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Ideological topics: Wealth Redistribution, Equality, Universal Health Care are quite contentious. Is there common ground for common good?

How do you obtain common ground in an ideological argument? What methods have proved fruitful in the past? Is there even a solution?

I am still working through Rousseau’s Origins of Inequality but, this statement stood out.

“Thus, as the most powerful or the most miserable considered their might or misery as a kind of right to the possessions of others, equivalent, in their opinion, to that of property, the destruction of equality was attended by the most terrible disorders. Usurpations by the rich, robbery by the poor, and the unbridled passions of both, suppressed the cries of natural compassion and the still feeble voice of justice, and filled men with avarice, ambition and vice.”

What methods do you use to sway the idealist who in reality means no harm yet causes harm with each keystroke?


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    Feb 11 2014: Self interest is at the center of this discontent. Anyone who has ever found themselves in a wartime or other survival situation knows that common interest trumps self interest six ways to Sunday. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    But there are far too many people, especially in North America, who have never known a need for community and co-operative efforts just to survive. Even the homeless of North America have better supports in their lives than a third of the planet's population who have no supports at all. There are far too many that are much more interested in "being" right than they are in "getting it" right. Namely the arrogant who skulk amongst us.

    It seems the more comforts we enjoy the more self-interested we become and arrogance, selfishness, pettiness and mean-spiritedness are not far behind. Aspects of human behaviour that always become more and more prevalent as the abundance increases and diminish along with that abundance. .

    Here is an interesting aspect of human arrogance and mean-spiritedness that can be seen as the 'canary in the coal mine'. Whenever we hear an individual or a group or even an idea being denigrated, dismissed as undeserving of basic respect, or even vilified you are witnessing human arrogance and petty mean-spiritedness in action. Conflict and even violence will not be far behind.

    But what is most interesting in this observation is the need to first diminish the humanity of 'the other' before the mean-spiritedness can be manifested. We cannot be mean-spirited towards those people or ideas we have not first devalued. Once this sort of behaviour is recognized for what it is and challenged at the outset, the ability to develop common grounds and support common interests will flourish and humanity will have taken another step towards actual civilized existence.

    Until then we are doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes and obtaining the same results.
    • Feb 11 2014: William Thank you for joining in!

      The paradox you describe is disheartening, in truth and in despair. With each economic advancement meant to improve our lives we lose a social tool, the kinship with our fellow travelers.

      I would like to know more about the demoralization of “the others” view. Could the first steps in this process be inquiry?

      In other words, is the process of diminishment preceded by a question which at that very moment gives validation of “the other”.

      If so could the universal need to understand, ever so fleeting in time that it may be, be used as a tool to stop the rooted dogma and social pressures which lead to diminishment?
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        Feb 11 2014: The first step in devaluing another seems to be "challenge".. Inquiry would be preferred and compromise - either of positions or goals - invariably precedes agreement if, in fact, agreement is the real goal.

        But challenge divides and simply seeks to win rather than to progress or move forward. Challenge only has winners and losers, neither of which are tolerable in a co-operative or functional society. Winners and losers only inhabit arenas of competition where losers have long memories and hold grudges while winners exalt the win and use it to suggest that "winners" are superior, or better, or more important creating division, disagreement, prejudices, arrogance and eventually conflict.
        • Feb 12 2014: William! you continue to educate me, and for that, I thank you.

          The "challenge", as you stated, is not from curiosity, it stems from preconcieved notions.
          At that point it is to late, fear and cognitive dissonance dominates the assault.

          I have seen the "attack" if you will, fade into understanding given enough time or a social event reframed the concept in the assailants mind.
        • Feb 14 2014: Consider that the challenge or inquiry can be a tool to foster learning and appreciate something or be a distraction... by the same token the preconceived notions can be a tool that fosters understanding rather than allow seductive deceptions to drown those who intent to pass the straight hearing the songs therein ...

          the "attack" will, fade into understanding given enough time or a social event that reframes the concept in the assailants mind... say like changing a fight into a dance....
    • Feb 12 2014: There is also an incorrect tendency for people to think that what is best for them is best for the whole.

