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Author Topic: Top political donors 1989-2014
Boris
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quote:
What baffles me about the conservative narrative is that people are really able to tell themselves that they succeed on their own- that their circumstances don't heavily influence their opportunities (if not their chances of success). You don't have to believe you don't deserve what you have, to understand that you are lucky.
And the thing that baffles me about the liberal narrative is that you constantly tell people that hard work wasn't the real key to their success and it was all luck, but then act surprised when there is a massive disparity in wealth. Do you really think the only explanation for that disparity is "Wealthy people are greedy and crapping on everyone else?" Do you not think that the massive surge of pessimism against success has a hand in people not trying to achieve greater things?

quote:
I can understand why your fringe understanding of natural selection helps you sleep at night, forced as you are to collocate your sense of fear at the possibility that you live in a basically random universe, with the knowledge that you are lucky. You clearly want to justify your luck in life as the result of your natural "selection," to succeed. Well, you were selected, but calling such a process natural, or rational, is a stretch and a half.
You really are very passive aggressive, you know that? You should probably work on that. Yes. I realize that luck had a lot to do with my success, but so did effort. I could have chosen not to study more about the field I work in and gotten by happily for years. And many people do just that.

What I don't get is how you don't seem to realize that telling people, "It isn't your fault you're poor, it's someone else's fault" is horribly destructive and doing them a phenomenal disservice.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:

Also, don't you think it's better that anyone with the necessary drive and desire can rise to the top than being randomly selected by a matter of lineage, such as in Monarchy? Or would you prefer a system where only the brown-nosers succeed, which is what has become of every attempt at wide-spread national level communism to date?


Except that is not what happens. Wealth (and attendant power) is, in the US, as almost as much a matter of lineage as any monarchy. The major determining factor of how much wealth you end up with is how much wealth your parents have. This wasn't always true and there are some exceptions but it is getting worse. Wealth mobility in the US is considerably worse than in more progressive countries where people really can rise to the top based on drive and desire and merit.
Got a cite handy for that claim?

If not that's cool, I can google it later. I'm not trying to pick an argument, just genuinely curious where this was reported and what methodologies were used. It's interesting to me. [Smile]

This article links several studies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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kmbboots
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And as you can hardly consider The Economist a liberal rag, [Wink] here is an article that is a bit out of date but warns of the same things. It has only gotten worse and the "rays of sun" is mention toward the end have spectacularly failed to pan out.
http://www.economist.com/node/3518560

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
What baffles me about the conservative narrative is that people are really able to tell themselves that they succeed on their own- that their circumstances don't heavily influence their opportunities (if not their chances of success). You don't have to believe you don't deserve what you have, to understand that you are lucky.
And the thing that baffles me about the liberal narrative is that you constantly tell people that hard work wasn't the real key to their success and it was all luck, but then act surprised when there is a massive disparity in wealth. Do you really think the only explanation for that disparity is "Wealthy people are greedy and crapping on everyone else?" Do you not think that the massive surge of pessimism against success has a hand in people not trying to achieve greater things?

No, I think the massive surge in pessimism against *wealth* (not success as you deem to characterize it), is a symptom of wealthy, greedy people actually crapping on everyone else.

As for your characterization of the liberal point of view, I can't speak for all of us, but I do believe that hard work is the key to capitalizing on luck. And I do believe that if you are poor, it is probably not your "fault," in the sense that it is unlikely to have arisen from a fault in your makeup as a person, but in a lack of avenues through which productive energy could flow. That is: lack of economic opportunity. In that sense, it is our societal "fault," for not, yes, scary as it sounds, actively ensuring economic opportunity through education and other systems of support.

quote:

quote:
I can understand why your fringe understanding of natural selection helps you sleep at night, forced as you are to collocate your sense of fear at the possibility that you live in a basically random universe, with the knowledge that you are lucky. You clearly want to justify your luck in life as the result of your natural "selection," to succeed. Well, you were selected, but calling such a process natural, or rational, is a stretch and a half.
Yes. I realize that luck had a lot to do with my success, but so did effort. I could have chosen not to study more about the field I work in and gotten by happily for years. And many people do just that.

Your efforts mean but little in the face of your circumstances. Know how I know that? Plenty of people poorer than you ever were have achieved successes far greater than yours. And many of your same background have soared to even greater heights.

It is not to say that in this calculus of success, effort does not play a role. Lincoln would not have become President had he not had the wherewithal to teach himself algebra on the back of a shovel. But your efforts have reaped you very much the same as they reaped for your parents. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. And that's true of almost everyone: if you're born poor, and you try hard, you may be a little less poor, and you're unlikely to be rich. If you're born rich, you may get a little less rich, and you may get even richer, but you're likely to be just about as rich as your parents were before you. If you the best you can say about your efforts is that they have gained you a static position in the economy, then you're not actually trying very hard, are you? Do you think a person born with half your wealth would have to put forth more effort to reach your level, or the same? If not more, then why are you yourself not richer?


quote:
What I don't get is how you don't seem to realize that telling people, "It isn't your fault you're poor, it's someone else's fault" is horribly destructive and doing them a phenomenal disservice.
Your mistake is in assuming that my belief that it is not the fault of the poor that they are poor is concomitant with a belief that the fault rests with anyone else. It does not, inasmuch as it is not a fault, but a consequence of social interactions revolving around capital. In essence, it is a consequence of capitalism, and not the fault of capitalists. It becomes their fault to the degree that they fail to protect society from those consequences.

quote:
You really are very passive aggressive, you know that? You should probably work on that.
Why? You make it so easy to get under your skin. You should work on that.
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Boris
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The problem with those articles is that they are taking measured statistics (42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults vs 25 percent in some other country and 32 percent in another country) and then attaching meaning that is *not* supported by the data they have: "It is harder to rise economically in the US than other nations." That type of statement cannot logically be applied to the data in the study because the statistics themselves do not explain *why* this phenomenon exists, only that it exists.

