General Question

crazyguy's avatar

How can we reduce the division in the US?

Asked by crazyguy (2077points) 2 weeks ago

Perhaps, we should start by reducing the division on this board. Now that we have a new administration, the time is right to forget our animosities over the previous administration and start focusing on issues.

Just to get the ball rolling, I undertake the following:

1. I will not add anybody else to my IGNORE list.
2. I will proactively read posts made by the individuals on my current ignore list and look for reasons to take them off the ignore list.
3. I will ask questions only about individual issues.
4. In my posts, I’ll be as polite as possible.
5. I will not be dismissive or insulting to anybody’s post.
6. I will not doubt other jellies’ intelligence levels.

Even with the best intentions, I know that I will occasionally revert to my old ways. My wife of 47 years will tell you that happens all the time. However, I do intend to try.

What do other jellies think?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

121 Answers

Caravanfan's avatar

I’ll believe it when I see it.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “How can we reduce the division in the US?”

I don’t think that’s a reasonable or desirable goal. But then again, you might have to define what you mean as “division”.

@crazyguy: “Perhaps, we should start by reducing the division on this board.”

I think having robust disagreements that even get heated are fine and healthy. Is that what you mean by “division”?

@crazyguy: “start focusing on issues”

Now this is something I can get behind!

chyna's avatar

I will watch and see. I hope this works out.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan Actually, I also have my doubts!

crazyguy's avatar

@chyna While you are watching and seeing, you can be thinking of what, if any, changes you will make.

mazingerz88's avatar

Stop supporting dangerous sociopaths like Trump and you
might get a chance at healing and less division in the US.

JLeslie's avatar

Less hypocrisy and less amnesia and less fear and anger. What are the chances?

Already I’m annoyed watching the inaugural ceremony. I thought Biden gave a great speech, but then later as everyone was walking up the stairs at the end, well, if you all didn’t see the problem I won’t bother to say it.

Listen to each other.

Realize a lot of the truth out there is only partial truth, it’s not a whole picture. It’s truth, but also edited and spun a lot of the time. Be open to see the whole truth.

Be willing to concede a point if the other side is making a valid point. It builds rapport and gains trust.

chyna's avatar

See@crazyguy? You couldn’t help yourself could you? You are back on my ignore list.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 Thanks for your well-thought out answers.

1. What I mean by division is the fact that about 45% of the country is passionately opposed to the majority. So much so, that their disagreements can and sometimes do reach violence. While the country has always seen disagreements, I personally have never seen disagreement at this level before.

2. Robust disagreements are fine. However, they should never descend to name-calling or talking past each other.

3. Talking about issues without engaging in personality-bashing is much harder than it sounds. For instance, can we really discuss immigration, legal or illegal, without bringing up the champions of various approaches?

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I am sorry – I did not watch the Inauguration, so you’ll have to walk me through what happened. The problem with “concede a point” is usually that you do not agree that “the other side is making a valid point.”

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “So much so, that their disagreements can and sometimes do reach violence. While the country has always seen disagreements, I personally have never seen disagreement at this level before.”

Well, I’m 49 years old and can certainly remember so much disagreement that there is literally nothing unique about today’s level. Now, if you want to talk about disagreements converting into violence, then that’s another story. But this also doesn’t seem new.

@crazyguy: “Robust disagreements are fine. However, they should never descend to name-calling or talking past each other.”

Fair enough. But we’re all human after all. We all have limits and get frustrated. While not necessarily ideal, I don’t see anything unusual or unhealthy about lashing out in frustration occasionally.

@crazyguy: “Talking about issues without engaging in personality-bashing is much harder than it sounds. For instance, can we really discuss immigration, legal or illegal, without bringing up the champions of various approaches?”

See, I don’t buy this whole “unity” thing. I don’t even understand what normal people mean when they repeat it. I understand what the news and politicians mean (they want to avoid accountability). But this whole “division” and “unity” narrative seems vacuous.

What would it mean to discuss something as large as immigration without extreme “division” or disagreement? There are mutually-exclusive goals at play here, so it’s not as though we are discussing the best way to scoop an ice cream.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are topics worthy of debate. But there must at some point be agreement on basic concepts such as good or bad, right or wrong. 2 men are looking directly at a turd, when the first turns to the second and declares the “object” a tulip. When the second man suggests that the “fragrance” alone should be sufficient to settle the issue, the first man replies that the scent is “open to interpretation” then proceeds with the discussion, attributing all disagreement to “flower hatred”.

My point is this. When 45% of the country cannot distinguish a turd from a tulip, it no longer matters which is which. THAT is the depressing truth about Trump. The failure to understand that the mere acceptance of the man is renunciation of everything decent we were ever taught. All of those hundreds of hours thrown away in that church on Sunday, those prayers raised to heaven for guidance and enlightenment, years of schooling on ethical character and civic responsibility, even the basic precept that you can turn your back without fear to your neighbor—all of it meaningless before the single entity which puts the lie to it all.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321

1. I am 73. My political experience started with the Nixon-McGovern contest in 1972. Being in college those days (I was doing Grad school at Stanford), I, of course, sided with McGovern because he wanted to have giveaways! I could not, for the life of me, understand why nobody was talking about Watergate. The break-in, as you may recall from your readings, happened in June 1972. I was convinced that Nixon was toast because of that. However, not only did Nixon win, but McGovern lost even his home state! We did have serious disagreements then; but the thing I remember most was the inability of people to discuss anything with open minds. For instance, I well remember going to an SDS meeting (Students for Democratic Society) where a conservative student was yelled down vociferously. I joined the yelling, but thought the better of it later. I never joined any radical movements after that.

2. I agree that we are all human and do tend to lash out once in a while. However, if we constantly ignore the other person’s arguments, there is no communication.

3. Unity does not mean universal agreement. Even a husband and wife never agree on everything. The problem arises when one party refuses to listen to what might appear to be a reasonable argument to a third party. Listening with an open mind is absolutely essential, and, as long as both parties are committed to the facts, an agreement to agree or disagree can be reached. Even on a topic as divisive as immigration.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “I never joined any radical movements after that.”

Not to spark disagreement in this meta-style thread, but it’s clear from your writings here that you have most definitely joined a radical movement. But you have moved from the goals of SDS to a radical, right-wing US conservative movement.

@crazyguy: “Even on a topic as divisive as immigration.”

Well, I’m game, although I suspect my positions on the “issue” might trigger a desire to take back the “no more ignore list” promise. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy By concede point I mean agree when the other side has a valid point. Maybe I used it wrong.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Please define “valid point”.

chyna's avatar

@JLeslie What did you mean by this:I thought Biden gave a great speech, but then later as everyone was walking up the stairs at the end, well, if you all didn’t see the problem I won’t bother to say it.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Please define “valid point”.

@hello321 By making assumptions about where I stand on issues, you are already descending into personalities. I “have most definitely” not joined a radical movement. I use my head on each and every issue. I cannot help it if my head leads me to the Right on most issues.

Let me get the ball rolling on immigration. First and foremost, we have to agree on some factual parameters, because, if we don’t, we’ll never agree on any conclusions. Let me tell you my starting points and, in order to prove my open-mindedness, I promise to read and understand your objections to each and every one of the proposed ‘facts’.

1. Supply and Demand. I am convinced based on 73 years of observation that the law of Supply and Demand is inviolable. You may wonder what this has to do with immigration – I’ll explain in my next post. For now, do you accept Supply and Demand as a basic fact? If not, please explain why.

2. It is impossible to eliminate incentives for immigration. Even if you raised living standards in immigrant donor nations, you cannot ever make them comparable to the US.

