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Author Topic: Political Violence  (Read 2879 times)

Alan Klein

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Political Violence
« on: June 15, 2017, 09:29:32 AM »

Yesterday's shooting of congressmen presents the question, how do we stop this?  My feeling is that there are too many people on both sides taking violent positions in social media as well as in more public displays.    It just inflames nuts like this guy and pushes them over the edge.    We really have to tone down the rhetoric.   What do you think? 
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amolitor

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 09:37:06 AM »

Well, we start with ourselves and recognize that the other guy is often just as a informed and just as bright and just as human.

I have a largely fallow project which I invite all to consider making contributions (of pictures, not money):

tusoas.blogspot.com

Feel free to promote it, copy it, mock it, or send pictures to it.
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James Clark

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 10:02:36 AM »

Yesterday's shooting of congressmen presents the question, how do we stop this?  My feeling is that there are too many people on both sides taking violent positions in social media as well as in more public displays.    It just inflames nuts like this guy and pushes them over the edge.    We really have to tone down the rhetoric.   What do you think?

Alan, I agree completely.  One of the unfortunate side effects of the Internet is that it allows people to spew vile, hateful language anonymously and without repercussions or shame, and then it takes only one nut job to bring those thoughts into the real world, often with tragic consequences. It's also allowed groups of radicals who might otherwise never connect to coordinate and magnify their destructive potential.

I remain a free speech absolutist, more or less, but it's disheartening to realize that in doing so I become reliant on self-moderation :(
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 11:00:57 AM »

It is difficult to come up with only one reasons why people choose violence.

One of the reasons might be that they feel there is no alternative; that the only way their views can be expressed is through violence.  In a way, I am sorry this person died as I think trying to learn why he choose this activity would be useful.

Throughout our history, there have been hundreds millions of people who are angry about stuff who do not choose violence.  Why?  Why not?  And then we can apply that to these people who do choose violence.

If we can understand why (truly understand and not just make emotional generalizations) we might be in a better position to lessen instances of this sort of violence.  We may never be able to eliminate it totally, but that should not be our only goal.

As previously posted, I agree that the Internet is an enabler.  Prior to the Internet, we had crazy guys, but they tended to be lonely and mostly ignored by sane people.  Other than "I would like to subscribe to your newsletter" the ability of these crazy guys to interact with other crazy guys was more limited.

Then came the Internet.  The advantage of the internet is that everyone can share their opinions.  The disadvantage of the internet is that everyone can share their opinions.

Now it is a lot easier for Crazy Guys to not only share their opinions but to virtually meet with other Crazy Guys.  When Crazy Guys get together, even virtually, they can enforce and perpetuate the crazy.  Crazy Guys get affirmation and a sense of community with other Crazy Guys. This can, in my opinion, embolden them.

These "lone wolf attacks" are really not made by "lone wolfs", but by members of an unorganized but emotionally supportive virtual group.  I bet you a scooby snack that this guy was active on some nut-case forums where he was getting affirmation and confirmation bias that enabled him to justify such a terrible act.

So what can we do about this?  Unfortunately not much.

Shaming and ridiculing the nutters won't do anything as they can find their affirmation from other nutters.   For the same reason ignoring them won't work.  It certainly does not work on this site nor would it work on other sites.  Has anyone's radical/extreme opinion ever been changed because of a thread on an internet forum?  Doubtful.

Restricting or monitoring the Internet?  Yikes! that might be a case where the cure may be worse then the disease.

Which gets back to my original statement -- they feel there is no alternative; that the only way their views can be expressed is through violence.  I don't know what the solution is.

Mature people recognize that sometimes elections don't go the way they want.  In pretty much every presidential election, about half of the citizens are not happy.... but almost of them don't resort to violence. Why?   But some do resort to violence.  Why?  Those are the questions we need to answer in order to start finding a solution, or more accurately solutions as I don't think this is a simple problem where one solution will take care of the problem.  People are more complex and their motivations even more complexer  ;)

I feel it starts with everyone in our society taking a stand that this sort of political violence is not acceptable.  Even the nutters have to understand that no matter what they vent on the Internets Tubes, political violence is never acceptable.  We need to remove that level of affirmation.  Easy to type, very hard to implement.

We may have to consider the possibility that this is an insolvable problem.  We can't take the internet away, we can't suppress expression, we can't take away the guns...and we may not be able to affect the violent motivations.

JFK once said  "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man."  May be solved, not always solvable.
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RSL

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 11:11:05 AM »

Oh boy! This thread is going to go nowhere fast and furious, and it's gonna keep on going far beyond its sell by date. It may even exceed Trump II in its vacuousness.

stamper

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2017, 12:42:46 PM »

Oh boy! This thread is going to go nowhere fast and furious, and it's gonna keep on going far beyond its sell by date. It may even exceed Trump II in its vacuousness.

