Author Topic: What have you changed you mind about?  (Read 16239 times)

wakela

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What have you changed you mind about?
« on: January 11, 2008, 01:47:32 AM »
I saw this on Boing Boing.

The Edge's question of 2008 is:
What have you changed your mind about? Why?

What a great question.  I've been thinking about it all day.  Something I'm trying not to do is start sentences with "I think we live in a society where..." but I think we live in a society where sticking to your guns is an admirable trait.  Never give up.  Never surrender.  Sometimes these are the best move, but IMHO, I think I would prefer to live in a world where more people (myself included) more often said, "Hm.  Never thought about it that way.  I think you may be right." 

New Year's resolutions are fine.  Even if you don't do them, at least they make you take stock.  But I think asking yourself this question and discussing it with others every New Year's Day would be a fine tradition, too. 

Wouldn't you love to hear the world's leaders answer it.  As a yank, I'd love to hear the current presidential candidates.  A lame, wishy-washy answer would tell you as much as a good, honest one.

I don't think the world leaders or presidential candidates would get back to me, so I'll have to settle for you guys.  What have you changed your mind about? Why?

Oh, yeah.  Go to edge.org and read some of the responses, but only if you have time to kill.  They are from some of the greatest thinkers alive (including some of our favorite authors).

Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2008, 08:49:23 AM »
That's a hard one to answer... I've been thinking about it since you posted this, waiting to see what some others might have to say, but can't come up with anything concrete.

I generally don't take a "firm position" on things until I have a "preponderance of evidence".  Most issues that people argue about are being argued because they took a position without evidence, and are trying to defend their flawed position in the face of that new evidence.  I hate being in that position, so I try to keep myself "above" the fray by waiting for all the evidence to be in.

And for Great Cosmic Questions where the evidence probably won't ever BE in, I enjoy making up the craziest "plausible" answer, and sharing it with people to see how they react.

One thing I have changed my mind about: I've grown very annoyed with the selection of SF at my local public library.  I like to browse for new things, and there is an over-abundance of series trash (I don't like WarHammer, don't need another Star Trek novel, and grow weary of all of the endless Tor titles) pushing out the classics.  I've been asking them to get the first Peter K. Hamilton for years, now, and they won't buy that... but they got the novelization of Weapon X.  WTF?
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eytanz

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2008, 09:13:20 AM »
I can't really think of anything specific to say here either. I mean, I change my mind about a lot of small, inconsequential things all the time - whether or not to buy something, what to get for lunch, what to do in the afternoon, that sort of stuff. And certainly, in my research, I've changed my mind about a few things, becoming convinced that my original explanation for something (or someone else's explanation that I believed) was in fact wrong. But in my personal life, I just can't think of any important changes.

Which isn't to mean that I keep fast to a single opinion, but usually, my ideas evolve over time. I certainly believe things now that I didn't ten years ago, and vice versa, but it was a slow, gradual process, not inspired by any single revelation or moment.

Part of the issue, I think, is that I rarely frame things in terms of "right" and "wrong". Usually, the fact that someone else may be right in a way that didn't occur to me doesn't mean that I am not also right. It normally just means that the situation is more complex than I originally took it for.

Czhorat

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2008, 06:49:59 PM »
Politics. I used to be very far to the right wing. A big fan of Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, New Gingrich and the Contract with America, etc. Starting sometime in my college years I started getting a touch uncomfortable with some of what was coming from the political right, mainly what I saw as anti-homosexual  and pro-Christian bias masquerading under the code phrase "family values". Today I see much of my old politics as an adolescent's view of power, fairness, and justice carried by inertia too far into adulthood. I was never religious, but if, for instance, the topic on crime and punishment took place a decade ago I'd have been squarely in Mr Tweedy's role.
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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2008, 12:01:02 AM »
Politics. I used to be very far to the right wing.

I've changed my mind politically as well.  I used to believe that it mattered who I voted for, or if I voted at all.
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Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2008, 04:13:54 AM »
Politics. I used to be very far to the right wing.

I've changed my mind politically as well.  I used to believe that it mattered who I voted for, or if I voted at all.

If you don't vote, you have no right to do anything other than sit there and be quiet.  If you want to stand up and bitch, you have to at the very least cast your ballot.

