Canadian Political Events

Administration => Forum Administration => Topic started by: MH on December 10, 2017, 08:44:31 am

Title: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 08:44:31 am
I am changing my thoughts on public discussion again.

I used to think that the weight of thoughtful popular opinion would always exceed that of ignorance and trollish noise.   Well, maybe not always but in the preponderance of cases.  Now I am starting to think that the 'basics' of discussion - things like agreeing on sources, methods of discussion, mutual respect etc. - can erode invisibly underneath the media that dominate.

That is to say, if you have cable news as your medium, then "the" public will fall behind the norms of that medium in deciding how the discussion will go.  So the cable network, and guests will form their own behaviour norms and that will be "the" debate.   

In the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s as this happened (and earlier) our abilities to engage with information eroded.  We lost the ability to engage deeply with facts, we lost trust (better - CONTINUED to lose trust) in political leaders who were not on "our side", we saw politics as rounds of boing in between commercials, etc.

So when the dominant medium changed in 2010s to "social medium", it relied on a lot of the aspects of "public" engagement that were baked into to the process from the beginning.  These were now gone, eroded.

So I am now thinking that this erosion was worse than any of the members of "the" public realized.  By "the" public, I refer to conservatives and liberals who are in touch with issues as discussed by mainstream politicians, who follow mainstream media as I define as anything from FOX News to the most centrist and balanced sources.

The change in my thinking comes from the creeping ability for mainstream politicians to "get away" (sorry, lack of a better word) with standing behind people like Judge More, with outrageous statements and so on.  Admittedly, I am talking about America here.

Nonetheless, I am going to start getting more reactionary about pushing people out of the conversation if they don't listen, don't use real sources, and don't discuss in good faith.

https://www.docdroid.net/YfzmpFP/what-is-homosexuality-a-scientific-fact-or-a-perversion-events-political-discussion-forums.pdf#page=5
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: guest4 on December 10, 2017, 09:33:13 am
Sadly, this girl has taken to heart the advice that Muslims should not engage in argument, but instead of leaving she merely shuts others out. 
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: bcsapper on December 10, 2017, 10:31:46 am
It used to be that you could pretty much trust most sources of information, and those you couldn't were obvious.  If Reginald Bosanquet or Angela Rippon read it me from a notepad on the desk in front of them, I believed it.  If Barry at work told me he read it in the "Sun", maybe not so much.

Now, anyone who doesn't line up confirmation before banging on about their favourite source of wrath deserves what they get. I don't think we have lost the ability to engage deeply with facts so much as we have not developed the ability to engage deeply now that we have access to all of them, and everything else too.

Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: Gorgeous Graham on December 10, 2017, 11:06:20 am
People are stupid.  People have very high levels of debt, people borrow on their credit cards at 20% interest.  People can't even get their own house in order which is a pretty simple thing, how are we to expect them to stay informed & make the best conclusions about policy from that information?  Look at the debt governments in the West have because people want it all now & ignore future problems caused by it.

The stupidity of people via their priority of short-term gratification despite the long-term consequences is destroying the world in many different ways.  Sure there's smart people who have their shit together but they're the minority.  When those long-term consequences come to bear there's going to be a shitstorm, and we saw it once with the 2008 global recession.  Expect these things to continue.

What good is majority rule when the majority are idiots, and the minority who have their shit together are made to suffer by the tyranny of the majority?  That old narrative of the elite capitalists making the working poor suffer as they steal their wealth & corrupt our democracy, yet we ignore the majority using government to steal our money via taxes & misspend it on dumb shit while racking up huge debt to support themselves & their feel-good projects.

Maybe government should be used to force regulation on the elites who exploit us, while at the same time focus on limited government to prevent the dumb majority from exploiting us.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: wilber on December 10, 2017, 02:02:53 pm
Haven't been over there for a long time. What forum was that in?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 04:16:45 pm
I don't think we have lost the ability to engage deeply with facts so much as we have not developed the ability to engage deeply now that we have access to all of them, and everything else too.

I agree with your post, except for this last bit.  I think we're saying the same thing, but we DID have the ability to engage deeply far in the past, when there was a smaller scope of knowledge required to understand policy.  We now have too many facts, and too many policies and haven't needed to deal with any of it for a long time.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 04:42:24 pm
People are stupid.  People have very high levels of debt, people borrow on their credit cards at 20% interest.  People can't even get their own house in order which is a pretty simple thing, how are we to expect them to stay informed & make the best conclusions about policy from that information?  Look at the debt governments in the West have because people want it all now & ignore future problems caused by it.

