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Topic: Why Americans Are So Angry?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 12:59 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just read an article from The Economist titled "Why Americans Are So Angry?":

"BELIEVE the polls, and Americans have decided that they live in Italy: hobbled by dishonest leaders and such endemic corruption that only fools would trust strangers.

Grim findings have been coming thick and fast. Most Americans no longer see President Barack Obama as honest. Half think that he “knowingly lied” to pass his Obamacare health law. Fewer than one in five trust the government in Washington to do what is right all or most of the time. Confidence in Congress has fallen to record lows: in America, as in Italy and Greece, just one in ten voters expresses trust or confidence in the national parliament. Frankly straining credulity, a mammoth, 107-country poll by Transparency International, a corruption monitor, this summer found Americans more likely than Italians to say that they feel that the police, business and the media are all “corrupt or extremely corrupt”.

Americans are also turning on one another. Since 1972 the Chicago-based General Social Survey (GSS) has been asking whether most people can be trusted, or whether “you can’t be too careful” in daily life. Four decades ago Americans were evenly split. Now almost two-thirds say others cannot be trusted, a record high. Recently the Associated Press sought to add context to the GSS data, asking Americans if they placed much trust in folk they met away from home, or in the workers who swiped their payment cards when out shopping. Most said no.

The press is full of headlines about an American crisis of trust. That is too hasty. Lexington spent years in Asia and Europe reporting from countries cursed by official corruption and low trust among strangers. America is not that sort of society.

In genuinely low-trust societies, suspicion blights lives and hobbles economies. In China, even successful urbanites distrust business and government, worrying constantly about the food they buy and the air they breathe. Yet those same successful Chinese have little confidence in the poor. Chinese friends used to urge Lexington never to play Good Samaritan at an accident scene, insisting that anyone rich who stopped to help would be blamed for the victim’s injuries and pursued for compensation.

It is true that America faces grave problems. Congress has had an unproductive year: shutting down the federal government was a notable low point. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confessed to subjecting Tea Party and other political groups to special scrutiny, enraging conservatives. But to put such antics in perspective, this year Italy’s richest media tycoon and its ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was convicted of tax fraud, of paying an underage prostitute and abuse of power.

In genuinely low-trust countries, tax evasion comes naturally: when those at the top cheat, only dupes follow the rules. But America shows few signs of surging tax evasion. The most recent IRS “tax gap” estimates found no significant decline in the proportion of taxes paid voluntarily and on time. Nor are Americans at soaring risk of being ripped off in daily life. The latest survey of consumer fraud by the Federal Trade Commission found a fall in the prevalence of scams. Payment-card fraud is rising, but only in proportion with overall card use, says FICO, a fraud-management firm: crooked shop staff affect “percents of a percent” of transactions.

None of this justifies complacency. Americans are dangerously angry. But when they voice Italian levels of distrust for authorities, or sweepingly accuse fellow-citizens of being crooks, they are not describing reality. Here is a theory: Americans are instead revealing how deeply they are divided. Dig into headlines about “half of all Americans” thinking this or that, and large partisan or demographic divides lurk. Take that poll finding that half of voters think Mr Obama lied to pass his health plan. Look more closely, and eight in ten Republicans think he fibbed, but fewer than one in four Democrats. As for headline GSS numbers about overall trust between Americans, they conceal a big race gap: for decades around 80% of black Americans have consistently said that most people cannot be trusted. The bulk of the recent decline involves whites becoming less trusting, says Tom Smith, the survey’s director. Explaining that decline is a complex business, but over the same period society has become more impersonal and more economically unequal. Robert Putnam of Harvard University, a pioneer in the study of “social capital”, argues that Americans’ trust in one another has been declining steadily since the “golden” aftermath of the second world war, when civic activity and a sense of community among neighbours were at a peak.

Trust in institutions has risen and fallen over that same post-war period in line with external events, plunging after the Watergate scandal, for instance, and during recessions. Yet something new seems to be happening. Anti-government cynicism is feeding on gulfs in society.

Conservatives think Democrats buy votes with welfare
Consider the crisis around Obamacare. Forget fussing about its useless website: websites can be fixed. The president’s headache is that voters see his plan as welfare for the poor rather than a better way of delivering medical care. That is exposing ugly divisions. Most starkly, a majority of whites think the law will make life worse for them, a National Journal poll found, while most non-whites believe it will help people like them. That in turn tallies with a big change over the previous 15 years: a collapse in support among conservatives for government safety nets.

