Thursday, August 30, 2012

Random Reactions to the RNC

As the election season rolls on I become more jaded. I am troubled most by the absence of truth in our politics. Facts don’t matter in America anymore. Truth doesn’t matter in America any more.  Maybe it never did, but as Romney pollster Neil Newhouse put is, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” F the truth.

How did this happen to us? Let me suggest one explanation. In our quest to raise the self-esteem of our kids we stopped challenging them to be accurate and informed by facts, and started rewarding them for opinionated. Facts became irrelevant, and critical thinking was sacrificed on the alter of an open mindedness that soon became empty headedness. People are going to vote based on half-truths and outright lies. What kind of government will that give us? The one we deserve.

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Congressman Ryan believes that our rights come from God and Nature and not government. Really? He then said “This idea is founded on the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.”  You can’t have it both ways. If the idea that rights come from God and Nature is founded on principles other than God and Nature, our rights do not come from God and Nature. But even if they did, nowhere in Nature do we find the principles of liberty, free, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed. And nowhere in the Bible (from which the Congressman gets his idea of God) do we find the principles of liberty, freedom, free enterprise, self-determination and government by consent of the governed.

These ideas come from the 18th century and were in opposition to the oppressive religion of its time. Today we have linked them to the religious tyrannies of the past in order to blind people to the coming religious tyrannies of the near future. 

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If you want to see where the United States is headed watch Copper on BBC America.


Maggid said...


I refuse to rant - So, I'll add - that I agree - unfortunately I see this in so many ways across our society . .

then, the only thing I have - is redundant . .


Anonymous said...

I am particularly concerned with the idea of religious tyrannies of the future. It concerns me that one religion is overwhelming dominant in our country, but it concerns me even more that its dominance is allowed to dictate legislation that would legally obligate people who don't share certain Christian beliefs to abide by those beliefs regardless of their own individual feelings towards that situation. Gay marriage and abortion being two prime examples of this. I'm a firm believer in the separation of religious and governmental institutions, mainly for the purpose of preserving the individual rights of citizens in the minorities. Because the majority is GOING to take care of itself, its the responsibility of the government to protect the liberties and rights of the minority. It fails at this.

Lou Mindar said...

I'm disgusted by both parties and disappointed in the candidates they offer us. Obama, Romney, Ryan, and DNC head Debbie Wasserman-Schultz have all been caught in lies. And even after their lies are revealed, they stick by what they said. I guess it's easier to stick to a lie than fess up to the truth.

I especially liked Wasserman-Schultz's reaction when she was caught red-handed in a lie. She simply said, "It doesn't matter." She went on to explain that the issue of Romney's stance on abortion was an important issue for women to know about, so it doesn't matter if she lied about it, so long as she is getting the word out. The end justifies the means.

I completely agree with your comment that " Facts became irrelevant, and critical thinking was sacrificed on the alter of an open mindedness that soon became empty headedness. People are going to vote based on half-truths and outright lies. What kind of government will that give us? The one we deserve."

Until we begin talking to each other in a way that expresses our opinion without disrespecting the opinions of others, we will continue to have divisiveness and polarization in government and in our relationships with one another. It may be easier to demonize those who hold opinions contrary to our own and resort to name calling, but as we've seen, the result is not in our best interest.

Erick Reynolds said...

I perceive that politics have always been deceitful and pandering, even in the stump speech and rail car days. Check old speeches about Abe Lincoln and by Abe Lincoln. It is only more obvious by the deluge of media paths, pseudo "institution" blogs, and surrogate PAC advertising. It more obvious, also, because we don’t just see and hear what our friends think, but what the barrage of anonymous commenters say on every new article on the web. We fear the lies and the hyperbole, because we fear too many will believe it. Unfortunately, Hitler taught us to beware of the sheep and the guile of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As sad and scary as it seems; we have evolved from a fragmented country that had slavery, no national monetary system, no women’s vote or right to property, no child labor laws, little national defense, no social security, no interstate highway system, no internet system, no product safety standards, no air and water standards, homosexuality was hidden taboo subculture, and racial segregation to a slightly less fragmented society with all the advancements and still freedom to move and live where you want and work at whatever you want. Perhaps we need more faith in our fellow humans.

Lou Mindar said...

Erick -- You make a good point. Politics has always been full of people willing to lie, cheat and steal for their own enrichment. They could get away with it in days gone by because the majority of people would never find out that they were being deceived.

The difference now is that politicians have such a disregard for the truth (and disrespect for the electorate) that they are willing to lie even though it is likely that most everyone is going to find out. Their brazenness is shameful and disgusting, but until we call them out on it, it will not change.

I completely agree with the rest of your post. There's no doubt that overall, things are better today than they were 10 years ago, 50 years ago, or 100 years ago. We've come a long way, but we still have far to go.

Erick Reynolds said...

Lou - you also make a good point that it is important to call out the lies when possible. Most of the lies are crafted to cast a shadow of fear, and much like ghost stories of childhood they are invented.

From the book Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini: "It is much better to be wicked than to be stupid. Most of this world's misery is the fruit not as priests tell us of wickedness, but of stupidity. And we know that of all stupidities he considered anger the most deplorable.”

I would add “fear” to the most deplorable stupidities, as it applies to the many illusions spun by the hyperbole of extreme scenarios and the mythologies of human religion.

Fraser said...
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Fraser said...

I don't think truth tellers get into top positions in governments or corporate structures. The truth is a tough task master. When the truth is really ugly or expensive those who tell it are instantly ejected. That is why it was so heart breaking and infuriating watching the Obama election from the outside (New Zealand in this case). All that rhetoric and no chance in the world that it was true or deliverable.He was bought and sold before he uttered a word. Noam Chomsky put it concisely - "if you want to know how policy is going to go look at who paid for the campaign". Chomsky is a good model for our kids and truth - ferreting it out where it can be found.

I think many people don't want to look too closely at the truth either. Their own self image is tied up in misplaced patriotism of some sort. Stepping out of the accepted narrative can be very lonely.

Erick Reynolds said...

Fraser - Seeking the truth is a never ending struggle for something that is only "possibly" or "probably" true. The challenge is we are so vulnerable to mistaking "re-assurance" for "truth". If we find information that placates or justifies our fears, we tend to deem it true. We generally find “truth” in the affirmation of what we think we already know. This is what makes finding real truth difficult. It is the fear of disrupting our own accepted reality, no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable that reality may be.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was more profound than perhaps he himself knew, when in his first inaugural speech, said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” He was speaking to a specific condition, but this is true on so many levels.

I work in the DC, and there is no truth but an infinity of opinions and ideas. If you have any experience getting consensus on where five people with divergent diets should go to lunch; multiply that by 100 and you have a vague idea of what it takes to agree on anything in a massive democracy lead by huge egos; any truth is secondary to a small consensus.