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Posted: 15 November 2006 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Re: Like Bush and Cheney?

I think we can all agree that the election process in this country is far from perfect. For one thing, the staggered primaries often mean that some of the best candidates drop out of the race before anyone can vote on them outside of Iowa and New Hampshire ... not exactly two of our largest states.

And there are many other problems as well, of course, including the out-sized role of money on campaigns, which leads to political corruption. While no system is ever going to be perfect, it is pretty clear that there are better ways to do things.

But the rest of your message confuses me. First of all, what is it you like about Bush’s policies?

Secondly, your claim that the Democratic party is made up of ex-Marxists and Communists is ludicrous. What would make you believe such a thing? First of all, the Communist party in the US was only ever in the single digits, so where did the other 90+% of the party come from? Secondly, I think you will find that true Marxists and Communists on this forum and elsewhere hate the Democratic party almost as much as the Republicans. Clinton’s eight year presidency was hardly the nadir of business development in the US, and we can all recall the motto of his campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Nobody in that party is arguing for an end to capitalism, dictatorship of the proletariat, state ownership of all industry, or anything remotely close to any of the various species of Communism in existence.

So I can’t see any reason at all to align the Democrats with Communists or Marxists.

Thirdly, as to the religious right, you say:

[quote author=“jhcarr”]The reason the “Religious Right” are mostly in the Republican party is that they have been pushed out of the Democratic party.  They are not welcome.  Democrats are intolerant of conservative views on nearly any subject.  The Democratic party is no longer the people’s party.  I really wish it could become that again.

We are in agreement that they dominate the Republican party. But again, I am confused by your suggestion that this is somehow the fault of the Democrats—as if the Democrats should be more welcoming to the religious right!

Do you support the policies of the religious right? If not, I should think you would want neither party to cozy up to them. And, indeed, I should think you would be very happy that at least one party in the US is ready to “push them out”. (Although IMO the religious right still does have too much influence on the Democratic party through a handful of conservative southern Democrats).

If you do support the policies of the religious right, then which policies do you support and why?

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Posted: 15 November 2006 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Fascinating how we can have very different views of our political situation.  Rather than the Marxists and communists having taken over the Democratic party and the Kennedy democrats having beccome Republicans I see it as follows:

The Marxist and communist philosophy has totally disappeared from the U.S. political scene.  The Kennedy Democrats, who were middle-of-the-road then, are now the left wing of the Democratic party.  The Goldwater Republicans, who were fiscal conservatives, have become the center of the Democratic party.  The radical right extremists of the 1970s have become the center of the Republican party.  While the Democrats used to have the reputation of “tax and spend” have now become the party of fiscal responsibility and the Republicans have become the “Borrow and Spend” party. 

Not counting all the other debts such as state obligations, the national debt is about nine trillion dollars and there are three hundred million citizens.  That means every adult and child each owes China and other foreign financial institutions $30,000.  At 6% interest it means that for the average family of four, the first $7,600 of their income tax is going to pay interest on the national debt.

I believe we should have a Consitutional amendment requiring that the government MUST reduce the national debt by 1% every year.  This would mean temporary increases in taxes, especially for corporations and high income people and addition of an excess profits tax.  However, after just a few years of that, the reduction in amount of interest paid would begin to lower everyone’s taxes.

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Posted: 15 November 2006 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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[quote author=“Occam”]The Marxist and communist philosophy has totally disappeared from the U.S. political scene.  The Kennedy Democrats, who were middle-of-the-road then, are now the left wing of the Democratic party.  The Goldwater Republicans, who were fiscal conservatives, have become the center of the Democratic party.  The radical right extremists of the 1970s have become the center of the Republican party.

Yes, this seems much more accurate to me as well. Let’s not forget that Goldwater hated the religious right.

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Posted: 15 November 2006 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I’ve thought for a long while trying to decide whether to post on this issue or not. I finally chose to post.

I come from a Republican family and voted the first time for Eisenhower in his first run against Adlai. Since then I’ve voted for every GOP presidential candidate with two exceptions - I voted for Kennedy and for Gore. After Gore I switched parties.
The parties no longer deserve the loyalty of a thinking person. The only persons owing loyalty to the parties are their paid workers and lord knows there are a great plenty of them.
If the prior debate/discussion were about conservative or liberal or progressive or libertarian values I’d be able to understand the positions taken but not if we are debating the values of the parties -

I can’t find any basis for giving the GOP the emotional dedicated I’m with em right or wrong sort of loyalty displayed here. If the GOP is anything more than the old Southern Democrats joined by the Religious Right and a series of one issue groups such as the American Rifle Association, the American Family Association, supported by some enormously wealthy individuals, Adolph Coors, Richard Scaife Mellon, the Waltons and so on its new to me.

