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lictor616

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I dunno, Pliny, it seems awfully philosophical. I think we're talking about phenomena that are at the opposite end of the spectrum, our social instincts. The only reason we survived as a species is our instinct to form groups for common purpose. At one time that might have been hunting food or building shelter or protecting the tribe's children. Today it might just be gathering with people who share the same religious views or favorite sports team, but the instinct is still there... people crave groups, they will form them for almost anything.

Of course, it is natural to form groups. The only point is that a group can undermine individual common sense, as you point out, to avoid "social rejection". While social rejection is one reason an individual may lose his self-determined sense of right and wrong, another is in achieving the goals and objectives of a group.

A sense of belonging is empowering and that empowerment is somewhat corrupting. You are not alone if you are in a group, you have the protection of numbers, the safety of the herd. The question becomes what integrity the individual will sacrifice in order to remain a part of the "herd". It isn't even a question of subjugation or coercion to be a part of a group although I'm sure that when a group becomes influential those things may play a part.

I don't know about this being philosophical, the "mob mentality" is an observable phenomenon. It's ill effects can be ameliorated by it's members having a strong sense of self as well.

Now, my pet peeve, is socialism and it's obvious mob mentality or collective conscience and all manner of spin is perpetrated by it to promote it.

The recent Dalai Lama "WE" festival in Vancouver last week-end is an example of the mindless pap that comes out of the collective conscience. Although the message of peace and compassion is not arguable it is all about feel-good, kumbaya, hand-holding, self righteousness with no concept of how the objectives can be achieved. It is just a sloganeering and symbolic effort to be

"the very best we can be" and "yes, we can" achieve Nirvana - together.

No one defines Nirvana, so "we" never know where "we" are going and it isn't going to be "WE who makes those decisions. In the final analysis it will be somebody but not you or me.

The thing about spearheading such movements as the Dalai Lama does is that the message may be right but the means to it's ends is not delineated. Most of what will come out of the concepts is meddling, busybody, know best activities based in sanctimonious self-righteousness with no basis in reality. The war on poverty, the war on drugs, LBJ's Great Society, are all failures - Great ideas but meddling, laws, force and warm and fuzzy feelings will not bring them about.

People that drive the herd and it's collective conscience never look to enable others to help themselves. The do-gooders insist upon helping the so-called have-nots achieve what they themselves envision for them. Goals and objectives for them that exist entirely in the minds of those meddlers. AND they do it at the expense of others chastizing them for being greedy and selfish.

I recall once hearing someone claim that experiencing social rejection evokes a response in the human brain that is similar to physical pain. Avoiding social rejection is a powerful motivator for people, more powerful than they actually understand.

Rejection is emotionally painful and acceptance a powerful motivator, I agree.

Standing out from the herd is scary. You may find yourself stranded from the herd and left to die alone... or that might be what the caveman firmware in the back part of your brain is telling you. Resisting the herd is not natural for people. I'm not sure what is the way to teach kids to do it... thankfully I'm not a parent. But lessons like "it's better to be right than be popular" can ring a little hollow when the advantages of being popular are obvious and the advantages of being right are pretty hard to quantify.

-k

It's better to be right AND popular. The advantages and disadvantages of both are, I'm sure, constantly weighed by the individual in his decision-making processes.

Basically, action must be viewed from both points of view, that of the individual and that of the group in a constant balance. No individual would consider he could take someones property and give it to someone else because he felt that person needed it more. It falls under the definition of "extortion" which is supposedly, illegal. Are some exempt from and above the laws of extortion? Why would he feel that it is ok to enlist some agency to do exactly that? It may appear to be fair and nice from a group point of view. The tyranny is in the decision of who's property is to be confiscated, under the threat of law, and who will receive it. This is concentrated power and open to corruption. They may attempt to be fair in their extortion but if push comes to shove the losers will always be the citizens. The entire group suffers except for the agency above the law which will always attempt to save itself first.

