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Is It Better To Just Not Know?


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#1 n8rockerasu

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 05:07 AM

I just wanted to share this thought I've had lately. And just on the nature of what I'm about to post, you don't have to give a shit, and can stop reading at any time, lol. But if anyone has had a similar feeling, feel free to respond. I just don't want things to get too out of hand because that would mostly defeat the purpose of this post, haha.

 

I don't usually post in this section. Truthfully, I get all the political discussion I can stand on Facebook. With friends and family members bickering back and forth, posting their propaganda pictures about every little issue that comes up, it just becomes exhausting even engaging in it anymore. Ultimately, you realize that no matter what side you fall on, you're talking to a wall, and you're never going to change anybody's mind.

 

So, recently, while talking to my dad on the phone, we started discussing the notion of ignorance being bliss. I mean, you hear all the time how it's better to be an informed citizen, and I don't dispute that a very strong case can be made for being aware of how the world operates and the effect things have on your everyday life. But at the same time, I feel like you have to question how much is actually in your control.

 

Maybe it's partially due to the general lack of anything getting done in America these days (or when something does get done, the other side works as feverishly as they can to undo it anyway), but regardless of whatever political party you support, do you not feel like you've been losing out? Maybe I've been listening to too much George Carlin lately, but no matter which side of the middle you fall on, do you really feel like your leaders are listening to you? And do you really think they would sit down with you for a heart to heart, and push anything that wasn't already on their agenda anyway?

 

So, with that being said, if your votes and your choices aren't really accomplishing much anyway, would it be better to just not know why certain bills get passed or why a law was repealed or why something was done that goes against your general interests? Basically, would you be happier if you didn't know you were getting fucked?

 

This was a sobering thought for me, because it essentially requires you to remove any political passion that you might have. But honestly...where does that passion get you? For one, it gets you fighting on internet message boards while members of Congress (regardless of party affiliation) are making $200,000 a year. For the most part, I don't really find my life any better or worse based on whether I agree or disagree with what they're selling. But what does make my life better or worse is the amount of bullshit I have to deal with on a daily basis.

 

So, for the past month or so, while people continue to rant on Facebook about Naval shootings, government shutdowns, and cars smashing through iron gates, I've just sat back, reminding myself that the grief isn't worth it. Sure, I'm still aware that these things are going on...but I'm tired of investing the energy by caring. Whether or not this means that I choose to not vote in the next election remains to be seen...but sometimes, Carlin really does make a lot of sense.

 



#2 Spokker

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:43 AM

Voting rules. Fighting on message boards is fun.



#3 n8rockerasu

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

Voting rules. Fighting on message boards is fun.

 

Haha, if you say so. Just let me know when you get something done.



#4 Spokker

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:39 PM

Watch TV, play video games or argue on the Internet? It's all entertainment. 

 

Election day is a holiday for me. I love looking at the exit polls and when the polls close, the early returns. My count even has a web cam where you can watch them process the mail-in ballots, though election day ballots are electronic. 

 

All it is is a survey, albeit an expensive one with a very large sample size. That's what's so exciting about it to me. Normally surveys are 800-1000 people. 



#5 skiizim

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 08:19 PM

On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently-formed revolutionary political party met to\
elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote, they chose an 
ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the NAZI Party leader.

There are all sorts different things you can see here with events in history that came down to one vote. Personally, I think that's one of the biggest problems we have, to many ignorant people just don't care. Everybody is entitled to there own opinion, this is what makes politics happen.



#6 Access_Denied

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:02 PM

Within the past 3 months, I've REALLY taken to what George has to say. In one of his interviews, he says that he sees himself as just a spectator in this fucked up game. That's what I am now: a spectator. I've completely dropped out of the political game. My life is going to be short enough as it is without having to spend half of it worrying about stupid bullshit that won't change anyway. Save yourself a few headaches: turn off the news, throw away your voter registration card, and enjoy your life.



#7 detectiveconan16

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:20 PM

Well you're Fuck ed either way. I guess it's better to know a little more than the guy next to you, especially considering the trap of propaganda that plagues so many Americans today.


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#8 n8rockerasu

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:00 AM

Well you're Fuck ed either way. I guess it's better to know a little more than the guy next to you, especially considering the trap of propaganda that plagues so many Americans today.

 

But if you can't do anything about it, what difference does it make? That's the point I'm making (and Carlin makes as well). You could easily argue that this idea people have that "my vote matters" is, for the most part, garbage. Now, don't throw me down the well here. I don't 100% believe that (yet anyway). But when you see what's going on in Washington, and that sometimes their idea of "compromise" is just to do nothing and leave everything the way it is, it becomes disheartening and can make your efforts (reading, researching, supporting, etc) feel like a waste of life.