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2008, 11:00:50 AM »
Hmmm....  I have no idea what either of you are talking about, but I find it fascinating anyway.  I don't suppose there's a Big Book of British Politics I could get at the library for some context...

I changed my mind about music.  I used to focus pretty heavily on "hard" music, but I've recently been expanding to the point where I appreciate most genres...  That sounds pretty lame by comparison to the Thatcher/Blair/Brown thing...
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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2008, 08:16:09 PM »
I used to believe that it mattered who I voted for, or if I voted at all.

If you don't vote, you have no right to do anything other than sit there and be quiet.  If you want to stand up and bitch, you have to at the very least cast your ballot.

Balls.  I shouldn't have to vote for somebody I find repugnant just because s/he is the least repugnant of the available choices.  That's unacceptable.  I want a "none of the above" option.  Failing that, I'll sit the whole crooked game out.

As I see it, the only people who have no right to complain are the ones who voted for the politician in office.  For example, if you voted for Bush, you have no bitching rights, because you got what you asked for.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2008, 08:35:37 PM by stePH »
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Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2008, 01:54:59 PM »
OK, it had legs, so the British politics section of this discussion has been split off and is here.  Please keep going with this one guys.  I'm taking notes.

Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2008, 02:02:30 PM »
I used to believe that it mattered who I voted for, or if I voted at all.

If you don't vote, you have no right to do anything other than sit there and be quiet.  If you want to stand up and bitch, you have to at the very least cast your ballot.

Balls.  I shouldn't have to vote for somebody I find repugnant just because s/he is the least repugnant of the available choices.  That's unacceptable.  I want a "none of the above" option.  Failing that, I'll sit the whole crooked game out.

As I see it, the only people who have no right to complain are the ones who voted for the politician in office.  For example, if you voted for Bush, you have no bitching rights, because you got what you asked for.

That is just wrong.  Ever notice politicians don't care what they stick young people with?  It's because most young folks don't vote.  That's why they get screwed on every decision. 

In the last presidential election there were close to thirty different parties running canidates in the different states.  Vote for one of them.  That is your "none of the above choice". 

Your secret ballot hides who you voted for, but they know you voted.  If 90% of people under 25 voted in this coming election, every politician would be doing stuff to cut the debt and increase spending on education and college grants.  Why do you think they spend so much time talking about Medicare.  Old people vote!  If you don't vote, you are the problem with the system.

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2008, 04:52:02 PM »
In the last presidential election there were close to thirty different parties running canidates in the different states.  Vote for one of them.  That is your "none of the above choice". 

You have an interesting notion of what "none of the above" means.  To me it means voting against all of the candidates, not for one of them. 
I used to do what you suggest, voting straight-ticket Libertarian in every election except in 2004 (where I held my nose and voted for Kerry because I felt getting Bush and his PNAC handlers out was more important than my principles and self-respect.)  But I have no guarantee that my vote was counted in 2004, because it was made on a touch-screen machine that did not produce a paper record of my votes.  (Even if it had produced such a record, there's still a history of election fraud as old as American history itself.)

I've had enough of it.  I'm sick of voting for "the lesser of two evils".  The system is corrupt and broken, and I won't give it any further illusion of legitimacy by casting a ballot.  However, I still keep my voter registration current, as a gesture that I'm ready to vote as soon as there's an election worth participating in.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2008, 08:24:12 PM by stePH »
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Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2008, 03:13:00 AM »
In the last presidential election there were close to thirty different parties running canidates in the different states.  Vote for one of them.  That is your "none of the above choice". 

You have an interesting notion of what "none of the above" means.  To me it means voting against all of the candidates, not for one of them. 
I used to do what you suggest, voting straight-ticket Libertarian in every election except in 2004 (where I held my nose and voted for Kerry because I felt getting Bush and his PNAC handlers out was more important than my principles and self-respect.)  But I have no guarantee that my vote was counted in 2004, because it was made on a touch-screen machine that did not produce a paper record of my votes.  (Even if it had produced such a record, there's still a history of election fraud as old as American history itself.)

I've had enough of it.  I'm sick of voting for "the lesser of two evils".  The system is corrupt and broken, and I won't give it any further illusion of legitimacy by casting a ballot.  However, I still keep my voter registration current, as a gesture that I'm ready to vote as soon as there's an election worth participating in.

