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Old 06-01-2012, 12:06 PM
 
Location: West Texas
2,440 posts, read 3,551,872 times
Reputation: 2999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Osito View Post
To continue, it needs more working poor. The only problem is that the poor have gotten more poor, the rich have gotten richer and both sides arguably have gotten extremely entitled.
I'd like to address two points here.

First is that the country needs more working poor. I think they need more working low-wage workers... because not every job has or requires a skill set that would equate to higher wages. Often, the current younger culture doesn't want to start on the bottom (either because of feeling disrespected or because they have a college degree). Paying higher wages because they (the employee) feel like they deserve it is what is making American consumable or built goods so expensive - because the greed of corporate owners is not going to absorb the cost, they'll pass it on in the way of higher product cost.

People have to realize that if they have a low skill set, or low education, or are just starting on a career with a college degree that they should expect to start on the low end of pay scales. Self-improvement, ability, and hard, steady work are the foundation for rising in pay. But, it has to be in a type of employment that has upwards mobility. And, there has to be a realization that sometimes one may not be as good as they think they are.

The second point is in response to "The only problem is that the poor have gotten more poor, the rich have gotten richer..."

What's sad is Ben Franklin once said something like: "I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Even over two hundred years ago some understood that you can't fix a problem by throwing money at it and giving every means to make a living to one without making them earn it. But, today, we have more entitlement programs than ever before. We take more money (both in number and by percentage) from taxes and give it to the ever increasing number of entitlement programs. But, as you said "...the poor have gotten more poor, the rich have gotten richer..." So how's that working out for us?

One of the commonly accepted definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results. When are we going to learn that giving money to people who do nothing to earn it for prolonged periods of time does not solve anything - except maybe be considered bribe money to keep the crime rate down.

The scary things was that there was a recent article this year in a west Texas paper about hispanics being asked if they could choose between a larger government with more programs or a smaller government with less programs, which would they select. And, nearly 75% choose the larger government with more programs.

Insanity.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:38 PM
 
157 posts, read 81,932 times
Reputation: 166
Today I saw an ad for a new American movie!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. Really? I can wait to see if J.W. Booth ends up as Lestat or Dracul as if it would matter.

This is the sort of cultural nonsense a dying society with no context for its own history produces. No, not even if you take it as joke on racists and the Civil War. What's next? SuperRoosevelt, flying out of his wheelchair to cure Wall Street and the economy while planning to kick evil German ass with his irradiated corn-cob pipe? Thomas Jefferson: Pulitzer King? The tale of a brilliant op-ed opiner who gets the right slant every time and jots out the Declaration of Independance while plotting to rob the French with the Louisiana Purchase, all with a single stroke of his feather quill while being lovingly caressed by his slave girl?

I see the slide continuing...

Last edited by Frankums; 06-05-2012 at 09:46 PM..
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:31 AM
 
53 posts, read 64,178 times
Reputation: 40
Hi Sky-O, you raise a lot of valid points. I identify as an independent so I tend to be dissatisfied with aspects of both the republican and democratic parties as well.

As far as the cultural decay we're experiencing, I've brought this up with family and friends before so you're not alone in pondering this, I just tend to believe that it's not restricted to the United States (not that it makes a difference for those of us who are here). I have friends in other countries who have expressed similar concerns that people no longer care about integrity or doing what's right and basically laugh at anyone who chooses to live according to any moral values.

I believe the issue is too complex to have a single explanation for it, but one of my theories is that a contributing factor could be the rise of materialistic (or naturalistic) philosophy.

I am agnostic and don't mean this to be offensive to those who aren't religious. But think about it, religion used to be what kept people in line (especially those with objectionable urges). Now that most people in the world increasingly embrace the belief that we're nothing but slightly more evolved bacteria, have no souls, no purpose or reason to be and are basically genetically predisposed to act a certain way, it's a recipe for disaster. People now feel free to act out their instincts, and why would they abstain from anything since we're being told we're no different than a grasshopper?

I also agree that the U.S. cannot support a massive amount of immigration right now, not in the shape it's in. Although I think that many politicians are trying to play this up so as to avoid mentioning the real cause of the global economic crisis: subprime lending.

Unfortunately, whenever an industrialized country is 'walking-distance' from a country with vast numbers of poor and non-literate citizens, a diaspora will almost be inevitable. And many countries are dealing with the same issue. Even if it's no consolation, this is not exceptional to the States. The Dominican Republic is actually in a similar position with Haiti, France is dealing with this from Romania, Africa. Argentina is dealing with this from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru (Shantytowns built by immigrants are a real problem there right now). So what to do? I don't really have the answer. It's kind of a conundrum because if the U.S. decides to stop educating these folks' offspring what will happen is they're going to end up just like their parents: as illiterate non-English speakers (who is going to teach them English if they can't go to school?) and therefore more likely to live off the system. Not to mention the moral implications of punishing a child for a decision his father or mother made.

I don't agree with the Libertarians on necessarily everything, but maybe shrinking the welfare state is the answer. There is no way to stop the poorest of the poor from immigrating here but there should be a way to limit what they're entitled to. Ideally, no one able-bodied should be entitled to welfare, ethnicity notwithstanding. Hopefully with no access to Section 8 or welfare checks (at least not without working in exchange of it!) the worst elements of Mexico (and other countries) will stay home. I'm sure some uneducated poor will continue coming in order to escape poverty and crime (who can blame them for that?) but the incentive to live off the system will no longer be there.

