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12201  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 09:41:38 pm
Much to respond to.


For me:
1.Appreciation for Western Culture
2.I support capitalism
3.I was raised in somewhat culturally conservative.  (hard to say what it is, but neighborhood, parents, status, other influences)

"Western Culture" is an amorphous term beyond certain things such as awareness of Greek philosophical traditions and early Judeo-Christian ones, and the heritage of the Enlightenment. Conservatives and liberals merely emphasize different aspects of that. Neither is more Western. Western European culture is very different from American, for example. Also, the culture in the West has changed over the centuries, with the latter manifestations no less 'Western' than the former. Both 19th century Victorian culture and 1960's counterculture were very Western. However, with the advent of globalization, all cultures are being intermixed to a larger degree than before. A hip-hop style of music that originated in New York City in the 1970s twenty years later makes it to South Korea. Or an style of animation that originated in Japan becomes a hit in the United States. No one is forced into accepting these things, but greater cultural exchange does help spread ideas that people like.

Only a small minority of extremists don't support 'capitalism'.   

I don't like how Eastern philosophy, gray morality, and the like infiltrate this country.  I don't like the concept that because I was born in America with male genitalia and white skin and the fortune of having loving middle-upper class parents means automatically that I should automatically be ashamed of who I am-as so much of what I hear seems to insinuate that.  I don't owe anything to society-as society doesn't owe anything to me.

Who has said you should feel ashamed? Most of us are all in the same boat as you, essentially. That doesn't mean we can't acknowledge that some people have a better shot at life starting out than others. I would say society does "owe" you and every person something. It owes everyone the guarantees of the Bill of Rights, for starters. And ideally, each citizen should have a genuine shot at fiscal security, access to medical care, and certain basic things.

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I WISH only a small minority of extremists don't support capitalism.  Considering the hundreds of government programs, the 25% income tax for the middle class, in addition to state/city income tax property tax, sales tax, regulations, protective tariffs, social security taxes, and medicare taxes-I do have good reason to gripe with those that undermine ability to make money.  This is not to say we should abolish all taxes, but there was a time in this country that taxes were significantly less.

The problem is that these taxes and the services they support help prop up capitalism in a democratic system by spreading its benefits around to more people. Without some government safety net, people wouldn't support capitalism-- they would feel economic insecurity and vote in economic populists who would do even more damage to capitalism than current soft government regulations. That's the inherent tension between a democratic system that guarantees one vote for each person and a capitalist system that tends to concentrate wealth (and if you get rid of democracy altogether, you invite violent revolution). Without some kind of compromise, the system isn't going to be stable. Bringing the benefits of capitalism to society at large through a basic safety net can also be looked at as a good in itself.
12202  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: most/least down to Earth posters on: November 05, 2006, 09:14:44 pm
most- dazzleman, Nym, Al, Dibble, JJ, BrandonH, Colin, Dr Cynic, Gabu, Nick, Walter, Texasgurl,  TCash, James, States, Preston, Hugh and many others.

least- myself, lol. Really, I dont know. A18 maybe, but I suspect he's more down to earth in real life.
12203  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 09:05:05 pm
Beet, I just don't agree with you last statement at all.

I can make and have made all sorts of secular arguments about why liberal policies aren't good.  You're simply stereotyping conservatives, not that some conservatives haven't made it easy for you.  But most conservatives I know don't rely on biblical rationale for the policies they support.

Not for all the policies they support, but they do for some important ones, notably in the area of "hot button social issues," and increasingly education, fiscal, and scientific decisions are being made too with a religious angle, giving the religious right a veto power of them. It's not stereotyping, it's just a frank assessment of what's really going on in those issue areas, and more and more each year.

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I disagree that we don't have any of the same issues from the past, and I also don't agree that liberals have good views on today's issues.  Social security -- keep promising it out until it goes bankrupt, then raise taxes, presumably.  That's the only liberal idea there.  Iraq -- who knows?  One thing's for sure -- it involves losing the war.  Taxes -- increase them, and increase spending.  Health care -- have the government take it over, and work the magic that they have worked in other areas, like say, urban education.