Then nobody cares what you think.  If you don't vote, you might as well not be alive.  If you don't give them something to win, they won't listen to you.  You just want to sit and bitch, but you've made yourself the equivalent of the guy at the bar mumbling into his beer. 

If you don't like touch screen voting, support Blackboxvoting.org.  They have gotten many of the voting laws changed.

Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2008, 11:24:04 AM »
In the last presidential election there were close to thirty different parties running canidates in the different states.  Vote for one of them.  That is your "none of the above choice". 

You have an interesting notion of what "none of the above" means.  To me it means voting against all of the candidates, not for one of them. 
I used to do what you suggest, voting straight-ticket Libertarian in every election except in 2004 (where I held my nose and voted for Kerry because I felt getting Bush and his PNAC handlers out was more important than my principles and self-respect.)  But I have no guarantee that my vote was counted in 2004, because it was made on a touch-screen machine that did not produce a paper record of my votes.  (Even if it had produced such a record, there's still a history of election fraud as old as American history itself.)

I've had enough of it.  I'm sick of voting for "the lesser of two evils".  The system is corrupt and broken, and I won't give it any further illusion of legitimacy by casting a ballot.  However, I still keep my voter registration current, as a gesture that I'm ready to vote as soon as there's an election worth participating in.

Russell is dead right about this one.  stePH, I feel as frustrated as you do about the things you mentioned... right down to the lesser of two evils concept... but taking your ball and staying home IS the reason the system is broken.  Too many people are taking that approach, and it's just a lazy cop out.  To fix things, you have to get involved.  Corruption (and the perception of corruption) is pervasive because it is allowed to start... it starts because no one paying attention is willing to make the effort to stop it.

Most people (and I include myself in this number) don't pay enough attention at all levels.  In the UK (if I recall correctly) you vote for the party you want in power at the local level.  The winning party votes at the next level up, and so on, until the top party gets to choose the PM.  In the U.S., it might as well be that way, because most people only pay attention to the Presidential race.  When they do go and vote, they tend to vote for who they think is going to win, instead of who they want; this is why no "Third party" has a chance in this country.  Too many people are convinced that having their candidate lose is the same as "throwing away my vote" - which is utter B.S. - and eliminate their real candidate to keep a worse one from winning.  (I put "Third party" in quotes because I consider our "two-party" system to be a fallacy.  There are certainly differences between them, but I feel they have an incestuous, symbiotic motivation to remain the Two Parties.)

But my point is, the reason there is no one for you to like at the National level is that no one is making sure there are people TO like at the State, County, and municipal levels.  The issues that actually affect most voters - taxes, education, campaign finance reform, aid programs - are actually really controlled and implemented at the State and local level, too; boring, right?  Which is why the national candidates have to come up with flashy, "hot-button", puppet-shows ... like gay marriage, abortion, intelligent design.  All issues that either don't actually affect most people personally (but provoke some strong reaction), or polarize people and make them abandon careful consideration of the candidates.

Or, just maybe, you've found "something wrong" with each candidate (with the help of our even-handed and unbiased media, I am sure), and instead of rationally evaluating them on all of their positions, you've discounted each one on based on that one flaw.  All I know is, when you withhold your vote, you are stuck with what is chosen for you.  Unfortunately, that means we are all stuck with it, too.
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Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2008, 11:36:02 AM »
Russell is dead right about this one.

I could feel how hard you battled with adding "for once".  I appreciate you leaving it out.

Tango Alpha Delta

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2008, 12:05:12 PM »
Russell is dead right about this one.

I could feel how hard you battled with adding "for once".  I appreciate you leaving it out.

Oh, I often agree with you... but sometimes you're so SURE of yourself that I have to pick at you!  :P
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Russell Nash

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2008, 01:28:58 PM »
Russell is dead right about this one.

I could feel how hard you battled with adding "for once".  I appreciate you leaving it out.

Oh, I often agree with you... but sometimes you're so SURE of yourself that I have to pick at you!  :P

Depends.  I start with a finger tap.  Move to the jewelers hammer, upholstery hammer, molding hammer, ball-peen hammer, framing hammer, dead blow mallet, and then up the scale of sledge hammers.  I don't think you've seen me reach for the eight-pound sledge yet.

