Saturday, December 04, 2021

How did Politics Become Only About Incantations?

While degree and severity differ from far-left to the entire-right, so much of today's politics is about symbolism that it's hard to recall, sometimes, our heritage as pragmatic, scientific civilization bent on fact-driven self improvement and reform.

Some of these symbol battles are long-overdue, like tearing down Confederate monuments-to-utter-treason that were imposed on us by the 1920s KKK. I'm less convinced by the some of the more extreme 'trigger warnings' that give Tucker-Hanninanity nightly grist, but clearly some linguistic adaptations are timely and worth negotiating. 

It's far worse, of course, on today's entire-right, where almost every issue is symbolic. Seriously, name an exception, from "wearing a mask turns you into a slave" to excusing 35,000 registered Trumpian lies because "at least they owned the libs," all the way to an obsession over the naming of naval warships. Oh, and their nightly rants accusing liberals of symbol-obession.

Again, please chime in with even one Foxite 'issue' that's not fundamentally more symbolic - or based on disproved mantras like Supply Side - than about practical solutions,

Oh, sure, a clear majority of Americans - and Canadians and many others in the Enlightenment Experiment nations - are still capable of negotiation, seeking practical solutions and adapting their tactics to changing conditions and new arguments. In fact, most 'leftist' politicians - like AOC, Bernie, Liz, Stacey etc. - seem deeply committed to maintaining a practical coalition. Having learned from disasters in 80, 88, 94, 2000, 2010 and 2016, they dicker hard with Biden/Pelosi, then back them up to the hilt.

So, why is it so hard for that pragmatic majority to get things done?

Alas, romantic symbolism junkies on the far-left and entire-right have been incited into roars of rage that give them inherent advantages in elections, especially when cheats like gerrymandering ensure many districts are dominated by the enflamed.


Note: by coincidence, in the latest update from Noema Magazine, Nathan Gardels also comments insightfully about how symbolism and incantations are dominating polemic in a world that's desperate for reasoned/negotiations by pragmatic leaders.


== Two Big Minds who miss the point ==

 You might drop in on an interesting podcast interview of Steven Pinker along with the "worst American," George F. Will. Both brilliant fellows make interesting points. 

G. F. Will smoothly and articulately foists desperate incantations to support the notion that he did not spend his entire adult life serving as a court apologia-issuer for crushing the Enlightenment under restored feudalism. His verbal agility is always awesome to behold, as is his despicable rationalization.

Pinker ably communicates how special our Enlightenment is - one of just a few such experiments ever tried, now under siege by a worldwide oligarchic cabal.

Alas, when he lists enlightenment's failed adversaries, Pinker mysteriously ignores the one and only form of 'government' that dominated 99% of our ancestors across 6000 years... oligarchic feudal lordship. ("Despotism" does not cover it; in people's minds they envision garish Orwellian standouts like Stalin or Hitler, and not the vast sweep of normal feudal governance, from Gilgamesh to Louis XIV to Lord Fahrquar.) Which is puzzling, since just saying the "f-word" allows perfect refutation to Will's claim that he and fellow conservatives are 'classic liberals.'

If you want a definition that spans the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, then hearken to the First Liberal, Adam Smith

Liberalism might best be defined as removing the impediments to individuals competing or cooperating fairly, free of cheating by those with unfair advantages or power, impeded only by three things:

- the balanced rights of others
- the blatant common good, and 
- accountability to the future.

Those things can be and have been redefined by each generation, especially as we expanded our definitions of inclusion - who gets to stand and speak freely in the assembly or forum - broadening that sovereignty from feudalism's 0.001% to the 20% of Pericles and Jefferson... 

... then to the 35% of Jackson and then Lincoln's emancipation of ownership over one's own body... followed by suffrage, civil rights and today's empowerment of so many smaller, long-oppressed castes. That expansion of inclusion and citizenship - the Great American Project - has been a grinding, too-slow process! 

But in no other society has it proceeded as quickly or with such inexorable-if-incremental momentum. And no definition of 'liberalism' that excludes such vital work is anything but lying hypocrisy.

It is in such a context of 6000 years - and even the Fermi Paradox - that brilliant defenders of enlightenment, like Steven Pinker, fail to make the issues truly clear, alas. Indeed, do you see anyone out there trying to set our current dilemmas in the context of millennia?

As for George F. Will's endless incantatory efforts to rationalize that today's conservatism is somehow "liberal," in anything like those terms - or his ongoing calumny that openly accountable civil servants are anywhere near the threat to liberal enlightenment posed by a cartel of boyars, murder sheiks, mafiosi, casino moguls, both open and "ex" commissars and inheritance brats - well, that would be hilarious...

...if it weren't cosmically traitorous to everything he claims to believe in. Everything that gave him... everything.  

And hence why this supernova of ingratitude and sellout rationalization is the very Worst American.


== Hammer this! Keynesian stimulus works and Supply Side does not. Wager it! ==

Hand-wringing over inflation can't mask what the few residually sane conservatives can see plainly, that Demand-Side works and Supply Side is an utter failure. 

Both parties have "stimulated the economy" to the tune of about $10 trillions, across the last half century, with starkly different outcomes. GOP Supply Side "stimulus" (gushers of largesse into the open maws of the rentier-caste) never once had remotely the predicted benefits.

 In contrast, responsibly executed Demand Side Keynesian interventions - of roughly the same size - have had palpable effects upon the economy, in predicted directions.

Money velocity, employment, inflation, consumer spending AND savings, plus investment in production and R&D have all responded in the intended directions. 

Let me reiterate that last point to you conservatives. Now, at last, manufacturing businesses are again pouring investment into productive capacity! Which SS was supposed to get them doing... and never did.

Demand side isn't all honey! Deficits do rise, though generally so do tax revenues. California is pouring cash again into the state's Rainy Day Fund and will send rebates to taxpayers again, soon.

Is it possible for Keyensian stimulus to overshoot? Sure! The left-fringe incantations called "MMT" constitute an insane cult, though so far also a marginal one without power. Yes, if MMT's Frankenstein version of Keynesianism ever took hold, I'd expect overshoot. But unlike the GOP, liberals are not dominated by their nutty fringe. (See the first part of this missive, about the only clade of pragmatists that remain in US political life.)

Still, let's reiterate. Keynesianism simply works, especially when managed by rational folks like Jerry Brown, Bill Clinton, and Gavin Newsom, ALL of whom used surpluses and good times to pay down debt.

In contrast, the Supply Side cult* never had a single positive outcome of any kind.

Not one predicted benefit ever happened. Ever and at all. Even once. (As Adam Smith himself clearly predicted, the rich generally do NOT act the way SS-cultists said they will.)  I have put up standing wager offers on that for years now and SS apologists always run away or change the subject. They know their cult incantations are wearing thin.

