Talkin' Anti-Capitalist Blues

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Feb 2001:Talkin' Anti-Capitalist Blues
By _Blackjack on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 12:48 pm: Edit

The chimaera, or rat-fish, is an ugly-ass deep-water jawless fish. It is considered to be a possible link between sharks and true bony fishes. It looks kinda like a buck-toothed shark with jaw cancer.

From Britannica--
"Male chimaeras, unique among fishes, also possess a supplemental clasping organ, the tentaculum, on the forehead and in front of each pelvic fin."
chimaera

By Admin on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 12:46 pm: Edit

ohmigawd. you have me wheezing with delight.

I'll post that to the cocktail recipe section sometime. Dang.

on THAT note, this thread is too long. We should start an offshoot. My poor limping bandwidth. hehe.

By Black_Rabbit on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 12:30 pm: Edit

A new cocktail, in honor of this thread!

I call it the Anarcho-Satanist-Fish-Fuck.

2pts Absinthe
1pt quicksilver
1pt Giraffe's blood
1pt guppy roe
dash of GHB (to taste)

Mix well, pour over ice, invoke Satan. Best enjoyed in a hot air balloon while throwing bombs at The Establishment. May cause dizziness, inabiltiy to spell, chronic icthyocentrism, and a lingering fear of the Chinese.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 11:06 am: Edit

No, I reckon Bob was shooting fish from the Chodrichthyes family, who also fuck. These include Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimearids. Shark steaks and battered Skate wings are a damn site more appetising than Guppies on toast. Not sure however about what a Chimearid tastes like, or what it is for that matter, but no doubt you could get more meals out of one than out of a Black Molly.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 10:57 am: Edit

Guppies fuck. They even bear live young. Bob must be shooting at guppies. Or black mollies.

By Anatomist1 on Monday, February 12, 2001 - 09:15 am: Edit

I think you might want to get out your old Bio 101 book, Bob. Fish don't fuck, they lay eggs.

K.

By Bob_Chong on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 10:27 pm: Edit

Don:

I wasn't supporting anything of the sort. I was just pointing out Anatomist's inconsistencies.

Which is shooting fucking fish in a barrel.

BC

By Anatomist1 on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 07:12 pm: Edit

Actually, Popular Opinion isn't that far in favor of evolution over creationism. According to the survey cited on that religioustolerance.org site, it's 49% evolution, and 44% creation. I believe more states than Kansas have barred it from being taught, or taught without giving creation mythology equal time.

On a related note, I think it's about time for everyone to start making a distinction between 'Darwinism' and the theory of naturalistic evolution. Darwin had many things wrong: in the book I studied as an undergrad, he was still all mucked up with Lemarckian ideas. Darwinism has all kinds of other connotations: as a creed it has been used to justify all kinds of callous and predatory inter-human behavior. We don't call cosmology Galileoism or Hubbleology.

I agree with Rabbit about science making a lousy religion. For instance, did anyone see the word "mythology" as a pejorative above? In common use, the word "myth" is used to denote that something is false. Actually, I think the whole point of myths is that they are true, just in a different sense, they are akin to literature, art, music. What is the point of any of these endeavors if it is not the pursuit of a variety of human truth? Too much empiricism, or scientific objectivism can ruin your life and put a dour burden on others... reminds me of the stuffy professor on A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY.

K.

By Perruche_Verte on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 04:19 pm: Edit

What have you people done with my thread?

Leave town for a few days and suddenly they're talking about Pol Pot, mental illness and Joan of Arc. Oh well.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit

And it's not even as complicated as "we are descended from apes." We ARE apes. Last time I checked, there is a movement afoot to scrap family Pongidae and throw all the great apes into Hominidae (or vice-versa). The fact is, it is only gross phenotypic differences that justify keeping humans and chimps in diferent genera. Genetically speaking, we are closer to chimpanzees than chimps are to gorillas, and closer than the various species of gibbons are to one another.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 01:51 pm: Edit

As to Darwins I prefer Erasmus to Charles. But Charles was OK. Erasmus was hius grandfather or great-uncle I forget which.

Human footprints on same strata as dinosaurs? Not bloody likely.

Someone mentioned the 'monkey' problem, I'm not a specialist, but confusing monkeys with great apes/simians is like confusing horses with dogs, or mammouths with elephants, or megaladons with sharks.

It is true that popular views of paleontology tend to be fuzzy. T.rex was probably not as commonly believed. Maybe an omnivore but not much of a predator. More of a carrion eater. A lot of that specilation was done rather hastily by one famous investigator on the basis of one aprtial skeleton. A lot more record has been unearthed since then and it weren't such a fierce beastie. Try telling that to Hollywood though.

By Black_Rabbit on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 01:01 pm: Edit

Creation science is indeed 'Luddite bullshit' but it doesn't do to fall too far the other way.

Ever meet a scientist with faith in evolutionary theory? The guys who *believe* the way the creationists do, who dont really care what evidence is what, they are sure it will all work out in the end...

I think those fellows do more damage than the creation scientists, as they have the weight of Popular Opinion(tm) to back them up. Grrr.

Darwin's Black Box, by Michael Behe. Great book. Hard, hard questions for evolotionary theory as the origin of life on earth. He doesn't pretend to have the answers or say where it came from... but hoo man does he smack around a lot of assumptions.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 12:52 pm: Edit

The fun bit is that creation scientists will pick and chose from legitimate science to support their ideas. They will deny the geologic column up and down when it is used to demonstrate the age of fossils or evolutionalry change, but will use it to their advantage on the one occasion they can find something they claim are human footprints on the same stratum as dinosaur tracks.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 12:14 pm: Edit

Bob, I have to stand with K. on this one. 'Creation science' is an oxymoron.

If someone chooses to believe (against all evidence) that the world (much less the universe) is <10,000 years old, that's their business.

However science is science.

Cosmology, physics, chemistry, archaeology, paleontology, biology, geology and many other disciplines all scream WRONG!

Carbon isotope dating is not a hypothesis it's a fact, a demonstrable fact.

Creation science is Luddite bullshit.

Sorry there is simply no way to sugarcoat the pill.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 12:00 pm: Edit

Yup. Creationism is all well and good. If one believes that an invisible and immeasurable force is responsible for biodiversity, well, there is little to argue about, since I cannot, per se, disprove forces which exist outside of emperical evidence. But when one begins to insist that this is science, rather than a proposition of faith, then one has started pissing in somebody else's sandbox. Science deals with observable phenomena. "God did something" is not an observable phenomenon, so, regardless of whether it indeed happened, it doesn't belong in a science classroom any more than declension of Latin adjectives belongs in auto shop.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit


Quote:

Which is more important, the risk of an innocent person being wrongly accused or the fact that if we err on the side of caution on their part then this will lead to more children suffering lives of abuse?



Honestly, I have to say the risk of a person wrongfully accused, simply because the power of the government is so much greater than that of any individual, even that an adult holds over a child.

By Anatomist1 on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 11:44 am: Edit

Bob: Actually, it's kind of sad. Instead of saying what you think, you comb through previous posts trying to dig up evidence to illustrate your opponent's inconsistencies. This time it was a pretty loose fit, hence my description of you as an alchemical muddler. The issue at hand was creation SCIENCE, not just creationism. I take no issue with believers in creationism, we just have little to talk about. But, when creationists pretend to be scientists, and have some success at convincing non-fundamentalists with spurious arguments, I get annoyed. The difference is about being up front about one's premises, about personal integrity versus slithering opportunism.

K.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 08:31 am: Edit

Lord H, no objection. It isn't a hobby-horse of mine.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 07:05 am: Edit

Don,

Yes presumption of innocence until proven guilty fair enough. But if we take the position that the accounts of adults are more believable than the accounts of children, then we automatically weigh the scales of justice in favour of the accused.

Anyway this is a depressing topic of conversation and I for one fancy moving on to something a bit lighter.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 03:35 am: Edit

You beg the whole question of physical and medical evidence of sexual abuse.

In the absence of such evidence (not difficult to establish or rule out, given modern forensic technology) or other factors such as a record of prior such offense, I would remain skeptical.

Presumption of innocence of a suspect/accused is still the rule in UK as well as USA.

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, February 11, 2001 - 01:19 am: Edit

Blackjack,

I'm not aware of the details of the case you mention so I can't comment on it.

Yes very great care needs to be taken when questioning young children. Children can be manipulated, but this manipulation far more often occurs with the child abuser manipulating the victim to keep silent or give an account of events that protects the abuser. Yes adults lives can be wrecked by false accusations, but many more children's lives by are wrecked by unpunished abuse within the family home.

In cases of abuse within the home, the abuser is likely to be a trusted family member and will take very great steps to ensure secrecy, so the likelyhood of concrete evidence will be very remote. The problem is that if we err on the side of caution then whose side do we err on. Do we have to be totally certain that a child is being abused before we protect the child? If we are 50%, or 75% or 80% certain of abuse, should we then send the child back to a possible life of abuse because there is a chance that the adult accused may be innocent? Who do we think we should protect most?

Most sexual abuse within the home already goes unpunished and there is a very great danger now because if we take the view that the account from a young child is often likely to be fabricated and less reliable than the account from the person accused of the abuse then this WILL lead to many more children suffering abuse within the home.

Which is more important, the risk of an innocent person being wrongly accused or the fact that if we err on the side of caution on their part then this will lead to more children suffering lives of abuse?

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 09:37 pm: Edit

LH-

Obviously there is no simple answer to that. Of course children need to be protected, but we also need to be VERY careful about how children are questioned in cases like this, because they are very suggestible and prone to say the things they think the adult wants to hear. The one thing I wanted to get across is that the unsubstantiated testimony of children should not be taken as being more reliable than that of adults. I think we need to at least apply the same standards (i.e., requiring some amount of physical or circumstantial evidence) we would if the victims were adults.

By Bob_Chong on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Anatomist:

Huh? Hate having your own words quoted back at you, eh? So much so that you try to sound all clever and stuff.

Good ol' Kev. Nice to see you again.


Tootles,
Bob

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 08:03 pm: Edit

The McMartin day care center case was exactly the one that I had in mind. Thanks for jogging my memory, blackjack.

The politically ambitious prosecutor was living with the media personality who made the case nationally famous.

The childrens' stories were manipulated and embellished by a bogus 'psychologist' whose credentials turned out to be nonexistant. She in tunr had been brought in by the prosecutor and her lens-louse boyfriend, who were out for election and the Pulitzer respectively.

Hot air balloons, satanists sacrificing giraffes. Maybe someone should start a Center for Missing and Exploited Giraffes.

Yet people went to jail, lives were ruined. And this wasn't the only such malicious prosecution. There were and are a lot of simpleminded religiously paranoid cops out there looking for Satanist hippies who worship Charlie Manson and get off on drinking the blood of long necked African herbivores.

By Artemis on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 01:22 pm: Edit

"For instance. Say Joan hears voices. She's busted by the church and brought to trial. Their agenda defines a verdict, that she is guilty. She hears voices, and because she is guilty, they certainly can not come from god, therefore they must come from ... the devil!"

Give a listen to "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by David Byrne (ex Talking Head). It's full of POWERUL "found" cuts he got from old-time radio. In one, a very creepy exorcist intones to a woman (I get the picture they were on stage at a tent show revival or some such):

"Do you hear voices? You are a believer, born again, yet you hear voices and you ARE po-sessed!"

He then proceeds to exorcise the demon Jezibel from the woman with much puffing and groaning. Byrne's backing track makes the whole thing extremely powerful.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 12:51 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

So when do you decide if a child is making a story up. All cases need to be investigated and action taken to ensure the children's safety during the investigation. The child's safety is paramount in such cases and often you can't risk waiting until after the trial to remove the children if they may be at risk . The fact is that children are far more at risk of abuse from within their own family than from strangers. Do we take the view that the story from the adult (whom the child has accused) is more believable than the child? Yes children can invent such stories, but the fact is that they rarely do, and they are much more likely to suffer in silence from abuse within the home. If they make an accusation then we can't take the risk, or assume that their accusations are likely to be made up. Most paedophiles are related to their victims, and most of them get away with it.

Hobgoblin

By Admin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 12:45 pm: Edit

Sorry, I over-simplified ... I *do* realize that the Joan/Gilles association was closer than comrades in arms, but Gilles was a relatively young man at the time and wouldn't start to show his "colors" until much later, tho he had already proved to be a rather violent man (in order to gain a wife he kidnapped and raped the daughter of a neighboring peer, tho this was not entirely uncommon at the time) before the time he was twenty. Joan chose him for his excellent military reputation, valor and forceful personality.

Years after her death, he staged at the city of Orleans, a huge medieval pageant of her career, which ran for many hours each day for a week (or more, this is all from memory). It was a typical medieval pageant that re-enacted the entire career of the Maid of Orleans, with high religious overtones, and is considered one of the first displays that placed Joan in the guise of a saint. Most scholars presume that this rather ostentatious display by a man that was becoming increasingly unbalanced was being eaten up by his own guilt of not being able to help Joan at the time of her capture and trial. This is with the understanding that most everyone knew that Joan had been sacraficed in a deal with the invading English.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Joan dabbled in the occult. de Rais on the otherhand was a megalomaniac who would snatch at any opportunity to gain his ends, whether they were to be power or eternal life. He was nothing more than a dabbler that thought he could twist the mysteries of life to his will. I'd have to do some re-reading in order to establish just how involved and in what capacity that involvement went with the occult to make any conclusive statement ... hehe, maybe I will.

By _Blackjack on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit

LH-

The fact is, children DO make up stories of abuse, especially when they are put in the position of getting approval from adults when they do so. One of the worst cases, the Mc Martin Preschool case here in the US in the 1980's, lead to several people spending years in jail on absolutely absurd charges (including that they had taken the children away in a hot-air balloons and sacrificed giraffes to Satan), all because it was assumed that children wouldn't make these things up.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ra_mcmar.htm

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 11:36 am: Edit

Kallisti,

Joan of Arc and Giles de Rais were not simply just fighting in the same army. She chose de Rais as her 'Protector in battle' and their careers were very much entwined. He was also her closest friend and visited her before her death. This in itself doesn't necessarily make 'the Maid' a witch but her close friend and associate was involved in practices that had the hallmarks of Black Magic. Hardly the company a God-fearing Christian would keep.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 11:15 am: Edit

I didn't discount de Rais' guilt, I just said it might bear a second look due to the political angle, as someone else posting after cited in a biography. And you are right about the circular reasoning of those courts.

I am reminded of the great scene in Monty Pythoin and the Holy Grail in which Arthur witnesses the trial by ordeal of an accused witch.

By Admin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 09:31 am: Edit

To over-associate Joan's career with Gilles de Rais seems like wishful thinking. One of the duties required by the nobility of France was to donate their bodies to the war machine, along with thousands of their peers. Just because they fought along side eachother does not necessarily taint her by the association, fascinating as the speculation may be.

It is also a bit naive to discount the guilt of de Rais based on modernist viewpoints of late medieval justice. It's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There was plenty of hard evidence against de Rais and the reason he got away with it for so long was because of his exhalted status as a peer of france. These people were in most respects above the law, and the fact that he was eventually brought to trial was based on the huge amounts of hard evidence that the justice system could no longer ignore.

And saying the Joan & Gilles were witches, occultists or somesuch in any way that we understand it is grossly over simplifying how the medieval court system, both lay and clerical, worked. The early inquisition and church courts worked, in our sense, in a rather backwards manner.

For instance. Say Joan hears voices. She's busted by the church and brought to trial. Their agenda defines a verdict, that she is guilty. She hears voices, and because she is guilty, they certainly can not come from god, therefore they must come from ... the devil! And what does the devil require of its associates? Witchy things, a pact, suck his tits, skewer babies etc. Witchcraft, in that sense, has nothing at all to do with black magic, wicca or old religions. It is a pre-defined symptom of association with the devil. Joan's crime, according to the trial, was heresy. Witchcraft being a symptom of her association with the devil. Heresy, in this case, could be defined as unauthorized communication with god (or one of his minions), we all know that the catholic church banked on communication with god ONLY by the intermediary of the clergy. And if the church doctrine said that she CAN NOT tap directly into god on her own, then it must be the devil she hooked up with, as he has no such doctrine prohibiting direct devilish intervention.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 09:29 am: Edit

Lord H, it seems you are unaware of the totally bogus but widely believed (in USA) proposition that highly organized 'Satanist groups' were/are performing ritualistic sexual abuse of children and I am not talking anything but contemporary times (80s/90s). This was widely publicized but not a shred of evidence was ever established to verify the existance of such an underground. However this did not prevent politically motivated officials and certain ambitious unethical media personalities from exploiting several cases involving alleged child abuse usually at day care centers. Bogus 'therapists' with total disregard for ethics used highly inappropriate techniques to manufacture and fabricate 'testimony' from children who had NO such experiences.

I am not saying child abuse does not exist, I am not saying it does not exist on a widespread basis. I am saying that 'RITUAL SATANIST CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE' is an urban myth of the Christian far right. And it is not a benign myth, it has ruined the lives of perfectly innocent people.

Along with 'recovered memory' it is one of the most heinous abuses of low grade 'therapy' of recent decades. Yet that bogus bullshit has been the basis for criminal and civil actions by adult women against their fathers, because after 'therapy' they supposedly remembered being abused by their fathers when they were toddlers. BULLSHIT!

By Artemis on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 06:45 am: Edit

"We've already got a Witchfinder General."

Shouldn't be too hard. She's in the Senate.
Hopefully, he's good at finding stolen furniture as well:

http://worldnetdaily.com/frame/direct.asp?SITE=washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51211-2001Feb9.html

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 05:54 am: Edit

Joan of arc was accused of witchcraft and idolatry as well as heresy. And de Rais was as we know found guilty for ritual child murder. The 'justice' system in medieval France was no doubt not a model of fairness, but enough has been recorded about de Rais's activities to show he probably was involved in 'black witchcraft' . Aleister Crowley seemed to rate de Rais as an occult practitioner.

As for the 'ritual child abuse mania' in the 90's in the UK, it is a very dangerous thing to say that those who believe children's account of events are 'idiots'. Anyone who works with young children will know that far more abuse of children goes on within 'normal families' than is ever reported, or is commonly accepted. Young children are very reluctant to accuse their perpetrators and such sordid business usually remains as a sick secret. Children very rarely make false accusations of this sort. So when children do make accusations of this type they should be taken extremely seriously. People are not 'idiots' to believe the accounts of children, rather than the accounts of those adults accused of abuse. An attitude which holds that the accounts of adults are more valid than the accounts of children denies children protection from their abusers. All such accusations need to be looked into very seriously and if that means removing the children from their parents to protect them from potential further abuse while investigations take place then tough. The safety of the children is paramount and the reputations and feelings of those accused must always take second place to this.