That statistic is a 10,000 mile view. It's useful for seeing changes in the world but useless for explaining the causes of those changes.

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Boris
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quote:
Your efforts mean but little in the face of your circumstances. Know how I know that? Plenty of people poorer than you ever were have achieved successes far greater than yours. And many of your same background have soared to even greater heights.
Yes...I just started 5 years ago, realistically. Before that I wasn't trying for crap. Right now I'm perfectly happy with my situation because I have a fantastic boss and a job I enjoy, but I am also continuing to improve myself. I'm trying to teach myself to write fiction in my spare time and also studying Russian for fun. I'm quickly reaching the limit of what I can do working for someone else, so I'm paying down my debts and saving money so I can start my own business without having to deal with too great a financial risk. Your mistake is assuming I'm done.

quote:
Why? You make it so easy to get under your skin. You should work on that.
So you're trying to get under my skin? Doesn't that make you a troll?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Do you really think the only explanation for that disparity is "Wealthy people are greedy and crapping on everyone else?"
FWIW, I think that's one of the single biggest causes of wealth disparity, yes.

quote:
You really are very passive aggressive, you know that? You should probably work on that.
If only it were possible to get Internetitudes bronzed and hung on the wall....
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Your efforts mean but little in the face of your circumstances. Know how I know that? Plenty of people poorer than you ever were have achieved successes far greater than yours. And many of your same background have soared to even greater heights.
Yes...I just started 5 years ago, realistically. Before that I wasn't trying for crap. Right now I'm perfectly happy with my situation because I have a fantastic boss and a job I enjoy, but I am also continuing to improve myself. I'm trying to teach myself to write fiction in my spare time and also studying Russian for fun. I'm quickly reaching the limit of what I can do working for someone else, so I'm paying down my debts and saving money so I can start my own business without having to deal with too great a financial risk. Your mistake is assuming I'm done.

No, I'm not assuming you're done, but I am assuming, and rightly because it's true, that your ambitions only extend mildly beyond your real opportunities.

Don't get offended. That's the usual case. But see, you get to relax and think about writing a novel. Because you don't need to think about some way of making enough to live in basic security and to afford basic necessities and health care, food on the table, and other things. And it's not that these things were exactly *guaranteed* to you when you were born, but they were, for all intents and purposes, mostly assured.

Now imagine you're you, except you're black. That, and perhaps you didn't have a father around, your mom didn't have time to read with you, so you didn't read until you applied yourself later on. The school you went to was substandard, and you never learned to speak well or to express yourself with much authority. White people look upon you with suspicion. You didn't have the money to enter a university, and nobody would give you responsibility at any job you had. But just to fit in with your peers, you had to act in a way that was antithetical to success in white society. You didn't want to be an outcast at home (who does?), so you became an outcast to all of society.

You're still you though. Just that you didn't have anything *you* Boris, had growing up. Do you think, honestly, that you, Boris, would be sitting back and saving money to start your own business? Would you have the friends and support network you needed to get the job you have now? Access to a computer? Money for school? People who would trust you to work for them? A way to get to the jobs on offer? Just think about that. And this is still you, in every other respect. Would you be thinking about writing a novel right now if that was you? Honestly?

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Boris
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Hey, guess what, I was an outcast among my peers. I was bullied so heavily i had to be taken out of public school. I sat and taught myself in homeschool for 4 years and then got a GED. And before you say something about me having a parent that could spend the time to homeschool me, you should realize that the only thing i did in homeschool was take and ace an annual test. I could have obtained my ged at age 12if it had been legal in nc,

I was also emotionally and physically tortured by a mentally ill sister for the first 6 years of my life. I have ADD, PTSD, depression, severe social anxiety and an auditory processing disorder that makes it nearly impossible for me to learn from spoken instruction and pay attention when people talk to me.

Don't assume that my life had no difficulties to overcome. and

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Dan_Frank
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Thanks Kate! I still hadn't googled it so you saved me the trouble. [Smile] I'll take a look a some point.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Hey, guess what, I was an outcast among my peers. I was bullied so heavily i had to be taken out of public school. I sat and taught myself in homeschool for 4 years and then got a GED. And before you say something about me having a parent that could spend the time to homeschool me, you should realize that the only thing i did in homeschool was take and ace an annual test. I could have obtained my ged at age 12if it had been legal in nc,

I was also emotionally and physically tortured by a mentally ill sister for the first 6 years of my life. I have ADD, PTSD, depression, severe social anxiety and an auditory processing disorder that makes it nearly impossible for me to learn from spoken instruction and pay attention when people talk to me.

So it's truly remarkable what money can do to ensure that even the hardest cases have a chance to succeed.

I'm not assuming you've had no difficulties. We all of difficulties. I am assuming, correctly, that your difficulties were the kind that didn't rob you of economic opportunity.

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Boris
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quote:
So it's truly remarkable what money can do to ensure that even the hardest cases have a chance to succeed.
Really? My parents were dead broke (on the brink of bankruptcy through my entire childhood due to debts incurred during the economic difficulties of the 1970s and a significant period of unemployment during the late 80s) and I didn't rely on them for a single thing after leaving home. My father didn't have a positive net worth until I was 90% of the way through college. How exactly did my parents' money help me overcome these issues?

Also:
quote:
No, I think the massive surge in pessimism against *wealth* (not success as you deem to characterize it), is a symptom of wealthy, greedy people actually crapping on everyone else.
Through this very thread you and others have been urgently striving to convince me that my hard work had a minimal impact on my success. You most definitely are pessimistic about what it takes to succeed and you try your best to tear down anyone who does so and convince them that is was just dumb luck.
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Dogbreath
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I find this discussing interesting, in that probably the largest and most overlooked institution affecting change in social class in the US is it's military. Overlooked because almost all of that change is from lower to middle class, almost none of it from middle to upper middle or upper class.

