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> Fact, Truth and Meaning, It depends what 'is' is?
Julian
post Nov 15 2017, 05:45 PM
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America is facing an epistemic crisis

Ok, it's not the snappiest of titles, but the article itself is interesting.

It is not unbiased - it blames the GOP and the rightwing media for things the Dems and the left-of-centre media also do.

HOWEVER.

The central point is that American culture, as a whole, has diverged into two discrete strands who do not appear to have much in common with one another, lack understanding of one another, and do not even share an understanding of what constitutes an objective fact and where to find such things.

There's a whole host of reasons for this. Biased media; social media echo chambers; atomised society; income- and opinion-based segregation by geography, occupation, social activity, religious practice, etc. etc. etc. You name it, it's probably a factor in how we got where we are.

My questions for debate are not to explore how we got here. They are intended to explore how we get from here to somewhere more productive and cooperative, and they are simply:

How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?


This post has been edited by Julian: Nov 15 2017, 05:50 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Nov 15 2017, 10:16 PM
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How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

This is a very good topic, Jules.
I think this forum offers an interesting perspective (for the ents here at least...those of us who have been here since before social media became a "thing").
Mike and Jaime had a vision of creating an environment where people of different viewpoints could discuss issues in a reasonable manner.
Then came blogs, Facebook and other social media outlets. Then twitter.
Kind of interesting from a human psych perspective, watching this tribalization in action. Not sure how healthy it is for a functioning representative republic though (as you've alluded).

Words aren't only a reflection of the population's point of view, words actually shape the population's point of view.
Environment has an impact. That's the way we are wired. It's part of being a social animal.
People tend to absorb the habits/customs of those around them, even when they aren't aware of it.
The 24/7 news cycle hasn't helped things.

There really aren't only two sides, either. My husband's parents (and my mom) are so conservative they think we're hippies.
It's not rally the fact that the nation is divided that's strange, it's the fact it's divided so viciously on so many levels of what really comes down to minutia in some cases.


Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?
If I remember correctly, we had a thread a while back that Dingo started, on what it takes to maintain a civilized, functioning society.
Of course lawlessness cannot be permitted to run rampant, but a couple of posters made a very salient point that if the population does not adhere to a shared value system, no amount of force will be able to keep it "functioning" as a free society. I think this is true.

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?

Another good question. I've always said "politics are local" and people tend to be happy with leadership when their lives are going well.
But right now the economy is doing pretty good yet that doesn't seem to be the case.
Not sure where this will lead.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Nov 15 2017, 10:25 PM
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Trouble
post Nov 16 2017, 06:20 PM
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How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

The article struck me as talking over the other side. Maybe I misread it but putting words in others' mouths while entertaining as it is usually does not end well. Obviously bridging the difference of opinion would be to stop talking over the other side. The how part of that question is definitely harder to answer.

I think it can be argued the article builds upon the ailing Russian and soon to be Chinese meme of disinformation. If you think about it the article was a call for solidarity in that they want their readership to coral themselves off from alternative media. Combine this with the bot-monitored demonetization of You-tube which is more than a little related, and I'd say this is just another part of the counter attack by large media.

It was as you describe, we had a cluster of issues that were permissible to discuss but were largely ignored get replaced by a secondary bag of issues which triggered all manner of colourful denials. What changed was the apoplectic reaction. The 'how dare you' and 'no it is not' outbursts combined with the labeling assured none of the sides would actually talk with each other. What gives this imbroglio so much momentum was the observation of the unusual demographics which brought this argument to a head. The rust belt, the hinterlands, and the depopulated areas of the middle decided silence was no longer an option. They empowered a figure which is unabashedly divisive and has ideas which have not been openly contemplated in decades. The ideas have enough merit to be openly discussed rather than ridiculed.

I suspect the barrier to dialog is more emotional in nature then anything else. The question of priming and by whom will apply. There are the issues, the different parties pushing their select issues, and the psychological backlash which will ensue. The psychologist Jordan Peterson has described that societies which evoke disgust are in a decadent phase brought about by a warped form of civilization. To outsiders, this will appear as either hate or fear and attempts to externally fix the situation are doomed to failure. This is a growing pain where the society must itself sober up and reflect back on how to change future behaviour internally.

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

I have read many articles over the years warning of a cultural disintegration for Americans. The previous instances of cultural disintegration were mostly blamed on Communism. I think a salient question is how will we define this one? There is no homogeneous anything to speak of in either observation, interpretation, or approach of the problem. Therefore the risk of you-do-your-thing and I'll-do-mine is high.

