1127: "Congress"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
JamesStreet
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:11 pm UTC
Location: DFW
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby JamesStreet » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:53 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:My thought coming into this was that Republicans were the bloodthirsty types who started wars, just like most of us here probably assumed. The comic, assuming it's accurate, surprised me and crushed a stereotype I'd long accepted as truth. I would think I'm not alone in being surprised by that fact.


This reminds me of the ecard floating around Facebook that says half of my friends think Obama sucks, and the other half think Romney sucks; I just want them to agree.

Regardless of rhetoric, spending always goes up, whether on military or welfare. The lone exception was under Clinton, who was accidentally fiscally sane in his second term. That's probably his biggest regret, right before not boinking more interns.

Derek
Posts: 2181
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Derek » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:00 pm UTC

superglucose wrote:Andrew Jackson was a democrat
George Washington was specifically unaligned and in his farewell address warned against political parties as a source of corruption and foreign influence while taking votes and debates away from the actual issues and instead making every decision a question of "them vs us" which would not help the nation in any way.

He kind of was a genius.

While George Washington avoided party politics, he was decidedly a Federalist in his views.

Karilyn wrote:You just sold me, particularly by comparing it to the historical choosing of Senators by state legislatures instead of by vote. I have been a strong supporter of returning to popular vote election of Representatives, and appointment by state legislatures of the Senate, as I think it is a much superior system; giving weight simultaneously to popular vote AND appointment. I like a system that has both, because appointment helps compensate for an uneducated voter-base in an all-popular-vote system, and popular vote helps prevent corruption relative to an all-appointment system.

To apply the same thing to Presidency, of the Representatives and Senate electing the president, would be an excellent improvement to the system. It improves the layers on both sides, further reducing both corruption and uneducated voter problems, AND gives strength to third parties.

You have convinced me of the superiority of the Parliamentary system. Who says you can't convince anybody on the Internet?

EDIT: Another major benefit I see is removing the focus off the President. There's a major problem in the US with people focusing on the President and ignoring their congressional representative, which allows for more congressional corruption as they are not held under the same microscope that presidents are (not that presidents can't be corrupt, but they have a lower corruption than congress).

Your desires are conflicting. You want proportionality, but indirect elections. Indirect elections decrease proportionality because a simple majority at the intermediate level can ensure 100% victory at the top level. This does nothing to improve third parties, and actually makes second parties even weaker. We already have a system like this for electing the President, the Electoral College, and it's terrible.

A parliamentary system does not remove the focus on the President either. In fact, it makes the problem worse. Because now your vote for parliament is also your vote for president/prime minister, so in practice you end up voting based on who you want to be Prime Minister, not who you want to represent you.

Indirect elections are the only system less representative than FPTP, and should be avoided. I would instead suggest looking into other direct voting systems, like Proportional Voting (PR), Instant-Runoff Vote (IRV), and Approval Voting (AV).

Also, don't confuse proportional voting with the parliamentary system.

So you're voting for the party, not the individual? :?

Cause a lot of Republicans and Democrats vote across party lines; that's why the chart shows "far" and "center" versions of both Republican and Democrat; it's roughly a measure of how much the politician crossed side during a vote. If you're not voting for an individual, it seems like you would be severely limited in knowing what the person will actually do once they are in office. Do people not vote against party lines as often in a Parliamentary system? Do parties have some sort of well-defined organizational body that kicks people out if they vote outside of the party's ideology too many times?

I'm curious but not sold yet without more information. I am extremely excited about the idea of giving 5% of the seats for 5% of the votes, but uncomfortable about the appearance of voting for parties instead of individuals.

All of this analysis is correct for proportional voting. It's the primary flaw with the system. There are other systems, like IRV and AV, that allow voting for individuals while still being more proportional than FPTP, but they're not as proportional as PR.

mbklein wrote:Can someone explain to me what it means when one of the red lines flows in from the far left to join the rest of the red bloc, and vice versa?

Red and Blue mean "left voting" and "right voting". The left and right sides mean "left party" and "right party". So a red line on the left is a Democrat who was center-right based on votes, and vice-versa.

Ah, good call on the Reagan-era Central American 'actions'. I was too young to remember much of events back then, so they completely slipped my mind when I was trying to come up with exceptions other than Bushes. =)

There are a lot of other exceptions, if you look closely. The US first got involved in Vietnam, at a low level, under Eisenhower. The Civil War started in response to the election of Lincoln. And the Spanish-American War was under William McKinley's tenure. You could also argue that Woodrow Wilson and FDR did not "start" WWII.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:For what it's worth, blue representing the left side of the political spectrum and red the right side is a relatively recent adoption in American politics. The current codification really only dates back to 2000.

It's also closely tied to the confusing history of "liberalism".

Blue is the traditional color of liberals. Red is the traditional color of socialists. At one point, these groups were opposed to each other; the liberals had been the progressive party, deposed the original conservatives, and considered socialism a move back toward the statism they had just thrown off, and so became the new conservatives (liking the status quo they had just established). But "liberal" had become synonymous in some circles with "progressive" by that point, so as socialists considered themselves more progressive, socialist movements in some places (notably the US) were called "liberal", as opposed to the conservative classical liberals (what we'd now call "libertarians").

So the left being depicted as blue has a long history, it's just that what counts as "left" has shifted around a lot and is full of contradictions now. But red for the weird mix of classical liberalism, traditionalism, and corporatism that currently passes as "the right" in this county is certainly a new development, yeah.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Fire Brns
Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:25 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Fire Brns » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:24 pm UTC

Munksgaard_ wrote:I don't really know what to make of this? What's the message here?

I don't think Randal is trying to make a statement on modern politics.
However it is disconcerting to see that rather than reform of the democratic party after the ultra "leftification" of it since the 40's, the right chose to instead become equally as polarized.


. To the "wars by democrats" argument above. I was also shocked to learn the actual troop statistics behind Vietnam. Eisenhower I was taught started the war, all he had was around 800 advisers to the French in country, Kennedy increased that number to 16,000 by the time he was assassinated with at least a portion training the south Vietnamese; to be fair he later issued orders to withdraw troops. Johnson being a strong proponent of containment theory however rescinded Kennedy's orders and by the time he was out of office our troop's in Vietnam numbered over 200,000.