Generally speaking, though, the largest demographic of people joining the military are troubled young men on the road to violence and joblessness. The military teaches them how to speak properly and with confidence and authority, teaches discipline and self control, teaches them a trade, then sends them back out into society with 4 years of free college education and a stipend to live on during those years.

While veteran unemployment is a big problem, almost invariably they end up better off than they were before the military. And I'd be willing to bet that, over a lifetime, the federal government probably makes back more in increased tax revenue from those veterans (who probably would have otherwise remained jobless, or minimum wage at best) than they spent training them.

I would be interested to see this broadened to a more general "social service" civilian equivilent - i.e, if you do 4 years doing really hard, crappy work for the government, in exchange you're taught a basic trade and are given 4 years of free college - but I honestly don't know how it would be implemented.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Through this very thread you and others have been urgently striving to convince me that my hard work had a minimal impact on my success. You most definitely are pessimistic about what it takes to succeed and you try your best to tear down anyone who does so and convince them that is was just dumb luck.
This is what I was afraid of. I'm not the only one who *explicitly* rejected the idea that the success you've achieved was dumb luck.
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MattP
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"Dumb luck" and "I am solely responsible for my good fortune and it can be replicated by anyone who works as hard as me." are not the only options.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Through this very thread you and others have been urgently striving to convince me that my hard work had a minimal impact on my success. You most definitely are pessimistic about what it takes to succeed and you try your best to tear down anyone who does so and convince them that is was just dumb luck.
This is what I was afraid of. I'm not the only one who *explicitly* rejected the idea that the success you've achieved was dumb luck.
Which is fine. But Orincoro is trying very hard to convince me that somehow my parent's money or my access to education or other things that aren't under my control were *more* important than the effort I put in. That's pure pessimism about success. Not wealth. And I wasn't exactly talking to you, Rakeesh, I respect your opinion on my situation, but Orincoro is trying to take it in a very different direction than you did. I quote: "Your efforts mean but little in the face of your circumstances."

This ignores the fact that part of the effort I made was to put myself into circumstances that allowed better growth to my career and avoid circumstances that would have damaged it. People have a lot more control over their circumstances than they realize, and attitudes like the one Orincoro is exhibiting is a big part of why people don't try to change their circumstances.

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MattP
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quote:
attitudes like the one Orincoro is exhibiting is a big part of why people don't try to change their circumstances.
An even bigger part are really bad circumstances which are very hard to get out of.

I was also a poor kid with bankrupt parents, but prior to the bankruptcy they had a decent income so while we didn't have much money to spend on stuff I still grew up in a white middle class neighborhood with little crime and good schools. So I had many of the the benefits of money even though I didn't actually have money at the time.

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Boris
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quote:
An even bigger part are really bad circumstances which are very hard to get out of.
Hard...not impossible. And can you imagine what it's like to live in a place where the government representatives tell you that there's no way you can succeed on your own, but it's okay because the government will help you to live okay, but you have to vote for us to keep going with that cause if you don't these evil evil people will take that help away from you and you won't be able to *survive*. Oh, and if you do try to help yourself out, just be careful not to make more than exactly this much money, because if you do that, we aren't going to help you any more and you'll be on your own and you won't be able to *survive*. Welcome to the US's version of welfare.
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
'Two party capitalist dictatorship'.

I...Elison, I *know* you're familiar with all three of the most common definitions of that last term there. So you're perfectly aware, or should be, of how silly that description is. It's a dictatorship...governed by *two* political parties...whose members are chosen in free though flawed public elections?

I realize this is that thing you do where connotation and actual definitions bleed together and you expect everyone else to net roll with it, but that's a tedious and counteproductive way to go about a discussion. I say that as someone who disagrees pretty strongly with the capitalist paradise Boris imagines the US to be based on anecdotes, and scorns the notion that the 1% opposes a raise in minimum wage for anything other than capitosfic-that is, self-interest-reasons.

Put down the Kool-Aid, and come back to the rest of the letters of the political alphabet, not just the X-Files.

ScottR's counter is irrelevant in any Marxist analysis of the situation is the point, both the Koch Brothers and Warren Buffet are of the capitalist class and both are class enemies; the difference is one is an proactive class enemy while the other is not.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I'm not suggesting you didn't do hard work to get where you are, I'm pointing out that your hard work was able to take you much further than someone without those numerous connections-and that your ability to do that hard work was impacted substantially by circumstances which you did little yourself to deserve, because of the lottery of birth.

Your father, as stated, made a significant amount greater than the state average. Potentially a great deal more, but you stated it in a way that seemed to suggest he struggled to get by. You don't mention your mother, so I don't know whether you had a two parent household. For argument's sake let's say you did.

Right there are two substantial to major indicators of adult success-number of parents and income. Your hard work had nothing to do with either of these things. I'm assuming your parents instilled values and hopefully education when you were young such that you were less likely to fall into the difficulties of substance abuse or very young parenthood-two more boons in your favor that you won thanks to a lottery, though your own discipline comes more into play here.

Skipping ahead a bit, you apparently were at leisure when younger to work a bit and otherwise goof off playing video games-potentially a pretty expensive hobby. Fresh out of high school, do you think that's an option for everyone? You mention college, so fresh out of *college* in fact.

Who paid for that college that you apparently by your own story don't use for your job now? Whether through your parents or your own academics, had you been born to less affluent presumably forward thinking, ambitious parents, do you think it's just as likely you would have gone to college? Even if you took on student loans entirely, which doesn't sound like it's the case, is this truly an equal option for everyone?

