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Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:22 PM

The American People are...

not uniform. Everyone uses the phrase, though. "The American People want...," or "The American People believe...," or "The American People will..."

It's a meaningless phrase, because there's almost nothing that can be said about "The American People" that is true. Some of "The American People" agree with you, and some don't, whatever your position might be. Whoever says, "The American People," followed by some verb and some statement, is blowing smoke up your leg.

"The American People" is a propaganda phrase, and every sector uses it constantly. All are incorrect.

"The American People" do not exist. They never have. There are multiple blocks of people who tend to think one way or another about everything. There are blocks of people, perhaps the largest blocks of all, who don't much give a shit about much of anything beyond their immediate needs.

Whenever you see the phrase, "The American People," ask, "Really?" Which American People? What are their names? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? Which American People are being discussed?

We are all "The American People," but that's about the only thing we have in common. We're all different, think differently, believe differently, and act differently from the rest of "The American People."

Nobody speaks for "The American People." Such a thing doesn't really exist in the way the phrase is used.

"The American People," though, can be counted on to make pretty much anything you say about them a lie.

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply The American People are... (Original post)
MineralMan Jan 2014 OP
Wounded Bear Jan 2014 #1
PowerToThePeople Jan 2014 #2
MineralMan Jan 2014 #4
PowerToThePeople Jan 2014 #5
MineralMan Jan 2014 #7
PowerToThePeople Jan 2014 #8
MineralMan Jan 2014 #9
JaneyVee Jan 2014 #3
MineralMan Jan 2014 #6
Theodis Jan 2014 #10
MineralMan Jan 2014 #11
Theodis Jan 2014 #12
MineralMan Jan 2014 #13
Theodis Jan 2014 #16
MineralMan Jan 2014 #17
JoePhilly Jan 2014 #14
MineralMan Jan 2014 #15

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:23 PM

1. Good point...nt

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:30 PM

2. The American People

 

The American People do not want illegal wars around the world done in their name.

The American people do not want warrant-less data collection and storage of ALL of their communications.

The American People want a Government who works for The American People's interests.

Corporations are NOT The American People.

It is The American People who should share in the spoils created by American society.

an Etcetera...

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:32 PM

4. Yes, thank you for the illustration.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:34 PM

5. My illustration

 

Was that your OP in an OP in support of the wishes of the 1%, not the 99% or "The American People".

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:38 PM

7. Actually, your examples were a precise illustration of my point.

In reality, so is the "99%" thing. You can't get 99% of the people in America to agree on what foods taste good. There is no consensus of that sort on any subject. Sometimes, you can get a majority of people who bother to vote to agree with you on a candidate or proposition of some kind. But that's about the best result that can be obtained, and even that majority is not a majority of the people, since a majority does not even vote at all.

There is no "The American People." There are those who agree with your positions and those who do not. There are also those who don't really care about your priorities at all. There's no consensus for anything. "The American People" represents an almost perfect example of the Argumentum ad populum logical fallacy.

See this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:41 PM

8. Rubbish.

 

edited for spelling.

Thanks MM

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Response to PowerToThePeople (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:43 PM

9. Good correction.

Personally, though, I prefer "balderdash" or "poppycock" in such cases.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:32 PM

3. It's the old "some people say" tactic used by FOX news.

 

Then not divulging who said it.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:35 PM

6. It's just an overgeneralization and bandwagon propaganda

strategy. A logical flaw, since it's easily demonstrated that no uniform group that can be called "The American People" exists. Now, if they said, instead, "Many American People" or "A Sizable Percentage of American People," they could, with proper documentation, demonstrate the truth of their statement. But, "The American People" assumes that all American people are in the group, and that's logically impossible.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:44 PM

10. America has become a fractionalized society

We are no longer united on any common issues.

It has turned into "I want because I am [fill in the blank]"

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Response to Theodis (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 02:46 PM

11. We have never been united on many issues.

This country is made up of too many people for any consensus to be possible on anything. Thus it has been since Europeans first landed on its shores. We just barely manage not to kill each other over our differences...most of the time.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:01 PM

12. Do you really believe that Americans

Are struggling to restrain themselves from murdering each other?
While I disagree with people, you for instance, I have absolutely no desire to take a human life.

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Response to Theodis (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:05 PM

13. Some people appear to be doing just that.

One has only to read the comments on most news stories to see murderous statements of disagreement.

We are held in check by some common sense moral values, thank goodness, or at least most of us are. Still, the number of murders in this country is staggering, really. Most aren't based on philosophical differences, of course, but all are based on something.

I have no urge to take a life, either, and most people probably don't, but there is an element in our society is that is only lightly restrained from such actions, I'm afraid, and it appears that element is growing larger.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:18 PM

16. Can we really take rantings on a website seriously?

According to a study in Chicago, the most common motive for murder was by street gangs.

https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/News/Statistical%20Reports/Murder%20Reports/MA11.pdf
Page 27.

I believe the population over the last 20 years has grown further from the center. You most likely disagree.

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Response to Theodis (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:23 PM

17. I believe that the most vocal elements have grown further

from the center, for sure. However, in engaging in precinct and district political activism, I see a great deal of pragmatic centrism in those who turn out to vote. And it is in elections where the direction of every jurisdiction and the entire nation is set.

In 2008, for example, a wonderful progressive man made a run for a state legislative office in my own district. Thoughtful, progressive, and sincere, he failed miserably in the caucus and convention endorsement system we use in Minnesota. I talked with him several times, and would have liked having him in office very much. But, he did not present himself well at the podium and could not muster enough support to have a real chance to be elected.

No mistake...we endorsed and elected a fine candidate, but I would have preferred having this man in office. He was just a bit too far to the left and not able to convince even the delegates at the convention to back him. Too bad.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:07 PM

14. That phrase is often used as a persuasion device.

People who are unsure about some issue often look to see what "everyone else" thinks and then go with the group they think represents the majority.

You can take a room of average people and manipulate them by strategically placing loud individuals or small groups in 5 locations, similar to the arrangement of a 2-1-2 defense in basketball. If these folks can make enough noise, the "regular" people get the sense that almost everyone in the room holds a particular view. And they become more likely to agree with them when surveyed afterwards.

This is why the GOP says things like "America is a conservative country". The idea is to get people who are unsure to join "the majority".

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 18, 2014, 03:16 PM

15. Exactly. And when it is so used, it is almost always part of

a false statement. A simple question will quickly destroy the argument.

I like your example of a room full of people and strategic placement of loud voices saying the same thing. We see that all the time, too. On the other hand, the political convention caucus system is an example of how such things work fairly well. Minnesota uses that system in its district and state conventions, and it's great fun for those who understand it.

I'm generally leading one caucus or another at our DFL party district conventions, and have shifted opinion a few times in interesting ways. My caucus at the 2012 Senate District Convention played a role in splitting the convention and denying an endorsement for an incumbent state Senator who had displayed a lack of support for labor interests during his term. No endorsement was agreed to, and he withdrew, despite having gotten the most votes for an endorsement. As it turned out, the candidate I caucused for got the least number of votes. He ended up getting elected to fill that seat, though, through a strong grassroots campaign in the district. He beat the Republican candidate in the General Election 60%-40%.

There is no consensus. There is only majority rule by those who choose to vote in the end in our system of government.

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