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ilovgoogle
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8/20/2009 11:20:46 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I've had this idea for a debate topic going around in my head for a while and I'd like to know some peoples thoughts. People who are elected are supposed to represent the constituency they were voted from and therefore; always vote the way the constituency wants you to vote. If you disagree with you constituency then should do you vote with your own beliefs or the popular opinion?
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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8/20/2009 5:36:05 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
It depends where you are.

In the US, it probably doesn't matter that much how you vote. If you vote based on popular opinion in your constit., then kudos to you; but if you vote on your own personal convictions, or based on party lines, it won't matter too much, because the incumbency rate is near or over 90%. Chances are, as long as your party affiliation stays in the good graces of the voting public, you'll be voted in against no matter how you've voted on certain bills and whatnot.

That is a very serious problem mind you, and it is brought on mostly due to a stagnation with American politics, and the lack of media attention towards the election of Congress and Senate members. People usually look at the (D) or (R) beside someone's name, and that is how they vote.

Now in Canada, it is different, because we have much more party discipline and our Members of Parliament are held a lot more accountable than their US counterparts (though this is seemingly starting to change a little, and turning more into the democratic stagnation that is in the US).

If you, as an MP, vote against your party when you're not allowed a free vote on the issue by a party leader, you'll be suspended or expelled from the party's ranks, which means a lot of times, MPs will vote along party lines.

But, if you do follow along what your constituents say, and you're allowed a free vote on the issue, then you're allotted a good amount of respect. For example, in the January Budget, all six opposition Liberal MP's from Newfoundland had to vote against the budget due to constituent pressure, despite the rest of the party voting in favour. This is just one example.

MPs will also vote on what their conscience says; during the debate over Canada's same-sex marriage bill, many government MPs at the time voted against the bill base on their personal convictions, as well as some opposition MPs voting for the bill based on their ideals in favour. You can see it here: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Personally, I think you need to consider all three influences (party, constituency, personal) when voting on certain bills. You can't allow one to trample the other outright; weigh your options, see what the situation will entail and the consequences that may occur, and vote accordingly.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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8/20/2009 5:49:33 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 5:36:05 PM, Volkov wrote:
Personally, I think you need to consider all three influences (party, constituency, personal) when voting on certain bills. You can't allow one to trample the other outright; weigh your options, see what the situation will entail and the consequences that may occur, and vote accordingly.

I think I found something that you and I could debate someday. I definitely disagree with this point. If you are considering only your own (you meaning the politician) well-being then you are correct. If you are considering what may be best for the country, or best for your constituents, then you are wrong.
Volkov
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8/20/2009 6:07:27 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 5:49:33 PM, JBlake wrote:
I think I found something that you and I could debate someday. I definitely disagree with this point. If you are considering only your own (you meaning the politician) well-being then you are correct. If you are considering what may be best for the country, or best for your constituents, then you are wrong.

The idea is that by considering all three influences depending on the bill presented, you'll most likely come up with the best option for the specific bill. Though you presented something I missed; the "country" influence, though that could be considered under "constituents," as well.

For example, if I was a Liberal MP looking at the Harper government budget, I would realize that this bill is biased, it is mostly ineffective, and it is an attack against women's rights and several other creeds I hold dear. But, the bill does contain important stimulus measures that will benefit my constituents and my country, as well if I vote against this bill, because it is a matter of confidence, I would most likely be expelled from the party, and unable to serve my constituents in any meaningful way, including being in government and fixing the mess the Conservatives left behind. ;)

So it is clear how I must vote in order to grasp the larger picture, and I can only do this by considering all three/four influences on my vote. I don't see any argument against this.
JBlake
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8/20/2009 6:18:45 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 6:07:27 PM, Volkov wrote:
The idea is that by considering all three influences depending on the bill presented, you'll most likely come up with the best option for the specific bill. Though you presented something I missed; the "country" influence, though that could be considered under "constituents," as well.

