Author Topic: Political Processes - Can we talk?  (Read 74993 times)

BooksAdmin

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Political Processes - Can we talk?
« on: November 16, 2012, 12:09:58 PM »
"Economic theories and philosophies often go hand in hand with politics. They do involve "taking sides". Taking sides in a debate does not mean personal attacks and holier than thou attitudes. It means honest debate on the merits of a particular course of action. I wouldn't mind exploring these ideas, how they come about and why one system is ultimately chosen over another."
a SeniorLearner

The purpose of this forum is to discuss political issues which have been raised in books, newspapers and other printed matter, including web articles.  The upcoming debate on budget and taxes and the looming fiscal cliff will soon capture everyone's attention, for example.  CAN WE TALK?


We expect courteous respectful posts. Posts containing remarks of an ad hominem nature  (made against the person rather than the topic discussed) will be removed.

BooksAdmin

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2012, 12:15:32 PM »
Welcome to a new discussion area at SeniorLearn.  As stated in the header, the purpose of this forum is to discuss political issues which have been raised in books, newspapers and other printed matter, including web articles.

 


Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2012, 04:31:16 PM »
I just caught sight of the new discussion.

My current economic reading list:

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (read, interesting perspectives, easy to read)
Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (TBR pile)
Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman (wish list item)
The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek (in progress, heavy going)
Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell (TBR pile)

Political reading list:
The U. S. Constitution
The Oxford Companion to the U.S. Supreme Court (TBR pile)
Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg (read, very difficult going)
Strictly Right - William F. Buckley Jr. and the American conservative Movement by Linda Bridges and     John R. Coyne, Jr.(TBR pile)

Historical Politics/Economics related:
Fernand Braudel's three volume series on Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century (TBR pile)
Cicero by Anthony Everitt (read, biography)
Various writings of both Cicero and Cato.
Various biographies of political figures, mostly early US Presidents and Nixon's, Seize the Moment (TBR pile)
For political satire/humor I have read some of P.J. O'Rourke's earlier books. and am looking forward to reading his book,  P. J. O'Rourke on The Wealth of Nations. This is part of the NPR sponsored Books that Changed the World series

These are not recommendations; they are just what I have hanging around the house, have read or want to read.

I just attended the first meeting of a new coffee club sponsored by my investment broker. I'm not sure what all he had in mind other than focusing on how we can help ourselves weather the economic fluctuations that affect our investments (not a single sales pitch). He talked about the "fiscal cliff" and how it might affect our retirement income and our taxes. He also handed out several sheets including one interesting "political perspective" sheet from J.P. Morgan. One chart on the sheet, Annual Market Returns by Political Party Control covering 1937-2011, showed that market returns average the highest with Republicans controlling the presidency and both houses (17.4%), followed by Democratic president with split congress (15.4%), Democrats controlling the presidency and both houses (10.6%), and lastly, a Republican presidency with a split congress (6.5%).

I don't have any particular issue in mind at the moment. Mostly just checking in.

 

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2012, 07:29:11 AM »
My daily routine includes checking out the new additions to Project Gutenberg. This morning I found  AMERICAN ELOQUENCE  - STUDIES IN AMERICAN POLITICAL HISTORY, Edited with Introduction by Alexander Johnston, Reedited by James Albert Woodburn.  This is the index to his four volumes which links to the online version of the four volumes. You can download the four volumes separately by looking up Mr. Johnston in the catalog.

maryz

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2012, 08:29:12 AM »
I'll be checking in.  Recent today's-politics reading we've done around here include Matt Taibbi's Griftopia, about the lead-up events to the financial collapse, and Rachel Maddow's Drift, about military power. 

I hope we can have some interesting, non-antagonistic discussions here.
"When someone you love dies, you never quite get over it.  You just learn how to go on without them. But always keep them safely tucked in your heart."

jane

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2012, 08:45:19 AM »
I heard a new book being discussed the other day that may be interesting...

