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The Continental Divide

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posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 10:18 AM
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NOTE: this is not a Mud Pit thread. If you want to throw mud at me. I am in the Pit in many places. This is intended to be an ATS-worthy discussion.

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Like many, I have watched the development of what is easily the wildest election cycle in memory. And like many, I have been disgusted by the depths people seem willing to go to in support of one candidate over another.

The big question in my mind has been why. We are all Americans. We share a commonality.

I believe I have found the reason.

By that I do not mean that one candidate is better than the other, or that one philosophy or party is superior to the other. In truth, I never paid much attention to the letter beside the names. I always tried to look at the policies, the core beliefs, and the integrity of the candidates. And in truth, that last quality is sometimes quite difficult to find.

I not only accept the fact that opinions on political issues differ, but I celebrate that fact. It is our strength, theoretically assuring that the best policies are the ones that go into effect. Like evolutionary theory, the best survive because they have more to offer. But that theory presupposes something: that people will use critical thinking to make such important decisions.

According to this cycle, that may well not be a valid assumption.

It takes 20 years for ideas to come to the forefront, and 30 years for policies to develop from vague societal attitudes. A good example was the flower children movement of the 1960s. Go back 20 years and we have a society tired of but somewhat removed from war, and growing in prosperity. People were looking forward wearily to a world free from war and oppression. That's what the 60s protests were about: peace, harmony, and love. But the political scene was different, concerned with protecting national interests and national security... a direct reflection of societal attitudes during and just after WWIII, 30 years earlier.

This same general timeline continues throughout recent history, and makes sense. It takes about 20 years for children to grow into adulthood, and a child's outlook on life is primarily influenced by the attitudes of their parents when they were young. But young adults do not make policy; older adults do. So policy has to wait another decade.

What does this have to do with the present electoral turmoil? Let's look back 30 years.

1980s: It was the "me" decade, marked by a new prosperity and a penchant for technology and gadgets. The economy was recovering from the 1970s and science led the way. TV was being enhanced by new video recording mechanisms, music was suddenly easily portable, and money was, for most, plentiful. With this wave of consumerism came a new interest in business, complete with new ideas on how it should work. Some succeeded, many failed. So policy today reflects that philosophy: science has all the answers, is unlimited in its omnipotence, and business works with science to give everything to everybody. Today's policy rejects the policies of yesteryear: hard work, self-sufficiency, sacrifice for a greater good.

1990s: people seemed to become bored with consumerism and turned their attention and wealth to causes. Environmentalism resurged, humanitarianism became popular, and science and technology were taken for granted. Today's youth, 20 years later, preach these things again. They are out to change the world, and they feel they have unlimited resources to do it.

But the two cannot coexist... and I would say neither can exist singularly for very long. Science does have limits, and we are pushing those every day, with precious little money left to support it. Business has become business-driven instead of customer-driven, existing for itself because that is assumed to be best for the customers. That has led to power abuses that would have shocked people a few decades ago. And amid a struggling economy and shrinking customer base with less buying power, the desperate attempts to maintain business for the sake of business has led to governmental intrusion into the business world and effective Oligarchy.

Enter the youth, caring not about money but assuming there will always be plenty for their particular cause. Since their cause is often assistance to one group of 'oppressed' people or another, people who are becoming desperate to maintain some semblance of a standard of living, their cries for assistance are amplified by their beneficiaries... and a government floundering in debt and questionable at best business involvements is quick to appease, lest their own dirty laundry be exposed.

Policymakers bent on making money, desperate to maintain their unsustainable world view, forced into appeasing protesters whose sole purpose is to protest and who will defend the veracity of their 'humanitarianism' to the bitter end. And then there are those from before who are wondering how either can possibly be blind to what's truly going on. And we're seeing the breakdown of both systems of thought as they prey on each other to the death of them both.

It is said that a starving man will do anything for food. Policymakers are starving, not for food, but for money and power, and will stoop to any level to maintain their status. They will lie, cheat, steal, kill, destroy as long as they can maintain. Protesters are starving for money as well, and they have seen that attention makes them get noticed. They will do anything to get that attention to promote their cause, collusion, cheating, espionage, even demonization of entire cultures, to get it.

