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Saturday, October 27, 2018

What the Heck Is Progressivism?






What the Heck Is Progressivism?
by Giovanna Laine


Historical Progressivism, that is, what went by the name from the period of about 1890 until about 1945, was a relatively vague thing, concerned only with "reform," which meant that anyone who advocated for what they thought was reform could claim to be a Progressive.  Reform is itself a rather vague term, of course, due to its subjectivity.  I have discussed to some length the Historical Progressives already, and how Modern Progressivism is the legitimate heir of the original movement.  In this piece, I would like to address some distinctions between the three camps which claim to be "Progressive" in the United States today.  I have also discussed this to some extent elsewhere in my work both at The Progressive Flame and on my YouTube channel, but I do not believe that I have made things entirely clear thus far in print.  With this piece, I hope to rectify that.

Modern Progressivism was born about 1946 when Henry Wallace became the editor of The New Republic magazine (founded in 1913 by some of the Historical Progressives), and came of age in 1952 after he realized that the USSR wasn't what he thought it was initially (due to the rather sanitized presentation he was shown when he toured the country).  Unlike Historical Progressivism's hazy nature, Modern Progressivism has some rather distinct perspectives, including initially very Leftist economic views, but since 1952, has been generally Socialist while rejecting Marxist Socialism (although some proponents have supported slightly-Left-of-Center Social Democracy rather than Socialism).  I have discussed some of the ideals of Modern Progressivism elsewhere (see the links below).

There are two other camps in the United States today who claim the label "Progressive," neither of which has any historical connection ("lineage," if you will) from the original Progressives before the end of World War II (Henry Wallace was a Progressive Republican before becoming a Progressive Democrat in 1936, and subsequently FDR's second Vice President from 1941-1945, and was thus an Historical Progressive before becoming the Father of Modern Progressivism).

These are (a) rebranded Social Liberals, Democratic Party loyalists, who first referred to themselves as "Progressive" after the 1988 election, because they hadn't had the spine to defend the term "Liberal" against Republican attempts to turn it into an insult throughout the 1980s, whom Modern Progressives call "Fauxgressives," and (b) outrage mongers inspired by a cursory understanding of Derrida and Foucault, who were mostly younger Democratic Party members more interested in keyboard warrior activism than studying social, political, and economic history and ideas in order to get a thorough grounding before going out and doing any activism, whence one of the names some of their opponents give them, "Social Justice Warriors," the latter word in reference to their initial "keyboard warrior" aspect, who didn't even coalesce into anything worthy of being called a movement until about 2012, who are more likely to be referred to by Modern Progressives as "Regressive Outrage Mongers" or "Postmodern Regressives," due to the fact that the consequences of their activism often seem to be likely (whether intentionally or unwittingly, such as the current call among some of them for segregation) to undo progress which has been accomplished over the past 60 years or so.

This gives us three camps, whom we can refer to briefly as:

1) Modern Progressives (1946 to the present)
2) Fauxgressive Democrats (1989 to the present)
3) Postmodern Regressives (2012 to the present)

and while a more accurate name for the second would be "Rebranded Social Liberals who have continued to be loyal partisan Democrats, some of whom use the name 'Progressive' in an effort to solicit campaign contributions and votes from Modern Progressives" and a more accurate name for the third would be "Outrage Mongers inspired to some extent by Derrida's Poststructuralism and Foucault's Postmodernism, who have usurped and misused the language of Political Correctness, Intersectionality, and Social Justice to spread their outrage and victim mentality, thereby blocking the actualization of Leftist goals" the unwieldy character of these more accurate names obviously makes for poor communication and dialogue.  Unfortunate though Jordan Peterson's misguided campaign to blame Postmodernism for all the ills of contemporary society, and his conflation of Postmodernism with the Right Wing conspiracy theory idea of "Cultural Marxism" (which was inspired by Weimar Germany era piffle about "Kulturbolschewismus," a term used primarily to attack Modern Art), may be, and in spite of the rather poor grasp of a few ideas of Postmodernism by the third camp, nevertheless, naming the third camp "Postmodern Regressives" is still more accurate than giving them some less precise designation, and helps to distinguish them from Modern Progressives (who are not "Modern" solely in the sense of being "up to date" and currently extant, but also in the sense of having embraced values of Modernism).

Of these three camps, obviously the Modern Progressives are in fact Leftists (or, at the very least, Centrists with a Leftist tinge).

Democratic Party loyalists, those whom we call Fauxgressives, whatever they may say, are supporting Neoliberal economic policies, and that means that, whether they realize it or not, they are advocating an Extreme Right-Wing economic perspective.

The final group (again, the Postmodern Regressives) ... I'm not sure they have any economic perspective, as a whole, at all.  They seem to be mostly concerned with authoritarian social policies, although they give lip service to Leftist economic ideals.  However, their obsession with identity politics serves only to establish obstacles to the actualization of any Leftist goals, so it's difficult to say what they actually believe in economic terms, probably due to the fact that most often they don't seem to have any clue what the hell they're talking about.  They're basically (for the most part) young and naïve with superficial knowledge of a few ideas.  It's one of the reasons they have turned Feminism on its head, for example; what was about Liberation and Equality during the 1960s and '70s has become something rather different.  Their situation is actually a rather sad one, because they want to effect some kind of positive change, but they haven't bothered to take the time necessary to understand the context in which the current situation exists;  I mean the historical context and the ideological currents which have come out of the past to influence the present.  Wanting to effect positive change is admirable, but you can't just jump into the deep end of the pool before you learn how to swim.

By way of contrast with Fauxgressive Democrats, Modern Progressives are not partisan (as a group, although some individuals might feel some loyalty to an authentically Modern Progressive, Left-libertarian political party such as the Green Party of the United States or one of the various parties using the word "Progressive" as part of its name), but will instead consider the policies of a candidate over party membership.

In contrast to Postmodern Regressives, Modern Progressives oppose authoritarianism.  Also, while advocating for equal rights under the law for all (regardless of pigmentation, ethnic ancestry, national origin, chromosomal sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity;  indeed, the reason the Democratic Party establishment did not want Franklin Roosevelt to pick Henry Wallace as his Vice Presidential running mate in 1940, and absolutely refused to allow him a second term as Vice President, was because he opposed racial and sex discrimination and would not support racial segregationBernie Sanders was arrested advocating for civil rights for Blacks in 1963supported the first ever Gay Pride parade in Burlington, Vermont, as Mayor in 1983, voted against the anti-equality "Defense of Marriage Act" in 1996 [see previous link], and treated Transgender persons as people as early as 1983), Modern Progressives do not allow Identity Politics to divide us and distract us from the primary struggle, which is economic (because reforming or dismantling the [mostly capitalist] structures which have enabled and/or facilitated oppression is the first step in ending oppression).

For more information, see
"Solidarity vs Intersectionality" at my YouTube channel:
https://youtu.be/-uJonanReRQ

"What Is A Progressive?" at The Progressive Flame:
https://medium.com/the-progressive-flame/what-is-a-progressive-c3829b6f180c

"What Is a Progressive? What Is a Leftist?" at my YouTube channel:
https://youtu.be/l8_-J7ytXE8

and "A Modern Progressive Manifesto" at The Progressive Flame:
https://medium.com/the-progressive-flame/a-modern-progressive-manifesto-faae5257c541




An earlier draft of this piece was first published on Google Plus on 5 September 2018.


Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 


Copyright notice

All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2018 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine). 


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kavanaugh, Due Process, Privacy, Torture, and the Supreme Court




Kavanaugh:
Due Process, Privacy, Torture,
and the Supreme Court,
by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine)


Okay.  Kavanaugh.

Brace yourselves.

I'm going to give you five links, representing most of the latest intel to come across my desk before I wrote this (this was originally posted on G+, Facebook, and Discord, in various stages of completion, on 28 September 2018;  there have been a few developments since then, but my own view has remained unchanged).  Then I'm going to give you my take.

Tim Black (Video):
Kavanaugh Returns!

