• Linkey
    24
    I have come to some conclusions concerning the politics in the West; however, I haven’t watched the western mass media very much, and I am asking the people here to comment.
    As far as I can see, this is a typical situation: voters are asked to choose between several candidates, and Candidate A proposes some kind of rubbish because of which people don’t want to vote for him, but they don’t have much choice, since candidate B, while voicing a normal position on this issue, proposes some other rubbish on another issue. In fact, this means that is some kind of hidden collusion between these candidates.
    In the United States there is a confrontation between the leftists who want those who work to give money to those who do not work, and religious rightists who ban abortions and so on.
    One more point: many people say that currently the rich people become richer, the poor become poorer, and the middle class dissapears. Some authors state that this trend started when Reagan decreased the taxes for the rich. And currently the mainstream mass media in the West keep silent or lie about this problem - in particular both Fox News and CNN (especially CNN). This is explained by the fact that the 1% of richest people control the mass media and are motivated to keep this situation as long as possible. And this is the reason that the americans now choose between two candidates they don't like: smart people are not allowed to participate in the elections, because a smart president can become a threat fot these 1% richest.
  • Tarskian
    301
    the middle class dissapearsLinkey

    In my opinion, that is even an inevitable biological phenomenon. The middle class can exist only temporarily.

    At the foundations of sexual reproduction, there is a very simple exchange: sexual access in exchange for resources. This is also known as Briffault's law:

    The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place. — Robert Briffault, The Mothers.

    The middle-class female does not need any resources from a male. She already gets them in ample quantity from her family, or she will figure out a way to find them by herself. So, she does not need a man. She may somehow want him, but as soon as she doesn't anymore, she will bail out. Hence, middle-class sexual reproduction tends to end in failure because they are quite unlikely to stay together to raise the offspring. Furthermore, especially in her youth, she is not even interested in a good provider. What for anyway? He would be bringing water to the sea. So, she prefers to indulge in casual fun with pretty bad boys.

    Some authors state that this trend started when Reagan decreased the taxes for the rich.Linkey

    No, it started as soon as the postwar generation attained middle-class status. Their children, the boomers would inevitably start failing at sexual reproduction at most twenty years later. They predictably started a "sexual revolution". Other people describe the phenomenon as following:

    Strong men make good times.
    Good times make weak men.
    Weak men make bad times.
    Bad times make strong men.

    Even though I agree that men born in the middle class are typically not made of the cloth of heroes, in my opinion, it is rather the women who truly sink the system.

    The rich just sit at the financial top of society. The poor try to survive from day to do and cannot afford moral depravity because it backfires immediately on them. Western society did not even have any serious number of poor people until recently. If at some point in history too many poor become middle class, not long after that, the shit will hit the fan, because too many people will be able to indulge in sexual depravity while also having the means to pay for and somewhat delay the inevitable consequences.

    Reagan, Bush, and Trump are rather irrelevant figureheads in the long course of history. Their decisions do not explain long-term generational trends. Taxation levels do not explain that either.

    Society will become dirt poor again because that will finally allow sexual depravity from backfiring immediately and facilitate a survivor bias. It will allow the nuclear family to make a comeback. Bad times will make strong, hard-working men and virtuous, chaste women.
  • SophistiCat
    2.2k
    In fact, this means that is some kind of hidden collusion between these candidates.Linkey

    In a conspiracist's world, perhaps. Or perhaps both a controlled by a third, hidden agent?

    Meanwhile, in the real world, things aren't as simple and stark as in a conspiracist's world.

    This is explained by the fact that the 1% of richest people control the mass media and are motivated to keep this situation as long as possible.Linkey

    Another "fact" :roll:

    The middle-class female does not need any resources from a maleTarskian

    Ah, a conspiracist and an incel. Well, you boys have fun here.
  • Tarskian
    301
    Ah, a conspiracist and an incel. Well, you boys have fun here.SophistiCat

    What would be the conspiracy?

    The more income a woman has, the less she "needs" a man. She may still "want" him somehow, but that is not a particularly strong motivation to keep the relationship going through difficult times.

    That is a view that even many women share. What exactly is there controversial about it?

    Furthermore, men are rarely involuntarily celibate.

