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Rippounet

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  1. Rippounet

    US Politics: Sit Up Straight and Show Some Respect

    Your analysis starts failing when you ascribe motives that come from conservative fears and worldview. Most progressives wouldn't care enough about the ethnic composition of a nation to have any plan about it. They would base any policy on ideals of socio-economic fairness. This explains how you reach fanciful conclusions.
  2. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Technically it hurts yourself, and to some extent, your children (who can't vote, but whose interests you're supposed to defend). Libertarians believe people should be free to hurt themselves, as long as they suffer the consequences for it (i.e. drive without seatbelts on, take hard drugs... etc). Human societies however deny their members such liberties, among other things in the name of human dignity and the respect for human life generally speaking. Western countries at least tend to follow the Kantian imperative: Act so that you use humanity, as much in your own person as in the person of every other, always at the same time as end and never merely as means. This is precisely why compulsory voting is not a left-right issue. Democracy is democracy: you either believe in it or you don't, regardless of the outcome. But if you do, you either have to trust in people's intelligence, or believe that with compulsory voting comes compulsory education (especially civic education). Imho a functioning democracy requires free education and compulsory voting. And by "free education" I mean classes in politics, economics and philosophy. The best way to enslave people is to deprive them of knowledge, to say that education is a privilege... Or to let people choose whether they want an education or not. Which is precisely why libertarianism is such a fraudulent ideology: by pretending to offer people more "individual liberties" it denies them actual freedom. Of course, the people who wield the most power in our society (like the Koch brothers) love that. Anyway, yes, democracy will always entail risks. Even an educated citizenry can make terrible decisions. But again, that's just the way it is: being a democrat requires trust in humans. Or at least, trusting the people more than the 1% currently holding power.
  3. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    I'll go one step further: it's never been deliberately practiced, and hopefully never will be. It's only vague attempts to go in that direction that have been disastrous ; the real thing would be considerably worse. The real thing is when nations fail and civilizations crumble. Bloody ugly is what it is. If compulsion doesn't come from government it'll come from somewhere else. And none of the alternatives to democratic government are particularly nice to consider. It's especially mind-boggling when you think of environmental problems and the like that our species is confronted with today. Let's say everyone in the world can consume whatever they want and pollute as much as they want because that's FREEDOM motherfucker. And half of humanity at least will be wiped out in less than a century while the rest will be wishing they hadn't survived. That's the true nature of freedom as libertarians describe it: complete irresponsibility. Utter selfishness and stupidity. Freedom is supposed to be opposed to the arbitrary, not compulsion itself. It's about developing personal responsibility and reason to understand the rules by which you have to live, not rejecting those rules. It is about choosing your chains. That's why compulsory voting alone can never deprive people of freedom: by forcing people to be informed citizens and participants in the political process, you give them the power to help decide the rules they will have to live by. By having people vote you potentially make them free. Blistering barnacles and seven hells, that's philosophy 101.
  4. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Neither is the right as a matter of fact. It's just that left and right base their morality on slightly different sources and arguments and thus will value slightly different rights and duties. But both left and right tend to agree that individuals mechanically sacrifice some of their individual freedom by living in societies. Call it a social contract. Call it a republic. Call it the rule of law. Call it whatever you want, but it's what has allowed humanity to survive thus far. Yeah, I'm in a foul mood tonight. But people who keep preaching about their rights deeply annoy me. FFS even my 20-month old son understands he can't do everything he wants, and that's the way it is, because he can't catch the pigeons he's running after to feed himself or change his own diapers. How come grown men don't even have that level of responsibility?
  5. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Cut the crap. Humans live in societies, not as individuals. Each and every one of us has to do things we don't really want to on a daily basis. Societies collectively decide what they see as "rights" and what they see as "duties" for what is perceived as the greater good at a given moment. Your libertarian bullcrap is basically just saying you want rights without duties. Now when we're talking about democracy, the problem is whether democracy is a right or a duty. Well the thing is, it's a bit of both. In the U.S. it seems to be essentially defined as a right. In France, it's defined as a non-compulsory duty. In Belgium it's a duty, and you can be fined if you don't vote. Again, cut the crap. This has little to do with the "left-right" divide. Depending on who you ask, compulsory voting could be a right-wing or a left-wing position. In actuality, both conservatives and liberals could agree that democracy is a duty, albeit for different reasons. Only libertarians have this fantasy that society is all about protecting "natural rights" and that people should be left alone when they want to. Well, if you want to be left alone, I'd say you should go live in the woods... Or build a rocket and colonize Mars. And have fun with a society in which everyone wants to have rights and non-compulsory duties. That should work for like three weeks tops.
  6. Rippounet

    Welcome to Jurassic Park!