Two diametrically opposed world views, feeding off each other and sustaining each other.

No wonder we are seeing this disaster unfold. And it begs the question: what will become of us in the next decade, when the newer generation is the protesters and the protesters of today are the policymakers?

What does ATS think?

TheRedneck




posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 10:33 AM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

I don't think much of anything will significantly happen. My reasoning?

Because we'll have the same congress. There are no term limits for congress. They will never vote to give themselves term limits.

So the status quo will continue.

Taxes will slowly rise, regardless of who's in office.
Freedoms will gradually erode, regardless of who's in office.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 10:43 AM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

I am a little confused are you saying the youth are to blame for the political divdide that is going on currently??



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 10:51 AM
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a reply to: American-philosopher

I'm saying we have two diametrically opposed, inherently unsustainable philosophies who are at odds but also operating symbiotically. The discord we see in the election is all about these philosophies fighting tooth and nail for validation, and the present state of politics is due to both the unsustainability and collusion.

I am actually starting to believe the next generation of youth will be more classical conservative, rejecting the new-age ideals. That would be another huge clash of ideals.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 11:07 AM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

Fully accepting the OP as the reference and primary source...Not baiting you here into over-simplifying your argument...

But being honest in that I am floundering a little in digesting the two diametrically opposed philosophies you speak of that might be clashing this election cycle.

Can you give me the cliff-notes? An more succinct and abbreviated summary...and understanding I can reference the Op for deeper detail or clarification?



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 11:17 AM
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originally posted by: TheRedneck
a reply to: American-philosopher

I am actually starting to believe the next generation of youth will be more classical conservative, rejecting the new-age ideals. That would be another huge clash of ideals.

TheRedneck


I can say this. I heard a pollster explain that this election, the younger voters include more independents than ever before. 2012 Independent youth votes polled at something 13%..now it is 30%...and they are mix of conservative and liberal ideals.

What we might witness is the emergence of a reactionary movement to the partisanship that has steadily grown and perhaps peaked.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 11:22 AM
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a reply to: Indigo5

I'll try...

There are theories out that society is cyclic, and that these cycles are driven by the interactions between parents and young children at an early age. If the parents are well-off economically, the children grow up very liberal financially; if the parents are scrapped constantly for cash, the children grow up fiscally conservative.

I say it goes farther, that parents pass on to their children ideas that are based in the interests of their parents... meaning that if the majority of the country becomes intrigued with a philosophy, for example humanitarianism, for a short time, that philosophy will re-emerge permanently in their children 20 years later, and can become socially normalized a decade after that.

The 1980s philosophy was about making money and having the latest conveniences science could offer. The 1990s were a decade of relative wealth and attention to ecology, environmentalism, humanitarianism, etc. What we are seeing now is a clash between policymakers with 1980s philosophy and youth with 1990s philosophy. The two are both unsustainable (there is a limit to how big a business can grow, and to how much money can go to a single cause) and therefore an alliance has developed between the different philosophies as they both try to survive. But the two philosophies are diametrically opposed; one wants money for self, the other wants to use that money for causes. And the economic realities of the policymakers' actions mean there's not enough to go around any more.

Think it over for a while... hopefully this will help a little. It's a complex concept, to be sure.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 11:28 AM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

Interesting and actually a fairly popular view. I have a different take on it because I was a conservative youth during the hippie years and as it progressed, I had my eyes opened to the experience of inequality for women and minorities and the poor.

We have always been a spectrum, but the voices that speak the loudest are not necessarily the voice of the nation. The ones who win are not necessarily the choice of the majority (Bush Junior, for example.) In the past, our ability to dialogue was face-to-face or via newspaper or television where you were accountable for your words to the neighborhood (in the case of a face-to-face) or to fact-checking reporters. In addition (and an important and overlooked point) our tv and movie and radio stories were about "heroes"; the good guy who brought justice but was accountable to his neighbors. On the Internet you could say things but if you made a hate page or ripoff page, people could complain to your ISP (I was part of two organized groups who hunted scammers and pedophiles) and get you kicked off Internet. CancelMooses (I was one) kept the Usenet dialogue somewhat civil and in line with loose community standards.