The aim of a political party is acquisition of power by gaining control of the reins of government. Those who are aiming to convert this country into a “Christian Nation” plan to use that power to install judges and pass constitutional amendments that together can remove roadblocks to their ultimate purpose, like the establishment clause. The politicians who rely on the party for power then better line up and vote for laws that make little things like being gay a capital crime, or they’ll find themselves out of office.
That is what’s left of the grand old party. It is owned by the racist (still) south and religious nitwits who think that the next coming is going to occur in their lifetime.

Don’t think I am canonizing the Democrats. they sat for the Iraq war, the Patriot act, the lies, the wild spending that converted a trillion dollar surpus into a three trillion dollar deficit and said nothing worthwhile.

Its just that the Republican party is such a morass it is hard to see how any rational thinking human can be in it and defend it. I can understand conservative views, but not Republicans who contend the party is the thing that they owe loyalty to.

Jim

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Posted: 15 November 2006 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Re: Like Bush and Cheney?

[quote author=“dougsmith”]First of all, what is it you like about Bush’s policies?

I like the fact that Bush governs on principle, not on polls.  I respect anyone who conducts his life on principle, even when I disagree with the goals or dislike the results.  I like that he does not let attacks against the United States go unpunished.  Staying in Iraq was, in hindsight, a mistake, but he had a noble goal in mind by attempting to install a democratically elected government there.  It appears that those people are so entrenched in their stupid religion that they are incapable of self-government, but the idea is not any less noble for the attempt.  I like lower taxes.  I like a strong military.  I like a strong economy.  I like that the bad guys are not allowed to operate unhindered.  I like to feel safe when traveling.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Secondly, your claim that the Democratic party is made up of ex-Marxists and Communists is ludicrous. What would make you believe such a thing? First of all, the Communist party in the US was only ever in the single digits, so where did the other 90+% of the party come from? Secondly, I think you will find that true Marxists and Communists on this forum and elsewhere hate the Democratic party almost as much as the Republicans. Clinton’s eight year presidency was hardly the nadir of business development in the US, and we can all recall the motto of his campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Nobody in that party is arguing for an end to capitalism, dictatorship of the proletariat, state ownership of all industry, or anything remotely close to any of the various species of Communism in existence.

So I can’t see any reason at all to align the Democrats with Communists or Marxists.

Hyperbole, perhaps, but not ludicrous.  Where are all the left-wing socialist nuts today?  Not in the Republican party.  Not in any socialist or communist party.  They are living comfortably in the Democratic party.  And I don’t align the Democrats with the Communists.  I like Democrats.  I have been one in the past, and may be one in the future.  It seems like the only way to get rid of the leftist radicalism in the Democratic party is to try to get more conservative people to join and participate, to marginalize the extreme leftists who have so much influence in the party.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Thirdly, as to the religious right, you say:

[quote author=“jhcarr”]The reason the “Religious Right” are mostly in the Republican party is that they have been pushed out of the Democratic party.  They are not welcome.  Democrats are intolerant of conservative views on nearly any subject.  The Democratic party is no longer the people’s party.  I really wish it could become that again.

We are in agreement that they dominate the Republican party. But again, I am confused by your suggestion that this is somehow the fault of the Democrats—as if the Democrats should be more welcoming to the religious right!

Actually, it is the fault of the Democrats, and they should be more welcoming to religious people, and to people with conservative views.  The “Religious Right” is a name assigned by political propagandists.  Not too many religious people are passionate about politics.  But they worry about many core moral principals (whether rightly or not is not relevant to this discussion), and the Democratic party is intolerant of their concerns.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Do you support the policies of the religious right? If not, I should think you would want neither party to cozy up to them. And, indeed, I should think you would be very happy that at least one party in the US is ready to “push them out”. (Although IMO the religious right still does have too much influence on the Democratic party through a handful of conservative southern Democrats).

If you do support the policies of the religious right, then which policies do you support and why?

I do not support the policies of the religious right.  I just know that you cannot ignore such a huge block of voters.

I am a non-theist, and a humanist.  I believe in freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, protection from government power, and all the rights enumerated in the constitution.  I am opposed to slavery, economic oppression, religious bigotry, racial bigotry, gender bigotry.  Although I am no longer a believer, I think all people should have the right to explore whatever religious ideas they want, without being hassled by the government or any other institution, especially religious institutions.  And I want to keep the right to challenge their superstitious ideas, to help them to learn how to think clearly and rationally.

The “Religious Right” should be challenged on their ideas, instead of just calling them right-wing nuts.  Name calling and demonizing a group simply creates solidarity.  Embrace the religious conservative, have meaningful discussions with him, make him give rational arguments for each of his beliefs.  Persuade him that another point of view is possible, and perhaps he will start to think for himself and join your cause.

