Politics by the uninformed.

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mykcob4's picture
Politics by the uninformed.

Okay this isn't a political forum, but we all are interested in politics as a group. Today I happen to meet a young woman that was a receptionist. We casually chatted for a while. People love to talk about themselves, so I let her talk. She complained about public schools, and unions, and liberals, and finally let loose on President Obama. I let her rant on, all the while she was speaking assuming I agreed with her. She ranted about religion, again assuming that I was a christian. When she came to a pause, I asked, just what she didn't like about our president. She started by saying "he isn't my president." Again I asked what about Obama made her so mad. She said "you know it's Obama." I said can you be specific? She said "well Obama care!" At this point she was becoming agitated. I said you mean the Healthcare Reform Act passed by both house of the legislature? She said no the Obamacare that Obama forced on us. I said the same law that the SCOTUS decided was constitutional? She said "No, come on you know Obamacare!" I said you don't know what you are talking about but that won't make a difference because you want to hate so you hate.
My point is that people don't learn, become informed about politics. They just decide that they hate something and spew that hatred. This is precisely why Trump is the Republican nominee.

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ZeffD's picture
I had a parent who "never

Many people “never discuss religion or politics” and consider that a good policy. Religious and political differences between work colleagues can affect the job. Generally, the more exchange of views the better for society. I think politics shouldn’t be avoided but care must be taken about when and where it is discussed. Many people can’t discuss politics in a calm manner.

My family and friends seem interested in politics but often unwilling to discuss them. Some just aren't interested in politics. My neighbor actually said he had no idea how to vote in the Scottish referendum as he "knows nothing about politics".

Under federal electoral law, it is compulsory for all eligible Australian citizens to enrol and vote in federal elections, by-elections and referendums. Those uninterested in politics have to vote while informed people who wish to withhold their vote must go and damage a ballot paper.

A democracy relies on an informed, educated and engaged electorate (as well as freedom of speech and expression). I think the current culture in Western electorates explains many of our problems, including Mr Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause.

mykcob4's picture
I never consider ignoring

I never consider ignoring politics and/or religion a good idea. I think we should discuss them even more, but more importantly we should be well informed when we do. Too often people are just institutionalized about what they think. They can't think for themselves. Rupert Murdock has guided about one third of this nation off of a cliff politically. The propaganda of FOX noise has corrupted journalism. So what you have is one person maybe talking about political issues, but what they are confronted with is the catch phrases and bumper sticker mentality of conservatives that get their only information from FOX or Rush Limbaugh.

chimp3's picture
On the left side of the room

On the left side of the room we have many young people voting for Bernie that can not define socialism.

mykcob4's picture
True they cannot define

True they cannot define socialism but they know that Bernie is against corrupt corporations that have hijacked this nation. The last person that actually took on the corrupt corporate establishment was Teddy Roosevelt.
Bernie appeals to the young voters for a very good reason. He has plans to secure their future. He wants to pay for education, and medical care. That is a big chunk of money that every young person has to face, and now that burden is overwhelming. Most kids can't pay for car insurance let alone everything else.

Quintus Simia's picture
This statement invokes the

This statement invokes the presumption that there is a single strict definition of socialism, rather than a broad framework of principles from which a number of interpretations can be built. To suggest that there is an 'orthodox' socialism is as dogmatic and uninformed as to suggest the same of any major religion. Similarly, one cannot "define" Capitalism, or any other socio-economic system with such rigidity, for the same reason. Moreover, the appeal to incredulity, yours or that of others, is not sufficient as a means of invalidating the particular vision of socialism supported by Bernie Sanders.

ZeffD's picture
The USA have even fewer on

The USA have even fewer on the right who can do that. They think Pres Obama and Mr Sanders are socialists!!

Bill O'Reilly: [Bernie Sanders doctrine of Democratic Socialism is] basically what some countries in western Europe have, a political system that limits personal income through taxation in return for cradle to grave payouts from the governments. That's the trade. Even if you are a derelict, a lay-about, you will be supported by the government and in return you will do what the government tells you to do. Source:

A big part of the problem is when people think we're all following a doctrine or philosophy because that's what they do.

