2015 April 15 Wednesday
Voters Treat Their Political Party Like Sports Team, Want To Win

Its not about issues, its about winning or losing. Fans do not want to be losers.

The researchers analyzed the attitudes of voters nationwide in survey data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. They found that many average voters with strong party commitments -- both Democrats and Republicans -- care more about their parties simply winning the election than they do either ideology or issues. Unlike previous research, the study found that loyalty to the party itself was the source of partisan rivalry and incivility, instead of a fundamental disagreement over issues.

Clearly democracy is not working out as planned. We need to consider alternatives. Democracy is getting worse.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 April 15 10:43 PM 

chris said at April 16, 2015 7:02 AM:

The problem isn't democracy. The problem is universal suffrage.

A society where suffrage is limited to; net tax payers, married, with children, and had served at least 1 year in the military, and was a citizen born to citizens, would make a hell of a lot better voting decisions than the current electorate.

Jim said at April 16, 2015 7:58 AM:

Aristotle long ago noted the many problems with democracy. We shhould have listened to him.

Actually the founding fathers in general were not that keen on democracy. Limited government was more their preference and they feared the excesses of a pure democracy.

Jim said at April 16, 2015 8:00 AM:

Actually the article you linked to confirms one of Aristotle's insights. Democracy exacerbates internal conflict.

Nick Ripe said at April 16, 2015 5:38 PM:


Aristotle? We should've listened to Aristotle? BUT WE DID! Aristotle was the idiot who claimed that heavy objects fall faster than light ones -in fact people beleved that for more than 2000 years-. Until a genius named Galileo Galilei proved he was an idiot.

Aristotle dogmatically claimed that the Earth was made up by four or five elements. Until Mendelev proved that Aristotle was wrong.

Aristotle claimed that men have more dental pieces than women! ...and never told Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted.

The problem with Aristotle is that he never made an attempt to prove anything he said or show any evidence for his claims. The whole Catholic faith is based on Aristotle's metaphysical nonsense!

Oh, we did listen to that moron called Aristotle. That's the problem.

Want real philosophers? Here's only a few ancient ones:

Democritus: Using reason Democritus also predicted the existence of atoms and vacuums. This was at a time when it was impossible to detect anything smaller than the eye can see and the idea of nothingness and vacuums was anathema to most thinkers. His wide ranging studies also took on the finer points of philosophy, biology, human society, and geometry. As well as being right on so many matters, even if unacknowledged, he was also a cheery individual known as the Laughing Philosopher.

Thales of Miletus: He was the first to reject supernatural explanations and seek reasons behind events.

Anaximander: Speculated about the beginnings and origin of animal life. Taking into account the existence of fossils, he claimed that animals sprang out of the sea long ago. -Now we call it EVOLUTION-. He demythified physical processes. His major contribution to history was writing the oldest prose document about the Universe and the origins of life; for this he is often called the "Father of Cosmology" and founder of astronomy. However, pseudo-Plutarch states that he still viewed celestial bodies as deities. Anaximander was the first to conceive a mechanical model of the world. In his model, the Earth floats very still in the centre of the infinite, not supported by anything.

Eratosthenes: Eratosthenes very accurately calculated the circumference of the Earth without leaving Egypt, by counting steps. Over 1000 years before Columbus

Aristarchus: Presented the first known model that placed the Sun at the center of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. Confirmed true by Copernicus and Kepler over 1000 years later.

Hipatia: Mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, in a time when women were considered property.

Archimedes: Generally considered the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest of all time,[3][4] Archimedes anticipated modern calculus and analysis by applying concepts of infinitesimals and the method of exhaustion to derive and rigorously prove a range of geometrical theorems, including the area of a circle, the surface area and volume of a sphere, and the area under a parabola.[5] Other mathematical achievements include deriving an accurate approximation of pi, defining and investigating the spiral bearing his name, and creating a system using exponentiation for expressing very large numbers. He was also one of the first to apply mathematics to physical phenomena, founding hydrostatics and statics, including an explanation of the principle of the lever. He is credited with designing innovative machines, such as his screw pump, compound pulleys, and defensive war machines to protect his native Syracuse from invasion.

Shall I go on?

Aristotle my ass...

Jim said at April 17, 2015 5:35 AM:

Aristotle's writings contain in some places mathematical demonstations so you are incorrect in saying that he never used "proof" at least in the mathematical sense.

It should be Hypatia not Hipatia.

Your list of errors made by Aristotle does not constitute a serious appraisal of his achievements. You could argue in the same way for any figure in scientific history. Galileo rejected Kepler's law of elliptical motion so Galileo was an idiot. Newton believed in alchemy so Newton was an idiot. Maxwell believed in a luminifreous aether so Maxwell was an idiot. Kelvin calculated the maximum age of the sun to be 500 million years so Kelvin was an idiot.

Jim said at April 17, 2015 5:52 AM:

Ripe - Your statement that Copernicus "confirmed" Aristarchus' is simplistic. Copernicus' system wasn't all that much superior to Ptolemy's because Copernicus still used circular orbits. Kepler's introduction of elliptical orbits was the most important breakthrough. Interestingly Hipparchus had tried eccentric orbits ie with the sun placed offcenter somewhat like the sun being at a foci of the ellipse not at it's center.

Wolf-Dog said at April 17, 2015 4:44 PM:

RP: "Clearly democracy is not working out as planned. We need to consider alternatives."


Let's assume that the the alternative has just been found...

But if we are going to replace democracy with something else, then this begs the questions:
1)By what means will the replacement be made?
2)By what mechanism will the new system be kept in place?

I suspect that the answers to the both two questions would inevitably involve the use of force because the alternative by construction will not involve representation of the choices of the majority.

Dain said at April 18, 2015 4:57 PM:

And yet what made them choose one party over another to begin with? Odd. And ugh.

Mike Street Station said at April 20, 2015 9:05 AM:

I agree with Chris. I just don't think there is a good alternative to some sort of representative Republic. The US started out as a Republic and has evolved into a Democracy with all of the problems that the founders, and virtually every ancient thinker recognized. Although my preference is some sort of Starship Troopers Republic, in which voting is reserved for the military and vets, even a small movement towards restricting voting based on some sort of achievable criteria would improve the voting pool.

Doug said at April 21, 2015 4:58 AM:

Chris, the franchise used to be restricted and yet we got universal suffrage. So, even if the franchise could be restricted again what would prevent universal sufferage again?

Seth W. said at May 6, 2015 2:53 PM:

Sorry but Nick is RIGHT. You all who agree with Aristotle should at least read it and not just think he was a great philosopher just because the Christian tradition made him so.

Jim and Mike, you haven't read your Bertrand Russell, have you? You've never HEARD of Bertrand Russell, have you?


Not angry, ok. Just emphasisign that Jim and Mike are wrong and they have no context: Galileo never rejected Kepler's law of elliptical motion, he rejected the claim that the Sun went around the Earth, so Jim is the idiot. Newton didn't believed in alchemy, he used it since there was no formal Chesmistry yet so Jim is the idiot. Galileo didn't disagree with Kepler's funtamental demystifying of the heavens. So Jim is the idiot.

Jim said at June 18, 2015 12:29 PM:

Seth W. - The following is a direct quote from the Wikipedia article on Galileo.

Galileo dismissed the idea, held by his contemporary Johannes Kepler, that the moon caused the tides. He also refused to accept Kepler's elliptical orbits of the planets, considering the circle the "perfect"
shape for planetary motion.

Newton left behind extensive writings regarding his researches on alchemy.

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