# Who lost under President Bush?

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Below is an article about who has gained and lost under Pres. Obama by US News.

According to article:

Winners: Investors, Corporations, Home Buyers, Consumers.

Losers: Undereducated, Homeowners, Low Income Americans, Job Seekers

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/whosgainedandlostunderobamasofar

My question is who "lost" under Bush.

Edited by needimprovement
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Peace lost under Bush.

Bush started that ridiculous war on terrorism, and it's not likely to end soon... because of him, and those other war hawks, every politician worldwide now starts to hyperventilate at the word "terrorist", whereas it used to be a relatively irrelevant matter, take care of by the police.

And that's not because the terrorists really stepped it up.

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Peace lost under Bush.

Bush started that ridiculous war on terrorism, and it's not likely to end soon... because of him, and those other war hawks, every politician worldwide now starts to hyperventilate at the word "terrorist", whereas it used to be a relatively irrelevant matter, take care of by the police.

And that's not because the terrorists really stepped it up.

The war on terror certainly changed my understanding of terrorism, what it is, and how it works. I see this as the main benefit that came out of the war on terror. I really think GWBush was right to characterize the conflict between democracy/freedom and terror as an epic struggle between good and evil. The official definition of authority is that it is "legitimate domination." Ironically, however, people often do not comply with authority out of a sense of legitimacy but because they fear the consequences of failing to do so. This leads to two distinct worldviews with regard to governance:1) that people should be managed from the top-down to ensure their security and economic well-being, by threat/fear of violence if necessary or 2) that people should manage their own lives according to their own process of reasoning, which they engage in freely. When people support governments out of fear for economic and security disruptions and they fear disrupting top-down governance because they have come to believe that doing so will cost them privileges and social welfare, this is a problem imo. Then the question becomes how to get such people to the point where they feel free to reason about their own cultural and economic goals without engaging in repression of self or others. Why wouldn't this be a legitimate political project?

Edited by lemur
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Peace lost under Bush.

Bush started that ridiculous war on terrorism, and it's not likely to end soon... because of him, and those other war hawks, every politician worldwide now starts to hyperventilate at the word "terrorist", whereas it used to be a relatively irrelevant matter, take care of by the police.

And that's not because the terrorists really stepped it up.

So the attacks across Europe post 2003 wouldn't constitute a "step up" in terrorist activity in your mind?

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While it doesn't completely fit into the US-inner-politics-only list, the international reputation of the US would come to my mind on the "loss" side. While starting wars around the world wasn't exactly new, kidnapping foreign citizens to lock them away without a trial, secret prisons in eastern Europe (and presumably non-European states like Saudi Arabia, too), employment of mercenaries, mistreatment of prisoners, and of course torture kind of was.

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While it doesn't completely fit into the US-inner-politics-only list, the international reputation of the US would come to my mind on the "loss" side. While starting wars around the world wasn't exactly new, kidnapping foreign citizens to lock them away without a trial, secret prisons in eastern Europe (and presumably non-European states like Saudi Arabia, too), employment of mercenaries, mistreatment of prisoners, and of course torture kind of was.

Could you please compare the "international reputation" of the US with other national governments and analyze why those other governments have a better international social standing and image. Could you then do an interest-analysis of what those governments achieve and how. Social democracies seem to have the best international image as they tout high levels of prosperity and social welfare for all citizens, but can you show me where that material prosperity comes from and prove that it is not the result of global economic exploitation? I have the sense that these governments criticize the US government for being a bully while at the same time being the largest organized lobbies for global economic order to provide for their prosperity.

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Could you please compare the "international reputation" of the US with other national governments and analyze why those other governments have a better international social standing and image.

If the very text you quoted doesn't answer these questions for you, then I don't think we have a basis for discussion.

EDIT: And I also didn't say that the US has a worse reputation that the Democratic Republic of Kongo. I said the international reputation suffered during the Bush administration, which by the way happens to be related to the topic of this thread.

EDIT2: vv omg vv

Edited by timo
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If the very text you quoted doesn't answer these questions for you, then I don't think we have a basis for discussion.

EDIT: And I also didn't say that the US has a worse reputation that the Democratic Republic of Kongo. I said the international reputation suffered during the Bush administration, which by the way happens to be related to the topic of this thread.

