Page 1 of 4 1234 Last
  1. #1
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    7,713
    Style
    German longsword, .45 ACP
    3

    So, how can we fix politics?

    Recent politics in the United States have left me, and, I suspect, many others wondering about the nature of both politics, and identity. Thinking that bullshido.net had some of the smartest and most open minded posters on the internet, I thought I might find the answers here. Some people have illuminated certain answers for me, and some others have highlighted for me perhaps the limitations in political thought that exists in society, or the limitations inherent in individual senses of identity. The question is, how can politics be fixed, so that it can be more rational, humane, and inclusive?


    In the first place, I'd had the idea that in an era of good childhood nutrition and access to the internet, that maybe voters were now ready to be hyper-rational and detached in their political decision making. But I can see now that is not the case. And in hindsight, why would it be? Politics have never been rational throughout history. Even people with the most education and resources have made terrible miscalculations based on the limitations of their world view and sense of identity and cultural values. One obvious historical example would be the disintegration of the Qing dynasty and the Opium Wars. Empress Dowager Cixi basically was very irrational and ended up contributing to the self destruction of the Chinese dynastic system. No one of any consequences was all sober and impartial at that time, saying something along the lines of, "We're screwed militarily, we're screwed in terms of trade imbalances, and we have a big substance abuse problem. Oh well, let's the detached and philosophical and start a modest public health program to introduce people to healthy alternatives to opium addiction, since we won't win in terms of trade or military. That's the way the cookie crumbles and this is the best we can do, but if we stay calm and keep things together for another generation maybe things will get better in some way."

    Instead, great stress and pressure lead to great but disastrous and counter productive emotional responses, such as the Boxer Rebellion. Posters on bullshido.net probably appreciate better than most how utterly fallacious, misguided, and tragic it was to try and use chi kung and hand to hand combat against the British Empire. It's pretty much the definition of irrational.

    So what I'm coming to realize is that people were never rational, politically. Not even well fed educated people. Maybe it's a wonder that human societies are as functional as they are or last as long as they do!


    So the question is, today, how do we fix politics and make people less extreme and emotional? How can people calm down and practice healthy detachment? How can people think in terms of greater good instead of very narrowly in short sighted tribal terms?

    For some time, I have been pursing the idea that identity is an illusion. However, I have recently read some thought provoking articles that argue that a sense of national identity is actually important for unifying a country. In other words, that it could promote the points I have listed in the preceeding paragraph.

    From: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/o...iberalism.html

    But how should this diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

    One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.
    These paragraphs were interesting to me because I had generally taken it for granted that "diversity" more or less meant respect for all groups or cultures. Whether that is true or not though the article suggests that some groups perceived themselves to be excluded from this. Upon reflection this perception is understandable. In advertisements, advertisers like to show the demographics they are marketing to. If a certain demographic isn't shown, that group feels like the product is not for them. There's no reason why someone couldn't buy or use the product regardless of their demographic, but people take cues from these kinds of things. So it's a valid point that depending on how something is messaged, people might feel excluded from it. In one sense, it's much ado over something without substance, i.e. there's no reason why a rich guy living in San Francisco couldn't enjoy Olde English or Steel Reserve, but in practice people are emotional and will self exclude for something based on messaging. That is to say, more than likely, the rich guy in San Fran won't feel like Steel Reserve is for him.

    Another article that made me think: https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...t-trump-218013

    To begin, we need to recognize that, although Donald Trump often appeals to the worst in us, the fears that fueled his election are legitimate. They need to be respected. We need a Republican Party as big as those fears and as great as America’s challenges. We need a Republican Party to address the twin concerns that rocketed an inexperienced businessman past both irrelevant political parties and made him president of the United States.

    Fear No. 1: Our country fears it is losing the future. A broad slice of working-class voters fear the American dream has become the American game. They believe it has been fixed by the big guys, for the big guys, against the man who drives an F-150 and built their mansions. It was rigged by the very political leaders Americans sent to Washington to guard the future’s gates.

    Donald Trump not only harnessed the resentments of Roosevelt’s “forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid,” but he also offered them a solution, resurrecting the old Reagan slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Like Trump, our most successful political leaders have always offered blue-collar America a transformative vision of their future—FDR and his “New Deal,” JFK and the “New Frontier,” Reagan and his “Rendezvous with Destiny,” Bill Clinton and his “Bridge to the 21st Century,” and Barack Obama with “Hope,” “Change” and “Yes, We Can!” Yet no leader in either political party today offers America’s working class a compelling vision to compete with that of our president. We’ve left Trump a monopoly selling sunrises. There are no rivals on the shelf.

    Fear No. 2: Our country fears it is losing its identity. We’ve always shared common beliefs, tenets that unite us as Americans. Our flag and anthem bind us into a nation because of the principles they represent: freedom, individual responsibility, the rule of law and equality of opportunity for every American. We have been united by one inspired national culture, open to and supported by all Americans.

    Uniting America is not about “going back” or preserving these values only for male or white Americans. Diversity, equality and an open society are all pretty darn “American” these days. However, our openness no longer seems to have a uniting purpose. There is no better example than Hillary Clinton’s procession for president. Instead of running one campaign, she ran a confederacy of them, micro-targeting groups because of their differences. She found no larger slogan to unite voters beyond the vacuous “I’m With Her.”
    I think these paragraphs are why I thought of the Qing dynasty comparison. One way to approach economic changes in the age of globalization is to think that those economic changes are inevitable. For example, that loss of industrial jobs in developed countries is inevitable due to lower costs in so called developing countries. A planner might feel that it's tragic and empathize with the pain of those whose world has changed for the worse, but also feel like it's not possible to fight the global economic tidal waves and focus on coming up with new forms or new models that will work better.