Agreed. I am surprised Alan started this thread. He probably had the most posts in the Trump II thread. Time for the moderator to close this type of thread and get back to disagreeing about photography ???

scyth

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2017, 01:06:34 PM »

Agreed. I am surprised Alan started this thread. He probably had the most posts in the Trump II thread. Time for the moderator to close this type of thread and get back to disagreeing about photography ???
Trump II trumps Rhein II for sure here
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2017, 01:24:06 PM »

Agreed. I am surprised Alan started this thread. He probably had the most posts in the Trump II thread. Time for the moderator to close this type of thread and get back to disagreeing about photography ???

I disagree.  :D

Cheers,
Bart
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opgr

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2017, 02:02:14 PM »

I wonder in how far internuts has anything to do with it other than the availability and immediate intake of visually horrific events. I have no doubt that this can cause PTSD in some viewers which we know can result in those irate and irrational actions.

Additionally, i don't think television and movies have helped our generation much since the standard hollywood theme in 90% of the cases has been "trial and retribution" by some individual. Not a very useful representation of reality for children to grow up with....
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Oscar

Schewe

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2017, 02:06:24 PM »

What do you think?

I think we need to wait for the investigation to determine what series of events led to this guy going to Washington, living in his van then asking if the baseball players were GOP and then shooting. We don't know enough now to know much of anything other than it's a sad day and I hope everybody recovers.
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Rand47

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 02:32:13 PM »

Yesterday's shooting of congressmen presents the question, how do we stop this?  My feeling is that there are too many people on both sides taking violent positions in social media as well as in more public displays.    It just inflames nuts like this guy and pushes them over the edge.    We really have to tone down the rhetoric.   What do you think?

I don't think we do.  Or perhaps we do by becoming some version of a totalitarian state - that may likely be the solution.  Government as enforcer of the peace.  History is replete . . .

The root problem in my opinion is that the US has abandoned the Judeo-Christian ethic as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.  AND FOR THE RECORD I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT STATE RELIGION, OR ABANDONING CHURCH AND STATE SEPARATION.  What I am talking about is an ethical consensus that used to exist based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic.  While the founders were not all either Christians or Jews, they were at least deists whose underpinning worldview assumptions were firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic.  I.e., there is a God who is creator, and who has in fact, endowed mankind with unalienable rights.  This, when you think about it, is an appeal to the transcendent.  Something outside of, and "above" individuals' opinions or preferences.  It was the basis upon which we told the King of England to go take a hike.  We appealed to the transcendent as being of "greater authority" than the King.

We abandoned that.  Now everything is determined by who can garner 51% of the vote.  Which is a form of "might makes right."  People intuitively know that "might might garner power" but it doesn't "make right."  The left is incensed that an evil bastard like Trump could have "garnered power" (their intuitive reach for transcendent values is the basis for their being incensed, IMO).  The right is reveling in having triumphed even though they have to hold their nose and plug their ears when Trump tweets.  An indication that they know that something is fundamentally amiss and missing.

So, now, with no transcendent to appeal to for respect for all people, civility, a sense of propriety (all of these, and very many others, are elements of the Judeo-Christian ethic) we're down to "who can win at whatever cost."  And the nut-jobs on the fringes of all positions will do the kind of things the more moderate propose with their inflamed, ugly, accusatory, ad hominem, rhetoric. 

It is sad, but inevitable, and I don't think there is a way (other than my opening remark about totalitarian government enforcement of the peace) to recover.  And, I think that as violence increases, Americans will be more and more amenable to having the government assume greater power to enforce the peace.  And so the great experiment that the US has been for the last 200+ years will go the way of all civilizations in recorded history and become one kind of dictatorship or another.  Probably not a single dictator, more likely some sort of oligarchy.  But at least there will be peace.  The price will be liberty.

Rand
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 02:36:28 PM by Rand47 »
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Rand Scott Adams

scyth

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 03:01:20 PM »

While the founders were not all either Christians or Jews

And who was not a christian (as considered by peers at the moment, not as some dudes consider now) there, btw ? just curious ... also - who among them was considered by peers then as a jew ?
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MattBurt

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 03:30:35 PM »

I think we should follow Australia's lead for gun laws but I'm pretty doubtful it would actually happen.

This one is particularly complex as the victims are typically pro gun and people who might agree with (at least some of) the shooter's political leanings would more typically be in favor of gun control.
I'm genuinely curious how this will be spun by both sides.
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-MattB

James Clark

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2017, 04:29:48 PM »

And who was not a christian (as considered by peers at the moment, not as some dudes consider now) there, btw ? just curious ... also - who among them was considered by peers then as a jew ?

