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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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(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

there’s a strong trend of nationalism within the fanbases of strategy games (…) Perhaps that’s what games like that are training up?

Jesus. I mean, makes sense, I guess, but JESUS.

I don’t know whether you’re in a city or how good the libraries are in Brazil, but libraries can be a good resource for finding such books.

I live in the biggest city here ^^ I will try, but being it an international non-mainstream book, I don’t find it too likely. Unless it’s more famous than I’m thinking it is.

The Paradox series try to be as accurate as possible to history

Sounds. Awesome. Difficult, but awesome.

When I was a teenager during the second Iraq war, I had an army recruiter call and try to convince me that war was like playing Call of Duty. I was too confused and offended to respond, and just hung up.

I… I have no words to describe how I feel about SOME ONE HAVING THE GUTS TO CALL A TEEN AND SAY THIS. I think that if someone did this to my (future, hypothetical) teenage kid I’d want to pack up and go straight to the damn white house and not leaving until I am able to scream at the president and finding out what brand of shit does our honorable Mr President eat for breakfast to think paying people to convince teens wars are like elaborate COD larps is what we freaking expect from our elected head of state.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

.hack is a series of metagames, in which you are playing a character who is playing a MMORPG. One of the mechanics is that you make friends, and if your friends are online you can ask them to join you to grind in a dungeon.

The thing is that your friends are people in this fictional MMORPG, but they are NPCs in .hack, but the first time I played it I felt guilty if I called them to my party and then immediately dismissed them or quit the game. I treated them like people, in other words, because I got too immersed. It took me to the middle of my second playthrough before I realized that I was being dumb by being courteous to video game characters.

@EJ

I’m going to disagree with PoM here, which is something that I very rarely do.

Legit. I respect someone for trying to jump straight into the Communist Manifesto, though. That’s 300-level material.

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
4 years ago

@(((Chiomara))):

I come to the absurd of feeling a bit bad for the killed henchmen of the bad guy in action movies. I’m like “n-no, John McCain, don’t kill him, just make him unconscious! Maybe he just had a debt to pay!”. It’s honestly a bit over the top. I wonder how would I be at a war, or as a cop. I’d be dead in 2 days.

I’m the same way…a big old bleeding-heart softy. But you know what they say: “Better a bleeding heart than none at all”. Though I did once stab a country in the back when playing Civ and felt majorly dirty afterwards.

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

Legit. I respect someone for trying to jump straight into the Communist Manifesto, though. That’s 300-level material

It’s not courage, it’s another case of “just google it”. I was having a discussion (actually it happened more than once) and I said I think social equality is great, but I think that we can’t really employ it as a society yet. A small degree of capitalism is still necessary, because meritcracy keeps the population happy and motivated and the country economically wealthy, as long as the government makes sure the competition is fair and even the losers have the basic for a decent life. That CAN be and probably IS wrong because I don’t have a lot of basis, as I admitted to them. And they said that no, it is possible, I will understand when I’m older (they were my age. *eyeroll*). I said “alright, fair enough, I actually hope i’m wrong. Where do I begin?” and they always answered “google it” or “just read the manifesto, obviously”, “it’s a matter of maturity”, or just ignored me.
They were some… precious people. After repeatedly trying to read for over a year, I am pretty convinced they read it, pretended to get it, and are just as lost as me in life, cause it’s simply not possible to be this knowleadgeable at your late teens/early 20s without a college education.

Podkayne Lives
Podkayne Lives
4 years ago

For you to have an idea, I come to the absurd of feeling a bit bad for the killed henchmen of the bad guy in action movies. I’m like “n-no, John McCain, don’t kill him, just make him unconscious! Maybe he just had a debt to pay!”.

There’s a Martin Cruz Smith novel, set on a Soviet fishing vessel, where one of the characters is described as a very tender-hearted person, who cries during war movies when the Germans get shot.

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Social Justice Necromancer
4 years ago

@Podkayne Lives: Heh…I guess (((Chiomara))) and I are both living proof that life imitates art.

