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Mr. Bigot Goes to the Beach

Remember your sunscreen!
Remember your sunscreen!

Return of Kings, that burning internet dumpster fire of pickup artistry and Trumpian bigotry, has decided to go all grade-school on us this week, posting an essay that is basically an adult, alt-right version of the classic “what I did on my summer vacation” essay assignment.

Like a lot of Americans, whether they’re in 6th grade or in their sixties, RoK contributor Michael Sebastian went to the beach.

And there he saw … a lot of people who weren’t white. In a post with the somber title, “A Summer Beach Trip Shows How Badly America Has Declined” Sebastian reports his dire findings:

The most obvious change is that there has been a dramatic change in the level of diversity. When I was a teenager, the beach was nearly 100% white. The diversity, such as it was, consisted of a handful of blacks. Whites still comprised about two-thirds of the beach goers, but now there were also lots of Hispanics along with smaller numbers of Muslims, Asians, and Indians. Of course, there continued to be a small number of black families.

I can only assume that Sebastian, the author of a self-published book titled Staying Married in a Degenerate Age, showed up at the beach with a little notebook  in which to record the presumed ethnicity of all the other beachgoers.

The Hispanics were notable because it was very apparent that they were poor. Many of the families did not have bathing suits—they were in the ocean in their street clothes. It was especially awkward for the women as a blouse and long skirt are less than ideal beachwear. While I am certain there were poor families in the beach in my youth, I don’t recall anyone so poor that they could not purchase a bathing suit.

Maybe Trump will build you a wall around the beach.

The Muslims were also an interesting addition. I noticed several women walking along the beach covered head to ankle in dark clothing walking on the beach in 95-degree heat. 

At this point I’m pretty sure that Sebastian is just making things up. How many beaches in America boast such a perfect cross-section of All the People the Readers of Return of Kings Hate?

Sebastian never tells us what beach he allegedly went to, only that he lives in a “large city.” I also live in a large city, one in which white people are a minority. But even in the relatively less-segregated neighborhood that I live in, where most of the people you see out and around are likely to be people of color, I don’t normally see a crowd quite this rainbow-hued.

Sebastian goes on to complain about tattooed women, another Return of Kings bugbear, before informing us that some of the people on this Beach of Terror were on the drugs. Because Sebastian can totally tell.

Extreme diversity and abundant tattoos are one thing, but there is nothing that indicates spiritual bankruptcy like drug abuse. The most disturbing thing that I witnessed was the high number of people who were strung out on something. Everyone that I saw looked like they were intoxicated by something other than alcohol or pot. All of them were young. All of them were white.

Oh, no, not the white people!

I saw one young woman slowly rotating in circles with her hands on her temples in the middle of the day. There were small groups of people who seemed to have no awareness of their surroundings.

To be fair, I sometimes rotate in circles in the middle of the day. It’s fun. You should try it!

Adding insult to imaginary injury, Sebastian reports that while driving his family back home from the beach one night,

a car in the right lane suddenly swerved into my lane almost crashing into our car. My wife glanced over to find out what was happening with the driver. It turned out that it was a middle aged woman who was snapping a selfie as she was going through the tunnel—no doubt to post on Facebook. 

This was followed, I imagine, by monkeys flying out of Sebastian’s butt.

Sebastian ends his little screed by comparing present-day America to — yes, you guessed it — the Roman empire in its final days.

With the exception of diversity, which is a weapon used by the elite to divide, conquer, and rule the population, each of the things I saw on my beach vacation indicated that the foundation of America is rotting. Ancient Rome became great because of the vigor and austerity of its people. Once Romans lost their founding virtue, the Empire collapsed. … 

Barring some sort of great upheaval, it is likely that the US is headed for the same fate that befell Rome.

WORST. VACATION. EVER.

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mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

in the Stalinist system the State owned everything and controlled the entire economy, which resulted in disaster and is entirely contrary to any kind of communist thinking.

