Jump to content
Pangloss

Study shows Tea Party movement not racism-based

Recommended Posts

I'm going back to your earlier definition, "Anti-G8/911-conspiracy/NWO protesters", which is a bit wider and will make my following point more clear.

 

On the individual level I have no beef with any "Anti-G8/911-conspiracy/NWO protester" per se. If people follow that path to political awareness, more power to them. Fine by me.

 

The reason that I, personally, don't elevate that group, but do elevate the tea party movement to the level of "awesome" is that the tea party movement appears to consist of common, working adults. The silent, previously-unengaged majority who represent the real, hard-working, freedom-loving, open-minded but usually-too-busy-to-be-politically-aware America.

 

As opposed to childish, single-issue barn burners and tree spikers incapable of anything other than hate. "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." - Alfred

 

In fact, I believe these are the same sort of people who will be attending Jon Stewart's rally. (Edit: I meant to say people like those who join the tea party movement, not crazy tree spikers!) Which is not to say that Stewart's attendees will be tea party members -- what I'm saying is that they'll have much the same sentiments and beliefs. The only difference is that the Stewart rally attendees will be a little left of center instead of a little right of center.

 

I thought that "average Americans" were polled as generally sympathetic to the overall concerns of the tea party movement, in the same way "average Americans" are sympathetic to the overall concerns anti-globalization protesters and agree "exploitation is bad" or other generalized views. I could even agree that tea partiers, while being white noise generators that add nothing to the dialogue right now, are following that path to political awareness but they certainly aren't there more so now than any of the tree spikers or barn burners you mentioned. I have not yet been able to find a single instance of a tea party advocate explain the tea party platform in a logically consistent manner.

 

 

How is it there can be an entire movement that actually undermines many Republican primaries without a single coherent argument?

 

The only thing I've been able to ascribe to this is that while many Americans are sympathetic to the core ideals (as any Democrat, Republican, or Independent should be), the real core of the tea party movement are conservatives who one-upped the Republican "value voter" demographic that doesn't care about coherent policy. We saw during the '08 GOP presidential primary when Mitt tried to use this demographic to pull ahead of McCain only to have Huckabee (the quintessential value voter candidate, prior to Palin) come along and undercut him, giving conservative moderates enough relative unification to get McCain on the ticket.

 

Two years later, we have the exact people who split Mitt and Huckabee now in critical enough numbers to completely upset some Republican primaries. I honestly think this is good news for Republicans, because now they have a chance of letting that segment splinter off and get back to their intellectual-friendly roots. Of course, that's just my view, and not a well informed one since I did have to come up with it in a vacuum, but honestly it's the best assessment I've been able to make thus far.

 

 

What I don't understand though, is how you refer to people as the "real, hard-working, freedom-loving, open-minded but usually-too-busy-to-be-politically-aware" America when they are backing people who have yet to make a single coherent argument in support of their own platform? Isn't that insane? Is it actually considered admirable when you vote for someone who can't tell you what they'd do, can't describe the issues, can't tell you how they'd solve anything, just that they would cut everything not related to defense and (assuming because values were involved) watch it all magically work out okay?

 

 

 

Just as a side note I saw Dana Loesch last night on Bill Maher's show, and while Bill is a bit annoying to watch I was really hopeful I'd get to see an eloquent tea party supporter finally. She was actually reasonably articulate and even cognizant, but she completely crumbled and returned to rhetoric as soon as any question involved nuance. I hope there are snippets on youtube soon. I can't tell you how maddening it is to watch someone that apparently represents this movement in hopes of finally finding out anything resembling a platform and always being let down. Again I support all their concerns, but America is basically "on life support" until the economy picks up, and while I agree that "living in an iron lung is expensive" I can't see their "pull the plug and sort it out later" approach as viable, especially when not a single one can articulate how we are supposed to survive in our current condition once the plug is pulled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Again I support all their concerns, but America is basically "on life support" until the economy picks up, and while I agree that "living in an iron lung is expensive" I can't see their "pull the plug and sort it out later" approach as viable, especially when not a single one can articulate how we are supposed to survive in our current condition once the plug is pulled.

 

Could you please give details about exactly what would happen that would be life-threatening if "the plug is pulled?" Please stick to the level of individual households and perhaps key businesses and do not focus on financial problems but on direct material resources and supply chains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm betting another difference will be a very very very small percentage of "crazy" signs, if any.

 

I don't know why you'd think that, because the anti-Beck, anti-Palin and anti-tea-party signs are just as ugly and awful as the ones used by the crazier tea party attendees. Would you like me to

? (I liked "Hey teabaggers, don't defacate on the dream!" in that vid, though I suppose "Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are RACIST" makes the point better.)

 

And there's that liberals-are-less-crazy-than-conservatives thing cropping up again. It's almost as if folks here wear blinders when it comes to Air America, MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, the NAACP, etc.

 

 

Yes, diversity of opinions is a lack of focus. At least they can agree that they don't like Obama.

 

Well just to find some common ground here, it sounds like you agree that the Democrats and Republicans also have the same lack of focus. Fair enough. I don't agree with your conclusion, but I do agree that both of the existing parties are certainly struggling to find their way in recent decades.

 

I do think tea party members have more common ground than a hatred for Obama.

 

And again I think your attempts to spin the data are inappropriate, and the researcher herself does not agree with your interpretation. Telling us that 25% is more than double 10%, while explicitly not saying that it's 25%, is spin. And if you combine it with a very large pool of unrelated numbers in order to make it look bad then you are just plain doing it wrong.

 

-------

 

How is it there can be an entire movement that actually undermines many Republican primaries without a single coherent argument?

 

First, IMO their argument isn't incoherent, it's actually pretty clear: Smaller government, less taxes.

 

Second, the reason it's undermining the Republican party (which is a good thing, IMO) because the Republican Party (like the Democratic Party) is not representative of the will of the majority of the American people. IMO, right now the tea party movement represents the majority better than either political party.

 

And yes, that's admirable. It's admirable because I happen to have faith in the majority. I believe they're sensible, hard-working, and have a strong common sense. And I think the fact that so many left-of-center leaners today think otherwise is a reflection on the media and it's use of straw men as an educational tool. If they can't show us how Jane Doe, a single working mother of three, is being hurt by some issue, they don't think the issue is important. And I think they've convinced a couple of generations of liberals that they're right. Well they're NOT right, and they're not the majority, and the majority is in the process of explaining that fact to them. If the left is as smart as it thinks it is it'll take notes, because November is just the mid-term. The final exam is in 2012.

 

I understand fear of mob mentality. I understand the dangers of lack of intelligence and education. But those things were present when the country was founded, too, and the result turned out pretty darn good.

 

 

Just as a side note I saw Dana Loesch last night on Bill Maher's show, and while Bill is a bit annoying to watch I was really hopeful I'd get to see an eloquent tea party supporter finally. She was actually reasonably articulate and even cognizant, but she completely crumbled and returned to rhetoric as soon as any question involved nuance. I hope there are snippets on youtube soon. I can't tell you how maddening it is to watch someone that apparently represents this movement in hopes of finally finding out anything resembling a platform and always being let down. Again I support all their concerns, but America is basically "on life support" until the economy picks up, and while I agree that "living in an iron lung is expensive" I can't see their "pull the plug and sort it out later" approach as viable, especially when not a single one can articulate how we are supposed to survive in our current condition once the plug is pulled.

 

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Maher pinned her down on what services she'd cut (as Colbert did with a different tea party leader last week), going on to suggest that everyone loves to say 'cut services' until it comes down to specifics. It's a valid question and I agree the tea party isn't very good at answering that question.

 

But I think the fact that they struggle with that question is actually a positive sign -- it flies directly in the face of your assertion above that they'd "pull the plug". Look at Scott Brown -- I recognize that he lost their support at the first sign of compromise with Harry Reid, but he's still a product of that movement and yet he's actually all about compromise and common ground.

 

I don't think the tea party candidates will force us into some sort of pure-capitalism nightmare. What I think their influence will produce is more recognition for the benefits of smaller government, and allowing that to be a bigger influence on budgets and spending than it has been (from EITHER party) in recent years.

 

That's it. That's really all there is to it. My two bits, anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know why you'd think that, because the anti-Beck, anti-Palin and anti-tea-party signs are just as ugly and awful as the ones used by the crazier tea party attendees. Would you like me to

? (I liked "Hey teabaggers, don't defacate on the dream!" in that vid, though I suppose "Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are RACIST" makes the point better.)

 

And there's that liberals-are-less-crazy-than-conservatives thing cropping up again. It's almost as if folks here wear blinders when it comes to Air America, MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, the NAACP, etc.

 

http://www.saneornot.com/

 

Well, it would go directly against the theme of the rally, to have crazy signs in it. Sure, some crazies might tag along but even so I'd expect the other people at the rally will ensure they get escorted elsewhere.

