Chapter 9.4 The Polarists

The Polarists (Intolerance)

(Written about 2006, recognizing Negativity)

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
Confucius (551 BC-479 BC),   Chinese Philosopher

The truly dangerous people in life are those that think they know everything that there is to know about a particular subject or strategy …  the people who are so in-grained in their thoughts and beliefs that they cannot accept the existence of reasonable alternatives.  If you “don’t know what you don’t know” how can you know what’s right?

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), Ancient Greek Philosopher

It is kind of a burden when one is able to see the merits of both sides of an issue … decisions aren’t slam-dunks.  It’s a much easier road to be one-sided and not even consider the other side’s merits.  If one really understood the other side, he may be able to conjure up a bit of tolerance … and listen carefully, compromise.

“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes that he has got the biggest piece”
Paul Gaugin (1848-1903),      Post Impressionist Painter

Being opinionated often has its roots in a person’s culture.  The more that we hang onto our traditions, the less we are open to others’ beliefs.  But in the end, it’s all about winning isn’t it … to have your beliefs be on the winning side.

“Winning is not everything. It’s the only thing.”
Vince Lombardi (1913-1970),       Professional Football Coach

Our political system has reached a point where too many people think that being a Democrat or Republican is more important than being an American.  Oh, they won’t tell you that … their party is simply better for the country.  My party must rule … Rule.  But when the Party becomes the goal, national well being is truly secondary.

“Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate.
Mark B. Cohen, U.S. Congressman

Many people, I think, actually vote for whomever they think is going to win … a small chance to be on the winning side, a part of success.  It is kind of ironic … being a loyal Republican or Democrat can really be un-American.  It’s really not valuing a compromising society based on freedom for all.

When will we disdain the Polarists?  When will we refuse to follow those that invoke our fears?  When will we “Just Say No!” to those that promote our differences, and vote for those that focus on our common ground?

“Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break.”
Jane Wells, News Reporter

My sense is that there are quite a few people out there whose views are moderate.   We have little representation.  To make it in politics one needs money.  To gain the money to campaign, one needs a major support organization.  A candidate must buddy up with the powerbrokers or not get elected.  Then, once in office, the elected official has to please, appease, and ‘pay back’ all of the people that got him or her elected.

“Men think they think upon the great political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not independently; they read its literature, but not that of the other side.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910),      American Humorist/Writer

As the Parties become further polarized, the representatives have to move farther from the middle.  When did the support organizations, the political parties, become the purpose?  Naively, I have always thought that the people should be the top priority … all of the people (?!?!)

“Judge a man not by what he says, but by what he does.”
???

I always thought that this quote was made by Jean-Paul Sartre or Renee Descartes, or some other philosopher type, but I can’t find the original (?) author.  At any rate, have you really thought much about this?  How many politicians have really done (or even tried to do) what they promised?  We now know that certain candidates that campaigned on improving family values actually meant that their goal was to improve the value of their families.  How much of campaigning is just rhetoric and talk, just to get elected …

“Suppose you were an idiot …  And suppose you were a member of Congress … But I repeat myself.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910),       American Humorist/Writer

Our leaders are not the idiots.  How dumb are we the voters that we don’t make our representatives stand by their promises?  You can’t just say something because it sounds good … you have to believe it and pursue it and make it happen.  Political deception is just another form of stealing from humanity … deception should be one of the deadly sins.

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)           16th U.S. President

“You can fool too many of the people too much of the time”
James Thurber (1894-1961)       American Humorist

The splits are getting wider, not just between the political parties.  One’s agenda only gets heard if one has money and power … the rampant infection called Affluenza.

“Affluenza: a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.”
Affluenza, 1997 documentary       John de Graaf     Producer, writer

The “haves” continue to want more … more mansions, more expensive toys, more crazy extravaganzas. And in pursuit of these “necessities”, we push for a larger standard of living gap.

“The world’s present population is living at a non-sustainable level.  On the average, each citizen of the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan consumes 32 times more resources such as fossil fuels, and puts out 32 times more wastes, than do the inhabitants of the Third World. China’s achievement of First World standards will approximately double the entire world’s human resource use and environmental impact”
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed       Jared Diamond

The bottom line is that the Earth just does not have enough natural resources for China, much less the other Second and Third World nations, to be on an equal status with the Western world. To raise the standard of living in these countries, the Western world (and Japan) will have to use fewer natural resources for our own personal needs. How’s this going to happen?

“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American Writer

***

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2 Responses to “Chapter 9.4 The Polarists”

  1. J Says:

    Excellent. I see why it is not in your positive + but it is a nice account of the politcs of today.

  2. Pismo Painter Says:

    I passed tests in Political Science 101 remembering two words, “to win”. Unless the politician gets in office, there is little change or impact he/she can make, or, at least, that’s the argument for promising everything even if delivering it is presumptuous.

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