Meta Question

BonusQuestion's avatar

Do you think Fluther is dominated by Liberals?

Asked by BonusQuestion (1482points) September 9th, 2008

I suspect the answer is YES! What are the advantages and disadvantages of having such a community dominated by Liberals? If you are a Conservative, do you feel uncomfortable engaging in political discussions here?

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97 Answers

PredatorGanazX's avatar

There are many other means to discuss politics why not use those instead of here ?

BonusQuestion's avatar

By the way, I consider myself a Liberal!

augustlan's avatar

Absolutely dominated by liberals (myself included). I find it wonderful, but I do like it when conservatives share their views and ideals because it opens up lines of discussion and gives me insight into what drives a conversative mind.

arcoarena's avatar

It seems that liberals pretty much dominate the digg, fluther, reddit, and alot of these sort of social networking sites.

If you check digg.com like one in every 5 posts is very democratic in nature haha.

wildflower's avatar

Yes, I get the impression most Flutherites are liberals of varying degrees, which doesn’t surprise me one bit. Think about it, if you’re conservative, are you really interested in new, open, free-flowing debates on political issues – or will you only potentially take part to stand your ground?

JackAdams's avatar

That is my daily prayer, that it is dominated by Liberals.

psyla's avatar

Us extreme liberals will tell you it’s dominated by conservatives. Test it yourself, ask a question about astrology and count how many people mug you.

JackAdams's avatar

There is that…

psyla's avatar

An unfortunate aberration. I’m fluthering from my alchemy lab, which is a sacrilidge.

Harp's avatar

Wow, I guess I never thought of astrology as a liberal issue. Wasn’t Nanny Reagan…

psyla's avatar

Yes, Nanny Reagan was a closet extreme liberal, it was reported that she even had an alchemy lab.

Harp's avatar

I KNEW it!

jasongarrett's avatar

I’m a conservative and the only political “discussion” I’ve seen here are ad hominems and straw men. Already in this thread, for example, the stated assumption is that I’m uninterested in debate or new ideas. The reality is that I’m not interested in conversations that presuppose I’m an idiot.

rawpixels's avatar

I’m a Libertarian or true Conservative.

bodyhead's avatar

I suspect the reason that the reason that all social networking sites are dominated by liberals (or Democrats) is because a lot more young people are liberal. Young people know how to use computers. I know this is a sweeping generalization but statistically, it’s probably more true then not.

I consider myself a middle of the road guy because I agree with social issues on both sides but in government I would be a true conservative.

Government should be small and keep out of the way of the people. We shouldn’t spend more money then we have and we should keep out of the business of nation building.

steelmarket's avatar

America has evolved into a two-party system of government, which I see as a distinct form of government in itself, neither a democracy nor a republic. This evolution has not occurred through legislation but through the entrenchment of political processes and extreme polarization molded by the media.

That said, instead of railing against each other, shouting liberals and conservatives, we should all be righteously pissed that we have been painted into the political corner where we do not have any options.

So, is Fluther populated by liberals? Fluther is populated, like the USA, with folks who have pasted a label on their forehead because they just don’t have enough good choices.

flameboi's avatar

I guees is dominated by open-minded people, sounds better at least!

wundayatta's avatar

Conservatives preserve tradition. Astrology is very traditional. Therefore astrology is very conservative. QED.

Liberals like science, because it has no prejudices. Things are what they are, not what we wish they were.

Harp's avatar

The collective’s political leanings may be a reflection of the avenues through which many of us came to the site. First there’s the Apple connection; I can’t find data on this, but my hunch is that the Apple demographic is more liberal than the general population. Then there were several users who came through publicity in the NY Times, a left-leaning paper. The admins would know better than I what other publicity streams have brought in users, but I don’t think there are many conservative media outlets among them.

Once a bias becomes established in a community, it would tend to be self-perpetuating, because new arrivals of the other persuasion would be less likely to integrate.

bodyhead's avatar

Astrology is a load of nonsense.

Conservatives preserve tradition just as much as liberals. That statement is so broad that it could be my horoscope.

Personally, all of the people I know that believe in ‘astrology’ and ‘guardian angels’ are all liberals.

waterskier2007's avatar

indeed I think it is filled with liberals, just like the city where I live (Ann Arbor, MI), and it sucks. (conservative here)

mamasu's avatar

I think the larger part of the population here, like other sites, leans towards the left. As with any grouping, and regardless of liberal or conservative leanings, we’ll find those who are open to discussion and those who are so entrenched in their beliefs that discussion is carried out via insults and hypocritical statements about those with opposing views. The latter sort seems to be the predominate group anywhere, these days. Those who are willing to engage in actual discussion without a bent toward converting others or just trashing others seem to be in the minority. I think, at this point, most know exactly for whom they will be voting and are less interested in hearing others views or alternate options.

CameraObscura's avatar

I asked this question some time ago with the intent of starting a discussion:
http://www.fluther.com/disc/16911/could-fluthers-political-bias-be-limiting-its-membership/

…should have known it would turn into a shooting gallery within minutes. I still find it amusing that people come here day after day to provide political “questions” and “answers” knowing full well the entirety of responses will be in support of their bias.

In terms of political discussion, Fluther appears to be more a liberal support group than a question/answer forum. I used to engage myself here in political debate but find that it typically turns into a link war, whereby the last person who can find an internet link in support of their argument is the presumed winner. I’m just not someone who’s got a lot of time to spend here debating and finding links. If I sensed there was a real desire for discussion,I’d be much more inclined to join in, but when I’m insulted within the first sentence or two of the question, I’m out.

I think Harp’s got it right as far as why it is so very liberal. I’ve also got to give Harp credit as I’ve noticed he is one of the few left-leaning members who does not present his views in an angry or condescending tone.

Snoopy's avatar

I am “liberal” or “conservative” based on the issue. I am however, a registered REPUBLICAN (gasp!). There. I said it.

I don’t get into political discussion on Fluther or other social networking sites because like JasonGarret above, I resent people pre-supposing I am an idiot. I also don’t like the presumption that I am not interested in open free flowing debates as wildflower suggests above. Comments like that make me avoid political questions.

Answering this is a rare exception. The answer is YES, I think Fluther is dominated by liberals. Like conservatives, they aren’t all idiots either.

I actually long for an open discussion about political topics. Unfortunately, they frequently dissolve into “below the belt” swipes at the “other” side. And I not interested in that…..

Snoopy's avatar

@Camera Obscura.

I totally agree.

BonusQuestion's avatar

Could it be that Liberals are just more vocal here? I mean, maybe there are as many Conservatives but they just don’t feel comfortable engaging in discussions. Possibly because political discussions are dominated by Liberals.

Snoopy's avatar

@Bonus. I think it is a fair question. Anything is possible. But I think what is more likely is as others have suggested above, younger people trend toward the left. I also think it is reasonable that younger people would tend to be more comfortable/adept at using sites such as Fluther.
So, more young people on social sites = more liberals. A sweeping generalization, but it makes sense to me…..

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Is there any site that isn’t dominated by either the right or the left? Anyplace where moderates and pragmatists can get a word in edgewise without being told to shut up?

BonusQuestion's avatar

Snoopy- I agree with that argument. I was just wondering what others think. In fact as soon as you see a change in demographics of a website you see more conservatives. For example in Askville we have a lot of people in their fifties and hence we seem to have more conservatives than here.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’d say I think everyone seems to be welcome here. My perspective as a liberal myself, having come over from Assville, er, excuse me, Askville, has been that over there while we had more of a balance, it seemed the conservatives were far more likely to get into a shouting match, start calling names and acting like, well…did you see the RNC? Not that all the liberals over there were always blameless, but there were 5 or 6 really bad apples over there who would pretty much crap all over any conversation you were trying to have.

