Party Politics No Different From Religion?

kierantitheridge
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Party Politics No Different From Religion?

I have had an idea floating round my head now for a while that I would like to discuss with some of you insightful people

The basic idea is;

 

Is Affiliating Yourself With A Political Party So Different From Affiliating Yourself With A Religion?

 

Allow me to explain;

The major argument against religion is the non-existence of a divine being or god. I completely agree with this argument.

However I believe the failings of religion do not stop there.

Another major issue for me is the inability of religious apologists to modify their beliefs & opinions even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

As a scientist I believe in whichever argument has the strongest evidence. My opinions and beliefs will change as evidence changes.

How does party politics fit into this?

Well I believe that no party or political philosophy can possibly get everything right. I for one believe in capitalism & socialist healthcare. Two ideas that would seem at odds with each other. I believe them to be the best solutions to their respective problems. There are many examples like this in my political philosophy. Therefore I find it difficult to find a political party that gets everything right. On that basis I refuse to call myself liberal or conservative or socialist or whatever. Yet I have friends that are staunchly socialist or conservative. No matter what argument the opposition throws at them they remain in their political camp. In short I believe they often behave like religious apologists.

Now I am not saying it is EXACTLY like following a religion (they don't believe their party leader is a God!) but that they exhibit some of the short comings that you see with those of faith. (Interestingly I believe this can in part be explained by evolutionary behaviour & tribalism)

Having said that in the last election I voted liberal. Why? Because they had more ideas that I agreed with than any other party. If I truly had my way every post in a government would go to the best person for the job based on ability ie a meritocracy.

Does anyone have any insights on this? Am I completely wrong? Are there any other groups people affiliate themselves with where their behaviour seems irrational? Sports teams? Vegetarians? Musicians?


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There are lots of things

There are lots of things that are similar to religion. Party politics is one. As you mention, sports is another (though sports does seem to have a way of destroying faith -- especially if you are a Cleveland Browns fan).

I think things like vegetarianism are slightly different, as it is based on a question of ethics ('killing is bad, so killing animals is bad'). You might argue the initial assumption is wrong (killing is not always bad -- consider the case of self-defense against an unprovoked assailant), but I don't think it's quite in the same league as politics.

I think politics is a form of nationalism, which is very much like religion. It's a nation-within-a-nation, essentially, in which one party goes up against the other for control of a region.

While I was in the army, they attempted to indoctrinate me to believe the military was always right. I suppose that might count a bit as "religion."

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


cj
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kierantitheridge wrote: Is

kierantitheridge wrote:

Is Affiliating Yourself With A Political Party So Different From Affiliating Yourself With A Religion?

 

It isn't - in a way.  Sociological studies have shown over and over that when people get an idea in their heads it is next to impossible to get them to see the other side of any subject - religion, politics, academic research, relationships, most anything.  And trying to change their mind usually makes them stick to their original guns only stickier.  (Does that make sense?  It's kind of early here.)

 

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts  by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-Made-But-Not/dp/0156033909/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277652050&sr=1-1

Also available on Kindle.  I got it from my local library.  They address self-justification from different view points - law enforcement, personal relationships, science, politics, religion.  I see it on these forums as well.  None of us are exempt, not even me.   Though I do try to catch myself.

Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things is another good one.

And I think this one is right up your alley.  If I remember correctly, they mention the UK as well as Europe generally for some specifics on why health care is generally more successful there than in the US and what measures they use to demonstrate that success.

Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economic Policy As Health Policy (The National Poverty Center Seriesin Poverty and Public Policy) editors:  Robert F. Schoeni, James S. House, George A. Kaplan, Harold Pollack

http://www.amazon.com/Making-Americans-Healthier-Economic-National/dp/0871547481/ref=sr_1_44?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277652571&sr=1-4...

Enough homework?

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:Enough homework?ha

cj wrote:

Enough homework?

ha ha thanks for that. I will check those books out. I do my best to understand the arguments of others and not just staunchly oppose them with "I'm right, you're wrong attitude". It can be bloody difficult though!


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kierantitheridge wrote:I do

kierantitheridge wrote:

I do my best to understand the arguments of others and not just staunchly oppose them with "I'm right, you're wrong attitude". It can be bloody difficult though!