There was fear, yes, but we were safe in America.

Enter the "universal Internet."

Now you can say anything to anyone and unless there's a community monitor, you can get away with harassment or threats or doxxing. Those who like excitement and who want to engage in a war of words (which we all do sometimes) will join you against a victim. Nothing is too extreme and there are places where you can get a group of people together for some "fun revenge" on someone who said something you don't like. Newspapers and magazines started accepting blogs and citizen reports and cutting the jobs of paid reporters. They opened comments for stories and anything went, with many articles turning into flamefests. And our movies are about anti-heroes who want to watch the world burn "just for fun" and are godlike and not accountable to their neighbors and heaven help you if you try to turn them off. Cops become snipers, not problem-solvers for the neighborhood.

Everyone lives in fear and anyone can put up any sort of web page saying anything they like and almost none get removed.

Game theory predicts the divide will become even greater.

I'd like to see songwriters and storytellers and administrators (and conspiracy theorists) turn it around. Nowadays very little fact checking is done and any drunk idea can show up as a conspiracy or worse. People implicitly believe them and there's little critical thinking... or what passes for it is simply accepting the first premise and seeing how they can support it without checking the premise.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 11:28 AM
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(ATS liked my post so well that it double-posted it. Thanks, server-gods!)
edit on 14-9-2016 by Byrd because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 01:26 PM
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a reply to: Byrd

Well, it was a good post. No wonder the server liked it so much.


You bring up two points that I did not address in my OP. One is the phenomenon of increasing rudeness in society. I remember in my youth, when things at least on the surface were more civil, the reason was rooted in my early youth experiences. Back then, if you spoke to another person, you were either looking them in the eye or were on the phone with someone who lived in your town (long distance was available but extremely expensive). That meant that if you insulted the person you were talking to, you had an expectation of either a fist meeting your jaw immediately, or the possibility that someone was going to show up at your door with an extremely bad attitude.

It was fairly easy to learn to couch one's words.

Today we have the Internet with all its blogs, texting, cell phones, long distance, social media... the person you are talking to is somewhere on the planet; that's all one knows. There is no real chance they will be able to find you in person or that you will be able to find them. That anonymity has destroyed most of the forced respect children learned back when, and therefore has diminished the amount of respect adults have come to appreciate.

I'll be honest: there have been things said to me here, on these boards, that I would have hospitalized someone (or been hospitalized) over had we been face to face... things I would never say to another human ever.

Back to the original OP, I see this phenomena as an amplification of the phenomenon I started this thread with.

The second point was that I have generalized societal behavior; none of what I have written here is indicative that it would apply to all individuals. Taken together, the actions of any group of individuals can be considered as a random variable, and probably a Gaussian random variable. There will be a mean and a variance on any aspect of society, and that mean and variance will itself change with respect to time. I am speaking of mean behaviors and attitudes. Individual attitude and behavior can (and do) exist outside that mean.

Thanks again for a great addition to the thread.


TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 04:49 PM
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a reply to: TheRedneck
Consider also that once we had socially crafted heroes - the scientists (Einstein, Asimov), movie stars (Cary Grant, etc) and the rest who had advisors that got them prominently placed. Loudmouths with no real content weren't featured anywhere though the occasional loudmouth with something to say did get attention (Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali.)

Now our crafted heroes are "anyone who makes outrageously loud noise." We run to them, like running to a train wreck, to spectate. Spectators feed them and increase their popularity.

We need to spectate better things and better people.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 05:45 PM
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I don't really have anything of substance to add but I wanted to at least bump the thread and show my appreciation.

There's some astute observations here, both from you and Byrd.

I think what we need is a boxing glove contraption beside our computers, that way the most obnoxious of us would get put in our place. I wouldn't fancy my chances in that World but I always were a good scrapper.

I'm thinking maybe I could add a little something after all. I think we're going to keep seeing a cultural decline in the West, simply because we have reached peak prosperity. There are so many factors at play here but personally I believe in a cyclical non linear theory of history and time in a mystical sense.. I think the current decline of the US have precedents earlier in history and that in some sense the US is a "reincarnation" of Rome and even possibly Atlantis(if you believe in such things).

