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  #1    
Old November 7th, 2013, 08:26 AM
Nuke
 
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Firstly I'd like to say stick with me for a bit here, it may seem like I'm droning for a bit, but it gets to a reasonable discussion point in the end and I have attempted to incorporate a worldwide argument despite Brand's focus on the UK's political system. But if you'd like to skip the whole Brand part feel free to simply comment on whether you like your current electoral system and whether you feel it is worth voting within it.

Last month Russell Brand was given the chance to guest edit a popular political magazine in the UK known as New Statesman, his piece was eventually on the topic of revolution against the current political class. Preceding his guest editorial in the magazine, Brand was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight which is a British program focusing on current affairs, this interview was soon viewed by millions of people and has been the main focus of the current focus on Brand's political views. He also wrote a column in The Guardian following this.

The comedian would soon reveal his views in this interview declaring that he did not vote in UK elections and that current political system needed changing claiming a system 'shouldn't destroy the planet, shouldn't create economic disparity' and that it ignored people in favour of legislating for large corporations.

The best way to see Brand's argument it is for you to watch the video I guess so have a nice embedded one.


You may also wish to read this article by Brand published yesterday in The Guardian.

Anyway, basically such a public figure speaking out against present democratic systems has unsurprisingly received a lot of coverage. Perhaps to many of you some parts of Brand's argument will be irrelevant as they specifically regard the United Kingdom's electoral system, but it is similarly applicable to other western countries. For example, Brand argued the only difference from election to election was a little hop from right to left (ideologically) which is potentially the same in political systems around the world. It is also worth noting that despite the seeming disapproval of Paxman during the interview, he later admitted to agreeing with Brand and that he had not voted in the last election despite being a regular political commentator.
  1. Is Russell Brand a forward looking political theorist or a dreamer? Perhaps even simply a celebrity promoting himself with unconventional views?
  2. How much do you agree with Brand's views on the current state of politics? Are his views applicable to your own country's system?
  3. Within your own country do you believe it is worth voting in elections?
  4. Is it possible to significantly change political systems from within?
  5. Do political parties really represent the people?
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Old November 7th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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It's really pointless to vote, in my honest opinion. Political parties (at least in the U.S.) represent a false illusion designed to make you believe that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners; they own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they've long since paid for the senate and the house, including the mayors, governors, and they have the judges in their back pockets.

I'm talking about the big businessman who are really in charge. We have no freedom of choice, sorry!
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Old November 7th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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Is Russell Brand a forward looking political theorist or a dreamer? Perhaps even simply a celebrity promoting himself with unconventional views?

He is a comedian who has recently fallen out of the spotlight. I believe this is probably the main reason for wanting to do the article and interview.

How much do you agree with Brand's views on the current state of politics? Are his views applicable to your own country's system?

He has some points correct, that sometimes legislation for companies and businesses seems prioritised over public issues and laws.

Within your own country do you believe it is worth voting in elections?

Yes, entirely. The problem is people who don't vote who could be voting for the correct party. I support the Green Party - anyone from the UK knows they are still unsuccessful, but slowly gaining momentum and seats. I really hope that some non-voters will realise they can make a difference and support a smaller party they believe in.

Is it possible to significantly change political systems from within?

I'm really not sure.

Do political parties really represent the people?

No, but should they? Politians need to support the people, but also the economy (and the environment) of their country. There are a lot of factors that might go in to winning an election - a lot of the time, the reason someone thinks the 'wrong person won' is because they have slightly different values and see their problem as the most important.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 09:39 AM
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It is true that in many ways most major political parties have the same attitude toward money and business and don't have as strong a regard for the effect all that money has on regular people like us, but I don't think that's enough of a reason to say "they're all the same" and that it doesn't matter if you vote.

There are differences. I can't speak with any authority outside of the US, but here we have two parties and there are some major differences between them (gay rights, women's rights, voting rights, environmental issues, etc.). Correct me if I'm wrong, but the UK has a multi-party system so you don't even have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" like we do in the US. If enough people support candidates and parties who are different enough (like Green parties and so on) then you presumably could have a much better representation in government than you do. All you would need is enough people to vote.

I really don't like the "it doesn't matter" attitude. I think it makes the problem worse because it turns people off of voting and getting involved and breeds resentment for a system that could work if enough people cared.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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One vote doesn't matter, but it's beside the point. If everybody mattered then nobody would matter because everybody matters. When you vote you necessarily become a number, but that's the point, because it's numbers (the majority) that decide who comes into power, not individuals per se. It's not so much about me, more so about we.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 10:13 AM
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I'm happy to see some responses already, I figured due to the size of my opening post it might lose the attention of some people, but this is good. :)

Anyway, I'll give my own opinions. I'll spoiler them as it got fairly long.