Long story short-too late!-it's not about anyone, well anyone not waiting for the revolution-saying you didn't work hard. Mostly it's about pointing out that depending on circumstances unrelated to your hard work, some of which may simply have been luck, your hard work returns minimal, solid, huge or even negative outcomes.

I'm still catching up, so maybe you say it, but another thing to mention is the cost of education has skyrocketed over the last decade, so the willingness to work a part time job to pay for school is increasingly infeasible for a greater share of Americans than it was before.
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MattP
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quote:
...there's no way you can succeed on your own, but it's okay because the government will help you to live okay, but you have to vote for us to keep going with that cause if you don't these evil evil people will take that help away from you and you won't be able to *survive*.
Fortunately that's just the conservative strawman version, not what people who actually advocate for social services actually say.

quote:
Oh, and if you do try to help yourself out, just be careful not to make more than exactly this much money, because if you do that, we aren't going to help you any more and you'll be on your own and you won't be able to *survive*.
For the programs where that is the case, we should definitely fix that. But not all programs are like that. For instance, SNAP benefits taper off as you make more money but they don't have a hard cutoff where you go from substantial benefits to zero.
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
What baffles me about the conservative narrative is that people are really able to tell themselves that they succeed on their own- that their circumstances don't heavily influence their opportunities (if not their chances of success). You don't have to believe you don't deserve what you have, to understand that you are lucky.
And the thing that baffles me about the liberal narrative is that you constantly tell people that hard work wasn't the real key to their success and it was all luck, but then act surprised when there is a massive disparity in wealth. Do you really think the only explanation for that disparity is "Wealthy people are greedy and crapping on everyone else?" Do you not think that the massive surge of pessimism against success has a hand in people not trying to achieve greater things?

quote:
I can understand why your fringe understanding of natural selection helps you sleep at night, forced as you are to collocate your sense of fear at the possibility that you live in a basically random universe, with the knowledge that you are lucky. You clearly want to justify your luck in life as the result of your natural "selection," to succeed. Well, you were selected, but calling such a process natural, or rational, is a stretch and a half.
You really are very passive aggressive, you know that? You should probably work on that. Yes. I realize that luck had a lot to do with my success, but so did effort. I could have chosen not to study more about the field I work in and gotten by happily for years. And many people do just that.

What I don't get is how you don't seem to realize that telling people, "It isn't your fault you're poor, it's someone else's fault" is horribly destructive and doing them a phenomenal disservice.

The "Liberal narrative" as you call, actualy only advocates that everyone should have as equal as reasonable, a playing field for when it comes to success, so that real merit, real drive, and real hard work will be the true factor of success.


Someone forced to work three jobs cannot succeed as well as someone with rich parents, point final. No debate, no going past go, you do not get to collect 200$.

If everyone's healthcare and education was free, then you would see more people succeeding, and the truly unmotivated and lazy, well, they won't die or suffer and there's no reason unless you ascribe to prosperity gospel for society to actually actively punish them.

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Boris
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quote:
Fortunately that's just the conservative strawman version, not what people who actually advocate for social services actually say.

You don't have to actually *say* something for a very solid message to get through. And I'm sorry but the biggest bogey-man the left uses to get minority votes is the idea that the Republican party will take away their benefits. I mean, that very thing gets repeated here *constantly*.
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MattP
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quote:
And I'm sorry but the biggest bogey-man the left uses to get minority votes is the idea that the Republican party will take away their benefits.
You are picking at the one piece of the statement I quoted which is closest to the truth while ignoring the more hyperbolic stuff, but OK just on the "they'll take it away" part -Do you think the fact that Republicans are constantly agitating to cut benefits might be a part of that?
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Boris
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quote:
The "Liberal narrative" as you call, actualy only advocates that everyone should have as equal as reasonable, a playing field for when it comes to success, so that real merit, real drive, and real hard work will be the true factor of success.

That would be the propaganda version of the narrative, sure. But the actual focus is not on making things more equal. Otherwise we would be focusing our efforts on improving schools in poor neighborhoods, developing business networking assistance for the unemployed, and things like that. No, our government just throws money at people. It's a freaking bandaid on a broken arm.

Reform to the welfare system, which is woefully inadequate (not because it doesn't have enough money but because it focuses on the absolute wrong things, the stuff that is politically visible but functionally useless), is a great big no-no for liberal representatives in the US.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
And I'm sorry but the biggest bogey-man the left uses to get minority votes is the idea that the Republican party will take away their benefits.
You are picking at the one piece of the statement I quoted which is closest to the truth while ignoring the more hyperbolic stuff, but OK just on the "they'll take it away" part -Do you think the fact that Republicans are constantly agitating to cut benefits might be a part of that?
Did you miss the part where I said that no one actually has to say, "You can't succeed on your own" without that message coming through loud and clear?
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Rakeesh
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Boris, it's pretty convenient to say 'no one actually has to *say* it to be in effect saying it'-and then categorically reject that same style of analysis when it's aimed at your own team. If it's 'liberal propaganda' to say that 'GOP will take your bennies!' and your rationale is 'c'mon, conservatives don't actually say that!' Then...well, see the problem?
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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
The "Liberal narrative" as you call, actualy only advocates that everyone should have as equal as reasonable, a playing field for when it comes to success, so that real merit, real drive, and real hard work will be the true factor of success.

That would be the propaganda version of the narrative, sure. But the actual focus is not on making things more equal. Otherwise we would be focusing our efforts on improving schools in poor neighborhoods, developing business networking assistance for the unemployed, and things like that. No, our government just throws money at people. It's a freaking bandaid on a broken arm.

