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  1. #1
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    New Social Terminology

    I'm tired of hearing about "Liberals" who aren't liberal and "Conservatives" who are anything but conservative.

    We have "Liberals" who express anger and deadly hatred at people who hold different beliefs from their own (witness the things that Democrats say they'd like to do to Sarah Palin), while the definition of "liberal" really has to do with an attitude of "live and let live" toleration.
    We have "Conservatives" who consistently trash the Constitution and the "First Ten" in the name of "greater security and safety," while the definition of "conservative" is actually to conserve and protect the traditions and social constructs of the polity.

    Further, many "Liberals" believe in conserving traditions and social constructs, and many "Conservatives" hold socially-liberal, tolerant beliefs, thus muddying the waters and making separating the two strains of political and social thought almost impossible.

    Therefore, I suggest a new set of terms. Instead of "Liberal," I suggest substituting "Idealist," because so-called Liberals seem to believe that there are "social engineering" projects that, if successfully accomplished, would usher in a...ahem...Brave New World, an ideal utopia that will be free of poverty, crime, and angst.
    Instead of "Conservative," I suggest "Realist," because most so-called conservatives seem to believe that no matter what sort of "social engineering" is attempted, realistically speaking there will always be aberrant, anti-social and asocial people who will refuse to be "civilized," and who will continue to try to bring the system down.

    From now on, this committed Realist will use the new terms outlined here. I suggest that you might give them a try, too.

  2. #2
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    I think we should just export all of our liberal and conservative politicians to China let them do their social engineering over there.

    The moderates could then get a good nights sleep.


  3. #3
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    Well Steve, if there was ever any dubt in my mind that my wife and i are on differnt sides of the "realism" gap, you settled it. we are.

  4. #4
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    I think any time you attempt to put a one size fits all label on a group of people, it usually doesn't fit very well.

    I also believe that the vast majority of liberals/conservatives, republican/democrats, etc. are good decent people who have the same goal - a better, stronger country and more opportunity for themselves and their neighbors to succeed. Their theories and methods for achieving these goals is different.

    Any time either side is dismissed out of hand because their philosophies align with one side or the other, everybody looses. That's one of the biggest reasons our country is so f***ed up right now. We've got a president, a senate and representatives who I assume are all trying to do the best they can for our country, but they're incapable of working together.

    I come from a science background, so I consider myself a realist. If I can't explain why something questionable happens, I tend not to believe it. Because of this, I have trouble understanding why a group of people who (I know I'm stereotyping the entire group, but I do so for dramatic effect) believe that "god" literally created everything in 7 days, and who believe that telling children not to have sex will result in lower teen pregnancies should be called "realists". And why people who believe that business people will put the good of society ahead of their personal bottom line as well as people who believe that halting communication with those with whom we have issues will fix the problem are not "idealist".

    And as a quick side note, I work and socialize with a pretty diverse group of people, including many with left leaning tendencies. I don't recall hearing anyone making any comment that they'd like to do anything resembling "anger and deadly hatred" to Sarah Palin. In fact, anything I've heard from either the left or the right concerning what people would like to do to Gov. Palin involved a warped sense of love and perhaps some contortions.

  5. #5
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    I think any time you attempt to put a one size fits all label on a group of people, it usually doesn't fit very well...
    You're right. But it's what we human beings tend to do. Like it or not, we stereotype, and stereotyping helps us maneuver in society, both socially and politically. When someone is labelled "Liberal," we see a certain set of attributes, not all of which fit, but which still helps us understand and relate to that labelled person. (Same for "Conservatives.") I want to change the labels on those stereotypes to something more useful and more properly evocative.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...I also believe that the vast majority of liberals/conservatives, republican/democrats, etc. are good decent people who have the same goal - a better, stronger country and more opportunity for themselves and their neighbors to succeed. Their theories and methods for achieving these goals is different...
    That, too, is generally true...except recently Liberal Idealists seem to have adopted a new political mode, which chiefly consists of mindlessly reviling and demonizing the opposition, rather than rationally addressing the differences they perceive and accepting the similarities.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...Any time either side is dismissed out of hand because their philosophies align with one side or the other, everybody looses. That's one of the biggest reasons our country is so f***ed up right now. We've got a president, a senate and representatives who I assume are all trying to do the best they can for our country, but they're incapable of working together...
    See my discussion on demonization, above. Under present conditions, compromise is made impossible by emotional foolishness. On both sides, by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...I come from a science background, so I consider myself a realist. If I can't explain why something questionable happens, I tend not to believe it. Because of this, I have trouble understanding why a group of people who (I know I'm stereotyping the entire group, but I do so for dramatic effect) believe that "god" literally created everything in 7 days, and who believe that telling children not to have sex will result in lower teen pregnancies should be called "realists". And why people who believe that business people will put the good of society ahead of their personal bottom line as well as people who believe that halting communication with those with whom we have issues will fix the problem are not "idealist"...
    Like "Liberal" and "Conservative," the labels I propose are equally stereotypical. But I believe that my proposed labels are closer to the truth than are "Liberal" and "Conservative."