Deb Della Piana (Video):
Shut the Fuck Up-The Kavanaugh Hearings Edition, September 27, 2018

Minneapolis Star-Tribune (AP):
After powerful day of testimony, Senate panel plans a Friday morning vote

The New Republic:
Brett Kavanaugh Disqualified Himself From the Supreme Court

Carey Wedler (Video):
The TRUTH about Kavanaugh's "harassment" and "assault"


So now, here's my take ...

Giovanna Laine:
I don't like Brett Kavanaugh.

I don't want him on the Supreme Court.

My reasons are many, and were already formed before the news of accusations of sexual shenanigans was revealed.  But most are focusing solely on that aspect of who he is and whether or not he should be confirmed.

His behavior in these hearings has not endeared him to me, but I cannot say how I might have behaved were I in his shoes.  Ms Ford seems like a credible witness;  she not only submitted to, but passed, a lie detector test (which is by no means evidence of anything, quite honestly, apart from her conviction that she would be able to pass it), and furthermore wants an investigation.  Mr Kavanaugh has neither submitted to a lie detector test nor does he seem to want any investigation (if he's changed his mind about an investigation, I haven't seen indication of that, so please direct me to any evidence which says otherwise).

What I find disturbing about this whole affair is how the division falls neatly along party lines.  Republicans invariably (claim to) believe Kavanaugh to be innocent, while Democrats invariably (claim to) believe Ford's story.  It is predictable, of course, business as usual, and oh so tiring.

What I find most disturbing, however, is what one of those sides is advocating.  And it annoys me greatly that I have to agree with the other side on this, because I despise both of them, both parties -- not Kavanaugh and Ford, but Republicans and Democrats.  One side is advocating that the vote must go ahead today, that there's no reason for any kind of investigation.  And their motivation for this?  The midterm elections are coming up, and the investigation might last until they are over.  It's absolutely nothing but political expediency.  There's no concern for justice, no concern for truth, just a concern for how well or how poorly their party might fare in the midterm elections as a result.  And they're not considering that pushing this vote through without an investigation might actually hurt their performance in the said elections.  Short-sightedness, at the very least.

But, then again, I can't imagine anyone with half a brain seriously suggesting that either of the two main parties is particularly noted for foresight, or self-awareness.

I believe there should be an investigation (and, if the investigation should turn up reason for indictment, a trial), and only after that DUE PROCESS should any vote be held.  I do not believe he should be disqualified purely on the basis of an accusation.  We have Due Process precisely because there was a time when an accusation was all that was necessary for a presumption of guilt (heresy trials, witch hunts).  It hasn't been 31 years yet since a young woman by the name of Tawana Brawley made accusations which later seemingly turned out to be bogus, and which might have destroyed lives of the accused had they not been cleared.

"But Giovanna," some would say, "is their career or life more important than her body sovereignty?"  No.  But is her body sovereignty more important than someone's life?

Again, anyone can claim anything;  the claim alone does not make itself true.  I can claim to be Mary Queen of Scots.  Will you all address me as "Your Royal Majesty" if I do so?  Of course not, nor should you.  Truth does not depend on a mere assertion, nor how "believable" someone views the person making a claim to be, nor even on the character of the person making the assertion.  It certainly does not depend on partisan affiliation or leanings, nor what one has between one's legs, what chromosomes someone has, or what brain gender someone has.

Truth must cohere with reality and be self-referentially consistent.  It is not a matter of what team someone plays for, nor is it a matter of convenience or expedience.

This article gives some of the reasons why I opposed his appointment before I ever heard of Christine Blasey Ford:

The Constitutional Reasons to Oppose Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court




Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 


Copyright notice

All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2018 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine). 


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Menagerie, Part 2 (b), or, Dimensions of Perspective Revisited


Woops.  This is unfinished.  Check back later.

The Menagerie, Part 2 (a),
or,
Dimensions of Perspective Revisited,
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

~ William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act I, Scene 5


(continued from previous post)

MORE (AND BEYOND)

We now have a total of nineteen different dimensions which contribute to a person's perspective (or worldview).  However, this collection of nineteen dimensions of perspective is hardly a complete picture.  We can expand these 19 dimensions fairly easily to 163 using another Platonic solid, the pentagonal dodecahedron, which has 160 diagonals (100 space diagonals and 60 face diagonals), to which can be added the ordinary Euclidean 3 dimensions, and adding the 30 edges would yield 193 dimensions of perspective:






I will begin, however, by expanding to only 33 dimensions of perspective using the Euclidean three dimensions and the thirty edges of the pentagonal dodecahedron (in other words, I will only offer "more" and not go on to "beyond," at this time).  I will not be labeling the 20 vertices of the pentagonal dodecahedron as I did the 8 vertices of the cube above (each vertex was labeled with a letter from A to H inclusive), because by now, the reader should understand how I am doing this.  Each of the edges of this Platonic solid, just like those of the cube, terminate at two of the vertices.

The pentagonal dodecahedron has twelve faces, twenty vertices, thirty edges, and one-hundred-and-sixty diagonals.  The twelve edges of the cube each terminate in two of the eight vertices.  The thirty edges of the pentagonal dodecahedron also each terminate at two of the twenty vertices.  While labeling each vertex may help the reader to visualize where the edges are in three dimensions, the reader may also simply count the lines in the image above and choose any of them for any of the 33 dimensions I will be here enumerating, adding in the three dimensions themselves to get the final three of the 33.

Of these, I have already presented 19, which means I will only be adding 14 more.  The list is as follows:


  1. Politics (Statism vs Anti-Statism)
  2. Economics
  3. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  4. Politics (Centralization vs Decentralization)
  5. Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism
  6. Social Attitudes
  7. Cultural Attitudes
  8. Epistemology
  9. Globalism vs Localism
  10. Aesthetics
  11. Ecology vs Exploitation
  12. Idealism vs Pessimism
  13. Ontology and Metaphysics
  14. Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
  15. Ethics
  16. Romance and Sexuality
  17. Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
  18. Religion and Sacred Tradition
  19. Mysticism
  20. Compassion vs Selfishness (related to Ethics)
  21. 21 Introversion vs Extroversion
  22. 22 Dionysianism vs Apollonianism (and Passion vs Ratiocination)
  23. 23 Self-Affirmation vs Self-Abnegation
  24. 24 Conceit vs Humiliation
  25. 25 Perception vs Judgement
  26. Sensation vs Intuition (related to Epistemology)
  27. 27 Bellicosity vs Pacifism
  28. 28 Dominance vs Submission
  29. Identity
  30. Cooperation vs Competition
  31. 31 Geography/Environment
  32. 32 Education vs Ignorance
  33. Time


I will here discuss those numbered from 20 to 33:


20. Compassion vs Selfishness
Compassion vs Selfishness is related to Ethics and Economics.  In the introduction to what remains perhaps her most notorious work, The Virtue of Selfishness, Ayn Rand wrote:

In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.

Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.

This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.

I am not certain from what dictionary Rand got this alleged definition.  The English Dictionary of the Oxford Living Dictionaries defines "selfish" as:

(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.


The Oxford Living Dictionaries are, as one might expect from the title, descriptive lexica;  that is, their definitions are based on contemporary ("living") usages, rather than prescriptions of how words should be used (as would be the case in a prescriptive lexicon).  To put this another way, a descriptive lexicographer would offer definitions based on contemporary understandings of words, while a prescriptive lexicographer would offer definitions which might reflect older understandings of the same words;  the descriptive lexicographer tells how people do use words, and a prescriptive lexicographer tells how people ought to use words.

That having been said, I find the notion that "selfishness" was defined without any "moral evaluation" in 1961 to be dubious.  I wasn't alive at the time, but I did enter this world only a few years later, and I cannot recall anyone of my acquaintance having ever thought of "selfishness" as anything other than unethical, or at least immature.

Rand's argument (if it can be called that), however, rests not upon a dictionary definition, and is less a defense of "selfishness" in the ordinary sense in which we use it today than it is a condemnation of the concept of "sacrifice."  While I am no fan of "sacrifice," preferring instead the concept of "offering," I am not certain she properly understood the term "sacrifice," although she contended that "selfishness" as we know it is sacrifice of others to oneself, and "unselfishness" is sacrificing our own interests to others, and rejects both forms of what she regards as "sacrifice."  I contend that benevolence or altruism does not necessarily require self-sacrifice at all, but I'll come back to this shortly.  First let me address the concept of "sacrifice."