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?

Simple! A military coup that tamps down regional concerns. We can both win and lose in the same sentence!

This post has been edited by Trouble: Nov 16 2017, 06:24 PM
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AuthorMusician
post Nov 17 2017, 01:08 AM
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How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

All I've seen in my life and via histories is that conflicting views always exist. If various factions come together, it's for common cause. For example, the Vietnam police action, especially the draft, kept a lot of social changers together, and soon after the Vietnam thing ended for this country, the gate was opened for a conservative backlash. Now that's ending, and it might be President Trump who becomes a focus -- but I figure it's going to be the economy as it works for most people. Or doesn't work. Global climate change is having its effects, as is Internet media, and then there's this movement toward, what? Fascism? Dictatorship? Incompetence by design? Willful destruction in the hope of pie in the sky?

I don't know. But everything seems to be changing quickly on an arc that can't be reversed, maybe slowed?

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

Sure. That is how politics have always worked and probably always will. It does strike me as oversimplification to consider only two sides, though. Usually there are a bunch of sides to win over for any particular endeavor. Same is true for going against something.

As for society, I see no advantage to everyone being in the same one. Equality under the law, yes times a gazillion. Maybe someday that ideal will be reached somewhere.

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?

It can look bloody as hell or saccharin sweet, or any combination of the two. The thing about winning or losing is that it'll change. These are temporal states of being, and most of the time it's both at once. You win this, lose that, and onward we go.

I've been reviewing my 65+ years on Earth and can see now how winning was actually losing and vice-versa. Not all the time, but things happened that turned out very well, even when they seemed really bad at the time. And then there are the wins that turned out not so good.

Maybe the trick is to not be so obsessed with the concept of winning and losing. Could be that the whole point of existence is to keep flexible, go with the flow, find the small things that mean a lot . . . or it's just the yammering of an old man who doesn't care about a lot of things that once seemed important and is finding Nirvana in a plate of beans and rice. With green chili sauce/stew. Couple of warm tortillas, and I'm good.

Others want tax breaks, better wages, more liberty, less war and so on. Have at it, maybe they'll win, eh? Just keep in mind that it always costs something, while losing might be the best thing under certain conditions. And it might take a long, long time to figure out.
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net2007
post Nov 21 2017, 01:01 AM
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QUOTE(Julian @ Nov 15 2017, 12:45 PM) *
America is facing an epistemic crisis

Ok, it's not the snappiest of titles, but the article itself is interesting.

It is not unbiased - it blames the GOP and the rightwing media for things the Dems and the left-of-centre media also do.

HOWEVER.

The central point is that American culture, as a whole, has diverged into two discrete strands who do not appear to have much in common with one another, lack understanding of one another, and do not even share an understanding of what constitutes an objective fact and where to find such things.

There's a whole host of reasons for this. Biased media; social media echo chambers; atomised society; income- and opinion-based segregation by geography, occupation, social activity, religious practice, etc. etc. etc. You name it, it's probably a factor in how we got where we are.

My questions for debate are not to explore how we got here. They are intended to explore how we get from here to somewhere more productive and cooperative, and they are simply:

How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?


Hey Julian, by coincidence I've been working for a few days on a fairly similar topic to the one you posted here. It's the "Psychological Projection in Politics" thread which I posted last night. I hadn't clicked on this thread to give a reply so I have a detailed take on this, in the other thread, already. It get's into various subtopics and explains a bit about how I believe we got into this situation, so it comes from another angle than yours. I try to be fair but my take in the other thread could be viewed as a little more partisan than yours so credit to you! I'll touch on this again a little more here because I believe this is one of the most important topics in American politics.

QUOTE
"How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?"


My thinking on this is that it doesn't start with the particular problem at hand. Regardless of whether or not the issue is border security or something like a woman's rights issue, I think this starts with things that are very simple and close to home. Much of this comes down to looking at ourselves first and foremost.

I believe that many people go into a situation with preconceived notions and that some will stick to those notions regardless of the situation at hand. As cliche as it sounds, going into a situation with an open mind, can help. Most of us will have some degree of skepticism or apprehensiveness when diving into a topic with someone who believes something different but a lot can be said for simply listening to another person.

