Monday, July 28, 2008

Character Flaw of Politics

A friend of mine in school, who just happened to be a liberal, revealed to me a concept that really left me puzzled in regards to politics and political parties and thought. As I thought about it I could only come to the conclusion that what he said could only be considered an of essence of any group ideology. That concept being, that it was alright for a politician to break his promises to the people who voted him in to office as long as the people believed he will further the ideology itself.

One night at the dinner table I asked grandpa about this kind of thinking and he just looked at me as if he could not believe what he was hearing. He then just looked down at his plate and sliced a piece of roast beef that was cooked by grandma in the way that grandpa liked. Dipping it in the thick beef gravy that she could make so tasty he finally forked it into his mouth. He seemed to be pondering my question as he savored the taste while chewing it. Then he looked up at grandma with a twinkle in his eye and said,

“grandma, if it wasn't for your beauty, I'd have married you anyway for your cooking. This is delicious. You outdid yourself tonight and that is something that I thought impossible”

After he winked when grandma's cheeks turned red he swallowed the tasty morsel and turned to gave me his attention by saying,

“you know boy, you may have just hit on the reason why people continuously vote a man back into office in spite of his record or because of his record. It would also explain why politicians attack each other instead of debating the issues. What your friend revealed was a character flaw, both within himself and of the politician he votes for.

Breaking one's word is something that people detest. For by breaking your word you are declaring that you are not a man to be trusted with responsibility. When you have promised to do something and the other has accepted that promise you have made a contract with that person. Oaths act in the same manner. It is a promise given, usually seen as calling on the Almighty as a witness, and accepted. When a politician does it he has made a contract with the people.

this type of attitude can be understood in terms of a moral principle they abide by. That moral principle being that the end justifies the means. it would be nice if those same folks would use the same principle when it comes to the question of the war in Iraq. That would really unite the nation.

This is a principle where people judge people or things by the end results of what was done rather than by what they did in order to get the end results. And if the end results are perceived as being good then it doesn't matter what they had to do in order to obtain those results. The same is true if the end results are perceived as being bad. In other words, boy, intent is the only basis of their judgment. There is no consideration of the means. And without considering the means used, there can be no just judgment of a person.

The problem with this sort of attitude is that this principle is only applied to one of their own. It is never applied to anyone opposed to their ideas. When judging others the means is the only thing that is used to judge. Intent is never considered or they consider themselves wise enough to determine intent without permitting the other person the opportunity to defend himself in regards to intent. The common thread is a biased viewpoint and the prejudgement of others not of their own kind.

Now, boy, don't get me wrong. Everyone is biased in regards to their ideas. And everyone believes that their ideas are superior to the ideas of others. This is because everyone believes that their ideas are a reflection of the truth. That is the nature of imperfection. That is the nature of mankind. That is why this is a world in conflict instead of unity. Understand boy?”

I just shook my head and with an impish grin said “nope, not completely, grandpa.”

46 comments:

BB-Idaho said...

I'd be the last one to argue the
intricacies of consequentialism, but your observation regarding personal perception reminds of the
old dilemmas arising early in the human condition. Thus we note the
variable effect of perception in opposing proverbs: He who hesitates is lost...vs Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. :)

The Griper said...

bb,
yes that can be a dilemma where two opposing proverbs are seen as applicable but are the two proverbs you cited actually opposites?

wouldn't one of those proverbs be saying "when opportunity knocks don't hesitate to open the door and let it in"?

while the other is saying "think before you leap"?

BB-Idaho said...

A long and excellent list of proverbs and sayings may be found here:
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/a.html
..where we learn "the female of the species is more deadly than the male" is attributed to Rudyard Kipling. I've always been a little intrigued that for most sayings there is an opposite.
And shall happily close with this pair: Out of sight, out of mind..
vs..absence makes the heart grow fonder. :)

The Griper said...

bb,

now that pair i might have a little problem reconciling unless we see the feelings of the heart as being separate from the thoughts of the mind.

but then again we know that when we act from emotion alone there is no rational thoughts involved. or as Spock would attest to when we act from total logic there is no room for emotion. so, from that we can scientificaly declare that each has an inverse effect on each other. lol

mmm wonder if that isn't the problem between science and theology? for it does seem as if they adversely effect each other. for science is about logic while theology preaches feelings. lol

Gayle said...