This is America’s real problem with trust. The country faces a crisis of mutual resentment, masquerading as a general collapse in national morale. Sharply-delineated voter blocs are alarmingly willing to believe that rival groups are up to no good or taking more than their fair share. Polls describing America as a hell-hole of corruption are not to be taken literally. They are a warning. America is not a low-trust society. But it risks becoming one."

From the print edition: United States, The Economist.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 07 2013, 2:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is all just right-wing hysteria.

/sarcasm

I really need to renew my subscription after it lapsed. Lexington is always one of my favorite reads.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 10:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Americans are angry in part because for the first time in our history it genuinely appears that our children will be worse off than their parents. Millions of people lost their jobs and/or their homes in the recession, and all too often the work they've found is a substantial reduction in their standard of living. We perceive that America is in decline; there is more fear than pride.

Americans are angry at each other because we are deeply divided over the causes of the decline, and who is to blame.

Conservatives believe our country is undermined by people who blame America for the wars we are in and would rather "apologize" to foreign enemies than fight for freedom; by foreigners who enter our country illegally and take our jobs; by moochers who would rather take a handout than work for a living; by muslims and godless atheists trying to destroy Christianity; by abortionists and homosexuals tearing apart the moral fabric of society; by liberals who would tear apart the Constitution and take away everyone's guns; and by an out of control government that enslaves a once free people through taxation and regulations that restrict and will ultimately destroy the freedoms our nation's Founders fought for and so many brave Americans died for on battlefields throughout our history.

Liberals see great wealth is still being produced in this country and that it is being concentrated in fewer hands at the top while the minimum wage has dropped in value and the middle class is declining. Trickle-down economics does not work. Corporations and their major shareholders are sitting on piles of cash but are not creating jobs. Unions and public sector workers like teachers are being scapegoated for budget deficits and a recession that was caused by a lack of regulation and oversight of Wall Street speculators and banks "too big to fail" that were bailed out while Americans who worked hard all their lives lost their jobs and their homes. The real job creators are average citizens with disposable income, but the politicians put in office by the corporate owners insist on reducing deficits on the backs of those who can least afford it. They want to cut Social Security and raise the retirement age while fighting tooth and nail against any tax increase on the wealthy or cuts in military spending. Liberals are appalled that our military spending exceeds the next 17 nations combined while our infrastructure crumbles at home, and were outraged at the lies that misled us into the costly fiasco in Iraq. Those who protested were called traitors and terrorist sympathizers, while our troops died needlessly for PNAC delusions and the avarice of the MIC. Liberals believe climate scientists who are not on the payroll of Big Oil, and view protection of the environment of this planet as a necessity for the sustainability of human civilization and an obligation to the generations that come after us. Corporations will always seek to externalize the costs of pollution, and left unregulated innocent people pay the price with shortened lives and we all pay for the medical expenses. Liberals believe that universal access to health care is a prerequisite for any advanced society, and it enhances personal freedom. Too many Americans with jobs and insurance have been bankrupted by medical bills. Personal freedom includes women making decisions about their own bodies and consenting adults being free to marry whom they choose. Separation of church and state is the cornerstone of religious freedom. Our political/electoral process has been corrupted by equating money with speech and granting personhood to corporate entities. To truly have a government of, by, and for The People we need a separation of corporation and state.

Why and how liberals and conservatives have come to hold such opposing views -- and which is closer to reality -- is at the core of the challenge we face. A better future can be achieved only by the American people working together for our common interests. I believe a protester at a Tea Party rally and a person who camped to Occupy Wall Street have much more in common in terms of economic interests than either have with Jamie Dimon or the Koch brothers.

But the American people can't work together while we see each other as enemies, and I suspect the Powers That Be want it that way. A great man once said A house divided against itself cannot stand. He was talking about the institution of slavery, but I think it applies just as much today. A people divided against themselves cannot stand together for their own common good. While we're at each other's throats, the real owners of this country laugh all the way to the bank.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 10:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great post all the way around DW!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 11:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice summation Woody.

I would only add that you generally summarize the more polarized views on each end of the political spectrum. The American electorate consists of a large middle third that espouses a moderate blend of these views, and one that is probably characterized as more socially liberal but more fiscally conservative. There are many shades of political grey (or purple) in this large but overlooked segment, but in this winner take all system, the extremists wage most of the war.

I think it's foolish to see our country in such red/blue terms. Not that you do, because your views I would describe as moderate left. But there are a few here that mindlessly characterize those as not espousing their views as being part of the opposing fringe, which in turn puts them on periphery.