 

 

Well just to find some common ground here, it sounds like you agree that the Democrats and Republicans also have the same lack of focus. Fair enough. I don't agree with your conclusion, but I do agree that both of the existing parties are certainly struggling to find their way in recent decades.

 

I do think tea party members have more common ground than a hatred for Obama.

 

Agreed. But, if one group says "I want to fly" and the other group is drawing up blueprints for an airplane, which group would you invest in? Wanting things won't get them done, we all want less taxes, less spending, less deficit, and more goodies. It just can't be done like that, we have to choose some and discard others. The details are the hard part.

 

And again I think your attempts to spin the data are inappropriate, and the researcher herself does not agree with your interpretation. Telling us that 25% is more than double 10%, while explicitly not saying that it's 25%, is spin. And if you combine it with a very large pool of unrelated numbers in order to make it look bad then you are just plain doing it wrong.

 

It's not spin, it's putting things in perspective. The author lumps 6 things with over half the signs for one of those and says that's the point of the rally. That's nice, but on average, that goes to only about 10% each, although some could be more significant than others. You asked why there was so much focus on their being angry or even crazy, I explained why.

 

It could be that was just the author's spin trying to make the rally look focused, by lumping as many signs as he can into "the point of the rally". I just went with what he said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could you please give details about exactly what would happen that would be life-threatening if "the plug is pulled?" Please stick to the level of individual households and perhaps key businesses and do not focus on financial problems but on direct material resources and supply chains.

 

If you like, I can dig around for some hard numbers if I understand the question. The tea party has been pretty consistent in their view that the bailouts were a bad decision, and wouldn't have voted for them if they had the opportunity. While there is disagreement on whether these programs would make the damage "less but longer" or "less and shorter" can be debated at length, but I don't think many argue that unemployment and the majority of the global economy would have gotten much worse had they not been in-place. I've heard numbers around one million jobs saved from the GM bailout alone, and other figures that "without the stimulus" (combined) unemployment would be up to 13%.

 

We are at 9%, and 1 in 5 Americans get food stamps, 1 in 50 report food stamps as their only income. I'm sure many of those have some odd under the table jobs, and it doesn't include non-cash assistance but this isn't your "regular slackers" that never get off the couch. These are normal, strained families trying to keep their heads above water.

 

 

Personally I was and still am very upset by the bailouts, not that they were done (I am sure they had to be) but because they had to be done, and because of how we did it. I can understand how we could be caught off guard and forced into the situation - still angry about it - and I can understand why we didn't have policies in place to handle it, but we should address what sort of procedures need to be in place so if the situation happens again (and we have procedures for responding to an unthinkable sneak nuclear attack, I think we can plan for economic meltdowns) there is a response plan in place where jobs are named and accountability for those roles in place going in, so we don't have to play a round of roulette to see if the money just vanishes.

 

 

My point however, is every tea party member I've heard speak has unilaterally spoken against the bailouts, and have offered nothing but the tired old combination of "faith in natural corrections" and "cutting taxes and regulation will grow the economy" as alternatives. That's like saying "well muscles get stronger with use" and pulling the plug on the iron lung to get those muscles moving. I am okay with people being against bailouts in principle, or even arguing from evidence that it hurt the economy - more facts and nuance the better. Unilateral ideological rejection and a refusal to acknowledge the benefits however, is not called joining the political dialogue. I'm happy to discuss the harms of those programs with them. I'm happy to help them build a case why bailouts do harm to the economy. All I want is intellectual honesty, and not to immediately retreat into rhetoric when challenged by the possibility that they did help in some ways. But I want to be able to say "Hey, at least we got some nice t-shirts out of the deal" and get back an honest "Yes we did, but it wasn't worth it." instead of a diatribe on how it is impossible for any good results to come from anything that involves spending money through the government, because government is always the problem.

 

So if you want the hard figures on the degree to which we prevented collapse due to programs the tea party candidates would have voted against, I'll try to dig them out. If that's not what you were getting at or if you already have seen how those numbers add up I'll hold off.

 

First, IMO their argument isn't incoherent, it's actually pretty clear: Smaller government, less taxes.

Who doesn't want smaller government and less taxes?

Hasn't Obama cut taxes?

To be clear, allowing tax cuts to expire is not the same as raising taxes - so anything extended from Bush era cuts would be considered new cuts.

Wasn't Obama careful to require even the medical overhaul to be budget neutral?

 

This is the problem with such incoherent rhetoric - everyone wants smaller government and less taxes, but the words are meaningless without details. In the details, you get to find out what parts of government someone wants smaller, and what parts they want to be bigger. Everyone wants some aspect to be bigger, even if it's just boosting overdue benefits to disabled veterans, there is always something that needs to be bigger.

 

As a statement, it's meaningless and frankly it's what everyone wants to do, the only difference is they don't like the way Democrats or Republicans say they want to go about it, but fail entirely to offer any alternative themselves.

 

Second, the reason it's undermining the Republican party (which is a good thing, IMO) because the Republican Party (like the Democratic Party) is not representative of the will of the majority of the American people. IMO, right now the tea party movement represents the majority better than either political party.

How does the movement represent the majority better? They have the same goals, they just don't offer any details to criticize. Also, why is the tea party typically so skewed towards hardline conservative social values? Do you think they represent the majority on issues of abstinence-only sex ed, prayer in schools, abortion, and immigration? Again, as an organization it's hard to get a clear read due to the lack of specifics, but they definitely seem to gravitate to the social polarity seen in the Hard Christian Right movement that previously held the Republican spotlight for so long.

 

There's a lot more to consider in a candidate than their generalized views on economics, and I find it suspicious that they all seem to gravitate to one social polarity if they are truly representative of the moderate majority.

 

And yes, that's admirable. It's admirable because I happen to have faith in the majority. I believe they're sensible, hard-working, and have a strong common sense. And I think the fact that so many left-of-center leaners today think otherwise is a reflection on the media and it's use of straw men as an educational tool. If they can't show us how Jane Doe, a single working mother of three, is being hurt by some issue, they don't think the issue is important. And I think they've convinced a couple of generations of liberals that they're right. Well they're NOT right, and they're not the majority, and the majority is in the process of explaining that fact to them. If the left is as smart as it thinks it is it'll take notes, because November is just the mid-term. The final exam is in 2012.

 

I understand fear of mob mentality. I understand the dangers of lack of intelligence and education. But those things were present when the country was founded, too, and the result turned out pretty darn good.

My two bits, I think the left has failed to address the details about what has upset average Americans. They hear Americans are upset about the bailouts, but see that as the result of Republicans poisoning people on it despite the successes achieved, and only consider it an issue of whether they can or can't enlighten everyone to that success like it's just a PR war. If they looked deeper, they'd probably find (I am assuming, largely based on my biased samplings) that people are upset that the bailouts were a stop-gap and no one has addressed the core problems or explained what measures will prevent their need in the future. In an effort to make them more palatable they come across as blasé, which adds insult to injury.

 

 

I really hope the majority turn out to care more about "restoring sanity" and taking it down a notch, than pushing ever more unilateral ideologies. You never hear the tea party talk about common ground, or finding better solutions. It's a repeating mantra that "government is the problem" and an unwavering faith (from what I can see) that cutting taxes, cutting spending is the universal fix-all that will always work, regardless of the circumstances.

 

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Maher pinned her down on what services she'd cut (as Colbert did with a different tea party leader last week), going on to suggest that everyone loves to say 'cut services' until it comes down to specifics. It's a valid question and I agree the tea party isn't very good at answering that question.

 

But I think the fact that they struggle with that question is actually a positive sign -- it flies directly in the face of your assertion above that they'd "pull the plug". Look at Scott Brown -- I recognize that he lost their support at the first sign of compromise with Harry Reid, but he's still a product of that movement and yet he's actually all about compromise and common ground.

You don't have to go out very far on that limb, for the most part that is what went down. Specifically she was asked about cutting any military spending, and she said that since Constitutionally it was allowed, it could be as big as it wants to get without being a bad thing. She was asked about Medicare and responded that it was already broke, so there was nothing to cut. The problem though, and why I consider it still a very real concern that they'd "pull the plug" is instead of admitting that what to cut is a complex issue, or suggesting that we need to work together to solve it, or even having the foresight to figure out one thing she could safely say is good to cut, she just went right back into the old shtick along the lines of "Do you think spending is the solution? What has government ever gotten right?" etc, back into an automatic defense pattern.

 

To simply address that cuts are "a complex issue" is too ambiguous to hold the support of tea party voters. You can see the fear as they walk the tightrope of not wanting to sound too ineffectually vague and sounding even the slightest bit hesitant to slash and burn with total abandon. I sincerely hope it isn't the sensible, hard-working Moderate Americans that have a strong common sense who are putting them on those eggshells. If so, we are in a lot more trouble than I thought.

