "Yes"... But tha's not the case.
 
the GOP has gone off the deep end for sure - I don't agree with any of their stances on the issues - but the only reasonable one was Huntsman and he got little or no attention at all
 
+Jack Ward , if I'm playing Russian roulette with the economy, so are Keynesians. No one can predict what will happen given any input. Actually, that's not exactly true, we know the law of supply and demand holds so we can predict some things.

Anyway, first of all, I don't expect humanity will mature magically. Rather, I'm making it clear to people that government is equivalent to the use of force. Just as people finally accepted that slavery was wrong because of its use of force, I expect one day humanity will accept the fact that government is wrong for the same reason. So, again, why do you defend that use of force?

Second, as implied by my first point, I'm advocating weening off government so there's no Russian roulette involved.

Are you actually reading what I'm writing? I already acknowledged that the free market won't build things simply for the good of all. I gave lots of examples of stuff that was built yet the motivation wasn't for the good of all (heck G+ itself wasn't created for the good of all). Oh, did you know the Statue of Liberty was erected through voluntary funding and the funding itself was selfish in nature (both for the funders and the organizer)?

And if altruism is what you're promoting, how about starting with yourself and other like-minded people? How about you guys organize and fund the stuff that you want rather than forcing others to pay for it? At least then the government wouldn't be able to use your money to fund wars.

Yes, if the free market were going to do something, it would happen. The fact that it hasn't means the market, aka everyone, wants to use their resources for other things. You seem to think your desires ought to outweigh what everyone else wants. If you want that infrastructure so much, how about organizing others to do it? Oh, did you know the first interstate highway, the Lincoln Highway, was a private endeavor? And did you know business owners funded the building of a bridge in Hawaii because they didn't want to wait two years before government did it (they would've gone out of business long before government built the bridge).

Certainly things would look much different, but if there's a need for transportation, you can be sure the free market will fill that need assuming there's no greater need for something else. For example, did you know Google datacenters require global resourcing? This requires global infrastructure (including supply chain management), yet no government built that infrastructure.

One more example, the cell phone markets in India and Kenya. I don't think you can get much more modern than that.

Since you seem to think you can predict the future, I'm starting to understand why you think government can do anything and why you think those in government can also predict the future.

Anyway, how about addressing my points and answering my questions? For example, you keep making claims that the free market wouldn't do anything but I've given lots of examples in which it has (including an interstate highway, datacenters, etc). I've also asked you why you keep defending the initiation of force by government.
 
+Jack Ward , the US's system is biased towards two parties. Whenever a third party arose, another quickly disappeared.
 
+Matthew Jacobs Except the civil rights movement talked about moving forward to when they would have equal protection

... by going backward to the original intent of the law of the land. I can play this game, too: you said that it is "reactionary" to go limit the size of government, but I say it is "progressive" because they are trying to move forward to more civil liberty. You're not really making a case here.


Again, you're trying to rationalize around the obvious facts to make history fit the narrative you want.

I defy you to quote me saying a single thing that twists history or denies facts. You are, quite simply, lying.


The Civil Rights movement never talked about going back to some ideal

False. Indeed, the primary legal case made in Brown v. Board of Education was that the status quo violated the clear words, meaning, and intent of the then-nearly-90-year-old Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.
 
It wasn't always that way Noel... there was a Whig among other parties.
 
Noel.. we at least have history to guide us. The Keynesians at least have a track record with successes. I'd be more interested in seeing your evidence that Libertarianism wouldn't do anything but deconstruct a society to nothingness.
 
Political Parties divide the country. Does democracy need parties? Democracy need Leaders with excellent leadership qualities. Leader unites the country. Parties divide the country. Get rid of both parties or all parties. Build a democracy system with leaders. Leader in Executive branch; Leaders in Legislative Branch. Then the democracy will become effective.

Political parties do not do much harm to the Executive branch; you still have one President for the whole nation. You don't have President (D) or President (R).

But the Legislative branch is divided. All you have is Senator (D) or Senator (R). This division is obvious. This division makes the Legislative branch ineffective.

