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Thread: People can be so scary

  1. #16
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Mind you, Stargazer, it goes both ways. Not only extreme right wingers but also extreme leftists can be intolerant of other people's opinions (people like me, in the middle of political spectrum, going for common sense over ideology). As I gave in my example above, Germaine Greer is undoubtedly on the left, but whenever she talks about Australia it's negative (even now with a Labor female Prime Minister in power). Before, Greer made a few tasteless remarks about Steve Irwin a day or so after he died.

    We all know the leftist taboos, eg. you can't criticise things like multiculturalism or the negative effects of secularism gone mad (eg. stopping singing of Christmas carols in state-run schools, or even mentioning Christmas or Easter). In other words, political correctness taken too far.

    So I equally don't like these two extremes. Yes, when one is with these people, better to avoid topic of politics all together, and talk about mundane or benign stuff like the weather or what's on sale in the shops. You can choose your friends, but not your family and fellow students and coworkers, etc. We got to live with diversity, even at extremes.
    Last edited by Sid James; May-03-2012 at 04:22.
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    Contrasts and Connections in Music

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  2. #17
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I've come to suspect G.B. Shaw was right:

    Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

    Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

    We are the only real aristocracy in the world: the aristocracy of money.

    C.K. Chesterton seems to have been in agreement:

    Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
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  3. #18
    Senior Member Stargazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    Mind you, Stargazer, it goes both ways. Not only extreme right wingers but also extreme leftists can be intolerant of other people's opinions (people like me, in the middle of political spectrum, going for common sense over ideology). As I gave in my example above, Germaine Greer is undoubtedly on the left, but whenever she talks about Australia it's negative (even now with a Labor female Prime Minister in power). Before, Greer made a few tasteless remarks about Steve Irwin a day or so after he died.
    Trust me, I know that better than I'd like to lol. I've known more than a few people at both extreme ends of the spectrum, but currently I live in one of the most (actually I think it was ranked as THE most) conservative areas in the country so those are the people I deal with most frequently. I personally don't like to get involved in politics much at all, but I'm pretty middle-of-the-road in most of my beliefs.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    ...I personally don't like to get involved in politics much at all, but I'm pretty middle-of-the-road in most of my beliefs.
    Similar here. I'm very wary of any ideology, esp. if it becomes extreme. So we can double balk - balk at the hard right and balk at the hard left.

    But I think USA has more divisive politics than other countries, incl. Australia. Here, both our major parties are in the centre politically. But unfortunately, some of our politicians are becoming fans of the USA's system, which I don't think is a good model. It's based on various agendas rather than common sense.
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  5. #20
    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    Sid James, I hope you realise both Democrats and Republicans are basically on the right of the spectrum. I think the image of a lot of democrats being liberals is completely incorrect. They are, majority wise, far from the definition of liberal.
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  6. #21
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badinerie View Post
    I realise that in a democracy that its every citizens duty to criticise its government but "an illegal Kenyan Muslim Marxist racist Chicago street monkey"? gee whizz!
    Fox News attracts only the best and the brightest minds!

  7. #22
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
    Sid James, I hope you realise both Democrats and Republicans are basically on the right of the spectrum...
    I know it, basically. But I think neither would endorse the quotes you gave in your OP. Those are very extreme opinions. Both major parties of yours - as ours here - are right, but they are right of centre, not far right.

    It is true that it seems that extremists in USA will attack anything they don't like as a Communist or Marxist threat, etc. But truth is, the Communist Party of USA is very small, tiny, if it even exists now. The far left, or Communist parties of places like Italy and France are far bigger, they are still a big influence in reality in those countries. But in USA and other Anglo countries, they are of zero significance. In UK, they were bigger for a while, but once Khrushchev spilled the beans in his leaked secret speech about the bad things Stalin did, those in the UK Communist Party tore up their membership cards and desterted the movement en masse.

    But in USA, presidents who did some social change were often branded as Commies by the far right. F.D. Roosevelt was said to be one when bringing in the New Deal during the Great Depression. Lyndon B. Johnson was also taking a risk when signing the civil rights bill, ending segregation in the 1960's (I bet many of his fellow Southerners called him everything under the sun for doing that). Same with Obama now, but I don't know why they're calling him Communist. But I don't know what's happening in USA politics apart from the odd soundbyte I get here. I'm not in tune with that at all. But I doubt Obama is a Communist, if that's the case, pigs might fly.

    Another anecdote is that Charlie Chaplin made The Great Dictator, a film lampooning Hitler, a while before American entered the war. Initially, Chaplin was branded a Communist by Americans, as a good deal of them thought Hitler was not too bad, or at least better than Stalin. Anyway, once America entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbour, Chaplin became like a hero in America for opposing Hitler in that film. He was on the wrong side before, but with the tide turning, he was on the correct side by default. Shows how silly this whole thing of branding people is. People are people, not cattle.
    Last edited by Sid James; May-03-2012 at 09:35.
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    The interesting thing about centrism is that it does not produce change. Indeed nothing is less important to history than centrism. There are no centrist activists. It's the art of having neither passion nor balls.
    Last edited by Couchie; May-03-2012 at 09:44.
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  9. #24
    Senior Member Chrythes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    The interesting thing about centrism is that it does not produce change. Indeed nothing is less important to history than centrism. There are no centrist activists. It's the art of having neither passion nor balls.
    I think it's the point of not having to choose between two ideologies when you know that each side has its own positive and negative aspects. But then again - when your ideology doesn't involve some kind of extremes it suddenly isn't perceived as powerful enough by the masses.
    But centrists should be more active. Just look at what Erasmus could have done if he had the courage to come and talk to both leaders of the Protestants and Catholics instead of hiding behind the curtain and writing letters.

