Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

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Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?

I have been increasingly amazed about something in American politics: Half the country apparently thinks the other half is some combination of insane, immoral, or perhaps just misled. I can't quite grasp how that can be true, but it seems to be true to me, as I listen to and talk to the vast majority of people who are firmly republican or democrat.

These aren't just simple things we're fighting about. We're fighting about life and death issues, like what happens to women when they get raped, and what our health care policy should be. I would think that with such disputes, eventually one side or the other would win out. Both can't be right. Yet both sides seem perpetually evenly balanced. Is there some force at work forcing this even balance? If so, what is it? Are we all just slaves to this force?

Throughout American history, there have been roughly equal numbers of republican (18) and democratic (16) presidents, ignoring other parties throughout American history. (Hopefully I got that right, but fact check me if you are so inclined...) This leads me to conclude that there must be some larger social force at work influencing the masses of people, to keep these numbers perpetually balanced. Because I can't understand how these forces can be so evenly balanced over so many years without some force keeping them balanced.

What force(s) keep on keeping republicans and democrats so evenly balanced in the United States? Are we slaves to this force?

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    Nov 7 2012: Ever since Obama got elected, and refused to veto the patriot act, or the NDAA... caved on the public option instantly, and bailed out Wall St... I've been pretty confident that now 98% of the American people are some combination of insane, immoral, and misled. I was a bit too young to see it before, I had some faith in the naive hippy, hopey, changey thing... but looking back... it's pretty obvious. The Kennedy brothers... Assassinated. Jimmy Carter... Defeated. Al Gore, won the election, still defeated... Richard Nixon, lived till he died, never saw a jail cell. George Bush and Dick Cheney, alive and well, never going to see a jail cell.

    A politician can be as evil, as a human being could possibly imagine, and they will get away with it... You are only allowed to be so good... It's not just America though... All of humanity, until very recently, has been under the control of people willing to do things, that the average human being will not. A good person will not kill to prove a point, an evil person will... Thus, for all of our existence, we have been slaves to evil people, and this has changed shape, but not function.

    Both parties have suggested that if Israel attacks Iran, we're backing them... Why? Both sides are for flying killer robots. Both sides are for warrantless wiretaps. Both sides are against a human rights tariff. Both sides are ignoring solar concentration. Both sides are for printing money, rather than spending less or taxing more... For the most part, both sides of our argument, have become evil dictators... but we're voting for it... Why?

    Human nature... We are a destructive, crazy, self involved species... and ultimately, if we can convince people to let us have something for nothing... We'll take it. If human beings can teach their children to control human nature, and learn to act as responsible adults who give as much as they take... We will be set free.

    "Demons run... When a good man goes to war"
  • Nov 8 2012: My son would tell you that the force that holds us in slavery is STUPIDITY.

    The majority of the American public believe that the Patriot Act was and is a good idea.

    A big portion of us cannot find Afghanistan on a globe, still.

    Political ads are stupid because they are aimed at stupid people who are easily led and misled.

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. And that is enough.

    Pat Gilbert is correct when he says that education is a big part of the solution. We need a course in how to participate in democracy, starting with critical analysis of campaign ads.
    • Nov 8 2012: > My son would tell you that the force that holds us in slavery is STUPIDITY.
      A little known comedian and economist has that democracy routine wherein he says that the economy is always wobbly "not because the left believes in mandates, or the right believes in markets, but because the centre believes in MAGIC!" Which really is not the best thing to rely on, since it doesn't exist. I'd like to add there is also a group who believes in guns and god (bad mix) who happens to statistically occupy the biggest state in America. And a couple of others -- and my view is that if they were not Christian of any established flavour, you'd decidedly call them extremists.
      I second your argument about education being a good solution for this problem. However, I think that while it might be a good idea for a school to be a business (my school would be closed down if it couldn't be taken over by another), what happens in some schools in America is outrageous, and colleges/universities are simply there to max out credit cards.
      Yes, in the UK the situation is getting too similar too quickly, with Nick "I'm Sorry" Clegg aggreeing to vote for tuition fees increase (tripling the maximum, in fact). But America seems to be a prime example of how to screw up education and produce ill-prepared people. Guys, you need a reform. Fast.
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    Nov 5 2012: The core problem with America is "The System" (government, business, academia, finance) promoting what I call "The Game" (the mindset that promulgates people using people for gains). To restate it, the imposed societal structure squelches true democracy for its own advancement.

