So, you consider yourself a Democrat, do you?

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  • #101
vanesch
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Smurf said:
Not so, conservatism is defined as an ideology that is in opposition to change and categorized by the rejection of "change for it's own sake".
"Change for its own sake" is of course something quite stupid, isn't it ? I mean, the only situation where it could be sensible is when the situation is totally hopeless. I mean: do you regularly open up your computer just to randomly unsolder some components and put them somewhere else on the motherboard, just for the sake of changing ? :rolleyes:

Conservatives are never in opposition to 'all change' as they all favor a certain status quo from a place in the past, some even go so far as to utopize a past 'golden age' (in this respect anarcho-primitivists can be likened to conservatism).
Yes, so that's not applicable to me. I don't have nostalgia for a certain past. I don't find the world now just fine. But I only guess there are "better" worlds, only I KNOW that there are a lot of worse worlds. So just some random change for the sake of it would probably just get us to something worse.

I think that your politico-economic views are quite aptly categorized by conservatism. You don't want change unless you know that it is good change.
I'd say that all those NOT subscribing to such a view are fools (unless the situation is totally hopeless). So I think this cannot be called conservatism ; because it would mean that progressists are fools :smile:
 
  • #102
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vanesch said:
I'd say that all those NOT subscribing to such a view are fools (unless the situation is totally hopeless). So I think this cannot be called conservatism ; because it would mean that progressists are fools :smile:
Vanesch, I think we've found you an ideology. :wink: (mind you, that doesn't mean you have to agree with all conservatives, there are many branches of conservatism that vary a lot - please don't start agreeing with the tories!)
 
  • #103
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vanesch said:
Yes, so that's not applicable to me. I don't have nostalgia for a certain past.
I know, but resisting change in the current is just as conservative as advocating a change back to the past. You're in opposition to 'new' things unless there's a lot of evidence in front of you (some conservatives consider the 'now' to be too new, some don't - you don't). I think that's very conservative ideologically, but not party-wise.
 
  • #104
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I'm a bit unsure though, you're not going to vote conservative are you? Conservatism is like your macro-ideology. The peculiarities are bound to be different.
 
  • #105
loseyourname
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Skyhunter said:
BTW-what exactly is conservative fiscal policy?
In short, market solutions to economic problems. No ceilings or floors, no central planning, keep regulations and licensing to a minimum (health officials, etc.). No tax breaks for locating in a certain city. The consumer should control the economy; not the government.
 
  • #106
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El Hombre Invisible said:
Why is it not okay to discuss religion, but fine for someone to start a thread for bashing a particular political philosophy?
I didn't do that at all.
Nowhere in this thread did I bash anyone's political philosophy.
Nowhere did I say that this ideology is better than that one.
This has nothing at all to do with comparing and contrasting the merits and pitfalls of any one philosophy over another.
Please point out to me where I was bashing a political philosophy (or singing the praises of one, for that matter).
Be honest... Did you actually read the opening post? All of it?

Regardless, even if that WAS the point of the opening post, discussing the merits and pitfalls of a political ideology is entirely different than doing the same with a religion.
Political philosophies are supposed to be based on reason, logic and rationale.
Religions are inherently based on belief, faith, personal notions of the afterlife and the such.
They are two different animals.


Smurf,
I couldn't possibly disagree more with your assessment.
Please correct me if I have misunderstood. You claiming that the majority of people fit cleanly into one defined ideology or another. Furthermore, you claim that the vast majority of those who claim they do not, are either ignorant, disingenuous or fence sitters.

You seem to think that if most people just learned a little more about the various political and social ideologies they would realize that they DO, actually fit in to one or another. On the contrary, I think that not only would they not, but if more people that DO believe that they fit cleanly into an ideology learned more, they would reject that notion as well. It is the ignorant that believe they fit in, not the opposite.

If you agree with:
Party A about how to scale individual taxation.
Party B about federal social welfare programs.
Party C about nationalized healthcare.
Party A about the size and role of the federal government.
Party C about legalization of narcotics.
Party D about regulation of industry.
Party A about the military budget.
And so on...
Where does that leave you?
It leaves you with the majority of people.
Why people associate themselves with certain parties isn't because they agree 100% with that party's philosophy in most cases.
People, especially in the severely limiting two-party dominated system the US has in place, have to look at their priorities and decide which of the available parties would most effectively work towards achieve the most important of their own ideals.