I just don't think the dichotomy is as strong as the headlines make it appear.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 11:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would agree with DW and HJ.
And add that the era of 24/7 "News" and the internet has given the fringe of both sides a better mouthpiece.  This has helped the fringes recruit those among us who need someone or something to follow.  This has resulted in larger and more vocal fringes.  But there are still many, many reasonable people in between those fringes who would rather think for themselves than blindly follow the extremists.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

[QUOTE]I think it's foolish to see our country in such red/blue terms. Not that you do, because your views I would describe as moderate left. But there are a few here that mindlessly characterize those as not espousing their views as being part of the opposing fringe, which in turn puts them on periphery.
+ 1 from a moderate right person.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 1:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't agree 100% with all the comments in this thread.

But, IMO, the comments so far are maybe the most insightful and thought provoking that I've read on this site.  Wish I could add something to what has already been said.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 1:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Dec. 08 2013, 8:47 am)
QUOTE
I would agree with DW and HJ.
And add that the era of 24/7 "News" and the internet has given the fringe of both sides a better mouthpiece.  This has helped the fringes recruit those among us who need someone or something to follow.  This has resulted in larger and more vocal fringes.  But there are still many, many reasonable people in between those fringes who would rather think for themselves than blindly follow the extremists.

Additionally, the relative anonymity of internet has made incivility almost the norm.  Just look at the exchanges that occur here on a daily basis.  People say things to others online that they would never say face to face.  I suppose we all can fall into that trap from time to time, but some seem to make a habit of it.  

I enjoy many of the thought-provoking discussions that occur here.  I could do without the constant sniping though.  We could all combat the general atmosphere of anger by making greater efforts to be civil to one another right here in this forum - myself included.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 4:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hbfa @ Dec. 08 2013, 1:58 pm)
QUOTE

(hbfa @ Dec. 08 2013, 8:47 am)
QUOTE
I would agree with DW and HJ.
And add that the era of 24/7 "News" and the internet has given the fringe of both sides a better mouthpiece.  This has helped the fringes recruit those among us who need someone or something to follow.  This has resulted in larger and more vocal fringes.  But there are still many, many reasonable people in between those fringes who would rather think for themselves than blindly follow the extremists.

Additionally, the relative anonymity of internet has made incivility almost the norm.  Just look at the exchanges that occur here on a daily basis.  People say things to others online that they would never say face to face.  I suppose we all can fall into that trap from time to time, but some seem to make a habit of it.  

I enjoy many of the thought-provoking discussions that occur here.  I could do without the constant sniping though.  We could all combat the general atmosphere of anger by making greater efforts to be civil to one another right here in this forum - myself included.

I agree that anonymity, and a lack of personal contact, makes it easier to divide ourselves.

Americans increasingly are living in self-contained bubbles with a diminishing need to talk, discuss, disagree respectfully  face-to-face.

I realize there are many complex factors which have contributed to this phenomena.

But, again showing my age, there are a couple of minor factors that I believe have been a catalyst to our withdrawing each day into our little bunkers, especially here in the South:  TV and Air-conditioning.

(Don't laugh, I am serious).

Growing up in the 40's and 50's, neighbors were out on their shaded  porches in the evenings, or in chairs underneath huge trees, chatting across the street to each other, watching kids play, radios crackled thru open windows.

You had no choice but speak to your neighbors, even those you didn't like all that much.  

By the mid-50's, that was changing quickly, at least in my hometown, at a pace roughly equivalent to the pace that TV antennas began to appear.  Windows started getting shut, plugged by A/C units.  Porches started to empty.  So did yards.  Neighbors had less and less contact.  

And, to at least a very small degree, those in my hometown lost a little bit of common ground, a little less need to practice civility.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 6:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Dec. 08 2013, 10:18 am)
QUOTE
Nice summation Woody.

I would only add that you generally summarize the more polarized views on each end of the political spectrum. The American electorate consists of a large middle third that espouses a moderate blend of these views, and one that is probably characterized as more socially liberal but more fiscally conservative. There are many shades of political grey (or purple) in this large but overlooked segment, but in this winner take all system, the extremists wage most of the war.

I think it's foolish to see our country in such red/blue terms. Not that you do, because your views I would describe as moderate left. But there are a few here that mindlessly characterize those as not espousing their views as being part of the opposing fringe, which in turn puts them on periphery.

I just don't think the dichotomy is as strong as the headlines make it appear.

Thanks HJ.

