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Politics lacks intelligence, geeks look the other way

By Theovon in Op-Ed
Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 06:40:16 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

Every technically minded person and scientists complains about the state of American politics. It's awful. Our online rights are being taken away by people who don't understand technology. All our other rights are being taken away by people who give no thought to rights or individual freedoms. And then what about sound leadership and diplomacy? Neither of the two major candidates this year were competent to be president -- how did they end up being our only major choices?

I know this sounds like a rant, but I have a point. Things don't have to be this way. We do have the power to fix it, if only we can band together and made a statement.

One of the things that bothers me about politics is the apathy I see among the intelligent toward politics. Oh, sure, they TALK about it a lot, but they don't actually DO anything. I don't see techies and scientists banding together as an effective political force to shape our world in an INTELLIGENT WAY. Instead, we leave politics to the politicians who act based on party policy and personal agenda, rather than the welfare of citizens. This has to change.

How many of you really believe that either Bush or Gore is the least bit intelligent, ethical, or concerned about American citizens (not to mention the rest of the world)? How did these people get to where they are? The answer is money. They buy their votes. They're the only ones anyone knows about, because they advertize themselves into popularity, while the minority candidates are totally unknown.

The only way to combat this is to play the same game. We have the internet. We know how to use it, and we can reach people. The intellectuals need to speak up and show people the value of having an intelligent decision-maker in the white house.

One candidate that I came to like very much was John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. Not only is this guy bright enough to be a Quantum Physicist, but he also seemed to have a political awareness and concern for people and the country that our mainstream candidates just don't have. The unfortunate thing is that I didn't hear about him until he responded to a Slashdot questionaire. That's probably my fault. I didn't look hard enough or care enough to look. But once I became aware of this person (and the Natural Law party for that matter), I started to feel just enough hope to start to care.

I think many of the educated elite are like me. No faith in politics. The political process works only because there's enough fighting between parties to filter out the crap. But the idea of having someone INTELLIGENT there to come up with GOOD ideas to start with is unheard of.

I'm sure not everyone reading this likes Hagelin. That's not my point. My point is that people like him should be the ones running for office, not dolts like Bush and Gore. The only way to combat that is to create wide-spread awareness of these better candidates among the American people.

A friend of mine mentioned that when he was in college, they held formal debates, and one of the topics revolved around the idea that the intelligent people abdicate their political responsibilities, and this is responsible for the predicament we are in. I totally believe this. We need to take responsiblity for our lives here and make our due influence over Law and politics. There is no room for anyone to complain about the loss of online rights or the lousy state of American politics if they have themselves made absolutely NO effort to change things.

The bottom line is that we need to form an organization that weilds this kind of influence. We need a group that has money, takes corporate donations, and everything else in the fight to make Americans aware of the minority candidates who have meaningful and positive things to contribute to our society. WE need to assist the minority candidates in making themselves and their views known to everyone. We need to turn minorty candidates into majority candidates and change the landscape of politics to value intelligence, reason, and the concern for human welfare. This sounds like a massive effort, but if only those people who read this site were involved, we would have more than enough to get things started in the right direction.

Educate the world. Make people think. Show people that there IS a better way. Let's have leaders that actually have some ability to lead, and in a direction that makes things better for everyone.


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Politics lacks intelligence, geeks look the other way | 62 comments (50 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Repetition as a method of learning? Alt ideas? (4.00 / 3) (#4)
by vastor on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:51:35 PM EST

Basically you're repeating what so many people keep saying about politics (particularly in the US it seems, though things don't seem vastly better here in Australia). Everyone keeps saying there should be some entity but nobody seems to be forming one (which is understandable - if people were inclined to do so there wouldn't be this problem in the first place).

For some reason I've been looking at things a bit differently lately - perhaps forming a meta government is what should be done. An organisation that sits independantly and is non-political itself however lets people take as great an interest as the individual wants.

So how it'd interact with existing gov't is you'd vote for the Open Gov't Party and its representatives (if thats what it was called). Then you would engage with the Open Government structure as you want. So you could vote on individual bills if you want (or you could nominate someone to vote on bills for you or a combination of both - your vote defaults to a chosen representative if you don't vote directly). But the point is, you can interact with it however you want and then the final decisions of all the Open Gov't participants are pulled together as a mini-vote and whatever is decided is how those in the "real" elected positions have to vote.

But it could be a totally flexible system - as complex as the individual wants or as simple as someone wants. Why shouldn't you be able to nominate Bob for law and order issues but Steve for foreign relations and Jane for environmental stuff... with the option of voting direct if thats what you want. Or you could just nominate Mack and leave everything up to him and never vote again. Create a structure that will let people have as much say as they want (or as little) is what I think should be advocated first - we don't expect one sized shoe to fit all so why should we expect one voting system to suit all (it doesn't if the number of people that bother to vote is anything to go by in the US).

but... there are so many to choose from (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by bgalehouse on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:55:21 PM EST

There is a world of political action groups out there. The problem isn't creating one, the problem is finding one. We don't need more, we need more of an index.

There should be a website. It should index political action groups, making it easy to seach for one near you with similar goals. It should be cheap or free for such groups to post self descriptions and work so gather supporters, discuss issues and solutions to it, etc.

We need a freshmeat for political activism.

[ Parent ]

Too many groups (none / 0) (#32)
by vastor on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 05:12:42 AM EST

That was part of my point - there are lots of groups out there, we probably don't really need anymore despite the perceived lack of geek oriented ones.

More groups probably aren't really the solution, but certainly if there was some kind of meta gov't setup then it would provide links to all the participating groups and organisations (or it should at any rate).

Have you tried your local university? I know there were fairly active groups for the major parties at mine as well as green and socialist groups. You might find green is fairly compatible with geek too (the green movement seems to be much smaller in politics in the US compared to here).

Thing is, there aren't really 'political action groups' (to the best of my knowledge) . There tend to be lobby groups and there tend to be political parties.

Oh, another thing that could be checked is the electoral commission. I'm fairly sure all registered parties here have to have publically available contact information and there are parties that range from the 3 day week party to 4WD and Leisure political parties as well as the more mainstream ones.

Personally, I'm kind of happy with non-political discussions of issues like takes place online typically. Party politics tends to have a lot of baggage with it that I think we can do without.

[ Parent ]
Too many groups because... (2.00 / 1) (#52)
by bgalehouse on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 12:58:51 AM EST

Because none have reach. If I were starting a freeware project and I wanted it to have reach, to gather developers and users, I'd put up a website. But I'd also make sure it was listed on freshmeat and/or sourceforge. These are where people go when looking for free software projects. If you were starting a political group, where would you list it?