Quintus Simia's picture
Also, Bill O'Reilly is

Also, Bill O'Reilly is incorrect, that is not "what they do." Like many others, O'Reilly confuses many aspects of socialism with communism; i.e. being told by the government what to do, presumably he is referring to one's profession, as was the practice in communist Russia and Germany. Many Scandanavian countries are socialist, some even guaranteeing a basic level of income to all citizens, regardless of their status, but for which no government control is exerted over the individual's educational or career path.

mykcob4's picture
Fortunately journalism is not

Fortunately journalism is not dead. A few years ago in an effort to reach the young Comedy Central launched 'The Daily Show'. Although it is a news satire show it does illustrate the falsehoods made by FOX and propaganda and spin doctors. the youth prefer comedy shows to real news programs and accepted 'The Daily Show" wholeheartedly. Thus making the show legit. It took on a new role, breaking news and actually covering some issues. It was totally neutral and for that besides PBS/NPR, The BBC, it was the only neutral news show or programming.

ZeffD's picture
Yes, I've enjoyed many a

Yes, I've enjoyed many a Daily Show with Jon Stewart (because I'm so youthful :-)
It seemed to loose its edge and kept mistaking people like John Oliver for comedians....
I wouldn't use the link. Like most of my links its there if required. The John Oliver video shows people explaining why Trump isn't dismissed. For instance one person commented, "he's an incredible businessman and if he runs the country like he runs his business..." People think he's a very good businessman and understands their problems. They don't see any significance in the many instances where he's demonstrated no interest in anyone's problems but his own (including in Scotland).

It was the Scottish referendum that inspired the youth of Scotland to take an interest in politics. The youth tend to be more patriotic/nationalistic and traditionally talk as though "The Westminster Gravy Train" (UKGov) is Scotland's only problem. When they're married with children they start to realize that the more united the 74 millions of people in Britain and Ireland are, the more jobs and the higher the GDP per person.

There were two very important (but little noticed) polls on Scottish independence years before the 2014 referendum....
The first such poll indicated up to 25% of Scots wanted independence even if it hurt their pocket significantly. That indicates there's something a little anti-British and distinctly nationalistic about the issue.

I wonder if we're all united on the next important referendum our twit of a PM has squandered British political capital on. Are you:
1. Pro Europe and in favour of Britain in the EU
2. Pro Europe and for Brexit (The UK leaving the EU)

(I'm 1 but think our big mistake was holding the referendum).

mykcob4's picture
I like John Oliver. I think

I like John Oliver. I think his show on HBO was incredible. It was a news show. Informative and enlightening.
He is able to bring things into perspective and focus.

dinamort's picture
The complexity of present

The complexity of present societies makes very difficult to get well informed about the real effects of policies that are undertaken by governments, and therefore trying to predict what could be the future of a nation by voting for a candidate rather than another is as more difficult. Societies get more and more complex as the global population grows, and as, logically, grow all its needs. The geometrical population growth leads to a geometrical growth of factors that are to be dealt with. It's not surprising that a large part of citizens feel lost, and I'd bet most politicians are lost (even if they can't, or don't want to, realize it) in front of such an object almost impossible to consider as a whole. That's without taking into account hidden powers (I'm not talking about possible conspiracies, but just about daily actions and decisions of ordinary people that inevitably have consequences in proportions impossible to measure since they don't look important enough to appear on media).
I wonder if democracy can even possibly exist outside very small societies. Even the most honest and well-intended politicians can't hope to fully manage huge countries like USA, Russia or China in accordance to the will of their people.
The French cartoonist Jossot wrote: "You've taken your daily bath. You're wearing fresh clothes. You have a new suit. You're very clean. But you find a cesspool. Be careful! As long as you stay on the edge, you'll keep your cleanliness. If you fall down into it, you'll get out very dirty. The cesspool is politics. Stay away from that squalid pigsty, from that sewer collecting all faeces." (From L'évangile de la paresse [The Gospel of Laziness], 1939, personal translation.)
I tend to think that the best we can do is trying to live and act ethically with people just around us, and, above all, never wait for providential men or women, which would be the same as waiting for a god to solve our problems.

