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  #2491  
Old 04-14-12, 18:02
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That would be one's general impression. Until it's convincingly demonstrated otherwise though, I prefer to believe that there's a basic disconnect between the various socio/cultural/economic and political implantations that he's accumulated over the years. Plus the basic element of put upon provocation.

Lived reality would suggest one thing and a very real set of limits and constraints for most of the population.

The low-watt media sources he chooses to share generally reinforce that fragmentation while suggesting that there's a still a reality of infinite means just slightly out of everyone's reach. All they need to do is try a little harder and elect a government whose members share their values (while shopping at Tiffanys).
This is a conservative fallacy as you are well aware.

The truth is that if it is possible for certain individuals to accumulate those kinds of obscene sums (which become obscene in direct relationship to the distance they have gaped the earnings of the rest in society - this has been growing since the 70's and 80's), then per force of nature there will be millions excluded from those mechanisms of profit. The myth of the self-made man thus becomes the dream of either the lucky few or piloted elect, which either has to do with fortune (which nobody can count on) or a system that is rigged (which by nature is inegalitarian). Though this is precisely what we have. The more inflated the earnings of some become, then, directly corresponds to the further impoverishment of the masses (or in any case sees decreases in earnings with respect to the new living standards established by inflation and the incomparable wealth of some).

It can be no other way. Karl understood this well already about 150 years ago. It is consequently sublimely perverse how the ideology that gave rise to the dysfunctional globalization we have, expects to resolve the crisis of capitalism and produce wealth throughout the globe without having to give up any at home. There are those who cynically know this not to be the case, but will push the charade and lies to their constituency until the bitter end, because they realize they can count on unwise people like Scott for continued political support. In fact there is a certain business and financial class who will indeed not be made to concede anything, but make a killing, while every burden and sacrifice will fall, where it usually does, upon the shoulders of the people.

Yet there are millions of working class people among the conservative class who, blinded by ideology and their own deluded misperceptions, continue to fight for a system that unremittingly works against their own interests, and they vote for candidates whose masters are their very own obliterators and murders. That's because between everyone being a bit better off, which is real progress, through eliminating the possibility of certain excesses; and increased hardship for the multitudes, but still having the individual possibility of hiting the jack-pot: the irrational and reactionary prospect of the latter is hands down the more appealing.

This is what a certain capitalism and democracy have ultimately produced, faith in the irrational as the only treatment to the social discontent of our epoch.

Last edited by rhubroma; 04-14-12 at 18:05.
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  #2492  
Old 04-14-12, 18:11
Scott SoCal
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...huh?...

Cheers

blutto
You wish me to type slower?
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  #2493  
Old 04-14-12, 18:16
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The real tragedy here is your assumptions of those that disagree with you politically. And your total lack of curiosity. And your presumption of superiority.

But then know-it-alls tend to be this way, don't they?

Btw, I will take your concern for my mental health and raise you with my concern for your complete lack of humor and happiness.
That's ironic coming from one such as yourself who has never lived with doubt, who continues to be a world class flabbergaster from the safety and certainty of home.

Your absolutely right, I have no curiosity, nothing interests me other than what I'm familiar with. What else, pray tell, would have led me astray from the righteous path and to live in such a hedonistic and immoral Mediterranean environment?
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  #2494  
Old 04-14-12, 18:31
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That's ironic coming from one such as yourself who has never lived with doubt, who continues to be a world class flabbergaster from the safety and certainty of home.

Your absolutely right, I have no curiosity, nothing interests me other than what I'm familiar with. What else, pray tell, would have led me astray from the righteous path and to live in such a hedonistic and immoral Mediterranean environment?
Never lived with doubt? Geez, those that take risks live with doubt constantly.

And how can one simultaneously be a world class flabbergasted and dumb as dirt? Additionally, how do you look yourself in the mirror knowing that, once again, you have allowed yourself, with all that immense intellect, to engage with someone like me?
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  #2495  
Old 04-14-12, 20:46
aphronesis aphronesis is offline
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Well, unlike you I think that most are capable of all sorts of achievements, successes and excellence when allowed to pursue whatever one deems important.

Be it bike racing, business, education or basket weaving. I do realize I am in a distinct minority around here that think this way. Thankfully, in the real world, there are many who still are pursuing their passions whatever they may be.

I do get the feeling that some of you guys really resent those that don't want or need much help from central govt. Maybe it is just my perception. Being clueless does have some drawbacks.

Speaking of assumptions about those who disagree with your take on the political.....

I didn't call you clueless. Maybe you're still jetlagged?