 

I don't think the tea party candidates will force us into some sort of pure-capitalism nightmare. What I think their influence will produce is more recognition for the benefits of smaller government, and allowing that to be a bigger influence on budgets and spending than it has been (from EITHER party) in recent years.

I think this will be the most interesting aspect, and I do hope some good politicians get forged in the process regardless of political leanings. I think they are going to have some serious trouble though, because if "Government is the problem" then once they are part of it, they'll have a really hard time maintaining the uncompromising unilateralism that they are now riding into office.

 

I don't think the tea party is strong enough to force us into a pseudo-pure-capitalism nightmare (they aren't cutting military focused corporate welfare) but I think they would slash first, question later, and I think their seats would be threatened in the next primary if they didn't. They formed as an alternative to the Republicans because they were seen as too soft and too compromising with Obama, and this is despite record levels of obstruction by Republicans. I could see some good independents emerging if they impress moderate Americans, but they will have to betray the tea party entirely to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you like, I can dig around for some hard numbers if I understand the question. The tea party has been pretty consistent in their view that the bailouts were a bad decision, and wouldn't have voted for them if they had the opportunity. While there is disagreement on whether these programs would make the damage "less but longer" or "less and shorter" can be debated at length, but I don't think many argue that unemployment and the majority of the global economy would have gotten much worse had they not been in-place. I've heard numbers around one million jobs saved from the GM bailout alone, and other figures that "without the stimulus" (combined) unemployment would be up to 13%.

Do you see that this is a traditional anti-republican paradigmatic assumption, i.e. that employment is necessary for the global economy to prosper? Republicanism has traditionally favored self-employment as the basis for economy. The people who argue against this usually deploy the reasoning that corporatism and job-creation are simply imperatives of a modern economy and that to try to run the economy otherwise would be pre-modern. How is that anything less than anti-democratic economic totalitarian ideology? Republicans know very well that corporatism and employment-based income systems work, so they certainly aren't going to argue that employment is antiquated pre-modern authoritarian economics (even though it is in some ways). The problem is really those people who either can't or won't make the effort to conceive of an economy that can survive and even thrive on self-employment.

 

We are at 9%, and 1 in 5 Americans get food stamps, 1 in 50 report food stamps as their only income. I'm sure many of those have some odd under the table jobs, and it doesn't include non-cash assistance but this isn't your "regular slackers" that never get off the couch. These are normal, strained families trying to keep their heads above water.

What makes you think that most families aren't "regular slackers," only they do it by collecting income from largely symbolic jobs instead of public assistance? What amazes me is that the system clearly failed and yet people continue to think in terms of a meritocracy that rewards conformity to the failed system. Food stamps are not a bad method for distributing food, which is efficiently produced as a result of massive subsidies and regulations. If people are well-fed, however, what is wrong with them working on self-sustaining instead of expecting to have a job that provides them with money to pay for every good and service they consume to be done for them by other people? Really, I don't think that people have to be totally self-sufficient but I think there's plenty of room for a lot of people to go a long way in that direction and still be miles away from total self-reliance.

 

Personally I was and still am very upset by the bailouts, not that they were done (I am sure they had to be) but because they had to be done, and because of how we did it. I can understand how we could be caught off guard and forced into the situation - still angry about it - and I can understand why we didn't have policies in place to handle it, but we should address what sort of procedures need to be in place so if the situation happens again (and we have procedures for responding to an unthinkable sneak nuclear attack, I think we can plan for economic meltdowns) there is a response plan in place where jobs are named and accountability for those roles in place going in, so we don't have to play a round of roulette to see if the money just vanishes.

Not sure exactly what you mean by all this, but I wonder what kind of economic system you think should exist that protects people from ever having to lose income or adjust their lifestyles. After all, the economy we currently have requires that certain people adjust their life-goals to perform services and other labor that fall short of their ideals because there are other people who always expect every form of service and goods to be available to them. So as long as the system DOESN'T fail, that leads to some people being subjugated to the needs of others. The system has to fail for some people in order for others to gain some freedom from being overburdened with servicing the others. Ideally, sufficient reforms would take place that no one would get a position of total privilege and no one would get stuck with total servitude, but with the current direction the political-economy is taking, EVERYONE is going to get stuck with both permanent employment and permanent dependence on others. Self-employment based living will be extinct if total socialism is enacted.

 

My point however, is every tea party member I've heard speak has unilaterally spoken against the bailouts, and have offered nothing but the tired old combination of "faith in natural corrections" and "cutting taxes and regulation will grow the economy" as alternatives. That's like saying "well muscles get stronger with use" and pulling the plug on the iron lung to get those muscles moving. I am okay with people being against bailouts in principle, or even arguing from evidence that it hurt the economy - more facts and nuance the better. Unilateral ideological rejection and a refusal to acknowledge the benefits however, is not called joining the political dialogue. I'm happy to discuss the harms of those programs with them. I'm happy to help them build a case why bailouts do harm to the economy. All I want is intellectual honesty, and not to immediately retreat into rhetoric when challenged by the possibility that they did help in some ways. But I want to be able to say "Hey, at least we got some nice t-shirts out of the deal" and get back an honest "Yes we did, but it wasn't worth it." instead of a diatribe on how it is impossible for any good results to come from anything that involves spending money through the government, because government is always the problem.

You're right. Bureaucracy and corporatism are really the problem, whether those occur in government or private business. If people would propose reforms that would make government less bureaucratic and less supportive of corporatism, the anti-government people might not dislike government as much, but it seems to me that bureaucracy and corporate-organization is one and the same thing as government, so how do you separate them?

 

So if you want the hard figures on the degree to which we prevented collapse due to programs the tea party candidates would have voted against, I'll try to dig them out. If that's not what you were getting at or if you already have seen how those numbers add up I'll hold off.

It's not figures that I'm interested in. I'm looking more for concrete examples of what industries would fail and what obstacles people would face in trying to resolve basic economic problems. In other words, I want to know what hurdles people face to prosper via self-employment and why it would make it worse to pull the plug on the "life support." I tend to think that the "life support" is indeed actually supporting a system that subordinates self-employment to corporate economic standards.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to point out a few things. First the study concludes that the media coverage is biased towards the more radical signs rather than showing a representative overview of all the messages displayed. This by itself is not surprising, considering how the media operates, but is still interesting.

It does not, however, allow the conclusion whether racism is prevalent in the tea party (or rather more prevalent than in the average population). I could not find a precise methodology either, the only info I found after quick googling was that she photographed 250 signs. If that was all I do not think that the study is very strong (though would still allow first conclusion).

Another study is more directed to this question, for example: My link

 

But even if there were more racists within the tea party than the average populations, it does not mean that their basis is racism. It could be for instance that their composition is e.g. mainly white and thus their sample is not representative of the population. In other words, it could be a correlation effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it would go directly against the theme of the rally, to have crazy signs in it. Sure, some crazies might tag along but even so I'd expect the other people at the rally will ensure they get escorted elsewhere.

 

Heh, yeah, that's what Glenn Beck tried, with some success. What I don't understand is why you would think that the Stewart rally would be better, based (from what I can tell) on some nebulous feeling that liberals are more sensible than conservatives. I think your faith is misplaced, but I will admit that perhaps it's my faith in main street conservatives that is misplaced.

 

 

Agreed. But, if one group says "I want to fly" and the other group is drawing up blueprints for an airplane, which group would you invest in? Wanting things won't get them done, we all want less taxes, less spending, less deficit, and more goodies. It just can't be done like that, we have to choose some and discard others. The details are the hard part.

 

IMO it's more like one group says "I want to fly" and the other group is throwing great, heaping gobs of money with only the barest hint that it might cause the airplane to fly. They have theories but none of them are proven, and so far the best they can say is that it hasn't run into the trees off the end of the runway. Yet.

 

 

--------

 

Who doesn't want smaller government and less taxes?

 

Any people who believe that the government is a better source for decision-making that private individuals or industries. Europeans, for example, apparently.

 

 

Hasn't Obama cut taxes?

 

Has he?

 

 

To be clear, allowing tax cuts to expire is not the same as raising taxes - so anything extended from Bush era cuts would be considered new cuts.

 

Doesn't matter. He and his party are in charge. If they allow the tax cuts for all voters to expire, they are the ones who are going to pay the price. This is not illogical or unreasonable, and were the shoe on the other foot the left would be saying the same thing that the right is saying now.

 

 

Wasn't Obama careful to require even the medical overhaul to be budget neutral?

 

Raising the deficit and debt is budget neutral? Okay, in fairness I agree that is the plan, but I don't think that plan is realistic and I don't think it will happen. And I'm hardly the only one who thinks so.

 

 

This is the problem with such incoherent rhetoric

 

I think I've just shown (above) the opposition rhetoric to be pretty coherent and even logical. Is it CORRECT? Who knows -- it's not demonstrably correct, but then it's not demonstrably wrong either. Therein lies the problem.

