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#1 2012-06-13 17:42:22

Vatman
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Registered: 2012-06-13
Posts: 25

Why I tire of politics

The number one problem in America isn't the economy, it isn't the President, it isn't Congress, it isn't the Fat Cats, or the corrupt politicians, or corporations making backroom deals.

It's the citizens.

Not only has America reached an all-time low in terms of economic and political standing, but we've reached an all-time low in political enthusiasm. We're a nation plagued by ignorance and apathy: we don't know things, and we don't care that we don't know things. Too many voters are content to go to the booths and simply check names they recognize based primarily on how much advertising has been crammed down their throats. As far as our culture goes, I'd say we have a knack for deep-throating.

1984 seems to be a goddamned prophecy because we've allowed ourselves to become engulfed in Brave New World. The invention of the Internet gave us so much potential with the rapid sharing of information, but we've become drunk on distractions. We let ourselves be ruled by images without reading the fine print and we gorge ourselves in frivolities like social networking, and irrelevant "news". We've become more interested in Kim Kardashian's wedding than the policy standards of our local congresspeople. "Friday" has more attention than space exploration.

Essentially, we are living in an age where the original idea of the United States is being taken for granted. We give up our freedoms for the sake of convenience. "Fine whatever, I'll go through the body scanner. As long as I can grab lunch before I catch my flight". The voting process is a joke as there is no semblance of competition, each candidate is carefully constructed to represent the most appealing visage of bullshit - electability. Political parties are only just helping to tear the nation asunder. We use words like "Republican" and "Democrat" and "Liberal" and "Conservative" as barriers to avoid political discourse. We allow these encompassing terms to narrow our views and dull our convictions for the sake of leaving no room to consider other options, and force ourselves into a fight for false ideals.

So when I see shit about a greater disparity in finances and fiscal classes, personal liberties being sold off one at a time. I blame no one but the people who let it happen; the people who won't take the initiative to become interested in their own political well-being; the people who can't see beyond their own wants to understand the needs of the many.

I am aware. All too aware... That most people are sheep. But that isn't an excuse. There are enough of us out there, People with the capability to see through the veil of idiocy. (it isn't that well hidden afterall) We are to blame twice as much as anyone else, we follow their rules and hope to win how? By accumulating enough wealth to not have to deal with social issues anymore? By camping out in city squares and holding picket signs?

There is no way to stop corruption and stupidity. But you can limit it. Educate yourself and those around you on what goes on in government. Be frustrated, because it is worth the hassle.


Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

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#2 2012-06-13 18:07:04

TheWake
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From: Yankee-Occupied South
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 8,272

Re: Why I tire of politics

I don't see a reason to be so damned pessimistic. We aren't any different, fundamentally, from the slaves that rose up against Roman oppression and followed Spartacus against the legions. We haven't been genetically altered since the American Revolution, an era in which men risked their lives when they put their name on a certain world changing document.

Besides, it's never the masses that create positive change, I'm sorry to say. It's always a minority that gets the majority to go along with them. Whether the American or Russian Revolution, that's what happened. Most people don't care and will never care, and it doesn't matter if they do or don't.


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#3 2012-06-13 18:26:46

Vatman
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Registered: 2012-06-13
Posts: 25

Re: Why I tire of politics

I must disagree, to say that we are not different is short sighted.

While there has never been a shortage of greed, ignorance, and villainy. No time period, empire, or society has come even nearly as far off track as ours has. We downright don't care about moving forward, we care about how many people are reading our funny tweets. It would probably be safe to say that we are the generation of distraction.

While there are ten times the number of activists, they protest things in the most inefficient way humanly possible.

While there is more information available readily than ever, we put all our focus into trivialities and gossip.

The problem isn't the man holding us down, its our own minds leading us astray. The same problems face us. The loss of civil liberty, the potential of becoming indentured servants, Yet there isn't anyone opposing it. On the contrary, with each year, more and more elected officials that represent war and big government are elected every year.


Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

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#4 2012-06-13 18:50:57

HeartofShadows
What do you know of... Cthulhu?
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 505

Re: Why I tire of politics

Maybe its just the dumbing down combined with the have and have not mentality.
Like with some people who protest the best the normals can say is for them to get a job because they themselves have what they need or want and thus can be self righteous.

I don't know..

I get tired of politics myself because in the end its just people praying for some savior to come and save then and last time it was obummer and now its ron paul.

I can't say I'm completely innocent as these days I'm a recluse except for working.
I mostly only give a damn about myself too.

Last edited by HeartofShadows (2012-06-13 18:53:10)


"I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never bothered me a bit."

