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  • By Adam Lee

    You’d never guess, from the public face the Democratic party presents, that atheists are a loyal and increasingly important constituency.

    At the Democratic National Convention last week, God a […]

    • Why do Democrats keep snubbing atheists?

      Silly question. Just because they are Democrats does not mean they are not religious wackaloons.

      Any progressive points the Democrats bring up, gay and trans rights, women’s rights and the rest are well ensconced within their religious delusions. Comparable to religious scientists; compartmentalization, living two lives so to speak.

      This article seems to confuse the nonreligious ( just not churched, still delusional ) with actual atheists who can be ignored as too few to matter to politicians at the moment.

    • Almost every speaker ended with the rote and obligatory “God bless America”.

      One of the very best speakers was Michael Bloomberg. A former Republican and a self-made billionaire he had some very sharp things to say about Trump. If I was a Bernie-or-bust type of guy, or an independent, or even a left-leaning Republican Bloomberg would have persuaded me to think three times before abstaining in the coming election. And no god.

      The original Guardian column is typical modern press commentary. Never let the need for a studied, thoughtful, logical, analysis get in the way of a cheap shot.

      Sure, the Democratic ticket is inclusive of everyone except atheists – the fastest growing group of people in the country – and it has links to churches.

      One can but wonder at the skills and knowledge of a political journalist who thinks that a political party can simply junk those old, battle-scarred, brothers in arms like the churches that are mentioned. They are supporters who get the vote out, who campaign, they even turn up for the meetings for crying out loud! – such people are very hard to find. Debts of honor are owed, war stories are shared history and friendship bonds have the strength to span the American continent.

      To imagine that the political landscape will be changed by a few leading gardeners with some pretty designs when the old school still has armies of people with varied, tried and trusted political skills – the wheelbarrows, shovels and picks required to actually move political mountains … frankly, it beggars belief .

      The Democratic Party can no more turn on a dime than any other behemoth.

      In addition, atheists still have a lot of work ahead of them. Churches have organization. They have it so strong that they find no difficulty creating teams with other churches , other denominations and even, in most cases, other faiths.

      As long as atheists revel in their reputation of being as difficult to herd as cats … then that is as long as they will exclude themselves from party-power politics. Being big isn’t enough. To be powerful you need to act as one. Is there any group that understands this better than a political party? Is there a political journalist, worthy of the name, who doesn’t see that – daily?

      My fellow atheists, you must set aside what you don’t like about each other. Celebrate what we share and gather your energy and take it to a Town Hall, bar, or park near you and start making friends today – and, even more importantly, start building teams together. Until you do, be prepared for a long wait to join that Democratic list of inclusion.

      Peace.

    • SoW

      I upticked but

      The Democratic Party can no more turn on a dime than any other behemoth.

      But the young can. They are still deciding who they are, have less baggage and have to rely more on mere reason than habit and heuristics.

      If you qualify, join the YDA and befriend the young.

      http://d.yda.org/

      This organisation seems to totally lack any program to deal with religion’s pernicious influence on the political and social landscape. Research shows Bernie Sanders support was disproportionately from the young who were disproportionately secular in their views. Its time the YDA invoked a program on the essential need for secularism

    • Hi Phil [#3],

      To what extent do the young determine the direction of any group? The Boy Scouts? The Young Turks? A political party – any political party?

      Each of us belongs to a cohort or generation that must first earn its Spurs before graduating to the levers of power. That is the standard political model, and on that basis I applaud your tried and trusted formula: Appeal to the young and, in their moment, the change we seek will come.

      How very staid. How very prim and proper.

      I wish it were needless to say: I do not agree.

      Atheism, Worldwide – and especially in the United States, is growing so fast that the time to act is now. Not in 30 years, not in 10 years, NOW.

      Yes young people, as a group, are far more atheist – but they’re not alone. They have you and me for a start – and that ought to be enough for any nascent global political movement. 😜

      On a (slightly) more serious note, you mention Bernie Sanders campaign group. Yes, a grumpy old man attracts legions of young people – therefore there must be a political lesson to learn. But is there, really? The World had moved so far to the right in my lifetime the last 40-ish years (or so I’m told) that it’s hardly surprising that a reaction has set in.