Legislative branch is supposed to balance power with Executive branch. But the division in the Legislative branch makes the whole democracy system ineffective.

Right now, it is not United States of America. It's Divided States of America.
 
+Jack Ward , there've been many third parties (heck, the Democratic and Republican parties used to be third parties). Like I said, when a new one arises, one of the other two major ones disappear.

Since accurate predictions can't be made, measuring the success of a program is impossible. For example, as I cited earlier, those who support stimulus spending would consider it to have been a success (despite the fact that unemployment today is higher than what was projected without the spending and that much of the money went overseas). An analogy might be if I thought pointing lasers at clouds today would prevent tornadoes from forming six months from now. Since we can't accurately predict weather six months ahead, we can't say whether or not my laser experiment verified my hypothesis.

You really sound like you haven't read anything I've written. I've addressed all your points (including evidence). Please read what I wrote and address those rather than asking over and over for evidence. Also please answer my questions, namely, why you keep defending the initiation of force by government.

Would you have kept asking before slavery was abolished for evidence that society could survive without slavery? You keep citing that history has shown that government has always been around. Well, before slavery was abolished, it had always been around. And before sacrifices stopped being in vogue, they had always been around. In fact, religion has always been around, too. Ooh, and plagues, famines, etc. IOW, the fact that government has always been around is no reason to keep it around. This is why I ask why you keep defending the initiation of force by government.
 
+Chris Nandor The decision of the courts has little to do with the fact that the civil rights movement was not reactionary by any actual definition of the word.

You're trying to expand the word's definition so broadly that any movement that espouses a belief that was expressed at some point in the past is now "reactionary". That encompasses almost every political movement in the history of the US, so that the word "reactionary" no longer has any useful meaning. I suppose that's the point, though. If the word just becomes a generic undefined word for "the good guys", then you've gotten what you wanted. You can then cherry-pick which movements to call "reactionary" and associate yourself with all of history's "good guys", ignoring the fact that your definition now encompasses the "bad guys", too.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who prefer that words retain a useful meaning:
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/reactionary
 
+Matthew Jacobs , I haven't followed your discussion but upon reading that definition, it seems to me that those promoting freedom are reactionary since the progressive movement takes away liberty. Is that right?
 
+Noel Yap Reactionaries are pretty easy to spot. They're the ones talking about how we need to go "back" to the constitution, "back" to the founders, "back" to a particular era they think was the golden age, etc. Reactionaries are about capturing something in the past, which is essentially an extreme conservative stance. Conservatives, by definition, resist change; reactionaries go one step further by wanting to return to something before.

Reactionaries aren't necessarily about freedom; a reactionary simply feels that the government of the past was better, and we should go back to that. The term does not make any reference to why they want to go back, what era is the ideal, nor does what they want to go back to have to be historically-accurate. Many Tea-Partiers would easily qualify, and yes, they heavily feel that there was more freedom in the early era of the US; however, many fascists would also likely qualify as reactionary, since they typically wanted to go back to past national glory, regardless of personal freedoms.

The problem with +Chris Nandor's attempted redefinition is that he now tries to expand the definition of "reactionary" beyond any usefulness as a word, and tries to co-opt historical movements to try and make it seem like America's "good guys" shared that viewpoint, when they obviously did not. The Civil Rights movement didn't talk about the past, but about the future, mostly fitting the definition of a progressive movement. His redefinition, however, claims that they were reactionary because they were going back to the ideals of the founders, as he defines them.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , it seems then that it doesn't matter whether one is reactionary or not or progressive or not or whether or not the FF had certain ideals (IIUC, they actually disagreed with one another on many issues). What ought to matter are one's ideals and the rationale for those ideals.
 
This list of comments is getting pretty long.. nevertheless, here is another one:

It is simply disgusting to me how big media just ignores candidates as it chooses. By pretending that Ron Paul doesn't exist, especially given his popularity, they are revealing themselves as a totally corrupt regime. This is appalling!

