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Political Spectrum

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 2:43 pm
by Matt Z
I've always thought that the idea of a political spectrum is fundamentally flawed. For example:

Someone who believes that government has a resposibility to protect and assist the more vulnerable members of society (the poor, the handicapped, the elderly and especially children) would typically be labeled a liberal. However, someone who wants to extend the same legal protections to the unborn would immediately be branded a conservative (or ultra-conservative).

The Catholic church is typically thought of as ultra-conservative, because of it's stances on abortion, homosexuality, birth control, etc. However the the Catholic church also opposes the death penalty ... those damn liberal Catholics.

Hunters are generally strong supporters of the second ammendment (conservative), but they also have an interest in protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat (liberal).

What's worse however is when some liberals and conservatives accuse individuals of hypocracy for failing to conform to a party platform. Since when is it hypocritical to actually think and make decisions on an issue-by-issue basis.

Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 3:12 pm
by stuward
You should think along 2 spectrums, personal freedoms and economic freedoms. That leads to 4 corners, Right wing and left wing on one axis, libertarian and authoritarian on the other.


Even this may be too simplistic.

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

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:04 am
by Rucifer
As my sociology professor put it- economic conservatism and liberalism is far diff than social conservatism and liberalism. But I agree in saying that nowadays it seems to be that its one way or the other on both, even though not too long ago most economic conservatives had a more liberal social standpoint and those who were more economically liberal had a more conservative standpoint. Now it seems you must always believe in welfare /higher taxes/etc and pro-choice/pro gay rights/etc to be a "liberal", while you must be hardly any government regulation on business/tax cuts and pro-life/pro-gun to be "conservative". What if you believe in welfare and higher taxes, but are also pro gun and pro life? What are you then? Or if you believe total free market econ with hardly any taxes but are pro life and pro environment? What are you then?

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:10 am
by Ironman
You all bring up good points. There is a graph. The funny thing is, it is not that Republicans are so extremely conservative as they are very authoritarian. Democrats tend to vary. So it does tend to be different than people think.

It really varies by issue nobody is all liberal or conservative on every single issue. It is true Catholics can be very conservative, but liberal on the death penalty. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with what Darth Ratzy tells them though. The ones that do their own thing tend to be a little to left.

Being against abortion is considered conservative because the rights of an underdeveloped fetus that is not fully conscious as we are get priority over those of a sexually mature female purely on the grounds of religion. It is liberal to be concerned about a woman's rights to control her reproductive system. It is also liberal to be concerned about creating a black market.

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:06 am
by Proper Knob
Intersesting thread. For me it just highlights how society wants to see everything in black and white. 'You're a liberal', 'she's conservative', but in reality everything is just a big shade of grey. There are definitely people who would be considered very and liberal conservative who take up the far ends of the spectrum but the other 95% just all meld together.

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:43 pm
by Matt Z
"What if you believe in welfare and higher taxes, but are also pro gun and pro life? What are you then? Or if you believe total free market econ with hardly any taxes but are pro life and pro environment? What are you then?" - Rucifer

Unrepresented.

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 6:34 pm
by Matt Z
Ironman, I find it interesting that you chose to characterize socially conservative Catholics as sheep who blindly follow Church doctrine. Did it ever occur to you that some Catholics might agree with the Church's teachings, or that some people actually convert to Catholicism because they like what the Church stands for.

I also find it a little strange that you assume that religion is the ONLY possible reason someone might have for being pro-life.

Re: Political Spectrum

Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 9:44 pm
by nygmen
Matt Z wrote: Since when is it hypocritical to actually think and make decisions on an issue-by-issue basis.
I totally agree with where your going with this.

But, that's as far as I will take my portion of the evolving conversation.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 4:35 am
by Ironman
Matt Z wrote:Ironman, I find it interesting that you chose to characterize socially conservative Catholics as sheep who blindly follow Church doctrine. Did it ever occur to you that some Catholics might agree with the Church's teachings, or that some people actually convert to Catholicism because they like what the Church stands for.

I also find it a little strange that you assume that religion is the ONLY possible reason someone might have for being pro-life.
I think what I do about socially conservative Catholics because I was raised Catholic and I know a lot of Catholics. They don't really know much about what is in the bible. Now without getting into problems with the bible such as the contradictions, mistranslations, forgeries and all that sort of thing, I want to focus on practice. The Church just invented things here and there. Catholics just follow it. It's stuff that is not even in the bible. That is blind following.

Religion explains nearly all pro life. Other brainwashing or simply not understanding things is another reason. It depends on what you mean though, if you want to stop just late term elective abortion I could understand that. I wouldn't want to pass a law, but I could understand people wanting to. Personally I would like to eliminate late term elective abortions by providing comprehensive sex education, and easy access to birth control, morning after pills, pregnancy tests and cut the red tape on abortions so that when they happen, it is early on. I would also want adoption made easier.


The problem with the right is you can usually sum up what they want to do in one sentence on most issues. Like abortion, it's "ban it." If you can make it that brief, it's not a good comprehensive plan, and it is going to do more harm than good. Now if your plan is detailed and the overview is a paragraph or more without padding it with pretentious language, you may have something good there.