I'm not comparing the US government to that of Congo. I'm saying that the European/social-democratic critiques of the US generally and GWBush in particular came from citizens whose governments somehow provide a level of welfare and prosperity that relies on a great deal of global trade. Thus, the economic interest of most EU citizens is to have the global economy organized in a way that provides them with goods and labor supplied by people who are not allowed to migrate to their societies and take advantage of social benefits and opportunities reserved for them. So at the same time they are criticizing US global militarism and politics, they are some of the main beneficiaries of it. If those governments really wanted to end imperialism, they would reduce migration controls and integrate economically. As long as EU governance is designed to protect the privileges of social democracy at the national level, how can those governments claim to be anti-empire?

Edited by lemur
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Bush started that ridiculous war on terrorism, and it's not likely to end soon... because of him, and those other war hawks, every politician worldwide now starts to hyperventilate at the word "terrorist", whereas it used to be a relatively irrelevant matter, take care of by the police.

So the attacks across Europe post 2003 wouldn't constitute a "step up" in terrorist activity in your mind?

Not to mention Pakistan, India, Greece, Philippines, Israel, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, Burma, Turkey, Yemen, New York City (Times Square), Canada, Algeria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Oman, Dubai, and Nigeria.

And that's just 2010.

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Not to mention Pakistan, India, Greece, Philippines, Israel, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, Burma, Turkey, Yemen, New York City (Times Square), Canada, Algeria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Oman, Dubai, and Nigeria.

And that's just 2010.

Wake up.

You forget Montreal, Colombia, Chicago & New York City (headquarters for campaigns of Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush), El Salvador, Israel, London, U.S. Statue of Liberty, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, and Kenya.

And that's in 1980.

There's no "step-up".

It's simply a continuation of the symptoms resulting from the unregulated activities by global thieves, who are the first to call for a war on the resulting terror incidents. I say put a stop to both terrorists, AND the unregulated activities of global thieves who inspire such hatred and then hide (from the consequences) behind our civilized nations' borders and governments.

Edited by The Bear's Key
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Wake up.

It's simply a continuation of the symptoms resulting from the unregulated activities by global thieves, who are the first to call for a war on the resulting terror incidents. I say put a stop to both terrorists, AND the unregulated activities of global thieves who inspire such hatred and then hide (from the consequences) behind our civilized nations' borders and governments.

Are you sure you want to be saying that terrorism is a consequence of governing? That sounds dangerously close to apologism to me.

Terrorists don't need reasons, they're perfectly capable of constructing them out of whole cloth. We could put you in charge, implementing by immediate fiat every single position that you believe in, and there would still be terrorists. And then who would we blame for their behavior?

There's no "step-up".

Sure there is. Even prior to the Iraqi insurgency they were up. This story from 2005 shows that the number in 2003 was "around 175", but in 2004 it was 655. Even if you subtract the 198 attacks in Iraq that year, that's a massive increase.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601623.html

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There has always been terrorism. The discussion about a "step up", and whether it's a factor 1.5, or a factor of 5, is irrelevant. The world population also grew in that time, mobility changed, communications changed, and therefore the amount of dead people, or the number of attacks, from terrorism is a worthless number to discuss terrorism.

For example, the number of car burglaries dropped a lot lately. Result of more police? Less criminals?

No, the reason is that car radios are built into cars, and cannot be removed anymore.

But the largest influence on the amount of terrorism worldwide is probably the war on terror itself... The war on terror has given the terrorists a LOT of attention, a LOT of influence in politics - even though they never sit at the table themselves. Basically, all the changes in the world have shown that terrorism actually works.

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Are you sure you want to be saying that terrorism is a consequence of governing?

Unregulated activities by plunderers of natural resources in undeveloped nations, and by foreign policy without oversight.

Terrorists don't need reasons, they're perfectly capable of constructing them out of whole cloth.

Absolutely correct. But they still will need funds and support. Perhaps even liking a bit of applause. They seem to get it, especially as a result of policies like Bush's. Are you going to ignore the increase of attacks (especially the ones you cited) during the "War on Terror"?

Explain how anyone can possibly resolve such a war by force and conflict?

Plus are you going to ignore a side effect of declaring a war that's impossible to safely declare ended? The benefit it'd have for those in power who view the military as a sacred cow that must always be enormously funded, and might use whatever strategy to achieve it (like crafting a legal policy for an endless war).

