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What We Distrust

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It goes without saying, certainly in the U.S., that it's considered a general civic good to have a healthy distrust in government. Although I work in the machinery of govt myself, I share this distrust. In my own family history - as in that of many - I know very good examples of the government not acting in the peoples' interest.

    If distrust of government is absolute, we are left with a couple of alternatives:

    1. Trust in some other overarching entity, such as a corporation or an industry. While few Americans will say "I trust corporations" (some will say "well I trust corporations more than the government!), many will say "I trust in the market," which is an overarching entity subject to mass psychology and yes, perversion by corporations (in indirect correlation, ironically, with the degree of government regulation, as was acknowledged by all national players during the last election cycle -- i.e., Republicans contended that regulators were asleep at the switch, and Democrats contended that regulation itself had been gutted for some years. Both parties came together on the point of the necessity of government intervention.)

    We see then that absolute trust in another overarching entity, such as the markets, a corporation, or an industry, is also an odd bird from the American point of view. Very few would openly espouse it.

    3. Trust in oneself and only in oneself.

    This option has in its favor practicality and one side of human nature. It has against it another kind of practicality, and another side of human nature.

    What I mean is this:

    One can "practice what one preaches," to the extent that one thinks this through. Stock up a bunker with weapons, ammo, and food, have arable land to get by after a transition phase, identify your best sources of water, and above all make sure nobody else can have any except by your consent. Accept that you do not want more than survival. Make sure you have knives and compound bows around and you're good with them, for when the ammo runs out. Try to think through every contingency. Arguably you may guarantee some form of life (or "the heart of life", survival,) regardless of external factors. Survival of the individual is a huge input into human nature. Americans tend to admire "rugged individualism;" for every person who actually practices this sort of preparation, there are 100 or 1,000 who will vote for whatever seems most "ruggedly individual," on the premise that the ideal suits them... whether or not it could possibly be in their own self-interest.

    The other side of human nature is that we are social animals. The majority of us, whether or not we care to admit it, depend on the presence of others for an aspect of our quality of life. We're all familiar with the man who lays down his life for his own family. Most of us could say we'd do the same without batting an eye (many of us? I dunno. A lot.) But then there are those who will risk their lives for the nation at large, such as in combat, or for the society, in the case of someone who risks life and limb to stop a crime or run into a burning building. Why? Because we're programmed not just to admire the ability to save ourselves, but to respond to the group need.

    We admire the response that says "save the guy in the burning building." We do not admire the response that says "Screw him, he shouldn't have been living that high off the ground in the first place." Of course there are exceptions, but I think most people would admire someone who saves the life of a fellow citizen.

    So to what extent do we trust and distrust "every man for himself?" Our trust in this rubric seems situational at best.

    In addition, it tends to be trust granted with the assumption that everything society wide just comes to us. Heroes will appear when we're in trouble. For all but the hard-core survivalist, our medicare will be there when we're old (for example.) Our water will be cheap and potable. Supermarkets will have food. Police will fight at least enough crime to deter some broad-daylight murders... In other words, we trust "rugged individualism," but the vast majority of men and women in America are not rugged individuals.

    4. Reserve distrust for all components, but recognize the failures and successes of each approach as they have applied situationally.

    What I mean by this is that we tend to bend truth to fit a simple template of "this can be trusted", "that can't be trusted." Economically, a prime example is the Stalinist planner who says a command economy is the most rational form of economic organization. We've seen that it is not.

    But there also is the prime example of the market purist, who says since choice A is wrong, choice B is right. Unequivocally. Without exception. But didn't we just watch both parties talk about market intervention being desireable but absent last September?

    As we look at issues maybe it's time we understand them as appropriately handled by different measures of distrust for different approaches in that particular situation. I don't think anyone here advocates rugged individualism for national defense; we wouldn't trust it, and we shouldn't. Similarly, we don't and shouldn't trust government intervention as the only driver for the economy.

    Discuss.

    Work time.

    PFnV
  2. PatsFanInMaine

    PatsFanInMaine Rookie

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    5. Put your trust in God and allow him to show you the way.
  3. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My skepticism was incubated of the lies of the 50's and nurtured in the bullshyt of the 60's... and has pretty much been my hallmark ever since.. not sure that I trust any institution, or any one person, whether it be business or political... there are some people who have stood the test of time, i.e. not changed their philosophy and stayed true to their belief system, but those are few and far between, and come under the heading of folk heroes, rather than leaders...

