ForumsWEPRWhat are some controversial opinions you have and can you justify them?

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mbbs112
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mbbs112
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Shepherd

Let's keep this civil.

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Strop
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Strop
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Herald

Back when I was active here a lot, I was notorious for having controversial opinions. In the 4 1/2 years I've not posted on these forums, I had time to develop even more controversial opinions. Here's a few:

  • Free-market economies based on a growth model enable exacerbation of social inequality, therefore will invariably result in civil instability and collapse
  • Ideology is a red-herring: The fundamental motivation of an ISIL jihadist and an alt-right (pro-Trump) activist are one and the same
  • Properly interpreted (taken to mean, prevailing belief system pre-colonially), Islam was more feminist as a whole than most modern cultures
  • Related to the above: Western society's prevailing moral systems are rooted in the socio-political turbulence that enveloped Judeo-Roman society, broadly speaking, between transcendent factions and concrete, puritanical factions. The latter won, and the result was the inexorable decline towards a Pharisean interpretation of rules and deeds, albeit punctuated by various schisms and reforms, that would make Jesus weep (again)
  • Insofar as sexual dimorphism applies to humans, discussions of sex and sexuality are skewed towards catering to a male mindset, which is now proving to be counter-productive

I'm happy to hold forth on any of these and many more, but in the interests of time, pick one. If I remember I posted here I'll be back.

Doombreed
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I pretty much agree with all except #3 which I don't quite understand can you elaborate on that a bit @Strop ?

Moegreche
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I was also thinking about #3. I don't have enough competence to debate the issue, but I am curious about the justification for it. In particular, the following issues seem relevant:

- What does it mean for a religion to be interpreted? And by what measure are we saying that a religion has, in fact, been properly interpreted?

- Alternatively, are we thinking about an interpretation of the Quran (and I just misunderstood)? If so, then my worry is that with any holy book, the language is so vague that providing a correct interpretation is either highly subjective or completely false. (I think this point holds doubly true for a language like Arabic.)

- What do you mean by feminist in this context? Is this a broad notion in which women are more empowered than in current society, or is there something else going on?

P.S. Lovely seeing you in the forums again, Stroppy!

EmperorPalpatine
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To keep things from getting cluttered here, I'd recommend making an actual general thread about the opinion topic when a discussion goes beyond a few posts. Otherwise, this thread becomes a microverse of the WEPR itself.

Strop
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Herald

@EmperorPalpatine yeah that's a good idea. I'll expand on that later while I procrastinate writing up a case report haha.

Actually my #3 was thrown in the mix to accompany point #4, and is also related to point #2, just to make things look a bit spicy. It all relates to the same concept, which is that it is the nature of humans to sort themselves into tribes from our fundamental function of distinguishing self versus not self, and that this constitutes the overarching principle of the social behaviours of many, if not most animals.

@Moegreche would be particularly interested, and I wouldn't be surprised if not already familiar with the sociopolitical context I alluded to wrt. early Judeo-Roman Christianity. In particular I refer to Gnosticism, specifically what insights may have been afforded to us from the Nag Hammadi, depending on how much one were to accept their content. It's also worth noting that the history of accepting the "canon" of the New Testament was a gradual one, and not without some centuries worth of debate.

Though I'm not all that well versed in Christian Theology, my take on it is that regardless of what you think about Jesus, Paul was not Jesus, though certainly he does claim (in Romans, perhaps) that his is the "God Breathed", Divinely inspired word of God, though historically speaking, it seemed that it took some time and several people for *this* claim to become accepted canon. And if you consider Paul's proclamations on morality, attitudes to persecution and other things in subsequent volumes (Corinthians, Acts etc.), and how central they end up being to the scholarly concerns of early theologians (Augustine), you end up understanding just how pivotal the books have been to what we could refer to as Western society, due to the prevalence of that puritanical dogma that held sway in the Church state.

This covers a whole range of concerns which are epitomised by the socio-political state of the US, including:

  • Debates over the involvement of Church in state (an ongoing battle for a good 500 years)
  • Antagonism between proponents of science and religion
  • Debates over the sacredness of the institution of marriage and the nature of same sex unions vs marriage
  • Much handwringing over the overt sexualisation of secular culture (oh boy do I have controversial opinions about *this*)
  • Gender relations and gender roles (controversial corollary: early political struggles between early Christian factions could be conceived as a battle of the sexes, with men ultimately prevailing to go on to repress women for nearly a further two millenia)

Many of these topics have been and continue to be covered in WEPR, which is why I decided to go straight for the source and point out the platform upon which most here would likely be arguing from regardless of your stance. My first rule of this informal kind of debate is to know which tribe you come from, or whose tribe you're borrowing ideas from.

nichodemus
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1) Democracy doesn't work and should not be forced upon countries that are in the process of development because:

a) Voting is not mandatory in many countries which means that any result isn't fully representative and legitimate.

b) People don't prepare for elections by educating themselves and digesting as much information as possible.

c) People vote for candidates based on reasons that would seem anathema to a fully functioning democracy, such as tribal lines, gender, race, etc.

2) Reverse racism is alive amongst minorities against white people, but that is often swept under the carpet because:

a) White people are silly and should be mocked,

b) Past atrocities by predecessors somehow make it fine to discriminate and be hostile against the perfectly ordinary and non-bigoted descendants of these racists.