There was a book out last year that argues that Hamilton or Hamilton's parents might have been Jewish.  (I haven't read it).  As for the others, if we can agree that belief the divinity of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite for being "Christian," then a number of the Founders might not meet that definition (Jefferson is famous for - among other things of course - creating a "Bible" that omits much of the supernatural aspect of Jesus' existence, for example).  As Rand stated, they ran the gamut from active church members, to devotees of Enlightenment religious philosophies extending to and encompassing a "natural law" of sorts.  Rand, again above, rightly considers this as indicative of a Judeo-Christian (i.e. western) ethical basis in the founding of the United States, and he's right, but it's important not to conflate that ethos with the literal and strict belief in traditional Christian (or Jewish) dogma.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 04:34:43 PM by James Clark »
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scyth

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2017, 05:22:56 PM »

There was a book out last year that argues that Hamilton or Hamilton's parents might have been Jewish.  (I haven't read it).

oh... a book  ;D ... might have been... a crypto-jew... face it - they were a bunch of white christian men presenting themselves as such and any suggestion back then otherwise 'd cause you to kill Hamilton /upon his challenge/ on a duel (instead of Burr)  :P
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James Clark

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2017, 10:30:43 PM »

oh... a book  ;D ... might have been... a crypto-jew... face it - they were a bunch of white christian men presenting themselves as such and any suggestion back then otherwise 'd cause you to kill Hamilton /upon his challenge/ on a duel (instead of Burr)  :P

You asked a question.  I answered it with the benefit of my degree (history, American colonial concentration) and my knowledge of both primary and third-party research on the subject.  Again, don't confuse "Not Christian" with "21st century secular humanist." 

Ben Franklin's letter to Ezra Stiles
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Rand47

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2017, 12:39:37 AM »

oh... a book  ;D ... might have been... a crypto-jew... face it - they were a bunch of white christian men presenting themselves as such and any suggestion back then otherwise 'd cause you to kill Hamilton /upon his challenge/ on a duel (instead of Burr)  :P

Wow, that's quite a mouth full.  Sources please.

Also, I think you may have missed my rhetorical device:  Judeo-Christian = worldview, and that this can be held without being either "Christian, or Jew."  I was not specifically claiming that any, most, some, all, none were specifically either - though some undoubtedly were (in the case of Christian), and perhaps some were Jewish.  As an aside, "Jewish" has at least three aspects/meanings unique to it, that may be singular or combined in some way(s):  ethnicity, religious worldview, nationality.  And, to further complicate matters, within the "religious worldview" category are many subcategories. 

Apologies to the OP.  It was not my intention to drag the topic off point.  However, my original response I feel is very much on point.

Rand
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Alan Klein

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2017, 12:56:13 AM »

I don't think we do.  Or perhaps we do by becoming some version of a totalitarian state - that may likely be the solution.  Government as enforcer of the peace.  History is replete . . .

The root problem in my opinion is that the US has abandoned the Judeo-Christian ethic as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.  AND FOR THE RECORD I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT STATE RELIGION, OR ABANDONING CHURCH AND STATE SEPARATION.  What I am talking about is an ethical consensus that used to exist based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic.  While the founders were not all either Christians or Jews, they were at least deists whose underpinning worldview assumptions were firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic.  I.e., there is a God who is creator, and who has in fact, endowed mankind with unalienable rights.  This, when you think about it, is an appeal to the transcendent.  Something outside of, and "above" individuals' opinions or preferences.  It was the basis upon which we told the King of England to go take a hike.  We appealed to the transcendent as being of "greater authority" than the King.

We abandoned that.  Now everything is determined by who can garner 51% of the vote.  Which is a form of "might makes right."  People intuitively know that "might might garner power" but it doesn't "make right."  The left is incensed that an evil bastard like Trump could have "garnered power" (their intuitive reach for transcendent values is the basis for their being incensed, IMO).  The right is reveling in having triumphed even though they have to hold their nose and plug their ears when Trump tweets.  An indication that they know that something is fundamentally amiss and missing.

So, now, with no transcendent to appeal to for respect for all people, civility, a sense of propriety (all of these, and very many others, are elements of the Judeo-Christian ethic) we're down to "who can win at whatever cost."  And the nut-jobs on the fringes of all positions will do the kind of things the more moderate propose with their inflamed, ugly, accusatory, ad hominem, rhetoric. 

It is sad, but inevitable, and I don't think there is a way (other than my opening remark about totalitarian government enforcement of the peace) to recover.  And, I think that as violence increases, Americans will be more and more amenable to having the government assume greater power to enforce the peace.  And so the great experiment that the US has been for the last 200+ years will go the way of all civilizations in recorded history and become one kind of dictatorship or another.  Probably not a single dictator, more likely some sort of oligarchy.  But at least there will be peace.  The price will be liberty.

Rand

I think many people have abandoned their religious background.  The government and popular culture just reflect that.  But the founders and framers of our Constitution understood man's baseness.  They hopefully have written into our Constitution enough formulas to protect us from ourselves. 
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Rand47

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2017, 02:46:37 AM »

I think many people have abandoned their religious background.  The government and popular culture just reflect that.  But the founders and framers of our Constitution understood man's baseness.  They hopefully have written into our Constitution enough formulas to protect us from ourselves.

I genuinely appreciate the thought.  Don't bet the farm on it. Those who see the Constitution as elastic are becoming dominant (for reasons previously stated re general consensus shift). As a result, what the founders intended becomes increasingly irrelevant.   

Rand
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Rand Scott Adams

Farmer

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Re: Political Violence
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2017, 05:08:20 AM »

As opposed to the vast changes in society, culture, technology, politics, and so on affecting the degree of relevance, scope, and application?

The US constitution has been elastic since day 1.  Jefferson expressed his opinion that constitutions should be regularly rewritten, for example.
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Phil Brown
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