I live in northern CA, I know that there are plenty of activist groups. But besides any which bother me by knocking on my door which open palms, the best seach tool/catalog I have for them is google.

As far as discussion is concerned, some politicians would get eaten alive on a site like this - and they know it. Making it easier to respond and be heard would trim a lot of pork from political discourse.

I think it is a question of role and perception. If you see it as meta-government, it becomes a political entity in it's own right. Freshmeat is a software project in it's own right. But the goal is not to be a great example of a software project. The goal is to support other projects.

[ Parent ]

nifty! (2.28 / 7) (#5)
by vsync on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:06:59 PM EST

I completely agree. Unfortunately, I think that you're being unrealistically optimistic in thinking that people will band together into any kind of cohesive political force. Also, keep in mind that no matter how many geeks agree on something, the media will always report it as "geeks agreeing on something", sidelining the movement and only causing more laws to restrict whatever's going on (Napster, DeCSS, ping even!).

More and more I feel that we are rapidly approaching or have already passed some kind of threshold. Soon the only available outcomes will be a quick violent revolution (hopefully) or decades of subjugation to an unthinking "majority" before this new empire collapses.

One quick note: The comments directly concerning the U.S. election were good, but it would have been nice if you had generalized to politics in general later in the article.

"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."

"Geeks agreeing on something" (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by Theovon on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:21:23 PM EST

Thanks for your feedback. Just one thing I wanted to mention was that it would be most productive for geeks (techies, scientists, etc.) to create their own media. We have the internet. It's a good place to start at and grow from.

Movements which alter society start from the strangest places. Without Linux, "open-source" wouldn't be such a popular buzzword. :)

The objective is to create a mindset in people at large that well-educated, intelligent, competent people should be in office. Not liars and failed businessmen. The idea is to make an idea popular. Propogate a meme. :)

[ Parent ]
Many Flaws in the Political Process (3.83 / 6) (#6)
by General_Corto on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:08:21 PM EST

I'm not American, so you'll have to excuse any lack of understanding that I admit to or show here. However, as an outsider, the following things seemed *very* strange:
  • No Standardized Ballot
    There were many different versions of the ballots which people filled in... not just the people on the ticket (I'll get to that in a moment), but also the format the ballot took. Butterflies, punchcards, all sorts of strangeness, and that's just Palm Beach County. There should be a federally-mandated format for all ballots to take, which follows a very clear, consistent method of displaying each candidate, party affiliation, a logo if deemed useful, and so on.

  • Varying Lists of Presidental Candidates
    If you lived in Nebraska, you probably didn't have the same list of candidates to choose from as you would have if you lived in New Hampshire. This seems to be due to the fact that each state decided on which candidates are listed on a ballot. Someone seems to have forgotten that the Presidency is a national post, not just a state position.
    My feeling on the matter: If you're going to run for President, you have to meet some form of reasonable criteria (i.e. make a deposit with some nonpartisan group, or something which proves you are serious about your entry), at which point you are counted in on the national ballot. Clearly, it would not be beneficial to have to search through a huge ballot for your person (hence the use of a logo as a visual cue), but I guess the most likely candidates to win would be first on the ballot (yes, that's a bow to two party politics, but it makes most peoples' lives easier), with the position you hold on the ballot dependent on your liklihood of winning.

  • No Simple Way To Find Out About All Candidates
    In order to give the public the best possible chance to understand each candidate's positions and platform, there should be a well-known website which is required to link to all candidate websites, as well as give details about how the ballot will look and other pertinent information. Just because someone like Bush and Gore have a warchest of millions and a cast of thousands helping their quests, all other candidates should be at least accessable.
That's about all I can think of right now. These three things are the least that a serious democracy that is stands for openness and honesty could expect. Maybe someday, somewhere, we'll see something like it.

I'm spying on... you!
Re: Many Flaws in the Political Process (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by Perpetual Newbie on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 10:25:06 PM EST

No Simple Way To Find Out About All Candidates
In order to give the public the best possible chance to understand each candidate's positions and platform, there should be a well-known website which is required to link to all candidate websites, as well as give details about how the ballot will look and other pertinent information. Just because someone like Bush and Gore have a warchest of millions and a cast of thousands helping their quests, all other candidates should be at least accessable.

They'd find ways around that. Why list all two hundred and seventeen(give or take a few) presidential candidates, when most of them aren't serious? It's a waste of resources, we should only list the candidates that have significant public support(defined by us), Bush and Gore. Oh, we have to list them all? Okay, we'll put Bush and Gore at the top, and intersperse Nader, Hagelin, McReynolds, Browne, and Buchanan randomly throughout the other 210 canidates where you can only find them if you're specifically looking for them...

That also begs the question of whether the government should be involved in this. See the measures that were put into place to support equal time for all canidates, are now being used to suppress the major third parties with the full support of the public because it's "fair" and legal. Funny that most of the third parties now want Congress to implement more of these measures, Libs being an exception.

The reason people don't know about the other canidates is because the media, in general, only supports the two major parties and word-of-mouth doesn't get around. I wasn't passing out any pamphlets this year, were you? It would be a ridiculous idea to force the media to give time to third parties; Not only is this unfair to the media, but the powers that be will change the law to declare the third parties too insignificant to deserve media time, and will use it to force free air time for their canidates. In my opinion, the best way for the third parties to get some attention would be to pool resources and mass-produce a pamphlet that explains the issues supported by each involved party. Public awareness has to be gained from something they and their supporters do, rather than wishing for a magic bullet from government.

[ Parent ]

Missing the point of the site... (none / 0) (#30)
by THEWeirdo on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 03:38:21 AM EST

> Why list all two hundred and seventeen(give or take a few) presidential candidates, when most of them aren't serious?

Because it's up to the voters to decide if a candidate is serious, and, if so (or even if not), whether they want to vote for that candidate.

> It's a waste of resources, we should only list the candidates that have significant public support(defined by us), Bush and Gore.

But the idea is to let people know about candidates they might not already know about.

> Oh, we have to list them all? Okay, we'll put Bush and Gore at the top, and intersperse Nader, Hagelin, McReynolds, Browne, and Buchanan randomly throughout the other 210 canidates where you can only find them if you're specifically looking for them...

First: alphabetic is a nice sorting order. Second: if some body wants to find their favourite candidate's site, they can simply press Ctrl+F, /, ?, or whatever their browser uses for its search function.

But, then, politicians aren't known for logic...
  - THEWeirdo

"Better paranoid than sorry" -- Me
[ Parent ]

No, it isn't a national post we are voting on (none / 0) (#39)
by error 404 on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:02:44 AM EST

Due to the fact that this particular hunk o' land is a Federation, we humans don't vote for Presidents. States vote for Presidents. We vote for people to represent our respective States in the actual Presidential election.