Some aren't even doing that much, It's obvious to me that some of the blowhards on both sides either completely disregard what others say or have trouble comprehending it to begin with because they're only hearing the things which they feel they should be upset about. In that moment of hearing the thing they don't like, some people start contemplating how to retaliate before the other person is even finished giving their position. It's why people interrupt others so much, especially in political debates. They don't say "don't talk politics during the holidays" for nothing, ya know?

For those who don't listen or care what another person has to say, that often progresses into something worse, (the fact that some people are intentionally disrespectful to others.) Some are simply emotional over a certain topic and lash out because of it. That's bad but it's more understandable than those who smear another person for political gain. That's a big problem and dives into how corrupted some, particularly in our government and media, have become. In order to fix that, much of it comes down to a personal decision to change. For those who have been that bad off for a long time, changing may take a while but I believe anybody could do it. I think outside influences can help as well, from those who can manage to be patient during heated discussions, but not a pushover if they're being targeted, things can get very politically correct as well. I think a person can be assertive and respectful. We'll all slip now and then, for example, I still do sometimes. My pet peeve is with those who I know are hurting others or are otherwise being unfair to others, now and then I have to check myself to make sure I'm not letting that put me in a situation where I'm behaving similarly. Though we all slip, I believe that even today, most people can still refocus when that happens. Things are divisive right now but there's hope for the future....

QUOTE
"Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?"


I think so, I'm still optimistic because I keep in mind how many times in history we've gotten through difficult situations. Coming together without either side winning or losing may very well look like what it did with the Kennedy administration. Those were divisive times but Kennedy spoke in a way that encouraged a lot of people, he had an excellent approval rating and got support from Democrats and Republicans because of his tone combined with the fact that he introduced a challenge that most Americans could get excited over. The Apollo program grabbed the attention of the whole world, going to the Moon put out there the idea that we can do anything if we set our minds to it. We need that kind of thing, something that the left and right could cooperate on that's not so politically divisive. If we're demonstrating we can come together on something like that perhaps some bonds would be formed and all of our other problems wouldn't seem so impossible.

It doesn't necessarily need to be something like going to the Moon or Mars. I'd love that personally but any challenge that's both exciting and requires cooperation may end up being what we're doing the next time things aren't so heated. Was it a coincidence that the divisive tone in America died down the next two decades after landing on the Moon? There were other factors so maybe it was, but it didn't hurt, I'll tell you that much.

This post has been edited by net2007: Nov 21 2017, 01:40 AM
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droop224
post Dec 3 2017, 05:02 AM
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QUOTE(Julian @ Nov 15 2017, 12:45 PM) *
America is facing an epistemic crisis

Ok, it's not the snappiest of titles, but the article itself is interesting.

It is not unbiased - it blames the GOP and the rightwing media for things the Dems and the left-of-centre media also do.

HOWEVER.

The central point is that American culture, as a whole, has diverged into two discrete strands who do not appear to have much in common with one another, lack understanding of one another, and do not even share an understanding of what constitutes an objective fact and where to find such things.

There's a whole host of reasons for this. Biased media; social media echo chambers; atomised society; income- and opinion-based segregation by geography, occupation, social activity, religious practice, etc. etc. etc. You name it, it's probably a factor in how we got where we are.

My questions for debate are not to explore how we got here. They are intended to explore how we get from here to somewhere more productive and cooperative, and they are simply:

How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?


Don't sell yourself short on the title Julian I find it way more appealing then even the debate questions themselves, so i'll spend some time on the title. Philosophically, it's a brilliant topic.

QUOTE
It is not unbiased - it blames the GOP and the rightwing media for things the Dems and the left-of-centre media also do.


I want to make a rhetorical analogy.

We're sitting down at the bar and we see these two big boys come in with their girls. One guy is in blue, the other is in red. It turns out they aren't even there together. The guy in the blue goes over to the bar starts drinking, talking, laughing with the people at the bar. The guy in red he goes back there by the pool tables and starts doing the same. Except the guy in red is really brash. I mean he is walking around shoulder bumping other patrons. Asking them "what you looking at, this my bar." As he drinks, he becomes even worst. He starts yelling at other people, telling them "you don't like it... go home" he asked this one immigrant, "what are you doing in my bar, this bar isn't for you." I mean this guy in the red is yelling at other people, denigrating other people, bullying other people, etc all the while smiling and having a good time drinking. He starts his way over to the bar, where the other big boy in blue is. The woman starts looking funny at the brash guy in red. The guy in red picks up on it and asks her "What the heck you looking at, something wrong with your eyes" She says, "you, acting like an A-butthole". He retorts "you don't like it you can go home". Well this sets it off for the big boy in blue. He gest in the guy in the reds face and yells back to the guy in red, "no man, you go home". Now big boy in red has resistance and does not like it. He punches big boy in the blue right in the face. And big boy in the blue can take a punch, and he punches right back. Red takes a punch too and now we have a brawl and they're trading punches.