For example, if I was a Liberal MP looking at the Harper government budget, I would realize that this bill is biased, it is mostly ineffective, and it is an attack against women's rights and several other creeds I hold dear. But, the bill does contain important stimulus measures that will benefit my constituents and my country, as well if I vote against this bill, because it is a matter of confidence, I would most likely be expelled from the party, and unable to serve my constituents in any meaningful way, including being in government and fixing the mess the Conservatives left behind. ;)

So it is clear how I must vote in order to grasp the larger picture, and I can only do this by considering all three/four influences on my vote. I don't see any argument against this.

I would be happy to show you an argument against it.

If a politician is only ensuring his own political survival, he might vote in favor of policies that are not in the best interest of the country, but will keep him in office. If you have to balance three different influences in drawing up policy then you might be forced to abandon sound policy in favor of politically expedient policy. The politically expedient policy may end up being less effective, or even harmful.
JBlake
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8/20/2009 6:23:31 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 6:07:27 PM, Volkov wrote:
For example, if I was a Liberal MP looking at the Harper government budget, I would realize that this bill is biased, it is mostly ineffective, and it is an attack against women's rights and several other creeds I hold dear. But, the bill does contain important stimulus measures that will benefit my constituents and my country, as well if I vote against this bill, because it is a matter of confidence, I would most likely be expelled from the party, and unable to serve my constituents in any meaningful way, including being in government and fixing the mess the Conservatives left behind. ;)

Let us consider it using your example.

The Liberal MP has voted in favor of a bill that has harmful effects on society. He has compromised good policy with bad. The Liberal MP gets rewarded with re-election. You say this is an overall positive because this MP would not be able to serve his constituency in a meaningful way. It is my contention that this MP is already unable to serve his constituency in a meaningful way.

He is unwilling to stand up for good policy. He is willing to accept bad policy. If this is how his entire career is to be, then he is unable to serve his constituency in a meaningful way.
Volkov
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8/20/2009 6:34:42 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 6:18:45 PM, JBlake wrote:
I would be happy to show you an argument against it.

If a politician is only ensuring his own political survival, he might vote in favor of policies that are not in the best interest of the country, but will keep him in office. If you have to balance three different influences in drawing up policy then you might be forced to abandon sound policy in favor of politically expedient policy. The politically expedient policy may end up being less effective, or even harmful.

Political expediency has its benefits though. Short-term and ultimately reversible pain is preferable to the long-term and possibly irreversible pain that threatens more than that the short-term pain does.

Being a Member or Representative entails you to act on the people's behalf, but it doesn't necessarily state how you do that. We elect Members to make the tough decisions that we can't make, because they're decisions that do not include just us.

Also, being a Member means that the best way to serve your constituents is that you're the one serving them. This means taking into account their welfare, as well as your own. If you choose to vote against your party, and you're expelled from that process, your ability to serve is severely diminished. There is certain lines that when crossed, you can't go back, but a lot of these decisions never cross these lines, and therefore there is no need to put your ability to serve in danger.
regebro
Posts: 1,152
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8/21/2009 12:54:42 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/20/2009 5:49:33 PM, JBlake wrote:
If you are considering what may be best for the country, or best for your constituents, then you are wrong.

Which is of course exactly what politicians do NOT consider. Politicians are, like people in general, almost exclusively driven by self-interest. The claim that the politicians self-interest also is the constituents best interest is almost exclusively a post-rationalization to lend moral gravitas to the self-interest.
So prove me wrong, then.
regebro
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8/21/2009 11:35:57 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 9:05:56 AM, JBlake wrote:
Regebro, I don't share your pessimism. Obviously your statement would apply to some people, but not everyone.

It's not pessimism, it's a simple statement of fact. Very few politicians work for the good of the people/country/constituents. The few that do consistently do that of course also benefit from it (they are after all a part of the people/country/constituents).

I would say that only a small percentage are consistently working for the good of the people. Maybe 1-5% based on experience. If we assume 5% just to be nice, then 95% work against the interest of the people in at least some issues. There 95% obviously then put their self-interest before the interest of the country.

And of the remaining 5%, most of them *also* work for their self-interest. It just happens that they realize that what is good for the people is good for them. This is likely around the same percentage. So we get 5% of 5% actually working for the benefit of others. The rest only tell themselves they are working for the benefit of others, because no-one can live with the knowledge that they are egoistic bungholes.