As an off-topic that Drive-By Linker’s name reminded me of: Any Ingress players here?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ chiomara

Don’t worry, you’re not the only person to find Marxism confusing.

http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-all-i-know-is-i-m-not-a-marxist-karl-marx-53-66-61.jpg

I see Marxism as a failed beta test of Asimov’s Psychohistory. People just aren’t that predictable to stimuli. ‘Right idea, wrong species’ as they say. You ever read ‘1984’? There’s a nice subtle commentary about the manifesto in the discussion about the Brotherhood’s book.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

@(((Chiomara)))

FWIW, I think the problem with communism is actually authoritarianism. It doesn’t seem to be possible to implement communism without authoritarianism, but the actual dysfunction is the authoritarianism rather than the communism itself. If you think about it, lots of small social structures (like the family unit for instance) operate on modified communist principles, but implementing it on a large scale doesn’t seem be possible without force. Once an authoritarian power is in operation, that takes over and the communism per se becomes a sideshow.

If someone ever manages to figure out how to implement communism without authoritarianism, it might be workable, but until that breakthrough is made it isn’t a useful model of the world IMHO.

After repeatedly trying to read for over a year, I am pretty convinced they read it, pretended to get it, and are just as lost as me in life, cause it’s simply not possible to be this knowleadgeable at your late teens/early 20s without a college education.

That’s true for a lot of older people, too, and frankly a non-trivial number of Marxists.

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

There’s a Martin Cruz Smith novel, set on a Soviet fishing vessel, where one of the characters is described as a very tender-hearted person, who cries during war movies when the Germans get shot.

But OF COURSE! No, seriously, though, I see the point. The huge majority of them probably wasn’t worse than people usually are, they were just brainwashed since birth or worse, they were thorn from their families and forced to be soldiers. See what a hell my head is? On the other side, though, harm innocent people out of sheer cruelty and try to get some sympathy from me. Not happening.

‘Right idea, wrong species’ as they say

Yes, perfect.

You ever read ‘1984’? There’s a nice subtle commentary about the manifesto in the discussion about the Brotherhood’s book

I did, a few years ago. Considering my experience with “books I read a few years ago”, though, I probably missed most of it. I understood that part, though ^^

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

#Strategy Gaming and @Chio,
Civ is a lovely game. Even after all these years since it was released, it’s still one of the top-played games on Steam. Part of its magic is that it’s very accessible and focuses on the story part of history. All the highlights are there – danes have vikings and love raiding the coasts; romans build big cities and can spread on the back of military conquest – but the actual procession of events is your story. The rules are simple enough that Civ V is basically a board game, and it’s complex enough that you still feel sort of like you’re managing a civilization instead of just pushing tokens around on a map. I love Civ, it’s amazing fun.

(It’s unfortunately also sort of geared towards conflict, though Chio I really suggest you grab the expansions when you can – they make cultural victories and science victories so much more complex and entertaining! I’ve had plenty of games without war, but which were still exciting and tense)

But then there’s the Paradox games… it’s unfair to compare Civ to them, really. Civ is a casual strategy game which can be taken seriously; they’re love poems to history. The Paradox games are the Epics.

EU4 is probably the most straightforward and “classic” strategy title, focusing on the renaissance and age of exploration. You manage economy, technological ideas, cultural growth, expansion, etc. All the same *things* as Civ. But where Civ handles the economy as basically just a gold balance in the bank, EU4 actually simulates an economy, with all of the actors in it.Tech in Civ is in a tree, tech in EU4 is in the form of cultural ideas that grow and shift over time, influencing your culture as they change. Hundreds of individual simulated states struggle to complete their own goals, compared with Civ’s dozen or so.

And then there’s CK2… sigh <3. CK2 basically abandons the concept of the nation entirely. It's about dynasties and the people in them. It's basically Medieval Soap Opera Simulator 2012. I have dozens of stories of the ridiculous things that have happened to me in CK2 games. Like, my son and heir, skilled and proud, demanding a county of his own in the kingdom, in the middle of a defensive war against the Umayyads. I gave him the country to keep him happy, at which point he assassinates his half-brother, who was one of my battlefield commanders! CK2 is driven almost entirely by the personal desires of the rulers of the kingdoms, making it very much dependent on intrigue and getting to know your neighbours, and their neighbours. Big kingdom beside you, worried they want your stuff? Send a diplomat over to play nice-nice – and to quietly encourage their vassals to start making demands! If that doesn’t work, an assassin could trigger a succession crisis! Or create an arranged marriage with their neighbour to get yourself an ally! The game encourages wonderfully lateral thinking.

