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The Fork in the Road: A Political Morality Play in One Act

By circletimessquare in Op-Ed
Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 08:17:03 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The Keaton family was a peculiar family, they made every decision democratically. Their democratic tradition was a new one as far as family decision making in the world was concerned, but they were confident in their little democracy and stood by it as the fount of their shared happiness. Every choice they made was voted on, and the majority decided. And that was how the Keaton family navigated the choices that families make in this world. For better or worse, they had faith in their peculiar system.


Act 1, Scene 1:

It was a beautiful summer weekend, so the Keaton family decided to take a road trip. After a couple of hours driving, they came to a fork in the road. To the right was a well-worn multi-lane highway, but it was dangerous with speeders and prone to traffic jams. To the left was a rural road, beautifully scenic, but very slow and winding. Naturally, a vote was called on which route to choose.

The middle daughter, Mallory, quickly drew a consensus amongst the children, her older brother Alex and her younger sister Jennifer, that the rural road was the way to go. Meanwhile, the parents Elyse and Steven were arguing about the wisdom of taking the highway. Steven was dead set on taking the highway, but Elyse thought the rural road had merits, but was uncertain and was listening thoughtfully to Steven's arguments. Mallory was confident that the children were going to win the vote, for with or without their mother on their side, the worst the vote could be was 3 to 2.

Steven:

"Clearly, the highway will waste more gasoline but we should save time even though the route is longer. Yes, we may get stuck in traffic, but this is a low risk. Elyse, listen to your husband about this, I know what is right. In other families, the father makes all of the important decisions, and although I abide by this little democratic experiment of ours, I know in my heart that decision making should begin and end with me, the natural head of the household. It's the only way to make sure our family is secure. There may be boulders and carjackers on the rural road! It could be very dangerous."
Elyse:
"Honey, I do trust your judgment, even though at times I have my doubts. This is one of those times. The scenic road I think is the best choice, but I just don't know. The sliver of my doubt is that you say the highway is the right way to go. I try to remain faithful to your decisions, and in this faith I think I will find happiness, even though I just don't know, I just don't know.

In my heart I like the rural road. But I vote to take the highway, at the very last, because I had not given any thought to the potential of boulders and carjackers on the rural road. That threat to our security clears the doubt in my mind. I can now side with you on the matter, and vote to take the highway."

Mallory:
"Poppycock! Boulders? Carjackers? We are far more likely to face a time-killing traffic jam or a dangerous speeder on the highway than boulders or carjackers on any road in the state. Dad, why do you bandy about these fanciful threats? What dubious purpose does your bullying of mom serve?

As usual dad, you think you know everything. But you also forgot that by saving on gas money the whole family can have a big pancake breakfast tomorrow morning. You also forgot that the whole point of a summer roadtrip is to enjoy the sights, right? The highway has billboards. The rural road has spectacular views.

This is why the democratic experiment of ours is so important. One man can not know everything that is right all of the time. Sometimes dad, you are just plain wrong. Only the consensus of everyone in the family can ensure that we always make the smartest choice on what our familiy should do. So I vote on the rural road, and I am confident that my siblings will ensure that the right decision is made."

But Mallory was wrong on that. What her siblings were about to say and do would dumbfound her and shake her faith in her family's little democratic experiment.

Jennifer:

"Hold on there a minute. I am not going to vote on this one. Even though I agree with Mallory, I am angry! I am pissed off. I want to get my way and I don't want to discuss it with anyone. And if I don't get my way, then I won't vote. I will abstain. Why? To teach you all a lesson. Because we were supposed to see more beautiful views on this trip. We were supposed to have pancakes this morning and tomorrow morning. I didn't get pancakes this morning. And frankly? The views suck.

If this is what family trips are like, to heck with them, I abstain. I don't even want to be here in this stupid car. I don't care about this whole trip. It doesn't have any point. What's the use? What I want is to go home, and I am not getting what I want, so I am not going to vote. And by not voting, I am going to send a message to dad. Because I know he still runs the family, even with this democracy thing, he always gets his way anyway. Even when he doesn't get his way, it's just a nefarious game he is playing to get what he really wants in the end. There's no point fighting him, this whole system sucks. We should throw it out.

I am powerless to change anything this family does, and I don't even care what this family does. Yes, you can say I am having a childish temper tantrum, you can say that I'm just the baby of the family. But I don't care, I'm not voting. Dad will understand what my asocial behavior means. You know he will, right?

And Mallory has enough votes to make sure we choose the rural road anyways, it's at least a tie with Alex's vote, so the final decision will go to the law, to an impartial judge. In a tie, the final decision will go to that cop over there in the patrol car, dad will probably ask him in the event of a tie what we should do. So the final decision will go to what the cop says is the best way to go, but even then I don't care what he says too, because he probably agrees with dad anyways since he's a middle aged male too, I can see that cop from where I sit right here. The law indeed, he's biased too. So see? That's another reason not to vote, right? That cop probably has a family just like ours, they are all in on it together, the 'heads of the household.' So I don't stand a chance to get my way, so I don't care.

The rural road is obviously better than the stupid highway, but I don't care enough to have my voice heard on the matter. So good night my stupid family, I'm taking a nap, you don't need me on this decision. I don't make a difference anyways, wake me up when we get home."

Before Mallory could digest the astonishing import of what her little sister said, her older brother chimed in.

Alex:

"Well, actually, about that vote, I just read this great book, see? It's full of weird and zany ideas. I know some of you will find some of the ideas dubious, and they sound a little wacky to me too, but this guy who wrote the book has really great charisma. I like him a lot. This guy has this great vision that we really shouldn't use cars, we should walk everywhere. And I'm kinda nonplussed on this whole car trip thing anyways. We should all get out and hike.

Yes, that's right, take a hike! On that nice path right over there, you can see it from here. Cars pollute, and the best way for true happiness this weekend, to get the most scenic views, is to get out of the car, and hike. Plus, this great book I'm reading shows me how cars are dangerous, I mean, one little ding on the back of our car and boom- we could all blow up. The company that made this car doesn't care about us, it just cares about making money, and the bean counters figured out that the lawsuits from a few of us blowing up is cheaper than adding a protective shield to the gas tanks on all of our cars.

See? That is some of the vision of this great man who wrote this book. Do you not see his wisdom? I know, you might be wondering what all of these off-topic observations has to do with my vote on what is essentially a practical matter, but don't you see the bigger picture?

Yes, I know that what is important is decisions about the here and now, but I got my eyes on the future nonetheless. I know this man who wrote this book does too. This great man is an advocate for us, the average family, an advocate for those who consume cars from evil companies, a consumer advocate. Yes, I know it is late in the day, and yes, I know it is 100 miles back to our house, but walking is just so much better than driving in a car.

Yes, I agree Mallory has the wiser choice than dad were we to stay in the car, but I like my third option even better- a hike. I know, shucks, it's a fanciful idea, it may never work, but what the heck, we can afford to risk it all on a hike, right? Right here, right now, damn the impracticality of it all. I have a vision, this guy who wrote this book about hiking has a vision, and that's what is important, I think.

Even though I know my vote will mean that Mallory's wiser choice will lose, It's just one vote, right? There will be other votes in the future. So I think that I have enough leeway on this vote to take my fanciful third choice, I really do have the slack to do that, I think. Lose the car, take a hike, that's what I say, that's what I vote."

Mallory was in shock. She couldn't believe it. Then dad let out a laugh.

Steven:

"Well, will you look at that. I was certain at the beginning of this trip I was going to lose this vote 4 to 1. But first, I successfully bullied and scared your mother into voting for me. Boulders and carjackers?

And then Jennifer dropped out with all of her pointless childish negativity. She said I would understand what she was trying to say by not voting. Understand? How can you understand someone who does not speak? Your vote is your voice, you chose not to use it, so no, Jennifer, I don't understand you at all.

And Alex has his head stuck in a cloud of naive idealism. I can laugh at his utopian dreaming, and at the same time smile on his wasted vote and what it means in the real world. Politics and democracy, if nothing else, is about reality and pragmatic decision making first and foremost. And if Alex just doesn't get that, and is dead set on wasting his vote on a whimsical hope and a capricious dream- even when he agrees I am wrong... well then, who am I to complain?

So the final vote? It is 2 to 1 to 1. We take the gas-guzzling traffic jam-filled speeder's highway after all. Thank you Jennifer, thank you Alex, for ensuring my victory in this matter."

Steven cleared his throat, smiled in a self-assured dogmatic way, and said to no one, or perhaps everyone, in particular:

"I was always worried that our democratic experiment was a dangerous threat to the traditional male hegemony over the family. But as long as I have a wife who is filled with doubt and fear, a youngest child who rejects the whole process out of a lack of faith, and idealistic dreamers who pin their hopes on naive schemes that will never win in any world, then I have a system here that is just as good as a dictatorship.

For where democracy fails, it does not fail with me, the old guard bent on autocratic ways. Oh no my dear family, where democracy fails, it fails with those who need the democracy the most, it's children.

Thank you dear family, for giving me with your failings of conscience the false imprimatur of consensus on what is essentially now a conservative dictatorship.

Thank you for following your doubts and your fears when you vote.

Thank you for not voting.

And thank you for wasting your vote on impossible choices.

You let me win."

The End (?)

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Display: Sort:
The Fork in the Road: A Political Morality Play in One Act | 250 comments (224 topical, 26 editorial, 4 hidden)
I'm with Alex. (2.75 / 4) (#3)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:10:44 PM EST

Yes I'll have to walk. I may even have to walk alone, but I'll do so knowing I've blazed a new trail, so in the future there may be a third choice at the fork in the road, making Dad's bully tactics much less effective, and may assuage Jennifer's apathy.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad

so (2.00 / 5) (#6)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:20:09 PM EST

i show how you help get gw bush get re-elected, you accept that fact... and yet you gladly do so? (scratches head)

couldn't you just go with mallory and write a passionate kuro5hin piece about alex instead?

it's also important, perhaps (definitely) more important, to get rid of bush, no?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

so (none / 2) (#8)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:28:27 PM EST

i show you how to adjust the political system so a dangerous idealogue like gw bush can never contend to such high office again, yet you choose to perpetuate the status quo? would you have marched meekly into the showers, too?

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

blind idealism versus pragmatic realism (1.80 / 5) (#9)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:35:12 PM EST

what blind idealism versus pragmatic realism do you not get?

apparently, all of it

dude, you are like the walking poster child of BLIND IDEALISM

quote:

Politics and democracy, if nothing else, is about reality and pragmatic decision making first and foremost.

get it? do you really?

what you are talking about is very noble and idealistic and revolutionary and forward-thinking... but has absolutely no effect whatsover on the real world, except to help get gw bush reelected!

gw bush and his team ABSOLUTELY LOVE PEOPLE LIKE YOU!!!

don't you understand that?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

In 1776... (2.50 / 4) (#11)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:39:56 PM EST

...King George absolutely loved people like you, the craven loyalists who would sell out their own interests rather than take a risk, for which many paid the ultimate price, and change the society they lived in. Thankfully, the patriots overcame the cowards, and the odds, and took the day.

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[ Parent ]

Why did the patriots win? (1.50 / 4) (#13)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:45:49 PM EST

Because they were in the majority.



[ Parent ]
Wrong. (none / 2) (#14)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:49:40 PM EST

The majority were fence sitters wating to see which way the wind blew. Try reading a history book.

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[ Parent ]

that's called canada (none / 2) (#16)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:51:31 PM EST

try reading a history book


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
pedantic Canadian history lesson (none / 2) (#54)
by clover_kicker on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:25:16 PM EST

In fact, hundreds of British supporters got run out of the US after the revolution succeeded. Most of them ended up in Canada.

My grade 4 social studies teacher called them "Loyalists", your elementary school lessons may have used a different name :)
--
I am the very model of a K5 personality.
I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality.

[ Parent ]

"Tories" maybe Thatcher was there too?nt (none / 2) (#56)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:30:50 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Good thinking. (1.75 / 4) (#17)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:55:06 PM EST

When things don't look good, try to change the context in which you said what you did. For that matter, the the indians were in the majority, the dinosaurs were in the majority, and the proto marine life were in the majority in North America.

Answer this simple question: When the patriots won the Revolution, were they or were they not in the majority?

I will accept a no-response as an admission of your idiocy.



[ Parent ]

In the majority of what? (none / 1) (#19)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:59:41 PM EST

In the majority of the population of the colonies as a whole? Obviously not, considering the native populations still extent. In the majority of the colonists and descendents of colonists? If we define patriots as including the passive fence-sitters, sure. I prefer to define the patriots as those who took up arms or provided financial or moral support to those that did. Under that definition, no, they were a minority.

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[ Parent ]

So you say... (1.80 / 5) (#20)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:04:33 PM EST

Okay, let's say they were in the minority.

Were they in a minority as small as five percent? And if so, were they in a situation in which a five percent minority had absolutely no hope of winning, by the very definition and nature of the conflict into which they entered? (You don't have to answer the second question, as history tells us the answer.)



[ Parent ]

You brought up majorities... (none / 1) (#23)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:08:18 PM EST

now you're talking about percentages. Talk about changing the context.

As for no hope in winning, well, you may be right. The point is, at the time they didn't know for sure they would win, and the odds were that they wouldn't. At least they had the courage to defy the odds, whatever the pundits of the days may have said, and take on the mightiest military force of their day to win their liberty.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

But don't you see? (1.50 / 4) (#24)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:09:50 PM EST

They didn't know, but you do. You know you will lose.



[ Parent ]
Sorry, I know no such thing. (none / 1) (#28)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:14:48 PM EST

My psychic powers are on the blink today. Besides, I don't have to win, I just have to try. It's this thing called integrity. Pragmatists have little use for it, I hear.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Let's make sure we're talking about the same thing (2.20 / 5) (#34)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:28:04 PM EST

You are arguing that Nader might win the election, right? Despite the fact that he only managed 5% of the popular vote last time and has since been thrown out of the Green Party and now has even less political clout than ever. Nader would need at least eight times as many votes as he got last time, distributed nicely throughout the states so as to give him an electoral victory. Despite all of this, you claim not to know whether he will win.

Every reasonable person in America with any knowledge of politics knows one thing with certainty: The next president will be either Kerry or Bush. It will not be Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, or Ralph Nader. It is a simple, immutable political reality.