 

 

everyone wants smaller government and less taxes, but the words are meaningless without details. In the details, you get to find out what parts of government someone wants smaller, and what parts they want to be bigger. Everyone wants some aspect to be bigger, even if it's just boosting overdue benefits to disabled veterans, there is always something that needs to be bigger.

 

Fair enough, I think questioning their plan is a valid point in opposition to the tea party movement.

 

But I don't think their points are meaningless drivel, I think they're raising reasonable challenges that frankly nobody can answer, even with the best data and intentions.

 

 

How does the movement represent the majority better?

 

Because the actions of the Democrats (and Republicans during the Bush years) don't reflect an actual desire for smaller government. Their actions reflect a desire for bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government.

 

 

Also, why is the tea party typically so skewed towards hardline conservative social values?

 

I think that's a reasonable point in challenge as well. I don't think they happened as a deliberate act in composition of the movement, I think it happened because social conservatives lost their voice when John McCain was elected and those who didn't disengage completely (e.g. Focus on the Family) were looking around for a new outlet.

 

But watch: If tea party conservatives come to power in November, and act like they have a mandate for social conservatism, they will quickly find that, just as happened under Bush, that's really not what the people want. And their turning-out will be even swifter than the one Democrats received when they thought they were given a progressive mandate.

 

 

Do you think they represent the majority on issues of abstinence-only sex ed, prayer in schools, abortion, and immigration?

 

No. I think the polls show an increasingly socially moderate nation. But mind you there's absolutely nothign in those polls to suggest a socially progressive mandate either. IMO most Americans don't like being handed Kool-Aid and forced to drink it. By either conservatives or progressives. What they want is to be left alone to raise their kids and consume entertainments as they see fit. They don't want to be told they have to go to church on Sunday any more than they want to be told that they can no longer say "that's so gay" without being chastised (thank you, Vince F'ing Vaughn).

 

 

There's a lot more to consider in a candidate than their generalized views on economics, and I find it suspicious that they all seem to gravitate to one social polarity if they are truly representative of the moderate majority.

 

A perfectly reasonable concern, IMO. I have that problem right now, following the candidacy of Marco Rubio for Florida senate. I *will not* vote for the far left Kendrick Meek, and Charlie Crist seems increasingly... (thanks for the word) unfocused. But Rubio, for all his talk about smaller government, is apparently in bed with the religious right. It's a problem for me as a voter.

 

 

My two bits, I think the left has failed to address the details about what has upset average Americans. They hear Americans are upset about the bailouts, but see that as the result of Republicans poisoning people on it despite the successes achieved, and only consider it an issue of whether they can or can't enlighten everyone to that success like it's just a PR war. If they looked deeper, they'd probably find (I am assuming, largely based on my biased samplings) that people are upset that the bailouts were a stop-gap and no one has addressed the core problems or explained what measures will prevent their need in the future. In an effort to make them more palatable they come across as blasé, which adds insult to injury.

 

An interesting point. I think there's a lot to what you're saying there.

 

Unfortunately all Democrats are doing right now is blaming Republicans. They seem convinced that main street America is too stupid to understand that Republicans were building the deficit and debt too. They're wrong -- main street America knows that fact all too well. IMO Democrats aren't scoring any points with that message, and it's actually *hurting* them.

 

But if you watch the news, it's all about how Democrats have failed to inform the American people that Republicans are to blame. It's unnerving to see such an obvious disconnect on such a widespread scale. Yet it seems to happen more and more often with both parties.

 

 

I really hope the majority turn out to care more about "restoring sanity" and taking it down a notch, than pushing ever more unilateral ideologies. You never hear the tea party talk about common ground, or finding better solutions. It's a repeating mantra that "government is the problem" and an unwavering faith (from what I can see) that cutting taxes, cutting spending is the universal fix-all that will always work, regardless of the circumstances.

 

It's a good point. I do wonder sometimes if "taking it down a notch" is actually going to matter anymore, or if we've actually moved past that point. I don't mean to suggest a violent future, I just wonder if the concept Stewart's chasing has simply been obviated by the new political landscape. I think it's possible that the majority of Americans have already graduated from the school of insanity and are currently working on doctoral studies in serious political engagement.

 

If that's true it may be there we're poised on the bring of political upheaval in the form of a new alignment of the parties or the creation of new parties. And it may happen so suddenly, and through such unexpected and unpredictable forms of communication, that even Jon Stewart won't know what to make of it. There has been a lot of talk recently of a kind of "political singularity" in our future. But it's all just speculation, of course.

 

 

Specifically she was asked about cutting any military spending, and she said that since Constitutionally it was allowed, it could be as big as it wants to get without being a bad thing. She was asked about Medicare and responded that it was already broke, so there was nothing to cut. The problem though, and why I consider it still a very real concern that they'd "pull the plug" is instead of admitting that what to cut is a complex issue, or suggesting that we need to work together to solve it, or even having the foresight to figure out one thing she could safely say is good to cut, she just went right back into the old shtick along the lines of "Do you think spending is the solution? What has government ever gotten right?" etc, back into an automatic defense pattern.

 

Lol, okay, that's getting nailed all right.

 

---------------

 

 

 

Nothing about their response to those questions suggest racism or bigotry to me.

 

I support gay marriage, but I don't buy the argument that opponents must be bigoted. There argument may not make a lot of logical sense, but that's simply an educational question. They've convinced themselves that it's perfectly acceptable to define marriage as male-female only, and that bestiality and pedophilia will immediately result from allowing gay marriage. But coming from having that same concern myself, in spite of having gay friends, I can tell you with some assurance that while it's dumb, it's not anti-gay bigotry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Heh, yeah, that's what Glenn Beck tried, with some success. What I don't understand is why you would think that the Stewart rally would be better, based (from what I can tell) on some nebulous feeling that liberals are more sensible than conservatives. I think your faith is misplaced, but I will admit that perhaps it's my faith in main street conservatives that is misplaced.

 

So how many rallies have you seen where there is a website to vet the signs for sanity?

 

IMO it's more like one group says "I want to fly" and the other group is throwing great, heaping gobs of money with only the barest hint that it might cause the airplane to fly. They have theories but none of them are proven, and so far the best they can say is that it hasn't run into the trees off the end of the runway. Yet.

 

So you're saying that the Republicans and Democrats haven't accomplished anything other than spending money, haven't passed any legislation? For good or ill, they are handling the details. The Tea Party isn't willing or able to, but they will have to if they want to actually get anything done other than changing a vote.

 

Fair enough, I think questioning their plan is a valid point in opposition to the tea party movement.

 

But I don't think their points are meaningless drivel, I think they're raising reasonable challenges that frankly nobody can answer, even with the best data and intentions.

 

Challenges that no one can answer is pretty much meaningless drivel, or, if you prefer, empty rhetoric. What point is there to raising an unsolvable issue and not even trying to solve it, other than to complain about how someone you don't like isn't solving it? All that could accomplish is switching the votes without resolving the issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you see that this is a traditional anti-republican paradigmatic assumption, i.e. that employment is necessary for the global economy to prosper? Republicanism has traditionally favored self-employment as the basis for economy. The people who argue against this usually deploy the reasoning that corporatism and job-creation are simply imperatives of a modern economy and that to try to run the economy otherwise would be pre-modern. How is that anything less than anti-democratic economic totalitarian ideology? Republicans know very well that corporatism and employment-based income systems work, so they certainly aren't going to argue that employment is antiquated pre-modern authoritarian economics (even though it is in some ways). The problem is really those people who either can't or won't make the effort to conceive of an economy that can survive and even thrive on self-employment.

So many points, but:

1) I haven't heard anything that implies Republicans believe everyone can be self employed.

2) I don't know anyone who uses those arguments against self-employment as there has never been a discussion that I'm aware of suggesting a massive shift to self-employment is even viable

3) How is it anti-democratic when the majority of people (that I am aware of) have no interest in self-employment and many have chosen to get out of it? Wouldn't it be totalitarian to remove that choice?

4) How does "Republicans know very well that corporatism and employment-based income systems work" reconcile with the comment that "Republicanism has traditionally favored self-employment as the basis for economy" and how is it anti-Republican (point 1) if even Republicans as you say aren't making those arguments?

5) It is a cop-out to blame the problem on "those people who either can't or won't make the effort to conceive of an economy that can survive and even thrive on self-employment" since you basically are saying the problem is people that don't see the world as you do, and don't see the same pressing need for a very specific (and flawed) game-changing shift in our economy. If people aren't interested in what you want them to squeeze into, it's not a matter of them being a problem failing to shoe-horn into your solution, the problem is your solution doesn't fit their problem.

 

As for all the reasons that self-employment is not the solution, I'll go into more detail further down.