I think my summary of conservatives was definitely on the far right of the spectrum (had the Tea Party in mind) while my summary of liberalism (largely my own views) was moderate left. It was perhaps not a balanced portrayal and one can never accurately paint a complicated subject with a broad brush, but given the Tea Party's influence in Congress and in GOP primaries I think it was a fair reflection of our country's politics if not the majority of its voters. Those on the far left like the Occupy movement are much more marginalized and disempowered.

I agree it is foolish to see our country in red/blue terms because that is a mindset that keeps us divided and unable to stand together for our own best interests. I like the concept of a "blend" of views held by many in the middle who do not conform to ideological orthodoxy and don't necessarily fall somewhere along the two dimensional axis of left versus right.

Major media paints our politics in hues of red and blue, and their idea of "balanced" is to feature politicos from opposite camps. The viewer is either already rooting for "their side" or faced with trying to discern the truth between the spin. What passes for "journalism" is often little more than infotainment designed to attract the most viewers to generate revenue from commercials. The success of our republic depends on a well-informed electorate, but the corporate media's marketplace of ideas does more to poison our national discourse than to promote a greater understanding of the issues and challenges we face.

Enlightened leadership is needed at every level, but our political/electoral system has become an institution of two parties reliant on big money special interests to win elections. This system of legalized bribery with fundraising and campaigning as the prerequisite to elected office seldom attracts the best citizens to a career of honest public service, and gerrymandered congressional districts foster candidates on the extremes while protecting incumbents.

It's a lot easier to identify these problems than to find the means to implement the needed changes.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 7:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In my opinion, Americans are angry because we're several decades into a flawed social experiment based on an unworkable paradox: we indulge in self-interest, yet we expect collective prosperity

Our pursuit of self-interest has essentially stripped away any meaningful distinction of what it means to be an American.  Very few people seem to value the ideals of collective prosperity, collective achievement, or collective sacrifice.  I am 41 years old, and in my entire lifetime I've only ever been called by my leadership to act one time: after 9/11, President Bush asked me to go shopping.  

We are angry because we have starry-eyed dreams of great personal wealth, yet we utterly sabotage our chances of attaining it.  We idealize and protect those who are already wealthy, which empowers them to gather even more, and we actively impede the success of our social peers (and thus ourselves) through suspicion and jealousy.

We are angry because we think cheap frugality will lead to personal prosperity, and can't understand that we get out what we put in.  We want to buy everything for nothing, yet somehow expect our own salaries to be high...we want all the best services from government, yet somehow expect our taxes to be low.  

We are angry because our institutions no longer serve their core purpose, and yet we all go to work in those institutions every day and behave in a self-interested manner.  

People on the right are angry because they birthed this culture of "self-reliance", but they lack the grace and self-inspection to admit its obvious failure - without this self-awareness they lash out for scapegoats.  

People on the left are angry because they cowardly capitulated, and now they are the unfair targets of the misguided fury of the right.  There is no truly progressive agenda whatsoever, there is only an imaginary one invented by the right - the political equivalent of your older brother hitting you with your own arm and saying "stop hitting yourself, fool!"

Unless we give up this experiment, the prognosis is not good.  History rarely has a successful outcome for internal division...



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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 8:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There is so much I could say on this topic but just to focus on two specific things about this article.

First about the claim "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confessed to subjecting Tea Party and other
political groups to special scrutiny". Well that turned out to be NOT true as I explained and documented
here

Second about this part:"Conservatives think Democrats buy votes with welfare". Well many conservatives do
think even though its ludicrous.  If the name of the game is "buying votes" then obviously politicians
would have the most to gain by pandering to those who have the money rather than those who don't have the
money. As it turns out there has been research on this that shows that Congress pays much more attention
to what the wealthy want than the poor surprise surprise. The specific research I'm thinking about I've
discussed before on this forum and its from Larry Bartels  of Vanderbilt although I think he did the
research while he was at Princeton.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 9:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dennis The Menace @ Dec. 08 2013, 8:55 pm)
QUOTE
There is so much I could say on this topic but just to focus on two specific things about this article.

First about the claim "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confessed to subjecting Tea Party and other
political groups to special scrutiny". Well that turned out to be NOT true as I explained and documented
here

Second about this part:"Conservatives think Democrats buy votes with welfare". Well many conservatives do
think even though its ludicrous.  If the name of the game is "buying votes" then obviously politicians
would have the most to gain by pandering to those who have the money rather than those who don't have the
money. As it turns out there has been research on this that shows that Congress pays much more attention
to what the wealthy want than the poor surprise surprise. The specific research I'm thinking about I've
discussed before on this forum and its from Larry Bartels  of Vanderbilt although I think he did the
research while he was at Princeton.

