Political tensions


Published on

Published in: Spiritual, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Political tensions

  1. 1. Transcending Political Tensions?This topic can be found at:http://shalomplace.org/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/16110765/m/544402711813 December 2011, 06:26 AMjohnboy.philotheaTranscending Political Tensions?Our political dysfunctions (they are manifold & varied) arerooted in the same dualistic dynamics as our religiousshortcomings.The optimal nondual (contemplative) approach to reality ismultifaceted in that it aspires to 1) intersubjective intimacyvia our unitive strivings whereby different subjects/personscelebrate coming together 2) intraobjective identity via ourrealization of unitary being whereby all realities present assomehow intricately interconnected as objects/functions withina divine matrix 3) intrasubjective integrity via eachsubject/person’s growth in human authenticity or true-selfrealization and 4) interobjective indeterminacy wherebycreated and Uncreated subjects/persons and objects/functionspresent as also somehow distinct. The nondual approach isprofoundly relational as it seamlessly, hence optimally,realizes the truth, beauty and goodness that ensues from thesedifferent eternal relationships.The dualistic (empirical, logical, aesthetical, practical &moral) approaches to reality represent our imbibing ofeternity from a temporal eyedropper that our finite existencemight not be drowned in God’s ocean of truth, beauty andgoodness, a heavenly tsunami that no earthly finite realitycould withstand or contain! Our dualistic approach does notrepresent a theoretical capitulation or departure from ournondual aspirations, only a compassionate and practicalaccommodation of our radical finitude, while we take thetransformative journey.Dysfunctional religion presents in many ways, primarily froman overemphasis of the dualistic and underemphasis of thenondual. For example, on the journey to intrasubjectiveintegrity, we recognize it as our clinging to the false-self.In moral theology, some have overemphasized the procreativeand under-emphasized the unitive dimension of conjugal love.In spiritual theology, some have overemphasized the moral andascetical at the expense of the mystical and contemplative.How does all of this apply to the political life?Most political dysfunction is rooted in the either-or/all ornothing thinking of our dualistic approach. Further, thisinsidious dualism gets way overemphasized at the expense ofour nondual vision of temporal reality. If we look through aLukan prism, we might see a fivefold Christology, whichrecognizes that Christ came to orient, sanctify, empower, healand save us. As Luke’s narrative continues in Acts, we see the 1
  2. 2. Spirit continuing this divine work. A nondual approachinspired, indeed inspirited, by a pneumatological (Spirit-related) imagination sees the Holy Spirit infusing each realmof our temporal reality, always and everywhere, historicallyorienting humankind, culturally sanctifying us, sociallyempowering us, economically healing us and politically savingus. This is not to deny that, from time to time, place toplace, people to people and person to person, the Spirit’swork has been variously amplified or frustrated in matters ofdegree; it is to affirm, however, that all good gifts have OneSource, Who has coaxed all of humankind along on the journey!An overly dualistic approach, again, in an all ornothing/either-or way, contrastingly, always sees the Spirit –then but not now, there but not here, in this position but notthat or vice versa. Worse, yet, it will see the Spirit in himbut not her, us but not them, and not as a matter of degreebut to the extent one gets thoroughly demonized and anotherabsolutely deified! This is at the very root of the extremelypolarizing rhetorical back and forth between our politicalparties.The wisdom of the catholic subsidiarity principle is rooted inthe gift of Third Eye seeing, which affirms our eternalnondual aspirations and their proleptic realizations evenwhile compassionately accommodating our temporal dualisticsituations within their historical, cultural, social, economicand political contexts. It celebrates the fruits of our prayerthat the Kingdom will come, indeed, on earth as it is inheaven.There is nothing intrinsically wrong with an approach thattakes from each according to one’s ability and gives to eachaccording to one’s need; at least, it’s worked in convents,monasteries and families for millennia! Because of our radicalfinitude, however, without theoretically abandoning ourideals, we compassionately accommodate our radical finitudeand, precisely because we are not angels, we institutegovernment in the place of anarchy and regulated free marketsin the place of any rigid capitalism or socialistic communism.To the extent the ideals of our nondual, relational approachare being realized, governmental, regulatory and socializationprocesses must recede to optimize that freedom which bestfosters authentic love. However, to the extent they arefrustrated, then coercive government, regulatory andsocialized means must be instituted to maintain order andadvance the common good. The classical liberal or libertarianimpulse (modern conservatism), then, is but a pragmaticcritique of anarchism; it errs (and becomes indistinguishablefrom anarchism) when it treats the ideals of limitedgovernment as absolute values and ignores the practicalrealities that result from our radical finitude. The modernliberal or progressive impulse, then, is but a pragmaticcritique of libertarianism; it errs when it treatsgovernmental, regulatory and socialization processes as thedefault bias, when, in fact, limited government, whenever and 2