Now look, maybe you want approval voting and a multiparty system. Fine, I'm with you. But we both know that such a system will not be in place eight months from now. Given the current voting system and political power structure, there is absolutely, with certainty, no chance at all that Ralph Nader will win the 2004 election for President of the United States of America. This is not Ms. Cleo talking. This is the unavoidable consequence of political reality. The hike is not an option.



[ Parent ]

You're right. (none / 3) (#50)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:10:58 PM EST

Except for one thing. Doing nothing will not provide our politcal system with an incentive to change. Ever heard the old chesnut about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results? The body politic of this country is inexorably losing its mind.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

it's an intellectual choice we're making (2.00 / 5) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:38:45 PM EST

and you're making a passionate one

here's the deal: i think it is extremely urgent to get rid of bush now, so i say: put aside the point you are trying to make with your vote, vote for the guy who can beat bush, and then later, when someone as scary as bush isn't in the white house, you go on with your bad self and your passionate politicking

but in the meantime, i beg of you, more pragmatic politicking: we must get rid of bush, see? fuck kerry, i just don't want bush! and you know kerry is the lesser of two evils... that really means something, a LOT of something

your heart is in the right place, but so is mine... but where's your head at?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

And if later never comes? (none / 2) (#59)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:50:11 PM EST

You think Bush is scary? How about Tom DeLay? Or Hastert? 2 bullets put his hands on the football. Newt? They've got an army of monsters waiting in the wings. There may never be a good time.

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[ Parent ]

huh? wtf does that has to do with this? (none / 3) (#65)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 05:37:06 PM EST

stay on target... stay on target...

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
you are so dense about some things... (none / 2) (#72)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:55:28 PM EST

Look, in 2008, the Republicans will field another candidate who is just as bad as, if not worse than, Bush. Same in 2012, ad infinitum. There's never going to be a 'good time'. No time like the present, I say.

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[ Parent ]

longest? thread? Evar? (none / 3) (#106)
by guyjin on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:52:07 PM EST

[nt?]
-- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください
[ Parent ]
not even close! (nt) (none / 1) (#127)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:38:20 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
no time like the present? (none / 3) (#114)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:10:29 PM EST

to do what? not defeat bush? no time like the future not to defeat bush? when is it a good time to defeat bush? no time like the present to throw out your vote on an impossible candidate? i don't get it

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. (none / 2) (#156)
by Weembles on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:38:58 PM EST

Ever heard the old chesnut about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing again and again while expecting different results?

Same thing again and again? Like voting for a joke candidate and doing nothing but pissing off all your potential supporters?

[ Parent ]

"let me qualify my comments" (none / 3) (#22)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:05:59 PM EST

therefore rendering them pointless ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Explain please. (none / 2) (#25)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:12:32 PM EST

There certainly is a point to the comment. It's unfotunate that you apparently have not the wit to divine it.

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[ Parent ]

let's break it down for you, since by one act play (1.50 / 6) (#32)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:23:05 PM EST

let's break it down for you, since by one act play failed to do it

you are talking about the vibrancy and glory of the american revolution

yeah! clap, clap, clap, sigh, tear...

nice, glorious...

and off-topic

we are talking about VOTING, VOTING STRATEGY

can we stay on topic please? or do you have to break into the battle hymn of the republic every time i talk about realism and pragmatism in voting strategy? ok? jesus h christ

follow the bouncing ball, you dolt: why did george bush senior lose to clinton in 1992? why? perot siphoned off a sizeable amount of idealistic conservatives, that's why, he split and divided the conservative vote... get it ? understand the concept?

these perot nitwits, btw, would agree with your idealistic paeans to the revolution 100%... clueless idealistic idiots, every one of you

onward now, dolt: why did gore lose in 2000? a lot of reasons: a conservative asshole-scalia dominated supreme court, florida hijinks, the electoral system, and IDEALISTIC MORONIC NADER VOTER WHO SIPHONED OFF THE LIBERAL VOTE

do you get it? are you going to quote paul revere or thomas jefferson to me? or are you fucking going to listen to the SIMPLE FUCKING PRAGMATIC POINT I AM MAKING ABOUT SPLITTING AND DIVIDING THE LIBERAL VOTE AND LETTING BUSH WIN

geez, you're a blind stubborn moron


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I agree with you, actually. (none / 3) (#48)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:02:41 PM EST

Well, not with the parts where I'm an idiot, but with the rest of your conclusions, there's really no argument. However, the point is that this 2-party system will perpetuate itself forever unless it is challenged. Hopefully, there will be viable third and fourth party candidates on both sides of the politcal spectrum some day soon. It's too bad Ralph didn't run in '96. In any case, I'll continue to vote my conscience, which doesn't mean a vote for Ralph necessarily. I'm willing to listen to the other candidates, but my vote will be earned by the candidate that gets it. You'll be voting out of fear. Hope you enjoy the feeling.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

i'm not voting out of fear (1.50 / 4) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:12:42 PM EST

and you are shooting the messenger

i want bush to lose, i'm on your side, get it?

and thanks for agreeing with me, it proves you're a bigger person than me for not sinking to name calling

but i covered the duality thing:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2004/2/24/13213/0710/42#42

there will always be only a two party system... i mean the perot voters in '92 were orders of magnitude closer than nader to toppling one of the pillars (the republicans) of the current two party system than nader ever was (the democrats), or ever will be... the revolutionary replacement of the democrats or the republicans in the inevitable shift in duality is far, far away

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

duality (none / 0) (#241)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 11:57:49 AM EST

the end to duality comes with either or multiple of the following:
  1. concordet or approval voting
  2. abolishment of the electoral college (which I do not approve of)
  3. redefinition of the electoral college to place electoral votes according to the relative ratios of votes cast (end "all or nothing" electoral votes).
  4. mandatory voting (which I do not approve of)
My presidential vote has never counted in a national election. Similarly, the presidential votes for roughly 50% of the population did not count in the 2000 election (and more than that didn't even vote in the first place).

In my state, it really doesn't matter whom I vote for in the upcoming election, or if I vote in it at all. My state will be won fairly handily (60% or more) by Bush. If I vote for Bush, Bush wins my state. If I vote for Kerry, Bush wins my state. If I vote for Nader, Bush wins my state.

I may as well stayed home and gotten good and drunk and wait for the country to get painted red and blue on NBC's coverage of election results.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

You can call it fear if you want ... (none / 1) (#131)
by rpresser on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 12:15:17 AM EST

But he's specifically voting to achieve a goal in this election.

You, on the other hand, are voting to prove a point.  You don't care about this election in particular; but you feel that if enough people vote to prove your point then it will eventually be proven, and your goal will be met.

You've shown in this discussion that you don't consider cts's goal worthy enough for you to switch strategy.  And he's shown you that he considers your goal unachievable. Impasse.

You can call it fear if you want; but if I am afraid and do not act on my fear, I may feel noble, but I may also die when that which I fear comes to pass.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Nader did run in 1996. (none / 1) (#198)
by tordia on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:30:43 PM EST

I voted for him in both 1996 and 2000.

While Nader spent very little money promoting his campaign in 1996, he was the Green Party's nomination, and he finished in 4th place. Behind Perot and just ahead of Harry Browne (the Libertarian candidate).

1996 election results

[ Parent ]

What about that facts that... (none / 1) (#195)
by tordia on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:16:54 PM EST

Gore failed to carry his own state (rarely happens to the eventual winner of the election), and 250,000 registered Democrats voted for Bush in Florida. You know how many people voted for Nader in Florida? Less than 100,000.

Instead of trying to get Nader voters to vote for the Deomcratic candidate, you'd get more votes if you tried to convince registered Democrats to vote for their party's candidate.

[ Parent ]

in 2000 (2.00 / 5) (#15)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 02:49:54 PM EST

...king george w bush absolutely loved people like you, the hopless idealists who would sell out to a conservative asshole rather than make an obvious prudent simple choice, for which many paid the ultimate price, and change the society they lived in. Unfortunatelyt, the idealists voted for nader, against the odds, and lost the day.

when the revolution starts, you win

but we're talking about an election, not a revolution, capice?

you have the right thinking, but on the wrong battlefield

idealism does not win in politics, so use your brain, not your battle hymn of the republic, ok?

i mean, c'mon dude

do you perhaps understand the contrast on even the most theoretical level of idealism versus realism?

1776? lol ;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

i know that your reasoning (none / 3) (#21)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:04:34 PM EST

could have been used back then, too.

Thomas Jefferson: "When, in the course of human events," etc.

circletimessquare: "C'mon Tom, you know there's no way you can win. This is just going to make the redcoats come down on us 10 times harder. Quit rocking the boat, dude. If we just play along, we can get in good with the king. I bet you could get a duchy out of it if you play your cards right!"

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

There's a critical difference (1.80 / 5) (#27)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:13:26 PM EST

Between you and the Founding Fathers. Here it is.



[ Parent ]
There's a critical difference (none / 3) (#30)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:16:18 PM EST

Between you and the Founding Fathers. Here it is.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

sing the battle hymn of the republic with me (1.80 / 5) (#35)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:28:13 PM EST

and then get back to us when you want to fucking talk about the political reality we find ourselves in today, where democracy gives us a stable platform for moderate change... revolutions are glorious, but they really suck to live through... it's basically war... are you saying war is preferable to democracy? the whole point of democracy is the happiness and stability it gives by telling it's citizens their voices count... so use your voice wisely

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I love democracy. (2.75 / 4) (#39)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:33:22 PM EST

That's why I want more of it. I'm not avocating a recolution (yet). Just encouraging people to vote their conscience. If 4 more years of Bush is what people in this country need to see what a disaster the 2-party system is leading them to, then so be it. It's bad tasting medicine, but it's better than a Republicrat hegemony forever more.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

can't fight statistial inevitability (1.25 / 4) (#42)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:43:15 PM EST

we have a two party system because of the way humans think: male vs. female, night vs. day, good vs evil, yin vs. yang, left vs. right... it's called duality, a struggle between opposing forces

if you magically recreated reality where ther were 3 political parties, each with an equal one third share of participants, one party would wither and die... with 4 political parties, each with 25% of registered voters, two woould wither and die

study the history of the whigs, my history-curious friend

why is this so? statisitcal inevitablity over how the human mind thinks: dualistically, one versus the another

why are there 2 political parties today? because of a sinister plot?

no doofus, it was inevitable... society and politics seeking a equilibrium with human psychology, how we think: oppositionally, like looking in a mirror

what you want is not a multitude of parties, what you want is one party to rise, and another to fall, to replace it in a new duality... that might very well happen someday, but until it does, all you are helping do is let gw bush win the election... 1% nader vote is not the revolution you are looking for... we're not even remotely near it, my lost clueless friend


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Don't get pulled into this. (2.00 / 4) (#47)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:00:57 PM EST

You don't have to justify the two party system. In fact, he's probably right that the two party system is bad, but that has no bearing on the issue at hand.

The point is that it exists and it will continue to exist at least until the next election and probably for some time to come.

Incidentally, the duality thing you mention has nothing to do with human psychology and everything to do with Christian mythology and Cold War "ideology."



[ Parent ]

i agree (none / 3) (#49)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:07:17 PM EST

but i'll differ with you on this: duality is biological, it's way deeper to the way we think than things that happened 2 seconds ago like christ or the cold war... if there's duality in christ or the cold war, it's from the deeper biology of our dual-driven psychology, not visa-versa

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
No, (2.40 / 5) (#68)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:01:21 PM EST

Christians invented duality. Just look at ancient religions. You have multiple gods and often a very fuzzy idea of good and evil, often with the two either not at odds or non-existent. The current party system was strengthened during the Cold War to exclude third parties so as to exclude communists more effectively. Of course, the whole good versus evil tone of Cold War ideology is fundamentally grounded in Christian thought.

Of course, I know you like to call people evil and you probably think the distinction between good and evil is natural. I'm just telling you it's not.



[ Parent ]

ninja rmg (1.00 / 4) (#70)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:05:40 PM EST

i am good, you are evil, face it ;-)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
There once was a man named Zoroaster (none / 2) (#130)
by rpresser on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 12:10:05 AM EST

Duality is older than Christ. If you want my vote (ha-ha), the Greeks probably invented duality - but it only made it into their philosophy and science; their polytheism was already bred into the culture.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
So why haven't all of these political parties died (none / 1) (#194)
by tordia on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:04:56 PM EST

Explain why this list shows dozens and dozens of other countries with more than 2 political parties (some with as many as a dozen in one country), and why they haven't narrowed the choices down to A or B, like we have. Hell, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg each have 3 politcal parties. Andorra has 4.

Only having 2 politcal parties is in no way an inevitability. In fact, it's not even the most common occurance, globally.

[ Parent ]

Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Andorra (none / 1) (#214)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:15:45 PM EST

my local elementary school system has more citzens than those 3 countries... er, those 3 small towns, combined

let's talk about countries, not hamlets please, your examples carry no weight

besides, in other countries, you'll find that coalitions form, and allegiances created out of ideological or political necessity thast recreates the classic duality of politics along votes and issues of import

just ask germans about the ideological purity in the face of political opportunism of their green party, you'll find little in the way of salvation from the 2 party system


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Belguim and India (none / 1) (#221)
by tordia on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 01:45:33 PM EST

The list I linked to says Belguim has a dozen political parties, and India (which has it's own page, for some reason) has 10. This site lists dozens of political parties in India (most of which are nationwide parties). India touts itself as the largest democracy in the world (in terms of population), so I'm willing to bet it's a bit bigger than your local elementary school system.

I used the smaller countries to show that, even with a small population and area to draw from, there is still room for a variety of political parties to exist.

True, coalitions and allegiences form around areas where groups agree, but they are all still focused on their own agendas in other areas. This kind of flexibility is harder to achieve with a 2 party system.

Why is greater degree of choice desirable for things like soft drinks, cars, or toilet paper, but not for political parties? The more options you have, the more likely you are to find an option that closely matches your preferences. You get to decide how broad or narrow that match needs to be before you're satisfied.