3. “Amnesty”, “Path to Citizenship”, “Legalization” of illegal immigrants living here invariably leads to a surge in illegal immigration. It is human nature to hope; and our big hearts make the hoping realistic.

4. Employer sanctions, which are essential for any immigration law to succeed, are political poison for both parties.

@hello321 Let me know your position on the four “basic facts” I have laid out.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “By making assumptions about where I stand on issues, you are already descending into personalities.”

a) Not making assumptions. I have communicated with you and read your posts since you arrived here. I know where you stand on issues fairly well.

b) If attacking your stance on issues is “descending into personalities”, I suspect you’ve already defined any reasonable responses out of existence.

@crazyguy: “Let me know your position on the four “basic facts” I have laid out.”

No. First of all, these aren’t “basic facts”. This is an attempt at framing an “issue”. But let me attempt to fit some basic responses into your bullet points.

1. I’m anti-capitalist. So, you’re going to have to describe what you mean by the “supply and demand”. Because any connection to immigration and “supply and demand” has to do with global capital extracting resources and destroying countries in order to create a supply of cheap labor.

2. US imperial actions across the globe has been to destroy economies and democracy. If you break something, you own it. If you overthrow governments and act as the strong arm of global capitalism in making countries unlivable, any moralizing about standard of living and comparing it to the US is absurd.

If US actions (military, financial, or otherwise) do not respect borders, any talk of then closing up the US borders to people fleeing the results of US foreign policy is obscene and a nonstarter. So, let’s take most countries in latin and central America. People there have as much right – or more – to US citizenship as you and me. If you don’t like that fact, you need to stop destroying their countries. And at this point, since you and I have destroyed (via our government and paid for with our taxes) their countries, it’s not even good enough to stop destroying their countries. Restitution and justice is in order before we can even talk about borders.

3. Read #2. To criminalize human beings fleeing the violence that you paid for is immoral and a complete nonstarter. I don’t use the term “illegal immigration” because in making people illegal for doing what is right, you’re engaged in another crime. “Undocumented immigration” is a more accurate term, and it’s a direct result of policies and economic systems that you support.

This whole “issue” is exacerbated by your economic system’s incompatibility with a livable planet. Global climate change is increasing displacement, and will continue to do so all over the world. So, people are having to deal with our actions and are going to be displaced and are then met with a border that only keeps humans out. I’d like to see a border that would keep our destructive military and financial actions from getting out.

Note: I suspect this all sounds insane to you, and therefore there is very little for us to discuss. I’d be interested in hearing about the concepts of “unity” and “division” within this context.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 Thanks for an honest reply.

Your response makes it clear that we have to agree to disagree.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy I just mean if a Republican says something that is a valid point, or simply true, I think Democrats should acknowledge it so the conversation can move forward and vice versa. Portland was in riots for many days and most Democrats don’t want to even acknowledge it. Even the mayor said it went on too long became too violent, and he is a Democrat. Democrats say White Supremacists are rioting and Republicans don’t want to hear it, even when there is proof. There is video of men in the Capitol raiding the desks of the senators and taking photos saying Ted Cruz would be interested in the documents. That is not Antifa trying to make Ted Cruz happy. People need to be willing to listen to the good and the bad in the extremes of their own parties and not be afraid to agree with the other side sometimes and condemn “their own.”

Like I am afraid to even mention what annoyed me (I saw @chyna asked, maybe she didn’t get to watch the inauguration) as they walked up the steps today, because I know the Democrats here will say it is nothing or doesn’t matter or dismiss it, but they would never dismiss it if Trump and his group had done the same. If people can’t figure it out by watching it then let it slip by, I am not going to start a fuss if people think it is nothing. We will see if Republicans start talking about it on social media. Usually, I can see right away what Republicans will pounce on. Sometimes because I agree with the Republicans, sometimes because I just see where Democrats sabotage themselves even though I might agree with the Democrats on the point.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Rioting and violence, looting and arson, are bad regardless of context. I realize people often point to wars of independence in different countries that involved random incidents of violence. However, to me, violent, pre-planned acts, timed to coincide with or follow peaceful protests are not the same thing. Most independence fighters were selfless individuals who rattled illegitimate rulers. In the case of BLM and Antifa riots, those two elements were sorely lacking.

I am not trying to justify the Capitol attack. That upset me just as much as the summer riots. The facts that nobody paid any attention to the overall statistics on police killings of black men, and that George Floyd’s death was probably due to other causes, do not excuse or explain the Capitol riots. RIOTING IS BAD. PERIOD.

I WILL NOT watch the inauguration. So, unless you want to elaborate on what upset you, I cannot comment.

stanleybmanly's avatar

To expand on @hello321 ‘s excellent retort to your version of the laws of supply and demand, the examples of capitalism as the system diametrically opposed to the fulfillment of those laws is all about us. The housing shortage alone collapses that sermon to the nonsense it most certainly is. But the clearest illustration of the fallacy in this comes with the supply and demand around money itself. Clearly, “demand” is somehow divorced from “need” or “requirement” in any sense that can be viewed as just or reasonable. Any system footed on the proposition that the rich get richer (no matter what) cannot be allowed to pass itself off as equitable, let alone as liberty or JUSTICE for all. You may argue that the current setup is not based on the extraction of wealth from those in the middle and below for the benefit of those at the top, but intended or not, that is PRECISELY the situation in which we find ourselves. And it would be stupid to conclude this unintended.

stanleybmanly's avatar

To expand on @hello321 ‘s excellent retort to your version of the laws of supply and demand, the examples of capitalism as the system diametrically opposed to the fulfillment of those laws is all about us. The housing shortage alone collapses that sermon to the nonsense it most certainly is. But the clearest illustration of the fallacy in this comes with the supply and demand around money itself. Clearly, “demand” is somehow divorced from “need” or “requirement” in any sense that can be viewed as just or reasonable. Any system footed on the proposition that the rich get richer (no matter what) cannot be allowed to pass itself off as equitable, let alone as liberty or JUSTICE for all. You may argue that the current setup is not based on the extraction of wealth from those in the middle and below for the benefit of those at the top, but intended or not, that is PRECISELY the situation in which we find ourselves. And it would be stupid to conclude this unintended.

Demosthenes's avatar

It could start with a basic acknowledgment of humanity, a recognition that we’re all just trying to live our lives. If you believe that the other party, the other ideology, whatever you perceive to be the opposite side to your own is pure evil and out to destroy your way of life then you’re already being controlled by division. Cynically on my part it’s a recognition that Republicans and Democrats are not actually that different and that the division over wedge issues is manufactured and a distraction. The parties benefit from us thinking they’re radically different from each other, even if they’re both corporate parties that enact policy based on what those with the most money want. So whenever I hear the histrionics and the apocalyptic talk about whichever party is in charge I have to roll my eyes.

That said, it’s up to us to stop acting like everyone who sees the world differently from us is a lost cause who can’t be reasoned with. It’s time to actually start looking at what the facts say and not ignoring truths because it doesn’t fit our narrative (ironically those who say things like “facts don’t care about your feelings” are often just as hysterical and prone to leading with emotion as those they condemn. Realize emotion isn’t limited to one side). It’s time to acknowledge when we’re wrong instead of covering it up and ignoring that which contradicts what we believe. I don’t think an end to division can come from the government; we have to change our attitude. I agree with @JLeslie that we need to call out our “brothers in ideology” when they go too far. In addition to not condemning the other side as pure evil, we need to stop acting like those on our side can do no wrong.

I think we need to stop silencing views we don’t like because it ensures that they will not be subject to debate and the weak, shitty views won’t be exposed for what they are. Instead it will create a narrative of censorship and conspiracy and will only add fuel to the already expanding percentage of Americans who believe in conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are incredibly difficult to reason with or “prove wrong” (especially considering they often cannot be disproven by their very nature). If we want to stop increasing numbers of people from believing in conspiracy theories, then we need to stop the kind of silencing and “canceling” that encourages them.

