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Old 11-19-2008, 03:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LML View Post
I didn't say he was GOOD at being Machiavellian. I don't even think he has probably read The Prince. I'm suspecting that Cheney certainly has and has adopted most of the precepts as his working hypothesis.
I can't help but admire Cheney. He may be misguided, but he plays the game as a master. All people can do is hope masters hold virtue. We are simply not privy to enough puzzle pieces to know the 'truth'. And then history guards that jewel until much later.

Machiavelli talks about that too. I should study him so much more.

We've soiled him here, Machiavelli, that is.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zswer View Post
I can't help but admire Cheney. He may be misguided, but he plays the game as a master. All people can do is hope masters hold virtue. We are simply not privy to enough puzzle pieces to know the 'truth'. And then history guards that jewel until much later.

Machiavelli talks about that too. I should study him so much more.

We've soiled him here, Machiavelli, that is.

While there is certainly much to be learned from Niccolo Machiavelli it should also be taken into context. Considering the Machiavelli formulated his work, "The Prince" during the early 16th century, based upon prior historical works and the politics of Italy during those times.

The results in relying so heavily on a single work, noble or not can be seen in the American political landscape and what is likely to be this countries worst foreign policy disaster in its history. Hard to call Cheney brilliant when we can't even wrench him out of his dark bunker to answer for his reasoning.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:23 PM
 
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Government is a reflection of it's people, so before we get too carried away shifting blame elsewhere I think it's important to recognize how we all contribute to the state of affairs we find ourselves in today.

The original heading-- separation of culture and state. That's not really possible. They mirror each other. Where our attention is led is where we follow and I think it's safe to say none of us really want to be led down a blind alley. I do feel this sense that another player is leading both with psy ops at this point, but where is the proof? Liberals criticize conservatives, conservatives criticize liberals, but how much of that criticism has been truthful, constructive, or with intent to solve problems? None of it. More honestly expressed the intention was to win. Engaging this means a shift away from truthful discovery of the root causes of ailments and towards the quick and easy assignment of blame attributed to an opponent.

Who wins a debate? Ron Paul when he's speaking a truth a year ago to republicans who were booing him from the live audience but texting a vote from elsewhere? Unpleasant news about the economy? We might be doing something wrong? He's a liberally liberal alarmist? His warnings unfolded and who has given him credit (even if you didn't agree with everything)? Equal culpability for myself-- Bush, I hate him, he's evil, those damned republicans screwing people over! The actions of bush don't reflect the real nature of republicanism, or conservatives, or our nations values for that matter-- but it's who was permitted to wear the cloak of republican.

No candidate in this race had ideas that could solve all things but it's as if America expects them to; a new savior to fixate upon and somehow get them off the hook. Transference away from personal responsibility. Elevate them to unimaginable heights in their minds, then turn around and knock him down as the bane of their existence when the payoff doesn't materialize in the format they preferred. It's easier to see it in your opponents camp than it is to see it in your own.

I deliberately used psychological and religious terms because the lack of separation of church and state is very real in the minds of a populous whose value set is shaped by religion. How much of our culture is religion, and am I wrong to infer that the illness I see is illness in religion?

Much different perspective than those claiming religious affinity have when mass emailing claims that the government and society at large are actively assaulting their faith. The process of politically exploiting that careless boundary (both camps) feeds the illusion. Religious leadership has actively blamed the government (longer than I've been alive) for it's failure to lead a brand of morality, but whose job was that in the first place? Economics are seen as the justification for clergy to dance with politics, but I question the validity of that activity.

The most disturbing trend I've seen these past 8 yrs is the acceleration of fear of ideas. Just because I see something or know something exists doesn't make it appropriate for me to partake in it or displace all my established personal values. Being aware of anything outside my circle of existence isn't a threat to me, but to others, 'awareness' is perceived as an attack. A temptation, a distraction, a false path... what else? This need for validation people take to an extreme makes them easier to exploit. Religions or governments endorsing this attitude- I'm siding with the Amish on this one.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:09 PM
 
27 posts, read 12,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post

The results in relying so heavily on a single work, noble or not can be seen in the American political landscape and what is likely to be this countries worst foreign policy disaster in its history. Hard to call Cheney brilliant when we can't even wrench him out of his dark bunker to answer for his reasoning.
I don't care all that much for the prince. Freddy the great didn't either. And Freddy might would have six GitMo's.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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Well part of my reasoning behind the title of this thread is that unlike religion which has legal provisions to keep it from being established as a part of government, culture does not. In looking over the recent past, I can say that from the hippies of the 60's, to disco days, to 80's land of the shallow ME, to 90's greed, to where we be, and during all this time, our government has remained more reactive to the culture than the other way around. Regardless of what direction our culture goes, the government should be reactive to those trends as our laws will remain basically the same no matter what we do. Culture is far more dynamic.