It’s also very bad for society – in the widest possible terms. When the World Bank and the Chinese government tried to put their heads together to reclaim some of the most destroyed land in the world, the Loess Plateau, it took them almost 4 years to even start on the project. Apart from the staggering size and difficulty of the enterprise, the most essential element turned out to be, eventually, organising formal land rights for the people who’d be doing the work to start with and farming it thereafter. Once that was clear, and the people concerned were physically involved in measuring and laying out the plots of land themselves, it went ahead. Incredibly successful.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

What you’rr describing is exactly what I said is the level of equality that CAN be achieved and should be achieved. In this possible and productive society, everyone has the basics covered and competition is fair, because everyone has access to plenty of food, decent housing, clothes, safety, transportation and the same access to education (schools and unis must be exclusively public, no exceptions). But there are still things such as different salaries and with them luxuries, such as Ferraris, designer bags, whatever, and therefore, competition.

That’s a modified form of socialism, which in the US we commonly call a welfare state. That has problems. Let me see if I can explain them.

There is a concept in economics: the free rider. Free ridership is a term drawn from the idea of someone using free public transportation when that person doesn’t pay into the maintenance costs by living in that area. The classic free rider would be me going to New York City and using Central Park. I pay zero monies toward the upkeep of Central Park, but because it is a public park I could use it anyway. Another way free ridership works is known under the term “tragedy of the commons” (which doesn’t work the way it is usually said to work, but ignore that for now).

Free ridership has a much, much broader application than this, however. Let’s use the old-school American railroads as an example. Prices and supply are ideally set via market means, but the largest railroads used non-market means to eliminate their competition, so that they could set much higher prices than the market would have otherwise allowed. Microsoft is another good example: they used non-market means (forcing computer builders to pay for copies of Windows even if Windows was not loaded on a computer sold) to saturate the market with a frankly substandard product, improving their bottom line without having to fairly compete.

Non-market actions depend on most of the actors in a market playing fairly, so this is a non-classical example of free ridership. Anytime you see a situation where one actor receives benefits without contributing fairly to the overall environment in which the actor acts, this is free ridership.

So let’s take the example of State X, which has a guaranteed minimum income, in a world where most states do not. State X is a free rider, because it benefits from low-cost items imported from other areas, without contributing low-cost items of its own to the overall world market.

It’s not clear at all that a guaranteed minimum income would work if every single state on Earth implemented it, so as to eliminate this form of free ridership. For one thing, poor countries just frankly can’t afford it, so rich countries would have to pump resources into them to boost their minimum incomes. Then those countries are the free riders, and it’s not clear how one would force them to support themselves once their economies are able to do so (y’know, without implementing authoritarian means, which from word 1 I have said is a major, major problem).

In the West we can say well, we’ll just pay more for items, but we’ll be able to afford it because of guaranteed minimum income. But that’s a first-world answer. There are countries, today, where food riots are a constant threat and sometimes a manifest problem, because if the cost of food rises even slightly people literally starve. What guaranteed minimum income will allow people in those countries to be able to reliably afford food, when the cost of food will itself rise? It’s not clear.

There is a lot that isn’t clear about how this system would work, and how it would be implemented without authoritarian means on unwilling participants – especially elites who are quite comfortable with the system as is, and that includes entire states like most of us in the West. I am just not convinced that any of this can be done without force, and once force is brought into the picture, you’re playing with fire and you will get burned.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

@PoM:
Thank you for that. I’m learning a lot.

What is your opinion of a basic income within an autarky? If the entire world were to be regarded as an autarky (which it is) then would a unified world government be able to implement a basic income? What would happen?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ POM

Re: Free riding

We have a very real word example of this over here in relation to parking penalties. Don’t know if you have it over there, but here if you don’t pay in a car park (or go over the time) you normally get a penalty. Most people just pay up.

However we used to advise people to wait until they were sued by the car park company. The reason for that is, in English law, damages are compensatory. In other words you can only claim for actual quantifiable losses. Penalty clauses are explicitly unenforceable.

So if I don’t pay in a car park (assuming there are other spare places) what’s the loss to the company?

