Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Moving Away From the Right...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Blogging the past six years has been an education to say the least.

Perhaps it is the political aspect that has turned the experience into sour grapes rather than the positive experience and sharing of ideas it should be. Sharing of ideas, especially with those of opposing viewpoints, is an opportunity for learning and personal growth. Unfortunately this is the exception rather than the norm in these winner take all and leave no prisoners exchanges between differing political ideologies and political parties. Maybe it has always been this way; but there was a time when reasonable compromise borne of heated debate and honest dialogue was the respected norm.

Most would agree that no one political ideology or philosophy is right 100% of the time. By the same token no political ideology or philosophy can be wrong all of the tine either. Yet in right and left blogistan there are those who consistently, no matter what the issue, rigidly hold to the party line or ideological purity. There is nothing wrong with remaining true to ones principals and values for sure, but when doing so it it certainly is reasonable to first understand all the knowable potential alternatives before deciding. If and when new credible information becomes available it makes sense to reevaluate your position, and when sensible be flexible enough to change based on the new information.

Some conservative and liberal bloggers, probably because of their passion and in some cases loyalty to their cause, simply choose not to take viewpoints that differ from their own seriously. Even when the evidence clearly points to errors in their viewpoints. Those sites who fall into this category can generally be identified in one of two ways. The site either censors viewpoints they do not agree with, or the blog proprietor while not censoring engages in or encourages name calling and flame throwing without any thought given to truth. Of the two the latter is of the most troubling and infantile.

As noted earlier there are both conservative and liberal sites that engage in the above tactics so it is a bipartisan activity. As a somewhat right of center site Rational Nation USA has spent more time challenging those on the right rather than the left. While this might seem odd the reason is quite simple. One should look to clean up their own backyard before concerning themselves with their neighbors backyard. A simple yet perfectly reasonable and common sense approach to progress. Unfortunately, not many agree with this view.

After six years of perusing the internet highway one thing has become clear, apart from both sides culpability in the above described activities, it is the right (especially the fringe right) that is the most belligerent, least rational, most offensive, and provides the least credible documentation in support its positions. The ideology that at the top of its lungs trumpets free speech, freedom of religion, constitutional principles, the right to be left alone by government is, in fact, the first to toss out all of them when views it disapproves of stand in its way. It is for this reason moving away from the right is such a easy and sensible thing to do these days.

When the right talks about freedom and liberty it really means freedom and liberty only as the right views freedom and liberty.

Food for thought from two of our founders.

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. {John Adams}

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume. {George Washington}


  1. You're not alone. And it's not just politics. The country was stunned to learn of this, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/, yesterday. I believe the religious right holds a lot of the responsibility for young people turning away from religion in general, though I also think the modern, educated young person is just too modern and educated to believe in God any more.

    And it's not just politics. The country was stunned to learn of this, http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/, yesterday. I believe the religious right holds a lot of the responsibility for young people turning away from religion in general, though I also think the modern, educated young person is just too modern and educated to believe in God any more.

    And there's good news here. With the numbers the way they're going, this country may shift quite a bit to the left in the coming years, which should at least make the civil libertarian in you smile. The GOP will spend another forty years sitting on the congressional bench, and hopefully, like last time, they manage to actually do some good things, because they have to compromise - to govern. Of course, bad things happen that way too. That's how Glass-Steagall disappeared, after all.

    Young people today are very open-minded, well-rounded folks. Just as we grew up in a world far more connected than the one our parents and grandparents experienced, young people today are far more connected than we were, exponentially. And just as it's homogenized them, sometimes to our dismay (they can be boringly absorbed in themselves and their immediate circles), it's made them very, very world wise. The right wing in America today just doesn't offer serious or thoughtful or substantive or positive anything. These kids aren't stupid. It's just fear and hate and insecurity and greed and bla bla bla. I was relatively to the right until about 25 years ago, and I retained a lifelong appreciation of folks like William F Buckley and Pat Buchanan, but today's right wing? It's just... ugh... I don't know. It's like it's still the Civil War, still being fought, all the way to today. The Grand Old Permanent-Antebellum.

