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United States News

In Nothing We Trust 910

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-john-dillinger-and-hope-he-is-still-alive dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton write in the National Journal that seven in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; eight in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed, only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses "a great deal" of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion. 'We have lost our gods,' says Laura Hansen. 'We've lost it—that basic sense of trust and confidence—in everything.' Humans are coded to create communities, and communities beget institutions. What if, in the future, they don't? People could disconnect, refocus inward, and turn away from their social contract. Already, many are losing trust. If society can't promise benefits for joining it, its members may no longer feel bound to follow its rules. But history reminds us that America's leaders can draw the nation together to solve problems. At a moment of gaping income inequality, when the country was turbulently transitioning from a farm economy to a factory one, President Theodore Roosevelt reminded Americans, 'To us, as a people, it has been granted to lay the foundations of our national life.' At the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt chastised the business and political leaders who had led the country into ruin. 'These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men,' said FDR. 'Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation asks for action, and action now.'"
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In Nothing We Trust

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  • Why is this here? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattgoldey (753976) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:06AM (#39771143) Homepage
    Hey, does anybody remember when there used to be tech stories on slashdot?
  • by grimmjeeper (2301232) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:09AM (#39771193) Homepage

    But those don't generate as much traffic for the advertisements...

    I for one welcome our new corporate overlords

  • Thanks, media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elecmahm (1194167) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:09AM (#39771195)
    Yellow journalism (on both sides) is almost completely based around the idea of making us dislike and not trust our fellow humans. The more we can walk away from these inflammatory media sources, the better.
  • And yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:11AM (#39771227)

    They'll post every detail about their life on Facebook.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:11AM (#39771233)

    People do not trust Their Party, but they still distrust The Other Party, so they will keep voting party-line.

    So nothing will change.

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:11AM (#39771243) Homepage Journal

    People complain about spouses and jobs which they in fact want to keep.

    Might the same thing be happening here? People still keep their money in banks, shop at big businesses, and don't use any of the many tools for influencing the government. They still call 911 when there's an emergency.

  • Not natural (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fnj (64210) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#39771245)

    The most remarkable thing about this abject collapse is that not a single facsimile of a leader who understands what is happening and has a glimmer of an idea what to do about it is in evidence. It's just not natural.

    You can believe if you want that all 300 million citizens without exception are either STUPID or have no leadership skills whatsoever. But methinks Occam's Razor suggests that there is a powerful, sinister organization which is ruthlessly stamping out any leaders who even start to surface.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#39771247)

    The first past the post democratice system essentially forces a 2 party system so you can "win" the election. If there are N parties then they split the vote N ways, any 2 parties in a N party system can combine and gain position. By reduction you get a 2 party system if it is irreducable or 1 a party system if reducable.

    Two party democracies do not represent their populace. You can't divide an entire populace into box A or box B on all issues. The two party democracy staggers back and forth from side to side never doing real compromise and never meeting in the middle. Both sides make a mess.

  • money is your god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:13AM (#39771263)

    Money has replaced God, even in churches where the preacher stands in a 1000 dollar suit asking for cash

    Money aint a score in some kind of game, you have a whole society who thinks "get rich or try dying" was a prophecy not a ignorant statement from an ex-drug dealer
    you have entire TV culture based on how much you can earn (auctions/antiques/cars/houses/music), shows that glorify money, hell even some people here dont primarily choose their careers on what they will be doing, but how much its worth in cash and then openly mock Arts students and the like for their "worthless" choices while the best minds on the globe are figuring out how to get more people clicking on adverts for shitty companies with shit ideas.

    may you get whats coming

  • no agreement... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntEater (16627) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:14AM (#39771269) Homepage

    ...other than to disagree. Of those 7, 3 are conservatives who believe that things would be just fine if we could undo the damage those liberals have created. Three more think that Obama is too conservative and has abandoned the very people who elected him. The other one is just sick of the other six.

  • by grimmjeeper (2301232) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:14AM (#39771279) Homepage

    Way more than 69% vote for the Republicrats. (or is that Democans?) They may hate the bastards but they don't want the wrong bastard in office...

  • Huzza! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:15AM (#39771287) Journal
    Statistics like that are almost enough to make you believe that people had finally worked out the practical applications of 'statistics' and 'empiricism'.

    This pleasant feeling only lasts until the next barrage of polling about the existence of guardian angels or horoscopes or whether coffee enemas cure cancer; but so it goes.