What makes you think that most families aren't "regular slackers," only they do it by collecting income from largely symbolic jobs instead of public assistance? What amazes me is that the system clearly failed and yet people continue to think in terms of a meritocracy that rewards conformity to the failed system. Food stamps are not a bad method for distributing food, which is efficiently produced as a result of massive subsidies and regulations. If people are well-fed, however, what is wrong with them working on self-sustaining instead of expecting to have a job that provides them with money to pay for every good and service they consume to be done for them by other people? Really, I don't think that people have to be totally self-sufficient but I think there's plenty of room for a lot of people to go a long way in that direction and still be miles away from total self-reliance.

Considering that the rate of people on food stamps have doubled since '09, and that '09 wasn't an easy year to begin with, I think it's safe to say most new recipients resorted out of necessity to food stamps, as opposed to the sort of "slackers" that always end up on some sort of assistance even in the best of times. As for most families who are employed being considered "slackers" I think the fact that they are employed and (hopefully) making enough to pay taxes and support this nation separates them from the demographic I was referring to. Whether you feel the job is "mostly symbolic" (I assume you mean government job employees) you have to remember that they were hired to do a job, they met the requirements and they are doing the work. How is that slacking? Whether we should cut the job or not as "ineffectual busywork" is immaterial to the employee - the job is posted because we say "We need someone who can do this job for this salary" and they get it done. You can't blame them or call them a slacker just because you don't see merit in what they produce. If it is without merit, the job should be eliminated but again that's not their job, their job is to do what they were tasked with.

 

Not sure exactly what you mean by all this, but I wonder what kind of economic system you think should exist that protects people from ever having to lose income or adjust their lifestyles.

I have no idea why you feel compelled to wonder that, as no one suggested such an economic system could even or should even exist. People lose income all the time, and have to adjust their lifestyles all the time. The only thing we are talking about is how to avoid a depression, with huge unemployment, homelessness, the toll on on-term physical health, and a generation with educational prospects put on hold.

 

My meaning was that while bailouts are incredibly unpopular, it's like saying "chemo is unpopular" among cancer patients. You won't find anyone who says they do like it. However, most people would prefer it to the alternatives. Of those who wouldn't, you have a small demographic that would rather pray, some that would rather use (entirely ineffective) alternative medicines, some that are just in denial, and a very small group that understand the consequences but would rather spend the end of their lives enjoying it instead of in hospitals.

 

I am angry at the conditions that led to the necessity of the bailouts, by the process by which they were created and managed, and by the lack of any effort to prevent the conditions that led to their necessity in the future. I think that is a fair thing for "moderate America" to be upset about, but I don't think it is possible to simply the entire argument down to "bailouts are bad, people who vote for bailouts are bad" ideology because real world solutions don't come from such simplistic mentalities.

 

After all, the economy we currently have requires that certain people adjust their life-goals to perform services and other labor that fall short of their ideals because there are other people who always expect every form of service and goods to be available to them. So as long as the system DOESN'T fail, that leads to some people being subjugated to the needs of others. The system has to fail for some people in order for others to gain some freedom from being overburdened with servicing the others. Ideally, sufficient reforms would take place that no one would get a position of total privilege and no one would get stuck with total servitude, but with the current direction the political-economy is taking, EVERYONE is going to get stuck with both permanent employment and permanent dependence on others. Self-employment based living will be extinct if total socialism is enacted.

I have no problem with people having to change their life goals. A lot of folks had to do that in the 1940s, it's simply called "that's life" and you deal with it. The problem I have is letting people starve, or suffer from exposure. I don't think hard working people that support this system should be abandoned by it the moment it those who are at the wheel send it into the ditch. My argument for the bailouts is as much as I didn't like them, they were necessary to keep those bare essentials social programs that keep people off the street and out of food lines from being completely swamped.

 

Questions:

1) Can you tell me what services and goods that "people expect to have available to them," that result in this "falling short of their ideals" that you mention?

2) Are you equating interdependence to subjugation?

3) When you say "The system has to fail for some people in order for others to gain some freedom from being overburdened with servicing the others." who does it have to fail for, what exactly is the failure condition necessitated, and how are those who are overburdened by providing for services supposed to stay in business when their own customer base is failing due to a lack of services? You almost sound like you are going all "Atlas Shrugged" there, but I want to give you the benefit of the doubt to clarify.

4) What is "total privilege" exactly? I assume "total servitude" has the standard meaning, but "total privilege" is not a term I have heard before.

5) What current direction do you think the political-economy is taking? I have no idea why you think everyone would be permanently employed, and we are all already permanently dependent on others. You can't even live in the woods without at least depending on others to abide by the same precepts of private property.

6) Who has even vaguely suggested that "total socialism" (is that communism?) is even viable, let alone ideal?

 

You're right. Bureaucracy and corporatism are really the problem, whether those occur in government or private business. If people would propose reforms that would make government less bureaucratic and less supportive of corporatism, the anti-government people might not dislike government as much, but it seems to me that bureaucracy and corporate-organization is one and the same thing as government, so how do you separate them?

We are heading in that direction, and the Tea Party, while not the solution, is a symptom of the growing unrest and necessity to move beyond party demagoguery (from any wing) and work out genuine compromises that are based on a constructive consensus. Unfortunately, it's hard to see how to get there because the political wings are so polarized, and the competing forces prefer "hurting the competition" to outdoing them. As long as the majority of Americans buy into the idea that the politics of destruction (that dirty destructive tricks are a necessary evil, because the "bad politicians" want to destroy the country and we have to destroy them first) we will have these problems. We however are seeing a backlash against that, and people are starting to question if those evils really are necessary.

 

The key regardless, is to raise the dialogue and demand better answers, better goals, and actual discussions that refine the nuance of any given strategy instead of sabotaging the dialogue to make a favored strategy the only one not demonized.

 

It's not figures that I'm interested in. I'm looking more for concrete examples of what industries would fail and what obstacles people would face in trying to resolve basic economic problems. In other words, I want to know what hurdles people face to prosper via self-employment and why it would make it worse to pull the plug on the "life support." I tend to think that the "life support" is indeed actually supporting a system that subordinates self-employment to corporate economic standards.

 

I've been self employed for about 20 years now, with maybe 4 years in there as part time or full time traditionally employed. I've had the benefit of both my parents being self employed, of a natural talent for programming and the sort of good teachers where I had the opportunity to teach computer programming to 8th graders when I was still in high school. I also got to build dynamic websites and work on some of the earliest search engines in the early 90s while still in high school, so I consider myself pretty fortunate in terms of advantages as a self employed individual.

 

That said, self employment is incredibly uncertain, and incredibly difficult and I would not attempt it now if I had a family to support.

 

To answer your question, I want to go over some risk factors associated with self employment:

 

1) You have to be good at many jobs, and still depend on partners.

I am not a graphic designer or any good at marketing, so I am entirely dependent on others to do this. Still, I am my own network troubleshooter, tech support, my own finance manager, my own project manager, my own programmer, I have to manage other contractors in other companies, I have to maintain quality control, and I have to do competitive market niche research and research new technologies.

My primary partner in New York has to handle office work, technical support, marketing, market research, material printing and production, graphic design, project management, quality control, invoicing, collections, customer relations.

Some of our roles overlap because neither of us has the expertise to handle all aspects exclusively. This "many hats syndrome" creates difficulties for the self employed because it scales so badly - any increase in success has to be met with delegating labor gracefully, or production chokes on a bottleneck created by one of the other hats you have to wear not increasing in step with the others.

 

It usually takes a lot of capital and often new skills for self employed individuals to truly grow their revenue.

 

2) People don't pay you, like, ever

Seriously, people just don't pay you. Last year about this time through January I was thousands of dollars behind on bills when I should have been sitting on several grand in the bank, because we'd work and work and people would flake out on making their payments. You can't always get all money up front, and you sometimes know you are taking a chance on a client you sense is unreliable but sometimes you have to take those chances or you don't eat. I can't stress this enough

 

3) Stress

You are always on call. You are always keeping an eye out and nervously scoping changes to the industry and the reliability of service providing firms you depend on. This is fine for people that want that life, but not everyone does. Many are much happier with a reasonable expectation of a paycheck for doing a job, and a reasonable expectation that by paying into unemployment benefits they can get a small grace period to try and find new work before loosing their home should their job cease to exist. I know people who were self employed who are much happier with their quality of life serving coffee.

 

4) Not all jobs lend themselves to self-employment

Should every garbage truck driver be self-employed? What's the real difference between an employee that shows up to work to haul waste, and a contractor doing the exact same thing on an annual contract? Independent contracting just increases the overhead in managing payroll and all that when the job is really optimized for classic employment.