Now how do we describe what transpired without bias? Do we let each person describe their truth as they saw it? Big boy in the red "Well I was just doing my normal thing having fun with people and having a good time, joking with people, when I go to the bar I got this woman just giving me the evil eye, then I simply ask her what you looking at... and... and... then her man get all up in my face screaming at me to 'go home'. He's all aggressive so I punch him in self defense to get him out my face but then he starts swinging on me like a crazy person so I fight back.

Is that how we get unbiased events? Make sure everyone gets to see it from their own POV? Or maybe we point out how each group does the same thing. The guy in red told people to go home, so we should mention that the big boy in blue did the same. And the Big boy in red acted violently, well so did the big boy in blue! See, same-same!!

Is this how you become "unbiased"? Something to think about.

Anyways... that awesome title lets get to it!!

"Fact, truth, and meaning"

Important question. Is truth based on facts? Seems to be a bit of an absurd question, but I think its important. Is there "A" singular truth or do we each have our own "truth".

I'm not here to break the rules of ad.gif , but I'm going to bend them. God. Does God exist... or Allah.. or whatever else? Its rhetorical, not something I want to debate. I'm surrounded by believers. My kids, my spouse, my parents, my siblings, most of my closest friends. Everyone believes in God! When I was younger, I would argue and argue. And it was so easy to discredit or reverse they're beliefs. There were and are all kind of FACTS to discredit the existence of God, especially the biblical God.

But since I've been through this I want to bring that experience and understanding to this debate. A Fact is something that is indisputably the case. We ALL have truths that are not based in fact. But that's not all that creates our truths. The most dangerous truths are those truths that based on faith. A faith based truth can't be argued. Faith based truths don't just come out of religion though. They come from our upbringing. They may come from our training. They come from social norms... these "truths" come from everywhere and none of them are based on fact.

Julian this might be a fun exercise for someone across the pond. Here in America (and I'm sure you are aware) we believe we fought this great big war against Great Britain for freedom. We are a country who wanted nothing more than freedom. We wanted to be a free people safe from British tyranny and rule. Now, the British you wanted to keep us in chains. Sure you promised the actual slaves and indentured servants freedom if they helped the British, but you really just wanted to tax us to death. Now amazingly, our freedom loving forefathers were full of slave owners. Some of our most prominent forefathers Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and oh yes, Washington and so many signees to the Declaration of Independence that don't matter, were slave owners.

Yet, 200 plus years later, ask the vast majority of Americans their truth about the founder, even some Blacks. Did the founding fathers fight Britain for freedom. The answer will be "Yes!" Think about the level of cognitive dissonance that one must process to believe "slave owners are fighting for freedom" Nevertheless, it is a truth for a lot of Americans.

Facts aren't truths and truths may or may not be based in fact. A truth isn't an opinion, but just like opinions everyone has their own truth slightly different than the next.

But here is the question I think puts this debate in perspective:

Are truths based in facts better than truths based in belief systems? Well what do I mean by "better". How about a truth that is more accurate? How about a truth based on greater precision? Here is what I'm afraid some people think in order. 3) All truths are equal. 2) the more passionate a truth is spoken the better the truth. 1) the more of us that believe this truth the better the truth is. Well God told me it was to be done is the scariest of truths, but lets leave that one alone.

Lets talk about this in a way we most can agree by discussing a friend of mine. Real story and a military friend of mine, he thinks the world is flat. 2018 right around the corner and my homeboy thinks the world is flat. he's not dumb quite the opposite. The earth is flat is his new truth. And its laughable and it is not at the same time. Now his arguments are... he been on planes there is no curvature. He looks to the UN flag and see them throwing the way the earth really looks in our face. He is often on top of high sky scraper building because of his employment and as he tells me "just use your eyes" the world is flat.

What about the moon phases I ask him, he ignores and reasserts the earth is flat. what about gravity I challenge, he quips or ignores and reasserts the earth is flat. Look at the fact that NASA uses a lot of CGI. Well I did look into it and its true. What does the fact that NASA uses CGI or art to show earth and other planets have to do with earth being flat? What does the Earth looking flat have to really do with the Earth being flat?