Whether you agree with his ideas or not is not relevant. It's the principle that matters. They can just manipulate voters, especially since so many people think that the two party system is some unquestionable tradition. Wake up America! SOPA was not about copyright, it was about media dominance! The internet is the solution, and it must remain free!
 
+Noel Yap Personally, I think it is relevant to use real descriptions for various movements. It helps to place them in appropriate historical context, and to consider what the ramifications and risks are, as I believe any movement, left, right, or somewhere in between, can turn dangerous, but they tend to do this in different ways.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , how 'real' is the description when it's being compared to another description that's just as ambiguous?

I've heard the liberty and atheist movements as being labeled 'dangerous'. To me, what matters most is whether or not something is actually dangerous, not whether or not it's only perceived as dangerous (similar to the descriptions of reactive, progressive, etc). Even the terms 'left', 'right', and 'center' are ambiguous. Such labels tend to degrade a conversation because now one wants to impose their definition of an ambiguous term onto another. Worse still is that the labels polarize the discussion (eg the other person is of a different label as I therefore I must disagree with whatever they have to say or at the very least I can't admit that I agree with them on anything).

A rose by any other name ...
 
don't worry about that sir , the lord will still make them look back
when they look and see that no body like you .and God create you so different and make you ,you can never be two just you and you alone
 
After reading this and several of the following comments, I realize I'm of two minds. I agree that perhaps extremism does seem to be growing (I think in both parties) but agree that we've got no one to blame but ourselves, unless you're one of the few who attended your local Democrat or Republican caucus meeting. I think those who are more emotionally inflamed are more likely to attend (and run for office). Thus, those who's views are less cooperative and less dispassionate are more in control of the major parties.
 
+Ray Cromwell : "Moderation means understanding nuance and context. As soon as you declare that there is one globally optimal solution that works everytime, in any circumstance, no matter the issue, you've essentially declared yourself as a faith-based zealot."

Do you mean how some religiously hold onto the belief that government will always be needed (ie a solution that works all the time) and that it is generally good the way +Jack Ward does?

If you two review your posts, you'll notice that you have some prejudicial beliefs against libertarians (eg "libertarians are X" or "libertarians believe Y"). Labeling is an easy way to dismiss others and what they have to say so that the labeler can remain protected in their cocoon.

How about we all treat people as individuals so we can better understand and improve upon each others' beliefs, logic, rationale, etc and have a more constructive discussion?
 
Here's some really simple logic:

People are not "perfect".
Government is created to mitigate "imperfections".
Government is made of people.
Government is not "perfect".

Obviously, everyone has a different idea of what "perfect" is.. that's why it's in quotes..and also, is one of the core "imperfections" of people. We do not all agree. That is a good thing (evolution calls it diversity).

The American government was designed, with evidence of many past failures in hand (Rome, Greece, etc.), with an intent for eternal balance of power. They recognized that too much power in one place eventually leads to a toppled government. Diversity is maintained, while the people argue for their own slice of "perfection".

What we have now is a different kind of government. One in which the population is so out of touch with government, whether by disillusionment, apathy, or ignorance, that the tv set decides our president.

It is so foolish to continue arguing about "cookie cutter" issues, but worse, it is damning. We are distracted from the facts. Look at the source of money spent on campaigns (both red and blue). Those numbers have vastly increased in recent years/decades (even accounting for inflation). That can only mean one thing: the ROI has increased. In other words, money can buy more now in politics then it ever could before. This will destroy our nation if we let it continue. So, I urge everyone to stop toting the party line and ditch this red, blue, purple monstrosity!
 
+Matt Kevins _ Here's some really simple logic: ... Government is created to mitigate "imperfections"._

That is simple. However, it is not why our Founders said government is created: "to secure these rights," e.g., "certain unalienable rights [of all people], [including] life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

I do not follow a particular party, I follow particular principles, and I pick the candidates most likely to achieve those principles in both the short and long term. I not only do not want a government to "mitigate imperfections", I want to "alter or abolish" any such government, in favor of one that is dedicated first and foremost to securing our individual rights.
 
