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Anarchy, Socialism, Communism, and community gardens

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make total destroy
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#571

Posted 19 February 2017 - 04:45 PM

You can have solidarity with trans women but not with random men who claim to be women? He is not a trans woman, he is an ordinary, gender conforming man. If you say this obvious dude is a woman then you are somewhat legitimising him. 

You're framing the entire incident as 'women vs. men in drag', though. You talked about 'deadnaming' the person responsible. You implied it was a trans* woman that was responsible for this, so I'm just going off what you've said about the incident. I only briefly skimmed the article, but what I gathered from it is that misguided activists--activism is generally misguided anyway, and largely a waste of time--trashed a women's space. That's a sh*tty, f*cked up thing to do, but it's representative only of those that participated, and no one else. There is no need to draw a line in the sand, there is no need to prop up these 'either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists'-esque dichotomies. It's all nonsense.

 

Can we talk about something else? Anything else?

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El Diablo
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#572

Posted 19 February 2017 - 09:20 PM Edited by El Diablo, 19 February 2017 - 10:17 PM.

Can we talk about something else? Anything else?

well, I tried to shift the conversation towards the issue of vacant housing and rampant homelessness.

which easily applies to both the UK and the US in terms of private property exploitation.

 

 

there's also these hardcore rebels who gave themselves AIDS in order to receive better welfare from the state than they were otherwise entitled to as "just" homeless people...

 

 

so that's pretty fascinating.

if you guys want to keep on this TERF/Feminism/Transgender argument so be it but it's going off topic at this point.

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Triple Vacuum Seal
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#573

Posted 20 February 2017 - 12:24 AM Edited by Triple Vacuum Seal, 20 February 2017 - 12:24 AM.

there's also these hardcore rebels who gave themselves AIDS

 

God I hope not. HIV is bad enough. :monocle:

 

 

But on the topic of homelessness, it's partly a visibility issue.  The panhandling stereotype minimizes the perceived scope of the problem.  Just because relatively few folks are begging on the streets (but tons in my city), the problem is seen as not affecting very many.  In reality, there are many families just one paycheck or accident away from being in a shelter.  Even at that point, their homelessness wouldn't be visible.  Imprisonment hides the problem too.


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#574

Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:28 AM Edited by Mister Pink, 05 April 2017 - 12:28 AM.

Ah, Los Frikis. 

 

There's a good Radiolab episode about those. You should give it a listen. 

 

http://www.radiolab....ory/los-frikis/


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#575

Posted 05 April 2017 - 08:11 AM

Homelessness is not a visibility problem. In London in the west end, one of the main theatres (don't know the one I am an uncultured oaf) is playing Harry Potter and the Cash Cow, a few months ago I walked past it in the morning and there were hundreds of tourists taking pictures of the wonderfully expensive sign hanging from the theatre and underneath was a homeless guy sleeping on the stairs with a mattress and blanket. I can guarantee that guy was cropped out of most of the tourist pictures. Camden is filled with the homeless after they were all shunted out of Euston and King's Cross a few years ago. People want it to be an invisible problem.

 

There are more abandoned buildings in London alone than there are homeless people in England. sh*t, ten of the luxurious empty buildings dotted around central London could house them all comfortably. I know that for people on the streets the issue is more than just finding somewhere safe to sleep, but it's a f*cking start. 

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#576

Posted 06 April 2017 - 05:45 PM Edited by Mister Pink, 06 April 2017 - 05:57 PM.

I know that seems like the logical thing to do, empty spaces, fill them. There's just so many other things to consider and hurdles to jump in order for such a thing to happen. It's not so black and white as people like to believe. 

 

Those abandoned buildings, do they pass fire-safety regulations? Are they insured if someone has an accident in them? If they're government-seized buildings and they're waiting to be demolished or re-sold, is the state going to get sued if someone has an accident on that property. How do we keep the places drugs and alcohol free? Is their ample separate toilet facilities and plumbing required for males and females? Is there a curfew in place? Is there 24hr security and staff to maintain that the premises is not being misused for drinking, drugs or prostitution? Who is footing the bill for all this? 

 

Also, It's not like all the abandoned buildings are owned by one person or organization. It's many different people and organizations with many different priorities with many other of their own issues, legal battles, disputes, business, family matters etc. It's just a lot more complex that it just being an empty space and offering it up. And it's more complex because we made it like that to protect the majority of us, such as having to have a premises insured in case someone has an accident on the property.

 

This isn't an argument against offering up available spaces for homeless. It frustrates me to see wasted space and people in need. I've spent a few nights sleeping rough on the streets myself and I've worked with homeless people. I understand how hard it is, albeit for only for a few nights but I understand the loneliness, feelings of despair, hunger, not knowing where the next meal is coming from, drug abuse etc. I just wanted to offer some food for thought on the other side of the coin. 

 

And I'm not going to be popular saying this but not all homeless are innocent victims either. Anecdotal, but a huge percentage of homeless people I met were criminals, in and out the prison system for drug offences, violence towards their partners, burglary and so forth. There are some that wont help themselves. Not to say they shouldn't be helped to try rehabilitate but it adds to concerns about some homeless. Some people end up homeless and fall through the cracks in our society and it's unfortunate, others make repeated bad choices in their lives over and over.

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#577

Posted 07 April 2017 - 01:15 AM

Well, when you are a homeless person with no-one and nothing left, you don't have any chance to help yourself though. It's like "they should just get a job", right, but who will offer a job to someone who hasn't got a haircut, hasn't shaved, hasn't bathed, hasn't dressed in decent clothes in days/weeks/months/years? It's not as simply as "they won't help themselves". 

sh*t, imagine they have to send a resume. How will they write one? What if it has to be online? How will they get access to it? It's easy for us to solve those issues because we have the interwebs and all, and we can easily find the solutions we need. Plus we also smell and dress reasonably well.

 

Your concerns about the buildings and living conditions are fair. But as an emergency measure, they can work even without those regulations. When there are disasters, regulations go out the window to help the families affected. I'm sure the local auditorium wasn't made with the intention of having hundreds of people living there for an indeterminate amount of time. But they do. Similar with abandoned buildings, find out the minimum requirements for living (which probably aren't that big), and create the standards. Get volunteers to help out ensure everything is ok and presto. Isn't that how soup kitchens and shelters work? 

 

As for who foots the bill; society does. Take a portion of tax money out of the military, and apply it to managing these things, actually giving these people a second chance. The benefits will eventually outweigh the costs as some of those homeless become active and productive members of society™ and start paying taxes from their living. 

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#578

Posted 07 April 2017 - 08:19 PM

I think it's just a sad fact of life that homelessness will always exist. I don't think the issue is just a lack of available homes, it's that not everyone can function within society. My mum has had severe mental health issues her whole life and without her family supporting her she would undoubtedly have been homeless. We forced her to attend appointments, managed her affairs, helped her with her finances, gave her emotional and spiritual support etc. Not everyone has that support structure, and without it, you can fall outside of the system. With some people society can step in, like people who have clear developmental disabilities like Down's Syndrome, you can easily prove they're not fit to support themselves and even if they have no friends or family the state will care for them and be their legal guardians and custodians. That keeps them in the system and ensures they're looked after.

 

But you can't do the same for people without such obvious legally defined vulnerabilities. Unless someone is a threat to other people or themselves, in which case they get institutionalised in a mental health facility or even a prison, society can't just take over their lives and force them to look after themselves and get their sh*t in order. You can't forcefully make someone a functioning member of society. Some people have issues or make bad choices, sometimes through their own fault and sometimes not, which means they end up in sh*tty situations and/or can't function as a normal member of society and they end up on the streets.

 

It's inevitable that some people will fail and never recover, no matter how much support they may get. It's sad and sometimes tragic, but unfortunately I think it's unavoidable.

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#579

Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:39 AM

Oh yeah because it's so taxing to sit in the air conditioned cab of plant machinery and push levers all day. Come on, you really think modern construction actually required any kind of physical exertion? This isn't the 1930's. That's why builders are always f*cking fat. I probably exert more energy sat at my desk.

 

Really, i generally do not go into this kind of threads because of my ignorance on such subjects, and i neither like to go off topic much, but wow, to consider being a builder an easy job that does not require a really healthy physique ever is quite ignorant.

 

Sure size of constructions does not say a lot about how much energy from the workers it costed to build said construction, but i sure can say that building crap for people can be exhausting as f*ck.

 

Worst are medium to heavy renovations at hard to reach areas, but just breaking off your standard brick wall with a concrete breaker for a whole day even at the most ideal of conditions is gonna put physical pressure on a person.

Same for bringing in 25 kg bags of concrete, carrying ruble out of houses, any work that revolves around going up and down stairs a lot, ect...