I don't know. But we connect dots to make pictures we want if the dots don't have numbers. You tell someone that most educated people vote left.

Fact, Truth and meaning, indeed.

In my mind I'd say more but enough... lets start tying things in.

How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all?

I want to answer all your questions the same. How will any group make it. The left and right are not unique to any society. we struggle with each other within our societies. Britain seemed as shocked by Brexit as many Americans did by Trump. I think they both occurred in similar fashion.

It is for each of us to decide whether our truth is based in fact or some other belief system. if your government telling you this person in this country is a bad guy, is enough for you to believe that person deserves to die that is a personal choice. If your religious truth is that you should kill non believers that is a choice.

Its unfair to think that I am stating that the left ONLY gets their truth from facts or that the RIGHT only gets their truth from faith. But I'm not wrong or observing that the balance of faith based truth weigh much more heavily on the right. Not just in my country... in ALL countries. The psychological profile of people on the left and right does not just exist in the U.S.

Think back to my first analogy (wasn't hard to predict where that was going). You can PRETEND to be unbiased by stating all sides do "this thing" whatever "this thing" is. But by ignoring the degree and the severity to which "this thing" is being done by each side, just so you can point out both sides are doing "this thing" does not get you to a more accurate truth. And, might I add, it really doesn't make you unbiased.

The Right doesn't trust the media whose job it is to inform them, they're too liberal.

The Right doesn't trust the college and universities to educate, they're too liberal.

They don't trust the scientists, they don't trust bureaucrats giving them numbers they don't like.

In their mind 80-90 percent of news organizations can't be trusted, but they accept what the fringe news organizations Breibart.

Bottom line the Right needs to sober up and step back from the edge. Power does things to people.

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

yes. Well what was still is. Just like the founding fathers were are a mix of people, some talking freedom but really just want freedom to dominate others and some who actually believed in the principles of freedom, the current America has the same mixture. They held together and so will we. We got through slavery, segregation, Vietnam, the 70's in general. I believe that the Right will orient their moral compass eventually. Takes conservatives a while to see through the fog of power.

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?

I don't know. Here is all I can say. The right in our nation just like every other nation is that Big ol boy in the Red at the bar. The alcohol being consumed is power. And when you are talking about USA you are talking a lot of alcohol. The Right wing likes to dominate other humans. They like to do it domestically and internationally. This is how they feel safe. And all acts of domination are justified by some sort of necessity. Look at Cuba. The Right can justify ANY abuse. The Left is here to be a reminder that those things they do, are abuses. The collective conscious.

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post Dec 6 2017, 05:20 PM
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[b]How can the two wings of American politics - left and right - ever form a consensus over how to cooperate to resolve a problem, when they not only don't agree on what the problems are, they also disagree on what could constitute the evidence required to assess whether or not a problem exists at all? [/b]

There is an overwhelming consensus. Those who vote for the Republicans and Democrats are in unison voting for authoritarian centralized control government. There is unison that government may counterfeit money at will. There is unison that the office of the President can act at will without direction of legislation. There is consensus that the federal government will direct everyone's access and decisions of healthcare. There is consensus that the United States should throw its weight around when in comes to sovereign states, especially if they are much smaller. There is consensus that all problems are a reason for government to become bigger.

What is this disagreement? How much money to print up? How many countries we invade at the same? How many bombs we drop upon civilians? How to control travel of peaceful people? How to control who can be hired? It is all a quibble about degrees, not substance.

Lately, there is consensus that tax code should not be reformed. There is only only fussing about how tax code will be perceived by the public.

Can America hold together, as a nation and as a society, without one side 'winning' and the other 'losing'?

Americas will not hold together as a nation nor as a society. It is on the path of empire. Empires always collapse. Culture will have to change. American culture as it exists is not sustainable. As long as voters support the concept of groups dominating (winning and losing) via government it will end badly.

What will 'winning' or 'losing' look like?

Look outside. See the world. Look in the mirror. See the source. As long as the culture remains to use government as a tool of violence to force values and control down people's throat the path is what it is.

People ultimately do not want to be controlled at the pleasure and benefit of others. Even more, do they not like having their production taken and given to others.

We know from history that people will fight to be able to take from others and people will, eventually, defend themselves from aggression.
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