. Not every war was started by the democrats but the most pointless ones were: Wilson took us into WW1, Truman had us in Korea.
1812 was really the damned Brits' fault, the Spanish American war was started by McKinley but was "instigated" by the Spanish but can easily be defined as "a series of one sided naval engagements". The initial Afghanistan war was Justified but the occupation afterwards was unwarranted had it gone like the first gulf war I believe it would have been seen as far more agreeable. All of Iraq was unjustified as it only further destabilized the region and created an stronger image of American imperialism. Roosevelt kind of had to go into WW2 so I don't blame him there.


. I would actually like to see an infograph comparing wars by their frequency and intensity not to politics but to economic state. I see a slight pattern between everything sucking and everyone declaring war. Proxy wars have been temporary fixes it seem. But I don't have enough data to make a definitive conclusion.
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.

B. Eagle
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:33 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby B. Eagle » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

I have Dr. Poole as a professor!

"Dr. Poole! You're on xkcd today!" --me
"What's that?" --Dr. Poole
"It's a really famous webcomic!" --me
"What am I on there for?" --Dr. Poole
"They made a huge graph out of your DW-NOMINATE stuff!" --me
"Oh." --Dr. Poole

Hands down the most exciting moment of my life.

brenok
Needs Directions
Posts: 507
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:35 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby brenok » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:57 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:Not only do I not watch Fox News, I don't even bother with TV News as a whole. I'd consider myself a fairly mainline progressive.I'm not sure which word(s) in what I wrote that you mistook for some sort of "giveaway" of Fox News viewership, but you're way off target.


Did you even read what he wrote? He said that using WW 1 and two as examples is a terrible idea. The USA weren't in any side of the battle when they started, and only entered due to strong internal and external pressure. World War two started in 1939 by Germany. The United States only joined the Allies after an attack in Pearl Harbor, and after the Western Europe was completely dominated by Nazis. I'd think that the party of the president wouldn't make any difference.

jay35 wrote: My thought coming into this was that Republicans were the bloodthirsty types who started wars, just like most of us here probably assumed.


"Most of us"? Which sane person would think that a party with more than 150 years of history would be the same in all moments? If Democrats and Republicans started as conservative and liberal parties, and now they are the exact opposite, they definitely aren't the same parties anymore!

OP Tipping
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:23 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby OP Tipping » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:04 pm UTC

This is amazing work, and I love Randall like a brother, but as others have noted there are some errors...

Perhaps it would be well if he could release beta versions of his complex cartoons to the forum so that we can nitpick, before going "live" on the main site.
a) Please explain the specific MEDICAL reason for ordering this MEDICATION !
b) Please state the nature of your ailment or injury.
c) One a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?
d) Please state the nature of the medical emergency.

sherlip
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:40 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby sherlip » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:18 pm UTC

This one's pretty good.

But did anyone notice that in the Senate chart, the scale at the top goes (0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 40, 40, 80)?

bert5412
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:28 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby bert5412 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

FUN FACT: until 1913 the senate was voted on by state legislatures rather then the people.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventeenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
I think, therefore I'm awesome.

Soteria
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Soteria » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:25 pm UTC

brenok wrote:
jay35 wrote:Not only do I not watch Fox News, I don't even bother with TV News as a whole. I'd consider myself a fairly mainline progressive.I'm not sure which word(s) in what I wrote that you mistook for some sort of "giveaway" of Fox News viewership, but you're way off target.


Did you even read what he wrote? He said that using WW 1 and two as examples is a terrible idea. The USA weren't in any side of the battle when they started, and only entered due to strong internal and external pressure. World War two started in 1939 by Germany. The United States only joined the Allies after an attack in Pearl Harbor, and after the Western Europe was completely dominated by Nazis. I'd think that the party of the president wouldn't make any difference.

jay35 wrote: My thought coming into this was that Republicans were the bloodthirsty types who started wars, just like most of us here probably assumed.


"Most of us"? Which sane person would think that a party with more than 150 years of history would be the same in all moments? If Democrats and Republicans started as conservative and liberal parties, and now they are the exact opposite, they definitely aren't the same parties anymore!


I guess if you exclude anything before Carter, Republicans look more hawkish. I'm not sure who gets to draw that line, though. I think modern democrats who like to think of their party being more peaceful would love to draw the line there. I think that's pretty hypocritical, though: a lot of people would probably agree that the modern democratic party as we know it emerged with FDR and the New Deal policies. Certainly, that's true in economic policy. Socially, you could make a case for the Johnson administration.

Either way, you're including Vietnam. You could take the deaths from a single year of Vietnam and outnumber all our losses from both gulf wars, Afghanistan, and Beirut (~7000). For that matter, we lost more troops to auto accidents per year than we did in Iraq. (I was told as much by a commander before a deployment, and the numbers add up: across the branches we've averaged 1500 auto accident fatalities per year since 2003.)

You may not LIKE the history, but in fact Vietnam was a war started by a Democratic president--Kennedy/Johnson, or both, you pick. It was also largely prosecuted by a Democrat, from 1963-1969. I don't think anyone praises Nixon for the job he did with the Vietnam negotiations, but in fact he did begin withdrawing troops shortly after being elected. From 1970-1973, each year we lost half as many troops as we did the year before. My point with all these numbers is that our perception of who gets us into bloody wars does not really match reality.

I wouldn't include WWI/II, but I'd like to point out that if you're going to say "A republican president would have gotten us into those wars," then: "a democratic president would have gotten us into the first gulf war and afghanistan." At least, I haven't heard a lot of Democrats saying going after the Taliban was a bad thing.

Republicans talk like hawks and Democrats talk like doves, but in practice a president from either party is extremely likely to use military force. The opposition party will then explain why this particular use of force is a Bad Thing. For reference, look at who (embarrassingly) opposed the Iraq troop surge and who opposed sending troops into Bosnia. If it's a Republican president, he's accused of imperialism. Democrats are told to stop acting like the world's cops.
Last edited by Soteria on Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:18 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

I am Jack's username wrote:
thesingingaccountant wrote:So, to me, it's somewhat amusing that we still use two different colors to represent them.


