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When you disagree with your 'group'...

Rick Fielding 25 Mar 01 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,Phil Cooper 25 Mar 01 - 11:34 PM
paddymac 25 Mar 01 - 11:34 PM
Amos 26 Mar 01 - 12:38 AM
Big Mick 26 Mar 01 - 12:38 AM
Sorcha 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 AM
Callie at work 26 Mar 01 - 02:49 AM
BEK 26 Mar 01 - 02:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 26 Mar 01 - 03:01 AM
bbc 26 Mar 01 - 05:40 AM
gnu 26 Mar 01 - 06:03 AM
mkebenn 26 Mar 01 - 06:48 AM
Midchuck 26 Mar 01 - 07:37 AM
hesperis 26 Mar 01 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,kendall 26 Mar 01 - 08:30 AM
catspaw49 26 Mar 01 - 08:32 AM
MichaelM 26 Mar 01 - 08:35 AM
Midchuck 26 Mar 01 - 09:02 AM
MichaelM 26 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM
GUEST,Paul Miller 26 Mar 01 - 09:25 AM
Dahlin 26 Mar 01 - 09:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Mar 01 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Matt_R 26 Mar 01 - 11:21 AM
Rick Fielding 26 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM
DougR 26 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM
catspaw49 26 Mar 01 - 11:39 AM
Art Thieme 26 Mar 01 - 12:04 PM
katlaughing 26 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM
Mrrzy 26 Mar 01 - 12:25 PM
Grab 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,kendall 26 Mar 01 - 01:46 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 01:59 PM
Mrrzy 26 Mar 01 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Roll&Go-C 26 Mar 01 - 02:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Mar 01 - 02:15 PM
DougR 26 Mar 01 - 04:51 PM
Amos 26 Mar 01 - 05:27 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Mar 01 - 05:53 PM
John Hardly 26 Mar 01 - 05:58 PM
Amos 26 Mar 01 - 06:00 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 06:04 PM
DougR 26 Mar 01 - 06:09 PM
Amergin 26 Mar 01 - 06:12 PM
John Hardly 26 Mar 01 - 06:17 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,kendall 26 Mar 01 - 06:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Mar 01 - 07:19 PM
katlaughing 26 Mar 01 - 08:04 PM
John Hardly 26 Mar 01 - 08:05 PM
Bill D 26 Mar 01 - 09:34 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Mar 01 - 11:32 PM
DougR 26 Mar 01 - 11:55 PM
Rick Fielding 27 Mar 01 - 12:01 AM
Grab 27 Mar 01 - 06:56 AM
John Hardly 27 Mar 01 - 07:11 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Mar 01 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,kendall 27 Mar 01 - 08:38 AM
Naemanson 27 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 27 Mar 01 - 10:35 AM
Bill D 27 Mar 01 - 10:58 AM
catspaw49 27 Mar 01 - 11:04 AM
mousethief 27 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM
Whistle Stop 27 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM
catspaw49 27 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Mar 01 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 27 Mar 01 - 11:52 AM
mousethief 27 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM
Ebbie 27 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM
Rick Fielding 27 Mar 01 - 01:15 PM
Jeri 27 Mar 01 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Evil Mystery Guest f/k/a Midchuck upstairs 27 Mar 01 - 03:03 PM
Mark Clark 27 Mar 01 - 05:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Mar 01 - 08:10 PM
kendall 27 Mar 01 - 09:25 PM
Ebbie 27 Mar 01 - 10:59 PM
John Hardly 27 Mar 01 - 11:07 PM
mousethief 28 Mar 01 - 02:37 AM
Bill D 28 Mar 01 - 06:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Mar 01 - 10:01 PM
DougR 28 Mar 01 - 10:38 PM
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Subject: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Mar 01 - 11:00 PM

Two out of the last three threads I've started have been "non-music" ones. Forgive me, but I just read something in another thread that really intrigued me. It's a sensitive issue so I won't elaborate, but it's closely connected to something that I experience occasionally.

Most (certainly not all) of my friends and acquaintances are of very liberal nature (no surprise there) and often (to me) seem to "think as a block" when it comes to social and political issues. I LIKE their company, I WANT their friendship, and I want them to feel the same about me.

Sometimes it's a bit of a strain on some of them that I smoke, eat meat, and can be a bit too "quick with a quip". No real problem, 'cause they know my heart's in the right place, but when I read that a prostitute with AIDS is free to continue spreading the disease, "because she has rights", I'm apalled at how "my side" defend these "rights".

When a Toronto female serial torturer and killer (she even participated in the filming and murder of her younger sister) is widely defended as "an abused spouse" by Women's groups, I'm ready to be sick....No I'm not. I simply lose all respect for those groups...As I did when their American equivalents refused to even criticize the President for his abominable behaviour.....simply because "he was better for women than the alternative".

There is no way I could ever support a conservative agenda, for dozens of reasons, but on these two issues my position is clearly on that "side". I simply cannot believe that thinking people with any degree of objectivity left would support someone's "rights" when that person has abused them so callously. But many do. If they didn't, they'd be in trouble with their "group"...and I truly believe we NEED our "group".

I don't have a solution, or even a suggestion. For my part, I keep my mouth shut around the folks I care about, when it's plain we disagree strongly, but it's not a comfortable fit sometimes.

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper
Date: 25 Mar 01 - 11:34 PM

Rick, you make some excellent points. It reminds me of a saying my mother once said, "your rights stop at the end of my nose." Ethical behavior should cut both ways, regardless of political leaning. Some folks reason themselves into a box and refuse to see that.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: paddymac
Date: 25 Mar 01 - 11:34 PM

I appreciate you dilemna, Rick, as I experience the same thing from time to time. Sometimes, the herd instinct works to stiffle objective discussion of sensitive topics, which benefits no one. It's a variant on the "PC" theme. Some folks just don't want, or are incapable of rational discussion where their core beliefs are concerned. In my view, the habits of not talking and not thinking go hand in hand, in the same way as talking and thinking. I note, too, the vast difference between "talking", as in a considered (and considerate) discussion of a topic, and "talking", as in a shouting match where the group berates and belittles the nofconformist, not so much for the question raised as for the mere fact that he or she has disturbed the comfortable equilibrium be daring to not blindly conform.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Amos
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:38 AM

There's always a fine balance between communicating effectively (meaning to start with in a way that others will be able to experience!) and biting your tongue. Sometimes silence is a temptation, but sometimes being silent in the face of insanity is corrosive. Trick is to find a way to say what needs to get said without starting a ruction. I've found it is usually worth the effort. I think choosing to communicate is generally the right path. Agreement is well and good; but communication is more important. Bottling it up isn't the best answer, at least not at all times. Sometimes asking the right question is the perfect answer. If you can think of it!

