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Old 02-22-2013, 02:01 PM   #136
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Do you think this country has a bad values system? Is it changing? Is it improving or deteriorating?
How does one even go about answering a question like this? If your goal is to move the national political discussion into the realm of empty platitudes and sweeping generalizations, this thread should be the model.

The United States is extremely difficult to define because it's so diverse. You and I are both middle class white males, but you are from the midwest and I am from the northeast. That alone has a massive impact on how we have gotten to our respective places in life. We are of different age groups. That too has a massive impact. Now compare both of us to a woman from Oregon or a minority from Florida or a gay guy in Arizona.

So when you make statements about the entropy of this country, you're not actually saying anything. Such a diverse nation is always in a state of flux. Things are going to get better for some while they get worse for others. How that is balanced is also going to be in a state of flux, because that's just the natural order of things.

As a white, conservative and religious middle-aged man, you probably think things are getting worse because things are shifting to the liberal end of the spectrum socially. Gay marriage is being legalized, abortion is solidly legal and simply a political football at this point and more and more people are trying to do a better job taking care of the poor. Independently, these things have very little to do with you (gay marriage has literally no practical impact on you), but you dislike the culture shift these things all represent. I'm not sure why. I don't know why it's such a threat to you. Maybe it's because you associate them with economic policies you don't agree with. It is something I cannot wrap my head around because you can never explain it to me. All you do is jump behind everything in this thread, speaking in empty platitudes and sweeping generalizations.

Society is not getting better or worse because it can't. It's going to get better for some and worse for others because everyone values things differently.
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:13 PM   #137
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I don't have anything to add except this to the above post:

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:18 PM   #138
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I don't have anything to add except this to the above post:

Having several times seen this posted as support for a "stinging" rebuttal to one of my posts I would like to point out that Charles Foster Kane is in fact applauding inaptitude and failure.



Apropos to my whole point I guess as the inaptitude and failure of President Obama (and those that applaud him) to deal with the debt or provide the conditions and incentives for real economic growth only insures our national entropy.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:31 PM   #139
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l would like to second BoMac's post. VERY well put, PhilsFan.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #140
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This is his non answer for saying yes, he thinks you have bad values. This xenophobic, homophobic, ignorance monger thinks you have bad values. do you care?
JT, this crosses a line from disagreeing with the line of argument to insulting the one you're arguing with. Let's stick to the argument.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:41 PM   #141
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INDY, if your concern is with debt and budgets, I am not sure why you are fixated on President Obama and not the Congress (both Republican and Democratic), President Bush (talk about egregious spending), deregulation under both Clinton and Saint Reagan and so on. Your view of the US is so grim - surely to anyone who is intelligent, it would be obvious that if so, that was a long time in the making.

But many of your posts don't in fact have to do with economic matters, but social/cultural opinions and judgments. PhilsFan made some very good points in this thread. You seem unwilling to consider that many of us don't want to go back to what you think was ideal America because it sucked for us. Do you think that I am better off today than I would have been 40 or 50 years ago when your "values" ran supreme? Yeah, right. Irvine is right - the world has never been a better place to live than today, especially in the west. Where education is open to all, where race is still an issue but not the sole determinant of potential, where women can vote, work and have the right not to be beaten, raped or otherwise subjugated, where we recognize minority rights, where we recognize or are on the way to recognizing full gay rights, where employers can't force us to go down a mine shaft without safety equipment, where you don't die of smallpox, where medical care allows us to live longer, healthier lives, where scientific advancement is at its peak, where we can refrigerate our food, and on and on and on.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:05 PM   #142
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JT, this crosses a line from disagreeing with the line of argument to insulting the one you're arguing with. Let's stick to the argument.
What if I hide my insulting nature behind religion? Is it allowed then? Because Indy's 'values' are some of the most hateful and ignorant things in this part of the forum.

But because you're a good guy and I don't want to cause you any headaches, I'll lay off
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:47 AM   #143
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Apropos to my whole point I guess as the inaptitude and failure of President Obama (and those that applaud him) to deal with the debt or provide the conditions and incentives for real economic growth only insures our national entropy.
I really can't imagine that a President McCain or President Romney would have acted so much differently, other than that under them there would be no ACA (which is a piss-poor piece of legislation by the way. . .yeah, keep saying how we worship Obama and all he does, that'll make it true. . . ). But Obamacare alone can't account for the entire increase in the deficit.

The problem is that actions that would have made a real difference in the deficit would definitely have been deeply unpopular with the public and likely would have been even more harmful to the economy.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:07 AM   #144
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We did deal with the debt, a dozen years ago.
We were paying it down with a surplus.
Then the Bush years happened.