But, well, Paradox games is complicated! Or, well, there’s a bit to learn before you can jump in. CK2 encourages you to do a first playthrough on Tutorial Island, aka Ireland. It’s peaceful and relatively isolated, so you can learn in peace. Not sure about EU4 for that, though.

I’m totally in for a succession game. If it’s EU4, I vote for a European power of some sort, just to make it easier for me! I’ve always liked the Hansea, or England, or some sort of naval power. France would be a good one too, I’m sure. If it’s CK2, Poland is strong, as are the franks. That’d depend on the starting date, and which mods we are using!

We could do a Civ succession game as well, too! I’m happy to play any nation in that.

#”Just Google It”
Aaahmigah Chio that sounded like it was an infuriating experience. I hate it when people are all “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll agree with me when you’re more mature, you’re just too naive” as if they’re being polite. And especially when they respond to a request for clarification with “Just google it / just read it.” There’s never been a more clear indicator of directed reasoning than that. Makes me twitchy, it does.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
4 years ago

If someone ever manages to figure out how to implement communism without authoritarianism, it might be workable, but until that breakthrough is made it isn’t a useful model of the world IMHO.

The big issue when you look at Russia/USSR and other claims to socialist/Marxist societies is a failure to properly analyse the culture their revolution is trying to destroy and replace. The revolutionaries in Russia criticised the Tsar’s authoritarianism, the secret police, the institution of serfdom, the power of the church, the oppression of the poor, the privilege and extravagance of the aristocracy and a dozen other features of the society.

Revolution! Overthrow the old order! And in 10 years they’d reinstituted exactly the same faults in a replica society with different names and titles for the exact same roles. Party for church. Secret police with other-named secret police. Privilege for senior party members instead of hereditary aristocrats. Authoritarianism on steroids. And still the poor starved and lived short back-breaking lives.

If you don’t have deep cultural awareness and analysis, you can’t produce adequate processes and structures to back up your revolutionary overturning of institutions and public authority. You’ll finish up with familiar habits and long-standing, unquestioned ideas and practices pretty well indistinguishable from the previous lot.

Ouroboros13
4 years ago

@Amused

You are from Eastern Europe and you don’t know how this works? Okay, here is the rule. If you look Jewish, you are Jewish. You say you aren’t, but that’s exactly what a Jew WOULD say, isn’t it? And when you go to the beach, it’s all part of your nefarious Hebrew agenda to something something unleash plagues on the world. It’s all there in the Protocols.

Maybe there is a one drop rule? Either way, my Zionist overlords haven’t given me any briefings. I must be a very bad Jew.

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

I think the problem with communism is actually authoritarianism

Oooh, yes, definitely that too, I think authoritarianism is unnacceptable and, frankly, how long would it take for na authoritarian leader to want advantages and crumble the very concept of communism?
But even other than that, a society like that would take really long to develop anything. Most people don’t work just for the good of humanity, they work mostly for their personal gains. If there’s no salary or position increasement to strive for, most people won’t even try, right? For example, I want to study hard to be a doctor because I like to help people, because I am good at it, and so my family has a better life, but if it didn’t make a difference in my income i’d definitely do something easier. I’d love to be different but, who are we lying to?

@Scildfreja
All of them sound SO AWESOME and different I don’t even know where to begin!!! I’ll inform you when I begin playing.

Aaahmigah

What? Did you just say the brazilian equivalent of “Guuuuuurl” or “frieeeeend”? Was that on purpose? Cause aaaaaaamiga, that was awesome :3
And yes, yes, they were very annoying and authoritarian with their ideas. I eliminated these toxic internet “””activists””” from my life. I am sure they have their reasons and I may be speaking froma place of priviledge but… I don’t think that’s how you should do stuff. You guys treat trolls much better than they treated new feminists.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Most people don’t work just for the good of humanity, they work mostly for their personal gains. If there’s no salary or position increasement to strive for, most people won’t even try, right?