And I know I’ll be accused of plugging centrism, but it’s not so much that I want compromise in policy or “middle of the road” governance, I’m speaking less politically, more on a human level that we need to stop viewing our fellow countrymen as an enemy that needs to be vanquished. Otherwise we’re going to get absolutely fucking nowhere. Maybe just turning off the damn news and the damn social media echo chamber every now and then would be a nice start for many.

Caravanfan's avatar

I always like to highlight the points where @hello321 and I agree. I’ll just add that I believe borders should be completely open, and anybody who wants to emigrate should be allowed to emigrate. People and commerce should flow freely across the borders. It should be as easy to go in and out of the US as it is to go from California to Nevada.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, I’ve been saying we need to show Republicans a way out from the lies they did believe (I know not all Republicans were sucked in by QAnon and other lies, but right now I’m talking about the ones who did). We can’t keep trying to punish people, we need to allow them to change their minds without too much discomfort. Kate Woodsome of the Washington Post said the same thing on Morning Joe a couple of days ago and I hope that catches on. Joe called the people at the Capitol “freaks” and she pushed back on him. She was reporting at the Capitol in the 6th and a man started screaming at her and then she became surrounded by a group of angry people. Scary shit. Even she was trying to tell other people in the media that we need to give these people a path. They really believe.

@crazyguy I know you condemned the rioting at the Capitol, I didn’t mean you. That’s sort of my point. You condemned the rioting at the Capitol, but Democrats don’t care as long as your bringing up rioting in Portland. Democrats refuse to talk about any rioting during BLM.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, I’ve been saying we need to show Republicans a way out from the lies they did believe (I know not all Republicans were sucked in by QAnon and other lies, but right now I’m talking about the ones who did). We can’t keep trying to punish people, we need to allow them to change their minds without too much discomfort.

Kate Woodsome of the Washington Post said the same thing on Morning Joe a couple of days ago and I hope that catches on. Joe called the people at the Capitol “freaks” and she pushed back on him. She was reporting at the Capitol in the 6th and a man started screaming at her and then she became surrounded by a group of angry people. Scary shit. Even she was trying to tell other people in the media that we need to give these people a path. They really believe and they are freighters. Not to be confused with people who actually committed crimes, I don’t care if they were brainwashed, put them in front of a judge.

@crazyguy I know you condemned the rioting at the Capitol, I didn’t mean you.

That’s sort of my point. You condemned the rioting at the Capitol, but Democrats don’t care as long as your bringing up rioting in Portland. Democrats refuse to talk about any rioting during BLM.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan While ‘open borders’ sounds nice, can you begin to imagine the consequences?

The American way of life, in my opinion, will become history as hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, inundate the US. The exodus will begin with the poor, but as they vanish from their countries, abandoning their menial, low-paid positions, it will not be long before their employers follow suit.

The end result is obvious. Since not all our neighbors can achieve our standard of life, ours will be dragged down to some place between where it is today and what it is today in Mexico.

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes Thank you for a well thought out and brilliantly expressed response.

I love: “If you believe that the other party, the other ideology, whatever you perceive to be the opposite side to your own is pure evil and out to destroy your way of life then you’re already being controlled by division.” That is as good a way of expressing our fundamental disagreements as I have ever seen.

I sincerely believe that most jellies are rather proud of what they have managed to accomplish in their lives, and are not willing to experiment with a different economic system. Obviously there are some jellies who have nothing to lose; in their case, I can excuse a level of desperation.

Between you, @JLeslie and a few others I think we have the foundation for a think tank that can fashion agreement on some issues confronting the country.

Thanks again.

crazyguy's avatar

@Caravanfan I have just ordered the book. And will read it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The thing to take into account is that the unrest, both left and right is the result of the same cause. And that is that the great good fortune of being born in this country is decreasing in the opportunities formerly available due to said fortune. Nothing will guarantee civil unrest and social dissolution more assuredly than a land defined as one of declining standards of living for the majority with ungodly wealth amassing to a tiny percentage at the top. THIS defines our current situation, and there is no denying that this situation is accommodated and maintained by both parties. Abominations such as Trump come and go, but as we see, the system is designed to circumvent the oddballs. Whatever is to be said regarding Trump’s legacy by either side, no one will claim that he retarded in any way the transfer of wealth to the top, nor lowered the accelerating slide of the middle and working classes toward destitution. As has been graphically illustrated such fantasies as “draining the swamp” or restoring the industrial sector—they will never happen without the overturn of the advantage money holds on those who govern us, the logical servants of those who actually own the country. The political bickering between the 2 parties merely grows more intense as the situation of those being squeezed grows ever more dire. But until the truth is recognized by the population at large, the actual function of both parties is the facilitation of the transfer of wealth for as long as they can get away with it. It’s that simple.

kritiper's avatar

By not being so competitive!! This “win at all costs” attitude,when it comes to ourselves, is not doing us any good.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly That is your most reasoned post in a long time. Welcome back!

I have posted before about wealth and income inequality. In fact I recall some interesting back-and-forths we had on the subject. I am glad to see that you do blame ‘both parties’ for this trend. As I stated in my preamble, I will not speak of the previous administration in any way, negative or positive.

After I post this message, I will try and dig up some of my and your earlier posts about wealth and income inequality and possible solutions. I am not, and I don’t think I can ever be, convinced that handouts are any kind of sustainable solution to the problem. In fact, as I recall, we all decided the only way out of the mess we are in is by increased opportunities for education.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly That is your most reasoned post in a long time. Welcome back!

I have posted before about wealth and income inequality. In fact I recall some interesting back-and-forths we had on the subject. I am glad to see that you do blame ‘both parties’ for this trend. As I stated in my preamble, I will not speak of the previous administration in any way, negative or positive.

After I post this message, I will try and dig up some of my and your earlier posts about wealth and income inequality and possible solutions. I am not, and I don’t think I can ever be, convinced that handouts are any kind of sustainable solution to the problem. In fact, as I recall, we all decided the only way out of the mess we are in is by increased opportunities for education.

@kritiper By using the expression “so competitive” I think you do see the benefits of some competition. In fact, I think the only difference between my thinking and yours is the size and scope of the safety net, above which the competition takes place. Generally, I think, the people who have made it, are not in favor of expanding the safety net. Obviously the converse is true. What do you think?

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy “Some competition” is normal. We overdo it. To the MAX! And too much of a (supposed) good thing, like “some competition”, is not good at all. It seems to rule us…

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy “Some competition” is normal. We overdo it. To the MAX! And too much of a (supposed) good thing, like “some competition”, is not good at all. It seems to rule us…

si3tech's avatar

First off haters need to shut the fu*k up about all this revenge, prison sh*t. From any perspective you are the single most miserable people! By that I mean .. hey! you got a win. Be happy and welcome everyone.

kritiper's avatar

I’m having difficulties uploading my answers to the site. Mods have been notified.

hello321's avatar

@si3tech: “First off haters need to shut the fu*k up about all this revenge, prison sh*t.”

What? I was under the impression that you were a “lock her up” Trump supporter.

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper In my new persona, I am going to give you every chance to be specific without being too critical. I will say, though, that I was not able to glean any concrete proposal from your post. You basically said we have too much competition; in other words, we do not have an adequate safety net. Please define how we can beef up the safety net but yet provide some incentive to compete. Obviously, if the government takes care of 100% of a person’s basic needs (food, shelter and clothing) the person may be content to never look for a job. Unless a job can provide more…

crazyguy's avatar

@si3tech In today’s inauguration speech, Biden did single out one group of Americans to wage war against: white supremacists. The definition of ‘white supremacists’ has expanded over the years. Now it may include most of the voters that voted for Trump. Whether they are white or not.