    In all seriousness, this article manages to have a very important point(trust is an extremely valuable asset in a society, far cheaper and more pleasant than the alternatives of investing in lots and lots of contract lawyers and prisons); but its pessimism masks the counterpoint that loss of trust isn't exactly some sort of mental pathology. If anything, continued trust in the face of getting screwed over is pathological. It is important to distinguish the trust-loss scenarios where paranoia is the problem(eg. violent crime, for most of us. It's available 24/7, anything messy that happens worldwide; but actual levels are deeply unimpressive by historical standards) and trust-loss scenarios where the problem is that they really are out to get you(If you trust banks, I have a loss-proof CDO tranche to sell you)...
  • Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:15AM (#39771293) Homepage

    I agree. I don't have any faith whatsoever in politicians, in businessmen/corporations, capitalism, the justice system, or - in particular - the media. It seems the sentiment of the day is a combination of "the end justifies the means" and "everyone for themselves".
    North American culture (I live in Canada but we are much the same as the US) has become a celebration of ignorance, shallow interests, self-interest, denial of scientific fact, rabid support of political positions with little or no thought about what they mean, and a major drive to eliminate person privacy from our world. Corporations seemingly give politicians their marching orders and they go enact legislation that benefits the corporations at the expense of the people for whom the government supposedly exists. Companies who fail miserably are bailed out - and pay their CEOs massive severance packages using our money, then ship the majority of their jobs overseas by way of thanks. No one cares about the common man, its all a scrabble to get to the top walking on the bodies of those who get in the way. We fight wars based on lies for the benefit of corporations who supply the wars.
    I think we have lost any moral compass - and modern religion is not going to provide that moral compass because it is seen as corrupt, power-seeking and backward in its attitudes. I think the world is far too cynical, but then I am trapped in that attitude as well.
    I can't honestly think of a single politician in office today whom I believe is honest and working for the benefit of their constituents.

  • by Nematode (197503) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:17AM (#39771325)

    I wonder how much of this is related to the decline of the old media as the "gatekeepers" of information and analysis.

    When you're able to get all the information and opinion you want, pre-filtered for your ideological comfort, the echo chamber seems to foster a real information tribalism. Confirmation bias ends up adding to the idea that institutions are being run by the "others" -- whose motives are necessarily corrupt/selfish/based on ignorance. Just go to any political blog/aggregator and read the comments after a particularly big SCOTUS decision - those lousy conservative/liberal justices just serving their big business/labor masters, and we need an ideological clean sweep in the next election to ensure better outcomes next time around etc etc.

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:17AM (#39771331)
    And the EU is doing so well right now, right? We tried that, with the AoC. It didn't work.
  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:18AM (#39771339)

    When people say "I don't trust government" or "I don't trust religious institutions" what you usually find when you dig a little deeper is that what they REALLY mean is "I don't trust government from the other party or other states--but MY party/guy is great" and "I don't trust other religions/denominations/parishes by MINE is fine."

    In other words, people express displeasure , but it's always for different reasons and against those they already opposed anyway--so no coherent third party ever forms and nothing ever changes.

  • by Picass0 (147474) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:25AM (#39771425) Homepage Journal

    Our system of government is broken and dysfunctional. It's in need of reform. Left or right, nobody thinks this is working as designed.

    Government is not the same as country. The american people are still mostly decent people trying to get around with bloated fat bureaucrats mucking up the works.

    Our biggest problem is people in charge trying to brainwash us into believing only one political party has all good ideas. There's a word for that kind on blind faith. It's called religion.

  • Re:I trust (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:28AM (#39771457)

    I'd consider seeing if New England could strike out on its own and see what came of it.

    Probably the same thing that happened when they tried to go it on their own originally [wikipedia.org].

    Like it or not, humanity depends on each other to survive. That's one thing I've never understood about the libertarian philosophy of every man for himself...I don't see how the hell we could possibly have a first-world society based on that type of a world-view. Somalia should be a Libertarian paradise, yet how many people emigrate there from the U.S.? Seems that U.S. Libertarians are more attached to those things that are paid for with our tax dollars than they think...

