YellowKing wrote:Yes, I agree that people have to actually expend effort to make something of themselves, and I agree it's human nature to blame everyone but yourself for your problems. That is not the same as saying, "the current economic downturn is the result of people being lazy."
No, although to be fair, that wasn't me that suggested you did. The issue that I have is that people don't always have to actually expend effort to make something of themselves (to borrow a line from the TV show Jericho
, "We were both born on third base, stop pretending that you hit a triple."). And while it might be human nature to blame everyone but yourself for your problems - saying that in the context that you did seems to ignore the very common reality that people aren't always to blame for their problems.
I don't have any problem with a work ethic that focuses on expending the effort to make your own opportunities, or to overcome any obstacles thrown in your way through the accident of your birth. Sometimes it even works. But one of the things that has really modified my political outlook over the past 10 years is the realization of just how little hard work really matters towards determining a person's success.
I've seen too many people working a helluva lot harder than I do, only to either get no where in life, or to get completely shit on by circumstances outside of their control. It simply isn't their fault, and it's got nothing to do with the amount of effort they've expended over their lives.
At a minimum, what you did there was make a broad socio-economic stereotype. Which is ok, as that's what Republicans do. I just wish that you either saw it for what it was, and if you did, that you'd stop doing it (which is my real gripe, which I will get to in a minute).
YellowKing wrote:This is the kind of language I find incredibly condescending, and I don't even think you realize you're doing it. Ideas contrary to your own are "a fog," some murky dark recess of fantasy that is patently absurd compared to your world of truth and light.
It isn't "ideas that are contrary to my own" that are a fog. It isn't your "ideas" or "positions" that I am talking about. If we talked about it in 2004, neither of us would have any trouble describing all of the dirty and underhanded crap that Democratic politicians were willing to engage in during the political process. Through the 2008 election cycle, it appeared to me like we both finally became aware that this was a two-way street. There aren't shitty Democratic politicians willing to lie and fabricate propaganda to get elected, and virtuous Republicans that were above that sort of thing.
We both watched Republican politicians engage in the same shitty propaganda war, inventing nonsense to distract voters from the actual issues.
Now, given our already low opinion of Democractic politicians, I'm not surprised that you were ultimately disappointed with Obama. What I am surprised by, is that you went right back to the "Democratic politicians are lying shitbags, and Republicans are virtuous leaders that would never engage in such nefarious tactics". That's why I immediately reacted to your "Republicans don't engage in class warfare and don't use broad stereotypes" comment. It was an absurd comment by someone that I know knew better.
YellowKing wrote:I'm not going to speak for Grundbegriff as to whether he has felt victimized or not.
I would be stunned into silence if Grundbegriff felt anything other than a smug sense of superiority after discussing a topic with me.
YellowKing wrote:For the record, I don't feel victimized. I don't see myself as a victim.
You say that, but the way that you and msduncan are reacting here tells a different story. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt though.
YellowKing wrote:I have valid opinions just like everyone else and I'm free to state them. The fact that I continue to post on these boards despite overwhelming contrary opinion should prove that I am secure in my political philosophies.
Don't take this the wrong way, but what leads you to believe that your opinions are valid? What makes you think that everyone else's opinions are valid?
That seems to be a pretty big difference (of opinion) here. Having an opinion doesn't validate it in my mind. I have no doubt that you have many opinions. Some of them are certainly valid (even if I don't agree with them), and others just as certainly aren't. We're all human, and we all must necessarily believe wrong things and have wrong opinions. It wouldn't be possible for us to only have correct opinions.
If you asked me for my opinion on health care, for instance. I think that the opinion you will get would be substantively different than my opinion on tort reform. My opinion on one of them was formed by several years of research spent specifically on addressing the issue of health care in this country. The other would be a snap judgment that is more a reflection of my default beliefs than anything else. It's worthless.
YellowKing wrote:To steal your phrase, "I have no choice but to assume" that your position, given that you never feel the need to criticize anything but Republican viewpoints, is that you have no problem with Democratic viewpoints.
You have plenty of choice. Unlike the position you put me in, where I was interpreting what you actually said, you are claiming to have no choice but to interpret what I'm *not* saying. We were talking about Republican viewpoints, because you were talking about Republican viewpoints.
