## The Inflation Reduction Act

• 4k
How does everything we've learned from "philosophy" apply to the US reconciliation bill, which in my view should currently be the biggest political story in the world?

This bill was developed by Bernie Sanders, who now serves as the Senate Budget Committee Chairman. It's a very important bill for this country, in my view, especially the crucial provisions for climate change mitigation. It's getting some attention, but not nearly enough.

Those unfamiliar with the details should take the time to read up on it.

The question I have is this: given how critical this moment is, what can be done to help it become reality? If, after years of study in philosophy, we haven't developed any ideas on these matters, then I say yet again that "philosophy" is an almost complete waste of time -- just one more escapist distraction, one more hobby, one more sedative. Nothing serious— just more reading.

I think we can learn from Plato and Aristotle, Rousseau and Hume. But they're all dead — and the issues we face today require us to think them through ourselves, applying what we've learned to specific problems and questions unique to our time.

So I offer a kind of test question: is this worth the philosopher "getting involved" in? Meaning becoming politically engaged for? If not this, what -- if anything?

Or do some still believe that activism, politics, and topical issues are below the man of thinking?

[Edit: originally titled “The US 3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Bill.”]
• 8.4k
Meaning becoming politically engaged?
Yes and amen. But that means mostly an elbow in the ribs of representatives in Congress, philosophy wasted on them. Thus not below or beneath the intellectual, but a test of his understanding of exactly what he's doing, what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it. Ivory-tower types sometimes not-so-good at that.
• 4k
Thus not below or beneath the intellectual, but a test of his understanding of exactly what he's doing, what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it. Ivory-tower types sometimes not-so-good at that.

I agree -- in which case, everyone should be reading much more Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Marx; in other words, thinkers that (in my view) put some fire under your ass and get you to look at the real world around you and your effect on it.
• 2.4k
Or do some still believe activism, politics, and topical issues are below the man of thinking, the intellectual?

Certainly not. I would be happy to vote for Joe Manchin for president should he be the democratic nominee in 2024. I seem to recall that Tocqueville made a comment to the effect that once a majority finds it can vote itself privilege and money democracy is in deep trouble. Of course his notions of democracy were varied. $3.5 trillion is excessive. Merely inflationary at best. • 4k$3.5 trillion is excessive.

Actually it’s not nearly enough.

Vote for Joe Manchin? Again— if this is an example of where studying philosophy leads us, then it’s completely useless.
• 10.9k

Do you understand why conservatives are resistant to reinforcing a social safety net?
• 4k

Yes.
• 10.9k

Why?
• 4k

Many reasons. I could repeat what some of their claims are, like what’s being claimed now (inflation, socialism, handouts, dependency, jacking the deficit) or I could tell you what I see as the real reason for why they say what they say — which is more interesting.

But you’re one who’s shown no interest in good faith conversation— so I won’t pretend to have one here.
• 10.9k
But you’re one who’s shown no interest in good faith conversation—

I'm not sure how you got that impression, but you're wrong.
• 4k

Then why this line of argumentation? Do you really assume I’m completely oblivious to the claims of conservatives regarding social spending? I find that disingenuous. If you have something to say, or something you disagree with, just state it. I have no interest in games.
• 13.9k
Meaning becoming politically engaged?

I don't have to check but I know of no philosopher who's also a politician.
• 10.9k
Then why this line of argumentation? Do you really assume I’m completely oblivious to the claims of conservatives regarding social spending? I find that disingenuous. I

I was thinking of the bigger picture, the one that goes beyond the US and has its roots in the Carter/Reagan era. Notice that a lot of the staunchest conservatives were shaped by those events. A war was waged against labor unions and Washington withdrew its interest in Main St and directed it at Wall St. It was the advent of "Greed is good."

Since then, the principles behind that shift have been demonstrated to be clearly flawed because if the events of 2008-2009.

Mark Blyth says that should have been the trigger for system reboot. If it had, we wouldn't be wondering if Washington might do something to help Americans right now.

We would be coming out of a massive global economic catastrophe, struggling to build back something that makes sense. Probably something profoundly socialist.

So we're in a sort of limbo now. Reaganomics failed, but we're just ignoring that because the effects of the failure were postponed.

Conservatives who speak out against shoring up the positions of Americans are repeating these flawed principles because they're rewriting 2008 as a simple bump in the road, business as usual, when it really wasn't. But then, their own party has now been invaded by people who deeply distrust Washington. Poetically speaking, the Republican party is now the embittered voice of Main St. The Wendy Brown quote I put in your other thread explained that.

The situation is 10 times more bizarre than just: conservatives are assholes.