However, on this particular thread we are attempting to reconcile all views. Reconciliation is not helped by your language.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The carrot of education as the solution to wealth inequality is a lure for suckers. There has never been a more educatedW percentage of our population since its founding. Yet the percentage of college educated people relegated to sub par menial jobs is climbing faster than the middle class is sinking. Worse, even with increasing awareness of this fact, the consequences to not having that advanced education are so assuredly dire, that enrollments cannot keep pace with the rising expense of what are in the main fraudulent and worthless educations. What is required is massive POLITICAL education and rational reasoning why my grandson will acquire his engineering degree from Cornell, and almost certainly not approach the net worth attained from my study of history.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The carrot of education as the solution to wealth inequality is a lure for suckers. There has never been a more educated percentage of our population since its founding. Yet the percentage of college educated people relegated to sub par menial jobs is climbing faster than the middle class is sinking. Worse, even with increasing awareness of this fact, the consequences to not having that advanced education are so assuredly dire, that enrollments cannot keep pace with the rising expense of what are in the main fraudulent and worthless educations. What is required is massive POLITICAL education and rational reasoning on such topics as why my grandson will acquire his engineering degree from Cornell, and almost certainly not approach the net worth attained from my study of history. Or better yet why your mother and father could buy a house and YOU and YOUR spouse cannot. Why is the prosperous little town In which you grew up, now little more than a spa for tumbleweeds? Who benefits and why when YOUR Job is displaced to China? Is it perhaps BLM? Or is it the Proud Boys. There’s only ONE aspect that the 2 operations share and that is that as sure as Dr. Pepper is the quick picker upper, when times get tougher, membership in both will spread like this pandemic. I remember as a teenager, going to see the motion picture Dr. Zhivago. There is a scene at the outbreak of the first world war, and Alec Guinness is narrating over a virw of masses of Russian peasant recruits marching in their brand new uniforms and shiny new boots. He falls in line with the recruits commenting something like “I was ordered by the party to enlist. In 2 years when the uniforms are in rags and the boots are worn out—THAT is when we shall see the revolution. Then follows the line that I will remember for the rest of my days. It is perfect regarding BLM and any other movement promising disruption. It is simply “happy men don’t volunteer.”

Strauss's avatar

@hello321 disagreements converting into violence..

That’s an unfortunate tradition that has destroyed civilizations. I think there was a lot of optimism in the speeches I heard today. I think Biden is sincere and optimistic.

JLeslie's avatar

We could require debate class in high school so the next generation knows what it’s like to study a topic from the side that they don’t agree with and argue it. Plus, the whole class would witness a civilized debate with information from both sides.

zenvelo's avatar

I just read through this list, and people pretty much ignored the two overarching problems of the last five years:

1. Day in and day out lies being touted as an “alternative fact.” The right needs to admit to the continual and unceasing lies that are repeated over and over. The four most vociferous fluthers on the right continually spread misinformation on this site.

2. Continual blame on “the other”. It was Trump’s practice from his descent of the escalator: avoid responsibility and blame others. The “party of personal responsibility” blames everyone else for their plights.

Stop the lies and the finger pointing, and the divisions will begin to heal.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The proof will be in the pudding

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly No criticism intended or implied. BUT what do you see as a solution short of throwing big bucks at the problem? Specifically. What I see in your post is: “What is required is massive POLITICAL education and rational reasoning on such topics”. Perhaps we could focus more on the future and less on the past.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I think modern debating in schools is aGREAT IDEA. Our grandson, who is now in 9th Grade, has been part of the debate team. He says high school debate rules are just a tad different from elementary and middle schools. However, one thing is unchanged: you do not know which side of an issue you will debate until 10 minutes before the start of the debate. I think that is an awesome idea.

Can you imagine some of the Partisans on this board (myself included) trying to argue the opposite side?

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo One man’s truth is another’s lie. But let us try and move beyond arguing over little stuff. Do you think a forum where people try in a polite, structured debate to present their arguments AND listen to the other side?

@hello321 and @elbanditoroso Is that all you guys have to say?

@Strauss I agree that name-calling instead of rational issue-based discussions will lead to destruction of a civilization. Now that we have somebody in the White House, that appeals to most people in this country and even more so on this board, can we try and have more constructive dialogs?

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “Is that all you guys have to say?”

Ummm… didn’t I post long comments here already? Were you waiting for a response to something?

jca2's avatar

I think we can reduce the division if we try to minimize “whataboutery.” Whataboutery is pointing fingers at the other side. “What about Democrats?” “What about Republicans?” “What about Obama?” “What about Trump?” “What about Hillary?” “What about BLM?” “What about the insurgence at the Capitol?”

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 I assume your response was meant as an answer to @JLeslie‘s constructive comment about employing school debating. And yes, I was indeed waiting for a bit more than “dear lord”.

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 I agree 100%. By pointing out something the other side did, one is essentially trying to argue that a wrong by one side is justified by a wrong on the other side. But we know from our general reading that “TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT”.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy Maybe that is the basis of the problem. People are too oblivious to their competitive ways. Welcome to the club!

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: ” I assume your response was meant as an answer to @JLeslie‘s constructive comment about employing school debating. And yes, I was indeed waiting for a bit more than “dear lord”.”

Yes, my “dear lord” was directed at the radical “both sides” approach that certain people have and that we’ve been discussing a bit in other threads. It’s getting absurd at this point.

Yes, we’ve all taken critical reasoning classes in college where you have to write long persuasive papers on positions that you do not support. But christ, this whole “division” construct makes little sense to begin with. And the “both sides” nonsense that is perpetually pushed means….

teacher: “Hello class. Today we’re going to argue in favor of a position that you disagree with. If you currently believe that humans should not be murdered and their homes destroyed in service to global capital to produce cheap labor and provide profit to the rich, you will have to argue in favor of this position. If you agree with that position, you’ll take the opposite.”

teacher: “Tomorrow, we’ll be doing the same exercise. Some of you will have to argue the position that the US is and should be a white, Christian nation. You’ll put together a solid argument in favor of beating homosexuals and murdering immigrants. Should be fun!”

teacher: “Remember, on Monday we’ll be arguing in favor of the position that Democrats run pedophile rings out of a pizza shop.”

While I understand the sentiment – there is something so unhitched from reality about talking about “both sides” that makes this type of exercise obscene. Hell, “unity” and “healing” rhetoric is bad enough.

zenvelo's avatar

@crazyguy ”...One man’s truth is another’s lie” is bullshit, and you know it. Quit spreading the falsehoods and lies and own up to reality for once. This isn’t disagreement on opinion, it is out and out lying!

The more you lie, the less you deserve a decent civil response.

zenvelo's avatar

@crazyguy ”...One man’s truth is another’s lie” is bullshit, and you know it. Quit spreading the falsehoods and lies and own up to reality for once. This isn’t disagreement on opinion, it is out and out lying!

The more you lie, the less you deserve a decent civil response.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is a narrative in place as to how the country works that has NOTHING to do with the truth. This is required to maintain the status quo snd disguise the actuality facilitating the flow of wealth to the top. The glaring lie that each of us has an equal say in the ordering of the country is immediately obvious, but ONLY addressed in a manner to set the factions fighting for crumbs against one another, while a small minority walks away with the main course. As the crumbs grow more meager, the intensity of the conflict between left and right becomes ever more contentious, with both sides distracted from the topic most pertinent to their plight: WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? @crazyguy you yourself play into this ruse through prattling the line that people want things handed to them without working for them, and decrying socialism as evil. This myth subsists because we are conditioned to accept this without actually considering it. Let’s consider socialism for just a second and what it means. WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? Which society might you consider the better prospect: a land where the tax situation permitted zillionaires to squirrel away money in Bermuda or Switzerland or a system whereby that money is collected in taxes then used to build roads and bridges (socialism)? Which of the 2 societies will have the better roads and bridges? Is a society better off with or without roads and bridges?