OK, we did have a war about it and the people who said this is a Federation lost, and we force little kids to say "One Nation Under Dog, Invisible" and a lot of us think the line "of The People, by The People, and for The People" is in some kind of govorning document (it isn't) and the party that formed to argue against Federalism has changed its mind and now argues for Federalism. But we still vote as a Federation.

That causes some big problems for your first and second suggestions. The United States really doesn't have a say in the layout of State ballots, nor in the list of candidates that a State is proposing to vote for. For the third, that web site, I say it's a great idea. Do it.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Simple Way To Find Candidates- Project Votesmart (none / 0) (#55)
by tjlangem on Tue Nov 21, 2000 at 02:33:38 AM EST

Project Vote-Smart is attempting to make politics accessible to those with computers through a website similar to what you describe. Just type in your postal code and it will bring up a list of elected officials and candidates. They also have a toll-free telephone number for those without internet access. They're always looking for donations, interns, and volunteers. I'm thinking of applying to their computer department after I graduate.

[ Parent ]
Interesting... (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by Forum on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:27:45 PM EST

How many different times/people are going to have to bring this up? Obviously it's a concern, at least for some of us. Not more than a week ago, I advocated something very similar. (here) The approach is different, but the fundamental idea remains the same. Something needs to be done, and we can do it. As the old adage goes, "There is strength in numbers." Feel free to contact me at the email address listed above, I fully support this.


-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
Mime Trapped in a Collapsing Dodecahedron... (4.08 / 12) (#12)
by eskimo on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 06:44:34 PM EST

I am not sure I understand your point, other than that you want geeks and scientists to unite in some sort of Ayn Rand wet dream and educate the poor, uninformed masses.


Hagelin is not better. He is different (a little too different sometimes).

I like the idea of a sort of third party advocacy group to further the causes of all third parties, which could collect and manage funds, and provide exposure. The catch is, unless you get that covetted link at the bottom of a CNN story on Eddie Vedder in a mosh pit with Nader, you will still pale in comparison to almost all other news sources.

But do you think you could mold an army of geeks into a cohesive group as singularly purposed as the ACLU, promoting Pat Buchanan with the same fervor as Ralph Nader?

If not, then where is the credibility? Without credibility, how do you topple the media, or the parties, or apathy, or...okay, so I can't name 12 things that are pressing in on this idea. But there are a lot.

The fact is, the candidates should inspire the people. And while Bush and Gore did little on that front, the third parties did even less. John Hagelin and Pat Buchanan and Harry Browne, and even Ralph Nader all made piss-poor Don Quixotes, and there were a lot of windmills they were trying to tilt, including Bush and Gore.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto

Actually... (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by Demona on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 08:17:48 PM EST

Rand made it a habit to converse often with "the (wo)man on the street, and was quoted as saying that the average person was far more intelligent than "elitists" liked to give them credit for. Sounds like you need to learn a bit more about the woman, instead of the philosopher. She's a fascinating, if somewhat tragic case study in talking the talk and failing to walk the walk when it came right down to the things that mattered most to her personally.

See Judgment Day: My Years With Ayn Rand, as well as this C-SPAN interview with the author, Nathaniel Branden. You may be very pleasantly surprised. At the very least, you'll have a more complete picture.


anarchocapitalist (which would have sent Rand into a flaming tizzy, from the sound of it)


"UGH. *smile*

"god. i don't know if I can forgive you. fuck.

"*sighing* that's somewhat gross, you know."

- a very smart, fun young woman I met on the Internet and then in person. Still one of my bestest friends, too.

[ Parent ]
Fair Enough... (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by eskimo on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 08:41:54 PM EST

I am probably a little beyond even amending my personal philosophy, but learning is coolio with me. The C-SPAN interview is good stuff. Ty.

I am my own home. - Banana Yoshimoto
[ Parent ]

Educate the world. Make people think. Uh huh. (3.87 / 8) (#14)
by Speare on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:18:38 PM EST

Two quotes sum up my opinion of this whole writeup.

    You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think. --Dorothy Parker

    Wisdom seldom flows through an open mouth. --unknown

People need to be ready, on their own, before they'll learn anything, before they break their habits, before they crawl out of an otherwise apathetic status-quo.

You can't "educate" people, but people can educate themselves if you make information available in a way that connects with them. I think there's plenty of commentary and advice on all sides out there, so that's not the issue.

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
Beware the Natural Law Party? (3.00 / 5) (#15)
by SbooX on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:22:59 PM EST

There has been some criticism of the Natural Law Party. There are those who think that the NLP is simply a front for the Transcendental Meditation movement. Many consider the TM movement to be religious or cultish. The only site I found that talks about this is on TranceNet.org. I'm wondering if any K5ers out there could point me to any other criticisms, or rebuttals to these claims. I largely agree with the views of the NLP and Hagelin (if we had preferential ballots here, I would have ranked him second most likely). I even voted for Dale Friedgen who was running for Senate in Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy. However, if the NLP is a front for TM, I cannot support the party. So, anyone got any resources?


god is silly. MGL 272:36

P.S... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by SbooX on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:26:03 PM EST

Yes, I do realize that trancenet.org has some credibility problems. Thats why I need some more info.


god is silly. MGL 272:36
[ Parent ]

i'll only say this.. (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by radar bunny on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 08:14:49 PM EST

In 1992, i saw an add for the natural law party and called the 800 number to get the free brochure. The majority of the brochure talked about transidental meditation. I remember specifically that it said (about 3 times IIRC) that if the square root of 1 percent of the population would practive transidental meditation then the whole population would improve (i.e. crime and poverty would go down).
so, if a city has 4.5 million people then only 211 people need to practice this to improve society. (if i did my math right -- umm 4,500,00 *.01 = 45,000 (squared = 211))

anyways this is from a brochure i received in 1992 that i don't have to give to you, so take what i'm saying as it is.

[ Parent ]
British NLP, From the BBC web site (none / 0) (#31)
by Burb on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 04:12:36 AM EST

The NLP put up seats for the last British general election, in 1997. See the BBC website.

Some snippets...

The party's ideology is based on research into natural law and yogic flying. Its leader, Dr Geoffrey Clements, teaches transcendental meditation at the Maharishi university. The NLP wants more people to practise meditation as a way of solving society's problems. Policies Perfect Health: use natural healthcare system of Maharishi Ayur-Veda to create a disease-free society.

Crime: eliminate stress in the individual and society and reduce the prison population through rehabilitation programmes.