      Trump’s supporters are now giving every appearance of evaporating like a puddle in mid-day Santa Fe, well it is August in the Clinton Sunshine. Or is it that they’re dying before they can be wheeled to the polling booths? That’s a ‘nice’ political joke that’s just asking for a kicking.

      I don’t care.

      Old politics is old.

      Atheism is a new political movement. Give me facts and the time to think about them – come on! even Bernie didn’t get that radical!

      Atheist, secular, humanists are everywhere and, often, in the closet. Our numbers are both underestimated and hidden. But that’s not all. Right now, even though Richard pointed this out more than a decade ago in the US, our many hidden, closeted, compatriots don’t appreciate their collective power.

      For Pete’s sake isn’t there enough to fight for today?!

      Peace.

    • To the fulminating Mr. Lee:

      Let them get in office. That’s what matters now. They are not about to get into atheism right now; they are facing Trump. The Republicans are far worse. Far worse. HC is a Methodist and Kaine is a Catholic. Get over it, and stop belly aching about the Democrats. Be an atheist. Who’s stopping you (us)? Or run for president yourself; I wonder if you’d have had the political guts (or would it have been foolhardiness?) to put in a good word for atheism at the convention, when so much is at stake.

      (Many of Sanders’ supporters will vote for Dr. Klein or not vote, and that makes them stubborn ideologues with no sense of gradualism.)

      “Several atheist groups voiced frustration that nonbelievers weren’t acknowledged at the DNC. Most dispiriting of all, we saw in hacked emails that a DNC official suggested attacking Bernie Sanders as an atheist, although that suggestion never went anywhere and the party later repudiated it.”

      Why should nonbelievers be acknowledged? Do they need validation?

      I don’t think you can repudiate an email. But get over that too. Sanders got over it. So can you.

    • SoW

      To what extent do the young determine the direction of any group

      you mention Bernie Sanders campaign group. Yes, a grumpy old man attracts legions of young people – therefore there must be a political lesson to learn. But is there, really?

      Yep.

      The YDA is vapid and vacuous, without a single voiced campaign in favour of secularity. As a sign post for new ideas from a new electorate in the DP its pants. Give me time and I will suggest a bunch of related policies and and points of application.

      (mixed metaphor warning)

      Elephants need lots of eating. People ought to do lots of things but there are only a limited set of levers to pull.

      Besides, if its not clear…fuck Atheism, Secularism is the political goal here. No uptick for sitting in your wheelchair fuming on this one…

    • Hi Phil [#6],

      The YDA is vapid and vacuous, without a single voiced campaign in favour of secularity. As a sign post for new ideas from a new electorate in the DP its pants.

      I concede that this is not a great sign as it stands. But are they perhaps seeking (or worse, merely waiting) for the next big thing? This is the US we’re talking about and much as I like Bernie I don’t think democratic socialism is it. I’m only pretending to be as good a political pundit as the media professionals here (prof. success rate avge ~49.5%?).

      What I’m trying to say, in my usual geriatric way, is that there’s an opportunity going begging.

      Give me time and I will suggest a bunch of related policies and points of application.
      (mixed metaphor warning)

      Despite scurrilous suggestions circulated by you, I’m not at death’s door just yet. I can wait.

      Elephants need lots of eating. People ought to do lots of things but there are only a limited set of levers to pull

      What I’m taking away from that is that your position is: The US polity can only consume so many policy proposals at one sitting?

      I’ve been to Disneyland Phil – I’ve seen how much Joe Public can consume. As for those with ambitions to join the semi-pro league (e.g. the YDA) … one has expectations of a greater appetite at the very least.

      Besides, if it’s not clear…f##k Atheism …

      Language Phil …

      Secularism is the political goal here

      I am appalled at my own lapse. I am a chastened man. Yes, I should have said that.