The English word "sacrifice" derives from two Latin words "sacra" + "facere."  The literal meaning of "sacra facere" is "to make sacred, to set apart for consecration/dedication."  The underlying concept of the word to the people of Latium was one of propitiation, that there was some divinity who was angry with the people, or who might become so, and thus had to be appeased in order to avert his or her wrath.

By contrast, the Celts of Gallia had a word "adbertâ," which literally meant "to bring, carry, bear to or toward."  The Proto-Celtic root of this word survived into Old Irish as "idbart" (Modern Irish before the orthographic revision had it as "íodhbuirt," more recently as "íobairt," and Gaelic has "iobairt") and into modern Welsh as "aberth."  The Arch Druid Crommán mac Nessa argued that the worldviews reflected by these two conceptions are incompatible, that the Celts gave offerings as a manifestation of a survival among the Celtic peoples of the Proto-Indo-European conception of "reciprocal gift-giving," while the Italic peoples gave sacrifices out of fear;  mac Nessa further argued that this difference in outlook arose after the Italo-Celtic split, and the migration of the Italic peoples into what is now Italy, where the environment included dangers like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Rand went on to attack a straw man effigy of Altruism, insisting that the concept dictates that "any action taken for one’s own benefit is evil."  She further focused on Altruism as an ethic in itself, taken outside the context of any broader ethic in which it exists, as if it were its own self-contained system, a portrayal which is, to put it mildly, an unrealistic caricature.  While it is certainly true that the literal meaning of "Altruism" refers to "others" (from French "autrui" ["altrui" in Old French], meaning "of or to others," from Latin "alteri," the dative singular form of "alter," meaning "other"), I am unaware of any inherent concept of self-abnegation in the word.  Indeed, only in Zoology is the term defined in a manner which necessitates harm to self in order to benefit another.  While the Abrahamic tradition inculcates such masochism to some extent, the practice of charity is by no means exclusive to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, nor their relatives and offshoots (or "deviations," which is perhaps the least insulting way those who regard themselves as "orthodox" refer to such offshoots), nor even to religions which, like the Abrahamic tradition, teach a conception of self-abnegation (such as some forms of Eastern religions like Buddhism).

Indeed, the concept of charity or Altruism is inherent to the natural state of humanity in Tribe, nor is Tribalism reducible to "Collectivism" as Rand held;  Tribalism is Cooperativism.  While some things are indeed held in common by the Tribe as a whole, private property also exists in a Tribal economy.  The central concept of Tribalism as an economic system is not Communism, but Cooperative Commonwealth, the notion that the Tribe is the basic unit of society, and that individuals in order to share in the benefits of the Tribe must also contribute to the Tribe, with the council of Elders determining by custom later codified into law where to distribute the "renders" (taxes) and where to direct the cooperative work.  One who does not contribute to the Tribe, who takes without giving, is considered a "slacker," and, as Tacitus noted in Germania, persons who shirked their duties to the Tribe were one of three classes of criminal who warranted execution by being pressed into the mud of a bog under a wicker hurdle (the other two classes were cowards and the "disreputable of body," which some argue refers to "sodomites," but which mac Nessa asserted is a reference to child molesters;  the original text in chapter 12 reads:  ""... ignavos et imbelles et corpore infames caeno ac palude, iniecta insuper crate, mergunt. ..." which I translate as "the lazy ones, the cowardly ones, and those who are disreputable of body into the sludge of a bog, with a hurdle thrown over, they plunge").  Those who are disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to contribute are not slackers or shirkers, but are to be provided for, as their inability is not the product of a choice to not contribute.

Rand anticipated this objection and dismissed the concept of society entirely in the first essay in her little book, claiming that "... there is no such entity as 'society,' since society is only a number of individual men."  She insisted on characterizing whatever group within society (whether it be the majority or some other group) settles questions as a "gang," choosing a word which she knew was loaded with negative emotive value.  She further dwelt on the concept of "values" and interpreted that in connection with an economic understanding of the term, leaving aside the more typical (in Philosophy) term "virtues," which would have been more for her to wrestle with in her posturing before her audience, getting to the word "virtue" only after having spewed ten or eleven pages of opinionated piffle focused on "value" in the sense of Economics, as "that which one works to gain and/or keep."  When she did finally get around to addressing the concept of "virtue," she did so in relation to "value" as she had defined it, offering a definition of "virtue" which I cannot recall having ever seen in any philosophical work (indeed, it turns on its head the Greek conception of ἀρετή, "aretê," which is "virtue" in the sense of "what enables function," as in, "the virtue of a knife," indicating its function or purpose, that quality which enables it to fulfill its function, which would be "sharpness" for most knives).  Her definition of "virtue" is:  "the act by which one gains and/or keeps it [value]."  The choice of the word "act" is revealing:  it exposes her ethic as some manifestation of Legalism, in spite of her frequent use of the term "principle" in her work.  A "principle" in Ethics is a guide, whereas a "law" in Ethics is a positive injunction to perform some (more or less specific) act or a negative prohibition to not perform some (more or less specific) act.  However, immediately upon defining "virtue" in this idiosyncratic manner, she departed from it to discuss "rationality" as "man's basic virtue."  Rationality is not an act, but a quality.  Ratiocination is an act, namely, the act of utilizing or exercising one's rationality.

The other two "virtues" which Rand gave were "productiveness" (a thinly-veiled allusion to the Calvinistic work ethic) and "pride," which she defined as "the recognition of the fact 'that as man must produce the physical values he needs to sustain his life, so he must acquire the values of character that make his life worth sustaining—that as man is a being of self-made wealth, so he is a being of self-made soul'."  This contention about "self-made wealth" (like the contention of some of her followers about "free choice") also ignored the facticity of human existence;  much of any given person's current situation exists as it does because of how things have been done in the past, such that some enter the world with advantages, while others enter the world in an already disadvantaged state, due in no small measure to the inequities arising through force having been used in the past to exploit their ancestors (this is not about "race," but is instead about Capitalism, Mercantilism, Feudalism, Colonialism, and Imperialism).  Corporate entities have expropriated wealth unto themselves, more often than not by means of unjust action.  To stop all social contract of "give and take" without having righted those wrongs first and then insist that "my property" or "my self-made wealth" is justification for anything one wishes to do in connection with said property is to ignore the causes of present circumstances and thereby perpetuate already extant injustice.  It is a pipe-dream no less unrealistically Utopian than Marxist Socialism which imagines that a dictatorship will pave the way for a "classless society."

She also claimed that Ethics has largely become based on subjective whim in recent centuries, but in fact, this is not the case.  The word "ethics" comes from Classical Greek "ethikos," which signifies "custom," and the earliest conceptions of Ethics and Law arose from social custom (she even pointed out that Aristotle "based his ethical system on observations of what the noble and wise men of his time chose to do," so she was aware of this fact, but chose to spin it into an attack upon Aristotle for neither seeking validation for these customs, nor asking why they existed).  Customs do not arise from an individual's "rational free choice," as in her individualist perspective (more recently re-branded as "voluntaryist"), nor from ephemeral fads of popularity (as she alleged were the sources of an ethic based on a conception of "the good of society"), but from the habits and traditions of the society in which the individual lives.  To cry about "free choice" (rational or otherwise) in such a context is to betray philosophical and social immaturity;  of course in certain societies, one's freedoms and liberties are greater than in others, but even in those, one yet has duties in the form of obligations and responsibilities:  one must obey the law.  While this is not an absolute (there are unjust laws which should be challenged in the courts, and some societies allow voice to individuals to petition for changes to laws, and/or to select representatives who can effect such changes), it is nevertheless part of the cost of social life;  society is not all "take," but is instead "give and take "  If one should refuse, through "free choice," to conform to such responsibilities and obligations, then that one is also necessarily giving "free choice" to accepting the consequences of such refusal.  "Libertas in legibus," is the saying, "Liberty under the laws."  It is Law which ensures Liberty against the "gang" (but, to point out that which should be obvious:  without Liberty, Law is mere oppression).