Spoiler:
I think Brand does have an honest belief in these views and as he has stated himself while writing some of these articles/comments, he's rich so he doesn't necessarily need to do it for the spotlight or money etc. I think for the most part his views aren't anything groundbreaking, but it's something not brought into the public eye for a prolonged period of time.

I do agree with some of his views, for example about the parties all being pretty similar (something Paxman touched on a bit more when explaining his reasons for not voting), but some of the more economically socialist policies he mentions aren't something I'm a big fan of. I'd like to see how he thinks this revolution would come about also, through organic growth of legislation or the typical revolutions of the past.

I think it's worth voting in the UK, but the system does typically make many votes pointless. For example, living in the North East it is difficult to foresee a day were the Labour Party will ever lose the seat in my constituency or my neighbouring constituencies. Over time it's always possible though as many may know about with the decline of the Liberal Party in the 20th century.

I don't think it is at present possible to change from within. In most systems of governance in modern society, if you're a member of parliament you have an allegiance to your party. Whips enforce this allegiance making it often difficult for you to put across your own real views on an issue and therefore struggling to change much. I'd love to see a rise in Independent candidates, because regardless of their views I know they'd be representing their own views and the ones right for the people they represent.

My last question is a bit of a difficult one. Obviously they have a tough job managing the country as a whole before putting consideration into the needs of the people. I'd say on the whole they do an okay job of this, but some politicians are horribly out of touch with the needs of the public. It is true, in the UK at least, that the overwhelming opinion of the public can be ignored on issues such as tuition fees.


Also just as a reply to your comment Scarf, it is a multi-party system in some ways, but ultimately the only powerful parties are Conservatives or Labour (with Liberal Democrats currently holding some minor power temporarily). I definitely appreciate the point though, there is more choice here.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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Every nation is made up of 3 factors.

Political - this is the standard by which national affairs are handled and where the basic outline for the nation is designed.

Economic - this part handles distribution of money, worth of various entities and designs, and the success of certain people compared to others.

Social - this is the cultural aspect. How the people act, what they believe, their sense of ethics, aesthetics, advancement, etc - all exist within this system.

The majority of nations in the world today are politically Democratic (Representative), economically Capitalist, and socially Survival of the Fittest. They operate under the idea of Greed - the more you have, the better you are and the more you're worth. This is due to Capitalism having major influence over the political and social systems, causing Representatives to act based on Greed and having normal people fight one another in order to get by.

In order to fix, let's say...the U.S., it needs to be politically E-Democratic, then socially Paleoliberalist, and finally economically Anarcho-capitalist. These 3 would have to work all at once to actually fix things, and it would only be seen as a first step - though perhaps not an end goal, as things MIGHT need to change again later on.

I desire a politically Monarchic, economically Communist as a basis and Capitalist as a bonus, and socially Anarchic society - not for the U.S., per se, but as my own ideal society. As long as the monarch's actions do not go against the free will of the people and is seperate from economic measures, they SHOULD be able to handle all affairs of state properly and instantaneously. No one will have to worry about survival - as the Communist measures will generate a standard which allows everyone to focus only on prosperity. And while they don't have to do anything to get money, many professions that receive money can hold Fortune to a higher regard. It allows for competitive spirit without any real repercussions. As an Anarchic society, each and every person rules themselves and to their own accord, thus allowing an egalitarian society where the actions of one can aid the many and, because free will cannot be attacked - as that's the only real crime, the actions of one generally won't ever hurt the many.


---


As for the questions above:

I desire revolution, whether peaceful or bloody. Voting makes no sense when you don't want to vote for any of the choices forced upon you. Parties do not represent people, though politicians do represent parties. I agree with Brand completely. Yes, it CAN be changed from within - easily and successfully, if you follow the model I gave for the U.S. above.
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Old November 7th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Nuke View Post
Also just as a reply to your comment Scarf, it is a multi-party system in some ways, but ultimately the only powerful parties are Conservatives or Labour (with Liberal Democrats currently holding some minor power temporarily). I definitely appreciate the point though, there is more choice here.
I guess this is a case of "the grass is always greener on the other side" because it still seems like 3rd parties have a chance at being a part of government where you are whereas where I am it would take a minor miracle to get a third party to have a significant voice in government.