Republicans had a chance to reform Social Security throughout Bush's first term and especially after their historic victory in 2004. They failed. They have had a chance to do something to improve our fortunes in Iraq for the past three years. They failed. They have failed to staunch the rise in projected health care costs and we still, unique among the developed world, have nearly 50 million people without medical insurance. I see no reason to keep re-electing a party that seems to have no political will to do the so called great solutions that you seem to think they have.
12204  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Post your phone number on: November 05, 2006, 08:55:45 pm
617-Alpha Tau Epsilon- Omega Epsilon Phi Chi
12205  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 08:48:46 pm
So you think we should just forget the horrors liberals have perpetrated on society by saying they happened a while back?  Nothing has been done to reverse them, so all is not forgiven as far as I'm concerned.  And if they come back into power, I could only expect them to pick up where they left off.

No, I doubt it. Societies change, and so does liberalism. To me, the lessons of the 1970s and 80s is that society needs a moral grounding. You can't have a political philosophy based on moral relativism. And you can't obviously design a welfare system without mechanisms to get recipients the skills they need to enter the job market.

James did bring up some good points in response to the issues you brought up. But in 2006, the issues of importance (Iraq, foreign policy, health care and social security, religion and government, accountability, the Executive Branch governing philosophy) are not the same today as they were 20 or 30 years ago, and it's stupid to keep pretending like they are.

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I don't agree with your last comment.  I also think that liberals want to impose their beliefs on society.  Why is that wrong for conservatives but not liberals?

Because liberals, (like you did) frame our appeals in terms of what is good for society. We make a secular appeal that you can argue with, and theoretically show us why our ideas are not good for society. Conservatives point to a book and say "That's what I believe out of faith, there's nothing you can do to argue me out of it, and I want to impose this belief no matter what."
12206  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 08:37:08 pm
'Conservative' and 'liberal' are at best vague terms about a person's tendencies, not concrete listings of ideologies.  In addition, connected terms sometimes have a downright contrary meaning - I see little to nothing from 'neo-conservatives' which is particularly conservative.  They actually strike me as quite radical, desireng to implement social and political change through force of arms in a manner similar to Mao's infamous "political power flows from the barell of a gun" mantra.

My somewhat tounge in cheek classifications for liberals, conservatives, progressives, and reactionaries is as follows:

Conservatives believe "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Liberals believe "some things are broke, and need fixing"

Progressives believe "lets tinker with things and see if we can make them work better"

and reactionaries think "I liked it better broken".

But because of this human tendency to generalize, we end up trying to classify people with widely varying beliefs (Say, an NRA blue collar unionist with a gay stockbroker, or a reporter who believes in open government and low taxes with a welfare recipent who opposes abortion) all in the same tiny classifications.

Fascinating. Your conservative mantra is opposed to your progressive one, and your liberal one is opposed to your reactionary one. Ironically, an entrepreneur with any mindset but the progressive mindset would soon fail and probably lose his business.
12207  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 08:19:01 pm
Much to respond to.

While not really a pure conservative myself, there are a number of obvious threats to a stable social order. Individualism and materialism are prime examples of this.

How come the most unstable social upheavals in modern history weren't caused by individualism or materialism? They were caused by political zealotry, particularly for some ideology or religious/nationalist cause. The U.S. has been one of the most individualist and materialist places, and it has been quite stable overall.

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Patriotism and religion is also under attack from left-liberals.

Even the most extreme liberals vis-a-vis religion, such as the ACLU, only target religion where they think it violates the first amendment's establishment clause. There is no attack on private churches' coequal right to do what they do. Many liberals are actually religious. I don't see patriotism coming under attack from anyone. I was at a Howard Dean rally in 2003 and the first thing we did was sing the national anthem. He never attacked America, only Bush's policies.

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And finally, there are natural mechanisms that constantly work to expand the powers of the state.

The state's share of the U.S. economy has been the same for the past fifty years, with variance of a few percent in either direction. It has really only increased in times of war.