Beyond the ideological aspect, there are clear practical applications as well. People force themselves into a political ideology mainly for pragmatic reasons.

I fully acknowledge the fact that you can be a gay, black, Jewish single mother living in San Francisco with your lesbian lover working for thirty-thousand dollars a year as a woman's rights activist and attending pro-choice rallies and STILL be a card-carrying Republican without being a hypocrite.

This is because the core of the Republican ideology is a purely political one, not a social one. Smaller, less intrusive federal government, limited federal government powers and limited direct power over the federal government by the electorate are the earmarks of the Republican ideology. Someone would have to be foolish, however, to not recognize and acknowledge the clear de facto social alignments of the Republican Party as opposed to the Democratic Party. Generally, in this country at least, when people are deciding which party to support, the social issues are the main deciding factor.
What if, for example, you agree that there should be expansive federal welfare programs, but do not think abortion should be legal?
What if you are for the absolute separation of church and state, but are also for more expansive state's rights?
Most people's beliefs are an amalgamation of many different ideologies applied to many different specific situations. Childcare, Education, State's Rights, Welfare, Taxation, Corporate Taxation...
There are many different specific issues to consider, and you can take one ideology's approach to some of them, another ideology's approach to others, another ideology's approach to others and so on.
To limit yourself to a single ideology to address a myriad of different issues is either ignorant, because you are not aware of different approaches to different problems, disingenuous, because you are simply aligning yourself with a party because of power or it is a simple pragmatic choice you make.
 
  • #107
vanesch
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Smurf said:
I know, but resisting change in the current is just as conservative as advocating a change back to the past. You're in opposition to 'new' things unless there's a lot of evidence in front of you (some conservatives consider the 'now' to be too new, some don't - you don't). I think that's very conservative ideologically, but not party-wise.
Honestly, I think we're back home again. If the ideology CONSERVATIVE just means that "you only want to change if you have good indications that the change will bring an improvement over the current situation" then I would claim that every reasonable person is conservative, in which case the claim is again trivially true.

The class of non-conservative people are then people who endorse change even when it is not clear whether this will improve things in any way. I think outside of an asylum, there must be a very restricted set of people adhering to this view. So I claim then that 99% of people are conservative wrt your definition of conservative.

I gave the example of just swapping components on the motherboard of your computer just for the sake of change. You have no indication that this will improve the functioning of your computer, so you unsolder the processor, put it in place of the USB bus controller, you put the bus controller in place of the memory and you put the memory in place of the processor. If you oppose to this, you are a conservative... :rolleyes:
 
  • #108
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vanesch said:
Honestly, I think we're back home again. If the ideology CONSERVATIVE just means that "you only want to change if you have good indications that the change will bring an improvement over the current situation" then I would claim that every reasonable person is conservative, in which case the claim is again trivially true.
:biggrin: :rofl: You're such a conservative.

The class of non-conservative people are then people who endorse change even when it is not clear whether this will improve things in any way. I think outside of an asylum, there must be a very restricted set of people adhering to this view. So I claim then that 99% of people are conservative wrt your definition of conservative.

I gave the example of just swapping components on the motherboard of your computer just for the sake of change. You have no indication that this will improve the functioning of your computer, so you unsolder the processor, put it in place of the USB bus controller, you put the bus controller in place of the memory and you put the memory in place of the processor. If you oppose to this, you are a conservative... :rolleyes:
Functionalist too. Which is a generally conservative perspective. Structural-Functionalist to be precise (that was my hunch, yay!).
 
  • #109
vanesch
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Smurf said:
Structural-Functionalist to be precise (that was my hunch, yay!).
Gee, I'm kind of a weirdo: I only want change when it improves over the current situation, and I like it when things work fine :approve:
 
  • #110
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vanesch said:
Gee, I'm kind of a weirdo: I only want change when it improves over the current situation, and I like it when things work fine :approve:
Do you want an explanation, honey? :biggrin:
 
  • #111
vanesch
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Smurf said:
Do you want an explanation, honey? :biggrin:
Yes, dear. You are now happy because you coined some words to my "ideology" so your initial premise that people 1) didn't choose officially yet but are bound to if they don't die before, they just have to do some more reading to find out 2) associate with an ideology and say so 3) associate with an ideology but don't say so (or ignore that) is proved. I'm "a functionalist conservative".