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    I kind of agree. Being a centrist could seem to be the best compromise but I think it quite often sounds like just being consensual and not having a word about big problems.

    Also, Cnote11, I agree about the two major parties being mainly right-winded. At least it's the case in France and seems to be the case anywhere else nowadays. In France at least I'm under the impression everything moved to the right.
    The major right winded party, the UMP, is closer to the far right (the FN, which has a famous member who have been seen in neo-nazis manifestation in Russia, etc.) than to the centrists ! This is frightening.

    In a interview a saw a few days ago, François Hollande, the candidate of the Socialists for the presidential elections in France, said about the immigration that "the immigrants with papers will stay here, the illegal immigrants will be re conducted to the border". No consideration at all for the problems of the illegal immigration, for those who, for instance, live and work in France since many years and have nothing elsewhere, and, amongst other things, could be kicked out anytime. He's supposed to be a left-winded politician !

    I agree about the people being scary.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    We all know the leftist taboos, eg. you can't criticise things like multiculturalism or the negative effects of secularism gone mad (eg. stopping singing of Christmas carols in state-run schools, or even mentioning Christmas or Easter). In other words, political correctness taken too far.
    Now, now, let's not equate insane political correctness with secularism of all things. Secularism is about religious freedom, not suppression, and what you describe is the misinformed incompetence of politicians, not a fault with the idea of secularism. Also, while moderation in political outlook prevents much of the insanity we see in government, relying on common sense like it's an antidote to bad ideas is dangerous, and is actually prone to being just as uninformed and unhelpful as being ideologically hard-line. Common sense, after all, tends to be the slowly garnered dregs of the ideologies we are exposed to, as our common sense is cultivated by our environment. It's really just a collection of the least offensive snippets of multiple ideologies, and thus is prone to inconsistency despite the sincerity of the person. It also tends to implicitly promote instinct and intuition, which are always unreliable tools in important things like politics, so I'd urge you to question what seems like common sense to you, and actually value reason and evidence.
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  12. #27
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    Now, now, let's not equate insane political correctness with secularism of all things. Secularism is about religious freedom, not suppression, and what you describe is the misinformed incompetence of politicians, not a fault with the idea of secularism. Also, while moderation in political outlook prevents much of the insanity we see in government, relying on common sense like it's an antidote to bad ideas is dangerous, and is actually prone to being just as uninformed and unhelpful as being ideologically hard-line...
    Well what I was reflecting on is my own experience. Some politicians, but also just some people I come across. There are taboos with them, and these are clearly people who are more left wing. There are taboos, but often they are not based on what's true. Moves here to do things like deny the existence of Christmas and Easter, and also not sing the anthem as the flag is raised in schools, this is what I'm saying. It's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But it hasn't happened in reality, we don't have 1984 yet. What I'm saying is political correctness can go to extremes, just as these right wing conspiracy theories. So I stick firmly in the middle of the spectrum, based on practicality more than anything else.

    ...Common sense, after all, tends to be the slowly garnered dregs of the ideologies we are exposed to, as our common sense is cultivated by our environment. It's really just a collection of the least offensive snippets of multiple ideologies, and thus is prone to inconsistency despite the sincerity of the person. It also tends to implicitly promote instinct and intuition, which are always unreliable tools in important things like politics, so I'd urge you to question what seems like common sense to you, and actually value reason and evidence.
    Well I see it as your judgement. I'd rather be inconsistent and contradictory than dogmatic. Maybe they're two extremes, but I err on side of more common sense, not ideology which can harden into dogma.

    In any case, I would not pull down a politician like our PM Julia Gillard based on say her dress or hairstyle. I would not pull down Obama for his dad being Kenyan or whatever. I just try to stick to facts. That's what I'm saying by common sense, it aims at less bias, even if ultimately you cannot be fully unbiased.
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    I know what you mean Sid, and not all of my comments regarding common sense were necessarily directed at you. I imagine that your common sense is really just a kind of easy-going, non-dogmatic, pragmatism that wants the best for everyone. My objection was against more mainstream notions of common sense, as my "common" sense isn't the same as yours, and yours isn't the same as the next person's - really, what we deem common sense is just what seems obvious to us and what we wish was common! So it's a bit of a misnomer to apply it to political leanings, and gives a certain credence to more uninformed positions than yours.
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    After all, looking back at the OP, is it not simple common sense that a man called BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA cannot be Christian?!
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  15. #30
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polednice View Post
    I know what you mean Sid, and not all of my comments regarding common sense were necessarily directed at you. I imagine that your common sense is really just a kind of easy-going, non-dogmatic, pragmatism that wants the best for everyone. My objection was against more mainstream notions of common sense, as my "common" sense isn't the same as yours, and yours isn't the same as the next person's - really, what we deem common sense is just what seems obvious to us and what we wish was common! So it's a bit of a misnomer to apply it to political leanings, and gives a certain credence to more uninformed positions than yours.
    Yeah well I can see what you're saying. I agree that there is diversity in everything, incl. common sense. I mean eg. I am supportive of things like anti-discrimination laws, I see them as common sense. More importantly, as just and fair, not as like some Communist conspiracy. That is silly. But I would not take these laws as far as say silencing debate on issues like multiculturalism or immigration, as long as those debates are done with respect. Name-calling and abuse is a no-no, but a more positive kind of plurality can be good.

    With what people above said of democracy, it ain't perfect, but (as Churchill apparently said), it's the best thing we've got. Alternatives like authoritarianism or dictatorship don't work. So called benevolent dictatorship inevitably can be corrupted. I suppose one flaw of democracy as it can allow extreme opinions through the back door, as with election in recent decades of far right governments in Europe (eg. Jorg Haider of Austria). Puts a bit of a questionmark on superiority of Europe if they come up with leaders like that.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

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