But people are *poor* *now* and need assistance *now* it is a multi pronged approach which includes everything you've listed.

quote:

Reform to the welfare system, which is woefully inadequate (not because it doesn't have enough money but because it focuses on the absolute wrong things, the stuff that is politically visible but functionally useless), is a great big no-no for liberal representatives in the US.

This is hilariously wrong. Making people less hungry, less likely to be rendered homeless and less having to live paycheck to paycheck in poverty is a good thing.

In fact if you look at a chart/report by the CBO aside from direct infrastructure investments, the most bang for your buck economically are actually foodstamps, SNAP, and direct assistance to people in poverty or near poverty.

The economics don't support you.

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The Black Pearl
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I don't want to say something stupid. Trust me, I really, really don't. But I don't think "hard working" and "luck" are 100% mutually exclusive from each other. Self motivation is a talent, it has some roots in genetics, and people have more natural enthusiasm for certain jobs than others.

Anyway, that does sound like a lot of obstacles, Boris. I don't envy you for having had to face them at all. But imagine you add one more hardship to your life. It may have been enough to limit you beyond any amount of grit or self-improvement. But there are some (some) conservatives that would have told you that you simply did not work hard enough. And when liberalls say it would hav been different with a little less mis-fortune and they would be right. Maybe all that is old news to you. But all things considered you seem a little severe towards the liberal sensibility.

I drive myself crazy whenever I think about my own privilege. I'm very privileged in some ways and I've had my hardships in others. Im actually something a little like the caricature orincoro was projecting on boris. All things considered, a lot people had it worse than I did. i would never dream of telling someone they failed just because they didn't work hard, and despite the ways I am priveledge, I would have felt pissed if someone told me the same thing four years ago, when I was meandering in a junior college.

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Elison R. Salazar
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From a dude (Juvenalian.Satyr) on another forum about Education:

quote:

The big issue with Common Core from the left is the pressure it puts on teachers to teach to the test rather than to any actual curriculum. It's written and funded by charter school/education privatization/"education reform" types and while I'd be all for more comprehensive and fully funded national curriculum programs this basically amounts to another focus on standardized tests like all the previous bills that have done nothing to fix the problem, except this time it also connects teacher performance with student performance on these tests which is a major problem and provides means for schools to be defunded/chartered and more money to go to these private organizations. The whole charter school movement is insidious in a lot of the same way that the privatization of prisons were, and Common Core feeds into that indirectly.

More extreme arguments along this line talk about replacing teachers with computers, using low-training TFA scabs over union teachers since that experience no longer counts for moderating tests, but education is my big issue and Common Core is a very big problem, continuing along the line of No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top of increasing the privatization of our education system. The Democratic Party eats it up too because it lets them be on the "cutting edge" and appear progressive since it's "reform" but also costs so very little. Unfortunately it also does zero to alleviate the actual problems in the education system (Hint: it's the social inequality).

The teacher's unions though are mostly behind it, it's only really a subset of union teachers and education professionals that are critical of it. Unfortunately the serious people consensus here means that (and connecting this back to the topic) it's mostly less mainstream opposition, like libertarians, GOP obstruction, or the like that seem to be loud about this subject.

It results in some really weird alliances too. An acquaintance of mine works in activism and is very left of center but mostly is working with Republicans and the like now regarding this (because it's her current cross to bear) because there's little traction right now in the Democratic Party to oppose it, even in the progressive wing.

Yes the Dems aren't the best but the solution isn't to continue privatization.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
And I'm sorry but the biggest bogey-man the left uses to get minority votes is the idea that the Republican party will take away their benefits.
You are picking at the one piece of the statement I quoted which is closest to the truth while ignoring the more hyperbolic stuff, but OK just on the "they'll take it away" part -Do you think the fact that Republicans are constantly agitating to cut benefits might be a part of that?
Did you miss the part where I said that no one actually has to say, "You can't succeed on your own" without that message coming through loud and clear?
I will provide a better answer. "Yes the fact that republicans are constantly agitating to cut benefits is a part of that"

addt.

"obvs"

this thread is insane

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by umberhulk:
I don't want to say something stupid. Trust me, I really, really don't. But I don't think "hard working" and "luck" are 100% mutually exclusive from each other. Self motivation is a talent, it has some roots in genetics, and people have more natural enthusiasm for certain jobs than others.

Anyway, that does sound like a lot of obstacles, Boris. I don't envy you for having had to face them at all. But imagine you add one more hardship to your life. It may have been enough to limit you beyond any amount of grit or self-improvement. But there are some (some) conservatives that would have told you that you simply did not work hard enough. And when liberalls say it would hav been different with a little less mis-fortune and they would be right. Maybe all that is old news to you. But all things considered you seem a little severe towards the liberal sensibility.

I drive myself crazy whenever I think about my own privilege. I'm very privileged in some ways and I've had my hardships in others. Im actually something a little like the caricature orincoro was projecting on boris. All things considered, a lot people had it worse than I did. i would never dream of telling someone they failed just because they didn't work hard, and despite the ways I am priveledge, I would have felt pissed if someone told me the same thing four years ago, when I was meandering in a junior college.

I probably won't respond any more for a while because I'm neck deep in migrating a big company's email to a new system...

And I realize I probably mis-spoke earlier on what the left is saying to people, and trust me, I do realize that conservatives have serious issues communicating what they actually mean to people and the left is much more capable when it comes to messaging. I thought a lot about this thread over the weekend and actually came up with some really interesting ideas on how to fix some problems we have. Of course they probably wouldn't ever make it into law simply because there would be too much opposition from special interest groups on either side, but anyway.

Anyway, let me try to explain what my thinking is on this...I appreciate that there is a lot that has gone my way in life. I've been pretty lucky, but I've also taken a lot of really serious risks that could have (and almost did) bankrupt me, not all of which paid off. I moved to Alaska right after college and almost went bankrupt after my appendix burst and I was out of work for a month. I took a huge risk moving out of Alaska with about 2000 dollars in the bank (you can't get out of Alaska for less than 1000 bucks if you take your car with you) to Colorado, where I lived on that cash for about a month and a half until I got the job that jumpstarted my career (through TekSystems).