  • Re:Not natural (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gambino21 (809810) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:30AM (#39771493)

    Occam's Razor suggests that there is a powerful, sinister organization which is ruthlessly stamping out any leaders who even start to surface

    I think it's more like a pattern of corporate owned media and politics, than any single sinister organization. Any leader to tries to spread ideas outside the accepted dogma is quickly attacked and/or ignored by the existing powers. The media had an extremely strong negative reaction to Wikileaks when it started gaining popularity because it went outside the normal power structures. The mainstream media also had a pretty negative initial reaction to the Occupy movement. They also had/have a significant bias against Ron Paul. Whether you agree with RP or not, I think it's difficult to deny that the media did a lot to marginalize him. [youtube.com]

  • by Surt (22457) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:31AM (#39771509) Homepage Journal

    It's the prisoners dilemma. Sure, if everyone votes out the republicans and democrats, it would be best. But if you're a democrat, a republican in office is likely a legitimately worse outcome for you. And if you're a republican, a democrat in office is about a 1% chance of being worse for you. So the temptation to vote for one of the more-likely-to-win options is strong. If you really want people to change their voting habits, you pretty much need to change the voting system (to ranked choice or the like).

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:32AM (#39771513)

    I don't recall any moment in history when Americans trusted institutions like the banks or the governments. Which is why they killed-off the central bank in the early 1800s (sadly it came back in 1913), and wrote constitutions to limit government power. Americans fundamentally don't trust giving power to strangers.

  • Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) * on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:32AM (#39771523) Homepage Journal
    23% still have confidence in banks?
  • Re:Thanks, media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:35AM (#39771583) Journal

    Good luck with that... from childhood (watching schoolyard fights), we've been addicted to drama, and it won't stop any time soon. My FB page (as little as I see it) is already swamped with political spam for both sides, each fervently proclaiming that the other guy is the locus of all evils... too bad neither side can go out of their way to list definitive good things about their own chosen side. I just block 'em all until after election season.

    But when you think about it, the manufactured kind of drama (brought to you by CNN, Fox News, drudgereport.com, et al) isn't necessarily malicious in and of itself, but only serves to capture eyeballs, thus advertising dollars. The malice is just a side effect (and one that no one seems interested in alleviating).

    Look at it this way: It is a mark of maturity to know that the only way to win such a game is to not play it at all.

  • by Tridus (79566) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:37AM (#39771615) Homepage

    People are always dissatisifed with how things are going lately, because they haven't got a clue how things are going or what to do about it. It's just how they feel at the moment that determines things... and there's always something new to be outraged about.

    The truth is that we've got an uninformed and unengaged electorate who picks a bunch of people to run things, then immediately starts complaining about them. And whose fault is it if you don't like the politicians? It's the voters. Nobody wants to tell the people that they're the ones to blame for all of the stuff they bitch and moan about (as people would rather hear pandering lies about Washington insiders and evil big business), but they are.

    You replace the current crop of voters with a group that actually bothers to get informed and refuses to tow the party line, and you'll see things change real fast. Without that, there's no particular reason for anything to change. After all, politicians want votes. If you vote for it, you're encouraging more of it.

  • Re:Thanks, media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daem0n1x (748565) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:38AM (#39771627)

    Don't forget the indoctrination being performed for decades on the minds of people:

    1. Society owes you nothing;
    2. if you fail, it's your own fault;
    3. Don't blame others for being treacherous, just be smarter than them;
    4. Your coworker is not your friend, he's after your job;
    5. Anything has value only if it has commercial value;
    6. Merciless competition is the natural way, live with it;
    7. If you're not rich, you're useless scum;
    8. . . .

    This is not the way our brains were programmed to work. Without a sense of community, we drown in misery. Without trust, there's no community. The USA is a few steps ahead of Europe in this stupid individualistic mentality. Don't expect your country to go anywhere with this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:42AM (#39771691)

    I've never had an easier time justifying voting for the lesser of two evils as I have this Presidential election. Why? Because I live in Wisconsin and over the last year have seen first hand what their game plan is if they get control of the Legislative and Executive branches. The state that once elected "Fighting" Bob Lafollette [wikipedia.org] is having it's collective bargaining rights dismantled, a slew of theocratic Christian bullshit shoved down our throats, bills introduced declaring single-mothers are abusing their children [chicagoist.com], and the repeal of the Equal Pay Enforcement Act [huffingtonpost.com], among many other repugnant things.

    Democrats are just as owned by big business as the Republicans, but at least they're not trying to actively roll back civil rights in this country. I'll do damn near anything to prevent that shit from occurring on the national stage...