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...And as a quick side note, I work and socialize with a pretty diverse group of people, including many with left leaning tendencies. I don't recall hearing anyone making any comment that they'd like to do anything resembling "anger and deadly hatred" to Sarah Palin. In fact, anything I've heard from either the left or the right concerning what people would like to do to Gov. Palin involved a warped sense of love and perhaps some contortions.
    You haven't been listening to Sandra Bernhard, the "comic" who publicly asks her "big black brothers" to gang-rape Sarah Palin, when she visits New York during her campaign, or to my "Liberal" New York cousins, all three of them very well educated women, who all think that Bernhard is on the right track. And that's only one example.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    You're right. But it's what we human beings tend to do. Like it or not, we stereotype, and stereotyping helps us maneuver in society, both socially and politically. When someone is labelled "Liberal," we see a certain set of attributes, not all of which fit, but which still helps us understand and relate to that labelled person. (Same for "Conservatives.") I want to change the labels on those stereotypes to something more useful and more properly evocative.
    I think if you need to use labels, "left" and "right" might fit the purpose, without either promoting or demonizing either side. It doesn't leave you audience with a good visual picture, but everyone will know what you mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    That, too, is generally true...except recently Liberal Idealists seem to have adopted a new political mode, which chiefly consists of mindlessly reviling and demonizing the opposition, rather than rationally addressing the differences they perceive and accepting the similarities.
    You don't think this movement got where it is through the leadership of Karl Rove?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Like "Liberal" and "Conservative," the labels I propose are equally stereotypical. But I believe that my proposed labels are closer to the truth than are "Liberal" and "Conservative."
    It depends what side of the fence you're on. I think your labels are skewed. Unless I'm mistaken, you use the term "Realist" to add credibility to your side, and use the term "Idealist" as a way to dismiss any debate from the other side as insignificant and fanciful. Others might think it more appropriate to reverse those labels. Arguments could be made supporting and disputing what is closer to the truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    You haven't been listening to Sandra Bernhard, the "comic"...
    No, I haven't.

    But I have heard comments similar to those you describe applied to a former First Lady/Senator. And I can assure you it wasn't "liberals" making those comments. In either case, the comments are inappropriate and uncalled for - even in jest. But it doesn't mean those dopes making the comments represent everyone with similar political philosophies.

    What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then ... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." - J.F.K., September 14, 1960
    Hmmm... The way he said it, "Liberal" doesn't seem too bad.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev74
    I think any time you attempt to put a one size fits all label on a group of people, it usually doesn't fit very well.

    I also believe that the vast majority of liberals/conservatives, republican/democrats, etc. are good decent people who have the same goal - a better, stronger country and more opportunity for themselves and their neighbors to succeed. Their theories and methods for achieving these goals is different.

    Any time either side is dismissed out of hand because their philosophies align with one side or the other, everybody looses. That's one of the biggest reasons our country is so f***ed up right now. We've got a president, a senate and representatives who I assume are all trying to do the best they can for our country, but they're incapable of working together.

    I come from a science background, so I consider myself a realist. If I can't explain why something questionable happens, I tend not to believe it. Because of this, I have trouble understanding why a group of people who (I know I'm stereotyping the entire group, but I do so for dramatic effect) believe that "god" literally created everything in 7 days, and who believe that telling children not to have sex will result in lower teen pregnancies should be called "realists". And why people who believe that business people will put the good of society ahead of their personal bottom line as well as people who believe that halting communication with those with whom we have issues will fix the problem are not "idealist".

