Thread: The social-progressive mindset Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
The "hostility to Traditional Christians" thread has gone DH-ward. The premise of that thread was that the dominant ethos of the Ship these days is a mindset that is hostile to Traditional Christianity.

I'm interested in exploring and understanding that mindset - the point of view that forms that ethos - in a little more detail.

Homosexuality, racism etc as such are out of scope, but they may feature as examples of the way that this mindset operates.

Three questions:

- can we describe this mindset - its characteristics and doctrines - in language that is acceptable to both those who hold this point of view and those who oppose it ?

- is "social-progressive" an adequate name for it or is there a better one ?

- what is the connection to Christianity ? Is this a religious point of view ?

As a starting point, my first attempt at describing it was in terms of
quote:
doctrines of

- internationalism (migrants good, Brexit bad)

- gender-bending (anything goes so long as you don't speak in favour of traditional gender roles)

- political correctness (can't believe anyone voted for Trump; free speech as long as you don't say what we don't like)

- anti-capitalism (profit is bad, small business has no rights and unlimited liability)

- anti-racism (racism is a huge sin that the whole white race should atone for)

and the general attitude that alternatives to this worldview are long-disproven crap that can be dismissed, part of the Bad Old Days that we're trying to get away from.

To which Eutychus replied
quote:
I'm increasingly convinced that traditional views, especially on moral issues, are bound up with particular concepts of power, and I'd say that covers just about everything on Russ' list above.
I think he's right that there is a common thread, which is a sympathy with those classes of people deemed to be "under-privileged".

And that combines with both a rejection of tradition as a valid reason for anything, and a feminism-derived concern for the importance of "soft" language and culture as well as "hard" legal rights.

Any thoughts ?
 
Posted by ThunderBunk (# 15579) on :
 
I can have a go, from my own perspective at least.

It starts from the micro, from the idea that each person is created, as they are, in God's image, that each person receives God's love as they are, without modification or exception. This is not to say that everything everyone does is perfect or acceptable or anything like that, but it is to say that while guilt may be of God and a mechanism for good, shame is not and cannot be. Guilt starts from the premise "I don't like what I did here...."; shame starts from the premise "What I am is not acceptable". There are, of course, cases which make this a hard doctrine to apply, but if an individual applies it to themselves, i.e. "what I am saying cannot be of God if it makes someone feel unacceptable simply because of who they are", then it becomes a lot easier for the doctrine to be applied to them.
 
Posted by SvitlanaV2 (# 16967) on :
 
I'm interested in the idea that traditional views are bound up with concepts of power. The implication is that these views are imposed from the top down, but I'm not entirely convinced that this is true.

The most tolerant Protestant mainstream denominations are themselves invested with age, status and social acceptability. The most 'traditional', by contrast, usually have far less power, if by that we mean money, status in society, or a highly educated priesthood.

The power that the latter may have (whether in an evangelical CofE congregation or an independent church) is invested not so much in institutions but in individual church leaders by congregations - i.e. by ordinary laymen and women - who themselves may not be very powerful people at all. These leaders don't assume power by virtue of who their employers are; it's bestowed upon them by the people who choose to attend their churches.

I'm not saying that powerful institutions have nothing to offer to the underprivileged, but that there's clearly a cultural and psychological gap there. I'm reminded of the infamous comment about South American Christianity: the RCC [in its liberationist guise] opted for the poor, but the poor opted for Pentecostalism [which is traditional and hence oppressive...].
 
Posted by anteater (# 11435) on :
 
Russ: I think your definition is a caricature and gives the impression that you are fed up with it, as if you've been reading to much Rod Liddle.

To critique your points:

1) Internationalism is not migration and brexit, and even those terms are not as simple as you make out. Many believe that migration is frequently a bad thing because it is not really voluntary but forced on people by awful situations. So you can view migration as frequently a bad thing but which you should accept out of compassion. But, yes, I am generally an internationalist in that I do not like tribalism of nationalism. I'm also a Remainer, though not a very strong one.

2) Well the clue to your attitude is in the title, which is not how those who believe that issues of sexuality are far from simple would like to characterise it. The caricature that says this must lead to "anything goes" is ridiculous. But yes, I would say that supporting gender roles because they are traditional is not something I am keen on. I want a better reason.

3) Political correctness. Aka politeness. Yes it can go to ridiculous extremes as can anything but most of the time it is just a recognition that if people don't like having terms they find insulting being applied to them, then it is polite not to do so. Also there is the more important point that language shapes attitudes so people will fight to get their definitions accepted so as to skew discussion. But these things are often legitimate arguments, and I don't see why you want to apply the PC term to them. For example broadening the range of rape to cover what may soon be term Assangist sex (like Clintonian sex). It's a perfectly fair question.

4) Total bollocks. Who takes that view who is in your sights?

5) Anti-racism. Your problem with that being? Only a few idiots believe your parenthetical comment.

I would also add a critical and skeptical-suspicious attitude to all who claim authority to tell me what to believe or do based on supposed super-natural powers or mission.

Which age to you want to go back to?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:
Russ: I think your definition is a caricature..

4) Total bollocks. Who takes that view who is in your sights?

Caricature - yes, certainly. A broad sketch that exaggerates the features to which one wishes to draw attention...

4) was "anti-capitalism". Do you not hear people talk as if profit were a dirty word ? Does this mindset as such ever speak up for the rights of small business-owners ?

No individual is in my sights. It's no secret that this is a mindset that I don't share. We can talk about why a bit later. For the moment I'm seeking to establish that there is a real coherent point-of-view here, understand it better, find a better set of words for talking about it, and encourage those who hold these positions to think about them as a coherent philosophy rather than as something obvious which all people of goodwill can be expected to share.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
So many straw man in that OP, I could build a Wicker Man, and have a good blaze.

For example, gender - 'anything goes' - who says this?

'Profit is bad, small business has no rights - eh? Citation needed for this one, please.

I don't understand how such exaggeration helps in discussion, since I don't recognize the targets, especially with no examples given or citations. Is it a criticism of people on this forum, or people in the Labour party, or what?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
I'm with Q the Winged Serpent on this.

The OP is so full of bile I'm going to wait until Russ comes back with a more temperate (and accurate) version.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
I'll bite ...

1.) Pretty much what anteater said. But also, I'm conscious that the advantages that come with being a British citizen are ultimately an accident of birth, rather than an inherent natural right.

2.) I think if traditional gender roles are natural, then people will naturally fall into those roles without the need for traditional roles to be promoted.

3.) Both left and right seem to be increasingly shouting into echo chambers at the moment. I don't think that's a good thing. That said, I don't agree that social opprobrium for expressing a particular opinion equates to a violation of free speech.

4.) a.) Profit is bad - Not in my opinion (although a proper Marxist might answer differently). However, if a company is making huge profits, but paying minimal taxes and screwing its workers, then one has to ask why some of that profit can't be diverted to fulfilling the company's social obligations by paying tax and paying its workers. For the Right, I think, there is no question to be asked because the profit belongs to the business owners to do what they like with it.

b.) Small businesses have no rights - I've seen it argued that increasing regulations and obligations on businesses tends to harm small businesses disproportionately, because whereas large companies employ people to deal with these things, small businesses often end up being administered by people whose main skill is in whatever the business does, and who therefore get tripped up by regulatory changes. So this probably is something the left should think about.

5.) I think if we are the heirs to all the good things our ancestors did for the West, we probably inherit the guilt as well.
 
Posted by mark_in_manchester (# 15978) on :
 
I might see myself as belonging to the set whose views the OP sets out to...clarify? I get less cross reading the Guarniad than the Torygraph, for instance. But why the ire in the responses? Someone right-leaning might suggest we were so invested in the obvious rightness (OK, leftness) of our positions, that we regarded an attempt to clarify / categorise them as almost impudent.

I don't doubt that if (as seems unlikely so far) we could agree on some of these metrics, then someone hostile on the right could then say 'ah, you're signed up to point 38), let me tell you about all the inconsistencies of your position'. But so what?

FWIW I see something truthful in all of Russ's initial points, amongst people who think like me. I can also think of friends who view themselves as very much not 'social-progressives', who would want to disagree with all the ideas Russ lists - which seems to give the list (as a list) some sort of validity, too.

There are strengths and weaknesses about holding these positions, just as there are strengths and weaknesses about adhering to a similar set of shibboleths on the right. Seems no harm (and maybe some good) in talking about what they are - though if it turns into some kind of 'gotcha', it will be pretty futile.

ETA - x-post with Ricardus, whose views I largely share.

[ 06. August 2017, 13:40: Message edited by: mark_in_manchester ]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by anteater:

Which age to you want to go back to?

The one where Noah rode a dinosaur to the Ark.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I think he's right that there is a common thread, which is a sympathy with those classes of people deemed to be "under-privileged".

There's a quote from Chesterton that I think never gets old:

quote:
This is where Dickens's social revolt is of more value than mere politics and avoids the vulgarity of the novel with a purpose. His revolt is not a revolt of the commercialist against the feudalist, of the Nonconformist against the Churchman, of the Free-trader against the Protectionist, of the Liberal against the Tory. If he were among us now his revolt would not be the revolt of the Socialist against the Individualist, or of the Anarchist against the Socialist. His revolt was simply and solely the eternal revolt; it was the revolt of the weak against the strong. He did not dislike this or that argument for oppression; he disliked oppression. He disliked a certain look on the face of a man when he looks down on another man. And that look on the face is, indeed, the only thing in the world that we have really to fight between here and the fires of Hell.
... When he found that footmen and rustics were too much afraid of Sir Leicester Dedlock, he attacked Sir Leicester Dedlock; he did not care whether Sir Leicester Dedlock said he was attacking England or whether Mr. Rouncewell, the Ironmaster, said he was attacking an effete oligarchy. In that case he pleased Mr. Rouncewell, the Ironmaster, and displeased Sir Leicester Dedlock, the Aristocrat. But when he found that Mr. Rouncewell's workmen were much too frightened of Mr. Rouncewell, then he displeased Mr. Rouncewell in turn; he displeased Mr. Rouncewell very much by calling him Mr. Bounderby.

From his introduction to Oliver Twist.
An authoritarian likes that look upon the face. A conservative, Sir Dedlock, may disapprove of the look but say what do those people expect when they try to overthrow tradition or go against God's word; a libertarian, Mr Rouncewell, may disapprove but say that if a man is in a position to have that look upon his face it is unfair to stop him showing it.
Progressives as Chesterton says may get too attached to one or other program for getting rid of that look. But fundamentally all progressives are on the side of the revolt of the weak against the strong.

quote:
anti-capitalism (profit is bad, small business has no rights and unlimited liability)
I'll note that the classical economic justification for the competitive free market is that it gets rid of excessive profit. Any profit is a sign that there is room to cut prices for consumers. If prices are not being cut then there is market failure.
The profit motive was once upon a time known as avarice and is punished in the fourth circle of Dante's Hell and the fifth circle of Dante's Purgatory. These days it has changed its coat and is verra weell respectit. But disapproval of avarice is hardly a matter of trendy relativism.

Progressives are not usually against small business. Progressives are usually against big business. Anti-progressive capitalists are pro-big business; they like to pose as friends to small big business - all the better to eat them. No doubt small businesses get caught in the crossfire sometimes, but capitalists behind their honeyed words are far more hostile to small business than progressives.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Is it a criticism of people on this forum, or people in the Labour party, or what?

Not a criticism of anyone. It's trying to identify a cluster of attitudes that make up this "dominant ethos".

And part of what I'm asking is what to add to or subtract from the list in order to give a better pen picture of this belief-system.
 
Posted by Pomona (# 17175) on :
 
I don't think your examples particularly belong to one single mindset. Progressive liberal views on capitalism will look entirely different to progressive leftist views, for example. Likewise one can be leftwing and not progressive, and liberal and not progressive. So your comments about capitalism being bad wouldn't necessarily fit onto all progressives.

I come from a broadly Marxist feminist perspective, where it's about working for the liberation of marginalised people. However, often this will mean supporting the same things in terms of the law of people with a different view of capitalism etc (eg access to Legal Aid, to pick a non-DH example). It's just that often they may see the law as all that's needed, whereas I would often see progressive laws as a stepping stone to build upon. Eg, a liberal (I am not a liberal!) may see fairer Legal Aid law as a necessary solution to current flaws in the system, but not want to get rid of the system. I would see it as necessary to help people in the here and now, but that the system is inherently flawed in the first place, so fixing things now is simply survival pending revolution.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
You might want to think about how posting a bunch of caricatures is going to lead to a discussion that lead to an understanding of the group being ridiculed. It seems to instead be a way to ridicule the group being discussed without needing to understand them.

as for your points, it seems unlikely to be worth the effort, but some of us want to allow fluid gender roles that include accepting those who chose traditional gender roles. I'm not sure where you see this, but I think the arguments against lipstick lesbians died out a long time ago. If someone wants to be straight, fine for them. If that means they need the crutch of denying other people the freedom to be non straight, too bad for them. Are you saying that those who pick traditional roles are disparaged or that you feel they should be privileged above others because of your religious beliefs? I don't want to caricature you as a conservative, but that's usually what I've seen here.

As for capitalism, around here, the threat to small businesses is more from very large capitalism. A few bookstores may get grief from leftists, a lot more are closing because they can't compete with Amazon which has negotiated lower prices from publishers. There are many more examples where unchecked capitalism is a big danger. Big Pharma which in the last five years has tripled the price of the drugs I need to live and has had the laws made that I can't import said drugs from other countries. For my safety of course.
You might consider what unconstrained development is doing to big cities to price out many of the residents. There aren't easy answers to this, but assuming the free market will make it all right is not going to work for the non-rich.

As for racism, it's worth noticing the current real discrimination against blacks and Hispanics.
The slogan "Black Lives Matter" is countered with "all lives matter" which ignores the very different treatment Blacks and Whites get from police. Whites still have to deal with the fact that they are treated better in law and practice than non-whites. Once you make that go away, it won't be a problem.


So that's my take on liberal progressive issues. I'm not a Christian, and I don't think that my society should be run for special benefit of Christians who feel their beliefs should dictate what others do.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Dafyd quoted Chesterton:
His revolt was simply and solely the eternal revolt; it was the revolt of the weak against the strong. He did not dislike this or that argument for oppression; he disliked oppression. He disliked a certain look on the face of a man when he looks down on another man. And that look on the face is, indeed, the only thing in the world that we have really to fight between here and the fires of Hell.

I admire Chesterton for his command of language, his chivalry, and his principled even-handedness. But not for the rigour of his analysis.

Seems to me that there are at least three kinds of "looking down on".

There's the kind where the British look down on the French and the French look down on the British and both sides find this a satisfactory situation.

There's the kind where Miss A looks down on Mr B for being a liar and a bully, which is to say that Miss A holds honesty and kindness to be important.

And there's the "we don't mind and they don't matter" kind, which is treating other people as being something less than human, which is what I take Chesterton to be opposed to.

And whilst the strong will always be tempted to oppress the weak, we can't infer oppression from mere difference in strength. It is the misuse of strength that should be opposed, not its existence.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

And whilst the strong will always be tempted to oppress the weak, we can't infer oppression from mere difference in strength. It is the misuse of strength that should be opposed, not its existence.

Help me understand how one can have a massive imbalance of power without there being misuse. I'm not seeing it.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Help me understand how one can have a massive imbalance of power without there being misuse.

You don't have a younger brother who's less capable than you are, whom you look out for ?
 
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
 
But then you mean 'imbalance of power', as in something to be adjusted or allowed for? A bit like a wonky balance on a see-saw where kid A is twice the size of kid B and invites Kid B to find a friend to sit on his side to even things up? Or somehow hives off his own power and strength and shares it with Kid B, to make the see-saw more balanced?

Usually, 'imbalance of power' means institutionalized and systemic authorities and set-ups which ensure greater power for those already powerful and less power for the already weak. As in, Kid A just keeps his advantage to himself, bumps about on 'his' see-saw as much as he likes, and leaves Kid B high and dry!

I'm interested in the idea, mentioned above, of the traditional conservative view as being the one that maintains power structures for the sake of the powerful; and at the expense of the less-powerful.

In Northern Ireland there was a majority vote in favour of same-sex marriage (to take an example). But the peculiar weight of executive power in the direction of the DUP under Arlene Foster's leadership, ensured a veto on democratic action. A clear case of minority religious-inspired views impacting a whole province's political and social freedoms. But one may argue that the fault lay in the system, or the institution, which permitted the possibilities of such vetoes to exist.

Of course, the veto option, arguably, was incorporated because of the already peculiar dynamic of Ulster politics, presumably as a kind of inducement to enable natural enemies to work together for the good of the whole province. But in itself this is admitting the defects of the politicians involved and their own motivations and prejudices.

I rather liked Dafyd's Chesterton quote, too. (Great fan of Bleak House!)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You don't have a younger brother who's less capable than you are, whom you look out for ?

Nope.

And a younger brother is not a massive imbalance of power. Ridiculous nonsense.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
And whilst the strong will always be tempted to oppress the weak, we can't infer oppression from mere difference in strength. It is the misuse of strength that should be opposed, not its existence.

If you believe in original sin you can infer oppression from difference in strength unless there's reason not to.
I thought you were trying to draw a portrait of the progressive mindset, rather than trying to argue against it.
The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
G K Chesterton wrote
quote:
His revolt was simply and solely the eternal revolt; it was the revolt of the weak against the strong. He did not dislike this or that argument for oppression; he disliked oppression. He disliked a certain look on the face of a man when he looks down on another man. And that look on the face is, indeed, the only thing in the world that we have really to fight between here and the fires of Hell.

I confess, Gil, I've never read anything of yours I've liked very much, and this is no exception.

Talk of Dickens or us being against oppression doesn't shine much light. Oppression is what we call those abusively one-sided relations that it's obvious we must be against.

The first interesting question is why those unequal relations develop and persist. Surely it is more than bad people doing bad things, or something disturbing you can see in some people's faces? In most cases that come to mind it seems to be the desperate and violent maintenance of inequality because of fear of change. The strong hang on to the status quo, denying the just claims of the weak, out of terror at the consequences if power were rebalanced. It is not wickedness that makes them oppress, but a fearful hopelessness. Any of us might behave in the same way.

Which raises the second interesting question. What can be done? If it is not a fault in the oppressor, but the influence of history and fear, then it's possible to free both the weak and the strong. Indeed, neither can be freed without the other. If the weak will refuse to see the strong as their enemies, then the strong can perhaps learn to embrace the weak as their liberators, and oppression can be dismantled.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Palimpsest:
Are you saying that those who pick traditional roles are disparaged or that you feel they should be privileged above others because of your religious beliefs?[quote]

Seems like you're not getting the point. I'm not putting forward a position, not looking to argue the merits of traditional gender roles.

I'm suggesting that one of the characteristics - of what for want of a better name I'm calling the social progressive mindset, please do suggest a better name - is a tendency to be in favour of anything that inverts or subverts or tends to undermine traditional gender roles.

Seems like you're saying to me is that you broadly agree with the positions that I'm listing - that you see capitalism and traditional gender roles as at least somewhat problematic, and racism as a big issue that white people collectively have to deal with.

Are you happy to be considered a member of this group that I'm identifying ?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If you believe in original sin you can infer oppression from difference in strength unless there's reason not to.

Original sin could conceivably imply that any sin you can think of will be committed by someone. Don't think it requires that every sin will be committed by everyone who has the opportunity. That seems to me too pessimistic a view.

quote:
I thought you were trying to draw a portrait of the progressive mindset, rather than trying to argue against it.
Indeed. Are you saying that this belief in total depravity is what underpins that mindset ? If so, guess it's for me to thank you for the suggestion and wait and see if others agree with you.

quote:

The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused.

Not sure I follow you. How does some people being stronger, cleverer, more charismatic than others depend on people misusing those advantages to oppress others ?

Or are you only talking about wealth, and asserting that the only way for anyone to obtain or retain wealth is to oppress ?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
The first interesting question is why those unequal relations develop and persist. Surely it is more than bad people doing bad things, or something disturbing you can see in some people's faces? In most cases that come to mind it seems to be the desperate and violent maintenance of inequality because of fear of change. The strong hang on to the status quo, denying the just claims of the weak, out of terror at the consequences if power were rebalanced. It is not wickedness that makes them oppress, but a fearful hopelessness. Any of us might behave in the same way.

Any of us might and most of us do from time to time.
The naive might think that the 1% hang on to 20% of the country's wealth because it's nice to have money and status. The naive might think that men (not all men) hang on to male privilege because it's nice to have power and status and have someone do the housework after you. But no: it's all because they're afraid of what would happen if they let go. Glad to have that sorted out. One does wonder how oppression got started if it's all down to fear of the consequences of stopping.

You presume that the fear is so to speak sincere. It isn't. The fears arise in order to justify the oppression. Fears of what the gays or the poor or women or immigrants will do if given rights are created to justify the ongoing advantages to the privileged. The fearful hopelessness is itself culpable.

quote:
Which raises the second interesting question. What can be done? If it is not a fault in the oppressor, but the influence of history and fear, then it's possible to free both the weak and the strong. Indeed, neither can be freed without the other. If the weak will refuse to see the strong as their enemies, then the strong can perhaps learn to embrace the weak as their liberators, and oppression can be dismantled.
This looks like a textbook example of victim blaming. It is not the responsibility of the weak to refuse to see the strong as their enemies. For the oppressed to do that unconditionally prior to repentance by the oppressor would be cheap grace. This kind of thinking did nothing to stop child abuse in the church or in secular institutions. It is a misreading of King to think it advanced the Civil Rights Movement. And so on.

In so far as there is anything in what you say, it is a half-truth, and not the primary half of the truth at that.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Small businesses very rarely are capitalized. One can be pro-small-business but anti-capitalism.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
The first interesting question is why those unequal relations develop and persist. Surely it is more than bad people doing bad things, or something disturbing you can see in some people's faces? In most cases that come to mind it seems to be the desperate and violent maintenance of inequality because of fear of change. The strong hang on to the status quo, denying the just claims of the weak, out of terror at the consequences if power were rebalanced. It is not wickedness that makes them oppress, but a fearful hopelessness. Any of us might behave in the same way.

Any of us might and most of us do from time to time.
The naive might think that the 1% hang on to 20% of the country's wealth because it's nice to have money and status. The naive might think that men (not all men) hang on to male privilege because it's nice to have power and status and have someone do the housework after you. But no: it's all because they're afraid of what would happen if they let go. Glad to have that sorted out. One does wonder how oppression got started if it's all down to fear of the consequences of stopping.

You presume that the fear is so to speak sincere. It isn't. The fears arise in order to justify the oppression. Fears of what the gays or the poor or women or immigrants will do if given rights are created to justify the ongoing advantages to the privileged. The fearful hopelessness is itself culpable.

quote:
Which raises the second interesting question. What can be done? If it is not a fault in the oppressor, but the influence of history and fear, then it's possible to free both the weak and the strong. Indeed, neither can be freed without the other. If the weak will refuse to see the strong as their enemies, then the strong can perhaps learn to embrace the weak as their liberators, and oppression can be dismantled.
This looks like a textbook example of victim blaming. It is not the responsibility of the weak to refuse to see the strong as their enemies. For the oppressed to do that unconditionally prior to repentance by the oppressor would be cheap grace. This kind of thinking did nothing to stop child abuse in the church or in secular institutions. It is a misreading of King to think it advanced the Civil Rights Movement. And so on.

In so far as there is anything in what you say, it is a half-truth, and not the primary half of the truth at that.

We talk of oppression when there are entrenched systemic features and when groups of people are involved. An individual might bully or be abusive or rob people, but racism, sexism, colonialism and so on operate at another level. Apartheid South Africa didn't come about through the chance concentration there of a lot of unscrupulous racists, it was the product of a long and complex history. By the time of fully fledged apartheid both black and white were inheritors of the situation and their place within it. We have inherited sexism, racism and prejudices of many sorts. It's really not just about bad people who treat each other unjustly and look at each other in a funny way. We grow up in a world that distorts our relationships and who we are.

The fear of immigrants that right wingers feel, the white South Africans' fear of democracy and possible revenge, the fear the chauvinist feels if he were to let go of privilege and so much of his identity with it, I think these fears are real. They do not excuse injustice, of course, and perhaps there are mechanisms that exaggerate such fear, but I think it is 'sincere.' I think the violence of the British in India, for example, was largely the result of the terror of being a very small number of people trying to control an immense population.

And I do think that both sides of such injustices are often trapped. Not always. Child abuse is clearly different. While ethnic cleansing or persecution or lynching is going on violence is unchained and nothing good can be done, but there have been situations where it is the weak who seem to have a little more freedom and not the responsibility, but the opportunity to be the creative element.

We celebrate Gandhi, King, Mandela and Tutu rightly. They are not role models for every situation, but when it can be found, theirs is a better way.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Palimpsest:
Are you saying that those who pick traditional roles are disparaged or that you feel they should be privileged above others because of your religious beliefs?[quote]

Seems like you're not getting the point. I'm not putting forward a position, not looking to argue the merits of traditional gender roles.

I'm suggesting that one of the characteristics - of what for want of a better name I'm calling the social progressive mindset, please do suggest a better name - is a tendency to be in favour of anything that inverts or subverts or tends to undermine traditional gender roles.

Seems like you're saying to me is that you broadly agree with the positions that I'm listing - that you see capitalism and traditional gender roles as at least somewhat problematic, and racism as a big issue that white people collectively have to deal with.

Are you happy to be considered a member of this group that I'm identifying ?

When you say "undermine traditional gender roles" if what you are saying is people don't have the right to non-traditional roles, then yes, as a gay man I'm happy to subvert that oppression. If you're saying that those who prefer traditional gender roles for themselves but are happy to allow others non traditional roles aren't being allowed traditional gender roles, then I oppose that kind of undermining. I guess I can just create a group which believes in the lies and half truth propaganda of Fox News and their kind.
I'm surprised you didn't mention the war on Christmas.
 
Posted by Erroneous Monk (# 10858) on :
 
I can't see how the outlook hypothesised in the OP represents "traditional Christianity" at all.

We might test it by asking, for each of those bullet points, what the Holy Father, Pope Francis, thinks about them. I think he'd be very surprised to hear that as the leader of traditional Christianity, he's meant to be anti-immigration and pro-Brexit.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If you believe in original sin you can infer oppression from difference in strength unless there's reason not to.

Original sin could conceivably imply that any sin you can think of will be committed by someone. Don't think it requires that every sin will be committed by everyone who has the opportunity. That seems to me too pessimistic a view.
I'll settle for often enough that it becomes a problem you can't just blame on a few bad apples. As has been observed, original sin is one of the few aspects of Christianity that can easily be empirically confirmed.
In any case, the whole point about power is that you can't only target the misuses of power. If you act to prevent power from being misused you do so by constraining and limiting power. Just as if you stop someone misusing a freedom they're no longer free in that respect so if you stop someone from misusing a power they no longer have that power.

quote:
quote:
I thought you were trying to draw a portrait of the progressive mindset, rather than trying to argue against it.
Indeed. Are you saying that this belief in total depravity is what underpins that mindset ? If so, guess it's for me to thank you for the suggestion and wait and see if others agree with you.
A belief in original sin is one possible motivation. C.S.Lewis believed in democracy because he thought humans were made in the image of God and therefore capable of ruling themselves, and he thought they were subject to original sin and therefore no one human being could be trusted to rule others. That doesn't mean all democrats would support democracy for that reason, but C.S.Lewis was still a democrat.

quote:
quote:

The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused.

Not sure I follow you. How does some people being stronger, cleverer, more charismatic than others depend on people misusing those advantages to oppress others ?

Or are you only talking about wealth, and asserting that the only way for anyone to obtain or retain wealth is to oppress ?

I'm talking about power, to which wealth is one possible route.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
We have inherited sexism, racism and prejudices of many sorts. It's really not just about bad people who treat each other unjustly and look at each other in a funny way. We grow up in a world that distorts our relationships and who we are.

'Distorts our relationships and who we are' is a euphemism for 'makes us into bad people who treat each other unjustly'.

quote:
The fear of immigrants that right wingers feel, the white South Africans' fear of democracy and possible revenge, the fear the chauvinist feels if he were to let go of privilege and so much of his identity with it, I think these fears are real. They do not excuse injustice, of course, and perhaps there are mechanisms that exaggerate such fear, but I think it is 'sincere.'
I think you need to reread Walter Wink on redemptive violence.

quote:
I think the violence of the British in India, for example, was largely the result of the terror of being a very small number of people trying to control an immense population.
Which implies that it wasn't the direct result of trying to control a population.

quote:
We celebrate Gandhi, King, Mandela and Tutu rightly. They are not role models for every situation, but when it can be found, theirs is a better way.
Mandela notoriously never renounced the armed struggle.
King never refused to see his enemies as enemies. He may have tried to love his enemies, he may have hoped to be ready to forgive his enemies, but he never forgot that they were his enemies. And he certainly fought against his enemies, if a satirical novel like Oliver Twist or Hard Times is to count as fighting.
The lesson usually taken from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail is that the oppressed never get justice unless they fight for it. Maybe fight with soul force rather than physical force, but fight they must.
 
Posted by Stejjie (# 13941) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
We have inherited sexism, racism and prejudices of many sorts. It's really not just about bad people who treat each other unjustly and look at each other in a funny way. We grow up in a world that distorts our relationships and who we are.

'Distorts our relationships and who we are' is a euphemism for 'makes us into bad people who treat each other unjustly'.
But the words "makes us" that you use still implies something going on beyond simply people choosing to be 'bad people who treat each other unjustly'. It suggests systems, powers etc. that cause people to act in these ways (otherwise they wouldn't be "made into bad people", they would just be bad people). Which, I think, was part of hatless' point. To suggest it's just about bad behaviour of people is to overlook these systems and powers that end up enslaving the oppressed and the oppressors (by bringing them to behave in ways that oppress and destroy).

I'm thinking of Paul's idea of us being slaves to sin: that sin isn't just about us doing bad/disobedient-to-God things (though that's part of it), but sin as a power that traps us in those patterns of behaviour and from which it's not wholly in our power to break free. Paul doesn't suggest this absolves us from culpability; these things are still our fault. Structural sin also makes a similar point: that sin isn't just individual bad things, but systems and processes of injustice that hold sway over people. That doesn't exempt people from culpability for their actions, but it does suggest that the answer can't simply be labelling people as bad: those systems have to be dismantled somehow.

I do think all this suggests that simply labelling them as bad people isn't always helpful as a way of bringing to an end this behaviour and freeing those who are oppressed/destroyed by it. Yes, some may simply be acting out of malice. But I don't think it's so out there to suggest, as hatless does, that fear may equally be a motivator: fear of losing or not gaining power or wealth, fear of scarcity, fear of change and the threats that might bring to you - fear in these senses can be a potent and deadly force, especially when combined with power, wealth etc. And, yes, this can lead to people acting to hold up a system that is destroying others - and themselves - but they simply can't see a way out. Not everyone's like this, I'm sure: but I'd wager that a lot of people are. And while they need to face up to the truth of what's happened and what they've done, they also need release, a way out, a reassurance that the world isn't going to end if what they fear most happens, more than they need reminding that they're bad people doing unjust things.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Original sin could conceivably imply that any sin you can think of will be committed by someone. Don't think it requires that every sin will be committed by everyone who has the opportunity. That seems to me too pessimistic a view.