Hobgoblin

By Bjacques on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 04:05 am: Edit

I suppose creationism will make a comeback with the current administration. We've already got a Witchfinder General. Get to know your neighborhood WF Corporal.

Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians and then sold to the English, who burnt her for heresy, not witchcraft.

The trial of Gilles de Rais was, according to

http://users.erols.com/lehket/Kathleen/gintro.html
(Kathleen Lehman),

a political one in the context of the duke of Brittany's shifting loyalties during the Hundred Years' War.

The testimony against de Rais was either biased or extracted via torture. Torture *was* due process for the time. If the accusation was serious enough or supported by an informant, a little torture was allowed. Any confessions thus elicited warranted more torture, under the calculus of French jurisprudence.

Almost none of de Rais' biographers questioned the methods or bias of the church court that found him guilty. The accusations sound a lot like those leveled against the Templars 150 years earlier--lurid stuff that makes for great publicity.

Michel Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" is a relatively readable history of the evolution of (mostly) French punishment and goes a long way toward explaining the present surveillance state and the arbitrary discipline of school, work, army and prisons.

In a somewhat related note, the notorious antics of Sir Francis Dashwood's Hellfire Club seem to be mostly Whig libels against a moderate Tory.

The early '90s saw the Ritual Child Abuse mania in the U.S. and U.K. Some people scored political points from it. Idiots "believed the children," just like in Salem. Why expect people 550 years ago to be any different?

Still, the stories make great background, as long as you don't lose yourself in them.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 01:38 am: Edit

Don,

My post was made last night after coming back from the pub although and wasn't meant to be a defence of the 'justice' system at that time. Politics aside though, her association with Giles de Rais does cast some doubt on her being totally innocent. Hardly a plus point on the resume of a candidate for sainthood.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 10, 2001 - 01:25 am: Edit

Lord H, Jean d'Arc was used by the French nobility because she fit in with a prophecy. The English were attempting to do to France what they had done a scant few centuries earlier to Ireland, and they failed in no small measure thanks to the Maid of Orleans (and her pal Giles -- I will now have to go discern how much of his history is English lies). Later when the French Crown came to view her as a liability she was betrayed to their mutual enemies, the English and the Duke of Burgundy. 'Due process' in those days was a fiction that only a Pol Pot could approve of; due process for a political prisoner, well, wasn't even that. The English wanted blood for blood, and manipulated the ecclesiatical courts to see her sentenced to burn. Four hundred years later the R.C.Church chose to name her as a saint at a time when Catholic France needed a morale booster (just before WWII), so she was still a political football four centuries after being burned alive. Surely the issue of whether her 'voices' were divine or schizophrenic is not a matter reducible to fact at this point, it is a matter of opinion, or of faith, isn't it? But please don't confuse anything in her lifetime with 'English justice' -- unless you wish to reduce that phrase to an oxymoron.

By Anatomist1 on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 11:24 pm: Edit

Well, no. As usual, Bob, your erudition bounces ineffectually off of an inert surface. I have never advocated poetic mental health medicine, or anything of the kind. You appear to be nothing but a muddling intellectual alchemist, trying aimlessly to synthesize smug gold out of a baffling array of confusing data. I recommend that you stick to self-government questionnaires.

K.

By Bob_Chong on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 11:05 pm: Edit

If you choose to conceive of the world in terms of such clinicalized sterilities -- whether by necessity or choice -- that's certainly up to you. I choose not to.

Seems apropros to the current topic, eh?

BC

By Anatomist1 on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 04:26 pm: Edit

These weren't born-agains either. They just didn't know enough about science to see through their arguments. Among the things they thought:

-The theory of natural selection contends that humans are the descendents of monkeys.

-Scientists view Darwin's books AS A SOURCE OF EVIDENCE, as creationists do the Bible.

-The lack of evidence demonstrating every single step between a species and its progenitors is a fatal flaw in the theory of natural selection.

-Since most mutations are useless, mutation is not a possible mechanism of generating selectable variation in a species.

-Many prominent life-scientists are creation scientists: the scientific community is divided over whether natural selection is the best current theory.

What they didn't know:

-Only 0.15% of biological and life-scientists believe in/support creation science; 4% of scientists overall.

-Apodictic certainty isn't necessary for a scientific theory to be considered valid, useful, and better than competing theories (i.e., no theory or hypothesis is considered beyond the possibility of being disproved).

-Most creation scientists believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old. They dispute the validity of radio-isotope dating techniques.

Whew!

Another lesser misconception that I encounter all of the time is that humans are 'more evolved' than other creatures, as though complexity of brain and behavior equals more evolution.

I guess I shouldn't be that surprised at any of this. The UW, as well as most universities/colleges, science and other core requirements are run like a salad bar. Most humanities majors I have talked to fulfilled theirs by taking "food science" and "physics in the arts" and "meteorology 101".

K.

By Malhomme on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 04:11 pm: Edit

Being college educated doesn't mean much these days. Universities are BIG business, and the more money they can take, with the least amount of effort, the better their profits. I'm not saying that there's no reason to go to the university (dating, for one), but an education as it is classically understood is of a conspicuously poor quality at the modern American university. It's more about class than intelligence and wisdom.
[End Rant]
mal

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 02:02 pm: Edit


Quote:

I've had to argue with several college educated people lately who believe in the validity of "creation science".



Ugh, don't remind me. There was a "Crossfire" a few months back with Jerry Fallwell and Stephen J. Gould (talk about a one-sided fight...) and Fallwell was going on about how his Liberty University managed to produce many compotent physicians without teaching evolution...

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 01:45 pm: Edit

Pataphysician,

MacLaren was a fucking genius, he took their (our) money and laughed at them (us).

Hobgoblin

(The only sad thing is that he dropped out of running as a candidate for Mayor of London, Ken is a poor 2nd to him)

By Anatomist1 on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Good luck on getting the 'medical model' accepted -- I've had to argue with several college educated people lately who believe in the validity of "creation science".

K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Black Rabbit & Blackjack,

Black Rabbit,

"Joan of Arc would have been 'helped' in todays world. The voice of God stilled. Good thing, bad thing, that voice? Joan sure as hell wouldn't want help, and it would be a terrible insult, a dishonor, not to respect her wishes unless there were no other choice."

I'm sorry, but if Joan of Arc heard voices (whether she thought came from God or otherwise) then she was suffering from a mental illness. Like most schizophrenics she would not have regarded herself as being ill, but unfortunately her brain was not well enough for her to be able to sucessfully diagnose herself. Anyway regarding Joan of Arc, the French had a point when they burnt her as a witch. If witchcraft was a capital offence in the certain states of the USA today, then even with a very fair trial, Joan would certainly be found guilty and fry for it. Her close association with Giles de Rais is near as damn it proof positive that she was indeed involved in witchcraft (the occult, Old Religion, Wicca, or whatever you want to call it). Guilty as charged under the laws of France at the time, due process wouldn't have saved her.

Blackjack,

"It plays into already very strong stigmas. I'd like to get to the point where the entire world at least accepts the medical model before we start deconstructing it."

Couldn't agree more, a mental illness is quite simply just an illness and should be regarded as such. There is little social stigma attached to suffering from a 'physical' illness, so why the fuck should people be stigmatised just because their brain gets ill?

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 09, 2001 - 01:11 pm: Edit

This reminds me of something. There is a certain faction in the deaf community that insists that deafness is not a disability, just a different way of experiencing the world. I think this has a lot to do with the cultural unification that takes place when people share a common language, in this case Sign. That's all well and good, I suppose, except there are some who say that parents should not be allowed to have corrective surgery performed on deaf children, since giving them hearing somehow robs them of their culture.

As far as Black Rabbit goes, all I can really say is "good for you." If you can function without any sort of outside help, you are very lucky. (Especially since medical science is not very good at treating your particular symptoms yet...) I do, at least, hope that you keep a close eye on your condition, as these sorts of things can be degenerative, and, moreover, are often indicative of some sort of organic damage: tumors, lesions, etc...

My main concern is not how people deal with their own condition, so much as how they perceive the condition of others. In the context of a forum of intelligent people, opening up alternate views of mental illness is nothing more than a good mental exercise. But in the day-to-day world, propagating the idea that these conditions might just be personality quirks, weaknesses, etc., makes it very difficult for people who DO chose to seek treatment to get it. It plays into already very strong stigmas. I'd like to get to the point where the entire world at least accepts the medical model before we start deconstructing it.

By Black_Rabbit on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 07:05 pm: Edit

Cary Grant was a thing unknown to my school mates. Cary was a girls name to them. It was like being named Mary or Louise. I learned to fight quickly.

Blackjack, I am gonna re-register and pick a new name. We are getting mixed up every time one of us posts now.

Thanks Martin!

Hobby, I *am* 'a truly mentally ill person' (mind you, I'm feeling much better now...)

I have voices in my head, paranoia, depression, and a whole host of other less defineable things. I have been on the verge of suicide several times (when younger, before I realized what the voices were.) When I was seven years old, my sneakers started talking to me. Things got very bad until I was about 18.

These days, I manage such things well enough that I find them assets, not detriments at all. That's my point.

And yes, the brain is an organ. But again, you must draw a line at what you call illness and what you don't.

I am functional, happy, well regarded by friends and professional associates. I live a life I am glad to live. My brain chemistry is not normal. Yet my behaviour is certainly OK.

I knew a fellow once who was convinced he was riddled with nanites that had been hidden in the ephedrine pills he took each day. The plane in the sky was following us so the government could watch him. He went to prison for arson after awhile. They found a list of people in his pocket (I was on it!) they think he planned to harm. He reacted to those voices as I first did, but if he had known them for what they were, would it have been the same? Similar symptoms, different behaviour.

In him, that was illness. In me, it was and is no longer. The understanding of brain chemistry is woefully inadequate and full of holes. Ask any neurochemist. So behaviour (or a PET or CAT scan) are what they use to diagnose. But behaviour above all. And the same behaviours can come from wildy differing brain chemistries. And the same chemistries can give different results. To use an old chestnut, it's a hardware/software thing. Brain-meat and thought.

I would call a brain with a tumor ill. Easy call. But the danger lies in calling any abnormal brain chemistry illness. Danger to the diagnosed (as in 19th century sanitoriums, or the way 'hysterical' women were often treated in the 1950s.) Danger also in a broader sense, in that without mutation, abnormality, adaptive ability is stifled.

Let me give a badly constructed example (I hope it will serve.) Let's say there is a nation, we'll call it nation 'A' in a fit of unbridled creativity. They they think people who behave agressively are ill, and treat them, fix them, or lock them away. Then there is their rival, nation B. They think that's hogwash, in fact they encourage that extra chromosome. B comes over the wall in a screaming angry mass and exterminates A.

Turn it about- the climate is such that resources are very very scarce. Co-operation is a key to staying alive. A, with it's culling of the aggressive people, is prosperous and happy. B, with it's encouragement of anger, starves to death.

Illness must be defined by the success of the person's interaction with the environment. Since so much about life that is good occurs internally, in the mental environment only the owner of the brain can see, it behooves you to take them at their word that they are OK and only to 'help' them in the most dire circumstances. It is not for you to say if they have achieved 'success.'

Joan of Arc would have been 'helped' in todays world. The voice of God stilled. Good thing, bad thing, that voice? Joan sure as hell wouldn't want help, and it would be a terrible insult, a dishonor, not to respect her wishes unless there were no other choice.

I agree with you, you must put the wackos in the boobyhatch sometimes, but I would err on the side of caution there. As a psychologist friend of mine said once about me 'Oh, you're crazy as hell. But you're functional, so...'

By Fluid on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:56 pm: Edit

I can totally understand that about Keanu, but even with The Matrix? Sheeeez that's just about my favorite all-time flick, or at least top ten. I hope you can force yourself to stay awake next time, you musta missed some great scenes...

"There is no spoon."

By Petermarc on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:51 pm: Edit

the song was better...

By Pataphysician on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Hmmm, I don't know. I fell asleep during "The Matrix". Come to think of it, I fell asleep during "My Own Private Idaho", too. Something about Keanu Reeves does that to me.

By Fluid on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Seems like there should be a good line or two from The Matrix to insert here...

By Pataphysician on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:41 pm: Edit

Regarding MacLaren & Punk:

Yeah, that is the exception that proves the rule. That was the last good instance of a true counter-culture breaking through with something that truly countered the culture. Unfortunately there's never enough clever people around to keep up the momentum.

It goes back to Anarchism: "Propaganda of the Deed", the theory that a single major provocation would shake the great mass of people from their stupor, they'd look around and say "Fuck all this!!" and sweep everything away. It never works, though. People prefer the stupor.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:14 pm: Edit

Regarding the co-option of counter-culture, the media didn't need to do it with Punk Rock and the Sex Pistols. Malcolm MacLaren set up the Sex Pistols as a commercial venture from the start and the media and music establishment just played into his hands. A very clever man, a superb marketeer.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 02:07 pm: Edit

Perhaps the reason why automatic weapons are popular is sexual thing. They fire off bullets out of a barrel in rapid spurts, kinda like ejaculation.

By Marc on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 01:45 pm: Edit

I was fornicating in the bushes of San Francisco.
Yes, right in Golden Gate Park. And it wasn't a gun I was shooting off.

Regarding the co-option of the counter culture,
it's always been that way. From tv's watering down of beatniks ala Maynard G. Krebs to K-Mart
selling peace sign patches in the 60's. The punk rock wail of The Pistols is transformed into the pathetic, mass-market whine of Blink 182. The mass media cuts the guts out of every counter-cultural movement. The techno and rave scene went from an underground phenomenon
to mainstream car commercials overnight. In this day and age of high speed global communication,
nothing remains a secret for long. the underground turns overground with the flick of a switch...or remote control.

By Pataphysician on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 01:01 pm: Edit

>Counter-culture is just filling a gap in the marketplace.

I think the situation is worse than that. The real counter-culture often represents ideas that could be useful to people. The mass marketeers get a hold of the material pretty quick, empty the content and make it a fashion statement. We're at a point now where people are conditioned to automatically see anything in the counter-culture as fashion. Nobody's narrowmindedness is really threatened by the avant-garde anymore. Some people pretend to be threatened by it, but they really aren't.

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 12:31 pm: Edit

Counter-culture is just filling a gap in the marketplace. Satisfying the desires of certain consumers who wish to be different.

Hobgoblin

By Pataphysician on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:59 am: Edit

>And where would culture be without the counter-culture to constantly push it?


Who's pushing who? Today the counter-culture is just Research and Development for a mass-market lifestyle industry. It's more like the "Over-the-Counter Culture".

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:46 am: Edit

Don,

Were you firing guns at the same time as you were fornicating in the streets of New Orleans?

People fornicating in the streets and simultaneously firing machine guns! New Orleans and San Francisco sound like very interesting places. Tourists should be advised to wears bullet-proof vests and carry plenty of condoms if they intend to visit.

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:32 am: Edit

Black Rabbit,

You and I differ is that you don't seem to believe that mental illnesses exist. Mental illnesses are not just the extreme position of a range of healthy human behaviour. They are illnesses, the brain is a physical organ and as such can become ill like any other organ, to deny this is ludicrous. Mental illnesses are physical illnesses of the brain. I can only assume that you've never met a truly mentally ill person. If you knew somebody who was ill in this way, you'd see how mental illness differs from eccentric behaviour.

As to self-diagnosis. If someone can be diagnosed as a dangerous schizophrenic then we have a duty of care to treat this person rather than let him roam loose and wait for him to volunteer himself for treatment. He probably doesn't believe he is ill and believes that the voices in his head are real. It is no good taking the position that we'll wait for this person to carry out an act endangering the public (or himself) before acting. A SWAT team is useless in such cases of quick, extreme violence, it is only of use in hostage situations where there is time to act, (a SWAT team turning up to arrest him after the damage has been done is not much comfort to grieving relatives).

A romantic position on mental illness does not help the mentally who need our help. Mental illness and eccentricity are not the same thing. Eccentricity is an extreme position within the rage of healthy human behaviour and thought. The brain is not immune from illness, mental illnesses are physical illnesses of the brain.

Hobgoblin

By Martin on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 10:24 am: Edit

Black Rabbit,

Those last few post of yours were beautiful. I'm glad to see that all my shit-stirring has inspired some great writing. That's what I'm talking about...

Mental illness, inappropriate names, anarchy.... this is the counter-culter. Always has been, always will be. And where would culture be without the counter-culter to constantly push it?

Apox on your goddamn Khakis!

Meow! Grrrrr...woof!

-Martin

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:21 am: Edit

Don:

Apologies--I did not mean to slight your fornication prowess.

BC

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 09:00 am: Edit

Bob, what's this 'repectively' bullshit? I can't speak for marc but I was fornicating in the streets of New Orleans AND San Francisco and elsewhere, AND firing guns, sometimes in the very same streets, not to mention lots of other places, before and after most of you were born.

Respect(fully)y

D.

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 08:45 am: Edit

But BR's point is well made, as he grew up (as I did) when Cary Grant was old man who didn't work much anymore. Don and Marc: you were firing guns and fornicating in the streets of San Francisco, respectively, before some of us were born.

BC

By Wormwood on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 04:13 am: Edit

This debate reminds me of the old Johnny Cash song "boy named Sue". The guy left the mother and wanted his son to grow up mean and tough.

By Don_Walsh on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 03:43 am: Edit

What's wrong with being named Cary? Apart from Judy Judy Judy jokes? Cary Grant was cooler than cool.

Everyone's school years are hell. My father (same name as me) endured 'Duck' as a nickname = Donald Duck. One of my maternal uncles (noe dying of prostate cancer) who was his classmate still calls him Duck when he's had a fewe beers. Makes me cringe. I had a different nickname or two, and then I had a different one in the service, it's just part of the mutual torture that such groups inflict on their members. My father neither quacks nor waddles. As for myself only the military nickname/callsign bore any relation to my personality. It was Overkill. Three decades later do I still wish to be known as Overkill? only by my enemies. Let them sweat.

By Hersaint on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 12:28 am: Edit

No I agree Marc Violence is a pretty bad name but "nowt as strange as folk"

As a responsible father, you gotta be kinda wierd to put your child through life with a name like that, but then again words are cheap!

By Marc on Thursday, February 08, 2001 - 12:27 am: Edit

blackjack,

sorry about the mix-up. So, it's Black Rabbit
that's named after one of Hollywood's great romantic leading actors...and acidhead.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 09:27 pm: Edit

That was Black Rabbit, not me.

