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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Religion, Sex, and Politics

Subject: Joseph de Maistre, What Did America Do To Deserve This !?! rss

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Leo Zappa
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It was the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre who wrote in 1811, when referring to Russia's new constitutional laws, "Every nation gets the government it deserves". This has also been translated to say, "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve".

So, my simple question, on the eve of a general election campaign that pits Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, is this...

"What did America do to deserve this choice for our next president?"

As it was written in a Daily Telegraph story several months ago, but remains just as true now,

It is remarkable how a country that is so good at business, science, the arts and just about everything else can be so bad at politics. There are now 318 million Americans, including many of the world’s most creative and brilliant people: the US electorate ought by rights to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing its president.

Yet from this immense talent pool, the American political system has managed to narrow the race down to two supremely flawed human beings, neither of whom remotely deserves to be in the White House.

On the one hand we have Hillary Clinton, a scandal-ridden, uninspiring candidate whose Left-wing policies would destroy what is left of US exceptionalism; on the other is Donald Trump, a demagogue who specialises in whipping up hate and threatening cataclysmic trade wars.

This depressing choice comes at the worst possible time for the US: the country is bitterly divided, faith in the American Dream and US constitution is receding and many would like nothing better than to shut themselves off from the world. Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism remains as high as ever.


Now, even if you don't entirely agree with the Telegraph's characterization of the two primary candidates (I happen to think both are fairly accurate), the gist of the message is hard to refute. So, how has it come to this? Is it, as de Maistre might say, our own fault? Have we as an electorate driven off or ignored all of the truly deserving and qualified candidates? Have we shown ourselves to be so shallow and easily swayed that we settle for these two people who appear to be driven by nothing so much as blind ambition? How can it be that both parties' systems ended up producing such disappointing choices for America?

What did we do to deserve this?
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desertfox2004 wrote:
It was the French philosopher Joseph de Maistre who wrote in 1811, when referring to Russia's new constitutional laws, "Every nation gets the government it deserves". This has also been translated to say, "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve".

So, my simple question, on the eve of a general election campaign that pits Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, is this...

"What did America do to deserve this choice for our next president?"

As it was written in a Daily Telegraph story several months ago, but remains just as true now,

It is remarkable how a country that is so good at business, science, the arts and just about everything else can be so bad at politics. There are now 318 million Americans, including many of the world’s most creative and brilliant people: the US electorate ought by rights to be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing its president.

Yet from this immense talent pool, the American political system has managed to narrow the race down to two supremely flawed human beings, neither of whom remotely deserves to be in the White House.

On the one hand we have Hillary Clinton, a scandal-ridden, uninspiring candidate whose Left-wing policies would destroy what is left of US exceptionalism; on the other is Donald Trump, a demagogue who specialises in whipping up hate and threatening cataclysmic trade wars.

This depressing choice comes at the worst possible time for the US: the country is bitterly divided, faith in the American Dream and US constitution is receding and many would like nothing better than to shut themselves off from the world. Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism remains as high as ever.


Now, even if you don't entirely agree with the Telegraph's characterization of the two primary candidates (I happen to think both are fairly accurate), the gist of the message is hard to refute. So, how has it come to this? Is it, as de Maistre might say, our own fault? Have we as an electorate driven off or ignored all of the truly deserving and qualified candidates? Have we shown ourselves to be so shallow and easily swayed that we settle for these two people who appear to be driven by nothing so much as blind ambition?
There is your answer in a British newspaper, Clinton is flawed in part because she is a leftist (even though ironically she is still conservative by UK standards).

There is no debate about policies but rather screaming hysteria on one side and a "well why bother" attitude on the other.
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Chris
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Hillary is the candidate because of back room deals rigging the system. No serious opponents were put up against her in the primaries except Bernie, a fringe candidate who almost won. The Democratic national chair, who has previously worked on Clinton campaigns conspired to keep that one competitor from having a shot along with the super delegate system.

Trump is the guy because all the Republicans offered up were limp dick competitors who had no message, no charisma and (IMO) were in it for the prestige and money and didn't really give a shit about running.