I'll settle for often enough that it becomes a problem you can't just blame on a few bad apples.

That's a human perception not a reality. There's a whole spectrum between 99% resisting temptation and 1% succumbing all the way through to 1% resisting and 99% succumbing. Any arbitrary line you draw between a "few bad apples" perspective and a "systemic problem" perspective is just an arbitrary line. And those who resist temptation deserve better than to be lumped in with the abusers.

quote:

If you act to prevent power from being misused you do so by constraining and limiting power. Just as if you stop someone misusing a freedom they're no longer free in that respect so if you stop someone from misusing a power they no longer have that power.

quote:
[QUOTE][qb] How does some people being stronger, cleverer, more charismatic than others depend on people misusing those advantages to oppress others ?

Or are you only talking about wealth, and asserting that the only way for anyone to obtain or retain wealth is to oppress ?

I'm talking about power, to which wealth is one possible route.
I'm struggling to see how your assertions about power in general make sense in terms of specifics.

You quoted me Chesterton using physical strength (which is one form of power) as a metaphor for power in general.

We prevent playground bullying by establishing a school culture where this is recognised as a wrong and then punishing those we catch breaking that rule. Not by giving those who are physically strong some sort of drug to weaken them.

Having social prestige - another form of power - from charisma doesn't depend on misusing that power to scapegoat others. There's a temptation to boost one's own ego by so doing, Which good people resist.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Original sin could conceivably imply that any sin you can think of will be committed by someone. Don't think it requires that every sin will be committed by everyone who has the opportunity. That seems to me too pessimistic a view.

I'll settle for often enough that it becomes a problem you can't just blame on a few bad apples.

That's a human perception not a reality. There's a whole spectrum between 99% resisting temptation and 1% succumbing all the way through to 1% resisting and 99% succumbing. Any arbitrary line you draw between a "few bad apples" perspective and a "systemic problem" perspective is just an arbitrary line. And those who resist temptation deserve better than to be lumped in with the abusers.
You seem to want to divide humanity into "us good people" and "those bad people." As do most people, actually.

I'm more inclined to go with Solzhenitsyn's observation that the line between good and evil cuts through every human heart.
 
Posted by Anglican_Brat (# 12349) on :
 
The "anything goes" argument is interesting, a core liberal value that even many conservatives would not dismiss outright is the belief that the individual has a right to shape and live her life as she sees fit. I don't need necessarily to adopt a radical "gender does not exist" posture to support the right of individuals to express their gender identity as they see fit, which pretty much answers most of the dead horse issues.

Social liberalism is really about "live and let live." It's not necessarily about "liking" what your neighbour may choose or choose not to do, I may not like my neighbour who chooses to go to McDonald's rather than a healthy salad place, but it's none of my business what he or she does as long as no one else gets hurt.

On another issue, no one "hates" profit. The point of a critical left perspective on profit, isn't that profit is bad, but that the people who worked for that profit, i.e. the workers, and by extension, society which provides the public goods for that profit to be created, deserve a just share. We may praise Bill Gates, but if he was the only Microsoft employee, he wouldn't, by him alone, create the massive success of Microsoft.
 
Posted by Aijalon (# 18777) on :
 
As someone who is on the traditional side I would offer this explanation.

The hostility of what you call a progressive mindset is based on the two worldviews that look down on each other. The mindset is "you are a fool" for both parties. Hence, Russ, your question to even raise the issue of a mindset challenges the progressive viewpoint to crystallize its message, explain itself. But it is clear that progressives feel their mindset does not need justification, and you're OP is called "strawman" from the start, merely because you were generalizing to start a discussion. You're OP is called "rediculous nonsense" and so forth.

And as pimpleset indicated, it boils down to human rights. The progressive feels that human rights are very broad, and probably adopts the view that God desires the same broad application of human rights. So just as Anglican_Brat indicated, as long as no one is harmed by their actions, a rule against it is regarded as nonsensical, arbitrary, and power-grabbing.

The very thing the progressive hates and looks at as a social evil -arbitrary rules against increasing human happiness- is often the thing that a traditional Christian believes to be a virtue. There is no reconciling it. Both camps dislike that the other mindset even exists. Progressivism to the Traditional Christian is basically "conformance with the world" in perfect conflict with Romans 12:2, to which progressives would counter with something hostile that amounts to "that's rubbish".
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Aijalon, may I suggest you read what Anglican_Brat wrote immediately above your last? It's pretty clear he far better understands the "progressive mindset" than the understanding represented by your post.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Small businesses very rarely are capitalized. One can be pro-small-business but anti-capitalism.

My first shot on that one seems a bit wide of the mark.

The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless. So that the progressive mindset is quite happy to uphold the interests of small business against big business, perceived as having greater power. But will tend to side with the employee in any conflict with a small-business employer.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless. So that the progressive mindset is quite happy to uphold the interests of small business against big business, perceived as having greater power. But will tend to side with the employee in any conflict with a small-business employer.

I think the point you are missing is that progressives are interested in worker rights not in an abstract fight between weaker and stronger parties. So "siding with the employee" happens whenever the worker is being exploited - be it by a large or small employer - because the progressive is more interested in the person and his rights rather than the capitalist who is earning money by investing his capital.

In practice people who describe themselves as "progressives" are often sucked into the idea that one of the only important action they should be doing is "creating jobs", even when - as so often is the case in Wales - it costs an awful lot of government cash (often direct grants) to create a small number of badly paid jobs. And so it then becomes increasingly difficult to support the rights of workers without looking like one is attacking the "job creators".

[ 09. August 2017, 19:23: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Original sin could conceivably imply that any sin you can think of will be committed by someone. Don't think it requires that every sin will be committed by everyone who has the opportunity. That seems to me too pessimistic a view.

I'll settle for often enough that it becomes a problem you can't just blame on a few bad apples.

That's a human perception not a reality. There's a whole spectrum between 99% resisting temptation and 1% succumbing all the way through to 1% resisting and 99% succumbing. Any arbitrary line you draw between a "few bad apples" perspective and a "systemic problem" perspective is just an arbitrary line.
Actually I believe empirical research shows that in various areas there are tipping points at which a perception that everyone is doing it, or that many people are doing it, makes an activity acceptable.

quote:
And those who resist temptation deserve better than to be lumped in with the abusers.
Shall we apply this to the playground example. In the playground all the strong children have the power to bully other children. Some of them don't bully other children even having the power. Now you come and introduce punishment for those who get caught. So some bullies stop being bullies for fear of punishment. You're removing some of the power to bully.
Now someone comes along, let's call them L, and says by introducing the threat of punishment you're lumping the children who don't bully even without punishment in with the children who do. The children who don't bully deserve better says L. You shouldn't introduce punishment.

Obviously punishing bullies doesn't do much good if you don't ever catch any bullies. So you introduce surveillance and playground monitors to watch for bullies. So you're removing more power. But once again L objects that the surveillance doesn't work unless the playground monitors watch both the children who would bully and the children who wouldn't bully. L says the children who wouldn't bully deserve better than to be lumped in with the children who would. L thinks you shouldn't introduce surveillance.

A further point: bullying isn't an on-off thing. Perhaps lots of bullies think punching people in the stomach is ok but draw the line at punching people in the face. Now there's a proposal to punish all punching. L thinks that the bullies who only punch people in the stomach don't deserve to be lumped in with the bullies who punch people in the face.

There is of course an aspect we're overlooking so far.
We're talking about what is wrong with bullying is the abstract act of bullying. But what is wrong with bullying is that the people being bullied suffer. If the people who don't bully anyway are refraining from bullying because they care about the moral wrongness of bullying then they won't mind being deprived of the opportunity to deserve credit for not bullying. If they care about getting credit then they don't deserve credit anyway.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
To suggest it's just about bad behaviour of people is to overlook these systems and powers that end up enslaving the oppressed and the oppressors (by bringing them to behave in ways that oppress and destroy).

Yes, but nobody is suggesting that.
We're having this discussion because hatless doesn't like G.K.Chesterton and so cast about for pretexts he could use to justify his dislike regardless of whether or not the pretext is relevant or appropriate.

quote:
And while they need to face up to the truth of what's happened and what they've done, they also need release, a way out, a reassurance that the world isn't going to end if what they fear most happens, more than they need reminding that they're bad people doing unjust things.
What Chesterton was describing was Dickens making people face up to the truth of what has happened. That is what hatless was objecting to. Until you've described what has happened as morally wrong then you haven't given anyone any reason to seek a way out.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
To suggest it's just about bad behaviour of people is to overlook these systems and powers that end up enslaving the oppressed and the oppressors (by bringing them to behave in ways that oppress and destroy).

Yes, but nobody is suggesting that.
We're having this discussion because hatless doesn't like G.K.Chesterton and so cast about for pretexts he could use to justify his dislike regardless of whether or not the pretext is relevant or appropriate.

quote:
And while they need to face up to the truth of what's happened and what they've done, they also need release, a way out, a reassurance that the world isn't going to end if what they fear most happens, more than they need reminding that they're bad people doing unjust things.
What Chesterton was describing was Dickens making people face up to the truth of what has happened. That is what hatless was objecting to. Until you've described what has happened as morally wrong then you haven't given anyone any reason to seek a way out.

I was not for a moment objecting to Dickens making people face up to the truth of, for instance, child labour. I was objecting to Chesterton's, as I see it, superficial understanding of the injustices that Dickens clearly felt very passionately about. This was not a pretext to falsely justify a prior dislike of Chesterton, it was my reaction to the paragraph you quoted.

I think, in part because of the work of Walter Wink, Girard, Alison and others who have examined violence and scapegoating and their justifications, that we can have a better understanding of systemic injustices and more creative ideas about how to respond to them.

Chesterton is, like C S Lewis and Hauerwas, one of those I feel I ought to like, because thoughtful people commend them, but when I read them they leave me cold. I shouldn't expect too much from someone with Chesterton's dates and background. I like his comment about the one repeated rebellion, but nothing else registered much with me. Given that deeply felt injustice is what Dickens is about, a protest on behalf of the voiceless, an affirmation of the humanity of the poor and despised, and in some books an affirmation of the possibility of redemption for the oppressor - A Christmas Carol comes to mind - I find Chesterton's comments disappointing.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless.

Yes. Just like the post-exilic prophets and Jesus.
 
Posted by Nick Tamen (# 15164) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless.

Yes. Just like the post-exilic prophets and Jesus.
And Mary.

"He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
And lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And has sent the rich away empty."
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless.

Yes. Just like the post-exilic prophets and Jesus.
And Mary.

"He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
And lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And has sent the rich away empty."

Jesus learned from the best.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
I was not for a moment objecting to Dickens making people face up to the truth of, for instance, child labour. I was objecting to Chesterton's, as I see it, superficial understanding of the injustices that Dickens clearly felt very passionately about. This was not a pretext to falsely justify a prior dislike of Chesterton, it was my reaction to the paragraph you quoted.

Dickens was a horrible person and Chesterton exaggerated to make a point. Not sure this is really news is it? One can enjoy the vigorous mental exercise of reading Chesterton's bombastic prose without thinking it is 100% accurate or the last word on a subject.

I was reading one of GK's newspapers from the 1920s the other day. I'd not seen it before and hadn't appreciated that it was basically a four page editorial without any significant content. But then I didn't appreciate that it only had a readership of 4,000. More of an ignored blog than a newspaper really.

quote:
I think, in part because of the work of Walter Wink, Girard, Alison and others who have examined violence and scapegoating and their justifications, that we can have a better understanding of systemic injustices and more creative ideas about how to respond to them.
For sure GKC was of his time. I don't think that means his basic ideas were wrong (Distributism has a lot of contemporary resonances in a way that Marxism doesn't, IMO) or that they're not basically good hearted.

It is possible to be right and a bastard or one can be a mixed-up bundle of ideas, shooting off mixed metaphors and ideas whilst being tremendous fun.

I like to read Yoder and Wink, but I'd rather have a laugh with GKC.

quote:
Chesterton is, like C S Lewis and Hauerwas, one of those I feel I ought to like, because thoughtful people commend them, but when I read them they leave me cold. I shouldn't expect too much from someone with Chesterton's dates and background. I like his comment about the one repeated rebellion, but nothing else registered much with me. Given that deeply felt injustice is what Dickens is about, a protest on behalf of the voiceless, an affirmation of the humanity of the poor and despised, and in some books an affirmation of the possibility of redemption for the oppressor - A Christmas Carol comes to mind - I find Chesterton's comments disappointing.
This seems a long-winded way of saying you don't personally like something he wrote.

I don't see how that undermines the point he was making.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The premise of that thread was that the dominant ethos of the Ship these days is a mindset that is hostile to Traditional Christianity.

I'm interested in exploring and understanding that mindset - the point of view that forms that ethos - in a little more detail.

It doesn't need more detail. In fact I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

The link to Christianity should be obvious.

As for your "doctrines":

quote:
- internationalism (migrants good, Brexit bad)
The argument is that preventing someone from moving to a country hurts them by forcing them to stay in a dangerous situation. Brexit is seen as bad because the economic impact will lead to increased poverty. I make no comment as to the accuracy of either observation.

quote:
- gender-bending (anything goes so long as you don't speak in favour of traditional gender roles)
If "traditional gender roles" means subjugation of women and persecution of anyone who is LGBT, then yes they are considered bad. Because they hurt people.

quote:
- political correctness (can't believe anyone voted for Trump; free speech as long as you don't say what we don't like)
Political Correctness basically means "don't hurt people with words".

quote:
- anti-capitalism (profit is bad, small business has no rights and unlimited liability)
Capitalism is seen as bad to the extent that it involves the exploitation of workers, suppliers and/or consumers.

quote:
- anti-racism (racism is a huge sin that the whole white race should atone for)

This one should really go without saying.

ISTM that opposition to this position comes from two main sources - those who think everybody else should believe, think and act exactly the same way as they do and those who want to be able to do whatever they want regardless of the impact on others. Most (but not all) of the religiously-inspired objections come under the first category. What both categories have in common is that they have zero respect for anybody else.

[ 10. August 2017, 14:32: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The argument seems to be that "social progressivism" (or should it be just "progressivism" ?) is a bias to the powerless.

Well of course. Because keeping things as they are inevitably means keeping power where it currently is.
 
Posted by Caissa (# 16710) on :
 
Capitalism, by definition, is exploitative.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
Being a living creature is by definition exploitive. I killed a carrot today, probably it was alive when I ate it.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Being a living creature is by definition exploitive. I killed a carrot today, probably it was alive when I ate it.

Cute but stupid. Carrots are not human beings and do not have human rights. Robbing people of a decent life and eating a carrot can only be on a par to someone who just doesn't care much for people. Like capitalists, I guess.
 
Posted by Carex (# 9643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The premise of that thread was that the dominant ethos of the Ship these days is a mindset that is hostile to Traditional Christianity.

I'm interested in exploring and understanding that mindset - the point of view that forms that ethos - in a little more detail.

It doesn't need more detail. In fact I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

The link to Christianity should be obvious.


And I suspect you'll find that the "Hostility to Traditional Christianity" is not (as is often suggested) about the "Traditional Christian" beliefs in general, but in the propensity for "Traditional Christians" to use those beliefs as a weapon to hurt others. Which, personally, I don't find to be a particularly Christian idea, however traditional it may be in some groups.

For example, if someone's spouse divorces them and remarries, but they don't believe that they are free to remarry, and they are struggling with how to lead their life in accordance with their beliefs, I think that person would get a lot of support and understand on the Ship, even among those who don't hold that particular belief.

On the other hand, if that person were to decide that the solution was to make divorce illegal, and to actively campaign to forbid others to get a divorce, I expect they would encounter a lot more hostility.

So the hostility is not against the religious views themselves, but against that idea that any one group has the right to force their religious views on others who don't share them. Especially where it causes harm to others. Now we're back to the use and misuse of power, which I think is really the key here: for some, "Traditional Christianity" includes the right to impose their beliefs on others, and it is that, rather than any actual religious beliefs, that causes problems.


But to understand that you have to be willing to allow for shades of thought, rather than a black and white "us versus the bad guys" perspective. Rather than presenting straw-man caricatures of the opposing mindset, perhaps it would be more helpful to define "Traditional Christianity" and see what parts are actually Traditional and Christian.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
I don't think we're even talking about Traditional Christianity. I think we're talking about Tradition, of which adherence to Christianity is one of the tenets.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Carex knocks it out of the park.

[Overused] [Overused] [Overused]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

An ethic of "don't hurt people" sounds as if one shouldn't act in any situation unless one can make things better for everyone.

Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.

The link to Christianity should be obvious.

As for your "doctrines":

quote:
- internationalism (migrants good, Brexit bad)
The argument is that preventing someone from moving to a country hurts them by forcing them to stay in a dangerous situation. Brexit is seen as bad because the economic impact will lead to increased poverty.[/qb][/quote]

It goes further than that. Seems to me the progressive position goes beyond "taking in refugees is a good thing to do". Immigrants as a class are seen as Victims. And therefore, to the progressive mindset, all responsibility for harmony between migrants and indigenes tests with the latter.

Is it fair to suggest that in general the Victom/Oppressor/Rescuer roles of classic drama form a template for how the progressive mindset works ? That it's all about identifying Oppressors (the class with the power or wealth), Victims (the under-privileged) and Rescuers (progressive organisations) ? "Victim-blaming" is the big sin - a failure to recognise the dynamics of power ?

quote:
Political Correctness basically means "don't hurt people with words".
No. Progressives can and do say hurtful things about those they perceive to have power or authority. Political correctness means going along with the progressive meta-narrative about who are the Oppressors and Victims and not saying anything remotely negative about the Victims.

quote:

ISTM that opposition to this position comes from two main sources - those who think everybody else should believe, think and act exactly the same way as they do and those who want to be able to do whatever they want regardless of the impact on others.

I'd agree that both authoritarian and libertarian viewpoints can stand in opposition to the progressive worldview. Which doesn't mean that any opposition is automatically from the extremes of that spectrum.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... No. Progressives can and do say hurtful things about those they perceive to have power or authority. ...

And if someone wields power and authority over other people, they fucking better well be ready for criticism when they use that power and authority to treat people badly. Or allow and encourage others to treat people badly. Or when they pretend that wielding power and authority has no impact on others. Or when they admit the impact but demand that their widdle feewings take priority. With great power ... well, you know the rest.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.

The link to Christianity should be obvious. ...


You're right, the link is obvious.

quote:
... He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.


 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
I can describe it in three words - don't hurt people.

An ethic of "don't hurt people" sounds as if one shouldn't act in any situation unless one can make things better for everyone.
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

quote:
Whereas progressives, so the argument goes, want to make things better for those classes of people perceived to be underprivileged or powerless. At the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power.
Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'. So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
If a thief steals something and the police retrieve the property and return it to the former owner then that could be described as 'making things better for someone perceived to be powerless at the expense of someone perceived to have more wealth and power'. The use of the phrases 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of' might be considered tendentious though.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@Dafyd. For nearly a week now I've wanted to ... praise you. Which looks sycophantic as I veered toward in acknowledging, deferring to the clarity of your thinking on the non-moral nature of God (on which I have more questions). We've both been here for years but I am ... changing. There's no but coming, but in all that you say, which I agree with without caveat, you embrace the expression of original sin. I suspect that we mean the same thing by that, as I can embrace it in every way except woodenly literally - which I used to for decades and even had a side bet on until a decade ago - that it is symbolic of the human condition, of the weakness of our strength: the will to power. Do we?

[ 12. August 2017, 12:36: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

quote:

The link to Christianity should be obvious. ...

You're right, the link is obvious.


Sorry, Soror Magna. I messed up.

Thar line is Marvin's, to which I was going to respond, but ran out of time, and hit the send button not realising that I'd left it in unattributed and unanswered.

My mistake; apologies to you and to Marvin.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.

We don't mind and they don't matter..

quote:

Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'.



Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not. It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.

quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. ....



So if God does all those things Mary says God will do to the powerful, will they mind? Should we mind? Or can we just say, hey, it's God's will for you, get over it?

I know the topic of the threat is the "social-progressive mindset", but since this is a Christian Website™ I'm really curious to know how you think that mindset intersects with Christianity. It is apparently in conflict with "submit to authority" Christianity and in agreement with "last shall be first" Christianity.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'. Allowing married women to own property could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...
I don't think it's necessarily incumbent on society to compensate people who have benefited from structural injustices when those injustices disappear.

Whats the reductio ad absurdum of your position ? That it would have been better to leave those slaves in slavery - the better to avoid the an 'injustice' to their former owners ?
 
Posted by Carex (# 9643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

I think you're asserting here a belief that those with above-average levels of wealth or power shouldn't mind if that wealth or power is taken away from them. And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.


There are many kinds of hurt - physical pain is one of them, but it can also be economic, emotional, or physical in other ways. Not having enough to eat, being refused access to adequate medical care, having reduced retirement benefits, or not being able to have your loved ones visit you when you are dying in the hospital are all examples of hurt, even if some don't involve physical pain.

But again, there is no absolute line. A court, for example, has to consider the relative harm done to each party, and in many cases of the types we are considering here, courts have found that harm exists only on one side, with no benefit to society as a whole for forcing that harm on them. That's often the case when the underlying issue is really about power rather than beliefs.

In a recent example, a local government had a grant to establish a medical clinic at a school in a poor area where many children had very little access to health care. (Here the kids tended to be more white and conservative than is often the case.) The government simply had to agree to accept the grant - there was no initial or ongoing expense.

But a coalition of "Traditional Christian" churches opposed it, and brought enough pressure on the government that they rejected the grant. (This group, IIRC, included at least the RC and several Baptist churches, and possibly AoG, Nazarene, and ELCA Lutherans.)

Why the opposition? Because, under State law, the nurse would have to give older teenagers information about birth control options if they asked for it. Not prescribe or provide anything, just tell them about the options.


So who is hurt in that case? Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

What is the hurt on the other side? There is none, it is simply about using (or abusing) their power in the community to cause harm to others for their own satisfaction. Unfortunately, such cases are not uncommon.


Is that an important part of what you mean by "Traditional Christianity"?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I think that if someone has two yachts and they're forced to sell one it is stretching the meaning of the term 'hurt' to say they've been hurt. 'Hurt' generally suggests some harm more fundamental on the hierarchy of needs.

No, "hurt" is literally to cause someone to feel physical pain, and by analogy to act against someone's interests or cause them some form of mental anguish.

The suggestion that anyone doesn't mind being "forced to" do anything seems to run contrary to your notion that power is a bad thing.

Anguish is 'Excruciating or oppressive bodily pain or suffering, such as the sufferer writhes under'. (OED).
Saying someone doesn't suffer anguish is not the same as saying they don't mind something. To mind something is what you do if someone asks you an inconvenient favour. To feel anguish is when you can't pay medical bills for your child.
If a billionaire loses money on the stock market and is forced to sell his second yacht as a result it is certainly in his interests to present that as being harm as serious as being unable to pay for medical treatment. Most people would consider it a dishonest flattening of language.

quote:
And therefore wanting to use language in a way that acknowledges as real hurts only those hurts that you think people oughtto feel.
I think that only things that are actually hurts should be described as hurts. I think that anyone who seriously thinks that the billionaire who loses a second yacht is hurt in a way comparable that someone struggling to make ends meet who loses their job and income is hurt is sociopathic.

quote:
quote:

Interesting choices of phrase there: 'perceived to be' and 'at the expense of'.


Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not.

There's not any evidence for this statement.
Those phrases are highly imprecise and tendentious. As are your uses of 'hurt' and 'anguish'.

quote:
It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.
Gandhi certainly acted against the interests of the British Empire.
Some people's interests clash. Benevolence to all is going to require making judgements about which interests are more important.

quote:
quote:
So abolishing slavery could be described as 'making things better for a class of people perceived to be underprivileged at the expense of those perceived to have wealth or power'.
Assuming you mean abolishing slavery without compensation...
This is self-parody.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Trying to be precise about what progressivism is and is not. It isn't benevolence to all. It isn't the equivalent of Gandhi's non-violent resistance to a violent regime.

I suggest you read a little bit about the protests against the Salt Law.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
Abolishing slavery WITH compensation is certainly what happened in some places. And all it did was make wealthy people even wealthier. It's eerily reminiscent of the thinking that certain financial institutions are too BIG to fail, so we must continue to keep them in the position that was only earned through wrongdoing in the first place.

I'm not against wealth. The problem is that not many wealthy people have much of a conscience about what can be done with that money.
 
Posted by Carex (# 9643) on :
 
Were the owners ever required to compensate the former slaves for their loss of liberty and the work that they did that they were not paid for? I'd think that would be a more appropriate form of compensation.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

Here I think you're using "hurt" in the sense of "disbenefit". That seems to me an entirely normal usage,
and with that meaning your sentence is true - these students have lost out.

The fact that there may be millions of children in the Third World with much poorer access to medical care doesn't change that. Your sentence says nothing about how relatively-well-off these students are.

You're not claiming that there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, or other expressions of great mental distress. Just that they're worse off as a result of this decision.

And I don't see anything wrong with the point you're making or how you're
making it. Although Dafyd may disagree...

quote:
What is the hurt on the other side?
The argument on the other side is about religious belief. Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong. Others would say that encouraging sex outside marriage is morally wrong, and that telling people how to avoid the unwanted consequences of an act constitutes encouragement.

You may find these beliefs ridiculous, but they are held in good faith by significant numbers of people.

So I suggest to you that a parent may experience mental distress and count it as damaging to their interests for anyone to encourage their children in immoral behaviour.

quote:
Is that an important part of what you mean by "Traditional Christianity"?
This thread isn't about Traditional Christianity. Feel free to start another.

I've responded to the above on the assumption that you're putting forward an ethic based on hurt/harm as characteristic of progressivism.

If it is, then how that ethic operates in practice is relevant.

I'm trying to clarify what this "dominant ethos on the Ship" is before we get too far into praising it or condemning it.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yeah, this thread's about the opposite, so no reference to that can be made.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah, this thread's about the opposite, so no reference to that can be made.

The relationship between the two is clearly in scope.

You're saying that one is the opposite of the other. Erroneous Monk was suggesting earlier that the Pope might agree with a number of progressive positions, implying that they're not complete opposites...

Seems to me that the Magnificat is a reaction against the idea in Judaism that if some people are rich and powerful then the all-powerful all-just God has put them there. This "prosperity gospel" type thinking is not confined to Judaism, and seems a natural consequence of monotheism. Rejecting this idea requires a particular "hands-off" type of God. Which Jesus gives us in the parable of the wheat and the darnel...

The opposite might be the idea that crime is the only way to get rich. (cf "all property is theft"). That wealth or power is necessarily the fruits of wickedness, so revolution is justice.

Then, as a different impulse in human nature, you have conservatism, which says that if some people have traditionally been rich or powerful then we should be cautious about changing that. That the burden of proof is on those who want to change things.

Does progressivism take for granted that no class of people deserves relative power and therefore considers that any traditional imbalance of power should be reversed, counting this as progress ?

(Rather than, for example, setting out a system of rights to limit anyone's power over anyone else ?)
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Aye, no CLASS of person deserves relative power. I.e. class.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction.

This kind of issue is very much on my mind at the moment because of the marriage equality currently occupying the entire political sphere in Australia. Apparently the "conservative" Christian thing to do is to not just believe that marriage is between a man and woman, preferably for procreation, but to insist the law of the land applies that belief.

The law of the land that applies not just to Christians who believe in that rule for marriage, but to Christians who don't. And Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and atheists.

A large part of the reaction to conservative Christian beliefs is not about whether or not the beliefs are perceived as ridiculous. A large part of the reaction is to the repeated attempts at ensuring that the rest of the population must abide by the same beliefs.

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
It seems to me that where there is a contradiction in the social-progressive mindset (which is a bit of a stupid idea given the way it has been defined above, but never mind), it absolutely isn't in the idea that people that are running from war and death deserve protection. For one thing, our nations are not "pure" and we're all products of waves of immigration. For another, it is fairly clear that immigrants overall benefit the economy and the societies they move to.

But there is a more subtle form of contradiction which is hard to resolve. As I have said before, I'm not sure one can have a supply chain that is entirely free of exploitation.

So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think those who are socially minded too often feather their own beds at the expense of others - but then it is hard to see any way around the imperfect systems attempting to change the systems of inequality.

And ultimately it is better that people are bothered that people are working in horrible conditions in China than being the sort of person that doesn't actually give a shit. Not much better, I'd agree, but still better than being a Tory.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)
So if gay people getting married causes a Conservative Christian mental distress then the gay people are hurting the Conservative Christian. that the hurt caused to a Conservative Christian by gay people getting married is morally equivalent to any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry.(*)

(*) Actually some forms of mental distress are not hurt. Any distress that might be felt by progressives over the suffering of other people is only perceived hurt over perceived suffering. And if your hurt is caused by something you've perceived it doesn't count.
In fact any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry is probably perceived so it might not count. But distress to religious conservatives by lurid imagining of orgies and anal sex is not caused by anything perceived so it definitely does count.

I'm not condemning or criticising Russ' views here. I'm just trying to state them precisely.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I don't understand how these people that Russ claims exist get through the day. Wouldn't the existence of, say, gay marriage be causing them constant equivalent-to-physical-pain pain?

I think this is bullshit. People get angry about other people's personal choices sometimes, but I don't think they're really feeling any pain at all.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
Originally posted by Russ:

quote:
Seems to me that the Magnificat is a reaction against the idea in Judaism that if some people are rich and powerful then the all-powerful all-just God has put them there. This "prosperity gospel" type thinking is not confined to Judaism, and seems a natural consequence of monotheism. Rejecting this idea requires a particular "hands-off" type of God. Which Jesus gives us in the parable of the wheat and the darnel...

The Magniificat bears some relation to the canticle of Hannah in 1 Samuel, which is subsequently echoed in the Prophetic writings. I struggle to see how it is an "idea in Judaism" that the rich and powerful are the beneficiaries of God's largesse. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whose views on the subject seem reasonably salient, would very vehemently disagree with you on that point.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Carex:
Clearly there are tens of students, perhaps over a hundred, who would not get checked for medical problems such as infections, diabetes, immunizations, etc. Denying them the access to medical care hurts them, to at least some degree.

Here I think you're using "hurt" in the sense of "disbenefit". That seems to me an entirely normal usage, and with that meaning your sentence is true - these students have lost out.
Medical care is something that humans need (not all the time but every human needs medical care in their lifetime).
It is more than a mere disbenefit or losing out. That is the case whether the person is an orphan in a slum in the developing world or whether it's Bill Gates. If you deny them access to medical care you harm them.

quote:
And I don't see anything wrong with the point you're making or how you're making it. Although Dafyd may disagree...
You mean you realise progressives aren't clones of each other and aren't all obliged to sign on to the same list of dogmas? You surprise me.

