How angry are you about politics?

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Gethsemani:
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That's not bureaucracy, that's Separation of powers. Heck, the overturning is made by the court which (if I understand correctly) are either elected by the president or the people.

As for evilthecat I'll just go with the last two since from them it is clear I'm wasting my time.

evilthecat:

inu-kun:
1) How "pure" are you? After all if you are so afraid of exploitation you must live totally moral life, like never using oil or electronics made in a sweatshop in China.

Well, if I didn't I would literally die, wouldn't I.. the food I eat was brought here using petrol, which is made from oil.

I mean, I can see why you'd want me to die to prove a point, but nah.. I don't think that's necessary. This argument is just a bad meme at this point, back here in real life one can participate in an economic system and still critique it, especially when there literally is no other choice. There's certainly no other choice if you want to reach a position of influence where you can actually make a difference to anything.

What dying? Unless you are suffering from some incredibly hard ailment there is nothing that stops you from growing your own food and taking bicycle to work (especially as you sure have a lot of free time to write on the internet). Heck, you just jumped straight to "dying" rather than listing ways you still try to at least reduce the "exploitation" which highly suggest you do absolutely nothing against it meaning either:
a) You don't give a shit about the third world and only use their plight as an empty "think of the children".
b) You care, but having a smart phone to look at while you go to the toilet is such a nice convenience.
This is especially ironic and hypocritical considering you criticize Capitalism for encouraging people to not give a shit about others while you do the exact thing yourself.

inu-kun:
What is your vision? Come on, let's hear a grand tale of a tottaly workable system that cannot be misused in any way that will never ever exploit anyone and is self reliant to not use "dirty" resources.

That's really not required, is it. I don't need a "vision" in order to critique how something works (or doesn't work, as the case may be). If I did, it certainly wouldn't need to be perfect, it's enough to be better or less exploitative. Heck, who said I have to have all the answers anyway. Maybe merely inciting others to critique will lead them to the answers we all need. Maybe you could contribute yourself, if you stopped trying to defend the indefensible.

I mean, it almost sounds like you're asking me to sell you a utopia so that you can point out that it is a utopia. Not that you are, of course, since no intellectually honest person would do that.

So basically you have no idea how to make things better but for some bizarre reason are sure it has to be through Socialism. As a person in academia do you frequently tell people that they can do stuff better but have no clue the way it is done?

inu-kun:

What dying? Unless you are suffering from some incredibly hard ailment there is nothing that stops you from growing your own food and taking bicycle to work (especially as you sure have a lot of free time to write on the internet). Heck, you just jumped straight to "dying" rather than listing ways you still try to at least reduce the "exploitation" which highly suggest you do absolutely nothing against it meaning either:
a) You don't give a shit about the third world and only use their plight as an empty "think of the children".
b) You care, but having a smart phone to look at while you go to the toilet is such a nice convenience.
This is especially ironic and hypocritical considering you criticize Capitalism for encouraging people to not give a shit about others while you do the exact thing yourself.

This line of reasoning is nonsensical. If somebody cares about an issue, that doesn't somehow obligate them to take every possible action to fight it, no matter how difficult or impractical. If that were true, nobody could care about anything at all. It's completely unsustainable logic.

You may as well argue that if somebody cares about the threat of terrorism, then they must join the Navy Seals and go fight it. If somebody cares about which party wins in an election, they must become a local candidate and canvass night and day. If someone cares about poverty, they must donate every penny they have to those in need. Otherwise, they don't really "give a shit" at all!

An argument taken to the absolute extreme, far beyond the scope of sanity.

inu-kun:

So basically you have no idea how to make things better but for some bizarre reason are sure it has to be through Socialism. As a person in academia do you frequently tell people that they can do stuff better but have no clue the way it is done?

This also makes no sense whatsoever. Why must somebody believe their system is "tottaly [sic] workable and cannot be misused in any way" in order to believe it is a better system? You don't believe that about Capitalism, so why would evilthecat believe it about Socialism?

This isn't argument. This is just twisting the opponent's position into an extreme caricature of itself-- something nobody ever argued-- and then acting as if that on its own disproved the more moderate position they started with.

"Hey, maybe we should stop organizing the economy in such a way that it exploits people."
"Hypocrite! You derive some benefits from the current economic arrangements!"
"Yes, that doesn't mean we shouldn't change them."
"No. We must keep exploiting people until such time as so many people are actively refusing to participate in our exploitative economy that it grinds to a halt, unnecessarily putting people at risk."
"Or we could just change it without doing that?"
"Hypocrite! How dare you use modern conveniences like telephones and grocery stores, when you could spend all of your time growing food and have none left over for talking about politics? You're only allowed to think what you put 100% of your effort into doing! If you've not achieved an arbitrary measure of independence from the economy, then you cannot criticize how it works!"
"I'll remember that next time you complain about government regulation."

inu-kun:

That's not bureaucracy, that's Separation of powers. Heck, the overturning is made by the court which (if I understand correctly) are either elected by the president or the people.

