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Author Topic: The Assault on Reason
Jace Raven

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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 06:00      Profile for Jace Raven         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh, My... Well worth the read:

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1622015,00.html

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WinterSolstice

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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 07:26      Profile for WinterSolstice     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was going to read that, but I think I'll wait for it to be on TV instead...


[Wink]

Actually I think I'll buy that book at my first opportunity. I think there are some good points there. To me, the movie Idiocracy pretty much summed it up. Americans are on a path to seriously dumb. We're already to the point that I (with no TV and an education) actually have difficulty communicating with some of my co-workers. They literally don't understand a good chunk of what I say, and I frequently have no idea what they're referring to.

Today for example - I referred to a field tech who recently caused a massive panic over what turned out to be a tiny issue (that he blew WAY out of proportion) as having "exhausted his cachet"... and I was met with blank stares.

So yes - the point made in that article that TV has completely replaced all other forms of education and that Americans are passively entertained rather than actively educated does not surprise me. We have the government and culture we requested - one that is entirely passive in nature, and exists only because we (the people) refuse to think or act.

Windows is a good example of this - seriously. It's popular not due to its technical or financial merits, but due to some very good advertising and contracting work done almost 20 years ago. The (now illegal) deals struck with Gateway, Dell, HP, and the like caused Windows to become the de facto standard. People now use it not because they want to, or like to, but because it simply is there.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 07:46      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
An excellent read, thank you very much Jace. It reinforces the message of the accompanying article. The US may well have missed the chance of having a truly great President because of the scandal in Florida in 2000, instead of perhaps the worst President of recent times. At the very least it confirms Al Gore's reputation as a man of real substance.

While his analysis is excellent, I am less sure of his proposed remedy that the internet may be the means to reintroduce a grass roots, reasoned, and logical political debate into the US democratic process. GC forums are among the most intelligent and tolerant on the internet, yet calm, reasoned, and respectful debate on politics is not always present here. [Wink] In addition the extreme right has been extremely inventive and resourceful, particularly in the 2004 campaign, at using the "blogoshere" as a source for misinformation, xenophobic propaganda, lies, smear campaigns and generalised FUD and attack politics, as indeed they are still doing now to Barack Obama. And thus far their notion that if you throw enough mud, enough of it will always stick has yet to be proved wrong. It is hard to know how these excesses may be controlled or cured.

But I don't want to overstate the case, television has been the predominant media for many years, so I am not sure you can credit it as the sole cause of the passive nature of the electorate, and the lack of effective opposition from the Democrats in the run up to the war, (though still a very great source of shame to them) was probably more a reflection of the collective paranoia that gripped the US in the aftermath of 9/11, than anything else. One can only hope that as with the Red scare of the 1950s, that this madness of the crowds is gradually rippling away, and the US is returning slowly to sanity again.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 07:51      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree. Self-education is dead and the people who represent us keep getting put in office because no one remembers. Visibility is vital, yet instead of bringing up real concerns a person would stand up for? The politician says whatever s/he can to get into the seat and be passive for the term (to generally get access to the retirement pension).

The media edits, but it has the right to because it's a private establishment. Legislation isn't accessible any more, as the terminology is bloated and honestly pads for the sake of confusion. 900-page reports which could be distilled into one clear page and footnoted support are still 900 pages because the idea is to obfuscate, not illuminate.

I'd like to read it after you're done with it. Then I'd like you to consider looking for work in Canada, now that a multi-trillion dollar immigration package is going to be passed and we will be taxed into actual poverty by our government.

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Opinion is not Truth; that is why each has its own definition. Illiteracy sucks.

Posts: 1370 | From: Whaddya mean, Arizona? | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted May 18, 2007 21:35      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Who! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Now let's just wait a bit on this topic until the conservatives in this forum have finished watching the national finals of "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?"

Colonel Panic

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted May 19, 2007 06:29      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Who! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Now let's just wait a bit on this topic until the conservatives in this forum have finished watching the national finals of "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?"

Colonel Panic

This whole Liberal / Conservative thing is part of the problem too. You can be for some "left" things and for some "right" things.

My father quite literally votes for the republican candidate in every election. It's incredibly frustrating because he doesn't even know what the candidates stand for most of the time. That is a direct result of dichotomous left/right thinking.

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Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted May 19, 2007 06:35      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think someone needs to say it: in a society such as ours, democracy in its current form simply won't work. The majority of people do not have the knowledge, ability, or motivation to work towards what is best for the country. If people discuss issues at all, they are the relatively unimportant ones: stem cells, abortions, gay marriage. Meanwhile, issues that will affect the nation as a whole, like creating a stable economy and the Iranian nuclear crisis are left by the wayside.
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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted May 19, 2007 06:59      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Metasquares:
This whole Liberal / Conservative thing is part of the problem too. You can be for some "left" things and for some "right" things.