In the decision of individuals to grant an agency the right to extort property from some for the benefit of others, the individual has given up the right to private property. Although the concept is retained, in law it is gone, if it ever did exist in the British Commonwealth at all.

Individuals are more about reason than force and groups are more about force than reason and that is true because groups are a means to achieve an end that individuals cannot achieve alone.

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The Black Panthers come to mind with their death to pigs/death to whitey rallies with weapons openly displayed. Do you recall those perhaps? The activites of the Nation of Islam also suggest that I'd not be a welcome face at their meetings.

I do recall the Black Panthers. It was started not as a hate group as the KKK was, but in defense of Blacks who were suffering from racism and bigotry. It's purpose was to get a fair shake for Blacks, and it progressed into fighting for rights for all minorities, while the KKK remains totally 'white supremacist.' Furthermore, chanting at rallies and openly displaying weapons, if that's the worst they did, is hardly comparable to the worst that the KKK has done. I don't recall any intimidating marches through White neighborhoods and doubt the law would have tolerated it.

For my benefit...when was the last time the KKK marched through a 'black neighborhood'? Seriously.

I didn't single out "marching," but I recall a fairly recent march in Ohio, but perhaps it was White Supremacists.

This isn't "marching," but as recently as this year, the KKK dropped hate-filled fliers in a Black neighborhood in the middle of the night. Can you imagine what would have happened if a group of Blacks targeted a White neighborhood in the middle of the night dropping similar leaflets in their yards?

This article says the KKK is becoming stronger/more active again, and it's activities include cross-burnings. Again, what has the Black Panthers done to compare?

Re: Hate crime. Did you actually read what these guys did? If that wasn't a hate crime I'm not sure what is. It wasn't given that status since the sole survivor couldn't recall if her rapist/attackers used 'racial epitaphs' or not...ok...lol.

No murder is committed with love, but a "hate crime" is, by definition, committed because of the race of the victim, and that doesn't seem to be the case in this murder. I can only say the Manson murders were certainly committed out of hate, too, but that doesn't fit the definition of a "hate crime," either. The Black man who was murdered by being dragged behind a pickup truck simply because he was Black (I believe that was about ten years ago) was a hate crime because race was the motivating factor for the murder.

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Now, my pet peeve, is socialism and it's obvious mob mentality or collective conscience and all manner of spin is perpetrated by it to promote it.

Oh come on, that's nothing more than special pleading. You can see the herd mentality in any, and I repeat, any movement. Socialism is no more or less susceptible to this sort of thing than any other political or economic ideology. I can tell you that the pack of folks that make up the local Conservative riding association don't get together and have fierce debates, they get together and intellectually masturbate each other over how evil the Liberals and NDP here.

Quite frankly, I think anyone that is too "into" any political movement is probably going to suffer from some degree of mob mentality. It's human nature to identify with one's tribe, and to treat other tribes as alien, and politics is simply another way of defining the tribe. It's one of the reasons I have always resisted ever becoming a member of any political party, despite the temptations that come from members having a bit more sway over candidates (and if you're a member of the winning party, the elected representative). My philosophies and political ideas don't fit neatly into boxes like "socialism", "conservatism", "liberalism" or any "ism", and I'd either have to abandon or hide those principles. The thing about not being married in any way to any political party is an absolute capacity to criticize any or all of them. Intellectual independence does have its advantages.

Edited by ToadBrother
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I do recall the Black Panthers. It was started not as a hate group as the KKK was, but in defense of Blacks who were suffering from racism and bigotry. It's purpose was to get a fair shake for Blacks, and it progressed into fighting for rights for all minorities, while the KKK remains totally 'white supremacist.' Furthermore, chanting at rallies and openly displaying weapons, if that's the worst they did, is hardly comparable to the worst that the KKK has done. I don't recall any intimidating marches through White neighborhoods and doubt the law would have tolerated it.