Today, our culture does mimic many aspects of the political landscape in that it is far more absolutist than I ever recall it being. Just as there exist a binary view of politics, there is also this reflection in our society. Now one of the reasons I believe this has come to be is in part chance and circumstance and in part social engineering geared to the maintenance of the state and servicing its wishes and desires.

To give a few general examples of this absolutist mentality we have that mimics the dichotomy of our two party system of government, let me give it a whirl.

Growing up we attend schools that eventually have pep rallies where all the little kiddies cheer for their school and denounce the competition. Go Dragons, squash those Trojans... rah rah! We graduate into our love of all things sport oriented and celebrity fashioned. From go Dragons we then get to Go Cowboys! Go Detroit! etc... Religious institutions do a very similar thing of self segregation and separation based on differences. We Baptist don't think like those Episcopalians or Mormons. We Christians are over here and those Muslims are over there.

We continue this even into the work environment were Walmart employees are better than Target employees, and and those silly folks at Bob's House of Chicken don't hold a candle to the Popeyes.

Now much of this is little more than healthy competition and this is a fine thing but this constant desire to boil everything down to just this or just that doesn't work in matters which require greater depth.

Yet look around this and other like forums and the bulk of discussion is usually little more than, "Those libertards" or "those Repukes". How few ever consider that Liberal, Conservative, Libertarian, Neoconservative, Republican, Democrat are all legitimate politics philosophies and each have a variety of things in which they agree and disagree with other philosophies, yet we do not approach it as such.

So how do 200 million people, or even 25% of those learn to look at the political landscape more like a recipe for cornbread, where a person can be two cups of this, a cup of that, pinch of this and a tablespoon of that?

The only solutions I can think of start with the most basic of things, education. Then with education should be taught awareness, if it can be taught, or at the very least critical reasoning and the scientific method. It helps to have a curious population as well as a motivated one. And all of these things mentioned in this paragraph are at least in part, dependent upon direction from government.

I will agree to a point that government and the people are a reflection of one another, but I also have come to believe that the state produces what it needs. After all, what is easier to govern, a population of curious, aware, and critically thinking people who engage in the political process or a population that is incurious, apathetic, complacent, and actually desires to be blissfully ignorant of an aspect of their lives that effects them directly, which is government.

So to return to the topic title, my desire is to divest our culture from being so reactionary to government and its almost compulsive use of fear based divisive politics. To reflect upon our dynamic and diverse population and culture and desire to see this better employed in politics and government.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:15 PM
 
11,127 posts, read 12,652,436 times
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Originally Posted by zswer View Post
I don't care all that much for the prince. Freddy the great didn't either. And Freddy might would have six GitMo's.
Well Frederick the Great was much more the military man but if I'm not mistaken, he also held the notion of "the enlightened king", promoting religious tolerance while at the same time, holding a contempt for artist and philosophers.

I would place him more in a category with Sun Tzu than Machiavelli.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:23 PM
 
27 posts, read 12,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
I believe this has come to be is in part chance and circumstance and in part social engineering geared to the maintenance of the state and servicing its wishes and desires.
Well that might be structural way of explaining things, but I just don't see 'the state' being that smart.

I think in some ways Americans are much more informed than ever. Now, that doesn't mean we know the 'right' way to use that info, but the info is there.

I'm a believer that people make history and not the other way around, so that base idea influences my thought.
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:52 PM
 
11,961 posts, read 12,803,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TnHilltopper View Post
I believe this has come to be is in part chance and circumstance and in part social engineering geared to the maintenance of the state and servicing its wishes and desires.
I've observed that happen in every form of organization (business, charity, religious, PTA, government), as if inevitable phase of growth to decay. Once established the mission statement in leaders minds are to preserve, and that does come at the expense of the founding mission statement when they embrace Machiavellian principles.