And what makes separation of power work in practice, do you think? Bureaucracy. All that boring busywork, all those obscure documents and paragraphs and long winded forms that has to be filled out are what makes separation of power in the US an actual thing, as opposed to the paper product (some would say blatant lie) it was in the USSR.
Why do you think it is that me and all the other nurses have to meticulously record every time we add or take a narcotic-classed pharmaceutical from the ward supply? Why are politicians required to submit receipts for all their purchases made with public funds? Why are all of us required to submit yearly earning reports to the equivalent of the IRS? All of this is bureaucracy and all of it is meant to keep corruption at bay or to make it easier to detect it and stop it.

Gethsemani:

inu-kun:

That's not bureaucracy, that's Separation of powers. Heck, the overturning is made by the court which (if I understand correctly) are either elected by the president or the people.

And what makes separation of power work in practice, do you think? Bureaucracy. All that boring busywork, all those obscure documents and paragraphs and long winded forms that has to be filled out are what makes separation of power in the US an actual thing, as opposed to the paper product (some would say blatant lie) it was in the USSR.
Why do you think it is that me and all the other nurses have to meticulously record every time we add or take a narcotic-classed pharmaceutical from the ward supply? Why are politicians required to submit receipts for all their purchases made with public funds? Why are all of us required to submit yearly earning reports to the equivalent of the IRS? All of this is bureaucracy and all of it is meant to keep corruption at bay or to make it easier to detect it and stop it.

But bureaucracy is not the system behind separation of power but just regular government work. Not to mention it isn't too great for people who get stuck between the lines and then need to spend a massive amount of time to get basic services.

Silvanus:

inu-kun:

What dying? Unless you are suffering from some incredibly hard ailment there is nothing that stops you from growing your own food and taking bicycle to work (especially as you sure have a lot of free time to write on the internet). Heck, you just jumped straight to "dying" rather than listing ways you still try to at least reduce the "exploitation" which highly suggest you do absolutely nothing against it meaning either:
a) You don't give a shit about the third world and only use their plight as an empty "think of the children".
b) You care, but having a smart phone to look at while you go to the toilet is such a nice convenience.
This is especially ironic and hypocritical considering you criticize Capitalism for encouraging people to not give a shit about others while you do the exact thing yourself.

This line of reasoning is nonsensical. If somebody cares about an issue, that doesn't somehow obligate them to take every possible action to fight it, no matter how difficult or impractical. If that were true, nobody could care about anything at all. It's completely unsustainable logic.

You may as well argue that if somebody cares about the threat of terrorism, then they must join the Navy Seals and go fight it. If somebody cares about which party wins in an election, they must become a local candidate and canvass night and day. If someone cares about poverty, they must donate every penny they have to those in need. Otherwise, they don't really "give a shit" at all!

An argument taken to the absolute extreme, far beyond the scope of sanity.

Let's start with the fact that EvilTheCat was the one jumping to the extreme since he went straight to "dying" rather than mentioning doing anything. Nothing is stopping a person with working actively to reduce exploitation or at least attempting so, and if someone who gets a very comfy paycheck doesn't donate anything at all I can say for sure he doesn't care for the poor.

The point of the argument is to show how morally hypocritical the moral argument EvilTheCat had about Capitalism, it is not different than pointing out that an anti-gay clergyman is engaging in homosexual relations in secret.

inu-kun:

So basically you have no idea how to make things better but for some bizarre reason are sure it has to be through Socialism. As a person in academia do you frequently tell people that they can do stuff better but have no clue the way it is done?

This also makes no sense whatsoever. Why must somebody believe their system is "tottaly [sic] workable and cannot be misused in any way" in order to believe it is a better system? You don't believe that about Capitalism, so why would evilthecat believe it about Socialism?

This isn't argument. This is just twisting the opponent's position into an extreme caricature of itself-- something nobody ever argued-- and then acting as if that on its own disproved the more moderate position they started with.

But he argues about Socialism as a replacement, it being the very thing that started the argument. If it is not a better equivelant than why mention it? As well as he doesn't mention any specifics out of fear of people actually criticizing it. Also he talks about the evil of exploitation, meaning he comes out as completely hypocritical when his system will also rely on exploitation.