    Personally, I think a President Hillary Clinton, with at least the Senate, could do some big things that could get this country really growing and thriving again. But the kids today will have to be confident of the government's competence, or it isn't going to happen. A little conservative cynicism is always a good idea, but too much is often inappropriate. I think today's kids get this. You're in good company.


    1. I saw the Pew report on religious affiliation and the general trend. I found it interesting. Catholic, Evangelicals, and mainline Protestant have all seen a decline while unaffiliated Christian and non Christian have both seen an increase. Tere has been a small drop overall. My take is that American are disenchanted with organized dogmatic religions. True Spirituality will become
      more more the norm. While I am a non believer I do not thing America will give up on a belief in God anytime soon.

    2. The GOP and the Tea Party are enjoying what may be their Hurrah and I actually believe they know it. Constant nay saying negativity only goes so far, at some point you must given and you do so in a manner best for our nation, not the party and special interests.

      You are right the civil libertarian AND long term rational self interest in me is smiling. America will be okay if it stay true to the ideals of a representative democratic republic and we remain a nation of laws.

    3. I remain a fiscal conservative and likely always will, probably because of my extensive business background. However I have lost respect for the GOP because of their fiscal hypocrisy and flat out lying.

      As well I despise the neo con wing of the party and its love affair with the MIC. And fugetabout the religionists Evangelicals in the party. In short they are just plain anal.

    4. As for Hillary, too much baggage and I am NOT a down with family dynasty as I beleive it bodes poor for democracy and our republic.

      I hope you are right in that a young upcoming generation of conservatives really does get what needs to be done and sets the nation on the right path to fiscal and social sanity again.

    5. "Family dynasty" (this is a very small family) is less a concern for me than the even remote possibility of another GOP one-party state, as it should be to any reasonable observer.


    6. And if Hillary did win and the house and senate stayed in the red column more of the same and maybe worse than the last several years.

      Nope, ain't nothing in sight as far as I can see.

      Time to shut down and take a long one. Rip an Winkle...

    7. Wouldn't a business background tell you money can't be made without an investment? Would we have an internet today if Al Gore had not taken the initiative in creating it? (For example).

    8. Yup.

      And Gore did not create the internet.

    9. It seems to me more of the same would be a thousand times better than the counsel of scoundrels we'd be letting back into the halls of power with a GOP President. I think the election coming will show you how many people feel this way.


    10. It seems to me more of the same would be a thousand times better than the counsel of scoundrels we'd be letting back into the halls of power with a GOP President.

      It seems to me no one short of heavily left slanted politician would be acceptable to you Jersey. Whereas I would be perfectly happy with a William Weld, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman, Charlie Baker style republican.

      Extreme partisanship gets yo nowhere my friend.

    11. Jersey is for Bernie Sanders?

      Nobody Les would be "perfectly happy" with has a chance. Bernie Sanders has a better chance of winning the Democratic nomination than any of those guys has of winning the Republican nomination.

      FYI, Al Gore absolutely did take the initiative in creating the internet. He is the guy who championed the investment in Congress. If not for his vision the internet as we know it today likely would not exist.

    12. Me: Wouldn't a business background tell you money can't be made without an investment?

      RN: Yup.

      Me: I do not understand you "yup". Fiscal conservatives do not believe in the concept of government investing. They view all government expenditures as spending that should be cut to the bone... Hence my question.

    13. Yup. Businesses who so not invest in growth of their business stagnate or die.


  2. The new GOP has eliminated compromise from its political dictionary.

    1. I saw that as well. I hope you wrong but acknowledge you are likely right. For now anyway.

      Maybe Baker will eye the WH in 2020. Hope so.