I don’t know if that’s true! We really don’t have much data on that. The only time I ever hear that argument brought up is when someone’s arguing against socialism in general, so I think the whole “personal gain is the only motivator!” is just a rationalization from people who have been indoctrinated into the “Capitalism is best!” mindset. I know that if I were able to do what I wanted, I’d still be doing what I do now – with fewer distractions, too!

Also, that’s super awesome that you’re studying to be a doctor. I hope that you do well!

What? Did you just say the brazilian equivalent of “Guuuuuurl” or “frieeeeend”? Was that on purpose? Cause aaaaaaamiga, that was awesome :3

hee hee! I didn’t realize it could be read as “amiga” too until after I wrote it! It’s sort of a drawn-out “Oh my god” . But I like yours better :3

Don’t feel bad about separating them from your life! You don’t need that sort of nastiness around you. If they don’t respect you enough to think that you’ve considered your opinions, you don’t need’em around!

Paul Beaulieu
Paul Beaulieu
4 years ago

Ancient Rome became great because of the vigor and austerity of its people. Once Romans lost their founding virtue, the Empire collapsed.

That old chestnut. The Roman republic fell in 27 BC, and with it went most of old “republican virtues”. The Roman Empire went on for some time afterwards. What of the virtues and austerity of the early Roman Empire, then? These were virtues exemplified by such paragons as Caligula (AD 12-41) and Nero (54-68).

One could say they exemplified pagan virtues if one was into stereotypes of paganism as essentially debauched, but it is true that the apex of the Roman Empire corresponded with its paganism. The decline and fall of Rome happened after its conversion to Christianity, under Constantine, in the early 300’s. Is imperial greatness incompatible with Christianity?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ scildfreja

“personal gain is the only motivator!”

This is a hugely complex topic so I’ll just throw into the mix that we do have pretty good data on organised crime; and that shows that nearly everyone engaged in organised crime earns less than the minimum wage.

It’s still a popular choice though.

(In the UK and US at any rate)

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

I don’t know if that’s true! We really don’t have much data on that. The only time I ever hear that argument brought up is when someone’s arguing against socialism in general, so I think the whole “personal gain is the only motivator!” is just a rationalization from people who have been indoctrinated into the “Capitalism is best!” mindset.

Amiiiga, if it wasn’t for money, I’d work on entertainment. Movie making or animation,i guess, and then find another way to help people through artistic representation or something . And I imagine a lot of people would do the same, you know, and we’d have a over flux in more artistic professions and lack people in science professions… But you’re right, it may be just projection. I really hope to be wrong, and true equality can exist and people can be truly happy and productive in it. 🙂
And I don’t feel bad, really, I wasnt productive with them and they weren’t with me, so, it’s all good. Hope they reach their objectives.

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

Re: motivators and socialism
Maslow’s hierarchy and opportunity cost? I dunno…

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Maslow’s Hierarchy has been shown to be wrong! Or at least rather incomplete! People seem to pursue goals all along the hierarchy instead of fulfilling basics before pursuing higher ones. The opportunity cost thing is certainly a big one though. Goal-setting is a big ole messy problem based on how we prioritize things, rooted in value judgements and whatnot. Complecated. Humans do not have a uniform or coherent utility function.

(I bet that’s a bit thing for why people move into or stay into organized crime, to tie to Alan’s excellent point!)

I’d do artistic stuff as well, to be honest, amiga. I have all sorts of things I want to make, but can’t because I don’t have time. Isn’t that sort of the point, though? Sure, society would be less productive from a purely economic standpoint, but there would be an explosion of culture and art. I’d be willing to bet that people would be much happier, too, and the decrease in stress and anxiety would probably ease political tensions also. I want post-scarcity economy to get going already!

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

Definitely, and if ALL countries are communist and we have the basic stuff covered, “economic success” wouldn’t even be a thing. But that’s not what I mean. It’s hard to explain, but we will increasingly need stem people (both for progress and for simple mainteanance), and ONE of the reasons to go for stem is money. If money is out of the equation, many people, like me, will go for artistic stuff, which is important too, but there will be na imbalance, understand? We need art, but we also need people drawing cars, fixing airplanes or reasearching a cure for cancer, and if we only rely on personal taste to fill those positions, well, I don’t have data, but my personal experience makes me believe we will have fewer than needed.