I basically ask him to show his system does not fall into the criticisms he displayed and he says that he has no system. Considering the usual stuff that happens to countries who embrace socialism I find it completely immoral as without a doubt whatever inhuman acts follow he'll just say it's "not actually socialist".

Edit: Also the idea of him only "criticizing" capitalism is like a person who continuately talking about how Trump is great saying "I don't support Trump, I only criticize Hillary"

inu-kun:

But he argues about Socialism as a replacement, it being the very thing that started the argument. If it is not a better equivelant than why mention it? As well as he doesn't mention any specifics out of fear of people actually criticizing it. Also he talks about the evil of exploitation, meaning he comes out as completely hypocritical when his system will also rely on exploitation.

I basically ask him to show his system does not fall into the criticisms he displayed and he says that he has no system. Considering the usual stuff that happens to countries who embrace socialism I find it completely immoral as without a doubt whatever inhuman acts follow he'll just say it's "not actually socialist".

Edit: Also the idea of him only "criticizing" capitalism is like a person who continuately talking about how Trump is great saying "I don't support Trump, I only criticize Hillary"

Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

Seanchaidh:
Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

But, let me guess. It's never been tried?

CheetoDust:
Being angry at the state of politics isn't about having little going on in your life it's about not being a shallow, selfish, pseudo-nihilistic little fuck that doesn't give a shit about anything that happens further away from him than the tip of his cock extends.

Maybe you should actually do stuff instead of just being angry then?

Like, I donate, I raise money for homeless people. Specifically men, because I don't think there's enough there for them.

I'm not angry because, it's pointless. I don't believe the systems we have in place are really appropriate to deal with the modern age, and the cause of most of the issues we face are ones which people refuse to fix. I think collapse is more likely than any solution at this point.

That being said, I have enough going on in my life to not have the privilege of being able to go too far beyond my own needs. I'm glad you find yourself in a situation where you're able to, however.

The Lunatic:

Seanchaidh:
Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

But, let me guess. It's never been tried?

CheetoDust:
Being angry at the state of politics isn't about having little going on in your life it's about not being a shallow, selfish, pseudo-nihilistic little fuck that doesn't give a shit about anything that happens further away from him than the tip of his cock extends.

Maybe you should actually do stuff instead of just being angry then?

You have literally no idea what I do. Helping and being angry are not mutually exclusive. It's not like being angry is a full time activity that requires focus and attention. I help because I'm angry. If you need help multitasking I recommend chewing gum and walking at the same time to practice.

.I think collapse is more likely than any solution at this point.

Unfortunately I agree.

That being said, I have enough going on in my life to not have the privilege of being able to go too far beyond my own needs. I'm glad you find yourself in a situation where you're able to, however.

Yeah, my service industry job and 3 hours of commuting daily really leaves me super privileged. Are you with Zontar on the "Liberals are all out of touch elites" bus? Amazed they can fit you all, it's a very short bus.

inu-kun:

But bureaucracy is not the system behind separation of power but just regular government work. Not to mention it isn't too great for people who get stuck between the lines and then need to spend a massive amount of time to get basic services.

Which is just like saying that a gun is not the system behind intimidation. While strictly speaking true, you'll have a lot easier a time intimidating people if you can shove a gun into their face. Similarly, separation of power is its' own concept, but the only reliable way found to maintain it is to institute a bureaucratic system of control to ensure that corruption doesn't seep in. The USSR, you know the example you so fondly used earlier in this thread, shows exactly what happens when you intend for separation of power but fail to create the bureaucratic checks and balances needed to maintain it.

Of course extensive bureaucracy has its' backsides, but the opposite is equally, if not more, unappealing, such as people committing welfare fraud because there isn't enough control over who receives it. Or, an entire nation run by an oligarchy that can do whatever they please because there's no bureaucracy in place to ensure that the separation of power actually works.

inu-kun:

Let's start with the fact that EvilTheCat was the one jumping to the extreme since he went straight to "dying" rather than mentioning doing anything. Nothing is stopping a person with working actively to reduce exploitation or at least attempting so, and if someone who gets a very comfy paycheck doesn't donate anything at all I can say for sure he doesn't care for the poor.

No, let's not start with any such fact, because you were the one who first said someone must lead a "totally moral life" in order to hold his moral position. You began the fallacy.

Nothing is stopping a person, no. But there is no obligation to go beyond what is practical.

The point of the argument is to show how morally hypocritical the moral argument EvilTheCat had about Capitalism, it is not different than pointing out that an anti-gay clergyman is engaging in homosexual relations in secret.

