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Politics: What should I be reading?
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Catharz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago_AM3P wrote:
Quote:
So if there is anything to come after us. Any children to see the dawn and build cities when we are gone, they will be golems that we have created. And I know my fellow man enough to know that when our new generation is built to withstand the rigors of life in our absence that there will be jackholes who will turn their hands against the only hope civilization has. And if I'm still alive it will be my pleasure to fight against them in the vain hope that maybe there will be a thriving culture in our world when the future comes.


But it's not fair to the old culture.

I mean, I can deal with my life being meaningless and life and death being one and the same because there isn't any meaning to life. But I will never ever be able to handle the thought that my life is meaningless because there are creatures who deserve to live on the world more than me.

I'd fight this fate to the gates of Hell, even if it means destroying the inheritors.


Let's pretend that your life has no inherent meaning. Whatever meaning it has, you must accept or create.

So, what could give a life greater meaning than the creation of better (heh) life? I mean, every decent parent wants to be exceeded by their children. That's the whole point of evolution.
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Maj
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:20 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Catharz wrote:
I mean, every decent parent wants to be exceeded by their children.


Doesn't that assume that you want children in the first place?
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Catharz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:34 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
Catharz wrote:
I mean, every decent parent wants to be exceeded by their children.


Doesn't that assume that you want children in the first place?


If you have children and you don't want them, you aren't a decent parent. You should have gone for infanticide.
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Maj
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:55 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Catharz wrote:
If you have children and you don't want them, you aren't a decent parent. You should have gone for infanticide.


I do not have children, nor do I particularly want any at this point. That may be perhaps why I find the suggestion that creating better life is the greatest meaning you can give yourself rather odd.

And because I missed it...

Frank wrote:
Competition with the US was pretty irrelevent


Who was competing was not nearly as interesting to me as the fact that it was a competition. But thank you for the correction.
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Catharz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:10 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
Catharz wrote:
If you have children and you don't want them, you aren't a decent parent. You should have gone for infanticide.


I do not have children, nor do I particularly want any at this point. That may be perhaps why I find the suggestion that creating better life is the greatest meaning you can give yourself rather odd.


Maybe "life" is too restrictive a word, and "better" is certainly subjective, but a person who consumes and never creates is a meaningless waste. Not that anybody on these boards qualifies for that dubious honor, as plenty of wonderful things have been birthed here.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:25 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What should you be reading:

1. Your local newspaper's editorial/opinion section. Focus on the letters from other readers, and not the bullspoon of the spin doctors. Get to know just how insane your immediate neighbors are.

2. The Bible, Atlas Shrugged. These two books are the most widely cited influences by most americans. You don't have to agree with them, but familiarity will help in understanding common perspectives and making any argument. Despite the philosopho babble, they are both good reads, and perhaps I would have found other philosophies more appealing if they had been couched in a sweeping multi-generational fantasy epic or a sci-fi novel.

3. Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. A revolutionary book in its time. A dense read, and frequently misquoted.

4. Whatever history of organized labor you can dig out of a used bookstore or musty library. I personally have a copy of "Labor's Untold Story" on my bookshelf, and a soft spot for the work of [url=http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06119/686005-109.stm ]Prof Charles McCalister[/url]. But you'll have to dig up whatever you can find, as unlike the prior books, the histories documenting how "free-markets" murder people who try to make them freer tend to be surpressed.

5. Strunk and White "The Elements of Style" Ain't no sense developing a perspective if you can't write about it in a convincing manner.
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Crissa
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

But the letters from other readers is the bullspoon of the spin doctors.

I doubt you'll find a letter in your local paper or any major paper that isn't riddled with poorly thought out diatribes which were on last week's talk shows. And that isn't even counting the poorly written duplicate letters which have been showing up in this country's newspapers, falsly attributed to various locals and servicement which are actually plants from the spin doctors.

We're a far cry from Common Sense.

-Crissa
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tzor
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Maj wrote:
I've been thinking a lot about this, and I was wondering... Would there have even been any impetus to participate in the Space Race had not the USSR been competing with US?


Yes, but it depends on how you define the Space Race. The propaganda power of a single bleeping satelite showed the potential world reaching power of their potential military might. If you have the power to push something into orbit you have the power to push something across continental divides. (Like a nuclear explosive device?)

That power can be used to impress as well as threaten. Remember that the definition of "third world" was at the time those nations not directly associated with either the US or the USSR. The space race makes a great "who can spit the farthest" contest. And everyone loves a winner.
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Maj
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh Kablack wrote:
What should you be reading:


I'm going to add to Josh's suggestions Howard Bloom's Lucifer Principle. It's a fantastic look at how people work, and how that applies to societies. The insight I've gained into how individuals/memes work has literally changed my life. And it's an easy read.

Wink
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Crissa
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sophie Scholl and why Germans supported Hitler.

Fairly important. Came across it recently.

-Crissa
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Catharz
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I've been reading Chomsky's "Necessary Illusions", and it's led me to wonder about the USSR and similar "Socialist" states. Did the majority of the population ever have any influence over policies enacted by the government? Why did the bureaucracy choose to enact social welfare programs at all? Were all of the programs of the government, good and bad, the creations of powerful individuals?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
Did the majority of the population ever have any influence over policies enacted by the government?


Not directly, no.

Quote:
Why did the bureaucracy choose to enact social welfare programs at all?


Because of how they came into power. Remember that the Bolsheviks took over by rabble rousing the people to rise up and shoot the Czar in the face. If they weren't viewed as an improvement over the Czar they would be susceptible to the same wave of anger and be themselves shot in the face (qv. French Revolution; The Year of Four Emperors). In particular, the army had been coaxed to switch allegiance en masse from Czar Nicholas to Comrade Lenin on the grounds that he was going to institute socializing reforms. It was felt that there was a quite specific sword of damacles over his head should he fail to deliver them.

Mao is quite concious of it. Wrapping your mind around the "Mass Line" is a tortuous experience, but basically it boils down to: You ask the people what the want, then you give it to them, and then you stay in power. Repeat. It's not democracy in any sense that you're familiar with (the only recourse of the masses is protest and revolution), but it's actually quite effective as both a modernization tool and

Furthermore, some of the people genuinely believed some or all of what they were saying. While even my own Communist training tells me to evaluate the acts of leadership from a purely selfish standpoint (ie.: that Mao provides food and education to the people because otherwise the people will shoot Mao), the fact is that many of the people who signed up with the CP did so because they were idealists. They progressed Soviet or Chinese industry and agriculture because they believed that it was "good" to do so.

Quote:
Were all of the programs of the government, good and bad, the creations of powerful individuals?


That question makes no sense. All programs are the creation of individuals and groups.

-Frank
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Catharz
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Politics: What should I be reading? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Thanks for answering. The face stabbing issues does indeed make sense.

FrankTrollman wrote:

Quote:
Were all of the programs of the government, good and bad, the creations of powerful individuals?


That question makes no sense. All programs are the creation of individuals and groups.

-Frank


I guess I didn't phrase that very well. I think you've already answered the question anyway.
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