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Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 10/31/12 questions and discussion

From: Mike M.
Sent on: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 9:20 PM
I wish I could easily & quickly refute Siva's assertion. I cannot. Although I think his reference to the 4-year-old is a bit overstated, Americans are not very interested in global matters nor in any evidence that we are not ''above average''. It is our belief that we are leading the world out of darkness. Our incredible affluence and frontier hangover have contributed greatly to this notion. International studies all support the trend that America is losing ground to other nations. Too many of us were raised to be consumers; not much else required. I suppose the case can be made that sleeping dogs should be left to lie, and that a small group of people and their machines should be left to run the country. A well educated populace might turn this country into a new Wild West.
The rock & roll singer Frank Zappa (anyone remember him), said that in high school chemistry he was taught that hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe. He said that he later learned that ignorance is.

From: Siva <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, November 6,[masked]:30 PM
Subject: Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 10/31/12 questions and discussion

Question can't be answered honestly without sounding condescending to
the country.

The majority of American electorate can't handle ANY complexity that's
beyond what an average 4-year-old could grasp.

I occasionally post in various political forums online.  The number of
"Obama is a commie Muslim" and "Romney's gonna lower our taxes"
remarks there shows that the level of understanding of various issues
demonstrates this fact.

Europeans often criticize Americans for being their utter ignorance of
the world, and their extremely superficial analysis of global issues.


On 11/6/12, Jon Anderson <[address removed]> wrote:
> 10/31/12 questions and discussion
> 1-how much complexity can democracy handle?
> ==============================
> Jon: Last night at the Burnsville Socrates Cafe this was the question. The
> assumption inside it is that we have become so complicated culturally and
> technologically that our form of governance may no longer be able to deal
> effectively with it. I think the complexity has more or less always been
> with us, without change. It has been unrecognized, like civil rights,
> women's suffrage/equality, and nowadays our gay/lesbian citizens' human
> rights recognitions. Technology, on the other hand, almost seems to have a
> life of its own. It is an increasingly complex thing without precedent:
> something from nothing. I am not excessively concerned about cultural
> complexity but technology is already changing so fast that almost no one is
> truly keeping up with it and it's known and unknown consequences.
> Lucy: men have been deciding things for women for a real long time.
> Art: is there any system that would work better? We’re in a transition
> where, ironically, bullies are being called bullies and complaining of
> discrimination! The tendency to be against individualism is offensive to me.
> Consensus, or thinking the same, is wrong. Different ideas, opinions,
> interests are necessary.
> Lucy: democracy, except for those who want no one to vote, is always
> evolving and it’s hard to make changes to it. Like “ranked voting” St. Paul
> voters voted for, people were very confused as to how it is done. That added
> complexity and made people mad or confused, yet they wanted it in the
> previous voting! It seems we can’t handle some new complexities. Not enough
> of us are engaged.
> Eric: I don’t care who gets elected!
> Jon: are we too limited -- as  either a species or a culture -- to deal with
> increasing complexity?
> Eric: I do care what happens. Organizations I belong to do give me reasons
> to vote. It goes to the paradox of choice: the more choice you have the less
> well you choose. So I do think we’re becoming too complicated. We need a
> paradigm shift from the way that we have been looking at the idea of
> freedom.
> Jon: last night Andrew -- a member in Burnsville who was born and raised in
> the UK --  claimed that the reason Britain has no election seasons like we
> do here is mainly because that country has no constitution. That is to say,
> freedom of speech is not protected by an overarching document, so no one can
> argue -- no corporations can argue -- about money being equal to speech and
> it's expression/uses being free.
> Jamie: some of the complexity is from us forgetting how complicated it is to
> recognize simple truths (women’s vote, etc). Things that get avoided are
> sometimes perceived as too complicated to deal with. We’re looking at things
> through what survives. Certain things connect to people better.
> Jon: I recently learned a bit about Elizabeth Sanger’s. I. The early 20th
> century she opened our first contraception clinic and was arrested for
> indecency. Not even doctors could discuss contraception with their women
> patients! This kind of prevention seems aimed at creating and maintaining
> the illusion of simplicity. Of course, the reality behind these illusions is
> much more complex. Maybe these illusions are maintained because we don't
> think we "can handle the truth"?
> Mike: (Sanger is also notorious for her racism and eugenics notions). We’re
> going to vote next week on the voter ID law and I’m going to vote to support
> it. I will be the first to acknowledge there is almost no voter fraud. It
> may be true that it’s intended to keep certain segments of our society from
> voting and that may be true. I agree with Art that we’re entering upon
> uncharted territory. Some say we’re totally failed at solar energy here in
> the US. Out in New Mexico a project will soon provide solar electricity for
> many homes. All of our complexity hinges on access to energy. Our complexity
> is due totally to reliable energy. If reliability goes away/energy goes
> away, there goes complexity! We need to get the voter IDs organized for
> everybody, make it easier. We need to get more organized.
> Jon: taken to its limit, "labor saving devices" mean there will one day be
> no human labor, no work! Is that simple or complicated?
> Art: it's silly. We will always have work to do. Machines will never do all
> our work.
> Lucy: Nazi Germany used Walking Papers to enforce their "simple" rules as to
> who could and could not be there. It was to oppress whomever they considered
> enemies of the state. Presently, most US states have rejected the National
> ID requirements created some years ago. How simple will voting be with any
> of the new ID requirements? How complex?
> Jamie: those who normally don't vote might be fearful of needing an ID,
> thereby harming efforts to get out the vote.
> Jon: Art emphasizes our "simple" need to -- as a culture/species --
> emphasize individualism. There are some 300 million people in the US. 300
> million individuals. That's not complex?
> Art: Hubert Humphrey changed everything. He opened that convention with a
> Civil Rights stand (1948) when he in the Senate. I’m worried that over a
> billion dollars has been spent on this election filling the airwaves with
> bad information. I agree with the issues the Green Party values (though I
> don’t agree with their solutions) and all that money is spent trying to keep
> politics “simple.”
> Jon: in an effort to present a simple image of America as a strong nation,
> JFK and his administration kept secret the deal they made with Russia.
> Kennedy agreed to remove nuclear weapons from Turkey in exchange for the
> USSR removing theirs from Cuba. We had our missiles removed months later to
> prevent the citizenry from seeing the two events as linked. This true
> information came to light sometime in the 80s but the false image of the US
> as strong stuck, making our leadership hesitant to make deals, I think
> helping create a dysfunctional federal government attitude: "You're either
> with us or you're with the terrorists," "We don't negotiate with
> terrorists," our reasons for remaining in Vietnam, our reasons for invading
> Iraq, etc.
> --
> Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on
> this mailing list ([address removed])
> This message was sent by Jon Anderson ([address removed]) from The Saint
> Paul Socrates Cafe.
> To learn more about Jon Anderson, visit his/her member profile:
> Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York[masked] |
> [address removed]

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