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Independent Thought

  1. 0
    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    We all know about the fallacy of ad populum, or, as it is more commonly known, appeal to the majority.  A majority of people believe X.  What a majority of people believe is true.  Therefore X is true.  Most of us can identify when someone else engages in this sort of "reasoning," but what about within ourselves?

    The most common place this occurs is in morality.  Don't lie, cheat, steal, etc.  Most people don't really understand much of the basis to these beliefs; instead, they just go with what they've been told by whatever society they live.  So, if they had been born in another society, their "conscience" would lead them in radically different directions than where it does now.

    It often bothers me that many of my beliefs might be the result of the time and place where I've grown up.  I can take solace in some aspects of my life.  I grew up in a Republican, Christian family, and I am now a liberal atheist. 

    As a liberal atheist, I eventually came to believe George Zimmerman might have been innocent (though recent statements from the medical examiner now bring this into question).  Other beliefs I don't agree with my liberal friends on are: affirmative action and hate crime laws.  I've also noticed that there is an undercurrent of hostility to true free speech among some liberals, and this saddens me. 

    So I don't just have a blind following for whatever orthodoxy my side believes in.  But it's hard to separate true convictions from those reinforced by the "normality" of those around me. 

    Can you point to some beliefs you have in the political realm that may not be shared by a majority?  I don't mean ridiculous beliefs like opposition to gay marriage or continuing the war on drugs.  I mean something more challenging and real, like a society without money or government.

    Also, what kind of consequences do you think result from people making a majority of their decisions based on what they perceive to be the majority opinion?

    Disclaimer: I'm not looking to hash any specific debates, only looking to challenge perceptions.

    1. tammybarnette profile image60
      tammybarnetteposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I was also raised by Republican Christians, I reamained Christian but have had a democrats ideology as long as I can remember which is largely due to the circumstances of my life. I also do not tow a party line of thought...I actually think more like a Conservative in matters of Foriegn Policy and the necessities of war. My thoughts have lately been of the discussions and arguements surrounding taxing and spending. As a government, if we spend on subsidies for the oil companies, etc., then we are in fact, taxing the poor. If we subsidize food and healthcare for the poor then we are taxing the wealthy. I believe the tax and spend arguement to be a farse and the terms basically mean the same thing. Republicans say we are taxing businesses too much and spending for the poor too much. Democrats say taxing the wealthier of society is a way to have spending programs for the poor..entitlements so its called. So, both sides of the isle actually agree to tax and spend, just on very different classes of society, representing a very different view of the future of America.

    2. tirelesstraveler profile image87
      tirelesstravelerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I live in a place where if you care for the environment and ride a bike you must be an environmentalist.  I live in a very energy efficient house, ride a bike most places I go and started recycling long before it was considered the proper thing to do, I am not an environmentalist.  I like to think about history and the economy and how they inter- relate.

      1. 0
        Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        i love interesting ppl.

      2. 0
        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Why you would be hesitant to call yourself an environmentalist?

        1. 85
          Education Answerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I'm a conservative.  I see no problem with somebody riding their bike and trying to have an energy-efficient home.  I, myself, am in the process of adding more insulation to my attic, because it will save energy and money.  What's wrong with being healthy and wealthier while helping the environment, even it it's just a bit? 

          For the record, I'd love to add solar but just can't afford it.  I even tried to buy an electric vehicle but the state rebates were pulled. . .after I ordered it!  Call yourself an environmentalist, and be proud of it.  That's just my opinion.

        2. tirelesstraveler profile image87
          tirelesstravelerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          "Environmentalist" would link me with a political agenda I don't care to be associated with.  I like to ride my bike, I was trained to recycle because it was profitable,and thrifty, not because it was good for the environment.  I was taught it was better to leave a place better than you found it, because it is important to take responsibility for my actions.

    3. rhamson profile image75
      rhamsonposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Your statement is interesting to say the least. I believe that over the years Americans strive to do or offer the path of least resistance when it comes to political, social and practical issues. The problem becomes apparent when legitimate questions arise about implementation of those views and their ramifications. Our children are taught the easiest way of doing things as though they are the best ways while the greatest generation taught us that to persevere is the best way. Kind of like Homer where it is the journey that matters more than the end.