      No uptick for sitting in your wheelchair fuming on this one…

      Oh yeah?! Come within range of my colostomy bag and say that.

      Anyway it’s not a wheelchair, it’s a Bath Chair.

      Kidding aside: Do we at least agree that there is a political opportunity for secularism (got it right this time) going begging in global politics – and US politics in particular?

      Peace.

    • Hi Pinball [#9],

      Let me count the number of times I’ve seen politicians relax because they were ahead in the polls – then lose the actual election. Oh dear, I ran out of fingers and toes hairs on my head.

      I hope – I really, really, hope – that Democrats are buoyed-up by the poll numbers to push, and push hard, for the biggest possible win. They need the biggest margins and a full result all the way down the ticket.

      As Yogi Berra said: “It ain’t over ’till it’s over”

      I’ll bet that the Republican-leaning press is digging frantically, secretly, right now. But even if they found what they’re looking for it won’t become news until about one month before the election. There is plenty of time yet for Trump and the Republicans to reinvent and reinvigorate their campaign. The Democrats best defense is attack.

      A week is a long time in politics

      Lord (Harold) Wilson

      The very worst thing the Democrats could be right now is complacent.

      Peace.

    • SoW

      Bath Chair

      Class. But outclassed by the Rimmer Zimmer frame. Impregnable.

      Do we at least agree that there is a political opportunity for secularism (got it right this time) going begging in global politics – and US politics in particular?

      For sure and my point was entirely that the most rapid changes will come (as they have done on the left in the last year in the US and UK) from the young. This is where policy work needs developing first and there is a big deficit in the YDA for example.

      The DP will never “turn on a dime” but generational change coupled with the lesser fixedness of the young may become a trigger for paradigm shift. (Ugh…. sorry….paradigm shift…I’ll need a shower later.)

    • Phil, SoW, Pinball:

      “Rapid change” will not come from the young. Some votes will. But where will they go? Like Ibsen’s Master Builder, I don’t trust The Young per se; they are are not all wiser or more progressive than the middle-aged. On the contrary, they are more foolish, will refrain from voting, or vote for Jill Stein, a narcissist and believer in homeopathy, or Johnson, a third party, fiscally conservative libertarian who thinks pot should be legal. There is no rapid change in the US. The young have no movement, are not pragmatic; they are just full of themselves, are too emotional and tribal.

      Secularism is the least of our problems now. Why is this thread about atheisms and secularism when we may be facing the worst catastrophe in the history of this nation? Trump wants to make cuts in regulations! That’s horrible! And he just announced a public works program, but didn’t explain how it would be paid for. That’ll drive the deficit up… He has his head up his ass, is a sick, fascist, lying scumbag…. Enough with fucking atheists and their hurt feelings!!! It’s not the time to think about that now. We need to get back to safety first, before we all drown.

      I thought the convention was great.

      Hillary and Kaine are ahead in all the polls. But Trump has been raising billions. Awful.

      No, you’re right, Stephen, Clinton has to be aggressive. But there is a lot to be said for giving that incompetent idiot enough rope to hang himself too. He insulted a Gold Star family, is getting more vicious and digging himself into a hole. I don’t think he is capable of reinventing himself, does not have the talent. He can either be himself, and that is backfiring now, or read teleprompters. That doesn’t work either. His writers and advisers are just as clueless.

    • Wow. Two old fogeys!

      Paradigm shifts (spit) are real and happen rapidly. The trigger for these (the most able to change) are the attentive and less rigid young.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-pace-of-social-change/

      In ten minutes I’ll post an age breakdown with political views.

      The young are ahead of the fogey curve, but they have currently little concept of political cohesion and action.

      The anger dissipating ability of facebook is a huge threat. The young need to be introduced to the deep satisfactions of achieving change through collegiate and practical action. Strong forces are available but insufficiently well channeled.

    • It really isn’t about whether the young are right or not, or have the wisdom or the cynicism. Its about whether they have the capacity to do something different.