What I’ve found here is that there are far fewer conservatives to liberals in the mix, in part because if you go on the chat boards, you’ll find that pretty much the core group that hangs out there are the people who started this whole thing, essentially a close knit group of liberal thinkers, and of course that was bound to draw a more liberal base here to begin with (as compared to Amazon which is far too big to start any Q&A site as a niche market).

But what I’ve found here that sets it apart is that even though several of the more conservative members over there were intelligent and could engage you in a debate where you could agree to disagree, but could actually get some perspective and hash out some issues, there were also several who were obnoxious trolls just hell bent on interjecting their ill informed world view into everything (and don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was ill informed because their world view was conservative, I’m sayin their worldview was ill informed because they were friggin beligerent morons who got all their news and debate ettiquette from Rush, Coulter and Hannity).

Over here I have encountered far more liberals than conservatives, but I’ve encountered a number of conservatives, and I’ve never felt that they were shunned or shut out in any way. I’ve personally engaged in debate with them, and some are more informed and able to support their arguments than others, but I’ve yet to meet one who was beligerent, in fact I’ve seen more beligerent liberals than conservatives here (and I think that’s indicative of there BEING more liberals than conservatives here).

I agree with Camera Obscura’s observation that if you’re called a name right away, you have less desire to come back, however I deal with it differently. Personally when I’m confronted, instead of trying to shoot a “right back atcha”, I try to humiliate the beligerent bastard by using wit to berate them for their ungrounded hostility, and put them in place with facts. But I disagree in that I WILL use links to prove my point if what the link says is germane to the point I am making, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I wouldn’t think of it as “he who posts the last link wins”.

Ichtehosaurus Rex makes a good point…on the internet, any board is going to draw out strong opinions from one side, the other or both, and it makes it hard to have a discussion. But I’ve found this to be a rather welcoming environment (perhaps in part because few disagree with what I have to say), but there is another factor at play here too which perhaps if I didn’t agree with the status quo, would make it less pleasant, and that is the age/maturity factor. This site draws people from all age groups and all walks of life, but it does have a LARGE population of high schoolers who really haven’t learned proper debate ettiquette and have no desire to learn it.

And think about our current political climate, particularly over the last 8 years, which arguably for anyone in their early 20s or younger would be the most formative element of their political awakening. In other words, even if you’ve conservative, you’d have to be wearing blinders to see that W has really had a big hand in creating a divisive political culture…he has not been someone who has reached across the aisle (and indeed, highly conservative and neoconservative thinkers have an agenda, which bipartisanship just tends to keep from flourishing). By having control of both houses of Congress, the Presidency and the courts, the Republicans have been able to shut out Democratic ideas for 8 years and it’s made Democrats hostile and vocal. But rather than extend an olive branch, after 8 years of poking us, he calls us the “angry left”, well goddamn right we’re angry, and he’s the reason why we’re so damn angry.

So you’ve got youthful exuberance, filled by a political awakening in an environment where the norm on the other side is to shout you down and call you names, where your whole life you’ve been shut out of the process, at a time when a young, exciting charismatic black candidate has a good shot at the Presidency, and they find a forum where they have a structural advantage in that they’ve grown up around this technology, built by kindred spirits, and finally, they have a safe environment to express themselves. That’s a recipe for beligerence.

What you have to do, in my opinion, whether you are a conservative, liberal or moderate, is to be vocal about your positions, do not back down in the face of adversity, and make it clear to anyone that in a debate, as soon as you insult and make it personal rather than about the issues, you lose the debate. Don’t put up with verbal abuse, call people on it, and don’t engage in a debate unless you can support what you are saying if someone calls you on it and questions you. Don’t demonize people who post links if you don’t have the time to support your assertions with the source material from which you formed them, then you have no business trying to debate. If you haven’t got facts, just emotions and attacks, instead of you shutting other people up by shouting them down, hopefully you run into someone who can call you on your arrogance and beligerence and take you to school with the facts, and maybe that will shame you into figuring out how to win an argument based on merit and not obnoxiousness.

But I do sympathise with conservatives here…I left Askville in part because I got so damn tired of calling out the trolls. Fortunately, we have a wise and just ownership and moderation here, and if someone does persist in lowering the debate to hostility and name calling, flag as will actually get a response here unlike over there. Do not be afraid to report someone if they are simply name calling and instigating if you can’t shut them up on your own, because the mods here are NOT afraid to step in and say, knock it off, asshole.

I personally have had a LOT of fun here engaging in debate with people with whom I don’t agree, because they CAN and WILL support their arguments, they CAN and WILL keep me on my toes and keep me honest, but by and large, the few conservatives we do have here really do not attack (not all of them know their facts, but few are beligerent).

That is my take, and that is why I am here and not at Askville…I’ve said good riddance because they can’t control their trolls, and I can give a singing endorsement that this is not a problem here.

JackAdams's avatar

I don’t think I would visit here as much as I do, if this place was owned/operated by a bunch of GOPpers.

You wouldn’t be able to post “pro-Choice” remarks or type in the “F” word, if it was.

jasongarrett's avatar

Dale writes a wonderfully huge post about how we can constructively communicate here, and what follows it? Those thought-police Republicans won’t let me swear.

Sigh.

Snoopy's avatar

@Dale. I truly enjoy (prefer, even) to talk to people who don’t think exactly like I do…..unfortunately, I don’t think that this is typical when discussing religion and politics. People prefer to be told that they are “correct” and to be validated by others saying “me too! me too!”.
I can’t be bothered to get into a debate with someone who isn’t saavy enough to have a respectful, intelligent discussion (without vitriolic spewing). Simply put, it isn’t worth my time.

dalepetrie's avatar

Snoopy, I agree with you. However, I argue that you CAN bring the conversation to that level via persistence and via taking a hard line against abusive behavior. I think each of us would rather have everyone agree with us rather than have them tell us we are wrong, but a good discussion is one in which when we are told we are wrong, the reason the other person thinks this is provided, and we are allowed to accept or rebuff their argument.

Essentially, I don’t think the goal is to get into a debate with someone who isn’t saavy enough to have a respectful, intelligent discussion (without vitriolic spewing), the goal SHOULD be (and this is what I strive to make it), to put that person into context that the rational among us can see that he/she is to be dismissed without further thought, in a manner that will make the person either retreat, or rise to the proper level of discourse. If that does not work and the person continues to interject something that is a distraction from the collective discussion, deal with that person in any way necessary to neutralize him (flagging actually works here), and continue to engage with those who DO understand the rules of respectful, intelligent discussion.

dalepetrie's avatar

That and you have to learn to ignore the noise. There are a myriad of people interjecting simple, one sentence opinions with no backup….as long as those comments are not abusive, to me these people are not fully engaged, and I treat this as noise. Perhaps 90% of what you see on some discussions ultimately falls into that category, it’s seperating those from the meat and potatoes that makes it a valuable excersize. If you can focus on the intelligent aspects, ignore those with minimal effort or thought, and eliminate the negativity, you can have an intelligent, constructive discussion which enriches everyone and provides several points of view. It’s a matter of do you fall prey and sink to one’s level or do you rise above it and engage in the conversaton you WANT to have with the people who are willing and able to rise to your level?

bodyhead's avatar

@delepetrie

I think each of us would rather have everyone agree with us rather than have them tell us we are wrong, but a good discussion is one in which when we are told we are wrong, the reason the other person thinks this is provided, and we are allowed to accept or rebuff their argument.