However, there isn't anything in Carex's statement as opposed to your eisegesis of it that I disagree with.

quote:
So I suggest to you that a parent may experience mental distress and count it as damaging to their interests for anyone to encourage their children in immoral behaviour.
If someone believes that they have an interest in living in a well-run and more egalitarian society (people in more egalitarian societies generally have higher life expectancies) and they may experience distress from seeing people struggling to make ends meet on low wages then they are harmed by living in a less egalitarian society than they would like?
Or is it only traditionalists and libertarians who are harmed by distress? Distress felt by progressives is only perceived and doesn't count?
Presumably if someone is struggling to feed and clothe their family on a zero-hour contract and they feel distress as a result that also is only perceived distress that doesn't count?

quote:
I'm trying to clarify what this "dominant ethos on the Ship" is before we get too far into praising it or condemning it.
You seem to be doing quite a lot of condemning already.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Does progressivism take for granted that no class of people deserves relative power and therefore considers that any traditional imbalance of power should be reversed, counting this as progress ?

(Rather than, for example, setting out a system of rights to limit anyone's power over anyone else ?)

Setting out rights that limit anyone's power over anyone else is correcting imbalances of power. Or maybe you mean something else? You mean setting out a system of rights that enshrines traditional power wielded over other people.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)
So if gay people getting married causes a Conservative Christian mental distress then the gay people are hurting the Conservative Christian. that the hurt caused to a Conservative Christian by gay people getting married is morally equivalent to any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry.(*)

(*) Actually some forms of mental distress are not hurt. Any distress that might be felt by progressives over the suffering of other people is only perceived hurt over perceived suffering. And if your hurt is caused by something you've perceived it doesn't count.
In fact any hurt caused to gay people by not being allowed to marry is probably perceived so it might not count. But distress to religious conservatives by lurid imagining of orgies and anal sex is not caused by anything perceived so it definitely does count.

I'm not condemning or criticising Russ' views here. I'm just trying to state them precisely.

Yes. I nearly went on to articulate this, but you've captured it perfectly. The hurt of watching people not live the same way that you do.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
So it isn't too hard to draw a straight line between the increase of worker rights at home and the increase of grinding poverty and exploitation in factories abroad.

I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.
The other factor is producers of those goods wanting to maximise their profit. It isn't strictly the consumer's fault.
What is our fault is not caring enough about the atrocities that allow us cheap goods. It goes well beyond poor factory worker conditions and pay.
Literal slavery, maiming, death, etc. And, no, that is not histrionics, but the consequences of cheap consumer goods and foods.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
Yes, agreed.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I think you've got a good point here, but it's not quite a direct line. What's needed in the middle is a consumer desire to continue paying as little as possible for goods, and a burying of information about how those cheap prices are achieved.

Well, yes - it is part of a system in which capitalist owners of enterprises have been forcing down labour costs throughout supply chains in order to maximise profits.

lilBuddha is clearly also correct that the market is driven by consumers to get desirable items at prices they can afford.

But I think my point is deeper than that. Where I live here in Wales 100 years ago miners had low life expectancies and regularly died in mine accidents.

Wales has been dealing with the legacy of domestic exploitation - in the most negative sense - of the working population for a long time including environmental, health, social and other problems.

And yet today it can be argued that the vast majority of the workers in the weakest position have more than they had 100 years ago. Almost everyone has access to clean water, sanitation and food. Almost everyone can access good healthcare. The life expectancy is going up. The working conditions and employment rights even for those in jobs which pay the minimum are still much better than it was 100 years ago.

Yes, it is in no sense perfect. Yes, domestic poverty exists.

But it seems inarguable that strong unions have been able to force concessions over the years and have been able to improve worker rights and general social conditions. The problem is that working in a capitalist consumerist society means that there is really only one place where it is possible to extract the taxes and other investment necessary to pay for it - and that is from direct or indirect exploitation (often of a kind that closely resembles the conditions in this valley 100 years ago) further down the supply chain.

It would be nice to believe that it would be possible to organise a society which is essentially co-operative where consumers properly compensate producers for their work without the profit-seeking capitalists involved.

But if the end objective is to have everyone in the supply chain have the things and lifestyle that we have (and assume that we should always have them by right like sanitation, healthcare and good food never mind iphones and Spanish holidays), then that doesn't work, cannot work.

That's the unspoken problem here. If we want to improve the lot of ourselves and those close to us, then pretty much the only way to do that is to exploit someone else.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Brilliant. Your penultimate para, to confirm: that objective is a delusion? Because, as you point out, someone has to be poor for us to be rich? As Basil of Caesarea, was it, said? Therefore even Gordon Brown's 'third way'; the poor are our biggest market, is doomed? The poor we will always have with us?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Brilliant. Your penultimate para, to confirm: that objective is a delusion? Because, as you point out, someone has to be poor for us to be rich? As Basil of Caesarea, was it, said? Therefore even Gordon Brown's 'third way'; the poor are our biggest market, is doomed? The poor we will always have with us?

It seems to me that the alternative is basically Cuba.

To me, that's the sting: we might be able to force a system where everyone involved has proper access to sanitation, healthcare etc (at least at the level we'd all expect for our own grandparents rather than some pathetic crumb of a service that we wouldn't wish on our worst criminals) but the downside of that is we probably wouldn't have lots of shiny new things, we probably wouldn't have supermarkets filled with exotic products, we probably wouldn't be able to have multiple holidays a year and we probably would be living in a state-run monopoly economy.

If we want all the extras beyond the minimum, it is absolutely my belief that we're taking them from someone else.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.
 
Posted by roybart (# 17357) on :
 
This.

U.S. conservatives have a tendency to talk as though our present system, as actually practiced, with all its gross inequities, has only one alternative, the dreaded specter of state socialism.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.

I don't think there is any truth in that. If we want equality in our supply chains, then we'd need to have radically different lives. Not just the 1%.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
Multiple holidays per year? Whut?! Oh yeah, you're not from the United States.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The alternate isn't Cuba. It is a state where the rich exist, but not with the staggering inequities in our current system.

I don't think there is any truth in that. If we want equality in our supply chains, then we'd need to have radically different lives. Not just the 1%.
I don't think your realise just how much wealth the top 1% have. But I was not merely speaking of them. I forget the exact figures, but it is something like the top 10 or 20 % have 80% of the wealth. much could be changed just by lowering that. Those in the middle would need change, but not radically.
People act as if the system were closed, as if there was only so much money to go round. And that is why the monetary system works, so change to something significantly different would be difficult.
But I'm not suggesting this. Just that the rich pay more.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

If we want all the extras beyond the minimum, it is absolutely my belief that we're taking them from someone else.

Where does wealth come from? Most of the history of wealth is taking from the many to benefit the few. The whole purpose of divine, and divinely appointed, rulers is to justify this.
I am merely advocating that the few be allowed to take less than they do.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I don't think your realise just how much wealth the top 1% have. But I was not merely speaking of them. I forget the exact figures, but it is something like the top 10 or 20 % have 80% of the wealth. much could be changed just by lowering that. Those in the middle would need change, but not radically.

Actually I do know how much the 1% have and I do know how much the rest of the top 20% (which, by the way, includes almost everyone in Western Europe and North America) would have to change in order to redistribute the funds in order that the poorest could have access to the basics of healthcare, schooling, sanitation etc. And it would require a radical change.

Or one could look at it another way - in terms of the environmental impact of our lifestyles. Forget the 1%, how many planets would it require to have everyone living at my level? Answer for me is about 3.5

quote:
People act as if the system were closed, as if there was only so much money to go round. And that is why the monetary system works, so change to something significantly different would be difficult.
But I'm not suggesting this. Just that the rich pay more.

Economics is magic and capital is wishful thinking. As terms, they mean almost nothing, hence the idea of continuous growth is a misnomer anyway. The reality is that in order for the richer to be able to afford to buy things, poorer people have to make them in conditions where they'd never achieve the lifestyle and never be able to afford the thing they're making.

Simply talking about the top 1% completely misunderstands the global system and completely misses the damage done even if the 1% didn't exist.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
The thing about the number of Earths required to sustain a lifestyle is something I've seen again recently.

Which makes it feel like the whole thing is some kind of Ponzi scheme.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Remember in Russworld the mental distress is hurt. And all hurt is morally equivalent.(*)

Obviously there are more-severe and less-severe physical pains, and it seems reasonable to say the same about the wider forms of "hurt" - mental distress and damage to interests.

I'm not saying that slapping someone's arm and breaking someone's arm are necessarily equally morally wrong.

I'm saying that Marvin's version of the progressive ethic "hurt no one" would prohibit both the slight and severe hurt. And is therefore not an accurate summary of progressivism.

You seem to be arguing that:
- progressives believe that there is some well-defined level of severity of harm that counts as a hurt
- that it's morally OK to act in a way that causes small harms to people, so long as this doesn't add up to a hurt
- people in those classes deemed under-privileged or powerless are more fragile, so harm to them is more likely to count as a hurt than comparable harm to someone who is wealthy or powerful.

Have I understood your ethical position correctly ? [/QB][/QUOTE]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction...

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

The point is that it's a moral conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Because it isn't.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some people have a religious conviction that contraception is morally wrong.

That's not the interesting part. The interesting part is when people who have this religious conviction feel it is important to make other people without that religious conviction behave in accordance with the religious conviction...

Conservative Christians are not disliked for wanting to live in accordance with their own conscience. They are disliked for refusing other people the same courtesy.

The point is that it's a moral conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.

To which the counterpoint is it's somewhat problematic to use secular law as a tool to enforce one's own moral convictions. The thing about harm is that it involves objective demonstration of harm. The thing about morals without harm is that it boils down to a form of "because I said so".

If you don't want people to do something you think is morally wrong, by all means persuade them. But if you don't persuade them, or can't, I'm not sure the law of the land should be invoked to do your moral persuading for you.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The point is that it's a moral[/b] conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

On the Dead Horse's Thread you were using 'moral' to mean 'in accordance with a set of public procedural rules that everyone agrees upon'. Which is precisely not what you're using it to mean here.
Now it's possible that you've changed your mind after reflecting upon that thread. Or it's possible that on that thread you were using a purely tactical definition.

quote:
The suggestion is that progressives hold a moral philosophy in which wrong is equated with hurt/harm. And therefore any objection to a harmless activity, while it may be a religious objection, is not acknowledged as a moral objection.
Progressives also regard justice and fairness as moral values, and liberty. Some (the more socialist) would regard community/solidarity as a value; some (the more libertarian) would not.

On the other hand, if libertarians argue that any redistribution is wrong because it causes harm to the more well-off party then it would follow that libertarians think avoidance of harm is the single overriding moral value.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
it's somewhat problematic to use secular law as a tool to enforce one's own moral convictions. The thing about harm is that it involves objective demonstration of harm. The thing about morals without harm is that it boils down to a form of "because I said so".

If you don't want people to do something you think is morally wrong, by all means persuade them. But if you don't persuade them, or can't, I'm not sure the law of the land should be invoked to do your moral persuading for you.

I agree that there's something problematic here.

Who, for example, are the "them" you think have to be persuaded ?

Everybody ? Every individual has to be persuaded that something is morally wrong before it's OK to enforce a legal prohibition on them ? Don't think you mean that.

A majority ? You can believe in vox populi , that anything the majority choose to enforce is OK. But until relatively recently in historical terms the majority believed in the criminalisation of homosexuality. I don't think the progressive position is that gay sex became OK at the point where 50% of the population agreed...

What's the alternative ? The consensus of people who think like you do (and everybody else doesn't matter) ? I'm not convinced that's what you mean either...
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You seem to be arguing that:
- progressives believe that there is some well-defined level of severity of harm that counts as a hurt
- that it's morally OK to act in a way that causes small harms to people, so long as this doesn't add up to a hurt
- people in those classes deemed under-privileged or powerless are more fragile, so harm to them is more likely to count as a hurt than comparable harm to someone who is wealthy or powerful.

Have I understood your ethical position correctly ?

No.
- I doubt I seem to be arguing that there is a well-defined level of harm that counts as a hurt. Few concepts are well-defined around the edges. I think the same considerations about hurt also apply to harm.
- You seem to be implying that there's no difference between disbenefits except quantity. So that if seeing your team lose at sport causes mental distress then it is a harm. If it happens often it adds up and if it happens often enough it would add up to an equivalent hurt to losing a hand.
That would be opposed to thinking that some costs or drawbacks are qualitatively more important than others.
Economists frequently talk as if all benefits and costs can be weighed against each other. They have to; that's their model. Money is a tool that can be used to try to make incommensurable goods tradeable against each other. But some economists and other people following them then start talking as if it's not a model or a tool, but as if money is an ontological truth.
Hurt or harm occur when there's damage to things we need. Economists can't really handle need in the model beyond saying that beyond a certain level demand becomes inelastic. But it's a morally serious category and you're ignoring it.
- People who have less power to protect their interests are more vulnerable not more fragile. If a billionaire loses a leg that is the same harm as if someone on the minimum wage loses a leg. Although the billionaire can afford a better artificial leg or wheelchair; and the billionaire can afford to sue whoever is responsible for the loss of his leg.

Billionaires are on the whole less likely to take jobs that risk them losing limbs. Presumably you think that means the loss of a limb must be more of a hurt for billionaires? Because if it were the same hurt they'd risk losing limbs just as often?
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The point is that it's a moral[/b] conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

On the Dead Horse's Thread you were using 'moral' to mean 'in accordance with a set of public procedural rules that everyone agrees upon'. Which is precisely not what you're using it to mean here.
Now it's possible that you've changed your mind after reflecting upon that thread. Or it's possible that on that thread you were using a purely tactical definition.

The silence in answer to this question is deafening.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The point is that it's a moral[/b] conviction. We humans can all be live-and-let-live about each other's different customs. But when we perceive those customs to be morally wrong (e.g. so-called "honour-killings") we feel that something should be done to prevent this wrong.

On the Dead Horse's Thread you were using 'moral' to mean 'in accordance with a set of public procedural rules that everyone agrees upon'. Which is precisely not what you're using it to mean here.
Maybe you'd better expand on the contradiction you perceive, because I see none.

IIRC, I was saying on That Other Thread that the public rules - the law of the land - should "track" objective morality, conceived as a system of basic rights that apply equally to everyone (or perhaps basic wrongs that we should all refrain from). Rather than being the means for imposing one group's vision of the good life on other people.

The quote above says that when we perceive something as a moral issue we tend to think it belongs in that framework of public rules, rather than being up for negotiation between people with different visions.

No contradiction.

Are you suggesting that this view is compatible or incompatible with progressivism ?
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

The quote above says that when we perceive something as a moral issue we tend to think it belongs in that framework of public rules, rather than being up for negotiation between people with different visions.

I can only speak for myself, but "we" do not think that.

I think adultery is immoral. I don't think it should be illegal.

More generally, I think lying is immoral, but shouldn't be illegal in general.

If you want to be a promiscuous liar, I will consider you an immoral piece of shit and choose to have nothing to do with you, but I have no interest in the government punishing you for it.

My desire for so-called "honor killings" to be prosecuted has nothing to do with the fact that I think they are immoral, and everything to do with the fact that they involve killing someone.

[ 15. August 2017, 20:26: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
it's somewhat problematic to use secular law as a tool to enforce one's own moral convictions. The thing about harm is that it involves objective demonstration of harm. The thing about morals without harm is that it boils down to a form of "because I said so".

If you don't want people to do something you think is morally wrong, by all means persuade them. But if you don't persuade them, or can't, I'm not sure the law of the land should be invoked to do your moral persuading for you.

I agree that there's something problematic here.

Who, for example, are the "them" you think have to be persuaded ?

Everybody ? Every individual has to be persuaded that something is morally wrong before it's OK to enforce a legal prohibition on them ? Don't think you mean that.

A majority ? You can believe in vox populi , that anything the majority choose to enforce is OK. But until relatively recently in historical terms the majority believed in the criminalisation of homosexuality. I don't think the progressive position is that gay sex became OK at the point where 50% of the population agreed...

What's the alternative ? The consensus of people who think like you do (and everybody else doesn't matter) ? I'm not convinced that's what you mean either...

What's problematic is your understanding of what I said. I did NOT advocate using the law at all, so how many people you persuade is not a step towards "okay, we can make it a law now". You've started talking about "enforcement" when my entire point was to not have enforcement.

We're specifically talking about things that are merely against some people's morals, not objectively harmful. So my response is it's simply not appropriate to have a law against whatever it is. If people don't like the thing, then they're free to not do it themselves.

And you're bringing back an idea of "objective morality" again I see... sorry, but this started with a comment from you about contraception. What do you think is the "objectively moral" position on contraception, and what exactly do you think of all the people with the opposite view?

[ 16. August 2017, 01:44: Message edited by: orfeo ]
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
PS And please don't come back claiming that a law that allows something to happen (use of contraception, same-sex marriage, whatever) is "enforcing" a liberal view over a conservative one. It simply isn't.

Laws that permit things and laws that forbid things are not interchangeable and equivalent. The opposite of a law that forbids something is a law that mandates it. No-one is mandating the use of contraception. No-one is being required to enter a homosexual marriage.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

We're specifically talking about things that are merely against some people's morals, not objectively harmful. So my response is it's simply not appropriate to have a law against whatever it is.

If people don't like the thing, then they're free to not do it themselves.

Seems like we're using language differently here ?

You're identifying wrongdoing with causing harm, and using "morals" to refer to people's preferences amongst non-wrong actions ?

Which I might describe as "customs" and agree with you that people should be free to not do it themselves but not free to make that decision for their neighbours.

Whereas in Russ-speak, "immoral" is synonymous with "wrong", the things we shouldn't do (in the absolute rather than the prudential sense of "should").

For want of a better way of distinguishing morally wrong from the sort of wrong that is factually incorrect.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

If you want to be a promiscuous liar, I will consider you an immoral piece of shit and choose to have nothing to do with you, but I have no interest in the government punishing you for it.

But you might want the government to enforce a system whereby the victims of my lies and adultery can claim recompense from me ? And make me pay the costs of such a private prosecution ?

Which is a different way of managing the process, but still part of the public framework of rules ?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But you might want the government to enforce a system whereby the victims of my lies and adultery can claim recompense from me ?

Possibly, but not simply because of your feelings of pain over the event and everything to do with the fact that we don't want to live in a society where people abuse each other.

It kinda depends on the circumstance, doesn't it? A spurned lover might feel great emotional pain, but I don't suppose we'd say that the state had a general role just because he/she feels awful.

If that spurning was associated with (for example) stealing lots of money, deceit, physical abuse etc then that's a different thing because we don't want people doing that shit to other people.

quote:
And make me pay the costs of such a private prosecution ?
I can't think of a situation whereby the law takes into primary account someone's hurt feelings other than maybe - at a stretch - defamation. Even there it isn't about hurt feelings as much as some material hurt that is caused by the lies.

Someone might launch a civil case for defamation and win but be awarded £1 if it is determined that there hasn't been any measurable impact.

quote:
Which is a different way of managing the process, but still part of the public framework of rules ?
I'm not really understanding why you keep generating all these "what-if" examples. They don't seem to have much relationship to real life.

[ 16. August 2017, 13:51: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
IIRC, I was saying on That Other Thread that the public rules - the law of the land - should "track" objective morality, conceived as a system of basic rights that apply equally to everyone (or perhaps basic wrongs that we should all refrain from). Rather than being the means for imposing one group's vision of the good life on other people.

The quote above says that when we perceive something as a moral issue we tend to think it belongs in that framework of public rules, rather than being up for negotiation between people with different visions.

This would be an irregular verb:
Conservatives have moral issues that belong in the framework of public rules.
Progressives have visions of the good life that they want to impose upon other people.

One might think that, 'Do not withhold services from people because you disapprove of their vision of the good life or because somebody else disapproves of their vision of the good life' was a contribution to the framework of public rules. But you wanted to insist that it wasn't a candidate for morality.

Now you're saying that, 'Don't use contraception' is a contribution to public rules and not a means for imposing one person's vision of the good life.

You're rejecting the liberal paradigm in which people with irreconcilable visions of the good life negotiate rules that enable them as far as possible to live together in accordance with their respective visions of the good life. Negotiated rules are not as far as you're concerned not backed up with objective morality. But if someone thinks their vision of the good life gives rise to moral issues then they're allowed to set that up as a rule for everyone else.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

We're specifically talking about things that are merely against some people's morals, not objectively harmful. So my response is it's simply not appropriate to have a law against whatever it is.

If people don't like the thing, then they're free to not do it themselves.

Seems like we're using language differently here ?

You're identifying wrongdoing with causing harm, and using "morals" to refer to people's preferences amongst non-wrong actions ?

Which I might describe as "customs" and agree with you that people should be free to not do it themselves but not free to make that decision for their neighbours.

Whereas in Russ-speak, "immoral" is synonymous with "wrong", the things we shouldn't do (in the absolute rather than the prudential sense of "should").

For want of a better way of distinguishing morally wrong from the sort of wrong that is factually incorrect.

No, that is not how I'm using "morals". And I'm struggling to understand how you reached that conclusion.

I honestly no longer know what you mean by "morals", and that's not just because of our dialogue, other people are clearly having difficulty with you on this subject as well.

The problem being that you keep veering into a proposition that everyone shares the same morality. The same view of what is wrong. And this is simply untrue. A person's morals describe what they consider right and wrong, but it is just impossible to assert that everyone agrees on that.

We simply wouldn't be having this conversation if that were so. Laws wouldn't be debated or changed.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

We're specifically talking about things that are merely against some people's morals, not objectively harmful. So my response is it's simply not appropriate to have a law against whatever it is.

Seems like we're using language differently here ?

You're identifying wrongdoing with causing harm, and using "morals" to refer to people's preferences amongst non-wrong actions ?

No, that is not how I'm using "morals". And I'm struggling to understand how you reached that conclusion.

I honestly no longer know what you mean by "morals", and that's not just because of our dialogue, other people are clearly having difficulty with you on this subject as well.

The problem being that you keep veering into a proposition that everyone shares the same morality. The same view of what is wrong. And this is simply untrue. A person's morals describe what they consider right and wrong, but it is just impossible to assert that everyone agrees on that.

I agree that people don't agree. Don't think I've ever said otherwise. But clearly my choice of words is making you think that's what I mean.

But they also don't agree that "harm" is well-defined or that "harm" forms the basis of Real Morality.

So either some people are wrong about morality. Or there's actually nothing there to be right about.

I think some people are wrong. And that doesn't make them non-people or wicked. Just mistaken.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

Now you're saying that, 'Don't use contraception' is a contribution to public rules and not a means for imposing one person's vision of the good life.

No I'm not saying that.

I'm saying that there are people who believe that contraception is a moral right/wrong issue and not a personal choice issue.

I'm not one of them.

And those people are no more inherently wicked than anyone else.

It might seem like society has a binary choice - to go along with or reject the proposition that contraception is a personal choice issue.

But there's an intermediate position, which is for the wider society to recognise that people disagree and therefore to allow families or communities to make their own choices, insofar as that is possible.

quote:

You're rejecting the liberal paradigm in which people with irreconcilable visions of the good life negotiate rules that enable them as far as possible to live together in accordance with their respective visions of the good life.

I'm not rejecting that outright. I'm asking who negotiates with whom. And wanting that negotiated position to track objective morality. Despite recognising that we perceive this imperfectly.

quote:

But if someone thinks their vision of the good life gives rise to moral issues then they're allowed to set that up as a rule for everyone else.

That seems to be what those whose vision involves a morality based on harm are simultaneously doing and criticising others for.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm saying that there are people who believe that contraception is a moral right/wrong issue and not a personal choice issue.

I'm not one of them.

And those people are no more inherently wicked than anyone else.

It might seem like society has a binary choice - to go along with or reject the proposition that contraception is a personal choice issue.

But there's an intermediate position, which is for the wider society to recognise that people disagree and therefore to allow families or communities to make their own choices, insofar as that is possible.

How is that an "intermediate" position? All you're doing is shifting between different entities interfering with individual, personal choices. Is there a huge distinction between "you're not allowed to decide this for yourself, the decision rests with wider society" and "you're not allowed to decide this for yourself, the decision rests with your family and/or community"? Yes, there are a wide variety of outside entities other than individuals who could theoretically be vested with decision-making authority on all sorts of questions, but if you're going to frame the question in terms of personal choice versus not personal choice, anything other than letting individuals decide for themselves counts as "not personal choice".
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But you might want the government to enforce a system whereby the victims of my lies and adultery can claim recompense from me ? And make me pay the costs of such a private prosecution ?

Which is a different way of managing the process, but still part of the public framework of rules ?

Is it possible that this is a clumsy attempt to equate a government-supported civil court system wherein people can claim damages for contractual breaches with a morality police?

Because that would be a really stupid comparison to make.

Contract law is not about morality at all - it is an entirely practical construction to facilitate trade. Trade requires trust - I have to trust that you are giving me what you say you're giving me, and you have to trust that I'm giving you what I say I have. If we have a long-standing relationship, we might have built up trust, but if you're a random stranger, I have no particular reason to trust you. Our legal system creates a framework that allows strangers to trust each other, and so facilitates commerce. That's a good thing - but it's not about morality.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
Russ, i don't know where that remark about people being non-people or wicked came from. It certainly didn't come out of anything I said.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

Now you're saying that, 'Don't use contraception' is a contribution to public rules and not a means for imposing one person's vision of the good life.

I'm saying that there are people who believe that contraception is a moral right/wrong issue and not a personal choice issue.

I'm not one of them.

You are however willing to allow that describing contraception as a moral/right wrong issue is not an error of meaning. You think that 'morality' means a system of basic rights, so that 'moral wrong' is defined as a violation of a right. The use of contraception is not a violation of a right.
Either 'morality' does not mean a system of basic rights or 'contraception is wrong' is not even a candidate for a moral belief.

quote:
And those people are no more inherently wicked than anyone else.
Nobody else on this thread has been talking in these terms. Why are you thinking about people being inherently wicked?

quote:
It might seem like society has a binary choice - to go along with or reject the proposition that contraception is a personal choice issue.

But there's an intermediate position, which is for the wider society to recognise that people disagree and therefore to allow families or communities to make their own choices, insofar as that is possible.

There's something problematic about saying that people disagree and therefore communities make their own choices. What happens if the people within the families or communities disagree?

quote:
quote:

You're rejecting the liberal paradigm in which people with irreconcilable visions of the good life negotiate rules that enable them as far as possible to live together in accordance with their respective visions of the good life.

I'm not rejecting that outright. I'm asking who negotiates with whom. And wanting that negotiated position to track objective morality. Despite recognising that we perceive this imperfectly.
That's interesting. Presumably you think that negotiations might not track objective morality. Now if there is a possibility of tracking objective morality then a process of debate and discussion ought to converge upon it. So you think that depending on who is negotiating there is a possibility of the negotiating process being thrown off, presumably because some of the participants have the power to throw the process off. If some participants are able to throw off the process by irrelevant inducements (argument by threats or argument by bribes) then negotiations won't track objective morality. Is that what you're arguing?

quote:
quote:

But if someone thinks their vision of the good life gives rise to moral issues then they're allowed to set that up as a rule for everyone else.

That seems to be what those whose vision involves a morality based on harm are simultaneously doing and criticising others for.
So you're recognising that morality is included within visions of the good life and derives from visions of the good life? But you don't think imposing morality is the same as imposing a vision of the good life?

Almost every vision of the good life thinks that involuntary harm is a bad thing. Any procedural set of rules settled upon by negotiation is going to include prohibitions upon causing harm because nobody, whatever their vision of the good life, is going to want to have to accept other people inflicting harm upon them.
Any system of rights is a harm-based morality since a violation of a natural right is a harm.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Russ, i don't know where that remark about people being non-people or wicked came from. It certainly didn't come out of anything I said.

I had the impression some people were trying to paint conservatives as nasty oppressive people imposing their ideas on others and progressives as nice freedom-loving people who don't.

Having carefully framed the issue as lying outside of any areas where they believed there to be moral duties which other people ought to comply with.

Probably wasn't you...
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Russ, i don't know where that remark about people being non-people or wicked came from. It certainly didn't come out of anything I said.

I had the impression some people were trying to paint conservatives as nasty oppressive people imposing their ideas on others and progressives as nice freedom-loving people who don't.

Having carefully framed the issue as lying outside of any areas where they believed there to be moral duties which other people ought to comply with.

Probably wasn't you...

I queried why people wish to make others live in accordance with their own views, yes.

Because that's one of the fundamental issues here: accepting that some people think contraception is morally wrong, does that mean the law should ban contraception FOR EVERYBODY ELSE?

Because those people who believe contraception is morally wrong won't be using it. A ban has no effect on them. The people it affects are all the other people who would willingly use contraception.

Many of your comments seem to veer to the notion that the mere knowledge that OTHER people are using contraception is of such distress to those who think contraception is wrong, that we must ban it for everyone. Which to me is putting their "rights" far too highly.

[ 18. August 2017, 23:41: Message edited by: orfeo ]
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
I'm saying that there are people who believe that contraception is a moral right/wrong issue and not a personal choice issue.

I'm not one of them.

And those people are no more inherently wicked than anyone else.

It might seem like society has a binary choice - to go along with or reject the proposition that contraception is a personal choice issue.

But there's an intermediate position, which is for the wider society to recognise that people disagree and therefore to allow families or communities to make their own choices, insofar as that is possible....

Which sounds reasonable until the townsfolk show up at the door insisting the parents use birth control from now on ... please ... we've seen your other kids ... it's the community's choice.

Either people can make their own choices about the most intimate and personal aspects of their lives or they can't. There's no intermediate position.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I queried why people wish to make others live in accordance with their own views, yes.

And the answer is because they think their views are both true/correct and refer to morals (i.e. what is right or wrong) rather than custom & culture.

Just the same as you do.

quote:
those people who believe contraception is morally wrong won't be using it. A ban has no effect on them. The people it affects are all the other people who would willingly use contraception.
Interesting argument. Does criminalising murder have no effect on those who believe murder is wrong ? So the only people it affects are those who don't ?

quote:

Many of your comments seem to veer to the notion that the mere knowledge that OTHER people are using contraception is of such distress to those who think contraception is wrong, that we must ban it for everyone. Which to me is putting their "rights" far too highly.

I don't think we must ban it for everyone.

I'm saying we should not estimate that distress at zero. Not kid ourselves that we follow an ethic of "cause no distress".
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
And the answer is because they think their views are both true/correct and refer to morals (i.e. what is right or wrong) rather than custom & culture.

Just the same as you do.

No, not just the same as I do.

Because here's the thing about me: I don't have such blinding confidence in the rightness of all my views that I believe other people ought to live by them.

And that, Sir, is the whole point.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Dafyd talking about
the liberal paradigm in which people with irreconcilable visions of the good life negotiate rules that enable them as far as possible to live together in accordance with their respective visions of the good life.

Said
quote:

Presumably you think that negotiations might not track objective morality. Now if there is a possibility of tracking objective morality then a process of debate and discussion ought to converge upon it.

If some participants are able to throw off the process by irrelevant inducements (argument by threats or argument by bribes) then negotiations won't track objective morality. Is that what you're arguing?

Seems to me that negotiation implies each side conceding something in order to secure some corresponding concession from the other side.