    After months of research in present and historic societal structure and utilizing my nutrition training (MS) to apply science to life, I accepted that conspiracy to convert our republic into a fascist society has and is occurring. READ ON! The System is run by the bankers, and they have been working since the beginning of the United States of America to accomplish their aims, which include enslavement (through personal indebtedness, wars, and national indebtedness) and the drastic reduction in the world's population. Tactics include education, marketing, media coverage, official policies, marginalization of groups, etc.

    A portion of the qualitative data: Bread and games to keep the masses complacent (cheap food, food stamps/EBT, entertainment, sports, recreational activities) while teaching them to be indebted to banks throughout life; Lobbying groups' dynamics in the legislative process; The law: are groups favored over individuals?; The unequal enforcement of the law; Political races; War, even its existence; Monopolies and their history; The layout of Washington DC; The monuments in Washington DC; The history of eugenics; The dynamics of funding for research; The history of mind control; Propaganda (in government, campaigns, recruitment, public education, "higher" education, business, NGOs, non-profits, media, advertising); The prevalence of conspiracy theories in American culture and the marginalization of their believers; The marginalization of so many other people groups: those with religious, spiritual, and/or New Age beliefs, psychic abilities, practitioners of alternative and traditional medicine, unaccredited schools and alternative media.

    More is in my twitter feed, FB notes.
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      Nov 5 2012: incredible to see how far denial of responsibility goes. what stops you from living off of your wage, and not emptying your credit card? surely, there must be some evil mastermind behind it, and not personal greed and shortsightedness. blame canada!
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        Nov 5 2012: Quite the opposite. I am arguing that everyone is responsible. Everyone is told to join the System and socially punished if they do not comply. Everyone is responsible because everyone puts up with it.
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          Nov 5 2012: that what was that about mind control? people are responsible for being mind controlled? in my book, mind control and responsibility contradict each other.
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        Nov 5 2012: When you try to convince me to agree with you, you are trying to tell me what to think, yes? When marketers do their thing, they are trying to tell me what to think, yes? What you say influences me, but I am still responsible for what I think. Mind control and responsibility are NOT mutually exclusive; they must be balanced. (And I don't think this response is in the right column, sorry.)
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        Nov 6 2012: There are a bunch of puppets walking around the world, who feel controlled by their collective circumstances. Social structure is more than just influence; it is a type of control. Ask the slaves found in virtually every country of the world.
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          Nov 6 2012: i don't care too much if some people feel controlled. much more interesting whether they are indeed controlled. blaming social structure is just another excuse.

          what slaves? the real slaves, the 10-60 million worldwide? you believe they were influenced to be slaves? not really. they were forced. that's very different.
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        Lejan .

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        Nov 6 2012: “No one is more a slave than the one who thinks he is free without being it.”

        Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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        Nov 6 2012: To answer your question in this context, I had to agree on your perception of 'imaginary chains', on which I don't and therefore, I can't.
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        Nov 8 2012: Blackmail, its threat, resulting fear, and scapegoats are common types of control in institutions, where greedy, self-centered people tend to rise to the top and exploit the people beneath them. Social structure and the institutional mindset that imposes it keep people at the "bottom" working for minimum wage (or less); they keep people from being well-educated; they keep voices from being heard; they keep people from organizing and gaining collective power; they keep certain people groups from being prosecuted and being labeled criminal while others feel the force of the system; they keep human trafficking going, even in the United States, the supposed leader of the free world. In a just and balanced society, there wouldn't be a market for slaves, be they for sex, labor, or anything else (tissue?).
    • Nov 6 2012: Your main problem is one of perception. You see a system which has outcomes then assume that there is a directing intelligence i.e., that an agency has an agenda. That's not how it works. There is no agenda. Humans have very little capacity to organize outcomes on a large scale. Usually, when people claim to have done such a thing they are kidding themselves. A great deal happens by chance.