Not me. If everyone thought as I do, there would be no purpose for this (or any) message board. Life would be ungodly boring and there would be really no point in talking to anyone. Parents would be busy brainwashing their children so the children would think exactly like the parents. (draw your own parallels) It would be awful. (or actually more awful if you think this goes on now like I do)

If you give someone an opposing viewpoint, then I’m ready to discuss things with them. Listen to different types of media outlets. Draw your own conclusions. Read papers from overseas to see how other countries view the United States.

allengreen's avatar

I do not think you will find the NASCAR crowd on Fluther.

You many find and elitest housewife or a trust fund middle age cat (not Milo) surfing around Fluther, but even though the news media will not tell you, liberals are the vast majority of Americans. Liberals just do not vote in high numbers, so by default, excluding church groups, Liberals will be in the majority in most groups, except the top 1% income earners, and church groups.

Larssenabdo's avatar

Dominated by liberals—(whatever they are)?

Not sufficiently so.

bodyhead's avatar

Being a gun toting atheist, liberals and conservatives disagree with me constantly.

allengreen's avatar

@body—but you are still welcome under the liberal tent—we have a big tent and we all disagree one with another, but still share the tent. I too am a gun toting, meat eating, suv driving lefty, and happily so.

dalepetrie's avatar

bodyhead,

I think you might be missing the intent, or perhaps I didn’t clarify it well enough. I just meant that in the short term, it’s more “gratifying”, more “satisfying” to be told “I agree” than to be told, “you’re wrong”. I think it’s more deeply satisfying in the long run if you hear opposing viewpoints and are able to evaluate them on their merits. I totally agree it would be boring if we all saw everything exactly the same, each person has a unique perspective, and I value that. So though it was not unsatisfying to have you point out that you disagreed with my point, and it wouldn’t have allowed me to add this greater clarity, which I think is a good thing for all overall, it would have been more of a buzz, an immediate gratification had you instead said “great answer, luvre for you,” or something of that nature. The later though wouldn’t have been engaging. Perhaps if I’d used the terms “gratifying” and “engaging” my intention would have been more clear. Thanks for bringing that up, I totally agree with everything you said (now wasn’t that gratifying?).

bodyhead's avatar

Yea, I hate to do it but I’m going to go ahead and agree with what you said there too.

dalepetrie's avatar

ha…that made me laugh.

thegodfather's avatar

The very act of questioning the establishment is a liberal endeavor, by strict definition of what it means to be a liberal, politically speaking. But, the characterizations that have become pop culture in the U.S. and Europe have distorted what it means to be liberal or conservative. Many think to be conservative means to support the status quo and to be liberal is to speak out for change. In fact, Obama is taking that to the bank to attract votes right now, and it appears to be working well. The more philosophical definition of liberal is: to be open to new behavior or willing to discard traditional values; or, to regard many traditional beliefs as dispensable, invalidated by modern thought, or liable to change. Many folks, myself included, who would be labeled by popular news media outlets or political pundits as a conservative would align themselves with this definition of liberal. I believe the problem is in the semantics, and to ask if Fluther is dominated by liberals is both a yes and a no, only until we can come to a consensus as to what it means to be liberal.

I don’t expect such a consensus to occur, but I will say that I personally hate the labels that people are creating. Attaching categories to people has proved extremely troublesome throughout history; any postcolonial theorist will supply you with ample historical evidence to suggest why it’s destructive to attach labels on groups of people. I refuse, therefore, to assume to understand another person by his/her label. I expect to have to work at understanding others based on one-on-one individual experience and patience.

Knotmyday's avatar

Any libservatives on Fluther?

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m not a big fan of labels either. And funny thing is, if you look at the liberal-conservative continuum, first of all, you really have to look at it in terms of both social and economic continuums….you really have to look at it like quadrants. You have to draw a line from left to right where far left is communism and far right is pure capitalism. Then you have to intersect it up and down where the top is facism and the bottom is anarchism. And if you compare it to a world perspective, we reside in the upper right (right on both social and economic issues…economically capitalist, socially facist) in relation to the rest of the world, Europe in particular….essentially our most liberal politician would be considered conservative by European standards. In our society as soon as someone gets close to the center, the right calls them socialists/communists.

winblowzxp's avatar

I find that most of the time free and open discourse means to a liberal only if you agree with them. They feel, for the most part, that any dissenters are stupid, and worthy of the poor treatment that they dole out to the dissenters.

dalepetrie's avatar

winblowzxp,

That’s stupid, I’m going to treat you poorly now.

;)

bodyhead's avatar

winblowzxp, That’s the exact attitude that I’m working against.

Don’t think that it’s just liberals that act that way. It’s EVERYONE. It’s just harder to see when those same people who are treating others poorly are agreeing with you politely.

dalepetrie's avatar

I see it, and it does work both ways. When I see someone responding without facts but with personal attacks, I call them on it, and I hope if anyone ever catches me doing that, they will do the same, though I strive to make any “attacks” fact based. I’ll belittle the argument if I think it lacks merit, but I don’t berate the person, unless they’re being a beligerent jerk, then I calls it like I sees it. Anyway, I definitely didn’t think it was constructive when conservatives on the other site pulled that garbage on me, and I don’t think it’s constructive when liberals pull it on conservatives here. I do like being around the kindred spirits, but again, there are many who need to grow up and learn the difference between debate and attack. And also, as I said before, there’s a cultural element, we’ve been raised to think that political discourse needs to be shrill.

winblowzxp's avatar

I can get behind that. Just look at what we see in the political realm, especially when it gets down to the wire at election time. Debates that we see between candidates comes laden with attacks from both sides; that’s why a lot of people seem to see it as part of the process, which I just can’t fathom. What we really need to do is bring a little bit of civility back into American political discourse.

grayreason's avatar

Yes…but sites like this mostly reflect the opinions of those under thirty (for the most part) so its understandable.

allengreen's avatar

Most literate people—ones that read and use internet are liberal? I think reading is the threshold—If you’ve read more than one book you must be liberal.

PredatorGanazX's avatar

Who will win this time around ?

gooch's avatar

Yes, I am a Conservative on this very Liberal site. I don’t get very much lurve from you guys but I don’t do it for the lurve. I don’t feel uncomfortable in political conversations here but usually avoid most because I will not change you and you wont change me.

allengreen's avatar

Isn’t that the funny thing about Conservatives? They admittedly do not have the ability to mentally adjust based on new information. To me this seems like evolution in reverse. The ability to adjust, learn, and change is the basic difference between humans and animals, I believe.

So, I wonder, how does one go through life limited by their own minds refusal to consider new information and a new paradigm.

Maybe that is why our country is so fucked up…..Conservatism: The Idealogy that destroyed America.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Republican!

Harp's avatar

Nah, plenty of blame to go around, allen.

Dehumanizing the other side is a dangerous, dangerous business. As another liberal, I feel obliged to call you on this one.

allengreen's avatar

@harp—I had this discussion with SYZ, and what I told her, is that liberals lose elections because we play by the rules. We want to believe the other side will play fair. We are optimistic by nature.

While, the other side:
1 is brutal
2 will do anything to win
3 they think we are stupid

We liberals, politely will lose this election too, because we don’t want to get down and dirty. The rise of the Radical Right co-insides with the rise of Right Wing talk radio, the most brutal and vicious bunch in the world. They are kicking our asses right now, and we are still clinging the the polite rules of discourse.