Point taken though, as both of us are living far below what would be ideal for us. I'm just lucky I live in a part of my country where my views are usually in the majority.
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Old November 28th, 2013, 05:03 PM
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Hm interesting, I never saw Russell Brand as a politician. Very cool. I’m assuming he’s from England or somewhere around there. I know that British elections are different than America’s (where I’m from). Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the people vote for representatives who then the representatives vote for the members of Parliament and the Prime Minister? Am I right? I may not be, I vaguely remember talking about it with my AP US teacher last year. I honestly thought that the GB’s election system was more stable than ours. Anyway to the topic at hand, Brand’s stand sounds similar to many of the youth’s today. Many believe that the government isn’t doing enough, and believes that the government is seeking utopian purposes to a degree.


I think that brand is a dreamer. I don’t think that the government will change for a long time. I don’t think he’s much of a politician though. I think he’s just a comedian trying to seek attention tbh. I don’t agree with his views. I think that the government is to involved, Obamacare is being enforced too harshly in America I believe. I think that the government is enforced so much in countries around the world that countries have become somewhat socialist. Even in North America. I don’t think that the views are unconventional, many people have proposed these idea before. I believe that it is worth voting.

I believe that people should be informed about politics, and we should vote for our leaders. Only if we do not agree with them should we not vote. If no one voted then there would be anarchy. I don’t believe that is the answer. It is possible to significantly change systems. Russia did it with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. America helped change China’s system. Eventually, Cuba’s political system will probably change. I believe that it is possible, but not probable. Lastly, I believe that parties represent the people. The people of their party tend to vote them into office in America. I don’t believe that people should vote solely based on parties where most people do.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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I believe that the people vote for representatives who then the representatives vote for the members of Parliament and the Prime Minister?
No, people elect the Members of Parliament directly (which are the same as your Representatives), and the leader of the party holding the majority (or leading the largest side of a coalition) is chosen as Prime Minister. It's technically two elections in one, as you are electing the PM along with the Parliament, to prevent him from having to wrestle with Congress every second to get anything passed at all.

---------------------

I'm a fervent supporter of the power of voting, mostly because, as it's been said, democracy is the worst system of governance except for every other one ever created. Basically, when someone tells me that they don't vote because it's the same guys getting elected over and over, I ask them "So why don't you vote for someone else?". In Spain, we have a proportional system, so parties with even 4% of the vote can get 5 seats in Parliament. If you don't vote, really, you are supporting the two main parties as nobody else will even get a chance to oppose them.

And the problem with revolutions is that you are changing the political landscape without necessarily changing the electorate. You need to educate the voters, not just change the system and expect that the people who voted conservative are now going to join your revolutionary party instead of just going back to what they were used to voting. Not to mention that a large amount of people may legitimately not like some things in your revolution- and the point of democracy is giving them the chance to undo the things they don't like.

In the last election, my Senate ballot was: a Social-democrat, a Communist, a Green. I've been to several protests in the last years, I was there in Sol during the Indignados movement in 2011 (check wikipedia), but I really don't follow people who want the political system to just come out with their hands up. It's not going to happen unless you go violent, because the traditional leaders have millions of people supporting them. Pressuring the politicians into making "your" desired revolutionary constitution is not democracy unless people voluntarily elect them knowing what they are going to do. Otherwise, the people who dislike the outcome will be the ones protesting, and trying to boycott the system- and we'll end up stuck in an useless loop.

And again, people need to be educated and taken out of the "Okay, I suck, but if you don't vote for me, THEY will win and do bad things" mentality. You can punish both parties at once. In the US, there are primaries- you can greatly affect who'll be on the ballot. Bernie Sanders is a Senator, you know.

But let's remember that elected officials have the legitimacy and the power. Not voting will not change anything- they can have some less legitimacy if turnout is small but that won't give any legitimacy to anybody else, so that won't help anything- if any, it will damage democracy and make dictatorial solutions more likely.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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I think it's worth pointing out that in America, for instance, a 50-60% voter turnout among people old enough to vote is normal in Presidental elections and it's about 10% lower in off-year elections. You could say then that about half the population votes and half doesn't vote. Not voting doesn't seem to have more power though since the political system keeps going.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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Personally, I think celebrities should not be involved in politics, since their chances of becoming controversial increases. The Dixie Chicks got a lot of flak for criticising the US President (Bush does have big problems, but still...), and Kanye West became a joke for sticking his nose into politics too. Johnny Rotten is hated for his comments on the British government (especially the Queen, but also other things). Rosie O'Donnell is one of the most hated celebrities in the world due to her outspoken political opinions. And back in the day Jane Fonda's involvement in politics made her very controversial.