 

If you see a builder being really overweight, it is either because that kind of builder is specializing into something like being a plummer, controlling cranes, flushing walls, and other things like that.

 

Or...and this is also pretty common, they are the kind of idiot that is first gonna nearly starve themselves to death during the day, delaying the moment to take in a proper meal, or just skipping a proper meal entirely, or/and then is stuffing themselves full at the end of the day with anything they can eat.

Last thing is very common among the ones that lead the teams and such so far i have seen.

 

Also none of that hard work is gonna do what some kind of workout is gonna do, except for giving you more muscular arms, giving you more stamina and making you tired at the end when all is done for the day.

But yea, any limbs, the back, hand and feet are at risk of being forced by to much strain being put on them.

 

And again, this all depends on the work given.

Not gonna lie, in the 3 years i worked at such a place i also got plenty of days were all i was doing was filling up holes with concrete, flushing small gaps and just cleaning tiles...but yea, do even that kind of sh*t for a few days and even with some soft protection under your knees you will be feeling what you have done, even though there will no evidence of it except for a few stains on your trousers.

 

Really, i got no sources on those things except my own experience, you got to trust me on this one :p


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#580

Posted 08 April 2017 - 06:56 AM

I don't for a minute want to suggest that every part of construction is free from all manual toil, but a great many aspects of it are. Bricklaying and similar types of activity are obviously going to be very physical, but they're starting to become the exception rather than the norm, especially in civil construction where most buildings are made up of precast or prebuilt elements. And insinuating that women are too physically feeble to do them is, to be frank, f*cking stupid.
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#581

Posted 14 April 2017 - 10:34 AM

Is this thread open for Trotskyists such as myself or is it purely Anarchism? Asking just so I don't get into trouble and make a gulag or ice pick or comment that no one likes.

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#582

Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:16 PM Edited by make total destroy, 14 April 2017 - 03:18 PM.

Sure. I mean, no one likes Trots--not even Trots like Trots--but you can post in here. There was an ML posting here a while back before he got banned.

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#583

Posted 14 April 2017 - 07:24 PM

Fwiw, he didn't get banned just for being a tankie. We're not THAT harsh.

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#584

Posted 03 May 2017 - 06:53 PM Edited by Switch, 03 May 2017 - 09:53 PM.

You can be whatever you want, it's probably just pure ideology anyways :)

 

http://imgur.com/a/p7qv2

 

This the best thing i've seen in a while haha.

 

My favorite one: 

 

nfzAZC1.jpg

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#585

Posted 21 June 2017 - 07:11 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 21 June 2017 - 07:45 PM.

 

It also takes a serious dose of cognitive dissonance to condemn capitalism and at the same time use modern technology.

Right, because there can be no progress without capitalism? You do know capitalism is a fairly new invention, right? And a lot of research done isn't done because of capitalism; but in spite of it.

A significant part of innovation comes straight out of publicly funded university research. But it is then effectively distributed through markets. It's a state/market combo, and if anything else would've been more efficient we would've practiced that in stead. Capitalism isn't very new. Markets have existed for thousands of years, and industrialism for hundreds.
 

Ah, yes, globalization, the very recent phenomenon. What do you say then of the fact that the rich have controlled lands and resources since... wealth has been invented? Since someone decided divine right give them power over everyone else?

Up until the sixties income inequality was declining. But since then significantly due to globalization it has been increasing in most highly developed countries.
 

Cuba

They had some decent social policy but they didn't exactly economically thrive. You are also missing the 'at least not as consistently' part of the quote, and you are continually quoting things out of context in similar ways.
 

Freetown Christiania has existed since the 70s. So has Marinaleda. Everywhere else that was beginning to be a success was eventually stomped down by the status quo. Clearly if such a system was fated to fail, as you preach, they may as well just have left them to self-destruct.

I don't deny anarchism is possible in tiny communities.

 

There is absolutely no contradiction between participating in society and demanding change in society.  

*Typing on Iphone "Capitalism is corrupt!"*

 

So you are saying that the rich are more intelligent than us? Crazy! The rich are very, very stupid, which you would know if you interacted with them. The bourgeoisie are not an abstraction they are very real, very useless people.

The crux of my point is really that there are natural differences in ability between people, and existing differences in competence, and that socialist theory underestimates these things, because they often pretend human beings are blank slates with no free will, and therefore everything is arbitrary and corrupt. And that is false.
 

The Soviet Union, obviously. 

Haha, the Soviet Union indeed guaranteed employment. That's so funny.
 

You have repeatedly claimed that Capitalism is 'human nature.' 

It seems somewhat 'unnatural' to live in nation states with populations of several million people, but that does seem to be the most succesful way to live, and it has provided us with enormous wealth. Under those circumstances capitalism is the only effective system.

What I really argue for is that strict egalitarianism is unnatural. Indigenous collectivist societies have very strict social hierarchies and roles. I don't think radical egalitarianism is natural or desirable.
 

Well yeah, if you just arbitrary exclude the territories where all of their crimes were committed they do look p squeaky clean. 

That's a reasonable point actually. But as opposed to you I don't really think we have an alternative to capitalist nation states that is realistic. And I think the foreign policy aggression is possibly more manageable than the constistently oppressing your own population and throwing them into poverty.

Actually any social theorist worth their salt supports some kind of transition to direct democracy. In fact it's the most banal solution to externalities. You'd be hard pressed to find any credible critiques. This is just VSP dogma. 

 

Direct democracy would be a complete disaster in practice. It would be impossible to make competent political decisions, have international economic cooperation, and effective distribution. It would create the most amazing amount of incompetence, bureaucracy and coercion you would've ever seen. It would inevitably fail and turn completely authoritarian.

Yeah except you can't do that (learn from history, and learn whether a certain ideology is corrupt).

You can.


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#586

Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:08 AM

Capitalism isn't very new.

Capitalism emerged only a few hundred years ago. It's still relatively new.

 

 

Markets have existed for thousands of years, and industrialism for hundreds.


 

Capitalism =/= 'markets'. Capitalism =/= 'industrialism'. Unless you think feudal societies and slave societies were capitalist because 'lol they had markets and produced things'?

 

 

*Typing on Iphone "Capitalism is corrupt!"*

 

 

 

 

*Transferring ink with printing press "Feudalism is corrupt!"*


I'm pretty sure people in workshops make iPhones. I don't think capitalism just conjures them up like a sorcerer.

 

 

Are iPhones also human nature?

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Eutyphro
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#587

Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:51 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 22 June 2017 - 03:08 AM.

The main error is the idea that human nature is a historical, economical, and social construct, and nothing more,
 

So I take it then that you believe there to be an inherent 'human nature'? Can you perhaps define 'human nature' in terms other then 'the reason communism won't work lol'? Is your definition of 'human nature' all-encompassing? That is, did people living in primitive communist societies have the same 'nature' as those living in slave societies? Did people living in feudal societies have the same 'nature' as those living in capitalist societies?

That people are motivated by rewards, and hard work should be rewarded. That competence varies greatly between individuals and is relevant. That competent and experienced individuals should have more influence. That people are morally responsible for their own actions and not mere products or victims of their environment. That men and women are different. And yes, that is constant.

You say, 'primitive communist', but such primitive peoples don't really live according to some nihilistic radical egalitarianism. They are communist in the sense only that they don't have our concept of private property and share almost everything. But apart from that, they are generally deeply religious and generally believe in some form of animism. And their religious and moral ideas direct almost all their behavior, including a social hierarchy based on tradition, including factors like heritability, competence or experience. They generally have a deep sense of pride for their own culture. They are not in the slightest like a modern antifa member or SJW. Politically and morally they are ultra conservative. Conservative moral concepts like authority, in group loyalty and sanctity have a more decisive influence in their lives than in even the most conservative Christian you can find.
 

 

Markets have existed for thousands of years, and industrialism for hundreds.

Capitalism =/= 'markets'. Capitalism =/= 'industrialism'. Unless you think feudal societies and slave societies were capitalist because 'lol they had markets and produced things'?

 

beverly-hills-antifa-bevhillsantifa-port

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#588

Posted 23 June 2017 - 08:02 AM

A significant part of innovation comes straight out of publicly funded university research. But it is then effectively distributed through markets. It's a state/market combo, and if anything else would've been more efficient we would've practiced that in stead. Capitalism isn't very new. Markets have existed for thousands of years, and industrialism for hundreds.

Several points: 1) if we have a market system we will produce technology which is convenient to produce in a market system ie individual consumer technologies. So if you lived in a non-market system with communal technology you'd think a market system seems inefficient.