[ Parent ]

using your link (none / 1) (#222)
by circletimessquare on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 02:55:01 PM EST

your answer: two party is inevitable in us system

why is this a problem? it's the duality of human psychology, two sides to every issue, push and pull: it works, centrists control the government, we want centrists, we don't want radicals on the right or the left in control of our government: instability

but multiparty has problems in other countries: the tiny parties have inordinate power (not good, if for example, they favor some really scary ideology from right or left)

http://www.infosearchpoint.com/display/Multi-party

If the government includes an elected congress or parliament, the parties may share power according to Proportional Representation or the First-past-the-post system. In Proportional Representation, each party wins a number of seats proportional to the number of votes it receives. In first-past-the-post, the electorate is divided into a number of districts, each of which selects one person to fill one seat by majority (or plurality) vote. First-past-the-post is not conducive to a proliferation of parties, and naturally gravitates toward a two-party system, in which only two parties have a real chance of electing their candidates to office. (This effect is known as Duverger's law.) Proportional Representation, on the other hand, does not have this tendency, and allows multiple major parties to arise.

This difference is not without implications. A two-party system requires voters to align themselves in large blocs, sometimes so large that they cannot agree on any overarching principles. This allows centrists to gain control. On the other hand, if there are three major parties, each with substantially less than a majority of the vote, two of them can be forced to compete for the support of the third. This third party acquires inordinate political leverage.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

the idealist (1.50 / 4) (#29)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:15:30 PM EST

the idealist, his head buried in history

you're a poster child for a righteously indignant feel-good movie, but not an effective voter, nor someone anyone should listen to about VOTING

hello?

we're talking about VOTING

do you get that?

not REVOLUTION

do you understand, just a little?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I'm talking about changing the politcal system. (none / 2) (#31)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:19:52 PM EST

Voting and revolution are just 2 of many methods tward achieving that end.

Do you understand just a little? Never mind, I already know the answer to that one.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

you're off-topic, here and in real life (nt) (none / 3) (#33)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:23:47 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Hey, it's your article. (none / 3) (#36)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:28:19 PM EST

Pull it if you don't like what I've got to say. My comments will go with it.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

no shit sherlock, you're still off-topic ;-P (nt) (none / 3) (#37)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:30:28 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Ahem (2.50 / 4) (#78)
by kraant on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 09:47:22 PM EST

Unless you're planning revolution bloody revolution you really don't have a point.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
"King" George (none / 0) (#240)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 11:47:02 AM EST

There are some differences between a monarchy and a democracy, at least one of which is that to remove someone from office we can vote someone else into that office, instead of killing each other for several years.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]
No, you won't walk. (1.83 / 6) (#40)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:33:55 PM EST

You'll vote to walk, but we'll vote you down and you'll drive with the rest of us.

You have only two options: My way or the highway.



[ Parent ]

Ah, democracy. (none / 3) (#52)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:16:14 PM EST

Why can't I choose the lesser of 2 + x where x > 0 evils for once?

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

because (none / 3) (#53)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:21:44 PM EST

w+x=y+z

z cannot increase without decreasing y, leading to x being largest where w is smaller than z (lol)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 1) (#226)
by Kuwanger on Sun Feb 29, 2004 at 03:43:23 PM EST

Perhaps you're trying to say that:

x + y = x + y' + z'

So, assuming x = y, y' < x and z' < x.

The thing is, that formula is not guaranteed.  The above is a result of people in a party splitting from the main party causing generally three parties where one is 50% of the populace, one is 25%+, and the last is the remainder.

The truth is, if there was some ideology about Democrats and Republicans that was not being pushed well enough by either party, a third party (a special interest group) could form without upsetting the x' and y' balance.  Eventually, other interest groups could form, and they could could join coallitions.

The problem with all of this, however, is the electoral college is the actual voter still and isn't required to vote as the people do (if they were, then they'd not be needed since fairly mapping populace votes to electoral votes would provide auto-voting).  President is also a very highly contested position, which allows it to be a great focus point for both larger parties.  The best method to introduce other parties would be to try to gain many seats in Congress.  Once a significant percentage (15%+) of the country's representatives were of a third party (which is a less "frightful" shift in position), the ability to back a third candidate would be a much easier transition.

[ Parent ]

Because that is not the way the voting system (1.00 / 4) (#69)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:02:43 PM EST

Is set up.

Please, just shut up. You're wrong, plain and simple.



[ Parent ]

Make me. (none / 1) (#73)
by fn0rd on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:57:01 PM EST

Convince me I'm wrong. So far, you seem to think that the 2 party system is as fucked up as I think it is. At least my stand isn't hypocritical.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

The idiocy of your position is well demonstrated. (2.22 / 9) (#75)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 07:19:40 PM EST

I feel like I'm being trolled here. Nonetheless, in true K5 fashion, I will go ahead and answer you anyway.

The logic of this is very simple: If you vote for Nader, Nader will lose. If you don't vote for Nader, Nader will lose. Indeed, from a logical perspective, whether you vote for Nader is irrelevant to whether Nader will win or not. He will lose no matter what you do.

On the other hand, if you vote for Kerry, Kerry will stand a better chance of winning. Your vote will have an impact on the election. On the other hand, if you vote for Nader, Kerry will not have the benefit of your vote and will stand a slightly worse chance for it. As established, however, Nader will not win regardless. In effect, you have increased Bush's chances by voting like an idiot.

Now, you might to try to argue that Nader might win. Suffice to say, if you think that is a possibility, you are simply an imbecile and I have nothing further to say to you. You might instead argue that it is somehow virtuous to vote one's "conscience", but in view of the above, your conscience ought to tell you to vote for Kerry, because Nader will not win.

Indeed, I happen to think Jesus Christ would be a better president than any of the current candidates, but I will not vote for him, because I know that he cannot win this election (both for legal and political reasons). Similarly, I think I'd make a better president myself than any of the current candidates, but I will not vote my conscience on that account either. Finally, I think that our corrupt form of government is doomed to failure and that we must embrace the principles of psychology laid out in L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics to our government if we are to move forward, but since that is not a change I can hope to effect with my vote in the upcoming presidential election, I will just settle for Kerry.



[ Parent ]

If I vote for anyone... (none / 3) (#92)
by fn0rd on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:02:31 AM EST

...other than the candidate I believe should be the president, then I lose. That man may be John Kerry. Then again, it may be Ralph Nader. In any case, I will never cast my ballot against anyone, I prefer to act in a positive manner.

As for the Scientology stuff, Xenu to you!

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

why can't you see (2.25 / 4) (#117)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:47:25 PM EST

why can't you see that getting the president you want in your hearts of hearts is less important than getting rid of george bush?

fuck kerry, he's nowhere near the guy i really want to be president... but even if such a person, an absolutely ideal candidate in my eyes, stepped out of the ether and seduced me with their dead on ideology, i still wouldn't vote for him or her because what i know that you refuse to accept is that A VANISHINGLY SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE

do you understand that?

so what you do is waste your vote on a hope and a dream

and you help gwbush get reelected

the price you pay for being an idealist and not a pragmatist is 4 more years of bush, see? that is just way too fucking high a price for me to pay for idealism, but apparently for you, that's a fine price to pay for your idealism

that's unfair of you, frankly

don't you understand that?

don't you understand the value of pragmatism over idealism in politics?

here: your idealism is not too expensive for kuro5hin, your idealism is not too expensive for your friends and family, your idealism is not too expensive for this world!

BUT: your idealism IS too expensive for your vote!

get it?

please vote accordingly

unless you think we can afford 4 more years of bush

i don't think we can afford that

you, you apparently think we can

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I see. So you're an idiot. (none / 3) (#119)
by ninja rmg on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:55:00 PM EST

"If I vote for anyone other than the candidate I believe should be president, then I lose"

Rather than face reality, you prefer to invent reasons that your idiocy is noble. You invent a concept of "losing" that has absolutely nothing to do with reality. You appeal to the most nebulous concept you possibly could (the positive versus negative dichotomy) just to hide from the fact that you have only two options and you choose neither.

You should not be allowed to vote.



[ Parent ]

Welcome to Scientology, friend. (none / 1) (#165)
by fn0rd on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:23:44 PM EST

You should not be allowed to vote.

When your leaders give the word, I'm sure you'll be ready to lay down your excuse for a life to take the right from me.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Voting doesn't just affect who wins (none / 1) (#138)
by squigly on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 09:40:43 AM EST

Voting affects the candidates policies, and who other people vote for.

A large number of people considering a different candidate will encourage the other candidates to try to win people over from those camps.  Simply by threatening to vote for Nader, people are forcing Kerry to consider adjusting his policies to those that Nader supports.  Essentially, the floaters are pressuring the Democrats into changing their policies.  Since there will be more elections, there is a payoff to carrying out the threat.  

It is conceivable that most people actually agree with Nader.  The number of people who don't vote indicate that the two main candidates are of no interest to most people.  Others vote for their second choice, because they don't perceive that their favourite candidate has any hope of winning.   Perhaps if these people could be persuaded to vote the other way, a third party candidate would have a chance.  The only way to get people to vote for their beliefs is to convince them that their favourite has a hope.

[ Parent ]

that's absolutely true (none / 0) (#246)
by IlIlIIllIIlllIII on Mon Mar 08, 2004 at 10:40:54 PM EST

And any U.S. history class will mention plenty of examples like that. Two parties is how the United States system works, and the role of third parties is documented and reported as such in every U.S. history textbook that I've read.

K5 is so full of jerks sometimes.

[ Parent ]

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! (none / 2) (#146)
by kjb on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 12:27:53 PM EST

I think that our corrupt form of government is doomed to failure and that we must embrace the principles of psychology laid out in L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics  to our government if we are to move forward

Oh, that's funny.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

I'll walk as well, (none / 1) (#249)
by hershmire on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 04:53:22 PM EST

Though I might take a different path.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
Of course... (3.00 / 14) (#38)
by talorin on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:30:35 PM EST

...if Mallory had won, the family would still have taken the highway, but she would have spent the entire trip claiming it was the rural road.

i know what you are trying to say (2.14 / 7) (#41)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 03:35:05 PM EST

you are saying that there is no difference between the two choices

i don't understand how you can say that with a guy who invaded iraq and is currently proposing an alteration to the constitution so gays can't marry

no difference?

how can you in intellectual honesty say that?

has your faux hipster sense of crude sarcasm and negativity overrun your intellectual faculties and what your eyes see as plain-as-day?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

To be fair... (2.50 / 4) (#80)
by ShadowNode on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 11:29:32 PM EST

Clinton dropped more bombs than Bush I.

[ Parent ]
to be unfair (none / 0) (#238)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 10:54:22 AM EST

clinton dropped more bombs than bush I

Under which presidency have more Americans lost their lives to terrorism and war? Bush I, Clinton, or Bush II? I honestly don't know the answer, but I have my suspicions that the order is "Bush II, Bush I, Clinton" going from most deaths to least deaths.

Not that "least American deaths to terrorism and war" means a person was a great president or anything, more likely they were president during a particularly violent time. And not like "most American jobs created" means a person was a great president or not, more likely they were president during a particularly strong economy.

Would Gore have (a) invaded Iraq and (b) created the quagmire of "post-war Iraq" that the US troops find themselves in? I don't know the answer to that, either, but I suspect that even if the answer to (a) was yes, the answer to (b) would probably be no. Maybe the situation would be worse, maybe Gore wouldn't have used enough force and we would still be fighting to "liberate" Bagdad. Not that any of that matters.

The question to be answered is, "will the next 4 years be better for the US under Bush or Kerry" and the answer is probably "no". I don't like either of them as presidential candidates. Bush has alienated the world and given rise to unprecedented levels of anti-American sentiment, and Kerry... well, I just don't like Kerry at all. I suspect upcoming Bush ads will give me a whole list of concrete reasons to dislike him.

Who will I vote for (and yes I will vote)? More than likely 3rd party, because under the current "all or nothing" electoral system my state's electoral votes will be going to Bush no matter whom I vote for anyway, so I might as well write in my own name as a "write-in" for all my vote will count.

(As another aside, my vote for president has never counted for anything except a footnote in history for the final tallies for the losing candidates in the states I have lived in. End the "all or nothing" electoral system and divide states electoral votes amongst the candidates according to percentage of votes.)
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Heh. (3.00 / 8) (#81)
by talorin on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:18:06 AM EST

How many Democrats approved the war in Iraq?  How many Democrats are have stated they're opposed to gay marriage?  The Democrats for the past decade or so have been playing a big game of "me too" with the Republicans.  If they're worried about leftie fringe candidates taking away their votes, then they need to move back to the left a bit.

Honestly, get off the party line and read a newspaper sometime.  You'd be surprised what really goes on when you break politics down into something a little more detailed than red vs. blue.  

If you can read, that is.  

[ Parent ]

what happened, cts? (none / 0) (#248)
by vivelame on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 01:11:34 PM EST

a few monthes ago, you supported operation "iraqi freedom"?

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
This article has taught me an important lesson (2.87 / 16) (#60)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:53:03 PM EST

My right to vote is a very important responsibility and if I don't exercise it, this article might actually post.

Yes!  I shall live up to my sacred and hard won responsiblity as a member of this community and vote -1 on this article and together we will keep K5 the a great website, just like those who came before us.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

haha! funny ;-) (nt) (none / 2) (#66)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 05:41:20 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Only one question needs answering ... (1.70 / 10) (#61)
by duncan bayne on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 05:14:36 PM EST

Who owns the car?

<Objectivist Libertarian ducks>

:-)

libertarian? more like communist theoretician :)nt (none / 3) (#64)
by circletimessquare on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 05:35:18 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Hi! (none / 2) (#93)
by fn0rd on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:09:42 AM EST

Property is Theft! K, thx!

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately, they ran out of gas ... (2.77 / 9) (#71)
by pyramid termite on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:38:37 PM EST

... in the middle of the freeway and were kidnapped by anarchists on motorcycles. Mallory got knocked up and went vegan earth mother, Alex became a linux hippie and Jennifer became a nanotechnological genius. Elise and Stephen spent a bitter old age in rocking chairs in the old folks' home, watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver and wondering where the fuck they'd gone wrong.

The freeways crumbled into dust and were replaced by transporters. THE END.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
HAHA! what no back to future joke? ;-) (NT) (none / 0) (#89)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 08:15:46 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I'd hit that. (2.50 / 14) (#74)
by ninja rmg on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 06:58:48 PM EST

I love a woman with firm convictions, strong leadership, and an ample sense of what's right, who can take charge of a situation. Such a girl, with her short skirt and long jacket, holds the key to my... heart.

