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Old 11-09-2012, 04:31 PM #22
TheSilentAssassin
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Originally Posted by SevenGold-IV View Post
Do you believe government should make 'instilling virtue' into citizens one of its duties? If so, how should they go about doing it?
I believe that it should create scenarios in which virtue can be taught and should be very careful to destroy those scenarios that already exist. Communities teach virtue. Destroying projects in the 60s to build new nicer ones created material gain but communal and social loss. We should 1) see it through that lens and 2) act in a way that creates (or simply doesn't destroy) that social power. In this case, that would mean not destroying the old projects for new ones (or at least finding ways to keep those communal bonds while doing so).
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:33 PM #23
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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
I agree that culture is a necessary backbone and may have been necessary for proper governance to take it's place, but I disagree with your notion because now that we do have proper governance we surely can have positive (or negative) influences on culture via political/economic action. So, firstly, we must be aware of the social components of our action and secondly we should focus on action that creates the possibility and setting for society (culture, family, religious institutions, communities, civic institutions) to instill positive virtue.
Personally, I would advocate for the culture influencing political and economic action. Yes that means religion, if your culture is religious.

Really though, you just want people to be cognisant of their decisions as an individual within a community, not as an individual on his own island? Doing so will allow the creating of proper instutions to instill positive virtue? If both these are correct, I'm completely on board.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:36 PM #24
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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Really though, you just want people to be cognisant of their decisions as an individual within a community, not as an individual on his own island? Doing so will allow the creating of proper instutions to instill positive virtue and not destroy those existing institutions that already do? If both these are correct, I'm completely on board.
I added a little bit, but yes.

--

I appreciate all the responses so far. I will be leaving town soon-ish and return on Sunday afternoon, so don't expect any responses from me until then, but feel free to continue the discussion without me.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:39 PM #25
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Originally Posted by TheSilentAssassin View Post
I believe that it should create scenarios in which virtue can be taught and should be very careful to destroy those scenarios that already exist. Communities teach virtue. Destroying projects in the 60s to build new nicer ones created material gain but communal and social loss. We should 1) see it through that lens and 2) act in a way that creates (or simply doesn't destroy) that social power. In this case, that would mean not destroying the old projects for new ones (or at least finding ways to keep those communal bonds while doing so).
If giving people nicer newer things led to the destruction of their community then I would say that their bonds weren't very strong to begin with.

For the sake of discussion, if a certain project housing area were home to known gangs who's sub-culture promoted violence and crime would you support a government action to disperse those residents and put other more virtuous tenants in their place?
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:42 PM #26
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If giving people nicer newer things led to the destruction of their community then I would say that their bonds weren't very strong to begin with.
I disagree with this.

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For the sake of discussion, if a certain project housing area were home to known gangs who's sub-culture promoted violence and crime would you support a government action to disperse those residents and put other more virtuous tenants in their place?
I would support it assuming there isn't a better alternative (which there probably is).
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:47 PM #27
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I added a little bit, but yes.

--

I appreciate all the responses so far. I will be leaving town soon-ish and return on Sunday afternoon, so don't expect any responses from me until then, but feel free to continue the discussion without me.
I'm just trying to get to the essence of it without all the fluff and specifics. Moving on.....

I think it is the government's job to maintain the realm in a patriarchal sense. As opposed to our current matriarchal model. Virtous behavior should be regulated by peer pressure, social caste, or social insitution(s) which are not an arm of the goverment but a check and balance if needed.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:13 PM #28
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I'm just trying to get to the essence of it without all the fluff and specifics. Moving on.....
Ya, I just wanted to emphasize something I thought was vital to it. I believe conservation of communal bonds is much more important than the creation of new ones.

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Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
I think it is the government's job to maintain the realm in a patriarchal sense. As opposed to our current matriarchal model. Virtous behavior should be regulated by peer pressure, social caste, or social insitution(s) which are not an arm of the goverment but a check and balance if needed.
Care to elaborate on patriarchal v matriarchal
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:37 PM #29
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:00 PM #30
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I am going to try to write out my political ideology, and I would like you all to critique it for me. I have references for things that I am not going to link. Ask and I will share it. If you don't understand something, please ask for clarity before going on a tirade about something you misunderstood. To do this, I am going to have to redefine some things from my perspective which may be unusual. Please pay attention to that. I don't pretend for these to be thoughts of my own. They are heavily influenced by writers such as David Brooks (I am using a book of his for structure).
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Firstly, I believe both the left and the right to be flawed. Both parties are guilty of creating very individualistic views in which society is a contract between autonomous individuals and in doing so have promoted policies designed to expand individual choice instead of focusing on social and communal bonds, local relations, and invisible norms. The right emphasizes the individualism of the market and are "defenders of the state's assault on individual economic choice". Their focus is on maximizing economic freedom.

The left, on the other hand, embraces individualism in the social sphere by defending the state's assault on choices of marriage, women's roles, abortion, drugs, and death. The want to maximize social freedom. Regardless of who was in power, we have been moving towards autonomy, individualism, and personal freedom, while moving away from society, social obligations, and communal bonds.
-so, the TLDR i'm getting from this is both have different approaches to what's important to keep america great.