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

@Scildfreja
To be fair to Maslow, every idea is incomplete. Kinda the wonder of it all 🙂

I want post-scarcity economy to get going already!

If I may indulge my nonutopian streak, I’m not quite sure that’s possible. Scarcity seems to more go away to somewhere else than go away entirely. Slow, miniscule decreases over time. Does it ever reach zero? Maybe technology does it, but I’m a bit of a cynic on that front. The more we have, the more we know we don’t have. And even if we can solve our scarcity problem, will it be ‘post’? Like permanent? I dunno about that…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ scildfreja

Maslow’s Hierarchy has been shown to be wrong! Or at least rather incomplete!

My unscientific survey would suggest ‘decent wi-fi signal’ needs to be in there somewhere.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

Definitely, and if ALL countries are communist and we have the basic stuff covered, “economic success” wouldn’t even be a thing.

That’s unrelated to communism. What you’re thinking about is a post-scarcity society, like Star Trek where energy is almost free and can be turned into stuff at next to no cost. It’s possible that a post-scarcity world would be highly socialist, like Star Trek. It’s also possible that some other model could emerge. There just isn’t any information on what a post-scarcity society would be like, how it would form, and how people would interact with it, because we’ve never achieved that. Communism, though, is modeled in a world with scarcity, so I don’t think that kind of world would be communist.

However, it’s just untrue that people who don’t need to work will simply not work. People who are born into vast fortunes still need to keep busy. They don’t just lay around eating bonbons all day, because that’s boring. They choose what they want to do, rather than doing stuff for the income. So in a post-scarcity and socialist world, I think it’s safe to say that people would still be productive at something, just not the menial tasks that people do today in order to put food on the table. But if the world were post-scarcity, we wouldn’t need those menial tasks done in the first place, so there would be no pressure to arrange society to force people into those jobs. People would pursue what they wanted to do, rather than what they are compelled to do by economic pressure. That’s kind of the socialist ideal.

EJ (The Other One)
4 years ago

It’s my understanding that we already have post-scarcity in some fields, just from the other side. From the bad side.

For example, one can hire as many unskilled labourers as one wishes. There is a large pool of unemployed people willing to stack shelves or serve coffee, more than any company wants to employ. To all intents and purposes this makes the unskilled labour market a post-scarcity one.

Some skilled fields are heading the same way. One can already hire many humanities graduates the same way; and given the combination of technology and ever-increasing levels of education, it’s not implausible that some fields like law or medicine or software engineering may end up the same way.

Unfortunately, this isn’t what most people mean by post-scarcity. We want our consumer needs to be limitless and too cheap to charge for, not our labour. It’s a worrying development.

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

@EJ
The fastest growing natural resource seems to be humans…

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ EJ

it’s not implausible that some fields like law

Just shy of 1500 people a year pass the bar exams here. About 350 ultimately obtain a place in chambers (other career options are available of course, it’s still a handy qualification). I’m assuming by the 80-100 hour work week that the solicitors profession is similarly competitive.

Our current economic model in the UK requires an unemployment rate of around 5-10%. That’s enough to keep inflation low but still keep the tax in/welfare payments out balance viable.

That’s the theory anyway.

Dalillama
4 years ago

@PoM

FWIW, I think the problem with communism is actually authoritarianism. It doesn’t seem to be possible to implement communism without authoritarianism, but the actual dysfunction is the authoritarianism rather than the communism itself. If you think about it, lots of small social structures (like the family unit for instance) operate on modified communist principles, but implementing it on a large scale doesn’t seem be possible without force. Once an authoritarian power is in operation, that takes over and the communism per se becomes a sideshow.

I’m really tired and my hand hurts like hell, so forgive me for copypasting; I’ll try to adress things point by point later. Also, families are historically speaking commonly run on way authoritarian lines, especially in heavily patriarchal cultures; that’s why Marx, along with many communist theoreticians, calls for the abolishment of the family, although what they want it replaced with varies widely.

