I wrote the following in response to some comments on Doug's thread about "Obama's increasing record of incompetence"
Since it drifted far off that topic, I thought to start an entirely new thread for the comments. The quotes from Doug are taken from the discussion in that thread.
I do not believe that I am blinded by partisanship or acceptance of any ideological point of view.
I have no reason to doubt this Doug. But bias comes in many different flavors.
Doug also says:
I feel Obama is the latest in a long line of failed Presidents delivered by a system that is, in itself, a failure. Those failures come from both sides of the political structure.
You have reached this view through your own indisputable personal experience of working in the system. And so for you, it is as close as anything could be to being a "fact."
Never the less, it does represent a bias.
Suppose that a person has lived a life of constant disappointment and pain. This person may have a clear bias that the world is a lousy place filled with horrible people. And this bias will continue to color his every lie experience.
Another person will experience the world in a quite different way. It is even the case that there are people who have had horrible lives who remain cheerful and optimistic.
Give one of these two people half a cup of coffee, and one will complain that you only gave him half a cup. The other person will be very appreciative that you have given him a cup of coffee.
The coffee remains the same. It is only the pre-disposing bias that is different.
Once a person "thinks" the world is a certain way, that person only sees confirmatory evidence of his perception. That is human nature... and so it is true of both you and me as well.... no matter how convinced we are about the accuracy of our view of the world.
You start out with an apparently well supported view of: "a system that is, in itself, a failure."
As above, I do not deny the experiences that had led Doug to this conclusion.
Doug feels that partisanship is at the root of the problem. It seems obviously true to most people.
IMO partisanship is not itself the problem. Itis a severe symptom of a more fundamental problems.
Chilling a fevered body does not cure the underlying problem that is causing the fever. IMO attacking partisanship is like attempting to cure a fever by chilling the body.
By the way is not to say that partisanship is good. I am just proposing that there may be a more fundamental problems that are causing this fevered symptom.
After all, we have had partisanship for a good long time now. And while the country has always suffered from partisanship, it has somehow managed to function adequately. But the situation we have arrived at now seems somehow different. We have partisanship that is so severe that it seems to imperil the nation with an inability to act. But what is different?Money
Money has always been the mothers milk of politics. But a combination of factors has unleashed a torrent of money that is simply swamping the democratic process. This money does not much care about any particular partisanship... except as a means of achieving a self serving objective. Media
Media outlets have expanded into ever larger mega corporations. Whether by intent or by accident, these media outlets have become the lens through which people view the world. To take a non-political example... we mostly "see" a nation being overwhelmed by crime and violence. When the statistical truth appears to be that violent crime rats have been falling for 3 decades. So we see a reality that is not in fact REAL.
A similar dynamic is happening in politics. "News casters" have started to act like the play by play announcers for a football game.... Complete with incessant instant replays to dwell upon the slow motion intricacies of each event.
These "news casters" need eyeballs, they need a large audience paying attention. So every event game is presented as a critical match up. Each play might turn the momentum for and entire season. Everything is hyped up to an extreme level because that is what makes the most entertaining television.
Television coverage drives violence in football as the hard hits and sacks and end zone celebrations are endlessly reprised. And the same is true in politics. There is not much if any effort to really cover the fundamentals of any issue. It is the hard hits that get the coverage. And this winds up driving the tenor of politics.
Whether by intent or not, the national media has become an enormous propaganda machine that shapes out view of reality.Ideology
It is tempting to conflate ideology and partisanship. But closer examination erodes most if not all of that link. Dor Republicans oppose government spending and deficits? Bush and Reagen show this is not the case. Do democrats support deficits and labor? Well Clinton more or less balanced the budget, and was responsible for free trade policies that eviscerated the US labor market. Clinton continued to deregulate financial markets and helped pass laws to shrink government welfare programs.
At one point, Democrats were the party in support of slavery, and later they were leaders in supporting civil rights.
IMO it is pretty hard to find any stable core of ideology in any party.... Other than expedience.
Ideological purists have the opinion that some fundamental ideas can provide unerring guidance to propoer policy. Ideologues worship their ideology as a god. And as with any religious fanatic, an ideologue will reject any sort of compromise. The idea itself must remain pure and untarnished by pragmatism.
Ideological purists of Jesus time unleashed the third Jewish rebellion. They successfully drove the Romans out of their land. Unfortunately, the Romans came back and leveled the temple and all of Jerusalem.
IMO one of the chief villains that we face is the fanatical worship of the purity of ideas. One such idea is the sanctity of money. Another is that free markets always yield the optimal results. Another is the idea that we can have both great security and impeccable privacy without compromising either value. Another is the idea that we are a "Christian" nation. There are many more.