Defence: create "an invincible armour of positivity for the nation by establishing a Prevention Wing of the military - a group of 7000 Yogic flyers, 1-2% of the armed forces. Their daily drill will neutralise all negative tendencies coming from inside and outside the country and radiate peace and harmony to the world, transforming any enemy into a friend."

Foreign Policy: govern from "the holistic value of Natural Law - equally nourishing everyone and everything."

[ Parent ]

Missed this point (none / 0) (#33)
by Burb on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 05:30:20 AM EST

What I also meant to say was that in Britain the NLP is quite open about its connections to the TM Movement, as a matter of record.

I seem to recall this was the subject of a legal case in the USA back in the 70s or 80s. Something to do with church/state separation and the possibility of teaching TM in schools. I don't recall the details or the outcome.

[ Parent ]

Natural Law Party (none / 0) (#56)
by PenguinWrangler on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 10:12:44 AM EST

They're hilarious! All that footage on the news of serious-looking guys with their legs folded bouncing along a mattress covered floor!
Incredibly funny stuff!
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
reality check (2.75 / 8) (#17)
by wolfie on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 07:38:35 PM EST

Yes, great idea, back to reality..

Disclaimer to people who don't care about the state of politics in the US:
First of all you should at least care.. since it probably will impact your country in at least some, even minor, way.. as the US is the largest economy in the world, not to be blind and say "we do everything better than you" - we don't. Second, I think there's enough US nationals/residents here that discussing this isn't such a big deal. Last, nobody is stopping you from talking about politics in your own country. anyway...

The presidential election is a popularity contest in this country.

Notice how many speak of the debates as being the turning point?

I've been seeing things to the effect of:
"Bush looked better coming out of the debates"
What the heck does looks have to do with anything?
So one's a smooth talker? hurrah, let's elect a snake to the presidency.
Not that that would be anything new..

I digress..

WHY do all the intelligent people not have much visible action?
Because they're not a majority, a democratic republic like the US is not about what is BEST or what is FAIR, or what is RIGHT, it's basically a monarchy except instead of succession you get to pick one of the two.

Face it, none of these third parties are going to be elected anytime soon.
Frankly, I wouldn't want them to, some such as Nader, are just idiots with big mouths (activists), terribly unsuited to the office in my opinion.

Note: I have nothing against activism per se, they [the far right, and far left] keep things interesting, I just tire of listening to people rant about all things extreme, just for the sake of being different.

The truth is, while there are a lot of bad things that go on, and stupid laws that get passed - guess what, things aren't that bad (Ok, maybe if Bush gets in ..err...).

But then I'm not going to say we all crawl back into our holes [dorms|offices|cubicles|homes|cozy_place_goes_here] and "leave politics to the politicians".

Going with the idea that "things really aren't so terribly bad after all", and that we aren't likely to have a dramatic shift in the distribution of power (largely) between the two major parties... where does that leave us in trying to make any change?

Stop looking at these parties as your enemy, first off realize, that they really aren't that different, but that's good! Well.. sorta.

What it does mean is that the things they tend to agree on, tend to be things that already work pretty darn well. With the remainder being things that are just silly.. (the whole pro-choice/life thing), and won't ever really be settled, since they tend to be more in the philosophical/spiritial realm (what is life, etc - lets not go into that); and the rest are things that are important.. at least to us.. the whole big vs small govt debate, taxes, privacy/crypto laws, environment, defense, etc.

How do most of these things get changed? In the presidency? I think not..
Although he certainly has a role in that.. more so in the last 80 years or so, the legislative and judicial branches are important!

Plus, they get to hang around longer, aren't caught so dramatically in the spotlight if they smoke up, or get a blowjob, and tend to be a lot easier to get into office (you only need decent statewide support). In the case of a small state, with regard to senators, there's 2, and 2 from rhode island or alaska have just as much theoretical power as those from say.. california (although in reality, the ones from a big state probably have more clout, and such), still.. at the end of the day.. 2 votes.. is 2 votes, no matter who voted.

So I suppose what I'm saying here is.. start small. think big.
You're not going to go from having 95% of the popular vote go to two parties, to having 30-40% go to a 3rd party candidate, in a few years, and as I've said, this is not such a good thing IMO.

this was more of a rant than anything /me watches it get rated down.. hopefully it was coherent/relevant, post your comments!
- brian.

Third Party Candidates (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by AEtherean on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 10:42:40 PM EST

I agree that it will take time and effort for a third party candidate to win the presidency, but I wanted to point out that a third party candidate was able to get almost 20% of the popular vote in 1992, and close to 30% in a few states (even over 30% in one).

Was this because of the quality of the third party candidate? I would suggest that it was not. I believe the depth of this candidate's pocketbook had far more to do with his ability to gather support than the depth of his character.

Money wins elections.

As an aside, the really sad thing is that if he had gotten 40% of the electoral vote, and "won" the election, he still would not have won the presidency. In that case (with no single candidate winning a majority of electoral votes) congress would decide who is actually president.

True campaign finance reform is sadly needed. But sadly, only those who are in power because of their money are in a position to implement the change.

Over 85% of U.S. Senators are millionaires.

[ Parent ]
re: Third party candidates (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by wolfie on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:51:25 AM EST

indeed, the campaign finance reform reminds me of having people vote to increase their salary or not.

i also agree, clearly money is the typical route to presidency.

perot was probably not the 'typical' 3rd party candidate, but one nonetheless. As you've said, even if he had received a higher percentage of the vote, it would be virtually impossible for him to reach office.

in my rant, clearly i overlooked some issues.. that's why it was.. well.. a rant. frankly i hadn't even given perot much thought (8 years is a long time ago when you're 18).

anyway, my main motivation behind it was to attempt to promote a more 'grass-roots' effort, although frankly i hate that term as it tends to be overused as a buzzword. basically get good senators and rep's in, i think this would be the start of a solid base.
people are always talking about 3rd party candidates in the presidency and thats fine, but i maintain that a solid base (say you had 30-40% independents in the houses) would be a prudent stepping stone.. anyway i'm ranting again..

- brian.

[ Parent ]
Please explain (none / 0) (#58)
by chickenhead on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 11:34:40 AM EST

Face it, none of these third parties are going to be elected anytime soon. Frankly, I wouldn't want them to, some such as Nader, are just idiots with big mouths (activists), terribly unsuited to the office in my opinion. Note: I have nothing against activism per se, they [the far right, and far left] keep things interesting, I just tire of listening to people rant about all things extreme, just for the sake of being different.

Would you kindly mind explaining just what the hell you're saying here?

I don't understand how you tag Nader as an activist, claim activists aren't suited to holding office, and then go on to say you're not against activism. And then you claim they rant, as if that was unique.

I don't get it. Where were you going with this anyway?