      Take town planning. A huge effort goes into town planning across the world. However, if you look at the results from space you see that towns universally look like bird droppings - literally splattered across the landscape. The 'planning' has had virtually no impact at all.

      The world is not a conspiracy - there is no need for paranoia - to quote Douglas Adams - "Stuff just happens."
      • Nov 6 2012: When you can just buy politicians you don't have to control the whole world to influence some outcome in the direction you desire. You can drive a car without understanding how the engine works.
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        Nov 8 2012: I agree the problem is one of perception: I had the guts to ask why nutrition science and its translation is more influenced by society and the way we think in society than by the results of scientific experiments. When I dared to mentally zoom out and ask that question, I saw the mountain range of evidence, current and through history, that supports the notion of conspiracy. If you don't believe in it, I dare you look up the story of Ron Paul, a US congressional representative who was ignored, marginalized, bullied, and silenced (to a degree) by the system. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9LN-CDRtCE&feature=related
        You could also carefully and judiciously consider the documentation continuously presented by Alex Jones (not personality and presentation) using radio, the internet, and DVDs; many others work similarly.
        More documented evidence on the detrimental effects of The Game (but by no means all of it) propagated by the system which could lead the USA through a police state into marshal law, using available characters:
        Media's lip-service to bullying being bad
        Executive orders (are they constitutional?)
        Laws undermining the US Constitution and its amendments
        Voting fraud
        The generation of cash and its flow
        The history of national banks
        The public being handed businesses' debts
        "Geoengineering"
        Vaccines' detrimental effects (and pharmaceutical companies cannot be sued)
        The public otherwise being experimental test subjects
        The history of big tobacco
        Government wastefulness
        Tax evasion
        Cover-ups
        Secrecy promotes abuse
        The history of colonialism
        Institution-based societal structure and the institution-propagating mindset
        Misleading, feel-good titles to governmental divisions (not unlike Hitler's Germany)
        The historic westward expansion of the US and marginalization of the displaced native peoples
        The economic aggression of the US
        The political agenda (interests) of US and its officials (not necessarily peace)
        The hatred much of the world has for America
        Etc.
  • Nov 7 2012: Well, one of the problems in the US Congress is the lack of party discipline. Virtually every vote is what is called a free vote elsewhere. Although it would seem more democratic to allow representatives to vote according to their consciences the result is chaotic, severely limiting the ability to direct legislation and opening up the way for endless deal-making - another way of describing legalized corruption.

    I have no argument when it comes to the super PACs and the banks. However, corruption is only what one should expect if using a poorly designed system. In a way it is not sensible to blame the people. People naturally become corrupt if given the opportunity. Blame the system - demand constitutional reform. A problem is that there is an overwhelming weight of endless propaganda at about how wonderful the constitution is, how wonderful is the American way of life etc. America will need to adjust to the new terms of life today and recognize that what served reasonably well in the past is no longer fit for purpose.
  • Nov 6 2012: Politicians don't wield as much power as many think - so buying them is not so helpful. In particular, the American president is quite a weak figure - especially if Congress is against him. Except for the ability to declare war, of course: that's the Hollywood sensationalist aspect. However, has American foreign policy been very successful after all these wars? It's certainly up for debate.