I passed up a job that paid 12,000 more than my salary at the time, which wasn't as much of a risk except that I hated my employer then so much that I was probably months away from getting fired and I knew it. I passed it up because it was a lateral move and would have done nothing to really improve my career. 3 months later I got my current job which has propelled my knowledge and skills beyond what I thought possible, and I love it.

But here's my point. What do you think would have happened if a group of people had told me that the hard work I put in studying wasn't going to make much of a difference because it's too hard to move upward now? If someone had told me that my hard work meant little in the face of my circumstances, I probably wouldn't have put any effort in. I probably wouldn't have risked 150 dollars of the last thousand I had to get an IT certification that was necessary to get the career jump-starting job less than a month later.

And part of the reason I'm ignoring you guys, for the most part, when you try to convince me that my situation in early life had more to do with my success than my more recent efforts, is because you have absolutely no possible way of knowing how much of where I am is due to my effort, my early life experiences, or just dumb luck. Trying to change my mind about the keys to my success is very pessimistic, and attitude is a huge part of being able to focus on what you need to do to succeed. If I were to listen to you instead of my own experiences, do you think I'd eventually make the risk of starting my own business or do you think I'd spend the rest of my life in my cushy job with a great boss? Now what do you think would happen if you told a young black man or woman that "the man" isn't going to let them succeed? Do you think they will try to do things the hard way, or do you think the lure of an over-glorified gang lifestyle will grab a hold of them?

Also, I won't ever say someone wasn't working hard enough if they don't succeed, but I will say that it's extremely likely they were doing a lot of things and making choices that crippled their ability. Remember that despite everyone's childhood experiences, we all have the ability to make choices that affect our futures. For instance, did you know that an estimated 40 to 45 percent of people in poverty in the US smoke cigarettes? That's a hugely expensive habit that they could do away with or have avoided and it cripples their ability to get out of poverty, forget the fact that it destroys their health and makes it ever so much more likely they will have an illness that will cause them to choose between bankruptcy and death. What about alcohol? How many people in the lower 5% spend a significant portion of their free time (what free time they have) getting drunk? Again, choices made that are keeping them from moving up. Then add in illicit drug use, wasting money on tattoos, "bling" and other useless distractions and you end up with people who are unknowingly locking themselves into inescapable poverty.

Now tell those people that it isn't their fault that they are in that situation, but it's the rich peoples' fault for hoarding all the money. What do you think their response would be? Do you think they would seriously examine their lives to see where they are going wrong, or do you think they would blame the rich for their problems, then demand someone else fix it for them? Do you think they would *ever* be able to change things for themselves once that kind of thinking starts? What about their kids? Can you see why the liberal philosophy bothers me now? Wouldn't it be much more effective if we were to have individuals go into those communities and teach them the things they are doing to themselves that are keeping them in poverty? Or should we just hand them more money so they can keep spiraling further?

And finally, I realize that there are a lot of people who work very hard and never really get anywhere. Telling those people to work harder is indeed stupid. But have you considered that the people who work super hard and fail aren't succeeding because they waste their efforts focusing the wrong things? Have you also considered that fewer people are getting out of poverty in the US because fewer people are *trying* to get out of poverty? Have you considered that they might not be getting out of poverty because our welfare system is semi-intentionally designed to *keep* them in poverty?

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Elison R. Salazar
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quote:

I do realize that conservatives have serious issues communicating what they actually mean to people and the left is much more capable when it comes to messaging.

I stopped reading when I read this Apologist Claptrap.

(1) The GOP's problem is not "messaging" they're actually very good at messaging, ever hear of Lee Atwater or the Southern Strategy? Those are "things that exist". The actual problem is that they have no substantial policies to offer that help the poor and middle class. Any 'messaging gaffs' they make when trying to clumsily appeal to the poor and minorities is a symptom of that.

But messaging to their base? They have that down to a science.

(2) The 'left' is actually terrible when it comes to messaging, they consistently fail to take control of the narrative outside of national election years. Off election years show consistent deflated turnout numbers for Dem supporters.

What advantages they do have is organization and good footwork but this machine is seemingly only used during campaign season and left to rot at all other times, it isn't being capitalized on.

The "advantages" the dems have at messaging is that they are seemingly more capable of keeping their mouths shut and not saying things like "The woman's body has a way to shut that thing down if its legitimate rape".

Which of course drives up turnout for the shrinking base but not the general electorate of non-stupids.

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Dan_Frank
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It's funny how both sides tend to think "man our ideas are so self-evidently right that our problem must be messaging! We just suck at getting the word out about our obviously superior vision."

It's such a lazy cop-out.

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NobleHunter
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quote:

Also, I won't ever say someone wasn't working hard enough if they don't succeed, but I will say that it's extremely likely they were doing a lot of things and making choices that crippled their ability. Remember that despite everyone's childhood experiences, we all have the ability to make choices that affect our futures. For instance, did you know that an estimated 40 to 45 percent of people in poverty in the US smoke cigarettes? That's a hugely expensive habit that they could do away with or have avoided and it cripples their ability to get out of poverty, forget the fact that it destroys their health and makes it ever so much more likely they will have an illness that will cause them to choose between bankruptcy and death. What about alcohol? How many people in the lower 5% spend a significant portion of their free time (what free time they have) getting drunk? Again, choices made that are keeping them from moving up. Then add in illicit drug use, wasting money on tattoos, "bling" and other useless distractions and you end up with people who are unknowingly locking themselves into inescapable poverty.