No matter how f**ked up the KKK ended up being, it was not started as a 'hate group'. It was a response to 'carpetbaggers' coming to the South and dictating terms post US Civil War. The Confederate Daughters of America was a similar organization, only it was formed to honor Rebel veterans as male oragnizations honoring them were banned by the Union.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan

The KKK back during the height of the 2nd Klan had something like 5,000,000 members. Today it is lucky to count 5,000 heads and is no longer centralized.

The Black Panthers had what is known as 'Panther Patrols' which were pretty much like the KKK's march activities in reverse. Huey Newton murdered a police officer on one such patrol. Eldridge Cleaver was also wounded on a similar ambush attempt against Oakland police. At its height, the Black Panthers numbered maybe 10,000 with another 250,000 unofficial members subscribing to their publications.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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Oh come on, that's nothing more than special pleading. You can see the herd mentality in any, and I repeat, any movement. Socialism is no more or less susceptible to this sort of thing than any other political or economic ideology. I can tell you that the pack of folks that make up the local Conservative riding association don't get together and have fierce debates, they get together and intellectually masturbate each other over how evil the Liberals and NDP here.

Quite frankly, I think anyone that is too "into" any political movement is probably going to suffer from some degree of mob mentality. It's human nature to identify with one's tribe, and to treat other tribes as alien, and politics is simply another way of defining the tribe. It's one of the reasons I have always resisted ever becoming a member of any political party, despite the temptations that come from members having a bit more sway over candidates (and if you're a member of the winning party, the elected representative). My philosophies and political ideas don't fit neatly into boxes like "socialism", "conservatism", "liberalism" or any "ism", and I'd either have to abandon or hide those principles. The thing about not being married in any way to any political party is an absolute capacity to criticize any or all of them. Intellectual independence does have its advantages.

Socialism is not a property of the left. I believe you think Conservatives have no tendency toward socialism. If you view politics from the left-right political spectrum then any move from the centre is toward bigger government and increased socialism. Socialism is a process it is not an end in itself. It is a progression toward Statism.

I was a member of a political party and you have missed a great opportunity to understand the political process if you have never been a member of any political party. You should at least attend some meetings, of different parties, to see how your democracy works.

You say your political ideas don't "fit into any boxes like 'socialism', 'conservatism', or 'liberalism' or any 'ism' ". Socialism fits into all of them because, as I mentioned it is a process and not an end. Conservatism and Liberalism have an ideology attached to them and are thus an ideal, today they contain concepts of socialism. Socialism is not an ideal until it has reached a totality. People often confuse socialism as being communism in it's various forms, Maoism, Marxist -Leninism, Castro's dictatorship, social democracies, and they thus miss any socialist concepts in their own government. Many Canadians don't think we live in a socialist country, yet we have socialized medicine, public education, a fiat currency, a Marxist style graduated income tax, a CPP, EI, Child care subsidies, among other things. Both Liberalism and Conservatism, as they increase social responsibility, adopt more and more concepts of socialism. Although the Conservatives of today in North America hold the promise to limit the size of government while the Liberals promise increased governrment. Conservatives have not, in the past been able to get elected without promising something to the public that can't help but grow the size of government. And once someone has gained some privilege from government it is almost impossible to retract it.

I would be happy and vote for the party that promised us nothing but less government, and that means some will unhappily and reluctantly, with dramatic kicking and screaming and weeping and gnashing of teeth, lose their government favour.

I have Conservative values but I am not enamored with Conservative politics. It hasn't always been that Conservatism was the bastion of small government and in fact I would better describe my political views being more aligned with classical Liberalism, who were the original defenders of liberty and freedom and small government. You have to look historically before WWI to see that. Liberalism became synonymous with state progressivism during the first half of the 20th century and is today what conservatives were. They basically switched roles.

Anyway, the point is, socialism is a part of all the "isms" to some degree or another if government engineers society at all. If it is kept to a limited mandate of defense, basically the preservation of the sanctity of person and property, then I would say the country is not in any way socialist. Like it or not, we are all socialists now.