 

 

So, for concrete examples I would have to say there is no way I would still be self-employed because even as is, I was nearly homeless several times just as a result of current conditions. People will contract with you and you will work the hours, you just won't get to collect. You end up with clients telling you how "the money is on the way any day, and you are the first they'll pay" which leaves you saying the same thing to your landlord, your ISP, and the companies you depend on to stay in business.

There is a phenomenal amount of work involved in surviving as a self employed individual, the last statistic I heard (around 2001) is that only 1 in 10 new brick and mortar business actually survive their first three years. It's hard, and "classic employment" is often used part-time to maintain such ventures until they can support themselves. All the risks of small business apply to self employment and that means even small shifts in the economic environment can bankrupt a new company not prepared to weather it.

 

In short, if classically reliable employment options are not reliable in rough economic times, the perpetually risky nature of self employment is not going to be any better, and the volatility in the economy that was only partially mitigated by the bailouts would only have hurt the self employed even more had they not passed.

 

There are exceptions (I hear self employment isn't so bad in the repossession industry) but they are few and far between, and not broad enough to model general solutions after. Classical employment has to be part of the solution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any people who believe that the government is a better source for decision-making that private individuals or industries. Europeans, for example, apparently.

You can have a smaller government that is more involved - size and involvement are not mutually exclusive. Personally, I would like a lean government that does what it does well, including the things it can do better than private individuals and industries and avoids doing what it can't do better. We can regulate what practices individuals can engage in (prostitution, child labor, fraud, racketeering) and don't get angry at the government for interfering but when the same logic is applied to bigger businesses it's suddenly market interference.

 

I think it's healthy to debate what laws are needed for big business, and what powers the government has to intervene in free market booms and collapses but I don't think anyone wants a bigger government just for the sake of it. I also don't think many people truly want a big government - they want heavy government involvement to help us weather this economic crisis, but that is highly transitive in nature.

 

I also don't think there is an ideological conflict between those that want bigger government, and those that want it smaller - just people that want to fix the problems we have, and a failure to communicate and work together.

 

Has he?

 

Doesn't matter. He and his party are in charge. If they allow the tax cuts for all voters to expire, they are the ones who are going to pay the price. This is not illogical or unreasonable, and were the shoe on the other foot the left would be saying the same thing that the right is saying now.

There were huge tax cuts in the stimulus bill, and he is looking at reimplementing many of the Bush tax cuts as well. With regards to the Bush cuts expiration date, I understand what you are saying but I do think it's important to keep things in context. They were passed into law on the basis that they would expire, and that preventing that expiration would require action. If we passed a one-time stimulus of $100B over four years, you can bet that "spending that much again" in four years later by extending the plan would be considered new spending. In the same way, I don't understand how these new tax cuts aren't considered new. How they are felt by citizens will be different of course, because they have gotten used to them and those impacts cannot be ignored, but it is new action taken and that has to be taken into account too.

 

Raising the deficit and debt is budget neutral? Okay, in fairness I agree that is the plan, but I don't think that plan is realistic and I don't think it will happen. And I'm hardly the only one who thinks so.

The important thing is that it's a commitment, and whether or not it can be kept will reflect on the success of that commitment, and the credibility of it's advocates. The first step in a diet isn't slashing certain types of food, but to set goals and commitments, and then measure the success in meeting those commitments and adjusting accordingly.

 

Again, we are in a very difficult position because all our social services are being strained from high unemployment, and consumers are not able to drive economic growth. We have to think differently about the tactics we use to recover, and what tactics we need to maintain future growth once the economy is stabilized. I personally believe that government spending is a big factor in getting through to recovery, and if done right it can prevent some of the more hazardous collapses that still threaten our stability. I am happy to discuss the nuances of these arguments but I think it's a slightly different discussion. I just want to highlight the difference between supporting a major long term increase in government spending, and emergency stop-gap measures.

 

I think I've just shown (above) the opposition rhetoric to be pretty coherent and even logical. Is it CORRECT? Who knows -- it's not demonstrably correct, but then it's not demonstrably wrong either. Therein lies the problem.

Perhaps I'm applying my definitions too restrictively. I just don't think the message has any more merit than saying "We need people with integrity and good values" because it's incredibly vague. Everyone is equally capable of paying lip service to vague ideas, and for an individual to only apply lip service to vague ideas brings nothing to the table. If you are left responding "But what does that mean, compared to anyone else saying that?" and can't get an answer, I think the original statement you are responding to can't be that coherent. However, if I am using the word wrong I'm happy to use another.

 

Fair enough, I think questioning their plan is a valid point in opposition to the tea party movement.

 

But I don't think their points are meaningless drivel, I think they're raising reasonable challenges that frankly nobody can answer, even with the best data and intentions.

I agree and I do understand that it can have a beneficial impact on the entire political process. I don't even have a problem with the fact they are raising challenges that no one can answer - it's that they don't admit they don't have them either. They do not attempt dialogue towards finding equitable solutions and compromises. If anything, the speech and response patterns that I've noticed mirror the ideological unilateralism of Ayn Rand disciples and the folksy vagueness of hardline social conservatives.

 

It's not the platform, but the approach that disturbs me so much, and the approach is intentionally obstructionistic. It's an intentional mechanism to avoid the sort of nuanced discussions that would require individual tea party candidates to either agree or disagree and cause fracturing within the movement. Fracturing is a natural part of refining and improving ideas, but they seem to be intentionally avoiding it in an effort to maintain enough critical mass to get some candidates into office, and the dialogue has suffered for it. Fracturing is usually followed by discussion and reunifying with a stronger core strategy and only the most extreme ideologues permanently break off. It's a healthy process, and I fear they are avoiding it because they can't afford to loose the ideologues.

 

Because the actions of the Democrats (and Republicans during the Bush years) don't reflect an actual desire for smaller government. Their actions reflect a desire for bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government.

I am actually genuinely interested in what the Democrats are doing along these lines, as I haven't had a chance to really dig through and separate long term growth initiatives from immediate temporary relief initiatives.

 

I think that's a reasonable point in challenge as well. I don't think they happened as a deliberate act in composition of the movement, I think it happened because social conservatives lost their voice when John McCain was elected and those who didn't disengage completely (e.g. Focus on the Family) were looking around for a new outlet.

 

But watch: If tea party conservatives come to power in November, and act like they have a mandate for social conservatism, they will quickly find that, just as happened under Bush, that's really not what the people want. And their turning-out will be even swifter than the one Democrats received when they thought they were given a progressive mandate.

I think it shows some savvy that they've made social conservatism a back burner issue, but my concern is more that they approach spending with the same mindset. The personalities I've seen quite clearly give me the impression that they treat cutbacks as a moral imperative, and as such the consequences "will be what they will be."

This mindset is good at times, such as our dedication to winning the second world war, when questions about whether or not we could pay for it were sidelined by the moral imperative that we had to. Of course the issue was still addressed and war bonds etc were printed, but there is a fanaticism and ideological simplicity that really scares me in the tea party.

 

I can see the benefits they bring but it only works as long as they are incredibly marginalized, as a movement of action they are terrifying.

 

No. I think the polls show an increasingly socially moderate nation. But mind you there's absolutely nothign in those polls to suggest a socially progressive mandate either. IMO most Americans don't like being handed Kool-Aid and forced to drink it. By either conservatives or progressives. What they want is to be left alone to raise their kids and consume entertainments as they see fit. They don't want to be told they have to go to church on Sunday any more than they want to be told that they can no longer say "that's so gay" without being chastised (thank you, Vince F'ing Vaughn).

I don't know any social progressives then, because when if someone is chastised for saying "that's so gay" they're quickly told not to be a F'ing retard. I find the idea of political correctness to be quite repulsive, but I also don't see much from that as a movement affecting the Democrats. I remember some time back something apparently was discussed about the word "retard" but the whole thing sounded so gay I didn't pay any attention to it.

 

A perfectly reasonable concern, IMO. I have that problem right now, following the candidacy of Marco Rubio for Florida senate. I *will not* vote for the far left Kendrick Meek, and Charlie Crist seems increasingly... (thanks for the word) unfocused. But Rubio, for all his talk about smaller government, is apparently in bed with the religious right. It's a problem for me as a voter.

I think a lot of people feel that way on both sides, because everyone hears about the macro-politics and senate/congress seats in the balance, but the personal politics of these candidates can make you want to pull your hair out.

 

An interesting point. I think there's a lot to what you're saying there.

 

Unfortunately all Democrats are doing right now is blaming Republicans. They seem convinced that main street America is too stupid to understand that Republicans were building the deficit and debt too. They're wrong -- main street America knows that fact all too well. IMO Democrats aren't scoring any points with that message, and it's actually *hurting* them.

 

But if you watch the news, it's all about how Democrats have failed to inform the American people that Republicans are to blame. It's unnerving to see such an obvious disconnect on such a widespread scale. Yet it seems to happen more and more often with both parties.