My father quite literally votes for the republican candidate in every election. It's incredibly frustrating because he doesn't even know what the candidates stand for most of the time. That is a direct result of dichotomous left/right thinking.

A-freaking-men. This whole Rah-Rah-Republican! and Gooooooooooooooooooo Dems! crap is the reason we have neither a democracy NOR a republic. People are too stupid to actually think about issues, which have flip-flopped between the parties since the damnable process began.

So says the Independent (who isn't represented at all).

And to C.P.: Besides, a conservative could complain, "Yes, but at least we're not flood-calling in to American Idol to vote up the tone-deaf girl with the ginormous boobs!"

Oh, and it was about the lying to the grand jury, not the oral sex.

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Opinion is not Truth; that is why each has its own definition. Illiteracy sucks.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted May 19, 2007 16:58      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Just_Jess_B:
A-freaking-men. This whole Rah-Rah-Republican! and Gooooooooooooooooooo Dems! crap is the reason we have neither a democracy NOR a republic. People are too stupid to actually think about issues, which have flip-flopped between the parties since the damnable process began.

I disagree. Democracies are either dominated by two main parties, or you have a form of PR and every election results in some form of coalition government which has just as many problems and disadvantages. No democratic system is without drawbacks, so it is incumbent on all people of good will to get involved and make the system work. This "plague on both your houses" attitude achieves nothing.

The cause of your current problems in the US are not systemic, but because one party has been taken over by extremists and demagogues, while the other has not been an effective opposition. I understand full well what has happened to the Republicans, but I don't have a convincing explanation for the abject failure of the Democrats in opposition, just as I cannot really understand why Blair fell in with the Iraq nonsense.

Still that's the past. At least we all have a vote that the people running government want, so it is still our responsibility to let them know what we want them to do to earn it.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Just_Jess_B

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Icon 1 posted May 19, 2007 19:32      Profile for Just_Jess_B   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Democracy: The term democracy indicates a form of government where all the state's decisions are exercised directly or indirectly by a majority of its citizenry through a fair elective process. When these factors are met a government can be classified as such. This can apply to a multitude of government systems as these concepts transcend and often occur concomitantly with other types.

I stand by my argument that people who vote their party over their consciences are stupid. If a person does, however, agree with the policies of the politician who happens to share his/her political status, then the person is voting his/her conscience.

I criticize those who think: "I didn't really read what each candidate stands for, but since I registered [party affiliation], I'll vote [party affiliation]." Of course, since all the politicos lie, it doesn't matter.

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Opinion is not Truth; that is why each has its own definition. Illiteracy sucks.

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SkyLady
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Icon 1 posted May 21, 2007 05:40      Profile for SkyLady     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
[stir]Perhaps the US should bring in some kind of mixed member proportional voting system (MMP ) like we have in NZ.[/stir]

Every one gets two votes, one for their electorate MP and one for the party. So I can vote for a local candidate who isn't necessarily a member of the party I vote for. It means that independents and smaller parties have a chance to influence legislation especially if they end up in a coalition-admittedly this can be a double-edged sword at times.

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Snaggy

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Icon 7 posted May 21, 2007 09:35      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
skylady re: MMP system. There are voices calling for it here in Canada too, but one based on the proportion of the popular vote. Great idea imho. [thumbsup]
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fs

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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2007 03:20      Profile for fs   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good link, Jace.

Re: Democracy

The problem with the popular vote will always be that most people are ignorant, selfish, and wouldn't see the big picture if you spray-painted it on a wall in front of them.

Bush got voted in. Hamas got voted in. Ahmadinejad got voted in.


People don't see voting as a sacred duty, one that is of the utmost importance and should be guided by higher principles.

In America, they have grown fat and complacent and a little disillusioned and don't think it matters any more. Look at the turn out in countries like Afghanistan compared to the U.S. The turnout of US voters for presidential elections is only marginally better than the turnout of Iraqis for their elections. And U.S. voters don't have to contend with armed gunman, car bombs, IEDs or the fear of retribution.

Other countries use elections as a weapon, to send a message. They make poor choices motivated by a desire for action or revenge, based on promises of force and of reclamation. Name me one current leader who has been voted in on a platform promoting dedication to finding peaceful solutions.

People are so easily led, lied to, and manipulated. That's why companies and politicians both spend so much money on advertising.

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted June 02, 2007 15:40      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yup - democracy is far too important to leave up to the people.

"If voting changed anything, they'd abolish it." - Ken Livingstone.

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