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Not a world I made, but I can live in it.

bisleybisley Senior MemberPosts: 10,798 Senior Member

The recent Saul Alinsky thread prompted me to actually read “Rules for Radicals,” because it occurred to me that most of us were either criticizing or defending it, without ever having actually read it. I thought I could just skim it and get the gist of it, because I thought I knew what it was going to say, based on carefully watching 8 years of the Obama presidency. Wrong.

I ended up reading the whole thing – no small chore for an old fart with traditional conservative upbringing. My conclusion is that Alinski really wasn’t an ideologue. I think he was just an anti-establishment type of guy, very smart, and very ‘well read,’ whose life was steered  leftward by his work with communists, who were fomenting their revolutionary aims through the unions and the civil rights movement. Back in those days, when he was young and impressionable, he was seeing a lot that he approved of, and maybe even more that he didn’t approve of – not particularly for moral reasons, but for their ineffectiveness in obtaining the power needed to achieve their aims. Possibly, his friendship with Frank Nitti (if true), of Chicago and Al Capone notoriety, helped him see the flaws in violence, as a political tool.

I mistakenly assumed that Alinski was a communist, because I perceived that the behavior of the Democrat Party mirrored the Communist Party of America behavior, from the ‘20’s or ‘30’s through at least the Viet Nam era. I still mostly believe that about the Democrat Party, at least for the last 20 years or so,  but I now think I understand Saul Alinski much better. I still don’t agree with his philosophical conclusions, but I cannot deny that he knew how to manipulate the establishment, and that the civil rights unrest of his era provided a good testing ground for his ideas.

Alinski theorized that creating chaos in the enemy ranks was the way to beat them, because it caused them to make mistakes that could be exploited successfully by a smart tactician, who could seize the opportunity to make it hurt for them to enforce their own rules. He admired the communists for their dedication to that idea. It really didn’t matter much to him if the establishment (in business management, or politics) kept their rules, to their own detriment, or ignored them when the chips were down – he could exploit either. He won several political and social victories, in such a way, for whatever movement he represented at the time, initially for unions, and later for civil rights movements. Rationalizing, after the fact, about the original intent of the protests made him look even more brilliant, and helped him with recruitment. He was very smart, and part of his effectiveness came from the fact that he was not embarrassed or angered by personal attacks on his own character.

What the Democrat party leaders did not take into account (at first) was that victory (by whatever methods) would turn them into the establishment, subject to being manipulated in the same way. Once they figured it out, the only way they could avoid losing that power in the same way, was by making laws that they could either enforce, or ignore, depending upon political considerations. Such hypocritical behavior required that they either convert or chase off the idealists within the party, in order to enable a more authoritarian government, one that could get away with the corruption needed to maintain power, including the radicalization of a media that was increasingly being indoctrinated towards left-wing politics.

Now, the right can employ the parts of Saul Alinski’s tactics that were the most effective: Make them follow their own rules, or concede that they are hypocrites. The level of chaos generated by Democrat Party divisions and hypocrisies, along with a Donald Trump presidency, are creating the ‘perfect storm’ for removing some of their worst offenders from power. All that the Republicans need to restore a semi-functional government is the guts to follow Trump’s lead, in exacting just the right amount of retribution to embarrass them for four to six years – just long enough to restore lost freedoms to the middle class. Middle class freedom is the key to any successful capitalistic system, and is the real political battle being waged, right now.

I do not like these new rules, and I am not crazy about the politicians that have to do it, but it needs doing, and these are the people we have to do it with. The leftist Democrats succeeded in letting a lot of toothpaste out of the tube that cannot be put back in, and now it is time for the right-of-center Republicans to step in and reconcile it to an American way of life that resembles freedom. Maybe Trump can keep his cheese on the cracker for long enough to establish a new status quo that will allow the American experiment to flourish...until the left gets a plan to start rolling it back, again.






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Replies

  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Where are the freedom smothering policies of the Obama Presidency???

    Where is the middle class freedom of the Trump administration???

    I think the media assault on Donald Trump is fueling paranoia. I don't think the Democratic party can even guide threir collective ass to a toilet seat let alone orchestrate this outlined elaborate conspiracy. They're a loosely disorganized mob in search of power for its own sake. Who's actions are chaotically reactionary. Same as the Republicans.

    The media is almost a third party. Waiting to exploit anything available for sensational theatre. In their quest for power for its own sake, Trump all but demanded their spot light. There was a media anointing of Obama. I think that was just as much opportunistic exploitation as the assault on Trump.