  • by jlusk4 (2831) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:51AM (#39771847)

    Right. Except THIS is the stuff that matters, not real-time cloth texturing.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:54AM (#39771903)

    Is there really any choice? I support Ron Paul's plan to cut 950 billion dollars and FINALLY balance the budget, but it's pretty clear Mitt Romney will be selected at the party convention. (Romney is 1st; Paul is 2nd.) So my choice is between one banker-funded man named Obama and another banker-funded man named Romney..... both of whom are pro-bombing/pro-killing. I might as well just stay home on election day, since there is not real choice.

    And don't say "Vote third party." Been there; done that with Harry Browne, and it does no good. Third parties have never won any seat higher than the Congress. The president's office is always dominated by the top 2 parties (Federalist v. Democrats, or Whigs v. Democrats, or Republicans v. Democrats).

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:56AM (#39771929)

    Libertarianism isn't an "every man for himself" anarchy. Where do people get this idea? Is it from some twisted right-wing propaganda?

    It means minimal government, and no government meddling in your private lives. It doesn't mean there won't be government funded agencies where it makes sense. It doesn't mean zero social nets and letting people starve to death if they lose their job. It doesn't mean there is no rule of law and people are free to go around killing each other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @10:59AM (#39771959)

    An extreme version of the Libertarian philosophy is nonsense. Extremes of socialism are just as nonsensical.

    Individual autonomy must be balanced against community needs. This seems obvious. Any policy that has way too much of one, to the exclusion of the other, will lead to ruin.

    An example: extreme free market capitalism (with as close to zero government regulation as possible) very quickly leads to a market that is controlled by monopolies and/or cartels The "winners" set up barriers-to-entry that prevent new competition from entering the market, even if the competitors are delivering a better product/service at a better price. A market thus controlled is no longer a free market, and all the benefits of free market capatilism go up in a puff of smoke. You can counter this by introducing some government regulation to restore competition...but too much government regulation and you are right back where you started: a controlled market that doesn't function at all.

    So, in sum, one cannot judge a philosophy entirely by the disasters that an unchecked extreme application would produce. One should not reject the moderate application of its principles based entirely on the slippery slope fallacy, and one should actively avoid sliding into these very extremes when setting policies.

  • by tgd (2822) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:01AM (#39772001)

    No, uneducated democracies are bad. The assumption that one persons' opinion is automatically granted the same validity as another's is the core of the problem. The world has gotten complicated vastly faster than the population's aggregate understanding of it. People generally no longer have the education to be able to have a legitimate opinion, so they have to blindly follow the opinions that are given to them. And *that* is the source of the problem with the two party system.

    You can fiddle with the style of voting, or try to set up new parties, or twiddle with how the electoral system works, but its all band aiding the core problem -- letting people vote on issues they don't understand.

    Things have been getting worse in the US because the people in power in the parties *know* they can manipulate voters that way.

  • Re:Thanks, media (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:03AM (#39772033)

    "Yellow journalism (on both sides) is almost completely based around the idea of making us dislike and not trust our fellow humans. "

    No, it's based on drama.

    Reading HISTORY is ample reason to dislike and not trust our fellow humans. That's HEALTHY. I grew up in the "transition era" of the 1960s when the US became drastically less conformist.

    Things are MUCH FREER now. Contention between idea and uncertainty is scary. So fucking what?

    We should question everything. We should "kill our Gods" and reject superstition which has been passed on by UNTRUSTWORTHY "fellow humans".

    More of that is happening. That's GOOD.

  • by Cenan (1892902) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:04AM (#39772049)
    Matters to whom? This is not news for nerds but for Americans.
  • Re:Thanks, media (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:10AM (#39772133)

    I trust my fellow human beings.
    Which is why I am pro-gun rights.
    But I don't trust those who are filled with ambition or avarice (love of power or money). Namely the politicians and bankers.

  • Re:And yet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:11AM (#39772155)

    Oh, my god! Your data is being sold! I'm sorry to hear how horrible this must be for you. I can't imagine the daily pain and anguish this is causing you.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:13AM (#39772191) Homepage Journal
    Yea, but what better way to remove support for a movement than to demonize it as essentially being anarchy?

    What really gets me are the brainwashed parrots who prattle on and on about a political movement they, by their own admission, know so very little about, yet somehow 'know' that the current uni-partisan system (masquerading as bicameral) is so much better, never realizing that they are tying the noose for their own necks... and ours as well.
  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:15AM (#39772211)
    And, to the rest of the world America doesn't matter so get that into your heads.
  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:15AM (#39772219)

    Where do people get this idea?

    From libertarians.

