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What informs your political opinion? (NON-election thread)

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by STFarmy, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. STFarmy

    STFarmy Rookie

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    I'm starting this thread for a few reasons. First of all, I'm quickly finding myself not even clicking on threads if I know they're about the election, knowing the there will be the requisite non-issues and petty arguments inside. Second, I'm always curious to see how other people have reached their world view. I love discussing honest and informed political theory with people.

    So, looking back, how did YOU come to your current political views? Obviously, we all have life experience and family circumstances that may have helped. Beyond that, I figure we've all read things that have challenged/reinforced our political POVs. I'm not talking news sites and blogs necessarily, but stuff we may have read in school, church, etc.

    As for me, I'm an independent who usually leans right. I'm not married to either party, and that's because I don't think either one really looks out for people. I know that idea I got from my Dad, who always told me to be very wary political partisanship and the games each side plays. Also, I get it from my studies of history, where every single time an institution was created that earned money or power (or both) for its founders/administrators, its first instinct became self-preservation.

    As for some specific works that inform my opinions, there are a few. When I was in grad school, I wrote an article-length piece the explored the influence of Greek and Roman governments on the Founders and the formation of the Constitution. I studied the The Federalist Papers pretty thoroughly, and I think those documents can be a window into how we should try to run our government for the most part (of course there will be some necessary adaptations). The various works from the Anti-Federalists I found useful as well.

    I also have taken some things away from Greek philosophical works that I have read as well. Plato's The Republic has some great ideas on political theory; he believed that the ideal government was not a democracy or republic, but a benign monarchy that was presided over by a number of well-educated and intelligent philosopher kings of sorts.

    I have some more I could discuss, but I wanted to see what other people thought first. I have a tendency to drone about things like this (just ask my wife, whom I bore semi-daily with these types of monologues).

    Any thoughts anyone? And let's please stay away from petty arguments and anything having to do with Palin/Obama/McCain/Biden/Bush.
  2. STFarmy

    STFarmy Rookie

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    Bump, because I think this could be a great topic amongst the general election crap.

    And because I'm sensitive.
  3. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    It's an interesting question to contemplate. How did I arrive to thinking the way that I do. I'd say a part of it is my upbringing for sure. My dad used to take me on the job (construction) at a very young age. At 14, I was 5'7 and 170 pounds (I'm now 34, 5'8 and 170 pounds :() and I was working 5 days a week over summer break, mixing cement, carrying bricks, etc. That work taught me a number of things. First of all earning a buck is not easy. Waking up at 6 AM, and busting your hump sucks. Waking up at 6 AM, and busting your hump, only to see the gubmit take a quarter+ of it, sucks even more. Combine that experience with the fact that my family wasn't rich growing up, and I guess that's why I'm fiscally conservative.
  4. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Rookie

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    #80 Jersey

    The golden rule.
  5. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    Ronald Regan (He was once my CiC). I was young, and he seemed larger then life. He seemed to understand a say just the things I needed to hear.
  6. PatFanInChina

    PatFanInChina Rookie

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    God Post

    I was born in the Czech Republic and immigrated here (legally) in 1985 at the age of ten. Prior to immigrating, Uncle Sam and Regan were my heroes. I remember growing up under the Communist government and being taught their propaganda about the US. I still remember the stupid drills we had to do in case we were nuked. Lots of people drank the kool-aid but not my family and we paid for it.

    Neither party has all the answers but I do tend to lean with the republicans 80%of the time. But after reading John Perkins "The Secret History of The United States", I don't know what to believe anymore.
  7. PressCoverage

    PressCoverage Banned

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    Independent, non-corporate media sources... Period.

    DemocracyNow.org... PBS Frontline, etc.