Rand attempted to dismiss the benefits of society as well, by asserting that "... everything man needs has to be discovered by his own mind and produced by his own effort."  On the contrary, when one lives in a society, one does not discover or produce all necessary things.  She even went so far as to claim that a person must learn everything himself or herself.  Nothing is further from the truth;  some things cannot be learned by experience or reason, but must be taught.  An example of her own offering is "the laws of Logic."  Logic is not, as I have already pointed out many times and in diverse places, mere common sense, but a discipline.  It requires study (of someone else's work) and practice.  In origin, Logic as a discipline was developed by observation, namely, by Aristotle observing the arguments of lawyers in court, which again required others.  Nor is there need for every individual to reinvent the wheel;  things already learned and produced do not have to be redone by each person;  progress (even of a technological sort) would be impossible in such a scheme, for there would be no learning from the work of one's predecessors.  She wrote:  "No percepts and no 'instincts' will tell him how to light a fire, how to weave cloth, how to forge tools, how to make a wheel, how to make an airplane, how to perform an appendectomy, how to produce an electric light bulb or an electronic tube or a cyclotron or a box of matches. Yet his life depends on such knowledge—and only a volitional act of his consciousness, a process of thought, can provide it."  On the contrary, "his life" depends on others.  One does not acquire such knowledge as "how to perform an appendectomy" by reason alone, but by being taught by experienced surgeons.  Nor would a person be able to perform such a surgery on himself or herself;  it must be done by another.  In all of these things, Rand ignored or intentionally glossed over the benefits of society in order to affirm the individual, and then presumed to go on to mock a straw man of the positions with which she disagreed by referring to "doctrines which tell you ... that ethics has nothing to do with reality, with existence, with one’s practical actions and concerns" after having ignored reality herself in her effort to justify her own ethic!

She later (later in the same essay, in fact, although much later, devoting less than a single page to the admission) contradicted herself on this, writing:  "Man is the only species that can transmit and expand his store of knowledge from generation to generation; the knowledge potentially available to man is greater than any one man could begin to acquire in his own life-span; every man gains an incalculable benefit from the knowledge discovered by others," and admitted that a person may benefit from living in a society, but refused to admit that such benefit must go hand in hand with cost, deriding as she did the needy as "Parasites, moochers, looters, brutes and thugs ... of no value to a human being ..."  Almost immediately after this passage, she discussed, briefly, political implications of her ethic, stating that its "basic political principle" is "No man may initiate the use of physical force against others," and expanded "man" to also include "group or society or government" (because here such an expansion was useful for her purpose, whereas she rejected the notion of such an expansion in other aspects of her essay, asserting instead the primacy of the individual).  Then she wrote, as one with any familiarity with her disciples' dogma might expect:  "The only proper, moral purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence—to protect his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to his own property and to the pursuit of his own happiness. Without property rights, no other rights are possible."  (Italics in original)  I have already addressed this conceit about "property" above as being divorced from the facticity of human existence and unrealistic.  Certainly private property should be a thing, but in order for an "Objectivist" paradise to be brought into existence, the playing field would have to be levelled first, and that is something to which "Objectivists" would never consent.  It would make no difference, however, for their "paradise" would be as ephemeral as attempts to establish such a society have already been in Honduras and Chile;  it would become a disaster just as it has in those nations.

Rand wrote (italics in original):

The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others—and, therefore, that man must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. To live for his own sake means that the achievement of his own happiness is man’s highest moral purpose.

I am not certain in what sense this could be described as "social," apart from the passive admonition against "sacrificing others."  As above, this also ignores the facticity of human existence and is likewise unrealistic.  One can claim to be an end unto oneself, but reality does not permit such a state of existence for a Human Being, apart from some person becoming a hermit and relying on none but himself or herself, and accepting the consequences of such a choice.  In that state of existence, all of one's "self-made wealth" becomes meaningless;  "wealth" has value only in the context of a society, where it can be used to purchase goods and services, to pay debts, and so on.  Again, what of one's children?  Does one have no ethical obligation to care for them, at times "sacrificing" one's own desires for their good?  Should they be birthed and then put into a trough set adrift on the currents of a river with the hope that they die in infancy or be rescued and raised by a she-wolf?  Indeed, the few mentions of "child," "children," "son," or "daughter" in the entire book are largely devoid of any ethical import or imperative, or used as an Argumentum ad Misericordiam against the faux-Socialism of the Soviet Union, and the few references to "family" seem to be mostly used as examples in discussion of negative concepts.  The astute reader would surely be left wondering if Ayn Rand hated children and lacked any capacity for affection.  This "Objectivist Ethic" is, far from rational as Rand attempted to characterize it, utterly preposterous!

Rand further mocked more recent philosophers of Ethics as "neomystics" for having, according to her, substituted "the good of society" in place of "the will of God" as the standard for Ethics, yet she did the same thing, by asserting, through the mouthpiece of her literary creation John Galt:  "It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of 'Value' possible."  If "the will of God" and "the good of society" be not rational bases for an ethical standard, then neither is her conception of "maintenance of the organism's life."  Her choice to assert that "the ultimate value ... is the organism's life" is no less subjective or arbitrary, and there can be times in which an organism will choose death over life, such as in cases of great agony, debilitating disease, imminent but slow death, and the like, or even to save another's life.  She attempted to justify her position by asserting that "Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself ..." yet this is such a ridiculous assertion even on its face that it cannot be taken seriously.  Life does not exist for itself;  life exists for some purpose, not merely its own perpetuation, since life is finite.  We who are philosophers of Ethics must find value for life, not merely in life itself.  Origen said that the purpose of life is to become a person.  Others might say that the purpose of life is pleasure, or happiness, or self-actualization, or the elimination of suffering, or any of a number of other goals, including the concept of social, political, and economic justice in a cooperative society in which people share and work together, with both rewards and costs.  Psychologists have found that Altruism, far from being self-abnegating, can be its own reward (see, for example:  Pay It Forward), that we are hard-wired for Empathy (see:  Darwin's Touch:  Survival of the Kindest), and that it takes more intelligence to cooperate than to be greedy (see:  Greed Is Good?).

Rand rightly rejected "the premise that the happiness of one man necessitates the injury of another," but wrongly denied that "rational self-interest" as she intended it does not mean a "right to sacrifice others," turning what she called an "assumption" that it does into an example of Abusive ad Hominem in which she attacked those who see her "rational self-interest" for what it is, as ethically bankrupt and intellectually deficient, going on to claim that the "Objectivist Ethic":

holds that the rational interests of men do not clash—that there is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned, who do not make sacrifices nor accept them, who deal with one another as traders, giving value for value.

On the contrary, in her scheme, the individual owes nothing to society, but is free to benefit from society.  This is not "trade" as she went on to equate with the principle of Justice, but selfishness in the ordinary understanding of the term, as an unethical or immature quality.  She mocked the idea of wanting to have one's cake and eat it, too, yet this is exactly the outcome of her view:  to receive all the benefit but not pay the cost.

One who expects to receive the benefits of living in a society, whether it be a Tribe, a nation-state, or even a "nuclear" family, must be willing to contribute to that society as well, or be subject to some form of punishment, even if it be "only" expulsion or exile.  One must do one's part.  To behave otherwise is to be guilty of parasitism, and worthy of no better appellation than that of "leech."  Rand and her cohorts have loved applying the designation of "parasite" to those who advocate for or benefit from Altruism, and have insisted that parasites are not "individualists."  On the contrary, "individualists" in the sense she intended (influenced, perhaps, to some extent by Herbert Hoover's anti-labor euphemism for austerity and opposition to Solidarity, "Rugged Individualism") are the worst parasites of all.  Society is "give and take," not "take" alone.  "Give and take" is the very essence of any society, the contract between members of the society for mutual interdependence and cooperation for the common good.  Thus, in Rand's notion that a person might be virtuous and "selfish," by which she claims to mean the "values" of "self-esteem" and "rational self-interest," she overlooked the vice of non-action, insisting that a person may act in his or her own interest without harming anyone else, but she failed to take account of (indeed, she explicitly denied) the reality of society;  no person is an island unaffected by others, nor can one's action or lack thereof in a society always have no effect on others.  If you receive, you must also give, or go somewhere outside of society where you do not have to give, but also cannot receive.  This is a simple fact;  if you expect rights and privileges to be guaranteed by a society, then you must also submit to responsibilities and duties to a society.  The Human Being is a social animal and does not exist in a vacuum;  we form societies and agree to not only the rewards, but also the costs, of living in such societies.