A


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:38 AM

I understand this one completely. My opinion is that a real liberal always questions. Status Quo is never what a real liberal is about. I find myself in the same position as my buddy Rick often. My liberal friends, and they are my friends, find my questioning nature to be a good thing..............as long as I am not questioning their sacred cows. As many of you know, I am somewhat well connected in Democratic circles. But I did, and will continue to question former President Clinton's judgement in certain areas. That is not to say that I don't reject completely the hippocrates like Dan Burton and company. I just find it very hard to rationalize his behaviour.

Another area that I find myself in conflict is gun control. Abortion is another. While my views on these wouldn't be considered right wing, they are still not lockstep with my brothers and sisters on the left wing bandwagon either. In fact, it is often more difficult to discuss this with my "allies" than with my adversaries. I guess my place in it all is to continue to challenge the premises that we build our day to day life and actions on. It seems to me that when the dreamers cease to question, they become trapped in the old "purity of thought" snare. But if there are people out there willing to keep the questioning going, then we have a chance to make a difference. What a friggin' ramble this was, eh Rick?

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Sorcha
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 AM

"Lines" are getting more and more blurred, aren't they? I don't think any of us can honestly say "I am Liberal" or "I am Conservative" anymore.......with some things, I am very Liberal; others, the older I get the more conservative I am...........How about, "I am a Liberal Conservative"???


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Callie at work
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 02:49 AM

I think that if people have certain political leanings and CONSEQUNETLY keep in line with 'status-quo' opinions regarding a SPECIFIC issue, then it's just as fatal as being a narrow-minded religious zealot.

An interesting case (which mixes metaphors a wee bit) is when one hears progressive thinkers openly damning organised religion in the presence of Christians who are also comrades. What does this say about the condemner?

I agree that it can be easier to agree with your allies than your political/philosophical opponents. When you believe someone to be like-minded and then there is a point of contention, it's trickier to argue.

Keeping speaking up Rick! If your friends love you, they'll know you're just contributing to a discussion and that it's not a personal attack.

Callie


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: BEK
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 02:52 AM

How about I'm a battlescarred INDIVIDUALIST. I choose what's right for me from BOTH sides of the menu? I like people of different value systems, faiths, races, because they add spice to my life.

Aside from 'he/she makes me laugh,' one of the best things I can say about a person is that 'he/she makes me THINK.'

We all have that duty to our friends and loved ones. Whether they respect us for it in the morning is their choice.

Speak up, Rick, as kindly as you can, acknowledging that others have different opinions and do have rights to them.

Who knows? There may be other people in your 'group' who agree with you and are afraid to speak out. You might not be quite as 'homogenized' as you think!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 03:01 AM

That's one of the benefits of friendship - the abilty to hold different views without 'falling out'. I have very close friends who hold views similar to mine on many things, but are compltely opposite on others. We have many an happy hour discussing the differences and we would be very bored (and boring) if we agreed on everything.

Don't hold back, Rick. If they are real friends you will be able to discuss these things without damaging your relationship. You may well find some of them hold the same views but were frightened of not seeing the Emperors now clothes... And if any of them do take offense they were not worth having as friends anyway!

It's all part of this huge role play we call life...;-)

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: bbc
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 05:40 AM

Thanks for this one, Rick. I think the main "problem" is that we are each individuals, coming at things from our own personalities & experiences. These color how we see issues, making it very hard to pigeonhole us in one political box. As you know, Rick, I am coming from the largely conservative side, but I love & admire you just the same. I have some very liberal friends & sometimes we need to agree to disagree (Sometimes, we even need to agree to not discuss certain issues!), but we have enough sense to value the friendship of good folks.

Awake in NY & wondering if we really *will* get 2-4 inches of snow today,

bbc


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: gnu
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:03 AM

Sorcha.... I'd say your a Conservative Liberal, but that's just my opinion.

Good thread, Rick. Thought provoking, indeed. Going to put on another pot of tea and ponder.

gnu


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mkebenn
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:48 AM

Rick, I think the operative phrase is "thinking in a block", or bloc, really. When you start taking issues in sets rather than as individual questions you have to make compromises to make them all fit together. Needed for a legislator, death for a free thinker. Never wore tags well myself. Mike


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Midchuck
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 07:37 AM

Give it up, Rick. It's no good. I've been trying for years. The herd instinct, and the mental impairment in most people that prevents them thinking in a one-dimensional spectrum, are just too strong.

Example: I go with the conservative position on gun control and the liberal position on abortion rights (both with some reservations), because I believe in maintaining individual liberty and individual responsibility, wherever possible. I get accused of contradicting myself, or of being a turncoat, by both sides. If you don't decide, first, whether you want to be a liberal or a conservative, and then determine your position on every issue by the party line, you'll never be trusted by 95% of the people. And the 5% that do trust you are the trouble makers.

Remember what old Willy had old Julie say? "He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous." We live in a culture that buys into that completely.

B***er the lot, says I.

Oh, and, by the way, you're a folk musician, so you're supposed to be a liberal. That saves you having to make that decision.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: hesperis
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:02 AM

It's hard on everyone, emotionally, but you have to be true to what you believe, no matter what your friends think you should believe. By all means, speak out!

Anytime I have remained silent in the face of other's opinions I have regretted it...


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:30 AM

After many a knock down, drag out discussion with people who build a belief, then defend it even when they know it is wrong, I came to the conclusion that it is less stressful and more productive to simply ask questions. Yesterday, a pair of Mormons came to my door peddling their book. After listening to part of their speech, one of them asked if I had any questions about the Mormon religeon. I said "Yes, why did Brigham Young order the massacre of 120 innocent pilgrims at Mountain Meadow back in 18something. They looked at each other and automatically denied it, even though neither had ever heard of it. Now, I dont have any problem with their religeous belief, but, I do have a problem with anyone who refuses to face facts just because it may weaken their belief. They vowed to check it out and get back to me. Well, look for "Blue boy" I'll be holding my breath. Old Maine proverb.."No amount of belief can create a fact." Rick, stick to your guns (no pun intended). Most of my good friends are "Liberals" but I disagree with them on a few things. That does not make us enemies. Love me, love my dog, I say.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:32 AM

On the other hand, I don't want to belong to any group that would have Kendall as a member..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: MichaelM
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:35 AM

In my twenties I left the Roman Catholic church. There were just too many things (papal infallibility, birth control, women priests and the whole "do what you're told" mentality) that I was unable to sign my name to. My parents and friends argued for a pragmatic approach (citing the obvious use of birth control in Catholic families) but I felt that the church demanded that a list of things be accepted without question. I felt that if you didn't believe in certain things you couldn't consider yourself Catholic.

The current P.C. agenda (not hidden, not secret, not threatening) has a parallel in church doctrine. It is difficult to pick and choose what you will and will not believe in. It is easy to simply accept the package. But sometimes the easy way is not the right way.