    The corporate media is right-leaning, NOT left-leaning...
  8. PatFanInChina

    PatFanInChina Rookie

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    That has to be one of the top 5 shows on TV. Did you see the series documentatry just before the Olympics on China? Unbelievable and 100% correct.
  9. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I grew up in the Bronx, and lived in an almost all black area from the age of 7 to 9. Then I moved to all white suburb of New York that had been Republican for its entire history. Our neighbors hated us because we were against the Vietnam war.

    When I asked the neighbor boy why he wouldn't be my friend, he said, "Because your sister has black friends." (Mine were too young to visit.) I worked for the Mayor, a kindly old man who never worked in his life and had stories of pillow fights in Teddy Roosevelt's White House. He referred to blacks in the town as picanninnies. I remember I showed him in a high school text book that said there's no evidence that blacks are less intelligent than white people, and he called me naive. I learned in Upper Nyack that suburban Republicans are racist, a view I still hold. (Of course, there are many exceptions, especially among the more religious set.)

    At the age of 9 or 10, I went on a peace march with my parents where my 17 year old brother was going to speak. Instead, what I saw with my own eyes were middle aged white men beating the crap out of anti-war students while the sheriffs department stood by. (The sheriff was thrown out of office in the next election.)

    For awhile, as a young teen, I was interested in communism, though was never an admirer of any of the communist nations. But, my views changed because communists regularly cited homosexuality as proof of capitalist decadence, while capitalism basically responds to a profit motive and is really not a judgmental economic system at all. Capitalism is actually a very progressive system, I think, provided its in a democratic framework. I would also add that many on the far left are just as bigoted in their own way as many conservatives.

    My family was Democratic Jewish and mostly liberal, believing that we're in this world to build a better society, one that accepts all people and places creating a fair and just society above protecting the right to unlimited wealth. But, though my thinking was always liberal, it was reinforced by my experiences, a few of which I cited above.
  10. STFarmy

    STFarmy Rookie

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    Very cool guys, I love the in-depth look at some of the reasons people believe the way they do. Thanks for your posts!

    Besides websites, are there any good books people have read that have affected them? I know PFinChina mention the Secret History of the United States, of which I don't really know anything. I've read shelves and shelves of history books, and I definitely gravitated towards the intellectual/political history of the US. Bernard Bailyn's Ideological Origins of the American Revolution is really cool, as is Gordon Wood's The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787.

    I mentioned some classical history stuff too. One interesting thing is to see what most Greeks thought of direct democracy; they didn't like or trust it. Plato's The Republic explores this, as does Thucydides' Histoy of the Peloponessian War, which is a pretty sharp scrutiny of the democracy of Athens. I guess this is where I get pretty wary of current calls by some to eliminate the Electoral College and have a direct democracy. We don't for a reason, and it's because the Founders studied this stuff and understood the drawbacks to unrestrained democracy. It has to be balanced so that the people don't choose a tyrant with charisma (Julius Caesar) that decides he'll/she'll rule indefinitely.

    Anyone else have any experiences/literary influences?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  11. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In terms of books that influenced me politically, in no particular order. Vision of the Anointed, T Sowell; Road to Serfdom, Hayek; Free to Choose, Freidman; Sociobiology, Wilson; Exo psychology, Leary; At Home in the Universe, Kaufman; Parliament of Whores, O'Rouke;
  12. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Is that a joke? :confused:
  13. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Do you honestly believe that gay people in communist Russia were accepted?

    Are they openly accepted in the Jewish community? (honest question)
  14. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think you misread what I wrote. One of reasons I rejected communism was because they said homosexuality was proof of capitalist decadence, while capitalist society basically said, If we can make a buck off you, you're okay. Niche marketing in our capitalist society has been very helpful in the battle against discrimination of all types. That's why many big corporations support gay rights.

    Like any religion, the Jewish community has it's more extreme sects -- Orthodox Jews and Hasidic Jews, for instance, played a major role in delaying New York City's efforts to pass anti-discrimination laws. Reform Jews, on the other hand, are very liberal and even have a number of gay rabbis. Conservative Jews are mainstream, and I think they're probably a little more accepting of gays than, say, your average Christian (because Jews tend to be more liberal), but I don't think there's a big difference. More often than not, nonliberals only become truly accepting of gays when someone comes out in their immediate family.
  15. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You are correct, I definitely misread what you wrote.