    However, what the politics of the last year or so have shown is that for many, the availability of certain jobs at certain levels of remuneration were part of identity, and their thinking is more on the community level and less on the global or "sweep of history" level. Therefore, they are motivated politically by appeals to identity, when identity included a historical post world war II industrial status quo. Because of the fundamental global economic reorganization, it's not totally off base to make comparisons to the fundamental changes that were occurring during the downfall of the Qing dynasty, I don't think.

    It also explains why people have become so sensitive to visual symbolic stuff, like kneeling football players.


    So what's the take home from all this? I'm trying to figure this out and hoping to get some good thoughts and comments from this forum. But maybe for me it's this:

    For the vast majority of people, identity matters. They think in terms of things that are individually impacting them, and not in terms of long term planning, or the sweep of history, or in terms of the idea that change is inevitable, rapid, and constant. (Maybe actually millenials will be better at this and more adaptable than previous generations.)

    Therefore, in order to turn down the acute emotionality of US politics, it is necessary to reassure people with themes of unity and stable identity, especially if it's not really possible to stabilize the economy in all sectors. People want reassurance and validation (although it may be inherently difficult to provide this during increasingly tumultuous times).

    As it turns out, "American Exceptionalism" the cultural idea and things like flag pins on lapels actually served an important cultural function, as they were efforts by political elites to provide the above, which is actually very important to many people.

    Thoughts, comments, critiques?
    Lone Wolf McQuade Final Fight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmrDe_mYUXg

  2. #2
    DCS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,358
    Style
    Jits
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    Recent politics in the United States have left me, and, I suspect, many others wondering about the nature of both politics, and identity. Thinking that bullshido.net had some of the smartest and most open minded posters on the internet, I thought I might find the answers here.
    Wait... WHAT???

  3. #3
    Wounded Ronin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    7,713
    Style
    German longsword, .45 ACP
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by DCS View Post
    Wait... WHAT???
    If you go read the comments section on a Politico or USA Today article or on some Facebook meme, it's surreal. Here, people actually talk about things and discuss ideas. It seems like one of the few places on the internet where people can entertain ideas for the sake of discussion without getting offended.

    Plus, it was probably the best place to make the Boxer Rebellion analogy. You never know, maybe at some other places on the internet they really think that iron shirt would make you bulletproof.
    Lone Wolf McQuade Final Fight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmrDe_mYUXg

  4. #4
    Raycetpfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tampa Fl
    Posts
    7,230
    Style
    Gracie Jiu Jitsu
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by DCS View Post
    Wait... WHAT???
    In his defense, he meant me exclusively.

    You have done aikido for fucks sakes. Clearly you make bad decisions.

  5. #5
    DCS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,358
    Style
    Jits
    Quote Originally Posted by Raycetpfl View Post
    You have done aikido for fucks sakes. Clearly you make bad decisions.
    Still do, in its BJJ form.

  6. #6
    DCS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,358
    Style
    Jits
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin View Post
    If you go read the comments section on a Politico or USA Today article or on some Facebook meme, it's surreal.
    I don't have FB and do not read comments in news sites.

    On topic. How do fix politics in three easy steps

    Step one: Call for elections at every level. Local, State, Nation...

    Step two: Kill all the candidates. This way society gets rid of power hungry and evil people. Rinse and repeat until only good people is what is left.

    Step three: Anarcho-socialism FTW.


    Plus, it was probably the best place to make the Boxer Rebellion analogy. You never know, maybe at some other places on the internet they really think that iron shirt would make you bulletproof.
    Rumsoakedfist.

  7. #7
    submessenger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KAUS
    Posts
    7,370
    Style
    BJJ/Judo/MT
    Identity matters, period. It's going to take a lot more than politics and cultural (re)education to make that go away. I am defined by my deeds and my children, and in those things I achieve my immortality. But, that is also the very essence of freedom, as defined... meh, just insert the Declaration of Independence, here.

    The philosophies and ideologies that churn against those very basic tenets of the human condition are the threat, and why there's so much polarity in today's politics. It's one thing to believe that <insert pet minority orientation> that differ from your own are equals; it's quite different to be told that at the point of a gun, and have your children spoon-fed the rhetoric surrounding that notion, while you work your 50-hour week and watch 15% of your earnings go to pay for wars (other people's problems), welfare (other people's problems), racial quotas (other people's problems), and so many other other-people's-problems, all while struggling to make rent or pay your mortgage, keep your kids fed and healthy, fighting with health insurance companies to actually pay for the **** that all your premiums have gone towards (just another form of welfare, other-people's-problems), and making sure that your kids have better moral compass than you or their educators. It's a trying situation, and people just hit a limit with their patience.

    In short, the problem is that we have too many problems for the government to solve, yet we expect the government to solve all our problems. Fix that, and the toxicity of politics will disappear.

  8. #8
    Raycetpfl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Tampa Fl
    Posts
    7,230
    Style
    Gracie Jiu Jitsu
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by DCS View Post
    Still do, in its BJJ form.
    Booooo!! That's like saying you're still having gay sex but now with women.

  9. #9
    submessenger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    KAUS
    Posts
    7,370
    Style
    BJJ/Judo/MT
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Raycetpfl View Post
    Booooo!! That's like saying you're still having gay sex but now with women.
    The more, the merrier?

  10. #10
    DCS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,358
    Style
    Jits
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Raycetpfl View Post
    Booooo!! That's like saying you're still having gay sex but now with women.
    As a lesbian trapped inside of a manly man's body... I've been triggered.

Page 1 of 4 1234 Last

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in