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We have entered a world in which all of our solutions to social problems are attempted to be solved through a economic lens. The right promotes the market as the end-all-be-all solution to our deep social problems. If marriage is failing, the right wants child-tax credits. If the education system is failing, promote school vouchers. Liberals emphasized public spending instead. If the schools are failing, fund them more. If college completion rates are low, increase student aid subsidies. Both sides assumed a direct relationship between improving material conditions and solving deep social problems. They ignored character, culture, and morality.
Meh, to me I think you're trying to pigeon-hole too many things in one thought. A lot of the rights reasons in the example given could also due to their philosophy of smaller government, not just trying to solve social problems with economics.

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Before we move past this, I want to give two more examples that will lead into my next point. In the 50s and 60s, we saw America had created a large amount of run-down neighborhoods, ghettos, and tenement houses. These old neighborhoods may have been decaying and decrepit but they contained social support structures and community bonds. We saw a movement to buy, destroy, and replace these old communities with new projects. People had been made materially better but socially they were made much worse.
So, we're saying gentrification is bad for communities? This example needs a bit more example in it.

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Secondly, we can look at the movement of Wal-Mart taking over local shop owners, global financial markets taking over small banks, and a million other scenarios of local being surpassed by mega. Economically that may have been great. We may now pay lower prices and have a greater variety of choices, but we sacrificed a network of local business, friendship, and community in the process.
I'll be the first to say walmart is bad for any number of reasons, but a lot of ecenomics (and this country) is survival of the fittest. And for anyone who's lived in rural America (we're talking an hour + drive to a fast food restaurant of any kind) you know you make pilgrimages to Wal-mart. the quality (yes, quality) and consistency of the products they offer is much better than any mom and pop can offer. This of course is just food for thought, and why I may question the validity of your second example the way it's currently worded. May want to make it more concise so I can agree with your exact point. We'll see...
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:26 PM #31
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I see our society suffering from a disease causing social death, put upon us by the left through government policies and by the right through the market. This causes a host of problems but I would like to identify a couple:
social death needs some kind of qualification. The imagery is nice, but so far your examples prove social change...not doom.

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1) As these relationships and communities wear down, we lose social capital and make society weaker. (see: Bowling Alone)
2) I believe that the two 'solutions' of our modern political parties has lead to a polarization of politics along market/state lines instead of coming together along social and cultural lines.
3) The decimation of social institutions has lead to a lack of means of support. When times get bad (now), we have lost those social institutions needed to prevent collapse.
1 - I'll buy that community support is important, and certainly we're not as beaver cleaver as we used to be. To your point about social capital? Are you saying fewer people are putting out flags on Labor day or people are more likely to rape, rob and kill their neighbor?
2 - I think there's a lot of evidence of how politicians have changed since the 50's and 60's. The polarization is certainly high. If you're suggesting more could be done if people remembered they're americans instead of trying to keep score in who's managed to add the most pork to a bill. agreed.
3 - are talking the defunding of groups like planned parenthood? The underfunding of medicare? I think your idea here is too finite. Is social collapse us not looking out for others? I would suggest we're doing fine.

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After taking a new socially-centered approach I have come across three truths that I think are vital to rethinking politics. Firstly, freedom should not be the ultimate ends of politics; the character of a society should. We, as humans, are social beings shaped by our political, religious, and social institutions. Our goal should be to create settings that foster virtuous choices. Secondly, we have put utility-maximizing at the core of our political thought, and I believe we must now put the health of social networks at the center. Finally, we must move from economo-centric to socio-centric. We must change the way we look at our problems and how we solve them. We can't simply stand for pumping money into poor areas while ignoring the cultures inside them. We have to address the cultures creating the poverty. If the right are focused on markets and the left is focused on government, I want to change our focus to society.
So I began to take away that you saying we as a country need to work on investing in more intangibles...your IFs for the right and left are big ifs.
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To be very specific, I feel there are things out there weakening our culture and character that must be addressed. Welfare programs, while well intentioned, can sometimes reward people for not putting in the effort. That is a degradation of character and must be addressed. Markets also must be focuses on providing societal structures that foster character. For instance, the market must supply structures like universities that are active in civic society and local entrepreneurship instead of profit-creating job centers. Infrastructure must be designed for creating downtown hubs and community centers. Local business must thrive again (Walmart can be a local business).
Warning bells are going off at this moment because to this point I have not properly understood your position leading to your proposal. The welfare example as being well intentioned... for all your talk about investing in society, in areas I would wager would be hard to quantify into hard cash after investment...I'm not sure why this is the example you'd lead with. The rest of the paragraph, I'm assuming you hope to supplant the need for welfare by creating stronger communities? I'll go with that, but the beauty of capitalism is it is dynamic. in bad times (detroit) you need strong support networks and hope places experiencing good times (austin) can pick up some slack. After all, we're a community of Americans right? If you've never been on welfare, dont use welfare as an example.
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To end, I want to go way back to Aristotle who wrote that "legislators habituate citizens". If we want to thrive, we must create communities and cultures with virtue and character; social responsibility and self control. I put that resonsibility not on the government but on the political and social sphere. It may not be the easiest approach. It may not be the simplest. It may first require us to stop and understand the problems of our world before addressing them. But I believe that's what politics is intended to do.

"Statecraft is inevitable soulcraft." - George F Will
my end thought here is your idea lies somewhere between jingoism and motherhood. I get where you're going, but I just have too many questions I want to give you the benefit of the doubt on to have a clear picture.

Thanks for letting me pick your brain.
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