Right, but people were dumber in the past and democracy (arguably) worked better.  The sea-change in the information landscape requires an adjustment and perhaps even - gasp - some DESIGN.

We design roads so that stupid people can drive, but we don't design our political processes. 

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The stupidity of people via their priority of short-term gratification despite the long-term consequences is destroying the world in many different ways.  Sure there's smart people who have their shit together but they're the minority.  When those long-term consequences come to bear there's going to be a shitstorm, and we saw it once with the 2008 global recession.  Expect these things to continue.

I expect some kind of reaction, or we will be doomed shortly.

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What good is majority rule when the majority are idiots, and the minority who have their shit together are made to suffer by the tyranny of the majority?

T'was ever thus, in some way.  But continue...

Quote
That old narrative of the elite capitalists making the working poor suffer as they steal their wealth & corrupt our democracy, yet we ignore the majority using government to steal our money via taxes & misspend it on dumb shit while racking up huge debt to support themselves & their feel-good projects.

Maybe government should be used to force regulation on the elites who exploit us, while at the same time focus on limited government to prevent the dumb majority from exploiting us.

Well that's a start but the devil's in the details.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 05:44:19 pm
It used to be that you could pretty much trust most sources of information, and those you couldn't were obvious.
I disagree. In the past you had no choice but to accept what you were told by the media because there was no other way for people to know otherwise. Now we have choices and the bias of the traditional sources has been exposed. It did not suddenly start and there was no 'golden age' of trustworthy media. We were just naive.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 05:53:47 pm
Right, but people were dumber in the past and democracy (arguably) worked better.
In the past people were more compliant because they had no access to information that would allow them to challenge what they were told. Now we have so much information that people have to choose the information to consider instead of accepting whatever is available. The side effect of too much choice is people are now choosing information based on what makes them feel comfortable which, in turn, has divided society into incompatible echo chambers that cannot communicate with each other because they can't agree on the basic facts.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: Gorgeous Graham on December 10, 2017, 06:11:55 pm
Right, but people were dumber in the past and democracy (arguably) worked better.  The sea-change in the information landscape requires an adjustment and perhaps even - gasp - some DESIGN.

We design roads so that stupid people can drive, but we don't design our political processes. 

Driving is pretty simple, and doesn't change too much over time.  Politics is very complicated and always changing.  That's hard for dumb people to grasp, to constantly stay informed. 

The problem of designing our political processes is that we did this a long time ago and tweaked it over the last 150+ years, but society has changed.  Corporations & their money have more power than ever, and information technology has changed as you say, among many more social changes...yet we designed a system that is purposefully very difficult to change, and the last time it was altered Quebec never signed off on it and it almost broke the country apart on multiple occasions.  Now we can't even get rid of an unwanted Senate.

If we could change our system, what would that look like?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 06:46:56 pm
In the past people were more compliant because they had no access to information that would allow them to challenge what they were told.

Well... hmmm.  We are starting to slip into weird reverse-time-travel-blaming here.  And with a leftist bent, too.

ie. 'The Greatest Generation' were loyal, brave, unquestioningly patriotic vs. 'The Vietnam War woke up America'... or something.

But interesting thinking nonetheless.

Quote
Now we have so much information that people have to choose the information to consider instead of accepting whatever is available. The side effect of too much choice is people are now choosing information based on what makes them feel comfortable which, in turn, has divided society into incompatible echo chambers that cannot communicate with each other because they can't agree on the basic facts.

People used to have proxies give the information to them, and could only debate facts that didn't align with their world-knowledge.

I agree with the second sentence completely, but it could be fixed if we had proxies who didn't try to use unfactual information.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 06:57:01 pm
Driving is pretty simple, and doesn't change too much over time.  Politics is very complicated and always changing.  That's hard for dumb people to grasp, to constantly stay informed. 

Well I'm not going to be a slave to the analogy but how much HAS driving changed since the 1950s and how much has our political system been changed to adapt ?

In other words I stand on my point.