 

2) Markets are incapable of hi-tech development on their own and require public funding either from a government or a mutual bank. While market firms might then innovate on it or whatever they can only rapidly increase its complexity during consumer arms races, they don't do so as a rule. I don't know to what extent economists even claim that markets are just inherently more efficient, since that would mean ignoring that the largest periods of economic growth under Capitalism are associated with command economy. They'll tell you China is a success of market economies, but let's not take the piss. 

 

3) The idea that the state is dedicated to efficiency to the extent that it'll shrug off it's own elite, so Capitalism must be super efficient, is absurd cartoonish logic. I can't believe some of the points you're making. 

 

4) I don't know what you mean by 'effectively distributed.' Do you just mean because of price signals? Because Capitalism is associated with massive waste. It's so unresponsive in fact, that the rich have their money in coal, not uranium, so we all have to die. 

 

 

 

*Typing on Iphone "Capitalism is corrupt!"*

Have you ever heard me say that Capitalism is 'corrupt'? It's just a sh*tty deal for me. Like as far as I'm concerned items in stores are mine and the only thing stopping me from acting as such is a gang of loonies called the police, who've decided our whole neighbourhood belongs to some random guys who own various pieces of it through limited liability trusts, which is an insanely specific collective delusion. 

Smartphones are nice, everyone else has one, it fits in my pocket, I don't have to answer for owning one. Especially since they demanded I give them strange papers that prove I deserve to have one somehow, which I provided. I didn't know I also had to love the people who contracted, brutalised and under-compensated the labourers who produced it in order to use one. 

 

 

 

The crux of my point is really that there are natural differences in ability between people, and existing differences in competence, and that socialist theory underestimates these things

Does it? Saying people should have the same access to goods and services doesn't mean you reject meritocracy. In fact I don't really see how Capitalism functions as a meritocracy. It's marginally more mobile than the class systems that came before it, it's nothing to write home about and it doesn't mean society is ruthlessly assigning status based on competence. I don't even understand why you think it is. 

 

 

 

because they often pretend human beings are blank slates with no free will, and therefore everything is arbitrary and corrupt. And that is false.

tbh yeah people do that but only as a response to people chanting 'human nature' at them without thinking about how it contradicts their understanding of history. Generally if leftists have studied philosophy and know what 'tabula rasa' means they won't do this because they know it's incompatible with materialism. In fact step one of socialism is accepting that people had good reasons for building the social structures they did but that they have hee haw to do with our lives today. Concepts like 'ideology' and 'false consciousness' also concede a universal human morality.

 

 

 

Haha, the Soviet Union indeed guaranteed employment. That's so funny.

Oh right because of the gulags. Imagine if everyone time you tried to talk about policy from a country, people screamed a list of injustices from that country. You want to talk about Canada's paramedics and people scream at you about genocide. The Gulag and the employment office are distinct. The Soviet Union was an entire human society and not a rhetorically convenient constant train wreck. 

 

It seems somewhat 'unnatural' to live in nation states with populations of several million people, but that does seem to be the most succesful way to live, and it has provided us with enormous wealth. Under those circumstances capitalism is the only effective system.

Nation states exist on such a broad scale on human society that they are more a political phenomenon than a 'way of life' although I guess living under state tyranny is a way of life in way, nation or otherwise. You know the European states are old feudal kingdoms, and other states are modelled on them? They were also conventional empires before creating artificial national identities: France was just the area ruled by the French king etc. Capitalism is also pretty indifferent to them because it inherently tends towards standardisation. 

 

 

 

What I really argue for is that strict egalitarianism is unnatural. Indigenous collectivist societies have very strict social hierarchies and roles. I don't think radical egalitarianism is natural or desirable.

Right I don't know how to respond to these blunt comparisons between our society and tribal societies. The fact that they had their Elders means about as much to me as the guy across town who thinks he owns the grocery store. 

 

 

 

Direct democracy would be a complete disaster in practice. It would be impossible to make competent political decisions, have international economic cooperation, and effective distribution. 

See you're doing that thing where you're taking something that really isn't considered controversial and making it sound ridiculous. You're right if you had every single citizen vote on every piece of policy it wouldn't be manageable but there is literally no reason to do that and nobody has ever suggested doing that. You have various meetings with various purposes concerning various people. These meetings have specific agendas, rules and conventions. 

 

 

 

Yeah except you can't do that (learn from history, and learn whether a certain ideology is corrupt).

You can.

nah you can't take your vague perception of the seizure of power by the 10,000 strong Bolsheviks and apply it to the entire Russian Revolution which lasted for years and involved hundreds of millions of people. Like what is not clear here? Ideology (Marxism) arises, doesn't advocate dictatorship, Lenin advocates dictatorship, comes to power on the promise of dictatorship, becomes a dictator and then the Soviet state itself continued for the rest of its existence to differentiate between their dictatorship and all the Marxists who don't advocate dictatorship. 

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#589

Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:11 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 25 June 2017 - 10:39 PM.

Interestingly enough, the very fact that you think Marxism is something to be implemented just reveals that you don't really understand what Marxism is--it's a method of social inquiry, a general critique if you will; and communism is not a set of ideas or policies to be implemented, it's a class movement created by the premises of capitalism itself. We discern it simply as the negation of capitalism. 

I have pointed out, I'm aware Marxism is not a utopian theory describing how the perfect state would operate in practice. But it is not a mere thought experiment for philosophy classrooms either. It is a philosophy that has consequences for the real world, and implementations. In fact, it swept through large areas of the world, and caused large political transformation, because it is a very powerful ideology. And I am of the opinion that a thorough implementation will inevitably turn incedibly oppressive and destructive, because Marxism is mostly based on resentment and false ideas about human nature.
 

Saying Marxism doesn't take history into account is about one of the most absurd things I've heard, since the very understanding of class in Marxism is derived from a historical analysis,

A false, or at least incomplete, historical analysis. A historical analysis that makes false resentful conclusions, based on false social constructivist premises.
 

Do you actually think the Russian Revolution, started by a largely illiterate working class, happened because someone read a really neat chapter from the German Ideology?

So, your point is that philosophical and political theories and ideologies have no real life consequences? Ideas are powerless, because most people are unable to understand them? That's a strange and silly point to make.

That 'illiterate working class' became lead by resentful unsuccessful power hungry elites, as usual. I know you are aware of the role of vanguardism in Marxist theory, so this isn't very genuine of you. We still see that elites that chose educations that do not immediately provide much perspective towards material wealth gravitate towards radical leftism for the same reasons.
 

I should add that thinking that 'ideas' are responsible for the creation of certain kinds of societies is actually the main pillar of utopianism and qualifies you pretty solidly as an idealist.

Pointing out that ideas have real world effects and implementations doesn't make me an idealist. That's just a truism, and the fact that you disagree strikes me as absurd.

The question that is more interesting is where ideas originate. Are there innate ideas, archetypes, a human nature, or are there just socially constructed ideas with the intent of furthering the interests of the powerful and the privileged? I think both are true, but you probably completely go for option two.
 

Phenomena like neoliberalism simply reflect a certain composition of capital, they didn't come about because of what certain intellectuals wrote.

Ideas have people, just like people have ideas, in a way. People can be possessed by ideas. And yes, ideas arise in a historical context. But people are also responsible for how they consciously handle their ideas.

 

But some ideas are innate, or have shown themselves to not be the mere protectors of privilege, but the foundation of the success of Western civilization, and we can't change them every way we want, and transform human nature any way we want, or we'll destabilize and disrupt society and cause utter chaos.


Fonz
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#590

Posted 25 June 2017 - 11:58 PM Edited by Fonz, 26 June 2017 - 12:00 AM.

I have pointed out, I'm aware Marxism is not a utopian theory describing how the perfect state would operate in practice. But it is not a mere thought experiment for philosophy classrooms either. It is a philosophy that has consequences for the real world, and implementations. In fact it swept through large areas of the world, and caused large political transformation, because it is very powerful.

Marxism cannot, by definition, cannot have implementations as it is not a set of proposals to be implemented but rather a critique of the economy, class, society etc. with little to no prescriptive content. There's nothing to be implemented, and it didn't cause political transformation--political transformation was caused by the real-life movements and their struggles. That's a pretty crucial Marxist point. It's also interesting to note how the theoretical apologia produced by states born out of a counter-revolution (say, the USSR) was notoriously anti-communist and opposed to Marx himself, e.g. Stalin recognizing capitalism in the USSR but claiming it was somehow on a vague, undefined 'socialist' limbo that is diametrically opposed to Marxist theory, the very separation of 'socialism' and 'communism' into distinct modes of production or phases, the claim (echoed by Mao) that class struggle would intensify under socialism, Mao's sudden discovery of the revolutionary potential of the peasantry (again, completely opposed to the Marxist understanding of the peasantry and an obvious excuse for the lack of a Chinese proletariat at the time, since they had been killed in the Shanghai massacre earlier, a massacre brought about in part due to the CPC's collaboration with the KMT). So even in the realm of ideas themselves, the theory produced under those societies was actually in direct contrast with Marxist theory.