And I think naming a kid "Violence" is pretty awful.

I knew a girl in college named "Comfort." Her sister was named "Joy." They were born on Christmas. All very cute, until you realize her last name was "Shields." Yep, "Comfort Shields." She ended up named after a feminine hygene product...

By Marc on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 08:14 pm: Edit

blackjack,

Cary (as in Cary Grant) ain't the same as being a
girl named Violence.

Look, I know we're all a bunch of weirdoes, nutjobs, freaks and faeries here in the forum, but I can't believe that Don and I are the only one's that find naming a child Violence cruel and irresponsible. I mean if this is considered cool,
I suddenly got square.

"Hello, this is my daughter Violence and my son Fuck You."

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 07:29 pm: Edit

Marc, my non-rodentile name is Cary. You can imagine how much crap a boy named Cary gets in elementary school.

It did me a world of good. I learned to stand up for myself, to be confident in myself, and to define myself rather than let others do it. All largely because I had a weird name.

My 2 cents :-)

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 07:26 pm: Edit

LH:

First off, by my lights, if you are attacking a nursery with a machete, well, screw you. The SWAT team should drop you like a cow in a slaughterhouse. Price you pay.

Where do you draw the line though? And how do you tell? If there has been no overt attack, do you just lock them up and dose them because they are acting squirrelly? Cause they *might* attack a nursery?

Sane people (that is, chemically sane people who's brains are physically the same as everyone else's) kill people. They rape, they steal, they make war and they leave the cap off the toothpaste. They walk into offices and gun down coworkers.

Are they more sane than that nice old lady who talks to people you can't see? Or less? Her brain is not normal- yet it does a better job of getting her through the day than, say, a murderer doing 20-life in prison. Brain chemistry is like anything else physical- how well does it interact with the environment? Fins and gills or wings and talons? Which is better depends where you are. So it is with brains, I sez. But because life is a subjective experience, you can't judge whether that lady needs your 'help' any better than she can.

People with differing personalities have differing neurological characteristics. More activity in some spots, less in others. At what point do you say 'this brain is physically different enough from those ones that this guy is wacko'? You would need to draw that line. You might draw it at too much creative thought if you were an Orwellian totalitarian. You might draw your line at a lot of places, and I think they would all be wrong.

Behaviour is the only guide when determining whether or not to call the SWAT team in, but beyond such extreme situations, no one should ever ever be able to choose for you. To attempt to define sanity is a waste of time. If I like what is going on in my head, and I am not trying to hurt you, what should you care? You have absolutely no valid criteria to use to make a determination beyond my overt actions. Even should I choose to damage myself, it is still my choice. Whether or not you would do the same in similar circumstances is irrelevant

Lets say the nice old lady decides to jump off a bridge because God told her to. That's crazy, right? But a cop decides to take a bullet for a fellow officer, gets in the way of the gun. Is that sane? Why? Both people did what they thought was right. Both died. All else is conjecture and pissing in the wind.

To do anything else is to return to a world where having an odd point of view was often enough to get you called 'crazy' locked up and given thorazine, electroshock, etc, against your will but for your own good.

I don't care if you see things that aren't there, as long as you don't try to hurt me. Do you hear God in your head, or too many neurons firing at once? How dare I try to decide that?

By Marc on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 03:44 pm: Edit

Naming a child Violence is to subject them to a lifetime of embarrassment and wasted energy defending or explaining the name. Even if the child comes to terms with the name, she is still going to have to deal with being harrassed and laughed at for having it. The name's negative connotations could also create a psychological
problem for the child. "Why am I named Violence?
Why must I spend my life defending a name that I did not choose? Why were my parents so selfish and shortsighted in naming me this name? "

For the same reason, but to a lesser degree,, I think hippies who named their kids Sunflower, Rainbow or Starchild are idiots.

My guess is that Violence will re-name herself at some point.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 11:44 am: Edit

Black Rabbit,

"Hobby, what I'm saying is that it should be the individual who has a mental 'condition' that defines it as an illness or not."

The point is that many people suffering from very serious mental ilnesses do not believe there is anything wrong with them. This includes schizophrenics who hear voices telling them to so things like attack a nursery class of 3 year olds with a machete, (as happened in the UK). These people are mentally ill and it cannot be left to them to define whether they are ill or not. Mental illness does not depend on the sufferer defining it as illness. The fact that someone is mentally ill doesn't depend on whether person realises and acknowledges it or not.

Treatment can not always be voluntary (although it should be in most cases) as there are matters of safety to consider.

Mental illnesses can be defined in medical terms, and they are physical illnesses that need treatment, (of one form or another). There is a distinction between unconventional behaviour and mental illness. The two things are definitely not the same.

Again if I've misunderstood you I apologise.

Hobgoblin

By Hersaint on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 11:39 am: Edit

Blackjack

How about epilepsy? Alzheimers? Parkinsons? Are these just personality quirks too?

Certainly not, but great names for Martin's friends further three children.... lol

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 08:23 am: Edit

Ever heard of N55? It's a group of Danish artists that are doing some very interesting things with geodesic structures and decentralized power/ownership. Instead of just writing manifestos, they also design and build practical objects and set up real situations. Might be of interest to anarcho-socio-libero-neo-capitalitarians:

http://www.n55.dk/

K.

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 06:54 am: Edit

Hobby, what I'm saying is that it should be the individual who has a mental 'condition' that defines it as an illness or not.

Having such conditions myself, I can choose to 'romanticize' them as I will. I wouldn't presume to do so for anyone else, but nor should anyone else tell me how to view myself.

I think a lot of this comes down to my view on life- it is a set of experiences, each of them beautiful, including the horribly painful ones. I would give none of them up. I don't care what the dice come up or where the chips fall, I will love it in any case. Which isn't to say I won't try to get the things I want- that's part of the experience too. It's like a game though- when playing, all you care about is that one card you need... but it is well to take a step back now and again, get a beer, and realize the ace of spades and the two of diamonds are both just cards... (Am I being to opaquely metaphoric? Apologies if so, no coffee yet...)

If you are more given to the view of life as a succeed or fail venture, then anything that prevents you from succeeding is an 'illness' I guess.

By Don_Walsh on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 06:45 am: Edit

Well, I think Marc is perfectly right. But based on what the Son of Sam has to say about the young lady's parentage, let's hope mendelian genetics is hogwash.

As she ages there are lots of workarounds. S of S already mentioned Vi. I have a friend who calls herself (Mistress) Violently, but it's not her given name (being Chinese she has several of those). Violet, Viola, Vio Lynn. Anyway she can always go to court and change the monicker.

I think Marc is responding like a parent. Good on you, Marc.

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 06:29 am: Edit

Marc, is the reason you don't like that little girl being named 'Violence' that you don't like the word, the concept of violence? Or is it because you don't like to think of her named after something that (currently) has negative connotations in our twisted little culture?

By Chrysippvs on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 05:52 am: Edit

LOL...You sound like Blavatsky!

By Martin on Wednesday, February 07, 2001 - 12:57 am: Edit

Once something is able to be measured, predicted, and expressed mathematically, it ceases to be chaos. True chaos does exist, but it is not something that is of the material world. If it were, it wouldn't be chaos. All things came from chaos originally, but at some point they started to have order and pattern, at that point, they began to "exist". Chaos is constantly becoming ordered and with that, causing things to exist. Conversely, things most likely become disordered, becoming chaos. It is a never-ending cycle of being and non-being, all of which points to the theory that everything is made of chaos essentially. I don't go for any of the mathematical chaos theories. They are just bullshit excuses for a mathematician's inability to quantify something. They say "That's unexplainable... it must be chaos." Bullshit. Everything in this universe has an explanation. Everything can be expressed mathematically, and everthing can be predicted and put into patterns. Just because it's out of our scope of reason to do so with some things, doesn't make it impossible. Chaos is something that is way WAY beyond any mathematics. Furthermore, I don't believe there is any REASON to attempt to quantify and express chaos mathematically. What would be the point? It's not something that has any discernable effect on things in the material world, so it's basically irrelevant as far as math is concerned. Anything that effects the material world in any way is absolutely NOT chaos. Bah, but these are just my foolish theories, birthed from a diseased mind.

I don't see what's so horribly wrong with naming a child Violence. I wish had been given an interesting name like that. Just because societies mores would look down at an odd name like that, doesn't necessarily mean she's going to grow up with some kind of a complex about it. It's based entirely on her upbringing, and she's being raised to be proud of her abnormal name. Besides, you know everyone will just call her Vi anyway.

-Martin

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 04:22 pm: Edit

Double post.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 04:22 pm: Edit

Sigh...

How about epilepsy? Alzheimers? Parkinsons? Are these just personality quirks too?

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 03:46 pm: Edit

a great quote from a 2nd century Diogenic Stoic

"And they all gather at the pools not discussing grand spectacles of the world at large, rather bickering of the roots of words (Greek reads "over zeta and theta"), going home never knowing that nothing has been accomplished"

Also my two sense into this whole philosophical maelstrom.

How can there be a discussion concerning Chaos and not mentioning fractal geometry and the modern prevailing theories on the base of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. I hate to say it but philosophy is rapidly being replaced with Quantum theory and neurological studies.

It seems the Stoics were right all along, there is just substance in varying degrees, even the most "chaotic" aspects therein can be measured if not how they change atleast by what they change. What a fascinating time we live in....

By Marc on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 02:54 pm: Edit

Martin,

If your friend is a caring father then he should change his daughter's name immediately. I don't see how naming your child Violence could possibly
be a good thing. It may be amusing to the parent, but it could be a real stigma for the child.
And man, I ain't no square. I named my daughter
after a character in Marquez's book A HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE and a character in GRAPES OF WRATH. Amaranta Rosasharn Campbell Bice.

By Martin on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 02:39 pm: Edit

I'm not into Individualism. I prefer things that benefit society as a whole.

I been thinking quite a bit about the whole chaos thing..... I don't think it's the fix-all answer that'll solve all the world's problems, and I don't necessarily think anarchism is either. I just believe that these things are an important step towards something better. Whether they actually work well in practice is not really all that important. No system of anything will ever work correctly as long as human nature remains the way it is. People will always try to take advantage of each other. By embracing anarchistic and chaotic ideals, we can find out what works and what doesn't. We have to fight against what is currently considered "normal" to be able to find the next step. These ideals, no matter how impractical or destructive they may seem, have to be explored and experimented with in order for us to better understand our place as human beings. Someday, something better is bound to come along.. and idea, a way of life, a society.. something that will be completely different from all that has been before. Mankind will eventually evolve to something higher, but this can't happen without the constant pursuit of alternatives and new ideas. Philosophers, activists, extremists, cynics, artists, theologians... all these people constantly searching for some greater truth of the unknown. How can anyone deny the importance of such pursuits?

As for my friend who named his daughter Violence... I think he's a very responsible and caring father who's doing a great job of raising a wonderful (and amazingly bright and well-behaved) little girl. He should be considered a model of how a parent should raise a child in this messed-up hell of a society. Besides, if you think he's an unfit parent, you should meet her mother... it's no suprise that the state awarded him, a convicted felon, custody of her instead of the mother.

-Martin

By Pataphysician on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 01:15 pm: Edit

I've tried to stay out of this, but I'd like to reiterate what The Lord just said. Too many people espousing "Anarchy" are mixed up about Individual-Anarchism and Anarcho-Communism. Two very different things. Read Max Stirner, "The Ego and It's Own". It's 157 years old, but it's still the last word on Individual-Anarchism. Sounds like fun, but you'll come to agree that it's pretty naive. These arguments were played out a long long time ago.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 12:51 pm: Edit

Anatomist,

If I've misinterpreted Black Rabbit's post then he has my apologies.

Of course there are deviations from the normal patterns of thinking which are not mental illnesses. Depression is not one of these deviations. Yes there are more ways to treat mental illnesses than traditional chemical methods, but traditional methods work well for many mental illnesses particularly depression. If I've gone off at a tangent its because I was reacting from personal experience. Mental illness is not something that is in any way beneficial.

I'm no great believer in forcing a particular type of treatment on anyone. This should only be necessary if the behaviour of a person puts the well-being of others, (or themself) at serious risk.

Unconventional mental thought patterns or eccentricity can however be beneficial, and I've no doubt can aid creativity. I think the problem is that all too often due to ignorance, mental eccentricity is tarred with the same brush as mental illness (and vice versa).

Hobgoblin

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 12:35 pm: Edit

The problem with chaos is that it is not compatable with civilised society and those advocating it are generally more interested in unfettered individualism than in creating a just society.

For a cohesive society to exist we need structure. Just because socialists want to overturn the structure of society that exists in the West today, this does not mean that we want a less structured society. In order to achieve redistribution and a more mutual society, we arguably need more structure, not less (at least in the short to medium term) to achieve this. If individual freedoms are sacrificed for the common good then tough. The good of society far outweighs the rights of the individual.

The problem with too many people, (not all and no fingers being pointed) who are attracted to anarchy is that they see it as a good way for them to be able to do exactly what they want, when they want and screw anybody who tries to curtail this. This is just as bad as the 'I'm all right Jack, look after number one' mentality of pure capitalism.

Hobgoblin

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 12:35 pm: Edit

LH,

You are talking in circles. Of course "mental illness" is an "illness" -- you are trying to sneak in the very premise which is under
debate. Rabbit gave a criterion for what is mental illness that allows people who can't function to take drugs and seek medical
treatment at their discretion, as well as allowing for people with less severe deviations from mental normalcy to reject the whole
pathology/medical paradigm and seek their own path. Trying to force a particular person to accept a boring ahistorical way of
understanding themselves and their difficulties is just plain wrong -- it is the essence of totalitarianism. I'll take Shakespeare over a mediocrity with a diploma on his wall every time. Anyone who tries to force me to do otherwise will find themself in serious
peril, and not just in terms of their own moral terpitude.

K.

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 11:29 am: Edit

Black Rabbit,

Blackjack is correct, mental illness is an illness, it's not a matter of perspective and is not the same as eccentric behaviour. It's not just a continuation of the normal emotions that we all feel. Depression is not extreme sadness, it is something totally different, its more like extreme 'flatness' than sadness, it needs to be treated. There is nothing positive about it whatsoever, it destroys your self esteem, removes your motivation, wipes out your confidence and energy and generally fucks up your life. As for it inducing creativity, you wouldn't have the motivation or energy for creative thought.

Romanticising mental ilnesses makes about as much sense as romanticising 'physical' diseases. Mental illnesses ARE physical diseases and need to be treated.

Hobgoblin

By Black_Rabbit on Tuesday, February 06, 2001 - 08:28 am: Edit

Martin, I'm not a pothead at all... whatever you are getting out of the subgenius stuff is not at all what I got out of it.

C'est la guerre!

By Melinelly on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 06:03 pm: Edit

on chaos...

to call what martin calls chaos "chaos" is something i would like to shy away from, but given the circumstances can't. just as trying to call zen "zen" makes the word itself the anti- of itself. yeah yeah yeah... i know, chaos/zen in and of itself is something that can only be truly described in pure unadulterated experience, but hey we've got to give it some sort of form if we're to ever express it in terms of non-physical interaction (i.e., posting to an internet message board as opposed to screeching like a monkey and running around in circles).

youch. ok enough of an introduction to this response. basically, i agree with martin at the core of his arguments. it's too bad his discourse is formed as such that it sounds like he indeed is a headcase to be feared/ignored/etc... "chaos" is life. we are only in the social predicaments we're in because of millenia of social construction and meandering away from life's essence. but at the same time, our world would not exist if we were to live without social confinement. it's questionable if that means we'd still be striking rocks together for fire and wiping our asses with grass though. can technology exist in "chaos"? certainly, now that it does exist, a chaotic existence could be very plush and comfortable... however, given the structure needed to create what has been created, making use of such requires some reversion back to structure if "chaos" is embraced.

what we need is to realize and understand the "chaos" from which we are born and from which ALL things were born and respect the connections we all share. this of course does not mean we have to respect the confinements we are born into. if we are to realize social change, we have to tap into that which martin calls "chaos." given the structure of society, this is best done on an organized mass basis (thus terms such as "anarchy" "socialism" etc. that can solidify the basis for movement thought).

BAH! i'm getting too theoretical. i hate talking about that which can't be talked about.

:::claps his hands and smears dirt on his chest in the form of a circle:::

on the mentally "ill"...

again, i agree with martin at the core of his post. the mentally ill are fundamentally misunderstood and misdiagnosed often because the pure state of mind IS in "chaos." the human mind exists in the realm of pure experience, and given the confines of social norms, in order for us to interact and succeed in society, our minds have to be "confined" within the norms of thought/speech/etc patterns shared by society. many mental "disorders" are of a "chaotic" nature, and thus SHOULD be approached from a "chaotic" standpoint. however, given modern medicine's basis in structured norms, traditional approaches will always fail without the assistance of sedatives in the attempt to bring order from "chaos."

ouch! my brain hurts!

-emiliano gumby lee

By Marc on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 12:34 pm: Edit

Anybody who names their child "Violence"
is unfit to be a parent. You talk about psychological abuse.

By Fluid on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 12:32 pm: Edit

sounds like birth trauma

By Martin on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 12:16 pm: Edit

I'm not enough of a pot head for the Church of the Subgenius to hold any interest for me. Everything about it seems to be derived from Pot Culture... and I HATE Pot Culture. Though I do find the "Stark Fist of Removal" to be endlessly amusing.

I have a good friend who played with Mercury on several occasions as a child. Needless to say, he's a little odd. He named his daughter "Violence". As "eccentric" as he seems to most people, he is pretty smart and incredibly creative and artistic. I'm quite glad his brain is a little inbalanced, it would be shameful for him to be "normal".

I too, sometimes find myself in situations where irrationality takes over. I have a really hard time going into huge chain stores during the day. I try to go into Meijer or Wal-Mart and the place is just PACKED full of sweaty, nasty, obnoxious, rude, horrible, ugly people. I seriously can't handle more than 5 minutes in there without getting really bad anxiety attacks. The strangest thing is that it pretty much only happens in places like that. I can go to a mall and be fine, but those huge sprawling "everything" stores filled with all these horrible people is just too much for me. I can be around these same people in any other place and they don't bother me (hardly) at all, but put them in a Wal-Mart and suddenly I'm neurotic. I think it might be the crowds, the way everyone is just packed in there with no way to breathe. The thing is, big crowds like that in the city never bothered me. I think it has something to do with big crowds of people in enclosed spaces. That, and the whole cuture associated with those big chain stores is so disgusting.