Drivel. There is no obligation to devote all of one's energies to something in order to care about it; there's simply no contradiction there. It's unsustainable reasoning.

But he argues about Socialism as a replacement, it being the very thing that started the argument. If it is not a better equivelant than why mention it? As well as he doesn't mention any specifics out of fear of people actually criticizing it. Also he talks about the evil of exploitation, meaning he comes out as completely hypocritical when his system will also rely on exploitation.

He believes it's better. He does not believe it's perfect, and nor did he say so-- those are vastly different positions.

You were arguing against a position he never held, and now you seem to have forgotten that's what you were saying.

I basically ask him to show his system does not fall into the criticisms he displayed and he says that he has no system. Considering the usual stuff that happens to countries who embrace socialism I find it completely immoral as without a doubt whatever inhuman acts follow he'll just say it's "not actually socialist".

I assume here you're conflating socialism with its extreme form, communism. Moderate socialists-- social Democrats and democratic socialists-- have held power countless times throughout the world without any "inhuman acts".

Seanchaidh:

Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

Define "working badly". Is your life comparable to a person in Venezuela?

Gethsemani:

inu-kun:

But bureaucracy is not the system behind separation of power but just regular government work. Not to mention it isn't too great for people who get stuck between the lines and then need to spend a massive amount of time to get basic services.

Which is just like saying that a gun is not the system behind intimidation. While strictly speaking true, you'll have a lot easier a time intimidating people if you can shove a gun into their face. Similarly, separation of power is its' own concept, but the only reliable way found to maintain it is to institute a bureaucratic system of control to ensure that corruption doesn't seep in. The USSR, you know the example you so fondly used earlier in this thread, shows exactly what happens when you intend for separation of power but fail to create the bureaucratic checks and balances needed to maintain it.

Of course extensive bureaucracy has its' backsides, but the opposite is equally, if not more, unappealing, such as people committing welfare fraud because there isn't enough control over who receives it. Or, an entire nation run by an oligarchy that can do whatever they please because there's no bureaucracy in place to ensure that the separation of power actually works.

I'm pretty sure the USSR also had bureaucracy (especially for jobs like rationing), pretty much every country needs to have bureaucracy to maintain order and control. The fact that it also had a lot stronger power focused in the government rather than through a court and a senate doesn't mitigate that.

Silvanus:

inu-kun:

Let's start with the fact that EvilTheCat was the one jumping to the extreme since he went straight to "dying" rather than mentioning doing anything. Nothing is stopping a person with working actively to reduce exploitation or at least attempting so, and if someone who gets a very comfy paycheck doesn't donate anything at all I can say for sure he doesn't care for the poor.

No, let's not start with any such fact, because you were the one who first said someone must lead a "totally moral life" in order to hold his moral position. You began the fallacy.

Nothing is stopping a person, no. But there is no obligation to go beyond what is practical.

Except he started it with:

your point is all starting to sound an awful lot like an excuse, isn't it. I'm sure the people over in the USSR were very good at making excuses too..

Which made me wonder what his excuse is, and he doesn't even have an excuse of doing a bare minimum, he evades it completely.

The point of the argument is to show how morally hypocritical the moral argument EvilTheCat had about Capitalism, it is not different than pointing out that an anti-gay clergyman is engaging in homosexual relations in secret.

Drivel. There is no obligation to devote all of one's energies to something in order to care about it; there's simply no contradiction there. It's unsustainable reasoning.

No one is saying for him to join the third world for help, just to hear examples of him being different than the rich which he portrayed as vampires living on exploitation of others. In the meantime I hear no response.
Also would you say that, for example, if Trump is saying "Hillary is corrupt" I'm unable to answer that he is also corrupt since he has no obligation to devote energy for it? Or that not being corrupt will totally kill him.

But he argues about Socialism as a replacement, it being the very thing that started the argument. If it is not a better equivelant than why mention it? As well as he doesn't mention any specifics out of fear of people actually criticizing it. Also he talks about the evil of exploitation, meaning he comes out as completely hypocritical when his system will also rely on exploitation.

He believes it's better. He does not believe it's perfect, and nor did he say so-- those are vastly different positions.

You were arguing against a position he never held, and now you seem to have forgotten that's what you were saying.

You can't go around talking about how evil a concept is (in this case expoitation) and then turn 180 and say that this concept is completely unavoidable and we should accept it. That's simply hypocritical. Regardless, he could have atleast attempted to explain how a Socialism based order will minimize exploitation but even that he couldn't as he has no idea what he wants.

I basically ask him to show his system does not fall into the criticisms he displayed and he says that he has no system. Considering the usual stuff that happens to countries who embrace socialism I find it completely immoral as without a doubt whatever inhuman acts follow he'll just say it's "not actually socialist".