See http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012 which shows why someone like me (who is way to the left and below Stein) also find it hard to distinguish between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. I realize there are differences, but the Ds and Rs have crossed so many ethical lines that the tiny differences between them don't matter to me. There's nothing that can scare me into voting for the lesser evil, because I'd rather vote for the good and lose, than actually endorse one of the evils.


This is fantastic! Thanks! :-)
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:56 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:We've reached an age where technology will allow us to have an absolute democracy - who's with me?


I am.

Here's a good start: http://ni4d.us/
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

User avatar
JamesStreet
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:11 pm UTC
Location: DFW
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby JamesStreet » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:
CasualSax wrote:We've reached an age where technology will allow us to have an absolute democracy - who's with me?


I am.

Here's a good start: http://ni4d.us/


Yay. Tyranny by mob rule.

Sounds so much better than tyranny by oligarchs.

dtilque
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:53 am UTC
Location: Nogero

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby dtilque » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:03 am UTC

jay35 wrote:
dtilque wrote:
jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


There's an old political saying to the effect that we get wars under Democrats and recessions under Republicans. Nowadays, the Republicans have taken over both functions.

(The Arab Spring/Middle East stuff by Obama is small potatoes in terms of historic US military actions. Not much bigger than Reagan intervening in Grenada or Lebanon, for example.)

Ah, good call on the Reagan-era Central American 'actions'. I was too young to remember much of events back then, so they completely slipped my mind when I was trying to come up with exceptions other than Bushes. =)


I actually didn't mean to single out Reagan. If you count small interventions (mostly in Central America and the Caribbean), they happened in virtually every Administration of the 20th century and several before that. There's lists of them on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

It's true Democrats were in office for the major 20th century wars (although Vietnam is ambiguous because it had no single beginning), but that may be more coincidence than anything else.
“This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”
-- Albert Einstein, 12 September 1920

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:22 am UTC

NiteClerk wrote:... I always figured the difference between D & R is that the D's want to take my money and give to poor people. The R's want to take my money and give to business'. ...


I do not entirely agree with that assessment. Yes, they want to take your money, but they're not giving what they take to the poor. The criteria for receiving such benefits as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance are becoming increasingly stringent, meaning that fewer and fewer people have access to them. That is one reason why we have more poor people than ever before. Another reason is the systematic slashing of wages in most (if not all) industries. I have seen this phenomenon both first- and secondhand.
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

Soteria
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Soteria » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:45 am UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:
NiteClerk wrote:... I always figured the difference between D & R is that the D's want to take my money and give to poor people. The R's want to take my money and give to business'. ...


I do not entirely agree with that assessment. Yes, they want to take your money, but they're not giving what they take to the poor. The criteria for receiving such benefits as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance are becoming increasingly stringent, meaning that fewer and fewer people have access to them. That is one reason why we have more poor people than ever before. Another reason is the systematic slashing of wages in most (if not all) industries. I have seen this phenomenon both first- and secondhand.


I don't really want to start something, but you're begging the question. What causes poverty? Do medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance actually have a causal relationship with escaping poverty? I'm not saying those are bad programs, but I'm suspicious of the claim that more people are getting *into* poverty because it's harder to get food stamps. I think it has a lot more to do with the recession than any government policy (although I guess we could talk about why we're in a recession).

My favorite way of differentiating R's and D's is that Republicans are afraid of big government whereas Democrats are afraid of big business. In that sense, they have each other's back's. :twisted:

User avatar
wst
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:06 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby wst » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:51 am UTC

Soteria wrote:...but you're begging the question. What causes poverty?
OT, but actually they begged nothing, and you asked the question. Massively nitpicky though. I tried looking at this comic just now (currently 'tomorrow') and my mind shattered. I don't even think this is a comic, this one. This is.. a giant confusing picture. I imagine it is a lot easier to perceive what the fuck is going on in this if you have any understanding of US politics beyond "There is a President that will either be a 'Democrat' or a 'Republicans' and the internet seems to hate the 'Republicans', on the whole."

Like I said though, it's tomorrow, I don't think now is the best time to go learning how politics 'works' in the USA... hell, I would struggle learning how politics work in the Republic of Dave at this time.

I'll give this the appreciation... that it is a very pretty fuzzy line thing going on. Like someone took an audio sample from Audacity and added colour and tilted it over by 90 degrees.
Anything I said pre-2014 that you want to quote me on, just run it past me to check I still agree with myself.

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:21 am UTC

Derek wrote:....
Your desires are conflicting. You want proportionality, but indirect elections. Indirect elections decrease proportionality because a simple majority at the intermediate level can ensure 100% victory at the top level. This does nothing to improve third parties, and actually makes second parties even weaker. We already have a system like this for electing the President, the Electoral College, and it's terrible.


Agreed.

A parliamentary system does not remove the focus on the President either. In fact, it makes the problem worse. Because now your vote for parliament is also your vote for president/prime minister, so in practice you end up voting based on who you want to be Prime Minister, not who you want to represent you.


That's appropriate when it's unified parties, though. When you know what your party stands for and you know they'll actually stand for that, then you kind of know what you're signing up for. When it's voting for one man who may or may not honor his campaign promises, you just don't know.

Indirect elections are the only system less representative than FPTP, and should be avoided. I would instead suggest looking into other direct voting systems, like Proportional Voting (PR), Instant-Runoff Vote (IRV), and Approval Voting (AV).


I like IRV and AV. I'm not sure about PR because it might create too much democracy.

All of this analysis is correct for proportional voting. It's the primary flaw with the system. There are other systems, like IRV and AV, that allow voting for individuals while still being more proportional than FPTP, but they're not as proportional as PR.


We might need a system that has a lot of inertia. The government has to operate slowly or people will get confused. If things that are considered completely correct for a businessman to do one year are illegal the next, if accepted military tactics one year become war crimes the next, it gets too hard to adapt to. Similarly, if we pay for the planning and beginning implementation of infrastructure or new bureaucracies just in time for them to be cancelled, that's no good.