-Martin

By Black_Rabbit on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 09:58 am: Edit

damn. there was a cool spacing thing I did with 'bob' that didnt come through.

By Black_Rabbit on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 09:57 am: Edit

Martin, your comment on the natural order reasserting itself once we yield to chaos implies that Man can and does buck that order.

What is the natural order of things? How would we tell?

Kallisti said 'ararchism is only failed discordianism' or something like that. You should look into discordianism if you haven't already.

Check out the Church of the Subgenius first.

B
BOB
B is coming!

By Black_Rabbit on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 09:47 am: Edit

Blackjack,

I have certain... chemically induced eccentricities, and know whereof I speak here. I quite agree,when you get to the point of non-functionality, well, it kinda sorta really, really sucks.

But in his basic point, Martin is right- the 'mad' often do have insights the 'sane' lack. There are an endless host of perspectives I have that I wouldn't if the voices in my head hadn't been there to gibber them at me.

This is a matter of perspective, I think. You could have an 'eccentric' perspective with normal brain chemistry, and lack it even with abnormal brain chemistry. It's how you take the input. But people who are forced to look at the world differently are likely to have it.

And people who look at the world differently enough, well- they often get labeled mentally ill. It is telling that these labelers have pigeonholes both for the ones with abnormal brain chemistry, and for the ones who just don't look at things the way they do, chemistry be damned. It all comes down to what you want- and to hell with anyone who says you aren't ill. If you don't like what your brains are doing, then that is ill, in my book. And you should be the one deciding, if at all possible.

I am with Anatomist here- I wouldn't give up what my mind gives me if I could, and I am willing to pay the occaisonal price it exacts (like being too freaked out to get out of bed some mornings, etc.)

Oh, Mercury (at least that's my best guess), in case anyone is wondering *what* chemical ;-)

By Don_Walsh on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 09:26 am: Edit

Thanks Daed for the clarification.

You know the Russian word 'nekulturny' -- a deadly insult in Russia. It means uncultured, a barbarian. I think they coined it prematurely anticipating the arrival of Martin. The antichrist.

By Daedelus on Monday, February 05, 2001 - 07:31 am: Edit

There was no sarcasm implied in my comment. I really meant it as a pat on the back. I, like some others of us out here I'm sure, was pleasantly suprised at that comment. Pure-D entertainment.


daedelus

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 09:27 pm: Edit

Hi, Daed.

Where were your tender sensibilities when this shithead Martie was calling for Slaughterhouse Russia and the emergence of a Muscovite Pol Pot?

Is it too far a leap to assume that this guy has a rusty hulk of a tire-less car sitting on cinder blocks in his front yard?

By Daedelus on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 08:48 pm: Edit

"Everthing in this known universe can be expressed and predicted."

except for Don's trailer park comment.

Way to go Don, We can always count on you to take it to another level.

Better than Jerry Springer I tell you.


daedelus

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 07:51 pm: Edit

What a waste of Kallisti's free electrons. Martin as Mike Moorcock's dystopian archetype. Naw. More like 'Marxism-Lennonism', political poisons sucked through the big dialysis machine of life from a badly disfunctional transnational kidney.

My world is far from in flames, and neither is Shithole, Indiana last time I looked. This little dweeb Martin who couldn't organize a two-gocart drag race is going to bring it all crashing down - Western Civilization. Right. And let us know when Elvis gets here, Martin. You are really a very boring person, and you have yet to contribute 10 cents worth of anything worth talking about to this forum, all you have done is annoy and take up space. Piss off. Go back and read my post. I didn't threaten you, I said you weren't worth a half cent's smokeless powder to blow you away, and never will be. And that your 'glorious chaos' is a crock.

Doesn't even know who M.Moorcock is. Jeez. Editor of New Worlds Magazine, cutting edge of British science fiction for a decade or two that's all. Oh, but that was the 70s and 80s, rather before this little diaper-dweeb's time. Half baked lunacy from a half-finished cretin from suburban Kokomo. Whatya gonna do, Martie? Have your buddy knife me? I don't hang in Denny's. Culturally illiterate trailer park scum.

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 07:27 pm: Edit

"is it back to the Garden, or forward to Judgement Day?"

Neither. Don't look at it in terms of black and white. It doesn't have to be anything specific. It's only change. Evolution... as has been going on since the beginning of time.

Anatomist,

I'm glad someone agrees with me about my viewpoint on mental illness. You said pretty much exactly what my feelings are on the subject.

Woof, grrr...

Martin

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 07:27 pm: Edit

Anatomist-

This is the sort of thing I often hear from people who have never suffered from mental illness. There is a qualitative difference between (in my case) depression and any sort of healthy range of emotion. It is a physical syndrome, with decidedly physical symptoms like agitation, hypersomnia or insomnia, psychomotor retardation, confusion, memory loss and dyskenesia. Trust me, I've been deeply sad and I've been depressed, and they don't feel the same.

One thing to keep in mind is that the DSM definitions of mental illnesses almost always have a criterion that the symptoms produce a significant impairment in the patient's ability to work or relate to others. I only sought treatment for my depression when it became clear that I could not work, I could not support myself, unless I did something about it. I'm serious. I was unable to get out of bed, unable to even shower. That's not an eccentricity, that's an illness.

I still live in a world full of madness, sadness, mirth, melancholia, glooms and rages. If anything, I experience a far greater range of emotions when I'm medicated, because I'm able to function in the real world instead of lying in fetal position on the couch for days on end.

I understand your romantic inclinations. There is a place for them, but keep in mind that there are people with real diseases out there, who have a very difficult time of things without having to keep defending the fact that they are actually sick.

By Anatomist1 on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 06:50 pm: Edit

Blackjack,

I agree that Martin's ode to madness was unintended melodramatic camp, but I can't agree with your take on "mental illness". If you choose to conceive of the world in terms of such clinicalized sterilities -- whether by necessity or choice -- that's certainly up to you. I choose not to. I have no doubt that I could go hook up with a shrink, get diagnosed with something, attend a bunch of sessions and meetings where I become indoctrinated into using contemporary psychological terminology, conceiving of my eccentricities as pathologies, etc... This is not for me. I prefer to conceive of the world in more literary or poetic terms. I would rather live in a world full of madness, sadness, mirth, melancholia, glooms and rages, than disorders, illnesses, enabling behaviors, and the like. I'd rather associate with drunks and lunatics than alcoholics and manic-depressives. I think a great author has more to teach me about my emotions, thoughts and behaviors than a medical bureaucrat. It's a different paradigm, and as such it is not "at odds with the facts", because it involves a different disposition towards "facts". I don't see why you should find it insulting.

K.

By Admin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 03:45 pm: Edit

I was mis-matching concepts from some earlier posts. Some of your ideas seem rather contradictory in nature. That's ok, it's just such a strange fantasy to unravel. I.E. is it back to the Garden, or forward to Judgement Day?

Pardon my abuse of Judeo Christian imagery, the big book of metaphors is a wonder to draw on.

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 03:36 pm: Edit

No, I'm not.

-Martin

By Admin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Uh, Martin ... you're talking non-denomenational Armageddon.

I agree with Marc, porn is the salve for all gaping festering wounds.

Who's got the remote? Please fastforward to the good parts.

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 01:59 pm: Edit

Sorry, I was giving you too much credit. How about Rage Against the Machine liner notes and re-hashed Dungeons and Dragons?

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 01:35 pm: Edit

Anti-Flag? Michael Moorcock? I have no clue what you're talking about. I've never heard of them before.

I didn't say mental illness had nothing to do with physical problems. I'm just saying that my experience with mentally ill people (and I've known several) has given me the impression that there's more going on with them than most people give them credit for.

-Martin

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 01:33 pm: Edit


Quote:

All I do is make one little comment about Pol Pot and he jumps my shit and accuses me of being a bloodthirsty maniac.



No, wait, let's see that again:

Quote:

All I do is make one little comment about Pol Pot and he jumps my shit and accuses me of being a bloodthirsty maniac.



BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh, Martin, you're a pip!

By _Blackjack on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 01:14 pm: Edit

Martin, your romanticization of mental illness is absurd. Speaking as one of the mentally ill, you aren't doing us any favors. Mental illnesses are diseases. Most of them manifest physical symptoms along with affective ones. Wanna see my PET scans? To continue with the medieval glorification of madness as anything more mystical or profound than diabetes is at odds with the facts and insulting.

Martin, quit while you're ahead. Your personal philosophy is degrading from the liner notes of an Anti-Flag album to re-hashed Michael Moorcock. "Chaos" indeed...

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 12:42 pm: Edit

Chaos is incapable of destroying this world, because it IS this world. It is only those things that defy chaos which wreck this world. That's the point I'm trying to get at. Whatever, we obviously define chaos differently. You talk about it like it's something that can actually exist in this world, and it absolutely cannot. Think of it in Zen terms; it is the Nothing that is Everything.

Denny's, studio, absinthe.... I could easily do without those things if the world were a better place. If these ideals were embraced, we would not need such foolish material things.

-Martin

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 12:35 pm: Edit

Bah, voting is foolish. But I shan't argue with you because you're ever so nice and polite (unlike some people).

If my conclusions are erroneous, then I invite him to clear them up. I only draw my conclusions from the cards he puts on the table. He constantly alludes to "hidden secrets" and all sorts of other mumbo jumbo crap all the time in some sort attempt to make us think he's a member of the Illuminati or something equally ridiculous. Well, I'm sorry, but I hate people like that, so if he's not, then he should stop bullshitting us and just be himself. He needs to drop the facade and let us judge him by who he really is. And if he really is an Illuminati, CIA, GSG9, MI5, or whatever insider, then I have every right to dislike him for all the things those scum have done.

I'm sorry, but there's nothing that pisses me off more than a bullshitter. I'm completely open about everything I say and do. There is no facade, this is all me. If you don't like it, then fine. I've made alot more friends by being myself than by being a phony.

But whatever, I got along with him fine there for awhile. All I do is make one little comment about Pol Pot and he jumps my shit and accuses me of being a bloodthirsty maniac.

Whatever, I'm never going to respond to a post of his again. Ever. I will carry on as a (somewhat) productive member of this Forum and chat about absinthe and whatever with my fellow Forumites, but I shall never communicate with him in any way ever again.

There, that should make everyone happy.

-Martin

By Marc on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 12:31 pm: Edit

There's some serious drama-queening going on around here. My suggestion: curl up with a nice porno film. THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN is a good one. Wrap your fists around your trembling members and let yourselves go. You guys are way
too jacked-up on the old testosterone. Time for some relief.

Martin, I love you babe, but you talk about "chaos" as if it were a fashion statement.
Do you really want your little world ripped to shreds...no more recording studio, no more Dennys
and no more absinthe with Sprite.

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 12:15 pm: Edit

"There are times to fight and times to flee but only when yourself or family is faced with no other options."

My sentiments exactly.

Your remark about the Buddhists is certainly a valid one. I actually have a very pacifistic personality most of the time. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times some jerk has gotten in my face trying to start trouble and all I've done is sit there and stare at him blankly. There are precious few occassions where I've allowed myself to go down to their level, and even then, I've stopped before going too far. I'm not the bloodthirsty serial killer Walsh would have everyone believe.

Of course, there's a time for everything. That's what chaos is all about. You have to let the chaos take you were you need to go. It will show you the way and in the end you will find much enlightenment. If you just sit there and totally let the spirit of chaos take over your body, you won't go crazy on some kind of killing or vandalism spree, you'll simply become more aware of what's really going on in this world. People have other words for this, but I know it really is Chaos. It is the Great Nothingness.

Many of my ideas about chaos are based on personal experiences with a friend of mine. He truely is a madman. I mean certified, he's been seeing psychiatrists since he was 3 years old and he's been entrenched in chaos and anarchy his entire life. There is absolutely no reason for any of it. No shrink has to yet been able to figure out what his malfunction is. I have a good idea what it is... he's been touched by chaos. He is living madness unleashed. Through his almost uncontrollable insanity we can better understand our own nature. Have you ever spent time around the mentally ill? They are a strangely enlightened bunch. Many of the world's greatest geniuses have been madmen. This is no coincidence. I don't believe I'm that far gone, but I've grown to have a very acute understanding of these people. There's so much we can learn from them. Every person on this earth has a purpose.

So, please do not be disturbed by my beliefs just because they seem strange to you. Chaos cannot truely happen in this world. It is an impossibility. Once chaos enters this world, it is no longer chaos. Everthing in this known universe can be expressed and predicted. Once chaos changes to something worldly, it begins to take shape and have order. If we embrace chaos, instead of fighting it and trying to impose our own order, the natural order will happen.

-Martin

By Admin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 11:53 am: Edit

Please go threaten eachother elsewhere. Or rather, go start your revolution elsewhere. We're happy fluffy bunnies here.

Well, maybe with big sharp pointed teeth, but bunnies none the less.

Martin, you seem like an idealist with a chip on your shoulder. Go vote or something. You know next to nothing about Don, who he is or what he's done. You're drawing erroneous conclusions from spiderwebs of information.

Chaos is not to be called down indescriminately, she is to be respected and given her due. The world *IS* chaotic, no need send her an invite.

Hehe, maybe Don IS chaos, so stop baiting him. So Don, I offer up some dead sheep in placation. Please don't burn my village.

xoxo,

kallisti

p.s. anarchy is just failed discordianism

By Hersaint on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 11:14 am: Edit

Come on guys lets make love not war, as if there isn’t enough conflict on this planet already.

Martin I am no capitalist but Anarchy is not the solution, Buddhist’s in Tibet have coped with that sort of violence and aggression you talk about for hundreds of years but still live a passive life

I firmly believe that to raise your hand in anger at another person is but to lower yourself to their level.

There are times to fight and times to flee but only when yourself or family is faced with no other options

Martin your quote
worries me

"Only once a society has embraced chaos, can the natural and intended order come about."

This sounds like the ramblings of a mad man which I do not think you are? Perhaps I am wrong but anyway who am I to judge who is sane and who is not.

Martin please only take this post as a dig but what you wrote disturbs me.

I am not a member of the CIA, FBI or MI5 just an ordinary father and husband trying to get by in this crazy topsy turvy world.

Martin if they are you’re beliefs then I hope you are in the minority and I hope they never become a reality for your sake and mine.

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 09:31 am: Edit

So, you think I should be killed just because my opinion is different than yours? You sicken me. This is what I'm talking about... any attempts by people like me to try to change anything, even by peaceful means, will be immediately opposed with the most extreme violence and vitriol. It's kind of hard to ignore that kind of oppression.

Walsh, you give every impression of being one of those people who's responsible for the world being the fucked up mess it is today. Spies, intelligencia, hidden motives, covert ops, gnostic knowledge of things Ordinary people would dare not know. Your kind are dogs. Filthy slaves to the capitalists. Traitors to all humanity. Damn you. What good will your knowledge, money, and "influencial friends" be when your pitiful world is in flames?

I'm sure your response to all this will be something along the lines that if I weren't so full of shit I'd be dangerous, or that I'm not worth the effort of even loading the gun to shoot me, or that I can't even imagine the horrors that you've seen, or that you know people who can make me "disappear". I would think that by now you'd have realized that your pale, empty threats mean nothing to me, and that they only reinforce the image that you're an egotistical asshole.

If you're not all these things I accuse you of, please, PLEASE prove me wrong. Give me reasons to doubt the truth behind what I say, instead of giving me more ammunition and reason to despise you.

-Martin

By Petermarc on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 06:12 am: Edit

'you may say i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one, someday you'll join us, and the world will
implode on it's own self-loathing, violent, and ultimately doomed inability to foster co-existence'....peace and love, dudes...

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 02:35 am: Edit

Martin, if you were worth the powder to blow you away, which you are definitely not, someone would introduce you to the glorious chaos of a .45 hardball pill in your forehead.

By Martin on Sunday, February 04, 2001 - 01:52 am: Edit

Don,

I'm glad to see you didn't even pay attention to anything I wrote in my last post, or at least you didn't try to make sense of it. Good for you. The CIA sure did a good job of teaching you to ignore things.

"His apparent appetite for rivers of blood would make Dracula puke. He's not someone who ought to ever have authority over a single other person. He has the heart of a crocodile."

Ha Ha! That's great! How did I earn such an honor? I am truely impressed by your ability to ignore what I write and just make up your own version of it to use against me. Is that slander? You CIA folk sure do love to spread misinformation and poison. It's ironic too, considering I've never misquoted you or taken anything you've said out of context. It truely boggles the mind to see how low you will go just because you think I'm an obnoxious brat. I'm not suprised in the least that you find my beliefs so offensive, considering the fact that you're such a part of everything I'm working to destroy.

And it will be destroyed. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I vow to do everything possible to make it easier for those who'll follow me. Don't think for a minute that I'm alone in my beliefs. In fact, I'm pretty moderate compared to most of my comrades.

How can you deny the splendid beauty of Chaos? True chaotic anarchy... these things cannot be denied. Your society's failed attempts to restrain us have only resulted in accelerated deterioration. Chaos is a jealous mistress, and she's feeling neglected. Things will get much worse before they get better. Worse for your lot anyway.....

Only once a society has embraced chaos, can the natural and intended order come about.

Ahhh, the Jarake thirsts. More Absinthe!

-Martin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 11:11 am: Edit

Imagine it in Lao, or Pushtu.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 08:46 am: Edit

Don,

I can only sing the Internationale in English. I bet it sounds strange in Japanese though.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 08:00 am: Edit

Lord H, the CIA trained me well, I can probably sing the Internationale in more langauges than you can...

I still ackowledge your clear and welcome attitude toward human life's value, and I hope you can discern the same from at least some of my posts.

As for Ted, he's not an exploiter. The Soviet Union ackowledged the role of Designers almost reverentially. Ted is a Designer. In the USSR he would have been a Hero of Socialist Labor. Like another friend of friends of mine (I missed meeting him by less than one year): Mikhail Kalashnikov. My close friend the late Dr.E.C.Ezell of the Smithsonian brought Misha to Washington DC in early '90 to meet (also deceased) Gene M.Stoner, also a close friend. But I left for Thailand the previous August...Misha has two Lenin Stars. A major general of the Soviet Army once commented: "My two stars are outranked by his two stars."

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 07:34 am: Edit

Don,

In response to your other post, our views on the relationships between the individual, society and property are no doubt very different and we'd end up going round in circles about the merits of capitalism and socialism.

However if you decide to rebel against your exploitation at the hands of evil Ted and form a workers commune you'll have my full support. Should you feel the urge to start singing the Internationale then let me know and I'll send you the words.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 06:30 am: Edit

storyville

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 06:24 am: Edit

Sorry, skip this one, pls see image in next post

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 06:17 am: Edit

Lord H this thread is gettin unmanageably long.