[ Parent ]

Utopianism (3.25 / 4) (#18)
by Demona on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 08:04:56 PM EST

"All it takes is the right people in charge"? Right for whom? Smart in whose opinion?

The stereotype comes to mind of wolves and sheep voting for dinner. IMO, the world would be a far better place if people would learn how to/be willing to govern THEMSELVES, instead of everybody else.

When I hear the word "intellectuals"... (3.42 / 7) (#23)
by MeanGene on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 09:48:14 PM EST

... I reach for my gun.

Seriously, there's no person more dangerous than a resourceful idealist ("an idiot with initiative").

There're rules to the game. Until the masses understand why Democrats and Republicans do not further their cause, working "through the system" is futile. Working "outside the system" means risking major upheaval.

Let's take a look at the history...

Realistically, all of this has been tried in Russia in the 19th - beginning of the 20th century. Educating the populace (mid-19th) didn't work. Terrorism (late-19th) didn't work either - although Stalin made quite a career for himself "expropriating" banks for the cause. What was left was a revolt led by some of the sharpest minds of the time (make no mistake about Lenin and Trotsky!). The result was endless bloodshed and suffering, and an empire that was re-built at a great cost only to turn into a banana republic shortly after it's "exclusive" leadership degenerated into slime.

There's a reason for the "stupid rule" - until the masses are not ready, the solution will be rejected. Karl Marx framed it this way: "A problem can be formulated only when the basis for it's solution is at hand."

P.S. What's a "Quantum Physicist"? Why do people have to butcher physics over any other science they don't understand?

You're wrong (4.00 / 5) (#26)
by DemiGodez on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 11:53:08 PM EST

Not only should this be op-ed, but you are totally wrong. I personally know a lot of technical people, very intelligent people, who care very much about the state of politics. Whatsmore, they are not unhappy with the current choices. As usual, the people of K5 do not necessarily represent technilogical people as a whole.

If you want to make a statement about K5 readers, be aware that there is a high percentage of open source, *nix using people here. That's a subculture, if you will, of technologists as a whole. There aren't a lot fo MS programmers here, but they constitute technical people too, regardless of what some of us might think.

I personally am very conserative. This menas 9 times out of 10 I support the republicans, but there are times I disagree and would tend more toward libertarian. I am a strong supporter of Bush and find him to be very capable of being a great president. I mention this not to incite flames, but to illustrate that your overall point that we're all unhappy and don't like the candidates is incorrect. I know many other technical people who favor Bush or Gore, but stand behind their candidiates and could not be said to be disappointed with the candidiates in general.

Re: You're wrong (none / 0) (#60)
by SEAL on Tue Nov 28, 2000 at 04:28:12 PM EST

Well, his post was a generalization, but to say he is totally wrong is a stretch. The problem, is that the U.S. political system is heavily biased towards the two major parties, leaving little other choice. The Republican and Democratic candidates must cater to the widest possible audience in order to have a chance of getting elected.

Gore and Bush are very good at grabbing their target audiences, which have high voter turnout. That's why we hear so much about health care, social security, etc. Older people vote more than younger folks.

As for K5 -- I think it's bad to make ANY assumption about the political views of the readers. Sure there's the stereotype of the pot smoking hippie bleeding heart liberal Unix guru from Berkeley. But let me tell you - that's not me, and it's not a lot of other people here.

Who am I? I'm a single late 20s game programmer. I use both Linux and Windows. I like snowboarding. I also went to the U.S. Naval Academy and served active duty. I don't use drugs. My strength and fitness are as important to me as any technical thing you could name. Not exactly your stereotypical geek.

How about a sampling of my political views? I generally support environmental issues (e.g. Bush's plan to drill for oil in Alaskan national forest land pisses me off). I'm not libertarian. I think individuals are too self-centered to be trusted with making policy -- look at logging communities, for example -- all the trees would be gone if they had their way. At the other end of the scale, though, I don't like huge national government. I'd rather see block grants to allow local governments to control where to use the money. I am pro-choice. I don't like welfare. I prefer a strong military. I don't want to lose my right to keep a gun. I don't like corporate interests trampling on individual rights (copyright / DMCA). I don't like the Christian right telling me what my morals should be.

So tell me - who am I going to vote for? The big-spending, military-cutting, welfare-subsidizing, gun-banning Democrats? Or the tree-chopping, anti-abortion, corporate-suckup, moral-police Republicans? Or a 3rd party / independent?

A 3rd party sometimes makes sense depending on the office they are running for. But in many cases, people like me are left with voting for the lesser of two evils, because there is either no 3rd party candidate at all, or none with any chance of winning.

Anyhow that long-windedness was just to give you a sample person (me) and detail out why the major parties don't fit my needs. The original poster wasn't totally wrong - he just over-generalized.

Best regards,


It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]
You hit the nail on the head. (none / 0) (#62)
by erotus on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 03:39:28 AM EST

I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. The major parties have a platform of issues that define them. However, not all people agree with every issue of their respective political party. I know Republicans who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. In otherwords, these folks are rich corporate types who don't want their money going to the government. These Republicans write off dinner parties and booze binges as company expenses. These guys are Republican only to save their pocket books and nothing more and they have nothing in common with poor/middle class Southern Baptist moral types who want to save unborn children. This group votes for Bush only because he is a "good ole boy" just like one of them. He's got that Texas twang and he claims to read his bible daily. Clearly, there are few similarities between the two groups I've just described.

I have a friend who is of the former type. He is a fiscal conservative who is almost an atheist. He hates the christian coalition and supported John McCain in the primaries because McCain finally stood up and said that the Republican party had swung too far to the right and that the christian coalition had become a liability to the party. McCain was attacked vehemently by the christian right and by Rush Limbaugh. There are more Republicans, like Colin Powell, who are pro-choice and only push fiscally conservative ideas while not really pushing a moral agenda. Just as you described your conflicts, my friend described his conflicts and reservations about his own political alliance and I can't help but agree with him. The moral police have ruined the Republican party. The moral police have no place in government and anyone can clearly see this if they read manuscripts written by our founding fathers.

As far as Democrats are concerned, I have my own mixed feelings about their party platform. The problem really, is that they too have to appeal to several groups to gain a majority vote. The Democrats have to please feminists, minorities, pro-choice advocates, etc. I do not agree with all of their views nor do I agree with all Republican viewpoints. One can generalize that White, Christian, stupied, Gun lovin, rednecks vote republican. One could also generalize that cream puff liberal, hippie, pot-smoking, street poet type people vote Democrat. While I'm sure that these sterotypes may hold true in extreme cases, they are not true of the middle ground individual. Maybe someone from within the respective parties could stand up and make changes however, I personally believe it's going to take a 3rd party candidate to make any real changes in this country. There are more and more people, like yourself, who are just as fed up with both of these parties as I am. The day of change will come - it is inevitable.