Russell Brand is already kind of a joke, so I think he should keep his ****ing mouth shut and stay out of politics. I think he is just doing this to boost his own fame - he does not feel passionate about it.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 01:42 PM
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When people start considering celebrities as being politically relevant, that's when you know that political education isn't doing much.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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I have mixed feelings about this, at least as far as the US of A goes (I can't speak for anywhere else). In a sense, it isn't worth it because of the way our system is set up. Basically, you're given a choice between a handful of people who were chosen for you. You get the illusion that you have a choice, but can it really be said that you have a choice, when the set of choices you have is chosen for you? For example, if you're a Republican, you've got these party officials called delegates (who aren't representatives or anything, just "celebrities" like past presidents and philanthropists) who choose who the Republican nominee will be. Same thing for the Democrats and every other party.

I liken this to something I used to do when I babysat my nephews. Whenever they had to eat their vegetables, they would throw a fit. To stop this from happening, I would give them a choice between, say, carrots, sting beans, or mashed potatoes. This way they feel them like they have a choice over what they eat for dinner so they don't complain, but ultimately I'm still making them eat vegetables. That's essentially how our election system works. the choice of how the country is going to be run is basically already made for us.

But in another sense, it is worth it if there's someone who you really feel passionate about, and you really feel like this person should be in charge. In that case, I think you should vote. Or at least, if you don't, you shouldn't complain about the guy who did win. Because it's better to be able to say "I spoke up, but the people who disagree spoke louder" than to have to say "I didn't speak up at all".
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Old November 29th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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If you're going to frame the American political system as a lack of choice, then that really begs the question, who would you choose - or perhaps seeing that it is perceived that you cannot, what would you do instead? People can say that they're not satisfied with the current set up but there comes a time when you have to ask "how realistic are you?" Often it's easier for people to say how they're unsatisfied instead of how they could be satisfied, and most people don't bother to find a middle ground between what they want and the political order that exists. I think making that effort to compromise between reality and ideals - or understand and elaborate upon the gap between reality and ideals - is a marker of whether somebody is politically mature - in that they're informed, interested, and involved. Otherwise they just parrot what everybody else is saying, which is my perception of Russel Brand.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 03:23 PM
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People can say that they're not satisfied with the current set up but there comes a time when you have to ask "how realistic are you?" Often it's easier for people to say how they're unsatisfied instead of how they could be satisfied, and most people don't bother to find a middle ground between what they want and the political order that exists.
I believe I've already said it, maybe not on this thread, but in a globalized nation, Representative Democracy does not work. Even if your representative does literally everything you want TO THE DOT, there'll be too many issues for them to handle. They won't be fast enough and, as shown in the case of Lyndon Johnson, the stress would most likely kill them. You need a faster form of government in which an all-informed (internet freedom) public is able to vote instantaneously on every subject.

The best case for this is E-Democracy. It's already been shown to work and, as a form of Direct Democracy, it cuts out the middle man - having the government exist only to follow the orders of the public.


I'm an Anarchist. But even as an Anarchist, I know that the world isn't yet ready for Anarchy - close, but not quite there yet. The mid-point between Anarchy and Rep Democracy is Direct Democracy - and we ARE ready for that.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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I don't know if I want the government to exist only to follow the orders of the public. Call me conservative, but I don't think everybody is equally worthy in terms of political decision-making. Besides regular day people like you or me are unreliable. What happens when not enough people bother to vote on a specific issue? Then the decisions won't be made by the public, but whoever has the best campaign. Your ability to campaign doesn't correlate with your ability to govern.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 11:33 PM
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I believe I've already said it, maybe not on this thread, but in a globalized nation, Representative Democracy does not work. Even if your representative does literally everything you want TO THE DOT, there'll be too many issues for them to handle. They won't be fast enough and, as shown in the case of Lyndon Johnson, the stress would most likely kill them. You need a faster form of government in which an all-informed (internet freedom) public is able to vote instantaneously on every subject.

The best case for this is E-Democracy. It's already been shown to work and, as a form of Direct Democracy, it cuts out the middle man - having the government exist only to follow the orders of the public.