    And as a quick side note, I work and socialize with a pretty diverse group of people, including many with left leaning tendencies. I don't recall hearing anyone making any comment that they'd like to do anything resembling "anger and deadly hatred" to Sarah Palin. In fact, anything I've heard from either the left or the right concerning what people would like to do to Gov. Palin involved a warped sense of love and perhaps some contortions.
    Great post.

  8. #8
    js's Avatar
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    What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then ... we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." - J.F.K., September 14, 1960
    Hmmm... The way he said it, "Liberal" doesn't seem too bad.
    Democrats and "Liberals" of today or not the same as JFK democrats of the past.

    My grandfather was a WWII veteran and a hard core Democrat. I will always have more respect for him than any human being on this planet. It is not the same party that it was in the past, period. The democrat party has been hijacked by extremist, in the same way Islam has been hijacked by radicals.

    Kev... I work in the music field, full time musician, and also work in the science field part time at a local college (Astronomy). I know how most of the "left" really feel about the "right", I hear it almost daily and it ain't pretty.
    Last edited by js; 09-30-2008 at 10:59 PM.
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    To be fair, the Republican party is not what it was either. It is far from being the Party of Lincoln. The New Deal in many ways caused a reversal in the traditional roles of the two parties. For example, the South was largely Democrat but slowly became more and more Republican. Even more recently we have seen a change in party roles. Not too long ago it was the Republican party talking about states' rights and letting each state decide what was best for its citizens. During the past eight years this has become the Democratic stance on the issue of same sex unions for example, an issue that many Republicans felt would be best solved at the federal level.

    Most of my wife's family has a long history of supporting the Republican party mainly based on tradition. Yet my father in law recently announced that the federal government should pay for health insurance for all farmers. That does not sound very Republican to me. He seems to vote based on family tradition rather than actually taking the time to find out where the parties and/or candidates stand on the issues.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptarmigan View Post
    To be fair, the Republican party is not what it was either. It is far from being the Party of Lincoln. The New Deal in many ways caused a reversal in the traditional roles of the two parties. For example, the South was largely Democrat but slowly became more and more Republican. Even more recently we have seen a change in party roles. Not too long ago it was the Republican party talking about states' rights and letting each state decide what was best for its citizens. During the past eight years this has become the Democratic stance on the issue of same sex unions for example, an issue that many Republicans felt would be best solved at the federal level.
    Amen to that! If the Republicans could get their acts together and concentrate on a platform of less spending with the goal of the elimination of debt, smaller federal government and keeping their noses out of people's personal lives, they would win this and every election.

    As it is, I feel like we're in some kind of Superman Bizarro-world where everything is backwards.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post

    As it is, I feel like we're in some kind of Superman Bizarro-world where everything is backwards.
    +1 to that...
    "bing bang boom! hair out...hamburger time" - William Murderface

  12. #12
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    Kev;

    "Left" and "Right" also have been over- and mis-used to death. They're no better than "Liberal" and "Conservative." I want to use labels that come with no freight attached.

    Your next point had to do with overly-nasty political invective having originated with Karl Rove. My only refutation would be a further reference to the completely inappropriate public "jokes" made by Sandra Bernhard on the subject. Whatever Rove may have said, I'll bet he never advocated gang rape as an appropriate response to different political and social beliefs.

    Next point: I don't see anything wrong with being an Idealist, unless one is an extreme Idealist. There is nothing wrong with having idealistic hopes. All my Jewish forbears were social idealists—it comes with the religion. Further, "Idealist" very clearly describes the true social view of what we now call "Liberal," while not requiring the forbearance that modern Liberals seem incapable of displaying. So, no, I don't believe that the term "Idealist" is subtly prejudicial.

    Penultimately, I have to agree with js, that the Liberals of today are not the same sort of people to whom President Kennedy was referring, in the speech you quoted.

    And, finally, I observe that you seem to me to be a modern Liberal who actively denies his social idealism, and therefore does not want "Idealist" as his label. I suggest to you that this may be a foolish position to take.
    There is nothing wrong with being idealistic, as long as one is not fanatic about it, and as long as one is not led by idealistic emotion to demonize the opposition into a scapegoat for everything that is wrong with today's society.
    Remember, as an example, that it was both sides of the congressional aisle that got us into the financial fix we are presently experiencing. Neither side is made up exclusively of angels...or of devils, either.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    Kev... I work in the music field, full time musician, and also work in the science field part time at a local college (Astronomy). I know how most of the "left" really feel about the "right", I hear it almost daily and it ain't pretty.
    And I work in one of the most conservative/right wing industries imaginable, and the comments I hear about liberals are also often quite shocking and disappointing.