Nothing about Obama can be fairly assessed without looking at the nightmare he inherited. Not that he's made all the right steps since then...but still. It has been tough.

If growth were up, revenues would be up, the deficit would shrink.
Not disappear but shrink. And lots of austerity will kill growth.
We're in quite a fix. No great solutions and a bullshit congress left to right the ship.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:45 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post

Having several times seen this posted as support for a "stinging" rebuttal to one of my posts I would like to point out that Charles Foster Kane is in fact applauding inaptitude and failure.

Apropos to my whole point I guess as the inaptitude and failure of President Obama (and those that applaud him) to deal with the debt or provide the conditions and incentives for real economic growth only insures our national entropy.
Obama cannot deal with debt as long as neo-cons insist on a massive defense budget. No president can operate fiscally responsibly under the weight of that budget.
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Old 02-23-2013, 06:38 PM   #146
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Call it necessity, mutiny, entropy

- Paul Dempsey, Twenty Years, 2001
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:45 PM   #147
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How does one even go about answering a question like this? If your goal is to move the national political discussion into the realm of empty platitudes and sweeping generalizations, this thread should be the model.
What's wrong with generalizations if you can give examples to support them? Doesn't mean there aren't exceptions but what's wrong with "this is generally true"?
Quote:
The United States is extremely difficult to define because it's so diverse. You and I are both middle class white males, but you are from the midwest and I am from the northeast. That alone has a massive impact on how we have gotten to our respective places in life. We are of different age groups. That too has a massive impact. Now compare both of us to a woman from Oregon or a minority from Florida or a gay guy in Arizona.
You certainly know how to play to an audience. Dragging race and gender into any discussion will always garner enthusiast applause (literally) from any group of warm-blooded liberals. Smart move on your part but it has no bearing on this discussion.
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So when you make statements about the entropy of this country, you're not actually saying anything. Such a diverse nation is always in a state of flux. Things are going to get better for some while they get worse for others. How that is balanced is also going to be in a state of flux, because that's just the natural order of things.
You can't actually believe that? Yes "things are going to get better for some while they get worse for others" but in equal proportion or number? Then what's a recession, a recovery? It's not baseball where there is a loser for every winner.
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and more people are trying to do a better job taking care of the poor.
I assume you mean more and more people are expecting the government to do a better job at making the 1% "pay their fair share" because this country has a tremendous history that predates our Constitution of churches, civil groups, individual donations of time and money and private philanthropy taking care of those in true need. Which is not to say the isn't a role for government but please...

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All you do is jump behind everything in this thread, speaking in empty platitudes and sweeping generalizations.
And your post wasn't. In fact, in all your time here who else have you critiqued for using "sweeping generalizations" in an internet posting?
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Society is not getting better or worse because it can't. It's going to get better for some and worse for others because everyone values things differently.
Again, that's absurd. In fact Irving claims in this thread that life has never been better (true by some measures) and that the world only spins forward (a sweeping generalization if there ever was one).

And here's an example of society going backwards. I thought we discussed this in a thread but I can't find it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/op...ght.html?_r=1&

Quote:
By DAVID BROOKSPublished: September 12, 2011

Smith and company asked about the young people’s moral lives, and the results are depressing.

The interviewers asked open-ended questions about right and wrong, moral dilemmas and the meaning of life. In the rambling answers, which Smith and company recount in a new book, “Lost in Transition,” you see the young people groping to say anything sensible on these matters. But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so.

The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste. “It’s personal,” the respondents typically said. “It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say?”

Smith and company found an atmosphere of extreme moral individualism — of relativism and nonjudgmentalism. Again, this doesn’t mean that America’s young people are immoral. Far from it. But, Smith and company emphasize, they have not been given the resources — by schools, institutions and families — to cultivate their moral intuitions, to think more broadly about moral obligations, to check behaviors that may be degrading. In this way, the study says more about adult America than youthful America.

In most times and in most places, the group was seen to be the essential moral unit. A shared religion defined rules and practices. Cultures structured people’s imaginations and imposed moral disciplines. But now more people are led to assume that the free-floating individual is the essential moral unit. Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now it’s thought of as something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart.
Again, a failure of my generation but you don't see a problem?
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:58 PM   #148
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"Smith has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Most recently, he was awarded the Lilly Fellows Program Distinguished Book Award in 2011 for his 2009 book, co-authored with Patricia Snell, Souls in Transition: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. He was also awarded Christianity Today’s 2010 Distinguished Book Award for the same book, Souls in Transition: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults.[4] He previously won Christianity Today’s 2005 Distinguished Book Award for his 2005 book, co-authored with Melinda Lundquist Denton, Soul Searching: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers. Michael Emerson and Smith’s Divided by Faith was the winner of the “2001 Outstanding Book Award" from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Smith is also the winner of the 2001-2002 Excellence in Mentoring Award, from the Graduate Student Association of the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and winner of the 1995-96 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Sociology Graduate Student Association Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. He was co-author on 1999 “Outstanding Article Award,” granted by the American Sociological Association Section on the Sociology of Religion, for Mark Regnerus and Christian Smith, “Selective Deprivatization Among American Religious Traditions: the Reversal of the Great Reversal,” in Social Forces, in 1998."