And the reason for this low percentage is easy: If you do not work in your self-interest as a politician, you will soon either get manipulated out of the race, or quit politics in disgust.

This is how politics works. And I'm not pessimistic, I'm just saying how it is based on experience. For this reason, the best thing the people can do is to always vote for the politician who wants to grab the least power. Actually moving power away *from* politicians is almost impossible. It seems only external, non-political forces can do that.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/21/2009 12:53:55 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
The problem with your logic is that it is based on faulty and arbitrary numbers. Unless there is a study on the subject that I am not aware of, you have pulled those percentages out of thin air. I respectfully disagree with your pessimistic analysis.

You speak as if it is from experience. What experience? From the sidelines, or do you have legislative experience? If the former, then your analysis cannot be considered valid; if the latter, then we have something to discuss.

Remember that it is the corrupt politicians who make headlines. You will never see "Congressman Reflects Constituency" as a headline. As a result, the general public gets a skewed perception of politics and politicians based on the few bad ones that make all the headlines.
regebro
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8/21/2009 1:14:16 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 12:53:55 PM, JBlake wrote:
The problem with your logic is that it is based on faulty and arbitrary numbers.

No, it's based on insight and experience.

Unless there is a study on the subject that I am not aware of, you have pulled those percentages out of thin air. I respectfully disagree with your pessimistic analysis.

Again, it is not pessimistic. It's possibly cynic, but it's rather realistic. People in general work in their self interest. Politicians are no different, rather the other way around.

You speak as if it is from experience. What experience? From the sidelines, or do you have legislative experience? If the former, then your analysis cannot be considered valid; if the latter, then we have something to discuss.

I have been active in politics between the ages 14 and 34.

Remember that it is the corrupt politicians who make headlines. You will never see "Congressman Reflects Constituency" as a headline. As a result, the general public gets a skewed perception of politics and politicians based on the few bad ones that make all the headlines.

I'm not talking about corruption here, which should be clear if you read my original comment again.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/21/2009 1:44:29 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I know that you were not talking about corrupt politicians. I mentioned them because they are the source of the negative perception by the public.

In what way were you active in politics?

I find it difficult to believe that merely insight and experience can help someone come up with anything resembling valid statistics on politicians and personal interest.

Certainly people work in their self interest. Sometimes that self interest is also the interest of the country. Sometimes people are able to set aside personal interest for some issues in order to focus on the interest of the country.
regebro
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8/21/2009 2:07:31 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 1:44:29 PM, JBlake wrote:
I know that you were not talking about corrupt politicians. I mentioned them because they are the source of the negative perception by the public.

In what way were you active in politics?

I have been a party member and active politician.

I find it difficult to believe that merely insight and experience can help someone come up with anything resembling valid statistics on politicians and personal interest.

As you will notice, the range of the statistics is wide. I'm talking about anything from 5% to fractions of a percentage that actually, consistently, work for the benefit of the constituency. 5% means I'm wrong with an order of magnitude. There is serious error margins in this, trust me.

The point is that it doesn't matter. A percentage of a percentage will be very little anyway. Even if 10% of all politicians consistently worked for the good of the constituents, then that still means only 1% actually do it because it's good for the constituents.

Certainly people work in their self interest. Sometimes that self interest is also the interest of the country.

This is true, as I noted earlier.

Sometimes people are able to set aside personal interest for some issues in order to focus on the interest of the country.

Oh, sure. Many people are able to do that. But those people will have a very hard time reaching any sort of position where you even have a chance of voting for them.

You will just have to accept that every time you go to vote, you go to vote on a bunch of selfish bastards whose primary goal in life is to give themselves more power and/or money (usually power). Democracy is invented so that we can vote the bastards OUT, and get another, less bastardly bastard, in. If politicians actually could be trusted to do what was best for the country, then we wouldn't need to have re-elections, they could sit for life, once elected. I think you can guess how well *that* would work.
So prove me wrong, then.
Volkov
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8/21/2009 5:45:45 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 2:07:31 PM, regebro wrote:
I have been a party member and active politician.