+Matthew Jacobs The decision of the courts ...

... is based entirely on the arguments provided by each side. You clearly do not understand the judicial system very well, but I provided proof positive that their argument was based on the 14th Amendment, despite your incorrect claim otherwise.


You're trying to expand the word's definition ...

False.


... the word "reactionary" no longer has any useful meaning. I suppose that's the point, though.

To significant extent, yes. I am pointing out the fact that it is irrational to use the word as a value judgment, as you are doing. "Reactionary" cannot possibly mean "good" or "bad."


You can then cherry-pick which movements to call "reactionary" and associate yourself with all of history's "good guys", ignoring the fact that your definition now encompasses the "bad guys", too.

False. Not only does this have nothing to do with any association I may wish to make, but I also do not see any inherent good or bad in the term "reactionary," because that's inherently irrational: using whether something has or hasn't happened in the past as a basis for judging it makes no sense.


They're the ones talking about how we need to go "back" to the constitution, "back" to the founders, "back" to a particular era they think was the golden age, etc. Reactionaries are about capturing something in the past, which is essentially an extreme conservative stance.

False. Not only do you not understand "reactionary," you also do not understand "conservative." Conservative has nothing to do with recapturing the past, in fact. It seems that way, and that is how many have defined it in the past, but it actually stands for certain principles that withstand the test of time and in some cases have never been fully realized. One obvious example is on slavery: it was always the socially "conservative" right that wanted to abolish it. Granted, many people call them liberals and progressives because they wanted change, but they were the same people who today are conservatives: largely protestant Christians who believe in certain principles about freedom and equality and individual rights. And today the word stands for those principles.

A modern conservative may want to "go back" to, say, repealing the 16th and 17th amendments, but they certainly don't want to "go back" to repealing the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, etc.: it's because the 16th and 17th violate our principles, and the others uphold them. Conservatism is very clearly not about going back, but about following certain principles.


Conservatives, by definition, resist change

Also false. We do tend to prefer slow change (for example, Lincoln was against simply overturning slavery, preferring a gradual abolition, until the war broke out), but we don't necessarily resist it (unless we disagree with it). Your definition is in error.


The problem with Chris Nandor's attempted redefinition is that ...

... it doesn't exist.


he now ... tries to co-opt historical movements to try and make it seem like America's "good guys" shared that viewpoint

Shrug. I just stated facts, and you didn't rebut a single one of them, and then you attack me without providing any argument against what I wrote. That makes you look like a giant tool, by the way.


The Civil Rights movement didn't talk about the past

I already proved you're wrong. And I have more examples, too; for example, the Civil Rights movement, going all the way back to Lincoln (and earlier), talked about Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, and its recognition that all men are created equal. MLK Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech -- which also quoted Jefferson -- started out with the Emancipation Proclamation, talking about how the promise created on that day had still not been realized.

Of course, the Civil Rights movement was about making a new future. But it was basing it on the principles and promises of the past, exactly like the Tea Party does. We were promised a government whose sole purpose is "to secure [individual] rights." We were promised a government that would be limited, that would leave every power not in its constitution up to "the states and the people." We were promised a government that secured the privileges and immunities of all citizens. We were promised many things that have never been fully realized, and we push forward -- progress -- toward liberty and justice for all.


His redefinition, however, claims that they were reactionary because they were going back to the ideals of the founders, as he defines them.
Shrug. Argue with Lincoln, then; take Stephen Douglas' side. Argue with MLK Jr. They made this case long before I did.
 
+Chris Nandor, that's a good point..I was purposely being overly simplistic (and abstract). "Imperfections" in this case would be a previous lack of unalienable rights.. etc. (mitigated by securing those rights).

My main point, though, is that while scholarly people skilled in the craft of debate will bicker on about this and that, red vs. blue, blue vs. red, the real thieves are getting away with murder. Literally.

And, if anyone thinks for one second that they are voting for "the lesser of two evils", think again. By supporting either of these deplorable political machines, one is simply worsening the problem.