mykcob4's picture
Well the USA is a

Well the USA is a representative democracy. Democracies are impossible with any size of the populace. The thing is if you vote conservative you invariably give your power away to corrupt corporations i.e. an oligarchy. If you vote liberal you may have to face a more socialist construct of your everyday life. The fact is that as populaces grow larger the individuals rights shrink in proportion. For example gun rights. When the majority lived on large farms, there was no need to regulate firearms, but as the populace becomes more sophisticated and congested, we as a society have to regulate firearms to maintain safety. That is just one example. People are basically lazy and irresponsible. They pollute everything everywhere. Therefore it is important to hold pollution and polluting in check. That means corporations as well as individuals. The only way to do that is to vote liberal. Evicting the god squad from politics is paramount and vital for a free society. Again this means voting liberal. In fact the only logical way to vote is liberal to insure individual rights balanced with social responsibility.

CyberLN's picture
I would call the U.S. a

I would call the U.S. a republic, not a democracy.

mykcob4's picture
Of course it is a republic.

Of course it is a republic. All republic means is that it is a state not run by a monarchy. Technically the United States is a representative democracy.

a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.

Representative democracy (also indirect democracy, representative republic, or psephocracy) is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy.

dinamort's picture
I couldn't agree more about

I couldn't agree more about people's irresponsibility. As I'm not American and don't live in US, my opinion about guns regulation specifically is of little importance and wouldn't be well-informed. Nevertheless such a problem, together with pollution and many others, must be pointed out for what it actually is: a symptom. All actions against symptoms won't solve the problems, just push them away for a while, and despite our efforts to postpone the crucial discussion, their consequences will affect all of us, all around the world.
I don't think politics can cope with the root of our present difficulties and those about to come. Only a global awakening could do it, and I have to confess I'm not optimistic regarding people's ability to become aware of our true situation.
I'm not sure I'm clear. Perhaps this conference will be more eloquent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1C9DyIi_8

ZeffD's picture
I think Myke’s post 10 makes

I think Myke’s post 10 makes the very USAmerican mistake of casting conservative in conflict with liberal. I consider myself both, like Churchill’s generation. Like the word “great”, the meaning of the word “liberal” has changed in the USA since then but not many have noticed.

Contrast the Scandinavian democracies with those Romain lists. Quote Romain, “I wonder if democracy can even possibly exist outside very small societies. Even the most honest and well-intended politicians can't hope to fully manage huge countries like USA, Russia or China in accordance to the will of their people.” Unquote.

I often wonder if western democracies work better on a smaller scale. I have also been won over to some forms of proportional representation. I wouldn’t have chosen the one in Scotland but it seems to work well in conjunction with a unicameral system where MPs who make laws are also held directly responsible for implementing them. PR does seem to have ended the Two Party System here and produced governance more ‘consensual’ rather than ‘adversarial’.

Excellent posts! :-) But no opinions on Brexit? (Or Scottish independence?)

mykcob4's picture
Throughout history

Throughout history conservative has been in conflict with liberal From as far back as Sparta vs. Athens this has been the case. On one hand you have the conservatives not only trying to maintain the status quo but actually trying to turn back the clock to a time when only rich white men had freedoms and rights. Where those men had all the wealth and everyone else suffered. On the other hand you have liberals who respect the rights of the individual, create opportunities for everyone, respect the rule of law, and have true social responsibility. That hasn't changed anywhere or at any time. It is glaringly obvious in the USA but it exist in every nation.

chimp3's picture
mykcob4 : "So what you have

mykcob4 : "So what you have is one person maybe talking about political issues, but what they are confronted with is the catch phrases and bumper sticker mentality of conservatives that get their only information from FOX or Rush Limbaugh."

This is how I have been describing Trump. He is the embodiment of all the caustic speech being spewed on conservative talk radio. The crazy cows have come home.

doubleAtheist's picture
Obama was a great president,

Obama was a great president, an amazing one..

Here is a video by VOX a channel i love to watch!


