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Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,021

Journal Archives

On Ideological Purity - or - Save This House!

This primary has been contentious, to be sure. The media has mostly been focusing on the GOP side of things because, let's face it, it's been more interesting to watch. The three-ring circus over there certainly has more entertainment value than the far more rational Democratic primary race, but all the fighting on the Democratic side has been among supporters.

In the novel 1984, the key passage (to me) has always been O'Brien's speech about ideological purity near the end, when Winston was in his office:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

In the divide between Democrats and Republicans, we can see this. The republicans -tend- to support a candidate because they are a Republican in the firm and trenchant belief that have an R in power is superior to having a D in power, regardless of their platform or ideology. One of the neat things about progressives and liberals is that they tend to be progressive in different ways, which makes ideological purity on the left a very difficult thing, and that's a good thing!

But right now, it's creeping in. Ideological purity and a strong us vs. them tribalism is filling this site and is filling supporters of both Democratic candidates. Bernie supporters are angry and defensive towards Hillary (she's not electable/she's a liar/she's a corporate shill). Hillary supporters are smug and dismissive of Bernie (he's not a Democrat/he's just a dreamer/he doesn't have a chance). Hillary supporters want Bernie to call out his supporters for being racist and sexist. Bernie supporters want Hillary to call out her supporters for lying about his voting record and history with the civil rights movement.

Let's all take a deep breath there, okay? Now, I just said that ideological purity as we frequently see on the right and far right is not a good thing, but can we take a look at the right and far right candidates right now? Remaining in the race are Trump, Cruz, and Kasich, and Kasich is likely not long for this campaign. Trump and Cruz are both utter disasters waiting to happen. There is no way to pretend either of the Democratic candidates wouldn't be better than Trump or Cruz.

But the problem now is that the supporters of the candidates are driving other supporters away. Please look at the candidates and not the loudest and angriest people supporting them! Is Bernie a perfect candidate? Nope! Is Hillary a perfect candidate? Nope! Is there such a thing as a perfect candidate? Guess what - NOPE!

Hillary had a great night last night on March 15th. Congrats to Hillary Clinton and her supporters, and good job. She has run a very strong campaign and she continues to make gains. Bernie supporters had a rough time last night, but he's run an amazing campaign thus far, and has raised an incredible number of donations without tapping corporations or SuperPACs. He's not out of the race yet, by any means, but it's a tough road ahead.

Stop the vitriol. Stop the dismissal. Let's have an actual conversation here, and not just squabbling. The GOP is tearing itself apart very publicly, and the Democrats are slowly pulling apart without so much media attention. Unless you're in a very safe district for one party or the other, any time a progressive or liberal stays home and doesn't vote, you are voting for the Republican nominee. There's too much at risk, and we can't keep setting the furniture on fire because we didn't get -exactly- our way.

Sorry, that went on longer than I'd hoped. Here's a little song to lighten the mood. It's about environmental issues, but it applies to this situation, too. Save This House by Spirit of the West:

Ontario plans to trial universal basic income

Edit: Doh, someone linked me to this, and I totally missed that it was already posted on Breaking News. Sorry.

From the Independent:

Ontario has announced it could soon be sending a monthly cheque to its residents as it plans to launch an experiment testing the basic income concept.

While officials in the Canadian province are yet to release any specific details of the project – including how much will be given to residents who participate – the finance ministry has published a report confirming the government’s intention to roll out the experiment.

Proponents of the idea say it would save on welfare administration costs, reduce the poverty traps of traditional welfare states, be fair to people who have jobs, and give people more autonomy in general.

“As Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind. Maintaining an effective social safety net is one part of the government’s broader efforts to reduce poverty and ensure inclusion in communities and the economy,” Ontario’s budget statement said.

It added: “The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market.

Whole article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ontario-to-pilot-a-universal-basic-income-experiment-a6916571.html

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