Mark Twain

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#5 2012-06-13 22:22:08

TheWake
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From: Yankee-Occupied South
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 8,272

Re: Why I tire of politics

Vatman wrote:

I must disagree, to say that we are not different is short sighted.

We aren't. Our culture isn't the same, but we, as human beings, are not fundamentally different in any way.

While there has never been a shortage of greed, ignorance, and villainy. No time period, empire, or society has come even nearly as far off track as ours has. We downright don't care about moving forward, we care about how many people are reading our funny tweets. It would probably be safe to say that we are the generation of distraction.

Oh, man. What about the Colosseum in Rome where the masses were satiated by blood sport? What about Medieval times where the masses were kept scared for their souls and illiterate? If anything, things suck a lot less than they used to.

Nowadays, people like you and me are lay philosophers. Do you think the common man had time for that one hundred years ago? Of course not, in fact it was the opposite. I think you're falling into the trap of longing for some utopia that never existed.

While there are ten times the number of activists, they protest things in the most inefficient way humanly possible.

You mean democratically?

While there is more information available readily than ever, we put all our focus into trivialities and gossip.

I don't, and a lot of people don't. Look around you on this forum and you'll see a lot of people that are trying to find something more than what's on the surface. 

And, c'mon. We have to have some trivialities in our lives. I like the trivialities, the things that aren't really important, like playing with a pet or a video game, reading a novel or listening to some music.

The problem isn't the man holding us down, its our own minds leading us astray. The same problems face us. The loss of civil liberty, the potential of becoming indentured servants, Yet there isn't anyone opposing it. On the contrary, with each year, more and more elected officials that represent war and big government are elected every year.

Of course those are problems, but darnit if things aren't better now than they ever have been freedom-wise. Gays and blacks and Jews aren't being lynched for living as who they are. It might not be as free as it used to be in many ways, but we still have a market economy in the United States, and that gives people a great deal of freedom. I can go to the store and see a cornucopia of different choices as compared to yesteryear.

Freedom is something that most human beings in history haven't even lived under, and yes it deserves protecting and we should do something about the freedom we have lost. However, in many ways we are living in the paragon age of liberty around the world.


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#6 2012-06-14 14:37:07

absentinsomniac
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Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,809

Re: Why I tire of politics

I think you've touched on a very important problem, although I don't think it's as severe as you think. The U.S population, in relation to all other democratic countries, is relatively pathetic when it comes to voting. It's not because we're idiots or ignorant, it's because our system is archaic and it has become so difficult to vote and so difficult to follow the political ups and downs people just don't give a fuck anymore. Not everyone has the time to invest to become political experts. Not everyone can study political science and know the half of whats going on. The problem isn't necessarily the people, although it is partly, it's also the system being a piece of shit.

We need a more automated voting system. (Auto-voter-registration. Being able to vote outside of your district without a mail in voting thing, etc.) Plus, this two party thing is fucking us up, like you said. Plus everyone being selfish self-serving asshats who only vote for representatives because they promise something to their district but in turn fuck over the country isn't helping.

So yeah, it's to some extent the people being lazy idiots. It also, imo, has a lot to do with how the system is set up. We're running a country of 300+ million on a system designed for a time when people had to ride horses so it made sense to require everyone to vote in their local area. Some of these laws need updated, and then, once it's easier to navigate the political system, maybe people would be able to comprehend and work with it more.


Fucc

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#7 2012-06-14 17:43:00

TheWake
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From: Yankee-Occupied South
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 8,272

Re: Why I tire of politics

The odds that your vote will actually affect the outcome of a given election are very, very, very slim. This was documented by the economists Casey Mulligan and Charles Hunter, who analyzed more than 56,000 Congressional and state-legislative elections since 1898. For all the attention paid in the media to close elections, it turns out that they are exceedingly rare. The median margin of victory in the Congressional elections was 22 percent; in the state-legislature elections, it was 25 percent. Even in the closest elections, it is almost never the case that a single vote is pivotal. Of the more than 40,000 elections for state legislator that Mulligan and Hunter analyzed, comprising nearly 1 billion votes, only 7 elections were decided by a single vote, with 2 others tied. Of the more than 16,000 Congressional elections, in which many more people vote, only one election in the past 100 years - a 1910 race in Buffalo - was decided by a single vote.

But there is a more important point: the closer an election is, the more likely that its outcome will be taken out of the voters' hands - most vividly exemplified, of course, by the 2000 presidential race. It is true that the outcome of that election came down to a handful of voters; but their names were Kennedy, O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. And it was only the votes they cast while wearing their robes that mattered, not the ones they may have cast in their home precincts.

Now as then, many people worry about low voter turnout - only slightly more than half of eligible voters participated in the last presidential election - but it might be more worthwhile to stand this problem on its head and instead ask a different question: considering that an individual's vote almost never matters, why do so many people bother to vote at all?