 

because Marxism is mostly based on resentment and false ideas about human nature.

Uh, what? What resentment? The historical importance of Marxism was precisely that it broke with the moralistic memery that made up what they called petty-bourgeois socialism, the utopianism that campaigned for a misguided notion of 'socialism' as an ideal to be established, without really understanding how capitalism functioned or the real meaning of class. That's what the term scientific socialism referred to: a scientific understanding of capitalism and the socialist movement from its real premises, doing away with moralistic abstractions. What Marx was doing was developing a critique of capitalism, not putting forward an alternative current of economics, which is why so-called Marxian economists are simply social democratic charlatans. What are these false ideas of human nature?

 

 

 

A false, or at least incomplete, historical analysis. A historical analysis that makes false resentful conclusions, and false social constructivist conclusions.

 

What exactly is false about it? Historical materialism is not anything as sophisticated as it sounds; it's actually quite a lapalissade at its core. Nobody denies that the technological revolution, or the development of the means of production, is conducive to the formation of new classes or that the scope of human possibilities in each epoch is limited by technological development, e.g. you couldn't go to the Moon in 1500 because the existing technology didn't allow you to do so. And what resentful conclusions? That opposing class interests lead to conflict?

 

So, your point is that philosophical and political theories and ideologies have no real life consequences? Ideas are powerless, because most people are unable to understand them? That's a strange and silly point to make.

Of course not. Ideas do have consequences if they are implemented, but this is in the sense of policies, not of revolutionary social movements, and the scope of feasible policies is itself largely constrained by the material reality of the world. The golden age of social democracy ended and neoliberalism became prominent because of a change in the composition of international capital on various levels, not because a group of pundits willed it. And this isn't some crackpot theory that only Marxists know about; you can read about this one example on any decent history of the Bretton Woods system, for example.

 

Back on track, my point is that workers don't need a benevolent self-appointed intellectual to explain to them that they are being exploited and they conduct their struggle on the basis of their own class interests, not because of what some theorist wrote. This is, again, quite a basic Marxist position. That one example was meant to illustrate how absurd it was to think that those people didn't have agency or awareness of their condition and acted on the basis of what a German intellectual wrote, in this case because it was very much impossible. There's a point to be made about Marxism as a theory having little to do with Karl Marx the individual, but that's a different conversation.

 

 

 

That 'illiterate working class' became lead by resentful unsuccessful power hungry elites, as usual. I know you are aware of the role of vanguardism in Marxist theory, so this isn't very genuine of you. We still see that elites that chose educations that do not immediately provide much perspective towards material wealth gravitate towards radical leftism for the same reasons.

 

That's an extremely lazy analysis of the Russian Revolution that doesn't really explain anything. The revolution lost because the international revolution was defeated, the most obvious examples being Germany and Italy, which is what paved the way for the destruction of class power in Russia and the prominence of the bureaucratic center. The Russian working class wasn't tricked (honestly a pretty classist interpretation there), they were physically defeated, and you can see manifestations of this all throughout the 1920s, what with Kronstadt, the disruption of the soviets and all that jazz. The vanguard in Marxism refers to the most advanced section of the class itself, not a group of outsiders that leads the class. For more on this, check out Bordiga, a left communist in the Italian tradition.

 

Pointing out that ideas have real world effects and implementations doesn't make me an idealist. That's just a truism, and the fact that you disagree strikes me as absurd.

That's not what I was arguing, though. I was specifically criticizing your notion that ideas were responsible for political change or the construction of societies in a certain way. That is the opinion that ideas shape the conditions of the world, rather than the material conditions of the world giving rise to certain ideas (materialism). I wasn't disputing that ideas have real world effects, but that requires, for example, material, political power for their implementation. Certainly they have consequences, but it's infantile to say that societies are born a certain way because of the ideas that some individuals had, and it neglects to comment on the real agent of that political change, which in this case is actually the whole point of the theory associated with those individuals (Marx and Engels).

 

 

 

The question that is more interesting is where ideas originate. Are there innate ideas, archetypes, a human nature, or are there just socially constructed ideas with the intent of furthering the interests of the powerful and the privileged? I think both are true, but you probably completely go for option two.

 

I wouldn't, for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't subscribe to 'mechanical materialism' of the Feuerbachian kind (and neither did Marx and Engels); I think there's interplay between the material and the ideal, as I said above. There's also the issue that analyzing history on the basis of the "powerful and privileged" tends to tie right into the liberal "1%" rhetoric, which is devoid of any class analysis and fails to understand the connection of things like class and race issues, for example, opting to speak in moralistic memes instead. I know what you mean and it does exist, but it's more related to 'woke leftism' of the r/socialism type than any kind of proper socialist analysis.

 

Ideas have people, just like people have ideas, in a way. People can be possessed by ideas. And yes, ideas arise in a historical context. But people are also responsible for how they consciously handle their ideas.

 

But some ideas are innate, or have shown themselves to not be the mere protectors of privilege, but the foundation of the success of Western civilization, and we can't change them every way we want, and transform human nature any way we want, or we'll destabilize and disrupt society and cause utter chaos.

 

It's obvious that humans have unique problems and you can see the different treatments of them throughout history, but that's more to do with the human condition, self-awareness and self-reflective capacities than any political persuasion per se. Communists don't deny innate human dispositions and I consider capitalism antithetical to it. You can see this in the way producers are alienated from their product and forced into largely collectivist associations wherein they are stripped of individuality--the individuality advocated under capitalism is, paradoxically, advertised through collective schemes of mass consumption and is only attained by a limited portion of society to the detriment of a large section, which is deprived of it, not to mention the maintenance of private property being anti-social and requiring violent structures to perpetuate itself. People like Oscar Wilde and Adorno pointed out this individualistic facet of emancipation and I'm inclined to agree with them. It's not a matter of transforming human nature any way we want, but more of an issue of seeing that it doesn't make much sense as a political concept most of the time, judging from the different dispositions of humankind faced with different conditions. I mean, I can find things written not that long ago to justify the divine right of kings through the concept of human nature, so evidently it tends to mean whatever one wants it to mean in political discourse and, again, doesn't describe anything substantially.

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Eutyphro
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#591

Posted 26 June 2017 - 04:13 AM Edited by Eutyphro, 26 June 2017 - 04:25 AM.

Marxism cannot, by definition, cannot have implementations as it is not a set of proposals to be implemented but rather a critique of the economy, class, society etc. with little to no prescriptive content. There's nothing to be implemented, and it didn't cause political transformation--political transformation was caused by the real-life movements and their struggles. That's a pretty crucial Marxist point.

I'm sure Marxist theory would want to put emphasis on the struggles of working class people, considering the entire moral legitimacy of the movement is derived from that. But I'm not convinced these working class people weren't manipulated by resentful power hungry intellectuals that did read Marx, because people are manipulable, and the relevance of individuals within movements is far from equally distributed. You always have a small set of people really pulling the strings.

Furthermore, Marx (and Engels) make many concrete proposals in the communist manifesto. Almost all of them to strengthen state power, and to undermine private property. We know how that turned out, when all the farmers in the Soviet Union that had even the slightest success were forced to collectivize. It was an utter disgrace and disaster.

 

What are these false ideas of human nature?

Mainly the tendency to pretend all societal privilege is gained through oppression and exploitation, and not through natural differences in talent, or relevant differences in conscientiousness. The case can be made that wealth most strongly correlates with being born with the right privileges. And this is wrong and should be minimized. But there are relevant differences between people, that in a free society will result in differences in reward or influence. Work that might be 'alienating' to someone with a 120 IQ might be properly stimulating to someone with an IQ of 85. And for every person at a decent university with an IQ of 115 and up, there is such a person with an IQ of 85 and under.

It's an error to think that transforming social institutions will radically transform human nature, and suddenly turn human beings completely altruistic and good, which is what naive socialists think.
 

Nobody denies that the technological revolution, or the development of the means of production, is conducive to the formation of new classes or that the scope of human possibilities in each epoch is limited by technological development, e.g. you couldn't go to the Moon in 1500 because the existing technology didn't allow you to do so.

I know. I read that part of the manifesto. The analysis in the manifesto is spot on actually. But it leads to false conclusions, because the analysis is based on a range of assumptions that is not by any means complete. The thesis that society is a big power struggle where different classes of society compete for resources is true to a limited extent, but it is not the whole story. I can understand that Marx and Engels, having seen the conditions of the early English industrial period would be lead to such cynicism, but especially in the context of modern society where we have left these conditions behind, such deep cynicism is not justified. Now I know you are going to say we outsourced those working conditions to the third world, and you'd be right, but that complicates this discussion too much, and makes it stray off topic.
 