Edited by The Bear's Key
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Unregulated activities by plunderers of natural resources in undeveloped nations, and by foreign policy without oversight.

Are you sure you want to be saying that terrorism is a consequence of lack of regulation and oversight? Because it sounds to me like you're saying that terrorism has an excuse, that it's not the fault of the terrorists. It sounds like you're saying that it's OUR fault.

Are you sure you want to go there?

I can't wait to ask you why it's okay for terrorists to kill people for one reason but not okay for the United States to kill people for a different reason. Please let me ask you that question.

Plus are you going to ignore a side effect of declaring a war that's impossible to safely declare ended? The benefit it'd have for those in power who view the military as a sacred cow that must always be enormously funded, and might use whatever strategy to achieve it (like crafting a legal policy for an endless war).

What I want to know (from both you and CaptainPanic) is how you can expect a democratically-elected government to survive after ignoring a terrorist attack. What do you two feel would have been the appropriate respond to 9/11? Ignore the fact that the government of a foreign nation officially and formally sponsored and supported the act? Ignore the fact that other terrorists operate out of known locations, planning and developing new attacks in full view? Ignore the fact that American citizens are participating in the conflict and hiding behind anonymity and the law?

I don't agree with every action the Bush and Obama administrations have taken, but we live in a democracy and that means that we can't always agree on specific actions. I think it's wrong to condemn these measures across the board. And to ridicule the "war on terror" -- who cares what it's called? Would you really condemn the NAME of the effort if you agreed with the measures that were taken?

People want to kill you just because you have a home, a computer and a car and you don't beat your wife every other Thursday in the name of some fool who died 1500 years ago. What are you going to do about that?

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I don't agree with every action the Bush and Obama administrations have taken, but we live in a democracy and that means that we can't always agree on specific actions. I think it's wrong to condemn these measures across the board. And to ridicule the "war on terror" -- who cares what it's called? Would you really condemn the NAME of the effort if you agreed with the measures that were taken?

People want to kill you just because you have a home, a computer and a car and you don't beat your wife every other Thursday in the name of some fool who died 1500 years ago. What are you going to do about that?

You're right. They are religious extremists. They attack us because we haven't adopted their ideology yet and they can't stand it. Something bothers me about the left in our country. They seem to always want to talk about freedom of conscience, religion, and expression; of course I agree with them. However, terrorist groups are people that are directly trying to destroy freedom of religion, expression, and conscience. Why doesn't the left want to stand strong against the group that wants to destroy everything they believe in. Extreme (not generalizing muslims) Islam is not friendly to any kind of human rights or free lifestyle. Why can't we just call it what it is?

It doesn't matter how bad Bush's foreign policy was or how many global corporations are plundering the 3rd world; I'm sure they are. Ultimately, these extremist make the personal choice to hijack an airliner and kill hundreds of civilians. There is no other justification for that than believing that one will rewarded eternally. It's just organized faith at its finest.

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You're right. They are religious extremists. They attack us because we haven't adopted their ideology yet and they can't stand it. Something bothers me about the left in our country. They seem to always want to talk about freedom of conscience, religion, and expression; of course I agree with them. However, terrorist groups are people that are directly trying to destroy freedom of religion, expression, and conscience. Why doesn't the left want to stand strong against the group that wants to destroy everything they believe in.

Do you realize when you're saying this that moral crusades have often been pursued through government action by the US religious right? Second, why don't you think the left stands strong against people that disagree with their values? They do it all the time through informal favoritism and discrimination. How many liberals do you know that make an active effort to give equal consideration to people whose politics they consider offensive? Obviously this isn't something particular to liberals or conservatives, since there are people of every political identity who fail to control for their political preferences in economic interactions, but it is a method of "standing strong" as you say, for better or worse.

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Are you sure you want to be saying that terrorism is a consequence of lack of regulation and oversight? Because it sounds to me like you're saying that terrorism has an excuse, that it's not the fault of the terrorists. It sounds like you're saying that it's OUR fault.

Are you sure you want to go there?

I can't wait to ask you why it's okay for terrorists to kill people for one reason but not okay for the United States to kill people for a different reason. Please let me ask you that question.

Sure, things can be the fault of more than one person, you know. Like if you leave your laptop, purse, and a pile of jewelry in your car, with the windows rolled down, and parked in a dark alley, and then act all surprise that someone stole it. Who's fault is it? The thieves' fault, of course, but that doesn't mean you had nothing do do with it. As they say, locks are for keeping honest people honest. So there are plenty of things we can and do do that provoke terrorists, which of course doesn't excuse their part of the blame.