Quoted from myself, last time this type of thing came up:
These thinkers support personal rights limited only by mutual coercion mutually agreed upon, and seek an economy where business and industry are owned and controlled by the people who actually make them productive, i.e. the workers. We seek an economic landscape composed of sole-proprietors, partnerships, and worker cooperatives, where each person has a say in their own economic future. We also would like to see civic affairs managed in a consensus-based democratic manner; freedom and self-governance in civic and economic matters is our watchword. (As a note, the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy has been working on putting this into practice for quite a while, and they consistently show the highest wages and standards of living for equivalent administrative areas across Europe. IJS).

specifically, it is anarcho-communism and/or anarcho-syndicalism. I would also like to clarify at this time that a)Marxism is not the be-all end-all of communist thinking, and b) that Stalinism and Maoism bear considerably less resemblance to Marxism than they do to fascism; note the cult of personality around the ‘great leader’ and the extreme nationalism, frex. Also, 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.

TL;DR:
State run economies =/= communism.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

Even though it was a repeat, that was a great comment the first time and worth the copypasta, @Dalillama. I hope your hand feels better soon!

@Axe, You’re right – though your level of rightness varies for some definitions of “scarcity”! I was mentioning it more as a “people should be less required to do jobs they hate just to eat food and not freeze to death” statement really. Post-scarcity economy is more about a mindset in my interpretation – it will happen when we value the time of other people as much as we value our own, I think. But that’s just me being all squishy socialist, I think.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

@Dalillama

Sorry to hear about your hand. Your comment, though, is full of “we would like” and “we seek.” While all of that is true, it doesn’t reflect what actually happens when communists attempt to implement communism. I just can’t ignore the track record in favor of the ideal. I realize that communism hasn’t gotten a fair shake because it’s never been done “correctly,” but my belief is that doing it correctly is impossible. That’s what I said up front: that the problem is not communism per se, but the authoritarianism that is required to implement it. If you can implement communism without authoritarianism, that would be fantastic, but in the real world nobody has accomplished that yet and I don’t personally see a path to doing it.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@PoM, Dalillama, I’ve often considered what ubiquitous high-quality automated manufacturing would do for society and how it could be leveraged into more equitable social arrangements. Once of the paths I could see a proper true-communist society forming is that way. 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. Each city its own city-state, with the capacity to provide ample goods and materials to the people who live there, and each with its own farmland and ‘hinterland’, trading largely for diversity of foodstuffs and foreign-made exotics that couldn’t be made locally for some reason.

It’s certainly a pipe dream as the world is more complicated than that, but I can see that sort of a world opening opportunities for true-communism of the sort Dalillama describes, without the need for coercion. (This of course assumes a base level of socialist tendency in the society, as the same setting could also tend towards despotism or oligarchy, just on a more local scale)

Still, I find it’s a fantasy world I keep coming back to. I don’t really know why, I just find it a neat concept!

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

@Scildfreja

people should be less required to do jobs they hate just to eat food and not freeze to death

I’m a Delbert Downer on these things. I don’t think the majority of people will ever not hafta work to not die. How much work will they hafta do tho? I like that line of thinking better. The weekend exists. The 40hr week exists (theoretically anyway). Child labor laws exist. Social security exists. We’ve done this before. Shouldn’t be too hard to build on that. Also cooperatives. That’s me being all fuzzy socialist 🙂

@Dali

entirely contrary to any kind of communist thinking

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

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ scildfreja

As always you’ve got me a pondering. How would your city state model work in practice?

Imagine that each state has a factory (or more likely an industrial district) that literally makes just about everything. Every make and model of TV, refrigerator and car. 3D printing on an industrial scale. Maybe you just pay for the IP licence to the company that owns the designs.

That’s not completely implausible. Rival car manufacturers already share production facilities. Just look at the Citreon C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Yaris for example (and bonus points for anyone who knows how LEXUS originated)

But where do the raw materials come from? That’s down to where they’re to be found. Very few oil reserves in Manchester. And what about energy? It’s not just about production, distribution and load spread are often underlooked factors. That actually militates against localism. There are sound technical reasons the UK and France have linked their national grids.

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.

Interesting idea though and I do think as technology improves you’ll see a lot of stuff just manufactured in the home. Browse for the latest trainers then buy the license and download to print them on your own 3D printer. Or get your robot to knit them for you.

Some ideas to consider for sure.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago

@Axe, you’re right, we’re on the same page here. You’re describing the trend line whereas I’m describing the asymptote, that’s all. Let our functions be exponential towards that golden line.