If anything I believe that most people are capable of far more than they expect. Our society mostly inculcates the opposite self-image. Great achievement within narrow specialization in an intellectual (defined as broadly as you like) or creative field to the exclusion of social relevance isn't something that I regard as success however. At the same time, I believe that much of the anxious, enfeebled and debilitating states that characterize the average American life at present: physical, intellectual, emotional, and so on, are due entirely to the market conditions that have organized society in this country over the last sixty years.

The fact is most of the people in my social and professional circles are pursuing at least some of their passions, and most are more successful than not--however these things are measured. All, however, maintain great humility in the awareness that they are incredibly fortunate to be able to read, think about, write, research, film, lecture, and otherwise engage with subject matter that they find compelling and important. Nor can it be said that hardly any got where they are through direct government intervention. Some are politically active, some party dutiful and others mostly apathetic, if culturally liberal, but none of them lets go with that kind of Pollyannaish/Friedmanesque free market drivel.

On the one hand Scott, the humanities have been under direct attack in terms of government largesse since the mid to late '80s. There were some rollbacks here and there, but overall, most make it on their own through the support of family, friends, and their own resources. On the other hand, the government has not in the least regulated the amount of cultural producers who have been trained in the last decade or two. Granted there are more opportunities world-wide than ever before, but it also means the air is significantly thinner than it once was, the options less secure. Such is the trend across all professions and countries: the manufacture of an international precariat class.

No one, however, is sitting around asking that the government regulate graduate school admissions in order to keep numbers down and good jobs open. Nor are they resentful, as you say, of those who don't want or need much help from central government. And this despite the fact that while the salary of an assistant humanities prof pretty much doubled between the peak years of Bush/Cheney and right now in order to meet inflation and cost of living expenses, and to attract those who aren't independently wealthy (while the production quotas for tenure probably quadrupled), it still won't make life that comfortable for you in the many of the major cities. Some, however, are asking that basic life necessities (like food for example) be regulated and kept affordable within that context, rather than pegged to market dictates in the city. Difference being that most of those in my cohort don't do what they do for profit (as, ironically, would many of your examples also not do). But they do expect a minimal livelihood. And there are those who believe that others' profit margins can and should be adjusted downward in order to acommodate the well being of those whose passions and services are not as well compensated, but which are no less sought out and regarded. (Your basketweaver maybe. Or how about those teachers?). But let's be clear, this isn't a matter of grudging resentment, it's a fundamental disagreement on how the resources of the planet should be developed and organized.

So, I would say that is just your perception. And a phantasm that you seem to have taken on. Along with the notion that those disagreeing with your politics think you are stupid. Maybe you should put on a sturdier filter and self-identify a little less when you're staking out the positions of contemporary politics. In recent memory I don't think anyone has called you stupid or unintelligent (maybe Patrick alluded to the possibility). In fact I'm pretty sure that back in the politics thread, Rhubroma attributed most of your positions to cultural formation and personal tendencies--and not at all to a lack of native intelligence. If, in turn, I wanted to make crude characterizations about you, like yours above with regard to me, I would suggest that you are not even remotely aware of all the ways in which your life has been enriched by the efforts of those who have done the things that they did for reasons other than excessive profit in a ruthlessly privatized and corporate society.

By party affiliation you are a minority here. But not according to all of your social views. So how long do you want to keep flogging yourself with that appellation. You also have the advantage of living in a state which is its own economy when you make these generalizations. As do I a city. Nonetheless, I'm far from sanguine about the role of government in this country; however unlike you, I'm not content to just think about the (my) economic bottom line and exclude all other aspects of governance. Although if I were to, I would probably note that the party with which you generally associate yourself is, on the whole, more carefree and dismissive of the externals brought about by major businesses and corporations, or visited upon the populations to which they are adjacent, and that that in itself is relatively intolerable.

Would you not find that a case of pitting citizen against citizen? To the detriment of those citizens without greater means? But again, Dems aren't wholly immune to this charge--especially not when they go abroad.

On the matter of intelligence, you'll excuse me if I do think anyone taking seriously Gingrich and his international UN treaty for gun ownership (which is not remotely feasible on the face of it) is fundamentally stupid. And that much of the poverty, income loss and hardship they may incur could owe to the extent to which they bought into a self-identified prime-time notion of politics. Not to mention ahistorical notions of freedom and free market. But this isn't wholly the case. The combination of the oil and farm crises, and the ascendance of corporate monoculture farming in the late 70s left many without land and livelihood. But are these inalienable givens anyway?