But when do I love her best? I tell you: After a defeat like this, of course -- Her self image challenged after being abandoned by her allies, her plans laid waste and laughed at by a cruel patriarch... She needs -- craves -- someone to restore her faith in mankind...

Yes, Mallory, thirteen though you may be, I am your man. While you may be small and vulnerable, I assure you of my kind and gentle nature. Ah, Mallory... Light of my life, fire of my loins... my sin, my soul... What would you do, baby, without us?

Sha na nana...



This post makes me hard (1.28 / 7) (#77)
by Michael Jackson on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 09:01:43 PM EST


#kuro5hin.org -- irc.slashnet.org -- On the fucking spoke.
drdink -- gimpy pedo-fag felching drwiii off in the weeds
[ Parent ]

By and large I agree with your point... (2.62 / 8) (#76)
by JetJaguar on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 08:32:32 PM EST

Particularly with regards to issues of duality, I think that no matter what system you have, you're going to wind up with two parties that dominate. However, I also think there is room for more ideas in the political arena, but due to some unfortunate artifacts of our electoral system, there are many good ideas that never get a chance to be voiced.

Specifically, if we were to change our elections to a more approval based method, I think we would manage to open the political arena to a larger number of voices. In effect, we could be both pragmatic and idealistic at the same time, if we wish.

i agree 100% (none / 2) (#91)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 08:22:52 AM EST

with approval only, mccain would be president ;-P

on a side note, i think kuro5hin should be run the same way: approval only... then you wouldn't have asocial modbombers coming in and carpet bombing someone's comments with zeros, for example

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

That's an excellent idea. (2.25 / 4) (#125)
by ninja rmg on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:17:01 PM EST

Kuro5hin could become societally relevant if it made itself an experiment in approval voting. The real reason you won't see approval voting adopted is that there are lots of ways to do it and many of them are fairly difficult to understand. People need to learn how approval voting works. I'm sure that when they see it in practice enough, they'll demand that it be applied to general elections.

In addition to applying democracy to media, it could apply media to democracy.

Yet another great idea that will never happen.



[ Parent ]

"never happen" (none / 0) (#242)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 12:05:47 PM EST

write your local news and radio stations, and tell them you'd like them to conduct their polls using approval or concordet voting.

it can happen...
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Nnnno... mmmust... resissst... (1.60 / 10) (#82)
by Kasreyn on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:41:44 AM EST

logical point... and well-written metaphor... like kryptonite... yet circletimessquare is... my arch-nemesis. Must... RESIST! must... not... press...

+1FP

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Purge me of my cynicism... (3.00 / 11) (#84)
by kiazos on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 07:16:56 AM EST

...and tell me that modern politics actually gives such a choice.

In my perception, the more realistic play would be that the father navigate the family into choosing between two identical motorways, rather than between a rural country lane and a motorway. He gets what he wants (high speed motorwayness), and they get the illusion of choice.

What's wrong with my view?


here... (2.71 / 7) (#90)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 08:20:31 AM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2004/2/24/13213/0710/41#41

i guess it is all a matter of perspective

from 25 miles away, two mountains look side by side, indistinguishable

but on the slope of one of the mountains, the other looks impossible different

either way, i really don't see a democrat fucking with the constitution so gays can't marry, i mean really, doesn't an example like that mean something? there are a hundred more i could roll

but if you insist on looking at the two parties from a reactionary traditionalist perspective, or a revolutionary progressive perspective, well then no, their difference will seem vanishingly small from such a distance... at the same time, at such a distance, you are talking about a population of people that will never run this country given their vanishingly small population- no right or wrong about your ideology, just a simple matter of tiny numbers (for now at least)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Pick your poison (none / 1) (#193)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:33:39 PM EST

"either way, i really don't see a democrat fucking with the constitution so gays can't marry, i mean really, doesn't an example like that mean something? there are a hundred more i could roll"

No, they'll just fuck with the Constitution so that private citizens can't own firearms and so that if you call some-one a dirty name and they happen to be a minority you'll get tossed in jail for a "hate crime".

From my perspective most Democrats are far worse violaters of the constitution and the principles upon which this country was founded then most Republicans.... but hey, we all tend to see thing through lenses of our own bias.

[ Parent ]

An Alex: +1 for Bush (none / 1) (#210)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:57:40 PM EST

Except in revolution, there's seldom a fast change for "better" or "worse" in government policy. What you seem to be looking for is a choice between utopia and apocalypse... Now. What you really get is a choice between utopia and apocalypse... Later. Want to see the difference between one party and the other. Consistently select one over the other over twenty or thirty years, and you'll see. Of course, if you've opted out, by the time you see the flaw in your logic, it'll be too late.

[ Parent ]
This, of course, assumes that... (2.66 / 6) (#85)
by skyknight on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 07:20:49 AM EST

we have an actual two party system, as opposed to a one party system that pretends to be a two party system so as to offer the voting masses an illusion of democracy.

In any case, +1FP.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
do you really believe that? (2.25 / 4) (#86)
by karb on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 07:45:45 AM EST

I hear that repeated often, but to me it comes off like :
98% of the people that vote for one of the major two parties in every general election are morons. They obviously cannot tell that the two parties are the same, especially when you look at it from my vantage point on the far far left or far far right. Democracy obviously doesn't work ... a smart person like me should be king and execute all who stand in my way. BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH.

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

You are reading too much into it.. (3.00 / 7) (#87)
by SkArcher on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 07:54:00 AM EST

from my point of view the US governmental system looks like a choice between 2 finely differentiated forms of favour-trading, money-grubbing, corporate puppets with an interest in their own pockets and reputation and nothing more. Neither side actually represents any form of policy i want to see.


If God didn't want us to eat people, why did he make them out of MEAT?
[ Parent ]
Hard choices (none / 1) (#105)
by Weembles on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:34:32 PM EST

Let's say you were crawling through the desert dying of thirst when you come upon two fountains. One dispenses clean drinking water and the other motor oil. Would you drink the water and live, the oil and die, or die of thirst because you didn't get the bottle of Gatoraid that you prefered?

That's where we are today. We can make a choice that will at least allow us to progress towards our goal, or we could cross our arms and stamp our feet and let the world go to hell. You aren't making a principled stand by voting for a protest candidate, you are just being petulant.

[ Parent ]

Bad metaphor (3.00 / 4) (#132)
by Milo Minderbender on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:38:03 AM EST

But apt use of oil to represent Bush.

It's more like two fountains despensing different brands of motor oil, both of which will kill you, but one might taste a bit better going down. Nader is more like a small shotglass of cool clean water that will taste really good but you're still gonna die.

--------------------
This comment is for the good of the syndicate.
[ Parent ]
Maybe. (none / 1) (#147)
by Weembles on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01:45:48 PM EST

Vote your conscience, but if Narderites really want to push a progressive adgenda they're going to have to come up with a tactic a bit more pursuasive than the suicide bomber politics they use now.

[ Parent ]
There is difference between what they say... (2.80 / 5) (#94)
by skyknight on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:18:32 AM EST

though largely when they get into office, it makes little difference to me what they do. As someone who largely prescribes to libertarianism, I am almost completely unrepresented, and yet I am taxed to high hell so they can spend my money on things that I mostly don't support.

Other people aren't much better off. The US is presently overrun by a class of professional politicians who have but one imperative: get and stay in office. When politicking becomes your life, it matters not what other people think or how they feel any further than what it takes to assure you of your job.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
...and what they do. (1.75 / 4) (#95)
by Weembles on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:58:01 AM EST

You can't figure out the difference between the candidates in the last election after three years of the Bush administration?

Perhaps you need to start reading the news rather than spending all your time masturbating into a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

[ Parent ]

What's worse? (2.80 / 5) (#97)
by skyknight on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 10:16:57 AM EST

Clinton bribing North Korea to no effect, or Bush blustering to no effect while invading other countries that pose little or no threat to us? Ehh... Clinton presiding over a bubble that would inevitably crash, acting as if it could go on forever, or Bush playing games with ludicrous deficits, pretending that you don't have to cut government as long as you borrow against the future? Meh... Politicians fuck things up.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
what's worse - that's easy (2.80 / 5) (#99)
by speek on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 10:45:35 AM EST

Clinton bribing North Korea to no effect, or Bush blustering to no effect while invading other countries that pose little or no threat to us?

Clinton - no effect. Bush - invading countries. No effect is much better.

Clinton presiding over a bubble that would inevitably crash, acting as if it could go on forever, or Bush playing games with ludicrous deficits

Again, Clinton - no effect (acting and presiding are synonyms for doing nothing). Bush - playing games with ludicrous deficits. Again, 'no effect' is vastly superior.

A politician who does nothing is a great politician.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Big fan of Neville Chamberlain, are you? (none / 2) (#116)
by skyknight on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:27:26 PM EST

A politician who sits on his hands in the face of a looming crisis is not a great politician, therefore the statement that "a politician who does nothing is a great politician" is demonstrably false. Most of the time I do wish politicians would do less, but the older I've gotten the more conservative I've become about speaking in terms of absolutes, as it is invariably a great way to get oneself shown up as being wrong.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
not afraid of being shown wrong pedantically (none / 3) (#121)
by speek on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 07:30:56 PM EST

My point remains for those who choose to see it.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Gore probably would've invaded Iraq too... (none / 3) (#102)
by ShadowNode on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 11:43:57 AM EST

Though he most likely would have found a better reason, and gotten more support from the world community. He probably wouldn't have fucked the economy up as bad with tax cuts for his friends, but that's about the only difference.

[ Parent ]
Alls well that ends well. (none / 1) (#104)
by Weembles on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:23:59 PM EST

I'm not going to get sucked into one of those little tit-for-tat games we we endlessly bitch about details. In the end, what makes me vote for one candidate over the other is what I think the world will look like after they are through with it. I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that the Gore administration wouldn't have resulted in the US being hated by the rest of the world, our military pinned down in Iraq, or our civil liberties being chipped away by a fundamentalist.

Gore wasn't the perfect candidate for me and neither Kerry nor Edwards 100% match my beliefs now. However, I don't see how pulling the temple down on my head is going to make the political system any better.

[ Parent ]

So let me guess (none / 2) (#100)
by godix on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 11:21:01 AM EST

You aren't going to vote Nader are you?

It's dawned on me that Zero Tolerance only seems to mean putting extra police in poor, run-down areas, and not in the Stock Exchange.
- Terry Pratchett
Why voting sucks (2.66 / 9) (#101)
by rujith on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 11:21:22 AM EST

Neil Innes says:
No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in!

- Rujith.

A good read all round (none / 2) (#103)
by melia on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 11:46:26 AM EST

Well who cares about the point, that was really good, and you didn't even put annoying line breaks in. +1.
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
conscience v. pragmatism (2.66 / 6) (#107)
by syadasti on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 01:41:28 PM EST

This is a well-written piece which illustrates quite nicely the problems with democratic voting today, at least in the US.

There are serious problems with the operation of democratic republics when the political system favors established parties over newcomers. The entrenched parties in the US are given so much leverage over the field of potential alternatives (in terms of ballot access, public campaign financing, etc.), that voters are effectively left to choose among different arms of the same organization: the power elite.

A good discussion of the "vote your conscience" versus "vote to win" argument is seen in cts v. fn0rd below, despite all the ad hominem. I'll continue to vote my conscience, when I bother to vote at all. I will not endorse the lesser of two evils, because it is still evil.

The pragmatists here, while well-intentioned, are succeeding only in digging their own graves, prepartory to handing the shovel over to their new establishment masters for the finishing blow. Frankly, I would rather be one who refuses to dig, runs like hell, and gets shot in the back. Easier then for any observer to see what is really going on.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams

i totally don't get it (2.25 / 4) (#128)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 09:59:11 PM EST

why can't you leave the battle hymn of the republic glorious passionate battlecries for kuro5hin... and then vote pragmatically?

when you vote for kerry as opposed to nader or opposed to not voting, you aren't selling out, you are merely being smart and pragmatic, and in no way selling your soul down the river

it's a voting booth, for crying out loud, no one is watching

then, after voting for kerry, come back here on kuro5hin and write a 100 page polemic about your ideal ideology/ candidate/ cause

geez, what's so hard about that? where's the crisis of conscience? where's the loss of convictions? where's the lost idealism?

it's a voting booth, it's just a lever, no one knows! no one is going to see you outside the voting booth and yell "sold his convictions out! lost his idealism!"

you're not writing an essay about how much you love kerry, you're just pulling a lever!

i think kerry is a doofus! i don't like him at all!

but i despise bush, so i want to defeat him... i haven't even touched my convictions or my ideology or my passions or my heart or betrayed any of those things in any way by voting for kerry instead of nader or not voting at all... don't you see?

when i pull the lever for kerry instead of bush, as opposed to not voting or voting for nader i've done nothing at all except use my brain on a fork in the road... i haven't even touched my ideology, i haven't betrayed my ideology, i haven't defined my ideology, i haven't done anything except done a little pragmatic move

like this: if i go to the corner store and buy a quart of milk and choose skim as opposed to whole milk... have i signed up to the atkins diet? the south beach diet? the zone diet? no! i bought some fucking milk!

when i go to the voting booth and vote for kerry, have i made a pact with the devil and tied my entire ideological life to the democratic party? no! i just pulled a damn lever! i didn't close the curtain and write a 200 page rant in my own blood about how i swear an oath to the democratic party and sign my soul over to kerry... I JUST PULLED A LEVER

one bit is not a terabyte of data

one lever pull does not define your ideological existence, does not betray your conscience, see?

do you get it?!

why does this escape people?

jeez!

it's really not conscience versus pragmatism, it's brains and heart versus heart without brains

both of our hearts are in the same place, but my brain is still alive, and you've turned yours off for some reason

i am totally out to sea about people who talk about conscience versus pragmatism... no! they are not at odds with each other! i don't get people like you at all...

it's not conscience versus pragmatism, it's conscience and pragmatism versus conscience without pragmatism!

it's just a lever! you aren't selling your soul! you aren't deciding the course of your entire ideological life by voting for the fucking lurch just to get rid of the stupid monkey!

i totally do not get people like you and fn0rd at all, it's like you've turned your brains off because your too busy singing the battle hymn of the republic every time you see a voting booth

so weird


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

let's talk ideas, not people (none / 1) (#145)
by syadasti on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:51:52 AM EST

cts, believe me I FULLY appreciate your point and, I hope, its entirely rational and sensible motivation. I agree completely that even though Kerry may be a twit, he'd at least be better than King George II. And I respect those who will vote for him for that reason, regardless of their conscience.