And consider wars. We sure don't want to start a war and then back out before the enemy has been punished enough. That makes all our other potential enemies think they can get by without obeying us. So once we're in a war we can't win we need to continue at least 10 years or until the enemy has suffered so many casualties and economic damage that nobody in his right mind would follow their example.

The USA got out of Vietnam too soon and all our diplomatic problems since come from that. If we had stayed another 10 years and inflicted at least 30 million more casualties on North Vietnam, nobody would have thought of it as a vietnamese victory.

Bush senior didn't finish the job in Iraq and so it had to all be done over again. We dropped a whole lot of bombs in cities and spread a lot of DU, then we occupied the place and shot people at random. We eliminated their police and then shot anybody we found guarding places of value. We declared free-fire zones around major roads and killed anybody we found with shovels trying to repair the blasted roads. We destroyed most of their infrastructure and did not allow them to rebuild it, we insisted that we would do it better and took literally years to get around to doing it, and as we got things built we somehow didn't guard them well enough to keep "Anti Iraq Forces" from destroying them again. We saddled them with a corrupt government and gradually built up enough of a local army to keep anybody else from overthrowing them right away. If we'd just stayed about 5 more years and thoroughly looted the place it would have been a great example.

We should never have gone into Afghanistan, they're too used to being invaded. They don't have much to blow up and it's hard for an invader to kill more of them than they expect. Better if we'd just given money and arms to the "Northern Alliance" and let them tear things up for awhile, and then we ignore them, just like we did last time when we supported the other side.

Anyway, if we pay attention to public opinion we tend to quit wars too quick. So for a responsible foreign policy we need to be less democratic and less responsive to public opinion. Or at least slower.

On the other hand, maybe we need more democracy and less foreign policy.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

Beltayn
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:54 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Beltayn » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:23 am UTC

Soteria wrote:Either way, you're including Vietnam. You could take the deaths from a single year of Vietnam and outnumber all our losses from both gulf wars, Afghanistan, and Beirut (~7000). For that matter, we lost more troops to auto accidents per year than we did in Iraq. (I was told as much by a commander before a deployment, and the numbers add up: across the branches we've averaged 1500 auto accident fatalities per year since 2003. Statistically, a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is MUCH less likely to die than one in the US.)


I'm sorry, but this is just totally incorrect.

You are ignoring the fact that [number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan] is MUCH less than [population of the United States that drives automobiles].

So even if the absolute value of troop casualties is < the absolute value of automobile fatalities, the statistical likelihood of dying to each respective threat is proportional to the ratio of Deaths:Total Population at risk.
You will find that the odds of death for soldiers in a war zone are significantly higher.

(Not to mention, you can still die from an automobile accident driving a HMMWV in Afghanistan. That risk doesn't disappear. It is additive.)


EDIT: I misread your claim, but my point still stands. [number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan] is STILL much less than [number of troops in the United States that drive automobiles].
This is the kind of thing commanders tell poorly-educated spouses to get them to not freak out.

Tatarize
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:27 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Tatarize » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:34 am UTC

The Free Soil party and the Republican Party were liberal when they were formed. Putting them on the right is wrong. They were liberal parties. You need to put them on the left leaning side and switch them over, especially in 1964. To say that during the civil war all the left-leaning democrats were out and not seated, is wrong. They were not left leaning. The south was then as it is now, conservative and right wing.

That oversight is so vast it kind of ruins the comic.

Tatarize
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:27 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Tatarize » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:45 am UTC

Republicans were founded they were left wing. So was free soil. The right leaning parties were missing during the civil war the democrats were the right wing party of the time. Since then all the party politics have switched.

Soteria
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:18 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Soteria » Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:53 am UTC

Beltayn wrote:
Soteria wrote:Either way, you're including Vietnam. You could take the deaths from a single year of Vietnam and outnumber all our losses from both gulf wars, Afghanistan, and Beirut (~7000). For that matter, we lost more troops to auto accidents per year than we did in Iraq. (I was told as much by a commander before a deployment, and the numbers add up: across the branches we've averaged 1500 auto accident fatalities per year since 2003. Statistically, a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is MUCH less likely to die than one in the US.)


I'm sorry, but this is just totally incorrect.

You are ignoring the fact that [number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan] is MUCH less than [population of the United States that drives automobiles].

So even if the absolute value of troop casualties is < the absolute value of automobile fatalities, the statistical likelihood of dying to each respective threat is proportional to the ratio of Deaths:Total Population at risk.
You will find that the odds of death for soldiers in a war zone are significantly higher.

(Not to mention, you can still die from an automobile accident driving a HMMWV in Afghanistan. That risk doesn't disappear. It is additive.)


EDIT: I misread your claim, but my point still stands. [number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan] is STILL much less than [number of troops in the United States that drive automobiles].
This is the kind of thing commanders tell poorly-educated spouses to get them to not freak out.


Good point, I said that last part off the cuff. I was half-way joking, but still wrong. I was thinking of my own unit as a microcosm of the entire force, which isn't fair--I was in a comm battalion, and I'm pretty sure our odds really were better in Iraq.

Derek
Posts: 2181
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Derek » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:43 am UTC

Fire Brns wrote:. Not every war was started by the democrats but the most pointless ones were: Wilson took us into WW1, Truman had us in Korea.

I'm going off on a tangent but: Comparing North and South Korea today, I would argue that the Korean War was not pointless, although may not have been clear at the time.

Brilliand
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:12 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Brilliand » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:18 am UTC

Karilyn wrote:Currently the only way I'm aware of to improve 3rd party chances is run-offs when candidates have less than 50% of the popular vote, which produces much higher 3rd party appearance rates in states who's congresses are elected using that technique, as people no longer see their vote as "wasted" when they vote for a third party, since they get a second chance for an input if their candidate fails. Permitting people to vote how they want the first time, and if their candidate fails to make the run-off, they can vote for the "least evil" like they normally do.