  3. Am I too late for coffee and cake?

    Reason for my absence: I have been working on an article titled, "Religious Freedom or Religious Intolerance?" for syndication. What concerns me about our national debate on the role of religion in our public life: I kinda like the Constitution the way it is, especially the anti-establishment clause that maintains a wall of separation between Church and State. There are too many denominations wanting to impose their teachings and taboos on the general population, and these denominations are mounting ad hominem attacks upon "secularism" as if it were some kind of disease.

    Secular laws serve a moral purpose: They protect people from unconscionable religious practices such as human sacrifice, ritual suicide, slavery, oppression, discrimination, and the sexual predation of children. People are free to believe anything they want according to their conscience; their right to act on those beliefs is not absolute.

    Yet, religious fanatics are painting "secularism" as some form of Satanism. It feels as if we are still living in Medieval times; the Inquisition never really went away.

    1. The intolerant conservative Christian right has been identified as one cause for the rise in
      atheism/agnosticism/non belief among thet latest generation. A Salon article notes:
      "A third explanation for the rise of Americans claiming no religion is the increasing politicization of religion. Michael Hout and Claude Fischer argue that the political right has become so identified with a conservative religious agenda that it has alienated moderates who consider organized “religion” a synonym for an antigay, antiabortion, procivic religion agenda. At the same time, while they may feel disenfranchised from organized religion, many of them remain privately religious or “spiritual.”18 This reaction against the politicization of religion is seen particularly among young adults."

  4. I've tired of the bullsh*t from the fringes, both right and left. I am beginning to think more and more each day the sane rational individuals just say phooey and go about their life ignoring the dimwits and idiots.

    Fanaticism, ignorance, hatred, and bigotry parading as freedom, liberty, and holiness will undoubtedly be paramount in the undoing of the republic, should it ever happen.

    Keep doing what you do (O)CT(O)PUS, keep it level and let the screech folks sign their own death certificate. Rhetorically speaking of course.

    Tomorrow is another day.

    1. Either I'm starting to sound like you or vice versa, either way I'm tired of the screamers on all sides too. I just worry that anyone in the donut hole will become so fed up and apathetic that they'll give up. Hoping that the extremists will just go away if we ignore them is dangerous however. Ask the Germans.

      And speaking of donuts. . .

    2. Yeah, donut holes are dangerous. However, it has gotten so tedious, the constant screeching and whining, that it makes sensible rational individuals want to scream back, Shut the *uck Up.

      Germany learned the hard way. What do you think the odds are the USA will wake up in time? I'd love to be an optimist on that one. BUT...

      The Ominous Parallels

  5. The right has it's fringe radicals called the Tea Party. To combat this group the left has an equally fringe group called Progressives. Both groups want to inflict their views and values on the American people.
    Although these groups are small in number they are loud in appearance and manner. I feel the majority of Americans are sane individuals who believe in helping those who cannot help themselves and the government needs to get out of their lives.

    As to religion, to each his own. Most people believe in something be it God, Mankind or themselves. The non-believers cannot be helped because if you believe in nothing you will fall for anything.

    1. Ya know what skiddy ole boy? I, as well as millions of others are non believers in some mystical man made entity that has super powers. Powers that to this point in time he/she has chosen to refrain from using. But please consult the Holy Book written by men to refute that which a non mystical believer has said.

      While I realize in your small constrained mind this means they believe in nothing and therefore cannot be helped. However the reality is they believe in proper ethics, roper morality, proper principles, and understand it is not the place of the government or yours or anyone else's place t tell them what they should believe with respect to religion. So skiddy ole boy, go preach to your choir at the rightwing evangelical blog of your choice.

      When you're ready come clean and just own up to being a reactionary rightwing dude. Your commentary tells everybody that is what you really are.

    2. The Progressive caucus is the largest in Congress. Hardly fringe. They do not wish to "inflict" their views on anyone. Progressives reflect, IMO, the views of the American people.

  6. Evolving instead of getting stuck in your ways is admirable, Les. You have the mind of a young man. I mean that as a compliment.

    1. Thank you dmarks. I will be thinking about going to the gym tomorrow when I'm on my death bed.


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