It was quite a legal minefield for a while. Courts did try to work on the basis that the cost of enforcing the rules could be divided by the number of errant parkers and that would be a legitimate loss. That was a bit of a fudge though. Now there’s been a case that says “Sod it, we’ll ignore the no penalty rule”

It was fun whilst it lasted though.

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/private-parking-rules-mean/story-13491100-detail/story.html

(There’s also an interesting side issue that, as most enforcement is done under contract to specialist companies rather than the car park owners, those companies’ entire business models rely on people being in breach of contract. If everyone obeyed the rules they wouldn’t make anything)

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

@chiomara

The simple English Wikipedia entry might be a good start on Marxist theory.

https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism

The Communist Manifesto is a tiny, tiny book. Maybe tackle it after you’ve acquainted yourself with the basics. I wouldn’t recommend reading Capital yet.

Good luck 🙂

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

You might find this talk interesting as well

http://www.marxist.com/audio-what-is-marxism.htm

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

What is your opinion of a basic income within an autarky? If the entire world were to be regarded as an autarky (which it is) then would a unified world government be able to implement a basic income? What would happen?

Don’t know. It’s never happened, and we all know that the real world never matches up with modeling. My belief – and this is only a belief – is that it could be done in the context of a culture in which the political whole believes that a guaranteed minimum income is a basic human right and buys into the necessity of providing that to everyone. ANY deviation from this ideal (including any -ism) would render it unworkable. I don’t think that human nature at this point in time is conducive to the idea.

The issue, of course, is political and economic elites, who are perfectly fine with the system as it is, and who also have most of the political power. How do you get them to buy in? This is a serious question. I would really like to know. In a world where wealthy suburbanites say seriously that a nurse or police officer hasn’t earned a way into their subdivision, how do you convince them that people who aren’t working deserve a basic income?

JS
JS
4 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw Do you have links to those 2? The NASA briefing doc, and information on the optimistic bridge?

Dalillama
4 years ago

@PoM
I swear to fuck you’re not reading what I’m writing at all, you’re arguing with the Stalinist in your head. I also find it hilarious that you think capitalism isn’t instituted and maintatined by authoritarian and coercive practices. American Capitalism gave us centuries of slavery here, and it continues overseas. Capitalism reacts with utmost violence to the slightest threat to hegemony. Read up on Ludlow and Matawan, Herrin, Homeland, and Cripple Creek. and tell me again how non-authoritarian capitalism is. The tell it to the water protectors at the Sacred Rock Camp.
Every job in every corporation is hemmed about by arbitrary rules, and your livlihood can be taken from you on a whim; that’s not authoritarian either, I suppose? I talk about freedom and democracy, I even show you templates for the next steps, and you can only see a new boss, same as the old boss. The jackboots are in your head.

A state actor is always fundamentally different from a non-state actor.

This is why I use the Emilia-Romagna co-ops as one of my principal examples. They got where they are by electing Communists to the provincial government. They, among other things, instituted a government de partment that provides technical assistance to new cooperatives and established a business surtax to fund new worker’s cooperatives. Terribly authoritarian, I know.

That’s a modified form of socialism, which in the US we commonly call a welfare state.

I reiterate once again that INFRASTRUCTURE IS NOT SOCIALISM., modified or otherwise. This applies equally to physical and social infrastructure. The state building railroads, supporting the unemployed, maintaining sewers, and paying for healthcare is a thing called Infrastructure, and is what the state is there for in any economic system. When the state owns the industrial base as well, that’s socialism. The conflation of infrastructure and socialism is one of the reasons we have such shitty infrastructure in the States, because people here keep acting like repairing a bridge is the first step on the road to a Stalinist purge
Mind, capitalists in the main are terrible at understanding infrastructure in general, because nobody makes a direct monetary profit off it, and they just can’t stand that idea. That’s another reason our infrastructure’s so shit; we keep putting it into the hands of private for-profit companies, and there’s no way to make a profit off functioning infrastructure.
@Axecalibur

Not you obvs, but it was somebody’s thinking…

That’s why I find it essential to distinguish communism and socialism, or state socialism if someone’s feeling persnickety. Stalinism falls firmly into the latter, and is a totally different category from the former which operates totally differently. It was someone’s thinking, but it wasn’t a Communist operation whatever they claimed, anymore than there’s elections in the DPRK.