Looks like a good place to plug Range Voting, which I read about recently. It does a great job of solving the "wasted vote" problem, and probably even turns it on its head, by allowing voters to mark certain candidates "no opinion" (so it's possible to vote for one major party vs. the other, without voting for or against the other parties that you have no clue about).

EDIT: In summary, in range voting, each voter gives each candidate a score in some range (say 0 to 99), and the overall score of each candidate is their total score divided by the number of people who express an opinion on them - highest overall score wins.
Last edited by Brilliand on Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:22 am UTC

JamesStreet wrote:
thesingingaccountant wrote:
CasualSax wrote:We've reached an age where technology will allow us to have an absolute democracy - who's with me?


I am.

Here's a good start: http://ni4d.us/


Yay. Tyranny by mob rule.

Sounds so much better than tyranny by oligarchs.


It seems to me that you may have committed a logical fallacy--the bifurcation. If I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that our only choices are tyranny by mob rule or tyranny by oligarchs, which I believe to be false. If I'm reading you incorrectly, please clarify what you meant.
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

User avatar
JamesStreet
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:11 pm UTC
Location: DFW
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby JamesStreet » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:29 am UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:
JamesStreet wrote:Yay. Tyranny by mob rule.

Sounds so much better than tyranny by oligarchs.


It seems to me that you may have committed a logical fallacy--the bifurcation. If I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that our only choices are tyranny by mob rule or tyranny by oligarchs, which I believe to be false. If I'm reading you incorrectly, please clarify what you meant.


You suggest a direct democracy, which is a system in which 51% of the population is able to enforce their will on the other 49%. Interestingly, this sort of system inherently disadvantages minorities, and results in a mob-rule situation. This is abhorrent to any lover of liberty, such as myself.

On the other hand, what we have now is (supposed to be) a Republic, where a representative legislature is restricted by the Rule of Law. However, this has proven to be a complete failure, as the three heads of the leviathan work in collusion to ignore the Rule of Law, subvert liberty, and enrich themselves at the expense of the people by playing one group against another and promising to steal more stuff from the minority and give it to the majority if they'll vote for them. In essence, we have what de Tocqueville warned us about almost two centuries ago.

Thus, we have an oligarchy which has disintegrated into tyranny, where American citizens can be murdered without due process at the whim of the Executive, and all Constitutionally-protected rights are ignored if you travel anywhere or are suspected of being a "terrorist." Yet you suggest what amounts to little more than mob rule, where 51% can eat the 49% if the issue goes to a referendum. Neither is acceptable in a free society (which we are not, and have not been since at least 1861).

My point is that government has failed entirely. We create positions of power, which are inevitably filled by corrupt men, in order to control the corruption of others. It's completely illogical and was destined to failure from the get-go.

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:43 am UTC

Soteria wrote:... What causes poverty? Do medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance actually have a causal relationship with escaping poverty? I'm not saying those are bad programs, but I'm suspicious of the claim that more people are getting *into* poverty because it's harder to get food stamps. I think it has a lot more to do with the recession than any government policy (although I guess we could talk about why we're in a recession). ...


What causes poverty? A slew of things. Job loss, mental illness, extreme physical illness leading to massive medical bills, and bad decisions like gambling away all your money come to mind most readily.

As for the possible causal relationship of government assistance with escaping poverty, I don't have numbers on how often this works, but I have known several individuals who were able to get by better than they otherwise would have because of these programs. Housing assistance can save you from being homeless. Food stamps can save you the choice of paying the electric bill or buying groceries. I qualify for food stamps, and I'm not taking them. Fortunately for me, I have other ways and means. But I often think of how much more money I'd have each month if I did take that government handout... A few hundred extra dollars per month could help a lot with saving for a rainy day. Medicaid is the reason why my sister-in-law isn't bankrupt right now because of medical bills. These programs may not do a lot, but they sure as hell make a difference. Getting rid of them would be devastating for millions of people. And I'll admit that I really don't know if getting rid of these programs will cause people who aren't in poverty now to end up there, but I have no desire to find out.
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

User avatar
thesingingaccountant
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:18 pm UTC
Location: My trusty tablet, most likely

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby thesingingaccountant » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:09 am UTC

JamesStreet wrote:You suggest a direct democracy, which is a system in which 51% of the population is able to enforce their will on the other 49%. Interestingly, this sort of system inherently disadvantages minorities, and results in a mob-rule situation. This is abhorrent to any lover of liberty, such as myself.

On the other hand, what we have now is (supposed to be) a Republic, where a representative legislature is restricted by the Rule of Law. However, this has proven to be a complete failure, as the three heads of the leviathan work in collusion to ignore the Rule of Law, subvert liberty, and enrich themselves at the expense of the people by playing one group against another and promising to steal more stuff from the minority and give it to the majority if they'll vote for them. In essence, we have what de Tocqueville warned us about almost two centuries ago.

Thus, we have an oligarchy which has disintegrated into tyranny, where American citizens can be murdered without due process at the whim of the Executive, and all Constitutionally-protected rights are ignored if you travel anywhere or are suspected of being a "terrorist." Yet you suggest what amounts to little more than mob rule, where 51% can eat the 49% if the issue goes to a referendum. Neither is acceptable in a free society (which we are not, and have not been since at least 1861).

My point is that government has failed entirely. We create positions of power, which are inevitably filled by corrupt men, in order to control the corruption of others. It's completely illogical and was destined to failure from the get-go.


Just two things:

1) I suggest direct democracy as a good start, not as the solution to all the problems. I'm still working on how we get ourselves a system in which everyone in the world has a good place to live, good food to eat, good health care, and a good education. I don't think the direct democracy idea will work in the long run, for the reason you stated--although it might work better if we could devise a way to protect the various minorities--but I find it highly preferable to the current system, in which 10% of the populace enriches itself at the expense of the other 90%. Seriously, if I can come up with an idea that will really work, I'll start propagating it.

2) I agree 100% with everything you said in your last paragraph.
Never trust a psychic who has to reschedule.