For me:
1.Appreciation for Western Culture
2.I support capitalism
3.I was raised in somewhat culturally conservative.  (hard to say what it is, but neighborhood, parents, status, other influences)

"Western Culture" is an amorphous term beyond certain things such as awareness of Greek philosophical traditions and early Judeo-Christian ones, and the heritage of the Enlightenment. Conservatives and liberals merely emphasize different aspects of that. Neither is more Western. Western European culture is very different from American, for example. Also, the culture in the West has changed over the centuries, with the latter manifestations no less 'Western' than the former. Both 19th century Victorian culture and 1960's counterculture were very Western. However, with the advent of globalization, all cultures are being intermixed to a larger degree than before. A hip-hop style of music that originated in New York City in the 1970s twenty years later makes it to South Korea. Or an style of animation that originated in Japan becomes a hit in the United States. No one is forced into accepting these things, but greater cultural exchange does help spread ideas that people like.

Only a small minority of extremists don't support 'capitalism'.

Being asked to tolerate high rates of crime, and having your kids forcibly moved from a safe school to an unsafe one, doesn't meet most people's definition of a more just society.  Neither does having ever increasing amounts of your hard-earned money taken to redistribute to people who don't work, don't marry, and pop out one baby after another that they don't make any attempt to raise properly.

I got my new Apple IIE today. Apparently it comes with some new program called "Lotus 1-2-3". I'm going to use it to write my essay comparing Van Halen and Motley Crue.

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Your implication that liberals want peace, and conservatives don't, is also highly naive and presumptuous.  Conservatives want peace, but don't want us to lose our freedom as the price of peace.  Conservatives and liberals have different ideas about the sort of people with whom we can expect to live in harmony, but conservatives are no less desirous of peace than liberals.

Did you see the quotations from "Senior U.S. officials" in the Washington Post after North Korea's nuclear test? The Post reported that these officials "welcomed" the North Korean test because it would allow them to "clarify" North Korea policy. In other words they don't care whether North Korea has nukes or not-- their sole objective was to prevent a peace deal. And you can't say the war in Iraq was unavoidable.

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Your implication that conservatives are motivated by wanting to impose Christian beliefs into law is naive also.  To the extent that the law mirrors Christian beliefs, it is generally because this has been found to benefit society.

I think you're the one being naive, Dazzleman. The religious right's obsession with gay marriage and abortion isn't because they think it will "benefit society." It's because they think the Bible forbids those things and therefore they want the government to ban it. Whether it benefits society or not is completely irrelevant to them. 
12208  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should postal workers be allowed to refuse to carry "hateful" mail? on: November 05, 2006, 04:16:46 am
There is something troubling about this recent trend whereby some people are so obsessed with their beliefs they feel they deserve to be paid even if they don't do their jobs. Someone else's right to enjoy the modern phenomenon of mail supercedes your right to be a postal worker, as opposed to a gazillion other possible professions.
12209  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Arthur Marwick on: November 05, 2006, 01:52:43 am
From the obituaries you linked to alone he seems like a freedom fighter. Of course, I wouldn't say that war is the most important engine of social change in the long run. In the short run (as long as a human lifetime), I could agree with that. But in the long run, technological advances are probably a bigger factor.
12210  General Politics / Individual Politics / Why are conservatives conservative? on: November 05, 2006, 01:35:20 am
This may seem a silly question, but to me it is an obvious one and a central one. I am genuinely perplexed at what drives and motivates conservatives.

Traditional conservative political theory--Edmund Burke, for example, was a reaction to revolutionary, sudden and violent change. Burke criticized the French Revolution for throwing aside thousands of years of social tradition for what he considered to be poorly considered artificial constructs. Yet modern liberals are hardly clamoring for violent, revolutionary changes. We seek a gradual move towards a more just society and a nation in harmony with the world. Burke, who railed against unrestrained royal power in favor of a balance of power in government, would hardly approve of today's overpowering Executive Branch.

Religion is not a reason to be a modern conservative. While having a strong religion will virtually certainly influence one's political views-- as it should, at least in Christianity, the messenger of God, Jesus, did not call for his Word to be implemented into law directly. What Christians ought to aim for is tolerance of Christianity in society, and emphasis among ourselves of Christian virtues, so that it will draw people toward the attractive and life-giving aspects of our faith, not the ugly and intolerant ones. This means having faith inform our political views, but not seeking to move words from the Bible to the U.S. Code directly. The Bible tells us that the powers that be are the will of God, and the powers that be in the United States is a nation that tolerates many different sects, denominations, religions, and even atheism. Without such toleration we would have persecution and strife. Is toleration not an ultimate good for believers, then?