ZeffD's picture
Sparta aside, conservative

Sparta aside, conservative and liberal have different interpretations in different places and contexts. I see no conflict between being both a conservative and a liberal (small c and l; and I'm not alone in that). The dictionary offers no problems. Churchill simply crossed the floor when his views were more consistent with Conservative opinion than the Liberal Party of the time. I tend to vote Conservative because they tend to be better at running the UK economy. Otherwise I'm more Labour or LibDem or other. However nobody but 'LabCon' can get into power and I think most Brits vote to keep 'the other lot' out rather than support Lab or Con. The two main UK parties have quite a small base of activists and members when compared to the past.

Perhaps the difference between US and UK opinions is that opinions on who to vote for in the UK depend on policy statements whereas in the USA it is seen by more electors as a battle between ideologies or doctrines?

I see the Democratic Party in the USA as more aligned with UK Conservative thinking than US Reps are. The Reps seem to have fewer sound policies and just look at their nominee.

mykcob4's picture
The thing about the USA the

The thing about the USA the conservatives have gone so far right they have fallen off the cliff. Most people/analyst around the world see European conservatives closer to American liberals. That being said there is still a divide between conservative and liberals worldwide. Conservatives foster corporate corruption and human/nature exploitation/slavery. A vote for a conservative is a vote against humanity in any nation. So if you analyze the politics in the UK you'll find that on every issue the conservatives are doing all they can to enslave people, destroy the environment and turn embarrassing high profits for corrupt corporations.




Everyday there is something in the UK papers about Tory corruption. The basically ideology of the Tories is to benefit the rich and only the rich.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Here in the US we've go so

Here in the US we've go so far to the right, that I think Eisenhower (a classic conservative) would be unelectable now, in either party.

ZeffD's picture
You have a very negative view

You have a very negative view of British Conservatives, Myke. I am no supporter of them, but I wouldn't call them corrupt. Far from it. I'm disgusted by my PM "doing god" and object to most of his policies but I respect his integrity and honesty.

Myke wrote, "Everyday there is something in the UK papers about Tory corruption. The basically ideology of the Tories is to benefit the rich and only the rich."

Really? Can you give any instance at all of this "Tory corruption"? Today or in the past?

One of your links was regarding the expenses scandal but no Tory was convicted - and rightly so. It was four Labour MPs who were convicted in the "big" Parliamentary scandal of recent years.

Another link was about companies paying too little tax. The fact of the matter is tax avoidance is a public duty and the legal obligation of any honest company executive. It is tax EVASION that is illegal. Apart from the fact the Tories are better at plugging loopholes (and more conscientious about it) than any other UK party, the mistake they made is in not tackling that question head-on and trying to use the language of the "uninformed" to imply that Facebook, Google and others have done something wrong by staying within the letter of the law and maximizing profits.

I was critical of my MP, because my local (Labour) MP once took £5,000 for his "work" as "consultant" to a company. There are reasons for the expenses scandal and this "consultancy" work MPs do and they're reasons you seem to know nothing about. And as for lobbying, that is a problem not particular to the Tories.

And if the Tories care only for the rich, why do the Tories care so much about the NHS? Am I to believe people like Mr Cameron are lying when they say they deeply appreciate the NHS care his dying child received on the NHS and believe you instead?


Insisting on too strict a dichotomy of conservative and liberal isn't realistic or helpful in my view.

mykcob4's picture


This story is about the close link between hedge fund managers and the conservative party in the UK. You might think it isolated but actually it isn't. The fact is that conservatives all over the world have a close knit structure to be corrupt. The ideology is to lay waste to the environment, use religion do blind the public and force obedience, to skew and corrupt the voting process, to gin up fear and hate, to create a racist separatist society, to exploit and abuse workers, to end unions, and to redistribute wealth in the top 1% of the population. If you closely monitor voting records, practices and actions by conservatives, how they are funded and supported, you'll see that quite clearly. For example which politicians are funded and supported by BP. The answer is overwhelmingly the conservative party in many countries.



So yes the UK conservatives are just like the USA conservatives. They have the same goals, and the same backers, and the same corruption, even if their methods are a bit calmer.