And yes, I also offer wager stakes over which party is more 'fiscally responsible.' 

The crux: No Republican is in any position to gripe about red ink. For any member of that party of symbol-obsessed, incantation-chanting wastrels to lecture us - ever - about fiscal responsibility or debt - in any way - is the most outrageous hypocrisy...

... one almost as stunning as liberals' inability ever to point that out.

-------
-------


* Stop calling it "trickle down"!  I know that sounds oh-so clever to you. But that is YOUR side's term and they just shrug it off, ascribing it to 'jealousy."

 Go to their terminology and demand direct wagers whether Supply Side ever delivered on its promised benefits - after $10 trillions in red ink - on even one single promised outcome!

72 comments:

GMT -5 said...

Regarding the naming of warships, I would gladly prohibit naming a ship after any politician. Warship names are FUBAR these days.

Speaking of warships, my lovely wife and I spent a glorious day touring the USS Iowa BB-61 at the Port of Los Angeles. We spent 3 hours on our self guided tour, took a break for lunch, then took the 2.5 hour turret crawl tour. I got a BB-61 windbreaker that still smells like the oil and steel of that old girl. The after plotting fire control computers for the primary and secondary batteries are fine examples of rugged, analog computers designed in the 1930s.

David Brin said...

What fun, GMT-8 Hoping others will check in.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

Then what's the difference between someone who (legitimately) is allowed to vote in US elections and those who aren't?

Do you mean people who have been disenfranchised? Felons?

I mostly side-step the issue and argue that our governments should never have the authority to disenfranchise us. Look at the way amendment #19 is worded and you'll see where I'm going with it.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


I argue that we MUST adopt a broader attitude. It's not that government grants a right to vote. Rights can't be granted. We prohibit them from denying rights.

So… if you are a citizen, I think you have a right to vote. Period.
Unfortunately, there is no amendment (yet) prohibiting them from denying the right I recognize.

———

Now… as for non-citizens… I'm inclined to let pretty much anyone who wants to be a citizen to become one. That's another basic right I recognize for others. You have a RIGHT to associate as you wish.

I'll recognize exceptions/cut outs for fraud, sedition, and clear associations with other nations. I'm not a fan of dual citizenship. Pick one, but feel free to be friendly and inclined to ally with others.

Obviously there is no amendment for prohibiting the denial of that one too.

———

This all comes back to how I see rights as claims and recognized rights as ones that cannot legitimately be denied. Personal sovereignty isn't just a libertarian joke position. It is a classical liberal position that goes to the heart of what Enlightenment Civilization IS.

duncan cairncross said...

Just testing!

Fighting my way though a book about debt and 2008 financial disaster - changed my thinking a wee bit

Jon S. said...

What ships I name are pretend starships, and I've gotten a good supply from following Twitter accounts like Angry Staff Officer (@pptsapper) and @CivilWarHumor. They led directly to my recent commissioning of the Discovery-era Constitution-class starship USS Silas Soule.

Der Oger said...

The answer to the question "How Did Politics Become Only About Incantations"? is: there are very effective. They tap into ideas and ideologies deeply ingrained in a culture, a myth or "lie we have agreed to tell each other again and again"(to quote GoT). They evoke emotions, not critical thinking, and clearly signal who your enemies and allies are. Also, since they are rooted in the "golden past", conservatives are more adept at wielding them.

Contributing factor is the the lack of neutral media and the influence of public service broadcasting companies independent from political parties. (They are under attack by the far right in any country that still sport them.) I may grind my teeth when paying my fees, but still, if that keeps a version of Fox news away from me, so be it.

Third, the type of electoral system itself. "First past the post" does not bring up the best politician, it brings up the one who can say up his incantations with the greatest effect, who can polarize and tribalize the best. I believe that competitive democracies are more vulnerable to the use of incantations than consensual ones.

Fourth (but surely not last), the type of educational system. If unbiased enlightment and knowledge and the tutelage of critical thinking is confined to a minority, and at some places actively fought, then the electorate becomes even more susceptible to the use of those incantations. A sub-point might be what happens to the electorate if educated and enlighted people flee. (Just thought: It might be interesting to view the right and access to free education as an add-on to the original intent of the 2nd amendment.)

So, to fight incantations, I could imagine being it a three-step process:
1) Identify and become aware of them.
2) Subvert, reinvent, ridicule, poison, control them, or invent new ones. Whatever works best for you.
3) Use the political power gained to change the system and culture to make it more incantation-resistant.(The far right already does this to achieve the opposite, and frankly, they are leagues better at it than the center and the left, in all steps of this process.)


Larry Hart said...

Personal anecdote. Trying not to ramble too much.

In the late 70s, my first college girlfriend had five sisters. Most of them were icy toward our relationship, but her oldest sister (who already lived on her own) was very welcoming and supportive. We became friends which survived the relationship with my girlfriend, and mutually supported each other through respective lonely times (not in THAT way!).

In the early 80s, she had met and become engaged to a guy from Richmond, VA, and had moved there to be with him. Their wedding was in her Illinois hometown, and for reasons I don't now recall, none of his friends made the trip. I ended up as his Best Man, even though I just met him a few days before the wedding. What I really felt I was doing, though there is no formal mechanism for this, was being her Best Man. The following spring, when I graduated college, the girlfriend and I visited Big Sister and her husband in Virginia, and I visited them two more times in the 80s when I happened to be "in the neighborhood" in DC, though the girlfriend was by then in my past.

In the early 90s, Big Sister and her husband were in Illinois for what was supposed to be my now-ex girlfriend's own wedding. I was actually invited to the wedding, which was an honor I had had to decline. No good would have come from that. However, that wedding was called off at the last minute, and Big Sister suggested I come down and visit anyway. Furthermore, she and her husband had business in Chicago, and if I drove down to them, they'd hitch a ride back with me. During the course of the visit, Big Sister was obviously disenchanted with ex-girlfriend's paramour, and made several snide comments to that effect. I was gratified, but kept my mouth shut, as any such commentary from me would have reeked of petty jealously and (I felt) actually undermined the point.

On the drive to Chicago, Big Sister let me know that she was angry at me for failing to openly criticize my ex-girlfriend's lover, and that she (Big Sister) felt I was taking sides against her. Her husband understood my position, but to no avail. The four hour ride was very awkward. I dropped the couple off at their hotel in downtown Chicago, and did not converse with them again for 3 years.

In the mid 90s, I became engaged myself. I figured it was time to mend fences before inviting the couple to my wedding. Big Sister's response was a list of demands of changes I would have to make to remain friends with her. I had had enough of that sort of s###, and let her know.

