On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Because who would possibly have an opinion on these topics?!
barkybree
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On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby barkybree » Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:25 pm

Alas, my country is failing.

That's what I've been telling myself the last few days. I've actually been thinking about this chronically for several years now. It was the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and not the 9/11 attacks in 2001, that started me down this depressing path. In hindsight, it probably started with the Clinton impeachment in 1998. Things have only gotten worse ever since.

First, I guess I need to explain why I use "failure". I shouldn't have to, it seems glaringly obvious:

1) our economy is in a shambles. It has stabilized, but stabilized into a new, chronic low. The jobs that were lost in two years (actually most of the losses happened in about 9 months) will take at least a decade to come back, but unless something happens to drastically change things, I suspect we'll be stuck at 10% unemployment for decades.
2) this is because we have no remaining industry in this country, and it does not look like any will come back. Manufacturing jobs, which for about a century were a sure-fire way to get your family up the economic ladder, are gone, seemingly forever. Entry-level white-collar jobs, such as IT help desk and payroll processing, are also gone, although there is potential for their return (you don't need the large capital investment to bring back white-collar jobs that you do for manufacturing). Intellectual jobs such as software development, electrical engineering, etc. are now leaving as other countries are turning those offshored entry-level jobs are leading to highly skilled workers.
3) This leaves service sector jobs which doesn't actually contribute to economic growth. Those are sustaining jobs: keeping people fed, keeping roads plowed, keeping toilets flowing. They are not engines of growth. This means this nation no longer has an engine for economic growth.
4) By most measures, we are worse off than almost every "developed" nation in the world. Life expectancy, obesity, poverty, literacy,
5) People are upset "The Hills" is ending. That alone means we've devolved into porifera. The end is nigh.


In my view, the reason for America's impending failure is the death of reasoned discourse and a lack of depth and breadth of vision amongst both the people and our leaders. We are effectively too stupid, and too intent on b*tching at each other, that we can't see what our policies and actions are doing to ourselves.

If you want to see or hear what I'm talking about, watch Chris Matthews or Bill O'Reilly or any Teabagger convention. Hell, just listen to any bar conversation! All folks want to do is scream at the other guy, gripe about what he's doing is horrible for the country, and shout over them when they try to defend themselves. We've all "taken sides", made it us against them. "They can't win! At any cost!" It's no longer what's good for the country, or (even better) what's good for the people who live in the country (after all, a "country" is nothing more than a group of people with an imaginary line drawn around it).

Look at the Teabaggers: all they do is shout. What do they propose? Nearly nothing. They just shout "you suck, Nazi!!" But they offer nothing of their own. Or, if they do, you can't make it out over the epithets and venom.

Of course, you can't have reasoned discourse without reason. Is anyone thinking of the big picture when they put their stuff together? This is where the Dems fail. Did they even think through what they were doing with health care? Did they even try to dissect the problem and figure out why it was so expensive? No, all they did was try to shove their own socialism down our throats. There wasn't a ton of "reason" there. There is nothing in this bill that will actually reduce costs! It's just spreading it out to everyone (with legal penalties), in sloppy ways that will actually kill good things (like employers providing health insurance themselves -- they've dis-incentivized it).

It's because the Right wants it their way, and the Left wants it their way, but neither party is actually looking at the big picture, analyzing the facts of the case, determining what works and what does not work, looking at history, and, above all, TALKING TO EACH OTHER!

No one, no party, no group, has all the answers. I know I don't. And when you become so arrogant to assume that YOUR WAY is the right way, and YOUR SIDE is the right side, without putting any cogent thought into those "ways" or those "sides", you fail. And when a nation does that en masse, as we have done, then a nation fails.

*sigh* :cry:

annekr
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby annekr » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:13 am

I probably shouldn't comment on this as I'm not in the US but looking from a distance I can see that many of the things you're saying seem to be true. Sometimes it's hard to get a true picture from TV reports - and I must confess I rely a lot on what is said by the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert! :oops: I've been following the health debate and I've been amazed and shocked by some of the things I've heard the opposing sides say - you're right when you say that reasoned debate has gone out the window. Sometimes when I'm channel surfing I come across people like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh and I can't believe some of the things I hear. A week or two ago I heard Glenn Beck saying 'If you go to a church where they talk about social justice, get out of it! Social justice is just another form of Nazism.' That shocked me - that can't possibly be the majority opinion in the US surely??

barkybree
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby barkybree » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:41 am

annekr wrote: that can't possibly be the majority opinion in the US surely??


I don't think it is yet, unless it's measured by decibels :roll:

BUT I think it will be in a few years. Children are shaped by the culture around them, and this is the culture today's kids are being brought up in. I think we're entering into a new 50's where intolerance was king.