I agree entirely. I think part of this comes from when one party responds to the other's attempt to draw them into a black & white polarizing discussion. They get so caught up in trying to defend "No it's white!" they fail to account for the shades of gray and cease to see what they are advocating as a divisible, revisable and nuanced entity.

 

It's a good point. I do wonder sometimes if "taking it down a notch" is actually going to matter anymore, or if we've actually moved past that point. I don't mean to suggest a violent future, I just wonder if the concept Stewart's chasing has simply been obviated by the new political landscape. I think it's possible that the majority of Americans have already graduated from the school of insanity and are currently working on doctoral studies in serious political engagement.

 

If that's true it may be there we're poised on the bring of political upheaval in the form of a new alignment of the parties or the creation of new parties. And it may happen so suddenly, and through such unexpected and unpredictable forms of communication, that even Jon Stewart won't know what to make of it. There has been a lot of talk recently of a kind of "political singularity" in our future. But it's all just speculation, of course.

I hope so, and if Jon's rally is rendered moot by means of a political upheaval that leads to saner discussions, I bet he'd be more pleased than anyone. I find the idea of the "political singularity" interesting, and the polarization we have in place now has to create, by it's very nature, a huge range of views in the vacuum. Whether it's new forms of communication or cracks from other means, when that vacuum goes a whole lot of political energy will be released. Speculation of course, but it's a pretty interesting idea.

 

 

 

Btw, I've been enjoying this discussion despite not having much time to really distill down a lot of my posts concisely, so thanks for taking the time in responding so completely.

 

Lol, okay, that's getting nailed all right.

I'll try to find a youtube link when one comes around, the only one I found so far cuts it off far too early. She honestly starts off really well, and I'd definitely be interested in second opinions on how she did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many points, but:

1) I haven't heard anything that implies Republicans believe everyone can be self employed.

I'm not saying every republican believes this, as everyone that identifies with the party doesn't precisely follow its essential roots, but I see it as a consistent thread that runs from the abolition of slavery to present-day interests in deregulation and less government. Yes, people can support these things for other reasons, like just because they want to make more money or keep more of it for themselves, but those people are used to undermine the very basis for allowing people to control more of their own economic activity.

 

2) I don't know anyone who uses those arguments against self-employment as there has never been a discussion that I'm aware of suggesting a massive shift to self-employment is even viable

It's more the case that there has been ample criticism of how organized capitalism/corporatism has caused de-skilling and inefficiency in human economic activity generally. Some of this is rooted in Marxism, i.e. that division of labor and labor alienation cause de-skilling and people no longer believe in, master, or like what they produce - they just do it for the money and because they are structured into it. How much self-employment is viable is a question for practice, not theory, but the issue is whether it is an ideal you are interested in exploring or whether you just write it off as a pipe-dream and promote as much structure (governance) as possible.

 

3) How is it anti-democratic when the majority of people (that I am aware of) have no interest in self-employment and many have chosen to get out of it? Wouldn't it be totalitarian to remove that choice?

Well, structured economics are by definition authoritarian because they require people to accede to structures that they do not create/control themselves. However, you are right that many people choose for this. That doesn't mean it's democratic, though. After all, people can vote for and submit to dictatorial authority. That is always the big irony of Nazism, that Hitler was elected by referendum. (this is just to illustrate - I'm not saying that people who desire structural employment are all neo-nazis; although employment was a major reason the nazi party became so popular).

 

4) How does "Republicans know very well that corporatism and employment-based income systems work" reconcile with the comment that "Republicanism has traditionally favored self-employment as the basis for economy" and how is it anti-Republican (point 1) if even Republicans as you say aren't making those arguments?

I'm glad you ask this because it seemed a little unclear what I meant when I typed it. In other words, yes structured employment systems work to organize economic activity but that doesn't mean they maximize human freedom and self-determination. It's hard to pursue the ideal of freedom and self-governance when there are people arguing that such things simply won't work economically. After all, you can't really argue that structuralism doesn't work, because it can and does - it's just not an ideal that you would want to work toward within republican values. Republicanism is about taking the high narrow road, the challenge of having freedom AND prosperity.

 

5) It is a cop-out to blame the problem on "those people who either can't or won't make the effort to conceive of an economy that can survive and even thrive on self-employment" since you basically are saying the problem is people that don't see the world as you do, and don't see the same pressing need for a very specific (and flawed) game-changing shift in our economy. If people aren't interested in what you want them to squeeze into, it's not a matter of them being a problem failing to shoe-horn into your solution, the problem is your solution doesn't fit their problem.

Well, is it fair to people who believe in freedom and self-governance to inundate them with a system that lacks faith in their dream? Personally, I think people should participate in structured economy to some degree and be self-employed for the rest. That way both kinds of people have to endure some of what they don't like and get some of what they do.

 

Considering that the rate of people on food stamps have doubled since '09, and that '09 wasn't an easy year to begin with, I think it's safe to say most new recipients resorted out of necessity to food stamps, as opposed to the sort of "slackers" that always end up on some sort of assistance even in the best of times. As for most families who are employed being considered "slackers" I think the fact that they are employed and (hopefully) making enough to pay taxes and support this nation separates them from the demographic I was referring to. Whether you feel the job is "mostly symbolic" (I assume you mean government job employees) you have to remember that they were hired to do a job, they met the requirements and they are doing the work. How is that slacking? Whether we should cut the job or not as "ineffectual busywork" is immaterial to the employee - the job is posted because we say "We need someone who can do this job for this salary" and they get it done. You can't blame them or call them a slacker just because you don't see merit in what they produce. If it is without merit, the job should be eliminated but again that's not their job, their job is to do what they were tasked with.

Let's say you are a building contractor and I get a job from you. Let's say my job is to clean up construction sites and sort all the extra nails, materials, etc. Now, let's say you don't get any more contracts to build anything but you hired me so you are obliged to pay my salary regardless. As such, my income is guaranteed even though your revenues are not. As such, you have in effect used your position as employee to shield yourself against the economic ups and downs that I am subject to deal with. You can say that you fulfilled your contractual requirements and do a good job, but how does that change the fact that there is no longer revenue to fund your salary?

 

My point was that lots of people take this approach to the economy. They find a job doing something that gets them income regardless of what they produce. Then they expect/want their income to be more stable than the economy itself. How does that make sense. If people regarded themselves in terms of what they produce instead of the money they make, the economy would always produce enough to go around, no?

 

I have no idea why you feel compelled to wonder that, as no one suggested such an economic system could even or should even exist. People lose income all the time, and have to adjust their lifestyles all the time. The only thing we are talking about is how to avoid a depression, with huge unemployment, homelessness, the toll on on-term physical health, and a generation with educational prospects put on hold.

The only answer I can imagine for this question is that if everyone produces enough for everyone to consume and fulfill their needs, people would not have to suffer from deprivation. How to distribute the resources is the tricky part, because people tend to consume more than they need and produce less than they can. This is the opposite of Marx's communist ideal "produce as much as you can and consume as little as you need." I'm not a communist because I don't believe in collective ownership, but I do believe in capitalism as a system that is supposed to basically regulate production and consumption according to the same logic. The only reason I can imagine it hasn't been working is that people have been abusing the system by finding ways to produce less than they can and consume more than they need. My main issue is with the consumption at this point, though.

 

My meaning was that while bailouts are incredibly unpopular, it's like saying "chemo is unpopular" among cancer patients. You won't find anyone who says they do like it. However, most people would prefer it to the alternatives. Of those who wouldn't, you have a small demographic that would rather pray, some that would rather use (entirely ineffective) alternative medicines, some that are just in denial, and a very small group that understand the consequences but would rather spend the end of their lives enjoying it instead of in hospitals.

I don't know. I don't think consumption has been reformed enough. I also think that production could be reformed to make processes more resource-efficient, even if that means changing people's lifestyles or the way they consume.

 

I am angry at the conditions that led to the necessity of the bailouts, by the process by which they were created and managed, and by the lack of any effort to prevent the conditions that led to their necessity in the future. I think that is a fair thing for "moderate America" to be upset about, but I don't think it is possible to simply the entire argument down to "bailouts are bad, people who vote for bailouts are bad" ideology because real world solutions don't come from such simplistic mentalities.

Maybe not, but the fact remains that when money keeps getting injected into a system, people are bound to think that the system is not fundamentally flawed and go on expecting it to work the way it did before the bailouts became necessary in the first place. Reform and restructuring have been superficial at best. Radical cultural changes have not occurred for the most part, imo.

 

1) Can you tell me what services and goods that "people expect to have available to them," that result in this "falling short of their ideals" that you mention?

Food service is my biggest issue. Unlike repair services, no one really likes working in food service. They just do it because they can't get a better job. If there are people who really like working in food service, more power to them. You'll never know this, though, because people learn to say that they like their jobs to avoid losing them.

 

2) Are you equating interdependence to subjugation?