      Twas ever thus.

      My only fear is that the offspring of the increasingly “curling” (overprotective) parent will be insufficiently judgmental about the true underdogs. But good education, if achieved, might temper this over emotional folly. Besides its their world.

      I’ll take them over their selfish, dessicated, conserved parents any day.

      Section 1: How Generations Have Changed

      The gay and gay marriage paradigm shifts, driven mostly by the young will be the basis of similar shifts in attitudes towards the innate immorality of atheists. Secularism must come first though. Its absence is a social poison that degrades all.

      Widening the character of political debates and freeing up the arguments from quasi religious moral short circuiting is an imperative. Until the vicious and punitive nature of American justice with its biblical sense of just deserts is leavened with a secular (! reason first!) compassion, the country will remain sick.

      Next. The big political problem with the young…..they don’t vote…look at the graph following. This is the opportunity to make a big fast change if only….

    • Phil,

      I hate the young, the old, and everything in-between. kidding.

      I read the Pew Research piece. Is this just about voting? Well maybe the young like Bernie, but so what?

      Perhaps I am too cynical, but what do the young know about real movements, about civil disobedience and making their voices heard, about going to jail, about real sacrifice? It’s not the 60s anymore. It’s a terrible time. Everyone is in survival mode, trying to get through the day, and accepting the status-quo, and clamoring after wealth, or just doing their thing. The US has been lulled into a state of somnambulism and denial. And movements aren’t declared by presidential candidates. That’s campaign talk. Most young people I meet in liberal NY are conservative, fanatical, twisted libertarians, or indifferent. (But I don’t get out much.)The activists are annoying professional fund raisers or march and chant about Wall Street and Bernie and then go to Starbucks – before they fornicate. (kidding) The civil rights movement was a real movement, and very focused, all ages. I am younger than you. Nyaa Nyaa. (How old are you? I am ninety-seven years young.)

      I have a little prezzie for you on the chip thread. I am trying to shed my “conservatism.”

    • In this article, we see all the potential and see it dashed

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/the-liberal-millennial-revolution/470826/

      John Oliver is needed here. His recent piece on print journalism and how essential a healthy fourth estate is for democracy was awesome. Politics needs the same treatment for the young….

      126, Dan.

    • Young people treat electoral politics the way they treat Hollywood movies: They only show up for the blockbusters. But the math of democracy is unyielding. If you want a revolution, you have to vote for it. Not just every four years. Not just for cool candidates. Not just for political outsiders unsullied by the soot of experience. If young people want a liberal revolution, they have to vote again and again and again, in local elections, midterm elections, and presidential contests. To change the country, America’s young revolutionaries have to do something truly revolutionary: They have to convince their friends to vote like old people.

    • Why is it dashed? (Role reversal.) Many of the the young are fine. They want true democracy and an end to billionaires and wealthy corporations getting tax breaks. Fiscal conservatism must end. Maybe they are liberal because they are young and haven’t forgotten how to make love like all those old impotent plutocrats. David Brooks, who is quoted, is a capitalist prick.

      I couldn’t read the article in its entirety. Too much sizing-up, and too much journalism type jargon. And this:

      “If you want a revolution, you have to vote for it. Not just every four years. Not just for cool candidates. Not just for political outsiders unsullied by the soot of experience. If young people want a liberal revolution, they have to vote again and again and again, in local elections, midterm elections, and presidential contests. To change the country, America’s young revolutionaries have to do something truly revolutionary: They have to convince their friends to vote like old people.”

      Ha-ha! I cannot think of anything more untrue. Yes, we should vote. But voting mustn’t be conflated with revolutions. That equation is completely ignorant and naive, if not propagandistic. You should read better stuff.

      P.S. While I was writing this I noticed that you used the same quote I did (#19). I just noticed that. What is your point? My point is that you don’t get revolutionary change by voting; you get some, and you can prevent an all-out catastrophe and keep things moving in the right direction but a revolution? No way, – and that is why I have very mixed feelings about the Bernie supporters. What does that quote mean to you? It might be helpful if you just stated your own views. I have no idea sometimes what you are for and what you are against.