But I also like to think the pendulum swings. Perhaps the nuttiness will fade. Perhaps a lingering deep recession (10%+ employment for 5-10 years) will force people to see right and stop the nonsense and we can actually think our way out of this (as we stopped thinking to get us into it).

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GriffinRider
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby GriffinRider » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:11 pm

I think the biggest problem is size!! I Agree with you Barky, no one is listening! They are doing a lot of gabbering... but our country is too big! People where never designed to be governed in huge mass like this, just look back through history! Look at Rome, Great Britten. Over and over conquering and subduing gets to a point where there are too many and it falls apart. That is where we are. It was stupid to go over to Iraq, Not the principle as much as the circumstance. We were in NO place to do that.
I think that we need to shrink the Fed, Its too big. The ideas this country started with are Long lost. We need to restart and rethink the entire thing! but you know... no one has the balls to do a thing like that. People get to set in their ways, The pattern gets to strong and they are so busy blaming some one else and not looking at fixing the really problems. Kids are coming out of school more ingrained and indoctrinated then the last ones with no critical thinking skills or personal strength. Hell, half of them ant even read! WTF!!!
I think that we are close to a VERY big change, either falling apart and over reaction by the government, or something similar. We Think we are the "IT" country and when it comes down to it we are so incredibly inept...

barkybree
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby barkybree » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:35 pm

I think you're on to something with size. It seems a democracy can only hold together up until a certain size of the populace. After that, it's simply too difficult to gain consensus.

I wonder (and it's just speculation, not a rant) if the problem is our collective desire to hold the federal government responsible for our well-being instead of our cities, towns, & counties. There used to be a time when there was more local governance, and the Congress tried to meet those needs (remember "all politics is local"?). Now, those local entities are both beholden to Congress (No Child Left Behind and other direct federal regulations placed on local communities) and are also expecting Congress to bail them out (how many cities/towns/counties/states spend all their efforts whining to the feds for more money)?

Roles & responsibilities of the federal government need to either go away (like wool research subsidies and other rot) or need to revert back to states & municipalities.

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GriffinRider
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby GriffinRider » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:32 pm

I totally agree! Only the local knows what the local needs and these broad over arching policies make everything harder rather than easier. The basic truth of humanity is that we are communities. Example: as much as dialect and slang change from one town to the next how much more so the whole nation in everything! The cohesive idea for protection yes but for actual living no. States need more control over themselves, and also in turn take responsibility for themselves. People of like minds should live in one place and that is how we get along. We do for each other. We can not hide from each other and blame everyone else and expect to get better.

The only time the fed should step in is when something isn't working to the severe detriment of those involved and their is no other possible solution.
Which brings me to another point. Bailing out the banks and the car manufacturers was the worst idea since Iraq. They are Mass Monopoly and they NEEDED to fall. Yes a few would hurt in the short term, but in the long term it would have generated an avenue for growth by the entrepreneur! People Do rise to the challenge and it is a way to weed out the weak. Just as the wolves prey on the old and the sick and the heard is strengthened by that loss. Sounds cruel but its the way of nature!! And what are we i not natural beasts in our own way?

barkybree
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby barkybree » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:47 am

I often wonder what things would be like today if there wasn't a bank bailout. Would it have been worse, or lasted just as long but with no long-term side effects?

I think not bailing out the banks would have been initially worse for the economy, things would have fallen far harder, but at least we wouldn't have had the lingering, soul-sucking problem of long-term indebtedness.

As for the car companies, well, all we did was put them on life support for a bit. They'll fail on their own, just like practically ever other American industry. :roll:

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MsBrandybuck
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby MsBrandybuck » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:34 pm

People fail to realize that Glen Beck and his ilk are foremost 'entertainers.' Sure, they lean to the right but I think they try to outdo each other in how outrageously right-leaning they can go, all in the name of keeping up the ratings for the show and hence, their continued employment. These folk have turned shouting down a dissenter into an art form- and unfortunately they teach others that this is how to make your point.

I think the media is mostly responsible for the death of reasoned discourse and for killing anyone with vision.

The media is a vampire whose best interest is served by inciting passionate people to become paranoid, disrespectful, intolerant, froth-at-the-mouth media-hogs. It makes for good show and keeps the media people employed.

This is not the entire problem- barky's explanation of the economy, manufacturing base, development and innovation are all parts that have been declining for decades. I think our modern media, though are to blame for bringing out the worst in our people which hinders us from working together and getting through these challenging times.

I also totally agree that things worked better when they were more state or locally run, for the reasons you others have stated.
"Today is a good day to die."
— Worf

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merryb
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby merryb » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:09 pm

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

barkybree
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Re: On the Death of Reasoned Discourse

Postby barkybree » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:57 am

Where's that from, MB?



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