Clearly you've been disenfranchised with the system due to a stagnant party. Are you a Republican, by chance?

You will just have to accept that every time you go to vote, you go to vote on a bunch of selfish bastards whose primary goal in life is to give themselves more power and/or money (usually power). Democracy is invented so that we can vote the bastards OUT, and get another, less bastardly bastard, in. If politicians actually could be trusted to do what was best for the country, then we wouldn't need to have re-elections, they could sit for life, once elected. I think you can guess how well *that* would work.

I detect a hint of political cynicism. I don't agree with it, mind you.

I know several politicians, and I've yet to meet one that doesn't seem genuinely interested in helping serve their constituents.

One of these politicians, a former Premier of Ontario, said quite wisely at if you want to get into politics, you need to have two things; an ambition for power, because in order to get anywhere you need to have that personal drive, you need to want power for your use.

But you also need to have a willingness to use that power to help your constituents. Not all politicians are like this, sure; but they don't get any respect, nor do they last long when you have an engaged populace, something that is unfortunately lacking in the US until recently.

For a politician to really get somewhere, and to be treated with any respect not only by their fellow colleagues but of their constituents, they need to be there to help, to work out situations and benefit those that they represent. And I believe most politicians are like this. They all do it in different ways, with different ideologies and different views, but they have genuine and honest intentions to be there for people other than themselves.

Call it political optimism, if you want.
regebro
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8/21/2009 9:52:45 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 5:45:45 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/21/2009 2:07:31 PM, regebro wrote:
I have been a party member and active politician.

Clearly you've been disenfranchised with the system due to a stagnant party. Are you a Republican, by chance?

Heh. No, and no. The party was not stagnant, and no, I'm not republican. Wrong country, even.

I detect a hint of political cynicism. I don't agree with it, mind you.

Which means that you are wrong.

I know several politicians, and I've yet to meet one that doesn't seem genuinely interested in helping serve their constituents.

Hah!

One of these politicians, a former Premier of Ontario, said quite wisely at if you want to get into politics, you need to have two things; an ambition for power, because in order to get anywhere you need to have that personal drive, you need to want power for your use.

But you also need to have a willingness to use that power to help your constituents. Not all politicians are like this, sure; but they don't get any respect, nor do they last long when you have an engaged populace, something that is unfortunately lacking in the US until recently.

He believes himself because he has to. But when you believe him, it's naive.

For a politician to really get somewhere, and to be treated with any respect not only by their fellow colleagues but of their constituents, they need to be there to help, to work out situations and benefit those that they represent. And I believe most politicians are like this. They all do it in different ways, with different ideologies and different views, but they have genuine and honest intentions to be there for people other than themselves.

You really haven't got a clue. Sorry.

Call it political optimism, if you want.

I call it naive and gullible. Do you really think the republicans who are against abortion, gay rights and teaching creationism do it because they want to help? If they want to help, then why don't they help instead? Do you really think that when Obama argued against NAFTA, even though he himself in a book argues that free trade is good, is doing that to *help*?
So prove me wrong, then.
Volkov
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8/21/2009 10:13:10 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 9:52:45 PM, regebro wrote:
I call it naive and gullible. Do you really think the republicans who are against abortion, gay rights and teaching creationism do it because they want to help? If they want to help, then why don't they help instead? Do you really think that when Obama argued against NAFTA, even though he himself in a book argues that free trade is good, is doing that to *help*?

They do want to help, but as I stated, they help in the ways they see fit, because they all have differing ideologies. Just because they believe something different than you, doesn't mean they don't want to help and serve you. They better their country in the way they think they can, and if you disagree, then you vote someone new in.

Now, I don't claim to know much about France, but I know your politics are very cynical. I don't blame you. Between the Gaullists and the Socialists, you don't have very much to believe in. But to dismiss what I think, or JBlake, or anyone else for that matter, out of hand isn't going to help anything. If you want to be politically cynical, then by all means, but you should respect others opinions here, and not try to bring us all down just because you feel a certain way. Learn to tolerate and compromise, not patronize and dismantle.