[ Parent ]
Why form a new organisation? (3.60 / 5) (#27)
by Rylian on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 12:54:50 AM EST

What's all the deal with running around and forming political organisations? Hasn't anyone heard of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Software Foundation, League for Programming Freedom, Peacefire, Netaction.... I could go on.
My point is that the world is a big place; no matter what your cause, someone out there has the same ideas as you and has already formed a lobby group. You'll be more effective joining an existing group than starting up one of your own (think of the parallels with OSS development).

As a side note, most people are wary of "rule by experts" and would be unlikely to vote for someone solely because they appear intelligent viz. the current US elections.

As another side note, they're right to be wary. Intelligence is no guarantee of leadership abilities, or of morality. Plenty of dictators have been very smart people; it just makes them believe that they know what is best for everyone.

Time delay (2.00 / 2) (#35)
by Beorn on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 07:05:22 AM EST

I see several intelligent people in the media who hasn't lost their faith in politics, so I suppose you're really talking about "us", a new generation of netizens. You have seen something, and you're annoyed that middle-aged politicians haven't seen it too.

I think there is a natural pace to cultural change, which involves a time delay between someone getting a new idea, and everyone accepting that idea. About a generation or two. It's difficult to speed this up in a democracy, and it wouldn't be a good idea if it was possible. Ideas needs to be tested, developed, and often abandoned.

What you're talking about is an interest group, which is different from being a politician, who has to live with compromises, and navigate between party guidelines, public opinion and personal ideals. The best way to educate people about new technology is to let the technology do the education. Technology is very good at this, (look how TV spread throughout the world). Much better than intellectuals, anyway, although a bit slow.

I suppose what I'm talking about here is patience. Not the timid patience of the whiskey salesman in Stagecoach, but the stubborn patience of a puritan farmer. The cultural effects of the internet are more or less inevitable. I'm not encouraging apathy, but I see no reason to panic.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Generalization flawed (4.00 / 5) (#36)
by blixco on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 08:27:36 AM EST

"One of the things that bothers me about politics is the apathy I see among the intelligent toward politics. Oh, sure, they TALK about it a lot, but they don't actually DO anything. I don't see techies and scientists banding together as an effective political force to shape our world in an INTELLIGENT WAY."

How do you know it's not being done? I'm really *very* tired of the "we're all just a lot of talk and no action." There's a lot of people are there who are going about changing things, both "intelligently" and via brute force. This "we" that people speak of....who are you people?

Are you maybe projecting your own apathy onto others?

The root of the problem has been isolated.
Problems abound.. (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by Malachi on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:48:33 AM EST

"One of the things that bothers me about politics is the apathy I see among the intelligent toward politics. Oh, sure, they TALK about it a lot, but they don't actually DO anything. I don't see techies and scientists banding together as an effective political force to shape our world in an INTELLIGENT WAY."

I recall a few years back when the scientists banded together to form the petition to say our oceans were dieing. It was given its day of due on the news, a little more lengthy study on Discovery channel, but now it has faded into such obscurity that I can't remember how many scientists even rallied.. was it 1,000 or 10,000... It was damn important but I can't.. and that is the problem. Its not just spiking the public and drawing attention, if you look at our history I see a very grey trend of muffling.

The media, if you haven't seen it, has such a strange preprogrammed way about it. Very important issues are never covered with depth, or length. However absolutly retarded (re*tard*ed - slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress ) things will be blown way out of proportion. Harry Browne /third-parties are other victims of the media clones. Why do they still report on a two partied system? What this all boils down to is the media doesn't do its job. It doesn't inquire about things worth inquiring about. It doesn't dig and stick its nose where it doesn't belong but should, and sniffs every ass that doesn't need to be for an unknown agenda. How can a project stay lifted without a good media front?

Money. Money can keep projects aloft in a sea of mediocrity/blandness/unmotivated public. It takes a projects sustainment and slow aquisition of public interest to spawn large scale movement. When was the last time this country, or any real country, dreamed a dream of greatness? I mean projects, undertakings, exploration, introspection? Where are we going, and how does a motivated man in a grey world find more motivated peoples? Is it all because somehow the mundane, who unknowningly are sleepers just want to keep dozing?

I see our country as asleep, I see the world partially asleep, and dragons who still exist slowly rumbling and dreaming of conspiracies. When I was young I used to think I could understand what was transpiring in the world.. Then I learned the truth that we truly known nothing, and can only take each, and try to shape each, opportunity towards a good benefit. Good change takes time in this world.. Its a very hard and long road, bad can be done with such quick haste. As our mediums continue to collide and grow, as the distance between all of us shrinks before us, that pace will enliven. Try not to be such a watcher, we are coming into an age where you must participate.. Find the angle at which you can, search for that opportunity, and trust that you can help be apart of it.

I apologize for ranting a bit.. Just got in, have a little coffee, I feel motivated today.
We know nothing but to ask more questions.
[ Parent ]

I didn't vote for Gore. (3.40 / 5) (#37)
by eann on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 09:06:49 AM EST

...but he's not a dolt. Stultifyingly boring, yes, but not a dolt. I liken him to stale bread--you think he'll taste better if you heat him up or dunk him in soup or something, but he always just ends up tasting like stale bread.

Bush, of course, is a flaming idiot. When a world leader calls you and says he'd like to get out from behind press releases, legal advisors, and protests in the streets to sit down with you to "improve the tone of the discussion" on something really important, the correct answer is not "No, I won't talk at all until you agree to do things my way."

I wonder if any of my creditors would consider switching my debts to Canadian dollars.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

Explain something (3.75 / 4) (#40)
by End on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 10:43:53 AM EST

I don't want to sound inflammatory here. Someone please explain how Bush came to be characterized as an idiot. Gore was the one who flunked divinity school and dropped out of law school. During vietnam, Gore took pictures. Bush flew a fighter jet. Gore has never managed anything more than a small personal staff. Bush has run a small-oil company, a baseball team, and governed the state of Texas. Having governed a state that borders a foreign country, he has more foreign-policy experience than Clinton did when he took office.

Also explain to me how someone widely known to be a nit-picker and a micromanager is better qualified to be President than someone with Bush's style of leadership.

What Gore means by "trying to improve the tone of the discussion" is, he needs to save face because of the PR mess he's gotten himself into.

[ Parent ]

Subjective perspective. (3.00 / 3) (#43)
by eann on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 12:08:09 PM EST

I decided before the primaries that I didn't like either of the candidates that I expected to win their respective parties' nominations. A professor of mine in college would call that "original sin"--once I formed an opinion, everything I saw supported that.