    Do you know how many times I've heard libertarians tell me we should wipe every regulation off the books and start over? That any form of taxation is evil and wrong? That safety nets only encourage 'laziness and dependency on the government'? According to those Libertarians I've spoken to, taking one single dime from a man to feed someone starving is a far worse crime than allowing the man to starve in the first place. Requiring hospitals and doctors to provide people medical care in an emergency, regardless of ability to pay, is slavery [latimes.com].

    You tell me, Libertarian: What taxes are good? What social institutions should be kept? What are some examples of regulations we need to keep, and what makes them more important than other regulations?

  • Re:I trust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:18AM (#39772265)

    That's one thing I've never understood about the libertarian philosophy of every man for himself

    Possibly because that's not the libertarian philosophy. The libertarian philosophy is that statists need to go away, that people can figure things put by themselves, and this does not mean they want no interaction with others, it means they don't need or want a nanny state telling them how to behave with one-size-fits-all guidelines.

    US schools are the classic example. Parents get no choice; schools are chosen based on where you live, and teachers are fixed in place by the unions and school boards. Because of this single central control, as with any bureaucracy, there is no feedback on how well things are doing. The government mandated universal tests are a joke and teachers cram test answers into kids and/or fudge the results instead of teaching the knowledge. Bad teachers can't be fired. Money is wasted.

    If, instead, parents were given freedom of choice in schools and teachers, the good ones would be oversubscribed, the poor ones undersubscribed and laid off / fired, and quality would improve dramatically and quickly.

    Of course some parents wouldn't care, and some would care about the "wrong" things, but parents who chose to teach creationism, fear of GM food, or the purity of global warming thought would find their kids losing faith in them once they hit the real world. In any case, the result wouldn't be any worse, and it would lose all the friction with government mandated unpopular one-size-fits-all choices.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:18AM (#39772271)

    Our biggest problem is people in charge trying to brainwash us into believing only one political party has all good ideas.

    No, our biggest problem is that we now have a culture - courtesy of people like FDR - that is entirely defined by a sense of unlimited entitlement to what someone else produces. Do we have a lot of lousy people in politics? Yes. Because we have a lot of voters with no understanding of what actually creates the things they want. And half of the country (including those voters) aren't asked to pay income tax, even as they demand free stuff and vote for people who promise to give it to them.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Medievalist (16032) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:19AM (#39772283)

    Where do people get this idea?

    From self-proclaimed "libertarians", self-proclaimed libertarian "leaders", and libertarian "think tanks".

    Is it from some twisted right-wing propaganda?

    Yes it is. It comes from the twisted right wing of libertarianism. If you can't get your fanatics under control, they are going to continue to shape your public image. Sorry.

  • by Synn (6288) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:20AM (#39772299)

    The biggest issue for me is that the format hasn't kept up with the change in times. The comments are fairly useless with the articles, basically whoever does the first post basically directs the conversation. Compare that to Reddit where typically the most relevant comments make their way to the top.

    Slashdot was great 10 years ago, but I get news faster, with more content, more focus(sub forums), and better comments on Reddit. The only down side is the extreme noise and heavy user bias of the site.

  • by maple_shaft (1046302) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:23AM (#39772347)

    extreme free market capitalism (with as close to zero government regulation as possible) very quickly leads to a market that is controlled by monopolies and/or cartels The "winners" set up barriers-to-entry that prevent new competition from entering the market, even if the competitors are delivering a better product/service at a better price. A market thus controlled is no longer a free market, and all the benefits of free market capatilism go up in a puff of smoke. You can counter this by introducing some government regulation to restore competition...but too much government regulation and you are right back where you started: a controlled market that doesn't function at all.

    When it comes to effective regulation it is a matter of quality over quantity. The United States has shit tons of meaningless, toothless regulations and others that actually serve to promote cartels and create barriers to entry. We still end up with the same problem and a nation that is about as close to Fascism as it ever was in our history.

    So even without regulation we end up with the same problem. Money is power, power molds our government institutions and corrupts our democracies into a putrid facade of what it was intended to be.

  • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:24AM (#39772365) Homepage

    As a Canadian, I can't really comment on Ron Paul. I know nothing of him except he is a Libertarian - but then I am not sure what that means as well. I am sure he believes in his platform. Lots of posters here seem to think so. I don't know if I agree with anything he stands for though. Watching the US political scene from our perspective up here north of the border you folks down in the US seem insanely divided between 2 political camps that appear to be more or less the same to me. Of the two candidates for the next election, I favor Obama - but to me he is very right wing politically (and the Republicans seem batshit-rightwing to me). Up here Obama would be a conservative if he ran for office I think. US politics is a baffling subject mostly.