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is a narrative in place as to how the country works that has NOTHING to do with the truth. This is required to maintain the status quo snd disguise the actuality facilitating the flow of wealth to the top. The glaring lie that each of us has an equal say in the ordering of the country is immediately obvious, but ONLY addressed in a manner to set the factions fighting for crumbs against one another, while a small minority walks away with the main course. As the crumbs grow more meager, the intensity of the conflict between left and right becomes ever more contentious, with both sides distracted from the topic most pertinent to their plight: WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? @crazyguy you yourself play into this ruse through prattling the line that people want things handed to them without working for them, and decrying socialism as evil. This myth subsists because we are conditioned to accept this without actually considering it. Let’s consider socialism for just a second and what it means. WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? Which society might you consider the better prospect: a land where the tax situation permitted zillionaires to squirrel away money in Bermuda or Switzerland or a system whereby that money is collected in taxes then used to build roads and bridges (socialism)? Which of the 2 societies will have the better roads and bridges? Is a society better off with or without roads and bridges? Is building roads and bridges the equivalent of giving people “something for nothing”?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly I think what you are saying is that socialism is better than capitalism. I am sure you are well-read and know the history of North Korea vs South Korea, Red China vs Taiwan and HongKong, and the Soviet Union vs the US. Pray tell me which societies ended up building more roads and bridges.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 @zenvelo You two guys seem hell-bent on not letting sanity prevail on this board. I wonder if you guys have an ulterior motive?

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper You said: ‘People are too oblivious to their competitive ways. ” This was in response to my reply to @jca2: “I agree 100%. By pointing out something the other side did, one is essentially trying to argue that a wrong by one side is justified by a wrong on the other side. But we know from our general reading that “TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT”.’

Excuse me for feeling that I am missing something in your message.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “You two guys seem hell-bent on not letting sanity prevail on this board. I wonder if you guys have an ulterior motive?”

How is that a response? ” I thought you were turning over a new leaf? What about the 6 bullet points you posted?

I’ll be generous and try again. Try to focus on the issues and ask yourself what specifically you are objecting to before you type. Then, try responding. Ok?

zenvelo's avatar

@crazyguy I asked only that you start telling the truth and stop spreading the Republican lies that you have been spreading since last summer. It isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s your out and out falsehoods that you copy from The Washington Times and Fox News.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 One of my early posts listed FOUR bullet points, not six. What do those bullet points have to do with our present discussion?

hello321's avatar

^ “Just to get the ball rolling, I undertake the following:

1. I will not add anybody else to my IGNORE list.
2. I will proactively read posts made by the individuals on my current ignore list and look for reasons to take them off the ignore list.
3. I will ask questions only about individual issues.
4. In my posts, I’ll be as polite as possible.
5. I will not be dismissive or insulting to anybody’s post.
6. I will not doubt other jellies’ intelligence levels.”

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 One of my early posts listed FOUR bullet points, not six. What do those bullet points have to do with our present discussion?

@zenvelo Here was my post: “One man’s truth is another’s lie. But let us try and move beyond arguing over little stuff. Do you think a forum where people try in a polite, structured debate to present their arguments AND listen to the other side?”

To which you answered: ””...One man’s truth is another’s lie” is bullshit, and you know it. Quit spreading the falsehoods and lies and own up to reality for once. This isn’t disagreement on opinion, it is out and out lying!”

Now you tell me who needs to take a long breath.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 I had to go way back to find my post with FOUR bullet points. I guess you went all the way back.

So I guess your point is that I have violated some, perhaps all, of my six promises.

Of course it would help enormously if you said so specifically; and gave examples of my violations.

1. I did not add anybody to my IGNORE list. I declined to take @Tropical-Willie off the list.
2. I always read all posts carefully and completely. I have started spending even more time on them.
3. I believe I have complied with this promise.
4. I think I have been polite.
5. I have not dismissed any posts.
6. I do not consider any jelly stupid.

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: _“You two guys seem hell-bent on not letting sanity prevail on this board. I wonder if you guys have an ulterior motive?”

You violated #3. I write a long response and you make some comment about “sanity”. Nice job.

Out of curiosity, do you have any issues later in the day? The “four” vs “six” seems to be causing you some issues, and it seems a bit odd.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 I had to go way back to find my post with FOUR bullet points. I guess you went all the way back.

So I guess your point is that I have violated some, perhaps all, of my six promises.

Of course it would help enormously if you said so specifically; and gave examples of my violations.

1. I did not add anybody to my IGNORE list. I declined to take @Tropical-Willie off the list.
2. I always read all posts carefully and completely. I have started spending even more time on them.
3. I believe I have complied with this promise.
4. I think I have been polite.
5. I have not dismissed any posts.
6. I do not consider any jelly stupid.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 Let us look at the post that triggered my response; let us examine it in detail.

Here is your post.

‘Yes, my “dear lord” was directed at the radical “both sides” approach that certain people have and that we’ve been discussing a bit in other threads. It’s getting absurd at this point.
Yes, we’ve all taken critical reasoning classes in college where you have to write long persuasive papers on positions that you do not support. But christ, this whole “division” construct makes little sense to begin with. And the “both sides” nonsense that is perpetually pushed means….
teacher: “Hello class. Today we’re going to argue in favor of a position that you disagree with. If you currently believe that humans should not be murdered and their homes destroyed in service to global capital to produce cheap labor and provide profit to the rich, you will have to argue in favor of this position. If you agree with that position, you’ll take the opposite.”
teacher: “Tomorrow, we’ll be doing the same exercise. Some of you will have to argue the position that the US is and should be a white, Christian nation. You’ll put together a solid argument in favor of beating homosexuals and murdering immigrants. Should be fun!”
teacher: “Remember, on Monday we’ll be arguing in favor of the position that Democrats run pedophile rings out of a pizza shop.”
While I understand the sentiment – there is something so unhitched from reality about talking about “both sides” that makes this type of exercise obscene. Hell, “unity” and “healing” rhetoric is bad enough.’

1. You apparently have a problem with the “both sides” approach. We already know you have problems with opposing views. So that leaves YOUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.

2. You say: ’...this whole “division” construct makes little sense to begin with.’ In other words, you think either that there is nothing wrong with division, or that there is no need for discussing it.

3. Your example is just an extension of your basic thinking that any idea that does not agree with your theory does not deserve the time of day.

4. In the example you say: ‘Hell, “unity” and “healing” rhetoric is bad enough.’ So what do you suggest? We carry on as always?

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “1. You apparently have a problem with the “both sides” approach. We already know you have problems with opposing views. So that leaves YOUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.”

You have avoided responding to my post, so I’ll repeat. Tell me the moral value in pulling a “both sides” of Nazi/anti-Nazi.

@crazyguy: “You say: ’...this whole “division” construct makes little sense to begin with.’ In other words, you think either that there is nothing wrong with division, or that there is no need for discussing it.”

Yes, it makes little sense. The word “division” has a meaning, and just saying it over and over because your corporate mouthpiece has used it in the context of the country doesn’t give it meaning.

@crazyguy: “Your example is just an extension of your basic thinking that any idea that does not agree with your theory does not deserve the time of day.”

That sentence ^ is an explicit admission that you believe that Nazis have something to add to the conversation. Congratulations. Think I’m exaggerating? Read your response again and think about what you are saying.