Similarly, nothing I say is likely to convince you. One of my favorite sig lines here (sorry I don't remember whose) is "Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong I'd change my mind." But, to elaborate on my assertions and address your points:

  1. Flunking out or dropping out of any school has nothing to do with anyone's intelligence. Just read one of the "Should I go to college?" threads around here.
  2. Military service has nothing to do with anyone's intelligence. If it did, I'd say Clinton's the smartest of the three for doing anything he could to avoid the mess (on the other hand, he didn't know how to use a joint).
  3. Neither executive nor foreign policy experience has anything to do with anyone's intelligence. Bush was handed those jobs, along with several others, on a silver platter, and managed to fumble his way through all of them.
  4. Management style, like everything else above, was not questioned in the original article, was not addressed in my comment, and (let's say it together) has nothing to do with anyone's intelligence.

Again, I did not vote for Gore. I do not believe he is qualified to run the country. I do not even believe he was the least of the 6 evils presented to me on my county's easy-to-understand ballot. However, I think he is an intelligent man. His record in the Senate indicates (to me) a man who knows how to represent his state and the interests of the country in a legislative body, and I believe that's an important skill for someone who can't do a damned thing without getting that (potentially hostile) legislative body's approval. While he came off as stiff and scripted, it is at least clear that he tried to prepare for debates and press conferences.

Bush comes across like he's having a hard time keeping his head above water in any serious discussion. He can spew contradictory statements within a couple breaths of each other and not see a problem. He "trusts the people"; he "trusts the will of the people"; but he doesn't think election officials in some Florida counties know how to count well enough to actually report the will of those people to him? Maybe it's supposed to be a big political koan to enlighten us all, but I doubt it.

When he's not pouting, he comes across and genial and friendly. I'm sure I would enjoy a dinner conversation with him. But I don't think he's got the brainpower to think about things like long-term consequences of his actions, or even to hold his tongue before he spouts off some stupid knee-jerk reaction.

They're both in a PR mess. They're both being sore losers/winners (depending on...well...you know). Is Gore making unreasonable demands (how many hundreds of thousands of ballots were there in Dade County)? Possibly. Is Bush being a spoiled brat by not agreeing to anything, or even to talk about it? Just as likely, if not more so. I lived in a conservative part of Florida during the '92 election (suburban Jacksonville), and saw the attitude after Bush carried the state. When I moved away from Florida in 1997 there were still people with "Don't blame me, I voted Bush/Quayle" stickers on their cars. Many of them were cars newer than the 1993 model year. The Republicans have acted like sore losers for 8 years around there; it's no surprising there are rampant inconsistencies that need to be investigated.

You'd think, in a state as important (and diverse) as Florida, that Bush would want to come across looking like he's cooperatively fighting for justice and equality for everyone by making sure all their voices are heard. It would do a lot to help him (or whoever the GOP picks) in 2004. If nothing else, he's an idiot for not taking advantage of the spin that's sitting there waiting for him.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.

[ Parent ]
That's easy to answer. (1.33 / 3) (#48)
by SIGFPE on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:23:23 PM EST

Someone please explain how Bush came to be characterized as an idiot.
Because when you're not very intelligent it's very hard to keep it secret when you're heading a presidential campaign and your words are broadcast every day to millions of people.
[ Parent ]
We are doing something (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by deang on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 12:49:24 PM EST

I voted +1 Sectional only, because although I disagree with the poster, it seems to already have provoked an interesting bit of discussion.

What to do ? What about what we are already doing ? In a way K5 is an example of what we are doing in our own communitiy. We have a very democratic process that governs how our community works (thanks Rusty !) It even extends itself, as topics here and elsewhere that are deemed worthy are propogated across other forums of varying degrees of similarity, such as /.

The moderation system is essetialy a vote. Many of the issues we deal with are political issues. Although the actual votes here have no legal standing at the state and federal level, the people here do have the ability to write their representatives and vote based upon what they read here and in other similar forums. If you are looking for someone to lead by example, you merely need to open your eyes.

I have no doubt that significant improvements can be made, but then again, improvements are being made. I agree with you that "There is no room for anyone to complain about the loss of online rights or the lousy state of American politics if they have themselves made absolutely NO effort to change things." However, I have written my representatives and voted based upon discussions here and elsewhere, and I would encourage people to do the same.

I feel it is somewhat ironic that you are complaining without offering a real solution. You suggest that we organize, and work as a block, but I'm not sure how this is different than what ther major parties are doing already. The advantage, IMHO, of online discussions such as this forum, is that individuals, not monolithic organizations, have more say in the outcome. I would prefer to keep it that way, instead of copying the techniques of the groups we are complaining about. Beyond that, I have significant doubt that we could come up with a platform that would appeal to the majority of the readers here. Judging by the discussions, the range of view here is broader than inside the major parties, and we seem to have more people at either extreme than agreeing.

However, if we want to try we already have most of the tools right here. We can discuss, moderate, and even put in polls. Perhaps the Freedom and Politics section simply needs more participation ?


Intellectuals (4.50 / 4) (#46)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 01:08:32 PM EST

For starters, what on Earth makes you think that politicians are stupid or ignorant? I would bet that the great majority of our national politicians have a graduate degree, typically in law (not exactly useless for a legislator), and our current President was a Rhodes Scholar. One of our Senators was an astronaut.

Secondly, even if we posit that the current crop are "dolts", what gives you the idea that engineers and technicians can do better? Jimmy Carter was trained as an engineer (and with serious nuclear toys, not just computers), and the Carter years were not a golden age of enlightened peace and prosperity either. Take a look at your nearest college -- innovative administration? Selfless incorruptability? Enough parking for even a fraction of the undergrads?

Run back through the archives here and at Slashdot and search for the terms "Linux" and "BSD". Ponder the weighty and cogent debate, the tightly reasoned and persuasive arguments, and the respect given to opposing views. Now picture this same crew dealing with the Middle East.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, picture the Great Seal of the United States with a Penis Bird. :)

I had to give this one a 5 :-) (none / 0) (#59)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 12:06:06 PM EST

I never quite thought of us techies that way, but that was alas very clearly put.

[ Parent ]
Dumb stuff (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 02:08:40 PM EST

The article seems a little elitist, but I gave it a +1 anyway, since it seemed like an interesting topic.

Its my experience that when people do dumb stuff its because they see the situation differently to you. People don't become presidents and prime ministers by being dumb, they do it by persuasion, something very few techies are very good at. Doing that well does require having a good grasp of what people care about, and which problems are soluble, and which people are opinion formers.