    Another +1 to kev74's excellent first post.
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    Yes.... Superman Bizzaro world... Where the Dems are loading the $70B bailout on the people, and the Repubs are trying to load it on big banks, and the stock market...

    I personally think they should "tax" every existing BS government program (90% of them) for a portion of the $70B, and leave it a zero sum gain...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
    Yes.... Superman Bizzaro world... Where the Dems are loading the $70B bailout on the people, and the Repubs are trying to load it on big banks, and the stock market...
    Lets see if I can fix this for you:
    Where the Dems and Repubs are charging the $70B bailout to the people, and the Repubs and Dems are trying to give it to big banks, and the stock market...
    This giveaway is the first time in about 8 years that both sides are working together.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWard View Post
    I personally think they should "tax" every existing BS government program (90% of them) for a portion of the $70B, and leave it a zero sum gain...
    I agree, but would go further. Bring back some discussion of a Balanced Budget Amendment, reign in federal spending, and pay off our national debt.
    Now I'm dreaming!

  16. #16
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    Steve, I don't think the comments from a has-been comic carry anywhere near the weight of the Political Adviser of the President of the United States. There is substantial evidence that Mr. Rove started the rumors that John McCain had an illegitimate black child and that he was responsible for rumors that John Kerry did not serve honorably in Viet Nam. Its been proven in court that Mr. Rove "outed" a CIA agent in an act of revenge against the agent's husband. I think these activities on the part of Mr. Rove are far more troubling and damaging than unfunny offhand comments from an unfunny comic.

    Also, thank you for your thoughtful analysis of my political philosophies, but I think you might be off the mark a bit. I would love to be a member of the Republican party again, but its not going to happen until they get back to their core values of smaller government and responsible spending.

    As for my liberal or leftist leanings, I think if people are hungry they should be fed and if they have no shelter they should have a place to sleep. The food doesn't have to be tasty and the bed doesn't need to be soft. But if the government has the resources to help it should be so obliged - mostly because its the right thing to do but also because it will avoid revolt. On top of that, I'm a big fan of the Bill of Rights and the government staying out of my personal affairs.

  17. #17
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    Steve, I don't think the comments from a has-been comic carry anywhere near the weight of the Political Adviser of the President of the United States. There is substantial evidence that Mr. Rove started the rumors that John McCain had an illegitimate black child and that he was responsible for rumors that John Kerry did not serve honorably in Viet Nam. Its been proven in court that Mr. Rove "outed" a CIA agent in an act of revenge against the agent's husband. I think these activities on the part of Mr. Rove are far more troubling and damaging than unfunny offhand comments from an unfunny comic...
    Were that Bernhard was a has-been. She's extremely popular, especially among the East-Coast intelligensia. Well, the East-Coast intelligensia south of Peekskill, anyway.
    You're right that Rove started scurrilous rumors and "outed" Valerie Plame. But he didn't advocate gang-rape, which raises invective and dirty politics to an entirely new level.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...Also, thank you for your thoughtful analysis of my political philosophies, but I think you might be off the mark a bit. I would love to be a member of the Republican party again, but its not going to happen until they get back to their core values of smaller government and responsible spending...
    Me, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev74 View Post
    ...As for my liberal or leftist leanings, I think if people are hungry they should be fed and if they have no shelter they should have a place to sleep. The food doesn't have to be tasty and the bed doesn't need to be soft. But if the government has the resources to help it should be so obliged - mostly because its the right thing to do but also because it will avoid revolt. On top of that, I'm a big fan of the Bill of Rights and the government staying out of my personal affairs.
    Ah, here we diverge a little. I believe that government has the duty to offer training, and very temporary support during transitions, but that it should never offer any kind of dole or long-term support to anyone, with children or without. The government should not foster clients.
    We agree upon civil rights.
    But I still think that you're an Idealist.

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    BLAH BLah blah,yada yada yada-----------A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N-S-!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostsoul View Post
    BLAH BLah blah,yada yada yada-----------A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N-S-!
    The whole point about being an American is our right of freedom of speech and open discussion.
    If it bothers you, don't join in.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostsoul View Post
    BLAH BLah blah,yada yada yada-----------A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N-S-!
    And you have a problem with Americans?

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