Maybe if you had a little bit of optimism, a little bit of will to go against the status quo that you so proudly trounce over our "naive" outlook of the world, you can change your own politics as well.
regebro
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8/21/2009 10:46:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 10:13:10 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/21/2009 9:52:45 PM, regebro wrote:
I call it naive and gullible. Do you really think the republicans who are against abortion, gay rights and teaching creationism do it because they want to help? If they want to help, then why don't they help instead? Do you really think that when Obama argued against NAFTA, even though he himself in a book argues that free trade is good, is doing that to *help*?

They do want to help, but as I stated, they help in the ways they see fit, because they all have differing ideologies. Just because they believe something different than you, doesn't mean they don't want to help and serve you.

Sure. But when these believes are corrected, and they know why the things the suggest are not helping, why, I wonder, do they not change their minds.

Because they don't. Just like you now won't. I notice for example that you avoid answering my questions on why politicians then aren't helping, if they want to help.

Now, I don't claim to know much about France, but I know your politics are very cynical.

Well, when I was active, it was in Sweden. :-)

I don't blame you. Between the Gaullists and the Socialists, you don't have very much to believe in.

The exact same goes for the US, although they are called liberals and democrats there.

But to dismiss what I think, or JBlake, or anyone else for that matter, out of hand isn't going to help anything. If you want to be politically cynical, then by all means, but you should respect others opinions here, and not try to bring us all down just because you feel a certain way. Learn to tolerate and compromise, not patronize and dismantle.

Sorry. Dismantling is what I do.

Maybe if you had a little bit of optimism, a little bit of will to go against the status quo that you so proudly trounce over our "naive" outlook of the world, you can change your own politics as well.

No, been there, done that. I was optimistic and thought my fellow politicians worked for the benefit of the constituency. I was wrong. They don't. Neither in France, nor in Sweden nor in the US.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/21/2009 11:19:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Regebro, please keep the condescension out of the discussion. It would be better for all involved if we discussed each position on merit instead.
regebro
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8/22/2009 1:03:13 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 11:19:38 PM, JBlake wrote:
Regebro, please keep the condescension out of the discussion. It would be better for all involved if we discussed each position on merit instead.

What condescension?
So prove me wrong, then.
Volkov
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8/22/2009 5:57:41 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 10:46:40 PM, regebro wrote:
Because they don't. Just like you now won't. I notice for example that you avoid answering my questions on why politicians then aren't helping, if they want to help.

I haven't seen a proper politician yet that hasn't helped in some way or another, so it is a question that does not register properly with me. Give me a non-partisan example of an average politician that does not do anything. Like, seriously nothing.

Well, when I was active, it was in Sweden. :-)

How interesting.

The exact same goes for the US, although they are called liberals and democrats there.

I agree to a point, which is why I have continuously called American politics very stagnant. There is hardly any accountability there, especially in terms of the Congress and Senate members.

No, been there, done that. I was optimistic and thought my fellow politicians worked for the benefit of the constituency. I was wrong. They don't. Neither in France, nor in Sweden nor in the US.

It is actually due to cynicism like yours that so many people are being turned off of politics and democracy, which allows selfish, uncaring politicians to get in simply on party affiliation or name recognition, and stay there for unwarranted periods of time. It is ironic that you are helping promote the status quo you're so tired of.

Experiences have taught you that politicians are selfish and etc., and my experiences have yet to, if they ever will. I might have a different experience. So whatever you say, with your cynical viewpoint, is nice to know, sure, but to call us "simply wrong" is patronizing and ignorant, and it isn't conducive to constructive debate. And if you're not going to work to fix the issues, then there is no reason for someone like me to waste my time.
regebro
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8/22/2009 6:24:17 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 5:57:41 AM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/21/2009 10:46:40 PM, regebro wrote:
Because they don't. Just like you now won't. I notice for example that you avoid answering my questions on why politicians then aren't helping, if they want to help.

I haven't seen a proper politician yet that hasn't helped in some way or another, so it is a question that does not register properly with me. Give me a non-partisan example of an average politician that does not do anything. Like, seriously nothing.