When someone calls me a name and categorizes me, I get very defensive, and dig in.  But when someone say to me, “I see your point, but have you considered this…”, then I feel safe, and I can consider his point of view.  Don’t forget what that great (Republican) American Abraham Lincoln said, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

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Posted: 16 November 2006 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Re: Like Bush and Cheney?

[quote author=“jhcarr”] I like lower taxes.  I like a strong military.  I like a strong economy.  I like that the bad guys are not allowed to operate unhindered.  I like to feel safe when traveling.

I like all these things too, other things equal. But lower taxes can’t come at the expense of huge budget deficits. And they can’t come at the expense of necessary social programs to help the poor, sick and elderly.

Re. safety when traveling, we are absolutely on the same page. This administration has acted in ways that made the world significantly more dangerous rather than less. After 9/11 we had the opportunity to unite the world against terrorism; instead Bush & Co. acted with consummate arrogance, in ways that turned many potential allies into enemies or at least bystanders.

Also, it is pretty clear that his invasion of Iraq demonstrated that the US was willing to invade anyone who did not already possess nuclear weapons. That coupled with his ill-advised “axis of evil” speech has now resulted in a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran. Why? Put yourself in their shoes: they were aware that Bush was willing to invade them, just as he was willing to invade Iraq. The only thing they could do to preserve their governments was to initiate immediate full-scale attempts to pursue nuclear technology.

In Iraq, although Hussein was clearly odious, there was no evidence of terrorists there, and no nuclear or biological weapons. And at least the country was stable.

Now it is a terrorist training camp. NB: here is what I am talking about: (Paid article now).

[quote author=“NYTimes”]Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat

By MARK MAZZETTI
Published: September 24, 2006

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled ‘‘Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, ‘‘Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,’’ cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

This is what happens when arrogance is combined with incompetence.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]Where are all the left-wing socialist nuts today?  Not in the Republican party.  Not in any socialist or communist party.  They are living comfortably in the Democratic party.

Who are you talking about when you say “left-wing socialist nuts”? Why do you describe them this way?

[quote author=“jhcarr”] The “Religious Right” is a name assigned by political propagandists.  Not too many religious people are passionate about politics.  But they worry about many core moral principals (whether rightly or not is not relevant to this discussion), and the Democratic party is intolerant of their concerns.

What do you mean “assigned by political propagandists”? Which propagandists?

The self described religious right includes such organizations as Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer’s Family Research Council, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, and so on. Their aims are to promote Biblical or Christian notions of family, morality and science into government and public life. In particular, they want to turn the clock back on gay rights, oppose equal rights for women (CWA), oppose sex education in schools, oppose teaching evolution, oppose abortion on religious grounds, oppose stem cell research on religious grounds, and so on.

These are clearly right wing positions, and so no “propagandists” are necessary to describe them as such.

Now, there are other aspects of the right wing as well. But it seems to me a thoughtful, humanist right wing person should be trying to distance himself from this sort of sectarian lunacy as much as a left wing person should.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]I do not support the policies of the religious right.  I just know that you cannot ignore such a huge block of voters.

Well, during integration in the 1960s there were some (like Dwight Eisenhower, I recall) who were willing to ignore the opinions of southern racists ...

Clearly politics is the art of compromise, and once in government it will undoubtedly become necessary to compromise with some extreme sectarians. But that doesn’t mean we should actively support their policies or their effect on political parties.

Oh, and re. the right to bear arms, the Constitution says that is under the aegis of “a well regulated militia.” As such I have no disagreement with it.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]The “Religious Right” should be challenged on their ideas, instead of just calling them right-wing nuts.  Name calling and demonizing a group simply creates solidarity.

Very odd you should say this just after calling some Democrats “left-wing socialist nuts”. Reminds me of a saying about pots and kettles.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 06:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Bush and Humanism?

jhcarr said:
Actually, no. I don’t really like either one of them. I just do not hate Bush. I do like some of his policies, but not most of them. However, I like the alternatives offered by the Democratic party even less. I was making a point that the left-leaning democrats who hate Bush so much and want to get rid of him will hate Cheney even more. Perhaps they are forgetting that when a president resigns or is removed from office, the vice-president will become the president.

Yes, those on the Left understand the real menace is Cheney.  But think about this, many more Americans - even from day one - disliked Cheney more than Bush.  Cheney can not pretend to be a amiable dope who may be a real nice guy, but not to bright, like Bush can.  Bush is more dangerous for those reasons, Cheney would not get away with as much. Especially with the religious right who KNOW he is not religious and has a gay daughter he has not killed or at least kicked out of his life.

