Sunday, October 16, 2016

Risk to our Democracy: lesson from the US elections

This post isn't about the US Presidential Elections. That election is almost as important as ours but we have no say in it. For better, for worse the world has to accept whomever the Americans choose. But the Americans excel at studying themselves and this Vox article makes the scholarly findings of two Princeton political scientists accessible to more people. Here the book blurb.

Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels deploy a wealth of social-scientific evidence, including ingenious original analyses of topics ranging from abortion politics and budget deficits to the Great Depression and shark attacks, to show that the familiar ideal of thoughtful citizens steering the ship of state from the voting booth is fundamentally misguided. They demonstrate that voters--even those who are well informed and politically engaged--mostly choose parties and candidates on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not political issues. They also show that voters adjust their policy views and even their perceptions of basic matters of fact to match those loyalties. When parties are roughly evenly matched, elections often turn on irrelevant or misleading considerations such as economic spurts or downturns beyond the incumbents' control; the outcomes are essentially random. Thus, voters do not control the course of public policy, even indirectly.

So far our elections are mostly issues based but we have been warned that it is actually unnatural and therefore a temporary state of affairs that can only be made permanent if at all with herculean efforts.

In fact we can see entropy growing already. Just consider the legalization of restricted online gambling. Many Christians suspend rational and logical thought for a misplaced Christian ideology which was only appropriate in a different time and place. That ideology is still and I hope will always be relevant in their Christian homes and communities but they have no moral authority to force that on a multi-religious society like ours.

Many Christians fail to understand when they are fully capable of doing so that restricted online gambling has nothing to do with approving the habit but realistically managing an evil habit which we cannot eradicate. Inexplicably they could accept the same impossibility of banning prostitution or eliminating the Aedes mosquito. Dr. Achen and Bartels research try to get us to accept that this is simply how humans behave and I regret to say that it is already in the Christian holy book the Bible as well! They fail to see themselves in the mirror of their Bibles reflecting their own sin and hypocrisy. Instead they use their Bibles to legitimize living in a bubble. Then they try to defend that bubble instead of becoming increasingly inclusive in the spirit of Christ.

This presidential elections show up clearly how many American evangelicals are spiritually and morally gutted. Proves that they are not followers of Christ but extracting from his Bible some derivatives to build something which is essentially exclusive and ugly. Now that scum has materialized in their candidate Donald Trump. I have yet to read about James Dobson from Focus on the Family rescinding his endorsement of Trump.

How the Christians behave over the issue of online gambling is yellow alert portending a possible trend that is inimical to our democracy. One day but unthinkable at the moment, we will vote for personalities instead of issues and policies. That day would be the end of this place. Right now we are midway stuck at the ideology milestone which is impossible to unstuck from because of obeying God stricture against gambling. I think it is nothing more than their wild imagination from hearts that never love Christ.

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