I assume here you're conflating socialism with its extreme form, communism. Moderate socialists-- social Democrats and democratic socialists-- have held power countless times throughout the world without any "inhuman acts".

Except that's not what it's about, going back to the comment that started this mess:

Destroy? No. Nationalize. Seize the means of production and distribution. Redistribute the wealth. The parasitic owners can be expurgated without destroying the host.

"Seizing the means of production and distribution" is the pure form of socialism that always fails. The "social Democrats and democratic socialists" in the west did not do it (if it is even their goal anymore).
Edit: Which was Seanchaidh quote, but it later evolved into EvilTheCat arguing that the western economy could function like a UK brand office Depo.

inu-kun:

Except he started it with:

your point is all starting to sound an awful lot like an excuse, isn't it. I'm sure the people over in the USSR were very good at making excuses too..

Which made me wonder what his excuse is, and he doesn't even have an excuse of doing a bare minimum, he evades it completely.

There's nothing there about needing to be totally perfect. That's an obligation you came up with, and which is utterly irrational.

This is an ongoing effort to deflect from that fact. You seem now to be ignoring that aspect altogether, as if hoping I'll just forget.

If you cannot defend an argument you made, then drop that argument. There is no obligation to be "totally perfect" in order to care about an issue, is there?

No one is saying for him to join the third world for help, just to hear examples of him being different than the rich which he portrayed as vampires living on exploitation of others. In the meantime I hear no response.

No, that's not all you asked for. You specifically said a "totally moral life". You've now shifted that drastically to just any examples of moral behaviour, it seems, or you've just forgotten what you were arguing.

Also would you say that, for example, if Trump is saying "Hillary is corrupt" I'm unable to answer that he is also corrupt since he has no obligation to devote energy for it? Or that not being corrupt will totally kill him.

Ludicrous false equivalence. Criticising others for precisely what one does oneself is hypocrisy. Caring about an issue without living a "totally moral life" is perfectly consistent, and not hypocritical.

You can't go around talking about how evil a concept is (in this case expoitation) and then turn 180 and say that this concept is completely unavoidable and we should accept it. That's simply hypocritical.

Nobody said that anywhere, you just made it up entirely.

Except that's not what it's about, going back to the comment that started this mess:

Destroy? No. Nationalize. Seize the means of production and distribution. Redistribute the wealth. The parasitic owners can be expurgated without destroying the host.

"Seizing the means of production and distribution" is the pure form of socialism that always fails. The "social Democrats and democratic socialists" in the west did not do it (if it is even their goal anymore).
Edit: Which was Seanchaidh quote, but it later evolved into EvilTheCat arguing that the western economy could function like a UK brand office Depo.

So... You're now arguing against a quote from Seanchaidh, which is unrelated to the discussion with evilthecat that we were actually talking about.

To reiterate: moderate forms of socialism have existed countless times, in countless countries, without going terribly wrong. You were conflating communism with socialism.

inu-kun:
1) How "pure" are you? After all if you are so afraid of exploitation you must live totally moral life, like never using oil or electronics made in a sweatshop in China.

You care about Israel's security, don't you? How "pure" are you? After all if you are care so much about Israel's security, you would live totally for its defense, like spending your entire life in the IDF and standing at the border 24/7/365.

inu-kun:
What dying? Unless you are suffering from some incredibly hard ailment there is nothing that stops you from growing your own food and taking bicycle to work (especially as you sure have a lot of free time to write on the internet).

I live in a small flat in an urban area. I don't have room to store a bicycle, and certainly not the multiple hectares I would require to grow enough food for myself. Furthermore, what do you think would actually be accomplished by me doing either of these things? What difference would I make to the world? I mean, sure, from a financial perspective I could hypothetically save a few quid on the cost of vegetables or public transport, but that primarily benefits me..

This derailment is so transparent it's actually kind of absurd.

inu-kun:
Heck, you just jumped straight to "dying" rather than listing ways you still try to at least reduce the "exploitation" which highly suggest you do absolutely nothing against it meaning either:

And what, pray tell, would these ways of reducing the exploitation be?

Because it's no longer as simple as me just not buying imported goods any more, is it. If everyone stops buying imported goods then the net result is that the people who make those goods lose their jobs. The problem of capitalism is not just that people are being exploited, but that we live in an economic system where exploitation is the only choice available to any of us unless we were born with enough cash to never have to work. The solution, the only real solution, is not to seclude yourself away in some pointless hippy commune where (super conveniently, I might add) fragile, frustrated right-wingers don't have to hear you talk about it, but to work towards constructing sustainable alternatives.

inu-kun:
So basically you have no idea how to make things better but for some bizarre reason are sure it has to be through Socialism.