I, however, can't rationally vote to remain in a potentially lesser form of bondage. The vote is not merely a vote against Bush, but also a vote FOR Kerry, who I would not have have any power whatsoever over me, or my daughter. We do have a fundamental disagreement in this regard, but it isn't one which diminishes my respect for you or the choices you make. I choose differently, and I've described my reasons.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

vote against Bush (none / 2) (#188)
by micromoog on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:36:17 PM EST

The vote is not merely a vote against Bush, but also a vote FOR Kerry

Just imagine the Kerry lever has a sign saying "NOT BUSH", and the Nader lever has a sign saying "NO OPINION". That's the effective result of your vote, idealism aside.

[ Parent ]

An Alex: +1 for Bush (none / 1) (#209)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:53:25 PM EST

Let me get reloaded before you run. The range on this Glock sucks.

[ Parent ]
Editorial: Why I'm voting for Tweedle Dee. (2.61 / 13) (#108)
by it certainly is on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 02:31:47 PM EST

This year, I'm going to vote for Tweedle Dee. I know a lot of my friends here at Kuro5hin expected me to elect the Cheshire Cat or try and leave the looking-glass altogether, but upon reflection, I have decided that it is in my best interests to vote for Tweedle Dee.

There are many good reasons to vote for Tweedle Dee. First of all, when Tweedle Dee was last in power, the scandals he caused, the war he waged, the terrible laws he passed and the corporate bribes he took were not nearly as bad as the hi-jinks of the much despised Tweedle Dum.

  • Unlike Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum did not sign us up to any multilateral climate-change agreements.
  • Tweedle Dum has made atrocious laws that take all your rights away, Tweedle Dee has done nothing of the sort.
  • Tweedle Dum thumped the war drums to distract us from local issues. Tweedle Dee would never do that.
  • Tweedle Dum takes huge back-handers from corporate donors! And, surprise, all these CEOs are cronies of Tweedle Dum! How could we trust anyone so hopelessly corrupt?
Many of you will be wondering what became of my previous allegiance with the Cheshire Cat. As the people who know me understand, nothing is more important to me than principles. The only thing more important to me than my principles is my pragmatism. And what I have come to realise is that Tweedle Dee's fiercely right-wing politics is the closest to left-wing politics that the citizens of Wonderland would dare elect.

What the citizens are telling me is that they are fed up of the astronomically right-wing policies of Tweedle Dum, and long for the compassionate, caring, fiercely right-wing policies of Tweedle Dee. The Cat hasn't got a chance, because nobody will vote for him. Nobody votes for the Cat because he hasn't got a chance. Wonderland loves nothing more than to back a winner, and that's what I'm going to do.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

-1, does not mention (1.50 / 4) (#111)
by Verbophobe on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 04:35:16 PM EST

Brillig, slithy toves OR what is gyring and gimbling in the wabe.  disappointing, to say the least.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]
JABBERWOCKY 4 PREZ! (none / 3) (#113)
by it certainly is on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 04:40:30 PM EST



kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Nobody will vote for the cat (none / 3) (#115)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:21:49 PM EST

because you can't trust someone who has a shit-eating grin on his face all the goddamned time. It's creepy.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
It worked for Tony Blair [n/t] (2.87 / 8) (#118)
by it certainly is on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 05:53:17 PM EST



kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

rofl (none / 0) (#243)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 12:17:27 PM EST

funniest k5 comment i've ever read...
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]
+1, FP (1.50 / 4) (#110)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 02:54:05 PM EST

I especially appreciate the traditional family ties illustrated in this story.

I assume the zeroes... (none / 1) (#160)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:50:31 PM EST

... are because of the mistaken belief that I was actually referring to the notion of family ties, and not the television show "Family Ties." Or perhaps because I actually liked an article by cirlcletimessquare. In any case, I hardly think a zero in appropriate.

[ Parent ]
He's right (3.00 / 13) (#123)
by Talez on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 08:22:59 PM EST

First past the post voting sucks completely. Even Michael Moore points it out in his book, "Stupid White Men" when runs for the school board position. All the adults did was split the adult vote 5 ways. If instead they were using preferential voting every adult vote would (theoretically) eventually count toward another adult thereby making an adult win.

I'm just glad I live in a country with preferential voting. I can vote for my third parties without "wasting" my vote and still pick the lesser of two evils by the order in which I choose them (last or second last) in my preferences.

Si in Googlis non est, ergo non est

But where does Al Sharpton figure in? (none / 3) (#124)
by JayGarner on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 08:57:33 PM EST

Is he the old black blues guy that Alex idolized?

Does the Barron's GRE Prep book (none / 2) (#133)
by Lode Runner on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 05:05:31 AM EST

still make liberal use of Family Ties mnemonics? I distinctly remember an Alex in the example sentences for spruce, primp, and preen. There were a couple of Mallory sentences too.

hmm (2.55 / 9) (#134)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 05:51:42 AM EST

If this is meant to teach you something about politics, I think it misses the point (or at least a point). If there are countless people voting, the chance of your vote making a difference becomes so minimal, it's reasonable to spend your time doing something else than voting. Of course, with just five people, there is a pretty good chance of actually influencing the outcome, and voting is not just a symbolic act.
Politics and democracy, if nothing else, is about reality and pragmatic decision making first and foremost.
And this is exactly what you don't seem to understand yourself. Typically, there is nothing pragmatic or realistic about voting. You know beforehand your vote is not making any difference, and you are voting for idealistic reasons. You vote like you would if your vote was the decisive one, but it isn't, and you know that.

So, who is more of an idealist, the idealist who knows he's an idealist or the idealist who thinks he's a realist?

what an asshole (1.20 / 5) (#135)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:08:38 AM EST

i vote, it counts

take your "i'm not worth anything" bullshit elsewhere

apparently i think more of your vote than you do

why don't you go commit suicide, since you're so convinced you don't matter in this world


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

that is just stupid (none / 3) (#136)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:59:41 AM EST

Of course I'm worth something. That doesn't mean my vote is, except in an idealistic sense. I recognize the reality of the situation, meaning that my vote has never made a difference, and that I have no reason to think it ever will. However, I still vote, but I don't take voting very seriously, because of the aforementioned reasons. Knowing that realistically it doesn't matter who I vote for, and that idealistically I should follow the ideal, I can vote for the person who I think is the best candidate.

[ Parent ]
you are the biggest fucktwit i ever met (1.00 / 5) (#139)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 10:06:18 AM EST

you have nothing but rationalization of the pointlessness of democracy

no matter what i think of your opinion, you have to agree with my logic that if more people think like you, democracy is weakened, right? if everyone thought like you, then what's the point of democracy at all, right? where is my logic wrong?

i disagree with you, but even if i grant you the bullshit supposition that "your vote never made a difference", thinking like that only opens the door for people to say "you're right, that's why we don't need democracy, just follow me, your next hitler/ stalin/ pol pot"

you are a complete and utter royal fucktwit for thinking the way you do about voting, you realize that, don't you?
and whether you admit to my point about you thinking you are not worth something- which you disagree with me that that is what you are truly saying, and then you go right on and say it anyway, you are doing nothing more than devaluing your vote internally, therefore, devauing yourself

plenty of assholes will devalue your meaning and your existence and your vote- don't do their job for them

you are a toal asshole for thinking the way you do

take your rationalization to it's logical conclusion: suicide, or shut the fuck up and correct your abhorently woefully wrong way of thinking, really, you are a royal fucktwat for going down the road you are going down

god you are a total asshole

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

there's the idealism again (none / 3) (#142)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:12:11 AM EST

you have nothing but rationalization of the pointlessness of democracy
No, actually I quite like democracy. It tends to provide a stable environment in which I can do what I like doing, for example to have debates with circletimessquare on K5. :-)
no matter what i think of your opinion, you have to agree with my logic that if more people think like you, democracy is weakened, right? if everyone thought like you, then what's the point of democracy at all, right? where is my logic wrong?
The problem is not as much with your logic as it is with your idealistic premises. Why should I care about what would happen if more people thought like me? I am not those other people. Realistically speaking, they vote like they vote no matter how I vote. But what you seem to be getting at is that in the end such harsh realism is not even desirable. This is because you are fundamentally an idealist. A genuine political realist would never think of what would happen if everyone did what he does. He will only think of what will happen if he himself does it.

[ Parent ]
wtf? (none / 1) (#151)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:31:29 PM EST

a political realist would never think like me? that votes count?

i'm an idealist for that?!

wtf are you smoking?!

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

read again (none / 2) (#155)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:35:05 PM EST

a political realist would never think like me? that votes count?
I said:
A genuine political realist would never think of what would happen if everyone did what he does. He will only think of what will happen if he himself does it.
Why would a realist waste time thinking about irrelevant fantasies such as what would happen if everyone did what he does? He just wants something, and does what is necessary to achieve that. Quite simply, it is neither necessary nor even useful to think about what would happen if everyone did what he does. He may not even want others to do what he does.

[ Parent ]
I see. (none / 3) (#164)
by ninja rmg on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:15:21 PM EST

So how do you account for the body of literature in the political sciences written by political realists?

Please do not waste my time by claiming they are not really realists. The word has a definition and a history of common use outside of the way you've attempted to use it in this thread.

Also, do not try to change the subject by asking me to define it myself. It is not my job to educate you. Find the relevant definitions and usage yourself if you don't know them.



[ Parent ]

well (none / 2) (#166)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 06:42:36 PM EST

I don't understand what you are trying to say. There are books written by political realists. So what? I know there are.

I don't think it is necessary for me to go into your second point, because you don't even express a proper argument. But I use the term "political realism" in a specific sense, that is roughly "the realistic approach to political participation". I think this is also what circletimessquare means. But I can use different words instead if you have suggestions.

[ Parent ]

It's quite simple really. (none / 3) (#170)
by ninja rmg on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:35:13 AM EST

The fact of an extensive realist literature illustrates the fact that realists, for a variety of reasons, advocate various behaviors, practices, and strategies, whether the realists themselves embrace them themselves or not.

I thought the connection was fairly obvious, but I suppose I cannot rely on others to read my posts, which is why I prefer trolling to regular discourse. Oh well.



[ Parent ]

right (none / 2) (#177)
by Timo Laine on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 02:31:14 AM EST

The fact of an extensive realist literature illustrates the fact that realists, for a variety of reasons, advocate various behaviors, practices, and strategies, whether the realists themselves embrace them themselves or not.
Right. But I don't know how that works as an argument against anything I said.

[ Parent ]
Cut the crap! (2.00 / 3) (#178)
by gavri on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 02:44:26 AM EST

Political realists write books because books can make a huge difference. If a political realist could excercise a million votes, she will not sit back and not vote.
If a political realist is convinced that her book would have no effect at all on the rest of the world but to influence a couple of votes, that political realist would think it not efficient to write that book. She could spend her time campaigning.
There are people who would call themselves idealists and go ahead and vote, but would not raise a finger to speak out, spread the message and get a hundred other people to vote. How does that make sense at all? Do they care or not?

--
Blog Of A Socially Well Adjusted Human Being

[ Parent ]
he speaks truth grasshopper (none / 1) (#183)
by speek on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 09:12:14 AM EST

learn to grok it

learn to fixate not on the simple one-liners you do understand, but rather on the paragraphs you did not.

do not skim - read.

consider, and reply tomorrow instead of now.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

fuck off troll (none / 1) (#212)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 05:56:55 PM EST

try reading my fucking paragraphs above, i'm the author of the fucking story above, asshole

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
pragmatists don't get angry (none / 2) (#216)
by speek on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:35:09 PM EST

Idealists do though.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

suck my dick, troll (nt) (none / 1) (#217)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 07:02:09 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
logic (none / 1) (#218)
by banffbug on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 12:56:34 AM EST

no matter what i think of your opinion, you have to agree with my logic that if more people think like you, democracy is weakened, right? if everyone thought like you, then what's the point of democracy at all, right? where is my logic wrong?
actually, if everyone thought, and therefor voted like him, the US wouldn't be in this mess, would they? Nader would be busy cleaning up the stinking mess.

[ Parent ]
wrong (none / 0) (#244)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 12:23:34 PM EST

actually, if everyone thought, and therefor voted like him, the US wouldn't be in this mess, would they? Nader would be busy cleaning up the stinking mess.

without a doubt less than 1/3 of people approve of Nader. even with approval voting Nader would not have come close to winning, because 1/2 the people would not approve of him (Bush supporters) and at least some number of Gore supporters would not approve of him, either.

approval voting would without a doubt have resulted in Gore winning the last election (although perhaps Bush would not even have advanced to the "final round" instead of McCain if the Republican primaries had been approval voting...)
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Solipsicism is a lonely game (none / 1) (#154)
by Weembles on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:34:03 PM EST

The problem with your idea is that it ignores the fact that voting isn't a solitary endevor. Just because you aren't personally casting the one ballot that decides an election doesn't mean that you aren't contributing to the majority that does.

[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 1) (#157)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:42:44 PM EST

But is that in any way relevant? I mean, from a realist standpoint? As I see it, your contribution would be completely unnecessary, as the majority already was a majority. A realist would not spend time doing unnecessary things.

[ Parent ]
but it is necessary (none / 2) (#163)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 05:45:47 PM EST

A realist as I would understand it would realize that although their individual vote wouldn't matter, voting was an axiom (a reality) of the system. Extricating yourself from that process would be ignoring the reality of the system of government. That reality is that majority rules (allegedly) by each person having one vote and using it as they see fit.

You are describing the viewpoint of solipsism or individualism, I believe.

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

reality (none / 1) (#167)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 07:09:38 PM EST

I don't think my viewpoint is different at all. I don't see reality as an axiom, but merely as the things that exist and things that happen. The agents inside the world face different things, over which they have different degrees of control. They may not have full control over anything, but they have at least a little control over almost anything. A realist agent focuses on the things over which he has at least some arbitrary degree of control. It is not entirely arbitrary, because it seems realistic to think that you can at least in some sense control the coffee cup in your hand, but not for example switch the places of two galaxies. Needless to say, I think national elections are one of the things over which the agent has so little control that from a realist point of view it makes no sense to bother.