I don't see why such a process should converge on the right answer. Because it's not a conversation between disinterested parties.

Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

Because here's the thing about me: I don't have such blinding confidence in the rightness of all my views that I believe other people ought to live by them.

And that, Sir, is the whole point.

I apologise if I have mischaracterised your position. My impression was that you were one of several people arguing that other people ought to both live by your motto "do no harm" and abide by your judgment as to what constitutes harm.

And then fooling yourselves that you're not trying to impose anything on anyone.

I'm really not wanting to single you out. Just to make the point that all of us humans are in the same boat.

Sorry if I've not appreciated what you're saying.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Seems to me that negotiation implies each side conceding something in order to secure some corresponding concession from the other side.

Really? You don't think it might imply trying to find a position of mutual gain?

quote:
I don't see why such a process should converge on the right answer. Because it's not a conversation between disinterested parties.
There is no such thing as a disinterested party when it comes to ethics. So if only a conversation between disinterested parties can track objective morality tracking objective morality becomes impossible.

quote:
Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?
Would a situation in which community B practices honour killings on both community A and community B not be even further from morality?
However, which community do the women and girls who are potentially subject to honour killings belong to? Because if they're members of community B then it seems that community B doesn't speak with one voice on this. If they constitute community A then it's in community A's interests not to concede the right to community B. If they form a third community C then community C are also party to the negotiations and unwilling to concede the point.
And what happens if the cause for the proposed honour-killing is a woman from community B marrying a woman from community A?
Shifting from negotiations between people to negotiations between communities means treating communities as monolithic blocks with no overlap or intermingling.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

Because here's the thing about me: I don't have such blinding confidence in the rightness of all my views that I believe other people ought to live by them.

And that, Sir, is the whole point.

I apologise if I have mischaracterised your position. My impression was that you were one of several people arguing that other people ought to both live by your motto "do no harm" and abide by your judgment as to what constitutes harm.

And then fooling yourselves that you're not trying to impose anything on anyone.

I'm really not wanting to single you out. Just to make the point that all of us humans are in the same boat.

Sorry if I've not appreciated what you're saying.

No, we are NOT all in the same boat, because once again (aside from the whole mischaracterisation thing) you are utterly failing to grasp that granting permission for things to happen is not imposing.

Say it with me: the opposite of banning something is not simply permitting it. The opposite of banning something is making it compulsory.

If people believe that allowing things to happen is "imposing" that thing on those who would prefer it not happen - whether that thing is contraception, gay marriage, whatever - then my goodness no wonder they walk around feeling persecuted all the time. It must be hell living in a world where billions of people are not clones of oneself.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

If people believe that allowing things to happen is "imposing" that thing on those who would prefer it not happen - whether that thing is contraception, gay marriage, whatever - then my goodness no wonder they walk around feeling persecuted all the time. It must be hell living in a world where billions of people are not clones of oneself.

I'm waiting for Abp Glenn to say that if the plebiscite passes, SSM will become compulsory. His missive on the topic, handed out on Sunday in obedience to his request, was just plain silly. Not what you'd expect from someone with his academic qualifications.

[ 21. August 2017, 03:02: Message edited by: Gee D ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm saying we should not estimate that distress at zero. Not kid ourselves that we follow an ethic of "cause no distress".

The ethic I advocated was "cause no harm", not "cause no distress". If someone is distressed that other people want to live their lives in a different way than them (when that distress is the only negative consequence for them) then that's their problem.

To put it another way, hell yes we should estimate that distress as zero when considering what society should allow or not. Nobody should get to impose harm on someone else simply because it would upset them to do otherwise.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?

And how, precisely, are you assigning people to community membership here? Is this "I don't care what brown people do to each other as long as they keep it in their own areas?"

Because I'm going to have just the teensiest suspicion that the victim of an "honour killing" would quite like to have benefitted from the rest of our society's prohibition on killing people.

If you're really wedded to your bullshit community private law nonsense, perhaps I could offer as a suggestion that by doing some act to "provoke" an honour killing, the woman in question (because it's always women, isn't it) has actively removed herself from the rules of the community that would like to kill her. In which case, having removed herself from that community, you can no longer expect her to be subject to its internal rules.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
You don't think it might imply trying to find a position of mutual gain?

That too. But if there are no concessions and no tradeoffs required then that suggests an absence of underlying conflict. Which is the opposite of what Chesterton is saying...

quote:
There is no such thing as a disinterested party when it comes to ethics. So if only a conversation between disinterested parties can track objective morality tracking objective morality becomes impossible.
I'm not saying it's impossible; I'm saying it's not a guaranteed outcome of a negotiation process. Because people can talk from their disinterested moral intuition or they can talk from their perceived self-interest and their partisan sympathies and their attachment to their own culture's way of doing things.

I don't disagree with anything you say about homour killings, which was just an example.

Feels like we've drifted from the topic of what progressivism is...
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

And then fooling yourselves that you're not trying to impose anything on anyone.

you are utterly failing to grasp that granting permission for things to happen is not imposing.

You're right - granting permission is not imposing.

So when progressive feminism compels gentlemen's clubs to admit women as members, that's imposing not permitting.

When courts compel religiously-minded bakers not to distinguish between a sacrament and a blasphemy (as they see it), that's imposing not permitting.

When organisations start getting prosecuted for having single-gender washrooms, that's imposing not permitting.

Say after me - progressivism is not libertarian. It's not about increasing freedom of choice.

It's about thinking that the act of excluding people is (morally) wrong and should therefore be prohibited.

And progressives in general, ISTM, do have the blinding confidence you claim to lack that this is right and should be imposed on all who disagree.

Unless you can suggest a more accurate way of putting it ?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Say after me - progressivism is not libertarian. It's not about increasing freedom of choice.

You forgot your other favorite example, using the power of the state to limit parent's "right" to send their kids to racially segregated public schools. Sort of like the "freedom of choice" of not being able to find a hotel room or restaurant that will serve 'your kind', "freedom" is being considered only from one side. In a lot of cases the 'libertarian' case for freedom of choice is just a euphemism for siding with the powerful.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
You don't think it might imply trying to find a position of mutual gain?

That too. But if there are no concessions and no tradeoffs required then that suggests an absence of underlying conflict. Which is the opposite of what Chesterton is saying...
Chesterton is talking about a different situation and answering a different question.

quote:
quote:
There is no such thing as a disinterested party when it comes to ethics. So if only a conversation between disinterested parties can track objective morality tracking objective morality becomes impossible.
I'm not saying it's impossible; I'm saying it's not a guaranteed outcome of a negotiation process. Because people can talk from their disinterested moral intuition or they can talk from their perceived self-interest and their partisan sympathies and their attachment to their own culture's way of doing things.
What you call our 'disinterested moral intuition' is nothing but the unacknowledged sediment of what you are pleased to call 'our perceived self-interest our partisan sympathies and attachment to our culture's way of doing things'. There isn't any other route to objective truth here.
The more you think you're speaking from moral intuition the more you're the prisoner of your own assumptions.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Say after me - progressivism is not libertarian. It's not about increasing freedom of choice.

Yes we know libertarianism isn't about increasing freedom of choice. We know libertarianism is about keeping freedom of choice in the hands of the people who already have choices. What's your point in raising such a banal observation?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There isn't any other route to objective truth here. The more you think you're speaking from moral intuition the more you're the prisoner of your own assumptions.

Are you arguing that there's no route to objective truth? Or that there is a route and it doesn't involve an effort to be more objective by setting aside one's own partisan sympathies ?

Not sure where you're coming from here. Or what an unacknowledged sediment looks like...
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
Because I'm going to have just the teensiest suspicion that the victim of an "honour killing" would quite like to have benefitted from the rest of our society's prohibition on killing people.

At the point where she first felt her life was in danger, certainly. From the outset, from before she was first tempted to the deed that incurred the wrath of her extended family ? ?

I don't know the answer. I oscillate between the cynical view that we humans tend to be in favour of tight-knit communities with their own distinctive customs until what we want to do falls foul of the "social rules" of such a community.

And the cultural-imperialist view that we should be more conscious of the Western cultural tradition of individual liberty and more willing to impose it on immigrants as a condition of residence in Western countries.

quote:

If you're really wedded to your bullshit community private law nonsense...

Don't think I'm wedded to it. I see it as a possible compromise between irreconcilable views. Something that might result from a genuine negotiation.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

I don't know the answer. I oscillate between the cynical view that we humans tend to be in favour of tight-knit communities with their own distinctive customs until what we want to do falls foul of the "social rules" of such a community.

You might be interested in this piece of news (a group of Muslim women in India successfully fight against Muslim cultural practice in Indian civil court).
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
When courts compel religiously-minded bakers not to distinguish between a sacrament and a blasphemy (as they see it), that's imposing not permitting.

The conservative's favourite example relies on an unstated assumption that the role of "baker" and the role of "moral guardian" are readily interchangeable.

They're not. And yeah, the law imposes that. The law says that if you choose to open a bakery to the public (usually without a sign that says "RELIGIOUS bakery"), then you've got to follow through with that choice.

Choices have consequences. The choice of opening a bakery has consequences. Among the other things that are imposed on bakers are laws about food preparation, laws about displaying prices, laws about paying employees, laws about advertising, laws about opening hours, laws about seating capacity if it's a place you can sit and eat, laws about paying taxes.

That's a hell of a lot of imposing that goes on. So I have to ask, why focus so much on the imposition that says "don't treat your gay customers like shit"?
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
I mean, the whole notion that bakers are in the business of distinguishing between PURPOSES for cakes is absurd. They're not. Their job requires distinguishing between cakes.

Cakes don't have sexual preferences or political leanings. They have or don't have eggs, sugar, butter, fruit. There's no such thing as a sacramental cake or a blasphemous cake. There's just a bunch of human beings who are imposing intentions onto ingredients.

The only relevant "purpose" of a cake is to be suitable for eating.

Bakers who think they are in the business of determining the suitability of the eater of the cake have misunderstood their function.

[ 23. August 2017, 14:16: Message edited by: orfeo ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Are you arguing that there's no route to objective truth? Or that there is a route and it doesn't involve an effort to be more objective by setting aside one's own partisan sympathies ?

It involves increasing and widening one's sympathies rather than setting them aside.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Is the social-progressive mindset winning? Or has it peaked, delivered all it possibly can in terms of plural equity and in fact is failing? It's failed, lost the most recent battles, in the US with Trump and the UK with Brexit. Has it lost the war? Is its last redoubt the EU? It has no meaningful traction in China, Russia and other large developing economies: Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria. I suspect that Turkey, being Muslim, will have less extremes of poverty, for Turks; is more economically socially effective, but it isn't progressive, plural, it's going Islamic nationalist. Hispanic America won't be egalitarian for centuries anymore than the US will be, just libertarian. You can be poor and gay in a favela. Africa will lag even that while its population explodes.

India looks nearly hopeful. A fifth of humanity. Half a millennium of 'moderate' Islam Nusantara is under threat in Indonesia, could go the way of Pakistan in a generation.

My early adolescent sci-fi/speculative fiction reading comes to mind. The great dystopias of Heinlein (Starship Troopers, Farnham's Freehold), Brunner (Stand On Zanzibar), Vonnegut (Player Piano), all where libertarianism rules. There is no universal social justice. And where there is, there is none: Le Guin's The Dispossessed.

I'm astounded that there is no MLK, nor a Jimmy Carter or an LBJ in the US. No Mandela in the global South. Not even a Saladin. The day of such MEN is over. Liberal minded European and Indian faceless technocrats and institutions are the only hope? There is no hope for England, the institutions of local government, the NHS, education are being hollowed out behind their faces by low tax financed 'free' enterprise.

Carry on.

In this dying backwater of endangered species.
 
Posted by mdijon (# 8520) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Shifting from negotiations between people to negotiations between communities means treating communities as monolithic blocks with no overlap or intermingling.

Which is what we have nation states for.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?

I may be understanding-impaired tonight, or sarcasm impaired. But are you saying the answer to this is "yes"???
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Are you arguing that there's no route to objective truth? Or that there is a route and it doesn't involve an effort to be more objective by setting aside one's own partisan sympathies ?

It involves increasing and widening one's sympathies rather than setting them aside.
So what's the difference between the impartiality of setting aside one's own greater sympathy for one side and the impartiality of widening one's sympathies to include both sides equally ?

I think it's the same as the point we had a short while ago about the negotiated answer not necessarily being the right answer.

Seems like there's something unprincipled about your approach.

I think you're denying that there is a right answer that someone without sympathies - a robot judge - could reach on the basis of principles or rules.

And asserting that the right answer is based on the balance of sympathy that a right-feeling person would feel for each side, within the historical and cultural context.

Or am I misreading you ?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So what's the difference between the impartiality of setting aside one's own greater sympathy for one side and the impartiality of widening one's sympathies to include both sides equally ?


Because some will use any sympathy you show them to bolster their power - and are very likely to use it to beat you later.

You are either with the Nazis or against them. You can't say "oh I think they have a point, because there are two sides in the argument of whether black people are fully human and endowed with human rights" - because that's saying that you support their concepts of racial superiority.

These are not questions where the answer is to give both sides equal sympathy.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It involves increasing and widening one's sympathies rather than setting them aside.

So what's the difference between the impartiality of setting aside one's own greater sympathy for one side and the impartiality of widening one's sympathies to include both sides equally ?
What's the difference between making a judgment after listening to both sides and making a judgement after listening to neither side?

quote:
I think it's the same as the point we had a short while ago about the negotiated answer not necessarily being the right answer.
You had that point. I pointed out you didn't have any other way of tracking the right answer.

quote:
Seems like there's something unprincipled about your approach.
I don't think 'unprincipled' means what you're ostensibly claiming to mean by it.

quote:
I think you're denying that there is a right answer that someone without sympathies - a robot judge - could reach on the basis of principles or rules.
As a conservative believer in objective morality of course I deny that.
('Principles' incidentally are not the same as 'rules'. Principles are general statements that one follows more or less closely. Rules are specific statements that one either follows or not. Seems to me that by 'objective morality' you're looking for a framework of rules that if ticked off allow you then to be as much of a moral jobsworth as you like.)

I'm an Aristotelian. An Aristotelian argues that the application of moral principles is not a matter of rule-following that a robot could do, but requires wisdom ('phronesis' in Greek). Wisdom is a virtue acquired by habit and participation in a human form of life. In order to successfully apply a moral principle one must understand the point of the principle, a point that can't itself be fully grasped without training in the virtue behind the principle. So courage for example isn't merely disregarding danger, which would be recklessness, but responding to danger in a way proportional to the threat and the goal to be achieved.
As humans are social animals there are few goods, not even the most self-interested, that a human being can achieve well without the cooperation of other humans. (No goods at all if you think that humans start out life as babies.) Therefore, sympathy for the other humans with which one interacts is a fundamental requirement for understanding human society and the human form of life, and thus a fundamental part of wisdom.

As a robot without sympathies neither has a human form of life nor is capable of coming to understand a human form of life it cannot develop wisdom and therefore cannot successfully apply moral principles. All it can do is churn through logical tautologies.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

You are either with the Nazis or against them. You can't say "oh I think they have a point, because there are two sides in the argument of whether black people are fully human and endowed with human rights" - because that's saying that you support their concepts of racial superiority.

These are not questions where the answer is to give both sides equal sympathy.

I'm not asking you to have equal sympathy with Nazis. I'm saying that Nazis have the same moral rights as any other human being. And that judging justly requires you to set aside your anti-Nazi sympathies and decide on the basis of a framework of moral rights and duties which is applicable to everyone.

If you believe in rights such as free speech and a fair trial but would deny those rights to Nazis, how are you any better than they are ?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

If you believe in rights such as free speech and a fair trial but would deny those rights to Nazis, how are you any better than they are ?

I don't believe in free speech as an absolute, I believe it should always be weighed against the damage it does and the circumstances in which things are said.

I've never said anything about a fair trial, not sure why you are bringing that up.

Basically Nazis have rights as people, but given that they want to use those rights to inflict damage onto other people - that they consider to be lesser beings and unworthy of the stuff that they, the master race, deserve - then those who are the subject of the bile deserve to be protected from them.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?

I may be understanding-impaired tonight, or sarcasm impaired. But are you saying the answer to this is "yes"???
Yes. Not because I believe this would be a good outcome. But to make the point that a negotiated morality wouldn't necessarily resemble morality as we understand it.

It also serves as a point against the ridiculous notion that progressives are nice people who don't want to impose their moral convictions on others.

I do try not to employ sarcasm. This was just a rhetorical question.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
And therefore deserves the appropriate response.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
What makes someone a Nazi or a fascist is not only opinions about racial superiority and inferiority, but their willingness or eagerness to use violence alongside their arguments. They lie, intimidate, use force and ultimately kill on behalf of their opinions; their angrily asserted claims to dominance. What starts with the denial of full humanity to a person or group of people ends, if there is no check along the way, with death camps.

Nazi style views are not interestingly different opinions to set alongside other ones in a polite and respectful debate. Nazis believe those who they regard as less human have no place in the debate. Their aim is not to have an open minded discussion, but to win the argument by any means, ultimately by eliminating those who disagree.

Goering sometimes said things that were true, but he deserves no credit for this. He said whatever served his purpose, whether it was true, inaccurate or the invented. As Bonhoeffer encapsulated it, 'a truth told by a liar is worse than a lie told by a truthful man'.

We always twist arguments to serve our secret agendas, but there comes a point when one side wishes to exclude the other from the debate, when debate is no longer the appropriate way forwards. When people actually dehumanise others, justify injustice, and sympathise with physical violence then we need to oppose them not just in debate but by rallying support and wider opinion against them.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?

I may be understanding-impaired tonight, or sarcasm impaired. But are you saying the answer to this is "yes"???
Yes. Not because I believe this would be a good outcome. But to make the point that a negotiated morality wouldn't necessarily resemble morality as we understand it.

It also serves as a point against the ridiculous notion that progressives are nice people who don't want to impose their moral convictions on others.

I do try not to employ sarcasm. This was just a rhetorical question.

All you're doing is illustrating Poppers Tolerance Paradox, which Conservatives like to do as if they're pointing out something progressives have never thought of, the daft twats. It's boring, we already know about it. We know that a tolerant society cannot tolerate intolerance, which would include things like honour killings. We already know we desire to "enforce" tolerance, because as Popper observed you can't maintain a tolerant society otherwise.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
@hatless. Communists used the same methods on a far greater scale but in the name of equality: you can do more real wrong in the name of real right than the deluded right. That's what the bourgeoisie (including Trump, all libertarians, Rodney Howard Brown who reminds me of Luther in the Peasants Revolt) see in the left opposing the far right and in so doing becoming the far left if they weren't already.

Obviously there is no other way of being socially progressive? As long as there is one progressive left the price is worth it? That's a win?

[ 27. August 2017, 10:20: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
What makes someone a Nazi or a fascist is not only opinions about racial superiority and inferiority, but their willingness or eagerness to use violence alongside their arguments. They lie, intimidate, use force and ultimately kill on behalf of their opinions...

...We always twist arguments to serve our secret agendas, but there comes a point when one side wishes to exclude the other from the debate, when debate is no longer the appropriate way forwards. When people actually dehumanise others, justify injustice, and sympathise with physical violence then we need to oppose them not just in debate but by rallying support and wider opinion against them.

Is anyone here arguing against laws that prohibit lying, intimidation, use of force and ultimately killing ? You don't need special anti-Nazi laws to prohibit these things.

Lying is perhaps the most debateable - we have laws against perjury, we have an Advertising Standards Authority (or equivalent in other jurisdictions). But we don't want the state enforcing truth in every detail of our private lives. Where to draw that line might be an interesting tangent. But the question here is whether there is any need for a law against "Nazi lies" that is any different from the law against other lies. With the burden of proof on those who want a special law. Because that's really not the way we should be governed - today a special law against this, tomorrow a special law against that. We should be trying to frame an adequate general law.

I don't see anything in your final paragraph where there's clear blue water between what you're saying Nazis do and what progressives do (or everybody does).

- exclusion from debate - have you never read on these boards a comment that dismisses a point of view as something that's all been settled and isn't worth discussing ?

- dehumanise others - have you read lilBuddha on Tories ?

- justify injustice - wherever two people are disagreeing about what is just they can't both be right

- sympathize with physical violence - who here believes that the acts of violence in Charlottesville were equally reprehensible on both sides ? So there's some sympathy there...

Also, not sure how "rallying support and wider opinion against" against a point of view differs from arguing against it in debate. What is it you're advocating ? Surely not "to exclude the other from the debate" ?

Push the Pale out a little wider...
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I've never said anything about a fair trial, not sure why you are bringing that up.

Just 'cos it's something that many people would consider a right.

But perhaps you think that giving Nazis a fair trial would mean letting them speak in their own defence and someone might feel hurt by that and so it shouldn't be allowed ?

If you're prepared to make one right conditional on your judgment of harm, why not all rights ?

Rights are what you allow to everyone including your enemies.

quote:
Basically Nazis have rights as people, but given that they want to use those rights to inflict damage onto other people... ...then those who are the subject of the bile deserve to be protected from them.
I don't see anything wrong with that if you can formulate that "damage" as an impartial rule that applies equally to everyone regardless of where your sympathies lie.
 
Posted by hatless (# 3365) on :
 
I don't think there is clear blue water if that means some line that is crossed or not. It isn't one thing that makes a Nazi or fascist, but it's not difficult to recognise them.

And, ultimately and frighteningly, fascists and the rest of us have to fight for control of our common space. You may not be able to persuade a fascist that they are wrong, but you can legislate to mitigate their effect on the common space. If the fascists get control of the common space their opponents just get shot in an alley.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

- exclusion from debate - have you never read on these boards a comment that dismisses a point of view as something that's all been settled and isn't worth discussing ?

Sure. And do you want an example of something that is settled and not worth discussing? Nazism. It's bad. We've discussed why it's bad. It's not worth discussing whether you might be able to make a case for a civilized person being able to hold Nazi beliefs, because you can't.

quote:

- dehumanise others - have you read lilBuddha on Tories ?

The difference, of course, is that lilBuddha's opinions of Tories are based on what they do, and on the policies that they support, rather than on what they are. Being a Tory (or a Nazi, or a Communist, or a Socialist) is not in any way comparable to being black, or being gay, or being Jewish.

quote:
justify injustice - wherever two people are disagreeing about what is just they can't both be right
Umm, yes? But one of them can be. (If you want a clue, it's usually not the Nazi.)
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Just 'cos it's something that many people would consider a right.

But perhaps you think that giving Nazis a fair trial would mean letting them speak in their own defence and someone might feel hurt by that and so it shouldn't be allowed ?

I think there is a legal line where people are prevented from attacking witnesses if they're defending themselves. I don't know the details but it seems fair enough to me.

Nazis should get proper legal representation and should be afforded a fair trial.

quote:
If you're prepared to make one right conditional on your judgment of harm, why not all rights ?
quote:
Rights are what you allow to everyone including your enemies.
I don't see anything wrong with that if you can formulate that "damage" as an impartial rule that applies equally to everyone regardless of where your sympathies lie.

I don't understand where you are going here.

You are not damaged by someone saying they believe in abortion or rights for gays. On the other hand, a Nazi standing up somewhere and saying that you are subhuman and deserve to be sent to the gas chambers is a whole other thing.
 
Posted by orfeo (# 13878) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Russ--

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Isn't it in the interests of community A to concede for example community B's right to practice "honour killings" on community B's members, as a trade-off for accepting some less-morally-serious point which more directly affects community A ?

I may be understanding-impaired tonight, or sarcasm impaired. But are you saying the answer to this is "yes"???
Yes. Not because I believe this would be a good outcome. But to make the point that a negotiated morality wouldn't necessarily resemble morality as we understand it.

A point that relies on the assumption we could find something we'd want to trade honour killings for because we're so utterly self-centred that we don't give a shit what is happening in community B.

Which, if we're actually talking enough to community B to be negotiating with them, strikes me as an utterly fanciful notion. In fact the whole idea that we're negotiating with an entirely separate community doesn't reflect how society and law actually work.
 
Posted by Clutch (# 18827) on :
 
quote:


- is "social-progressive" an adequate name for it or is there a better one ?

- what is the connection to Christianity ? Is this a religious point of view ?

As a starting point, my first attempt at describing it was in terms of
[QUOTE]doctrines of

- internationalism (migrants good, Brexit bad)

- gender-bending (anything goes so long as you don't speak in favour of traditional gender roles)

- political correctness (can't believe anyone voted for Trump; free speech as long as you don't say what we don't like)

- anti-capitalism (profit is bad, small business has no rights and unlimited liability)

- anti-racism (racism is a huge sin that the whole white race should atone for)

Time for a newcomer to put his own two cents on this strawhatted and generalized BS, point by point.

Point 1,Internationalism: Simplistic and naive. Migration is such a boogie man to certain types that it's thus generalized. Never mind migration on merit of skills or of political need/asylum. Let's just say all progressives want open borders with little to no validation. As for Brexit, I can't speak on Brexit as I'm from Canada but I doubt that migration is the only factor on why it is so excoriated not only in the EU and in Britain but globally

Point 2, "Gender-Bending": What is a "traditional" role for genders, hmm? What's been passed down in historical writing? Never mind the fact that such writings are focused on an overview and not exactly a scientific,first hand study of every individuals that has ever lived and their day to day life. Do you account for how a certain group would have a political/power based factor in maintaining a so-called norm?

point 3,Political Correctness: This one makes me laugh at how skewed it is. I personally, am as far from PC as you can get. And I identify as a social-progressive. Sorry but no voting for Trump and me not liking what you have to say doesn't mean as a progressive I have the right to silence your point of view. But I do have the right to tell you my own opinion back, which more often then not gets misconstrued by this type of nonsense. So if I call someone an idiot for a certain opinion or viewpoint they have, please don't make the mistake of thinking I'm telling them to shut up. You'll know when I tell someone to shut up.

Point4, Anti-Capitalist: Umm, your simplistic reasoning again leaves me pretty baffled as to how you came up with this chestnut. Profit isn't evil, and sorry to tell you but most socialists I know of an associate with are very pro small business. What were against is the abuses of the current capitalist system. Specially how it's seen in the US with corporations given personhood status. I don't know of a socialist that would want to outright scrap the current economic system. Reform and monitor abuses and excesses yes.

Point 5, Anti-Racist: I'm going to add in Anti-sexist and anti-LGBTQ here cause it all fits. And please, please go back and look at history for a moment and please tell me the white man (which I am) has no sin when it comes to what we did. Look at the situations we as white men did until the current day and even at that still do this day and age and say we are pure as freshly fallen snow. If you don't like having to deal with this simple truth, the key is to go out an actively try to improve things so we can atone for that. Muttering in a corner about how your ancestors did it, not you changes nothing.

As for how this fits with Christianity. It's all down to the Great Commandment for Christ himself; Loving god with all your heart,soul, with all your mind and your strength and loving your neighbour as yourself.

Not as flowery as others have put it and with less theology, but I don't claim to be flowery or a amateur theologian. I do however think I have basic common sense and respect. It's a shame that others that share this kind of skewed viewpoint on social-progressives, don't seem to have either of those.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Clutch:
[QUOTE]
Time for a newcomer to put his own two cents on this strawhatted and generalized BS, point by point...

...As for how this fits with Christianity. It's all down to the Great Commandment for Christ himself; Loving god with all your heart,soul, with all your mind and your strength and loving your neighbour as yourself.

Generalised, certainly.

I think you're telling me that on 1, 2, 5 yes it's your progressive point of view that is being sketched out or caricatured.

But that on 3 and 4 the progressives in your part of the world are more pro-business and more pro-free-speech than the UK variety who make up the dominant viewpoint on the Ship ?

Thank you for engaging with the questions.

Personally I hadn't seen blaming my white neighbours for the actions of everyone in past centuries who happened to have the same skin colour as the best way of loving them...

Taking point 1 as an example, internationalism on the one hand does seem like universalising one's benevolence rather than restricting it to one's immediate neighbours. An "America First" policy (or the equivalent for other countries) sits uneasily with the Great Commandment.

But on the other hand, if one were an American who genuinely celebrates Independence Day and thinks one's own national self-determination a good thing, doesn't loving others as oneself mean favouring independence for other countries?

So no, the Great Commandment doesn't unequivocally point to either nationalism or internationalism.

Put it another way, have you never felt closer to a progressive atheist than to a conservative Christian who believes in the Great Commandment ?

It is not the Commandment itself but the framework of beliefs within which you interpret it and seek to apply it, the beliefs you share with the progressive atheist and don't share with the conservative Christian, that are the essence of progressive thought. And that's what I'm asking about.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
All you're doing is illustrating Poppers Tolerance Paradox...

...We know that a tolerant society cannot tolerate intolerance, which would include things like honour killings. We already know we desire to "enforce" tolerance, because as Popper observed you can't maintain a tolerant society otherwise.

The Paradox says that if you want a land of liberty then you have to enforce a rule against coercion, however paradoxical such enforcement may seem.

I think this is more or less what hatless is saying about Nazis. That holding daft theories about race can be tolerated, and a fetish for uniforms and jackboots can be tolerated, but there's no way that imposing such things on others by threats of murder in dark alleys can be tolerated.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is the social-progressive mindset winning?

It can't win. It's not goal-directed enough for winning to be meaningful. It prizes the journey rather than the destination.

It's about an attitude to disadvantaged groups, rather than about trying to achieve any particular goal.

The republican wins when the monarchy is overthrown. The pacifist wins when the armed forces are disbanded because there's no more need for them. The evangelists win when all are baptised. The progressive can never win.

Or do you see it differently ?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is the social-progressive mindset winning?

It can't win. It's not goal-directed enough for winning to be meaningful. It prizes the journey rather than the destination.

It's about an attitude to disadvantaged groups, rather than about trying to achieve any particular goal.

The republican wins when the monarchy is overthrown. The pacifist wins when the armed forces are disbanded because there's no more need for them. The evangelists win when all are baptised. The progressive can never win.

Or do you see it differently ?

Not at all Russ. The poor we will always have with us. We will never achieve universal social justice, but I suppose despite the superficial perceived reverses - Trump, Brexit - the long arc is being trajected, there is utilitarian growth; we're still on the slowly winning journey.
 
Posted by Callan (# 525) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Is the social-progressive mindset winning?

It can't win. It's not goal-directed enough for winning to be meaningful. It prizes the journey rather than the destination.

It's about an attitude to disadvantaged groups, rather than about trying to achieve any particular goal.

The republican wins when the monarchy is overthrown. The pacifist wins when the armed forces are disbanded because there's no more need for them. The evangelists win when all are baptised. The progressive can never win.

Or do you see it differently ?

One of the Just Men of Jewish tradition is said to have arrived in Sodom. Immediately, he realised the wickedness of the place and spent his days in the market place calling them to repentance. At first people enjoyed the novelty of his preaching, but gradually they drifted away and he was left preaching to no-one. One day a small boy said to him: "Why do you bother, you must know by now that no-one is listening to you". The just man responded "my child, at first I thought that I could change them. I now know that it is enough that they are not able to change me".
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
My goal is that all men and women should be treated equitably, and that society's wealth should be distributed equitably.