    The last great politician we had up here in Canada in my opinion, was Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I didn't always agree with him but he had policies that he stuck to and he always spoke in earnest and stated the truth as he saw it - and a majority of Canadians seemingly believed him, myself included. I haven't seen his like since at that level of politics, although I had high hopes for Jack Layton before he died.

  • Re:Agreed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:28AM (#39772433)

    Honest yep, working for the benefit of his constituents, maybe, Bat-shit crazy absolutely.

  • Repeating myself (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:29AM (#39772451)

    I've posted this before inthis same thread, but...

    Rocky Anderson aims for real campaign finance reform, real healthcare reform, and prosecuting corporate and governmental law-breakers. Which is why you haven't seen him on any major news outlet in the past few months other than Al Jazeera. It's not just politicians who like the status quo. Reduce the amount corporations can spend on politicians and you reduce the amount politicians can spend on advertising.

    There is not a vast conspiracy in as much as they don't NEED to conspire. They all have settled into a niche they like in the current ecosystem. Everyone wants to keep everything the same, and so they all contribute to it. Large corporations, politicians, the parties and the media. They all want the same thing: to keep things basically the same, which incrementally increasing spending and reducing taxes. They don't care that it's CLEARLY a train wreck in progress.

    Each person in power does his or her bit to keep things as they are. They stir the pot, but only enough to keep people upset, not to cause change. Abolition will never be legal or illegal. Mexicans immigrants will never be embraced or sent packing. Campaign finance reform will never get completely killed or actually happen.

    The system works. And so we are all doomed unless a force which has a different priority gets some leverage, and forces the above players to look for a new niche.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:56AM (#39772867) Homepage Journal

    What on earth makes you think local bureaucracy would be any better than a national one?

    Simple....a local bureaucracy is much more accountable to you, than a national one is. It had better reflect your needs and views better, because you can more easily vote them out.

    The local govt. has benefits over national, it knows more about what your community needs since it is there with you. The needs of citizens from NYC are much different than those from Tucson, AZ. Citizens from New Orleans want a govt. with laws that reflects a lifestyle different than those from Salt Lake City, Utah.....personally, I like being able to run around the city with my drink in a "to go cup"...I kinda doubt those in SLC want to allow you to order a mixed drink to go and walk about the city with it.

    Sure, there are needs for things at a national level...but the founding fathers pretty much figured out what MOST of that limited need was, and put that into the US Constitution.

    The US is large, and has a very diverse population, and diverse landscape.....one size definitely does not fit all well.....states are a good level for suiting the various needs of the populace in the regions in the US. That's why most of the power in the US is supposed to reside with the states....so they can be more responsive and reflective of your needs. And, the nice thing is...if you don't like things in your state, you can move to a state that is more of your liking.

    If everything is national.....that option is removed from you.

  • And don't say "Vote third party." Been there; done that with Harry Browne, and it does no good. Third parties have never won any seat higher than the Congress.

    Stop focussing on winning, and then maybe you can experience victory. Winning isn't everything -- affecting the dialogue is important and can lead to real change, and THAT is victory. With a few losses for the major parties (to the other side), it won't take a brilliant partisan hack to realize that selling out their constituency is not the way to win elections, and because the Repubs and Dems are concerned primarily with winning, not issues, they will adjust their issues to win back dissidents. But your voice won't be heard if you join the masses of disinterested by not voting. A protest vote, even though you know your candidate will lose, has value and the more people who realize that, the more likely we will see change. Not this year, not in four years, not in eight -- but long term. It is the short-term lesser-evil thinking that is the true evil.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday April 23, 2012 @11:58AM (#39772891) Homepage Journal

    I like how the fore fathers set up the US, with the constitution and all.

    Trouble is...it has gotten so bastardized, that I dunno how we can 'reset' the clock so to speak on things.

    Simple: Stand up not only for your own rights, but the rights of the people around you, regardless of personal peril and what you think of them as individuals. If you see a TSA agent getting ready to feel up some terrified child, stand up and say something; encourage those around you to do the same. There's no way they would be able to engage in these horrific violations of individual liberty if we just plain ol' stopped putting up with it.