There is much more to criticize in Rand's little book (and very, very little with which to agree);  I could, for example, address her odd claims about reason and consciousness and focus, which reflect a very modern Western concept and devaluation of the techniques of Mystics (indeed, she explicitly condemns Mysticism in the same work, on epistemological grounds, asserting that Reason alone is the justification for belief, which ignores the very real history of Rationalism, a school of thought in Epistemology which affirms Reason, but also Intuition [explained above] and Inspiration, as justification for belief;  she also condemns Mysticism as an ethic, falsely claiming, undoubtedly through limited knowledge or understanding, that Mysticism as ethic sets value "beyond the grave" and in a "supernatural dimension"), and while Mysticism has been a topic in this post, the post is not intended to be or become nothing but a critique of Ayn Rand's pseudo-philosophy.  Anyway, I am far more interested in what Friedrich Nietzsche had to say on the subject of compassion than what Ayn Rand had to say about anything, although I will disagree with some of his notions as well.  So much for Ayn Rand's irrational notions about Ethics.  Thus, we turn to "Compassion" and Nietzsche's view thereof.


21. Introversion vs Extroversion


22. Dionysianism vs Apollonianism (and Passion vs Ratiocination)


23. Self-Affirmation vs Self-Abnegation


24. Conceit vs Humiliation
Conceit vs Humiliation is a dimension which extends from unwarranted pride (conceit or arrogance) to humiliation (which is an extremely low self esteem).  In between are pride (which is to say, the virtue of warranted pride in one's achievements and the like) and humility.


25. Perception vs Judgement


26. Sensation vs Intuition
Sensation vs Intuition is related to that branch of Philosophy known as Epistemology (see above).  When philosophers consider the question of what is justification for belief, those who favor Empiricism assert that "Experience" is the only justification, while those who favor Rationalism say that "Reason" is the only justification.  These, however, are loaded terms.  By "Experience," the Empiricist intends "Sense Perception" primarily, and, as a corollary to that, "Experimentation and Observation."  By "Reason," the Rationalist intends "Deductive Logic and Mathematics" primarily, and, as a corollary to those, "Intuition and/or Inspiration."  The Empiricist's focus on Sensation and "the Empirical Method" is fairly self-explanatory.  The Rationalist's support of "Intuition," however, requires some elucidation.  Intuition is commonly thought of as referring to some sort of instinctive or perhaps even semi-magical understanding.  However, the term in reality refers to "immediate" understanding without conscious reasoning.  Having a "gut feeling" or "hunch" is not some sort of "psychic" phenomenon, but rather is a subconscious grasp of something based in part on things already learned.  While these two approaches have at times seemed to be irreconcilable, the Epistemological Pragmatist accepts both as justification for belief, realizing that some things can be demonstrated through the Empirical Method, but other things must be intuited or consciously reasoned;  the solution of mathematical problems is always done by means of reason or intuition.


27, Bellicosity vs Pacifism


28, Dominance vs Submission


29. Identity
Identity has to do with one's sense of self.  This sense may involve a number of factors, such as ethnicity, culture, gender identity, nationality, residence, voluntary association, and so on.  Identity is not inherently detrimental, but, depending on other factors (other dimensions of perspective), it can be perverted into a sort of "us vs them" mentality.  Both major parties in the United States use "identity politics" in various ways, which are mostly perversions of identity which either explicitly promote an "us vs them" mentality, or implicitly lead to such a divisive perspective.  In the former case, the pundits and ideologues promote the idea that "I am good, and therefore those who are 'like' me are also good, so therefore, those who are 'different' from me must be 'evil' in some sense."  In the latter case, a focus on Identity as "interest group" leads to various groups divided and in competition for attention to their concerns from political figures.  One can, however, maintain Identity without sacrificing Solidarity with others.  The oppressed should of course not abandon their cultures, their associations, and so on, but they should stand together and demand attention to ALL of their concerns from political figures.  It has been rightly said, "There is strength in numbers," but when we are all divided into our separate little interest groups, we're not standing together, and our strength is diminished.  This is also related to the dimension of "Cooperation vs Competition."


30. Cooperation vs Competition
Cooperation vs Competition has many intersections with other dimensions, such as the dimension of "Identity" just discussed.  Another dimensional intersection is with Compassion vs Selfishness, and another, which I would like to discuss a bit at this point, is with Economics.  "Free Market Capitalism" has as one of its ideals something sometimes called "Spontaneous Order," which has been expressed as "When individual rights are respected, unregulated competition will maximize economic benefit for society by providing the most goods and services possible at the lowest cost."  This ideal presupposes private ownership of the means of production, with the lion's share of net profit going to the owner.  While advocates of some forms of Socialism also espouse an idealization of competition, in a socialist economy at its most fundamental manifestation, the means of production are owned by those who do the work of production (a Cooperative Business).  This ideal of the producers owning and controlling the means of production is shared by advocates of some forms of Tribalism as well, particularly forms which look to Brehon Law for inspiration;  under Brehon Law, the Tribe owned the land on which the cattle graze, although portions were allotted to individual households by the system of Tanistry.  However, in such a tribalist economy, the various households of the Tribe cooperated with one another, rather than compete.  They were certainly free to compete with other Tribes, but within the Tribe, a sense of cooperation ruled the economy, such that, for example (keeping the agrarian setting, but moving the temporal factor to a modern-day setting), if I own a tractor and you have a bigger allotment of land than I, then I will come round and plough your field, and in return, you will give me some of the crop produced at the harvest.  This sort of cooperation is what kept rural communities from devolving into chaos during the early years of the Great Depression.  Tribalism in the modern sense, however, is not always primarily agrarian, and involves more than this basic form of cooperation, extending into Cooperative Associations and Cooperative Businesses in which, for example, a household or family might own a business and do so as a Cooperative (or "Co-op").


31. Geography/Environment
bowl

32. Education vs Ignorance


33. Time
Time in this context refers to age, longevity, and so on.  Those things affect your perspective.  If you live in a society where the average lifespan is only 30, you're going to look at things differently from someone in a society where the average lifespan is 85.  And with age, perspectives change.  What you found crucially important at age 14 is not so important to you now.

Time also refers in this context to one's temporal environment, which is to say, the age or era in which one lives.  Persons who lived in the Iron Age had perspectives which those living in the Information Age might find alien, and vice-versa.  In the same sense that one's spatial environment has an effect on one's outlook, so too does one's temporal environment.


BEYOND THE BEYOND

Even if we expanded to the full 193 dimensions of perspective which could be represented through the pentagonal dodecahedron, however, the picture would still be incomplete.  If we wanted a complete conception of the many dimensions of perspective, we would need to tesselate Euclidean space and go with a Schlegel diagram projecting a Platonic solid into four dimensions, something like this representation of an icositetrachoron:




but even such an approach could easily fail to account for a complete picture, and ... I'm not sadistic (or masochistic), so I'll stop with the 33 dimensional representation (at least for now).  The point to this is not to blow your mind, but to open it to seeing beyond the limited and limiting schemes which society promotes in the interests of perpetuating the status quo.  As noted in the quote from Shakespeare at the beginning of this discussion, reality is bigger than our biggest conceptions, and Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living."  Love wisdom and seek the truth, my friend, dream and analyze, make your way into the light and find the lost word.  I can only offer an imperfect map, but perhaps it will be of some help (and remember when emerging into the light for the first time to temper your experience by moving quickly into a penumbral light, to give your perception time to adjust).

If you would like to explore Geometry further, and apply its concepts to Worldview as I have done, this video may offer some keys:










The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 12;  episode 12 overall;  production code 16.