HOWEVER The man's name is Al Rose. It would be fairer to dscribe him as a friend of friends and an acquaintance than as a friend of mine per se. In fact last time I saw Al was in the 80s (I left NO in '89) and he was horrified to learn I knew that the Bronstein's were Trotsky's cousins because the family was still paranoid of the 'chekists'...Sasha when she toured Russia in the 70s asked people if they ever heard of her cousin Trotsky and she was shocked to discover that he was indeed an unPerson, no one would admit they even knew his name.

Al was a music historian and his book STORYVILLE is still the most comprehensive source to EJ Bellocq's photography and the Storyville era. I will be most surprised if our esteemeed Goddess Kallisti does not own this book. It was indeed basis for 'Pretty Baby'.

I remember a famous party at the home of the curator of the N.O.Jazz Museum Justin DeGrange Winston, in the late 70s or early 80s around mardi Gras. Guests: Al Rose, S.Hayakawa the regent of UC Berkeley, Woody Allen, and friends. Woody Allen eavesdropped on Justin telling someone a shaggy-dog joke of mine based on The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Woody loved the joke, belly laughed, tears in his eyes...

Yeah I have known some interesting people and they have known me.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 05:17 am: Edit

Don,

One of Trotsky's bodyguards was a freind of yours, you certainly mix with some interesting people. And Trotsky's great nephew a money-grabbing landlord and exploiter of struggling artists, I suppose it proves that political ideology is not genetic.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 05:14 am: Edit

Lord H., just wondering: how you would view an enterprise where the capitalists (owners of the means of production, shareholders of the corporation) were the same people whp actually USE the means of production, i.e., operate the machinery and produce the goods? Do we have to be schizophrenic and hire TUC psychiatrists? I don't have any 'workers'. I put up the capital and I make the absinthe, Ted put up the protocols and shares in the profits. Is Ted 'exploiting' me? Should I start singing the Internationale? Am I a Class Schizo?

The problem with your worldview is that the Industrial Revolution was a long time ago and world conditions have not stood still since then.

The United States is not nearly as stratified socially as the UK, there is much more vertical mobility, and the middle class is the politically dominant class. Consider the rate at which the US economy promotes people from the middle class to the elite (let's say, new millionaires in US$ per year). Many of those people have modest roots.

Lord H., you a clearly of the intelligentsia, and your politics are very likely either an affectation or a rebellion. Personally I am the grandson of a Sicilian truck mechanic on one side and an Irish postal worker on the other. But they sired priests, lawyers, accountants, nurses, doctors, and teachers. And they sire more professionals and technocrats (and me.). I'm sorry if such mobility is still difficult in UK. But I think it is possible elsewhere in Europe.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 04:50 am: Edit

Needn't sing Trotsky's praises to me. His family lives to this day in my home town of N.O.La., the family name is Bronstein of course but you know that. I went to school with one of his great-great nieces. (Sasha). One of my friends, much older than myself was one of his bodyguards in Mexico (off duty the night Ramon Mercador buried an ice-ax in Leon's skull). The same fellow, as I have recounted previously here, is the author of STORYVILLE, which book, rediscovering the work of H.Bellocq, was made into the (absinthe related) film PRETTY BABY. Life goes round and round.

Ironically Sasha's father, Leon's great-nephew Larry Bronstein was infamous in N.O. as a French Quarter landlord and art gallery owner who ruthlessly exploited his starving-artist 'workers'.

A brutal capitalist if there ever was one -- Trotsky's great-nephew. Leon must be spinning like a top at high RPMs.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 03:55 am: Edit

Don,

Indeed the Russian Revolution was betrayed very early on. Russian leaders like Stalin and Breshnev make me feel sick. The last hope for the Russian Revolution was murdered in Mexico in 1940.

I've no doubt many of the mobsters are former security service personnel. And yes the old system bears a lot of blame for this. But the West also bears some blame as we encouraged and aided corrupt Russian politicians in their new venture.

Things were undoubtledly harsh in the 20's and 30's but things did improve for ordinary Russians economically in subsequent decades.

The life of a vast many ordinary Russians is certainly much worse now than it was in the few decades prior to this new system of government. The idea that what we are seeing now is the dawn of a bright new democracy is nonsense. The new system is a sewer of corruption.

If I was a starving Russian today I don't think I'd share in the optimism of many in the West. I'd rather have food, shelter, employment and a corrupt political system than no food, no shelter, no employment and a corrupt political system. Easy to be optimistic from the outside, especially when you're own side has 'won' the Cold War. A very different thing for those on the inside.

But then I get the feeling Don that, (politics aside) you don't share in this optimism either.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 03:20 am: Edit

Lord H, everything you say is true. But the mobsters are mostly the former security apparat (MVD, KGB, GRU) out of uniform and that's the truth. The ideology you love was betrayed so early on - within a decade of the 1917 revolution, the ideals of Marx and Lenin were little but a facade; there was only realpolitik and the tyranny of the Party and the nomenklatura. Surely the system that created the security apparat bears some of the blame for its metamorphosis into the Russian Mafia?

Yes it's true, things are bad, but they were just as bad in the 20s and 30s (or worse) and all through the war. People struggled on under the delusion that the Party would make things better.

Now they struggle on fatalistically or else in the belief (yet to be quite proven a delusion) that the absence of the Party will make things better.

By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, February 03, 2001 - 02:58 am: Edit

Blackjack,

I'm not sure that things in Russia are as rosy as you perhaps believe. The power that controls Russia is not the will of the people but the will of organised crime. The mobsters are doing rather nicely, whilst a great many ordinary Russians are starving.

Their new economy is doing so well that the Government can't afford to pay those in its employment. How would you feel not recieving any wages for months on end? And what about the many Russians who live in large towns miles from anywhere whose only purpose was to supply a state run factory or power plant that has now since shut down? Life in a decaying Siberian factory town with no money, no food and no hope. No thanks.

The old system in Russia was certainly corrupt but at least people had jobs, food and housing. The new system is run by mobsters who couldn't give a shit about anything but their own personal wealth. The new system is rotten to the core. Hardly a model of democratic progress.

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Sorry for the error, blackjack.

As to Denny's, probably too much msg in the salad bar or something.

At 14 such tendencies are forgivable, but Martin is allegedly about a decade older than that -- chronologically anyway.

He did some backpeddling but there his old posts are to embarass him for some time to come.

I may disagree with Lord H on politico-economics but I respect his obvious deep sense of the value of human life. While Martin seems to thinks we are just an anthill to kick over for fun. His apparent appetite for rivers of blood would make Dracula puke. He's not someone who ought to ever have authority over a single other person. He has the heart of a crocodile.

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 10:37 pm: Edit

I meant that the Russians created a new government in 1992. But thanks. I wasn't up to speed on Cambodian politics, other than the fact that it was a self-destructing cluster-fuck. I think you'll agree, Russia is pretty rose-colored by comparison.

Way to get the job done, Pot...


I'd probably be more annoyed with Martin if he didn't remind me of myself at 14. I was a raging Bakhuninite with primitivist tendencies. I came by it honestly, tho; I did it to impress a girl...

Come to think of it, I hung out at Denny's a lot then too. Maybe it's something in the waffles...

By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 10:20 pm: Edit

Ugh, blackjack, Cambodia did create a new government by popular mandate in '92. They elected the Sihanoukist party FUNCINPEC and installed Prince Norodom Ranaridh as Prime MInister. The LOSERS of the election, the CPP, led by Vietnamese stooge and former Khmer Rouge officer Hun Sen, threatened to go back to the jungle and resume civil war, so Ranaridh brought Hun Sen into the government as co-PM #2. It was Hun Sen's own bodyguards who bombed the peaceful; rally of moderate leader Siem Remsy. When FBI investigators (brought in at government request) were about to announce the guilty were Hun Sen's people, Hun Sen pulled a coup d'etat and drove the lawfully elected PM into exile. Hun Sen is still PM of Cambodia and still a Vietnamese puppet. He controls the national army (now swollen with former Khmer Rouge like himself. He controls the Interior Ministry and the secret police. Crime is rampant especially narcotics (Cambodia has replaced Thailand as a trans-shipment point for Burmese and Lao heroin) and child prostitution. (The latter has declined somewhat since the principle clients, UN diplomats, NGO staffers and the intl news media) have mnostly left. Cambodia is the wild, wild East and the Clanton Gang are the marhslls, not the Earps. Eight Chinese families control all business, legal and illegal in Cambodia, and the most visible elements in organized crime are the Vietnamese. The Khmer Rouge weren't defeated or destroyed. Once Pol Pot dies, Ieng Sary made a seperate peace, and Ta Mok was left to be the scapegoat for a show trial the Viets want, but that makes Hun Sen a little nervous. The rank and file KR became Cambodian soldiers. No one can say that they couldn't just as suddenly become KR again, as many KR generals were given high rank in the national army.

Cambodia as a nation is finished and Cambodians as a race are 'endangered species'. The Viets are expanding into Khmer territory just as they have been for 500+ years. Hun Sen is a traitor.

And I live a few hours drive from the Cambodian border, my friend. It was my job for 10 years till just this last Deptember to monitor events in that country, so I am saddened to see that back home people have such an upbeat rose colored glasses view of events there. There is no hope for Cambodia. Only for makers of prosthetic limbs there, Cambodia's only growth industry.

By Martin on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 07:08 pm: Edit

I obviously chose a bad example to use. Joshua seems to be the only one to have gotten my point.

As far as violence is concerned, I don't advocate violence as the way to get what we want. I certainly don't advocate senseless violence. I believe in having ideals and a philosophy. I think violence should only be a reaction to violence. What I'm trying to say is that if you try to actually do anything with your ideals, try to actually effect some change in this society, you'll most likely be treated with violence from those who oppose you. What do you do then? I would say violence at that point would certainly be justified. It doesn't matter how peacefully you start out, violence is an inevitablity, just because people are really that scared of change. They'd go to any lengths to keep things exactly like it is now.

As far as Russia is concerned, I believe it's already gotten to a point where violence is necessary. I think every Russian Mobster should be lined up and shot in the streets like the filthy dogs they are. Period. It would be nothing compared to all the innocent people they've killed and all the countless lives they've destroyed.

I mentioned the American Revolution as an example of people standing up for their rights and fighting. The end result wasn't what was important in my example. Perhaps, I should have mentioned the French Revolution instead.

Most of you are too hung up on specific events and people. In my examples it doesn't matter how evil Pol Pot is or how the American Revolution resulted in the very thing I'm against (BTW, capitalism was around long before that). You need to get past the names and see what I'm saying. I can't imagine putting my ideas in more simplistic terms. I should have just said it like this: "X thinks technology is bad. He thinks smart people are bad. He thinks ordinary people would be better off if they got rid of technology and killed the smart people. X convinces a bunch of people that this is right. He then gets them to follow through with those plans, killing millions of people. X knows how to get the job done. Russia needs someone like X who can get the people together to fight back against the capitalists and mobsters who've been ruining their country. Though X had warped evil ideas, a person like X, except with sound anarchistic ideas and no desire to be a dictator, would be perfect for Russia." I guess that's what I get for going with the shock value of a known name.

-Martin

By Melinelly on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Martin,

no single violent revolution has brought about a peaceful society be it capitalistic, socialistic, etc... in fact, you keep saying the American Revolution turned out well, yet it laid the groundwork for the very system you rage against. this country has gained greatness through glory, not virtue. it has been the virtuous seeking change through its history. this country has produced some of the great leaders for peace of the last couple centuries only because of the need for domestic change and revolution.

yes, we do need to stand up and fight. but violence is not the only way. certainly not the way towards any sort of human evolution leading towards peace.

a peaceful society in which all needs are met is a complete improbability. if you want results and satisfaction, know that they are in the struggle. anything gained through violence is fleeting and easily lost. the "war" will be won only through acceptance, not coercion beit on behalf of the system or the revolution. it is one thing to be willing to kill for what you want, but the gains are to be had in the will to die so that those that come after may have what you won't.

hasta la victoria siempre,

emiliano

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 02:35 pm: Edit


Quote:

I just think they need to get the balls to stand up and fight back against those who are oppressing them, so that they might finally be able to make a stable and peaceful country.



I thought they did that in 1992. They created a new government by popular mandate. This wasn't something shoved down their throats by a military coup or engineered by aristocrats. Sure, it hasn't been smooth sailing, especially for minority groups, but, geez, it's a huge, ethnically diverse country that was in serious economic trouble. I'd say they're doing a pretty fair job.

Quote:

It's impossible to institute massive change without "cracking a few eggs".



There is a difference between cracking a few eggs and burning down the chicken coop...

By Hersaint on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Heres a way to combat FASCISM

firstly visualize the idea of individual freedom arising from your heart and pouring out of you like a fine vapour which proceeds to envelop everyone and thing on the planet, with a double dose for the people with the most fascist tendencies some may need triple

What they then do with that is up to them, but if you think that they should respond in any way you think proper then it is fascism on your part although metaphysical

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 02:04 pm: Edit

So what do you want Martin, a revolution just for the hell of it, with no thought, no plans and no philosophy about what should happen after a revolution? Let's just smash the place up just for the hell of it, because after all if we're smashing things up we must be in the right. Smash the place up and paint 'A' signs everywhere, that's bound to do some good.

As for Pol Pot getting the job done. What job did he get done, apart from brutally murdering millions of ordinary Cambodians. His methods were slightly more inhuman that a little bit of pepper spray in the face. But then you weren't one of his victims and all they are to you is statistics.

Hobgoblin

By Joshua on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 12:18 pm: Edit

i see what you are saying,and i agree,there is no such thing as a large scale peacful reveloution.thise with the power will never give it up without a fuss,i guess pol pot and stalin were just bad examples of the ends justifing the means.

By Martin on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 11:46 am: Edit

I didn't say anything about any dictators. Dictators are bad... it's even worse when you vote for them. Anyway, my comments about Pol Pot didn't mean that I advocate totalitarian dictatorships in any way. I was using him as an example of a someone who "got the job done". I don't use him or his ideas as a model for what I think is good in any way.

I don't think Russians need commit mass genocide on each other for the sake of anarchy. I just think they need to get the balls to stand up and fight back against those who are oppressing them, so that they might finally be able to make a stable and peaceful country. It's impossible to institute massive change without "cracking a few eggs". I don't think the American Revolution would have turned out so well, if all those farmers weren't willing to start shooting at the Redcoats.

Trust me, the capitalists would never allow a revolution to happen peacefully. Go to your local court house and start painting a big "Anarchy A" on it... see how long it'll take before the cops beat you down and spray you with that inhuman pepper spray.

It would be nice if we could just all stand up and say "No More!! I'm doing things differently now!" and they would just let us do it without a fight, but of course that's impossible. In fact, you'd probably be beaten just for standing on the courthouse steps and yelling this sentiment at everyone who passes by.

Would the American Revolution have happened if they didn't have the balls to dump all that tea into Boston Harbor?

-Martin

By Lordhobgoblin on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 10:33 am: Edit

Are we products of our society or is our society a product of us?

If human nature was basicaly fixed and society was a product of this then then all societies throughout history would be pretty similar. But we know that they're not. Human nature and values are mutable and thy are a product of society. Blackjack in a recent discussion on gun control you said that you were a product of your society and I was a product of mine.

A lot has been said about the benefits of capitalism. The majority of the world's population are extreme poverty, while capitalist multi-nationals rape the world and its resources to satisfy the demands of a few. Does capitalism really benefit the population of this planet? People should perhaps look outside of their own back-yard to see what Western capitalist corporations are doing. Capitalism is bad for the planet and it's people, it treats the population of the world as an expendable resource. We in the West are fortunate not to live with the extreme consequences of capitalism as we in fact benefit from this misery.

And I'm don't want a 'Utopia', just a society where we treat each other as fellow human beings and not as a resources by which we can personally benefit. If 'Socialist Art' is boring, so fucking what? What is Socialist art anyway, a lot of good art came out of Spain in the 30's.

Hobgoblin

Hobgoblin

By Joshua on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 09:09 am: Edit

people like martin,scare me,a person who favors anarchy,but likes pol pots methods.best stated by jello,"how many liberators really want to be dictators"

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 08:42 am: Edit


Quote:

Sure, his "job" was pretty terrible, but at least you can respect him for standing up for his convictions



Um, no, I can't, any more than I can respect Stalin or Pinochet or Hitler (yeah, I know, but Pol Pot really CAN be compared to Hitler) for standing up for THEIR convictions. It doesn't take any courage to silence the opposition. It just takes a lot of guns. People I respect for standing up for their convictions are the ones who did so at the risk of their own lives, not at the cost of others'. Any belief, capitalistic, socialistic, nationalistic, whatever, forced upon people by systematic violence, is not one I am going to respect.

You are falling prey to one of the classic blunders. (The most well known is, never get involved in a land war in Asia...) You have gotten so wrapped up in the means to your goal, to whit, eliminating capitalism, that you have totally lost sight of the goal itself, to benefit mankind and let them live lives free from oppression and terror. Pol Pot didn't benefit his people. He killed them. Not just a few. Almost HALF of them. The things you suggest are FAR worse than anything that mainstream western capitalism has to offer.

By Absinthedrinker on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 08:31 am: Edit

Good to have the old Don back, I was afraid you were turning soft.

By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 08:22 am: Edit

Come off it, Martin. You're not Mikhael Bakunin reincarnated. You want to talk mass graves and genocide as Good Things, and defend mass murderers, etc. for what -- the shock value? Does this play well to your trailer trash friends at Denny's?

Anyway keep it up and I won't be the only one calling you an asshole, asshole.

Your opinion of me matters not a flying fuck into the proverbial rolling donut to me. If you espoused those idiotic views in front of me I'd slap the shit out of you. So consider a mere cyber epithet or two as getting off lightly. You've never had to see the consequences of cute political theories you love; I have. You haven't had to smell the carrion created by the systems you espouse; I have. You think you are trendy and with-it. I think you are gutless, puling dweeb who would piss his pants if he saw for tewn seconds the most infintesmal; part of what I've seen. Pray to whatever gods you worship that you never have to. You wouldn't like it. And if you did like it, then I pary someone puts a bullet through your diseased brain before you do the human race any more harm than your little economic fantasies have already done.

I hope that is crystal clear, asshole.

By _Blackjack on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 07:21 am: Edit

I find the idea of an anarchist who favors despotism hugely entertaining. You are aware, Martin, that once you give power to the sort of person who will "get the job done," they won't give it back? And you know what you've got then, don't you? Government. And the worst kind.