No, I'm equating management of a system of interdependence with subjugation. It's one thing to engage in free exchanges and quite another to be required to fulfill a function in a system.

 

3) When you say "The system has to fail for some people in order for others to gain some freedom from being overburdened with servicing the others." who does it have to fail for, what exactly is the failure condition necessitated, and how are those who are overburdened by providing for services supposed to stay in business when their own customer base is failing due to a lack of services? You almost sound like you are going all "Atlas Shrugged" there, but I want to give you the benefit of the doubt to clarify.

I didn't read Atlas Shrugged, but I liked her book about selfishness. What I mean is that the division of labor privileges some people with service-rich lifestyles while burdening others with providing those services. So for some people to gain the privilege of service-wealth, others have to perform the services. If everyone transcended service labor, then there would be no services to consume. So the system must be designed in a way that ensures a certain number of people perform service-labor. So no matter how much you equalize wealth or income, SOMEHOW some people are going to have to serve others while others escape servitude and get served. Only by redistributing servitude so everyone does their fair share of service labor could you ever really create egalitarianism - not by redistributing money.

 

4) What is "total privilege" exactly? I assume "total servitude" has the standard meaning, but "total privilege" is not a term I have heard before.

Total privilege is doing what you like and being able to consume most anything you want as compensation. It would be fine if everyone loved their job, but since many people don't like their job, they don't experience "total privilege."

 

5) What current direction do you think the political-economy is taking? I have no idea why you think everyone would be permanently employed, and we are all already permanently dependent on others. You can't even live in the woods without at least depending on others to abide by the same precepts of private property.

The more interdependent (i.e. not self-reliant) people become, the more need there is for people to spend their whole careers serving others. Like I said, I wouldn't expect to do away with all forms of interdependency. I just think the economy would be better off going in the direction of less rather than more interdependency.

 

6) Who has even vaguely suggested that "total socialism" (is that communism?) is even viable, let alone ideal?

Total socialism does not have anything to do with communism, imo." Communism would transcend the use of money completely because there would be total abundance and total consumption discipline. Socialism has to do with mandatory spending through taxation and governance. Total socialism means that you will always have to work for more money because you will always be losing money to taxation and you and others will always be receiving it through some channel or another. In other words, money will perpetually circulate and everyone will always be required to work for that circulating money or go bankrupt, homeless, etc. or whatever the social minimum is. The point is that no one will ever be free because they will always have to fulfill the conditions required to attain assistance.

 

We are heading in that direction, and the Tea Party, while not the solution, is a symptom of the growing unrest and necessity to move beyond party demagoguery (from any wing) and work out genuine compromises that are based on a constructive consensus. Unfortunately, it's hard to see how to get there because the political wings are so polarized, and the competing forces prefer "hurting the competition" to outdoing them. As long as the majority of Americans buy into the idea that the politics of destruction (that dirty destructive tricks are a necessary evil, because the "bad politicians" want to destroy the country and we have to destroy them first) we will have these problems. We however are seeing a backlash against that, and people are starting to question if those evils really are necessary.

You're just talking about political tactics here, imo.

 

The key regardless, is to raise the dialogue and demand better answers, better goals, and actual discussions that refine the nuance of any given strategy instead of sabotaging the dialogue to make a favored strategy the only one not demonized.

You're right, that is an authoritarian political pursuation tactic. People need to reason their politics, not manipulate to gain support.

 

I've been self employed for about 20 years now, with maybe 4 years in there as part time or full time traditionally employed. I've had the benefit of both my parents being self employed, of a natural talent for programming and the sort of good teachers where I had the opportunity to teach computer programming to 8th graders when I was still in high school. I also got to build dynamic websites and work on some of the earliest search engines in the early 90s while still in high school, so I consider myself pretty fortunate in terms of advantages as a self employed individual.

 

That said, self employment is incredibly uncertain, and incredibly difficult and I would not attempt it now if I had a family to support.

 

To answer your question, I want to go over some risk factors associated with self employment:

 

 

Thanks for this detailed report of your experience with self-employment. I think it really expressed what people who support it like about it. It also expressed well the drawbacks. This is the reason I think people should be able to mix both. On the one hand I think there should be stable employment and stable compensation, so people have guaranteed access to food, shelter, and basic health care. On the other hand, I don't think this should grow out of proportion and create fat lifestyles for people. So I think structural employment should account for maybe 16-32 of people's work week and the rest they should self-employ. Whenever I have suggested this in any forum, I get attacked but I think it is the ideal solution for many reasons. I think there is really some efficiency to be gained by "wearing many hats," as you described, but there is also economic security to be gained from structured economy and employment. I just think they need to be balanced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So how many rallies have you seen where there is a website to vet the signs for sanity?

 

Great, maybe he'll have better luck at it. How does he plan to stop people from bringing them anyway? Strip searches every five yards around the perimeter? Snipers on top of the National Air and Space Museum might do the trick. :)

 

 

So you're saying that the Republicans and Democrats haven't accomplished anything other than spending money, haven't passed any legislation? For good or ill, they are handling the details. The Tea Party isn't willing or able to, but they will have to if they want to actually get anything done other than changing a vote.

 

That's like asking John Lennon what he would do if war ended -- it's perfectly fine that he hasn't looked past giving peace a chance. It really is. The movement is a cog in the wheel, nothing more. A manifestation of a symptom consistently ignored by the major parties. That's it.

 

And that's awesome. People shouldn't fear it, they should cheer it. My two bits, anyway.

 

---------

 

You can have a smaller government that is more involved - size and involvement are not mutually exclusive. Personally, I would like a lean government that does what it does well, including the things it can do better than private individuals and industries and avoids doing what it can't do better. We can regulate what practices individuals can engage in (prostitution, child labor, fraud, racketeering) and don't get angry at the government for interfering but when the same logic is applied to bigger businesses it's suddenly market interference.

 

I think it's healthy to debate what laws are needed for big business, and what powers the government has to intervene in free market booms and collapses but I don't think anyone wants a bigger government just for the sake of it. I also don't think many people truly want a big government - they want heavy government involvement to help us weather this economic crisis, but that is highly transitive in nature.

 

I also don't think there is an ideological conflict between those that want bigger government, and those that want it smaller - just people that want to fix the problems we have, and a failure to communicate and work together.

 

Excellent points, IMO. That's the best way to answer the tea party movement, really. Talk about the benefits from regulation. Acknowledge their concerns. Find common ground. Avoid demonizing. That's the way forward here. And Obama will probably "discover" this out right around, oh say two weeks from tomorrow.

 

 

I understand what you are saying but I do think it's important to keep things in context. They were passed into law on the basis that they would expire, and that preventing that expiration would require action.

 

You're right of course, but surely this is at least part of why President Obama wants to extend the majority of the cuts. I get your point, but the political impact of a complete end to the tax cuts is pretty obvious. You can scream from the rooftops that it's not logical, but it won't matter.

 

Incidentally, this seems a good point to insert something I ran across tonight while prepping a lecture for my game design course. I thought I'd talk to the students about the Myers-Briggs personality test, which I had them all do for homework (they'll be bringing in their 4-letter types and I'll split them into groups for little exercises to show the impact of psychology on game design). There's an interesting little tidbit of information I ran across on a slide that I got from someone at corporate (I have no reference on this) -- it said that in the second bracket, which pits "Intuition" against "Sensing" for decision-making, the breakdown of the adult US population is about 75-25 for "Sensing". It's the largest amount of separation of any of the key pairs.

 

If that's true (and again, I have no source on this -- I just ran across it five minutes ago) then it's pretty staggering and perhaps says a lot about why Americans are so uninterested in following science or a scientific decision-making process to make their decisions. (I really need to dig up a source for this but it's just way too late and I got nothing from a quick google. Please take it with a grain of salt. If I can find a source on it I may start a thread -- seems like something the SFN community would find interesting.)

 

 

The important thing is that it's a commitment, and whether or not it can be kept will reflect on the success of that commitment, and the credibility of it's advocates. The first step in a diet isn't slashing certain types of food, but to set goals and commitments, and then measure the success in meeting those commitments and adjusting accordingly.

 

I agree. But I also think the TPM has a valid point in questioning whether current political leadership -- in either party -- is capable of following through on that commitment.

 

 

It's a healthy process, and I fear they are avoiding it because they can't afford to loose the ideologues.

 

(to that whole paragraph) Could be.

 

 

I don't know any social progressives then, because when if someone is chastised for saying "that's so gay" they're quickly told not to be a F'ing retard.

 

Vince Vaughn's new movie's trailer was pulled from theaters last week after complaints from special interest groups about the use of that phrase. That those special interest groups were liberal/progressive in their general bent is pretty obvious. Though I suppose it could have been the Log Cabin Republicans who complained. :)

 

Good discussion -- please don't take the brevity of this reply as ignoring the rest of your post. It was really well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.