Those aren't goals?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
My goal is that all men and women should be treated equitably, and that society's wealth should be distributed equitably.

Those aren't goals?

They sound like goals to me.

If you have some fixed and well-defined idea of what "equitable" means then you can attempt to achieve those goals by persuading everyone to your way of thinking.

Or by acts of terrorism, with laws reflecting that idea as your demand.

Or by leading a Robin Hood existence where you take by force wealth you consider undeserved, and punish those you deem guilty of inequitable treatment of others.

If you have no fixed idea, but want everyone's wealth level and rights to depend on what you feel is equitable at any particular moment, then I guess you just want to be God.

But exhibiting a bias towards persons you consider to represent a disadvantaged group doesn't seem of itself to be actively realising those goals.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
Or where you just stop keep taking from the poor/vulnerable and giving to the powerful and defending their rights to take.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
....
Personally I hadn't seen blaming my white neighbours for the actions of everyone in past centuries who happened to have the same skin colour as the best way of loving them......

That's reasonable. Instead, you could congratulate them on enjoying the vast wealth and benefits derived from the crimes committed in the past by people with the same skin colour as them.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But exhibiting a bias towards persons you consider to represent a disadvantaged group doesn't seem of itself to be actively realising those goals.

I wonder that you have any idea what I do to realize those goals. Perhaps this is an amazing level of insight. Perhaps it's something worse.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
you could congratulate them on enjoying the vast wealth and benefits derived from the crimes committed in the past by people with the same skin colour as them.

I don't think the difference in wealth between my poorer neighbours and my richer neighbours has anything to do with crime. And some of us aren't enjoying "vast wealth".

I can't rule out indirect benefit from crimes committed long ago and far away. There's a sense in which everything connects to everything else. But any such apply to my Chinese neighbour as much as to my Irish neighbours. Why would I find it necessary to make reference to the colour of his skin ?

Some of my neighbours may have inherited land that they wouldn't have were it not for a relative being killed in the First World War. That's profiting from past wrongdoing by people in another country.

But I'm not intending to try to make them feel guilty about it.

Your history and your narrative take on it don't seem very applicable to people around here.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I don't think the difference in wealth between my poorer neighbours and my richer neighbours has anything to do with crime. And some of us aren't enjoying "vast wealth"....

Russ, by global standards, you, me, and our immediate neighbours live a privileged, comfortable existence because of the vast wealth generated over the last 500 years by racism, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, genocide and unsustainable production and consumption. That is not a "mindset", it is a historical and economic fact.

It is possible that when Jesus instructed his followers to love their neighbours as themselves, he meant only the people living in the same town; is that how you interpret "neighbours"? True, in Jesus' time, many people only ever knew people who lived in the same town. We don't have that excuse. We know what is happening to our neighbours around the world and we know that all sorts of shit is happening for our benefit. Pretending we can wash our hands of history leads to pretending we have no responsibility for the present and the future.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Some of my neighbours may have inherited land that they wouldn't have were it not for a relative being killed in the First World War. That's profiting from past wrongdoing by people in another country.

But I'm not intending to try to make them feel guilty about it.

Your history and your narrative take on it don't seem very applicable to people around here.

Don't you live in a country where people were still profiting off of slavery until 1996? That seems a bit glib to confine to the dim mists of ancient history.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I don't think the difference in wealth between my poorer neighbours and my richer neighbours has anything to do with crime. And some of us aren't enjoying "vast wealth"....

Russ, by global standards, you, me, and our immediate neighbours live a privileged, comfortable existence because of the vast wealth generated over the last 500 years by racism, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, genocide and unsustainable production and consumption. That is not a "mindset", it is a historical and economic fact.

It is possible that when Jesus instructed his followers to love their neighbours as themselves, he meant only the people living in the same town

not when he followed it by telling of the good Samaritan
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Russ, by global standards, you, me, and our immediate neighbours live a privileged, comfortable existence because of the vast wealth generated over the last 500 years by racism, imperialism, colonialism, slavery, genocide and unsustainable production and consumption. That is not a "mindset", it is a historical and economic fact.

That Ireland & the US are both relatively wealthy countries is a fact as shown by the statistics you quote. The importance that different people attach to different explanations for that fact is very much a matter of mindset.

The obvious explanations include:
- natural resources (could Britain have pioneered the Industrial Revolution without coal ?)
- absence of physical barriers to trade
- relative lack of wars and civil strife (nothing destroys wealth like civil war)
- enterprise culture (Hong Kong ?)

Racism and Magdalene Laundries wouldn't feature on my list of significant factors.

quote:

It is possible that when Jesus instructed his followers to love their neighbours as themselves, he meant only the people living in the same town; is that how you interpret "neighbours"?

I think Jesus calls us to extend our good neighbourliness to everyone, not merely those around us.

I'm coming from the angle that in thinking about what being good to our neighbours means, we should start with the people around us whom we meet face to face and know as individuals, and then apply those same behaviours when it comes to our dealings with those further afield.

Rather than talking about people as instances of social classes.

If your form of "love" doesn't make sense applied to yours and my actual proximate everyday neighbours, then it's not care for people as people.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
The parable of the Good Samaritan is, I would think, a prime example of Jesus challenging his hearers to think beyond the conventional understanding of " neighbor." I'm also thinking of the early Churches collection for the church in Jerusalem -- obviously "Let's take care of our own, and let everyone else do the same," wasn't the mindset of the Church the Church then. Nor has it been.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Racism and Magdalene Laundries wouldn't feature on my list of significant factors.

WTSF?!*
The Rape of Africa and slavery? Never hear of those? Just how rural is your bit of Ireland?


What The Serious Fuck: an extra layer of incredulity
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... The importance that different people attach to different explanations for that fact is very much a matter of mindset.

The obvious explanations include:
- natural resources (could Britain have pioneered the Industrial Revolution without coal ?)
- absence of physical barriers to trade
- relative lack of wars and civil strife (nothing destroys wealth like civil war)
- enterprise culture (Hong Kong ?)



[Killing me] Russ, you're fucking hilarious. If that was all it took to create wealth, there would have been no need for Britain - and Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, etc. - to have colonies around the globe. Or are you going to claim that the colonial powers were "civilizing" the world out of the goodness of their hearts and lost money doing it? 'Cause that ain't so. The oldest company in North America is the Hudson's Bay Company. What the hell do you think they were doing in British North America, charity work? Certainly not:
quote:
It took the vision and connections of Prince Rupert, cousin of King Charles II, to acquire the Royal Charter which, in May, 1670 granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay."
The lands were not the King's lands to give. That is theft. That is a crime. That is a profitable crime - HBC has total assets of 7.943 billion CAD and market capitalization of 2.32 billion CAD today.

quote:

... Magdalene Laundries wouldn't feature on my list of significant factors.



My bad, I left sexism off the list.

quote:

...
I'm coming from the angle that in thinking about what being good to our neighbours means, we should start with the people around us whom we meet face to face and know as individuals, and then apply those same behaviours when it comes to our dealings with those further afield.
...

And I'm coming from the angle that the overwhelming majority of the people in the world do not live in rural Ireland.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

The Rape of Africa and slavery? Never hear of those?

Slavery happened, colonialism happened. These are historical facts.

What's of interest for this thread is how the progressive mindset weaves a narrative around those facts and then uses that narrative as the basis for responding to situations.

For example, the European individuals who historically were enslaved by North African individuals aren't part of the narrative. But the (sub-Saharan) Africans who were enslaved by their fellow Africans, transported by Europeans and sold to Americans are a really important part of the narrative, which becomes about the "rape" of Africa (presumably by Europe ?)

This then becomes, in the progressive mind, the dominant reason for the relative poverty of African countries and the relative wealth of European ones.

Whereas, if you look at the statistics that Soror Magna linked to, you'll see that the countries of Europe that were most involved in the slave trade are not noticeably richer than similar countries which weren't.
Because other factors are much more important determinants of wealth.

It's not that the progressive narrative is totally false. It's that it is a selective interpretation of history and economics, based around the concept of poor black people as collective Victims of rich white Oppressors.
 
Posted by Bax (# 16572) on :
 
In understanding a lot of the issues in the "mindset" that the OP suggested, where they came from and what they mean, I have found the insights of Rene Girard to be invaluable. Anyone interested in this I would direct to "I see Satan fall like lightning" chapter 13: "the modern concern for victims"

This concern for victims (that is a cornerstone of this mindset), is unique to western culture, Girard argues, and is in the process of growing exponentiation. It has its origin in the gospel, but is all we do is "victimise the victimisers" (i.e. anyone who can be accused of creating victims) we have not learned the essential lesson of the gospel. The true lesson is to stop creating victims completely, and realise our own complicity in the system of the world that victimises. (I am simplifying here of course)

https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/I_See_Satan_Fall_Like_Lightning.html?id=O2VSLxGpIt8C&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_rea d_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
Russ,

That seems like a lot of words, very few of them on point, to make the argument that slavery is neither immoral nor harmful to the enslaved.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Russ:
quote:
This then becomes, in the progressive mind, the dominant reason for the relative poverty of African countries and the relative wealth of European ones.
This IS the dominant reason for the relative poverty of African countries. There is no saying what would have happened if Africa had never been colonised by the European powers; as C S Lewis said, 'Nobody is ever told what would have happened'. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, pre-colonisation, sub-Saharan Africa was very rich indeed, with a large agricultural surplus and a lot of natural resources. No doubt there would have been wars anyway - people are people - and some African societies had slavery. But they would certainly have been richer today. There might even have been fewer wars, because left to their own devices they would probably not have divided their continent up in the same way.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Slavery happened, colonialism happened. These are historical facts.

"Happened"? Russ, those things don't just "happen". People did those things because they were profitable. And people still do those things because they continue to be profitable.

quote:

What's of interest for this thread is how the progressive mindset weaves a narrative around those facts and then uses that narrative as the basis for responding to situations.

Well, that might be because progressives recognize that masses of humanity are still in shitty, exploitative "situations" so that you and I can enjoy our opulent - yes, opulent, by any contemporary or historical standards - lifestyle. It might also be because progressives think humans should accept responsibility for their actions and for each other, instead of pretending that things like slavery just "happen", resulting in people being in "situations".
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
If that was all it took to create wealth, there would have been no need for Britain - and Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, etc. - to have colonies around the globe.

In fairness to Russ, Ireland has been more colonised against than colonising. The Great Potato Famine is still something people remember. That said, on Russ' principles the Great Potato Famine was just one of these things that happen and entirely unrelated to the UK's free trade policy.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
If that was all it took to create wealth, there would have been no need for Britain - and Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, etc. - to have colonies around the globe.

In fairness to Russ, Ireland has been more colonised against than colonising.
This is assuming is he Irish, and not of Ulster Scot or English background.

quote:

The Great Potato Famine is still something people remember. That said, on Russ' principles the Great Potato Famine was just one of these things that happen and entirely unrelated to the UK's free trade policy.

Assuming his family were affected, it isn't uncommon for people to create an artificial disconnect between their own suffering and that of others.

[ 13. September 2017, 20:06: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
For example, the European individuals who historically were enslaved by North African individuals aren't part of the narrative. But the (sub-Saharan) Africans who were enslaved by their fellow Africans, transported by Europeans and sold to Americans are a really important part of the narrative, which becomes about the "rape" of Africa (presumably by Europe ?)

That is because the numbers involved are of an order of magnitude different. There are no white populations that are identifiably descended from slaves that I can think of. There are lots of black populations that are descended from slaves.

quote:
This then becomes, in the progressive mind, the dominant reason for the relative poverty of African countries and the relative wealth of European ones.
Most of the big cities on the west coast of Britain are there because some people made a lot of money out of the slave triangle and then turned that into philanthropic interventions, capital investments within the rest of Europe, and so on. As for Africa, I think the legacy of slavery and colonialism is only part of the story. Colonialism is the bigger legacy in that the infrastructure it left behind in African countries was predominantly set up to make it easy to extract capital and resources. But I wouldn't say colonialism left an insuperable blight upon Africa. That's down partly to US (and Chinese) support for authoritarian regimes that could be counted on to let capital extract resources and especially down to world financial institutions restricting government spending as part of their loans programs.

The relative poverty of the African diaspora compared to their compatriots on the other hand is largely down to the legacy of slavery and the attitudes among the white population that stem from it. If your father owned nothing and people won't hire you for jobs then you're not going to get rich.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
this IS the dominant reason for the relative poverty of African countries. There is no saying what would have happened if Africa had never been colonised by the European powers

Sounds like you're saying that we cannot know, but you're sure anyway...
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
I thought this was interesting.
The crime of holding a flag while blonde.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
Here's another colonial factoid:

quote:
Colonial mining began when European techniques of production were introduced into the 'New World' to satisfy the insatiable European demand for metals. Within a matter of years, gold and silver started to flow into the Spanish treasury from Mexican mines. During the next 300 years of Spanish rule, many other minerals were extracted from the ground, such as copper, coal, lead and iron.

The bedrock deposits of the great silver-gold vein system of the Veta Madre at Guanajuato was discovered in the year 1550 and unearthed almost immediately after that El Oro, located near Mexico City one of the leading gold districts, was discovered in 1521, developed to a great extent by 1530, and mined regularly with some interruptions for about 400 years. During this period over 5 million ounces of gold was extracted.

First Majestic Silver Corp.


Just think about that, Russ: Spain stole FIVE MILLION OUNCES OF GOLD over 400 years, as well as vast amounts of other valuable metals. That's a hell of an economic stimulus package. We don't necessarily think of Spain as an economic powerhouse today, but it's still way ahead of Mexico in terms of wealth and GDP per capita.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I thought this was interesting.
The crime of holding a flag while blonde.

Ok, so I read the one, non-batshit crazy link on that search, AOL.
And the ACLU admit they were wrong. They have been defending white supremacist types and to put a blonde child on their twitter feed is a bit insensitive.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
That is because the numbers involved are of an order of magnitude different. There are no white populations that are identifiably descended from slaves that I can think of. There are lots of black populations that are descended from slaves. ...

That may also be because African slaves in the New World were encouraged to have children, whereas slaves generally in the Arab world don't seem to have been held in conditions where they might have been able to. Otherwise there would be significant African populations in the Gulf, which there don't seem to be.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I thought this was interesting.
The crime of holding a flag while blonde.

Ok, so I read the one, non-batshit crazy link on that search, AOL.
And the ACLU admit they were wrong. They have been defending white supremacist types and to put a blonde child on their twitter feed is a bit insensitive.

I actually linked to one of the articles and it flipped back to my Google search, but I think it is beyond ridiculous for the ACLU to have to apologize for posting a picture of a blonde child.

Being blonde does not make one a Nazi and the ACLU, of all people, should not be going along with that bias. By removing it and calling it "insensitive," they're pandering to racists who think pale coloring equals bad person.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I actually linked to one of the articles and it flipped back to my Google search, but I think it is beyond ridiculous for the ACLU to have to apologize for posting a picture of a blonde child.

It seems like it's not so much the picture as the way the accompanying text echoes one of the most infamous white supremacist slogans, especially when coupled with the picture. Most other people would get a pass for just not being aware of the fetishistic way white supremacists use the "14 words", but the ACLU doesn't really have that excuse.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
I thought they were echoing it on purpose saying "This is the future the ACLU wants," free speech for everyone. I thought the point the ACLU was making was about the child's shirt slogan. Instead it was seen as the twitter response quoted, "A white kid with a flag?!!!"

I didn't read any complaints about the text and all about "a blonde kid." Not saying there weren't people talking about the 14 words, but I didn't see it in the articles I read. (I don't have twitter.)

I did see that the Huff Post has and article saying the ACLU should be banned for "defending Nazi's." hmmm
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I thought they were echoing it on purpose saying "This is the future the ACLU wants," free speech for everyone.

If you're copying both the rhetoric and the iconography of white supremacists, I'm not sure "everyone" is clear in your message.

I'm also not sure it was a deliberate effort to copy white supremacist rhetoric, as you seem to. Still, when you're the ACLU you should at least have some awareness of such things, which seems to be why it was pointed out.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I thought they were echoing it on purpose saying "This is the future the ACLU wants," free speech for everyone. I thought the point the ACLU was making was about the child's shirt slogan. Instead it was seen as the twitter response quoted, "A white kid with a flag?!!!"

Messages are not intent alone, but perception as well. THe SCLU does not have a history of capitulating to critics, yet here they did. Why? Because they understood what people were seeing was not what they intended to show. The fauxtrage of the right is just that: false.

quote:

I did see that the Huff Post has and article saying the ACLU should be banned for "defending Nazi's." hmmm

I couldn't find that, but I would bet that it is an opinion, not a position of Huffington post.
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
Russ:
quote:
Sounds like you're saying that we cannot know, but you're sure anyway...
We're sure that Africa had a lot of natural resources (and people) that were appropriated by the European colonial powers.

We're also sure that Africa was divided up according to the convenience of the colonising powers with very little reference to the convenience or ethnic groupings of the people who actually lived there.

We're sure that before the colonial period Africa was self-sufficient in food production.

What we don't and can't know for sure is what the world would look like today if Africa had never been colonised and all the nations who you keep saying have not benefited at all from slavery and/or colonisation had had to fall back on their own resources.

Clear now?

[ 14. September 2017, 16:22: Message edited by: Jane R ]
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
I thought they were echoing it on purpose saying "This is the future the ACLU wants," free speech for everyone.

If you're copying both the rhetoric and the iconography of white supremacists, I'm not sure "everyone" is clear in your message.

I'm also not sure it was a deliberate effort to copy white supremacist rhetoric, as you seem to. Still, when you're the ACLU you should at least have some awareness of such things, which seems to be why it was pointed out.

You're the one who brought up a similarity in phrasing with the white supremacy slogan. I just thought if there is a similarity it might have been in an attempt to turn it around. I think it was probably just a cute picture.

The ACLU is about civil liberties. It's not a branch of the NAACP. Judging by the response to that picture -- a child holding a flag while wearing a free speech shirt -- the complaints seem to be about the fact that the child is blond.

I'm sorry the ACLU buckled under and I think it's a good thing they are not aware of whatever it is you think they "should be" aware of.
Sensitivity to any one group's feelings is contrary to their mission of equal rights for all, even the hateful and nasty. Even blondes.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Sensitivity to any one group's feelings is contrary to their mission of equal rights for all, even the hateful and nasty.

I'm not sure that follows. If you're dedicated in principle to the right of others to be hateful and nasty it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be hateful and nasty yourself.

[ 14. September 2017, 20:45: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:

I'm sorry the ACLU buckled under

They didn't buckle under. They don't do that. They recognised their post didn't represent what they wished it to.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
Russ:
quote:
Sounds like you're saying that we cannot know, but you're sure anyway...
We're sure that Africa had a lot of natural resources (and people) that were appropriated by the European colonial powers.

We're also sure that Africa was divided up according to the convenience of the colonising powers with very little reference to the convenience or ethnic groupings of the people who actually lived there.

We're sure that before the colonial period Africa was self-sufficient in food production.

What we don't and can't know for sure is what the world would look like today if Africa had never been colonised and all the nations who you keep saying have not benefited at all from slavery and/or colonisation had had to fall back on their own resources.

Clear now?

The division of Africa was of ten thousand kingdoms over ten - order of magnitude - external imperiums. Portuguese, French, Belgian, Dutch, British, German, Italian, Spanish, American and now Chinese. We annihilated African diversity with third rate European 'culture'.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jane R:
What we don't and can't know for sure is what the world would look like today if Africa had never been colonised

Agreed.

quote:
all the nations who you keep saying have not benefited at all from slavery and/or colonisation
I haven't said that the colonising countries gained no benefit. (That may perhaps be true in the case of Italy ?)

I haven't said that the colonised countries suffered no loss. (Life's complicated - they probably gained something and lost something).

I'm querying your confident assertion that colonialism is the main reason for the difference in wealth between African countries and European countries.

I suspect the evidence shows that
- the colonising countries were richer than any African country before colonialism took place
- the countries most affected by colonialism are not the poorest African countries
- the countries that had the most colonies are not now the richest European countries.
all of which suggest that there are other more important factors.

And I suspect that your statement is not based on any evidence, but rather reflects your belief in the progressive narrative about what is important.

Isn't that how the progressive story goes ? That racism / slavery / colonialism are strongly connected and comprise an important thing ? Alongside the thing to do with gender roles ?
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

I suspect the evidence shows that
- the colonising countries were richer than any African country before colonialism took place
- the countries most affected by colonialism are not the poorest African countries
- the countries that had the most colonies are not now the richest European countries.
all of which suggest that there are other more important factors.

No it doesn't. I cannot read your mind, but your posts seem to indicate a desire to minimise the impact of slavery and the rape of Africa.
If you wish to engage with information rather than the ignorance of your posts, you can read.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
The relative poverty of the African diaspora compared to their compatriots on the other hand is largely down to the legacy of slavery and the attitudes among the white population that stem from it. If your father owned nothing and people won't hire you for jobs then you're not going to get rich.

That's a fair comment. I think we can all recognize that this is a significant issue in the US.

quote:
There are no white populations that are identifiably descended from slaves that I can think of. There are lots of black populations that are descended from slaves.

Lots ? Beyond the US and the Caribbean ?

quote:
the numbers involved are of an order of magnitude different
I think there's an issue around numbers (tying in with Soror Magna's comment about "vast wealth").

If one is focused on individuals, then one individual's problem is not necessarily any more severe or more important depending on the number of other individuals who have the same problem.

If you care for your neighbour as a person, then it's really not important how many other people have the same problem as your neighbour does. What matters is how severely it affects them and what can be done about it.

Do progressives in effect have a doctrine that says problems that lots of people suffer from are important, and problems that only a few suffer from aren't ?

If you want to make a difference to society, doesn't it make sense to concentrate on the big major important problems ?
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Sensitivity to any one group's feelings is contrary to their mission of equal rights for all, even the hateful and nasty.

I'm not sure that follows. If you're dedicated in principle to the right of others to be hateful and nasty it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be hateful and nasty yourself.
Did you in all honesty look at the picture of that toddler and think it was hateful and nasty?

They took it down because a lot of people were offended and they didn't want to offend. That doesn't mean those people were right to be offended.

Nazi's are offended when they see mixed race couples. Other people are offended when they see blond children with flags. I think they are both wrong and the ACLU should not pander to either one.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I'm querying your confident assertion that colonialism is the main reason for the difference in wealth between African countries and European countries.

I suspect the evidence shows that
- the colonising countries were richer than any African country before colonialism took place
- the countries most affected by colonialism are not the poorest African countries
- the countries that had the most colonies are not now the richest European countries.
all of which suggest that there are other more important factors.

As you yourself noted, slave raiding by northern African countries on the southern European coast used to be something that happened. It does not happen any more.

North Africa was I think at least as rich as southern Europe before colonialism happened. It isn't any more. And southern Europe was at least as rich as northern Europe. West Africa was richer relative to Europe than it is now.
The test cases are outside Africa: the Middle East, India, and China were all richer than Europe in the seventeenth century.

I don't know how you'd define less affected by colonialism. All of Africa bar (arguably) Ethiopia was conquered by one or other European power. Kongo was a flourishing nation in the sixteenth century. It's less so now.

I don't think the question about European countries benefiting from colonialism is one of direct looting, although Spain was briefly the most powerful European nation largely on the strength of its gold (from Philip II onwards its monarchy was monumentally incompetent at administration). It's more that the European powers were able to set up favourable trade and investment relations. Although I don't know why Liverpool or Bristol should be much wealthier than Cork other than colonialism.
I suspect you're thinking of Germany here; I think the economic dominance of Germany is partly grounded on the successful adoption of anti-free trade policies by Bismarck and partly on the investment by the U.S. post World War II.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There are no white populations that are identifiably descended from slaves that I can think of. There are lots of black populations that are descended from slaves.

Lots ? Beyond the US and the Caribbean ?
There's a significant population in the UK with Caribbean ancestors. Most south American countries have a significant population of African ancestry: Brazil has more people of African ancestry than the US does.
Looking at the wikipedia figures, the US population alone would count as the 10th largest African country.

quote:
If one is focused on individuals, then one individual's problem is not necessarily any more severe or more important depending on the number of other individuals who have the same problem.

If you care for your neighbour as a person, then it's really not important how many other people have the same problem as your neighbour does. What matters is how severely it affects them and what can be done about it.

Do progressives in effect have a doctrine that says problems that lots of people suffer from are important, and problems that only a few suffer from aren't ?

If you want to make a difference to society, doesn't it make sense to concentrate on the big major important problems ?

Progressives have a doctrine? Well, of course, they have a doctrine. There's a progressive Pope and Magisterium who interpret the progressive Holy Book and the progressive Creed as set out in the progressive ecumenical councils.

Your last paragraph does seem to imply that you agree with the common sentiment of humanity that problems that affect a lot of people are more important. That's why most languages have special words for 'famine' and 'plague' and 'epidemic' and 'war' and other conditions that affect a lot of people. If your neighbour has a problem then your neighbour has a problem and you and their other neighbours can step in to help. If you and your neighbour and all your other neighbours have the same problem then stepping in to help becomes more difficult. And escaping from the problem becomes a lot harder. At the same time, solidarity becomes more powerful.

If you love your neighbour as a person, then you love them as a member of their society. Trying to love them in abstract from their society is loving them in the abstract not as a person.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... Do progressives in effect have a doctrine that says problems that lots of people suffer from are important, and problems that only a few suffer from aren't ? ...

Do conservatives have a doctrine that says you can only care about one person at a time?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Sensitivity to any one group's feelings is contrary to their mission of equal rights for all, even the hateful and nasty.

I'm not sure that follows. If you're dedicated in principle to the right of others to be hateful and nasty it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be hateful and nasty yourself.
Did you in all honesty look at the picture of that toddler and think it was hateful and nasty?
Actually that was your analysis. Or one of your analyses. You seem to be advancing two arguments. The first is that echoing the rhertoric and iconography of white supremacists is unobjectionable and the second seems to be that if you defend the right of people to be objectionable you're obligated to be objectionable yourself. In addition to being a non-sequitur, the second argument seems to contradict the first.

quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
They took it down because a lot of people were offended and they didn't want to offend. That doesn't mean those people were right to be offended.

More to the point, they didn't want to be associated with the rhetoric and semiotics of white supremacists, not just because it's offensive to most but because that's not the message they were intending to send. To take a related example, suppose the name of one of your products was a fairly offensive racial slur in the foreign country where you were selling it. You seem to be arguing that the proper response once this is pointed out by your customers is to resist "buckling under" and telling those customers they shouldn't be bothered if their new sofa comes with a side-helping of racial denigration. Most people, including the company in question, take the contrary approach and don't feel obligated to continue deliberately repeating what was initially an accident.

quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Nazi's are offended when they see mixed race couples. Other people are offended when they see blond children with flags. I think they are both wrong and the ACLU should not pander to either one.

If you say so.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... Do progressives in effect have a doctrine that says problems that lots of people suffer from are important, and problems that only a few suffer from aren't ? ...

Do conservatives have a doctrine that says you can only care about one person at a time?
The progressives view is, as usual, a little more nuanced than the reactionary/conservative one. The progressive view is not to condemn people out of hand simply because they are out of work, disabled or have chosen to leave a warzone to somewhere more peaceful without the expected paperwork. All of these are exactly the kind of people the conservatives, supported by the gutter press, continually to persecute. Sometimes they are few in number, sometimes many.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd In fairness to Russ, Ireland has been more colonised against than colonising.
This is assuming is he Irish, and not of Ulster Scot or English background.
Wow, progressivism in action !

"Russ isn't allowed to be just himself. We have to know whether he's an Ulster Protestant or a Munster Catholic, so we can know how much sympathy to have with what he says."

I think your fellow progressives would disapprove if you showed this much prejudice in the cause of any doctrine but theirs...
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
You are allowed to be whatever you wish. But it remains that not everyone has the same perspective and that background can inform that perspective and experience.
That is reality, not progressivism.
But I can allow as how you might not understand the disctinction.
Conservatives don't generally understand reality very well.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Nazi's are offended when they see mixed race couples. Other people are offended when they see blond children with flags. I think they are both wrong and the ACLU should not pander to either one.

If you say so.
Is that image supposed to be offensive?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
Nazi's are offended when they see mixed race couples. Other people are offended when they see blond children with flags. I think they are both wrong and the ACLU should not pander to either one.

If you say so.
Is that image supposed to be offensive?
How could it be? It's a blond child with a flag! More to the point, no person or organization should find it problematic to be associated with that image, at least according to Twilight.

[ 18. September 2017, 11:34: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Is that image supposed to be offensive?
How could it be? It's a blond child with a flag!
The sarcasm I perceive in your reply suggests that you do think the image is offensive. But while I'm perfectly familiar with the historical context of the image, it doesn't offend me.

quote:
More to the point, no person or organization should find it problematic to be associated with that image, at least according to Twilight.
The ACLU used a completely different image where the only similarities with the one you linked were a blond child (of a different gender) and a flag (of a different country). Is that really enough to label it hateful and nasty?


Is this image hateful?
Or this one?
This maybe?
Hateful?
Oh God, even the cartoons are at it!
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Is that really enough to label it hateful and nasty?

The ACLU image is neither hateful or nasty, Their post wasn't hateful or nasty.
What it was is a poorly chosen image given their recent activities. They recognised this and apologised. Because context. Which doesn't take a rocket surgeon to work out.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

What it was is a poorly chosen image given their recent activities. They recognised this and apologised. Because context. Which doesn't take a rocket surgeon to work out.

Well, quite. This kind of thing happens all the time. People don't communicate in paragraphs backed up with definitions and appendices - we typically communicate in short hand. And when we're abbreviating some idea down to say "here is the central point I'm making", we don't often pay too much attention to other ideas that could also be contracted to the same statement / image / whatever.

Often these misunderstandings are minor and irrelevant. Sometimes, they also betray a privileged thoughtlessness - surely no contemporary Black person would sit down and produce an ad that says "this is the future we want" next to a picture of a little white child?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

If you love your neighbour as a person, then you love them as a member of their society. Trying to love them in abstract from their society is loving them in the abstract not as a person.

That makes no sense at all to me.

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
That makes no sense at all to me.

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.

Groups of people are real. Groups of people that share common experiences, goals, characteristics, challenges, whatever, are real. I think I've mentioned this before in another context: freedom of association means groups of people can get together for a common purpose. (Not freedom to drive people away.)

Humans are social animals. We do not exist as individuals, even in our (what seems to the rest of the world) hyper-individualist culture. We all exist in a web of shared experiences and interdependencies with countless others, some of whom we may not even be aware of.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

If you love your neighbour as a person, then you love them as a member of their society. Trying to love them in abstract from their society is loving them in the abstract not as a person.

That makes no sense at all to me.

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.

And yet on another thread you were trying to argue that the desire to live in a mono-cultural community was a desire that should we should be respecting even if it led to the inconvenience or suffering the people excluded from the community.