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Monday, July 30, 2018

A Modern Progressive Manifesto




A Modern Progressive Manifesto,
by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine)


The word "Progressive" has a long history in American politics, going back over an hundred years, but its meaning has often been vague, or intentionally perverted, much like other such terms.  In the United States today, there are no less than three different groups using this name for themselves, and one of those differs from the other two rather significantly, not merely in terms of having an actual legacy from the original Progressives, but also in terms of its approach to challenges and its focus on economic concerns and not social concerns alone.  What is this one, which I have called "Modern Progressivism," which takes as what many view as the main part of its name a term both beloved and despised?  It frightens some, this word "Progressive," while others seek to wrap themselves in it without understanding its import.  It is these latter which have actuated me to distinguish Modern Progressivism by the addition of the qualification "Modern," for not only is Modern Progressivism, the actual successor of historical Progressivism (and indeed first came into its own led by one of those historical Progressives, whose image is seen above), Modern in the sense of being in the present, but it is also Modern in the sense of Modernistic.

Objectivists and Neo-Objectivists talk often about a struggle between individualism and collectivism.  I say that this is a bifurcation fallacy.  Collectivism is often used as a synonym for communism (as a general thing, not necessarily Marxist Communism, although that would fall under the header).  Objectivists and Neo-Objectivists also generally lump tribalism into the category of collectivism, but this is a rather serious misunderstanding of what tribalism is (unfortunately, few seem to have any real grasp on the meaning of tribalism, and sociologists haven't helped with their semantic revisionism turning the word into a pejorative describing something which is more akin to sectarianism than tribalism).  It also betrays the fallacy involved, for tribalism is not collectivist, not communist.  Tribalism is, rather, cooperative.  It involves a Cooperative economy, in which the tribe benefits the individual and the individual benefits the tribe.  A tribe is a community, not a commune.  The people of a tribe work together, they cooperate, for the good of the tribe and the individuals who make up the tribe.  One might even say that it is a midway point between collectivism and individualism, although I wouldn't say that.  It is not, to me, a blending of collectivist and individualist attitudes, but rather, something different from both.

Almost any question has at least three answers, and the third is not simply a moderate position between the other two.  That would still be an acceptance of the dichotomy, the dualism, involved in the bifurcation fallacy.  It would be merely an in-between position, taking some from one side and some from the other side.  Such is not a unique position or perspective, but simply a blending.  Some would even say that it is fence-sitting, although such a claim would be simply an attempt to reinforce the polarization and the bifurcation fallacy which are products of dualism.

Cooperativism is not a collective;  it is individuals working together for the common good, and that means the good of the individuals as well.  This is something which has largely been forgotten in our society, the ideal of civic republicanism, the Commonwealth.  The ideal is enshrined in the Preamble to the American Constitution:

"We the People, in order to... promote the general welfare ..."

This is an ideal of Enlightenment Liberalism, as well as of the historical Progressive movement and Modern Progressivism which arose at the end of World War II (which must be distinguished from the Fauxgressivism of Democratic Party loyalists [which is mere partisanship] and the Regressivism of Postmodern/Poststructural outrage mongers [which is a loss of the plot, focusing on the superficial instead of the substantial, and which would, through presumptuous ignorance of history and the zeal of youth, undo progress which has already been attained]).  Classical Liberalism taken to extremes, especially in its economic aspects under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, abandoned this ideal, leaving it to the historical Progressives who were later succeeded by Modern Progressives as well as to the original Social Liberals, who also became a distinct thought-current at the end of World War II.  But somewhere along the way since then, the Liberals lost sight of that ideal, while the Conservatives began to move away from Social Conservatism in the direction of Right-Wing economics (via the euphemism "Fiscal Conservatism"), eventually falling into the pit of Neoliberalism, the Liberals themselves soon following them into the same Extreme Right pit, and both imagining that Neoconservative foreign policy will save them from the unsustainable economic dystopia to which Neoliberalism invariably leads.

This left only Modern Progressives to bear the standard of civic republicanism, which remains to this day one of the features of Modern Progressivism.  Civic republicanism may also be regarded as civic responsibility, a responsibility of the individual to the local area in which he or she resides, a responsibility to the community, and by extension, to the wider society of her or his nation.  This is a salient feature of Progressivism since the 1890s.  It is not the only salient feature, however, but the others do tend to encourage this kind of civic responsibility on the part of the individual to her or his community.

What, then, are the salient features of Progressivism, or more precisely, what does a Modern Progressive stand for?

In order to answer this question, we must look at what Progressives have advocated from the beginning of the Progressive movement in the 1890s and follow that up to today.  Looking at the Progressive Party platforms from 1912, 1924, and 1948, as well as things which have been advocated by personalities such as Franklin D. Roosevelt (in particular in his "Second Bill of Rights"), George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and others, we can deduce certain enduring ideals, which for Modern Progressives can be summarily expressed as follows:

1. Banking reform, including FULL nationalization of the Federal Reserve System (no more of the BS about private banks owning shares of the Fed and the Fed being dodgy or defensive about what exactly this means), in order to, among other things, realize the full potential of our fiat currency.

2. Campaign finance reform and electoral reform.  Among other things, this would involve restoration of the representation of the people instead of representation of corporations, as well as a change in the way elections are determined, ending the first-past-the-post model and replacing that with ranked-choice voting, single transferable vote, proportional representation, or perhaps some combination thereof.  Progressive positions on the Electoral College vary, with some wanting to dispense with or abolish it entirely, while others see value in the Electoral College as a safeguard against the excesses of factions following after fads and trends (I find myself in the latter camp, agreeing with James Madison and the other Founders that democracy can too easily devolve into mob rule, what de Tocqueville named "the tyranny of the majority," just as I also agree with them that republic too often devolves into empire, and so a new system was needed, a democratic federal republic).

3. Healthcare reform, or, more precisely, reform to healthcare insurance.  Specifically, Progressives have, since the Progressive Party platform of 1912, called for "a national health service."  By the time of the 1948 Progressive Party platform, this had become an explicit call for "a national system of healthcare insurance," and today is explicitly a call for Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.  Some opponents of this goal imagine that it removes individual liberty, but if individual liberty should be taken to mean only the freedom to allow greedy profit-seeking corporations to take advantage of the individual with costs to that individual which are far greater than those of the national system of healthcare insurance to that same individual, then that is a rather unusual understanding of liberty.

4. Foreign policy reform, away from unnecessary wars and imperialistic, for profit, military interventions, and an end to ridiculous expenditures on the military, which has not been involved in a defensive war since the end of World War II, thus rendering talk of spending on "defense" rather unbelievable.  This is not to say that we should end all defense spending, but merely reform how we spend, and how much we spend.  The Cold War ended in December of 1991, when the flag of USSR was taken down for the last time.  It's time to stop living in the past and to progress to the future.

5. Reform of environmental policy, such that we actually take environmental concerns seriously instead of simply giving them lip service.

6. Economic reform, including advocacy for labor and global environmentalism, as well as Fair Trade practices, and the restoration of anti-monopoly laws and policies.  Included in this would of course be the implementation of a living wage as well as, potentially, a Universal Basic Income or Federal Jobs Guarantee.

7. Spending reform, including use of funds to restore, repair, and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure via, among other things, the elimination of waste and "pork."

8. Education reform, including restoration of the prominence of the Seven Liberal Arts as necessary studies for all free persons to maintain freedom, and elimination of fees for vo-tech schools, trade schools, and undergraduate colleges and universities.  Education, instruction, and enlightenment are the most certain means by which fanaticism and intolerance can be rendered powerless, and it should never be forgotten, that in the poorest unregarded child that seems abandoned to ignorance and vice may slumber the virtues of a Socrates or a Hypatia, the intellect of a Stephen Hawking or a Ludwig Wittgenstein, the genius of an Ursula Le Guin or a Gene Roddenberry, the capacity to benefit mankind of a Washington or a Roosevelt;  and that in rescuing her or him from the mire in which he or she is plunged, and giving her or him the means of education and development, the people that do it may be the direct and immediate means of conferring upon the world as great a boon as that given it by Charles Babbage and Hedy Lamarr;  may perpetuate the liberties of a country and change the destinies of nations, and write a new chapter in the history of the world.  Science and technology have brought us many wonders our ancestors could only dream of, but we will fall if we do not continue to advance, not only scientifically and technologically, but also philosophically and artistically, as of our understanding of history.  Without an understanding of the past, we cannot hope to make secure our present or our future.

9. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights.  The Bill of Rights to the US Constitution recognizes certain rights and liberties of the people.  We believe that the Constitution should never be amended in order to remove recognition of personal rights and liberties, but only to expand such personal rights and liberties, and to extend recognition of other Human Rights as belonging equally to all persons, regardless of ethnicity, skin color, chromosomal sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or creed, not by turning the oppressed into the oppressor and vice-versa, but by dismantling or reforming those structures which have facilitated oppression.  We stand firmly, therefore, for all of the rights recognized by the Bill of Rights, as well as the responsibilities associated with some of them.

The basic principles behind these tenets have not changed over the decades, although the ways to actualization thereof have evolved with the times.  This, then, is a Modern Progressive Manifesto.  Our goal is reform, as it has been since the 1890s.  This reform must be done peacefully and democratically, and as such, we reject calls for violent revolution and any other use of violence as a political tactic.  Literal violent revolution can end only in disaster and defeat, or in substituting one tyrant for another, or a multitude of despots for one.

Join us, and together we shall stop the corporate oligarchs who would become our new feudal lords, and instead we shall restore our democratic federal republic and bring the necessary reforms to truly make America great for all of her citizens, and not for the wealthy alone.  Join us in reformation of our nation.  Join us in Progress.




If you like what I do here at Random Musings from a Muse, at The Progressive Flame, and/or on my YouTube channel, please consider becoming my patron through Patreon.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 


Copyright notice
All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2018 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine).




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Response to Democratic Party Apologists




A Response to Those Who Are Willing to Vote,
and Want Us to Vote,
for Corporate Democrats, to "Stop Trump,"
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)


If you think the Democrats are going to do anything substantially different, you have been played.  They talk differently, they put on a show, they pretend to be on your side.  As soon as your back is turned, though, out come the knives.  The more some talk about "unity" and "working together," the more annoyed I become.  Why?  I will not work with someone who can't see what's really going on and keeps buying into the Democrats' argumentum ad metum and feigned smiles of phony friends who are nothing but neoliberal, neoconservative fauxgressives even after being told where to look for the evidence.  You're so terrified of da big bad Twump (who is actually nothing more than a big orange blowhard), that you can't bring yourself to look at this honestly and see that both main parties are equally corrupt and serve the same masters, namely, the corporate oligarchs, the 1%.  Ever heard of P.U.M.A. ("Party Unity My Ass")?  Well, those people didn't mean it, but when we said "Bernie or Bust" and "Bernie or Jill," we meant it.  We will not work with you, we will not fall in line so you can use our votes.  After all, it was you guys who told us that you didn't need us back in 2016.  Guess who asked us to come help build and own a party?  The Green Party. How did that not needing us in 2016 work out for you?  Now you want to come and beg us to come back, while constantly trying to shame us & blame us for your mistakes?  You want to get Trump out of the White House?  You want to end the corruption in government?  You want to drain the swamp?  Well, have I got a deal for you.  All you who are serious about this can pull yourselves out of the anti-democratic Party and come to the Greens, because we're not coming to the rescue of your party.  We want them out of power just as much as we want the Republicans out of power.  So there's your choice.  Take it or leave it, but stop trying to cajole us back into your corrupt party to support your corrupt candidates.  #DemExit & #GreenEnter now.

What exactly do you know about the change I want?  Why do you call it Radical?  I'm not a Radical, I'm a Progressive.  Do you understand the difference between those two terms?  I doubt it, since you don't even know the difference between a Progressive, a Regressive, and a Fauxgressive.  Do you know what they used to call what you're now calling "incrementalism," what we call "Democrat incrementalism"?  Back in the '60s, it was known as "gradualism" or "liberal gradualism."  You know who condemned that?  Do you know why?  Because "It is always the right time to do what is right," as he himself said.



You've talked about changing the Constitution to get rid of the Electoral College, to eliminate Free Speech, to eliminate the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, to eliminate Due Process.  You don't have the knowledge to start rewriting the Constitution.  You have nowhere near the amount of education in Classics & History & Philosophy which the founders had.  They wanted to avoid the flaws of all the other systems which had come before, so they gave us something totally new, not a democracy which is subject to the whims and fads of popular opinion, which so often devolves into dictatorship, not a republic which is so prone to fall into imperialism, but a democratic federal republic.  Is it perfect?  Certainly not (and especially not after all the attempts of the 1% and their lackeys in the Democratic and Republican parties to turn it into a corporate oligarchy). Is it better than a pure democracy, a pure republic, a monarchy, an autocracy, a dictatorship, an empire?  Absolutely (even now, still, but for how much longer if you don't pull your heads out of the jackass, I couldn't say).  Can it be improved?  Of course, but only if you know what the hell you're doing, and frankly, someone who can't even tell how he is being bamboozled by partisan rhetoric and logical fallacy is in no position to even contemplate such an undertaking.  Presumptuousness, daring, obstinance, denial, ignorance, these are not virtues, but hindrances to such an undertaking.  Have you even studied any legal systems?  Even the American legal system, & its origins in English common law?  Are you remotely familiar with Roman law?  Have you ever even heard of Brehon law?  Do you know the difference between Retaliatory Justice and Compensatory Justice?  Can you tell me why the Roman Republic became an Empire?  Why did the Athenian democracy become a dictatorship?  Have you read Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Tacitus, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau?  How about the writings of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison?  Alexander Hamilton?  Do you know who Sulla was?  Have you read Juvenal's Satires?  What do you know about Machiavelli?  Have you read any of his works?  If so, did you read more than selections from The Prince, more than the entirety of The Prince?  Do you know why Machiavelli talked about the difference between appearance & reality?  Do you know what the expression "bread and circuses" means?  For someone with such ambition, you are woefully ignorant of anything related to Enlightenment Liberalism, Social Liberalism, historical Progressivism, or Modern Progressivism, or the history of this country and how it came to be and why.  You're in no position to start screwing with the Constitution.  You know who else didn't want the Constitution to be changed by people who didn't understand the consequences of their actions?  Do you have any idea why we have an Electoral College?  Have you ever read Federalist Number 10? Because if you've read Federalist number 10, which was written by James Madison, then you would know.


You say you'll change the Constitution.
Well, you know, we all want to change your head.
You tell me it's the institution.
Well, you know, you better free your mind instead.
 ~ John Lennon


You want to lecture us about how to win elections, too, telling us to do things we've been doing for decades already.  Oh you're going to tell us about winning elections now?  Where were you when Hillary was running?  Why didn't you tell her what she needed to win an election?  For all her supposed knowledge & experience & intelligence, she sure screwed the pooch on that one.  If she were as intelligent, experienced, competent, & knowledgeable as you all kept claiming she was, surely she should have realized that she needed to win Electoral votes, and not just a popularity contest.  But she didn't.  And you guys think she would have made such a dandy president.

I'm being mean?  Buck up, buttercup.  Y'all can dish it out, but can't take it?  How many insults did Hillary's supporters throw at us in 2016?  We were "sexist, misogynist, chauvinist, racist," and all kinds of other nasty things, simply because we knew she was a corrupt and untrustworthy fake who should never be allowed anywhere near political power again?  Oh, the Russians must have told us that!  Hey guess what?  I lived in Arkansas the whole time her husband was governor except for the first six months of his first term and the last seven or so months of his last term.  I knew she was a fake long before most of you even knew she was alive.  Any Southern woman with even half a brain can tell when some Yankee woman is affecting affability, and I could certainly tell that she was not a person to be trusted.  So tell me the Russians turned me against Hillary again.