@Scildfreya, Alan

. Ubiquitous local manufacturing could take a lot of wind from the sails of the capitalist greed-machine and make the city/community much more important as a power centre; the big global transport network would be limited to rare and poorly distributed resources instead.

Yes, no, and maybe, basically. Decentralization of a lot of things becomes both more feasible and a better idea as technology increases, and this is true under any economic system. A fabber in every living room would basically eliminate a lot of the manufacturing industry, but things like IP laws could still allow large corporations to effectively control most resources.
Then there’s power generation; many renewable sources work as well or better in a decentralized system then a centralised one; use roofs for solar panels, mount small windmills atop utility poles, etc. I’ve even seen that now there’s transparent photovoltaic glass; it’s not much power per square inch, but there’s a whole lotta square inches of glass window in a modern city.
There’s still a strong benefit in a comprehensive and far-reaching (ideally continental in scop) smart grid to ensure proper distribution, though.
Likewise, long distance transportation will always be most efficiently done by large-scale navigations like railways and canals. The maths are actually shown in the link in my nym.
Sewer treatment and food production can also be localised, I have a lot of ideas for local food independence, but this is turning into a novel already.

true-communism of the sort Dalillama describes, without the need for coercion

Ah, did I not copy that part? A society entirely without coercion of any sort is a pipe dream; what I said in my initial comment was a society based on the idea of ‘mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon’, a phrase I got from Garrett Hardin’s The Tragedy of the Commons . I recommend the essay enormously.

But where do the raw materials come from? That’s down to where they’re to be found.

My preferred answer remains : from space, where else? It’s an endevour that require forward thinking and cooperation on a scale foreign to capitalist thought, but it’s entirely technically feasible. Essentially, what you do
is turn out a big honking sheet of reflective foil, run through with motorised cables. Then you pick an asteroid that’s coming relatively close to Earth (There’s loads of them that come through local space on the regular). Fold up your sheet, attach some computer controls, a few robotic components, and a rocket nozzle, then shoot the sucker off to meet the asteroid. When it arrives, it deploys the sheet into a parabolic reflector, catches sunlight, focuses it into an intensely hot point, which vaporises asteroid material, feeds it through the rocket tubes, and ejects it at considerable velocity from the other end. A small but consistent thrust over a long enough time brings it to where the Earth’s gravity will pull it into orbit. Then you take off the rocket part and use the parabolic mirror as a smelter to get the metals you want.

Very few oil reserves in Manchester.

Yes, well, we need to lay off that stuff anyway. really.

So we’re still going to need a massive transport infrastructure as before. And the energy costs of moving all the raw materials means you’ll probably be just as better off having your ACME factories in one place and enjoy the economies of scale and avoid the wastes of duplication.

Yes and no; modern fabbers can definitely use bioplastics, which means that a local centre for producing raw materials can use locally sourced plant materials, but things like complex electronics are another matter.
@Chiomara

Okay. I disagree, but ok! – This last situation is what I understand as full blown Communism.

Not really, no. Keeping in mind that different communists have different ideas about some of the details (housing springs to mind immediately), but there’s general agreement that food, shelter, health care, education etc. should be provided publically to all, and that nobody should be inheriting great wealth from their parents, due to the economic deformations this causes. At least some of that should be handled by a universal basic income, but PoM’s proposal of public free hostels would make a useful auxiliary service. I personally hold, after a combination of the Emilia-Romagna policies and Muhammed Yunus’* proposed ‘Right to Capital’; under this programme, everyone would be entitled to a certain amount of money** to either start themselves out some independent venture*** or to pool with others to form a new cooperative, which fund is supported by a business tax. Whatever income you receive from those is on top of your basic income that everyone receives. Generally, you’re going to need to pay someone more to do such drudge work as can’t be automated than you will to do things that are more pleasant, and likewise for high stress occupations like medical professionals, but social prestige can be a powerful motivator too; you just need a society that considers the right things prestigious.