    It is true, buying politicians seems to be part of the institutionalized corruption of the American political scene. This makes politicians less powerful and not more powerful. It neutralizes what they can do. Despite the endless American propaganda - some schools even have timetables including propaganda subjects like "The American Right to Vote" - America has a considerable democratic deficit. Th European democracies are, in large part, far more democratic than the US, not having the paralyzing 'checks and balances' which are the bane of the American system and prevent anybody's view being turned into action, and being substantially less corrupt (Italy and Greece excluded).
    • Nov 7 2012: Congressmen and women rely just as much on "donations" as presidential candidates. It's not rare for the American congress to overwhelmingly agree, in a bipartisan manner, with things a majority of the population (for both parties) is against and that seems really unnatural to agree with for at least one of the two parties.

      Examples are the failure to outlaw super pacs, failure to split up banks, failure to withdraw from Afghanistan.
      • Nov 7 2012: Well, congressmen are representatives and not delegates and it is entirely reasonable that they should sometimes vote in a manner that does not reflect the majority view in the country. That they should sometimes have a different perspective is understandable and often reasonable.

        In a parallel situation one of the main reasons that the death penalty was abandoned in the UK was that, although there has always been a majority in favor of capital punished in the general population it had become impossible to find a jury that would actually find someone guilty if they knew the death penalty would be imposed. In other words, those same people who supported the death penalty when asked in theory refused when asked to apply it in practice. Similarly, parliament in the UK has repeatedly refused to reintroduce the death penalty despite frequent votes on the issue.

        Euthanasia is another case in point. This is overwhelmingly supported by the British public in opinion polls but parliament consistently refuses to pass legislation required to make it legal (and the British Medical Association strongly opposes it too).

        I've done what research I can to find out if the American public really do oppose the three things you mention, and while I know all three are controversial I can find no evidence which clearly supports your position. What I will say is that in my view there is an underlying democratic deficit in the American system. It is an overlarge system with numerous inherent flaws, poor accountability and institutionalized corruption (to which the super PACs surely contribute).
        • Nov 7 2012: "Well, congressmen are representatives and not delegates and it is entirely reasonable that they should sometimes vote in a manner that does not reflect the majority view in the country. That they should sometimes have a different perspective is understandable and often reasonable."

          Even when it goes against the core beliefs of their party, foreign allies don't push for it and both past experience and the experts tell us the sky won't fall if it is rejected? What reason other than corruption can there be that super pacs have not been outlawed and that the banks have not been split up (as they were only 15 years ago)?
  • Nov 6 2012: May I suggest you do a Google search for this .pdf - 'Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition.' You can also find a digest and discussion in New Scientist 3rd November - article titled 'Political Instincts.' These articles, and others, demonstrate an underlying genetic basis for the political contrasts you mention. Unsurprisingly, conservatives such as Jeffrey Frake - Republican congressman from Arizona and Mormon missionary, have tried to remove funding for such research. Unfortunately, they have been successful.
  • Nov 6 2012: You have to understand how much the media reinforces this tribal dynamic. Third party candidates have been extremely marginalized for years, from both the right and the left. Jill Stein Green party Candidate was in jail during one of the debates for protesting being unhallowed to debate. In 2008 Ron Paul wasn't invited to the Fox News debate the night before the new hampshire primary when he had very legitimate numbers of supporters not only in new hampshire but in the country. Whenever I watch these cheap manufactured debates all i can think is how bad either one of the candidates could be destroyed on certain issues by an outsider.



    I think the real way to analyze this is not to look where they separate it is to look at what both candidates support and only then do you get some picture as to why things are the way they are. They both support vast military expenditures and continuing this world campaign of spreading "democracy". They both have said nothing to each other about the growing destruction of civil liberties, and believe me NDAA should have been on the forefront of issues that need discussing. Why is it do you think Obama did not criticize Romney over being the wall street candidate? Well they both are, Obama received massive backing from financial institutions in 2008 and these guys bet wisely they got their bailout and almost no one was prosecuted for the financial collapse.

