1. Durl

    In George Marshall’s address when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, he said: When there is want and deprivation “people turn to false promises or dictators because they are hopeless for anything that promises something better than the miserable existence they endure.”

    This is the state we are in politically. People do not research their candidates’ positions, their past promises (and how/if they were kept), etc. Instead, they listen for the sound bite that addresses the complaint they have with the current “system”.

    We make people take a test to get a driver’s license, but not to vote. Maybe it’s time to change that.

  2. M

    I think we’re the first “civilization” that’s wealthy enough to indulge in any viewpoint that suits our whim (with the possible exception of the British Empire before us.)

    I was driving down the Interstate today and found myself listening to conservative talk radio and was appalled at the absence of facts.

    Equally disturbing, as a liberal/libertarian/progressive there are “liberal” internet fora that I won’t go near for the politically correct “gotcha” games that get played — ones where every conceivable personal quirk rises to the level of a “protected class.”

    The U.S. is still one of a handful of countries where a citizen can choose to identify as a conservative or liberal without it actually mattering all that much — at a level. We choose political affiliations the way we choose phones or neighborhoods or favorite sports team.

    Much of the world still operates at levels best described as “hunter-gatherer” relative to our own and, accordingly, their choices are far more limited and constrained. (Half of the worlds’ population has still never made a telephone call according to some sources.)

    The EU, with twice the population, still only roughly equals our GDP. Russia is an endless series of failed revolutions. China’s middle class now exceeds our entire population but they have the pesky problem of the remaining billion who are still largely impoverished; for them the problems we “think” we have in terms of social and economic stratification and class warfare are actually very real, ready to simmer over at any moment.

    “It’s not enough to succeed, others must also fail” — Gore Vidal.

    Forty percent of our food is wasted according the news I overheard yesterday. That’s a stunning statistic, the value of the food we waste is probably enough to fund extraordinary infrastructure and social change.

    Some common sense rebalancing would be nice across the political spectrum but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Eddie Cazayoux

    Another great article Joe. “We have found the enemy, and it is us”. I think it is a problem with who is allowed to vote. But how could we limit that to only those who are informed? And of course we should not limit that. So it means that all need to be informed. How do we do that? And will that make a difference to many of them? I think not. This is out of control for sure. That is why some want to control the size of government. When government is bigger than the corporations and unions, it is hard for them to control the government. And Lord help us if our representatives start to think for themselves or act on our behalf.

    We, through our representatives should be controlling the government. But we only have two views of how to do that – and they are at odds with each other and getting more extreme every day. Our representatives are not allowed to think for themselves or act on our behalf because they are controlled by their party. This two party system is killing us. If you took the 70% of citizens who are just a little to the left or right of center and created another party, that would solve the problem. The two parties make you think that we are so far apart that neither one is reasonable. They keep us angry and scared. Only they can solve the problems.

    When our representatives are not influenced by the ones who support keeping them in office will we have any chance of making reasonable change in this country. Take the money out of politics!

    • Bookscrounger

      A lot of interesting comments.

      I will say this, and it is intuitive, no entirely logical/scientific. A center party would be very successful. It would also create a monopoly.

      Human beings being who we are, I just have to believe that it would quickly split into two factions, and then back into two parties…

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