Think of it this way: I'm in New York, where according to statistics, it is very very likely to be a "blue state". If everyone applied the logic used to eradicate third-party candidacy, then no "red voters" would vote here. We know that people do though, and they aren't told not too.

Red and blue gotta go.
 
+Noel Yap There is always a certain level of ambiguity in any word, especially when applied to groups of people. I don't deny that. On the contrary, recognizing where ambiguity exists is valuable.

On the other hand, if ambiguity made a word useless, then what would be the point of any type of categorizing? As soon as we run into something that doesn't easily fit existing categories, the word would lose all meaning, under that logic. I've heard some claim that we "shouldn't categorize" at all, but this is, frankly, impossible. Categorizing is integral to how our brains work; we couldn't stop doing it, any more than we can stop breathing permanently. I believe it's more valuable to be realistic about our categories, and not try to use them towards political ends, as Chris Nandor is clearly attempting to do.

+Chris Nandor If you perceived a value judgement, you inferred it yourself. I specifically said the categories were not value judgments. They are just descriptions.

I see we've finally gotten to your real point, that the Tea Party is supposedly the spiritual successor to the Civil Rights Movement. It's quite a stretch to imply that, because Civil Rights Leaders referenced documents written in a particular period, they wanted to go back to those hypothetical politics. Of course, that's the point, I suppose. If referencing a document makes one reactionary, then anyone can be claimed as such, and therefore related to the Tea Party.

Of course, that was never remotely related to what being "reactionary" is about, but you wouldn't be bothered with facts now, would you? Referencing a past document is a far cry from wanting to go back to the political environment when that document was written (idealized or not). MLK, for example, quoted the Bible extensively, but that's certainly not saying he wanted to go back to the politics of Biblical times.

I find it really funny that many Tea Party types are trying to claim the Civil Rights Movement, yet they actually haven't done such a wonderful job of getting along with the surviving leaders/members of the actual movement. I'm sure they've got an equally-funny explanation for this, though.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , I think the trouble with categorization is that categories are fairly personal. As such, they can't really be mandated across a large set of the population. So, while it's fine for our own brains to categorize in order to function, we can't assume our categorizations are the same as anyone else's. The best we can do so that we can communicate is try to understand what the other person means when they use an ambiguous term. We may not agree with their definition, but at least adopting that definition, at least during that one conversation, allows the conversation to move forward.

IME, when parties cannot agree on certain definitions, it's best to avoid those words and create new ones (eg Google's Small, Medium, and Large tests (which they made very well defined) instead of Unit, Functional, and System tests). Doing this avoids the entire 'my definition is right and yours is wrong' counter-productive arguments.
 
+Noel Yap A person can define terms any way they want. If a person wants to use a non-standard definition, they just need to define their terms and use that definition consistently. The problem lies when people try to use non-standard definitions as a trick, rather than for any honest purpose.

To use +Chris Nandor's example, his term isn't wrong, just basically useless for any practical purpose, and applied inconsistently. It could stop there, but that's not the real issue; the core problem is that he's trying to make one political movement look good by using a rhetorical trick to tie it to another, more well-thought-of movement. He uses his broad definition, then cherry-picks the one movement out of the multitude to claim. He claims the civil rights movement, but ignores that many movements he likely doesn't want to claim would also be caught within this definition. For example, all I'd have to do is find a KKK leader quoting the constitution, or any founding father, and his own logic has now just tied the Tea Party to the KKK just as strongly as to the Civil Rights Movement.
 
+Matthew Jacobs then what would be the point of any type of categorizing?

Your point here is to attack ideas you dislike, quite obviously.


I believe it's more valuable to be realistic about our categories, and not try to use them towards political ends, as Chris Nandor is clearly attempting to do.

Bullshit. You're the one doing that. I am the one saying you're full of shit. I was explicitly rejecting the use of such useless categories, which makes it impossible to use them toward a political end.


If you perceived a value judgement, you inferred it yourself.

Bullshit.


I specifically said the categories were not value judgments.

Yes. You lied. You said extreme positions lead to bigoted rhetoric, and that reactionary is definitionally extreme. You did nothing but use labels to make value judgments.