Well, that has nothing to do with what I'm saying at all. You turned "not consistently working for the best of the country" to "never lifting a finger". That's not the same thing.

No, been there, done that. I was optimistic and thought my fellow politicians worked for the benefit of the constituency. I was wrong. They don't. Neither in France, nor in Sweden nor in the US.

It is actually due to cynicism like yours that so many people are being turned off of politics and democracy, which allows selfish, uncaring politicians to get in simply on party affiliation or name recognition, and stay there for unwarranted periods of time. It is ironic that you are helping promote the status quo you're so tired of.

Explain the logic in that. How is it my fault that politicians are self-interested?

I might have a different experience. So whatever you say, with your cynical viewpoint, is nice to know, sure, but to call us "simply wrong" is patronizing and ignorant, and it isn't conducive to constructive debate. And if you're not going to work to fix the issues, then there is no reason for someone like me to waste my time.

Oh, I'll work to fix the issues. And in fact, I'm doing it right now. Belief that politicians are some sort of sainthood is a big problem, and I'm trying to correct it.

My point was, and still is, that politicians, like people in general, typically are driven mostly by self-interest. You seem to think that politicians in fact are mostly driven by a desire to improve the world. I've asked several questions, that if you are correct, you must answer. You have ignored these questions.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/22/2009 10:13:06 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 6:24:17 AM, regebro wrote:
Oh, I'll work to fix the issues. And in fact, I'm doing it right now. Belief that politicians are some sort of sainthood is a big problem, and I'm trying to correct it.

My point was, and still is, that politicians, like people in general, typically are driven mostly by self-interest. You seem to think that politicians in fact are mostly driven by a desire to improve the world. I've asked several questions, that if you are correct, you must answer. You have ignored these questions.

What Volkov meant was that a deeply cynical view of politicians is the cause for general apathy among the populace. This certainly rings true to most of the people I know.

What questions did you ask? I would be happy to answer them. I must have missed them somewhere along the way.
regebro
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8/22/2009 10:33:35 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 10:13:06 AM, JBlake wrote:
What Volkov meant was that a deeply cynical view of politicians is the cause for general apathy among the populace.

Possibly, but that surely is not my fault, but the fault of the politicians/system. You only get apathetic if you expect and demand that politicians are more saintly than people in general, and then discover that they are not. I probably expected both politicians and people in general to be more saintly, but they aren't. The question is how to build a system that handles the fact that politicians, like ordinary people, are driven by self. interest. I tried to discuss that in the "Fixing politics" thread, but it failed.

What questions did you ask? I would be happy to answer them. I must have missed them somewhere along the way.

First question: If politicians in general have the general best as a goal, why will they willfully ignore evidence that their policy is bad, and continue that same policy in face of overwhelming evidence that they are doing bad, and not good?

Because they will do that. They will not change their minds when proven wrong. And this is not unique for politicians. I'd say the vast majority of all people will after making a political standpoint NOT change their mind even when proven wrong. This clearly shows that it is not an interest in the general best that guides their decisions, it's something else. (And I have a pretty good clue what).

If you have the general bets in mind, you will constantly try to figure out what the general best *is* and do that. But people, and politicians, do not behave like that. They make up their minds *first*, come up with arguments *second* and then pushes through their policy no matter what.

That is NOT in the best interest of the general population.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/22/2009 12:54:45 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 10:33:35 AM, regebro wrote:
First question: If politicians in general have the general best as a goal, why will they willfully ignore evidence that their policy is bad, and continue that same policy in face of overwhelming evidence that they are doing bad, and not good?

People hold strongly onto their ideology. For almost any issue that has evidence suggesting their policy is bad, there is also evidence suggesting it is good. It is easy for anyone (not just politicians) to overlook criticism of their policy because they believe in their position so strongly.

There are plenty of ways that people can reason that they are still correct, despite contrary evidence. This is especially relevant to politics because it is rare that someone's policy is implemented in its pure form (due to the necessity of compromising). So if, for instance, health reform were passed and performed poorly, advocates might say it is because the reform didn't go far enough. Opponents might say it was a failure because it went too far.

