Alan Urdaibay

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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?
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.
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
If the state is so bad at raising children, how come we allow the state to educate our children?
I agree that State education can be a progressive force, although it has the potential to be the opposite. I was more-or-less obliged (due to unusual circumstances) to educate my daughter at home for 2 years. As an educator, I did not find this difficult. However, my impression from researching homeschooling in general, which I did at the time, was the the majority of those who home-school their children are fools who were doing their children a great disservice.
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?
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).
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?
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).
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?
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.
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?
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."
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Alan Urdaibay
Posted over 2 years ago
If the state is so bad at raising children, how come we allow the state to educate our children?
Canada does well in international comparisons - so broken down it probably isn't. It is important to teach critical thinking, though, a weakness of very many educations systems. However, your main point seems to be your question: "Why do we let the state educate our children?" Well, it is not ultimately the responsibility of the state to educate your children. It's your responsibility and you should do it and not complain about the state. Send your children to school, by all means, but ensure you provide a substantial input yourself. I have a feeling you do. Good for you and your kids! If the state did not educate children many would suffer from lack of opportunity and there might be no route to demonstrate success in any field - I, for one, would not want to visit an unqualified doctor. As to grading children having a detrimental effect on them - try a Rudolf Steiner school. However, I have met and taught the products of these schools and not yet found a student who was pleased with the outcome.