What I want to know (from both you and CaptainPanic) is how you can expect a democratically-elected government to survive after ignoring a terrorist attack.

Do the most reasonable thing, even if people are angry.

What do you two feel would have been the appropriate respond to 9/11? Ignore the fact that the government of a foreign nation officially and formally sponsored and supported the act? Ignore the fact that other terrorists operate out of known locations, planning and developing new attacks in full view? Ignore the fact that American citizens are participating in the conflict and hiding behind anonymity and the law?

Well if the government was sponsoring terrorists, that could be considered an act of war and would merit a good response. Which government financed what? In this document about the financing of 9/11 I found no mention of either Iraq nor Afghanistan. The only government I know to have been involved in funding Al Quaeda is the United States.

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Do you realize when you're saying this that moral crusades have often been pursued through government action by the US religious right? Second, why don't you think the left stands strong against people that disagree with their values? They do it all the time through informal favoritism and discrimination. How many liberals do you know that make an active effort to give equal consideration to people whose politics they consider offensive? Obviously this isn't something particular to liberals or conservatives, since there are people of every political identity who fail to control for their political preferences in economic interactions, but it is a method of "standing strong" as you say, for better or worse.

Oh, I know the religious right in America pursues moral crusades. You're right, this quality I'm speaking of isn't particular to liberals or conservatives per se. But I feel it is true of liberals in this arena.

Yes it is a method of standing strong, and I do admire the "liberal theme" (to generalize greatly) that all arguments must be heard, but I think everyone agrees with that except the craziest of the American religious right and extreme Islam. That's what I'm trying to say. It's hard to reason with people who by conscious choice don't believe in reason.

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Are you sure you want to be saying that terrorism is a consequence of lack of regulation and oversight? Because it sounds to me like you're saying that terrorism has an excuse, that it's not the fault of the terrorists. It sounds like you're saying that it's OUR fault.

Are you sure you want to go there?

I can't wait to ask you why it's okay for terrorists to kill people for one reason but not okay for the United States to kill people for a different reason. Please let me ask you that question.

Sure, things can be the fault of more than one person, you know. Like if you leave your laptop, purse, and a pile of jewelry in your car, with the windows rolled down, and parked in a dark alley, and then act all surprise that someone stole it. Who's fault is it? The thieves' fault, of course, but that doesn't mean you had nothing do do with it. As they say, locks are for keeping honest people honest. So there are plenty of things we can and do do that provoke terrorists, which of course doesn't excuse their part of the blame.

That's so cool, Mr Skeptic. My immediate reply to Pangloss is along the same lines.