Last edited by Kameradin; 06-06-2012 at 03:45 AM..
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:52 PM
 
Location: California
228 posts, read 205,494 times
Reputation: 139
America has been in a constant tug of war of the elites trying to exert their control and exploitative schemes on the masses and various minority groups for hundreds of years. If the culture has weakened it is the fault of the masses for not saying and doing anything.

BTW Hitler and Stalin were not individualists. Hitler (National Socialism) and Stalin (Totalitarian - Communism); both destroyed individualists and intellectuals in death camps and gulags ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankums View Post
In Europe, individualism is possibly deemed as dangerous moreso than in America, and for obvious historical reasons. America has had no Goethe or Napoleon or Hitler or Stalin. People in America who are like that, at least in spirit, are either mega-rich and pull their trips through puppets or are delegated as nutjobs who are popularly marginalized to keep their followers' reactiveness sated. If anything, Americans in general believe they are individual but in reality only follow trends and fashion. Someone can buy a pair of Nikes because they relate to a successful basketball star so as to bask in the reflected glory that maybe they too are that good at those endeavours, but the truth of the consumer's abilities has little to do with the purchase and all about the baseless fantasies centered on making the purchase and its societal reflection upon the purchaser.

Culture and materialism date heavily in America and they have been seen about town for quite awhile now. Materialism gives you a Donald Trump or any of the current in-vogue look-so-much-alike celebrities. Culture without the sole emphasis of expanding markets begets a DaVinci or a Picasso or a Fellini.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:34 PM
 
157 posts, read 81,932 times
Reputation: 166
Considering what Hitler & Stalin did culturally to Europe, I'd say they had a definite impact on culture. In America, there has never been a personalized force such as either of them, possibly due to the conceptual ignorance of the people who shaped American culture prior to WWI. After all, savages were to be conquered under the Christian European mode of assimiliation; by death, enslavement or absorption, as done in Europe, with a slight Roman touch of tolerance to the indigenous to accomplish the goal. The context within the thread when posted is that Europe and America have different views regarding what is considered individualistic and what iconic individuals' impacts have upon culture. Could you imagine if MLK were as Hitler or Stalin? Never could have happened, America has no such history to produce such a force; if it ever did the velvet would be fuzzy and indistinct and only recognizable after time. We sell things, ideas, concepts but not wholesale titanic personalities unless they are obviously fictive or out to 'sell' famous landmarks at bargain-bin prices.

Individualism from within their respective spheres may not have been demanded by either of the above European dictators, but I still believe they themselves were individuals and so could do what they did by will and support. Pedantic politico-speak aside, individualism impacts culture and a personal dislike of the doer and their deeds does not make the impact any less cultural or important. The quality of a societies' culture isn't dependent so much on who is in control but how nuanced, subtle and intelligent the intangible anthropological specimens it values and creates are. DaVinci toiled for masters Florence & France and was allowed to do so by an individual fount of curious genius irrespective of what it produced aside from aesthetics and self-interest. Donald Trump yaps on and sells individuality as genius, as lord, to sell a brand for personal riches and making it quite apparent regardless of content other than "I AM!". Substance? Defined by culture. There were gardens growing in America in the middle of the 20th century; now we have a pregnant Snooki and money-obsession for the sake of mere possession.

As for the 'masses'? These days, the majority of people still either buy culture through consumption of stuff or by going along with whatever comes because they do not produce culture themselves beyond provisional toils. What exactly would you have people do? Have inchoate mobs running around destroying whatever they feel is ugly and wrong, going on about smashing the elites, who do only as the masses would do if they could but with a more delicate understanding of power and how to keep it running smoothly? Revolutions only happen when things are truly unbearable or people become bored enough to get up and burn things because the cradle stops swinging and the music box goes quiet. Content and distraction brings peace, desirable or not. Is it fair to deliver unto people that which they cannot comprehend, then cross one's fingers and hope for the best? Well, look at pre-Nazi Germany. Beaten, impoverished and denigrated to the point that any properly pitched madness will be sanctified, coddled and brought to fruition.

Now do you believe culture is strictly moral, a law-set that structures community? Or is it the communal result of the community toil, what it values as true, flourishing by the will of those who maintain and manipulate it to whatever ends? Today, many have fallen sway to the odd view that if all the elites were to be magically erased a new set would never emerge to fill the vacancies. That line of thought is nothing new but it is amazing how much revolving goes round & round when it comes to sating people who feel unctious and how little people learn no matter how much history is memorized.

As for American elites playing tug-of-war? Well, if you have no comprehension of what it is that the media is all about, you may see it that way. Today, American politics is just a soap opera to quell the appetite of a people who refuse to understand who it is they are and why they are really not much different to anyone else. Idealism mixed with drama and history makes for a scrumptious souffle. I am surprised that no one can connect the Reagan-Clinton-Bush-Obama lines into the most obvious collective effort since WW II, on behalf of and brought forth by the precious elite. But then most people are self-cultural and only see what is broadcast and proceed to deduce that by their own ethos subjectively. Few will ever see how MSNBC and FNC know all about covert collusion, least of all their own fans/employees, acting out this tragi-comedy that pits traditional political stereo-types against each other in the name of the common financial good so as to best 'them'. Yet at least the 'masses' are mobilized, fretful and antagonistic, fighting on behalf of self-enslavement and financial ruin and being quite proactive about it in a saintly way.

Last edited by Frankums; 06-06-2012 at 05:45 PM..
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