The time is now, to grab 2 Republicans by the neck, sit them down and make them eat kitty litter. Get into their face, demonstrate how THEY PERSONALLY are responsible for electing the party that destroyed America. Did FDR “dehumanize” the German’s and Japanese? I can say that FDR orchestrated a victory——and it is up to YOU and I to orchestrate a victory to save what is left of a “gang raped” America that is now being handed back to us.

Please do not be mad at me for pointing out the obvious. Ask yourself, how is being polite to Republicans (who admittedly do not consider new information and who are purely driven by idealogy, like Germans in the 1930’s) going to protect our Constitution and preserve our once great American Brand?

Harp's avatar

It’s not a matter of politeness. I’m not opposed to confrontation or calling things as I see them (which is why I’m saying this).

No one will respond to the kind of attack you’re proposing. You’re angry, and you want to vent. I understand that. But how’s that going to sway anyone who isn’t already of your opinion?

I’m not mad at you. I just think you let your emotions cloud your judgement.

allengreen's avatar

I appreciate your thoughts. I learn from folks like you, and I do have an open mind.

But these folks are not like you and I that see evidence and learn and change and grow. These folks respond to authoritarian viceral in your face kind of communication.

Listen, I want to be more persuasive to the pricks, but logic and reason and facts do not get processed by these people, but the brutal Rove wispering in their ear does…

I beleive we need to point out the obvious—Republicans are destroying America! The need to be ostriscized, kicked down, challanged in their patriotism, accused of helping Osama Bin Ladin (like daddy Bush chartering a plane out of USA after 9/11)

Maybe this is not in your heart to be like this, so people like me take the role on, or am I dead wrong? PM me what you think, I value your thoughts…..

wundayatta's avatar

@allengreen: we do have one “weapon” that works: education. All we need to do is educate (preferably at the post-secondary level) everyone, and we’ll change people into liberals, and get this country headed the right way, as well as solving our problems in a much more efficient and creative way.

augustlan's avatar

@daloon: I don’t know if a college education is a permanent solution. I know a few older adults who were raised in conservative families, became liberals in college, and remained liberals for several years after graduation. However, as they grew older and became more disillusioned, they reverted back to their conservative roots. I don’t claim to understand this sequence of events, but I am aware of it…my husband is one such individual.

thegodfather's avatar

This conversation has taken a nose-dive if you ask me. Blaming it all on Republicans is much too convenient, as would be blaming it on Democrats. The blaming game doesn’t work, it generally leads to us-and-them mentalities that lead to violence, at least human history has demonstrated this dynamic. We can challenge each other’s ideas and be very direct in our statements, but let’s not resort to polemics or hurtful language. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood, and however the conversation goes, I think we’ll all at least be better off.

Rather than just point the finger at “the other side,” I, for one, would love to read an intelligent conversation that aims to find a solution of some kind. How can we achieve more unity in our country, and maintain the beautiful pluralism that makes the U.S. a powerful nation? This should probably be opened up in another thread, but I hope this at least gets more treatment than “Republicans are destroying America!” I can respect anyone’s intelligent, well-thought, patient response to these questions, even if I don’t agree with them. People respecting others in their responses has made Fluther a great collective. I hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate as Digg and Newsvine…

wundayatta's avatar

@thegodfather: tolerance is a wonderful thing. Righteousness is not. If people could park their righteous attitudes at the door, something useful might happen.

@augustlan: you raise an interesting point. I haven’t really paid attention to the studies showing that the more educated you are, the more liberal you are, on average. So I don’t know if liberalness is a snapshot kind of thing that could change, or a permanent kind of thing that is fairly stable.

I think our views always change as we age. We know more. We understand more (I hope). So there will be some change. How often it is as dramatic as in your husband’s case, I have no idea.

winblowzxp's avatar

@allen Conservatives could say the same thing as what you said right under gooch about liberals.

That’s the real reason that America is so screwed up right now. It’s partisan politics and it stinks. Instead of working with each other, they have to cut each other, and fleece the voters that their opponent is a bigger crook than they are. Nothing gets done in the Legislature because the members are too busy trying to have ‘their way or the highway’, instead of meeting each other in the middle.

Politicians today are acting more like five year olds than five year olds.

allengreen's avatar

winblowzxp——which political party has presided over the last 8 years destroying America? Don’t the folks in charge deserve to be held to account?

http://americapanic.blogspot.com/ see the video

winblowzxp's avatar

Let me ask you this…if Bush was a liberal, would you still be complaining?

There are a few of Clinton’s deeds which created the turmoil that we’re experiencing now. Does the Community Redevelopment Act ring a bell? Did he not also sign the legislation banning offshore oil drilling? When did we have full employment during Clinton? Let’s not forget the Carter years.

Are you ready to hold those Democrat members of Congress who blocked legislation to regulate the subprime lenders? It’s been proposed by McCain, and even the Bush administration. Why can’t we hold the Democrats responsible too? Wasn’t it 2007 when the bubble burst? Who was in control of Congress then?

All that strengthens the point above. Government works for the benifit of Government, instead of the people it governs.

dalepetrie's avatar

Actually winblowzxp, for what it’s worth, George HW Bush signed the moratorium on offshore drilling, not Bill Clinton.

And yes, if a democrat had f’ed up the country the way Bush has, I’d still be bitching.

Only difference is, I predicted this back in 2000. I was like…OK, they basically took the son of a President who clearly has no real personal interest in the job, and groomed him by installing him as the Governor of Texas so he could say he had “experience”. I fully suspected he would start a war we didn’t need, he would decimate consumer protections and would destroy our economy.

And as for 2007 being when the bubble burst, first of all, arguably the beginning of the end was actually in 2005. I work in real estate, so I know this first hand. And even if you want to count what has happened since January 2007 against Dems because they are in control of Congress, they do not have a filibuster or veto proof majority, and Bush, who “strangely” hadn’t vetoed ANYTHING the Republicans had sent his way, began to use his veto pen like it was going out of style. Nothing is getting done because Republicans are lock step obstructionist at every turn. Dems have been trying to put through laws that will fix our problems, but Republicans just want to push us further in the same, failed direction.

winblowzxp's avatar

What control does a President have over an economy?

dalepetrie's avatar

Interesting that you throw out blame towards Clinton and Carter, then when I rebuff you, your answer is, what control does a President have over an economy, as if you’re saying, “well, doesn’t matter anyway.”

Truth is, we are supposed to have 3 branches of government keeping each other in check so that no one branch has too much power. Only problem is, for 6 years, we essentially had the two bodies which most directly impact policy (foreign, domestic, economic and otherwise) run by one party with one vision, one agenda and almost zero dissent among the ranks. When you have a President, who like Bush, is “my way or the highway” in all things, and who has the lock step support of Congress, it could be argued that he is the single most important element in setting economic policy. And further, at every level of government, during this reign, Republicans were redistricting to build larger and larger majorities at all levels of government from local on up, they were appointing judges who had extreme right wing ideologies in line with those of the President and Congress, and when time came to appoint 2 Supreme Court justices, extremely right wing candidates were presented. Essentially, Bush worked with Karl Rove to try to restructure everything so as to create a permanent Republican majority.

And make no mistake about it, whenever Bush was unable to get what he wanted through Congress (because Dems did at least still have the power of fillibuster), he would create signing statements and essentially just went around Congress if something was essential to his agenda. And they did indeed have a very strong economic agenda which essentially favored a free market solution to everything, including those things which have traditionally been done by the government. They have opposed regulation of industry at every turn and have decimated most of the regulatory oversight we’ve had in place for decades (indeed Bush on day one began replacing heads of various agencies with lobbyists for those industries…essentially he put the fox in charge of the henhouse…COMPLETELY his doing.).