And in regard to my seeming disingenuous, I think that reflects my experience with you: you're incredibly aggressive. You need to find balance by joining people who are less aggressive and more interested in understanding. That's how it looks to me anyway.
• 8.4k
Do you understand why conservatives are resistant to reinforcing a social safety net?
I don't. Why? Perhaps they're unfamiliar with A Tale of Two Cities and are unfamiliar with the likes of Jacques, Madam Lafarge, and The Vengeance?
• 4k
I don't have to check but I know of no philosopher who's also a politician.

I didn’t say become a politician, I said become politically engaged.
• 4k
The situation is 10 times more bizarre than just: conservatives are assholes.

Yes— liberals are assholes too. But this isn’t the extent of my analysis, as anyone familiar with what I wrote knows. Nearly everything you said here we’re in agreement on — so what’s the problem?

And in regard to my seeming disingenuous, I think that reflects my experience with you: you're incredibly aggressive. You need to find balance by joining people who are less aggressive and more interested in understanding. That's how it looks to me anyway.

Fair enough.
• 10.9k
so what’s the problem?

No problem. It's just that whatever progress we make will be met by mindless retaliation. The real problem is the underlying lack of sanity. That won't change until we get that system reset.

In the meantime, help who we can help. Wouldn't that mean focusing locally?
• 13.9k
I didn’t say become a politician, I said become politically engaged.

Ok but there must be a very good reason there are no philosopher politicians. Just like there are no Jain terrorists, it must mean something, no?
• 4k
Ok but there must be a very good reason there are no philosopher politicians. Just like there are no Jain terrorists, it must mean something, no?

I’m sure it does. I think that might not be such a great thing, however. I think it says far more about politics than about “philosophers.”

Regardless, nearly every politician out there is carrying around in their little heads the political and economic philosophy of some past thinker — whether we consider them philosophers or not doesn’t matter. They’re still the ones holding the levers of power. They and the business community.
• 4k
Wouldn't that mean focusing locally?

Yes, almost always. So are we doing locally to help this pass?
• 13

All billionaires should be forced to reduce their capital with 99%. ALL of them. In ALL countries. All factories producing shit should be closed. All energy obligatory to be produced with aid of the Sun. All energy should be stored in hydrogen. All so-called important scientific experiments should be banned. Except CERN, all sites should close. Only one rocket per year should be launched. For maintaining satellites or puting communication based ones in orbit. All atomic weapons to be dismantled. All test animals should be freed (it's a shame for people to use them and collect prizes for their abuse). The Amazone area should be fenced and left alone. No one is allowed to have more than two childre. Etc. The costs for this are paid of that 99%.
• 4.6k
How the hell is anything like that going to be enforced, and why should we think it would be beneficial?
• 13
How the hell is anything like that going to be enforced, and why should we think it would be beneficial?

It's beneficial for the planet. The Nature that's still on it. As I stated, the capital of the superrich should be reduced with 99%. By force of law. It's our only chance of survival.
• 4.6k
Our only chance of survival is to also close all factories, convert all energy to solar and use hydrogen storage, stop all science experiments except CERN and build a fence around the Amazon? Also stuff about forcing people to have two kids or less, letting test animals go and dismantling all nukes. Who is doing all this? The UN? China, Russia and the US?

That's not going to happen and it would be disastrous if someone had the power to make it happen, which nobody does.
• 13.9k
I’m sure it does. I think that might not be such a great thing, however. I think it says far more about politics than about “philosophers.”

Regardless, nearly every politician out there is carrying around in their little heads the political and economic philosophy of some past thinker — whether we consider them philosophers or not doesn’t matter. They’re still the ones holding the levers of power. They and the business community.

Here's a thought. If you take people who refuse to vote in elections (the voter turnout is never 100%) as those who eschew engaging in politics then, consider the fact that dead people can't vote. Non-voters = dead persons.
• 13
Who is doing all this?

The people. The old has to go to give way to the new.
• 4.6k
Good luck with all that.
• 4k
Here's a thought. If you take people who refuse to vote in elections (the voter turnout is never 100%) as those who eschew engaging in politics then, consider the fact that dead people can't vote. Non-voters = dead persons.

I really don’t see the relevance of this remark.
• 13.9k
I really don’t see the relevance of this remark.

Forget that I mentioned it.
• 10.9k
Yes, almost always. So are we doing locally to help this pass?

Write your senators. Explain why it's important to you. Use the letter as the beginnings of a campaign for local office like councilman or whatever they call it where you are. Run, get elected, help people.
• 2.4k
The question I have is: given how critical this moment is, what can be done to help it become reality?

So, this thread is not about discussing the bill, rather doing all one can to assure its passage. OK
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