You two are giving me a headache! LOL!

The bottom line is that a person's word should be their bond. If they can't keep it then they shouldn't give it. It's as simple as that! :)

Actually Griper, I don't see any problem between science and theology. If science is right in regard to evolution, it doesn't disprove Intelligent design. Whose to say that ID wasn't created by God?

Pinky said...

I agree with Gayle.

We can all be mighty and valiant if we are judged on our intent. But actions speak louder than words.

The Griper said...

he walks over to gayle, hands her the aspirin bottle he keeps handy on this blog then hands her a nice frosty cold bottle of beer to wash the aspirins down. then goes over and hands both bb and pinky one also.

pinky and gayle,
that was the purpose of the post. to show that both,intent plus action, must be considered to come to a just conclusion of the results. you can't judge some by intent only and judge others by actions only. you're being unjust to both groups.

Crian said...

Reading the arguments between BB and Griper make me wish I was older and knew more Gayle but I think I understand what you are saying Griper that the inherent imperfection of man makes conflict inevitable?

You mentioned Spock in previous comment so I assume you are a Star Trek fan like I am. I feel super geeky bringing this into an argument but the federation achieved world piece on earth, even though that piece is fictional, can you imagine a time where there will be world peace? or world unity?

Apologies for not replying to your arguments on my blog, will do so tomorrow.

The Griper said...

world unity? if you mean by that, all nations under one world government, yes i can see it. but that is only based upon my grasp of history and the evolution of societies. if it occurred it would be for an entirely different reason than in prior times. though i'd have to say i wouldn't welcome it, myself. as long as there are men greedy for power, a dictatorship is possible. and once a world government is set up there are no checks on it as there are now.

world peace? now, that one i doubt. for there i'd have to define peace as a time when there is no need for armies or police and as long as there is greed in the hearts of men, true peace can never be achieved.

as for apologies, none needed. that is one of the beauties of blogs over chat programs. you can respond at your leisure.

BB-Idaho said...

Mr. Spock is a perfect example of
the completely logical lifeform:
their ears get pointy. :)

tweetey30 said...

I liked your honest answer at the end to your grandpa. And also how grandpa likes to embarrass grandma a little from what I have been reading here is good that they got along well...

The Griper said...

bb,
"their ears get pointy. :)"
the better to hear you". isn't that what the big bad wolf said?"

tweety,
sincere compliments seem to have that effect, especially when they come from a loved one who you are trying to please. some just show it in different ways.

Gayle said...

Thanks for the aspirine and the beer, Griper. I needed that! ;)

Crian, Star Trek is brought up in conservative posts more than you realize, so you are not considered by most to be "super geeky" for bringing it up. I would like to intrude on Griper a wee bit and also add my thoughts on your comment. Star Trek is portraying a time where all humankind get along. That seems to be the supposition, anyway. Their enemies (seems we always have to have enemies) are aliens. If this old world didn't have people posessed by power and greed, then a one world government would be possible. Until then - just like Griper says - it's not workable.

Karen said...

Excellent observations, as usual, Griper my friend. It's okay for politicians to lie to us as long as they still further the agenda we want.

"The ends justifies the means" seems to be the dictum by which all evil things can be justified.

Crian said...

Griper,Going into the hypothetical realm at the moment, in a potential world government, could there not be a system of checks and balances that exist now in the United States. As for World Peace, I agree that man is inherently violent in a sense and greedy therefore we will always need police and armies but when I imagine world peace, it is a time when theft, murder, asault still occur but there is no genocide, war, terrorism or any major military conflict between any nation.

Alien's were always the issue on Star Trek Gayle, the thing that got me thinking is that is this need for an enemy a literary device in modern culture or something part of the fabric of life. Will we always have to be fighting someone because that there always has to be equilibrium in the universe? I am not sure, but I hope not.

The Griper said...