    There is an entire industry of professionals and amateurs that wholesale caters to men who are not interested in dating but who still want sex. An "incel" is a man who doesn't even want to pay the otherwise moderate fee of a prostitute. We all know that it is a lot cheaper than supporting a wife. You can even hire them for peanuts on sites like onlyfans. Not making use of these services is not "involuntarily". That is simply a choice. I certainly understand that choice. Seriously, sex is so easy to get and so cheap in modern society that the "involuntarily celibate" tripe is just nonsense.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    One more point: many people say that currently the rich people become richer, the poor become poorer, and the middle class dissapears.Linkey
    It started long before Reagan. Try 4000BCE.
    And, no, the middle does not disappear; it usually prospers. Gets bigger and smaller, mostly due to the volume of commerce and definition.
    smart people are not allowed to participate in the elections, because a smart president can become a threat fot these 1% richest.Linkey
    Another little byproduct of capitalism: elections cost money.
  • Tarskian
    301
    And, no, the middle does not disappear; it usually prospers. Gets bigger and smaller, mostly due to the volume of commerce and definition.Vera Mont

    The middle class became inexistent at the end of the Roman empire and it was mostly gone for almost a millennium. There was barely any international trade in the Middle Ages. The core business in that era was pillaging someone else's farmland. The Vikings were indeed arguable also traders but that is not what they became notorious for.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The middle class became inexistent at the end of the Roman empire and it was mostly gone for almost a millennium.Tarskian
    No, it was doing fine, as clerics, crafters and army officers.
    There was barely any international trade in the Middle Ages.Tarskian
    it declined for a short time. But local trade continued, and soon international commerce was back, mainly by water while the roads were in disrepair.
    The Vikings were indeed arguable also traders but that is not what they became notorious for.Tarskian
    Doesn't matter what they were notorious for. They did trade, build boats, make beer and weapons, craft gold and silver ornaments. Those are middle-class occupations and every civilization has them.
  • Tarskian
    301
    No, it was doing fine, as clerics, crafters and army officers.Vera Mont

    The army officers were the nobility. That was the elite upper class in the middle ages. The clergy was also quite privileged and the higher ranks were also part of the societal elite.

    By elite, I mean the people in power ("ruling mafia"), as well as the (business) people closely connected to them. That is not the "middle class".
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    The army officers were the nobility.Tarskian

    Generals, yes.
    The clergy was also quite privileged and the higher ranks were also part of the societal elite.Tarskian
    Yes, some of them became upper middle class, and a few were gentry.
    That is not the "middle class".Tarskian
    What is?

    Besides, you seem to be concerned only with Europe. The rising Muslim empires had a stratified class structure, as well, and of course China had a considerable civil service, police and and judiciary, as well as artisans, builders and traders.
  • BC
    13.4k
    Hidden authoritarianism in the Western societyLinkey

    There is a layer of authoritarianism in any society, because "society" requires some sacrifice of personal prerogatives for the benefit of various parts of society. Because people are not robots who readily do whatever they are told to do, a certain amount of force is required to get people to obey at least some of the time. Generally force is used incrementally, ranging from only potential deployment to open deployment of violence.

    Nothing new here; it's a long-established practice, going back to.... as @Vera Mont noted, "4000 BCE.

    The terms "Left" and "Right" in US politics at least, can be quite misleading. The two parties generally support capitalism, the class structure, privilege for the rich and duty for the poor, the military, the church (as long as it's useful), and so on. Donald Trump is notable for a remarkable level of tasteless behavior and a poor understanding of what being Chief Executive means in a civil society. But in a lot of ways, he is no renegade. Democratic and Republican Presidents have been hated long before Trump came along.

    I don't know what you mean by "middle class". Most people throw the term around with zero precision. Here's what I mean: The "middle class" is composed of professionals who are entitled to operate relatively independent once they have a license (doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.); successful entrepreneurs whose businesses employ 50-100 employees (receiving standard wages); higher levels of management, below the highest levels; and so on. The Middle Class composes the wealthiest 10% of the population, give or take a couple of percentage points.

    The "middle" class is between the ruling class (possessing the most power and wealth - 2%of the population) and the working class, which ranges from prosperous but not wealthy at the top end to destitute at the low end, and receives an income in exchange for labor. Note: The richest and most powerful layer of the population do not depend on labor for their wealth. The goal of many middle class is to accumulate enough wealth to retire early and live quite well after retirement.