    • Hi Phil [#12],

      The DP will never “turn on a dime” …

      Agreeing on two things in one day. I have to go and lie down for a bit.

      … but generational change coupled with the lesser fixedness of the young may become a trigger for paradigm shift. (Ugh…. sorry….

      And so you should be. I too feel soiled.

      [#16]

      It really isn’t about whether the young are right or not, or have the wisdom or the cynicism. Its about whether they have the capacity to do something different

      I agree, again. Okay now I need to check all my shots are up-to-date.

      The gay and gay marriage paradigm shifts, driven mostly by the young will be the basis of similar shifts in attitudes towards the innate immorality of atheists. Secularism must come first though. Its absence is a social poison that degrades all.

      Yes! Hope springs eternal, AND this is a sign, surely, that modern parenting has produced a new generation capable of embracing empathy and compassion?

      [#14]

      Wow. Two old fogeys

      I know you to be a self-effacing type Phil, but really, isn’t that a bit hard on Dan? Tut.

      Peace.

    • Your right to vote is what they want you to think is your only option. It’s safe ands clean and no one gets hurt and everything moves along like it always does, with big business in close cooperation with politics.

      When you vote you vote into the system, and I will certainly vote – and I think everyone should – for Clinton. But did civil rights protesters vote? Blacks weren’t allowed to until 65. Do you think any legislation would have been passed without protesting? Voting is a very misleading concept; when people tell you your vote counts they are right and wrong. No campaign finance reform any time soon and no real programs for the poor, and not enough regulations to protect the environment, and insufficient gun-safety regulations, and too many foreign adventures, and too much mass incarceration will continue, unless there are public demonstrations on a mass scale. Fear is what motivates the politicians. The Koch brothers and the gridlock will stay in motion and stay in gridlock until…

      Old fogey! I’m only eleven.

    • Hi Dan [#13],

      No, you’re right, Stephen, Clinton has to be aggressive

      Yes. In politics, when your ahead, keep winning. Effort put in now on extending the Clinton aura to the other battles will be impossible for Republicans to recover – even if they have a clever presidential race comeback planned.

      My worry is the TV debates. Just like debates between theists an atheists facts, logic and thoughtful rejoinders are a waste of time. The very large Republican race to nomination showed one of Trump’s strengths. He loves TV and TV loves him back – he appeals to dogmatic, prejudiced, ignorant voters by bypassing any actual debate with sound bites that link him to their bigotry, feelings of victimhood and anger at the ‘elites’.

      But there is a lot to be said for giving that incompetent idiot enough rope to hang himself too

      No need, he’s the Hangman’s best buddy, he brings his own rope.

      I don’t think he is capable of reinventing himself, does not have the talent

      Eventually even the biggest ego will recognize that it needs advice. There is still plenty of time for Trump to come to his senses and throw himself into the tender clutches of spin doctors, personal advisers and, above all, supportive media.

      Expanding Clinton’s lead can only be a good thing. Working on a bigger win can only mean that people will decide to vote Clinton for good reasons. Whether it’s to fight a late independent, support other election races, or to counter Trump’s fight back – and it will come – properly targeted campaigning now will pay dividends on Election Day.

      Like Bush and Dukakis it’s still way to early to call this Job Done. There’s still plenty of blood sweat and tears to go.

      Peace.

    • Old fogey! I’m only eleven.

      I’m only 10 1/2, just saying.

    • Stephen of Wimbledon #26
      Aug 9, 2016 at 6:42 pm

      Old fogey! I’m only eleven.

      I’m only 10 1/2, just saying.

      Why are you two comparing hat sizes? 🙂

    • Olgun #21

      That is certainly part of it. But my comment about facebook is pertinent here too. The younger generation are, though caring, newly indifferent to politics. THIS is depriving us of the historical expectation that the young shall move us on. The argument is that the young are newly naive.