Bush essentially overstepped his bounds, and ensured that industry was allowed free reign in the market with minimal oversight, and it is THAT which led to the financial crisis we are seeing now moreso than anything. That’s the top level…at the bottom level, he took away funding for the most vulnerable people in our society and increased the ranks of those living below the poverty level significantly.

And the funny thing is, the Community Reinvestment Act (not Redevelopment) which you reference, was put into place by Carter to make sure that banks were making money available to more people so that they could buy homes. For 30 years we didn’t really see people buying more home than they could afford, because we had regulations regarding creditworthiness. Clinton’s 1995 changes to the act opened up borrowing to more small businesses and lower income borrowers, and in a way he left open a loophole (which could have been closed after the program had been in place for over 5 years which was the time period in which it was specified that the law should be reviewed to see if it was having the intended effect, putting it on Bush’s watch). Indeed, Bush by loosening regulations and not tightening them on investment banking allowed banks to start willy nilly lending out money, and indeed targeting poor, stupid people who didn’t realize what an ARM was. Under Bush’s watch, no one was minding the store. Indeed, I bought my house in 1997, I had to produce an assload of proof of income, bank statements, pay stubs, etc. I refinanced in 2006, I pretty much just had to sign my name.

You tell me if a President can make a difference.

allengreen's avatar

Don’t get me started on Clinton, with NAFTA, ect——I hold Dems to a higher standerd since they are supposed to be for the people.

With Republicans, we know we are getting fucked and so don’t expect much. Unlike Republicans, Democrates don’t follow their party like the Stepford Republicans.

Dems in general put Country ahead of party, while Republicans would follow a “puppy kicker” (see tinyfairy to decode that) to the gates of hell——like you have over the last 8 yrs——-

winblowzxp's avatar

Dems put party ahaead of everything, so do Repbulicans.

@dale: The changes that Clinton signed would have had to have been changed not by Bush, but by Congress, which they didn’t bother changing.

dalepetrie's avatar

And who ran Congress in 2000? Seems if the Republican Congress had wanted to really make sure they were plugging up holes there so things like are happening now couldn’t happen, Bush would have signed on the dotted line like he did with everything else the put in front of him.

Re Republicans putting party ahead of Country (and everything), I agree, this is what politicians do. But allengreen’s point is, when we’ve had Dems in control of Congress, usually there are some dissenters against the party line, when Republicans run Congress, this is far more rare…it’s much harder to get a Republican to cross the aisle for the greater good than it is to get a Democrat to do this…history shows this, particularly the last 8 years.

SeventhSense's avatar

Check out this other question. Most intellectuals on Fluther, myself included, are left of center and libertarian. The issue is how left. Is it Dalai Lama, Gandhi or Pol Pot and the Unabomber
http://www.fluther.com/disc/37541/where-do-you-stand-on-the-political-compass/

rdorian's avatar

Will you Libs please get over your assumptions about who we conservatives are? I am a PRO-CHOICE Buddhist, Angel believing, Chinese medicine, herb-witch, Gay-loving, CONSERVATIVE. I pray you will open your eyes about politicians. They have a disease- power seeking and greed. There are no exceptions. To idealize any of them is to abdicate adult responsibility. As for whether or not Libs dominate these sites, I would say, probably, because they tend to be people who want to flock together into a comfy agreeable group. I would like to, but I find that now that I am a conservative, “Diversity” includes all the people who look different but are identical in all views. Since I came over to this camp, suddenly I am treated with hatred. It is so predictable, how all the Liberal warmth dries up when I pop the magic bubble of their assumption that anybody who looks like me is all in the party of Love.

skadu's avatar

I believe that if everyone will live their lives based on morally sound principles (truth), care for those in need, and do their best to provide for their own, we will enjoy peace and happiness. If we do not live morally sound lives, our freedoms will be lost and we will become subjects to those who we give control over us. Freedom is maintained by having moral discipline. Once we all get on this page, we will kick out the corrupt politicians (whatever their political label) and replace them with representatives who will preserve freedom lead our country responsibly, according to the voice of the people.

SeventhSense's avatar

As for whether or not Libs dominate these sites, I would say, probably, because they tend to be people who want to flock together into a comfy agreeable group.
Oh and I guess The American Conservative Union, not to mention Rush and his ditto heads, O’reilly with his Fair and Balanced brigade, Coulter with her…bitch brigade and the name of the party itself the Grand Old Party is a coincidence. They coined the phrase good old boy and consistently flock together like sheep around one issue like abortion or guns. The only difference is that none of them ever seem to be black sheep.

And there are radicals here on Fluther whom I have little in common with, so it’s all not “right or left”. There are many shade of gray as you point out. You start out by not wanting to be pigeonholed and then you go on to retreat into “your bunker” placing the libs on the other side of some imaginary fence. Huh?

But I do agree that politicians are self serving, completely spineless creatures for the most part. At least the ones that we consistently elect. And this is pretty plain when you watch a comedian such as Stephen Colbert interview one who completely accepts any nonsense that comes out of his mouth rather than risk offending a constituent. I agree with Plato when he said “the greatest politician is the one who doesn’t want the job”.

Educated people are often liberal in their politics because the liberal approach to humanity is best representative of the freedom with which their minds operate. And although fiscally conservatism is often thought of as a Republican domain,it is far from partisan. The last democrat was was the most fiscally responsible and intelligent leader of the past two decades both eliminating the deficit and creating a surplus. So yes I think that fiscally responsible conservative approaches to the government are important just not at the cost of the masses.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

It’s hard to tell because because alot of conservatives have been keeping quiet on these forums because all it leads to is heated arguments and leads to name calling and personal attacks.I’m conservative and I feel that liberals tend to get angry at anybody discussing conservative values. I cannot post a religious question(with atheist liberals) or state I am against abortion without Liberals ganging up on me with pitch forks. Say something against the “green” movement and they act like you committed the worst blasphemy. You can’t criticise Obama at all in front of a liberal Seems that liberals today roll their eyes when a conservative mentions the word terrorist. Act as if we shouldnt even use the word. The one thing that angers me the most is that liberals think conservatives are stupid rednecks. They are not all stupid rednecks. Do I think liberals are all stupid hippies? No I don’t. Do you know what a liberal told me about blue collar workers? That they have no skill and are not to be taken seriously. That’s the backbone of our whole economy.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Mikelbf2000
True we need to be more sensitive but that’s the one thing that I find as a liberal as so offensive about many conservatives. They don’t see it as insensitive but I find their indifference to the very existences of many people as the greatest insensitivity.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

I’ve seen people on both sides show indifference to the existance of many people. Most people are indifferent to others. I learned that the hard way.

SeventhSense's avatar

Indifference to opinions is not equivalent to indifference to human lives.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@SeventhSense I never met a conservative or liberal who was indifferent to human lives. We all have morals and values and a sense of right and wrong when it comes to human lives. Both sides seem to be indifferent to human feelings though. That really upsets me.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Mikelbf2000
Where should I start? Nixon’s relentless carpet bombing of the North Vietnamese knowing we were pulling out of the country killing tens of thousands of people needlessly.

George W.Bush invading Iraq under false pretenses that posed no threat to us and killing tens of thousands of people needlessly?

If this is not indifference what is it? Compassion? It certainly had nothing to do with protecting people either directly or indirectly.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@SeventhSense Was richard nixon a conservative? He was republican but than again John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson were Democrat and thats when U.S started getting more and more involved in Vietnam which was really an unnecassary war. or was it? Communism was and still is a threat to the free world. Were they libs or conserv. Were they Liberal or Conservative Democrats. Who knows. you proved my point you start pointing your finger at us. Saying were not careing and evil. Bill Clinton had the opertunity to capture Bin Laden but didnt take Sudan’s offer to arrest and extradite Bin Laden to the U.S. for trial. Why??? Why not capture this evil man and put him to justice? I dont understand why you liberals think you are so perfect.

