There is no need to bring in modern politics to illustrate this. Any glance through the Federalist Papers will quickly show to any informed reader that one can take very difficult and highly contentious topics (how to form a country, how to divide its power among different groups, how to limit its power decisively in furtherance of broader principles such as natural law) and make well-reasoned and even brilliant arguments about them in ways that compel people to action. The people who made those arguments were steeped in a lifetime of ideas and imbued with a strong philosophy about the principles of right government, and it showed in what they wrote - even when those writings essentially took the form of propaganda pieces (which is really what the Federalist Papers were).
You won't get this from a website such as the one featured in this piece. You won't get it from Democratic Underground either. Leaders are leaders and hacks are hacks. The world offers the latter in abundance but good leaders are a precious few. This is not to say that normal, day-to-day people can't have good ideas or be intelligent in a political sense. It is to say that the intelligent articulation of such views won't come out in a mass setting and that is why political parties are ultimately driven by insiders (who are, one would hope, effective leaders) and not by soliciting random views from the street.
 Yes, I'm well aware some people claim that Wikipedia has failed. But arguing with people who use "failure" to describe a site with Wikipedia's impact isn't worth the time.
Coming up with a great political idea is probably pretty easy. The difficulty comes in convincing lots of people to make the sacrifices and compromises necessary to implement the great idea. That's why they call it politics, no?
Great leaders? Resonating with the masses? That sounds more like a primer on how completely awful (in the gas chamber/gulag/killing fields sense) political ideas come about.
Most of the tolerable governments of the world have come about from a process of centuries of gradual refinement and consensus-building. Great leaders tend to screw things up more often than not. Great Britain made its way from monarchy to liberal democracy on its own and without the help (and occasionally with the hindrance -- I'm looking at you Mr Cromwell) of any "great leaders". The US constitution was just a somewhat refined offshoot of the British system.
They also have direct democracy, where any citizen can trigger a referendum if they gather enough signatures in a certain amount of time.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster, yet Switzerland has one of the most stable governments and most prosperous economies in the world. It works because they are stubbornly conservative (little-C conservative, in the sense "if it ain't broke, don't fix it") and slow to change. In general, it works for them, even if it has some anachronisms. Women only got suffrage in 1971, for example, and there's no guarantee of religious freedom (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minaret_controversy_in_Switzerl...)
tl;dr - there's more than one way to run a country, and it's better to err on the side of not changing what works. But if you take this approach, you have to be mindful that just because you suppressed certain peoples' rights in the past doesn't mean you should in the future.
I think it's important to point out that there is, in fact, very few similarities between the U.K. government, especially at the time, and the U.S. government.
The U.K. uses a parliamentary system of government without a written constitution. There is a single, essentially all-powerful, legislative body with no separate executive. They can literal change the structure of government by passing a law due to the lack of a constitution. The government is structured as it is due to tradition.
The only real similarity is that they also use the "Winner Takes All" voting system, in which the person that receives the most votes wins, as opposed to a proportional system used in other countries.
Other than that similarity, they're basically entirely different.
1. A bicameral legislature (commons + lords vs house + senate)
2. The idea that representatives should represent individual districts
3. Most importantly, the whole "common law" thing
Choosing the country's goals certainly should be democratic, but in an imperfect political system, it still takes tenacious leaders to navigate the rough political landscape to realize those goals.
No, it's how all large-scale political ideas come about. It's just that 90% of them are crap, just like everything else.
Is it possible that there is no way to predict the quality of these sorts of systems (assuming non-triviality) without actually carrying out an experiment?
This idea should be extended to programming languages and computer systems. The success of Unix, C, Perl, PHP, iPhone OS and many other examples of technology is highly dependent on their interaction with pre-existing user communities and technological infrastructure.
are rarely the point.
Take manufacturing. The assembly line is a "great" idea that is useless without many tiny good ideas.
"Unexpectedly, the civic decisions--often involving road, sanitation, and water projects--were nearly identical whether made by majority vote or village elites. Giving power to the people, it seems, does not automatically lead to tangible material changes. Yet when people were allowed to vote, they expressed greater contentment with the results."
Edit: I'd also like to add that this article is terrible. The seem to be taking glee in the fact that trolls deliberately poisoned the site, rather than thinking about how this could have been useful. I put the blame as much (if not moreso) on the people trolling the site as I do the nutjobs adding sincere comments.
So you'd have more sympathy for someone who is sincerely racist and xenophobic than someone who isn't just because of their sincerity? Why not "put the blame" on the Republican party for being a complete joke.
"Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who created the program, said that to get software for the site, 'I personally traveled to Washington state and discovered a Microsoft program that helped NASA map the moon.'"
Also, their servers were really straining last night. It just absolutely would not load for me.
This, of course, is why we can't have nice things.
It's got about the same validity as Fox News running a radiobutton poll on their website on "Is Obama really a citizen?"
If people actually used such a website in good faith then it could potentially produce some useful ideas and allow them to percolate upwards to party policymakers. They shouldn't blindly pick whatever ideas turn out to be popular on their website, but it might bring up some things they hadn't thought of before.