And I can not think of any Bush policy off the top of my head I liked.  I wonder what they could be.  I have to agree, I do not much like the DLC Democrats or many of their policies either.. But that is why I am not a Democrat.  Even the few real Dems don’t get it much either (except, perhaps, Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich) - Barry

jhcarr said: The results of these rule changes brought us Jimmy Carter, in my opinion the worst president we ever had, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. (Don’t forget the opposing candidates in these elections, also equally poor (or worse) choices.) Each of these presidents had their good and bad qualities, but I believe our country would have been much better off if more competent candidates were presented.

I could not agree more.. though I think Reagan and Bush Jr., were/are far, far worse than Carter was even on his worse days. - Barry

jhcarr said: Actually, I am disappointed in where the Democratic party has gone in the last few decades. The people who would have been John Kennedy Democrats are now Republicans, while the people who in those days were Marxists and Communists have essentially taken control of the Democratic party. Democrats complain about the “Religious Right” controlling the agenda of the Republican party. The reason the “Religious Right” are mostly in the Republican party is that they have been pushed out of the Democratic party. They are not welcome. Democrats are intolerant of conservative views on nearly any subject. The Democratic party is no longer the people’s party. I really wish it could become that again.

This above makes little sense. JFK Democrats, to say nothing or FDR Democrats, are certainly rare in the Democratic Party of today (except for a very few).  The DLC Democrats are what the Eisenhower or Rockefeller Republicans used to be.. All conservatives in the sense of big business corporatism and not being too conservative on social issues.  Neither are most of these Dems, New-Deal styled Dems. 

It seems to me that moderate Republicans moved to the Democratic Party leaving mainstream conservatives like McCain behind.  But the neo-con pseudo-conservatives (social and economic radicals with fascist and imperial leanings), have taken over the Republican Party having come out of the Reagan years and then coming to power during the Clinton years.

Meanwhile, the New Deal Democrats are a minority in the Democratic Party (such as “socialist” Sanders), and any truly progressive Democrats are either nonexistent or in the closet. 

There certainly are no Marxists or Communists in the Democratic Party (besides maybe Sanders), so I do not know where you got that idea. 

You ARE correct that the religious right were part of the Democratic Party since the 19th Century (the more recent Dixie-Crats); it was a good thing the Dems pushed those theocrats out. 

Tell me, how can the Dems be intolerant of conservative views when most of them ARE conservatives?  Some of them are even social conservatives on key issues of abortion and the like!
 

dougsmith: I think we can all agree that the election process in this country is far from perfect.

Yes.  We need to get rid of the electoral college.  Winning the popular vote should be enough.  The lessor populated, racist and uber nationalistic states get far too much representation.

Occam: Fascinating how we can have very different views of our political situation. Rather than the Marxists and communists having taken over the Democratic party and the Kennedy democrats having become Republicans I see it as follows:

The Marxist and communist philosophy has totally disappeared from the U.S. political scene. The Kennedy Democrats, who were middle-of-the-road then, are now the left wing of the Democratic party. The Goldwater Republicans, who were fiscal conservatives, have become the center of the Democratic party. The radical right extremists of the 1970s have become the center of the Republican party. While the Democrats used to have the reputation of “tax and spend” have now become the party of fiscal responsibility and the Republicans have become the “Borrow and Spend” party.

I’d say Occam is pretty much right on target.

jhcarr;  I like the fact that Bush governs on principle, not on polls. I respect anyone who conducts his life on principle, even when I disagree with the goals or dislike the results.

First of all, the Bushies always pay attention to the polls, they just pretend they don’t care.  But yes, to a large degree, they ignore the people they are working for… US! 

They ignored their employers on Feb. 15th 2003 when millions marched in protest of Bush starting another war in Iraq (first time for such a large PRE-war protest), and it was not only ignored, but the papers were told not to cover it much by these Republicans. 

I think I’d prefer a President that governs for the people (that means listening to them in polls and other ways), rather than one that governs for himself and his party.

jhcarr said: I like that he does not let attacks against the United States go unpunished.

Right.  You like revenge.  Very humanistic of you. 

So you liked that Bush killed thousands of Afghani’s instead of breaking up Taliban rule and going after Bin Laden?  Hmmm.

jhcarr said: Staying in Iraq was, in hindsight, a mistake, but he had a noble goal in mind by attempting to install a democratically elected government there.

Give me a break!  Democracy was never the goal of the Bushies!  They KNEW it was not the goal, and neither was going after WMDs (which they said in 2002 to each other were not there, then lied to the American people about), or breaking up a nonexistent Saddam and Al Quida love affairs! 

The real reasons were American militarary and economic hegemony, oil, and keeping the apartheid state of Israel happy.

jhcarr said: I like lower taxes.

Lower taxes for the rich, you mean!  Americans are more poor now than under Clinton (and Clinton was not exactly FDR with taxes)!  As long as we have capitalism, we NEED higher taxes.. especially for the rich!

jhcarr said: I like a strong military.