@crazyguy: “In the example you say: ‘Hell, “unity” and “healing” rhetoric is bad enough.’ So what do you suggest? We carry on as always?”

“Unity” and “healing” are words that these people use consistently to avoid justice. You don’t just shrug and tell people to forget the past. You bring about change, reparations, and retribution. It’s the complete opposite of what you are arguing, which is just carrying on.

Hoping you’re a little sharper earlier in the day tomorrow. Thanks.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@crazyguy Look at your list then answer me if you think the problems of the countries listed are about socialism or rather that they are brutal authoritarian autocratic dictatorships. And China is particularly worth looking at because it is beating us at our own game. They are NOW following our former model. They are clearly funneling their “capitalist” wealth to the top, but unlike us, they have not sacrificed their infrastructure nor their industrial sector to achieve it. They are in fact doing what we formerly did. They are investing in their country and thereby creating billionaires, while we sacrifice OUR infrastructure to invest in our billionaires.

zenvelo's avatar

@crazyguy You asked how to reduce division.

I said stop spreading falsehoods.

You state your falsehoods are truth.

I called you on that as bullshit.

You tell me to chill.

I now tell me that you have no interest in reducing division, you want to continue your falsehoods.

What we need is a Truth and Reconciliation process, in which you and other Trumpists admit the five years of lies and misinformation you keep repeating.

Ball’s in your court. Admit the lies or shut the fuck up.

crazyguy's avatar

@zenvelo Like I said before, one man’s truth is another’s absolute lie. I cannot honestly admit to uttering anything at all that I believed to be a lie – I do not operate that way. If the powers that be determine I need to be ‘deprogrammed’, so be it. However, I will neither ‘shut the fuck up’ or ‘admit the five years of lies and misinformation you keep repeating.’

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly I will not be on the defensive here. You point out one Socialist country that has a better economy than a similar Capitalist country, then we’ll talk.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Better economy for whom? We certainly have a better economy for tax cheats, and those who believe the fortunes of billionaires take priority over roads and bridges. How else would you interpret the rich getting richer as the bridges rust and the roads crumble?And it doesn’t matter if you take the defensive. Look around you and ask your fellow citizens whether or not they believe their standard of living is being defended. Do you believe it? And I will guarantee you that the single aspect sustaining OUR “capitalist” economy is that we, along with those other countries YOU call capitalist are in fact SOCIAL democracies. And I will put it to you that it is the SOCIAL in social democracy which assures the citizens of those places that they fare better than ourselves. In fact, the great insecurity in those citizens is the fear of being at the mercy of a safety net as shabby as our own. In short the REAL division is NOT frothy tug manufactured between left right, but the split between “them that gets” and the rest of us

hello321's avatar

@crazyguy: “I will not be on the defensive here. You point out one Socialist country that has a better economy than a similar Capitalist country, then we’ll talk.”

How embarrassing. You realize that this is the equivalent to a logical fallacy, right? Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if you are just uneducated and really believe the nonsense you are saying or if you are educated but think you can pull this off here. Spoiler alert: you can’t.

Your comment requires no response, so I’ll just leave you with the silly Eric Andre meme.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly I agree with you 100% that we have increasing wealth and income inequality. That is not what I am discussing here. What I am trying to discuss is the differences in wealth and income distribution between countries that have a high SOCIAL component versus the US. The comparison is made difficult by the data pertaining to different years. It is also subject to just how much of the economy is “black”.

Here is what I find in numerical terms (the only way to compare that should be above reproach):

Russia has a lower GINI index than the US (mind you, lower is good). Russia was at 38.7 in 2018 (see https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI?view=map).

The US was at 41.1 in 2016.

So a casual reader may be left with the impression that Russia is more ‘equal’ than the US. However, we have to apply two adjustments to the numbers.

1. We know a lot of the wealth of Russia’s oligarchs is ‘hidden’. I realize that you will probably say the same applies to the US. I’ll leave it to the readers to make their own comparative estimates.

2. The GINI measures how current wealth or income is distributed. It does not evaluate growth. I think we can state without any links that the US growth rate has been higher than Russia’s.

I find it very instructive to compare the West German economy with that of East Germany. You can make the comparison for 1990 and current. I did. Here is what I found:

According to
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/06/east-germany-has-narrowed-economic-gap-with-west-germany-since-fall-of-communism-but-still-lags/

East Germany had higher unemployment and lower disposable income than West Germany in 2016. At the time of reunification, East Germany had about 60% of West Germany’s disposable income. In 2016, the East Germans improved to 86%. Mind you, this was after 25 YEARS!

Now let us compare the US to Western Europe. Per the excellent report

https://www.oecd.org/els/soc/cope-divide-europe-2017-background-report.pdf

“The socio-economic divide has been on the rise in Europe over the past decades, and has intensified since the onset of the global financial crisis. ”

Another fact (statement) from the report:

“Immigrants tend to have lower outcomes in terms of labour market or incomes than the native-born in most areas; 36% are low educated, against 25% of native-born; 64.8% are in employment, as opposed to 66.3% of the native born. Those in employment are twice as likely as their native-born peers to live below the poverty line.”

Comparing the liberals’ role models (Sweden and Norway) the study finds that Norway, in particular, has a significantly lower income GINI than the US (0.25 vs 0.39). However, Sweden is at 0.28. An interesting fact is that 20% of Norway’s economy is based on oil and gas.

One more interesting point. Of the 18 countries for which a GINI is shown for the mid-80s, only 3 managed to reduce the GINI over the last 30-odd years. The three countries are Belgium, France and Greece.

I’ll quit now, not because I am out of material, but because I think I have made my points.

crazyguy's avatar

@hello321 I’ll look past your insults – I have got used to those!

However, perhaps you can get through my long response to @stanleybmanly and give me substantiated comments on that.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Let’s begin again with your question: what must be done to lessen the divide? My answer is that we must first define the “divide” then propose solutions. The way I see it, the divide in our country is about the ever increasing disparity in wealth between the privileged few and the rest of us. We shouldn’t even be discussing the pros and cons of socialism vs. capitalism. The thing on which we must certainly agree is that regardless of the merits of either, our present government is promulgated toward the facilitation of wealth inequality. This is neither by chance or coincidence. Would you agree with this? If not, can you explain how the phenomenon can not only proceed but accelerate without government sanction and incentives?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Agreed. The problem is indeed wealth and income inequality. We, along with almost every other country in the world are, intentionally or not, making the problem worse. The one point of difference I have with you is about the role of government in this disaster. If it were the role of government, surely some countries would buck the trend.

What I pointed out in my previous post, only three countries have lowered inequality since the mid-80s: Belgium, France and Greece. However, all three have trailed in the all-important GDP growth numbers.

Average annual Per Capita GDP growth rates for these three countries versus Eurozone and the World since 1980:

1980–90: Belgium 1.9%, France 1.92%, Greece 0.12%, Eurozone 2.12%, World 1.34%
1990–2000: Belgium 1.95%, France 1.68%, Greece 1.85%, Eurozone 1.94%, World 1.32%
2000–10: Belgium 1%, France 0.55%, Greece 1.46%, Eurozone 0.94%, World 1.54%
2010–18: Belgium 0.83%, France 0.53%, Greece -2.8%, Eurozone 1.09%, World 1.63%

For comparison average Per Capita GDP growth rates in the US have been:

1980–1990: 2.37%
1990–2000: 2.18%
2000–2010: 0.71%
2010–2018: 1.33%

All three ‘egalitarian’ nations trailed the Eurozone between 1980 and 1990, one of the three (Belgium) barely beat Eurozone performance between 1990 and 2000, and between 2000 and 2010, and all three trailed badly between 2010 and 2018.