So why do people make those decisions and the host of others that make it measurably more difficult to escape poverty? Have you considered that people are giving up hope of prosperity because the system is weighted against them? Would you be so fond of hard work if your various gambles hadn't worked out and you found yourself back on the bottom after years of 'hard work'? Hope and hard work are only successful if there are opportunities to pursue. It seems like those opportunities aren't there for a lot of people.
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Dan_Frank
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Boris your arguments aren't going to sway anyone. When someone thinks of being poor as being a victim, pointing out behaviors that keep people poor is easily written off as victim-blaming.

So criticizing poor people for being a statistically significant number of cigarette/alcohol/drug users can be ignored with either broad accusations of victim-blaming, or perhaps a more focused "they are in poverty and misery and you're criticizing them for the one vice that gives them some pleasure/respite? How cruel."

People on food stamps also often make lots of cost-inefficient decisions with their food stamps, like buying lots of meat, or spending most of their money immediately and running out of food in the last week of the month.

"What, you don't think poor people deserve protein? What a cad."

Most people have such a lousy attitude towards criticism that stuff like this is just seen as cruel.

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Boris
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quote:
Have you considered that people are giving up hope of prosperity because the system is weighted against them?
Have you considered the possibility that people are giving up on the hope of prosperity because someone just *told* them the system is weighted against them? What do you think the result would be if you told someone the system was weighted against them when it wasn't? How about if it was and you didn't tell them that?
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Boris your arguments aren't going to sway anyone. When someone thinks of being poor as being a victim, pointing out behaviors that keep people poor is easily written off as victim-blaming.

Refusing to point out those things and attacking people who do is something called "Enabling". If someone has a choice to avoid a behavior that causes problems in their life, they aren't really victims. Even if their situation drives them to make those choices. And I don't really care if I don't sway people with my argument. I just think it's an argument that needs to be made.
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Rakeesh
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Well, Dan, that's a lovely bit of thinly veiled smugness I must admit-coming from an authentic fan of that myself-but just because Elison is here crowing about the revolution and whatnot, perhaps don't paint with so broad a brush?

Like for example. Even the GOP themselves will admit to being quite a lot better at messaging, the last few years of Tea Party agitation notwithstanding. For example, it's nowhere the accepted message except among the most strident leftists that povery exists 'because rich people hoard the money'. I know you know better than that, Dan, and for someone who gets rightly frustrated a being mislabeled an utterly loyal Libertarian, it would at least be courteous not to do the same sort of generalizing in reverse-especially while lecturing the *other* side for that!

For another example, sure, people on government assistance often make unwise or inefficient decisions. We could address this by, say, rather than assuming it's simply some sort of moral deficiency, let the Invisble Hand take care of it, by taking a more proactive approach in terms of nutrition and financial responsibility in schools. Usually the most efficient way to do such a thing is to disincentivize bad decisions and incentivize good ones.

But who is it Whois most likely to be up in arms when a school, say, removes soda machines? When a municipality takes steps to disincentivize the sale of larger fast food portions to small children? To apply a higher tax to tobacco? I'll tell you who it's NOT. It's not the people who also complain about how inefficient and foolish those poor people are. No, it's the other people, generally. The same people who grow hysterical if a school district tries to adopt a rational approach to sex education, for instance. The people, in fact, whose answer to every problem seems to be 'freedom!'

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NobleHunter
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I think experience is more effective at swaying behavior than rhetoric. If there weren't systemic barriers to economic mobility, I don't think that you could convince a substantial number of people that they were trapped in poverty.

Rakeesh, also, if poor people had more resources, then the unwise or inefficient decisions wouldn't be so crippling. But some people seem to think that bad decisions are a luxury the poor don't deserve.

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Boris
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quote:
Usually the most efficient way to do such a thing is to disincentivize bad decisions and incentivize good ones.
I would argue that this isn't the most efficient way to fix those problems, since it doesn't really seem to work at all in the vast majority of cases. I mean, yeah, the marked decline in tobacco use in America has coincided with disincentivization, but it also coincided with realization that it's a really disgusting habit that can kill you and the de-cooling of it. It's kind of difficult, if not impossible, to determine which of those things actually caused the decline.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Boris your arguments aren't going to sway anyone. When someone thinks of being poor as being a victim, pointing out behaviors that keep people poor is easily written off as victim-blaming.

Refusing to point out those things and attacking people who do is something called "Enabling". If someone has a choice to avoid a behavior that causes problems in their life, they aren't really victims. Even if their situation drives them to make those choices. And I don't really care if I don't sway people with my argument. I just think it's an argument that needs to be made.
You know, it's interesting how often and indeed sometimes how passionately conservatives reject modern psychology and associated rhetoric, preferring a more traditional stringent Protestant outlook on human behavior.

Except when they want to use some of it. It's the human condition of course, cherry picking, but this is certainly a case of it here. Psychology might have something to say on the difficulty of assigning blame for choices when one grows up in a culture that counters that choice, and one's formative years are not ones where alternatives are posed. That's just garbage, though people should just do what's right and stop using psych babble to evade responsibility. Why, they're being enabled!

Ha.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Well, Dan, that's a lovely bit of thinly veiled smugness I must admit-coming from an authentic fan of that myself-

The honest self awareness in this made me literally lol. [Big Grin]

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
but just because Elison is here crowing about the revolution and whatnot, perhaps don't paint with so broad a brush?

Like for example. Even the GOP themselves will admit to being quite a lot better at messaging, the last few years of Tea Party agitation notwithstanding.

I dunno, but I follow a lot of left and right blogs and alt media and the "our ideas are obviously the best but we suck at messaging" excuse comes up a lot on both of 'em.


quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
For example, it's nowhere the accepted message except among the most strident leftists that povery exists 'because rich people hoard the money'. I know you know better than that, Dan, and for someone who gets rightly frustrated a being mislabeled an utterly loyal Libertarian, it would at least be courteous not to do the same sort of generalizing in reverse-especially while lecturing the *other* side for that!