And if they were serious about making the project more efficient by taking it online, they should have a registration-based website with registration tied to actual party membership and heavily moderated to allow only articulate arguments.
So if I'm in an area that is represented by a member of another party, then my voice deserves less weight than the voice of someone that is a member of that party?
But it's a website specifically for the GOP to garner ideas.
I was of the understanding that this thread had branched to discuss communication at the ground level with your elected representative, not a forum to discuss the direction of an entire political party as a whole. The discussion was just framed around each political party providing their elected officials with a way of communication with their constituents.
[I could be way off here, though.]
I'm not sure that's true. In that case, there would be a moral argument against voting for third parties, since they definitely don't represent the views of a majority of people. And there'd be a moral argument against voting Republican in Manhattan, or Democrat in Utah.
A politician with intelligence and integrity would say something like “If I’m elected, I will try to get the government to do X, Y, and Z. If you have any particular ideas about how to accomplish these goals, or if you want to try and convince me I’m wrong, I welcome your feedback.”
But they don't, which is the point of his comment.
Also Poe's Law: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Poes+Law
Look, can't we come together under the banner of mutual brotherhood and fraternity and agree that Internet trolls can't be held against any political view? Can't we all come together and agree that whatever our differences, at least we can look down our noses at that lot?
Do you really think it would be that different if the Democrats had put up the same site? Or Libertarians, or Labour?
The stupidity of raw internet conversation transcends political boundaries.
Bookmarked sections in this (http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism) article include:
"Commonly Cited Arguments Against Atheism and For Theism", "Atheism and Mass Murder", "Atheism and Immoral Views"
The abortion article even cites Hitler as being a proponent of abortion. It's even funnier than the atheism one.
But even those ideologies have extremsist, and if you were to actually listen to everyday republican's around you, they sound exactly like most of the comments on that website. This has nothing to do with me not liking republicans but everything to do with what they have actually become.
These extreme views might not be the majority (I think they are, but hard to know for sure), but they are definitely the loudest and the ones dictating the platform for the republican party.
Political ideologies are imperfect mental tools. Their relevance is highly contextual to a given time and place. Perhaps many politicians become corrupted by this notion, and they forget that there are actually fundamental principles at work in reality. (And perhaps this is why scientists are so bad at politics?)
"We must not stop until the American people win the war on Health-Care [...] Our leaders today are nothing short of Angels. “Gods Elect” put in power by God for his people and his world."
I think that you were be hard-pressed to find someone that believes that the majority Democrats believe that God put their leaders into power. Especially since (at least in my opinion) a majority of America views the Democrats as being associated with Atheism/science (e.g. Creationism vs Evolution).
(Don't tar me as a Republican. Tar me as a libertarian.)
Of course you're hard-pressed to find a Democrat that believes an internet-troll-republican position. You need to be looking for one that holds an internet-troll-democrat position. If you need help finding them, I suggest the reddit politics board or the comments section on the Huffington Post. Or the comments section on any major newspaper that has comments.
Also, unless you were outraged for the entire Bush term of office, and I mean really outraged to the point of voting for Kerry in 2004, you're not a libertarian, you're a Republican. Sorry.
I know it's convenient to believe that your political enemies are all stupid and evil, while your allies are mostly pure, good and smart. Go ahead and feel that way if it makes you happier.
I complain about oversimplifications and demonization and you come back at me with even more of it?
This is a perfectly well formed sentence, and I can see how it fits into the present discussion, but I have a bit of a poor reaction to it; it seems that I shouldn't have to discuss what I, or anyone else, believe that someone believes.
Some Republican politicans have said that God puts their leaders in power (and I wouldn't be surprised if Democratic ones have, too); why does it matter whether or not they believe it, if their constituents do?
Is this statement a troll, or what someone actually believes? There's enough wrong with it that I could believe it's a troll, and yet I've honestly met people who would be completely sincere in saying it. Browse around a little more, and you'll find many other statements like it. Part of me hopes it's just idiotic trolls ruining what could have been constructive dialogue, but unfortunately I know that some of these posts are completely sincere.
Edit: Yes, I took it to be a real quote.
Yeah, what is sad is it is way too easy to troll in a place like that and come off as sincere as many actual arguments there are just as insane.
Don't beat around the bush, man. Spell it out for us. What're you saying here?
You can agree or disagree, but he definitely made an argument with the Poe's law citation.
That's indeed the most interesting aspect of the whole story.
"Today presently in our world you can notice a lot of instability in our Earth’s physic’s. Like now we are having a lot of Earthquakes, Tsunamis, we also have El nino on the equator and now something new like Iceland’s new erupting Volcano and this hasn’t happened since the 18 hundreds. I would also like to talk about how I thing we can possibly repair some of these major problems in a fairly simple way. In my Books Moon People 3, I developed something called the Ecliptic Satellite Tint Shield [...] Now the connection that I am getting at between the "Ecliptic Satellite Tint Shield" and the Earth’s current instability is you can use this satellite on Earth. We could park one right over the volcano in Iceland to where we could adjust the tint shield over the Volcano to eclipse it to cool it off."