    I see power hungry media. Not elaborate leftist conspiracy. 
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #3
    Bisley, I trust your review of the book. He seems like a true Machiavellian type of political manipulator that I dislike and don't trust, just as much I as dislike and don't trust communists or leftists in general. While I don't like their tactics, I think in the current political environment Republicans better start using the some of the same methods to overcome what Democrats are doing. Their intentions are not honorable.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • AccipiterAccipiter New Member Posts: 885 Senior Member
    ....... I think in the current political environment Republicans better start using the some of the same methods to overcome what Democrats are doing......
    That’s just it.  They already do.
    Apparently free thought is punished, and conformity is required, while peckerless cowards run the show.

    ECHO...ECHO....echo...

    Ah......One savors the hypocrisy!

    Karma.........It’s a bitch.
  • sgtrock21sgtrock21 Senior Member Posts: 1,933 Senior Member

    bisley: "Alinski theorized that creating chaos in the enemy ranks was the way to beat them, because it caused them to make mistakes that could be exploited successfully by a smart tactician."

    I'm not having much luck with a search. Was it Heinz Guderian  who stated that fighting the American forces by creating chaos was ineffective because the Americans practiced chaos on a daily basis?

  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #6
    Accipiter said:
    ....... I think in the current political environment Republicans better start using the some of the same methods to overcome what Democrats are doing......
    That’s just it.  They already do.
    Agreed. 

    I will add that Early is correct about the media...Power for the sake of power and generally far left leaning. 

    The only (almost) unbiased media I can find is BBC, at least when it reports American news. 


    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    ...The biggest counter point to the "media is lefty" argument is how they treated Bernie in '16. They did everything possible to stop him from winning the nomination. He was too much of a threat to their interests. I think they underestimated Trump and their treatment of him largely reflects them attempting to correct that mistake. That said, he has been largely positive for many of their concerns including the massive tax cuts for the 1%, but he's too unstable and unpredictable and his trade policies are a threat to some....
    The part you are leaving out is the obvious coordination between the Democrat Party and the media, especially when the newest 'narrative of the day' is presented, whether it be a new trial balloon, or just a diversion from the previous one that didn't fly. If you cannot see that, the other 'flashes' of objectivity that you sometimes allow to creep into your posts are largely irrelevant, to anyone who is honestly trying to sort out our current political chaos.

    You could obviously counter with the claim that Fox News commentators appear to coordinate with conservative politicians and I wouldn't argue that point too strongly, although I do make a distinction between commentary and straight news. There is a major difference between that and a network that makes every effort to blur the lines between news and commentary, because they believe their audience is too unsophisticated to know the difference.

    As for the media trying to take down Bernie Sanders, that too is in coordination with the Democrat Party machine, and it is minuscule when compared to the propaganda campaign being waged against Trump. Establishment Democrats want to weaken Bernie enough to be written off because he will not stick to the Democrat party line, and because they believe that his long-standing affiliation with communists, dating back to the Soviet Union, fly in the face of some of their current favorite narratives, about Russia. They are afraid that their 'House of Cards' coalition of radical minorities will come tumbling down, with Bernie Sanders out there openly shilling for full-blown socialism, while the current economy is soaring.

    Taken within the context that politics has degenerated to the point that we must now always choose the lesser of evils, Fox News looks much less evil, these days, to a lot of folks that the mainstream media believed were in the bag.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Bisley, I trust your review of the book. He seems like a true Machiavellian type of political manipulator that I dislike and don't trust, just as much I as dislike and don't trust communists or leftists in general. While I don't like their tactics, I think in the current political environment Republicans better start using the some of the same methods to overcome what Democrats are doing. Their intentions are not honorable.
    Saul Alinski made the point, early on in the book, that it was the establishment who followed Machiavellian 'principles,' and that it was his mission to defeat those principles by turning them back against themselves. The problem that traditional conservatives have in 'figuring out' all of this devious crap that politics has become in recent years, is determining who the establishment is.

    The more ancient Democrats in power now, who are trying to keep all of their cats herded, are still holding on to their 1960's claims that it is big business and evil conservatives who are the devils. They are pretending to still be fighting the establishment,but are really just trying to hold on to the actual establishment that they have created since taking over the Democrat Party. They apparently believed that the Obama presidency was the third act in the play that Alinski's books described as the end of the revolution. If it was, they overlooked something very important in the 'Alinski scriptures' - that every revolution is followed by a counter revolution.