    Most leaders have acquiesced to big interest, the wrong head or big money, few have remained true to their initial ideals.. not sure if it is because they have fallen prey to the system, or if that was intended all along.. power corrupts and it is obvious in our Congress....
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  4. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    I think your second point is amazingly well written...
  5. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    The last "hybrid" option is complicated and requires a lot of work, so much that the public -individually and collectively (media, government, electorate, etc) routinely reject it. In the past, we had a government that could operate on a broader view over issues and time with much less media focus than we see today. Imagine the scrutiny the Apollo Project would have received today!

    The oversimplification of issues works well for the media, politicians and, of course, people in general. By not treating issues comprehensively, it gives them (the media) more time to advertise, promote their other products and enjoy perks and kickbacks from the politicians. Individuals like it because they can have more time to watch TV shows like "American Idol" and "Cake Maker Showdown". Shows like "Frontline" and anything on the Science Channel is strictly for pinheads and dorks who have been marginalized by society (until they're really needed).

    It's up to the minority to keep working unter the radar for ideas and formats that are real and important while others spend their time screaming and wrangling for face time. A good example of this sector of society is my friend Sara, who is an infrastructure engineer, specifically wastewater treatment sector. Her job is possibly the most important one in society and never gets the attention, glory and thanks it deserves. I can imagine life without baseball, rap music, and Sarah Palin, but not without my local wastewater treatment plant. She and others like her plan for contingincies far into the future and reach well into the past. They take into account everything from the texture of toilet paper to the ecological effects of their plant 100 miles downstream, the air and ground nearby, and all withing the framework of budgetary constraints.

    It would be nice if the rest of the world saw things the way Sara does.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  6. godef

    godef Rookie

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    I like it when they're brief. :D
  7. godef

    godef Rookie

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    I think there is one important item which you sort of beat around but not exactly hit on: I think one must first decide on what they feel the government's *intent* is. Is government distrust due to a history of malevolent intention (Hitler, Saddam, etc), or is it more simply due to a history of poor execution, or even patisan politics?
  8. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    PatsfaninMaine makes a very salient point: Some would say if you truly put your trust in God, you remove yourself from political debate and political action; after all, God needs no defense, and his plan will unfold just as he intended regardless of what you do.

    But the point is usually interpreted to mean one distrusts all of the systems we have on Earth, and trust only God, yet remain active in Earthly politics.

    This may be an important point: by deciding all earthly systems are inherently flawed, being driven by trust in God leaves one with zero trust across the board of secular systems.

    This is precisely the position the thorough cynic is in. But these are mental positions, except for those who remove themselves from the system. The cynic, whether religious or not, still identifies the best of the bad choices. This does introduce an external force to please, however, and opens the door for a more ideological selection from among the "untrustworthy" choices. It need only be established that God dislikes one or another economic system or that God likes one or another political entity, and (trust aside,) the issue -- any issue -- is solved.

    If instead we must judge approaches by their merits, it follows that we believe one or another approach will be most successful, and will bring us a better tomorrow, or at least a "least bad" tomorrow.

    I think the real question is whether we acknowledge this. In other words, just because we banish the government from a sector, does not mean that sector is now fixed up and perfect. It means we do not trust the government, but have placed our trust in what exists in the vacuum of government (usually, this means the market.) But the market has shown itself not worthy of trust, in a vacuum. In fact it does so repeatedly.

    Similarly, the government (as the driver of an economy) has been shown to be inept at best and disasterous at worst, in many cases. The same can be said for other big players: the military (which we worship at times,) or "myself and nobody else," are also flawed solutions to problems to which they are not appropriate.

    I suppose the point is to think about what you are choosing by default, if you say the government/the market/the military/the "mob"/the market/any other such "system" cannot be trusted, you immediately embed the assumption that the system you do not trust will be the 100% driver of a given solution in which that system is involved, and you immediately assume that your distrust of one such actor trumps a healthy distrust of other such actors.

