The political ignorance of my friends - a short rant

I read through these posts and I notice something I’ve noticed with my friends. I am still fairly young (late 20s). It’s interesting the views that my Ivy-league educated friends hold politically. When I talk to them it feels like they’ve been brainwashed, but I don’t want to insult their intelligence. The problem is that people grow up with a certain history and “facts.”

Note: I read your posts and I can see there’s many older, more mature posters. Just wanted to make clear I am not trying to insult anybody, but instead I am pointing out I am relatively young and naive.

I suspect if they were not aware of these things at a young age, their political/complete view of life cannot be changed substantially. I think we grow more conservative as we age (as in not wanting to change, just because we have so much internal arguments that help support our own “matured” thoughts.)

As an example very few of my friends are aware of Iran-Contra. Hello, we have the executive running a shadow war funded by drug sales? It bypasses Congress, which is why it pissed them off. It’s also stuff that seems straight out of a pulp novel. I can’t believe people talk about politician’s affairs with girls or taking $500 of improper gifts when there’s stuff that’s just so massively wrong.

Same friends did not think CIA ever did any bad stuff. Insurrection, supporting despots (latin american caudillos mostly), etc. I understand this is in the strong self interest of the US as a country. As a strategy it is valid, heck it can even be justified because a country that does not do these things to stay on top will not remain on top.

My friends were never made aware of these things. First time I saw an article of the School of the Americas was in the NY Times around the Clinton presidency. Something must have happened to finally bring up this thing going on for many many years. My friends had never seen this on the news before hand.

(Basically School of the Americans was an American military/intelligence program that taught latin american officers tecniques to hold down insurrection. The thing that caught the media was bits about taking poor indians, removing their nails, then digits one by one. Could have noticed twenty years ago but I guess we had commies to worry about.)

I know this stuff cause I was a nerd and read through the encyclopedia and newspapers for fun as a kid (in between sessions of Shine the Magnifying Lens on the Mosquito Larvae). It also doesn’t hurt that I grew up in a Latin American country that was invaded by Marines (relatively bloodless.)

I don’t want to ignite another polarized debate where everyone jumps in and nitpicks to try to win an argument. People can argue so both sides can learn something. I like finishing a debate where we can both disagree on the conclusion, as long as we acknowledge that the reason for our disagreement is that we differ on a basic assumption. That’s fine, as long as we find the logic of our respective arguments is “flawless”. I feel like Rodney King now, ugh!

For example: Regarding the tax thread. Ever since the Newt Gringrich thing the propaganda from the right about tax cuts has bothered me. (everyone has propaganda, all sides, if they don’t, they don’t get on the news, they are the guys standing on a soapbox in the park, like us in the forum I guess.) The faction support these cuts through the Republican party obviously wanted to have a bit more money.

The genius was they were able to convince the middle class that the tax cuts for the wealthy would help them. J. the NT admin, L. the hospital administrator, H. the college student, D. the slumlord. You are also rich. This stuff will help you.

The sister argument was that government services (funded by YOUR TAX DOLLARS) went to the poor, lazy, illegal immigrants.

No you’re not. You are not rich. A family member grossed 7 digits last year. He’s rich. He pays 40%-50% in of the gross in taxes, there’s no loopholes for him. There’s no fake expense deductions, all income is reported. I don’t know where all these tax loopholes are, I’m helping with the taxes today. They must be for much richer people.

(Please don’t call me a spoiled rich kid. We grew up without electricity, running water. As a baby I threw up because I had to drink spoiled milk. A kind person gave my mother $50 so I could go to the doctor for medicine. I could go on with this stuff but you get the point)

If you were to cut 1% tax cut I would be able to get back… about $40. I can go buy Battlefield: Vietnam with this.

My father would get $10,000.

Income redistribution is a bit utilitarian I guess. I am a believer in human potential, and I do not believe in an invisible hand of charity. As a society we can afford to, and should help as many people as possible fulfill as much of their potential as possible.

Government expenses. Yes, there is a lot of waste. One man’s pork is another man’s waste. The Abrahams fighting vehicle was a waste, everyone can agree on that, except the states that manufactured/developed the vehicle. Think of military projects as an investment to mantain technological superiority, and keep high tech bright engineers employed. Fine. But the government also pays for schools and highways. They pick up the garbage. They pay cops so people who speed 100mph drunk don’t do it again. From the point of view of someone who came from a third-world country with little in basic services (electricity rationed to 2-3 hours a day, same with running water) this is all very good stuff.

I was at the dentist the other day. The dentist and the assistant were having a discussion. “In this country, if you work, you will have money.” “As long as you don’t gamble,” said the assistant.

Sorry if I made a side turn towards Ellis Island - The Land Paved with Golden Bricks.

The country is at the top of the world, militarily, and with a large productive population. I was going to say wealthiest but that is a bit imprecise because by standard of living or by mean income the top country is probably one of the Nordic countries. I think whoever writes this standard of living stuff doesn’t take into account how depressing it is to live without sunlight or snow, but one of our Swedish posters can correct me.

I think the two fundamental problems we face are a nation are:

Traditional Doomsday scenario - if we can avoid nuclear holocaust, a flu plague, or the pesimistic enviromental projections. For example, we will run out of petroleum which means back to human labor and yoke collars. Back to wars with machetes cause can’t make new bullets anymore, windmills just don’t have the power to run a munitions factory. Forget about cities, it kinda sucks to live in New York when you can’t have an army of trucks shipping in food. Kinda like ancient Rome under siege, down to paying top dollar for rats and human meat.