      Dan #20

      Yes voting for revolution is terrible journalism. As I trailed in the previous comment the last article was put there specifically for the voting data in the graph. I said look at the graph. Now read the conclusion as it sumarises the youngs’ political naivety. My mid teens (1968) were graced with some of the greatest political unrest in our age group. Politics and the significance of politics couldn’t have figured more profoundly amongst us. Ten years later I was excusing myself from an Islington dinner party, thrown by a published writer, to raise money for plastic explosive.

      Kids certainly are not engaged in any kind of revolution today. (The writer invokes the term to sex up his proposal.) But much, much worse, they are barely engaged in any kind of politics at all. They vote insufficiently and inconsistently. Read the data. Screw the words.

      This thread is how to improve politics at the party level.

      We can move on to the bigger picture if you want.

      SoW…Old fogey? Michael Gove was born an old fogey. Age hasn’t too much to do with it. Your bath chair confers yours

    • Steven, what is wrong with a bath chair?. And don’t call me an old fogey!
      You too Phil……….

    • Phil, Stephen, Alf (three great guys):

      Phil, good post. I thought, in your first comment, that you were saying that we should be encouraged by the young. (“They are still deciding who they are, have less baggage and have to rely more on mere reason than habit and heuristics.”) I questioned this, and mistakenly interpreted as naive; but I see now that your views on the young and their relationship to this whole process is nuanced and critical (in a good sense).

      Remark: I should read more carefully, and be less “conservative”, make more of an effort. (This is, for me, a self-improvement site, in part – although the goal of the foundation/site is much larger than me, of course.— But I think it can be that – about self-improvement – too.)

      SoW, good posts. Speaking of debates, I hope that guy Johnson (our third party libertarian candidate) isn’t allowed to participate in the debates. That’ll be bad for Hillary. I think Hillary will do well in a one-on-one. She’ll be prepared. She can be an effective debater.

      What concerns me most of all is that all-too-many people are not rational. They are not amenable to reason. No matter what is said, the Trump supporters will remain loyal. I hope there are some fence sitters. If not we will just half to hope that more than fifty percent of the American voting public is not stupid. (Allusion to Mailer’s term: “The stupid majority”.)

      Phil, I am not altogether opposed to implanting chips in the brain now, as I said in my comment on the Improving Humans thread. No need to congratulate me. A smiley face will suffice.

      Alf, why did you swipe my pill? And how did you get my address and access to my apartment?

    • Dan, I am everywhere and no where……….I am invisible and seen by all………..but I still use a bath chair…….Don’t even say anything about that…………

    • alf

      what is wrong with a bath chair?

      Its no match for my Zimmer Frame.

      Dan

      The young and the eccentric are the agents of change. They fuel the paradigm shifts that can flip our attitudes. We have a logjam of paradigm shift(s), attitude surveys in the US show us, perhaps because new-fangled social media dissipate effort and dissatisfaction before it can be put to good political use. Work to re-engage kids in the utility and moral necessity of politics is the task needed.

      This is low hanging fruit in achieving rapid change for the secular good, because paradigm shifts go rapidly when the ideas have been around for long enough and sufficient young ‘uns jump in the water to show its lovely. But it could go really rapidly this time because the logjam of politically disengaged youth, if targetted and persuaded, could be unjammed in a paradigm shift of its own.

      OK. Shower time. “Low hanging fruit” and way too many “paradigm shifts”…

      Pleased you are a little more open to the potential for implants. I am for neural pacemakers at the moment, also of cochlear and retinal implants but very suspicious of implanting components that have broad, non topical applications. Having the qualities of memory formation and loss tinkered with, as I said of the hippocampus sounds like a very special kind of hell in prospect.

    • Phil, I am sorry, but I couldn’t quite understand your comment above about the young. It is too vague. I want to understand exactly what you mean.