So did Hitler and Stalin. 

But, do you like a military which does not get the armor it needs as these Republicans seem to think is OK?  Do you like a government which employs kids to kill and be killed, while it severely cuts veterins benefits at the same time, like these Republicanss seem to?

jhcarr said: I like a strong economy.

When we will get one of those again?  We had one in the 1990s.

jhcarr said: I like to feel safe when traveling.

When I see armed military folks all over the place when I travel, I feel LESS safe.  I feel more like I am in Israel!

jhcarr said: Where are all the left-wing socialist nuts today? Not in the Republican party. Not in any socialist or communist party. They are living comfortably in the Democratic party.

Um, I am a Left-Wing Libertarian-Socialist “nut,”  and I do not live in the Democratic Party.  I only vote for them because we are

1) Stuck with a hierarchal democracy which is highly unfair.

2) Because the Neo-Cons and Christo-Fascists are in the Republican Party not the Democratic Party (for now).

3) There ARE no socialist or communist parties I can trust in America at the moment.  Besides, I am not a socialist or communist in the Lenin/Mao sense.

jhcarr said: I am a non-theist, and a humanist. ...  I believe in ...  the right to keep and bear arms, protection from government power…

I hate to burst your bubble, but you did not just describe humanism above.  You may be a non-theist, but that is irrelevant.  The right to keep and bear arms is not humanist.  Protection from government power is a good thing, but not ALL such power in a Rep. Democracy and a capitalist economy ... in such we need the government in the social-welfare sense.

Humanists DO want protection from government power when that power is corporatism, fascism, such that destroys our civil liberties, privacy and loves militarism .. All of the protections these Republicans despise.

Where is my protection from the Bushies?

Doug, do you STILL think Big-Tent humanism is such a good idea?

Barry

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Posted: 16 November 2006 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Re: Like Bush and Cheney?

[quote author=“dougsmith”][quote author=“jhcarr”] I like lower taxes.  I like a strong military.  I like a strong economy.  I like that the bad guys are not allowed to operate unhindered.  I like to feel safe when traveling.

I like all these things too, other things equal. But lower taxes can’t come at the expense of huge budget deficits. And they can’t come at the expense of necessary social programs to help the poor, sick and elderly.

Well, Doug, I see you and I have differing world views.  You do not like Bush, or the Republican party.  You appear to dislike it when religious people organize and try to exert political influence.  (Actually, I am with you on that one.)  However, like in that old cliche, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, I think that it is perfectly fine that religious conservatives organize to influence our government.  I don’t like what they are trying to accomplish, but I believe they are exercising their rights as citizens of the United States.  Do you think that if the Democrats controlled congress and there was a Democrat president, they would stop trying to influence the government?

Your statement about taxes, budget deficits and “necessary” social programs are simply political positions.  These positions are debatable by intelligent people.  Personally, I am sympathetic to your point of view, but I worry about the consequences of higher taxes and a shrinking base of workers supporting a growing base of recipients of social programs.  But that is a whole other debate, in which I do not want to participate (today, anyway).  That is why we have political parties and elections.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Re. safety when traveling, we are absolutely on the same page. This administration has acted in ways that made the world significantly more dangerous rather than less. After 9/11 we had the opportunity to unite the world against terrorism; instead Bush & Co. acted with consummate arrogance, in ways that turned many potential allies into enemies or at least bystanders.

Again, that is your political opinion.  It is debatable.  Pros and cons on both sides.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
Also, it is pretty clear that his invasion of Iraq demonstrated that the US was willing to invade anyone who did not already possess nuclear weapons. That coupled with his ill-advised “axis of evil” speech has now resulted in a nuclear North Korea and a nuclear Iran. Why? Put yourself in their shoes: they were aware that Bush was willing to invade them, just as he was willing to invade Iraq. The only thing they could do to preserve their governments was to initiate immediate full-scale attempts to pursue nuclear technology.

In Iraq, although Hussein was clearly odious, there was no evidence of terrorists there, and no nuclear or biological weapons. And at least the country was stable.

“At least the country was stable”???  Germany was stable under Hitler.  Russia was stable under Stalin.  China was stable under Mao.  Europe was stable under the Catholic church and the Inquisition.

I find your assessment to be morally repugnant.  But, again, that is a political opinion.  Intelligent people can differ.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Now it is a terrorist training camp.

That is a non-sequitur.  You seem to imply that because the enemy may organize, we should never defend our interests.  Based on that logic, I suppose we should have simply ignored Pearl Harbor?  Left England to fight alone against Hitler?  Again, I dislike the morality of that, but it is a political opinion.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
This is what happens when arrogance is combined with incompetence.

Just name-calling and more poliltical opinion.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
Who are you talking about when you say “left-wing socialist nuts”? Why do you describe them this way?