I missed the part where I said people thought this. Or maybe that's a Boris straw man I wasn't following? Or a Blayneism? I know you're not Blayne, and I wasn't following/commenting on any of Boris's previous posts, just the most recent one. Sorry if that wasn't clear, I should've quoted his post directly. My bad.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
For another example, sure, people on government assistance often make unwise or inefficient decisions. We could address this by, say, rather than assuming it's simply some sort of moral deficiency, let the Invisble Hand take care of it, by taking a more proactive approach in terms of nutrition and financial responsibility in schools. Usually the most efficient way to do such a thing is to disincentivize bad decisions and incentivize good ones.

But who is it Whois most likely to be up in arms when a school, say, removes soda machines? When a municipality takes steps to disincentivize the sale of larger fast food portions to small children? To apply a higher tax to tobacco? I'll tell you who it's NOT. It's not the people who also complain about how inefficient and foolish those poor people are. No, it's the other people, generally. The same people who grow hysterical if a school district tries to adopt a rational approach to sex education, for instance. The people, in fact, whose answer to every problem seems to be 'freedom!'

This probably deserves it's own response later because I don't have time to give my take right now. Sorry.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Usually the most efficient way to do such a thing is to disincentivize bad decisions and incentivize good ones.
I would argue that this isn't the most efficient way to fix those problems, since it doesn't really seem to work at all in the vast majority of cases. I mean, yeah, the marked decline in tobacco use in America has coincided with disincentivization, but it also coincided with realization that it's a really disgusting habit that can kill you and the de-cooling of it. It's kind of difficult, if not impossible, to determine which of those things actually caused the decline.
Dude. Increase taxes on tobacco lowers rate of use. Obviously that's not the *only* thing that's led to a decline, but are you really going to suggest that even by itself it wouldn't trigger some decline? I mean isn't this at the heart of much of your conservative position? Taxation strangles the economy? You've got to pick one, Boris. It can't be this uncertain tbujng for tobacco but utterly obvious elsewhere.

But hey, if we're gonna talk about tobacco, let's talk. Who was it who spearheaded the effort to cut marketing to children?who was it who stood most behind education efforts on the dangers of tobacco? Do you even care? Or is the answer that all of it was just spontaneous public opinion change, as though fully formed from the head of Zeus, freedom hoy!

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:


But here's my point. What do you think would have happened if a group of people had told me that the hard work I put in studying wasn't going to make much of a difference because it's too hard to move upward now? If someone had told me that my hard work meant little in the face of my circumstances, I probably wouldn't have put any effort in. I probably wouldn't have risked 150 dollars of the last thousand I had to get an IT certification that was necessary to get the career jump-starting job less than a month later.

A group of people wouldn't have told you that because, for you , it wouldn't have been true. For those for whom it is true - they aren't told so much as they see people like themselves trying and failing all the time. Telling them a myth about hard work guaranteeing success comes across as a cruel joke or blind idealism. They believe that the system is rigged against them because the system IS rigged against them.
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Dan_Frank
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Rakeesh on reflection it doesn't really need a longer answer. I think you know my take on this.

In case there's confusion, here's the short version: I recognize that lots of people make bad decisions with their lives (in my estimation, this includes WAY more than just poor people). And yet I don't think that in any way means that I, or "we" or anyone ought to try to forcibly improve those peoples' lives. Or "incentivize" them to make the "right" decisions. People have autonomy, and the right to make their own decisions. Even if I, or you, or we, think those decisions are terrible.

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MattP
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What about when those decision affect other people? if second- and third-hand smoke is dangerous, can't we justify disincentivizing based on that fact without it being an assault on the smoker's autonomy? In that case it's just baking in the cost of an externality, no?
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Boris
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quote:
They believe that the system is rigged against them because the system IS rigged against them.
Can you explain exactly how you *know* the system is rigged? Like, specifically, how is it rigged against them? I realize that my "White privilege" means I am not allowed to have an opinion on the subject, or that people who aren't white don't have to listen to me because I'm white and "I don't know what it's like." But I'm seriously interested in knowing exactly what it is that causes the entire system to be rigged against certain groups of people. Do you have any kind of hard evidence to support that claim? Or is it all anecdotal?

Edited Who and How are different words!

[ February 24, 2014, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I realize that my "White privilege" means I am not allowed to have an opinion on the subject, or that people who aren't white don't have to listen to me because I'm white and "I don't know what it's like."
God. You realize that attitude of yours is obnoxious, right?

Would you like me to explain to you why "white privilege" does not in fact deny you the right to hold an opinion, before we set in to explaining why your opinions are wrong?

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
God. You realize that attitude of yours is obnoxious, right?

Would you like me to explain to you why "white privilege" does not in fact deny you the right to hold an opinion, before we set in to explaining why your opinions are wrong?

Isn't that the rule here? If people don't listen to you be as obnoxious as possible? I mean that's what you do all the time.

Yes, I know it doesn't mean I can't hold an opinion, but people *very* often use it as an excuse to ignore completely valid concerns about blatantly self destructive attitudes and behaviors of various racial communities in this country.

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Rakeesh
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Boris, unless you'd like everyone here to start treating you like Rush Limbaugh, perhaps you could stick to the things people actually say outright? Or if you feel there's a hidden meaning, try to draw it out! You're skipping that rather important step, dude.

Unless you'd rather stick to gabbing with hostile would-be revolutionaries who will adopt exactly that approach towards you? If so please let us know and save everyone some trouble. This vacillation between honest discussion and 'you liberals think stuff is bad because of rich people!' crap has grown tedious.

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