Showing all posts tagged democracy:
Some people like to argue that more economic inequality is a good thing, because it is a "natural" byproduct of capitalism in a world of "makers and takers," "winners and losers," "wolves and sheep," [insert your favorite Manichaean metaphor here]. However, too much inequality is deleterious for both economics and politics -- for reasons that are intertwined.
Those who amass exorbitant wealth often increasingly use a portion of their gains to capture politics. While the mythological promise of trickle-down economics is that we must not have progressive taxation, because giving more money to the already wealthy is the only way to spur economic investment and innovation and create jobs -- in actual fact the majority of tax cut windfalls go to stock buybacks, offshore tax havens, regulatory capture, political lobbying, and campaign donations. All this is a runaway amplifying feedback loop that tilts the playing field further away from equal opportunity, social mobility, and democratic...
Have seen a lot of moving speeches in my time, but @Emma4Change silently weeping for 6 minutes and 20 seconds in front of a million people on the DC Mall is the most profound thing I’ve seen in some time #MarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/zaWC0Km0gq— barb dybwad (@doctorparadox) March 24, 2018
Youth activism has long been a venerable historical tradition in America -- from the Civil Rights movement to the anti-war Vietnam protests, to the Parkland school shooting survivors today. In all three of those examples, the moral force of the group's argument was buttressed by the very real stakes of their own lives in the balance.
These young people have more gravity and poise than so many of their elders -- particularly those whose inaction the activists deplore. Maybe this generational churn has a common feeling -- a tinge of status quo complacency, lazy corruption, and entitled hubris on the part of the so-called leaders of civil society; a groundswell of optimism, bravery, stre...
If -- as the #2A crowd is wont to say -- the 2nd Amendment is meant as preserving a citizen's right to have firepower on hand to stop an oppressive domestic government, then it would follow that the 2nd Amendment would want individual citizens to possess nuclear technology -- otherwise, the federal government easily has a monopoly on the use of force. Our handguns, rifles, and even semi-automatic stockpiles are nothing in the face of the United States' nuclear arsenal.
However, we don't see anybody seriously advocating for the position that individual people ought to have the right to nukes in their homes (and possibly concealed carry?!). Why? Because it is at that point in the thought experiment that the absurdity of the #2A argument is unmasked -- that at some point there is a limit as to how much power to do violence the average citizen needs, so as not to overburden and endanger the safety and security of its citizens. Too much violent firepower threatens the safety and liberty...
It's almost like you can feel it in the air, if you listen. The will of a people toward freedom -- listing this way and that. Maybe someday stumbling onto it.
But then, how to keep it...
The current legislative extremism of the ruling GOP majority is already legendary. And over and over again I hear from the far-left the repeated mantra that Democrats need to move further left to win elections.
The graph above illustrates why -- you don't gain any new supporters by doubling down on the territory you already have. You have to find ways to accommodate something from the center to gain ground. This is the essence of the Median Voter Theorem.
"Ah, but wait!" you say -- "the Median Voter Theorem is so fraught with assumptions. In the real world, these conditions are rarely all true!"
True, true, my astute friend. However, statistics sees to that as well. It allows us to ask what we should expect to see given many many trials and sets of conditions, such that we get an even truer, richer, weighted average than we would from simply measuring a single empirical event. The central limit theorem tells us that with sample sizes large enough, the distribution o...
There's something those of us in marginalized groups know instinctively, having lived lives long in opposition to a dizzying continuum of Absurd Moral Authority: from outright violence, to secretive "technical" manipulations of statutes designed to erode or remove rights, to vague and carefully unstated "wink wink nudge nudge" moments from individuals of authority who had some power to constrain us -- whether it's a boss (or potential boss), a teacher, a community figure, and/or perhaps most guttingly a family member.
We know the sting of being scolded for even daring an attempt at upsetting the Tautological Supremacist Meritocracy: "If you weren't worthless, you'd already be here by now!"
The British thought we would just roll over too
But we should remember one of the primary reasons that we as a nation even won our independence in the first place:
We were underestimated.
Lord North offered tax relief to the colonies that would help "defend the motherland" in February, 1775 -...
Missed in the hubbub about the (rightly) criticized PR gaffe of George Lucas is the kernel of truth in his statement: that whether you're being paid $4 billion or $0.00 to SHOO! go away, you're going to resent being shown the door. Even when you knew it was coming -- and especially when you didn't. And/or expected the opposite.
Now imagine if you didn't feel like you had any agency whatsoever in the transaction. People resist what they do not choose.
Yet resistance to being dictated to is a good thing. It's how we know we still live in a civil society -- which, frankly, can no longer be taken for granted these days. Ask yourself the question now and then. Ask it of others. Ask it of people from different walks of life. Remember the melting pot? Once that was our pride and joy. The strength of a nation.
Places still we believe it. Many states still it's gospel... others anathema.
Some days I'm a believer -- others, apostate.