Specifically, I don't think this is individualistic, because voting loses its realistic meaning only because of the amount of people voting. I can easily see a realist voting happily and enthusiastically in a smaller democratic community with about ten or so people. But even in such a community, voting is not the most effective way to participate.

[ Parent ]

So if everybody holds your viewpoint (none / 1) (#169)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:13:22 AM EST

then a) democracy as we know it is useless and b) nobody would ever vote. Why not live in a dictatorship? That way at least one person has control.

If you, as a realist, get together with all of your realist buddies and vote for one candidate, you do gain some control. So you have much more control over that than the position of some galaxy. It's an inductive type thing. One snowflake doesn't have much power, but an avalanche couldn't exist without billions of snowflakes. That's reality. But you are looking at it only from the point of view of what you as an individual have control over, instead of what you could possibly have control over outside an individualist paradigm.

The reality of the situation is that there might be more effective ways to participate in democracy, but voting is a guaranteed discrete action you can take that you do have control over. Why would you not exercise that ability?

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

dictatorship (none / 1) (#179)
by Timo Laine on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:01:57 AM EST

So if everybody holds your viewpoint
Why should I care about that question?
Why not live in a dictatorship? That way at least one person has control.
True. But it is very difficult to make sure that you will be the dictator yourself. Besides, democracy mostly lets me control my own life, and I don't even really need control over the lives of others.
If you, as a realist, get together with all of your realist buddies and vote for one candidate, you do gain some control.
Yeah, if I had lots and lots of realist buddies, but even then I still wouldn't have to vote. I would just have to convince my buddies to vote.
Why would you not exercise that ability?
It has a cost. You have to go to some building, stand in line and all that. If voting gets you nothing, why pay that cost? Why not use that time for something useful instead?

[ Parent ]
I guess... (none / 1) (#223)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 06:37:51 PM EST

It doesn't get you very much, but I guess you could make the argument either way. I view it as a small price to pay for at least a small (if infinitesimal) way to affect the system.

I can't really argue anything else other than to say that the current organisation of most democracies would become non-functional if large numbers of people held to that view. So either a new form of democracy would have to come about (which could be a very good thing), or we continue with the status quo and don't adapt the realist attitude.

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]

but we aren't hypocrites (none / 1) (#224)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 06:41:33 PM EST

I still don't think that cts is a hypocrite just because he wants to vote. Anyways, thanks for the comments, I appreciate learning about your point of view.


Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]
Maybe it should be called Political Math (none / 2) (#227)
by Kuwanger on Sun Feb 29, 2004 at 04:21:26 PM EST

Science is based on reality.  Science is based on the observable.  Science doesn't have an axiom, but it does have a process.  If through that process a basis for belief is removed, reevaluation occurs.  Theories based more on math than observation should be highly questioned.

Math is based on axioms.  Through this axioms, systems can be described and generally well fit to meet observation under the scope of theories or laws.

Math is ideological.  Science is pragmatic.  Science can't guarantee correctness, only a probability of correctness.  Pragmatically, in a system where only one person can be elected, only one person need vote.  Everything else is ideology.

Voting then is based more on ideology than reality.  It is believed that through voting, instead of entrusting a single individual to the best condition, a large number of people can vote and the result will entrust the best observable condition.  Math also shows how insignificant a single vote is because of how low a percentage it is.  So, the best method of achieving some aim is to attempt to produce a group whose percentage is large enough to be significant.  The result is less individual voting by possibly also less voter apathy.  Such a system, always, should still allow each individual to vote to prevent group terrorism.

[ Parent ]

It really is necessary. (none / 2) (#185)
by Weembles on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 10:43:23 AM EST

It's really a Tragedy of the Commons scenario in reverse. If one person declines to vote, he sees an immediate benifit of not spending the time to vote but still gets their candidate elected, but everyone else who would have voted for the same candidate sees a very small loss in terms of a lower vote tally. If two people decide not to then they both get the same benifit and there's a somewhat greater penalty to the group. If three people... and so on and so forth until the majority is no longer a majority and everyone sees a 100% loss.

I don't see what is realistic about expecting everyone else in the country to be dutiful citizens and vote leaving the only one clever enough to sit on your couch.

[ Parent ]

expectations (none / 1) (#200)
by Timo Laine on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:22:40 PM EST

If three people... and so on and so forth until the majority is no longer a majority and everyone sees a 100% loss.
I don't get what you are trying to say. If some single person doesn't vote, it doesn't mean others won't either. It seems that you are constantly trying to bring in idealistic considerations such as what would happen if everyone did what you do. The realist does not think about things like that. From his perspective, the perspective of the realist, they are entirely irrelevant, because there is no causal connection between his actions and the actions of others.
I don't see what is realistic about expecting everyone else in the country to be dutiful citizens and vote leaving the only one clever enough to sit on your couch.
Maybe "expecting" is the wrong word. The realist doesn't expect anyone to do anything. He just observes that they generally do act in a certain way in certain kinds of circumstances.

[ Parent ]
Confusion (none / 1) (#235)
by Weembles on Mon Mar 01, 2004 at 10:37:20 AM EST

I was trying to view the situation from a game theory standpoint. Situations like 'The Tradgedy of the Commons' are very realistic views of how the world works that are based on what happens when people try to maximize their short term gains. It seems to me that you are depending on being the only one with a 'realistic' viewpoint which strikes me as a little unrealistic and misses the point of group endevors altogether.

[ Parent ]
maybe we're talking about different things (none / 0) (#237)
by Timo Laine on Mon Mar 01, 2004 at 04:23:21 PM EST

I was trying to view the situation from a game theory standpoint. Situations like 'The Tradgedy of the Commons' are very realistic views of how the world works that are based on what happens when people try to maximize their short term gains.
Yes, I do understand this. But I don't see the relevance. The tragedy of the commons either happens or doesn't happen. It can only be avoided if the majority plays by the rules. But this doesn't require universal participation, which means that there is no reason for the realist not to break the rules. And even if nobody else plays by the rules, it's still better for the realist to break them. If this is so, only a group of idealists or a group under a benevolent dictator can avoid the tragedy of the commons.
It seems to me that you are depending on being the only one with a 'realistic' viewpoint which strikes me as a little unrealistic and misses the point of group endevors altogether.
I am not sure what you mean. I am trying to understand you, but it's difficult. Maybe we are just talking about two different things. For example, I don't understand how you use the word "unrealistic".

Also, I don't consider voting a group endeavor. You don't participate in an endeavor, you just express your opinion as an individual person. Perhaps it is correct to think that a group is something that is more than the sum of its parts. For example, when you take John Bonham away from Led Zeppelin, what you get is not 75% Zeppelin but 0% Zeppelin, even though John Bonham is not by himself 100% Zeppelin. But when you take away one person from the "group" that voted for candidate X, then the "group" that voted for candidate X still remains, only a little insignificant bit smaller. Therefore it never was more than the sum of its parts, or a real group.

[ Parent ]

If your vote isn't worth anything to you (none / 1) (#159)
by BCoates on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:46:39 PM EST

You should sell it, there's other people who would like an extra one. For a couple of bucks on the major offices and maybe a quarter per minor vote, it'd be a better deal than donating to a campaign.

[ Parent ]
that's true (none / 1) (#162)
by Timo Laine on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:58:45 PM EST

But even in that case, it wouldn't matter if you voted or not. You would get paid either way. :-)

[ Parent ]
An Alex: +1 for Bush (none / 2) (#208)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:50:48 PM EST

That's why for politics to work, YOU have to work. As an idealistic poly sci prof showed me through action back in the day, if you're pissed and want something changed, you gotta get a crowd around you. Get them all to vote (or write letters and make phone calls) your way, then it's true, you've done something more valuable than a mere vote would.

It's just like in business. You can make only so much as an employee... the big bucks come from getting other people working for you.

[ Parent ]

I agree with you (none / 1) (#211)
by Timo Laine on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 05:53:55 PM EST

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. But I do not agree with your comment title, because you assume too much. I couldn't vote in American elections even if I wanted to, because I am not an American citizen. I am not an "Alex" either.

[ Parent ]
+1FP, even though it is CTS (2.40 / 5) (#137)
by megid on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 08:40:37 AM EST

Kudos. While I dont like neither opinion nor comments-discussion-evading style of the author, this tale is nonetheless beautiful.

Its even negligible that in the real world, it is more a the choice between a highway, another highway, and the idealistic way is the rural road.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

I don't think I'm gonna vote this year... (2.60 / 5) (#140)
by Psycho Dave on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 10:11:39 AM EST

Let's face it, the system will stay the same either way.

Bush or Kerry? Sharpton or Nader? It's all the same horseshit, whether times are good or bad. I don't buy into this "degrees of good" crap. Somebody...everybody...is getting fucked to some degree.

The sky is always falling while we're at the peak of our civilization. These contradictions are the basis of society itself. The very fact that people DON'T vote is the greatest tribute to the PERFECTION our system has become. We experience violence on a TV screen and tragedy on online and in print. We are always at a state of perfect terror, but never quite able to explode. And the trains always run on time...

I'm stoned. I'm outta here.

*SNIFF* Isn't it beautiful? (none / 2) (#141)
by LilDebbie on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 10:27:04 AM EST

And the petty rebellions of youth are all engineered by MTV to rake in the profits. And we're winning the War on Drugs even though anyone who really wants to get high can without much trouble. And we can crush two nations without even breaking a sweat. I tell you this is why I love my country!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
i'm stoned. i'm outta here (2.00 / 4) (#153)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:42:17 PM EST

i don't care, and i'm happy to tell everyone i don't care

good for you, go away, by saying you don't care, your words are worthless


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

A Jennifer: +1 for Bush (none / 2) (#207)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:45:50 PM EST

If you can't see the difference, you're too stoned to matter.

[ Parent ]
Take me to your lizard. (3.00 / 16) (#143)
by I am Jack's username on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:18:33 AM EST

We Greens know that there is a difference between the Republicans and the Democrats, but in Congress the Republicrats keep voting against what we feel are the most important things: grassroots democracy, social justice, that habitat thing, non-violence...

It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No", said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd", said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did", said Ford. "It is."
"So", said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them", said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes", said Ford with a shrug, "of course".
"But", said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in." - Douglas Adams, So long, and thanks for all the fish, chapter 36, 1984

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them]
[audience gasps in terror]
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
[murmurs]
Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system.
Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
[Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]
...
Marge: I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a planet I never even heard of.
Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos. - The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror VII

"It's better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it." - Eugene Victor Debs (1855-1926)
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

my rebuttal to this excellent comment (none / 3) (#173)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:41:32 AM EST

there are two parties in the us and there always will be, now and forever... however, they are not necessarily democrats and republicans, one or the other can fade away and be replaced

during the transition there will be 3 parties, but one will monopolize the conservative or liberal side of issues better than the other, and the third will quickly dissolve into history

this has happened before in the us: study the history of the whig party

if, for example, perot's legions succeeded in winning more votes than the republicans in 1992, you would have had a period of 3 political parties in the us

however, this is a temporary state, a voicing of conservative americans about their happiness with the republican party

over time, one of the two conservative parties would gain the upper hand, and momentum towarda an equilibrium where one party monopolizes the left and one monopolizes the right would bury the smaller third party into history

smaller third parties only gain voice and stand a chance at toppling one fo the major parties only when the one of the major parties fucks up and doesn't represent the conservative/ liberal voices of their constituents

roll your own example if nader had succeeded at wooing more democrats in 2000

so what is my point? the above excellent comments points to a mythological being: no, i'm not talking about lizards or aliens, the myth i am talking about is a poltical landscape in the us where parties don't exist and no one is disillusioned with politics

that's a constant truth... if you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with reailty, because that reality is never changing

if the lizard king is usurped, or the alien is dethroned, another will take his or her place, because those lizards and alines are created by us: human beings, in our own minds, in the way we think about our leaders, no matter how virtuous or evil they are

we get the government we deserve

fact: people organize around controversial and divisive ideological issues, so political parties are never going away

fact: at no time is it possible for EVERYONE to be content with the reigning ideology of their government, ever

therefore, the magical moment when everyone votes for nader instead of kerry, or everyone votes for perot instead of bush sr., as aluded to above, would not be a permanent sea change in politics, end of story, everyone lived happily ever after... instead it would be a simple changing of the guard, when malcontent and disillusionment due to bad ideological management on the parts of democrats or republicans doomed one or the other to the dustbin of history

and they go the way of the whig party

it is a statistically impossible event, as long as human beings are free-thinking persons and express a range of opinions that diverge from a median on a given issue, that we should be happy with our politcs. if you just happen to be very progressive in your politics, you simply feel the pain of your disillusionment of the policies of your government stronger than most. but that doens't mean you shouldn't vote or throw away your vote, it means you should be happy that you are the future, and that you can change people''s opinions, which changes political parties and governments, but you can never change political parties directly. so don't waste your vote, because your votew is never the weapon you should use in your good fight. use your vote instead as a proxy to make sure the people don't slide away from the future you represent, see?

opinion is a bell curve around which is organized the ideology of the political parties in a given country: the right, and the left, and a smattering of tiny hopeful parties that will never deliver nirvana on the edges- at best they can only create a changing of the guard, returning the political landscape to the way it was before as the third party must necessarily move from the edge to the center to consolidate it's new status as torch bearer of the right or left. different day, new names, but the ideology doesn't change, see?

hey, don't shoot the messenger, but here's the truth: if your ideology is far enough from the center of the bell curve of the range of opinions on a given issue: abortion, gay marriage, gun control, death penalty, etc... it doesn't matter how loud or vocal your minority, your opinion will never be expressed by your government, ever

a government expressed the will of the people. the will of the people is a statistical bell curve. your will will not be represented if it is on the edge. simple as that.

now of course, what you think i am missing here but i just haven't covered because i was making other points is this: the bell curve moves over time, the cneter shifts leftward or rightward

and that's what you should still agitate for your cause... for should you hate the war in iraq, or the war on drugs, or the war on common sense intellectual property law, please, don't stop the good fight

you can change human opinion, just forget the political parties: they are mindless machines, following the bell curve of popular opinion, not visa-versa. they fail when they don't represent the bell curve properly, they lose office when they drift from the center. that's all there is to it.

so lose your fixation with the mechanics of polotics, go back to your ideological roots and fight the good fight.

just don't throw away your vote. your thinking of your vote the wrong way. it is not the beginning and the end of your ideological voice. it is merely a proxy tool for you to use mindlessly to make sure the center doesn't slide leftward or rightward away from what you think is the rightful future.

there will always be nothing but lizards and aliens for our rulers. but that is because you choose to view them as such, because you are obessed with and believe you can snap your fingers and tomorrow the entire country will be in lockstep with every minutiae of your ideology. that will never happen. so you will always feel the pain of the distance between your opinions and the opinions of your leaders. more so if you are further out on the edge of the bell curve. that doesn't mean you should give up your fight, it just means you should stop obsessing on that pain.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Blaise, is that you? (none / 1) (#182)
by spasticfraggle on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 07:18:33 AM EST

As in "I have only made this [letter] longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter."