Which would bring us back to your point of self-actualization and passions. There are many in the world and this country right now who did follow their passions (Democrats and Republicans alike) who find themselves out of work and mostly out of options. The world they inhabited isn't quite recognizable anymore because they were following certain passions. Maybe some a bit too narrowly. Some were at least. Many don't even enjoy the luxury or breathing room that you have to identify something like a passion. Romney and Marx would both attribute this general upheaval to the processes of creative destruction, which in began earnest around the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries. As you know, there are now many who followed their passions throughout their lives only to find themselves effectively or at least partially disenfranchised at the end. (It's another debate that that generation--in this country at least--managed to visit more waste and destruction on the planet than any other in history.)

So would you say that they just picked the wrong passion? They weren't canny enough. Or would you allow that at the very least there ought to be something of a safety margin in place. And that much of that margin ought to come from those who make much off of many and give very little back? And don't tell me job creation is sufficient in that regard.

Last edited by aphronesis; 04-15-12 at 01:43.
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  #2496  
Old 04-14-12, 21:05
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Alpe d'Huez Alpe d'Huez is online now
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Agree with Chris post earlier on why the Dems are so impotent. They simply cave on almost every issue. Very few of them take a stand on anything.

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The individual lives in a vacuum, and as such, is extraneous to society, which is invisible to him. He believes that the money I make is thus nobody’s business because it was magically made out of thin air.

That some are literally chocking on the billions they have earned, while billions of others are starving is of absolutely no consequence. Period.
Somewhat disagree on your assessment of conservatives. I think the vacuum part about being extraneous to society you got mostly right. But they do not believe that their money came out of thin air. They believe they deserve it, and no one else does no matter what, regardless of the ramifications it does to society as a whole. It doesn't matter how they got that money, as long as they didn't break the law doing so. Social ethics mean nothing. If they fought harder to get the money, or benefited from a system where being aggressive against the poor, or labor gets you more money, that is what the poor get for not fighting harder, or simply being born poor. That's the consequence.

They do not seem to believe this system they advocate creates such a stratified society with some people having more riches than they could possibly ever spend, and millions of others life in squalor. They believe the super wealthy invest all their money and create jobs with it. As if every one in the .1% is an angel investor with most of their wealth. They also believe by cutting off the poor even more and pushing them further into poverty it will somehow motivate them to work harder, to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps". Either that or they simply do not care. They find it of no moral consequence. If I'm super rich, no matter how I got my money, and half of society lives in absolute squalor, so be it. As Herman Cain said so well, "if you are poor, blame yourself."

This is why I do not understand why "conservatives" have not fought harder to remove that law that forces medical services (clinics, hospitals, etc.) to give medical care to those who cannot prove they can pay for it. If they are advocating elimination of Medicare and much of Medicaid, why not include this? My only speculation is that because the fact that this issue drives up health care costs for all, they have enough money that it doesn't affect them that much, versus the potential backlash.
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  #2497  
Old 04-14-12, 21:13
aphronesis aphronesis is offline
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Agree with Chris post earlier on why the Dems are so impotent. They simply cave on almost every issue. Very few of them take a stand on anything.

Somewhat disagree on your assessment of conservatives. I think the vacuum part about being extraneous to society you got mostly right. But they do not believe that their money came out of thin air.

This is why I do not understand why "conservatives" have not fought harder to remove that law that forces medical services (clinics, hospitals, etc.) to give medical care to those who cannot prove they can pay for it. If they are advocating elimination of Medicare and much of Medicaid, why not include this? My only speculation is that because the fact that this issue drives up health care costs for all, they have enough money that it doesn't affect them that much, versus the potential backlash.
Even Clinton (Bill) made the above observation about Dems in the late 90s. People seemed not to listen for several years.

I think by "thin air," he means the basic conceit that money would be worth anything without a government and society to back it. It is ultimately a tacit fiction and therefore open to contestation.

Last edited by aphronesis; 04-14-12 at 21:17.
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  #2498  
Old 04-14-12, 23:07
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Originally Posted by Alpe d'Huez View Post
Somewhat disagree on your assessment of conservatives. I think the vacuum part about being extraneous to society you got mostly right. But they do not believe that their money came out of thin air. They believe they deserve it, and no one else does no matter what, regardless of the ramifications it does to society as a whole. It doesn't matter how they got that money, as long as they didn't break the law doing so. Social ethics mean nothing. If they fought harder to get the money, or benefited from a system where being aggressive against the poor, or labor gets you more money, that is what the poor get for not fighting harder, or simply being born poor. That's the consequence.
They also believe that it is only breaking the law if they get caught and their lawyers can't get them off.....
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  #2499  
Old 04-15-12, 01:00
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As many as one wishes to earn. What's it to you?