    My position is we have to somehow get to a best solution, with only partially trustable tools, no matter which we put the greater part of our trust in -- and that includes the individual's trust in himself... because frankly, you may trust you, but I don't. And of course all this talk about trust only has to do with a decision as to which tool to use to get to tomorrow; it is not an overarching trust, it is a conditional and limited trust bestowed after examination. If one does not trust one tool, one inherently has put his trust in whichever tool or suite of tools is currently in use.

    When these tools provide a failed system, as in the case of a command economy or a pure free market, one is foolhardy to embrace the same solution and expect a different outcome.

    PFnV
  9. Harry Boy

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

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    GOD-------:confused:

    Don't we try to keep him out of all this stuff, we had a little pile of hay with some statues of a cow, a chicken, a goat, some sheep sh!t, and a statue of Gods Son Jesus being born on Xmas Day, some God People put this little scene in the town square and the Left Wing Media went insane, they said it would bring about the end of the world if this crazy "Jesus Sh!t" was displayed in public for our children to see.
    That same weekend Maddona held a Concert in the next town over, she spent 45 minutes Rubbing Her Crotch with a microphone, the Left Wing Media said it was the greatest thing that ever happened in their town, they took all their kids to watch this Old Whore having sex with a microphone, these are the same people who kicked God's a$s.
  10. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    Harry, Harry, Harry.

    Why do you think God let them do that to the Manger Scene?

    Payback's a beeyotch!
  11. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If one trusts in God, one has no need to involve oneself in the nasty nitty-gritty of worldly politics. One has no need to vote. One has no need to fight.

    UNLESS, one believes God works his will through the sum effect of historical actors.

    This seems to be the animating principle behind political involvement based on divine preferences, regardless of whether the person of religion is on the right or the left.

    However, it still leaves the adherent of "trust in God only" with a paradox: In order to do God's work, one has to trust in many things.

    One needs to believe in the at least somewhat predictable effect of media, for example: whether or not one likes what they say or what they write, they are writing it or saying it, and the old axiom "no publicity is bad publicity" applies. Palin is nothing without Tina Fey; Jeremiah Wright is non-existent without the news footage of his sermons.

    The "believer" also has to believe there is a mission to perform - for some reason, despite the contempt they show for the principles of Christianity, the members of the C Street "Family" think it is very important that they advance a Christian agenda (which would ultimately criminalize their own behavior.)

    But the mission takes precedence, and the belief is that fulfillment of that mission is advancing the work of God.

    So if God uses them as instruments, they must perform their tasks here, in the real world. They must evaluate which systems to trust and for what purpose, and they must identify that which cannot be trusted -- again, from God's point of view -- before they can act.

    Actors who profess to trust only in God still must act in preference to a thing's opposite or adversary when they claim they are only acting against another thing. In professing distrust for government intervention in markets, they are inherently lauding the trustworthiness of markets, just for example. Or, if the religious/political actor is on the left and proclaims he only trusts in God, and God wants more government intervention (say, to alleviate poverty,) that actor inherently proclaims the trustworthiness of government and the untrustworthiness of markets.

    PFnV
  12. Rossmci90

    Rossmci90 Rookie

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    The religious forum is over that way>>>>>>>>
  13. Boston Boxer

    Boston Boxer U.S. Air Force Retired PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    another pretty good conversation hijacked and ruined by Harry...way to go
  14. Harry Boy

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

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    It's relevant in my head :D they won't allow a little Nativity Scene in the town Square for kids to look at, at Xmas Time but a few blocks away they all go down to the local ball field and watch Madonna masturbate with a microphone pole...........:confused:

    I am not into Organized Religion I don't attend church but it gets me to watch the Anti Jesus people and all their hypocrosy and especially their Cowardice when it comes time to scold ALLAH and his Head Hunters, when it's time to go after Islam for some barbaric act they commited the Jesus Haters all hide under their beds and start blubbering excuses for them.

    God Damn Aunt Zucchini Deport her
  15. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So again -- harry's hijacking aside -- the point here is that regardless of one's ultimate belief about a behind-the-scenes resevoir of trustworthiness, in practice one has to choose how appropriate it is to trust various systems for treatment of particular national problems.

    Harry, I agree, can it.

    As to the religion forum, anyone who wants to posit a religious explanation of, well, anything, is welcome to discuss it there.

    To discuss how the religious actor must nevertheless navigate the secular reality does not seem a theological debate to me.

    PFnV

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