I'm an Anarchist. But even as an Anarchist, I know that the world isn't yet ready for Anarchy - close, but not quite there yet. The mid-point between Anarchy and Rep Democracy is Direct Democracy - and we ARE ready for that.
I do not think Representative Democracy means that the representative is responsible for pushing the agenda of every single person in their electorate. Not for a federal level candidate that you'd see in parliament anyway, the local mayor or rep is the one to handle day to day runnings of an area. Representatives should only bring the most critical of their constituents interests to the big boys table. The main purpose of a rep is to have someone highly educated and responsible debate national policy on behalf of us. On behalf of us does not mean they are required to follow the publics every whim and fancy, because a majority of regular people do not know what is best for them. Just do a good enough job and make informed decisions based on the knowlege of professionals is what reps really do. The role of voters is to follow matters of policy, make a judgement of their stance on an issue and select a candidate that best represents them. If no candidates offer what you want then start petitioning them to change their position, or you will vote for someone who will. Enough people can scare politicians into doing what they want Evaluating your reps performance is also our role as voters, it isn't to vote a certain way because we agree with a party's overall views, if your local Democrat is a lazy, corrupt crook then don't vote for him!

I think voting should be compulsory for all appropriately aged people. Not voting does more harm then good. And if you don't like the major parties then vote for an independent or something, if enough people bothered to do that instead of not vote all then maybe there'd be less of the big guns in power.

I think e-voting on every issue is flawed because as Blah said, regular people are unreliable. They do not know the facts of a situation, only what the biased media spoon feeds them. For example if all Americans could vote instantly and their uneducated and often bigoted opinion is all that mattered i'd shudder to think what would happen. Say that the popular opinion is that illegal immigrants should be expelled. I'd rather have reps to listen to the economist and human rights lawyer rather than the million Joe's who don't know jack (expletive). The people may have a say in voting parties with poor policies into power but then that is their judgement, I can't do anything but become a political activist and oppose bad policies.

You're an Anarchist? Lol, good luck with that. The only thing (violent) Anarchists get is a nice little party with a squad of riflemen pointing at their head, because any revolutionist knows that to succeed they will need popular support. No matter how bad things are, even if people want to throw out a government and reinstate a different system they want proper systems for safety and security in their lives. I would not want lawlesness or voluntary co-operation, it is only a matter of time before everything hits the fan, when that happens we crave an authority to maintain peace. People want moderation, to be free from fear of dictators but also the chaos of lawlesness. A moderate, public serving government provides that. Complain all you want and point out the unfortunate flaws but Democracy is still the best way to provide that.

Russel Brand is an idiot, "Oh I hate politicians so much, so let's just nullify my best chance to do something about it by not voting and stating my popular opinion which will influence many to do the same." If you think no-one is a worthy candidate then run yourself! You may change things, you may not, but you have a better chance than if you don't make an effort at all.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 03:50 AM
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I agree 100% with what Brand has said in that interview. I also think anyone who rejects his political views based on his career choice need to seriously reevaluate their own cultural importance.
By rejecting Brands arguments in this way you are essentially agreeing with him with his views on how Government and therefore all of humanity should respond to the wealthy.
That being said I want to point out that my political bias is not skewed by how much I like a person or their work for that matter.

Brand has some solid arguments which Paxman simply sidesteps by asking more from him. You can see in the interview that the "politically educated" like to sidestep arguments and generally avoid on-topic counter arguments by stretching out the opposition until they fail. No plan is going to be 100% efficient, and will not come without some form of consequence obviously. The way politicians interact with each other is enough for me to automatically distrust each and everyone of them.
How they are constantly in this power struggle of calculated wit between each other tells me exactly how they will act around the general population and therefore tells me exactly what they think of us, and how they plan to tackle the problems surrounding us. In case you were wondering how, I'll tell you, they will sidestep the problem and make up an excuse to try and argue the problem into remission.
I'm sorry but why are politicians always more interested in getting their hands dirty with things they're not being paid to solve, and why do they continue to be paid for not solving them?

