My political leanings and views

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My political leanings and views

#1  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 18, 2019 3:35 pm

I've been wanting to talk about this to this forum for some time so let's dive right in. I'm a left-libertarian according to political compasses, although identity as a centrist. I advocate for mixed economies, public health care, and welfare systems. I'm also anti-authoritarian, anti-corporation at lest when it comes to government, and I advocate for pragmatic politics; the approach to policymaking, that takes into account the rational, empirical, and utilitarian justifications for making it, with accordance to goals, morality, and ethics. This is in contrast with ideological politics; basing policies on ideological stances, rather than evidence or facts. I believe we would be better off using pragmatic politics.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#2  Postby felltoearth » Jul 18, 2019 3:57 pm

"Pragmatic politics" is pretty meaningless as it doesn't say anything about who will benefit from best use. Leftist policies can be seen as pragmatic if they serve all people. Corporatist policies can be pragmatic as well. I think you are assuming values in your post that would need to be discussed, e.g. what is a pragmatic argument for (or against)access to abortion in a public health care system?
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Re: My political leanings and views

#3  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 18, 2019 4:20 pm

Truth in all applications is what is rational, empirical and practically justified. We should base our polices on what is true, rather than what we believe to be true. It shouldn't matter who benefits. That's the point; to attempt to make policymaking beneficial to all including the policymakers. I want policymaking to be objective because that's what we need.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#4  Postby Hermit » Jul 18, 2019 11:41 pm

Mr. Skeptic wrote:Truth in all applications is what is rational, empirical and practically justified.

Right wing libertarians, revolutionary communists and everybody with a socio-political view in between has rational, empirical and practical justifications for their approach, and everybody insists that their own is the right one.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#5  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 19, 2019 12:21 am

But how do we know which one is true? For all we know, they could all be equally false with no practical application in reality and no different from religion. We have to make decisions some way or the other to affect public policy. We need to find some way to be objective about what we do and make. With what we have now, it's a mess; a clusterfuck of many ideas and ideologies that insist they are right and the others are wrong but are unable to show it, which means they don't really know. Polices should be based on facts and evidence, rather than pure make believe, wishful thinking, and assertions of dogma.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#6  Postby Hermit » Jul 19, 2019 12:45 am

Mr. Skeptic wrote:But how do we know which one is true?

Looking for OBJECTIVE TRUTH™? How touching. Image

Socio-political truth has never been about a battle of ideas. It comes out of the muzzle of a gun, or better still, a cannon. Lots and lots of cannons, actually. Those who have the most of them are the holders of truth. Until someone with more weapons turns up on the field anyway. Then truth changes hands.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#7  Postby Thommo » Jul 19, 2019 1:47 am

How I see pragmatism in terms of politics.

Basically, I see pragmatism as the complement of principle, that is to say how far you are willing to take an ideal in the real world. I think it's easiest to take a specific issue, let's say control of recreational drugs.

Principled argument A: Illegal drugs harm the people who consume them. Many get addicted and lose control of their drug taking habit and it can have a serious negative impact on their lives. It is the duty of government to protect people from these harms.

Principled argument B: Illegal drugs often give pleasure to the people who consume them. Most of these people do not lose control of their habit and enjoy their drug use. The government has no right to interfere with people's personal lives when they aren't affecting others, even if those people choose to harm themselves.

Evidential argument: The amount of harm caused by drugs varies from substance to substance, there are differences in the side effects, health consequences, social consequences and addiction rates. Research shows that (insert proper consensus of research opinion here). Therefore it may be the case that some substances should be controlled and others not, the ones that should be first in the line for being controlled are the ones that inflict the most harm for the least benefit.

Pragmatic argument: Regardless of the principles behind prohibition people take drugs anyway. By legalising them you may restrict the harm caused by stigma and the tax evasion caused by the drugs being moved on the black market, which could be used to fund education and rehab. You will free up police and court time for more serious offences and avoid unintended consequences of prohibition like drug money going to gangs involved in other crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution or weapons smuggling.

Pragmatism is really tested when it's in opposition to principle - that is to say a pragmatist is less guided by their core ideology and more willing to muddle through. A pragmatist on drug issues might also take into account arguments in the other direction (e.g. a country where legalisation of drugs was tried, but also caused inintended consequences).

Is this something like what you have in mind?
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Re: My political leanings and views

#8  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 19, 2019 1:52 am

That's what I mean; the truth of politics, whatever that means, has been a matter of force, tribalism, and authoritarianism in the course of human history. I'm not sure how we can break out of this cycle that will, inevitably, kill us or leave us with nothing to live with. Politics, at least from your understanding/perspective, is too haphazard to be useful in any sort of objective way. We need to have some sort rational, empirical, and practical justification for our policymaking, much in the same way that science is justified in its descriptions of reality. Politics can be simply defined as the science of policymaking. What's your definition?
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Re: My political leanings and views

#9  Postby Thommo » Jul 19, 2019 2:00 am

Politics is the art of the possible.