@Alan, you’re also right! The idea as I described it really wouldn’t work today as-described. We just aren’t there with automation yet. However, having that sort of ubiquitous automation implies a certain level of sophistication, suggesting things like

– bioplastics or (ideally) lithoplastics, to convert ubiquitous materials into useful stuffs. Not perfect (especially in the bioplastics area) but if I can fill a tank with sewage and add a bacteria that eats organics and poops out some sorta useful bio-polymer…

– shifting away from metals towards high-tensile/thermal plastics for many jobs

– carbon batteries

etc, etc. You’re totally right in that the idea doesn’t work with our current fossil-fuel infrastructure that’s dependent on poorly distributed, relatively rare materials like copper, iron, nickel, cadmium, etc.It really only works if your ubiquitous automated manufacturing takes local materials as input, too.

So, yes! Sort of science fiction. But it’s not that far from what we’ve got right now

(I may or may not be working on a video game that uses this concept right now)

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

@Scildfreja

You’re describing the trend line whereas I’m describing the asymptote, that’s all. Let our functions be exponential towards that golden line

comment image
Bah-lah-lah-lah

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ scildfreja

So, yes! Sort of science fiction. But it’s not that far from what we’ve got right now

I’ve mentioned before the wonderful NASA briefing document for Apollo that’s full of references like:

“To be made of a material (that will need to be invented)…”

(There was also a brilliantly optimistic engineering project in Scandinavia where they built a bridge starting at each end on the assumption that they’d have figured out a way of joining it up by the time they got to the middle.)

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

@Dalillama

A state actor is always fundamentally different from a non-state actor. A communist commune within the US can’t become totalitarian. At worst, a commune (of any kind) becomes a cult of personality and it can become very bad, but the state is always there to step in if it finds out. And it will step in if it finds out. That constant threat of intervention has effects. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t.

Maybe I should have been more clear: I am referring to communism on a state level. Comparing regional communism to state communism is apples to oranges. And, as I said at the beginning, there are smaller examples where everyone buys in where communism can work, but its track record on the state level is not good. I can’t ignore that.

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

However, it’s just untrue that people who don’t need to work will simply not work. People who are born into vast fortunes still need to keep busy. They don’t just lay around eating bonbons all day, because that’s boring. They choose what they want to do, rather than doing stuff for the income. So in a post-scarcity and socialist world, I think it’s safe to say that people would still be productive at something, just not the menial tasks that people do today in order to put food on the table. But if the world were post-scarcity, we wouldn’t need those menial tasks done in the first place, so there would be no pressure to arrange society to force people into those jobs.

Maybe I didn’t make myself understood, or maybe I am the one who is not comprehending. 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. So you are TRULY free to pursue whatever career you really want, IF you want any, and rest assured your family will have everything that is necessary, as well as the same opportunities as Trump’s family. But certain professions that have higher need than people passionated about them, have an additional plus, which is a high salary that will let you buy luxury goods, giving you another reason to pursue them. This is the society I personally find possible and even very close to reality in certain countries.

But what I don’t find possible or fair, is a society where everyone, independent from profession, has the same exact income, because in that society, we will lack people in certain professions.

Let me try to explain in a metaphor: imagine economic success is a race. Your ability to run is directly related to how much you like running independent from prize (aka working at rentable professions for just passion) and to how much you want or need the prize (economic success).

In the world as it is nowadays, the run already begins rigged. Trump’s son begins waaaay ahead of me and I have to jump through a lot of obstacles he won’t have. And as it is nowadays, the “winners” get ridiculously rich, the losers get homeless and go through hunger. I want my children to start off better than me and never worry about the basic stuff iIhave to worry about, so I have to run much faster than I actually like and want to.
In the world I think is fair, wonderful and possible, me and Trumpy begin side by side, equal education makes the run very fair. The winners don’t get so stupidly rich, but the losers don’t get homeless and hungry. So, hey, I’ll definitely run, because having shiny things is nice and running feels good, but I won’t have to run until my lungs explode and my feet are bleeding. But who really wants to be rich has incentive to run harder, which is great, you go, buddy! And if, for example, we have fewer doctors than needed, you just make the prize higher so people feel more motivated!-This situation is what I understand as a social democracy, it’s what I understand certain first world countries are trying to do.