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Old November 30th, 2013, 09:41 AM
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If you're going to frame the American political system as a lack of choice, then that really begs the question, who would you choose - or perhaps seeing that it is perceived that you cannot, what would you do instead? People can say that they're not satisfied with the current set up but there comes a time when you have to ask "how realistic are you?" Often it's easier for people to say how they're unsatisfied instead of how they could be satisfied, and most people don't bother to find a middle ground between what they want and the political order that exists. I think making that effort to compromise between reality and ideals - or understand and elaborate upon the gap between reality and ideals - is a marker of whether somebody is politically mature - in that they're informed, interested, and involved. Otherwise they just parrot what everybody else is saying, which is my perception of Russel Brand.
BiS, I think compromise is for politicking, but voting is the place for ideals. Voting is where you say "I want this." It's the starting point from which you begin to compromise. If we vote for someone who is already a compromise then we're going to end up with a compromise or a compromise. I know there is a downside where you get people elected who won't compromise, but I think if you can't feel like you're voting for what matters to you then you'll turn away from the system and give up on feeling like change is possible and I don't think that's good for a healthy democracy.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 10:26 AM
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I think Brand is brilliant. The man is wonderfully articulate, a quick and critical thinker, and is willing to put down the very system that facilitates his wealth and social status -- something a selfish person wouldn't have any reason to do.

Anyone saying he's doing it for attention is silly. Paxman is known for his hard-hitting and relentless questions which catches many of his guests off-guard, but if you've watched the interview above (there's an older one too which is equally good), Brand doesn't miss a beat. In fact, Paxman seems to change tack quite frequently just to test him but Brand proves his case solid -- to the point where he doesn't really have any questions left and in the end simply asks, "Do you see any hope?"

I've yet to see any of Brand's detractors actually justify their criticisms; the man obviously has well thought-out arguments and is quite passionate about it. He has risen in this system and sees its corruption and problems, and is using his station as a means of calling attention to it. His solution is also not apathy, it is to shun a broken mechanism that benefits few and lets down many. He's calling for change, and true change is not patchwork, but rather a new blueprint for society altogether.

I think the political system is trash. I have never voted and I never will, not because I don't care, but because I don't believe in perpetuating a broken system. Democracy is stupid because people are stupid and don't know what they want. I don't believe electing people to decide on our behalf solves this because they're just people too (and usually crooked and greedy to boot).

Our "representatives" have their own understandings of what society wants/needs and in the overly complicated mess we call "political parties" neither gets addressed except for those who have a loud enough voice, and nowadays, money = volume.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 02:30 PM
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@007

You seem to be assuming many things.

First, you assume that Representatives actually know what they're doing and that they're smarter than the propaganda spread by mainstream media. They're not. Most politicians learn theory - but never practice. They think what they are doing is best and make bets which affect the citizens under them, just waiting to see what the outcome will be. When they find out that their own stupidity and, thus, their very horribly made bets caused great pain and anguish, they then start pointing fingers at one another rather than trying to fix their own mistakes. Politicians aren't competent. Never forget Hanlon's Razor.

Second, you assume that mainstream media and a free internet both generate the same propaganda and ignorance. This isn't the case. Now that more and more people are noticing the inaccuracy of the mainstream media, they are starting to rely on an unregulated internet - which, itself, holds unlimited volumes of knowledge and wisdom. E-Democracy relies on the internet exclusively. An E-Democratic society, as long as its internet is unregulated, won't give in to propaganda like you seem to think it will.

Lastly, you assume that Anarchy is fully destructive and chaotic - always leading to revolution. No. The following should serve as an example of a proper Anarchic society rather than the IDEA of that society you've been led to believe by...oh, what? Propaganda >.> (pot calling the kettle black)


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Old November 30th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esper View Post
BiS, I think compromise is for politicking, but voting is the place for ideals. Voting is where you say "I want this." It's the starting point from which you begin to compromise. If we vote for someone who is already a compromise then we're going to end up with a compromise or a compromise. I know there is a downside where you get people elected who won't compromise, but I think if you can't feel like you're voting for what matters to you then you'll turn away from the system and give up on feeling like change is possible and I don't think that's good for a healthy democracy.
I don't mean compromise between different perspectives in the voting/decision-making process, I mean a compromise between ideals and reality within one's own worldview. We can take an issue which is very ideal, let's say renewable energy. You can say "I want renewable energy". But how do we achieve it? It's not like you press a button that converts all our fossil fuel plants to wind turbines or solar cells. Russell Brand wants an alternative form of government. "What do you mean?" "Well, I've got a lot on me plate..." He goes into the most detail when he proposes a more centralized government where more wealth is redistributed, taxes are raised, and stronger environmental regulations are enforced. How do we get there? A revolution - that's as far as his roadmap goes. Hence I don't see him as much of a role model concerning politics, he's not any wiser or more knowledgeable than average joes like us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudSilence View Post
I think Brand is brilliant. The man is wonderfully articulate, a quick and critical thinker, and is willing to put down the very system that facilitates his wealth and social status -- something a selfish person wouldn't have any reason to do.