My point to you was that there are 2 ways to see your statement:

1) as trivially true (that means, you enlarge your scope of ideology to "having a way to view things so that you can judge policies"). Yes, everybody has such a way.

2) patently false if you stick to what's usually called an ideology (promoted by idealists) which is a rather short list of absolute rules that "will make the world better if we stick to it":
caricatural examples:
- abolish hierarchy (with different flavors)
- abolish private property (with different flavors)
- let the market rule
- pray to the Great Walaboo
- let the King decide everything
- let the people vote on everything
- praise our Fuehrer
- read the Bible
- follow the Koran
....

This is what most people understand by "ideology" (and idealists) and this is what many people do not stick to.

I wonder what percentage of the world population would satisfy your definition of Functionalist Conservative. My guess would be something like 99% :tongue2:. So better face it: the world has been taken over by an overwhelming majority of Functionalist Conservatives.
 
  • #112
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Okay Babe - Tell me if you think my analysis is totally accurate, somewhat accurate, or complete bull****. As always your opinion will have oh... 0 effect on what I think.

Structural-Functionalism is a sociological perspective. This perspective views a society in a passive, generally harmonial manner. When analyzing an institution of a society the first thing you look for is what it does for the society, what it's purpose is, and probably how it can help. This outlook is what leads you to view society as generally harmonious. You view change, paticularly fast change, as leading to dysfunction in society, and disruption of the existing harmony. This leads you to conclude that any change, specifically large, fast change, should be avoided unless there is a very good reason for it.
 
  • #113
vanesch
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Smurf said:
Structural-Functionalism is a sociological perspective. This perspective views a society in a passive, generally harmonial manner. When analyzing an institution of a society the first thing you look for is what it does for the society, what it's purpose is, and probably how it can help. This outlook is what leads you to view society as generally harmonious. You view change, paticularly fast change, as leading to dysfunction in society, and disruption of the existing harmony. This leads you to conclude that any change, specifically large, fast change, should be avoided unless there is a very good reason for it.
Well, that's not entirely my view. I don't find society particularly "harmonious", for instance. I don't view change as necessarily introducing dysfunction, but change always has a price because investment in existing structures is partly lost. So in order to go for change (and by change, I mean: change that is not the "natural" change in the current system of course. Change that needs an ACTIVE EFFORT to be instored, like using a lot of violence (revolution)) the improvement that will result from it needs to at least make up for the loss of value that the change brought about in the first place.

But my main reason to be a priori against change of the active kind is "thermodynamical", in the sense that there are a lot of bad changes and only a few potentially good changes. It is easy to make a bad society, it is difficult to make a good society. So a priori, random change makes a worse society. You need to think carefully about change in order for it to improve things. The example of the computer motherboard is useful here: there are few ways to mount the components so that it works. There are many ways to mount the components so that it doesn't work.
Our current society is far from perfect, but is not the baddest of societies either (in fact, I think that historically, there have been only few moments - if at all - when society was "better").

So if I propose, for a change, that we all now kill our neighbour, would you think that that is great, because it is a change ? Or are you going to oppose that change because you think that it is not a good idea ?

Or a less violent example, let's propose that only people under 13 year old are allowed to vote. That's a change too. Why oppose it ?

Finally, once you'd be living in your ideal anarchist society, why not, for a change, introduce corporations ? That's a change, too, no ?
 
  • #114
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Yes, that makes sense.

Not everyone would agree with your "thermodynamical" (does that even make sense?) ideas about active change. Others, instead of asking "Why?", would ask "Why not?".
They believe that any possible change can only do good, and there's a reason for this too, on the same level of fundamental beliefs that you have reasons for disagreeing.
 