    Anyone who buys into the Alinski conclusions should be able to understand that once you have won the revolution, you have become 'the establishment.'
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Makes sence to me.

    Also it is perhaps indicative of pending crisis that the media is so aggressively protective of the establishment. Much of the spin is blatantly obvious to the point of having a stunning effect as viewed.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    You still have not commented on the coordination between the DNC and the media, which was the subject you responded to in the first place.

    Using the media's treatment of Bernie in the last primary season doesn't work, because it dove-tailed precisely with the DNC treatment of him. The media rarely, if ever, even mentioned the DNC rules that all but insured that Bernie could not win the nomination. All of the usual suspects in the' mainstream media' repeated DNC talking points, in unison and practically word for word.

    All it proves is that they were coordinating, which is a foregone conclusion to everyone but the Democrat loyalists who will 'hear no evil' about any Democrat.


  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    Sorry to derail, but why do liberals have such boners for billionaires? Whenever they talk about the rich, you'd think they were discussing pedophiles. 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    Actually, they pretty much treat anyone that way who disagrees with whatever narrative they are selling on any particular day. They are so accustomed to the media taking up their narrative that they don't even have to worry much about backing it up with facts. They have a cadre of bomb-throwers who specialize in ginning up 'outrage,' and another more sophisticated cadre that comes along after the polls start to reflect public reaction.

    At that point, they either sweep the garbage away from public view, or segue into some story that they really do want to press, over a longer term. They have the luxury of being able to mass produce 'trial balloons' and simply ignore the fall-out from the ones that fail. They use these same people for fact-checkers, whenever Trump stubs his toe, or whenever it can be made to look like he did.

    Sometimes Republicans dabble in this behavior, a bit, but they are pikers, compared to the DNC machine. Most of them end up embarrassing themselves, when they try to play with the pros.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,668 Senior Member
    CaliFFL said:
    Sorry to derail, but why do liberals have such boners for billionaires? Whenever they talk about the rich, you'd think they were discussing pedophiles. 
    Then there's Soros, Bloomberg, et al...
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    bisley said:

    Anyone who buys into the Alinski conclusions should be able to understand that once you have won the revolution, you have become 'the establishment.'
    If you ever need points to make for why we need the Second Amendment, that's a good one right there.  You can be keeping to yourself, living your life as a valued, productive member of society under one establishment, and suddenly find yourself starving behind barbed wire with numbers tattooed on your arm under the next.

    Any activist or revolutionary is by definition going to be a pain in the ass for somebody.  The Bill of Rights could be said to have been written specifically against this annoying human need to get in each other's business and brand each other as the cause of all our problems.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Posts: 2,732 Senior Member
    CaliFFL said:
    Sorry to derail, but why do liberals have such boners for billionaires? Whenever they talk about the rich, you'd think they were discussing pedophiles. 
    Because they are only millionaires.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,668 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    The Bill of Rights could be said to have been written specifically against this annoying human need to get in each other's business and brand each other as the cause of all our problems.
    That's a great way to think of it - the "anti-busybody" bill.
    Too bad our politics are nothing but interfering with other people.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Posts: 2,732 Senior Member

    The biggest counter point to the "media is lefty" argument is how they treated Bernie in '16. They did everything possible to stop him from winning the nomination. He was too much of a threat to their interests. I think they underestimated Trump and their treatment of him largely reflects them attempting to correct that mistake. That said, he has been largely positive for many of their concerns including the massive tax cuts for the 1%, but he's too unstable and unpredictable and his trade policies are a threat to some. 


    1. They only did that because they wanted their darling Hillary in. Not a very good counter point.

    2. As did most of the DNC
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Posts: 5,486 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    CaliFFL said:
    Sorry to derail, but why do liberals have such boners for billionaires? Whenever they talk about the rich, you'd think they were discussing pedophiles. 
    Then there's Soros, Bloomberg, et al...
    Yeah, and let's not forget Steve Jobs. These guys are champions of the cause, so they use their money for "good". 
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    edited April 2019 #19
    Bigslug said:
    bisley said:

    Anyone who buys into the Alinski conclusions should be able to understand that once you have won the revolution, you have become 'the establishment.'
    If you ever need points to make for why we need the Second Amendment, that's a good one right there.  You can be keeping to yourself, living your life as a valued, productive member of society under one establishment, and suddenly find yourself starving behind barbed wire with numbers tattooed on your arm under the next.

    Any activist or revolutionary is by definition going to be a pain in the ass for somebody.  The Bill of Rights could be said to have been written specifically against this annoying human need to get in each other's business and brand each other as the cause of all our problems.
    Well said.