See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(real)_per_capita_growth_rate

You may say “The Hell with GDP Growth”. However, keep in mind that as population grows and produces more workers, the economy has to expand to create more jobs. Growth is also essential for increasing people’s income levels.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But GDP is irrelevant to this issue. In fact the fact most pertinent to inequality is that productivity has risen substantially while wages either stagnate or decline. THAT is the very definition of inequality. It isn’t a question of GDP, but where the rewards of the “P” are channeled.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy I didn’t say that we have too much competition, I said we are too competitive.
Everything we do is a big contest to see who is best. Who has the biggest and best car. Who has the biggest, fanciest house. Who’s kid is better at whatever…
Compete, compete, compete! It’s all we do. (I blame all of our fixation on sports.)
Look at the way we drive. In reality, it is commuter driving, not competition driving. You wouldn’t know it with everybody racing to just get ahead of everybody else. It’s nuts!

stanleybmanly's avatar

It isn’t the competition which is the problem. It is that the game is predicated at bottom on allowance of my success to be attained through your destruction. The government is in fact the only entity in place to regulate the degree to which this is permitted. This is why it is essential that ownership of that government is ALWAYS in the hands of the people raking in the money. It matters only superficially which party is in power. There is no other possible explanation for the scant percentage of rich to gobble up ever larger percentages of the nation’s wealth in a place where the will of the majority is said to prevail. And this is why you will always find those most avaricious and ruthless screaming about the “evils” of regulation,

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Productivity is a function of not only labor efficiency, but also “technical efficiency, allocative efficiency, disembodied technical change, and economies of scale.” The quote is from
https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=2168

Therefore, thinking that the fruits of productivity increase belong to the labor is absolutely false. Productivity is increased by capital investment much more than by labor efficiency. Therefore, the rewards of the “P” belong primarily to the business owners who took the calculated risk of investing additional funds into the business.

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper Where exactly did I say we have too much competition? I am not sure I understand how anybody can be too competitive. That is like saying a golfer who could have won by a single stroke, was too competitive because s/he tried to win by 5!

stanleybmanly's avatar

But again, as with the socialism/capitalism argument, production efficiency is irrelevant to the problem other than to state that as efficiency increases, the former adage has been circumvented. The requirement of fewer workers to obtain the same output SHOULD mean higher salaries for those remaining as well as increased profits for the concerns and their owners. It is true that technical efficiency of course matters. What is no longer true in any sense is the old saw about the “rising tide lifts all of the boats”. That tide now lifts only the yachts. In fact the yachts aren’t lifted by the tide. They in fact rise to enormous heights through the actual submersion of the rowboats and dingys forced to carry them.

Marx has been successfully eliminated from economic theory in this country and it is the biggest mistake we ever made, because regardless of the failures of his proposed remedies, there has never been a more accurate assessment of the actual workings of capitalism, Every prediction he ever made regarding it is right on the money, including one of his more witty definitions: “A capitalist is a man who will sell you the rope with which to hang him”. The truth of that one has been strikingly demonstrated through our own example when the United States solely in the interests of short term profit transfered its entire industrial sector (the rope) to mainland China with the actual subsidy of our government to the clear and undisputed detriment of THIS country, and the clear cut illustration as to WHICH sector of THIS society our government panders.

kritiper's avatar

@crazyguy You said it in your post after I mention that I’m having trouble posting, a ways back in this thread.

Strauss's avatar

I think we need to realize that we as humans have more in common that unites us. The huge thing that divides us fear.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Not greed & selfishness?

crazyguy's avatar

@kritiper On this looong thread, I found two messages I addressed to you:

1. You said: ‘People are too oblivious to their competitive ways. ” This was in response to my reply to @jca2: “I agree 100%. By pointing out something the other side did, one is essentially trying to argue that a wrong by one side is justified by a wrong on the other side. But we know from our general reading that “TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT”.’
Excuse me for feeling that I am missing something in your message.

2. In my new persona, I am going to give you every chance to be specific without being too critical. I will say, though, that I was not able to glean any concrete proposal from your post. You basically said we have too much competition; in other words, we do not have an adequate safety net. Please define how we can beef up the safety net but yet provide some incentive to compete. Obviously, if the government takes care of 100% of a person’s basic needs (food, shelter and clothing) the person may be content to never look for a job. Unless a job can provide more…

If there is a third one you are referring to, please copy and paste it in your response. I have looked over my responses word by word struggling to understand what words triggered your interpretation. I did not find any. Can you help me out?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly I think you are assuming that because a capitalist is making a bigger profit because of his/her foresight and risk-taking investment, s/he is obliged to share some of the excess profit with the workers?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Trying to better oneself is a symbol of ‘greed and selfishness’?

crazyguy's avatar

@Strauss I feel I have more in common with most posters here than differences. I assume that most humans share the following attributes:

1. Desire for love and companionship.
2. Desire to provide food and shelter for themselves and their loved ones.
3. Intellectual curiosity.

Since most of us have satisfied the first two desires, I hope, we seek more fulfillment through #3.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That is not quite what I am saying. Of course we all are inclined to want to better ourselves individually. And there will be those better at it than others. The question then becomes, to what extent are you allowed to impoverish and exploit me (along with others) in order to enrich yourself? Words like “foresight” and “investment” sound noble enough. However, let’s suppose I have the “foresight” to “invest” in politicians to assure my success in self betterment, and you have neither the foresight nor means to duplicate my “investment”?. Would you consider such a scenario a plausible explanation for the rich accumulating ever more wealth at the direct expense of those who “work for a living”? How is it that the people responsible for the greatest economic disaster in the history of the world turned a huge and tidy profit as the only punishment for their “foresight”? What should that tell you regarding risk and reward? Who in the end REALLY takes the risk?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly I was not thinking of ‘investment’ as a bribe. I was thinking of it as investment in an idea, akin to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. Now you can postulate that some success of Amazon and Tesla is probably due to a cozy relationship with some politicians, but I would argue it is primarily due to foresight and ability to take risks.

If you think that Bezos and Musk should give up some of their wealth to their employees, I would say that is solely their decision. Their employees do not necessarily deserve anything for it. If they were smart enough to foresee the success, and invest in the shares, they would have been adequately rewarded.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly As I got accustomed to in the past, you are a slippery customer. I never know what point you are trying to make. It gets buried in your flowery verbosity.

Since I started addressing your posts again, I have thought that you are addressing:

1. Socialism vs Capitalism.
2. Wealth and Income Inequality.
3. Productivity.
4. Investment.
5. Bribery.

I have addressed each one to the best of my ability. Singly, and, in my opinion clearly. BUT each of my responses has been met with a shift of topic or more verbal diarrhea. I will read a few more of your posts; and if I make no headway, I’ll have to concede that my intellect and expression are no match for yours, and respectfully stop responding.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I am not deliberately being slippery. I just offer what I believe plausible explanations for why things are not as we have been taught. And in answer to your latest about Musk and Bezos, what if Musk and Bezos have a choice between elevating the salaries of tens of thousands of workers or donating massive piles of money to a few dozen influential politicians? Which would you say is the SMART investment? Would you dish out tens of millions in raises or donate a few hundred thousand to those politicians opposing the minimum wage?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m telling you that this system is TUNED to insure that the rich get richer. There was a time when everyone believed their lives would improve beyond those of their parents. The truth is that this is no longer the case. The entire idea has now been turned on its head, and it’s working out EXACTLY as it appears. Times get tough. It is no longer the rich and poor who take the hit. Things get a little better, and it isn’t working people who are showered with the benefits. Simplistic answers, like the non rich are that way because they aren’t smart investors is true in the same sense that a zebra can’t fly because it lacks the incentive. The stock market itself is no longer an instrument for investment that benefits the country overall. It has been transformed before our eyes into a casino where the winners are now guaranteed through suppression of working people. It may sound like I jump around a lot, but I am just showing you the number of ways that what we are told and taught to believe as gospel is bullshit.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, just forget it. One of my friends posted a copy paste on her Facebook that the media won’t allow the word God anymore and that Christians are being attacked. It was two long paragraphs of hysteria and paranoia with zero examples of where this is actually happening. Lots of “amen” as answers from her Facebook friends. Two of us asked, “where is that happening?” No answer of course.