ZeffD's picture
More Tory corruption...

More Tory corruption...
I think that corruption in UK politics is rather worse than Myke is pointing out....

But keep a proper perspective.
There are 330 Conservative MPs in the Commons and 272 Tory piers and bishops. There is an unacceptable number of corrupt individuals (to which we must add “Nobody Pays Me a Salary” Rifkind who are legally guilty of no offence at all).
I happen to know someone who knew Mr Rifkind and he was a nice, far sighted man and an excellent constituency MP for years. He clearly became cynical at the end of his career and when you look at the abuse our MPs suffer it is no wonder more don’t.
And, from Myke’s posts (good and articulate as they are) one might gain the impression that all Tories are corrupt. I can only say that I have met many members of the lowest party rank and they were invariably nice, sincere and honest. My views and theirs often differed.

For all that, Mr Cameron is more representative of Tory MPs than the Rifkinds, cynics and corrupt.

To solve a problem it is first necessary to understand it correctly. Take the expenses scandal.
Its roots are long ago, when Labour MPs were unpaid or were struggling to stay in London as they were so poor. Eventually Labour MPs, recognising that the Tories were keeping them poor to keep them out of power started to “fiddle” their expenses. Over decades it became entrenched in Westminster culture and almost half the (still underpaid) MPs and of all parties were doing it to some degree. Even then, many didn’t. MPs ignored the problem as they always had something more pressing and more in the public eye. That’s the way it is in Westminster. I’m not condoning any of it, just offering background and putting it in perspective. British media ignored it until they realised there was copy in it as a scandal. Many MPs were seriously (almost amusingly) caught-out...

Labour are often worse.
If you think the Tories are bad, just search for Labour scandals...
Show me a political party and I’ll show you a list of scandals on the Internet.

Systemic Problems at Westminster are many, large.
The political funding issue in the UK is a scandal as big as that in the USA. Democrat President Obama, whom many of us admire, chose to use the system to win an election rather than go for reform. Its the same in the UK. Establishment politicians are aware of great deficiencies but putting them right while staying in power is another matter entirely. And don’t forget the “consultancy” issue.

There is a north-south divide in UK poltics.
Myke also raises the question of Corporations in politics, but again – perspective.
The big issue there at this point is ISDS. (Most of TTIP and CETA might actually benefit all).

Myke’s views might represent a more polarized political climate than elsewhere? On much, we agree. I am fiscally conservative and socially Liberal, closer to US Democrats and UK Conservatives. If labels are so important, mine is “conservative and liberal”.

More links for reference.



ThePragmatic's picture
Wow, the system in the US

Wow, the system in the US presidential election is even worse than I thought.
I knew about the super delegates, but daaayum....


Nyarlathotep's picture
James Madison (one of the

James Madison (one of the 'founding fathers') put it rather bluntly:

"The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, — when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to p̲r̲o̲t̲e̲c̲t̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲m̲i̲n̲o̲r̲i̲t̲y̲ ̲o̲f̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲o̲p̲u̲l̲e̲n̲t̲ ̲a̲g̲a̲i̲n̲s̲t̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲ ̲m̲a̲j̲o̲r̲i̲t̲y̲."

ZeffD's picture
Checks and balances are

Checks and balances are essential, but I don't think all difficulties were (or could have been) foreseen by Mr Madison. I was trying (above) to indicate that much corruption and cynicism in UK politics could be resolved by greater transparency and improvements to our system of government.

I suspect Mr Madison would agree that human government must still evolve. The US Constitution and its method of government were a great step forward in 1775, but now is 2016.

mykcob4's picture
That's why Madison created a

That's why Madison created a "living document" with fixed hallmarks. Essentially Madison designed the Constitution to ensure that individuals can do anything not outlawed. Those laws can never override those hallmarks. Thus the Constitution is changeable to adapt to the times and the evolution of society.

ZeffD's picture
I don't get to the USA any

I wonder where the debate between originalism and the 'living document' stands in the USA today.

Perhaps the former argument is favored by more Reps than Dems and the latter vice versa? Or do most USAmericans of every hue favor 'living doc'? What about Libertarians?


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