SeventhSense's avatar

I’m talking about very specific instances of the Vietnam War and yes Nixon was very conservative. He tried to infiltrate almost every aspect of anything that even hinted of those who were against his policies.
The Bin Ladens have direct links to the house of Faud and the former President Bush and even business in Texas. In fact his entire family was hurriedly escorted from the country after 9/11. Why did that occur? Bin Laden was not an enemy of the state while Clinton was in office.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@SeventhSense The Bin Ladens are not responsible for the actions of one of its family members. The Bin laden family disowned Osama bin laden in 1994. The Clinton administration made the capture of Osama Bin Laden a top priority. Had the chance but let it slip. The war in Afghanistan is a justifiable war. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are our enemies and will always be a threat. I have friends who are in the military who will give you a mouthful when you say that Iraq is an injustifiable war. They heard horror stories from the civilians of Iraq about what Saddam and his government did to them.They feel they have a chance to help make Iraq a better nation. Afganistan under the Taliban was a nightmare. Maybe conservatives are not indifferent to the lives of others. Maybe they are just more willing to use tough action against those who are indifferent to the lives of others. We are all quick to judge Bush but do you know how to be president when you are givin intel that says Saddam was a threat. You believe him to be a threat and Invaded Iraq only to have people think that you are doing it for oil? We will never know for sure because there is no evidence for us either way. I doubt the Government will ever share confidential info to the normal population. What if in time evidence surfaced that Bush was right about Saddam and Iraq? Roll your eyes all you want to. You will never know for sure and niether will I.

dalepetrie's avatar

FWIW – @Mikelbf2000, there actually is evidence, albeit much of it circumstantial that we invaded Iraq for oil and not for altruistic purposes.

Point #1 – The PNAC, an organization which was created during the Clinton years by the people who would become Bush II’s first cabinet, which was dedicated to the proposition that we should make America a dominate force by engaging in multiple, simultaneous theater wars in the Middle East, starting with Iraq, in order to create a pro Western Democracy in the region in order to ensure energy independence for the future.

Point #2 – A year before the Iraq war, well before they started to build a case for it, Bush was on record saying in a Cabinet meeting “Fuck Saddam, we’re taking him out.”

Point #3 – Bush had vowed revenge on Saddam for Saddam’s attempted assassination of his father.

Point #4 – The evidence that was used to sway the American people into buying this war was the assertion that Iraq had purchased yellowcake uranium from Niger. The document supporting this assertion was a clear forgery and did not even contain the correct signatures. Joseph Wilson had evidence that the Bush Administration knew well before the document was ever used by Bush in his State of the Union address that the document was a forgery which had already been discredited, and he knew they were going to use it for support for their case anyway, so he tried to do something about it. The administration was so hell bent on this war that they outed his wife Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, destroying her long and distinguished career, simply for revenge for trying to get in the way of their plans.

Point #5 – Dick Armey told Congress that we needed to act, and we needed to act now, because they had incontrovertible evidence that Saddam already posessed a suitcase nuke, not as the American people were told, that we were trying to prevent him from doing so.

Point #6 – Though UN weapons inspectors were making progress towards determining that Saddam’s WMD capabilities had been crippled and never recovered, it was the drumbeat of war that forced them out. They were never given the time they needed and the reason for this was stated repeatedly by Bush Admin officials that the evidence of Saddam’s WMD capabilities COULD come in the form of a mushroom cloud. It was Fear Tactics 101, yet nothing has yet come forth to demonstrate what the Administration was afraid of. Simply put, there WAS no credible evidence of a WMD program, because as history has shown, there were no WMDs.

Point #7 – immediately following 9/11, Rumsfeld asked his people to look for a link to Saddam. When they reported that there was no such link, he told them to look harder. A story, later discredited, was leaked to the press linking Iraq to one of the hijackers.

Point #8 – most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, but Bush and his family have valuable business ties to the Saudi oil barons, and as such, a link to Saudi Arabia was never pursued.

Point #9 – for the first 5 YEARS of his Vice Presidency, Dick Cheney continued to draw severance/golden parachute payments from his former oil company employer Haliburton, a company which was given several billion dollars in no bid contracts for Iraq reconstruction, and which continuted to receive this preferable treatement even after it was demonstrated that they couldn’t account for 67 billion dollars in taxpayer money.

So bottom line for me is, as you said, we don’t know all the evidence, no one has been convicted of anything, but I sure as hell would support a trial to get to the bottom of it, because enough of it points to war for oil and very little points to war for altruistic reasons. Remember, it was only AFTER WMDs were not found (and after Bush even made a little joke at one of his fundraiser meetings by looking under the podium and proclaiming “no WMDs here”) that we were told that the reason we went after Saddam was because he was a bad man. Look at how quickly they got this guy executed btw, jeez, no time for a trial which would have revealed just how embarrassingly close the US government was tied to Saddam WHILE he was committing the attrocities for which he was hanged.

So, having said all that, I have to go back to your original statement that Conservatives don’t speak up here because it leads to heated arguments, name calling and personal attacks. Well, now two liberals have taken you to task about htings you have said and have put forth verifyable facts in support of their assertions. No one has attacked you or called you a name as far as I’m aware, and indeed, this site in particular is very strict about removing personal attacks and name calling. The thing I really LIKE about Fluther is our ability to agree without being disagreeable, unlike most other forums (where I have often been personally attacked and called names by so-called Conservatives). Bottom line is, if someone attacks you here or calls you a name, report it, that’s uncalled for, period. But you WILL expect that liberals (of which there are literally hundreds on this site) will ask you to back up any assertions you make supporting Conservative beliefs, and will be very vocal about their own beliefs, and will expect anything said to be verifyable. If that scares some Conservatives off, I would suggest that THOSE Conservatives don’t have the facts to back up their rhetoric.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@dalepetrie All that can be argued. All of it. I heard so many different things to villianize. Everyone thinks they are the great expert on politics. How do you know that all that you listed could be assumptions not truths. You dont know. If they were facts then I would think Bush would be standing trial by now. He isnt and he never will. Im waiting for a liberal to become unpopular and the tables turn. It’s like liberal think they have the best leaders. They don’t. I think the only reason you ate up all the anti bush allegations is because you yourself are a liberal. If you were a coservative or moderate you would have dismissed it as assumptions from politcal opponets. Politcal opponets who hands are no cleaner than Bush hands.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

@dalepetrie @SeventhSense Please note that Saddam Hussein was paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Mass graves have been found in Iraq and Saddam was a terrorist. Iraq under Saddam had high levels of torture and mass murder. Wether or Bush had a different reason for the war is debatable. The world is better off without Saddam funding terrorism and killing 500,000 to 1,000,000 of his own people. He was a monster as was his sons.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 -

#1 – PNAC can not be argued away. It existed. There is a signed charter agreement from 1996 which lays out the plan and which contains the signatures of all the major players who pushed for the war.

#2 – Bush was quoted as having said this when peeking his head in the door during a meeting between Condi Rice and 3 Senators, I assume Time Magazine does fact checking.

#3 – Bush did mention in his speech to the UN during the lead up to the war that in 1993 Iraq had attempted to assassinate a “former US President” (as well as the Amir of Kuwait), and has been quoted in other meetings on record (such as in a 2004 summit with Mexican President Vicente Fox) that it was his administration’s goal to enact regime change from day one, as evidenced by his enforcing no fly zone rules over Iraq in his first days in office. Yes, this one, there’s no smoking gun to say that Bush wanting revenge was what drove him in all or in part, a point that as you say could be “argued”, but quite a bit of evidence to support that assertion does exist in the public record.