  3. 3. wherever practicable, is the proper bias. What bothlibertarian and progressive approaches have in common, then,is that they are grounded in pragmatic critiques and practicalaccommodations and not so-called eternal principles; so, allof the pious talk about so-called consistent principles isactually misplaced!Finally, when it comes to strategic approaches, thesubsidiarity principle sometimes sees the virtue in flipping,at other times in flopping. It is only in moral approachesthat consistency is fully warranted. But political systems arealready grounded, for the most part, in a broad moralconsensus (e.g Constitution, Declaration of Independence,Universal Declaration of Human Rights), and politicaldifferences are mostly rooted in practical and strategicdifferences toward goals that are otherwise already shared,like establishing world peace and eliminating poverty. Toalways recast our practical and strategic differences in termsof moral reality is just a sinister way to emotionally charge(they say energize) a political base. A nondual approach, viasubsidiarity principles and relational ideals, however,transcends all of these differences and nurtures theircreative tensions with a peace that surpasses all earthlyunderstanding.13 December 2011, 11:26 AMPhilExcellent perspective, JB! Thanks for sharing this. Your firstthree paragraphs, in particular, give us much to think about.This would make a good manifesto for political "independents"who seek the goods affirmed by what we today callconservatives and liberals, but who also want to avoid theshadow side of each. One problem, of course, is that politicalcandidates have a vested interest in accentuating theirdifferences from one another, even to the point of demonizingtheir opponent. Shared values are quickly forgotten in such anenvironment, which seems to be the norm these days. E.g., acongressional "super committee" (or "stupor committee," as Iprefer to call them), could not agree on how to cut $1trillion from the federal budget in ten years!!! Whose goodwas being sought, there? Its a good example of the "all ornothing or either/or" approach you mentioned.14 December 2011, 11:55 AMjohnboy.philotheaWhat about the recent so-called Class Warfare rhetoric?Our world suffered somewhere around $60 trillion dollars inglobal wealth destruction in 2008 when the housing and creditbubbles burst. This resulted, in part, from laissez fairecapitalism run amok via a lack of transparency (regulations –Wash DC & its lobbyists or K Street) in the credit defaultswap and derivatives markets (Wall Street). In our usualscapegoating, we blame K Street and Wall Street but absolvethose on Main Street, who bought the size homes they didn’tneed with money they didn’t have and could not afford torepay. And we’re talking Ft Lauderdale, Las Vegas andCalifornia, not inner city Community Reinvestment Act 3
  4. 4. initiatives, as some have so cynically speculated.The loss in governmental tax receipts resulting from thisfinancial collapse and the ensuing economic malaise, combinedwith unpaid-for wars, a prescription drug program andsimultaneous tax cuts, dwarf in significance the money spenton the bipartisan troubled asset relief program [TARP] andeconomic stimuli of 2009-2010 (Was the auto industry assistnecessary or prudent though?).The TARP was not so much a Wall Street Bailout as it was anecessary intervention to prevent our indispensable financialinfrastructure from collapse. This is to recognize that,analogous to oil pipelines, these credit pipelines are thecirculatory system for our economy and had to be preserved.The Dodd-Frank legislation addressed some of the lack oftransparency; ideologues who advocate rolling these new lawsback are being penny-wise and pound-foolish with their shortmemories because that $60 trillion in wealth destruction couldhave funded our entire 2010 budget 17 times!None of this is to argue that our entitlement programs are nowon a sustainable path. They are clearly not and we presentlyhave Southern Europe acting as the canary-in-the-coalmine forany who would whistle past the fiscal responsibilitygraveyard, imagining that budget deficits do not matter.The taxpayers of the US have always supported a progressivetax structure where those of increasing means pay higher ratesand we have not cynically called this Class Warfare. We havealso recognized that small businesses are the primary enginethat drive our economy toward fuller employment and that theyshould be regulated only as much as absolutely needed andtaxed in a way that will not destroy their competitiveness andwe have not cynically called this Class Warfare either.Government can nurture an environment that supports theengines of wealth and even provide catalysts for the fuel(capital) that keeps them running, but it is also needed toprovide road signs (regulations) and speed bumps (moneysupply) to help keep these vehicles out of those ditches thatcan swallow up 17 years worth of wealth creation in one badaccident. (Some cycles and bubbles will happen anyway as theeconomy is way problematic!)Most of the strategies we employ and solutions we devise arecrafted, legislatively, between the 40 yard lines, thisdespite the hyperbole that demagogues engage in on the extremesides of our partisan aisles, throwing around terms likesocialism, class warfare, appeasement, greedy capitalists andso on. Thoughtful people will get the job done, eventually,even if the process is suboptimal and some of the charactersunsavory. Our system is flawed but remains the best the worldhas ever known.This message has been edited. Last edited by:johnboy.philothea, 14 December 2011 10:09 PM 4