Quote
The problem of designing our political processes is that we did this a long time ago and tweaked it over the last 150+ years, but society has changed.  Corporations & their money have more power than ever, and information technology has changed as you say, among many more social changes...yet we designed a system that is purposefully very difficult to change, and the last time it was altered Quebec never signed off on it and it almost broke the country apart on multiple occasions.  Now we can't even get rid of an unwanted Senate.

If we could change our system, what would that look like?

Great question.  One thing that the Liberals and Conservatives BOTH did federally - which is great - is reduce the amount of 'big money' in the system.  How did they do it ? By reducing Corporate donations AND Union donations. 

So change is possible.

I have posted this thing many times over the years, but I still like it:
http://www.ppforum.ca/sites/default/files/final_report_public_engagement_eng.pdf

We have the greatest information exchange medium arguably every devised at our fingertips (WE ARE USING IT NOW!) and we can't seem to understand that it was MADE to be used for politics.  When I bring this up, people inevitably think using the web for real politics will mean that politics will become like MLW, or this place, or the comments section on YouTube but that's a limited view.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 07:15:36 pm
I agree with the second sentence completely, but it could be fixed if we had proxies who didn't try to use unfactual information.
The problem with facts is there very few of them. Most decisions we have make are based on uncertainties which may be expressed as probabilities at best. This often requires people to make judgements based on values rather than facts. People are generally unable to empathize with people who have different values and that is why the echo chambers have evolved. Much of the divide between the left and the right comes down to values and the relative priorities used to resolve inevitable conflicts between values.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 07:29:40 pm
The problem with facts is there very few of them. Most decisions we have make are based on uncertainties which may be expressed as probabilities at best.

Sure, but even expressing reality as you have here is tantamount to advanced calculus in today's political discourse.

Quote
People are generally unable to empathize with people who have different values and that is why the echo chambers have evolved. Much of the divide between the left and the right comes down to values and the relative priorities used to resolve inevitable conflicts between values.

And yet these same people insist that there is a 'Canada' with 'Canadian Values'.  Separating out an area in which details can be discussed, and trade-offs can be proposed would be a sea-change and huge leap in actually making 'politics' where before there was grandstanding.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: Gorgeous Graham on December 10, 2017, 07:42:21 pm
The problem with facts is there very few of them. Most decisions we have make are based on uncertainties which may be expressed as probabilities at best. This often requires people to make judgements based on values rather than facts. People are generally unable to empathize with people who have different values and that is why the echo chambers have evolved. Much of the divide between the left and the right comes down to values and the relative priorities used to resolve inevitable conflicts between values.

True enough.  But statistical probabilities are still based on facts.  We can't predict the future but we can make the most logical guesses based on the info.  This is how baseball teams win these days, nobody can predict future performance but using past stats you can make very educated projections instead of just instinctual guesses.

Values are just what we choose to use that info for, or what outcomes we want given that info.  The garbage comes when people manipulate or selectively choose facts based on their values in order to argue that their values & by extension their policy stances are superior. I think we're all guilty of doing that.  And we all like to think that our values & pet policies are determined by the facts, but that's often not true.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 10, 2017, 07:54:33 pm
If we had true leaders focussing the attention on more important things, then we would have fewer people paying attention (good) but it would be people who aren't influenced by the usual claptrap.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: the_squid on December 10, 2017, 08:03:49 pm
If we had true leaders focussing the attention on more important things, then we would have fewer people paying attention (good) but it would be people who aren't influenced by the usual claptrap.

I donít think youíve made the case that democracy is ďworseĒ.

When did the Conservatives ever take money out of politics federally?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: bcsapper on December 10, 2017, 08:06:51 pm
I disagree. In the past you had no choice but to accept what you were told by the media because there was no other way for people to know otherwise. Now we have choices and the bias of the traditional sources has been exposed. It did not suddenly start and there was no 'golden age' of trustworthy media. We were just naive.

Maybe it was because I grew up in the UK and never had a tv until I was nine, and then it only had two channels.  There just wasn't room for them to lie to us, never mind the will.

Edit>  Well, except for that spaghetti thing...
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 08:09:57 pm
I think we're all guilty of doing that.  And we all like to think that our values & pet policies are determined by the facts, but that's often not true.
Why should values driven by facts? Values are philosophical constructs. For example, someone can oppose abortion because they see the value of a soon-to-be human life to be more important than the rights of the mother. That is not a question of facts.