Pangloss, if you walked into a miserably poor area of town, in the evening, with necklaces full of jewels and gold dangling off your shirt, and loads of cash sticking our every pocket, while you counted an impressive stack of $100 bills, then who do you suppose people are going to blame when they hear about you getting robbed/mugged? If they'd blame you, does it mean they're apologists for people who rob or mug innocents? The difference here is that you don't get an honest re-telling by the government of what stupidity they've pulled to incite vengeance by hostile groups. And what makes you think questioning the actions/motives of people who supposedly act in our best interests somehow is making excuses for violent actions by other parties? Haven't you questioned the motives of politicians who enact laws to help out the poor? Does that mean it's apparent proof/indication whether you're for or against the poor? What I want to know (from both you and CaptainPanic) is how you can expect a democratically-elected government to survive after ignoring a terrorist attack. The same way the English have survived bombings and whatnot from the Irish Republican Army, or Europe's survived its various terrorist incidents, or the U.S. has survived its own various terrorist incidents, all of them without having gone to such extremes as we have after 9/11. What do you two feel would have been the appropriate respond to 9/11? Targeting the actual source: Osama bin Laden. Until caught, questioned, and faced the consequences. Ignore the fact that the government of a foreign nation officially and formally sponsored and supported the act? Why ignore anything? The Taliban were given a choice and we proceeded in after they gave bin Laden safe harbor. Ignore the fact that other terrorists operate out of known locations, planning and developing new attacks in full view? Really? That's quite some news. In full view? I'm guessing our military's afraid to waste its bullets? You know, the economy. Ignore the fact that American citizens are participating in the conflict and hiding behind anonymity and the law? And do you suggets a witch-hunt for the bad people in the world, having enough of a brain not to discuss anything sensitive over the phone, internet, ham radio, etc? I think it's wrong to condemn these measures across the board. And to ridicule the "war on terror" -- who cares what it's called? Would you really condemn the NAME of the effort if you agreed with the measures that were taken? Yes, names are powerful in how civilians respond to a law and the expectations created. A war on terror can never end. And there's an industry salivating at the thought of endless war/profits. People want to kill you just because you have a home, a computer and a car and you don't beat your wife every other Thursday in the name of some fool who died 1500 years ago. No, they want to kill the few instigators of their aggression, but unfortunately the instigators chose to hide behind our flag (and safe U.S. borders) -- instigators who likely, and purposely, made it look as if U.S. policy were to blame. Thus let the profits roll in once they've stirred up the angry hornets' nest and the exterminators conveniently show up to resolve the problem they helped create. Why doesn't the left want to stand strong against the group that wants to destroy everything they believe in. But they are. You just happen to buy into that same group's premises. Second, why don't you think the left stands strong against people that disagree with their values? The left has protected those it disagrees with. For instance, the ACLU protecting the right of the KKK to march. Do the most reasonable thing, even if people are angry. Amen. Don't lose our heads. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites It's hard to reason with people who by conscious choice don't believe in reason. Basically you're talking about the stubbornness of people who rely primarily on dogma for legitimization of their views. Such people are not only present in religious fundamentalism but also in atheism and other facets of secular life. Many people will continue seeking until they find a dogma that is adequately resistant to reason. This can just as easily be a fundamentalist religious position or a radically oppositional stance like atheism where they can resist reason by labeling all opponents as mindless reproducing "the dominant ideology." ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Something bothers me about the left in our country. They seem to always want to talk about freedom of conscience, religion, and expression; of course I agree with them. However, terrorist groups are people that are directly trying to destroy freedom of religion, expression, and conscience. Why doesn't the left want to stand strong against the group that wants to destroy everything they believe in. Extreme (not generalizing muslims) Islam is not friendly to any kind of human rights or free lifestyle. Why can't we just call it what it is? I share your frustration, but I think it's important to add that there's a distinction between individuals who are left of center, who may even agree with you on this, and what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs referred to recently as the "professional left", which I think is what you're describing above. Also, IMO both sides have "professional" collectives that operate "on message" 24/7 and seek to further an agenda. Sure, things can be the fault of more than one person, you know. Like if you leave your laptop, purse, and a pile of jewelry in your car, with the windows rolled down, and parked in a dark alley, and then act all surprise that someone stole it. Who's fault is it? The thieves' fault, of course, but that doesn't mean you had nothing do do with it. As they say, locks are for keeping honest people honest. So there are plenty of things we can and do do that provoke terrorists, which of course doesn't excuse their part of the blame. I have no problem with seeking causes and reducing them. But I have a BIG problem with having "it produces terrorists" high on the list of items that we should be primarily concerned with. Whether or not a foreign policy position produces terrorists should NEVER be a primary reason to do or not to do that thing. The reason is that any political decision can produce a terrorist response. So picking the decision that has the least likelyhood of producing terrorists is a completely daft way to run any government. You'd no longer have a democracy, you'd have "rule by most vocal violent spokesperson". Clearly not a good idea. Unless, of course, you're ready to re-institute the national ban on abortion because doctors who perform them are being murdered. Well if the government was sponsoring terrorists, that could be considered an act of war and would merit a good response. Which government financed what? The Taliban, the official government of Afghanistan, harbored Al Qaeda within its borders. They refused to discontinue the practice even after Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for 9/11. This is an acceptable causus belli to me. TBK seems to disagree with you, btw: Targeting the actual source: Osama bin Laden. Until caught, questioned, and faced the consequences. The Taliban were given a choice and we proceeded in after they gave bin Laden safe harbor. I agree. And do you suggets a witch-hunt for the bad people in the world, having enough of a brain not to discuss anything sensitive over the phone, internet, ham radio, etc? Um... yes? I don't agree with the amount of money being spent -- it bugs me no end that we can't be more efficient about that. I also don't agree with all of the specific decisions (such as warrentless wiretapping of American citizens). But I agree with the overall approach. People want to kill you just because you have a home, a computer and a car and you don't beat your wife every other Thursday in the name of some fool who died 1500 years ago. No, they want to kill the few instigators of their aggression, but unfortunately the instigators chose to hide behind our flag (and safe U.S. borders) -- instigators who likely, and purposely, made it look as if U.S. policy were to blame. Thus let the profits roll in once they've stirred up the angry hornets' nest and the exterminators conveniently show up to resolve the problem they helped create. Okay, well I respect your opinion on it. Good people sometimes disagree, I suppose. Don't lose our heads. I agree with ya there. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites The Taliban, the official government of Afghanistan, harbored Al Qaeda within its borders. They refused to discontinue the practice even after Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for 9/11. This is an acceptable causus belli to me. Bin Laden didn't actually claim responsibility until 2004. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Sure, things can be the fault of more than one person, you know. Like if you leave your laptop, purse, and a pile of jewelry in your car, with the windows rolled down, and parked in a dark alley, and then act all surprise that someone stole it. Who's fault is it? The thieves' fault, of course, but that doesn't mean you had nothing do do with it. As they say, locks are for keeping honest people honest. So there are plenty of things we can and do do that provoke terrorists, which of course doesn't excuse their part of the blame. That's so cool, Mr Skeptic. My immediate reply to Pangloss is along the same lines. Pangloss, if you walked into a miserably poor area of town, in the evening, with necklaces full of jewels and gold dangling off your shirt, and loads of cash sticking our every pocket, while you counted an impressive stack of$100 bills, then who do you suppose people are going to blame when they hear about you getting robbed/mugged?