Anyone saying he's doing it for attention is silly. Paxman is known for his hard-hitting and relentless questions which catches many of his guests off-guard, but if you've watched the interview above (there's an older one too which is equally good), Brand doesn't miss a beat. In fact, Paxman seems to change tack quite frequently just to test him but Brand proves his case solid -- to the point where he doesn't really have any questions left and in the end simply asks, "Do you see any hope?"
I don't think it's out of selflessness that he's saying what he did - it's very popular to talk like him nowadays. His case is solid, but it's nary a case. Thank you for telling us that the political system isn't working. Thank you for telling us that we should aim for the opposite direction of the status quo. No, we haven't heard that at all over the past five years, no decade, no two decades. He's not saying anything new, it's just that people tend to listen when their own economic condition is poor. If and when America gets back to 4% economic growth and under 5% unemployment, nobody's going to care about this anymore to the degree that we do now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudSilence View Post
I've yet to see any of Brand's detractors actually justify their criticisms; the man obviously has well thought-out arguments and is quite passionate about it. He has risen in this system and sees its corruption and problems, and is using his station as a means of calling attention to it. His solution is also not apathy, it is to shun a broken mechanism that benefits few and lets down many. He's calling for change, and true change is not patchwork, but rather a new blueprint for society altogether.
My criticism: he's all talk, no substance. He's calling for change, but haven't we all? What's his blueprint? At the most detailed, he proposes less disparity between rich and poor, stronger environmental protection, and higher taxes on corporations. You can say that. I can say that. Any of us can say that. I wouldn't consider his arguments to be well thought out when his insights (if I may give them the privilege to be referred to as such) aren't very groundbreaking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudSilence View Post
I think the political system is trash. I have never voted and I never will, not because I don't care, but because I don't believe in perpetuating a broken system. Democracy is stupid because people are stupid and don't know what they want. I don't believe electing people to decide on our behalf solves this because they're just people too (and usually crooked and greedy to boot).
I think that is an excellent point. If we have a revolution that ends up as another democracy, we'll deal with the same stupid people. If we have a revolution that uproots democracy, well, are any of us willing or able to consider that? Somewhere down the line we have to realize that the world is what we have. Not a hypothetical world, a very real world where our ideals will be tested to the extreme.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoudSilence View Post
Our "representatives" have their own understandings of what society wants/needs and in the overly complicated mess we call "political parties" neither gets addressed except for those who have a loud enough voice, and nowadays, money = volume.
Keep in mind that these representatives are elected by you and I. Don't think it's easy being a political representative. I'm sure any of us can run, after all nobody's stopping us. Say we get elected, and we're newbie MP's, fresh with our ideas and ready to serve our constituency. It won't be long before we're hardened by the game. You'll have to juggle a lot of balls, what your constituency wants, your personal vision, what your party wants (if you choose to be affiliated), as well as what's politically feasible. Trust me when I say that nobody created the political game. I think it's just a natural consequence of human beings being human beings. Many of our problems weren't created with intent behind it (after all, who wants to create problems?) so I think it's intuitive that it's so hard for any one actor to even suggest, let alone enact, solutions. I'm sure our representatives have the same understanding of society as we do - we're all people after all - except they have to play the game and we don't. And part of the game is us vilifying them for trying to do what they can. I believe that most representatives believe that they go into office with the best of intentions. This ties back into my first paragraph in response to Scarf - political maturity is about understanding a compromise between ideals and reality. Even with all our dissatisfaction towards them, our political representatives are among the few of us who actually get to try out that compromise between ideals and reality in practice.