Parenthetically I find myself in an odd situation regarding the right-left labels. I am an amateur musician running a small corporation tha services the financial sector. My folkie friends think I'm the reincarnation of Genghis Khan while my business friends think I must be a communist. Isn't it interesting how much more comfortable both sides are if they can stuff me and my beliefs in to tight little box labelled "other"?


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Midchuck
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 09:02 AM

I am an amateur musician running a small corporation tha services the financial sector. My folkie friends think I'm the reincarnation of Genghis Khan while my business friends think I must be a communist. Isn't it interesting how much more comfortable both sides are if they can stuff me and my beliefs in to tight little box labelled "other"?

You been readin' my Goddam mail! Small-town real estate lawyer, town meeting Moderator, ex-president of the County Bar Association and the local Rotary Club...and semi-professional (stress on the "semi") folk music performer. Everyone (including me, some days) assumes I'm some kind of schizo.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: MichaelM
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM

Is there a group for people who don't want to belong to a group? Maybe the Mudcat is it.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,Paul Miller
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 09:25 AM

Dear Rick Fielding,

We've never really met in person, so I can't say that I'm in your group. I am a big fan of your music, I have both of your CD's, I've seen you perform several times and I listen to you on CIUT almost every week. I started coming to the Mudcat because I heard you talk about it.

Rick, don't you know what harm you are doing to yourself and to the people around you by smoking? PLEASE do whatever you can to stop. I want you to live and make music for many years to come. If you keep smoking, you'll probably die many years before your time.

Believe me, I know how hard it is to quit. I smoked from the age of 14 to the age of 43, almost thirty years. Once you get past the first week, you'll feel so much better. Your food will taste better. You won't stink like an ashtray.

Please Rick, please stop smoking. I know that I'm not the only one who does not want you to die before your time on earth is really done.

Sincerely,

Paul Miller


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Dahlin
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 09:30 AM

Rick

Good thought provoking thread. Two thoughts. A zealot is a zealot no matter the orientation. Civilized society survives only when people speak freely and openly about their beliefs. As others have already noted, I have lived my life trying not to be put in any "group". If all of my friends and family ever get together it would be a diverse group indeed.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:16 AM

Willy had old Julie say? "He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous

Well he was right in the case of Cassius actually, wasn't he? dead right with a dagger in his back?.. (That's just me being pedantic.)

When I opened this thread I assumed that it was going to be about disagreements with the people you play music with - how fast to play something, when to sing a particular song. The crucial thing there is whether the disagreements are really about the music, in which case working them out is just another aspect of playing really, pleasurable but at times stressful - or whether it's people playing power games, and genuine conflict.

The other thing I thought it might be about is maybe playing with people with whom you are likely to get into a disagreement any time you talk about anything other than music. And there the issue is whether the disagreement is painful and destructive, or abrasive but stimulating. And the crucial factor is whether there is mutual respect, both as regards the music and the opinions.

Well the thread's not exactly about either of those - but I think that thinking along those lines helps make it clearer for me. The key thing is, why am I part of this group? Does the disagreement get in the way of that?

I found years ago that there are very few people with whom I tend to agree across the board. And there's noone I seem to agree with all the way or all the time. Or damn few, and maybe that's only where we haven't yet identified where we differ.

I hate it to be assumed that just because I hold one view I also hold a set of others - as Vin Garbutt puts it ,

"Let's scrutinise the package deals we're offered,
Like anti-nuclear, save the whale, abortion on demand"

One reason I hate that is because that forces me to put the record straight at a stage when this will seem confrontational, rather than as an exchange of views and building of bridges.

The other side of that is, I always try to avoid doing that to other people (either assuming that they are going to agree with me, or assuming they are not going to). But it is so easy to fall into the way of it. If I've ever done that to people here, I apologise.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,Matt_R
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:21 AM

Yeah, I disagree with THIS group all the time! LOL!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM

Wow! Thank YOU all for actually DISCUSSING this. Thought I'd get at least a few nasty flames (the day is young, but I live in hope..ha, ha!)

Some of the key points for me are that I DO need "that circle of friends". There are many aspects of my life that ARE lived 'separately', simply because of things like: no kids, weird hours, odd job/hobby/passion, lack of formal education, the aforementioned smoking (I hear you Paul, thanks for the concern), a really off-the-wall sense of what's funny, and an obsession for investigating both/all sides of an issue, before making up my mind.

I can relate somewhat to Kendall's asking pointed questions to folks who may not know their OWN history terribly well. But for me....I simply wouldn't be able to do that with friends. It would simply add a dynamic to our relationship that's probably not neccessary to MAINTAIN that relationship.

As usual, listening and talking to Mudcatters helps one sort things out (and NOT at 100 bucks an hour!!) and I'm beginning to think that "group", "circle", and "friends" are altogether different. Perhaps I (and some of us) tend to lump them all together. The folks I'm truly closest to, do indeed know pretty much how I think about everything. (how could they not? When I'm not being the distant introvert, I'm the Motor-mouth extrovert!) Gotta do some more thinking on this.....thanks.

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: DougR
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM

Good thread, Rick. I guess the question that has puzzeled me, particularly since I became a member of Mudcat, is why two people (or two groups of people) cannot have divergent opinions on ANY subject, and still remain friends.

DougR


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:39 AM

To be uncharacteristically serious, there are only personal answers to the question and I can't conceive of any standard answer to fit the situation. Though I believe we tend toward elements of "sameness" such as herd instincts, the 2% that makes us each individuals is critical to determine how we approach the question.

Like it or not, value judgements enter in to this, both of others and ourselves. Then we evaluate the relationship between the two. Although we may have had similar experiences, we are nonetheless different and each situation we encounter is different..........sometimes even with the same person. It isn't always a case of simply speaking up or remaining silent because in almost every case it isn't black or white, but instead some shade of gray.

I see no answer here. For me, everything is a judgement call at that moment and sometimes I make the "right" decision........other times not. I can only do my best to take the "evidence" into account and make the decision as to what to do accordingly.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:04 PM

So very many good folks seemingly cannot hear me when my life is lived and I say things all the time differently from their own strongly held beliefs and utterances. Why is this ? Possibly they just make room for me and our long-term friendship in their lives-----just like I make room for them because I love them all.

That is called maturity I think. Quite often I find myself wishing my own family had lived long enough for us all to put our anger and our differeences way back on a rear burner so we could just sit down and have a beer together. None of them did live that long. But my wife's family has survived---and we are now much more accepting and civil than we were when it felt so damn good to come down on them because we were right and they were wrong. I still feel I was (AM) right----but I know, now, that it just does not matter.