So I haven't conversed with them now for 25 years. But they stay in touch with my mother and send her those annual Christmas letters which describe the trials and tribulations of the sender throughout the past year. This year's frigging Christmas letter felt the need to mention how "woke liberals" have made their Governor Northam remove the wonderful statue of Robert E Lee, and how this prompted both Big Sister and her husband to become active in Republican politics.

This, more than anything else, makes me understand how Civil War is in the process of coming about and might be inevitable.

TCB said...

It is in such a context of 6000 years - and even the Fermi Paradox - that brilliant defenders of enlightenment, like Steven Pinker, fail to make the issues truly clear, alas. Indeed, do you see anyone out there trying to set our current dilemmas in the context of millennia?

The late David Graeber, for sure, though many of his conclusions would differ from Dr. Brin's. (His death last year, NOT from covid, was a bitter blow; he was an important thinker with a lot more to say.) He's the coiner of the phrase "the 99%" and author of Debt: The First 5000 Years and Bullshit Jobs.

Graeber's latest posthumous book, with David Wengrow, is The Dawn of Everything. One argument he makes is that native American Indian societies such as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) were the true source of many post-Hellenic Western ideas of democracy, acknowledged by contemporary European intellectuals like Diderot. Evidently this tributary branch of the democratic tradition was swept under the rug by later historians, because one can't credit your Enlightenment democratic ideals to the same people you are displacing and genociding...

Another current long-view thinker is Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens, though he doesn't focus on systems of government in the way Graeber and our host do.

Altereggo said...

My god, were you always this much of a nutcase? I looked you up having remembered rather enjoying some of your books as a kid, but you've gone off the deep end to the point of sounding like a parody.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

"Then what's the difference between someone who (legitimately) is allowed to vote in US elections and those who aren't?"

Do you mean people who have been disenfranchised? Felons?


No, I meant more like who gets to be enfranchised in the first place.


So… if you are a citizen, I think you have a right to vote. Period.


Ok, because my real question was along the lines of "What does it mean to be a citizen?" The Constitutional definition involves birth or naturalization. When a non-citizen is naturalized, doesn't that involve taking some sort of oath? Do you believe it should not?


Now… as for non-citizens… I'm inclined to let pretty much anyone who wants to be a citizen to become one. That's another basic right I recognize for others. You have a RIGHT to associate as you wish.


This will sound like a snarky question, but I mean it seriously. Do you see any difference there between non-citizens who live in the US and those who don't? Should any of Monty Python's "foreigners living abroad" be able to vote in US elections by deciding that they'd like to be Americans?

I'm not so much arguing against you as trying to understand all the implications of your position. For example, you're not allowed to vote twice in the same election. Is that a restriction that government is putting on you? Is it one they're not supposed to be able to do?

Don Gisselbeck said...

I'm inclined to go one step further, if people reside in a place and are subject to the laws of that place, they should have a say in the making of those laws. I could compromise on your position.

scidata said...

Alfred Differ: there is no amendment (yet) prohibiting them from denying the right I recognize

I don't understand. Suppose a citizen chooses to use a certain type of toothbrush. Is an amendment required to stop gov't from denying that right? What happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, self-evident truths, common law, or even common sense? I guess what I'm asking is: is everything now a statute?

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, your story reminds me (very indirectly) of how John Brown actually became the violent radical we know. There was a fantastic American Experience PBS doc called John Brown's Holy War on Youtube which I watched about 6 times before it got taken down.

Short version: Brown was anti-slavery from an early age and believed there were two documents sacred above all others: the Bible, and the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration said All men are created equal, and he took it at face value. No ifs, ands, or buts. In his day, he was unusual for treating Black people as true equals, calling them Mr. and Mrs., dining at the same table... even other abolitionists wouldn't do this!

Anyway, he was a peaceful activist for years, but then pro-slavery 'border ruffians' violently invaded Kansas and two of his sons went there with friends to oppose them. Not he; he was an old man. But they wrote that they were doing badly and begged for help. He loaded a wagon with guns and arrived there to find them sick, hungry, and freezing in tents. He built a cabin, nursed them to health, then built another. Meanwhile the pro-slavery men were threatening to kill foes such as the Browns (and had already killed some people).

On May 21, 1856 the border ruffians sacked the anti-slavery town of Lawrence, Kansas. And on May 22 came the caning of Senator Charles Sumner, nearly to death, on the Senate floor, by Rep. Preston Brooks after Sumner gave an anti-slavery speech. A friend of Brooks, with his own cane and a gun, prevented anyone helping Sumner.

When news of this reached Brown and his sons, it was the final straw. They took several pro-slavery men from their cabins in the night of the 24th, releasing some and killing five of them, in what is called the Pottawatomie massacre.

This was a horrible but probably necessary turning point; Brown was coy about his role in the massacre, but it was an open secret. Southerners now regarded him as a monster, naturally; but free-state men in Kansas felt he had saved them, by showing the arrogant border ruffians that violence could take them too. An historian wrote, twenty years later:

It meant that the policy of extermination or abject submission, so blatantly promulgated by the Pro-slavery press, and proclaimed by Pro-slavery speakers, had been adopted by their enemies, and was about to be enforced with appalling earnestness. It meant that there was a power opposed to the Pro-slavery aggressors, as cruel and unrelenting as themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottawatomie_massacre

Anyway, I guess my point here is that there were plenty of chances for the pro-slavery forces to choose peace, and as long as they felt themselves invulnerable, they did not choose it. A year earlier, Brown wasn't planning on killing anybody. The slavers changed his mind.

David Brin said...

TCB Graeber offers many interesting insights... and I am a huge supporter of moves to give better recognition to enlightened tribes like the Iroquois and Cherokee (see SUNDIVER) than to theose who get all the moviess and who, in fact, tended to raid and enslave and oppress their neighboring tribes.

Nevertheless, while Ben Franklin and others credited much inspiration from Hiawatha and the Iroquoisans... it is simply utter silliness to rank their influence higher than Locke and Hume and the Amsterdam Federation and fer-gosh-sakes Pericles's Funeral Oration, which all the Founders would have read, in Thcydides.

We gain little from flagelatory exaggeration.

David Brin said...



Glad to see at least some of you getting through the change.

TCB Yes, John Brown's radicalization was obvious, tho thanks for the summary!

But in my pair of 'ongoing civil war' essays, I point out how the north would never have elected lincoln but for 8 years of brutal raids by bands of irregular southern cavalry kidnapping people off the streets from Michigan to Connecticut, serving out beatings and even killing and burning, while abetted by US Marshalls appinted by southern sympathizing presidents. That is what got northern states re-activating their dormant militias and voting for Lincoln.