"The entire Earth gets 70% of all of our Oxygen all over the world from Plankton. Could you imagine what it would be like on our Earth without our normal 70% oxygen in our atmosphere, if all of a sudden all of the plankton in the ocean died. It wouldn’t be pretty, this is prophisized in our Bible."
"I respectfully ask The clerics of Iran and the President of Iran to let NATO redo elections for the good of your country[...] I would just like to say one more thing before I go. MELCHIZEDEK'S name means "The KING of RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE" and the Heart of JUSTICE is FAIRNESS and MELCHILEDEK rules over a "KINGDOM called SALEM" which means PEACE!!!! "MELCHIZELDEK is The MESSIAH and is The CHRIST" and The CHRIST is the son of the Living GOD and his name is JESUS!!!Those who follow him will have ETERNAL LIFE!!!!! "
(This is from the author of the "Moon People Trilogy", http://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=49... . Amusing side note: this guy is a "45 year old Single man who works at the local High school as a science teacher and astrology in the 12'th grade level." Our children are doomed. )
Unfortunately, there is no mandatory mental health screening required to purchase an Internet connection or a computer.
That's not a very surprising fact, but considering the number of people here acting like it's a republican only problem, it's worth pointing out explicitly.
It appears that the republican website is 99% populated by nutcases, split pretty evenly between republican nutcases and liberal/moderate trolls. That's the point of the original article, along with the insinuation that these sentiments represent the republican base and tea party movement.
The existence of 1 (even hundreds!) of nutcases on my.barackobama.com doesn't invalidate the original point or insinuation, even if they're wrong.
PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.
So, people really think that it will help to protect the Constitution to write "Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3" on every bill? The court has historically interpreted the commerce clause in such a way that everything is justified by it. The hard part is getting the court to stop doing that, not making Congresspeople write some extra stuff on the bill.
Companies disclose if a single customer represents even 10% of their revenues, because it's a risk factor.
"Let's spend more money on the armed forces and post office, to make the portion that comes under Clause 3 appear smaller."
A lawyer I spoke to told me that there's a question regarding federal law on the bar exam every single year, asking "From where is the power to create X law derived in the Constitution?" It's a different law every year, but the answer is always the same: "The commerce clause."
I saw the site early yesterday and most of the submitted comments were sad and depressing (or complaining about having had a previous post deleted), not ridiculously stupid as the ones highlighted in this article. After Wonkette linked to it, I'm sure plenty of left-leaning people went and had some fun.
I think they just underestimated the need for moderators. Though I can't really fault them for that, a good moderation system is tough.
"both dems and repubs need to gain the trust of the american people both sides have lied to us robbed us and i think both sides are about the money not freedom most of them dont know or care what is in the constitution im not saying all of them but most of the politicians"
Especially the attempts at rhetoric:
"my grandfather told me if you could lie and steal you could be a politician they were write"
Moderating comments to handpick what are 'acceptable' views is not democracy. The popular masses trolling a joke of a party to its disintegration, is.
A very high volume of Americans are speaking out right now.
Please wait a moment and try again.
America's number one problem: Lobbyists. They corrupt the political system more than anything else. Solution: Make ALL politicians wear a "Nascar jersey" to work. Every politician should wear clothing with corporate logo decals. The bigger the payoff amount, the bigger the decal.
Interesting - I looked at their WHOIS records to see who actually built the site, and while that wasn't obvious, I did find the site's domain server on sale at Sedo for $300. I wonder how long that goes unpurchased.
..at least I hope that is their plan.
Anyway, this site doesnt need software that maps moons, I'm sure it could be done as a weekend project with [your favorite set of frameworks] and some red bull.
"We should invent and patent more colors. Like fuchsia, but not that because it's already been invented."
"Nationalize production of "Arrested Development" and reap the profits of the show owning."
"Did Glenn Beck assault a young girl in 1990?"
"Americans die in hurricanes and tornadoes. It's time to declare a War on Weather."
Speak Out:Start Your own Debate:
"1500 characters maximum is hardly enough to explain the extent of failure that this website has enabled."
1. Have an idea for one of those newfangled web 2.0 things.
2. Hire someone to write it.
As it turns out, there's more to it to create a successful social media site...
Server Error in '/' Application.
True patriotic capitalists use proper respectable Microsoft software for everything.
(note for the humor-impaired: I'm poking fun at both the typical Tea Partyer, and the the pointy-haired types (see Dilbert) that get to decide what software to use.)
And here was I thinking "Man, these trolls are way too obvious, they should have gone with something more subtle".
Be it known that, waiving all argument, I take the good old fashioned ground that the whale is a fish, and call upon holy Jonah to back me. This fundamental thing settled, the next point is, in what internal respect does the whale differ from other fish. Above, Linnaeus has given you those items. But in brief they are these: lungs and warm blood; whereas, all other fish are lungless and cold blooded.