Your ideas aren't revolutionary. Slaughtering everyone who disagrees with you is the oldest form of getting your way. Hell, chimpanzees do the same thing. I suspect if you keep on like this, you will lose any consensus you were getting from the other radicals on this board, since LH and PV seem to be fairly sensible, and, moreover, compassionate and humane.

Your ideas embody EXACTLY the sort of thinking that halts progress my allowing the reactionaries to go "look! Those pinkos want to slaughter the rich." You prove everything they say to be right.

If capitalism is such a bad idea, it would seem to me that you could dissuade people from it without violence, especially in Russia, where they have had generations raised on anti-Capitalist propaganda. You can't claim THEY are embracing capitalism only because it was forced upon them by the establishment...

By Martin on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 01:06 am: Edit

Gee, and I thought we were friends *sniff, sniff*. I shoulda known you'd show up and start pestering me as soon as I began suggesting violence towards capitalists. Every time I start thinking I was wrong about you, you give me more reasons to believe my original hasty assumptions to be right after all.

I never said Pol Pot was a good person by any means. I'm just saying he's someone who knew how to "get the job done". Sure, his "job" was pretty terrible, but at least you can respect him for standing up for his convictions, however twisted they may have been.

Stalin, Beria, Purges... yes I'm aware of how much Russians like to kill each other. What I'm saying is that this agression needs to be channeled in more constructive ways that have a better chance of benefiting the country. I'm sure they're bound to start more of that nonsense sooner or later (what they're doing in Chechnya is close enough as it is), I just think they need some positive direction for their mindless violence. A maniac like Pol Pot would be the perfect archtype for someone to lead them in a good direction. Just pray that I don't ever meet a charismatic Russian who's depressed about his failed career as a painter.

Yes, please continue to think that I'm just an empty-headed windbag asshole, you'll sleep much better. Of course there's NO CHANCE I'll ever meet people with similar views to my own. No one's ever actually carried through with crazy ideas like this, so I guess no one has anything to worry about.

-Martin

By Don_Walsh on Friday, February 02, 2001 - 12:39 am: Edit

Martin, if you think Russia ought to be turned into a killing field ("Russia needs a Pol Pot" then obviously you never heard of Stalin and Beria and the purges. Been there, done that, Russia has. If I thought you were anything more than empty (and empty headed rhetoric), I'd regard you as a dangerous man.

However, you are just a windbag asshole.

And I live a few hours leisurely drive from the Cambodian border.

By Bob_Chong on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 07:52 pm: Edit

What you need, my son, is a holiday in Cambodia.


BC

By _Blackjack on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 11:00 am: Edit


Quote:

Everyone HATES child molestors (rightly so), and if everyone hated capitalists with the same zeal, the revolution would be fairly easy.



And, as I said, unnecessary. The problem being, capitalism benefits too many people for them to abandon it, unless, as you ogreishly suggest, we kill everyone who disagrees. It's not a very strong position that requires mass murder to prove its point...


Quote:

What Russia needs is a Pol Pot...



I'll just leave it at that.

By Martin on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 07:03 am: Edit

Mr. Green,

Sorry about my knock on Folk Music. It wasn't necessarily aimed at the genre of Folk, and it certainly wasn't aimed at you. My complaint is about BAD folk music. Poorly written and poorly played folk music. When your studio is running a promotion of 3 free hours, you tend to get alot of that. I was swimming in it this weekend. Fortunately, some of it was actually quite good, and that made it worth it, but all the bad stuff really took a toll. It only takes one or two bad sessions to really put me in a foul mood... especially when I'm not getting paid for it. Actually, I really love recording just acoustic guitar and vocals... it's so easy, and it sounds so nice.

Black Rabbit,

Yes, people really need to get past their societal conditioning before they can start thinking for themselves. I totally believe in the concept of being "condemned to be free" and the fact that the notion really bothers most people. But once you get past the state of "nausea", everything becomes alot clearer. People need to learn how to work with their infinite freedom and figure out how to control it in a productive way when it starts to make them too uncomfortable. You have to know when to allow yourself to be willingly controlled by others, not in a way that will ultimately affect your life, but in small ways that relieve the overwhelming discomfort of being free. Doing something trivial like submitting to a spouse's ridiculous demand keep your fingernails neatly trimmed at all times. Engaging in activity like this makes your true freedom that much more appreciated. I dunno, that's kind of a fucked-up idea, but it seems a good way to deal with "nausea".

-Martin

By Martin on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 06:44 am: Edit

Anatomist,

You're right, assholes do fuck everything up. But hey, there is always ways around such little problems. A high-powered handgun comes to mind...

Don't mix anarchism up too much with socialism, though syndicalism is very socialistic. In most anarchist societies there wouldn't be any "party headquarters". What makes anarchism so nice is it's flexability. If people want to live together cooperatively and socially, they can. If someone wants to be a loner and do things on his own, he can. In most circumstances, these two entities can work together to get what they need. There is no set way of doing things.

The most important thing that is needed for an anarchist revolution to work is to get everyone hooked on the notion that capitalism is the ultimate evil. It needs to be a situation where anyone who would dare attempt any capitalistic venture would be treated with extreme contempt and either be shunned or killed outright. It needs to be something akin to the stigma placed on child molestors in current society. Everyone HATES child molestors (rightly so), and if everyone hated capitalists with the same zeal, the revolution would be fairly easy.

Of course, instilling this kind of hatred towards capitalism is pretty damn difficult to say the least. Most people believe that their entire lives depend on it... that if it didn't exist they would starve to death or worse. And people are always going to have notions of being rich and powerful; carry out the "Amercian Dream". They think there is no chance of comfort or security without wealth and possetions.

An anarchist revolution would be nearly impossible in America during the present day, but I think very real possiblities exist in other countries. And like with communism in Russia, once one country gets in on it, others are sure to follow. Personally, I think Cuba is the best bet for a change to anarchism. They are already used to a socialistic society (though, certainly a warped one) and I'm sure most people there are pretty fed up with being ruled by an evil dictator in a country were everyone is supposedly equal. It's also a small enough country for closely knit communities to form and work with each other. I think as soon as Castro keels over, American and European anarchists need to do their damndest to keep Cuba from becoming a "Free-Market Capitalist Democracy", like what happened to poor ol' Russia. Russia might still have a chance, because they're now finding out what an evil mess capitalism is, in fact it would be the perfect example to give the Cubans for why they shouldn't be that way, but it would take alot of work to get the Russians to work together enough to get their wrecked country under control. The Russian Mafia is a huge problem too, just another digusting result of capitalism.

What Russia needs is a Pol Pot... some evil fucker who'll come in an wipe the place clean. They need a Pol Pot with a more practical agenda. Killing smart people and destroying technology was where Pol Pot was totally wrong. Instead of attacking those people, he should have gone after capitalist scum. Just because capitalists built the factories, doesn't mean they should be knocked down. They just need to kill the bosses. If Russia had just switched factory control over to Syndicates instead of letting them rot because no one wanted (or had the money) to buy them, they wouldn't be the impoverished mess they are now. Yup, all they need is a charismatic crazy guy to get the people together and get their frustration and anger focused on it's root cause. They can start by killing every mobster in sight. There isn't a single Russian who isn't deathly afraid of the mob. Start giving those people guns and a little motivation, and we could start seeing an interesting situation.

"Direct Action Gets Satisfaction"

-Martin

By Black_Rabbit on Thursday, February 01, 2001 - 06:41 am: Edit

Well, Anatomist, I guess that's the sticking point- the malleability of human nature. There have been several societies that were in fact altruistic to one another- that was the norm. A non-altruist among them was considered either non-human or insane. The Enuit, some of the pueblo dwellers, the Anishnabe are three examples off the top. This is not to say they were all nicey nice and gave each other flowers every week- they just believed that if someone needed something you had, you should give it to them, and that the good of the many came before the good of the few. Also, they did not extend this ethic to include non-members, people outside their society.

The thing they all seem to have in common was a dearth of resources. The cooperation that became the foundation of their cultures was born of neccessity. You cannot afford to be a big dickhead if it means you will starve to death.

Your example of a city drive is not the best- you are telling me to look at a society we both know does not hold the ethic I describe, in action. I see that every day... but to say it is not possible because it isn't happening here is going a little far. Like, there are places where people eat each other too- I know they are out there, but I won't see that driving to work either.

The failing of the socialists so far was in trying to force their values on a really big group of people who didn't get it. They knew they were oppressed, but most of them would oppress the others, given the chance. Of course it failed. If I started a coup in Moldavia tomorrow, and decided everyone in Moldavia had to believe in Ahura Mazda or die, they would all say they did, and very few would. But since a system like the one we are talking about requires the participation of everyone, you would have to make them all realize they needed a change first, and then gradually bring the ideas you espouse into the norm.

It would be a long, quiet revolution, and it would be really, really hard to pull off with this world as a starting point, unless something really bad happened, and we were left with the dearth of resources everywhere. Might happen by itself then. But I do believe that people can change their own natures, act outside of their programming (genetic and cultural.) Most of them just don't, is all.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 07:51 pm: Edit

If you read the anarchism faq that was recommended, you'll notice some interesting things. First of all, they admit that an anarchistic society couldn't be achieved unless everyone involved wanted it; that if government and capitalism were abolished right now, the first thing people would do is start building governments and trying to make money. The only way to bring about their vision of society would be to convince everyone to be altruistic. Basically, the revolution cannot take place until it would basically be unnecessary, anyway.

They also admit that, yes, the wealth created by capitalist societies does benefit the poor, but proceed to ignore that fact because it doesn't benefit the poor as much as it does the rich...

The faq is based on a lot of loaded questions and straw men, including using Pinochet as an example of what's wrong with capitalism. Um, what was wrong with Pinochet was that he was a megalomaniacal, murdering bastard. His capitalism was about as incidental as Hitler's vegetarianism...

By Anatomist1 on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 07:02 pm: Edit

Rabbit,

By counterfactual, I meant more along the lines of against the facts on a more fundamental level. Flying to the moon seemed impossible to some because they thought their intellectual structures defined what was possible. Nothing was ever done that required the use of a square circle, or localized reversals in gravitational fields. Socialist or anarcho-syndacalist dream societies rest on faulty assumptions about the way humans are that are comparably absurd. The vast majority of human beings are lazy, unperceptive and prone to reckless selfishness. Even worse for plans of Utopia, a small minority of people are extremely selfish and driven to acts of heinous cruelty for fun and profit.

If you don't believe me, just get in a car and drive around a city. Most people drive with a reasonable measure of civility, but on any trip that lasts more than 10 minutes you are bound to be cut off, see a red light run at high speed, or some similar display of complete disregard for the well-being of others. Note the effect on your experience of driving. You deal amicably with 100 or so drivers, but the one asshole or two ruins your whole trip. The implications for socialism are obvious and dire. Any situation that depends upon widespread civility, generosity, and good will is a pipe dream -- the assholes will always screw it up.

LH's notion that human nature is malleable is at the root of ideologies that make contemporary governments the worst oppressors in human history....

"the space race was nothing more than one super-power spending vast sums of tax-payers money to get one over on
an opposing super-power."

This sentiment illustrates why his socialist utopia would be a living hell, and why socialist art has always been the most dreary crap around. Socialists can't stand the heat. No romance, no passion, always dreadful reductionism. They want to dumb everything down and enforce mediocrity. I would be the first to bomb party headquarters.

K.

By Perruche_Verte on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 05:11 pm: Edit

Martin, I play folk music. Traditional music, anyway. I demand satisfaction, Fellow Worker. En garde!

And BTW, Blackjack, I don't believe much medieval folk music actually exists. A lot of the mournful, fixin'-to-die-rag stuff actually comes from eras of drastic social change -- the Highland Clearances, the Great Famine and the Industrial Revolution in general (hmm, funny that).

Sorry, no time to comment on much of substance. Too busy trying to help change a system that allegedly can't be changed. Do you think I really just sit on my ass, quaff absinthe and pontificate about this stuff?

By Martin on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 03:01 pm: Edit

Sorry about the name mix-up. Alright, no one's allowed to use the word "Black" in their name anymore.... or maybe I should get more sleep. This past weekend was a nightmare for me. Non-stop recording of folk music. I'm still hurting.

-Martin

By Bob_Chong on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 02:12 pm: Edit

LH:

You have pointed out the fundamental difference between our beliefs with this statement:

"Human nature and values are in themselves merely a reflection of the society humans exist in."

You've got it completely backwards: Society is merely a reflection of human nature and values.

If we are to progress to the utopian ideals you have outlined (which are great, man), we must first change our values and overcome some of those primal things BJ mentioned. Society will follow.

It's kind of a "think globally/act locally" thing, for me. If I want to change the world, I don't try to topple society and governments; rather, I teach instead.

BC

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 01:46 pm: Edit

LH, actually, the practical benefits were amazing. The technologies we gained (and still do) from the space race are without number, and were used to make things like lighter stronger metals, Tang (mmm, Tang!) and the computer I am typing on. The practical benefits are probably not as cheaply gained as they would be in an R&D environment, but having a fantastically difficult problem to solve gets people to make leaps they just don't in the day to day grind. How long do you think it would have taken us to achieve nuclear fission/fusion without WWII? Quite a bit longer I bet. Not saying I am a fan of the A-bomb, but it is a good example of the phenomenon.

The pace of advancement, when there is a goal, a race if you will, to win, increases. Usually that happens during armed conflict. But for the first time as far as I can see, it happened without a shot fired.

I think humanity must make a choice- are we techno-dweebies en route to the stars or are we going back to the dreamtime, to the stone age? I would be fine with either one really, but I don't think we can do both- we must either advance very rapidly and outgrow the pollutive technologies we use, or stop now before we poison ourselves to death.

So right now I am hoping the Chinese start to make us look bad and we have us a race to Mars :-)

There is something to be said for competition- but it doesn't have to be unfriendly.

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 01:16 pm: Edit

I disagree that human nature is all that mutable. I err towards a sociobiological perspective. Most of human endeavor over the millennia is just highly ornamented chimpanzee behavior. I'm not being naturalistic about this; I'm not saying that we SHOULD act like chimps, just that we do, and that little has succeeded in changing that. Keep in mind, I'm not saying everything is Lex Talonis. A huge part of survival, especially for social animals like apes, is about cooperation with other members of your group. But we are violent, social, hierarchical primates, and I don't expect that to change.

As for space, I find LH's view saddening. I think the potential to branch out into the stars is one of the great hopes for mankind. I suppose it's just as much as a romantic illusion as the idea that we could live without property, but it appeals to me a great deal.

By Lordhobgoblin on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 12:51 pm: Edit

There is the assumption in capitalist society that the individual works only for his own selfish ends and that reward for effort can only equate to or other reward. The only thing that capitalism values is money, so under a capitalist system the only reward would be financial gain in order to acquire more physical possessions. Human nature and values are in themselves merely a reflection of the society humans exist in. Under capitalism, human nature will be greedy and selfish, and they will only work for personal gain.

Human nature is mutable and a change in the society in which we live changes our values accordingly. A total change where society is paramount rather than the individual will lead to a total change from the 'me first' values that exist now. Human values merely relect the society in existence. You cannot judge how people would operate under one type of society by applying the values of a very different society. Under a society based on the common good people would not work only for their own benefit. To achieve such a society however socialists believe that a transitional stage is needed, whereas anarchists believe we can jump directly to such a society.

On another note the space race was nothing more than one super-power spending vast sums of tax-payers money to get one over on an opposing super-power. It was nothing to do with the collective good and would not have happened without the cold war. There are better ways to spend billions than.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 11:09 am: Edit

Listen to some medieval folk music. Half of it is about how nice it would be to die so they wouldn't have to suffer any more. Hell, so is most Appalachian music from 50 years ago.

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 10:55 am: Edit

A point was raised before that things were bad in middle-ages europe. Bah! It is fallacy to say that the lives of ancient people sucked because they didn't have doctors, Mcdonalds, and Nintendo. Their lives were different enough that I think, given the chance to talk to them, we would find each other more or less completely alien. Their values were not our values... what we would call a good day, they would not, what we call bad, they would not. It's like saying the Japanese have terrible lives because they are forced to eat with little sticks and don't have sit down toilets.

Death coming knocking more easily and often is a generally cited reason in that argument- but it does not matter how many or who die, only how the living react to that death. Like, your dog dies, you probably get really broken up, yes? Your parakeet? But not about your goldfish. But you could just as easily (given a different background) view it the opposite way, and not give a fig for the dog but be sorry for the fish.

So if you are raised in an environment where people die around you frequently, you are taught it is natural, and you truly believe they go to heaven or whatnot, wherein lies the tragedy?

Mideval europeans would weep and gnash their teeth at our pathetic, godless society- doomed to hell to a man. They wouldn't trade with us for Nintendo, I bet.

We wouldn't want their plagues, fanatical devotion to the pope (to the point of burning non-beleivers) or their political system. They wouldn't want our freedom of religion, our devil-machines-that-think, or our political system.

In this case, the grass is greener on whatever side of the fence you were born.

By Black_Rabbit on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 10:42 am: Edit

Anatomist, I agree on the reaching instead of slouching- the space race is a great example of a non-military endevour that improved technology, unified and inspired people (which generally happens in war.)

As to counter-factual castles in the sky, what the holy hell do you think landing on the moon started as?

I can think of several ways to bring such a society about... most aren't nice, but one is (influencing the inevitable ethical changes that occur to move in that direction.) It would take a long time and a concerted effort on the parts of many people. I am just not sure of feasiblity at this point- the devil is in the details, and until they are worked out, the society itself is a castle in the air that might fall down under it's own weight.

But not to reach because it is a counter-factual construct- we would have no aeroplanes, no spaceships, no metal tools, no guitars, no epic poems. There would never be anything that wasn't there the day before unless we lucked into it.

Which raises the question of whether all this stuff is worth it. Maybe we should go back to a simpler way. It would take a hell of an adjustment though...

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, January 31, 2001 - 01:25 am: Edit

I think I may have to change my position based on the fact that I just discovered I owe an extra grand in taxes this year. Y'see, I took a significantly higher-paying job in the middle of the year. Between the taxes and my having to pay for my own health insurance the first 90 days there, this job has actually COST me money...grumble...what I don't know is, should I join Bob and rail against taxes, or join Martin and Hob, since this proves that trying to get ahead in this system is futile...?

I guess I can't guy that new sword...