Crian
checks and balances are a man devised tool. and we spoke of the ability to sidestep them already.

the only way to check the power of a central government is to have it subordinant to the states that created it. and we already see how well that works in the US. it doesn't work.

and people as yourself want to give it even greater power. so how would you expect it not to happen on a world basis?

right now, people look at UN as a government that governs over the nations. it is not nor ever was set up to be a world government.

and as long as there is greed and power to be had how can wars be avoided? wars are a tool of power.

everyone is not as altruistic as you are. and as you grow older you will lose that idealistic view of the world also. i can only hope it turns into something constructive rather than distructive.

BB-Idaho said...

" this need for an enemy a literary device in modern culture or something part of the fabric of life." This need can be more than a literary device: it is a powerful political tool as we note
from the Third Reich phenomonon. The population was so patriotic & nationalistic that a faked minor
border incident with helpless Poland triggered full support for
invasion. There are numerous historical examples. Perhaps some people require an enemy to be patriotic, perhaps most. I will disagree about Crian's idealism and hope he keeps it well into ancient decadence like some of us
fossilised old liberals. :)

The Griper said...

Basically what i hear from you, bb, is that societies need an enemy in order to exist and function. it is the recognition that there are enemies that unite and bind us as a society. 9/11 and the attack on pearl harbor, maybe even the cold war with russia would be good examples of this.

as for idealism, bb, i'd hazzard a guess that even you has modified your viewpoint over the years. i may be wrong but that's why it is only a guess. lolol

BB-Idaho said...

Not so sure society needs an 'enemy' to 'exist', but agrre that any particular cultural group seems to need competition of some sort for it to be cohesive. Yes,
Griper, my viewpoint shifts on occasion..persuaded by hard data
rather than emotional argument.
(I like to think! :))

The Griper said...

bb,
the only basis i have is something said in a class once that societies formed for two basic reasons, survival of the self and survival of the species. now, that suggests a common enemy. and i do notice that once that enemy has been eradicated a society tends to break up into smaller and smaller groups. that is all.

as for change i think maturity is also a factor in the change of our viewpoints also. we tend to be more realistic as we grow older and in a sense lose that idealistic outlook of the world.

Lista said...

Griper,
I agree with this post, for the means is just as important as the intent and any form of seeking ones agenda in spite the means used to obtain it is inappropriate, whether it is done directly or indirectly though politics.

BB and Griper,
The presence of apparent opposites is evidence of the need for balance, whether than moving too far over to the extremes.

Griper,
Whether or not theology preaches feelings depends on what church you go to. I've heard lots of sermons on using your head and not trusting your emotions. Go to a Pentecostal service, though, and the focus is just the opposite.

I'll cover that ID vs. Evolution issue on your other post.

As to the imperfection of man making conflict inevitable, Christians are instructed to turn to the Lord for help in this imperfection so that He can help us to do better.

The one world government idea would be a fulfillment of prophecy, yet this is not a positive because it leads up to the end times and the tribulation.

You said it, Griper, greed in the hearts of men is what prevents peace.

The Griper said...

lista,
"The presence of apparent opposites is evidence of the need for balance, whether than moving too far over to the extremes."

truth itself is an extremity. its opposite is a lie.

Lista said...

I'm beginning to realize, Griper, that probably the main point of disagreement between us is my strong focus on balance and seeking middle ground, where as you seem to view things in terms of black and white.

You are right that there is such a thing as a true opposite and in fact, there are also things that are so important that they should not be compromised, yet I do not think it is right to lump everything that exists into that category.

The Griper said...

lista,
the path of rightiousness is very narrow. the path of sinfulness is very wide.

in politics, compromise with a liberal promotes the cause of liberalism and retards the cause of conservatism.

Lista said...

I agree with your statement and that is why I've decided not to compromise on the moral issues of Abortion and Homosexuality.

I'm not so sure, though, that all of the Republican agenda in relation to finances is always in line with the scriptures. I keep thinking of what I wrote in one of my earlier posts entitled, Lessons for the Strong and the Weak. I explained my attitude towards both Republicans and Democrats in this post in relation to money. Please do read it again.

All I'd like to add now is that we are told to help and give to the poor. There are two ways to do this. One is through private charities and the other is through government policies.