Hedrick Smith ~ Who Stole the American Dream?  http://hedricksmith.com/books/who-stole-the-american-dream/

and, of course, the wonderful books by another Pulitzer Prize-winner, Thomas Friedman..
That Used To Be Us
How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back


http://www.thomaslfriedman.com/bookshelf/that-used-to-be-us

dean69

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 02:29:18 PM »
I have been away from my computer for a few days and in trying to catch on various discussions was delighted to discover this one.  With the election over and the real work beginning, there should be lots to discuss.

marjifay

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 06:49:17 PM »
Interesting list, Frybabe.  I took Economics 101 in college and vowed never to take another course in that subject, but I think I could handle Freakonomics.

My main difference with the conservative party is with the social issues, i.e. death penalty, allowing women control of their own bodies, allowing same sex couples to marry, allowing gays openly in the military, etc.  I think these bring up the most controversy because they seem to bring religion into the discussion.

I’m also interested in why some people insist the constitution should be strictly interpreted as they think the founders intended, why conservatives want to keep the federal government out of everything, how the filibuster rule has changed, why we have the electoral college, for starters.

I’ll look at my TBR politics list of books and see which ones some people here might be interested in.

Marj
"Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."  Barbara Tuchman

Dana

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 11:40:07 PM »
Marjifay, I also have wondered why some think (like some of the supreme  court justices especially) that the constitution should be interpreted as they imagine the founders intended it.  For one, they are only presuming they know what the founders meant, and for two, no attention is then paid to changes in social mores and norms.  I always compare it as similar to interpreting everything in the Bible literally.  But at least those who do that  say they believe the Bible is the word of God.  The constitution is a man made document so there's no reason at all that I can see to take it so literally.

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2012, 07:18:28 AM »
It has been a looooooong time since I read any of the US Constitution. Is the constitution deliberately vague (as one friend of mine asserted) in some areas? The original document certainly didn't take in to account every eventuality; that is why they made provisions to make amendments, I suppose.

maryz

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2012, 11:06:58 AM »
Our US constitution (as I would hope any such document would be) is a framework on which to build.  It was never designed to address any conceivable situation.  That's why, IMO, constitutions should not ever use specific numbers for anything (except maybe age limits or length of time). 

Our state constitution, a totally unwieldly document, uses percentages and numbers, etc., which need to be changed as situations change.  Thus amendments or conventions are required for modifications.  The amendment process is certainly needed occasionally, but such day-to-day type changes should be addressed by legislation, not be being locked into a constitution.
"When someone you love dies, you never quite get over it.  You just learn how to go on without them. But always keep them safely tucked in your heart."

nlhome

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2012, 09:47:42 PM »
Interesting discussion already.

kidsal

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 02:38:58 AM »
Wyoming had on the ballot a change to the state constitution in response to the Affordable Care Act. It was so poorly written some were not to sure what would be the result.  The amendment passed - probably because so many people don't really read these amendments -- I believe a change to the constitution should be a rare occurence -- not just a response to a Federal law.

CallieinOK

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 09:27:43 PM »
I'm marking a spot but doubt that I will post - unless I have a question.  However, I am very interested in seeing comments by the wide variety of participants who take part in these interesting discussions and express themselves thoughtfully.

Steph

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2012, 06:04:08 AM »
Floridas voting took a long time to count because the legislature had proposted ten amendments.. They are very conservative and stuck all sorts of nonsense into the voting this year. Thanks heaven, seven of the ten were soundly turned down.. The three that passed had to do with veterans or very poor, but still should not be in the constitution.. State Constitutions get silly.. Our national one is as someone else said..A framework and very much a compromise between Massachusetts and Virginia and the very different people who lived there.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2012, 01:42:45 PM »
A friend of mine recommended a course of reading to me. It starts with the Declaration of Independence followed by John Locke (I didn't ask which writings) who inspired much of what was included in the DoI. Then read the U.S. Constitution followed by The Federalist Papers which is supposed make more clear what it all means and why the writers included what they did.