  • #115
vanesch
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Smurf said:
They believe that any possible change can only do good, and there's a reason for this too, on the same level of fundamental beliefs that you have reasons for disagreeing.
Let's consider it this way. There's a set of points, S, and each point corresponds to an particular way of organizing society. There are points that correspond to an anarchist society, there are points that correspond to the Third Reich, to the Soviet Union and many many others. We'll take it that these points form some kind of continuum ; I leave it open to say how many real dimensions it has. Every point must correspond to a realisable society at one single instant. We call S the "configuration space of societies", and it cannot be crazy enough, there's a point corresponding to it.
Now, the "sociological laws of nature", including human nature, will evolve one single point at time t0 into ANOTHER point at time t1. This needs not be a deterministic evolution. A point s in S will evolve into a point s2 with probability p2, into a point s3 with probability p3 etc...
We don't know all these laws, but certain aspects of it are known.

Now certain societies tend to be stable in time, meaning, if they are in s1 at t1, then there is a large probability that they are still in the neighbourhood of s1 at t2. Other societies will systematically evolve into other forms ; they are unstable societies.

Now on the set of all societies S, we can define a weight function w(s) which gives us the "goodness" of the society, by a real number. Of course, w(s) is a bit subjective: my w(s) corresponds to "reasonable happiness for most people and advancement of science". For others, it might be slightly different, but I'm pretty sure that the "reasonable happiness for most" is something MOST people would agree upon as an important contribution to the "goodness" of a society.

Now, unless you consider the current situation as being a MINIMUM of w(s), meaning, of about all societies, it is the one that satisfies the LEAST the requirements you find important, then a RANDOM CHANGE (any change) can have a DECREASE just as well as an INCREASE in w(s).
I consider our current society as far from being the worst one could imagine so w(s) is far from being a minimum. I'd even say that about most societies we can think of that have existed in the past were worse. So w(s_now) is in fact already pretty high, and a random delta_s would have more chance LOWERING w(s_new) than increasing it.
That doesn't mean that there aren't any s_new that are BETTER. I think that this is possible, and a change to an s_better is a good idea. But one should first make sure that it is indeed a change towards an s_better and not a general s_new, for then we would, with a rather high probability, just go to a lower value of w(s).

So it is not a matter of taste to say: why ? or why not ? The "why not" is: because MOST CHANGES will make things worse. The "why" is: in just a few very well thought out cases, we will actually improve things.
And the reason for that is that our current w(s) IS ALREADY PRETTY HIGH.

It is like mountain climbing: most RANDOM MOVES will get you down. Only well-thought climbing movements will get you higher. This doesn't matter much if you're still on the ground, but it does matter if you are hanging on a cliff.

My point about ideologies is this: ideologies tend to tell us in which corner of S we should be. I tend to say that we should be looking for the highest possible values of w(s), and I don't know in advance in what corner of S this will lead us. This depends on several things, like where are we now, what are the dynamical laws that govern the changes in S, and how do we establish what w(s) is and will evolve into.
 
  • #116
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What the bloody hell are you going off about?
 
  • #117
loseyourname
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Am I gonna have to put in a request that Greg open a "Smurf-Vanesch Only" forum?
 
  • #118
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Can we be moderators? :biggrin:
 
  • #119
selfAdjoint
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vanesch said:
Let's consider it this way. There's a set of points, S, and each point corresponds to an particular way of organizing society. There are points that correspond to an anarchist society, there are points that correspond to the Third Reich, to the Soviet Union and many many others. We'll take it that these points form some kind of continuum ; I leave it open to say how many real dimensions it has. Every point must correspond to a realisable society at one single instant. We call S the "configuration space of societies", and it cannot be crazy enough, there's a point corresponding to it.
Now, the "sociological laws of nature", including human nature, will evolve one single point at time t0 into ANOTHER point at time t1. This needs not be a deterministic evolution. A point s in S will evolve into a point s2 with probability p2, into a point s3 with probability p3 etc...
We don't know all these laws, but certain aspects of it are known.

Now certain societies tend to be stable in time, meaning, if they are in s1 at t1, then there is a large probability that they are still in the neighbourhood of s1 at t2. Other societies will systematically evolve into other forms ; they are unstable societies.

