just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by Wolter » 28 Oct 2008, 1:14pm

Ultimately, my current life pursues your "optimal compromise," Hooks. But for the future, I would prefer more reasoned balances of liberty and society. One day, it may come. Or it may not. It won't in my lifetime either way.

It probably seems like I'm harder on Social Dems because they get much less critiquing from the left, and therefore it's probably coming off as more nitpicky than the much more easily and commonly critiqued fascistic and totalitarian states.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 1:20pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Okay, thanks for the clarification. It just seemed like you and Gene were harder (irrationally so at times) on social democratic governments than other forms. That said, I agree with the basic critique. But it's one thing to say, in theory, here are the problems, but given that we don't live in theory (unless we're all part of a Twilight Zone dream) I see value in immediately pursuing the optimal compromise.
There's the problem, though. If you restrict yourself from the possibility of something better, and instead aim low for what's easier to accomplish, aren't you closing off the possibilities for genuine social improvement?

Also, there are problems in reality. These welfare state countries are plugged into a globally exploitative system. I don't think the Scandinavian elite is any less apt to engage in dastardly deeds. Besides all that, laborers are still alienated from the product of their labor. They're being exploited. Sure, they're better fed, but they're still livestock. In addition, there's always an internal pressure to roll back reforms.
Depends on what kinds of liberties are being restricted and where your breaking point re. control lies.
When it comes to free association, land, etc, socdem nations are just as restrictive and coercive as capitalist nations. Hell, right-libertarians think they are even more so.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by Dr. Medulla » 28 Oct 2008, 1:31pm

eumaas wrote:
Dr. Medulla wrote:Okay, thanks for the clarification. It just seemed like you and Gene were harder (irrationally so at times) on social democratic governments than other forms. That said, I agree with the basic critique. But it's one thing to say, in theory, here are the problems, but given that we don't live in theory (unless we're all part of a Twilight Zone dream) I see value in immediately pursuing the optimal compromise.
There's the problem, though. If you restrict yourself from the possibility of something better, and instead aim low for what's easier to accomplish, aren't you closing off the possibilities for genuine social improvement?
Why does it have to be that a socdem state is regarded as the final stage? I'm suggesting that it doesn't have to/shouldn't be an all-or-nothing proposition, condemning social democracy with all other statist systems simply because it still contains coercion. You say aim low, and I might say you can't climb a ladder without going rung by rung. Even if you don't get to the top, it's better to be higher up the ladder than standing in the shit at the bottom.
Also, there are problems in reality. These welfare state countries are plugged into a globally exploitative system. I don't think the Scandinavian elite is any less apt to engage in dastardly deeds. Besides all that, laborers are still alienated from the product of their labor. They're being exploited. Sure, they're better fed, but they're still livestock. In addition, there's always an internal pressure to roll back reforms.
I wouldn't deny any of this—I'm certainly not idealizing them. But, again, I see an all-or-nothing attitude is more likely to leave the masses with nothing than with all.
When it comes to free association, land, etc, socdem nations are just as restrictive and coercive as capitalist nations. Hell, right-libertarians think they are even more so.
Fair enough, tho I do see a distinction in gradations of restrictions. Additionally, I regard life as a series of trade-offs anyway, and if my floor is raised sufficiently, I'm less concerned about having my ceiling also come down some. The idea of a "ceilingless" society is a myth anyway, so I don't worry too much about certain compromises there.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 1:42pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:Why does it have to be that a socdem state is regarded as the final stage? I'm suggesting that it doesn't have to/shouldn't be an all-or-nothing proposition, condemning social democracy with all other statist systems simply because it still contains coercion. You say aim low, and I might say you can't climb a ladder without going rung by rung. Even if you don't get to the top, it's better to be higher up the ladder than standing in the shit at the bottom.

I wouldn't deny any of this—I'm certainly not idealizing them. But, again, I see an all-or-nothing attitude is more likely to leave the masses with nothing than with all.
I misread you. I thought you were suggesting that since it's within closer reach, it's better to settle for that alone.

At the same time it does become all-or-nothing in the final analysis since, well, social-democratic states are states and anarchists want to smash states.
Fair enough, tho I do see a distinction in gradations of restrictions. Additionally, I regard life as a series of trade-offs anyway, and if my floor is raised sufficiently, I'm less concerned about having my ceiling also come down some. The idea of a "ceilingless" society is a myth anyway, so I don't worry too much about certain compromises there.
I suppose it's a question as to how much you weigh principles and ethics in your political philosophy.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by Dr. Medulla » 28 Oct 2008, 1:54pm

eumaas wrote:At the same time it does become all-or-nothing in the final analysis since, well, social-democratic states are states and anarchists want to smash states.
True. Wouldn't that mean, then, that you'd prefer to live in an absolutely wretched state of gross inequalities and physical suffering because it would make an anarchist alternative all the more palatable? Is the danger, from an anarchist position, that a social democracy or even more socialist state becomes too satisfying for basic human needs?
Fair enough, tho I do see a distinction in gradations of restrictions. Additionally, I regard life as a series of trade-offs anyway, and if my floor is raised sufficiently, I'm less concerned about having my ceiling also come down some. The idea of a "ceilingless" society is a myth anyway, so I don't worry too much about certain compromises there.
I suppose it's a question as to how much you weigh principles and ethics in your political philosophy.
We all compromise in our lives. Few things are all-or-nothing propositions. But if the deal being proposed, hypothetically, is that the vast majority of children yet to be born can be assured high quality health care, clean air and water, a decent education, and a reasonable living and social mobility in exchange for some theoretical opportunities being limited*, yeah, I take that every time and twice on Sundays. Let my future critics curse me from relative comfort.

* Of course, I obviously would want to know the actual parameters of what is being restricted.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 2:13pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:True. Wouldn't that mean, then, that you'd prefer to live in an absolutely wretched state of gross inequalities and physical suffering because it would make an anarchist alternative all the more palatable? Is the danger, from an anarchist position, that a social democracy or even more socialist state becomes too satisfying for basic human needs?

We all compromise in our lives. Few things are all-or-nothing propositions. But if the deal being proposed, hypothetically, is that the vast majority of children yet to be born can be assured high quality health care, clean air and water, a decent education, and a reasonable living and social mobility in exchange for some theoretical opportunities being limited*, yeah, I take that every time and twice on Sundays. Let my future critics curse me from relative comfort.

* Of course, I obviously would want to know the actual parameters of what is being restricted.
This is a scattered response, sorry. I'm very drowsy.

Well, anarchists helped win a lot of these reforms by keeping to principles. Sometimes if you immediately compromise instead of holding out, you lose bargaining power with the elite. Those are all nice things you mention, and I agree that they are human rights insofar as I agree with "rights" at all, but I question their long term viability. I also think they can conflict with liberty and freedom of thought & expression. It's invasive. The state will seek to normalize us all. There are totalitarian implications there.

As far as worrying about a socdem state succeeding and thereby ruining the chances for anarchy, it's not an issue for me because I don't think it can satisfy those things. As human beings we need more than just comfort.

I also don't think public education and state welfare are culturally healthy in the long run. Both are geared towards making people into passive acceptors, not active individuals. It's better for business that way and don't forget that business is running the ship there too.

Due to internal contradictions, I think there will either be a tendency to reverse towards capitalism (for greater economic growth and efficiency) or towards greater statism (i.e. more intrusion into personal lives, more ideological hegemony).
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by Wolter » 28 Oct 2008, 2:20pm

eumaas wrote:Due to internal contradictions, I think there will either be a tendency to reverse towards capitalism (for greater economic growth and efficiency) or towards greater statism (i.e. more intrusion into personal lives, more ideological hegemony).
Although I agree with you for the most part, I do think that Social Democracy (to use a term from game theory) is a remarkably stable strategy (i.e., the balance of capitalism v. statism is enough to keep it running smoothly for long periods with only cosmetic changes). But any crisis that knocks that equilibrium out of whack will send them down one of those primrose paths.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 2:26pm

Wolter wrote:
eumaas wrote:Due to internal contradictions, I think there will either be a tendency to reverse towards capitalism (for greater economic growth and efficiency) or towards greater statism (i.e. more intrusion into personal lives, more ideological hegemony).
Although I agree with you for the most part, I do think that Social Democracy (to use a term from game theory) is a remarkably stable strategy (i.e., the balance of capitalism v. statism is enough to keep it running smoothly for long periods with only cosmetic changes). But any crisis that knocks that equilibrium out of whack will send them down one of those primrose paths.
Sure. I think it's more sensible to treat your livestock well. But I still think an outbreak of mad cow's would send the whole thing spiraling out.

By the way, Hooky: what data? Who measured it and how? I would question how it was framed. Especially considering the unrest over there about immigrants and the like. I would also question if it's applicable to societies like the United States that possess different cultural values.

I guess I see social-democracy as a bandaid at best, and a mind-numbing opiate at worst.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by Dr. Medulla » 28 Oct 2008, 2:47pm

eumaas wrote:By the way, Hooky: what data? Who measured it and how? I would question how it was framed. Especially considering the unrest over there about immigrants and the like. I would also question if it's applicable to societies like the United States that possess different cultural values.
All good points, especially re. immigrants. But as I said, I don't regard either the Scandis as utopias or socdem as an ideal. Just better than most of what we have as reachable options. As for data, my recollection is that it dealt with life spans, health, education levels, social mobility, income gaps, and self-identifying levels of happiness and hopefulness. Notably, the degree of religion was much lower (practically non-existent) in those nations with smaller gaps between haves and have-nots. Whether that's statistically significant, I don't know, but it raised my eyebrow.
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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 2:49pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
eumaas wrote:By the way, Hooky: what data? Who measured it and how? I would question how it was framed. Especially considering the unrest over there about immigrants and the like. I would also question if it's applicable to societies like the United States that possess different cultural values.
All good points, especially re. immigrants. But as I said, I don't regard either the Scandis as utopias or socdem as an ideal. Just better than most of what we have as reachable options. As for data, my recollection is that it dealt with life spans, health, education levels, social mobility, income gaps, and self-identifying levels of happiness and hopefulness. Notably, the degree of religion was much lower (practically non-existent) in those nations with smaller gaps between haves and have-nots. Whether that's statistically significant, I don't know, but it raised my eyebrow.
"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions."
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"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 2:50pm

I also have some practical criticisms of social-democracy that stem from economics, but such a discussion would require a lot of jargon and might be impenetrable. If anybody wants, I can go into it, but it's pretty similar to the Austrian view.
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 28 Oct 2008, 4:55pm

"An economy organized on the basis of worker-owned and operated industries, peoples’ banks, mutuals, consumer cooperatives, anarcho-syndicalist labor unions, individual and family enterprises, small farms and crafts workers associations engaged in local production for local use, voluntary charitable institutions, land trusts, or voluntary collectives, communes and kibbutzim may seem farfetched to some, but no more so and probably less so than a modern industrial, high-tech economy where the merchant class is the ruling class and the working class is a frequently affluent middle class would have seemed to residents of the feudal societies of pre-modern times. If the expansion of the market economy, specialization, the division of labor, industrialization and technological advancements can bring about the achievements of modern societies in eradicating disease, starvation, infant mortality and early death, one can only wonder what a genuine free enterprise system might achieve, and would have already achieved were it not for the scourge of statism and the corresponding plutocracy."
- Keith Preston
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 29 Oct 2008, 2:41pm

Fairly intense discussion of abstentionism here:
http://www.anarchism.net/forum/index.php?id=33154
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 29 Oct 2008, 4:29pm

"Still, at the end of the day, what’s wrong with a coercive monopoly is not that the wrong people are running it, but rather that – leaving aside its inherent injustice – such a monopoly brings with it incentival and informational perversities which there is no way to avoid (except by removing the source of the problem, the monopoly, in which case what you have is no longer a state)."
- Roderick T. Long
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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Re: just posted this over at snews--as close to a manifesto

Post by eumaas » 29 Oct 2008, 7:58pm

Another one from Roderick T. Long:
"If the government is breaking legs and then handing out crutches (a pretty good description of the welfare system), we should focus more effort on stopping the leg-breaking rather than on stopping the crutch distribution."
"The only thing that really occurs to me that I can say on this is to point out how fascinating it is that the Hassan-i-Sabbah archetype keeps turning up over and over again ... He disappears up into the mountains and is never seen again. Believe me, he'll never be seen again. He'll live forever because of that."

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