I don't think I have ever read the DoI or the Constitution in its entirety, nor have I read much Locke and none of The Federalist Papers.

At some point, I'd like to learn more about how the English Parliament developed and now works.

Steph

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 01:30:52 PM »
Whew.. dont think I would want to take on that reading now.. Just not up for that sort of stuff.
Stephanie and assorted corgi

dean69

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2012, 06:07:07 PM »
Frybabe, thanks for the Project Gutenberg info on American Eloquence.  I downloaded Volume 1 and have just started reading it.  Wow! Eloquence in spades!

mogamom

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 09:54:14 AM »
A few years ago my husband and I were asked to tutor a small group pf homeschoolers.  The material we used called 'Omnibus' was arranged in three vols. where students were expected to travel twice through during 8th to 12th grade.  History was taught through the original sources of the day alongside the period's literature; he taught history, I literature.

During the period covering American history students read the founding documents and works such as Of Plymouth Plantation, Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, The Social Contract  (Rousseau), Reflections on the Revolution in France (Burke) as well as such diverse works as The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith), Democracy in America (Tocqueville), The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.

I am pleased that I will now get the chance to read/discuss these works (including "The Founder's Constitution") in a forum that has always proven to be thoughtful, reflective and respectful.  Our Constitution was put together by men - but such men!  Their thinking and scholarly research was vast.  They understood the times they were in, the times that had shaped them and processes and principles that transcend any age.  I am looking forward to joining in the discussion here as I am able, and in following the discussion through my readings!  Thank you, SeniorLearn for providing such a forum.

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2012, 11:15:16 AM »
Hi, Mogamom

I recently discovered that there is an "Anti-Federalist Papers". Now I'll have to add them to my list.
Here is an linked index to the articles courtesy of the University of Tulsa.
http://www.utulsa.edu/law/classes/rice/Constitutional/AntiFederalist/antifed.htm

I've never had any desire to read The Communist Manifest or Mein Kampf. I did know one person who read Mein Kampf way back in high school. She said Hitler started out with some okay ideas but as the book progressed she said she could see Hitler gradually going nuts.

mogamom

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2012, 12:10:27 PM »
Thanks for the link, Frybaby.  Those readings were for the purpose of comparing the economic and political processes governing the events around the World Wars; a very interesting endeavor, I'm told.  I remember my husband telling me about Mein Kampf, which he described as a 'very dark book' - Hitler being obviously mad (which is why the German people originally discounted it) - and our students were only required to read passages from it, since it is horribly convoluted and redundant.  My husband would argue that even Hitler's initial ideas were perverse.  But, one should not criticize without investigation, I believe; so the comparisons were valuable.

kidsal

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2012, 01:47:16 PM »
I remember during WWII going to our library and asking to take out Mein Kampf.  The librarian laughed at me and said I would not be able to check it out -- too young.

Steph

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2012, 05:53:39 AM »
marking
Stephanie and assorted corgi

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2012, 08:32:15 AM »
Mogamom, I checked Project Gutenberg for Rousseau's The Social Contract. It wasn't listed, but I did find
A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind which I downloaded.

dean69

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2012, 07:36:09 AM »
Obviously, there are numerous books, magazines and other forms of media on politics and government.  The volume of these boggle the mind, but let me suggest a source from The Teaching Company (The Great Cources) that deals with basic concepts.  It a 36-lecture, 6-DVD set entitled "Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights" taught by Professor John E. Finn who is a professor of Government at Wesleyan University--at least he was at the time this lecture series was produced.  I don't remember what I paid for the set, but The Teaching Company has special offers quite frequently.

salan

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2012, 06:36:57 PM »
Marking.
Sally

pedln

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2012, 11:15:10 AM »
I don't know if this is the place to bring this up, but after hearing John Kerry on the Newshour and  following Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and reading Gail Collins in the NY Times I would like to know more about this UN Treaty on Disabilities.  Why did the Senate not pass it, not even after Bob Dole came to plea for it. (Dole was the one who pushed the ADA through).  Kerry said it was like a slap in the face for Dole.  Did anyone hear Rick Santorums comments?