On the question of voting: if you want to make a change in politics you can do it within the system or outside of the system. If you're not voting, I'm hoping you're doing your bit outside of the system. However, I would hardly characterize not voting as making change. I see "not wanting to perpetuate the current system" as a weak excuse to not be politically involved.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
I don't mean compromise between different perspectives in the voting/decision-making process, I mean a compromise between ideals and reality within one's own worldview. We can take an issue which is very ideal, let's say renewable energy. You can say "I want renewable energy". But how do we achieve it? It's not like you press a button that converts all our fossil fuel plants to wind turbines or solar cells. Russell Brand wants an alternative form of government. "What do you mean?" "Well, I've got a lot on me plate..." He goes into the most detail when he proposes a more centralized government where more wealth is redistributed, taxes are raised, and stronger environmental regulations are enforced. How do we get there? A revolution - that's as far as his roadmap goes. Hence I don't see him as much of a role model concerning politics, he's not any wiser or more knowledgeable than average joes like us.
I think you'll find there are a lot of people who already have a sort of compromise mindset when they vote for things. "I want renewable energy" is a starting point, but when you actually have propositions to vote on they're for things like voting to approve or not approve and new coal powered power plant in your county. Saying that you're for environmental protection or more regulation in the economy is a starting point and might be all you're able to say before your 10 seconds to speak your views is up or you get interrupted.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlahISuck View Post
I don't think it's out of selflessness that he's saying what he did - it's very popular to talk like him nowadays. His case is solid, but it's nary a case. Thank you for telling us that the political system isn't working. Thank you for telling us that we should aim for the opposite direction of the status quo. No, we haven't heard that at all over the past five years, no decade, no two decades. He's not saying anything new, it's just that people tend to listen when their own economic condition is poor. If and when America gets back to 4% economic growth and under 5% unemployment, nobody's going to care about this anymore to the degree that we do now.


My criticism: he's all talk, no substance. He's calling for change, but haven't we all? What's his blueprint? At the most detailed, he proposes less disparity between rich and poor, stronger environmental protection, and higher taxes on corporations. You can say that. I can say that. Any of us can say that. I wouldn't consider his arguments to be well thought out when his insights (if I may give them the privilege to be referred to as such) aren't very groundbreaking.

I guess none of us can speak for his true motivations, but I don't think he's just a bandwagoner -- he seems too sharp and too eloquent to be a superficial "slacktivist". The fact of the matter is that the problems he outlines are not really that well understood, so elucidation is necessary and he did a good enough deal of it (at least for a limited platform like an interview).

Should he go more in-depth? If he likes. I don't really think anyone is obliged to offer a solution just because they recognise and outline a problem. You can call it a wake-up call of sorts, which I do believe we need.


Quote:
I think that is an excellent point. If we have a revolution that ends up as another democracy, we'll deal with the same stupid people. If we have a revolution that uproots democracy, well, are any of us willing or able to consider that? Somewhere down the line we have to realize that the world is what we have. Not a hypothetical world, a very real world where our ideals will be tested to the extreme.
Oh snap, making this real!

In general, I think any system that offers "power to the people" is, though appealing, ultimately going to fail. It sounds nice and we like to think that everyone has equal say, but realistically there is no way that could ever work. Some people are going to have more power, and that means that the rest of us are subject to the direction they choose to take us (based on their own limited/biased understanding as human beings).


Quote:
Keep in mind that these representatives are elected by you and I. Don't think it's easy being a political representative. I'm sure any of us can run, after all nobody's stopping us. Say we get elected, and we're newbie MP's, fresh with our ideas and ready to serve our constituency. It won't be long before we're hardened by the game. You'll have to juggle a lot of balls, what your constituency wants, your personal vision, what your party wants (if you choose to be affiliated), as well as what's politically feasible. Trust me when I say that nobody created the political game. I think it's just a natural consequence of human beings being human beings. Many of our problems weren't created with intent behind it (after all, who wants to create problems?) so I think it's intuitive that it's so hard for any one actor to even suggest, let alone enact, solutions. I'm sure our representatives have the same understanding of society as we do - we're all people after all - except they have to play the game and we don't. And part of the game is us vilifying them for trying to do what they can. I believe that most representatives believe that they go into office with the best of intentions. This ties back into my first paragraph in response to Scarf - political maturity is about understanding a compromise between ideals and reality. Even with all our dissatisfaction towards them, our political representatives are among the few of us who actually get to try out that compromise between ideals and reality in practice.
I don't mean to belittle being a representative, and maybe they all do have pure intentions going in. However, if we're going to admit that the game is crooked and they can't play without becoming crooked themselves, we shouldn't absolve them of that blame. Don't play the game. Fight for a change from outside (it certainly won't happen from within).

I'm with you that it's just a consequence of human nature, but we should instead work towards a new system that doesn't depend so readily on the flaws of our nature.

Quote:
On the question of voting: if you want to make a change in politics you can do it within the system or outside of the system. If you're not voting, I'm hoping you're doing your bit outside of the system. However, I would hardly characterize not voting as making change. I see "not wanting to perpetuate the current system" as a weak excuse to not be politically involved.
100% agreed. Can't speak for Brand, but I can at least say for myself that not voting is not where my "activism" stops

As for working within or outside of a system, question to consider...would you rather piece together a shattered mirror or make a new one?
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