    Not sure about your last sentence, but I can see where you are coming from. But, I don't have any gay people in my immediate family and I am accepting of gays.
  16. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But, how about gay marriage and gay adoption and foster parenting, and do you support such things as amending federal hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation (which would also cover straights abused by gays) and laws to outlaw discrimination in housing and employment?
  17. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have no problem with either gay marriage or gay adoption. I could care less what two grown people do or who they fall in love with. It doesn't affect me in anyway, nor is it any of my business. And the fight over the term marriage is ridiculous as well - the religious folks (and it isn't just right or left) feel that it is something done between a man and a woman under the eyes of God. Yet, I am not religious, was married in my mother's living room by a JP. So technically the term marriage shouldn't apply to me and my wife either (although she believes in god). The gays are stupid for hanging onto the term so damn hard instead of just accepting "unions" or whatever people want to call them. If you folks would simply accept that term and let all of the crazies see that Armageddon won't happen as a result, in a few years they will do away with it - with some effort of course.

    Gay adoption is a little weird for me because both of my parent's are straight, I look at it from my childhood perspective and think how strange it would be to have two dads or two moms. But why let a kid suffer in a foster home or an orphanage, instead of being in a loving home? It makes no sense. I went to high school with a girl who's mother was gay and her partner lived in the house as well. I know this may come as a shock for some - but the girl was straight :eek:.

    I hate, hate crime laws. I think it is ridiculous to make certain people "special". Isn't every beating a hate crime of some sort? I mean where does it end? If a person hates people with beards and then goes out and beats up a dude with a beard, should he get a longer sentence than a guy who hates and beats up guys who hit on his girlfriend? The whole hate law **** is ignorant and is only in place to win votes!

    I believe in equality and honestly think the perception of uneven playing fields are overblown. I realize the laws were at one time a necessary evil due to institutional racism. But in today's society they are pointless and in many cases, are counter productive. It is a built in excuse for a minority or gay person to sue or place blame if they don't get a job or promotion. I am not saying there aren't racist people out there that refuse to hire minorities or whites :eek: or gays. But honestly would you want to work for that person? It is a waste of time to fight one persons stupidity. I also believe that if I own a business or a rental home/apartment than I have the right to hire, fire or rent to anyone I please. The government should not be involved! In the end if someone chooses to limit their options they are only hurting themselves!
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
  18. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign On the Roster

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    I grew up in a lower middle class home. When I look back, it was probably even lower than lower-middle class...but who knows?

    My father worked 2 jobs. We moved into our first & only house when I was 4. I remember all our food was planned down to every snack. We used to get 4 oz of orange juice each every day (sm. froz can 6oz - add 3 cans water = 24 oz total divided by 6 family members) we'd have one small chicken to feed all 6 of us...now I eat 1/2 chicken by myself!

    My first political memory was my mom crying as JFK's lie on the wagon pulled by horses. My next memory is my parents telling me to never, ever use the "N" word no matter how often my friends used it. i remember my parents being disgusted by Nixon, the Vietnam War and our policemen beating protesting black peace marchers...so I knew all that stuff was wrong.

    The more my friends talked racist slander, the more I hated racism. We had one black student in my high school out of 1,200 students (Weymouth North HS). I read Profiles in Courage around the 6th grade and loved it.

    I can remember my parents telling me "what you do is all that matters, not what you say you believe". I was always conscious of how little money we had compared to my peers but it seemed like we did more as a family than any of them.

    I went through a self-destructive period of alcoholism in my 20's and came out a different person. I realized my parents were right, "what I do is all that matters, not what I say I believe".

    One of my favorite political quotes is "Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not?"

    yes, i am an idealist with no apologies.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008

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