      The young may help to usher in tyranny. Many young people, I have noticed, are drawn to libertarianism, as it has a nice ring to it. American libertarianism is a most wicked political philosophy. No regulations, no rules: concentrations of capital will accumulate. No restriction or limits to the power of private capital concentration. Corporate tyranny. American libertarianism is savagery. They also believe in “religious freedom” and discrimination: private business owners have the “right’ to discriminate.

      I do not share your faith in the young per se. (There are young people that are smart and young people that are not smart, young people that are progressive, young people that are demented and vicious, etc. They vary considerably, and are malleable.) Nor do I understand precisely what you mean when you say “political engagement.” (I comprehend the term, hear it all the time, but do not understand it as practice.)

      Paradigm shifts are important, but how do we get real social and political reform? One won’t lead to the other, necessarily; the majority is often powerless.

      Moreover, there is massive propaganda out there. And we are up against entrenched interests. There are plenty of young people who have good ideas, but what can they really do? I don’t see what they can do. Politically engaged? What form would that take? Volunteers? for what?

      What will these young people actually do, write articles online within an echo chamber? That, as you said, is ineffectual.

      And there are just as many young, eccentric people who are sipping the cool-aid.

      I suppose I am still confused, profoundly confused, about the process of social change. How do we change society? How is it done? From the bottom up? From the top down? Both? How do you engage those on the bottom or get them to become engaged? Impossible without a great leader and organizer, who is not in politics. There are no great MLK-type leaders like that on the horizon. Art? Yes, but we can’t rely solely on art. And I still say that boycotts and other forms of civil disobedience would be most effective. We had a financial meltdown in 2008 as a result of corruption and greed, and nothing changed! We had Occupy Wall Street. That was good, but it was inchoate and short-lived. No organization or focus. Mostly young people.

      I will end this confused and confusing comment on a slightly positive note: if the Democratic party could become truly democratic and, over time, evolve and really become a party of, for, and by, the people, we will then get a better society.

      “I was never so old as I was when I was in my twenties and thirties.” (Forgot who said that. Maybe Strindberg. Possibly Shaw… No. — Pritchett!)

    • Hi Phil [#32],

      … a bath chair … [is] no match for my Zimmer Frame

      Says you. My Bath Chair has attached-Youth super charger. Getting it started is a bit of a faff mind. And on that theme …

      The young and the eccentric are the agents of [political] change

      I’m not convinced. The 1960’s (before my time) is often held up as a model of how political change can happen in big shifts. But Johnson, and before him Kennedy, made big concessions on converting the Cold War to a Hot War in order to make changes that are frequently and continuously challenged – and seemingly by the same generation!

      If the ’60s generation, in their Zimmer Frames, can challenge the established laws on voting rights, abortion and support for the poor – and they do – does that mean that people of any age can change. Oh yes, and you can bet the farm on that.

      … [youth] fuel the [political] shifts that can flip our attitudes

      If our attitudes are shifted by anyone, young or otherwise, then thank you for making my point for me.

      … surveys in the US show us, perhaps … new-fangled social media dissipate effort and dissatisfaction before it can be put to good political use

      New-fangled? Here’s your Ear Trumpet.

      ‘Social’ Media is evil – no question. Is it responsible for undermining political activism by the young? I don’t know. The recent British Remain campaign made good use of anti-social media to get out a proportion of the Youth Vote (according to my Daughter). More research is needed.

      Work to re-engage kids in the utility and moral necessity of politics is the task needed

      More work is needed to get everyone to re-engage in politics. We’re all capable of changing our minds.

      Peace.

    • Hi Dan [#30],

      Speaking of debates, I hope that guy Johnson (our third party libertarian candidate) isn’t allowed to participate in the debates.

      As far as I know, no major media organisation is pushing for Johnson, Stein or McMullin. The polling numbers are approximately:

      Clinton 45%
      Trump 37%
      Johnson 9%
      Stein 5%
      McMullin – too early to say

      For the TV media moguls what is the best scenario? The hurdle for entry into a TV debate is probably (in PR-speak) a minimum percentage poll rating. In reality it’s what the TV moguls can make versus who they support.