Civil War Phases - CONTRARY BRIN - http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html

You all will recall my prediction that immigration would provide lefty Americans their desperately needed excuse to turn on Biden, no matter what else he has done. No US president can (or should) do what they demand.

"Altereggo" is clearly spam, but the filter let it through, so I'll answer.

Hey fella, nice rude driveby snark. But who has the burden of proof here? I wrote a buncha stuff you like, and now not? Okay SInce YOU have no good to balance your recent bad... and I do... then maybe, just maybe, it is YOUR perceptions at fault this time?

Tell you what, escrow wager stakes with a reputable atty so it's worth my time to prove any individual passage in this posting? If you prove the 'parody" crap, you get money! Till then, all you are is a rude twerp. Curious which? Got guts?


Larry Hart said...

Alterego:

My god, were you always this much of a nutcase?


That might make a good opening line to the Lord's Prayer.

:)

David Brin said...

Har LH! Grammatically he WAS aiming that question skyward!

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Alfred

Re Citizens and voting
Here (NZ) all adult legal residents have the vote - not "just" citizens

Somebody somewhere said something about Taxation without Representation!

But you do need to be a citizen to stand for election

David Brin said...

Is Alfred aboard? I may go back to the old gateway method to see who got excluded.

Well, NZ has the advantage of having been one of the last-colonized and hence having settlers with more advanced ideas. The Maori get all the luck!

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

@ Larry Hart, your story reminds me (very indirectly) of how John Brown actually became the violent radical we know.


If you don't mind me asking, in what sense? Because the most plausible connection I see between the stories is that my old friend turned Confederate radical after being pushed once too often by "woke liberals" and their lickspittle governor.

I don't think that's what you meant, and I sure hope it isn't, but I don't see any other way to reconcile the two stories.

Larry Hart said...

I thought Alfred always did use a gmail account.

I mostly like the ideal of universal residency suffrage, but again, the devil is in the details. We don't necessarily want to establish a "voting tourism" industry.

And are age requirements still acceptable?

duncan cairncross said...

The Maori get all the luck!

The Maori were the most flexible people we encountered!

They went from Polynesian Islanders -
to an expansive society on an untouched island -
to a farming society -
and were just starting on the warring tribes part when the Europeans arrived
All in less than 500 years!

They then adopted useful European ideas - like Potatoes and Muskets

The settlers treated them quite well - they HAD to!

Tim H. said...

Reality continues getting stranger:
https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-congressman-posts-family-christmas-picture-with-guns-days-after-school-2021-12-05/

Christmas card with guns! Their home could be Santa's last delivery ;)

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

When a non-citizen is naturalized, doesn't that involve taking some sort of oath?

I think it does at the moment. My mother naturalized after living in the States for about six years. I've got her paperwork somewhere. There was a test and many signatures.

However, I don't think an Oath is appropriate for naturalization. An Attestation should suffice. They may sound a lot alike, but the difference I would defend involves fealty. A naturalized citizen should attest that they abandon fealty to any OTHER state. [I'm being careful not to use 'nation' there because some tribes are correctly recognized as nations. A 'state' is the formal, legal entity recognized by international 'law'.] Attesting to abandonment of a competing fealty statement should be enough.

Should any of Monty Python's "foreigners living abroad" be able to vote in US elections by deciding that they'd like to be Americans?

I'm inclined to leave that to the States. I don't mind, but I'm not all that inclined to protect that opportunity as a right for them. Once they attest to being one of us, I'll defend it.

More importantly, though, is that I don't mind people OUTSIDE our border attesting to this as well. I don't know how to defend their rights without them being recognized as a resident of a particular state, but I wouldn't be HIGHLY amused if one of our states chose to broaden their scope. Imagine Delaware expanding their incorporation scope and you'll see an opportunity for a WHOLE lot of teeth gnashing. [I would expect Mexico to follow suit pronto and include many of my neighbors if they wished it at some point.

For example, you're not allowed to vote twice in the same election.

That gets prohibited because it is seen as cheating. One person. One vote. What the exact rules of the voting system are can be adjusted much like we do any other market, but in any of them we can usually agree that some behaviors are cheats. I'm for prohibiting them IF enough people agree that they are cheats.

There are many types of cheats that we can't define up front, but we know them when we see them.

Alfred Differ said...

duncan, Don Gisselbeck, and others,

I really don't mind if a jurisdiction wants all residents to be voters. They ARE taxpayers (up to a point) and y'all know how I feel about the connection between taxes and thefts. If one is to be stripped of belongings, it's quite alright to give them a say in opposing it.

scidata,

If I thought my government was going to prohibit toothbrush choices, I'd argue for prohibiting them from doing that. Well… maybe. Probably. If someone made poisonous toothbrushes, I wouldn't object much. I'd argue for writing the law to be about the poison, though.

Our ninth amendment covers this. The rights for which we have explicitly written prohibitions do not form an exhaustive list. FAR from it.

David Brin said...

No, no and no.

Becoming a US citizen is to become part of a movement and agreeing to share a general sense of lyalty to it. So what if our confederate side keeps betraying it. EVERY new citizen should at least have to study a bit and ritualize belief in the Experiment.

No one gets to lecture us about welcoming nearly half of the world's migrants. Except maybe Canada. And their red states - mostly Alberta - are not existential threats.

duncan cairncross said...

Immigrants
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_immigrant_population

The USA is well down the listing at 15.4%
Here (NZ) we have 27.4%

Even Germany is above the USA at 15.7%

Immigrants per year

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_net_migration_rate

Again the USA is well down the list at 3.2%
NZ is 4% and Germany is 4.8% - Canada is 7%

That does amount to about a million immigrants a year for the USA - but as a larger country the USA should be taking more people in

David Brin said...

Duncan those percentage figures ignore (1) the sheer numbers (!!) and also (2) history!

Alfred Differ said...

I don't mind if there is a study requirement before attesting to being one of us. I'll even make the exception for allowing an Oath to a "Higher Authority" as long as it is the choice of the person going through the naturalization process.

I object to the classic oath of fealty because it smacks of feudalism when We The People are the sovereign here. No doubt there are lots of ways to get around this and I'd probably be happy with any of them that were broadly inclusive.

Larry,

Yes. Age requirements are okay by me. It's not that their rights are being taken when they are young. They simply aren't recognized until they mature. We do that with many, many other rights too.

Alfred Differ said...

I also feel no need to compete for 'who is best at this' when it comes to migration and adapting to a heterogenous society. Every state in 'The West' has had to deal with it to some degree. No doubt some are better at it, but as with product advertisements, who is best depends on the measure.