What do you mean by socialism?

Look, since you want to put the spotlight on me, let's talk about me. Firstly, I am broadly speaking a postmodernist, and I don't mean that in the Youtube conspiracy theory sense of "someone who has read Marx and probably has blue hair", I mean that I reject the idea of an overarching teleological goal to human society. This means that while I have read Marx and do take Marxism seriously, my interest in Marxism begins and ends with his practice of critique. I do not accept the inevitability of human progress will eventually lead us to any state, be that liberal individualism or communism. I take issue with any singular narrative purporting to govern human history or society, because I think the underlying logic of positing such a thing is inevitably weak and relies on metaphysical thinking which cannot be proven either way. I do not think there is a perfect, just, comprehensible world waiting for us at the end of the rainbow. I certainly don't think the modern "West" (which is a thoroughly questionable concept in itself, West of what?) is that utopia. The mere concept of a perfect society is absurd.

What interests me far more than science-fiction imagination of hypothetical "perfect" societies (or "visions") is the concrete practice of how we actually go about determining what is wrong with the societies we live in, and that practice is critique. Critique has been the driving force of the entire project of modernity. It is a practice for exposing the contingent qualities of power. Critique is what allows you to ask why anyone would obey a king, and its absence is the reason why at the time noone thought to ask that in the past. We do not live in a world where people will ever accept that things just are because they are, your kings will be disobeyed too, your perfect society will be taken apart and found to be as wanting as all the other perfect societies because again, in the end, no such thing exists.

This doesn't mean that I have no idea how to make things "better", but my knowledge of how to make things better derives not from some overarching "vision", but from the limited possibilities opened up by critique of the way things are. This conversation stated because you have been trying to claim that certain ways of doing things are just inherently wrong, inherently bad, inherently don't work. All I've done, ultimately, is to point out that the things which you think are right, good and do work can be criticised in exactly the same way, far more coherently in fact since doing so doesn't rely on magic inefficiency springing from nowhere. The disagreement, essentially, is that you seem to think this imaginary inefficiency is sufficient to dismiss an economic system as impossible, whereas I think that cruelty and exploitation as human consequences are actually far more important measures of the viability of an economic system, and that the delusion to the contrary is a cognitive bias stemming from living within such a system at present. Neither of us is technically incorrect, it's a conflict of competing values, competing narratives, competing criticisms.

No "vision" is required for that.

evilthecat:

inu-kun:
What dying? Unless you are suffering from some incredibly hard ailment there is nothing that stops you from growing your own food and taking bicycle to work (especially as you sure have a lot of free time to write on the internet).

I live in a small flat in an urban area. I don't have room to store a bicycle, and certainly not the multiple hectares I would require to grow enough food for myself. Furthermore, what do you think would actually be accomplished by me doing either of these things? What difference would I make to the world? I mean, sure, from a financial perspective I could hypothetically save a few quid on the cost of vegetables or public transport, but that primarily benefits me..

This derailment is so transparent it's actually kind of absurd.

But if you claim that exploitation is so bad then act around it, do anything to at least improve the situation (like buying locally and reduce the use of appliance/items that were made in sweatshops) rather than basking in it while criticizing others for doing the same. I wouldn't have much respect to a guy telling me eating meat is murder while eating a steak.

inu-kun:
Heck, you just jumped straight to "dying" rather than listing ways you still try to at least reduce the "exploitation" which highly suggest you do absolutely nothing against it meaning either:

And what, pray tell, would these ways of reducing the exploitation be?

Because it's no longer as simple as me just not buying imported goods any more, is it. If everyone stops buying imported goods then the net result is that the people who make those goods lose their jobs. The problem of capitalism is not just that people are being exploited, but that we live in an economic system where exploitation is the only choice available to any of us unless we were born with enough cash to never have to work. The solution, the only real solution, is not to seclude yourself away in some pointless hippy commune where (super conveniently, I might add) fragile, frustrated right-wingers don't have to hear you talk about it, but to work towards constructing sustainable alternatives.

So we got to insults now? Regardless this is a shitty argument in the same vein of "we must eat meat otherwise the farmers will kill all the cows!".

inu-kun:
So basically you have no idea how to make things better but for some bizarre reason are sure it has to be through Socialism.

What do you mean by socialism?