It’s never ending. Everyone wants to hate.

Another friend a few days ago during a phone call was worked up that Trump put in tennis courts and they got rid of the Obama basketball courts, and the Trumps were so racist. I had to calm her down and tell her tennis courts have been at the White House since Teddy Roosevelt with some changes throughout the years. Obama painted basketball lines on the existing tennis courts. Total AMNESIA again, you know how I talk about people having horrific memories. That was in the news when Obama did the change.

Strauss's avatar

@stanleybmany I’m telling you that this system is TUNED to insure that the rich get richer.

This has been true for the past 40 years or so, since Reagan instituted the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a/k/a OIRA. This article on HuffPost explains what it is and how it has caused regulation over the past 40 years to be driven more by cost/benefit analysis, ignoring social and environmental costs and benefits not easily translated into dollar amounts.

Among his other first-day directives, Biden signed a memo which could change the way OIRA does business, potentially unleashing a wave of stronger regulations to reduce income inequality, fight climate change and protect public health.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Your two posts are perfect examples of people not being allowed to understand what you are trying to say. The first one tries to malign Bezos and Musk by giving them a Hobson’s choice between a politically correct action and one that may be better for their pocket books. I have two comments on your question:

1. They can do both.
2. Their personal fortunes have not one iota to do with what workers are paid.

Minimum wage is best set by the marketplace, the old supply and demand. You want the minimum wage to go up, then try reducing the number of people willing to work at the minimum wage.

Your second post goes back to #1 in the list I put together – Socialism vs Capitalism. The reason I say that is because you talk about this system (presumably meaning our capitalistic system). I thought we put that topic to rest a long time ago. But just a blame of this system without any recommended improvements is just like whistling in the wind.

The new point in your post is as hard to understand as all the others. You say: ” The stock market itself is no longer an instrument for investment that benefits the country overall. It has been transformed before our eyes into a casino where the winners are now guaranteed through suppression of working people.” In other words if I make some money through stock market investments, I am doing so ‘through suppression of working people?

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie My wife has been trying to teach me a very simple principle for 47 years now. The principle is “Let it go.” I have always had a hard time doing that. When I know I am right, it becomes especially hard. Unfortunately I always think I am right!

By the way, I am soooo impressed with Biden. The number of covid cases is already going way down!

crazyguy's avatar

@Strauss I am not sure if your post was ‘tongue in cheek’ or not. I am going to provide a serious answer anyway.

Any talk about our system being the problem, whether the problem is new or 40 years in the making suggests to me that there are better systems around. Let us see if Biden has the magic wand. To me, more regulations mean bigger government, and that is bad.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@crazyguy You are falling into the same hole as the wulf before you. I am NOT vilifying either Musk or Bezos. YOU bring them up, and my reply is the rules favor THEM to the detriment of the rest of us. Both are ENTITLED to advantages devised by their class to exclude them from the responsibilities imposed on the rest of us. They are ENCOURAGED by the laws which allow the shift of their manufacturing processes to slave wage nations, then permitted to state their businesses headquartered in Ireland to shield their corporations from paying their share of OUR taxes. Can you or I get away with that? When you get to the issue of the minimum wage, the truth is that you will ALWAYS find SOMEONE SOMEWHERE willing to work for less. THAT is a given. The question isn’t about whether or not THIS is true. The question is: what sort of country will ours be when the average wage here compares with that of the Philippines?

As for my contention that the stock market is an instrument now construed PRIMARILY to facilitate the movement of wealth from the people at large to the upper tiers of society, you only need look at the current irrational behavior in regard to the so called “performance” of the market in to that of the society at large. There is NOTHING slippery in my telling you that something is askew when the market is above the moon and climbing while the roads and bridges crumble and the welfare rolls expand exponentially. Don’t tell me I’m shifting the issues. ADDRESS MY COMPLAINTS as I do your own. Point out where I am wrong about anything I’ve said in this thread, and we’ll talk about it.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly The main problem I have with your posts is that they have a helluva lot of complaints about our current ‘system’ (I cannot figure out what exactly you are talking about – democracy, capitalism, the lack of a safety net, or something else entirely.) However, you have no other systems that you compare to ours and ZERO suggestions for improving our system. Perhaps you are an anarchist that just wants to destroy first, ask questions later…

stanleybmanly's avatar

You’re right. Here’s what all the blather and complaining are about. The country is configured on the belief (whether it is openly admitted or not) that capital and property take priority over the people inhabiting it. THAT is as simple as I can put it . The solution? Demonstrate the truth of this to the society AT LARGE. Antifa & BLM should understand that THEY are allied with those same rednecks trapped on the Titanic, fooled into the silly belief that the folks slaving in the engine room are responsible for the plight of the tub.

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly More complaints with no suggestions for improvement. That, my friend, does not advance your agenda one bit.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You don’t believe that replacing the myth with the truth would enable a solution? You may well be right. But I’m asking YOU if the “complaints” are legitimate?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Or do you buy the belief that our problem is the ever popular rag that “people don’t want to work” or that “poor people choose to be poor”? “ the growing homeless population is proof that those so affected are lazy”?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Replacing what myth with what truth? I have a rather simplistic view of the situation. Every country (including the US) provides a safety net, some more generous than others. Anybody wishing to do any better has to work his/her way up. I believe that is the way in every country, including the so-called socialist democracies. The differences are in how generous the safety net is. In this context, note that the more generous it is, the less the incentive to try and improve one’s lifestyle. All that our leaders argue about can be reduced to this – how generous do we make the safety net?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Well let me ask that question another way. How much can you take from the middle and working classes to transfer to to the rich before your head and theirs wind up on pikes? Thus far this requirement for political viability is financed through playing both ends against the middle. The rich are further. enriched through government borrowing of money the rich SHOULD pay in taxes. Is that a fair assessment? How generous can the social net be when sales of Ferraris outrun the the galloping homeless crisis?

crazyguy's avatar

@stanleybmanly Let me try one more time. You obviously believe our society and system are screwed up bad; so what would you suggest form improving the situation? In other words, do you have any concrete suggestions for improving the situation?

stanleybmanly's avatar

And I too will try one more time. The first thing I will do is ask you: do YOU believe our society and system are “screwed up bad”? Of course you do!! That’s why you have posted this question to begin with. The first thing I must do is convince YOU to find the holes in my arguments above. SHOW ME WHERE I AM WRONG. What’s YOUR explanation? You’re a Trump fan. What’s the magahat explanation? Show me why (for instance) trickle down economics isn’t bullshit.

crazyguy's avatar

Whether trickle down economics is bullshit or not, the point is, ‘Is there a better way?’ We both, and everybody else in the whole world, have a desire to address the wealth and income inequality; we differ only in how best to address it. Trickle down economics is a poor answer; until I hear a better one, I guess, I am sold on it.

I think that, before we can agree on the best possible answer, we have to agree on the criteria the answer must meet. Here is my list:

1. The solution must be sustainable.
2. The solution must not completely sap the initiative of bottom-of-the-barrel citizens.

Any solution that meets the two above criteria would be worth considering.

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