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

Rabbit,

Never getting to the moon again, so to speak, would be a phenomenal shame. Reverting to 1000 year old lifestyles is undesireable, as well as impossible. If one has some interest in the long term future of humans -- and I believe there is reason to -- getting off this hunk of mud should be priority one. I think our various sojourns into space illustrate exactly the kind of collective good that can be acheived by govermnmental structures. By now, we should at least be experimenting with undersea habitats that would serve as the testing ground for the first orbital space habitats. Capitalism could be heavily involved: the colonies could pay for themselves by being oriented toward harvesting ocean resources and developing environmental technologies.

Businesses work on quarterly profit reviews, so they would never lay out heavy investment for such a long-term vision. Likewise, if it wasn't for government investment, we wouldn't have the internet or a public highway system. The main reason to aim for space isn't about getting all of our eggs out of one basket (although that's a good one), but presenting people with an awesome and passion-inflaming challenge -- a unifying purpose. It's about the way people felt when they saw the first airplanes, or the first moon landing. It's about amazement, wonder, fear, giddiness, emboldenment, and a dawning sense of responsibility. Instead of trying to fix the plumbing, or minimize pain, we should be focussing on getting as many people as possible inspired and challenged, and keeping them that way. The rest will take care of itself.... and if it doesn't, then at least we'll go out reaching instead of slouching.

K.

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 04:56 pm: Edit

While of theoretical interest to some, I have to say all this speculation about non-capitalist and syndicalist societies strikes me as something of very limited value. Flushing out the imaginary details of a scenario that is virtually impossible to bring about, and positing that it would work because people would behave in a way that is pretty much the opposite of the way they actually do... This makes Bob's supposition of a causal and proportional relationship between reduced taxes and increased charity sound plausible.

Personally, I find building such counterfactual castles in the sky to be a destructive use of my time. I would much rather focus on trying to figure out the reality of things I can perceive or deduce, or on things I can actually do. Even spending time with fiction is usually about some kind of truths illustrated there (i.e., about insights into actual human nature, not flimsy delusional constructs). In short... I'm with Blackjack.

K.

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 03:18 pm: Edit


Quote:

Black Rabbit,

You could work in a syndicate that fixes computers. There may not be many broken in your neighborhood, but any city will have at least hundreds of broken computers at any given moment.



I'm Blackjack, not Black Rabbit :)

Well, this sounds nice, in theory, but, ultimately, it ends up working just like currency. I exchange labor for some sort of entitlement to goods and services. What I wonder is if there is any sort of incentive for me to improve myself, or, for that matter, if I will be rewarded for being more capable. I have been in environments where these incentives and rewards were absent and, inevitably, the most capable and conscientious person (read: me) ended up doing most of the work. If anything, I was punished for being competent by being given more responsibilities without more compensation.

I'm also skeptical that there would be that many computers at all under your system. Most of the computers in use are part of some profit-making enterprise. The reason there has been such a boom in computer-related jobs in the past decade is that there was a huge amount of money to be made (this is ending, I know). I view the claim that technology would advance rapidly under a non-capitalist system the same way I view the claim that private interests can provide for people's need fairly. It sounds good on paper, but history doesn't back it up.

Getting comfortable on the fence, here, I say use capitalistic methods in the areas where they have proven most effective, like generating overall wealth and advancing technology, and apply non-capitalist approaches to the areas where it fails, like protecting workers' interests or maintaining social justice...

By Black_Rabbit on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit

Ooh! I also wanted to mention that the social system used by the Anishnabe peoples (native americans) is a very, very good model of what could be done with a 'society-first, me a close second' mentality.

Blackjack did make a good point- with all this tech, and all these people, you would need some people to decide what work needed done (as in the Leguin book.) And that would be the egg of the worm in the apple. It would grow up into a big bad worm, I think. This might all only work on a small scale.

Anyone have any good ideas for either preventing the corruption of the group that decides what needs done and by who? Or any ideas for co-ordinating a large scale anarcho-socialist economy?

If we don't keep it large scale, we need less people, and we sure as hell are never getting back to the moon- the resources necessary could not be gathered and used by a small scale economy. Could we accept the radical reduction in population, and the loss of such keen things as suspension bridges and traffic lights?

By Black_Rabbit on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 02:55 pm: Edit

Martin, it wasn't me said I fix computers for a living, it was Blackjack.

What people do, the goods and services produced, would almost certainly change in an anarcho-socialist society. What we value would change, and so then would everything else about our lives. Nobody would give a shit about what brand of blue jeans you wore, for instance. Conspicuous consumption would die.

I think the Leguin book mentioned earlier ( the Disposessed) is a damn good place to start for an idea of what might happen... but I also think no one really has any idea at this point. But what a grand experiment it would be!

By Lordhobgoblin on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 02:18 pm: Edit

Bob,

Apologies for coming on too aggressive to you, I was having a stressful day.

But Bob it's not about nationalisation leading to an outbreak altruism. It's not about altruism in the form of those individuals that have, giving to those that don't have. Society needs to take control not the individual.

It's about taking the control of our destinies out of the hands of bankers and capitalists. A system where we would all contribute our varied skils to a society that belonged to us all equally, and where that society would provide for us according to need. We would be that society, therefore we would work for ourselves and would be provided for by ourselves. Tinkering around the edges represent no more than a stop-gap and ultimately a total change in system is needed. I believe that a moderate approach is futile. Capitalism cannot be reformed.

Society should be about community and collective responsiblity for each other, not about possessive individualism and collective disresponsibility as this is the absence of society.

I don't expect to convince you but you asked.

Hobgoblin

By Petermarc on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 08:10 am: Edit

it's actually a trident, i believe, which has symbolism that goes back to the greeks (poseidon)/romans (neptune)
however, i don't know what poseidon/neptune has to do with satan, if anything...i think the pitchfork had been substituted when someone landlocked tried to find a local 'poking-tool' for him to use...

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 07:50 am: Edit

Speaking of class warfare, why is the devil often portrayed with a pitchfork? Did it orginate as some kind of slam on poor farmers? Pagans?

K.

I have an appointment with my yogi at 2 pm. He's not too big on the lotus positions. Pretty advanced. Most americans don't have the lower core strength to do it without disrupting proper lordosis in the lower spine, including me. I prefer a Zen cushion. Actually I prefer to seek my meditation in activity.

By Martin on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 01:52 am: Edit

Black Rabbit,

You could work in a syndicate that fixes computers. There may not be many broken in your neighborhood, but any city will have at least hundreds of broken computers at any given moment. Besides, do you think fixing computers is all you're capable of? I'm sure you have worth beyond that... everyone does. YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION!

Like PV said, anti-capitalism doesn't necessarily mean anti-technology. In fact, without the money factors which hold many industries back in the stone ages, technology would be able to flourish. I think we'd have a cure for AIDS much faster if it were purely for the survival of mankind and not for money. They can make so much money off the fancy drug cocktails they have patients on now, I bet they're kinda reluctant to find a better cure that might mean less money for them. Mechanization of factories will likely pick up too, because: who wants to work in a nasty dangerous factory? People will invent ways to make all kinds of undesirable jobs easier to do and less dangerous/unpleasent. As soon as making money and profit is no longer an issue, everything will finally have a chance to grow to it's full potential.

I highly recommend the Anarchist FAQ. It puts every FAQ I've ever seen to shame (sorry Kallisti).

-Martin

By Marc on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 01:48 am: Edit

There is no such thing as a quarter lotus position. There is a half-lotus asana. If all of us were meditating transcendentally (ala Maharishi), perhaps we'd all be thinking more clearly and solving these problems more swiftly.

I have been poor. No medical insurance. I've skipped out on paying my emergency room bills.
No one in this country should be denied health care. Certainly not in a society where a 30 second
commercial during the Super Bowl costs millions.
Our priorities are seriously fucked up . Maybe a little meditation is exactly what the doctor ordered.

By Perruche_Verte on Tuesday, January 30, 2001 - 01:10 am: Edit

I just realized some of my remarks in my last post could be taken as a slam on single, working parents with kids in day care. I certainly did not mean it that way, and I don't think day care is bad per se. I do think day care should be regarded as a pleasurable and important task that we do for each other, rather than the low-paid, unrespected profession it is today.

By Perruche_Verte on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 11:06 pm: Edit

For a fine fictional presentation of what a post-revolutionary syndicalist society might be like, warts and all, I recommend _The Dispossessed_ by Ursula LeGuin. It's a very beautiful and entertaining book.

Try http://www.anarchistfaq.org for a very long document (don't read it all in one sitting!) that addresses some of the topics brought up here, e.g., whether a non-authoritarian socialist society would only work if everyone were saints, and whether a capitalist society is really necessary for technical innovation.

The question of what we're going to do with the freeloaders always comes up, especially when you propose (as many socialists and non-socialists do) making the basic needs of housing, food and medical care available to everyone without regard to their employment status or alleged "contribution to society".

A good non-socialist argument would be that we'd actually save money. A lot of our allegedly wasteful "social spending" in the U.S. is for things like emergency room services to the poor, who (as Pikkle pointed out.) use these services as a last resort when they don't have (can't afford) a primary care physician. It is much cheaper to pay someone's bill for a flu shot or physical exam at the community clinic than it is to pay their emergency room bill once they come down with double pneumonia. The Canadians and British pay a good deal less per capita on health care than the Americans owing to the waste in the U.S. system.

A socialist, on the other hand, might submit that there's something wrong with our value system if the best argument we can make for universal health care is that it will save money. Maybe we should make sure poor children can see doctors because it's bad to make them do without, not because we'll save a buck in the end.

There are many, many forms of useful work which simply don't have value in a market economy, or at least don't have the value they probably should have. Reading to children. Growing a flower bed. Cooking meals for your family and friends.

You can pay people to grow your flowers, cook and read to your children while you work. If you make $20 an hour and you pay someone $5 or even $10, then by an extremely crude measurement you're being smart and saving money. But I think even most cheerleaders for capitalism would realize how silly that is, considering the effects it will have on your children and your relationship with them.

Sorry about the misidentification of Hagelin, but I could have sworn he was seeking the Libertarian endorsement (or was it the Reform party? damn) before agreeing to run on the Natural Law slate. They exist in Canada also, and a Canadian friend tells me that every time there's a TV feature on the smaller parties, they show footage of people at the Maharishi Institute bouncing on trampolines while sitting in the quarter-lotus.

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 06:25 pm: Edit


Quote:

Everyone has some kind of talent or ability that has worth and can be used for trade. That's what's so good about this kind of socialism.



That sounds lovely, except what I'm good at is fixing computers. If somebody's computer isn't broken, I have no value to them. We moved away from barter centuries ago because it's terribly inefficient except on a very small scale. There is no way a society as large and complex as ours could function this way.

Now, of course, you might be advocating that we stop having a technologically advanced and complex society, but, well, that would be dooming millions to starvation and death from disease. Our technology is what allows us to produce more food than we need, to be able to provide unprecedented access to information and education, to be able to recover from natural disasters, and, well, to live past 40. All of these factors contribute greatly to individual freedom and self determination, and, guess what? They emerged from a competitive market-driven society.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Capitalism has its glaring flaws, but it has done a lot of good as well. I would have died in infancy had I been born 50 years earlier, and had I survived, probably spent my life in an insane asylum or on the street. I owe a lot to our exploitive, corrupt capitalist system. I also owe a lot to government social programs and labor regulations. I think there is room for both, that they balance the flaws in one another.

By Martin on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 05:57 pm: Edit

"also, the IWW are at the forefront of a movement to unionize online company workers."

That's great! It is truely a dismal situation that they are in now. They think they're in on a good thing, and then *BANG*, they're out on their asses. No job security at all, and I can definately see them being worked to death with little or no benefits. They sorely need a good union.

-Martin

By Martin on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 05:50 pm: Edit

"Would socialism mean that we all make the same amount of money? That sounds shitty. I mean, if you take last year's GDP and divide it equally, millions of people's income goes down. So how is that beneficial to them? Unless a system can benefit every person, instead of benefitting merely the poor at the expense of everyone else, I don't see a whole lot of buy-in."

It doesn't mean anything like that. Just because all people are treated the same in socialistic systems, doesn't mean they "all make the same amount of money". A truely socialistic society wouldn't really have "money" at all, neither would it have "property". These things wouldn't be necessary.

Many anarcho-socialist ideals use labor as a something that can be traded for necessities. Say you want a piano: you go to the piano maker and agree to do X amount of work for them in exchange for a piano. It's that simple. What about a house or food? Agree to do X amount of work per week and all your needs will be taken care of. What about lazy people? Well, I guess their stupid asses would starve, but even people who don't like to "work" will have ways to trade for goods and services. Everyone has some kind of talent or ability that has worth and can be used for trade. That's what's so good about this kind of socialism.. everyone has value as a person, not just as some slug on an assembly line. And to those people who are infirmed or otherwise completely unable to contribute to society, that's where altruism comes into the picture. Of course, on one should be given a free ride, it totally diminishes people's worth, like HobGob said.

There's been alot of good books written on these subjects, I suggest looking some of them up if anyone is interested in learning more than what my feeble brain can give you.

-Martin

By Melinelly on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 05:32 pm: Edit

Martin & Dengar,

the IWW is gaining in strength and numbers these days and there are many who see a real possibility of returning the "organization" to its glory day influence. Wobbly unions are mainly popping up on the coasts, particularly in northern CA and in NY. there is a syndicalist musicians union here in the SF Bay Area under the IWW. also, the IWW are at the forefront of a movement to unionize online company workers.

at this year's Western Workers' Heritage Festival, the IWW had a greater presence than ever and really got some of the more radical unions and activists talking and optimistic.

.........

on the other issues raised here...

i vote. i do so not because i believe in our system of government, but because voting is a priveledge hard fought for and won. and when i vote, i vote my hopes and beliefs, not along party lines (though the party i belong to doesn't have a large enough presence to give me the choice). however, one of Stalin's quotes rings true, even today, that "It is not the people who vote that have power. It is the people who count the votes." (might be some words wrong, quoting from memory there).

i also strive for change as an activist, a US citizen, and a human being.

and i have to agree that no government or economic system will ever truly "work" for the people without altruism, social justice, and egalitarianism as its roots and core. thus, the revolution talked about through the ages must be on the individual level on a mass scale. the revolution is inherintly tied into human evolution of the mind and person. government is merely a temporal and regional reflection of the human condition. to truly change government, etc., there has to first be a massive grassroots movement that truly empowers us mentally, spiritually (on a secular level), and politically. that movement is historical and has had its crests and valleys, and it seems right now that we are entering a new age of revolution. they got the ball rolling in the 60s and 70s, and things are beginning to pick up again.

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 05:01 pm: Edit

I'd say, historically, both altruism and selfishness have proven themselves to be powerful forces for advancement. I am neither a Rand-roid, insisting that selfishness is always good, nor a Jain brushing the bugs out of my path. There is a time and a place for both. There is a time when looking out for your fellow man benefits you both, there are times when it will harm you both (for instance, when there is not enough food to sustain both of you...) There are times when self-interest is ultimately beneficial to the group, there are times when it won't even benefit the individual. The key is to figure out what works when.

By Black_Rabbit on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 04:46 pm: Edit

Bob, an increase in altruism is exactly what is needed. Anarchism, socialism, these things work only in an ethical system that emphasises helping your fellow man, and looks with disgust at screwing someone for personal gain.

The ethics of capitalism are almost the opposite of that. Look out for number one- and no, I am not my brother's keeper, let the bum get a job.

If altruism increased enough, there would be no more need of a government whatsoever.

Capitalism has inbuilt inefficiencies in resource distribution and utilization. One man lives in a space that would be comfortable for 30, while the other 29 might exist in a space comfortable for 15. Technologies, corporations, and organizational schemes are applied not based on efficiency but based on the arbitrary flow of money.

So if a capitalist society were an engine, the fuel/air mix would be off, and it would have a transimission designed based not on torque and such, but on how many colored pieces of paper certain engineers had. And your windshield wipers would compete for power with your rear window defroster, making it impossible to use both at the same time.

In purely practical terms, an altruistic society is a more functionally efficient society.

By Bob_Chong on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit

Hob:

Perhaps you could explain to me how I would benefit from socialism. Forgive my ignorance in this matter.

Would socialism mean that we all make the same amount of money? That sounds shitty. I mean, if you take last year's GDP and divide it equally, millions of people's income goes down. So how is that beneficial to them? Unless a system can benefit every person, instead of benefitting merely the poor at the expense of everyone else, I don't see a whole lot of buy-in.

Thanks.

BC

ps Your per capita GDP is 33% less than ours, and you pay higher taxes to boot, so I could see why socialism is attractive to you. Sort of a situation like: "You've already screwed us. Might as well make us breakfast, too."

By Bob_Chong on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 02:43 pm: Edit

I am not going to trust private interests to universally provide for basic human needs until they have PROVEN that they will do it.

Doesn't this strike at the heart of Hob's (and maybe your) socialist idealism, though? I mean, Hob talks about putting "the people" in charge of the means of production (whatever that means), nationalizing companies and so forth, but why would this cause a sudden and rapid increase in altruism?

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 01:41 pm: Edit

geez, THREE times...gotta lay off the caffeine...

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 01:34 pm: Edit

twice...

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 01:30 pm: Edit

forgive me, I stuttered...

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 01:28 pm: Edit

See, LH, I'm not that bad...

The government does do a lousy job of providing for people, but at least they DO it. Sure, it would be lovely if everyone was willing enough to share with other members of their community that government welfare wasn't necissary, but, well, they're not. Government social programs came into existence because private institutions were failing to get the job done. I am not going to trust private interests to universally provide for basic human needs until they have PROVEN that they will do it. I'm not going to risk people's lives by dismantling the public system, on the assumtion that they can, since they never did BEFORE. If private charities can do the job so well, why don't they? Why is the public system still needed?

And don't tell me it's because they can't get enough funding because the people who would contribute pay too much in taxes...

By Bob_Chong on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 12:12 pm: Edit

Hob:

I was just getting a rise out of you.

Seriously, though--I think getting money from a charity would be better b/c someone would feel that they are being helped out of kindness and goodness. On the flip side, the gov't handout would make them feel like, "Well, I am so worthless that no one else is going to help me. At least I can count on the government to force people into helping me."

I understand your point about having the gov't help people through hard times. I just don't believe that a sense of "hey, I legally exist" (gov't help) is better than "hey, somebody cares" (charity help).

My original post was more about gov't waste, though. I can't justify throwing good money after bad, even if the intentions are good. Show me a plan that works and I'll gladly support it.

BC


ps Q: How do you starve a welfare recipient?
A: Hide his food stamps under his work boots.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 11:41 am: Edit

Bob,

"Hob, I have no idea how a government handout gives people a "sense of inherent value." It should make them feel pretty lousy--I hope--and feel that they are a leech on society."