* I recommend his Creating a World Without Poverty, and Banker to the Poor, and even Building Social Business; he’s blinkered by captialism in a few areas, unsurprising from a banker, but he’s got a lot of very worthwhile things to say.

** I don’t think that a densely populated high tech society can exist without some type of currency equivalent, although Scildfreya and her colleagues may yet prove me wrong.
***Whatever sort of venture you want, really; artistic, entreprenurial, whatever. Yunus has higher education on the list of things it should be available for, but I hold that that ought to be publically funded.

@msexceptiontotherule

I’ve been arguing with some jerk who thinks that women are trying to get out of paying their fair share in the taxes that go towards schools, infrastructure, and other government-budget-things by pushing to eliminate the sales tax on tampons and pads.

ARRGH!!! Don’t even get me started on sales taxes or this will get even longer.

More later, this has taken longer to write than I expected.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Dali

That’s why I find it essential to distinguish communism and socialism, or state socialism if someone’s feeling persnickety. Stalinism falls firmly into the latter, and is a totally different category from the former which operates totally differently. It was someone’s thinking, but it wasn’t a Communist operation whatever they claimed, anymore than there’s elections in the DPRK

My thoughts on the matter of political identification are well documented on this blog, so I won’t go thru the rigamarole. Suffice it to say, my policy is: if you call yourself a communist, you can explain in what way you’re a communist, and you can squeeze into the broadest, discrete definition of the term ‘communist’, then you’re a communist *shrug*

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ JS

I’ll try and find the link. It was for the anniversary. They put everything they had on a server. Some amazing things (including all the internal films they made to explain to the politicians). In typical NASA style the web address was something completely obscure (with lots dots in).

The bridge was on one of those ‘big engineering’ programmes. It’s hard to describe without pictures but essentially they had massive moving weights on the ends that they adjusted until the two ends were swinging and bouncing in synch. Then they tweaked until the ends were touching and they could whack a link in.

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Axe
The fundamental, defining characteristic of communism is that the workers control the means of production. If the state controls the means of production, then the workers don’t, and therefore it’s not communism.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

I’ve always interpreted Communism as being the end goal of the various communist states that have existed. I.e., they’re actually centralized dictatorial/oligarchic regimes with an on-paper goal of creating a communist society, at which point the state is to dissolve.

(Of course, the problem with centralized regimes is that they’s sorta self-perpetuating. Those states were totally all about the whole Global Revolution thing, and much less about the whole dissolution-of-the-state bit.)

So I don’t see a big problem, just a slight distinction between communism and one of the larger failed delivery systems, the whole autocratic-centralized-state thing. There are other ways to get from A to B, after all.

And I’ve been addressed a few times in a few places, and, well, I’m a pretty big mess these days so I can’t quite recall where or when or who, so Im’a just reply here. Yes, I agree that you can’t really have a civilization without coercion, it’s just a question of how much and what kind. When I spoke about the reduction of coercion, I was speaking relatively. Also, I totally agree with you @Dalillama when it comes to decentralization of manufacturing and power generation and whatnot, we are pretty much same-page here.

(Not to mention that we have such good technology for distributed power these days, and it’s a heartbreaking shame that it isn’t being deployed, because we need it.)

I hope you’re paying attention here, Alt-Right lurkbots, Sad Puppies and anti-progressives. This is what science fiction is for. Not your stupid giant space battles and square-jawed aryan heroes face-punchin’ green skinned people to make way for a glorious space future. It’s for imagining a different, better future, and how to get there. It’s about smart grid power from household bio-fusion generators that digest household waste and output fertilizer; it’s about neighbourhood auto-facs that are run by consensus, that spin rock dust into silk and weave carbon chains into electric engines. It’s about progressing into a brighter future.