  5. 5. 20 December 2011, 09:37 PMBradTheres no doubt that the nature of political partieshyperventilates political differences.But I would say one needs to understand that the DemocratParty is now primarily a leftist party. There is a distinctdifference between "sticking up for the little guy" and havinga core doctrine that is hostile to business, hostile toprofit, hostile to individual liberty, and that insteadbelieves in state control and equality-of-outcome.If we simply look at our politics and conclude that most ofthe differences are due to ill tempers, we would be missingthe forest for the trees.As for the Republican Party, dont get me started!21 December 2011, 04:12 AMjohnboy.philotheaPolitical parties and stances like to imagine that they arewholly grounded in eternal principles when, in fact, from aChristian perspective, they are nothing more than pragmaticcritiques that attempt to guide us as we cope with the factthat most of the time most of humankind will not behave likethe good angels. Neither the GOP nor the Democrat Party, northe Libertarian nor the Green, have articulated platforms,pursued policies - executively, administratively,legislatively, judicially - or campaigned politically in amanner consistent with subsidiarity principles. And noneimpress me as more consistent than the other. And they alltraffic in caricatures and cliches of each others positions.Contrastingly, there have been Christian anarchists, pacifistsand eremitics who, by most consistently and wholeheartedlypracticing Gospel ideals, have kept green our desire for theKingdom. In their families, convents, monasteries, caves andforest cells, they thus willingly take from each according totheir ability and provide for each according to their need.Their very lives are voices of prophetic protest of ourAmerican idols of capitalism and so-called liberty, althoughthat witness is secondary to their Eucharistic strivings,which most nearly perfectly weave worship into every moment ofeveryday life. They emulate the ideals that must ground oursubsidiarity principles, that must be invoked in our pragmaticcritiques and that must inform any default bias in ourpolitical stances.21 December 2011, 11:11 AMBrad quote: Contrastingly, there have been Christian anarchists,pacifists and eremitics who, by most consistently andwholeheartedly practicing Gospel ideals, have kept green ourdesire for the Kingdom. In their families, convents,monasteries, caves and forest cells, they thus willingly takefrom each according to their ability and provide for eachaccording to their need. 5
  6. 6. There is an inherent economics to life and morality. There aresome universal truths regarding government and human naturethat political philosophies can acknowledge or reject. Forexample, when government does what people should be doing forthemselves, it enfeebles people and weakens their character —while, of course, enlarging and engorging the power ofgovernment to keep this cycle going and make it worse. And asmuch as it is a good goal that we all should own a home, theeconomics of this doesn’t work out simply by the governmentdeclaring that this should be so, which is the real cause ofthe housing boom and bust. (Socialism is untenable because, asMargaret Thatcher noted, eventually you run out of otherpeople’s money.)Some political parties — in theory — take these inherentrealities of life to heart….and some don’t. It is impossibleto speak about this subject without acknowledging theinherently Utopian nature of the left….and the modern-dayDemocrat Party. They wish to cure that which is not curable orthat is best curable by other means (the free market andprivate charity).The cure for all of this — as much as it ever can be cured —is private morality. There is no collective morality worth adarn — at least outside a monastery. Theodore Dalrymple, inhis book “Not With a Bang But a Whimper” comments on what hehas seen socialism do to the once upright British character: quote: Hayek thought he had observed an important change in thecharacter of the British people, as a result both of theircollectivist aspirations and of such collectivist measures ashad already been legislated. He noted, for example, a shift inthe locus of people’s moral concern. Increasingly it was thestate of society or the world as a whole that engaged theirmoral passion, not their own conduct. ‘It is, however, morethan doubtful whether a fifty years’ approach towardscollectivism has raised our moral standards, or whether thechange has not rather been in the opposite direction,’ hewrote. ‘Though we are in the habit of priding ourselves on ourmore sensitive social conscience, it is by no means clear thatthis is justified by the practice of our individual conduct.’In fact, ‘It may even be… that the passion for collectiveaction is a way in which we now without compunctioncollectively indulge in that selfishness which as individualswe had learnt a little to restrain.’ Thus, to take a triflinginstance, it is the duty of the city council to keep thestreets clean; therefore my own conduct in this regard ismorally irrelevant – which no doubt explains why so many youngBritons now leave a trail of litter behind them wherever theygo. If the streets are filthy, it is the council’s fault.Indeed, if anything is wrong – for example, my unhealthy diet– it is someone else’s fault, and the job of the public powerto correct. 6