I've criticized a great deal of what Obama has done (or not done). You may not have recognized it as such, because it wasn't full of instant, misplaced outrage, but it was there. He's a terrible negotiator. He immediately gives up control of the "narrative" on every issue that I've cared about. He did a complete 180 on his pledge for more transparency. The list goes on. And that's just the President. I think you'd find that my level of "support" for Congressional Democrats doesn't differ much from yours.
But in this particular case, my goal wasn't to harp on "Republican viewpoints". It was to harp on your characterization that they aren't doing any of the shitty things that they are clearly doing.
YellowKing wrote:A subset of what? 3 people? It doesn't affect a lot of them because they never post about it. MSD and I are quite verbal about it. We just happen to be the squeaky wheels.
You happen to be the squeaky wheels because you two (much moreso msduncan than you) happen to be the most talkative posters in the "all of my opinions are valid because I have them" class of conservative posters. I've been trying to get msduncan to understand this for many years. When I was still largely conservative, I never had this problem.
I didn't start threads in a drive-by fashion. I didn't assume that my opinion was valid because I had it or because it was mine. I didn't have this problem because I defended my position. I didn't just state it and expect that to be good enough.
Further, you aren't alone in the sense that there are a number of "liberal" posters that do the same thing. Me not chastising them of late has to do with my own reduced level of participation over the years - not my endorsement of the way they go about their business.
YellowKing wrote:You're missing it because you automatically dismiss it out of hand.
Can you link me to ONE post written by you or msduncan that you feel qualifies? I don't automatically dismiss anything out of hand. So I suspect that we have very different ideas about what constitutes "thoughtful conservative analysis".
From what I've seen, it's too much about opinions and beliefs, and far too light on facts and evidence. While that might matter in some cases (i.e. I don't believe in abortion), in others it isn't worth very much (i.e. Democrats only want to redistribute wealth).
YellowKing wrote:No level of posting is going to fit your definition of "thoughtful analysis" because you automatically dismiss it as parroting the party line.
Nonsense. At a minimum, I've given you a standard of measurement (Grund) that can be achieved.
YellowKing wrote:For my part, however, I will try to do a better job of posting links or excerpts from articles to support my views, if others will do the same.
As long as we understand that posted links and articles aren't always going to be treated like the immutable word of God, and that we might find fault with those too, then I welcome this turn of events.
YellowKing wrote:I don't consider you incapable. That statement applied to the hivemind as a whole. I can also pinpoint specific posters and topics that have resulted in me changing my mind as well.
I believe you without asking anything further. I would love to know if msduncan agreed with that statement, and if so, if he could name a specific poster or topic that resulted in him changing his mind.
YellowKing wrote:Where do you think conservative talking points came from? Sprung magically out of thin air? Conservative talking points come from conservative people. I see a lot of this "chicken and egg" argument. What bugs me is being accused of reciting the conservative talking points of the day when I haven't turned on a television or read a news website all week. Either I'm an incredible psychic, or my conservative views simply line up with what other conservatives are thinking about particular subjects because our political philosophies coincide.
Or there are other ways to become exposed to the conservative talking points of the day besides the television and news websites?
Approach this a different way. Have you ever noticed the number of liberals that seem to regurgitate liberal talking points? I have. And they don't need to be glued to MSNBC or NPR for it to happen. In many cases, the topic that you are thinking about is dictated by what is leaked to a media outlet. The way you hear about it is generally framed in a way designed to force a particular conclusion (the "you" being collective here, liberal or conservative).
While liberals and conservatives might be talking about the same issue (socially among themselves, or through media exposure, or what have you), what information they start the conversation with can be chosen to reinforce their political philosophy. The kind of editorialization offered by other conservatives (or liberals) can intentionally (or unintentionally) discard relevant but contrary information.
I'll give you an example that has nothing to do with you, maybe that will help. I was arguing with my brother last week (as I do), in response to the economic data that came out (that spilled over a little here as well). My reaction to the data (jobs numbers, unemployment rate, manufacturing data) was that it was generally positive in the sense that it represented an improvement. None of the data was "great", or even particularly "good". An unemployment rate of 8.3% isn't in any way good, but it's less bad than an unemployment rate of 8.5%. Same goes for the jobs and manufacturing data. Not really good or great, but certainly less bad.