At least a legal entitlement to some form of support to enable someone to at least stay alive in times of hardship legally acknowledges that they are entitled to exist. Relying on the whims of people to donate to charity doesn't give them this.

Your contempt for fellow man shocks me. Contrary to what you seem to believe, not all people who are on state benefits are leeches with no worth or value, some people fall on hard times.

If you think they're all worthless leeches why not just have legal hit-squads eliminate such undesirables, (seems to work in Latin America). Arguably this would be a more humane solution to having them starve to death, and the middle classes wouldn't get upset by having to look at these people. It would certainly save you paying some of your 'hard earned' money in taxes.

Hobgoblin

By Bob_Chong on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 11:09 am: Edit

I guess no one is willing to actually address what I said. Pity. Whenever someone makes sense but it goes against the touchy-feely liberal grain, it's time to break out the tangents.

Pataphysician, your attempt as being funny falls flat. The two most important sentences in my paragraph you bastardized were the last two, not the first two. Of course, you can always change history to make yourself a new future (and honestly, do you really believe your "change history" tripe, or did you lift it off a Devo album?).

Hob, I have no idea how a government handout gives people a "sense of inherent value." It should make them feel pretty lousy--I hope--and feel that they are a leech on society.

Pikkle, that was my point exactly. I like giving charities with the highest direct distibution of services. It's all about choice.

Anatomist, your attempt to be cute was pretty worthless. No one said anything about tax cuts for the wealthy. Do you refute that our government wastes money in its feeble attempts to help the less fortunate? Does it really require employing so many people in a government bureaucracy just to hand out money? Is the purpose of welfare to help people in need or to employ civil servants to sort-of help people in need? Why are you so in favor of a bigger and bigger government?


BC

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 10:44 am: Edit

Bob,

I'm not knocking the good work that a lot of charities do towards the needy, but what does it do to someone's human value if the food for their very existence depends entirely on the arbitrary whim of someone more fortunate than themselves, (no matter how well meaning that person's actions are)? It leaves these people with absolutely no sense of inherent value. At least if people have an entitlement, no matter how small, that will at least keep them alive in times of dire straits. All people need at least some small sense of security, charitable donations, (no matter how welcome)can't offer this.

Hobgoblin

By Pikkle on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 10:39 am: Edit

I'm sorry to say, I feel it's about 20% scientific morality and 80% business immorality. If there wasn't a profit involved, almost nothing would get done. Even sick and dying people are profitable to some companies. And we're the ones paying for it through our taxes. Who is pulling governmental strings much of the time? Big business. Do you really believe it would be more profitable to create a cure or a vaccine than it would to continue to treat disease? I'm almost positive the capabilities for finding cures of many diseases are out there but unfortunately the people who are the ones underwriting this research are the ones who stand to lose the most amount of money. And if the disease isn't epidemic enough to disable a large percentage of the population, why cure it when you can treat it? How much money is going into the treatment of polio and smallpox these days? Funny how you never read about a cure for something being found these days.

By _Blackjack on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 10:20 am: Edit


Quote:

Too much money is involved, there will be treatments but as long as a cure isn't found, there will still be research which means the money will keep on flowing.



Yes and no. Obviously, there is big money to be made in treating chronic diseases, but there is also a lot of money being lost, not only because not everyone can afford to pay for these treatments, but because very sick people don't contribute to the economy. Believe it or not, there are some altruistic people in the medical industry who really do want to improve things. They are constantly at odds with managed care and pharmacorps, but good research IS being done. Some cancers CAN be cured. And, as far as AIDS goes, nobody is making money off of the millions dying in Africa, because they can't afford the expensive drug cocktails that are standard in the US. A cure is pretty far off, but some very promising vaccine research is coming up. The reason vaccines are progressing faster than cures is not an economic one--tho there are certainly more customers for a vaccine than a cure--but one of scientific reality. It's easier to stop an infection from taking place than to reverse it.

By Pikkle on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 09:58 am: Edit

Charities are big business... look at the percent spent on advertising expenses and administrative costs per dollar... 'Feed the children?' More like 'feed Sally Strothers.' I'm sure there are those that set out with good intentions but 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' Look at cancer and aids research... do you think there will be cures found for these diseases? Too much money is involved, there will be treatments but as long as a cure isn't found, there will still be research which means the money will keep on flowing.

By Anatomist1 on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 08:51 am: Edit

"That's why I believe charities should have a greater role in helping folks than the gov't."

Me too. I also believe all wars should stop and people should just love one another......

"Then we could give to the charities which give the greatest percentage of the donations to the people in need (instead of pocketing most of it as "administrative costs")."

Ahhh. So that's why so many rich people are always clamoring for tax cuts. They want to take all that money and give it to CHARITY instead of the government. I see.

K.

By Pataphysician on Monday, January 29, 2001 - 07:28 am: Edit

"I heard some stat the other day about how the gov't spends $40K per year per person 'on welfare.' Let's assume this is true."

I heard some stat the other day about how capitalism is an international pyramid scheme that will collapse in less than 50 years. Let's assume this is true.

By Bob_Chong on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 02:00 pm: Edit

BJ:

"I would be more than willing to accept a system that works... If you have one, by all means, share."

That's how I feel about liberalism in this country. Time and time again, the gov't has failed to help people who need it most. So my rejection of liberalism isn't a rejection of the idealism inherent in it; rather, I reject wholeheartedly the notion that the fed. gov't is actually capable of spending taxpayers' money wisely.

If this gov't were a restaurant: I feel like I asked and paid for a hamburger, was promised a hamburger, and then the waiter returned with just a bun: "If you could just give us a few more dollars, we'll bring out the hamburger itself." So I hand over some more money, and the waiter returns: "Here's the ketchup and mustard. Could you give us some more money?" So I give him more money. Etc. All the while, the cook and waiter keep pocketing all the "extra" money and I still haven't gotten my damn hamburger. [a not so clever comparison, I admit, but isn't this essentially what our gov't does: misuse and abuse our tax dollars?]

I heard some stat the other day about how the gov't spends $40K per year per person "on welfare." Let's assume this is true. So how much do you think actually made it to the people who needed it? Why does the gov't need to consume 80 cents on the dollar in bureacracy to hand out the remaining couple of dimes?

That's why I believe charities should have a greater role in helping folks than the gov't. Then we could give to the charities which give the greatest percentage of the donations to the people in need (instead of pocketing most of it as "administrative costs").

BC

By _Blackjack on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 11:02 am: Edit

Once again, I am not a libertarian. If you have paid any attention to what I've said on this forum, I have criticized libertarianism quite harshly. Yeesh. You are mistaking me for Bob.

I said again and again that I would be more than willing to accept a system that works better than capitalism. If you have one, by all means, share. You will have to show how such a system can create a quality of life for all greater than that of the poorest in the US, and, moreover, how this system could exist without the benefit of the tremendous wealth being generated by the capitalist systems already in place, and be able to support growth and technological advancement over an extended period.

Please read what I'm saying before you assume I'm taking one particular position. I am an economic moderate. The purpose of any economic system is to ensure the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people while providing for all. If you look at the advancements in education, communications, health, social justice, and personal freedom that have developed as a result of the rise in market economies, their track record is hard to dispute. I think abandoning capitalism out of hand is very unwise, but I have no problems with incorporating aspects of other systems IF they are able to better address certain aspects of the public good. As I have said, I support labor unions, when they work. I support labor-owned business, in the context of a competitive market. I support using the wealth generated by the system to provide education, health care, and a basic standard of living for everyone. This isn't pity. It's compassion, and a desire for all human beings to have the basic requirements they need to chose whatever path they want in life, a freedom of choice that few other economic models offer.

By Martin on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 06:52 am: Edit

Trade Union Officials in America do whatever money tells them to do. Draw your own conclusions.

-Martin

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 06:24 am: Edit

Martin,

I know little about Unions in the USA, but if they are tied in as 'partners' with employers then it would be better for workers if they didn't exist. There is indeed corruption within many UK unions, (usually linked to lavish expense accounts etc) but even so there is not a partnership relationship between the vast majority of Unions and the employer. The purpose of a Union is to represent only the interests of the workers who make up its members and to secure for them, by whatever means possible, the best deal in terms of pay and conditions.

A Union should not be a mediator between the interests of employer and employee. The Union is the employee and should act solely in the employees interests. Any Trade Union officials who act differently are Class Traitors and are scum of the Earth.

Hobgoblin

By Martin on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 05:30 am: Edit

Dengar,

Not really much that I know of. I know many of the Printers Unions are affiliated with the IWW, but that doesn't necessarily count as a syndicate.

Syndicalist Unions don't really work well here because most unions that dominate the industries don't go for syndicalism. Unions in America are many times alot different than those in Europe. In America, the Unions are so closely partnered with the Bosses that the workers interests are rarely taken care of. I'm sure there are corrupt unions in Europe too, but in America, they are ALL corrupt. It's hard to start Syndicalist Unions here because the other unions already dominate so much.

I've been thinking of plans for a possible Syndicalist Musician's Union. I think there's alot of potential for it, and the music community is close-knit enough for it to possibly work. There are some musician's unions already, but they are pretty much useless and don't do any good at all. My idea would be for a true Anarcho-Syndicalist union that would, among other things, evenly distribute wealth between all union members. My dream is that it could someday result in a completely self-sufficient anarchist society of musicians... possibly even living within the framework of the present capitalist system. Money could be made by selling music to the capitalists, and this money would in turn go to all the members and their daily living expenses. The idea would be that as long as a musician is making music, he need not worry about having food or a place to live. This could be a big step towards pushing the rest of society this way. In a true Anarcho-Syndicalist society, instead of selling music for money, they would be trading it in exchange for things they need.. food, shelter, possetions, etc...

It might work. It's a better idea than anything any capitalists have thought of.

-Martin

By Martin on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 05:10 am: Edit

Hear, hear Hobgob! Thanks for saying all that so I don't have to!

The transparency of the exploitation in Capitalism is why it bothers me so much. At least with a Feudal system its obvious to the laborers that they are being exploited. Many of my poor (by "poor" I mean "unfortunate") friends are slaves to the auto factories in my area. They are the quintessential exploited workers. It's really sad to see what these poor saps go through just to make a living. Many of them think its the best thing that ever happened to them because they have enough money for a house, a car, and a family, with two weeks vacation. They don't realize that their entire lives are gone now. They have almost no free time to themselves anymore, and when they do, all they want to do is sleep or watch TV. It's horrible that they don't realize how exploited they are, how they've sold their souls to the hateful corporations, but when a few of them DO realize how bad off they are, that's what's really depressing. A good friend of mine is like that, and I hardly like being around him anymore (not that he's ever around anyway), he just seems so regretful whenever we talk about how much fun we used to have. It's really a bad situation.
________________________________________________
"I am an old-fashioned liberal; I want people to make as much money as possible so we can tax it. A country with a weak economy cannot afford to take care of its needy. "

Blackjack, this statement sickens me. You're obviously against everything Hobgoblin and I believe in.

"... take care of its needy." Pity is the most cruel and evil of all human emotions. It is the enemy of humanity itself. Few things have wrecked our modern society more than pity. If people were treated equally and given an equal chance, there would be no need for the government to take care of anybody.

"You cannot reform Capitalism but it is an historical phase and it should and will be replaced by an equitable society where the communal bonds between people are re-established."

Absolutely. Stop fighting it Blackjack. You could be doing far more good by supporting this change instead of voting for Libertarians.

-Martin

By Dengar on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 05:03 am: Edit

"I think syndicalism is a good idea for a possible solution."

Martin, just out of curiosity; does syndicalist unions exist in the US?

By Lordhobgoblin on Sunday, January 28, 2001 - 04:09 am: Edit

Blackjack is right, Capitalism is not 'evil'.

It is not about whether capitalists are moral or immoral. Individual capitalists are simply acting according to the set of economic circumstances that they find themselves in, morality doesn't enter into it.

Capitalism is about the conflict between Capital and Labour, between those who own the means of production (the capitalists) and those who supply the means of production (i.e. the Labour power). The benefits of this system are with the capitalists. For every extra hour of labour workers put in, the capitalist will reap from it more value, in the form of goods produced and sold, than is necessary to pay those providing the labour. This exploitation is concealed by the appearance that wages are paid equitably for the labour.

Capitalism is based around this exploitation and it cannot be 'reformed'. Attempts to reform it and give it a friendly face do no more than appease the exploited in an attempt to make them accept their fate. To attempt to make Capitalism 'fair' is to go against the rules of Capitalism and is futile. If you accept Capitalism you accept its rules, 'fairness' plays no part in these rules.

Capitalism is not 'evil' and represents a positive step from the historical systems that preceded it. At least, unlike Feudalism, the exploitation is more transparent and not masked in loyalty to one's lord and master. Capitalism is about possessive individualism and viewing one's fellow man as tools by which you can benefit.

You cannot reform Capitalism but it is an historical phase and it should and will be replaced by an equitable society where the communal bonds between people are re-established.

Hobgoblin

By _Blackjack on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 11:13 pm: Edit

Well, if you examine my statement, I express no love for Capitalism. I simply said it's the best we have until something better comes along. One of the fallacies of many economic conservatives is that they assign a moral value to Capitalism's utility; they assume that because Capitalism works, it must therefore be "good," and those that oppose it "evil."

I do think that Capitalism has some benefits. Wealth really does trickle down, tho not in the way Reagan meant it. Being poor in the US is not nearly as bad as it is in, say, India. The horrors there this week demonstrate that. The wealth of the US allows it to have a strength of infrastructure that would keep such a disaster from being nearly as bad (I can't even wrap my head around the idea of 15,000 people dying like that...) But it is not an unqualified good, and is fraught with inequities. I will not deny that for a moment.

I have yet to see a system that is better, tho. It is certainly better than hereditary aristocracy, and the totalitarian socialism of Lenin, Stalin and Mao has shown itself not only to be unstable, but unable to meet the basic needs of its citizens.

I thing PV misunderstood me. I'm not a libertarian, nor a capitalist at heart, tho I know damn well that I benefit from the capitalism of others. I am an old-fashioned liberal; I want people to make as much money as possible so we can tax it. A country with a weak economy cannot afford to take care of its needy. Wealth is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

I'd love to see more cooperative businesses, beholden directly to their workers. I'd love to see labor unions pull themselves out of the muck and do the good they were meant to. But I also know that the reason all of this is possible is because there is a lot of money being made.

As someone has already pointed out, Hegelin is not a libertarian. And, yes, taken out of context, some of the ideas of the Natural Law party sound kinda goofy, but their primary focus is on improving our society through education and practical problem-solving. Common sense is something sorely lacking in politics today.

By Martin on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 04:41 pm: Edit

The only way to solve the problems of all governments, capitalist or otherwise, is to remove them. No amount of legislation, regulation, or reform will ever change the situations most people are in now. In fact it will most likely make it much worse. The government is, in one way or another, the source of most of the problems in any country. Capitalism is another big problem.

There will always be people who have more than other people, that is true in any system of society, but the people who have more shouldn't have more say or be considered more valuable. No one is a lord just because they have a big house, and the person with the small house should be able to have a big one if he desires.

I think syndicalism is a good idea for a possible solution.

As for me, I don't support any party for president, mostly because I don't think we should have a president... or any government for that matter. Politics is a foolish endevor that only perpetuates the problem.

-Martin

By Anatomist1 on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 03:57 pm: Edit

Hagelin is a "Natural Law Party" candidate. I never quite got the title... makes me think of social Darwinism. From what I gather the party takes sort of a scientifically experimental approach to politics. If a study shows that something might work better than what we're already trying, let's try it and see what happens. Unfortunately for them, it leads to stances like advocating transcendental meditation as an alternative to prison sentences. I don't see something this kooky-sounding garnering any support for them. However, most of what they advocate is too logical and sensible for the general public to take it seriously.

K.

By Corsetgirl on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 03:15 pm: Edit

Nice to know that I'm not the only "dirty-commie-godless-hippie" (it's inevitable when discussing politics someone will call me this) on the board.
I'm a fan of composting and organic kitchen gardens.

By Perruche_Verte on Saturday, January 27, 2001 - 12:53 pm: Edit

Quoth Blackjack:

"I don't... like how capitalism works, but it does work, which is more than can be said for most other systems..."

I think Blackjack must define the verb "to work" a little differently than I do. Even so, I'm not sure that's really the question. In the short term, capitalism "works"
extremely well for a few people (Bill Gates), well for many more (Gates' management and upper echelons), fairly well to poorly for even more (Microsoft's "permatemps"), and quite dismally for some (sweatshop workers, people who make PC components).

It's produced a mighty civilization, rich with consumer goods, that will probably be known in future years as the "Plastic Age", assuming the biosphere is not already
damaged too badly to support human life after another few hundred years.

Internally, with its preoccupation with statistics, it has managed to Taylorize most occupations to the point of perpetual understaffing, with one's every minute away
from the keyboard or assembly line counted and measured. It struggles hard to make work into PURE work, even as the hours spent at work creep slowly upwards again.

This is beginning to be true even with computers -- why do I just assume Blackjack works with computers for a living? I guess because people who work with technologies that still look like magic to many of us dumb savages often still expect some degree of autonomy in their work lives. This, too, is becoming more and more curtailed.

Meanwhile, both externally and internally, its sworn defenders have done everything possible to destroy alternatives to it, which is what makes the hoary old argument that "nothing else works" seem so authoritative.

I'm not just talking about Cuba -- I have no particular love for Castro BTW -- though I think it's less than honest to wage both covert war (chem, psi, etc.) and overt trade war on a country for more than 30 years and then claim that its economic policies "don't work". Few economies that aren't dependent on a huge defense industry (like the US) will do well under such conditions.

They still have the highest literacy rate and lowest infant mortality rate in Latin America, and probably the best health care system, so I'd say that it "works" to some degree, for some people.

But look closer to home. Just try taking part in a collective project that makes you more autonomous and less dependent on the market and the authorities -- like forming a housing co-op at less than market rates, or getting a license for a collectively-run restaurant, or installing a composting toilet in your house (if you live in a city), or even just putting a compost box in your yard, unless you live somewhere like Berkeley. See how quickly and mysteriously you will become a threat to someone with more political clout than you have.

So I guess the other age-old question is, are these problems part and parcel of what capitalism is, or can they somehow be legislated, regulated, reformed out of existence? Blackjack seems to think they can.

Funny, though, he expressed his support for a Libertarian presidential candidate in another thread, and I thought Libertarians (note the capital-L) hated regulation.

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