And yes we all engage in motivated reasoning where we attempt to justify ones values based on facts. But that is wrong headed. The primary reason people do it is because they are unwilling to accept that others do not share their values and attempt to argue that the "values" are actually based on facts. It is self-deception that fools no one and leads to conflict.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 08:15:45 pm
And yet these same people insist that there is a 'Canada' with 'Canadian Values'.  Separating out an area in which details can be discussed, and trade-offs can be proposed would be a sea-change and huge leap in actually making 'politics' where before there was grandstanding.
Shouting "Canadian Values" is a rhetorical tool used to suppress the opinions of people with different values that the speaker has. We need to move beyond the quaint concept of "shared values" and accept that we all have very different values and need to share a society. How do we do that?

IMO, we can do that by leaving as much as possible to the choice of the individual.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: Gorgeous Graham on December 10, 2017, 09:07:46 pm
Why should values driven by facts? Values are philosophical constructs. For example, someone can oppose abortion because they see the value of a soon-to-be human life to be more important than the rights of the mother. That is not a question of facts.

Yes that's exactly my point.

Quote
And yes we all engage in motivated reasoning where we attempt to justify ones values based on facts. But that is wrong headed. The primary reason people do it is because they are unwilling to accept that others do not share their values and attempt to argue that the "values" are actually based on facts. It is self-deception that fools no one and leads to conflict.

Yes I think that's true.  But there's also nothing wrong with trying to justify a value (which is simply an idea) by using facts, that's argument 101, but the danger is when you selectively ignore facts to the contrary, and are too stubborn to change your views/values based on opposing evidence or logic because it's contrary to your preconceived notions.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 10, 2017, 09:59:56 pm
Yes I think that's true.  But there's also nothing wrong with trying to justify a value (which is simply an idea) by using facts, that's argument 101, but the danger is when you selectively ignore facts to the contrary, and are too stubborn to change your views/values based on opposing evidence or logic because it's contrary to your preconceived notions.
Using facts to argue values will only get you so far. By their nature values are questions of faith/belief and cannot be justified on facts alone. Sometimes people would be better off simply arguing that they support a position because it aligns with their values instead of trying to rationalize their values. The trouble for most people is arguing from values means you have to accept that others will not share your values and they have to be accommodated which can be seen as abandoning their values. However, agreeing to disagree on values is the only way this society can function and it is the only way to break the cycle of polarization that we are trapped in.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 05:42:04 am
I donít think youíve made the case that democracy is ďworseĒ.

When did the Conservatives ever take money out of politics federally?

I don't think I was trying to make the case that democracy is 'worse' than other systems but that there is more fighting, and more frustration, and more noise than before.  I concur that it's hard to quantify/qualify that.  But do you disagree ?

I believe the Conservatives, early on, moved to reduce corporate donations as the Liberals were a greater benefactor of those.  I'm working from memory here.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 05:59:06 am
  How do we do that? IMO, we can do that by leaving as much as possible to the choice of the individual.

The questions of 'Individual Choice' and 'Individual Obligation' will, however, be determined by the collective.  There has never been a society where there is no obligation between members, and there can't be.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 06:02:12 am
  However, agreeing to disagree on values is the only way this society can function and it is the only way to break the cycle of polarization that we are trapped in.

That is only half of it.  We also have to agree to agree on some values:

"live and let live"
"meritocracy"
"help people to help themselves"
"share the benefits of progress"

Off the top of my head, you should get basic agreement on things like that.  Of course, they're meaningless without details but so are the 'agree to disagree' values.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 11, 2017, 07:50:57 am
Off the top of my head, you should get basic agreement on things like that.  Of course, they're meaningless without details but so are the 'agree to disagree' values.
Yeah - I was oversimplifying since deferring to individual choice is a value that has to be shared. Plus there are bunch of things which have to be set collectively no matter what such as immigration or defence policy. OTOH, deferring to individual choice as much a practical is a useful guideline.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: the_squid on December 11, 2017, 04:10:15 pm
I don't think I was trying to make the case that democracy is 'worse' than other systems but that there is more fighting, and more frustration, and more noise than before.  I concur that it's hard to quantify/qualify that.  But do you disagree ?

Yes, worse than before...   I got that, but didnít finish my sentence.

Iím not convinced that democracy (in Canada?  USA?  The world?) is any worse than it was in the past (10 years?  50 years?).  I actually believe it has gotten better in Canada than it was with the introduction of the Charter not so long ago.