Dennis,

Try to see the forest through the trees. You are pursuing arguments that represent one side of the story. That's not the point of this thread, or at least the last round of posts. It is not a rehashing of the multitude of prosecutions lobbed back and forth so often in these forums. You are arguing evidence, but most of the points in this thread are people who the jury selection got so out of whack.

My guess is that the middle third of the electorate views these tales of malfeasance coming from either side with a healthy dose of skepticism, or perhaps resigned indifference toward a system that appears hopelessly polarized, hyperbolized, and broken.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 9:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

HJ

Please

I was simply noting two things that jumped out regarding that article that I wanted to set the
record straight and of course those two examples illustrate what is generating some of the
anger which I will get into in another post.  I think its beyond arrogant to try suggest how
I should reply.  I specifically find your remark "is not  a rehashing of the multitude of
prosecutions lobbed back  and forth so often in these forums" because its precisely that kind
of response that gets the and forth going. On that note you will dislike my next reply even more.

So please let me respond the way I want to and you can choose to respond substantively or not.

that OK with you?


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 9:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(orygawn @ Dec. 08 2013, 7:35 pm)
QUOTE
In my opinion, Americans are angry because we're several decades into a flawed social experiment based on an unworkable paradox: we indulge in self-interest, yet we expect collective prosperity

Our pursuit of self-interest has essentially stripped away any meaningful distinction of what it means to be an American.  Very few people seem to value the ideals of collective prosperity, collective achievement, or collective sacrifice.  I am 41 years old, and in my entire lifetime I've only ever been called by my leadership to act one time: after 9/11, President Bush asked me to go shopping.  

We are angry because we have starry-eyed dreams of great personal wealth, yet we utterly sabotage our chances of attaining it.  We idealize and protect those who are already wealthy, which empowers them to gather even more, and we actively impede the success of our social peers (and thus ourselves) through suspicion and jealousy.

We are angry because we think cheap frugality will lead to personal prosperity, and can't understand that we get out what we put in.  We want to buy everything for nothing, yet somehow expect our own salaries to be high...we want all the best services from government, yet somehow expect our taxes to be low.  

We are angry because our institutions no longer serve their core purpose, and yet we all go to work in those institutions every day and behave in a self-interested manner.  

People on the right are angry because they birthed this culture of "self-reliance", but they lack the grace and self-inspection to admit its obvious failure - without this self-awareness they lash out for scapegoats.  

People on the left are angry because they cowardly capitulated, and now they are the unfair targets of the misguided fury of the right.  There is no truly progressive agenda whatsoever, there is only an imaginary one invented by the right - the political equivalent of your older brother hitting you with your own arm and saying "stop hitting yourself, fool!"

Unless we give up this experiment, the prognosis is not good.  History rarely has a successful outcome for internal division...




I am an American and I'm  not angry.  Actually pretty happy despite the destruction the current administration is imposing on the nation.

Your post is very revealing.  It is clear that you feel like a victim.  Some class envy in there too.  You've been called up once.  How many times did you stand up and raise your hand and do something.  Why do you need somebody to tell you to do something.

Virtually my entire adult life has been spent in service, and I didn't need to be told to do it.  Maybe that's why I'm happier than you.  I'm not a victim. I make things happen.  I recognize the opportunity in this land and seize it.  My income from paychecks has never been all that great.  But by living within my means and investing wisely I am very comfortable.

This country is faltering because entire classes of the population sit around and mope and play the victim rather than lifting themselves up and doing something.

Two great pieces of literature that define this nation came from 1776. The Declaration of Independence and The Wealth of Nations.  Clearly the sleeping bag never read the later.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 9:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Actually, I think Americans are angry because they can't simultaneously record Honey Boo Boo, Duck Dynasty and Housewives of Beverly Hills at the same time because Direct TV forces their Hoppers to record four network shows during prime time instead of the shows they would choose....and this is supposed to be a free country!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 9:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Dec. 07 2013, 2:15 pm)
QUOTE
This is all just right-wing hysteria.

/sarcasm

I really need to renew my subscription after it lapsed. Lexington is always one of my favorite reads.

