Placeholder Intro Post

This post is purely a placeholder intro post. I will try and fill it out as time goes with a mission statement, et al.

This is to be a place where distinct voices discuss and debate issues. The only points of agreement that we all share are:

 

Our Current State of Partisan Affairs is Not Working

Almost all political dialogue takes place on an outdated left/right spectrum. The left/right dichotomy is – and has been for a long time – nonsensical. Left and right are two sides of a coin that is no longer currency.  For example, look at the prediction that those Labour voters who went to UKIP would end up being Tories. They didn’t, most of them just went back to Labour. Here in America, there were more similarities between the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders (“extreme left”) and Donald Trump (“extreme right”) than with those candidates closer to them on the fake ideological spectrum.

Moreover, because our parties have become more closely ideologically aligned, we’ve come to use left and right as synonyms for Democrat and Republican. What determines the ideological bearing of an issue is generally related to which party supports it. But because parties are really just collections of interests, we have a mish-mash of positions that have no ideological coherence.

What’s worse is that our level of partisanship has become so intense it no longer resembles anything constructive. It’s simple “Team Red” vs “Team Blue” nonsense, as if this were sports. However, because we’ve elevated every issue to a life and death struggle (which they are unequivocally not) our level of dialogue is even stupider than you’d find between fans of opposing sports teams.

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are failing this country. For a variety of reasons, no less. And there’s no magic bullet, where if the Republicans were more moderate or the Democrats less moderate, that would change that. Unless we break our current dialogue out of this stifling, meaningless straitjacket, we will not find real solutions and make real progress.

 

The Issues of the Future are More Important Than the Issues of the Past

One of the great failings of any political system is that it does poorly at prioritizing long term solutions over short term benefits. There’s no clearer example of this than global climate change where, to make our own lives slightly easier, we’re causing massive future problems. But since those problems are being visited on the future, and not us, we keep enjoying our luxury, like some sort of temporal lebensraum.

Likewise, we focus far too heavily on things from our past because it’s easier to fight over that than to look forward. In 2016 a large portion of our Presidential election was fought over manufacturing jobs. In 2016. Not only have we long ago left behind being a manufacturing economy, we’re already  losing our service economy jobs.

This failure in our political leadership needs to be countered by bold ideas and bravely looking forward to determine how to build a better world.

 

This is the Domain of Outsiders

Because we’re focused on solving problems, that means that we’re inimically opposed to the status quo. Being an insider creates the need to maintain one’s position. This inevitably skews one’s thinking, whether consciously or not, and what they’re willing to say. Worse, it creates a bubble effect, where the insider does not even realize their thinking is being corrupted by a lack of exposure to real people and real world problems. If an idea or position seems like it would be applauded in the corridors of power, it probably needs more work.

 

No Idea is Off Limits

We are focused on actually improving the world, not being popular and/or propping up other people’s interests. Our partisan divide stifles dialogue which stifles policy innovation. There are legitimate reasons for an idea to not be desirable. It may not work because of specific reasons. It may be workable but wholly immoral.

However, if opposition to an idea is based on partisan hackery, or because it goes against an ideological sacred cow, that is illegitimate opposition. If opposition to an idea is based on “that’s impractical” or “people won’t support that” than the opposition is from someone who is either stupid or cowardly. Likewise, if support for an idea is based on “that’s how it’s always been done” than that idea has no support. A search for good ideas is one that is inherently disrespectful. The only rule is that it has to work.

 

Understand that Government is Not Omnipotent

Government can’t fix everything. But government can do some really powerful stuff. Unfortunately, we don’t ask ourselves the question of “Is government well cut out to handle this?” that often. Typically we take one of two extreme positions. The most popular one is that government can’t do anything good. This is the argument of a child. Ronald Reagan’s popular line that the nine most terrifying words are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” is incredibly stupid. I’m sure it wasn’t terrifying when American soldiers were freeing concentration camps (not that Reagan would know anything about what servicemen actually did in World War II). An extreme example, sure, but the argument of a child doesn’t deserve much thought.

The less latently popular, but perhaps more widespread, extreme is that if there’s a problem government can fix it. Even people who claim to dislike government still try and use government for their purposes. The problem is that government is bad at a lot of things. For example, we saw during both Prohibition and the War on Drugs that government is dreadful at combatting human desire. But we still insist on using it that way.

There’s some things that government can be great at fixing. There’s some things that we need society to fix. There’s some problems we need business to fix. Government is a tool, a powerful one, but still a tool. If you’re serious about fixing problems you need to look beyond it for some issues and make sure we’re using it where it can do the most good.

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