That is to say I disagree it's science. We have to make decisions, we have to have laws. We have nowhere near enough information to form a genuine consensus, a lot of problems that cannot be tested non-destructively and nowhere near enough time to test everything that could, in principle be tested.

I tend to the pragmatic (as I've defined it), and I prefer evidence based policy making where possible, but it's not really possible in real time, most of the time.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#10  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 19, 2019 2:07 am

Thommo wrote:How I see pragmatism in terms of politics.

Basically, I see pragmatism as the complement of principle, that is to say how far you are willing to take an ideal in the real world. I think it's easiest to take a specific issue, let's say control of recreational drugs.

Principled argument A: Illegal drugs harm the people who consume them. Many get addicted and lose control of their drug taking habit and it can have a serious negative impact on their lives. It is the duty of government to protect people from these harms.

Principled argument B: Illegal drugs often give pleasure to the people who consume them. Most of these people do not lose control of their habit and enjoy their drug use. The government has no right to interfere with people's personal lives when they aren't affecting others, even if those people choose to harm themselves.

Evidential argument: The amount of harm caused by drugs varies from substance to substance, there are differences in the side effects, health consequences, social consequences and addiction rates. Research shows that (insert proper consensus of research opinion here). Therefore it may be the case that some substances should be controlled and others not, the ones that should be first in the line for being controlled are the ones that inflict the most harm for the least benefit.

Pragmatic argument: Regardless of the principles behind prohibition people take drugs anyway. By legalising them you may restrict the harm caused by stigma and the tax evasion caused by the drugs being moved on the black market, which could be used to fund education and rehab. You will free up police and court time for more serious offences and avoid unintended consequences of prohibition like drug money going to gangs involved in other crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution or weapons smuggling.

Pragmatism is really tested when it's in opposition to principle - that is to say a pragmatist is less guided by their core ideology and more willing to muddle through. A pragmatist on drug issues might also take into account arguments in the other direction (e.g. a country where legalisation of drugs was tried, but also caused inintended consequences).

Is this something like what you have in mind?


As far as I know, yes. Politics is simply the science of policymaking. Making policies that attempt to benefit all the parties involved, even if that's not apparent. Contrast this with the ideological politics, which basis it on ideologies.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#11  Postby Mr. Skeptic » Jul 19, 2019 2:15 am

Thommo wrote:Politics is the art of the possible.

That is to say I disagree it's science. We have to make decisions, we have to have laws. We have nowhere near enough information to form a genuine consensus, a lot of problems that cannot be tested non-destructively and nowhere near enough time to test everything that could, in principle be tested.

I tend to the pragmatic (as I've defined it), and I prefer evidence based policy making where possible, but it's not really possible in real time, most of the time.


So would it be better to call it "the philosophy of governance and policymaking" rather than a "science"? We don't really need to have "real-time-sort-of-mad-science" type of policymaking. We can look at precedents set before us and look to improve future policymaking if we can.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#12  Postby Thommo » Jul 19, 2019 2:55 am

I'm not really sure what you're saying at this point.

Nobody, whether idealogue, pragmatist, dogmatist or evidentialist is going to say anything other than they want to improve future policy making, or that they think their ideas are for the greatest benefit of all the parties involved. So it's a pretty meaningless distinction on which to base a political philosophy. The point about science is it is/has a methodology. This is how it avoids the perennial cliche epitomised by beauty pageant contestants lining up to say they want to see world peace.

It seems pretty debatable to try to shoehorn politics into being subsumed either by science or philosophy. It is what it is. At a very crude level philosophy is study by reasoning, science is study by experiment and politics is decision making. They are three fundamentally different endeavours at their core.

Needless to say there are some bad actors within politics who are corrupt, venal or incompetent. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that everyone in public life struggles between their own interests and the interest of the office they hold, some more than others.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#13  Postby aufbahrung » Jul 19, 2019 7:38 am

I self identify as a corrupt kleptomaniac. Whilst my place on the political compass is sound - hitting the spot where Gandhi sits, now if I was involved in politics I'd be into every scam going with Warren Zevons Mr Bad Example as my mentor. Not involved in politics though. So I'm good, a good guy, a sheep in sheeps clothing.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#14  Postby laklak » Jul 19, 2019 1:33 pm

I'm more of a sheep in wolf's clothing.
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Re: My political leanings and views

#15  Postby Ironclad » Jul 19, 2019 7:45 pm

Mutton dressed as mutton. :smoke:
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Re: My political leanings and views

#16  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jul 19, 2019 9:07 pm

I am just a simple Northern European Social Democrat. OK?
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Re: My political leanings and views

#17  Postby calvin » Jul 29, 2019 10:28 am

Works for me.
Yeah dude, I'm a big ass
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