3) University education should not be taken as a privilege and divine right; the criteria for entry should be increased and tightened. Student loans and scholarships should definitely be provided for people who need them, but only if they qualify. Tighten up the proliferation of universities lest the quality of students decreases further.

Welcome back @Strop !

Doombreed
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@nichodemus Define "Democracy doesn't work" please I mean, relatively speaking, is there any sort of known system that would work, or work better, instead of Democracy, under the same circumstances?

nichodemus
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I think this can be split into two areas. I think it "works" well enough in Western countries, but it certainly has failed as a governing system in say Africa, or the Middle East (Arab Spring?) or in the emerging powers (China, Russia, Brazil).

I think there is often a leap and rush since independence in many of these states to adopt Western standards of democracy when the underlying structures aren't there. The West took centuries to reach where it is today in terms of awareness, education and acceptance of the system. I think that in such countries, the priority should be good firm governance, not necessarily democratic governance.

I would argue that it has "failed" in the West increasingly, not because the system is inherently flawed, but because of procedure. So for example, Brexit voting turnout was somewhere around 70% - hardly a resounding decision based on "the will of the people" for such a monumental decision. Whilst it is arguable that forcing people to vote goes against the grain of democracy and freedom of decision, the legitimacy of a result is always tarnished by not having a full vote. Look at the petitions to have a re-vote for Brexit! Or look at Trump's election - 55% of the electorate turning out to vote is utterly shameful and frightful. Can you really say that choice was democratic and represents the will of the people?

It shows that people have no realisation of the privilege to vote. Voting should be seen as a responsibility and duty, and not just a privilege to be taken for granted. Every vote does count (In a relatively fair and corruption free country), but this privilege and some might say, civic duty, is sadly dispensed with.

Make voting mandatory - Even if the vote is a blank vote or spoiled because the voter doesn't want to vote for any candidate, at least his decision is recorded. It sounds paradoxical, but sometimes the horse needs to be dragged to the water to drink. This would also probably have the added benefit of forcing people to actually learn more and be more discerning about their political choices. Perhaps the fake news epidemic wouldn't reach such frightful levels then.

Strop
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Herald

I think it "works" well enough in Western countries

Your qualification later is correct: democracy is defined by informed voting. Being informed is, er, difficult to achieve for most people these days. Especially in a &quotost-truth" world, where there are facts, and alternative facts, and sometimes (only sometimes) it's not entirely clear which is which.

The bigger issue at hand here is that the idea of a nation and its capacity to be one. The original idea of demokratia i.e. Athens circa 2 centuries BCE, also carried with it the idea that no one city ought to be larger than about as many people as you could possibly recognise with any degree of familiarity by face. That's because once you start dealing with people outside your sphere of consideration, the ability to make informed decisions about the interests of your country becomes, lo and behold, a process of attempting to represent people via the interests of lobby groups, or, once you lose sight of all representation in general, which lobby group represents *your* interests. That's no way to run a nation, as we're seeing in heterogeneous populations of several hundred millions: there's no way that everybody can feel informed about everything that's going on. Add to this that our world is actually significantly run by consumer dependency fuelled multinational commerce and realise that our sphere of consideration of country may also depend on our consideration of situations outside our own country and that becomes even more complex.

In short our global geopolitical situation at large makes a true democratic process in heterogeneous developed nations at best a utopian ideal, and at worst a horribly divisive process, especially when there are certain risk factors present i.e. namely disparities in social leverage, wealth and capital, between demographic classes whether you divide it by race, gender, occupation, class etc.. There's a certain Scandanavian anthropologist who has made it his life work to formulate a table of social "dissonances" that can foretell periods of significant civil unrest, revolution, or election outcomes, the name of whom I will look up when I get home. But his work is extremely relevant to this discussion and I'd encourage you to make yourself aware of it.

Strop
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Herald

ADDIT: coz it took me too long to edit. The sociologist (not anthropologist sorry) in question is one Johann Galtung, who among other things, predicted the collapse of the USSR and has predicted that the US will also decline.

While I'm procrastinating procrastinating by procrastinating on starting a thread about "what is truly Islam" (something I'm not qualified to decide myself, obviously, but something that desperately needs to be spoken about in general), I'd also like to discuss @nichodemus' thoughts on tertiary education because that too is a complex question. Were university education truly what it used to be, the idea of publicly accessible education as a means to provide opportunity to better oneself and a gateway to greater socioeconomic leverage, I'd have disagreed with the opinion that entry ought to be tightened. However, that this opinion exists despite the definition of university is a symptom of how tertiary education isn't achieving what it used to mean.

nichodemus
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I suppose we can start a tertiary education thread @Strop

nichodemus
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Civilian ownership of guns needs to be (mostly) banned.

Controversial only in the States perhaps?

HahiHa
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I don't think that debate is exclusive to the US, though it is definitely most dire there, thanks to the gun lobby who even managed to influence everyone's understanding of the second amendment in their favor.

SSTG
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I don't think that debate is exclusive to the US, though it is definitely most dire there, thanks to the gun lobby who even managed to influence everyone's understanding of the second amendment in their favor.

Here's your proof.

Weasels bought by the NRA

thepunisher93
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If you do not take proper precautions and get robbed because of that, you are to be blamed for it partially. It was your naivety that provided the opportunity in the first place. Although the robber's blame does not diminish.
Same applies to most of the crimes. For the law comes in after the fact, not becoming a victim comes down to being smart.

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