Of course not. Ideas do have consequences if they are implemented, but this is in the sense of policies, not of revolutionary social movements, and the scope of feasible policies is itself largely constrained by the material reality of the world. The golden age of social democracy ended and neoliberalism became prominent because of a change in the composition of international capital on various levels, not because a group of pundits willed it

I know, which is exactly the sort of realist kind of thought that has increasingly made me skeptical of, may I say, bourgeois idealist leftist hipster hullsh*t, based on a combination of naivety and a desire for signalling virtues. But this doesn't mean we can't make choices in the real world based on ideology. That has happened many times. Rather what it tells us that when we do so, and deny reality, we will fail and cause misery and poverty. So when we guide our ideas about immigration on some bullsh*t hippie notion of a borderless world where everyone lives in peace, we are prone to creating a f*cking disaster.
 

That's an extremely lazy analysis of the Russian Revolution that doesn't really explain anything.

I don't know enough about the Russian revolution, or even about Marxism for that matter. But we got tied up in this discussion because I made the claim that Marxism has caused millions of deaths. I should learn more about Marxism and the Russian Revolution. I want to read Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution by Leszek Kolakowski.
 

Communists don't deny innate human dispositions and I consider capitalism antithetical to it.

Societies on the scale of millions of people are kind of problematic from the perspective of evolved human dispositions. But it has proven an effective way to gain wealth and safety from agression by other societies (or, to be more cynical, more effective at dominating others). Under these circumstances the type of liberalism we have is far more in line with respect for individualism, and freedom from coercion by others, than radical egalitarianism. On the scale of modern society, radical egalitarianism would be incredibly oppressive and coercive. Kant defined political freedom as the freedom from coercion by others, and I think he was right. Left wingers underestimate coercion by the collective, or possibly the state. Right wingers underestimate coercion by unrestricted private tyranny. The challenge for a decent modern society is to be able to limit these two possible tyrannies, but still be able to cooperate economically on a global scale, and make competent political decisions, and I think some modern Western countries don't do that bad of a job.
 

I can find things written not that long ago to justify the divine right of kings through the concept of human nature, so evidently it tends to mean whatever one wants it to mean in political discourse and, again, doesn't describe anything substantially

The fact that people in positions of power interpret terms to further their own interests, and for propaganda, doesn't mean the terms are obsolete or meaningless.
 

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Fonz
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#592

Posted 26 June 2017 - 06:17 PM Edited by Fonz, 26 June 2017 - 06:21 PM.

I'm sure Marxist theory would want to put emphasis on the struggles of working class people, considering the entire moral legitimacy of the movement is derived from that. But I'm not convinced these working class people weren't manipulated by resentful power hungry intellectuals that did read Marx, because people are manipulable, and the relevance of individuals within movements is far from equally distributed. You always have a small set of people really pulling the strings.

It's a bit problematic to say they were manipulated. It's more the case that they were left powerless when the revolution failed. As far as Lenin and the Bolsheviks go, they were important in revitalizing the soviets and organizing, yes, but I don't believe the success or failure of the revolution was tied to their whims as individuals, and there wasn't much they could do about that in particular, regardless of their intentions (people like Bukharin or Kollontai being good examples). They could have definitely been a less brutal government, though. I don't doubt Lenin was a proper Marxist, but the reality of being a statesman trumps personal intentions.

 

 

 

Furthermore, Marx (and Engels) make many concrete proposals in the communist manifesto. Almost all of them to strengthen state power, and to undermine private property. We know how that turned out, when all the farmers in the Soviet Union that had even the slightest success were forced to collectivize. It was an utter disgrace and disaster.

 

The proposals in the Manifesto are just put forward as immediate demands, though, they didn't have much to do with socialism. It was customary at the time (and still today, to some extent) to put forth some immediate proposals at the end of your manifesto so as to give it some short-term visibility. In one of the prefaces written some decades later (1880s? maybe early 1890s) Engels comments that much of those demands had already been met in advanced capitalist economies, and this went on throughout the 20th century. I don't think it's something that socialists of today should really raise to a political principle.

 

 

 

Mainly the tendency to pretend all societal privilege is gained through oppression and exploitation, and not through natural differences in talent, or relevant differences in conscientiousness. The case can be made that wealth most strongly correlates with being born with the right privileges. And this is wrong and should be minimized. But there are relevant differences between people, that in a free society will result in differences in reward or influence. Work that might be 'alienating' to someone with a 120 IQ might be properly stimulating to someone with an IQ of 85. And for every person at a decent university with an IQ of 115 and up, there is such a person with an IQ of 85 and under.

 

I don't think anyone would oppose to that notion, but it's not what communists mean when they discuss equality--in this sense equality really refers to emancipation on a social level. There's a short piece by Lenin attacking some Russian academic for distorting that concept and I think it applies here as well: certainly people are different and in an emancipated society there would still be inequality in terms of popularity, influence etc., but there's nothing wrong with that. It's important that people can be different without fear and I'd rank that way above any creepily imposed notion of equality à la USSR.

 

As far as the alienation thing goes, it's mainly about the mechanization of a human's social life in repetitive processes rather than the difficulty of a certain job. In Marx's sense this was because he thought this mechanization and the whole condition of the wage-laborer prevented people from fulfilling their true potential as human beings, enrich themselves as they wished with their time etc. In this sense he did discuss a concept of human nature, but called it something like "species essence". Sure, labor is a basic human need, but it's the commodification of labor power that is alienating.

 

 

 

It's an error to think that transforming social institutions will radically transform human nature, and suddenly turn human beings completely altruistic and good, which is what naive socialists think.

 

Yeah, differing notions of human nature aside, I agree with this. I think one of the good things about socialism would be that it would alleviate people from having to live for others, whether this is in the sense of wage laborers sustaining their bosses (or capital, rather) or even charity schemes to mitigate the poverty that's reproduced by capitalism itself. There's an individualistic aspect to socialism and that's a great thing. Class struggle itself is egoistic in a way--workers struggle because of their own class interests, not out of altruism. Self-interest itself isn't bad, the problem is that so many people can't satisfy their interests.

 

 

I know. I read that part of the manifesto. The analysis in the manifesto is spot on actually. But it leads to false conclusions, because the analysis is based on a range of assumptions that is not by any means complete. The thesis that society is a big power struggle where different classes of society compete for resources is true to a limited extent, but it is not the whole story. I can understand that Marx and Engels, having seen the conditions of the early English industrial period would be lead to such cynicism, but especially in the context of modern society where we have left these conditions behind, such deep cynicism is not justified. Now I know you are going to say we outsourced those working conditions to the third world, and you'd be right, but that complicates this discussion too much, and makes it stray off topic.

 

Fair enough, but I don't think the extreme poverty is the main point. It's certainly a symptom, but the 'original sin' of capitalism is in the process of production itself. Workers still attempted revolutions in the postwar reconstruction period, which was probably the most comfortable form of capitalism until now as far as welfare and wages go. I won't go into the third world in order not to go off topic too much, but you can still see a clear misdirection of resources in the Western world largely because of the commodification of resources like housing, water, electricity and others. There's the issue of credit and finance as well, but it's a bit too long to go into and probably not that relevant since it's just a different facet of the same thing.

 

 

 

I know, which is exactly the sort of realist kind of thought that has increasingly made me skeptical of, may I say, bourgeois idealist leftist hipster hullsh*t, based on a combination of naivety and a desire for signalling virtues. But this doesn't mean we can't make choices in the real world based on ideology. That has happened many times. Rather what it tells us that when we do so, and deny reality, we will fail and cause misery and poverty. So when we guide our ideas about immigration on some bullsh*t hippie notion of a borderless world where everyone lives in peace, we are prone to creating a f*cking disaster.

 

You can definitely make decisions based on ideology and we know thinktanks and advisers are influential in politics, but a lot of policies from the past are unfeasible today because the landscape has changed quite a bit. I support the abolition of borders, but it's not something that can be willed into (in)existence or established by, say, the EU, so I agree that kind of idealism is built on a wrong principle, especially since the internationalism of those institutions is fake as hell.

 

 

 

I don't know enough about the Russian revolution, or even about Marxism for that matter. But we got tied up in this discussion because I made the claim that Marxism has caused millions of deaths. I should learn more about Marxism and the Russian Revolution. I want to read Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth, and Dissolution by Leszek Kolakowski.

 

That's a great one. Kolakowski himself is not a Marxist, I don't think, but he's a great historian of ideas and the book is very well written. The chapters on Marx's rivalries and the first International are fantastic.