    There's no way this will go wrong.
  7. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Especially if you have some historical perspective and know that socio-economic inequalities will tend to perpetuate themselves. It's what exchanges with Altherion taught me. You can see affirmative action as "reverse racism" IF you completely dismiss historical determinism, i.e. the fact that current inequalities have been inherited from the past. I'll even be crazy and go one step further. The main reason neo-liberal economic politices are bullshit is that they allow families to hoard immense wealth over the course of generations. In theory there'd be no problem with some people being rich and others being poor IF such inequalities came from work income alone rather than inheritance. A different way to put it is that it's perfectly acceptable for someone to be wealthier if they worked harder. If it's because of what their parents, grandparents, or ancestors did... Then what's the justification exactly? We constantly hear politicians say that we shouldn't resent successful people (Obama said just that once). But I don't resent successful people. I resent the children of successful people who will get better education, healthcare and a better life generally speaking, simply because they were born at the right time at the right place. Funnnily enough, I'd say the reverse. It's conservatives who tend to think that one person's success doesn't prevent other people from succeeding. Except it totally does. There's only so much wealth and resources in the world, and actual growth is rather limited. When someone like Bezos becomes the richest man in the world he isn't just reaping the fruits of his labor, he's also taking money from other people. The 1% havent become immensely wealthy and powerful though success alone, because that success has meant taking wealth and power from other people.
  8. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    So it's not 100% necessary to use what little democracy we have to vote for the people who take important decisions for our and our children's future? Sure. By that reasoning, democracy is not 100% necessary either. Might as well go back to having unelected monarchs.
  9. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Uh... Not really. It's just... you're the one who chose a random point of mine on North Korea to claim out of the blue that my understanding of the end of the Cold War was simplistic. From my point of view that wasn't an attempt at discussion on your part at all, that was an attempt to be pedantic, insulting, or a bit of both. I was wrong to reply in kind and I regret it (my usual impulsive self I'm afraid) but... If you're here to discuss, don't be so quick to claim other people's opinion "cliff notes version" maybe? Because the sad thing is, we actually agree 100% here...
  10. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    The problem with this "philosophy" is that you are still part of the same society as others. You vote, you pay taxes. Understanding the basics of your political system isn't really supposed to be an option, but the duty of any educated citizen ; that's the only way a democracy (be it representative) can function. The U.S. is probably the only country in the world where not only many people refuse the moral duties of citizenship but are even *proud* of it. And it probably is the primary reason why the entire institutional system is failing.
  11. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Sure it is, if we're explaining the end of the Cold War to high school students. Which we fucking are not, since I was originally just pointing out that we don't know if Kim will turn out as well as Gorbachev did. It was a pretty simple point, and quite uncontroversial I'd say, but for some reason it flew right over your head and you thought it was a nice opportunity to underline... the economic failure of the Soviet Union. Which turns out to be i) irrelevant to my original point and ii) an even more simplistic explanation for the peaceful end of the Cold War than the Garthoff school's.
  12. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Who said anything about guilt though? Once you acknowledge how racism has been, and still is, deeply ingrained in the dominant Western ideologies you can act on that information and no longer have any reason to feel guilty about it. You seem to be using this concept of "collective guilt" to dismiss any deeper analysis on racial issues.
  13. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    No offense, but yours is the "cliff notes version" here. The terrible state of the Soviet economy did not foreordain as much as you seem to think. To be clear, I'm not part of the "Gorbachev ended the Cold War" school (led by Garthoff), but no serious scholar of the period would deny hat the West was incredibly lucky with Gorbachev. The economic factor alone may explain Gorbachev's rise to power and most of his attempts at reforms, but they definitely aren't enough to explain the peaceful outcome. Fun fact... Henry Rowen once told me that in his opinion Soviet economic weakness should have been seen as a destabilizing factor. Which is really funny considering his role in the story (he met Reagan with Charles Wolf and Andrew Marshall in April 86).
  14. Rippounet

    U.S. Politics: Would You Like A Warranty With Your Magic Beans?

    Ok, to be fair, it's almost impossible such a brilliant idea comes from Trump himself. I probably think of Reagan too much, but this seems right out of his playbook. Back when his administration was caught in the Iran-Contra mess he was able to use negotiations with Gorbachev to cast himself in an entirely different light. Without the INF deal, Reagan would probably have gone down in history as a different figure. And now Trump is doing the same thing, but with propaganda that's far more intense. By surrounding himself with neocons like Bolton and Pompeo he's almost immune to criticism from his right (unlike Reagan, who had to contend with a lot of skepticism at the time). The Dems will find it almost impossible to mount an effective attack on "peacemaking" despite the obvious long-term risks for the region. They've never been great at it, not since Kennedy at least (who played dirty at the time, but that's another story). Ever since Trump got elected I expected him to start a war and use the rally-round-the-flag to win reelection. But negotiations with NK... That's genius. The risks are minimal. Best case scenario he manages to push through a seemingly honest deal. Worst case scenario he can blame any failure on Kim. Either way it makes him look good. And the timing is excellent too: a deal doesn't need to be reached anytime soon, as long as there *appears* to be some kind of progress in the next six months. It covers the midterms at least, and if an actual deal comes through around 2019-2020 the Republicans will be screaming for a Nobel Prize right up to the 2020 election. If I had to guess I'd say this strategy was imagined by someone who remembered the Reagan-Gorbachev summits and its PR benefits. I even wonder if Bolton wasn't brought on board specifically to neutralize right-wing criticism. The chronology makes it possible.
  15. Rippounet

    European Union Copy Rights Article 13

    It's the beginning of the end of the internet as we knew it. The internet could have been a place of immense freedom. For a long time I was naive enough to think that authorities would never manage to rein it in. I was even looking forward to the development of new forms of businesses and economic transactions. Boy, was I wrong about that one. Almost every single day I see small things that tell me that the internet is slowly coming under control. The search engines and the ISP decide what you can access while the GAFA are slowly merging the web with a host of devices that limit its use rather than expanding it. Worse than a product, the internet has become a mere tool, and the technology will be used by economic and political interests as they see fit. Right now it's still possible to use the internet however you want (with alternative search engines and software, not to mention various websites and crypto-currencies) but I believe this will soon disappear. In a few years our devices will decide exactly what we can do online while keeping a close eye on our every action. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
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