#4 – It is a matter of public record that the yellowcake document was a) a forgery, and b) known as such before Bush’s State of the Union using it as a rationale for war. It is a fact that Valerie Plame, wife of Joe Wilson who has proof that he personally tried to alert the White House not to use this evidence was outed as a CIA agent. Hell, a Bush official (Libby) was convicted of this.

#5 – Claim was made in a book by journalist Barton Gellman where he claims that Armey was given this information by Dick Cheney himself, who knew it was a lie. Gellman is quoting Armey himself who was angry at having been bullshitted by Cheney.

#6 – I was there and saw this with my own two eyes and heard it with my own two ears. There WERE weapons inspectors, they WERE asking for more time, they WERE denied more time by the war action, and no WMDs were found.

#7 – Claim made by former Bush administration terrorism expert Richard Clarke on 60 Minutes.

#8 – Look at where the hijackers were from, it’s undeniable they were mostly from Saudi Arabia..fact. Look at Bush’s families business ties, Bush Sr. has major holdings in Saudi Arabia…fact. There is no evidence that any link between 9/11 and Saudi Arabia was ever explored, doubtful we wouldn’t know about such an investigation if it happened.

#9 – Incontrovertable proof exists that Cheney was paid $250k a year for the first 5 years of his Vice Presidency (more than his VP salary) by Halliburton. Incontrovertible proof exists that Halliburton was awarded billions in no bid contracts. Incontrovertible proof exists that Halliburton couldn’t account for $67 in taxpayer funds.

You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. When I hear facts about liberals that I don’t like, I, unlike many Conservatives I’ve seen, do NOT choose to ignore them. I quite frankly don’t trust Democrats much more than I trust Republicans. And the idea that there would have been a trial is naiive…who was going to try Bush when Bush was in power and had both houses of Congress? And Pelosi before she even took over as speaker of the House took the option of investigating Bush off the table. Republicans watch after their own and Democrats are pussies.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

im neither Republican or Democrat. I dont understand the hijackers nationality had anything to do with them committing the 9/11 attacks. Timothy Mcvey was an American but America didnt blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. All Im trying to say that conservatives are not heartless.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Mikelbf2000
I don’t think anyone is heartless or above reproach by nature of a political label but if the evidence of a party position points towards an approach which is less than honest it needs to be recognized. And I am not saying that either party is above reproach but we need to recognize what each party is actually doing.
I have no problem with Afghanistan although I do truly question the true nature of our operation there*. As Dalepetrie points out there has been a desire for regime change in the entire region for many years. We’ve both supported and funded both Iran and Iraq at different times historically so this is hardly new. And much of this I actually think is beyond any one administration. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we see wars passed from administration to administration with apparently very different ideologies yet both ironically following the same policy.

*Read Target Iran by Scott Ritter. It’s a well written and comprehensive work by a former weapons inspector in Iraq who was very vocal but ignored as to the absence of WMD’s in Iraq. Of course he was vindicated but we need pay attention again as we hear voices trying to make a case for the nuclear arsenal of Iran. It’s pretty clear that we are now more than ever strategically positioned around Iran as we have troops in both Iraq and pushing ever further west through Afghanistan. I think this has everything to do with oil and the stability of future stocks. And we may have many unspoken allies throughout the world. Not too many are fond of the Iranian government

dalepetrie's avatar

@Mikelbf2000 – my only point re the nationality of the hijackers is that unlike McVeigh, where there was one guy, we’re talking 15 out of 19 hijackers being from one country. Seems like there is a bit more of a link between 9/11 and Saudi Arabia vis a vis nearly 80% of the hijackers were from there, than there was between 9/11 and Iraq, where the best they could come up with was that one of the hijackers had visited there the previous summer. Just think maybe someone should have checked into that, and I have to wonder if the fact that the Powers that Be had financial interests in the country might have overlooked certain things for political expediency (not that Dems wouldn’t do and haven’t done the same). I also never said Conservatives were heartless because I don’t make blanket statements. I will however agree with @SeventhSense in the fact that Conservatives tend to look at the dollar cost first, where Liberals tend to look at the human cost first…seems if there is a moral high ground to be had in terms of a claim to having a “heart” for one’s fellow man, looking at the price tag first is not the way to achieve it. Conservatives also have a very strong record of putting tax breaks and incentives in front of those who least need them (businesses and the wealthiest Americans) while cutting benefits for those who most need them out of a sense that it’s good business and what is good for business is good for the economy and what is good for the economy is good for everyone. The idea that prosperity trickles down (eventually) is a strongly held Conservative principle, whereas Liberals believe prosperity wells from the bottom up. For 30 years in this country we tried the top down approach, the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer, more people are unemployed, homeless, without insurance, without basic necessities than at any time in our history and this is what robbing from the poor to give to the rich has wrought in the opinion of most Liberals. Now, I could spend hours debating why this is so and trying to prove my point, but what’s not important is who’s right or wrong, what’s important is that when Liberals see Conservatives as looking out for the people who need it the least and kicking those who need the most help economically speaking (and we see tons of evidence to support this conclusion), it’s not hard for Liberals to think of Conservatives as heartless. I’ll just give one example of what type of legislation creates this belief. In 2003, the maximum tax credit (not writeoff, but actual credit, meaning the Federal government would PAY you) for buying a 6,000 pound plus vehicle (i.e. a Hummer, or something else that gets 10 mpg or less at a time when we’re supposed to be worrying about conserving fuel) was $100,000. Which basically meant that if you had enough money to buy a Hummer, the government would pay you back almost all of what you spent. This was Bush’s Administration’s plan and they called it a small business incentive and said it was to help stimulate the economy, when the majority of the money made on these vehicles would have been in the form of profits to non USA oil companies. Yet, at the same time schools, libraries, and all manner of social programs were seeing budgetary cuts. Shortly after that, this same administration forced fixed income Seniors into Medicare Part D, a program with literally hundreds of confusing competing plans into which one would have to lock participation into just one with little or no insight as to whether it was the right choice, and yet the government would not allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. This meant that both the government AND the lowest income, most vulnerable people in our society were forced to pay more money than they should have had to, and multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies reaped the benefits in record profits. There are countless examples over the last 30 years of how Conservatives have cut taxes and upped incentives for the wealthiest, and cut programs for the neediest. Policies championed by many if not most of the Conservative lawmakers and leaders that have been in power for most of our collective lives have favored the more fortunate and victimized the less fortunate. And that seems heartless. So you can argue intent all you want, but Liberals see that for the first time in history, our generation is not going to do better than our parents. When I was growing up, my parents had guaranteed pensions, they had pretty secure jobs, if you got sick you could go to the doctor, you could get glasses every year and go to the dentist twice a year even in the hardest of times. Conservative ideals have done away with pensions in favor of self directed 401(k)s because of the drumbeat of “personal responsibility” but now there are no guarantees for the golden years. 50 million people are uninsured, health care is unattainable without insurance due to cost, and health insurers and health care providers make record profits year after year….all that started with Nixon and was pushed through by Reagan. What liberals want is for someone to look out for the little guy. What conservatives seem to want based on their rhetoric and actions is everyone to take complete responsibility for themselves regardless of whether they were dealt a bad hand or were victims of circumstance beyond their control. And that’s why Liberals think Conservatives are heartless.