As long as we lift the peasantry of the world into the bourgeoisie, I'm happy enough slapping gold stars on the foreheads of all involved.


On another note, the best argument I've heard for NOT having all legal residents be voters in jurisdictions they do NOT claim as theirs isn't voting tourism. It's that tolerating it pretty much ends federalism. It's hard to run a zillion little experiments in governance when neighbors move in from far away primarily intending to end your little experiment. It's the Little Brother problem. We can't tolerate CERTAIN experiments (slavery turns out to be one of them) but we need to tolerate some of them in order to learn what works without discovering flaws inflicted upon large populations.

Der Oger said...

Duncan those percentage figures ignore (1) the sheer numbers (!!) and also (2) history!

Yes, the US of A usually take in only a fraction of hand-picked refugees they produce by their military misadventures. And some, it puts in cages.

On the other hand and a purely anecdotal view, we export three types of people to you:
a) Scientists who objectively have better career and research opportunities (but return when certain goals are met, and live in a culture less hostile to them)
b) Hardcore libertarian entrepreneurs who care little about social cohesion (but return later to enjoy working infrastructure and welfare system)
c) Right-Wingers who both enjoy the freedom of owning guns and saying, owning or doing stuff they would go to prison for over here.

I'd call that a deal.

Der Oger said...

@Duncan Cairnross
Even Germany is above the USA at 15.7%

That number most certainly excludes the 6 million+ Russian Germans repatriated during the last seventy years and their descendants, since technically they are not immigrants by law. Yet, they still form close-knit, conservative communities where Russian is the primary language.

Larry Hart said...

Alfred Differ:

Now… as for non-citizens… I'm inclined to let pretty much anyone who wants to be a citizen to become one. That's another basic right I recognize for others. You have a RIGHT to associate as you wish.


But doesn't an existing association have the right to associate (or not) with you as they wish? And to set the terms for membership?


I'll recognize exceptions/cut outs for fraud, sedition, and clear associations with other nations. I'm not a fan of dual citizenship. Pick one, but feel free to be friendly and inclined to ally with others.


But in a different post, you essentially said that an immigrant doesn't have to pick one in order to claim US citizenship. Picking none is sufficient. So what's to stop an individual from claiming US, Canadian, Israeli, and Chinese citizenship simply by asserting a lack of fidelity to anyone?

Robert said...

Somebody somewhere said something about Taxation without Representation!

Like the accidental Americans who have trouble getting bank accounts in Europe?

https://americansoverseas.org/en/dutch-accidental-americans-losing-bank-accounts/

Can these citizens vote? Most haven't lived in America since they were babies, or ever. They're never been residents. Who are their elected representatives?

Robert said...

A naturalized citizen should attest that they abandon fealty to any OTHER state.

Are you opposed to dual citizenship? Because your country recognizes it.

Indeed, in the case I just cited (Dutch citizens losing bank accounts) your country insists on dual citizenship, and charges money for people to renounce citizenship to a country they're never lived in that non-the-less claims the right to tax them.

scidata said...

Re: incantations

Political science, if it ever was a real thing, is pretty much useless today. As Asimov predicted 80 years ago, psychology is the dominant force at play. Not happy about it, just sayin'.

Larry Hart said...

Robert:

Indeed, in the case I just cited (Dutch citizens losing bank accounts) your country insists on dual citizenship, and charges money for people to renounce citizenship to a country they're never lived in that non-the-less claims the right to tax them.


In an oblique way, this reminds me of a story of my Indian manager several years ago. He had a green card, but was not an American citizen. He got called in for jury duty, and I told him he would not be eligible because he's not a citizen. When he checked with the county, he was informed that he still had to show up and bring documentation to prove he wasn't a citizen.

Alfred Differ said...

Larry,

But doesn't an existing association have the right to…

Ah ha! You have your finger on the button now. 8)

Often… NO. Not always, but often. At the level of 'nations'... very often.

My issue with granting association rights is they aren't people. Who exactly has those rights? Everyone? Who is making the claim to those rights? Everyone? Usually in associations it is a small fraction who are actually energetic enough to make claims and act for the group. I refuse to recognize tiny minorities AS claim makers for all.

Down that path lies madness. On one side you'll find the racists who argued they were doing what was best for black people by segregating them from their betters. They spoke FOR others making claims. See? On the other side you'll find inverse racists who argue for busing and recompense. They speak FOR others making claims on their behalf. See? We might tolerate and somewhat respect one side over the other, but they both commit the same error that should be avoided or at least recognized as something to be replaced as soon as possible.

…you essentially said that an immigrant doesn't have to pick one in order to claim US citizenship…

My objection is to an oath of fealty to something less than a supreme God.

Attesting to being one of us IS picking one, though. If people want to pick more than one I'll do one of two things.
1) Wonder if they are serious about being one of us.
2) Conclude they are and don't see much difference between us and the other.

Either way, it's not like I'd do much about it. IF they wanted a national security job… I probably would. Otherwise, not.

But you used the word 'fidelity'. That's different. You can be loyal to your identity without stating an oath. In fact, I think it is a stronger statement of fidelity to BE the person you are than to state the person you are. Attesting to being what you are should suffice for membership, but demonstrating it is what really moves me to defend your rights. (See also Matthew 5:16 and recognize the concept applies to smaller ideals.)

Alfred Differ said...

Robert,

Because your country recognizes it.

I'm opposed. It should be trivially easy to attest non-membership too.

I suspect we don't like it, though, when citizens flee overseas to avoid consequences of their actions. In matters of taxation, I'll usually side with the person fleeing because I often don't see what they originally did as a form of cheating. It's a shame they have to flee, but my fellow citizens like to steal a large fraction of our incomes and call it 'dues' for being here.

I am aware of the muscle being applied overseas forcing banks in other nations to obey our rules. I'm not happy about it, but we DO have a global market now. Friction happens.

TCB said...

@ Larry Hart, I guess everything reminds me of John Brown these days.

Re: naturalized citizens, they all have to take citizenship tests and oaths of loyalty to their new country, and most of them are a valuable addition to the melting pot.

The only immigrants I do not welcome are named Murdoch. I seriously, really believe Rupert only came to America to ruin America, and has damn near succeeded.

duncan cairncross said...

Citizenship

When I was living working (and paying taxes) in the USA I did not want to be a citizen - I was quite happy being a guest in the country knowing that I was going to make the decision about permanence at a later time

But as I WAS paying taxes then voting rights would appear to be equitable

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

But as I WAS paying taxes then voting rights would appear to be equitable


So since I pay for food at the grocery store, I should have a say in the store management?

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Larry Hart

The American "slogan" is No taxation without representation!!

