Is America living James Madison's nightmare?

bearister
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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/568351/
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wifeisafurd
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bearister said:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/568351/
Thanks for sharing a good article.

That said, the philosophy of the Federalists often is summed up as: people are stupid and ugly and elites should rule. I'm not sure that we don't need some Jefferson mixed in.

Another Bear
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That was a good read and it comes with a solution: constitutional and civic education.

Not only should there be civics education for the masses but politicians should be required to pass a basic civics and government test to show they understand how it works, even if they can't make it...at least it's a check/balance to the issue. Clearly Trump doesn't know how government works let alone the constitution. A test however can expose an idiot (like Trump) ahead of time. That's a YUUGE problem if he's head of state and of course we're living with that right now.

p.s. democracy is messy, very messy and often slow...but it's what we have. It would do wonders if everyone (pols and citizens) were at least competent with it. Along those lines, toss in media education.
Anarchistbear
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This is a sick joke. We are living under the rule of elites not mobs. Elites who have facilitated a financial crisis, endless wars and total corruption and perversion without end all the while fattening their pockets with no push back or punishment. We need more mob rule not less and let's lay off Madison and blame the ******* Hamilton.
mikecohen
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bearister said:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/568351/
Some good articles in that issue of the Atlantic. One other was by Anne Appelbaum on Poland's wild swing to the right along classic populist/fascist lines; and what we might learn from it.
mikecohen
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Anarchistbear said:

This is a sick joke. We are living under the rule of elites not mobs. Elites who have facilitated a financial crisis, endless wars and total corruption and perversion without end all the while fattening their pockets with no push back or punishment. We need more mob rule not less and let's lay off Madison and blame the ******* Hamilton.
The elites have created this Frankenstein mob by two things: (1) Flaming the populist prejudices by control of American Propaganda to keep themselves in power (a neat trick; but they did it); and (2) Taking their base for granted and arranging the politics so that the un-met needs that fuel left-behind anger that supports them continue to fester.

What the article perhaps misses is what Anne Appelbaum, in her article in the same issue, discusses in relation to the wild rightward swings in Poland, that, based on the classic Fascist/Populist mold that rightward swing is following, there is a real danger that the Frankenstein mob, because of the power that the modern world is capable of manifesting in a flash (so to speak), could well take over, with more national-specific populism.

That is, whereas Nazi symbols and mythology is no longer helpful in taking over the world, MAGA moves much more in that direction - THEIR current problem being that their movement is not being led by a charismatic organizational leader like Hitler, but rather by an incompetent doofus like Kaiser Wilhelm who has the trappings and attitudes to inspire, but who doesn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground; and, at least so far, the American Military, at least much of the higher level officer corps (and too much of the American public), is way too educated to let him really get enough popular support for all-out war.

Maybe another charismatic in a time of the real economic collapse that the current ignoramus' policies could at least encourage.
golden sloth
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If you want the counter argument, this article argues we are not living in a world that is ruled by the 'Tyranny of the Masses' but of 'The Tyranny of the Minority'.

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/12/17850980/democracy-tyranny-minority-mob-rule-james-madison
Anarchistbear
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I've often argued that if Trump was a nazi, he'd institute universal health care, and extended family leave and more benefits for having children. Because that's what Hitler did. They called it the National Socialist Party for a reason. You are right, we should be thankful he is more Colonel Klink than Hitler otherwise he'd be re-elected for sure.

Trump has also soiled the word "populist" forever. He's never been a populist. Populists are concerned with policies that benefit " the people." Bernie Sanders is a populist- it's not even an exclusively right wing term
Anarchistbear
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sycasey
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Anarchistbear said:

I've often argued that if Trump was a nazi, he'd institute universal health care, and extended family leave and more benefits for having children. Because that's what Hitler did. They called it the National Socialist Party for a reason. You are right, we should be thankful he is more Colonel Klink than Hitler otherwise he'd be re-elected for sure.
Very true. If he'd actually started with "Infrastructure Week" as he used to laughably claim was just around the corner, then he might have actually grown his popularity. Instead his first major legislative push was trying to take away people's health care. That didn't go so well.
Another Bear
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If (big IF) Trump were competent and instituted real benefits for the general population (like healthcare)...we'd be in REAL trouble. He'd have way more support than the base 30%. The thing is, he's not compentent. He really is a compulsive moron. That's the only thing we've lucked out...and Mueller.
mikecohen
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Anarchistbear said:

I've often argued that if Trump was a nazi, he'd institute universal health care, and extended family leave and more benefits for having children. Because that's what Hitler did. They called it the National Socialist Party for a reason. You are right, we should be thankful he is more Colonel Klink than Hitler otherwise he'd be re-elected for sure.

