i had responded to a particular post and then deleted my response. before i got it removed, however, someone on the forums, who doesn't post a lot, sent me a private message saying he had read it and thought i should continue to post responses because somehow some day something might get through the brick wall of a closed mind. i don't think so. but in the off chance that someone with a little crack in their closed mind - or one that hasn't gotten shut all the way, and in honor of the person who took the time to send me that message, i offer this.....
i have no problem discussing religion - after all, it's no more an emotionally-charged topic than politics. and politics is very little more factual (if at all). it's all beliefs and preferences. reality is what you can convince other people it is. perhaps that's why i discuss religion and politics - because i don't like the reality that religious fanatics and politicians are creating.As for the religious arguements, that will open another can of worms here that none of us will agree on.
i was raised in the most fundamental of churches - church of christ (not latter day saints) - and read the bible front to back more than once. in fact, every service we read and discussed the bible - that's pretty much what our services consisted of. and we had services three times a week. mostly i don't discuss religion with people who put on blinders and make circular arguments, referencing their book or dogma as proof of its own pronouncements. they're locked in a box, and apparently it's too scary on the outside where no father is dictating the rules for them to follow. (i know this is not true of all religious people - but it is true of many, and it seems to be more inclusive the more fundamental the religion.)
but people get locked in political boxes as well. and simply repeat political verbage without looking at the data that belies much of it. as long as i can remember having researched any economic data, the data and the public perception of the situation have been at odds. why is that? human psychology. and what oft-repeated (and true) phrase do we use when we see data that doesn't agree with our belief? "you can make any point you want to make with statistics."
but, let's look at a couple charts anyway:
i ought to be thinking about getting a union job at least. but this chart is only saying what study after study after study has said for as long as i can remember: white men are disproportionately paid more money than anyone else in this country. you can say, well that's because they're more qualified for the jobs. and after you say that, i will expect you to start doing some research.
look into the term "matched pair" studies. that's where they send two absolutely equally qualified applicants on job interviews (rental interviews, bank loan interviews, etc.) and find that the overwhelming majority of the time, the white (and male if gender is involved) will receive the offer. it's even so subtle as to the point that an interview will be granted on the basis of the ethnicity sound of a person's name on an application.This is when it hits a librals breaking point. It is way to hard so they give up and go on welfare.
a few years ago someone trying to open people's eyes to the lie that anybody in this country who didn't work or wasn't "successful" was lazy published the employment data from new york city alone. it was shown that by sheer numbers of people and available jobs, if you put every unemployed person in an available job - never mind whether they were qualified for the job or not - just fill all the jobs available in new york city - there would still be 60,000 employable people left unemployed. "why don't they just move?" i hear you justify your belief. think about it. if you can't figure that one out, let me know. my mother's response was, "why can't their families take care of them - where are their families?" or...how about those churches you say can take up the slack for needy people? check into it.
and how about these for recent republican v. democrat (bush v. clinton) economic stats:
but we're going to believe whatever we want. or need to. or are able to.
that may be what's scariest to me in your post. i cringe every time i hear people talking about how this country has fallen down because we can't beat our kids any more without fear of prosecution. only they never say "beat". they say "spank". hitting your kid is hitting your kid. there are degrees, of course. but striking a child teaches him one thing: striking another human being is okay (especially if you're bigger). the correlation between decent, socially well-adjusted people and corporal punishment ("discipline") DOES exist when you research it - but in a negative way. perhaps you never saw the studies that show that among violent criminals in prisons, the more violent and heinous the crime, the more repressive and controlling the person's upbringing was. and this one may not surprise you: those most violent were also the criminals who were raised in the fundamental religions. (some time if you ever seriously want to make a reality check on your beliefs, an interesting book to read about "discipline" is alice miller's for your own good.)I really respected the way Singapore opporated. Due to the harshness of the rules, they really didn't have crime problems.
In politics, one man's reassurance is another's threat; this guarantees that threat will always be present for all men.
Not only does systematic research suggest that the most cherished forms of popular participation in government [voting] are largely symbolic, but also that many of the public programs universally taught and believed to benefit a mass public in fact benefit relatively small groups. We can show that many business regulations and other law enforcement policies actually confer tangible benefits on the regulated businesses while conveying only symbolic reassurance to their ostensible beneficiaries, the consumers.
Political scientists even more commonly recognize that the common and commonsense notions about the basically mechanical role of administrative agencies and courts in "carrying out" legislative or constitutional policy are gross distortions of the process that actually takes place. It is accordingly useful to look searchingly at every unquestioned or widely taught assumption about how government works, for it is a key characteristic of myth that it is generally unquestioned, widely taught and believed, and that the myth itself has consequences, though not the ones it literally proclaims.
from: Symbolic Uses of Politics