 

It is sneaky how your mind trips you up.  I'm sure there are a few on these forums who are beyond tired of my mantra - "These are the facts I found.  They contradict your statements.  Do you have a set of facts that support your opinion?"  Takes all the fun out of arguing.  But I self-justify too and I know I do.  I try to make everyone aware that I am open - always - to being corrected as self-justification isn't always easy to catch in yourself.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Well Kieran, I don't think

Well Kieran, I don't think that you are wrong with your conjecture. However, not being wrong does not make you automatically right. Sure, people get an idea going and then they dig in and refuse to give ground. That type of “social inertia” tends to slow down what some people would call progress.

 

On the other hand, progress is not automatically a good thing. Every dictatorship is progressive until it gets to where the dictator wants.

 

You mentioned socialized medicine. Well, if you step back and really look at what is going on, every country has a health care system. They all suck in some way. Each country sucks differently but they all have some form of suck going on.

 

As an example, the Canadians like to say that if they get a cold, they can go to any doctor, hand the doc a card and get treated. Canucks, I am happy for you. When you need a kidney transplant, the situation is different. The longer you go w/o a transplant, the less likely that it will work. So when a Canadian needs that service, they move south where we move kidneys fairly quickly.

 

Against that, if you live close enough to Canada, you cross the border to fill your prescriptions. Medicine is cheap in Canada. OTOH, if you live close enough to Mexico, you go there for medicines because they don't insist that you need a note from your doctor to get stuff.

 

But I digress.

 

Politically speaking, the RRS is a bunch of free thinkers. We don't tend to agree on stuff like you will see on a party political forum.

 

Personally, I tend to lean conservative on politics. However, it always causes a big stir when I post on republican forums about gay issues. The example that I like to bring up is a dude I know who is as gay as Christopher Lowell. If you don't know him, you can check google video but remember that what has been seen cannot be unseen.

 

Anyway, before gay marriage was the big deal that it is today, his whole family had disowned him over the matter. Then he got bashed. He got bashed so bad that he spent a couple of months in a coma and a couple of years learning how to walk again.

 

During the time that he needed someone with him the most, his blood relatives felt that they should not be there because of his life situation. His long time partner (living together for ten years previously and still living together ten years later) was not allowed to be there for him.

 

I really don't care what marriage laws say on this one, how the fuck do you not let the guy see his husband during his recovery?

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


cj
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can't stand it

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

You mentioned socialized medicine. Well, if you step back and really look at what is going on, every country has a health care system. They all suck in some way. Each country sucks differently but they all have some form of suck going on.

 

I agree with this.

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

As an example, the Canadians like to say that if they get a cold, they can go to any doctor, hand the doc a card and get treated. Canucks, I am happy for you. When you need a kidney transplant, the situation is different. The longer you go w/o a transplant, the less likely that it will work. So when a Canadian needs that service, they move south where we move kidneys fairly quickly.

 

BZZZZZZZ  Bad facts.  The actual number of Canadians who come to the US for treatment is actually very small.  http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/21/3/19

Given the difference in cost between Canadian and US care, it makes sense that people would rather wait a bit for less out-of-pocket cost.  I am sure there are plenty of anecdotal stories to the contrary.  If you have different data from something resembling a real study, let's see it.

If you like anecdotes, I can share mine.  I have osteoarthritis in both knees due to laying down a motorcycle, kicking off, and landing knees first hard enough to bounce when I was much younger.  Three years ago, I twisted one knee and the joint has deteriorated to the point that it became misaligned.  Not completely dislocated.  Treatment offered - chicken snot shots.  The joint is too bad for traction or realignment.  But not bad enough for knee replacement surgery - at least not under insurance company guidelines.  So instead of my doctor making the decision about whether it is bad enough for replacement surgery, some health insurance clerk makes the decision.  This is better than some government clerk making the decision?  How?  The end result is I will probably have to be a good 5 years older and on Medicare (you know, the government single payer system for old farts in the US) before I get knee replacement surgery.  Despite all the evidence that says replacing knees sooner is better for older women.

I wouldn't mind having to wait for the surgery if the surgery were offered to me in the first place.  I'd be thrilled to get it in the next year.  I can't afford to fly to India or Costa Rica for "knee replacement surgery, same day, no waiting".  I'll go along with knee replacement surgery is not an emergency.  But I wouldn't call it "elective" either.