Politicians may reason that poor performance was due to faulty application, not an inherent flaw in their policy.

Did I miss any other question?
regebro
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8/22/2009 1:37:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 12:54:45 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 8/22/2009 10:33:35 AM, regebro wrote:
First question: If politicians in general have the general best as a goal, why will they willfully ignore evidence that their policy is bad, and continue that same policy in face of overwhelming evidence that they are doing bad, and not good?

People hold strongly onto their ideology. For almost any issue that has evidence suggesting their policy is bad, there is also evidence suggesting it is good.

I would claim that this is not true for "almost any issue". In almost any country where I'm reasonably knowledgeable about the politics in question, I would claim that the majority of politicians (and others) cling to ideologies where the evidence against is completely and utterly overwhelming.

The fact that politicians also tend to cling onto the ideologies during elections, but not in practice is further proof that people best interest is not the driving force. This, admittedly, is most noticeable in Europe, where socialism has been the ideology a la mode, and almost no European socialist party have actually had a socialist policy in practice. It's clear that the social-democrats in practice have abandoned socialism as soon as they got power. But yet they have proposed socialism in their election campaigns, and still claim to be socialist.

How does that work with working for the best of the general public? If socialism is the best, as they say, why don't they have socialist policies in practice? If it *isn't* the best, why do they claim it is?

Again, I think I know why. But it involves politicians putting their self-interest before the general publics.

It is easy for anyone (not just politicians) to overlook criticism of their policy because they believe in their position so strongly.

Of course. But if you have the best of the gnereal public in mind, you can't do that.

There are plenty of ways that people can reason that they are still correct, despite contrary evidence.

As I have said repreatedly, people make up their minds *first* and come with arguments *later*. It's dead easy to trick yourself into that you are working for the general good, even when you are not. And in fact, it's necessary that you trick yourself, because otherwise you'll have to live with being an egoistic bastard. :-)

Politicians may reason that poor performance was due to faulty application, not an inherent flaw in their policy.

Yes, they may. You may use any number of bad rationalizations. Thats my point: They are not working for the benefit of the general public. Why not? Because they make their decisions *first* based on completely different base than what is best for the general public. Then they, by using rationalizations, trick themselves into believing that they are working for the good of the general population, when they are not.

Your answer constantly misses the distinction between working for the general good, and believing that you work for the general good. The power of self-delusion is immense.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/22/2009 2:02:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 1:37:11 PM, regebro wrote:
Your answer constantly misses the distinction between working for the general good, and believing that you work for the general good. The power of self-delusion is immense.

Perhaps it misses the point because the latter is what I have been arguing. The general good is subjective. It is different depending on your perspective. If your perspective is the individual (in that the individual should have control over their life and property), then the general good would be small government and Economic Liberalism. If your perspective is communal (in that pooling our resources to institute sweeping programs is best for society), then big government and socialism is the general good.
regebro
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8/22/2009 2:12:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 2:02:47 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 8/22/2009 1:37:11 PM, regebro wrote:
Your answer constantly misses the distinction between working for the general good, and believing that you work for the general good. The power of self-delusion is immense.

Perhaps it misses the point because the latter is what I have been arguing. The general good is subjective.

Only rarely.

It is different depending on your perspective. If your perspective is the individual (in that the individual should have control over their life and property), then the general good would be small government and Economic Liberalism. If your perspective is communal (in that pooling our resources to institute sweeping programs is best for society), then big government and socialism is the general good.

That is not a subjective issue. Socialism is not a general good, and that is an objective fact. So in fact, you pretty much agree with me. Politicians do NOT work for the benefit of the general good, they only think they do.
So prove me wrong, then.
JBlake
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8/22/2009 2:17:00 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
How is it a fact that socialism is not a general good?

I may have used the wrong term 'socialism' because I did not mean a completely command economy. I mean a largely capitalist economy with some socialist policy (welfare, some government run industry like police departments, education, &ct.).

Either way, it is impossible to definitively prove, as a fact, that socialism is not a general good.