    Our society is to a point where we essentially have only 3 options left:

    Keep taking it up the ass from government and big business and lose our liberties forever,

    Start standing up for the rights of ourselves and our fellow Americans publicly, loudly, and en masse, or

    Civil war.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:04PM (#39772963)

    It's true, though. It is a form of slavery,

    And that response is exactly why Libertarianism will never succeed in the real world. There are few people in the world today that are so callous with such a disrespect for human life as to think that the poor should be turned away from Emergency Rooms if they don't come bearing the appropriate payment, and even fewer that would actually attempt to advance an idea like that in the first-world and expect broad support from anyone.

    Just more anti-social bullshit for basement dwellers to fixate on. The fact that their own upbringings were subsidized by the same nanny state they're bitching about today is lost on them. Don't cry to me when people call "a spade a spade" and tell you what a fucking asshole you are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:06PM (#39772989)

    What you say has merit and may be true. However you are presenting one historical analysis as if it was an undisputed fact. The effectiveness of FDR's actions on the great depression continue to be a subject of lively debate and there is no mainstream consensus.

    So this is what will happen.

    Informed people will discount everything you say, even if you are correct.

    Uninformed people who disagree with you will ignore you.

    Uninformed people who agree with you will continue to agree.

    Thus, your poor presentation and inflammatory word choice (see "loon") prevent you from getting your point across.

    Instead try:

    The effectiveness of FDR's new deal has been questioned continuously for the past 70 years. Many mainstream scholars argue that his policies were ineffective or even prolonged the depression. For more argument, see this link

    Best Regards.

    Anon.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpeZek (970136) on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:08PM (#39773003) Journal

    Oh please. Go talk to someone who has experienced slavery (plenty of people in the world) and you ask them if they'd agree.

    Being taxed for services that benefit the community you are part of thereby directly or indirectly benefiting you is not slavery. You aren't working for free, you are being paid in social capital. You have a safety net. You benefit from a cooperative, helpful and happy society. You get all sorts of direct benefits like roads and schools and knowing the hamburger you're eating isn't going to contain 10% earthworms.

    Nobody is forcing you to participate. If you don't like the way that a civilized society works and would rather go back to tribal times, you're free to leave. Head over to Somalia, the libertarians paradise.

  • Re:I trust (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:19PM (#39773117)

    What really gets me are the brainwashed parrots who prattle on and on about a political movement they, by their own admission, know so very little about, yet somehow 'know' that the current uni-partisan system (masquerading as bicameral) is so much better, never realizing that they are tying the noose for their own necks... and ours as well.

    Gotta say, the smug self-righteous arrogance of calling everyone "brainwashed parrots" simply because they don't understand or care about your personal favoritest political ideology EVARRRR sure as hell isn't helping convince people to learn about it. It's like the smug, self-righteous "brainwashed parrots" with other personal favoritest political ideologies, come to think of it.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:36PM (#39773351) Journal

    You do realize that the US spent A LOT of money during World War 2? You know -- the event that most say ended the great depression. Or am I missing something?

    This is a common but flawed belief. There was no recovery in the private sector during WWII. It was a time of rationing and privation on the home front. Lots of borrowed money was being spent on munitions, but these were either destroyed by war or useless after it was over. It was much like the late-stage USSR - a country that made great military weapons, but little of value was available to the common private individual.

    True recovery in the private sector began after WWII. Many economists feared that the end of tremendous government spending after the war would lead to another depression. What actually happened was a dramatic decrease in government spending accompanied by a huge expansion of the private sector. This certainly was jump-started by pent-up demand, but continued due to the relaxation of New Deal and WWII era regulations on business.

    Politically, FDR was dead, Fascist command economies were defeated, and communism was now the enemy. American investors and business leaders felt safe to get private business going for the first time since 1930.

    The US also benefitted by remaining mainly intact during WWII, while many other competing exporters in Europe were obliterated, giving a temporary edge to US manufacturing.

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kqs (1038910) on Monday April 23, 2012 @12:49PM (#39773559)

    If, instead, parents were given freedom of choice in schools and teachers, the good ones would be oversubscribed, the poor ones undersubscribed and laid off / fired, and quality would improve dramatically and quickly.

    Could be. I rather suspect that the result would be that the rich would get nice schools, while the middle class and the poor would get worthless schools. That happens today to some extent, of course, but it would be much more pervasive.

    But you can easily disprove my theory. Point to a country without public education which has a healthy, thriving, affordable education system. If privitizing schools is a great idea then there should exist some libertarian utopia with small government and good schools for everyone who wants them.

    I'll go first and point at the Scandinavian countries as having centralized, affordable, good-quality education. You?