BTW, you were able to work mulitudes of talking points in the paragraph above while actually saying very little. Many words, multiple cliches. Well done.
he has a talent

Last edited by patricknd; 04-15-12 at 14:44.
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  #2500  
Old 04-15-12, 08:00
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Originally Posted by Scott SoCal View Post
Well, unlike you I think that most are capable of all sorts of achievements, successes and excellence when allowed to pursue whatever one deems important.

Be it bike racing, business, education or basket weaving. I do realize I am in a distinct minority around here that think this way. Thankfully, in the real world, there are many who still are pursuing their passions whatever they may be.

I do get the feeling that some of you guys really resent those that don't want or need much help from central govt. Maybe it is just my perception. Being clueless does have some drawbacks.
Well what a honky-dory world we live in! Everyone pursuing his passion, everyone free!

The reality, of course, is that you only hypocritically feign concern for the wellbeing of the masses through a veiled allegory of insipid greed and prepotency. The only thing you guys are really concerned about is that my right to pursue my passion also comes with the State’s guarantee of obtaining unlimited monetary compensation, without, naturally, any meddling interference from the State or responsibility to the collective. Obtaining the potentiality for profit is the sole criteria upon which freedom and success is therefore contemplated. And believe you me if there is money to be made in it, then the “passion” will follow.

Apart from this you seem to ludicrously believe that only in America do their exist circumstances in which individuals in society are able to pursue their passions. Look it is the same in Europe, while everyone has medical care, which, by the way, is evidently doing much better in terms of preventable deaths, considering that France is number 1 in this category, Italy third, the others all in the top 10, whereas the US comes in at an abysmal 18. Yet Americans are convinced that theirs is the best healthcare system in the world. But there have been many systems throughout history in which individual people were allowed to pursue their passions, with results that arguably make US society merely laughable given the times and technological means. Have you ever walked inside the Pantheon? Or seen the masterpieces in bronze and stone from the classical world in the Louvre, the Vatican Museums, the Metropolitan in NY, the Getty in Malibu? All of these things were passionately designed and made by slaves. Have you been inside Hagia Sophia or the Medieval Cathedrals of France and England? Well they weren’t made by slaves, but nearly so, in the paupers and peasants who built them; the compensation for which, however, was to be “earned” in the higher dimension, which is immortality itself! Have you been inside the Sistine Chapel? Yes, it’s true, Michelangelo and the others began to make earnings that were more attune to the elevated genius which their talents produced; however, these were individuals trained in the of the Florentine guilds (hardly a capitalist system, with regulations that would make those of the modern teamsters unions pale in comparison). Have you been to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome? The master architect lived in a small house off Piazza di Santo Spirito and apparently also had a passion for practical jokes according to Manetti his contemporary biographer. People all pursuing their passions in manifold ways, other than under a famous “right to pursue happiness,” even if that is precisely what they did.

The corollary to this, of course, is that there is a multitude of mediocrity in society with little or no passion to pursue anything in particular, let alone the innate talent to make such toils worth their while. What’s to come of them? Are they at fault for their own unexceptional status? There was a time, though, when ignorant society thought it in their interest, which they fought for, to become educated in a public school system. There was a time when the exploited masses thought it their right, which they fought for, for more humane working conditions and dignified wages. Then eventually even the welfare state was realized in universal healthcare, pensions, etc. and all indications suggest that the abuses of such a system were far exceeded by the real benefits it provided to most of society in actual need. Until the ideology of neoliberalism and financial capitalism began their ruthless assault on this model, the dreadful consequences of which are plain to see for all. Whereas people continued, just as they had always done, for those so inclined and able, to pursue whatever their fancies led them toward.

The other thing, therefore, that’s striking about the shallowness of your thinking, is the primitive, which is to say non-existent, philosophy of justice. Your concern is for the protection and dignity of the rich, who, in their infinitely commendable awesomeness, have the means to not only not be a burden to the State, but don’t rely on anyone but themselves to get by. Our question is what does your kind think about those who are not in such conditions? The ones who will always be in the vast majority according to the rules and strictures of capitalism. Should they not get healthcare if sick? Should they lose their home and be thrown out on the street immediately if not able to pay their mortgage? Should they only have access to sh1tty public schools?

I don't think the democrats, let alone your guy Romney, have the answers to these inquiries.
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