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2012, 11:53:02 AM »
Oops! I didn't know there was a UN treaty on disabilities.

jane

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2012, 05:55:13 PM »
Put UN Treaty on Disabilites in google and you'll get all the news stories on the Senate rejection of this and the pros and cons of it.


mogamom

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2012, 01:36:04 PM »
dean69 - I looked into your suggestion and, while I do think this a good choice, it was a bit pricey for me, even on sale.  I wonder if we could get the free on-line courses offered by Hillsdale College (a $50 gift to offset costs is suggested, but not required) in U.S. Constitution 101 and 102.  These would give us a place to start with everyone 'on the same page'; a place to begin/guide discussion.  The 102 course deals with the Progressive/Conservative debate so would probably get us into topics brought up here, but with some general infomation to base the discussions on?

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2012, 05:38:11 PM »
Mogamom, my best friend gets the Hillsdale College newsletter, Imprimis. He usually passes it on to me. I looked over the course lectures. They look interesting.

kidsal

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2012, 05:41:32 PM »
Wrote my Wyoming Senator Enzi asking why he voted against the UN treaty.  If I get an answer will forward!

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2012, 07:28:17 PM »
Here is the website that will keep you up to date on key provisions and ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/

There has been a push on for some time toward Globalization. I don't know who got the ball rolling, but many countries probably believe it will level the playing field more than it is now in many areas. The disability treaty is just one. It's a control thing. Nationalism vs Globalism. Some countries have reservations about the wording and interpretation of the treaty. Wikipedia provides a short list near the bottom under the Reservations header.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Rights_of_Persons_with_Disabilities Note that Malta has since ratified.

 As best as I can tell most of the provisions the US already had in place with the Americans with Disabilities Act plus whatever it was that the Bush adminstration started and Obama signed in 2009 regarding disabilies. Signing the treaty would provide protection or extra protection to our citizens with disabilities who are traveling or living overseas. There is some opposition from parents who home school their children with disabilities who see this treaty as taking away their right to do so. Rick Santorum, who has a disabled child, is one of those in the forefront of that opposition. Anti-abortionists, naturally enough, don't like the expansion of abortion rights.

On the surface I think the treaty is a good thing, but I haven't studied it enough to form a definite, final opinion. On the whole I am not happy with giving up any control to that bunch at the UN. I would like to see the rest of the world brought up closer to our level, but I fear what we will get with all this globalization is brought down to lower levels. Then again, if we want to participate in galactic commerce and such we should have a unified presence at that conference table.  :D

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2012, 12:36:05 PM »
Well, my gosh, I haven't noticed this discussion before, but I've been away from my computer for awhile.  This looks interesting, I must read all the comments.

My own would be - IF WE CAN TALK POLITICS, WHY CANNOT OUR TWO POLITICAL PARTIES TALK?

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2012, 12:25:18 PM »
We have a group that meets every two weeks to discuss Current Events where I live.  We have a  leader who prepares an agenda.

 It might be a good idea for this discussion to have several leaders who will take a month and prepare quetions for discussion.

This morning we discussed North Korea with the bomb; Hillary Clinton, should she run for president in four years, Susan Rice for Secretary of State and whether race is still alive in American society as an issue.

If anyone is here, what do you think of having a person act as a leader for a month and then another, etc.  Something new under the sun every week.

marjifay

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2012, 11:17:06 AM »
That sounds like an interesting current events group, Ella.  Where do you live? Too bad it can't be an internet group.  The only internet political groups I've looked into cannot seem to discuss things in an objective manner, but tend to denigrate and ridicule anyone whose opinions differ from theirs.

As to why the political parties cannot speak to each other, I have on my TBR list a book by Mickey Edwards (a former congressman), THE PARTIES VERSUS THE PEOPLE; HOW TO TURN REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS INTO AMERICANS.