Social cohesion - Societies can be very fragile. This would be a sort of John Carpenter’s Escape From Planet Earth. The danger would be large percentage of the population that is disfranchised. Such a segment would have no vested interest in preserving the status quo and may even want to overthrow and replace it. Of course, the ensuing anarchy would probably be much worse for everyone as a whole.

Okay… time to find the dried-frog pills.

That wasn’t short.

No, but it was a good read.

A good read? If by good read, you mean “rambling pile of unrelated concepts that show a bias toward conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated rumor” then you would be correct.

When we run out of oil, we will be forced to depend on human labor? The Abrahms(sic) being a waste of money?

I’d rather sit down with a Koontzian ramble, at least his posts have a point (Though generally not one that matters to anyone living in a non-parallell universe).

Shows what you know. Every universe is parallel.

I’ve found that most people I know “in the real world” are ignorant about a great number of things outside their specialty, politics notwithstanding.

I recall being shown a film in college physics about Harvard graduates being asked simple science questions on their graduation day and most of them getting even the simple ones, such as “What causes the seasons?”, wrong.

I think this is why so many of us are amazed at how wrong the mainstream news media is when reporting on a topic we know about. It’s not just those topics, but much in general, we just accept the truth reported on those topics we don’t have a good deal of knowledge invested in.

He growls and says that the poooost is baaad, thank god for Bitterman.

It really was a rambling stream of, uh, something. Completely non-sensical, I think the point was that his friends aren’t up to date on scandals from 15 years ago and that his father is rich.
He seems to have confused the Bradley with the Abrahams[sic], as well, which is a wonderful touch of poetic justice.

Anyway, Derek makes a very good point. Learn a lot about anything, and you will be shocked by how often major news sources get things wrong. Not spun or slanted for bias, but just regular incorrect.

Then think about all the things you don’t know a lot about, where you derive most of your knowledge from the media. It’s scary.

I like Crichton’s definition of the Gell-Mann amnesia effect:

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

Alright… I debated whether to post this, since I’m not real big on personal attacks just to attack. (If you attack first, fine. But I try not to start them.) But… this guy won’t let up. It’s like he read a book once about “How to edoofurcate yourself” once, and garbled everything he ever learned.

THAT’S NOT POETIC JUSTICE!!! It could be amusing, perhaps even ironic if you want to stretch the meaning of the word, but it’s not poetic justice. I really, really try to avoid quoting the dictionary, because threads usually degenerate once that happens.

Poetic justice:

  1. The rewarding of virtue and the punishment of vice, often in an especially appropriate or ironic manner
  2. an outcome in which virtue triumphs over vice (often ironically) [syn: just deserts]

This doesn’t describe that error. (Assuming it is an error… I don’t know anything about either the Bradley or the Abrahams.) Virtue and vice have absolutely nothing to do with that part of his post, unless you want to really, really stretch the definition of vice to include “ignorance”, although most people don’t think ignorance has a moral component. And even if you think ignorance is vice, poetic justice would be if WiseFool experienced some sort of punishment because of his ignorance. Since you didn’t even make a very convincing post, I don’t think you can even claim that he experienced the “punishment” of embarrasment. And even if your post was good enough to cause him embarrasment, you’re the agent of the embarrasment, not his ignorance. Poetic justice requires that the principle cause of his punishment the vice itself.

Stop using phrases you don’t know the meaning of! And to head your idiocy off at the pass, the above post contains neither an ad hominem attack, nor a strawman argument.

I misused poetic justice. Sorry about that. I thought it meant, well, the way I used it, being guilty of the sin you rail against.

Sorry, not all of us went to that remarkably good school system that your holiness attended.

Also, wow, you don’t even know what he was talking about with the [Bradley]? Damn, maybe that system wasn’t so good after all.

Sorry for the rant. I thought I’d have to build a case like I did with the Strawman/Ad Hominem business, and even then, I thought you would deny that you misused it. It appears I was wrong. Very wrong.

I apologize.

We might not have sunlight, but we sure do have snow.

I’d never heard of this, though I can add more Gell-Mann trivia: he coined the name “quark” based on a word used in Finnegan’s Wake. Interesting and true commentary about amnesia; so much for reading the paper.

Man I just had to get in this thread to comment on Ananagorras insulting Ben for his “poetic justice” misstep and even providing him the definition. Heh, don’t worry Ben, Ananagoraxsas doesn’t know the definition of “protest”. He’s just trying to look smart by putting you down.

As for the main post in this thread. Wow, you think you’re smarter than all your friends. I guess you’re right on every issue.

For example, I love the rants that Republican tax cuts are for the rich, they cater to the rich, yadda yadda. How many “rich” are there? So the republicans cater to, what, like 5% of the population and think that’s what gets them elected?

That $10,000 your dad saved in taxes…what do you think he would do with it? Stuff in it a mattress? Or use it in an investment or hire a new employee for his business to help him make more money?

…still laughing at Ananagaoxgos, the dictionary nazi!

That doesn’t matter, what matters is how many think they’re rich. Which is too many.

Exactly, because, of course, we can’t have people thinking that they have enough money. Bwah? :?

A while ago I found a statistic saying that something like 30% of the people in this country think they’re in the top 5% of income.

Or some number like that – just pointing that indeed, many people think they’re rich when they’re not.

Commenting on the first post in this thread, that is the worst-written piece I have seen on Qt3 of that length. It is in serious need of editing. Not shortening necessarily, but cleaned up, with sense and logic added in spades.

This coming from an authority on sense, logic, and brevity in conveying the two.