And maybe a decline or a fall is exactly what is needed at this point, I can't be the only one that sees the rampant decadence of the modern World and thinks of it in those terms. Something has to die in order for something new to take its place. There are so many problems we face now that the 90's are starting to look positively idyllic in comparison. And at the same time there are so many paradigm shifts underway that I feel like this is one of the most volatile and interesting times we've had in a really long time.

In terms of what this topic is specifically about I don't really know what to say except that maybe it will take 20 more years before some of the conspiracy facts we so often discuss here are openly acknowledged. I was personally hoping for maybe 10 or 15 years but maybe 20 is more realistic.

As far as liberalism and the generational thing I'm thinking that you may be on point with your comment on the younger generations becoming more conservative, mainly as a reaction to the peak political correctness that we are experiencing right now. This would be part of a larger trend that would be a reaction to postmodernity itself with its renunciation of objective reality and the embracement of solipsism. The reaction would favour critical thinking and all the aspects that originally made Western civilisation so great. These sentiments as well as the rise of "the alternative" would be in direct opposition to the "Brave New World" and this clash would be played out on the cultural landscape.

Just some speculation, some thoughts. Interesting thread. S&F



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 05:48 PM
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Both sides of the American political divide are brainwashed. And we're being brainwashed by the media we watch, read and listen to.

If we all stopped listening to talk radio, tv news and biased print journaism, we would be free and we would come together.

Think about something for a minute. I'll only mention one guy...on the right but I could say the same about most on the left...I'll even throw out Bill Maher as a cohort here, but ...what is Rush Limbaugh's Job? The answer? His job is to divide us.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 06:43 PM
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Here's another point to consider - cultures within culture.


originally posted by: TheRedneck
a reply to: Byrd
I'll be honest: there have been things said to me here, on these boards, that I would have hospitalized someone (or been hospitalized) over had we been face to face... things I would never say to another human ever.


There's a huge difference in our two cultures right there.

While I come from a military background (make no mistake about it - I could kill someone in the right situation and lose no sleep), the idea of being violent against someone on that level is foreign to me (and my sibling and my parents and my kids and my nieces and nephews (and also foreign to my non-military husband's family... with two notable exceptions.)

My heroes (they didn't have any for girls, so I adopted male heroes) were Bat Masterson, The Rifleman, Matt Dillon, Zorro, Spock, etc - violence could be used but was never exchanged over words (that's what the "bad guys" in these stories did... fought over words.) There's a realm of "things where it is justified" and "things where it is not justified."

As I'm teaching about the Crusades, the context of "justified wars" ("justified violence") comes into mention frequently - along with the knowledge of how this "justification" changed over the ages as Europe lost and then lost again. It's a kind of mission creep.

We see this creep in "allowed acts of violence" today when words, choice of friends, choice of cliques, rejection of a dating proposal are all situations that some people think call for violence as a good and necessary response.

...but I'm waxing philosophical. Pizza does that to me.



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 08:24 PM
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a reply to: Byrd


We need to spectate better things and better people.

I am not convinced we even have heroes any more, at least not in the sense we used to. Maybe that's the price for our present technological prowess.

As you mentioned, heroes were once carefully crafted. They appeared on the Silver Screen and in orchestrated events. The rest of their lives were private. I'm sure John Wayne himself had moments he was thankful there were no cameras around.

No disrespect to the Duke intended.

But now, everyone who dares step into the public spotlight is stuck in that spotlight 24/7. Hoards of shutterbug follow them around just hoping to get a shot of them at an inopportune moment. And let's face it: we're all human. No one can be perfect every moment.

Perhaps that is another aspect of that void I postulated people trying to fill with electronic communication. Perhaps we subconsciously need heroes to help us aspire to greater things, or perhaps it is the desperate search for a hero that causes us to so easily tear them down.

And maybe that's a large part of the present political turmoil as well: in the futile search for real role models, we latch onto the closest thing we can find: the carefully moderated and heavily scripted politician who promises us a Utopia in every garage. In any case, you make a valid observation.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 14 2016 @ 08:55 PM
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a reply to: TheLaughingGod

Thank you for the compliments... and the bump.

