Interesting read from a philosopher even if you find conservative arguments frequently dishonest and disingenuous – How to Argue About Politics
As a philosophy professor, I spend much of my time thinking about the arguments put forward by professional philosophers. As a citizen (and an occasional columnist for The Stone), I also spend lots of time thinking about the arguments put forward by Democrats and Republicans on currently disputed political issues. Of course, there are differences in logical sophistication and complexity between the philosophical and the political arguments. But, allowing that popular political arguments require shortcuts from full academic rigor, there is not, I think, that much difference between the logical acumen of politicians and philosophers.
Envisioning a ‘charitable’ but rigorous approach to political debate.
But there is one respect in which philosophers’ arguments are far superior to those of politicians. To be taken seriously, a philosophical argument has to begin from a thorough understanding of an opponent’s’ position and formulate the position so that it is as plausible and attractive as possible. Politicians, by contrast, typically load the dice by attacking the weakest versions of their opponents’ views they can find.
Its a rule in debating and the philsophy of logic to assume that your opponent is honest about their arguments. Mr. Gutting proceeds with that old rule in mind. He lays out what the conservative argument is. Assumes their veracity and notes ways to argue with some of the foundational aspects of conservatism. That is fine as far as it goes and something that people who oppose conservatism should learn. That said conservatives are almost always dishonest. Sometimes they believe what they, but just because someone truly believes the earth is fat does not make it so. Sometimes they simply lie. They know they’re lying and thus the weakness in having a rational discourse in the tradition of philosophy. For exampel conservatives honestly belive they stand for a free market economy which rewards hard work and innovation, or both. Just stand back and let it work they claim and everything will be fine. The Great Recession and other economic setbacks say the are wrong. Wrong in glowing blinding neon-sign wrong. Just ignore the billions they spend on lobbying and other forms of political influence to get legislation that serves the needs of a few at the price of the many. The ridiculous belief that those at the top of the income pyramid got there and stay there because they are the most productive. It is the mid and low-level workers in the pyramid that are the producers. The wealthy simply benefit from their work. Slaving over a mahogany desk with a spread sheet hardly counts for producing much value in terms of capital. They simply move capital around. Lots of people – some naive, some good-hearted, some overly idealistic – think you can have rational debates with a conservative or communist or rightie libertarian. You’re wrong. Look around at the crap they push out in their daily propaganda – Huckabee Wants To Know If Obama Got College Loans “As A Foreign Student”. Huckbaee is a grown man with an education and he is spreading an urban myth. Its something like that everyday. How did Newt come from behind in South Carolina. It was not from speaking the truth it was catering to the deep ethnocentrism and cultural backwardness of the conservative base. I’ll walk back a little of the never, I would grant that arguing the facts is the only tool at the nonconservative’s disposal and they can make a difference around the edges in terms of push back. And sometimes, this also not accounted for in the rulebook, being a pain in the ass to conservative pundits and those who troll internet forums ruins their day. Conservatives may not be convinced by the facts, but the facts sure piss them off.
Sarah van Gelder is much more optimistic than I am – Corporate Rule Is Not Inevitable. 7 signs the corporatocracy is losing its legitimacy … and 7 populist tools to help shut it down.
This is the kind of phenomenon that just will not penetrate right-wing conservative tin-foil, Working and Poor in the USA
“Our nation, so richly endowed with natural resources and with a capable and industrious population, should be able to devise ways and means of insuring to all our able-bodied men and women, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937
Millions of people in the US work and are still poor. Here are eight points that show why the US needs to dedicate itself to making work pay.
One. How many people work and are still poor?
In 2011, the US Department of Labor reported at least 10 million people worked and were still below the unrealistic official US poverty line, an increase of 1.5 million more than the last time they checked. The US poverty line is $18,530 for a mom and two kids. Since 2007 the numbers of working poor have been increasing. About 7 percent of all workers and 4 percent of all full-time workers earn wages that leave them below the poverty line.
Two. What kinds of jobs do the working poor have?
One third of the working poor, over 3 million people, work in the service industry. Workers in other occupations are also poor: 16 percent of those in farming; 11 percent in construction; and 11 percent in sales.
Three. Which workers are most likely to be working and still poor?
Women workers are more likely to be poor than men. African-American and Hispanic workers are about twice as likely to be poor as whites. College graduates have a 2 percent poverty rate while workers without a high school diploma have a poverty rate 10 times higher at 20 percent.
A slide show from the NYT about a dying profession – ‘Wall Dogs’ With Paint
Sign painters — a k a billboard artists or wall dogs — have almost disappeared, their trade strangled by the advent of vinyl sheets. But there is still call for their artistry, skill and pluck, especially in historic districts and on buildings whose oddly shaped facades will not easily be draped in huge sheets.
Trailer for Here Comes The Neighborhood
HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD is a Short-Form Docuseries exploring the power of Public Art and innovation to uplift and revitalize urban communities. The Pilot Season revolves around the Arts District of Wynwood Miami, featuring an array of internationally acclaimed and locally respected Street Artists, Graffiti Writers and Muralists.
In 2009, Urban Visionary and Placemaker Tony Goldman partnered with Jeffrey Deitch (Deitch Projects Soho and now director of MoCa Los Angeles) to create the Wynwood Walls.What began with a series of parking lots, loading docks, and drab rundown factory buildings, became a curation of high caliber murals from Futura, Shepard Fairey, OS Gemeos, Kenny Scharf and others. The Walls opened for Art Basel 2009, and now two years later the collection has expanded to include over thirty artists from around the world, becoming a “Town Center” in a district that has grown into one of the largest concentrations of commissioned murals in the World.
If you’re into art, photography and reviving neighborhoods this is an amazing video. There are multiple parts available and some of them should come up as links to play at the end of this video.