Or how about a friend of mine.  She has kidney cancer that became small cell lung cancer that has now spread to her brain.  Her PRIVATE EMPLOYER PAID HMO insurance company refused an MRI that her doctor requested for SIX years.  Likely if the cancer had been diagnosed that much sooner, she could have skipped all the subsequent high tech treatment.

We are back to your first point.  The system sucks.  The US system sucks may-jor.

 

PS.  Yeah, I know it isn't really chicken snot.  I know about all the different formulations and allergic responses, blah, blah.  Think I didn't research it?

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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@ CJMy god those stories

@ CJ

My god those stories just astound me. Although I don't know the ins and outs of your healthcare system I thought Obama was introducing new legislation to change it? Which the Republicans were vehemently against. What is the change?

Occasionally in the UK someone will miss out on healthcare. A typical example is the drug herceptin which is used to treat breast cancer. It is insanely expensive and hospitals are only budgeted for a limited number of doses. Thus some poor dr has to play god and decide who gets the drug. This means if you live near a hospital with a big budget & low levels of breast cancer you might get the drug when someone in another town who needs it more does not, some dub this the "Post Code Lottery". That is one of the failings of the UK healthcare system

 

Just as an aside could anyone from the States give me rough numbers on how much the Federal Government spends on Healthcare and how much it spends on the Military Budget? It would interesting to see how they compare.


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I agree with the premise of

I agree with the premise of this post...

While we all tend to lean in one political direction or the other... to do so blindly removes us from the "free thinking" status

however, if we have all the facts, and *still* arrive at a political platform through honest introspection...well then so be it...

I usually favor the party who the hotest chick in the room votes for...


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kierantitheridge wrote: @ CJ

kierantitheridge wrote:

@ CJ

My god those stories just astound me. Although I don't know the ins and outs of your healthcare system I thought Obama was introducing new legislation to change it? Which the Republicans were vehemently against. What is the change?

 

To clarify, the knee thing was three years ago, I was employed and had "cadillac" health insurance through my employer.  If you really want your socks knocked off, watch Michael Moore's "Sicko" which is all about US health care.  There are people on this forum who think he is the devil incarnate - even if they don't believe in god - but he stands by the facts as presented in the movie and has the documentation to back it up.  It is available at Netflix, and probably other rental shops as well.

As near as I can tell, the changes will not have much effect for me and my husband - unless I can get employed with benefits.  I've been unemployed now for a year and a half - which is another story.  I'm not at work pretending to work while I post on the forum.  I'm at home, and my work consists of sending out resumes.

1.  Insurance companies can no longer refuse care based on some "pre-existing condition."  Their definition of same was very broad.  People who thought they were covered for necessary care would get a denial letter instead citing some totally apparently unrelated treatment they got years ago.  It also added to the cost of care generally.  If I got new insurance, my doctor would have to order all the same tests over again to "diagnose" a condition she had been treating me for for years.  Just wasted testing and money.  That is gone, now.  It should help cut some costs.  I don't believe people realize just how much of this extra testing has been going on.

2. Everyone will be required to buy health insurance.  I currently don't.  I was laid off of my last job and I was eligible for "COBRA" (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 - who the heck remembers all that.  I had to look it up).  But large employers (my corp had over 25,000 employees world wide) have really nice health insurance policies for their employees.  For the exact same coverage, my cost under COBRA would have been $911 US per month.  It would have been well over $1500 per month on the open market.  I get the maximum unemployment benefit, about $1700 a month.  I haven't taken advantage of COBRA.

So I looked around, and I can get insurance for my husband and I, $150-170 per month.  Closer to what I can afford.  But the deductible is $40,000 per year and a 50% co-pay.  I would have to be hospitalized for surgery just about to run up that kind of a medical bill.  And I wouldn't have the $40,000 anyway.  Our savings are just about shot.

There are supposed to be "exchanges" formed where people like me can get "affordable" health care.  If I don't get it, I can be fined.  The federal government is supposed to help lower the cost.  Truthfully, I'm hoping I get some kind of employment before the deadline.

There is the Oregon Health Plan for lower income people.  No surprise, they emphasize children first and adults get on the list.  The list for adults is stretching out for years at this point as the state of Oregon is rapidly running out of money.

3. Businesses will be affected, if they don't provide health insurance benefits, they could be fined.  But they are not required to do so.  What I read sounds really Byzantine.  If you employ over 50 people whether or not you offer benefits, if just one of your employees buys health insurance in one of the subsidized "exchanges" you could be fined.  Eh - I didn't pay much attention to this part of it.

