General discussion


Principle vs. Politics -and- Reality vs. Rhetoric

By maxwell edison ·
Definitions (From American Heritage):

Rhetoric: Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric.

Reality: That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.

Principle: The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: His is a decision based on principle rather than expediency.

Politics: Intrigue or maneuvering within a political unit or group in order to gain control or power: Partisan politics is often an obstruction to good government. Office politics are often debilitating and counterproductive.

All too many people either don't know the difference and/or substitute (knowingly or otherwise) one for the other.

An argument based on principle is usually (but not always) followed by an application of, or as applicable to, reality. While an argument based on politics is usually (but not always) followed by rhetoric.

Personally, I always try to apply both principle and reality to my arguments. I try to avoid the usual political rhetoric.

Examples of political rhetoric:

The rich are getting richer on the backs of the poor.

Bush is in the pockets of "big oil".

Examples of principled reality:

The individual owes it to both himself and society to accept full and total self responsibility.

Oil is a vital factor in both the American economy and the world economy.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know. I chose examples based on my "principled reality", or my "bias". Feel free to share your own.

Another disclaimer: "Bias", when based on "principled reality", is not a bad thing, especially if clearly admitted and supported. For example, my "bias" is towards less government involvement in social issues, not more. (Will anyone admit to having a "bias" espousing MORE government involvement in social issues? If so, admit it, rest on YOUR principles, and have a go at it WITHOUT relying on rhetoric.)

In my experience, the political left relies almost entirely on political rhetoric. (And the only ones who will probably disagree are the left-leaning among us.) However, how can the argument "yes, it is right and proper to take the property from the person who earned it, so government can give it to a person who did not earn it", stand on its own merit? Personally, I've never even seen anyone try (except, of course, in cases of Mao's little red book or Marx's The Communist Manifesto) without relying, either in whole or in part, on political rhetoric.

And in regards to my previous example, The individual owes it to both himself and society to accept full and total self responsibility, how can the opposite possibly be argued with any semblance of merit without relying on the usual, tired and old political rhetoric?

Political rhetoric is intended to sway and convince by appealing to the emotional heartstrings of the listener. Political rhetoric is usually intended, to some degree, to deceive, because, in my opinion, the argument being presented can't stand on its own merits.

The man-caused global warming argument is dripping with political rhetoric, since it is neither conclusively proven nor universally accepted.

The war on terrorism (or, as I like to call it, the war with Islamo-Fascism) is dripping with political rhetoric.

The "lied about weapons of mass destruction" argument is dripping with political rhetoric.

(The same disclaimers apply.)

Principled reality is intended to sway and convince by using facts based on reason and logic. Principled reality can usually stand on its own merits; and whether you agree or disagree with the premise of the argument, the worst case is that two people might simply agree to disagree. On the other hand, it's much more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to simply agree to disagree when presented with an argument based on political rhetoric, because it's usually based on a flawed premise, and the opposing argument gets side-tracked dispelling and/or pointing out that flawed premise.

Many people around here will take exception to this comment, but there way too few who can present a clear and concise argument based on principled reality, and way too many who rely, either entirely or in part, on political rhetoric.

People should present an argument like they might write a computer program. When you see two people going at it, going "round and round", never resolving an issue and/or not even agreeing to disagree, it's tantamount to an endless loop because of a flawed or poorly written computer program. One side -- or both -- relies more on rhetoric and less on principle. And that, my friends, will only result in the debating equivalent of the dreaded blue screen of death. It just won't compute.

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I don't differentiate

by TonytheTiger In reply to Your question on "the ric ...

among the sources of wealth. Fact is, unless it's buried in someone's yard, it is benefitting the economy, and in any example I can think of, benefitting it more than anything the government does (Did you know it takes over $300 of tax money to give a family $100 in food stamps? Multiply that by 10,000 and you can feed 167 families for a year. Give it to an entrepreneur and he can create 167 jobs!).

As I think I've said before, today's politicians aren't really all that different than professional wrestlers. They pretend to be against each other when they're in 'the ring', but when the bout is over, they're best buds...

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Just for the sake of numbers

by Cactus Pete In reply to I don't differentiate

How does one create 167 jobs from $10,000?

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by Cactus Pete In reply to With vision and persisten ...

But you left out "time"

The earlier posts were a bit rosy for my tastes, which is what I was trying to point out.

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Maxwell, tax the poor only, that?s extremely Na?ve

by mjwx In reply to Your question on "the ric ...

It will not work in this fashion. We've tried it before, just ask the Europeans. In fact I believe you yanks have fought a war because of this (independence).

If you don?t tax the rich you create a small superclass and a very large underclass in so doing eliminating the middle class. An underclass completely unlike the one's we currently have. An indentured underclass worse than serfdom and slightly better than slavery.