AND here (NZ) all adult residents - not just citizens - get the vote

I suppose NZ was the first for the Maoris and for women to get the vote so we usually lead the way

David Brin said...

Dc... And why do you think I set scenes in EARTH under the Waitomo Caves? '-)

TCB said...

Responding to the question posed in the post title: How did Politics Become Only About Incantations?

I do not offer a complete answer, but I tell you this: No answer to that question can even be approached without considering corporate media consolidation. From a robust and varied media ecosystem when I was a lad some six decades ago, we have arrived at a point where a handful of vast corporations control most of what you see, hear and read in Unistat.

A study by media analyst Ben Bagdikian has charted this consolidation over a 30-year period. Bagdikian’s 2004 analysis indicates that Americans are served by 1,468 daily newspapers, 6,000 assorted magazines, 10,000 radio stations, 2,700 television and cable stations, and 2,600 book publishers that are under the aegis of five major multinational corporations (16).

from https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1127/media-concentration

It would be nearly possible to coordinate the feeding of sound-bites, slogans, memes and incantations to tens of millions without this sort of ownership concentration.

In 1953, 1,300 of the 1,785 daily newspapers in the U.S. were family-owned and
-operated. [...] By 1980, the number of independent newspapers was about 700. And by 1988, the newspaper industry was dominated by about 12 large publicly owned companies. [...] The composite ownership of the country’s newspapers has shifted significantly since 2004. Large newspaper companies that didn’t exist in 2004 include New Media Investment Group (which owns the GateHouse chain), Digital First, Civitas, Warren Buffett’s BH Media and 10/13 Media and New Media Investment Group. By 2016, these five investment entities owned 900 daily and weekly newspapers.


http://newspaperownership.com/additional-material/newspaper-ownership-debate/

And if just a dozen or so of the wealthiest Americans (who just happen to control mass media) decide they'd rather have a crypto-fascist dictatorship than go back to paying Roosevelt-level taxes, well... isn't it funny how they beat up on Joe Biden after they gave billions in free airtime to Donald Trump? Ain't that peculiar?

Der Oger said...

@ Voting Rights: In the EU, all Non - Native EU Citizens have active & passive voting rights (i.e. can vote and be a candidate) in communal and EU parliament elections.

@ Mass Media:
First, the Library of Alexandria, then Church cloisters.
First, the book prints produced the protestant bible, then the malleus maleficarum.
First, newspapers led to the french revolution and the revolution of 1848, then they became part of the propaganda apparatus of both communist and fascist dictatorships.
First, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, then, Leni Riefenstahl.
First, Computers and the Digital Revolution, Hacker ethics, the election of Obama and the Arab spring, then, Russian and Chinese troll farms, EU internet censorship, NSA mass surveillance, technoligarchs and the impact of social networks on free elections.

What's next?
There must be some kind of "psychohistoric laws" in it, such as:
1.) The younger a form or technology of communication is, the more it fosters enlightment, liberty and social progress; the older it becomes, the more it fosters tyranny and rigid societies.
2.) The speed of such societal changes and the countereactions to them is proportionally tied to the communication speed it provides.
3.) The Counterreaction itself provide the impetus for the invention of new means and technologies of communication, thus repeating the cycle.

Any flaws in it?



reason said...

Those numbers for net immigration - they must be per decade. Otherwise they are far too high.

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

AND here (NZ) all adult residents - not just citizens - get the vote


Serious question then. What's the difference between "resident" and "citizen"?

Unknown said...

Citizenship (and exclusion of citizenship) is a classic tool for oligarchs to divide the proletariat and diminish workers' power. As it stands, citizenship is a threat over the migrant labor pool that severely inhibits meaningful organization. Citizen-centric labor organization has few noncitizens and therefore fails to develop platforms attractive to undocumented workers. This lack of solidarity is one of the reasons for the compromised bargaining power of modern labor.
A much more reasonable substitute for the phenomenon of citizenship is simple residency. As others have been saying, those who live in a state or pay taxes to a state should rightfully exert influence over its conduct.

Something that started as a boon that oligarchs granted to a favored demographic (see limited voting rights in Athenian Democracy) still today exists as a tool of inequality. In a global society, rights/lack of rights based on birthplace, ancestry, or oath are only artificial barriers to global solidarity.

Larry Hart said...

Without further comment...

https://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2021/Senate/Maps/Dec07.html#item-6

...
However, as several commentators have noted—most recently David A. Graham writing for The Atlantic—the modern Republican fringe is particularly outlandish in their invocation of "history." As Graham puts it, they "use history as a bludgeon, without regard to context, logic, or proportionality." Or, to put it another way, folks like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) either have no idea what they are talking about, or they just don't give a damn. Maybe it's both.

In other words, those Southern reactionaries back in the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s may have been behaving offensively according to modern standards, but at least they weren't being ahistorical. The Confederacy, its leaders, and its soldiers really did fight to sustain white supremacy. On the other hand, there is no comparison whatsoever between Anthony Fauci and Mengele, vaccine mandates are wholly incomparable to the Holocaust, and there is no Democrat in political office today who is similar to Adolf Hitler in any meaningful way.

We are aware, of course, that many on the left these days are comparing Donald Trump, his supporters, and his movement, to fascism. You could also describe such behavior as appropriating and distorting the legacy of World War II (though it's worth noting that not all the notable fascists of the 20th century were a part of that conflict). However, there are some historical parallels that are absolutely valid, and some circumstances where history does serve as cautionary tale. Just like the folks in the 1960s who said the real story of the Civil War was emancipation, it's our view that the "Trump has fascist tendencies" folks are on vastly more justifiable historical ground than the "Biden is implementing a new Holocaust" folks.

Anyhow, whenever a Trumper makes a historical reference these days—particularly to World War II, but really any historical reference—there is close to a 100% chance that it's pure BS. And it's not easy to push back against this nonsense, whether it's from a politician on a national stage, or a "friend" on Facebook, since the people who have the credibility to say "boo" are almost all gone. But that doesn't mean it's not worth trying, so that the service and the sacrifices of Dole, Shames, and all the others (including all four of Z's grandparents), along with the suffering of those millions who were targeted for extermination by the Nazis, the Japanese, the Stalin regime, and others are not twisted beyond all recognition.
...

David Brin said...

"ND here (NZ) all adult residents - not just citizens - get the vote Serious question then. What's the difference between "resident" and "citizen"?

Dunno. Ask Peter Theil who spent a lotta $ to get NZ citizenship.

And no I won't apologize for making legal US immigrants jump through a few quite do-able hoops to become citizens. A far lower bar than in most countries.

Der Oger said...

Dunno. Ask Peter Theil who spent a lotta $ to get NZ citizenship.

I wonder if $$$ helps to affect an election in New Zealand as much as it does in the US.