User avatar
JamesStreet
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:11 pm UTC
Location: DFW
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby JamesStreet » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:21 am UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:Just two things:

1) I suggest direct democracy as a good start, not as the solution to all the problems. I'm still working on how we get ourselves a system in which everyone in the world has a good place to live, good food to eat, good health care, and a good education. I don't think the direct democracy idea will work in the long run, for the reason you stated--although it might work better if we could devise a way to protect the various minorities--but I find it highly preferable to the current system, in which 10% of the populace enriches itself at the expense of the other 90%. Seriously, if I can come up with an idea that will really work, I'll start propagating it.

2) I agree 100% with everything you said in your last paragraph.


As Frederic Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

Direct democracies have worked in history, but that was only in a local setting, where issues were important to everyone involved, and there was a sense of community to tie the voters together. Ancient Greece worked that way, and localities in Switzerland still do, but it simply cannot work on a large scale where the issues are so diverse and the endeavors of the people are so different from one another.

Simply put, there is no way to ensure that everyone has a roof over their heads. For instance, I read a story where a wealthy investor was hit up for money by a bum as the investor passed by, and instead he offered the bum a job for which he would pay him. In short, the bum dropped a four-letter word and told the investor to get lost. That man neither wants nor deserves a place to live: he wants to live the easy life and bum money off of people that are working for it.

However, to guarantee the best opportunity for everyone, you must establish a truly free market, not the frankenmarket we have now, with well-connected insiders manipulating things in their favor through campaign donations and political favors. A free market would have little or no government intervention in anything, from zoning to money, and that would allow people to trade freely and choose for themselves what things are worth. There is no better marker of the value of a thing than what it demands on an open market.

The key issue is scarcity. Housing, food, and education are all scarce commodities that must be distributed based on supply and demand and the price mechanism. You cannot tax yourself into prosperity any more than you can borrow yourself into wealth, and that's all that government can do; government creates nothing: everything it has was taken from someone else. Companies grow because they provide a good or service to the market that people want; government grows because people want what someone else has.

Another good quote, this one from H. L. Mencken: "Every election is a sort of advance auction of stolen goods."

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:26 am UTC

JamesStreet wrote:....
You suggest a direct democracy, which is a system in which 51% of the population is able to enforce their will on the other 49%. Interestingly, this sort of system inherently disadvantages minorities, and results in a mob-rule situation. This is abhorrent to any lover of liberty, such as myself.


In any system, there will be disagreements about what's right. Somebody gets to decide. Whoever it is that gets to decide, imposes their will on the people who disagree. I see only two alternatives to that -- you could let everybody do whatever-the-hell they wanted with no government to impose on them. Then the imposition would be retail instead of wholesale, by whatever bullies have the upper hand locally at the moment. Or with sufficient technology you could prevent people from disagreeing. Mind-control them into agreeing with whatever the guy who operates the mind-control system says.

There could be a direct democracy that requires 60% to agree, or 90%. There could be direct democracy with balances of some other sort. There are lots of ways to do it, but all of them will at some point involve somebody making choices that somebody else disagrees with, and somebody gets their way over somebody else's objections.

On the other hand, what we have now is (supposed to be) a Republic, where a representative legislature is restricted by the Rule of Law. However, this has proven to be a complete failure, as the three heads of the leviathan work in collusion to ignore the Rule of Law, subvert liberty, and enrich themselves at the expense of the people by playing one group against another and promising to steal more stuff from the minority and give it to the majority if they'll vote for them. In essence, we have what de Tocqueville warned us about almost two centuries ago.

Thus, we have an oligarchy which has disintegrated into tyranny, where American citizens can be murdered without due process at the whim of the Executive, and all Constitutionally-protected rights are ignored if you travel anywhere or are suspected of being a "terrorist." Yet you suggest what amounts to little more than mob rule, where 51% can eat the 49% if the issue goes to a referendum. Neither is acceptable in a free society (which we are not, and have not been since at least 1861).

My point is that government has failed entirely. We create positions of power, which are inevitably filled by corrupt men, in order to control the corruption of others. It's completely illogical and was destined to failure from the get-go.


What did you expect? If you have a system that includes men who believe that they do better by subverting the system, and who care more about doing better themselves than about keeping a functional system, eventually some of them will figure out how to subvert the system. What system could continue to work with people like that?

Oh! I have an idea! You could believe that in some mystical way if everybody tries to do the best for himself and ignores the survival of the system, that we will get the best possible result. And then you could define whatever happens when everybody is out for himself alone, as the best possible result. And then by definition everything that happens, no matter what it is, is OK.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

Arariel
Posts: 404
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Arariel » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:01 am UTC

Andrew Johnson was a Democrat, not a Republican.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:09 am UTC

Brilliand wrote:EDIT: In summary, in range voting, each voter gives each candidate a score in some range (say 0 to 99), and the overall score of each candidate is their total score divided by the number of people who express an opinion on them - highest overall score wins.

Sounds like any kind of preferential ranking (on which there is some very good mathematical work done regarding optimal methods, see e.g. Condorcet method), plus that "no opinion" option. But that "no opinion" option has a big glaring flaw: in the extreme case, say I'm a nobody that nobody's ever heard of to form any opinion on, except my one friend. He ranks me 100%, everybody else ranks me "no opinion" cause they've never heard of me. 100% divided by one person with an opinion means I win! You could say I'd never be on the ballot at all in that case, but then say I've got a big enough fan club to get on the ballot but am still obscure enough that most people outside my fans have no opinions on me, and then you've got the same problem.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Derek
Posts: 2181
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Derek » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:22 am UTC

Arariel wrote:Andrew Johnson was a Democrat, not a Republican.

So, strictly speaking, he was elected on a National Unionist ticket along with Lincoln. This may be the reason for Randal to have a right pointing arrow for him, though he really would fall in the white "Unionist" bubble on the left side.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:31 am UTC

JamesStreet wrote:In what universe does a hard-money economy inflate??

A universe where one might suddenly declare a whole other kind of metal to be an equal base for legal tender.*

If the value of a dollar is fixed to a X oz of gold -- that is, a $1 bill is a literal certificate that there is X oz of gold in a vault somewhere and is only printed as a new gold deposit is made-- and gold is rare, then your money supply grows slowly, quite plausibly more slowly than your economic activity, leading to deflation as you say.