Look, since you want to put the spotlight on me, let's talk about me. Firstly, I am broadly speaking a postmodernist, and I don't mean that in the Youtube conspiracy theory sense of "someone who has read Marx and probably has blue hair", I mean that I reject the idea of an overarching teleological goal to human society. This means that while I have read Marx and do take Marxism seriously, my interest in Marxism begins and ends with his practice of critique. I do not accept the inevitability of human progress will eventually lead us to any state, be that liberal individualism or communism. I take issue with any singular narrative purporting to govern human history or society, because I think the underlying logic of positing such a thing is inevitably weak and relies on metaphysical thinking which cannot be proven either way. I do not think there is a perfect, just, comprehensible world waiting for us at the end of the rainbow. I certainly don't think the modern "West" (which is a thoroughly questionable concept in itself, West of what?) is that utopia. The mere concept of a perfect society is absurd.

What interests me far more than science-fiction imagination of hypothetical "perfect" societies (or "visions") is the concrete practice of how we actually go about determining what is wrong with the societies we live in, and that practice is critique. Critique has been the driving force of the entire project of modernity. It is a practice for exposing the contingent qualities of power. Critique is what allows you to ask why anyone would obey a king, and its absence is the reason why at the time noone thought to ask that in the past. We do not live in a world where people will ever accept that things just are because they are, your kings will be disobeyed too, your perfect society will be taken apart and found to be as wanting as all the other perfect societies because again, in the end, no such thing exists.

This doesn't mean that I have no idea how to make things "better", but my knowledge of how to make things better derives not from some overarching "vision", but from the limited possibilities opened up by critique of the way things are. This conversation stated because you have been trying to claim that certain ways of doing things are just inherently wrong, inherently bad, inherently don't work. All I've done, ultimately, is to point out that the things which you think are right, good and do work can be criticised in exactly the same way, far more coherently in fact since doing so doesn't rely on magic inefficiency springing from nowhere. The disagreement, essentially, is that you seem to think this imaginary inefficiency is sufficient to dismiss an economic system as impossible, whereas I think that cruelty and exploitation as human consequences are actually far more important measures of the viability of an economic system, and that the delusion to the contrary is a cognitive bias stemming from living within such a system at present. Neither of us is technically incorrect, it's a conflict of competing values, competing narratives, competing criticisms.

No "vision" is required for that.

I'm an engineer, if you have a system then show it rather than allude to some unknown path that was shown time and again to fail.
The only thing I gathered from the incredibly long excuse here is that you cling to socialism but pass it as "criticizing capitalism" so to not have to justify your choice. And the thing is that the criticisms are obvious for anyone with the passing interest in politics and economics, not to mention they are built on the concept of "The White Man's Burden" as the liberators of the poor third world countries.

inu-kun:
But if you claim that exploitation is so bad then act around it, do anything to at least improve the situation (like buying locally and reduce the use of appliance/items that were made in sweatshops) rather than basking in it while criticizing others for doing the same.

Why?

What right do you think you have to tell me how to conduct myself in accordance with principles which you not only don't share, but are proactively arguing against. If you want to persuade me to do something, then do it transparently and in good faith. I know that's a lot to ask..

But then, isn't this a microcosm of capitalism itself. Poor people are exploited to produce cheap goods which other poor people buy, and yet somehow those poor people are responsible (and yes, relatively speaking I am poor). The people earning enough to feed entire countries from this process.. naw, they've done nothing wrong, it's not their fault, if only poor people would buy less phones.. this isn't even "think of the children", it's "think of the millionaires!"

Do you honestly expect me to find value in a system which has warped your perspective so utterly that you assume that in order for some people to enjoy a basic standard of living, others must suffer. That alone seems unforgivable to me.

inu-kun:
Regardless this is a shitty argument in the same vein of "we must eat meat otherwise the farmers will kill all the cows!".

The thing about that argument is that, shitty or not, it's true. It's a weak argument because generally speaking ethical vegetarians are more opposed to the general cruelty of the farming and meat industry and/or the exploitation of domesticated animals than they are with the literal preservation of beef cattle breeds.

But we're not talking about cows, we're talking about people. People have not been domesticated and selectively bred over thousands of years. People have choices and options which cattle do not have. That's why it's not "in the same vein" at all, because the most important facts are different. Regardless, you're supposed to be demonstrating how not buying foreign imported goods would actually help to improve the lives of foreign workers trapped in poverty. I'm not seeing anything..

inu-kun:
I'm an engineer, if you have a system then show it rather than allude to some unknown path that was shown time and again to fail.

I literally don't know what you're talking about, and I genuinely don't think you do either.

How can a path simultaneously be "unknown" and yet "shown time and again to fail?" I think if one of us is "alluding" here, it's really not me..

inu-kun:
The only thing I gathered from the incredibly long excuse here is that you cling to socialism but pass it as "criticizing capitalism" so to not have to justify your choice.