For the longest time I was member of Amnesty International and also, in favor of the death penalty. Now, I'm against the death penalty------but I'd be willing to pull the lever on John Wayne Gacey (the serial killer) or on Timothy McVeyh (spelling) any day of the week.

Economically and socially and politically, I'm a Socialist but vote Democrat so I don't throw away my vote on a no-win candidate.

Art Thieme

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM

Well it is no secret that I am pretty liberal and vocal about it, but I think I've learned a lot, since coming to the Mudcat, about the gray areas Spaw mentions and I agree with him. I don't always wear my heart on my sleeve, anymore, and I try to be careful what I say around certain folks in the 3D world. I choose my *battles* more carefully as it just doesn't seem worth expending a lot of energy unless there is hope of meeting halfway on divisive issues.

One thing I've always believed in and strive to do is work within groups to further those things I do believe in, such as woman's right to choose, human rights, animal rights, etc.

Great thread, Rick!

kat


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:25 PM

Rick, very good thread. I also don't fit into any neat box, although I'm more liberal than conservative, and more conservative than I used to be. I do occasionally get into real, sometimes heated discussions with my group members along the lines of Well, if you believe this, how can you also believe THAT? usually said to me by somebody who agrees with This but not That. I do always argue my point. If voices start getting raised, I back off with the oh-so-obnoxious Let's agree to disagree. (I've tried to find a way to phrase that without making people barf, and have been enjoying some success with Look, it's obvious I'm never going to change your mind, so can we change the subject? I find that works a lot better, go figure, than Look, it's obvious you're never going to change your mind, so can we change the subject?)

But I don't keep my opinion to myself just to maintain group harmony. Doing that is allowing nay, encouraging, the group to become a mob. People do need to be in groups, but the groups need dissenters to stay healthy. (Anyone remember Groupthink?) Keep at it, and don't shut up so much, is my advice.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Grab
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 PM

Rick, as far as the rights go, the best quote I heard is "The Constitution is not a mutual suicide pact", or words along those lines. Which is a more formal way of Phil's saying "Your rights to wave your fists around stops at my nose". Or in other words, do what you want so long as it doesn't hurt other ppl.

The thing is, none of us really mind ppl with different opinions to ourselves, not if we're reasonably intelligent and broadminded (OK, I score on the second one anyway ;-) But what we do mind is dishonesty and hypocrisy. If you wish to preserve the rights of ppl not to be raped, for instance, then you _must_ support action against rapists. Whether you believe they must be locked up, rehabilitated, given counselling, whatever - but you CANNOT condone it. It's also possible (as in the case of many victims of domestic abuse) for the abused person to be abusive themselves when they grow up. In this case, by all means provide support for the person to sort this out - maybe that'll stop them reoffending - but this isn't an excuse to let them continue abusing ppl.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:44 PM

Dammit Art, what I wouldn't give to have my parents alive for ONE MINUTE! Just to let them see that:

A. I'm not in jail.

B. You CAN (sort of) earn a living in folk music.

C. Even though it appeared to them that I NEVER listened to a word they said....I actually listened to EVERYTHING, and am so much the better for it!

Spaw, (and everyone else...'cause I really think highly of all of you right now) that's the key. "Judgement calls". I wish more folks would make individual Judgement calls, on individual issues.

If I can use one more example (based on friend Mick's post)

For thirty plus years I've sung for left/labour get-togethers. Almost always ended with "Solidarity Forever"......but I DON'T believe in "solidarity without accountability" (oh well, there go THOSE gigs if the wrong person sees this!) The lefty rallies and get-togethers are markedly different from the "Labour" ones. At lefty ones, the folks are often Professional, University educated, and literate to a fault. Nobody would think of making any statement that could be seen as a value judgement. There certainly is no (overt) smoking or joke-telling, or even swearing. Playing for a meeting of the Steel Workers Union is entirely different. Lots of drinking, rough (and to some) offensive humour (believe me) and in general a real mis-trust of the "egg-head left". And yet...the MUSICAL MATERIAL is the same, and both groups are supposed to be on the same page. Believe me, when someone from the "political left" speaks, they don't bring up "gay issues" or similar causes (that we're ALL supposed to care about)...so I guess I'm not the only one with this dillema.

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 01:21 PM

When I moved to Chicago, I was beflummoxed when I met a far-left liberal on social issues that wasn't a vegetarian. Groups do tend to cluster around sets of beliefs, and it takes real guts to stand up for what you really believe if you disagree wtih the group at some points.

When I was in High School, one of my teachers had a book left over from the Flower Power days called "How to be a non-conformist."

It told you to grow your hair just-so, to wear this kind of clothes and shoes, to like this kind of music, to go to these kinds of events, and to believe exactly these things.

"There!" it exults on the last page, "Now you're a nonconformist too!"

One last thought,

If two people agree on everything, one of them is doing all the thinking.

(shades of Justice Clarence Thomas?)

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 01:46 PM

sorry spaw, we are both members of the human race. I was forced to join that, and, I resent it too!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 01:59 PM

You could always quit the group, I suppose, Kendall.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 02:04 PM

I would extend the "If two people agree on everything, then one of them is doing all the thinking" to "if members of a group of three or more all agree on everything, then none of them are thinking" - but then again I am about to give my Intro to Psych class a test on group dymanics and motivations... so perhaps I'm sensitized. But I do believe (dare I say - know?) that dissenters keep a group healthier than when the dissenters shut up and merely conform/comply/obey.

Next year I think I'll title this segment People Are Sheep and dare the class to come up with a valid and reliable counter-example! (Maybe send them here for research - who knows?)


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,Roll&Go-C
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 02:07 PM

And sometimes we may even have to test our beliefs with action, or maybe that's just something we did in the early 1970's...My father at the age of 96 has earned the right to be cynical but he still cares enough to complain.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 02:15 PM

"At lefty ones, the folks are often Professional, University educated, and literate to a fault. Nobody would think of making any statement that could be seen as a value judgement. There certainly is no (overt) smoking or joke-telling, or even swearing."

One of the things I like best about the Mudcat is how it throws up revelations that things with the same labels stuck on them can be very different. I'm sure there are lefty efforts like that over here too, but they aren't what you get as a rule.

Doug R mused; I guess the question that has puzzled me, particularly since I became a member of Mudcat, is why two people (or two groups of people) cannot have divergent opinions on ANY subject, and still remain friends.

As I see it is in fact quite possible to have extraordinarily divergent opinions, and still stay friends, and I think that's what he means, because it can happen here.

Three things get in the way - one is that there are some issues and some attitudes which break friendship, one they are identified they set up a barrier that can't be crossed. But not many, and the most peculiar bridges can be made between people who you'd think would be separated by an impassable gulf.

And sometimes you come across people you can't stand - and you hope that they are never going to end up on the same side of a quarrel as you, or you'll have to move over to the opposition.