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fritsd (924429) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:08PM (#39773811) Journal
    It's because you're locked into a two-party-system. Seriously.

    In a multi-party system, Ron and Rand Paul would have their own small political party, trying to occupy the pivot point for some political issues; the Republicans would be split into the "Tea Party" and "Fundamentalist Christian Party" and "Rich People Power Party" and "War-monger Party", the Democrats would be split into the "Rich People Power Party" and "War-monger Party" and "Hollywood rules the world" party, and the Greens and Nazis and Libertarians would work hard to get above the 5% election threshold that would give them free airtime and debate time and money for posters (I can't believe anyone in your country really wants to give political parties the money to inflict robo-calls on you).

    What you have now instead, is the best government money can buy. But that works for itself, not for you the voter. And it is not in its best interest to change the status quo.
  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:20PM (#39773981) Homepage Journal

    The problem with libertarianism is that it only curtains the power of government. It gives by default even more power to corporates to run he world

    That is the main reason I refuse to identify as libertarian, even though I agree with the rest of the party philosophy.

    The guys who wrote the Constitution were damn smart, and made sure to make it as clear as they could which rights belonged to the federal government, which belonged to the states, and which belonged to the people.

    One will quickly notice a conspicuous absence of rights for corporations, even though at the time of the Constitution's writing incorporation was not a new concept.

    As I said, the founders were damn smart. Their descendants, not so much...

  • Re:I trust (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thoth (7907) on Monday April 23, 2012 @01:54PM (#39774383) Journal

    If, instead, parents were given freedom of choice in schools and teachers, the good ones would be oversubscribed, the poor ones undersubscribed and laid off / fired, and quality would improve dramatically and quickly.

    So basically, teaching expertise would flow to the richer areas that can afford them, and poorer (money-wise) districts lose out, and deal with sub-standard education (or none at all)? That's how you run a 21st century super power?

    I mean, free markets work great for pricing onions and cars and consumer electronics, but implied in all of those markets is the fact that some people can't afford to buy the goods and thus go without. When it comes to education (and healthcare for that matter), we can't just say "too bad you can't afford service"; they aren't a good match for free market "solutions".

  • Re:I trust (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday April 23, 2012 @02:04PM (#39774507)

    Nobody is forcing you to participate. If you don't like the way that a civilized society works and would rather go back to tribal times, you're free to leave. Head over to Somalia, the libertarians paradise.

    Damn right. We keep hearing about what an imposition all these things like taxes and such are, especially from people making 6-figures or more a year...if it's so fucking bad, why does anyone become successful? I mean, if we're all "punishing success" with taxes, where are the legions of C-level executives abandoning those high paying jobs for McDonald's and Walmart? Where are all the property owners selling their homes to go live in apartments so they don't have to deal with the "burden" of property taxes? I hear ethereal threats from anonymous "job creators" all the time about how "it's not worth it" to own a business and have employees and all that other shit, but guess how many businesses I've seen close because "it's not worth it"? Zero. Where the hell are they? I mean, for all the bitching, why aren't there business owners calling grand press conferences to layoff all their employees because "it's just not worth it"? Where are the guys willing to go on record and put up or shut up as regards how everyone is "punishing them" for "being successful"? With all the hatred of Obama these days, you'd think there'd be people willing to do that just to get their dig in at the President, especially those wealthy enough to actually be able to afford to torpedo their livelihood that way just to make a point.

    I mean, there's all the name-calling and insulting, but where is the actual follow-through? Where are the legions of wealthy people closing down their shops and running off to Libertarian fantasy lands like Somalia and Zimbabwe? I mean, it's not like they can't afford it, right? All I ever see are wealthy people closing their shops so they can open them in China or India and make more fucking money. If we're "punishing their success", why in the blue fuck would they be trying to increase their bottom-line? Wouldn't that increase the "punishment"? And why live in the first-world at all if it's so fucking bad? You don't need that "nanny state", right?

    These fucking people all think that they were raised in the woods by wolves or something and that they didn't benefit from all this shit just the same as anyone else growing up. That, or they're being deliberately obtuse as to the necessity of taxes and social programs in a first-world society. There are some elements of Libertarianism that are actually attractive to me (ending the War on Drugs, for one...prohibition as a means to control vice in any form, honestly), but unfortunately, the bullshit that often comes along with it, like dumping safety nets is totally repugnant to me, especially as regards access to fucking health care. Find me the Libertarian that doesn't think health care is a privilege, and not a right, and I do believe I may have a fucking aneurysm.

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