We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, December 21. 2011
A rambling and interesting essay by David Wemyss: Collectivist Dreams - The Russian Soul - A Turbulent Priest - Marx and Engels - Insouciance and Despair. One quote:
In my little old conservative Connecticut town, people help eachother every day. In fact, we do everything we can to assist eachother. The beauty of collectivism, charity, mutual help, etc. lies in its voluntariness, its mutuality, and in its local-ness. When there are guns and jails behind it (as via government), all of the beauty and love are lost and it just devolves into political power and into legal, armed plunder.
Infantile utopian dreams, in real life, quickly turn into real nightmares. They scare the heck out of me.
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Sadly, some don't see the difference between giving and being forced to give and there is a huge difference (and a negative one) on both ends of the transaction.
The fact is that the aristos and the sans-culottes guilt-trip us bourgeoisie into giving them our hard-earned property by virtue of telling us "Because we're all in this together, everybody has to pay a fair share".
It works because the bourgeoisie can't organize along dishonesty --as the commerce class, it has to transact, has to give and take promises & intentions, collaterals & credit, hence a level of honesty is precisely what forms the system.
Ergo, to cope with "Since we're all in this together, everybody has to pay their fair share", we dispute only on the independent clause, that is, the value of the 'fair share'.
The subordinate clause, "since we're all in this together," gets a pass, the 'nationality' status seeming to moot any deconstruction.
Our political economy logic is that of a zoo designed by a dialectical manifesto making all animals equal.
Since all the zoo's animals are equal, the need to separate the predators and prey is a political question, and as such must be settled by compromise.
Compromise means some prey exhibits must be eaten by some predator exhibits, while other exhibits must starve and become too few, and yet other exhibits must fatten and become too many.
Because gate fee income requires durable ticket demand, and that in turn requires interest in the exhibits to grow, the dialectical truth that growth will equal consumption guarantees that the value of a ticket will contract to zero --requiring coercive force to become the growth element in the market.
This force can be applied with a high risk by the zoo's building of sufficient aggressive armored divisions, or it can be applied with a low, perhaps near zero, risk by the (necessarily) slow development of system managers within the outside of the zoo.
Arthur C. Brooks' Who Really Cares demonstrates pretty conclusively that conservatives, largely on the strength of having more religious believers, are more generous than liberals - even when church giving is excluded. They volunteer more, they give blood more often and give more cold cash.
We just decide where we want to send it instead of letting our betters make that call, and that is the great, unendurable sin.
So really, to sum. Does most if not all giving depend on idealogical, tribal, prescription?. I'm not implying that's bad.
I am saying though, that perhaps it is not a good metric to judge, therefore, as it becomes more a numbers game, or herd effect, than a reflection of individual intent and merit as to purpose. Regardless of how independent we think we are.
Then again, maybe I'm just drunk.
--my mind circle game runs:
intent doesn't matter --only results to the needy.
But what results? Immediate, or five years out? The help can harm. The 'helicopter parent' concept for example warns against a careless self-indulgence that creates neediness in the object of our charity.
Our cultural hero is the 'rags-to-riches' individual who unless he disdains the helping hand on his way up, can't qualify the title, can't join the fraternity, can't eat at the table in the hall of Valhalla.
So looks like we're back to intent. But that means that altruism is really only self-service.
But if that is so, then, well, so what? Who do we think we are, anyway? Are we so mucking fuch that we have to know?
Well, the nature of socialism as envy and resentment has been long known. Except sometime about the 1920s, a real assessment seems to have dropped out of the literature falling back on the ownership and control of property. I wonder if there might have been an accession of academics of a certain persuasion about that time? How better to hide its true nature than to flood the market with useless "scholarship" that to challenge is to invite the label, "unintellectual"?
Throughout socialistic literature there is the well-known insistence upon the materialistic interpretation of history - a conception based upon a hunger for things of material enjoyment, and for more and more of them. Fundamentally, they have as much centred their aim on an increase in material possessions as the veriest Napoleon of finance in Wall Street.
On the other hand, the socialist proposes to overturn industrial competition and the institution of private property in the hope - vaguely outlined and not economically analyzed - of transferring the use of wealth from those who have to those who have not. p613-614
"Socialism a Philosophy of Failure", Laughlin, J.L., Scribner's magazine, 1887
From the wiki on Coleridge's multi-authored compendium script for the stage play The Fall of Robespierre --published a few months after the actual event --opens with a character critical of Robespierre describing revolution's fatal flaw:
The peaceful virtues
And every blandishment of private life,
The father's cares, the mother's fond endearment,
All sacrificed to liberty's wild riot.
...then proceeds through Robespierre's mad final year (starting with his assumption of dictatorial power, then his reinstatement of religion via staging a public Passion Play with himself cast as Jesus, then his arrest and guillotining) and closes with another character describing France rid of Robespierre:
Shall this regenerated country wear
The despot yoke. Though myriads round assail
And with worse fury urge this new crusade
Than savages have known; though all the leagued despots
Depopulate all Europe, so to pour
The accumulated mass upon our coasts,
Sublime admit the storm shall France arise
And like the rock amid surrounding waves
Repel the rushing ocean. — She shall wield
The thunder-bolt of vengeance — She shall blast
The despot's pride, and liberate the world.[\i]
...one wonders, about these two French visions, one with and the other without Robespierre, what besides Robespierre was the difference?
In the long run, not much, except that in the future his story would educate and inspire three guys name of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, who would interpret the chaos, turmoil, blood, and misery, as the recipe with which Robespierre simply fell a little short of creating the New Man who could arise like the rock amid surrounding waves, repel the rushing ocean, wield the thunder-bolt of vengeance, blast the despot's pride, and [i]liberate the world.
Feh. Enough of these donkeys, stone statues in a graveyard under a gray sky raining ashes.
"But that means that altruism is really only self-service."
Yep, my "mind circle" runs much the same in pondering that concept. Much as that new post above about knowing 'why' or 'what'. Does it matter, in the end.