  7. 7. There are huge differences in political philosophies whichcan, and do, produce huge differences in society. But to havethe one (limited and Constitutional government with a maximumof freedom consistent with public order), we must get our ownacts together.21 December 2011, 02:57 PMPhil quote: But I would say one needs to understand that the DemocratParty is now primarily a leftist party. There is a distinctdifference between "sticking up for the little guy" and havinga core doctrine that is hostile to business, hostile toprofit, hostile to individual liberty, and that insteadbelieves in state control and equality-of-outcome.I recall people saying the same sort of thing about LBJ in themid-1960s, and my mother often bemoaned FDR policies as shesaid they put us on the road to communism. Nothing drasticallydifferent about todays Democrats from FDR and LBJ. Truly,however, they arent as socialistic as many on the right makethem out to be. I mean:- cutting the payroll tax- bailing out big businesses like GM instead of nationalizingthem- revamping healthcare in such manner as to leave privateinsurance very secure- maintaining Bushs tax reductions- cutting income taxes as part of the stimulus (yes, they didthat)Granted, these all might not have been their first choice orimpulse, but they went along with them and even pushed forthem, in the end. The upshot is that most Americans pay lesstaxes than they did under Bush. So Democrats can be pragmatic,if need be. Im not so sure about this new Tea Party movementamong the Republicans, however. We shall see . . .21 December 2011, 03:46 PMBradWe’ve gotten used to socialism, Phil. But note that socialism— or just statism (contributed to by both parties) — tends toadvance. The little tax cuts that come and go fall like littlesnowflakes from the sky but don’t amount to much in the schemeof things. They are nice little diversions. But the debtcontinues to grow, and the unfunded liabilities (mostlyentitlements) are in the tens of trillions.The state controlled approximately 50% of health care dollarseven before ObamaCare. Both parties regularly exceed even themost generous reading of the Constitution. And the state andbureaucracy keep growing and growing, making more and more ofthe decisions that people used to make for themselves, and 7
  8. 8. taking over more and more of the free market. They do so firstby regulation, and outright ownership comes next (and we’veseen some of that). This is the way things are trending.It’s a fair question to ask whether this is good or not orreally not as bad as those mean, ol’ conservatives say it is.But that is the state of things.Our education system is now busy turning out fullyindoctrinated — but academically stunted — leftists. And wecan look to Europe to see where the dogma of multiculturalismand other leftists ideas are taking us. And regarding the TeaParty movement, it’s not of Republicans. In fact, theRepublicans would rather we all dried up and blew away. Bothparties love the idea of all that power and control. Theydon’t want to give it up.Nearly 50% of people pay little or no taxes. And yet still theDemocrats demonize “the rich” and say they must “pay theirfair share.” If one doesn’t acknowledge the Cultural Marxistaspect that has taken hold of the Democrat Party, it will behard to parse current events.If the Democrat Party lived by one, and only one of the TenCommandments — thou shalt not covet — they would be put out ofbusiness tomorrow because that party depends on support of theconstituencies they have more or less bought and paid for,with class envy and other tactics greasing the way. This iswhat our government has become, a very large patronage system.That’s not what America is supposed to be about. Not by a longshot.21 December 2011, 06:48 PMjohnboy.philothea quote: Originally posted by Brad: There are some universal truthsregarding government and human nature that politicalphilosophies can acknowledge or reject. For example, whengovernment does what people should be doing for themselves, itenfeebles people and weakens their character — while, ofcourse, enlarging and engorging the power of government tokeep this cycle going and make it worse.Yes, the subsidiarity principle, which no party has followedconsistently, differing --- not whether they will invoke BIGGOV , but only --- where they will invoke BIG GOV , to wit:bedroom (social-cons), schoolroom (theo-cons), boardroom(left-wingnuts), war room (neo-cons). As for modernlibertarians? Theyre consistent --- consistently absolutist! quote: Originally posted by Brad: And as much as it is a goodgoal that we all should own a home, the economics of thisdoesn’t work out simply by the government declaring that this 8