      If Johnson was seen as a big draw, likely to pull in viewers, then they can make money so the next question is: Does that help our preferred candidate? You can slice-and-dice a whole fruit salad of answers to that question. Will it harm leading Candidate A, and boost our preferred candidate’s chances with floating voters? Will it harm Candidate C and thus prevent too much of a voting block split to help our preferred candidate? Will having lots of targets help our preferred candidate to make a splash and boost their ratings overall? Will having the right mix create a good slap-down match that will turn off intelligent voters who are less likely to vote for our preferred candidate … and so on and so forth.

      In theory the third party candidates are likely to be excluded, in practice McMullin’s late entry throws open the door to the potential re-negotiation of TV contracts (on the basis of supporting democratic choice) and therefore debate entry requirements. If the traditional Republican Party wanted to minimize the long-term impact of Trump, entering McMullin as a late candidate looks like a good move – it will greatly reduce Trump damage on elections lower down the ticket. Even those in the media who support Trump are likely to see the logic of this, and the pressure is probably now on to come up with a convincing PR spin on why the debate line-up will change.

      That’ll be bad for Hillary

      Any revised debate format will have to have Hilary, the Democrats hold most of the cards in the coming (current?) negotiations.

      I think Hillary will do well in a one-on-one. She’ll be prepared

      I bow to your superior knowledge. No really, I have no idea, I don’t follow US politics closely.

      She can be an effective debater

      The Free World hopes that’s what’s needed. The Republican presidential nomination debates suggest not.

      Peace.

    • Dan

      How do we change society?

      Dunno. I have a few suggestions here, but “how does society change?” I can answer by saying that change rolls out from the young first for utterly prosaic reasons. Plenty of statistics in the foregoing afirms this. Reason has a better chance with the non entrenched.

      There are many elements in play. I perhaps should apply the universal caveat- All other things being equal, else the muddling will continue.

      SoW

      does that mean that people of any age can change. Oh yes, and you can bet the farm on that.

      From the status quo? Yes but always the youngest most. Older folk change when they can see others like them starting to move. The positive reinforcing feedback is clearly seen in the shape of the transitions.

      Coffee break over. More later…..

    • Reason has a better chance with the non entrenched.

      with the less entrenched.

    • Dan

      The young may help to usher in tyranny.

      Indeed. We’ve seen it.

      Thats not my point though. My point is about the more admirable concerns of the current younger generation remaining ineffectively engaged in realpolitik. AOTBE.

    • phil rimmer #38
      Aug 10, 2016 at 8:12 am

      The young may help to usher in tyranny.

      Indeed. We’ve seen it.

      Mao’s Red Guards and the Hitler Youth would come to mind!

    • Phil, SoW:

      “Reason has a better chance with the non entrenched.” What does that mean? That is why I express pessimism. The non entrenched are not the problem. The Republican party is powerful and intransigent. And there are entrenched interests. I ask you again: what can the young actually do in the face of all of this corruption that has been going on for decades and getting worse and worse? What is AOTBE? Realpolitik. Again, vague.

      “With the rightward drift, the Republican Party’s dedication to wealth and privilege has become so extreme that its actual policies could not attract voters, so it has had to seek a new popular base, mobilized on other grounds: evangelical Christians who await the Second Coming, nativists who fear that ‘they’ are taking our country away from us, unreconstructed racists, people with real grievances who gravely mistake their causes, and others like them who are easy prey to demagogues and can readily become a radical insurgency.” —Chomsky

      SoW, she’ll decimate Trump in the debates. That’s my prediction.

    • Besides voting for a Democrat (which will produce slow change) and getting others to vote, or mass action, what else is there?

      Trump the sicko is now saying that Obama and Clinton “co-founded” ISIS. What a pile of shit.

    • Phil,

      Ineffectively engaged.” I missed that.

      “Change rolls out from the young.”

      I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Phil,

      The energy that change requires resides in the young. Is that what you’re getting at? But we need to break the system, crack the system. Or settle for a long and circuitous path forward (under a democratic majority).