      I recently got into a series of conversations with a coworker who has declared himself a staunch conservative. When he asked where I stood politically I said I consider myself an independent thinker who reserves his thought to digest the facts of every issue. He immediately declared me a liberal and proceeded to try and place me in a pigeon hole where every issue involved conservative and liberal dogma he could explain. As I reasoned with him over the course of several weeks he understood we agreed on more than we disagreed and that there was common ground on which we could base our musings. The best part is when after awhile he spoke of me to his wife one evening at home and she asked him where I was politically. He said he took a moment to think and replied, reasonable. This he admitted out of frustration but honestly because he could not label me either way. He relayed to me this conversation the next day. The best thing that came away from this was that while he may still rail at others about their beliefs, when he looks at me to comment he calms down and begins an intelligent conversation that usually has some agreement as its reward.

  2. Josak profile image60
    Josakposted 3 years ago

    One I think is quite interesting is the justification of private property, we seem to accept it quite readily (myself included) but there is no concrete rationalization for it. Maybe Proudhon was right and property is theft.

    Ultimately humans are social creatures and it's inevitable that our views will be influenced by our society, having said that it's important that we self analyse to understand why we believe things.

    Good topic.

    Because I don't want to be the guy who chickened out on giving his own controversial opinion: my personal one is I believe most capitalist labor to be coercion on the laborer.

    "The idea of 'free contract' between the potentate and his starving subject is a sick joke, perhaps worth some moments in an academic seminar exploring the consequences of absurd ideas, but nowhere else."
    ~Noam Chomsky

    1. 0
      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I remember when I first came to believe that as well.  I posted it in a forum, and a heated discussion ensued.

      The power relationship is so unequal it's odd that anyone would call it freedom.  I first imagined it as a random group of people being dropped in the middle of a field owned by two farmers.  The dropped had to work for the farmers or die.  Somehow, that becomes freedom.

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        It IS a bit unequal, isn't it?  A business owner must find someone to perform the labor at a price that allows him a profit, but the worker never cares whether that profit is enough to live on or not.  Just how much they can squeeze out of the business.

        The only thing "free" about it is that business owner can try to find someone else if the laborer wants more than he can afford.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but that's life.

        Funny how there is almost always two sides to every story, isn't it?  All it generally takes is someone honest enough to LOOK at both sides rather than just go with the loudest voice.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, how do we make the voice of the worker heard over the much louder voice of the employer?

          1. bBerean profile image61
            bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            After what labor and government regulation has done to our businesses, we need the employer's voices to be louder, lest we not be able to hear them all the way from China.

            1. tammybarnette profile image60
              tammybarnetteposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I would love to hear your story if you would be willing to share. I know all too well the other side of this equation, but never hear a real life grass roots example of your side of the story.

              1. bBerean profile image61
                bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Tammy, I may not possess the story your inquiring about.  I think you may have misunderstood my post.  Did you think I meant I was in China?

                1. tammybarnette profile image60
                  tammybarnetteposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  No not at all...I haven't had a real opportunity to hear a story of how governmental regulations or taxations are enabling your ability to function properly, and I would truly love to understand that side of the equation.

                  1. bBerean profile image61
                    bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this



                    We may still have a misunderstanding.  I have been in management or ownership my entire career.  Even when trying to blend in and work a union job for the benefits that company offered,  my wife said "I give you two years before your in management, no matter what you say now."  It took less than 18 months. 

                    Solving problems and making things work for everyone is what interests me.  On the labor side, from my experience, their view frequently is that the company has plenty of money and labor, rather than partnering for mutual success, must fight for all of it they can get, giving no concern for the viability of the host for surely the company's wealth is endless. 

                    Government regulation and unreasonable labor demands have driven too many of our jobs away, and now many major employers, (even if they are our companies simply relocated), are now off our shores.  Many major businesses may still have a presence here, but they have taken their money and jobs elsewhere.  As for the smaller businesses, they have been largely driven out of business, unable to be competitive under the yokes of government regulation and organized labor.

                    So if you would like to hear a story of how governmental regulations or taxation are enabling small business owner's abilities to function properly, I am not the one who can help.  After far more years than I care to admit working in the business world, I am so unaware of any such example, that I wouldn't even know where to begin to make such a story up.

        2. Josak profile image60
          Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          You're so right man when I walk down the street I always see former mine owners and business magnates begging on the curb obviously their situation is so much direr and they need to be protected.

