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  #11  
Old 11-30-2007, 03:41 AM
Taso Taso is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

[ QUOTE ]
A People's History of the US, Howard Zinn. Hopefully the title is right.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not surprised you suggested this. While I don't agree with Zinn on a lot, I think it is a good book to read as it does cover a lot of key American history.
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2007, 03:50 AM
goodsamaritan goodsamaritan is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

I would suggest reading Plato's Republic for a philosophical background to modern politics. Don't be deterred by the people who disdain the book because of its conclusions but don't understand the positive that comes with the thought process stimulated by the book.
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  #13  
Old 11-30-2007, 04:21 AM
vulturesrow vulturesrow is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

I agree that the Federalist papers are a great place to start. Also concur with the recommendation on Plato. I'll try to give some specific books at a later point, but allow me to throw out the following. Basically, there are several key contributors to the American polity. Greek philosophical writings on the nature of the state, the Roman system of government, English common law, and the ethical heritage of the Judeo-Christian religions. So basically anything you can read on those things will help you gain a better understanding of how America came into being. I'll try to come up with some specific titles, Im too tired right now though. Hope this helps
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  #14  
Old 11-30-2007, 05:18 AM
ALawPoker ALawPoker is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

[ QUOTE ]
What are the first five books I should read?

I realize that we're supposed to keep one-line posts to a minimum, but as I said, I don't really know anything. I'd like to learn though.

[/ QUOTE ]

You don't need to read books. You just need to take Ferris Bueller's advice, and stop and look around once in a while.

This is what's important to understand first:

-"Politics" is human behavior.

-Politicians have a lot to personally gain by winning elections.

-The strategy of a politician (or at least the ones who tend to win) is to do and say whatever is required to win. Politicians that do not have an effective strategy will tend to die out.

-The average Joe does not make expert decisions on difficult decision X, Y, and Z, because he A.) is not necessarily an expert on the matter and B.) does not necessarily have a vested interest in the result. His opinion on most things that the politician speaks of will be naturally haphazard.

-In democracy, the average Joe votes for people he thinks offer the best solution to problems.

-What each party stands for becomes a loose reflection of the Joes' collective ideas, in a strategic attempt to win more support than the other side.


The rest is just details. Before you learn too much, it's good to make sure you have a grasp of what drives the mechanism.
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  #15  
Old 11-30-2007, 05:33 AM
AlexM AlexM is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

[ QUOTE ]
I would suggest reading Plato's Republic for a philosophical background to modern politics. Don't be deterred by the people who disdain the book because of its conclusions but don't understand the positive that comes with the thought process stimulated by the book.

[/ QUOTE ]

That book bothered me soooo much. Not because of the conclusions but because of the fact that I wanted to argue back and couldn't! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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  #16  
Old 11-30-2007, 05:54 AM
tame_deuces tame_deuces is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

"The prince" by Machiavelli is an entertaining read. Not because it is very endearing, but it WILL put politics into a historical context for you.

And don't trust stuff blindly. Political history is a bit of of mesh between history, law, philosophy & economics and often strongly coloured by opinion of individuals in those fields.
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:33 AM
clowntable clowntable is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

"Economics in one Lesson" - Henry Hazlitt
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  #18  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:11 AM
valenzuela valenzuela is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

Buy a book on introduction on political philosophy, political ideas throughout time or something along that line.
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  #19  
Old 11-30-2007, 10:02 AM
zasterguava zasterguava is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

Firstly, don't read the constitution if you are only going to read 5 books. The constitution is too ambiguous and quite honestly if you approach it in a favourable light your doing yourself a huge disfavour. Basically, Ron Paul, Goldwater et al are unwittingly proposing an anti-democratic 'slave state' in their unflinching admiration of the constitution and in their tiresome rhetoric thereof.

If you are interested in politics concerning the best way to enslave and uphold the power and interest of the business elite you'll probably like the Constitution and Madisons proclamation that the sole aim of it is to 'protect the opulent minority against the majority' which he later refuted stating that the 'opulent minority' had become private power/ the business elite becoming the 'tools and tyrants of government.'

I would recommend Bakunin's 'God and State' to instill a cynical and critical outwards looking approach to everything you later read on politics and the framing of society.
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  #20  
Old 11-30-2007, 10:52 AM
scorcher863 scorcher863 is offline
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Default Re: I don\'t know anything about politics

If you are serious about educating yourself, I would suggest buying an American Federal Government textbook or enrolling in an AFG class at your local community college. Teachers can speed up the learning process. My basic understanding of the american political system came entirely from this class.

The class will take you through all the positions and processes of the government and provide historical insight.
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