Chodon

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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2008, 05:17:54 PM »
In the last presidential election there were close to thirty different parties running canidates in the different states.  Vote for one of them.  That is your "none of the above choice". 

You have an interesting notion of what "none of the above" means.  To me it means voting against all of the candidates, not for one of them. 
I used to do what you suggest, voting straight-ticket Libertarian in every election except in 2004 (where I held my nose and voted for Kerry because I felt getting Bush and his PNAC handlers out was more important than my principles and self-respect.)  But I have no guarantee that my vote was counted in 2004, because it was made on a touch-screen machine that did not produce a paper record of my votes.  (Even if it had produced such a record, there's still a history of election fraud as old as American history itself.)

I've had enough of it.  I'm sick of voting for "the lesser of two evils".  The system is corrupt and broken, and I won't give it any further illusion of legitimacy by casting a ballot.  However, I still keep my voter registration current, as a gesture that I'm ready to vote as soon as there's an election worth participating in.
StePH, nice to see another Libertatian/Anarcho-something on here (I happen to lean toward anarcho-capitalist myself).  I totally see where you're coming from.  However, I usually vote straight ticket Libertarian just for the reason Russell and TAD are discussing: so I have a right to bitch.  If everyone had your view of elections the corrupt jackasses (and pachyderms) are going to keep control.  If the LP pulled off a 10% victory in some states, well that might get some people's attention.  Most people I talk about Libertarianism with agree with its principles.  However, they consider voting for a third party "throwing their vote away". 

That reminds me of a Simpson's episode. 
Quote
Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're
       nothing but hideous space reptiles.  [unmasks them]
        [audience gasps in terror]
Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about
       it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
        [murmurs]
 Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system.
 Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
 Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
        [Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]
        [Ross Perot smashes his "Perot 96" hat]

The next day, Kodos announces the result: "All hail, President Kang."

The field in front of the Capitol has now become a working ground
where humans are whipped by aliens and used to carry materials.

The Simpsons family is working too, with Homer and the kids carrying
wood, and Marge pushing a wheelbarrow of cinderblocks -- with Maggie
on top.

Marge: I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a
       planet I never even heard of.
Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
-- "Treehouse of Horror VII"
It would be funny if it weren't so true.
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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2008, 06:23:32 PM »
Most people I talk about Libertarianism with agree with its principles.  However, they consider voting for a third party "throwing their vote away". 

Just as an experiment, next time you go to vote, cast your ballot for whomever your research tells you would be the best candidate for the position.  And if you were too lazy to do the cursory research necessary to know who that is, consider recycling your vote instead of throwing it away.  (Logically, for the joke to work, I would say "Vote Green"... but I don't really care... just pick someone else and you'll be doing a Good Thing by shaking up the dominant Two.)


I always like to tell people that I voted for George Clinton in each of the last three elections... but I just realized that many of them probably think I meant that I voted for George Clinton:(
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 04:10:17 AM by Russell Nash »
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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2008, 06:25:18 PM »
If everyone had your view of elections the corrupt jackasses (and pachyderms) are going to keep control.
"jackasses (and pachyderms)" ... good one.

But what if they had an election and nobody came?   ;)
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Re: What have you changed you mind about?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2008, 06:33:29 PM »
Just as an experiment, next time you go to vote, cast your ballot for whomever your research tells you would be the best candidate for the position. 

Claire Wolfe (the person who once said "America is at that awkward stage: it's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards") has an interesting point along these lines: she encourages people not to vote, for some of the same reasons I have, but also because by voting, you give legitimacy to a system that considers your informed, researched vote just as valid as somebody else's uninformed vote.  (close enough paraphrase -- I'd quote her words but I gave the book back to the library over a year ago.)


I always like to tell people that I voted for George Clinton in each of the last three elections... but I just realized that many of them probably think I meant that I voted for George Clinton:(

 :D back during the 1992 race, when I lived in Los Angeles, a reader wrote in to one of the newspapers (forgot which one) that those who didn't care for either George Bush or Bill Clinton might consider George Clinton as an alternative, adding the comment "Is he qualified?  Absolutely!  After all, he was a member of Parliament."
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