• Politics and Kids
CJ's Mom: I talk to my child about politics because he is of the age that they are learning about it in school. But I don't try to sway his thinking one way or the other. He is his own person and I want him to find his own way.
I don't think this is possible for us. We are not neutral when it comes to politics. We have very specific reasons WHY we think that our positions are the right thing to do, why we think the policies we support would be more effective for society. We have specific reasons why we think the policies of the other party are less effective and less useful for society. We don't hold any of that back when we discuss politics with our teens.
When it comes to politics, we have a preference, because of reasons. My kids can do what they want, but I'm not trying to produce politically neutral adults. I am trying to produce people who do the right thing, and obviously I would not be doing what I do if I did not think it was the right thing.
That said, my kids are sharp as tacs, and if they disagree, I listen to why. They have changed my mind more than once. Our whole effort, all of us, is to follow the truth and what works, to wherever it leads.
Aimsley: I don't like the idea of a government deciding someone's quality of life at all.
Half of the quality of every person's life is determined by the system they have the life in. "Government" is what we currently call our group effort to organize our systems. We will always make those decisions together and those decisions will affect the quality of all our lives.
Sticky: Trump was not lying! He never made fun of a disabled reporter. And there were Muslims cheering on the rooftops on 9-11! There is video footage!
Meena: Yeah, like three. Not "thousands and thousands."
Sticky: So he exaggerated. The numbers don't matter. If there was one, Trump was telling it like it is!
The numbers do matter. The point of saying that "thousands and thousands" of Muslims cheered 9-11 is to spread the idea that this is representative of Muslims generally. The purpose is to stoke nativism by engendering fear that Islam is dangerous to Americans, that They are against Us.
That is why this exaggeration matters. It's not harmless hyperbole. It is nationalism.
Aaron: Why is this country so racist? It's like we live in segregated neighborhoods. What can we do about it?
Bussing worked. It exposed children to others of different races in a context where they had to work together. Those kids grew up so much less racist, it was decided that racism was cured and they ended bussing. Wrong choice - schools are now as segregated as they were before the CRM.
Kids need to grow up in rainbow classrooms. That is the only way we can get beyond race, and hate each other for who we truly are.
• Fuck Jobs
Splenda: It's Trump time now. He's going to bring back jobs, jobs, jobs!
All the fuss about jobs. We have to fight for jobs, which we then hate. Jobs suck.
Splenda: What's wrong with jobs? It's capitalism!
We need to restructure the economy so that "jobs" are optional. This is no way to live.
Capitalism is only half of a system. Socialism is the other half. They can ONLY work together.
It used to be that roughly 87% of society was engaged in agricultural work to provide food. Today, only 3% of the population works in food production. It only takes a tiny number of people to provide food for everyone. Automation will soon make all jobs like this. Robots and computers will do 87% of the work people do now. Some new jobs will be created, but not nearly as many. Soon automation will make it so that 3% of the people are needed to do all the necessary work.
The only problem is the idea that this is somehow bad. We should not fight to keep the robots out so we can do trivial, menial work instead. Any work that can be done by a robot should be, because forcing a human mind to do trivial, menial work is cruel. Why even bother inventing electricity and machinery, and then still making humans work constantly? We should be getting a break from work as a benefit of how clever we are to invent machines to do it for us.
In any case, we are past the time when everyone can have a job. We already have less to do than we have people, and that is only going to massively accelerate. Not only that, but making everyone work ANYWAY is an exercise in busywork which is destroying the planet. We can't force people to work to live much longer.
So, what we need to do is accept our liberation. We do not have to work so hard now! We have repaired that. We just have to get used to it, and change the society so that people are not required to have an employer to take care of their life needs. It's been an uneasy alliance the whole time; the corporation doesn't really care if you make enough to live on, or have health insurance. It really shouldn't be their concern at all. Providing the basics of subsistence, health and education should be our responsibility to each other as a society, the way it always has been and always will be.
In the future, there will be no minimum wage and no employer insurance. People who want to have money will contract with people who have money for what the work is worth. The basics provided by society will not be lavish, so most people will probably want to dive into paid work at times in their lives to build up funds. Anyone who wants to work at a job, part time, full time, over time, all the time, will certainly be able to. But if they don't like the way the job goes, they can leave without risking house and health. All work arrangements will be entirely voluntary.