By and large when we say politicians are dumb, its because they're doing stuff that goes against the way we see the situation. Thats because their opinions are formed by the general public and by lobbyists.

The public's beliefs about technology center around whether its useful to them, whether it exerts a controlling influence over them, and whether it removes issues they care about from their control. People like the 'net because it lets them order stuff and copy music. They dislike it because it lets their employer's and the people they buy stuff from intrude into their lives. They worry about it because their children can use it to find out about subjects they find distasteful.

The lobbyists, of course, represent business interests. They like the 'net because they can sell stuff with it. They dislike it because it lowers the marginal cost of information goods, which were previsouly very profitable. They worry that their employees spend to much time at work surfing recruitment sites.

These are the things we need to account for if we're to get out voices heard. We need, somehow, to either educate the corporations most of us work for to make them behave more intelligently, or at least accept the inevitable, and to try to replace the vacuous futurist mumblings the public currently gets from media commentators with some intelligible and geared towards their concerns.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
Hagelin? For crying out loud! (4.00 / 3) (#49)
by marlowe on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 03:48:15 PM EST

Have you actually read his stuff? It's just a lot of meaningless New Age goobledegook. And yes, that is the point. The problem with "people like him" is that they're all like him.

I hope your desire to have the intelligent become more politically active isn't predicated upon the assumption that Hagelin's supporters are to be numbered among them.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
Hear hear (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by kubalaa on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 12:34:33 AM EST

No real quantum physicist goes around running for president with "Look at me, I'm a quantum phycisit!" as his tagline. I'm amazed this guy got his Ph.D.; not that the stuff he spouts is bad or wrong, but it really is pseudoscientific philosophy and has no business being passed off as science.

[ Parent ]
Define: Politics (none / 0) (#50)
by Andrew Dvorak on Thu Nov 16, 2000 at 06:08:25 PM EST

politics - n. A cruel science guided by whoever shines the brightest light (ie. most popular idea). Etremeties of harshness appears in the form of debate, justice, cooperation, compromise, arguments, political favors, and much more.

Really, politics is an extremely involved science which I fear you barely understand the most basic concepts -- where even these basic concepts are not all to simple. While I understand I know relatively little about the science, of what I do know I an unsure of where to start. Though, I doubt there is any one good starting ground for introducing politics to the lesser-educated about the science. Anybody?

My appologies. Just trying to open up the discussion .. I doubt there is anything useful in my post, but it's just what I'm thinking, at the moment :-)

Just vote for anyone who cant afford advertizing! (none / 0) (#53)
by CiXeL on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 11:16:54 AM EST

Thats what i did for any issue or position on the ballet i really didnt care for. Basically just vote on what issues you do feel and fill in the rest of your votes with everyone you havent heard the names of on TV. That way you get honest people who couldnt afford advertizing. While they may not be the ideal candidate at least you start stirring up the pot and get some new better candidates closer to the surface.
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
Flawed Voting Mechanism (none / 0) (#54)
by Andrew Dvorak on Fri Nov 17, 2000 at 04:30:24 PM EST

This is definately a problem with many voters! Voting for all the wrong reasons: Voting for people who are not instead of people who are - a presumably arbitrary method!

If an issue doesn't concern you or you've not educated yourself on the issue at hand or the candidates for a particular seat in office, why vote for anybody? If you don't vote on issue X or person X vs. person Y, then you neutralize your vote. Voting for, say X, does one of two things: 1) strengthens the vote for X; 2) weakens the vote for Y. Voting for somebody you don't necessarily support hurts not only the "greater of the two evils", but yourself and your own ideas.

If there is a particular issue which concerns you, educate yourself on the issues a candidate represents and their political history. I see no reason that a candidate who is able to fund a greater awareness of his-or-her being and his-or-her views should be any more compentant than another, lesser-known candidate.

Another option: on issues which you do not necessarily have an opinion, vote the straight ticket for the party you hold loyal to. Surely you must be loyal to one party -- for use as a last resort when you are unsure about the candidate you would choose to represent you. Heck, it costs nothing to belong to a party and make others know of your affiliation. You don't even need to be accepted. You just represent the party of your choosing.

Now, may I ask you which party you claim some sort of loyalty for when nothing else matters? Why? - Why might you agree with party X's platform more than Y or Z? Surely you must have an opinion. Of course, I respect your right to maintain the privacy of your own political opinions, so these questions are to be answered of your choosing.

Copyright (c) 2000, Andrew Dvorak

[ Parent ]
Trainspotter vs Buffoon (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by PenguinWrangler on Fri Nov 24, 2000 at 10:21:11 AM EST

From this side of the water, the feeling of most people I know is that Gore shows some modicum of intelligence, but is boring. He's the trainspotter who stands at the end of the platform and knows every train which has gone from platform 5 in the last ten years and will bore you terminally by talking about it.
Bush, on the other hand, is a buffoon, an idiot and doesn't have two braincells to rub together. He's often seen as a handy shield for his clinically paranoid father to stand behind and really run the country.
From where we stand, it's like Gore should have walked it. How could you have been so dumb to almost elect Bush? He's a moron, who will make your country a world laughing-stock.
Still. It'll be a good four years for comedians. I just thank god I don't have to suffer it...

"Information wants to be paid"
What? (none / 0) (#61)
by jungleboogie on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 04:40:01 PM EST

People like Hagelin should be running things, not Bush and Gore? What kind of fucked up shit is this? Hagelin is an idiot, just like Bush and Gore. If most people don't believe that his or his party's ideas will work, and if the media ignores him and when it isn't, portrays him as a renegade, then he will fail no matter how good his ideas really are. (Of course I would debate that his ideas are stupid.)

Most people don't like and don't care about third party politics. Bush and Gore are bad enough, but at least they try to take on the appearance that they care and that they can work with other common people.

Personally, I voted for Ralph Nader, because he is addressing a strong and growing popular constituent of people who are fed up, like me, people who know we have been lied to and maniuplated from the popular media for our entire lives. Most of Nader's approaches are not so completely idealistic that they shut out the minds of most people. I've met long-time republicans that saw him on C-Span during the pre-election months and were very impressed.

Nader has proven he can work, he has passed many acts which protect our environment and our freedom. Whoops this is turning into a Nader rant. What I really meant to say was that for the same reason Nader isn't going to win with most people, the less popular candidates certainly won't win. There's no sense in bitching about the way things are like this, instead observe what is possible and why, not what people are failing on and why. If you choose to bitch about why people are failing to make what in your mind are good decisions, you had better have a fucking plan to do something about it, otherwise you are just part of the problem.

Politics lacks intelligence, geeks look the other way | 62 comments (50 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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