          The average business owner has a much bigger separation between himself and starvation than the average laborer. Thus we get a scenario where both are playing chicken to take a loss of some sort. An analogy would be: if two men were placed on separate hot plates and the fist to cry stop lost, the plates heat up further as time goes on, the problem is the business owner starts with a plate on 5 Celsius and the laborer's starts on 200 C. Almost always the laborer is forced to give out first.

          The results are also unequal, the business owner may make less of a profit that month, usually that won't close his business, in a pure capitalist system on the other hand the laborer and his family starve to death. Yes now we have a welfare state to prevent starvation but that is barely a bandage over the symptom not a cure and even that bandage has opposition from conservatives.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Come, come.  Exaggerations and fibs are not conducive to debate. 

            While most businesses can tolerate a month or even six without a profit (just break even or a small loss), much more than that and the business will die.

            On the other hand an unemployed worker can go indefinitely in today's world without needing a casket, let alone one for his kids.

            Still, we DO need a cure.  It just isn't supporting people cradle to grave.  It's getting them to support themselves, by force if necessary.  We will either learn to back off from socialism and require people to produce or go under, or we will all be reduced to poverty instead of those few that refuse to be responsible for themselves.

            Your turn: will it be YOU WANT THE CHILDREN TO DIE ?  I'm flipping the coin now...

            1. Josak profile image60
              Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Well given that I don't believe it will lead to poverty and all the available data backs that theory it's a non starter of a question.

              Are you seriously going to argue that the business owner has less power in wage setting then the employee? All the people working on starvation wages around the world for multi billion dollar corporations like Nike would beg to disagree.

  3. 0
    Beth37posted 3 years ago

    I think the thing that really bothers me is how our parties, no matter what they might be, decide for us what we are to believe. I like the phrase "Vote your conscience."

    If we think that abortion is wrong, aid to the poor, no foreign fuel and equal rights for all is good, then we should not allow anything or anyone to sway us. Maybe we would be better off with no parties... no affiliations. Just voting for the person (s) who supports the things highest on our lists.

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I like the phrase, too, but...

      And it is a very big BUT, at least to me.  Whenever I see that, or anything about voting on a morality issue I think back to Voltaire and the "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" which is often misattributed to him.  Is it really right for the majority to define morals for all, morals which affect them not at all?  When there is really no right or wrong answer, should the opinion of the majority rule the minority?  Our constitution was as much about protecting the minority as anything else...

      1. Josak profile image60
        Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        The right is kind of inconsequential, it's inevitable, even for example outlawing pedophilia is the moral opinion of the majority being forced on a minority of people who think it's ok.  Strangely enough I don't see conservatives decrying the rights of the minority in that instance, the only time I do (most usually anyhow) is when it affects their pocketbook.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          It is indeed a problem that way.  In my own mind the conundrum is generally solved by considering whether it the action affects others; pedophilia certain has an affect on people other than the pedophiliac.

          Not surprising that the only thing you see in a conservative is their pocketbook; that's normal when the only thing desired from them is what's inside the wallet.  It's always interesting how the liberal mind gets around the concept of ownership, of "might makes right" to decide that taking whatever they can grab is reasonable as the ends justify the means.

          1. Josak profile image60
            Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Everything has an effect on someone else, are you suggesting letting kids go hungry in school does not have an effect on them?

            You are quite happy to enforce your moral beliefs on others, and quite happy to tax others for things they don't believe in but if the same happens to you you cry foul on the foundation of "freedom", it's hypocrisy nothing else. You use exactly the same principles.

            The only people who can make the argument you are making without a simple hypocritical contradiction are anarchists and you aren't one.

            Your second paragraph has the same response, you support doing exactly the same thing you condemn on principle.

            Yes I believe in taxation moderated by democratic opinion, I hold by that belief rather than using it when it suits me (enjoying the protection of an army, police etc.) and decrying it when it might cost me a few cents. Because my morality isn't based on what will save me most money.

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Absolutely.  I want all kids under 18 to die tomorrow.

              For sure.  Only I am capable of designing a moral code.  Everyone must follow it and do as I say.

              Nope - not an anarchist.

              Yes - all I want from anyone is their money, so I can give it away to someone else.  As people, individuals in their own right, they do not exist.

              No you don't.  Any time you can find a moral "cause" you will increase taxation to pay for it, right up to the point of complete communism.