My brother's angle was to immediately harp on the underemployment rate. Not because the unemployment rate is not a terribly useful number based on how they arrive at it. That's not an argument that I would object to (and not just because I agree with it). He harped on the underemployment rate for no other reason than he needed the data reported to be bad (because he's already convinced that things are bad and getting worse). To make matters worse, he quoted the underemployment rate - and then suggested that this true rate is what should be reported, but that the Obama Administration changed how the Dept of Labor reported data to make things look better for Obama.
Where did this idea come from? 8 seconds of investigation revealed that it was completely false. And while I showed him that it was false, his response was to grudgingly acknowledge that, but to then to continue to be outraged about the situation (even though his outrage was caused by the belief that the Obama Administration coerced the Dept of Labor to change how the unemployment rate is reported). Remove the belief...and nothing changed.
THAT is what frustrates me about posting here sometimes. We can start from a position where you are outraged because Democrats have always tried to engage in class warfare and wealth redistribution to further their political agenda. I can prove to you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no wealth redistribution going on in this country by the federal government (outside of them more efficiently moving wealth to those that are already wealthy). And even if you acknowledge that this is true - nothing will change.
Your level of outrage won't go down. It's as if the emotional aspect of your political philosophy is completely disconnected from the observations that appeared to inform it. If I am mad about X, it stands to reason that if X is shown to be !X, I should stop being mad, no?
That's why I don't get outraged at the things that Obama has done that I don't like. For me personally, the best way to avoid this phenomenon was to remove the emotional aspect altogether.
I used to be like msduncan. I use to approach politics with the same zeal that he approaches the Tide. And that's not a compliment.
Having said all of that - you are much less of a politically emotional creature than msduncan (or RM9 1.0). When I say outrage, I'm being hyperbolic. But the issue is still there that you will express a position, and even when the underlying causes of that position are removed (in this case, your assertion that Republicans don't engage in class warfare or intentionally perpetuate broad socio-economic stereotypes, and your original statement about wealth redistribution), nothing changes.
My brother is every bit as angry as he was when he believed that Obama personally changed how the Dept of Labor calculated and reported the unemployment rate. He was fully convinced that he was leading a revolution in uncovering this secret piece of government propaganda. The fact that this problem (unemployment vs. underemployment) has been a known problem since the 1960s, and that the current method of determining and reporting the unemployment rate was devised in 1994 didn't attenuate that anger at all.
His faults aren't your fault, but when I talk about YellowKing circa 2007/08 versus YellowKing circa 2012, what I'm talking about is that the things that you were talking about in 07/08 (in terms of awareness of what Republicans were doing at the time during the campaign) don't appear to have any impact on you. YellowKing circa 2012 appears to have deleted that time period and simply reverted to an earlier model. And I don't understand why.
YellowKing wrote:Just because I voted for Obama?
Not directly, no. But at the time, intending to vote for Obama allowed for your initial reaction to conservative propaganda against Obama to not automatically be viewed as fact. When it took several incidents for McCain to acknowledge that no, Obama was not a secret muslim (that he knew about, of course) - you recognized that for what it was. Republicans intentionally allowing the notion that Obama was a secret muslim to take hold in a bid to influence angry old people that wouldn't be inclined to vote for a secret muslim.
You didn't consider it an honest mistake by McCain to not immediately shoot that shit down, knowing full well that Obama was not a secret muslim.
Where is that healthy skepticism of the Republican machine these days?
YellowKing wrote:If anything has changed in my years on this board, it has been the social side of my conservatism and my move away from the extreme right of the party. I used to be a Limbaugh-devotee in my high school days. You would never catch me taking my viewpoints from the likes of Rush, Coulter, etc. these days. Like MSD, I've never wavered from my "core principles" which are in a nutshell - strong military, small government, fiscal conservatism.
Can I ask why not?
Your core principles were likely formed at a time when you are most likely to have not known any better (i.e. the same time that you used to be a Limbaugh-devotee in your high school days). Shouldn't they at least also be subject to a revision for similar reasons?
I'm not saying that you *should* change your "core principles". I'm just curious why both you and msduncan have offered not wavering from them as a virtue, despite a continual accumulation of life experience and the knowledge that when you formed them, you were likely an idiot (relative to your current self).
