Binary Thinking Sucks

Discussion in 'Politics' started by SingingMongoose, May 13, 2008.

  1. SingingMongoose
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    SingingMongoose Member

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    So, we have a problem.

    For some reason, we think that all politics fit into two cosmically-opposed, innately human categories, "liberal" and "conservative." We are very wrong.

    The evidence is everywhere. It's in "conservatives" trying to change abortion law, pro-life catholics allying themselves with the labor movement, Ron Paul (and other libertarians), spread across the history of politics (see Teddy Roosevelt, the hawkish trust-buster, enemy both to capitalism and small invade-able countries), and this message board.

    Binary thinking is useful for human beings, which is probably why we use it so damn much. We try to view things in terms of opposites. Consider taste - there are five completely distinct sensations available to the human tongue, but we often divide with "salty" and "sweet."

    When it comes to politics, binary thinking really hurts us. In a two-party system, you don't necessarily need your base to like you - they just have to hate the other guy more. Thus, we see both of our parties slowly converging on the middle, chasing after the only votes that aren't already in the bag, swing votes.

    This has an effect on the electorate itself. Individual citizens come to think that they have to be (for example) anti-gun and pacifist if they also want gay marriage and socialized medicine. Recognition of this fallacy - that there's nothing about gay marriage fundamentally tying it to gun control - leads some to practically worship centrism, as though it were a holy grail to rescue us from the nasty extremists. (You know, compromise is often only 3/5ths of a good idea.)

    In a system with at least three parties, there would be a world of difference. For one thing, one would be able to break party lines without automatically being a centrist. (You might agree mostly with the opinions of two parties, switching between them for individual issues, while finding the third to be mostly vile and wrong.) It would also allow us to be more open-minded about politics, and the result would be a greater diversity in American voters' opinions. People who have views that are seemingly contradictory in a binary system would finally be able to vote for a candidate they can identify with.

    If you google "political compass," you'll find a system for mapping political differences that I think is superior to just "left and right." I don't think it's perfect, but it comes close enough to be more useful than not.
     
  2. rayboyusmc
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    rayboyusmc Senior Member

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    I've stated this before and still believe it. If you put our entire population who has a political affilitation, you would approximate the Bell Shaped Curve for normal distribution.

    The majority of people, I believe, do have more moderate and varying views on many political issues. Some liberals like me believe in gun owenership but also believe in registration and screening. Some conservatives are pro choice.

    I think it is a small minority on both sided (2.7%) who are the strident ones who make the most noise and get the most attention. They live in their white or black, right or wrong, with US or against US little worlds and try to force the rest of US to see the world through their tiny little eyes.,

    As we said in the Corps, fuk them all but nine.
     
  3. busara
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    busara wanasiasa wapumbava

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    i agree that we desperately need a 3rd party, a moderate party. where reason and the issues dominate, not slander and fear mongering
     
  4. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    It's fed by our winner-take-all election systems. European countries often have proportional-representation parliaments that mean everyone gets more of a voice: greens, communists, nationalists, etc.
     
  5. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    We need more than a third party. We need replacements for the two useless ones we have, and an few more options.

    Unfortunately, the current two parties have made it almost impossible for anyone to compete with them by being allowed to make all the rules.
     
  6. LordBrownTrout
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    LordBrownTrout Gold Member

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    James Madison and some of the other framers worried about the party system. About the only thing I can take solace in is the wisdom exuded by those smart men. What we have now would disappoint them on so many levels.
     
  7. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    I don't even know if "disappointed" is the word. James Madison would come to America in 2008 and see multiracial anarchy. He'd be disgusted.
     
  8. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    But not for any of the reasons you think it would.
     
  9. Zoomie1980
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    Zoomie1980 Senior Member

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    So are libertarians, like me, conservative or liberal?

    I am pro-choice mostly because I do not believe gov't should a say one way or the other on what is essentially a religious/moral argument.

    I am against gov't forbidding gay marriage or defining marriage at all. It's not a governmental concern, it is a private and religious concern.

    I am against gov't dictating that legality of assisted suicide. End of life decisions are a personal matter, not a government matter. If a person wants euthanasia it's their right to have it so long as they make their intent clear in a living will.

    Gov't should not dictate whether or not one needs wear a seat belt, a motorcycle helmet, or where they can or cannot smoke a cigarette. That's a PERSONAL choice and a choice of a business owner. the market will dictate the smoking policies of restaurant.
     
  10. Zoomie1980
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    Zoomie1980 Senior Member

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    And essentially get almost NOTHING done. There is no majority so there is no real action. And it leads for political instability and no coherent foreign policy. How many governments has Italy had since WWII?? 52? The US has had 12....
     

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