And it’s leaving you behind.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

@Dalillama

I won’t add anything to this discussion (I’m not qualified), but I do always enjoy your comments. I’ve quoted your ‘catch phrase’ (“infrastructure is not socialism”) several times. :p

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Dali

The fundamental, defining characteristic of communism is that the workers control the means of production

Or the process by which this is made possible. If one believes a vanguard state and its revolutionary party are prerequisite to achieve communist aims, that’s still plenty communist, right?

If the state controls the means of production, then the workers don’t, and therefore it’s not communism

Unless the state is the unified, political arm of the workers. If one believes that the state is best equipped to, at least temporarily, handle production in advance of the true goal, that’s still plenty communist, right?

See what I mean? For me, these words are just words. Groups of sounds, successive utterances given meaning by our thoughts. In order for language and communication to function, said words hafta have some meaning and those meanings need some limit. Given that, all’s fair. Language evolves, changes, diffuses. It just seems a shame to be prescriptive with it. I find it far more useful, interesting even, to engage the psychology (why do you call yourself/that person/that policy idea X? What does that mean to you?) than to be, as you put it, persnickety…

Besides, that’s what adjectives are for. I consider myself a liberal socialist. Not too wordy, allows for some specificity, describes my socioeconomic ideas pretty well, and recognizes as valid the ideological differences among socialists. I like a big tent, I suppose 🙂

Edit: clarity

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

I find it far more useful, interesting even, to engage the psychology (why do you call yourself/that person/that policy idea X? What does that mean to you?) than to be, as you put it, persnickety…

I agree, that’s a super interesting part of any conversation. It’s always a delicate thing to do, though, because when you’re exploring the road of beliefs, you’re walkin’ on peoples’ hearts and dreams.

If it’s not rude to hypothesize, I’d suggest that Dali is making that distinction sharp because she’s horrified by the autocratic brutality of the historical communist states, and doesn’t want to be lumped in with them by language. At the same time, her education’s taught her what she’s saying, and she doesn’t want to throw that out, too. Bit of a tightrope walk. I’m familiar with it – I walk it when I call myself an atheist, because atheism is currently associated with some pretty terrible people and I don’t want to be associated with them. But the word is still the one I prefer because of what it means.

Language is complicated, and I love it dearly! Word-makin’s the bestest.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

I also find it hilarious that you think capitalism isn’t instituted and maintatined by authoritarian and coercive practices.

I think that? Are you reading my mind? If not, do point out where I expressed this thought.

I’m not going to go beyond that, because I’m not interested in a hostile argument here and you’re getting pretty hostile at me. But if you want to accuse me of arguing with the Stalinist in my head, I think you ought to check yourself and make sure you’re not arguing with the capitalist you are projecting onto me.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Scildfreja

At the same time, her education’s taught her what she’s saying, and she doesn’t want to throw that out, too

Yeah, she obviously knows what she’s talking about. Given it orders of magnitude more thought than me. And I get persnickety about words too. I’m a guy who puts apostrophes around ‘left’ after all. I just don’t like the exclusionary aspect of how certain ‘leftists’ deal with identification…

atheism is currently associated with some pretty terrible people and I don’t want to be associated with them

Some of whom, I’m not proud to say, I used to like. TAA was damn near my favorite YouTuber for a hot minute. Luckily for me, I never identified as an atheist. Bores me immensely as a topic (I was in it more for the fundamentalist bashing than the Kalam rebuttals). Made severing myself from the whole deal pretty easy when the shit hit the fan. Or, rather, when I’d learned that the shit had already hit the fan years before. Must suck to have a part of your identity made dirty like that. Condolences

Word-makin’s the bestest

Yepperz!

kupo
kupo
4 years ago

@Axe & Scild
Yeah, it really bothers me to be associated with some of those people. I never got into TAA, but I used to love The Friendly Athiest and Dawkins. I don’t know if they changed or if I became more aware, but I cringe a little knowing I used to like them so much.