And the third thing is that in a dispute we sometimes say more than we really mean, and it turns into a quarrel. And quarrels have a whole dynamic of their own. I think that the structure we have with the threads helps here, because it gives a chance to read over what the other person said, and what we have said. I've often found myself flaring off about something that on a second reading turns out to be a misunderstanding on my part of what the other person was saying, or that they have misunderstood what I'd said before. Most times before posting the re0ply.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: DougR
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 04:51 PM

Several of you who identify yourselves as liberal, mentioned that as you aged, you became more conservative. I wonder how age enters into it?

I also believe that many of us here lean both ways (depending on the issue)more than we care to admit. On some issues, I am liberal (abortion for one), and on others conservative, but I lean more toward conservative on most issues than liberal.

On the question of friendship. Although I have never met Rick, or Kendall, Spaw, kat, and several others of the liberal persuasion here on the Mudcat, were I describing them to someone, I would identify them as friends. Even though we may be poles apart philosophically, on some issues.

DougR

DougR


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Amos
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 05:27 PM

One of my qualifications for friendship, of the lasting variety, is a committment to ongoing communication as being the senior consideration, over mere agreements about things. I enjoy people who enjoy me, like anyone, but it is my nature to occasionally test that very thing, usually inadvertantly, and the friends who have survived are obviously those who pass the test of that commitment to the exchange of viewpoints. Wanting only the same viewpoint from others is a reall addiction to tedium.

A


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 05:53 PM

Or even "Hungarians" apart, Doug. Gotta get to the radio station!

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: John Hardly
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 05:58 PM

The "group" has an interesting weakness..

Any individual in a group doesn't believe what he believes as strongly when separated from the group.

As wise as we may think ourselves, and as well thought out the ideals to which we adhere, the greatest strength of, and reason for what we believe is often nothing more than "because others do".

This is why seldom does a "group" let a former member go in peace. It forces them to band tighter together to protect their belief structure.

.



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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Amos
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:00 PM

That was terrible, Rick. I suppose if we started talking about people who were yanks apart, we'd be censured for talking dirty!

A


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:04 PM

Interesting points, John Hardly, and hard to argue with! Groupthink is very seductive, but its hold on the mind seems to be directly proportional to the amount of time, recently, one has spent with the group. The longer away from the group, the more able one is to view the group's beliefs with a little "distance".

Is this the psychology behind the Wednesday-night church service?

(Can of worms, I know. Can't stop myself!)

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: DougR
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:09 PM

Rick: The PC police are gonna get'cha!

DougR


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Amergin
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:12 PM

Rick, forgive me if I am reading into this what is not there....but could your hesitation to speak out derive from your inherent shyness and insecurity? Alot of times I find myself doing the same thing....


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: John Hardly
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:17 PM

Devious thought Alex...


...and probably dead on.

If our political beliefs hang by a thread, our religious ones probably hang by a hair.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:21 PM

And I'm a regular churchgoer, too. :o) Not on Wednesdays, though.

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:46 PM

Doug, all I can offer is an opinion. Seems to me that many of us are unable to separate our beliefs from our egos. Being a republican does not make you a bad person!

Former president Truman hit it right. When he met with General McArthur, the general was late. It was reported that Truman said to him "You may keep Harry Truman waiting as long as you like..BUT you dont keep the president of the USA waiting Mister" Big difference.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 07:19 PM

"Any individual in a group doesn't believe what he believes as strongly when separated from the group."(John Hardly) "The longer away from the group, the more able one is to view the group's beliefs with a little "distance"."(mousethief)

Can work the other way though, the way you get exiles holding even more firmly to ways that may have become outmoded back home. And you can get that in other contexts, like politics. You can have isolated people who hold on to amd preserve ideas and ideals as part of their whole personality, out in a hostile environment, disregarding changes in political fashion. And that can be one of the places where a whole new cycle of politics can take off, in time.

It's all very like folk songs really. Folk politics.

As for terms like conservative and liberal, as we've found exploring them on other threads, they are a lot more complicated than is often recognised, and in some senses they are in no ways opposites or incompatible.

One of the meanings of conservative is being distrustful of change - and I think anyone who isn't distrustful of change isn't in touch with reality, and in that sense growing older and growing more conservative are to be expected to come together. It doesn't means there aren't changes you want to see, but you want to look at them carefully.

The other meaning of conservative of course is to do with wanting to bring in various kinds of detestable changes, and opposing various kinds of changes that might make things a lot better. And I don't think people need fear that growing older is inevitably going to mean they can look forward to slipping into that way of thinking. Pete Seeger's not the only octogenarian who can see through that.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:04 PM

Ah....DougeR...glad to see that, 'cause despite all the haranguing in the political threads, I would most certainly describe you as a friend, and a good one at that!

It all comes down to labels, doesn't it? We humans want to know about everything and put it in context in our lives, so we label everything: liberal, conservative, a mother's love, a father's love, progressive, out to lunch, in lala land. There is comfort in thinking that we know what or who someone is because of the labels we can apply.

In the human rights org. I work with, it is always our goal to reach out to those of different mind-set/lifestyle/beliefs, to get to know them and vice versa so that we may look beyond the stereotypes of the labels. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not.

I disagree about getting away from orgs. or maybe my own experience is different because I've always tried to stay outside some of the boxes or at least be open to newer ways and ideas. I've moved on fairly comfortably, progressing, I hope and never felt a terrible tug or guilt or pulling from the old. Not saying this very clearly, I know. Sorry.

katafriendofDougeR's!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: John Hardly
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 08:05 PM

MofH<

Interesting thought, in fact, because I assume no group to be right in all--I sometimes feel myself always the outsider, looking for the fatal flaw in group logic.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 09:34 PM

If pressed to label myself, I would sort of call myself liberal....I vote mostly Democratic and worked in the Civil rights movement...etc...but I have several positions which, if expressed out of context, would get me labeled conservative.

Example: I oppose "affirmative action laws" usually. But, on the other hand, I STRONGLY oppose attempts to limit the ability of any person or group to compete fairly in the society. I put my butt on the line in Mississippi in the 1960s, and would do it again if necessary, but I can barely contain my rage at some of the blatent, demanding attitudes of some African-American groups who want special privileges forever because of what happened to their grandfathers.

To me, the labels are more useful when the attitudes and motives of a person are apparent. I have a neighbor across the street who hates blacks and uses the "N" word constantly because he believes them as a group to be inferior and dangerous. Now, if a family of poor, ignorant African-Americans with anti-social habits moved into our block, he and I would BOTH dislike it, and be wary of them, but our reasons and reactions might be VERY different!

Likewise, in fiscal matters, advocating or opposing a tax cut can be done for very different motives...there are some pretty strong opinions right now that G. W. Bush is offering everyone a tax cut simply to cater to the rich and make it easier to enhance and protect their position, while giving the masses very little.