The only hope to get government out of our lives lies with Americans. Obama, who is in the wrong place to promote socialism will wake up Americans to how "big government" they have become. The economic irresponsibility of governments around the world, in spending and taxation, will result in a socio-economic collapse and if one is unfortunate enough to be dependent upon government for his sustenance he will find himself in dire straits.

Will we learn this time, that government regulates to concentrate power and can only lower the living standards of it's citizens. It cannot make the poor rich, it cannot even provide them a decent living, whatever "decent" means, without devastating the economy. The USSR proved that.

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Anyway, the point is, socialism is a part of all the "isms" to some degree or another if government engineers society at all. If it is kept to a limited mandate of defense, basically the preservation of the sanctity of person and property, then I would say the country is not in any way socialist. Like it or not, we are all socialists now.

I'm sorry, I don't buy it at all. Socialism is a spectrum of ideas to be sure, but the notion of Centrism (which is what you're really referring to) grew out of the mid-19th century with the failed revolutions and with the final dawning on the Europe elite that if they didn't start looking out for the average citizen and in particular for the poor, the next set of revolutions might take them out. In reality, Centrism's birth place was the French Revolution, and after that, no one, not the Kaiser, not Disraeli, not anyone wanted to be in the position of having their head taken off.

In reality modern democracies are a mixture, simply out of necessity.

I would be happy and vote for the party that promised us nothing but less government, and that means some will unhappily and reluctantly, with dramatic kicking and screaming and weeping and gnashing of teeth, lose their government favour.

Look up the French Revolution. If you do not give the people even a few bones, they will eventually take it. The kind of government you desire is not the kind of government the majority desire, and even the Conservatives understand that. Libertarianism is dead. It was never really alive, save perhaps in the United States from around 1776 to 1861.

Will we learn this time, that government regulates to concentrate power and can only lower the living standards of it's citizens. It cannot make the poor rich, it cannot even provide them a decent living, whatever "decent" means, without devastating the economy. The USSR proved that.

This canard bothers me. The USSR was an extremist planned economy. No one even in the NDP is advocating that. Maybe the fringes and the Marxist-Leninists, but these people do not represent the Left.

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Of course, it is natural to form groups. The only point is that a group can undermine individual common sense, as you point out, to avoid "social rejection". While social rejection is one reason an individual may lose his self-determined sense of right and wrong, another is in achieving the goals and objectives of a group.

A sense of belonging is empowering and that empowerment is somewhat corrupting. You are not alone if you are in a group, you have the protection of numbers, the safety of the herd. The question becomes what integrity the individual will sacrifice in order to remain a part of the "herd". It isn't even a question of subjugation or coercion to be a part of a group although I'm sure that when a group becomes influential those things may play a part.

I don't know about this being philosophical, the "mob mentality" is an observable phenomenon. It's ill effects can be ameliorated by it's members having a strong sense of self as well.

Now, my pet peeve, is socialism and it's obvious mob mentality or collective conscience and all manner of spin is perpetrated by it to promote it.

And trying to shift the topic to being socialism is where your argument "jumps the shark" for me.

To me, this is about that gut-level response, the tightness in your chest when you're at that moment where your brain wants you to say "Stop it, this has gone to far!" but your herd instinct wants you to say "Hit him again, Jimmy!"

That is a very in-the-moment thing. It's palpable at the moment when you're in danger of being ostracized from the herd. But it's not present when a group of adults are sitting around the table trying to create social policy. Except for the anxiety someone might feel about advocating for an idea that's unpopular within that group, or opposing an idea that's popular. But that would be equally applicable to any group of people trying to create social policy, regardless of their political leaning.

People strive to avoid that feeling of panic when you're about to be singled out from the herd, the instinct to avoid that feeling... and people crave the corollary, that feeling of empowerment (as you put it) when your status in the herd rises. I think that's very relevant to bullying, and to people trying to boost their status among their peers by putting down others or beating down others. And maybe even to the whole "people of my ancestry are really awesome!" thing that started this thread.