It kind of bothered me when I was called out the other day for choosing to eschew the title in favor of Secular Humanist because I shouldn’t be pressured to keep using a label to keep the jerks from winning. I understand where that poster was coming from and they’re a brilliant person I respect very much, but it did eat at me some. But another reason I choose the Secular Humanist label instead of Athiest is because I don’t really care whether there is a God or not. I care about how we treat other humans and the way a certain dominant religion is pushing their ideas about what’s right into our laws, schools, textbooks, and communities. I think that’s far more important than whether or not there’s a deity out there.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@kupo

I don’t really care whether there is a God or not

Ironically, preach 😁
I go with ‘nonbeliever’, ‘secular’, and/or ‘irreligious’ myself. As neutral as possible, and less baggage than anything else. Works for me…

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Scildfreja

I’ve always interpreted Communism as being the end goal of the various communist states that have existed. I.e., they’re actually centralized dictatorial/oligarchic regimes with an on-paper goal of creating a communist society, at which point the state is to dissolve.

Yeah, and if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in New York I can sell you. Cheap. You don’t get democracy by implenting more and more totalitarianism; doesn’t happen.

So I don’t see a big problem, just a slight distinction between communism and one of the larger failed delivery systems, the whole autocratic-centralized-state thing.

Because it’s not a delivery system for communism, and never could have been; it’s a whole different thing. Specifically, it’s an autocratic, totalitarian state, which is shit.

There are other ways to get from A to B, after all.

There are ways to get from A to B, but Leninism/Stalinism/Maoism are a path from A to C, and C is a very great distance from B, in a totally different direction.

If it’s not rude to hypothesize, I’d suggest that Dali is making that distinction sharp because she’s horrified by the autocratic brutality of the historical communist states, and doesn’t want to be lumped in with them by language.

As I note to Axe below, it’s important to distinguish, because they’re totally different systems with totally different goals and practices. As I noted in a previous comment, Stalinism/Maoism have a near total overlap with Fascism in terms of their on-the-ground behaviour, regardless of their claimed principles. I make a habit of totally ignoring that kind of self-serving description, because the more of a fuss they make about their highfalutin’ principles the more evil they’re liable to be underneath.

@Axecalibur

Or the process by which this is made possible. If one believes a vanguard state and its revolutionary party are prerequisite to achieve communist aims, that’s still plenty communist, right?

No, it makes you a false comrade, a fascist in sheep’s clothing, who should be shunned and driven forth by all communists everywhere, as much as capitalist minarchists are.

Unless the state is the unified, political arm of the workers. If one believes that the state is best equipped to, at least temporarily, handle production in advance of the true goal, that’s still plenty communist, right?

No, that means you’re lying, either to yourself or to everyone else, or else that you’ve never cracked a book on 20th century history. Possibly both.

In order for language and communication to function, said words hafta have some meaning and those meanings need some limit.

Exactly. And, since communism describes one thing, and socialism describes something else entirely, and there aren’t other words that encapsulate these meanings conveniently, it’s important to distinguish them, otherwise it’s impossible to have a meaningful discussion about, say, the differences between Emilia Romagna or Chiapas on one hand, and the USSR or the PRC on the other.

@PoM

I’m not going to go beyond that, because I’m not interested in a hostile argument here and you’re getting pretty hostile at me.

Since you weren’t addressing anything I said earlier, I don’t really see that there’s a difference here.

Dalillama
4 years ago

I actually want to expand on this part a bit more:

Unless the state is the unified, political arm of the workers.

But it’s not, is it? It’s just a new boss, same as the old boss, and whether he (and it’s usually a he) calls himself a CEO or a Commissar makes no difference to the people on the production line. In a state-run economy, your livelihood (and often life) is dependent on not arguing with the state, and the whole damn country turns into a giant company town.