  9. 9. should be so, which is the real cause of the housing boom andbust.The governments affordable housing initiatives did not causethis crisis. Fannie & Freddie werent a primary cause eitheras those securities maintained their value throughout thecrisis. Besides, as government sponsored entities, theytransfer only interest rate risk to investors, whileinvestment and commercial bank securities transfer defaultrisk, too.In fact, lending standards for housing declined precisely asFannie & Freddie were giving up loan securitization marketshare and a drill-down into mortgage data confirms whichvintage years produced the most egregious default rates. Astraditional underwriting guidelines were sacrificed, defaultrisks rose inordinately. As with every credit cycle (boom-bust), at the same time that these credit standards weredeclining, so were the risk premiums (the difference in rate alender would receive for subprime over prime credits).The crisis, thus, was primarily a regulatory failure. And itwas the repeal of Glass-Steagall that originally changed therisk-profile of large banks. Additionally, derivatives marketswith insufficient regulatory oversight and accountingtransparency created an untenable uncertainty in financialsystems. Furthermore, a shadow banking system with no capital,leverage or liquidity regulations exacerbated all of thesesystemic risks. Finally, federal regulators lacked sufficientoversight but also failed to use that which they already had.I know certain think-tanks produce alternative accounts but Ido not find them credible for manifold reasons, primarilyempirical. quote: Originally posted by Brad: Some political parties — intheory — take these inherent realities of life to heart…andsome don’t. It is impossible to speak about this subjectwithout acknowledging the inherently Utopian nature of theleft….and the modern-day Democrat Party. They wish to curethat which is not curable or that is best curable by othermeans (the free market and private charity).Being utopian about free markets is no virtue either. It waslaissez-faire capitalism run amok that destroyed so muchwealth in recent years. The mantra of deregulation continuesto be mindlessly intoned as a utopian panacea. And infernalpessimists re: BIG GOV in domestic affairs, some are eternaloptimists re: BIG GOV overseas! And time-honored, peer-reviewed science, step aside! Let BIG GOV rewrite thetextbooks. 9
  10. 10. Of course, most of the fan noise emanates from the crazies inthe respective redzones (20% each) while the rest of us watchmost of the political action between the 40 yards lines. quote: Originally posted by Brad: The cure for all of this — asmuch as it ever can be cured — is private morality. There isno collective morality worth a darn — at least outside amonastery. Theodore Dalrymple, in his book “Not With a BangBut a Whimper” comments on what he has seen socialism do tothe once upright British character: [QUOTE]Hayek thought he had observed an important changein the character of the British people, as a result both oftheir collectivist aspirations and of such collectivistmeasures as had already been legislated. He noted, forexample, a shift in the locus of people’s moral concern.Increasingly it was the state of society or the world as awhole that engaged their moral passion, not their own conduct.‘It is, however, more than doubtful whether a fifty years’approach towards collectivism has raised our moral standards,or whether the change has not rather been in the oppositedirection,’ he wrote. ‘Though we are in the habit of pridingourselves on our more sensitive social conscience, it is by nomeans clear that this is justified by the practice of ourindividual conduct.’ In fact, ‘It may even be… that thepassion for collective action is a way in which we now withoutcompunction collectively indulge in that selfishness which asindividuals we had learnt a little to restrain.’ Thus, to takea trifling instance, it is the duty of the city council tokeep the streets clean; therefore my own conduct in thisregard is morally irrelevant – which no doubt explains why somany young Britons now leave a trail of litter behind themwherever they go. If the streets are filthy, it is thecouncil’s fault. Indeed, if anything is wrong – for example,my unhealthy diet – it is someone else’s fault, and the job ofthe public power to correct.Ah, yes, but Maggie Thatcher straightened em all out. As Iheard on Morning Joe, someone said that, right before shearrived, Britain was faltering like the old Weimar but withoutthe nightclubs Smiler quote: Originally posted by Brad: There are huge differences inpolitical philosophies which can, and do, produce hugedifferences in society. But to have the one (limited andConstitutional government with a maximum of freedom consistentwith public order), we must get our own acts together.Thats part of the problem; folks imagining they have aphilosophy when what they have is an ideology. Thesubsidiarity principle would negotiate between free market- 10
  11. 11. libertarian utopians and big govt utopians if theyd quityelling at each other. I do embrace classical liberalism,essentially libertarianism, as the proper default bias. RonPaul is an example of one who embraces it as an absolute andthus gets both a lot right but so much terribly wrong, too.Where Left wingnuts are concerned, because the only tool theyhave is a hammer, BIG GOV, every problem, suspiciously, lookslike a nail. 11