Trump has also soiled the word "populist" forever. He's never been a populist. Populists are concerned with policies that benefit " the people." Bernie Sanders is a populist- it's not even an exclusively right wing term
One can create a dialectic out of Trump (who lied about both the problems and the solutions) and Bernie, who while identifying many of the problems, failed (like Marx) to breathe the necessary life into the meaningful solutions he posed, since, in any kind of short run that people are capable of seeing in the context of a political campaign, there was no realistic-appearing any of those solutions could get implemented.

There was a clue what to do on C-Span3 this morning, in a panel which involved (simplifying) a Republican House member and Democratic House member who, for whatever reason that allowed sanity to break out, decided to stop throwing slogans at each other and actually talk through (over the course of whatever length of time was necessary), bit by bit, phrase by phrase, concept by concept, balance by balance, political realism by moving enough members bit by bit, every single issue involved in making our immigration system work.

The Republican member was especially affecting when he pointed out that, in an expanding economy with 3.8% unemployment, for example, in the Houston, Texas area, where there is massive re-building on all scales from the last hurricane, and where there is a lot of money to do that, and where a huge percentage of the in-place work-force skilled enough to do that work are foreigners of questionable legality (a situation not un-typical here for a lot of years), IT IS CRAZY (his words) to deport all those people. The bad economic effects here would be disastrous.

When THAT kind of thinking meets the thinking on the other side about the terrible human toll the current monstrous immigration problems present, and both sides admit that they agree that both effective and cost-effective border security is a meaningful element, then you have the makings of a very powerful political solution, it turns out, stemming just from two guys getting together, tired of the madness, and wanting to figure out something that will work (which Americans are supposedly famous for), and willing to go through the most intensive grunt work to get through the monstrous rock and swamp that otherwise stands in the way.
Anarchistbear
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Bernie didn't fail. He was hugely successful. First of all the idea that an old guy from Vermont who is not even a Democrat would have any success was laughable but he won 23 states. More importantly he created a grassroots organization all over the country and he changed the dialogue. Bernie's positions- universal health care, workers rights, free higher education are no longer fringe; they are now common policies among front runners for President and Bernie's organization will largely be responsible for who will be that nominee. Any nominee in 2020 will embrace these policies or will be ignored. Politics is about the future. Bernie's decision to run against Clinton unleashed a pent up demand for a change in our politics and our leaders. That change won't come from Republicans talking to Democrats but replacing everyone in the way
mikecohen
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Anarchistbear said:

Bernie didn't fail. He was hugely successful. First of all the idea that an old guy from Vermont who is not even a Democrat would have any success was laughable but he won 23 states. More importantly he created a grassroots organization all over the country and he changed the dialogue. Bernie's positions- universal health care, workers rights, free higher education are no longer fringe; they are now common policies among front runners for President and Bernie's organization will largely be responsible for who will be that nominee. Any nominee in 2020 will embrace these policies or will be ignored. Politics is about the future. Bernie's decision to run against Clinton unleashed a pent up demand for a change in our politics and our leaders. That change won't come from Republicans talking to Democrats but replacing everyone in the way
I agree with everything you say except for the last sentence, and except that I think you are missing something.

Had Bernie been capable of talking (realistically - easy to say, hard to do) about:
(a) how these ideas could actually be manifested,
(b) the ECONOMIC benefits (many close to at least stated Republican principles, e.g., fiscal responsibility, massive economic growth from un-leashing the creative possibilities of the massive numbers of people currently denied access to meaningful higher education - not to mention the great national power, virtue and benefit for all that comes with working together in real, actually funded and encouraged ways), and
(c) how people could actually overcome the fractures in our society (and there are so many ways . . .), I think now (in hindsight) that he in fact WOULD HAVE won.