    The Middle Class, as defined here, is not being squeezed out of existence. The group that is being squeezed is the working class, which is being squeezed for more and more to support the middle and ruling class.
  • Tarskian
    301
    What is?Vera Mont

    The middle class is indeed a vaguely defined notion.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_class

    Common definitions for the middle class range from the middle fifth of individuals on a nation's income ladder, to everyone but the poorest and wealthiest 20%.

    In that sense, everybody who works for a living, except for the working poor, is middle class. The elite live off their political power, off the income from their assets, and off their connections with the ones in power.

    Terminology differs in the United States, where the term middle class describes people who in other countries would be described as working class.

    In my opinion, the term "working class" is obsolete. The middle class always "works".

    If you live off the hours you work, you are middle class, unless your hourly rate is so low that you are rather a working poor. I think that the definition by Friedrich Engels still makes quite a bit of sense:

    Friedrich Engels saw the category as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry in late-feudalist society. While the nobility owned much of the countryside, and the peasantry worked it, a new bourgeoisie (literally "town-dwellers") arose around mercantile functions in the city.

    Owning the means of production and having political power are very connected. A person who has lots of income-generating assets but has no political power will sooner or later be separated from his assets by the ruling elite, which will seek to tax it away or possibly even confiscate it.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I don't know what you mean by "middle class". Most people throw the term around with zero precision.BC
    There used to be three layers: the upper - burghers, bankers, owners of enterprise, traders; the middle - professionals, salaried executives, shopkeepers, civil servants; the lower middle class - skilled workers, tradesmen, crafters, office workers. Similarly, the upper class had at least two layers - high clergy and landed gentry below the aristocracy - in modern terms, the top richest 0.01%. At the bottom, labourers, peasants, then serfs or slaves.
    If anything, today's complex societies are are even more stratified, but the lines are blurred and there is more vertical mobility, because the classification is by income alone, rather than education, occupation, manners and mores.

    Politically, it's been expedient to call pretty much everybody middle class: it flatters the proletariat and shields the ruling classes from criticism. If the tradesmen, small shopkeepers and clerical secretaries are burdened by heavy taxation, the bankers and factory owners can howl that 'the middle class' is being squeezed, and demand relief, while teachers and factory foremen get neither the platform to complain nor the legal apparatus to wiggle out of paying their levy. But the main purpose of this obfuscation is to eliminate the working class as an identifiable and self-aware interest group. That way, trade unions and mutual support fraternities are nullified; even more importantly, working class pride and solidarity was eroded. The working class was powerful and potentially dangerous, so it had to be eliminated.
  • Linkey
    24
    In a conspiracist's world, perhaps. Or perhaps both a controlled by a third, hidden agent?SophistiCat

    For me, this is rather not a conspiracy but something Freudian.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    Arguably, while we do elect our officials, the stream of information and who ultimately selects the candidates we vote on makes the USA more like an oligarchy.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

    "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."

    "Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Arguably, while we do elect our officials, the stream of information and who ultimately selects the candidates we vote on makes the USA more like an oligarchy.Philosophim

    It's 36th on the world democracy rating; a deficient democracy, though not yet a failed one. That might be next year.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    It's 36th on the world democracy rating; a deficient democracy, though not yet a failed one. That might be next year.Vera Mont

    How could we be a failed democracy with free and fair elections every two years? Do you see that going away?
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    How could we be a failed democracy with free and fair elections every two years?RogueAI

    Fair and free...
    Do you see that going away?RogueAI
    If T***p is fairly and freely elected, he'll declare himself emperor and have his name in huge neon letters affixed to the White house roof, have all the late-night talk show hosts shipped off to GTMO and shut down all news networks but his own and maybe FOX, if he's in a good mood.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    How could we be a failed democracy with free and fair elections every two years? Do you see that going away?RogueAI

    A democracy is not about the illusion of representation. As I cited a little above:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

    "A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18% of the time," they write, "while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45% of the time."

    Your vote actually doesn't count for that much. If the wealthy want it, great. If not, it'll probably never happen.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    I agree we're in an oligarchy in practice, but that's what the voters want. Every two years, we have the option of throwing all the bums out in the House, but we never do. Even in "wave" years, the vast majority of House members are reelected. The tools are there to radically change the system, and if young people ever get politically active and turn out en masse... but that's a pipe dream.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I agree we're in an oligarchy in practice, but that's what the voters want. Every two years, we have the option of throwing all the bums out in the House, but we never do. Even in "wave" years, the vast majority of House members are reelected. The tools are there to radically change the system, and if young people ever get politically active and turn out en masse... but that's a pipe dream.RogueAI

    But why do the voters want those people? There are a few reasons.