    An individual thrives on his right to do what he does for his own reasons, for as long as he chooses to do it. Government of any kind encroaches on that freedom, and though it is arguably necessary whenever large and widely varied groups of individuals are pressed tightly together in small spaces, it should be kept to a minimum. The Bill of Rights limits what the federal government has the right to impose upon the people, and the tedious amendment process also sought to limit the government - it was a wise plan, and an important experiment in keeping freedom alive in a world that had never had much.

    Unfortunately, there are those among us who are so certain of our personal superiority that we feel the need to dictate to the 'inferiors.' The Bill of Rights, in keeping with the idea of less government, attempted to sum up the rights of a free individual as succinctly as possible. Only 27 Amendments to the Constitution have ever been ratified, and they were all controversial, as they should have been. Our worst mistake was allowing Congress to become a career aim for our most obnoxious busy-bodies.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    bisley said:
    Our worst mistake was allowing Congress to become a career aim for our most obnoxious busy-bodies.
    I wonder what the Founding Fathers would have instituted if they had access to things like modern psychiatric analysis and polygraph machines.  We'd have probably ended up with a system where anybody who even SAID they were thinking of running for office out of concern for the "public good" would likely have taken in for evaluation, been hastily tried for treason, and probably shot.  :D
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,671 Senior Member
    .....

    I'll add that as much as I personally like Buttigieg, I can see why the media likes him as well. He is the sort of middle of the road candidate who seems unlikely to rock the boat. Same reason they're pushing for Biden so much. They really really don't want someone like Warren or Sanders to win. They're too much of a threat to the establishment. 
    Really? Part of Buttigieg's position on guns is to ban AR's. How does that square with your alleged support of the 2A? He is not much different than the rest of the scummy socialists on guns.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,668 Senior Member
    bisley said:

    An individual thrives on his right to do what he does for his own reasons, for as long as he chooses to do it. Government of any kind encroaches on that freedom, and though it is arguably necessary whenever large and widely varied groups of individuals are pressed tightly together in small spaces, it should be kept to a minimum. The Bill of Rights limits what the federal government has the right to impose upon the people, and the tedious amendment process also sought to limit the government - it was a wise plan, and an important experiment in keeping freedom alive in a world that had never had much.

    The greatest evil of all is needless interference with free will. The second greatest is needful interference with free will - hence the necessary evil of governments. Far too many people have thought for far too long that government is a "good thing". It is not. It is only necessary, nothing more.
    Both sides are extraordinarily guilty of needless interference with free will. Both exist because, and for, it - making them both promulgators of slavery.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    It is time to admit that political parties have become exactly what the founding fathers warned us about them. Likely, they were always like that to a certain extent, but we couldn't really see it because of the 'genteel' facade that the more stately members projected, for public consumption. Most of the actual plotting and intrigue took place behind closed doors, in the legendary 'smoke-filled rooms,' where the real schemers conducted the business end of democracy.

    Political parties are here to stay, now, and the only real good news is that there are only two of them that can compete in general elections. Fortunately, they are still vying for the winners circle, as to which is the 'big tent' party, which the Democrats held legitimate claim to for most of the twentieth century. But, when they started moving hard left, their moderates and conservatives fled to the Republicans, who welcomed them with open arms, in hopes of shedding the reputation foisted upon them by the Democrats as being the party of the upper crust of society. They haven't perfected the exact formula for maintaining permanent control of their 'big tent' status, but they have managed to make some steady progress toward that end, due mostly to the increasingly more authoritarian complexion of the Democrats, who are now fighting for their political lives to hold on to their own establishment status. Only time will tell.

    At present, the Republicans appear to have a slight majority among the middle classes, which contains most of the small business owners and skilled craftsmen - the life's blood of any successful democracy. They require only a modicum of economic stability and public order, to flourish. They are the life's blood of the republic, because they can adapt to the changing demands of consumers, and they know just enough about politics to understand that economic and social stability are essential to achieving their personal aims. The Republican game plan requires economic success, across class lines, to succeed, and that requires an education system that teaches people how to think - not what to think.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, have veered so far out of the mainstream that they must have regular infusions of 'new blood,' to replace the outward flow of their maturing middle class deserters. Long ago, they put governing in the back seat, in favor of party politics, and they must now take in all of the disenfranchised poorer classes that money can buy, to stay afloat. Transforming the country into a screeching mass of unhappy children, ruled by an intellectually superior elite class, is the mark of all left-wing governments. Some leftist governments are not as cynical as the worst ones have been, but even they eventually run out of other people's money to confiscate. The wisest of them quietly drift back towards capitalist principles, in hopes that their own radicals don't derail them before they can rescue the sinking ship. That is the situation Democrats are facing, now, and the jury is still out on whether enough wisdom can be found within their ranks. The 2020 primaries will determine the fate of the Democrat Party for the near future, and they badly need a failing economy and the perception of a corrupt Republican Party.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Keeping a lid on the legal amount of money our elitist policy makers could be bought and sold for would reduce the intensity of partisan war.