And that is pretty much all I can find.  Doesn't sound earth shattering to me and I couldn't see what the hoo-rah was about.  Hard to see how they could have filled up thousands of pages.  The rest is probably all "earmarks" - also known as "pork".  Special funding for some congressman's pet project(s).

Personally, I always thought we should have just expanded Medicare - the single payer system for people over 65.  The bureaucracy is already in place, forms printed, internet connections between databases in place, all the doctor and hospital accounting clerks are already trained, piece of cake to expand.  But darn few people listen to me.

 

kierantitheridge wrote:

Occasionally in the UK someone will miss out on healthcare. A typical example is the drug herceptin which is used to treat breast cancer. It is insanely expensive and hospitals are only budgeted for a limited number of doses. Thus some poor dr has to play god and decide who gets the drug. This means if you live near a hospital with a big budget & low levels of breast cancer you might get the drug when someone in another town who needs it more does not, some dub this the "Post Code Lottery". That is one of the failings of the UK healthcare system

 

Don't let anyone try to tell you it is different in the US.  Health insurance companies have what they call "formularies" which means the list of drugs they are willing to cover.  I just checked one very large local health insurance firm and they have a different formulary list for every different insurance plan they offer.  Herceptin is on their "must have pre-approval for all plans" list.  If you need the drug, your doctor will have to plead, beg, fill out forms, call, wait on hold, and yell at the clerk on the other end of the phone.  I once was taking Allegra.  My doctor wanted me to take it twice a day.  The insurance formulary was once a day.  I was there as she yelled into the phone, "I'm the one with the MD degree.  You are just some clerk.  How do you know what is best for my patient!"  I can imagine some of the fireworks necessary for a really expensive drug.

If you are indigent, do not have health insurance or on a Medicare or Medicaid, the pharmaceutical companies will sometimes give you the necessary medicine for free.  You have to fill out forms and such proving you are disabled and in need.  Your doctor, of course, has to fill out forms to verify you really need the drug.  My mother was a recipient of these programs a couple of different times.  It was very helpful for the family as none of us are wealthy.  But it rankled a little as the pharmaceutical companies brag about how many people in need they help each year.

 

kierantitheridge wrote:

Just as an aside could anyone from the States give me rough numbers on how much the Federal Government spends on Healthcare and how much it spends on the Military Budget? It would interesting to see how they compare.

 

I don't know if these guys have a political agenda - they probably do - but the pie chart is pretty.  The numbers are real close to identical for health care and military. 

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_budget_pie_chart

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


EXC
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kierantitheridge wrote:Is

kierantitheridge wrote:

Is Affiliating Yourself With A Political Party So Different From Affiliating Yourself With A Religion?

 

Political philoshophy and Religion have a lot in common.

People just want to feel good and not feel bad. People are not driven by reason and logic, but by what makes us feel comfortable. So people pick a religion and a political philosophy. For instance, a socialist likes to think of themselves as kind and compassionate, this makes them feel good. But taking money out of their own pocket is too painful, so they'd rather have the government take it from others while they can still get the warm feelings about themselves being compassionate.

And then there's conservatives that just want their own land and property and just be left alone. Because this is what feels best to them.

In both cases any evidence to the contrary must be dismissed in favor of what makes people feel better. That is why there can never be rational polital solutions to our common problems. People are addicted to their feelings and not naturally drawn to reason, evidence and logic.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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I agree

EXC wrote:

Political philosophy and Religion have a lot in common.

I am leaning towards the idea that religion is just a subset of politics.

Wiki defines politics as:  a process by which groups of people make collective decisions.

Just how collective the decisions are is debatable, especially for religions; but for both religion and politics, the representatives of each faction try to make laws that are in their own interests.

These laws may or may not be in most people's interests, so for me, atheism is political too.

This probably doesn't help much as pretty much everything involving influencing behaviour is politics.

 


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kierantitheridge wrote:I

kierantitheridge wrote:

I have had an idea floating round my head now for a while that I would like to discuss with some of you insightful people

The basic idea is;

 Is Affiliating Yourself With A Political Party So Different From Affiliating Yourself With A Religion?

I think it is different, as political beliefs and religious beliefs differ.

But I think the critiques of religion such as Sam Harris' indictment of religion because it breeds extremism, apply as much to religion as they do politics....

 

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”