Yes, that's so cool. Now we can go back and let those gang rape victims know they *did* have something to do with it afterall. That short skirt with "hottie" written on the ass getting toasty with a group of aggressive teenage males...it's not like she didn't put herself in the situation right? And that's what we tell them with tears streaming down their face in the ER too right? "Next time just don't dress like a slut, dear". Yeah, sorry, but I don't agree.

This logic uses the premise that humans cannot be expected to be ethical given hyper opportunity as opposed to regular, good ole standard opportunity. Somehow, a locked door between my jewelry and someone else's lack of ethics gives me excuse from responsiblity, but once that lock isn't used, the opportunity is too attractive for normal ethical humans and we graduate to a whole new concept of blame and responsiblity. That's more hindsight scrambling to build a logical exception when one empathizes with such dramatic opportunity - in other words, this says more about you and your ethics and morals, that you would tier the degree of opportunity in order to partition blame. Strange.

Tell me, do you also do this with drive by murder victims? After all, they know how dangerous it is on the street, and if they're out walking at 3 am then aren't they partly to blame to being murdered by a gang that thought they were a rival gang member? How about when kiddos are tricked by strangers and assaulted or kidnapped after they've been taught at school not to talk to them? Do we let them and their parents know how they share in the blame?

Pardon me while I find somewhere to puke...

If they'd blame you, does it mean they're apologists for people who rob or mug innocents?

Yes, it means they're apologists for people who rob or mug, among other violent criminal acts, innocent people. Absolutely. The humane, moral and ethical approach would be to inform people how to minimize opportunity for criminals. This is why we lock our doors - not to remove blame when our house is invaded, but to minimize the opportunity to invade our house. Because we know criminals exist, does not translate to being partially responsible for their exploitations when we fail to foresee our own weakness.

The left has protected those it disagrees with. For instance, the ACLU protecting the right of the KKK to march.

Since when is the ACLU "the left"? Are we watching Fox News again?

The ACLU has a considerable record fighting for civil rights that others would consider conservative positions. Like college students being free to protest gun control policies in colleges using an empty holster protest. Because civil liberties is a central theme in liberal and libertarian ideology, does not corroborate any endorsement of either ideology. In fact, they're more aligned with libertarians since liberals are now offenders of civil liberties. Maybe I should start referring to the "Libertarian ACLU".

Edited by ParanoiA
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Basically you're talking about the stubbornness of people who rely primarily on dogma for legitimization of their views. Such people are not only present in religious fundamentalism but also in atheism and other facets of secular life. Many people will continue seeking until they find a dogma that is adequately resistant to reason. This can just as easily be a fundamentalist religious position or a radically oppositional stance like atheism where they can resist reason by labeling all opponents as mindless reproducing "the dominant ideology."