Context of Carter to Reagan era-- Deregulation seeds were set in mid 70's before anyone knew what it was about. Reagan neoconservativism busted out of 'malaise' by encouraging deconstructive measures in commerce. Mergers, aquisitions, chop shop a company, and put family jewels up for sale. 80's was a parts is parts era. Citizens weren't 'me' but plenty enough were wondering 'what about me' when the traditional landscape of stability; education=higher wages, experience= higher wages became a false reality. Rewards were not for quality from that moment on, but rather, who could talk a better game in social networking or find an 'angle' for quick returns. What was valuable changed, and those who caught onto the new rules had to take on the 'me' paradigm to survive.

Revisit the speeches of Reagan, Bush sr, and Bush jr-- they were embracing the flavor of the month paradigms of commerce in the belief that a government could model itself after a corporation. This is antithetical to the constitutional mission of governance to serve public trust. They've deferred to the wishes of commerce at the expense of public trust through executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Created an imbalance of symbiotic relationships they were tasked to impartially preside over in free market economy, disavowing all responsibility. They've taken the 'free' out of free market corrupting capitalism. Laissez fair has been pick and choose from the very beginning.

This last phase of deconstruction has attacked the american sensibilities of 'safe as houses'. Are bonds safe when inflation is not controlled and interest rates are so insanely low that saving equates to losing? What's safe when every investment vehicle is subject to flim flam valuation standards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zswer View Post
Well that might be structural way of explaining things, but I just don't see 'the state' being that smart.

I think in some ways Americans are much more informed than ever. Now, that doesn't mean we know the 'right' way to use that info, but the info is there.

I'm a believer that people make history and not the other way around, so that base idea influences my thought.
The 'state' is only as smart as you'd be permitted to connect the partitioned power and knowledge. Average gov't employees are trained to have horse blinders on isolating them from the larger org body of information. This last incident... why was Congress blind sighted by the independent actions of the Fed? Ron Paul pointed out this lack of oversight last year.

Information is power and as much as you might believe that Americans are more informed than ever, it's untrue when any % of citizens believe Obama is muslim or that 911 perpetrators originate from Iraq. The truth is harder to come by because it's buried under a pile of misinformation. Journalism standards being displaced by entertainment formats and deliberate political steering of the American mind (a form of real estate to Madison ave). Media has, in a sense, created a pulpit for themselves under the guise of journalism. The noble purpose of this check and balance usurped by commerce, reduced to courtroom paid for expert testimony in servitude to an argument instead of the truth. The wretched strawman strikes again.

Every angle I've looked at this nut indicates that neither we the people nor our government are leading, but rather, mass scale commercial interests are steering this nation. Follow the money leaving our shores. It's too hard to see a tide from an individual standpoint. You have to observe outside the fray and know that even when you willfully mean to be out of it, it impacts you directly just the same.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:11 PM
 
27 posts, read 12,089 times
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Originally Posted by harborlady View Post
I
This last incident... why was Congress blind sighted by the independent actions of the Fed? Ron Paul pointed out this lack of oversight last year.
Because congress consists largely of people who can't do much else in life other than get people other than themselves to do work.

Congress is the lowest 'common' governmental denominator, something rather well known in 16th century Florence and even in early Greece.

You are, I believe, right about commercial interest. But that has been the case since right after the revolution.

Nothing really new under the sun.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zswer View Post
Because congress consists largely of people who can't do much else in life other than get people other than themselves to do work.
ROFLMAO-- sad but true, but I'm forever partial to my families working middle class roots. Even now- this 25+ yr trend in our culture contemptuous of physical labor... you're just too stupid to make a real living? Three cheers for Rowe's "Dirty Jobs" getting people down to earth a bit. Civilization getting too abstract... brains of people are getting further away from their bodies. Not healthy IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zswer View Post
Congress is the lowest 'common' governmental denominator, something rather well known in 16th century Florence and even in early Greece.

You are, I believe, right about commercial interest. But that has been the case since right after the revolution.

Nothing really new under the sun.
History isn't my best muscle and public education offered me the Capra-esque version via state sponsored textbooks. Anyone else feel betrayed that Washington's cherry tree was fiction?

Whomever we ideally want to represent us... is Washington DC a climate where they can work in earnest? The system in place we've given tacit permission to exist crucifies Mr Smith.

Citizenry really needs to examine ideals, Mr Smith, and DC climate before we can address how to fix anything. Personal fiction sold as national identity is a handicap. The awareness of what isn't new is what's absent.
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