But if the value of a dollar is fixed to X oz of gold OR Y oz of silver -- that is, a there are also bills with the same face value as X oz of gold, backed by Y oz of silver, still only printed as new silver deposits are made -- then your money supply can grow much more quickly (silver discovery rate + gold discovery rate > gold discovery rate), plausibly even faster than your economy grows, leading to deflation.

That is bimetalism, having legal tender where the same face value can be backed by certain quantities of more than one metal. And that is the issue that was contentious in the late 1800s.

*(Or more generally, any one where the "hard money" can still be found lying around in nature, and might be found at a fast enough rate to outpace economic growth).
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Brilliand
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:12 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Brilliand » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:33 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Brilliand wrote:EDIT: In summary, in range voting, each voter gives each candidate a score in some range (say 0 to 99), and the overall score of each candidate is their total score divided by the number of people who express an opinion on them - highest overall score wins.

Sounds like any kind of preferential ranking (on which there is some very good mathematical work done regarding optimal methods, see e.g. Condorcet method), plus that "no opinion" option.


Range voting solves several problems with purely rank-ordering methods (which appear to be what classical "Condorcet methods" are). Since each candidate is scored independently, adding more third-party candidates to the mix won't affect that result (unless that third party wins). Approval voting shares that feature, but most (all?) of the Condorcet methods do not.

The site I linked to has a whole page on range voting vs. Condorcet methods.

Pfhorrest wrote:But that "no opinion" option has a big glaring flaw: in the extreme case, say I'm a nobody that nobody's ever heard of to form any opinion on, except my one friend. He ranks me 100%, everybody else ranks me "no opinion" cause they've never heard of me. 100% divided by one person with an opinion means I win! You could say I'd never be on the ballot at all in that case, but then say I've got a big enough fan club to get on the ballot but am still obscure enough that most people outside my fans have no opinions on me, and then you've got the same problem.


That's covered, though I didn't bother to mention it in my summary. :) The total scores of all candidates are added up as well, just for the purpose of disqualifying - if your total score is less than half the highest total score of any candidate, you're disqualified. That rule wouldn't matter very often, though, since there would probably be a decent number of people giving a low rating to people they don't know about instead of marking them "no opinion".

Granted, if the total score rule is invoked, then the criteria that additional candidates don't affect who the winner is (unless they themselves win) might be violated. It looks like they have plans for a new version of the rule that fixes that.
Last edited by Brilliand on Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

mpjones
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:19 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby mpjones » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:43 am UTC

JamesStreet wrote:In what universe does a hard-money economy inflate?? It's always been fiat, paper-money economies that self-destruct through inflation. Gold- and silver-based economies deflate, since the same money chases more and more goods as the economy grows.


This universe, in fact. Deflation of the sort you describe requires that economic growth exceeds the rate of money supply growth. Historically, that's usually been the case, but it's far from a universal law. This becomes readily apparent when comparing the value of the two monetary metals to each other over time. As it happens, the rate of growth in silver mining has historically outpaced that of gold mining. Back when the pound sterling was literally a pound of sterling silver, an ounce of gold bought about five ounces of silver. When the bimetallic standard was established back in 1792, it bought 15 ounces. Today, and ounce of gold buys (very roughly) 60 ounces of silver.

When Alexander Hamilton established the US Treasury, he determined that a dollar should be exchangeable for 24.1 grams of silver or 1.6 grams of gold, a 15:1 ratio. Over time, however, as the value of silver fell relative to gold, the dollar became subject to Gresham's law. One could arbitrage the mismatched exchange rate by buying up silver overseas, trading it for gold at the Treasury, and then trading the gold for even more silver outside the US market, repeating the cycle ad infinitum. This led to a flow of gold out of the country or into vaults, leaving only overvalued silver coins in circulation.

Then in 1834, the situation reversed when the Treasury upped the ratio to 16:1, overvaluing gold and flooding the nation's purses with relatively cheap gold coins. Over the next few decades, the gradual inflation of the silver supply swung the pendulum back to silver once again. This was the fundamental problem with the bimetallic standard: the currency was effectively backed by whichever metal was cheapest (ie, inflated faster). Congress finally did away with this nonsense in 1873 when it adopted a gold-only standard.

When William Jennings Bryan ran for president in 1896, his political base consisted primarily of poor farmers, most of whom owed mortgages on their land or had other debt. In his famous "Cross of Gold" speech, Bryan demanded a return to bimetallism at the now defunct 16:1 rate. This would have caused massive inflation as the Treasury was forced to buy silver at an absurdly high price. This would have benefited the debtor-farmers (at least in the short-term), who could have easily paid off their loans with cheap silver-backed dollars. Essentially, it would have been a transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers.

So no, "hard money" isn't the economic panaceia that the Ronpaul thinks it is. :) A well-managed fiat currency is far more stable (not to mention easier to fine-tune) than a metal-based one. Now, whether QE3 represents good monetary policy is another question...

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:51 am UTC

I've always had trouble understanding why the Democrat vs Republican regime is split into three party systems. This graph makes some of the changeovers clear, but I'm still unclear on what exactly changed between the Third and Fourth party systems. My understanding so far, with my point of confusion bolded:

- The first party system was Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicanss vs Hamiltonian Federalists, very roughly split on issues of centralization (Federalists) or decentralization (Democratic-Republicans) of power.

The Federalists were run into the ground, and the Democratic-Republicans briefly dominated, then split into factions. In the aftermath, the Democratic party remained the main vestige of the Democratic-Republicans, still a generally "for the little guy", agrarian, decentralist party, albeit with connections to slavery due to plantations being agrarian.

- The second party system pitted those agrarian Democrats against the more business-oriented, industrialist Whigs.

Approaching the Civil War, the Whigs imploded over conflicts about slavery; the Democrats, with their agrarian (read: plantation) roots, were the slavery party of the day. Abolitionist remnants of the Whigs coalesced into the Republicans and won the war.

- The third party system pitted abolitionist, and still industrialist and business-focused, Republicans, against the Democrats, with overwhelming Republican dominance for decades to come.