The thing is, politicians are getting cleverer about disguising their deeper motives and feelings when they advocate certain positions. Many years ago, racism and hate and selfishness were often openly displayed, and 'conservatives' who based their opinions on hate and bigotry were a lot easier to identify. You can still see some in public positions whose attitudes are very thinly disguised.........Look at Mississippi poilticians now debating whether to ban the Confererate battle flag as an official state symbol! Some of them are groping very awkwardly for high-sounding reasons for their conservative position...and NOT succeeding too well.

I might go on and make the same sort of points about the death penalty, abortion, school prayer, military spending, corporal punishment in schools, court judgements in rape cases, oil drilling in wilderness areas, teaching evolution, special access for the handicapped, penalties for drug abuse...it goes on & on, and it is possible to hold almost identical voting positions on many of these with people with whom you disagree on others.

It ain't easy, folks....look inside yourself and see if you can answer honestly WHY you hold position "X"....

As the old lady said.."Of course it was a just war, my son died in it!"


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:32 PM

Interesting point Amergin. Actually the shyness that I battled for many years seems to completely disappear when I'm in a comfortable environment. As I've written here ad nauseum, I've created my OWN environment over the last 12 or so years (anyone's welcome). My hesitation to voice dissent around my "social group" is limited to issues that the whole group seem to (at times unquestionly) espouse. As I've said here twice, I feel I NEED that social group or I could easily become a real loner. As much as I'm comfortable with my own company, without people I think I'd become far too sarcastic, cynical, and in general, not much fun to be around.

Works the same around Mudcat. I NEED this community, and I've learned to not get involved in the kind of threads that simply lead to polarization. Believe me, with my views on Political and religious hypocracy...not to mention my "somewhat purist" take on how I think music should be performed, I'd fast become a curmudgeon....which I don't want. Can do that on my own Ha Ha!

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: DougR
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:55 PM

Curmudgeon? I think Kendall has already claimed that role, Rick. I think it pays well, doesn't it Kendall? DougR


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 12:01 AM

Ahh Kendall ain't no curmudgeon. Sandy Paton says he's a pussycat.

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Grab
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 06:56 AM

John Hardly - "If our political beliefs hang by a thread, our religious ones probably hang by a hair."

It's when ppl hang others by the *neck* to reinforce their weak political or religious beliefs (literally or metaphorically) that scares me...

Grab.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: John Hardly
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 07:11 AM

". Many years ago, racism and hate and selfishness were often openly displayed, and 'conservatives' who based their opinions on hate and bigotry were a lot easier to identify. You can still see some in public positions whose attitudes are very thinly disguised.........It ain't easy, folks....look inside yourself and see if you can answer honestly WHY you hold position "X"...."

Bill D

Interesting..
I was raised in what used to be called a fundementalist Christian home (The books on our shelves were C.S.Lewis, Francis Schaeffer etc.).
I was taught that racism and bigotry were unequivocally sin. They were evil and against God's creation--He meant what He created.

Upon further teaching by my parents on the subject, I was taught that, even if you took theology out of the picture racism would still be wrong because it was not logical to assign the character and traits of the group to the individual.

It is interesting that, from the strictly logical perspective described above, it is the "group think" mentality as evidenced by an over 95% Democrat voting practices of African Americans, that allows for a new and "logically correct" racism.

Probably the same could be said of any individual who gives over his voice of reason to "the group"


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 08:37 AM

As the saying goes, you don't get too many turkeys voting for Christmas either.

I worry that relying on logic as a counter to racism, or all the other raft of -isms like that, gives away too much ground. Even if it was "logical" to discriminate against people because of their ancestry or their culture or their ex or their disabililties or whatever, it'd still be wrong, and that's what matters. You don't have to believe in God to believe in right and wrong, and try to do what needs doing to put that into practice.

We find ourselves holding certain views on particular issues, but underlying these are value systems out of which they grow. However the same value systems can give rise to different patterns of growth.

What that means is that we can find ourselves arguing against people with whose value systems we largely share, and in alliance with people whose value systems we do not share. The former are the opponents we get on with, the latter are the allies who make our skin crawl. I think if we recognised this, both in ourselves and others, it could generate more light and less heat sometimes.

To use a musical analogy - two instruments which are in tune with each other can sound pretty ok, even if they are playing different tunes. But two instruments which are out of tune with each other playing the same tune will sound absolutely awful. So you get make sure the instruments are properly in tune, and take it from there.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 08:38 AM

Actually, the older I get, the more liberal I become. Jimmy Durante had it nailed when he said "My philosophy is simply this...Leave everyone else the hell alone!" As far as change goes, some things need to be changed, others dont.We liberals know the difference! Pussycat indeed! name calling!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM

"Several of you who identify yourselves as liberal, mentioned that as you aged, you became more conservative. I wonder how age enters into it?" - DougR

I believe a total liberal attitude is for the young and as age matures one's outlook you realize the need to compromise between liberal and conservative views.

Of course, people like Kendall tend to blow that theory out of the water. Come to think of it, my father has gotten a little more liberal also.

Maybe it's that we tend to slip towards a center position. How much from the right have you slipped Kendall?

John Hardly, racism is not necessarily connected to the theology of groups but the people tend to clump together in groups that think alike. I saw this in Georgia (USA) where decent white Christians welcomed our new home puechase because we were white and the former occupants weren't. In their vernacular, "The neighdorhood is all 3white again." And then they sent the Joy Bus around to collect the kids for Sunday school. We also heard at length of how "those people" kept such a dirty house and how "they" liked to live that way.

This was not their theology. It did not come from anything they learned at church. It arose from all having the same opinion and joining together in that opinion in an environment where they were comfortable expressing that opinion with each other. It came from being in a group where no dissenter dared raise his/her voice.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 10:35 AM

A great thread Rick – thanks for starting it. And thanks to sundry other contributors for their illuminating comments. Here's a small contribution to the debate.

As human beings, we are all similar – in some respects.
As individuals, we are all different – in some respects.
The difficulty is knowing when to emphasise the similarites, and when to respect the differences.

While still cherishing our links with the wider family of humanity, we may choose to emphasise our membership of smaller groups from time to time. But we should try to remember that these groupings – whether based on nationality, regionality, locality, sexuality, musicality, or what you will - are artificial, and re-negotiable.