You may well have a point. If so, it's one I would like to forget. I cannot deny wondering, however, if this pattern is not something inherent in human nature that prevents us from progressing far past our present point. After all, the phenomena I detailed in the OP can be considered as an amplification of originally transient tendencies... the very definition of instability. That's not a healthy thing for a species.

Perhaps we are just another incarnation of the civilizations you mentioned, destined to fail. I really would like to think not. I prefer to think that we can somehow find it within ourselves to overcome the problems we face. I like to think that, but unfortunately thinking a thing does not make a thing true.

TheRedneck.



posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: amazing

Rush Limbaugh (who I used to listen to until I realized what a liar he was) opened the door to a slew of political pundits who realized they could make money by stirring up political turmoil. I see him and those who followed his footsteps as a symptom, not a cause of the underlying problem: the huge political and philosophical divide between the young and those in power... and of course, those not in either category.

It is the strife between two diametrically opposing viewpoints that has caused the divide, and the desperate attempts to force a failing materialistic philosophy that has caused those in power to use divisive issues to protect themselves from consolidated public retaliation. It has worked well so far. Those you mention have no doubt aided the divisions, but I don't believe they were the ones who started them.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 06:36 PM
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originally posted by: TheRedneck
a reply to: amazing

Rush Limbaugh (who I used to listen to until I realized what a liar he was) opened the door to a slew of political pundits who realized they could make money by stirring up political turmoil. I see him and those who followed his footsteps as a symptom, not a cause of the underlying problem: the huge political and philosophical divide between the young and those in power... and of course, those not in either category.

There was an interesting observation on my Facebook feed today from a history professor who was judging high school debate tournaments this weekend. The professor observed that arguments from schools that had an active debate team and encouraged debate in classes (more elite public schools with art and music, etc) did better in debate tournaments and actually had good critical thinking and analysis skills.

Those from schools that just focused on the basics were not able to analyze arguments (or information) and had poor critical thinking skills.

So there's not only a political and philosophical divide in the country, but there's also a different in analytical skills. I thin this leads to the rise of the Dunning-Kruger effect in our political discourse.



posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 09:45 PM
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a reply to: Byrd

To be honest, I had never heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect until now.. it does appear to be accurate, based on my personal observations.

I wish I knew why education has dwindled so dismally in the US. There's no denying that it has done so, but the decline seems to defy efforts to tie it to any single time period or philosophy. Many have worsened the decline, but the decline itself has occurred over a broad time span.

All I can attribute it to is a growing sense of apathy among Americans. If all one is truly interested in is making a living, education can be difficult in hard economic times and appear unnecessary in good economic times. It's like an old joke about a leaking roof.. when it's leaking, the weather is too bad to fix it, and when the weather is good there's no reason to fix it.

TheRedneck



posted on Sep, 15 2016 @ 11:51 PM
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originally posted by: TheRedneck
a reply to: Byrd

To be honest, I had never heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect until now.. it does appear to be accurate, based on my personal observations.

I wish I knew why education has dwindled so dismally in the US. There's no denying that it has done so, but the decline seems to defy efforts to tie it to any single time period or philosophy. Many have worsened the decline, but the decline itself has occurred over a broad time span.


In part, it's the overconfidence of the Internet. The "I can google and get a six sentence answer and don't need to look further" idea and the rise of non-moderated information. Got a theory? It's bound to be as good as one from a PhD. In fact, they should give you a PhD for it! What do those PhDs know anyway? And scientists. Everyone knows it's a scam.

And armchair ideas are celebrated as "thinking out of the box" based on these non-critical thinking skills and brief research.

Scholarship is then seen as a "sell-out."

Look at the people who are celebrated in our culture. It's not scientists and doctors and astronauts and so forth -- it's sports heroes and musicians and the wealthy and media stars who often get away with disgusting behavior (killing animals for fun (dog fighting in other words)), spousal abuse, and more and walk away from the courts and other responsibilities with no consequences other than a slight loss of income.

This is not true in other countries, but until we get better heroes and role models in our lives, we're gonna see thug logic and shallow thinking.



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