    The media plays to a narrative never forget who controls the news... very large corporations who's profits are maid by other large corporations wanting their product associated with their message. Also notice much of their news comes from press releases from the government. Republican Democrat insanity is ridiculous i don't even know what the terms mean anymore. What I do know is that they both support the things that matter to big business and the spreading of our American Government's genes around the world....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glHd_5-9PVs
  • Nov 5 2012: The US suffers from the electoral college and winner-takes-all systems in general, these actively oppress third parties (as well as non-religious and gay candidates). It is also one of the few democratic countries that does not publicly finance its elections, leading to nasty negative campaigns controlled by ruthless spindoctors that are usually won by the candidate with the most money (and by extension most support of the rich and corporations).

    The US has always been deeply divided between progressive and conservative forces, it's also the most religious developed country in the world. For some reason the US has much more difficulty with coming to terms with major changes whereas in other countries the population and political establishment do reach a progressive conscensus fairly quickly after something big changes: there is no popular movement in Portugal to re-establish the Atlantic slave trade, or in the Netherlands to ban gay marriage again or in Sweden to take maternity leave for men away or in Israel to ban gay people from serving in the military or in Belgium to take voting rights away from women or in Spain to make abortion illegal again, etc...

    Perhaps the United States are so divided because of the eternal two party system (plausible since "conservatism" and "progressivism" are really polarized tribes in the US), perhaps it is because many years after emigration emigrants usually tend to be more conservative than those who stayed behind in the homeland, perhaps it's a combination of many factors.
  • Nov 5 2012: Procon.org has published a study that indicates conservatives and liberals have unique attributes in how their minds work. It was a relief to read this, it explains many things. I also think it has to do with who we spend our time interacting with. If we surround ourselves with like minded people, watch, read or listen to ideas that only support one view we are more inclined to believe strongly in an ideal. If you interact with those you disagree with you can have dialogue and even some understanding of why they believe a certain way. Communication is key. As a side note, this Republican Party is NOT the Republican Party I grew up with.
  • Nov 5 2012: This isn't an accident. If a party doesn't have around 50%, How do you win? There are special interests who want certain things very much - In America certain elites have wanted lower wages. Misdirection is the key to magic. I was amazed by governor Jeb Bush's recent comments. The middle class and workers are too lazy in America. We should letg the companies import workers. Of course that was done before the Great Depression to lower industrial wages. Do that in tghis economic mess? Well some of tghe big boys want lower wages. The heck with no taxation without representation. Or was King George so really bad campared to these guys?
  • Nov 5 2012: Right now Yes. But truthful it's never been a even 50/50 influence of democrats views or republican views government. One side did dominate certain roles more than others. Remember the president isn't the only government influence. I digress Americans are taught in school to take one side or the other, to also have little cross over in belief's of dems or Reps. Still that doesn't mean other parties don't exist in this right or left system. There is a party who believe that individuals should dictate laws Not State or Federal Government. Among other's they aren't popular due to lower ability to market there idea's. Also this strange belief in Left or Right and no in between.

    This doesn't matter because we learned in american history that one political party will eventually die, and a new opposing party will rise in this 2 sided system.

    Is this better I don't think so, because people shouldn't have closed minds.
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    Nov 5 2012: I think it is just a natural law. Good v Evil, Communism v Capitalism, Freedom v Slavery.

    We are slaves to what we have decided (acquiesced) to be a slave to.
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      Nov 5 2012: Natural law? Like in nature, prey and predators that you name good and evil.

      I think evil is the result of ignorance in the sense of being devoid of sufficient knowledge to make thoughtful decisions.

      Republicans appear to live in a dream state from the past as the US of A was made barren of the original inhabitants and gave the opportunity for unlimited growth. Now every corner is occupied there has to be made rules to share all it brings. If not it will become ever more divided between the few rich and the masses that have no opportunity to make any life at all.
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        Nov 5 2012: Duly noted.

        I was referring to why it seems to boil down to 2. Where they have more parties like Italy the parties have to negotiate with other parties in effect becoming 2 parties.
      • Nov 5 2012: "republicans... in a dream state"? When I looked at the issues, and the way they do things, both parties were more or less identical. The only difference seems to be about who funds them.

        There is just one party. The Repubmocrat, also known as Demolicans.