The Escalation from Polarization to War

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War is not the macho fantasy of insecure conservative men. It is the reality of children being burned alive.

Reasonable people have long lamented the increasing polarization of politics, an escalation from disagreement to outright division largely fueled by a few extremists who refuse to accept diversity, and the masses of gullible idiots who buy into the latest outrage on their “side”. It can be seen in the botched reconstruction after the Civil War, the mass exodus of racist white southerners from the Democratic party during the civil rights movement, the “pro-life” movement which was manufactured for political gain and has done more to harm and kill than to protect life, and so on.

Our current problems have their roots in an ancient and ongoing struggle with our own animal natures. But this phenomenon of bitter polarization, with different “facts” on both sides and no room for compromise, is far more extreme and dangerous in the modern world of social media and nuclear bombs.

Today I read one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen all year, even counting Trump’s offer to destroy the career of a Democratic politician for opposing the practice of “civil asset forfeiture” (police stealing private property from citizens who haven’t been convicted of a crime). The article is so disturbing that I will not link to it, because I don’t want to have any part in spreading it further. Instead, I’ll address a few quotes and talk about the overall issues with it.

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The Sandy Foundations of Evangelical Morality

house-built-on-sand-l-4b2687022b50e054I’ve been writing about morality and its relationship to religion for quite a while. Let’s take a brief journey through my past articles before we get into my latest observations…

December 22, 2014: “Your devotion to your faith should not lead you to cover up evil, in some misguided attempt to retain dignity for the religion as a whole.”

May 27, 2015: “Despite what [the Duggars]–or their apologists–might claim, their particular religion is not all about forgiveness for sinners. It is specifically focused on patriarchal control; the “forgiveness for sinners” argument is just a convenient way to gloss over the crimes of the male leaders.”

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Republicans Have Finally Become a Fascist Party

There's an old quote I'm reminded of right now:

There’s an old quote I’m reminded of right now: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a Bible.”

I’ve been calling out various Republican policies as fascist since well before the 2016 presidential race even began, but Donald Trump took it to the next level. They have now checked the boxes, at least ideologically, on every major feature characterizing the regimes that defined fascism. Let’s take a look at eleven issues, and the policies and statements that put Trump and his enablers firmly in the realm of the fascism they’ve long been drifting toward.

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Myths of American Capitalism

downloadDespite being a libertarian (or a classical liberal), the only thing my political, social, and economic ideas have in common with right-wing libertarianism is a dislike of authoritarianism. It’s actually a very important piece of common ground, since almost everyone on the right seems to instinctively brand me an authoritarian simply for having socialist economic views.

In addition to claims that all socialist policies are authoritarian, I hear a lot of wishful thinking, terrible logic, and complete falsehoods from advocates of anti-government capitalist ideas. Let’s look at a few of those.

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The Case for Democratic Socialism

workers-659885_960_720The word socialism elicits negative reactions from a lot of Americans. I think the widespread misunderstanding of the term is a relic of the Cold War era, as well as historical tension between right-wing capitalists and the far left. When one type of government ends up going bad, people are quick to blame the overall method and move to the opposite extreme, rather than considering the real cause of the problems. This results in an endless cycle of reactionaries who, in their zealous drive to fix what everyone else messed up, go too far and make another mess.

That’s the current situation in America. During the Cold War, in response to the threat from an authoritarian socialist country, America turned hard to the right and ended up handing over government power to large corporations. The solution to our problems is not more of the same crony capitalism that has shifted massive amounts of wealth, as well as most economic growth, into the hands of the rich. When a government has gone too far to the right, it needs to shift back toward the left.

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A Two-Dimensional Political Spectrum

politicsWhen discussing politics in America, there’s a lot of talk about left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, and so on. Most of these distinctions have some meaning but fail to accurately represent reality. Some people have mapped political views along two separate scales in a sort of Cartesian graph, which makes a lot of sense (one source is the Political Compass). I’m going to explain such a graph in my own words, with a few tweaks to hopefully make it more clear what the graph means to me, who I oppose, and why.

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Satire: Republicans and Democrats Compete for Distinction of Being the Worst

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“I’m a winner. It’s what I do, I win. Even when I don’t know what I’m doing. So if anyone tells you that I won’t win at whatever I’m doing right now, they should be deported. I don’t care if they’re American. Deport them to the moon or something.” -Donald Trump

Leaders of both major political parties in America gathered last Friday to argue about which of them has been more effective at fostering stupidity and greed.

Republicans cited their strong record of creating mass hysteria, saying it has turned out to be one of the best environments for self-centered behaviors to flourish. However, points were docked for their ineffective approach to fogging up promising young minds, which mostly consisted of repeating the same nonsense over and over and expecting it to become real.

Democrats claimed that their ability to take intelligent people and make them totally lose touch with reality is unparalleled. “It’s one thing to lure in a bunch of idiots,” one member said, “but it’s quite another to turn formerly reasonable people into slobbering dimwits.”

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