I said 'their society', rather than social classes. (We can deal later with the ways social classes are and are not abstractions.)
We are now using the English language to try to communicate. Without any language we'd not only be unable to communicate, we'd have great difficulty planning or reasoning. Yet it makes no sense to talk about a language that has only ever been the property of one individual. Humans are language-users; languages are essentially social.
I don't know what percentage of your food is such that you know the precise provenance and every individual who has worked to get that food into your house. I live in a city; aside from the few people behind counters whom I recognise I don't know any of the primary producers or transporters. And yet I don't starve. That's quite a feat for an abstraction.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

If you love your neighbour as a person, then you love them as a member of their society. Trying to love them in abstract from their society is loving them in the abstract not as a person.

That makes no sense at all to me.

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.

They may be an abstraction but abstractions are very useful as an aid to understanding.

As an example, consider driving a car from point A to point B by looking at individual pieces of tar, grit and gravel - I bet you can't do it - but if you use a roadmap to the right scale, you will find it easy.

The former is real and obscure while the latter is abstract and clear.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.

They may be an abstraction but abstractions are very useful as an aid to understanding.

As an example, consider driving a car from point A to point B by looking at individual pieces of tar, grit and gravel - I bet you can't do it - but if you use a roadmap to the right scale, you will find it easy.

The former is real and obscure while the latter is abstract and clear.

Yes. But I suggest that you wouldn't want to be treated in the same way as the tar and gravel. And, being a moral person, therefore don't treat others that way.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's a progressive Pope and Magisterium who interpret the progressive Holy Book and the progressive Creed as set out in the progressive ecumenical councils.

Not sure here whether you're idenifying progressivism with Christianity or simply being sarcastic.

But there's a significant point here. Seems like progressivism has no prophet (with apologies to our Canadian Shipmate).

If someone claims to be a Marxist or a Thatcherite, a disciple of Nietzsche or a follower of Adam Smith, that one dropped name serves as a useful summary of their views.

Seems that - please correct me if you think otherwise - progressives have no such reference individual. Two people of progressive views discussing whether or not those lacking a sense of humour constitute a disadvantaged group have no authoritative text to interpret. There is no formal process by which a particular word comes to be seen as politically incorrect.

It's a school of thought without teachers. (Although many people who are teachers are enrolled).

Which is why progressive ideas are not held in terms of the outworking of a philosophy written in some book. Such a book would be an authority of sorts. Instead the ideas are held by those who believe them as "obviously true".

Which is why this thread is going the way it is...

I may have this wrong, but my understanding is that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it states that the existence of God is deducible without revelation. In other words, it's an article of faith that the existence of God is not an article of faith. I struggle to get my head around that one. But it seems like there's something similar here. It is a progressive doctrine that progressivism has no doctrines...
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's a progressive Pope and Magisterium who interpret the progressive Holy Book and the progressive Creed as set out in the progressive ecumenical councils.

Not sure here whether you're idenifying progressivism with Christianity or simply being sarcastic.
I was being sarcastic.

quote:
Seems that - please correct me if you think otherwise - progressives have no such reference individual.
You say this as if this is a problem.

quote:
There is no formal process by which a particular word comes to be seen as politically incorrect.
In the same way there isn't a formal process whereby particular words come to be seen as rude or ill-mannered.

quote:
It is a progressive doctrine that progressivism has no doctrines...
In so far as there's no authority that could rule any particular idea progressivist or not progressivist; in fact, in so far as there's no court which can rule that a person is or isn't 'progressivist', there can't be any progressivist doctrines or party line. Progressivism isn't any definite mindset or school.
I should think that if that strikes you as a problem, the problem is yours.
 
Posted by quetzalcoatl (# 16740) on :
 
Yes, I thought that that was the point in having progressive ideas today, that they are not a canon. You could use words like spectrum or cline, so you can't fix them like a photograph, sorry old-fashioned reference to when photos were fixed by chemicals.

In fact, 'mindset' is a nonsensical word.

[ 24. September 2017, 13:43: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I thought that that was the point in having progressive ideas today, that they are not a canon. You could use words like spectrum or cline, so you can't fix them like a photograph, sorry old-fashioned reference to when photos were fixed by chemicals.

In fact, 'mindset' is a nonsensical word.

"progressives are", "the progressive mindset", etc. are phrases that are rarely followed by any real examination of what being progressive is. They are insults or scare-words that are easy to use and take explanation to debunk so play to the base suppositions of the listener.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
.... Which is why progressive ideas are not held in terms of the outworking of a philosophy written in some book. Such a book would be an authority of sorts. ...

Perhaps progressives have looked around the world and realized that following books has created a vast amount of misery in said world. Maybe life is complicated and changeable and can't be encompassed in a book. And let's take a moment to reflect on some of the assumptions in Russ' statement: a book implies written language and literacy, for example. If you can't read, how will you know what the book says? You'll have to take someone else's word for what it says, in which case you're not following the book anymore, you're following hearsay. A book doesn't have any authority on its own - it's just a book until someone uses it to justify their own authority.

quote:
....I may have this wrong, but my understanding is that in the Catechism of the Catholic Church it states that the existence of God is deducible without revelation. ... I struggle to get my head around that one. ...
Is this a subtle way of telling us you aren't Catholic? Anyway, the argument is that everything exists because of something else causing it and there wouldn't be anything without a "first cause" i.e. God. Of course, then the obvious question is what caused the first cause. Oh, well, nothing caused God. God just is. Do not worry if you can't get your head around that - it's a nonsensical argument. God is also one of those 'ideas are held by those who believe them as "obviously true"', even though we all know it's turtles all the way down.

At least scientists are honest about not knowing what happened before the Big Bang.
 
Posted by Carex (# 9643) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


There is no formal process by which a particular word comes to be seen as politically incorrect..


"Politically correct" is a derogatory term used to mean not demeaning or insulting to others, typically used by people who habitually demean or insult others.

I actually don't notice progressives (of any flavor) using the term very often.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

People are real; social classes are an abstraction.

They may be an abstraction but abstractions are very useful as an aid to understanding.

As an example, consider driving a car from point A to point B by looking at individual pieces of tar, grit and gravel - I bet you can't do it - but if you use a roadmap to the right scale, you will find it easy.

The former is real and obscure while the latter is abstract and clear.

Yes. But I suggest that you wouldn't want to be treated in the same way as the tar and gravel. And, being a moral person, therefore don't treat others that way.
Russ, you really have missed the point. I never suggested that an abstraction is the same as the object, just that the right abstraction can aid understanding.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
"progressives are", "the progressive mindset", etc. are phrases that are rarely followed by any real examination of what being progressive is.

So do please enlighten us as to what being progressive is.

It's clearly more than just a negative attitude to the western cultural tradition, although that's part of it.

It's more than just a narrative which sees the world in terms of disadvantaged groups and the privileged oppressor groups who are exploiting them, although that's also part of it.

What's your take on it ?

I'm asking for a reflective analytical summary of how you see progressivism. Not your arguments for it.

It isn't loving your neighbour. Because all the conservative Christians think they love their neighbours. It could possibly be a particular way of doing so that distinguishes you from them.

Step back from the battlefront of the culture wars for long enough to say what it is that you think you're fighting for and why.

quote:
They are insults or scare-words...
If you think "progressive" is an insult, what more neutral term would you prefer?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Perhaps progressives have looked around the world and realized that following books has created a vast amount of misery in said world.

Books are so 19th-century...

...and so many of them were written by Dead White Males.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Step back from the battlefront of the culture wars for long enough to say what it is that you think you're fighting for and why.

Is it not enough to be fighting for a world where everyone can be free to be who they want to be without bigots and haters persecuting them for it?
 
Posted by Caissa (# 16710) on :
 
Here, here.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Step back from the battlefront of the culture wars for long enough to say what it is that you think you're fighting for and why.

Is it not enough to be fighting for a world where everyone can be free to be who they want to be without bigots and haters persecuting them for it?
Now, now! You're ignoring Russ's stricture that you're supposed to ignore oppression and exploitation. Exactly why you're supposed to do this is unclear, but he seems to feel strongly that opposing those things is out of bounds.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
So do please enlighten us as to what being progressive is.

Calls for a progressive alliance at the last UK election had in mind the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, and in Scotland also the Scottish National Party. I think you'd struggle to find any formal doctrine held by all those parties. It's hard enough to find a formal doctrine that unites both wings of the Labour Party.
It's more of a general sense that politics should serve everyone in a society and not merely those who have financial privilege.

quote:
It's clearly more than just a negative attitude to the western cultural tradition, although that's part of it.
No it isn't part of it.

quote:
It isn't loving your neighbour. Because all the conservative Christians think they love their neighbours. It could possibly be a particular way of doing so that distinguishes you from them.
There are some ways of loving one's neighbour which require no particular justification to count as loving your neighbour. For instance, not beating up your neighbour because he's married another man. Conservative Christian takes on dead horses are somewhat less straightforward to justify as loving their neighbour.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
You're ignoring Russ's stricture that you're supposed to ignore oppression and exploitation. Exactly why you're supposed to do this is unclear, but he seems to feel strongly that opposing those things is out of bounds.

If you exploit one person that's oppression; if you exploit a million people that's a statistic. Russ' position seems to be endorsing Stalin.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Perhaps progressives have looked around the world and realized that following books has created a vast amount of misery in said world.

Books are so 19th-century...

...and so many of them were written by Dead White Males.

And there have been many, many, many cultures and civilizations throughout human history that got along just fine without written moral or religious texts. And the codex format was invented long before the 19th Century.

And that's a truly sad attempt at parody in this context, since neither the Old nor the New Testament was written by white men. Neither were the Analects of Confucius or the Koran or the Dharma or the Talmud or any of the great holy books of the world. Jesus Christ was male, but he sure wasn't white and lots of people don't believe he's dead.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I think the parable of the Good Samaritan might help us out here on the loving thy neighbour bit.

If your version of "loving your neighbour" in this situation amounts to saying it's most loving to leave him to his own devices because it's his own fault for going on a road where robbers hang out, and that he should be making his own provision to ensure that he can pay for his own care and food, and doing these things for him just reinforces his failure to take personal responsibility for himself, then (a) it's not Jesus' version, and (b) it's Conservative faux-love bullshit.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


What's your take on it ?

Pretty much what Dafyd said, especially this bit.
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

It's more of a general sense that politics should serve everyone in a society and not merely those who have financial privilege.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

It isn't loving your neighbour. Because all the conservative Christians think they love their neighbours.

I would argue that they don't. You do not love you neighbour when you try to remove their healthcare, when you promote policies which push them towards poverty, etc.

quote:
If you think "progressive" is an insult, what more neutral term would you prefer?
Cute. But the word is not an insult in itself, just used this way by conservatives.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Pretty much what Dafyd said, especially this bit.
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

It's more of a general sense that politics should serve everyone in a society and not merely those who have financial privilege.


Again this sounds to me like the sort of "motherhood and Apple pie" stuff that everybody believes in, if perhaps in different ways. What makes your way different from anybody else's ?

Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ? Which author has written that they believe that ? Which politician has made speeches exhorting us to believe that ?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Pretty much what Dafyd said, especially this bit.
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
It's more of a general sense that politics should serve everyone in a society and not merely those who have financial privilege.


Again this sounds to me like the sort of "motherhood and Apple pie" stuff that everybody believes in, if perhaps in different ways. What makes your way different from anybody else's ?

Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ? Which author has written that they believe that ? Which politician has made speeches exhorting us to believe that ?

Mitt Romney's infamous "47% speech" comes to mind.
 
Posted by Marvin the Martian (# 4360) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ?

Yes, lots of people. The Rich, for a start. Do you seriously think the Kochs spend all that money on politicians without expecting to reap the benefit she for themselves?

quote:
Which author has written that they believe that ?
Ayn Rand? Milo Yiannopoulos?

quote:
Which politician has made speeches exhorting us to believe that ?
Republicans advocating tax cuts for the wealthy funded by healthcare cuts for the poor springs to mind.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Pretty much what Dafyd said, especially this bit.
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

It's more of a general sense that politics should serve everyone in a society and not merely those who have financial privilege.


Again this sounds to me like the sort of "motherhood and Apple pie" stuff that everybody believes in, if perhaps in different ways. What makes your way different from anybody else's ?

Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ?

Possibly there are relatively few people who believe that consciously and through their own deliberate fault. On the other hand, there are quite a lot of people who, through negligence or weakness, either through failure to think through the consequences of the policies they advocate do indeed end up supporting policies that serve chiefly the rich. Or there are people who for (spurious imho) moral or economic reasons think they can't accept policies that don't serve chiefly the rich.

[ 26. September 2017, 21:15: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Ayn Rand? Milo Yiannopoulos?

Do you have chapter and verse ? For the specific claim that politics should be for the benefit of the rich rather than for everyone ?

Or are you expecting me to read the complete works ?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Mitt Romney's infamous "47% speech" comes to mind.

That speech objected to the idea of a large class of people who draw money out of the public purse while paying nothing in, voting in their own interest for ever-higher government spending. (I think he later said that he'd got the figures wrong).

It's the mirror image of the idea of rich people using their influence to try to secure ever-lower taxes.

Neither reflects the ideal of democracy. Which is that the system works in the interests of everybody.

But there will always be tension between the left-leaning desire for big government with high taxes and high spending that looks after everyone, and the right-leaning desire for small government with low taxes and low spending that leaves people free to seek their own good.

That's normal. Many western democracies alternate power between more-right-leaning and more-left-leaning parties.

But I don't see that it answers the question about "social progressivism" - the cluster of social (rather than economic) attitudes that I'm trying to focus on in this thread.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Mitt Romney's infamous "47% speech" comes to mind.

That speech objected to the idea of a large class of people who draw money out of the public purse while paying nothing in, voting in their own interest for ever-higher government spending. (I think he later said that he'd got the figures wrong).
Other people pointed out that Romney was wrong, or at least incredibly deceptive. (e.g. way more than 53% of Americans pay payroll tax, which is the tax Republicans never seem to remember.) As far as I'm aware Romney shuffled and jived about his intentions but never actually repudiated the statistic. Of course I've not read the "the complete works" of Willard Mitt Romney, so it's possible I've missed something. Can you cite "chapter and verse" of this alleged correction on his part?

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
It's the mirror image of the idea of rich people using their influence to try to secure ever-lower taxes.

It really isn't. A speech promising that, as president, Romney would only serve the interests of the alleged 53% of Americans who pay (income) tax isn't "the mirror image of the idea of rich people using their influence", it is rich people using their influence.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But there will always be tension between the left-leaning desire for big government with high taxes and high spending that looks after everyone, and the right-leaning desire for small government with low taxes and low spending that leaves people free to seek their own good.

That seems a particularly dishonest bit of framing. The "right-leaning desire for small government" usually includes huge amounts of spending on things like the military, law enforcement, corporate giveaways, etc., after which government isn't really that small anymore. A more realistic way to look at the division is that left-leaners and right-leaners attempt to use the state to advance their agenda, but differ in the particulars.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
Ayn Rand? Milo Yiannopoulos?

Do you have chapter and verse ? For the specific claim that politics should be for the benefit of the rich rather than for everyone ?

Or are you expecting me to read the complete works ?

Ayn Rand's famous work is Atlas Shrugged where one of the main themes is so-called rational egoism - which is one of the reasons that Republicans love it.

Milo I don't care about.

--

Incidentally, there is a word for the kind of argument where someone asks everyone else to explain evidence to their satisfaction*. It's a destructive way to conduct an argument - if you don't know something, say so. Don't pretend that you are able to construct an overarching meta-argument and then when someone offers a simple rebuttal say that you're only going to accept it if they explain it to you.

*Sea-lioning - as per this explanation
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
... It really isn't. A speech promising that, as president, Romney would only serve the interests of the alleged 53% of Americans who pay (income) tax isn't "the mirror image of the idea of rich people using their influence", it is rich people using their influence. ...

Sorry. Not quite. A category of '53% of the population' is too large to call it 'rich people'.

There's a lot that's really, really wrong in the concept that one is entitled overtly to govern in the interests only of only-just-over-half the population, and as against what is virtually-the-other-half - who are demeaned as a nuisance, people who spoil the fun who should go away. That's nasty, and what we have in my country at the moment. But that, Crœsos, is a different charge.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Sorry. Not quite. A category of '53% of the population' is too large to call it 'rich people'.

That's true - the rich and powerful have an amazing ability to get a large proportion of people to vote against their own interests and instead to vote in policies which only benefit a tiny minority.

In the USA it seems that there is such a belief in the so-called American dream that people seem to be voting for things that would benefit them if they were rich rather than where they actually are at the moment.

I'm not entirely sure why anyone votes Tory in the UK.

quote:
There's a lot that's really, really wrong in the concept that one is entitled overtly to govern in the interests only of only-just-over-half the population, and as against what is virtually-the-other-half - who are demeaned as a nuisance, people who spoil the fun who should go away. That's nasty, and what we have in my country at the moment. But that, Crœsos, is a different charge.
Well I think these things have long roots and basically go back to Plato and beyond. If you have the idea that there are certain people who are "born to govern", then it isn't many steps until you get an aristocracy and then not many more until you get a plutocracy.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ?

Or there are people who for (spurious imho) moral or economic reasons think they can't accept policies that don't serve chiefly the rich.
As an additional factor, some people (consciously or semi-consciously) believe that people are rich or poor because they deserve it. And therefore policies that in fact serve the rich are justified on the grounds that they reward 'the deserving' or penalise 'the lazy'.
Also, policies that are justified on the grounds that they favour 'business' usually favour people who own or manage businesses rather than people who work for businesses.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you have chapter and verse ? For the specific claim that politics should be for the benefit of the rich rather than for everyone ?

... one of the main themes is so-called rational egoism - which is one of the reasons that Republicans love it.

That doesn't look to me like an argument that politics should be for the benefit of the rich. It looks like an argument that the good society is one where individuals are free to self-actualize, to create and make a living from their creations.

So that a poor potter is a more authentic human being then someone who gets a higher income by living on the dole.

The rich as a class do not appear to merit a mention in this summary of Rand's philosophy.

Which is why I was asking whether there's a specific work or section of her work which addresses the rich and their role in society. A specific quote which demonstrates that she advocates the specific view which I'm suggesting that nobody holds.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Fuck 'authentic'. Tax wealth.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Yeah, "you made a lovely pot, but you can't piss in it because you need the money to buy bread. But you're so authentic"

A properly recompensed potter is better still. Working for a living and still having bugger all is an abomination.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ?

Yes, lots of people. The Rich, for a start. Do you seriously think the Kochs spend all that money on politicians without expecting to reap the benefit she for themselves?

This.

And many of us non-rich assess the situation that way, even if we deeply believe that politics *should* be for everyone.
 
Posted by RuthW (# 13) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ? Which author has written that they believe that ? Which politician has made speeches exhorting us to believe that ?

Not just our politics. Our very governments are there to serve the rich. The law protects property rights at least as much as personal rights, therefore offering more protection to those who own property than those who do not.

Read John Locke, William Blackstone, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson -- just off the top of my head. They don't come out and say politics, government and the law are there to serve the rich; what they do is explain and defend property rights. Those of us who do not own property know when we are being told we can fuck off and die.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ? ...

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... For the specific claim that politics should be for the benefit of the rich rather than for everyone ?...

I spy, with my little eye, a moving goalpost. Politics currently IS working to the benefit of the rich pretty much everywhere, but it SHOULDN'T.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
That doesn't look to me like an argument that politics should be for the benefit of the rich. It looks like an argument that the good society is one where individuals are free to self-actualize, to create and make a living from their creations.

Maybe you're not trying very hard or lack imagination. Ayn Rand talked about individualism as a virtue - and it isn't hard to see how that turns out to be the elevation of the rich in the body politic.

It's a small number of logical steps: 1. those who can look after themselves rather than rely on a supportive state are morally superior 2. the rich can obviously look after themselves to a greater extent than others 3. and if we describe them as "job creators" then we create a situation whereby it becomes essential, and moral, to pander to the needs of the wealthiest and to downplay the needs of the poorest.

That's a bastardisation and oversimplification, but I'd be surprised if anyone has read Ayn Rand and not come to the conclusion that this is the society she thinks is the most moral.

quote:
So that a poor potter is a more authentic human being then someone who gets a higher income by living on the dole.

The rich as a class do not appear to merit a mention in this summary of Rand's philosophy.

Well, y'know, like all philosophy it helps if (a) you bother to familiarise yourself with the basics of it before commenting on it and (b) you're prepared to think through the direction of it and where it might be going so that (c) you understand how people are today using it to underscore their political philosophy.

quote:
Which is why I was asking whether there's a specific work or section of her work which addresses the rich and their role in society. A specific quote which demonstrates that she advocates the specific view which I'm suggesting that nobody holds.
Just read the damn thing already, or if you can't be bothered to do that then get a inkling of the basics by reading the zillions of articles across the internet about it.

Can I point you to a single sentence in Atlas Shrugged which makes this case? No.

Because I don't have the thing to hand and because I can't bring myself to read it again.

But just because I can't do that doesn't mean that what I've outlined above is incorrect. And if you disagree, you're not just arguing with me, you're arguing with those who say that they look to Ayn Rand for the basis of their political philosophy and who take a similar line.

Read it, read the commentaries and make up your own mind.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:


Read John Locke, William Blackstone, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson -- just off the top of my head. They don't come out and say politics, government and the law are there to serve the rich; what they do is explain and defend property rights. Those of us who do not own property know when we are being told we can fuck off and die.

Well there is also this, isn't there. Historically politics has almost always been about exclusion of the majority, with only very recent moves towards inclusion of the needs everyone.

And there is obviously some inertia when it comes to taking away some of the privilege that the political classes have enjoyed and spreading it out to the "unworthy". And this is another reason why the evil crap that Ayn Rand came out with had so much traction; if one can paint meeting the needs of a large proportion of the population as a "waste" of federal/government funds then it is very likely that one will think that the sun shines out of the backsides of the "wealth creators" - who coincidentally also seem to be the wealthiest and most politically active in society.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...Do you seriously think that anyone believes that politics is there to serve the rich ? ...

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... For the specific claim that politics should be for the benefit of the rich rather than for everyone ?...

I spy, with my little eye, a moving goalpost.

Not at all. The construction "is there to" is a statement of purpose. Which combines with the unstated premise that institutions should serve their purpose, to reach a conclusion about what should be.

If you were to say that the Church is there to save souls (or is there to preach the gospel, or whatever) you would be arguing that the Church should be focussing its attention and resources on fulfilling that mission.

I'm not sneaking in a transition from "is" to "ought".

And politics should of course serve everybody - rich, poor, and inbetween. It should be Us - we, the people - getting together to do collectively what we can't do (or can't do nearly so well) individually.

Not this horrible notion of a zero-sum game where you win by getting together a coalition of 51% of the people to screw money out of the other 49%. That's not "serving everybody".
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
...
Not this horrible notion of a zero-sum game where you win by getting together a coalition of 51% of the people to screw money out of the other 49%. That's not "serving everybody".

Well, the current game is 1% screwing the other 99% out their money. The system we have now is most definitely not serving everybody. What do you think should be done about it?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

And politics should of course serve everybody - rich, poor, and inbetween. It should be Us - we, the people - getting together to do collectively what we can't do (or can't do nearly so well) individually.

I'm puzzled why you think those with existing privilege think that they should help those without. The evidence appears to be that in almost all situations those with power, money and influence want to keep it for themselves.

quote:
Not this horrible notion of a zero-sum game where you win by getting together a coalition of 51% of the people to screw money out of the other 49%. That's not "serving everybody".
But who actually ever talks about politics being the service of everyone?
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Russ, do you think it's socially progressive that workers pay three times as much tax as shareholders?

[ 30. September 2017, 15:46: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I don't think that social progressive politics are those that focus on everyone - instead they're the politics which are trying to redress the inbuilt imbalance in society, which traditionally has given advantage and favour to a few.

It is a false balance to say "oh wait, you're focusing on the poor, when are the rich going to get a break" when the rich already have a break.

If the rich are taxes in ways that the poor are not, is that unfair, somehow not socially-progressive? Only in a dream-world where it is possible to imagine a situation where the rich few get all possible advantages whilst the poor are not screwed into the ground.

Back in the real world, the rich usually have to be physically stopped from stealing all the cookies for themselves and begrudging the crumbs that fall to anyone else.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
And politics should of course serve everybody - rich, poor, and inbetween. It should be Us - we, the people - getting together to do collectively what we can't do (or can't do nearly so well) individually.

Not this horrible notion of a zero-sum game where you win by getting together a coalition of 51% of the people to screw money out of the other 49%. That's not "serving everybody".

Which notion is 'this' horrible notion? Has somebody been advocating anything that can honestly be described that way? I must have missed it.

Ryanair / Uber et al have been running a business model that keeps prices down in part by not adequately paying their staff, and customers go along with that. That might count. Likewise, the present UK government is currently trying to cut its bills by not adequately paying public sector workers, which again might qualify. I think it would be more clearly described as screwing labour / work out of the people who are being paid low wages or salaries, or who are not being paid at all when on stand-by or moving between assignments.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't think that social progressive politics are those that focus on everyone - instead they're the politics which are trying to redress the inbuilt imbalance in society, which traditionally has given advantage and favour to a few.

I think you're right. What we're talking about is a philosophy of redress. Of reversing traditional biases (rather than eliminating or transcending them).

It's not advocating a desired end-state. It's advocating a cultural leaning in the opposite direction from the traditional one.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Traditional biases like workers paying three times as much tax as capitalists?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Russ, do you think it's socially progressive that workers pay three times as much tax as shareholders?

I don't think that's part of the social progressive mindset that we're talking about at all.

Not only because it's economic rather than social. But mainlt because this mindset sees "workers" as a group who are traditionally disadvantaged (relative to the owners of land and capital) and are therefore Victims to be sympathised with and their interests supported.

If you meant to ask whether I think it just that workers pay three times as much tax as shareholders, then I'd have to answer that

a) that's a hard question - taxes are a necessary way of paying for government services, so that it is not possible to pronounce definitively on what is a just tax in the absence of information on what services the money is spent on.

But

b) intuitively it seems to me that if I set aside some part of my current wages to provide for an income in retirement, and if I invest that money in the shares of a wealth-generating business (rather than under the mattress or speculating on property prices) then there's a case for taxng that income from shares more lightly, either to incentivize behaviour that supports the common good, or because I've already had to pay tax on the capital that is generating the income.

I don't see any clear watershed where "the rich" cease to be people like us but with a bit more money and become greedy bloated plutocrats.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I think you're right. What we're talking about is a philosophy of redress. Of reversing traditional biases (rather than eliminating or transcending them).

Would would you consider 'eliminating' or 'transcending' those biases to actually consist of? Other than declaring a year zero where we started to pretend they don't exist?

Because in this entire thread I've not seen you do anything else than defend the status quo.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Keep digging Russ.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I think you're right. What we're talking about is a philosophy of redress. Of reversing traditional biases (rather than eliminating or transcending them).

Perhaps you could explain how you eliminate a traditional bias without reversing it at some point?
If you miss your station I presume you get off the train at the next stop. But you don't get on the train going the other way because that would be reversing your mistake instead of eliminating it?

Would it be fair to say that the difference between eliminating a traditional bias and reversing it is that anything progressives think should be done now is reversing traditional biases? But anything progressives achieved in the past is merely eliminating them?
So when progressives advocated abolishing slavery that was reversing a traditional bias? But once slavery was abolished it became merely eliminating a traditional bias, and granting the ex-slaves voting rights became reversing the traditional bias?
And then once ex-slaves had voting rights that became eliminating a bias, but ending segregation was reversing the bias?
That seems to be the reasoning here.

quote:
It's not advocating a desired end-state.
You say that like it's a bad thing?

quote:
It's advocating a cultural leaning in the opposite direction from the traditional one.
No it isn't.
If you've been wearing blue spectacles all your life and you take them off then it will look as if there's now a bias towards red and green that leans in the opposite direction.

[ 01. October 2017, 14:31: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I think you're right. What we're talking about is a philosophy of redress. Of reversing traditional biases (rather than eliminating or transcending them).

...

There's no point in redressing an injustice without addressing the source of the injustice. If injustice is caused by a traditional bias, and if one is serious about redressing injustice, it would be nuts not to make an effort to eliminate the bias; otherwise, you'll just be stuck redressing over and over and over again. Followed by "those people are never happy, race shouldn't matter, women want more rights, everybody is equal now, criminals have all the rights, it's never enough, time to move on, nobody owns slaves today" and so on. Gosh, that sounds familiar ...
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

b) intuitively it seems to me that if I set aside some part of my current wages to provide for an income in retirement, and if I invest that money in the shares of a wealth-generating business (rather than under the mattress or speculating on property prices)



I don't think the line between "wealth-generating business" and "price speculation" is as easy to draw as you think.

quote:
then there's a case for taxng that income from shares more lightly, either to incentivize behaviour that supports the common good, or because I've already had to pay tax on the capital that is generating the income.
So if I take my wages, and purchase a pile of widgets and sell them at a profit, I shouldn't have to pay tax on my profits because I already paid tax on my income. And then I take those profits and buy more widgets, and shouldn't pay tax because I'm still profiting from my taxed income. And before long I have a massive widget-trading business which shouldn't be taxed because my seed capital was taxed income?

You can easily accomplish your desired goal (incentivize retirement savings) with your choice of variation on any one of the many retirement savings plans in existence that allow you to invest pre-tax income and defer the tax until you retire, have your investments grow tax-free within your retirement account, and so on.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

b) intuitively it seems to me that if I set aside some part of my current wages to provide for an income in retirement, and if I invest that money in the shares of a wealth-generating business (rather than under the mattress or speculating on property prices) then there's a case for taxng that income from shares more lightly, either to incentivize behaviour that supports the common good, or because I've already had to pay tax on the capital that is generating the income.

I don't see any clear watershed where "the rich" cease to be people like us but with a bit more money and become greedy bloated plutocrats.

It seems to me that you like the idea of having taxes to pay for things as long as you don't actually have to be the one paying and as long as you are the one benefiting.

The irony being that if you were ever in a situation where you needed the protection of the services you here are suggesting you don't like paying for, no doubt you'd quickly assert your right to that public service.

[ 02. October 2017, 07:08: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Russ, do you think it's socially progressive that workers pay three times as much tax as shareholders?

I don't think that's part of the social progressive mindset that we're talking about at all.

Not only because it's economic rather than social.

I disagree that this is a clean or easy distinction to make. For example:

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If you meant to ask whether I think it just that workers pay three times as much tax as shareholders, then I'd have to answer that

a) that's a hard question - taxes are a necessary way of paying for government services, so that it is not possible to pronounce definitively on what is a just tax in the absence of information on what services the money is spent on.

But

b) intuitively it seems to me that if I set aside some part of my current wages to provide for an income in retirement, and if I invest that money in the shares of a wealth-generating business (rather than under the mattress or speculating on property prices) then there's a case for taxng that income from shares more lightly, either to incentivize behaviour that supports the common good, or because I've already had to pay tax on the capital that is generating the income.