I am talking about left-wing socialist nuts. (Perhaps I am gulity of hyperbole again.)  In the Democratic party.  Are you saying there are none, and they exert no significant influence on the party or its policies?

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
What do you mean “assigned by political propagandists”? Which propagandists?

Doug, you are just playing word games here.  the “Religious Right” is a pejorative term coined by the left.  The conservative religious organizations adopted it as a badge of honor.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
The self described religious right includes such organizations as Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America, James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer’s Family Research Council, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, and so on. Their aims are to promote Biblical or Christian notions of family, morality and science into government and public life. In particular, they want to turn the clock back on gay rights, oppose equal rights for women (CWA), oppose sex education in schools, oppose teaching evolution, oppose abortion on religious grounds, oppose stem cell research on religious grounds, and so on.

These are clearly right wing positions, and so no “propagandists” are necessary to describe them as such.

And yet they do.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]

Now, there are other aspects of the right wing as well. But it seems to me a thoughtful, humanist right wing person should be trying to distance himself from this sort of sectarian lunacy as much as a left wing person should.

Actually, I am very annoyed at having to defend a group I strongly disagree with.  You attack my observations about political reality as though I am a member of the “Religious Right”.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
Clearly politics is the art of compromise, and once in government it will undoubtedly become necessary to compromise with some extreme sectarians. But that doesn’t mean we should actively support their policies or their effect on political parties.

Who is actively supporting their policies?  I hate their policies.  I actively support liberty, including the right to believe any superstition you want, and the right to participate in the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
Oh, and re. the right to bear arms, the Constitution says that is under the aegis of “a well regulated militia.” As such I have no disagreement with it.

Well, I keep firearms because I would rather have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.  You can go join a militia if you want.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]
[quote author=“jhcarr”]The “Religious Right” should be challenged on their ideas, instead of just calling them right-wing nuts.  Name calling and demonizing a group simply creates solidarity.

Very odd you should say this just after calling some Democrats “left-wing socialist nuts”. Reminds me of a saying about pots and kettles.

You are calling me on my apparent hypocrisy.  I never claimed to not be a hypocrite.  However, I prefer to think of it as simply using the same tactics as the other side.  The left-wing socialist nuts. smile

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Posted: 16 November 2006 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Big Tent Humanism

Barry, you are quite the socialist, I can see.

I prefer the freedoms granted to us in the constitution.  I think it is a great and noble document.  Flawed, of course, but pretty good in most respects.

I like many socialist ideas, but I also like to keep what I have earned.

Yes, I do like revenge.  If you hurt me or my family, I will definitely be trying to hurt you.  If I were president, nobody would attack the United States without retaliation.  (And I am asking for your vote.  smile )

I don’t know you, so I don’t want to attack you personally, like you seem to want to do to me.  I don’t agree with many of your assertions, and I think your point of view is skewed.

Yes, I am a hypocrite.  Sadly, I must admit it.  I hope you admit it too, because I don’t know anyone who is not sometimes hypocritical.

Just because I don’t agree with every last point of humanism does not mean I am not a humanist.  Are you the king of humanism, who decides whether or not I can join the club?  I am sure you don’t believe in every last point of socialism, nor of libertarianism, or whatever, but you can still call yourself a socialist, a libertarian, a democrat, or whatever.

I don’t like to be personally attacked.  It hurts, and makes me want to fight back.  It makes me irrational.  I thought we were discussing ideas here.  I am happy to withdraw from this forum.  I certainly don’t want to go where I am not welcome.

I was just hoping to exchange ideas with like-minded people.  I am politically conservative, as you can tell, but I am willing to listen to reasoned debate.  I wish that more politically liberal people would do the same.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Re: Like Bush and Cheney?

[quote author=“jhcarr”] However, like in that old cliche, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, I think that it is perfectly fine that religious conservatives organize to influence our government.  I don’t like what they are trying to accomplish, but I believe they are exercising their rights as citizens of the United States.

On that we are all in agreement. Clearly nobody here disagrees with anyone’s right to peaceably speak, act and vote the way they want. But that cuts both ways. I am speaking, acting and voting the way I want.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]“At least the country was stable”???  Germany was stable under Hitler.  Russia was stable under Stalin.  China was stable under Mao.  Europe was stable under the Catholic church and the Inquisition.

You are taking my quote out of context and twisting it in a way it was clearly not intended. My point was that although Hussein is odious, there were some ways in which the country under his rule was actually a better place to live than it is now. In particular, now it is in shambles, and in the midst of a de facto civil war, for which the present US government is largely at fault. It is not at all clear that for the average Iraqui citizen the country is a happier place now than it was in 2001.