The Griper said...

taxation is forced giving and giving to the poor is suppose to be an act of love not an act of force. even your own quote talks of it on the personal level. it is our door not the door of gov't that the hungry knock on. it is on our door that the thirsty knock on not the door of gov't. it is on our door that those who need shelter knock on not the door of gov't.

it was the innkeeper that gave joseph and mary shelter not gov't. it was always to the individual that jesus spoke to when telling them to give to the poor. in no place that i know of when he spoke of giving to the poor it was to the gov't.

Lista said...

Actually, the poor do knock on the door of government. Democrats do it constantly. I do understand your point, though, for my father feels that way as well and I don't entirely disagree with it, especially when you consider the added argument that charitable giving actually goes down when the taxes are too high, thus those who are charitable are in a sense forced to transfer this role over to the government, even though they are quite willing to do it directly when they are not required to give all of their excess to the government.

On the other side of the issue, government programs are necessary because there is a limit to what individuals, churches and private charities can do. People and organizations are really good at giving people food, but usually do not have the resources to give people the income they need in order to pay their bills until they can find a job. The disabled need help that goes way beyond what individuals and charities can do.

This is an issue of balance. The exact amount of government programs and taxes that is necessary and fair is hard to determine.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of something else, though, that supports the Republican point of view. One of the current problems in our society is that people are getting laid off just prior to retirement so that the employers do not have to pay them their retirement. Another is that workman's comp. is no longer adequate to cover the needs of those who can no longer work because of a work injury. Many have lost their homes while waiting for workman's comp. cases to settle.

I guess it's not only been charitable giving that has suffered due to increased taxes, but also worker's benefits. It's almost as if there is a secret plan to first tax so heavily that it cripples those who would otherwise be giving and than to offer socialism as the solution.

When it comes to extremes, though, all I'm concerned about is that we don't ever go so far as to say or even imply that we should actually do away with all government programs. I really do think that some of them are very much needed.

The Griper said...

lista,
"On the other side of the issue, government programs are necessary because there is a limit to what individuals, churches and private charities can do"

how can that be so since it is the same people contributing to both entities? it is the people that support both the government and charities.

and government is not set up to be a charity organization. it is set up for one purpose, to govern the society. that means to rule over the people. and when it sticks to what it was set up to do it does a very good job but once it sticks its nose into other things besides governing it does a very poor job.

proof of this is in the complaints people have with government. if one looks at these complaints it is mostly in those areas that has nothing to do with governing. areas like education, welfare, social security, health care, unemployment, etc.

workman's comp and other programs similar to this was never meant to fully support someone. it was meant to be a suppliment to their own savings budgeted for this possibility. social security is the same way though people forget that and think it should replace their earnings once they retire.

Lista said...

People have limited resources and what is excess can either be spent on oneself, given to charities or taken by the government.

If you are implying that ALL charity should be done by the private sector and none by the government, than the only way that that would work is if the church would take over the job that the Government is currently doing on a massive scale, even to the extend of paying people's bills temporarily while helping people get back on their feet.

Forgive me, Griper, but I really do think that that is a little extreme and I thought I remember you saying recently that you are no longer an idealist, yet what you are suggesting here is not one single ounce less than idealism. In reality, this is not how things are going to work and I think deep down you know it.

Not everyone makes enough money in order to set massive amounts of it aside.

The Griper said...

"Not everyone makes enough money in order to set massive amounts of it aside"

lista, it doesn't take massive amounts set aside. a person could have a nice retirement fund of his own by just setting $10.00 aside a month. and i don't care how much money a person earns he can do that especially when you consider all of the other things he is paying for on time.

as for being an idealist, no i am not. i am not against government aiding a society on a temporary basis and then stopping. it is those programs that are of a permanent basis that gets governments into trouble.

"even to the extend of paying people's bills temporarily while helping people get back on their feet."

if you are speaking of the unemployment program, government does not pay for that. your former employer does. it is an insurance program. but remember even that is not given to those who quit their jobs.

as for welfare, that is meant not as an aid to adults but to the children who cannot make do for themselves yet. theoretically adults still need to provide for themselves. but if you ever notice the kids very seldom get the full benefit from these programs because adults use the money to provide for their needs as well as the children's needs.

Lista said...

In a way, I can't believe that I'm still on the computer. I need to get off soon.