              1. Josak profile image60
                Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                So you didn't answer the questions.

                #1 Does kids going hungry not have an effect on them?

                #2 So you think paying for the army or the police force should be voluntary? Otherwise you support forcing your beliefs (and desire for safety) on others and making them pay for it.

                Nope not a communist, I know you don't know the difference but that's a matter of simple ignorance.

                You do exactly the same thing you just don't have the courage to admit it and like to claim the opposite to avoid paying some taxes.

                Taxation is the coercive taking of funds to fund projects for the benefit of it's society, if you suppose that principle you have to be an anarchist, if you support that principle in any form then you cannot argue against taxation as a concept (which is what you are doing).

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  1)  Yes it does, and if you do it enough they will die.  The desired result.

                  2)  No.  Everyone should pay double what is needed and give the excess to me.

                  Taxation is indeed the coercive taking of funds to fund projects for the benefit of it's society.  At least to the conservative; to the liberal socialist you will have to remove the "for the benefit of it's society" because those people do not give a rat's a$$ if it benefits society or the country.  Only that it increases govt. control over people and can be spun into being morally correct in the short term.  Long term effects and ethical concerns are ignored.

                  1. Josak profile image60
                    Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Right so your objection is not to coercive taking it's to some coercive taking, you are fine however with forcefully taking from others for the good of society as you see it.

                    The only discussion then is an opinion on what is good for society. One opinion can draw from data around the world for proof that backs it's claim the other cannot.

                    Don't pretend to have a conceptual moral issue with coercive taxation then, that's dishonest.

                  2. Josak profile image60
                    Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    As for the not caring about society it just conceptually is easily disprovable.
                    Liberals have no direct personal investment in progressive policies other than that they will raise their own taxes more since liberals are on average wealthier.

                    Conservatives on the other hand have a very clear profit margin in avoiding taxation, it's obvious who is more likely to care about society and which has a selfish motivation.

                2. tirelesstraveler profile image87
                  tirelesstravelerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Taxation as we know it is not good.  Remember the constitution forbade taxation for anything other than to support a force to protect the nation until 1913.

  4. tirelesstraveler profile image87
    tirelesstravelerposted 3 years ago

    While the government takes care of the poor, we absolve ourselves of any guilt that poverty exists.  A moral compass?  In the 70's the mantra was "You can't legislate morality". Still it seems to me that many of the laws passed the last 40 years have done precisely that.  We now have laws that tells us what kind of light bulb to buy.  Most of those light bulbs are hazardous material.   I break the law if I don't take the spent bulb to the hazardous material collection center. Whose morality is this; which says I must use a light bulb that can harm me if it breaks, and makes me a law breaker if it breaks and I sweep it up and put the pieces into the garbage?

    1. bBerean profile image61
      bBereanposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I love those light bulbs because what better way to represent physically, figuratively and literally, the twisted ideas and logic of which they are born than the twisted light bulb itself?  Almost poetic, how well it fits.

  5. 85
    Education Answerposted 3 years ago

    When we're trying to feed needy children, which is better?  Should we serve a questionably more nutritious food that isn't consumed or a questionably less nutritious food that is consumed?  In my extensive experience, few kids are eating the majority of what's on their plates.  They find their lunch disgusting.

    Kids are also complaining that the portions are too small, and they're still hungry.  The government stipulates that we must minimize the caloric count.  Ultimately, we have children who dump the gross food that is supposed to be nutritious and eat small quantities of the food that is less nutritious but tasty.  Then, they go to class hungry.  We're no better off with greater government regulation than we were twenty years ago with less regulation.  Kids are still hungry.  Kids are still eating foods that aren't great for them.

    1. Josak profile image60
      Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Those lunches are based on calorific and nutritional necessities, that is they have the essential vitamins, minerals and fats. Which means those meals are not unhealthy.

      As for kids being hungry after it is probably due to being overfed outside of school, the vast majority of Americans over eat (have you looked at childhood obesity stats recently?!) so getting a properly sized meal may well be a shock to the system.

      1. 85
        Education Answerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        You'd argue with a mannequin if it had a sign saying conservative on it.

        http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1-q5DzEuXvw/UDyy-8RAq4I/AAAAAAAAfD0/Mzuk60-bGoU/s1600/ROMNEY_MANNEQUIN_HEAD_FOR_PRESIDENT.jpg

        You stated the obvious in your first paragraph.