And although Hussein was an evil dictator, he is not in the same league as Hitler, Mao or Stalin. Citing them is simply hyperbole. Those people are responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people. Hussein was responsible for the deaths of many, but most of those deaths, one must point out, were during the time he was America’s ally, i.e. during the Iran/Iraq war.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]You seem to imply that because the enemy may organize, we should never defend our interests.  Based on that logic, I suppose we should have simply ignored Pearl Harbor?  Left England to fight alone against Hitler?  Again, I dislike the morality of that, but it is a political opinion.

That isn’t what I said or implied. What I said was that before our invasion, Iraq was no threat to us. Now, because of an incompetently executed post-war scenario, it is a breeding ground for terrorism. The Bush administration has made your travel much more dangerous by its incompetence.

Perhaps you recall Gen. Shinseki before the war, telling the country it would take 500,000 US troops to keep order in Iraq. His advice was savaged by people like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. As a result, the US lost the best chance we had to bring peace to a post-war Iraq. It is way too late now.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]Doug, you are just playing word games here.  the “Religious Right” is a pejorative term coined by the left.  The conservative religious organizations adopted it as a badge of honor.

“Religious right” is is a plain description. Neither “religious” nor “right” is pejorative.

The contrast would be with “secular left”, which is also not pejorative.

I think if you are going to persist in this notion that “religious right” was somehow “coined by the left” to be a pejorative, you will have to back that up with some actual evidence. The claim itself is entirely unpersuasive.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]You attack my observations about political reality as though I am a member of the “Religious Right”.

No, I am attacking the religious right itself, and questioning what your basis is for supporting the Republicans’ embrace of them. It strikes me as strange that you would be so ready to support this embrace when you agree that you don’t like the religious right’s own policies.

[quote author=“jhcarr”]You are calling me on my apparent hypocrisy.  I never claimed to not be a hypocrite.  However, I prefer to think of it as simply using the same tactics as the other side.  The left-wing socialist nuts. smile

Well, anyone in open debate implicitly claims not to be a hypocrite, just as they claim not to contradict themselves. People who embrace hypocrisy or self-contradiction lose any reason to be taken seriously. So I hope you meant that last paragraph as a joke.

BTW, I am happy if you call yourself a humanist and happy to have you on the forum. I don’t expect that we will all agree on the same things; if you read around, you will see that I have also had differences of opinion with the left-wing political views of some of our other members. :wink: We are all here to learn, and that is partly through debate and disagreement. So I do welcome people of differing views here, and I know that the CFI in general does as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean that argument must cease. Everything is up for inquiry and investigation.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Left England to fight alone against Hitler?

What about the Soviet Union? It was not the U.S. who won the Second World war.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Re: Bush and Humanism?

[quote author=“Barry”]Doug, do you STILL think Big-Tent humanism is such a good idea?

LOL  LOL

YES!

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Posted: 16 November 2006 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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[quote author=“George Benedik”]

Left England to fight alone against Hitler?

What about the Soviet Union? It was not the U.S. who won the Second World war.

Yes, George, you are absolutely right.  Of course, at the time that England was facing Germany, France had fallen, and Hitler had recently turned on the Soviet Union, which was losing badly.

With the attack on Russia, the downfall of Germany was assured.  However, without the entry of the United States into the war, opening another front in Africa and Italy, the Soviet Union may have been defeated.

It was the Soviet Union who actually beat Hitler, but without the United States and England fighting on the other fronts, they may not have had time to ramp up their industries to supply the needs of their army.

Of course, I was making a different point with that statement.

Doug, I have enjoyed the discussion.  I am not really a rabid Republican, but I do wish more people, on the right and left, would think more rationally and less emotionally.  I may not be the clearest thinker, but I try to be consistent and fair, which I rarely see in political discussion today.

One thing I have observed is that in any type of democracy, neither side will ever be happy with the results.  This may be good.  I prefer our severely flawed system to a monarchy or dictatorship or any type of theocracy.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Bit Tent Humanism?

James said: Barry, you are quite the socialist, I can see.

Actually, no James. I said I am a libertarian-socialist.  This leans more toward anarchism than socialism. 

James said: I prefer the freedoms granted to us in the constitution. I think it is a great and noble document. Flawed, of course, but pretty good in most respects.

I think there are many good things in the Bill of Rights (except the 2nd Amendment which needs to be rescinded in these modern times).  But I am not a fan of representative democracy and find that though better than most other forms of government, it has seen its chance - failed - and we need to progress forward to inclusive democracy. 

The freedoms you say we have are minor compared to real freedoms.  I am not comparing our freedoms with the USSR or China which were/are communist countries.  I am not a communist.  There are plenty of freedoms in Scandinavia, and they are social-democracies.  But if we abolish capitalism and the so-call free market, we will be much more able to be free.

James said: I like many socialist ideas, but I also like to keep what I have earned.