 

The point I'm at with politics now is let's just try something. I don't want anybody making mistakes of nuclear proportions or anything. But this notion that everything has to be gone over 5,000 times, voted on 5,000 times, lobbied against, appealed, etc. just leads to complete and total stagnation. What I compare it to is a group of contractors arguing about what the best method for putting on a new roof is. And meanwhile, while they're arguing for months on end, a huge storm comes and destroys everything inside the home. What was the point?

 

And it's not even about party affiliation for me anymore. We currently have a Democrat in the White House. Great. Let him take a shot at making this a better country. If he screws up, that's his legacy, and the Republicans can show and prove afterward how they would/could do things better. Get your man in office, and prove to the American public what he can do. But the constant fighting and canceling each other out is a waste of everyone's time and energy.

 

In all honesty, I think national decisions should be decided just like murder trials. Have a panel of "jurors" (party leaders or holy crap, even regular citizens...let that blow your mind, lol), but keep the number small...maybe 13 members. Have each side plead their case, give evidence, etc. Take a vote, and majority wins. Period.  As it is now, it just feels like a classic problem of "too many chefs".



#9 n8rockerasu

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 12:01 AM

On November 8, 1923, members of the then recently-formed revolutionary political party met to\
elect a leader in a Munich, Germany beer hall. By a majority of one vote, they chose an 
ex-soldier named Adolph Hitler to become the NAZI Party leader.

There are all sorts different things you can see here with events in history that came down to one vote. Personally, I think that's one of the biggest problems we have, to many ignorant people just don't care. Everybody is entitled to there own opinion, this is what makes politics happen.

 

 

Speaking of propaganda...

 

http://www.snopes.co...ern/onevote.asp

 



#10 detectiveconan16

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 10:59 AM

But isn't this the sort of individualistic attitude that causes bad sh- to happen? What if it's not only you that decides that their own vote doesn't count?  It's a big reason why turnout is so low in general. It's a big reason why voting is seen as a "pointless" task, because from what we see we have limited choices. It is a circle you know. Voting is our duty as an American citizen. But most of up don't give a Fuck about voting because each of them feel their voice doesn't matter, and then their apathy lets them not show up for important issues. This gives way to the lunatics who whine about how their own freedom is worth more than what is vitally important, like the health and well-being of you and your neighbors and your children.  This low giving a Fuck gives the opportunity for some enterprising people to game the system that is supposed to work for us. Look at Congress today, a majority of them are made up off shiftless, lazy, people. They exist because the American people didn't give two cents about what is going on in their city, state, and federal governments because each one of them thought it wouldn't matter, anyway.

The good parts of American history is based on people banding together so their voices can be heard as one, not because each one of them thought their OWN vote didn't matter. What if our founding fathers thought that their scheme to build a new country far away from home wouldn't work because they might as well stay at home since each one of them had no good plans? How about the fights for equality in this nation in the past century? You'd think the slaves who thought about running away to freedom believed they couldn't do it because it didn't matter? You'd think their descendants thought their fight for racial equality wouldn't matter too because white people were going to use brute force to take them down anyway?  And what about the gay marriage movement?  You'd think each couple thought their fight was hopeless because a majority of people back then believe their union was illegal and immoral? No, they banded together and got things done, whether or not they would fail.

Mr. Carlin maybe right that a vote doesn't count, but it's even more wrong to sit around and not give two sh- about the state of our society.


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#11 n8rockerasu

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 06:26 PM

I disagree. If it's my "duty" to vote, is it not the government's "duty" to run the country in an efficient manner that serves the people? Why is it ok for them to cater to their own interests? It's asinine to hold the American public to a higher standard as though I'm the one who caused this mess. They changed the rules of the game a long time ago. If you want to blindly fight it into oblivion, that's your business. I'm not going to tell you you shouldn't. I'm just over it.

 

Were there issues and political causes I believed in? Sure. But when you see opposing forces come at those causes hellbent on canceling them out no matter what the cost (which is basically a radical fundamentalist mentality), you start feeling like we're not in "one nation under God" anymore. But two warring factions that are incapable of working together. In short this country is a bad marriage.



#12 dohdough

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 08:04 PM

you start feeling like we're not in "one nation under God" anymore.


This little blurb of yours is exactly why we find ourselves in this particular political climate and by extension, our socio-economic one. Rather than being critical about the sources that influence us, people tend to cling onto pseudo-patriotic soundbites that are closer to being crypto-fascist that reinforce the cultural narrative.

If you want to "check-out" of the system, go right ahead, but it's the singular hedge we have against the power elite. I have no great love for modern Democrats and most self-ascribed liberals, but at least they're not trying to bring the country back to the Gilded Age or have regulatory power at the levels prior to the Industrial Revolution while using religious dogma to shape our society.