I'm sure that the reason this doesn't have any ratings is that nobody could muster the courage to wade through it.

There's probably some clever analogy to draw against the political system there...

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Excellent comment (none / 1) (#184)
by JonesBoy on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 10:03:56 AM EST

Well written and stated.

My only gripe is that you seem to feel that a polticial party is forced to follow the limitations of average public opinion.   This has never been the situation.   Politicians, through legislation and representation of intent, are essential for the formation of public political opinion.   They are the ones who pick the issues to debate and form the opinions which are spoon-fed to the public to decide their positons.   People, in large groups, are stupid and emotional.   Politicians who play on peoples emotions can sway public opinion and dramatically change a nation in short order.   Take a look at European governments in the 1940s, or any despotic leaders rise to power.

What I am trying to say is, politicians are limited by the average public opinion, but are in a position to control opinion by selecting issues and taking positions which limit choice.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]

I was about to post the same thing... (none / 1) (#190)
by syadasti on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:58:17 PM EST

...but you've already done it. Political parties and their media mouthpieces wield a huge amount of influence over public opinion. They move that bell curve around in order to aggrandize themselves.

Seen from the perspective of principled greens or principled libertartians, the differences between Democrats and Republicans are about as great as those between choosing the baked fish dinner vs the broiled, and voting for either of them is still a bad move if what you really want is steak. Put another way, voting for Reps or Dems is about as important as getting to choose what color your shackles will be painted; in the end, you're still a prisoner.

The one-dimensional bell curve is pretty specious anyway, as political opinion divides along more than one axis. The Political Compass, for example, provides a two-dimensional view, which can be instructive.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

Playing Devils Advocate (none / 1) (#186)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 11:01:24 AM EST

So you don't think what Nader did to Gore in the 2000 election is going to help shape the deomcratic platform in 2004? Or for that matter what Perot did to Bush Sr. had any affect on the Republican platform.

Your analogy holds water if the only thing that is important is which choice of road is taken today and it is a binary choice. Perhaps the thing that's a priority for Alex is not how they get to the cabin today but whether tommorrow morning they go for a hike or not. Now Steven may want to go for a scenic drive the next morning and Mallory may want to go for a picnic.... but if the choice of road today is more important to Mallory she just might agree to vote for the hike tommorrow instead of the picnic in order to get his vote. Now if Mallory knows she'll get Alex's vote regardless of whether she votes picnic or hike then she'll never vote hike. The only way for Alex to ever get anything he wants is to demonstrate to Mallory she WONT get his support unless she occasionaly votes for things he wants. That, my freind, IS politics.

On the other hand, I'm a hypocrit because I'm probably going to vote for Bush simply because I think the Democrats are worse....even though Bush Jr is very low on the list of Conservatives I'd like to see in office.

[ Parent ]

[B]e the change [you] wish to see. (none / 1) (#187)
by I am Jack's username on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:03:58 PM EST

//I'm not a citizen of the USA, I have however talked to committee chairwomen of the Green Party of the USA, and studied their, other political parties in the USA, and green parties all over the worlds': voting histories, constitutions (bylaws), manifestos, and issue positions. Take the following as coming from someone from the outside, and probably more extreme than the typical Green voter in the USA.

There's a line we Greens aren't prepared to cross: a line across which the members of Congress live. If the Democratic party (DP) is Earth's southern hemisphere, and the Republican party (RP) the northern; we Greens are not the South Pole - we're fricken Venus.

Some left-wing Democrats occasionally vote Green, and some people voted for the Green Party (GP) because they liked Nader (not a Green by the way); your arguments could work in winning them back. In order to convince Greens to vote for the Democratic nominee you'll have to convince us that the DP's positions on the issues we care about are better than that of the Green Party (GP). Simply saying that Bush and the RP policies are depraved is not enough, we know that, but we think the Democrats are depraved too - considering what they've also done in opposition to the things we consider important.

you can change people's opinions, which changes political parties and governments, but you can never change political parties directly.

Well you can, it's just very hard. I wouldn't want to change the DP tho. I want the GP to change the system where the power of parties are reduced, and democracy goes to the grassroots, so that when the GPUSA sells out like the German Greens, the system is changed and the corrupted Green Party leaders are ignored.

so don't waste your vote, because your votew is never the weapon you should use in your good fight. use your vote instead as a proxy to make sure the people don't slide away from the future you represent, see?

I don't see. We're talking past each other. What is obvious and logical to me is not to you, and vice versa. I think that having the guts to do what I think is the right thing in the face of fierce opposition, is still the right thing. My vote is one way to show that I'll not compromise on certain things I consider essential. This'll anger those who differ from me but also regard themselves as progressive, as well as practical people who would sacrifice more and more because they won't oppose the sea of troubles.

There are certain lines I'm not prepared to cross. To me, it's like being told to murder people by either shooting them point-blank or slowly poisoning their water with carcinogens - I know one is more humane than the other, but I'm going to refuse to murder them, and struggle to prevent others from murdering them. You're argument seems to be that because they're most likely going to be murdered anyway, and because everyone else is murdering them, I should help them die as quickly and painlessly as possible. I'm saying that I'm trying to convince people with words and by example that murder is wrong, and I think that eventually people will agree. An extreme allegory, but you don't seem to understand that there are lines I'm not prepared to cross.

Calling Greens naive, stupid, or worse, will not change our minds - if we we're influenced by things like that we'd be voting for the DP already. Try to change our minds by showing us where we are wrong, and there are definitely things we haven't thought thru enough.

your thinking of your vote the wrong way. it is not the beginning and the end of your ideological voice. it is merely a proxy tool for you to use mindlessly to make sure the center doesn't slide leftward or rightward away from what you think is the rightful future. - circletimessquare

Why should I vote for a party who's policies I think are unethical and make me cringe? The difference, for me, is not enough between the RP and DP. For Greens the GP is the lesser evil, and we won't vote for what you consider to be the lesser evil because there are lines we won't cross, realpolitik or no.

Some Green Parties have endorsed Kucinich. I would not vote for a member of the Democratic party, even if I agree with a lot of what a member of it like Kucinich says; because anyone who would join an organization with a voting history like the DP, even if to try to fix it from the inside, doesn't seem to recognize that the power given by the status quo corrupts people, especially people who are convinced that they're right.

"civilizing step[s] in history has been ridiculed as "sentimental", "impractical", or "womanish", etc., by those whose fun, profit or convenience was at stake." - Joan Gilbert

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate." - Avram Noam Chomsky

"Violence breeds violence... Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action... They say means are, after all, means. I would say means are, after all, everything. As the means, so the end." - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

"Whatever you do will be insignificant. But it is very important that you do it." - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

A Jennifer: +1 for Bush (none / 2) (#206)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:44:49 PM EST

A national Green vote is meaningless other than as a GOP tool, UNTIL you people start showing enough traction to get some other local, state, and Federal level offices in your column. Until then, your practical effect is little different than LaRouche For President.

[ Parent ]
next vote: Dad in doghouse? (2.50 / 4) (#144)
by khallow on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:29:32 AM EST

What a complicated way to say "Don't run" to Nader. The biggest problem with this morality play is that the only competent person won the vote. That seems a good outcome to me. Also, there will be other votes and there's always reprecussions from close votes or failing to deliver on the issue voted on. Dad might sleep in the doghouse, if he gloats too much over this particular vote, or if the car gets carjacked while stuck in heavy traffic. :-)

A better analogy to the current elections in the US (I assume the target of your story), is that you have to pay $100 to get an issue voted on. Obviously Mom and Dad are the only ones who can afford to create the votes unless the kids are getting a generous allowance or have a good job on the side. In a similar fashion, we're stuck with an oligopoly on candidates. Only the Democrats and Republicans have the infrastructure to put candidates up for election routinely, and they obviously are favored to win any serious election. A better analogy would be that the kids get to vote between two autocratic choices. Ie, the party of Dad or the party of Mom. You chose!

The only power that third party candidates currently have is the ability to act as spoilers. Ie, they can hinder the candidate who more closely resembles their platform. You apparently don't like this, but that's the perverse way the election system works. Since we apparently aren't considered a better election system - like the one you destribing in your story, then we're stuck either voting for a reprehensible autocratic choice or voting for a competent outsider - like Nader.

The key is by voting for the outsider, we make our choice clear, and if enough people vote this way, then we can get that outsider elected. It probably won't happen this election cycle, but there's a clear need for real choice.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

I don't follow (none / 2) (#148)
by Weembles on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01:54:17 PM EST

and if enough people vote this way, then we can get that outsider elected.

Why will people be persuaded to vote for someone like Nader by his previous election results, but not be pursuaded to vote for Bush or the Democrats because of their previous vote totals?



[ Parent ]

I wasn't clear (none / 2) (#220)
by khallow on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 12:36:14 PM EST

Why will people be persuaded to vote for someone like Nader by his previous election results, but not be pursuaded to vote for Bush or the Democrats because of their previous vote totals?

I didn't say anything that would imply this sort of conclusion. Perhaps I wasn't clear. Nader doesn't have direct experience in an executive branch (eg, State governor), but he does have extensive political experience, has extensive experience running non-profits, and good business acumen. I think these are a good indication that he would make a good president.

In comparison, Kerry and Bush both have extensive political experience, but are less successful at non-political endeavors. Bush for example, ran several unprofitable businesses and clearly exploited his father's influence to get where he is now. Kerry on the other hand, has always been a political animal. Ie, the dreaded political "hack". He has no experience outside of politics aside from his military experience and brief turns as lawyer and district attorney prosecutor. Again a lot of his career appears to be due to the influence of a politically powerful father and family. IMHO, Nader is self-made, and the other two manufactured.

All three helped reduce US deaths in various ways. Kerry protested the Vietnam War, Bush apparently reduced terrorist attacks on US soil and destroyed the Saddam Hussein threat, while Nader played a big role in the consumer protection movement. Of the three, Nader's impact on US society is by far the most profound. Due to the hastening of laws requiring the installation of seat belts, he probably can be credited with saving the lives of thousands of people in the US alone. US business can attest to the far reaching and not always positive impact of consumer protection laws and the litigative environment.

Then we come to special interests. Nader is probably somewhat beholden to ideological interests, but it's pretty obvious that the other candidates are for sale. And that's my point, why vote for someone who will do what they're paid to do not what they tell you they'll do? For example, I think it's very possible that we'd see further questionable invasions and a strengthening of the K Street Republican patronage system with Bush.

With Kerry, we'll probably see a shuffling of the interest groups in charge. In particular, I see an increased risk that China will coerce Taiwan militarily. Kerry has come very strongly on the pro-unification side of this conflict and has accepted donations (around 1996) from Chinese sources. Also, Kerry has a history as an intensely liberal senator. I doubt that's the best choice to recovery from a Bush administration.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

there's no logic there (none / 2) (#152)
by circletimessquare on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 03:37:05 PM EST

you admit to the perverse turth that voting for nader gets you bush

and you are completely happy for 4 more years of bush for that

that's a heavy price to pay for your idealism

i'd rather not have bush, and be more pragmatic about that

you've got the problem, not me

your idealism is too expensive for the rest of us to afford by the way you waste your vote

bush smiles on you, you know it, and you still don't care

geez


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

sigh (none / 2) (#172)
by khallow on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:29:07 AM EST

I assure you idealism has little to do with my reasons for voting. I personally don't care what your hangup is here nor I doubt that I could really understand it. If the Democrats or Republicans want my vote, then they need to earn it.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

wha? (none / 1) (#192)
by micromoog on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:24:56 PM EST

the only competent person won the vote

What about Mallory?

[ Parent ]

A Steven: +1 for Bush (none / 2) (#205)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:40:39 PM EST

So, the only competent voter was a Republican? An interesting concept. My annecdotal reply: have you listened to a Limbaugh show?

[ Parent ]
That would be "Mom" (none / 1) (#219)
by khallow on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 11:14:37 AM EST

I think we have the Rush audience nailed down.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Everyone out of Character -1 (1.57 / 7) (#149)
by nlscb on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:28:45 PM EST

Looses any humor by characters not acting at all like they did on show. Could have been hilarious.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

how could i have forgotten? (none / 2) (#150)
by syadasti on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 02:52:27 PM EST

The most Matrix-referential comment possible:

"There is no fork."

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams

Different goals, different strategies (none / 2) (#158)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:44:23 PM EST

I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Your goal is to not get Bush elected. It must be the case that Nader and his followers don't care if Bush is again elected into office. If he did care, then he obviously wouldn't run and the Naderites would obviously not vote for him, splitting the left/left-centre vote. (I agree it's likely that these people really are that stupid, but if we give in to that, then we might as well call off the elections and appoint Pat Buchanan as our Supreme Grand Wizard).

Following the workable hypothesis, Nader and co. probably WANT Bush to win. It is their best strategy. They can't win given the current political landscape. By having Bush elected to a second term, they believe that the shit is going to hit the fan much sooner than it would if the Dems were elected to 4 years of damage control, which would see the status quo pretty much maintained and Nader would still be SOL. Nader and his followers fancy themselves as revolutionaries and probably don't mind the fact that things are going to have to get a hell of a lot worse before they start getting better ("go nuts bush! Invade North Korea, invade Libya, invade fucking Venezuala for all we care!"). It might be idealism, but it's not moronic idealism (you mention this in one of your comments below). You can't argue that way because they don't see themselves as moronic (obviously), but as revolutionaries.