What will people do when jobs are optional? What they want to. For many it will involve unpaid work, like studying a subject of great interest, or volunteering to help a great need. The only reason people don't do this more now is because they are exhausted from their jobs. People will have plenty of time to arrange for their choices, and no pressure about food or shelter. So, they will be able to fully engage civically as well, becoming fully enfranchised.
It's not that different from what we have now. The economy is already generating more than enough surplus to take care of every human being. We could scrape a little off the top and have national health care like other good countries. We could scrape a little more off and have lushly-funded public education life-long, like other good countries. In fact, we are so much wealthier than other countries that we could do them one better - we could scrape a healthy portion off the top and provide Universal Basic Income, the foundation of a job-optional society.
This is what is looks like when Capitalism and Socialism work together. Money exists and anyone who likes it can go for as much as they want. BUT, anyone who doesn't care about it won't have to worry about it at all. People will be free to get as much education as they want, in whatever subject they want, to create all the art and music and poetry they want, spend all the time with their family that they want. Technology will make it possible. But, people have to see the vision to make it happen.
Don't believe it's possible? Let me know what problems you foresee and maybe we can address them. This is a future worth working towards.
• Imaginary Power
Jilsa: Our every move is dicated by plutocrats. The rich are very powerful. They control the system.
If there was an EMP burst the plutocrats would have nothing. All their wealth is imaginary numbers on computers. They have no mandate. If that data were lost, they would have no power at all.
Their only power comes from our collective agreement that they are powerful. We could short it out in an instant. It wouldn't even take an EMP burst - just the collective will to do so.
• Publicly Financed Elections
SaidSo: We need to get rid of political parties!
What we need to get rid of is private money in politics. We need publicly financed elections where everyone gets the same amount to spend. One hugely rich donor can fix an election in his favor by drowning the opposition in campaign spending. All politicians end up owing more allegiance to their donors than their constituents.
Changing this first would help a lot.
• Liberal Morality
Wilsa: An amazing 81% of Democrats would not vote for a candidate that they agreed with if they were accused of sexual harassment. This proves that Liberals are more moral!
Liberalism used to be more about Liberty, and about having as much freedom as possible. This started to change because of the Industrial Revolution. Politicians from Teddy to Franklin Roosevelt came to see that ordinary people could not have liberal freedom if they were being exploited by economics. So Liberalism came to be about protecting people from exploitation. That is why it focuses on enfranchisement and social support.
Wilsa: Are you suggesting no Democrat ever was a sexual harasser?
Freedom is entirely a social construct and it's like trying to sweep water into a corner. The conditions which allow for personal freedom of choice must be constantly, vigilantly maintained. Otherwise every type of power imbalance results in more freedom for some and less for others.
Political freedom and liberty require liberal defense of equality. That is why political liberalism is more moral.
This quote is from the book "The Reactionary Mind":
"Though it is often claimed that the left stands for equality while the right stands for freedom, this notion misstates the actual disagreement between right and left. Historically, the conservative has favored liberty for the higher orders, and constraint for the lower orders."
The power imbalance of the "Roy Moore"-type pursuit, right down to freedom for the higher order and constraint for the lower order, is emblematic of this approach to power relationships.
Of course not. But this is why it sinks support for a Democrat while it raises support for Republicans.
• War for Christmas
Rhonda: What a crock! Did you know it was illegal to say Merry Christmas during Obama? With Trump we can say Merry Christmas again!!
Why people celebrate in December is not important. Understanding how reality works is important, and it is screamingly obvious that "Christianity" isn't it. However, no one can discuss an elephant this big, so there is War for Christmas instead.
Restarter: Question is, who is right? Who is wrong?
I think you have indeed hit on the central question, but I might instead phrase it, "What is right? What claims about reality are true? What claims can be shown to be true by verification?" Because then there IS an answer, and it's not a person.
There is so much we don't know, and we must be humble before that great truth. But, we have a good, working system for producing real truth. By truth, I mean, descriptions of reality that are so accurate, they really work to create amazing things and advance humanity in incredible ways. We don't know much, but we have been able to discover an incredible amount about how the universe works.
Who knows what Prime Movers might lie beyond our ken. But, examining the history of universe from the depths of time, plus the thousands of tribal folktales about gods that originated in different parts of the world, it is glaringly obvious that "Christianity" has no more licence to describe the gods to humanity than anyone else. There is NOTHING which makes it seem more likely to be true than Islam, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or no religion. In fact, an entirely natural universe is exactly what we see when we examine everything everywhere.
The bloody guy on the cross is dragging our society back to the stone age. We can think about the universe better without it.
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