Well, the $10.00 a month set aside is quite likely to be eaten up by repairs to cars and appliances, as well as other extra expenses besides what comes up monthly, so you see, the amount required to be set aside is actually realistically more than $10.00 now isn't it?

The fact that the poor man has to buy a lot of things on time is the very reason why he has trouble saving money. Sure there are people who don't manage their money right and run their credit cards up irresponsibly, yet houses and cars are difficult to pay cash for. Only the rich can do that. We all have our weaknesses and even budgeting perfection does not always wipe away poverty when a person is only making minimum wage or is out of work.

Your expectations are very high and I believe in forgiveness and grace.

I don't know. Maybe you're not as much of an extremist as I think, but there is something about the way you communicate that makes you come across as one.

The Griper said...

i won't argue about the whys people are poor. i only know that those i've worked with was able to do it if they followed what i said. and that has been quite a few over my life time. and each one used the same reasoning you gave at the beginning.

as for my expectations they are only as high as the potential of the person i am dealing with.

as for being on the computer, i can only say it is a pleasure to talk with you. i thank you for your time.

BB-Idaho said...

Noting "in politics, compromise with a liberal promotes the cause of liberalism and retards the cause of conservatism." Surely, then the reverse must be true?
Could it not be that rational compromise synergizes the best ideas of each philosophy? Or would we end up with the worst of each?
For that matter, what of the much
aligned middle of the road folk, those with both inclinations, holding some conservative and some liberal views..are they self nullifiying?

The Griper said...

bb,
nope, a compromise always aids the cause of liberalism.

the problem with those who claim to be the middle of the road forget one thing. when does it start and when does it end? if what i said is true then the middle of the road always becomes more liberalized too in order to remain in the middle.

Lista said...

Griper,
You must be a Financial Consultant or something. It's always a pleasure to talk to you too.

The fact that the middle seems to keep sliding to the left is an interesting point. It seems that it has been the Republicans who have been doing most of the compromising over the years. Perhaps it's time for the Reublicans to hold their ground and insist that the Democrats return the favor and come back our way for a change.

The Griper said...

financial consultant, not by training. but mathmatics and english were my strong points in school. so, anything that has to do with numbers or words came easier to me than it does for a lot of people. and that is all finance is, dealing with numbers with a dollar sign and learning how to manipulate those numbers to your best advantage. and the beauty of it is that it is already formulated for you. thus by understanding and using those formulas, it is easier.

as for the republicans holding their ground, in order to do that would require that they appear very cold-hearted towards the people. and that doesn't generate many votes. in fact that has always been one of the claims of democrats against republicans, that they favor everyone except the people.

Lista said...

Sometimes wealth or poverty can have more to do with how much input or lack there of that a certain person has in the decisions that are made. When the limited resources are shared and a budget can be agreed on by all the parties involved, the poverty is not as bad. What good is freedom and equality within a country, when someone does not experience the same in their own home?

Well, favoring responsibility over a free hand out is not really coldness, though we do need to do what ever we can to help people get past the obstacles that hold them back. Life just comes easier for some than others and there are some people out there who really truly do not understand and some of them are indeed very cold.

The Griper said...

lista,
i agree with you on the first part. remember this though, for equality to exist within a relationship it must be a relationship of equal personalities. equality cannot exist just because people think it should. it may appear rightious theoretically but in practice it can never work.

and i agree with the second part also but it won't be portrayed as such by those who are against it. and there is the problem.

Lista said...

What you are saying is like two people who are unequally yoked, yet generally that just means that they are not equally committed to God, for God can transform negative personalities into better ones, for the the whole idea in our relationship with the Lord is for us to allow Him to transform us into better people.

People who are against, or at least resistant to responsibility, if you want to put it that way, may have a tendency to view any suggestion relating to responsibility as coldness, yet some who have deep hurts, may need a certain patience that some people have and others don't. Expecting responsibility without offering warmth and sensitivity can not be described in any other way other than cold.

Such cold people do exist and many of them are Republicans. That's just a fact.

The Griper said...

we're not talking about negative vs positive attributes, lista. one person may be outer motivated while the other is inner motivated.

one may have a dominant personality while the other is a subordinant personality.

none of these attributes are negative. they just help define what kind of person each of us are.
there are many other traits like this.

it is when we understand these types of people along with what kind of person we are, finding the mate most compatable with our personality will result in a better relationship.