I however judge each person on a case by case basis. I’m primarily liberal, but not a Democrat, however some of my ideas are Conservative. I simply believe in people before profits, and that seems to be anatehma to Conservative ideology, which is what gives the impression of heartlessness. But back to the original issue, I don’t call names, I don’t accuse YOU of being heartless, and I think most people here don’t name call in that way. So again, I think there ARE more liberals than conservatives here, but if the conservatives are afraid to speak, it’s because the liberals here are very logical and systematic (and persistent), and much of what passes for Conservative (particularly Republican) political rhetoric these days is name calling, shouting down one’s opponenet and building straw men. Politics has always been a rigged, dishonest game, but trying to see things purely objectively, there are simply FAR more documented lies which have come from the right than from the left in my lifetime, and I think most true liberals think politics is bullshit and wish we could replace it with outright honesty, as we believe if this were to happen, a good share of the people who think they’re conservative would realize that they’ve just been bullshitted into believing they are. Now that’s just my opinion, but it’s based on a lifetime of observation.

SeventhSense's avatar

@dalepetrie
I agree with much of what you said but it’s not all black and white. Business incentives benefit small business owners as well. As per the truck I seriously doubt that many were doing that. I know there was legislation passed in 2007(2008?) which would have allowed one to write off the entire purchase price of a truck for a business that was over a certain weight class within its first year rather then its depreciation rate over its lifetime and that was a very good thing. It’s really nothing new. A business expense(truck) can always be deducted but just generally over the lifetime of it use or the term of the loan.

I actually purchased a pick up for my business in 2008 and was grateful to have that write off for a necessary purchase when gas was up near the 4.00 price. I was paying about 600 month in fuel and this allowed me to offset the cost. This year I claimed an 11,000 loss because of the economy. I am very grateful for not having to pay taxes on money I don’t have. If it weren’t for these measures I would go under.

P.S.-More paragraph breaks please. It just makes it easier to read.

dalepetrie's avatar

Sorry about the paragraph breaks, and I agree with you, it’s not that black and white and yes we DO need small business incentives, I agree with that entirely. I just think it’s that “kind” of thing that makes Liberals have a knee jerk assumption that Conservatives are heartless. Or stuff like that Senator who blocked the extension of unemployment benefits for 200,000 long term unemployed people for 5 days just to make a point about “how we gonna pay for it.” Like he would have said, “Oh, OK” if they’d said, let’s increase the capital gains tax so that the wealthy are paying the same 38% on unearned income that they’d be paying on earned income, instead of the 15% rate they enjoy now, the same rate that the poorest Americans have to pay.

The real problem with Conservatives is the hypocrites who pretty much want to cut spending over and over and over until government no longer serves its people rather than creating a fair tax system which doesn’t gouge the poorest people and benefit the wealthiest. It’s all in how elected Conservatives over the past 30 years and beyond have always decried high Federal tax rates and play the PR game so that your average schmuck says, “yeah, why should I have to pay a higher tax rate if I were to work hard and get ahead, why bother,” when the truth of the matter is, it’s not about the Federal tax structure, but the total taxes people have to pay. Right now, someone can pay $0 in Federal taxes and still put out 30 to 50% of their overall income in varoius taxes, while someone who made millions in the stock market could by using the relatively small capital gains tax and a variety of tax shelters they can afford that most of us can not, and they end up paying about 10% of their incomes in various taxes. They sell the lie to a lot of people that they’re about lowering your taxes, while they’re really doing everything they can to screw the little guy and give the rich money they don’t need.

And it’s such a shell game, because you lower Federal tax rates, you can lower them across the board, still have what appears to be a progressive tax rate (and Federal taxes were MEANT to be progressive to balance out the effects of all the other regressive taxes we all pay), while giving huge tax breaks to people who don’t need them. They make themselves out to be heroes because they also lowered taxes for the poorest Americans, but to do so, they had to cut Federal spending on benefits programs these people relied on. And they cut aid to states and counties and cities, which in turn raise their taxes (which structurally are usually regressive in nature) and cut THEIR benefits to make up for the revenue shortfall.

I have no problem with incentives for small business, but when I hear that the maximum allowable CREDIT, not writeoff, but CREDIT for a Humvee in 2004 was $100,000, that’s a far cry from you buying a truck that you needed for your small business. That’s a giveaway to the wealthy. And THAT is what pisses Liberals off, and when we see repeated examples of this kind of behavior in Republican leadership, it becomes almost a stereotype that Conservatives are heartless bastards.

Again, I judge people on an individual basis, I’m just explaining where that stigma may come from and how it was honestly earned by a large number of bad apples who masquerade as today’s Conservatives.

SeventhSense's avatar

This is an interesting article that laureth posted about the nature of Texans opposing the health care bill by about 87% while ⅔ of them are without full health care benefits
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8474611.stm

Sinqer's avatar

Yes, as in today’s concept of liberals.

The word ‘liberal’ has actually reversed definitions over the years. Liberals once stood for individual freedom (from government restriction; hence the bill of rights) and its natural consequences; and now they desire government legislation that increases taxes to support those efforts they deem appropriate, and legislation that reduces individual freedom for the sake of specific groups or minorities being treated how they desire by said private individuals.
I’m a libertarian if anything… less laws equals more freedom… Most of the things our federal government is doing today, they have no business even legislating at the national level, at least according to the original ideas set forth in our founding documents (see tenth amendment).

I find argumentative people, emotionally reactive people, hypocrites, and pontificators on all sides. But I find it amusing that both sides say the exact same things about the other, and neither understand how it’s true about themselves.

@dalepetrie Your accusations concerning conservatives are way off base. I would question your clear understanding of the economics of the nation, or economics in general. I made 50,000.00 a year at my last job. I paid ⅓ of it to the federal government (I know because I do my own taxes). Plus I had to pay my portion of my healthcare. Then Obama comes and says he has a plan to increase taxes (originally claiming it a penalty, but then the legislation would have been unconstitutional) so I can also start paying for other people’s healthcare, many of which have no intentions of ever getting off the welfare system, and why would they?

I hear this notion a lot these days, this idea that large businesses don’t pay any taxes and get away with it. It makes me wonder how much the people claiming this understand taxes. Big businesses most certainly pay enormous amounts of taxes, but in the end, no business ever pays taxes, it’s passed onto he consumers. In order to maintain a sustainable (not go into bankruptcy) profit margin, businesses have to increase their prices to cover tax hikes, and that includes each business along the chain all the way down to the consumer. And that causes non-beneficial inflation. Also, those taxes hinder economic growth; the businesses can’t grow to open new jobs for people that need them.

@SeventhSense I find the article very one sided and poorly representative of why conservatives are against the healthcare reform. It’s because we have no problems shouldering the responsibilities of our own lives and health; we don’t look to all tax paying Americans to pay the government money to turn around and take care of us when something happens. We don’t consider other people responsible for our lives, health, and well being. In the same vein, we don’t like the idea that others force legislation that takes our money against our will in the form of taxes to relieve others of their responsibilities for their lives, health, and well being. If and when I have the resources to help others, I can do it just fine on my own, give to charities, even help someone off the streets.
You might say it’s a matter of self-sufficiency, something once closely tied to the concept of maturity. The article mentions Texans, and Texans never asked for national aid when hurricanes hit unlike other states started doing. Why? Because those 87% will rebuild it… self-sufficient. And that’s why many conservatives are quite angry. They don’t want to force liberals to do anything, they just want liberals to stop forcing conservatives to support programs they disagree with.

That’s probably more than enough. I could explain the entire monetary circle, and explain why conservatives refer to it accurately as socialism. But I’ll spare you :)

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