David Brin said...

Jacinda for world premiere!

duncan cairncross said...

Serious question then. What's the difference between "resident" and "citizen"?

My take (for what its worth)

A "Citizen" has decided to stay - he/she has decided that this is now THEIR country

A "Resident" has not made that decision - they are in the country for the short/medium turn - they intend to move "home" at some point

When I was working in the USA I was a "resident"
When I first went to NZ I was a "resident" - when I decided to stay in NZ THEN I applied to become a citizen

duncan cairncross said...

I wonder if $$$ helps to affect an election in New Zealand as much as it does in the US.

We have very strict limits on the amount of spending permitted in an election - and all sorts of rules about when and where and about identifying where the money has come from

Its not perfect but it is OK

David Brin said...

Given that the whole world floods into the USA, it is not a grievous fault to want it to happen in a controlled manner and to want those becoming citizens to make at least some ritual and real signs of accepting the general social compact. The lessons of France are plain, where the residents of many immigrant suburbs do not think of themselves as French even remotely.

Alfred Differ said...

Reasonable signs of accepting the social compact are... reasonable. 8)

Tests? Sure.
Signatures? Sure.
Oaths? Nope.

To be one of us is to accept the part of the social compact recognizing we are the actual sovereigns. We The People.

As for the folks born here who appear not to accept that, I invite people to take a deep look at them and see if they do NOT think they are sovereigns. That really isn't an issue here in a nation of barbarians. Our problem is that we don't recognize all our neighbors as fellow sovereigns with easily recognized rights like our own.

Tim H. said...

Charles Stross's latest has COVID Omicron as a subject, worthwhile though GB centric:
https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2021/12/omicron.html
Given the appallingly fragmented nature of healthcare in the United States one should treat COVID cases like cockroach sightings, assume many hidden for every known case.

Unknown said...

Accept the social compact that the plunder of the whole resources of the earth will go to those preexisting owners under the force of wholly undercompensated labor? Or which social compact do you hope that new migrants to the USA will accept? Is it a worthy shared goal or a ruse by the oligarchs?

-Duncan Ocel

Unknown said...

Also, imposing some kind of oath, training, or test onto would-be citizens of the US implies that the US has some positive distinguishing factor over other countries, and that migrants have to earn acceptance. What might this distinguishing factor be? The great experiment? Well, there are a lot of countries out there that are much better examples of strong transparent democracy than the US. Is it the relatively high wages? Those are contingent on the exploitation of labor from other countries and are no more a positive feature of the US than slavery was in 1800. Is it the social mobility? No, the boundaries between attainable classes are insignificant compared to the billionaire gap. I would argue that professionals, tradesmen, and unskilled laborers alike are all serfs in service to the closed billionaire class. No amount of mobility within the lower classes can ever transcend that boundary.

In short, I'm not convinced the US isn't just another arbitrary monopoly on legitimate violent force within a geographical area.

-Duncan Ocel

Larry Hart said...

TCB:

I guess everything reminds me of John Brown these days.


Maybe it should. The right wing certainly seems comfortable with the concept of threats and violence to enforce their political will, sanctioned if not perpetrated by the state. Because they're confident that it will always be their side doing the violence.

Gator said...

@Robert those "accidental" Dutch American citizens... there is nothing accidental about it. If you are born outside of the USA, with an American citizen parent, your parent has to actively claim you as a USA citizen.
https://americansoverseas.org/nl/kenniscentrum/wanneer-bent-u-belastingplichtig-in-de-vs/wanneer-bent-u-een-persoon-uit-us-en-belastingplichtig/
https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/i-am-the-child-of-a-us-citizen

So this isn't USA overreach - this is someone who wanted to claim USA citizenship for their child, presumably to preserve options and privileges for that child. FWIW, if you're an American citizen, you owe America taxes. I've lived overseas as an expat in Europe, I paid taxes in the country I was living, I also filed taxes in the USA. Yes a pain but I am an American citizen.

David Brin said...

Unknown is pretty typical these days, taking a high horse judgmental stance toward the nation and society that TAUGHT him all the values that he now applies to judging it. Clearly it is cognitively impossible for 99% of modern, educated people to look in a mirror and ask: "What about me? Where did I get this presumption that I can ignore all or human history and all the sources of my present values?"

Dig it, fellah. You got those values from Hollywood and other America-amplified lesson processes.

- Suspicion of Authority as a paramount virtue... that it is the duty of all young people to challenge their own, freely elected tribal elders and demand incrementally (or miraculously sudden) better behavor. (See VIVID TOMORROWS: Science Fiction and Hollywood - http://www.davidbrin.com/vividtomorrows.html )

- An aversion to the very thought of "empire." G.Washington shocked the world by (several times) walking away from power. Power regularly flips in DC and USA-ans of all parties shiver at the word, 'empire.'...

... but above all, YOU cannot name a single previous nation that - when tempted by great power - had a better RATIO of good to bad deeds and outcomes.

- Screaming at the US arms and defense budgets is spectacular hypocrisy. Across 6000 years, most nations spent roughly HALF of their national budgets on armies. And yes, the US has spent somewhat on that scale since 1941... creating a general peace longer and more productive than any other, allowing MOST nations on Earth - protected under the American Pax - to spend down below 5% or less on defense. One of the factors that allowed development in those nations to skyrocket for 75 years.

That and the first pax power ever to encourage COUNTER mercantilist trade flows that benefited development overseas even more, by unprecedented leaps and bounds. Even at the cost of our own jobs, economy and power.

Am I saying this pax was flawless? Hell no! We are ALL f---ng CAVEMEN! No human being knows what the F he/she/they are doing and putting power in the hands of such children is always gonna have some tragic outcomes and wretched mistakes. The Vietnam/Cambodia War was a horrific nightmare of arrogant good intentions gone monstrously bad. Probably a trap laid for us by the Kremlin.

And yet, right now, Americans are VASTLY more popular in Vietnam than the Chinese who sent them arms to fight us. Ever wonder why that is?

Again, you were taught to criticise power. That's fine. That trained reflex helps us find and correct mistakes. See The Transparent Society. Recite to me a long list of American mistakes and I'll nod: "Yep, gotta learn from that one, too." But those RATIOS are huge.

Dig it, nothing is dumber than to say "I INVENTED suspicion of authority and courageously carping on the faults of empire!"

No. You did not. You were trained to be the way you are.

Unknown said...

Previous (extant) Nation: The EZLN (the Zapatistas) have turned away from violent expansion time and time again to focus on developing an egalitarian society within their existing borders (I use borders lightly). Many people in positions of power made many conscious decisions to keep power distributed, and now this society is able to offer free schooling and health care, unbiased curricula, indigenous-based environmental management, community-based policing, left-populist land reform, and a class-conscious taxation system. A much better ratio than the American one built on imperialism and slave labor.