Bernie and Trump are a sign that the American people are sick of the establsihment. We have had 8 year of Bush's all around incomeptence plus 7 years of Obama's. Almost 16 years of shitty economy. Oh it has been good for some people, but for the poor and working class it has been a shit show sending jobs overseas, flooding the low skill job market with illegals, house prices going through the roof, pay stagnate, etc.

Each party blames the other when in reality they are both bought by the 1% who are squeezing the poor and working class dry. The media, who is owned by a couple of individuals, puts us at each others throats by distracting us with polarizing issues so we don't realize who is to really blame. So this is where we are.

So yea, it is Americans fault because we haven't torn this shit down yet, we keep taking it up the ass and asking for more.
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jeremy cobert
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this,

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Andrew Bartosh

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You got any comparisons that aren't 58 years versus 7 years?

Honest question. Seeing year to year would be -way- more useful than that.
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Daniel Edwards
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Fox news graph I guarantee.
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galad2003 wrote:
Hillary is the candidate because of back room deals rigging the system. No serious opponents were put up against her in the primaries except Bernie, a fringe candidate who almost won. The Democratic national chair, who has previously worked on Clinton campaigns conspired to keep that one competitor from having a shot along with the super delegate system.


You could interpret the primary process that way, and it's possible you are correct, but I would posit another interpretation.

Hilary Clinton is in fact extremely popular both with the Democratic Party elite and with the Democratic Party as a whole (as could easily be seen from the 2008 primary process which she almost won (indeed coming far closer than Bernie Sanders managed in 2016)). She generally represents the party and its members on the majority of issues and is a highly experienced and qualified candidate for president.

As such the party was happy for her to be the nominee and got behind her run very quickly, endorsing her rather than challenging her.

Bernie Sanders then ran an excellent campaign and demonstrated there is are large number of voters for whom the Democratic Party was not progressive enough. This campaign won a large number of votes and delegates but still fell substantially short of a majority. Nevertheless these voters seem to have been heard and the Democratic Party convention proposed what is seen as the most progressive party platform ever.

James
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Oliver Dienz
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AndrewRogue wrote:
You got any comparisons that aren't 58 years versus 7 years?

Honest question. Seeing year to year would be -way- more useful than that.


See here: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/A191RL1A225NBEA
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jeremycobert wrote:
this,

Gosh, I wonder what happened in September of 2008 that could have resulted in economic growth stalling out?
Hmm... something something worst financial crisis since The Great Depression?
Nah, fuck it, let's just blame Obama & make shitty charts.
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Oliver Dienz
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desertfox2004 wrote:

On the one hand we have Hillary Clinton, a scandal-ridden (Yes), uninspiring (Yes) candidate whose Left-wing policies (LOL What has that guy been drinking?) would destroy what is left of US exceptionalism; on the other is Donald Trump, a demagogue who specialises in whipping up hate and threatening cataclysmic trade wars.

This depressing choice comes at the worst possible time for the US: the country is bitterly divided, faith in the American Dream and US constitution is receding and many would like nothing better than to shut themselves off from the world. Meanwhile, the threat of terrorism remains as high as ever.


Terrorism??? That's the most urgent problem we need to solve?
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Daniel Edwards
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Better yet this is a graph made / pushed by the same dudes who wanted the alternate version of 2009 - 2016 where there were no bank bail outs, no stimulus, no auto bailouts, further tax cuts for the richest and a "balanced" budget via hundreds of billion less public spending.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
What did we do to deserve this?
Serious attempt to answer this (I know what am I thinking in RSP on BGG). The United States is too large and too geographically diverse for a system of government that was setup for 13 colonies and approximately 3 million largely homogeneous Europeans. NYC alone has more than twice that amount of people.

Add to that the effect of social media in shoehorning people into tribalism. Frankly BGG is pretty tame, and even here all the moderates are drown out by the liberals.

Lastly the news media is a dismal failure at their role. The partisanship of the press is sad and pathetic. The Internet and the instant nature of "breaking news" is also a minus versus getting news delayed a week from a source such as a weekly magazine with in depth articles.