    Citizen's United took the lid off. I don't advocate altruistic government. Just limiting the amount of money that's legal for purchasing influence.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member

    "Politician" and "prostitution" could be used pretty much interchangeably in most instances.  Big-money interests have always controlled governments, for as long as history has recorded the process, and most likely since the beginning of time.  We just need to elect the kind of prostitutes who pander to our preferred way of life to give us the illusion that we really matter in the grand scheme of things.  For the serfs and slaves who are satisfied with merely existing at the subsistence level, the dems'  cradle to grave paternalism is sufficient.  For the more demanding of us in the rapidly shrinking "middle class" clinging to the illusion that Republicans offer a better shot at the brass ring is comforting, even if it is usually a mirage composed of smoke and mirrors.



        

  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 23,668 Senior Member
    The GOP has gotten VERY good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The *ONLY* reason they won this time is summed up by one word: Trump.
    Once he's gone, the usual losers and theocrats will rise to the top and the demos will win - AGAIN.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,262 Senior Member
    zorba said:
    The GOP has gotten VERY good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The *ONLY* reason they won this time is summed up by one word: Trump.
    Once he's gone, the usual losers and theocrats will rise to the top and the demos will win - AGAIN.
    I read my way through George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series a bit over a year ago, and there was one bit of writing that stuck with me.

    An elderly adviser involved in helping a young monarch wade through the politics vs. desire problems that go with arranged marriages had internal musings along these lines:

    The young always want fire (meaning chiseled bodies, impulsive actions, lofty ideals, etc...), and this suitor promises mud (meaning peace and stability).  They never seem to understand that you can build a great many useful things with mud - much more so than with fire.

    I think a lot of the problems coming from both sides stems from the perception - indeed, the reality - that it's harder to motivate people to go to the polls with the mud of "Vote for me, and I'll stay out of your way and allow you to structure your own life" than it is with  the fire of "Vote for me, and I'll structure the world around what you want your life to be."

    It's a pretty clear indication of why the radical nut jobs from all corners always seem to rise to prominence, even if they don't manage to attain office.  It's also a pretty clear indicator of why Nancy Pelosi would suggest allowing 16 year-olds to vote - they have almost zero appreciation for mud.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    A long time ago, the majority of people did not really expect very much out of government, or anybody else, for that matter. People sensed that life was hard for almost everyone, in one way or another, and they saw some evidence that having a herd to run with increased their chances of survival against the very worst threats. After actually joining a herd, they began to take for granted whatever increased security was to be found in numbers, and started to focus on their own status within the herd. Their status depended upon their ability to draw attention to their desirable qualities, and divert attention from their less desirable qualities. Over time, their own perceptions about their personal survival into old age, was mostly assured, under controlled conditions.

    So, the next rung of the 'civilization ladder' was to assert some control over those conditions - politics, and eventually, organization into parties. All of this, put together, is called civilization - it's one of the things that human beings do, on a much more sophisticated level than animals can manage. It does seem to help the majority of folks to survive and prosper, but at the cost of removing fractions of personal freedom, at every increment of 'progress.'

    Politics are a wonderful, terrible thing. They can prevent violence by moderating opinions, or they can be used to destroy conventions that have already succeeded, and replace them with unproven conventions, which may or may not work. Politics can dampen the harshness of the law, which necessarily reduces everything to a binary question. But politics are just as likely to corrupt the law, by making law's relationship to justice less important to the average citizen, who views the relationship between the two with suspicion, anyway.

    When parties are inserted into the political equation, politics can quickly become a 'social justice' instrument, one that tends to neutralize the laws that were meant to be a foundation for genuine justice. Clever politicians can easily blur the lines between politics and law with social justice arguments. If a law is kept, as part of the foundation for justice, and tested over time, it is said to be a good law. If it obviously does not work for the majority, it can be repealed, legally. Corrupt politics work to neutralize a specific law, so that it can then be either enforced or ignored, at will, by any political entity that has reached a certain level of power. That is our current level of civilization, and we have not been able to resolve it, in all of the history of governments - at least not permanently.