The answer may lie in Switzerland. That's where Patricia Funk discovered a wonderful natural experiment that allowed her to take an acute measure of voter behavior.

The Swiss love to vote - on parliamentary elections, on plebiscites, on whatever may arise. But voter participation had begun to slip over the years (maybe they stopped handing out live pigs there too), so a new option was introduced: the mail-in ballot. Whereas each voter in the U.S. must register, that isn't the case in Switzerland. Every eligible Swiss citizen began to automatically receive a ballot in the mail, which could then be completed and returned by mail.

From a social scientist's perspective, there was beauty in the setup of this postal voting scheme: because it was introduced in different cantons (the 26 statelike districts that make up Switzerland) in different years, it allowed for a sophisticated measurement of its effects over time.

Never again would any Swiss voter have to tromp to the polls during a rainstorm; the cost of casting a ballot had been lowered significantly. An economic model would therefore predict voter turnout to increase substantially. Is that what happened?

Not at all. In fact, voter turnout often decreased, especially in smaller cantons and in the smaller communities within cantons. This finding may have serious implications for advocates of Internet voting - which, it has long been argued, would make voting easier and therefore increase turnout. But the Swiss model indicates that the exact opposite might hold true.

But why is this the case? Why on earth would fewer people vote when the cost of doing so is lowered?

It goes back to the incentives behind voting. If a given citizen doesn't stand a chance of having her vote affect the outcome, why does she bother? In Switzerland, as in the U.S., "there exists a fairly strong social norm that a good citizen should go to the polls," Funk writes. "As long as poll-voting was the only option, there was an incentive (or pressure) to go to the polls only to be seen handing in the vote. The motivation could be hope for social esteem, benefits from being perceived as a cooperator or just the avoidance of informal sanctions. Since in small communities, people know each other better and gossip about who fulfills civic duties and who doesn't, the benefits of norm adherence were particularly high in this type of community."

In other words, we do vote out of self-interest - a conclusion that will satisfy economists - but not necessarily the same self-interest as indicated by our actual ballot choice. For all the talk of how people "vote their pocketbooks," the Swiss study suggests that we may be driven to vote less by a financial incentive than a social one. It may be that the most valuable payoff of voting is simply being seen at the polling place by your friends or co-workers.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magaz … wanted=all


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#8 2012-06-14 18:03:39

RAWN PAW
Member
Registered: 2012-06-08
Posts: 2,171

Re: Why I tire of politics

Voter turnout may be the one place it's good to think of people as groups rather than individuals.

It's more efficient to earn chunks of voters rather than win voters individually. Use this for planned rallies and such

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#9 2012-06-14 18:57:45

absentinsomniac
Administrator
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 16,809

Re: Why I tire of politics

Wes, that is directly contrary to what I learned in my one college course I took. Thanks, that's interesting. I'm still studying up on the history and the basics of political science, so hearing about cutting edge studies is very interesting. If that's the case, and that study is actually accurate (I've become very skeptical of single studies which weren't duplicated and haven't been assessed multiple times.) then the best thing to do would be to educate people on the statistics of what could happen if the half of voters not turning out actually did. Imagine the impact that would have on the political system. If everyone who doesn't vote voted for someone the previous majority of voters didn't like. It could theoretically destroy the two party system.

Education is the answer, me thinks. I still think to a large degree people are put off of voting because of a lack of knowledge regarding political circumstances, though. People don't know who to vote for because they don't know wtf is going on politically and who's going to do what and how that's going to effect their lives. Plus, do we really even want people to be voting if they're  just doing it for stupid social reasons?


Fucc

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#10 2012-06-14 19:45:07

stadium
Member
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 625

Re: Why I tire of politics

It's really pathetic how little people know...

I was talking to my friend's dad (he's not the only one that has said this) and the topic of the election came up. He said he was voting for Romney because he was white and republican. I asked him about the issues, and he doesn't know any of them.

It's just gotten sad.


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#11 2012-06-14 20:21:54

HeartofShadows
What do you know of... Cthulhu?
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 505

Re: Why I tire of politics

stadium wrote:

It's really pathetic how little people know...

I was talking to my friend's dad (he's not the only one that has said this) and the topic of the election came up. He said he was voting for Romney because he was white and republican. I asked him about the issues, and he doesn't know any of them.

It's just gotten sad.

Idiocracy in motion.
Maybe the economic collapse will be the cleansing.


"I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never bothered me a bit."

Mark Twain

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#12 2012-06-15 03:32:20

TheWake
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From: Yankee-Occupied South
Registered: 2012-06-09
Posts: 8,272

Re: Why I tire of politics


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