I formed a set of "core principles" around the same time, and in a similar environment (the old days of Rush and Hannity). My current understanding of that environment, and who I was at the time, legitimately called into question the utility of those "core principles". Enough so that I discarded some of them. Maybe you performed that self-analysis and found your younger self a lot more capable than I found my younger self. That's cool.
The big one for me was how I viewed the role of the federal government, and how my view of fiscal conservatism was far too simplistic for a modern world. I don't automatically view the federal government as the savior for all problems, but I no longer automatically view the federal government as incapable of addressing anything. That change has given me the freedom to consider each instance of government involvement on a case-by-case basis.
YellowKing wrote:As I stated in my previous argument, I'm not arguing the current state. I'm arguing the proposed state. The "spread the wealth around" attitude that Obama and his ilk have.
So we're in agreement, that despite seven decades of accusations towards Democrats that they've converted the Federal Govt into a massive wealth redistributing welfare machine designed to punish the successful to benefit the lazy poor, that Democrats have been so bad at achieving that goal that they've actually very effectively achieved the opposite goal, helping to craft a system that has done nothing but to continue accelerating the accumulation of wealth in the hands of an ever shrinking number of citizens?
YellowKing wrote:The idea that the rich should "pay their fair share" when in fact they already pay their fair share and then some.
That depends on your subjective definition of fair, doesn't it?
Does it matter that most of the dollars the wealthy are paying into the federal government are handed right back to other wealthy people (along with over a trillion dollars that were printed for the purpose of putting them into their pockets)?
I'm genuinely bothered by the "pay their fair share" language as well. Just so we are clear. But I understand the argument in a few ways:
1) The wealthy benefit far more from the federal government than anyone else. They benefit more from our strong property law. They benefit more from our economic and military might. They benefit more from the corporate tax code. While it's true that they don't get food stamps that they can use to barely survive, it's not like we are spending a metric shit ton of the budget on food stamps.
2) The federal government needs more revenue to balance the budget. Cutting spending in the amounts required to balance the budget (without an increase in tax revenue) would be catastrophic to the economy (they would represent an immediate drop in the economy of about 10%, as that money flows into our economy from overseas). Given that the federal government needs more revenue to balance the budget, we have a limited set of options. If we are going to get it by raising tax rates, then we are limited further by the fact that we can't really increase the tax rate on people that don't have anything. I've heard a lot in the past from conservatives lamenting that the bottom 50% of income earners pay 0% of the income tax in this country. I don't ever seem to hear the followup point which is that the bottom 50% of income earners in this country earn an average of $15,000 per year (and that number is going down by the way). This idea that those people are living large at the expense of the top 50% is mind-boggling.
But I would still never frame the discussion as the "rich" should "pay their fair share". That line of thinking isn't any more useful than the notion that the poorest 50% aren't paying their fair share.
YellowKing wrote:And yes, I know we have a ginormous deficit. I never supported Bush's spending when he was in office.
We don't have a ginormous deficit because of "Bush's spending" when he was in office. We have a ginormous deficit because we slashed revenue at the same time that we embarked on two wars, dramatically expanding Medicare, and then tried to spend our way out of one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression, all while the revenue base continued to erode because of the economic climate.
My point is simply to not reduce what is actually a complex set of circumstances and policy decisions to "Bush's spending".
YellowKing wrote:It's not like I was ever advocating going into debt and now I'm rebelling against any efforts towards fixing that debt.
You personally may not be. The political party that you support is absolutely doing that. Well, rebelling against any efforts by !Republicans towards fixing that debt.
YellowKing wrote:We shouldn't have gotten into this mess in the first place, but we did, and it only proves my point that big government can't be trusted to handle a Girl Scout cookie bill, much less trillions of taxpayer dollars.
And yet, there are some things that simply cannot be handled any other way. There are some things that we simply have to handle collectively, and the federal government is the only vehicle available. So what do we do? Not handle them because the federal government can't handle other things (keeping in mind that we also might have different definitions of "handling" those other things)?
YellowKing wrote:What's the answer? I don't know. If I had the answers I sure as hell wouldn't be wasting time arguing in a message board. I can only state my opinion that the government got us into this mess, let the government get us out. Don't take money from hard working people to fix your mistakes.
Then don't get upset when I treat your opinion like an opinion.