Note that there's a conflation of two different things. The first is whether money earned through labor (wages) should be taxed as heavily or more heavily than money earned by already having money (investment). The second is whether income dedicated to certain approved purposes (in this case retirement savings) should receive favorable tax treatment. There's no reason these two questions shouldn't be considered separately. Not all (or even most) income derived from investments is dedicated to retirement savings, nor is all retirement savings derived from investment income.

But this also demonstrates the blurry line between what's "social" and what's "economic". Is mitigating poverty among the elderly a "social" action, or does it count as "economics" if achieved through favorable tax policies? For that matter the very idea of "retirement", an extended period of old age not devoted to paid labor, is a relatively recent development. Does it count as "social" or "economic"?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I don't think that's part of the social progressive mindset that we're talking about at all.

Not only because it's economic rather than social.

I disagree that this is a clean or easy distinction to make.
I did think that in the OP Russ 'suggested' that being anti-capitalist was part of the social-progressive mindset. Being anti-capitalist seems like an economic position to me.
But really if one tries to chase down every contradiction or shift in Russ' suggestions one would spend far more time on them that they are worth and it wouldn't be any fun.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I did think that in the OP Russ 'suggested' that being anti-capitalist was part of the social-progressive mindset. Being anti-capitalist seems like an economic position to me.

I'd agree that believing in an alternative to capitalism is an economic position.

What I was attempting in the OP was a one-word (OK, maybe two, depending on how you count hyphens) summary of each of a number of positions which I perceive to form part of this mindset.

One of those is a general lack of sympathy with business; a tendency to think profit a dirty word that is synonymous with exploitation; a tendency to think that employing someone involves obligations beyond paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, & to sympathize always with the employee against the employer.

And we've discussed how that fits with other aspects of the progressive worldview.

If you want to suggest a better summary word, or short phrase, feel free. Finding a terminology acceptable to both sides was part of the original aim. However distracted we may get by various tangents.

But what I'm talking about is really more of a prejudice than an economic theory.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
If you want to suggest a better summary word, or short phrase, feel free. Finding a terminology acceptable to both sides was part of the original aim. However distracted we may get by various tangents.

I'm pretty sure that the semantics you're looking for is "every change to Western civilization in the 20th and early 21st century that Russ personally disagrees with", though I admit it doesn't seem to exactly roll off the tongue. Still, it would seem to fit your repeated rejection of any descriptives other than the ones offered by you.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
One of those is a general lack of sympathy with business; . . . a tendency to think that employing someone involves obligations beyond paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, & to sympathize always with the employee against the employer.

So a "social progressive" might maintain that beyond paying wages an employer is obligated to keep their workplace "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" (language cribbed shamelessly from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Act), whereas the opposing view (the anti-social regressive mindset?) might have more sympathy for the United States Radium Corporation than for its dying employees, for example?
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

I don't think the line between "wealth-generating business" and "price speculation" is as easy to draw as you think.

Are you saying wealth creation isn't good ? Or speculation isn't bad ? Or that you share the sentiment that one is better than the other but that it's difficult to legislate for that ?

quote:
So if I take my wages, and purchase a pile of widgets and sell them at a profit, I shouldn't have to pay tax on my profits because I already paid tax on my income. And then I take those profits and buy more widgets, and shouldn't pay tax because I'm still profiting from my taxed income. And before long I have a massive widget-trading business which shouldn't be taxed because my seed capital was taxed income?

To the extent that businesses are consumers of government services, they should pay their share of the cost of providing those services, which means some form of taxes and charges.

If your taxed seed capital is tied up in shares or savings plans or unit trusts, then it's not obvious to me that it's consuming more government services that need to be paid for then if it's under the mattress...

quote:

You can easily accomplish your desired goal (incentivize retirement savings) with your choice of variation on any one of the many retirement savings plans in existence that allow you to invest pre-tax income and defer the tax until you retire, have your investments grow tax-free within your retirement account, and so on.

And you're happy with that ?

So if it were the case that shareholders pay less tax because a significant proportion of shareholders are pension funds then that's OK ?

So the original statistic Martin quoted isn't necessarily evidence of injustice ?

But it makes you angry if you think about it in terms of honest hard-working labourers paying less than lazy greedy spoiledbrat rich investors ?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Are you saying wealth creation isn't good ? Or speculation isn't bad ? Or that you share the sentiment that one is better than the other but that it's difficult to legislate for that ?

It is the dichotomy that is bollocks. Those who mumble on about wealth creators and link it to low tax and low regulation seem to want to suggest that the only thing that it needed in the society is the wealth-creator, that all those who are not, somehow, meeting some arbitrary level of contribution are somehow dead weight and that therefore society should be rewarding them and punishing the poor.

It is as if they believe that the "wealth-creator" lives in a vacuum, where they're heroically generating the wealth, which is employing the masses and paying the taxes which keeps everyone else afloat.

And that everyone else should be grateful for their selfless generosity. Even though the rest of us have paid for the roads, the schools, the infrastructure and the society that you're exploiting to make money.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
One of those is a general lack of sympathy with business; a tendency to think profit a dirty word that is synonymous with exploitation; a tendency to think that employing someone involves obligations beyond paying a fair day's wage for a fair day's work, & to sympathize always with the employee against the employer.

Below you appear to say that you share the sentiment that wealth creation (which is what the employees do) is better than speculation (which is in a large modern business what the employers - the shareowners, investors, etc, do). Does that make you a social-progressive?

I would have thought that the idea that there is such a thing as a fair day's wage for a fair day's work is itself a socially-progressive position. After all, it implies that the business owner has some obligation not to negotiate down the price of labour beyond a fair level.
It is somewhat incompatible also with an idea that profit is an unlimited good. If the business is bringing in a lot of money fairness would seem to imply that the money is shared among the people who do the work. Whereas profit means that the money goes to the people who didn't do the work.

(For the above purposes we'll assume a division between employees who work and employers who own. In many businesses some of the employers will also work and therefore be also employees. Looked at in a certain way - through the eyes of a visiting Amazonian tribesman or a Martian - there's room for a conflict of interest there, above and beyond anything we think of the role of the employer.)

Let's consider two cases.
Case one:
Four people get together and decide to set up a baker's. Obviously if they all work equally hard fairness suggests that they all share the proceeds equally (they might decide that if one of them falls ill they should continue to give them a share on the grounds that in the abstract it could happen to any of them).
Now of course they need an oven to get started. Let's say they bring in a fifth person, Five, to provide the oven. Five isn't a baker and doesn't do any baking. Now presumably it's fair to provide the man with a share in the proceeds for whatever work he does checking that the oven is still working, cleaning it, and so on. Perhaps Five also does some administrative work. A fair share would be proportional to the effort that takes relative to baking. And of course they should pay Five for the oven out of everyone's shares. Suppose Five doesn't sell them the oven, but keeps the oven. Well, then it would be fair to pay Five for any risk to the oven incurred by the business. So if the business has a 90% chance to go bankrupt and the oven would be lost in that case, then they should pay Five a ninth share of the oven out of everyone's income.

Now in the real world what usually happens is that Five who owns the oven sets the amount that the other four people will receive, as well as the amount Five receives for maintaining the oven and doing the administration. And then Five gets all of the rest of the wealth that has been created by everyone's work, which additional wealth Five doesn't share. How does that happen? Well, usually Five has more savings, so Five can hold out on any deal for longer until the other four give in because they need the money more immediately than Five does.

Now do we think that the situation in which the person with more savings takes a bigger cut is actually fair? It doesn't seem that way at first blush. That's why economists and other commentators who aren't social-progressives are hostile to the idea that there is such a thing as fairness in employer/employee relations. Well, that's not quite true. Usually, when the employer negotiates favourable terms there's no such thing as fairness, there's only the market. On the other hand, when the employees get together and negotiate better terms suddenly that's trying to get more than what's fair.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
To the extent that businesses are consumers of government services, they should pay their share of the cost of providing those services, which means some form of taxes and charges.

If your taxed seed capital is tied up in shares or savings plans or unit trusts, then it's not obvious to me that it's consuming more government services that need to be paid for then if it's under the mattress...

There are a lot of falsehoods and non-sequiturs here, so I'm going to try tackling them one at a time.

First, most taxation systems in industrialized nations are based on income (money changing hands) rather than wealth (money sitting around). As such, "seed capital" (i.e. money invested in some venture) is not taxed in most jurisdictions. The returns on such investments are usually taxed, following the general principle of taxing income. I don't see any particular reason that income derived from price speculation or paid out as a dividend should be taxed less (or exempt from taxation) than income derived from digging ditches or data entry.

Interestingly, purchasing "shares or savings plans or unit trusts" is one of the few purchases most people can make that's not subject to taxation at the point of sale. Most folks pay a sales tax or VAT if they're buying clothing or a meal in a restaurant, but not if they're buying shares in a publicly traded company. In that sense investments already receive favorable tax treatment in most jurisdictions.

As far as consuming government services, most industrialized nations dedicate specific resources to protecting investors against fraud and other malpractice. I find it hard to believe that you've never heard of Charles Ponzi or Charles Keating or Bernie Madoff or any of the other notables in the constellation of financial fraudsters. Or that you're unaware of the government resources dedicated to preventing and/or detecting such actions, which involve a very different set of skills and resources than the basic law and order required to protect the proverbial money under the mattress.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
wealth creation (which is what the employees do)

Oh dear.

I thought you understood economics better than that.

Employees don't create wealth. What creates wealth is the combination of "factors of production". Employees typically supply one of those factors - labour.

Classical economics recognizes two others - land and capital.

But no wealth is created unless someone - an entrepreneur for want of a better term - has the initiative to bring them together and make it happen.

And arguably this can only happen in the context of government action to provide a legal framework, a viable currency etc.

So we could perhaps add two to the classical three factors.

Each of these inputs has to be paid for. Each could, in principle, be compensated by some mix of a fixed rate plus a share of the profits. Subject to the proviso that the shares have to add to 100%.

One model has fixed wages, fixed rent, fixed interest rate and fixed tax rate, with the entrepreneur having no fixed compensation and 100% of the profit. But I see no immediate reason why any of the alternative models should be considered intrinsically just or unjust.

quote:

I would have thought that the idea that there is such a thing as a fair day's wage for a fair day's work is itself a socially-progressive position. After all, it implies that the business owner has some obligation not to negotiate down the price of labour beyond a fair level.

The difficulty, of course, is determining what "fair" is; can it mean something other than the medium-term "going rate" for that particular input ?

And no, if social-progressivism is about redress for perceived past injustice, then advocating any model as being a priori fair is not a social-progressive position.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Oh dear.

I thought you understood economics better than that.

Some believe that Exploitation of Labour is the primary way for capitalists to make profit.

I think it makes a lot of sense: if you have a business which uses robots, then you're going to make money if the robots can create things for less than they cost.

But for the majority of capitalist history to this point, it hasn't primarily been technology and robots that has driven profits, it has been paying wages at far less than the unit of labour is actually worth to the business - and steadily over time paying less and less for that labour as efficiencies improve and productivity increases.

The fact is that the capitalist makes money not because he is clever, not because he is highly skilled and not because he is better motivated than the rest of the workforce, but simply because he has access to capital and can therefore pay employees the minimum he has to to accrue maximum profits.

In a situation like in the UK where the government artificially supports those on low incomes, the government is literally paying capitalists to pay starvation wages and make massive profits.

In any rational and humane system, if it was absolutely necessary to have large organisations (due to economies of scale), they'd be true co-operatives which respected the actual worth of each worker to the business and didn't just see them as an interchangeable robot whose main impact was on the bottom-line of the capitalist's balance sheet.

But, I know how it is. You capitalists are so wedded to the idea that you're right, you know best, you've done something to deserve the wealth you have and you deserve to live in a lifestyle that you don't allow to your own employees that you're not interested in Marx's economic analysis, you're not interested in alternative economic analyses of capitalism like Marxism and Distributism and you're not interested in alternative ways to share out the profits and benefits of a business to all those who contributed to it such as with a co-operative.

Because the only thing that matters is me, me, me.

And then you have the gall to tell others that they don't understand economics.

No friend: we understand all too well.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
wealth creation (which is what the employees do)

Oh dear.

I thought you understood economics better than that.

Employees don't create wealth. What creates wealth is the combination of "factors of production". Employees typically supply one of those factors - labour.

Classical economics recognizes two others - land and capital.

But no wealth is created unless someone - an entrepreneur for want of a better term - has the initiative to bring them together and make it happen.

And arguably this can only happen in the context of government action to provide a legal framework, a viable currency etc.

So we could perhaps add two to the classical three factors.

Each of these inputs has to be paid for. Each could, in principle, be compensated by some mix of a fixed rate plus a share of the profits. Subject to the proviso that the shares have to add to 100%.

One model has fixed wages, fixed rent, fixed interest rate and fixed tax rate, with the entrepreneur having no fixed compensation and 100% of the profit. But I see no immediate reason why any of the alternative models should be considered intrinsically just or unjust.

quote:

I would have thought that the idea that there is such a thing as a fair day's wage for a fair day's work is itself a socially-progressive position. After all, it implies that the business owner has some obligation not to negotiate down the price of labour beyond a fair level.

The difficulty, of course, is determining what "fair" is; can it mean something other than the medium-term "going rate" for that particular input ?

And no, if social-progressivism is about redress for perceived past injustice, then advocating any model as being a priori fair is not a social-progressive position.

Fair isn't becoming a rich bastard on the backs of the poor by using your 'initiative'.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Employees don't create wealth.[QB] What creates wealth is the combination of [QB]"factors of production". Employees typically supply one of those factors - labour.

Classical economics recognizes two others - land and capital.

But no wealth is created unless someone - an entrepreneur for want of a better term - has the initiative to bring them together and make it happen.

That seems remarkably selective. Labor doesn't "create wealth" because it's just one factor, but an entrepreneur does create wealth despite the fact that, like an employee, they are also not a tract of land. If the objection applies to one it applies to both.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
wealth creation (which is what the employees do)

I thought you understood economics better than that.

Employees don't create wealth. What creates wealth is the combination of "factors of production". Employees typically supply one of those factors - labour.

Classical economics recognizes two others - land and capital.

I believe 'creating wealth' is a recent catchphrase.
In fact, classical economists - eg Smith and Ricardo - asserted that the value of a product was the labour that had gone into producing it. I think you're talking about neoclassical economics, which dispenses with the labour theory of value.

There is a relevant difference between labour on the one hand and land and capital on the other. 'Creating wealth' is an activity performed by people. Land is not people and doesn't perform any activities. Nor does capital perform any activity. Labour is the only element here that is actually doing anything and therefore the only thing that can be described untendentiously as creating.
Just as a carpenter might be unable to build a wardrobe without wood and a hammer and saw, but one would still say that the carpenter built the wardrobe, and not that the wood or the hammer and saw built the wardrobe.

You've been arguing on this thread that people should be differentiated from abstractions. Yet now you're suddenly ranking abstractions such as capital and land alongside actual people.

If you're going to talk about creating wealth then it's the people working who do the creating.

quote:
quote:

I would have thought that the idea that there is such a thing as a fair day's wage for a fair day's work is itself a socially-progressive position. After all, it implies that the business owner has some obligation not to negotiate down the price of labour beyond a fair level.

The difficulty, of course, is determining what "fair" is; can it mean something other than the medium-term "going rate" for that particular input ?
Most neo-classical economists prefer to avoid talk of fairness just to avoid the problem. You however introduced it. 'Fair' clearly means something in non-economic contexts. If you think my example of the bakery doesn't apply the non-economic concept I think you'd better explain why. You'll note that my treatment of the oven covers the role of capital.

quote:
And no, if social-progressivism is about redress for perceived past injustice, then advocating any model as being a priori fair is not a social-progressive position.
I'm not entirely sure why not. If you split the cake between twelve children and some children get two pieces and some none that's unfair. But apparently you don't think that redressing the injustice by taking one piece of cake from each of the children with two pieces and giving them to the children with none has anything to do with fairness. Why not?
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
I have no idea why Russ just doesn't come out and say it's only land or capital that counts, and those who already have land or capital or both are the only ones that count. All the laws he's defending, all the tax breaks, all the perks, everything, favour those who don't work over those who do.

Six pages on, and it was already evident from the OP. The poor, the marginalised, the dispossessed can go hang and if they try to organise, they're essentially stealing from those who rightfully own the wealth and the power. Rightfully, because they already have it. This is nothing more than the Divine Right of Kings dressed up to wear capitalist clothing.
 
Posted by Caissa (# 16710) on :
 
Capitalism is an economic system based on exploitation. That makes it evil in my books.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Labor doesn't "create wealth" because it's just one factor, but an entrepreneur does create wealth despite the fact that, like an employee, they are also not a tract of land. If the objection applies to one it applies to both.

You're right; the objection applies to both. The entrepreneur in isolation does not create wealth; his input is only one factor. One of 5, in the system I'm proposing, which recognises the positive role of government.

"Make it happen" and "initiative" are my clumsy way of trying to describe what the entrepreneurial factor contributes. Feel free to suggest better words.

In Dafyd's bakery example, the workers were also the joint entrepreneurs. I've nothing against that happening, but it muddies the situation rather than clarifying it.

An entrepreneur who is distinct from the labourers may indeed want to pay minimum wages. And minimum rent and minimum interest on a bank loan to capitalise the business and minimum tax. So as to create a profitable business.

From the comments so far the problem with that seems to be entirely that social progressives sympathize with labourers in a way that they don't sympathize with landlords and bankers. Not sure about governments...
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If you split the cake between twelve children and some children get two pieces and some none that's unfair. But apparently you don't think that redressing the injustice by taking one piece of cake from each of the children with two pieces and giving them to the children with none has anything to do with fairness. Why not?

That's not redress. That's having a clear notion of fairness and applying it to today's birthday cake.

Redress is believing in a narrative that at last week's party the older children got more than their fair share of cake. And therefore trying to compensate by giving bigger slices of today's cake to the younger children.

Skipping over the difficult step of quantifying what's fair when people have different-sized appetites.

Even though it's a different set of children at today's party.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Even though it's a different set of children at today's party.

You are making the assumption that there is no connection between the two sets of children.

I did think it was mistaken two pages back - now I assume its just an exercise in self justification.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
Economics must the most useless and noxious discipline on the planet. There are real improvements in my life and health thanks to the real sciences; I enjoy beauty and pleasure and wisdom created by the arts; I live in a more just society thanks to the humanities. The only purpose of economics seems to be to find more and more ways to make rich people richer.
 
Posted by Arethosemyfeet (# 17047) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
Economics must the most useless and noxious discipline on the planet. There are real improvements in my life and health thanks to the real sciences; I enjoy beauty and pleasure and wisdom created by the arts; I live in a more just society thanks to the humanities. The only purpose of economics seems to be to find more and more ways to make rich people richer.

Keynesian economics created the most equal society the UK had ever seen, and wages for the lowest paid have barely risen in real terms since it was abandoned. The problem is how you use economics. All recent governments have advocated letting the rich get as rich as possible then begging them for scraps. Economics can equally be used to ensure working people get their fair share of the fruits of their labour.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


From the comments so far the problem with that seems to be entirely that social progressives sympathize with labourers in a way that they don't sympathize with landlords and bankers. Not sure about governments...

Correct, social progressives sympathise with anyone who is being exploited. At best they tolerate capitalists who actually pay proper wages.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
On cake - it's more recognising that some children are more favoured by the host and get given more cake because of who they are, and saying "hang on, what about the quiet one over there?" and making more effort to get him his cake.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
An entrepreneur who is distinct from the labourers may indeed want to pay minimum wages. And minimum rent and minimum interest on a bank loan to capitalise the business and minimum tax. So as to create a profitable business.

Hang on - weren't you saying that creating a profitable business was something that created wealth all round? And therefore wasn't a zero-sum game that that requires withholding wages and rent and income from the other parties involved.

What is an entrepreneur anyway? There's some talk of entrepreneurs as if they're a special class of individuals who have magic entrepreneuring powers and so are not subject to the rules applying to lesser mortals. I don't think that's mainstream economics though.

There are two activities that someone might be thinking of when they talk about an entrepreneur.
One is the entrepreneur who starts up a new business of a similar kind to businesses that already exist. They see that the demand for bread is outstripping the supply of bread and so they start up a new bakery. Now in neoclassical economics this kind of entrepreneur is not a special class of person. The market will settle into an equilibrium where the rewards minus the risks of starting a new business equal the income such a person could earn by remaining the employee of an existing business.

Then there's the Schumpeter-entrepreneur who is genuinely innovating. They set up a temporary monopoly on whatever their innovation is and so get a pay off by exploiting the resulting market failure. That is something of a special case and you can perhaps justify the results and still appeal to fairness somehow or talk about resources created for the whole of society.
Although here the benefits of the innovator to themselves are supposed to be only temporary, until the rest of the market catches up. You don't want the monopoly to become established. The reward is still supposed to be a one-off reward.

There comes an ideological problem if the first sort of entrepreneur is treated in discourse as being essentially the same sort of thing as the second sort. In that the case the first sort is being justified as a benefit society as a whole in ways that they are not actually a benefit to society.

[ 05. October 2017, 10:15: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Redress is believing in a narrative that at last week's party the older children got more than their fair share of cake. And therefore trying to compensate by giving bigger slices of today's cake to the younger children.

And your justification for thinking that's not a straw man is?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
If you split the cake between twelve children and some children get two pieces and some none that's unfair. But apparently you don't think that redressing the injustice by taking one piece of cake from each of the children with two pieces and giving them to the children with none has anything to do with fairness. Why not?

That's not redress.
Why not? It would seem to fit both the dictionary and legal definitions of the term.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

There are two activities that someone might be thinking of when they talk about an entrepreneur.

One is the entrepreneur who starts up a new business of a similar kind to businesses that already exist. They see that the demand for bread is outstripping the supply of bread and so they start up a new bakery...

Then there's the Schumpeter-entrepreneur who is genuinely innovating. They set up a temporary monopoly on whatever their innovation is and so get a pay off by exploiting the resulting market failure.

While there's much in what you say, it says more about different economic models than about entrepreneurs.

In classical economics, system behaviour is described by a stable equilibrium between supply and demand curves. There is indeed a distinction between the supply-side response described by a particular curve (producing more or less of the same good in response to a price signal) and a shift of that curve as innovation (technical or organisational) changes the characteristics of the market. But in both cases the behaviour of individual entrepreneurs is considered an unimportant detail. It's portrayed as something like a law of nature that some new or expanded business will arise; it doesn't depend on any extraordinary individual.

Conversely, Schumpeter's model is dynamic and evolutionary. He posits a continuous process of businesses starting up, each seeking some small advantage over their rivals - in efficiency, in quality, in marketing, whatever - with the losers going to the wall. In times of rapid technological or organisational development, it just happens faster and some of the advantages are more substantial.

You're right to talk about a risk premium - the entrepreneur usually has to stake his own money on the highly uncertain success of a start-up business that applies his ideas. And his reward has to reflect both the risk and the contribution of those ideas.

If the business does survive, he either becomes an owner-manager who drives the continuous improvement of the business. Or sells his interest and goes off to start another business...
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
While there's much in what you say, it says more about different economic models than about entrepreneurs.

That means that one rather has to specify the economic model one's using before one talks about entrepreneurs. As I said, if you confuse the two you start inventing magical entrepreneur powers that give the possessor special rights and privileges.

quote:
You're right to talk about a risk premium - the entrepreneur usually has to stake his own money on the highly uncertain success of a start-up business that applies his ideas. And his reward has to reflect both the risk and the contribution of those ideas.
As I said, the reward for the risk can be calculated as a strictly finite proportion of the sum risked. (Probably it is less than the sum risked unless the entrepreneur was gambling on a business more likely than not to fail.)

As for reward for having the idea: suppose the person who has the idea is an employee and decides to take the idea to her present employer rather than to found her own company. One would assume that the fair reward or the market rate is the same in both cases.
But there's no suggestion even in Schumpeter that the reward for ideas is an ongoing reward. Any benefit to the new enterprise from innovation lasts only until other enterprises can copy the idea.

[ 10. October 2017, 10:04: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

You're right to talk about a risk premium - the entrepreneur usually has to stake his own money on the highly uncertain success of a start-up business that applies his ideas. And his reward has to reflect both the risk and the contribution of those ideas.

Rubbish. The entrepeneur usually stakes other people's money* hence when he becomes inevitably bankrupt, he's not actually thrown onto the street.

* the banks, friends-and-family's, other investors, public grants, other public money etc
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Even though it's a different set of children at today's party.

You are making the assumption that there is no connection between the two sets of children.

No, I'm not assuming no connection between sets. I'm assuming no identity between sets.

In other words that a child has a self, an identity, a personhood, that is more than membership of some class which has a collective past experience.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
The entrepreneur, as described in many economic models, is a semi-mythical creature. It is mainly used to drive interest in the model. Not unlike the fantastical creatures described in the early days of exploration. The reality is typically different and often much more mundane.
 
Posted by Sioni Sais (# 5713) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

Even though it's a different set of children at today's party.

You are making the assumption that there is no connection between the two sets of children.

No, I'm not assuming no connection between sets. I'm assuming no identity between sets.

In other words that a child has a self, an identity, a personhood, that is more than membership of some class which has a collective past experience.

WTF has that to do with Chris Stiles's response? A while back you denigrated class as an abstract construct and now you are being as abstract as it is possible to be.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

In other words that a child has a self, an identity, a personhood, that is more than membership of some class which has a collective past experience.

Nevertheless, the child will be affected by the society in which it exists - which will include all the repercussions of the collective past experiences of that group - including other groups adaptive cultural responses to those experiences.

They don't exist in a kind of ex nihilo blank slate culture.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
.. In other words that a child has a self, an identity, a personhood, that is more than membership of some class which has a collective past experience.

This is, of course, a uniquely modern, western viewpoint of individuality. Most people around the world, past and present, do define themselves in terms of family, community, clan, etc. Most people around the world who aren't Russ consider their "membership in some class" an integral part of their "self, identity, personhood". Furthermore, those of us who aren't Russ' default white male cannot escape the reality that no matter how uniquely individual we are, our "membership in some class" does determine how many people treat us. I read resumes from all over the world and many of them list parents' names, home villages, ethnicity and religion. Here's an example of how people who aren't Russ introduce themselves:

quote:
Elder Larry Grant is of Musqueam and Chinese ancestry. His hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ name is sʔəyəɬəq, and his Cantonese name is Hong Lai Hing. Born on a hop field as a premature baby in Agassiz, B.C., Elder Grant was raised in Musqueam territory. He is the descendant of qiyəplenəxʷ (Capilano) and xʷəlciməltxʷ, Musqueam warriors who welcomed the first English and Spanish explorers to Musqueam territory. He is also the son of Hong Tim Hing, one of many Chinese market gardeners who farmed within the Musqueam community during the early 20th century.
Elder Larry Grant (pdf)
 
Posted by Jane R (# 331) on :
 
chris stiles said:
quote:
Nevertheless, the child will be affected by the society in which it exists - which will include all the repercussions of the collective past experiences of that group - including other groups adaptive cultural responses to those experiences.
Or as Tolkien more succinctly put it: "Who are you, alone and nameless?"
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
No man is an island.

The entrepreneur who thinks he can operate independent of and outside of his own cultural and social setting is an idiot.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
No man is an island.

The entrepreneur who thinks he can operate independent of and outside of his own cultural and social setting is an idiot.

What an idiot-filled world we live in. Everywhere multinational corporations constantly intrude into other cultures and social settings, and operate. Though it is much more than idiocy, it is a form of neo-colonialism, entrepreneurial exploitation, forcing of values, extinguishing of individuality. I particularly hold out consumer product companies, retailers who can force indigenous businesses out of business, export of cultural products like films and other media, oil companies. We also have idiocy like technological companies who fund their business via lucrative military contracts which provides for unfair advantage and selling things below cost.

Additionally, we can look at the idiots who successfully buy government support, particularly the fossil fuel companies, which are incredibly subsidized and actually noncompetitive without, probably because they pay so much into politician campaigns. Fossile fuel companies get billions in corporate welfare, 13x more than renewables.

Which all makes me ask, if any large business is really capitalist, into competition, or just into avarice via whatever legalised immoral and illegitimate means possible. (Then there are banks which should have gone out of business and their execs jailed, but instead got welfare and bonuses after destroying the economy over bingo-with-housing.)
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
And the above shows how far the real world is from Russ' simplistic Entrepeneurs 101 view of economics.

One thing is true: a lot of job growth comes from small businesses - during some periods, more than from big corporations. This happens despite the fact that everything is stacked against them, with government policies overwhelmingly favouring larger businesses. And no, "cutting red tape" doesn't solve the problem because the cuts also always favour big business.

Politically, the entrepreneur is used and exploited over and over by trickle-downers to cover up what are actually goodies for non-entrepeneurs.
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
.. In other words that a child has a self, an identity, a personhood, that is more than membership of some class which has a collective past experience.

This is, of course, a uniquely modern, western viewpoint of individuality.
This is the presented view of the west, perhaps. But it is not the real viewpoint in the UK or the US. In the UK, one is surrounded by the expressions of class, it is the essence of comedic expression and behavioural expectations. In the US, it is not as tied to birth, but it still exists.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Russ:
[qb] if you confuse the two you start inventing magical entrepreneur powers that give the possessor special rights and privileges.

No magic in it. But I'm sure you recognise that the skills and aptitudes needed to run a successful bakery business or widget-making business are different from the skills needed to be a competent baker or widget-maker. And those inputs should also earn their fair reward.

No special rights.

quote:
Probably it is less than the sum risked unless the entrepreneur was gambling on a business more likely than not to fail.
I thought all businesses were more likely than not to fail. Failure rate for start-ups is about 80% over a five-year period.

quote:
But there's no suggestion even in Schumpeter that the reward for ideas is an ongoing reward. Any benefit to the new enterprise from innovation lasts only until other enterprises can copy the idea.
Don't see how that's necessarily so. Maybe businesses gain market share over the period when they have a temporary advantage and lose market share when competitors have an advantage.

More generally, I'm not quite sure where you're coming from on this.

You reminded me upthread that in conventional economic theory, there is no excess profit in a competitive market. At equilibrium, the operating profit is just sufficient to cover the overhead costs. The business makes just enough to pay the going rate for labour, capital, and land inputs (and tax/rates to government and the risk-related going rate of return to the entrepreneur).

And that this competitive equilibrium is more beneficial to society than the situation where any of these inputs is over-compensated due to monopoly power.

Is that not the standard model ?

Are you saying that this model is wrong ? Or that markets aren't competitive enough ?
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
if you confuse the two you start inventing magical entrepreneur powers that give the possessor special rights and privileges.

No magic in it. But I'm sure you recognise that the skills and aptitudes needed to run a successful bakery business or widget-making business are different from the skills needed to be a competent baker or widget-maker. And those inputs should also earn their fair reward.

No special rights.

Given that you're advocating preferential treatment by the state of bakery owners relative to bakery workers, I think the words "fair" and "special" are doing a lot of unpaid overtime in your post there.