I see we've finally gotten to your real point, that the Tea Party is supposedly the spiritual successor to the Civil Rights Movement.
You're a liar. I made, and have, no such point.


It's quite a stretch to imply that

Not nearly as much of a stretch as to claim I implied that.


... because Civil Rights Leaders referenced documents written in a particular period, they wanted to go back to those hypothetical politics.

Neither do Tea Party people want to go back to the hypothetical politics of the past. You're making that up. Both groups want to move forward, returning to certain principles of the past that were never fully realized.


that was never remotely related to what being "reactionary" is about ... wanting to go back to the political environment when that document was written


You're lying again. Indeed, +Anton Wahlman wrote that he wants to go back to an unrealized ideal: minimum government expense, minimum necessary taxes, etc. He never implied in any way wanting to go back to that political environment, but only to revive those particular principles, as MLK Jr. wanted to revive the principle that all men are created equal. But of what Anton wrote, you responded: "reactionary positions, such as what you are advocating, are pretty much extreme by definition" (in which you were quite obviously making a value judgment).
You certainly didn't think being "reactionary" was about wanting to go back to a certain political environment, because you asserted Anton did, when he expressed no such thing. You're lying.


MLK, for example, quoted the Bible extensively, but that's certainly not saying he wanted to go back to the politics of Biblical times.

Yep. And neither did Anton want to return to the politics of the 1790s. Neither does the Tea Party want to return to the politics of that time and later. You're lying.


I find it really funny that many Tea Party types are trying to claim the Civil Rights Movement, yet they actually haven't done such a wonderful job of getting along with the surviving leaders/members of the actual movement.

Why? I claim Christianity, to use your example about MLK Jr., but I often don't get along with religious leaders (e.g., Pat Robertson). That's really an extremely lame argument.

To use Chris Nandor's example, his term [is] applied inconsistently.

Bullshit. I am extremely consistent. I defy you to demonstrate how I apply it inconsistently.


the core problem is that he's trying to make one political movement look good by using a rhetorical trick to tie it to another

False. You have it backward. I am trying to make the Tea Party look not-inherently-bad by pointing out the fact that it's doing nothing significantly different from another. You say "Tea Party is reactionary! Hide the kids!" and I simply say, "they are not doing anything different from any other movement." That's all. I am not saying anything is good or bad: I am literally saying that it's neutral, while you -- despite your claims -- are saying that "looking backward" is "extreme by definition" which leads to "bigoted rhetoric" which concerns you.



He claims the civil rights movement, but ignores that many movements he likely doesn't want to claim would also be caught within this definition.

You're a pathetic liar.


For example, all I'd have to do is find a KKK leader quoting the constitution, or any founding father ...

... and this would not, in any way whatsoever, negatively impact anything I've said.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , I browsed through some of your posts (initially I looked for who brought in the term 'reactionary' into the conversation). It seems to me that you categorize too much (eg your posts about libertarians, your use of the terms 'reactionary' and 'extreme'). It pigeonholes the other person in your mind which makes it more difficult to have constructive conversations with them. IMO, stop categorizing as much so you can listen to and understand what they really have to say.
 
+Noel Yap I use terms in fairly standard ways, if someone disputes my definitions, that's fine. I originally used the term "reactionary" when someone condemned one party for being "extreme", then turned around and advocated a textbook reactionary position, which I would find difficult to define any other way but "extreme" on the political scale. It seemed an odd position to take.

Honestly, I think you're reading way, way too much into my comments. I have been advocating for words retaining a useful definition and being applied consistently, but haven't spent all that much time on exactly who belongs under what category. One guy advocated a fairly clear-cut position, early on, but most political movements will contain elements of various positions.

+Chris Nandor I think you'll have to back up and point out where I said the Tea Party is a reactionary movement. If I did,that was my mistake. I did say that some within the Tea Party would probably qualify as reactionary, as the movement does certainly have that element, but, as far as I can recall, I purposely avoided defining the Tea Party, as it does have elements of a few different political positions.