One strategy to unite the liberal vote would be to expose the Greenie conception of a revolution as being fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, I have a nagging suspicion that the far left wing is as religious/spiritual as the far right wing, and the chances of getting through to them on a rational level is pretty remote.

The only real strategy to bring balance to the situation is to have a party that would split the right-of-centre votes. Either appeal to right-centre people, which is probably more what the current republican party is about than not, or create a far right-wing party to siphon off the right wing nutters in (hopefully) equal amounts to the left wingers.

Am I out to lunch?

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler

yeah, where is perot? (nt) (none / 1) (#174)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:59:09 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
An Alex: +1 for Bush (2.50 / 4) (#204)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:37:04 PM EST

Good try, looking for the Perot scenario. The only reason that worked was because - for very personal reasons - Perot was pissed at Bush Sr. He was smart enough and rich enough to take advantage of the unexpected grass roots surge, and thereby take down the old man.

Now, we've got a few very rich people looking to take Dubya down, but people like Soros don't have the chrisma, and Soros in particular can't qualify to run.

[ Parent ]

What a pathetic attempt to get Dem votes. (2.66 / 6) (#161)
by it certainly is on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 04:54:49 PM EST

If the Democrats' only useful message is "We're not Bush" and "If you don't vote for us, you'll get Bush", then they're not a party worth voting for.

Serious, mature political parties do not base their campaigns on "we're not the other guy". They detail what they genuinely have to offer. Not in comparison to another party, but on their own merits. If people want what the Democrats will offer them, they will vote for them.

If people have decided not to vote for the Democrats, that is because the Democratic Party is not worth voting for. It's as simple as that. The "you'll get Bush" threat is an empty threat from a worthless party.

Nader no more "takes away" votes from the Democrats than Pat Buchanan, NRA candidates and other right-wing fringe nuts take away from Republicans.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Empty Threats & Third Parties (none / 2) (#171)
by Eater on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:24:16 AM EST

Well, the threat that we'll get Bush is certainly NOT empty, because we WILL get Bush, unless a couple hundred million decide to suddenly come out and vote Nader. The reason Nader takes votes from the Dems is actually described very well in your post - a lot of people share your sentiment, that the Democrats do not accurately represent the views of liberal Americans (for one thing, they're not liberal, and secondly, they don't represent the American people - a bit like those other guys). So, they see another option - Nader. Unfortunately, Nader is not only poorly publicized, but for many Americans, who may well benefit from liberal policies, he is seen as a bit of nutcase, while the Democrats are the more established party. The Republicans, on the other hand, are just conservative enough, so there is no interest in Pat Buchanan or any other right-wing candidates, because Bush can do the job just as well.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
"bush is scary" (none / 3) (#175)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 02:00:44 AM EST

"bush is scary"

if enough people agree with me when i say that, and they hold that opinion strongly enough, i can use that to win the presidency

so blah blah blah to the rest of your chest thumping

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

How is that an empty threat (none / 3) (#197)
by Jman1 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:24:31 PM EST

The "you'll get Bush" threat is an empty threat from a worthless party.

That's a fact, not a threat.

First of all, the Democrats do stand for things. Unfortunately, those things are diverse and it's consequently hard to get everybody on board. Most Democrats do agree that virtually any Democrat would be better than Bush this time around, and that is why they're pushing the anybody but Bush message.

[ Parent ]

A Jennifer: +1 for Bush (2.25 / 4) (#203)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:31:26 PM EST

Sorry the "anything but Bush" bit pisses you off, but we all gotta work with what we gots. It's good to keep an eye out and work for what you really want. But when push comes to shove... Neither Jeff Davis nor Abe Lincoln liked negroes. They both were shills for big business. It's 1861... gonna opt out?

[ Parent ]
Anyone but bush! (2.75 / 8) (#168)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 11:48:40 PM EST

Democrats nominate Hitler.

BOSTON. After switching their allegiance from anarcho-communist Howard Dean to ultra-liberal John Kerry, and then to liberal John Edwards, on the final day of their convention Democrats switched one last time to extreme moderate Adolf Hitler, convinced that he's the man who has the best chance of beating Bush.

"This election has never been about issues," said Democratic Party spokesman Heinrich Himmler. "It's not about whether we go to war, about military spending, or taxes, or the federal budget, or the environment, or civil liberties, or even abortion. That's the kind of starry-eyed idealism that killed us in '72. This election is about one thing -- getting that bastard Bush out of there, that lying, draft-dodging, coke-snorting, beady-eyed, stupid, bad, bad person. Hate him! Hate him! Hate him!"

General Hermann Goering, an early supporter of Hitler's campaign, agreed. "Clearly, for the Democratic Party to be relevant, they have to capture the presidency, and the way to do it is by moving farther and farther to the center. John Kerry is a war veteran, and voted for the Iraq war, but he's haunted by his anti-war background. After September 11, that's just not going to play in the heartland, or in the South. Hitler, on the other hand, has always been pro-war. He's called for the liberation of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Canada, even Europe. On national defense and the war on terror, he's even more moderate than Bush!"

Moderation, says columnist Joseph Goebbels, is the key. "On so many issues, such as his proposals to clear-cut the national forests, to put all dissidents into detention facilities, to double defense spending, to abolish all corporate taxes, to prohibit labor unions, and to conquer the world in a thousand year American homeland, Hitler makes the other Democrats, and even Bush, look like raving Green Party radicals, tree-hugging, granola-eating, flower-sniffing hippie-anarchists. If moderate means making your opponents look liberal in comparison, and clearly that's exactly what it means, then Hitler is as moderate as they come."

Senator Joseph Lieberman has enthusiastically endorsed Hitler's campaign. "At last," Lieberman said, "we have a candidate who will do something about degenerate culture, about all the filth coming out of Hollywood, someone who will clean up those stinking subhumans who have defiled the purity of American culture. I think this will be a final solution."

When asked about Hitler's repeated statements that he wants to kill all Jews, Lieberman laughed. "We know he's not really going to do that. That would be absurd. I mean, some of his best friends are Jews. No, he's just a tough talker. Americans like that -- it's presidential."

Although Democrats rank Hitler consistently low (roughly 0%) in terms of personal agreement with his policies, most of them are happily falling behind him. Says Cedar Rapids activist Wendy Pipkin, "I mean, if I could pick anyone I wanted, it would be Dennis Kucinich, but the people can't just pick anyone they want. This is a democracy, which means you have to pick someone who people believe other people will vote for, and nobody will vote for Kucinich because, you know, nobody will vote for him. Hitler gives us a real chance to get a Democrat back in the White House."

But not everyone agrees. Some Democrats are nervous about Hitler's candidacy, like Seattle precinct committee officer Richard Shodley. "Hitler's a vegetarian," he says, wringing his hands, "and he's made statements that could be construed as sympathetic to animal rights activists. If the Republicans get their hands on that, they can nail him to the wall in November. I'm just afraid it gives them too much ammunition. What I really fear is, Bush could still win."

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

godwin just rolled over in his grave (nt) (3.00 / 5) (#176)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 02:01:35 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Godwin's not dead yet (nt) (none / 1) (#229)
by syadasti on Sun Feb 29, 2004 at 07:01:34 PM EST



"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]
Funniest thing I've read all morning (nt) (none / 0) (#189)
by splitpeasoup on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 12:43:28 PM EST


"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

I bet a lot of Republican voters (none / 2) (#180)
by Vendor on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:43:14 AM EST

would vote for a Confederate-supporting candidate if there was a person with enough guts to suggest bringing back the Confederacy.

Just a question (none / 1) (#181)
by Magnetic North on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:12:11 AM EST

Is it at all possible to vote for someone who's not a Christian nutcase? Do you even have that choice?



--
<33333
Just find the faker (none / 2) (#196)
by Jman1 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:21:55 PM EST

There are usually candidates who are only pretending to be nutcases. They aren't that hard to spot. (Dean was one.)

[ Parent ]
any of them (none / 2) (#199)
by bolthole on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 03:40:24 PM EST

none of the candidates are fully practicing Christians.
Bush appears to be the closest to one. But there is no candidate that is a full fundamental Christian. hasnt been for decades, if not centuries. They all "compromised", and thus are themselves compromised.


[ Parent ]
How to make the Democrats shift (none / 1) (#191)
by syzme on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 01:21:17 PM EST

If enough people actually voted their conscience, which I believe would be more liberal than what we've witnessed, then the Planners over at the democratic party might actually realize that there are votes to be had to the left.

Granted, this wouldn't happen overnight. We'd probably get some really shitty Command 'n Chiefs in the interim. If a third of the Democratic party goes to th Greens, GWB will win a second term. In 2008, however, the Planners will realize they fucked up, purge the DLC, excommunicate Lieberman, and the support real candidates for the Democratic spot. With the new found support of tons of those raving Green Party radicals, tree-hugging, granola-eating, flower-sniffing hippie-anarchists, this candidate should fair pretty well.

An Alex: +1 for Bush (none / 3) (#202)
by cmholm on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:25:58 PM EST

Points for attempting to strategize, but you just used the same busted logic that Nader did in the previous election. Sorry, do not pass go.

[ Parent ]
A simpleton: +1 for Bush (nt) (none / 1) (#225)
by talorin on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 07:27:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
such a moron (none / 1) (#213)
by circletimessquare on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:03:37 PM EST

your expensive idealism is something we can't afford

all we get is republicans forever, and you think that price is perfectly ok to pay for your idealism

it's never ok to pay... gay marriage ban in the constitution? is this somethiung a democrat would do?

you idealistic assholes are beginning to really piss me off

we all pay the price for your clueless idealism, we pay for it in the form of gw bush

stupid fucking idealistic morons


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Forget about Dean already? (none / 0) (#236)
by Weembles on Mon Mar 01, 2004 at 03:45:06 PM EST

If enough people actually voted their conscience, which I believe would be more liberal than what we've witnessed, then the Planners over at the democratic party might actually realize that there are votes to be had to the left. If you really wanted to influence the Democratic Party, why don't you just register Democrat and vote for the leftist candidates in the primaries?

[ Parent ]
Clearly, their voting system sucked. (none / 2) (#201)
by startled on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:25:44 PM EST

They would've solved their problems with instant runoff voting for sure.

True, but there are better solutions (none / 3) (#215)
by squigly on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 06:21:03 PM EST

Instant runoff is a lot fairer than a simple democracy, and does tend to allow people to vote for who they want, but there are certain circumstances where the wrong candidate will win.  

Condorcet is another preference voting mechanism, which essentially breaks an election into a number of 2 way elections.  It's not too easy to explain in a short comment, so have a link.


[ Parent ]

The father in your story is right, and democracy (1.11 / 9) (#228)
by sellison on Sun Feb 29, 2004 at 05:51:41 PM EST

works to make the right decisions.

So what is the problem?

Maybe if the decision was about where to eat, the kids would win.

But the decision was clearly about something the father was the best one to decide (if the mother didn't know whether boulders and carjackers were a problem on the country road, then she obvously should leave the decision to her husband).

Meanwhile, dems and lefties should vote for Nader if they want to, your dem mainstream fear tactics are doing the exact same thing you accuse your father of doing.

If the kids don't like going with the 'highway' Hanoi John Kerry the dem leaders have chosen for them, they should vote for the way they want to go without fearing it might help George Bush.

It just shows how you dems a: don't really like democracy and b: think the minorities and lefties you think you can count on for votes really are like children.

They should just vote for whomever their dem fathers tell them too, ehh.

Which just shows the it is the Republicans who believe in and defend democracy, and respect the opinions of others even when they are wrong.

If the dems had their way, I'm sure they would just take away the votes of the lefties and the minorities, after all the children don't know what is best for them, right?

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

eh? (none / 3) (#230)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 01, 2004 at 01:58:43 AM EST

you've crashed the wrong party chum... how did you get by the bouncers?

the neofascist convention is another block down, sorry about the mix up

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Interesting that you are making a fascist (1.00 / 5) (#231)
by sellison on Mon Mar 01, 2004 at 02:15:15 AM EST

point with your story: a bundle of sticks must stick together to have impact.

Musolini used to make great points with stories just like yours, and then point out that even if the sticks didn't always agree on everything, they needed to stick together in a big strong bundle (italian: fascio).

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

2nd act ideas (none / 0) (#239)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Mar 05, 2004 at 10:57:44 AM EST

In the 2nd act, show how the "all or nothing" electoral system ends up with more of the cars being on the highway, despite the total votes for traveling rural outnumbering the total votes for traveling highway.

E.g., no matter how many 12-passenger vans containing 12 people who vote "rural", there will be more cars, containing more total people, on the highway than on the rural roads.

Wish I could have helped vote this to +1, FP...
--
your straw man is on fire...

i'd have simplified this a bit (none / 0) (#247)
by vivelame on Sun Mar 14, 2004 at 07:50:17 AM EST

as seen in my sig. Why waste your voice by voting for a democrat? Choose the real deal, the winner (afer all.. you ARE a winner, right? so why vote for a looser?), and vote GWB!

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
bush and kerry ARE different (none / 0) (#250)
by circletimessquare on Sun Oct 17, 2004 at 11:13:00 PM EST

from way out in the prairie, two mountains look side by side

in the valley between those mountains, they couldn't be more different

so only if you are out in some far left or far right fruitcake land do bush and kerry look the same

but ideology is a bell curve, and the opinions of americans, or any people of any country or era, follows that bell curve, so to them, the mountain to the left, and the mountain to the right, are different, and the difference is significant, and the choice is important

if they seem the same to you, then you are on the steep side slope or the shallow tapering off base of the bell curve, and based on the area beneath that part of the bell curve, you don't represent a large part of the american population

therefore, democracy works: it delivers us the leader that the american people want, representing the ideology of the most americans possible

that's democracy at work, and it is better than any other system we humans have devised so far for the formation of our governments

but if the contrast between the moderate american middle and yourself is too much, well then move: go to iran if you are a conservative religious american, where religion is in charge as it should be and everyone is happy, or if you are revolutionary minded liberal frustrated with the pace of change in the us, then go to north korea, where you find a communist utopia of peace and love


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

The Fork in the Road: A Political Morality Play in One Act | 250 comments (224 topical, 26 editorial, 4 hidden)
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