I'm not sure I'd make it a major point, but Americans are also self-sorting geographically at an alarming rate.
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galad2003 wrote:
Hillary is the candidate because of back room deals rigging the system. No serious opponents were put up against her in the primaries except Bernie, a fringe candidate who almost won. The Democratic national chair, who has previously worked on Clinton campaigns conspired to keep that one competitor from having a shot along with the super delegate system.

Trump is the guy because all the Republicans offered up were limp dick competitors who had no message, no charisma and (IMO) were in it for the prestige and money and didn't really give a shit about running.

Bernie and Trump are a sign that the American people are sick of the establsihment. We have had 8 year of Bush's all around incomeptence plus 7 years of Obama's. Almost 16 years of shitty economy. Oh it has been good for some people, but for the poor and working class it has been a shit show sending jobs overseas, flooding the low skill job market with illegals, house prices going through the roof, pay stagnate, etc.

Each party blames the other when in reality they are both bought by the 1% who are squeezing the poor and working class dry. The media, who is owned by a couple of individuals, puts us at each others throats by distracting us with polarizing issues so we don't realize who is to really blame. So this is where we are.

So yea, it is Americans fault because we haven't torn this shit down yet, we keep taking it up the ass and asking for more.

What americans need, IMO, is to start taxing the rich a lot more, like most european countries do (I think they do, at least we do), and to have a minimum wage people can live with, and which increases each year, according to economic growth. For the life of me, I can't understand why working class americans don't see that the wealthy and their lobbyists are to blame for keeping wages and taxation low. No wonder rich people are so absurdly well off in the US, when they both get cheap labor and low taxes.

But first, you need two political parties which are willing to cooperate, so you get an end to filibuster hell. Watching american politics nowadays is more or less like watch squabbling kids in a kindergarten. Senators should grow up and start helping to solve problems. A president which could get the two parties to start cooperating might go down in history as one of the greatest. Alas, I don't see how any of today's candidates is going to achieve this. They are both too unpopular among many senators, and will be filibustered no less than Obama has been. So I would vote for the one who can at least keep her temper, who doesn't advocate war crimes, unilaterally breaking treaties, etc. America's problems won't be solved by any of today's candidates, so please do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and choose a candidate with a responsible foreign policy.
 
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mtagge wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
What did we do to deserve this?
Serious attempt to answer this (I know what am I thinking in RSP on BGG). The United States is too large and too geographically diverse for a system of government that was setup for 13 colonies and approximately 3 million largely homogeneous Europeans. NYC alone has more than twice that amount of people.

I think you're onto something. A parliamentary democracy would probably be a better fit for today's polarized mentality. The Senate breaks down in this climate. It is supposed to let all states be heard, and to ensure a degree of agreement between the various states. It was probably a good idea in a climate in which senators were to some degree united because of external enemies, and in the end wanted and needed to make the government work. But today it is misused by childish senators in order to make USA ungovernable.
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fightcitymayor wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:
Gosh, I wonder what happened in September of 2008 that could have resulted in economic growth stalling out?
Hmm... something something worst financial crisis since The Great Depression?
Nah, fuck it, let's just blame Obama & make shitty charts.

Well there is a lot more going on that Jeremy's pretty lame comparison ignores. Population growth was a huge driver in GDP growth (the baby boomers) in the 1950-2000 perid. It isn't a coincidence the length of that period roughly correlates to when the baby boomers first entered the workforce and when they started exiting it. Initially they proved a big boost as the percentage of working age population ballooned and now they are going to be a big drag on economic growth as the number of retirees boom.
 
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odie73 wrote:
Terrorism??? That's the most urgent problem we need to solve?


Perhaps, like Obama, you just wish for Americans to "absorb" terrorism, and take them as part of the new normal.

Obviously the American Cancer Society wants funding, so they'll spew this kind of dishonest graph, as if Cancer and Terrorism aren't an apples to oranges comparison anyway.

Terrorism isn't random. We can actually combat it. To say that we shouldn't pay any attention because cancer is an infuriating response.
 