In the society I’m saying is not possible or desirable or productive, the race begins equal and ends equal. There are no losers, there are no winners, there is no prize. You can stay still, run backwards, run really fast, there’s no difference. BUT humanity needs a certain number of people who, for whatever reason, runs really fast, and I feel that with no prize, very few people will feel like running, because very few people really like running. Some people argue that this is the only way the run could be fair and enough people will want to run really hard, to which I say… Okay. I disagree, but ok! – This last situation is what I understand as full blown Communism.

Am I making any sense? You may notice my lack of technical words, that’s because I have none. This is just based on my personal beliefs, and it’s 90% possible I’m speaking a loooooad of bs. And some people argue that if I just comprehend the last situation better I’d agree with it, which is why, among other reasons, I want to learn. So I at least know what kind of society I vote and strive for ^^

(((Chiomara)))
(((Chiomara)))
4 years ago

Wow, starting at Dalli’s comment, I am understanding like… 2% of what you all are saying. But uh, you go, I’ll just take a sit and watch. :p
You are so smart :3 I hope we can talk in degree of equality someday.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Dalillama
I’m sorry to hear about your hand! You might want to discuss the following another time.

I don’t know a lot about economics, but like many people I know more now than I did in 2008 (shudder).

Are you familiar with Richard Wolff? I hear him sometimes on my community-supported radio station on the Pacifica network. What do you think of him?

He’s all about cooperatives, and talks about a large, well-established one in Spain a lot. According to Wolff, cooperatives are “democracy in the workplace.” I’ve loved cooperatives for forever, not to mention fair trade. What do you think? (Oops I just refreshed my memory — you’ve got a link about co-ops!) I’d still like to know your opinion.

Anybody else have opinions on this?

http://www.truth-out.org/author/itemlist/user/44661

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Dalillama
Sorry, I can see that you’re all about the cooperatives. (Doh!)

My takeaway: Read before commenting.

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

@Kat
Wolff fan here. His intro to Marxism video series and Orwell’s Animal Farm a few years earlier made me the degenerate ‘leftist’ I am today!

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Axe
Congratulations!

Dalillama
4 years ago

@Kat
Yup, the Mongragon co-ops. I prefer to use the Italian ones as examples for a few reasons. I’m not familiar with Wolff, but eill look into him. Does he write at all?

Steampunked
Steampunked
4 years ago

My experience with Maslow’s hierarchy – apart from it missing some areas – is that if someone has suffered a serious disruption to safety or love, physiology begins to collapse even if all the building blocks for it are there. Your health dives.

And sometimes people can end up with self-actualization while undergoing physical collapse, because nothing really says that any state exists for any length of time.

And, fuck it, ‘sex’ is always listed at the base, but asexuals are going to find that they are unhappy if people are always nagging them about it.

I just have so many issues with it.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@Dalillama
Here he is:

http://www.rdwolff.com/media

I like him because his discussions are very down to earth and clear.

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
4 years ago

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. We’re buying a lot of the same essentials and paying the sales tax on those, but for some reason he doesn’t get why it’s an issue to be paying tax on an ESSENTIAL for all women of menstruating age and not yet in menopause that men do not have to buy.

At this point there should just be a bunch of menstruating women showing up at his house to bleed on his furniture and whatnot. Yes, I am beyond frustrated.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@dalillama

Here’s Richard Wolff being interviewed by Bill Maher. It’s only 8 minutes long. Of particular note is his discussion about how capitalists chase profit across the globe. They have no loyalty to the country that they live in. So now that travel and telecommunications have gotten much easier, they’re picking up their industries and taking them to poor countries, leaving devastated workers, families, communities, and economies behind them.

It’s enough to make a revolutionary out of my late Republican mother.

Kat
Kat
4 years ago

@msexceptiontotherule

We’re buying a lot of the same essentials and paying the sales tax on those, but for some reason he doesn’t get why it’s an issue to be paying tax on an ESSENTIAL for all women of menstruating age and not yet in menopause that men do not have to buy.

He gets it. He’s just flirting with you.

Nothing attracts a woman as much as a guy acting stupid or stonewalling her or gaslighting her.

Or at least that seems to be the theory.