 

 

 

Societies on the scale of millions of people are kind of problematic from the perspective of evolved human dispositions. But it has proven an effective way to gain wealth and safety from agression by other societies (or, to be more cynical, more effective at dominating others). Under these circumstances the type of liberalism we have is far more in line with respect for individualism, and freedom from coercion by others, than radical egalitarianism. On the scale of modern society, radical egalitarianism would be incredibly oppressive and coercive. Kant defined political freedom as the freedom from coercion by others, and I think he was right. Left wingers underestimate coercion by the collective, or possibly the state. Right wingers underestimate coercion by unrestricted private tyranny. The challenge for a decent modern society is to be able to limit these two possible tyrannies, but still be able to cooperate economically on a global scale, and make competent political decisions, and I think some modern Western countries don't do that bad of a job.

 

There's definitely a problem with raising collectivism to a political principle on the left, and I guess it helps to explain why tankies are a thing. It's important to have a nuanced understanding of individual freedom in relation to social emancipation, since socialism can't be adequately described by the dichotomy--it's a social system but one with a view towards individual liberation, so it's a sublation of the two things in a way. That's what attracted me to Adorno initially, and I suspect it's also why people like Stirner are very popular.

 

 

 

The fact that people in positions of power interpret terms to further their own interests, and for propaganda, doesn't mean the terms are obsolete or meaningless.

 

It's not that the concept itself is meaningless, but it's shaky, politically, and just hard to discuss in general, since it's pretty abstract and we don't know all that much about human nature.

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Melchior
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#593

Posted 30 June 2017 - 03:10 PM

 

No the point isn't an association with Conservatism itself but with American, rural, Anglo-Saxon Conservatism. As TVS points out, black people are themselves a conservative voting block. So are Catholics, but they don't vote Republican either. 

Modern American Conservatism is descended from old ethnic nationalism. It was founded to oppose integration through civic means as organisations like the KKK became less viable. 

The idea that all Anglo-Saxon Conservatism is derived from ethno nationalism is the sort of broad sweeping inaccurate nonsense you'd expect from some infantile SJW bullsh*tter, and I'd hope you could do better than that really.

You know Anglo-Saxon is an ethnicity? It doesn't just mean English speaking Conservatism. 

 

At any rate, the American Conservative movement was founded to oppose integration. This is a basic historical fact. Read an early issue of the National Review and tell me it isn't a white supremacist organisation. I don't know why this racist society being identified as such burns your ears. You're apparently sensitive enough to racial issues that you know white people shouldn't say Uncle Tom but not enough to understand why that terminology exists in the first place. 

 

 

 

Yes, and where it came from is Franfurter Schule Western civilization hating postmodern neo Marxists that had to repackage their ideology after the crimes of the Soviet Union became widely known.

Oh. Yeah, people saying there's no such thing as truth and you're a bourgeois imperialist implanting your narrative are all Marxists. But that's not what modern SJWs are, are they? They are centrist neoliberals trying to divorce progressivism from a commitment to economic justice. I don't know how you can tell me with a straight face that people who say that prostitution is justified because people choose it are not liberals. If you can say that and not be a liberal, what even is liberalism? 

 

 

 

 It didn't exactly come from John Locke, John Stuart Mill, or Immanuel Kant.

Obviously not but it did come from hundreds of years of appropriation and reinterpretation of the ideology they built. Consistent holding to their ideas lead to anarchism, not to modern liberalism, which is mainly interested in apologising for Capitalism. 

 

 

 

What I am simply noticing is that both political parties are corrupt and paranoid, and that it is tearing the country apart.

Yeah but it's pretty well established who relies more on things like gerrymandering. I mean I think you've lost sight of the fact that Republicans are just Democrats on crack. Their party was indefensible before it was lead by the guy from The Apprentice. I don't know why you've taken to defending them.

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Eutyphro
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#594

Posted 30 June 2017 - 05:26 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 30 June 2017 - 05:40 PM.

At any rate, the American Conservative movement was founded to oppose integration. This is a basic historical fact. Read an early issue of the National Review and tell me it isn't a white supremacist organisation. I don't know why this racist society being identified as such burns your ears. You're apparently sensitive enough to racial issues that you know white people shouldn't say Uncle Tom but not enough to understand why that terminology exists in the first place.  

I'm not surprised that a conservative magazine had contents that can be considered 'white supremacist' in the 1950's, before the civil rights movement. The idea behind conservatism is protecting the status quo and being weary of change, and at that moment many basic human rights for non whites had not yet been won. But we don't live in the 1950's anymore. And even in the 1950's conservatism had origins in classical liberalism. Consistently historically equating it with fascism is disingenuous. Fascism or 'ethnic nationalism' is not a conservative, but a reactionary movement. It intends to radically alter society and is at odds with liberalism and constitutional rights.

Consistently equating conservatism with 'ethnic nationalism', or some other veiled term for fascism, is as disingenuous as equating social democracy with Stalinism.
 

Oh. Yeah, people saying there's no such thing as truth and you're a bourgeois imperialist implanting your narrative are all Marxists. But that's not what modern SJWs are, are they? 

That's really exactly what SJW's are to a T, and how you fail to see it is incredible. Have you ever been at the university gender department where they are all indoctrinated with this nonsense, and where they write and publish their completely garbage unscientific pseudo philosophical articles? Furthermore, the Frankfurter Schule were all Marxists and Hegelians. That's not really controversial at all. Postmodernism arose out of Marxism.
 

They are centrist neoliberals trying to divorce progressivism from a commitment to economic justice.

Often they do divorce it from economic injustice, because they want to pretend to be from a victim class, and they were born well off. Or, because indeed like Hillary Clinton, they have a strange ideology where they both support Goldman Sachs and BLM. That's very strange indeed, but the identity politics aspect does not historically have an origin in liberalism.
 

I don't know how you can tell me with a straight face that people who say that prostitution is justified because people choose it are not liberals. If you can say that and not be a liberal, what even is liberalism?

It's because there has been an inflation of the slave morality of Marxism, to the point that 'victim classes', like prostitutes, can only be considered problematic from their own perspective. But I'm not even sure whether traditional leftists widely agree on prostitution. It seems that the idea that prostitution is fundamentally problematic, even if someone chooses it without it being their only possible life path, is a conservative opinion based on human dignity and decency.
 

If you can say that and not be a liberal, what even is liberalism? 

Liberalism is prioritizing the individual over the collective, which is at odds with reducing the individuality of people to membership of a victim class.
 

Obviously not but it did come from hundreds of years of appropriation and reinterpretation of the ideology they built. Consistent holding to their ideas lead to anarchism, not to modern liberalism, which is mainly interested in apologising for Capitalism. 

None of the classical liberals are fundamentally anti capitalist. How they think about private property varies greatly, but none of them think consumption should be centralized and allocated by the community.
 

I mean I think you've lost sight of the fact that Republicans are just Democrats on crack. Their party was indefensible before it was lead by the guy from The Apprentice. I don't know why you've taken to defending them.

I would vote Democrat, but that doesn't mean members here that support the Democrats over the Republicans can't make sh*tty arguments.


Melchior
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#595

Posted 01 July 2017 - 09:28 AM

I'm not surprised that a conservative magazine had contents that can be considered 'white supremacist' in the 1950's, before the civil rights movement. The idea behind conservatism is protecting the status quo and being weary of change, and at that moment many basic human rights for non whites had not yet been won.

Yeah because of publications like the NR, founded to specifically to oppose the civil rights movement. Same reason they took over the Republican Party. Read up on Goldwater's campaign. 

 

 

 

But we don't live in the 1950's anymore. And even in the 1950's conservatism had origins in classical liberalism.

Everything has its origins in classical liberalism. 

 

 

 

Consistently historically equating it with fascism is disingenuous. Fascism or 'ethnic nationalism' is not a conservative, but a reactionary movement. It intends to radically alter society and is at odds with liberalism and constitutional rights.

Fascism and ethnic nationalism are not synonymous. Before Nazi Germany you'd never use 'white supremacist' to describe (at this point Italian) fascism, but you would have used it to describe the US, Australia and other settler colonial societies, as well as the ideology of British state. The US is white supremacist, its Conservative movement is specifically an attempt to cling to that white character. This isn't to say that it is fascist or even authoritarian, beyond the inherent authoritarianism of racism. 

 

 

 

That's really exactly what SJW's are to a T, and how you fail to see it is incredible. Have you ever been at the university gender department where they are all indoctrinated with this nonsense, and where they write and publish their completely garbage unscientific pseudo philosophical articles? 

Yes and the term for that is liberal feminism. That's not what you're describing either, post-colonialism is the Marxist truth is imperialist thing. Postmodernists are not always SJWs. 

 

 

 

Furthermore, the Frankfurter Schule were all Marxists and Hegelians. That's not really controversial at all. Postmodernism arose out of Marxism.

And Marxism arose out of anarchism that doesn't mean Marxism is anarchist. 