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Thanks for the rent-free space in your head. Would have been nice if you'd cleaned it up a bit before you rented it out, though.
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mtagge wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
What did we do to deserve this?
Serious attempt to answer this (I know what am I thinking in RSP on BGG). The United States is too large and too geographically diverse for a system of government that was setup for 13 colonies and approximately 3 million largely homogeneous Europeans. NYC alone has more than twice that amount of people.


So perhaps we shouldn't try to run everything through Central Planners in Washington?

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Oliver Dienz
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Drew1365 wrote:

Perhaps, like Obama, you just wish for Americans to "absorb" terrorism, and take them as part of the new normal.

Obviously the American Cancer Society wants funding, so they'll spew this kind of dishonest graph, as if Cancer and Terrorism aren't an apples to oranges comparison anyway.

Terrorism isn't random. We can actually combat it. To say that we shouldn't pay any attention because cancer is an infuriating response.


Your response is the perfect example why we got the candidates this country deserves. It does not matter how smart we are in a science or business when simply peddling to our fears and creating bogeymans (like Obama) works just so much better. When facts do not matter anymore we get the political debates we have right now. Traffic fatalities or gun deaths are not any more random or less preventable than dying from a terrorist attack. The political process here has turned from increasing prosperity for all to various factions that give people a sense of acceptance because they share the same beliefs; even if that simply means sharing the same enemies. Once neoliberal ideology and "greed is good" has permeated society, everything is just about protecting your own little slice of the pie. That the point is to actually make the pie bigger for everyone's benefit gets ignored.

A good example of how we get our priorities wrong:

http://thinkbynumbers.org/government-spending/false-sense-of...

And how wasted those dollars likely are:

https://www.emptywheel.net/2014/11/18/study-fighting-terrori...
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Drew1365 wrote:
Perhaps, like Obama, you just wish for Americans to "absorb" terrorism, and take them as part of the new normal.

Obviously the American Cancer Society wants funding, so they'll spew this kind of dishonest graph, as if Cancer and Terrorism aren't an apples to oranges comparison anyway.

Terrorism isn't random. We can actually combat it. To say that we shouldn't pay any attention because cancer is an infuriating response.

It's all a matter of priorities. The american people is about to elect a president which threatens world peace by unilaterally abandoning international treaties, and committing war crimes in the name of USA. All this insanity because they are afraid of something which is not even remotely as dangerous as driving your car to work. I find it almost unbelievable that someone can be this ignorant.
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Always nice to hear from the Old World, which as we can all plainly see, is the very modern model of tolerance, peace, and uninterrupted economic growth that is spread to all....

Every now and again, the political process vomits out bad to worse candidates. It happens (though, according to the editorial, not in Europe). Somehow, the Republic survives. Why is the key question. It's because of the system in place that actually allows people to live lives relatively free of government intrusion and the ability to solve problems.
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remorseless1 wrote:
Always nice to hear from the Old World, which as we can all plainly see, is the very modern model of tolerance, peace, and uninterrupted economic growth that is spread to all....

Every now and again, the political process vomits out bad to worse candidates. It happens (though, according to the editorial, not in Europe). Somehow, the Republic survives. Why is the key question. It's because of the system in place that actually allows people to live lives relatively free of government intrusion and the ability to solve problems.

Our democracy is younger than yours, and certainly make more people happy. It also creates more equal opportunities, and I'm quite sure I have seen statistics confirming that we have more social mobility. Social mobility isn't really an issue in Norway. So who lives in the old world? I have never understood why americans think they live in such a perfect society, when it is clearly a lot more violent than Europe, and make a lot more people unhappy.

And as for intolerance (assuming you were talking to me)? Yes, I have a slight problem with people who vote for rabid, xenophobic demagogues who threaten world peace. I don't care much for the germans who voted for Hitler, either. I mean, I can understand how it happened, from an academic point of view. But there's no excuse for ignorance.
 
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oivind22 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
Always nice to hear from the Old World, which as we can all plainly see, is the very modern model of tolerance, peace, and uninterrupted economic growth that is spread to all....

Every now and again, the political process vomits out bad to worse candidates. It happens (though, according to the editorial, not in Europe). Somehow, the Republic survives. Why is the key question. It's because of the system in place that actually allows people to live lives relatively free of government intrusion and the ability to solve problems.