-k

Edited by kimmy
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I'm sorry, I don't buy it at all. Socialism is a spectrum of ideas to be sure, but the notion of Centrism (which is what you're really referring to) grew out of the mid-19th century with the failed revolutions and with the final dawning on the Europe elite that if they didn't start looking out for the average citizen and in particular for the poor, the next set of revolutions might take them out. In reality, Centrism's birth place was the French Revolution, and after that, no one, not the Kaiser, not Disraeli, not anyone wanted to be in the position of having their head taken off.

What don't you buy?

In reality modern democracies are a mixture, simply out of necessity.

They are social democracies, not born out of necessity, but the proclivity of politicians to centralize power and the citizenry's proclivity to vote themselves favour.

Look up the French Revolution.

What for? It seems you could use the information more than I.

Centrism's birthplace?????

If you do not give the people even a few bones, they will eventually take it.

If "who" doesn't give the people a few bones? The person that has all the bones? Why should someone have all the bones in the first place?

While what you are saying is true there has to be a monopoly ownership of bones before the people have to take it or if even a few bones can be given to the people.

The kind of government you desire is not the kind of government the majority desire, and even the Conservatives understand that.

The majority doesn't really seem to care what kind of government they have. I think only 52% voted in the last federal election and a lot of them never really think past party lines. Harper is the Prime Minister with only 26% of the popular vote.

My memory may be flawed so you can call me on those numbers if you like but I remember them being around there somewhere.

Libertarianism is dead. It was never really alive, save perhaps in the United States from around 1776 to 1861.

Perhaps.

This canard bothers me. The USSR was an extremist planned economy.

Canard? It is simply an example of the totally "socialist" state.

No one even in the NDP is advocating that. Maybe the fringes and the Marxist-Leninists, but these people do not represent the Left.

What is the NDP advocating? Is it not the socialist state and the planned economy?

It is too late for even Liberals and Conservatives to reverse the creeping tide of socialism. They both must embrace it for who will be first to relinquish their hard won "rights" to sit at the public trough.

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And trying to shift the topic to being socialism is where your argument "jumps the shark" for me.

So how does the individual come to believe extortion is justified?

To me, this is about that gut-level response, the tightness in your chest when you're at that moment where your brain wants you to say "Stop it, this has gone to far!" but your herd instinct wants you to say "Hit him again, Jimmy!"

That is a very in-the-moment thing. It's palpable at the moment when you're in danger of being ostracized from the herd. But it's not present when a group of adults are sitting around the table trying to create social policy. Except for the anxiety someone might feel about advocating for an idea that's unpopular within that group, or opposing an idea that's popular. But that would be equally applicable to any group of people trying to create social policy, regardless of their political leaning.

Environmentalists, the new socialists, are in a state of panic about the environment. We must do something now, according to them, or we will all die. Adults sitting around tables creating social policy are attempting to do something about this.

While it makes sense to look after our environment, the chicken littles of the day will herd us to extinction. Politicians listen because it further centralizes power and opens new avenues to taxation which is their exact solution.

Because you feel no "palpable danger" means you are not part of the mob, the group think, the collective conscience. If you feel we are going too far with environmentalism do you feel the course can be changed?

People strive to avoid that feeling of panic when you're about to be singled out from the herd, the instinct to avoid that feeling... and people crave the corollary, that feeling of empowerment (as you put it) when your status in the herd rises. I think that's very relevant to bullying, and to people trying to boost their status among their peers by putting down others or beating down others. And maybe even to the whole "people of my ancestry are really awesome!" thing that started this thread.

-k

That feeling of panic means you have relinquished your individuality entirely and are merely a unit of the herd. My point is that self identity has a tendency to shift when one becomes a part of the herd and when the herd becomes more important than the individual, then individual reason is more easily overridden by the collective conscience, one need only yell the sky is falling, to set off panic in the streets, few, if any, will even bother to look for themselves - Adults sitting around a table will even make plans of what can be done to save the world.

Edited by Pliny
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