Can you clarify when and where has gotten worse?

Quote
I believe the Conservatives, early on, moved to reduce corporate donations as the Liberals were a greater benefactor of those.  I'm working from memory here.

No.   Upon winning the election, they immediately reversed the funding model that took the money out of politics when they scrapped the tax funding per vote for political parties.  They went back to the old system of private, corporate and union donations to fund political parties.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 06:41:12 pm
Iím not convinced that democracy (in Canada?  USA?  The world?) is any worse than it was in the past (10 years?  50 years?).  I actually believe it has gotten better in Canada than it was with the introduction of the Charter not so long ago.

Can you clarify when and where has gotten worse?
 

Well, to be honest I am not 100% convinced either.  It DOES strike me as one of those things people say as in "things used to be so much better".  Before I follow this line of inquiry, are you *somewhat* inclined to think things are worse ?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: the_squid on December 11, 2017, 07:36:44 pm
Well, to be honest I am not 100% convinced either.  It DOES strike me as one of those things people say as in "things used to be so much better".  Before I follow this line of inquiry, are you *somewhat* inclined to think things are worse ?

Worse where compared to what?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 07:53:02 pm
Worse where compared to what?

Compared to 1960, 1980, 2000 ?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: the_squid on December 11, 2017, 08:04:43 pm
Compared to 1960, 1980, 2000 ?

In Canada? 

I havenít been around to give personal testimony since 1960, but given the FLQ crisis in Ď70 and Oka crisis in Ď90, Iíd say weíre in a period of more stability since those times.

Since 2000, the issues with separatism donít seem as bad....

Can we actually conclude that our democracy might be better now? 

Dunno.    But you havenít made a case for it being worse.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 08:21:24 pm
In Canada? 

I havenít been around to give personal testimony since 1960, but given the FLQ crisis in Ď70 and Oka crisis in Ď90, Iíd say weíre in a period of more stability since those times.

Since 2000, the issues with separatism donít seem as bad....

Can we actually conclude that our democracy might be better now? 

Dunno.    But you havenít made a case for it being worse.

No, I haven't.  I haven't even thought about it yet. 

Ok, you said you don't know.  Let me think on it.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: the_squid on December 11, 2017, 08:28:17 pm
No, I haven't.  I haven't even thought about it yet. 

Ok, you said you don't know.  Let me think on it.

https://canadianpoliticalevents.createaforum.com/stuff-you-need-to-know/thoughts-on-democracy-and-discussion/?message=12656

In the post you seem to be saying that it (arguably) has gotten worse.  Maybe you just havenít been very clear on what you think...
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 11, 2017, 09:04:49 pm
Yes "democracy (arguably) worked better. "

But as I said, I don't trust that this is an objective view.  I don't even trust my own memory on this 100%.  I believe it, but I am not 100% convinced.  It's actually a tricky problem. Let me think on it.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 11, 2017, 09:11:47 pm
Yes "democracy (arguably) worked better. "
Worked better or was perceived to worked better because the people that got screwed over by the system had no voice?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 12, 2017, 05:33:18 am
Worked better or was perceived to worked better because the people that got screwed over by the system had no voice?

Good question, but I already thought about that one... long ago.  The Rush song "The Trees" is a rock anthem about the social order.  If people are happy with it, then then are.  Agitation will 'wake up' the oppressed to unfairness.

The quality of politics is something about how we engage, as a constituency, our points of concern with each other mentally and emotionally.  Progress, seems to me, to mean getting better at that politics on BOTH the emotional and mental axes. 

"No voice" is hyperbolic, absolutely speaking.  Even the French had "a" voice after James Wolfe won Canada for the British.  Native Canadians too.

As I think about this question, I realize that I have thought about it in other realms of life, such as civic life or culture.  I realized it when I went back to my hometown (smalltown Ontario) and realized that it had "grown" which necessarily meant getting better AND worse, but wiser.  My town now has a sushi restaurant, a theatre (NOT a cinema) with viable presentations of touring shows, a Starbucks, quaint bookstore and record store.  It also has methadone clinics, and a problem with major drugs.  It grew up.

The model for all such "growth" was given to us in the bible with Adam and Eve.  They chose to eat the apple because they wanted to learn, and become real.  As with children who want to grow up too soon, or small towns that want to grow, or Charlie Parker's sidemen who tried heroin to try to be inspired like him... they made the leap and they learned.