 

You're not simply claiming that it's a historical development that the left is responsible for. You're saying that postmodernists are operating out of a leftist 'collectivist' framework and just refusing to address their obvious and vocal commitments to liberalism.

 

 

 

Often they do divorce it from economic injustice, because they want to pretend to be from a victim class, and they were born well off.

Yeah plus they're incapable of critiquing the economic system, because they are liberals. 

 

 

 

 But I'm not even sure whether traditional leftists widely agree on prostitution.

Then let me make it clear: traditional leftists universally are opposed to prostitution.

 

 

 

It seems that the idea that prostitution is fundamentally problematic, even if someone chooses it without it being their only possible life path, is a conservative opinion based on human dignity and decency.

You know it is very hard to follow your train of thought. If any argument based around human dignity is Conservative then I'm in the wrong political camp. 

 

 

 

It's because there has been an inflation of the slave morality of Marxism, to the point that 'victim classes', like prostitutes, can only be considered problematic from their own perspective. 

They aren't saying there's a class relationship between prostitutes and non-prostitutes. And 'victim class' is a term you made up so I don't know who you're quoting. 

 

 

 

 

Liberalism is prioritizing the individual over the collective

Well it isn't, because that would make it synonymous with individualism generally. It would also preclude states from being liberal. 

 

 

which is at odds with reducing the individuality of people to membership of a victim class.

 

Individualism is also at odds with the defense of institutions which regiment social life and force the vast majority of the populations to adapt themselves to a life of service, yet modern liberalism is still a thing. If I didn't think you were just using individualism to beat socialists over the head with I'd tell you to read some actual individualist literature, written in response to our social conditions and not those of a feudal society.
 

 

None of the classical liberals are fundamentally anti capitalist. How they think about private property varies greatly, but none of them think consumption should be centralized and allocated by the community.

 

 

hahah well I don't believe that either because it's gibberish. How does standardising access to consumption centralise it? What does 'centralising construction' even mean? Shocking, but individualism continues to evolve such that it now acknowledges the existence of mass production. Honestly saying things should be mass produced (therefore standardised) but we should varying access to it is just self-destructive. Someone is robbing you and you are thanking them, that's all liberalism is today. Nothing to do with these great thinkers and their heirs in the anarchist movement. 

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Eutyphro
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#596

Posted 01 July 2017 - 08:38 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 01 July 2017 - 08:41 PM.

 Everything has its origins in classical liberalism.

Sure, but some political philosophies are anti liberal. Both the far right and the far left are anti liberal.

 

Fascism and ethnic nationalism are not synonymous [...] The US is white supremacist, its Conservative movement is specifically an attempt to cling to that white character.

So, are you arguing the US is currently white supremacist? We got into this discussion because you argued the conservative movement in the US was 'ethnic nationalist', but read a bit about what William F. Buckley Jr. said in the National Review in the 50's, and you'll find out that though he is against desegragation, he isn't exactly David Duke. He doesn't think the United States should officially be a white nation, and blacks should be deported to Africa, or something along those lines. Calling him an 'ethnic nationalist' really seems inaccurate. What you also ignore is the history of white supremacy in the Democratic party. So are black members of the Democratic party therefore also all a bunch of Uncle Toms and house negros? It's a bunch of ridiculous nonsense, and it's really quite offensive and racist.
 

Yes and the term for that is liberal feminism.

A large group of them do claim to 'oppose capitalism'. But these feminist postmodern neomarxists are so intellectually vapid that they often hold incredibly contradictory and badly developed ideas. But what unites these people are leftist postmodern neomarxist ideas. I remember making a post on why it is hard to seperate postmodern neomarxist feminists, and neoliberal feminists who also embrace postmodern identity politics. I'll dig that post up.

To get back to the subject whether identity politics is leftist or liberal, I actually think that's a very interesting subject. What it seems to me is that a lot of movements with leftist goals have to an increasingly large extent allied themselves with neoliberals (even center right politicians with some limited progressive ideas like Hillary Clinton), because on the surface they share similar goals. For instance, neoliberals desire open borders because the free movement of people and capital is in the interest of corporate enterprise. Leftists want open borders because they have an idealistic desire for an anarchist utopia. Neoliberals like identity politics, because identity is a useful tool to make people resentful and passive and make people vulnerable to commercialism, and leftism thinks identity politics is a tool to liberate the oppressed from the oppressor. Neoliberalism likes feminism and the idea of the social construct because they see the economic benefits of forcing masculine norms on society as a whole, because masculine competitiveness and creativity are more valuable than classic femininity in an advanced economy. Leftists like feminism and the idea of the social construct because it justifies a battle against what they think is a patriarchal society where a construct of femininity is forced upon women to oppress them.
 

You're not simply claiming that it's a historical development that the left is responsible for.

Leftist identity politics originate in a history of anti liberal postmodern neomarxism.
 

You know it is very hard to follow your train of thought. If any argument based around human dignity is Conservative then I'm in the wrong political camp. 

I guess leftists would oppose prostitution because it is capitalism. Conservatives oppose it because it violates the sanctity of the human body. The reason why I was in doubt about the leftist position on prostitution was because leftists don't seem to support criminalizing prostitution in a capitalist society. Probably they think it should be disolved by disolving capitalism in general.
 

They aren't saying there's a class relationship between prostitutes and non-prostitutes.

That is what SJW's would say. They would see prostitutes as a victimized identity that society looks down upon.
 

Well it isn't, because that would make it synonymous with individualism generally. It would also preclude states from being liberal. 

Well, what is more individualist in your opinion? An anarchist commune where you are forced to share everything you have and the rest of the group has many ways to coerce you? Or a liberal and democratic state with constitutional checks to strongly limit the ways in which others can coerce you? It's a complex debate, but because the liberal state, due to the capitalist division of labor and due to scale, is far more effective at generating wealth, ultimately it will provide its citizens with far more freedom than the anarchist commune. But I could also understand the longing for the stronger social bonds of an anarchist commune. But that's personal preference really.
 

Individualism is also at odds with the defense of institutions which regiment social life and force the vast majority of the populations to adapt themselves to a life of service,

It's actually anarchism which forces people into service. Work needs to get done. Either you can force people through a bureaucracy, or you can pursuade people in a market system.
 

How does standardising access to consumption centralise it?

Because you'll need a central bureaucracy to determine how to allocate consumption goods.


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#597

Posted 03 July 2017 - 10:38 PM Edited by Fonz, 03 July 2017 - 11:02 PM.

Not to be pedantic, but that part about the Frankfurt School is a load of nonsense. The Frankfurt School were proponents of what came to be called critical theory, which was really just Marxism expanded to the era of advanced industrial capitalism. It was a German phenomenon, while post-modernism is a completely different tradition, a mostly French phenomenon that posed a counterpoint to Marxism and the 'traditional theories' in general, accusing them of determinism, with a good deal of its theorists being post-Marxists of some kind and others--like Foucault, the most prominent thinker associated with postmodernism--not being Marxists at all. It's pure confusion to identify one school with the other given they were distinct movements with different objects and methods: "deconstruction" is not Marxist terminology, for example. The postmodernists were more concerned with working towards a body of knowledge about several institutions that govern our daily lives, while critical theorists were more concerned with the general economic root of those institutions and the connection between, say, class issues and antisemitism (Adorno) or the theory of alienation and Freudian notions of sexuality (Marcuse) etc. There may be a link, though not a very strong one, between the Frankfurt School and the Situationist International, but definitely not between the Germans and the French postmodernists, who were more of a post-Mai 68 phenomenon anyway. The only thing they have in common is post-positivism, but that doesn't say much by itself. There's also the issue that postmodernism rejects the Marxist notion of the historical subject for the most part, which the Frankfurters, being principled Marxists, never did, of course.

 

The idea that the critical theorists were "haters of Western civilization" or whatever is also an antisemitic meme--although I know you didn't mean it as such--and a huge lie. Adorno's theory of aesthetics reveals him to be fully in touch with the Western canon, for example (you might even call him a classicist in a way), his positive view of liberalism in terms of Hegelian dialectics (i.e. its importance in the revaluation of the individual and as a step to modernity) and his radical understanding of emancipation all show that that kind of theory, which borders on a tinfoil hat conspiracy, is decidedly nonsense. I mean, Marcuse even worked with people from the OSS for a while, Benjamin's literary criticism is super focused on the Western canon as well and one of the most common criticisms of the Frankfurt School was Eurocentrism!

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#598

Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:36 PM Edited by Eutyphro, 09 July 2017 - 11:37 PM.