      This is the essence of the divide in economics between the Austrian school and the Chicago school of thought.

      Austrians deny feedback loops where what is good for one may be bad for others. They see total good as the sum of personal goods. Therefore, anything that is good for at least one is good for all.

      The Chicago school of thought recognizes massive interconnections in the economy where what is good for one is bad for others. As a result, the Chicago school says that some things that are good for one may be bad for the whole.

      While the evidence is overwhelming in favor of the Chicago school... heck, it is a mathematical tautology, there are still a very large number of very rich people that are absolutely convinced (at least they pretend to be convinced) that what is good for them increases total good.
      • Feb 13 2014: I was entangled in a discussion with one of the Austrian boys, I left a little bit of skin in that one!

        The persistent thought that Macroeconomics was the only metric needed, drove the conversation into the dust.
        I should have bailed earlier so I accept partial blame for the failure to communicate.
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        Feb 17 2014: Assumptions are just as detrimental as challenges. Objective inquiry and active listening are not skills Western society promotes. In fact, the opposite where arrogance, ego, scorn and indifference are mores often the case.
    • Feb 14 2014: I agree Bryan, that's why when you revalue weatlth, it's always done by the same group with a different smile. Maybe the trick is not to play the game. Instead of Wealth Redistribution, we Revalue Wealth. What if you considered yourself wealthy if you had real friends and your family loved you and one another. Things like Christmas, Birthdays, and Anniversaries didn't include debt or a trip to the mall. Revaluing Wealth might be Emotional Wealth, which would take the power away from the ones we are giving it to. We are playing their game and they could care less if children are being raised in front of a TV or a strangers house because mom and dad both have to work so the family can have a toaster and designer jeans.

      The industrialist needed to sell their mass produced products in a utilitarian society, so they created a marketing scheem that would transform us into consumers. The model T ford was producted as a utilitarian product, the Mustang and Corvette were manufactured for consumers. I don't see a solution of one size that fits all however as I write these lines I feel a need to recomitt.to a simpler life with more emphasis on and emotional connection.

      Also I have to look inside myself and wonder if it not just easier to play to the game that has been so ingeniously crafted which plays to my ego and those sociopathic, narcassistic, egotistical, tendencies we might all share?

      Which brings up the point about self interest. Self interest is what would suggest that I understand and participate in survival of the group because the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. Self interest seems only negative when its need for MORE creates a lifestyle that is unsustainable for the group or the planet.

      I still hate that bumper sticker, Be The Change You Want To Be, or something like that because a part of me argues weather or not my change will matter or be enough. Am I just waisting my time or maybe my kids can figure it out.
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        Feb 17 2014: Possessing wealth equals status and accords privilege. It always has. But that does not mean we need to continue with that attitude. The greatest social control ever devised has always been one's status in the community. Change that and you change the world we live in.

        The latest ism = capitalism that is - to dominate the planet emphatically embraces accumulating wealth solely for the purpose of self-indulgence and pretence. Does anyone think the wealthy will willingly surrender their status and privileges?
    • Feb 14 2014: being interested in "getting it" right by "being" right - means one chooses to embrace what be right as 'thier' way of being... this means one gives the value to an individual or a group or even an idea that is evaluated as it ought to be valued. Some want every opinion to be as valid as any other opinion when the truth of the matter is that the right opinion has much more value than the wrong opinion.

      Some seek equality by diminishing the value of others where as some seek equality by appreciating the values of each... be on the lookout for words that lead to appreciation and understanding and those that invite to a different adventure... keep in mind that ideas may seek to sneak in disguised and in the company of others rather than stand on their own ... who in their right mind would choose the fake coin when next to it be the genuine one? Which one would you take?

      Recognizing behaviors for what they be may help to develop common grounds and support common interests required to flourish . humanity will have taken another step towards actual civilized existence when each seek the better ways to be and shares the stories that help to cultivate such ways.

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