Do we have a democracy in the US, or a plutocracy? Or somewhere in between? Or something completely different? How much does money really influence American politics?

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Natalie,  The Ainu were completely destroyed.  Look at old photos of the Ainu people.  They do not look anything like the Japanese.  Look at recent photos.  Their is no resemblence to the original people of Japan.  Their culture, language, even their style of architecture were outlawed.  They have been completely assimilated.  Their mixed race decendants may try to revive their culture, but they are not Ainu.

Well, depends on what you mean by completely. Yes, the Ainu were forced to take Japanese names, and there was a lot of intermarriage, much like among our Eastern Native American tribes in the US, which is why you find blue-eyed blonds on the membership rolls of many Eastern tribes. But there ARE still pure-blooded Ainu in Japan, and I own a book that teaches the Ainu language to Japanese-speaking young people.

I dispute the idea that you have to be "pure-blooded" to be a member of an ethnic group. That's because if you go back far enough, there is no such thing as "pure-blooded". One's appearance does NOT necessarily reflect one's ancestry. Going back to the group I know best, many (but not all) Ashkenazic Jews LOOK European, but genetic study after study has found that they share more common ancestry with Arabs than with Europeans. Ethnically and culturally, they are still Jews, in spite of having genetic admixture behind them. So why do you refuse the same right to mixed-race people who identify as Ainu?

Wanderer,

Your interpretation of what I mean is correct. And I am saying as a result of multi-national immigration in US and the civil rights movement we dont have those ancient antipathies that the cobbled countries have, at least not to the same extent. Further, based on our fundamental division there may come a time when this idea gains currency.

That would indeed be the best possible scenario, anything else I can think of would only be highly destructive. The problem is that there are so many Christians in the US that seccession would mean losing "Christian" land to the most hated people of all, us infidels. Unless we were to have overwhelming numbers in a particular area... and even in that case there are huge problems. Which is why I think we need to be far more proactive. I think it would greatly benefit our cause, and the cause of humanity, if we were to stake out our own territory sooner rather than later, say by a single city at a time. Actually it makes more sense for us to have our own city rather than a whole state, for starters. This is an idea I am growing ever more serious about.
Oh, please, make it San Francisco.  Liberal, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, more restaurants per capita than any other city, lots of gays, artists, musicians, a highly educated majority, a city of beauty. I lived there for 17 years, my happiest years.

I like it Wanderer.

On the other hand you will have provided the best of all possible targets for terrorists. And think of the international outcry for further destruction. Nothing unifies disparate forces like hatred!

We would need to invest heavily in security, to be sure. No shortage of jobs in that field, so that is one positive! Also, we would be in much the situation as both Israel and Palestine are in. We would need to make use of soft power, appealing to our secular friends in Western Europe to respond to attacks on us with economic sanctions and the rest. I would see nothing but opportunity and a great future ahead of us if we had our own city-state. It's just a problem of getting there!
It would be more like India and Pakistan, than like Israel and Palestine.  Yes, they would wage war against us.  We would loose.  We would may wise and excellent points; they would shoot us.  Still, it's a pleasant fantasy.
How about Vermont. It is perhaps the most liberal state. And there are fairly desolate areas that could be developed without incurring the wrath of the locals. Especially since there is high unemployment and an atheist enclave would spur an economic boom without the enmity that would occur almost anywhere else. There would of course be some environmental opposition to development.
Sounds good to me, except the environmental risks. Right next to some skiing, too. I would be all for moving there and starting an atheist, leftist society. Now what do we do? :-)

Get the word out. Locate area(s) suitable for development. Think about the vast numbers who came from Europe to settle in Salt Lake City-in conestogas, on foot. And for what? Lies.  Why wouldn't there be an impetus to settle among friendly, like-minded individuals. Vermont is a gem. It is beautiful. Organic food, dairy, places for recreation and to appreciate nature.

One of the issues I sometimes contemplate is to what extent atheists will improve government and morality. I know things cant be worse. Does the individual who has lost her faith also jettison the morality of superstition? There have been socialist experiments. Why not atheist?

As such, atheism is not a political position. It is a philosophical position, which is to say it deals essentially with metaphysics and epistemology, but what we can derive from that as far as ethics and political philosophy is virtually as wide as anything which other philosophies have done, whether theological or not. I see no point in an atheist community which is not expressly leftist/socialist. This country already has something quite close to libertarianism, and so I think a turn to the right is just more of the same. But you are right, just any atheist society would not necessarily, or even probably, be much better than anything we already have. This is why I have spent the good majority of my life contemplating ethics and, to a lesser extent, politics. A clear moral agenda is essential to providing a foundation for a clear political agenda. I have my own theory of ethics which I have been working on, and I would push for a society based on its principles and would reject one which had clear contradictory principles in mind. But even still, there are many questions I have as to what would be the best political doctrine. There are too many variables to consider. Even still, one has to start somewhere. Vermont sounds great, and if I can find some kind of a following I will try to lead some kind of a movement either there or somewhere else of similar virtues. And it would have to be a socialist experiment of sorts for me, anything either more to the left (communism??) or more to the right (capitalistic "democracy" which devolves into plutocracy?) seems quite imbalanced and pointless.

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