    1. News organizations are owned by people with wealthy interests. So subjects are most often about manipulating the population for things a few wealthy people want, and not the subjects that most people would really want if it were blared in their face everyday.

    2. In a democracy, the emotional, the tribal, and short term self-interested thinkers outweigh rational, long term people who take the time to think about the big picture. Since the news does not do its job of presenting long term rational thinking to viewers, these people are extremely easy to manipulate.

    My mother is an example of this. She's an alcoholic, so basically a slave to her emotions. She's hooked to Fox News and "Selfish outrage" shows like a drug. She craves the idea that her hard work is being invalidated by lesser beings, so that's why we have to cut federal programs. Of course its all a sham by wealthy people to pay less taxes and have less reign on their ambitions. But she's too enamored with the group social outrage and "I'm better than them" mentality she keeps getting sold.

    The ideal of a Democracy is that the people who live in an area vote their self-interest. The reality after things get too big, is we need honest messaging to show people what the real problems and solutions are. The reality is that because we let the wealthy have a monopoly on main stream messaging, its not honest. So all the little people are the soldiers between a few wealthy people's vision for the country.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    I agree with all that except the alcoholic part. I've been an alcoholic for 30 years, but I'm not (I don't think) a slave to my emotions.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    I agree we're in an oligarchy in practice, but that's what the voters want.RogueAI
    What the voters want is a fair and free election. With the rigid two-party system, the electoral college, campaign financing, voter suppression, disinformation and trolling, and much amplified lying, a great many voters have already given up on the system.

    After all, when they honestly answer a poll on gun control, say, or health insurance , their opinion is overridden by a powerful lobby and nothing is done. Legislation originating in the public interest is loaded down with amendments that serve the opposite purpose. So, what's the point?
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I agree with all that except the alcoholic part. I've been an alcoholic for 30 years, but I'm not (I don't think) a slave to my emotions.RogueAI

    Isn't that an emotional response? Rationally you know alcohol causes long term bodily and brain damage. The brain damage is especially at the emotional level. There is no benefit besides emotional satisfaction at the expense of your body. So yes, you are a slave to your emotions. My father was a former alcoholic, and has seen people sober vs in it deep. You change, even when you're not drinking right then. And its always, without exception, for the worst for everyone around you. You become so self-centered that you don't recognize it or dismiss anything that would get you to stop.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    I keep it at four drinks a day. My body seems to have handled that pretty well over the decades. Vital signs were good at last checkup. If I was really becoming as self-centered as you claim, I think it would have bled into my marriage or career, but those are going well too. A lot of people are addicted to something (maybe everyone), and most people have enough self-discipline to keep it from impacting their lives too negatively. My wife, for example, is a food addict, but is not morbidly obese.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    I keep it at four drinks a day. My body seems to have handled that pretty well over the decades. Vital signs were good at last checkup. If I was really becoming as self-centered as you claim, I think it would have bled into my marriage or career, but those are going well too.RogueAI

    Rationalizations, but not rational arguments. You've likely diminished your intelligence, so have a lower awareness. That impacts your personal interactions more than you think. You're certainly less productive. Your biological age is also worse off. meaning you will not only die sooner, but start to suffer age related effects several years earlier.

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2022-07-26-genetic-study-provides-evidence-alcohol-accelerates-biological-aging

    Alcoholism is a slow poison that diminishes who you are as a person a few braincells at a time. If you could chart your diminished personality and intelligence over the years, you would likely panic. But because you don't see it daily, like a frog being boiled in a pot, you're cooking yourself without seeing it.

    The problem with being dumber, is you often don't realize it. As your awareness diminishes, you sink ever more into habit, certainties, and have less room for new and interesting things in your life. I've grown up around alcoholics all of my life, and have seen recoveries. By all the science and facts, you are only causing harm to yourself. But because you emotionally like it, you keep doing it and will look for rationalizations to continue. Therefore, you are a slave to your emotions. Especially the part about, "Everyone is addicted to something." No, they aren't.