Your premise is that, to use Dafyd's example from a few days back, those who profit from their labor (the bakers in the example) should rightly be taxed by the state at a higher rate than those who profit through ownership of property (oven owner Five). Despite the fact that all income in the example comes from the same source, you posit that it would be unfair, unjust, or otherwise bad for the state to tax the earnings of oven owner Five at the same level as it taxes the earnings of his baking compatriots, apparently because Five has the option of just stashing his oven under his mattress and turning a profit that way. [Confused]

It also seems somewhat disingenuous to lump together such disparate activities as "run[ning] a . . . business" and holding several shares of Super Giant Amalgamated Corporation.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
You reminded me upthread that in conventional economic theory, there is no excess profit in a competitive market. At equilibrium, the operating profit is just sufficient to cover the overhead costs. The business makes just enough to pay the going rate for labour, capital, and land inputs (and tax/rates to government and the risk-related going rate of return to the entrepreneur).

And that this competitive equilibrium is more beneficial to society than the situation where any of these inputs is over-compensated due to monopoly power.

Is that not the standard model ?

Are you saying that this model is wrong ? Or that markets aren't competitive enough ?

That would seem to be the conclusion we could draw from the paper that was recently (and ineptly) "suppressed" by the U.S. Treasury Department. (The original story ran in the Wall Street Journal, but they've got a paywall so I can't provide a meaningful hyperlink.) If there were really no excess profit in the market we'd expect to see a lot more pass-through of changes in corporate taxation than we actually see. You can argue that it's because the model is wrong or that the market isn't truly "competitive", but that's what we see in reality, as opposed to theory. Which is probably why Mnuchin found the paper so offensive.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
No magic in it. But I'm sure you recognise that the skills and aptitudes needed to run a successful bakery business or widget-making business are different from the skills needed to be a competent baker or widget-maker. And those inputs should also earn their fair reward.

No special rights.

There is "special rights" when the baking entrepreneur employs a skilled baker on low wages simply because he has access to capital when he himself has no baking skills and when the baker could easily run the business but never gets the chance to.

Distributism means giving every baker the tools so that they can succeed in making money for himself without the unnecessary capitalist standing behind him skimming off the profits.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

It also seems somewhat disingenuous to lump together such disparate activities as "run[ning] a . . . business" and holding several shares of Super Giant Amalgamated Corporation.

Actually, I'm the one who's distinguishing the role of the entrepreneur as a separate factor of production from capital.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
if you confuse the two you start inventing magical entrepreneur powers that give the possessor special rights and privileges.

No magic in it. But I'm sure you recognise that the skills and aptitudes needed to run a successful bakery business or widget-making business are different from the skills needed to be a competent baker or widget-maker. And those inputs should also earn their fair reward.

No special rights.

Awarding all the profit to themselves rather than splitting it among all the employees must certainly count as a special right.

quote:
I thought all businesses were more likely than not to fail. Failure rate for start-ups is about 80% over a five-year period.
In that case the person (or persons) risking their capital is entitled to a return of five times their capital (but no more). Assuming of course that they don't get any pay out while the business is running.


quote:
The business makes just enough to pay the going rate for labour, capital, and land inputs (and tax/rates to government and the risk-related going rate of return to the entrepreneur).

Are you saying that this model is wrong ? Or that markets aren't competitive enough ?

Hang on, you say you want to distinguish between the input of the entrepreneur and the input of capital. Qua entrepreneur the entrepreneur doesn't risk anything. Only capital is being put at risk here. There's no risk related going rate of return to the entrepreneur if you distinguish the entrepreneur from capital.

Anyway, businesses do seem to make profit so presumably the market is not working according to the model.
The point was that you seemed to be suggesting that social-progressives by campaigning for things like health and safety legislation, pension rights, holiday and sick pay, rights not to be unfairly dismissed, etc, were giving workers more than a fair wage for fair work, and were therefore unfair to the employers. The point would be that a charge of unfairness against social-progressives is not consistent with a defence of profit that isn't shared among all employees.

[ 13. October 2017, 20:56: Message edited by: Dafyd ]
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:

It also seems somewhat disingenuous to lump together such disparate activities as "run[ning] a . . . business" and holding several shares of Super Giant Amalgamated Corporation.

Actually, I'm the one who's distinguishing the role of the entrepreneur as a separate factor of production from capital.
No, that's just wrong. If the bakers had the capital, they wouldn't need an 'entrepreneur'. They'd hire a business manager and make them their employee.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Qua entrepreneur the entrepreneur doesn't risk anything. Only capital is being put at risk here. There's no risk related going rate of return to the entrepreneur if you distinguish the entrepreneur from capital.

Not true. The capital for a start-up business would normally come from some form of bank loan. The interest on the loan is the return to capital. The entrepreneur is the one who's put up the collateral on the loan - probably his house. He takes the risk.

Typically, the money he takes home at the end of each week isn't a fixed salary rate times the number of hours he's put in. And isn't a fixed royalty on the innovation - the better mousetrap that he set up the business to manufacture. What he takes home instead is the profit for that week. Which may be zero. His income stream, his return, carries all the risk.

Until the business is established enough when he can sell shares in it and pay off the bank loan, so as to spread the risk to capital.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Not true. The capital for a start-up business would normally come from some form of bank loan. The interest on the loan is the return to capital. The entrepreneur is the one who's put up the collateral on the loan - probably his house. He takes the risk.

Oh cry me a fucking river - the entrepreneur stands to lose something he's staked against his gamble. His huge fucking house that he lives in whilst his workers struggle to find rental properties that don't have mould on the walls. His Jaguar whilst his workers can't afford cars. All bought off the labour of his workers.

Give me a break.

And this is all bollocks anyhow - you'd have to be a really stupid entrepreneur to be signing guarantees of business loans solely against your own property. What actually happens is that people use their property as collateral to leverage a portfolio of financing, including loans and grants (if at all available).

If/when a business collapses, those loan liabilities are almost never covered by the assets staked against it, largely because the guarantors go bankrupt and investors typically get pennies back in the pound after court costs.

And as every fool knows, every successful entrepreneur has a string of bankruptcies and business failures in their history (usually leaving a string of investors in their wake who just have to accept the loss). They might lose assets from on failure, they just learn the lesson and move on to another venture.

The idea that the entrepreneur alone is taking all the financial risk is bullshit.

quote:
Typically, the money he takes home at the end of each week isn't a fixed salary rate times the number of hours he's put in. And isn't a fixed royalty on the innovation - the better mousetrap that he set up the business to manufacture. What he takes home instead is the profit for that week. Which may be zero. His income stream, his return, carries all the risk.
No he doesn't. Utter crap.

Entrepreneurs gamble with other people's money as well as their own. Often far more of other people's money than their own.

quote:
Until the business is established enough when he can sell shares in it and pay off the bank loan, so as to spread the risk to capital.
Yeah, ok whatever.
[Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

You reminded me upthread that in conventional economic theory, there is no excess profit in a competitive market. At equilibrium, the operating profit is just sufficient to cover the overhead costs.

Equilibrium may be a state that the market heads towards over the long run (modulo other things such as oligopolies developing). But when you get into a business you do so because the market is not at equilibrium - you don't start a business if all you can do is just about cover the cost of your capital.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:

You reminded me upthread that in conventional economic theory, there is no excess profit in a competitive market. At equilibrium, the operating profit is just sufficient to cover the overhead costs.

Equilibrium may be a state that the market heads towards over the long run (modulo other things such as oligopolies developing). But when you get into a business you do so because the market is not at equilibrium - you don't start a business if all you can do is just about cover the cost of your capital.
This may be the case in the real world. However, it is the case in the economic models that economists and the right/centre use to justify the real world. Where starting a business and not starting a business have an equal payoff according to the dominant model of economics the difference between people who start businesses and people who don't will be based solely on temperament.
You can tell someone is a mainstream economist if they think that in the case of a mismatch between the real world and the economic model the problem lies in government interference with the market.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
There's no risk related going rate of return to the entrepreneur if you distinguish the entrepreneur from capital.

Not true. The capital for a start-up business would normally come from some form of bank loan. The interest on the loan is the return to capital. The entrepreneur is the one who's put up the collateral on the loan - probably his house. He takes the risk.
Property that can be used as security for a loan is capital. The entrepreneur's role in the little economic model that you were sketching was to produce the ideas.
We were I think talking about what factors are necessary for wealth to be created and who should be credited with creating that wealth. You were wanting to distinguish the role of the entrepreneur from the role of capital (put at risk) and the employees, as you were wanting to argue that the employees might fairly be credited with creating only the minimum market rate for their labour. I'm arguing that that is not fair by any intuitive or non-economic definition.
 
Posted by Dave W. (# 8765) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Not true. The capital for a start-up business would normally come from some form of bank loan. The interest on the loan is the return to capital. The entrepreneur is the one who's put up the collateral on the loan - probably his house. He takes the risk.

Oh cry me a fucking river - the entrepreneur stands to lose something he's staked against his gamble. His huge fucking house that he lives in whilst his workers struggle to find rental properties that don't have mould on the walls. His Jaguar whilst his workers can't afford cars. All bought off the labour of his workers.
Jesus Christ, mr cheesy. "His huge fucking house" and "his Jaguar"? Tell me - is he wearing a top hat and a monocle, too?

According to the US Census Bureau the top sources of startup capital in 2012 were:
(Numbers are percentages of respondent firms citing an item as a source of capital.)
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Not true. The capital for a start-up business would normally come from some form of bank loan. The interest on the loan is the return to capital. The entrepreneur is the one who's put up the collateral on the loan - probably his house. He takes the risk.

Oh cry me a fucking river - the entrepreneur stands to lose something he's staked against his gamble. His huge fucking house that he lives in whilst his workers struggle to find rental properties that don't have mould on the walls. His Jaguar whilst his workers can't afford cars. All bought off the labour of his workers.
Jesus Christ, mr cheesy. "His huge fucking house" and "his Jaguar"? Tell me - is he wearing a top hat and a monocle, too?

According to the US Census Bureau the top sources of startup capital in 2012 were:
(Numbers are percentages of respondent firms citing an item as a source of capital.)

This includes
quote:
firms with paid employees and firms with no paid employees.
The statistics do not tell the complete story. No employees would include businesses such as gran selling her knitting on Etsy and loads of other, single-person businesses.
My guess would be that the larger enterprise, the lower the personal savings %.
 
Posted by Doc Tor (# 9748) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Jesus Christ, mr cheesy. "His huge fucking house" and "his Jaguar"? Tell me - is he wearing a top hat and a monocle, too?

According to the US Census Bureau the top sources of startup capital in 2012 were:
(Numbers are percentages of respondent firms citing an item as a source of capital.)
What these figures show is that while someone (I'm not going to call them an 'entrepreneur') starts up a business selling services/widgets, almost no one whatsoever puts their house on the line.

Because they'd be fucking idiots to do so. That's why we have the notion of 'limited company', so that when it all goes tits-up, the business owner is only liable to debts up to the level of the assets of the business, not the coat off their back.

Yes, personal savings are sunk into businesses (because banks don't lend to risky ventures). Yes, rewarding successful start-ups is a public good. But in 99% of these cases, the start-up will be a sole trader, or a partnership. Theirs the risk, theirs the labour.

And again, fwiw, I get charged the same level of income tax as a self-employed sole trader as an employee would. The idea that I should be charged less would mean I would benefit, but fuck that shit. Capital just needs to be charged more.

(for clarity, I fell/fall into the last category).
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The statistics do not tell the complete story. No employees would include businesses such as gran selling her knitting on Etsy and loads of other, single-person businesses.
My guess would be that the larger enterprise, the lower the personal savings %. [/QB]

It technically goes up as a % of firms for the first employed person, but that is because the no-capital needed drops faster (leaving it at 65%). Only 1/5 of the firms actually employed anyone.

However when weighted by any of the sizes (so a bigger company counts double), then it goes back to 50% (but with loans now making 20%).
Which is consistent with your hypothesis, and inconsistent with it's converse.

Moreover we haven't a clue how much that starting capital actually was. As we see many didn't need any capital at all it's not unreasonable to assume about as many needed trivial amounts of capital (I.E each workers risk as much if their paycheck doesn't come).

_________
Or to put it the other way using the actual numbers they give.
2.5m firms employing people were started (significantly) by personal capital.
0.3m employed people but needed no capital
0.8m employing people were started (significantly) by other capital.
2m needed labour and are missing (I don't know why that doesn't match up with not-reported)

7m firms used personal capital but no labour
2m firms used other capital but no labour
4m firms needed no capital or labour.
10m firms needed no labour and are missing

[citition, as requested by website based on Census bureau info in link]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
What these figures show is that while someone (I'm not going to call them an 'entrepreneur') starts up a business selling services/widgets, almost no one whatsoever puts their house on the line.

Because they'd be fucking idiots to do so. That's why we have the notion of 'limited company', so that when it all goes tits-up, the business owner is only liable to debts up to the level of the assets of the business, not the coat off their back.

These are two slightly different things. It is true that owners and directors of limited liability companies are protected against personal losses. Which means that those who find that they're unsecured creditors against the company that is insolvent (usually suppliers etc) might find it really hard to get anything back and usually have no way to push the liability on to the directors personally. In those situations they might find that they're a long way down the list of importance for those clearing up the affairs and get nothing at all even whilst the directors continue to live in their fancy houses.

But increasingly those lending money to businesses, particularly if they're startups, require there to be a personal guarantor against the loan, which is indeed often held against a building. That's often a director of the business.

So if the thing goes belly-up and the lender wants to get their money back, they'll try going after the house of the guarantor of the business loan.

It does happen quite regularly.

[ 15. October 2017, 16:36: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Dave W. (# 8765) on :
 
Note that the link I gave has responses to a survey of all firms in the US in 2012, not just the ones started in that year. Information about the sources of capital does refer to when they were started or acquired, but information about employees refers to the pay period including March 12, 2012, not the conditions at startup.
 
Posted by Jay-Emm (# 11411) on :
 
There is another table SCB14, that has the info also broken down by company size.

There personal capital [at the beginning] declines from 71% of firms with paid employees making less than £5000 (ironically those who are almost certainly losing the risk and of course they are not getting the tax break).
to 57.3% of firms making more than £1,000,000

NB We also see that 40million workers are accounted for of 100million total, with about 65% of firms reporting, suggesting that the bigger firms were worse at filling the forms in.
The average pay of most of the categories is also less than that of the national (bizarrely firms that needed no capital do hit the average).

[same citation, conclusions here to be taken with extreme caution]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Property that can be used as security for a loan is capital.

Yes, but it's not recompensed by interest or dividends (the usual return to capital) it's recompensed from the entrepreneur's profit.

quote:
The entrepreneur's role in the little economic model that you were sketching was to produce the ideas.
More than that. If two blokes are chatting down the pub, and one of them comes up with a business idea (square wheels, coloured milk, whatever) and the other one goes ahead and starts up a business to produce the square wheels or the coloured milk or whatever, then he's contributed something more than an idea. "Initiative" is the best description I've found so far.

quote:
you were wanting to argue that the employees might fairly be credited with creating only the minimum market rate for their labour. I'm arguing that that is not fair by any intuitive or non-economic definition.
I think you're right that this is at the heart of the social-progressive belief on this topic.

Paying the "going rate" for labour (as well as for land and capital) seems in one sense fair. If you were selling to your neighbours surplus veg from your allotment, for example, I think the going rate would be your yardstick of what's a fair price to ask.

And economic theory - such as it is - suggests that in a competitive market, a business that pays less than the going rate for labour will not succeed in attracting the quality of staff it needs, while a business that pays more will lose out in price competition with rival firms.

The s-p view seems to be that the going rate for labour should be higher than it is. Without necessarily specifying whether it is the return to capital, land, or to the entrepreneur that should be correspondingly lower.

And without a clear notion as to what the right rate should be.

Because the notion of a "right rate" implies that more than this is too high. And saying that wages could conceivably be too high is non-pc, is off-message. Because the doctrine is that workers are the underdogs who deserve more.

I guess I'm trying to contrast someone who has a view as to what a fair price is (and can therefore impartially conclude that this price is too low and that price is too high). With someone who has only a sympathy, a partiality, a prejudice in favour of one particular group and therefore concludes that their return is always too low.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:


Paying the "going rate" for labour (as well as for land and capital) seems in one sense fair. If you were selling to your neighbours surplus veg from your allotment, for example, I think the going rate would be your yardstick of what's a fair price to ask.

Very few people sell produce from their allotments. First because the lease agreement expressly prohibits it and secondly because there is a prevailing culture of giving away excess produce.

Even if one stops talking about an allotment and instead is talking about produce from a home vegetable garden this mental exercise doesn't work.

Almost nobody sells things that they've grown at the side of the road at the price they'd reach in a shop. Because that's stupid for obvious reasons.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
Typically, the money [an entrepreneur] takes home at the end of each week isn't a fixed salary rate times the number of hours he's put in. And isn't a fixed royalty on the innovation - the better mousetrap that he set up the business to manufacture. What he takes home instead is the profit for that week. Which may be zero. His income stream, his return, carries all the risk.

There still seems to be a huge, unstated leap between this and your assertion that any income derived this way deserves preferential tax treatment from the state. Why does a man running a bakery deserve a lower tax rate than his assistant who derives his income performing the same tasks? Yes, if the bakery fails the head baker loses his source of income, whereas the assistant baker will . . . also lose his source of income? [Confused] There seem to be several missing steps of reasoning here.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
I guess I'm trying to contrast someone who has a view as to what a fair price is (and can therefore impartially conclude that this price is too low and that price is too high). With someone who has only a sympathy, a partiality, a prejudice in favour of one particular group and therefore concludes that their return is always too low.

And who exactly would this economic equivalent of "the view from nowhere" be? Someone who is neither employer, nor employed, nor in any way a participant in the economy?
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
And who exactly would this economic equivalent of "the view from nowhere" be? Someone who is neither employer, nor employed, nor in any way a participant in the economy?

Sounds a bit like a Rawlian veil of ignorance whereby in an ideal world prices would be impartially assessed.

Back in the real world, this never happens. If there is someone with capital, they want a return. So the price of labour is the minimum that the entrepreneur can possibly get away with to ensure maximum possible profits.

The only scenario where it is any different is where the entrepreneur is selling his own labour, or where the enterprise is a co-op or worker-owned.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Property that can be used as security for a loan is capital.

Yes, but it's not recompensed by interest or dividends (the usual return to capital) it's recompensed from the entrepreneur's profit.
That may be how it is. But you were asking what is fair.
I believe I have already established that a fair recompense for risk to one participant's property should be a finite sum proportional to the probability of loss and the property risked. You certainly haven't challenged this point.

quote:
quote:
The entrepreneur's role in the little economic model that you were sketching was to produce the ideas.
More than that. If two blokes are chatting down the pub, and one of them comes up with a business idea (square wheels, coloured milk, whatever) and the other one goes ahead and starts up a business to produce the square wheels or the coloured milk or whatever, then he's contributed something more than an idea. "Initiative" is the best description I've found so far.
You have been rather casting around for what the other bloke contributes. You've said it's initiative, but then you said he should be compensated for the risk and the contribution of his ideas.

quote:
Paying the "going rate" for labour (as well as for land and capital) seems in one sense fair. If you were selling to your neighbours surplus veg from your allotment, for example, I think the going rate would be your yardstick of what's a fair price to ask.

And economic theory - such as it is - suggests that in a competitive market, a business that pays less than the going rate for labour will not succeed in attracting the quality of staff it needs, while a business that pays more will lose out in price competition with rival firms.

So you're looking at this from the viewpoint of the business owner who is doing the paying. Rather than looking at the matter impartially, you're operating out of a prejudice and partiality towards the business owner. Which is why you keep changing your mind about whether the business owner is being compensated for initiative, or risk, or ideas; they're all rationalisations for a pre-existing prejudice in the business owner's favour.

quote:
And without a clear notion as to what the right rate should be.
There's nothing so unclear to you as a notion that runs against your prejudices.

quote:
Because the notion of a "right rate" implies that more than this is too high. And saying that wages could conceivably be too high is non-pc, is off-message. Because the doctrine is that workers are the underdogs who deserve more.
Seems to me that the idea of a 'right rate' is made from the position of someone offering a rate. And therefore is made from a position of partiality. As you admit that you're contrasting a social progressive viewpoint that has a view about what would be fair, with your own viewpoint which comes out of sympathy, partiality and prejudice in favour of the business owner and therefore concludes that any finite share of the profits is too low.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
Property that can be used as security for a loan is capital.

Yes, but it's not recompensed by interest or dividends (the usual return to capital) it's recompensed from the entrepreneur's profit.
Aren't dividends or interest also paid out of profits? I'm not seeing how you make a clear distinction here.

[ 17. October 2017, 15:43: Message edited by: Crœsos ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Aren't dividends or interest also paid out of profits? I'm not seeing how you make a clear distinction here.

I am not an accountant, but I don't think there is a distinction here either - dividends are paid to business owners if the business makes a profit. If someone is being paid whether or not the business makes a profit, that's a salary not a dividend.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
In fact, I think the whole thing is even more screwy than that.

Unless the business is insolvent, it is trading with various assets and liabilities. The latter might include loans from banks and investments from owners.

If there is a formal loan, then each month that is paid (with or without interest) from the turnover that the business is generating. The business might have a big turnover, might satisfy some or all of the loans on a monthly basis, and still not make money.

As far as I can see, that's a pre-tax liability. It's a cost to the business, nothing to do with whether it actually makes money or not.

Again, I'm not an accountant so maybe I'm wrong in that.

[ 17. October 2017, 15:51: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
You have been rather casting around for what the other bloke contributes. You've said it's initiative, but then you said he should be compensated for the risk and the contribution of his ideas.

All of the above. The typical entrepreneur contributes so much...

If the collateral were provided by someone else, then they should receive some recompense for that. If the ideas are provided by someone else, then some royalty on intellectual property would be appropriate.

All the contributors deserve some recompense.

I'm suggesting to you that there is nothing inherently unjust in any of the contributors receiving a fixed return (wages, rent, interest respectively) at the going rate. Leaving the business owner with all the risk.

And equally, nothing wrong in anyone negotiating for a share of the profits instead. Or some mixture of the two.

But I see no justification for the bank, having agreed the terms of the loan, to assert a moral claim to an additional share of any profit. And if that's true for capital, why is not true for land and for labour ?

quote:
Seems to me that the idea of a 'right rate' is made from the position of someone offering a rate. And therefore is made from a position of partiality.
Rubbish. The going rate is observable by non-participants. And not a few statisticians spend their time collecting and analysing such data.

I can only repeat that your problem is that you want to assert that there is a "right rate" or "just rate" for labour that is higher than the going rate. But don't have any philosophical basis on which to do so.
 
Posted by Crœsos (# 238) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
No magic in it. But I'm sure you recognise that the skills and aptitudes needed to run a successful bakery business or widget-making business are different from the skills needed to be a competent baker or widget-maker. And those inputs should also earn their fair reward.

quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Seems to me that the idea of a 'right rate' is made from the position of someone offering a rate. And therefore is made from a position of partiality.
Rubbish. The going rate is observable by non-participants. And not a few statisticians spend their time collecting and analysing such data.

I can only repeat that your problem is that you want to assert that there is a "right rate" or "just rate" for labour that is higher than the going rate. But don't have any philosophical basis on which to do so.

Or possibly even a "fair" rate. Seriously, do you not realize we can read your past posts? That one's not even on a different page yet! There doesn't really seem to be a "philosophical basis" to argue that investors deserve a "fair reward" but that labor should be compensated without any assessment of fairness.

And I'm still waiting for your explanation for why property owners should receive preferential tax treatment from the state relative to laborers.
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
You have been rather casting around for what the other bloke contributes. You've said it's initiative, but then you said he should be compensated for the risk and the contribution of his ideas.

All of the above. The typical entrepreneur contributes so much...
Including labour. But you didn't want to think that the typical entrepreneur contributed labour. You wanted to distinguish the entrepreneur's contribution from any contribution by labour, because you thought that 'muddled things'.
Yet you want to lump all the other potential contributions together even though that also muddles things.

quote:
If the collateral were provided by someone else, then they should receive some recompense for that. If the ideas are provided by someone else, then some royalty on intellectual property would be appropriate.

All the contributors deserve some recompense.

But you don't seem to have a philosophial basis for saying what the return on collateral or intellectual property should be.

quote:
But I see no justification for the bank, having agreed the terms of the loan, to assert a moral claim to an additional share of any profit. And if that's true for capital, why is not true for land and for labour ?
You asserted that there was such a thing a fair wage for a fair day's work. Now you're trying to say that there's no such thing.

Neither the capital nor the land are doing any work. (Nor is the entrepreneur on your account doing any work. You've decided to specify that they make no contribution by way of labour.) Also, of course, neither capital nor land can be forced into a bargain under duress. While typically labour does have to make ends meet and therefore is under duress.

quote:
quote:
Seems to me that the idea of a 'right rate' is made from the position of someone offering a rate. And therefore is made from a position of partiality.
Rubbish.
Not at all.

quote:
The going rate is observable by non-participants.
I don't see why you think non-participants can't be partial or prejudiced. You don't think progressives are impartial because they're non-participants.

quote:
I can only repeat that your problem is what you want to assert that there is a "right rate" or "just rate" for labour that is higher than the going rate. But don't have any philosophical basis on which to do so.
Quite the opposite actually. You wanted to assert that social-progressives wanted employees to earn more than was fair. But ever since I suggested that fairness might be an appropriate share of the proceeds, you're busy disavowing the notion of fairness. You're happy to invoke the concept of fairness when it suits the employer. But not to invoke it when it suits the employee.

I've repeatedly suggested philosophical bases for the appropriate returns for capital and labour, namely the money loaned multiplied by the risk, and a share of the proceeds. You just don't want to acknowledge that. For some reason.
Why, if not partiality, don't you want to acknowledge that?
 
Posted by Leaf (# 14169) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
The going rate is observable by non-participants. And not a few statisticians spend their time collecting and analysing such data.

Watch the goal posts slide around faster than deck chairs on the Titanic.

Watch particularly the use of a rhetorical strategy which is a variant on Irregular Verbs. In this case, Russ is claiming the category of "observable" for his position while claiming that Dafyd's position is "philosophical."

Of course Russ has a philosophy too, he just doesn't state it as such. His philosophy is support for the status quo: "Whatever is, is right." Since you can observe the status quo, that makes it a fact; and if a fact, a natural law must have caused it to be so. And social laws are a subset of scientific laws. Hmm.

It is inconvenient that the status quo has changed over time, but this too can be solved by use of Irregular Adjectives. Those previous changes made to the status quo by social progressivism - such as the rule of law and enfranchisement of non-landowning men - were legitimate and inevitable evolutions. More recent, or proposed, changes to the status quo are gross violations of the natural order of things by well-meaning but misguided philosophers.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Croesos
There doesn't really seem to be a "philosophical basis" to argue that investors deserve a "fair reward" but that labor should be compensated without any assessment of fairness.

What I'm suggesting to you is first that we all have some notion of "fairness". That of course we want to see applied to all the contributors to the business.

But then when you think about what "fair" means, it means something like "the going rate". So that if you employ a dozen people to pick grapes in your vineyard, then the expectation is that they all get paid the same (whether that's the same rate per hour or the same rate per tonne of grapes picked) unless there's some good reason why not.

If you're paid the going rate then you're not being singled out for special treatment (either specially good or specially bad).

quote:
And I'm still waiting for your explanation for why property owners should receive preferential tax treatment from the state relative to laborers.
I thought we'd covered that. The suggestion is not that any person gets preferential treatment. But that a man might reasonably expect to pay less tax on the income that his capital earns than on the income that he earns. Because:

a) the additional government services that he consumes by lending his capital at interest are minor compared with the government services he consumes anyway (with his capital under the mattress). Regulation of the money market being but a tiny fraction of the cost of running a successful State.

b) his capital has been saved from after-tax income, so that to tax what he does with it after that is a form of double jeopardy.

c) his capital is his pension fund and that saving and investing in this way is something government should encourage everyone to do.
 
Posted by Soror Magna (# 9881) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
... But then when you think about what "fair" means, it means something like "the going rate". ...

Sorry, but fair does not necessarily mean "the going rate". What if the vineyard owners collude to set "the going rate"? Would that be fair?

Alternatively, the vineyard workers could get together and bargain collectively with the vineyard owners and come to an agreement on what "the going rate" should be. Would that be fair?

I expect you're going to tell us that it's fair for the vineyard owners to pay whatever they want and it's terribly unfair for greedy, selfish, ordinary, non-entrepreneurial workers to organise to demand more from the vineyard owners who are brilliant entrepreneurs entitled to make as much money as possible by whatever means possible ...

Just as an aside, my parents owned two small businesses. They told me that you always start your business with other people's money, long before Donald Trump did. They sold out and retired very comfortably before I'd even graduated from high school.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:

I expect you're going to tell us that it's fair for the vineyard owners to pay whatever they want and it's terribly unfair for greedy, selfish, ordinary, non-entrepreneurial workers to organise to demand more from the vineyard owners who are brilliant entrepreneurs entitled to make as much money as possible by whatever means possible ...

Not at all. My limited understanding of economics is that anti-competitive practices make society as a whole worse off.

I'm the one deploring the sort of partisan approach that says it's OK if the good guys (our guys) do it and not if the bad guys (their guys) do it.

Dafyd is answering the charge of partiality by a counter-accusation that I'm just as partisan as he is. Which isn't true. But it's probably as close to an admission as I'm going to get from him...
 
Posted by lilBuddha (# 14333) on :
 
Anticompetitive practices are bad. Monopolies, price fixing, market division, exclusion deals, predatory pricing...
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
My limited understanding of economics is that anti-competitive practices make society as a whole worse off.

So if anti-competitive practices have set the going rate, which is on your account fair, you would force them away from the fair going rate to make society better in your view?
Sounds to me like one of Leaf's irregular verbs.

quote:
I'm the one deploring the sort of partisan approach that says it's OK if the good guys (our guys) do it and not if the bad guys (their guys) do it.
And therefore you're not partisan yourself. You perceive that you're not partisan, and because you're not partisan you know that your perception must be accurate?

quote:
Dafyd is answering the charge of partiality by a counter-accusation that I'm just as partisan as he is.
Am I? Where?
 
Posted by Dafyd (# 5549) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
But then when you think about what "fair" means, it means something like "the going rate".

No. Pretty sure that's not what 'fair' means. That would be a basic confusion of 'is' with 'ought'.

quote:
If you're paid the going rate then you're not being singled out for special treatment (either specially good or specially bad).
The thing is that the business owner is not being paid the going rate though, are they? They're singling themselves out for special treatment.
 
Posted by Russ (# 120) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
typically labour does have to make ends meet and therefore is under duress...

...
I've repeatedly suggested philosophical bases for the appropriate returns for capital and labour, namely the money loaned multiplied by the risk, and a share of the proceeds.

To the extent that labour has to "make ends meet", that's an argument for labour to be recompensed by a fixed wage paid promptly, rather than by a share of the proceeds that are uncertain and arise at some later point in time.

The workers in the vineyard want a daily wage rather than a share of the profit realised by selling the wine.

As for capital, if you want me to invest my savings in your business, then you have to offer the going rate of return for a safe investment (e.g. bank deposit) plus a premium for risk, rather than the simple calculation you suggest.
 


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