Power may theoretically change hands between the two parties every few years, but that change is null because it always stays in the hands of the ruling class. This is a superficial change in power compared to something like land reform, police reform, and the extinguishment of class.

If we're all cavemen and just doing the best we can, there are some cavemen who used good organization and solidarity to do it much better than the USA.

-Duncan Ocel

Der Oger said...

Americans are VASTLY more popular in Vietnam than the Chinese who sent them arms to fight us. Ever wonder why that is?

I believe it has more to do with an historical rivalry and fear of China invading the country.

... but above all, YOU cannot name a single previous nation that - when tempted by great power - had a better RATIO of good to bad deeds and outcomes.

An honest comparison would be possible only if the American Empire had already ended, since there are many bad things that can happen in the future. Another Trump or two, perhaps some WMD exchanges, and history could look on it more unfavorably.

Also, the really bad things usually start when an Empire starts to crumble ...

scidata said...

In the foreward to "A Thousand Brains", Richard Dawkins* likens Jeff Hawkins to Darwin, high praise indeed coming from him. Before writing books, before he was a famous neuroscientist, before he founded Numenta and a few other massive triumphs, Hawkins would walk around all day with a little block of wood in his shirt pocket, taking it out to ruminate with whenever some reckonin' was needed. This is how he refined his vision of the Palm Pilot. I considered that device to be a true 'intelligence amplifier' (it ran native** Forth well). It was my philosopher's stone for some very productive years. It's part of the reason for my continuing fascination with David Brin's "Why Johnny Can't Code" (WJCC).

* Dawkins is the world champion of sh@tting on philosophy. He despises the very notion. George Will is only a political and historical writer, and thus not an existential threat to the enlightenment (far too elitist to even be noticed by most). Francis Collins though, is a profoundly philosophical and anti-science scientist. Nothing could be scarier or more threatening. The constant Mussolini grin is the stuff of nightmares.
** meaning interactively interpreted on-device (not cross compiled on a bigger machine)


“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons- that's philosophy."
- Aldous Huxley

matthew said...

I overheard a conversation between two of my coworkers today, members of the managerial caste at my company. They were venting their displeasure at the state of homelessness in Oregon. They blamed all the problem on Democratic politicians not authorizing homeless sweeps to kick out all the folks in tents. They both concluded that it would not be long before the real citizens came to string up the Democrats, and "boy won't those libs be surprised when the police and guards step aside and let it happen."

Homeless problem = kill the libs in charge.

These are college-educated, very well-off individuals that have sworn the oath to protect the Constitution.

Homeless = kill the libs.

We are in deep, deep trouble.

David Brin said...


Der Oger, no one you know lives in the future more than I do. I know very well how badly things can go if we lose this battle for the Enlightenment.

None of which changes the fact that no society was ever tempted by such power and had such a good ratio of outcomes.

SCIDATA you need to read Vonnegut’s MOTHER NIGHT to see how much harm can be done by an articulate apologist for monsters. GF Will could be helping us correct his betrayals. Instead he says “Trumpism is an exception that will pass. Hang together against the socialists!” Damn him.


MATTHEW this is one silver lining to covid. A lot of neo-Nazi NCOs are getting fired from the military and cops from some forces, whose dogmatism is now exposed.

You might ask those managerial twits: “what will you do when all the nerds get sick of your cult’s all-out war against every single fact using profession, including the Intel/FBI/military officer corps, nearly all of them former Republicans but now fleeing before your "deep state" slanders of men and women who are better than you, in every way? Sure, wage war on them... and on all the nerds who know genetics and nuclear and cyber and bio and make the electricity run? Perhaps you aren’t thinking this through?


UNKNOWN:
“Power may theoretically change hands between the two parties every few years, but that change is null because it always stays in the hands of the ruling class.”

You are a dogmatist who has no clue about how incremental reforms happen - and almost always far better than 99% of ‘revolutions.’ The insipid cliché you just foisted ignores ALL evidence - especially the pure fact that the world’s oligarchs are united to defeat the US Democratic Party at all costs.

The all-out war against every fact-using profession is entirely one-sided. Yes, there are some billionaires and corporate interests within the DP coalition. ALL of them know that some forward progress must resume or all is lost.

I am done speaking to such a dogmatic fool wnose cult incantations blind him to what’s before his eyes.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin:

Yes, there are some billionaires and corporate interests within the DP coalition.


Having super-powers doesn't make someone evil. It's a matter of whether...they...use that power for good or for bad. Superman is (or used to be) the quintessential hero, not because he had super powers, but because he wasn't corrupted by having super powers.


you need to read Vonnegut’s MOTHER NIGHT to see how much harm can be done by an articulate apologist for monsters.


I think it was in the intro to the book that Vonnegut stated, "You are who you pretend to be, so be careful who you pretend to be."

A side benefit to reading that book is familiarity with the reason I so often paraphrase, "Who ever told you that a Chinaman is a colored man?"

scidata said...

Dr. Brin: GF Will could be helping us correct his betrayals.

Agreed 100%. My dad used to harangue GF mercilessly (in absentia). I always took the 'but if he could be turned...' tack. Unfortunately, you, my dad, and GF are all orders of magnitude my cognitive superiors. Fortunately though, this may not come down to intelligence, but rather longing for immortality - the opposite of nihilism (which I entirely equate with fascism).

Der Oger said...

Having super-powers doesn't make someone evil. It's a matter of whether...they...use that power for good or for bad. Superman is (or used to be) the quintessential hero, not because he had super powers, but because he wasn't corrupted by having super powers.

I assume it is also important how and by which means you gain that super powers ... if they are inherited, stolen, bestowed upon you, or achieved through countless tribulations ... each shapes your view of the world, the view of your place in the world, and the view the world has of you.

Der Oger, no one you know lives in the future more than I do.
With all due respect, I doubt that you know the persons I am acquainted with. Though, maybe you are right; most of them live in the present, doing the day to day grunt work of research and engineering and keeping our society free and alive, one step at a time, the legs firmly on the ground, and the eyes set into the future.

We are in deep, deep trouble.
Yes, "colleagues" like them are charming, aren't they? In dealing with them, I have some experience. It might be necessary to stay under the radar, making notes on who said what, their mistakes ... In my eyes, they often share the same traits: they are lazy, they behave themselves bad against minorities in the company, they deflect responsibility for mistakes they make, they are always the victims, an when confronted with inner strength and some evidence on their side, they always back off...to return and conspire against you, since they are incapable of open conflict in any form.

David Brin said...

onward

onward