I'm thinking out loud in text here now....

I am going to try to find coverage of an old political discussion from the 1980s of relevance and I suspect I will see this:

- More in-depth discussion, and more time/care to discussion of important matters
- Less fractiousness and more objectivity
- Exclusion of fringe points of view
- Naivety, or lack of knowledge of what we know now

Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: TimG on December 12, 2017, 06:12:25 am
"No voice" is hyperbolic, absolutely speaking.  Even the French had "a" voice after James Wolfe won Canada for the British.  Native Canadians too.
In the past people primarily identified with broad, geographically compact groups. Now people are connecting with geographically dispersed micro-groups. i.e. the environmentalists in Quebec and BC who work to block pipelines are only able to do that because of the connections and support they get from the global environmental movement. Same thing with these ISIS imitators that commit acts of terror in otherwise stable democracies. It is likely that such people did exist in the past - they just would have thought they were alone. Now they no longer feel that way and often serve as spoilers with radical demands that prevent centrist politicians from crafting compromise solutions.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 12, 2017, 06:17:30 am
Only 30 years ago, but I think I see most of what I talked about:


1988 free trade debate:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2653709009

1984 election debate:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2653708170

Observations:

The tone is more formal, boring, "you, sir, owe the people...", but still civil ; Turner expresses admiration for Mulroney's father (patriarchy LOLZ)
Perhaps more substance, or more reference to boring topics;
No rabble-rousing on either side;
The issues described did not all come to pass;


The idea of inflammatory YouTube videos seems absolutely anachronistic, futuristic, even advanced.

So instead of falling into the trap of moralizing, I will say that politics has taken a step towards relevance by making the debate more "entertaining".  The missing link between the 1980s and today include:

CNN Crossfire, the pro-wrestling-show equivalent of panel politics from the 1990s
FOX News
Conspiracy Politics, birtherism
Webbots, Memes, and Fake News

And then we arrive back where politics was in the early/mid 20th century in America.  I am looking fondly back at a time after that, though, which may not have actually existed because there was massive organizational change.

That, I believe, IS real.  The changes that came from the 1930s to the 1960s or so were massive and I associate that with the politics of the era.  Is it 'better' ?  I don't know, but it did set the table for such changes to come in.  By the 1970s and 1980s the pushback was under way.

Now, I think the time has come to build again, to re-engineer government.  Our discussion sphere currently isn't up to the task for supporting such a change, or maybe a complete breakage will come soon and rebuilding will have to happen.


Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 12, 2017, 06:18:43 am
In the past people primarily identified with broad, geographically compact groups. Now people are connecting with geographically dispersed micro-groups. i.e. the environmentalists in Quebec and BC who work to block pipelines are only able to do that because of the connections and support they get from the global environmental movement. Same thing with these ISIS imitators that commit acts of terror in otherwise stable democracies. It is likely that such people did exist in the past - they just would have thought they were alone. Now they no longer feel that way and often serve as spoilers with radical demands that prevent centrist politicians from crafting compromise solutions.

Well, for sure this is true and an aspect of all of this that is central; see my reference to 'fringe groups'. 
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 16, 2017, 08:39:28 am
Well, my "club" is dying. 

There is some parallel with my ideas on meta-discussion, and society failing to take root... with my success at work these days.

I have influence in my company because of my status as a kind of special advisory to the VP so my ideas are listened to and implemented.  And they work.  My identity is changing, and it seems to be:

- I understand meta-patterns and abstractions very well (this is borne out by my academic history which was miserable in university, but became stellar in later-year studies of abstract maths)
- I fail to make people understand why my observations are correct, in some cases, however...
- I get better at getting people to buy into my ideas (at work) by using my influence, my quirky personality, my energy, my goodwill, and my bag of sneaky communication tricks which include my acting
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 16, 2017, 08:42:22 am
A "public" web forum to discuss policy issues would be an incredible boon to democracy, as it would surface real concerns of people and allow for trade-offs and original ideas as opposed to superficial and stale ideas handed down from the ruling class.

Would you have me as mayor of your town ?  I would promise to reduce taxes, and increase services, just like the Fords did.  But I could do it.  And my top priority would be to engender real discussion on issues.