Well of course its not sarcastic(not even close) to say that, even though I know some don't
like to hear/read this, that a large proportion of the political anger is a result of
year in and year out a mass orgy of lies and irrational hysteria coming from what I would
call the right-wing entertainment/echo machine. Every year it gets more hysterical and
more loony especially now that Obama is the president. What is really frustrating is that
there are scores of people who seem totally immune to anything to counter this propaganda
(we see it on this forum time and time again among a number of posters) that they believe
is the truth. What is insidious is that those who are trapped in this bubble(Again I don't
see an equivalent, at least in magnitude, on the left) will not go outside of the bubble
because they have been indoctrinated by this right-wing entertainment/echo machine to believe
anything else can't be trusted becaue its part of the so called "liberal media" (BTW nice
and clever marketing ploy there by the right-wing entertainment/echo machine).

I know many people don't like to acknowledge the above even though I think its quite
obvious

very much related to the above is the fact that large segments of the population can't
even agree what the basic facts are as a result of people getting their information from
very different types of sources and of course that will defiently contribute to conflict
and thus anger. In years past there were less sources to get information and the news
sources were less concerned with making a profit which in turn made their presentation of
the news less sensationalized.

Now of course there are other factors that contribute to the anger one of which DW discussed
which was as DW put it->Americans are angry in part because for the first time in our history
it genuinely appears that our children will be worse off than their parents.
. Part and parcel
to this is the very strong feeling(that I think is much more than a feeling but very consistent
with reality in America) that the system is rigged. What I mean is that the political/economic
system is geared to keep intrenched power intact(which relates directly to that study from
Larry Bartels in that other post).

There is also the issue of polarization. Politically both parties are farther than they have
been in over a century.  Massive Gerrymandering then gives the parties less incentive to work
together. Then you add huge big money into the mix that gets worse and worse and that gives
the politicians even less incentives to really listen to the people and that in turn contributes
to anger.

and course we are still experiencing the aftermath of the worst recession since the depression
and during such times people are more likely to look for scapegoats. Yes the economy is
improving but how much of the improvement is really going to towards people that need help?

Then the above ties into globalization and in years past people didn't have level of competition
they have as a result of globalization which makes getting an education even that more important
but unfortunately the cost of education is getting more and more expensive. I'm sure that
contributes to the anger.

Meanwhile while so many people are struggling for all these reasons and more there is a very small
segment of the population that is doing very well and some of these people work in Wall street and
the finance industry. The same people that had a lot to do with tanking our economy but who were
bailed out and at the same time got some nice bonuses. So you can add this to the list of reasons
that probably contribute to the anger.

So in a nutshell I would say the American dream(in which I don't mean becoming stinking rich) seems
so out of reach for so many Americans but at the same time a certain small segment of the population
is doing very well and can't even contemplate the struggles that the vast majority of Americans are
going through(and might even have contempt for these Americans choosing to think of them as "leeches",
"moochers", etc.... At the same time there are some within this group, that are doing very well, that
exploit the fears of Americans who specialize at misdirection and to get people to direct their anger
at people/organizations that aren't the cause of their struggles.

Like I said I could say a lot more on this.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 10:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I did not read that ^, and never will. Thanks for the warning.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 08 2013, 11:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

HJ

actually it was only the first(and following sentence) paragraph that might have offended you even though
it was not a personal shot against you in anyway


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 12:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(pass-thru @ Dec. 08 2013, 6:30 pm)
QUOTE
I am an American and I'm  not angry.  Actually pretty happy despite the destruction the current administration is imposing on the nation.

Interesting response...somewhat indicative of the point I was trying to make.  This article is about Americans (plural) being angry, and you turned the discussion into an entirely personal one.  Do you deny that there is prevalent political/social/economic anger in the US, or do you just prefer talking about yourself (and me) instead?

But as long as we're making it personal...please explain something: how can you be personally happy if you think the current administration is destroying the nation?  Don't you want a better outcome?  Honest curious question - are you someone hoping for the Rapture?

QUOTE
Your post is very revealing.  It is clear that you feel like a victim.  Some class envy in there too.

Quite the opposite.  I own a successful business - I'm what misguided people might call a "job creator" (my customers create the jobs, not me) with 6 employees, and my income is roughly in the top 15% this year.  

I achieved this business success without whining about taxes & regulation, without demanding special treatment from the government, without exploiting my workers, without gouging my customers for short-term gain, and most importantly without the delusional masturbatory fantasy that I did it all by my heroic self.

I am living, standing proof that economic prosperity is possible without adhering to the standard "free market, small government, self-reliant" narratives of the right today - and more to my point, prosperity without stepping on anyone else.  