Finally, it is silly to think that only one party wants to keep America safe and that the other is allied with terrorists. That presents us Americans with the choice of either indefinite one-party rule, an end of our two-party democracy, or terrorist victory. Neither of these choices is acceptable.

I leave this open ended and ask conservatives to reply. I'm very curious.
12211  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Clinton goes to bat for O'Malley. on: November 04, 2006, 08:48:39 pm
By the way, I hung out with the Mayor last night for like 2 hours.  It was great.

Shocked Awesome! What was the occasion?

Ive been working really hard on the campaign.  Basically my daily schedule for the last moth or so goes like this.  Wake up and go drop lit or stuff lit at the campaign HQ's, go to school and work, and then campaign (drop lit, canvass, phone bank, etc.) at night for 4-5 hours.

Anyway, my local County Councilman has really taken note of the hard work Ive put into this campaign.  So last night after an O'Malley rally at a local Democratic club, my Councilman asked me to stick around and help cleanup.  Anyway, I did, and after all the people filed out the Mayor snuck back in and we headed to the members only room.  Just the Mayor, my Councilman, and some people from his staff.  It was awesome.

Well congrats. That's impressive dedication, and I'm not surprised that someone noticed it. Hopefully all that hard work will pay off. Smiley
12212  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Clinton goes to bat for O'Malley. on: November 04, 2006, 08:33:23 pm
By the way, I hung out with the Mayor last night for like 2 hours.  It was great.

Shocked Awesome! What was the occasion?
12213  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Which underdog do you most want to win? on: November 04, 2006, 08:30:53 pm
I picked Victoria Wulsin cause Jean Schmidt is just batsh**t crazy.

Why isn't Raj Bhakta on here?  You drive through some parts of the district you wouldn't even know Schwartz is running.  I hate to admit Raj ran a great upstart even I was impressed.

Do you think Bhakta might pull off an upset? I haven't see any polls out of this district at all.
12214  Election Archive / 2006 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: MD: Survey USA: MD senate race statistically tied on: November 04, 2006, 03:46:07 am
Personally, I'm very serious about that. In the meantime, I really hope Cardin just pulls it off this year so we don't have a Bushbot for Senator.

A Bushbot who doesn't care for Rumsfeld?

Steele's bottom line comes down to supporting Bush's decision to keep Rumsfeld till the end of his term, though he's of course spinning this issue like a dreidel. Cardin on the other hand has said Rumsfeld should resign.

AuH2O- Don't sell yourself short. I'm sure your profound positions are far beyond all expression.
12215  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Democrats win control of House for 20 yrs? on: November 04, 2006, 02:38:01 am
The Democrats kept the House for 40 years after they last won it back (1954-1994).

That's because a third of the country was under a single-party 'dictatorship'.
12216  Election Archive / 2006 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: MD: Survey USA: MD senate race statistically tied on: November 04, 2006, 12:57:34 am
The apartheid supporter is promoting Steele's chances. How cute. Awww.
12217  Election Archive / 2006 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: MD: Survey USA: MD senate race statistically tied on: November 03, 2006, 07:45:50 pm
You know, while I'd like Cardin to win, I almost wouldn't mind if the MD Democrats did badly this year. Parties that take their base for granted need to be taught a lesson.
They havent taken their base for granted. The only people who have been taken for granted are, across the nation, evangelicals and middle class people who were duped to vote republican. Blacks arent being taken for granted. How is this?

Unfortunately, up until this point, we have. Look at the recent Democratic nominations for Senate, Governor, Lt. Governor, and lower level offices. They don't reflect, proportionally, the face of the Democratic party in our state. We are so afraid that if we nominate a black, whites won't for them, that we've simply stopped nominating blacks. But I really think the events of this election cycle have taken things to a head and been a huge wake-up call to the party. We'll need to do better in nominating people who reflect the diversity of this state. Things are definitely going to change from now on- at least in my view. Personally, I'm very serious about that. In the meantime, I really hope Cardin just pulls it off this year so we don't have a Bushbot for Senator.
12218  Election Archive / 2006 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: CO-04: SurveyUSA: Musgrave's lead down to one point on: November 03, 2006, 07:16:12 pm
Man I would love for Musgrave to lose.