One Democrat got elected president, the Panic of 1893 happened, and Republicans apparently got... even more popular? This is the change over I'm not clear on. What exactly changed here? Was this just a "yeah Democrats still suck, one got in the White House and look what happened to the economy" moment, really cementing Republicans into power?

- The fourth party system saw apparently the same Democrats and Republicans and continued Republican dominance, I guess?


The Great Depression lead to loss of faith in the Republican leadership and a surge of changes in the Democratic party incorporating centralized state power directed to egalitarian causes in the New Deal, a drastic change from their decentralist (if still egalitarian besides that slavery thing) roots.

- The fifth party system (part I) saw dominance by those new, predominantly moderate Democrats over the same old Republicans.

Up until the Vietnam War, the Republicans got increasingly more moderate while the Democrats got increasingly more radical. JFK and LBJ supported the civil rights movement, radically diverting the Democratic party from its pro-slavery roots and alienating their southern support, while stealing northern votes in the process. Nixon broke the Democrats' dominant streak. If anything this seems like it deserves more of a break in party system numbering than the previous break which didn't change much of anything.

- The fifth party system (part II) features the parties we all love and hate today, with no clear dominance by any one party but frequent switchoffs, generally leaning to the right (starting with Nixon, RRDRRRDDRRD...). The Democrats continued their slow radicalization, and the Republicans decided that that moderate thing wasn't working out for them and went balls-to-the-wall toward batshit crazy.

Honestly, I feel like we're at a party-system turnover right now. The Democrats are no saints either, but the extreme rate of radicalization of the Republican party leaves me feeling they're going the way of the Federalists eventually. If I were to venture to prognosticate, I would say the Republicans will implode, the remaining Democrats will fracture like the Democratic-Republicans did, one faction (probably the one that can best attract the farther-left Green vote) will emerge dominant, and the Libertarian party will pick up the old-style (and Tea Party) "conservatives" who have been voting Republican, to oppose the remnant of the Democrats.
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:52 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

ijuin
Posts: 1148
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:02 pm UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby ijuin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:11 am UTC

It's interesting how anything that has even a hint of being more socialist than the mainstream brings cries of "ZOMG! Pinko Commies!" A number of things that were done by Nixon, of all people, would be decried as outright Communism by today's Republican party. Create the Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Air Act whole-cloth? Create Medicare and Medicaid where before there was no Federally-funded medical insurance for non-government employees? Normalize relations with the People's Republic of China? If you had today's political climate in a world where those things didn't exist, merely proposing their creation would get a politician accused of being an insane Left-wing nut.

mojacardave wrote:The more disturbing issue with the political make-up on the chart seems to be the lack of 'centre-right' politicians. There seems to be an increase in right-wing fundamentalism in America, even when you're not comparing American moral values directly to the rest of the world.

This lack of center-right positions is a big part of why post-Clinton era American politics have become so polarized--with the loss of the normal "fuzzy boundaries" of the parties that normally allows ideological overlap, we end up with both of the dominant camps screaming "my way or the highway", and often refusing to give an inch no matter how dire the consequences. Note the 2011 deadlock over raising the debt ceiling--both parties were using it as a bargaining chip in order to promote their tax and budget proposals, each refusing to vote for the debt raise unless the other party conceded to their budget--and both parties were willing to let the government default on its loan payments and stop paying its bills and employees until they got their way.

J Thomas wrote:The USA got out of Vietnam too soon and all our diplomatic problems since come from that. If we had stayed another 10 years and inflicted at least 30 million more casualties on North Vietnam, nobody would have thought of it as a vietnamese victory.

A slight nitpick, but 30 million casualties was mathematically impossible, since at no time was North Vietnam's total population ever more than 25 million. Even eradicating their whole country down to the last soul would not have made for 30 million casualties.

Pfhorrest wrote:- The third party system pitted abolitionist, and still industrialist and business-focused, Republicans, against the Democrats, with overwhelming Republican dominance for decades to come.

One Democrat got elected president, the Panic of 1893 happened, and Republicans apparently got... even more popular? This is the change over I'm not clear on. What exactly changed here? Was this just a "yeah Democrats still suck, one got in the White House and look what happened to the economy" moment, really cementing Republicans into power?


The "abolitionist" part is a major reason for Republican dominance from the end of the American Civil War until post-WWI. Essentially, the Democrats continued to promote the interests of the same groups of people that they had before slavery was abolished (i.e. they promoted the interests of former-slaveholder types while waving the racism flag via "Jim Crow" legislation meant to keep freed slaves and their descendants from gaining political influence. Basically the Democrats were seen as promoting racism while the Republicans were seen as promoting racial integration.).

However, this started to turn on its head beginning with the New Deal, where Democrats started to be seen as being more pro-Labour-rights than Republicans (especially with backlash against the Herbert Hoover administration). A generation later, when Democrats came out in support for civil rights for minorities, the hardline racists switched over to the Republican party in disgust, which led to the modern party alignments.

A secondary reason for Republican dominance is because a whole generation of Southern politicians got swept away in the American Civil War. A lot of people who had a high ranking position in the State government of a Confederate State, or in the government of the Confederacy, were effectively barred from high positions after the war (they had, after all, conducted a war against the Union, and were therefore either guilty of high treason or were enemy foreigners). This decimated the ranks of Southern Democrats for the rest of the 19th century.

KiplingKat
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:41 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby KiplingKat » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:05 am UTC

I see this is skewed the same way political commentary has been skewed since the Regan administration: That everything that is not christian-socially conservative, war-hawkish, free trade right is "liberal."

Today's Democrats are centrist, they are not liberal. As a Green Party Member, I know what liberal is and it has next to NO voice in federal government.

arthurd006_5
Posts: 98
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:49 am UTC

Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:07 am UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:I personally am of the opinion that there is no significant difference between the two major political parties in the US.... I only ask that we all remain civil and avoid personal attacks.

Hmmm... Is a political party a person, for US legal purposes? If so, is describing it accurately, in ways that it would wish to deny, a personal attack?


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mscha and 120 guests