QUOTE
You've been called up once.  How many times did you stand up and raise your hand and do something.  Why do you need somebody to tell you to do something

In 2001 I was unemployed, so I politely declined Mr. Bush's noble call to lift the nation up in my shopping bags & went down to volunteer at the Red Cross.  I devoted about half my time to them for the next 3 years, while finishing my college degree.  Thank you for (not really) asking.  These days with less time I have to let my money do the work, supporting food banks and pediatric cancer charities.  

All kind of beside the point though...what I was trying to discuss was the lack of a national shared sense of purpose.  The interstate highway system and the NASA space race would be shouted down as government waste in today's cultural climate.  We haven't had a draft since the 70s, and haven't been asked to pay for a war since the 40s.  

Do you honestly deny or disregard the argument that previous generations had more unifying national causes to inspire collective involvement than we do today?

QUOTE
This country is faltering because entire classes of the population sit around and mope and play the victim rather than lifting themselves up and doing something.

What "classes" are you referring to?  Interesting that you accuse me of "class envy", then make this statement just two paragraphs later.  

But anyways...yes, people absolutely need to lift themselves up.  I've never advocated otherwise.  But self reliance and collective advocacy are not exclusive ideas.  If we look out for others in addition to ourselves, the whole tide rises.

QUOTE
Two great pieces of literature that define this nation came from 1776. The Declaration of Independence and The Wealth of Nations.  Clearly the sleeping bag never read the later.

Ha!    :laugh:
Nice try, but I have a business degree.  Smith is not god, and The Wealth of Nations is not the bible.  There are alternative, very viable economic guides.  Personally, I'm in the camp that believes "the invisible hand" needs a good hard swat from time to time, to keep it in line...but that is another argument for another day.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 1:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(pass-thru @ Dec. 08 2013, 9:30 pm)
QUOTE

(orygawn @ Dec. 08 2013, 7:35 pm)
QUOTE
In my opinion, Americans are angry because we're several decades into a flawed social experiment based on an unworkable paradox: we indulge in self-interest, yet we expect collective prosperity

Our pursuit of self-interest has essentially stripped away any meaningful distinction of what it means to be an American.  Very few people seem to value the ideals of collective prosperity, collective achievement, or collective sacrifice.  I am 41 years old, and in my entire lifetime I've only ever been called by my leadership to act one time: after 9/11, President Bush asked me to go shopping.  

We are angry because we have starry-eyed dreams of great personal wealth, yet we utterly sabotage our chances of attaining it.  We idealize and protect those who are already wealthy, which empowers them to gather even more, and we actively impede the success of our social peers (and thus ourselves) through suspicion and jealousy.

We are angry because we think cheap frugality will lead to personal prosperity, and can't understand that we get out what we put in.  We want to buy everything for nothing, yet somehow expect our own salaries to be high...we want all the best services from government, yet somehow expect our taxes to be low.  

We are angry because our institutions no longer serve their core purpose, and yet we all go to work in those institutions every day and behave in a self-interested manner.  

People on the right are angry because they birthed this culture of "self-reliance", but they lack the grace and self-inspection to admit its obvious failure - without this self-awareness they lash out for scapegoats.  

People on the left are angry because they cowardly capitulated, and now they are the unfair targets of the misguided fury of the right.  There is no truly progressive agenda whatsoever, there is only an imaginary one invented by the right - the political equivalent of your older brother hitting you with your own arm and saying "stop hitting yourself, fool!"

Unless we give up this experiment, the prognosis is not good.  History rarely has a successful outcome for internal division...




I am an American and I'm  not angry.  Actually pretty happy despite the destruction the current administration is imposing on the nation.

Your post is very revealing.  It is clear that you feel like a victim.  Some class envy in there too.  You've been called up once.  How many times did you stand up and raise your hand and do something.  Why do you need somebody to tell you to do something.

Virtually my entire adult life has been spent in service, and I didn't need to be told to do it.  Maybe that's why I'm happier than you.  I'm not a victim. I make things happen.  I recognize the opportunity in this land and seize it.  My income from paychecks has never been all that great.  But by living within my means and investing wisely I am very comfortable.

This country is faltering because entire classes of the population sit around and mope and play the victim rather than lifting themselves up and doing something.

Two great pieces of literature that define this nation came from 1776. The Declaration of Independence and The Wealth of Nations.  Clearly the sleeping bag never read the later.

Oh you're not a right-winger yet you say far out reactionary crap like
"despite the destruction the current administration is imposing on the nation."

you're not a right-winger yet you yet again use one of the right's favorite
slogans "class envy".