        As for the second paragraph, the reasons are quite different.  First off, the kids hate their lunch, so they dump it in the garbage.  Secondly, portion sizes, for the tastiest and least healthful parts of the lunch, are smaller.  Thus, the kids aren't eating much at lunch.  They typically drink their milk and eat one or two food items off the plate; the rest makes it into the garbage.  That's why they're hungry.

        1. wilderness profile image97
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Shhh! 

          The liberal socials know far better than any of the rest of us how we should live, eat and drink.  You are but a child, compared to them, and incompetent to make life decisions such as the size of your soft drink.  So shut up and follow orders from the Masters of the Universe.

          1. Josak profile image60
            Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Nope medical science says. You know... actual facts. We are in fact talking about children here.

        2. Josak profile image60
          Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Wait so first the kids are going hungry now they are not going hungry enough to even eat their food... I see. So kids are not going hungry at all they just aren't eating their food.

          My kid didn't eat vegetables, but going hungry a couple of meals taught him to, it's how childhood works.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I take it you have never raised children.  Or at least have never raised a picky eater.

            Because they absolutely will throw away food they don't like, even as their belly is growling.  Not that that ever induced me to prepare special meals for any of them...

            1. Josak profile image60
              Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Yeah I raised two kids, one picky eater, parenting is precisely about fixing that and things like it... Unfortunately we live in a  country where many parents are too incompetent and irresponsible to handle that and just feed their kids junk food instead. Cue obesity epidemic and massive childhood diabetes.

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                You got it - let the parent cater to that pickiness and the kid will throw away a school lunch even when hungry.

                1. Josak profile image60
                  Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Possibly, what proportion of kids are really that fussy though. My guess is most will eat the meal.

                  And sure kids will go hungry once or twice but I think overtime they will change their minds.

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    I don't know - anecdotal only, but it looks to me like the percentage is increasing rapidly.  Probably as a result of both increased affluence (eating out is popular, unappetizing meals can be thrown out, etc.) and laziness of the parents.  It's easier to whip up a second (pre made) meal than it is to be a parent.

          2. 85
            Education Answerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Yes, that's exactly what I am saying.  Many of these kids are hungry, yet they aren't eating all of the food.  It doesn't make sense, but it's true.  The food is not tasty; schools are so busy trying to meet federal nutrition guidelines, while doing that within an extremely tight budget, that the food ends up being horrible.  Many of the kids hate the food so much that they would rather go hungry than eat what is served. 

            One example is iceberg lettuce served with what appears to be ranch dressing that has more water than dressing.  It's a common cafeteria staple, one that has minimal nutritional value.  Another example is a hamburger with extremely lean "meat" and a hard, wheat bun.  No condiments are typically provided.  The milk is almost always room temperature.  Room-temperature milk isn't very popular, as you might imagine. I'm awaiting further examples from teacher colleagues across the nation.  These, however, were common examples that were mentioned three or more times and in different states. 

            Kids have always complained about cafeteria food, but things are worse now.  In education, we teachers talk about unfunded mandates; both President Bush and Obama get a lot of criticism when we talk about this.  The federal government consistently tells us that we need to do to provide greater services or accountability, but then, it provides few, if any, resources to actually accomplish these tasks.  This is an extremely common complaint among teachers, extremely common.  The cafeteria is a prime example of this.  The government comes in and mandates all of these changes but doesn't provide the funding necessary to actually serve meals children will eat.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are rare, because canned is cheaper.  What frustrates me is that there are plenty of federal resources to provide healthful, tasty lunches, but resources are squandered; many parents bilk the system and request assistance when they don't need it.  This takes away from what we could do, how we could serve better lunches.  That's what is frustrating. 

            We need programs that help hungry children.  We need some government regulation to make sure the food is nutritious.  Our current regulations are too extensive and don't necessarily result in healthful food.  We are spending enough to ensure that children get tasty, nutritious foods, but much of this money is wasted; many parents are bilking the system and getting assistance when they don't need it or don't even qualify for it with their real, actual income data.  There is no accountability though, and the end result is that our kids are left with the short end of the stick.  That's not right.  We can do better, and we owe it to our kids to do so.

  6. John Holden profile image60
    John Holdenposted 3 years ago

    In fact you could say that I exercise independent thought!

 
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