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Political Newbie Advice

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This thread is meant to be a thread on principles and working analytical style, for the benefit of any who are new to politics and political passions. This is not meant to be controversial in and of itself, nor is it dependent on my own political viewpoint or favorite sources of information. In fact, I have had discussions especially with Real World, with whom I disagree on about everything, regarding a small subset of these ideas... and was horrified to find myself pretty much in agreement with him on the principals.

    This is a thread on methodology for the newcomer. Campaigns are starting up, candidates are starting to buy their commercial time, and 08 is right around the corner. So, when digesting the raft of claims, counter-claims, and the like, what are good principals to go by?

    1) The more sources, the better. The greater the spectrum of views you take in, the more likely you are to build a comprehensive mental picture of who means what by what they're saying.

    2) 95% of the world is not American. Read foreign sources as well. Granted, we all root for the home team. But to get an objective impression of the Pats' chances this year, I don't go to our fan-site. I look at the Vegas line. Similarly, getting a spread of opinion (especially on foreign policy,) is a valuable adjunct to home-grown sources.

    3) Track down some claims, all the way to the source. Yes, question everybody and everything. But don't rely on debunkers and debunkers of debunkers. Grab a claim on a key argument, drawn from something important to you or something in the news, and is fact-based. When both sides are reacting to a document, get the actual document. A report or summary is often a good starting ground. This gives you an idea who is spinning the full document how. The more often you do it the better. But [Your favorite news source] spin, [you favorite candidate's spin], etc., needs to be calibrated in a hands-on way. Even if you don't have the time to do it regularly, doing it a couple of times is incredibly instructive.

    4) Take note of Ad Hominem arguments. A politician's political stances are what will affect his handling of his office. His record reflects his stances. Where he gets his money bears on how he will perform in office. Etcetera. But ad hominem attacks ("Against the man," as opposed to countering his arguments,) are almost completely content-free from a learner's/voter's/activist's perspective. What are his views? What is his record? Do you agree or disagree with him? These are the important things. The more ad hominem attacks, the more bankrupt the argument from first principles tends to be.

    5) On Every Issue, Somebody's Gut is Dead Wrong. We've been talking for a while in this country about the importance of "the gut" in the field of politics (i.e., instinct, first-blush reactions, etc.) But on every issue, "guts" seem to align on at least two sides (that's why they're called issues.) The brain is the best analytical organ we've evolved, not the gut, even using gut as shorthand for "subconscious systems of value judgment." The conscious, reasoning mind is at least one thing that separates us from the lower animals. You may not trust the conscious reasoning mind either... but I'd hold it in higher esteem than something my cat has evolved to an equal level as me.

    And those are my ideas for dipping a toe into that cesspool that is politics.

    Good night, and good luck.

    PFnV
     
  2. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    You un-American POS!
     
  3. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll Drink To That
     
  4. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What, because I went elsewhere to get an opinion of the Pats' chances this year?
     
  5. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Absolutely. Under the Patriots' Act of 2007, BB and Pioli have the right to monitor your internet access, see whether you are reading PFW or SI and question you if you have friends who are Redskins fans; I'm guessing that someone in VA has friends who are Redskins fans.

    They can also test your loyalty to 2 gap 3-4 and ask you what Justin Rogers likes to hunt. Apologies to Harry for the Football references!

    I would second PFnVA's point about references and ad hominem attacks. I tend to take note of those guys on both sides of the political divide who use a variety of sources to back up their points.

    I also read the posts of those who make their point without use of the word "moron" or similar. In both cases, it sometimes means that I have more time for some of my political "opponents" than my political "friends".
     
  6. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    No.
    I just like saying that.
     
  7. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would add that every newbie should keep in mind that liberals are more likely to be correct than conservatives. Their warnings about President Bush were very prescient. :D
     
  8. Terry Glenn is a cowgirl

    Terry Glenn is a cowgirl Banned

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    Ron Paul for pres.

    Everyone else:

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    ............\....... ..... ...(
    ..............\..... ..... ...(
    __________________
     
  9. Pujo

    Pujo Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    My advice is that anyone who gets too hung up on where their idology falls on some scale isn't worth talking to.
     
  10. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    Amen. Doh! Sorry for the religious overtones! :eek:
     
  11. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We in America have finally come to the national conclusion that worship of idols is okay, as long as they're American Idols.

    PFnV
     
  12. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    Don't let it happen again! Goddam Papist!
     
  13. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hey now.

    By the way, if you are an underage catholic, does the slur become "statutory papist"?
     
  14. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    God do I hate that show. Doh! I did it again! :D
     
  15. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess I'll have to do 8 Stoli's, and a blonde as penance. :D
     
  16. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    That depends on what state you're in.
     
  17. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Same here. Is there any chance that someone could arrest and detain that arsehole Cowell? I really don't want him back. :mad:
    In fact, I have a cunning plan. We should put together a youtube clip of him saying "death", then edit another bit to include "to" and then "America".
     
  18. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Refuse to watch is along with Simon Cornhole and all of his idle spoiled comments about the performers. Cannot believe it gets the ratings it gets, and how many peoples lives are dictated by it.
     
  19. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    Gotta credit this observation to the wife: Americans have always organized their lives around TV shows and, before that, radio shows. Even more, TV and Radio have always revolved around American schedules, too. Prime time, weekend programming, daytime soaps, Sesame Street is on at 6:30 am, etc. Idol and the Sopranos are just the lastest version. My 8 year-old has a party when the Nick TV awards are on every year. And who among us has never blown off a wedding or two because the Pats are playing Pittsburgh?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2007
  20. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well duh. There is such a thing as having your priorities straight.

    PFnV
     

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