Having leaders in this group to lead various topics, each for a limited time, sounds like a good idea.

Marj
"Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill."  Barbara Tuchman

Ella Gibbons

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2012, 08:41:44 PM »
Marjifay, I live in Ohio, in a retirement community.  I am involved in a few activities that interest me.  Of course, this is a book site, but perhaps we could try this as an experiment for a little while.  I'll propose it and see where the idea goes.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2012, 09:14:46 PM »
I am confused about a new gun law - I would love to hear other opinions - please not just emotional reactions because like most of us the idea of weapons of war on our streets is not how I see life however, being practical - I am wondering if we are mixing apples and oranges thinking a ban on assault weapons will lesson the horrors we read about.

We had an assault law signed by Clinton that ran for 10 years and was not renewed - from 1994 to 2004 and yet. it was during this time that we had Columbine - we also had a major school massacre in Minnesota back in the late 1920 where 58 children where killed all done with dynamite. Austin had Whitman shooting from the UT Tower before assault weapons and he still killed 13 and wounded many.

My thinking is unless the law enforcement is willing to give up their assault weapons there is no hope - Criminals will want to match the police, sheriffs, Rangers, FBI etc. - Criminals will get their hands on black market weapons therefore, there will be some folks who feel they need to protect themselves and others who are not close enough to any law enforcement for at least 30 minutes if not an hour - both groups will also find a way just like those who wanted marijuana and other drugs all these years found a way - we are then right back where we are today - the only folks who will not have guns are the law abiding.

As I say, I am confused because, where I do think a law about assault weapons is humane I do not see such a law preventing future gun related mass deaths.

I would love to hear another viewpoint that I am missing here... again, I can understand how we want to feel safe and how we would like to see such mega firepower off the streets - but to leave that kind of fire power for the police puts them in a very powerful position to act beyond the scope of their job especially on the poor and folks of color - and then the returning vets are so used to this kind of gun power that some can melt back into civilian society and others often in reaction to their experience only feel safe when they own the kind of fire power they used in war.  

I just keep coming up with rational that says this may not be the answer although folks want something done now and it may pass as an emotional reaction to what happened this time but will such a law have any affect?

mogamom

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2012, 11:27:29 PM »
The right to keep and bear arms is granted in our Constitution, as is the right of free speech; attempts to modify or curtail our rights should always be approached in a sober and prudent manner.
 
A thought:  why is gun control the first reaction of a grief-stricken people who want the pain to go away and want to feel safe?  some would quickly point out that armed civilians have prevented many deaths by intervening before police could arrive. 
why isn't anyone crying out to put strictor censorship on Hollywood, pornagraphy, and the very realistic video games that encourage/reward torture, rape and murder, even though studies have proven that engagement in such 'entertainment' de-sensitizes the participant to acts of violence?
why isn't anyone asking what impact the de-valuing of human life has had on our culture; for instance, in the legalization/legitimization of abortion?  and didn't we all watch a man legally starve his wife to death?

So I wonder - why are we constantly surprised by acts of violence?

Frybabe

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Re: Political Processes - Can we talk?
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2012, 09:03:03 AM »
Barb, it's been a few years so I don't remember where I read it, but law enforcement (especially local) struggle to keep up with what the criminals can get their hands on. Some of this is because of legal constraints already in place as to what they can purchase for their departments and some is due to budget constraints. Regardless of who has what first, it is always one side or the other trying to gain an advantage over the other in firepower whether in law enforcement or war.

I tend to agree with Mogamom regarding the desensitizing/dehumaizing effects of so much of violent entertainment. The argument that these things are just reflecting current culture may have some value, but it also over time can create such a culture and reinforce it so that what was not condoned at one time can be common place at a future time. How horrified the British must have been when the American rebels used "guerrilla" tactics rather than face the Royal Army on an open field which was the standard for fighting battles at the time. Now, sneaking up on the enemy is common.