Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Rules of Informed Debate and Decorum
Those who know me realize I've been highly skeptical of the Democratic Party since I was a child, and am by no means a cheerleader for Team Obama. Both major parties are corporatist and corrupt, and it is hard to demand a place at the table for the Libertarian or Green parties. Many of Obama's national security policies are a direct continuation of Bush's, and I fear he will use Eric Holder and the Justice Department to attack the Colorado and Washington initiatives to legalize marijuana.
I also recognized that the economy operates largely without the intervention of any of the three branches of government. The 2008 collapse was largely not Bush's fault, in fact, Clinton's bank deregulation probably was more to blame. The continued malaise in the economy was not Obama's fault, we are in a Japan-like "lost decade" in this country. And that means that neither Obama's Keynesianism nor Romney's imaginary "tax plan" could do much of anything to make the economy better. We have to figure out a way to get past the deficit cliff that entails a cutting side and a revenue/taxation side (which means that John Boehner's pre-election positioning is simply dead on arrival).
But two parties need to bring in more parties and more points of view. And two parties need to realize that discussing differing points of view requires agreeing on how the physical world works. Once again, I'm mentioning the "Militant Enlightenment-ism" law which insists that in this physical plane, we operate according to Enlightenment rules of the scientific method and rational logic, which always trump faith-based or authority-based ways of knowing - for situations, like our daily lives, existing within this physical plane. That does not imply atheism, it means that faith-based knowing only has prominence in other realms for which we have no direct knowledge or language. As my previous post points out, this also means that events of this world, from hurricanes to theater massacres to elections, do not happen due to "God's Will," but due to random fluctuations influencing physical events according to the notorious "butterfly wing effect" - which means most events are due to sheer chance, not conspiracy.
Parties and groups that increase membership by relying on conspiracies and the manufacturing of "others" as objects of fear are doomed to irrelevance. Hence, using evangelism as the basis for anti-women statements, sounding the alarm against illegal aliens, and creating divisiveness while defending the bastions of greying white male privilege, all fall victim to the Demographics of Death. If folks like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor can lead the Republican Party to a Libertarian-like focus on economics, I may vehemently disagree with them, but can have debates on where they come from. If the Republican Party continues to let Tea Partiers and Calvinists determine its terms of debate, the party will vanish quickly.
A friend of mine is always asking why we all can't get along. I reminded him that Franklin Pierce was actually singing that Rodney King refrain in the 1850s, and was judged to be one of the worst presidents ever, because he did not acknowledge the reality of an upcoming civil war. Obviously, I do not really prefer a second civil war to a second coming of Todd Akin, but I can't play kissy-chummy kumbaya with people who do not believe in the natural laws determining how this physical world exists. I can't agree that someone who thinks that evolution and embryology comes from the "pit of hell," has any business being on the House Science and Technology Committee.
So there's my framework for moving to a post-election bipartisan (multi-partisan) discussion on our screwed future. Take it or leave it. I've had plenty of friends tell me in recent months that, because I support Pussy Riot, because I reject the notion of an intentional deity, that I must surely be Satan incarnate. If that's what they think, maybe I'll be Satan just for them! Maybe nihilism isn't such a bad thing if there's no way all sides can sit down to a common set of rules.