Ya you're in the middle like Jesse Helms was in the middle

As for your response to orygawn, while orygawn's post shows that he is probably more pessimistic than
me (which is pretty remarkable although I would qualify that by saying I'm realistically pessimistic)
orygawn made an intelligent response that wasn't about so much being the victim. It was about the
internal inconsistencies of what angers Americans and how what they expect is to a high degree
inconsistent with other things they expect. To dismiss his response with a response that amounts to
"you're playing the victim" is part of the problem. Your response attempts, perhaps unwittingly, to
intimidate views that go against conventional wisdom and/or the establishment.  We need more people
who talk truth to power or take on conventional wisdom, not less.

BTW given your recent posts in the Mandela thread you started I think you're in no position to accuse
someone of feeling like a victim or playing the victim.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 2:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

:D   I suppose my pessimism is...not exactly inspiring, indeed.  I do see trouble - in our own souls, which is the hardest thing of all to fix.  

Perhaps a story would better illustrate my point.  

My last employer before going out on my own was a company that produces online training videos for a subscription fee.  We hired lots of 20-something kids to do the basic video/audio editing and graphics work - junior level work, but in my opinion a really great starter gig for a young adult.  

Anyways, these guys were always angry about their lot in life...they wanted faster promotions, more money, more respect, etc.  Many came to me for advice on how to move up.  

One day, I was talking with some of them about iPods.  They wanted ones with eleventy-trillion gigglebytes, to fit all their music.  
"Good grief" I said, "how much friggin music do you have?"
"Oh, like 10,000 songs"  
"How on earth can you afford to buy 10,000 songs?"
<scornful laughter>
"I downloaded them free!  Fool, nobody pays for music"

"Uh, do you realize that you work for a company that sells digital content?"
"Yeah"
"Do you work hard producing that content?"
"Yeah"
"Do you expect our customers to pay for the content you worked so hard on?"
"Yeah"
"Well what if they don't?  What if, like you, they pirate the content then laugh and say 'fool, nobody pays for these instructional videos!'"
"Uhh"
"Do you think you'd still have a job?  Do you think the bosses would still pay you out of kindness?  How can you keep asking for raises, while stealing from your counterparts in your own industry?"
"Please go away, you're scaring us..."

That's the mentality I'm talking about.  They had no perception of themselves as being part of an institution - an industry - they even regarded their own company as their adversary.  All that mattered was their own personal desires and ambition.

I see this self-absorbed institutional disconnect everywhere I look. Nobody seems to stop and think, if the whole world acted like me, what would the world be like?

It's what makes doctors push pills instead of cures.  It's what makes hospital administrators send $900,000 bills to widows.  It's what makes university administrators send graduates home with $150,000 in debt.  It's what perpetuates our low wage culture of cheapness, our indignance toward the government.  Etc, etc, etc, etc....
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 3:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My 2 cents

the anger is simply a manifestation of unhappiness .. and largely an inevitable result o what is now a half century long experiment on social brain washing through relentless marketing and advertising. We've been subjected to, and subjected ourselves to, a persistent, persuasive and unmitigated input of the corporate narrative, the myth that wealth/material stuff will make us happy .. and it does, for a very short period of time, so we pursue it even harder. All the time becoming more frustrated, depressed and addicted to the myth.

And before folks simply dismiss the idea, read some of Ted Roszak's Ecopsychology literature.

Orygawn, you should post more .. great posts above, thanks.

Cheers


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 6:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

How can orygawn be both a liberal and a successful businessman? Limbaugh has made it clear that's not possible.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Post #23 wins the fruit basket!
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(HighGravity @ Dec. 09 2013, 6:56 am)
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How can orygawn be both a liberal and a successful businessman? Limbaugh has made it clear that's not possible.

Because Limbaugh is just like every other dumb-arsed extremist from each side of the spectrum. They only see the oversimplified dichotomy of red/blue, and none of the shades of purple that actually comprise a larger share of the electorate.

But just because Limbaugh/Fox/Hannity/MSNBC/HuffPost sells it, it does not mean we should buy it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What Limbaugh sees?
I think the only think Limbaugh sees is the number of zeros on his paycheck from selling snake oil.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Read Fight Club. It's all in there.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 09 2013, 2:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Good posts Ory!

Perceptions are a funny thing. Freedom, justice, truth, ruination, and extremes are all subjective. Media has made it far easier to distrust the reliability of the perception of others. Most of us (there are some glaring exceptions) on this forum can see more of the nuance of issues than we can express in hasty posts, but why bother putting much time into a post, when you know that the individuals you most disagree with, are't going to read it, or take any time to consider your message.


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