Now on the set of all societies S, we can define a weight function w(s) which gives us the "goodness" of the society, by a real number. Of course, w(s) is a bit subjective: my w(s) corresponds to "reasonable happiness for most people and advancement of science". For others, it might be slightly different, but I'm pretty sure that the "reasonable happiness for most" is something MOST people would agree upon as an important contribution to the "goodness" of a society.

Now, unless you consider the current situation as being a MINIMUM of w(s), meaning, of about all societies, it is the one that satisfies the LEAST the requirements you find important, then a RANDOM CHANGE (any change) can have a DECREASE just as well as an INCREASE in w(s).
I consider our current society as far from being the worst one could imagine so w(s) is far from being a minimum. I'd even say that about most societies we can think of that have existed in the past were worse. So w(s_now) is in fact already pretty high, and a random delta_s would have more chance LOWERING w(s_new) than increasing it.
That doesn't mean that there aren't any s_new that are BETTER. I think that this is possible, and a change to an s_better is a good idea. But one should first make sure that it is indeed a change towards an s_better and not a general s_new, for then we would, with a rather high probability, just go to a lower value of w(s).

So it is not a matter of taste to say: why ? or why not ? The "why not" is: because MOST CHANGES will make things worse. The "why" is: in just a few very well thought out cases, we will actually improve things.
And the reason for that is that our current w(s) IS ALREADY PRETTY HIGH.

It is like mountain climbing: most RANDOM MOVES will get you down. Only well-thought climbing movements will get you higher. This doesn't matter much if you're still on the ground, but it does matter if you are hanging on a cliff.

My point about ideologies is this: ideologies tend to tell us in which corner of S we should be. I tend to say that we should be looking for the highest possible values of w(s), and I don't know in advance in what corner of S this will lead us. This depends on several things, like where are we now, what are the dynamical laws that govern the changes in S, and how do we establish what w(s) is and will evolve into.
The evidence of the 20th century suggests that party dictatorships are unstable and tend to evolve into something else with a time constant somewhere between 20 and 50 years. The bourgeois welfare states of Europe may be in the process of evolving into something a bit more free-market friendly. The US seems on a path to demonstrate Marx's internal contradictions of capitalism.
 
  • #120
Astronuc
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A light-hearted diversion of political humor (don't take it too seriously) :rofl: -

Democrats

I belong to no organized political party - I am a Democrat.
- Will Rogers

When the Democratic Party forms a firing squad we form a circle.
- Morris Udall


Republicans

I don't want to be a Republican. I just want to live like one.
- Eugene Cervi

When Republican speech-makers think they are thinking, they are only re-arranging their prejudices.
- Adlai Stevenson

I wish somebody would make a new Republican speech.
- Frank McKinney Hubbard

I don't want to lay the blame on the Republicans for the Depression. They're not smart enough to think up all those things that have happened.
- Will Rogers

For a working man or woman to vote Republican this year is the same as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.
- Walter Mondale

The battle for the mind of Ronald Reagan was like the trench warfare of World War I. Never have so many fought so hard for such barren terrain.
- Peggy Noonan

The historical record is that 19 years ago, I used marijuana once at a party...in New Orleans.... It didn't have any effect on me. As a matter of fact, I never went back and revisited it.
- Newt Gingrich


Democrats and Republicans

All Democrats are insane, but not one of them know it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it.
- Mark Twain

Democrats are...the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work, and then they get elected to prove it.
- P.J. O'Rourke

Generally, a Republican looks down when he walks; a Democrat up. Neither looks ahead.
- Roger Rosenblatt

from - http://www.heartsandminds.org/humor/fundemrep.htm
 
  • #121
Skyhunter
loseyourname said:
In short, market solutions to economic problems. No ceilings or floors, no central planning, keep regulations and licensing to a minimum (health officials, etc.). No tax breaks for locating in a certain city. The consumer should control the economy; not the government.
I am a fiscal conservative when it comes to non-essential consumer goods. I think the government has a responsibility to guarantee the self maintenance needs of it's citizens.
 
  • #122
Skyhunter
loseyourname said:
Am I gonna have to put in a request that Greg open a "Smurf-Vanesch Only" forum?
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: I'll second that request! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
 

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