True. Any paradigm can become dangerous. Al Queda uses Islam and "anti-westernism" to coin a term. Stalin used communism and atheism. I think Islam, being younger than christianity is going through its expansionary phase. Analogous to the Christian crusades in the middle ages. Islam is trying to expand but the world has left it behind. It will be very hard for them to convince the pluralistic western world to return to an authoritarian oligarchy without women's rights or alcohol. (If we were repressing women, shouldn't we be drinkin' beer?I jest of course )

Seriously though I think it is important that reason be held above any banner or paradigm, even atheism. When people ask me about my religious beliefs, I usually don't say atheist but "free-thinker" or "secularist" just because I don't want atheism to begin to identify itself as a distinct ideological entity. Otherwise we run the risk of having sixteen different organized atheist denominations at each others' throats over whether or not Mary Magdalene existed! The bottom line is humans are silly creatures, and any idea that gains momentum overtime will probably result in some violent ideological conflict at some point. A say this rather flippantly but look through history; yeah, not every idea, but many "important" philosophical and religious ideas.

*Good Point Lemur

I share your frustration, but I think it's important to add that there's a distinction between individuals who are left of center, who may even agree with you on this, and what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs referred to recently as the "professional left", which I think is what you're describing above.

Also, IMO both sides have "professional" collectives that operate "on message" 24/7 and seek to further an agenda.

-ah, the "professional left" I like that term!

It fits a niche that needed a unique word. Good job Pangloss, you've successfully closed a lexical gap.

Edited by mississippichem
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True. Any paradigm can become dangerous. Al Queda uses Islam and "anti-westernism" to coin a term. Stalin used communism and atheism. I think Islam, being younger than christianity is going through its expansionary phase. Analogous to the Christian crusades in the middle ages.

No offense, but do you realize how condescending it sounds to claim that Islam is a more primitive religion than Christianity and to generalize about all Muslims and/or all Christians because of the crusades, terrorism, etc.? I'm not reflexively defending anything or attacking you here. I'm just pointing out that Islam, like any religion, is just ideology and the practice of living according to convictions, not a collective social movement.

Islam is trying to expand but the world has left it behind. It will be very hard for them to convince the pluralistic western world to return to an authoritarian oligarchy without women's rights or alcohol. (If we were repressing women, shouldn't we be drinkin' beer?I jest of course )

Well, no religion has an easy time convincing people to give up drinking and other indulgences. That's not because the west is pluralistic but because alcohol and other indulgences are pleasurable and therefore addictive. That's why almost every religion/spirituality/life-philosophy deals in some way with how to manage worldly attachments.

Seriously though I think it is important that reason be held above any banner or paradigm, even atheism. When people ask me about my religious beliefs, I usually don't say atheist but "free-thinker" or "secularist" just because I don't want atheism to begin to identify itself as a distinct ideological entity. Otherwise we run the risk of having sixteen different organized atheist denominations at each others' throats over whether or not Mary Magdalene existed!

Yes, labeling yourself and/or others according to beliefs always creates the potential of further institutionalizing, defining, and dogmatizing ideology as territory. The best thing you can really do is to just reason directly instead of getting into naming/institutionalizing different perspectives, but then it is so convenient to have a short-hand summary term for a complex set of ideological permutations whose internal consistence you understand. Still, you can always remain mindful that each ideology you name is just a set of ideas that vary per individual and continue to get discussed and negotiated by relatively free-thinking people when they're not getting re-capitulated dogmatically.

The bottom line is humans are silly creatures, and any idea that gains momentum overtime will probably result in some violent ideological conflict at some point. A say this rather flippantly but look through history; yeah, not every idea, but many "important" philosophical and religious ideas.

Yes, but if you believe in idealism over materialism as the ultimate cause of human actions, ideology is always at the root of everything, including conflicts that lead to violence. It's just a fact that power and resistance are two sides of the same coin. When an ideology develops in one direction strongly, a strong backlash is guaranteed to occur. If it develops covertly, a covert or even sub-conscious backlash occurs. There's really no way around this, as much as some people would like to be able to pursue a particular ideological project without opposition, I just don't think it is ever possible. The only thing you can really do is try to mitigate or reduce the violence of the conflict by keeping it as much as possible at the level of reasonable discussion.

Good Point Lemur

You too. Glad we didn't end up in bitter bickering:)

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