(If that sounds daft, then remember that in the days of apartheid, the South African government once reclassified all Japanese as "whites", in order to facilitate a favourable trade deal with Japan. Likewise, when Ms Thatcher paid an official visit to the Saudis, they categorised her as a man, because their political vocabulary had no appropriate terms for addressing a female head of government. Oh, and how many fifty-somethings do you know who insist on behaving like teenagers most of the time? )

So, let's join any club we have a mind to, and then sing about what jolly good fellows we are for being members of it. But let's do it without forgetting our common humanity, or abandoning individual responsibility for our actions. And if we suddenly find ourselves ill at ease in a group where we once felt at home, then it may be time to move on. But it may just be a reminder that cloning is an ecological blind alley. In the world of ideas, as well as in the world of living things, diversity enriches the environment, while monoculture impoverishes it.

Here endeth the sermon.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 10:58 AM

"Jimmy Durante had it nailed when he said "My philosophy is simply this...Leave everyone else the hell alone!"

...and, to me, the pernicious thread that 'tends' to run in conservative groups is to NOT leave others alone, and to advocate laws and support 'group think' ideas that pressure ME to behave like them.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:04 AM

Hating to be "outside" the group here, but sometimes I get lost and I think I'd feel much better about my sub-intellectual capacity if McGrath (or someone) could explain:

As the saying goes, you don't get too many turkeys voting for Christmas either.

What the hell does that mean anyway?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM

Thank you, Spaw. I was afraid I was stupid. Now I see that you don't understand it either, I realize it was just confusing.

I'd like to know where BillD lives, where selfishness is less common than at any time in the past. I haven't noticed any wholescale decrease in selfishness in the time I've been on the planet. Charitable giving continues to scrape record lows in this country (USA), people seem to be volunteering less and less time to charitable organizations, and the push for more and more consumer goods shows no sign of flagging. If there's a blazing streak of selflessness out there, other than the low-level background radiation that never quite goes away, then it's managed to remain completely hidden to this observer.

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:29 AM

Spaw, I should probably let McGrath answer for himself. but in the USA, I think you're more likely to hear that not too many turkeys vote for Thanksgiving. Which means that individuals don't tend to vote against their self interest (turkeys being a particularly popular main course for Thanksgiving dinner).

I'll leave it to McGrath to explain why that statement is relevant to this thread; presumably it has to do with people deciding where they stand on issues (abortion, taxation, gun control, etc.) based on how it affects them personally.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM

Yeah..........Well I'm sure Kevin has some sort of message there and I appreciate the effort at enlightenment WS............So if I vote for Easter, do I get ham?

Spaw - Symbolismically Challenged


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:50 AM

"Maybe it's that we tend to slip towards a center position."

That is precisely what "liberal" has always meant, except apparently recently among some people in parts of North America, who have redefined it to mean something they see as extreme. Extreme centre maybe.

Turkeys. Is this a case of a cliche too far for spaw, and he's saying "let's actually see what it means" - or isn't that a cliche that you use in America? Either way, what it means is that, if something means you'll be for the chop, and there's a vote about it, the chances are you won't be voting for it, and nor will other people in the same situation. Or other turkeys.

I suppose the unfortunate birds (who should have been the national emblem of America if Benjamin Franklin hadn't been outvoted) might be even more inclined to vote against Thanksgiving over there in their native habitat - but we have our Turkey on Christmas Day.

And if 95 per cent of the 50% or so of black Americans who voted didn't vote for the man who is now Resident in the White House, it would appear pretty clear that they thought it would be against their interests for him to win the election. (This figure of speech is not intended to suggest that Bush is a cannibal. Yes, I know - but there are some people who take things a bit literally at times.)


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:52 AM

Naemanson beat me to my idea (Guess that harmony of thought is why I liked him, right off!). If our life experience doesn't color our thinking about issues & others, we're not learning much. Yes, I think it's easier to be liberal or conservative when you are young. The more you go through in life, the more likely you are to experience shades of gray & to approach middle ground, 'though on one side or the other. I absolutely *love* Big Mick, but there are some topics we had better never touch! I find that I really value Mudcat because it puts me in contact w/ people I've come to value highly, whose point of view is very different from my own. It broadens my thinking & my world. I love you.

bbc


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM

The older I get, the more greed and callousness and selfishness bother me. Thus, the less I like the Republicans (speaking here of hoi polloi, not politicos, who are all greedy and selfish). I hate NIMBY-playing, I hate "pull up the ladder I'm aboard" attitudes (mostly held by left-wingers), and I hate anti-tax sentiment (a la "Why should *I* pay for roads/schools/whatever in THEIR neighborhoods?") I hate corporate greed that wants to rape the land for profit, and pay the workers shit wages to increase shareholder value.

Thus the older I get the more effectively liberal I become.

And I started that way.

Go grow a new theory, you guys.

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:57 AM

Many years ago I worked with- and was friends with- a woman who was 14 years old in Germany when the war ended. (When she was 16 she came to this country and married a GI she had met during the war) This was a goodhearted, gentle-spirited person and I enjoyed her a lot.

One day she said that Jewish families had had a camp down by the river in her town and she said, And "Ebbie", they really were dirty. In astonishment, I said, Can you imagine anyone living in a camp by a river who isn'tdirty?

We still spent time together but from then on we had a tacit agreement not to discuss uncomfortable things. To this day I don't know where she was going with that thought.

Obviously I would handle it differently now, but I was in my 20s then- and hadn't yet learned not to leave something 'unreproved'.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 01:15 PM

Aww Kendall, it probably WASN't Sandy who said you're a pussycat....all I know (now) is that it probably wasn't your first wife either!

I also found Doug's question interesting (why less liberal as you get older?)

Naturally there are lots of famous quotes on the subject (Churchill etc.) but personally, I've given it a bit of thought over the last couple of days.

As I've gotten older, my obsession for information has increased. Many folks seem to have reached "info overload" to the extent where they don't WANT to read the news, explore different points of view, etc. Generally the reason is that "it's just too negative, or unpleasant...and it brings them down". I fully understand that point of view, but it simply doesn't work for me. Perhaps it's a kind of paranoia, but I feel that if there's something new happening and I don't keep up with it, it's going to leave me really vulnerable, or worse..naieve. Being "out of the loop" (info-wise) would trouble me indeed. Now this is rich, coming from someone as "modern technology challenged" as I am, but we all have our interests.

I doubt if I've become "more conservative", but I've certainly become "more suspicious" (is that a part of conservatism?). To put this in "American" political terms ('cause if I put it in Canadian terms, nobody would know what I was talkin' about...including most Canadians) I support many of the AIMS of The Democrats, and am uncomfortable with many of the ACTIONS of The Republicans, but do I see them as more than 2% apart when it comes to being in power? Absolutely not. They are both comprised of very wealthy influential people, and my life experience has shown me unequivically that important rich folks are each others' best friends. If I see someone like...say Rush Limbaugh, my experience tells me that he's an entertaining informed dangerous pompous ass....but now, I see Jesse Jackson (despite what his original motivation might have been) as an equally entertaining, informed, dangerous pompous ass.....but (sadly) also a hypocrite. One (Rush) makes me laugh at how easily he manipulates disaffected white guys, the other makes me sad because he had so much potential to really HELP in a crucial way, but he allowed himself the same recklessness and public stupidity that Clinton did. Shame. I DID (and DO) expect more from "my side". I rarely get it.

