Tag Archives | Liberalism

Rethinking Democracy

rubio_jeffersonA pretty compelling read introducing the radical idea that maybe Democracy needs to be reconsidered. Old hat to postmodernism, of course, but maybe it’s time for some mainstream exposure for these notions.

via Salon:

This is what democracy looks like: grotesque inequality, delusional Tea Party obstructionism, a vast secret national-security state, overseas wars we’re never even told about and a total inability to address the global climate crisis, a failure for which our descendants will never forgive us, and never should. Maybe I’ll take the turtle costumes after all. The aura of democratic legitimacy is fading fast in an era when financial and political capital are increasingly consolidated in a few thousand people, a fact we already knew but whose implications French insta-celebrity Thomas Piketty and the political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page (of the “oligarchy study”) have forcefully driven home. Libertarian thinker Bryan Caplan sees the same pattern, as Michael Lind recently wrote in Salon, but thinks it’s a good thing.

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Tea Party Activists Boycott Fox News for Being ‘Too Liberal’

Picture: CometStarMoon (CC)

What is this “liberal” people speak of? David Freelander writes at the Daily Beast:

“I am having withdrawal. I do like Fox News,” said Kevin Avard, a former state lawmaker in New Hampshire who is participating in the boycott. “I have been going to CNN, and to Headline News just to get some kind of fix. I usually probably only watch them once or twice a year.”

Hjerlied said that “If I want news, I go to Breitbart News and Drudge and I can find all the news I need, very quickly,” and after the first boycott, says he may have “kicked the habit” for good.

“I used to have it on all day long, and I probably watched maybe six hours last week,” he said. “The more I looked at it, I have come to the conclusion that Fox is not as fair and balanced as I thought.

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The Death Of The Left Right Paradigm

From the about section of Disinfo:

We disagree with any labels such as “progressive” or “conservative,” “left” or “right,” “right” or “wrong”

There are a number of thought viruses embedded within the Disinfo brand that are key to the awakenings triggered within its keenest readers, commentors and contributors. Thanks to these concepts our core community is able to disagree on everything and yet still instantly recognise and respect those who ‘get it’.

The inevitable expansion of the brand means it’s worth re-introducing and re-articulating some of these ideas for newcomers. One of the most important is the often misunderstood aspect of political identity[1]. It’s possible the notion of neither labeling yourself as left wing or right wing will be entirely new. If that’s the case I envy you as someone who listens to a great album for the first time, welcome to a world revealed by The Death Of The Left Right Paradigm.Read the rest

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Red Brain, Blue Brain: Republicans and Democrats Process Risk Differently

Both of the major U.S. political parties may suck scum, but they are not the same.  Via ScienceDaily:

A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions.

Dr. Darren Schreiber, a researcher in neuropolitics at the University of Exeter, has been working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, San Diego on research that explores the differences in the way the brain functions in American liberals and conservatives. The findings are published Feb. 13 in the journal PLOS ONE.

In a prior experiment, participants had their brain activity measured as they played a simple gambling game.

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From Liberal Victory to Disempowerment in Six Easy Steps

Picture: Antonu (CC)

Glenn Greenwald, via Common Dreams:

STEP ONE: Liberals will declare that cutting social security and Medicare benefits – including raising the eligibility age or introducing “means-testing” – are absolutely unacceptable, that they will never support any bill that does so no matter what other provisions it contains, that they will wage war on Democrats if they try.

STEP TWO: As the deal gets negotiated and takes shape, progressive pundits in Washington, with Obama officials persuasively whispering in their ear, will begin to argue that the proposed cuts are really not that bad, that they are modest and acceptable, that they are even necessary to save the programs from greater cuts or even dismantlement.

STEP THREE: Many progressives – ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits – will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds.

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The Myth Of Government Dependence

PolicyShop on the largely nonexistent scourge of able-bodied but lazy masses who mooch off of hardworking taxpayers:

The Great Recession has led to falling labor force participation and soaring social spending, particularly for food stamps and unemployment benefits. Never mind the economic causes of these trends; the United States, the right argues, has been drifting toward a country where a dwindling band of “makers” support a growing army of “takers,” with the most successful and hardest working people — wealthy job creators — paying much of the tab to subsidize a nation of freeloaders.

Now, the right’s Freeloader Nation critique has moved to the center of Mitt Romney’s campaign…in selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has chosen one of Congress’s most vociferous critics of the safety net.

Start with the big picture: Only a tiny sliver of overall government assistance — less than 10 percent — goes to non-working adults in their prime years, and much of that is in the form of emergency assistance to people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

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The New (Conservative) Liberalism

JackassCharles Davis, on liberalism in America, and how it fails to provide systemic solutions to the problems faced in an increasingly conservative world. Via Al Jazeera:

Once upon a time — say, three years ago — your average Democrat appeared to care about issues of war and peace. When the man dropping the bombs spoke with an affected Texas twang, the moral and fiscal costs of empire were the subject of numerous protests and earnest panel discussions, the issue not just a banal matter of policy upon which reasonable people could disagree, but a matter of the nation’s very soul.

Then the guy in the White House changed.

Now, if the Democratic rank and file haven’t necessarily learned to love the bomb – though many certainly have — they have at least learned to stop worrying about it. Barack Obama may have dramatically expanded the war in Afghanistan, launched twice as many drone strikes in Pakistan as his predecessor and dropped women-and-children killing cluster bombs in Yemen, but peruse a liberal magazine or blog and you’re more likely to find a strongly worded denunciation of Rush Limbaugh than the president.

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Sam Harris, Joe Rogan, Islam And The Future Of Liberalism

Sam Harris writes about the fallout from a recent visit with Joe Rogan on his blog:
I recently had a very enjoyable three-hour conversation with Joe Rogan on his podcast, where the topics ranged from jihad to probability theory to psychedelics. But I subsequently received a fair amount of abuse online for a few things I said about Islam and our adventures in the war on terror. For instance, I appear to have left many viewers with the impression that I believe we invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of rescuing its women from the Taliban. However, the points I was actually making were rather different...
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