You just want to win to stop "Trumpism"?  No.  Your party sucks just as bad as Trump does.  We're not going to let you back in power.  Get it?  You told us to piss off, so now you get what you asked for.  Coming here and trying to blame us, shame us, scare us, and beg us to be good little serfs so the corporate oligarchy can stay in power in its two headed monstrosity which pretends to be two different parties, that's not going to work.  We are wise to your corruption.  We are wise to your anti-democratic attitudes & bylaws.  You know, there's an old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."  I've been watching what the Democratic Party has been doing since the '70s.  I am aware of how they changed their charter and bylaws in 1973 because they didn't want to allow Progressives to nominate another candidate, and the Democratic party has not nominated a single Progressive for president since then. I'm aware of how the Democrats added superdelegates to further promote a top-down organization instead of allowing grassroots activists and reformers to save the party from itself.  Now they want to add yet another hurdle, you must identify as a Democrat in order to run on the Democratic Party ticket.  Oh, and let's not forget all those closed primaries.  Hey, didn't the DNC lawyers state last year before a judge that we should have known the primary was rigged?  Didn't they also state that the DNC had the right to pick their nominee in a smoke-filled back room?  Are we back to Tammany Hall?  Has Boss Tweed been reincarnated?  Is his name Debbie Wasserman Schultz now?  And you want to play nice with us so we'll come and vote for your party.  No.  A resounding, unreserved, and unremitting no.  Go join the Whigs & the damned Anti-Masons on the trash heap of history.  We will not allow your politicians to pimp us out to the corporate oligarchy anymore.  No.  Have I made myself clear yet?  If not, then I will say it again.  No.



You tell me about the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and how they're going to lose healthcare insurance if we don't "stop Trump."  Are you one of them?  Because I'm one of them.  Go try this crap on someone else, and fail again, and again, and again, because we're not falling for it.  Only partisan dupes are going to buy it.  ACA is government-ENFORCED, private, for-profit "insurance."  It's neither Progressive nor Leftist.  Look up the Progressive Party platform for 1948.  Look at that.  Universal Health Care.  Did you ever hear of the Second Bill of Rights, proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Progressive Democrat, in his State of the Union address to he joint session of the US Congress, on 11 January 1944, in which he stated that all, regardless of station, race, or creed, should have the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health?  Did you ever read the Progressive Party Platform of 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt was their candidate for President?  Did you know that it called for the union of all the existing agencies of the Federal Government dealing with the public health into a single national health service?  Yeah, we've been trying to get this for over 100 years now, and instead, we get "incrementalism."  Y'all screwed yourselves, again and again, despite multiple warnings, & now want us to save you from your own stupidity, arrogance, & utter lack of principles, so you can screw us again.  NO.  Democrats dug your own grave, shot yourself, poisoned yourself, & refused to stop till you wound up braindead, so we removed the feeding tube & unplugged you.  FUNERAL TIME FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.



Who am I talking to?  You, Democrat.  I told you your only hope to get Trump out of office, because WE ARE NOT JOINING YOUR CORRUPT ANTI-DEMOCRATIC PARTY OR VOTING FOR YOUR NEOCONSERVATIVE/NEOLIBERAL CANDIDATES.  The ball's in YOUR court, sport.  You gonna throw the game again or come to the Greens?  You can't win without us, and we aren't playing the game for your team OR the Republicans.  Because it's not a game.  We weren't playing when we said "Bernie or Jill."  We won't vote for your corrupt candidates, no matter what you dress them up as.  Go Green or lose.  Simple as that.

Oh, I'm being mean again?  Play victim to someone else. You came to us accusing us of electing Trump, but we told you Hillary would lose if you forced her on us.  You thought we were playing.  You thought you could insult, shame, scare, or cajole us into voting for her anyway.  Then when we refused, you said that you didn't need us.  For the past 2 years, you've doubled down, electing corporate pimps to the DNC, purging Progressives from leadership positions, refusing to reject corporate donations, refusing to get rid of superdelegates, pursuing the same corporatist & neocon policies, and blaming everyone but yourselves for your loss in 2016, as well as spewing a bullshit conspiracy theory that anyone who dared to disagree with you was a "Russian bot," and now, after getting exactly what you asked for ever since the Convention in 2016, you're going to halfheartedly play nice and still accuse us of being divisive and blaming us for Trump winning in 2020 because you KNOW you won't win without Progressives, and when we tell you to get fucked, you're going to play victim?  Keep it up.  We're not budging.  The Democratic Party will join the Whigs & Anti-Masons.  Better get off that doomed ship;  there's a madman at the helm and it's headed for an iceberg AND a maelstrom.

You want to "dump Trump"?  You can't do that as a Democrat.  Your party started this battle, and now it's a war of attrition and scorched earth, till your party is dead.  It's like you thought you could invade Russia in winter or something.  You picked the wrong foe and made a colossal tactical error.

As for "Justice Democrats" and other efforts to "reform" the Democratic Party, or take it over, I keep saying that they are wasting time, effort, and money tilting at windmills when they could be building up an authentic alternative.  #DemExit & #GreenEnter

A person can conceive of all manner of things, but when the facts are in the way, those conceptions might need to be reconsidered.  The Democrats revised their charter and bylaws in 1973, to prevent another Progressive-nominated candidate for president like George McGovern, to stack the deck against any grassroots reform of the party, to make nigh-impossible any grassroots takeover of the party, and to secure the party positions of power of those in the Democratic Party establishment.  Not content with this, in the '80s, you added superdelegates to further the top-down nature of the party.  You rigged your Primary in 2016, you insulted us, you mocked us, you attempted to shame us and scare us and threaten us and so forth to get us to fall into line and support your corrupt candidate, you purged Progressives from party leadership positions in 2017, while ensconcing your own corporate sycophants in such positions, and now you want to add yet further insult to injury.  You told us after the convention in 2016 that you didn't need us.  You lost that election.  Starry-eyed idealists keep trying to save you from your own suicidal tendencies, and have been trying this for several decades to no avail.  In fact, most of these efforts not only failed spectacularly, but got co-opted by the party establishment.  And people who have no idea of all this history keep telling us to give you one more chance.  That if you don't get it right this time, that if you rig things again, that if you screw us over, yet again, that then it will finally be time to #DemExit ... Hey, it's well past that time.  Nor will we tolerate or be moved by appeals to pity, appeals to fear, attempts to shift blame for YOUR repeated screw-ups (whether that be the screw-ups of the party establishment or the screw-ups of the people who keep trying to fix them after being told over and over that it can't be done, and SHOWN WHY IT CAN'T), or any other fallacious donkey shit you try to pull.  The Democratic Party has done its best to disenfranchise Progressive Leftist voices for half a century or more, but every time you realize you need our votes and our financial contributions, here you come fawning over us, trying your best to convince us that things will be different now, just like an abusive spouse, and some have developed dysfunctions from this & keep going back for more abuse, and won't hear, refuse to even consider, reason, telling us that we are wrong, that we don't understand, that the party can be fixed, that they can make the party better.
No.
They.
Can't.

And you tell me that we should work together with the abuser and the one who keeps going back for more?  I just don't even have words to express my frustration at having explained this in great detail, repeatedly, at having pointed to the exact places in the charter and bylaws which make the Democratic Party a top-down organization, while also pointing to the Green party charter and bylaws as an example of a grassroots organization, having explained the differences, pointed out the numerous betrayals of the Democratic Party, explained what Neoliberalism is and when and why the Democratic Party embraced it, shown the numerous examples of intransigence on the part of the leadership of the party with regard to Neoliberalism or any kind of change in direction, only to be told again and again and again "give them just one more chance, they need you, and after you save them again, they will finally see that you're a good person and should be treated with respect and given an audience and maybe a few token positions of leadership."  I'm not going to work together with these people, ever again.  I saw what they were back in the early '90s, and proudly cast my vote in 1996 for someone who gives a damn about the people, the famous consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Green Party nominee for President.  If only he had won, if only the rest of the country had woken up to the shit that the two main parties already were, and still are today.  Work together?  With people foolish enough to waste their time, to waste their money, to waste their energy, trying to save a sadomasochistic party which is intent on suicide and taking as many of us with it as possible? LOL, no.

They tell us we have to choose an elephant shit sandwich or a jackass shit sandwich, but either way, it's still a shit sandwich. We don't want a shit sandwich.  We'll take some sunflower seeds instead.





If you like what I do here at Random Musings from a Muse, at The Progressive Flame, and/or on my YouTube channel, please consider becoming my patron through Patreon.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/107.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 


Copyright notice
All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2018 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine).