I enjoy Charles meandering thoughts but it always amazes me how he continually defends and endorses a political philosophy that has caused more suffering and deaths than any other in the history of the world. Anywhere Marxists have taken control the inevitable result is starvation, brutal dictatorships, genocide and on and on. Capitalism has its flaws for sure but it has done more to alleviate suffering and lift people out of poverty than any other economic system and yet time and time again we hear of its faults along with the promise this time marxists will get it right. We just haven't gone far enough. No thanks. I, for one, am quite glad that marxism is thoroughly rejected in this country.
The book they draw that 100 million number from includes Nazis killed by Soviets during ww2 and babies not born due to declining birth rates in nations that were rapidly industrializing as part of the count, eh?
There's always a bit of a bait-and-switch going on with Marxist scholarship, with the bait being Marx's still all-too-relevant descriptions of the nature of labor exploitation, and the switch being his prognostications about the inevitability, and desirability, of a world organized according to his own utopian ideals. On that front, his dead-certain predictions about the course of history turn about to be about as accurate as any 19th Century predictions about the future. Which is to say, not very.
Anyone defending Marxism as a political program in the present day should probably have some kind of response for criticisms like that offered by @1, namely how do you explain that every time somebody tries to top-to-bottom reorganize a society according to these principles, it ends up being horrible? Fair or not, those criticisms are bound to come up.
@2: “… book they draw that 100 million number…”
@1 mentions nether a book nor a number. In “Europe: A History,” Dr. Norman Davies, of the University of London, attempts to quantify how many humans were killed by totalitarian regimes in 20th Century Europe. While the destruction caused by their warfare makes exact figures impossible (he notes their internal hatreds killed more persons then did even the largest war in history) he eventually concludes Stalin’s body count was even larger than Hitler’s.
Quibbling over the murder figures is rather less important than noting, as @1 did, that disaster inevitably follows the establishment of a Marxist regime. As @3 says, this is something Marxists like Mudede should consider when writing about Marxism, but instead they just behave as if reality never happened. This does not inspire anyone with confidence Marxists actually understand the history they’re always banging on about.
As @1 says, why should we abandon our great, if flawed, economic system in favor of one which has reliably delivered privation, misery, and even slaughter? Charles leaves this question unanswered, but pretends it’s never even been asked. Nobody else is required to play along with his charade, or to pretend Charles isn’t playing it.
social engineering via greedy Capitalists
has delivered us Here to the precipice
a burning Planet millions on our
streets with Nowhere to go
free to Malpractice their
darkest of Arts
the Abyss beckons
@6: Oh, is "social engineering" now a bad thing for you commies?
‘Oligarchs run Russia. But
guess what? They run the US as well’
The veteran senator is now part of Joe Biden’s inner circle, and is still fighting his country’s vast inequalities:
“One of the points that I wanted to make [in his new book, 'It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism'],” he says, “is yeah, of course the oligarchs run Russia. But guess what? Oligarchs run the United States as well. And it’s not just the United States, it’s not just Russia; Europe, the UK, all over the world, we’re seeing a small number of incredibly wealthy people running things in their favour. A global oligarchy. This is an issue that needs to be talked about.”
There are plenty of others. Sanders writes, likably, as he talks – straight to the point, low on personal digression, high on public policy. A keen admirer of his once observed how “Bernie’s the last person you’d want to be stuck on a desert island with. Two weeks of lectures about healthcare, and you’d look for a shark and dive in.” In this determination, he says, he wants to be an antidote to the oligarch-owned American media, which would have its audience think and talk about anything else – celebrities, the ballgame, the latest “woke” meme – than the stuff that might loosen their control of politics and the economy. “We don’t talk about our dysfunctional healthcare system. We don’t talk about income and wealth inequality. We hardly talk significantly about the existential threat of climate. The purpose of my book is to begin that discussion.”
if we gotta Wait till
there's finally Too Many
destituted in this the Richest
country in the History of Earth
perhaps there Will Be oodles of Blood
so whose Fault will that be?
@6, @8: Nothing like a little loud misdirection when confronted with uncomfortable truths, eh? “Burning planet”? “Millions” of unhoused persons? Desperation does not become you, dear.
Every “radical” effort to replace capitalism has resulted in environmental degradation, privation, slaughter, and collapse. As @1 noted, we hear all about how bad capitalism is, but never about how the alternatives went. Thanks for reminding us why.
so you choose to Ignore
and massive privation and an
Extremely HEAVY upward transrer
of TrillionS right before our very eyes.
my oh my how very
must be for
okay then tensy
instead of Overthrowing
the motherfucker we might
consider Well-Regulating it?
oh, that's right, almost forgot!
the Billionaires have Stolen
Democracy. so now what?
a Social Democracy
is NOT Required
to be run like
look how Scandinavia
Suffers so! those
FDR's Socialism saved the Capitalists
from THEMSELVES & was rewarded
with the Presidency FOUR times.
Socialism WORKS but not
if it's targeted Solely to
THREE people in this
country own MORE Wealth
than the "bottom" half of the US.
how's that working
out so far? how
are One bad
A. Too fucking Many
kristofarian, there are greedy capitalists even in social democracies. Can you name a country on the planet without capitalism that's been better for the environment?
Stop pitting the two against each other. Socialism and capitalism have a strong symbiotic relationship and benefit from each other.
@10 those trillions you are bemoaning only exist on paper. No one is any better or worse for it. If you don’t believe that than look at how much money Musk, Zuck and Bezos lost this year. Did anyone become better for it? No. The reason those people are obscenely wealthy is they have something right now that is highly valued but for the most part isn’t tangible. Gov regulations around data privacy or creating walls between AWS and retail would diminish that wealth but Bernie et al would rather use them as a foil for their own social engineering than actual do something effective.
@10: Rather than worry about some money (which, as @13 notes, is likely fictional anyway), I prefer to think of the millions of actual human beings who died horribly, lives snuffed out for no other reason than because they refused to bow down before the “perfect” ideology — an ideology for which Mudede and CM Sawant still advocate. I’d like to prevent that slaughter from happening again, and one of the ways to do that is to recall that slaughter happened the last time anyone took this ideology as seriously as do Mudede and Sawant.
But you can continue to focus on money, instead of human lives. You gotta do you, after all.
In my doctoral program there was a guy who was kind of dim and who couldn't differentiate between Marxist and Marxian. There's a lot of that going on here, and with this Peterson fellow. #3 seems to get it to a degree, although perhaps has trouble differentiating economic systems with political systems. Others I suspect will cheer capitalism until the world no longer exists.
"Others I suspect
will cheer capitalism
until the world no longer exists."
the Natural Order of Things
isn't Life itself
Destined to Fail?
if WE cannot
why should Life?
@15 would love to hear you how possibly differentiate the economic principles from the political movement. The main thing working against Marxism as an economic movement is that is goes against human nature. The notion that humans will maximize their productivity without any promise of personal benefit has never proven itself out and so inevitably the only way to make that work is through an authoritarian political structure that forces labor under the threat of punishment. If your doctoral programs has examples where a labor movement based around Marxism has actually been successful without the draconian political consequences that usually accompany it I'd be interested to hear about it.
Predictable as always.
Plenty to disagree with when it comes to JP but compared to a mental midget like Mudede he's a superstar.
@15: Playing games with words beats admitting you can’t respond to other commenters, I guess.
We’re not talking about some obscure academic dispute over economics. The Stranger has championed Seattle’s CM Sawant during her entire time in office. She is a member of Socialist Alternative, which advocates for the overthrow of capitalism, and for complete reorganization of society based on Marxist principles. It’s therefore fair to examine previous efforts in other places to do just that, and the results obtained. That Charles happens not to like such a line of inquiry shouldn’t distract anyone else from pursuing it.
@19 If you or others don't understand the initial discussion (or what you call "playing with words") what's the point in addressing comments based on that lack of understanding?
@17 Theories of "human nature" as justifications for things like capitalism (?!) don't hold any water. "Capitalism good because... human nature" isn't much of an argument. There are plenty of examples of marxist and anarchist-inspired projects that are not totalitarian, and you would know that if you knew more about the subject. They do, of course, face violent attacks by capitalist systems so they usually don't last. But there are also marxist parties in democracies, some of which do pretty decently electorally.
I love Slovoj. He's full of shit, but he's entertaining. The snitting between 15/20, 17 and 19 is pretty much the right discussion. Can Marxism exist as an economic system without an authoritarian state? Can it exist even with one? Marxism needs authority because, like libertarianism, it is wholly theoretical. It makes sense on paper and none at all on concrete. It can't really exist in the wild. I hate to tell you guys this, and you too, Charles ... liberalism is the only thing that works for the individual, and — surprise! — that's something we all are! It spends a lot of time not working, true, but only because there are so many forces allowed to exist within liberal states that oppose liberalism. The individual is either sovereign or it is subsumed to the state. Also, a lot of individuals are sociopathic assholes, idiots, nihilists, whack jobs and so on. But most are basically good.
Jordan Peterson? He's one of the former.
@20 I told you I don't know more about the subject so feel free to educate me. What Marxist/anarchist inspired projects have succeeded? Isn't an anarchist project an oxymoron though?
We aren't talking about specific projects though. We are talking about uprooting the entire economic system and replacing it with a Marxist one. To my knowledge that has never succeeded nor has it even been attempted without also instituting an authoritarian regime. I don't know that human nature is a justification for capitalism, like I said in my initial post capitalism has its flaws and needs to be regulated however I think capitalism more closely aligns with human nature and that is why it flourishes and has continually done more to lift people out of poverty. You can bemoan the inequity driving by capitalism, this seems to be the chief complaint of CM and posters like yourself, but you have inequities in every economic system it's just a question of who is benefiting. In the case of Marxism it's usually the government and their cronies which is why most of the time these systems are also rife with corruption.
@20: Claiming that critiques of Marxism are automatically defenses of capitalism is a straw man. @17 did not make any claim about capitalism at all, and had you read and understood that comment, you would have known that. You’re free to address @17’s critique of Marxist systems (such as the type of system which the Stranger’s favorite politician advocates for everyone on earth), just as you’re free to give “…plenty of examples of marxist and anarchist-inspired projects that are not totalitarian,” but somehow I get the feeling you’ll not do either.
“But there are also marxist parties in democracies, some of which do pretty decently electorally.”
Indeed, CM Sawant has been in office for nine years. Not sure what that has to do with the results of economies run on Marxist principles, though.
Guess it counts as some kind of victory that Jordan Peterson wasn't prohibited from speaking.
Tragically, the same can't be said for Roald Dahl. By changing his words, the new left has done far worse than actually silencing him. An outright ban would have taken far too much work and attracted too much attention.
Make no mistake, the wokefascists do not believe in freedom of speech or freedom of any kind. And they're coming for you.
@23 "I don't understand the terms of the discussion, but I'd like to argue with you anyway."
@22 Not my job to "educate" you but you have (basically) the same access to information that I have.
Much of the commenting supports Mudede's point -- people don't read but assume they know -- as well as others' that Peterson is the "dumb person's smart person."
@22 I'm not going to spend my time researching the internet to prove or disprove your point. You are the one making statements that there are "plenty of examples" so surely you can cite 1 or 2 off the top of your head. Nice of you to end your rant with an insult to the rest of us. Since you want to dismiss your fellow commenters out of hand I guess we can return the favor and dismiss your posts as failed ideology much like Marxism.
@25: My comment @23 shows I understand you well enough:
‘You’re free to address @17’s critique of Marxist systems (such as the type of system which the Stranger’s favorite politician advocates for everyone on earth), just as you’re free to give “…plenty of examples of marxist and anarchist-inspired projects that are not totalitarian,” but somehow I get the feeling you’ll not do either.’
Thank you for perfectly validating my feeling.
@22: “We aren't talking about specific projects though. We are talking about uprooting the entire economic system and replacing it with a Marxist one.”
True enough, but you could have gone much further. Marxism states clearly that capitalism cannot be reformed; therefore, it must be eliminated — and all of the structures within society which supported it must go too, because humanity cannot progress so long as any vestige of capitalism remains. While it might be possible to re-order an entire society without violence, it’s extremely unlikely, and so then this difficulty itself becomes a justification for official acts of violence against any and all dissenters.
We see this today, in Seattle. CM Sawant has been a legislator for nine years. In all of that time, has she ever engaged in dialog with anyone who disagreed with her? Has she ever even tried? These very questions provoke laughter, because she’s had nothing but one “bullhorn moment” after another after another after another. With her or any of her fellow true believers, even the act of engaging in dialog with outsiders is an error. (Sole exception being their ludicrous fantasy of replacing the Democrats, but even then, their stated goal for their outreach to “better youth and labor” is solely to proselytize.)
@10: “look how Scandinavia
Suffers so! those
Scandinavia does not have Marxist Socialist economies. Scandinavia has capitalist economies with Socialist governments, democratically-elected, which ensure the wealth created by those capitalist economies is more equitably distributed. (This is what the United States might have further developed if we hadn’t spent the decades after our defeat of fascism in fighting off the existential threat of one-party totalitarian Marxist states.)
If you want to hear some real hatred toward Scandinavia, talk with CM Sawant and Socialist Alternative about the Scandinavian model. Peaceful, prosperous capitalistic democracies have little love for self-appointed Marxist revolutionaries, and those spurned revolutionaries return the favor. In spades.
Bravo, Charles. One link directs me to a medium post which claims that Derrida's interpretation of Nietzsche as an irrationalist. Unless that is meant quite specifically, that Nietzsche is not a philosopher in the Descartes-Leibniz-Hume-Godwin of rationalism, then the claim is quite wrong, both about Derrida on Nietzsche and Nietzsche himself. Since Nietzsche as a literary and aphoristic philosopher (not completely unlike the Wittgenstein of PI) rather than a positive or systematic philosopher, it is not hard to find statements in his work justifying all manner of positions (like the parables of Jesus), but that of the irrationalist praising a literalized Machiavellian will to power is the most tendentious. Nietzsche's most famous statement, that truth is a mobile army of metaphors can be misread as a nihilistic form of relativism (as in Paul DeMan) but it really is the strongest form of his perspectivism, that no point of view is not rooted in human, even biological (not to mention gasteriological) experience. This differentiates him from Derrida whose > is meant to suggest a relentless overturning of binaries without end--on some level not dissimilar from Schrodinger's Cat, where a perspective itself will change the truth.
But with Nietzsche there needs be some context, that is a perspective, on his relativism. He wrote in the high water-mark of Positivism, a movement through an odd turn through Russell and Wittgenstein's brilliant reformulation of logical empiricism, would render as nonsense any statement not falsifiable. As much as psychoanalysis could be a target of Viennese and anglophone positivism, Marxism, which cannot shed its original hegelianism or becomes simple economism, was also a target to be tagged as "irrational", that is not reducible to some falsifiable ratio. Nietzsche's target as much as the self-satisfied philosophical positivists was that ideology of science that was threatening to eradicate ever other discipline as the regime of Truth in the late 19th century. He was an ideal location, as a classicist and more specifically a philologist, disciplines that take history seriously. Scientism taken to its limit renders the study of history and rhetoric superfluous.
As for their point of departure, Nietzsche certainly has something of a totalizing critique of modernity, based on his pointed opposition to positivist. He does cast aristocratic virtues in opposition, the Blonde Beast who haunts his discourse, but his own position was a middle-class scholarship boy and prodigy who can only study the esoterica that he does because his father is a Lutheran pastor. Nietzsche is not admiring the values of the land-owning Junker class in Prussia--more like the Witcher, but that is another essay--but overturning his own Lutheran middle-class values. Aristocratic is place holder for something else, something which Matthew Arnold calls for in his Johnsonian way, for people who "are mainly led, not by their class spirit, but by a general humane spirit, by the love of human perfection." Aliens as it were to the more common spirits of age. One might say that Arnold the School Inspector is by instinct a Hebraist while Nietzsche at least aspirationally is a Hellenist, but neither denied both moments in a dialectical conception of identity and culture (particularly as something "cultivated").
Oh about all those deaths in the first half of the twentieth century and who is responsible for them. Well the nightmare that was the first world war had nothing to do with Marx, socialism or communism. And neither did the peace settlement that contributed to the > that helped bring about hitlerism. For that matter, neither contributed to antisemitism. But I have a more radical argument, which is that laissez-faire capitalism has much 19th century blood on its hands. It contributed to the continuance of slavery and the slave trade since in opposition to abolition and war folks offered the idea that the market would extinguish the practice. Rather the reverse, if one looks to how the Congo was treated by the market in the later nighteenth century. Also, the famine was begotten by the forced collectivization and specialization of farming in Ireland, while just to rub things in, the ideology suggested allowing people to starve who cannot provide food for themselves was better than giving them a false security by providing welfare. In fact, the strategic immersation of peoples for a reason besides pure imperial imposition of power of course begins with enslaving Africans to serve as laborers in the Carribean and Latin America. The behavior was perhaps technically protocapitalist (mercantilist perhaps) but when it is observed as Amitav Ghosh's the nutmeg's curse that the genocide carried out by the Dutch in Guiana was in service of getting sugar, a spice barely known to Europe before the 15th century. (Thus the praise of honey in Roman, Hebrew and other texts.) The other context is to observe no civil war is particularly praise-worthy when it comes to spilling blood. If WWI is thought of as a revolt against Metternich-Bismarckian balance of power ("Balance for whom?" as Foucault would say), it was a civil war. The English have managed to throw into such obscurity their own civil war that rarely is thought in the same context the French
Revolution and the US Civil War, but rivers of blood were spilt by both sides. And then there is the great precursor to WWI, the 30 Years War, which was not solely a war of religion, since much of it was France vs Austria, but religion figured largely as the Catholic Church and the Pope helped cultivate the Crusades, the first organized attempt by Europe to colonize the Mideast (hint, they mostly failed for once). If anything distinguishes the 20th century, it is the magnitude of death that could be brought about with technology developed through the enlightening science that supposedly marks Europe and the West as civilized. As Gandhi said about Western Civilization, "It seems like a nice idea" or as I would say, "Isn't it pretty to think so?"
@29: Bravo, sir! That was hilarious!
@30: Another good effort, but missed the mark, because we were not talking about the First World War, or the civil war in Russia which followed it, or even the Second World War. We were talking about the mass murder of humans in peacetime (or in peaceful regions during WWII), due entirely to the ideology which guided the one-party state wherein they (had) lived.
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