To bring this back to the original thread point. I simply could not have this kind of discussion among my "peer circle" without many of them thinking that I was a "traitor to the cause". I'm not. If there are "traitors" then it's within the leadership, and I'm sorry that to hold them accountable is often seen as "desertion".

Rick


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 02:55 PM

Ebbie, I went on a tour of Europe in 1981. Two members of the tour group were from S. Africa - a woman who was near to my age and her mother. One day the younger woman and I started talking - the subject was black people. She asked how America coped with integration because all the black people she'd seen or met seemed angry and bad-mannered. I asked her how she thought she would act if she was isolated, treated like dirt and kept poor. She actually looked at me with a "wow - I'd never considered that" expression. (The conversation lasted longer than that and was more detailed, but that's the jist of it.)

She was fairly open-minded. She asked the question in all sincerity - a question many of her countrymen had probably allready answered in their own minds. She also really heard my answer, and maybe thought about it some more. Within her own group, she never would have learned anything about life outside it.

(Hey, she was also freaked out by the fact I had a car and was allowed to drive it.)


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: GUEST,Evil Mystery Guest f/k/a Midchuck upstairs
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 03:03 PM

Kendall said:

Actually, the older I get, the more liberal I become. Jimmy Durante had it nailed when he said "My philosophy is simply this...Leave everyone else the hell alone!"

That's what I believe! But it isn't liberalism! (not in the present-day sense, anyway - it's a pretty simple definition of late-18th-century "classical" liberalism)

Both modern "liberalism" and modern "conservatism" are about professional politicians trying to run everyone's lives to suit themselves. They just have two different sets of rules as to how those lives should be run.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Mark Clark
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 05:38 PM

Actually, Big Bill may have said it best.

It takes me six months to tend to my business and six months to leave other people's alone, It takes me six months to tend to my business and six months to leave other people's alone, Lord, by the time I do that, I declare the whole twelve months is gone.

I'm certainly as highly opinionated as the next person, maybe more so. The thing is, I learned a long time ago that my answers are simply the best ones for me right this minute and may have no special value for anyone else. That's why it's rare for me to contribute to a non-mucic thread here.

A lot of disagreement stems from not carefully thinking through our own ideas before inflicting them on someone else. Perhaps most offensive is the attempt by one person or group to control another in the name of God. Within the limits of practical civil law, any time I am expected to change my beliefs, my behavior, my place of residence or the name of my country because someone else's god said I must, I'm pretty sure we aren't praying to the same god. Especially if my God hasn't mentioned the problem. If my God disapproves of your behavior or beliefs, I don't have to worry. That's a problem God can deal with in his own way. All I have to worry about is my own behavior and spiritual growth.

Good manners and modern civil law aren't handed down from God, they are generally the rules necessary for any orderly society to exist. Within the context of an orderly society, behavior that is also consistent with a particular religious doctrine must be considered optional.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 08:10 PM

From the Universal Dictionary:

Liberal: Open-minded, wide in sympathy...open-handed, generous...

Conservative: tending to preserve...unwilling to change habits and mode of life...opposed to rash change or sudden innovation...moderate or cautious.

Those are supposed to be irreconcilable opposites? Why can't people stop picking on useful words and twisting them into weapons for domestic polemic purposes.

Anyway, I'd have thought "Progressive" and "Regressive" are much more satisfactory terms for this purpose. I suppose people might find it embarrassing to attack things as being "progressive" because the word has got overtones of being something everyone should love. (No different from the word "liberal" really, in that way, before the change got it by the throat, at least in some corners of one continent - and they dare to claim to be conservative-minded doing that to the language of common civilised discourse! "Opposed to rash change or sudden innovation" they certainly are not...)


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: kendall
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 09:25 PM

MS, did you really mean to say that liberals think "Pull up the ladder, I'm aboard?" I've always atributed that to conservatives. (the ones with all the money)

Naemanson, you wouldn't believe how far I've slipped from the right. I was a Barry Goldwater republican, a rabid member of the National Rifle Assassination and almost a John Bircher. Now, I firmly believe that it is our duty in this life to help our fellow man, and, I think that generally it is the Liberals who do that best.Sure, there are those who abuse the system, and, there are those who would cut off aid to single mothers who keep having kids. But, who is that going to hurt? THE KIDS! "The Devil loves an unwanted child." (Henry Kranz)


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Ebbie
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 10:59 PM

Wow, Kendall. Absolutely.

Jeri, that's a nice story- there is a good chance that that young woman learned something new and lasting that day. In my own story, I didn't feel that I got through to my friend. Instead we just kind of dropped the subject, and never picked it up again.

I'm a whole lot bolder -and more unpleasant!- these days.

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: John Hardly
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:07 PM

kendall,
You run with all the wrong conservatives...what's that?..you don't know ANY?

tweak tweak


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 02:37 AM

Kendall, it's my charicature of people who want to stop all development in this area now that THEIR house is built. These are mostly liberals.

Alex


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 06:22 PM

liberals? You mean THEY call themselves 'liberal'?...I can paste any sticker I want on my forehead, but others may not see me that way. We know a 'compassionate' conservative who is raising eyebrows about that 'compassionate' part, don't we?

I guess it is possible to have mixed ideologies...

(BTW...back up there you doubted that 'selfishness' was any worse now than in the past....thought that was small part of my post, I actually DO think it is true. Perhaps it is related to my moving from Kansas to Washington DC 20+ years ago, but I see 'selfishness' and related issues as becoming embedded in the daily routine in ways I never saw when I was younger. Laws and merchants and habits and institutions and friends and are exemplifying 'me-firstism' in an almost programmed way. The change is not easy to point to in discrete examples, but I do notice, for example, that these days grocery store no longer seem to train their employees and design their stores to cater to the CUSTOMER'S wishes & feelings. (I used to work in groc. stores)...I get glares and arguments from checkers when I ask for my groceries to be bagged MY way...this would have gotten me FIRED when I worked in a store! It seems to me that the pressure & stresses of modern life have made people in general more defensive, less friendly, less honest and unhappier than when I was 20 (40 years ago)....


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:01 PM

I find the people who help you pack at the supermarket if you want them to are pretty well always friendly, as we chat about what a lousy management they have, which keeps on putting up the prices and holding down the wages.


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Subject: RE: When you disagree with your 'group'...
From: DougR
Date: 28 Mar 01 - 10:38 PM

Sorry McGrath, I'm a bit dense, I guess. I'm not sure what you mean by your last post. Do you think that ALL management is lousy?

DougR


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