Vote for me.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 04:28:50 pm
People are stupid.  People have very high levels of debt, people borrow on their credit cards at 20% interest.  People can't even get their own house in order which is a pretty simple thing, how are we to expect them to stay informed & make the best conclusions about policy from that information?  Look at the debt governments in the West have because people want it all now & ignore future problems caused by it.

People are rushed. They have busy lives now, especially if they have kids. They have to prioritize their time to what's important. Keeping up on the news of what this or that politician or government is doing often isn't considered important. Why not? I think part of it, a strong part, is that people largely feel powerfulness to affect anything anyway.
What's the point in getting upset over this or that absurd government or political stunt when you can't do anything about it? You get a vote once every four years? Big whoop. There's millions of morons out there so your vote is essentially meaningless. Whatever happens happens. You have kids lunches to make.

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What good is majority rule when the majority are idiots, and the minority who have their shit together are made to suffer by the tyranny of the majority?

Yes, this is an old theme of mine. I've speculated about maybe making voter registration harder. Instead of sending people to your door make you go to a central place to register. Maybe make you answer a few questions to determine if you at least basic knowledge about what the hell is going on. Hell, maybe go back to the old days when the only people who got to vote are those who pay taxes and thus have skin in the game. Something which might (or of course might not) improve the quality of voters.
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Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 04:31:47 pm
I agree with your post, except for this last bit.  I think we're saying the same thing, but we DID have the ability to engage deeply far in the past, when there was a smaller scope of knowledge required to understand policy.  We now have too many facts, and too many policies and haven't needed to deal with any of it for a long time.

In the past we had just a couple of major news networks, and they took their jobs seriously. We had one, or maybe two newspapers, and then we had encyclopedias. The first two sources basically were responsible and conservative in how they reported things (most of them) and didn't inundate us with stuff like who was sleeping with whom, even if they were politicians. Now every moron can go on the internet and set himself up on a blog with unknown sources that 'prove' whatever they want to prove. Then someone reads that on Facebook and next thing you know is repeating it in outraged comments to other people.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 04:37:42 pm
I disagree. In the past you had no choice but to accept what you were told by the media because there was no other way for people to know otherwise. Now we have choices and the bias of the traditional sources has been exposed. It did not suddenly start and there was no 'golden age' of trustworthy media. We were just naive.

I don't know about there being unbiased media but I think everyone trusted Walter Cronkite would not tell you a lie. Same went for Harvey Kirck and Lloyd Robertson, Peter Kent and Knowlton Nash. As for newspapers, sure you know the Star was on the Left and the Sun on the Right, but you didn't think either would actually lie about anything, just slant the story a bit. So you read both.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 04:39:59 pm

Great question.  One thing that the Liberals and Conservatives BOTH did federally - which is great - is reduce the amount of 'big money' in the system.  How did they do it ? By reducing Corporate donations AND Union donations. 

So change is possible.

I hate to be a downer. But neither did that because of any care in honest government. Chretien did it to screw over Paul Martin, who was pushing him out, and Harper did it to screw the Liberals, who had always gotten most of their donations in big dollar amounts from a few rich donors (the conservative tended to get theirs in small dollar amounts from many donors).
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 04:49:29 pm
Sure, but even expressing reality as you have here is tantamount to advanced calculus in today's political discourse.

And yet these same people insist that there is a 'Canada' with 'Canadian Values'.  Separating out an area in which details can be discussed, and trade-offs can be proposed would be a sea-change and huge leap in actually making 'politics' where before there was grandstanding.

There is a Canada and there are Canadian values. Think of values as a hierarchal model. On the topmost level we have beliefs in theories like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, democracy, a secular culture, basic justice and fairness and how to treat one another (politeness and no punching). I think almost all of us agree with this almost all of the topmost level of values. Then there are more values that come underneath. These are more amorphous and require more rationalizing, and they are open to disagreement about methods.

Value: Help the poor.
Left wing. Give them money!
Right wing. Give them tools to help themselves.

So maybe that isn't so much a difference in values as it is in how to bring about those values.

Value: Law and order
Left wing: Let's not be too stern here. People are imperfect. Forgiveness is a virtue.
Right wing: Crucify them! Otherwise society will degenerate and we'll have riots in the street!

Perhaps that's a different definition of what constitutes law and order.