This, incidentally, is why the vote was limited to property owners in the early U.S. Thomas Jefferson, among others, argued that someone who works for wages will always vote the way the boss says to, for fear of losing their wages, so only a yeoman farmer can be trusted with democracy. I disagree with Jefferson on a fundamental level about who ought to have the vote, but he was entirely correct about the political coercion that bosses are capable of, and it doesn’t matter what boss you’re talking about. That’s why I’m an advocate of economic democracy as well as political.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Dali

I make a habit of totally ignoring that kind of self-serving description

*breathes deeply, grins deviously, removes weights*

No, it makes you a false comrade

No, that means you’re lying, either to yourself or to everyone else, or else that you’ve never cracked a book on 20th century history

Aight, so who the fuck you talkin to? Is that a general you or a definite you? It’s usually easy to figure from context, but it’s harder to glean intent thru the haze of our combined aggression. I welcome clarification on that point

Exactly

Nope. Not exactly. Not at all exactly. Ya see the rest of that paragraph? Ya know, the one you quoted from. Give it another pass maybe. All the better to accurately represent me

since communism describes one thing, and socialism describes something else entirely, and there aren’t other words that encapsulate these meanings conveniently, it’s important to distinguish them, otherwise it’s impossible to have a meaningful discussion…

And how convenient and meaningful this conversation has been…
To the point, I’ll quote myself here:
“Besides, that’s what adjectives are for”
Just cos it’s impossible for you, don’t mean it’s impossible generally. Thanks much

I actually want to expand on this part a bit more

Your comment, your prerogative…

Diptych
Diptych
4 years ago

To be honest, this sort of debate is why I avoid getting too hung up on terms. Socialism, communism, collectivism, anarchism… or, for that matter, democracy, or capitalism, or anything you care to name – they’re all words far too small to contain all the concepts they can reasonably describe.

I think we can reasonably observe that many leftist titles were very loudly championed by, and came to be associated with, various Marxist-Leninist governments and parties who advocated authoritarian government action now to bring about workers’ utopias later – which didn’t work out all that well, ultimately.

At the same time, those titles are still used, entirely legitimately, by any number of groups who’d never dream of using such brutal tactics, and who try to put their ideals into practice either directly – creating various collectives and such that may not have the political-military clout of their authoritarian counterparts, but produce greater levels of niceness and pleasantitude – or by instituting such reforms as they hope will empower those in need of empowering, lessening capitalism and biggening socialism in the long term. Or both – both is good.

My brain doesn’t work well, hypothesising what a future socialist society might look like. I can’t even understand how societies that exist now work, let alone entirely imaginary ones where I have to work out the fine details. I just try to aim in the direction of achievable goals that look like they’ll lead to further achievable goals, and which will generally move in the direction of the vast bulk of people no longer being excluded from controlling, and benefiting from, their economic activity.

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Axe
I am sorry; for some reason my mind read the ‘one’ in the comments I was quoting as a generic ‘you’, hence my phrasing. It is now past the edit window, else I would correct it. Once again, my apologies for my poor phrasing.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@Dalillama, I totally agree with you that the Communist states as seen in history were entirely disconnected from the goals they claimed to have. Idealistic goals were very quickly hijacked by fascists and dictators, which have absolutely nothing to do with the actual goals of communism – the freedom associated with the goals of communism are directly at odds with the total domination of the individual by the state as seen in the Communist states. Much like North Korea is a Republic.

Sorry if I was unclear! As I said elsewhere, it’s a bit of a mess here right now. I was more talking about the line they talked instead of the way they were actually behaving, the theory of their state communism and not the practice.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

Since you weren’t addressing anything I said earlier, I don’t really see that there’s a difference here.

Hah hah! When you start to ascribe to me opinions on capitalism that I have never expressed and do not believe at all, it’s pretty clear who is not doing any reading here. What you provided to me were three links regarding two non-state-level examples. If you don’t know the difference between a state and a non-state that is not my problem, but I’ll explain it anyway: a state has sovereignty. Your examples are of a town and a region, which are not sovereign and which have to answer to a higher authority.

So you see, I did address what you said, and in return you invented stories in your head about my relationship with capitalism. And this is why I’m not going to even bother with your last comment to me. I can’t have a conversation with someone as hostile as you are being, and for no reason I can tell. I’m not going to try.

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
4 years ago

@Dalillama

So I probably shouldn’t divulge that the previous idiot is still being an idiot, but now he’s blaming women for being single mothers and not getting jobs that pay them enough to be able to afford not having a problem with paying sales tax on tampons and pads.

Sorry. 😛

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