You don't read very closely, do you..

Look, sometimes things are long because the length is required to express an idea completely and/or accurately. Sometimes, you do have to read the whole thing, and if you think you can summarize the whole thing in a single sentence which somehow encompasses the entire meaning, chances are you are probably doing it wrong.

For example, I still do not know what you mean by socialism, but if you mean Marxist socialism then I've already explained my problem with Marxist socialism. It was, I think, pretty explicit. If you mean socialism in the broader sense of emphasising compassion or care as important qualities of a functioning society, then yeah, absolutely, I "cling" to that pretty unashamedly. Frankly, I find the thought that anyone could knowingly and intentionally reject the idea of a caring and compassionate society because of magical "inefficiency" to be slightly disturbing.

inu-kun:
And the thing is that the criticisms are obvious for anyone with the passing interest in politics and economics, not to mention they are built on the concept of "The White Man's Burden" as the liberators of the poor third world countries.

Liberators from whom?

Like, of all the things you have said, this is probably the most revealing that you actually have no interest or understanding, passing or otherwise, in this issue, and have in all likelihood barely given it thought.

Because the "white man's burden" was/is a defence of European colonialism, an attitude exemplified by Rudyard Kipling's 1899 poem of the same name which was written to build support for the American takeover of the Philippines (which was controversial, as a lot of Americans had mixed feelings about colonialism for obvious reasons). Let's look at the first verse..

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Notice the repeated metaphor of captivity, which I've bolded. The natives are the captives here, they are the "wild" people who must be caught and (appropriately enough given the earlier metaphor) domesticated. This is not their choice, this is something they will actively resist (a point which is made again and again in the poem). They are not being freed from poverty, or from a global system of economic oppression. They are being freed from their own savage, inferior culture and religion.

Another verse, perhaps..

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Again. "Freedom" is a bad thing here. Freedom is the excuse of those who "stoop to less", who reject the responsibility to civilise and govern the "savage races" (as they were still explicitly known when this poem was written). The white man's burden is not about "liberating" the natives, it's not about letting them choose or economically bettering them, it's about the harsh, disciplinary process of civilization, it's about forcing them to adopt "modern" or "western" thought, religion and culture by taking over and ruling their countries.

So again. Let's get back to your point. What exactly would you say I am trying to "liberate" the poor third world countries from?

Heck, maybe I can help you out there with some subtle clues..








inu-kun:

I'm pretty sure the USSR also had bureaucracy (especially for jobs like rationing), pretty much every country needs to have bureaucracy to maintain order and control. The fact that it also had a lot stronger power focused in the government rather than through a court and a senate doesn't mitigate that.

Are you even reading what I am writing? Of course the USSR had bureaucracy, it is sort of inescapable in any larger co-operation between lots of people. My point is that good bureaucracy is a perquisite for weeding out corruption and maintaining separation of power. This is literally one of the main points that has been made about the Nordic Model, that it relies on a strong state with an efficient bureaucratic machine that keeps individual politicians, clerks and bureaucrats from amassing power by exploiting the system.

The USSR had a bad bureaucracy, that meant people that wanted to travel within the USSR could wait for months to get authorization to go ten miles to visit their grandparents while allowing the prime minister and his cabinet almost unfettered power and easy ways to bypass the Duma when its' decision didn't suit Comrade Andropov.

As a final aside, I'll take your concession that bureaucracy is necessary to maintain order and control as you admitting that your initial statement about how bureaucracy breeds corruption is faulty, as that's literally the point I've been making all this time.

inu-kun:

Seanchaidh:

Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

Define "working badly". Is your life comparable to a person in Venezuela?

Venezuela is a capitalist system with leaders who claim they would like to build a socialist society. However, the share of the economy which is private actually increased under Chavez. Also, it was a bit of a petro-state to begin with. They tend to have shortages of necessary goods (just before elections) precisely because the means of production in their economy are owned by capitalists.

inu-kun:
"Seizing the means of production and distribution" is the pure form of socialism that always fails. The "social Democrats and democratic socialists" in the west did not do it (if it is even their goal anymore).

It always fails because..?

Can you actually trace a line between, let's say, the fall of the Soviet Union and the fact that the Bolsheviks seized the means of production and distribution? Or is that, in fact, incidental?

The Lunatic:

Seanchaidh:
Socialism can work badly by accident. Capitalism works badly by design.

But, let me guess. It's never been tried?

Workers co-ops actually already exist. The Mondragon corporation, for example. They work fine.

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