Our democracy is younger than yours, and certainly make more people happy. It also creates more equal opportunities, and I'm quite sure I have seen statistics confirming that we have more social mobility. Social mobility isn't really an issue in Norway. So who lives in the old world? I have never understood why americans think they live in such a perfect society, when it is clearly a lot more violent than Europe, and make a lot more people unhappy.

And as for intolerance (assuming you were talking to me)? Yes, I have a slight problem with people who vote for rabid, xenophobic demagogues who threaten world peace. I don't care much for the germans who voted for Hitler, either. I mean, I can understand how it happened, from an academic point of view. But there's no excuse for ignorance.

"americans think they live in such a perfect society.." HAH! Do you not read American news websites? The crap spewed out here at BGG? Perfect society my ass! I didn't even say that in the quote above!

And yes, I have heard great things about Norway. But, and I'm sure you would agree, Norway is quite different demographically, geographically, and politically than the US. Norway has far fewer people, is much smaller, and although a valued member of NATO, is not expected to pull the kind of international weight the US does. Thus, comparing the two does a disservice to both societies. Far too different, but yet, people living in each country are apparently satisfied with the systems in place.

And no, I was not speaking to you, I was speaking to the editorial in the thread starter. Also, for future reference, when I refer to the Old World, I mean the Eastern Hemisphere: Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The original home of humanity, and all those fuckwit cultures we're ignoring in the good ole US of A.
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oivind22 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
Always nice to hear from the Old World, which as we can all plainly see, is the very modern model of tolerance, peace, and uninterrupted economic growth that is spread to all....

Every now and again, the political process vomits out bad to worse candidates. It happens (though, according to the editorial, not in Europe). Somehow, the Republic survives. Why is the key question. It's because of the system in place that actually allows people to live lives relatively free of government intrusion and the ability to solve problems.

Our democracy is younger than yours, and certainly make more people happy. It also creates more equal opportunities, and I'm quite sure I have seen statistics confirming that we have more social mobility. Social mobility isn't really an issue in Norway. So who lives in the old world? I have never understood why americans think they live in such a perfect society, when it is clearly a lot more violent than Europe, and make a lot more people unhappy.

Norway is a nice place, but you cannot compare Norway to a larger country like the US. First of all, the most obvious difference is vastly higher per capita GDP. It is a lot easier to offer free education, healthcare, etc when you are rich. Now before you get all smug about your wealth, you need to be reminded that your country didn't really earn it. Norway's wealth primarily comes from having large oil reserves and a small population. Qatar is another example of the same. I will grant, however, that Norway is doing a good job of managing that wealth. Rather than just spending it all, Norway has taken the oil windfall and invested it overseas. This is not, however, something that most countries have (huge natural resource windfall divided among a small population).

Furthermore, your country is made up of a very homogenous population. It is a lot easier for everyone to get along with each other when most of you are related, you share the same religion, you look the same, you speak the same language with the same dialect, and you think the same.

There are single cities in the USA that compare quite well to Norway in terms of total population, per capita GDP, crime rates, etc. There are also quite a few areas which aren't much better than 3rd world countries. That is just what happens in a country with a very large and diverse geography.
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remorseless1 wrote:
And no, I was not speaking to you, I was speaking to the editorial in the thread starter. Also, for future reference, when I refer to the Old World, I mean the Eastern Hemisphere: Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The original home of humanity, and all those fuckwit cultures we're ignoring in the good ole US of A.

Ok, sorry for misinterpreting you. It's just that your post came right after mine, and had no quote.
 
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oivind22 wrote:
remorseless1 wrote:
And no, I was not speaking to you, I was speaking to the editorial in the thread starter. Also, for future reference, when I refer to the Old World, I mean the Eastern Hemisphere: Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The original home of humanity, and all those fuckwit cultures we're ignoring in the good ole US of A.

Ok, sorry for misinterpreting you. It's just that your post came right after mine, and had no quote.

No problem. And really, I do think Norway is a very nice country full of nice people. I just like living in Crazyland America.
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