So it's great wanting to stop abortion, but we need to do it in a way that will actually work.

I also don't like the pope, his Africa/condom comments are murder by negligence. He was part of the Nazi youth. The Catholic church has brought us such lovely things like witch burnings, the crusades, the Spanish inquisition, indulgences, war in Europe for about 100 years in the 16th and 17th centuries, and more recently moving pedophile priest from parish to parish. I think the celibacy vows can eventually lead to pedophilia in some men.

Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:54 pm
by Matt Z
I just find it a little funny that you're so sensative about the stereotypes/misconceptions/assumtions associated with Athiests, and still so quick to stereotype others.

Also, I'm still scratching my head on how celibacy leads to pedophilia.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:36 am
by Ironman
I don't like most stereotypes associated with atheists because they are the basis of straw man arguments. If it is a true stereo type like that we tend to be liberal or libertarian, intellectual, nerdy, having eclectic interests and sometimes exhibiting eccentric behavior. Than I have no problem with that. If it is something like we must not have any moral values because we don't believe in god, that is a ridiculous straw man argument. People naturally have morals, that's how people can pick and choose what to accept in the bible. That way they don't end up stoning their disobedient children.

All the things I mentioned, the Catholic church was involved in. It is a fact. As for Catholics usually being pro life, I don't think that is a stereotype so much as it is just the church policy.

If you don't believe that most Christians don't know much about the bible, look up what bible scholars have to say. These scholars are Christian who believe Jesus is real. Yet their studies show the bible's origins and meanings and even it's literal words are very different than what people think they know about it. Try reading Jesus Interrupted. You will see what I mean.

As for celibacy causing pedophilia in some men, that is just a hypothesis, however the association is strong. I think it is unnatural and that because every mortal sin is equally bad, having sex with the alter boys is no worse than anything else they could do. I think the unnatural suppression of a strong drive (face we wouldn't be here to talk about it if it wasn't) can make you a little crazy. There is also a strong association between pedophilia and priests. But it could be that pedophiles become priests thinking they won't have to worry about sexual feelings anymore.

But really, why is a deity so concerned about people's sex lives? How are they so sure they know what he wants?

Try reading this first paragraph that describes Jewish apocalypticism.
http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/ee ... 00049.html
Then read the gospel of Mark.

You'll see what I mean. Then if you really have some time on your hands, do a parallel study of the gospels. After doing that, no matter how much you believe, I don't think you will be so sure these people have any idea what god wants.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:13 pm
by TheHeb
Ironman wrote: As for celibacy causing pedophilia in some men, that is just a hypothesis, however the association is strong. I think it is unnatural and that because every mortal sin is equally bad, having sex with the alter boys is no worse than anything else they could do. I think the unnatural suppression of a strong drive (face we wouldn't be here to talk about it if it wasn't) can make you a little crazy. There is also a strong association between pedophilia and priests. But it could be that pedophiles become priests thinking they won't have to worry about sexual feelings anymore.
Appeals to nature are generally fallacious. What constitutes "natural" is far too ambiguous. Consider this phrase:

"unnatural suppression of a strong drive can make you a little crazy"

What is unnatural suppression? What is strong drive? In this context not having sex by choice is considered an "unnatural suppression," which should seem silly. If not, let me expand. How often must one have sex to avoid unnaturally suppressing this "strong drive?" If my girlfriend is holding out on me, how long do I have until I start molesting little boys?

I'm just kinda surprised and curious that you used the word "nature" here.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 1:19 pm
by TheHeb
Ironman wrote:
Matt Z wrote: Religion explains nearly all pro life. Other brainwashing or simply not understanding things is another reason. It depends on what you mean though, if you want to stop just late term elective abortion I could understand that. I wouldn't want to pass a law, but I could understand people wanting to. Personally I would like to eliminate late term elective abortions by providing comprehensive sex education, and easy access to birth control, morning after pills, pregnancy tests and cut the red tape on abortions so that when they happen, it is early on. I would also want adoption made easier.
There are a few good arguments against abortion (which I do disagree with) that are secular. Unfortunately, the loudest ones are all religious.

When you consider:
1. A fetus is a living human.
2. Birth is an arbitrary and silly demarcation of the beginning of moral worth in a human.

it takes solid moral deliberation to justify an abortion. Which has been done numerous times in several different ways (IMO). But it's still a complex issue.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 3:01 pm
by Matt Z
I just don't see how not having sex for a long time can change a mans preferance to women to boys. It doesn't make any sense.

I also think the "strong association" between Catholic clergy and pedophilia is greatly exagerated, partly because of the intense media attention (the media loves scandals) and partly because most people (including Catholics) greatly underestimate the actual number of priests in the US.

PS) There's also still a certain amound of anti-Catholic bias in this country.

Posted: Thu May 21, 2009 3:47 pm
by hoosegow
There seems to be a lot of anti Christian sentiment as well. People are stupid and sheep because they believe a certain way, no?