The entire capitalist system (what you earned) is corrupt, so debating about taxes here is useless.  I’ll only say that we need to care about society as much as ourselves or more; so the richer you are, the more you should give in taxes toward society in a capitalistic society.  Of course, workers are paid far too little to ‘like’ taxes, and many of the rich think they “earned” their richness or deserved to be so - so they have a sense of entitlement which is anti-society, and anti-taxes.  I would be anti-taxes too James, if we had a more fair society where we did not need such.

James said: Yes, I do like revenge. If you hurt me or my family, I will definitely be trying to hurt you. If I were president, nobody would attack the United States without retaliation. (And I am asking for your vote.  )

Revenge is not only anti-humanistic, it is ridiculous unless you believe in Free Will.  If you believe in Free Will, you ain’t much of a naturalist, never mind a humanist. 

I think if the US is attacked, the best thing to do first is to find out why.  Then the best thing to do would be whatever is the most humanistic toward solving this “why” so that we are not attacked again.  Any violence must be kept to an absolute minimal, and directed ONLY at those sociopaths who won’t stop hurting others (bin Ladin?)... and not at innocent civilians.

James said: I don’t know you, so I don’t want to attack you personally, like you seem to want to do to me. I don’t agree with many of your assertions, and I think your point of view is skewed.

I am not attacking you personally, I am addressing your ideas… Which I find not only skewed, but absurd.  On these forum we should not attack persons, but SHOULD critically evaluate ideas.  And re ideas, we can be a bit colorful if we want to be so as long as we do not become mean.  Do you feel I’ve been mean to you? 

When you said socialists are “left-wing nuts,” I did not take that as mean of you.

James said: Just because I don’t agree with every last point of humanism does not mean I am not a humanist. Are you the king of humanism, who decides whether or not I can join the club? I am sure you don’t believe in every last point of socialism, nor of libertarianism, or whatever, but you can still call yourself a socialist, a libertarian, a democrat, or whatever.

No, noone may agree with every last point of any political philosophy they identify with, and this is normal and quite healthy.  I identify with anarchism, but I am not for violence (as some anarchists are) and I have a big problem with anarcho-capitalism as being a subset of anarchism.  It seems an oxymoron to me. 

But one’s philosophy, at its core, must be coherent and consistent on the main issues.  There are many parts of anarchism, for instance, that have nothing to do with humanism (some which are anti-humanistic and some which are just irrelevant to humanism), so it is my own job to see where and if anarchism is consistent enough with the core of humanism so that I do not hold two opposed viewpoints about human society of which I want to act on. 

I think it is fair to say that you hold key opinions which are not irrelevant to humanism, but actually antithetical to humanism - This real inconsistency shows that your self-identifying as a humanism is most likely a mistake on your part.  You can act or think humanistically in areas (as many religious persons can and do ), without being a humanist.

As I have argued elsewhere, atheism is not the core of humanism, by the way.

PS: No Doug, I am not happy with this big-tent idea that anyone who wants to call himself a humanist just because he or she is an atheist, is a good thing.  A philosophy needs to be internally coherent and consistent - even if non-static - if it is to be worth anything.

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Posted: 16 November 2006 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Anarchy?

Barry, those are pretty bold statements you have made.  I think it is fair to say that your views are nowhere near mainstream.  More like on the fringes of political thought.

But if we abolish capitalism and the so-call free market, we will be much more able to be free.

That is just your opinion, or your wish.  Where has capitalism and the so-called free market ever been abolished in a technologically advanced nation of 300 million people?  Nowhere, obviously.  It won’t be done in our lifetimes (because people don’t want it to happen), so it is just an intellectual speculation.

Your statement that the entire capitalist system is corrupt is odd.  Of course it is.  All political systems are corrupt.  (That is why we have legislatures to make laws against corruption.)  Any time one person can gain advantage over others, corruption follows.  I am pretty sure that your vision of libertarian-socialist-anarchy would take no time at all in becoming corrupt too.

...I am addressing your ideas… Which I find not only skewed, but absurd.

My ideas are absurd?  Actually, no, my ideas are pretty conventional.  Your ideas seem absurd to me.

But one’s philosophy, at its core, must be coherent and consistent on the main issues.

No, one’s philosophy does not need to be coherent and consistent.  A philosophy can be anything you want it to be.  All humans of normal intelligence have conflicting views on many issues.

...your self-identifying as a humanism is most likely a mistake on your part

That is your opinion, not mine.  I could self-identify as a socialist if I wanted to.  You seem to be really hung-up on labels.

This discussion is becoming tedious.  I can see that you are solidly convinced of your position (kind of like a dedicated religious fanatic), and I am not really passionate enough about politics to try to convince you otherwise.

I would like to see more reason exercised in politics.  But that is probably just my own personal pipe dream.

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