Diversity is our strength? What kind of a value would we put that under? Some people think it is our strength and some believe it a weakness. Is that a clash of values? Perhaps you could say the Left wants an inclusive society that is tolerant of each others differences. The Right, meanwhile, suspects that if we bring in masses of people who have different top level hierarchal values than us that might water down the general acceptance of those top-level hierarchal values and thus eventually threaten them - and our society.

Yet even this is not, I think so much a clash of values as a clash of beliefs in the danger to our shared values.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: Omni on December 17, 2017, 04:50:44 pm
I hate to be a downer. But neither did that because of any care in honest government. Chretien did it to screw over Paul Martin, who was pushing him out, and Harper did it to screw the Liberals, who had always gotten most of their donations in big dollar amounts from a few rich donors (the conservative tended to get theirs in small dollar amounts from many donors).

Regardless of how you think it came about, look at the difference between our system and that in the US where there's a price tag on governmeent all the way up to the WH it seems.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 17, 2017, 04:55:51 pm
I hate to be a downer. But neither did that because of any care in honest government. Chretien did it to screw over Paul Martin, who was pushing him out, and Harper did it to screw the Liberals, who had always gotten most of their donations in big dollar amounts from a few rich donors (the conservative tended to get theirs in small dollar amounts from many donors).

Sigh.  Ok.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 05:39:03 pm
Shouting "Canadian Values" is a rhetorical tool used to suppress the opinions of people with different values that the speaker has.

So do you think the all values are equal? Maybe some values ought be suppressed. A value which says that women are the possessions of men would, it seem to me, be one that runs contrary to Canadian values, and perhaps OUGHT to be suppressed.

Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 05:43:50 pm
Yes, worse than before...   I got that, but didnít finish my sentence.

Iím not convinced that democracy (in Canada?  USA?  The world?) is any worse than it was in the past (10 years?  50 years?).  I actually believe it has gotten better in Canada than it was with the introduction of the Charter not so long ago.

Can you clarify when and where has gotten worse?

I had an early interest in politics. I used to go down to the HoC and sit in the gallery during question period to watch the interplay between Trudeau (sr) and Stanfield, and a variety of others. I would say there was a collegial atmosphere among them, a well-mannered and mature belief that all were there to do what was right for Canada, even if they disagreed on what was right. Now I see a measure of contempt for each other and for those who disagree which didn't seem present then, something that is more than simple dislike but more like complete rejection, and an easy resort to insults and sneers due to lack of respect for each other. That has spread to the population at large - it wasn't the other way around.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 17, 2017, 05:47:31 pm
Regardless of how you think it came about, look at the difference between our system and that in the US where there's a price tag on governmeent all the way up to the WH it seems.

Oh unquestionably. They did the right thing but for the wrong reason. We don't seem to have politicians now that put country before party and self. At least I haven't' seen any lately.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 17, 2017, 06:01:56 pm

So maybe that isn't so much a difference in values as it is in how to bring about those values.

Called 'solutioning'.

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Diversity is our strength? What kind of a value would we put that under? Some people think it is our strength and some believe it a weakness. Is that a clash of values?

Tolerance, pluralism, live and let live...

Quote
Perhaps you could say the Left wants an inclusive society that is tolerant of each others differences. The Right, meanwhile, suspects that if we bring in masses of people who have different top level hierarchal values than us that might water down the general acceptance of those top-level hierarchal values and thus eventually threaten them - and our society.

Actually I think that 'personalities of left/right' guideline you have punished works better.
 
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 17, 2017, 06:05:21 pm
That has spread to the population at large - it wasn't the other way around.

Vanity, disdain for other points of view, self-righteousness.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 17, 2017, 07:17:04 pm
Can we 'ignore' on here ?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: JMT on December 17, 2017, 07:23:23 pm
The feature doesn't work properly.
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 17, 2017, 07:47:42 pm
The feature doesn't work properly.

If I pound on the forum, Fonzie-like, will it get fixed ?
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: SirJohn on December 19, 2017, 02:31:06 pm
This is a thought on democracy more than discussion, but I thought it interesting.

http://nationalpost.com/opinion/andrew-coyne-a-heartwarming-capraesque-tale-amid-the-gloom-of-u-s-politics
Title: Re: Thoughts on Democracy and Discussion
Post by: MH on December 20, 2017, 05:17:25 am
Sure seems like an interesting idea.  In a world where web-bots have more influence than people, bringing back the face-to-face seems essential.  But why is a Republican interested in taking money out of the system ?