    Every alcoholic thinks they're doing fine. Every single one of them is wrong. Every alcoholic thinks they're special. None of them are.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    You're certainly less productive.Philosophim

    This was particularly amusing considering two years ago I was nominated for teacher of the year at my site for the first time. Didn't win, but I'm at a point in my career where I'm doing the best teaching I've ever done. My evaluations and administrator feedback back this up. Either I'm doing horrible in life and everyone around me is gaslighting me, or your predictions are wildly off mark.

    And yes, everyone I know is addicted to something: booze, food, painkillers, porn, weed, Facebook, smoking, sex, gambling, shopping, etc. Your views on addiction sound like something from the temperance movement and Reefer Madness.
  • Philosophim
    2.5k
    This was particularly amusing considering two years ago I was nominated for teacher of the year at my site for the first time.RogueAI

    Yes, due to age and experience. And again, you didn't win. My mother makes six figures and is often praised for her work. Both myself and my sister despise her because she's a mess in her personal life, and we don't call her after 5 o'clock. She too thinks her drinking is fine despite downing near a bottle of wine every night. She is not.

    I also didn't say, "Productive at your job." I meant productive in general, in your life.

    Notice to how you're not presenting contrary science or facts, but personal emotional anecdotes? That's rationalizing what you do, not being rational about what you do. What's more important? Emotionally confirming that you're ok and it does nothing wrong to you, or finding out the actual facts?

    Thus again, you are a slave to your emotions. Because every fact about alcoholics shows that you are hurting yourself, diminished as an individual, and will likely gain comorbidities several years earlier. Just like smokers who think they're fine.

    And yes, everyone I know is addicted to something: booze, food, painkillers, porn, weed, Facebook, smoking, sex, gambling, shopping, etc.RogueAI

    No. There is a difference between passing moderate enjoyment and addiction. Four drinks a day is in no way moderate.

    A rational person would easily see that alcoholism is only detrimental to the individual. Only an emotional person would even try to argue otherwise without any science behind it. Not that I expect my words will get through. Rational arguments don't work against people who are slaves to their emotions. Its why you can rarely reason someone away from religion. Less intelligent people rely on their emotions more, and alcoholism also diminishes intelligence. So it becomes a trap that usually only a great and horrible event can overcome, and even then many fail.

    Good luck RogueAI. I'm sure you'll rationalize that you're perfectly fine, never knowing how much greater you could have been.
  • Tom Storm
    8.7k
    She too thinks her drinking is fine despite downing near a bottle of wine every night.Philosophim

    A bottle of wine a night is pretty standard. While it isn't good for health, it isn't a huge drinking problem. Many people I know drink 3 or 4 bottles a night.

    People who drink often know that what they are doing has risks but are often content to assume/hope that they may get way with it physically because many people do. My grandfather drank almost a full bottle of gin every night and lived a happy life to 98.

    I keep it at four drinks a day. My body seems to have handled that pretty well over the decades. Vital signs were good at last checkup.RogueAI

    You will likely be fine even if this is more than is widely considered healthy by the literature. I used to drink too much and I often had more than 20 drinks a night. A biweekly binge. I decided that although this never ceased being fun, I should stop for health reasons. So I haven't had a drink for 10 years. Life is way more boring and I rarely go out anymore, but it's probably for the better.
  • Vera Mont
    3.8k
    Metabolism and alcohol tolerance varies widely. Some heavy drinkers are able to stop when they decide it's enough; some social drinkers nobody would consider alcoholics cannot get through a day without a couple of glasses. Some people start and slurring their words after two drinks, while others can hold their liquor and not appear drunk even when they are. It's the same with how much drinking affects judgment: one may be in perfect command of their mind, but lose physical co-ordination, while another can walk a straight line and forget where they live....
    ...not that it has a whole lot to do with authoritarian government, but a great many T***p supporter seem to sport substantial beer bellies.
  • RogueAI
    2.7k
    You will likely be fine even if this is more than is widely considered healthy by the literature.Tom Storm

    Yes, I figure I'm losing a couple years off my life expectancy. I'm not terribly worried about it. Ironically, it was a gaming addiction that nearly cost me my marriage.
  • fishfry
    3.2k
    The core business in that era was pillaging someone else's farmland.Tarskian

    Coming soon to a bankrupt empire near you! :-)
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