I didn't say "extreme positions lead to bigoted rhetoric"; I was referring specifically to the extreme direction the Republican party has gone. If you wanted me to expand on what extreme positions I found concerning, you could have brought up that comment earlier. You really should be cautious about trying to apply a specific comment globally.

If I misunderstood your point in fallaciously attempting to call the Civil Rights Movement "reactionary", then I suppose that was my mistake. It certainly appeared that your point was to somehow claim that the two movements share a supposed reactionary core.

If you really want to know what I think would make the Tea Party look not-so-bad, my belief is that they would benefit greatly from appearing less aggressive (I don't mean physically, BTW). IMO, some of their absolute worst moments have come from going on the attack at times when they probably should have considered different tactics. That aggressive streak seems to have gotten somewhat worse lately, and it is one of the aspects of Republican extremism I find disconcerting at times.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , it doesn't matter how you use the terms or if you use correct definitions. The mere use of them distracts from the conversation (some may consider them vitriolic). Look what's happening now; we're talking about definitions and how best to have a conversation rather than actually having one even remotely related to the original topic.

Also, Anton wasn't the one who introduced the term 'extreme', Tim did.

You said yourself your brain works through categorization. Whether you do that consciously or not doesn't matter; you're doing it.
 
+Noel Yap - Thanks..this made me laugh (because it's true):

" Look what's happening now; we're talking about definitions and how best to have a conversation rather than actually having one even remotely related to the original topic."
 
+Matt Kevins , it's a pattern I see often and why I've stopped using labels and other ambiguous terminology in conversations. If such terminology cannot be avoided, I try to get participants to agree on what that terminology means for that one conversation. If people can't agree not to use such terminology or a definition, there's no communication and therefore no point in continuing the conversation.
 
+Matthew Jacobs I did say that some within the Tea Party would probably qualify as reactionary, as the movement does certainly have that element

So did the Civil Rights movement, even by your definition.



I didn't say "extreme positions lead to bigoted rhetoric"; I was referring specifically to the extreme direction the Republican party has gone.

OK, so you were simply telling baldfaced lies, then. Still, you linked that incorrectly identifed "extremism" to being "reactionary." You said reactionary -> extreme -> bigoted rhetoric (in this case). Please don't pretend you aren't trying to draw value judgements with the term "extremism." It's not defensible.


If you really want to know what I think would make the Tea Party look not-so-bad, my belief is that they would benefit greatly from appearing less aggressive (I don't mean physically, BTW).

The Civil Rights movement was far more aggressive. Just sayin'.


That aggressive streak seems to have gotten somewhat worse lately

No, it hasn't remotely. They were much more aggressive during the "Obamacare" struggle.


... and it is one of the aspects of Republican extremism I find disconcerting at times.
That's extremely bizarre. How can being forceful in advocacy of a position be "disconcerting" to you?
 
+Matthew Jacobs I originally used the term "reactionary" when someone condemned one party for being "extreme", then turned around and advocated a textbook reactionary position, which I would find difficult to define any other way but "extreme" on the political scale.

False. First, he did not advocate any "textbook" reactionary position, not by YOUR definition, as I already proved (and you failed to rebut). Second, his position is not "extreme" by any useful definition: it's not outside of, let alone far from, mainstream views (such as the views that won the 2010 elections).



Honestly, I think you're reading way, way too much into my comments. I have been advocating for words retaining a useful definition and being applied consistently ...

No, you're not. You are applying them from YOUR perspective. So something you disagree with is "extreme" or "reactionary," even if a majority of people believe it and even if it doesn't fit your stated definition of "going back to a past political environment," while something you agree with couldn't possibly be extreme or reactionary.
 
Further digressions:

+Noel Yap, it's interesting at times to take the opposite approach as well (when you realize there may be a fundamental semantic incompatibility). For instance, by using very abstract and truly unarguable phrasings. For many, as it is so evident in this thread, the emotion conjured up in political discussions puts the mind in a mode of increased discrimination (categorization/characterization).