^^^
12219  Election Archive / 2006 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: MD: Survey USA: MD senate race statistically tied on: November 03, 2006, 07:11:47 pm
You know, while I'd like Cardin to win, I almost wouldn't mind if the MD Democrats did badly this year. Parties that take their base for granted need to be taught a lesson.

We certainly aren't going to be taking the African-American base for granted after this year, no matter what happens. I'm reasonably confident about that-- at least it's affected my thinking.
12220  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / US to shut down Iraq reconstruction watchdog: report on: November 03, 2006, 02:45:23 pm
NEW YORK (AFP) - A US agency which has exposed corruption and mismanagement in        Iraq reconstruction efforts will be shut down next year.

The New York Times reported on its website that a little-noticed provision in a recent military spending bill signed by        President George W. Bush will close the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in October 2007.

The move will end an operation that has embarrassed the US government at times by exposing corruption and poor performance among favored contractors for billion-dollar reconstruction missions, like Halliburton and Parsons.

The provision was inserted at the last minute into a large military authorization bill by Republicans in Congress.

"It has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers, who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation," the Times said.

-------
More absurdity.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/usiraqreconstruction
12221  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Liberals: Who is more acceptable? on: November 03, 2006, 02:13:40 pm
Choose from the following pairs.

Bush Sr
Bush Jr

Bush Sr because he was more moderate and more genuine.

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Reagan
Bush Jr

Reagan because he was more of a libertarian.

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Ford
Bush Jr

Gerald Ford... an essentially average choice.

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Jeanne Kirkpatrick
Paul Wolfowitz

Kirkpatrick. It seems she was less involved in the current Iraq fiasco.

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Barry Goldwater
Tom Tancredo

Barry Goldwater. Tancredo's a single-issue opportunist.

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Average Paleoconservative
Average Neoconservative

Average paleoconservative... at least they aren't warmongers. If neocons were any good at nation-building- nevermind.
12222  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Bush Admin leaked info giving huge boost to Iran's nuke program on: November 03, 2006, 02:07:21 pm
The documents are from Iraq's pre-1991 program. They were closer to having a nuclear weapon before 1991 than after.
12223  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Bush Laments ‘Tone’ In Washington on: November 03, 2006, 02:04:23 pm
Hopefully a Democratic takeover of Congress can improve things somewhat; ..

If they go in with the game plan to start up a whole bunch of hearings and investigations, it will only get worse.

At least the two parties will be forced to work together to pass a budget. Anything that comes out of Washington would be a guaranteed product of bipartisanship. Of course, that might mean fewer things coming out. Smiley Seriously though, I would hope a Democratic Congress (by no means a certainty) would exercise its coequal Constitutional role assertively, but not get too distracted by hearings.

The problem is that calling your political opponents terrorist abettors is not exactly helpful for the tone, nor is it particularly helpful for the 'war on terror' to be frank. It would be bad for the country if that kind of campaign pays off.
12224  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Unemployment Plunges to 4.4% in October on: November 03, 2006, 01:58:24 pm
Solid news for the economy. I didn't hear anyone saying this was some kind of political conspiracy, I don't think anyone thinks of monthly economic statistics like that.

The election issue this year of course has never been about the economic performance, unless you mean how the government spends its money, which is a different issue. The Republicans have chosen to campaign on the theme "vote for us because if you don't the terrorists win," and the Democrats have chosen to campaign on Iraq and some specific economic plans like the minimum wage.

The 230,000 added in August is what the economy needs to be getting on a regular basis. During the 1990's expansion our labor force was smaller than it is today, and we had an average of 225,000 jobs generated every month for about eight years. The current number just suggest that unemployment is dropping because not as many people are going into the job market. Still, the August/September numbers are an improvement over most of this expansion, and we'll see if they can continue to hold up. The stock market might not like it though... rising wages is bad for profits.
12225  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Election horror stories/I didn't vote. on: November 03, 2006, 01:16:56 am
Ha, that doesn't matter. I was all worked up about it this morning but it doesn't really matter. As Anthony Downs suggests, it might not even be rational to vote at all.
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