AND, I think that many of his followers have the same blind spot, which, even if they win and get into Congress, will do much better as legislators by working all the time on how to get these ideas actually enacted - which, of course does in part mean getting more of our own kind into the institution. But, even with that, we all know that there is enough push-back from money to influence enough politicians to create enough problems to (by hook or by crook) take a lot of effectiveness out of the most originally well thought through legislation.

It's an interesting question as to whether going-for-the-throat and pushing a cultural wave to the max politics is more effective in actually actuating these salutary policies, than are politics which try not to hide from the electorate the real barriers to salutary change in our terribly imperfect and fractured country, but to talk more forcefully about how to overcome them. I'm inclined to think (contrary to my own argument and beliefs) that our political system is so clumsy and out of date that only such crude damn the torpedoes full speed ahead tactics are capable of moving the ship of state - but I do believe that they carry terrifically bad, backlash-type, consequences.

Indeed, it would seem that, among other things, the Constitution was set-up to avoid such see-saws by its notorious "checks and balances". But it also seems as though human beings are always capable of destruction.

So, maybe what I am slouching toward is the notion that care and carefulness not to throw the baby out with the bathwater should neither be nor be seen to be necessarily a conservative or right wing position; but rather as pointing towards a more-perfect, or say more benignly developed way of running a government which is of the people, by the people and for the people, in the organic way that its real-world necessity in human affairs demands - a thought that there might be some better ways as we go along of manifesting and achieving the goals set forth in this country's founding documents.
Another Bear
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Generational change + shifting politics/desire for change + massive Trump corruption = progressive shift

...or it could descent into authoritarianism.
Anarchistbear
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Actually Bernie wasn't ahead of the people-it's just that our political classes are behind the people. Universal health care, free higher education, raising minimum wage, worker's rights ( and by worker I mean anyone who works for a wage)- these are popular positions. And in fact we see an organic uprising- teachers strikes in red states-which are a lesson in the lost art and powers of unions.

As far as baby and bath water, both have already been tossed. There are few institutions American trust anymore- and with good reason.For a decade polling has consistently showed citizens believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. They know the system is rigged which is why draining the swamp is a popular notion.
Obama's reach across the aisle and hope and change bull**** - in response to a crisis- was the last pathetic gasp of "bipartisanship"- he was always negotiating with himself. His legacy currently occupies the White House.
mikecohen
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Anarchistbear said:

Actually Bernie wasn't ahead of the people-it's just that our political classes are behind the people. Universal health care, free higher education, raising minimum wage, worker's rights ( and by worker I mean anyone who works for a wage)- these are popular positions. And in fact we see an organic uprising- teachers strikes in red states-which are a lesson in the lost art and powers of unions.

As far as baby and bath water, both have already been tossed. There are few institutions American trust anymore- and with good reason.For a decade polling has consistently showed citizens believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. They know the system is rigged which is why draining the swamp is a popular notion.
Obama's reach across the aisle and hope and change bull**** - in response to a crisis- was the last pathetic gasp of "bipartisanship"- he was always negotiating with himself. His legacy currently occupies the White House.
I couldn't agree more with your first paragraph, which is why I'm not totally with your second paragraph, because: What would have happened if Bernie actually was able to articulate something looking to realistic-thinking people like a path to actually get to those goals?

It's not as if it would be impossible to either come up with something like it or to articulate it in an inspiring way.

In contexts like these, I often think of Bobby Kennedy, whose massive support fractured after his assassination, with a large percentage of it going to Wallace. Is the argument that, if Bernie had that capability, he might well have also been more likely to be an assassination target? I don't think that is an entirely unreasonable argument; but I don't detect that it has been raised.
Anarchistbear
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One thing to admire about the Republicans is they don't care about questions like this. They passed a tax cut that was unbelievably- even for them-biased to the few and unpopular but did it with an iron will and unanimity- Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys would have appreciated it. It will be very hard to undo this.

You just need a leader with balls and a sense of the moment and the future. Bernie wasn't the guy- he was too much the iconoclast who was surprised by his success. 2008 was the time but the wrong guy.
Another Bear
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What you need are arseholes willing to kick dogs and yell at infants...your basic rat******* conservative. I grew up with these types. You have to be ready to punch them in the throat and steal their women. They might or might not respect you, but you will have their attention and they will give you a wide berth.
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