    This 'wearing away' of the law has never been more evident than it is now, in the US, with one party insisting on keeping the integrity of the law intact, as a foundation for genuine justice, and the other party saying that social justice is superior to actual justice, and that the law does not aid that goal, as currently written. This debate has been going on for long enough that some of the newest laws don't work at all, but cannot be repealed, even though they have been proven not to aid actual justice. Instead, these laws arbitrarily favor one political faction over another, at the expense of the majority, i.e. social justice.

    Minority rule, which is the upshot of social justice, never works for long, unless an all-powerful government exists that will benefit from pretending that social justice actually works. A government that can enforce the law arbitrarily, in such a way that will insure its existence in its current form, can increase and maintain its power by telling the masses that its authoritarian nature is necessary to deliver real democracy. It can only be sold to those who 'feel' more than they 'think,' and it is the reason why all civilizations, so far, have failed.

    The USA has been an experiment in making a democratic way of life stand the test of time. There has been much trial and error, often with two steps forward and one step back. We now appear to be in those dark days that plague all important experiments, from time to time, when we seem to take one step forward and two steps back. We have been there dozens of times, and the people have so far rallied just enough to preserve just enough justice to survive and flourish for a little while. But the experiment is far from being over, and most of us are completely oblivious to the possibilities.


  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Im not prepared to gauge what customers are willing to purchase based on what the drummers are selling.

    Im reading historical fiction about the NYC draft riots in the summer of 1863. Including some description of the potato famine and conditions of the exodus to America. Those cataclysmic times were still a generation away from the great war. The peril of the present doesn't seem extraordinary to me at all.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,798 Senior Member
    .
    Im not prepared to gauge what customers are willing to purchase based on what the drummers are selling.

    Im reading historical fiction about the NYC draft riots in the summer of 1863. Including some description of the potato famine and conditions of the exodus to America. Those cataclysmic times were still a generation away from the great war. The peril of the present doesn't seem extraordinary to me at all.
    The peril of the present does not surprise me that much, but the consequences for the failure of the American experiment in making some form of democracy work, are shocking. It made some progress, for a few generations, because people who had never had much hope, anyway, didn't expect much for their own generation, and kept on plugging away at the idea of laying the groundwork for their children and grandchildren. And, there was a vast frontier for the frustrated to escape to, and either continue the experiment, or die.

    All of the brilliant thinkers in the world, immediately before, during, and after the American Revolution, predicted failure at some point, because of the human tendency to embrace government policies that make their current lives easier. It is a perfectly logical prediction, and can only be prevented by a very strong philosophical desire, by a majority of very honest people, to set their sights on the future, with little regard for the amount of time it takes for major social change to be accepted. It works sometimes, for small groups, but becomes an exercise in herding cats when the groups expand.

    The success of the 'American experiment' required a major compromise between devout Christians and devout realists, and everyone in between, which had mostly always been impossible. That is probably where the term American exceptionalism originated. The USA has had to continuously redefine success, in proportion to how far removed we became from our our original religious and philosophical roots. The more we gave up in terms of ethics and altruism, the less we became "exceptional."

    Now, roughly 250 years later, after an industrial revolution, a major civil war, various labor and civil rights upheavals, the robber-baron era, two world wars and a handful of proxie wars ('police actions'), and the erosion of religious and philosophical traditions, we have almost come full circle. The same basic nucleus of personality types that fought the American Revolution (maybe a third of the population) is still hanging on tightly, with perhaps another third of the population that will grudgingly support a strong leader...if he can continuously produce genuine evidence of progress toward preserving what liberties are left. The other one third are simply opportunists, who manage to reap the benefits from whatever society churns out.

    After decades of economic progress, but seemingly more social decline than progress, we find ourselves more vulnerable than ever, because this 'democracy business' is ugly and very cumbersome. This time around, the weapons of war are more fearsome, and the weapons of politics are less honest and gentlemanly than ever, and the enemies of the American experiment are no longer separated from us by vast distances and difficult obstacles.

    "We have met the enemy, and he is us." (first stolen by Walt Kelly)
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,749 Senior Member
    Altruism, unless my sources are tainted was only an anvil for the very few. For the rest it was a thin disguise at best.

    I think the suppression of the free exchange of ideas is the only real threat to the experiment. It can survive everything else. Might be ugly to watch at times, but what's the alternative?
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