If people gain wealth unchecked then the extreme few will gain all the wealth. I mean less than 1% will control 99% of the wealth. Thus the middle class will cease to exist and you and I Maxwell will be little more than well treated slaves.

The Middle class gaining power was the driving force behind most of Europe?s revolutions. Take the French for example, Fighting the 7 years war and supporting the Americans during your (either civil war or war for independence, my memory fails me here) bankrupted the French monarchy. They increased taxes on the poor and middle class but not the rich. The rich were then sent to the guillotine by the arm of the people, most nations learnt from this. If we laps back into theocrasy we'll have another revolution and it very well may not be one for democracy.

Now as a new tax system (For all the other Aussies, I never supported GST but I'll admit when I'm wrong). Once you earn past a certain point ( for example $1 Mil for individuals and $25 mil for companies, Keep in mind these are just examples) you should just be flat taxed 30 or 40% straight off the top and loopholes should be left for those who could benefit from them (those in the middle tax brackets). That Maxwell is how you create more wealthy individuals. those on welfare are too poor to be able to benefit from such a tax scheme but they are not shafted by it also and I'll say again I have no patients for dole bludgers, go and work for a living

Maxwell, I can tell you?ve never had to do it tough, born into middle class, have a good job. Yes you may have worked at macca's in your youth but you?ve never had to do a hard job. Me I've been a gardener, cleaner, unskilled labourer as well as an IT professional. Unskilled labour pays well but that is an exception to the rule. I?ve done the hard yards, low paying and menial work (been looked down on quiet a bit) and I'm glad to have gotten out (got a tertiary education and a good job) but others aren?t so fortunate. I don?t hate you for not having to do the hard yards but you do need to be reminded of how much you really have to loose. So max don?t look down your nose at the poor (working poor at least) because for the most part they didn?t choose it.

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Taxing the poor - IT WAS A JOKE! You IDOIT

by maxwell edison In reply to Maxwell, tax the poor onl ...

If you couldn't follow my message, differentiating between when I was serious and when I was joking, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

Are you for real? It's no wonder you couldn't see a JOKE on your computer screen, you've been distracted by the JOKE IN YOUR OWN MIRROR!

For the record, jerk-off, I was not born into privilege. I was out on my own at 17, dumb as dirt, so broke I couldn't pay attention (another joke for the DENSE among us), with practically only the shirt on my back and the car I paid $300 for (I earned the $300 myself, by the way), and without a friggin clue as to how the world worked.

You're an absolute fool.

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Max you have such a poor sense of humor

by mjwx In reply to Taxing the poor - IT WAS ...

It's hard to tell. When I make an off beat joke I at lease leave a smile :) to let people know I'm not serious.

Second of all, I dont beleive you have ever suffered. Hardship marks people.

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"Hardship marks people."

by jardinier In reply to Max you have such a poor ...

I have no idea whether Maxwell has ever suffered or not.

But I could hypothesize that his current beliefs might be a reaction to or compensation for some unpleasant events or suffering in his early life.

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That implies an 'excuse'.

by TonytheTiger In reply to "Hardship marks people."

There's truth to the saying "Circumstances don't make a person, they reveal the person."

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Who does pay for GWB's campaigns?

by maxwell edison In reply to Rhetoric and Fear-Mongeri ...

You asked, "Who does pay for GWB's campaigns? Do they do it out of the kindness of their hearts or do they expect favours?"

An incredible amount of money is spent on political campaigns in the United States. I don't know what your guys spend in the land down under, but here, it's huge -- especially the presidential campaigns.

Who pays? You name it. Individuals and corporations both. And, believe it or not, it's not just paid to GWB's campaign. People and corporations actually contribute to BOTH major parties. Imagine such a thing!

I haven't looked it up, but I'd bet that both the Democrats and Republicans spent over $100 million EACH in the 2004 presidential campaigns. (And I won't even get into the new 527 organizations!)

You asked, "Do they do it out of the kindness of their hearts or do they expect favours?"

Well, some might expect favors; some might expect that their agenda be advanced; and some might just like the person to whom he or she contributes.

What they "expect" and what they get, however, might be two different things. For example, I contributed to GWB's campaign, and I actually expected him to advance an agenda of smaller government in regards to social programs. Well, do I have egg on my face or what? On the other hand, however, if I contributed instead to John Kerry's campaign, and he actually did win, then I would have gotten even more "more government", not less "more government". Yea, I know. It might sound kinda' confusing.

Your suggestion, however, that GWB is granting "favors" (I'll spell it my way, you spell it yours -- the Oxford way), is a great example of that rhetoric thing I was talking about. Thanks for sharing that example.

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