Lista said...

Perhaps some of this is genetic, yet another factor is that inner motivated people can usually think of a time in their life in which someone cared about them and encouraged them in a significant way. If the appropriate encouragement did not come in childhood, or the relationship with at least one of the parents was not what it should have been, than it can be a real struggle to find inner motivation.

A couple of exceptions to this are people who are motivated by anger or the desire to prove someone wrong. Some such people become workaholics. The motivation that results from love, acceptance and the resulting self-esteem is much better, though, and more healthy.

Another thing to consider is that while it is a real positive to develop tough skin and get over being more sensitive than we should be, we are also instructed in the scriptures to encourage one another and this is indeed a positive attribute.

Dominant, or leadership, tendencies are also both genetic and learned. I'm an interesting mix. I probably do have leadership abilities in the right context, yet lack the confidence and drive to really act on it as much as I should.

Leadership tendencies and coldness are not the same thing. One is nothing more than a personality characteristic, the other is a character flaw that should be worked on.

Also, sharing and negotiating is a good thing to do in marriage regardless of the personality types involved.

Lista said...

Well, we're getting ready to leave for family camp for the weekend. We are pulling out later this morning, so this will be my last comment until we get back. I always do enjoy talking with you, Griper, and look forward to doing more of it when I return. You take care.

The Griper said...

people of different personalities can love just as strongly as anyone. the only difference being is in how they reveal that love. each personality type will reveal that love in accordance to their personality.

this is true not only by personality but by gender also. men can love just as strongly as women but how they show it can be vastly different than how a woman shows it.

Lista said...

You can talk about personality types all that you want, Griper, and that is not going to change the fact that there is such a thing as sin, there is such a thing as inappropriate behaviors and attitudes and there is such a thing as inappropriate coldness.

When people use the idea of different personality types in order to justify inappropriate behaviors and attitudes, this hinders growth both in individuals and in relationships. The trick is to know the difference between a personality characteristic that can not be changed and a behavior and attitude that should be changed.

This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer. "Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I can not change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.."

Also, if coldness is not sin, but instead a natural characteristic within men, than marriage is not good for women. If coldness, however, is sin, than it needs to be set aside in order to make marriage work.

When coldness is expressed politically, the Republican position is put in a negative light and loses some of it's respect.

The Griper said...

lista,
welcome back. hope you enjoyed yourself.

separate what is perceived and what is real, lista. just because someone is perceived as being cold-hearted doesn't mean he actually is cold-hearted. appearances can be very deceiving.

that is one of the problems with people. they expect everyone to reveal their feelings in the same way as they do. and that may work at times but not every time.

personality has nothing to do with sinfulness. a sin is a sin regardless of what type of personality you possess. the ten commandments are applicable to all not just to certain personality types.

Lista said...

I did enjoy myself, Griper. The Canadian trip was a real adventure and we saw lots of neat stuff, but the family camp trip was the one that was restful, relaxing and refreshing. We just sat and visited and played games while looking out at the Sacramento River. We were, of course, no where near the big city of Sacramento.

Failed perception is based on things such as not wanting to accept the expectations of someone who is expecting something out of love, whether then meanness, yet there are all kinds of issues involved here. Is the expectation realistic? Is the one who expects being too pushy? Does he understand the situation as fully as he should? Is he willing to listen to the other person's point of view without immediately judging it as laziness, rebellion or stubbornness.

I usually try to talk about things in general, Griper. It is a general truth that true coldness does indeed exist. I guess it's also true that apparent coldness can be misjudged. In a general sense, both of these things are true, yet when talking about individuals such as Lista, Griper or I don't know, Griper's ex-wife?; when discussing individuals, the answers to certain questions about coldness will be more specific.

I don't really think that you're a cold person, Griper. If there was no heart there, I probably wouldn't take the time to talk to you and I really don't know you well enough to judge exactly what, if anything, has caused other people in your life to call you cold, if in fact, such has occurred.

Perhaps this is my chance to say that there are other human characteristics that can be misinterpreted and misjudged as well, such as laziness, stubbornness and rebellion.

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