yep, no bias there
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:13 PM   #149
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INDY, if your concern is with debt and budgets, I am not sure why you are fixated on President Obama and not the Congress (both Republican and Democratic), President Bush (talk about egregious spending), deregulation under both Clinton and Saint Reagan and so on. Your view of the US is so grim - surely to anyone who is intelligent, it would be obvious that if so, that was a long time in the making.[/quote]

I did as much in my opening post, first paragraph but I'll say it again, the world had never witnessed a greater or more irresponsible spender of money than George W Bush and the GOP congress until... 2009 when Barack Obama and the Dems took it to all new levels, and don't see a problem!!

Quote:
But many of your posts don't in fact have to do with economic matters, but social/cultural opinions and judgments. PhilsFan made some very good points in this thread. You seem unwilling to consider that many of us don't want to go back to what you think was ideal America because it sucked for us. Do you think that I am better off today than I would have been 40 or 50 years ago when your "values" ran supreme?
What value was that? We have not always lived up to our values if that's what you mean but conservatism isn't a rigid defense of the status quo. We seek reform that will preserve and improve the civil society and individual liberty. It's not about going back but about having reform goals (as opposed to just "change" as a goal) and knowing when we're headed in the wrong direction.
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Yeah, right. Irvine is right - the world has never been a better place to live than today, especially in the west. Where education is open to all, where race is still an issue but not the sole determinant of potential, where women can vote, work and have the right not to be beaten, raped or otherwise subjugated, where we recognize minority rights, where we recognize or are on the way to recognizing full gay rights, where employers can't force us to go down a mine shaft without safety equipment, where you don't die of smallpox, where medical care allows us to live longer, healthier lives, where scientific advancement is at its peak, where we can refrigerate our food, and on and on and on.
Many things are better but Western Civ wil soon find out if the Cut-flower thesis on values is true.
The Theistic Ethics and the cut-flower thesis | Your Online ACADEMIC & Entertainment Magazine

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Believing generally that morality is based on the Supernatural, religious ethicists maintain that religion is necessary for the continued survival of morality as an integral part of human life. Glenn C. Graber calls this apologetic claim the “cut-flowers thesis” (1972, pp. 1-5) which consists of a hypothetical judgment that, “Morality cannot survive, in the long run, if its ties to religion are cut.” This proposition is a prediction of what would happen to morality if it were severed from religion. Leo Tolstoy in 1894 made the following early statement of this thesis:

“The attempts to found a morality apart from religion are like the attempts of children who, wishing to transplant a flower that pleases them, pluck it from the roots that seem to them unpleasing and superfluous, and stick it rootless into the ground. Without religion there can be no real, sincere morality, just as without roots there can be no real flower” (1964, pp. 31-32).
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:23 PM   #150
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You certainly know how to play to an audience. Dragging race and gender into any discussion will always garner enthusiast applause (literally) from any group of warm-blooded liberals. Smart move on your part but it has no bearing on this discussion.
You're the one who did that by mentioning the countries and cultures who are not prosperous. And when it was pointed out how xenophobic it was, you backpedaled and said it was all about capitalism and democracy, not race or religion.



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And here's an example of society going backwards. I thought we discussed this in a thread but I can't find it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/op...ght.html?_r=1&



Again, a failure of my generation but you don't see a problem?
This comment is from the same NYTimes article. It was the most rated and sums up what I'd like to say:

A basic principle of good social science is that there be some basis for comparison between the group being studied and other groups which might possess the same qualities if such a study was done of them. I teach these kids as a college professor and they are no worse at moral dilemmas than the generations that raised them (I am a member of one of those generations--boomers). My parents generation had many fine qualities but was accustomed to all sorts of moral assumptions--about people from other racial groups, cultures, and in the case of men, about women--that are no longer considered moral.
It sounds like yet another groups of elders trashing the "younguns" because it makes them feel more virtuous. Same as it ever was. I find Brooks latching on to this pseudo science far more depressing than the so called finding.


America is not descending into anarchy. Young people are not going to murder or steal and not care. Whatever problems we've had have been around for a long time, and they're nothing new.
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