I try to censor my angry thoughts on the internet for this very reason. Many times I am very ineffective at communicating when I'm angry..and sadly that's when I'm most desperate to communicate my thoughts. Many times I have literally typed several paragraphs and deleted them knowing that I'm too angry, and my words will not be interpreted the way I mean.

By using purely abstract phrasings, the discussion becomes indecisive almost to the point of meaninglessness, but often helps in determining some fundamental differences in either context, or a priori thought processes, especially as more "concrete" discussion materializes, since the conversation will never remain in this abstract state for very long.

Both parties benefit tremendously from this blue and red card house of mutual dogmatism, and true free thought could bring the whole thing tumbling down. I just try to help be a catalyst of this awareness.
 
+Noel Yap Sorry, but I don't see how avoiding labels helps conversation at all. If someone wanted to dispute my use of certain labels, that's certainly reasonable, but they haven't. If +Chris Nandor disputed my use of "extreme" and "reactionary", it would have been far more interesting if he'd just made a straightforward disagreement from the beginning; he didn't. Instead, it's starting to seem like only now is he starting to get to his real point, as we slowly circle closer and closer.

+Chris Nandor You did not read what I wrote, then. In one comment, I mentioned of the "extreme nature" of the republican party, not extremism. Heck, I didn't even use the word in the same way: one was an adjective describing "nature", the other was a noun, referring to reactionary positions as "extreme". You're trying to link together barely related comments to claim I said something that I didn't.

What I don't understand is, if you dispute my comment regarding the Republican party as developing an extreme side, or that it's reactionary, why didn't you just dispute those points? Why are you beating around the bush, trying to make some nonsensical point about the Civil Rights movement? You keep saying I'm misrepresenting your comments, but it's sometimes been fairly difficult to see how your comments relate to mine.

"Aggressive" and "forceful" are different, the way I'd define them. "Aggression" implies at least some sense of anger, and a tendency to attack opponents. "Forceful", on the other hand, implies strong beliefs and a resistance to compromise, but doesn't imply attacking opponents in the same way. "Forceful" doesn't imply danger in the way "aggressive" may.

You do have a point that the Civil Rights movement also became quite aggressive at times. However, when did they achieve their greatest successes? I believe it's when they made use of MLK's passive resistance strategies. The establishment of the time was the one that came across as aggressive. The movement, on the other hand, positioned itself as forceful, but not out to attack. As a result, my point remains: the Tea Party would greatly benefit from appearing less aggressive.

You may be right that the Tea Party aggressive streak is past its peak now that the health care reform laws are passed, though I haven't really perceived that they consider it over. I don't really think of it as all that far in the past, but I believe a lot may be that they are currently focused on the Republican primaries. I suspect they will either further settle back or jump back into protest mode depending on the outcome of the presidential election.
 
+Matthew Jacobs , well let's look at our initial conversation. First you made a generalized statement implying libertarians would want to keep the populace ignorant at least WRT certain subjects. I then replied that I encourage the populace to learn the subjects you specified even saying that I'm interested in those subjects because I think it helps further the goals of libertarianism and I outlined those goals. You then agreed that it's fair to want those goals. We reached an agreement.

While you may have resorted to labels, I did not; and we reached a mutual understanding. Note that I could easily have lambasted you for making a prejudicial statement against libertarians and that would've taken the conversation in an entirely different direction.

Now take a look at the conversation you and +Chris Nandor are having.
 
+Noel Yap If you'd lambasted me, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I was being a little more trollish than usual with that particular comment.

Your response did not try to claim something that simply was not true. You were realistic about the fact that the free market has not often gone well, historically, but gave reasons why you think it might in the future. I disagree, but can respect that position.

On the other hand, I have a difficult time respecting +Chris Nandor's claims, for similar reasons. Rather than make a straightforward argument, he played rhetorical games with an historical movement, trying to tie them to a position he apparently supports in a very roundabout, fallacious way. Once he finally got around to his actual point, you'll note that the nature of the conversation changed quite a bit.

It has next-to-nothing to do with "labels".
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