Not to be pedantic, but that part about the Frankfurt School is a load of nonsense. The Frankfurt School were proponents of what came to be called critical theory, which was really just Marxism expanded to the era of advanced industrial capitalism. It was a German phenomenon, while post-modernism is a completely different tradition, a mostly French phenomenon that posed a counterpoint to Marxism and the 'traditional theories' in general, accusing them of determinism, with a good deal of its theorists being post-Marxists of some kind and others--like Foucault, the most prominent thinker associated with postmodernism--not being Marxists at all.

The reason for me linking the Frankfurter Schule to postmodernism, is because they precede and inspire postmodernism, and because my limited knowledge of critical theory thusfar has been related to their critique of 'modernity' in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, where they wrongly associate Enlightenment rationality with fascism, eventhough fascism seems to be more strongly related to thinkers who glorify irrationality, and who have a tendency towards romanticism, like Rousseau and Nietzsche. Though in another way, enlightenment rationality is the cause of the rise of totalitarian political systems, because of the attack it made on religion and faith, as Nietzsche put it 'the death of God', which causes people to look for other comprehensive value systems, but that is not what Adorno and Horkheimer argue for. Furthermore, Foucault said he 'considers political anything that has to do with class struggle', which makes him a Marxist.
 

It's pure confusion to identify one school with the other given they were distinct movements with different objects and methods

The reason I linked these movements is because critical theory influenced postmodernism, and because it involves criticism of modernity. But this discussion has actually made me read more about critical theory and postmodernism to understand it better. Thusfar I've struggled to understand Hegel, and anything influenced by Hegel, so I'm currently improving my knowledge in that respect..
 

The idea that the critical theorists were "haters of Western civilization" or whatever is also an antisemitic meme

If you point to the enlightenment as the culprit for fascism, and talk about modern society almost exclusively in terms of 'oppression', then you are a hater of Western civilization in a way. That's not 'antisemitic'. Marxism is an attack on the values Western civilization has been built on. Adnorno's attack on it goes as far back as attacking Odysseus for being the first homo economicus.


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#599

Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:03 PM

The reason for me linking the Frankfurter Schule to postmodernism, is because they precede and inspire postmodernism, and because my limited knowledge of critical theory thusfar has been related to their critique of 'modernity' in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, where they wrongly associate Enlightenment rationality with fascism, eventhough fascism seems to be more strongly related to thinkers who glorify irrationality, and who have a tendency towards romanticism, like Rousseau and Nietzsche. Though in another way, enlightenment rationality is the cause of the rise of totalitarian political systems, because of the attack it made on religion and faith, as Nietzsche put it 'the death of God', which causes people to look for other comprehensive value systems, but that is not what Adorno and Horkheimer argue for. Furthermore, Foucault said he 'considers political anything that has to do with class struggle', which makes him a Marxist.

I mean, if you frame it like that, sure, but their accusation is much more subtle. The argument is that seeds of fascism are already contained in the premises of liberalism, not just in the theory it puts forward, but also in the form actually existing liberal societies take. I don't think this is too controversial: it's completely true that fascism is essentially the core of liberalism--the mode of production itself along with its economic laws, most of the political institutions--with the democratic niceties and civil liberties stripped away. Fascism was historically born out of economic crises and the decay of states, with, of course, the element of defeat being a key part used to exacerbate nationalist sentiments, especially in the Italian case. Fascism does represent a reaction against liberalism in part, ideologically, since it proposes explicitly reactionary solutions, but it also involves a preservation (in fact, an aggravation) of its core economic root, and this is why Adorno considers the seeds of fascism to be already contained in Enlightenment rationality and liberalism: the element of capital.

 

That doesn't make Foucault a Marxist. Recognizing that class struggle is a political struggle is not at all exclusive to Marxism: pretty much all modern sociology does it--including liberals of the Weberian school and, more recently, third-way social democrats like Giddens--, as do anarchists, whom I've always thought Foucault was closest to. I would also add that Foucault rejected the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, effectively rejecting Marxism, and that his theory of discipline laid out in Discipline and Punish is antithetical to Marx's own writings on the state and civil society. That's not to say there isn't merit to Foucault's attempt at drawing out a historical theory of justice and the paradigm shift brought about by the French Revolution, but he does generalize too much, which affects his historical accuracy quite a bit; it's the same issue with the History of Sexuality, fundamentally.

 

The reason I linked these movements is because critical theory influenced postmodernism, and because it involves criticism of modernity. But this discussion has actually made me read more about critical theory and postmodernism to understand it better. Thusfar I've struggled to understand Hegel, and anything influenced by Hegel, so I'm currently improving my knowledge in that respect..

Ah, I see. Well, the Frankfurters' critique of modernity is considerably different from the postmodernists' instrumentally--in terms of theoretical background--but also in the conclusions they reach. Postmodernism to me seems somewhat opposed to the formation of a body of theory as such, partly because they attempt to deconstruct the very foundations of those theories rather than put forward an alternative one. The reason I doubt there is a connection between the two is that the postmodernists, for the most part, seem to have ignored most of the contributions of the critical theorists or at least discussed them in very different terms. Of course they were/are concerned with more modern phenomena stretching out into globalization and up to today (e.g. Derrida and modern propaganda).

 

As for Hegel, he's definitely a tough read, but also a very rewarding one and overall one of the more interesting thinkers in Western philosophy as a whole. I'm also missing some important texts of his, like his lectures on aesthetics.

 

If you point to the enlightenment as the culprit for fascism, and talk about modern society almost exclusively in terms of 'oppression', then you are a hater of Western civilization in a way. That's not 'antisemitic'. Marxism is an attack on the values Western civilization has been built on. Adnorno's attack on it goes as far back as attacking Odysseus for being the first homo economicus.

That particular case was hardly an attack, to be honest. What he was doing there was just drawing from the canon to illustrate a historical precedent, probably as a parallel to Marx citing Robinson Crusoe in Capital to illustrate a point about the division of labor throughout history as well as contrast it with socialism.

 

It's not too helpful to think of their critique as simply a knee-jerk condemnation of liberalism and modernity, since there's a counterpoint to it: beyond categorizing it as just good or bad, there's also an appreciation of its importance as a historical phenomenon and a forward step in terms of Hegelian theory, bringing about the primacy of individualism as opposed to the primacy of collectivism under feudalism. Depending on how far into the Dialectic of Enlightenment you are at the moment, this appreciation will start to show subtly and Adorno concludes with the thought that the issue with it is not necessarily individualism but the fact that this individualism is restricted, whereas a liberated community would be one made up of emancipated individuals, a point he elaborated better in Minima Moralia (in my opinion, his best text). Echoing Marx, he also talked about the 'idiocy of rural life' as opposed to the modern city and saw capitalism as a revolutionary system vis-à-vis feudalism, but one that must ultimately be destroyed itself. Naturally, he discusses emancipation and subjugation since that's a large part of the Frankfurt School's object, but it's not a moral judgement. Marcuse, for example, considered himself and his cohorts to be connected to the tradition starting with the left wing of Jacobinism and even wrote an essay on Babeuf. Much like Babeuf, plenty of communists took up the revolutionary maxim ("Liberty, Equality, Fraternity") while considering that liberalism itself, while representing an important evolution, was unable to fulfill a crucial part of its promise. The Russian revolutionaries' adoption of the "Workers' Marseillaise" as an anthem comes to mind.

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#600

Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:59 AM

re:is leftism compatible with statism, the answer is yes. Lenin didn't appear out of a vacuum, Marx had already laid the basis for Leninism with his own views on the state. And frankly, a lot of anarchism is still statism. Leftism is a political project concerned with reorganising the state and management, with the assumption that when those things are handled communally, they will be abolished and replaced with something more organic. A workers' council is not the ideal way to handle production, it's an approximation of the role managers play under Capitalism. 
 
When anarchism doesn't acknowledge this, it descends into red socialism.


Lenin was undoubtedly a leftist, and the government he preached was leftist in spirit perhaps. But the overall implementation bore no resemblance to socialism. Contrary to being an example of socialism and statism being compatible, Lenin seemed like an example of how infeasible the combination tends be.

I’m admittedly no scholar on the Russian Revolution by any stretch of the imagination. So if ‘state socialism’ and Lenin’s tenure can be described as anything other than a disaster, then I’m all ears.


 

when those things are handled communally, they will be abolished and replaced


So the state is incompatible with socialism in the long run. There’s no denying a transitional period containing a more advanced sense of democracy, especially democracy of the economic variety. Assuming ‘communally’ means a combination of democratic and localized, such a transition is exactly where the focus ought to be. But even that point, it’s regressive to conflate state property with public property at any rate.
 

When socialism doesn’t acknowledge this, it devolves into state capitalism. States don’t need to facilitate socialist imperatives as much as they need to get out of the way.

 

pro censorship ideology is a leftist ideology


On what basis? Repeating a popular misconception doesn’t make it factual.





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