The truth is NOT in the middle and "both sides do it" doesn't absolve you of any critical thought about the issue. It isn't always about YOU.
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"Speaking of which, there's another elitist prick that argues constantly on the Politics forums by the name of dohdough. He's a complete douche, but at least he keeps his posts in that cesspool of useless opinions. He gets my runner-up nomination."


Thanks for the nomination for the Most Memorable CAG Villan 2012, Blade!

#13 n8rockerasu

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:04 PM

This little blurb of yours is exactly why we find ourselves in this particular political climate and by extension, our socio-economic one. Rather than being critical about the sources that influence us, people tend to cling onto pseudo-patriotic soundbites that are closer to being crypto-fascist that reinforce the cultural narrative.

If you want to "check-out" of the system, go right ahead, but it's the singular hedge we have against the power elite. I have no great love for modern Democrats and most self-ascribed liberals, but at least they're not trying to bring the country back to the Gilded Age or have regulatory power at the levels prior to the Industrial Revolution while using religious dogma to shape our society.

The truth is NOT in the middle and "both sides do it" doesn't absolve you of any critical thought about the issue. It isn't always about YOU.

 

It's funny reading these comments because you guys have no idea how similar you sound to the big religious groups. You're using the election process as your "proof" that the system is valid. Wow...that's amazing. The thing that you believe in also happens to prove your point (ie. "Well, the Bible says we should do this...so it has to be right") But for someone who doesn't believe in it, that means nothing.

 



#14 dohdough

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:07 PM

It's funny reading these comments because you guys have no idea how similar you sound to the big religious groups. You're using the election process as your "proof" that the system is valid. Wow...that's amazing. The thing that you believe in also happens to prove your point (ie. "Well, the Bible says we should do this...so it has to be right") But for someone who doesn't believe in it, that means nothing.


Thanks for the clips, but Carlin's messages seem to have gone completely over your head as well as my point.

Apathy through impotence is no different from apathy through ignorance. The problem with the latter is that it's often mistaken for the former.

It comes down to this: The efficacy of voting isn't an all or nothing proposition, but an exercise in compromises based on context.

I don't know if you quoted me for the hell of it because you're not addressing anything I said. What I'd like to see is for you to expand on the bolded statement because it makes absolutely no sense in any context beyond "I don't like it so it's invalid"...and is just as specific(meaning it isn't).
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"Speaking of which, there's another elitist prick that argues constantly on the Politics forums by the name of dohdough. He's a complete douche, but at least he keeps his posts in that cesspool of useless opinions. He gets my runner-up nomination."


Thanks for the nomination for the Most Memorable CAG Villan 2012, Blade!

#15 Spokker

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

 You're using the election process as your "proof" that the system is valid.

 

The proof is that every other system other than free and fair elections has failed. 

 

This is not to say that all attempts at free and fair elections have been a rousing success, or that the system is objectively any good. It's just that it's better than every other system tried.

 

It's hard to say things like this without getting jingoistic so I'll try to do it the best I can. Even an imperfect democracy is truly something amazing. 



#16 panzerfaust

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:22 PM

The very fact that our government disagrees with itself is a sign that the two party system isn't meaningless. Obviously things are a little extreme right now, so take your notes and vote by them in the future. As for getting into ridiculous arguments with people on subjects very few are educated in, well yeah, stay away from those.



#17 n8rockerasu

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:37 PM

The proof is that every other system other than free and fair elections has failed.

This is not to say that all attempts at free and fair elections have been a rousing success, or that the system is objectively any good. It's just that it's better than every other system tried.

It's hard to say things like this without getting jingoistic so I'll try to do it the best I can. Even an imperfect democracy is truly something amazing.


I completely agree with you. But if that free and fair process Is essentially a ruse and doesn't accomplish anything, who cares? Now, I'll admit, that's probably a little unfair, but with as childish as our government is behaving right now, I don't exactly feel bad for not giving them enough credit.

This discussion has really gone further than I intended. So, I'll just wrap up my side with this. I would probably be more inclined to vote in the next election if, as a nation, we decided to vote out every trash politician who doesn't understand what "compromise" actually means.

But as a guy who grew up in the south, I've had a first-hand view of how stupid people are. And they will happily vote for policies that go against their own interests. The voting public is largely filled with fanatics. How anyone thinks that could lead to any kind of rational decision-making, I don't know. But again, it renders the concept of "free and fair" elections pointless.



#18 vherub

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 07:10 PM

One of my favorite Steinbeck quotes:

 

And if we seem a small factor in a huge pattern, nevertheless it is of relative importance. We take a tiny colony of soft corals from a rock in a little water world. And that isn’t terribly important to the tide pool. Fifty miles away the Japanese shrimp boats are dredging with overlapping scoops, bringing up tons of shrimps, rapidly destroying the species so that it may never come back, and with the species destroying the ecological balance of the whole region. That isn’t very important in the world. And thousands of miles away the great bombs are falling and the stars are not moved thereby. None of it is important or all of it is.